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girls' school-room, which is the newest part of the house. Both the schoolclocks had stopped at the moment of the shock, owing, doubtless, to the great vibration acting on the pendulum. O that the Lord, in his rich mercy, may have pity upon Syria, and “the isles of the sea ;" for we fear that, like the last dread messenger of its kind, the calamity may fall tremendously on those devoted lands.
The Arabs call the earthquake Tzalzatta : they believe that the earth rests on the horn of a bull, which, shifting its burden occasionally from one horn to the other, causes the concussion, and the subsequent trembling motion of the earth,—a superstition obviously derived from the Taurite worship of Egypt; and perchance, still more remotely, from the celestial bull of the zodiacal signs,-a symbol which shadowed forth almighty strength.
In the course of the day we heard that several houses had been thrown down by the earthquake, and one or two mosques in the Bab-el-Shyer, or corn-market. The Pacha, and several of the aged Beys, stated to a friend of ours that they had never felt its equal, either in severity or duration, during Mahomet Ali's viceroyalty. The panic throughout the city has been very great. Many persons affirm that they saw a difference of colour in the moon, and that she reflected a stronger light than usual ; while some have told us that they remarked a bright light reflected on the whitewashed walls of the houses, like the glare of flambeaux. An officer from Bombay tells me that he mustered fortitude sufficient to count his pulse ; and he states that the first shock occupied fifty-six seconds. To my own awestruck fancy it seemed more like ten minutes ! But when time is measured by the pulse of fear, it will ever seem to be of prolonged duration. Cairo.
INDIA: ITS PEOPLE.
BY THE REV. WILLIAM ARTHUR.
(Continued from page 1109.) In observing any department of Hindu life, one soon perceives that all its relations are pervaded by a reigning peculiarity. Besides the distinctions of ancestry, wealth, and education, which everywhere graduate society, here exists an artificial classification, by which persons close in neighbourhood, and equal in fortune, are rendered incapable of domestic intercourse, and placed face to face, not as brethren, but as members of different species. This thick barrier-caste is held to be of divine origin. “ Formerly," as the sage Parasara teaches, when the truth-meditating Bramha was desirous of creating the world, there sprang from his mouth beings especially endowed with the quality of goodness; others sprang from his breast pervaded by the quality of foulness; others from his thighs, in whom foulness and darkness prevailed ; and others from his feet, in whom the quality of darkness predominated. These were in succession beings of the several castes, Bramhans, Kshetriyas, Vaisyas, and Shudras, produced from the mouth, the breast, the thighs, and the feet of Bramha.” The popular account describes the Kshetriya as born from the creators arm. These castes have thus distinct origins, and natures equally distinct. They repel the doctrine, that “God made of one blood all men to dwell upon the face of the earth ;” and in opposition to it, maintain, that the different castes of men have natures as dissimilar as the different castes of grain, fruit, or animals. Caste is their word for species. Wheat, rice, and Indian corn are different castes of grain ; mangoes, bananas, and tamarinds, different castes of fruit; tigers, camels, and elephants, different castes of animals ; and Bramhans, Kshetriyas, Vaisyas, and Shudras, different castes of men. “ You may say, if you please,” they will observe, “that Bramhans and Shudras are both men. They are both men, if you will, just as a horse and an ass are both animals; but as you never can make an ass of a horse, nor a horse of an ass, so you can never make a Bramhan of a Shudra, nor a Shudra of a Bramhan.” The idea that the outcastes are sprung from the same stock as the rest of mankind is scouted with disgust.
Into these four divisions, then, is society parted ; each being a separate commonwealth, with its own heads, its own prejudices, its own pursuits, and its own laws. The various castes may not eat together, may not intermarry, may not reside in the same house, and may not assume each other's professions. Thus they are really wider apart than those who are separated by national distinctions, or even than the races most alienated in blood and complexion. Again, father transmits to son his calling, and it passes on through indefinite generations. The design of this hereditary transmission of trades was doubtless to secure perfection in the various departments. Whether it has aided advancement or not, it has certainly established professional genealogies. “Old houses” and “ ancient families” are common things in India. Every tailor may confidently reckon that his sires clipped and fitted since before the days of the Cæsars, and every barber can boast an ancestry of barbers who shaved in remote antiquity : the weaver, too, the joiner, the potter, the washerman, and the blacksmith, may each pride himself that the line of his fathers stretches up through long centuries. How far this has contributed to the progress of the arts, appears in the fact, that for ages the arts have made no progress. This system would, in an unsettled state of society, prevent arts from being lost, and for some generations would promote advancement ; but in the lapse of ages, stagnation must result; because natural adaptation is violated, and a settled order of proceeding grows up, which all are trained from infancy to revere, and which no one thinks of breaking, for any untried, though promising, invention. Great nicety in manual execution might be expected from hereditary artisans ; and this has been attained in India, perhaps, more than in any other country,—but at the price of all originality. With the rude implements used fifty generations since, the Hindu weaver, carver, or goldsmith executes most delicately ; but he would deem it presumptuous to think of improving on the plans of the ancients, who were far wiser than men of modern days.
The duties of the several castes are thus defined in the Vishnu Purâna : “ The Bramhan should make gifts, should worship the gods with sacrifices, should be assiduous in studying the Vedas, should perform libations and ablutions with water, and should preserve the sacred flame. For the sake of subsistence he may offer sacrifices on behalf of others, and may instruct them in the Shastras ; and he may accept presents of a liberal description.
.... The man of the warrior-tribe (Kshetriya) should cheerfully give presents to the Bramhans, perform various sacrifices, and study the Scriptures. His especial sources of maintenance are arms, and the protection of the earth. The guardianship of the earth is, indeed, his especial province : by the discharge of this duty a King attains his object, and realizes a share of the merit of all sacrificial rites. By intimidating the bad, and cherishing the good, the Monarch who maintains the discipline of the different castes,
secures whatever region he desires. Bramha, the great parent of creation, gave to the Vaisyas the occupation of commerce, and agriculture, and the feeding of flocks and herds, for his means of livelihood ; and sacred study, sacrifice, and donation, are also his duties, as is the observance of fixed and occasional rites.
“Attendance on the three regenerate castes is the province of the Shudra ; and by that he is to subsist, or by the profits of trade, or the earnings of mechanical labour. He is also to make gifts; and he may offer the sacrifices in which food is presented, as well as obsequial offerings.”
The Bramhans, the beings who, “especially endowed with the quality of goodness,” sprang from the creator's mouth, are ranged under two divisions; the one sacred, the other secular. Those of the former class can accept no employment but one strictly religious or literary; the latter may maintain themselves by any honourable calling not involving commerce or menial duties. The Vydyeeka, or sacred Bramhans, form the Gurus, or religious Teachers; the Purohitas, or Priests, officiating at high solemnities, as also the more ordinary temple Bramhans, and astrologers. The Loakeeka, or secular Bramhans, form accountants, magistrates, and other officers of Government; are employed as moonshies by Europeans, and even enrol themselves, at least in Bengal, in the British army. I knew one case of a Bramhan being engaged in commerce ; but his brethren did not hear it mentioned without evident pain. At the same time, they would not consider it improper to have any interest either in agriculture or commerce, which would not require personal services of an undignified kind. All Bramhans, though dishonoured by trade or labour, deem begging no degradation : indeed, being gods of the earth, it is their special right to receive gifts from all men, and in so doing they only receive their own. “Whatever exists in the universe,” says Menu, “is all in effect, though not in form, the wealth of the Bramhan, since the Bramhan is entitled to all by his primogeniture and eminence of birth. The Bramhan eats but his own food, wears but his own apparel, and bestows but his own alms. Through the benevolence of the Bramhan, indeed, other mortals enjoy life.” The Bramhan, no matter in what employment, never loses his sacerdotal character : born a Priest, he is a Priest through life.
The dignity claimed for this caste is in keeping with the usual extravagance of Hindu imaginations. “When a Bramhan springs to light, he is born above the world, the chief of all creatures.” And again : “All the universe is subject to the gods, the gods are subject to the Mautras, the Mautras are under the power of the Bramhans, and the Bramhans are, therefore, our gods.” And right wondrous are the feats which some of these illustrious terrestrials have performed. One of them, in old time, swallowed the sea at three sips ; another turned the moon into a cinder ; and a third manipulated and reduced the sun. The person of a Bramhan is sacred: whatever be his crimes, he must not be put to death. It required some nerve in our authorities, at first, to set aside this exemption ; but they did it firmly, and with success. So far from punishing a Bramhanic murderer, he who laments the victim of a priestly hand is required, for so doing, to make an atonement. A person of inferior caste who strikes a Bramhan with the design of hurting him, “shall be whirled about for a century in hell.”
Beside the division of Bramhans into sacred and secular, they are subdivided into castes. Of these, four are called after the four Vaydas; but that division is refined upon, in consequence of sectarian distinctions ; Vishtnu Bramhans, of two sects, and several divisions of Shiva Bramhans, contend for the pre-eminence. Most of these sub-castes will not intermarry or eat together. All the other castes are in the same manner split up into sections, each section holding itself in seclusion from the fellowship of all the others. In common parlance, you scarcely ever hear of four, but always of eighteen, castes; and even that number is far short of the reality. In fact, no one can tell into how many of these unsocial detachments the Hindus, taking all their nations together, have separated themselves.
The Bramhan, having sprung from the creator's mouth, is naturally the teacher of all other men. He alone may read the holy Vayda ; for should one of inferior caste dare to scan even the title of those celestial tomes, his head would split in twain. The Bramhan, then, is the depositary of knowledge ; to him alone are confided the mysteries of religion, and the deep teachings of astronomy, logic, ethics, and all higher sciences. Every Bramhan receives an education : with some it does not proceed beyond the simplest elements; and I remember one who had difficulty in reading ; but only one. 'hey invariably know more tongues than their own; and many of them can fluently speak and write three or four languages, and perhaps speak, without writing, two or three more. Of Sanscrit the common order know nothing but a few prayers, or selections from sacred books, which they cannot translate. But every man who makes the least pretension to respectable attainments, knows something of the sacred tongue. Celebrated pundits found schools to which students resort, and with wondrous patience commit to memory grammars, lexicons, texts, and treatises. It is positively astounding to hear a Bramhan, when asked the meaning of any Sanscrit word, rhyming over synonyme after synonyme, and counting by his fingers as he goes, till he has reached perhaps twenty, or more; and this he will do with any important word that occurs. I do not mean that every Bramhan who knows Sanscrit can do so ; for that is not likely : all heads cannot carry a lexicon through the world; but it is more frequent than we should imagine possible. But this heaping up of synonymes much obscures their sense of nice distinctions in meaning. A man who would use certain terms accurately in composition, will fail in eliciting the delicate shades of an obscure passage : and the fact of terms occurring as synonymous in the Amara Cosa, he, too generally, assumes as a proof, that in all possible cases they are interchangeable, or at least mutually explanatory. The study of language is the one good point in Hindu education ; all the training this gives to the taste, memory, and judgment, the educated Bramhans enjoy; and it is this, not any studies of logic or metaphysics, which gives them the mental acuteness for which they are remarkable. Of their logic, such as it is, few, very few, know anything; and their metaphysics are not sufficiently studied to form the general mind.
Poetry is an essential part of polite education. No man pretends to learning who cannot make verses. Their rules of composition are very complex, and the styles of versification manifold. Rhyme takes place, not on the last syllable, as with us, but either on the first or second. The poetical genius of the Hindus is, I think, generally ranked too high. Their imagination is active, and frequently bold; but their knowledge of nature, whence alone the imagination can draw her materials, is very limited, and, consequently, their similes, metaphors, and allusions are confined to a narrow range of objects. In modifications endless, the arched eyebrow is presented to you as a bow, and the flashing eye as a resistless arrow. The lotus usurps the place of all flowers ; its hues, its shape, its
VOL. III.-FOURTH SERIES.
scent, and its watery dwelling, figure in ways so numerous as to astound you at the poet's art, but to leave a painful sense of his poverty. In Hindu poetry, as in all others, the sun and moon shine with frequent and glorious appearances ; and old Ocean, enamoured of the lunar beauty, heaves high his breast for joy, when he sees the silver countenance turned fully on him, or beginning to re-appear after having been averted. The lion, too, though long extinct in India, still appears in every creation of her poets with all his wonted majesty and dread. The groves of India know not the joy of singing-birds; but the bringa, a musical insect, is made the most of, and his drowsy hum introduced as frequently as if it had all the strings of that sylvan harp on which our summer delights to play. Turgid, grotesque, and sometimes admirably ridiculous, images are paraded with great musical display ; but, for an European, harmonious numbers flow in vain to dignify the march of a sun with his head in a blanket, or a monkey making a pyramid of his tail !
Until very lately, the Hindus could scarcely be said to have a prose literature; and consequently they had no trustworthy history. The absence of prose has this advantage for Missionaries, that in many of the languages they will be the founders of that style of writing which, as knowledge advances, must sway the public mind. In Canarese, a good prose style is already formed; the Bramhans using just that of polite conversation. Authorship, though principally exercised among the Bramhans, is not confined to them : many works have issued from anti-Bramhanical pens; and not a few from those of men of the inferior castes. The only books in general circulation are scraps of the Puranas, and collections of fables.
But few of the Bramhans profess astronomy. It is confined to the Jolishas ; each town has its wise man, who computes nativities, names the fortunate day for marriages, and the hour when a journey or other enterprise may commence under auspicious stars. Few will take a step of any consequence, except at the moment on which the Jolisha pronounces the heavens to smile. He thus acquires a power that places in his hand the issue of many events. The dread of unlucky days, which even among ourselves is sometimes grotesquely combined with general intelligence, reigns in India over all classes, from the highest to the lowest ; and perhaps over the highest more firmly than the others. Friday is a very unlucky day. Augury also is associated with astrology : the chief bird of omen being garurda, the sacred vulture. The raven is unlucky; and the house on which an owl lights ought to be forsaken. Lizards and serpents are also in the secrets of Fate; nor are foxes and hares denied a share of her confidence. A journey is often postponed, or a day's work abandoned, because a kite, a snake, or a fox has taken a position that warns of unseen danger. When a man is asked to give his daughter in marriage, he waits till he hears a lizard chirp; and, when this oracle has pronounced in favour of the proposed alliance, he accepts it.
In everything that constitutes general information the Bramhan is utterly deficient. He is taught languages, poetry, metaphysics, mythology, and possibly the elements of astronomy; but of the world, its people, and every subject in natural science, he remains in the most complete, and the most contented, ignorance. No history acquaints him with the past; no travels, with the homes of other people; no maps enable him to carry in his mind a picture of the world ; no geography, to judge of the position, the productions, and the climate of places with outlandish names ; no periodical press informs him of passing events; and no science makes him conversant with