The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1859

Allan Kardec

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NOTE COMMUNICATED TO THE SOCIETY BY MR. TUG… “It is generally thought that the Hindus only admit reincarnation as expiation and that in their opinion it only happens in animal bodies. However, the lines below, extracted from the trip of Mrs. Ida Pfeiffer, seem to demonstrate that the Hindu Indians have a more clear idea with that respect.

Mrs. Pfeiffer says: “The girls are generally engaged when they are one year old. If the boy dies the girl is considered a widow, being then precluded from marrying. Windowing is considered to be a great unhappiness. They think that such a situation is the result of a not faultless previous life.”
Despite the undeniable importance of these last words, it must be acknowledged that there is a capital difference between the doctrine of metempsychosis of the Hindus and the doctrine admitted by the Parisian Society of Spiritist Studies. Let us see what Zimmermann says about Hinduism in his “Travel Journal’ (Taschenbuch der Reisen).
“The basis of that religion is the belief in a primary and supreme being, in the immortality of the soul, and the reward of virtue. The true and only God is called Brahm, who must not be confused with Brahma, created by God. God is the true light that is the same, eternal, blessed at all times and places. The goddess Bhavani (nature) has emanated from the immortal essence of Brahm, and a legion of 1,180 million spirits. Among those there are three semi gods or superior genies: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, the trinity of the Hindus. Concord and happiness has reigned among the spirits for a long time. With time, however, a revolt exploded among them and some refused to obey. The rebels were precipitated from heavens to the abyss of darkness. Then came the metempsychosis: each plant, each creature was animated by a decayed angel. Such a belief explains the kindness of the Hindus towards the animals. They are considered their similar, thus they do not want to kill any.”
“We are led to believe that only with time everything that exists of bizarre in that badly understood religion, and falsified by the crowds, fell to the insensible charlatanism. It is enough to indicate the attributes of its main divinities to explain the current state of the religion. They admit 333 million inferior divinities: those are the goddesses of the elements, of the phenomena of nature, of arts, diseases, etc. Furthermore, there are the good and bad genies. The good ones outnumber the bad ones by three millions.”
“What is extremely remarkable”, adds Zimmermann “is that one cannot find a single image of the Supreme Being among the Hindus, who is immensely great to them. His temple is the whole Earth, they say, and He is worshiped in all forms.”
Thus, according to the Hindus, the souls were created happy and perfect and their bankruptcy resulted from a rebellion. Their incarnation in animal bodies is a punishment. According to the Spiritist Doctrine the souls were, and still are, created simple and ignorant, and it is through the successive reincarnations that they reach perfection, thanks to their efforts and to God’s mercy, the only means of achieving eternal happiness. The soul, which must progress, may however remain stationary during a more or less lengthy period, but cannot retrocede. What has been acquired in knowledge and morality the soul does not lose. If the soul does not advance it does not move back either. That is why it cannot go back to animate the creatures inferior to humanity.
Thus the metempsychosis of the Hindus is founded on the principle of degradation of the souls. Reincarnation, according to the spirits, is founded on the principle of continuous evolution. According to the Hindus, the soul began by perfection, achieving abjection. Perfection is the beginning; abjection is the result. According to the spirits, ignorance is the beginning; perfection is the objective and final result.
It would be superfluous to demonstrate which one of these doctrines is the most rational, which one gives the most elevated idea of God’s justice and benevolence. It is then from a complete ignorance of their principles that some people confuse them. TUG…”

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