[On the Gods of the New Dispensation]
Theosophist, November, 1881
Editor’s Note by H.P.B. on an article by William Yeats
Oh, that mine adversary had written a Book! was the sad exclamation of the long-suffering Job. “Oh, that our adversaries had always edited newspapers!” is ours. And when we say “adversaries” it is only for the sake of the periphrase; for whenever thinking of our esteemed Calcutta contemporary, the Sunday Mirror, we ought to mean “friends.” Were people but to consult us, we would declare this paper, on our oath, the most interesting Weekly of the “City of Palaces.” Whenever asked: “Where shall Wisdom be found?”—“In the Sunday Mirror,” we reply; and “where is the place of understanding?” will always “draw it out.” Their lines of thought are so piously entabled, the ideas so naively bungled up, yet so full of child-like faith in the—“prophet” and trust in—public Providence, that we cannot help admiring, hence—quoting from a couple of such leaders. In an editorial, for instance, headed Hinduism and the New Dispensation, faithfully reflecting in itself the “Minister’s” wisdom in abscondito the Sunday Mirror quoth as follows:
“It is our emphatic belief”—it says “that the Theism (?) of the New Dispensation will be the—accepted religion of India, and that the best preparation for it has been the inculcation and acceptance of bhakti ever since the descruction of Buddhism . . .”
“What is Durga but the representation of the Mother of the universe arrayed in power and strength, and bringing in her train riches, skill, wisdom and virtue? . . .
“It is clear to us that if God be worshipped at this season of the year (??) as the supreme Mother of the universe, the essential principles of Hinduism will not be offended thereby.”
Of course, not. But where is the vaunted “Theism?”
“We know of no agency more powerful to restore God to the country than the New Dispensation,”
it modestly puts it and adds:—
“Let us by practice show that the Mother whom our countrymen ignorantly worship is the sublime Goddess of Theism, the only Goddess of the New Dispensation.”
Do so by all means. But how about arithmetic and monotheism? First it was “Father”—Solo; then came the motherless son—two; and now, to complete the new trimurti there comes the “Mother,” our old acquaintance Durga, “the only goddess of the New Dispensation.” In every country of the world, three times one make three, viz. Polytheism, our good friends, the “Apostles.”
To wind up, having declared in another editorial called “Dogma and Life” that the “Theists”—only by no means “Monotheists,” if you please—“of the New Dispensation believe in the doctrine of Trinity—they accept the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,”—without informing us this once, what becomes of our friend “Durga,” and whether it is she “the holy spirit”—the Mirror propounds a doctrine, which for its novelty, beats even Auguste Comte’s “feminine mystery” and “artificial fecundation.” Happily for itself the pious organ confesses that particular mystery connected with God and Christ working upon the Babus neither—“so much history, so much biography, so much metaphysics, or so much theology,” with which definition we fully concur. For once the rhetorical blossoms which overshadow rather too thickly the roots of wisdom concealed in the fathomless depth of the editorial—are culled, the reader discovers it, as pertaining to pure physiology. Christ is viewed—“as a ball of fire carrying heaven and salvation into the sinner’s heart,” and—stomach.
“When he (Christ) enters into the life of a Brahmo” explains the Sunday Mirror—“he enters as a living principle, a burning idea, a consuming fire that changes the entire life, and creates every thing anew. He is swallowed, he is digested, and he is converted into life-blood.” (!!) Etc., etc., etc. . . .
Stop, oh Sunday Mirror, stop! This is pure Anthropophagy and threatens to trespass the bounds of even Oriental metaphor. What difference, then, would the Brahmos of the N.D. make between the “Lamb” of God and a lamb cutlet?