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Introduction to Alethea In Heart Ministries

A Critical History of Philosophy.

By Asa Mahan






ALL forms of the Hindu Philosophy are professedly drawn from the sacred books of the Hindu people—books denominated 'Vedas,' a Sanscrit form of the word vidya, which means science, or law. The original compilation of these books is attributed by the legends of the Hindus to an individual named Vyasa. The Vedas are distributed into four books: the Rig-Veda, which is constituted of prayers and hymns in verse; Yadjour-Veda, of prayers in prose; the Sama-Veda, of prayers to be chanted; and the Atharvun, of liturgical formulas.

In addition to the Vedas, there are three other works: the Pouranas, comprised in eighteen poetical productions, designed to reveal and elucidate the doctrine of a mythological Theogony and Cosmogony; the Rawayan, which contains a history of the exploits of the gods; and, lastly, Manava-Daharma-Shaster, which contain a collection of the laws of Menu. The special doctrines of the later books of the Hindus are professedly drawn, for the most part, from the Vedas.

The productions last referred to are divided into three classes: the Orthodox, or those fully conformed to the Vedas; the Semi-orthodox, or those conformed in part, and in part not conformed, to the Vedas; and the Heterodox, or those totally opposed to the Vedas. These are all, in fact and form, philosophical systems, and their elucidation falls directly within the proper sphere and aim of the present Treatise. We shall consider them in the order above stated.



As preparatory to a distinct understanding of these systems, we would, first of all, direct attention to the general doctrine of the Vedas, from which all these systems, as we have already stated, are professedly derived. The best exposition which we have yet met with of this doctrine is contained in the following extract from a work entitled 'An Epitome of the History of Philosophy,' a work translated from the French by Professor C. S. Henry, D. D., and published by the Harpers in 1842. Our knowledge of the Hindu Philosophy has been derived primarily from this work, secondarily from special treatises on the Hindu religion and Philosophy, and lastly from intelligent missionaries who have spent many years in that country. As all the sources of information to which we have referred perfectly agree in regard to the Hindu systems of Philosophy, the reader may safely rely upon the correctness of the expositions which we shall give of these systems. Let us now attend to the exposition of the general doctrine of the Vedas.

'1. Brahm existed eternally—the first substance—infinite—the pure unity He existed in luminous shadows—shadows, because Brahm was a being indeterminate, in whom nothing distinct had yet appeared; but these shadows were luminous, because being in itself is light. Brahm is represented also as originally plunged in a divine slumber, because the creative energy, as yet inactive, was, as it were, asleep.

'2. When he came out of this slumber, Brahm, the indeterminate being of the neuter gender, became the creative power Brahma, of the masculine gender. Brahm became also the light, determinate intelligence, and pronounced the fruitful word ("I am") which preceded all creation.

'3. There came forth besides, from the bosom of Brahm, the Trimourti Brahma, the creator; Vishnu, the preserver of forms; and Seeva, the destroyer of forms, who, by this very destruction, causes the return of beings to unity, and their re-entrance into Brahm. But the Trimourti does not develop itself in Brahm until he has produced another principle, Maya, of which it is now necessary to speak.

'4. In Brahm there was originally existent Swada, or the golden womb, the receptacle of all the types of things, when he produced Maya (matter or illusion), the source of all phenomena, and by means of which individual existences made their appearance. Maya existed at first as a liquid element, the primitive water, which in itself has no particular form. In Maya reside three qualities—goodness, impurity, obscurity.

'5. From the union of Brahm, which contained the types of all things, with Maya, the principle of individualization, and under the influence of the three qualities, resulted the whole creation. But the universe existed at first in two original productions, which were, so to say, the two great germs of it. These were: Marhabhouta, which is the condensation of all souls, all subtle elements; and Pradjapati, which is the condensation of all the gross elements.

'6. From Pradjapati, combined with Marhabhouta, sprang all the genii, and the human race in particular. Pradjabhouta was thus the primitive man, who, dividing himself into two, produced man and woman.

'7. Human souls are subject, as also the genii themselves, to the universal law of transmigration, which consists in passing successively into bodies more or less perfect, before being finally reunited to the great soul, Atma. The object of religion is to procure more favourable transmigrations, or to abridge the duration of them, or to secure even a complete exemption from them, provided one has followed with perfect fidelity the prescriptions of the Vedas. The reunion of the soul with Atma constitutes its final salvation.

'We observe here, once for all, that the doctrine of transmigration is common to all the philosophical schools of India, of which we are to give an exposition. Each school has for its object to furnish, by its teachings, means of deliverance from the necessity of transmigration.'


1. The reader will bear in mind that the Vedas are received by the Hindu people, not as original productions, but as a compilation of previously existing forms of belief, the name of the compiler being known. Four important questions here arise, to wit: Are these primordial beliefs correctly represented in these books? Were not those beliefs, on the other hand, corrupted by the compiler, and moulded anew in conformity with newly developed ideas? Again, have not the ancient books themselves been interpolated by the Brahmins? Finally, were not these books, as corrupted and interpolated, adopted in their revised forms, and in these forms imposed by the civil authorities upon the people? Caste, which universally prevails, and that as a part of the religion as well as the civil organization, was not a primordial, but wholly a new and forced state of society. Was not the Hindu faith itself similarly reorganized and forced upon the people? When we contemplate Hindu society as it existed prior to its being disorganized by foreign invasion, we find not only its religious, but domestic and civil organization all existing as parts of a perfectly systematized whole. Since the origin of the race, no state of society has been so completely organized throughout, in all departments of domestic, social, civil, and religious life, as obtained among this one people; nor has any organization ever existed so unlike the primitive condition of mankind. Shall we not suppose that the same ideal, which thus transformed the state throughout, imparted a similar transformation to the pre-existing religious faith? No other hypothesis has the remotest form of probability in its favour.

Events which have recently transpired in India render this hypothesis nearly, or quite, demonstrably evident. There has arisen there a class of men of the highest learning and talents who, by an appeal to historic facts, are confounding the Brahmins, with proof adduced, that the Vedas in their present forms are not only corruptions of the original faith of the people, but of the same books as originally written. These men present the most weighty proof of the fact, that the original faith of this people was a pure Theism which wholly excluded the doctrine of Polytheism, a Theism which includes the idea of a personal God, a creation proper, in opposition to that of origination by emanation, of man as a personal moral agent destined to a retributive immortal existence after death. Such, these men also show, were the teachings of the Vedas, as they originally existed. This important fact we shall have occasion to recur to again, when we come to a consideration of the question, What was, IN FACT, the primitive religious faith of the race? The conclusion to which we have arrived upon this subject is further confirmed by what appears in the Hindu writings themselves. The 'Bhaghavat-Geeta,' one of the poems of Vyasa, the compiler of the Vedas, a poem of which a Latin translation was given by Schlegel, has, in the language of the authors of the epitome referred to above, 'developed the system (of Pantheism) in all its metaphysical strictness, and in its principal moral consequences. Having taken the ground that the Infinite is the sole existence, and consequently the only being that wills and acts, or, rather, seems to act, the author of the "Bhaghavat-Geeta " infers not only the uselessness of works, but their absolute indifference, or the nullity of all distinctions between virtue and vice.' Now, Pantheism is not a primitive form, but one of the latest forms, of human thought. We have no evidence, then, but positive proof to the contrary, that the Vedas contain a correct compilation of the pre-existing religious faith of the Hindu people.

2. In none of these writings is there an attempt to prove the existence, or attributes, of Brahm, except what is contained in the idea of Brahm as the sole existence. If there existed out of Brahm, say the Hindu philosophers, realities, manifold, limited, compounded, they must have been produced by Brahm. But the production of them would be impossible, except so far as Brahm possessed in himself the real principle of imperfection, limitation, multiplicity—things which are all repugnant to his very existence. The doctrine of Brahm is simply assumed, as a truth self-affirmed, and with it the assumption that but one substance, or principle of all things, exists. A missionary, returned some time since from India, admitted himself to have been convinced, by means of his intercourse with those learned men, of the truth of the assumption last designated. The doctrine of Brahm, with that of but one substance or principle of all things, is assumed as a self-evident principle of science, and as such, is laid at the basis of the whole superstructure of the Hindu religion. Notbing is proven. All is begged by the fundamental assumptions under consideration.

3. In Hinduism we have a religion determined in all its parts, and systematized, by Philosophy. Hence, in the construction of that religion, there is system throughout. Philosophy not only determines the religion, but itself becomes a fundamental element of the same. It can hardly be said of the learned Hindu, that 'he worships he knows not what.' He not only knows what he worships, but the why also, and that for reasons, not only perfectly satisfactory to himself, but equally so to the people, reasons, also, which impart to the non-worshipper even the highest conceivable sacredness with the masses around him. The apprehension of his, the non-worshipper's, curse is a matter of greater dread than is that of any of the gods whom they worship. The gods, as well as men, are considered subject to his blighting curse, and, at will, he imprecates it upon whom he pleases. He never labours, and never asks a gift, nor expresses thanks for the gifts lavished upon him. When he seats himself in a public place, the people lavish upon him their choicest treasures for no other reason than to avoid his blighting curse.

Those who worship, on the other hand, who make pilgrimages, wash in the Ganges, or do any form of religious service, do it for specified reasons, not only escaping from evils, the averting the wrath or the securing of the favour of the gods, but above all, the procurement of favourable exemption from many transmigrations, that the soul, emancipated from the snares of illusion, may be re-absorbed in Atma.

Nor does the Hindu worship the images before which he bows, but genii imagined to be present in the images. When asked why he prays before the image, the learned Hindu replies by asking another question, to wit, 'Why do you pray into the air? You pray to God as present in the air. We pray to Him as present in the image. Where lies the difference?'

We state these facts to indicate the character of the Hindu religion. It is, throughout, a systematized whole, and is fully understood by its learned expounders, the Brahmins. The important bearing of these facts will appear hereafter.

4. The language in which the doctrine of Brahm is set forth in these books, naturally gave rise to the various sects and schools in Philosophy—schools such as that of Pantheism, Pure Idealism, and Materialism, for example—schools of which we are about to give an account. Brahm originally existed 'in luminous shadows,' a being indeterminate.' Is this language to be understood literally, or symbolically? As individuals interpret this language for themselves, such will be their theory of existence and its laws. Some would naturally suppose that the original, undeveloped, and mysterious state of Brahm as a pure spirit, or as pure thought, is symbolically represented by such language. This exposition would give rise to Idealism in its various forms. Such systems, conformed as they are more or less perfectly to the prevailing idea of Brahm as a spiritual essence, and also to the positive teaching of portions of the Vedas, would be regarded as orthodox, or semi-orthodox. Others, giving to this language a more literal construction, would deduce from the same what are designated as heterodox systems. We have here what will be regarded, as we judge, a satisfactory account of the origin of the various conflicting systems, all of which are professed expositions of the Philosophy taught in the writings under consideration.


Before proceeding to an elucidation of the Hindu systems of Philosophy, one other topic needs a still further elucidation than we have yet given it—the character and relations of the philosophers and religionists of that country. The common doctrine of all the sacred books of the people is this—man seeks, as the end and sole good of his being, for absolute repose, a state in which all thought, all feeling, all desire, and all activity of every kind for ever cease. This consummation can be reached but by one of two methods—science and religious observances. The former is the most direct, and by far the shortest, method, inasmuch as it brings the mind into immediate association with what is immutable, eternal, and the original source of being. This state of immediate vision, and contemplation, of what cannot change being attained, the mind waits but for death, which is freedom from the illusion of the flesh, when it is at once absorbed in Brahm, or enters into a state of non-being, perfect unconsciousness and inactivity being attained equally in both cases.

According to the universal Hindu faith, also, none but the few who have special powers of thought and insight have any capacity whatever for the method of science. But one method remains for the masses, that of religious observances. Religion does not, like science, free the soul from the necessity of transmigrations, but does diminish their number and continuance, and render present illusions more tolerable than they otherwise would be. The gods also, which these religionists worship, are not uncreated and eternal existences; but, like man, finite and temporary emanations from the sole real existence, Brahm; and though superior to man, yet, with him, subject to the necessity of transmigration. Nor is the worship of the Hindu prompted by the sentiment of love, or adoration, but wholly by that of fear of the curse of the higher genii, the gods on the one hand, and indefinite and protracted transmigrations on the other.

That which elevates, in the regard of the people, the scientist above the rest of the race, and even above the gods, is his supposed relation to the Infinite and Absolute, his consequent freedom from the necessity of transmigration—an evil common to men and the gods—and his nearness to the state of absorption in Brahm, or to non-being, the state which is to all the object of supreme desire. It is this imagined relation which imparts to this man, in popular regard, his fatal curse-power over gods and men.

The Hindu scientist, so intelligent missionaries have informed us, thus illustrates his imagined relations to Brahm, or to non-being: 'You See that vessel turned upside down. The air within is identical with that without the shell, but is confined where it is by that shell. Break the shell, or remove the vessel, and the confined air instantly intermingles with the encircling atmosphere. So I, who am a part of Brahm, or of the source of being, am now separated from Brahm, or non-being, but by one illusion, that of the body. At death this shell is broken, or this last illusion, which now confines me, is dissipated, and absorption, or non-being, instantly follows.' The way is now fully prepared for an elucidation of the varied systems of the Hindu Philosophy—systems which we shall present in the order already indicated.

We begin with the orthodox systems, or those conformed to the Vedas.



OF this class, two systems have the highest place in Hindu thought—the Mimansa and the Vedanta systems. The specific object of the former, which is attributed to an author of the name of Djaimini, is to give rules for the correct interpretation of the Vedas. This author but indirectly, and that very obscurely, indicates a system of doctrine. A presentation of the subject-matter of his work does not, consequently, fall in with the plan of this Treatise. A single extract from the 'Epitome of Philosophy' may, perhaps, interest the reader. 'In the Mimansa the breath of God is represented as the primary divine emanation, from whence proceed the sounds which produce letters. These sounds—these letters—are, as it were, an ethereal word, or writing, of which beings are the grosser forms. The Mimansa hence concludes that the relation of articulate sounds to ideas is not conventional, but original and necessary, human speech being itself a reproduction of the creative word. Hence the efficacy of invocation and of incantation.'


Who the author of this system was is uncertain. Some have ascribed the work to Vyasa himself, but probably with no good reason. The real author, however, whoever he was, is to be regarded as no common world-thinker. To understand the system we must call to mind two fundamental characteristics of the Hindu faith—that 'the whole end of man' is to attain to a state of absolute quietude—a state in which all consciousness and mental activity for ever and wholly cease, and that the immutable condition of attaining this state at death, and thus escaping unhappy transmigrations, is, through pure science, a direct and immediate vision of the Absolute as the sole reality. When the soul has attained this vision, it is at once freed from all disturbing illusions of the outward senses, and of the inward consciousness, of all illusions but one—the bonds of the flesh or of the body. At death, this last illusion wholly disappears, and the emancipated spirit is reabsorbed in Brahm, the only real and absolute being.

This scientific insight, this direct vision of the absolute as the only reality, together with the knowledge that all else is illusion, cannot be attained through the senses, or through the reflective consciousness. Observation, inward reflection, and reasoning pertain only to what is mutable and relative, and can, consequently, never attain to an apprehension of the absolute. On the other hand, there must be a voluntary closing of the senses to all visible objects; a suspension, in every possible form, of all desire, of all reflection, reasoning, and mental activity. The mind must hold itself, on the other hand, in the absolute stillness of pious, unreflective meditation.

When this absolute stillness of unthinking thought has been fully attained, the soul then receives the absolute revelation of science, a revelation comprehended in this one apprehension, 'Brahm alone exists; all else is illusion.'

The following, as described to us by learned missionaries, is the process by which the philosopher of India induces this inward mental stillness and non-thought, which he designates as 'pious meditation.' He first of all places himself in the condition of the greatest possible solitude, where he is encircled with the fewest possible external objects to attract and distract attention, and where the atmosphere is perfectly still around him. Here, having seated himself upon the ground, he closes his eyes, or fixes them directly upon the end of his nose, suspends all thought and reflection, desire, and inward voluntary activity. Then he closes one nostril, holds his breath as long as possible, and, when he must breathe, exhales and inhales the air with the least possible physical exertion. All within and without is now in a state of perfect stillness. One desire possesses the whole being, a vision of the absolute. Here, as above stated, the great revelation of absolute science opens with perfect distinctness upon the mental vision, to wit: 'Brahm is the sole existence; all beside him is illusion.' These periods of 'pious meditation,' or non-thought, are renewed from time to time, with sufficient frequency to render the great revelation omnipresently real, and of absolute validity to the mind.

According to the 'Bhaghavat-Geeta,' an older work than the 'Vedanta,' when the Yogee, or devotee, gives himself up to this pious, unreflective meditation, he should not absolutely close his eyes, but hold them fixed towards the end of his nose, so as to perceive no other object. The mystic of the Middle Ages fixed his eyes, not upon the end of his nose, but upon that of his navel. All the orthodox schools of India agree in this, that absolute suspension of thought and mental activity is the necessary condition of attaining to the revelation of science above designated. 'When the Yogee,' says the 'Geeta,' 'renounces all assistance from the understanding, and remains without the exercise of thought, he is identified with Brahm.'

This omnipresent apprehension of the Absolute is what these philosophers denominate the waking state of man. When he thinks of himself and visible objects around him as realities in themselves, realities distinct from the Absolute, man is then dreaming, and illusions become real to him. When, on the other hand, he apprehends Brahm as the sole reality, and all else as emanations from him, and advancing towards final reabsorption in him, and all individual things as illusory forms of being, then, and then only, is the mind really awake, and apprehends realities as they are.

In his subsequent experience the Yogee is not at all times wholly free from the illusions of sense and inward reflection. They are to him, however, as dream-visions are to man when awake. But he is free, however, from all ignorance and error, and becomes possessed of all knowledge, which consists in knowing Brahm to be the only real existence, and all else to be illusion. To know this is to know everything.

He is also free from all obligation and all possibility of sinning. The ideas of right and wrong are illusions, implying a distinction of kinds in action, whereas all distinctions of every kind disappear in Brahm.

In his direct apprehensions of Brahm as the sole existence, the absolute unity which excludes all distinctions and all change, he becomes perfectly free from all desire, all passion, and all activity. All actions and events, all relations in society, domestic, social, and civil, all good and ill, become absolutely indifferent to him. At death all illusions even disappear, and all thought and activity for ever cease. As the river is lost in the ocean, so is the Yogee lost in Brahm, and never returns to consciousness again.

The following extract from the 'Bhaghavat-Geeta,' one of the most sacred books of India, will fully evince the correctness of the exposition we have given of the Vedanta Philosophy. Two vast armies are about to engage, armies both of which are of the same country and kindred. Friends and countrymen are about to slaughter each other. Arjoon, a brave young warrior, is about engaging in such a conflict. 'Krishna,' so we read in the work referred to, contemplating him influenced by compunction, his eyes overflowing with tears and his breast oppressed with deep affliction, thus addressed him. We cite the passage as adduced in Cousin's introduction to the 'History of Philosophy': 'Truly, Arjoon, your pity is exceedingly ridiculous. Why do you speak of friends and of relations? Why of men? Relations, friends, men, beasts, or stones are all one. A perpetual and eternal energy has created all which you see, and renews it without cessation. What is to-day a man was yesterday a plant, and to-morrow may become a plant once more. The principle of everything is eternal; what value has aught else? Beyond this principle everything is illusion. The fundamental error is, to consider as true that which is only apparent. If you attach any value to appearances you deceive yourself; if you attach it to your actions, you deceive yourself again; for as all is illusion, action itself, when regarded as real, is illusion also. Nothing exists but the eternal principle; being in itself. It follows that it is the supreme of wisdom to let things pass; to do what we are compelled to do, but as if we did it not, and without concerning ourselves about the result, interiorly motionless, with our eyes fixed unceasingly upon the absolute principle which alone exists with a true existence.


1. It has been often and well said by those who have studied the Vedanta system, that in it we have the doctrine of Pantheism in its perfection of physical statement and development. Nothing of any essential importance has ever been added to the doctrine. Nor has any new method of development or deduction been introduced. Schelling, for example, can only be said to have given us a new but hardly a revised edition of the Vedanta. This statement will be fully verified when we come to compare the two systems, the ancient and the modern, together.

2. We referred, in the commencement of our statement of the doctrine of the Vedas, to the question whether the language employed to represent fundamental ideas pertaining to the nature and attributes of Brahm was to be understood as a literal or symbolical representation. In the 'Geeta' and other sacred books, we have definite statements that this language is wholly symbolical. It is only in this sense that he is represented as a mass of clay of which particular beings and objects are the forms: 'The eternal spider which spins from its own bosom the tissue of creation; an immense fire from which creatures ray forth in myriads of sparks; the ocean of being, on whose surface appear and vanish the waves of existence, the foam of the waves, and the globules of the foam, which appear to be distinct from each other, but which are the ocean itself.'

3. In creation Brahm appears both as active and passive, active because he originates all phenomenal forms or illusions, and passive because he who transforms, and he who is transformed, is one and identical. These transformations become more and more distinct, dissimilar, and unlike one another and their common original, that is, more and more illusory, in exact proportion to their distance from Brahm. Hence the more clear our apprehensions of these forms, and the more perfect our discrimination between them, the more deep is our dream-life, and the more intense its illusions. When, for example, we have obtained a distinct apprehension of any object, when we come to regard it as a reality in itself, and as such distinct from Brahm, on the one hand, and other surrounding objects, on the other, and when we have designated this object by a particular name, then the dream state is perfect, and the illusion complete. When, on the other hand, the soul comes out of the dream and illusory into the waking state, that of pure science, then, in the language of the author from whom we have so frequently quoted, 'all forms, all names, all distinctions vanish, and we no longer perceive anything but substance without distinction, without name, without form, the pure unity where the knowing and the known are identical.'

4. In the Vedanta system, as we have seen, the validity of the doctrine of Brahm is assumed, not as a deductive truth, but as one which is à priori self-affirmed; that is, as self-evidently true, and thus true in two forms—that Brahm does exist in fact, and that his existence, on the ground of absolute incompatibility, implies, of necessity, the non-being of any finite realities. Here we have two naked, lawless assumptions which have, and can have, no place on à priori or à posteriori grounds as principles in science, the place which they do occupy in the system before us. Space and time are necessary realities. They are and must be real, whether any other object does, or does not, exist. But space and time do not, of themselves, imply any other reality. Nor have we any à priori grounds for affirming that any reality does, or does not, exist in space or time. We cannot look off into infinite space and duration and determine à priori, we repeat, what realities do, or do not, exist there. This is self-evident. If God exists, reason and revelation both affirm that His existence can become known to us but 'by the things which are made.' Actual creation, and nothing else, implies a creator. Until we apprehend the universe as a creation proper, we have no ground for the à priori or à posteriori deduction that God, or Brahm, the creator of all things, does exist. Nor is the idea that the Infinite does exist in any sense or form incompatible with the idea that the Finite is real also. The idea that the Infinite and Finite exist, as distinct and separate entities, is no more self-contradictory than is the idea that they are one and identical. The question, What realities do exist in time and space? must be regarded simply as a question of fact, to be determined not à priori, but by evidence. If matter and finite spirit are consciously revealed as facts of existence, on the one hand, and that of the Infinite and Perfect, on the other, we must accept of all in common, as knowable and known realities, or compel ourselves to treat as illusion the clearest and most absolute principles and laws of inductive and deductive science.

5. As a further condition of fully comprehending the character and foundation of Hindu Pantheism, we need to explain the relations of the philosopher and the rest of his kind to real and assumed truths of science. The masses, in common with the philosophers, can understand a doctrine when stated as a fact, and as clearly understand the proximate and final deductions from that doctrine. The philosopher, on the other hand, comprehends the same doctrine in its systematized connections with its basis principles, fundamental facts, and proximate and final deductions. In these two forms, philosophers and the masses believe in the validity of the Copernican system.

Through the general concurrence of educated minds, deductions of true and false science often, for long periods, command the belief of our race. In these two forms, the Yogees and common people of India hold the doctrine of Pantheism, as expounded in the Vedanta and other schools. The faith of that people, as we have seen, as far as the induction of principles and facts is concerned, rests upon no scientific basis, but upon lawless assumptions.

What rational basis has that faith, as far as the consent of men of science is concerned? What if the people of Christendom, in this nineteenth century, should consent that a class of self-constituted philosophers should retire to places of perfect stillness and solitude, and then, when in a state of pure voluntary, unreflective non-thought, with their eyes closed, or fixed upon the ends of their noses, or the points of their navels, should give forth as truths of absolute science, the apprehensions which might then and there arise in their minds, in regard to metaphysics, the natural and physical sciences, and the mechanism of the universe? Our faith in regard to all such truths would, undeniably, have a basis just as rational as has that of the Hindu in regard to the higher doctrines pertaining to spirit, matter, time, space, God, duty, immortality, and retribution. We shall soon be able to determine whether the faith of the Pantheist, and with him that of the Subjective and Pure Idealist, the Materialist, and Sceptic, have, in fact and truth, any more scientific or rational basis.

6. The moral bearings of the doctrine of Pantheism are presented in their most rigid applications by the Vedanta and other like schools in India. Illusions, or emanations from Brahm, are of two kinds, material and mental, or illusory forms of matter and spirit. Both matter and spirit, as soul and body, are united in man. The former, as a direct emanation from Brahm, is in itself, but not as an emanation, eternal, incorruptible and incapable of sin. The body is the exclusive source and cause of seeming corruption. All its activities, being subject to the law of cause and effect, cannot but be what they are. Moral criminality, therefore, is impossible to man. Forms of phenomena, and acts of men, differ from one another, and one is in itself relatively more perfect than another. Men are divided into three classes: the Yogees, who, by science, know Brahm—those who worship and perform good works—and those whose activities are under the control of the bodily propensities. 'The knower of God becomes God.' Such is the express teaching of the Vedanta. The second class are perfect in a lower sense. 'Good works and ceremonies,' says the 'Geeta,' 'confine the soul, and do not liberate it.' 'The knowledge which realizes that everything is Brahm,' it says again, 'alone liberates the soul. It annuls the effect both of our virtues and vices.' The latter class are debased by ignorance and vice. The soul, however, which, in its essence is identical with Brahm, is, like Brahm, incapable of natural or moral corruption. The Yogee, when expostulated with by the missionary for the beastly vices and gross crimes which he often practises and perpetrates, replies that all these belong to the illusions of the flesh, and do not touch the soul.


It has been said with perfect correctness, as we have before stated, that 'the Vedanta Philosophy is an exhibition of Pantheism in its greatest metaphysical strictness. It has given a complete formula of it. All the systems of Pantheism which have since been imagined have added nothing fundamental. The following considerations and facts will fully verify the above statements. We will consider modern Pantheism as presented and elucidated by its great modern expounder, Schelling. On the relations of the two systems we remark:

1. That the formulas in which the doctrine is set forth in the two systems are perfectly identical in meaning, and almost as perfectly so in their forms. The Hindu formula we have already given—to wit, 'Brahm alone exists; everything else is illusion.' The following is the formula of modern Pantheism, as stated by Schelling 'The self-existent One must be the only absolute reality; all else can be but a developing of the one original and eternal being.' Again, 'The Absolute, from the first, contains in itself, potentially, all that it afterwards becomes actually by means of its own self-development.' In the modern system, also, God is called, not only the Absolute, but 'the All-One;' the meaning being, that the universe is God, and God the universe; or that 'God, developing Himself in various forms, and according to necessary laws, is the only existence.'

Both systems speak of the phenomenal, or illusions, and in the same sense. Illusions, as real developments of, or emanations from Brahm, we are expressly taught in the Vedanta system, are realities. They are illusions when, and only when, they are regarded, not as emanations from Brahm, but as distinct and separate existences in themselves. The same identical distinctions are expressly made in the systems of modern Pantheism.

In both systems, also, Brahm, and 'the All-One,' is each expressly represented as being, prior to creation, undeveloped, and as being developed in creation. The same kind and form of activity and passivity are, in both systems, attributed to God, the developed and that which develops being represented as one and identical. According to the formula of the modern system, 'from the absolute subject, or natura naturans, is derived the absolute object, or natura naturata.' According to the ancient formula, as we have seen, 'he who transforms is, at the same time, he who is transformed.' The above facts and statements absolutely verify the identity of the ancient and modern systems. This identity is admitted by Coleridge, and is adduced by him as proof of the truth of each.

2. Our second general remark upon these systems is this. Both in common are not only based upon mere assumptions, but upon the same identical assumptions. In neither is the doctrine of Brahm, or 'the AllOne,' as the sole real existence, presented as a deductive truth, but a first truth, or original and basis-principle in science, a self-evident principle, one whose validity is self-affirmed. The only proof which the Vedantists present of their doctrine is exclusively derived, as we have seen, from what is contained in 'the very idea of Brahm.' In all the axioms in all the sciences, we do not go outside of the axiom itself to find its absolute and necessary validity. From what is intrinsic in the axiom itself its validity is wholly self-affirmed. So the Vedantist begins and ends with the doctrine of Brahm as a self-evident truth, a first principle in science. In the 'Geeta' we find the following paragraph, which explains the method by which the truth of the doctrine of Brahma is discerned: 'One cannot attain through the word, through the mind, or through the eye. It is only reached by him who says, "It is! it is!" He perceives it in its essence. Its essence appears when one perceives it as it is.' In other words, this doctrine must be assumed to be true, or it can by no possibility be regarded as true.

The absolute identity of the ancient and modern systems, as far as relates to basis-principles, has already been shown by a passage in which Schelling affirms the immutable condition of entrance into and progress in the Speculative Philosophy is the assumption of the doctrine of 'the All-One' as a first, self-affirmed truth in science. For the sake of distinctness of comparison, we cite the paragraph again. We give it as it appears in Morrell's 'History of Modern Philosophy': 'Unless we can disenthral ourselves from our unreflective habits of thinking—unless we can look through the veil of surrounding phenomena—unless, by this spiritual vision, we can realize the presence of the Infinite as the only real and eternal existence, we have not the capacity,' said Schelling, 'to take the very first step into the region of Speculative Philosophy.' In other words, unless you can begin with the assumption 'It is! it is!' your entrance even into the Speculative Philosophy is for ever barred; indeed, capacity for philosophic thought, the intellectual intuition,' is wholly wanting in you.

By the express confession and showing of all Pantheists of ancient and modern schools, their system has no other basis whatever but a mere assumption, and stands revealed as nothing but a logical fiction, unless it can be shown that the doctrine of Brahm or 'the All-One,' as 'the only real and eternal existence,' has absolute self-evident validity. Who will pretend that this doctrine has this form of validity? Is it a truth self-evident that no real finite objects do exist? Have we not just as much ground for the assumption which is taken by the Materialist, on the one hand, and the Subjective Idealist, on the other, that the finite alone is real, as we have for the assumption that Brahm, or 'the All-One,' is the sole reality? Is it to be assumed, as a self-evident truth, that matter, finite, spirit, space, time, and God as the Infinite and Perfect, do not all exist together as each a reality in itself? Where is the à priori ground for the determination of the question, What realities do and do not exist in time and space? We affirm, without fear of rational contradiction, that no such grounds do exist, and that that is a fictitious Philosophy which has, as Pantheism in all its forms has, no other basis than à priori assumption.

3. Both systems, also, are developed throughout in absolute conformity to the same identical method. The method of construction and development strictly common to each is exclusively à priori. All induction of facts of external and internal perception is ignored and repudiated. Thought is sent off into infinite space and eternal duration to determine, by exclusive à priori insight, what realities exist in the one, and what events are passing in the other.

The Yogee, as preparatory to the enjoyment of this divine insight, in the language of the 'Bhaghavat-Geeta,' 'renounces all assistance from the understanding, and remains without the exercise of thought'—'keeps his head, his neck, and body steady without motion, keeps his eyes fixed on the end of his nose, and looks at no other place around.' In this state of utter non-thought, as we have seen, the absolute revelation of science is received—the revelation in which the problem of universal being and its laws is fully solved.

Let us now compare the above with the method of the modern Transcendental Philosophy, and discern, if we can, the real difference between this and that above presented. Before the mind does, or can, according to the express teachings of Coleridge, enter the sphere of philosophic thought, it must, as we have seen, voluntarily repudiate as utterly illusive and invalid all previously existing forms of world-knowledge, and compel itself to treat that knowledge, though 'innate and connatural,' 'as nothing but a prejudice.' 'This purification of the mind,' he says, 'is effected by an absolute and scientific scepticism, to which the mind voluntarily determines itself for the specific purpose of future certainty.' Such is the avowed method of all philosophers of the Idealistic school in all the world. 'I put myself, when I begin to philosophize,' says Krug, one of the great expounders of the modern system, 'into a state of not knowing, since I am to produce in me for the first time a knowledge.' 'I accordingly regard all my previous knowledge as uncertain, and strive after a higher knowledge, that shall be certain, or be made so.' In this state of 'not knowing,' which is undeniably identical with the Yogee's non-thought, our modern philosopher receives his revelation of 'absolute science.' Whether the latter, like the former, does, while waiting for this revelation, remain in the same physical stillness, with 'his eyes fixed upon the end of his nose,' we are not informed. The mental state, however, and this only, is material, the mental state is in both cases absolutely the same, and the one as perfectly adapted to receive the revelation as the other.

It is a remarkable fact also that, according to the express teachings of the two systems, 'the absolute revelation of science' is received, after the voluntary non-thought conditions have been fulfilled, by and through the same 'faculty of intellectual intuition'—a faculty conferred by nature upon the philosopher, and denied to the rest of mankind. The sacred books to which we have referred assign this as the specific reason why the Yogee can, and the rest of the race cannot, attain the desired consummation by science—that the faculty through which he received that absolute revelation is possessed by none but him. So Coleridge and Sehelling speak of the special 'philosophical talent,' and of the special 'faculty of intellectual intuition,' and speak of this faculty as possessed only by the philosopher. The forms of world-knowledge common to all the race, we are told, 'are to all but the philosopher the first principles of knowledge, and the final tests of truth.' The philosopher, and he only, has the faculty which pierces the veil of the phenomenal, and beholds 'the All-One' face to face. Hence his philosophy, because it pertains to the realities which transcend the powers of thought common to the race, is called 'the Transcendental Philosophy.'

4. An identity equally absolute pertains, not only to the necessary moral consequents of the two systems, but equally to the express moral teachings of the same. If Brahm, or the All-One, is the sole existence, and if the universe with all its facts, causes, and seeming acts of creatures, is but God in a state of development, as both systems absolutely affirm, to say that real moral evil exists is to affirm that the Infinite and Absolute is a sinner. This necessary consequence of the system, both the Hindu and the modern Pantheist clearly perceive, and consequently, in fact and form, deny the possibility of moral evil. This, as we have already shown, and might show by numberless other references, is expressly taught in the Hindu books to which we have referred. 'Vice and crime,' we are expressly taught in the modern system, 'are normal states of human nature.' 'Holding as they do but one essence of all things, and that essence God,' says a leading modern pantheist, and none deny his statements, 'Pantheism must deny the existence of essential evil.' Again, 'Sin is not a wilful transgression of righteous moral law, but the difficulty and obstruction which Infinite meets with in entering into the finite.'

The above considerations and facts fully evince the absolute identity, in all fundamental particulars, of Hindu and modern Pantheism. The latter has in reality added nothing to, and taken nothing from, the former. The researches of more than twenty centuries have added nothing to the claims, or the evidence, of the validity of the system. 'All remain as they were from the beginning.'


A moment's reflection will convince every thinking mind that no process of induction and deduction can be at a farther remove from all the principles known to true science than is the fixed and immutable method of the Pantheistic and Transcendental Philosophy. True science begins universally with facts of real knowledge, with necessary principles implied by such facts, and then with rigid integrity deduces the conclusions necessarily yielded by such principles and facts. Suppose now that in all our universities, colleges, and schools, all the ordinary sciences, pure and mixed, were interpreted and taught throughout in conformity with such a method as this. The professor, or teacher, should first of all, in conformity with the method of the yogee, 'renounce all assistance from the understanding and remain without the exercise of thought,' or with the modern Rationalist, put himself into a state of not knowing,' 'and regard all previous knowledge as uncertain,' and then from pure à priori insight interpret for the pupil all problems in the mathematics, the natural sciences, physiology, and astronomy. Would not the world justly affirm that our institutions had run mad? Your child is sick with a perilous disease. The physician you call in seats himself by its side, and having (voluntarily determined himself "to" an absolute scientific scepticism' in regard to all existing forms of medical knowledge, 'with his eyes fixed upon the end of his nose,' or directed nowhere, by pure intellectual intuition,' he determines the nature and state of the disease of his patient, and the remedy to be applied. If you are a man of the world, you will kick the fool out of your house. If you are a Christian, you will kindly, but firmly, tell him to take up his legs and walk home. Yet in avowed and exclusive conformity to this identical method, the Pantheist of all ages, and the Rationalist of all schools, interprets for us the problem of universal being and its laws; the great problems, we repeat, in regard to matter, spirit, time, space, God, duty, and immortality. Shall we 'compel ourselves to regard' and treat them as the 'lights of the world'?

'I had a vision in my sleep' some time since—a vision which impressively illustrates the state into which the Pantheist, at the beginning, voluntarily places himself relatively to the great being-problem which he attempts to solve. I had heard the sentiment quite frequently expressed that in eternity, as well as here, the soul would make its own heaven or hell. My thoughts upon the subject entered into my night vision, and took definite form there. My soul had left the body, and in company with an unknown spirit, was passing through empty space. We seemed to touch nothing, and were yet in motion. There was merely light sufficient to render emptiness visible. At length we stopped, when my companion said to me, 'Now, sir, you must, right here, make your own heaven,' and instantly passed from sight. Standing for a moment in this void, I sent forth a cry, 'Will not some being communicate with me here?' Not even an echo replying, the silence became more audible and emptiness more vacant than before. Again I cried, with the same result as before, 'Will not some being communicate with me here?' With a lamentable cry, I exclaimed a third time, 'Will not some being communicate with me here?' Finding that if I had a heaven at all, I must make it myself, and not finding 'things without me,' with which to construct anything, thought turned inward to discover what materials existed there. Here I found nothing but 'imaginary substrata.' I accordingly determined to try my hand at making poetry. Not having been born a poet, and never having apprenticed myself to the trade of verse-making, and having nothing but the poorest conceivable materials to work upon, I found my heaven taking on the rudest and most miserable form imaginable. In short, I found myself in the most ridiculous limbo that mind ever fell into, even in dreamland. When I awoke my mind returned with fresh interest to the old idea that 'GOD bath builded for them a city,' and that in that city 'the smile of the LORD is the feast of the soul.' I have ever since had the impression, also, that in that mental limbo I was in as favourable a state to make, for myself, my own proper heaven as the pantheist, or Transcendental Philosopher, is after he has perfected his 'state of not-knowing when he begins to philosophize,' to rear up the superstructure of universal being and its laws. We appeal to the commonsense, and to the scientific insight, of the world, whether the cases are not perfectly parallel, and whether it would not be as wise for us to agree to accept, for our eternity, the heaven which the philosopher can construct out of absolute emptiness, as it would be for us to accept of his solutions, by such a method, of the great problems under consideration?


It is not, as we have seen, by induction and deduction that even the Yogee and Transcendental Philosopher receive and enjoy the benefits of 'the revelation of absolute science.' It is, as they affirm, exclusively through à priori insight, by means of the special 'faculty of intellectual intuition' which they do, and the world does not, possess. Neither they nor we can, by appeals to facts of world-knowledge, verify that revelation, nor can we, who want the special faculty, attain to said revelation by intuition. If we would enjoy the benefits of this revelation, we must renounce 'the light of the world,' and the apostles and prophets, and all the revelations of our own faculties, and receive as absolute truth the reported dicta of the special faculty of the Yogee and the Transcendental Philosopher. We must renounce all confidence in revelation and our own intelligence, and assume the scientific insight of the Yogee, and Schelling, and Spencer, and Emerson, to be absolutely infallible. We challenge the world to disprove the validity of these statements. We have dwelt thus long upon this one department of the Hindu Philosophy, on account of the fundamental bearings of our present remarks and deductions upon our future inquiries.




THE object of this system, like all others of India, is to induce by science absolute mental quietude here, and real non-being hereafter. The Sankhya is divided into two parts, the metaphysical and logical. What we shall say upon the latter topic is reserved for a separate section in which we shall speak particularly of the Hindu Logic.

To understand the metaphysics of the Sankhya, we must recur to the teachings of the Vedanta system. According to its teachings, it will be recollected, Brahm, the only real existence, has being in two states, the undeveloped, or original, and the developed, which equals nature. Nature, as Brahm developed, is real, and is illusory but when regarded as constituted of real individual and separate existences. Brahm, as nature, appears in two distinct and opposite forms, matter and spirit. These, as apprehended by us, are wholly phenomenal forms; the reality existing behind all appearance and constituting its form and substance is Brahm.

Kapila, in the Sankhya, denies absolutely the being of Brahm as the sole existence and principle of all things. For the non-being of Brahm, as the author and principle of nature, Kapila presents the following affirmed demonstration: 'The act of creation implies a pre-existing desire to create. But desire implies want, or imperfection, which is incompatible with the idea of Brahm as infinite. Being infinite and perfect, he could not desire to create, and therefore could not do it. Having the desire, he could not, being thus finite and imperfect, create at all.'

Behind the phenomenal, Kapila, consequently, postulates two eternally existing, but wholly undefined and undeterminable entities, which constitute the sum of being, and the principle and cause of phenomena, to wit: Prakiti, as matter primordial and indeterminate, and Atma, as the ethereal spirit, which, as it is in itself, is unknowable and unknown. From the action and reaction of these two unknown and unknowable entities upon each other, the Prakiti being the active and the Atma the passive principle, results the phenomenal universe. Phenomena are real as emanations from the Prakiti and Atma. They are illusory when considered as manifestations of real, distinct, and separate existences. When the soul thinks of itself, as Prakiti and Atma developed, it thinks of itself as it is. When it thinks of itself as a distinct, separate, individual existence, and of nature around as constituted of real distinct forms of being, then all is illusion. The phenomenal universe is constituted of three orders of existences—that above, which is inhabited by beings superior to man, and among whom virtue prevails; that below, which is inhabited by beings inferior to man, the world of obscurity and illusion; and the human world, where passion predominates, and misery is the result. In man, as a phenomenal existence, distinct, opposite, and contradictory qualities exist in conflict, qualities eight in number, as virtue, knowledge, impassibility, power, which are of the nature of goodness; and sin, error, incontinence, and weakness, which are of the nature of darkness. The intermingling of these qualities induces passion and misery, the present condition of man. What man desires is salvation, which is absolute quietude here and non-being hereafter. These two states the Yogee attains by science. The former is impossible to the mass of men here, and the latter but through indefinite transmigrations hereafter. Salvation is attained by the Yogee through the revelation of absolute science, the revelation in which he recognizes his own and all other seeming individual existences as illusions, illusions from which, at death, he is to be for ever freed, all thought, all consciousness, being then 'swallowed up and lost in the wide womb of untreated night.'

The preliminary process preparatory to the reception of this revelation is the same with the disciple of Kapila as with the Vedantist, to wit: a voluntary suspension of all thought, desire, and activity, with the body in a sitting posture, the neck, the head, and all other members in a state of perfect stillness, and the eyes closed, or fixed upon the end of the nose. In this state the absolute enfranchisement of absolute science is received. The manner and form in which this enfranchisement is received is thus given in the work from which we have so frequently quoted before: 'Salvation is the being set free from the bonds in which nature has enveloped the soul.'

The soul becomes free from these bonds by recognizing that they are nothing but phenomena, or appearances.

Thus it begins by recognizing that the gross elements are something purely phenomenal. This done, it is freed from the illusions of the body; nevertheless, it is still enchained within the subtle (incorporeal) person through which its individuality is maintained.

But next it recognizes successively that the principles which enter into the composition of the incorporeal person are nothing but illusions.

In the first place, it perceives that the organs of sensation and of action, and the five subtile particles, that is to say, that which constitutes the organism of individuality, are nothing real.

But it is still implicated in self, in consciousness, which is the internal form of individuality. From this it is in like manner enfranchised.

There remains no loner anything but the root of individuality, the Intelligence, which, as a particular form of matter or Prakiti, is still something determinate. But yet, inasmuch as it is still a form, it is also to be conceived as something phenomenal.

Disengaged thus at last from all which produced the subtile person, the soul is set free from all the bonds of nature. Thus, by the study of the principles of all things, science conducts to this definite, incontrovertible sole truth: Neither do I exist, nor anything which pertains to myself. All individual existence is a dream. Such is the enfranchisement of 'truth.'

When the Yogee has fully comprehended the fact that he is encompassed with nothing but illusions, and has nothing real to concern himself about, then a state of perfect quietude arises, a state of absolute indifference to whatever may seemingly, but not really occur, and waits for final absorption in the Prakiti.

The moral teachings of the 'Sankhya' are in perfect accordance with its essential principles, virtue being nothing but a development of the Intelligence, and all actions being alike void of moral character.

The Sankhya system, as we have seen, is a dualism, admitting of two principles, the material, Prakiti, and the spiritual, Atma, or the soul. As a dualism, this system differs in certain particulars from all other similar systems. In other systems the soul is active and matter passive; the soul a unity and matter the multiple. In other systems, also, there is a recognition of God in some form. The reverse of all this obtains in the teachings of this system. According to it, all emanations are from the material principle, which is one and not many. Souls, on the other hand, are many. In the final consummation, all emanations are absorbed in the Prakiti, and souls will form a universe of atoms where no original unity is found. In this system, also, the idea of God wholly disappears, and is not recognized even as a regulative principle.


While there is in the development of the former system more of the appearance of induction than in that of the latter, the method of both in common is, in all essential particulars, à priori. From what is intrinsic in the idea of Brahm, the latter system professedly demonstrates his existence as the sole principle and substance of all things. From what is intrinsic in the same idea, the former system argues, with affirmed self-evident truthfulness, the absolute non-being of Brahm as such principle and substance. While the latter system, without proof or argument, assumes Brahm to be the source of all emanations, the latter, in the same form, assumes the Prakiti to be that source. In a state of voluntary non-thought, and through exclusive à priori intuition, the Vedantist receives the enfranchising revelation of absolute science—to wit, ' Brahm alone exists; everything else is illusion.' In the same state, and by means of the same identical insight, the disciple of Kapila receives the equally absolute opposite revelation—to wit, 'Neither do I exist, nor anything which pertains to myself. All individual existence (even that of Brahm) is a dream.' Without proof or argument, the latter system assumes the existence of but one substance or principle of all things. In the former there is a similar assumption, that two substances or principles do exist. In justice to Kapila, we should state that he has a formal argument to prove the reality not of the human soul, but of the uncreated spiritual existence. All emanations from the Prakiti, he assumes, are manifestly for the use of some foreign being, who can be no other than a soul, a knowing principle. The soul, therefore, as distinct from phenomena on the one hand, and the material principle on the other, does exist. This argument rests upon the assumption, that the material principle, without intelligence or design, and from laws inhering in itself, acts in the production of emanation in absolute conformity to the wants of a foreign reality possessed of intelligence.


The doctrine of Dualism will demand attention from time to time during the progress of our investigations. As preparatory to a full appreciation of what will be presented upon the subject, it may be well for us to stop here for a few moments, and compare the Hindu with the modern system. We shall find, in all essential particulars, the same identity here that we did in respect to the doctrine of Pantheism. On the subject before us, we remark:

1. Both systems agree in the assumption, that two, and only two, substances, as principles of all things, do exist, substances denominated Prakiti and Atma in the Hindu, and noumena, as subject and object, in the modern system, and that these substances, which stand behind all phenomena, are, and ever must be, unknown. We need not cite any passages from the author of the Sankhya system, in addition to that cited above, to show that such are the teachings of that system upon this subject. What are the teachings of the modern system upon the same subject? 'We are not acquainted merely obscurely, but not at all,' says Kant, 'with the quality of things in themselves.' Again, 'It remains wholly unknown to us what may be the nature of objects in themselves.' 'We know nothing but our manner of perceiving them.' Such are the united teachings of all dualists, ancient and modern, upon this subject.

2. Both systems agree absolutely in teaching that all our world-knowledge, objective and subjective, is exclusively phenomenal or illusory. The formula of the Sankhya is this: 'Neither do I exist, nor anything which pertains to myself. All individual existence is a dream,' an illusion. The formula of modern Dualism is thus expressed by Kant: 'We have, therefore, intended to say, that all our intuition is nothing but the representation of phenomenon—that the things which we envisage' (perceive and think about) 'are not that in themselves for which we take them; neither are their relationships so constituted as they appear to us.' 'We know nothing but our manner of perceiving them.' We believe in ourselves, and in objects around us, as realities in themselves, and as known as they are in themselves, as Kant affirms, 'because we have to do with unavoidable illusions.'

3. In the Sankhya system, the doctrine of God is formally denied. In modern Dualism, God, like time and space, appears but as 'a regulative idea,' a law of thought. When we think of God, as Kant affirms, 'it is only a being in idea that we think.' This idea, he tells us, is 'in many respects a very useful idea.' Modern Dualism, also, expressly identifies God with the laws of nature. In reference to the order and harmony of the universe, 'it must be the same thing to us,' he says, 'when we perceive this, to say that God has so wisely decreed, or that nature has wisely ordered it.' In respect to the doctrine of God, as the Author of nature, either by emanation or creation proper, both agree in absolutely denying His existence. In other words, both in common are absolutely atheistical in their principles and teachings.

4. Both systems also agree, not only in affirming the universe of perception, external and internal, to be nothing but phenomena, or illusions, but that such illusions are emanations from one or the other of the two original substances or principles of all things. Creation, as it appears to us, is, according to the Sankhya, a production of, or emanation from, the Prakiti, or material principle. Creation, according to the modern system, is a product of, or emanation from, the subjective or spiritual principle. According to the latter system, the material principle is passive but in the origination of sensation; according to the former, the immaterial principle is passive but in perceiving the emanations from the Prakiti. Both systems, we repeat, agree that creation is by emanation, and has no existence but in a development of its subject, or apart from the subject.

The place which the idea of God has in the two systems is determined, we remark here, by the peculiar assumptions in regard to the special source of emanations. If emanation proceed, as the Saukhya system affirms, from the material principle, there is no place for God in the system. If, on the other hand, emanations, as the modern system avers, proceed from the immaterial principle, then space, time, and God have place, not as realities in themselves, but as laws of thought, regulative ideas, the place which they do occupy. Both systems in common must deny His existence as Creator proper.

5. The two systems rest, not only upon an assumption, but upon one which is absurd in itself. If all emanations, or illusions, the mind and body of man included, proceed from the Prakiti, or material principle, as affirmed by the Saukhya system, not even a conjectural place remains for the doctrine of souls. If, on the other hand, the same phenomena proceed from the immaterial principle, as affirmed by the modern system, the idea of the reality of the material principle has not even conjectural validity. That principle is not necessary to account for the fact of sensation, and its reality has never been assumed for any other purpose. The doctrine of the sole existence of two entities, as the exclusive principles of all things, is not self-evidently valid; nor do even Dualists pretend that that doctrine can be verified by induction. The doctrine undeniably rests upon no other basis than a mere lawless assumption—an assumption, as we have shown, infinitely absurd in itself.

6. Each of these systems, also, rests upon another common assumption more absurd, if possible, than the one just presented—to wit, that objects of whose reality we are directly and absolutely conscious are unreal, while those of which we know, and can know, nothing are realities in themselves. Such an assumption undeniably has, and can have, no self-evident validity. Is it, can it be, self-evident that the consciously real does not exist at all, and that the consciously unknown is a reality in itself? Equally evident is the fact that this assumption cannot be verified by valid proof. To accomplish this result some fact must be adduced—a fact of the reality of which we are, and must be, more certain than we are, or can be, of our own existence and of that of objects around us—a fact absolutely incompatible with the real being of the known self and not-self. Who does not absolutely know that no such fact can be discovered?

7. We remark once more that the method of induction and development, strictly common to each of these systems, is in all essential particulars, and that exclusively, à priori. The Yogee, on the one hand, and the modern Dualist, on the other, 'puts himself, when he begins to philosophize, into a state of not knowing,' assuming all existing forms of knowledge to be uncertain and illusory. This is done on the affirmed authority of à priori insight. He then looks off into boundless space and infinite duration, and by the same assumed insight, determines what realities and facts exist and occur there. From the elements of knowledge thus obtained, he constructs his system relatively to universal being and its laws. No method of philosophizing can be more absurd in itself and more certain to culminate in fundamental error.



THE system above named differs, in certain particulars, from the Vedanta on the one hand, and from the Sankhya system on the other, and in particulars equally essential, agrees with both. For the sake merely of historical completeness, we present the essential features of this system.

1. In opposition to the latter system, and in conformity with the former, the Yoga Shastra recognizes the being and government of God. Nor is the sleep of Brahm as distinctly recognized in this, as in the Vedanta system. Patandjali announces the doctrine of God in this formula: 'God, Iswara, the Supreme Ruler, is a soul distinct from all other souls, inaccessible to the evils which afflict them; indifferent to actions good or bad, and to their consequences, and to the ephemeral thoughts of men, which are but as dreams.'

2. In common with the teachings of the Vedanta, and in opposition to those of the Sankhya, the Yoga Shastra teaches that final salvation consists in absorption in God.

3. In opposition to both the systems named, Patandjali teaches, that the final salvation, the common end of all systems, is to be attained, not by science, but exclusively through practices of devotion, practices which have for their object the subjugation of the mind and body. The subjugation of the mind is to be sought by voluntarily inducing states of non-thought, states in which the mind thinks of no particular object whatever. The subjugation of the body is secured by preventing the senses from disturbing the non-thought of the mind.

4. To induce this utter cessation of all mental and physical activity, the pupil of the Yoga Shastra resorts to the same identical means that the Vedantist and the disciple of Kapila do to obtain their specific revelations of absolute science. By a voluntary suspension of all thought, desire, and mental and physical activity, with the body in a fixed and moveless position, and the eyes centred upon the end of his nose, the Vedantist receives one, the disciple of Kapila another and contradictory revelation of absolute science, and the disciple of the Yoga Shastra receives no revelation at all. What is the reason of these opposite results from the same real cause? Why is it that things so apparently equal to the same things turn out to be so unequal to one another? The reason, which will be fully explained and elucidated hereafter, is, in short, undeniably this: Each enters into the state described for the specific purpose of obtaining the identical results which he, then and there, does obtain. The results secured are all predetermined, and the Yogee 'puts himself into the state of not-knowing,' for the purpose of obtaining those predetermined specific results. If he was not sure of experiencing those specific results, he would never put himself into that state.

5. The method of induction and deduction, and the moral teachings of all the three systems under consideration, are identical. The method is exclusively à priori, and the moral teachings confound all distinctions between virtue and vice, and subvert utterly the foundation of moral obligation.



ACCORDING to the Vedanta and Yoga Shastra systems, God, as an infinite spirit, and God alone, exists. In the Sankhya system, the being of God, as such a spirit, is ignored or denied, and two eternally existing and self-acting finite principles, the material and spiritual, are substituted in their place. Kanada repudiates the doctrine of spiritual existence in all forms, and postulates the material principle as the only existing substance. Matter exists in two forms, as atoms and as aggregates. The former are eternal, the latter transient. Each atom has some qualities common to all others, and some peculiar to itself. On the ground of this unity and diversity in atoms, and the manner of their aggregation in specific cases, Kanada accounts for the varied phenomena of nature. Atoms whose natures are predominantly alike mutually attract each other and aggregate together. Those whose natures are predominantly opposite repel each other. Thus aggregates distinct and separate are formed, while, by means of the nature common to all, they are all aggregated together in the system of the universe. When atoms having very special and common peculiarities aggregate, they form bodies which manifest the phenomena of animal and vegetable vitality. When atoms within these bodies, atoms of special ethereal peculiarities, aggregate, we have the phenomena which are denominated mental life, the phenomena of thought, feeling, and willing. Salvation consists, not merely in the dissolution of the body, but of those special aggregates from which mental phenomena result. The Yogee secures this result by science. By 'putting himself into the state of not-knowing,' above described, he, then and there, receives the revelation of absolute science—to wit, that matter only is real; all else is illusion. This ensures salvation at death. Other individuals, by practices of devotion, and other austerities, obtain for themselves short and favourable transmigrations. Those, on the other hand, who neglect science and such devices, must pass through long and painful transmigrations before the end desired can be attained. Here we have another case in which the Yogee, in his state of not-knowing, obtains a predetermined result.

The method of science, and the moral teachings of the Vaieschika, correspond in all respects with those of the systems already elucidated.

The atomic theory of Kanada, in fundamental particulars, resembles, and differs from, the later-developed system of Epicurus. Both agree in the assumption that matter only is real, and exists in the form of atoms, or aggregates, and that atoms are eternal, and aggregates of transient duration. According to Epicurus, as we shall see hereafter, atoms are identical in nature, but diverse in form, and by laws of motion diverse forms combine and separate, and thus produce the phenomena of nature mental and physical. According to Kanada, atoms, aside from their common properties, are diverse from one another both in form and nature, and aggregate and separate, by reason of this identity and diversity. By no à priori insight can we determine, on the hypothesis that one of these theories must be true, and the other false, which is to be preferred.

On à priori grounds and arguments, also, the claims of all the systems which we have considered are absolutely balanced. We have just as much reason to assume mind to be the only existing substance, and the exclusive principle of all things, as we have to assume matter to be that substance and principle. The Materialist, on the other hand, has just as much ground for his exclusive assumption, as the Idealist has for his; and neither has any reason whatever to assume that matter or spirit is the only form of real being.



The logic of a people hardly belongs to the history of Philosophy. Yet we need to refer to their logic as a means of clearly understanding their progress in mental culture. For this reason we shall make a few general observations upon the logic by which the learned Hindu receives his chief intellectual training. The special subject of our remarks will be the Nyaya system, of which Gotama was the author, and of which the Vaieschika Philosophy is considered as the complement. We remark, then:

1. To show how exhaustively the science of Logic is treated of in this system, we present the following enumeration of topics which are therein discussed and elucidated: '1. Proof; 2. The object or matter of proof; 3. Doubt; 4. Motive; 5. Example; 6. Truth demonstrated; 7. The regular argument; 8. Reduction to the absurd; 9. Acquisition of certainty; 10. Debate; 11. Conference, or interlocution; 12. Controversy; 13. Fallacious assertion; 14. Fraud and unfair construction; 15. Futile reply; 16. Defect in argument.' It is no more than justice to Hindu thought to say that all these topics are ably discussed and elucidated in this logic.

2. The Hindu syllogism, though not so simple as that developed by Aristotle, and which we employ, yet presents a complete enumeration of the elements which, in fact, enter into almost every common argument, and is hardly less effective than ours when contemplated as a discipline of thought. The Hindu syllogism, or complete argument, is composed not of three, as ours is, but of five members: the proposition, the reason, the example in illustration, the application, and final conclusion. The following may be presented as a fair example of this syllogism:

3. Among no people is the principle of contradiction, the reduction to the absurd, fallacies of assertion, fraud and unfair construction, defects of argument, and logical consecutiveness of discourse, and other kindred topics, better understood than among the learned Hindus.

Hence it is that among no people on earth do we find better-trained and more skilful logicians or fairer reasoners in debate than here. In an argument with an opponent, the learned Hindu never quibbles about words, or takes advantage of a mere mistake of his antagonist. The first object is to have a fair and common understanding of the subject matter in dispute. Here the issue is joined wholly upon the thought itself, as all understand it. If the discourse of one party has logical consecutiveness throughout, the opposite party will freely join with the audience in expressions of admiration of the fact. If the discourse of the missionary has these characteristics, such men, if present, will openly commend it to the audience. If they present any objections or difficulties in respect to what has been spoken, and receive a pertinent reply, one which even confounds the objector, he will say to the audience, 'That is admirably said.' If the missionary finds it difficult, from ignorance of the language in which he is speaking, to express his thoughts, the learned Hindu will help him to accomplish his object, and will lend that aid in such a manner as to evince that it is done with the most perfect integrity. If the discourse has logical consecutiveness, it will be openly commended to the audience. If, in the judgment of the learned Hindu, the discourse lacks these characteristics, very probably a conversation in this form will pass between him and the speaker:

Brahmin: Did you not, in such a part of your discourse, utter such a sentiment?

Missionary: I did, sir.

B. Did you not, in another part, utter such a sentiment?

M. I did.

B. Did you not, in still another part, utter such a sentiment?

M. I did.

B. There is a contradiction here, sir. Your discourse is not worthy of our regard.

In nine cases out of ten the missionary will stand confounded before the audience. Christian men deeply read in the things of God, and those profoundly read in science, and especially well-trained logicians, such men, and such only, are qualified to grapple with learned Hindu thought.

No class of trained thinkers so nearly resemble each other in fundamental particulars as the learned Hindus and the learned Germans. Both excel all other peoples in systematizing thought, and reasoning with perfect consecutiveness from admitted premises. If you start with them on any given track, you must, or convict yourself of logical infidelity, enter the final depot with them. No class of world-thinkers, also, so uniformly construct their systems upon principles valid or invalid, principles formally laid down. On the other hand, no class of world-thinkers are so reckless as they in the induction of principles, and the substitution of mere lawless assumptions in the place of valid principles of science. If you would overthrow the system of a Hindu or German world-thinker, be very wary indeed about assailing his logic or final deductions. Always scrutinize with profound care the principles which lie at the foundation of the system. Here, if the system is false, is to be found the source of its false deductions, as well as its utter impotency.

Two fundamental vices very commonly characterize systems erected by Anglo-Saxon thought: the fact that, for the most part, they are not in reality or form based upon principles, and that they lack logical consecutiveness in the arrangement of their parts, the parts not unfrequently being incompatible with each other. Kant, the great systematizer of thought, and one of the most reckless thinkers that ever lived, in the induction of principles, gave form to German learned thinking. Locke, who repudiated axioms, or principles, as useless in science, gave form and direction to Anglo-Saxon scientific thought. Hence the want of reference to principles in the construction of systems, the want of consecutiveness in the putting of the parts together, and, finally, the so frequent occurrence of absurd contradictions. We have no training in logic proper. Our logics, with very few exceptions, pertain but to classification, and teach us to reason but from general notions, and not from universal and necessary principles.

In India educated mind is now being directed to the principles on which their old and venerated systems are based, and the conviction is becoming widely extended that those principles are false, and, consequently, that they have been venerating logical fictions instead of creations of truth. This is the ground-swell which is now heaving up the philosophy and Heathenism of that people, and will soon engulf both in a common destruction.




ALL the systems which we have thus far considered were professedly founded upon the Vedas, and on account of the peculiar language of these writings, may be justly regarded as conformed, in whole or in part, to their professed original. We now advance to a consideration of systems whose authors openly and avowedly rejected the Vedas. These heterodox systems bear a strong resemblance, in many respects, to those which we have considered. All oriental systems were developed in fixed conformity to one and the same method, and with few, if any exceptions, teach the doctrine of transmigration. In all essential particulars, also, they agree in respect to the doctrine of final salvation, as consisting in absorption in God, or in a final absolute sleep of the soul, a sleep which amounts to annihilation. They generally agree, also, that this salvation is to be attained by science, or good works. The real differences between these systems pertain almost exclusively to questions of ontology. Of the heterodox systems of India, two only claim our attention—that of the Djainas, and that of the Buddhists. These we shall consider in the order named.


The Greeks mention certain philosophers of India as Gymnosophists. In India, they are called Digamhoras, which means, devoid of clothing. As ontologists, the Djainas hold the doctrine of Materialism in its strictest form. In their exposition of this doctrine, they differ from Kanada, the author of the Vaieschika, and agree strictly with Epicurus. The universe, material and mental, they hold, is constituted wholly of identical or homogeneous atoms. Diversity of forms of existence arise wholly from diversity of combination of the original elements. Forms of existence are divided into two classes, the inanimate and animate, the latter being the subjects, and the former the objects of knowledge and happiness. Animated beings are constituted of four elements—earth, water, fire, and air, which are themselves aggregates of the primitive elements. According to Mr. Huxley, and scientists of his school, animated beings are constituted of 'carbonic acid, water, and ammonia.' No essential difference obtains between the ancient and modern schools, the form of the teachings of the latter being more nearly conformed to the nature and revelations of modern science. Animated beings are also eternal, but material and mental phenomena result wholly from 'molecular changes in the matter of life.' That material thing called the soul may exist, they hold, in either of three states—a state of bondage through its own activity, a state of freedom from the necessity of action, and a state of perfection in which all activity of every kind for ever ceases. Their teachings in respect to the causes which impede or facilitate the advance of the soul from a state of bondage, through freedom, to final perfection, differ in no essential particulars from those of the Hindu schools generally, and differ from them only so far as is required by diversity of ontological teachings. Nothing further need be added in respect to the system of this school.


The term Buddha means, to know, or, the 'Intelligent One.' The author of the Buddhist system was the son of a king, who reigned some six or seven centuries before Christ, in a country north of Central India, and is known by several names, as Siddortha the Buddha, Sakhya-mani the Buddha, and Gautama the Buddha—that is, the Knowing One. Having exhausted all the luxuries of life, in his twenty-ninth year, he abandoned his palace, his family, and all forms of sensual gratification, and having put on a shroud taken from the dead body of a female slave, he commenced the life first of an anchoret, then of a public teacher, and finally, of a dictator of professedly inspired utterances, which, as published by the Chinese Government in four languages, consists of some 800 volumes. Two-fifths of the race hold the doctrines of Gautama, the Knowing One. Disgusted with the mutabilities, miseries, and momentariness of life, oppressed with the conviction that conscious existence is a curse, he cried out, from the depth of his inner being, for what is real, stable, permanent. How could a revelation of this absolute good be obtained? Not by reasoning, or speculation, or reflective thought; but by direct, immediate, intuitive knowledge. The reality must be seen in order to be known. To prepare himself for the reception of this revelation of absolute truth was the object of all his fastings, self-inflictions, and non-thought meditations. After a whole week of deep meditation, after remaining seated under a tree, without motion, and with his face to the east, for a night and a day, he received the revelation which he was seeking. All illusions passed away; he became 'wide awake;' the reality was directly before him, and be became Buddha, the Knowing One. What is the absolute truth thus revealed to Gautama? As taught by him, and as received by all Buddhists, this doctrine, in the language of Mr. J. F. Clarke, in his 'Ten Great Religions,' is all embraced in the four following propositions:

1. All existence is evil, because all existence is subject to change and decay.

2. The source of this evil is the desire for things which are to change and pass away.

3. This desire, and the evils which follow it, are not inevitable; for, if we choose, we can arrive at Nirvana, where both shall wholly cease.

4. There is a fixed and certain method to adopt, by pursuing which we attain this end, without possibility of failure.

These four truths are the basis of the system. They are—1st, the evil; 2nd, its cause; 3rd, its end; 4th, the way of reaching this end.

Then follow the eight steps of this way, namely:—

1. Right belief, or correct faith.

2. Right judgment, or wise application of that faith to life.

3. Right utterance, or perfect truth in all that we say or do.

4. Right motives, or proposing always a proper end and aim.

5. Right occupation, or an outward life not involving sin.

6. Right obedience, or faithful observance of duty.

7. Right memory, or a proper recollection of past conduct.

8. Right meditation, or keeping the mind fixed on permanent truth.

After this system of doctrine follow certain moral commands and prohibitions, namely, five which apply to all men, and five others which apply only to novices or monks. The first five commandments are—1st. Do not kill; 2nd. Do not steal; 3rd. Do not commit adultery; 4th. Do not lie; 5th. Do not become intoxicated. The other five are—1st. Take no solid food after noon; 2nd. Do not visit dances, singing, or theatrical representations; 3rd. Use no ornaments, as perfumery in dress; 4th. Use no luxurious beds; 5th. Accept neither gold nor silver.

The central doctrine of Buddhism is, that the fundamental condition of attaining Nirvana is merit. All things are governed by eternal and immutable laws; but these laws immutably determine human destiny in conformity with one idea, merit. If our conduct is good, or meritorious, Nirvana, or non-being, is to us a necessary certainty. If our actions are unmeritorious, or wicked, the same laws as necessarily determine for us an eternal existence in hell. The merit of all actions, also, depends upon the motive, and the motive, to be right must be purely disinterested. Kindness done to any being is meritorious. But to do good to the vilest is more meritorious than it is to do the same thing to the best of men, the motive in such case being the more disinterested. For the same reason it is more meritorious to do good to a beast than to a man, and to the vilest of beasts than to the most useful. Hence it is that Buddhists show supreme kindness to such creatures as sharks, tigers, hawks, and venomous serpents. To merit Nirvana, a Buddhist gave his own body to be devoured by a famishing tigress. When a Buddhist, or other religionist in India, desires to violate a moral principle, he finds in the expositions of his sacred books definitions and elucidations which, like the traditions of the elders, make void every moral principle, and render it even meritorious to violate it. A lie, for example, is defined as that which tends to evil, and truth, as that which tends to good. If, then, perjury will secure a desired end—saving the life of a friend, for example—perjury is truth, and true testimony a lie. In all India the English judges have failed to find a man whose oath is reliable in any case wherein the individual has an interest which he can ensure by perjury. The same is true in the case of all moral principles in common. These religions are throughout irreligious, and their morality is immoral. In Buddhism in all its forms, God and a world of superior beings are either wholly ignored or denied. The only object of religious worship is Gautama, the Buddha. By attaining to absolute knowledge he has not only attained to Nirvana, or utter inactivity, but has made himself infinite. In the worship of such a being—a being who has by knowledge and desert attained to absolute nothingness—there is, they assume, infinite merit.

Our main concern, however, is not with Buddhism as a religion, but with its philosophical systems. The sacred writings of this sect, like those of the Hindus, have given rise to certain systems of philosophy to a consideration of which special attention is now invited. Before proceeding to the accomplishment of this object, permit us to state the following fact, the bearing of which upon our present inquiries will be at once apprehended. About forty years since Dr. Bradley, who had spent a long time as a missionary in Siam, revisited his native country, bringing with him his motherless children. Among these were two daughters, one eight and the other some ten or twelve years of age. While these daughters were at my house in Oberlin, I invited them, not for their profit, but amusement, to attend one of my lectures. The subject of the lecture was the German Philosophy. My object was to explain to the class the diverse systems of Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. I noticed with surprise that those children listened with the intensest, interest to all I said. Meeting with Dr. Bradley a day or two afterwards, he told me that on his return to his lodgings he found his daughters engaged in a very earnest conversation about the lecture. He found, also, that they fully comprehended all they had heard. They then explained to him the four German systems referred to, and showed how perfectly they corresponded with that which they had heard him and others so often explain as being taught in Siam and Hindostan. 'You know,' said one of them to the other, 'the questions I put to you as we were entering the harbour at St. Helena. When you expressed such delight at the scenery around, I asked you how you knew that there was any such objects there as you seemed to perceive? "How do you know," I asked, 'but that all these objects are nothing but ideas and feelings in your own mind?"' This conversation, of course, induced me to obtain from Dr. Bradley a full exposition of these Indian systems—systems which he had profoundly studied. When I have found the expositions of such missionaries fully confirmed by all that I have read in the ablest statements of the same systems as given in books, I feel assured that I am, in no essential respects, misleading the reader in my own expositions. Let us now consider those


Among these systems three only demand particular elucidation, and these we will present in the following order.

Pure Idealism.

One of the chief schools holds, in its strictest forms, the system of Pure Idealism—the system which denies the reality of all substances finite and infinite, and resolves all real existences into pure ideas. The language employed by this school induced early Orientalists to impute to it the doctrine of absolute Nihilism. Its philosophers speak of vacuum and non-being as representing their doctrine, forms of language not employed even by any sect who denies the reality of matter, but admits that of spiritual substances. Maturer inquiries have evinced that by such forms of speech, these philosophers intend to deny merely the reality of all forms of existence as substances, especially as material substances. While this school wholly denies the reality of matter in all its forms, it admits that of spiritual existences only as ideal forms of being. In this school Idealism has reached its full and final consummation. At the basis of all other systems we have real substances, material or mental, known or unknown. Pure Idealism, under the assumption that being and knowing must be one and identical, takes away all substances in common, and affirms ideas with their necessary laws to be alone real. Such is the final development of Idealism in India.

Subjective Idealism.

Idealism in another form presents itself among the Buddhist systems. Pantheism and Pure Idealism begin with the Infinite and Absolute, as substance or idea, and deduce from the same, as ideal existences, all finite forms of being. Subjective Idealism, on the other hand, begins with the individual finite self, as the eternal and sole reality, and deduces all phenomena, and even time, space, and God, as ideal existences, from this finite self. The former schools deduce the Finite from the Infinite. This school deduces the Infinite from the Finite. Subjective Idealism, in its most perfect forms, is taught in one of the leading Buddhist schools. To the teachings of that school Fichte and his successors have, in fact, added nothing. The method and ontological deductions of the ancient find their perfect counterparts in those of the modern system. Each school distinguishes between the real and the ideal self, the eternal substance which lies at the basis of all phenomena, and the conscious self. This last, in common with all apparent existences around, has only an ideal existence. This ideal self, the I of consciousness, becomes, according to the teachings of the Buddhist system, reabsorbed in the real self, and thus becomes wholly inactive, on the same condition on which unconscious non-being is obtained according to other systems.

The Buddhist Material Systems.

In opposition to both of the above systems, another school of Buddhist world-thinkers maintain, in its strictest and most exact forms, the doctrine of Materialism. According to the united teachings of all sections of this school, all our knowledge is through sensation and external perception. At this point the school, in accordance with the diverse and opposite teachings of modern Materialism, in its different forms, divides into two sections.

According to the first, our knowledge of matter, as far as its essential characteristics are concerned, is direct and immediate, and, therefore, valid for the reality and character of its objects. As perceived, matter exists as aggregates, or compounds. But aggregates imply the simple, or atoms. Each aggregate derives its properties, or qualities, from the nature of the atoms of which it is constituted. As aggregates or forms, matter has only a temporary existence. As original atoms, it is, with its necessary laws, eternal. Forms are phenomenal, and cease to exist when not perceived. Atoms, we repeat, are eternal, and are constantly entering into new forms.

The other section of this school teach that our knowledge of matter is indirect, and mediate, through sensation. From sensation as effect, in accordance with Caudilac and his associates in France, this section of Buddhist Materialism reason, by induction, to matter as the object and cause of sensation. Having, by opposite processes of deduction, come to common conclusions in respect to the doctrine of matter itself, as to its aggregate and atomic forms, both sections fully agree in their subsequent expositions of that doctrine. Both deny the being of God, excepting as a law of matter, and also of the soul, excepting as a phenomenon of atomic combination. The soul, as a material form, may be of temporary or eternal duration. By merit, sensation, and with it all mental phenomena, may for ever cease. By demerit the soul may entail upon itself an eternal existence in hell.


The reader will readily apprehend the relations to each other of the Hindu and Buddhist systems. The orthodox systems of the former all agree in the doctrine of God as the only real existence. All these of the latter either wholly ignore or deny the doctrine of a Supreme Being. Final salvation, according to both, is absolute and eternal unconsciousness, or inaction of every kind, a state equivalent to annihilation. This state, according to the former system, is attainable at death by science, through shortened and favourable transmigrations after death, by good works, and after long and unhappy transmigrations, as a consequence of a wicked life. The only condition of attaining this state, according to the latter system, is merit, or the desert of annihilation. According to the former system, all ultimately are saved, that is, annihilated. According to the latter, none but the meritorious do, or can, attain this high consummation. According to the former system, the wicked are miserable only for an indefinite period. According to the latter, they are, or may be, all miserable to eternity. According to both systems, no being is worshipped from sentiments of real piety, but wholly from subjective considerations, ultimate unconsciousness or annihilation.



1. IN none of these systems is there the remotest recognition of the doctrine of a personal God, of God as possessed of moral perfections, or as exercising, in any proper sense, a moral government over a realm of moral agents. Nor is there, in any of these systems, any recognition of the doctrine of creation proper. The doctrine of God is either ignored, denied, or recognizad but in the pantheistic sense. If God is recognized at all, he is identified with Nature, and Nature with him. Creation, too, is ascribed to God in but one exclusive sense—emanation. Nor is God presented in any of these systems as, in any proper sense, an object of worship, worship from sentiments of gratitude, love, or adoration. All religious service, when performed at all, has exclusive reference to personal ends. The Yogee, having by science attained the end he seeks, does not worship at all. The religionist goes through his ceremonials for the same exclusive personal end for which the Yogee attains scientific intuition. Nor is there a solitary attribute ascribed to God, in any of these systems, which renders Him a proper object of love, praise, or worship. When the passage, 'Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God,' was read to a learned Hindu, he wept like a child in the presence of the divine idea. The idea of God as a Father, and of mankind as His 'sons and daughters,' had never through his philosophy or religion approached his mind. Natural evil, as an object of fear, is the only motive for action in any form, a motive presented by any of these systems. Evil, and only evil, continually, evil in its natural form necessarily attaches to conscious being in all conditions, evil the only escape from which is non-being.

2. Nor has morality, in its true and Christian form, any place in any of these systems, morality in the form of love to God and goodwill and benevolent activity towards man. The Yogee who has attained to absolute perfection inspires his fellow-creatures around him with but one sentiment in regard to himself, dread of his curse. Religious perfection in its highest form is as compatible with the life of a Thug as with any other form of activity. In most of these systems moral obligation is not only ignored but denied. In all of them, when God is acknowledged, He is represented as indifferent to the character of all human activity in common. With the Hindu, the act of killing a cobra di-capella is far more dreaded than that of killing a man, and perjury is truth when contemplated as a means of attaining a desired end. With the Buddhist, whose system is professedly a moral one, merit is least when kindness is shown to the best, greater when shown to the worst, of men, still greater when shown to a brute, greater still when shown to the most venomous of all the animal creation, and reaches perfection when one gives his own body to be devoured by a famishing tigress and her cubs. Moral virtue, in its personal form, does not consist in total abstinence from what is hurtful and wrong in itself, and in the temperate, self-controlled, use of what God has 'created to be received with thanksgiving,' but in all possible forms of abstinence from the good and evil alike. Perfection consists not in self-controlled enjoying, doing, and enduring what infinite wisdom and love appoints us, but in absolute indifference to good and evil, in all their forms alike, that is, not in the right use, but in the non-use, of our faculties.

3. In the different philosophical schools of India we have, Scepticism excepted, all forms of the anti-theistic philosophy that, in any age or nation, have been developed by human thought. We have these systems, also, in absolute perfection of development. Even modern thought has not added a single essential element to these systems of India. In the Hindu schools, for example, and in that of the Djainas and Buddhists, we have Materialism in every form known to the history of Philosophy. In the Dualism of Kapila we have, in perfection of development, that of Kant. The German thinker has been fully anticipated by his Hindu predecessor. In the Pantheism of the Vedanta, we have the substance of which the Pantheism of Schelling and of his successors is 'the exact image.' In the two idealistic schools of Buddhism, we have Subjective and Pure Idealism, in specific forms of development to which Fichte and Hegel, and their schools, have added little or nothing. Kapila and the Buddhist schools, by teaching that all our knowledge is, in fact and form, exclusively phenomenal, and that substances, as they exist in themselves, are and ever must be unknown, have given the fixed formula of Scepticism in all subsequent ages. Of the anti-theistic systems of these and subsequent ages it may be said with absolute truth: 'The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.' Nor is it possible to conceive of an anti-theistic system developed in a form diverse from any and all those developed by Indian thought. There is a sense in which Scepticism has no place in oriental thought. All its systems are positive. While it has, as shown, given the form of Scepticism, oriental thought never developed doubt in systematic form. Scepticism, as a system, was originated, as we shall see hereafter, by the Grecian mind.



CHINA has produced one, and only one, world-renowned philosopher, Lao-Tseu, and but one world-famous teacher of morals, Confucius. The latter avowedly confined himself to moral teachings. The sentiment which he continually repeated to his hearers was this: 'I teach you nothing which you might not learn for yourselves, if you would only make a proper use of the faculties of your own minds. Nothing is more natural, nothing more simple, than the principles of morality which I endeavour to inculcate in its salutary maxims.'

Lao-Tseu, on the other hand, was the founder of a system of philosophy, a system, however, borrowed from the same sources, and having the same essential characteristics, as those originated by his Indian neighbours. For Brahm, he substituted a sublime and indefinable being, whom he denominated Reason. This Reason, in the language of Lao-Tseu, is 'the principle of all things.' 'The (primordial) reason,' he says, 'can be subject to reason (as expressed by words); but it is a supernatural reason. Without a name it is the principle of heaven and earth; with a name, it is the mother of the universe. It is necessary to be without passions in order to contemplate its excellence; with passions we contemplate only its less perfect state. There are but two ways of designating a single unique source, which may be termed impenetrable depth. This abyss contains all the most perfect beings. Before chaos, which preceded the birth of heaven and earth, there existed but one sole being, infinite and silent, immutable, always acting, yet never changing. We may regard it as the mother of the universe. I know not its name, but I designate it by the word reason.' So in the Hindu system we read 'Brahm existed eternally, the first substance—infinite—the pure unity.' Again, 'He is the one eternal, pure, rational, unlimited being.' So also, as evincing a similar identity of idea and representation, says modern Pantheism: 'Before the time when motion began, we may imagine that an infinite mind, an infinite essence, or an infinite thought (for here all these are one) filled the universe of space. This, then, as the sole-existent One, must be the only absolute reality; all else can be but a developing of this one original and eternal being.' The manner in which all things proceed from this absolute unity, 'this universal soul,' or 'mother of the universe,' differs only in form of statement from that taught by the Vedas. After this life, the good are reabsorbed in 'the universal soul,' the bad, never. Of the first doctrine, the destiny of the good, Lao-Tseu says, 'I teach in this only what I have been taught by others.' Of 'the destiny of violent and evil men' (that they will not be united to the universal soul), 'on this point,' he says, 'it is I myself who am the father of the doctrine.' Nothing further is required in elucidation of this system.



THE Boundehesch, which means that which has been created from the beginning—that is, an account of the creation, contains the doctrine of Cosmogony as taught among the Persians and Chaldeans, the former especially. The work has, by many, been attributed to Zoroaster, and he may safely be assumed to have been its author.


Zoroaster, in common with Confucius, was a teacher of morals, and like Lao-Tseu, he was also an originator of a system of philosophy. In both relations he differed very essentially from all oriental moralists and philosophers. Gautama and Confucius ignored God and religion in their moral teachings. Zoroaster laid the idea of God and religion at the basis of all his moral teachings. In other oriental systems, God, if presented at all, is disrobed of all moral attributes. Moral perfection is the leading idea of God as He is presented in the system of Zoroaster. Hence piety, gratitude, praise, worship, and heart-service, have place in this system only. Thus he writes: 'I worship and adore the Creator of all things—full of light.' 'I desire by my prayer with uplifted hands this joy—the pure works of the Holy Spirit, Marsda . . . a disposition to perform good actions . . . and pure gifts for both worlds, the bodily and spiritual.' 'I have entrusted my soul to Heaven . . . and I will teach what is pure so long as I can.' 'We honour the good spirit, the good kingdom, the good law—all that is good.'

Prominent among his moral and religious teachings was the doctrine of repentance for sin. 'I repent of all sin. All wicked thoughts and works which I have meditated in the world, corporeal, spiritual, earthly, and heavenly, I repent of in your presence, ye believers. O Lord, pardon through the three words.'

In the system of the Boundehesch, also, we have the first appearance among Oriental teachings of the idea of moral good and moral evil in conflict in this world, and of human destiny as conditioned fundamentally upon moral character and conduct. We have, also, the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, the fall of our first parents, and the consequent ruin of the race by sin, the possibility of recovery by repentance and trust in God's mercy, a state of future, though not eternal, retribution, the resurrection of the dead, and the final purification of the universe from natural and moral evil by fire. Zoroaster, in common with such teachers as Socrates and Plato, taught the doctrine of the Coming One by whom the world shall be morally renovated. Among the successors of Zoroaster were 'the wise men' (Magi) 'from the east,' who worshipped the infant Jesus at Bethlehem.


The idea of God as the principle of all things, or as the unconditioned cause of all conditional existences and facts, is represented in the Hindu system by the term Brahm, and in that of China by that of Reason. In the 'Boundehesch' the term Time illimitable, or Terava-Akerana, is employed to represent the same idea. In this system this Eternal or Absolute being is represented as the creator of all things in the sense that in the beginning he gave being to Ormuzd and Ahriman, the former supremely pure and good, and called the Light and the Creative Word, and the latter the Evil Being and the principle of darkness. Ormuzd organized the invisible and visible universe, filled the heavens with pure genii, and the earth with clean animals and wholesome plants, and then gave being to man, who, like all the creations of 'the word,' was originally pure and holy. Ahriman, whose supreme aim is to defeat the wise and benevolent purposes of Ormuzd, filled the heavens with evil genii, and the earth with unclean and venomous animals and noxious plants, and finally seduced man to evil. Hence in the world above and the world below good and evil are in perpetual conflict, light being opposed by darkness, natural good by natural evil, and moral good by moral evil.

In this world man is the supreme centre on which this conflict turns, Ahriman, with all his wicked genii, struggling to perpetuate human subjection to natural and moral evil, and Ormuzd, with all good genii, struggling to redeem man back to the possession of natural and moral good.

Under the two-fold influence to which men are thus subjected, as free moral agents, they make their election between the evil and the good. Those who hearken to Ormuzd, and choose the good, will, at death, be united with him and the good genii in the world of light and blessedness. Those who follow Ahriman, and do evil, will dwell in misery with him and the evil genii, the Dews, in the abyss of darkness.

At the final consummation, when the Infinite and Eternal One shall purify the universe by fire, Ahriman himself and evil genii and wicked men will be subdued and purified, and the conflict of creation shall cease for ever. The doctrine of final optimism favours the idea of those who believe that the real doctrine of Zoroaster was that Ahriman and all evil beings were originally like man, pure and holy, and fell from the state in which they commenced moral agency. This doctrine, however, was lost among the followers of Zoroaster.

It is to this duality of creative good and evil that the Scriptures refer, Isa. xlv. 5-7, 'I am the Lord, and there is none else; there is no God besides me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I, the Lord, do all these things.' God here denies creative power and agency of all beings but Himself, claims to be sole Creator of the universe and of all beings and objects in it, and the sole Governor and Lord of all, creating light and darkness, and dispensing good and evil to creatures according to His will. Moral good and evil of creatures, that is, their voluntary acts of obedience and disobedience, were not represented even in Persian Mythology as objects of creative power.

As our object is to represent merely the essential features and elements of systems of Philosophy, we have not given in detail the Persian Mythology; nor have we named all the sacred books of that people, books from some of which we have made quotations. We shall have occasion to refer again very particularly to the teachings of the 'Boundehesch,' 'Vendavesta,' and other sacred books of this people, when we come to consider the original religion of the race, as indicated by facts, and the Scriptures of Oriental nations.



THE Egyptians had no sacred books or works on Philosophy which have come down to us. Their religion, also, had two distinct and opposite phases, exoteric and esoteric, that is, an exterior theology for the people, and an interior one for the priests and wise men. The former presents the popular Mythology, in which not merely gods without number who were superior to men, but four-footed beasts, fowls of the air, and creeping things, are presented as objects of worship. Animals with the Hindu are sacred, but not objects of worship. With the Egyptian animals, clean and unclean, were not only sacred, but objects of formal worship. Spirit is the object of Hindu worship; body and form that of Egypt. The Mythology of this people, however, is not the subject of our inquiries and elucidations.

It is to the esoteric teachings of the priests that we are to look for the Egyptian Cosmology, teachings which were carefully concealed from the people, and communicated only to the initiated. These esoteric teachers left us, as we have said, no treatises on any of the sciences; nor did the record of their sacred doctrines appear upon monuments, or on the swathing folds of mummies. We have no records of these sacred teachings but such as became known to learned men of Greece and other nations. Such authors as Diodorus Siculus, Herodotus, and the Alexandrian philosophers, Iamblicus and Porphyry, furnish us all the information we have upon the subject. The following is the substance of what learned men have derived from these and kindred sources:

1. As existing from eternity and before all created objects, in the place of Brahm, Reason, the Eternal, or Time without bounds, the Egyptian Cosmology places God without a name as 'the primitive obscurity, the incomprehensible being, the hidden principle of everything that exists, the invisible source of all light and all life, who is above all intelligence.' The reader will perceive at once that the common Oriental idea of God is here given by exposition, though not designated by any term. The Egyptians sometimes employed the term 'Piromis' to represent their idea of the supreme divinity, a term which means man supereminently, to signify, as some suppose, that Piromis is supreme among the gods, as man is supreme among the animal creation.

3. At a definite, but to us unknown, period in the eternity past, the supreme divinity became a producer or generator. Whether by emanation or by a creative word is not very clearly stated. All representations of subsequent originations, however, indicate that primal creation was in the form first designated. According to Herodotus, the first creations, or emanations, were three orders of finite divinities, eight of the first, twelve of the second, and seven of the third, order. Bunson believes that he has succeeded in discovering and designating all these in their proper order from the monuments. From these divinities the visible universe was originated, or rather emanated, the purer and higher elements from the higher, and the grosser from the lower orders. Of the first order, for example, Kneph is 'the efficient reason of things, the creator, the demiurgus,' and Phta is ' the organizer of the world, the God of Fire, the vital principle.'

3. All emanations in common—and here we have a striking peculiarity of the Egyptian Cosmology—all emanations, we say, proceed in a kind of syzygy; that is, each emanation is attended with another which possesses inferior, and sometimes opposite, elements and characteristics. Hence the intermingling, everywhere in nature, of order and disorder, beauty and deformity, good and evil, life and death.

4. The evil principle is represented by the term 'Typhon,' and the good, perfection, or absolute beauty, by the word 'Niphthys. From the marriage of these, visible forms proceed, and hence good and evil constitute the very essence of the world.

5. Souls are immortal, but subject to cycles of transmigration, each cycle occupying a space of three thousand years. During this period the soul dwells successively in the bodies of every variety of beasts and insects, and then reinhabits a human body. Thus human existence continues for ever. Here we have the doctrine of transmigration in an essentially different form from that affirmed in other Oriental nations. The soul, according to the Egyptian idea, does not leave the body until the latter has decayed; hence they embalmed the body, and thus shortened the cycle of transmigration for at least one thousand years.

The doctrine of transmigration, as taught in Egypt, differs in two fundamental respects from that taught in all other Oriental countries. With the latter, it was in all cases to be but of temporary continuance; with the former, it was to be in all cases eternal. With the latter, it might by science be wholly superseded by immediate absorption in God at death, and in all cases might be shortened and modified by religious observances; with the latter, the state of the soul during the period of transmigration could not be affected either by moral character or religious services; all that could be done was, to retain the soul for long periods in the body by embalming the latter. Evil, as presented in all these systems in common, the Persian excepted, is natural rather than moral, and necessary instead of voluntary. Moral responsibility, in its true and proper sense, is either ignored or denied in all these systems.



WE have now completed our expositions of the various forms of the Oriental Philosophy. It remains to resurvey the ground we have gone over, and to gather up such reflections and general observations as may have an important bearing upon our subsequent inquiries. Among these observations and reflections, the following demand special attention:


In the common histories of Philosophy these systems have been represented as being wholly religious in their character, and, consequently, as not belonging properly to a history of this science. 'Where and when does Philosophy begin?' asks Schwegler. 'Manifestly,' he answers, 'when a final philosophical principle, a final ground of being, is sought in a philosophical way; and hence, with the Grecian Philosophy, the Oriental —Chinese and Hindu (so-named philosophies, but which are rather theologies or mythologies)—and the mystic cosmologies of Greece in its earliest periods, are therefore excluded from our more definite problem. Like Aristotle, we begin the history of Philosophy with Thales. For similar reasons we exclude also the Philosophy of the Christian Middle Ages, or Scholasticism. This is not so much a philosophy as a philosophizing or reflecting within the already prescribed limits of positive religion. It is, therefore, essentially theology, and belongs to the science of the history of Christian doctrines.'

Here we have a fundamental mistake in regard to the proper sphere of the history of Philosophy itself, and also in respect to the relations of the systems referred to and religion. 'Philosophy,' says this author, and rightly too, 'examines every individual thing in reference to a final principle, and considers it as one link in the whole chain of knowledge'—'follows it out to its ultimate grounds.' Every people, who have attained to any degree of civilization, have their ideas in regard to 'the final principle' and 'ultimate grounds' referred to, and in regard to the relations of individual things and particular facts to such principles and grounds. Here we have the Philosophy of such peoples. The religious ideas of all peoples also, in particulars perfectly fundamental, take form from their philosophy. All systems of Philosophy are religious or non-religious in their ultimate deductions. One of the fundamental aims of every true history of Philosophy is to show what are 'the final principles' and 'ultimate grounds' to which each people refer all individual things and facts, and how they explain the latter by the former, and, finally, how far their religious ideas were moulded and determined by their philosophy. Oriental and mediaeval systems, therefore, have place within the sphere of the history of Philosophy, for the same reasons that those of Greece have.

In all Oriental systems, also, we have religion, in all its forms and applications, determined, in fact, by Philosophy. In all such countries religion is esoteric and exoteric: the former for the initiated (the Yogees), and the latter for the people. Religion, in its exterior or popular form, is wholly the creation of esoteric thought, and, as thus developed and perfected, was adopted and imposed upon the people by the sovereign authorities. The three orders of gods of Egypt, Brahm, Vishnu, Siva, and other gods of India, Yang and Yn of China, and Ormuzd and Ahrinman of Persia, are creations of the Philosophy of those nations. Their religion being determined by their philosophy, we cannot understand the latter without reference to the former.

Compte, for example, gives us first the Positive Philosophy, and then a fully developed system of religion, the latter being determined through and by the former. Suppose that, when the two systems were completed, the Philosophy on the one hand, and the religion on the other, the Government, having the power to do it, had adopted both as the science and religion of the people, and had perforce imposed the latter upon the nation. We should have here a case perfectly parallel to what did obtain in all the Oriental nations. Would not the Philosophy of France, in that case, come as fully within the sphere of a history of Philosophy as that of Compte now does? For such reasons we have gone back, in our inquiries, to these Oriental systems.


A question of great importance here presents itself, namely, what are the relations of these Oriental religions to the primitive religion of mankind? All these religions, as we have seen, and as none will deny, are, in fact and form, creations of preformed and perfected systems of philosophy, and consequently cannot be regarded as being themselves primitive religions. Philosophy is one of the latest, and indeed the latest of all, forms of human thought. A religion which arises after, and takes form from, Philosophy, must stand at a very wide remove from the primitive faith. If we would inquire, with any rational hope of success, for the characteristics and elements of this primordial religion, we must find them in those elements which are common to all religions which have assumed definite and ultimate forms. All derivative religions will contain, in their positive or negative forms, all the essential elements of the common religion from which they were derived. The validity of these statements, we are quite sure, no thoughtful minds of common integrity will deny. What, then, are the elements common to all these religions? They are, among others, the following.—

Monotheism, the Original Faith of the Race.

1. The doctrine of one, and only one, eternally existing and supreme God—God in this form, and in no other, is acknowledged, as a matter of fact, in all these religions without exception. In all antitheistic systems, also, the doctrine of one God, in this one exclusive form, is either ignored or denied. Between man and this supreme God, 'there are gods many and lords many.' All these intermediate divinities, however, are, without exception, regarded and worshipped, not as uncreated beings, but as being in common with man, and in the same sense that he is, creatures of God. In no nation under heaven did Polytheism ever obtain but in this one exclusive form. Nor were 'four-footed beasts, fowls of the air, or creeping things,' ever worshipped but as created objects—creatures of this one God. The lowest Feticists never worshipped stones and herbs, and beasts, and birds, and insects, as eternally existing, and uncreated verities, but as being, like themselves, creatures of God. Did Egypt worship the ox, or crocodile, as eternally existing and untreated beings? We all know they did not. Nor have we the remotest evidence, but positive evidence to the contrary, that any people ever worshipped any such objects under the impression that they were uncreated beings. No people ever held the doctrine of more than one original, eternal, and untreated divinity. What, then, must have been the original religious faith of the race? No people, as we have formerly shown, do exist, or ever have existed, without religious ideas of some kind. The idea of creation and of a Creator is as old and as universal as human nature itself. Theistic ideas of some kind, mankind, from the immutable laws of our intellectual nature, must have. In all religions one idea is omnipresent, that of creation in some form, and also that of God as the Author of nature, either by emanation, or creation proper. What, then, we ask again, is the original divine idea? It was not, we answer, either Feticism or Polytheism. Gods in these forms are worshipped, not as uncreated but created beings, not as eternal existences, but as creatures of time, like man himself. Not a solitary exception to these statements can be found in the history of the race. Nor was this idea that of God as Creator by emanation. This idea of God is a dream of Philosophy. The human intelligence, in its natural, spontaneous, intuitive procedures, never identifies God with nature, or nature with God, but always cognizes Him, worships Him, and prays to Him, not only as the Author and Governor of nature, but as being separate from, over, and above 'the things that are made.' Philosophic thought must have long pondered the problem of universal being and its laws, and must have wandered to an infinite distance from its point of departure, before the idea could have approached the human mind that Brahm, reason, time illimitable, Reason, or the Infinite and Absolute, 'alone exists; everything else is illusion.' The divine idea, in its original form, can have been nothing else but this—that of one personal God, who, as a free self-conscious personality, is the Author of nature by creation proper.

What holds true of the Oriental religions holds equally, as we shall see hereafter, of those of Greece, Rome, and all other heathen nations. The Greeks had their Zeus, and the Romans their Deus, whom they regarded as the sole supreme God. Between this eternal being and man stood thousands of superior beings called gods; not one of these, however, was regarded by their most devoted worshippers as an eternal and uncreated existence, but as, in common with man, a created being, and as such a creature of time. Heathen Mythology records the birth and parentage of these inferior and finite deities—deities represented by their worshippers as not only finite, but imperfect, and even sinful creatures like men.

Feticism, also, wherever it exists, has being, like that of Egypt, as a socially organized religion—religion with a formal priesthood. In the original religions there are no priests as a separate class. The father of each family was the only priest, as well as ruler, known in the primitive state of mankind. As we descend historically, or by observation, towards this primitive state, the number of nominal gods diminishes until we come to 'the poor Indian,' whose only object of worship is 'the Great Spirit.' The rudest African known is not a Feticist. Nor is he, as mature investigations have demonstrated, void of religious ideas. On the other hand, he worships and prays to the great spirit—the supreme divinity whom he designates by a peculiar name.

A profound study of the immutable laws of mind renders it demonstrably evident that mankind cannot exist in any state without religious ideas and sentiments. On the perception of body, succession, and events, for example, reason necessarily apprehends space, time, and cause as the necessary condition of the existence and occurrence of substances and events. In the presence of facts of external and internal perception, the mind apprehends two orders of existence, namely, those represented by the terms matter and spirit. Thus four realities are, and must be, represented in human thought—to wit, space, time, spirit, and matter, the two former being given as absolutely infinite, and necessarily existing, realities. While all substances and events are necessarily cognized as existing and occurring in space and time, the mind cannot but apprehend itself, and all visible objects around it, as finite and dependent forms of being, and as a consequence, must apprehend an unconditioned and eternally existing power on which finite and dependent forms of being depend. From the necessary principles and laws of our intellectual and moral nature, such a power must suggest itself and become omnipresent in thought. Of the reality of such a power, the mind, in its original and intuitive procedures, can no more doubt than it can the fact of its own conscious being, and that of realities around it. As in universal thought, the conditioned necessarily implies the unconditioned, and the finite as necessarily suggests the infinite, and the imperfect the perfect, and the dependent the independent, and all sustaining power, the mind would naturally, if not necessarily, apprehend the unconditioned cause as infinite and perfect, and would no more, in its original and intuitive thoughts and convictions, doubt the reality of that cause than it would the validity of the principle that every event must have a cause. Nor is there any law of thought by which this power would present itself to the mind as being, not one, but many. The Unconditioned we never think of as a multiple, but as a unity.

While the mind, also, intuitively distinguishes itself, as spirit, from all material existences around it, it can never, in its primary and intuitive procedures, apprehend this eternal verity, this unconditioned and universal cause of all conditioned forms of being, as an inhering law or property of matter, but as, like itself, a free, self-conscious spirit, and as such, unlike the finite self, an infinite and perfect mind. Unless mind itself is a lie, Monotheism must have been the primitive religion of the race. It is a shallow and unreflective and unobserving philosophy that represents the primitive race of mankind, a realm of rational personalities, as void of religious ideas and sentiments, and then as ascending from Feticism, through Polytheism, to Monotheism. There is not a known fact in the history of the race to justify such a deduction. Polytheism and Feticism, on the other hand, are degenerate forms of original Monotheism, the pure religion corrupted and 'spoiled by Philosophy,' or by 'science falsely socalled.' The cannibals of New Zealand, and of the islands of the South Pacific, are many of them, to say the least, Feticists, and they are in the lowest state in which humanity has ever been found. The question is, are they degenerates from a former higher state of civilization, or are they at this point in the scale of ascent from a still lower stage? Many points of physical resemblance, as well as traditions and customs which obtain among them, absolutely evince the fact that they are degenerate descendants of a comparatively civilized people who formerly emigrated thither from Ceylon and Southern India. In India, for example, they have an annual festival in commemoration of the escape of Noah and his family in the Ark. The same custom obtains among these cannibals. They have not only a specific tradition of the Flood, but build vessels in imagined conformity to the ark in which Noah and his family escaped. The animals and reptiles which the people of India regard as sacred, these degenerate savages, in conformity with Egyptian custom, worship, not as supreme divinities, but as containing the spirits of finite but higher genii. No Egyptian or cannibal, we repeat, ever worshipped an animal under the impression that man is a creature of whom the animal is the creator—that man is 'a creature of yesterday, and the animal an eternal and uncreated being. The objects of fetich and idolatrous worship are all, without exception, worshipped as creatures standing between man and his creator. All known facts of observation and history render demonstrably evident the teachings of the class of learned men recently risen in India, the class to whom we have formerly referred—that the original religion of India and the race was Monotheism; that all idolatrous religions are corruptions of the primitive faith of the race; that Monotheism is the doctrine originally taught in the Vedas; that these sacred books, in their present form, are corruptions of the original text, corruptions introduced by the priesthood—a fact evinced by many passages found in these writings in their present form.

2. Relations of these Systems to the Doctrine of the Soul as Distinct from all Material Existences, and as Immortal.

In all the Oriental systems we also find, either in its positive or negative form, the clearest recognition of the human soul as a form of being distinct and separate from all material existences. In every such system the idea of matter on the one hand, and of the soul on the other, is referred to in the identical form in which the idea of each is represented in universal thought. Oriental Materialism denies, indeed, the reality of spirit, and Idealism that of matter. In both alike, however, the two ideas, in the universal forms designated, are distinctly represented. In the same positive or negative form, the doctrine of the immortality of the soul is distinctly and definitely represented in all these systems. Now, ideas must have existed in the human mind prior to their distinct, affirmative, or negative embodiment in systems of Philosophy. What, then, must have been the pre-existing and original faith of the race on all these subjects? It must have embodied, with greater or less distinctness, not only the doctrine of creation 'by the word of God,' but of the universe as constituted of two distinct and separate orders of being, matter and spirit, and, finally, that of the immortality of the human soul. On no other hypothesis can the facts before us be accounted for.

3. The Relations of these Systems to the Doctrine of Right and Wrong, of Moral Obligation, Moral Desert, and Retribution.

One of the most noticeable features of all these systems is the distinctness and definiteness with which all the doctrines just named are recognized, generally in their negative forms, in them. Every one of these systems refers to the law of duty, to human obligation, to the desert of obedience and disobedience, to God's relations to moral action, and to the bearing of present character and conduct upon immortal destiny. With few exceptions, they in fact and form deny all moral distinctions, all moral desert in human character and conduct, all forms of future retribution, and represent God as wholly indifferent to human conduct as right and wrong. These very denials, however, imply absolutely the omnipresence in human thought of the doctrines denied. Even 'science, falsely so-called,' does not deny what nobody believes, and more especially that not previously represented in thought. What, then, must have been the pre-existing and primitive faith of the race in regard to all these doctrines? That faith, we answer, must have embodied, in their strictly positive forms, the doctrines of right and wrong, of obligation, of moral desert, and future retribution. A fundamental element of that faith, also, must have been the idea of God as the moral Governor of the universe.

4. Relations of these Systems to the Doctrine of Human Sinfulness.

In all these systems without exception, man is represented as in a fallen state, and as being miserable in consequence of his lapsed condition. The question definitely proposed, and professedly answered, in every one of them, pertains wholly to the condition and means of escape from present and impending evils. In all the systems but one, that of Zoroaster, man is affirmed not to be guilty for his sinfulness, and consequent misery. Yet the idea of the co-existence of these evils, and their necessary connection, is omnipresent in all these systems. Every system, we repeat, affirms the fact of sin, and of misery as its consequence, even while man's responsibility for both is denied. Such facts absolutely evince the omnipresent consciousness in the human mind of the fact of sin, and of misery as its necessary consequence, together with the immutable conviction of human responsibility for both.

5. The Idea of Salvation from Sin, the Common Element of all these Religious Systems.

One other element common to all these systems claims our special attention, the idea of salvation from sin and its consequences. The evil and the remedy are ideas omnipresent in all these systems. The forms of absolute truth, as apprehended by Gautama Buddha, embraced the following elements: the evil—the cause of the evil—the fact that salvation is possible, and the means of attaining this end. Yet Gautama utterly ignored, or denied, the doctrine of God. The same holds true of all these systems in all their forms. All affirm the doctrine of man as a fallen being, and of salvation on conditions with which man may comply. The form of the affirmed evil, and of the remedy, is one thing; the fact of both is quite another. This central fact is what is material in the present argument, as it discloses, as omnipresent in human thought, the great truth of salvation from sin as revealed to man immediately after the Fall—a truth which enters as a fundamental element into all the diverse religions of the race.

What, then, are the essential elements of the primitive religion of man, the religion of which Heathenism, Feticism, and Anti-theism, in all their forms, are corruptions? This primordial religion must have embraced, among others, the following elements, namely, the doctrine of the being and perfections of a free, self-conscious, and personal God—that of creation, not by emanation or natural law, but 'by the word of God'—creation constituted of matter and finite spirit—of the human soul, under moral law, and in a fallen state, and miserable on account of sin—of salvation on conditions with which man may comply—of duty, responsibility, immortality, and retribution. All these elements are, in fact and form, present, as specifically affirmed or denied, in all religions, and in all systems of Philosophy ancient and modern. The law of universal deduction, as announced by Kant, and which none will deny, is most strictly applicable here, namely, 'Facts strictly common to a great variety of diverse cases must have a common ground for their existence and occurrence.' Here we have a class of doctrines, every one of which is specifically affirmed, or denied, in every religion, and in every system of Philosophy, which has ever been the object of human thought. This universal fact, we say, can be accounted for but upon one exclusive hypothesis, namely, that all these religions and systems are pure, or corrupted, streams from one common source—a primordial religion once co-extensive with the race, a religion in which all these doctrines were affirmed, as forms of absolute truth. The validity of this hypothesis will receive additional confirmation in all our subsequent investigations.


Gautama Buddha has expressed two ideas which, in their essential forms, are strictly common to all Oriental religions and systems of Philosophy, that of Zoroaster excepted—those of human existence as a curse and non-being, as the only possible salvation from that curse. All these systems agree absolutely in regard to the doctrine first named, and differ only in form in regard to the second. In all these systems conscious existence is represented as the curse, and annihilation, or utterly unconscious being, as salvation. These are now, and have been for the past 2,500 years, at least, the two fundamental and avowed articles of the religious and philosophical faith of three-fifths of the race. These two doctrines, in their essential forms, enter, as essential elements, into the systems of Materialism, Idealism, and Scepticism, of all ages. Materialism presents, as our hope of redemption from admitted existing evils, death as an eternal sleep. Idealism gives us the hope of redemption through reabsorption in the Absolute, or non-consciousness. Scepticism substitutes for an eternally conscious future an eternal blank. Yet men regard teachers who unfold eternal non-being, as the only hope of soul-salvation, as benefactors of their species.

Wherein lies the secret of the power which the idea of real annihilation has over the human mind? Wherein, for example, lies the secret of the world-wide and fascinating power of Byron, the poet-prophet of modern Buddhism? We judge that we have before us the true, and only true, answer to such inquiries. The Christian religion, while it admits, and affirms, the universally conscious fact of human sin, and misery in consequence of sin, takes away the effect by removing the cause, and opens upon the mind of all who, as Zoroaster did, will repent of sin, and accept of God's remedy from its death-inflicting power, the bright vision and assured hope of immortal purity, and consequent fellowship with the infinite and eternal mind. Ever since this star of hope rose upon the sin-darkened and terror-stricken vision of humanity, in Eden, all who have followed the guiding light of that star have sought, not non-being, or eternal unconsciousness through absorption in Brahm or the Absolute, but 'a country,' 'a better country, that is an heavenly,' 'a city which hath foundations,' a city into which sin and its death-curse enter not, and in which God is the soul's 'everlasting light, and the days of its mourning are ended.' To all such existence is an infinite good.

But what is the character of all these hopeless religions and godless Philosophies? They all in common leave the primal curse, conscious sin and its death-sting, unremoved and remediless. They give to the mind a godless universe, or a god without emotion, without love, at a prayerless remove from human suffering and human woe, and as coldly indifferent to human want, human destiny, and human desert, as is the heart of infinite space. Let mind, under the omnipresent pressure of conscious sin and ill-desert, from which it cannot escape, become oppressed with the idea of existence in such a dead universe as these religions and philosophies reveal to its vision, and what will be its necessary estimate of enduring the perpetually accumulating weight of oppressive thought, feeling, and action to eternity? What will be its necessary estimate of conscious existence itself? Just what Gautama found it in his revelation of absolute truth, to wit, 'All existence is evil.' Escape from conscious to unconscious being will be salvation, 'a consummation devoutly to be wished.' Let the doctrine of future non-being take form before the mind as a doctrine of science, a revelation of absolute, truth, and to all who will not repent of sin and seek redemption from its curse-power, that doctrine will have attractions of infinite strength. Here, undeniably, lies the secret of the power of Buddhism, Brahmanism, Materialism, Idealism, and Scepticism, in the present and past ages.


Error, like truth, always approaches the mind with 'a promise of life,' and commends itself to human regard as an infallible remedy for all the infinite 'ills that flesh is heir to.' Never did Anti-Theistic Philosophies hold out to sin-burdened humanity such promises as now, and these Philosophies are swarming upon us in all the forms in which they have ever before appeared. Long and fully tested experience, and that in every conceivable human condition, is a chart which may be safely and wisely consulted by 'the men of this generation' in regard to these old lights which are now held out. Not a solitary new system is before us, nor any old system in any essentially new form. In the affirmed and uninterrupted light of these systems three-fifths of the race have been advancing or retrograding for more than two thousand years. The power of these systems for good or ill has been fully tested by the best thinkers of both hemispheres during all this period. The tendency of these systems to mar human advancement we can read in the rise and fall of Greece and Rome, in the state of that 'basest of kingdoms,' Egypt, and in the dead moral debasement and stolid mental immobility of India and China. We can read their tendency to remedy the ills of life in the undeniable fact that, during all these years, these systems have rendered, in the estimate of three-fifths of the race, conscious existence the curse of humanity, and the eternal escape from all thought, feeling, and activity, salvation. Yet we are assured that if we will take to our heart-embrace these old, dead, decayed, and death-imparting systems, we shall have life, and humanity will bloom with a deathless vigour. For these spectres of darkness, which are lifting their horrid and lifeless forms amid the tombs of all the great empires of the old world, and which have blighted the morals and the intelligence of three-fifths of the race for more than twenty centuries, for these soulless forms, we are called upon to look away from 'the face of Infinity unveiled' to our moral vision, to 'deny the Lord that bought us,' to close our eyes to the illuminations of the Eternal Spirit, to surrender our 'everlasting consolations and good hope through grace,' to give over our divine fellowships and immortal fruitions and assurances of an eternity in the kingdom of light, and all for what? For the sublime privilege of thinking with Messrs. Compte, Mill, Spencer, Huxley, and Emmerson, that nothing is real but thought, that matter alone is real, that spirit only has reality, and that 'it is certain that we can have no knowledge of the nature of either matter or spirit,' that we 'know this only, that we nothing know,' and, finally, that with these self-affirmed world-thinkers we are descending the rungs of a ladder that leads down into the abyss of the eternal sleep, 'perhaps to dream' there, and whether we shall or shall not dream, or 'what dreams may come' there, these men cannot assure us.

What reason have we to suppose that this hydra-headed 'New Philosophy,' which is, in fact, as old as the revelations of Gautama Buddha, will produce any better results in the present than it has in past ages? With what new and all-vitalizing principles has it been galvanized? What has this Philosophy done for France, whose Communists desecrated and burned the cathedrals and churches of Paris, as buildings 'owned by a Mr. Jehovah'? Under these old systems, which are being commended to the world as something 'new under the sun,' are we likely to have a millennium of pure morals and universal physical plenty? What is there intrinsic in these systems that gives promise of such results? When we come to think that a human soul may be developed out of 'mutton,' that thought, feeling, and willing are nothing but 'molecular changes in the matter of life,' that human progression is 'advancing from the definite homogeneous to the definite heterogeneous,' that 'matter and spirit are nothing but names for imaginary substrata of groups of natural phenomena,' that 'matter may be regarded as a form of thought,' and that 'thought may be regarded as a property of matter,' that we 'have no knowledge of the nature of either matter or spirit,' that knowledge is possible but in reference to 'things without us,' that knowledge is impossible but in reference to things within us, that 'being and knowing are one and identical,' that our great-great-great-grandmammas and papas were monkeys, that 'the inmates of our prisons and brothels are advancing towards eternal life,' and that 'death is our eternal sleep,' when physiology shall have for ever supplanted and superseded metaphysics, and 'the realm of matter and law is co-extensive with knowledge, with feeling, and with action,' and Materialism shall be repudiated 'as involving grave Philosophical error,' when there shall be a deep and dark and permanent eclipse of faith in the doctrine of God, duty, and immortality, and all religious inquiry shall be sneered at as 'lunal politics,' when this consummation shall have been reached, will not the vernal bloom of humanity be eternal? On the other hand, have we not already the clearest indications that, should the reign of the New Philosophy become universal, 'chaos would come again,' and that the idea of existence would be in the regard of all mankind what the same Philosophy has rendered it to three-fifths of the race for more than two thousand years? Have we not absolute proof that the New Philosophy has already rendered, in the judgment of its most enlightened advocates, even eternal existence an object not to be desired, and the loss of all hope of such an existence a matter of no regret? These men speak of the 'loss of this intellectual being' with the same trifling indifference that they do of the annihilation of the vitality of a mushroom or a monkey. Mr. Huxley, for example, compares 'the great lamentation which is arising' 'over the threatened extinction by matter' of the human soul to that 'which was heard over the death of Pan.' Under the death-chill which this Philosophy, from its very nature, brings over the mind, the idea of existence, and especially of eternal existence, ceases, of necessity, to have any attractions to the mind. An aged man of our acquaintance, a man of intelligence, wealth, and influence in community, this man, on being condoled with on the recent loss of the wife of his youth, and the mother of a large family of promising children, exclaimed: 'Tut, what do I care about that woman? I can get another as good as she in a week.' We drew this inference from this fact, that that pure and devoted wife and mother had ceased to be 'a thing of beauty' or wealth in the estimation of that husband. So, when we hear the advocates of this falsely so-called New Philosophy treating with contempt all regard for the soul's immortality and dread of the final loss of 'those thoughts that wander through eternity,' we do them no wrong when we infer that their Philosophy is doing in them what the same Philosophy did in the mind of Gautama Buddha more than two thousand years ago, and that here we have an undeniable revelation of the neeessary 'death-doings' of that Philosophy. The validity of all these statements will be fully verified in subsequent inquiries.


With Recommendations.

General Introduction.
Part I. The Oriental Philosophy.
Part II. The Grecian Philosophy.
Part III. The Christian Evolution in Philosophy.

Volume II.

Copyright 2002 Alethea In Heart Ministries

A Critical History of Philosophy. Asa Mahan. Oriental Philosophy.