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Fellow of the Calcutta University, member of the 
Asiatic Society &c., &*, &*c. 


VOL. I. 




7) MADAN Ml 




THE ENGLISH WORKS of Raja Ram Mohun Roy- 
were with great difficulty, republished in 1885, after 
having been neglected for 50 years. The author speat 
the best part of his life and the whole of his hard-earned 
fortune in writing and publishing these valuable works 
After his death however they were neglected and nearly 
forgotten. It is as strange as it must be painful to e very- 
Indian heart, that this should have been so ; for there is 
no subject of importance to India, whether it be social, 
religious, or political, which has not been dealt with by 
the Raja with an ability to which few of his countrymen 
after him, can lay any claim. Reformers and patriots of 
India of the present age and of ages to come will always 
find much to learn from the first and the greatest patriot 
and reformer of modern India. 

Nor are Indians alone who have much to learn from 
him. Civilized Europe and America also, will find rniacfe 
in his works to think seriously upon, and will not fail, 
to admire the genius and the learning of a native of 
India who could write upon the Bible and its doctrines 
with an amount of erudition not surpassed by the rna&. 
learned divines of his age. 


In introducing these works, it is perhaps fit that we 
should give a short account of the life of the author, and 
the times in which he lived, and of the circumstances 
which surrounded him, and which were the direct causes 
of the writings which are now republished. 

Raja Ram Mohun Roy was born of a very respect 
able high-caste Brahmin family, at Radhanagore, a 
village in the District of Hooghly in Lower Bengal, in 
the year 1774, A. D. The English had just acquired 
Bengal and were trying to establish sett led government 
in the country. It was in this very year that the first 
Governor-General of India and his Council were ap 
pointed, and the Supreme Court established. It was 
indeed a momentous year for India. Raja Ram Mohun 
Roy s father was Ram Kant Roy, a small Zemindar, 
who had served under the Nawabs of Murshedabad 
and had seen their downfall. His mother was a woman 
of very great piety and remarkable firmness of charac 
ter. Her name was Tarini Devi, but she was commonly 
known as Phool Thakoorani. 

Toles of Pundits where Brahmins only were taught, 
and Muktubs of Persian Moulovies, were the only 
places of instruction in those days. Persian was still 
the language of the Court, and all persons who were 
ambitious of secular honours for their sons, had them 
educated in Persian and Arabic. Ram Mohun Roy 
was, consequently, after he had acquired what knowledge 
he could, of Bengalee and Persian, in his native village, 
sent in his ninth year to Patna the principal seat of 
Arabic learning in Bengal. The extraodinary memory 
and the uncommon intellectual powers of young Ram 
Mohun enabled him to master the Persian and Arabic 


languages within 3 or 4 years. In this short time he 
studied not only the poets and philosophers of Persia 
and Arabia, among whom the Sufis, whose mystic 
philosophy resembled the philosophy of Vadanta and 
Yoga, pleased him most, but he also read Aristotle and 
Euclid in Arabic and became a true Moulovi, as he was 
called in after life. 

In his twelfth year Ram Mohun Roy was sent to 
Benares to study Sanskrit. Benares was then and is 
still the principal seat of Sanskrit learning especially 
of the Vedantic philosophy. Ram Mohun Roy stayed 
there till his sixteenth year, and diligently studied the 
literature and the philosophy of the old Hindus ; and 
it was here that he imbibed the monotheistic tenets of 
the Vedanta and the Upanishads, and he came back 
from Benares a determined enemy of idolatry and the 
religious evils of his country. 

Soon after his return home Ram Mohun Roy wrote, it 
is said, a treatise against the idolatry of the Hindus, which 
caused a rupture between father and son and young as he 
was, he left his paternal roof and wandered for four years 
from place to place, alone and without a friend. It was 
during this time that he travelled to Tibet where he 
learnt the doctrines of Buddhism at its principal seat. 
His assertion of monotheistic doctrines there nearly cost 
him his life, but the kindness of the women of Tibet 
saved him from all dangers and difficulties, a kindness 
which he never forgot, and which, as he said forty years 
after, made him always feel the warmest respect and 
gratitude towards the gentler sex. 

After four years, he was recalled home by his father, 
-who was heart-broken, as he said, like Dasaratha by 


sending his Ram to the wilderness j and till his twenty- 
fifth year he spent his time in learning English and study 
ing the Sanskrit shasters, and carrying on controversies 
with the Brahmins on idol-worship and the burning, 
of widows, which, however, again brought upon him the 
wrath of the Hindu society, and he was once more 
obliged to leave his home. 

From 1800 to 1813 Ram Motion Roy was made a 
sheristadar. He spent ten years of his life in Ramgurh, 
Bhagulpore and Rungpore as dewan or head officer of 
the Collectors and Judges of those districts, and hence- 
it was, that he was commonly known as the Dewanji, 
till he was made a Raja by the Emperor of Delhi. 
While at Rungpore, he was also busily engaged in 
studying the shasters, and in controversies with the 
Brahmins, and though we have got none of his writings 
of that time, there is a book written against him at 
Rungpore and subsequently revised and printed in 
Calcutta in 1245 B. S. (1838 A. D. ) named Jnananjan, 
from which we learn, that while at Rungpore he 
wrote Persian tracts and translated parts of the 

From Rungpore Ram Mohun Roy came to Calcutta 
in 1814, and as he said "gave up all worldly avocations, 
and engaged in religious culture and in the investigation 
of truth," and began the work of his life for which he 
had been so long preparing. In order to give an idea of 
the difficulties which Ram Mohun Roy had to overcome, 
and the prevalence and the enormity of the evils which he 
had to fight against, we shall give a short account of 
the state of the country and of the Hindu society at 
that time. 


It was the period of a great revolution. When Ram 
Mohun Roy was born, all the old kingdoms were tumb 
ling down, and new ones were being reared in their stead. 
In Bengal the tyrannical Serajuddoula had been over 
thrown, and the rule of a race of foreigners from beyond 
the ocean had been set up. Throughout the whole 
country there was disorder and confusion. The old 
state of things was passing away, giving place to the 
new, the only question being, whether this would be for 
the better or for the worse. 

In the religious world also there was much excitement. 
The Saktas or the worshippers of the goddess Sakti, 
and the Vaishnabas, mostly followers of Chaitanya, were 
both strong, and were contending with each other for 
supremacy in the land. It was at this time also that 
the Tantrik worship flourished in Bengal, with all its 
midnight horrors and corruptions, as well as with that 
profound though rather gloomy devotion so well 
exemplified in the case of Ram Prosad Sen, Raja 
Ramkanta and other great men, many of whom 
were contemporaries of the father of Ram Mohun 
Roy. Nor was Vaishnabism weak. With all the 
.corruptions that had polluted the sacred religion of 
Chaitanya, there was still some religious fervour left, 
which enabled it to keep its hold upon the people. The 
strife between the Vaishnabas and the Saktas was bitter, 
and Ram Mohun Roy lived in the very midst of it ; for 
his own family was one of the foremost Vaishnaba fami 
lies of Bengal, while his maternal grand-father was the 
acknowledged spiritual head of the Saktas of that part 
of the country, and stories are told of quarrels between 
the two familes on account of their religious differences, 


and it is not strange that religious discussion was the 
pleasure of Ram Mohun Roy s life during his youth as- 
well as afterwards. But however great might be the 
bigotry of the two sects, their general immorality and 
corruptions were simply revolting, and it was high time 
that matters should mend. 

The social condition of the people in Bengal was 
also deplorable. The rigid Caste-system of India with 
its blighting influence reigned in its full vigour. The 
horrible rites of Suttee and Infanticide were the order 
of the day. There were indeed many instances of 
true Suttees to whom the death of their lord was 
the end of all desire of life and its pleasures, and 
who went joyfnlly into the fire with yermillion on 
their forehead and other bridal decorations, without 
casting * one longing lingering look behind. But 
it should not therefore be forgotten that in a great 
many instances, the Suttee was the victim of her 
greedy relatives, and in more, of rash words spoken 
in the first fit of grief, and of the vanity of her kindred 
who considered her shrinking from the first resolve an 
indelible disgrace. Many a horrible murder was thus 
committed, the cries and shrieks of the poor Suttee 
being drowned by the sound of tomtoms, and her 
struggles made powerless by her being pressed down 
with bamboos. The heart of Ram Monun Roy was 
sick with sights like the above which were then of 
every day occurrence, as will appear from the following, 
official return of the number of Suttees from 1815 to 
1828 : 
















i8 2 8. 
















































2 9 





6 9 
















































639 gii 



The condition of the Hindu female in those days 
was truly pitiable. Education among females was un 
known. Kulinism, Polygamy, and every day oppression 
made the life of the Hindu female unbearable. For 
an authentic account of their condition, we refer the 
reader to Ram Mohun Roy s second essay on the 
burning of widows. The Hindu society with Caste, 
Polygamy, Kulinism, Suttee, Infanticide and other evils 
was rotten to its core. Morality was at a very low ebb. 
Men spent their time in vice and idleness, and in social 
broils and party quarrels. 

As to education among the people, of what even 
the Muktubs could impart, there was but little. What 
little learning there was, was confined to a few Brahmins, 
and it was in the main a vain and useless learning. 
Ignorance and superstition reigned supreme over the 
length and breadth of the country. There was darkness 
over the land, and no man knew when it would be 

In the political world also there was much disorder. 
With the administration of criminal justice still in the 
hands of Kazis, the civil courts in disorder, the most 


elementary rules of inheritance and disposal of property 
BDsettled, the state of the law and the administration of 
justice were in utter confusion. The permanent settle 
ment also was made about this time, and the germs laid 
of those vast social and economical changes in the 
condition of the people which have followed in the train 
of that great measure. 

It was during these the most stirring times of modern 
Indian history from 1774 to 1833 that Ram Mohun 
Roy lived and moved, and worked with all his might to 
taring light and dispel the darkness that was upon the 

, to succour the oppressed and the downtrodden, 
to help the beneficient rulers of the country in 
producing order out of chaos. 

Ram Mohun Roy came to Calcutta not to rest. He 
came prepared for the fight with the old superstitions 
and the manifold evils that had darkened the face of his 
country. His treatise in Persian with an Arabic preface, 
mined Tuhfat-ul Muwahhidin, or a gift to the worship 
pers of one God, and his controversies at Rungpore had 
established his fame ; and upon his coming to Calcutta, 
fee was able very soon to gather round him a few learned 
and earnest-minded men. The Atmiya Sobha was 
established in 1814 for the worship of the One invisible 
God as inculcated in the Upanishads. Ram Mohun 
^Roy fought with the voice as well as with the pen. But 
Ihis power lay in his writings. He wrote without ceasing, 
and spent the whole of his fortune in publishing and 
distributing his works among his countrymen. 

As we have mentioned before, from early youth Ram 
Mohun Roy was convinced of the error and the baneful 
effects of the popular idolatry, and he was also con- 


vinced that the prevailing superstition was not the 
religion of the Saints and the Philosophers of ancient 
India. The popularizing of the tenents of the Vedanta 
and the Upanishads was, he thought, the best means of 
driving the prevailing corrupt religions from the country, 
and with th ; s object, he began with publishing and 
translating them into Bengali and English, with intro 
ductions which contained his exposition of the philo 
sophy of those wonderful writings. 

What Ram Mohun Roy attempted in his expositions 
was to popularize the monotheistic ideas and the high 
morality inculcated in those writings. They have read 
his works in vain, who think that they were calculated to 
spread the popular pantheism of the Vedanta. The 
monotheism and the spirituality of the ancient Rishis 
was what Ram Mohun Roy laboured to revive and 
spread among all classes of men, without distinction 
of caste and sex. Ram Mohun Roy s mission was not 
only to restore the ancient monotheism, but also to lij>e- 
rate the Sudra and the Hindu woman from the thraldom 
that had enchamed them body and soul for so many 
thousands of years, and to restore to them the life-giving 
religion and spirituality of the Upanishads. He showed 
conclusively that these were not intended for Brahmins 
only, but for women and Sudras as well. The publica 
tion of the Vedanta and the Upanishads showed to the 
orthodox, and specially to the Brahmins who lived by 
priest-craft, the danger that the old superstitions were in, 
and they at once combined to oppose Ram Mohun Roy, 
and a bitter controversy was the result. These contro 
versial writings in which Ram Mohun Roy triumphantly 
vindicated his position fully display his remarkable 


logical powers and his vast learning, and deserve to be 
carefully read by our countrymen, especially at the 
present moment when the old controversy between 
idolatry and monotheism seems to have revived with 
some vigour. 

Ram Mohun Roy while fighting with the idolatry of 
his country was not unmindful of the * incarnation 
worship of the Christians which was gaining ground in 
India. Trinitarian Christianity was the next object of 
his attack. He had learnt Greek and Hebrew and 
studied the scriptures in the original, in order to qualify 
himself for the fight. The Missionaries also were not 
slow to reply ; but they had to deal with one whose 
genius and Biblical learning made him more than a 
match for them, and they certainly did not come out 
triumphant from the controversy ; and it may safely be 
asserted that the writings of the Raja exercised a 
powerful influence in arresting the spread of orthodox 
Christian religion in this country. The greatest oppo 
nent of popular Hinduism and Christianity in this 
country, his regard for both religions in their purity was 
so great that he may be considered as the best Hindu 
and the best Christian of modern India. 

The controversy between Ram Rohun Roy and the 
Serampore Missionaries was the counterpart of his 
controversy with the Brahmins, and had its origin 
in much the same way. He began the fight with 
Hindu idolatry by the publication of the Vedant and 
the Upanishads, and fought the Brahmins with their 
own weapons, and showed to his countrymen the 
abuses introduced by them into the pure religion 
inculcated in those sacred books. Likewise his 


publication of the Precepts of Jesus the guide to 
peace and happiness, though intended to show the 
excellence of pure Christianity, offended the Trinitarian 
missionaries, and gave rise to the famous controversy 
with them. 

From early youth Ram Mohun Roy was an admirer 
of monotheism, and we have seen what a deep impres 
sion was made on his mind by the monotheism of the 
Muhummadans when he was studying Persian and 
Arabic. As a matter of course he was attracted to the 
pure religion of Christ when he came in contact with the 
Christians. As early as 1816 we know of his familiar 
Intercourse with the Serampore missionaries, Carey, 
Ward and Marsh man. For the benefit of his country 
men he published in 1820 the precepts of Jesus, with 
a translation into Sanskrit and Bengalee, in which he, 
as he said, " separated the precepts from the abstruse 
doctrines and miraculous relations of the New Testa 
ment, as the former are liable to the doubts and dis 
putes of Freethinkers and Antichristians and the latter 
are capable at the best of carrying little weight with 
the natives of this part of the globe, the fabricated 
tales handed down to them, being of a more wonder 
ful nature." This gave great umbrage to the missionaries 
who thought it was a protest against the accepted doc 
trine of the divinity of Christ, and soon after its publica 
tion, there appeared in the friend of India, a periodical 
work under the direction of the Baptist missionaries,, 
an article animadverting upon it, which was signed " A 
Christian Missionary," but written by the Rev. Mr. 
Schmidt. The editor, Dr. Marshman, also appended to 
it some " Observations " of his own, in which Ram 


Mohun Roy was called a " heathen, opposed to the 
grand design of the Saviour s becoming incarnate," and 
also promised to take up the subject more fully in the 
first number of the quarterly series of the Friend of 

These " Observations " led to the publication of the 
First Appeal to the Christian public in defence of the 
Precepts of Jesus, by a " Friend to Truth." In a subse 
quent number of the Friend of India (No. XXIII. 
May, 1820) Dr. Marshman inserted a brief reply to this 
Appeal; and also in the first number of the quarterly 
series of the Friend of India, in September 1820, accord 
ing to his promise, he published a paper entitled " Some 
observations on certain ideas, contained in the Intro 
duction to the Precepts of Jesus, the guide to peace 
and happiness." In reply to this paper Ram Mohun 
Roy published his " Second Appeal to the Christian 
public in defence of the Precepts of Jesus." 

Dr. Marshman published an elaborate reply to the 
Second Appeal in December 1821, in the fourth number 
of the quarterly series of the Friend of India. In 
answer to this Ram Mohun Roy published his " Final 
Appeal to the Christian Public" in 1823, to vindicate 
himself, as he says, from the charge of being an injurer 
of the cause of truth " by bringing forward his reasons, 
as a warm friend of that cause, for opposing the opi 
nions maintained by so large a body of men highly 
celebrated for learning and piety." The previous works 
on the subject of Christianity had been printed at the 
Baptist Mission Press, Calcutta. But since the publica 
tion of the Second Appeal, the proprietor refused to 
print any other work that the author might publish on 


the same subject, and Ram Mohun Roy was obliged 
to establish a printing press of his own * where he 
printed the Final Appeal with numerous Hebrew and 
Greek quotations. 

In 1822 the friends of Dr. Marshman collected 
and published his papers in this controversy in London 
under the title of "A defence of the Dejty and Atonement 
of Jesus Christ, in reply to Ram Mohun Roy of Cal- 
cuttta, by Dr. Marshman of Serampore." Upon this it 
was thought by the Unitarian Society of London to 
be demanded by truth and justice that Ram Mohun 
Roy s pamphlets should also be given to the British 
Public, and they published in 1824 in London the 
Precepts of Jesus and the three Appeals, in order " to 
give every possible publicity to so learned and able a 
defence of the proper unity of God." This volume was 
reprinted in America in 1828, and was again printed 
in London in July 1834 w i tn tne following advertise 
ment : "The former edition of these Treatises, published 
in one volume, in the year 1824, by the London Uni 
tarian Society, had been for some years out of print ; 
and although the market had in the interval been sup 
plied to a certain extent with copies of the American 
edition, this was found insufficient for the demand which 
the Author s appearance in England occasioned. In 
fluenced by this consideration, and by a desire to com 
municate still more widely the impression received in 
favour of his splendid attainments and Christian piety, 
the Publisher has ventured on the present edition, which 

It was called the Unitarian Press, Dhurrumtola. 


he hopes will prove satisfactory to the numerous admirers 
of the illustrious Author." 

The extraordinary learning and ability shown in 
these writings, and their great worth were readily ac 
knowledged in England and America. Dr. Carpenter, 
remarking on the Second Appeal, said " that the excel 
lent author is distinguished by the closeness of his 
reasoning, the critical accuracy of his scriptural know 
ledge, the comprehensiveness of his investigations, the 
judiciousness of his arrangements, the lucid statements 
of his opinions, and the acuteness and skill with which 
he controverts the positions of his opponents." The 
Final Appeal was reviewed in the Monthly Repository 
(Vol. XVIII. pp. 473, et seq.) in the following terms, 
" It is in our judgment the most valuable and important 
of all the Hindoo Reformer s works, demonstrating the 
entire devotion of heart and soul, and mind and 
strength, to the cause of pure Christianity. He has 
studied most diligently the great question between the 
Unitarians and the Trinitarians, and he defends the 
-general doctrine of the former with a degree of ability 
rarely exceeded by the most practiced polemics of this 

After the publication of the first Appeal the Mis 
sionaries of Serampore, not content with vindicating the 
excellence of their own doctrines, attacked all the Hindu 
Shastras as unreasonable, and also abused the Hindus 
in very offensive terms in their Bengalee newspaper, the 
Samachar Darpan, as well as in the Friend of India. 
Ram Mohun Roy was not slow to reply, and he pub- 
ished the Bramhunical Magazine, the fourth number 
of which is dated November 1823, nearly ten months 


after the publication of the Final Appeal. In these 
papers he vindicated the Hindu systems of philosophy 
against the attacks of the Missionaries, and attempted to 
show the unreasonablness of the Trinitarian Doctrines. 
The Final Appeal and the fourth number of the Brahmu- 
nical Magazine were not answered by the Missionaries. 

In this place we ought to mention that many in 
his own time regarded Ram Mohun Roy as Christian 
in his opinions. That Ram Mohun Roy had high re 
gard for the teachings and character of Jesus Christ, 
can not be questioned. But though ready to 
accord to him the highest place among prophets 
and religious teachers, he did not believe in his divinity, 
nor in the idea of atonement by his bl o od. The idea 
of man-God and that of the Trinity he considered as no 
better than idolatry and polytheism. Ram Mohan Roy 
himself says of his opinion in a letter written after the 
publication of the Second Appeal " My view of Chris 
tianity is that in representing all mankind as the 
children of one eternal Father, it enjoins them to love 
one another without making any distinction of country, 
caste, colour or creed." Miracles were of no import 
ance in his eyes, as in the Christian Scriptures as well 
as in the Hindu Shastras many had been credited with 
having performed them, and he speaks of them in the 
Tuhfatul Muwahhiddin, as * so many hypocritical acts 
of spiritual leaders which are not worth a mite, to give 
comfort to the hearts of men being the only divine 
doctrine. In special revelation he did not believe, (see 
Tuhfatul Muwahhiddin) and he thought that our intuitive 
faculty of discriminating good from evil was sufficient, 
and that the forgiveness of sins might be obtained by 


sincere repentance, and that salvation could be attained 
only by charity, spirituality and contemplation. 

He not only fought the Trinitarian missionaries 
but actively supported the Unitarians of Calcutta, 
and very often attended their church before he 
established the Brahmo Sarnaj. Rev. William Adam, 
the most prominent Unitarian minister of that time in 
India, who was at first a Baptist Missionary, but was 
converted to the Unitarian faith in 1821 by Ram Mohun 
Rcy, was one of his best friends and coadjutors. 

Thus he fought the battle of pure Theism against 
Hindus and Christians alike. He did not however con 
fine his energies to controversies. His great piety and 
and prayerfulness are well-known ; and he wanted to 
lead his countrymen not only to believe in the One True 
God, but also to worship Him. The scepticism of the 
young men of the newlyestablished Hindu College 
pained him quite as much as the idolatry of the ortho 
dox. He had established the Atmiya Sobha for divine 
worship, as he had established the Ved Mandir for the 
study of Vedic literature, and other institutions for dis 
cussion and debate. Many pious and prayerful men 
gathered round him. The cause of theism prospered in 
spite of all opposition, and at last in 1828 was esta 
blished the Brahmo Samaj. He established his Samaj 
on a broad and catholic basis. His was an universal 
religion ; and he invited all men " of all sorts and des 
criptions " " for the worship and adoration of the Eter 
nal Unsearchable Immutable Being who is the Author 
and Preserver of the Universe " in his church, where 
the Supreme Being alone was to be worshipped under 
" no name designation or title, peculiarly used by any 


man or set of men to any particular Being ;" and en 
joined that "no religion should be reviled or slightingly 
or contemptuously spoken of or alluded to" in his church 
and that worship should be conducted only in such a way 
as would tend to promote the contemplation of the 
Supreme Being as well as "to promote charity, morality, 
piety, benevolence, virtue and the strengthening of 
the bond of union between men of all religious persu 
asions and creeds." Such was the church of Ram 
Mohun Roy. Austerity, sentimentalism, and that false 
Byragya which shuns mankind, had no place in his reli 
gion ; and he showed to the Hindus from the Shasters 
that the highest religion was compatible with the duties 
of the world, and that the so-called worldly life was well 
calculated to lead to salvation. Ram Mohun Roy s 
religion consisted in the calm contemplation of the 
Deity, and in active benevolence, morality and chanty. 
It was not the religion of unhealthy emotions and mys 
ticism, to which some of his followers have reduced the 
universal religion of Jnan and goodness and true devo 
tion taught by him. He exemplified in his life that 
Jnan t (true wisdom) and Bhakti^ (love of God) went to 
gether. It was a sight to see him in the Brahma Sabha,. 
clothed in his Durbar dress, sitting calm and composed, 
his face bathed in tears as his favourite hymns were 

Thus was the Brahmo Somaj of modern India esta 
blished. Among those who helped him, and stood by 
him in this work, the names of Ram Chunder Bidya- 
bagish, Kalee Nath Roy, Dwarka Nath Tagore, Tara- 
chand Chuckerbutty and Chunder Shekhur Deb deserve 
special mention, Ram Chunder Bidyabagish was the 


minister of the church from the beginning, and when 
after Ram Mohun Roy s death others deserted his 
church, he alone kept it up, till Debendra Nath Tagore 
accepted the religion of the Brahmo Somaj, and took 
the sacred charge from his hands. Let these men also 
be remembered with Ram Mohun Roy. 

While so deeply engaged in the work of religious 
reform, Raja Ram Mohun Roy had not forgotten the 
miserable condition of the women of India and espe 
cially that rite called the Sacrifice of the Suttee, which 
was so often but the cruel murder of Hindu widows. With 
all his ability and learning he set himself against these 
evil practices of Hindu society. In 1818 his first tract 
against the Suttee was published. In burning words he 
condemned the cruel practices and the oppressions under 
which the females of this country groaned. One thing 
in this connection is noteworthy. He condemned the 
Suttee not only because it was cruel, but also because, 
according to the Shasters, it was not the best way for 
the salvation of a woman, in as much as it led only to 
enjoyment in heaven, and was based on the hope of 
reward. He preached the higher self-sacrifice of the 
ancient Rishis which consisted in forgetfulness of self, 
in well-doing, and in the contemplation of the Supreme 
Eeing. He alone among ten thousand Brahmins of 
his age was the true Brahmin who had inherited the 
deep spirituality of his ancestors, the great Rishis of 
old, and the reasons given by him were not understood 
by his degenerate countrymen. However, it was princi 
pally through his exertions that the Suttee was abolished 
by legislation on the 4th of December, 1829. He 
also fought against the evils of Kulinism and is said 


to have presented a petition to the Government for 
prohibiting polygamy by legislation. 

Nor did he confine his energies to religious and 
social reformation. He laboured above all other men 
for the spread of education among his countrymen. 
He did all that lay in his power for improving and 
enriching the Bengali language. It is a remarkable 
fact that the address which he presented to Lord 
William Bentinck was in Bengali, a circumstance 
which showed how deep was his love for his mother 
tongue. In the celebrated controversy between the 
Orientalists and the Anglicists he fought vigorously for 
English education, wrote the famous letter on education 
to Lord Amherst, and had the satisfaction of seeing the 
Hindu college established, though with rare disinterested 
ness he kept himself aloof from the management of the 
College, because it was thought that the leaders of the 
orthodox Hindu society would not like to act with 
him. He also helped David Hare, and especially Dr. 
Duff in their efforts for the spread of English education 
in this country. He established also an English 
school of his own about the year 1822. It is not generally 
known what a heavy debt of gratitude the country 
owes to Ram Mohon Roy for his efforts iu the cause of 
English education. 

Nor was Ram Mohun Roy indifferent to politics. 
He it was who led the agitation against the Press regu 
lations, the resumption of lakheraj holdings, and other 
grievances of his country. His memorials against the 
Press regulations are remarkable writings, and for the 
ability with which they were written, and the deep 
patriotism displayed in them, nothing that has since 


been written by his countrymen on the subject, will 
stand comparison with them. 

The one chief characteristic of Ram Mohun Roy 
which strikes the mind on reading his works and letters 
is his passionate love of freedom. Liberty of thought 
and action he considered as the sure and only way to 
the progress and happiness of man. He laboured with 
out ceasing to improve the degraded condition of his 
countrymen, to obtain for them some of the privileges 
of a free people, and by promoting education among 
them to make them fit for more. His sympathies, 
however, were not limited to his own country. When 
the news of the establishment of constitutional Govern 
ment in Spain reached India, he gave a public dinner 
at the Town Hall. The struggle of Greece for inde 
pendence had his warmest sympathy. The interest he 
took in the passing of the Reform Bill, as appears from 
his letters, was as great as that of the most ardent sup 
porters of that measure in England. 

In legal discussions also he took part, and wrote a 
tract in favour of the power of alienation of the father 
over ancestral property, a power which has since then 
been amply recognized by the Courts, and fought against 
what he called the modem encroachments upon the 
rights of females. 

He also conducted a news-paper called the Sambad 
Koumoody, one of the first of its kind in Bengali. He 
wrote a geography, and translated parts of the Koran 
and the Bible in Bengali, besides publishing a grammar 
of the Bengali language, both in English and Bengali. 
In fact he tried to do alone all things that could be 
done by man for the good of his countrymen. 


In this way Ram Mohun Roy laboured for sixteen 
years in Calcutta for the good of his country, and took no 
rest. Born at a time when people would prostrate them 
selves at the feet of Brahmins, and tremble at the sight 
of Englishmen, when women were treated as no better 
than slaves, when people knew not what freedom was, 
when the night of ignorance and superstition had darken 
ed the face of Bengal, Ram Mohun Roy brought down 
light from heaven, and made the blind to see, spoke 
about freedom and true manhood, with a voice of power 
the like of which had not been heard since the days 
of Buddha, put himself between the oppressed Hindu 
female and her oppressors, and singlehanded fought 
the battle of truth against idolatry and error, while his 
countrymen wondered and understood him not. Raja 
Radhakanta Deb, with his Dharma Sabha, and the 
whole country at his back, was no match for one who 
had been only a Collector s sheristadar. He was a giant 
among his contemporaries, and with his giant strength 
he fought the superstitions of his country, and the evil 
fate of this unfortunate land, while his countrymen 
wanted to take a life that was being freely spent for 

Ram Mohun Roy had been intending from a long 
time to go to England, but, as he said, he refrained 
-from carrying this intention into effect, until his church 
had become strong. The Brahmo Somaj was esta 
blished in 1828. The worship of the One True God 
was regularly carried on, and we have got, out of 98 
sermons which were preached while he was at Calcutta, 
the first 17 in Bengali, and the translation of the first 
second, and- the sixth in English. He composed hymns, 


and established a mode of service for his church. His 
followers increased in numbers, till he was able to errect 
the Adi Brahmo Somaj building for his congregation 
in 1830. 

Now he felt himself free to go to England. He 
started for England in November. 1830. While taking 
leave of his family on a journey to that distant country 
from which he never returned, he saw his little son 
Rama Prosad Roy afterwards the first Indian Judge of 
the Calcutta High Court, weeping. He took him by 
the hand and said "little man why do you weep 
(t?PW? Tft&l ^t? c** ) ? " The lesson should not be for 
gotten by his countrymen. 

Ram Mohun Roy went to England with three 
objects in view. 

(1) To represent the grievances of the Emperor 
of Delhi, who conferred upon him the title of Raja, and 
sent him as his ambassador to the King of England. 

(2) To be present at the discussion of the House 
of Commons on the occasion of the renewal of the East 
India Company s charter, upon which the future Govern 
ment of India, whether for good or for evil, so largely,, 

(3) To present memorials in favour of the abolition 
of the Suttee which he carried with him from India, 
and to counteract the agitation carried on there, by the 
powerful orthodox leaders of Hindu society. 

He had no holiday time of it in England. At 
the request of the Board of Control he submitted 
in writing his famous evidence to the Select Committee 
of the Commons, upon the working of the Judicial and 
Revenue system of India, and the general character 


and condition of its native inhabitants, and 
upon various important matters connected with india. 
He published it in a pamphlet form with the title An 
Exposition of the Revenue and Judicial Systems of India. 
It embraces some of the most important questions relating 
to the administration of India, such as, the reform of 
courts, the jurisdiction of the courts of the country over 
Europeans, the jury system, the separation of the exe 
cutive and judicial offices, the codification of laws, the 
consulting of the people in legislation, the establishment 
of a native militia, the larger employment of natives,, 
the age and education of civil servants, the amelioration 
of the condition of the ryots, and the making of laws 
for their protection, and the permanent settlement ; and 
every word of what he said deserves to be carefully read 
and considered by our rulers as well as our patriots. 

He also wrote various pamphlets such as the ad 
vantages and the disadvantages of European coloniza 
tion in India, and published a collected edition of 
some of his works. He presented the petitions he had 
brought with him in support of the abolition of the rite 
of Suttee to the House of Commons and to the House 
of Lords in person, and had the satisfaction of being 
present when the appeal against the abolition of the 
Suttee was rejected on the nth of July 1832. He was 
received in England and in France with distinguished 
honor by kings and peers and savants alike. But the 
hand of death was upon him in the midst of his success 
and glory, and the first native of India who set foot 
on the shores of England did not return to tell the story 
of his visit, to his mother country. 

Thus in a foreign land died the greatest Indian of 


modern times. His countrymen reviled and persecuted 
him while living. Faults he might have had, and even 
the sun has its spots. But his character in calm heroic 
courage and thorough independence, in utter sincerity 
which disdained to conceal the little failings of his life 
and complete forgetfulness of self in the cause of the 
good of his country, ennobled the race to which he 
belonged. His countrymen have honoured him not. 
But his religion has flourished and his country has 
prospered ; his works have lived and are bearing 
fruit ; no other reward did he seek or hope for in this 

The late professor Max Muller in his life of the 
Raja, very truly described his position in regard to his 
countrymen in the following words : 

" The German name for prince is Furst, in English 
First, he who is always to the fore, he who courts the 
place of danger, the first place in fight, the last in flight. 
Such a First was Ram Mohun Roy, a true prince, a 
real Raja, if Raja also, like Rex, meant originally the 
steersman, the man at the helm." 

Ram Mohun Roy died on the 2yth of September 
1833, and was buried on i8th October, at Stapleton 
Grove in Bristol. Ten years after, his remains were 
removed to the cemetery of Arno s Vale near Bristol, 
where a tomb was raised upon his grave by his distin 
guished countryman, and devoted freind Dwarka Nath 
Tagore, and in 1872 the following inscription was en 
graved on the tomb. 



Rest the Remains of Raja Rammohun Roy 
Bahadoor a conscientious and steadfast 
Believer in the Unity of the 

Godhead ; 

He consecrated his life with entire devotion 
To the worship of the Divine Spirit 

To great natural Talents he united a through 
mastery of many languages, and early distinguished 
himself as one of the greatest scholars of his day. 

His unwearied labours to promote the social, moral 
and physical condition of the people of India, his earnest 
Endeavours to suppress idolatry and the rite of Suttee, 
and his constant zealous advocacy of whatever tended 
to advance the glory of god and the welfare of man, 
live in the grateful remembrance of his countrymen. 

This table record the sorrow and pride with which 
his memory is cherished by his descendants. 

He was born in Radhanagore, in Bengal in 1774, and 
died at Bristol, September 27th, 1833. 

We have attemped to give within a short compass 
the account of a most eventful life. For the purposes 
of an introduction to his works, it will, we think, be 
deemed sufficient. His writings were the chief work of 
his life, We publish them as far as we have been able 
to collect, and only hope that they will be read with the 
regard they deserve. 

As regards the erudition, wisdom and true insight 
into the essence of things, displayed in these writings, 
they are apparent to the most superficial reader ; and 
we have seen how readily they were acknowledged in 
England and America. As to the style of Ram Mohan 


Roy s English writings, clear, concise and methodical,, 
it was an index of his mind. Jeremy Bentham spoke 
of it in terms of high encomium. In a letter to Ram 
Mohan Roy he says " your works are made known to 
me by a book in which I read a style which but for the 
name of a Hindoo I should certainly have ascribed to 
the pen of a superiorly educated and instructed English 
man " and in the same letter while praising the great 
work of James Mill on the History of India he says to 
Ram Mohan Roy of its style " though as to style I 
wish I could with truth and sincerity pronounce it equal 
to yours." * 

It is not necessary to say any thing more here about 
the writings contained in this volume. All necessary in 
formation at our disposal will be found in the foot notes. 
In publishing these works a few words are perhaps 
necessary as to the way in which they have been com 
piled and arranged. 

The works of Raja Ram Mohun Roy went through 
several editions in his life-time here and in England. In 
1832 he published in England a collection of his works 
under the title of " Translation of several principal books, 
passages, and texts of the Veds, and of some contro 
versial works on Brahmunical Theology, " with an 
introduction which will be found in the first vol. We 
have followed the arrangement adopted by the author 
in the above edition as far as it goes. As has been said 

In this letter Bentham addresses Ram Mohun Roy as 


THE SERVICE OF MANKIND." See Bowring s works of BENTHAM, 

Vol. X. p. 586. 


above, these works went through several editions in 
the Raja s life-time. We have compared the several 
editions as far as we could find them, and have tried our 
utmost to ensure the correctness of the present edition. 

In the London Edition of his books Ram Mohun 
Roy adopted the method of Dr. Gilchrist in spelling 
Sanskrit words in English. But in his works published 
in Calcutta he also used other modes of spelling. We 
have not attempted to change the Gilchrist method of 
spelling adopted by him in England, but in some cases, 
for the sake of uniformity as well as for the purpose of 
making the words intelligible, we have changed the 
spelling ; but in doing so, we have not followed a new 
method of our own, but have only adopted the better 
mode of spelling which we find him using in other 
works. We have also made some slight alteration in 
punctuation in some places, but never in places where 
the meaning might be in any way affected by an altera 
tion of the signs. 

We have given occassional foot notes in order 
to introduce some of these essays and tracts, and 
to explain the circumstances under which they were 
written. In some places we have also given notes to 
elucidate facts referred to by the author which are now 
well nigh forgotten, as well as to throw additional light 
upon certain passages in this volume, in the hope that 
they might be found interesting. 

With few exceptions the tracts and essays inserted in 
these volumes are reprinted from the works published by 
the Raja himself during his life-time. The Prospects 
of Christianity in India we have taken from a pamphlet 
published in London in 1825, containing the whole 


correspondence on the subject between Rev. Dr. 
Ware, Ram Mohun Roy, and Rev. Mr. Adam. The 
petition on English Education to Lord Amherst may 
be found in a pamphlet on the * Education of the people 
of India by Sir Charles Trevelyan, as well as in Babu 
Raj Narayan Bose s Essay on the Hindu College. It 
was sent by Ram Mohun Roy to Bishop Heber to be 
put into the hands of Lord Amherst who again handed 
it over to the Education Committee. It was published 
in the Gyananweshun, and selected portions of it were 
inserted in 1834 in the Asiatic Journal Vol. XV. 
p. 136. The petitions against the press Regulation are 
reprinted from a copy of the original petition with 
annexures which was sent to England. We have in 
serted them among the works of Raja Ram Mohun Roy 
for they are generally known to be his, and for the reason 
that they are written in a style which was Ram Mohun 
Roy s own, and because, the feeling of patriotism 
and the good sense displayed in them are such, as no 
body in India at that time, whether he was an English 
man or a Hindu, was capable of. Moreover we find 
them included in the list of the Raja s works made by 
vhis friend and disciple Chunder Sekhur Deb, as well as 
in the list prepared by his son Ramaprasad Roy. 

There are some essays in which the names of other 
persons such as Prosunno Kumar Tagore, Chunder 
Sekhur Deb, and others appear as their authors. But 
it is well-known that Ram Mohun Roy was fond of 
writing under fictitious names, and especially of giving 
the names of his friends to his works. There is no 
doubt that tracts of this nature which we have published 
.are Ram Mohun Roy s, as we have got the authority of 


Chunder Sekhur Deb in some cases, and as most of 
them are included in the above-mentioned lists. We 
have also got other contemporaneous evidence regarding 
the authorship of some of these tracts. The tract 
entitled " The Answer of a Hindoo &c." which is signed 
by Chunder Sekhur Deb, was sent by Mr. W. Adam in 
a letter dated Calcutta, January i8th, 1828, to Dr. 
Tuckerman of Boston, as a new composition of Ram 
Mohun Roy. The " Humble Suggestion" is included 
in the list of Ramaprasd Roy, and the hand 
of Ram Mohun Roy is so palpable there, that 
nobody has ever doubted that it is a production 
of his. 

In the Appendix to the second volume, we have 
inserted an address to Lord William Bentinck, and a 
petition to the Privy Council on the abolition of the 
Suttee. We have every reason to believe from their style 
and the sentiments conveyed in them, that they were 
written by Ram Mohun Roy, but as we have got no direct 
evidence regarding their authorship, we have published 
them in the Appendix. As regards the famous Trust 
Deed of the Brahmo Somaj, it was mostly drafted 
by attorneys, but there is no doubt that the celebrated 
passages containing the object of the trust, in words 
which will ever remain memorable for the broad and 
catholic spirit which they breathe, were composed by 
Ram Mohun Roy himself. 

These works have been obtained chiefly from the 
Adi Brahmo Somaj, and from the collection of Ram 
Mohun Roy s works in the possession of Dr. Mohendra 
Lai Sircar, to whom our thanks are due. Some Tracts 
and Eassys have been kindly sent to us by Miss. Collet 


from England, and a few have been searched out from 
the public libraries of Calcutta. 

In this place we should mention that we are 
indebted to Miss. Collet more than to any other 
person for the interest she took and the help she 
rendered to us in our undertaking. Our thanks are also 
due to Mr. Anund Mohun Bose for the help and 
encouragement gave he us while bringing out the first 

It should here be mentioned that no one has 
laboured more or made greater sacrifice for preserving 
the works of Ram Mohun Roy from being lost and 
forgotten than Babu Eshan Chnnder Bose. He it was 
who collected these works, and employed the present 
editor to edit them. Even in editing considerable 
help was received from him. In fact the credit of the 
publication of the first edition entirely belonged to him. 

For the publication of the present edition the public 
have to thank Babu Srikanta Roy, for without him it 
would never have been undertaken. 

The lithographic print of the profile of the author 
which we give in this volume is copied from the fronti 
spiece of first London Edition of the " Precepts of 
Jesus and the three Appeal " of 1824. 

We conclude with what we wrote at the end of the 
introduction to the second volume of the first edition. 

It was Miss Marry Carpenter who first called upon 
the countrymen of Ram Mohun Roy to undertake the 
sacred task of collecting and publishing his works. 
More than twenty years have since elapsed. We 
grieve at this moment that the call was not more 
promptly responded to. The friends and admirers, 


European and Indian, of the great reformer have all 
passed away they who would have cherished these 
volumes with passionate admiration. The enthusiastic 
writer of the Last days in England, the Rev. Mr. Adam 
and he too, the last surviving disciple of Ram Mohun 
Roy, Chunder Sekhur Deb, they who would have re 
joiced beyond a common rejoicing on this occasion, 
have all passed away. And he the American Missionary, 
Rev. C. H. A. Dall, who was called to this country, 
as he said, by reading these works, and Akhoy Coomar 
Dutt, whose passionate lament in his last work at the 
ingratitude of his countrymen towards Ram Mohun 
Roy is never to be forgotten : none of these persons, 
the desire of whose hearts was the publication of these 
works for the good of man, and whose words have 
always been a stimulus to us in our undertaking, has 
lived to see the completion of the task. We have 
indeed been very late. Long years required to roll 
by, said Miss Mary Carpenter, and many changes to 
take place in India before his country should be pre 
pared truly to , appreciate the great reformer. More 
than half a century has now passed, and changes great 
indeed have taken place. The country has at last 
awaken to a sense of the great debt of gratitude it owes 
to Ram Mohun Roy, Now at last we hope that his 
works, so long neglected, will be valued by his country 
men as they deserve, and we further hope, with Miss 
Mary Carpenter, that through their means the high 
and excellent aspirations of Ram Mohun Roy will 
kindle the hearts of generation after generation of his 
countrymen, and through them of countless multitudes ; 
that listening with reverence to his voice, now speaking 


to them from the World of Spirits, his countrymen will 
be led on by him to a pure and holy religion, which 
will guide them in peace and happiness through this 
world, and prepare them for another and a better : and 
thus, without distinction of country or clime, shall 
myriads bless the name of the first Hindoo Reformer, 
the Rajah RAMMOHUN ROY. * 


* Last days in England of Raja Ram Mohun Roy by Miss- 
Mary Carpenter. 


THE first collected edition of the English 
works of Raja Ram Mohun Roy, available 
at that time, was published about fifteen 
years ago, after nearly half a century of their 
first promulgation. And the public owe a 
debt, of endless gratitude to Babu Jogendra 
Chunder Ghose, M.A., B.L., the learned and ap 
preciative Editor, and Babu Ishan Chandra 
Bose, the publisher, but for whose devotion 
and diligent research, these works would, 
perhaps, have never seen light again for 
that timely publication. That edition was 
soon exhausted, and a growing demand 
for a fresh edition of the Raja s works has 
been keenly felt for many years past. 

It is to meet this distinct demand that the 
present edition has been undertaken. And 
the present publisher cannot sufficiently ex 
press his thanks to Babu Jogendra Chunder 
Ghose, for having, out of pure love and 
veneration for the Raja, offered to re-edit 
these works for him. Indeed, but for this 

kind assistance, he could never have hoped 
to bring them out with such despatch and 


The present volume contains the Raja s 
works on Hinduism. Though we have more 
recent, and perhaps, in some sense, improved 
translations of some of the Upanishads than 
those of the Raja, still considering that 
his were some what independent interpreta 
tions of these ancient scriptures, wherein the 
different schools were sought to be harmo 
nised in a higher synthesis, they may justly 
claim to have a value of their own, and as 
such no word of apology is needed for their 

The second volume will contain the poli 
tical writings of the Raja, and as the poli 
tical and economic problems of this country, 
are still, after nearly three quarters of a cen 
tury, much the same as he had apprehended 
them, these writings have a living interest 
for the present generation. 

The third volume will contain those 
works of the Raja which had reference to 
Christianity. The Appeals to the Christian 
Public, though published nearly a century 
ago, and were composed under the exi- 


gensies of a current controversy, have yet 
a permanent value, not only as a marvellous 
monument of the Raja s genius and scholar 
ship, but also as a masterly attempt at a 
critical study of the Christian Scriptures, 
wherein a Hindu Scholar will be found to 
have forestalled many of the methods, and 
some of the conclusions also, of the most 
advanced of the modern schools of European 
Biblical criticism. 

In conclusion the publisher takes this 
opportunity of expressing his gratitude to 
Babu Upendra Narain Bagchi B.A., for 
kindly looking over the proofs. 


A list of the principal works of Raja Ram 
Mohun Roy in chronological order. 

Sak. A.D. 

Tuhfatul Muwahhiddin 
) (Persian and Arbic.) 

1737 1815 C^WWf^ i 

1738 1816 CWfaPTta Abridgment of the 


Cena upanishad. 

1739 1817 *pfc, ^9<F ^e ft^^n^ff^A I A defence of Hindo> 


Second defence of do 

1740 1818 1^1?J1 f^9^ #*m ^^?N I First conference on the 

Burning of widows. 

1741 1819 JffWIfl ^ ^ ft^tl ^Wh^ I Mundak and Kut h 


1742 1820 <FfT$1^tt<T3 y\^S fa&t3 I Second conference on 

I the Burning of 

Pursuit of final 

Precepts of Jesus. 
First Appeal in 
defence of do. 


1743 *82i ^faitwraft * *o i Second Appeal do do. 

Brahmunical Magazine 
I. II. &. III. 

1744 1822 tffr 4ttft $91 1 Ancient rights of 

y[N^t? cVt^ft I Females. 

1745 1823 rt^t*t3Ji Humble suggestions. 

*Hfj <trfa l Final Appeal in defence 

of the Precepts of 

Brahmunical Magazine 
No. IV. 

Tytler controversy. 
Petitions against the 
Press Regulation. 

Letter on English 

1746 1824 Prospect of Christiani 


1747 1825 Different modes of 


1748 1826 3^ff^ 5j"$t$3 w^| i Bengali Grammar in 

^t?t??l Tf^5 f^5t? I English language. 

1749 1827 ^tt3<3H ^CTWRtfo^fa" I Divine worship by 

^F ^ft I means of Gyuttree. 

1750 1828 STCfil^f ftll I Answer of a Hindu &c. 

1751 1829 l^efa | Religious Instructions 

^ found on sacred 


1830 1^31 m^T ^W -st^NI Trust-Deed of the 

Brahmo Somaj. 


( f*W ) I Address to Lord 
William Bentinck. 
Abstract of the argu 
ments regarding the 
Burning of widows. 

Ancestral Property. 
*753 ^31 Evidence before the 

Select Committee 
of the House of Com 

1832 Settlement in India by 




1. Translation of an Abridgment of the 

Vedant, or Resolution of all the Veds ; 
the most celebrated and revered Work of 
Brahmunical Theology ; establishing the 
Unity of the Supreme Being, and that He 
alone is the object of Propitiation and 
Worship ... ... ... i 

2. Translation of the Moonduk Oopunishad 

of the Uthurvu-Ved ... ... 25 

3. Translation of the Cena Oopanishad, one 

of the Chapters of the Sam Ved ... 45 

4. Translation of the Kut h-Oopunishad of 

the Yajoor-Ved ... ... 59, 

5. Translation of the Ishopunishad, one of 

the Chapters of the Yajoor-Ved ... 85; 

6. A Translation into English of a Sunscrit 
Tract, inculcating the Divine Worship ; 
esteemed by those who believe in the 
Revelation of the Veds, as most appro 
priate to the Nature of the Supreme 
Being ... ... ... in 

7. A Defence of Hindoo Theism, in reply to 

the Attack of an Advocate for Idolatry, 

at Madras ... ... ... 123. 

8. A Second Defence of the Monotheistical 

System of the Veds; in reply to an 


Apology for the present State of Hindoo 
Worship ... 

9. An Apology for the Pursuit of Final Beati 
tude, independently of Brahmunical Obser 
vances ... l8r 

ID. The Universal religion : Religious Instruc 
tions founded on sacred authorities ... 187 

ii. The Brahmunical Magazine or the Mis 
sionary and the Brahmun, being a Vindica 
tion of the Hindoo religion against the 
attacks of Christian Missionaries, Nos. I. 
II. Ill - - *9 2 

12. -Do. Do. No. IV. - 201 

13. Answer of a Hindoo to the question, "Why 
.-do you frequent a Unitarian place of 

worship instead of the numerously attend 
ed established Churches ?" ... 285 

14. Translation of a Sunscrit Tract on Different 
.-modes of Worship ... 2 9 I; 

15. Humble Suggestion to his countrymen 
who believe in the One True God ... 297 

1 6. The Trust-Deed of the Brahmo Somaj ... 303 

17. Autobiographical sketch > 3*7 
26. Introduction to the c Translation of several 

principal Books, Passages of text of the 
veds, and of some controversial works on 
Brahmunical Theology, published in 
London 1832 32 r 









Brahmnieal Theology ; 






THE greater part of Brahmins, as well as of other 
sects of Hindoos, are quite incapable of justifying that 
idolatry which they continue to practise. When ques 
tioned on the subject, in place of adducing reasonable 
arguments in support of their conduct, they conceive 
it fully sufficient to quote their ancestors as positive 
authorities ! And some of them are become very ill- 
disposed towards me, because I have forsaken idolatry 
for the worship of the true and eternal God ! In order, 
therefore, to vindicate my own faith and that of our 
early forefathers, I have been endeavouring, for some 
time past, to convince my countrymen of the true 
meaning of our sacred books ; and to prove, that my 
aberration deserves not the opprobrium which some 
unreflecting persons have been so ready to throw 
upon me. 

The whole body of the Hindoo Theology, Law, and 1 
and Literature, is contained in the Veds, which are 
affirmed to be coeval with the creation ! These works 
are extremely voluminous, and being written in the 
most elevated and metaphorical style are, as may be 
well supposed, in many passages seemingly confused 


and contradictory. Upwards of two thousand years 
ago, the great Byas, reflecting on the perpetual difficulty 
arising from these sources, composed witk great dis 
crimination a complete and compendious abstract of 
the whole, and also reconciled those texts which ap 
peared to stand at variance. This work he termed 
The Vedant, which, compounded of two Sungscrit 
words, signifies The Resolution of all the Veds. It has 
continued to be most highly revered by all Hindoos,, 
and in place of the more diffuse arguments of the Veds, 
is always referred to as equal authority. But from its- 
being concealed within the dark curtain of the Sungscrit 
language, and the Brahmins permitting themselves alone 
to interpret, or even to touch any book of the kind, the 
Vedant, although perpetually quoted, is little known to- 
the public : and the practice of few Hindoos indeed 
bears the least accordance with its precepts ! 

In pursuance of my vindication, I have to the best 
of my abilities translated this hitherto unknown work, 
as well as an abridgment thereof, into the Hindoostanee 
and Bengalee languages, and distributed them, free of 
cost, among my own countrymen, as widely as circum 
stances have possibly allowed. The present is an 
endeavour to render an abridgment of the same into- 
English, by which I expect to prove to my European, 
friends, that the superstitious practices which deform 
the Hindoo religion have nothing to do with the pure 
spirit of its dictates ! 

I have observed, that both in their writings and con 
versation, many Europeans feel a wish to palliate and 


-soften the features of Hindoo idolatry ; and are inclined 
to inculcate, that all objects of worship are considered 
by their votaries as emblematical representations of the 
Supreme Divinity ! If this were indeed the case, I 
might perhaps be led into some examination of the 
subject : but the truth is, the Hindoos of the present 
day have no such views of the subject, but firmly 
believe in the real existence of innumerable gods and 
goddesses, who possess, in their own departments, full 
and independent power ; and to propitiate them, and 
not the true God, are temples erected and ceremonies 
performed. There can be no doubt, however, and it 
is my whole design to prove, that every rite has its 
derivation from the allegorical adoration of the true 
Deity; but at the present day all this is forgotten, and 
among many it is even heresy to mention it ! 

I hope it will not be presumed that I intend to esta 
blish the preference of my faith over that of other men. 
The result of controversy on such a subject, however 
multiplied, must be ever unsatisfactory ; for the reason 
ing faculty, which leads men to certainty in things within 
its reach, produces no effect on questions beyond its 
comprehension. I do no more than assert, that, if 
correct reasoning and the dictates of common sense in 
duce the belief of a wise, uncreated Being, who is the 
Supporter and Ruler of the boundless universe, we should 
also consider him the most powerful and supreme Exist 
ence, far surpassing our powers of comprehension or 
description. And, although men of uncultivated minds, 
and even some learned individuals, (but in this one point 


blinded by prejudice?) readily choose, as the object of 
their adoration, anything which they can always see, and 
which they pretend to feel ; the absurdity of such con 
duct is not thereby in the least degree diminished. 

My constant reflections on the inconvenient, or rather 
injurious rites introduced by the peculiar practice of 
Hindoo idolatry, which, more than any other pagan wor 
ship, destroys the texture of society, together with 
compassion for my countrymen, have compelled me to 
use every possible effort to awaken them from their 
dream of error : and by making them acquainted with 
their scriptures, enable them to contemplate with true 
devotion the unity and omnipresence of Nature s God. 

By taking the path which conscience and sincerity 
direct, I, born a Brahmun, have exposed myself to the 
complainings and reproaches even of some of my rela 
tions, whose prejudices are strong, and whose temporal 
advantage depends upon the present system. But these, 
however accumulated, I can tranquilly bear, trusting that 
a day will arrive when my humble endeavours will be 
viewed with justice perhaps acknowledged with grati 
tude. At any rate, whatever men may say, I cannot 
be deprived of this consolation : my motives are accept 
able to that Being who beholds in secret and compen 
sates openly ! 




THE illustrious Eyas,* in his celebrated work, the 
Vedant, insinuates in the first text, that it is absolutely 
necessary for mankind to acquire knowledge respecting 
the Supreme Being, who is the subject of discourse in 
all the Veds, and the Vedant, as well as in the other 
systems of Theology. But he found, from the following 
passages of the Veds, that this inquiry is limited to very 
narrow bounds, viz. " The Supreme Being is not compre- 
" hensible by vision, or by any other of the organs of 
" sense ; nor can he be conceived by means of devotion, 
" or virtuous practices." t " He sees everything, 
" though never seen ; hears everything, though never 
" directly heard of. He is neither short, nor is he 
" long ; | inaccessible to the reasoning faculty ; not to 

* The greatest of the Indian theologists, philosophers, and 
poets, was begotten by the celebrated Purasur and Sutyubutee. 
Byas collected and divided the Veds into certain books and chapters, 
he is therefore commonly called Vedu Byas. The word Byas is 
composed of the preposition bi and the verb uss to divide, 
t Munduc. J Brihudarunnuc. 


" be compassed by description ; beyond the limits of the 
" explanation of the Ved, or of human conception ! " * 
Byas, also, from the result of various arguments coin 
ciding with the Ved, found that the accurate and 
positive knowledge of the Supreme Being is not within 
the boundary of comprehension ; i.e. that what^ and 
hoW) the Supreme Being is, cannot be definitely ascer 
tained. He has therefore, in the second text, explained 
fthe Supreme Being by his effects and works, without 
attempting to define his essence ; in like manner as we, 
not knowing the real nature of the sun, explain him 
to be the cause of the succession of days and epochs. 
" He by whom the birth, existence, and annihilation of 
" the world is regulated, is the Supreme Being." We 
see the multifarious, wonderful universe, as well as the 
birth, existence, and annihilation of its different parts ; 
hence, we naturally infer the existence of a Being who 
regulates the whole, and call him the Supreme : in the 
same manner as from the sight of a pot we conclude 
the existence of its artificer. The Ved, in like manner, 
declares the Supreme Being thus : " He from whom 
" the universal world proceeds, who is the Lord of 
" the Universe, and whose work is the universe, is the 
" Supreme Being." f 

The Ved is not supposed to be an eternal Being, 
though sometimes dignified with such an epithet ; 
because its being created by the Supreme Being is 
declared in the same Ved thus : " All the texts and 

* Cuthubulli. f Taitturecu. 


* parts of the Ved were created : " and also in the 
third text of the Vedant, God is declared to be the 
-cause of all Veds. 

The void space is not conceived to be the independ 
ent cause of the world, notwithstanding the following 
declaration of the Ved, " The world proceeds from the 
" void space ; " * for the Ved again declares, " By the 
" Supreme Being the void space was produced." And 
the Vedant f says : " As the Supreme Being is evidently 
" declared in the Ved to be the cause of the void space, 
" air, and fire, neither of them can be supposed to be 
" the independent cause of the universe." 

Neither is air allowed to be the Lord of the Uni 
verse, although the Ved says in one instance, " In air 
" every existing creature is absorbed ; " for the Ved 
.again affirms, that " Breath, the intellectual power, all 
" the internal and external senses, the void space, air, 
"light, water, and the extensive earth, proceeded 
" from the Supreme Being ! " The Vedant { also says : 
" God is meant by the following text of the Ved, as a 
" Being more extensive than all the extension of space ;" 
viz. "That breath is greater than the extension of 
space in all directions," as it occurs in the Ved, after 
the discourse concerning common breath is concluded. 

Light) of whatever description, is not inferred to be 
the Lord of the Universe, from the following assertion 
of the Ved : " The " pure Light of all lights is the Lord 

* Chhandoggu. 

t Fourteenth text, 4th sec. 1st chap. % 8th, 3d, I st. 


of all creatures ; " for the Ved again declares,"* that 
" The sun and all others imitate God, and borrow their 
light from him ;" and the same declaration is found in 
the Vedant.f 

Neither can Nature be construed by the following texts 
of the Ved, to be the independent cause of the world : 
viz. Man " having known that Nature which is an eter 
nal being, without a beginning or an end, is delivered 
from the gasp of death." and " Nature operates her 
self," because the Ved affirms that " No being is supe 
rior or equal to God."| and the Ved commands, "Know 
God alone. " and the Vedant || thus declares : " Nature 
is not the Creator of the world, not being represented 
so by the Ved," for it expressly says, " God has by his- 
sight created the Universe." Nature is an insensible 
Being, she is, therefore, void of sight or intention, and 
consequently unable to create the regular world. U 

Atoms are not supposed to be the cause of the 
world, notwithstanding the following declaration :"This 
(Creator) is the most minute Being." Because an atom 
is an insensible particle, and from the above authority 
it is proved, that no Being void of understanding can be 
the author of a system so skilfully arranged. 

The soul cannot be inferred from the following texts 
to be the Lord of the Universe, nor the independent 
Ruler of the intellectual powers ; viz. "The Soul being 
joined to the resplendent Being, enjoys by itself," "God 

* Moonduc. t 22nd, 3rd, 1st. % Cuthu. 

Moonduc. !| 5th, 1st, ist. IT Cuthu. 


and the soul enter the small void space of the heart "; 
because the Ved declares that "He (God) resides in the 
soul as its Ruler," and that " The soul being joined to 
the gracious Being, enjoys happiness." * The Vedant 
also says, "The sentient soul is not understood to 
reside as ruler in the earth, because in both texts of the 
Ved it is differently declared from that Being who rules 
the earth :" viz. "He (God) resides in the faculty of 
the understanding," and "He, who resides in the 
soul, &c." 

No god or goddess of the earth can be meant by 
the following text as the ruler of the earth, viz.\ "He 
who resides in the earth, and is distinct from the earth, 
and whom the earth does not know," &. : because the 
Ved affirms that, "This (God alone) is the ruler of inter 
nal sense, and is the eternal Being ;" and the same is 
asserted in the Vedant. 

By the text which begins with the following 
sentence : viz. "This is the sun," and by several other 
texts testifying the dignity of the sun, he is not supposed 
to be the original cause of the universe, because the 
Ved declares, that " He who resides in the sun (as his 
Lord) is distinct from the sun," and the Vedant 
declares the same. || 

In like manner none of the celestial gods can be 
inferred from the various assertions of the Ved, respect 
ing their deities respectively, to be the independent 

* 2oth, 2d, 1st. t Brihudarunnuc. + i8th, 2d, 1st. 

Brihudarunnuc. H 2ist, 1st, ist. 


cause of the Universe; because the Ved repeatedly 
affirms, that "All the Veds prove nothing but the unity 
of the Supreme Being." By allowing the divinity of more 
than one Being, the following positive affirmations of 
the Ved, relative to the unity of God, become false and 
absurd : "God is indeed one and has no second." * 
"There is none but the Supreme Being possessed of 
universal knowledge." t " He who is without any 
figure, and beyond the limit of description, is the 
Supreme Being." J " Appellations and figures of all 
kinds are innovations." And from the authority of 
many other texts it is evident that any being 
that bears figure, and is subject to description, cannot 
be the eternal, independent cause of the universe. 

The Veds not only call the celestial representations 
deities, but also in many instances give the divine 
epithet to the mind, diet, void space, quadruped animal, 
slaves, and flymen : as, " The Supreme Being is a 
quadruped animal in one place, and in another he is 
full of glory. The mind is the Supreme Being, it is 
to be worshipped," " God is the letter ku as well as 
khu, and God is in the shape of slaves and that of 
flymen." The Ved has allegorically represented God in 
the figure of the Universe, viz. " Fire is his head, the 
sun and the moon are his " two eyes," &c. And also 
the Ved calls God the void space of the heart, and 
declares him to be smaller than the grain of paddy and 

* Cuthu. t Brih darunnuc. 

Chhandoggu. Monduc. 


barley : but from the foregoing quotations neither 
any of the celestial gods, nor any existing crea 
ture, should be considered the Lord of the Universe, 
because * the third chapter of the Vedant explains the 
reason for these secondary assertions thus : " By these 
appellations of the Ved, which denote the diffusive 
spirit of the Supreme Being equally over all creatures 
by means of extension, his omnipresence is established :" 
so the Ved says, " All that exists is indeed God," f 
i. e. nothing bears true existence excepting God, "and 
whatever we smell or taste is the Supreme Being," / . e. 
the existence of whatever thing that appears to us, relies 
on the existence of God. It is indisputably evident 
that none of these metaphorical representations, which 
arise from the elevated style in which all the Veds are 
written, were designed to be viewed in any other light 
than mere allegory. Should individuals be acknowledged 
to be separate deities, there would be a necessity for 
acknowledging many independent creators of the world, 
which is directly contrary to common sense, and to the 
repeated authority of the Ved. The Vedant { also 
declares, " That Being which is distinct from matter, and 
"from those which are contained in matter, is not various 
"because he is declared by all the Veds to be one be 
" yond description ;" and it is again stated that "The 
1 Ved has declared the Supreme Being to be mere un- 
" derstanding ; " also in the third chapter is found that,. 

* 38th text, 2d sec. t Chhandoggu. 

nth 2d, 3d. i6th, 2d, 3d. 


" The Ved having at first explained the Supreme Being 
" by different epithets, begins with the word Uthu^ or 
" now," and declares that " All descriptions which I 
" have used to describe the Supreme Being are incorrect," 
because he by no means can be described ; and so is it 
stated in the sacred commentaries of the Ved. 

The fourteenth text of the second sect, of the third 
chapter of the Vedant declares, " It being directly re 
presented by the Ved, that the Supreme Being bears 
no figure nor form ; " and the following texts of the Ved 
assert the same, viz. " The true Being was before all."* 
"The Supreme Being has no feet, but extends every- 
"where ; has no hands, yet holds everything ; has no 
" eyes, yet sees all that is ; has no ears, yet hears every- 
" thing that passes." "His existence had no cause." 
" He is the smallest of the small, and the greatest of 
" the great : and yet is, in fact, neither small nor 
" great." 

In answer to the following question, viz. " How can 
the Supreme Being be supposed to be distinct from, 
and above all existing creatures, and at the same time 
omnipresent? How is it possible that he should be 
described by properties inconceivable by reason, as see 
ing without eye, and hearing without ear ? To these 
questions the Vedant, in chapter second, replies, "In 
God are all sorts of power and splendour." And the 
following passages of the Ved also declare the same : 
" God is all-powerful ;" % and " It is by his supremacy 

* Chhandoggu. f Shyetashyutur. 


" that he is in possession of all powers ;" i. e t what may 
be impossible for us is not impossible for God, who is 
the Almighty, and the sole Regulator of the Universe. 

Some celestial gods have, in different instances, 
declared themselves to be independent deities, 
and also the object of worship ; but these declara 
tions were owing to their thoughts being abstracted 
from themselves and their being entirely absorbed 
in divine reflection. The Vedant declares : " This 
"exhortation of Indru (or the god of atmosphere) 
"respecting his divinity, to be indeed agreeable to 
"the authorities of the Ved ; that is, "Every one, on 
having lost all self-consideration in consequence of being 
"united with divine reflection, may speak as assuming to 
"be the Supreme Being ; like Bamdev (a celebrated Brah- 
"mun) who, in consequence of such self-forgetfulness, 
declared himself to have created the sun, and Munoo, 
the next person to Brahma." It is therefore optional 
with every one of the celestial gods, as well as with 
every individual, to consider himself as God, under 
this state of self-forgetfulness and unity with the Divine 
reflection, as the Ved says, "You are that true Being , 
(when you lose all self-consideration), and "O God, I 
am nothing but you." The sacred commentators have 
made the same observation, viz. "I am nothing but 
"true Being, and am pure Understanding, full of eternal 
"happiness, and am by nature free from worldly effects." 
But in consequence of this reflection, none of them 

* 3oth, ist, ist. 


can be acknowledged to be the cause of the universe or 
the object of adoration. 

God is the efficient cause of the universe, as a potter 
is of earthen pots ; and he is also the material cause 
of it, the same as the earth is the material cause of the 
different earthen pots, or as a rope, at an inadvertent 
view taken for a snake, is the material cause of the 
conceived existence of the snake, which appears to 
be true by the support of the real existence of the 
rope. So says the Vedant, * "God is the efficient cause 
of the Universe, as well as the material cause thereof 
(as a spider of its web)," as the Ved has positively 
declared, "That from a knowledge of God alone, a 
"knowledge of every existing thing proceeds." Also 
the Ved compares the knowledge respecting the 
Supreme Being to a knowledge of the earth, and the 
knowledge respecting the different species existing in 
the universe to the knowledge of earthen pots, which 
declaration and comparison prove the unity between 
the Supreme Being and the universe ; and by the fol 
lowing declarations of the Ved, viz. "The Supreme 
"Being has by his sole intention created the Universe," 
it is evident that God is the wilful agent of all that 
can have existence. 

As the Ved says that the Supreme Being intended 
(at the time of creation) to extend himself, it is 
evident that the Supreme Being is the origin of all 
matter, and its various appearances ; as the reflection 

* 23d, 8th, ist. 


of the sun s meridian rays on sandy plains is the 
cause of the resemblance of an extended sea. The Ved 
says, that "All figures and their appellations are 
mere inventions, and that the Supreme Being alone 
is real existence," consequently things that bear figure 
and appellation cannot be supposed the cause of the 

The following texts of the Ved, viz. "Crishnu (the 
"god of preservation) is greater than all the celestial 
"gods, to whom the mind should be applied." "We 
all worship Muhadev (the god of destruction)." u We 
"adore the sun." "I worship the most revered Buron 
"(the god of the sea)." "Dost thou worship me, says 
Air, "who am the eternal and universal life." "Intel 
lectual power is God, which should be adored ;" and 
"Oodgueet (or a certain part of the Ved) should be 
worshipped." These, as well as several other texts of 
the same nature are not real commands to worship the 
persons and things above-mentioned, but only direct 
those who are unfortunately incapable of adoring the 
invisible Supreme Being, to apply their minds to any 
visible thing rather than allow them to remain idle. 
The Vedant also states, that "The declaration of the 
Ved,* that those who worship the celestial gods are 
the food of such gods," is an allegorical expression, and 
only means that they are comforts to the celestial gods, 
as food is to mankind ; for he who has no faith in the 
Supreme Being is rendered subject to these gods. The 

* 7th, 1st 3rd. 


Ved affirms the same: viz. " He who worships any god 
excepting the Supreme Being, and thinks that he is 
distinct and inferior to that god, knows nothing, and 
is considered as a domestic beast of these gods." And 
the Vedant also asserts; viz. "The worship authorized 
by all the Veds is of one nature, as the direction for the 
worship of the only Supreme Being is invariably found 
in every part of the Ved ; and the epithets the Supreme 
and the Omnipresent Being, &c. commonly imply 
"God alone." * 

The following passages of the Ved affirm that God 
is the sole object of worship, viz. t " Adore God alone." 
" Know God alone ; give up all other discourse." And 
the Vedant says, that "It is found in the Veds, J That 
none but the Supreme Being is to be worshipped, noth- 
* ing excepting him should be adored by a wise man. " 

Moreover, the Vedant declares that "Byas is of 
opinion that the adoration of the Supreme Being is re- 
" quired of mankind as well of the celestial gods ; 
" because the possibility of self-resignation to God is 
" equally observed in both mankind and the celestial 
" deities." The Ved also states, || that " Of the celestial 
" gods, of the pious Brahmuns, and of men in general, 
"that person who understands and believes the Almighty 
"Being, will be absorbed in him." It is therefore con 
cluded that the celestial gods and mankind have an 
equal duty in divine worship ; and besides it is proved 

* ist, 3d, 3d. t Brih darunnuc. J 6;th, 3d, 3d. 

26th, 3d, ist. i| Brih darunnuc. 


from the following authority of the Ved, that any man 
who adore the Supreme Being is adored by all the 
celestial gods, viz. All the celestial gods worship him 
who applies his mind to the Supreme Being." * 

The Ved now illustrates the mode in which we should 
worship the Supreme Being, viz. "To God we should ap- 
" proach, of him we should hear, of him we should think, 
" and to him we should attempt to approximate." f 
The Vedant alse elucidates the subject thus: "The 
" three latter directions in the above quoted text, arecon- 
" ducive to the first, viz. Approaching to God. 7 " These 
three are in reality included in the first (as the direction 
for collecting fire in the worship of fire), for we cannot 
.approach to God without hearing and thinking of him, 
nor without attempting to make our approximation ; and 
the last, viz. attempting to approximate to God, is 
required until we have approached him. By hearing 
of God is meant hearing his declarations, which esta 
blish his unity ; and by thinking of him is meant think 
ing of the contents of his law ; and by attempting to 
approximate to him is meant attempting to apply our 
minds to that true Being on which the diffusive existence 
of the universe relies, in order that by means of the 
constant practice of this attempt we may approach to him. 
The Vedant states, | that " Constant practice of devotion 
is necessary, it being represented so by the Ved ; " and 
also adds that " We should adore God till we approach 
" to him, and even then not forsake his adoration, such 
* authority being found in the Ved." 

* Chhandoggu. t 47th, 4th, 3d. % ist, 1st. 4th, 


The Vedant shews that moral principle is a part of 
the adoration of God, viz. " A command over our 
" passions and over the external senses of the body and 
" good acts, are declared by the Ved to be indespens- 
" able in the mind s approximation to God, they should 
"therefore be strictly taken care of, and attended to,. 
" both previously and subsequently to such approxima- 
" tion to the Supreme Being ; "* /. e. we should not in 
dulge our evil propensities, but should endeavour to have 
entire control over them. Reliance on, and self-resigna- 

/ tion to, the only true Being, with an aversion to wordly 
considerations, are included in the good acts above allud- 

; ed to. The adoration of the Supreme Being produces 
eternal beatitude, as well as all desired advantages ; as 
the Vedant declares : " It is the firm opinion of Byas 
" that from devotion to God all the desired consequences 
" proceed ; "t and it is thus often represented by the 
Ved, " He who is desirous of prosperity should worship 
" the Supreme Being. " { " He who knows God thorough- 
" ly adheres unto God." " The souls of the deceased 
" forefathers of him who adores the true Being alone,, 
" enjoy freedom by his mere wish." " All the celestial 
" gods worship him who applies his mind to the Supreme 
" Being : " and " He, who sincerely adores the Supreme 
" Being, is exempted from further transmigration." 

A pious householder is entitled to the adoration of 

* 27th, 4th, 3rd. t ist, 4th, 3rd. J Monduc. 



God equally with an Uti : * The Vedant says, that " A 
householder may be allowed the performance of all 
the ceremonies attached to the (Brahminical) religion, 
and also the fulfilling of the devotion of God: the 
fore-mentioned mode of worshipping the Supreme 
Being, therefore, is required of a householder possessed 
of moral "principles, "f And the Ved declares, that 
" the celestial gods, and householders of strong faith, 
and professional Utis, are alike." 

It is optional to those who have faith in God alone, 
to observe and attend to the rules and rites prescribed 
by the Ved, applicable to the different classes of Hin 
doos, and to their different religious orders respectively. 
But in case of the true believers neglecting those rites 
they are not liable to [any blame whatever ; as the Ve 
dant says, "Before acquiring the true knowledge of God, 
" it is proper for man to attend to the laws and rules 
" laid down by the Ved for different classes, according 
" to their different professions ; beca use the Ved declares 
"the performance of these rules to be the cause of the 
"mind s purification, and its faith in God, and compares 
"it with a saddle-horse, which helps a man to arrive at 
"the wished-for goal." J And the Vedant also says, 
"that "Man may acquire the true knowledge of God 
"even without observing the rules and rites prescribed 
" by the Ved for each class of Hindoos, as it is found 

* The highest among the four sects of Brahmuns, who, accord 
ing to the religious order, are bound to forsake all worldly con 
siderations, and to spend their time in the sole adoration of God. 
t 28th, 4 th, 3 d. j 3 6th, 4 th, 3 d. 


" in the Ved that many persons who had neglected the 
" performance of the Brahminical rites and ceremonies- 
" owing to their perpetual attention to the adoration of 
"the Supreme Being, acquired the true knowledge 
"respecting the Deity."* The Vedant again more 
" clearly states that, "It is equally found in the Ved 
" that some people, though they had their entire faith 
" in God alone, yet performed both the worship of God 
" and the ceremonies prescribed by the Ved ; and that 
some others neglected them, and merely worshipped 
" God."t The following texts of the Ved fully explain 
" the subject, viz. "Junuku (one of the noted devo- 
V tees) had performed Yugnyu (or the adoration of the 
" celestial gods through fire) with the gift of a con- 
" siderable sum of money, as a fee to the holy Brah- 
" muns, and many learned true believers never wor- 
" shipped fire, nor any celestial god through fire." 

Notwithstanding it is optional with those who have 
their faith in the only God, to attend to the prescribed 
ceremonies or to neglect them entirely, the Vedant 
prefers the former to the latter, because the Ved says 
that attendance to the religious ceremonies conduces 
to the attainment of the Supreme Being. 

Although the Ved says," That he who has true faith 
"in the omnipresent Supreme Being may ea all 
" that exists,"]: /. e. is not bound to enquire what is his 
Food, or who prepares it, nevertheless the Vedant 
limits that authority thus: "The above-mentioned autho- 

36th, 4th, 3d. t Qth, 4th, 3d. Chhandoggu. 


" rity of the Ved for eating all sorts of food should only 
"be observed at the time of distress, because it is found 
" in the Ved, that Chacraunu (a celebrated Brahmun) 
" ate the meat cooked by the elephant-keepers during 
" a famine."* It is concluded, that he acted according 
to the above stated authority of the Ved, only at the 
time of distress. 

Devotion to the Supreme Being is not limited to any 
holy place or sacred country, as the Vedant says, " In 
" any place wherein the mind feels itself undisturbed, 
"men should worship God; because no specific author- 
" ity for the choice of any particular place of worship 
" is found in the Ved,"f which declares, "In any place 
"which renders the mind easy, man should adore 
" God." 

It is of no consequence to those who have true be 
lief in God, whether they die while the sun is in the 
north or south of the equator, as the Vedant declares 
that " Any one who has faith in the only God, dying 
"even when the sun may be south of the equator, J his 
" soul shall proceed from the body, through Sookhumna 
" (a vein which, as the Brahmuns suppose, passes 
" through the navel up to the brain), and approaches to 
" the Supreme Being." The Ved also positively asserts 
that " He who in the life was devoted to the Supreme 
" Being, shall (after death) be absorbed in him, and 

* 28th, 4th, 3d. t nth, 1st, 4th. 

J It is believed by the Brahmuns, that any one who dies while 
the sun is south of the equator, cannot enjoy eternal beatitude. 
20th, 2d, 4th. 


" again be neither liable to birth nor death, reduction 
< nor augmentation." 

The Ved begins and concludes with the three pecu 
liar and mysterious epithets of God, viz. first, OM ; 
second, TUT ; third, SUT. The first of these signifies 
"That Being which preserves, destroys and creates 
The second implies " That only Being which is neither 
male or female." Which is neither male or female" 
The third announces " The true Being" These collect 
ive terms simply affirm, that ONE UNKNOWN, TRUE 











DURING the intervals between my controversial 
engagements with idolaters as well as with advocates 
for idolatry, I translated se veral of the ten Oopunishuds r 
of which the Vedantu or principal part of the Veds 
consists, and of which the Shareeruk-Meemangsa, com 
monly called the Vedant-Durshun, composed by the 
celebrated Vyas, is explanatory ; I have now taken the 
opportunity of further leisure to publish a translation 
of the Moonduk-Oopunishud. An attentive perusal of 
this as well as of the remaining books of the Vedantu,. 
jwill, I trust, convince every unprejudiced mind, that 
they, with great consistency, inculcate the unity of 
God j instructing men, at the same time, in the pure 
mode of adoring him in spirit. It will also appear 
evident that the Veds, although they tolerate idolatry 
as the last provision for those who are totally incapable 
of raising their minds to the contemplation of the 
invisible God of nature, yet re peatedly urge the relin- 
quishment of the rites of idol worship, and the adoption 
of a purer system of religion, on the express gounds 
that the observance of idolatrous rites can never be 
productive of eternal beatitude. These are left to be 
practised by such persons only as, notwithstanding the 
constant teaching of spiritual guides, cannot be brought 


to see perspicuously the majesty of God through the 
works of nature. 

The public will, I hope, be assured that nothing but 
the natural inclination of the ignorant towards the 
-worship of objects resembling their own nature, and to 
the external forms of rites palpable to their grosser 
senses, joined to the self-interested motives of their 
pretended guides, has rendered the generality of the 
Hindoo community (in defiance of their sacred books) 
devoted to idol-worship, the source of prejudice and 
superstition, and of the total destruction of moral prin 
ciple, as countenancing criminal intercourse,* suicide,t 
female murder, { and human sacrifice. Should my 
labours prove in any degree the means of diminishing 
the extent of those evils, I shall ever deem myself most 
amply rewarded. 

* Vide Defence of Hindoo Theism. 

t Vide Introduction to the-Cena-Upanishad 

J Vide Treatise on Widow-burning. 





BRUHMA, the greatest of celestial deities,and exe 
cutive creator and preserver of the world, came into 
form ; he instructed Uthurvu, his eldest son, in the 
knowledge respecting the Supreme Being, on which all 
sciences rest. Uthurvu communicated formerly to 
Ungir what Bruhma taught him : Ungir imparted the 
same knowledge to one of the descendants of Bhurud- 
waju, called Sutyuvahu, who conveyed the doctrine so 
handed down to Ungirus. Shounuku, a wealthy house 
holder, having in the prescribed manner approached 
Ungirus, asked, Is there any being by whose knowledge 
alone the whole universe may be immediately known ? 
He (Ungirus) then replied : Those who have a 
thorough knowledge of the Veds, say that it should be 
understood that there are two sorts of knowledge, one 
superior, and the other inferior. There are the Ri g-ved, 
Ujoor-ved, Samuved, and Uthuruvuved, and also their 
subordinate parts^ consisting of Shiksha or a treatise on- 
pronunciation, Kulpu or the science that teaches the 
details of rites according to the different branches of 
the Veds, Vyakurun or grammar, Nirooktu or explana- 


tion of the peculiar terms of the Veds, Ch hundus or 
prosody, and Jyotish or astronomy : which all belong 
to the inferior kind of knowledge. Now the superior 
;kind is conveyed by the Oopunishuds and is that through 
which absorption into the eternal Supreme Being may 
be obtained. That Supreme Being, who is the subject of 
the superior learning, is beyond the apprehension of 
the senses, and out of the reach of the corporeal organs 
of action, and is without origin, colour, or magnitude 
and has neither eye nor ear, nor has he hand or foot. 
He is everlasting, all-pervading, omnipresent, absolutely 
incorporeal, unchangeable, and it is he whom wise men 
consider as the origin of the universe. In the same 
way as the cobweb is created and absorbed by the 
spider independently of exterior origin, as vegetables 
proceed from the earth, and hair and nails from animate 
creatures, so the Universe is produced by the eternal 
Supreme Being. 

From his omniscience the Supreme Being resolves 
to create the Universe. Then nature, the. apparent 
cause of the world, is produced by him. From her the 
prior operating sensitive particle of the world, styled 
Bruhma, the source of the faculties, proceeds. From 
the faculties the five elements are produced \ thence 
spring the seven divisions of the world, whereon cere 
monial rites, with their consequences, are brought forth. 
By him who knows all things, collectively and distinctly, 
whose knowledge and will are the only means of all 
his actions, Bruhma, name, and form, and all that 
vegetates are produced. 


End of the first Section of the ist Moondukum. 

Those rites,* the prescription of which wise men, 
such as Vushisthu, and others found in the Veds, are 
truly the means of producing good consequences. They 
have been performed in various manners by three sects 
among Brahmuns, namely, Udhuryoo, or those who are 
well versed in the Ujoor-ved ; Oodgata, or the sect who 
know thoroughly the Samu-ved ; and Hota> those Bruh- 
muns that have a perfect knowledge of the Rig-ved. You 
"all continue to perform them, as long as you feel a 
desire to enjoy gratifications attainable from them. 
This practice of performing rites is the way which leads 
you to the benefits you expect to derive from your 

Fire being augmented when its flame waves, the 
observer of rites shall offer oblations to deities in the 
middle of the waving flame. 

If observance of the sacred fire be not attended with 
the rites required to be performed on the days of new 
and full moon, and during the four months of the rains, 
and in the autumn and spring ; and be also not attend 
ed with hospitality and due regard to time or the worship 
of Vyshwudevu, and be fulfilled without regard to pres 
cribed forms, it will deprive the worshipper of the enjoy 
ments which he might otherwise expect in his seven 
future mansions. 

* In the beginning of this Section, the author treats of the 
subject of the inferior knowledge ; and in the conclusion he in 
troduces hat of the superior doctrine, which he continues through 
out the whole Oopunishud. 


Kalee, Kuralee, Munojuva, Soolohita, Soodhoomru- 
vurna, Sphoolinginee, Vishwuroochee, are the seven 
names of the seven waving points of the flame. 

He who offers oblations at the prescribed time in- 
those illuminating and waving points of fire, is carried 
by the oblations so offered through the rays of the Sun 
to the Heaven where Indru, prince of the celestial gods, 
reigns. The illuminating oblations, while carrying the 
observer of rites through the rays of the Sun, invite him 
to heaven, saying, " Come in ! come in ! " and entertain 
ing him with pleasing conversation, and treating him with 
veneration, say to him, " This is the summit of the hea 
vens, the fruit of your good works." 

The eighteen members of rites and sacrifices, void 
of the true knowledge, are infirm and perishable. Those 
ignorant persons who consider them as the source of 
real bliss, shall, after the enjoyment of future grati 
fication, undergo transmigrations. Those fools who, 
immersed in ignorance, that is, the foolish practice of 
rites, consider themselves to be wise and learned, 
wander about, repeatedly subjecting themselves to birth, 
disease, death, and other pains, like blind men when 
guided by a blind man. 

Engaged in various manners of rites and sacrifices, 
the ignorant are sure of obtaining their objects : but 
as the observers of such rites, from their excessive 
desire of fruition, remain destitute of a knowledge of 
God, they, afflicted with sorrows, descend to this world 
after the time of their celestial gratification is expired. 
Those complete fools believe, that the rites prescribed 


by the Veds in performing sacrifices, and those laid 
down by the Smrities at the digging of wells and other 
pious liberal actions, are the most beneficial, and have 
no idea that a knowledge of, and faith in God, are the 
only true sources of bliss. They, after death, having 
enjoyed the consequence of such rites on the summit 
of heaven, transmigrate in the human form, or in that 
of inferior animals, or of plants. 

Mendicants and hermits, who residing in forests, 
live upon alms, as well as householders possessed of 
a portion of wisdom, practising religious austerities, the 
worship of Brahma and others, and exercising a control 
over the senses, freed from sins, ascend through 
the northern path* to the highest part of heaven, where 
the immortal Brahma, who is coeval with the world, 
assumes his supremacy. 

Having taken into serious consideration the perish 
able nature of all objects within the world, which 
are acquirable from human works, a Brahmun shall 
cease to desire them ; reflecting within himself, that 
nothing which is obtained through perishable means 
can be expected to be eternal : hence what use of 
rites ? He then, with a view to acquire a knowledge 
of superior learning, shall proceed, with a load of wood 

* According to Hindoo theologians, there are two roads that 
lead to distinct heavens, one northern, the other southern. The 
former is the path to the habitation of Bruhma and the superior 
gods, and the latter to the heaven of Indra and the other inferior 


in his hand, to a spiritual teacher who is versed in the 
doctrines of the Veds and has firm faith in God. 
The wise teacher shall properly instruct his pupil so 
devoted to him, freed from the importunities of 
external senses, and possessed of tranquillity of mind, 
in the knowledge through which he may know the 
eternal Supreme Being. 

End of the first Moondukum. 

He, the subject of the superior knowledge^ alone is 
true. As from a blazing fire thousands of sparks of 
the same nature proceed, so from the eternal Supreme 
Being (O beloved pupil) various souls come forth, and 
again they return into him. He is immortal and without 
form or figure, omnipresent, pervading external and 
internal objects, unborn, without breath or individual 
mind, pure and superior to eminently exalted nature. 

From him the first sensitive particle, or the seed of 
the universe, individual intellect, all the senses and 
their objects, also vacuum, air, light, water, and the 
earth which contains all things, proceed. 

Heaven is his head, and the sun and moon are 
his eyes ; space is his ears, the celebrated Veds are 
his speech ; air is his breath, the world is his intellect, 
and the earth is his feet;/?;- he is the soul of the whole 

By him the sky, which is illuminated by the sun, 
is produced ; clouds, which have their origin from the 


-effects of the moon, accumulating them in the sky, 
bring forth vegetables in the earth ; man imparts the 
essence drawn from these vegetables, to woman ; 
then through the combination of such physical causes, 
numerous offspring come forth from the omnipresent 
Supreme Being. 

From him all the texts of the Veds, consisting of 
verses, musical compositions, and prose, proceed ; 
in like manner by him are produced Deeksha or 
certain preliminary ceremonies, and sacrifies, with 
out sacrificial posts or with them ; fees lastly offered 
in sacrifices, time, and the principal person who 
institutes the performance of sacrifices and defrays 
their expenses ; as well as future mansions, where the 
moon effects purification and where the sun shines, 
By him gods of several descriptions, all celestial beings 
subordinate to those gods, mankind, animals, birds, 
both breath and peditum, wheat and barley, austerity, 
conviction, truth, duties of ascetics, and rules for con 
ducting human life, were created. From him seven 
individual senses within the head proceed, as well as 
their seven respective inclinations towards their objects, 
their seven objects, and ideas acquired through them, 
and their seven organs (tivo eyes, two ears, the two 
passages of nose and mouth), in which those senses are 
situated in every living creature, and which never cease 
to act except at the time of sleep. 

From him, oceans and all mountains proceed, and 
various rivers flow : all vegetables, tastes, (consisting 
of sweet) salt, fiungtnt, bitter* sour^ and astringent) 


united with which the visible elementary substance 
encloses the corpuscle situate in the heart.* The- 
Supreme existence is himself all rites as well as their 
rewards. He therefore is the Supreme and Immortal. 
He who knows him (O beloved pupil) as residing in> 
the hearts of all animate beings, disentangles the knot, 
of ignorance in this world. 

End of the first section of the 2nd Moondukum. 

God, as being resplendent and most proximate to 
all creatures, is styled the operator in the heart; he is- 
great and all-sustaining ; for on him rest all existences, 
such as those that move, those that breathe, those 
that twinkle, and those that do not. Such is God. 
You all contemplate him as the support of all objects,- 
visible and invisible, the chief end of human pursuit. 
He surpasses all human understanding, and is the most 
pre-eminent. He, who irradiates the sun and other- 
bodies^ who is smaller than an atom, larger than the 
world, and in whom is the abode of all the divisions 
of the universe, and of all their inhabitants, is the 
eternal God, the origin of breath, speech, and intellect, 
as well as of all the senses. He, the origin of all the 

* This corpuscle is supposed to be constituted of all the various 
elements that enter into the composition of the animal -frame. 
Within it the soul has its residence, and acting upon it, operates 
through its medium in the whole system. To this corpuscle the 
soul remains attached through all changes of being, until finally 
absorbed into the Supreme Intelligence. 


senses, the true and unchangeable Supreme Being, 
should be meditated upon ; and do thou (O beloved 
pupil) apply constantly thy mind to him. Seizing 
the bow found in the Oopunishuds, the strongest of 
weapons, man shall draw the arrow (of the soul), sharp 
ened by the constant application of mind to God. 
Do thou (O pupil), being in the same practice, with 
drawing all the semes from worldly objects, through 
the mind directed towards the Supreme Being, hit the 
mark which is the eternal God. The word (Xn, signifying 
God, is represented as the bow, the soul as the arrow, 
and the Supreme Being as its aim, which a man of steady 
mind should hit : he then shall be united to God as the 
arrow to its mark. In God, heaven, earth, and space 
reside, and also intellect, with breath and all the senses. 
Do you strive to know solely the ONE Supreme Being, 
and forsake all other discourse ; becau se this (a true 
knowledge respecting God) is the only way to eternal 
beatitude. The veins of the body are inserted into the 
heart, like the radius of a wheel into its nave. There 
the Supreme Being, as the origin of the notion of in 
dividuality, and of its various circumstances, resides ; 
Him, through the help of Om, you all contem plate. 
Blessed be ye in crossing over the ocean of dark igno 
rance to absorption into God. He who knows the uni 
verse collectively, distinctively, whose majesty is fully 
evident in the world, operates within the space of the 
heart, his luminous abode. 

He is perceptible only by intellect ; and removes 
the breath and corpuscle, in which the soul resides, from 
one substance to another : supporting intellectual facul- 


ties, he is seated in the heart. Wise men acquire a- 
knowledge of him, who shines eternal, and the source of 
all happiness, through the pure knowledge conveyed to 
them by the Veds and by spiritual fathers. God, who is 
all in all, being known to man as the origin of intellect 
and self-consiousness, every desire of the mind ceases,, 
all doubts are removed, and effects of the good or evil 
actions committed, now or in preceding shapes, are totally 
annihilated. The Supreme Being, free from stain, de 
void of figure or form, and entirely pure, the light of all 
lights, resides in the heart, his resplendently excellent 
seat : those discriminating men, who know him as the 
origin of intellect and of self-conciousness, are possessed 
of the real notion of God. Neither the sun nor the 
moon, nor yet the stars, can throw light on God : even 
the illuminating lightning can not throw light upon him,, 
much less can limited fire give him light : but they all 
imitate him, and all borrow their light from him. God 
alone is immortal : he extends before, behind, to the 
right, to the left, beneath and above. He is the Supreme, 
and All-in-all. 

End of the Second Moondukum. 

Two birds (meaning God and the soul) cohabitant 
and co-essential, reside unitedly in one tree, which is 
the body, one of them (the soul} consumes the variously 
tasted fruits of its actions ; but the other (God), with 
out partaking of them, witnesses all events. 

The soul so pressed down in the body, being delud 
ed with ignorance, grieves at its own insufficiency ; but 


when it perceives its cohabitant, the adorable Lord of 
the Universe* the origin of itself, and his glory, it feels 
relieved from grief and infatuation. When a wise man 
perceives the resplendent God, the Creator and Lord of 
the Universe and the omnipresent prime Cause, he then, 
abandoning the consequences of good and evil works, be 
comes perfect, and obtains entire absorption. A wise 
man knowing God as perspicuously residing in all crea 
tures, forsakes all idea of duality ; being convinced that 
there is only one real Existence^ which is God. He then 
directs all his senses towards God alone, the origin of 
self-consciousness, and on him exclusively he places his 
love, abstracting at the same time his mind from all 
wordly objects by constantly applying it to God : the per 
sons so devoted is reckoned the most perfect among the 
votaries of the Deity. Through strict veracity, the uni 
form direction of mind and senses, and through notions 
acquired from spiritual teachers, as well as by abstinence 
from sexual indulgence, man should approach God, who,, 
full of splendour and perfection, works in the heart ; 
and to whom only the votaries freed from passion and 
desire can approximate. 

He who practises veracity prospers, and not he who 
speaks untruths : the way to eternal beatitude is open 
to him who without omission speaketh truth. This 

* The difference between God, the intellectual principle, and the 
soul, the individual intellect, subsists as long as the idea of self-in 
dividuality is retained ; like the distinction between finite and in 
finite space, which ceases as soon as the idea of particular figure is 
done away. 


is that way through which the saints, extricated from 
all desires, proceed to the Supreme Existence, the 
consequence of the observance of truth. He is great 
and incomprehensible by the senses, and conse 
quently his nature is beyond human conception. He, 
though more subtle than vacuum itself, shines in 
various ways From those who do not know him , he 
is at a greater distance than the limits of space, and 
to those who acquire a knowledge of him^ he is most 
proximate ; and while residing in animate creatures, he 
is perceived obscurely by those who apply their thoughts 
to him. He is not perceptible by vision, nor is he des- 
cribable by means of speech : neither can he be the 
object of any of the other organs of sense ; nor can he 
be conceived by the help of austerities or religious 
rites : but a person whose mind is purified by the 
light of true knowledge, through incessant contempla 
tion, perceives him, the most pure God. Such is the 
invisible Supreme Being : he should be observed in 
the heart, wherein breath, consisting of five species, 
rests. The mind being perfectly freed from impurity, 
God who spreads over the mind and all the senses, 
imparts a knowledge of himself to the heart. 

A pious votary of God obtains whatever division 
of the world and whatever desirable object he may 
wish to acquire for himself or for another : therefore 
any one, who is desirous of honour and advantage, 
should revere him. 

End of the ist section of the $rd Moondukum. 


Those wise men who, abandoning all desires, revere 
the devotee who has acquired a knowledge of the 
supreme exaltation of God, on whom the whole universe 
Tests, and who is perfect and illuminates everywhere, 
will never be subjected to further birth. 

He who, contemplating the various effects of objects 
visible or invisible, feels a desire to obtain them, shall 
be born again with those feelings : but the man satisfied 
with a knowledge of and faith in God, blessed by a 
total destruction of ignorance, forsakes all such desires 
even during his life. 

A knowledge of God, the prime Object, is not acquir- 
able from study of the Veds, nor through retentive 
memory, nor yet by continual hearing of spiritual 
instruction : but he who seeks to obtain a knowledge of 
God is gifted with it, God rendering himself conspicuous 
to him. 

No man deficient in faith or discretion can obtain 
a knowledge of God ; nor can even he who possesses 
wisdom mingled with the desire of fruition, gain it : 
but the soul of a wise man who, through firm belief, 
prudence, and pure understanding, not biassed by 
worldly desire, seeks for knowledge, will be absorbed 
into God. 

The saints who, wise and firm, were satisfied solely 
with a knowledge of God, assured of the soul s divine 
origin, exempt from passion, and possessed of tran 
quillity of mind, having found God the omnipresent 
everywhere, have after death been absorbed^, into him ; 
even as limited extension within a jar is by its destruction 


united to universal space. All the votaries who repose 
on God alone their firm belief, originating from a know 
ledge of the Vedant, and who, by forsaking religious 
rites, obtain purification of mind, being continually 
occupied in divine reflections during life, are at the time 
of death entirely freed from ignorance and absorbed 
into God. On the approach of death, the elementary 
parts of their body, being fifteen in number, unite with 
their respective origins : their corporeal faculties, such 
as vision and feeling &c. return into their original 
sources, the sun and air, &c. The consequences of 
their works, together with their souls, are absorbed into 
the supreme and eternal Spirit, in the same manner as 
the reflection of the sun in water returns to him on the 
removal of the water. As all rivers flowing into the 
ocean disappear and lose their respective appellations 
and forms, so the person who has acquired a knowledge 
of and faith in God, freeing himself from the subjugation- 
of figure and appellation, is absorbed into the supreme, 
immaterial and omnipresent Existence. 

He who acquires a knowledge of the Supreme Being 
according to the foregoing doctrine, shall inevitably be 
absorbed into him, surmounting all the obstacles that 
he may have to encounter. None of his progeny will be 
destitute of a true knowledge of God. He escapes from 
mental distress and from evil propensities ; he is also- 
relieved from the ignorance which occasions the idea of 
duality. This is the true doctrine inculcated throughout 
the foregoing texts, and which a man should impart to 
those who are accustomed to perform good works,. 


conversant in the Veds, and inclined toward the acquisi 
tion of the knowledge of God, and who themselves, 
with due regard, offer oblations to sacred fire ; and 
also to those who have continually practised shirobrutu, 
a certain observance oj the sacred fire. This is the true 
divine doctrine, in which Ungirus instructed his pupil 
Shounuku, which a person not accustomed to devotion 
should not study. 

Salutation to the knowers of God / 















SINCE my publication of the abridgement of the 
Vedanta, containing an exposition of all the Veds as 
given by the great VYAS, I have, for the purpose of illus 
trating and confirming the view that he has taken of 
them, translated into Bengalee the principal chapters of 
the Veds as being of unquestionable authority amongst 
all Hindoos. This work will, I trust, by explaining to 
my countrymen the real spirit of the Hindoo Scriptures, 
which is but the declaration of the unity of God, tend in 
.a great degree to correct the erroneous conceptions, 
which have prevailed with regard to the doctrines they 
inculcate. It will also, I hope, tend to discriminate 
those parts of the Veds which are to be interpreted in 
an allegorical sense, and consequently to correct those 
exceptionable practices, which not only deprive Hindoos 
in general of the common comforts* of society, but also 
lead them frequently to self-destruction,! or to the sacri 
fice:}: of the lives of their friends and relations. 

* A Hindoo of caste can only eat once between sunrise and sunset 
cannot eat dressed victuals in a boat or ship nor clothed nor in 
a tavern nor any food that has been touched by a person of a 
different caste nor if interrupted while eating, can he resume his 

t As at Prayaga, Gunga Sagar, and under the wheels of the car 
of Jagannath. 

As, for instance, persons whose recovery from sickness is 
supposed to be doubtful, are carried to die on the banks of the 


It is with no ordinary feeling of satisfaction that I 
have already seen many respectable persons of my 
countrymen, to the great disappointment of their inter 
ested spiritual guides, rise superior to their original pre 
judices, and enquire into the truths of religion. As 
many European gentlemen, especially those who inter 
est themselves in the improvement of their fellow-crea 
tures, may be gratified with a view of the doctrines of 
the original work, it appeared to me that I might best 
contribute to that gratification, by translating a few 
chapters of the Ved into the English language, which I 
have accordingly done, and now submit them to their 
candid judgment. Such benevolent people will, per 
haps, rise from a perusal of them with the conviction, 
that in the most ancient times the inhabitants of this 
part of the globe (at least the more intelligent class) were 
not unacquainted with metaphysical subjects ; that al 
legorical language or description was very frequently 
employed to represent the attributes of the Creator,, 
which were sometimes designated as independent exist 
ences ; and that, however suitable this method might be 
to the refined understandings of men of learning, it had 
the most mischievous effect when literature and philosophy 
decayed, producing all those absurdities and idolatrous 
notions which have checked, or rather destroyed, every 
mark of reason, and darkened every beam of under 

Ganges This is practised by the Hindoos of Bengal only, the cruel 
ty of which affects even Hindoos of Behar, Hahabad, and all the 
upper provinces. 


The Ved from which all Hindoo literature is derived, 
is, in the opinion of the Hindoos, an inspired work, 
coeval with the existence of the world. It is divided 
into four parts, viz. Rik, Yajus, Sam, and Atharva ; 
these are again divided into several branches, and 
these last are subdivided into chapters. It is the 
general characteristic of each Ved, that the primary 
chapters of each branch treat of astronomy, medicine, 
arms, and other arts and sciences. They also exhibit 
allegorical representations of the attributes* of the Su 
preme Being, by means of earthly objects, animate or 
inanimate, whose shapes or properties are analogous to 
the nature of those attributes, and pointing out the modes 
of their worship immediately or through the medium 
of fire. In the subsequent chapters, the unity of the 
Supreme Being as the sole ruler of the universe is plainly 
inculcated, and the mode of worshipping him particularly 
directed. The doctrine of a plurality of gods and god 
desses laid down in the preceding chapters is not only 
controverted, but reasons assigned for its introduction ; 
for instance, that the worship of the sun and fire, to 
gether with the whole allegorical system, were only incul 
cated for the sake of those whose limited understandings 
rendered them incapable of comprehending and adoring 
the invisible Supreme Being, so that such persons might 
not remain in a brutified state, destitute of all religious 
principle. Should this explanation given by the Ved it- 

* It is my intention to give, with the blessing of God, in my next 
publication, an account of the relation betwixt those attributes and 
the allegorical representations used to denote them. 



self, as well as by its celebrated commentator Vyas, not 
be allowed to reconcile those passages which are seem 
ingly at variance with each other, as those that declare 
the unity of the invisible Supreme Being, with others 
which describe a plurality of independent visible gods, 
the whole work must, I am afraid, not only be stripped 
of its authority, but be looked upon as altogether un 

I have often lamented that, in our general researches 
into theological truth, we are subjected to the conflict of 
many obstacles. When we look to the traditions of an 
cient nations, we often find them at variance with each 
other; and when, discouraged by this circumstance, 
we appeal to reason as a surer guide, we soon find how 
incompetent it is, alone, to conduct us to the object 
of our pursuit. W T e often find that, instead of facilitating 
our endeavours or clearing up our perplexities, it only 
serves to generate a universal doubt, incompatible 
with principles on which our comfort and happiness 
mainly depend. The best method perhaps is, neither 
to give ourselves up exclusively to the guidance of the 
one or the other ; but by a proper use of the lights 
furnished by both, endeavour to improve our intellectual 
and moral faculties, relying on the goodness of the 
Almighty Power, which alone enables us to attain that 
which we earnestly and diligently seek for. 





ist. WHO is he [asks a pupil of his spiritual father,} 
under whose sole will the intellectual power makes its 
approach to different objects ? Who is he under whose 
authority breath, the primitive power in the body, makes 
its operation ? Who is he by whose direction language 
is regularly pronounced ? And who is that immaterial 
being that applies vision and hearing to their respective 
objects * 

2nd. He, [answers the spiritual parent,] who is the 
sense of the sense of hearing ; the intellect of the 
intellect ; the essential cause of language ; the breath of 
breath ; the sense of the sense of vision ; this is 
the Being concerning whom you would enquire. Learned 
men, having relinquished thz notion of self-independence 
and self-consideratian from- knowing the Supreme Unders 
tanding to be the sole source of sense, enjoy everlasting 
beatitude after their departure from this world. 

3rd. Hence no vision can approach him, no langu 
age can describe him, no intellectual power can com 
pass or determine him. We know nothing of how the 


Supreme Being should be explained : he is beyond all 
that is within the reach of comprehension, and also- 
beyond nature, which is above conception. Our an 
cient spiritual parents have thus explained him to us. 

4th. He alone, who has never been described by 
language, and who directs language to its meaning, is the 
Supreme Being, and not any specified thing which men 
worship ; know THOU this. 

5th. He alone, whom understanding cannot compre 
hend, and who, as said by learned men, knows the real 
nature of understanding, is the Supreme Being, and 
not any specified thing which men worship ; know 
THOU this. 

6th. He alone, whom no one can conceive by vision,, 
and by whose superintendence every one perceives the 
objects of vision, is the Supreme Being, and not any 
specified thing which men worship : know THOU 

7th. He alone, whom no one can hear through the 
sense of hearing, and who knows the real nature of the 
sense of hearing, is the Supreme Being, and not any 
specified thing which men worship : know THOU this. 

8th. He alone, whom no one can perceive through 
the sense of smelling, and who applies the sense of 
smelling to its objects, is the Supreme Being, and not 
any specified thing which men worship : know THOU 

9th. \iyQM\eontinuesthe spiritual parent], from what 
I have stated, suppose and say that " I know the 
Supreme Being thoroughly, " you in truth know very 


little of the Omnipresent Being; and any conception 
of that Being which you limit to your powers of sense, 
is not only deficient, but also his description which you 
extend to the bodies of the celestial gods, is also imper 
fect * you consequently should enquire into the true 
knowledge of the Supreme Being. To this the pupil 
replies : " I perceive that at this moment I begin to know 

loth. " Not that I suppose, " continues he, " that 
I know God thoroughly, nor do I suppose that I do 
not know him at all : as, among us, he who knows the 
meaning of the above-stated assertion, is possessed of 
the knowledge respecting God ; viz. "that I neither 
know him thoroughly, nor am entirely ignorant 
-of him." 

nth. [The Spiritual Father again resumes :] He 
who believes that he cannot comprehend God, does 
know him ; and he who believes that he can comprehend 
God, does not know him : as men of perfect understand 
ing acknowledge him to be beyond comprehension ; 
.and men of imperfect understanding suppose him to be 
within the reach of their simplest perception. 

1 2th. The notion of the sensibility of bodily or 
gans, which, are composed of insmsible particles, leads 
to the notion of God ; which notion alone is accurate, 
and tends to everlasting happiness. Man gains, by 

* The sum of the notion concerning the Supreme Being given in 
the Vedant, is, that he is "the Soul of the universe, and bears the 
same relation to all material extension that a human soul does to the 
.individual body with which it is connected. 


self-exertion, the power of acquiring knowledge res 
pecting God, and through the same acquisition he 
acquires eternal beatitude. 

1 3th. Whatever person has, according to the above 
stated doctrine, known God, is really happy, and whoever 
has not known him is subjected to great misery. 
Learned men, having reflected on the Spirit of God 
extending over all moveable as well as immovable 
creatures, after their departure from this world are 
absorbed into the Supreme Being. 

In a battle between the celestial * gods and the demons, 
God obtained victory over the latter, in favour of the 
former (or properly speaking, God enabled the former 
to defeat the latter) ; but, upon this victory being gained, 
the celestial gods acquired their respective dignities, 
and supposed that this victory and glory were entirely 
owing to themselves. The Ommipresent Being, having 
known their boast, appeared to them with an appearance 
beyond description. 

They could not know what adorable appearance 
it was : they, consequently, said to fire, or properly 
speaking, the god of fire : " Discover thou, O god of fire, 
what adorable appearance this is." His reply was," I 
shall. " He proceeded fast to that adorable appearance, 

* In the Akhaika it is said that those powers of the Divinity 
which produce agreeable effects and conduce to moral order and 
happiness, are represented under the figure of celesiial gods, and 
those attributes from which pain and misery flow, are called 
Demons and step-brothers of the former, with whom they are in a 
state of perpetual hostility. 


which asked him," Who art thou ?" Fie then answered, 
"I am fire, and I am the origin of the Ved ;" that is t I 
am a well-known personage. The Supreme Omnipo 
tence, upon being thus replied to, asked him again, 
" What power is in so celebrated a person as thou art ? 
He replied," I can burn to ashes all that exists in the 
11 world." The Supreme Being then having laid a 
straw before him, said to him, " Canst thou burn this 
straw?" The god of fire approached the straw, but 
could not burn it, though he exerted all his power. He 
then unsuccessfully retired and told the others, " I have 
been unable to discover what adorable appearance this 
is." Now they all said to wind (or properly to the god 
of wind), " Discover thou, O god of wind, what 
adorable appearance this is." His reply was, "I shall."" 
He proceeded fast to that adorable appearance, which 
asked him, " Who art thou?" He then answered, " I 
" am wind, and I pervade unlimited space ;" that is, 
I am a well-known personage. The Supreme Being, upon 
being thus replied to, asked him again, "What power is 
" in so celebrated a person as thou art ?" He replied, 
" I can uphold all that exists in the world." The Su 
preme Being then, having laid a straw before him, said 
to him, " Canst thou uphold this straw ?" The god of 
wind approached the straw, but could not hold it up, 
though he exerted all his power. He then unsuccessfully 
retired and told the others, " I have been unable to dis- 
" cover what adorable appearance this is." Now they 
" all said to the god of atmosphere, " Discover thou, 
O revered god of atmosphere, what adorable apearance 


" this is." His reply was," I shall." He proceeded 
fast to that adorable appearance, which vanished from 
his view. He met at the same spot a woman, the god 
dess of instruction , arrayed in golden robes in the shape 
of the most beautiful Uma.* He asked, " What was 
" that adorable appeaance ?" She replied, " It was the 
Supreme Being owing to whose victory you are all 
advanced to exaltation." The god of atmosphere, 
from her instruction, knew that it was the Supreme 
Being that had appeared to them. He at first communi 
cated that information to the gods of fire and of wind. 
As the gods of fire, wind, and atmosphere had approached 
to the adorable appearance, and had perceived it, 
and also as they had known, prior to the others^ that it 
was indeed God that appeared to them, they seemed to 
be superior to the other gods. As the god of atmos 
phere had approached to the adorable appearance, and 
perceived it, and also as he knew, prior to every one of 
them, that it was God that appeared to them, he seemed 
not only superior to every other god, but also, for that 
reason, exalted above the gods of fire and wind. 

The foregoing is a divine figurative representation 
of the Supreme Being ; meaning that in one instant he 
shines at once over all the universe like the illumination 
of lightning ; and in another, that he disappears as quick 
as the twinkling of an eye. Again, it is represented of 
the Supreme Being, that pure mind conceives that it 
approaches to him as nearly as possible : Through the 
same pure mind the pious man thinks of him, and conse- 

* The wife of Siva. 



quently application of the mind to him is repeatedly 
used. That God, who alone in reality has no resem 
blance^ and to whom the mind cannot approach, is 
.adorable by all living creatures ; he is therefore called 
" adorable ;" he should, according to the prescribed 
manner, be worshipped. All creatures revere the person 
who knows God in the manner thus described. The 
pupil now says, " Tell me, O Spiritual Father, the 
" Upanishad or the principal part of the Ved." The 
Spiritual Father makes this answer, " I have told you 
"the principal part of the Ved which relates to God 
" alone, and, indeed told you the Upanishad, of which, 
"austere devotion, control over the senses, performance 
" of religious rites, and the remaining parts of the Ved, 
" as well as those sciences that are derived from the 
" Veds, are only the feet ; and whose altar and support 
11 is truth." He who understands it as thus described, 
having relieved himself from sin, acquires eternal and 
unchangeable beatitude. 





U J O O R - V E D, 




IN pursuance of my attempt to render a translation 
of the complete Vedant, or the principal parts of the 
Veds, into the current languages of this country, I had 
some time ago the satisfaction of publishing a translation 
of the Kuth -opunishud of the Ujoor-ved into Bengalee ; 
and of distributing copies of it as widely as my circums 
tances would allow, for the purpose of diffusing Hindoo 
scriptural knowledge among the adherents of that 
religion. The present publication is intended to assist 
the European community in forming their opinion 
respecting Hindoo Theology, rather from the matter 
found in their doctrinal scriptures, than from the 
Poorans, moral tales, or any other modern works, or 
from the superstitious rites and habits daily encouraged 
and fostered by their self-interested leaders. 

This work not only treats polytheism with contempt 
and disdain, but inculcates invariably the unity of God 
as the intellectual Principle, the sole Origin of individual 
intellect, entirely distinct from matter and its affections r 
and teaches also the mode of directing the mind to him. 

A great body of my countrymen, possessed of good 
understandings, and not much fettered with prejudices, 
being perfectly satisfied with the truth of the doctrines 
contained in this and in other works, already laid by 
me before them, and of the gross errors of the puerile 
system of idol worship which they were led to follow. 


have altered their religious conduct in a manner be 
coming the dignity of human beings ; while the advocates 
of idolatry and their misguided followers, over whose 
opinions prejudice and obstinacy prevail more than good 
sense and judgment, prefer custom and fashion to the 
authorities of their scriptures, and therefore continue, 
under the form of religious devotion, to practise a 
system which destroys, to the utmost degree, the natural 
texture of society, and prescribes crimes of the most 
heinous nature, which even the most savage nations 
would blush to commit, unless compelled by the most 
urgent necessity.* I am, however, not without a 
sanguine hope that, through Divine Providence and 
human exertions, they will sooner or later avail them 
selves of that true system of religion which leads its 
-observers to a knowledge and love of God, and to a 
friendly inclination towards their fellow-creatures, im 
pressing their hearts at the same time with humility and 
charity, accompanied by independence of mind and pure 
sincerity. Contrary to the code of idolatry, this system 
defines sins as evil thoughts proceeding from the heart, 
quite unconnected with .observances as to diet and other 
matters of form. At any rate, it seems to me that I 
cannot better employ my time than in an endeavour to 
illustrate and maintain truth, and to render service to 
my fellow-labourers, confiding in the mercy of that Being 
to whom the motives of our actions and secrets of our 
hearts are well-known. 

* Vide the latter end of the Introduction to the the Moonduk 


DESIROUS of future fruition , Bajushrubusu performed 
the sacrifice Vishwujit, at ivhich he "distributed all his 
property. He had a son named Nuchiketa. Old and 
infirm cows being brought by the father as fees to be 
given to attending priests, the youth was seized with 
compassion, reflecting within himself, " He who gives 
" to attending priests such cows as are no longer able to 
" drink water or to eat grass, and are incapable of giving 
" further milk or of producing young, is carried to that 
" mansion where there is no felicity whatever." 

He then said to his father, " To whom, O father, 
" wilt thou consign me over in lieu of these cows ? " and 
repeated the same question a second and a third time. 

Enraged with his presumption, the father replied to 
him, " I shall give thee to Yumu " (the god of death}. 
The youth then said to himself, " In the discharge of my 
41 duties as a son, I hold a foremost place among many 
" sons or pupils of the first class, and I am not inferior 
" to any of the sons or pupils of the second class : 
" whether my father had a previous engagement with 
" Yumu, which he will now perform by surrendering me 
" to him, or made use of such an expression through anger, 
" I know not." The youth finding his father afflicted with 
sorrow, said, "Remember the meritorious conduct of our 


" ancient forefathers, and observe the virtuous acts of 
" contemporary good men. Life is too short to gain 
" advantages by means of falsehood or breach of promise ; 
" as man like a plant is easily destroyed, and again like 
" it puts forth its form. Do you therfore surrender me 
" to Yumu according to your promise." The youth 
" Nuchiketa , by permission of his father ; went to the habita 
tion of Yumu. After he had remained there for three 
days without food or refreshmemt^ Yumu returned to his 
dwelling, and was thus addressed by his family : " A 
" Brahmun entering a house as a guest is like fire ; good 
" householder s, therefore^ extinguish his anger by offering 
" him water ; a seat, and food. Do thou, O Yumu,. 
" present him with water, A man deficient in wisdom 
" suffers his hopes, his sanguine expectation of success, 
" his improvement from associating with good men, the 
" benefit which he might derive from his affable con- 
" versation, and the fruits produced by performance of 
" prescribed sacrifices, and also by digging of wells and 
" other pious liberal actions, as well as all his sons and 
" and cattle, to be destroyed, should a Brahmun happen 
" to remain in his house without food." 

Yumu being thus admonished by his family , approached 
Nuchiketa and said to him ; " As thou, O Brahmun, 
" hast lived in my house, a revered guest, for the space 
" of three days and nights without food, I offer thee 
" reverence in atonement, so that bliss may attend me ; 
" and do thou ask three favours of me as a recompense 
" for what thou hast suffered while dwelling in my house 
"during these days past." Nuchiketa then made this as 


his first request, saying, "Let, O Yumu ! my father 
" Gotum s apprehension of my death be removed, his 
" tranquility of mind be restored, his anger against me 
1 extinguished, and let him recognise me on my return, 
" after having been set free by thee. This is the first 
" of three favours which I ask of thee." Yumu then 
replied : 

" Thy father, styled Ouddaluki and Arooni, shall 
" have the same regard for you as before ; so that, being 
" assured of thy existence, he shall, through my power, 
" repose the remaining nights of his life free from sorrow,. 
" after having seen thee released from the grasp of 
" death." Nuchiketa then made his second request. 
" In heaven, where there is no fear whatsoever, and 
" where even thou, O Yumu ! canst not always exercise 
thy authqrity, and where, therefore, none dread thy 
" poiver so much, as weak mortals of the earth, the soul, 
" unafflicted either by thirst or hunger, and unmolested 
" by sorrow, enjoys gratification. As thou, O Yumu 1 
" dost possess knowledge respecting fire which is the 
" means of attaining heaven, do thou instruct me, who 
" am full of faith, in that knowledge ; for, those who 
" enjoy heaven, owing to their observance of sacred fire,. 
" are endowed with the nature of celestial deities. This 
" I ask of thee, as the second favour which thou hast 
" offered." Yumu replied: "Being possessed of a know- 
" ledge of fire, the means that lead to the enjoyment 
" of heavenly gratifications, I impart it to thee ; which 
" do thou attentively observe. Know thou fire, as 
<c means to obtain various mansions in heaven, as the 
" support of the world, and as residing in the body." 
Yumu explained to Nuchiketa the nature of fire, as 


being prior to all creatures, and also the particulars of 
the bricks and their number, which are requisite in 
forming the sacred fire, as well as the mode of preserv 
ing it. The youth repeated to Yumu these instruc 
tions exactly as imparted to him ; at which Yumub eing 
pleased, again spoke. 

The liberal-minded Yumu, satisfied with Nuchiketa, 
thus says ; " I shall bestow on thee another favour, which 
" is, that this sacred fire shall be styled after thy name ; 
" and accept thou this valuable and various-coloured 
"necklace. Receiving instructions from parents and 
41 spiritual fathers, a person who has thrice collected fire, 
"as prescribed in the Ved, and also has been in habits 
" of performing sacrifices, studying the Veds, and giving 
" alms, is not liable to repeated birth and death : he, 
" having known and contemplated fire as .originating 
41 from Bruhma, possessing superior understanding, full 
41 of splendour, and worthy of praise, enjoys the highest 
" fruition. A wise worshipper of sacred fire, who, under- 
" standing the three things prescribed, has offered obla- 
" tion to fire, surmounting all afflictions during life, and 
41 extricated from sorrow, will enjoy gratifications in 
" heaven. 

" This, O Nuchiketa ! is that knowledge of sacred 
41 fire, the means of obtaining heaven, which thou didst 
" require of me as the second favour ; men shall call it 
41 after thy name. Make, O Nuchiketa! thy third 
41 request." 

Nuchiketa then said : lf Some are of opinion that 
" after man s demise existence continues, and others 
" say it ceases. Hence a doubt has arisen respecting 
41 the nature of the soul ; I therefore wish to be instruct- 


" ed by thee in this matter. This is the last of the 
" favours thou hast offered." Yumu replied : " Even gods 
4t have doubted and disputed on this subject ; which 
" being obscure, never can be thoroughly comprehen- 
" ded : Ask, O Nuchiketa ! another favour instead of 
41 this. Do not thou take advantage of my promise, but 
"give up this request." Nuchiketa replied: "f am 
" positively informed that gods entertained doubts on 
" this subject ; and even thou, O Yumu ! callest it 
"difficult of comprehension. But no instructor on this 
* point equal to thee can be found, and no other object 
" is so desirable as this." Yumu said : " Do thou 
" rather request of me to give thee sons and grandsons, 
" each to attain the age of an hundred years ; numbers 
" of cattle, elephants, goat, and horses ; also extensive 
41 empire on earth, where thou shalt live as many years 
" as thou wishest. 

" If thou knowest another object equally desirable 
" with these, ask it ; together with wealth and long life. 
" Thou mayest reign, O Nuchiketa ! over a great king- 
" dom : I will enable thee to enjoy all wished-for objects. 

" Ask according to thy desire all objects that are 
"difficult of acquisition in the mortal world. Ask 
" these beautiful women, with elegant equipages and 
" musical instruments, as no man can acquire any thing 
" like them without our gift. Enjoy thou the atten- 
41 dance of these women, whom I may bestow on thee ; 
" but do not put to me, O Nuchiketa ! the question 
" respecting existence after death." 

Nuchiketa then replied. "The acquisition of the 
"enjoyments thou hast offered, O Yumu! is in the 
"first place doubtful ; and should they be obtained, 


" they destroy the strength of all the senses ; and even 
" the life of Bruhma is, indeed, comparatively short. 
" Therefore let thy equipages, and thy dancing and 
" music, remain with thee. 

"No man can be satisfied with riches ; and as we have 
"fortunately beheld thee, we may acquire wealth, should 
" we feel desirous of it, and we also may live as long 
" as thou exercisest the authority of the god of death ; 
" but the only object I desire is what I have already 
" begged of thee. 

" A mortal being, whose habitation is the low man- 
" sion of earth, and who is liable to sudden reduction, 
" approaching the gods exempted from death and 
" debility, and understanding from them that there is 
" a knowledge oj juturity, should not ask of them any 
" inferior favour and knowing the fleeting nature 
" of music, sexual gratification, and sensual pleasures,. 
" who can take delight in a long life on earth? Do thou 
" instruct us in that knowledge which removes doubts 
" respecting existence after death, and is of great impor- 
" tance with a view to futurity, and which is obscure 
" and acquirable with difficulty. I, Nuchiketa, cannot 
" ask any other favour but this." 

End of the first Section of the first Chapter (ist Bullee. \ 

Yumu now, after a sufficient trial of Nuchiketds. 
resolution, answers the third question, saying, " Know- 
" ledge of God which leads to absorption, is one thing ; 
" and rites, which have fruition for their object, an- 
" other : each of these producing different consequences, 


"holds out to man inducements to follow it. The 
" man, who of these two chooses knowledge, is blessed ; 
" and he who, for the sake ofreward^ practises rites, is 
"excluded from the enjoyment of eternal beatitude. 
" Knowledge and rites both offer themselves to man ; 
" but he who is possesed of wisdom, taking their res- 
"pective natures into serious consideration, disting- 
" uishes one from the other, and chooses faith, despising 
" fruition ; and a fool, for the sake of advantage and 
" enjoyment, accepts the offer of rites. 

" Thou, O Nuchiketa ! knowing the perishable 
" nature of the desirable and gratifying objects offered 
" by me, hast rejected them, and refused the adoption 
41 of that contemptible practice, which leads to fruition 
"and to riches, and to which men in general are 
" attached. Wise men are sensible that a knowledge of 
" God which procures absorption, and the performance 
" of rites that produces fruition, are entirely opposite 
" to each other, and yield different consequences. I 
" conceive thee, Nuchiketa, to be desirous of a know- 
" ledge of God, for the numerous estimable objects 
" offered by me cannot tempt thee. Surrounded by 
" the darkness of ignorance, fools consider themselves 
" wise and learned, and wander about in various 
" directions, like blind men when guided by a blind 
" man." 

To an indiscreet man who lives carelessly, and is 
immersed in the desire of wealth, the means of gaining 
heavenly beatitude are not manifest. He thinks that 
this visible world alone exists, and that there is nothing 
hereafter ; consequently he is repeatedly subjected to 
my control. The soul is that of whose real nature 


many persons have never heard ; and several though 
they have heard, have not comprehended. A man who 
is capable of giving instruction on this subject is rare : 
One who listens to it attentively, must be intelligent : 
and that one who, being taught by a wise teacher, under 
stands it, is uncommon. 

If a man of inferior abilities describe the nature of 
the soul, no one will thoroughly understand it ; for 
various opinions are held by contending parties. When 
the subject is explained by a person who believes the 
soul to emanate from God, doubt, in regard to its 
eternity, ceases ; but otherwise it is inexplicable and not- 
capable of demonstration. 

The knowledge respecting the soul which thou wilt 
gain by me, cannot be acquired by means of reason 
alone ; but it should be obtained from him who is 
versed in the sacred authorities. Oh, beloved pupil, 
Nuchiketa ! may we have enquirers like thee, who art 
full of resolution. I know that fruition, acquirable by 
means of rites, is perishable ; for nothing eternal can be 
obtained through perishable means. Notwithstanding 
my convict ion of the destructible nature of fruition , I 
performed the worship of the sacred fire, whereby I 
became possessed of this sovereignty of long duration. 

Thou, Oh wise Nuchiketa ! hast through firmness re 
fused, though offered to thee, the state of Bruhma, which 
satisfies every desire, and which is the support of the 
world the best consequence of the performance of rites 
without limit or fear praise-worthy full of superhuman 
power extensive and stable. 

The soul is that which is difficult to be comprehend 
ed most obscure veiled by the ideas acquired through 


the senses, and which resides in faculties does not 
depart even in great danger, and exists unchangeable. A 
wise man knowing the resplendent soul, through a mind 
abstracted from worldly objects, and constantly applied 
to it, neither rejoices nor does he grieve. 

A mortal who, having heard the pure doctrines 
relative to the soul and retained them in his memory, 
knowing the invisible soul to be distinct from the body, 
feels rejoiced at his acquisition. I think the abode of the 
knowledge of God is open to thee. 

Nuchiketa then asked, " If thou knowest any Being 
" who exists distinctly from rites their consequences and 
" their observers, and also from evil, and who is different 
" from effects and their respective causes, and is above 
" past, future, and present time, do thou inform me." 

Yumu replies : " I will explain to thee briefly that 
" Being whom all the Veds treat of, either directly or in- 
" directly, to whom all austerities are directed, and who is 
" the main object of those who perform the duties of an 
" ascetic, He to wit, whom the word Om implies, is the 
" Supreme Being." 

That Om is the title of Bruhma and also of the 
Supreme Being, through means of which man may gain 
what he wishes ; (that is, if he worship Bruhma by 
means of Om, he shall be received into his mansion ; or 
if through it he elevate his mind to God, he shall obtain 

Om is the best of all means calculated to direct the 
mind towards God ; and it is instrumental either in the 
acquisition of the knowledge of God or of the dignity of 
Bruhma : man therefore having recourse to this word, 
shall either be absorbed in God, or revered like Bruhm . 


The soul is not liable to birth nor to death : it is 
mere understanding : neither does it take its origin from 
any other or from itself : hence it is unborn, eternal 
without reduction and unchangeable ; therefore the soul 
is not injured by the hurt which the body may receive. 
If any one ready to kill another imagine that he can 
destroy his soul, and the other think that his soul shall 
suffer destruction, they both know nothing ; for neither 
does it kill nor is it killed by another. 

The soul is the smallest of the small, and greatest of 
the great. It resides in the hearts of all living creatures. 
A man who knows it and its pure state, through the 
steadiness of the external and internal senses, acquired 
from the abandoning of worldly desires, overcomes 
sorrow and perplexity. 

The soul, although without motion, seems to go to 
furthest space ; and though it resides in the body at rest, 
yet seems to move everywhere. Who can perceive be 
sides myself, that splendid soul, the support of the 
sensation of happiness and plain ? 

The soul, although it is immaterial, yet resides closely 
attached to perishable material objects : knowing it as 
great and extensive, a wise man never grieves for it. A 
knowledge of the soul is not acquirable from the study 
of the Veds, nor through retentive memory, nor yet by 
constant hearing of spiritual instruction : but he who 
seeks to obtain a knowledge of it, is gifted with it, the 
soul rendering itself conspicuous to him. 

No man can acquire a knowledge of the soul with 
out abstaining from evil acts ; without having control 
over the senses and the mind ; nor can he gain it with a 
mind, though firm, yet filled with the desire of fruition ; 


but man may obtain a knowledge of the soul through his 
knowledge of God. 

No ignorant man can, in a perfect manner, know the 
state of the existence of that God whose food is all 
things even the Brahmu and the Kshutru ; (that is, who 
destroys every object bearing figure and appellation) and 
who consumes death itself even as butter. 

The end of the second Section of the first Chapter 
(2nd Bulee.} 

God and the soul* entering into the heart, the 
excellent divine abode, consume, while residing in 
the body, the necessary consequences of its actions ; 
that is, the latter is rewarded or punished according to 
its good or evil actions, and the former witnesses all those 
events. Those who have a knowledge of God, consider 
the former as light and the latter as shade : the observers 
of external rites also, as well as those who have collected 
fire three times for worship, believe the same. 

We can know and collect fire ; which is a bridge to 
the observers of rites ; and can know the eternal and 
fearless God, who is the conveyer of those who wish to 
cross the ocean of ignorance. Consider the soul as a 
rider the body as a car, the intellect its driver, the mind 
as its reign, the external senses are called the horses 
restrained by the mind, external objects are the roads: 
so wise men believe the soul united with the body, the 

* The word soul here means the human soul, Jeebatma ; 
but generally in these translations it is used for Paramata the 
Great Soul. ED. 


senses and the mind, to be the partaker oj the conse 
quences of good or evil acts. 

If that intellect, which is represented as the driver^ 
be indiscreet, and the rein of the mind loose, all the 
senses under the authority of the intellectual power 
become unmanageable ; like wicked horses under the 
control of an unfit driver. 

If the intellect be discreet and the rein of the mind 
firm, all the senses prove steady and manageable ; like 
good horses under an excellent driver. 

He, who has not a prudent intellect and steady mind 
and who consequently lives always impure, cannot arrive 
at the divine glory, but descends to the world. 

He who has a prudent intellect and steady mind, 
and consequently lives always pure, attains that glory 
from whence he never will descend. 

Man who has intellect as his prudent driver, and a 
steady mind as his rein, passing over the paths of mor 
tality, arrives at the high glory of the omnipresent God. 

The origin of the senses is more refined than the 
senses ; the essence of the mind is yet more refined than 
that origin : the source of intellect is again more exalt 
ed than that of the mind ; the prime sensitive parti 
cle is superior to the source of intellect ; nature, the 
apparent cause of the universe, is again superior to that 
particle, to which the omnipresent God is still superior : 
nothing is more exalted than God : he is therefore 
superior to all existences, and is the Supreme object of 
. all. God exists obscurely throughout the universe, 
consequently is not perceived ; but he is known through 
the acute intellect constantly directed towards him by 
wise men of penetrating understandings. A wise man 


shall transfer the power of speech and that of the sen 
ses to the mind, and the mind to the intellect, and the 
intellect to the purified soul, and the soul to the un 
changeable Supreme Being. 

Rise up and awake from the sleep of ignorance ; 
and having approached able teachers, acquire know 
ledge of God, the origin of the soul : for the way to the 
knowledge of God is considered by wise men difficult 
as the passage over the sharp edge of a razor. The 
Supreme Being is not organised with the faculties of 
hearing, feeling, vision, taste or smell. He is un 
changeable and eternal; without beginning or end;, 
and is beyond that particle which is the origin of the 
intellect : man knowing him thus, is relieved from the 
grasp of death. 

A wise man reading to Brahmuns^ or hearing from a 
teacher^ this ancient doctrine imparted to Nuchiketa by 
Yumu, is absorbed into God. 

He who reads this most secret doctrine before an 
assemblage of Brahmuns, or at the time of offering ob 
lations to his forefath ers, enjoys innumerable good con 

The end of the third Section of the first Chapter 
(yd Bullee^ 

God has created the senses to be directed towards 
external objects ; they consequently are apt to perceive 
outward things only, and not the eternal spirit. But 
a wise, man being desirous of eternal life, withdrawing 


his senses from their natural course, apprehends the 
omnipresent Supreme Being. 

The ignorant seek external and desireable object 

only j consffutntly they are subjected to the chain of all- 

-.g death. Hence the wise, knowing that God 

alone is immortal and eternal in this perishable world, do 

not cherish a wish for those objects. 

To Him, owing to whose presence alone the animate 
beings, composed of insensible particles, perceive objects 
through vision, the power of taste, of feeling, and of 
hearing, and also the pleasure derivable from sexual 
intercourse, nothing can be unknown : he is that exis- 
tance which thou desiredst to know. 

A wise man after having known that he soul, owing to 
whose presence living creatures perceive objects wherher 
they dream or wake, is great and extensive never grieves. 
He who believes that the soul, which enjoys the fruits of 
good or evil actions intimately connected with the origin 
ates from and is united with God, the Lord of past and 
future events, will not conceal its nature : he is that 
existence which thou desiredst to know. He who knows 
that the prime sensitive particle, which proceeded from 
God prior to the creation of water and the other elements, 
having entered into the heart, exists united witn material 
objects, knows the Supreme Being. He is that existence 
which thou desiredst to know. 

That sensitive particle which perceives objects, and 
includes all the celestial deities, and which was created 
with all the elements, exists, entering into the space of 
the heart, and there resides. It is that existence which 
thou desiredst to know. 

i HI-; u jooK vi-.b. 77 

The sacred fire, the receiver of obtains, after the 
wood has been kindled below and above, is preserved by 
its observer* with the same care as pregnant women take 
of their f^tus : it is praised daily by prudent observers, 
and men habituated to constant devotion. That at 
mosphere from whence the sun ascends, and in which he 
goes down, on which all the world, including fire, speech, 
and other things, rest, and independently of which no 
thing exist, is that existence which thou desiredst to 
know. Whatever individual intellect there is connected 
with the body, is that intellectual principle, is pure and 
immaterial overspreading principle is the individual 
intellect ; but he who thinks here that they are different 
in nature, is subject to repeated transmigrations. 

Through the mind, purified by spiritual instructions^ 
the kuowledge that the soul is of divine origin, and by 
no means is different from its source^ shall be acquired,, 
whereby the idea of duality entirely ceases. He who 
thinks there is variety of intellectual principle, undergoes 

The omnipresent spirit, extending over the space of 
the heart, which is the size of a finger, resides within the 
body ; and persons knowing him the Lord of past and 
future events, will not again attempt to conceal his future 
events, will not again attempt to nature: He is that 
existence which thou desiredst to know. 

The omnipresent spirit which extends over the space 
of the heart, the size of a finger, is the most pure light. 
He is the Lord of past and future events ; He alone 
pervades the universe now and ever ; He is that existence 
which thou desiredst to know. In the same way as 
water falling on uneven ground disperses throughout the 


hollow places, and is lost, so man who thinks that the 
souls of different bodies are distinct in nature from each 

other, shall be placed in various forms by transmigration. 

As water falling on even grounds remains unchanged, 
so the soul of a wise man of steady mind is always pure, 
freed from the idea of duality. 

End of the first Section of the second Chapter (^.th 

The body is a dwelling with eleven gates, belonging 
to the unborn and unchangeable spirit, through whose 

constant contemplation man escapes from grief, and 
.acquiring absorption, is exempted from transmigratin. 
;He is that existence which thou desiredst to know. 

That spiritual Being acts always and moves in 

heaven ; preserves all material existence as depending on 

him ; moves in space ; resides in fire ; walks on earth ; 

.enters like a guest into sacrificial vessels; dwells in man, 

,in gods, in sacrifices ; moves throughout the sky ; seems 

-to be born in water, as fishes ; &*<:.; produced on earth, 

as vegetables, on the tops of mountains, as rivers, and 

also as members of sacrifices : yet is he truly pure and 

: great. He who causes breath to ascend above the 

heart and peditum to descend, resides in the heart : 

He is adorable ; and to him all the senses offer oblation 

of the objects which they perceive. 

When the soul, which is connected with the body, 
leaves it, nothing then remains in the body which may 
preserve the system : It is that existence which thou 
desiredst to know. 

Neither by the help of breath, nor from the pre 
sence of other powers, can a mortal exist : but they 


all exist owing to that other existence on which both 
breath and the senses rest. 

I will now disclose to you the secret doctrine 
of the eternal God : and also how man, void of that 
knowledge^ O Goutum ! transmigrates after death. 

Some of those who are ignorant of this doctrine 
enter after death the womb of females to appear in the 
animal shape, while other assume the form of trees, 
according to their conduct and knowledge during their 

The being who continues to operate even at that 
time of sleep, when all the senses cease to act, and 
then creates desirable of objects of various descrip 
tions, is pure and the greatest of all ; and he alone is 
called eternal, on whom all the world rests, and inde 
pendently of whom nothing can exist : He is that ex 
istence which thou desiredst to.know. As fire, although 
one in essence, on becoming visible in the world, 
.appears in various forms and shapes, according to its 
different locations, so God, the soul of the universe, 
though one, appears in various modes, according as he 
connects himself with different material objects, and, 
.like space^ extends over all. 

As air, although one in essence, in becoming 
operative in the body appears in various natures, as 
breath and other vital airs, so God, the sole of the 
universe, though one, appears in different modes, 
according as he connects himself with various material 
objects, and, like space^ extends over all. 

As the sun, though he serves as the eye of all living 
creatures, yet is not poluted externally or internally 
by being connected with visible vile objects, so God, 


the soul of the universe, although one and omnipresent 
is not affected by the sensations of individual pain, for 
he is beyond its action. 

God is but one ; and he has the whole world under 
his control, for he is the operating soul in all objects ;. 
He, through his omniscience, makes his sole existence 
appear in the form of the universe. To those wise 
men who acquire a knowledge of him who is operative 
on the human faculties, is eternal beatitude allotted, 
and not to those who are void of that knowledge. 

God is eternal amidst the perishable universe ; and 
is the source of sensation among all animate existences t 
and he alone assigns to so many objects their respective 
purposes : To those wise men who know him the ruler 
of the intellectual power, everlasting beatitude is al 
lotted ; but not to those who are void of that know 

How can I acquire that most gratifying divine 
knowledge, which, though beyond comprehension,. 
wise men, by constant application of mind, alone obtain,, 
as If it were present ? Does it shine conspicuously ? 
and does it appear to the human faculties ? 

Neither the sun, nor the moon, nor yet the stars 
can throw light on God: Even the illuminating lightning 
cannot throw light upon him ; much less can limited 
fire give him light : But they all imitate him, and all 
borrow their light from him that is, nothing can in 
fluence God and render him perspicuous : But God him 
self imparts his knowledge to the heart freed from passion 
and desire. 

End of the second Section of the second Chapter 
($th Bullec.} 


The world is a fig-tree of long duration, whose 
origin is above, and the branch es of which, as different 
species^ are below. The origin alone is pure and 
supreme; and he alone is eternal on whom all the 
world rests, and independen tly of whom nothing can 
exist. He is that existence which thou desiredst to 

God being eternal existence, the universe, what 
soever it is, exists and proceeds from him. He is the 
great dread of all heavenly bodies^ as if he were pre 
pared to strike them with thunderbolts ; so that none of 
them can deviate from their respective courses established by 
him. Those who know him as the eternal power acquire 

Through his fear fire supplies us with heat ; and the 
sun, through his fear, shines regularly ; and also Indru, 
and air, and fifthly, death, are through his fear con 
stantly in motion. 

If man can acquire a knowledge of God in this 
world, before the fall of his body, he becomes happy for 
ever : Otherwise he assumes new forms in different 
mansions. A knowledge of God shines on the purified 
intellect in this world, as clearly as an object is seen by 
reflection in a polished mirror : In the region of the 
defied Progenitors of mankind it is viewed as obscurely 
as objects perceived in the state of dreaming ; and in 
the mansion of Gundhurvus, in the same degree as the 
reflection of an object on water ; but in the mansion of 
Bruhma it appears as distinctly as the difference between 
light and darkness. 

A wise man, knowing the soul to be distinct from 
the senses, which proceed from different origins, and 


also from the state of waking and of sleep, never again 

The mind is more refined than the external senses ; 
and the intellect is again more exalted than the mind. 
The prime sensitive particle is superior to the in 
tellect ; nature, the apparent cause of the universe, is 
again superior to that particle unaffected by matter : 
Superior to nature is God, who is omnipresent and 
without material effects ; by acquisition of whose know 
ledge man becomes extricated from ignorance and 
distress, and is absorbed into Him after death. His 
substance does not come within the reach of vision ; 
no one can apprehend him through the senses : By 
constant direction of the intellect, free from doubts, 
he perspicuously appears ; and those who know him 
in the prescribed manner, enjoy eternal life. 

That part of life wherein the power of the five 
external senses and the mind are directed towards the 
Supreme Spirit, and the intellectual power ceases its 
action, is said to be most sacred ; and this steady con 
trol of the senses and mind is considered to be Yog 
(or withdrawing the senses and the mind from worldly 
objects] : Man should be vigilant in the acquisition of 
that state ; for such control proceeds from constant 
exercise, and ceases by neglect. 

Neither through speech, nor through intellectual 
power, nor yet through vision, can man acquire a know 
ledge of God ; but, save him who believes in the exis 
tence of God as the cause of the universe^ no one can 
have a notion of that Being. A man should acquire, 
first, a belief in the existence of God, the origin of the 
universe ; and next, a real knowledge of him ; to wit 


that he is incomprehensible ; for the means which lead 
men to acquire a knowledge of his existence, graciously 
conduct them to the belief of his incomprehensibility. 
When all the desires settled in the heart leave man, the 
mortal then become immortal, and acquire absorption 
even in this life. When the deep ignorance which 
occasions duality is entirely destroyed, the mortal become 
immortal : This is the only doctrine which the Vedant 

There are one hundred and one tubes connected 
with the heart, one of which^ called Sookhumna, pro 
ceeds to the head : The soul of a devotee proceeding 
through the hundred and first, is carried to the mansion 
of the immortal Bruhma ; and those of others, which 
ascend by other tubes, assume different bodies, accord 
ing to the evil or good acts which they perform. 

The omnipresent eternal spirit resides always within 
that space of the human heart which is as large as a 
finger : Man should, by firmness of mind, separate that 
spirit from the body, in the same manner as the pith is 
removed from the plant Moonju : that is, the spirit should 
be considered totally distinct from matter and the effects 
of matter and man should know that separated spirit 
to be pure and eternal. 

Having thus acquired this divine doctrine, imparted 
by the God of death, with every thing belonging to it, 
Nuchiketa, freed from the consequences of good or evil 
acts, and from mortality, was absorbed into God ; and 
whatever person also can acquire that knowledge, shall 
obtain absorption. 

End of the third Section of the second Chapter (6th Bullee). 
End of the Kuth-opuniskud. 




One of the chapters of the 








THE most learned Vyasa shows, in his work of the 
Vedant, that all the texts of the Ved, with one consent, 
prove but the Divinity of that Being, who is out of the 
reach of comprehension and beyond all description. 
For the use of the public, I have made a concise 
translation of that celebrated work into Bengalee, and 
the present is an endeavour to translate* the principal 
Chapters of the Ved, in conformity to the Comments 
of the great Shankar-Acharya. The translation of the 
Ishopanishad belonging to the Yajur, the second divi 
sion of the Veds, being already completed, I have put 
it into the press ; f and the others will successively be 
printed, as soon as their translation is completed. It 
is evident, from those authorities, that the sole regulator 
of the Universe is but one, who is omnipresent, far 
surpassing our powers of comprehension ; above external 
sense ; and whose worship is the chief duty of mankind 
and the sole cause of eternal beatitude ; and that all 
that bear figure and appellation are inventions. Should 
it be asked, whether the assertions found in the 

* I must confess how much I feel indedted to Doctor H. H. 
Wilson, in my translations from Sunskrit into English, for the 
use of his Sunskrit and English Dictionary. 

t Wherever any comment, upon which the sense of the origi 
nal depends, is added to the original, it will be found written in 


Puranas* and Tantras, &c. respecting the worship 
of the several gods and goddesses, are false, or 
whether Puranas and Tantras are not included in 
the Shastra, the answer is this : The Purana and 
Tantra,f &c. are of course to be considered as Shastra, 
for they repeatedly declare God to be one and above 
the apprehension of external and internal senses; they 
indeed expressly declare the divinity of many gods 
and goddesses, and the modes of their worship ; but 
they reconcile those contradictory assertions by affirming 
frequently, that the directions to worship any figured 
beings are only applicable to those who are incapable 
of elevating their minds to the idea of an invisible 
Supreme Being, in order that such persons, by fixing 
their attention on those invented figures, may be able 
to restrain themselves from vicious temptations, and 
that those that are competent for the worship of 
the invisible God, should disregard the worship of 
Idols. I repeat a few of these declarations as follows* 
The authority of Jamadagni is thus quoted by the 
great Raghunandan : " For the benefit of those who are 
* f inclined to worship, figures are invented to serve as 
* representations of God, who is merely understanding, 
" and has no second, no parts nor fi gure ; consequently, 
" to these representatives, either male or female forms 
"and other circumstances are fictitiously assigned." 
" In the second Chapter of the first part of the Vishnu 
11 Purana it is said ; " God is without figure, epithet, 
" definition or description. He is without defect, not 
" liable to annihilation, change, pain or birth ; we can 

* Said to have been written by Vyas . 

t Supposed to have been composed by Shiva. 


" only say, That he, who is the eternal being, is God." 
"The vulgar look for their gods in water ; men of more 
" extended knowledge in celestial bodies ; the ignorant 
"in wood, bricks, and stones ; but learned men in the 
" universalsoul." In the 84th Chapter of the tenth 
" division of the Sri Bhagavat, Crish na says to Vyas 
" and others : " It is impossible for those who consider 
" pilgrimage as devotion, and believe that the divine 
" nature exists in the image, to look up to, communicate 
"with, to petition and to revere true believers in God. 
<f He who views as the soul this body formed of phlegm, 
"wind and bile, or regards only wife, children, and 
41 relations as himself (that is, he who neglects to con- 
41 template the nature of the soul), he who attributes a 
" divine nature to earthen images, and believes in the 
" holiness of water, yet pays not such respect to those 
" who are endowed with a knowledge of God, is as an 
"ass amongst cows." In the gth Chapter of the 
" Cularnava it is written : " A knowledge of the Supreme 
" Being, who is beyond the power of expression and 
" unchangeable, being acquired, all gods and goddesses, 
" and their texts which represent them, shall become 
" slaves." " After a knowledge of the Supreme Being 
" has been attained, there is no need to attend to 
" ceremonies prescribed by Shastras no want of a fan 
" should be felt, when a soft southern wind is found to 
"refresh." The Mahanirvana says, "Thus corresponding 
" to the natures of different powers or qualities, nume- 
" rous figures have been invented for the benefit of 
" those who are not possessed of sufficient understand 
ing." From the foregoing quotations it is evident, 
that though the Veds, Puranas, and Tantras, frequently 


assert the existence of the plurality of gods and god 
desses, and prescribe the modes of their worship for 
men of insufficient understanding, yet they have also 
declared in a hundred other places, that these passages 
are to be taken merely in a figurative sense. 

It cannot be alleged in support of Idolatry, that 
" although a knowledge of God is certainly above all 
" things, still as it is impossible to acquire that knowledge, 
" men should of course worship figured gods ;" for, 
had it been impossible to attain a knowledge of the 
Supreme Being, the Veds and Puranas, as well as Tan- 
tras, would not have instructed mankind to aim at such 
attainment ; as it is not to be supposed that direction to 
acquire what is obviously unattainable could be given by 
the Shastra, or even by a man of common sense. Should 
the Idolater say, " that the acquisition of a knowledge 
" of God, although it is not impossible, is most difficult 
" of comprehension," I will agree with him in that point ;; 
" but infer from it, that we ought, therefore, the more to 
" exert ourselves to acquire that knowledge ; but I highly 
11 lament to observe, that so far from endeavouring to 
" make such an acquisition, the very proposal frequently 
" excites his anger and displeasure. 

Neither can it be alleged that the Veds, Puranas, 
&c. teach both the adoration of the Supreme Being 
and that of celestial gods and goddesses, but that the 
former is intended for Yatis or those that are bound by 
their profession to forsake all worldly consideration, 
and the latter for laymen ; for, it is evident from the 
48th Text of the $d Chapter of the Vedant that a 
householder also is required to perform the worship of 
the Supreme Being. 


Menu, also, the chief of Hindoo lawgivers, after 
having prescribed all the varieties of rites and ceremo 
nies, in Chapter i2th Text 92, says, " Thus must the 
chief of the twice-born, though " he neglect the cere- 
" monial rites mentioned in the Shastras, be diligent in 
" attaining a knowledge of God, in controlling his organs 
"of sense, and in repeating the Ved." 

Again in the 4th Chapter, in describing the duties 
of laymen, the same author says, " Some, who well 
" know the ordinances for the oblations, do not perform 
externally the five great sacraments, but continuity make 
offerings in their own organs of sensation and intellect" 

" Some constantly sacrifice their breath in their 
" speech, when they instruct others of God aloud, and 
" their speech in their breath, when they mediate in silence* 
" perceiving in their speech and breath thus employed 
" the imperishable fruit of a sacrificial offering." 

11 Other Brahmins incessantly perform those sacrifices 
11 only, seeing with the eye of divine learning, that the 
" scriptural knowledge is the root of every ceremonial 
" observance." 

In the Yagnyavalca (Smriti) it is written : " Even 
"a householder, who acquires a livelihood honestly, 
" has faith in the Supreme Being, shows hospitality to 
"his guests, performs sacramental rites to his fore- 
11 fathers, and is in the practice of telling truth, shall 
" be absorbed into the supreme essence." Should be 
it said, " It still remains unacountable, that notwith- 
" standing the Veds and Puranas repeatedly declare the 
11 unity of the Supreme Being, and direct mankind to 
" adore him alone, yet the generality of Hindoos have a 
" contrary faith, and continue to practise idolatry," I 


would in answer request attention to the foundation on 
which the practical part of the Hindoo religion is built. 
Many learned Brahmins are perfectly aware of the ab 
surdity of idolatry, and are well informed of the nature 
of the purer mode of divine worship. But as in the 
rites, ceremonies, and festivals of idolatry, they find the 
source of their comforts and fortune, they not only never 
fail to protect idol worship from all attacks, but even 
advance and encourage it to the utmost of their power, 
by keeping the knowledge of their scriptures concealed 
from the rest of the people. Their followers too, confid 
ing in these leaders, feel gratification in the idea of the 
Divine Nature residing in a being resembling themselves 
in birth, shape, and propensities ; and are naturally 
delighted with a mode of worship agreable to the senses, 
though destructive of moral principles, and the fruitful 
parent of prejudice and superstition. 

Some Europeans, indued with high principles of 
liberality, but unacquainted with the ritual part of 
Hindoo idolatry, are disposed to palliate it by an inter 
pretation which, though plausible, is by no means well 
founded. They are willing to imagine, that the idols 
which the Hindoos worship, are not viewed by them in 
the light of gods or as real personifications of the divine 
attributes, but merely as instruments for raising their 
minds to the contemplation of those attributes, which 
are respectively represented by different figures. I have 
frequently had occasion to remark, that many Hindoos 
also who are conversant with the English language, 
finding this interpretation a more plausible apology for 
idolatry than any with which they are furnished by 
their own guides, do not fail to avail themselves of it, 


though in repugnance both to their faith and to their 
practice. The declarations of this description of 
Hindoos naturally tend to confirm the original idea of 
such Europeans, who from the extreme absurdity of 
pure unqualified idolatry, deduce an argument against 
its existence. It appears to them impossible for men,. 
even in the very last degree of intellectual darkness, to 
be so far misled as to consider a mere image of wood 
or of stone as a hitman being, much less as divine exis 
tence. With a view, therefore, to do away any miscon 
ception of this nature which may have prevailed, I beg 
leave to submit the following considerations. 

Hindoos of the present age, with a very few excep 
tions, have not the least idea that it is to the attributes 
of the Supreme Being, as figuratively represented by 
shapes corresponding to the nature of those attributes,, 
they offer adoration and worship under the denomination 
of gods and goddesses. On the contrary, the slightest 
investigation will clearly satisfy every inquirer, that it 
makes a material part of their system to hold as articles 
of faith all those particular circumstances, which are 
essential to belief in the independent existence of the 
objects of their idolatry as deities clothed with divine 

Locality of habitation and a mode of existence 
analogous to their own views of earthly things, are uni 
formly ascribed to each particular god. Thus the 
devotees of Siva, misconceiving the real spirit of the 
Scriptures, not only place an implicit credence in the 
separate existence of Siva, but even regard him as an 
omnipotent being, the greatest of all the divinities, who, 
as they say, inhabit the northern mountain of Cailas > 



and that he is accompanied by two wives and several 
children, and surrounded with numerous attendants. 
In like manner the followers of Vishnu, mistaking the 
allegorical representations of the Sastras for relation of 
real facts, believe him to be chief over all other gods, 
and that he resides with his wife and attendants on the 
summit of heaven. Similar opinions are also held by 
the worshippers of Call, in respect to that goddess. 
And in fact, the same observations are equally applicable 
to every class of Hindoo devotees in regard to their 
respective gods and goddesses. And so tenacious are 
those devotees in respect to the honour due to their 
chosen divinities, that when they meet in such holy 
places as Haridwar, Pryag, Siva-Canchi, or Vishnu- 
Canchi in the Dekhin, the adjustment of the point of 
precedence not only occasions the warmest verbal 
.altercations, but sometimes even blows and violence. 
Neither do they regard the images of those gods merely 
in the light of instruments for elevating the mind to 
the conception of those supposed beings ; they are 
simply in themselves made objects of worship. For 
whatever Hindoos purchases an idol in the market, 
or constructs one with his own hands, or has one made 
under his own superintendence, it is his invariable 
practice to perform certain ceremonies called Pran 
Pratishtha, or the endowment of animation, by which 
he believes that its nature is changed from that of the 
mere materials of which it is formed, and that it acquires 
not only life but supernatural powers. Shortly after 
wards, if the idol be of the masculine gender, he marries 
it to a feminine one, with no less pomp and magnificence 
than he celebrates the nuptials of his own children. 



The mysterious process is now complete, and the god 
and goddess are esteemed the arbiters of his destiny, and 
continually receive his most ardent adoration. 

At the same time, the worshipper of images ascribes 
to them at once the opposite natures of human and of 
super-human beings. In attention to their supposed 
wants as living beings, he is seen feeding, or pretending 
to feed them every morning and evening; and as in the 
hot season he is careful to fan them, so in the cold he is 
equally regardful of their comfort, covering them by day 
with warm clothing, and placing them at night in a 
snug bed. But superstition does not find a limit here : 
the acts and speechs of the idols, and their assumption 
of various shapes and colours, are gravely related by the 
Brahmins, and with all the marks of veneration are firmly 
believed by their deluded followers. Other prctices they 
have with regard to those idols which decency forbids 
me to explain. In thus endeavouring to remove a mis 
take, into which I have reason to believe many European 
gentlemen have been led by a benevolent wish to find an 
excuse for the errors of my countrymen, it is a consider 
able gratification to me to find that the latter have begun 
to be so far sensible of the absurdity of their real belief 
and practices, as to find it convenient to shelter them 
unders uch a cloak, however flimsy and borrowed. The 
adoption of such a subterfuge encourages me greatly to 
hope, that they will in time abandon what they are 
sensible cannot be defended ; and that, forsaking the 
superstition of idolatry, they will embrace the rational 
worship of the God of Nature, as enjoined by the Veds 
and confirmed by the dictates of common sense. 

The argument which is frequently alleged in support 


of idolatry is that " those who believe God to be omni 
present, as declared by the doctrines of the Vedant, are 
required by the tenets of such belief to look upon all 
existing creatures as God, and to shew divine respect to 
birds, beasts, men, women, vegetables, and all other 
existences ; and as practical confo rmity to such doctrines 
is almost impossible, the worship of figured gods should 
be admited." This misrepresentation, I am sorry to 
observe, entirely serves the purpose intended, by fright 
ening Hindoos in general from attending to the pure 
worship of the Supreme Regulator of the universe. But 
I am confident that the least reflection on the subject 
will clear up this point beyond all doubt ; for the Vedant 
is well known as a work which inculcates only the unity 
of God; but if every existing creature should be taken 
for a god by the followers of the Vedant, the doctrines- 
of that work must be admitted to be much more at 
variance with that idea than those of the advocates of 
idolatry, as the latter are contented with the recognition 
of only a few millions of gods and goddesses, but the Ve 
dant in that case must be supposed to admit the divinity 
of every living creature in nature. The fact is, that the 
Vedant by declaring that "God is everywhere, and every 
thing is in God" means that nothing is absent from God, 
and nothing bears real existence except by the volition of 
God, whose existence is the sole support of the conceived 
existence of the universe, which is acted upon by him in 
the same manner as a human body is by a soul. But 
God is at the same time quite different from what we 
see or feel. ; , 

The following texts of the Vedant are to this effect 
(nth text of the 2nd section of the 3rd chapter of the 


Vedant) : " That being, which is distinct from matter, 
"and from those. which are contained in matter, is not 
11 various, because he is declared by all the Veds to 
" be one beyond description ; " and again, " The Ved 
has declared the Supreme Being to be mere 
" understanding." Morever, if we look at the conduct 
of the ancient true believers in God, as Janaca, the 
celebrated prince of Mithila, Vasisht ha, Sanaca, Vyasa, 
Sancracharyu, and others whose characters as believers 
in one God are well known to the public by their 
doctrines and works, which are still in circulation, we 
shall find that these teachers, although they declared 
their faith in the omnipresent God according to the 
doctrines of the Vedant, assigned to every creature the 
particular character and respect he was entitled to. It 
is, however, extremely remarkable, that the very argu 
ment which they employ to shew the impossibility of 
practical conformity to faith in the omnipresence of God 
may be alleged against every system of their own- 
idolatry ; for the believers in the godhead of Crishna, 
and the devotees of Cali, as well as the followers of 
Siva, believe firmly in the omnipresence of Crishna, * 
Cali, f arid Siva I respectively. The authorities, then, 
for the worship of those gods, in declaring their omni 
presence, would according to their own argument, 
enjoin the worship of every creature as much as of 
those supposed divinities. Omnipresence, however, is 
an attribute much more consonant with the idea of a 

* Vide loth chapter of the Gita. 

f Vide 23rd text of the chap, nth of the Debi-mahatmya. 
Vide Rudra mahatmya in the Dan-dharam. 



Supreme Being than with that of any fictitious figure to 
which they pay divine honours ! Another argument is, 
that " No man can have, as it is said by the Sastra, a 
desire of knowledge respecting the Supreme Being, 
unless his mind be purified ; and as idol worship 
purifies men s minds, it should be therefore attended to." 
I admit the truth of the first part of this argument, as 
a desire of the acquisition of a knowledge of God is an 
indication of an improved mind ; consequently when 
ever we see a person possessed of that desire, we 
should attribute it to some degree of purification ; 
but I must affirm with the Ved, that purity of mind is 
the consequence of divine worship, and not of any 
superstitious practices. 

The Vrihadaranyaca says, " Adore God alone." 
Again, " Nothing excepting the Supreme Being should 
" be adored by wise men." God alone rules the mind 
" and releives it from impurity." 

The last of the principal arguments which are alleged 
in favour of idolatry is, that it is established by custom. 
* Let the authors of the Veds, Purans, and Tantras," 
it is said, assert what they may in favour of devotion 
to the Supreme Being, but idol worship has been 
practised for so many centuries that custom renders it 
proper to continue that worship." It is however evi 
dent to every one possessed of common sense, that 
custom or fashion is quite different from divine faith ; 
the latter proceeding from spiritual authorities and 
correct reasoning, and the former being merely the fruit 
of vulgar caprice. 

What can justify a man, who believes in the inspira 
tion of his religious books, in neglecting the direct 


authorities of the same works, and subjecting himself 
entirely to custom and fashion, which are liable to per- 
pectual changes and depend upon popular whim? But 
it cannot be passed unnoticed that those who practise 
idolatry and defend it under the shield of custom, have 
been violating their customs almost every twenty years, 
for the sake of little convenience, or to promote their 
worldly advantage : a few instances which are most 
commonly and publicly practised, I beg leave to state 

ist. The whole community in Bengal, with very 
few exceptions, have, since the middle of last century, 
forsaken their ancient modes of the performance of 
ceremonial rites of religion, and followed the precepts of 
the late Raghunandan, and consequently differ in the 
most essential points of ceremonies from the natives of 
Behar, Tirhoot, and Benares. 2nd. The system of 
their sub-divisions in each caste, with the modes of 
marriage and intermarriage, is also a modern introduc 
tion altogether contrary to their law and ancient customs 
jrd. The profession of instructing European gentlemen 
in the Veds, Smriti and Purans, is a violation of their 
long established custom ; and, 4th. The supplying 
European guests with wine and victuals in presence of 
their gods and goddesses is also a direct breach of cus 
tom and law. I may conclude this subject with an 
appeal to the good sense of my countrymen, by asking j 
them, " whose advice appears the most disinterested and 
most rational that of those who, concealing your- 
scriptures from you, continually teach you thus, Believe 
whatever we may say don t examine or even touch 
;your scriptures, neglect entirely your reasoning faculties 


do not only consider us, whatever may be our prin 
ciples, as gods on earth, but humly adore and propitiate 
us by srcrificing to us the greater part (if not the whole) 
of your property : or that of the man who lays your 
scriptures and their comments as well as their transla 
tions before you, and solicits you to examine their 
purport, without neglecting the proper and moderate 
use of reason ; and to attend strictly to their directions,, 
by the rational performance of your duty to your sole 
Creator, and to your fellow creatures, and also to pay true 
respect to those who think and act righteously." I 

!hope no one can be so prejudiced as to be unable to- 
discern which advice is most calculated to lead him 
to the best road to both temporal and eter-nal 


THE physical powers of men are limited, and when 
viewed comparitively, sink into insignificance ; while 
in the same ratio, his moral faculties rise in our est 
imation, as embracing a wide sphere of action, and 
possessing a capability of almost boundless improve 
ment. If the short duration 0f human life be contrasted 
with the great age of the universe, and the limited extent 
of bodily strength with the many objects to which 
there is a necessity of applying it, we must necessrily 
be disposed to entertain but a very humble opinion 
of our own nature ; and nothing perhaps is so well 
calculated to restore our self-complacency as the con 
templation of our more extensive moral powers, together 
with the highly beneficial objects which the appropriate 
exercise of them may produce. 

On the other hand, sorrow and remorse can scarcely 
fail, sooner or later, to be the portion of him 
who is conscious of having neglected opportunities of 
rendering benefit to his fellow-creatures. From con 
siderations like these it has been that I (although born 
a Brahmin, and instructed in my youth in all the 
principles of that sect), being thoroughly convinced of 
the lamentable errors of my countrymen, have been 
stimulated to employ every means in my power to 
improve their minds, and lead them to the knowledge 
of a purer sytem of morality. Living constantly am 
ongst Hindoos of different sects and professions, I 


have had ample opportunity of observing the supers 
titious puerilities into which they have been thrown 
by their self-interested guides, who, in defiance of the 
law as well as of common sense, have succeeded but 
too well in conducting them to the temple of idolatry ; 
and while they hid from their view the true substance 
of morality, have infused into their simple hearts a 
weak attachment for its mere shadow. 

For the chief part of the theory and practice of 
Hindooism, I am sorry to say, is made to consist in 
the adoption of a peculiar mode of diet ; the least 
aberration from which (even though the conduct of 
the offender may in other respects be pure ond blame 
less) is not only visited with the severest censure, but 
actually punished by exclusion from the society of his- 
family and friends. In a word, he is doomed to undergo 
what is commonly called loss of caste. 

On the contrary, the rigid observance of this grand 
article of Hindoo faith is considered in so high a light 
as to compensate for every moral defect. Even the 
most atrocious crimes weigh little or nothing in the 
balance against the supposed guilt of its violation. 

Murder, theft, or perjury, though brought home 
to the party by a judicial sentence, so far from inducing 
loss of caste, is visited in their socieiy with no peculiar 
mark of infamy or disgrace. 

A trifling present to the Brahmin, commonly called 
Prayaschit, with the performance of a few idle cere 
monies, are held as a sufficient atonement for all those 
crimes ; and the delinquent is at once freed from all 
temporal inconvenience, as well as all dread of future- 


My reflections upon these solemn truths have been 
most painful for many years. I have never ceased to 
contemplate with the strongest feelings of regret, the 
obstinate adherence of my countrymen to their fatal 
system of idolatry, inducing, for the sake of propitiating 
their supposed Deities, the violation of every humane 
and social feeling. And this in various instances ; but 
more especially in the dreadful acts of self-destruction 
and the immolation of the nearest relations, under the 
delusion of conforming to sacred religious rites. I 
have never ceased, I repeat, to contemplate these 
practices with the strongest feelings of regret, and to 
view in them the moral debasement of a race who, I 
cannot help thinking, are capable of better things ; 
whose susceptibility, patience, and mildness of character, 
render them worthy of a better destiny. Under these 
impressions, therefore, I have been impelled to lay 
before them genuine translations of parts of their 
scripture, which inculcates not only the enlightened 
worship of one God, but the purest principles of 
morality, accompanied with such notices as I deemed 
requisite to oppose the arguments employed by the 
Brahmins in defence of their beloved system. Most 
earnestly do I pray that the whole may, sooner or 
later, prove efficient in producing on the minds of 
Hindoos in general, a conviction of the rationality of 
believing in and adoring the Supreme Being only ; 
together with a complete perception and practice of 
that grand and comprehensisve moral principle Do 
unto others as ye would be done by. 





i st. ALL the material extension in this world, 
whatsoever it may be, should be considered as clothed 
with the existence of the Supreme regulating spirit : by 
thus abstracting thy mind from worldly thoughts, preserve 
thy self from self-sufficiency , and entertain not a covetous 
regard for property belonging to any individual. 

2nd. Let man desire to live a whole century, 
practising, in this world, during that time, religious 
rites ; because for such A SELFISH MIND AS THINE, 
besides the observance of these rites, there is no other 
mode the practice of which would not subject thee to 

THE SUPREME SPIRIT, either by devoting themselves solely 
to the performance of the ceremonies of religion, or by 
living destitute of religious ideas, shall, after death^ 
ASSUME THE STATE OF DEMONS, such as that of the 
celestial gods, and of other created beings, WHICH ARE 


4th. The Supreme Spirit is one and unchangeable : 
he proceeds more rapidly than the comprehending 
power of the mind : Him no external sense can appre 
hend, for a knowledge of him outruns even the internal 


sense : He, though free from motion, seems to advance, 
leaving behind human intellect, which strives to attain 
a knowledge respecting him : He being the eternal 
ruler, the atmosphere regulates under him the whole 
system of the world. 

5th. He, the Supreme Being, seems to move every 
where, although he in reality has no motion ; he seems 
to be distant from those who have no wish to attain a 
knowledge respecting him, and he seems to be near to those 
who feel a wish to know him: but, in fact, He pervades 
the internal and external parts of this whole universe. 

6th. He, who perceives the whole universe in the 
Supreme Being (that is, he who perceives that the 
material existence is merely dependent upon the existence 
of the Supreme Spirit )\ and who also perceives the 
Supreme Being in the whole universe (that is, he who 
perceives that the Supreme Spirit extends over all material 
extension] ; does not feel contempt towards any creature 

7th. When a person possessed of true knowledge 
conceives that God extends over the whole universe 
(that is, that God furnishes every particle of the universe 
with the light of his existence), how can he, as an 
observer of the real unity of the pervading Supreme 
existence, be affected with infatuation or grievance ? 

8th. He overspreads all creatures : is merely spirit, 
without the form either of any minute body, or of an 
extended one, which is liable to impression or organiza 
tion : He is pure, perfect, omniscient, the ruler of the 
intellect, omnipresent, and the self-existent : He has 
from eternity been assigning to all creatures their 
respective purposes. 


9th. Those observers of religious rites that perform 
only the worship of the sacred fire, and oblations to 
sages, to ancestors, to men, and the other creatures, 
without regarding the worship of celestial gods, shall 
enter into the dark regions : and those practisers of 
religious ceremonies who habitually worship the celestial 
gods only, disregarding the worship of the sacred fire, 
and oblations to sages, to ancestors, to men, and to 
other creatures, shall enter into a region still darker 
than the former. 

loth. It is said that adoration of the celestial gods 
produces one consequence ; and that the performance 
of the worship of sacred fire, and oblations to sages, 
to ancestors, to men, and to other creatures, produce 
another : thus have we heard from learned men who 
have distinctly explained the subject to us. 

i ith. Of those observers of ceremonies whosoever, 
knowing that adoration of celestial gods, as well as the 
worship of the sacred fire, and oblation to sages, to 
ancestors, to men, and to other creatures, should be 
observed alike by the same individual, performs them 
both, will, by means of the latter, surmount the obsta 
cles presented by natural temptations, and will attain 
the state of the celestial gods through the practice of 
the former. 

1 2th. Those observers of religious rites who wor 
ship Prakriti * alone, shall enter into the dark region : 
and those practisers of religious ceremonies that are 
devoted to worship solely the prior operating sensitive 

* Prakriti (or nature) who, though insensible, influenced by the 
Supreme Spirit, operates through out the universe, 


particle, allegorically called Bruhma, shall enter into a 
region much more dark than the former. 

13. It is said that one consequence may be attained 
by the worship of Bruhma, and another by the adora 
tion of Prakriti. Thus have we heard from learned men 
who have distinctly explained the subject to us. 

i4th. Of those observers of ceremonies, whatever 
person, knowing that the adoration of Prakriti and that 
of Bruhma should be together observed by the same 
individual, performs them both, will by means of the 
latter overcome indigence, and will attain the state of 
Prakriti, through the practice of the former. 

1 5th. " Thou hast, O sun," (says to the sun a person 
agitated on the approach of death, who during his life 
attended to the performance of religions rites, neglecting 
the attainment of a knowtedge of God,} thou hast, O 
" sun, concealed by thy illuminating body the way to 
" the true Being, who rules in thee. Take off that veil 
for the guidance of me thy true devotee." 

i6th. " O thou " (cantinues he), " who nourishest 
" the world, movest singly, and who dost regulate the 
" whole, mundane system O sun, of Cushyup, disperse 
" thy rays for my passage, and withdraw thy violent 
"light, so that I may by thy grace behold thy most 
" prosperous aspect." Why should I" (says he, again 
retracting himself on reflecting upon the true diviue nature 
41 why should I entreat the sun, as I AM WHAT HE 
IS," that is, " the Being who rules in the sun rules also 
in me" 

1 7th. "Let my breath," resumes he, " be absorbed 
" after death into the wide atmosphere ; and let this my 
" body be burnt to ashes. O my intellect, think now 



"on what may be beneficial tome. O fire, remember 
" what religious rites I have hitherto performed." 
1 8th. "O illuminating fire," continues /$e, " observing 
" all our religious practices, carry us by the right path 
" to the enjoyment of the consequence of our deeds, 
" and put an end to our sins ; we being now unable to 
" perform thy various rites, offer to thee our last 
" saluation."* 

* This example from the Veds, of the unhappy agitation and 
wavering of an idolater on the approach of death, ought to make 
men reflect seriously on the miserable consequence of fixing their 
mind on any other object of adoration but the one Supreme Being, 















THUS says the illustrious Munoo : " The three great 
" immutable words (Bhooh, Bhoovuh, Swuh, or earth 
space, " heaven), preceded by the letter Om ;* and also 

* Om, when considered as one letter uttered by the help of one 
articulation, is the symbol of the Supreme Spirit. It is derived from 
the radical ^ to preserve with the affix ?P^ "One letter (Om) 
"is the emblem of the most High." Munoo, II. 83. "This one 
"letter, Om, is the emblem of the Supreme Being." Bhttguvudgeeta. 
It is true that this emblem conveys two sounds, that of o and of m, 
nevertheless it is held to be one letter in the above sense ; and we 
meet with instances even in the ancient and modern languages of 
Europe that can justify such privileges ; such as = (Xi) and <|> 
(Psi) reckoned single letters in Greek, and Q, W, X, in English and 
others. But when considered as a triliteral word consisting of 
^T, vg", ??, Om implies the three Veds, the three states of human 
nature, the three division of the universe, and the three deities, 
Bruhma, Vishnoo and Shiva, agents in the creation, preservation, 
and distraction of this world ; or, properly speaking, the three 


the " Gayutree, consisting of three measured lines, must be 
considered as the entrance to divine bliss." * 

" Whoever shall repeat them day by day, for three 
years, without negligence, shall approach the most 
High God, become free as air, and acquire after death an 
ethereal essence." 

From the three Veds the most exalted Bruhma 
successively milked out three lines of this sacred text, 
beginning with the word Tut and entitled Savitree or 

Yogee Yajnuvulkyu also declares, " By means of Om 
" Bhooh, Bhoovuh, and Swuh ; and the Gayutree, 
" collectively or each of the three singly, the most High 
" God, the source of intellect, should be worshipped. 

So Bruhma himself formerly defined Bhooh, 

principal attributes of the Supreme Being personified as Bruhma, 
Vishnoo, and Shivu. In this sense it implies in fact, the universe 
controlled by the Supreme Spirit. 

In all the Hindoo treatises of philosophy (the Poorans or didactic 
parables excepted), the methodical collection or expansion of 
matter is understood by the term creation, the gradual or sudden 
perversion of order is intended by destruction, and the power which 
wards off the latter from the former is meant by preservation. 

The reason the authors offer for this interpretation is, that they 
in common with others, are able to acquire a notion of a Superin 
tending Power, though unfelt and invisible, solely through their 
observation of material phenomena ; and that should they reject 
this medium of conviction, and force upon themselves a belief of 
the production of matter from nothing, and of its liability to 
entire annihilation, then nothing would remain in the ordinary 
course of reasoning to justify their maintaining any longer a notion 
of that unknown Supreme superintending Power. 

* The last clause admits of another interpretation, viz. " must 
"be considered as the mouth, or principal part of the Veds." 


Bhoovah, Swuh, (Earth, Space, Heaven) as the body 
11 of the Supreme Intelligence ; hence these three words 
"are called the Defined." 

[Those that maintain the doctrine of the universe 
being the body of the Supreme Spirit, found their opinion 
upon the following considerations : 

ist. That there are innumerable millions of bodies, 
properly speaking worlds, in the infinity of space. 

2ndly. That they move, mutually preserving their 
regular intervals between each other, and that they main 
tain each other by producing effects primary or 
secondary, as the members of the body support each 

3rdly. That those bodies, when viewed collectively, 
are considered one, in the same way as the members of 
an animal body or of a machine, taken together, consti 
tute one whole. 

4thly. Any material body whose members move 
methodically, and afford support to each other in a 
manner sufficient for their preservation, must be actuated 
-either by an internal guiding power nam ed the soul, or 
by an external one as impulse. 

Sthly. It is maintained that body is as infinite as 
space, because body is found to exist in space as far as 
our perceptions, with the naked eye or by the aid of 
instruments, enable us to penetrate. 

6thly. If body be infinite as space, the power that 
guides its members must be internal, and therefore 
styled the SOUL, and not external, since there can be 
no existence, even in thought without the idea of 

Hence this sect suppose that the Supreme all-perva- 


ding power is the soul of the universe, both * existing 
from eternity to eternity ; and that the former has" 
somewhat the same influence over the universe as the 
individual soul has over the individual body. 

They argue further, that in proportion as the internal 
ly impelled body is excellent in its construction, the 
directing soul must be considered excellent. Therefore, 
in as much as the universe is infinite in extent, and is- 
arranged with infinite skill, the soul by which it is ani 
mated must be infinite in every perfection.] 

He (Yajnuvulkyu) again expounds the meaning of 
the Gayutree in three passages : 

" We, say the adorers of the Most High, meditate 
" on the supreme and omnipresent internal spirit of 
" this splendid Sun. We meditate on the same Supreme 
" Spirit, earnestly sought for by such as dread further 
" mortal birth ; who, residing in every body as the 
" all-pervading soul and controller of the mind, constant 
"ly directs our intellect and intellectual operations 
" towards the acquisition of virtue, wealth, physical en joy- 
" ment, and final beatitude." 

So, at the end of the Gayutree, the utterance of the 
letter Om is commanded by the sacred passage cited by 
Goonu-Vishnoo : " A Brahmun shall in every instance 
" pronounce Om, at the beginning and at the end ; for 
" unless the letter Om precede, the desirable consequence 
" will fail ; and unless it follow, it will not be long 
f retained." 

That the letter Om, which is pronounced at the 
begining and at the end of the Gayutree, expressly signi- 

* Human soul and the Supreme Spirit. ED. 


fies the Most High, is testified by the Ved: viz, " Thus 
" through the help of Om, you contemplate the 
Supreme Spirit." (Moonduc Opunishud.) 

Munoo also calls to mind the purport of the same 
passage / " And rites obtained in the Ved, such as obla- 
" tion to fire and solemn offerings, pass away ; but the 
" letter Om is considered that which passes not away ; 
" since it is a symbol of the most High the Lord of 
" created beings." 

" By the sole repetition of Om and the Gayutree, a 
" Brahmun may indubitably attain beatitude. Let him 
" perform or not perform any other religious rites, he 
4< being a friend to all creatures is styled a knower of 
" God." 

So Yogee Yajnuvulkyu says : "God is declared to be 
" the object signified, and Om to be the term signifying : 
" By means of a knowledge even of the letter Om, the 
* symbol, God becomes propitious." 

In the Bhuguvudgeeta : " Om * (the cause), Tut f 
(that), Sut % " (existing), these are considered three kinds 
of description of the Supreme Being." 

* " Om " implies the Being on whom all objects, either visible 
or invisible, depend in their formation, continuance, and change. 

t " Tut" implies the being that can be described only by the 
demonstrative pronoun" that " and not by any particular 

" Sut " implies what " truly exists" in one condition independ 
ent of others. These three terms collectively imply, that the object 
contemplated through " Om " can be described only as " that " 
which "is existing." 

The first term " Om " bears a striking similarity, both in sound 
and application, to the participle ">v" of the verb fifH to be> in 


In the concluding part of the commentary on the 
Gayutree by the ancient Bhuttu Goonu-Vishnoo, the 
meaning of the passage is briefly given by the same author. 

" He the spirit who is thus described, guides us. 
" He, as the soul of the three mansions (viz. earth, space 
" and heaven), of water, light, moisture, and the indivi- 
" dual soul of all moving and fixed objects, and of 
"Bruhma. Vishnoo, Shivu, the Sun and other gods of 
" various descriptions, the Most High God, illuminating, 
" like a brilliant lamp, the seven mansions, having carried 
" my individual soul, as spirit, to the seventh heaven, the 
" mansion of the worshippers of God called the True 
"mansion, the residence of Bruhma, absorbs it (my 
11 soul), through his divine spirit, into his own divine 
"essence. The worshipper, thus contemplating, shall 
" repeat the Gayutree." 

Thus it is said by Rughoonnundun Bhuttacharyu, 
a modem expounder of law in the country of Gourr, 
when interpreting the passage beginning with "Prunuvu 
"Vyaahritibhyam :"* " By means of pronouncing Om 
c and Bhooh, Bhoovuh, Swuh, t and the Gayutree, % 
f< all signifying the Most High, and reflecting on their 
" meaning, the worship of God shall be performed, and 
" his grace enjoyed." 

Greek ; and it is therefore not very improbable that one might have 
had its origin from the other. As to the similarity in sound, it is 
too obvious to require illustration ; and a reference to the Septua- 
gintwill shew that ^v like " Om " is applied to Jehova the ever 
existing God. Exodus, iii, 14. " ETtf afU & ftv" "fc ftv 
TT$0 vHaS." 

f ^t* *T *r: ^: 4 See page 101 ED. 


And also in the Muha Nirvan Tuntru : "In like 
" manner, among all texts the Gayutree is declared to 
" be the most excellent : the worshipper shall repeat it 
"when inwardly pure, reflecting on the meaning of it- 
"If the Gayutree be repeated with Om and the Vyahriti 
"(viz. Bhooh, Bhoovuh, Swuh), it excels all other 
" theistical knowledge, in producing immediate bliss. 
" Whosever repeats it in the morning or evening or dur- 
" ing the night, while medtiating on the Supreme Being, 
" being freed from all past sins, shall not be inclined to 
"act unrighteously. The worshipper shall first pro- 
" nounce Om, then the three Vyahritis, and afterwards 
" the Gayutree of three lines, and shall finish it with 
" the term Om. We meditate on him from whom pro- 
1 ceed the continuance, perishing, and production of all 
" things \ who spreads over the three mansions ; that 
" eternal Spirit, who inwardly rules the sun and all 
" living creatures ; most desirable and all-pervading ; 
" and who, residing in intellect, directs the operations 
" of the intellectual power of all of us material beings. 
" The worshipper, by repeating every day these three 
" texts expressing the above meaning, attains all desir- 
"able objects without any other religious observance 
" or austerity. One only without a second is the 
"doctrine maintained by all the Oopunishuds : that 
" imperishable and incomprehensible Being is under- 
" stood by these three texts. Whoever repeats them 
" once or ten, or a hundred times, either alone or with 
" many others, attains bliss in a proportionate degree. 
" After he has completed the repetition, he shall again 
" meditate on Him who is one only without a second, 
" and all-pervaling : thereby all religious observances, 


" though not performed, shall have been virtually per- 
" formed. Any one, whether a householder or not, 
" whether a Brahmun or not, all have equal right to the 
"use of these texts as found in the Tuntru." 

Here Om, in the first instance, signifies that Supreme 
Being who is the sole cause of the continuance, perish 
ing, and production of all words. " He from whom 
" these creatures are produced, by whom those that are 
" produced exist, and to whom after death they return, 
"is the Supreme Being, whom thou dost seek to know." 
The text of the Ved quoted by the revered Shunkur 
Acharyu in the Commentary on the first text of the 
Vedant Durshun. 

The doubt whether or not that cause signified by 
"Om" exists separately from these effects, having arisen, 
the second text, Bhoor Bhoovuh Swuh, is next read, 
explaining that God, the sole cause, eternally exists 
pervading the universe, " Glorious, invisible, perfect, 
" unbegotten, pervading all, internally and externally is 
" He the Supreme Spirit" Moonduk Qopunishud. 

It being still doubted whether or not living creatures 
large and small in the world act independently of that 
sole cause, the Gayutree, as the third in order, is read. 
"Tut Suvitoor vurenyum, Bhurgo devusyu dheemuhi, 
"dhiyo yo nuh pruchoduyat."* We meditate on that 
indescribable spirit inwardly ruling the splendid Sun, the 
express object of worship. He does not only inwardly 
rule the sun, but he, the spirit, residing in and inwardly 
ruling all us material beings, directs mental operations 
towards their objects. "He who inwardly rules the sun is 

w vnh tTO *ftaf% fa^t *ffr: inftesTcT ED. 


the same immortal spirit who inwardly rules thee." 
(Chhandoggu Oopunishud,) "God resides in the heart of 
all creatures." Bhuguvudgeeta. 

The object signified by the three texts being one, 
their repetition collectively is enjoined. The following 
is their meaning in brief. 

" We meditate on the cause of all, pervading all, and 
"internally ruling all material objects, from the sun 
down to us and others." 

[The following is a literal translation of the 
Gayutree according to the English idiom : "We mediate 
"on that Supreme Spirit of the splendid sun who directs 
"our understandings." 

The passage, however, may be rendered somewhat 
differently by transferring the demonstrative "that" from 
the words " Supreme Spirit " to the words "splendid 
"sun." But this does not appear fully to correspond 
with the above interpretation of Yajnuvulkyu. ] 

WHILE translating this essay on the Gayutree, I 
deemed it proper to refer to the meaning of the text 
as given by Sir William Jones, whose talents, acquisi 
tions, virtuous life, and impartial research, have rendered 
his memory an object of love and veneration to all. I 
feel so much delighted by the excellence of the transla 
tion, or rather the paraphrase given by that illustrious 
character, that with a view to connect his name and his 
explanation of the passage with this humble treatise, I 
take the liberty of quoting it here. 

The interpretation in question is as follows : 



" Let us adore the supremacy of that divine sun,* 
"the god-headf who illuminates all, who recreates all, 
"from whom all proceed, to whom all must return, 
"whom we invoke to direct our understandings aright in 
our progress toward his holy seat. 

"What the sun and light are to this visible world, 
"that are the Supreme good and truth to the intellectual 
and invisible universe ; and, as our corporeal eyes have 
"a distinct perception of objects enlightened by the sun, 
"thus our souls acquire certain knowledge, by meditat 
ing on the light of truth, which emanates from the 
"Being of beings : that is the light by which alone our 
minds can be directed in the path to beatitude." 

* Opposed to the visible luminary. 

t Bhargas, a word consisting of three consonants, derived from. 
bha, to shine ; rani, to delight ; gam, to move. 










BEFORE I attempt to reply to the observations that 
the learned gentleman, who signs himself Sankara 
Sastri, has offered in his letter of the 26th December 
last, addressed to the Editor of the Madras Courier, 
on the subject of an article published in the Calcutta 
Gazette, and on my translation of an abridgment of the 
Vedant and of the two chapters of the Veds, I beg 
to be allowed to express the disappointment I have 
felt in receiving from a learned Brahman controversial 
remarks on Hindoo Theology written in a foreign 
language, as it is the invariable practice of the natives 
of all provinces of Hindoostan to hold their discussions 
on such subjects in Sunskrit, which is the learned, 
language common to all of them, and in which they 
may naturally be expected to convey their ideas with 
perfect correctness and greater facility than in any 
foreign tongue : nor need it be alleged that, by adopt 
ing this established channel of controversy, the 

*This was published in reply to a letter which appeared in the 
Madras Courier in December 1816, under the signature of Sankara 
Sastri, in answer to Raja Ram Mohun Roy s Abridgment of the 
Vedant, his Preface to the translation of the Ishopanishad and. 
his Introduction to the Cenobanishad. ED. 


opportunity of appealing to public opinion on the 
subject must be lost, as a subsequent translation from 
the Sunskrit into English may sufficiently serve that 
purpose. The irregularity of this mode of proceeding, 
however, gives me room to suspect that the letter in 
question is the production of the pen of an English 
gentleman, whose liberality, / suppose^ has induced 
him to attempt an apology even for the absurd idolatry 
of his fellow-creatures. If this inference be correct, 
while I congratulate that gentleman on his progress in 
a knowledge of the sublime doctrines of the Vedant, 
I must, at the same time, take the liberty of entreating 
that he will, for the future, prefer consulting the original 
works written upon those doctrines, to relying on the 
second-hand information on the subject, that may be 
offered him by any person whatsoever. 

The learned gentleman commences by objecting 
to the terms discoverer and reformer^ in which the 
Editor of the Calcutta Gazette was pleased to make 
mention of me. He states, " That people of limited 
" understanding, not being able to comprehend the 
" system of worshipping the invisible Being, have adopt- 
"ed false doctrines, and by that means confounded 
" weak minds in remote times ; but due punishment 
" was inflicted on those heretics, and religion was very 
"well established throughout India by the Reverend 
" Sankaracharya and his disciples, who, however, did 
" not pretend to reform or discover them, or assume 
" the title of a reformer or discoverer." In none of my 
writings, nor in any verbal discussion, have I ever 
pretended to reform or to discover the doctrines of the 
unity of God, nor have I ever assumed the title of 


reformer or discoverer ; so far from such an assumption, 
I have urged in every work that I have hitherto pub 
lished, that the doctrines of the unity of God are real 
Hindooism, as that religion was practised by our 
ancestors, and as it is well-known even at the present 
age to many learned Brahmins : I beg to repeat a few 
of the passages to which I allude. 

In the introduction to the abridgment of the Vedant 
I have said : " In order, therefore, to vindicate my own 
" faith and that of our forefather s> I have been endea- 
" vouring, for some time past, to convince my country- 
" men of the true meaning of our sacred books, and 
" prove that my aberration deserves not the opprobrium 
" which some unreflecting persons have been so ready 
" to throw upon me." In another place of the same 
introduction : " The present is an endeavour to render 
" an abridgment of the same (the Vedant) into English, 
" by which I expect to prove to my European friends, 
" that the superstitious practices which deform the 
" Hindoo riligion, have nothing to do with the pure 
spirit of its dictates/ In the introduction of the 
Cenopanishad : " This work will, I trust, by explaining 
* to my countrymen the real spirit of the Hindoo scrip- 
" tures t which is but the declaration of the unity of God, 
" tend in a great degree to correct the erroneous 
" conceptions which have prevailed with regard to the 
" doctrines they inculcate ; " and in the Preface of the 
Ishopanishad : " Many learned Brahmins are perfectly 
" aware of the absurdity of idol worship, and are well 
" informed of the nature of the pure mode of divine 
" worship. A reconsideration of these passages will, 
I hope, convince the learned gentleman, that I never 


advanced any claim to the title either of a reformer 
or of a discoverer of the doctrines of the unity of the 
Godhead. It is not at all impossible that from the 
perusal of the translations above alluded to, the 
Editor of the Calcutta Gazette, finding the system of 
idolatry into which Hindoos are now completely sunk, 
quite inconsistent with the real spirit of their scriptures, 
may have imagined that their contents had become 
entirely forgotten and unknown ; and that I was the 
first to point out the absurdity of idol worship, ond 
to inculcate the propriety of the pure divine worship, 
ordained by their Veds, their Smritis, and their Poor- 
ans. From this idea, and from finding in his inter 
course with other Hindoos, that I was stigmatized by 
many, however unjustly, as an innovator, he may have 
been, not unnaturally, misled to apply to me the 
epithets of discoverer and reformer. 

2dly, The learned gentleman states : " There are an 
" immense number of books, namely, Vedas, Sastras, 
" Poorans, Agams, Tantras, Sutras, and Itihas, besides 
" numerous commentaries, compiled by many famous 
" theologians, both of ancient and modern times, respect- 
" ing the doctrines of the worship of the invisible Being. 
" They are not only written in Sanskrit, but rendered 
" into the Pracrita, Teluga, Tamol, Gujrati, Hindoostani, 
" Marhutta, and Canari languages, and immemorially 
" studied by a great part of the Hindu nation, attached 
" to the adwaitum faith, &c." This statement of the 
learned gentleman, as far as it is correct, corroborates 
indeed my assertion with respect to the doctrines of the 
worship of the invisible Supreme Spirit being unanimous 
ly inculcated by all the Hindoo Sastras, and naturally 


leads to severe reflections on the selfishness which must 
actuate those Brahminical teachers who, notwithstanding 
the unanimous authority of the Sastras for adoption of 
pure worship, yet, with the view of maintaining the title of 
God which they arrogate to themselves, and of deriving 
pecuniary and other advantages from the numerous rites 
and festivals of idol worship, constantly advance and en 
courage idolatry to the utmost of their power. I must re 
mark, however, that there is no translation of the Veds 
into any of the modern languages of Hindoostan with 
which I am acquainted, and it is for that reason that I have 
translated into Bengali the Vedant, the Cenopanishad 
of the Sam Ved, the Ishopanishad of the Yajur Ved,&c., 
with the contents of which none but the learned among 
my countrymen were at all acquainted. 

3dly. The learned gentleman states, that the 
translations of the scripture into the vulgar language 
are rejected by some people ; and he assigns as reasons 
for their so doing, that " if the reader of them doubts 
" the truth of the principles explained in the translation, 
"the divine knowledge he acquired by them becomes a 
" doubtful faith, and that doubt cannot be removed unless 
" he compare them with the original work : in that case, 
" the knowledge he lastly acquired becomes superior, 
" and his study, in the first instance becomes useless and 
"the cause of repeating the same work." When a 
translation of a work written in a foreign tongue is 
made by a person at all acquainted with that language 
into his native tongue, and the same translation is 
sanctioned and approved of by many natives of the same 
country, who are perfectly conversant with that foreign 
language, the translation, I presume, may be received with 


confidence as a satisfactory interpretation of the original 
work, both by the vulgar and by men of literature. 

It must not be supposed, however, that I am inclin 
ed to assert that there is not the least room to doubt 
the accuracy of such a translation ; because the mean 
ing of authors, even in the original works, is very fre 
quently dubious, especially in a language like Sunskrit, 
every sentence of which, almost, admits of being ex 
plained in different senses. But should the possibility 
of errors in every translation be admitted as reason for 
withholding all confidence in their contents, such a 
rule would shake our belief, not only in the principles 
explained in the translation of the Vedant into the 
current language, but also in all information respecting 
foreign history and theology obtained by means of 
translations : in that case, we must either learn all the 
languages that are spoken by the different nations in 
the world, to acquire a knowledge of their histories and 
religions, or be content to know nothing of any country 
besides our own. The second reason which the learned 
gentleman assigns for their objection to the translation 
is, that " Reading the scripture in the vulgar languages 
is prohibited by the Poorans." I have not yet met with 
any text of any Poorans which prohibit the explanation 
of the scripture in the vulgar tongue ; on the contrary, 
the Poorans allow that practice very frequently. I re 
peat one of these declarations from the Shiva Dhurma, 
quoted by the great Bughnund. "He who can interpret, 
"according to the ratio of the understanding of his pupils, 
** through Sunskrit, or through the vulgar languages, or by 
" means of current language of the country, is entitled, 
spiritual father." Morever, in every part of Hindoostan all 


professors of the Sunskrit language instructing beginners 
in the Veds, Poorans, and in other Sastras, interpret them 
in the vulgar languages ; especially spiritual fathers in 
exposition of those parts of the Veds and Poorans, 
which allegorically introduce a plurality of gods and 
idol-worship, doctrines which tend so much to their 
own worldly advantage. 

The learned gentleman states, that "The first part Of 
" the Ved prescribes the mode of performing yagam or 
" sacrifice, bestowing danum or alms ; treats of penance, 
" fasting, and of worshipping the incarnations, in which 
" the Supreme Deity has appeared on the earth for 
" divine purposes. The ceremonies performed accord- 
" ing to these modes, forsaking their fruits, are affirmed 
" by the Vedas to be mental exercises and mental 
" purifications necessary to obtain the knowledge of the 
" divine nature." I, in common with the Veds and 
the Vedant, and Munoo (the first and best of Hindoo 
lawgivers) as well as with the most celebrated Sanka- 
racharya, deny these ceremonies being necessary to 
obtain the knowledge of the divine nature, as the 
Vedant positively declares, in text 36, sec. 4th, chap. 
3rd :" Man may acquire the true knowledge of God, 
" even without observing the rules and rites prescribed 
" by the Ved for each class : as it is found in the Ved 
" that many persons who neglected the performance 
" of the rites and ceremonies, owing to their perpetual 
"attention to the adoration of the Supreme Being, 
" acquired the true knowledge respecting the Supreme 
" Spirit." The Ved says : " Many learned true believers 
" never worshipped fire, or any celestial gods through 
" fire."And also the Vedant asserts, in the ist text of 


" $rd sec. of the 3rd chap : " The worship authorized 
" by all the Veds is one, as the directions for the 
" worship of the only Supreme Being are invariably 
" found in the Ved, and the epithets of the Supreme 
" and Omnipresent Being, &c., commonly imply God 
" alone." Munoo, as I have elsewhere quoted, thus 
declares on the same point, chap. i2th, text Q2nd : 
" Thus must the chief of the twice born, though he 
" neglect the ceremonial rites mentioned in the Sastra^ 
" be diligent in attaining a knowledge of God, in cont- 
" rolling his organs of sense, and in repeating the 
"Ved." Again, chapter 4th, text 23rd : " Some cons- 
" tantly sacrifice their breath in their speech, when 
11 they instruct others of God alond> and their speech 
"in their breath, when they meditate in silence ; perceiv- 
" ing in their speech and breath thus employed, the 
" imperishable fruit of a sacrificial offering." 24th ; 
" Other Brahmans incessantly perform those sacrifices 
" only, seeing with the eye of divine learning, that 
" the scriptural knowledge is the root of every cere, 
monial observance." And also the same author 
declares in the chap. 2nd, text 84 : "All rites ordained in 
" the Ved, oblations to fire and solemn sacrifices, pass 
" away ; but that which passes not away is declared 
" to be the syllable Om, thence called Acshora since 
" it is a symbol of God, the Lord of created beings." 

5thly. The learned gentleman states, that " the 
" difficulty of attaining a knowledge of the Invisible 
" and Almighty Spirit is evident from the preceding 
"verses." I agree with him in that point ; that the attain 
ment of perfect knowledge of the nature of the Godhead 
is certainly difficult, or rather impossible ; but to read 



the existence of the Almighty Being in his works of 
nature, is not, I will dare to say, so difficult to the mind 
of a man possessed of common sense, and unfettered by 
prejudice, as to conceive artificial images to be possesed, 
at once, of the opposite natures of human and divine 
beings, which idolaters constantly ascribe to their 
idols, strangely believing that things so constructed can 
be converted by ceremonies into constructors of the 

6thly. The learned gentleman objects to our 
introducing songs, although expressing only the peculiar 
tenets of monotheism, and says : 

" But the holding of meetings, playing music, 
" singing songs, and dancing, which are ranked among 
"carnal pleasures, are not ordained by scripture as 
"mental purification." The practice of dancing in 
divine worship, I agree, is not ordained by the scripture, 
and accordingly never was introduced in our worship ; 
any mention of dancing in the Calcutta Gazette * must, 
therefore, have proceeded from misinformation of the 
Editor. But respecting the propriety of introducing 
monotheistical songs in the divine worship, I beg leave 

* The statement in the Calcutta Gazette quoted by Sankar 
Sastri, was as follows : " We understand that on all the great 
" Hindoo festivals the Friendly Society ^ established by him, holds 
" meetings, not only with the view that its members may keep 
"aloof from the idolatrous ceremonies of their countrymen, 
" but also to renew and strengthen their own faith in the purer 
" doctrines which they affirm to be established in the Veds. At 
" these meetings they have music and and dancing, as well as 
" their more superstitious brethren; but the songs are all expressive 
* of the peculiar tenets of the Monotheists." ED. 
t The well known Atmia Sabha. E D. 


to refer the gentleman to the text n 4th and H5th of the 
3rd chapter of Yajnyavalca, who authorizes not only 
scriptural music in divine contemplation, but also the 
songs that are composed by the vulgar. It is also 
evident that any interesting idea is calculated to make 
more impression upon the mind, when conveyed in 
musical verses, than when delivered in the form of 
common conversation. 

7thly. The learned gentleman says: "All the 
<{ Brahmins in this peninsula are Studying the same 
" Vedam as are read in the other parts of the country; 
" but I do not recollect to have read or heard of one 
" treating on astronomy, medicine, or arms: the first is 
" indeed an angam of the Vedam, but the two latter 
"are taught in separate Sastras." In answer to which 
I beg to be allowed to refer the gentleman to the 
following text of the Nirvan: "The Veds, while talking 
"of planets, botany, austere duties, arms, rites, natural 
" consequences, and several other subjects, are purified 
" by the inculcation of the doctrines of the Supreme 
" Spirit." And also to the latter end of the Mahanirvana 

From the perusal of these texts, I trust, he will be 
convinced that the Veds not only treat of astronomy, 
medicine, and arms, but also of morality and natural 
philosophy, and that all arts and sciences that are 
treated of in other Sastras, were originally introduced 
by the Veds: see also Munoo chapter 12, verses 97 and 
98. I cannot of course be expected to be answerable 
for Brahmans neglecting entirely the study of the 
scientific parts of the Ved, and putting in practice, , 
and promulgating to the utmost of their power, that 


part of them which, treating of rites and festivals, is 
justly considered as the. source of their worldly 
advantages and support of their alleged divinity. 

Sthly. I observe, that on the following statement 
in my Introduction to the Cenopunishud, viz., "Should 
" this explanation given by the Ved itself, as well as 
" by its celebrated commentators Vyas, not be allowed 
"to reconcile those passages which are seemingly at 
" variance with each other, as those that declare the unity 
"of the invisible Supreme Being, with others which (, 
" describe a plurality of independent visible gods, the 
" whole work must, I am afraid, not only be stripped of 
"its authority, but looked upon as altogether unintelli 
gible, " the learned gentleman has remarked that i 
"To say the least of this passage, RAM Monun ROY 
" appears quite as willing to abandon as to defend the 
" Scripture of his Religion." 

In the foregoing paragraph, however, I did no more ^ 
than logically confine the case to two points, viz, that 
the explanation of the Ved and of its commentators : 
must either be admitted as sufficiently reconciling the 
apparent contradictions between different passages of 
the Ved, or must not be admitted. In the latter case, 
the Ved must necessarily be supposed to be in 
consistent with itself, and therefore altogether unintelli 
gible, which is directly contrary to the faith of Hindoos 
of every description ; consequently they must admit 
that those explanations do sufficiently reconcile the) 
seeming contradictions between the chapters of the Veds/ 

Qthly. The learned gentleman says that "Their 
" (the attributes and incarnations) worship under various 
"representations, by means of consecrated ob ; ects, 


" is prescribed by the scripture to the human race, by 
way of mental exercises," &c. I cannot admit that the 
worship of these attributes under various representations, 
by means of consecrated objects, has been prescribed 
by the Ved to the HUMAN RACE ; as this kind of wor 
ship of consecrated objects is enjoined by the Sastra 
to those only who are incapable of raising their minds 
to the notion of an invisible Supreme Being. I have 
quoted several authorities for this assertion in my 
Preface to the Ishopanishad, and beg to repeat here one 
or two of them : " The vulgar look for their God in 
* water ; men of more extended knowledge in celestial 
" bodies ; the ignorant in wood, bricks, and stones ; but 
" learned men in the Universal Soul." " Thus corres- 
* ponding to the nature of different powers of qualities 
" numerous figures have been invented for the benefit 
4t of those who are not possessed of sufficient under- 
" standing" Permit me in this instance to ask, whether 
every Mussulman in Turkey and Arabia, from the high 
est to the lowest, every Protestant Christian at least 
of Europe, and many followers of Cabbeer and 
Nanuck, do worship God without the assistance of 
consecrated objects ? If so, how can we suppose that 
the human race is not capable of adoring the Supreme 
Being without the puerile practice of having recourse to 
visible objects ? 

lothly. The learned gentleman is of opinion that 
the attributes of God exist distinctly from God and he 
compares the relation between God and these attributes 
to that of a king to his ministers, as he says : " If a 
" person be desirous to visit an earthly prince, he ought 
" to be introduced in the first instance by his 


" ministers," &c, ; and IC in like manner the grace of 
"God ought to be obtained by the grace through the 
" worship of his attributes." This opinion, I am 
extermely sorry to find, is directly contrary to all the 
Vedant doctrines interpreted to us by the most revered 
Sankaracharya, which are real adwaita or nonduality ; 
they affirm that God has no second that may be possess 
ed of eternal existence, either of the same nature with 
himself or of a different nature from him, nor any 
second of that nature that might be called either his 
part or his quality. The i6th text of the 2nd section 
of 3rd chap : " The Ved has declared the Supreme 
"Being to be mere understanding." The Ved says ; 
" God is real existence, wisdom and eternity." The 
Ved very often calls the Supreme Existence by the 
epithets of Existent, Wise, and Eternal; and assigns as 
the reason for adopting such epithets, that the Ved 
in the first instance speaks of God according to 
human idea, which views quality separately from person, 
in order to facilitate our comprehension of objects. 
In case these attributes should be supposed, as the 
learned gentleman asserts, to be separate existences, it 
necessarily follows, that they must be either eternal or 
non-eternal. The former case, viz. the existence of a 
plurality of beings imbued like God himself with the 
property of eternal duration, strikes immediately at the 
root of all the doctrines relative to the unity of the 
Supreme Being contained in the Vedant. By the latter 
sentiment, namely, that the power and attributes of God 
are not eternal, we are led at once into the belief that 
the nature of God is susceptible of change, and con 
sequently that He is not eternal, which makes no in- 


considerable step towards atheism itself. These are the 
obvious and dangerous consequences, resulting from the 
learned gentleman s doctrine, that the attributes of the 
Supreme Being are distinct existences. I am quite at 
a loss to know how these atttributes of the pure and 
and perfect Supreme Being (as the learned gentleman 
declares them to exist really and separately, and not 
fictitiously and allegorically,) can be so sensual and desti 
tute of morality as the creating attribute or Brahma is 
said to be by the Poorans, which represent him in one 
instance as attempting to commit a rape upon his own 
daughter. The protecting attribute, or Vishnu, is in 
another place affirmed to have fraudulently violated the 
chastity of Brinda, in order to kill her husband. Shiva, 
the destroying attribute, is said to have had a criminal 
attachment toMohini, disregarding all ideas of decency. 
And a thousand similar examples must be familiar to 
every reader of the Poorans. I should be obliged by 
the learned gentleman s showing how the contemplation 
of such circumstances, which are constantly related by 
the worshippers of these attributes, even in their ser 
mons, can be instrumental towards the purification of 
the mind, conducive to morality, and productive of 
eternal beatitude. Besides, though the learned gentleman 
in this instance considers these attributes to be separate 
existences, yet in another place he seems to view them 
as parts of the Supreme Being, as he says : " If one 
" part of the ocean be adored, the ocean -is adored. * 
I am somewhat at a loss to understand how the learned 
gentleman proposes to reconcile this apparent contra 
diction. I must observe, however, in this place, that 
the comparison drawn between the relation of God and 


those attributes, and that of a king and his ministers, 
is totaly inconsistent with the faith entertained by 
Hindoos of the present day ; who, so far from consider 
ing these objects of worship as mere instruments by 
which they may arrive at the power of contemplating 
the God of nature, regard them in the light of independ 
ent gods, to each of whom, however absurdly, they 
attribute almighty power, and a claim to worship, solely 
on his own account. 

i ithly. The learned gentleman is dissatisfied with the 
objection mentioned in my translation to worshipping 
these fictitious representations and remarks, that " the 
" objections to worshipping the attributes are not satis- 
" factorily stated by the author." I consequently repeat 
the following authorities, which I hope may answer my 
purpose. The following are the declarations of the 
Ved : " He who worships any God excepting the 
Supreme Being, and thinks that he himself is distinct 
"and inferior to that God, knows nothing, and is 
" considered as a domestic beast of these gods." A 
" state even so high as that of Brahma does not afford 
"real bliss." "Adore God alone." "None but the 
" Supreme Being is to be worshipped ; nothing excepting 
" him should be adored by a wise man." I repeat also 
the following text of the Vedant : " The declaration of 
" the Ved, that those that worship the celestial gods are 
" the food of such gods, is an allegorical expression, and 
" only means, that they are comforts to the celestial 
"gods as food to mankind ; for he who has no faith in 
"the Supreme Being is rendered subject to these gods. 
" The Ved affirms the same." 
. And the revered Sankaracharya has frequently 


declared the state of celestial gods to he that of demons, 
in the Bhasya of the Ishopanishad and of others. 

To these authorities a thousand others might be 
added. But should the learned gentleman require 
some practical grounds for objecting to the idolatrous 
worship of the Hindoos, I can be at no loss to give 
him numberless instances, where the ceremonies that 
have been instituted under the pretext of honouring 
the all-perfect Author of Nature, are of a tendency 
utterly subversive of every moral principle. 

I begin with Krishna as the most adored of the 
incarnations, the number of whose devotees is exceed 
ingly great. His worship is made to consist in the 
institution of his image or picture, accompanied by one 
or more females, and in the contemplation of his 
history and behaviour, such as his perpetration of 
murder upon a female of the name of Pootna ; his 
compelling great number of married and unmarried 
women to stand before him denuded ; his debauching 
them and several others, to the mortal affliction of 
their husbands and relations ; his annoying them, by 
violating the laws of cleanliness and other facts of 
the same nature. The grossness of his worship does 
not find a limit here. His devotees very often perso 
nify (in the same manner as European actors upon 
stages do) him and his female companions, dancing 
with indecent gestures, and singing songs relative to 
his love and debaucheries. It is impossible to explain 
in language fit to meet the public eye, the mode in 
which Muhadeva, or the destroying attribute, is wor 
shipped by the generality of the Hindoos : suffice it 
to say, that it is altogether congenial with the indecent 


nature of the image, under whose form he is most 
commonly adored. 

The stories respecting him, which are read by his. 
devotees in the Tuntras, are of a nature that, if told 
of any man, would be offensive to the ears of the most 
abandoned of either sex. In the worship of Kali, 
human sacrifices, the use of wine, criminal intercourse, 
and licentious songs are included : the first of these 
practices has become generally extinct ; but it is 
believed that there are parts of the country where 
human victims are still offered. 

. Debauchery, however, universally forms the prin 
cipal part of the worship of her followers. Nigam 
and other Tantras may satisfy every reader of the 
horrible tenets of the worshippers of the two latter 
deities. The modes of worship of almost all the 
inferior deities are pretty much the same. Having, 
so far explained the nature of worship adopted by 
Hindoos in general, for the propitiation of their 
allegorical attributes, in direct opposition to the mode 
of pure divine worship inculcated by the Veds, I 
cannot but entertain a strong hope that the learned 
gentleman, who ranks even monotheistical songs among 
carnal pleasures, and consequently rejects their ad 
mittance in worship, will no longer stand forward as 
an advocate for the worship of separate and independent 
attributes and incarnations. 

i2thly. The learned gentleman says, "that the 
" Saviour," meaning Christ, " should be considered 
" a personification of the mercy and kindness of God 
(I mean actual not allegorical personification)." From 
the little knowledge I had acquired of the tenets of 


-Christians and those of anti-Christians, I thought 
there were only three prevailing opinions respecting 
the nature of Christ viz., that he was considered by 
some as the expounder of the laws of God, and the 
mediator between God and man; by many to be one 
of the three mysterious persons of the Godhead ; 
whilst others, such as the Jews, say that he was a mere 
man. But to consider Christ as a personification of 
the mercy of God is, if I mistake not, a new doctrine 
an Christianity, the discussion of which, however, has 
no connexion with the present subject. I, however, must 
observe that this opinion, which the learned gentleman 
has formed of Christ being a personification of the mercy 
of God, is similar to that entertained by Mussulmans, 
for a period of upwards of a thousand years, respecting 
Mohummud, whom they call mercy of God upon all 
his creatures. The learned gentleman, in the conclusion 
of his observations, has left, as he says, the doctrines 
of pure allegory to me. It would have been more 
consistent with justice had he left pure allegory also 
to the Veds, which declare, " appellations and figures 
of all kinds are innovations," and which have alle- 
gorically represented God in the figure of the universe : 
" Fire is his head, the sun and the moon are his two 
11 eyes," &c. ; and which have also represented all human 
internal qualities by different earthly objects ; and also 
to Vyas, who has strictly followed the Veds in these 
figurative representations, and to Sankaracharya, who 
also adopted the mode of allegory in his fehashya of 
ithe Vedant and of the Upanishads. 












Two publications only have yet appeared with the 
professed object of defending Hindoo idolatry against 
the arguments which I have adduced from the Vedant 
and other sacred authorities, in proof of the erroneous- 
ness of that system. To the first, which appeared in a 
Madras journal, my reply has been for some time 
before the public. The second, which is the object of 
the present answer, and is supposed to be the produc 
tion of a learned Brahmun now residing in Calcutta, was 
printed both in Bengali and in English; and I have 
therefore been under the necessity of preparing a reply 
in both of those languages. That which was intended 
for the perusal of my countrymen, issued from the 
press a few weeks ago. For my European readers I 
have thought it advisable to make some additional 
remarks to those contained in the Bengali publication,, 
which I hope will tend to make my arguments more 
clear and intelligible to them than a bare translation- 
would do. 




&c. &c. 

THE learned Brahmun, in his defence of idolatry, 
thus begins :" Let it not be supposed that the following 
" treatise has been written with a view to refute the 
" doctrines of those assuming inventors and self-interest- 
" ed moderns," &c. " It is solely with the intention 
" of expressing the true meaning of these authorities 
" that this brief treatise has been composed;" and he 
thus concludes : "The Vedant chundrica, or lunar light 
" of the Vedant, has thus been made apparent, and 
" thus the glow-worm s light has been eclipsed." It is 
very much to be feared that, from the perusal of this 
treatise, called the lunar light of the Vedant, but filled 
up with* satirical fables 5 f abusive expressions, and 
.contradictory assertions, sometimes admitting mono 
theism, but at the same time blending with it and 
defending polytheism,]: those foreign gentlemen, as well 
as those natives of this country who are not acquainted 
with the real tenets of the Vedant, might on a super 
ficial view form a very unfavourable opinion of that 
theology, which, however, treats with perfect consistency 

* P. I, 1. 26 ; P. 2, 1. 17 ; p. 19 and 20, margin. 

t P. i ; P- 3, I- 9 ; P- 8 - ! 1 7 > P- 3 8 > ! *4 5 P. 48, I- 19, &c. &c. 

I P. I3 1- J 4- 


of the unity and universality of the Supreme Being,, 
and forbids, positively, treating with contempt or beha 
ving ill towards any creature whatsoever. 

As to the satire and abuse, neither my education 
permits any return by means of similar language, nor 
does the system of my religion admit even a desire of 
unbecoming retaliation: situated as I am, I must bear 
them tranquilly. 

Besides, a sect of people who are apt to make use 
of the most foul language, when they feel angry with 
their supposed deities,* cannot of course be expected,, 
when irritated with contradiction, to pay due attention, , 
unless checked by fear, to the propriety of the use of 
decent expressions, either in common conversation or 
in religious controversy. 

The total sum of the arguments, set forth as far as> 
page 13, of the translation of this treatise (however 
inconsistent they are with each other), seems intended 
to prove that faith in the Supreme Being, when united, 
with moral works, leads men to eternal happiness. 

This doctrine, I am happy to observe, strongly 
corroborates every assertion that I have made in my 
translation, a few paragraphs of which I beg leave to 
repeat here for the satisfaction of my readers. In the 
abridgment of the Vedant, page 16 : " The Vedant shews 

* Vide the " Apology," passim. 

t As may be observed when at the annual festival of Juggun- 
nath, the car in which he is conveyed happens to be impeded in 
its progress by any unseen obstacle. In this case, the difficulty 
is supposed to be occasioned by the malicious opposition of that 
god, on whom the most gross abuse is liberally bestowed by his- 


"** that moral principle is a part of the adoration of God, 
" viz. a command over passions and over the external 
" senses of the body, and good acts are declared by the 
" Ved to be indispensable in the mind s approximation 
" to God ; they should therefore be strictly taken care 
41 of, and attended to both previously and subsequently 
" to such approximation to the Supreme Being ; that 
" is to say, we should not indulge our evil propensities, 
" but should endeavour to have entire control over 
" them : reliance on, and self-resignation to the only 
" true Being, with an aversion to worldly considerations, 
" are included in the good acts above alluded to." In 
the introduction to the Ishopanishad (page 87) : " Under 
" these impressions, therefore, I have been impelled 
" to lay before them genuine translations of parts of 
4< their scriptures, which inculcate not only the enlight- 
" ened worship of One God, but the purest principles 
41 of morality." But the learned Brahmun asserts, 
in two instances, among arguments above noticed, that 
the worship of a favoured deity and that of an image 
.are also considered to be acts of morality. The 
absurdity of this assertion will be shown afterwards, in 
considering the subjects of idol-worship. To English 
readers, however, it may be proper to remark, that 
the Sunskrit word which signifies works, is not to be 
understood in the same sense as that which it implies 
in Christian theology, when works are opposed to faith. 
Christians understand by works, acions of moral merit, 
whereas Hindoos use the term in their theology only 
to denote religious rites and ceremonies prescribed by 
Hindoo lawgivers, which are often irreconcilable with 
the commonly received maxims of moral duty ; as, for 


instance, the crime of suicide prescribed to widows 
by Ungeera, and to pilgrims at holy places by the 
Nursingh and Koorma Poorans. I do not, therefore, 
admit that works, taken in the latter sense (that is, the 
different religious acts prescribed by the Sastra to the 
different classes of Hindoos respectively) are necessary 
to attain divine faith, or that they are indispensable 
accompaniments of holy knowledge ; for the Vedant in 
the chapter 3rd, section 4th, text 37th, positively 
declares that the true knowledge of God may be acquired 
without observing the rules and rites prescribed by the 
Sastra to each class of Hindoos : and also, examples are 
frequently found in the Ved, of persons, who, though 
they neglected the performance of religious rites and 
ceremonies, attained divine knowledge and absorption 
by control over their passions and senses, and by 
contemplation of the Ruler of the universe. Munoo,. 
the first and chief of all Hindoo lawgivers, confirms 
the same doctrines in describing the duties of laymen, 
in the texts 22nd, 23rd and 24th of the 4th chapter of 
his work ; and in the Bhashya, or commentaries on the 
Ishopanishad, and on the other Upanishads of the 
Veds, the illustrious Sankaracharjya declared the attain 
ment of faith in God, and the adoration of the Supreme 
Being, to be entirely independent of Brahminical 
ceremonies ; and the Ved affirms that " many learned 
" true believers never worshipped fire," nor any 
celestial god through fire." The learned Brahmun, 
although he has acknowledged himself, in p. Qth^ 
line 6th, of his treatise, that, " in the opinion of 
Sankaracharya the attaiment of absorption does not 
" depend on works of merit " (or, properly speaking,, 


on religious rites), yet forgetting the obedience he has 
expressed to be due to the instruction* of that cele 
brated commentator, has immediately contradicted his 
opinion, when he says in p. 9, i. 9 : " It has also been 
"ascertained that acts of merit (Brahminical rites) 
" must be performed previously to the attainment of 
" divine knowledge ;" for, if divine knowledge were to 
be dependent on the observance of Brahminical rites, 
absorption dependent on divine knowledge, it would 
follow necessarily that absorption would depend on 
Brahminical rites, which is directly contrary to the 
opinion of the commentator quoted by the learned 
Brahmun himself. 

Moreover, the learned Brahmun at first states 
(p. ii, i. 12) that " in the ancient writers we read that 
" a knowledge of Brahma or holy knowledge, is in- 
" dependent of acts " (religious rites) ; but he again 
contradicts this statement, and endeavours to explain it 
away (p. TI, 1. 24) : "Thus when the Sastras state that 
" absorption may be attained even though the sacri- 
11 ficial fires be neglected, the praise of that holy know 
ledge is intended, but not the depreciation of meri 
torious acts" (Brahminical rites). Here he chooses 
to accuse his scripture, and ancient holy writers, of 
exaggerated and extravagant praise of holy knowledge, 
rather than that the least shock should be given by 
their authority to the structure of paganism and idolatry. 
From this instance, the public may perceive how 
zealous the learned Brahmun and his brethren are, in 
respect to the preservation of their fertile estate of 

* P. 3. i. 14. 


idolatry, when they are willing to sacrifice to it even 
their own scriptural authorities. 

Upon a full persual of the treatise, it appears that 
the arguments employed by the learned Brahmun have 
no other object than to support the weak system of idol- 
worship, in asmuch as he repeatedly declares, that the 
adoration of 330,000,000 deities, especially the principal 
ones, such as Siva, Vishnoo, Kali, Gunesh, the Sun 
and others, through their several images, has been en 
joined by the Sastras, and sanctioned by custom. I 
am not a little surprised to observe, that after having 
perused my Preface to the Ishopanishad in Bengali (of 
which during the last twelve months I have distributed 
nearly five hundred copies amongst all descriptions of 
Hindoos), the learned Brahmun has offered no objection 
to what I have therein asserted, relative to the reason 
assigned by the same Sastras, as well as for the in 
junction to worship these figured beings, as for the 
general prevalence of idol-worship in this country. 

In that work, I admitted that the worship of these 
deities was directed by the Sastra ; but, at the same 
time, I proved by their own authority, that this was 
merely a concession made to the limited faculties of 
the vulgar, with the view of remedying, in some degree, 
the misfortune of their being incapable of comprehend 
ing and adopting the spiritual worship of the true God. 
Thus, in the aforesaid Preface, I remarked : " For they 
" (the Poorans, Tantras, &c.) repeatedly declare God 
" to be one, and above the apprehension of the external 
4< and internal senses. They indeed expressly declare 
the divinity of many gods, and the mode of their 
" worship : but they reconcile those contradicting asser- 


" tions by affirming frequently, that the directions to 
4t worship any celestial beings are only applicable to 
" those who are incapable of elevating their minds to 
" the idea of an invisible being." And, with the view to 
remove every doubt as to the correctness of my asser 
tion, I at the same time quoted the most unquestion 
able authorities, a few of which I shall here repeat. 
" Thus corresponding to the natures of different powers 
" and qualities, numerous figures bave been invented for 
" the benefit of those who are not possesed of sufficient 
" understanding." " The vulgar look for their gods in 
water; men of more extended knowldge, in celestial 
" bodies ; the ignorant, in wood, bricks, and stones ; but 
" learned men in the Universal Soul." " It is impossible 
"" for those who consider pilgrimage as devotion, and 
" believe that the divine nature exists in the image, to 
" look up to, communicate with, to petition, and to 
41 serve true believers in God." 

Such indeed is the prevalent nature of truth, that 
when to dispute it is impossible, the learned Brahmun 
has not been always successful in concealing it, even 
when the admission is most fatal to his own argument. 
In p. 28, 1. 34, he says : " But to those it is enjoined 
who, from a defective understanding^ do not perceive 
that God exists in every thing, that they should wor 
ship him through the medium of some created object. " 
In making this acknowledgment, the learned Brahmun 
has confirmed the correctness of all my assertions ; 
though the evident conclusion is, that he and all his 
followers must either immediately give up all pretensions 
to understanding, or forsake idolatry. 

In my former tract, I not only proved that the 


adoration of the Supreme Being in spirit ,vas prescribed 
by the Ved to men of understanding, and the worship- 
of the celestial bodies and their images to ignorant, 
but I also asserted, that the Ved actually prohibited 
the worship of any kind of figured beings by men of 
intellect and education. A few of the passages quoted 
by me in my former publication, on which this assertion 
rests, I also beg leave to repeat. 

" He who worships any God except the Supreme 
" Being, and thinks that he himself is distinct and 
" inferior to that God, knows nothing, and is considered 
a domestic beast of these gods." "A state even so high 
"as that of Brahma, does not afford real bliss." 
" Adore God alone. None but the Supreme Being is 
" to be worshipped ; nothing excepting him should be 
" adored by a wise man." I repeat also the following 
"text of the Vedant : The declaration of the Ved r 
"that those that worship the celestial gods are the 
" food of such gods, is an allegorical expression, and 
" only means that they are comforts to the celestial 
" gods, as food to mankind ; for he who has no faith 
" in the Supreme Being, is rendered subject to these 
" gods ; the Ved affirms the same." No reply there 
fore is, I presume, required of me to the arguments 
adduced by the learned Brahmun in his treatise for 
idol-worship ; except that I should offer some additional 
authorities, confirming exclusively the rational worship 
of the true God, and prohibiting the worship of the 
celestial figures and their images. I beg leave 
accordingly to quote, in the first instance, a few texts 
of the Ved : " Men may acquire eternal beatitude, by 
obtaining a knowledge of the Supreme Being alone ; 


there is no other way to salvation."* " To those that 
" acquire a knowledge of Him, the Ruler of the in- 
" tellectual power, who is eternal amidst the perishable 
" universe, and is the source of sensation among all 
"animate existences, and who alone assigns to so 
" many objects their respective purposes, everlasting 
" beatitude is allotted ; but not to those who are not 
"possessed of that knowledge."! And in the 4th, 
5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th texts of the Cenopanishad, the 
Ved has, five times successively, denied the divinity 
of any specific being which men in general worship ;. 
and has affirmed the divinity of that Being solely, who 
is beyond description and comprehension, and out 
of the reach of the power of vision, and of the sense 
of hearing or of smelling. The most celebrated 
Sankaracharya, in his commentary upon these texts,, 
states that, lest people should suppose Vishnoo, 
Muhadeva, Pavan, Indra, or any other, to be a supreme 
spirit, the Ved in this passage disavows positively the 
divinity of all of them. Again, the Ved says:" Those 
that neglect the contemplation of the Supreme Spirit, 
"either by devoting themselves solely to the performance 
" of the ceremonies of religion, or by living destitute of 
" religious ideas, shall, after death ; assume the state 
"of demons, such as that of the celestial gods, and of 
" other created beings, which are surrounded with the. 
" darkness of ignorance."! It will not, I hope, be 
supposed inconsistent with the subject in question to 
mention in this place in what manner the Vedant 
treats of these celestial gods, and how the Ved classes. 

* Sooctu. t Kut h. % lahopanishad. 


them among the other beings. The Vedant (ch. 1st, 
-s. 3rd, t. 26th) has the following passage : " Vyas 
" affirms that it is prescribed also to celestial gods and 
" heavenly beings to attain a knowledge of the Su 
preme Being, because a desire of absorption is 
"equally possible for them." And the Ved, in the 
" Moonduk Upunishzd, thus declares : " From Him, 
" who knows all things generally and particularly, 
" and who only by his omniscience created the universe 
" Bruhma, and whatever bears appellation, and figure 
"as well as food, all are produced." " From Him 
" (the Supreme Being) celestial gods* of many des- 
" criptions, Siddha, or beings next to celestial gods, 
" mankind, beasts, birds, life, wheat, and barley, all 
"are produced." In the Devee Mahtmya^ a work 
which is as much in circulation among the Hindoos 
as their daily prayerbook,f (ch. 1st, t. 66th) the creation 
of Vishnoo, Bruhma, and Muhadeva, is most distinctly 

Munoo, the best of all the commentators of the 
Veds, says (chap. i2th, text 85th); "Of all those 
" duties, answered Bhrigoo, the principal is to acquire 
"from the Upanishad a true knowledge of the one 
" Supreme Spirit, that is, the most exalted of all 
" sciences, because through that knowledge eternal 

* The Ved, having in the first instance personified all the attri 
butes and powers of the Deity, and also the celestial bodies and 
natural elements, does, in conformity to this idea of personifica 
tion, treat of them in the subsequent passages as if they were 
real beings, ascribing to them birth, animation, senses, and 
accidents, as well as liability to annihilation. 

t Pooja Putul. 


"beatitude is obtained." And the same author, in the 
conclusion of his work on rites and ceremonies, thus 
directs (t. 92nd, ch. i2th): "Thus must the chief of 
the twice born, though he neglect the ceremonial rites, 
" mentioned in the Shastras, be diligent in attaining a 
" knowledge of God, in controlling his organs of sense, , 
" and in repeating the Ved." In the Coolarnuva,. 
"absorption is not to be effected by the studies of the 
" Veds nor by the reading of other Shastras : absorp- 
" tion is effected by a true knowledge of the Supreme 
"Being. O ! Parbutee, except that knowledge there 
" is no other way to absorption." "Caste or religious 
" order belonging to each sect, is not calculated to be 
"the cause of eternal beatitude, nor is the study of 
" Durshuns or any other Shastras, sufficient to produce 
"absorption: a knowledge of the Supreme Spirit is 
" alone the cause of eternal beatitude." Mahanirvan ;. 
" He who believes that from the highest state of Bruhma 
" to the lowest state of a straw, all are delusions, and 
" that the one Supreme Spirit is the only true being,, 
"attains beatitude." "Those who believe that the 
"divine nature exists in an image made of earth, stones 
" metal, wood, or of other materials, reap only distress 
" by their austerities ; but they cannot, without a know- 
" ledge of the Supreme Spirit, acquire absorption." 

I am really sorry to observe that, notwithstanding, 
these authorities and a thousand others of a similar 
nature, the learned Brahmun appears altogether unim 
pressed by the luminous manner in which they in 
culcate the sublime simple spiritual belief in, and wor 
ship of, one God, and that, on the contrary, he should- 
manifest so much zeal in leading people into an idola- 


trous belief in the divinity of created and perishable 

Idolatry, as now practised by our countrymen, and 
which the learned Brahmun so zealously supports as 
conductive to morality, is not only rejected by the 
Shastras universally, but must also be looked upon with 
great horror by common sense, as leading directly to 
immorality and destructive of social comforts. For 
every Hindoo who devotes himself to this absurd wor 
ship, constructs for that purpose a couple of male and 
.female idols, sometimes indecent in form, as representa 
tives of his favourite deities ; he is taught and enjoined 
.from his infancy to contemplate and repeat the history 
of these, as well as of their fellow deities, though the 
actions ascribed to them be only a continued series of 
of debauchery, sensuality, falsehood, ingratitude, breach 
of trust, and treachery to friends.* There can be but 
-one opinion respecting the moral conduct to be expect 
ed of a person, who has been brought up with senti 
ments of reverence to such beings, who refreshes his 
memory relative to them almost every day, and who 
has been persuaded to believe, that a repetition of the 
holy name of one of these deities,! or a trifling present 
to his image or to his devotee, is sufficient, not only 
to purify and free him from all crimes whatsoever, but 
to procure to him future beatitude. 

As to the custom or practice to which the learned 
Brahmun so often refers in defence of idolatry, I have 

* Vide Note at the end. 
t Vide note at the end. 


already, I presume, explained in the Preface of the 
Jshopanishad) the accidental circumstances which have 
caused idol-worship to flourish throughout the greater 
part of India ; but, as the learned Brahmun has not 
condescended to notice any of my remarks on this 
subject, I beg leave to repeat here a part of them. 

" Many learned Brahmans are perfectly aware 

" of the absurdity of idolatry, and are well in- 

" formed of the nature of the pure mode of divine 

* worship ; but as in the rites, ceremonies, and festivals 

"of idolatry they find the source of their comforts 

"and fortune, they not only never fail to protect 

" idol-worship from all attacks, but even advance and 

" encourage it to the utmost of their power, by keeping 

" the knowledge of their scriptures concealed from 

" the rest of the people." And again : " It is, how- 

" ever, evident to every one possessed of common 

" sense, that custom or fashion is quite different from 

" divine faith ; the latter proceeding from spiritual 

"authorities and correct reasoning, and the former 

"being merely the fruit of vulgar caprice. What can 

" justify a man, who believes in the inspiration of his 

* religious books, in neglecting the direct authorities 

" of the same works, and subjecting himself entirely 

" to custom and fashion, which are liable to perpetual 

" changes, and depend upon popular whim ? But it 

" cannot be passed unnoticed, that those who practise 

" idolatry, and defend it under the shield of custom, 

" have been violating their customs almost every twenty 

"years, for the sake of a little convenience, or to 

"promote their worldly advantages." Instances of 

"this sort are mentioned in the Preface of the 


Ishopanishad, and to those I beg leave to recall the 
attention of the learned Brahmun. 

Every reader may observe, that the learned Brah 
mun in his treatise, written ( as he says ) on the 
doctrines of the Vedant, has generally neglected to 
quote any ruthority for his assertions; and when he 
cites the Ved or the Vedant ( which he does some 
times) as his authority, he carefully omits to mention 
the text or part to which his assertion refers. The 
validity of theological controversy chiefly depends 
upon Scriptural authority, but when no authority is 
offered, the public may judge how far its credibility 
should extend. I shall, however, make a few remarks 
on the absurd and contradictory assertions with which 
the treatise abounds. 

The learned Brahmun observes:* " But if the divine 
" essence itself, and not the energy be extolled, it will 
" be adored under the forms of Bruhma, Vishnoo, 
" and Indra, and other male deities." and in other 
places, (p. 30 L. 27): "So by paying adoration to 
" any material object, animate or inanimate, the 
"Supreme Being himself is adored." If the truth of 
the latter assertion be admitted ( namely, that God 
himself is adored by the adoration of anything 
whatsoever), no mark of distinction between the adora 
tion of any visible objects and male deities will exist; 
and the former assertion respecting the adoption of the 
Supreme Being through the male deities only, will 
appear an absurd restriction. 

The learned Brahmun states ( p. 19, i. 31), that, 
"If you believe on the authority of the Scriptures, 

* P. 14, 1. 14. 


" that there is a Supreme Being, can you not believe 
" that he is united to matter ?" A belief in God is 
by no means connected with a belief of his being 
united to matter: for those that have faith in the 
existence of the Almighty, and are endued with 
common sense, scruple not to confess their ignorance 
as to his nature or mode of existence, in regard to the 
point of his relation to matter, or to the properties of 
matter. How, therefore, can a belief in God s being 
united to matter, be inferred as a necessary consequ 
ence of a belief in his existence? The learned Brahmun 
again contradicts himself on this point, saying 
(P. 38, 1. 19): "The divine essence being superna- 
" tural and immaterial, a knowledge of it is to be 
"acquired solely from revelations." 

The learned Brahmun ( in p. 18, 1. 4 ) : states 
that : " A quality cannot exist independently of its 
"substance, but substance may exist independently of 
"any quality." Every one possessed of sensation is 
convinced, that a substance is as much dependent on 
the possession of some quality or qualities for its 
existence, as a quality on some substance. It is impos 
sible even to imagine a substance divested of qualities. 
Despoil it as much as you please, that of magnitude 
must still remain. I therefore trust that the public 
will not suppose the above stated doctrines of the 
learned Brahmun to have been derived from those of 
the Vedant. 

It is again stated ( p. 21, 1. 4), that, "In point of 
" fact if you admit the existence of matter, as it regards 
" yourself, with its twenty-four accidents, as confirmed 
" by universal experience, you can easily conceive 



" that the same properties belong to the Supreme 
11 Being." It is easy enough for the learned Brahmun 
to conceive that the twenty-four properties which are 
peculiar to animals, and among which all sources of 
carnal pleasures are included, belong to his supposed 
deities ; but it is difficult, or rather impossible, for a 
man untainted with idolatrous principles, to ascribe 
to God all such properties as he allows to exist in 

The learned Brahmun has drawn an analogy be 
tween the operation of the charms of the Veds, and 
that of magic; whereon he says (p. 18, 1. i): 
" Cannot the charms of the Veds operate as powerfully 
"as those of magic, in producing effects where the 
" cause is not present? If the foundation of the Veds 
is held not to be stronger, as the learned Brahmun 
seems to consider it, than that of magic, I am afraid 
it will be found to rest on so slender a footing, that 
its doctrines will hardly be worth discussion 

In p. 24, 1. 10, the learned Brahmun states that 
" The Vedant itself, in treating of the several deities, 
* declares them to be possessed of forms, and their 
" actions and enjoyments are all dependent on their 
" corporeal nature." But (p. 21, 1. 19) he says: 
11 Because the male and female deities, whose beings 
" I contend for, are nothing more than accidents 
" existing in the Supreme Being." 

He thus at one time considers these deities as 
possessed of a corporeal nature, and at another declares 
them to be mere accidents in God, which is quite 
inconsistent with the attribute of corporeality. I am 
really at a loss to understand, how the learned Brahmun 


could admit so dark a contradiction into his " Luna r 
" light of the Vedant." 

The learned Brahmun (in p. 27, 1. 6) thus assimilates 
the worship of the Supreme Being to that of an earthly 
Icing, saying : " Let us drop the discourse concerning 
"a Supreme and Invisible Being. Take an earthly 
" king. It is evident that, to serve him, there must 
" be the medium of materiality. Can service to him 
" be accomplished otherwise than by attendance on 
"his person, praising his qualities, or some similar 
" method ? " Those who believe God to be an al 
mighty, omniscient, and independent existence, which, 
pervading the universe, is deficient in nothing ; and 
also know the feeble and dependent nature of earthly 
kings, as liable to sudden ruin, as harassed by incessant 
cares and wants, ought never, I presume, to assimilate 
the contemplation of the Almighty power with any 
corporeal service acceptable to an earthly king. But 
as by means of this analogy, the learned Brahmun 
and his brethren have successfully persuaded their 
followers to make in imitation of presents and bribes 
offered to princes, pecuniary vows to these supposed 
deities, to which it would seem none but the learned 
Brahmun and his brethren have exclusive claim, 
and as such analogy has thus become the source 
of their comforts and livelihood, I shall say no more 
upon so tender a subject. 

He further observes (in p. 22, 1. 27) : " In reverting 
" to the subject, you affirm, that you admit the exis- 
" tence of matter in human beings, because it is evident 
" to your senses ; but deny it with respect to God, 
" because it is not evident to your senses," &c. ; and, 


" If this be your method of reasoning, it would appear 
" that your faith is confined to those objects only 
" which are evident to your senses." As far as my 
recollection goes with respect to the contents of my 
publications, both in the native language and in Eng 
lish, I believe I never denied the materiality of God, 
on the mere ground of its not being evident to our 
senses. The assertion which I quoted, or made use 
of in my former treatise, is, that the nature of the God 
head is beyond the comprehension of external and 
internal senses ; which, I presume, implies neither the 
denial of the materiality of God, on the sole ground 
of his being invisible, nor the limitation of my faith 
merely to objects evident to the senses. For many 
things that far surpass the limits of our senses to 
perceive, or experience to teach, may yet be rendered 
credible, or even demonstrated by inferences drawn 
from our experience. Such as the mutual gravitation 
of the earth and moon towards each other, and of 
both to the sun ; which facts cannot be perceivd by 
any of our senses, but may be clearly demonstrated 
by reasoning drawn from our exprience. Hence L 
appears, that a thing is justly denied only when found 
contrary to sense and reason, and not merely because 
it is not perceptible to the senses. 

I have now to notice the friendly advice given me 
by the learned Brahmun ( in p. 23,!. 16): "But at 
" all events, divest yourself of the uneasy sensations 
" you profess to experience at witnessing the worship 
" paid to idols, prepared at the expense and labour of 
" another." In thanking him for his trouble in offering 
me this counsel, I must however, beg the learned 


Brahmunto excuse me, while I acknowledge myself 
unable to follow it; and that for several reasons, ist, 
A feeling for the misery and distress of his fellow 
creatures is, to every one not overpowered by selfish 
motives, I presume, rather natural than optional. 2 ndly. 
I, as one of their countrymen, and ranked in the most 
religious sect, of course participate in the disgrace and 
ridicule to which they have subjected themselves, in 
defiance of their scriptural authority, by the worship 
of idols, very often under the most shameful forms, 
accompanied with the foulest language, and most 
indecent hymns and gestures. 3 rdly. A sense of the 
duty which one man owes to another, compels me to 
exert my utmost endeavours to rescue them from 
imposition and servitude, and promote their comfort 
and happiness. 

He further observes (p. 30,!. 16). "In the like 
* manner, the King of kings is served equally by those 
" worshippers who are acquainted with His real essence, 
"and by those who only recognize Him under the 
"forms of the deities; but in the future distribution 
" of rewards a distinction will be made." As the learn 
ed Brahmun confesses, that the same reward is not 
promised to the worshippers of figured deities as to the 
adorers of the Supreme Being, it seems strange that he 
should persist in alleging that God is truly worshipped in 
the adoration of figured gods ; for if the worship be in 
both cases the same, the reward bestowed by a just 
God must be the same to both ; but the rewards are 
not the same to both, and therefore the worship of 
figured deities cannot be considered equal to the adora 
tion of God. 


In the same page (1. 7), he compares God to a 
mighty emperor saying, " As a mighty emperor travels 
* through his kingdom in the garb of a peasant, to effect 
"the welfare of his subjects, so the King of kings 
" pervades the universe, assuming a divine, or even a 
" human form, for the same benevolent purpose." 
This comparison seems extremely objectionable, and 
the inference from it totally inadmissible. For a king 
being ignorant of things out of the reach of his sight, 
and liable to be deceived respecting the secrets and 
private opinions of his subjects, may sometimes be 
obliged to travel through his kingdom, to acquire a 
knowledge of their condition, and to promote their 
welfare personally. But there can be obviously no 
inducement for an omnipotent being, in whose omni 
science also the learned Brahmun, I dare say, believes, 
to assume a form in order either to acquaint himself 
with the affairs of men, or to accomplish any bene 
volent design towards his creatures. 

He again observes, that these figures and idols are 
representations of the true God, a sight of which 
serves, as he alleges, to bring that Being to his 
recollection (p. 30, 1. 5) : " They are as pictures, which 
recall to the memory a dear and absent friend, or 
like the worship of the moon, reflected in various 

This observation of the learned Brahmun induces 
me to suppose that he must have formed a notion of 
the Godhead quite strange and contemptible : for it is 
almost impossible for a man, who has a becoming idea 
of God s superiority to all creatures, to represent Him, 
as the Hindoos very often do, in a form so shameful r 


that a description of it is prohibited by common 
decency, or in a shape so ridiculous as that piebald 
kite called Kshyemunkuree, and that of another bird 
called Neelkunth, or of jackals, &c. And it is equally 
difficult to believe that a rational being can make use 
of such objects to bring the All-perfect Almighty Power 
to his recollection. 

He further says (p. 31, 1. 32) : " If any one assert 
" that the case is otherwise, that the deities, mankind, 
" the heavens, and other objects have an existence 
" independent of God, that faith in him is sufficient 
" without worship, that they (the deities) cannot meet 
"with reverence, how can that person affect to 
" disbelieve the doctrine of independent existence, 
" or assert that he is a believer in universality, or a 
" follower of the Vedant ?" To acquit myself from 
such gross but unfounded accusation as that of my 
believing material existence to be independent of God, 
I repeat a few passages from the abridgment of the 
Vedant. (P. 6, 1. 8) : " Nothing bears true existence 
excepting God." Again in 1. 9, " The existence of 
whatever thing that appears to us, relies on the existence 
of God." Besides, there is not, I am confident, a 
single assertion in the whole of my publications, from 
which the learned Brahmun might justly infer that I 
believed in the independent existence of deities, 
mankind, the heavens, or other objects. The public, 
by an examination of these works, will be enabled to 
judge how far the learned Brahmun has ventured to 
brave public opinion, in the invention of arguments 
for the defence of idolatry. 

He again says (p. 34, 1. 28) : " If, by the practice 


" of the prescribed forms in a church, a temple, or a 
" mosque, God be worshipped, how can he be dis- 
11 honoured by being worshipped under the form of an 
"image, however manufactured?" Those who con 
template God in a church or mosque, or elevate their 
minds to a notion of the Almighty Power in any other 
appropriated place, for the sake of good example, 
never pay divine homage to those places ; but 
those that pretend to worship God under the form 
of an image, consider it to be possessed of divine 
nature, and at the same time, most inconsistently, 
as imbued with immoral principles. Moreover, the 
promoters of the worship of images, by promulgating 
anecdotes illustrative of the supposed divine power 
of particular idols, endeavour to excite the reverence 
of the people, and specially of pilgrims, who, under 
these superstitious ideas, are persuaded to propitiate, 
them with large sacrifices of money, and sometimes 
even by that of their own lives. Having so far entered 
into this subject, the learned Brahmun will, I hope, 
be convinced of the impropriety of the analogy which 
he has drawn between a worship within a certain 
material object and a worship of a material object. 

As to his question (p. 34, 1. 32), <f lsthe sight of 
" the image unpleasing ?" My answer must be 
affirmative. It is extremely natural that, to a mind 
whose purity is not corrupted by a degrading supersti 
tion, the sight of images which are often of the most 
hedious or indecent description, and which must 
therefore excite disgust in the mind of the specta- 
tor, should be unpleasing. A visit to Kalighat,* or 
* The temple of Kali. 


Burhnugur,* which are only four miles distant from 
Calcutta, will sufficiently convince the reader of the un 
pleasant nature of their beloved images. He again asks 
in the same page, (1.33) : "Will a beloved friend be treat- 
" ed with disrespect by being seated on a chair, when he 
" arrives in your house, or by being presented with fragrant 
flowers and other offerings ? " To which I shall say, 
no ; but at the same time I must assert that a friend 
worthy of reverence would not, we may be sure, be at 
all pleased at being exhibited sometimes in a form,t the 
bare mention of which would be considered as a gross 
insult to the decorous feelings of the public; and 
sometimes in the shape of a monkey, J fish, hog,|| or 
elephant,1T or at being represented as destitute of every 
virtue, and altogether abandoned. Nor would he 
believe his host to be possessed of common sense, who, 
as a token of regard, would altogether neglect his guest, 
to go and lay fruits and flowers before his picture. 

It is said (p. 39, 1. 23) : " In the accounts of ancient 
" Greece we meet with the worship of idols, and the 
"practice of austerities; but these acts have been 
" contemned by the more enlightened moderns." lam 
really glad to observe that the learned Brahmun, more 
liberally and plainly than could be expected, confesses 
that idolatry will be totally contemned as soon as the 
understanding is improved. I, however, beg leave to 
remark on this instance, that though the idolatry 
practised by the Greeks and Romans was certainly just 

*Where there are twelve temples dedicated to Siva. 
fUnder which Siva is adored. Hunooman. The first in 
carnation of Vishnoo. ||The third incarnation of Vishnoo. 


as impure, absurd, and puerile as that of the present 
Hindoos, yet the former was by no means so destructive 
of the comforts of life, or injurious to the texture of 
society, as the latter. The present Hindoo idolatry 
being made to consist in following certain modes and 
restraints of diet (which according to the authorities of 
the Mahabharut and other histories were never observed 
by their forefathers), has subjected its unfortunate 
votaries to entire separation from the rest of the world, 
and also from each other, and to constant incon 
veniences and distress. 

A. Hindoo, for instance, who affects particular 
purity, * cannot even partake of food dressed by his 
own brother, when invited to his house, and if touched 
by him while eating, he must throw away the remaining 
part of his meal. In fact, owing to the observance of 
such peculiar idolatry, directly contrary to the autho 
rities of their scripture, they hardly deserve the name 
of social beings. 

The learned Brahmun further says ( p. 23, 1. 3 ) : 
" If you affirm that you are not an infidel, but that your 
" arguments are in conformity with those of the 
" philosophers who where ignorant of the Veds," &c. 
A remark of this kind cannot, I am sure, be considered 
as at all applicable to a person who has subjected 
himself to this writer s remarks only by translating and 
publishing the principal parts of the Ved, and by vindi 
cating the Vedant theology, and who never advanced on 
religious controversy any argument which was not 

* A peison of this description is distinguished by the name of 
Swayumpak, one who is his own cook. 


founded upon the authorities of the Veds and their 
celebrated commentators. It is, however, remarkable 
that, although the learned Brahmun and his brethren 
frequently quote the name of the Veds and other 
Shastras, both in writing and in verbal discussion, they 
pay little or no attention in practice to their precepts, 
even in the points of the most important nature, a few 
of which I beg leave to notice here. 

ist. The adoration of the invisible Supreme Being, 
although exclusively prescribed by the Upasnishads, or 
the principal parts of the Veds, and also by the Vedant r 
has been totally neglected, and even discountenanced, by 
the learned Brahmun and his followers, the idol-worship, 
which those authorities permit only to the ignorant, 
having been substituted for that pure worship. 

2ndly. Ungeera and Vishnoo, and also the modern 
Rughoonundun, authorize a widow to burn herself 
voluntarily along with the corpse of her husband : 
but modern Brahmuns, in direct opposition to their 
authority, allow her relations to bind the mournful and 
infatuated widow to the funeral pile with ropes and 
bamboos, as soon as she has expressed a wish to 
perform the dreadful funeral sacrifice, to which the 
Brahumuns lend a ready assistance. 

3rdly. Although an acceptance of money or of 
a present in the marriage contract of a daughter is 
most strictly prohibited by the Veds and by Munoo 
(text 98 and 100 of chap. 9), yet the sale of female 
children under pretence of marriage is practised by 
nearly two-thirds of the Brahmuns of Bengal and 
Tirhoot, as well as by their followers generally. 

4thly. Yagnyubulkya has authorized the second 


marriage of a man, while his former wife is living ; 
but only under certain circumstances of misconduct 
or misfortune in the latter, such as the vice of 
drinking wine, of deception, of extravagance, of using 
disagreeable language, or shewing manifest dislike towards 
her husband, long protracted and incurable illness, 
barrenness, or producing only female offspring. 
In defiance, however, of this restraint, some 
of them marry thirty or forty women, either for 
the sake of money got with them at marriage, or 
to gratify brutal inclinations. Madhosingh, the late 
Rajah of Tirhoot, through compassion towards that 
helpless sex, limited, I am told, within these thirty 
or forty years, the Brahmuns of that district to four 
wives only. This regulation, although falling short 
both of the written law and of that of reason, tends 
to alleviate in some measure the misery to which 
women were before exposed, as well as to diminish in 
some degree domestic strife and disturbance. 

5thly. According to the authority of Munoo (text 
155, chap. 2nd), respect and distinction are due to a 
Brahmun, merely in proportion to his knowledge ; but 
on the contrary amongst modern Hindoos, honour is 
paid exclusively to certain families of Brahmuns, such 
as the Koolins, &c. however void of knowledge and 
principle they may be. This departure from law and 
justice was made by the authority of a native prince 
of Bengal, named Bullalsen, within the last three or 
four hundred years. And this innovation may perhaps 
be considered as the chief source of that decay of 
learning and virtue, which, I am sorry to say, may be 
at present observed. For wherever respectability is 


confined to birth only, acquisition of knowledge, and 
the practice of morality, in that country, must rapidly 

The learned Brahmun objects to the term indescrib 
able, although universally assigned to the Supreme 
Being by the Ved and by the Vedant theology, saying 
(p. 37, 1. 20), "It is a wonderful interpretation of the 
Vedant to say that God is indescribable, although 
existing, unless indeed he be looked upon as the 
production of magic ; as existing "in one sense, and 
non-existent in another." And "again (1. 14), He, 
therefore, who asserts that the "Supreme Being is 
indescribable and at the same time existing, must 
conceive that He, like the world, is mutable," &c. 
In answer to which I beg to refer the learned 
Brahmun to the nth text of the third Brahmun 
of the 4th chapter of the Brihadarunyuku, the 
principal part of the Ujoor Ved, as commented 
upon by the celebrated Sunkaracharyo : "The Ved 
"having so far described God, by various absolute* 
"and relative epithets,! was convinced of its incapa- 
"bility of giving a real description of the nature of the 
Godhead : language can convey a notion of things 
only either by the appellations by which they are 
"already known, or by describing their figure, accidents, 
"genus, and properties ; but God has none of these 
"physical circumstances : the Ved therefore attempted 
"to explain him in negative terms " (that is, by declar 
ing that whatever thing may be perceived by the 
mental faculties, or the external senses, is not God.) 

* As eternal, true, and intelligent. 

t As creator, preserver, and destroyer. 


"The Ved s ascribing to God attributes of eternity, 
"wisdom, truth, &c., shews that it can explain him only 
"by ascribing those attributes, and applying those 
"epithets that are held by men in the highest estima 
tion, without intending to assert the adequacy of such 
"description. He is the only true existence amidst all 
"dependent existences, and the true source of our 
"senses." Also in the text 3rd of the Cenopanishad : 
"Hence no vision can approach him ; no language can 
"describe him ; no intellectual power can compass or 
"determine him. We know nothing of how the Supreme 
"Being should be explained : He is beyond nature, 
"which is above comprehension : our ancient spiritual 
parents have thus explained Him to us." It cannot, 
however, be inferred, from our acknowledged ignorance 
of the nature and attributes of the Supreme Being, 
;that we are equally ignorant as to His existence. The 
wonderful structure and growth of even so trifling an 
object as a leaf of a tree, affords proof of an almighty 
Superintendent of the universe ; and even the physical 
world affords numerous instances of things whose 
-existence is quite evident to our senses, but of 
whose nature we can form no conception; such as the 
causes of the sensations of heat and vision. 

The learned Brahmun attempts to prove the impossi 
bility of an adoration of the Deity, saying (p. 33, 1. 15): 
" That which cannot be conceived, cannot be wor 
shipped." Should the learned Brahmun consider a 
full conception of the nature, essence, or qualities of 
the Supreme Being, or a physical picture truly repre 
senting the Almighty power, with offerings of flowers, 
leaves, and viands, as essential to adoration, I agree 


with the learned Brahmun with respect to the impossi 
bility of the worship of God. But, should adoration 

imply only the elevation of the mind to the conviction 
of the existence of the Omnipresent Deity, as testified 
by His wise and wonderful works, and continual con 
templation of His power as so displayed, together with a 
constant sense of the gratitude which we naturally owe 
Him, for our existence, sensation, and comfort, I 
never will hesitate to assert, that His adoration is not 
only possible, and practicable, but even incumbent 
upon every rational creature. For further explanation, 
I refer the learned Brahmun to the text 47, sect. 4, 
chap. 3, of the Vedant. 

To his question,* " What are you yourselves ?" I 
suppose I may safely reply for myself, that I am a poor 
dependent creature ; subject, in common with others, 
to momentary changes, and liable to sudden destruction. 

At p. 45, 1. 30, the learned Brahmun, if I rightly 
understand his object, means to insinuate, that I have 
adopted the doctrines of those who deny the responsi 
bility of man as a moral agent. I am quite at a loss 
to conceive from what part of my writings this inference 
has been drawn, as I have not only never entertained 
such opinions myself, but have taken pains to explain 
the passage in the Ved on which this false doctrine is 
founded. In page 93 of the Preface to the Ishopani- 
shad, I have said that, " the Vedant by declaring that 
" God is everywhere, and every thing is in God, means 
" that nothing is absent from God, and that nothing 
41 bears real existence except by the volition of God." 

*P.47, I- 4- 


And again, in the same page I quoted the example of 
the most revered teach&rs of the Vedant doctrine, 
who, "although they declared their faith in the 
Omnipresent God, according to the doctrines of the, 
" Vedant, assigned to every creature the particular 
" character and respect he was entitled to." 

I omitted to notice the strange mode of argument 
which the learned Brhmun ( at p. 29) has adopted in 
defence of idolatry. After acknowledging that the 
least deficiency in judgment renders man incapable of 
looking up to an Omnipresent Supreme Being, where 
by he mistakes a created object for the great Creator, 
he insinuates that an erroneous notion in this respect 
is as likely to lead to eternal happiness, as a knowledge 
of truth. At 1. 5, he says : {> And although a person 
" through deficiency in judgment, should be unable 
" to discover the real nature of a thing, does it follow, 
"that his error will prevent the natural effect from 
" appearing? When a man in a dream sees a tiger, is 
"he not in as much alarm as if he .saw it in reality? " 

This mode of claiming for idol-worship a value 
equal to that of pure religion, which it can never be 
admitted to possess, may have succeeded in retaining, 
some of his followers in the delusive dream, from 
which he is so anxious that they should not be awoke. 
But some of them have, I know, begun to inquire 
into the truth of those notions in which they have been 
instructed; and these are not likely to mistake for true> 
the false analogy that is in the above passage attempted 
to be drawn, nor will they believe that, however powerful 
may be the influence of imagination, even under false 
impressions, future happiness, which depends on God 


alone, can ever be ranked amongst its effects. Such 
enquirers will, I hope, at last become sensible that 
the system of dreaming recommended by the learned 
Brahmun, however essential to the interests of himself 
and of his caste, can bring to them no advantage, 
either substantial or eternal. 

As instances of the erroneous confidence which is 
placed in the repetition of the name of a god to effect 
purification from sins, noticed by me in p. 168, (*) I 
may quote the following passages. 

He who pronounces " Doorga " ( the name of the 
goddess ), though he constantly practise adultery, 
plunder others of their property, or commit the most 
heinous crimes, is freed from all sins.* 

A person pronouncing loudly, " reverence to Huri," 
even involuntarily, in the state of falling down, slipping, 
of labouring under illness, or of sneezing, purifies himself 
from the foulest crimes.! 

He who contemplates the Ganges, while walking, 
sitting, sleeping, thinking of other things, awake, 
eating, breathing, and conversing, is delivered from 

The circumstances alluded to in p. 168 of this 
treatise, relative to the wicked conduct of their 
supposed deities, are perfectly familiar to every in 
dividual Hindoo. But those Europeans who are not 
acquainted with the particulars related of them, may 
perhaps feel a wish to be in possession of them. I, 
therefore, with a view to gratify their curiosity and to 

* Vide Doorga nam Mahatmyu. f Vide Bhaguvat. J Vide 


vindicate my assertion, beg to be allowed to mention 
a few instances in point, with the authorities on which 
they rest. As I have already noticed the debauchery 
of Krishna, and his gross sensuality, and that of his 
fellow-deities, such as Siva and Bruhma, in the 
i47th, i48th, and i5oth page of my reply to 
the observations of Sunkar Sastri, instead of repeating 
them here, I refer my readers to that reply, also to the 
tenth division of the Bhaguvut, to the Hury-Bunsu or 
last division of the Maha-Bharuth, and to the Nigums, 
as well as to the several Agums, which give a detailed 
account of their lewdness and debauchery. As to 
falsehood, their favourite deity Krishna is more cons 
picuous than the rest. Jura-Sundh, a powerful prince 
of Behar, having heard of the melancholy murder of 
his son-in-law perpetrated by Krishna, harassed, and 
at last drove him out of the place of his nativity 
(Muthoora) by frequent military expeditions. Krishna, 
in revenge, resolved to deprive that prince of his life 
by fraud, and in a most unjustifiable manner. To 
accomplish his object, he and his two cousins, Bheema 
and Urjoona, declared themselves to be Brahmuns and 
in that disguise entered his palace ; where, finding him 
weakened by a religious fast, and surrounded only by 
by his family and priests, they challenged him to fight 
a duel. He accordingly fought Bheema, the strongest 
of the three, who conquered and put him to death. 
Vide Subha Purba or second Book of the Maha-Bharuth. 
Krishna again persuaded Yoodhisthir, his cousin, to 
give false evidence in order to accomplish the murder 
of Dron, their spiritual father. Vide Dron Purba^ or 
seventh Book of the Maha-Bharuth. 


Vishnoo and others combined in a conspiracy 
against Buli, a mighty emperor ; but finding his power 
irresistible, that deity was determined to ruin him by 
stratagem, and for that purpose appeared to him in the 
shape of a dwarf, begging alms. Notwithstanding Buli 
was warned of the intention of Vishnoo, yet, impressed 
with a high sense of generosity, he could not refuse a 
boon to a beggar ; that a grateful deity in return not 
only deprived him of his whole empire, which he put 
himself in possession of by virtue of the boon of Buli, 
but also inflicted on him the disgrace of bondage and 
confinement in Fatal. Vide latter part of the Hurry 
Bunsu, or last book of the Maha-Bharuth. 

When the battle of Coorookshetru was decided by 
the fatal destruction of Doorjodhun, the remaining 
part of the army of his rival, Yoodhisthir, returned to 
the camp to rest during the night, under the personal 
care and protection of Mahadeva. That deity having 
however, been cajoled by the flattery offered him by 
Uswathama, one of the friends of the unfortunate 
Doorjodhun, not only allowed him to destroy the whole 
.army that was asleep under the confidence of his pro 
tection, but even assisted him with his sword to accomp 
lish his bloody purpose. Vide Sousuptik Purb, or 
.eleventh book of the Maha-Bharuth. 

When the Usoors, at the churning of the ocean, 
gave the pitcher of the water of immortality in charge 
to Vishnoo, he betrayed his trust by delivering it to 
their step-brothers and enemies, the celestial gods. 
Vide first book, or Adi Purb of the Maha-Bharuth. 

Instances like these might be muliplied beyond 
number : and crimes of a much deeper dye might 


easily be added to the list, were I not unwilling to stain 
these pages by making them the vehicle of such stories 
of immorality and vice. May God speedily purify the 
minds of my countrymen from the corruptness which 
such tales are too apt to produce, and lead their hearts 
to that pure morality^ which is inseparable from [the 
true worship of Him ! 










SOOBRAHMUNYU SHASTREE, a diligent observer of 
Brahmunical tenets, wishing to prove that those 
Brahmuns who do not study the Veds with their 
subordinate sciences, are degraded from the rank of 
Brahmunism, prepared and offered an Essay on that 
subject to the Brahmuns of the province of Bengal, 
who are generally deficient in those studies. In this, 
he has advanced three assertions : which, however, 
have no tendency to establish his position. He alleges 
ist, that, " to a person not acquainted with the Veds, 
" neither temporary heavenly enjoyments, nor eternal 
" beatitude, can be allotted." 2dly, that, " he only 
" who has studied the Veds is authorized to seek the 
" knowledge of God ;" and 3dly, that " men must 
" perform without omission all the rites and duties 
" prescribed in the Veds and Smritis before acquiring 
a thorough knowledge of God. " On these positions 
he attempts to esablish, that the performance of the 
duties and rites prescribed by the Shastrus for each 
class according to their religious order, such as the 
studies of the Veds and the offering of sacrifices, &c., 
is absolutely necessary towards the acquisition of a 
knowledge of God. We consequently take upon 


ourselves to offer in our own defence the following 
remarks, in answer to those assertions. 

We admit that it is proper in men to observe the 
duties and rites prescribed by the Shastru for each 
class according to their religious order, in acquiring 
knowledge respecting God, such observance being 
conducive to that acquisition, an admission which is 
not inconsistent with the authorities of the Veds and 
other Shastrus. But we can by no means admit the 
necessity of observing those duties and rites as indis 
pensable steps towards attaining divine knowledge, 
which the learned Shastree pronounces them to be ; 
for the great Vyas, in his work of the Vedant Durshun, 
or the explanation of the spiritual parts of the Veds, 
justifies the attainment of the knowledge of God, 
even by those who never practise the prescribed duties 
and rites, as appears from the following two passages 
of Vyas in the same Durshun. "Unturachapitoo 
tuddrishteh," " Upichu shmuryute."* The celebrated 
Shunkur-Acharyu thus comments upon those two 
texts : " As to the question, Whether such men as 
" have not the sacred fire, or are afflicted with poverty, 
" who profess no religious order whatsoever, and who 
" do not belong to any caste, are authorized to seek 
" divine knowledge or not ? On a superficial view, it 
" appears, that they are not permitted to make such 
"attainments, as the duties prescribed for each class 
"are declared to lead to divine knowledge, and to 
" those duties they are altogether strangers. Such 
"doubt having arisen, the great Vyas thus decides: 

; i f( *(ft ^ ^4t I" ED. 


* Even a person who professes no religious order, is 
" permitted to acquire a knowledge of God, for it is 
4t found in the Veds that Ruekyu, Bachuknuvee, and 
" others, who, like them, did not belong to any class, 
obtained divine knowledge. It is also mentioned 
" in the sacred tradition, the Sumvurtu and others, 
* living naked and totally independent of the world, 
"who practised no prescribed duties, assumed the 
"rank of the highest devotees." Besides the texts 
of the Ved, such as "Tuyorhu Muetreyee Bruhmu- 
badinee, " &c. and "Atma va ure" c.* show that 
Muetreyee and others, who, being women, had not 
the option of studying the Ved, were, notwithstanding, 
qualified to acquire divine knowledge ; and in the 
Smriti as well as in the Commentary of the celebrated 
Sunkur-Acharyu, Soolubha and other women are styled 
knowers of the Supreme Being. Also Bidoor, Dhurmu 
byadhu, and others of the fourth class, attained the 
knowledge of God without having an opportunity of 
studying the Veds. All this we find in the sacred tradi 
tions : hence those who have a thorough knowledge of 
the Veds and Smriti, can pay no deference to the opinion 
maintained by the learned Shastree, that those only 
who have studied the Veds are qualified to acquire 
the knowledge of God. Moreover, to remove all 
doubt as to Soodrus and others being capable of 
attaining Divine knowledge without the assistance of 
the Veds, the celebrated Commentator, in illustrating 
the text" Sruvunadhyun,"f &c., asserts, that" the 

* "vtifr* ^ TOSTfMt *i* l" "fITOT *T *ft 3TO: l"ED. 
f ^wra3*rmJif^N"RT wjt^ i 

Ved ant, Ch. i, Sec. 3, text 38. ED. 

1 86 AN APOLOGY &C. 

authority of the Smriti, stating that to all the four 
"classes preaching should be offered, &c. shews that 
" to the sacred traditions, and to the Poorans, and 
"also to the Agums, all the four classes have equally 
" access," thus establishing that the sacred traditions, 
Poorans, and Agum without distinction, can impart 
divine knowledge to mankind at large. From the 
decided opinion of Vyas, and from the precedents 
given by the Veds and sacred traditions, and also from 
the conclusive verdict of the most revered Commenta 
tor, those who entertain respect for those authorities, 
will not admit the studies of the Veds and other duties- 
required of each class to be the only means of acquiring 
knowledge of God. Hence the sacred tradition, 
stating that a person, by studying the Geeta alone, had 
acquired final beatitude, stands unshaken ; and also 
the positive declaration of the great Muhadevu with 
regard to the authentic and well-accepted Agum 
Shastrus, as being the means of imparting divine know 
ledge to those who study them, will not be treated 
as inconsequential, If the spiritual parts of the 
Veds can enable men to acquire salvation 
by teaching them the true and eternal existence of 
God, and the false and perishable being of the 
universe, and inducing them to hear and cons 
tantly reflect on those doctrines, it is consistent with 
reason to admit, that the Smriti, and Agum, and other 
works, inculcating the same doctrines, afford means 
of attaining final beatitude. What should we say more ? 

This treatise was rendered into Sanskrit, Hindi and Bengali. 
Vide pages 415 to 431 of the collected edition of the Bengali 
and Sanskrit works of Rajah Ram Mohun Roy. ED. 





1751 S. 



The following Treatise, in the form of questions 
and answers, contains a brief account of the worship 
enjoined in the sacred writings, as due to that Being 
who is pure as well as eternal, and to whose existence 
Nature gives testimony; that the faithful may easily 
understand and become successful in the practice of this 
worship. The proof of each doctrine may be found, 
according to the figures, in the end of the work. 

As this subject is almost always expounded, in the 
sacred writings, by means of qu estions and answers, that 
it may be more easily comprehended, a similar plan is* 
adopted in this place also. 

1 Question. What is meant by worship ? 
Answer. Worship implies the act of one with a 

view to please another j but when applied to the Su 
preme Being, it signifies a contemplation of his attri 

2 Q. To whom is worship due ? 

A. To the AUTHOR and Governor of the universe, 
which is incomprehensibly formed, and filled with an 
endless variety of men and things ; in which, as shown 
by the zodiac, in a manner far more wonderful than 
the machinary of a watch, the sun, the moon, the planets 
and the stars perform their rapid courses ; and which is 
fraught with animate and inanimate matter of various 


kinds, locomotive and immoveable, of which there is 
not one particle but has its functions to perform. 

3 Q. What is he? 

A. We have already mentioned that he is to be 
worshipped, who is the Author and Governor of the 
universe ; yet, neither the sacred writings nor logical 
argument, can define his nature. 

4 Q. Are there no means of defining him ? 

A. It is repeatedly declared in the sacred writings, 
that he cannot be defined either by the intellect or by 
language. This appears from inference also ; for, 
though the universe is visible, still no one can ascertain 
its form or extent. How then can we define the Being 
whom we designate as its Author and Governor? 

5 Q. Is any one, on sufficient grounds, opposed to 
this worship ? 

A. To this worship no one can be opposed on 
sufficient ground; for, as we all worship the Supreme 
Being, adoring him as the Author and Governor of the 
universe, it is impossible for any one to object to such 
worship ; because each person considers the object 
whom he worships as the Author and Governor of the 
universe ; therefore, in accordance with his own faith, 
he must acknowledge that this worship is his own. In 
the same manner, they, who consider Time or Nature, 
or any other Object, as the Governor of the universe, 
even they cannot be opposed to this worship, as bearing 
in mind the Author and Governor of the universe. 
And in China, in Tartary, in Europe, and in all other 
countries, where so many sects exist, all believe the 
object whom they adore to be the Author and Governor 
of the universe ; consequently, they also must acknow- 


ledge, according to their own faith, that this our 
worship is their own. 

6 Q. In some places in the sacred writings it is 
written that the Supreme Being is imperceptible and 
^inexpressible ; and in others, that he is capable of being 
known. How can this be reconciled ? 

A. Where it is written that he is imperceptible 
and undefinable, it is meant, that his likeness cannot 
be conceived ; and where it is said that he is capable 
of being known, his mere existence is referred to, 
that is, that there is a God, as the indescribable 
creation and government of this universe clearly 
demonstrate : in the same manner, as by the action of 
a body, we ascertain the existence of a spirit therein 
called the sentient soul, but the form or likeness of 
that spirit which pervades every limb and guides the 
body, we know not. 

7 Q. Are you hostile to any other worship ? 

A. Certainly not ; for, he who worships, be it 
whomsoever or whatsoever it may, considers that 
object as the Supreme Being, or as an object containing 
him ; consequently, what cause have we to be hostile 
to him ? 

8 Q. If you worship the Supreme Being, and 
other persons offer their adoration to the same Divine 
Being, but in a different form ; what then is the differ 
ence between them and you ? 

A. We differ in two ways ; first, they worship 
under various forms and in particular places, believing 
the object of their worship to be the Supreme Being ; 
but we declare that he, who is the Author of the 
universe, is to be worshipped; besides this, we can 


determine no particular form or place. Secondly, we 
see that they who worship under any one particular 
form, are opposed to those who worship under another ; 
but it is impossible for worshippers of any denomination 
to be opposed to us ; as we have shown in the 
answer to the 5th question. 

9 Q. In what manner is this worship to be 
performed ? 

A. By bearing in mind that the Author and 

Governor of this visible universe is the Supreme Being, 

and comparing this idea with the sacred writings and 

with reason. In this worship it is indispensably 

necessary to use exertions to subdue the senses, and 

to read such passages as direct attention to the Supreme 

Spirit. Exertion to subdue the senses, signifies an 

endeavour to direct the will and the senses, and the 

conduct in such a manner as not only to prevent our 

own or others ill, but to secure our own and others 

good ; in fact, what is considered injurious to ourselves,. 

should be avoided towards others. It is obvious that 

as we are so constituted, that without the help of 

sound we can conceive no idea ; therefore, by means 

of the texts treating of the Supreme Being, we should 

contemplate him. The benefits which we continually 

receive from fire, from air, and from the sun, likewise 

from the various productions of the earth, such as 

the different kinds of grain, drugs, fruits and vegetables,. 

all are dependent on him : and by considering and 

reasoning on the terms expressive of such ideas, the 

meaning itself is firmly fixed in the mind. It is 

repeatedly said in the sacred writings, that theological 

knowledge is dependent upon truth ; consequently, the 


attainment of truth will enable us to worship the 
Supreme Being, who is Truth itself. 

io. Q.~ According to this worship, what rule must 
we establish with regard to the regulation of our food 
conduct, and other worldly matters ? 

A. It is proper to regulate our food and conduct 
agreeably to the sacred writings ; therefore, he who 
follows no prescribed form among all those that are 
promulgated, but regulates his food and conduct 
according to his own will, is called self-willed ; and 
to act according to our own wish, is opposed both by 
the Scriptures and by reason. In the Scriptures it is 
frequently forbidden. Let us examine it by reason. 
Suppose each person should, in non-conformity with 
prescribed form, regulate his conduct according to his 
own desires, a speedy end must ensue to established 
societies ; for to the self-willed, food, whether fit to 
be eaten or not, conduct proper or improper, desires 
lawful or unlawful, all are the same ; he is guided Dy 
ne rule : to him an action, performed according to the 
will, is faultless : but the will of all is not alike ; 
consequently, in the fulfilment of our desires, where 
numerous opinions are mutually opposed, a quarrel 
is the most likely consequence ; and the probable 
result of repeated quarrels is the destruction of human 
beings. In fact, however, it is highly improper to 
spend our whole time in judging of the propriety and 
impropriety of certain foods, without reflecting on 
science or Divine truth ; for be food of whatever kind 
it may, in a very short space of time it undergoes a 
change into what is considered exceedingly impure, and 
this impure matter is, in various places, productive of 



different kinds of grain ; therefore, it is certainly far 
more preferable to adorn the mind than to think of 
purifying the belly. 

u. Q.In the performance of this worship, is any 
particular place, quarter, or time, necessary ? 

A. A suitable place is certainly preferable, but 
it is not absolutely necessary ; that is to say, in what 
ever place, towards whatever quarter, or at whatever 
time the mind is best at rest, that place, that quarter, 
and that time is the most proper for the performance 
of this worship. 

12 Q. To whom is this worship fit to be taught ? 

A. It may be taught to all, but effect being 

produced in each person according to his state of 
mental preparation, it will be proportionably successful. 


i JT*I^ ^nri rrar ^^: m^ ^r n# 
1st ^TrcroT^H ^rr^raf ^farmer i ( 

* The Bengali version of this treatise was named Anoostan 
and on the top of the first page of the same was the word ^-3 for 
which this explanation has been given and the authority cited. 


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f%cf ^ISTT ^rn^TT^fT^TT H^frT I ( 

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For a period of upwards of fifty years, this country 
(Bengal) has been in exclusive possession of the 
English nation ; during the first thirty years of which, 
from their word and deed, it was universally believed 
that they would not interfere w ith the religion of their 
subjects, and that they truly wished every man to act 
in such matters according to the dictates of his own 
conscience. Their possessions in Hindoostan and their 
political strength have, through the grace of God r 
gradually increased. But during the last twenty years, 
a body of English gentlemen who are called mission 
aries, have been publicly endeavouring, in several 
ways, to convert Hindoos and Mussulmans of this 
country into Christianity. The first way is that of 
publishing and distributing among the natives various 
books, large and small, reviling both religions, and 
abusing and ridiculing the gods and saints of the 
former : the second way is that of standing in front 
of the doors of the natives or in the public roads to 
preach the excellency of their own religion and the 
debasedness of that of others : the third way is that 

* This is reprinted from the second edition published in 
Calcutta, August, 1823. The first edition was printed (1821) in 
pages having the Bengali, ^t^tfC^fa, on one side and the 
English, Brahmunical Magazine, on the other, both being the 
same thing in different languages. ED. 


if any natives of low origin become Christians from 
the desire of gain or from any other motives, these 
gentlemen employ and maintain them as a necessary 
encouragement to others to follow their example. 

It is true that the apostles of Jesus Christ used to 
preach the superiority of the Christian religion to the 
natives of different countries. But we must recollect 
that they were not of the rulers of those countries 
where they preached. Were the missionaries likewise 
to preach the Gospel and distribute books in countries 
not conquered by the English, such as Turkey, Persia, 
&c., which are much nearer England, they would be 
esteemed a body of men truly zealous in propagating 
Teligion and in following the example of the founders 
of Christianity. In Bengal, where the English are the 
sole rulers, and where the mere name of Englishman 
is sufficient to frighten people, an encroachment upon 
the rights of her poor timid and humble inhabitants 
and upon their religion, cannot be viewed in the eyes 
of God or the public as a justifiable act. For wise 
and good men always feel disinclined to hurt those that 
are of much less strength than themselves, and if such 
weak creatures be dependent on them and subject to 
their authority, they can never attempt, even in 
thought, to mortify their feelings. 

We have been subjected to such insults for about 
nine centuries, and the cause of such degradation has 
been our excess in civilization and abstinence from 
the slaughter even of animals ; as well as our division 
into castes, which has been the source of want of unity 
.among us. 

It seems almost natural that when one nation 


20 5 . 

succeeds in conquering another, the former, though 
their religion may be quite ridiculous, laugh at and 
despise the religion and manners of those that are 
fallen into their power. For example, Mussul 
mans, upon their conquest of India, proved highly 
inimical to the religious exercises of Hindoos. 
When the generals of Chungezkhan, who denied 
God and were like wild beasts in their manners, 
invaded the western part of Hindoostan, they 
universally mocked at the profession of God and of 
futurity expressed to them by the natives of India. 
The savages of Arracan, on their invasion of the eastern 
part of Bengal, always attempted to degrade the 
religion of Hindoos. In ancient days, the Greeks and 
the Romans, who were gross idolators and immoral in 
their lives, used to laugh at the religion and conduct 
of their Jewish subjects, a sect who were devoted to 
the belief of one God. It is therefore not uncommon 
if the English missionaries, who are of the conquerors 
of this country, revile and mock at the religion of its 
natives. But as the English are celebrated for the 
manifestation of humanity and for administering justice, 
and as a great many gentlemen among them are noticed 
to have had an aversion to violate equity, it would tend 
to destroy their acknowledged character if they follow 
the example of the former savage conquerors in 
disturbing the established religion of the country ; 
because to introduce a religion by means of abuse and 
insult, or by affording the hope of worldly gain, is 
inconsistent with reason and justice. If by the force 
of argument they can prove the truth of their own 
religion and the falsity of that of Hindoos, many would 


of course embrace their doctrines, and in case they 
fail to prove this, they should not^undergo such useless 
trouble, nor tease Hindoos any longer by their attempts 
at conversion. In consideration of the small huts in 
which Brahmuns of learning generally reside, and the 
simple food, such as vegetables &c., which they are 
accustomed to eat, and the poverty which obliges them 
to live upon charity, the missionary gentlemen may not, 
I hope, abstain from controversy from contempt of them, 
for truth and true religion do not always belong to 
-wealth and power, high names, or lofty palaces. 

Now, in the ! Mission-press of Shreerampore a letter 
shewing the unreasonableness of all the Hindoo Shas- 
trus having appeared, I have inserted in the ist and 2nd 
number of this magazine all the questions in the above 
letter as well as their answers, and afterwards the replies 
that may be made by both parties shall in like manner 
.be published. 


In giving the contents of the following pages to the 
world in a new edition, I think it necessary to prefix a 
short explanation of the origin of the controversy, and 
the manner in which it concluded. The BRAHMUNICAL 
MAGAZINE was commenced for the purpose of answering 
the objections against the Hindoo Religion contained 
in a Bengallee Weekly Newspaper, entitled " SUMMACHAR 
" DURPUN," conducted by some of the most eminent 
of the Christian Missionaries, and published at Shree- 
rampore. In that paper of the i4th July, 1821, a letter 
was inserted containing certain doubts regarding the 
Shastrus, to which the writer invited any one to favour 
him with an answer, through the same channel. I 
accordingly sent a reply in the Bengallee language, to 
which, however, the conductors of the work calling for 
it, refused insertion ; and I therefore formed the resolu 
tion of publishing the whole controversy with an English 
translation in a work of my own " the Brahmunical 
Magazine," now re-printed, which contains all that 
was written on both sides. 

In the first number of the MAGAZINE I replied to 
the arguments they adduced against the Shastrus, or 
immediate explanations of the Veds, our original 
Sacred Books ; and in the second I answered the 
objections urged against the Poorans and Tuntrus, 
or Historical Illustrations of the Hindoo Mythology, 
shewing that the doctrines of the former are much 


more rational than the religion which the Missionaries 
profess, and that those of the latter, if unreasonable, 
are not more so than their Christian Faith. To this 
the Missionaries made a reply in their work entitled the 
" FRIEND OF INDIA," No. 38, which was immediately 
answered by me in the 3rd No. of the Magazine ; and 
from the continuation of a regular controversy of this 
kind, I expected that in a very short time, the truth or 
fallacy of one or other of our religious systems would 
be clearly established ; but to my great surprize and 
disappointment, the Christian Missionaries, after having 
provoked the discussion, suddenly abandoned it ; and 
the 3rd No. of my Magazine has remained unanswered 
for nearly two years. During that long period the 
Hindoo community, (to whom the work was particularly 
addressed and therefore printed both in Bengallee and 
English), have made up their minds that the arguments 
of the BRAHMUNICAL MAGAZINE are unanswerable ; 
and I now republish, therefore, only the English 
translation, that the learned among Christians, in Europe 
as well as in Asia, may form their opinion on the 

It is well-known to the whole world, that no people 
on earth are more tolerant than the Hindoos, who believe 
all men to be equally within the reach of Divine bene 
ficence, which embraces the good of every religious 
sect and denomination : therefore it cannot be imagined 
that my object in publishing this Magazine was to 
oppose Christianity ; but I was influenced by the 
conviction that persons who travel to a distant country 
for the purpose of overturning the opinions of its 
inhabitants and introducing their own, ought to be 


prepared to demonstrate that the latter are more 
reasonable than the former. 

In conclusion, I beg to ask every candid and reflect 
ing reader : Whether a man be placed on an imperial 
throne, or sit in the dust whether he be lord of the 
whole known world, or destitute of even a hut the 
commander of millions, or without a single follower 
whether he be intimately acquainted with all human 
learning, or ignorant of letters whether he be ruddy 
and handsome, or dark and deformed yet if while he 
declares that God is not man, he again professes to 
believe in a God-Man or Man-God, under whatever 
sophistry the idea may be sheltered, can such a person 
have a just claim to enjoy respect in the intellectual 
world? and does he not expose himself to censure, 
should he, at the same time, ascribe unreasonableness 
to otheis ? 


Sumachar Dutpun of the i^th July, 1821. 

I beg to inform the learned Public of all countries 
that at present Calcutta is a seat of learning and of 
learned men, and perhaps there is no other place where 
doubts arising from the interpretation of the shastrus 
can be removed so well as in this metropolis. 
I therefore state a few questions methodically, 
It will gratify me, and do essential good to mankind, 
if any one favor me with replies thereto through 
the "Sumachar Durpun" ; for in aswering them there 
will not be much labour and no expense whatever. 

In the first place it appears from the perusal of the 
Vedant Shastra, that God is one, eternal, unlimited by 
past, present, or future time, without form, beyond the 
apprehension of the senses, void of desires, pure 
intellect, without defect and perfect in every respect ; 
and the soul is not different from him nor is there any 
other real existence besides him. 

The visible world is, as it says, created by Maya 
alone ; and that Maya is opposed to a true knowledge 
of God (i.e., after the acquisition of a knowledge of God, 
the effect of Maya, which is the universe, no longer 
continues to appear a real existence, in the same man 
ner as when a piece of rope is mistaken for a snake, the 
misconceived existence of the snake is destroyed by a 
knowledge of the real existence of the rope, or as the 


palace of Gundhurbs (a genus supposed to be inferior 
only to the celestial gods) seen in a dream ceases to 
appear immediately after the expiration of the dream.) 
The world and consciousness are both declared false ;. 
they appear as if they had real existence owing to igno 
rance of the nature of God. An admission of the truth 
of these doctrines either brings reproach upon God, or 
establishes the supremacy and eternity in some degree 
both of God and of Maya. 

2ndly. If the soul be the same as God, nothing can 
justify the belief that the soul is liable to be rewarded 
and punished according to its good or evil works. 

3rdly. From these doctrines the perfection of God 
and his sufficiency cannot be maintained. 

This shastru teaches also that as bubbles arise from 
and again are absorbed in water, in like manner through 
the influence of Maya the world repeatedly proceeds 
from, depends upon, and is absorbed into God. How 
can God be blameless if he is represented as a Being 
influenced by Maya in the creation of the world ? The 
Ved declares, "The birth, continuation, and destruction 
of the world are effected by the Supreme Being." Ac 
cording to this, how can we admit the enjoyment of 
heaven and enduarance of hell by the soul ? 

In the second place, the Nyayu Shastru says, that 
God is one and souls are various ; they both are im 
perishable ; and that space, position, and time as well 
as atoms are eternal ; and it admits that the act of creat 
ing the world attaches to God in a peculiarly united 
relation called Sumubayu, whereby the Deity is called the 
Creator of the world ; and it says also that according to 
the good or evil works of the soul he rewards or punishes 


it, and that his will is immutable. These doctrines in 
fact deny to God the agency of the world ; for according 
to them he appears, like us, to have created the world 
with the aid of materials ; but in reality he is above the 
need of assistance. After admitting the immutability 
of the will of God, how can we be persuaded to believe 
that he creates, preserves and again destroys all things 
at different times and bestows on the soul the conse 
quences of its works at successive times. From these 
doctrines why should we not consider God and the soul 
.as gods,* one of great authority and the other of less 
power, like two men, one possessed of greater energy 
than the other ? These destroy totally the doctrine of 
the unity of God. 

In the third place the Meemansa Shastru says that 
the wonderful consequences of the various sacrificial 
rites consisting of incantations composed of the Sunskrit 
language and of different offerings, are God. In this 
world among mankind there are various languages and 
many shastrus ; and sacrificial articles and language both 
are insensible and in the power of men : they are, 
however the cause of rites. How can we call God the 
consequences of the rites which are produced by men ? 
Moreover, God is said by this shastru to be mere rites, 
and at the same time one ; but we see that rites are 
various : how can then God be proved one acocrding to 
these doctrines ? In a country where rites are performed 
through a language different from Sunskrit, why should 
not that country be supposed without God ? The 
Patunjul Shastru represents yog of six kinds in lieu of 

* In the Bengali version we find C1H? $hU little God. ED. 


rites : therefore it is, according to the above-stated 
arguments, included in the Meemansa Shastru. 

In the fourth instance, the Sankhyu Shastru says that 
nature and the God of nature are operating jointly, like 
the two halves of a grain of vetch ; and on account of 
the supremacy of the latter he is called the invisible 
God. How, according to these doctrines, can God be 
considered one ? Why do we not believe the duality of 

The reamaining part of the letter is to be inserted in 
the 2nd number of this magazine. 

Reply to the above letter^ to which reply the Editor of the 
Sumachar Dutpun denied insertion. 

I observed in the Sumachar Durpun of the I4th 
July, 1821, sent me by a respectable native, an attempt 
of some intelligent though misinformed person to shew 
the unreasonableness of all the Hindoo shastrus and 
thereby to disprove their authority. The missionary 
gentlemen had before been in the habit of making these 
attempts only in discourses with the natives or through 
publications written expressly with that view. But now 
they have begun the same attacks through the medium 
of a newspaper. I have not, however, felt much inclined 
to blame the conduct, because the Editor has requested 
an answer to the writer, to whom I therefore reply as 

You, in the first place, attempt to shew the folly of 

Jhe Vedant, and for that purpose recount its doctrines, 

saying " that it teaches God to be one, eternal, unlimit- 


ted by past present or future time, without form or 
desires, beyond the apprehension of the senses, pure 
intellect, omnipresent, without defect and perfect in 
every respect ; and that there is no other real existence 
except him, nor is the soul different from him ; that 
this visible world is created by his power i.e. Maya, and 
that Maya is opposed to a true knowledge of God. 
(/. e. after the acquisition of a knowledge of God the 
effect of Maya, which is the universe, no longer continues 
to appear as a real existence, in the same manner as 
when a pieces of rope is mistaken for a snake the mis 
conceived existence of the snake is destroyed by 
a knowledge of the real existence of the rope, or as the 
palace of Gundhurbs seen in a dream ceases to appear 
immediately after the expiration of the dream.)" Now, 
you allege these faults in these doctrines, ist. An> 
admission of their truth either brings reproach upon 
God or establishes the supremacy and eternity both of 
God and of Maya. As you have not stated what 
reproach attaches to God from the admission of these 
doctrines, I am unable to answer the first alternative. 
If you kindly particularize it, I may endeavour to make 
a reply. As to the latter alternative respecting the 
supremacy and eternity of Maya, I beg to answer, that 
the followers of the Vedant (in common with Christians 
and Mussulmans who believe God to be eternal) profess 
also the eternity of all his attributes. Maya is the 
creating power of the eternal God, and consequently it 
is declared by the Vedant to be eternal. " Maya has 
" no separate existence ; it is the power of God and is 
" known by its effects as heat is the power of fire and. 
" has no separate existence, yet is known from its 


" effects" (quoted in the Vedant)*. Should it be 
improper to declare, the attributes of God eternal, then 
such impropriety applies universally to all religious 
systems, and the Vedant cannot be alone accused of 
this impropriety. 

In like manner, in the Vedant and in other systems, 
as well as in common experience, the superiority of 
substance over its qualities is acknowledged. The 
Vedant has never stated, in any instance, the supremacy 
both of God and of Maya, that you should charge the 
Vedant with absurdity. 

The second fault which you find, is that if the soul 
be the same as God, nothing can justify the belief that 
the soul is liable to be rewarded and punished accord 
ing to its good and evil works ; for such a belief would 
amount to the blasphemy that God also is liable to 
reward and punishment. 

I reply The world, as the Vedant says, is the effect 
of Maya, and is material; but God is mere spirit, whose 
particular influences being shed upon certain material 
objects are called souls, in the same manner as the 
reflections of the sun are seen on water placed in various 
vessels. As these reflections of the sun seem to be 
moved by the motion of the water of those vessels 
without effecting any motion in the sun, so souls, being, 
as it were, the reflections of the Supreme Spirit on 
matter, seem to be affected by the circumstances that 
influence matter, without God being affected by such 
circumstances. As some reflections are bright from the 
purity of the water on which they are cast, while others 

i ED. 


seem obscure owing to its foulness, so some souls are 
more pure from the purity of the matter with which 
they are connected, while others are dull owing to the 
dullness of matter. 

As the reflections of the sun, though without light 
proper to themselves, appear splendid from their con 
nexion with the illuminating sun, so the soul, though 
not true intellect, seems intellectual, and acts as if it 
were real spirit from its actual relation to the Universal 
Intellect : and as from the particular relations of the 
sun to the water placed in different pots, various reflec 
tions appear resembling the same sun in nature and 
differing from it in qualities ; and again as these cease to 
to appear on the removal of the water, so through the 
peculiar relation of various material objects to one 
Supreme Spirit, numerous souls appear and seem as 
performing good and evil works, and also receiving 
their consequences ; and as soon as that relation ceases, 
they, at that very minute cease to appear distinctly from 
their original. Hence God is one, and the soul, 
although it is not in fact of a different origin from God, 
is yet liable to exprience the consequences of good and 
evil works ; but this liability of the soul to reward or 
punishment cannot render God liable to either. 

The third fault alleged by you, is, that from the 
doctrines alluded to, the perfection of God and his 
sufficiency cannot be maintained. This is your position, 
but you have advanced no arguments to prove it. If 
you afterwards do, I ma y consider the force of them. 
If you, however, mean by the position that if souls be 
considered as parts of God, as declared by the Vedant, 
and proceeding from the Supreme Spirit, God must be 


insufficient and imperfect ; I will in this case refer you 
to the above answer, that is, although the reflections 
of the sun owe to him their existence and depend upon 
and return to the same sun, yet this circumstance does 
not tend to prove the insufficiency or imperfection of 
the sun. 

Moreover, you say the Vedant teaches that as 
bubbles arise from and again are absorbed in water, 
in like manner through the influence of Maya the world 
repeatedly proceeds from, depends upon, and is 
absorbed into God ; and hence you infer that, accord 
ing to this doctrine, the reproach of God s being under 
the influence of Maya attaches to the Deity. I reply, 
that the resemblance of the bubbles with th* world is 
maintained by the Vedant only in two respects : ist. 
as the bubbles receive from water through the influence 
of the wind, their birth and existence, so the world 
takes by the power of God, its original existence from 
the Supreme Being and depends upon him ; and 2ndly y 
that there is no reality in the existence either of bubbles 
or of the world. When we say such a one is like a 
lion, we mean resemblance only in respect of courage 
and strength and not in every respect, as in point of 
shape, size &c. In like manner the resemblance of 
the world to bubbles, in this instance, lies in point of 
dependence and unreali ty. Were the similarity acknow 
ledged in every respect we must admit God to be an 
insensitive existence like a portion of water and the 
world as a bubble to be a small part of God moving 
sometimes on the surface of the Deity and again uniting 
with him. Those who look only after faults, may think 
themselves justified in alleging that in consequence of 


the comparison of the world to bubbles of water and 
of Maya to the wind, as fonnd in the Vedant, God is 
supposed to be influenced by Maya. 

Maya is the power of God through which the world 
receives its birth, existence and changes ; but no men 
of learning who are not biassed by partiality, would 
infer from these opinions an idea of the inferiority of 
God to Maya, his attribute. For as men of every tribe 
and of every country whatsoever acknowledge God to 
be the Cause of the world, they necessarily consider 
him possessed of the power through which he creates 
the world. But no one is from this concluded to 
believe that God is subordinate to that power. God 
pardons the sins of those that sincerely repent, through 
his attribute of mercy : this cannot be taken as an 
admission of the Deity s subjection to his own mercy. 
The followers of the Vedant say, that Maya is opposed 
to knowledge, for when a true knowledge of God is 
obtained, the effect of Maya, which makes the soul 
appear distinct from God, does immediately cease. 

The term Maya implies, primarily, the power of 
creation, and secondarily, its effect, which is the 
Universe. The Vedant, by comparing the world with 
the misconceived notion of a snake, when a rope really 
exists, means that the world, like the supposed snake, 
has no independent existence, that it receives its 
existence from the Supreme Being. In like manner 
the Vedant compares the world with a dream : as all 
the objects seen in a dream depend upon the motion 
of the mind, so the existence of the world is dependent 
upon the being of God, who is the only object of 
supreme love ; and in declaring that God is all in all 


and that there is no other substance except God, the 
Vedant means that existence in reality belongs to God 
alone. He is consequently true and omnipresent : 
nothing else can bear the name of true existence. We 
find the phrases, God is all and in all, in the Christian 
books ; and I suppose they do not mean by such words 
that pots, mats &e. are gods. I am inclined to believe 
that by these terms they mean the omnipresence of 
God. Why do you attempt, by cavils, to find fault with 
the Vedant ? 

All the objects are divided into matter and spirit. 
The world, as the Vedant says, is but matter, the effect 
of Maya, and God is spirit. Hence, as every material 
object takes its origin from the universal matter under 
the superintendence of the Supreme Spirit, and again 
returns to its origin ; so all individual perceiving exis 
tences, called souls, like reflections of the sun, appear 
differently from each other depending upon the universal 
perception and again returning to it. We see the flame 
of one candle appearing differently from that of another, 
but as soon as its connexion with the candle is over, 
each is absorbed into the universal heat. In like 
manner, the individual spirits return to the universal 
Supreme Spirit, as soon as its connexion with matter 
is destroyed. 

Whether is it more reasonable to say that the intel 
lectual soul has its origin from the universal pure Spirit, 
or that the soul is made of nothing or of insensible, 
matter ? If you say God is omnipotent, he can there 
fore produce the soul from nothing, you would be involved 
in difficulties ; one of which is that as God is not a per 
ceptible object, we can establish his existence only from 


reason and experience : were we to set aside reason -and 
experience in order to admit that the soul or any other 
object is made from nothing, there would remain no 
means to prove the existence of God, much less of his 
omnipotence. It would strengthen atheistical tenets and 
destroy all religion, to defy inference from experience. 

You find fault with the Nyayu Shastru, that it- 
declares, that God is one, and souls are various, but 
both imperishable; that space, position and time, as 
well as atoms are eternal; and that the power of 
creation resides in God in a peculiarly united relation. 
It says also that God allots to the soul the consequences 
of its good and evil works ; and that he is possessed of 
immutable will. Hence you maintain that according to 
hese doctrines, God cannot be supposed to be the true 
Cause of the world ; because be, like us, creates things 
with the aid of materials, such as matter &c. I reply 
Every professor of any theistical system, such as the 
followers of the Nyayu doctrines, and those of Christia 
nity, believe that God is not perishable, and that the 
soul has no end. The soul, during an endless period, 
either enjoys the beautitude procured by the acquisition 
of a knowledge of God, or receives the consequences 
of works. In like manner, they both believe that it is 
God that bestows on the soul the consequences of its 
good and evil actions ; and that the will of God is 
immutable. If any fault be found with these doctrines, 
then the system of the Nyayu and of Christianity both 
must be equally subject to them ; for both systems 
maintain these doctrines. 

Besides, different objects, as the Nyayu says, are of 
course produced at different times, a circumstance 


which cannot disprove the eternity of the will of God, 
who is beyond the limits of time ; but all other objects 
are effected at certain times u as appointed by the eternal 
will of God. 

The relation which subsists between a substance 
and its quality or action, is called "Sumubayu" and by 
that relation the act of creating the world resides in 
the Creator, a fact which is acknowledged by almost all 
theists. No being can be called an agent, unless an 
action be found in him. 

No one can ever conceive any object, whether God or 
not-God, divested of space and time. If you there 
fore set aside the idea of space and time, you will not 
be able to prove anything whatever. Both the 
followers of the Nyayu and of the Christian religion 
believe God to be eternal, that is, he exists from eternity 
to eternity; and the very term eternity, implying 
duration without beginning or end, makes it coeval with 
God. But if we mean by the eternal existence of God, 
that he had no beginning in point of time nor will he 
have an end this definition is not only applicable to 
God and to time, but also points out even that the 
notion of the eternity of God depends on the notion 
of time. 

It is obvious that the material cause of the world is 
its most minute particles, whose destruction is evidently 
impossible : these are called "unoos" or atoms. The 
immaterial God cannot be supposed the material cause 
of those particles, nor can Nothing be supposed to be 
the cause of them : therefore these particles must be 
eternal, and are only brought into different forms, at 
different times and places, by the will of God. We see 


all that originate in volition or voluntary causes, produc 
ing effects by means of materials ; and as God is 
acknowledged by all parties to be the voluntary cause 
of the world, he therefore is believed to have created 
the world by means of matter, space, and time. The 
objection which you make to this system, is, that 
according to this doctrine the Creator of the world and 
the individual soul, which is also a partial creator, 
should be considered gods ; the only difference would 
be that the former is greater than the latter. I reply 
Such objection is not applicable to this system ; because 
God is an independent agent, and the Creator of the 
whole world ; but the soul is an inferior agent depend 
ent in all its acts on the will of God. No partial 
resemblance can establish the equality of any being 
with God ; for Christians and Hindoos ascribe to God 
and to the soul, will and mercy ; but neither of them 
supposes that therefore both are Gods, but that one is 
superior and the other inferior. 

You object to the Meemansa, saying that it declares 
God to be the wonderful consequences occasioned by 
the performance of various sacrificial rites consisting of 
various articles, and of incantations composed of Suns- 
krit words ; but that among mankind there are various 
languages and shastrus, and both language and sacri 
ficial articles are but insensible and under the power of 
man. How can God be the consequences of rites, the 
product of language and sacrificial articles, both of 
which are in the power of human beings ? And you 
again say, that according to the Meemansa doctrines, 
God is one and that he is mere rites ; but rites are vari 
ous. How can the unity of God, according to these senti- 


ments, be maintained ? Especially in those countries 
where rites are not performed in the Sanskrit language, 
God cannot exist. I reply, in the first place, the two 
objections offered by you are inconsistent with each 
other; for first you say that God is said by the Mee 
mansa to be the consequences of rites, and again you say 
that he is declared to be rites themselves. However, 
the followers of the Meemansa are of two classee : one 
do not carry their view further than the performance of 
rites, and they are reckoned among atheists ; another 
sect profess the existence of God, but they say that the 
reward or punishment which we experience is the conse 1 - 
quence of our works, to which God is quite neutral ; 
and they maintain that to say that God, by inducing 
some men to pray to him or to act virtuously, rewards 
them, and at the same time neglects otheis and then 
punishes them for not having made their supplications 
to him, (though both are equally his children) amounts 
to an imputation against God of unjust partiality. 
Hence it is evident, that acording to the doctrines of 
this sect, the unity of God is well maintained. 

In attempting to expose the Patunjul Dhurshun you 
say that it recomends to man, in lieu of rites, to perform, 
yog (or the regulating of breath in a particular mode 
which is calculated to divert the human mind from all 
wordly objects :) therefore the objections applicable to 
the Meemansa are applicable to the Patunjul also. 

I reply It is declared in the Patunjul that through 
means of yog man may surmount all the distress and 
grievances of the world whereby he may enjoy beati 
tude, and that God is pure and beyond the apprehension 
of the senses and is the Superintendent of the universe. 


I am therefore at a loss to know upon what ground 
you have placed the Patunjul on a level with the 

You find fault with the doctrines of the Sankhyu 
that it represents the Ruler of nature and nature as the 
two halves of a grain of vetch, but on account of the 
supremacy of the former he is called the invisible God. 
Hence you infer the duality of the Deity. I reply that 
the invisible but pervading nature is said by the 
Sankhyu to be, under the influence of the Supreme 
Spirit, the cause of the existence and continuation of 
the universe. Nature is therefore declared by the 
Sankhyu to be subordinate to, and dependent on the 
perceiving Spirit, and consequently the Spirit is the 
Supreme God. 

The commentators, in their interpretation of the 
Ved, though they differ from each other on subordinate 
subjects, yet all agree in ascribing to him neither form 
no? flesh, neither birth nor death. 

The remaining part of the answer is to be inserted in 
the 2nd number of the Magazine, 




Translation of an extract from a letter (shewing the 
unreasonableness of the Hindoo Shastras,) which 
appeared in the Sumachar Durpun^ a weekly news 
paper printed at the Mission Press, Shreerampore^ 
of date July 14, 1821. 

FIFTHLY.* In the Poorans and Tuntrus the worship 
of God as possessing various names, forms and localities 
is ordered for the benefit of mankind and the choosing of 
a spiritual teacher and submitting implicitly to his instruc 
tions, are also strictly enjoined ; and they also enjoin the 
belief that such visible gods although having, like us, 
women and children, although subject to the senses and 
discharging all bodily functions are omnipresent. This 
is very wonderful. In the first place, from this it 
follows that there are many gods, and that they are 
subject to the senses. Secondly, the omnipresence 
of a being possessed of name and form is incredible. 
If you say his organs are not like ours, we acknowledge 
it. But if he is not possessed of organs composed of 
the material elements like us, then we must consider 
him as possesed of organs composed of immaterial 
elements ; but material existences can never know 
immaterial objects, why then should I acknow 
ledge him to be possessed of names and forms ? 
Continued from page 174 Ed. 


Thirdly, that the Shastru says that God is possessed 
of name and form but that mankind cannot see him 
with their natural eyes. On this ground, how can I ac 
knowledge his forms and names ? Fourthly, in that 
shastru there is an account of the regard due to the 
words of a spiritual teacher. If any one is unacquaint 
ed with a particular subject how can his instructions 
on that subject be of any advantage ? There would be 
some more reason, if any one desirous of knowing 
the way of God from another should first ascertain 
his qualifications and then put confidence in him. 
Any mode of receiving religious instruction besides 
this, although it may be agreeable to the popular 
practice, will be productive of no advantage. 

SIXTHLY. According to the doctrine of the 
Hindoo Shastrus, mankind are repeatedly born and 
repeatedly die, assuming through the*influence of their 
works animate or inanimate bodies. According to one 
sect there is the eternal enjoyment of heaven or en 
durance of hell after death, and according to another 
.sect there is no future state ; and al 1 the inhabitants 
of this world, except the inhabitants of Hindoostan, 
receive no consequence of their works and are not 
subject to works. Which of these is true ? and what 
way is it possible that they can all alike be consistent 
with the shastrus ? 

A learned person has sent from a distant place 
a letter containing these few questions. His wish is 
to obtain an answer to each question and it has ac 
cordingly been printed : Whoever writes a proper 
.answer may have it printed and everywhere distributed 
by sending it to the Shreerampore printing office. 


Translation of an extract from a reply in defence oj the 
Hindoo Shastrus which ivas sent to the Editor of the 
Sumachar Durpun, but ivas not inserted in that 

FIFTHLY. You find fault with the Poorans and 
Tuntras that they have established that the duty of wor 
shipping God, for the benefit of mankind, as possessing 
various forms, names and localities ; because they 
order to have a spiritual teacher, and to repose implicit 
confidence in his words : because they acknowledge 
the omnipresence of a Being whom yet they allow to 
be possessed of form, wife, and children, subject to 
the senses, and discharging all bodily functions ; and 
because according to this, in the first place, it appears 
that there are many gods and that they enjoy the things 
of this world : that secondly, the omnipresence of a 
being possessed of name and form is incredible : and 
that thirdly, those Shastrus affirm that God is possessed 
of name and form ; but mortals cannot perceive him 
by their bodily eyes how on this ground can we ac 
knowledge his name and form ? 

I answer. The Poorans &c. agreeable to the 
Vedant represent God in every way as incomprehensible 
and without form. There is, moreover, this in the 
Poorans, that lest persons of feeble intellect unable to 
comprehend God as not subject to the senses and 
without form, should either pass their life without any 


religious duties whatsoever or should engage in evil 
work to prevent this they have represented God in the 
form of a man and other animals and as possessed of 
all those desires with which we are conversant whereby 
they may have some regard to the Divine Being. After 
wards by diligent endeavours they become qualified 
for the true knowledge of God : but over and over 
again the Poorans have carefully affirmed, that they 
have given this account of the forms of God with a 
view to the benefit of persons of weak minds, and 
that in truth, God is without name, form, organs, and 
sensual enjoyment. " Weak and ignorant persons, unable 
to know the supreme and indivisible God, think of him 
" as possessed of certain limitations." (Sentence quoted 
in the commentary upon the Mandookyu Oopunishud.) 
4t For the assistance of the worshippers of the Supreme 
Being, who is pure intellect, one, without divisibility or 
" body, a fictitious representation is given of his form" 
(a sentence of Jumudugnee quoted by the Smarttu.) 
"According to the nature of his qualities, his various 
forms have been fictitiously given for the benefit of 
those worshippers who are of slow understanding." 
(Muhanirvan Tuntru.) 

But it is particularly to be noticed, that there is no 
end of the Tuntrus. In the same manner the Muha- 
poorans, Poorans, Oopupoorans, Ramayuna &c., are 
very numerous : on this account an excellent rule from 
the first has been this, that those Poorans and Tuntrus 
which have commentaries, and those parts which have 
been quoted by the acknowledged expounders, are 
received for evidence ; otherwise a sentence quoted on 
the mere authority of the Poorans and Tuntrus is not 


considered evidence. Those numerous Poorans and 
Tuntrus which have no commentary and are not quoted 
by any established expounder may probably be of 
recent composition. Some Poorans and Tuntrus are 
received in one province, the natives of other provinces 
consider them spurious ; or rather, what some people in 
a province acknowledge, others considering it to be only 
recent, do not receive ; therefore those Poorans and 
Tuntrus only which have been commented upon or 
quoted by respectable authors are to be regarded. A 
commonly received rule for ascertaining the authority of 
any book is this, that whatever book opposes the Ved, 
is destitute of authority. " All Smrities which are 
" contrary to the Ved, and all atheistical works, are not 
" conducive to future happiness : they dwell in darkness." 
MUNOO. But the missionary gentlemen seldom 
translate into English the Oopunishuds, the ancient 
Smrities, the Tuntrus quoted by respectable authors 
and which have been always regarded. But having 
translated those works which are opposed to the Veds, 
which are not quoted by any respectable author, and 
which have never been regarded as authority, they 
always represent the Hindoo Religion as very base. 

With a view to prove the errors of the Poorans and 
Tuntrus, you say, that the Poorans represent God as 
possessed of various names and forms, as possessed of 
a wife and children, and as subject to the senses, and to 
the discharge of bodily functions ; from which it 
follows that there are many gods, that they are subject 
to sensual pleasure, and the omnipresence of God 
cannot be maintained. I therefore humbly ask the 
missionary gentlemen, whether or not they call Jesus 


Christ, who is possessed of the human form and also 
the Holy Ghost who is possessed of the dove shape, 
the very God ? (i).* And whether they do not consider 
that Jesus Christ, the very God, received impressions 
by the external organs, eyes &c. and operated by means 
of the active organs, hands &c. And whether or not 
they consider him as subject to all the human passions ? 
Was he angry or not ? (2) Was his mind afflicted or 
not? (3) Did he experience any suffering or pain? 
(4) And did he not eat and drink ? (5) Did he not 
live a long time with his own mother, brothers 
and relations? (6) Was he not born, (7) and did 
he not die ? (8) And did not the Holy Ghost, who 
is the very God, in the form of a dove remove from 
one place to another ? (9) And did he not beget Jesus 
Christ by his intercourse with a woman ? (10) If they 
acknowledge all this, then they cannot find fault with 

* In an * Abstract (see our note on page 162) from this 
number of the Brahmunical Magazine published in 1827 the 
following notes (i to 10) were added. Ed. 

1 "And the Holy-Ghost descended in a bodily shape like-a^ 
dove upon him ; " Luke Chap. III. v. 22. 

2 " And, when he had looked round about on them with 
anger," Mark Chap. III. v. 5. 

3 " And being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly : and his 
sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the 
ground." Luke Chap. XXII. v. 44. 

4 "Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, My God, My God, 
why hast faov forsaken me: Matthew Chap. XXVII. v. 46. 

5 " The Son of man is come eating and drinking ;" Luke Chap. 

VII. v. 34- 

6 " And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, anc 

was subject unto them :" Luke Chap. II. v. 51. 


the Poorans, alleging that in them the names and the 
forms of God are established, and that according to 
them God must be considered as subject to the senses, 
and as possessing senses and organs, and that God 
must be considered as having a wife and child, and as 
not possessed of omnipresence on accent of his having 
a form. Because all these errors viz. the plurality of gods, 
their sensual indulgence and their locality are applicable 
to themselves in a complete degree. To say that 
everything, however contrary to the laws of nature, is 
possible with God, will equally afford a pretence to 
missionaries and Hindoos in support of their respective 
incarnations. The aged Vyas has spoken truth in the 
Muhabharut : "O king ! a person sees the faults of 
another although they are like the grains of mustard 
seed, but although his own faults are big as the Bel fruit 
looking at them he cannot perceive them." Moreover 
the Poorans say that the names, forms and sensual 
indulgence of God which we have mentioned, are 
fictitious ; and we have so spoken with a view to engage 

7 * When Jesus was born in Bethlehem &c. " Matthew Chap. 
II. v. i. 

8 "And they shall scourge him and put him to death" Luke 
Chap. XVIII. v. 33. 

9 Luke, Chap. III. v. 22. 

10 " The Holy-Ghost shall come upon thee &c." Luke Chap. 
I. v. 35. "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise : 
When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they 
came together, she was found with child of the Holy-Ghost" 
Matthew Chap. I. v. 18. 


the minds of persons of weak understanding ; but the 
missionary gentlemen say that the account which is 
given in the Bible of the names, forms and sensual 
indulgence of God is real. Therefore the plurality of 
gods, their locality and subjection to sensual indulgence, 
.are faults to be found in a real sense, only in the 
system of the missionary gentlemen. 

Secondly, the Hindoo Poorans and Tuntrus, in 
which the fictitious account is given, are subordinate 
to the Ved, but are not the very Ved itself : when they 
disagree with the Ved their authority is not regarded. 
" When the Ved and the Poorans disagree, the Ved 
" must be regarded ; pious men will always explain 
the Poorans &c., in agreement with what the Ved 
declares." (Quotation by the Smarttu.) But the 
missionary gentlemen consider the Bible as their Ved, 
and in explaining it, have, in this manner, dishonoured 
Ood in a real sense. A real error, therefore, and an 
excess of error is discovered in their own system. 

You have moreover asked, what advantage can be 
derived from the instructions of a spiritual teacher, 
who is himself ignorant of what he professes to teach ? 
What advantage is there in adopting a spiritual teacher 
according to the popular practice in this country ? I 
reply, this objection is not at all applicable to the 
Hindoo Shastru, because the Shastru enjoins that such 
a spiritual teacher must be chosen as is acquainted with 
what he teaches, but in choosing any other sort of 
spiritual teacher no spiritual benefit is obtained for 
the purpose of divine knowledge. " He, taking in 
his hand the sacrificial wood, must approach to a 
spiritual teacher who is well read in the Veds and 


devoted to the faith of Brahmun." (Moonduk Ved.) 
" There are many spiritual teachers who take the wealth 
of their disciples ; but a spiritual teacher who removes 
the errors of his disciples, O ! goddess, is difficult to 
be obtained " (Tuntru.) The definition of a spiritual 
teacher " He is subdued in the members of his body 
and affections of his mind, of honourable birth &c." 
(Quotation by Krishnanund). 

You say at the end, that according to one Hindoa 
Shastru, by means of works the body repeatedly becomes 
animate or inanimate; that, according to another sect, 
after leaving the body there is either the eternal enjoy 
ment of heaven or the eternal endurance of hell ; and 
that according to another sect there is no future state. 
I answer, It is not contained in any part of the Hindoo- 
Shastru that there is no future state : this is an atheisti 
cal tenet. But it is true that the Shastru says, that even 
in this world, the consequences both of some good and 
some evil works are experienced, or God after death 
inflicts the consequences of the sins and holiness of 
some in hell and heaven, or the Supreme Ruler bestows 
the consequences of the sins and holiness of others, 
by giving them other bodies either animate or inanimate. 
In this, what mutual disagreement appears such as you 
have attempted to establish ? According to the Christian 
doctrine, likewise, there are various kinds of consequences 
attached to different actions ; God even in this world 
gives the punishment of sins and rewards for holiness, 
as in the case of the Jews. It is written in the Bible, 
that even in this world God punished their sins and 
rewarded their holiness ; moreover Jesus Christ himself 
has said, that by giving alms openly, fruit will be obtained 

NUMBER II. 235. 

only in this world ;* and it is also written in the 
Bible that some have enjoyed good and suffered evil- 
after death. By saying so, no inconsistency appears in 
the Bible ; because God is the rewarder, and he gives 
some the consequences of their deeds in this world, 
others in the next. Christians all allow, that after the 
destruction of the body, God, at the time of judgment,, 
gives a body to the spirit, and bestows on this corporeal 
spirit the consequences of its good and evil works. 
If they believe that, contrary to the laws of Nature, 
God can give a body to the spirit and make it receive 
the consequences of its works, then why should 
they express surprise, if, in consistency with these laws, 
God shall, by having given a body, bestow on the spirit 
in this world the consequences of its works ? You have 
said that all the inhabitants of the world except those of 
Hindoostan receive no consequences of their works. 
Such a sentiments is not contained in any part of their 
Shastru. But you also say that all the other inhabitants 
of the world have no works ; the meaning of which is 
that they have no rites prescribed by the Ved ; which is 
indeed correct : therefore the Shastru is in every respect 
perfectly consistent. You will consider the same here 
of the Durshuns ; that is all the Durshuns call God 
incomprehensible ; and above all, in considering the 
nature of other objects, those who variously understood 
the meaning of the Ved expressed themselves differently. 
In the same manner although the commentators on the 
Bible in some parts disagree, this is no fault of the 
Bible and no diminution of the reputation of the com 

* Matthew, chap. VI. v. 2. (Note in the third edition. ED.) 


I have now written what I intended respecting the 
errors which, contrary to reason, you have stated to be 
in the Hindoo Shastru. The revernd missionaries are 
in Calcutta, Shreerampore and various other places. 
What is afterwards written, is intended to ascertain 
how far their doctrines are agreeable to reason. 

They call Jesus Christ the Son of God and the very 
God : How can the son be the very Father ? 

They sometimes call Jesus Christ the Son of man, 
and yet say no man was his Father. 

They say that God is one, and yet say that the 
Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Ghost is 

They say that God must be worshipped in spirit and 
yet they worship Jesus Christ as very God, although he 
is possessed of a material body. 

They say that the Son is of the same essence and 
existence at the Father, and they also say that the Son 
is equal to the Father. But how can equality subsist 
except between objects possessed of different essences 
and existences ? 

I shall be much obliged by answers to these 





In the Friend of India No. 38 a reply has been 
made in English to the 2nd number of the Brahmunical 
Magazine composed both in English and Bengali and 
published a few weeks ago. As the controversy in 
question is intended by both parties chiefly for the 
benefit of the Hindoo community and secondarily for 
the use of Europeans, I feel much disappointed in my 
expectation of being favoured by the editor or his 
colleagues with a reply .in English and Bengali to insert 
in the next number of my Magazine. I however must 
receive it as it is, and beg to be allowed to make a few 
remarks on the reply. 

As to my first question proposed in the Magazine 
in the following words, " They call Jesus Christ the 
son of God and the very God how can the son be 
the very father ?," the Editor denies the accuracy of 

* The first three numbers of the Brahmunical Magazine were 
published in 1821, and the fourth in 1823, each being a separate 
tract. In the second edition of the first three numbers they were 
put together as we have reprinted them here. (See our note 
page 169). In the year 1827 another edition of the Magazine was 
published, the 2nd and 4th numbers being published with some 
portion of the original left out and some portions revised, under 
the title of Extracts from the Brahmunical Magazine &c., and the 
3rd number in full. In this (third) edition of the 3rd Number 
we find the following introduction by Chundra Shekhur Dev. 


the information on which I found this question, and 
firmly asserts that " the Bible nowhere says that the son 
is the father." I therefore deem it necessary to shew 
my reason for the above query, leaving it to the public 
to pronounce on the justifiableness of it, either in their 
conversation or religious publications. Christian teachers 
profess that God is one, and that Jesus Chaist is the son 
of God. Hence I naturally concluded that they believe 
the son to be the father, and consequently questioned 
the reasonableness of such a doctrine. For when a 
person affirms that such a one, say James, is one, and 
-that John is in his son, and again says that John is 
.actually James, we should naturally conclude that he 


In the following pages will be found^a new edition of the third 
aiumber of the Brahmunical Magagine, as a reply to an article 
published in "the Friend of India" No. 38, a well-known 
missionary periodical issued from Shreerampore in Bengal. To 
my great surprise the above number has still (for about 5 years) 
.remained unanswered, notwithstanding the subject has often been 
brought to the notice of the missionary gentlemen during that 
period through means of the public papers, although the missionaries 
^themselves were the aggressors, having first provoked the 

I, in this instance, content myself with a single quotation from 
rthe Editor of the Brahmunical Magazine, shewing the line of 
conduct which the gentlemen ought to have pursued ; I was in 
fluenced by the conviction, that persons, who travel to a distant 
country for the purpose of overturning the opinions of its in 
habitants and introducing their own peculiar sentiments, ought 
to be prepared to demonstrate that the latter are more reasonable 

than the former. 


C-alcntta, 1827. 


means that John the son is James the father, and be 
at liberty to ask how can John the son be James the 
father ? But as the Editor, a leading minister of that 
religion, declares that " the Bible nowhere says that 
the son is the father, but says that the son is equal to 
the father, in nature and essence" and " distinct in 
person" &c. and recommends me to reflect on mankind, 
of whom" every son, who has not the same human 
nature with his father, must be a monster." It would 
be too much boldness on my part to give preference 
to my apprehension of the meaning of the Bible over 
that of the Editor. I would therefore have admitted 
{as suggested by the Editor) that the son of God is 
God, on the analogy and ii\ the sense that the son of 
a man is a man, had I not been compelled by his 
very suggestion to reject entirely his other still more 
important assertion, that is, the coeval existence of the 
son with the father. For, the belief of the nature of the 
son of man being the same as that of the father, though 
it justifies the idea of the son of God being God, is 
utterly repugnant to the possibility of the son being 
coeval with his father. It is evident that if a son of 
man be supposed coeval with his father, he must be 
considered something more extraordinry than a 
monster ! 

It is believed by all religious sects, that when God 
reveals his will or law to the human race, he reveals 
it through their language in its common acceptation. 
I beg, therefore, of the Editor, to favour me with a 
direct reply to the following question. Do the 
missionary gentlemen take the word " God" as a 
proper name or as a common one, all nouns being 


divided into two kinds, common and proper ? In the 
former case, that is, if they consider the term " God" 
appropriated to one individual existence as every other 
proper name is, they must relinquish the idea of the son 
of God being the very God. How can we think the 
son of John or James to be John or James, or coeval 
with John or James ? And in the latter case, that is, 
if they receive the term" God" as common name, they 
may maintain the opinion that the son of God is good in 
the same way as the son of a man is man, which, as the 
Editor says, " must necessarily be the case," but they, 
in this case, cannot be justified in professing a belief 
in the equal duration of the son with the father ; for 
every son> whatever may be his nature^ must have 
existence originating subsequently to that of his own 
father. The only difference between these two common 
nouns " God" and " man " would be, that the latter 
includes a great many individuals under it and the 
former only three distinct persons, though of superior 
power and nature. But no smallness of the number 
or mightiness of power of persons under one common 
name, can exclude it from being classed as a general 
noun ; for it is well established by the observers of 
nature that the number of individuals comprised under 
the term " mankind" is much less, and their nature is 
far more mighty, than the living embryos in the milt 
of a single cod-fish a circumstance which does not 
make man less a genus than the term fish. 

We see individuals under one term of mankind,though 
they are distinct in person, yet one in nature, as being 
all men. In like manner three beings under one god 
head, acording to the Editor, though they are distinct in 


person are yet, I infer, considered by him one in nature 
as gods, god the Father, god the Son, and god the 
Holy Ghost. Is this the unity of God which the Editor 
professes? Can this doctrine justify him in ridiculing 
Hindoo polytheism, because many of them say, that 
under one Godhead there are more than three beings 
distinct in person but one in nature ? 

As to my third question " They say God is one, and 
yet say that the Father is God, the Son is God and the 
Holy Ghost is God ", the Editor admits the fact, as he 
says, that " the Bible ascribes the same divine nature 
and perfections to the Father, the Son and the Holy 
Spirit, and yet declares that though distinct in person 
they are one in nature and attributes," that " it (the- 
Bible) teaches men to worship each of them as God, * 
and that " the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are des 
cribed in Scripture as equally giving grace and peace to 
men, as pardoning sin and leading men into the paths of 
righteousness. "But instead of shewing the reason 
ableness of the idea of three distinct gods being one 
God, as requested, he confesses the total inconsistency of 
this doctrine with reason and makes the Bible respon 
sible for it, saying, " But the Bible, while it fully reveals 
these facts, still forbears to inform us how the Father, 
the Son and the Holy spirit exist and form the triune 
God "; and adds, " nor had it informed us, are we cer 
tain that we should have comprehended it." The 
Editor or his colleagues ought to have taken into con 
sideration such unreasonableness attaching to the most 
important of all their doctrines before they had pub 
lished in the " Sumacher-Durpun " the letter accusing 
the Vedant and the rest of the Hindoo Shastrus of want 


of reason a circumstance which might have saved the 
Editor the reluctant avowal of the unreasonableness of 
the foundation of his own system of faith. The Editor, 
however, attempts to procure belief for this doctrine so 
palpably contrary to reason and experience, under the 
plea that " there are many things which pass around and 
within us, of the manner of which we can form no just 
idea, though no one doubts their truth. We know not 
how plants and trees draw matter from the earth and 
transform it into the leaves, flowers, and fruits, although 
no one questions the fact ; nor how mind so acts upon 
matter as to enable a man at will to raise his hand to 
his head, and with it to perform the hardest labour. 
Until we comprehend the manner in which these 
operations on matter are effected, which constantly pass 
around and within us, we have little reason to complain, 
because the triune God has not condescended to inform 
us of the precise mode in which his infinite and glorious 
nature exists and acts." How is it possible for 
the Editor, or for any one possessed of common sense, 
not to perceive the gross error of drawing an 
analogy from things around and within us to the three 
distinct persons of the God-head in one existence, 
which so far from being around or within us, exist only 
in the imagination of the missionaries.* 

Here the growth of a tree and its producing leaves 
and flowers, as well as the operation of mind on matter, 
being around and within us, are commonly perceptible 
by all men whether Christians or not Christians, a denial 

* The missionaries is the reading of the third edition, in the 
first two editions it was Christians. 


of which is utterly impossible for one who is possessed 
of the senses. It is very true that the exact manner in 
which plants grow or the mind operates, and the precise 
principles of nature which act upon them, are not 
thoroughly understood. But all that these facts amount 
to is, that things around or within us, whether visible or 
demonstrated by visible facts, compel conviction. Do 
the three distinct persons of the Godhead in unity exist 
like growing trees or bodies joined to mind ? Are they 
phenomena commonly perceptible alike by Christians ? 
Or are they like mountains of ice in northern countries, 
which, though they are not seen or felt by us, yet are re 
ported to us by eye-witnesses, without any contradiction 
from others who have also passed the places wher e they 
are said to exist, and where they are liable to be seen by 
any one, that we should be compelled to believe the 
existence of the triune God like that of growing trees, ope 
rating minds, or mountains of ice, though we cannot un 
derstand them ; or rather though we find them exactly 
contrary to what we have understood ? Christians may per 
haps consider the Trinity as perceptible by them through 
the force of early instructions, in the same manner as 
the followers of the Tuntru doctrines among H indoos in 
Bengal consider God as consisting of five distinct persons 
andyet as one God, and as the generality of modern 
Hindoos esteem numerous incarnations under one God 
head almost as an experienced fact from their early habits. 
How can Christians, who in general justly pride them - 
-selves on their cultivated understanding, admit such an 
analogy or justify any one in misleading others with 
such sophistries? The only excuse which I feel inclined 
to make for them, and perhaps a true one, is, that the 


enlightened amongst them, like several of the Greek 
and Rom an philosophers, yield, through policy, to the 
vulgar opinions, though fully sensible of the unjustifia- 
bleness of them. I am, however, sorry to observe that 
the minds of a great number of Christians are so biassed 
in favour of the doctrine of the Trinity from the 
strong impression made on them by education in 
their youth, that they can readily defy the suggestions 
of the senses, reason, and experience in opposition to 
this doctrine. They accuse Brahmunical priests of 
having an unjust ascendancy over their pupils, while 
they forget how greatly Christians are influenced by 
their ministers so as to overlook the error of such an 
analogy as the above, and others of a similar nature. 

The Editor has first declared that " the Bible forbears 
" to inform us how the Father, the Son, and the Holy 
" Spirit exist" &c., " the triune God has not descended 
" to inform us of the precise mode in which his infinite^ 
" and glorious nature exists and acts "; nevertheless as 
he particularizes the mode of their existence and actions 
separately and distinctly from the authority of tne Bible, 
stating that " the Son" who has existed with the Father 
from eternity has created heaven and earth " that " from 
" his infinite pity to sinful men he condescended to lay 
aside his glory for a season ;" that " taking on himself 
the form of a servant he might worship and obey the 
father as his God "; that " he prayed his father to glorify 
him only with his own glory which he had with his 
father before the foundation of the world and which 
for a season he had laid aside ;" that " he was permitted 
to ascend up where he was before ;" and that lastly "he 
was seated at the right-hando f the Majesty on high " 


who "gave him as mediator all power in heaven and 
earth;" and that God the Spirit was also pleased to 
testify to men his approbation of the Son s becoming 
incarnate, by visibly descending upon him in the form 
of a dove." Notwithstanding their different locations, 
different actions and distinct existences, the Editor 
represents them as one, and also demands of the 
rest of the world a belief in their unity. Is it pos 
sible even to conceive for a moment the identity 
between three Beings, one of them in heaven expressing 
his pleasure at the conduct of the second, who at the 
same time on the earth was performing religious rites, 
and the third of them then residing between heaven and 
earth descending on the second at the will of the first. If 
the difference of bodies and situations as well as of actions 
and employments, be not sufficient to set aside the idea 
of the identity and real unity of persons, there would be 
no means of distinguishing one person from another, 
and no criterion would be left for considering a tree 
different from a rock or a bird from a man. Is this the 
doctrine which the Editor ascribes to God ? And can any 
book, which contains an idea that defies the use of the 
senses, be considered worthy to be ascribed to that Be 
ing who has enduced the human race with senses and 
understanding for their use and guidance ? As long as 
men have the use of their senses and faculties, (unless 
sunk in early prejudies) they never can be expected to 
be deluded by any circumlocutions founded upon cir 
cumstances not only beyond understanding but also 
contrary to experience and to the evidence of the 
senses. God the Son is declared by the Editor to have 
laid aside his glory for a season, and to have prayed his 


father to give him the same glory, and also to have 
taken the form of a servant. Is it consistent with the 
nature of the immutable God to lay aside any part of 
his condition and to pray for it again ? Is it conformable 
to the nature of the Supreme Ruler of the universe to 
take the form of a servant^ though only for a season? 
Is this the true idea of God which the Editor maintains? 
Even idolaters among Hindoos have more plausible 
excuses for their polytheism. 1 shall be obliged, if the 
Editor can shew that the polytheistical doctrines main 
tained by Hindoos are, in any degree more unreason 
able than his own. If not, he will not, I trust, endea 
vour in future to introduce among them one set of 
polytheistical sentiments as a substitute for another set ;. 
both of them being equally and solely protected by the 
shield of mystery. 

The Editor acknowleges the fact of God s appearing 
in the shape of a dove to testify the appointment of God 
the Son, stating, that when God renders himself visible 
to man, it must be by appearing in some form." But 
I wonder how, after such acknowledgment the Editor 
can ridicule the idea of God s appearing in the shape of 
a fish or cow, which is entertained by the Pouranik* 
Hindoos ? Is not a fish as innocent as a dove ? Is not 
a cow more useful than a pigeon ? 

All that I said of the Holy-Ghost is as follows : " 
"Did not the Holy-Ghost, who is very God, in the form 
of a dove remove from one place to another ? and did 
he not beget Jesus Christ by his divine intercourse with 
a woman ?" alluding in the former question to his 

* Mythologist or mythological. 


descent on Jesus Christ, when baptized, in the shape of 
a dove, and in the latter to his having begot Christ by 
a woman not married to him, as is evident from their 
Scriptures : " She was found with child of the Holy 
Ghost": f "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee."t 
Both of these circumstances is solemnly acknowledged 
by the Editor. But whence or how the Editor infers 
again my misrepresentation of the fact, and my attempt 
to ridicule the doctrine, I am unable to discover. 

As to my fourth question viz. "They say that God 
must be worshipped in spirit and yet they worship Jesus 
Christ as very God, although he is possessed of a material 
body," the Editor has given an evasive answer ; for he 
says, " Christians worship Jesus Christ and not his body 
separately from him." I never charged Christians in 
my question with worshipping the body of Jesus Christ 
separately from himself, that the Editor could be justi 
fied in denying Christians having worshipped him and 
not his body. The Editor in fact confesses their adora 
tion of Jesus Christ as the very God in the material 
form : nevertheless he attempts to maintain that they 
worship God in spirit. If we admit that the worship 
of spirit possessed of material body is worship in spirit, 
we must not any longer impute idolatry to any religious 
sect, for none of them adore mere matter unconnected 
with spirit. Did the Greeks and Romans worship the 
bodies of Jupiter and Juno and their other supposed 
gods separately from their respective spirits ? Are not 
the miraculous works ascribed by them to these gods, 

t Matthew, Chap. I. v. 18 t Luke, chap. I. v. 35, (Notes 
of the third edition. Ed.) 


proofs of their viewing them as spirits connected with 
the body ? Do the idolaters among Hindoos worship 
the assumed forms of their incarnations divested of 
their spirit ? Nothing of the kind ! Even in worship 
ping idols Hindoos do not consider them objects of 
worship until they have performed Pranprutistha or 
communication of divine life. According to the defini 
tion given by the Editor, none of them can be supposed 
idolators, because they never worship the body separate 
ly from the spirit ! But in fact any worship through 
either an artificial from or imaginary material representa 
tion is nothing but idolatry. 

Moreover, the Editor says that " the Father, Son and 
Holy Ghost are also described in scripture, as equally 
giving grace and peace to man, as pardoning sin and 
leading men in the paths of righteousness, which things 
omniscience, omnipotence, infinite love and mercy can 
alone perform." I do not know any polytheistical 
system more clear than this description of the Editor 
as declaring three Beings equally omniscient, omni 
potent, and possessed of infinite mercy. I, however, 
beg to ask,- whether the omnipotence, omniscience, and 
infinite mercy of one person is sufficient or not to 
arrange the universal system and preserve its harmony ? 
If so, an admission of the omnipotence and omniscience 
of the second and the third is superfluous and absurd ; 
but if not sufficient, why should we stop at the number 
three and not carry on the numeration until the number 
of omnipotent Beings becomes at least equal to that of 
the heavenly bodies, ascribing to each the management 
of every globe. From the skill which Europeans gener 
ally display in conducting political affairs and effecting 


mechanical inventions, foreigners very often conclude 
that their religious doctrines would be equally reason 
able ; but as soon as any one of them is made acquaint 
ed with such doctrines as are professed by the Editor 
and by a great number of his countrymen,* he will 
firmly believe that religious truth has no connection 
with political success. 

My fifth question was, " How can equality subsist 
except between objects possessed of different essences 
and existences ?" But the Editor repeats only a part of 
it /. e., how the son can be equal with the father, when 
he does possess the same nature, and then declares the 
question unintelligible. I never meant the impossibility 
of equality between persons or things that possess the 
same nature, as we find often equallity in some property 
subsistingbetween man and man though possessing the 
same nature ; but as no equaiity can subsist except be 
tween things of different existences, and the professed 
belief of the missionary gentleman was that the Son is 
the same in existence as well as in nature with the father, 
I took the liberty to ask how the son can be equal with 
the father, when he is supposed to be possessed of the 
same nature and existence ? Unless they deny to the Son 
the same existence with the Father, they cannot, I think, 
maintain his equality with the Father. I, therefore, pre 
sume, my question is perfectly intelligible. 

As to my second remark, viz. " They sometimes call 
Jesus Christ the son of man, and yet say no man was 
his Father," the Editor makes the following reply, 

* "With the Histories of the Ancient Greeks and Romans," 
is the reading of the third edition for " by a great number of his 
countrymen. " ED. 


"While, thus incarnate, he in many ways unavoidably dis 
played his divine nature ; but being born of a woman 
and in all things like unto us as to his human nature, 
yet without sin, he condescended to call himself the 
Son of man, although no man was his Father." I wonder 
that the Editor, who on one hand attempts so warmly to 
prove the deity and inspiration of Jesus Christ, on the 
other hand accuses the same being of having declared, 
what was totally contrary to the fact, saying, that he 
condescended to call himself the Son of man^ although no 
man was his father. I also feel surprized at the in 
consistency of the Editor, who, while justifying the 
above statement respecting his Lord, charges the Hindoo 
Pouraniks with falsity, because the Poorans, in instruct 
ing men of weak understanding, have made allegorical 
representations of God, though they repeatedly confess 
the allegorical nature of their instructions and explain 
their motives for introducing them. Besides, he im 
putes false representation to one of the commentators 
of the Ved, and that only in his instructing the ignorant 
in a parabolical manner, and from this single circum 
stance he condemns "the whole of the Hindoo System." 
In the very reply of the Editor, I find the phrase 
" at the right hand of God " quoted by the Editor as a 
scriptural expression. I therefore beg to know whether 
the phrase " the right hand of God " implies a true 
representation of God, or not ? I find the following 
expressions even within the three first chapters of the 
Bible : " he (God) rested on the seventh day from all 
" his work." " The Lord God walking in the garden in 
"the cool of the day;" "And (God) said unto him 
" (Adam) where art thou ?" Did Moses mean by the 


term " rested " that God ceased to act from fatigue,, 
and attempt to prove the mutableness of God ? Did he 
mean by the phrase " God walked in the cool of the day" 
that he moved by means of legs, like men in general, in 
the cool of the day to avoid the heat of the weather? 
Or did he mean by the question " Where art thou ?" to 
imply the previous ignorance of the omniscient God ? 
If so, Moses had strange ideas of Jehovah, and but 
little better than those maintained by his contemporary 
heathens. I am however inclined to think that Moses 
made use of these expressions conformably to the 
understanding of the ignorant Jews of his days without 
subjecting himself to the charge of falsehood; and this 
I am informed by Christians, was the opinion of 
ancient teachers called Fathers of the Church, as well as 
of many modern learned Christians. 

The Editor expresses his joy at " perceiving that the 
natives have begun to arouse themselves from that 
state of morbid apathy and insensibility which is a 
certain symptom of moral death and of universal 
corruption of manners &c." I cannot help feeling com 
passion for his total want of knowledge of the literary 
employment and domestic conduct of the native commu 
nity at large, notwithstanding his long residence in 
India. During only a few years past, hundreds of 
works on different subjects, such as Theology, Law, 
Logic, Grammar, and Astronomy, have been written 
by the natives ef Bengal alone. I do not wonder that 
they have not reached the knowledge of the Editor, 
who, in common with almost all his colleagues, has 
shut his eyes against anything that might do the smallest 
credit to the natives. As to the " moral death " 


ascribed to them by the Editor, I might easily draw a com 
parison between the domestic conduct of the natives and 
that of the inhabitant of Europe, to shew where the 
grossest deficiency lies ; but as such a dispute is entirely 
foreign to the present controversy, I restrain myself 
from so disagreeable a subject, under the apprehension 
that it might excite general displeasure. 

As to the abusive terms made use of by the Editor, 
such as "Father of lies alone to whom it (Hindooism; 
"evidently owes its origin/ "Impure fables of his 
false gods," " Pretended gods of Hindoos ; &c., 
common decency prevents me from making use of 
similar terms in return. We must recollect that we 
have engaged in solemn religious controversy and not 
in retorting abuse against each other. 

I conclude this reply with expressing my hope that 
the Editor, on noticing it, will arrange his observations 
methodically, giving an answer to each of my five 
questions in succession, that the public may judge with 
facility of the arguments employed on both sides. 






No. IV. 




Notwithstanding my humble suggestions in the third 
number of this Magazine, against the use of offensive 
expressions in religious controversy, I find, to my great 
surprize and concern, in a small tract lately issued from 
one of the missionary presses and distributed by 
missionary gentlemen, direct charges of atheism made 
against the doctrines of the Veds, and undeserved 
reflections on us as their followers. This has induced 
me to publish, after an interval of two years, a fourth 
number of the Brahmunical Magazine. 

In accordance with the mild and liberal spirit of 
universal toleration, which is well-known to be a fun 
damental principle of Hindooism, I am far from 
wishing to oppose any system of religion, much less 
Christianity ; and my regard for the feelings of its 
professors would restrain me from thus exposing its 
errors, were they not forced upon my notice by the 
indiscreet assaults still made by Christian writers on 
the Hindoo religion. But when they scruple not to 
wound the feelings of a Hindoo, by attacking the most 
ancient and sacred oracles of his faith, the inspired 
Veds, which have been revered from generation to 
generation, for time immemorial, should he submit to 
such wanton aggression without endeavouring to con 
vince these gentlemen, that, in the language of their 
own Scripture, they * strain at a gnat and swallow a 
camel" (Matt. XXIII. 24) ? Hence they may at least 
learn from experience a lesson of Charity^ which they 


are ready enough to inculcate upon others, overlooking, 
at the same time, the precept given by their God : 
" Do unto others as you would wish to be done by," 
implying, that if you wish others to treat your religion 
respectfully, you should not throw offensive reflections 
upon the religion of others. 

I shall still be extremely glad to enter upon a minute 
investigation of the comparative merits of our respective 
religions, more especially if the Christian writers carry 
on the controversy in moderate and decorous language, 
worthy of literary characters and sincere inquirers after 

In 1827 the second chapter of this number was republished 
with the following introduction. 

" In the following pages there will be found an extract, on the 
doctrine of the trinity and that of the atonement, from the Brahmun- 
ical Magazine No. 4 published in the year 1823 by Shivuprusad 
Surma, in reply to the attacks made by the Christian missionaries 
at Shreerampoor on the religion of Brahmuns. The readers- 
will form their own judgment of the reasoning therein employed. 
Calcutta, 1827." 



To certain queries directed against the Vedant. 

A few queries written in the Bengalee language, 
having again issued from the Mission Press, Sreeram- 
pore, directed against the Vedant system of religion, 
and a missionary gentleman having brought these 
queries to the notice of our friend, Rammohun Roy, 
I naturally expected that the latter would publish a 

Disappointed in my expectation, and much hurt at 
the stigma thrown upon the religion which I profess, 
following the divine guidance of the Veds and the 
dictates of pure reason, I deem it incumbent upon me 
to defend what I believe to be true, against so unpro 
voked an aggression. 

In his prefatory lines, the author says, that from 
reading the translation of the Vedant by Rammohun 
Roy, he understands that the Veds declare a knowledge 
of God to be unattainable by man, and therefore he begs 
that Rammohn Roy will cease to impart their doctrines 
until he shall acquire a knowledge of the Deity from 
some other religious source. 

This author, in common with a great number of his 
fellow believers, not resting contented with the perversion 
and misrepresentation of the purport of his own Bible, 
has been zealously endeavouring to misquote the 
writings, revered by others as sacred authority, for the 


purpose of exposing them to ridicule. To prove this 
assertion I quote here the very first passage of the 
translation of the abridgement of the Vedant by 
Rammohun Roy, to which the querist refers in his 
prefatory lines. viz. 

" The illustrious Vyas, in his celebrated work, the 
" Vedant, insinuates in the first text, that it is absolutely 
" necessary for mankind to acquire knowledge respecting 
" the Supreme Being ; but he found from the following 
" passages of the Veds that this inquiry is limited to 
* very narrow bounds. Vyas also, from the result of 
"various arguments coinciding with the Ved, found 
" that an accurate m\& positive knowledge of the Supreme 
" Being, is not within the boundary of comprehension, 
" /. e. what and how the Supreme Being is, cannot be 
"definitely ascertained. He has, therefore, in the 
" second text, explained the Supreme Being by his 
" effects and works ^ without attempting to define his 
" essence. " 

Now my readers will plainly perceive in the above 
quotation, that a perfect knowledge respecting the 
nature and essence of the Deity is declared in the 
Vedant" to be unattainable ;" while a knowledge of his 
existence through " his effects and works" is duly 
revealed by the Ved and consequently is zealously 
studied and imparted by us. We find in the Christian 
Scriptures declarations to the same purport. Psalm 
CXLV. " Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised \ 
and his greatness is unsearchable" Job XXXVI. 26. 
" God is great and we know him not : neither can the 
number of his years be searched out" Will the author 
of these queries justify any one in following his example, 

NUMBER IV. 2 59 

by suggesting to the missionary gentlemen not to 
inculcate Christian doctrines ; on the ground that the 
Scriptures declare a knowledge of God and the number 
of the years of his existence unsearchable ? I think he 
will not listen to such a suggestion, and will perhaps 
say in defence of the missionaries, that since the real 
nature of God is said in Scripture to be unsearchable, 
they have never attempted to preach the divine nature 
.and essence. If such be their defence, how could 
prejudice completely shut the eyes of this interrogator 
against the plain declaration found in the translation 
of the Vedant both in Bengalee and English, which he 
says he has read : viz. " He (Vysa) has, therefore, in 
" the second text, explained the Supreme Being by his 
" effects and works without attempting to define his 
" essence." 

In answer to his first query, /. e. " Did one God 
"create the world or not?" I refer him to the next 
passage and to a subsequent passage of the same 
translation of the Vedant, viz." He, by whom the birth, 
existence, and annihilation the world is regulated, is the 
Supreme Being." "All the Veds prove nothing but the 
unity of the Supreme Being." " God is indeed one and 
has no second" These passages will, I hope, be sufficient 
to convince the querist, that the doctrine of tne unity 
of God is an essential principle of the Vedant system, 
however unwelcome it may be to him, as opposing his 
favorite notion of three Gods, or three Persons equally 
powerful ur.der an abstract idea of Godhead. 

In reply to his second query (i.e., " Does God pre 
serve this world or not ? and is his word our rule or 
not ?" ) consisting of two questions, I have merely to 


quote the following passages of the same translation 
of the Vedant, which as they apply to each severally, 
I place under two separate heads. 1st. "He from 
whom the universal world proceeds, who is the support 
of the world) and he, whose work is the universe, is the 
Supreme Being." "Who is the almighty and the sole 
regulator of the universe." 2nd. "God is declared to 
be the cause of all the Veds." "Rules and rites (are) 
prescribed by the Ved." The former quotations prove 
that God is the sole support of the world ; and the 
latter declare that the Ved is the law of God, revealed 
and introduced for our rule and guidance. 

As queries 3rd, 4th, and 5th, are in fact one query, 
I repeat them as they stand and make one reply : "Is 
God with or without attributes ? If God is destitute 
of all attributes, then how can a rule of right and 
wrong be recognized ? If you say that God is destitute 
of all attributes, then what is the difference between 
your principles and those of an atheist ?" I reply : The 
Vedant, does not ascribe to God any power or attribute 
according to the human notion of properties or modes 
being attached or subordinate to their substance, such 
as the faculty of vision, or of wisdom, compassion, 
anger &c, in rational animals. Because these pro 
perties are sometimes found among the human race 
in full operation, and again ceasing to operate, as if 
they were quite extinct ; because the power of one 
of these attributes is often impeded by the operation 
of another ; and because the object in which they exist, 
depends upon special members of the body, such as the 
eyes, brain, heart &c. for the exercise of vision, wisdom,, 
compassion &c. 


In consideration of the incompatibility of such de 
fects with the prefection of the divine nature, the 
Vedant declares the very identity of God to be the 
substitute of the perfection of all the attributes neces 
sary for the creation and support of the universe, and 
for introducing revelation among men, without represent 
ing these attributes as separate properties, depended 
upon by the Deity, in creating and ruling the world. 
Hence the Vedant confesses the impossibility of any 
perfect knowledge of the Divine nature, although to adapt 
itself to the understanding of beginners in the study 
of theology, it often ascribes to God such attributes as 
are held excellent among the human species ; as truth, 
mercy, justice, &c. See again the same translation. 
" The Ved having at first explained the Supreme Being 
by different epithets, begins with the word Uthu or 
now, and declares, that all descriptions which have 
been used to describe the Supreme Being are imper 
fect (ideal), because he (the Divine Being) by no means 
can be described." 

Now, unbiassed readers will judge, which of these 
two opinions is the more consistent with reason and 
divine revelation, to wit, the denying of properties to 
God according to the human notion of qualities in ob 
jects, as done by the Vedant ; or the equalising of the 
number of Gods, or persons under a Godhead, with the 
number of the supposed principal qualities belonging to 
the Deity (namely Creation, Redemption, and Sanctifica- 
tion) as practised by the querist and his fellow-believers, 
who have provided themselves with a God the Father, 
for the work of creation, a God the Son, for redemption 
and a God the Holy Ghost, for sanctification. 


I do not wonder, that our religious principles are 
compared with those of atheists, by one, whose ideas 
of the divine nature are so gross, that he can consider 
God, as having been born* and circumcisedf, as having 
grown | and been subject to parental authority, as 
eating and drinking,]] and even as dyingIT and as having 
been totally annihilated (though for three days only, 
the period intervening from the crucifixion of Christ to 
his resurrection,); nor can it give me any concern, if a 
person, labouring under such extravagant fancies, 
should, at the same time, insinuate atheism against us, 
since he must thereby only expose himself to the 
derision of the discerning public. 

As to his sixth and seventh queries, viz. " Do not 
" wicked actions proceed in this world from the depravity 
" of mankind ?" ;th. " By what penance can that 
guilt be expiated, which men contract by the practice of 
wickedness ?" I beg to observe, that a desire of indulging 
the appetites and of gratifying the passions is, by 
nature, common to man with the other animals. 
But the Veds, coinciding with the natural desire of 
social intercourse implanted in the human constitution, 
as the original cause of sympathy** with others, require 
of men to moderate those appetites and regulate those 
passions, in a manner calculated to preserve the peace 
and comfort of society, and secure their future happi 
ness so that mankind may maintain their superiority 

* Luke II. 7. t Luke II. 21. J Luke II. 40. Luke II. 51. 
II Matth XI. 19. IT Mark XIV. 34. 

** Even birds and beasts sympathise with their associates of 
the opposite sex and with their young, in proportion to the extent 
of their desire far social enjoyment. 


over the rest of the animal creation, and benefit by one 
another. For each person to indulge without restraint 
all the appetites and passions, would be destructive of 
the harmony of society, which mankind is naturally 
desirous to preserve. These sentiments are contained 
in the following passages of the same translation of the 
Vedant, viz. " A command over our passions and over 
11 the external senses of the body, and good acts, are 
" declared by the Ved to be indispensable in the mind s 
"approximation to God. They should, therefore, be 
" strictly taken care of, and attended to both previously 
"and subsequently to such approximation to the 
"Supreme Being." 

In the constant internal struggles between this desire 
of indulgence, always working powerfully upon the 
mind, and the social inclination, displayed in various 
modes, according to the difference of circumstances, of 
habits, and of education, some yield often to the 
passions. In that case the only means of attaining an 
ultimate victory over them is sincere repentance and 
solemn meditation, which occasion mental disquiet and 
anxiety forming th e punishment of sin ; and which are 
calculated to prevent future surrenders to the passions 
on similar occasions. The sin which mankind contract 
against God, by the practice of wickedness, is believed 
by us to be expiated by these penances, and not, as 
supposed by the querist, by the blood of a son of man 
or son of God, who never participated in our trans 

His last query is, " Will mankind at last be certainly 
raised and judged ? and will they suffer or enjoy accord 
ing to their works or not ?" In reply to which I beg to 


observe, that the Vedant does not confine the reward or 
punishment of good or evil works to the state after 
death, much less to a particular day of judgment ; 
but it reveals positively, that a man suffers or en 
joys, according to his evil or good deeds, frequently even 
in this world, a doctrine which is not, I think, at vari 
ance with the first part of the Christian Bible. See the 
above translation. " From devotion to God all the de 
sired consequences proceed " (meaning of course in 
this world also. ) " He, who has no faith in the Sup 
reme Being, is rendered subject to these gods" (pro 
perly speaking grand objects. ) 

In conclusion, he makes some other insinuations a - 
gainst the Vedant ; one of which is, that it declares the 
mind to be God; and consequently that those who 
adhere to this religion, must follow their natural propen 
sities, and the suggestions of their own minds merely, 
not the revealed authority of God. I therefore quote 
these lines found in that very translation, from which 
the querist draws this conclusion, and leave the public 
to judge, whether he is not entirely deprived, even of 
common sense, by rooted religious prejudice, in exa 
mining the writings of others, that are not persuaded 
to think exactly like him and his fellow-believers, viz. 
" The Veds not only call the celestial representations 
deities ; but also, in many instances, give this divine 
" epithet to the mind, diet, void space, quadrupeds, 
" animals, and slaves : But neither any of the celestial 
" gods nor any existing creature can be considered the 
* Lord of the universe, because the third Chapter of 
" the Vedant explains, that by these appellations of 
" the Ved, which denote the diffusive spirit of the 


" Supreme Being equally over all creatures, by means 
"of extension, his omnipresence is established." 
-" Because the Ved declares the performance of these 
"rules to be the cause of the mincfs purification and 
"its faith in God." 

If notwithstanding these explanations offered by 
the Vedant, the querist persists in his attempt to stig 
matise the Ved, and thus argue, that any being declared 
by the Ved to be God, though figuratively, should be 
considered as God in reality, by the followers of that 
system, I would refer him to his own Bible, which in 
the same figurative sense applies the term " God" to 
the prophets and the chiefs of Israel, and identifies 
God with abstract properties, such as love &c. and 
I then ask the querist, whether he admits them to be 
real Gods and offers his worship to them ? and whether 
he be a follower of the dictates of the powerful passion 
of love in its most unlimited sense? 

His second insinuation is this, that the Vedant 
does not forbid the worship of gods and goddesses ; 
and how then can the unity of God be inferred from 
that work? I reply : The Supreme Being is represented 
-throughout the whole Vedant System as the only object 
of true adoration, of which the querist will be con 
vinced, if he refers to the following passages of the 
same translation, viz. "The worship authorised by 
" all the Veds is of one nature : as the direction for the 
"worship of the only Supreme Being is invariably 
"found in every part of the Ved. The following 
" passages of the Ved affirm that God is the sole object 
of worship, viz. Adore God alone* Know God 
alone." With regard to the suggestions about the wor- 


ship of other objects besides the Deity, the following 
explanation is given in the Vedant. " These, as well 
as several other texts of the same nature, are not real 
commands, but only direct those, (for instance idiots) 
who are unfortunately incapable of adoring the invisible 
Supreme Being, to apply their minds to any visible 
thing, rather than allow them to remain idle." 

In replying, as above, to all the "Christian s" 
queries and insinuations, I have confined my quotations 
to the translations of the abridgement of the Vedant 
an essay of 21 pages to which the querist referred in 
his prefatory lines ; so that my readers may perceive 
that had the querist read only that small work, divest 
ing himself of religious prejudice, he would not have 
needed to put those questions. 


Reasons of a Hindoo for rejecting the doctrines 
of Christianity. 

The querist then proceeds to direct personality, 
maintaining that, in common with Rammohun Roy, 
there are individuals in England, who regard the mind 
as God, and surrender themselves entirely to its 
suggestions ; since they receive, he alleges, only such 
portions of the Bible as suit their convenience and 
reject the rest ; and he confidently pronounces the 
doctrines which Rammohun Roy inculcates to be all 
atheistical. As these individuals must be better 
qualified than I can be to vindicate themselves from 
the charge of perverting the Scripures, I need say 


nothing on this subject. I cannot however totally pass 
over the charge of atheism against the doctrines which 
I, in common with my friend, inculcate ; and there 
fore beg to be allowed to make in this instance a few 
observations which may lead my readers to enter upon 
an impartial investigation and to compare the religious 
opinions which the followers of the Vedant maintain 
with those that the querist and his fellow Christians 

The querist probably means, that these individuals 
reject or misinterpret that portion of the Bible which 
relates to the Trinity and the atonement of Christ, 
both considered b y the querist and his fellow believers 
as the essential principles of Christianity. I have 
consequently attentively read the Bible of Christians ; 
but to my great astonishment, I have been unable to 
find any explanation of the Trinity in that book. I 
have therefore directed my attention to their Creed and 
some of the works of celebrated Christian writers, in 
the former of which I find the Triune God thus 
explained : 

"The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Ghost 
is God ; and yet there are not three Gods but one God." 
I shall therefore submit to the querist and his fellow- 
believers cases exactly parallel to this doctrine, as 
differently viewed by learned Christians, and ask him 
whether he can ever persuade himself to admit their 
possibility ? i st. John is homo or a man, James is 
homo or a man, and Jacob is homo or a man, and yet 
there are not three homines or men but one man. 2nd. 
At the time when the whole human race, as stated in 
the Christian Scriptures, consisted of only three persons, 


it might have been, in like manner, asserted, that, 
" Adam is homo (or a person) , Eve is homo (or a person) 
and Cain is homo (or a person); but there are not three 
homines (or persons) but one person," the three being 
included under the abstract notion of mankind. 3rd. 
The father is sacerdos (or a priest) the son is sacerdos 
(or a priest) and the grand-son is sacerdos (or a priest) 
and yet there are not three sacerdos (or priests) but 
one priest under an abstract notion of the " priesthood." 
4th. Wisdom is qualitas (or a quality,) power is 
qualitas (or a quality) and love is qualitas (or a quality,) 
and yet there are not three qualitate (or qualities) but 
one quality. 5th. Creation is opus (or a work,) 
Redemption is opus (or a work,) Sanctification is opus 
(or a work,) and yet there are not three opera or works, 
but one work. 

I regret that notwithstanding very great mental 
exertions, I am unable to attain a comprehension of 
this Creed. 

These missionary gentlemen have come out to this 
country in the expectation, that grown men should first 
give up the use of their external senses, and should 
profess seriously, that although the Father is ONE 
God and the Son is ONE God and the Holy Ghost is 
ONE God, yet that the number of Gods does not 
exceed ONE a doctrine which although unintelligible 
to others, having been imbibed by these pious men 
with their mothers, milk, is of course as familiar to 
them as the idea of the animation of the stony 
goddess "Kalee" is to an idolatrous Hindoo, by whom 
it has, in like manner, been acquired in his infancy. 

A man does not, under various circumstances, 


always refuse to believe things that are beyond his com 
prehension ; but he will find it very hard, if not utterly 
impossible, to believe what is diametrically opposite to 
his senses, to his experience, to the uniform course 
of nature, and to the first axioms of reason : to wit, 
that there is first the Father-Deity, who is distinctly 
and by himself God, omnipotent, omniscient, and 
omnipresent, that there is secondly the Son-Deity, who 
is distinctly and by himself God omnipotent omnicient 
omnipresent, and that there is thirdly the Holy Ghost 
Deity, (in the neuter gender) which is distinctly and by 
itself God, omnipotent, omniscient, and omniprsent, yet 
in defiance of the immutable principles of mathematical 
science, that these Deities amount to no more than one. 

Exclusive of the writings of the ancient and modern 
popish Theologists and those of Dissenters from the 
Episcopal creed, I find, to my still greater surprise, in 
the works of some celebrated Christian writers, who are 
held as the most distinguished members of the Church 
uf England, the most palpably contradictory explan 
ation given of this Trinity, some of which I here notice. 
First. Dr. Waterland, Dr. Taylor, and Archbishop 
Seeker maintain that the Trinity consists of three dis 
tinct, independent, and equal persons constituting one 
and the same God ; thus representing the Father, the 
Son and the Holy Ghost as three distinct substances 
under one Godhead. 

2ndly. Dr. Wallis was an advocate for the Sabel- 
lian hypothesis, and probably Archbishop Tillotson, 
holding that three persons in the Trinity are only three 
modes or relations, which the Deity bears to his crea 
tures, thus declaring the Father, the Son, and the Holy 


Ghost to be three qualities, existing of course in the 
abstract notion of the God-head, which exists only in 
our imagination. 

3rdly. Bishop Pearson, as well as Bishop Bull, and 
Dr. Owen suppose the Father to be an underived and 
essential essence and the Son to have received every 
thing by communication from God the Father. "There 
can be but one person," (says Bishop Pearson, ) "origi 
nally of himself, subsisting in that infinite Being, because 
" a plurality of more persons so subsisting would 
" necessarily infer a multiplicity of Gods." " The 
" Son possessed " (says he, ) "the whole nature by 
" communication not by participation and in such way 
" that he was as really God as the Father." i.e. this 
third explanation contradicts the first with regard to the 
original deity of the second and third persons, and is 
entirely opposed to the second explanation. 

4thly. Bishop Burgess supposes the three persons of 
the Deity to make one God, but does not allow that 
these pers 3ns are three beings, urging that "the Scrip 
tures declare that there is but only one God. The 
" same Scriptures declare that there are three omni- 
" present persons ; but there cannot be two omnipresent 
" beings ; therefore the three omnipresent persons can 
be only one God." According to this hypothesis, the 
Trinity is made up of three persons, each of which is 
not a being, i.e., of three nonentities. 

5thly. In the system of Dr. Thomas Burnet, the 
Father is held to be a self-existent Being, the Sons, and 
the Holy Ghost dependent ; and he thinks that divine 
perfections and worship may be ascribed to each ; which 
somewhat resembles the Arian Creed. 


6th. Mr. Baxter defines the three divine Persons 
to be Wisdom, Power, and Love, and illustrates his 
meaning by the vital power, intellect and will in the 
soul of man, i.e., he compares the three persons with 
qualities an opinion which resembles what was main 
tained by Sabellius and his followers. 

7thly. Bishop Gastrell says " The three names of 
" God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost must denote a 
" three-fold difference or distinction belonging to God, 
" but such as is consistent with the unity and simplicity 
" of the divine nature, for each of these includes the 
" whole idea of God and something more. So far as they 
" express the nature of God, they all adequately and 
" exactly signify the same. It is the additional significa- 
" tion, which makes all the distinction between them," 
/, e. according to Bishop Gastrell, " the Father includes 
" the whole idea of God and something more ; the son 
" includes the wnole idea of God and something more ; the 
" Holy Ghost includes the whole idea of God and some- 
" thing more : while altogether, the Father, the Son and 
" the Holy Ghost make one entire God, and no 
" more." Here this learned prelate introduces a new 
axiom, viz. That a part is greater than, or at least, 
equal to the whole. 

Sthly. According to Mr. Howe s theory, there are 
three distinct, intelligent hypostases, each having a dis 
tinct, intelligent nature, united in some inexplicable 
manner so as to make one God in somewhat the same 
way as the corporeal, sensitive, and intellectual faculties 
are united to form one man, /. e. he gives us to under 
stand that the Godhead is something more than the 
Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost in the same manner 


as a complete man is something more than the corpo 
real sensitive and intellectual faculties. 

9thly. Dr. Sherlock says "The Father, Son, and 
" Holy Ghost, are as really distinct Persons as Peter, 
" James, and John, each of which is God. We must 
" allow each Person to be a God. These three infinite 
" minds are distinguished, just as three created minds 
"are, by self-conciousness. And by mutual concious- 
" ness each persons of these has the whole wisdom 
" power, and goodness of the other two." i.e. this divine 
sets forth a system of perfect polytheism ; but does not, 
like the others, offer any apology for it. 

lothly. Dr. Heber, the present Bishop of Calcutta, 
maintains that the second and third persons in the 
Trinity are no other than the angels Michael and 
Gabriel. It was the Second Person, who conversed with 
Moses from Mount Sinai, and the third person, who 
constituted the Jewish Shekinah. 

The theory of the Godhead proposed by this pious 
and learned prelate, although it is at variance with the 
opinions of several other divines, must yet be gratify- 
ing to HindooTheologians, who have long cherished the 
doctrine of the Metempsychosis, or the transmigration 
of spirits from one body to another. Since, the belief 
in the Second Person of the Godhead, originally a mere 
spirit, taking, at one time, according to this theory, the 
form of an. Angel (Michael) and afterwards assuming, 
the body of Man (Jesus Christ) by means of natural 
birth, which was effected, as is said, by the Virgin Mary 
and the :angel Gabriel countenances the doctrine of 
the migration of spirits from the bodies of superior to 
those of inferior. creatures. 


Are not these explainations of the Trinity, given 
by the persons most versed in the Scriptures, sufficient 
to puzzle any man, if not drive him to atheism ? 
Supposing a Hindoo or a Mussulman were ready and 
willing to embrace the Christian faith, would he not 
sincerely repent of his rashness, as soon as he discover 
ed that the accounts of the essence of the Christian 
religion, given by the principal persons of the Church^ 
are as opposite to each other as the west is to the east ? 
Would he not be utterly astonished at the idea, that a 
nation who are so celebrated for their progress in the 
arts and sciences, for the enjoyment of political and 
civil liberty, and for their freedom of inquiry and dis 
cussion, should neglect their religious faith so much as 
to allow it still to stand upon the monstrously absurd 
basis of popery ?* 

I myself, however, atn not surprised at the many 
contardictiory accounts they have given of the Trinity ; 
because when the building is the mere creature of fancy, 
it is not to be expected that its architects should well 
agree in their description of its form and proportions. 
Nor do I wonder at this faith being forsaken by a great 
number of intelligent European gentlemen, whom the 
orthodox are fond of stigmatizing as Infidles, since it 
appears to me, that any person endowed with a moderate 
share of common sense, not entirely perverted by early 
prejudices thrust upon him in the helpless infancy of 

* By a reference to the Histories of the ancient Greeks and 
Romans and to those of Chungiz Khan and others, the readers- 
may be convinced that truth and true religion do not always ac 
company wealth, power and conquest, high names or lofty palaces. 
(Note of the 2nd edition Ed.) 


his mind, must be able to tear off the parti-coloured veil 
of sophistry from the face of this Creed and discover 
its real monstrosity. 

Instead of stigmatizing those Gentlemen, the Mis 
sionaries ought, I think,to have thanked them grate 
fully, for the safe-standing of the frail edifice of their 
extraodinary creed, since it is the indifference of a great 
number of learned Europeans about the religion which 
they from policy profess, accompained with the begoted 
adherence to Christianity imposed upon a consider 
able portion of men of the middling class, which, and 
which alone, has been hitherto the cause of the security 
of a faith contradictory to common sense and opposed 
to the evidence of the senses, in a nation so highly 
exalted by its literature. 

Some well-meaning Christians plausibly argue, that, 
whether the doctrine of the Trinity be reasonable or 
not, what does it signify, this being a mere matter of 
speculation, if the practical parts of Christianity and 
its religious observances are salutary ? 

In the first place I wish to know, whether the 
Misssionaries preach the practical parts of Christianity 
separately from the doctrine of the Trinity and that 
of the atonement, or whether, on the contratry, they 
do not consider these doctrines to be the fundamental 
principles of the Christian Faith, so that, no man can 
possibly benefit by the practical parts of Christianity, 
unless he is enabled to pervert his senses, so far as to 
believe in the truth of these doctrines? If the latter 
be the case, these well-meaning persons will, I trust, 
excuse the rejection of Christianity by the grown up 
natives of India, in consideration of the great difficulty 

.. NUMBER IV. 275 

or rather impossiblity every one must encounter who 
attempts to enforce belief upon himself or upon 

In the second place I take the liberty of asking 
these well-meaning Gentlemen, whether it is a matter 
of speculation to believe one to be three and three to be 
onet Whether it is a matter of opinion to bring 
ourselves to believe that a perfect man is perfect God, 
or in other words, that a complete man is not a man ? 
Whether it is a matter of speculation to be convinced 
that an object confined to a small portion of the Earth 
comprehends literally all the fulness of the Deity 
bodily, and spreads over the whole universe ? Is it 
also a matter of speculation that God whom Christians 
and their Scripture represent as mere spirit and as the 
author of the universe, was of the very seed of the 
Jewish Patriarch Abraham, and of Jewish King David ? 
If these be matters of opinion, what then are matters 
grossly repugnant to reason and contrary to fact ? The 
almighty and eternal Being (according to these Christian 
theologians) was born, grew to manhood, suffered and 
died a shameful death. Does this signify nothing ? 
Does it signify nothing to degrade our faculties and 
-give up the use of our senses, while we are viewing 
the visible object of nature ? If we do so in one thing, 
why not do it in another ? If we set out on this 
irrational career, where are we to stop ? May we not 
from the example set in Theolgy, lay aside the use of 
reason in other sciences also, and thereby impede the 
progress of knowledge and introduce incalculable evils 
into the world ? I therefore hope that these Gentlemen 
will, after more mature consideration, discover the 


doctrine of the Trinity and the idea of a Mangod or 
Godman to be unnatural and pregnant with absurdity,, 
and not a mere innocent speculation. 

If British Missionaries are under an obligation to 
preach Christianity to the natives of India, they ought 
for the glory of their nation, holding so conspicuous 
a place among the people of the East, and also for the 
sake of their own characters as a Literary Body, to 
confine their instructions to the practical parts of 
Christianity, keeping entirely out of view the doctrine 
of the Trinity and the idea of a two or three fold nature 
of God and Man, or God, Man and Angel, which are, 
to say the least, very much calculated to lower the 
reputation of Britons both as a learned and as a religious 

It is characteristic of protestant writers to expose to 
redicule any other system of religion which they disap 
prove. Eor instance, some of their eminent writers have 
proceeded so far in attacking the doctrine of Transubs- 
tantiation maintained by the Catholics, as to apply to the 
bread which the Catholics consider as the real flesh of 
Christ, the epithet Panarious Deus or "Breaden God" &c. 

Now I only beg to be allowed on this occasion to 
ask Protestant Gentlemen, who think themselves 
justified in believing that a human body was, by 
supernatural power, in a literal sense filled with all the 
fulness of the Godhead, how they can object so 
violently to the opinion entertained by the Catholics 
that a piece of bread by the same supurnatural power 
is filled with divine spirit ? And if they can apply to 
Catholics the term " Worshippers of a Breaden God," 
how can the professors of the Trinity disapprove of the 



Whoever, in fact, is unable to perceive the wide dis- 
between tke sup^e and eternal Being and a 

*? ~* must sureiy c nfess if end - d ^ 

Ae faculty of reason, that he has grossly abused it in 
contemplating the nature of the deity. The immense 
distance between the human and divine nature cannot 
oe diminished by the efforts of any mortal; and there- 
> whoever accepts man, dead or alive, for his god 
voluntarily sinks himself to the same unfathomable 
distance below the level of one of the human species. 
Should he then presume to claim the rank of man, he 
would thereby equalize his nature with that of his God 
and be justly chargeable with gross inconsistency. 
Indeed I do not see what can prevent his fellow 
believers, or man-worshippers, from accusing him of 
blasphemy in making himself equal with God ; or 
how rational men can avoid viewing him as the victim 
of early prejudices however many sciences he may 
have studied, however many books he may have 
written, whatever titles of learning may have been 
bestowed upon him and with whatever contempt he 
may affect to regard the genuine Brahmunical religion. 
I say, the genuine Brahmnunical religion, taught by 
the Veds, as interpreted by the inspired Munoo, not 
the popular system of worship adopted by the mul 
titude. If a Christian were to insist on considering the 
latter with all its corruptions as the standard of Hindoo- 
ism, then a Hindoo would also be justified in taking 
as the standard of Christianity, the system of religion 
which almost universally prevailed in Europe previous 


to the fifteenth century of the Christian Era, and which 
is still followed by the majority of Christians (namely. 
Catholics, Greeks, Armenians) with all its idols, cruci 
fixes. Saints, miracles, pecuniary absolutions from sins,, 
trinity, transubstantiation, relics, holy water, and other 
idolatrous machinery. 

With regard to the doctrine of the atonement, we 
are given to understand by Christians, that God the 
Father having been offended by the transgressions of 
the human race, resolved (though against the suggestion- 
of his mercy) that he would not forgive them unless- 
some adequate sacrifice were offered to him, so that 
his jusctce should not be disregarded through the 
influence of his mercy. Upon this resolution on the 
part of God the Father, God the Son having great, 
compassion towards men guilty of sins unto death; 
took upon himself the human nature and offered to 
God the Father his own life as an adequate atonement, 
and thereby reconciled to the Father Deity as many men 
as would believe in the offer of his blood for the 
remission of sin. 

The Missionary Gentlemen hereby maintain, that 
although God the Father, God the Son, and God the 
Holy Ghost were equally merciful and just and equally 
averse to sin ; yet the Father having a strict regard to 
the preservation of the balance of power between Mercy 
and Justice, did not suffer his Mercy to violate Justice, 
and insisted, that the sins of men should not be for 
given unless a human sacrifice were made to him, 
But the Son being more under the influence of mercy 
and totally regardless of justice, condescended to 
assume the human nature and to bear the punishment 


of their sin. Thus by offering himself as a stcrifice, 
he washed away their transgressions with his blood, 
without expecting any sacrifice to be made to him, for 
the satisfaction of his Justice ; while God the Holy 
Ghost, again, took no part whatever in the performance 
of the sacrifice, either as the Satisfier or the Satified, 
and remained quite neutral. Hence, is it not evident, 
that God the Father is more strict about the observance 
of Justice than God the Son ? that God the Father was 
less liable to the influence of Mercy than God the Son? 
and that God theHoly Ghost manifested neither Mercy 
nor Justice in the sacrificial atonement ? Do not these 
circumstances completely overthrow the doctrine which 
these Gentlemen preach, viz. that G jd the Father, Son, 
and Holy Ghost are equally just and merciful ? 

Secondly. They ascribe to God the attribute of 
justice according to the human notion of that attribute, 
/". e. as a just judge can never be so influenced by his 
mercy as to forgive a man guilty of capital crimes, 
without inflictiong upon him the punishment of death ; 
so God never can violate justice through the influence 
of his mercy in forgiving sins unto death, without 
inflicting extreme punishment. Supposing, then, for 
the sake of argument, that divine justice can be viewed 
according to the standard of the human notion of 
justice, I ask whether it is consistent with the human 
notion of justice to release millions of men each guilty 
of sins unto death, after inflicting death upon another 
person, (whether God or man) who never participated 
in their sins, even though that person had voluntarily 
proposed to embrace death ? or whether it is not a great 
violation of justice, according to the human notion of 


it, to put an innocent person to a painful death for the 
transgressions of others, notwithstanding he, in his 
human capacity, manifested very great reluctance to 
that death, as is admitted in the account of the life of 
Jesus Christ in Matthew Ch. XXVI. 3739. 

Thirdly. Sins are of two kinds, that is, sins against 
God merely, and sins against God and man, such as 
theft, robbery, deception &c. I therefore wish to know 
whether it is not an entire disregard of justice, according 
to the human notion, that the sins committed against 
one person should be forgiven by another, without his 
consent to such pardons ? Whether it is not an 
infringement of justice on the part of God the Son, 
according to the human notion of justice, to wash away 
with his blood the sins of theft, robbery, or murder 
commited by one man against others, and to disregard 
their individual sufferings? But if Christians really 
imagine that true believers in the vicarious sacrifice of 
Christ have their past sins as well against God as against 
man, washed away by his blood, are they not extremely 
presumptuous and culpable in inflicting punishment 
upon their fellow Christians for any crime they may have 
committed, knowing that atonement has already been 
made for it by the blood of their God, which was shed on 
the cross ? Yet we every day see Christians inflict on 
one another severe punishment, for the sins committed 
by them, notwithstanding the remission of their sins 
th rough their faith in the vicarious sacrifice of Christ. 

Fourthly. These Gentlemen believe, that the Son 
washes away the sins of those who place their faith in 
his vicarious sacrifice, and not of men in general. This 
shews that the act of pardoning the sins of men by 


Cod the Son, proceed from a reciprocal consideration, 
and not from his infinite mercy towards mankind. As 
according to this doctrine, millions of inhabitants of 
remote countries, islands and mountains, who never 
heard even the name of Christianity, have died in sin, 
ever since the time of the vicarious sacrifice offered 
by Christ, without having it in their power to enter in 
to the necessary bargain for the forgiveness of their sins 
by offering, in return, their faith in the atonement made 
by Christ. But those who have been born in countries 
where they could readily acquire this faith, while they 
rely upon the possession of this as the means of purchas 
ing their own salvation, inconsistently condemn such of 
their fellow-Christian as hope to be saved through a 
virtuous life and sincere repentance, accusing them of 
presumption and self sufficiency in pretending to be saved 
by such merits. Yet it is evident that the former who 
boast of their faith, are the persons really guilty of pride 
and self sufficiency, since for this single merit of theirs, 
they think themselves fully entitled to salvation ; and at 
the same time they contemn and deprecate the merits 
of others, who nevertheless consider that both faith 
and good works proceed from the grace of God. 

These Gentlemen are apt to find fault with and 
ascribe unreasonableness to every other system of reli 
gion, shuting entirely their eyes upon the total want of 
reason and rationality in the faith which they themselves 
profess and preach. For, is there any notion more un 
reasonable and conducive to immoral practices than the 
idea, that God has blood, and that that blood is offered 
.by God to reconcile to God such men as, at any time 
during their lives, place faith in that blood of God, 


however guilty these men may be of offending God 
and injuring their fellow-creatures. 

As to their attempts at the converting of Hindoos to 
the Christian Faith, these Teachers of strange doctrines 
may now have been convinced by experience, after thr 
exertions of a quarter of a century, that no grown up 
native of India possessed of common sense and 
common honesty, will ever be persuaded to believe in 
their self-contradictory Creed, and that their religious 
efforts will be unavailing, unless they adopt, or be en 
abled to adopt, some unfair means for the promotion 
of Christianity. Since the Hindoo population in Bengal, 
from the circumstances of their early marriages, and 
their continual residence either at home or at an in 
considerable distance from their birth place, and from 
the enjoyment of local comfort under the peaceful 
sway of the British nation, has been increasing with 
uncommon rapidity, and as they are, at the same 
time, prohibited from foreign trade by their religious 
prejudices, prevented from entering into the military 
service, owing to their habitual aversion to war, and do 
not now, as in former times, receives gifts of lands free 
from assessments which tended much to encourage an 
idle life, many families have already become very indi 
gent and a greater number must, sooner or latter, be 
reduced to proverty. It is therefore more than pro 
bable, that the most weak and needy among them may 
be induced, by the hope of wordly advantages, to sell 
their conscience and their religion, in the same manner 
as a great many Israelites have been pursuaded to pro 
fess Christianity, by the severe policy, adopted towards 
Jews on the one hand, and the encouragement to aposta 


tize, held out on the other, by Societies established in 
Europe for their convertion. 

I shall now, in a few words, for the information of 
the Missionary Gentlemen, lay down our religious creed. 
In conformity with the Precepts of our anceint religion, 
contained in the Holy Vedant, though disregarded by 
the generally of moderns, we look up to ONE BEING 
as the animating and regulating principle of the whole 
collective body of the universe, and as the origin of 
all individual souls which in a manner somewhat simi- 
liar, vivify and govern their particular bodies ; and we 
reject Idolatry in every form and under whatsoever veil 
of sophistry it may be practised, either in adoration 
of an artifical, a natural, or an imaginary object. The 
divine homage which we offer, consists solely in the 
practice of Duya or benevolence towards each other, 
and not in a fanciful faith or in certain motions of the 
feet, legs, arms, head, tongue or other bodily organs, In 
pulpit or before a temple. Among other objects, in 
our solemn devotion, we freequently offer up our humble 
thanks to God, for the blessings of British Rule in 
India and sincerely pray, that it may continue in its 
beneficent operation for centuries to come. 


CALCUTTA, November 15, 1823. 





To the question, " Why do you frequent a Unitarian 
place of worship, instead of the numerously attended 
established Churches ?" 

I. Because the prayers read, worship offered, and 
sermons preached in the Unitarian place of worship 
remind me of the infinitely wise Ruler of this infinite 
universe, without ascribing to him as Churchmen do, 
fellow-creators or co-operators equal in power and 
other attributes. My plain understanding, though it 
can comprehend the idea of fellow-creatures, is incapable 
of forming a notion of one or more fellew-creatures each 
equally possessed of omnipotence and omnipresence. 

II. Because Unitarian prayer, worship, and prea 
ching constantly put me in mind of the benefical design 
kept in view by the wise and benevolent Author of all, 
in organizing the members of the animal body, such as 
bones, veins, vessels, limbs &. and in preparing the 
manifold necessaries of life for our maintenance, as 
proofs of his gratuitous blessing and free grace ; while 
in those Churches he is declared to have refused mercy 
and salvation to mankind until innocent blood was 
offered him to appease his wrath. 

III. Because the Unitarian mode of worship ex 
hibits how that infinite and Supreme author has 
designedly stationed the heavenly bodies, in systematic 
order, capable of producing and nourishing all the 
animal and vegetable objects under his divine control ; 
while in those Churches that infinite being is represen- 


ted as occupying a small space in this limited world, 
lying in a still smaller space in the womb of a virgin, 
subject to the control of his parents, though for a sea 
son, and daily performing the various animal functions. 

IV. Because I feel already weary of the doctrine 
of " Man-God " or " God-Man "* frequently inculcated 
by the Brahmuns, in pursuance of their corrupt 
traditions : the same doctrine of Man-God, though 
preached by another body of priests better dressed, 
better provided for and eminently elevated by virtue of 
conquest cannot effectually tend to excite my anxiety or 
curiosity to listen to it. 

V. Because I have expressed my disgust, when I 
heard from the Brahmuns the incredible story that God 
appeared in the form of a party-coloured kite, to 
accomplish certain purposes. While I maintain the 
same reverence for the Divine Being, I must be excused 
believing a similar doctrine held forth in those Chur 
ches, as to the appearance of God, on another occasion, 
in the bodily shape of a dove. I wonder to observe, 
that from a denial of the existence of God some are 
stigmatized with the term atheist ; while others are high 
ly respected, though they do not scruple, under the 
shield of religion, to bring the Deity into ridicule, by 
representing him in the form even of a common bird. 

VI. Because having been taught in the schools, 
where the doctrine of the Incarnations of a two-fold 
or even of a three-fold t nature has been solemnly 
preached, I perceive no novelty in the idea of a two-fold 

* Mnnoo, Duttatruyu,Ram &C.&G.&C. 

t fa^tWt^S mixed nature of man, lion, and God. 


nature, divine and human, as entertained and expressed 
in those Churches. 

VII. Because in those Churches, the Holy Ghost is 
represented as the very God and not as the miraculous 
power of the Deity, at the same time that the language 
applied there to this person of the Godhead; such as 
" she was found with child of the Holy Ghost "The 
Holy Ghost shall come upon thee " * fully coresponds to 
the words and ideas used for the deity in the western 
and eastern heathen mythologies, and consequently 
must be offensive to the feelings of those who ascribe 
to God purity and perfection. 

VIII. Because the doctrine of the trinity incul 
cated in those Churches, consisting of God the Father, 
God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, is defensible 
only on the plea of mystery ; while the Trinity preached 
to us by the Brahmuns is a representaton of the three 
principle attributes of the deity in all allegorical 
sense, and does therefore deserve some momentary 
attention. The mind which rejects the latter as a pro 
duction of the fancy, cannot be reasonably expected to 
adopt the former. 

IX. Because Unitarians reject polytheism and 
idolatry under every sophistical modification, and 
thereby discountenance all the evil consequences 
resulting from them. 

X. Because Unitarians believe, profess, and in 
culcate the doctrine of the divine unity a doctrine 
which I find firmly maintained both by the Christian 
Scriptures and by our most ancient writings commonly 
called the Veds. 

* The Virgin Mary. 


Such are my reasons for attending the Unitarian 
place of worship instead of the established Cnurches. 


* It was written by Raja Rammohon Roy, though, as he did 
on many other occasions, he put the name of his disciple Chundru 
Shekhur Dev as the author. We have the authority of Babu 
Chundru Shekhur Dev himself for this statement. ED. 






By a Friend of the Author. 




A small tract in Sunscrit with a translation into 
Bengalee has of late been published by a Hindoo Theo 
logian, Shivuprusad Shurma, on the subject of modes of 
worship with or without images. Having found it to 
exhibit views of the Hindoo religion somewhat different 
from, those which are commonly entertained by Euro 
peans, I have prepared a translation of it into English 
with some explanatory notes, which I beg to submit to 
the English reader. 

Calcutta, 1 8 January > 




In some Shastrus many authorities are found enjoin 
ing worship by means of idols ; in others are passages 
dissuading from such worship. Doubts having hence 
arisen, may the learned be pleased to remove them ? 

(Signed) Ramdhun Shurma. 

In answer to the subject of this query the decision 
which is given, in the essence of all the Shastrus (the 
JBhagvut), by that great and worshipful Saint (Vyas) 
who had a thorough knowledge of all the Veds, seems 
sufficient to remove these doubts entirely. It is as 
follows (according to the gloss of Shreedhur) : " Man 
shall worship me the Lord of the Universe by means 
of an image or any other form, during the intervals of 
leisure from the performance of the ritual observances 
prescribed for the class to which he belongs, until he 
becomes conscious that I dwell in all beings." The 
worshipful and revered Shreedhur commenting upon 

* It was published as will appear from the title pac;e by " A 
Friend of the Author," the Friend and the Author Shiva 
Prusad Shurma both being evidently Ram Mohun Roy him 
self. ED. 


this text, adds here : " This verse shews that worship- 
by means of an idol or any other form is not absolutely 
useless, and that as long as a man is subjected to 
worship by means of idols, he is also subjected to 
perform the ritual observances prescribed to his own 
class." This passage limits the period of idol worship 
and explains what practices are its necessary accom 

Vyas then proceeds : " Further, man, by charity 
" to the needy, by honour to others, by friendship, and 
" by an equal regard to all, shall direct his worship to 
" me who, by residing in the heart, dwell in all living, 

* Spiritual Devotion is of two kinds. The first consists in 
meditation on the soul being of divine origin. A continuance of 
such meditation is believed to have a tendency to rescue the soul 
from all human feelings and passions, and thereby the soul is 
ultimately brought to its original divine perfection far surpassing 
both human search and description. This is the state which is 
commonly called absorption. The devotees who adhere to this 
mode of devotion being supposed naturally incapable of committing, 
any moral or social crime, are not subjected to the precepts or 
prohibitions found in the Shastrus. 

The second kind of devotion consists in believing that the 
Deity is possessed of all the attributes of perfection such as 
omnipresence, omnipotence, &c., and that the individual sentient 
soul is, in its present state of material connection, separate from,- 
and dependent on, the Deity. Besides, the practice of charity 
&c., as mentioned in this text are enjoined on the performers of 
this mode of devotion as their religious duties. This class of 
devotees enjoy, after death, eternal beatitude in the highest 
heaven, as existences separate from the deity and form eachother, 
\yhile worshippers by means of forms, as the Vedant affirms, enjoy 
only temporary bliss. 


Vyas continues in six and a half verses beginning, 
with the following verse," Animate objects are preferable 
to inanimate," &c. ; and ending with the following 
sentence, " He to whom these four duties are prescribed 
in the above text shall, mentally, do reverence and 
profess much respect to all creatures, according to the 
different degrees of their visible excellences." He 
(Vyas) then concludes : Man shall respect them " by 
observing that the all powerful Lord is in the heart 
watching over the soul. " * Hence the author himself 
explains that the observance of "an equal regard to all" 
creatures directed in the above verse is in reference to 
their being equally related to the divine Spirit and not 
in reference to their qualities or identities. 

It follows therefore that passages enjoining worship 
by means of forms, and passages dissuading from such 

From what I have noticed as to the two kinds of notions 
entertained respecting spiritual devotion, the reader will perceive 
the reason why a teacher of spiritual knowledge sometimes is 
justified in speaking of the Deity in the first person, in reference 
to the assumed divine nature of his soul, although in the same 
discourse, he again treats of God in the third person, in reference 
to the present separated and subordinate state of the soul. 

* " Two birds, cohabitant and coessential, reside unitedly in 
one tree which is the body. O>ie of them {the soul] consumes the 
variously tasted fruits of its actions : but the other (God) without 
partaking of them, witnesses all events" Moondnkopnnishud t 
ch. the yd. 

" God as being resplendent and most proximate to all creat ures 
is styled the operator in the heart." Moondttk the second, Section 
the 2nd. 


worship, should be separately applied to those who 
entertain those different sentiments.* 

* Under the Christian dispensation, worship through matter 
seems unauthorised ; John ch : IV. v. 21 " The hour cometh 
when ye shall, neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, 
worship the Father &c." 23 " But the hour cometh and now is, 
when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and 
in truth " c. ; although in the Juaical religion such worship was 
sanctioned, as appears from the Books of Leviticus and others, 
and even from the above quoted verses of the Gospel of John. 










My object in publishing this tract is to recommend those 
to whom it is addressed, to avoid using harsh or abusive 
language in their religious intercourse with European 
Missionaries, either resecpting them or the objects of their 
worship, however much this may be countenanced by the 
example of some of these Gentlemen. 

P. K. T. 


Those who firmly believe on the authority of the 
Veds, that " God is ONE only without an equal," and that 
" He cannot be known either through the medium of 
language, thought, or vision : how can he be known 
except as existing, the origin and support of the uni 
verse ? " and who endeavour to regulate their conduct 
by the following precept, " He who is desirous of eternal 
happiness should regard another as he regards himself, 
and the happiness and misery of another as his own," 
ought to manifest the warmest affection towards such of 
their own countrymen as maintain the same faith and 
practice, even although they have not all studied the 
Veds for themselves, but have professed a belief in God 
only through an acquaintance with their general design. 
Many among the ten classes of Sunnyasees, and all the 
followers of Gooroo Nanuk. of Dadoo, and of Kubeer, 
as well as of Suntu &c., profess the religious sentiments 
above mentioned. It is our unquestionable duty invari 
ably to treat them as brethren. No doubt should be 
entertained of their future salvation, merely because 
they receive instructions, and practise their sacred music, 
in the vernacular dialect. For Yajnuvulkyu, with a refer 
ence to those who cannot sing the Hymns of the Veds, 

* Of this, like the previous treatise, Raja Ram Mohun Roy was 
the author, as will be apprent from the Jmost superficial reading of 
it, Prusunnu Kumar Thakoor s name was put to this as the Raja 
vas fond of writing anonymously and of giving the names of others 
to his own works. ED. 


has said " The divine hymns Rik, Gatha^ Panika^ and 
Dukshubihita should be sung ; because by their constant 
use man attains supreme beautitude." " He who is skil 
led in playing on the lute (veena), who is intimately ac- 
quainted with the various tones and harmonies, and who 
is able to beat time in music, will enter without difficulty 
upon the road of salvation." Again the Shivu Dhurmu 
as quoted by Rughoonundun, says, " He is reputed a 
Gooroo who according to the capacity of his disciple 
instructs him in Sunskrit whether pure or corrupt, in the 
current language of the country, or by any other means." 

Amongst foreigners, those Europeans who believe 
God to be in every sense ONE, and worship HIM ALONE 
in spirit, and who extend their benevolence to man as 
the highest service to God, should be regarded by us 
with affection, on the ground of the object of their 
worship being the same as ours. We should feel no 
reluctance to co-operate with them in religious matters, 
merely because they consider Jesus Christ as the Mes 
senger of God and their Spiritual Teacher ; for oneness 
in the object of worship and sameness of religious prac 
tice should produce attachment between the worship 

Amongst Europeans, those who believe Jesus Christ 
to be God himself, and conceive him to be possessed of 
a particular form, and maintain Father, Son, and Holy 
Ghost to be one God, should not be treated in an un 
friendly manner. On the contrary, we should act to 
wards them in the same manner as we act towards those 
of our countrymen who, without forming any external 
image, mediate upon Ram and other supposed incarna 
tions, and believe in their unity. 


A^ain, those amongst Europeans who believing Jesus 
Christ to be the Supreme Being moreover construct 
various images of him, should not be hated. On the 
contrary, it becomes us to act towards those Europeans 
in the same manner as we act towards such as believe 
Ram &c. to be incarnations of God, and form external 
images of them. For the religious principle of the two 
last mentioned sects of foreigners are one and the same 
with those of the two similar sects among Hondoos, 
although they are clothed in a different garb. 

When any belonging to the second and third classes 
of Europeans endeavour to make converts of us, the 
believers in the only living and true God, even then we 
should feel no resentment towards them, but rather com 
passion, on account of their blindness to the errors into 
which they themselvs have fallen. Since it is almost 
impossible, as every day s experience teaches us, for 
men, when possessed of wealth and power, to perceive 
their own defects. 


THIS INDENTURE made the eighth day of 
January in the Year of Christ one thousand eight hun 
dred and thirty between DWARKANAUTH TAGORE of 
Jorasankoe in the Town of Calcutta Zumeendor, 
KALEENAUTH ROY of Burranugur in the Zillah of 
Havelly in the Suburbs of Calcutta aforesaid Zumeen- 
dar, PRUSSUNNOCOOMAR TAGORE of Pattoriaghatta in 
Calcutta aforesaid Zumeendar, RAMCHUNDER BIDYA- 
BAGISH of Simlah in Calcutta aforesaid Pundit and 
RAMMOHUN ROY of Manicktullah in Calcutta aforesaid 
Zumeendar of the one part and BOYKONTONAUTH ROY 
of Burranugur in the Zillah of Havelly in the Suburbs 
of the Town of Calcutta aforesaid Zumeendar, RADA- 
PERSUAD ROY of Mauicktullah in Calcutta aforesaid 
Zumeendar and RAMANAUTH TAGORE of Jorasankoe 
rn Calcutta aforesaid Banian (Trustees named and 
appointed for the purposes hereinafter mentioned) of 
the other part witnesseth that for and in considera 
tion of the sum of Sicca Rupees Ten of Lawful money 
of Bengal by the said Boykontonauth Roy Radapersaud 
Roy and Ramanauth Tagore to the said Dwarkanauth 
Tagore Kaleenauth Roy Prussunnocoomar Tagore Ram 
Chunder Bidyabagish and Rammohun Roy in hand 
paid at and before the sealing and delivery of these 

* This is a faithful reprint of the original. It was also pub 
lished in the Tattwabodhini Patrika, No. 90, for Magh, 1772 Sak. 


Presents (the receipt whereof they the said Dwarkanauth 
Tagore Kaleenauth Roy Prussunnocoomar Tagor Ram- 
chtmder Bidyabagish and Rammohun Roy do and each 
and every of them doth hereby acknowledge) and for 
settling and assuring the messuage land tenements 
hereditaments and premises hereinafter mentioned to be 
hereby granted and released to for and upon such uses 
trusts intents and purposes as are hereafter expressed 
and declared of and concerning the same and for 
divers other good Causes and Considerations them 
hereunto especially moving they the said Dwarkanauth 
Tagore Kaleenauth Roy Prussunoceomar Tagore Ram- 
chunder Bidyabagish and Rammohun Roy Have and 
each and every of them Hath granted bargained sold 
aliened released and confirmed and by these presents 
Do and each and every of them Doth grant bargain sell 
alien release and confirm unto the said Boykontonauth 
Roy Radapersaud Roy and Ramanauth Tagore their 
heirs and assigns all that brick built messuage (hereafter 
to be used as a place for religious worship as is herein 
after more fully expressed and declared) Building or 
Tenement with the piece or parcel of Land or Ground 
thereunto belonging and on part whereof the same is 
erected and built containing by estimation four Cottahs 
and two Chittacks be the same a little more or less 
situate lying and being in the Chitpore Road in 
Sootanooty in the Town of Calcutta aforesaid and 
butted and bounded as follows (that is to say) on the 
north by the House and Ground now or formerly 
belonging to one Fooloorey Rutton on the south by the 
House and Ground formerly belonging to one Ram- 
kristno Kur since deceased on the east by the House 


and Ground now or formerly belonging to one 
Fooloorey Rutton on the south by the House and 
Ground formerly belonging to one Ramkristno Kur 
since deceased on the east by the House and Ground 
now or formerly belonging to one Radamoney Bhamon- 
ney and on the west by the said public Road or 
Street commonly called Chitpore Road or howso 
ever otherwise the said messuage building land tene 
ments and hereditament or any of them now are or 
is or heretofore were or was situated tenanted called 
known described or distinguished and all other the 
messuages lands tenements and hereditaments (if any) 
which are or are expressed or intended to be described 
or comprised in a certain Indenture of bargain and 
sale hereinafter referred to together with all and 
singular the out houses offices edifices buildings erections 
Compounds Yards walls ditches hedges fences enclosures 
ways paths passages woods under-woods shrubs timber 
and other trees entrances casements lights privileges 
profits benifits emoluments advantages rights titles 
members appendages and appurtenances Whatsoever to 
the said messuage building land tenements herenita- 
ments and permises or any part or parcel thereof 
belonging or in any wise appertaining or with the same 
or any part or parcel thereof now or at any time or 
times heretofore held used occupied possessed or 
enjoyed or accepted reputed deemed taken or known 
as part parcel or member thereof or any part thereof 
(all which said messuage building land tenements 
hereditaments and premises are now in the actual poss 
ession of or legally vested in the said Boykontonauth 
Roy Radapersaud Roy and Rarnanauth Tagore by 


virtue of a bargain and sale to them thereof made by 
the said Dwarkanauth Tagore Kaleenauth Roy Prus- 
sunnocoomar Tagore Ramchunder Bidyabagish and 
Rammohun Roy for Sicca Rupees Five Consideration 
by an Indenture bearing date the day next before the 
day of the date and executed previous to the sealing 
and delivery of these Presents for the Term of one 
whole Year Commencing from the day next preceding 
the day of the date of the same Indenture and by force 
of the statute made for transferring uses into possession 
and the remainder and remainders reversion and rever 
sions Yearly and other rents issues and profits thereof 
and all the Estate Right Title interest trust use posses 
sion inheritance property profit benefit claim and 
demand whatsoever both at Law and in Equity of 
them the said Dwarkanath Tagore Kalleenanth Roy 
Prussunnocoomar Tagore Ramchunder Bidyabagish and 
and Rammohun Roy respectively of into upon or out 
of the same or any part thereof Together with all deeds 
Pottahs evidences muniments and writings whatsoever 
which relate to the said premises or any part theroef and 
which now are or hereafter shall or may be in the hands 
possession or custody of the said Dwarkanauth Tagore 
Kalleenauth Roy Prussunnocoomar Tagore Ramchunder 
Bidyabagish and Rammohun Roy their heirs executors 
administrators or representatives or of any person or 
persons from whom he or they can or may procure the 
same without action or suit at Law or in Equity. To 
have and to hold the said Messuage Building land 
tenements hereditaments and all and singular other the 
premises hereinbefore and in the said Indenture of 
^bargain or sale described and mentioned and hereby 


granted and released or intended so to be and every part 
and parcel thereof with their and every of their rights 
members and appurtenances unto the said Boykontonauth 
Roy Rada Persaud Roy and Ramanauth Tagore their 
heirs and assigns but to the uses nevertheless upon the 
trusts and to and for the ends intents and purposes 
hereinafter declared and expressed of and concerning the 
same and to and for no other ends intends and purposes 
whatsoever (that is to say ) To the use of the said 
Boykontonauth Roy Radapersaud Roy Ramanauth 
Tagore or the survivors or survivor of them or the heirs 
of such survivor or their or his assigns upon Trust 
and in confidence that they the said Boykontonauth 
Roy Radapersaud Roy and Ramanauth Tagore or the 
survivors or survivor of them or the heirs of such 
survivors or their or his assigns shall and do from time 
to time and at all times for ever hereafter permit and 
suffer the said messuage or building land tenements 
hereditaments and premises with their appurtenances to 
be used occupied enjoyed applied and appropriated as 
and for a place of public meeting of all sorts and des 
criptions of people without distinction as shall behave 
and conduct themselves in an orderly sober religious 
and devout manner for the worship and adoration of 
the Eternal Unsearchable and Immutable Being who 
is the Author and Preserver of the Universe but not 
^under or by any other name designation or title pecu 
liarly used for and applied to any particular Being or 
Beings by any man or set of men whatsoever and that 
no graven image statue or sculpture carving painting 
picture portrait or the likeness of any thing shall be 
admitted within the said messuages building land tene- 


ments hereditaments and premises and that no sacrifice 
offering or oblation of any kind or thing shall ever be 
permitted therein and that no animal or living creature 
shall within or on the said messuage building land tene 
ments hereditaments and premises be deprived of life 
either for religious purposes or for food and that no 
eating or drinking (except such as shall be necessary 
by any accident for the preservation of life) feasting 
or rioting be permitted therein or thereon and that in 
conducting the said worship and adoration no object 
animate or inanimate that has been or is or shall here 
after become or be recognized as an object of worship 
by any man or set of men shall be reviled or slightingly or 
contemptuously spoken of or alluded to either in preaching 
praying or in the hymns or other mode of worship that 
may be delivered or used in the said Messuage or 
Building and that no sermon preaching discourse prayer 
or hymn be delivered made or used in such worship 
but such as have a tendency to the promotion of the 
contemplation of the Author and Preserver of the 
Universe to the promotion of charity morality piety 
benevolence virtue and the strengthening the bonds 
of union Between men of all religious persuations and 
creeds and also that a person of Good repute and well 
known for his knowledge piety and morality be em 
ployed by the said trustees or the survivors or survivor 
of them or the heirs of such survivor or their or his 
assigns as a resident Superintendent and for the purpose 
of superintending the worship so to be performed as is 
hereinbefore stated and expressed and that such wor 
ship be performed daily or at least as often as once in 
seven days Provided always and it is hereby declared 


and agreed by and between the parties to these presents 
that in case the several Trustees in and by these presents 
named and appointed or any of them or any other 
succeeding Trustees or Trustee of the said trust estate 
and premises for the time being to be nominated or 
appointed as herinafter is mentioned shall depart this 
life or be desirous to be discharged of or from the afore 
said Trusts or shall refuse or neglect of become incap 
able by or in any manner to act in the said trusts then 
and in such case and from time to time as often and 
as soon as any such event shall happen it shall be law 
ful for the said Dwarkananth Tagore Kalleenauth Roy 
Prussunnocoomar Tagore Ramchunder Bidyabagish and 
Rammohnn Roy during their joint lives or the survivors 
or survivor of them after the death of any or either of them 
jointly and in concurrence with the Trustees or Trustee 
for the time being and in case of and after the death of 
the survivor of them the said Dwarkanauth Tagore Kalee- 
nauth Rov Prussunocoomar Tagore Ramchunder Bidya 
bagish and Rammohun Roy then for the said Trustees or 
Trustee by any deed or writing under their or his hands 
and seals or hand and seal to be attested by two or more 
credible Witnesses to nominate substitute and appoint 
some other fit person or persons to supply the place of 
the Trustees or Trustee respectively so dying desiring to 
be discharged or refusing or neglecting or becoming 
incapable by or in any manner to act as aforesaid and 
that immediately after any such appointment shall be 
made all and every the messuage or building land 
tenements and hereditaments premises which under 
and by virtue of these presents shall be then vested 
in the Trustees or Trustee so dying^ desiring to be 


discharged or refusing or neglecting or becoming incap 
able by or in any manner to act as aforesaid shall be 
conveyed transferred assigned and assured so and in 
such manner that the same shall and may be legally 
fully and absolutely vested in the Trustees or Trustee so 
to be appointed in their or his room or stead either 
solely and alone or jointly with the surviving continuing 
or acting Trustees or Trustee as the case may require 
and in his or their heirs or assigns to the uses upon the 
Trusts and to and for the several ends intents and pur 
poses hereinbefore declared or expressed concerning the 
same and that every such new Trustees or Trustee shall 
and may act and assist in the management carrying on 
and execution of the Trusts to which they or he shall be 
so appointed (although they or he shall not have been 
invested with the seisin of the Trustees or Trustee to 
whose places or place they or he shall have succeeded) 
either jointly with the surviving continuing or other 
acting Trustees or Trustee or solely as the case may 
require in such and the like manner and in all respects 
as if such new Trustees or Trustee had been originally 
appointed by these presents Provided lastly and it is 
hereby further declared and agreed by and between the 
said Parties to these presents that no one or more of the 
said Trustees shall be answerable or accountable for the 
otner and others of them nor for the acts defaults or 
omissions of the other or others of them any consent 
permission or privity by any or either of them to any act 
deed or thing to or by the other or others of them done 
with an intent and for the purpose only of faciliting the 
Execution of the trusts of these presents notwithstand 
ing nor shall any new appointed Trustees or Trustee or 


their or his heirs or assigns be answerable or accounta 
ble for the acts deeds neglects defaults or omissions of 
any Trustees or Taustee in or to whose place or places 
they or he shall or may succeed but such of them the 
the said Trustees shall be answerable accountable and 
responsible for his own respective acts deeds neglects 
defaults or omissions only and the said Dwarkanauth 
Tagore Kaleenauth Roy Prussunnocoomer Tagore Ram- 
chunder Bidyabagish and Rammohun Roy do hereby 
for themselves severally and respectively and for their 
several and respective heirs executors adminstrators 
and respresentatives covenant grant declareand agree with 
and to the said Boykontonauth Roy Radapersaud Roy 
and Ramanauth Tagore their heirs and assigns in manner 
Following (that is to say) that for and notwithstanding 
any act deed matter or thing whatsoever heretofore by 
the said Dwarkanauth Tagore Kaleenauth Roy Prus- 
sunnocoomar Tagore Ramchunder Bidyabagish and 
Rammohun Roy or any or either of them had made done 
committed willingly or willingly omitted or sufferred to 
the contrary they the said Dworkanauth Tagore Kalee 
nauth Roy Prussunnocoomer Tagore Ramchuder Bidya 
bagish and Rammohun Roy at the time of the sealing and 
delivery of these presents are or one of them is lawfully 
rightfully and absolutely seized in their or his demesne as 
of Fee in their or his own right and to their or his own 
use of the said messuage building land tenements here 
ditaments and premises mentioned and intended to b e 
hereby granted and released with the app urtenances both 
at Law and in Equity as of in and for a good sure 
perfect and indefeasible estate of inheritance in fee 
simple in possession and in severally without any 


Condition Contingent Trust Proviso power of limitation 
or revocation of any use or uses or any other restraint 
matter or thing whatsoever which can or may Alter 
Change Charge determine lessen incumber defeat 
prejudicially affect or make void the same or defeat 
determine abridge or vary the uses or trusts hereby 
declared and expressed and also that they the said 
Dwarkanauth Tagore Kaleenauth Roy Prussunnocoomar 
Tagore Ramchunder Bidyabagish and Rammohun Roy 
(for and notwithstanding any such act deed matter or 
thing as aforesaid) or some of them now have in them 
selves or one of them hath in himself full power and 
Lawful and Absolute Authority by these presents to 
grant bargain sell release and assure the said messuage 
land tekements hereditaments and premises mentioned 
and intended to be hereby granted and Released with 
the appurtenances and the possession reversion and 
inheritance thereof unto and to the use of the said 
Boykontonauth Roy Radapersaud Roy and Ramanauth 
Tagore and their heirs to the uses upon the Trusts and 
to and for the ends intents and purposes hereinbefore 
expressed or declared of and concerning the same 
according to the True intent and meaning of these 
presents and further that said m essuage or build 
ing land tenements hereditaments and premises 
with their rights members and appurtenancas shall 
from time to time and at all times hereafter remain 
continue and be to the use upon the Trusts and 
for the ends intents and purposes herein before 
declared or expressed concerning the same and shall 
and lawfully may be peaceably and quietly holden 
and enjoyed and applied and appropriated accordingly 


without the let suit hindrance claim demand interrup 
tion or denial of the said Dwarkanauth Tagore Kalee- 
nauth Roy Prussunnocoomar Tagore Ramchunder Bidya- 
bagsih and Ramimhon Roy or any or either of them or 
any or either of their heirs representatives or of any other 
person or persons now or hereafter claiming or to claim 
or possessing any estate right title trust or interest of in 
to or out of the same or any part or parcel thereof by 
from under or in trust for them or any or either of them 
and that free and clear and clearly and absolutely acquit 
ted exonerated and discharged or otherwise by the said 
Dwarkanauth Tagore Kaleenauth Roy Prussunnocoomar 
Tagore Ramchunder Bidyabagish and Rammohon Roy 
or any or either of them their or any or either of their 
Heirs executors administrators and representatives well 
and sufficiently saved harmless and kept indemnified of 
from and against all and all manner of former and other 
gifts grants bargains Sales Leases Mortgages uses wills 
devises rents arrears of rents estates titles charges and 
other incumbrances whatsoever had made done commit 
ted created suffered or executed by the said Dwarka 
nauth Tagore Kaleenauth Roy Prussunocoomar Tagore 
Ramchunder Bidvabagish and Ram Mohon Ray or any 
or either of them or any or either of their heirs or re 
presentatives or any person or persons now or hereafter 
rightfully claiming or posseessing any estate right title or 
interest at Law or in Equity from through uuder 
or in trust for them or any or either of them or 
with their or any or either of their consent privity 
or procurement or acts means or defaults and more 
Over that the said Dwarkanauth Tagore Kaleenauth 
Roy Prussunnocoomar Tagore Ramchunder Bidya- 


bagish and Rammohun Roy or their heirs and represen 
tatives and all and every other person or persons whom- 
sover now or hereafter lawfully epuitably and rightfully 
claiming or possessing any estate right title use trust or 
interest either at Law or in Equity of into upon or out 
of the said messuage land tenaments hereditaments and 
premises mentioned or intended to be hereby granted 
and released with the appurtenances or any part thereof 
by from under or in trust for them or any or either of 
them shall and will from time to time and at all times 
hereafter at the reasonable request of the said Boykon- 
tonauth Roy Radapersaud Roy and Ramanauth Tagore 
or the survivors or survivor of them or the heirs of the 
survivor of their or his assigns make do acknowledge 
suffer execute and perfect all and every such further 
and other lawful and reasonable acts things deeds con 
veyances and assurances in the Law whatsoever for the 
further better more perfectly absolutely and satisfactorily 
granting conveying releasing confirming and assuring the 
said messuage or building land tenements hereditaments 
and premises mentioned to be hereby granted and relea 
sed and every part and parcel thereof and the possession 
reversion and inheritance of the same with their and 
every of their appurtenances unto the said Boykonto- 
nauth Roy Radapersaud Roy and Ramanauth 
Tagore or other the Trustees or Trustee for the time 
being and their .heirs for the uses upon the Trusts and 
to and for the ends intents and purposes hereinbefore 
declared and expressed as by the said Trustees and 
Trustee or his or their counsel learned in the Law shall 
be reasonably devised or advised and required so as 
such further assurance or assurances contain or imply in 


them no further or other Warranty or Covenants on the 
part of the person or persons who shall be required to 
make or execute the same then for or against the acts 
deeds omissions or defaults of him her or them or his her 
or their heirs executors adminstrators and so that he 
she or they be not compelled or compellable to go or 
travel from the usual place of his her or their respective 
abode for making or executing the same In witness 
whereof the said parties to these presents have hereunto 
subscribed and set their hands and seals the day and: 
Year first within written. 

Dwarkanauth Roy Tagore. 
Callynauth Roy 
Prossonnocoomar Tagore. 

Rammohon Roy. 
Boycontonauth Roy. 
Radapersaud Roy. 
Ramanauth Tagore. 

Sealed and Delivered at Calcutta 
aforesaid in the presence of 

J. Fountain. 
Atty. at Law. 

Ramgopaul Day. 



In conformity with the wish, you have frequently 
expressed, that I should give you an outline of my life, 
I have now the pleasure to give you the following very 
brief sketch. 

My ancestors were Brahmins of a high order, and, 
from time immemorial, were devoted to the religious 
duties of their race, down to my fifth progenitor, who 
about one hundred and forty years ago gave up 
spiritual exercises for worldly pursuits and aggrandise 
ment. His descendants ever since have followed his 
example, and, according to the usual fate of courtiers, 
with various success, sometimes rising to honour and 
sometimes falling ;sometimes rich and sometimes poor; 
sometimes excelling in success, sometimes miserable 
through disappointment. But my maternal ancestors, 

* Miss Carpenter thus introduced this Autobiographical Sketch 
into her book, Last days in England of Raja Ram Mohon 
Roy : 

"The folio-wing letter from Ram mohon Roy himself first appea 
red in the * Athenseum, and in the Literary Gazette ; from one 
or other of which it was copied into various newspapers. It was 
written just before he went to France. It was probably designed 
for some distinguished person who had desired him to give an out 
line of his history ; and he adopted this form for the purpose. The 
letter may be considered as addressed to his friend Mr- Gordon, of 
Calcutta." ED. 


being of the sacerdotal order by profession as well as by 
birth, and of a family than which none holds a higher 
rank in that profession, have up to the present day uni 
formly adhered to a life of religious observances and 
devotion, preferring peace and tranquility of mind to 
the excitements of ambition, and all the allurements of 
wordly grandeur. 

In conformity with the usage of my paternal race, 
and the wish of my father, I studied the Persian and 
Arabic languages, 

these being indispensable to those who attached them 
selves to the courts of the Mahommedan princes ; and 
agreeably to the usage of my maternal relations, I devo 
ted myself to the study of the Sanscrit and the theolo 
gical works written in it, which contain the body of 
Hindoo literature, law and religion. 
When about the age of sixteen, I composed a manuscript 
calling in question the validity of the idolatrous system 
of the Hindoos. This, togather with my known senti 
ments on that subject, having produced a coolness bet 
ween me and my immediate kindred, I proceeded on 
my travels, and passed through different countries, 
chiefly within, but some beyond, the bonnds of Hindoo- 
stan, with a feeling of great aversion to the establishment 
of the British power in India. When I had reached 
the age of twenty, my father recalled me, and restored 
me to his favour ; after which I first saw andbegan to 
associate with Europeans, and soon after made myself 
tolerably acquainted with their laws and form of govern 
ment. Finding them generally more intelligent, more 
steady and moderate in their conduct, I gave up my 
prejudice against them, and became inclined in their 


favour, feeling persuaded that their rule, though a for 
eign yoke, would lead more speedily and surely to the 
amelioration of the native inhabitants ; and I enjoyed 
the confidence of several of them even in their public 
capacity. My continued controversies with the Brahmins 
on the subject of their idolatry and superstition, and my 
interference with their custom of burning widows, and 
other pernicious practices, revied and increased their 
animosity against me ; and through their influence with 
my family, my father was again obliged to withdraw his 
countenance openly, though his limited pecuniary support 
was still continued to me. 

After my father s death I opposed the advocates of 
idolatry with still greater boldness. Availing myself of 
the art of printing, now established in India, I published 
various works and pamphlets against their errors, in the 
native and foreign languages. This raised such a feeling 
against me, that I was at last deserted by every person 
except two or three Scotch friends, to whom, and the 
nation to which they belong, I always feel grateful. 

The ground which I took in all my controversies was, 
not that of opposition to Brahmmism^ but to a perver 
sion of it ; and I endeavoured to show that the idolatry 
of the Brahmins was contrary to the practice of their 
ancestors, and the principles of the ancient books and 
authorities which they profess to revere and obey. Not 
withstanding the violence of the opposition and resis 
tance to my opinions, several highly respectable persons, 
both among my own relation and others, began to adopt 
the same sentiments. 

I now felt a strong wish to visit Europe, and obtain 
by personal observation, a more thorough insight into 


its manners, customs, religion, and political institution. 
I refrained, however, from carrying this intention into 
effect until the friends who coincided in my sentiments 
should be increased in number and strength. My ex 
pectations having been at length realised, in November, 
1830, I embarked for England, as the discussion of the 
East India Company s charter was expected to come on, 
by which the treatment of the natives of India, and its 
future government, would be determined for many years 
to come, and an appeal to the King in Council, against 
the abolition of the practice of burning widows, was to 
be heard before thePrivy Council ; and his Majesty the 
Emperor of Delhi had likewise commissioned me to 
bring before the authorities in England certain encroch- 
ments on his rights by the East India Company. I 
acordingly arrived in England in April, 1831. 

I hope you will excuse the brevity of this sketch, as 
I have no leisure at present to enter into particulars, and 

I remain, &c., 


SEVER \L of my friends having expessed a wish to 
be possessed of copies of my Translation of the Veds, 
and Controversies with those Brahmuns who are 
advocates for idolatry, I have collected for republication 
such of those tracts as I could find, either among my 
own papers or those of my friends who happened to 
have brought them from India, and now offer them 
to the public in their original form. 

I feel induced to set forth here, briefly, the subs 
tance of these writings, to facilitate the comprehension, 
of their purport, as being foreign to the generality of 
European readers. The Veds (or properly speaking, 
the spiritual parts of them) uniformly declare, that man 
is prone by nature, or by habit, to reduce the object 
or objects of his veneration and worship (though ad 
mitted to be unknown) to tangible forms, ascribing to 
such objects attributes, supposed excellent according 
to his own notions : whence idolatry, gross or refined, 
takes its origin, and perverts the true course of intellect 
to vain fancies. These authorities, therefore, hold 
out precautions against framing a deity after human 

* This Introduction appears in the Translation of several 
principal Books, Passages, and Texts of the Veds, and of some 
controversial works on Brahmunical Theology which Ram Mohun 
Roy published in London in 1832, and from which many of the 
tracts contained in this volume have been reprinted. ED. 


imagination, and recommend mankind to direct alii 
researches towards the surrounding objects, viewed 
either collectively or individually, bearing in mind their 
regular, wise and wonderful combinations and arrange 
ments, since such researches cannot fail, they affirm, 
to lead an unbiassed mind to a notion of a Supreme 
Existence, who so sublimely designs and disposes- of 
them, as is every where traced through the universe. 
The same Veds represent rites and external worship 1 
addressed to the planets and elementary objects, or 
personified abstract notions, as well as to deified heroes,. 
as intended for persons of mean capacity ; but enjoin 
spiritual devotion, as already described, benevolence,, 
and self-control, as the only means of securing bliss. 


London, July 23, r832. 

P. S. In all the following Translations, except the Cena 
Upanishad, the mode of spelling Sanscrit words in English,, 
adopted by Dr. J. 1$. Gilchrist, has been observed. 








Rammohun Roy, Raja 

The English works of Raja 
Rammohun Roy