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with three masts. (Solvyns, Vol. III, fourth number, ed. 1811.)

The industrial and material culture of Old India was thus sufficiently vital to influence contemporary Europe at the threshold of the nineteenth century civilization.


During the formative period of the modern educational systems, also in Europe and America the pedagogy of the Hindus, especially on its elementary side, has played an important part.

It is well known that primary education was grossly neglected in America during the first half-century of her independence. In England even so late as 1843, 32 per cent of the men and 49 per cent of the women had to sign their names on the marriage register with a cross. Illiteracy was the rule in France also at the time of the Revolution, as Arthur Young observed. Guizot's educational commission (1833) found that “the ignorance was general” and that “all the teachers did not know how to write.” (Compayré, History of Pedagogy.)

In an age of paucity of “public schools” private educational efforts naturally elicited the people's admiration. And none drew more sympathy and support than Andrew Bell's (1753–1832) “mutual-tuition” or “pupil-teacher" or “monitorial” system of school management. His first school was founded in England in 1798, but in less than a dozen years 1000 schools were opened to teach 200,000 children. (Painter's History of Education, p. 305.) This "mutual instruction” was a craze in France also under the Restoration (Compayrê, p. 515). The same system known in America after Lancaster (1778–1838), the English rival of Dr. Bell in theology, was in vogue in the New England States during the first quarter of the nineteenth century. (Parker, History of Modern Elementary Education, 102, 241, 264, etc.) It could become so universal simply because of its cheapness as it did not involve the appointment of teachers. And as to its educational value, Bell was so en

thusiastic as to declare, after visiting Pestalozzi's School at Yverdun in 1815, that in another twelve years mutual instruction would be adopted by the whole world and Pestalozzi's method would be forgotten. (Quick's Educational Reformers, p. 352.)

What, now, is the origin of this much-applauded mutualinstruction or monitorial system, the so-called Bell-Lancasterian “discovery” in Pedagogy? Historians of education are familiar with the fact that the plan of making one boy teach others has been indigenous to India for centuries. (Compayré, 6, 514; Painter, p. 305; Meiklejohn, An Old Educational Reformer, Dr. Andrew Bell, pp. 25–26.) Bell, himself, in his Mutual Tuition (Pt. I, ch. I, V) describes how in Madras he came into contact with a school conducted by a single master or superintendent through the medium of the scholars themselves. And, in fact, in England the monitorial system or the method of making every boy at once a master and a scholar is known as the “Madras system.”

England's debt to India in pedagogics has been fitly acknowledged in the tablet in Westminster Abbey, which describes Andrew Bell as “The eminent founder of the Madras System of Education, which has been adopted within the British empire, as the national system of education for the children of the poor.” (Narendra Law's Promotion of Learning in India by Early European Settlers, p. 49, 61.)


The romantic movement in Germany and England, with its after-math, the English pre-Raphaelite movement, has been the greatest force in Europe's modern letters and art. The poetry of Old India has furnished an impetus to this current also of nineteenth century thought.

The “Shakoontala” of Kalidas, the Hindu dramatist of the fifth century A.D., was Englished by Jones in 1789. Forster's German rendering (1791) of it from the English version at once drew the notice of Herder (1744-1803), the great champion of comparative methodology and “Weltliteratur.” And Herder introduced it to Goethe, on whom the effect was as tremendous as that of the discovery of America on geographers, and of Neptune on students of astronomy. Goethe's ecstasy expressed itself in the ultraenthusiastic lines:

Wilt thou the blossoms of the spring, the fruits of late autumn,
Wilt thou what charms and enraptures,
Wilt thou what satisfies and nourishes,
Wilt thou in one name conceive heaven and earth,

I name, Shakoontala, thee, and in that is everything said. These are the words of a man who in 1771 had dramatized the narrative of Gotz, a medieval bandit. The sentiment in favor of the Rousseauesque “state of nature,” the love of "ancient reliques,” the Bolshevist revolt against the status quo of art, the subversion of classic restraint, the lyric abandon to the promptings of the imagination, the awakening of the sense of wonder, and the craving of the soul for the unknown, the mystery—a great deal of all that was later to be associated with Scott, Shelley, Schiller, and LaMartine had been anticipated and focused in that drama of “Storm and Stress.” It is not strange, therefore, that the great “futurist” of the eighteenth century, the father of modernism in European literature, should have welcomed the Hindu Shakespeare as warmly as he did the Elizabethan. For in Goethe's eyes wistfully looking for more light, more spontaneity, more freedom, both shed the “light that never was on sea or land,” the one as the star of the Middle Ages, the other as the sun of a hitherto unknown world.

“Shakoontala” left an indelible impression upon the literary activity of this pioneer of romanticism. It is the story of a woman with child deserted by her lover. The Gretchen-episode in the tragedy of Faust may thus have been inspired by the dramatist of India. At any rate, German critics have pointed out that the conversation between the poet, the manager and the Merry Andrew in the prelude to “Faust” is modelled upon that in Kalidasa's play, in which the manager and one of the actresses talk as to the kind of performance they are to give.

The “Shakoontala" furore has lasted till almost today. One of the noblest "overtures" in European music is the “Shakoontala overture” of the Hungarian composer Goldmark (1830–1915).


Another force that Old India has contributed to the life and thought of the modern world is the profound optimism of the “Geeta” (ca. B.C. 600–200?), a section of the "Mahabharata” (the Great Epic). The “Geeta” was translated into English in 1785. It was popularized in Germany by Herder. Since then its leit motif has been absorbed by the sponge-like minds of the greatest thinkers of Europe and America. It may be said to be held in solution in almost every great “poetical philosophy” or “philosophical poetry" of our times down to Bergsonian “intuition.”

In the first place, the “Geeta” is the philosophy of duty and Niskama Karma (work for its own sake), of the “categorical imperative.” In the second place, it tries to solve the mystery of death, which is but an aspect of the larger and more comprehensive problem of the evil. The solution is reached in the cnceptions of the immortality of the soul, the infinite goodness of God, the nothingness of death and the virtual denial of the existence of evil. Such postulates are of the deepest significance as much to the lover who seeks an “eternal” union of hearts, as to the warrior who must bid adieu to the body in order to save the soul. This Bible of Old India has therefore influenced not only the Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis but also Tennyson's “In Memoriam” and Browning's “La Saisiaz," both inspired by the death of friends.

The “obstinate questionings” in Browning's poetry are the same as those of Arjuna in the “Geeta:"

Does the soul survive the body?
Is there God's self--no or yes?

The answer in both “La Saisiaz” and the “Geeta" is in the emphatic affirmative. It is a message of hope to suffering humanity. Men and women in distress can brace their hearts up if they are assured that somehow through God's mysterious dispensation the good persists in and through the evils that are apparent. This Hindu optimism is voiced also by Walt Whitman, the voracious student of worldthought, in the following words:

Roaming in thought over the universe
I saw the little that is Good steadily hastening towards immortality,
And the vast all that is called Evil
I saw hastening to merge itself and become lost and dead.

Tennyson had made only a tentative and halting statement to the same effect:

Oh, yet we trust that somehow good
Will be the final goal of ill.

But the paean of the Upanisadic Ananda (or bliss) and Amrita (or immortality) rises clearly forth in Browning:

Why rushed the discord in, but that harmony should be prized?


The evil is null, is nought; is silence, implying sound;
On the earth the broken arcs; in the heaven, a perfect round.

The syllogism of the “Geeta” leads, indeed, on such-like arguments, to the more drastic conclusion:

Up then! and conquer! in thy might arise!

Fear not to slay the soul, for the soul never dies. Even militarism and man-killing are thus not evils in Hindu optimism. No wonder that the “Geeta” should have been a source of inspiration to the most diverse minds seeking comfort and strength. It could not fail to be a trumpet to the prophets of Duty, and such prophets were Carlyle, the sage of Chelsea, and Mazzini, the political mystic of the Italian regeneration.

With the memorable words, “Close thy Byron, Open thy Goethe,” Carlyle sent forth his Sartor Resartus to the English people, as the manifesto of an all-round Germanism. This German Kultur was the idealism of Kant, Lessing,


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