India has always been a land of mystery. The facts of her beginning and the origin of her culture have been the subject of much contradiction. Some would pronounce her a land of late development and that her rock-hewn temples and hoary monuments were built after the beginning of the Christian era. Rawlinson says of the early founders of Indian civilization, “Recent linguistic discoveries show that a Cushite race did in the earliest times extend itself along the southern shores of the continents from Abyssinia to India. The whole peninsula of India, the sea coast of Baluchistan and Kerman by the inscriptions belonged to this race.” Wilford who had an extended and thorough knowledge of Hindu mythology points out that the Sanskrit writings describe the extended domains of the ancient Cushite empire. In these books are relations about early Egyptian history. It mentioned one of the emigrations going out from the Upper Nile as having peopled India. The Puranas divided the world into seven dwipas or divisions. Sancha Dwipa was Africa in general. Cusha Dwipa was the land of Cush, India and the Mediterranean. These books speak place to another with perfect security to themselves and their merchandise.
Alexander the Great found the natives of India not living under a monarchical system, but in republics. From very ancient times there had been indirect trade between India and the Mediterranean but it was with the Ægean civilization that had preceded the historic Greek and of which Greece had no record. Alexander found that Nysa had a senate of three hundred members. Many of these republics were very powerful and warlike, opposing Alexander as he had scarcely been resisted anywhere else. His victories were purchased at a vast price of blood. Walls and ramparts encircled their cities. Their encampments were protected by triple lines of military wagons and cars. They had boats and vessels. One of the temple reliefs represents the fore part of a vessel filled with strangers. In Multan, in Malle and Oxydracae, nearer the Ganges, there were still more powerful nations. (Ibid. V, 23-24.) At Sangola thousands perished. Many tribes deserted their cities preferring exile to subjugation. The reports of the mighty armies of the native Parisi, the modern Bengal, and Oude, so terrified the hitherto unconquered Macedonians that they retreated. (Historical Researches in the Nations of Antiquity, Heeren, Vol. I, p. 319.) How different is this report by a careful student of the records of the past, to what we read in the hastily written volumes of today?
Buddhist India, by Rhys-Davids, gives a clear and interesting picture of the communal system of India. The villages consist of houses all built together, separated by narrow lanes. Immediately adjoining is the sacred grove or primeval forest, left standing when the first clearing was made. Beyond is the wide expanse of cultivated fields. There are grazing grounds for cattle and jungle where every village has the equal right of wood and waste. The cattle belonged severally to the householders of the village. After crops, they roam the fields under the charge of herdsmen hired collectively and a man skilled in cattle care. The fields are all cultivated at the same time. Irrigation channels are laid out by the community. The supply of water is regulated by rule under the supervision of headmen. There is a common fence. The great fields are divided into plots corresponding to the heads of the families in each village. Each family takes the produce of its share.” Compare our system of monster bonds to make community improvements, that after multitudinous shavings bring us back meager results, with this communal system of co-operation which brought almost perfect results with little expenditure.
In India, it is impossible for a shareholder to mortgage his part of the village field without the consent of the village council. No individual hat the right of bequest. All such matters were settled by the general sense of the community as to what was right and proper. The superintendence of the estate fell to the elder son. Women had personal property and daughters could inherit from their mothers. They had no need of a separate share of the land for they were supported from the produce falling to husbands or brothers. The villagers united of their own accord to build motes, halls and rest houses. They followed the same plan in building reservoirs, in road mending and park building. There were no landlords and no paupers. There was little if any crime. The people dwelt with open doors. These people occupied a social grade quite above our village folk. They held it a degradation to hire. These traits are quite contrary to the nature of the races called Indo-European that peopled western Europe. They were quite contrary to Turanian or Semitic nature as it developed in Asia, but was the nature of Ethiopians and from this foundation of communal life that they laid in southern Europe, in early Chaldea and elsewhere, evolved the foundation and ideals from which the democracies of our times were developed.
It was by this simple system, as revealed in the communal districts of India–which cannot function perfectly, because of the spirit of exploitation and foreign rule–this system of cooperation, of the Cushite race that built the wonderful temples, palaces and giant engineering works of the past that today bewilder the beholder. The basis of the wonderful achievements of Babylonia, Egypt, and Ethiopia was this communal system. It is for the results they gained that we should weigh this system, seemingly impossible to us, for its value. It was by their combined strength that they gained and held world sovereignty for so many thousands of years. There are things in Cushite forms that would relieve some of the insufferable miseries of today that are a reproach to our civilization. The placing of every man upon an actual basis of equality seems a thing impossible to our natures, though it is written in our civil confessions of faith. Metcalf says, “These little village communities are little republics, having everything they want within themselves and almost independent of any foreign relations. They seem to last when nothing else lasts. Dynasty after dynasty tumbles in India, revolution succeeds revolution, the Mogul, Sikh, and English, all have been master but the village communities remain the same.”
Megathenes, the Greek ambassador to the court of a non-Aryan king about 300 B. C., gives us another picture of Indian Cushite life. He observed with admiration the absence of slavery in India, the chastity of the women and the courage of the men. In valor, they excelled all other Asiatics. They required no locks to their doors, above all no Indian was ever known to tell a lie. They were sober and industrious, good farmers and skillful artisans. They scarcely ever had recourse to a lawsuit and lived peaceably under their native chiefs. The kingly government was portrayed almost as described in Mann, with its hereditary caste of councilors and soldiers. Husbandmen were exempt from war and public service. These were worthy descendants of the “Blameless Ethiopians,” of old traditions. Though we are told that the Greeks and Hindu are kindred the Hellenes were very ignorant of India prior to the expedition of Alexander. The prehistoric Greek and the Hindu were both branches of the Old Race. The native tribes which Megathenes found esteemed their constitution as an inheritance from Dionysus, an ancient Cushite king. The names Nysa, Malli, Nanda, and many other names of cities and nations are purely African words, alive today in the Soudan.
Missionaries to India have, given further pictures of the working of the communal system in the home. When a man and wife have reared a family, the sons bring their wives to the paternal home to live together and raise families in the common home of their father. The supreme authority rests with this parent. The whole income goes into a common treasury. There is no individual property. So loyal is the Hindu to paternal authority that no question is ever raised by anyone as to obedience to his commands. (We may scoff at such a system as impossible to individualism and freedom but where is there any family of any civilization that has succeeded by any other plan. Families that learn to pull together soon rise to position or wealth. The tendency of our civilization is toward a dangerous freedom that weakens and enslaves us.) In India the weak, the sick and the feebleminded have the same claim on the family resources as the others. His claim is universally recognized by the race. No poorhouses are needed. The Hindu considers this as his most cherished and ancient institution. He should be proud of it, for it indeed proves his humanity. They have a sublime conception of reverence for parental authority and obligation to the ties of blood.
Jones tells us, that Buddhism has produced in India, a higher type of womanhood than Brahminism; yet the women of no other land wield a greater power than the much-abused women of India. We are made to feel by superficial observers of Hindu life, that the women of this race are undervalued. This is a misrepresentation. No woman on earth today reveals a greater attachment for her husband. She allowed herself to be burned upon the funeral pyre as a sublime exhibition of wifely devotion. So the African wife for ages desired to pass on into the unknown with the mate. In the narrow home sphere, in religion and the training of children, her influence is supreme. The conversion of the husband to another faith will not be permanent if the wife persists in the ancestral faith. Millions of money are expended in the manufacture of female ornaments. The Hindu expresses his love in this way to his bride. There are four hundred thousand goldsmiths constantly employed. The wealth of the family in the Middle Ages was largely measured by the number of jewels possessed by the women of the family. Hindu clothing is beautiful and suited to the climate. The one-cloth of the Hindu women bright with colors and deftly wound around her body is the most exquisitely beautiful garment in the world.
Did the Indian race create anything in architecture? The ancient ruins and remarkable structural remains were built in ages remote from ours. A period long before any Aryan, Scythian or Mohammedan invasion. They are the work of the native races that inhabited India. The Brahmins only reached power and overthrew Buddhism in the year 700 A. D. They took over the ancient records and they themselves say that the ancient ruins were constructed 7000 years ago. This was coeval with the pyramids. They were both built by the same race. Everything in these grottoes is of Indian character, they belong to the time when India was under no foreign yoke. In Ellora, Hindu mythology is shown in perfect development. In the rock in the excavations of Elephante, we find a stone so hard that ordinary steel cannot work it. The same hand that carved the rock of Egypt worked here. The temple grotto, at Salsette, has inscriptions but the alphabet no one has been able to decipher. This would all prove that these forms of architecture had their origin from the primitive Cushite race of India.
All the scenes of the mythology on the walls of these ancient temples are southern and do not represent any phase of the life of Aryans or Turanians. Heeren, in Asiatic Nations, The Indians (Vol. III, p. 43), tells us that in the carvings may be seen armies on elephants, never on horses, which would disprove the 1000 A. D. theory of their building. Their plan is simple yet grand. Ponderous roofs rest on seemingly slender and inadequate supports. There are halls with roofs of solid rock supported on massive piers, which are richly carved with pictures and friezes. Painted reliefs and numerous colossal animals enliven the temples. The inscriptions are in Sanskrit. If this is true, then Sanskrit must have been the language of the primitive race. Langley says, “If these structures were reared nine hundred years ago, then Ethiopia alone could have furnished the architects, for, at that late date, the world had lost the art of carving in granite.” The plains around the Indian temples were once highly cultivated but now are the impenetrable jungle and the lair of wild beasts. The topes of India prove the Hindu to have been acquainted with both the pointed and circular arch, which were unknown to both the Egyptians and Greeks.
Heeren describes Mavalipurian, a royal city, hewn out of the living rock. A large part of this city had been engulfed by the sea. Immense blocks of stone in a Cyclopean style show that these ruins must have been very ancient. They were built by the same race that at that age in other parts of the world, in Phoenicia, in Arabia, in Nubia, and in Egypt, left similar massive ruins. These Indian works were built so long ago that the very recollection of their origin is lost. The pagodas are pyramidal temples of Cyclopean construction. The Brahmins must be right in their estimate of the age of these ruins. Heeren thinks that nine hundred years ago, there were no powerful princes that could have erected such stupendous monuments. Bardesanes reported, that at the beginning of the Christian Era almost two thousand years ago, Indian messengers said that in a large grotto under a lofty hill is an image of Siva, half man, and half woman twelve ells high. At that day Elephante was completely deserted, unused and as mysterious as now. Mohammedans destroyed all of the ancient monuments of India and Heeren thinks we may be sure that they borrowed from Indian architectural ideals. The Hindu far surpassed Egypt and Greece in the richness of their ornamentation.
Maurice, that eminent authority on Indian antiquities, says, “One would suppose that such astonishing works would have been called the eighth wonder of the world and would have a fixed place in any country as an era never to be forgotten.”
The presence of the image of Siva would give us the impression that these temples might have come from beyond the deluge, for Siva worship and its abominable rites were a part of the idolatrous religion for which God destroyed the antediluvian world. The Tartar nations north of India are addicted to the worship of this god and may justly be credited with bringing it into India; for two streams of emigration have swept into the peninsula, one from the northeast and the other from the northwest. The rite polyandry, a wife having a number of husbands, exists among these Tartars and we find this custom in India even among Brahmins. The early Cushite worship was pure and included no part of Siva worship that has prostituted the morals of a once pure race. Siva worship must have been introduced by the Brahmins as it is one of the chief deities of Brahminism. Nowhere in these ancient ruins is there a temple dedicated to Brahma or Vishnu showing that Turanians had nothing to do with the erection of the structures. The rock temples of India were built at the same age as the building of the Great Sphinx.
From 100 B. C. to 700 A. D. Indian civilization suffered from the inroads of Tartars or Scythians. For five hundred years the native dynasties waged war against them. The Greeks called these invaders Huns. They were shepherds or herdsmen who roamed across the plains of central Asia. It was from this element that the caste of Brahmins may have sprung or from earlier invasions, for about 700 A. D. the Brahmins began to gain the upper hand in India. The old religion of Buddhism was falling to decay from age. Brahma’s apostles having caught the central gist of the life of Buddha began to invent varying philosophies upon the central thought of Buddha’s-self denial and restraint. A mass of impossible miracles and divine incantations were fostered upon the people. Siva worship was adopted in the national religion. With the introduction of cremation came the burning of the widow on the funeral pyre. Human sacrifice was incorporated. Krishna which means black was taken out of the old cult and incorporated in Brahminism, anything to ensure the strengthening of the claim of the Brahmin to the priesthood. Some sought to teach the equality of caste, others sought to establish a religion of pleasure.
The Scythic invasions were followed by the Mohammedan conquest. In which the idols of India were broken and her treasures carried away. Mohammed died 632 A. D. One hundred years after his death his followers had invaded Asia as far as the Hindu Kush. It took three hundred years more for them to be strong enough to grasp at India. The first invaders were struck with wonder at the despairing valor of the Hindus. One Rajput garrison preferred extermination to submission. They raised a huge funeral pyre upon which the women and children first threw themselves. The men having bathed took a solemn farewell of each other and throwing open the gates, rushed upon the weapons of the besiegers and perished as a man. The difficulty of the Mohammedan entrance into India lay in the daring of the Hindu tribes, for they did not enter easily as is commonly supposed. Not only the Sind Rajputs but the kingdoms of the lower Ganges from Bahar downward of non-Aryan extraction represented by the Chers, Chola and Pandya dynasties made the conquest of India a very tedious progress. The Hindu power in southern India was not fully broken until 1565 A. D. At no time was Islam triumphant throughout all India. Hindu dynasties always ruled over a large area. The Mogul empire was fast falling into the hands of the Hindu when the English power fastened itself upon this afflicted people.
The three ancient kingdoms of Chers, Chola and Pandya were of Dravidians. They were Tamil speaking races. No European kingdom can boast a continuous succession such as that of Pandya or Madura, traced back by the piety of genealogists for more than two thousand years. In the sections of India that were conquered, it was because these were essentially a creative and not a naturally ferocious people. The Mohammedans stripped the temples of gold and the idols of precious stones. The Tartar invasion of 1316 was indescribable in its atrocities. From 1350 to 1550 A. D. the Dekan was a theatre of war between the Hindu and the Mohammedans. Then began the intermingling of Arabian and Indian blood, both of which were foundationally Cushite. From this union of genius has risen the richest architecture in the world. The Taj Mahal, the Indian Mohammedan temple is perhaps the most beautiful edifice in the universe. It is described as though it was conceived by Titans and finished by jewelers. Its grandeur of conception and wonderful delicacy of workmanship enthralls all. The visitor exclaims, “The half has never been told.” The Taj is the highest expression of art human affection has ever attained.
Akbar the Great was the founder of the Mogul dynasty. Mogul is the Arabic word for Mongol. This empire lasted for one hundred and fifty years. His grandfather had married a Rajput princess. His favorite wife was of the old race. The tomb of Akbar the Great almost equals the Taj. In this great mausoleum, the famous Kohinoor diamond was exhibited for years in the open air. Would this have been possible in our civilization? The Shah of Persia in 1739 sacked the palace of the Moguls and carried this diamond and other fabulous wealth back to Persia. These vast treasures seemed to convey a curse. This famous diamond passed into the hand of Queen Victoria. The imperial grandeur of the Moguls arose from the sacking of Hindu cities of the accumulated wealth of the ages. Their display has probably never been surpassed. The temple of the Sikhs is only fifty-three feet square but it is largely covered with the gold plate, it is a beautiful object to behold. The Mohammedans though they left wonderful architectural beauty did not seriously change the undercurrents of the life of the people. The Hindu charge the Mohammedans with compelling them to the necessity of secluding their women, who before their invasion were free and independent. The licentiousness of the Arab caused them to withdraw their women into the home.
Modern literature places great emphasis upon the caste system of India. Some books represent the seeming four castes as subdividing into as many as 3000 castes. These cannot intermarry and most cannot eat together. Each caste is supposed to keep to the same occupation. Though we read this, in reality, the castes often change employment and lower ones rise in the social scale. Vaisyas were once tillers of the soil, now they are great merchants and bankers of India. The system of castes helped to bring the crafts up to perfection. The famous manufacturers of medieval India, its muslins, silk, cloth of gold, inlaid weapons, and exquisite work in precious stones, were brought to perfection under the system of casts or trade guilds. Such guilds may still be found in full force in India today. These in their organization prevent undue competition among the members and each upholds the interest of its own body in any dispute arising among craftsmen. Their trade disputes are settled and a stamped agreement fixes the rate for the future. The trade guild charges a fee and acts as an insurance society. (History of the Nations, India-Persia, p. 78.)
We may pass over to the west coast of Africa and we will find these same trade guilds and clans that eat only with their caste and only certain kinds of food. In India some are vegetarians, others eat beef. All of this grew out of that African custom where a tribe is forbidden to eat the animal that is its totem. Caste difference in India has no existence because of color. Caste keeps Aryans in Hindustan outside the pale as well as other aliens. Europeans delight in calling themselves of the same race as the Persians, but Jones tells us that the Parsee, driven from Persia twelve hundred years ago into India, declined the other day to receive into their fold, the English bride of one of their number. Caste delights in calling all foreigners unclean wretches and teaches that contact with other races brings ceremonial pollution and sin. Some of the native rulers have set the time of audience with Englishmen at impossible hours, that the visit might not take place. They look upon the Hindu who has crossed the ocean into foreign lands and who have associated with us, as engulfed in pollution. In early Cushite days, there were no child marriages, prohibition of widow marriages and rite of suttee. These abominations have been added in later ages by the Brahmins.
The Hindu of today lives in ages that have long gone by. The present to him is an age of corruption with ones more deeply degraded to ensue. He looks with contempt upon our modern scientific investigations and modern haste. He feels that they do not add to real progress or to our happiness. His life is introspective, dealing with the mystic. He renounces outer attractions to seek communion with God. In early ages, he had evolved a subtle system of philosophy. He has developed a sixth sense, which we of modern civilization cannot comprehend, 350 B. C. or 2350 years ago he had attained the same degree of civilization that is his today. Jones declares, “the people of India are the most religious upon the face of the earth. The Chinese and Japanese besides them are worldly and prosaic.” The Hindu is deeply spiritual. They are not materialistic like the people of western nations. In India, religion enters every detail of life as it did in Egypt and old Ethiopia. In remote ages, when our ancestors were in the depth of savagery, the Hindu was indulging in metaphysical disquisitions, which even today are admired by western sages. Many Hindu writings express aspirations and yearnings so beautiful as to excite our highest admiration.