History tells us of the stream of immigration across the Indus, and later of its overflowing the Occident; and of populations of Hindu origin passing from Asia Minor to colonize Greece. But history says not a single word of the “chosen people,” or of Greek colonies having penetrated India earlier than the 5th and 4th centuries B.C., when we first find vague traditions that make some of the problematical lost tribes of Israel, take from Babylon the route to India. But even were the story of the ten tribes to find credence, and the tribes themselves be proved to have existed in profane as well as in sacred history, this does not help the solution at all. Colebrooke, Wilson, and other eminent Indianists show the Mahabharata, if not the Satapatha-brahmana, in which the story is also given, as by far antedating the age of Cyrus, hence, the possible time of the appearance of any of the tribes of Israel in India.

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Orientalists accord the Mahabharata an antiquity of between twelve and fifteen hundred years B.C.; as to the Greek version it bears as little evidence as the other, and the attempts of the Hellenists in this direction have as signally failed. The story of the conquering army of Alexander penetrating into Northern India, itself becomes more doubted every day. No Hindu national record, not the slightest historical memento, throughout the length and breadth of India offers the slightest trace of such an invasion.

If even such historical facts are now found to have been all the while fictions, what are we to think of narratives which bear on their very face the stamp of invention? We cannot help sympathizing at heart with Professor Muller when he remarks that it seems “blasphemy to consider these fables of the heathen world as corrupted and misinterpreted fragments of divine Revelation once granted to the whole race of mankind.” Only, can this scholar be held perfectly impartial and fair to both parties, unless he includes in the number of these fables those of the Bible? And is the language of the Old Testament more pure or moral than the books of the Brahmans? Or any fables of the heathen world more blasphemous and ridiculous than Jehovah’s interview with Moses (Exodus xxxiii. 23)? Are any of the Pagan gods made to appear more fiendish than the same Jehovah in a score of passages? If the feelings of a pious Christian are shocked at the absurdities of Father Kronos eating his children and maiming Uranos; or of Jupiter throwing Vulcan down from heaven and breaking his leg; on the other hand he cannot feel hurt if a non-Christian laughs at the idea of Jacob boxing with the Creator, who “when he saw that he prevailed not against him,” dislocated Jacob’s thigh, the patriarch still holding fast to God and not allowing Him to go His way, notwithstanding His pleading.

Why should the story of Deukalion and Pyrrha, throwing stones behind them, and thus creating the human race, be deemed more ridiculous than that of Lot’s wife being changed into a pillar of salt, or of the Almighty creating men of clay and then breathing the breath of life into them? The choice between the latter mode of creation and that of the Egyptian ram-horned god fabricating man on a potter’s wheel is hardly perceptible. The story of Minerva, goddess of wisdom, ushered into existence after a certain period of gestation in her father’s brain, is at least suggestive and poetical, as an allegory. No ancient Greek was ever burned for not accepting it literally; and, at all events, “heathen” fables

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in general are far less preposterous and blasphemous than those imposed upon Christians, ever since the Church accepted the Old Testament, and the Roman Catholic Church opened its register of thaumaturgical saints.

“Many of the natives of India,” continues Professor Muller, “confess that their feelings revolt against the impurities attributed to the gods by what they call their sacred writings; yet there are honest Brahmans who will maintain that these stories have a deeper meaning; that immorality being incompatible with a divine being, a mystery must be supposed to be concealed in these time-hallowed fables, a mystery which an inquiring and reverent mind may hope to fathom.”

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