« AnteriorContinuar »
the lower forms of bodily life to higher ones. They do not accomplish the great end, which is absorption and escape from Maya, but they prepare the way for it by causing one to be born in a higher condition.
The second system of philosophy, the Sankhya of Kapila, is founded not on one principle, like the Vedanta, but on two. According to the seventy aphorisms, Nature is one of these principles. It is uncreated and eternal. It is one, active, creating, non-intelligent. The other of the two principles, also uncreated and eternal, is Soul, or rather Souls. Souls are many, passive, not creative, intelligent, and in all things the opposite to Nature. But from the union of the two all the visible universe proceeds, according to the law of cause and effect.
God not being recognized in this system, it is often called atheism. Its argument, to show that no perfect being could create the universe, is this. Desire implies want, or imperfection. Accordingly, if God desired to create, he would be unable to do so; if he was able, he would not desire to do it. In neither case, therefore, could God have created the universe. The gods are spoken of by the usual names, Brahma, Indra, etc., but are all finite beings, belonging to the order of human souls, though superior
Every soul is clothed in two bodies, — the interior original body, the individualizing force, which is eternal as itself and accompanies it through all its migrations; and the material, secondary body, made of the five elements, ether, air, fire, water, and earth. The original body is subtile and spiritual. It is the office of Nature to liberate the Soul. Nature is not what we perceive by the senses, but an invisible plastic principle behind, which must be known by the intellect. As the Soul ascends by goodness, it is freed by knowledge. The final result of this emancipation is the certainty of non-existence, —“neither I am, nor is aught mine, nor do I exist,” — which seems to be the same result as that of Hegel, Being = NotBeing. Two or three of the aphorisms of the Karika are as follows:
“LIX. As a dancer, having exhibited herself to the specta
tor, desists from the dance, so does Nature desist, having manifested herself to the Soul."
“LX. Generous Nature, endued with qualities, does by manifold means accomplish, without benefit (to herself ), the wish of ungrateful Soul, devoid of qualities.”
· LXI. Nothing, in my opinion, is more gentle than Nature ; once aware of having been seen, she does not again expose herself to the gaze of Soul.”
" LXVI. Soul desists, because it has seen Nature. Nature desists, because she has been seen. In their (mere) union there is no motive for creation."
Accordingly, the result of knowledge is to put an end to creation, and to leave the Soul emancipated from desire, from change, from the material body, in a state which is Being, but not Existence (esse, not existere; Seyn, not Da-seyn).
This Sánkhya philosophy becomes of great importance, when we consider that it was the undoubted source of Buddhism. This doctrine which we have been describing was the basis of Buddhism.*
M. Cousin has called it the sensualism of India,+ but certainly without propriety. It is as purely ideal a doctrine as that of the Vedas. Its two eternal principles are both ideal. The plastic force which is one of them, Kapila distinctly declares cannot be perceived by the senses. Soul, the other eternal and uncreated principle, who is witness, solitary, bystander, spectator, and passive,” Ş is not only spiritual itself, but is clothed with a spiritual body, within the material body. In fact, the Karika declares the material universe to be the result of the contact of the Soul with Nature, and consists in chains with which Nature binds herself, for the purpose (uncon
* Burnouf, Introduction à l'Histoire du Buddhisme Indien, I. 511, 520. He says that Sakya-Muni began his career with the ideas of the Sánkhya philosophy, namely, absence of God; multiplicity and eternity of human souls ; an eternal plastic nature ; transmigration ; and Nirvana, or deliverance by knowledge.
+ Cours de l'Histoire de Philosophie, I. 200 (Paris, 1829) ; quoted by Hardwick, 1. 211.
# Karika, 8. “ It is owing to the subtilty of Nature .... that it is not apprehended by the senses." & Karika, 19.
scious) of delivering the Soul. When by a process of knowledge the Soul looks through these, and perceives the ultimate principle beyond, the material universe ceases, and both Soul and Nature are emancipated.*
One of the definitions of the Karika will call to mind the fourfold division of the universe by the great thinker of the ninth century, Erigena. In his work, nepi púoews peplouoü, he asserts that there is, (1.) A Nature which creates and is not created. (2.) A Nature which is created and creates. (3.) A Nature which is created and does not create. (4.) A Nature which neither creates nor is created. So Kapila (Karika, 3) says, "Nature, the root of all things, is productive but not a production. Seven principles are productions and productive. Sixteen are productions but not productive. Soul is neither a production nor productive."
Mr. Muir (Sanskrit Texts, Part III. p. 96) quotes the following passages in proof of the antiquity of Kapila, and the respect paid to his doctrine in very early times :
Svet. Upanishad. “The God who superintends every mode of production and all forms, who formerly nourished with various knowledge his son Kapila the rishi, and beheld him at his birth."
“ Bhagavat Purana (I. 3, 10) makes Kapila an incarnation of Vischnu. In his fifth incarnation, in the form of Kapila, he declared to Asuri the Sankhya which defines the collection of principles.
“ Bhagavat Purana (IX. 8, 12) relates that Kapila, being attacked by the sons of King Sangara, destroyed them with fire which issued from his body. But the author of the Purana denies that this was done in anger. • How could the sage, by whom the strong ship of the Sankhya was launched, on which the man seeking emancipation crosses the ocean of existence, entertain the distinction of friend and foe'?"
The Sánkhya system is also frequently mentioned in the Mahabarata.
The Nyaya system differs from that of Kapila, by assuming a third eternal and indestructible principle as the basis of matter, namely, Atoms. It also assumes the
* Karika, 58, 62, 63, 68.
existence of a Supreme Soul, Brahma, who is almighty and allwise. It agrees with Kapila in making all souls eternal, and distinct from body. Its evil to be overcome is the same, namely, transmigration; and its method of release is the same, namely Buddhi, or knowledge. It is a more dialectic system than the others, and is rather of the nature of a logic than a philosophy.
Mr. Banerjea, in his Dialogues on the Hindu philosophy, considers the Buddhists' system as closely resembling the Nyaya system. He regards the Buddhist Nirvana as equivalent to the emancipation of the Nyaya system. Apavarga, or emancipation, is declared in this philosophy to be final deliverance from pain, birth, activity, fault, and false notions. Even so the Pali doctrinal books speak of Nirvana as an exemption from old age, disease, and death. In it desire, anger, and ignorance are consumed by the fire of knowledge. Here all selfish distinctions of mine and thine, all evil thoughts, all slander and jealousy, are cut down by the weapon of knowledge. Here we have an experience of immortality which is cessation of all trouble and perfect felicity.*
§ 7. Origin of the Hindoo Triad.
There had gradually grown up among the people a worship founded on that of the ancient Vedas. In the West of India, the god RUDRA, mentioned in the Vedic hymns, had been transformed into Siva. In the Rig Veda Rudra is sometimes the name for Agni.t He is described as father of the winds. He is the same as Maha-deva. He is fierce and beneficent at once. He presides over medicinal plants. According to Weber (Indische Stud., II. 19) he is the Storm-God. The same view is taken by Professor Whitney.† But his worship gradually extended, until, under the name of Siva, the Destroyer, he became one of the principal deities of India. Meantime, in the valley of the Ganges, a similar devotion had grown up for the Vedic god ViscHNT, who in like manner had been promoted to the chief rank in the Hindoo Pantheon. He had been elevated to the character of a Friend and Protector, gifted with mild attributes, and worshipped as the life of Nature. By accepting the popular worship, the Brahmans were able to oppose Buddhism with success.
* Quoted from the Lalita Vistara in Dialogues on the Hindu Philosophy. By Rev. R. M. Banerjea. London : Williams and Nordgate. 1861.
+ Muir, Sanskrit Texts, Part IV.
We have no doubt that the Hindoo Triad came from the effort of the Brahmans to unite all India in one worship, and it may for a time have succeeded. Images of the Trimurtti, or three-faced God, are frequent in India, and this is still the object of Brahmanical worship. But beside this practical motive, the tendency of thought is always toward a triad of law, force, or elemental substance, as the best explanation of the universe. Hence there have been Triads in so many religions : in Egypt, of Osiris the Creator, Typhon the Destroyer, and Horus the Preserver; in Persia, of Ormazd the Creator, Ahriman the Destroyer, and Mithra the Restorer; in Buddhism, of Buddha the Divine Man, Dharmma the Word, and Sangha the Communion of Saints. Simple monotheism does not long satisfy the speculative intellect, because, though it accounts for the harmonies of creation, it leaves its discords unexplained. But a dualism of opposing forces is found still more unsatisfactory, for the world does not appear to be such a scene of utter warfare and discord as this. So the mind comes to accept a Triad, in which the unities of life and growth proceed from one element, the antagonisms from a second, and the higher harmonies of reconciled oppositions from a third. The Brahmanical Triad arose in the same way.
Thus grew up, from amid the spiritual pantheism into which all Hindoo religion seemed to have settled, another system, that of the Trimurtti, or Divine Triad ; the Indian Trinity of Brahma, Vischnu, and Siva. This Triad ex
* Even in the grammatical forms of the Sanskrit verb, this threefold tendency of thought is indicated. It has an active, passive, and middle voice (like that of the cognate Greek), and the reflex action of its middle voice corresponds to the Restorer or Preserver.