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." Says Harnack
in his volume What is Christianity?
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.
INDIAN TRANSMIGRATION AND THE CHRISTIAN HERE AND HEREAFTER
“The dew is on the lotus. Rise,
And lift my leaf and mix me with the wave.
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
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