by Jean Delaire in the September 1908 issue of The National Review (no, not that one):
Man has ever desired above all things to know whence he comes and whither he goes, as he passes "from eternity to eternity across the narrow bridge of Time"…
What is India's answer to the question regarding man's origin and destiny, as given in her ancient sacred Scriptures? All the vast system of faith known as Hinduism might be expressed in two words: Divine realisation. Man is one with the Deity. Man must realise this oneness with the Deity: this is the cornerstone of Hinduism…
[W]hat we call sin is nothing but ignorance, the folly of the child preceding the wisdom of the grown man. Not limiting, as we do, man's life to three score years and ten, the Hindu believes that souls in incarnation are of different ages, and the sinner is merely a young soul, a child-Ego, that has not yet, through repeated incarnations, learnt all his lessons in the great school of life. Man is the maker of his own destiny. "As the sowing, thus the reaping," declared the Hindu Scriptures long before St. Paul had said: "Whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap." And this great law of Cause and Effect that acts on the moral and mental, as well as on the material plane, holds man in its grip until knowledge sets him free—knowledge that the self within and the Self of the universe are one. "If a man fails to know (the Supreme Self) ere casting off the body, he will be re-embodied in creation's worlds. … If he knows (the Supreme Self) the mortal is free: To deathlessness he goes" (Katho-panishad), in other words, he enters Nirvana, he "becomes one with Bráhman." Thus knowledge, in its higher aspect of wisdom, is India's method of salvation: To "enter the Supreme Abode," to "attain the Nirvana of Bráhman," man must "see the Self in all things and all things in the Self;" by this knowledge only man is freed from "the Wheel of Births and Deaths.”
That this ideal was not a sterile one, a metaphysical flight that ignored the sins and sorrows of this world—illusive though this world-pageant was deemed—is shown in countless beautiful passages of the Hindu Sacred Books [Ed. note: Jean attributes these quotes to the Mahâbhârata]:
The wise man remembers only the good, never the evil, that has been done unto him: he doeth good without hope of reward. … In this world there is nothing dearer to a creature than its life: hence one should show compassion to the lives of others as one does to one's own life. … One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one's own self: this, in brief, is the rule of righteousness. … One should forgive under every injury. … Forgiveness is asceticism, forgiveness is holiness. … Abstention from injury, truthfulness of speech, benevolence, compassion—these are regarded as penances by the wise, and not the emaciation of the body. … Love all creatures, scorning none. Be truthful in speech, humble, with passions under complete control.
/misc | Aug 28, 2022
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