Welcome to our Blog, enjoy your stay!
[Letter to Miss Josephine MacLeod]
THE MATH, BELUR,
8th November, 1901.
MY DEAR JOE,
By this time you must have received the letter explaining the word abatement. I did not write the letter nor send the wire. I was too ill at the time to do either, I have been ever since my trip to East Bengal almost bedridden. Now I am worse than ever with the additional disadvantage of impaired eyesight. I would not write these things, but some people require details, it seems.
Well, I am so glad that you are coming over with your Japanese friends—they will have every attention in my power. I will most possibly be in Madras. I have been thinking of leaving Calcutta next week and working my way gradually to the South.
I do not know whether it will be possible to see the Orissan temples in company with your Japanese friends. I do not know whether I shall be allowed inside myself—owing to my eating "Mlechchha" food. Lord Curzon was not allowed inside.
However, your friends are welcome to what I can do always. Miss Müller is in Calcutta. Of course she has not visited us.
Yours with all love,
GOPAL LAL VILLA,
BENARES (VARANASI) CANTONMENT,
9th February, 1902.
MY DEAR SWARUP(ÂNANDA),
...In answer to Charu's letter, tell him to study the Brahma-Sutras, himself. What does he mean by the Brahma-Sutras containing references to Buddhism? He means the Bhâshyas, of course, or rather ought to mean, and Shankara was only the last Bhâshyakâra (commentator). There are references, though in Buddhistic literature, to Vedanta, and the Mahayana school of Buddhism is even Advaitistic. Why does Amara Singha, a Buddhist, give as one of the names of Buddha—Advayavadi? Charu writes, the word Brahman does not occur in the Upanishads! Quelle bêtise!
I hold the Mahayana to be the older of the two schools of Buddhism.
The theory of Mâyâ is as old as the Rik-Samhita. The Shvetashvatara Upanishad contains the word "Mâyâ" which is developed out of Prakriti. I hold that Upanishad to be at least older than Buddhism.
I have had much light of late about Buddhism, and I am ready to prove:
(1) That Shiva-worship, in various forms, antedated the Buddhists, that the Buddhists tried to get hold of the sacred places of the Shaivas but, failing in that, made new places in the precincts just as you find now at Bodh-Gavii and Sarnath (Varanasi).
(2) The story in the Agni-Purana about Gayasura does not refer to Buddha at all—as Dr. Rajendralal will have it—but simply to a pre-existing story.
(3) That Buddha went to live on Gayashirsha mountain proves the pre-existence of the place.
(4) Gaya was a place of ancestor-worship already, and the footprint-worship the Buddhists copied from the Hindus.
(5) About Varanasi, even the oldest records go to prove it as the great place of Shiva-worship; etc., etc.
Many are the new facts I have gathered in Bodh-Gava and from Buddhist literature. Tell Charu to read for himself and not be swayed by foolish opinions.
I am rather well here, in Varanasi, and if I go on improving in this way, it will be a great gain.
A total revolution has occurred in my mind about the relation of Buddhism and Neo-Hinduism. I may not live to work out the glimpses, but I shall leave the lines of work indicated, and you and your brethren will have to work it out.
Yours with all blessings and love,