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Ishopanishad,) after observing upon the superiority of the moral to the physical powers of man, and intimating that sorrow and remorse “ can scarcely fail sooner or later to be the portion of him who is conscious of having neglected opportunities of rendering benefit to his fellow-creatures,” he again adverts to his own case in the following terms: “From considerations like these it has been, that I, (although born a Brahmin, and instructed in my youth in all the principles of that sect) being thoroughly convinced of the lamentable
of the celebrated Shunkura-Charyu." Calcutta, 1819. 4.“Translation of the Kuth-Opunishud, of the Ujoor-Ved, according to the Gloss of the celebrated Sunkuracharyu.” 1819.
His other publications on the subject of Hindoo Reformation, consist of, 1. “A Defence of Hindoo Theism, in Reply to the attack of an Advocate for Idolatry at Madras." Calcutta, 1817. 2.“ A Second Defence of the Monotheistical System of the Veds, in Reply to an Apology for the present State of Hindoo Worship." Calcutta, 1817. 3. “ Translation of a Conference between an Advocate and an Opponent of the Practice of Burning Widows Alive, from the original Bungla." 1818. 4. “A Second Conference between an Advocate and an Opponent of the Practice of Burning Widows Alive, translated from the original Bengalee." Calcutta, 1820. Dedicated to the Marchioness of Hastings. 5.“ An Apology for the Pursuit of Final Beatitude independently of Brahmunical Observances." Calcutta, 1820. 6. " Brief Remarks regarding Modern Encroachments on the Ancient Rites of Females, according to the Hindoo Law of Inheritance. Calcutta, printed at the Unitarian Press, 1822." The translation of the “ Vedant,” and of the “Cena Upanishad," were reprinted in London, in 1817. A review of some of these pamphlets is inserted in the Monthly Repository, Vol. XIV. pp. 561, &c.
of my countrymen, have been stimulated to employ every means in my power to improve their minds, and lead them to the knowledge of a purer system of morality. Living constantly amongst Hindoos of different sects and professions, I have had ample opportunities of observing the superstitious puerilities into which they have been thrown by their selfinterested guides; who, in defiance of the law as well as of common sense, have succeeded but too well in conducting them to the temple of idolatry; and while they hide from their view the true substance of morality, have infused into their simple hearts a weak attachment for its mere shadow.” After enumerating some of the evils arising from the existing theory and practice of Hindooism, and noticing the encouragement held out by it to every species of immorality and crime, he thus proceeds: My reflections upon these solemn truths have been most painful for many years. I have never ceased to contemplate with the strongest feelings of regret, the obstinate adherence of my countrymen to their fatal system
of idolatry, enduring, for the sake of propitiating their supposed deities, the violation of every humane and social feeling. And this in various instances; but more especially in the dreadful acts of self-destruction, and the immolation of the nearest relations, under the delusion of conforming to sacred religious rites. I have never ceased, I repeat, to contemplate these practices with the strongest feelings of regret, and to view in them the moral debasement of a race who, I cannot help thinking, are capable of better things; whose susceptibility, patience, and mildness of character, render them worthy of a better destiny. Under these impressions, therefore, I have been impelled to lay before them genuine translations of parts of their scripture which inculcates not only the enlightened worship of one God, but the purest principles of morality, accompanied with such notices as I deemed requisite to oppose the arguments of the Brahmins, in defence of their beloved system. Most earnestly do I pray, that the whole may, sooner or later, prove efficient in producing on the minds of Hindoos in general, a conviction of the rationality of believing in and adoring the Supreme Being only; together with a complete perception and practice of that grand and comprehensive moral principle -Do unto others as you would be done by.”
Although he experienced much opposition and discouragement in his work of reformation, he had the gratification of witnessing in many instances the beneficial effects of his labours. “ It is with no ordinary feelings of satisfaction,” he states in the preface to the Cena Upanishad, “ that I have already seen many respectable persons of my countrymen, to the great disappointment of their spiritual guides, rise superior to their original prejudices, and inquire into the truths of religion.” And again in his preface to the Kuth Opunishud, he writes, “ The great body of my countrymen, possessed of good understandings, and not much fettered with prejudices, being perfectly satisfied of the truth of the doctrines contained in this and in other works already laid by me before them, and of the gross errors of the puerile system of idol worship which they were led to follow, have altered their religious conduct in a manner becoming the dignity of human beings.”—“ It seems to me,” he remarks in conclusion, “ that I cannot better employ my time than in an endeavour to illustrate and
maintain truth, and to render service to my fellow-labourers, confiding in the mercy of that Being to whom the motives of our actions and secrets of our hearts are well known.”
The liberal views, and the devout and amiable spirit which are displayed in these extracts, and are indeed discernible in the whole of the author's writings, may be well thought to have disposed him to a candid examination of the Christian revelation. From the perusal of the New Testament, in his “ long and uninterrupted researches into religious truth,” he found, he asserts, “ the doctrines of Christ more conducive to moral principles, and better adapted for the use of rational beings than any other which had come to his knowledge."* The doctrine of the Trinity, however, which appeared to his mind quite as objectionable as the Polytheism of the Hindoos, presented an insuperable obstacle to his conversion to Christianity, as he found it professed by those with whom he conversed. But as the system so fully approved itself, in other respects, to his reason and his piety, his candour would not,
* Preface to the London edition of the Translation of the Vedant. Monthly Repository, Vol. XIV. p. 562.