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ever accumulated, I can tranquilly bear ; trusting that a day will arive when my humble endeavours will be viewed with justice-perhaps acknowledged with gratitude. At any rate, whatever men may say, I cannot be deprived of this consolation : my motives are acceptable to that Being, who beholds in secret, and compensates openly.
After the publication of the Vedant, Rammohun Roy printed in Bengalee and in English some of the principal chapters of the Veds, “ for the purpose of illustrating and confirming the view he had taken of them.”+
In the preface to one of these tracts, the (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 errors 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 self-interested guides ; who, in defiance of the law as well as of common sense, have succeeded
* See “ Translation of an Abridgment of the Vedant, or Resolution of all the Veds; the most celebrated and revered Work of Brahminical Theology, establishing the Unity of the Supreme Being, and that he alone is the Object of Propitiation and Worship. By Rammohun Roy." Calcutta, 4to. 1816 ; 8vo. 1818; London, 4to. 1817.
+ The titles of these pamphlets are as follows: 1. “Translation of the Cena Upanishad, one of the chapters of the Sama Veda, according to the Gloss of the celebrated Shancaracharya; establishing the Unity and Sole Omnipotence of the Supreme Being, and that he alone is the Object of Worship.” Calcutta, 1816. 2. “ Translation of the Ishopanishad, one of the Chapters of the Yajur Veda; acs cording to the Commentary of the celebrated Shankar-Acharya ; establishing the Unity and Incomprehensibility of the Supreme Being; and that his Worship alone can lead to eternal Beatitude.” Calcutta, 1816. 3. “ Translation of the Moonduk-Opunishud of the Uthurvu-Ved, according to the Gloss 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 ap 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 Inheri. tance. 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.
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 satifaction,” 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 ihe 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, on account of this single difficulty, allow him at once to, reject it as false. As the most likely method of acquiring a correct knowledge of its doctrines, he determined upon a careful perusal of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures in their original languages. From this undertaking he arose with a firm persuasion, that the doctrine of the Trinity
* Preface to the London edition of the Translation of the Vedant. Mouthly Repository, Vol. XIV. p. 562.