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Rammohun Roy: Controversy between the Bramuns and Missionaries. 435 who are acquainted with the principles things at which the understanding reof science, who are given to exami- volts, will make it cling the more dation and inquiry, who write and closely to its mistakes. This is the publish books on all the varieties of dictate of common sense, and it has human attainment, who look for a been the result of experience. In the reason in every thing, who have a na above letter, from a learned native, tional literature abounding in numer who feels a real interest in the Chrisous works on theology, law, jurispru- tian cause, we are told that the Missiondence, politics, geography, astronomy aries begin with such doctrines as to and other sciences, and who have set- expose themselves to ridicule, instead tled opinions on all these subjects, of gaining the attention and respect founded on the basis of custom, edu- of the Hindoos. And why is this? cation and continued patient investi- Because they talk without reason. gation. These are the people, whom No one was ever ridiculed, who adthe Missionaries would bring over to dressed the understanding and added Christianity, by inculcating dogmas, demonstration to his assertions. Preach which they confess are inexplicable, truth in a plain garb, and it will be and not to be reasoned about!
received; for no mind is below or Moreover, these same people have above truth, when it is presented in a religion, which they can trace back its unobscured simplicity. many centuries anterior to the coming Rammohun Roy has become a of the Saviour, and which is rooted Christian, in spite of the Missionaries, in their minds by all that is imposing by the force of his own mind, exain the records of their ancestry, by mining the Scriptures with a determithe countenance of popular opinion, nation to find and understand their by the force of instruction, by the meaning. He is convinced of their authority of sacred books, by all that truth and divinity, although he has is venerable in a long-established never been able to discover in them priesthood, by every thing, in short, the mysterious doctrines, which for which attaches them to their customs, twenty years the Missionaries have builds up and sustains their institu- been endeavouring with great industry tions, and stamps the features of their and zeal to inculcate. Other natives character. They have a formal and would not be long in following his systematic religion, taught in books steps, if they could be allowed to inof great antiquity, in which habit and quire, like the honest Bereans, why conscience equally incline them to put tkese things are so, and could be faimplicit credence. They have their voured with a frank and ready answer. Veds and their Shastrus, their Poorans And, surely, it cannot be thought a and Tuntrus, and to these are append- difficult task to prove the superiority ed commentaries on commentaries, of the Christian religion over that of which have been the result of the the Hindoos. It is no doubt difficult wisdom and study of ages. Now, to prove inexplicable and contradicwhatever may be the absurdity or the tory propositions either to a Hindoo, defects of the system, which these or to any other rational man; but if contain, it cannot be doubted, that we cannot prove the superiority of all there is something in it adapted to that is valuable and commanding and the better principles of the human true in the Christian religion over mind, something which is upheld by every system of idolatry, we have no plausible arguments, and the appear- reason to boast of our privileges as ance of consistency. On no other the disciples of one who came from grounds can you account for its being God, and who had power to enlighten maintained for so long a period of and save an erring world. time, by a people in many respects We know well what obstacles the enlightened and polished.
amiable and enthusiastic Henry MarWe infer that the errors of such a tyn encountered on this very ground. religion, under circumstances in which He attempted to argue, and his was this is embraced, cannot be success. a mind of no ordinary vigour and fully combated by any other wea acuteness. The purity of his soul, his pons, than those of plain sense and disinterestedness, his piety, did not argument. To preach mysteries will surpass the strength of his intellect only thicken the darkness; to enforce and the variety of his attaininents.
But he ingenuously confessed, that he come to hand. It is printed in Ben-
ten in a separate form, and in this A paragraph in Rammohun Roy's resolution originated the Bramunical First Appeal is so appropriate in this Magazine. The two first numbers are place, that we insert it, although it occupied in replying to the article in has
appeared in our work on a former the Sumachar Durpun, and the third occasion. He states that,
is devoted to the discussion of another “ He has seen with regret, that the subject. Missionaries have completely counter To exhibit the mode which the Misacted their own benevolent efforts, by sionaries adopt in discharging their introducing all the dogmas and mys- duties, and the views and feelings of teries taught in Christian churches, the natives respecting it, we select the to people by no means prepared to following passages from the introducreceive them; and that they have been tion to the first number. so incautious and inconsiderate in During the last twenty years, a their attempts to enlighten the natives body of English gentlemen, who are of India, as to address their instruc- called Missionaries, have been pubtions to them in the same way as if licly endeavouring in several ways to they were reasoning with persons convert the Hindoos and Mussulmans brought up in a Christian country, of this country to Christianity. The with those dogmatical notions inbibed first way is that of publishing and disfrom their infancy. The consequence tributing among the natives various has been, that the natives in general, books, large and sınall
, reviling both instead of benefiting by the perusal religions, and abusing and ridiculing of the Bible, copies of which they the gods and saints of the former. The always receive gratuitously, exchange second way is that of standing in front them very often for blank paper ; and of the doors of the natives, or in the use several of the dogmatical terms in public roads, to preach the excellence their native language as a mark of of their own religion, and the debasedslight in an irreverent manner, the ness of that of others. The third way mention of which is repugnant to my is, that if any natives of low origin feelings.”
become Christians from the desire of But it is time to speak of the Bra- gain, or from any other motives, these munical Magazine, printed at Cal- gentlemen employ and maintain them cutta, and mentioned in Rammohun as à necessary encouragement to Roy's letter. We consider this work, others to follow their example.” in many respects, one of the most “It is not uncommon if the English curious of the present day. It con- Missionaries, who are of the conquertains a set controversy between the ors of this country, revile and mock Bramuns and Missionaries on the at the religion of the natives." principles of their respective religions. “ If, by the force of argument, they We believe this is the first regular can prove the truth of their own reliwritten controversy which has ever gion and the falsity of that of the been coinmenced for a similar purpose. Hindoos, many would of course emThree numbers of the work only have brace their doctrines ; and in case
Rammohun Roy: Controversy between the Bramuns and Missionaries. 437 they fail to prove this, they should manifest a rebellious spirit ; a'cirnot undergo such useless trouble, nor cumstance which is well known to tease Hindoos any longer by their at the compiler from several local facts, tempt at conversion. In considera- as well as from the following occurtion of the small buts in which Bra- rence. muns of learning generally reside, and “ About three years ago, the comthe simple food, such as vegetables, piler, on a visit to an English gentlewhich they are accustomed to eat, and man, who is still residing in the vicithe poverty which obliges them to nity of Calcutta, saw a great number live on charity, the missionary gentle- of Christian converts with a petition, men may not, I hope, abstain from which they intended to present to the controversy from contempt of them; highest ecclesiastical authority, stating for truth and true religion do not that their teachers, through false proalways belong to wealth and power, mises of advancement, had induced high names or lofty palaces.”
them to give up their ancient religion. Whether the mode of proceeding, The compiler felt indignant at their above described, is the best way of presumption, and suggested to the recommending the pure principles of gentleman, as a friend, the propriety Christianity, and of converting the of not countenancing a set of men Hindoos froin their errors, will at who, from their own declaration, least admit a question. To revile, seemed so unprincipled.” and mock, and abuse, and ridicule the The article published by the Mis opinions and customs of others, espe- sionaries in the Sumachar Durpun recially when these are connected with lates to some of the peculiarities of religious sentiments and feelings, does the Hindoo theology. It is copied not seem the readiest method of gain. entire into the Bramunical Magazine, ing attention, winning esteem, con and consists chiefly of quotations from vincing of mistake, or proving by ex the Shastrus, and other religious ample the efficacy of any, system of books, collected with a view to point doctrines to promote humility, soften out their absurdities and inconsistenthe temper, and amend the heart. It cies. Much is said on both sides, is not commonly found, that people which is not very intelligible to us. become more willing hearers by being the discussion runs deeply into the abused and vilified; or that they are metaphysical and superstitious notions the more likely to admire and adopt of the Hindoos, which are but imperthe principles of him who commends fectly unfolded ; and it is replete with himself to them by such conduct. allusions, which can be understood
In regard to the Missionaries main- only by such persons as are acquainted taining persons belonging to the lower with their writings. classes of Hindoos, “ who become One point, however, seems to be Christians from the desire of gain,” clearer than some of the others. The it is a matter which chiefly concerns Missionaries quote many passages from those among us who form societies the Hindoo books to prove what false and pay the money for their support. and degrading ideas the Hindoos en
We will only add, in confirmation tertain of the Supreme Being, and of of this statement of the Bramuns, an the nature of divine worship. They extract from Rammohun Roy's First are charged with assigning to God Appeal.
various forms, and other properties “Of the few hundred natives, who peculiar to created beings, but which have been nominally converted to could not belong to a spiritual, unChristianity, and who have been ge- created and perfect God. Against nerally of the most ignorant class, this charge, the Bramuns defend themthere is ground to suspect, that the selves in two ways; first, by quoting greater number have been allured to and explaining their own books, and change their faith by other attractions proving them to have a different sense than by a conviction of the truth and from the one fixed on them by the reasonableness of those dogmas; as Missionaries ; and, secondly, by atwe find nearly all of them are em- tempting to shew, that the Christian ployed or fed by their spiritual teach- Scriptures ascribe the same properties ers, and, in case of neglect, are apt to to the Deity, as are found in the Veds
and Shastrus. One specimen of their all their false notions, the Hindoos reasoning on this subject is all for still discover the unity and perfections which we have room. To the Mis- of God shadowed forth amidst the sionaries they say,
rubbish of their perverted metaphysics “You find fault with the Poorans and idolatrous practices. This is a and Tuntrus, that they have establish- great point gained, for whilst they ed the duty of worshiping God for the can be kept to a defence of the absobenefit of mankind, as possessing va lute unity of God, they must in no rious forms, names and localities, long time be brought by their own and that, according to this, in the reflections to see the inconsistency of first place, it appears that there are this doctrine, with a thousand others many Gods, and that they enjoy the which embarrass and degrade their things of the world ; that, secondly, system. They will yield up these in. the omnipresence of a being, possessed defensible parts by degrees, and, if of names and forms, 'is incredible. properly instructed, they cannot but
“I answer, the Poorans, agreeably be prepared to receive the pure docto the Vedant, represent God in every trines of Christianity. svay as incomprehensible and without We are not to conclude, however, forms. There is, moreover, this in that all the Hindoos have the same the Poorans, that, lest persons of fee- rational notions of the Deity, as above ble intellect, unable to comprehend expressed. The great mass are still God as not subject to the senses, and Polytheists. In a late excellent letwithout form, should either pass their ter from Calcutta, to the Unitarian life without any religious duties what- Fund Society in England, Mr. Adam ever, or should engage in evil works, observes, that “ a large majority are -to prevent this, they have repre- idolaters, but that there is a small sented God in the form of a man and and increasing minority of Theists." ether animals, and to possess all those This latter class comprises those who desires with which we are conversant, hold to the unity of God in the same whereby they may have some regard sense as the Editors of the Bramunical for a Supreme Being. Afterwards, Magazine. by diligent endeavours they become After confuting the Missionaries, as qualified for the true knowledge of they think, from their own books, the God. But over and over again, the Bramuns take their turn in becoming Poorans have carefully affirmed, that the assailants. They say, they give this account of the forms of “ We humbly ask the missionary God with a view to the benefit of gentlemen, whether or not they call persons of weak minds, and that, in Jesus Christ, who is possessed of the truth, God is without name, form, human form, the very God; and wheorgan, or sensual enjoyment.” ther they do not consider that Jesus
After this statement, the writer Christ, `the very God, received imquotes the following passages from pressions by the external organs, eyes, some of the sacred books, which he &c. and operated by means of the acmentions by name.
tive organs, hands, &c.? And whe“ Weak and ignorant persons, una ther or not they consider him as subble to know the supreme and indivi ject to the human passions ? Was he sible God, think of him as possessed angry or not? Was his mind afflicted of certain limitations."
or not? Did he experience any suf“ For the assistance of the wor- fering or pain ? Did he not eat and shipers of the Supreme Being, who is drink? Did he not live a long time pure intellect, one, without divisibility with his mother, brothers and relaor body, a fictitious representation is tions? Was he not born, and did he given of his form.”
not die? According to the nature of his “ If they acknowledge all this, then qualities, his various forīns bave been they cannot find fault with the Poofictitiously given for the benefit of 'rans, alleging that in them the names those worshipers who are of slow un and the forms of God are established; derstanding."
and according to them God must be These are remarkable testimonies, considered as subject to the senses, and would seem to indicate, that with and as possessing senses and organs,
Correspondence with the Editor relating to Rammohun Roy. 439 and as not possessed of omnipresence authority, they always represent the on account of his having a form. Be- Hindoo religion as very base." Incause all these errors, namely, the stances of this practice are given. plurality of Gods, their sensual in It is now nearly two years since dulgence, and their locality, are appli- this controversy was begun in Calcable to themselves in a complete de- cutta, and we cannot but express surgree.
prise, that our orthodox brethren, “ To say that every thing, however whose intercourse with all the miscontrary to the laws of nature, is pos- sionary establishments is so direct sible with God, will equally afford a and constant, should never have fapretence to Missionaries and Hindoos voured the public with any notice of in support of their respective inearna- its progress. If a Missionary goes a tions. The aged Vyas has spoken day's journey from his post, and leaves truth in the Muhabharut; O‘king, ten tracts in one village, and five in a person sees the faults of another, another, and talks to half a dozen igalthough they are like the grains of norant natives in another, every ormustard seed, but although his own thodox journal and paper in the counfaults are as big as the Bel fruit, see- try is sure to tell the tale, with all ing them he cannot see them.' More, the formality of time, place and cirover, the Poorans say, that the names, cumstance. But when a controversy forms, and sensual indulgence of God, is commenced on subjects of the utwhich we have mentioned, are ficti- most importance, between the learned tious, and we have so spoken with a men of the College at Serampore, and view to engage the minds of persons the no less learned natives around of weak understanding ; but the mis- them, not a whisper do we hear of so sionary gentlemen say, that the ac- remarkable an event from the sources count which is given in the Bible of whence, on all other occasions, we are the names, forms, and sensual indul- made acquainted with the minutest gence of God is real. Therefore, the details of missionary transactions in plurality of Gods, their locality and every corner of the world. We forsubjection to sensual indulgence, are bear to ask any questions. Let our faults to be found in a real sense only readers judge of the merits of the case in the system of the missionary gen- by the extracts we have made from tlemen.”
the Bramunical Magazine. Here we perceive how completely the Missionaries, by preaching the dogma of the Trinity, as the essence
Correspondence with the Editor reof Christianity, contravene all the
lating to Rammohun Roy. good purposes which they might ac WHE first of the two following letunity. They render useless their own spondence, p: 432. When we there exertions; they bring disrespect on acknowledged it, we had no idea of the religion itself; and actually en- making any public use of it; but courage the Hindoos to retort the having since had an interview with charge of Polytheisin and idol worship Mr. BUCKINGHAM, the highly intellias existing in reality only against the gent and patriotic Editor of the CalChristian scheme. By such a process cutta Journal, who is now in England, how can it be hoped, that any attempts we put it into his hands, and have will be successful in diffusing the received from him the following letter truths and blessings of Christianity? in reply, which will be gratifying to
The Bramuns complain of what our readers. To render Mr. Buckthey call an unfair artifice of contro- ingham's communication intelligible, versy employed by the Missionaries. it is necessary to publish the letter They quote books of no authority, and that gave rise to it, though it contains call these quotations the Hindoo faith. one passage at least which we are the “ Having translated those works,” reluctant instruments of circulating, say the Bramuns, “ which are op- and which we could not have admitted posed to the Veds, which are not into our pages if it had not been folquoted by any respectable author, and lowed by Mr. Buckingham's satisfacwhich have never been regarded as tory coufutation.