Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official eBook

William Henry Sleeman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 897 pages of information about Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official.

The artillery men in the Mogul service were not all European Christians.  Turks from the Ottoman Empire were freely employed. (See Ep.  Ind., ii, 132 note.)

The facts concerning the early history of Christianity in Northern India have been imperfectly studied.  In this note I have used chiefly a pamphlet by Father H. Hosten, S. J., entitled Jesuit Missionaries in Northern India, &c. (Catholic Orphan Press, Calcutta, 1907), and the confused little book by Fanthome, Reminiscences of Agra (2nd ed., Thacker, Spink & Co., Calcutta, 1895).  The Jesuit and Capuchin Fathers are working at the subject and hope to elucidate it.  From the A.S.  Progress Rep.  N. Circle, Muhammadan Monuments, for 1911-12, p. 21, it appears that arrangements for the proper maintenance of the Old Catholic cemetery are in hand.

The author’s observations concerning the official relations of Christianity in India do not apply at all to the very ancient churches of the South (See E.H.I., 3rd ed., 1914, App.  M, pp. 245- 7).  Even in the north, the modern missionary operations may claim to be ‘independent of office’.

CHAPTER 53

Father Gregory’s Notion of the Impediments to Conversion in India—­ Inability of Europeans to speak Eastern Languages.

Father Gregory, the Roman Catholic priest, dined with us one evening, and Major Godby took occasion to ask him at table, ’What progress our religion was making among the people?’

‘Progress!’ said he; ’why, what progress can we ever hope to make among a people who, the moment we begin to talk to them about the miracles performed by Christ, begin to tell us of those infinitely more wonderful performed by Krishna, who lifted a mountain upon his little finger, as an umbrella, to defend his shepherdesses at Govardhan from a shower of rain.[1] The Hindoos never doubt any part of the miracles and prophecies of our scripture—­they believe every word of them; and the only thing that surprises them is that they should be so much less wonderful than those of their own scriptures, in which also they implicitly believe.  Men who believe that the histories of the wars and amours of Ram and Krishna, two of the incarnations of Vishnu, were written some fifty thousand years before these wars and amours actually took place upon the earth, would of course easily believe in the fulfilment of any prophecy that might be related to them out of any other book;[2] and, as to miracles, there is absolutely nothing too extraordinary for their belief.  If a Christian of respectability were to tell a Hindoo that, to satisfy some scruples of the Corinthians, St. Paul had brought the sun and moon down upon the earth, and made them rebound off again into their places, like tennis balls, without the slightest injury to any of the three planets [sic], I do not think he would feel the slightest doubt of the truth of it; but he would immediately be put in mind of something still more extraordinary that Krishna did to amuse the milkmaids, or to satisfy some sceptics of his day, and relate it with all the naivete imaginable.

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