They are different classes into which the Hindoos have been divided from the earliest times.
Four; the Brahmins or priests, who sprung from the head of Brahma; the Warrior caste, which issued from his arms; the Agriculturists and Traders, who came from his thighs, and lastly, the Sudras, or laborers, who sprung from his feet.
They cannot under any circumstances intermarry; nor can a member of a lower caste ever pass to a higher. Only, if he lead a good life, he may console himself with the hope of being born in a higher caste the next time.
No regular caste, but there exists a most unhappy race called Pariahs, who are treated with the utmost contempt, and employed only in the vilest offices. They cannot enter the house of any one belonging to a pure caste, and they are not only unclean themselves, but are supposed to contaminate everything they touch. Different accounts are given as to the origin of these Pariahs.
The three higher castes are forbidden it altogether. The Sudras may eat every kind but beef, but the Pariahs are under no restriction whatever. The idea seems to be that they are so vile that no kind of food could pollute them.
So much so, that it is impossible to say when they were first established. The Pariahs are being gradually raised from their degradation by the efforts of Christian missionaries.

The soul for the Hindoos

They think that every soul is a part of Brahma, as a spark is a part of the fire, and that finally all souls will be absorbed into Brahma, as drops of water are lost in the ocean. They also believe in metempsychosis.
The transmigration of souls. The Hindoos believe that if a man lead a pure life, his soul will pass, after death, into another human body, but that if he has been wicked, it will enter into the body of some unclean animal. They think the soul will transmigrate many times before being finally united to Brahma. This belief makes many of the Hindoos afraid to kill animals for food, lest they may possess human souls, and be perhaps their own friends or relations.


Siva, or Mahadeva, as he is more generally called, has a vast number of followers. His worshippers and those of Vishnu form two distinct sects. Brahma, having finished his work, has but one temple in India. It is doubtful whether the worshippers of Juggernaut belong to the sect of Vishnu, or of Siva.


The Vedas are the Sacred Books of the Hindoos, and are much reverenced by them. They maintain that they were composed by Brahma, the Supreme Deity, at the creation.
At an incredibly remote period; they say the present arrangement of the Vedas was made by a sage named Vyasa, some five thousand years ago.
That they were written in the second thousand years before our era, a little later, probably, than the Books of Moses.
No; they were only crossing the borders of India.
In poetry. The principal Veda contains ten thousand double verses. These works are heavy and uninteresting, but very important to historians.
Because they throw light on the early history of the Indian and European races.
They teach one supreme deity, called Brahma, and like the Persians seem to have some idea of the Trinity, speaking of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, as one God. The modern Hindoos, however, worship them as distinct divinities.
Brahma created all things, Vishnu preserves them, and when the end of the world is come, which the Vedas say will occur in about twelve million years, Siva will destroy them.
His Avatars, or incarnations, which are numerous, but ten are more especially celebrated.
The first Avatar was when Vishnu assumed the form of a fish, and saved Manu, the father of the human race, from a universal deluge.
In the ninth Avatar, Vishnu appeared in the form of Krishna, a sort of Indian Apollo; the last of the Sacred Books is that which contains the life of Krishna.
So many circumstances closely resemble corresponding events in the life of our Saviour, that it is impossible the coincidence should be accidental. It is supposed this book was written after our era by some one who had heard imperfect accounts of the life of our Lord.


Buddha is said by the Vedas to have been a delusive incarnation of Vishnu, but his followers give a different account.
They say that he was a mortal sage, called Guatama, and also Buddha, or the Wise.
We cannot ascertain exactly, but it is probable he was a contemporary of Solomon-that is, he lived about one thousand years before our era. He was the son of a king, and was distinguished by wisdom, virtue and every personal gift. He was so disgusted with the wickedness of men, that he retired into a desert place, where he spent six years in prayer and meditation. At the end of this time, he began his career as a religious teacher. He preached first in Benares, but his doctrines were received with so much favor that he lived to see them spread over all India. Buddha died at the age of eighty.
It appears that for several centuries it was, and that it extended to Ceylon, and the Eastern peninsula.
Statue of BuddhaThey reject the Vedas altogether, and the religious observances prescribed in them. They allow animal food, and acknowledge no distinction of castes. Bloody sacrifices are prohibited. One of the duties of a priest of Buddha is to study the medicinal properties of plants in order to benefit his fellow men. We may see, therefore, that Buddha had more reasonable and humane ideas than those who composed the Vedas, and that he was probably a true sage among his people.
No; after being tolerated for a long time, a fierce and continued persecution was raised against it. This had the effect of suppressing the sect almost entirely in India, and of spreading it in the adjacent countries.
About the year 65 of our era. From China it spread to Corea, Japan and Java.
In Japan, Buddhism has, to a great extent, supplanted the Sinto religion, the ancient faith of Japan. The word Sinto signifies spirit worship; the priests of this sect teach that the world is governed by an infinite number of spirits. The chief of these animates the sun; others rule the moon, stars, and different elements.
The worship of the sun is the most important exterior part of their religion, and the Japanese were so much attached to this form of idolatry, that the Buddhists have incorporated it with their own rites.

Ormuzd, or Oromasdes

Ormuzd, or Oromasdes, who remained faithful and pure, governs the world with all the attributes which are given to the true God. Ahriman, on the contrary, uses all his energies for evil; and is, in all respects, considered as a sort of independent demon, endowed with infinite and untiring malice.
Ormuzd created men and angels, the sun, moon and stars, and everything which can contribute to the welfare or pleasure of his creatures. Ahriman created the wild beasts, poisonous serpents, etc., and sent diseases, earthquakes and storms. The Persians thus believed in two independent principles, one of good, and one of evil, but they worshiped only the first.
They probably did in later times, but the early followers of Zoroaster reverenced the sun and fire as emblems of Ormuzd. Perpetual fire was kept burning on their altars. The Parsees of Hindostan say that they have sacred fire which has never been extinguished since the time of Zoroaster. All the sacred fires were originally lit from that which Zoroaster brought from heaven. The Guebres, as these people are sometimes called, often built their temples over subterranean fires.


We derive our knowledge of their religion principally from their Zend-avesta, or Sacred Book.
The doctrines of Zoroaster, an Eastern sage, who is thought to have lived in Bactria about twelve hundred years before our era.
But a small portion, if any, of the Sacred Books were written by him, but the most ancient passages, which are in verse, were probably written soon after his time, when the knowledge of his doctrines was still preserved. The Parsees, or modern followers of Zoroaster, now scattered through India, say that the Zend-avesta formerly consisted of twenty-one books, but that the greater part were lost in the troubled times that followed the conquest of Persia by Alexander the Great.

God Oannes

God Oannes was a god of the Assyrians, half man, half fish, who was said to dwell in the sea, from which he came at stated times, to instruct the Babylonians in wisdom and science. Oannes is the Dagon of the Philistines.
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