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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 171 pages of information about New Ideas in India During the Nineteenth Century.
reveals it as virtually a Hindu revival society.  Finally, we read, the old philosopher Pythagoras, Apollonius of Tyana, and others were represented on the stage dressed in imitation of Christ Himself, and the Emperor Alexander Severus [A.D. 222-235] placed the figure of Christ in his lararium alongside of those of Abraham, Orpheus, and Apollonius.  There we have the modern Indians who fully recognise Christ alongside of their own avatars.  The whole parallel is complete.[105] In spite of the feebleness and, it may be, unworthiness of His Church, through the force of Christ’s personality, the Roman history of the second, third, and fourth centuries has been repeating itself in India in the nineteenth and twentieth, and unless the force of Christ’s personality be spent, the parallels will proceed.

From new reasonings about God, her new monotheism, New India has been brought a stage farther to actual history.  From theologies she has come to the first three Gospels.  New India has been introduced to Christ as He actually lived on earth before men’s eyes; and to India, intensely interested in religious teachers, the personality of the Christ of the Gospels, of the first three Gospels in particular, appeals strongly.  To the pessimistic mood of India He appeals as one whose companionship makes this life more worth living; for Christ was not a jogi in the Indian sense of a renouncer of the world.  His call to fraternal service has taken firm hold of the best Indians of to-day.  Of the future we know not, but we feel that the narrative of the first three Gospels naturally precedes the deeper insight of the fourth.

CHAPTER XVII

INDIAN PESSIMISM—­ITS BEARING ON BELIEF IN THE HERE AND HEREAFTER

  “How many births are past, I cannot tell: 
  How many yet to come, no man can say: 
  But this alone I know, and know full well,
  That pain and grief embitter all the way.”

    (South-Indian Folk-song, quoted in Lux Christi, by Caroline
    Atwater Mason.)

    “When desire is gone, and the cords of the heart are broken,
    then the soul is delivered from the world and is at rest in
    God.”

[Sidenote:  Indian pessimism.]

Two commonplaces about India are that pessimism is her natural temperament, and that a natural outcome of her pessimism is the Indian doctrine of the transmigration of souls.  The second statement will require explanation; but as regards the former, there is no denying the strain of melancholy, the note of hopelessness, that pervades these words we have quoted, or that they are characteristic of India.  In them life seems a burden; to be born into it, a punishment; and of the transmigrations of our souls from life to life, seemingly, we should gladly see the end.  All the same, as new India is proving, pessimism is not the inherent temperament of India, and the hope of the end of the transmigration, and of the lives of the soul, no more natural in India than in any other land.

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