Sacred Books of the East eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 632 pages of information about Sacred Books of the East.
of the truth.  The result is given us in these wonderful books.  We call them wonderful, because the unaided mind of man never attained, in any other literature, to a profounder insight into spiritual things.  The Western reader may find in an “Upanishad” many things that seem to him trifling and absurd, many things obscure and apparently meaningless.  It is very easy to ridicule this kind of literature.  But as a matter of fact these ancient writings well repay study, as the most astounding productions of the human intellect.  In them we see the human mind wrestling with the greatest thoughts that had ever yet dawned upon it, and trying to grasp and to measure the mighty vision before which it was humbled to the dust.  The seer, in order to communicate to the world the result of his meditations, seems to catch at every symbol and every word hallowed by familiar usage, in order to set out in concrete shape the color and dimensions of mystic verities; he is employing an old language for the expression of new truths; he is putting new wine into old wine-skins, which burst and the wine is spilt; words fail, and the meaning is lost.  It is not lost, however, to those who will try to study the “Upanishads” from within, and not from without:  who will try to put himself in the attitude of those earnest and patient explorers who brought so much light into the human life of the East, and so much joy and tranquillity to the perturbed spirit of their fellow-men.  Those who thus study these ancient writings will find in them the fundamental principles of a definite theology, and, more wonderful still, the beginnings of that which became afterwards known to the Greeks, and has been known ever since, as metaphysics:  that is, scientific transcendentalism.  This much will be apparent to anyone who will read and study the “Kaushitaki-Upanishad,” which is one of the most wonderful of the religious books of the East.  Laying aside the doctrine of metempsychosis and the idea of reincarnation, there is something sublime and inspiring in the imagery with which the destiny of the soul after death is described, while in the metaphysical subtlety of this book we find an argument against materialism which is just as fresh now as when it was first stated.





Kitra Gangyayani, wishing to perform a sacrifice, chose Aruni Uddalaka, to be his chief priest.  But Aruni sent his son, Svetaketu, and said:  “Perform the sacrifice for him.”  When Svetaketu had arrived, Kitra asked him:  “Son of Gautama, is there a hidden place in the world where you are able to place me, or is it the other way, and are you going to place me in the world to which that other way leads?"[14]

He answered and said:  “I do not know this.  But, let me ask the master.”  Having approached his father, he asked:  “Thus has Kitra asked me; how shall I answer?”

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Sacred Books of the East from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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