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defence: And as every tribe of Hindus, from the Brahmen to the lowest of the Sudra, may, in cases of necessity, use them without any infringement of the original institutions of their tribe, no viola. tion of these institutions was caused by the rules of Nause ; which, framed with a view to conciliation, carefully abstained from all in. terference with the civil institutes of the Hindus. But his more daring successor, Guru Govind, saw that such observances were at variance with the plans of his lofty ambition ; and he wisely judged, that the only means by which he could ever hope to oppose the Mahammedan government with success, were, not only to admit converts from all tribes, but to break at once those rules by which the Hindus had been so long chained :-o arm, in short, the whole population of the country, and to make worldly wealth and rank an object to which Hindus of every class might aspire.

• The extent to which Govind succeeded in this design, will be more fully noticed in another place. It is here only necessary to state the leading features of those changes by which he subverted, in so short a time, the hoary institutions of Brahma, and excited terror and astonishment in the minds of the Mahammedan conquerors of India, who saw the religious prejudices of the Hindus, which they had calculated upon as one of the pillars of their safety, because they limited the great majority of the population to peace. able occupations, fall before the touch of a bold and enthusiastic innovator, who opened at once, to men of the lowest tribe, the dazzling prospect of earthly glory. The object of Nanac was, to abolish the distinctions of caste among the Hindus, and to bring them to the adoration of that Supreme Being, before whom, he contend. ed, all men were equal. Guru Govind, who adopted all the principles of his celebrated predecessor, as far as religious usages were concerned, is reported to have said, on this subject, that the four tribes of Hindus, the Brahmen, Cshatriya, Vaisva, and Sudra, would like pán (betle-leaf), chunám (lime), supari (bitter nut), and khat (terra japonica), become all of one colour when well chewed. All who subscribed to his tenets were upon a level; and the Brahmen who entered his sect had no higher claims to eminence than the lowest Sudra who swept his house.'

After a series of desperate conflicts, in which the mental resources of the leader, as well as the constancy and bravery of his followers, were remarkably displayed, he was at last overwhelmed by the power of Aurungzeb; and, for a season, the Sikhs were contented to owe their socurity to silence and concealment.

Upon the death of Aurungzeb, they were prompted to place their protection again upon the sword; and as the Sikhs and Mahomedans were now, from reciprocal injuries, animated against one another by the most violent passions, they set no hounds to their cruelties. After a series of disasters, the Sikhs were once more subdued ; and their extermination was now pursued with unrelenting severity. A price was set upon their heads; and they either fled into the mountains and forests, or concealed themselves by suspending the exercise of their peculiar ceremonies. Their principles, however, had taken too deep root to be easily shaken; and, after an interval of thirty years, when the invasion of Nadir Shah had reduced the power of the Moguls, they suddenly appeared in formidable bands, and availed themselves of the upgoverned state of the provinces from the capital to the confines of Persia—to extend at once their spiritual and temporal power-to gain proselytes and to enlist soldiers.

It would answer little purpose to trace, even if we could do it much more perfectly than any docunients which we possess admit, the steps by which the strength of Innovation, and the weakness of an old government, enabled the Sikhs to possess themselves of the finest provinces of India, notwithstanding the checks which they received both from the Afghans and the Mharattas. The wars of the Sikhs are too like the wars of other Indians, to afford in the recital much either of pleasure or instruction. Even of their religious opinions, and political or civil institutions, a very slight sketch will suffice for our present purpose. It is not nearly of so much importance to know what they now believe, and how they act, as to know that they believe and act very differently from what they recently did.' On the religious innovations of Nanac, Sir John Malcolm gives us the following remarks.

• Actuated by the great and benevolent design of reconciling the jarring faiths of Brahma and Muhammed, he endeavoured to conciliate both Hindoos and Moslems to his doctrine, by persuading them to reject those parts of their respective beliefs and usages, which, he contended, were unworthy of that God whom they both adored. He called upon the Hindoos to abandon the worship of idols, and to return to that pure devotion of the Deity, in which their religion originated. He called upon the Muhammedans to abstain from practices, like the slaughter of cows, that were offensive to the religion of the Hindoos, and to cease from the persecution of that race. Nanac endeavoured with all the power of his genius to impress both Hindoos and Muhammedans with a love of toleration, and an abhorrence of war; and his life was as peaceable as his doctrine. His extraordinary austerities are a constant theme of praise with his followers. His works are all in praise of God. Guru Govind gave a new character to the religion of his followers ;--not by making any material alteration in the tenets of Nanac, but by establishing institutions and usages, which, by the complete abolition of all distinctions of castes, destroyed, at one blow, a system of civil polity, that; from being interwoven with the religion of a weak and bigoted race, fixed the rule of its priests upon a basis that had withstood the shock of ages. The admission of proselytes,-the abolition of the distinctions of caste,—the eating of all kinds of flesh, except that of cows,the form of religious worship,---ind the general devotion of all Singhs to arms, are ordinances altogether irreconcileable with Hindu mythology, and have rendered the weligion of the Sikhs as obnoxidus to the Brahmens, and higher tribes of Hindoos, as it is popular with the lower orders of that numerous class of mankind.'

In contemplating the grand fact which is presented by the history of the Sikhs, we mean, the facility with which a total change may be effected in the religion and institutions of the Hindus, several circumstances are brought forward by our author, which show pretty clearly in what manner such a revolution may be most easily effected. That very part of the Hindu syster which has been represented as constituting its chief strength, is that which contains the seeds of its dissolution. The institution of castes exposes it to destruction. It presses on the great mass of the population with so galling a weight, that they are ready, it seems, to hail its dissolution with transport. The patriarchs of the Sikhs extended their sway with so much rapidity, chiefly by opening to the lower classes of the Hindus the prospect of those honours and riches, from which they had. been so carefully excluded, that the hopes of worldly distinction, and the bitter feeling of their present degradation, speedily extinguished within them the veneration which they had been accustomed to feel for their ancient spiritual or temporal superiors. They adopted the religion of Nanac; and the castes were all blended into one. It is an opinion generally diffused among the Hindus, that a time is destined to arrive when this union of the castes will be universal. This, it is easy to see, is one of the prophecies which may be expected to operate to its own fulfilment.

It might be supposed, and is often enough asserted, that the Brahmins employ such effectual means to maintain their own authority, that the minds of the Hindus are altogether unable to emancipate themselves. The history of the Sikhs, however, affords a memorable proof of the contrary; and seems, indeed, to demonstrate, that nothing more is wanting than a popular and bold innovator; and that the system, whenever it is assailed, will assuredly give way.

One consideration, however, bears too directly upon our own interests to be altogether overlooked. It seems that the lower orders of Hindus are most easily stimulated to break the spell which prolongs their degradation, by the prospect of military advantages, -by haring the sword placed in their hand, and be ing invited to plunder and glory. This, undoubtedly, presents us with rather an alarming prospect. When the Hindu system is broken up, and there are many circumstances which may lead us to suspect that it is advancing to a crisis, the change, it is much to be feared, will not be a peaceable one. Some adventurer, with extensive views and a resolute heart, may draw upon himself, in some convenient spot, the eyes of his countrymen : He has only to preach the elevation of the degraded castes, and summon them to the harvest of war, when the flame would probably run from one end of the land to the other. The history of the Sikhs may teach us if we chuse, and experience may teach us whether we chuse or not,—that such a result is not altogether chimerical. But it is chimerical, we are well aware, to hope, that ruling heads, and ruling hands, will give themselves much concern about the matter. To foresee untoward events, and devise measures to avert them, is more difficult, and less pleasant, than to enjoy the ease of the preserit hour, and trust the evils of futurity to remedies which futurity may provide.

Sir John Malcolm, speaking of the present faith of the Sikhs, is pleased to describe it as • a creed of pure deism, grounded on the most sublime general truths; blended with the belief of all the absurdities of the Hindu mythology, and the fables of Muhammedanism.' This we are afraid is not very consistent; and involves in truth a contradiction which is worth taking notice of, as we have met with it oftener than once in the writings and reasonings of persons of no ordinary authority. To speak of a creed of pure deism, blended with the belief of absurdities, is the same thing as to speak of a perfect system of philosophy, of which the greater part is nonsense. Is it not evident, that so far as absurdities are mixed with a religious creed, so far the purity of its deism is excluded? Is it not plain, for example, that in so far as a man believes that his God performs cruel actions, so far he detracts from his benevolence ;-that so far as he believes him to perform foolish actions, and to be pleased with foolish actions in inen, so far he detracts from his wisdom?

The truth is, however, that men, and even sensible men, allow themselves to be imposed upon by words. Nothing hinders the man who ascribes to his God a perpetual delight in acts of cruelty, to call him benevolent in words; and to extol him as the pern fection of wisdom, at the very moment that he is imputing to him such acts and such motives as would convict the bumblest of mortals of absurdity. When these terms are reported to superlicial hearers, they call them pure deism. They are truly, however,

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the result, not of high, but of low, conceptions of the divine nature. They proceed from the notion, that God is delighted with praise ;—whence every epithet which imports it in the greatest quantity is sure to be the most greedily bestowed upon him. It is only the word, however, which is fine; the idea remains as gross and grovelling as ever. In fact, there is hardly any religion, above that of the mere savage, which applies not to the Divine Being a set of words denoting perfection. As soon, indeed, as such words are invented, they seem every where to be employed as describing the character of God. But if the man, who in one sentence ascribes to his God perfection, in the next ascribes to him conduct which would disgrace a wise and benevolent man, we are very sure that his creed is not pure deism. Even those who borrow their expressions from the pure source of Christianity, may very easily use them without the correspondent ideas : and as often as they are combined with absurdities in belief, this is unquestionably the case, and their actual creed is not pure deism. When a man ascribes acts of cruelty and acts of folly to the Supreme Being, it is mere absurdity to call him benevolent and wise. His conceptions and his words are in evident contradiction: and while he uses the language of pure deism, his belief is plainly most unworthy of that appellation.

The tendency which universally displays itself among the Hindus, as among other half-civilized nations, to form themselves into small divisions, and even, when forced by circumstances to assume for a time the form of a great nation, presently to dissolve into trifling communities, under the government of separate chiefs, speedily produced its usual effects among the people whose circumstances we are now contemplating. Guru Govind was the last acknowledged religious ruler of the Sikhs. A prophecy, no doubt the result of the spirit of independence which existed among the chiefs, limited the number of their spiritual guides to ten. The military prowess, indeed, of Bauda, and the necessity for combined measures of defence against the hostilities of the Moguls, preserved the union of the nation under that devoted follower and friend of Guru Govind. But the independent authority of the chiefs was, probably, soon after established ; and every trifling district obtained a sovereign. These sovereigns, as usual, could not live in peace. The desire to increase their territories, their subjects, their armies, their revenues, produced mutual encroachments. Honour, of which the point is always the most delicate among the rudest people, was continually receiving hurt, and engaging them in courses of revenge.

Feuds were transmitted from father to son; and a

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