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which my name is mentioned, with very undeferved applaufe, for an attempt to introduce the knowledge of Hindoo literature into the European world, by forcing or corruping the religious confciences of the Pundits, or profeffors of their facred doctrines. This reflection was produced by the publication of Mr. Halhed's tranflation of the Poottee or code of Hindoo laws; and is totally void of foundation. For myfelf I can declare truly, that if the acquifition could not have been obtained but by fuch means as have been fuppofed, I fhould never have fought it. It was contributed both chearfully and gratuitously, by men of the moft refpectable characters for fanctity and learning in Bengal, who refufed to accept more than the moderate daily fubfiftence of one rupee each during the term that they were employed in the compilation; nor will it much redound to my credit, when I add, that they have yet received no other reward for their meritorious labours. Very natural causes may be afcribed for their reluctance to communicate the mysteries of their learning to ftrangers, as thofe to whom they have been for fome centuries in fubjection, never enquired into them, but to turn their religion into derifion, or deduce from them arguments to fupport the intolerant principles of their own. From our nation they have received a different treatment, and are no lefs eager to impart their knowledge than we are to receive it. I could fay much more in proof of this fact, but that it might look too much like felf-commendation.'

We have the evidence alfo of the tranflator, that the liberal treatment and perfonal attentions the learned Bramins have received, together with the mildnefs of our government, and tolerating principles of our faith, have established in their breafts a confidence in Englishmen, and removed almost every jealous prejudice from their minds. This cannot be the language of flattery, for the prefent work is an ample proof of its truth: we receive the news with more heartfelt pleasure than if another Bengal, Bahar, and Orixa, were added to our posfeffions.

The tranflator dedicates his work to Mr. Haftings; and, with true eastern refpect, begs to be permitted to lay the Geeta at his feet.' His patron, therefore, feems to be confidered as his fovereign, to whom only fuch language could be addreffed. Mr. Haftings feels the impropriety, and acquits himself of the consciousness of it, till it was too late to change the expreffion.

The poem is in the form of a dialogue between Krěěshnă, an incarnation of the Deity, and his pupil and favourite Arjoon, one of the five fons of Pandoo, who is faid to have reigned five thousand years ago, about one thousand before the age of the original author, or more properly, perhaps, of the compiler. The dialogue is fuppofed to have paffed just before

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the famous battle of Kŏŏrŏŏkshetră, for the dominion of the whole country now included under the name of India.


It feems as if the principal defign of thefe dialogues was to unite all the prevailing modes of worship to thofe days; and, by fetting up the doctrine of the unity of the Godhead, in oppofition to idolatrous facrifices, and the worship of images, to undermine the tenets inculcated by the Veds; for although the author dared not make a direct attack either upon the prevailing prejudices of the people, or the divine authority of those ancient books; yet, by offering eternal happiness to fuch as worThip Brahm, the Almighty, whilft he declares the reward of fuch as follow other Gods fhall be but a temporary enjoyment of an inferior heaven, for a period measured by the extent of their virtues, his defign was to bring about the downfal of polytheifm; or, at leaft, to induce men to believe God prefent in every image before which they bent, and the object of all their ceremonies and facrifices.'


This, perhaps, is confidering the matter too deeply,' and may put the learned reader in mind of the fancy of Warbur ton, relating to the fecret which was revealed in the ancient myfteries, the important fecret, that there was but one God, and that it was ridiculous and wicked to multiply divinities. We are told that the Brahmins, at this period, are Unitarians; yet, to fupport their own confequence, and impose on the ignorance of the people, they conform to all the abfurd ceremonies of the Vêds.

If we may follow Mr. Haftings' example, and, notwithstanding the exclufion, judge like Europeans from what we know, and what we have been accustomed to, we must pronounce this work fuch a strange mixture of fense and nonsense, bathos and fublimity, that we have little doubt of its being antique and genuine. The language of different parts is very various; but the first lecture contains a greater variety of it than any other, confequently we fhall chufe it for a fpecimen of the The beginning is chiefly introductory; fo that we shall commence our extract from the point where the descrip-' tion becomes interefting.


'The ancient chief, and brother of the grandfire of the Khŏŏroos, then, shouting with a voice like a roaring lion, blew his fhell to raise the spirits of the Khoorŏŏ chief; and inflantly innumerable fhells, and other warlike inftruments, were ftruck up on all fides, fo that the clangor was exceffive. At this time Krečhna and Arjoon were standing in a splendid chariot drawn by white horfes. They alfo founded their fhells, which were of celeftial form: the name of the one which was blown by Krěčshna was panchajănyă, and that of Arjoon was called devă dǎttă. Bheem, of dreadful deeds, blew his capacious shell



powndra, and Yoŏdheefhtěěr, the royal son of Kŏontěě, founded anantă-veejay. Näkŏŏl and Săhădēvă blew their thells alfo ; the one called fŏŏgōihǎ, the other măněěpŏŏshpǎkă. The prince of Kafee of the mighty bow, Seěkǎndee, Dhrěčíhtădhŏŏmnă, Veerata, Satyǎkčě of invincible arm, Droopad, and the fons of his royal daughter Krčěhna, with the fon of Soobhadra, and all the other chiefs and nobles, blew alfo their respective fhells; fo that their fhrill founding voices pierced the hearts of the Kŏŏroos, and re-echoed with a dreadful noise from heaven to earth.

In the mean time Arjoon, perceiving that the fons of Dhrěětărahtră ftood ready to begin the fight, and that the weapons began to fly abroad, having taken up his bow, addressed Krěčíhnă in the following words:

Arjoon. I pray thee, Kreefhna, cause my chariot to be driven. and placed between the two armies, that I may behold who are the men that ftand ready, anxious to commence the bloody fight; and with whom it is that I am to fight in this ready field; and who they are that are here affembled to fupport the vindictive son of Dhrčětărāshtră in the battle.


í Krčeshnă being thus addreffed by Arjoon, drove the chariot, and, having caufed it to halt in the midst of the space in front of the two armies, bad Arjŏŏn caft his eyes towards the ranks of the Kooroos, and behold where ftood the aged Bheeshma and Drōn, with all the chief nobles of their party. He looked at both the armies, and beheld on either fide, none but grandfires, uncles, cousins, tutors, fons, and brothers, near relations, or bofom friends; and when he had gazed for a while, and beheld such friends as these prepared for the fight, he was feized with extreme pity and compunction, and uttered his forrow in the following words:


Arjoon. Having beheld, O Krěčíhnă! my kindred thus standing anxious for the fight, my members fail me, my countenance withereth, the hair standeth an end upon my body, and all my frame trembleth with horror! even gandeev my bow efcapeth from my hand, and my skin is parched and dried up. I am not able to ftand; for my understanding, as it were, turneth round, and I behold inaufpicious omens on all fides. When I fhall have destroyed my kindred, fhall I longer look for happiness? I wish not for victory, Krěěhnă; I want not dominion; I want not pleasure; for what is dominion, and the enjoyments of life, or even life itself, when thofe for whom do minion, pleafure, and enjoyment, were to be coveted, have abandoned life and fortune, and stand here in the field ready for the battle? Tutors, fons and fathers, grandfires and grandfons, uncles and nephews, coufins, kindred, and friends! although they would kill me, I wish not to fight them; no not even for the dominion of the three regions of the universe, much lefs for this little earth! Having killed the fons of Dhreeärähträ, what pleasure, O Krččfhnă, can we enjoy? Should B 3


we deftroy them, tyrants as they are, fin would take refuge with us. It therefore behoveth us not to kill fuch near relations as thefe. How, O Krečihnă, can we be happy hereafter, when we have been the murderers of our race? What if they, whose minds are depraved by the luft of power, fee no fin in the extirpation of their race, no crime in the murder of their friends, is that a reason why we should not refolve to turn away from fuch a crime, we who abhor the fin of extirpating the kindred of our blood? In the deftruction of a family, the ancient virtue of the family is loft. Upon the lofs of virtue, vice and im piety overwhelm the whole of a race. From the influence of impiety the females of a family grow vicious; and from women that are become vicious are born the fpurious brood called Vårnă-fänkår. The Sänkår provideth hell both for those which are flain and those which furvive; and their forefathers, being deprived of the ceremonies of cakes and water offered to their manes, fink into the infernal regions. By the crimes of those who have murdered their own relations, fore caufe of contamination, and birth of Vărnă fănkărs, the family virtue, and the virtue of a whole tribe is for ever done away; and we have been told, O Krěěhnă, that the habitation of those mortals whose generation hath loft its virtue, fhall be in hell. Woe is me! what a great crime are we prepared to commit! Alas! that for the luft of the enjoyments of dominion we ftand here ready to murder the kindred of our own blood! I would rather patiently fuffer that the fons of Dhrěčtarashtră, with their weapons in their hands, fhould come upon me, and, unopposed, kill me unguarded in the field.'

The fecond Lecture is on the Nature of the Soul, and on Speculative Doctrines: this is very curious. The third is more intricate, on the Distinction and comparative Merit of those who exercise their Reafon in Contemplation, and those who are employed in the Exercife of religious Duties.-The fourth is on the forfaking of Works: in this and the preceding Lecture, the doctrine of the metempfychofis is very diftinctly delivered.-The fifth, on the forfaking the fruits of Works, introduces fome limits to the former doctrines, which might be confidered as recommending contemplation and inactivity farther than the good of fociety will require; but after all, this religion inculcates too much contemplation. The fixth is on the Exercife of the Soul.-The feventh on the Principles of Nature and the Vital Spirit.-The eighth contains a very fublime Description of the Almighty, and an Account of his different. Emanations or Functions, according to the System of the Bramins.-The ninth is on the Chief of Secrets, and the Prince of Science. It contains an account of the beginning and end of the world, and circumstances relating to religious ceremonies.-The tenth is on the Diversity of the


Divine Nature, and confifts of much fublime imagery.The eleventh is on the Display of the Divine Nature in the Form of the Univerfe.-The twelfth on the Duty of ferving the Deity, in his visible and invisible Forms. As this Lecture is fhort, and contains much of the fubftance of other parts of the work, we fhall tranfcribe it.

Thofe who having placed their minds in me, ferve me with conftant zeal, and are endued with fteady faith, are esteemed the best devoted. They too who, delighting in the welfare of all nature, ferve me in my incorruptible, ineffable, and invifible form; omniprefent, incomprehenfible, ftanding on high, fixed and immoveable, with fubdued paffions and understandings, the fame in all things, fhall alfo come unto me. Thofe whose minds are attached to my invisible nature have the greater labour to encounter; because an invifible path is difficult to be found by corporeal beings. They alfo who, preferring me, leave all works for me, and, free from the worship of all others, contemplate and ferve me alone, I prefently raise them up from the ocean of this region of mortality, whofe minds are thus attached to me. Place then thy heart on me, and penetrate me with thy understanding, and thou fhalt, without doubt, hereaf ter enter unto me. But if thou fhould it be unable, at once, fted faftly to fix thy mind on me, endeavour to find me by means of conftant practice. If after practice thou art ftill unable, follow me in my works fupreme; for by performing works for me, thou fhalt attain perfection. But fhouldff thou find thyfelf unequal to this talk, put thy truft in me alone, be of humble fpirit, and forfake the fruit of every action. Knowledge is better than practice, meditation is diftinguished from knowledge, forfaking the fruit of action from meditation, for hap piness hereafter is derived from fuch forfaking.

• He my fervant is dear unto me, who is free from enmity, the friend of all nature, merciful, exempt from pride and selfithness, the fame in pain and pleasure, patient of wrongs contented, conftantly devout, of fubdued paffions, and firm refolves, and whofe mind and understanding are fixed on me alone. He also is my beloved of whom mankind are not afraid, and who of mankind is not afraid; and who is free from the influence of joy, impatience, and the dread of harm. He my fervant is dear unto me who is unexpecting, juft, and pure, impartial, free from distraction of mind, and who hath forfaken every enterprize. He alfo is worthy of my love, who neither rejoiceth nor findeth fault; who neither lamenteth nor covereth, and, being my fervant, hath forfaken both good and evil fortune. He alfo is my beloved fervant, who is the fame in friendship and in hatred, in honour and in difhonour, in celd and in heat, in pain and pleafure; who is unfolicitous about the event of things; to whom praife and blame are as one; who is of little speech, and pleased with whatever cometh to B4


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