India with its deeply religious people has given two great religions to the world. Buddhism and Brahminism are typical of the intermingled races from which they have come. Buddhism arose from the more ancient civilization. The older temples, of India, are to Buddha. His worship was anterior to that of Brahma. In the Ramayana, they are spoken of as opponents. Buddhism was older than Buddha-Gautama, who was only one of the incarnations of the old faith. In India, China, Thibet and Nepal six mortal predecessors of Buddha are recognized. The Jains celebrated one of his forerunners. Because of this the various sects differed and disputed about his coming. The dates of the incarnations of Buddha ranged from 2450 B. C. to 453 B. C. Buddhism was the evolution of many centuries. It sprang from some earlier form of Cushite faith. Buddhists when they pray call: upon “Ad.” The early Cushites were Adites. This religion preached equality and held the primitive inhabitants. The Cushites of western Europe possessed the worship of Buddha in primitive ages. There had been religious pilgrimages between them and the people of India in those old days. Woden father of the gods of northern Europe was the Indian Buddha. (See Ancient Races of Western Europe, Chapter XX.)
Buddha Gautama prince of a Sakya clan was an Indian sage of the fifth century before Christ. He was a prince filled with compassion for the human race and works of charity. He left the courts of royalty and lived in hermitage striving to read the mysterious riddle of life. He became the incarnation of Buddha. His teaching was that there is no escape from pain, that to attain perfection our appetites and emotions must be kept in subjection. He practiced extreme renunciation, giving up his princely rights, wife and infant son. He sought to forget self in a life of service for others. The principles of his faith were abstinence from lying, stealing, adultery, drunkenness, indulgence in extravagant entertainment, feasting and theatrical performances. He idealized and made beautiful by his life and teachings the primal virtues–purity, charity, patience, courage, introspection, and understanding. His ethics warned his disciples against coarse language and indulgence in vain and frivolous talk. This faith was accepted by the later Scythian hoards, though they made changes in it. Thus it became a great Lord of union between the races of India and the fiercer Mongolian peoples.
Gautama did not leave his doctrines in writing. He taught and talked to the people. His words were carefully treasured and reduced to writing after his death. There is an almost identical likeness between his teachings and those of the Saviour but Gautama preceded Him by five hundred years. Buddha carried his message not to caste but to the common men. He brought a spiritual deliverance to the people not through imaginary deities but by conduct. The Buddhist books we now possess are the work of several canons and were completed two full centuries before the birth of Christ. Buddhism was a protest against caste distinctions. It permeates and softens even today the Brahminism that thrust it out of India. Buddha forbade the worship of images. The religion was pure in its beginning but has become confounded with the worship of the sage. Though now banished from India by the persecutions of the Brahmins, Buddhism prevails in Ceylon, Burmah, Siam, Thibet, Mongolia, Java and Japan. Buddhism became established in China 65 A. D. The Græco-Bactrians accepted it with the Scythian dynasty that succeeded them. It was carried to Thibet, Afghanistan and to the Caspian.
247 B. C. Asoka of the non-Aryan race, the grandson of Chandra Gupta, supported many Buddhist priests, 64,000 in number. He founded many religious houses. He did for Buddhism what Constantine did for Christianity. He corrected the heresies of evil men who had taken upon themselves the yellow robe of Buddha, without the life. Britannica says that Buddhism has won greater triumphs in its exile than it could have achieved in the land of its birth. It has created a religion and literature for more than one-third of the human race and has profoundly affected the beliefs of the rest. Five hundred million men still follow the teachings of Buddha. His shrines and monasteries stretch in a continuous line from the Caspian to the Pacific and still extend from the confines of the Russian empire to the equatorial archipelago. The most reliable of the books of Buddha are written in Pali, a dialect direct from the Old Race. It is not surprising that teachings so high and earnest should have met with eager acceptance by a people as intensely religious as the Hindu. 400 A. D. Buddhism was still flourishing over a large. the area in India. In the ninth and tenth centuries, a great persecution arose and Buddhists were utterly exterminated. For two centuries Brahmins had been gaining the upper hand.
Brahminism and Buddhism had lived side by side from 250 B. C. till about 900 A. D. Modern Hinduism is but the product of both. 400 A. D. temples of the two faiths could be found side by side. Fah Hian, traveling in India saw many Brahmins in their idol temples. He found Buddhist monks maintained at public expense. He carried back revised copies of the Buddhist scriptures to his brethren in China. He saw Buddhist hospitals where the crippled, destitute, and diseased were attended by physicians and supplied with medicines and food until relieved. There were a huge monastery Buddhists at Nalanda, the ruins of which are still to be seen. It was a vast university where a thousand Buddhist monks and novices were lodged and supplied with every necessity. Towers and domes rose and pavilions were to be seen amidst a paradise of trees, gardens, and fountains. There were six large ranges of buildings, four stories high, as well as a hundred lecture rooms. Food, bed, and vestments were furnished free. They were thus enabled to devote their whole lives to the acquisition of learning. They studied the sacred books of all religions and all sciences especially arithmetic and medicine. The people of India became gentle, honest and just. There was no capital punishment.
Many miraculous stories grew up around the life and death of Buddha. Great festivals were held in which the monarch stripped off his jewels and royal raiment and handed them to bystanders in imitation of the great renunciation of Buddha. In the architecture of India, the Pagoda is the symbol of Buddhism. It is one massive solid structure of an elongated bell shape. The highest part is usually covered with precious metal. The Schway Dagon is 370 feet high on an artificial mound of 170 feet. Its top is mostly of solid gold encrusted with precious stones. It is surrounded with numberless shrines or temples every one of which holds an image of the Great Buddha. The shrines are built of marble, richly carved teak, or glass mosaics, every one trying to excel the other in delicate charm. In each are sweet little bells which upon the winds blowing, ring gentle peals of sacred music to the great founder of the faith. In Mandalay, Burmah is an immense brazen statue of Buddha. The devout among his believers gild the image with leaf gold. At least a dozen men and women can be seen at any time thus expressing their devotion. Here Brahma holds no sway. Here the women, modest and self-respecting possess equality with men.
Brahminism claims to be founded upon the Vedas, the sacred books of India, taken over by the Brahmins. They were not the creators of the writings, though today they are the custodians, interpreters, and priests. They only attained this place after a bloody struggle with the native races. Upon the suppression of Buddhism a line of apostles of Brahminism appeared, with a philosophy built upon the peculiar mystic, ascetic, teachings of Buddha. A mass of Hindu legends sprang up around them. Some were born of virgins, others overcame lions, others raised the dead. When hands and feet were cut off they sprouted again; while the earth opened up and swallowed their slanderers. In Brahminism, Brahma was the first person of the Trinity. He was the creator. Vishnu was the preserver and the abominable Siva, the destroyer. Brahma who was at first the most exalted sunk into the background and today Vishnu and Siva form the two worshipped deities of India. Though Siva was revered in a philosophical way by the Brahmins, he is worshipped with the most degrading rites by the masses of India. In the image of Siva of the Grotto of Elephante obscenity is displayed that surpasses anything that depravity can imagine.
Buddha and Siva were two hostile sects, Heeren tells us emphatically that in the Phallic emblems and the female counterpart, there are no evidence of grossness. In one place Vishnu is represented as a servant of Buddha. The Brahmins attempted to incorporate the pure worship of Buddha into their religion by making him an incarnation of Vishnu. As time went on Brahmins added to and corrupted the Vedas to confirm their excessive pretensions. Brahmanism is full of elements foreign to the Aryas. It worships gods that they did not bring into India and the traditions are borrowed from the darker race. Brahminism as a power came in by political changes about 700 A. D. Dr. Stevenson declares that wherever Brahmins found a god whom it was politic to reverence they made him one of their own. Later Brahmins tried to conciliate and absorb everything. Their religion was not pure or attractive enough to supplant Buddhism fairly, so they destroyed, revised and interpolated the historical books of India, suppressing its real religious history. “Thus we find two strains running through the Vedas, one pure and devotional in the other,” Barnett says, are bursts of filthy obscenity, a mass of vulgar superstitions and magic rites enwrapping almost every function of life.”
High in the Himalayas in an eastern direction from Brahmaputra of Thibet the original seat of the Brahmins was found in 1807. There were seven hundred cities. Here the predominant sect is Siva, showing that this abominable god had a Mongol origin. This is the birthplace of a people who came down into the India plains to bring their faith, which in the seven hundredth year of the Christian Era gained the upper hand. The cruel nature or Brahmic law reveals their Tartar origin. By torture, they forced Brahminism upon the Indian Cushites. They punished theft by the cutting off of hands and feet. One who defamed the Brahmins or the caste spirit they sought to force upon the people had his tongue torn out, red hot irons thrust into his mouth, or the lips cut off. (Antiquities of India, Barnett, p. 116, 122.) Under their law, the husband could whip or kill his wife and confiscate her property. The polyandry of the Malay tribes of Thibet was among them where brothers had a common wife.
The burning of the widow on the funeral pyre persisted down to modern times. Time has treated the Brahmin roughly. He had a better start than any other Hindu, he appropriated learning ready-made, but he made but little of the great chance. He has been too proud and self-centered. The Brahmin has the proud conviction of superiority depicted in every muscle of his face. His is not the nature that could have created the wonderful literature of India. Pride is manifested in every movement of his body. Though he is in possession of the richest literature and the deepest philosophy of the ages, he adds nothing to the solution of India’s bitter problems today. We must look to Gandhi and the masses for that. Brahmins added fictions to the great Indian epic poem Maha Bharata to satisfy their hatred of the Buddhists. Some modern books claim that Buddha belonged to the Aryas but history proves the Brahmins to have been the hostile sect that drove Buddhism from India. Buddha could not have been Turanian. Heeren says, “This god is easily known by his woolly hair and long ears as he sits cross-legged.” So we see him in the great temple dedicated to him at Kinnery. Brahmins in the altered literature represented the heads of Buddhist monasteries as monsters and the charioteer, whom the priests envied were represented as lowborn carters and wagoneers.
Barnett speaking of the Aryas or Brahmins in their beginning says of them that, whatever was their inception, their race was very quarrelsome. They brought no women with them to India but took Dravidian wives. They established themselves in the Midlands and here amidst Aryans mixed with Cushite blood the Vedas developed their classic culture. Sanskrit was the language in which it was written because it was the tongue of the predominant race. In the Vedas we find but a very rudimentary knowledge of astronomy. Their enlightenment on medicine is very obscure and mixed with sorcery. History and geography, says Barnett, were left solely to the imagination. Vedic society was patriarchal or masculine, the Cushite life matriarchal. In the Vedas were tales of endless blood-feuds, capital punishment, roasting alive, drowning, trampling by elephants, devouring by dogs, tearing in pieces, implement and other horrors that sound more like the Assyrian cruelties of a later age or Hunnish atrocities, rather than the deeds and customs of the noble Indo-European race in its beginning. The Rig-Veda written not later than 1000 B. C. represents a civilization similar to the Iliad. Both represent a society molded by foreign invasion, a race of stalwart strangers, strong in culture and armor, of the late bronze and early iron ages, descending upon a darker, weaker people, subjecting them and mixing blood and culture.
Leaving the enigma of the origin and meaning of the Rig-Veda, we come to the two allegorical poems, the Ramayana and the Maha Bharata, which eclipse anything in Sanskrit. The Ramayana is very ancient. It represents a culture and ideals very different from the early Vedas. It is an allegory in which good triumphs over evil. It begins with the description of a city founded by Manu (Menes), first sovereign of mankind. The streets are full of merchants, elephants, horses and chariots, beautiful temples and palaces decorated with precious stones, incense, and flowers. No covetous person was there, no liar, deceiver, or evil disposition. This poem is uncontaminated with foreign alloy. It is a picture of Hindu life prior to 1000 B. C. It is also a picture of Cushite civilization at that age. It is the story of the deeds of primitive heroes. The poem contains 24,000 verses and is divided into seven books. It was written about 500 B. C. Another Hindu book is the Code of Manu, dating 1000 B. C. It regulated the moral and social life. The Maha Bharata is 240,000 lines, the, longest epic poem ever written, being eight times as long as the Iliad and Odyssey put together. The sacred books of Buddha contain five times as much matter as the Old and New Testaments combined.
The Rig-Veda is composed of songs of praise, prayers, and commandments. They sprang from imaginative and creative, as well as serious and thoughtful people. Much of the grossness found in these writings cannot be attributed to the creators but to the interpolations of the Brahmins. The Puranas, the Fifth Veda, consists of prehistoric legends. With the voluminous additions of the Brahmins, they have become a kind of encyclopedia of general knowledge. They are based upon older books of less extended scope. None of them are older than 1000 B. C. The Jains, wealthy southern Dravidians, an offshoot from Buddhism, accuse the Brahmins of destroying the real history books of India, wherever they gained ascendancy. They assert that the Puranas were formerly historical books-and that some of the divine heroes were merely kings of Oude. As Buddhism declined Jainism grew in southern India. Heeren tells us that the mythology of the Indian Bacchus (Dionysus), son of Cush, seems to have been transformed by the Brahmins into Brahma. Siva one of the great gods of the religion does not appear in the Veda as a god but is simply an invention of the Brahmins. Buddha-Gautama denied the claims of the Brahmins that they were the divinely appointed teachers or sacred knowledge.
The literature of India is vast beyond all comprehension. The library of one of its kings was so huge that it required a hundred Brahmins to carry it the front place to place. Sanskrit is supposed to bear the closest resemblance to the primitive language. Its writings have furnished a storehouse for the rest of the world. The Vedas, as the Homeric poems, and the folklore of western Europe were probably sung and recited for hundreds of years before they were committed to writing. Sanskrit has not been a living language since 200 B. C. The rising supremacy of the Brahmins must have hastened its decay. Had it been their language it would have come over into the Christian Era. It is a carefully constructed tongue and very symmetrical. Great masses of the literature are in the meter. Indian jurisprudence is a standing proof of the ancient moral and intellectual refinement of the people. It has a striking similarity to German and Jewish law. All of these nations were in close contact with the ancient Cushite law. The poetry of India reveals the high moral status of the female sex. A deep feeling of tenderness and regard for the woman is invariably represented.
The Epic narrative of the Hindu poems bears great resemblance to the Homeric stories, yet in the subject and prevailing tone, they are more gigantic. They are full of tenderness and female charm, like the mass element of India that was once Buddhist. The poems describe their character and relations with women as pure and noble. The great poems are pervaded by a most subtle philosophy and their history of metaphysics extends back into the mythical ages and cannot be attributed to the creation of the Brahmanical mind, which dominated and appropriated far down to our era. The first system of philosophy is founded upon nature, the second upon the psychic self, the third upon the revelations of the Vedas. Of the different systems of philosophy, the Vedanta was founded by the author of the Maha-Bharata, which is from the Cushite element. The Sankhya philosophy gave the highest place to nature and seems atheistic. It reveals absorption of thought in the deity as necessary to the gaining of miraculous power. The Yoga system of philosophy teaches complete union of thought and faculty with God. It leads to the Hermitage. Buddha was the author of the Nyaya system of philosophy. It was logical, dialectic or the metaphysics of logical science. He taught that this vain world was but an illusion and that our personality must be absorbed in the god-head
In grammatical structure the language of India is absolutely similar to Greek and Latin in the minutest particulars, only Sanskrit is far richer and more varied. The sacred books of Buddha were written in Palli, the language of native India. If we examine the language of Persia, we find no relation between it and Sanskrit, yet we are led to believe by linguists that Sanskrit with its roots common to the nations of western Europe, passed across Asia with succeeding emigrations of Aryans. “It is impossible to acknowledge the indebtedness of western literature to the literary thought of India. We have borrowed from every department, but nowhere have we found richer treasures than in its romances and fairy tales. Stories are written in far away India has been the favorites of the storytellers of the world. Many of the fairy tales like Cinderella were written to delight some Hindu child. India is rich in literary as well as material treasures and we are far richer for having borrowed from them.” Grammar seems to have had a special fascination for the Hindu. The oldest extant grammar dates from 300 B. C. In mathematics and astronomy they have greatly distinguished themselves.