Imágenes de páginas

gamation of religions. Indeed, numerous diversities of characteristics, and various forms of expression only add richness to the religious Whole-each representing a special part of the Whole. Therefore, it is not to unify all the religions into one form, one doctrine; but to bring all the special histories and the individuality of each and all the religions into a great harmonious Whole, wherein each may fill its apportioned place, and form part of the grand symphony of the world's sacred ideal, this is the music that the Association Concordia is endeavoring to play.

The next stage where both the political and commercial problems of the East and West are to meet is on the Pacific Ocean. The world is wondering whether it will be a friendly reunion or a hostile encounter. It is of the utmost importance that we prepare for this meeting with a mutual and friendly understanding of thoughts and ideals on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. If we could succeed in establishing a spiritual union of the East and West, then every other thing would of itself come into harmony. If the scholars together with the religious men, the statesmen, and business men of both lands and all other lands, could heartily coöperate, as the Association Concordia proposes, for international peace and good will among men; then we might promote a better understanding between the East and West, and create a reciprocal sympathy in relation to the deeper problems of the spirit.

This is the gleam upon the hills, this is the glow in the upper air, which the Association Concordia is eager to see increase into a noon-day glory.


By John P. Jones, D.D., Professor of Missions at the Kennedy School of Missions, Hartford; Until recently

Missionary at Madura, India In that ultra conservative land we are permitted to see constant unexpected and striking manifestations of development on lines that are social and racial. The spirit of progress is in the air. Yes, it is penetrating the innermost recesses of the Indian soul. Kipling portrayed British impatience at the immobility of the East when he wrote:

It is bad for the Christian's peace of mind,

To hustle the Aryan brown.
For the Aryan smiles and the Christian riles,

And it weareth the Christian down.
And the end of the fight is a tombstone white

With the name of the late deceased,
And an epitaph drear, "a fool lies here

Who tried to hustle the East.” The need of hustling the man of India, by the man of the West, is much less than it used to be. His immobility is gradually disappearing. He is now moving forward voluntarily with ever increasing momentum.

Let us consider recent developments on two lines in India.

1. Social Striking social progress is there evidenced on all sides, and the advance is so un-Hindu and so peculiarly Christian in its type that no one can doubt as to the forces which have produced it. We see it first in the new rebellion against the dictates and punishment of the caste system. Hitherto Hindus have regarded caste laws as supreme, an appeal from the decisions of which was impossible because there was no higher court of appeal. This situation has changed. Recently a Hindu woman in the Bombay Presidency was arraigned before the highest tribunal of her caste because of alleged infidelity to her marriage-vows. The caste punchayet not only fined her, but ordered her to shave her head. She felt the indignity of this latter so much that she at once committed suicide. Whereupon the caste committee was hauled before a court of justice and punished for its cruelty to the woman. This happened notwithstanding the fact that they were the mouth-piece of that organization which was to them highest authority.

Later, in Benares, a cultured gentleman, who had recently returned from England, was called upon, through the instigation of a neighbor, to meet the tribunals of his caste, and to perform the offensive rites of prayachit which is generally incumbent upon one who has returned from a sea voyage. He charged, in the civil court, the man who had thus roused his caste against him, and the man was punished by the court for this castely act.

It is a revelation to the people that there is a higher law of the land to which they can appeal to secure redress against the acts of their own caste. This is one of the most important steps in advance toward the overthrow of perhaps the most debasing social and religious system in the world.

Movements for the alleviation of the condition of women in India are multiplying, and are very significant. The vernacular proverb, in more languages than one, declares that “to educate a woman is like putting a knife in the hands of a monkey." Yet a strong movement for the education of woman is found all over India at the present time. During the last five years nearly 50 per cent has been added to the female school population of India. One million girls are being trained in the schools of India today, and, what is more significant than this is that there are 10 colleges for women in that land in which 400 women are being prepared for B.A. One hundred and ten of these are Christian women, a striking fact when we remember that the Christian community is only about 1 per cent of the population of the country. Another suggestive fact is this, that from the Brahman community, of whom there are 15,000,000 in India, there are only 32 women in college; and yet the men of the Brahman caste are the most advanced of all Indians in education. The common people of India also are increasingly seeking education for their daughters.

The spirit of service has also recently begun to take possession of that people. Hinduism is essentially a selfish faith. It reveals no altruism. As one has said, it requires but two, the man and his God, for the fulfillment of Hinduism; while Christianity requires three, man and God and the other man. Altruistic service has been almost entirely wanting in Hinduism from the first. The realization of its ideals is found in the monk, in the loneliness of the wilderness. Philanthropy—the love of man as suchwas hardly known in that land until the Buddha came; and when that faith left India, as a separate faith, the ideal again returned and centered in the individual himself until Christianity arrived with its social humanitarian passion. It is now bearing fruit in the new organizations recently created among Hindus for service. A beautiful illustration of this is the “Seva Sadan” in Bombay, an institution which aims to train women for service

women of many faithsamong their fellow Indians. It is a noble institution in a land and among a people who have always regarded woman as capable only of dependence and of menial service.

Witness also the “Social Service League” of Bombay which is specially designed to prepare its members for service among men. Likewise the “Students Brotherhood" of Bombay, whose aims are similar to those of the other leagues and are expressed in the following six items:

(1) To promote the moral and intellectual development of its members, and with this in view to arrange for weekly classes, public lectures, social and literary gatherings, etc.

(2) To bring together all communities desirous of raising the moral tone of the rising generation, and of guiding them in their aspirations for worthier lives.

(3) To bring together, for purposes of ethical study, students of various schools and colleges and others interested in such students and to place within their reach opportunities for wholesale social intercourse.

(4) To form and maintain a library with a view to placing wholesome literature within the reach of the members.

(5) To publish literature calculated to advance the aims and objects of the society.

(6) To foster and encourage the spirit of practical benevolence and social service, provided always that the brotherhood shall not promulgate any distinctive religious or political doctrine.

There is a fine ring to the motto of the Brotherhood:

Let us work as brothers
And let us work for good.

Then comes “the Servants of India Society," which is flourishing under the direction of its leader, the Hon. Gokhale, who is the most distinguished Indian statesman of the day. These “servants” distinguished themselves during the recent famine in going from house to house, collecting money to relieve the sufferings of the people. They wrought much good in that way. Then behold the “Society for the Depressed Classes,” through which Brahmans and others are endeavoring to help the outcastes (those people who through them have been debased and banned through the centuries) to attain unto education and other progressive blessings.

These and many other similar organizations in India are very significant of the new India which is abandoning more and more its selfishness and taking unto itself the great lesson of altruism through Christian teaching and example. The whole organized social service idea is the most striking note of India today, and the most remarkable deviation from the orthodox self-centered individualistic system of the land.

2. The Racial Tension

The race conflict is today world-wide in its sweep. Never was it so tense and never did it threaten so much to create national and international difficulty as at the present time. It is not only the German people who are clamoring for a place “in the sun.” All the yellow and brown races are coming to a racial self-consciousness and are demanding larger rights and, in most cases, equal rights with the white man. The arrogant claims of the man of the West to rule the world by his own prowess in his own way and for his

« AnteriorContinuar »