A HERMIT IN THE HIMALAYAS
But the only messages of God to man which are readily available
to us are embodied in the great religions which have appeared
from time to time. We may not accept them as such, but it is unlikely
that they were mere smoke without fire. It is not at all irrational to
suppose that some daring souls have adventured into higher regions,
surpassing mankind's common reach, and returned with news of the
Creator. All such religions speak of God as being a God, at the
least, well-disposed, at the most, loving and compassionate towards
If every religious leader, if every sage and prophet of the past
who has declared this to be true is utterly deceived or deceiving,
sanity demands an abandonment of all that is decent in life, a
turning towards ruthless savage selfishness and a cynical surrender of
all hopes for the future of this muddled and muddling race of ours.
We must then accept the doctrine of Oswald Spengler, German
apostle of pessimism and force, that man is himself a beast of prey.
Fortunately most intelligent men do not think so. They do not
worship reason to the utter exclusion of feeling, as do our modern
intellectual coxcombs. Where they turn away from a religion like
Christianity, they do not quite turn away from Christ. Where they
desert their decaying Hinduism, they still hold to some kind of
reverence for its former saints. And so the thought of God's benevo-
lence is yet a hope and faith with many.
All these people, however, with their education, accept the
scientific story of evolution from barbarity to civilization. This story
is not a complete novel but only a serial story. The scientists, as I
have said, so far hr.ve got hold only of the last few instalments. If
and when they receive the earlier portionsx they will be compelled
to revise their judgments.
This notion that Nature started by being "red hi tooth and
claw**, creating the most bestial men and the most ferocious animals
first, has been fashionable and popular amongst educated people
for nearly three quarters of a century, .
My question is now ready and it is addressed to these people.
If you believe in a benevolent God, how can yon believe that He
began His work of creation in such a foul manner?
Is it not more rational to believe, on the contrary, that God
began in accordance with His nature hi the best possible manner,
by creating the noblest men and finest animals? Is it not more
rational to believe that this was His first intention and that degenera-
tion into barbarity, when it came, set in through these men and
animals falling of their own volition and not by God's desire?
The Bible story of the fall of man is only partly an allegory, but
nevertheless it is a true one.