New Ideas in India During the Nineteenth Century eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 171 pages of information about New Ideas in India During the Nineteenth Century.
worth living, and that the pessimistic mood is no ingrained fundamental trait, we are prepared to believe that the hopeful Christian conception of the Here and the Hereafter is finding acceptance.  Rightly understood, the Christian conception is at bottom the antithesis of pessimism and its corollary, transmigration.  To deny the one is almost to assert the other.  The decay of the one is the growth of the other.  For the Christian conception of the Here and the Hereafter—­what is it?  Life, eternal, in and through the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  “God gave unto us eternal life, and the life is in His Son.  He that hath the Son hath the life."[110] Says Harnack in his volume What is Christianity? “The Christian religion means one thing, and one thing only—­eternal life in the midst of time by the strength and under the eyes of God.”  Not that the new idea in India is to be wholly ascribed to Christian influence.  A marked change in Christian thought itself during the nineteenth century has been the higher value of this present life.  Christianity has become a vitalising gospel for the life Here even more than for the Hereafter.  But assuming the truth of what we have sought to show, namely, that within the past century the winning personality of Christ has come to New India, a new incentive to noble life and service, we have at least a further reason for believing that pessimism and transmigration are fading out of Indian minds.  The new Advent, as that at Bethlehem, is a turning-point of time; the gloomy winter of pessimism is turning to a hopeful spring.

CHAPTER XVIII

INDIAN TRANSMIGRATION AND THE CHRISTIAN HERE AND HEREAFTER

  “The dew is on the lotus.  Rise, good sun! 
  And lift my leaf and mix me with the wave. 
        The sunrise comes! 
  The dewdrop slips into the shining sea.

  If any teach Nirvana is to cease,
    Say unto such they lie. 
  If any teach Nirvana is to live,
    Say unto such they err.”

    (Buddha’s teaching in Arnold’s Light of Asia.)

[Sidenote:  Over against Transmigration, Christian immortality is continuity of the individual’s memory.]

To appreciate the impact of the Christian idea of the Here and Hereafter upon the Hindu idea of Transmigration and Absorption, the two ideas must be more fully examined.  Stated briefly, the Christian idea is that after this life on earth comes an Eternity, whose character has been determined by the life on earth.  The crisis of death terminates our bodily activities and renders impossible any further action, either virtuous or sinful, and ushers the soul, its ledger closed, its earthy limitations cast off, into some more immediate presence of God.  If in communion with God, through its faith in Jesus Christ, the soul is in a state of blessedness; if still alien from God, the soul is in a state of utter misery, for its spiritual perception

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New Ideas in India During the Nineteenth Century from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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