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    Chapter 19
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    Is it not probable that the Brahmins were the first legislators of the earth, the first philosophers, the first theologians?

    Do not the few monuments of ancient history which remain to us form a great presumption in their favour, since the first Greek philosophers went to them to learn mathematics, and since the most ancient curiosities collected by the emperors of China are all Indian?

    We will speak elsewhere of the "Shasta"; it is the first book of theology of the Brahmins, written about fifteen hundred years before their "Veidam," and anterior to all the other books.

    Their annals make no mention of any war undertaken by them at any time. The words for arms, to kill, to maim, are not to be found either in the fragments of the "Shasta" which we have, or in the "Ezourveidam," or in the "Cormoveidam." I can at least give the assurance that I did not see them in these last two collections: and what is still more singular is that the "Shasta" which speaks of a conspiracy in heaven, makes no mention of any war in the great peninsula enclosed between the Indus and the Ganges.

    The Hebrews, who were known so late, never name the Brahmins; they had no knowledge of India until after the conquests of Alexander, and their settling in Egypt, of which they had said so much evil. The name of India is to be found only in the Book of Esther, and in that of Job which was not Hebrew. One remarks a singular contrast between the sacred books of the Hebrews, and those of the Indians. The Indian books announce only peace and gentleness; they forbid the killing of animals: the Hebrew books speak only of killing, of the massacre of men and beasts; everything is slaughtered in the name of the Lord; it is quite another order of things.

    It is incontestably from the Brahmins that we hold the idea of the fall of the celestial beings in revolt against the Sovereign of nature; and it is from there probably that the Greeks drew the fable of the Titans. It is there also that the Jews at last took the idea of the revolt of Lucifer, in the first century of our era.

    How could these Indians suppose a revolt in heaven without having seen one on earth? Such a jump from human nature to divine nature is barely conceivable. Usually one goes from known to unknown.

    One does not imagine a war of giants until one has seen some men more robust than the others tyrannize over their fellows. The first Brahmins must either have experienced violent discords, or at least have seen them in heaven.

    It is a very astonishing phenomenon for a society of men who have never made war to have invented a species of war made in the imaginary spaces, or in a globe distant from ours, or in what is called the "firmament," the "empyrean." But it must be carefully observed that in this revolt of celestial beings against their Sovereign no blows were struck, no celestial blood flowed, no mountains hurled at the head, no angels cut in two, as in Milton's sublime and grotesque poem.

    According to the "Shasta," it is only a formal disobedience to the orders of the Most High, a cabal which God punishes by relegating the rebellious angels to a vast place of shadows called "Ondera" during the period of an entire mononthour. A mononthour is four hundred and twenty-six millions of our years. But God deigned to pardon the guilty after five thousand years, and their ondera was only a purgatory.

    He made "Mhurd" of them, men, and placed them in our globe on condition that they should not eat animals, and that they should not copulate with the males of their new species, under pain of returning to ondera.

    Those are the principal articles of the Brahmins' faith, which have lasted without interruption from immemorial times right to our day: it seems strange to us that among them it should be as grave a sin to eat a chicken as to commit sodomy.

    This is only a small part of the ancient cosmogony of the Brahmins. Their rites, their pagodas, prove that among them everything was allegorical; they still represent virtue beneath the emblem of a woman who has ten arms, and who combats ten mortal sins represented by monsters. Our missionaries have not failed to take this image of virtue for that of the devil, and to assure us that the devil is worshipped in India. We have never been among these people but to enrich ourselves and to calumniate them.

    Really we have forgotten a very essential thing in this little article on the Brahmins; it is that their sacred books are filled with contradictions. But the people do not know of them, and the doctors have solutions ready, figurative meanings, allegories, symbols, express declarations of Birma, Brahma and Vitsnou, which should close the mouths of all who reason.
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