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within the reach of thousands, and tens of utterable delight, or of unlimited torture thousands, and hundreds of thousands, who and condemnation. Therein only groweth labour and fruitlessly toil to find it else- the tree of independence, and we who will where. Man is the same in all ages. Still cultivate the soil may taste of the fruit.
chrysendeta vasa"—the “ vessels of A rich harvest of delight will be his gold and the vessels of silver,” are objects portion. He, indeed, may “look down and of desire and envy. Paltry ambition ever smile at pomp,” for he will have “that loves display ; and the misguided mind within which passeth show:” and, when he chuckles amid its finery, conceit, and fop- beholds others seeking, in erroneous paths, pery, alike in the ducal palace and the for that calm enjoyment which he will humble tradesman's crowded room. have acquired, a feeling of pity may, for a
An opinion seems to have gone forth moment, o'ercloud his spirit, but envy can among men, that independence is to be best have no place in his heart. And somewhat exhibited by affecting the habits, and imi- like this is independence. Why then do tating the follies of those whom fortune has not men more frequently attain it? Alas! placed in the grade above us. A something, there is one most formidable and often of which we are not possessed, must appear insuperable obstacle; a remora stretched to be within our power; and we cherish across our path of life; a lion ever lurking the miserable and deceitful wish of seeming in our way. It is not the fiat of power, nor what we are not, to the destruction of that the yet more imperious mandate of poverty; portion of independence which might be our neither the cold whisper of prudence, nor own, were we contented to be and to appear the warning voice of experience. It is what we really are.
something far more powerful than all these. The monarch on his throne, and the high It is no less than the mean, dastardly, and mighty among men, can enjoy no other contemptible fear, not of the good and independence than that which centres in the wise, and great, and highly gifted, among mind. They may exert their authority, our race; but, strange to say! of those and issue mandates which none dare to whom we inwardly despise! While, perdisobey. Palaces shall arise at their bid- chance, scarcely an individual bestows a ding, and the desert kindle into beauty, thought upon our destiny, whether it be and the waste become redolent with the for good or evil, we vainly fancy ourselves fragrance of the East; but, ever vainly shall elevated, as upon a pinnacle, and that issue, from the high places, the cry of WORLD” is watching our actions. As “Bring me happiness!" if the mind willing, degraded and purblind slaves, we within shall have neglected its own posses- feel that we must obey its dictates, and sions. Deep in the recesses of the human respect its opinions; and, under the inheart there is a garden of Eden, or a wilder- fluence of the infatuation, we go forth, and ness of thorns - a mysterious labyrinth, are content to believethat they are oracularly which, like the Elysian Fields of the an- delivered by the first silly gossiping person cients, is either a place of endless and un- we meet.
It is the sun of yesterday
That now is on me glowing ;
Were then as brightly flowing.
Here, too, the yellow linden blows,
With woodbine round it wreathing,
A thousand sweets is breathing.
But when the earth is dark with night,
The weeds are fair as flowers ;
Now shines on other bowers.
THE SUNIASSI; A HINDOO LEGEND.
Before the reader commences the narra- observances. He supports life by gleaning tive here offered to his attention, it may be in the fields, or by begging a handful of necessary he should be informed who and rice from the casual passenger, and even what a Suniassi is. The Suniassi then is a part of this scanty supply he throws into brahmin of the highest spiritual order ; a the fire as an offering to the dead. He devotee who imagines that, by rigid penan- passes the greater part of the night in obces and a life devoted to great privations, serving the course of the moon and planets, he can so discipline his body as to cleanse it and contemplating the spangled skies, which from all carnal defilements, and at length will sufficiently account for the skill in elevate it to such a state of purity as to fit it astronomy exhibited by many of the brahfor Indra's paradise, without any vicarious mins. expiation; in which method of remedial in- The third stage is one of still more tervention on the part of an allwise and severe trial than either of the two former. merciful God, of course, as a heathen, he The devotee retires to the desert, where he does not believe.
passes the remainder of his days in utter There are supposed by the Hindoos to solitude and privation ; preparing his soul,by be four degrees of probation. The first holy contemplations, for that state to which may be entered by the young brahmin it aspires in the Swerga, or eternal paradise. noviciate so early as his eighth year, when He wraps his aged limbs in the most scanty the preliminary ceremony of putting on the covering, neither cuts his hair nor pares zennar is performed. This badge is a cord his nails, sleeps upon the bare ground, composed of three threads, in memory of fasts all the day, and at the approach of the Trimourti, or three great deities of the night relieves his long and severe abstinence Hindoos, the Creator, Preserver, and De- with a few grains of boiled rice. His whole stroyer, under the names of Brahma, Vish- life is one uniform scene of dreadful inflicnooand Siva. As soon as this cord is attach- tion, and he often expires under the seveed to the youthful candidate for spiritual rities of his penances remote from any distinction, his first probation commences. human habitation, without a relative to He now quits his father's house, and is close his eyes, or a friend to receive his placed under the tuition of a brahmin, who last sigh. initiates him into all the mysteries of the The fourth stage of probation undergone sacred order. After a while his head is by the fanatical brahmin, is the state of shaved, except a single lock at the back of Suniassi. This only differs from the third the crown.
He is denied every kind of state in the horrible tortures endured by enjoyment. The strictest purity of conver- the aspirant for the Swerga. The self-insation and of action is maintained. His flicted torments by which the Suniassi sigyouth is passed in the severest mortifica- nalises his term of expurgation positively tions. His days are occupied in prayer, exceeds belief, and yet the facts are estaablutions, and studying the Vedas, or Hin- blished by testimony not to be impeached. doo scriptures. At night he casts himself The writer of this narrative has himself upon a bed of foul straw, or under the first witnessed acts of self-torture absolutely tree that stands in his path, wrapped in the frightful to behold. skin of a tiger or of a stag, the hides of all When the devotee has attained to the other animals being supposed to communi- enviable state of the Suniassi, he becomes a cate pollution. This first probationary sort of subordinate divinity in the eyes of state continues generally twelve years ; in his inferiors. They pay him the profoundsome instances only five.
est homage ; frequently seeking the desert The second stage, which immediately in which he passes his days, to attest their succeeds the first, is one of still greater veneration for a being so sanctified. By denial. The stern novice rises at least the austerity of his life, and the extreme two hours before daybreak, and his whole severity of his torments, the Suniassi time is passed in the strictest ceremonial imagines that he entitles himself to everlasting reward in the sensual heaven of his discipline, he was said to enjoy her society idolatry, into which the gods themselves with a relish proportioned to the privation cannot refuse him admission. Having paid which his condition of a Suniassi necessarily the price, he claims the reward, as a right imposed upon him. When he returned which is admitted.
from the desert to the blessings of his It is maintained by the brahmins that a domestic hearth, his visits to the palace devotee in the fourth stage of probation, were kept a profound secret, as anything can, by some mystical act of devotion, dis- like relaxation from the rigid abstinence possess his living body of the spirit and from all enjoyment, however rational or ascend to the regions of immortal fruition; moderate, enjoined by the rules of his that he can return at pleasure, and repossess order, would be deemed incompatible with the inanimate but not defunct frame, which that spiritual exaltation claimed by the acquires additional purity by these intervals Suniassi over the rest of the Hindoo comof exanimation ; the soul, by its intercourse munity. It was generally supposed that with beatified spirits, becoming the more he never quitted the cavern in the desert, purified in proportion to the frequency of but daily practised there those austerities such heavenly communion.
which, by torturing his body, purified his In a large tract of uncultivated country soul. The periods of his visits to the between the Indus and the Ganges, there jungle, and of his return to the palace, were was a vast extent of impermeable jungle, only known to a single slave, who had for where the tiger and hyæna prowled undis- many years served his master with such turbed by the foot of the traveller, who fidelity as to obtain his esteem, which seldom ventured into those almost impene- seemed daily to strengthen. He sometimes trable recesses.
Here the sunbeam never attended him in his privacy, and was an enlivened the murky solitude, and in vain eye-witness to those tortures which the the reptiles crawled from their thick covert brahmin voluntarily inflicted upon himself. to bask in its refreshing glories. The dews The slave occasionally conducted parties of night drew from the earth a rank and ex- to the forest while the Suniassi was peruberant vegetation, pernicious to human life; forming his acts of penance, in order that and in places where the bones of animals the sanctity of his sovereign might be seen. lay unburied after the carnival of beasts of The fame of it spread through the towns prey, the forest appeared a gloomy Gol- and cities of his dominions. Yougal at gotha. Near its border, under the rude length obtained so entirely the saint's concanopy of a naked rock, in a natural ca- fidence, that the latter frequently performed vern by the side of a small hill, a Suniassi before him those mysterious rites not permight be seen, by such as sought the mitted by the rules of his order to be witsacred abode of the devotee, performing nessed by mortal eye.
In oportion as his daily discipline of spiritual penance. the master's assurance of the menial's fidelity He was a prince holding supremacy over a increased, the latter appeared the more territory of considerable extent, and exact- anxious to deserve the good opinion of the ing obedience from a numerous population. royal fanatic, by unremitting attention to He was married to a princess of great his commands. beauty, who rather reverenced him for his It was the occasional practice of the eminent sanctity, than loved him for Suniassi, to transport his own spirit from those personal distinctions which, no doubt, the clay in which it was imprisoned, to the contribute more to endear the marriage state regions of everlasting light, where the than a life exclusively passed in the most Asuras * dwelt in undisturbed tranquillity rigid austerities. She had united herself, amid gardens of eternal bloom and fraghowever, to the reputed saint in consequence rance, in Indra's heaven. It happened that of the extraordinary reputation he had ac- Yougal, during one of his visits to the quired, as a man honoured even by the gods, desert with his sovereign, whom he used and reverenced with the profoundest affiance occasionally to attend when the latter reby men of the highest character, for devo- tired thither to his penances, met with a tion and integrity of life. He was neverthe- young Hindoo, the daughter of a pariah, less happy in his marriage, as his lovely con- who inhabited a hovel in a remote part of sort exhibited towards him extreme respect, the jungle. Here he lived retired from the not to say submission ; and when not em- haunts of men to carry on his humble ocployed in the severities of his probationary
* The Asuras are good spirits.
cupation of charcoal-burner, the means of “Suppose now," asked the pretty pariah, which were supplied by the thick growth with a sly smile, “ you could get a peep into of the forest, which for ages had not been the Swerga*, would you tell me upon your cleared by the industry of man. The girl return all the delightful things you saw being young and of a comely person, there ?—though perhaps you would fall in Yougal, after the first meeting, used to love with one of the Asuras, and abandon seek her and pour into her young, but wil- me.” ling, ear the grateful accents of attachment “ No, Mariataly; that's just as likely which soon warmed his heart towards this as that I should prefer mere perfume to a interesting forester. Ere long he com- water melon. Don't be jealous if I should municated to his beautiful favourite what ever manage to get above the skies, for he was in the habit of witnessing at the I'm sure to come down again.” cavern. The Suniassi had not the slight- Because, I suppose, you are too wicked est suspicion that his slave would for to stay there.” a moment so far forget the respect due “Not so, sweetheart, but because there's to him, and the infallible degradation better attraction below for a poor slave like which such a hallucination must bring me, who is desperately in love with the upon himself, as, to conclude a matrimo- prettiest pariah maiden within a circle of nial alliance with a pariah. Yougal, fifty coss.”+ however, considering that he was secure “Good-bye to the pretty pariah, when you from discovery, did not deny himself the are among the divinities! You know there pleasure of meeting his favourite Mari- are no comfortable bowers in the Swerga ataly, whenever he accompanied his master reserved for the outcast. Naraka & must to the desert, always imparting to her the be our doom when the spirit abandons our nature of the Suniassi's devotions.
deserted bodies to the vultures.” Sometimes the devotee would avail him- “ Nay, don't despair ; your presence
will self of his peculiar power of disengaging convert the lowest abyss of Naraka into a his soul from his body, and continue for Swerga bower, and thus achieve atriumph of days together in the other world, leaving which Indra himself might be proud.” his royal carcass to the care of his faith- “Is this jesting a fair sample of your ful slave, who, upon these occasions used truth? if your love is of a piece with it, I to leave it to the vermin which covered it have very little security for its outlasting with filth and slime, whilst he enjoyed, the season." without interruption or suspicion,--for the “I swear to thee, Mariataly, that I love soul of his master when out of its earthly thee better than the paradise whither I prison became utterly unconscious of what am rather curious to accompany my master was passing in this gross world,—the society on one of his spiritual journeys.' of the object of his idolatry.
“Well then, if you really are so anxious Upon one occasion, whilst the spirit of to take your leave of this world for a seathe holy man was among the Asuras, son, you have only to get at the secret of Yougal, as usual, was passing his time with quitting it without calling death to your the sprightly Mariataly, to whom he ex- aid, and the matter is settled at once.” pressed the great desire he felt to know the Aye, but there is the difficulty; the words of that mystic prayer, called the Suniassi is too cunning to part with his mandiram, at the utterance of which the mystery: how to obtain it by stealth resoul of his master quitted the flesh in which quires thought and management." it was confined and took its flight above “ Will you promise me that, should
you the stars.
take a journey to the upper world, you will “ Can't you listen,” inquired the anxious tell me all you see there when you come girl, “and note down the words ?”
back ?" “No, he mutters that potential mantram “Depend upon me. Adieu for the present. so inaudibly, that none but disembodied One kiss. We meet again to-morrow, spirits can catch the sound; and I despair of when I may have better news for one who being able to make myself master of his loves a bit of gossip as dearly as a kid loves secret.”
the mother's milk.”
* The mantras are forms of prayer, supposed by the Hindoos to possess certain and powerful influ.
* The Hindoo paradise.
Yougal was transported with the play- the mysterious mandiram, which he knew ful good humour of the fascinating pariah. the royal fakeer must utter before his spirit He loved her fondly, as he had fully per- could be released from the encumbrance of suaded himself she entertained towards him emaciated flesh, to which it was duomed a simple but ardent affection.
to be imprisoned in this scene of severe trial It soon became evident to the slave that for a better condition. No intelligible sound, Veramarken, this was the fanatic's name, however, met Yougal's ear. The Suniassi meditated one of his aerial journeys out of continued to mutter his devout aspirations, the body, as his penances had lately been and the disappointed listener began to despair extremely rigid, it being his invariable of catching a word. Hour after hour passed practice to torture himself with more than on, still the saint did not raise himself from usual severity whenever he determined to the iron frame ; sometimes by his deep and pay a visit to the gods of his idolatry in hollow breathing he appeared to have sunk their own celestial habitations.
into an unquiet slumber in the midst of his For several days the devotee had con- torments, but the mutterings were so soon tinued in the cavern, and only allowed him- resumed that the interval of repose, if obself a few grains of rice at sunset, washing tained, could have only been of the shortest it down with a single mouthful of fetid duration. water, which had been conveyed from the The slave at length made up his mind to Ganges at least two months previously, and quit the cavern and leave his master to his which was considered spiritually efficacious painful reveries. Upon putting his head in proportion to its foulness, He sat hour beyond the entrance, he found that the after hour absorbed in holy meditations, rain was falling copiously; he, therefore, having given orders to Yougal not to ap- determined to remain until the shower pear at the cavern for seven days.
should abate, preferring the gloom of a dry On the sixth noon, however, the slave shelter to a certain drenching, though with stole stealthily into the sacred retreat of the a prospect of meeting the sprightly MaSuniassi, unobserved by the holy man, who riataly. was at the moment undergoing a most pain- The winds were already beginning to lift ful penance. The place was wrapped in up their voices, and a darker gloom was solemn gloom, except in one corner of rapidly mantling the heavens. The lightthe cavern where a sickly lamp, formed of ning flickered brightly at intervals from the a reed enveloped in flax, and dipped in heavy purple clouds in which they had cocoa-nut oil, diffused a faint glimmer that been long pent, and the thunder growled extended not many feet beyond the spot in audibly in the distance. This was a grievous which it was fixed. The penitent was disappointment to Yougal, who had long too much occupied by his devotions to ob- been tired of his vigil. He retired with reserve the entrance of Yougal, who ad- luctance to the innermost recess of the vanced softly into the gloom, where he could cave, to await the abatement of the witness, unperceived, what was going on. menacing storm, which soon assumed a Having seated himself upon the damp more fearful aspect, and rendered a visit to carth, he awaited with much impatience the pariah that night an enjoyment no the issue of a scene which he expected longer to be hoped for. would terminate in his master's temporary
The rain now fell in streams, hissing ascent to Indra's paradise.
through the air and ploughing up the The Suniassi was lying upon his back: parched earth with the violence and force underneath his spare emaciated form was of a cataract. The lightning blazed round an iron frame covered with spikes about an the whole vault of heaven, seeming to hang inch long, sufficiently sharp to irritate upon the skirts of the clouds, which were severely, without puncturing, the skin. charged with elemental ammunition, and apUpon this he lay, muttering certain man- peared every moment to be rent asunder, tras of mystical import, while his body by some invisible concussion, and to pour was racked by inexpressible pangs; still he forth their central fires, which expanded disdained to utter a cry: on the contrary with inconceivable velocity as they quitted he expressed his grateful satisfaction at the their aerial prison ; wrapping the whole ease with which the gods whom he served firmament in one vast sheet of living had blessed him. The slave listened with flame. The thunder rolled and burst in anxious impatience to catch the words of a rapid succession of explosions so loud and