Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies

By J. A. Dubois; Henry King Beauchamp | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXV

A Sannyasi's Principal Duties.—Meditation.—Its Various Stages.— What it consists of, and how Hindu Devotees practise it.—General Remarks.—Comparisons between the Hindu Sannyasis and those who lead Similar Lives among Christians.

A sannyasi's first and most important duty is to destroy, root and branch, any feeling of attachment that may still linger in his heart for the world and its vain pleasures. Wife, children, parents, friends, caste privileges, cattle, lands, jewels and other temporal possessions, animal passions, sensual pleasures—all these are but so many obstacles standing in the way of his soul's perfection. In Hindu books they are likened variously to thick clouds which, until they are dispersed, obscure the light of the sun, or to violent winds that disturb the surface of the water and prevent the reflection of this luminary in all its splendour; to the coils Which caterpillars and other insects form, and of which they cannot rid themselves; or again to the kernels of certain fruits in which grubs and maggots are imprisoned.

Such are the similes which Hindu authors make use of when trying to give some idea of the hindrances which earthly passions oppose to spirituality, and which must be overcome before perfection can be attained and the soul reunited to the Divine Being. Nevertheless, these same authors add, the tenements in which caterpillars and grubs confine themselves do not hold them captive for ever. Neither do the insects cease to exist. After remaining for some time in a state of torpor and quiescence, the feeble spark of life which they still retain rekindles and gradually increases in strength till the insects are able to destroy the covering in which they are enclosed, and, by dint of persevering labour, at last open out a passage to the region of light and liberty. So it is with the soul. The body in which it is imprisoned, and which is a prey to worldly cares and tumultuous passions, will not hold it for ever. After many re-incarnations the spark of perfect wisdom, which is latent in every man, will burn more brightly, until the soul at last succeeds, after a long course of penance and meditation, in breaking asunder, little by little, all the

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Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Editor's Preface to Third Edition iii
  • Prefatory Note v
  • Editor's Introduction viii
  • Contents xxix
  • Author's Preface 1
  • General View of Society in India, and General Remarks on the Caste System 14
  • Chapter I 14
  • Chapter II 27
  • Chapter III 38
  • Chapter IV 44
  • Chapter V 48
  • Chapter VI 80
  • Chapter VII 97
  • Chapter VIII 108
  • Chapter IX 111
  • Chapter X 123
  • Chapter XI 134
  • Chapter XII 138
  • Chapter XIII 143
  • Chapter XIV 155
  • The Four States of Brahminical Life 160
  • Chapter I 160
  • Chapter II 170
  • Chapter III 178
  • Chapter IV 186
  • Chapter V 194
  • Chapter VI 205
  • Chapter VII 235
  • Chapter VIII 269
  • Chapter IX 282
  • Chapter X 288
  • Chapter XI 295
  • Chapter XII 306
  • Chapter XIII 316
  • Chapter XIV 326
  • Chapter XV 332
  • Chapter XVI 336
  • Chapter XVII 343
  • Chapter XVIII 350
  • Chapter XIX 355
  • Chapter XX 368
  • Chapter XXI 376
  • Chapter XXII 392
  • Chapter XXIII 401
  • Chapter XXIV 415
  • Chapter XXV 420
  • Chapter XXVI 433
  • Chapter XXVII 450
  • Chapter XXVIII 474
  • Chapter XXIX 482
  • Chapter XXX 489
  • Chapter XXXI 500
  • Chapter XXXII 509
  • Chapter XXXIII 517
  • Chapter XXXIV 522
  • Chapter XXXV 528
  • Chapter XXXVI 538
  • Religion 542
  • Chapter I 542
  • Chapter II 556
  • Chapter III 567
  • Chapter IV 577
  • Chapter V 612
  • Chapter VI 636
  • Chapter VII 648
  • Chapter VIII 654
  • Chapter IX 667
  • Appendix I 685
  • Appendix II 701
  • Appendix III 706
  • Appendix IV 708
  • Appendix Vi. 717
  • Index 723
  • Some Opinions of the Press *
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