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Blavatsky Net - Theosophy

This site focuses on Madame Blavatsky and her teaching - Theosophy. It features an introduction to Theosophy, study aids, research tools, original text, supporting evidence, membership, and visitor interaction.


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BUDDHISM IN AMERICA


 

AS, in your leading article of May 6th, I am at one moment given credit for knowing something about the religion of the Brâhmans and Buddhists, and, anon, of being a pretender of the class of Jacolliot, and even his plagiarist, you will not wonder at my again knocking at your doors for hospitality. This time I write over my own signature, and am responsible, as I am not under other circumstances.

No wonder that the "learned friend" at your elbow was reminded "of the utterances of one Louis Jacolliot."

The paragraphs in the very able account of your representative’s interview, which relate to "Adhima and Heva" and "Jezeus Christna," were translated bodily, in his presence, from the French edition of the Bible in India. They were read, moreover, from the chapter entitled, "Bagaveda"—instead of "Bhagavat," as you put it, kindly correcting me. In so doing, in my humble opinion, he is right, and the others are wrong, were it but for the reason that the Hindus themselves so pronounce it—at least those of southern India, who speak either the Tamil language or other dialects. Since we seek in vain among Sanskrit philologists for any two who agree as to the spelling or meaning of important Hindu words, and scarcely two as to the orthography of this very title, I respectfully submit that neither "the French fraud" nor I are chargeable with any grave offence in the premises.

For instance, Prof. Whitney, your greatest American Orientalist, and one of the most eminent living, spells it Bagavata; while his equally great opponent, Max Müller, prefers Bagavadgîtâ, and half a dozen others spell it in as many different ways. Naturally each scholar, in rendering the Indian words into his own vernacular, follows the national rule of pronunciation; and so, you will see, that Prof. Müller in writing the syllable ad with an a does precisely what Jacolliot does in spelling it ed, the French e having the same sound as the English a before a consonant. The same holds good with the name of the Hindû Saviour, which by different authorities is spelt Krishna, Crisna, Khristna and Krisna; everything, in short, but the right way, Christna. Perhaps you may say that this is mere hypothesis. But since every Indianist follows his own fancy in his phonetic transcriptions, I do not know why I may not exercise my best judgment, especially as I can give good reasons to support it.

You affirm that there "never was a Hindû reformer named Jezeus Christna"; and, although I confined my affirmation of his existence to the authority of Jacolliot at the interview in question, I now assert on my own responsibility that there was, and is, a personage of that name recognized and worshipped in India, and that he is not Jesus Christ. Christna is a Brâhmanical deity, and, besides by the Brâhmans, is recognized by several sects of the Jains. When Jacolliot says "Jezeus Christna," he only shows a little clumsiness in phonetic rendering, and is nearer right than many of his critics. I have been at the festivals of Janmotsar, in commemoration of the birth of Christna (which is their Christmas) and have heard thousands of voices shouting: "Jas-i-Christna! Jasas-wi-Christna!" Translated they are: Jas-i, renowned, famous, and Jasas-wi, celebrated, or divinely-renowned, powerful; and Christna, sacred. To avoid being again contradicted, I refer the reader to any Hindûstânî dictionary. All the Brâhmans with whom I have talked on the subject spoke of Christna either as Jas-i-Christna, or Jadar Christna, or again used the term, Yadur-pati, Lord of Yâdavas, descendant of Yadu, one of the many titles of Christna in India. You see, therefore, that it is but a question of spelling.

That Christna is preferable to Krishna can be clearly shown under the rules laid down by Burnouf and others upon the authority of the pandits. True, the initial of the name in the Sanskrit is generally written k; but the Sanskrit k is strongly aspirated; it is a guttural expiration, whose only representation is the Greek chi. In English, therefore, the k instead of having the sound of k as in king would be even more aspirated than the h in heaven. As in English the Greek word is written Christos in preference to H’ristos, which would be nearer the mark, so with the Hindû deity; his name under the same rule should be written Christna, notwithstanding the possible unwelcomeness of the resemblance.

M. Taxtor de Ravisi, a French Catholic Orientalist, and for ten years Governor of Karikal (India), Jacolliot’s bitterest opponent in religious conclusions, fully appreciates the situation. He would have the name spelt Krishna, because (1) most of the statues of this God are black, and Krishna means black; and (2) because the real name of Christna "was Kaneya, or Caneya." Very well; but black is Krishna. And if not only Jacolliot, but the Brâhmans themselves are not to be allowed to know as much as their European critics, we will call in the aid of Volney and other Orientalists, who show that the Hindû deity’s name is formed from the radical Chris, meaning sacred, as Jacolliot shows it. Moreover, for the Brâhmans to call their God the "black one" would be unnatural and absurd; while to style him the sacred, or pure essence, would be perfectly appropriate to their notions. As to the name being Caneya, M. Taxtor de Ravisi, in suggesting it, completes his own discomfiture. In escaping Scylla he falls into Charybdis. I suppose no one will deny that the Sanskrit Kanyâ means Virgin, for even in modern Hindûstânî the Zodiacal sign of Virgo is called Kaniya. Christna is styled Kâneya, as having been born of a Virgin. Begging pardon, then, of the "learned friend" at your elbow, I reäffirm that if there "never was a Hindû reformer named Jezeus Christna," there was a Hindû Saviour, who is worshipped unto this day as Jasi Christna, or, if it better accords with his pious preferences, Jas-i-Kristna.

When the 84,000 volumes of the Dharma Khanda, or sacred books of the Buddhists, and the thousands upon thousands of ollæ of Vaidic and Brâhmanical literature, now known by their titles only to European scholars, or even a tithe of those actually in their possession are translated, and comprehended, and agreed upon, I will be happy to measure swords again with the solar pandit who has prompted your severe reflections upon your humble subscriber.

Though, in common with various authorities, you stigmatize Jacolliot as a "French fraud," I must really do him the justice to say that his Catholic opponent, De Ravisi, said of his Bible in India, in a report made at the request of the Société Académique de St. Quentin, that it is written.

With good faith, of absorbing interest, a learned work on known facts and with familiar arguments.

Ten years’ residence and studies in India were surely enough to fit him to give an opinion. Unfortunately, however, in America it is but too easy to gain the reputation of "a fraud" in much less time.

Respectfully,

H. P. BLAVATSKY.

[From the New York Sun, May 13th, 1877.]



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List of Articles
1888
1890!
African Magic
Ahkoond of Swat
An Astral Prophet
An Unsolved Mystery
Ancient Doctrines Vindicated
Ancient Magic in Modern Science
Animated Statues
Answers to Queries
Antiquity of the Vedas
Apollonius Tyaneus and Simon Magus
Are Chelas "Mediums"?
Are Dreams but Idle Visions?
Arya Samaj
The Babel of Modern Thought
Black Magic in Science
Blessings of Publicity
Bright Spot of Light
Buddhism, Christianity and Phallicism
Buddhism in America
Can the Double Murder?
Can the Mahatmas Be Selfish?
Case of Obsession
Chelas
Chelas and Lay Chelas
Chinese Spirits
Christmas Then and Christmas Now
Civilization, the Death of Art and Beauty
Claims of Occultism
Classification of "Principles"
Count St. Germain
Cross and Fire
Cycle Moveth
Denials and the Mistakes of the Nineteenth Century
Devil's Own-Thoughts on Ormuzd and Ahriman
Diagnoses and Palliatives
Dialogue on the Mysteries of the After Life
Dialogues between the Two Editors
Do the Rishis Exist?
Does Vaccination Prevent Smallpox?
Dr. Beard Criticized
Dreamland and Somnambulism
Drift of Western Spiritualism
Dual Aspect of Wisdomhe
Echoes from India. What is Hindu Spiritualism?
Eddy Manifestations
Editorial Comment
Editorial Appendix
Eighth Wonder
Electric and Magnetic Affinities between Man and Nature
Elementals
Elementaries
Esoteric Axioms and Spiritual Speculations
"Esoteric Buddhism" and its Critic
"Esoteric Buddhism" and the "Secret Doctrine"
Esoteric Character of the Gospels
Fakirs and Tables
Fall of Ideals
Fate of the Occultist
Few Thoughts on Some Wise Words from a Wise Man
Force of Prejudice
Fragments
French View of Women's Rights
Genius
Grand Inquisitor
"H. M." and the Todas
H. P. Blavatsky on Precipitation and Other Matters
H. P. Blavatsky's Masonic Patent
Have Animals Souls?
Hindu Widow-Marriage
History of a "Book"
History of a Planet
Holmes Controversy
Holmes Controversy(continued)
Huxley and Slade
Hypnotism
Hypnotism, and Its Relations to Other Modes of Fascination
Imperfections of Science
Indian Metaphysics
Intro-Version of Mental Vision
Is Creation Possible for Man?
Is Denunciation a Duty?
Is Foeticide a Crime?
"Is it Idle to Argue Further?"
Is Suicide a Crime?
Is the Desire to "Live" Selfish?
Is Theosophy a Religion?
"Isis Unveiled" and the "Theosophist" on Reincarnation
Isis Unveiled and the Vishishtadwaita
"It's the Cat!"
Jews in Russia
Kabalah and the Kabalists
Kabalistic Views of "Spirits"
Karmic Visions
Knout, The. As Wielded by the Great Russian Theosophist
Kosmic Mind
Lack of Unity among Spiritualists
Lamas and Druses
Land of Mystery
Last Song of the Swan
Le Phare de L'Inconnu
Leaven of Theosophy
Leo Tolstoi and His Unecclesiastical Christianity
"Let Every Man Prove His Own Work"
Life and Death
Life Principle
Literary Jottings on Criticism, Authorities, and Other Matters
Lodges of Magic
Logic versus Peripatetic
Madame Blavatsky on "The Himalayan Brothers"
Magic
Mahatmas and Chelas
Memory in the Dying
Mind in Nature
Missing Link
Missionaries Militant
Mistaken Notions on "The Secret Doctrine"
Modern Apostles and Pseudo-Messiahs
Mote and the Beam
Mr. A. Lillie's Delusions
My Books
Mysterious Race
Nature's Human Magnets
Negations of Science
New Cycle
(New) York against Lankester. A new War of the Roses
"Not a Christian"!
Note on Eliphas Levi
Note on "Memory"
Notes on some Aryan-Arhat Esoteric Tenets
Notice to Mediums
Number Seven
Number Seven and Our Society
Occult or Exact Science?
Occult Phenomena
Occultism or Magic
Occultism versus the Occult Arts
Old Hindu Ships
Old Philosophers and Modern Critics
On Pseudo-Theosophy
On The New Year's Morrow
"Oppressed Widowhood" in America
Organisation of the Theosophical Society
Origin of Evil
Our Cycle and the Next
Our Three Objects
Paradoxical World
Parting Words
Persian Zoroastrianism and Russian Vandalism
Pertinent Queries
Pertinent Questions
Philosophers and Philosophicules
Popular Idea of Soul-Survival
Posthumous Publication
Practical Occultism
Pralaya of Modern Science
"Precipitation"
Premature and Phenomenal Growths
Progress and Culture
Protest
Psychic and Noetic Action
Psychic Warning
Psychology - The Science of the Soul
Puzzle from Adyar
Puzzle in "Esoteric Buddhism"
Queries and Answers
Questions Answered about Yoga Vidya
Re-Classification of Principles
Rebuke
Recent Progress in Theosophy
Reincarnations in Tibet
Reply to Our Critics, A. Our Final Answer to Several Objections
Republican Citizen
Retort Courteous
Roots of Ritualism in Church and Masonry
Russian Atrocities
Sacred Tree of Kum Bum
Science of Life
Science of Magic
"Scrutator Again"
Search after Occultism
Seeming "Discrepancies"
Seventeen-Rayed Sun-Disc
She Being Dead Yet Speaketh
Signal of Danger
Signs of the Times
Six-Pointed and Five-Pointed Stars
Society Without a Dogma
Some Scientific Questions Answered
Spiritual Progress
Spiritualism and Occult Truth
Spiritualism and Spiritualists
Spiritualism in Russia
Spiritualistic Tricksters
Star-Angel-Worship in the Roman Catholic Church
Stars and Numbers
Stray Thoughts on Death and Satan
Substantial Nature of Magnetism
Tetragrammaton
Theories about Reincarnation and Spirits
Theory of Cycles
"Theosophical Mahatmas"
Theosophical Society: Its Mission and Its Future
Theosophists and their Opponents
Theosophy and Spiritualism
Theosophy or Jesuitism?
Thoughts of the Dead
Thoughts on the Elementals
Tibetan Teachings
Tidal Wave
"To the Readers of 'Lucifer'"
Todas
Transmigration of the Life Atoms
Trickery or Magic?
Universe in a Nut-Shell
Views of the Theosophists
War in Olympus
Warning to Mediums
Was Cagliostro a "Charlatan"?
Washing the Disciples' Feet
What Are the Theosophists?
What is Occultism?
What is Theosophy?
"What Is Truth?"
What of Phenomena?
What Shall We Do for Our Fellow-Men?
What's in a Name? - Why the Magazine is called "Lucifer"
Which First - the Egg or the Bird?
Why Do Animals Suffer?
Why I Do Not Return to India
Why the "Vahan"?
"Word with Our Friends"
World-Improvement or World-Deliverance
Year is Dead, Long Live the Year
Year of Theosophy
Yoga Philosophy
 
Acknowledgement