MADAME BLAVATSKY ON HINDU WIDOW
[Madras Times, Madras, June 9, 1882]
Dewan Bahadur Ragunath Row, F.T.S.
My Dear Sir,—I have not made a study of Hindu law, but I do know something of the principles of Hindu religions, or rather ethics, and of those of its glorious founders. I regard the former almost the embodiment of justice, and the latter as ideals of spiritual perfectibility. When then, anyone points out to me in the existing canon any text, line or word that violates one’s sense of perfect justice, I instinctively know it must be a later perversion of the original Smriti. In my judgment, the Hindus are now patiently enduring many outrageous wrongs that were cunningly introduced into the canon as opportunity offered, by selfish and unscrupulous priests for their personal benefit, as it was in the case of suttee, the burning of widows. The marriage laws are another example. To marry a girl without her knowledge or consent, to enter the sacred state and then doom her to the awful, because unnatural fate of enforced celibacy, if the boy-child to whom she was betrothed should die (and one half of the human race do die before coming of age) is something actually brutal, devilish. It is the quintessence of injustice and cruelty, and I would sooner doubt the stars of heaven than believe that either one of those star-bright human souls called Rishis had ever consented to such a base and idiotic cruelty. If a female has entered a marital relation, she should, in my opinion, remain a chaste widow if her husband should die. But if a betrothed boy-
husband of a non-consenting and irresponsible child-wife should die, or if, upon coming to age, either of them should be averse from matrimony, and prefer to take up the religious life, to devote themselves to charitable occupation, to study, or for other good reason wish to remain celibate, then they ought to be allowed to do so. We personally know of several cases where the male or female are so bent upon becoming chelas that they prefer death rather than to enter or continue in—as the cases severally may be—the married state. My woman’s instinct always told me that for such there was comfort and protection in Hindu Law—the only true Law—of the Rishis which was based upon their spiritual perceptions, hence upon the perfect law of harmony and justice which pervades all nature. And now, upon reading your excellent pamphlet, I perceive that my instincts had not deceived me.
Wishing every possible success, in your noble and highly philanthropical enterprise.
Believe me, dear Sir, with respect,
H. P. BLAVATSKY
Mylapore, 3rd June, 1882.