[The Theosophist, Vol. II, No. 8, May, 1881, pp. 180,184]
The Bombay Guardian, an organ of the Methodist sect, recently expressed in strong terms the decided opinion that the Government of India should “demand of the Native Governments that they shall cease from the injustice” of interfering with men’s “convictions in the matter of religion”; affirming that the former did not do so. Its strictures were in this instance specially directed against the action of H.H. the Holkar, in banishing from Indore all Christian colporteurs and converts. If this is not an appeal for the protection of Christian propagandism by armed intervention—for the interference of the Paramount Power, even by remonstrance, is simply that—then we must be very obtuse in perception. The Guardian virtually begs that the Viceroy shall hold the Maharaja vi et armis, while the missionaries run through Indore and lead into apostacy as many as they can. No wonder His Highness should wish to keep Christianity
out of his territory as long as possible, when he can see how it has demoralized its converts in the Presidencies; causing brothels and drinking shops to spring up like mushrooms, and making the name of Native Christian in many places synonymous with all that is bad. What, we wonder, would the Guardian say if the shoe were on the other foot and Europeans were being converted “by trick and device” to idolatry? Does it recollect how one such “convert”—an English Captain, was treated some years back; how he was bundled off twice home as a lunatic so as to destroy, if possible, the effect of his example?* The mission house, gentlemen,
* [This has reference to a Captain Seymour, regarding whom H.P.B. gives the following account in her serial story “From the Caves and Jungles of Hindostan” (Chapter xxii in the original installments as published in the Russkiy Vestnik in 1883):
“. . . Some twenty-five years ago, this Captain gave rise in India, and more particularly in the army, to an unprecedented scandal. Captain Seymour, a wealthy and well-educated man, took up the Brahmanical creed and became a yogin! He was of course declared to be insane and, having been caught, was sent back to England. Seymour escaped and returned to India dressed as a sannyâsin. He was caught once more, placed on a steamer, taken to London and locked in a lunatic asylum. Three days later, in spite of bolts and watchmen, he had disappeared from the institution. Some time later he was seen by his acquaintances in Benares, and the Governor received from him a letter from the Himâlayas. He declared in it that he had never been insane, in spite of having been placed in a hospital. He advised the Governor not to meddle in his private affairs any longer, and stated he would never return again to civilized society. “I am a yogin,” he wrote, and expect to obtain before I die what has been the aim of my life, namely, to become a râja-yogin.” The Governor did not understand, but dropped the matter. After that no European ever saw him except Dr. N. C. Paul, who, it is reported, was in communication with him until his last days, and even went twice into the Himâlayas, ostensibly for botanical excursions. . . .”
Dr. N. C. Paul was the author of a rare pamphlet entitled A Treatise on the Yoga Philosophy spoken of elsewhere in the present volume.
It is quite possible that Captain Seymour may have been one of the three Englishmen who, according to Master Koot Hoomi’s statement (The Mahatma Letters, p. 19) had been “brought across the threshold” during the nineteenth century, one of them being a Captain Remington.—Compiler.]
men, is a glass house, and the fewer stones its occupants throw while still in India, the better. You had better leave the Holkar alone—unless you court troubles. You are here only on sufferance. The Government has not yet forgotten what share of the Mutiny it owes to the missionary editors of the Friend of India, who also clamoured for protection to missionary interests. The later instance of the Zulu War is fresh, and the goings-on of the flogging missionaries of Blantyre fresher still in the public mind. The Editor of the Guardian is a respected, good, and devoted man, though a missionary; like ourselves he is, we believe, an alien. If he would but reflect a moment he would see that if he is a well-wisher of the Government of India, and would avoid throwing any heavier burdens upon its already over-burdened hands, he ought to abstain from such expressions as those above cited, which plainly tend to stir up discontent and breed perhaps bloody disturbances among a naturally docile and loyal people, passionately devoted to their ancestral religions and intolerant of Governmental interference with the same.
The learned principal of Benares college—Dr. G. Thibaut—has laid us under obligations by the presentation of a copy of the paper “On the Sûryaprajñapti”, which he contributed to the journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (Vol. XLIX, part I). Dr. Thibaut’s essay upon the curious Jaina cosmological and astronomical system displays all that painstaking elaboration of the details of a subject under study, which is the characteristic of a true man of science, and—a marked trait of German scholars. It is probably within the truth to say that so careful a paper as the present can find but a very small number of appreciative readers in India, where officialism seems to destroy in a great measure the inclination for serious research. If such ripe minds as his would have sympathetic approval and aid they must seek them at home. Here, Badminton holds sway.
Complying with the pressing invitations of our Buddhist brothers, our President, Colonel Olcott, is again on his way to Ceylon. He sailed on April 22, by the steamer Khiva, accompanied by Mr. H. Bruce. F.T.S. (late of Shanghai), a Scotch gentleman connected with the educational line, who will inspect the several Theosophical Buddhist schools, and, perhaps, be induced to remain on the island as Educational Superintendent. The thorough acquaintance of that estimable gentleman with school systems makes it desirable that our Buddhist brethren should not lose such an opportunity; the more so as Mr. Bruce—a freethinker of forty years’ standing—is very much opposed to padri proselytism, which in this country is rarely, if ever achieved, through sincere conviction. In Ceylon, converts bribed over to Christ, whether by the prospect of employment, ready cash, or any other worldly boon, are pertinently called “belly Christians.” We doubt whether the confiding victims “at home” who are made to swell the “poor missionary” fund would be much gratified to find out that instead of helping the heathen convert to “Jesus” they helped him to “Mammon.” Out of the two fresh and educated catechumen, we hear, one was coaxed over to “Salvation” by the means it afforded him to cast off his non-Christian wife and marry again, and the other by the prospect of becoming the happy possessor of the few rupees of his padri baptizer by taking his daughter in the bargain. Being a thoroughly honourable man, we trust Mr. Bruce will help to expose such evil practices. We may give some account of the joint work of both the travellers in our next.