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body, nor the grave, nor the burial can break their simple faith. Wordsworth's •• Little Maid " is a type of the child-mind the world over, and its belief translated into the language of man becomes a sublime "Ode to Immortality." To the instincts of a living man, who has not yet learned to reason either from the facts of experience or the data of consciousness, death cannot suggest annihilation, because annihilation is a thought too abstract and repugnant to these instincts to be either intelligible or credible. In such a man faith is stronger than sight; he can conceive and understand life, but not its utter aegation. If he. thinks of the dead, he thinks of them as living — the very attempt to represent them in thought is an attempt to represent living, not dead men.

But, while the instincts of primitive mind refuse to conceive the dead as nonexistent, a double incapacity prescribes the limits and form of the only conception possible to it, — the incapacity to conceive other than embodied being, and the incapacity to comprehend unlimited duration. In other words, the undeveloped mind cannot conceive the abstract notion of spirit and the abstract notion of immortality, or endless duration of being. Hence the earliest notions of the future represent it as a shadowy copy of the present; and its duration is measured by memory, is not made measureless by hope —«., the conception attaches itself to the recollection of the dead rather than to the expectations of the living. But notwithstanding these limitations, the belief is a real belief in immortality, so far as it is possible to a child-mind. The seed is here, as it ought to be; the natural and necessary growth of mind will transform the seed into both flower and fruit.

But, while the belief in the future life springs out of what we must call, for want of a better term, an instinct, its evolution,) alike as to the time occupied and the i order of thought observed, depends on the development of the mental faculties, as in their turn at once conditioning and conditioned by the history and situation of the people. In general, since the belief attaches itself to the past rather than to the future, it gathers round the persons of

the fathers, and fancy, aided by memory, peoples the realm of the dead with the shades of renowned ancestors, whose society and fellowship become before long objects of intense desire to the living. Then, alongside the admiration rendered to the fathers, ethical ideas are evolved, and the conditions on which a man is granted or denied admittance to the circle of ancestral heroes, contain the germinal notion of a state of reward and retribution. Then, thought, gradually accustomed to conceive the dead as living, to see in nature life emerge uninjured from death, works out an abstract doctrine, a theory of form and life, body and soul, which, while committing the one to death and dissolution, assigns the other to independent and continued life. And these theories become in turn supports of the very belief which evoked them. The hope of a future life turns back for encouragement to the very metaphysic itself had created. And as the metaphysic is often fanciful and absurd, the evidence is as often weaker than the belief. The one is the creation of crude and premature speculation, the other the utterance of a great human instinct.

While the process of evolution is conditioned by the general development of the national mind, the specific form under which immortality is conceived is, on the other hand, conditioned by the idea of God. The idea formed of the divine nature determines that formed of the human. The two ideas develope side by side, constitute, indeed, the two poles or sides of the same thought. While the idea of God remains so inchoate as to admit the limitations and multiplicities of' Polytheism, it does not and can not involve as a necessity either of reason or faith, any specific form of the belief in immortality.

But as the religion generates a theology, as thought comes to conceive God as the One related to the Many, as the single source of the manifold creation, man is led at the same time and by the same principles to conceive and formulate his faith in his own immortal existence. This does not happen all at once, but is the result of slow and not always couscious movements of mind. Inside of every Polytheism still in the physical stage, principles, the deposits of single intellects or general tendencies, gather, receive, either consciously, or unconsciously, forms inimical to it, and either abolish the ancient religion or erect by its side a distinct and supplementary worship, say under the form of mysteries, or, while sparing it as a mode of worship, substitute for the mythical creations, which were its original constituents, a body of reflective or speculative doctrines. If the prelusive thought had been tending to grasp a single universal and indestructible principle of the life manifested in nature and man, a Pantheistic theory as to God, a theory of transmigration as to man, will emerge. But if its tendency had been to seek a Supreme Will and Authority, then the result will be a personal God, and the personal continuance of man. The first will thus have a metaphysical, but the second a moral, basis. Brahmanism may stand as an example of the one, Zoroastrism of the other.

Religious and philosophic thought on such questions as God and Immortality thus so run into each other in their respective beginnings as to bfi then indistinguishable. Philosophy springs out of religion — is the attempt of a devout reflective man to understand and explain himself and the universe. Hence the roots of ancient, therefore of modern, thought on our subject must be sought in the ancient religions.

Immortality is not a doctrine of the schools, but a faith of Humanity, not based on the metaphysic or proved by the logic of a given system, but the utterance of an instinct common to the race which has made itself heard wherever man has advanced from a religion of nature to a religion of faith. And there is no article of belief he so reluctantly surrenders even to the demands of system. One of the most daring critical and speculative spirits of the day has, with caustic irony, rallied his transcendental countrymen on their tenderness for the ego — a tenderness which spared self, while Deity was sacrificed.* And he finds the denial of personal immortality the last step of the inexorable logic which completed the cycle of Transcendental Philosophy.

The discussion must now turn to the historical question, the development of the belief in immortality in India and Greece.

| The subject is too extensive to be dealt with in a single paper, and so leaving to another article the history of Greek thought, we shall here confine ourselves to Indian.


The limits of the discussion exclude any attempt, even were such possible, to discover by the analysis of Indo-European words or legends, whether there are any traces of the belief before the Aryan family divided into its several Asiatic and European branches.

Our present enquiry has to do only with the Hindus and Greeks, and so must start, as regards both, with their earliest extant literature.


In the earlier books of this Veda the indications of the belief are few, and, in some respects, indefinite.* This, indeed, was to be expected. Tho religion there revealed exists still in great part under the forms of the old nature-worship, though it moves in a circle of spiritual ideas, not indeed distinctly conceived, but floating like shadows unrealized in the individual and general consciousness. The gods are conceived more or less under physical forms, and so thought is occupied with the visible manifestations of the gods and their present relations to man rather than with modes of being aud relations invisible and future.

Thus intimations of a belief in a life after death could not be numerous, but the sparseness of the intimations does not argue the uncertainty of the belief. Agni f Soma,t the Maruts,§ Mitra and Varuna,|| are implored to graut immortality. By liberality If and sacrifice ** a man " attains immortality," "goes to the god?," meets in the highest heaven the recompense of the sacrifices he has offered. The Vedic notion of immortality was not, indeed, like ours, a positive abstract conception, but an indefinite concrete representation. Still it was as comprehensive and affirmative as was possible to these early Hindus, — the very immortality attributed to their gods.ff Hence, to them it seemed a specii's of deification. The man who had been made immortal had become a minor deity. Thus, the Ribhus had "become gods," gone to the assemblage of the gods.* Hence, too, the belief is expressed less in the hopes of the living than in their thoughts touching the dead. "Our sage ancestors have obtained riches among the the gods," f as "companions of the gods " } they are implored to be "propitious "§ to "protect," || not to injure.^ The faith in the continued life of the fathers is thus so strong as to rise almost to apotheosis. Death had not annihilated the Fathers, need not annihilate the Sons, and so they pray to be "added to the people of eternity, the blessed." *•

* D. F. Strauss, Die Chriatlicue (ilaubcnslenre, 11. pp. <<,>;, ff.

* Mulr's Original Sanscrit Texts, v. 284. ff.; Wilson's Hymn's of the Klg-Veda, i. xxv.j Max Jluller's Ancient Sunn. Lit. 19, note 2.

t It.-V., v. 4, 10; 1.81. 7.

t H.-V., ix. 113, 7. ff.; Muir's Sans. Texts, v. 306; IL-V., i.191, 18

§ K.-V., v. 65, 4.

II K -V.. v 03. 2.

H U.-V..1 123, 5; x 107.2.

•• x. U, 8.

tt In certain cases, as possibly U.-V. v. 4 1U, the

"The belief in a life after death seems thus to have grown up round the thought of the fathers, or simply the dead. Primitive man conscious of "life in every limb," could know nothing of death — could only conceive the dead as still alive. And as the only notion of life outside and above nature was associated with the gods, a life akin to the Divine was attributed to the departed ancestors. Thus the belief stands enshrined in the heart of the Vedic religion, interwoven, on the one hand, with the idea of God, on the other, with the memory of the Fathers. And that it had grown with the history of the people, a primitive legend seems to show. In the later books of the Rig- Veda the future life stands impersonated, as it were, in Yama. Now Yama is the Iranian Yima. His father is in the Vedas Vivasvat, in the Zend Avesta Vivanghat. The names in each case are identical, and indicate that some legend connected with them must have existed prior to the separation of the Indian and Iranian Aryans.ff

Immortality meant was to be realized on earth In offspring (Mulr, Sans. Texts, v. 286. note 415). liut a comparison of the above texts with Iv. 54,2; vl. 7, 4; Ix. 106, 8; x 58. 10, fee , will bear out the statement of the text. In truth, Vodlc thought had not yet learned to affirm an absolu >r Immortality.

• K.-V..1, 161. 1-6; It. 35, 3, and 8. Mulr, Sans. Texti, v. 238 and 281.

t R.-V., 1. 91. 1; 1. 179, 6.

J K.-V., vil. 70, 4.

« R.-V., ri. 75, 10; vU. 85, 12.

I R.V., vl. 62, i.

7 HI. 65, 2.

•• vli. 67, 6. Mnlr, Sans, Texts, v. 28, 8.

*t It Is not possible to enter here In any satisfactory way Into any of the many questions, critical. philosophical, mythological, historical, connected witn thi- ipgend. As to Its existence In the Aryan period, and Its bearing on the relationship of the Iranian and Indian branches, tee Dr. iluir. Sanscrit Text!, ii 296. 489. f; Spiegel. Kranlncue Alterthunuk. 439 f.; La-sen, Ind. Alterthiiinsk. 1. 619, S. (2nd fd.) For an exhaustive critical and philosoph

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But the legend survives in the two branches under two different forms. The Iranian Yima is the founder and king of a golden age, during whose reign neither sickness nor age nor death, neither cold nor heat, neither hatred nor strife, existed. The Indian Yama is the king of the dead, the assembler of men who departed to the mighty streams and spied out the road for many.* But the legends, though different, are not contradictory. The tradition of the first man who lived might well include, or glide into, the tradition of the first man who died. In the ordinary course of nature, the one would be the other; and so the legend, in its original form, might comprehend both the Iranian and Indian versions. And the division is explicable enough. The Iranic, as a reformed faith, seeking for itself a moral basis, clung to the picture of a golden past, where the antagonisms it hated were unknown. The Indian, less moral, more imaginative, caught in the toils of a nature-worship, sighed for relief and sought it in the kingdom of light into which the son of Vivasvat had been the first to return. And so, while the legend in the one case passed through a series of developments in which Yima and bis golden age gradually deteriorated, it became in the other the centre round which the Hindu doctrine of the future life developed. The processes were similar, but the result different, because the mythical faculty had its objects placed in different spheres.

Yama, then, is the highest expression of the later Vedic faith in a future life. He dwells in celestial light, in the innermost sanctuary of heaven.f.He and the Fathers are "in the highest heaven." He grants to the departed " an abode distinguished by days, and waters, and lights."} He

•el., iv. 417. '438. Also, Dunclter's Geschichto d«r Arier, 463, ft". For a discussion as well as an annotated translation of the passages in the Kig-Yeda referring to Yama. see Dr. Hair's Sanscrit Texts v 287, IT.; 800, ft*. Professor Max Muller, Lectures on the Science of Language, 11. 481, ff.. resolves the Yama legend as given in the Kig-Veda Into one of the myths of the Dawn. Yama. the day, Yaml. his els, ter, the night. Without attempting to discuss th« i question with the above distinguished scholar, I may simply say that his mythological theory seems to me | to bo too narrow and exclusive. It is so occupied I with nature as to leave little or no room for the exercise of thought and Imagination upon the condition and destiny of man. The tragic elements of human IHe, birth and death, mutt have touched primitive mind quite as profoundly as the rising and the setting sun; and the Yama legend appears to be I preeminently one of those In which the thoughts I of men concerning man found expression.

• K.-V., x. 14. f; Mulr's Sans. Texts, v. 291, ff. t l: - V , ix. 118, 7 and 8; Mulr's bans. Texts, v. 302. t B.-V., x. 11, 8 and 9.

grants a "long life among the gods."* He is associated with the god Varuna, worshipped as a god, and "feasts according to liis desire on the oblations." f "He shares his gratification with the eager Vasishthas, our ancient ancestors who presented the Soma libation." f Yatna and the Fathers thus enjoy immortal blessedness in heaven. Such was the intense faith of the later Vedic poets. But as the faith was evolved so was the question — How can we be raised to the society of Yaraa and the Fathers V Their ancestors, the men of the heroic age which lies always in the past, deserved to be made immortal, but how was immortality possible to their less worthy sons? And here a decisive and determinating peculiarity of the early Hindu faith emerged. Future happiness had a sacerdotal, as distinguished from a religious, or mofal, or.national basis — rested, not so much on virtue or heroism, as on the worship of sacerdotal deities and the practice of sacerdotal rites. The aid natural deities, though now and then implored to grant immortality, are as a rule, limited to action in the sphere of the present and the seen; but the sacerdotal deities, i.e., gods formed from the deification of the instruments of worship, were the great distributors of future happiness. Ihus, Agni is "made by the gods the centre of immortaKty," § guards and exalts mortals to it; || warms with his heat the unborn part and conveys it to the world of the rightaous.lf Soma "confers immortality on gods and men." ** He is implored to place his worshipper " in that everlasting and imperishable world where there is eternal light and glory." ff Those who have drunk the Soma have "become immortal," "have entered into light." fj: Then sacerdotal rites like sacrifice, or virtues like liberality to the priests, purchase immortality. §§ So comprehensive and absolute is the supremacy of the sacerdotal element in the later Vedic religion that the other gods are now and then represented as dependent for immortality and enjoyment upon the sacerdotal deities or rites.||||

• E.-V., x., 14,14. t E.-V., x. 14, 7; x. 16, 8.

t U.-V., x. 15, 8.

§ H.-V., ill. 17, 4.

II R.-V..1. 31, 7: vll. 7, 7.

IT K.-V., x. 16, 4. See also passagesfrom AtharvaVcda, in Ur. Muir's Sans. Texts, v. 299, ff.

•• U.-V., i. 91.1, 6, 18; ix. 108,8; ix. 109,8 See also the chnpter on Indra's love of the Soma-juico In Dr. Jlulr'n Sans. Texts, v. 88, ff.

tt U.-V., Ix. 113, 7, f.

« U.-V., vlii. 43, 3.

§§ U.-V., x. 154, 3-5; x. 107, 2.

1111 Seroral illustrative passages will be found in Dr. Jluir's Sans. Texts, v. 14, ff.

The influence of this sacerdotalism on the development of the Hindu faith in general, and the belief in the future life >f the soul in particular, must here be distinctly recognized. The question is not as to its origin, but as to its influence. Its source is psychological, and it forms an essential element in all religions — is represented in our Christian faith by the sacriice and priesthood of Christ; but for reasons which cannot be stated here, it grew very early to portentous proportions and exercised a baneful influence among the Hindus. The Vedic religion may be described as a naturalism with a nascent sacerdotalism super-induced. In the earlier Vedic era the natural was the predominant element, but in the later the sacerdotal. When a religion is passing through such a phase of development, there runs jeneath or within it a stream of what may je termed unconscious metaphysics —• genr.-i I tendencies understood at the time in whole by few, perhaps by none, understood in part by many, but felt by all. The new element has to assert and justify tself against the old by creating for the religion it seeks to transform a new basis, radically different from the old naturalism; and so the result is a two-fold development— the growth of religious rites on the one hand, and of abstract conceptions on the other. But while the former are manifested in the general constitution and practice of religion, the latter can appear ly in particular and partial utterances. Here and there an individual gathers into himself the dim and diffused consciousness of the people, expresses it in hymn or aphorism, and the expression, a mirror to the collective mind, seems the result of Divine inspiration. Hence, while the speculative and mystical hymns in the tenth book of the Rig-Veda form, in almost every respect, contrasts to the spontaneous and objective compositions of the earlier books, they are yet only concentrated utterances of thoughts which have been throughout the whole Vedic era slowly accumulating and assuming consistency and shape. They are like early spring flowers, at once manifestations of forces at work in the earth and prophecies of what is to come.

This double growth of sacerdotalism and abstract thought stands very clearly revealed in the tenth book of the RigVeda. The priesthood is professional, a priest necessary to worship. The sacrificial rites are numerous and minute. The value attached to prayers, hymns, sacrifices, excessive. The new sacerdotalism is superseding the old naturalism, and abstract thought is seen struggling to find a new basis and new forms for the changing religion. Creation is conceived as a sacrifice, either the self-immolation of a god, or the immolation of one god, by others.* Sacrifice is the cause of human prosperity and the processes of nature.* The Brahman is the son of god, sprung from divine seed.J The Vedic poets are the organs and offspring of deity.§ The hymns are divine, god-generated, or given, and enter into the Rishis by sacrifice.|| The speculative tendencies thus incline to assume sacerdotal forms. Now and then, indeed, an exceptional thinker, either above or outside priestly influence, asks and tries to answer the profound.>-r questions in simple but sublime words.lf Speculation, partly the victim of the old naturalism as embalme 1 in language, partly the seer and exponent of the eternal truths there contained, finds in life ever emerging from death the principle that abides amid the decay and renewal of nature and man. This, indeed, is but guessed at not explicitly developed: but the guess extends to the procession of gods and men from a common source of life. The seeds of i I '••!•! speculation lie like the germs of Brahmanism in the later Vedic Hymns.

The belief in a life after death expressed in the later Vedic Hymns must now be looked at in the light of sacerdotal and speculative tendencies. Sacerdotalism held command over the future; it could reward and punish. The realms of light, the world of the righteous, the society of the fathers, a festive life with Tarn a, a life in the presence of the gods, immortality in a world where all the objects of gratification are attained, were in its gift. And it also knew an "abyss," ** a " bottomless " and "nethermost " " darkness "ft f°r the wicked. Speculation has to seek a reason or ground for this sacerdotal power, and sees it, in a far-off sort of way, in the unity of human nature with the divine, broken by the earthly life, but

• R.-V..X. 81,6; x. 130, 3. But particularly the celebrated Purusha Sutta, x. 90. See this hymn translated, explained, and illustrated at great length and on all sides in Dr. Muir's Sana. Texts, vol. 1. 8, tt.; vol. v. 387, ff.

t R -V_ x. 62. 1-3, and very frequently.

1 R -V , vii. 33. 11—13; x. 62, 4-6.

i H-V., x. 20.10: x. 61, 7.

« x. 71, 3; x. 126, 3: x. 88, 8; x. 61, 7.

T See the extraordinary hymn, R-V., x. 129, translated under the title, "The Thinker's Question,'* in Professor Max Muller'a Anc. Sana. Lit., p. B64 Al«o by Dr. Muir, iv. 4, and v. 356, S.; and by Mr Colebrooke, Escays, p. 17 (Williams and Kornlf'f edition). * .. R.-V, vii. 104, 3, 17; Ix. 73, 8.

tt K.-V . x. 152, 4; x. 103, 12.

restored by sacrifice. Thought had divined that unity in the source of life implied the creation and derivative immortality of the gods. It had deified the fathers, deified the rishis, and so had learned to conceive the permanent element in man as akin to the divine. On this ground preaucl post-existence become alike natural, complementary conceptions. And so Agni is implored in a funeral hymn to kindle with his heat the "unborn part" of the dead; to "give up again to the Fathers him who comes offered with oblations."* To the soul of the departed it is said1, "Throwing off all imperfection again go to thy home."t Man has had a past, will have a future, has come from God and may to God return. And there is another side to the thought indicative of its ultimate anthropological form, as distinguished from the other, or theological. The dead is told to "become united to a body and clothed in a shining form." { The varied constituents of the body are told to go to the elements to which they are akin. § The like seeks the like. Without body or form individual life is inconceivable. And over all sacrifice presides, bringing the gods to receive the "unborn part," carrying it to the homes of Yarna and the Fathers.

In these Vedic Hymns, then, the belief in a life after death changes with the change in the religion. In the older Naturalism, it was a simple belief in the continued life of the fathers; in the later embryo-sacerdotalism, it is becoming related, on its material aide, to the idea of God, on its formal, to the observance of religious rites. The older faith had as its objects persons, but the later is slowly refining its objects into abstractions. A Pantheism as to God, a theory of transmigration as to man,| '->•'"' "llt yet been

• R.-V., x. 16, 4-6. t B.-V., x. 14, 8.

t H.-V., x. 14, 8.

§ R.-V., x. 16. 8.

|| The only verse from the Rig-Veda ever quoted in proof of transmigration being believed when the hymns were composed is, i. 1C4, 32. l'n>l'e<sor Wilson renders: —"lie who has made (this state of things) does not comprehend it; he who has beheld it, has it verily hidden (from him); he, whilst yet enveloped in Ills mother's womb, is subject to many births, and has entered upon evil." (Hymns of the R.-V., vol. 11.137, 138.) But as the late 1'rofessor Goldstucker observed (Art. Transmigration, Chambers'Kncyclop.), "The word of the text, bahtiprajaht rendered by Wilson, according to the commentators, ' Is subject to many births,' may, according to the same commentators, also mean, ' has many offsprings,' or ' has many children;' and as the latter is tlie more literal and usual sense of the word, whereas the former is artificial, no conclusion whatever regarding Ilia doctrine of transmigration can I safely bo founded on It." Besides, such a doctrine 1 is entirely alien to Vedic modes, of thought.

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