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War Articles and Notes 

BY 

Annie Besant

THE THEOSOPHICAL PUBLISHING SOCIETY
161 NEW BOND STREET, W.LONDON
CITY AGENCY: 3 AMEN CORNER, E.C. 1915

PUBLISHERS’ NOTE 

IN response to frequent inquiries for “some­thing that Mrs. Besant has written about the war”, the following articles and notes, written between August 1914 and March 1915, have been gathered from the pages of Mrs. Besant’s three journals, viz... New India, The Common­weal, and The Theosophist. The publishers are indebted to Dr Mary Rocke for collecting and forwarding, with the author’s permission, a large amount of material from which this selection has been made. 

CONTENTS

 

DEEPER ISSUES RAISED BY THE WAR

1

GREAT BRITAIN AND THE WAR

32

INDIA

44

GERMANY

63

THE ALLIES

88

AMERICA

106

THE FUTURE

123

 

DEEPER ISSUES RAISED BY THE WAR 

BEHIND WAR? 

IT is the custom in modern days so to praise peace, and to be so horrified at the ghastly physical concomitants of war, that it does not seem to strike people to look quietly into the question, and to ask themselves why a thing so obviously hideous and brutal should have gone on from time immemorial with the persistence of a natural phenomenon. There are many who are so obsessed by the visions of mangled corpses, of mutilated living bodies, of gaping wounds, of flowing blood, of the agony of un-slaked thirst, of the  irremediable maiming of strong young bodies, and of all the attendant torture of mothers, wives, sweethearts, children, living through long agonies of slow suspense to be ended only by the news of the beloved as a corpse or a cripple, that they cannot master the indignant emotion that tears at their hearts, nor see through their angry, tear-filled eyes any fair fruits from sowings so foul. To ask [1] them to reason is almost to insult them, and they are ready to knock one down in order to demonstrate the beauty of peace.

None the less, as we look backwards over history, we see that invasions of one people by another have spread the knowledge and the arts of the more civilised nation through­out the less civilised. Alexander came and went, but he left behind him in Indian sculp­ture the serene beauty of Greek art; the Muslims came, and gave a new architecture and an exquisite wealth of design and of orna­mentation, that was cheaply purchased by endurance of the cruelties of an Aurungzeb. How much poorer had Spain been, if the Moors had not conquered her fairer provinces; how un-civilised England, if the Normans had not trampled down her peasantry; how Europe would have failed to learn the exquisite lessons of chivalry, had its nations never met the Saracens in Palestine, and if the light of Science had not come to her in the Crescent that shone from the banners of the invaders!

But what of the individuals? If people see in man only the creature of a few years of  mortal life, born out of nothingness, to sink into nothingness again in dying; then indeed should all lovers of man raise the cry of “Peace at any price”, for war means death, and death is the end of all hope of joyous life. Or, if man believes himself to be a vessel moulded by God as clay by a potter, with no [2] past to explain him and no future to evolve him; with a heaven or a hell on the other side of death, where virtue would be a seedless flower and vice an enduring weed; then, again, war could have no meaning and no use, bringing but worse doom of useless pain into a lot already but too dreary and too bootless.

But if man be an eternal spiritual intelli­gence, evolving through many lives into a  nobler and loftier existence; if the fruits of each life be garnered and ripen into seeds for  planting in another, and so on, and on, as the Hindu believes, until the Self which was but as a seed has grown into a mighty tree; then war, like all other happenings in a world “that exists for the sake of the Self”, has under the rough husk of evil the sweet kernel of lasting good. For though the body be slain or mutilated, the man is living still; he has learned to offer life and limb on the altar of a great Ideal that otherwise he would not have known: he dies for King and Country - a King he may never have seen, a Country which is not of plains and hills and cities, but of splendours and radiances and beauties of ideal might and loveliness that else he had not dreamed. And he does not only die; he lives through hardship and pain. The scented darling of a luxurious drawing-room and the village ruffian of the pothouse march  side by side through freezing torrent, across sun-parched desert; they starve, they are [3] fevered and chilled, they joke as they go to cheer each other, they learn to know each other as men, they suffer for the country’s “honour”, they die for the country’s “flag”. What is “honour”, what is “flag”? Mere empty breath of a poet? Nay, they are the mighty forces which evolve the hero from the sybarite and the drunkard, and turn the brute into the man.

When we read of the awful slaughter and image the piles of the wounded, let us forget the pain of the bodies, and realise the swift evolution of the man. Let us realise the unending life, rather than the broken form, and then we shall realise why the saffron-­robed Rajput rode singing into the battle, leaving wife and daughter as fire-blackened corpses behind him, knowing that at eventide they would be reunited, and that over the agony of the shattered bodies the freed men and women would again join hands, smiling at the passing pain that brought them joy so rich. - New India, August 29, 1914.

“GOD’S TEMPLES”

IN a telegram received yesterday, we are told that H.H. the new Pope has addressed a protest to the German Kaiser against the demolition of Rheims Cathedral. The Pope is reported to have expressed himself as [4] follows: “When you destroy temples of God, you provoke the Divine ire before which even the most potent armies lose all power”. We do not think slightingly of the great Roman Catholic Church, or of its new Head, of whom we have all reason to expect that he will prove himself a capable, noble-minded, and venerable leader of his Church; and yet we cannot help dissenting in a most trenchant way from the sentiments expressed in the telegram. To us they represent a hopeless confusion of ideas and a sorrowful falsifica­tion of ideals. First, the minor objection. The Rheims Cathedral stands unique as a work of art, as an historical document wrought in stone and marble, irreplaceable. But it is not on this ground that its demolition is con­demned, not for the sin committed, in its violation, towards civilisation, culture, art. All that is passed by in silence; the only ground given is the mediaeval argument that this was a “home of God”. But the Pope must surely know that “where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them”. Where such meet­ings take place, there are the true temples of God to be found, in a more real and religious sense than any architectural monument can be so, which for scores of years has attracted more tourists than devotees to its shrine. The second objection is the moral argument used: “You insult God; God will in His ire strike [5] you in return”. That is monkish and medi­aeval again, not sound or refined morality. We would have vastly preferred the categorical argument: “Be not a barbarian, not cruel, no vandal,” to the Jehovean threat, “Don’t touch My churches, or I will smite you”. Lastly, there is the old, old mistake of the Church of taking the outer for the inner; the building for the spirit; the shrine for the soul.  Where is the supreme Pontiff’s condemnation of the root, the naked reality, of all the brutish, hellish barbarity? “Ye are the living temple of God. The God dwelleth in you.” Where is the condemnation of the demolition and ruin of the 80,000 German “temples of God” lying unburied before Maubeuge; of the 1200 “temples of God” sunk a day ago in the North Sea; of the tens of thousands of Austrian “temples of God” destroyed in Galicia and damming up its rivers; of the untold other “temples of God” hungering, maimed, plunged in sorrow and pain or ruined, in France, Belgium, England, India, Germany, Russia, Servia, Austria, all over the world?

No, the great Priest of the Seven Hills has - if the reported telegram is authentic - not shown well in this his first international utter­ance. This is priestly, not human, talk, in answer to the voices of hell that have broken loose. What humanity at this moment wants is not the prattle of priests, but words truly divine, ringing out the life-giving note we are [6] dying to hear. Anything falling short of this also fails to answer the human cry of despair, the wail of pain, that arises to the skies from a world in sorrow, plunged in darkness and anguish of soul. Is there no religion left on earth which can bring forth such a voice? - ­New India, September 26, 1914.

SACRILEGE

AN incredible outrage - which will raise every Catholic against the Germans - has been perpe­trated by the armies of the Kaiser in Belgium. It is wired to the London Standard, and was printed in our columns in the earliest edition yesterday. The monastery at Montaigne was occupied by the New Barbarians, and the monks had been ordered to accommodate fifty German soldiers. The large hall and kitchen were assigned to them. More than two hundred came instead of fifty, but the monks managed to put them up. In the middle of the night, the Germans, presumably drunk, began firing into the rooms to which the monks had retired, drove them into the cellars, and treated them with foul insults. Next day they broke into the interior and plundered it, breaking what they could not steal. In the chapel, they scattered the Host over the altar, and carried away the sacred vessels. They then roped the monks together, and dragged them through [7] the town, flogged them, and turned them adrift. The words we have italicised con­stitute the outrage we have called incredible. The Host has for the Catholics - Roman or otherwise - a sancity that is unique. This is not the place to describe what it means to the true Catholic. But everyone who is capable of reverencing the deepest and holiest feelings of a brother human being will shrink at the idea of such outrage. It is the action of gorillas, not of men. Sworn evidence of the outrages has been sent to the Vatican.  What will the Pope do? If he is worthy of his office, he will use the religious weapon which strikes a religious crime, leaving un­believers wholly unaffected, while it calls on believers to defend their holiest beliefs. He will excommunicate the armies of Germany and Austria, and lay an interdict on the two Empires. It is a mediaeval weapon, but where the restraints of modern civilisation are not present it is the appropriate one to use. The Church may rightly exclude from her communion those who have desecrated her holiest treasure. Austria is the great Catholic Power. Will she send her armies to fight side by side with the German troops after this grossest of all sacrileges? She sees what the triumph of the Hohenzollerns means for Catholicism. Will she seat Wilhelm II. on the desecrated altar of her faith? - New India, October 29, 1914. [8]

THE HORRORS OF WAR

WHAT is the duty of the journalist in time of war? Ought he, in order to enhearten  the nation for which he is writing, to record every ghastly story that comes from the scenes  of battle, and so inflame to madness the hatred against the foe? Ought he to publish stories, however well authenticated, which describe isolated crimes, due to the brutality of individuals, and which are not the deeds of armies, of soldiers under command, inflicted as part of a deliberate plan, a carrying out of a theory, but the shameful cruelties of human  madmen, vile actions due to individual lust and wickedness?

These questions arise in our mind an account of the large number of stories we find in the English papers received during the last few weeks. They contain the most frightful stories of German cruelties, tales that make the blood run cold. And one asks oneself: “Ought one to reprint these horrors, which are perhaps true? Does the circulation of these serve any good purpose? Must not their very reading tend to create a morbid taste for horrors, and to sow seeds of hatred that will bear ghastly fruit hereafter? Some of us know many Germans, kindly, gentle people, men and women. But Germany must have, as all nations have, alas! some human brutes among the masses of her kindly people, [9] and these glut themselves with cruelties in the licence given by war. Shall we not rather draw a veil over them, and not blacken the German nation by their record? We do not judge England by her Bill Sykes, nor France by her Apaches. Why judge Germany by these?”

By published books, by the teachings of her statesmen, her historians, her Emperor, by the directions given to her soldiers, by these we may, and must, judge of the peril to the world of the German Empire. We are bound to say that this New Barbarism is a danger to humanity, to civilisation, to evolu­tion. We must nerve our readers to be ready to face to the death this Ideal of Darkness which has arisen in Europe, this negation of all that is noblest, this embodiment of Force as the only right. In this conflict of ideals we must speak out plainly, clearly, decisively. But with isolated facts that can only madden and debase in the reading, over these we think we have the right to be silent.

It would be interesting to know on this the views of leading journalists. Perhaps our Madras editors, and editors in other parts of India, would say what they think? - New India, November 23, 1914. [10]

TWO WORLD-EMPIRES

ALL over the world is the tumult of war; the lurid light of devastated homes blazes out from the burning towns of Belgium; the relics of past ages in Louvain and Rheims and Dinant have been hammered into pieces by the new hammer of Thor; hundreds of thousands of men, killed or wounded, strew the fields that should have been yellowing for the sickle; all the fair, peaceful industries of common life are whelmed in one red ruin.

And for what is all this pain, this agony of wrenched muscles and shattered limbs, this blasting of bright young lives, this destruction of glowing hopes? In the pictures of the killed that appear in the illustrated papers there are so many faces glad with the sunshine of life, bright faces of young manhood, dawn­ing into virility, faces that mothers must have loved so dearly, must have kissed so passion­ately as they sent them forth. As one looks at them, one sees them trampled into crimson mud, shattered by bursting shell, riven by cut of sabre, and is glad that the earth should hide the horror of what was once so fair. Clear eyes, looking out so brightly upon joyous life, that have gazed unflinchingly into the eyes of death. Lips, still showing the gracious curves of youth, that hardened in the battle-crash, to relax again only in the peace of death. [11]

And all for what? For what the broken hearts in all the homes in which these gallant lads were light and joy? For what the anguish of the widows of these other men, beyond the first flush of youth, who left behind them their life’s treasure, with the children who shall watch for their fathers’ coming - useless watching, for homeward he will never come again? For what the myriads of darkened homes, whose breadwinners, hus­bands and sons, fathers and lovers, find no record in the pictured pages, though dear to the hearts that love them as are the noble and the wealthy who thereon have their place? For what the world’s great anguish, mourning over her slaughtered sons? For what?

There have been wars begun for transient objects, for the conquest of a piece of land, for the weakening of a rival, for the gaining of added power, begun because of ambition, of greed, of jealousy, of insult. In such wars, lives are flung away for trifles, though the men who suffer in them, or who die, win out of their own anguish added strength and beauty of character, full reward for the pain endured; for they return with the spoils of victory into new avenues of ascending life, and with them it is very well. Such wars are evil in their origin, however much the divine alchemy may transmute the base into fine gold. [12]

But this war is none of these. In this war mighty principles are battling for the mastery. Ideas are locked in deadly combat. The direction of the march of our present civilisa­tion, upwards or downwards, depends on the issue of the struggle. Two ideals of world­-empire are balanced on the scales of the future. That is what raises this war above all others known in the brief history of the West; it is the latest of the pivots on which, in successive ages, the immediate future of the world has turned. To die, battling for the right, is the gladdest fate that can befall the youth in the joy of his dawning manhood, the man in the pride of his strength, the elder in the wisdom of his maturity - ay, and the aged in the rich splendour of his whitened head. To be wounded in this war is to be enrolled in the ranks of humanity’s warriors, to have felt the stroke of the sacrificial knife, to bear in the mortal body the glorious scars of an immortal struggle.

Of the two possible world-empires, that of Great Britain and that of Germany, one is already far advanced in the making, and shows its quality, with Dominions and Colonies, with India at its side. The other is but in embryo, but can be judged by its theories, with the small examples available as to the fashion of their outworking in the few colonies that it is founding, the outlining of the unborn embryo. [13]

The first embodies - though as yet but partially realised - the ideal of freedom; of  ever-increasing self-government; of peoples rising into power and self-development along  their own lines; of a supreme government “broad-based upon the people’s will”; of fair and just treatment of undeveloped races, aiding not enslaving them: it embodies the embryo of the splendid democracy of the future; of the new civilisation, co-operative, peaceful, progressive, artistic, just, and free - a brotherhood of nations, whether the nations be inside or outside the world-empire. This is the ideal; and that Great Britain has set her feet in the path which leads to it is proved not only by her past interior history with its struggles towards liberty, but also by her granting of autonomy to her colonies, her formation of the beginnings of self-government in India, her constantly improving attitude towards the undeveloped races - as in using the Salvation Army to civilise the criminal tribes in India - all promising ad­vances towards the ideal. Moreover, she has ever sheltered the oppressed exiles, flying to her shores for refuge against their tyrants - the names of Kossuth, Mazzini, Kropotkin, shine out gloriously as witnesses in her favour; she has fought against the slave-trade and well-nigh abolished it. And at the present moment she is fighting in defence of keeping faith with those too small to exact it; in [14]defence of treaty obligations and the sanctity of a nation’s pledged word; in defence of national honour, of justice to the weak, of that law, obedience to which by the strong States is the only guarantee of future peace, the only safeguard of society against the tyranny of brute strength. For all this Great Britain is fighting, when she might have stood aside, selfish and at ease, watching her neigh­bours tearing each other into pieces, waiting until their exhaustion made it possible for her to impose her will. Instead of thus remain­ing, she has sprung forward, knight-errant of Liberty, servant of Duty. With possible  danger of civil war behind her, with supposed possible revolt in South Africa and India, with  shameful bribes offered for her standing aside, she spurned all lower reasonings, and, springing to her feet, sent out a lion’s roar of defiance to the breakers of treaties, uttered a ringing shout for help to her peoples, flung her little army to the front - a veritable David against Goliath - to gain time, time, that the hosts might gather, to hold the enemy back at all  costs, let die who might of her children; called for men to her standard, men from the nobles, from the professions, from the trades, men from the plough, from the forge, from the mine, from the furnace; and this not for gain - she has naught to gain from the war - but because she loved liberty, honour, justice, law, better than life or treasure, that she [15]counted glorious death a thousand-fold more desirable than shameful existence bought by cowardly ease. For this, the nations bless her; for this, her dying sons adore her; for this, history shall applaud her; for this, shall the world-empire be hers with the consent of all free peoples, and she shall be the pro­tector, not the tyrant, of humanity.

The second claimant of world-empire em­bodies the ideal of autocracy founded on force. The candidate proclaims himself the War-Lord, and in his realm no master save himself; he declares to his army, as he flings his sword into the scales of war:

“Remember that the German people are the chosen of God. On me, on me, as German Emperor, the Spirit of God has descended. I am His weapon, His sword, and His vicegerent. Woe to the dis­obedient. Death to cowards and unbelievers.”

The thinkers, the teachers of his people have formulated the theory of the world-empire; it recognises no law in dealing with states save that of strength, no arbitrament save war. Its own self-interest is declared to be its only motive; its morality is based on the increase of the power of its empire; the weak have no rights; the conquered nations must be “left only eyes to weep with”; woe to the conquered! woe to the weak! woe to the helpless! All religions save the reli­gion of force are superstitious, their morality is outgrown. Murder, robbery, arson - all are [16]permissible, nay, praiseworthy, in invading hosts. Mercy is contemptible. Chivalry is an anachronism. Compassion is feebleness. Art and literature have no sanctity. The women, the children, the aged - they are all weak; why should not strong men use them as they will? All undeveloped races are the prey of the “civilised”. And we are not left without signs of the application of the theory. Herr Schlettwein instructs the German Reichs­tag on the “principles of colonization”;

“The Hereros must be compelled to work, and to work without compensation and in return for their food only. Forced labour for years is only a just punishment, and at the same time it is the best method of training them. The feelings of Christianity and philanthropy, with which the missionaries work, must for the present be repudi­ated with all energy.”

General von Trotha, tired even of enslaving them, proclaims:

“The Herero people must now leave the land. If it refuses I shall compel it with the gun. Within the German frontier every Herero, with or without weapon, with or without cattle, will be shot. I shall take charge of no more women and children, but shall drive them back to their people or let them be shot at.”

The proclamation was carried out: thou­sands were shot; thousands were “driven into a waterless desert, where they perished of hunger and thirst”. On this sample, we [17] refuse the goods offered. Moreover, we have seen the Empire at work, carrying out in Belgium its theories of murder, rape, and loot. The “chosen people of the [German] God” stink in the nostrils of Europe. This embryo­-Empire of the bottomless pit, conceived of hatred and shaped in the womb of ambition, must never come to the birth. It is the New Barbarism; it is the antithesis of all that is noble, compassionate, and humane. Human­ity knows the ways of Goths, Vandals, and Huns, the Berserker rage of the Vikings; it refuses to bow down before the idol of force, the negation of law, of freedom, of justice, and of peace. They that make the sword the arbitrament shall perish by the sword. The war Germany has provoked, as her road to empire, shall crush her militarism, free her people, and usher in the reign of peace.

Because these things are so, because the fate of the next age of the world turns on the  choice made now by the nations, I call on all who are pledged to universal brotherhood, all Theosophists the world over, to stand for right against might, law against force, free­dom against slavery, brotherhood against  tyranny. - Theosophist, November 1914. [18]

DIVINE INCARNATION

THE whole Christian world today is cele­brating the birth of its Saviour, or ought to be celebrating it; for who can say what will happen on Christmas Day 1914, since some nine millions of nominally Christian men are furiously endeavouring to annihilate each other? The Pope, with a true intuition, sought to still the tumult of battle on the natal day of “the Prince of Peace”, so that the roar of guns should not intrude into the quiet hour, when

“Very early, very early,

Christ was born.”

The Babe of Bethlehem might well have been granted the “truce of God”, and gentle memories of home and family might have brooded over the silent trenches. But his proposal was rejected, and gloom, instead of joy, must rest upon the nations. For our­selves, though not Christians, we have no mind to wax sarcastic over the gulf between Christ’s peace and love and Christian practice. The war is too terrible and sad a thing to be used as a weapon against any creed, especially by one who believes that the “Resist not evil” of the Sannyasin is no teaching for the man of the world. To us, war, waged in defence of the weak, of honour and of plighted faith, against a nation which is trampling on all [19] public morality, is a righteous thing, and to die in it is to die well. But then we regard the Sermon on the Mount as being teaching for the Sannyasin only, and in no wise in­tended as a general rule.

Apart from this, the doctrine of Divine In­carnation is found in all great religions, and implies a universal truth - that the human spirit is divine, that every man is a divine incarnation, that the great Christian apostle St Paul spoke a sober and literal truth when he asked: “Know ye not that your bodies are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” In the cave of man’s heart burns the Light Eternal, the “light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world”. As the soiled glass of a lamp may dim the flame when the flame is seen through it, and yet the flame remaineth the same, so is the Divine Spirit in His shining dimmed by human ignorance, human folly, human sin. Clean the glass, and the light shines out. Purify the lower nature, and the Divine Light radiates through it.

As witnesses to this universal truth, man has loved to see in the noblest of the human race the fact of Divine Incarnation proved so that all may behold it. When the Jews, in their zeal, accused the Christ of blasphemy, because “thou, being a man, makest thyself God”, His answer was the gentle quotation of a Hebrew scripture: “I said, Ye are gods”. [20] In the dead faiths as well as in the living ones “God made man” was adored. Mithra and Osiris and Tammuz were as dear to their votaries as the Christ and Shri Krishna are to hundreds of millions of men today.

The Hindus, in the many-sided perfection of their noble faith, hold the doctrine of Divine Incarnation in a form of striking completeness. Christ as man shows out one side of human nature in its perfection; the sufferer, the martyr, the man of sorrows, and the pathetic figure draws the heart in bonds of love. But Hinduism represents divine­-human perfection in the many-sided aspects of human life. Perfect son, perfect brother, perfect king, perfect warrior, perfect ascetic, Shri Rama shines out in many-coloured glory. Joyous child, radiant youth, mighty warrior, steadfast friend, wisest counsellor, skilful statesman, Shri Krishna dominates all higher human roles. But that is the unique beauty of Hinduism that it meets us in every walk of life, and holds up ideals for every stage of evolution. Like Nature herself, it has forms for the manifestation of every type of life.

To all, then, of every faith, in every land, be peace and goodwill; on all creatures who  rejoice and suffer, may happiness descend; may war pass into peace; may hatred melt into love; for the Divine is bliss eternal, and the heart of all is love. - New India, Decem­ber 25, 1914. [21]

THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY AND THE WAR

IN spite of all that is going on, we ought to recognise with pleasure and gratitude that, although Britain is at war with those countries, the bond of the Theosophical Society is strong enough to make them wish to tell us how they are going on, and that the tie of human brotherhood is not broken because one or other nation may be at war. I look to the Theosophical Society in the future to bind up the wounds which are caused by this terrible, fratricidal war. When the war is over, I hope the influence of the Society in the various countries may draw the nations again more nearly together, and sure I am that no Theo­sophist will allow for one moment any feeling of hatred to enter into his heart against any nation. It is, remember also, your duty to recognise the ideals which are separating the two, and to throw the whole of your thought and energy into those ideals for which we must ever stand - of justice to small states, of public faith, of public honour, and the recognition of international treaty obligations; and it is our duty to do that, because the whole future of the world depends upon the word of a nation becoming a matter of honour to the nation as well as to the individual. Treaties and international obligations are only useful in time of war. When nations are fighting, [22] then only is it that these things and other matters of civilised warfare come up. If they are to be thrown aside in war, then it is use­less to make them, and we are falling back into barbarism. So that I would ask you to remember the teaching of the Bhagavad-Gita; to remember what Shri Krishna said about war; to remember that while war may right­eously be waged for an ideal, or in discharge of a duty, there must be no feelings of hatred, no feelings of revenge, no feelings of antagon­ism against the enemies as such, only against the principles that they may for the time embody: “So fighting, thou shalt not commit sin”. And it is for all members of the Society to show that love may be kept pure and true, even in the midst of slaughter and misery, so that we may perform at once our duty to our respective countries and also to humanity. ­Extract from the Presidential Address to the Theosophical Society delivered at Adyar, Decem­ber 26, 1914.

CHRIST AND WAR

MUCH distress is felt by some good Christian people from their difficulty in harmonising war with the doctrines of the Sermon on the Mount. Dr Alfred Salter has voiced this difficulty in a very honest and outspoken way, and comes to the conclusion at which Tolstoi arrived, and comes thither by the [23] same road. The teaching of the Christ is clear and direct. He forbids any appeal to violence, any resistance of evil, Dr Salter says:

“I do not base my position on logic or worldly wisdom. I base it simply on the command of God and the teaching of Christ. Christ’s teaching applies as much to defensive as offensive wars; in fact, His precepts are directed mainly to the method of defence. ‘Render not evil for evil’, ‘Overcome evil with good’, ‘Love your enemies’, ‘Unto him that smiteth you on the one cheek’, are all commands which imply antecedent offence on the part of the enemy, and specify the method of defence on the part of the Christian. To the great majority of the people all this sounds utter foolishness in face of the present situation, but the divine sense has always been hidden from the wise and prudent, and has only been revealed to the babes of simple faith and childlike heart.

I will not stain my conscience with blood by going to war myself or by urging anyone else to go. I will, therefore, take no part in recruiting, not even to resist an invasion of England. I believe that to be the Christian view, and, therefore, the right view, though, doubtless, it is a highly un­popular doctrine just now. It is certainly not a vote-catching cry.

What is the result of such a policy? If I refuse to fight or support measures of defence, then I may get shot by the enemy as an act of war, or I may be shot by the authorities of my own State as guilty of treason. Very well. I say deliberately that I am prepared to be shot rather than kill a German peasant with whom I have no conceivable quarrel. I will do nothing to kill a foe, directly or indirectly, by my own hand or by proxy. So help me God. Never.” [24]

The position is quite logical and manly, and we think that Dr Salter is right in saying that it is the teaching of the Christ. This is the fatal weakness of Christianity as a national religion. Under this view of national morality, there must be no defence against attack from abroad, no protection against violence at home. To the man who steals your coat, you must give your cloak. Robbery and murder must stalk unchecked within the land, until a neighbour comes in and seizes power, re-establishing law and order. Most Chris­tians shut their eyes to the dilemma, or boldly say, seizing one horn, like the late Bishop of Peterborough, that a nation that lived by the Sermon on the Mount could not exist for a week. Dr Salter accepts the other horn, and says:

“There is a great place waiting in history for the first nation that will dare to save its life by  losing it, that will dare to base its national exist­ence on righteous dealing and not on force, that will found its conduct on the truths of primitive Christianity, and not on the power of its army and navy. And there is a great place waiting in history for the first political party that will dare to take the same stand, and will dare to advocate the Christian policy of complete disarmament and non-resistance to alien force.”

We fancy the place will wait long, and rightly wait; for, though peace be the goal, there are many weary steps to be trodden before the world is ready for it. The Inner [25] Ruler Immortal must have become enthroned in our hearts ere the compulsion of outer law can be wholly cast aside. Else would the lowest in evolution exterminate the highest, even as the Jewish mob did to death the Christ.

Dr Salter makes a tremendous challenge

 

“If in my bottommost heart I want to know what I should do under any given circumstances, I must ask myself what is God’s command on the subject and what would Christ do in my place. In the matter of this war I must try and picture to myself Christ as an Englishman, with England at war with Germany. The Germans have overrun France and Belgium, and may possibly invade England by airship and drop bombs on London. What am I to do? Am I to answer the Prime Minister’s call, make myself proficient in arms, and hurry to the Continent to beat the Germans off?

“Look! Christ in khaki, out in France, thrust­ing His bayonet into the body of a German workman. See! The Son of God with a machine-gun, ambushing a column of German infantry, catching them unawares in a lane and mowing them down in their helplessness. Hark! The Man of Sorrows in a cavalry charge, cutting hacking, thrusting, crushing, cheering. No! no! That picture is an impossible one, and we all know it.

“That settles the matter for me. I cannot uphold the war, even on its supposedly defensive side, and I cannot, therefore, advise anyone else to enlist or to take part in what I believe to be wrong and wicked for myself. A country, as an individual, must be prepared to follow Christ if it is to claim the title of Christian.”

 

The conception of the Christ as warrior is not impossible to those who have studied the [26] lives of Shri Rama and of Shri Krishna. The Christian world has thought only of the Christ as the patient, gentle Saviour, and so the other view looks revolting. But if Dr Salter believes in Him, he must also remember another aspect, when He comes “in flaming fire taking vengeance”, when he sends His enemies, as “Ye cursed”, to company with devils in the bottomless pit, into everlasting torture. The Good Shepherd is an exquisite picture, but the angry and destroying Judge is equally Scriptural.

The truth is that the problem lies deeper than war, in a fact that sentimental religionists ignore. Dr Salter regards Christ as God incarnate. Then what of natural catastrophes, of earthquakes, of avalanches, of tidal waves, of cyclones, of whirlwinds, of all the destructive agencies of “Nature”? What of a Titanic, sunk by an iceberg; of the endless tragedies of the seas? What of deadly and torturing diseases - of the swift bayonet-like agony of cholera, and the long-drawn anguish of con­sumption? Who is behind all these?

There is one answer that leaves men sane and joyous, unterrified, undismayed, and it is given by Hinduism: that “evil” as well as “good”, death as well as life, pain as well as, joy, come to man under a Will that is wisdom as well as love, and works unwaver­ingly through storm and sunshine to a foreseen end - the unfolding of divinity in man. That [27] man, an eternal spirit, wears these bodies as his garments, enjoys and suffers, is happy and miserable, smiles and weeps, to learn the varied lessons that make him gradually strong, and wise and loving; experience is his food; he gathers it, assimilates it, transforms it, growing from life to life, an ever-unfolding spirit. “Every pain that I suffered in one body was a power that I wielded in the next”, says Edward Carpenter. And that is true. These heroic deeds, these lives offered up for a great ideal, whether in German, British, French, or any other bodies - they are not lost. The bodies die; the spirit passes on with the jewels he has created, and returns, wiser, better, nobler, to wear another body for yet greater service. For the anguished body, death; for the spirit, birth; and then return to labour once again on earth. When Dr Salter realises this, he will be able to see the Christ beside Krishna on the battle-car, and to know that the same Will worketh in war as in all other struggles, and guides the world unfalteringly towards a higher and diviner life. - New India, January 15, 1915.

A BISHOP AND ANIMALS

OUR readers will remember the beautiful Russian prayer for the animals taken into [28] war, showing the sense of human responsi­bility for the sufferings inflicted on them by man. But the Bishop of Oxford is more in sympathy with the contemptuous Pauline comment on the tender Hebrew precept: “Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn”; St Paul asks: “Doth God take care for oxen?” One might answer that He certainly should, since, according to the Christian teaching, He created them. The Bishop says that it has never “been the custom of the Church to pray for any other beings than those whom we think of as rational”. Then why does his Prayer Book call on all living things to praise God? “Ye whales, and all that move in the waters, bless ye the Lord, praise Him and magnify Him for ever”, and so on through a catalogue of animals. May they praise God, and yet not be prayed for to God? That seems a little one-sided. The Pall Mall Gazette, after some not quite nice comments, says finally:

“And yet most people, we fancy, will be on the side of the quadrupeds in this matter. The horses and dogs being used in the war are as brave, faithful, and devoted as any soldiers, and no Christian need feel ashamed of asking the Father of All to have them in his keeping. And it smacks of spiritual ‘snobbery’ to assume that the providence of the Creator has its limits drawn immediately beneath our own species.”

It is the Bishop’s view which has led to the excuse in Italy for cruelty to animals: [29] Non e cristiano” - “It is not a Christian”. And this is the root of the cruelties inflicted on animals throughout Christendom, and of the cruelties now in Eastern countries, where Christianity has spread, contrasting sharply with the older indigenous feeling embodied in hospitals for sick and shelters for worn-out animals. - New India, February 5, 1915.

ST GEORGE FOR ENGLAND - AND WHY

AN English friend sends the following story, told by a man who was present in the trenches at the time. Under the tremendous strain of battle, men’s eyes are sometimes opened, as in earlier days, when such tales were told. The Roman saw Castor and Pollux on their  white horses battling for Rome; the Greek saw Hermes, the messenger; the Christian, the oriflamme In hoc signo vinces; the Hebrew, the angel of the Lord. And so our soldiers. Under similar conditions, similar visions are seen.

Here is the story:

“A small force of British were in trenches and saw approaching them a tremendous number of Germans; they thought: ‘Hullo, we can just make a last stand, but we can’t possibly keep them at bay’. One of the British sat back and suddenly thought of a restaurant in London where he had been - and he thought he saw over it the figure of [30] St George, and he kept saying to himself: ‘St George for England, St George for England’, over and over again, and couldn’t get away from it. Presently he looked up, and saw that although the British were not firing, the Germans were falling in every direction. Another man, happening to look at the thinker, saw above him the figure of St George, and all around were figures in green, throwing something - he did not know what - at the Germans, who were falling fast. The British were able to beat the Germans back because of this other help. Afterwards the Germans told them they had been using something (I can’t remember what it is called) that kills without making any mark. The British said they hadn’t; but went to look at the German dead, and found crowds of dead with no mark of wounds anywhere.”

In this tremendous struggle, good and evil are ranged against each other, Shri Ramachandra against Ravana, and the progress of the world depends upon the triumph of those who are battling for treaty faith and inter­national law against the brute reign of force.  The Devas of the nations ever guide the destinies of nations - Origen’s account of this, as part of the work of angels, is at once interesting and true; and, as they ever sub­serve the divine Will, they work for evolution, and work against the retarding forces when they grow strong enough to imperil the up­ward progress of humanity. - March 4., 1915. [31]

GREAT BRITAIN AND THE WAR

YESTERDAY’S telegrams announce the spread­ing of the European conflagration by the entry of Germany into the war arena. That entry has been signalised by a line of action which, if the telegrams speak truly, is in contravention with the recognised rules of combat. It is true that we are far removed from the chival­rous days of battle, when we had the probably mythic story of Fontenoy, with the English and French regiments facing each other, and the courteous greeting: “Gentlemen of the Guard, fire first”. But at least we might expect that neutral territory would not be violated in order to strike at a part of the French frontier guarded by treaty, because bordering on the neutralised State, and that French territory would not be invaded before the German Ambassador had left Paris and before any declaration of war had been made. We say this with all reserve, for the telegrams may be, and we hope are, misleading, and the very fact that the German invasion of France must drive Great Britain into war with Ger­many makes us anxious not to judge unjustly. [32] If the telegrams be true, then Germany has behaved most unfairly, and in any case the violation of neutral territory, which is ad­mitted, strikes at the very root of international morality. It is all-important to Germany to strike swiftly, but a message along the wires would have travelled to Paris more quickly than her troops could cross the border.

If this be so, then has “The Day” arrived to which the German officers have long been  drinking, and Great Britain and Germany have clinched in the deadly wrestling match for  Empire. The double attack on France and England would be consistent with the splendid  military organisation over which the War-Lord of Germany presides, and it is but natural that Germany should seek to prevent the despatch of an army corps from England to help in the defence of France by engaging all her attention at home in the prevention of invasion. Great Britain’s magnificent fleet is now her protection, and should be fully ade­quate for its task.

The best service that we can all do is to remain calm and confident, ready to help where help is needed, steadfast in our loyalty to the Empire, suspending our local quarrels in face of the crisis on the issue of which depends the immediate future. India is bound up with Great Britain; we want no German Empire here, with its rough arrogance and military regime. The Indian princes will be [33] eager to defend the Paramount Power, and it may be worth while for Great Britain to consider what a magnificent fighting force is there, at the disposal of the Empire, and to win their allegiance for centuries to come by showing trust in them now. Everything that can give rise to friction here must be stopped, so that England and India may stand together in defence of the Crown.­ - New India, August 4, 1914.

“It is hereby notified for general informa­tion that war has broken out between His Majesty and Germany.” Such is the quiet, curt paragraph, issued as a Gazette Extra­ordinary, signed by Sir Percy Cox. We know  from the admirably lucid, dignified, and re­strained speech of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Sir Edward Grey - which was cabled verbatim by Reuters Agency, and published in our columns yesterday - the exact steps which have led up to this declaration of war. Sir Edward Grey has, with inexhaust­ible patience, striven to bring about a peace­able solution of the questions disturbing European peace. How dear peace is to his heart - as to the heart of every righteous and compassionate man - has been shown during the years of his tenancy of office. A born diplomat, a man of the most delicate honour, [34] he succeeded in holding the Concert of Europe together during the Balkan War, which, had it not been for his skill in meeting opposition and in placating enmities, would most cer­tainly have led to a general armed conflict. His simple, frank narrative to the House of Commons, telling of his communications with the Powers, of his reiterated efforts to induce Germany to regard treaty obligations, must convince any impartial observer that he  went to the limit of honourable patience in his endeavours to save his country from the  horrors of war. What could be more touching than his appeal - after describing the obliga­tions which Great Britain had incurred, after his question whether she could stand with folded arms and watch Germany devastating the coasts of France, left by France herself unprotected in order that her Fleet, concen­trated in the Mediterranean, should safeguard Britain’s way to India-to every man to look into his own heart and to decide what honour demanded? There spoke the English gentle­man, keenly alive to personal honour, and realising that the honour of a nation is as precious as that of any individual. It sounds like the echo of Shri Krishna’s appeal to Arjuna, as Arjuna, horror-struck with the vision of impending fratricidal combat, shrank back, gallant warrior as he was, and let a moan of anguish break from his lips, crying that the empire of the world would be bought too [35] dearly at the price of blood: “What is this depression, unworthy, unmanly? Dishonour is worse than death”. So also said Sir Edward Grey, and looked to his fellow-countrymen for reply. The acclamation of the nation’s representatives answered him, and from North to South, from East to West, the voice of a united people has re-echoed the approval of the Commons of England.

Great Britain has had set before her the momentous choice of abdicating her position as a world-power, or marching armed into the battlefield. She has chosen to hold the mighty position won by the centuries of effort and labour since Sir Walter Raleigh and the Elizabethan heroes crossed the seas and wrested from Spain the empire of the waves. She does well. To act otherwise would be to descend voluntarily into the gulf of national dishonour, and to leave to the mercy of German militarism the smaller states of Europe, and all the lands beyond the seas that acknowledge the British Crown.

The peace of the world can only be secured when nations honour treaties signed by them as individuals honour the contracts they have made. Society would revert to barbarism if every man broke his promises, tore up his contracts, refused to abide by his pledged word. The effort of all good men is to intro­duce the moral obligations recognised by individuals into international relations. War [36] can only cease between nations when justice is acknowledged, and when the strong nation is held back by the concert of peoples from invading and plundering the weak, as the murderer and the thief are arrested by the constable. Until that day arrives, the weak nation, protected by treaty, must be defended by the strong. For this Great Britain, France, Russia, Holland, Belgium, and, we hope, Italy, stand together against the forces of Germany and Austria. Austria began by tearing up the Treaty of Berlin at a moment when Europe could not move, and seizing Bosnia and Herze­govina. She followed this, insolent in her success in trampling upon her obligations, by trying to bully Servia into the surrender of her national independence. Germany seized the opportunity, after forty years of prepara­tion, hoping to complete the dismemberment of France, begun by the wrenching away of Alsace and Lorraine. She rushed across Luxemburg, tried to browbeat little Belgium into a submission which deprived her of her neu­trality and forced her to aid Germany in her invasion of France. This is the final action which has forced Britain into the field. Ger­many was determined to sweep Britain out of her path to world-empire, either by war or by dishonour. Britain has chosen war.

Gravely, solemnly, Great Britain has taken her stand. Ready for conflict, she has striven for peace, but she will not crouch [37] nationally as a craven under fear of Germany’s whip. Germany has voted a war credit of £250,000,000; she has invaded Belgium; her spirit is shown in a military official organ, in which, after her years of eager preparation and her standing menace to European peace, she has the insolence to speak of her “flaming anger at the onslaught committed on the peaceful German people”; and then follow the awful words: “If God vouchsafes victory, then vae victis” - woe to the conquered! Europe is thus told what she will suffer if the German eagle plunges its beak and talons into its quivering body, Germany’s prey. It only needed such a threat to nerve all to resistance. - New India, August 6, 1914.

As Earl Kitchener points out, Powers that raise armies by conscription show their whole strength at once. In the Island Kingdom every man is a potential soldier, and games, drill, hunting, racing, make muscles hard and ready for exertion. It is easy to turn such a nation into an armed force. - Commonweal, August 28, 1914.

DRAKE COME BACK?

THE following is printed in the Daily Citizen, an English labour paper. Who would have [38] expected to find among English sailors a belief in reincarnation?

“HAS DRAKE REAPPEARED?

“Sailors are among the most superstitious of folk, and there is a belief among many of them that Jellicoe is a reincarnation of Drake. You know the story told by Alfred Noyes in his poem ‘The Admiral’s Ghost?’ Mr. Applin refers to the legend how Drake, when dying, told his men to take back his drum and to hang it upon the sea wall, and if ever England was in danger and called, the sailors were to strike upon his drum and he would rise from the seas and come back and fight for her. Well, when England, over a century ago, was threatened, Drake’s drum was heard one night by the fisherfolk. And Nelson came to England’s rescue. When Mr. Applin was in Devonshire a little while after the outbreak of war, he talked to an old sailor eighty years of age, on the red cliffs beyond Brixham. He referred to the story of Drake, and the sailor’s face grew grave, and he was silent for a long time. ‘The drum was beat’, he whispered at last. ‘Drake’s drum was heered to beat a while back; our lads heered ‘er, one night when they was puttin’ out from Plymouth Sound’. He nodded his head to and fro as he took off his cap. ‘But I knawed long back when I stood afore Jack Jellicoe, close as I be standin’ to yew; I caught his eye - and I knawed it was Drake come back. Yes, sir; the old drum beat, and he come back as he said he would’.

If England needs me, dead

Or living I’ll rise that day!

I’ll rise from the darkness under the sea

Ten thousand miles away.

The materialists may laugh; the superstitious may speculate; but the seafolk on the red cliffs of Devonshire, they know.” [39]

And true is it that the old heroes come back to play their part on the stage of history.  Should they idle away their time in a heaven, when they are needed here in a turning-point of history? - March 23, 1915.

RECRUITING in England is very rapid, and it seems as though the voluntary system would emerge triumphantly from the tremen­dous strain to which it has been subjected. Volunteering for the army is far more con­sonant with English traditions than is con­scription, and the man who goes voluntarily to the front, for his country’s sake, should be a better soldier than those who are forced into the ranks. One remembers the building of Cromwell’s Ironsides, the coming forward of the men who, as he said, “had a con­science in what they did”. This conscience is present in the men who are filling the ranks of England’s citizen army today; and despite  the splendid valour of the German soldiery, we cannot but feel that the army under Sir John French is of finer individual fibre than the German hosts. The initiative the men show, their swift adaptability, their intelli­gence, all tell of men who have not been drilled into automata. If there were uni­versal military training in our schools, technical institutes, and colleges, and perhaps the [40] continuance of that training for a couple of years beyond the finishing of the educational course, before the young man went out into the world, the manhood of the nation would be ready for all emergencies, while only those would pass on into the regular army as a career who felt that their bent lay in that direction. - New India, January 7, 1915.

WE may hope that the splendid response to Lord Kitchener’s call will be the end of all idea of conscription. A conscript army has in it the element of compulsion, while the voluntary recruit comes from sheer love of country. Germany sneers at the British army as mercenary; but she supports her troops as much as does England. Mercenaries are troops which fight under the flag of another nation for pay, not men who defend their own country and are supported by that country during that service. The finest system would be a union of the British and the German universal military training for three years, following compulsory drill in school and shoot­ing drill in college; and then volunteering for home and foreign service, as at present in the Territorials and the Regulars. - New India, December 23, 1914. [41]

THE CHANNEL TUNNEL

IT is noteworthy that Lord Sydenham, at a moment when no European war was dreamed of, speaking of the military advantages of the Tunnel, remarked on the possibility of  sending through it “military forces to France, Belgium, or Holland … we have definite treaty responsibilities as regards Belgium in certain contingencies”. Now that those con­tingencies have suddenly become actualities, Great Britain must wish that the Channel Tunnel were available. … For ourselves, we are fully and heartily in favour of all means of communication between nations, because we believe that, the more nations know each other, the less is the danger of war. We see now the advantage of the constant intercommunication between England and Italy and France and Italy, in the refusal of the Italian nation, evidently against its Government, to take up arms against the peoples it loves. The Government rightly feels bound by its treaty obligations; the nation ties its hands. In the growth of love between nations, and the consequent deliberate tearing up by consent in time of peace of treaties which would drive them into war, lies the hope of the future. - Commonweal, August 11, 1914. [42]

THE “LEAGUE OF MEDITATION”

THE hatred that Germany nourishes for England is as extraordinary as the rest of her proceedings. The “hymns of hate” pub­lished are not human in their ferocity. …

In pleasant contrast with this is the “League of Meditation” in England, the groups of which meditate daily, sending out thoughts of love and goodwill to all the suffering and the dying, to those in anxiety and sorrow, poverty and distress. Much may be done in the world of thought to overcome hatred by love, and to hasten the coming of the peace towards which the agonised nations of the world are looking with longing eyes. It is worthy of notice that the meditation begins “On the Unity of Life”, and has for keynote the shloka of the Bhagavad-Gita: “I established this universe out of a frag­ment of myself, and I remain”. - Commonweal, December 11, 1914. [43]

 

INDIA

INDIA AND ENGLAND

EDUCATED India has never desired to throw off her allegiance to the Crown; she has only asked for the self-government enjoyed by the Colonies. Her loyalty is not a change of opinion; it is not an approval of the Arms Act, and the Press Act, and the many badges of racial inferiority branded upon her; she hates these things as she has ever hated them, but, of her own free will, she chooses now to put them on one side. And why? Because she loves England for having aroused her from the sleep of centuries by holding up before her the ideal of liberty, for having sheltered the oppressed of every nation. She rallies to her because England is the mother of free nations; because, if England fell, tyranny would stalk unchecked over prostrate peoples; because England is the most sanely progressive nation on earth, and, with what­ever temporary vagaries, her face is steadily set towards the goal of liberty. India has been inspired politically by the glorious history of England’s struggles for freedom. [44] She has read, with breathless interest, how England, step by step, won constitutional  liberty; how she curbed her kings; how she lifted her serfs; how she refused the payment of unjust taxes; how her merchants built up her prosperity; how she educated her masses; how she has widened the sphere of self-­government by Act after Act; how her Commons have twice honestly cancelled their own resolutions when they infringed on popular liberty; how she has declared that “taxation without representation is rob­bery”; how she has freed her press; how she has won full liberty of speech. All this has created the ideals of educated India, and her clear vision has seen the real England through the thick fog of autocracy and bureaucracy which shroud her here. The danger of teach­ing English history to boys under an auto­cracy has been recognised of late years in the efforts to check the teaching, but the check comes too late; it has already inspired educated India, the India which believes in old England, the real England, despite the new-fangled Anglo-England, and with pathetic intensity believes that if England only knew and understood her grievances all would be redressed. And she is right. How, save in amity with England, how, save with Eng­land’s help, can she build up the fair fabric of India’s liberty, and become that which her voice, her Congress, has persistently demanded, [45] a self-governing nation within the Empire?

The war broke out with a thunderclap, and the Mother of Freedom, waking from her lethargy, sent out her ringing call for help to maintain national honour, international faith.  All her admiration for England’s past, all her hopes for work with England’s future, all her loyalty to a King who had shown her honour and sympathy, all her ingrained feel­ings of chivalry and truth and faith, brought India springing to her feet, and made her pour out her all for the guarding of the Empire’s life - the Empire which is the ark in which all the hopes of the world’s freedom are embarked, and which is tossing on the stormy waves of war. India’s freedom is in that ark; France, the standard-bearer of ideas, is in that ark; where else can India be?

By her quick answer to the call of the King, India won instantaneous recognition. And  now, to make new discord, to re-arouse the sense of injury so magnanimously thrown aside,  the strident voices of ungenerous effort to use against India India’s magnanimity arise, and  thinly veiled dislike of the advocates of liberty endeavours to misrepresent her motives, and  to use her loyalty to buttress autocracy.

Does Ireland, in rallying to the Empire, proclaim that in the Penal Laws, in the destruction of her manufactures, in the famine-compelled exile of her once-numerous [46] population, in the suspension of the Habeas Corpus, in the hanging of Emmet, in the  imprisonment of Davitt, England ruled her well? Does Russia, in silencing every voice of reproach and rallying round the Tsar­dom which has knouted, exiled, starved, imprisoned, hanged her noblest sons and daughters, declare that she approves of all these things? Nay. Both nations forget the evils, because loyalty and patriotism, and belief in the splendid immortal soul of Eng­land, of Russia, outweigh all transitory wrongs. Oh! let not the fair opportunity of the present union of hearts be flung away by the covert insinuations of those who have tried to build England’s rule in India on the ignorance of peasants and the servility of office-seekers, instead of on the rock of the loyalty of free men! Let it be remembered that, under the influence of the spirit of the age, there is no safety for any empire, for any throne, unless it be, like the throne of Britain, in Britain, “broad-based upon the people’s will”. - New India, October 13, 1914.

SAYINGS FROM THE COMMONWEAL

 

INDIA owes to English teaching and English example the love for liberty which pulses in her veins today. Only with English help can she [47] swiftly realise her hopes, and with England’s stability as a Great Power must stand or fall the hope of India’s coming freedom. In a true and noble sense, “England’s need is India’s opportunity”. Opportunity not to weaken England, but to strengthen her; not  to be a danger in her rear, but a protecting shield at her back; not to look on with cold indifference, but with warm and eager help­fulness. …

Let every cause of quarrel be forgotten; they are “family disputes”, to be suspended when the foe is at the door. Time enough to remember them when peace returns; at present, to press them would be treason to humanity, for in the union of India and England lies the future hope of the world. The colour bar has vanished before the call of Imperial need. Let India forget it now, and England will never revive it. … The future lies with Britain: her final defeat is impos­sible; her strength is tenacious, and her re­sources are world-wide; her courage grows with prolonged struggle, and her emergence in final triumph is secure. Then shall her gratitude clasp India’s hands as equal in their world-empire. - August 5, 1914.

INDIA’S safety, India’s future, India’s liberty, depend on the success of Great Britain in the present war, and India’s wisdom is to stand by the Paramount Power. There is, [48] un-happily, little doubt that war between England and Germany has broken out, and England will soon feel the strength of India behind her. Ireland has dropped her quarrels; the suffragettes have dropped theirs; in Russia, all the strikers have resumed work. India will follow these examples, and send out her sym­pathy to her sorely-tried Emperor, who, in the hour of his glory, gave her his sympathy by word and act. She will now pay him back in his own coin of love, for she is never un­grateful. He need have no fear that the India he loves will add one thorn to his crown. ­August 7, 1914.

FORGETTING every grievance, remembering only the manifold good things which have come to them under British rule, they have, as with a single impulse, flung themselves forward to defend the English throne. Surely none will again say that India should be treated with distrust. Coldness from her would have multiplied indefinitely every anxiety, every burden, weighing on the respon­sible rulers of the land. Now they may go forward joyously. There is no foe in their rear, but a friend who will “keep the fort” for them, should the Empire need their ser­vices. - August 14, 1914.

THE Theosophical Society is international, and therefore no one can speak in its name [49] on any public matter in which opinions are divided. We have local societies in all the nations now at war, and it is obvious that their sympathies must be with their own countries. As President, I could therefore only pledge our Indian T.S. to sympathy with the Empire of which India is part. ­August 7, 1914.

LORD HARDINGE has looked deep into the heart of India and has never confused her righteous longing for freedom with sedition. Our Viceroy, loving and trusting, sits enthroned in India’s love and trust, and in recognising her worth he has served Britain more truly than by aught else he could have done. Grievous are his personal sorrows, bereft of wife and with son in peril; but, strong man that he is, his duty to the Empire suffers no whit because his heart is wrung and his home laid desolate. May Britain and India, in future hours of need, have such men to serve them as Lord Hardinge of Penshurst. No better blessing can the High Gods bestow on any land they love. September 10, 1914.

WE have one great consolation in this war, that we have at the head of the Government a man who loves India as though Indian-born, and who shows not only love for but pride in India, a jealous care for her honour and her [50] dignity as a great nation. Surely our national Rishi and Deva did well by the Motherland when they brought hither Lord Hardinge of Penshurst at this critical period of her history. We can never forget how he held India’s honour dear as his own in the South African trouble, and spoke for India with an Indian voice. We may trust him fully to guide our ship of State safely through the present storm, and apply the old familiar warning: “Do not speak to the man at the wheel”. Our helmsman deserves our confidence; let us give it in full measure, for terrible is the weight of responsibility on him and his immediate circle of advisers. They know what we cannot know, and are guided in their judgment by facts of which we are ignorant. Our trust will help and enhearten them; our distrust, our carping criticism, will discourage them, and they have enough anxiety to bear. It is those who have never known the burden of responsibility who are most ready to gird at those who carry it. - October 2, 1914.

THE Army Order to the Indian troops, under date November 10 in our telegrams, is most admirably conceived, and was evidently writ­ten by someone who knows Indian feeling.  A sentence in it, the one italicised, reads like Shri Krishna’s words to Arjuna: “Looking to thine own duty, thou shouldst not tremble, for there is nothing more welcome to a Kshattriya [51] than righteous war. Happy the Kshattriyas, O Partha, who obtain such a fight, offered unsought as an open door to heaven”. These warriors of Ind, like their ancestors, go into battle as to a bridal, and throw themselves gladly into the arms of Death, as bride. The Germans have been bidden, as is shown in the letters found on prisoners, to inflict “the severest possible punishment” on the Indian troops, whom they have dared to despise. The “punishment” seems to be the other way. Indian troops are not only fighting for the preservation of the Empire, but are also making a place within the Empire for them­selves and their fellow-countrymen.

Their bearing, their dignity, their high and gracious courtesy, impress all those who meet them, and they have only to be themselves to justify India’s claim to a place in the Empire. None can see these men and say that they are unworthy to be free. Let them be compared, man for man, with the English soldiers; many of them are but peasants, children of the soil, agricultural labourers. Are they not in intelligence, in manners, in morals, as good as the best of the same class in Europe? It was only ignorance that thought of them as an inferior race. They are the equals, fully the equals, of the proudest European nation, and they claim, in their own land, to be free citizens, governing themselves, and shaping their own national destiny, within the many­[52]-nationed “Empire of the free”. Who shall say them nay? - November 12, 1914.

GERMANS IN INDIA

WE are glad to note that Truth has taken up the question of the freedom of Germans in India. At the beginning of the war both the Viceroy and Lord Carmichael had in their service German bandmasters, of whom the former, according to the information of our contemporary, still retains his appointment. Even more surprising is another incident, which, if true, is extremely strange. It is stated that a young German, once interned at Ahmednagar, has been released on parole by order of the Adjutant-General.

The policy followed by the Government in India is, as Truth observes, in strong contrast with that followed in England. Lord Haldane is criticised vehemently and looked on with suspicion because he was partly educated in Germany; the late First Sea Lord was compelled to make room for Lord Fisher because of his Austrian birth. But in India, where the Germans or their friends can do the utmost mischief, the treatment meted out to them is the least strict. It is true that many Germans, at first considered harmless, have since been interned; but still, so long as a single German, [53] male or female, is permitted freedom, the Government of India will not have done its duty towards the people or the Empire. - New India, February 11, 1914.

IN the Indian Peninsula we have German missionaries, German schoolmasters, and Ger­man schools, wherein the greatness of the German Empire is proclaimed, and attempts are made to dazzle the children with its gran­deur. All this is allowed to go on with the usual fatuity of Englishmen, who, even with the German propaganda unveiled in Europe before their eyes, still continue to allow these centres of mischief to exist. - Commonweal, October 23, 1914.

THE second in command of the Emden was a Madras Volunteer. One hopes that we have seen the last of the enrolling of foreigners in corps from which the men of the country are excluded. Things will be different in the future. - Commonweal, October 2, 1914.

How far has German conspiracy been at the back of anarchism here in India? We have learned how she has plotted against Great [54] Britain in many lands, and we know how numerous were her emissaries here in the disguise of traders and of missionaries. We know also that she stirred up a rebellion in South Africa, the only one of her plots which to some extent succeeded for a short time. We know also how bitter is her disappoint­ment that there has been no rising in India; and as the hope of a rising must be founded on a long-continued secret plotting, it is likely that all the anarchical crimes here have been “made in Germany” and paid for with Ger­man money. Krishnavarma, the ostensible source of the crimes, may well be a German agent, for anarchy has strong root in Germany while it is alien from the Indian spirit. The recrudescence of murders and dacoities syn­chronises with the outbreak of war, and they are occurring specially in two parts of India­in Bengal, where the seed of mischief was so widely sown, and on the West Coast, where German missionaries were so active, and where Indian children were taught to look up to Germany, and to speak of “our Kaiser” as against “your Emperor”. On that coast dacoities are very plentiful just now, and the outburst of crime among the Moplahs is as marked as in Bengal. It probably has the same source. - Commonweal, March 5, 1915. [55]

BASEL MISSION ORPHANAGES

IT is worthy of note that the Government have at last found themselves obliged to  arrest some German missionaries at one of the Basel Orphanages - which they were urged to subsidise a little time ago. They had been teaching the children that the British were their enemies. It is extraordinary how reli­gious sympathy blinds otherwise intelligent men, despite the overwhelming evidence of German methods. “Your Emperor” and “our Kaiser” are expressions heard from children attending some of these disloyal schools. The danger of schools managed by non-British teachers is evident enough in time of peace; it is, of course, worse in time of war. But at all times, as the editor of this journal has long pointed out, the teaching of large masses of children by foreigners is fatal to national spirit; the peculiar circumstances of India place the control of Indian education in non-Indian hands, but they are hands that belong to the Empire. But the hordes of foreign missionaries that pour into the land, Americans, Germans, Swiss, who receive In­dian money in Government grants, and under­mine loyalty to the Crown and patriotism to the Motherland, these form a peril to which our rulers are apparently blind. They at length begin to recognise it with regard to the Germans, with whom the Empire is at [56] war, though they allow a free hand to all German women to continue to spread anti­-British feeling among Indian children. But why should India be the dumping-ground of all these alien missionaries, who are not subjects of the King-Emperor, but are allowed to mould after their own ideas the plastic brains of the future citizens of the country? This subtle propaganda of anti-British and anti-­Indian ideas ought to be stopped. - New India, November 25, 1914.

GRANTS TO ENEMY MISSIONARIES

As trading with enemy firms is forbidden, and as it is even doubtful if it is permissible to pay a German official in any establishment, while he is interned, it is not surprising that a ques­tion was asked in the House of Commons as to the continuance of Government grants-in-aid to German missionaries in India. It is in­credible that, after the exposure of German methods, the Government should continue to help them. It has been stated here that all German missionaries are interned, but this question seems to imply the contrary. The innocent official answer is that the grants were given “after careful inquiries had been made into the conduct and attitude of the missionaries and the character of their work”. [57] What about their correspondence? - New India, February 10, 1915.

INDIA AND THE FUTURE

Is may be remembered that in 1889 H. P. Blavatsky wrote that the early years of the  next century would see many of the accounts of the nations made up, and verily she was a true prophet in this matter. For one very clear result of the present gigantic war is to bring Asia into new relations with Europe, and to establish her in her old place of power in the shaping of the world’s destinies. We sometimes forget that all the old empires of the past were Asian; that India, Persia, Assyria struck the keynote of civilisation for thousands of years; and that China, though she did not make so flaming a trace on the world’s pages, wrote a self-contained story of rare internal progress and lofty ethics which have maintained her in her sure place among the great civilisations of the world.

Asia has been for centuries a continent to be exploited by the young and virile nations of the West. These started on fresh lines on the younger continent of Europe, the fourth and fifth sub-races spreading westwards, and occupying the lands some of which had but lately emerged from the seas. The great [58] swamps of eastern Europe, as they dried up into habitable soil, furnished a centre for the young fifth sub-race, from which their families emigrated westwards and northwards, to found future nationalities. They naturally forgot their Asian Motherland, as generation suc­ceeded generation; and as they developed their new type of civilisation, difficulties of communication kept the two continents iso­lated from each other, unknowing their relative lines of development. Only, later on, in­cursions into Europe of hordes of warlike and ferocious warriors from the central parts of Asia made the names of the Huns and others names of terror in Europe.

Then came a new impulse from Asia, which embodied itself in the Saracens, the impulse of chivalry and mysticism, spreading west­wards and southwards from Persia. Masonry was enriched from the same source, and these all softened and refined the rougher manners of the West, while Arabia took up the tradition of Greece, enriched and developed it, and brought science to Europe, laying the founda­tions of the modern world. Not only in religion did Asia teach Europe, though it is true that Asia had the genius of spirituality, and that Europe merely copied and spread, but originated no great religion. In literature, philosophy, science, and art, Asia was the mother of all progress; while as regards toler­ance, that true mark of greatness, Akbar [59] was discussing religions among wise men of different faiths while Mary was burning Protestants and Elizabeth executing Roman Catholics. Scarcely for two centuries has Europe been taking the lead, while Asia, sated with great achievements, slept for a while to rest, and let the reins of empire slip from fingers tired of power.

But now Asia is awakening, and Japan first raised her head, and fought her way to high position among the nations of the world, concluding alliance with the mighty Western people whose genius for colonisation and rule was laying deep and firm the foundations of a world-wide empire. Persia stirred uneasily, feeling the breath of liberty, and, though hardly entreated by Russia and Britain, she has her eyes fixed on a fuller national life. And China, that vast, unknown land, that land of far-reaching possibilities, took her fate into her own hands, flung off her empire, established a republic, and is feeling her feet, intent on working out her own salvation.

How could this great wave of new life sweep over Asia and leave untouched the blood in India’s veins? She, mightiest, fairest, wisest of all Asian peoples, how should she lie supine, continues to sleep, when lesser nations were stirring? And so has come unrest, and move­ments of new life, a sense of growing strength and consciousness of national unity. Slowly [60] she has been awaking to self-realisation and measuring her resources, and, quietly learning from the younger nations methods of self­-government, has been pursuing the new ways of modern peoples. As a nation, she sprang to her feet at the cry for help that rang across the seas from the little northern island that had taught her the great lesson of liberty, and that found herself confronted by a mighty foe, and she flung her sons into the carnage of war, poured out the blood of her people and the hoarded treasures of her princes, and proved her worth and her strength on the stricken fields of modern war in Europe. Never again can India, who has fought and died for the common empire side by side with Britain, sink back into the old position of Ma-Bap, and stand with folded hands sub­missive to the Shaba’s nod. When Britain called on India for help, she treated her as an equal, and never again can she, in fairness and in honour, treat the Indian nation as a subject race. By her sword, drawn for England not against her, India has won her freedom, and the chaplet of liberty has been wrought for her on the fields of Europe, sodden with the outpoured blood of Indians and of Britons. Well, verily, is it for both nations that full national self-consciousness has flowered while the two nations are fighting side by side. There was a time when there was a danger that it might be realised in [61] opposition instead of in union, when South Africa strained India’s patience and strength almost to the breaking point. South African oppression did much to awaken the sense of unity in India, but, thanks to all good Powers, Lord Hardinge’s sympathy and Mr. V. Gandhi’s patience tided India over the danger, and turned anger into gratitude.

All this change and the near approach of self-government in India is making the  thoughtful feel the need for preparation, and for pressing on more rapidly the religious,  educational, social, and political reforms which are too interlinked and interwoven for separation. - The Theosophist, March 1915. [62]

 

GERMANY

 

 

AUSTRIA - YESTERDAY AND TODAY

IF we take a map of Europe and look at Servia and Austria-Hungary with its append­ages, we cannot but be struck with the fact of the littleness of the one and the hugeness of the other. A war between them is like combat between an elephant and a toy terrier. Servia is a tiny State, overshadowed by Hungary - flanked by Austria - on her north, with the stolen provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina on her west, with the remainder of her frontier marked off by the other Balkan States. Belgrade, from which she very wisely moved her capital, is on the frontier, which runs with that of Hungary, and is the natural point of Austria’s attack. Her tiny army, formidable only by the extraordinary heroism of its officers and men, numbers but 36,000 men on a peace footing and 300,000 on a war, as against Austria’s huge phalanx of 360,000 on a peace and 2,500,000 on a war footing.

Under these circumstances, Austria, like a huge bully threatening a gallant boy, [63] presents an ultimatum which, assented to, would deprive Servia of her independence and reduce her to the condition of Bosnia and Herzegovina, insolently annexed by Austria in defiance of the Treaty of Berlin. Servia has gallantly preferred national death to national dishonour. A nation can rise again from death; from dishonour there is no resurrection. Better for Servia to be annexed after heroic defence of her independence, than cravenly to submit to immediate practical annexation. Having thus made war inevit­able by an ultimatum impossible of accept­ance, and - by bombarding Belgrade within two days of the declaration of war - showing that he had prepared his first blow in con­fident expectation of the refusal of his demand, the Austrian Emperor has the extraordinary temerity to declare, with the usual offensive appropriation of “God,” that he “takes up the sword … in order to secure the territorial integrity of Austria-Hungary!” He cannot secure it with 2,500,000 men against 300,000. Such odds are too much for the Dual Monarchy in its old age. Eight and a third Austrians against one Servian is too little for protection, even with the help of the “Almighty”. “Territorial integrity” is not safe against the assault of the Servian, even supposing that he ventured on an assault in some Berserker delirium. But bullies are always cowards. The Emperor further charges Servia with [64] “dishonesty”, but such a charge from the most notoriously disingenuous Power on the Continent has no weight.

For what is the past and the present of Austria? We omit Hungary, for Hungary is no friend of Francis Joseph. It has never forgotten his ruthless cruelty in crushing the Hungarian struggle for freedom, and his refusal of all mercy to the conquered; the memory, of Kossuth has not faded away. Nor is Austria’s previous tyranny in the days of the Rakoczis forgotten; Hungary brought back the corpse of the last reigning prince of that glorious name in honour and triumph, not so very long ago. Shall Europe forget - as Italy forgets - the part played by Austria in Italy’s struggle for freedom? Shall lovers of liberty forget the Italian provinces held under the Austrian heel by the detested “Whitecoats”; the insults in the streets of Venice; the awful cruelties perpetrated on “Young Italy”; the flogging of brave men, and one woman even, because they were patriots and would not betray their brethren; the drugging of prisoners, that in their delirium they might reveal the names of their com­rades, so that a brave lad died of starva­tion in gaol lest the food should contain the treacherous drug; the sympathy with “Bomba” and his unspeakable Neapolitan prisons; the exile of Mazzini; the landing of  the red-shirted thousand under Garibaldi; [65] the building of united Italy despite every effort of the detested foe?

And what of Austria at home? A con­stant, ever-present tyranny. No meeting of more than twenty persons without police permission; Austrian Freemasons must cross her frontier ere they can hold a Lodge, for Freemasons are excommunicated by Rome, and Austria is Rome’s obedient vassal. Her triumph threatens European freedom. One cannot but extend human sympathy to the aged Emperor, who has seen stricken down so many of his family by violent deaths; yet the shades of his brother Maximilian, of his son Rudolph; of his wife Elisabeth, of the late heir to his throne, are hidden out of sight by the countless shades of those sent by him to torture and to death; they too had brothers, sons, and wives, whose agony was as great as his, for crowns do not deepen sorrow. He reaps the harvest of his many crimes against men, and, though compassion must be extended to every sinner in the day of retribution, this crowned sinner is still persisting in his relentless campaign against human liberty; his victims will send up a cry to that God to whom he dares to appeal, and, if Bhishma be right, it is the anguish of the weak which undermines the thrones of kings. - New India, July 13, 1914. [66]

THE NEW BARBARIANS

GERMANY wants to sit where Britain sits; she aspires to wear the imperial crown of the world, and this, she feels, Britain alone can dispute with her. In the dawn of German history she destroyed the Roman Empire; can she now, thrilling with new life, destroy the British?

Germany has not only supreme soldiers, supreme thinkers, in her near past, but she is preparing with the foundation of a world-­empire to make the tremendous experiment of formulating a world-religion. This, Britain has never dared to do. “The development of German thought, from Kant to Fichte, from Hegel and Schopenhauer to Lotze, Hart­mann and Nietzsche, strives to no other term.” Hence Germany is inspired to battle by a tremendous and passionate enthusiasm - the foundation of a world-empire, the formation of a world-religion, a hope fit to inspire to uttermost sacrifices, to supremest heroism. That is Germany as she sees herself, as she understands her mission to the world, as taught by her professors, as stimulated by her historians. And it is necessary that this should be understood.

What does this double object mean to the world? The world-empire is to be embodied  power, force supreme. There is nothing higher than the State; all that increases its power [67] is right; the duty of the citizen is to serve the State, and the State is a law unto itself. The world-religion is the religion of valour, the strong man, the brave man, the warrior ruthless and all-crushing, the old Scandinavian Berserker, to whom battle is a delight and carnage is a satisfaction. Such is the ideal. Nietzsche is its prophet; Treitschke its historian.

Strange that Heine should have foreseen this, and have prophesied the return of the old Scandinavian gods, of Thor and his hammer, and have said that the leaders of this New Barbarism would be found to be the disciples of Kant, of Fichte, and of Hegel. The Hohenzollerns, as a House, incarnate the pride of empire and the spirit of the War­-Lord; people and ruler match.

Since India is so closely bound up with the British Empire, it is well that Indian thinkers should study this evolution of the German ideal, for no such portent as a world-empire based on force as the highest law, and a world-­religion reviving the cult of force, has hitherto risen on the horizon of the modern world. The Germans today are verily the reincarna­tion of the barbarous tribes which destroyed Roman civilisation and drove Europe out of the light of Greece and Rome into the Dark Ages. Their acts are the acts of the Vandals who gave their name to the savage lust of destruction, and Rheims and Louvain [68] testify to the fact that Europe is face to face with the perils to which the Roman Empire succumbed. As our readers grasp the full meaning of the struggle now raging, the knowledge will strengthen their hearts and stiffen their wills, for the world’s future hangs in the balance. Two ideals of world-empire are before us. Each is only in the making; neither is accomplished fact. But to recognise the main features of each, to make our choice, to work strenuously for the chosen-that is the duty of all earnest and thoughtful men. The one is building for a happier future; the other is a revival of a past that was thought to be dead. The one sets justice for strong and weak alike as the safety of both; the other declares that the world is for the strong and that the weak should perish. The one proclaims that humanity is higher than the nation, and that the nation must recognise its subordination to the higher good of the race; the other declares the nation to be supreme, and that it must fight for its own hand, without regard to others. The one sees in international law the common recogni­tion of right, and as embodying the highest public opinion of the time, rising higher as humanity evolves, and seeks the Concert of Nations as its legislative body; the other sees the might of each nation as its law, and seeks in war the sole arbitrament. The one is the human, seeking progress by co-operation, by [69] peace, by the protection of the weak by the strong; the other is the bestial, seeking pro­gress by combat, like the wild beasts of the jungle, crushing out the weak as unfit to survive. The first ideal is recognised by the present British Empire, which is beginning to re-create itself as a group of free self-­governing nations, federated together on the basis of brotherhood and righteousness; its relations with undeveloped or retrograde peoples - Kaffirs, Hottentots, negroid types  -protective, educative, non-exploiting. To­wards such an ideal British literature points, and the British Empire is tending; it is the recognition of this tendency - it is not yet  actuality - that has made the tremendous rally to the Empire which has astonished the world and falsified all the German calcula­tions. This world-empire will stand on justice, and express itself by peace. It will favour national developments, and find its bonds of union in love and truth and equity, seeing in diversity of growth a higher organic evolution than in uniformity, a chord rather than a monotone.

The other is the ideal that one nation is to lord it over the whole world, with a War-Lord as the one master: “There is no master in the realm but I,” said the Kaiser. It stands on might; it expresses itself by war; it tramples subject peoples to powder under its feet, and imposes itself on all others. Its [70] theory as to the original possessors of the lands it conquers is expressed - in the remarks on the natives of its South-West African colony “by Herr Schlettwein,” says the Times, “one of the Government experts who was recently called in to instruct the members of the Reichstag on the principles of colonisa­tion” - in the following terms:

“The Hereros must be compelled to work, and to work without compensation and in return for their food only. Forced labour for years is only a just punishment, and at the same time it is the best method of training them. The feelings of Christianity and philanthropy, with which the missionaries work, must for the present be re­pudiated with all energy.”

Baldly put, this is the revival of slavery, pure and simple; a conquered people become slaves. The “training” did not last long. The Times proceeds:

“But General von Trotha in the same year (1904) repudiated them with so much energy as to leave practically no Hereros at all! In a pro­clamation issued on 2nd October he declared that:

‘The Herero people must now leave the land. If it refuses I shall compel it with the gun. Within the German frontier every Herero, with or without weapon, with or without cattle, will be shot. I shall take charge of no more women and children, but shall drive them back to their people or let them be shot at.’

Accordingly, many thousands were slain, and thousands more driven into a waterless desert, where they perished of hunger and thirst. They [71] are described by Mr. Dawson as an intelligent, vigorous, and industrious tribe, alert, quick to learn, and adaptable.”

Such is the German ideal of a world-empire, conquest, enslavement, wholesale murder. Germany wants colonies for hey surplus population, and the natives of the land are super­fluous. Between these two ideals the world must choose. Freedom, justice, peace, if the British ideal triumphs; slavery, oppression, war, if Germany is to hold the hegemony of the world. For India, the triumph of Germany would mean invasion, devastation, ruthless oppression. For the sake of the Motherland, as for that of Great Britain and humanity, may the High Gods grant the victory where freedom has found her home! - New India, October 20, 1914.

AN INTERESTING HISTORICAL PARALLEL

TODAY the doings of the Kaiser and his Empire have a very strange resemblance to those of Napoleon and his French subjects. The similarity is more minute than we may at first sight expect, and it seems as if history has repeated itself after nearly a hundred years. It is perhaps unfair to Napoleon to compare him with the Kaiser of Louvain fame, [72] though the worst act of the Bonaparte against civilisation was considered to be the transfer of art pictures and treasures from Milan to Paris. But still, so far as the political view of the two monarchs are concerned, they are strangely similar. First, regarding the neutrality of England. Like the Kaiser, the Emperor Napoleon also made an “infamous proposal” to Great Britain. Soon after the Treaty of Amiens in 1802, he proposed that England should remain supreme at sea, and that he should be recognised as supreme on land. As an island, he said, we had no con­cern with Continental affairs, and if we let him have a free hand in Europe he would let us alone. This is what Sir Walter Scott said as to that proposal:

“To such humiliation it was impossible for Britain to submit - the counterpart of the terms which the Cyclops granted to Ulysses, that he should be the last devoured. If Britain were com­pelled to remain, with fettered hand and padlocked lips, a helpless and inactive witness, while Napoleon completed the subjection of the Continent, what other doom could she expect than to be finally subdued?”

The words in that last sentence are almost exactly the same as those used more than once by the Prime Minister during the past month.

The similarity does not rest there. The designs of Napoleon in proposing these terms were in no way different from those with [73] which the Kaiser is now credited. It is now known that Napoleon had no intention of granting any immunity to this country, could he have induced her to let him have his way elsewhere. In his last years, when at St Helena he reviewed his career and spoke freely of his past ambitious intentions, he repeatedly declared that, had he thus isolated Britain, he meant later on to crush her. Here are his own words: “England must have ended by becoming an appendage to the France of my system. Nature has made it one of our islands, as well as Oleron and Corsica”. Further, Napoleon seems to have been misled by exactly the same mistaken notions as those of the Kaiser, who thought, in spite of plain hints to the contrary by Sir Edward Grey, that England dare not enter upon a war at the present time. He thought that the British Ministers of the day could hold their ground in Parliament only on the condition of their making and maintaining peace. He was convinced, or he persuaded himself, that this country was not then prepared to inter­fere further in Continental struggles. Our Ministers had “shown a spirit of frankness and concession, misconstrued by Napoleon into a sense of weakness”. The parallel can be traced even further, but enough has been said to show that, though often misleading, yet it is true that history often repeats itself. - Commonweal, October 7, 1914. [74]

GERMANY V. PRUSSIA

WE shall do well to distinguish, in thinking of the future, between Prussia as the Imperial power in Germany, and Germany herself, the land of philosophy, science, and art. We drew attention to this the other day in New India, and we see with pleasure in this week’s English papers that Mr. H. G. Wells, writing in the London Daily Chronicle, has struck the same note. It is Prussia, with her rough, coarse ways and her ambitious rulers, which has been the curse of Europe and Germany alike since the time of Frederick the Great, with his giant grenadiers and his brutal discipline. It has been the ambition of the Prussian kings which has made all the trouble. It was Prussia that stole Schleswig-Holstein from Denmark, and that crushed Austria. It was Prussia that took Alsace-Lorraine from France, and wrung from her a huge indemnity. It was Prussia that seized the Imperial crown, and forced the kingdoms of Germany to yield to its yoke of iron. Prussia does not represent German thought, nor German science, nor German art. In thinking of German culture, one re­calls Dresden, Weimar, Gottingen, Heidelberg, Munich, not Berlin. Berlin is a city of mer­chants, of soldiers, of martinet discipline, hard, shrewd, repellent, arrogant, insulting. South Germany and the German small states and kingdoms, these are the Germany that is loved [75] and respected, the Germany of quiet industry and peaceful homes, and gentle capable house­wives and well-cared-for children. And it is also the Germany of Goethe, Schiller, Lessing, Fichte, of the great galaxy of poets, philo­sophers, scientists, and artists. But the Ger­many of Berlin and Hamburg - may the war deprive it of all power for future mischief!­ - Commonweal, September 18, 1914.

THE long agony of north-eastern France and Belgium will at last be ended. It is impossible to realise what the inhabitants of those ravaged lands will feel when their terrible oppressors vanish, and they are free from the grinding hoof of Prussian domination. For many generations to come, “German” will be a name of horror in these devastated lands, and will stink in the nostrils of all with whom they have been brought into contact. - Com­monweal, February 5, 1914.

THE name of “Prussian”, however, should probably be substituted for “German”, for the soldiers from the other kingdoms which go to make up the German Empire seem to be of the normal kindly human type. The stories of the friendliness between the opposing armies

[76] during the Christmas truce, the songs in honour of a gallant Bavarian prince from the trenches of the Allies, and his appearance on the edge of the trench to salute in acknow­ledgment, the exchange of little gifts, the friendly greetings - all this shows the chivalry of gallant foes, and is in accord with the best traditions of the past. But a warning was significant from the German troops that they were going to be replaced by Prussians, and they would show no friendliness. “We do not hate”, was one of the phrases used.

Reading many tales of friendliness, despite the desperate fighting, I cannot but wonder whether all the talk about hatred of England is true, or if it is only a Press attempt to create the hatred which the writers think will nerve the German arm to strike. Such demoniacal feeling may be felt by professors and narrow bourgeois, who, far from the field of battle, eat their poor hearts out in anxiety for some well-loved husband or son in the battle-zone. But there is little or no trace of such hatred in the gallant soldiers, who fight to the death against each other, and then, even when des­perately wounded, seek to bind up each other’s wounds, and to share with each other any food or drink. There was no hatred in the heart of the kindly Scot, the German, and the Frenchman, all wounded to the death. The Frenchman woke out of a swoon to find the Scot pouring water into his mouth from a flask, [77] and the German supporting his head; and then the German shared his morphia with the two others, and they all chatted and - died. The Frenchman lived the longest, and wrote the story down. No; the hate is in the non­combatants, not in the gallant fighters. - Com­monweal, 1915.

GERMAN PATRIOTISM

THE peril of Socialist revolution has long menaced the Prussian throne, but we must not underrate the intense patriotism of the Germans, likely to crush down opposition when they feel that “the Fatherland is in danger”. The Socialists may riot, their leaders may be shot down, but we are inclined to think that patriotism will overpower Socialism, even among the Socialists themselves. The force against patriotism will be the fear of invasion by troops maddened by the atrocities wrought by the Germans on the helpless non-combat­ants of their blood. But we imagine that Germany is too virile a nation to shrink before the terror of invasion. And let us all hope that the Allied armies will be kept too well in hand to repeat on German soil the horrors perpe­trated in Belgium and in France. To follow German example would be to be really defeated by Germany, for it would mean the [78] triumph of the German spirit - from which triumph may all good powers defend the human race. Bootless would it be to defeat German armies in the field, if German methods are adopted by the troops which have hitherto acted like civilised human beings and not as ravening beasts of prey. It is not the German people that are responsible for the unspeakable horrors committed by the German armies, under the orders of their officers. - New India, February 11, 1915.

FAILURE OF GERMAN STRATEGY

WAR in its essence is unmitigated havoc. At its best, it is savagery; at its worst, a carnival of cruelty that will horrify humanity. That is why, although poets like Wordsworth may feign that the ideal warrior is placable and the very soul of tenderness, and popular writers like Thackeray may set up soldier types of chivalry and gentleness, the man in the street will stick to the orthodox idea that the soldier’s métier is to kill, not to succour and protect. As interpreted by the apostles of German “Kultur”, and as practised by her armed men, war is unspeakable butchery, a hideous hell on earth, that makes one’s senses swim with horror, one’s brain reel with its soul­-sickening reality. Morality between States [79] differs from ordinary morality, according to General von Bernhardi, inasmuch as there is no authority superior to the State that can compel it. That is to say, self-interest, backed up by a strong army, is the real moral standard between States, and this gospel of its latest evangelist Germany has actually translated into practice. The triumph of brute force is evidenced by the handiwork of the Kaiser’s legions who have made of Europe a hell - ­burning villages, sacked towns, murdered non­combatants, innocent bloodshed, to glut the War-Lord’s lust. But this triumph of force has to be justified at the bar of humanity by a higher principle. The doctrine of mere might as the arbiter, not of right, but of State necessity, is monstrous.

From the tyranny and blood-lust of mili­tarism to the German military machine is a natural transition. An army consists of three parts - men, material, and brains, and the first two are valueless without the last. Just as militant German philosophers assign no place to morality in international law, so they divorce the human element from their scheme of strategy in war. The entire army is a com­plex but perfect machine, in which brains have no place. A recent writer in the North Ameri­can Review, who visited Berlin a few years ago, gave an absurdly striking illustration of the iron-bound rigidity of German methods, which degenerated in every branch of the [80] administration into a slavish bondage to rules and regulations. “Between certain hours on cer­tain days in the week,” he wrote, “Unter-den-Linden [a thoroughfare in Berlin] must be watered; and if at that time it is raining cats and dogs, you will see the watering-carts stolidly plodding up and down, and adding their little contribution to the torrent.” An order is an order in Germany, and no agency in the heavens above or the earth below, save an edict of the Kaiser, can suspend it. This is efficiency run mad, and in the army it is carried to the nth power. A rule cannot be ignored because it runs foul of common sense; only so much the worse for common sense.

The Germans have made a fetish of system. Their system of military training stultifies, rather than encourages, individual effort. The individual man is only a disciplined automaton, a “part perfect”, which fits readily into its appointed place in the huge military machine. It is very often the unexpected that happens in war, and then woe betide the nicely ad­justed machine! Obedient to a rule of thumb, any unforeseen catastrophe wrecks the machine grievously and beyond hope of repair, because of its very inelasticity. The matured verdict of a military critic, who seven times in the past ten years witnessed the German grand manoeuvres, and was much impressed by the vast massing of troops and the pomp and circumstance of mimic warfare, was: “It is [81] magnificent, but it is not war!” When the German soldier repeats the methods in which he has been drilled in real battle, as recent engagements have so cruelly proved to the hilt, the result is a heavy death-roll, “and then a dead stop of the machinery, whilst the officers reconsider the situation”. The German officer relies only upon discipline, and once the rank-­and-file realise that they have been taught to play the game all wrong, there will be an end of all discipline.

The red-tape germ is not the only insidious microbe eating up the vitals of the German army. There is besides the insidious Socialist virus circulating in its veins, which even the iron discipline of the mailed fist is powerless to check. The German infantryman, again, is too fat, and tries to carry too much weight on his back. The result is he can neither march far nor fast. He lacks “the dash of the French, the doggedness of the Russian, the fatalism of the Turk”. The German engineer is too theoretical. In an emergency he lacks practical adaptability. The men who man the German navy are not born to the life, like British seamen, but are new to the sea, and, since they only serve for two years, they never have time to grow into the life. Ger­many may build Dreadnoughts, but she cannot create sailors.

According to the critic, whose views we have reproduced above, “There is much hope in [82] the idea that German military power is a highly inflated bubble, of brilliant hues, but susceptible of being pricked and burst”. The bugbear which it has been to the nations of  Europe is due to the old reputation it won in 1866 and 1870 - much like the deluded invincibility of the Turkish army prior to the Balkan wars, produced by Osman Pasha’s achieve­ment at Plevna. The rapidity with which Germany mobilised and brought her soldiers to the colours in August represents the triumph of the machine. Its weakness we see in the repeated failure of her plans on land and sea. The elimination of the personal factor in war is the rock on which German strategy will eventually founder. The attempt to make men machines can only end in making them useless as men. No two days in war are ever the same, and such training as that given to the vaunted German army – “the greatest and most perfectly organised army in the world” - can only end in irretrievable loss and disaster. - New India, January 29, 1915 

GERMAN HORRORS

THE Report of the Commission appointed by the French Government to inquire into the German atrocities, consisting of M. Payelle, President of the Cour des Comptes, M. Mollard, [83] ex-Minister to Luxemburg, M. Maringer, Coun­cillor of State, and M. Paillot, Councillor of the Appeal Court, has been sent in to the Prime Minister, as we mentioned yesterday, with its evidence given on oath and rigorously tested. It more than confirms the reports already sent in by the Belgian inquiry, and records iniquities which in their accumulated horror surpass anything that could have been thought of as possible among civilised nations and in the twentieth century. When the War-Lord sent his troops to China he com­manded them to behave like Huns, and from that shameful order was taken the epithet by which they are known in these days, “the modern Huns”. They have fully justified their title, though it is doubtful whether to give the Germans such a name is not to insult the savage warriors who desolated Europe; they were brutal and cruel, but they were semi-savages, and their deeds were com­mitted in the rush of furious war. But the crimes now unveiled before the eyes of a world stunned with horror are part of a system, are deliberately planned by men who encourage their soldiery to commit the wildest excesses.

Women are always the worst sufferers by war, and no invasion is ever made without frightful outrages committed on their persons; but the crimes alleged on indubitable testimony are not those committed by a maddened soldiery, taking a city by assault and raging [84] through it like ravening wild beasts: they are deliberate acts of officers, carried out with calculated brutality and detailed unimagin­able wickednesses.

Apart from this high-water of crime, the general record is terrible. The massacres, preceded on some occasions by a German shot from within a house in order to justify them, are well known. It is natural that such people should enjoy singing the “Hymn of Hate”. The evidence of shooting wounded men and prisoners is beyond dispute, as also the firing on ambulances and the murdering of doctors.

And so the Report goes on, filled, on in­dubitable testimony, with the record of crimes against humanity. Such is war as carried on upon German methods, reduced to a science of abomination. These stories will nerve every arm in the Allied armies with double strength, for they, by checking the German advance, are saving the aged, the women, the children, in the lands yet untrampled by the German hoof. It is no wonder that we hear from Berlin that so many officers have returned thither having “lost their nerve”; for men who have wrought such horrors must be pursued by the furies of remorse, their days must be filled with horrible memories, their nights with frightful dreams. Such crimes cannot be wrought upon the helpless without the penalty being exacted. It is a thousand times better to be the victims than [85] the perpetrators. The victims died, after a few hours of terror and the final death-agony - they are at rest. The perpetrators have to face a lifelong horror, and - memory sur­vives the death-hour in a world where thoughts are things. - New India, February 5, 1915. 

SCHADENFREUDE - JOY IN MISCHIEF

WAR by itself and the cruelties and inhumani­ties accompanying war are not pleasant matters to be discussed, neither are they relished by the tender-hearted. Not un­naturally, therefore, comes the instinctive revulsion of feeling at the sight of words like inhuman, savage, barbarous, cruel, etc. But language was not built up to meet the demand it has been asked to meet at the present day. The actions which require to be chronicled are all of the type capable of being expressed by only a dozen or so words in the language. First Termonde - unnatural; then Dinant - inhuman; Malines - barbarous; Senlis ­- savage; the words get tired, the language fails. But the actions still piled on: Kalisz broke upon Europe with the decimation of the Russian population; while the terrible death-cry of Louvain pierced the ears of the deaf, and the moans of ruined Rheims touched the tender chords of even the most stony-hearted. The most forceful [86] expressions in the language have been used in numerous different permutations and combinations of about the dozen words available. Then on the top of it came the shelling of unfortified towns and killing of hundreds of women and children in Scarborough, Whitby, etc. A few days go by, and today comes a fresh message of a provision steamer, Tokomaru, from New Zea­land, being sunk off the French coast by a German submarine, and five other steamers. There is a law among the nations of this earth that a merchant steamer, a passenger boat, or any other unarmed ship, belonging to the enemy, is not to be shelled or torpedoed without notice, and opportunity being given to the crew and passengers to quit the ship. But these are times of war. A submarine cannot carry passengers, nor remain long in enemy waters. The Germans hold that the exigencies of warfare are supreme. What matters it what says international law? They do not even like the neutrality of Belgium. So another scrap of, not paper this time, but “conscience” has gone. The steamers were torpedoed, the crew allowed to shift for them­selves; they may rescue themselves if they  like, and the submarine passes by Germany has been blockaded so long, it must have caused “Schadenfreude” to know that some at least of the foodstuffs belonging to the Allies have gone deep down to the bottom of the sea. - New India, February 4, 1915. [87]

 

THE ALLIES

FRANCE IN 1915

VERY awful is the terrible struggle now waging over Europe and extending into Asia and Africa - three continents being stained with human blood. The fearful toll of the best and bravest youth of the nations, of men also in the prime of vigorous manhood, makes one look forward to the days when the war will be over, and when millions of men, who should have been fathers, will have passed away from our earth. Who will man the factories, and till the earth, and carry on the commerce of the nations? It seems as though the ranks of men from twenty to fifty will be desperately thinned.

It is a heavy price to pay, and yet well paid. Comparing the France of 1870 with the France of today, how vast is the difference! Nothing more steadfastly heroic, more enduring, more self-controlled, has ever been seen than the soldiers of France. They have always been gallant fighters, full of dash and brilliance, but now they seem to have added British doggedness and patience to their own splendid [88] qualities. Even the cruelties of the Germans, perpetrated on their helpless countrymen and countrywomen, have not goaded them into un-wisdom. And how brave and capable are the women, taking their share of the trouble and the danger, and slipping quietly along the trenches with coffee and fruit for the wearied troops, bright and gay as the French­woman always is! France has regained her old idealism, and therein lies her strength. She has redeemed her deep plunge into materialism by the splendour of her resurrec­tion, in which Theosophy has played so brilliant a part. She has chosen sacrifice and suffering, the devastation of her lands and the murdering of her patient and laborious peasantry, rather than make terms with the Power which symbolises today all that is most opposed to right, to justice, and to liberty. Cast into the furnace of agony, she comes out pure gold. - Theosophist, February 1915.

ALSACE - LORRAINE

IN Alsace again, after four-and-forty years. Such is the news that has flashed over the cables. Only those who have long loved France, who remember the terrible days of Sedan and of the siege of Paris, who have felt  with her in her sorrow - “Rachel mourning [89] for her children, and would not be comforted because they were not”, - only they can realise what this means for France. The Place de la Concorde in Paris, once the Place de la Revolution - the great open space from the centre of which one sees at one hand the Palace of the Legislative Assembly and at the other the splendid church of La Madeleine; behind, the place where the Tuileries once stood and now great gardens spread, and in front the long avenue of the Champs Elysees, ending in the Arc de Triomphe, outlined against the sky - this great open space crowded with historic memories will today be packed with rejoicing crowds. Tragic are many of the memories, full of pomp and show are others. Here fell the heads of the great historic houses of France in the mad uprising of an oppressed and starving people; hither rattled the crowded tumbrils, filled with courtly men and women, disdainful, grace­fully courteous to each other, smiling in the face of death, pursued by roars of execration from a tossing mob, and redeeming careless, insolent lives by a gracious, willing death. Hither came the patriots of the Gironde, hither the audacious Danton, hither the brutal Hebert, hither the wounded, dying Robes­pierre and the cold St Just, as the Revolution devoured its children. Across this galloped daily, debouching from the Rue de Rivoli, the gay escort of the Imperial Guard, round the [90] carriage wherein sat that fairest of women, the Empress Eugenie, beside her little son, saluting the crowd with childish friendship - ­the Prince Imperial who, in his young man­hood, died under the assegais of the Zulus, a soldier under the British flag in South Africa.

Napoleon III. ringed this historic place with statues, each representing some great French city, and one of these was Strasburg. Since Alsace-Lorraine was wrested from France, as she lay prostrate after the victory of Germany, this statue of Strasburg has been wreathed in crape - symbol of a mourn­ing nation. At her feet have been laid, for four-and-forty years, wreaths of flowers crape­-bound, wet with tears of France. And ever in the heart of France was the word “Re­vanche”, and in her brooding hopes she ever saw her lost provinces restored to her arms. For this she built up her strength; for this her Alsatian children hoped, stubbornly resist­ing all endeavours of their German conquerors either to cajole or to terrorise. Across the new frontier Alsace-Lorraine looked with long­ing tearful eyes to France, her beloved, and has so looked with deathless yearning for four­-and-forty years. Now again she feels on her soil the feet of her own people, and the flowers at the knees of Strasburg will glow with hope, no longer droop with sorrow.

The word “revanche” is generally trans­lated “revenge”, but it has a fairer meaning,

[91] “return”, “restitution”; “one good turn deserves another” would be translated “en revanche”. So we would rather translate the words of General Joffre to the “Children of Alsace”, joyously tearing up the boundary marks that included them in Germany: “The French soldiers … are the pioneers of Re­turn”. It is a home-coming, a liberation of French citizens from a foreign yoke. Mul­hausen is again French. May it remain so; but may no thought of revenge lead France to treat Germans who may have settled there as Germans have treated the French inhabi­tants. The noblest revanche is forgiveness. Without this, revanche as revenge will quit the French heart only to fester in the German. - ­Commonweal, August 10, 1914.

ON BELGIUM

THAT is the glory of Belgium and her King.

“They saw their duty, a dead sure thing,

And followed it there and then.”

History will say that the Monarch and the people were worthy of each other. - New India, November 17, 1914. [92]

BELGIUM has sown “in tears”, but she shall “reap in joy”. She will rise from her rack of agony purified and spiritualised; the poten­tialities which lay hidden in the Belgium of 1913 have flowered into splendour, and, verily, the fruit shall be sweet. - New India, December 24, 1914.

THE BELGIAN SACRIFICE

ONE fragment of Flanders is the only scrap, not of paper but of land, that remains to Belgium. All else is held by the mailed fist of Germany. All her fair fields lie harvestless; her towns are ruined; her villages and rich farmsteads are blackened heaps. Her army of some 40,000 men has been battling to hold this last fragment of her soil. From the ter­rible battles on the Yser they have sent into hospitals, up to the end of October, over 10,500 men. And yet gallant Belgium holds up her head and declares that at the end of a few months she will have in the field 100,000 men. So indomitable a nation cannot die, nor be enslaved. - New India, November 24, 1914.

THE extraordinary courage with which little Belgium sprang to her feet and threw herself right across the path of her mighty foe must [93] have surprised the Germans as much as it surprised Europe. That swift heroic action saved France, for it gave time, and time was all that was needed. - Commonweal, August 24, 1914.

RUSSIA AT WAR

IN the eager interest with which we are watch­ing the battles in France and Belgium, the titanic struggle in which the three Allies, now reinforced by our Indian troops, are engaged, we are perhaps a little inclined to overlook the really gigantic work which has been achieved by Russia, and achieved with a speed which throws the German advance across Belgium into France into the shade. … It is due to her that the world should know the splendour of her achievements, and the courage and endurance of her gallant soldiery. … It should be remembered, in thinking over the struggles of the Russians, that they are fighting from sheer loyalty to the faith they had pledged, and for the saving of the Slav nations. In her Balkan wars she has through­out acted unselfishly, fighting for others, not for herself, and bearing herself as defender, not as conqueror. May it not be that Russia, purged by the struggle with Japan, is preparing to take the place now which in the future she is destined to occupy; that her autocrat [94] will become her liberator; and that the delight­ful-looking boy who is his only son will be the monarch of a free nation? - October 5, 1914.

Russia is finding out her own strength, and the world stands amazed at her. Two noble personalities who have passed away­ - Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and William T. Stead - both dreamed of a friendship between England and Russia in days when such friend­ship seemed impossible, when the White Terror was crushing out all effort towards religious and political liberty in Russia. But the defeat of Russia by Japan has been her salvation, and with the humility of true great­ness she has learned her lesson. She is now standing out before the eyes of an astonished Europe, as no longer only huge and populous, but as disciplined - not a mob but an army, not a chaos but a cosmos. “The total of Russians under arms is eight million men. No such army has ever before been mobilized”. Nor can be, until China finds her feet. … Spies who fall into Russian hands are fortu­nate; instead of being shot at once, they are sent into Russia to be court-martialled. Russia is young and crude, but her strength and her gentleness mark her out for future greatness. - October 8, 1914. [95]

A SILENT REVOLUTION

Russia has given many surprises, and not the least important of them is the most recent one, the doing away of the trade in vodka, the drink with which the Russian peasant had been ruining himself. When the rest of the world has been dinning into our ears that the drink habit of any people cannot be put down, in Russia the Tzar has accomplished this impossibility by one stroke of his pen. The rulers of other countries may warn us to wait and see how the abolition of the trade is borne by the people. The testimony, so far, on this point is unanimous that Russia is happy over the change.

The most important and interesting ques­tion for the people of India is: How has the Russian peasant endured the change? We are told every now and then that the prohibi­tion of drink in the open shop will only transfer the drunkard to hidden places where he may get his evening bottle in illicit ways. Has this happened in Russia? We proceed, of course, on the hypothesis that human nature is the same whether in Russia or in India, and, to be more explicit, take no note of the peculiar conditions prevailing in India, under which, in the opinion of the Government of Madras, even local option cannot be introduced with any hope of success in this Presidency. We believe that if the Russian peasant can give up [96] his drink habit in the space of a few days, his Indian brother too can achieve the same feat. For in Russia his brethren have given it up without great difficulty and are doing admir­ably well without it. Opinions have been collected by some local self-governing bodies in Russia, called the Zemstvo; and to the chagrin of no few experts in Russia - for Russia too has her quota of bureaucratic experts - the opinions are all unanimous that the Emperor’s ukase has been an unmixed boon. …

The statistics relating to crime known to be connected with drink show that in September 1913 the crimes and offences traceable to this cause totalled no less than 1600, but in Sep­tember this year, the very first year of the prohibition, similar crimes fell to barely 400.  No human being, whether an Indian, Russian, or Englishman, gives up a chance of improving  his prospects permanently, specially when the Government compels him not to lose the oppor­tunity. Will the Government of India please note this fact? - New India, December 21, 1914.

SERVIA

THE moment when the Servian national flag was rehoisted on the palace and the fortress must have been a moment of the keenest satis­faction, a proud day, to the brilliant soldiers. [97] It is this spirit of forgetting every difference of rank, precedence, etc., and throwing oneself heart and soul into the defence of one’s country that marks out the really successful man. The Servians are victorious because from their King down to the private in the army all of them are infused with the spirit of self-sacrifice. - New India, February 2, 1915.

JAPAN AND EUROPE

THERE is one curious outcome of the war which is now being waged in Europe - the discussion of the ethical values of Eastern and Western civilisations. There has been an assumption on the part of Europe that it is superior to Asia in everything, not only in scientific dis­covery, in manufactures, and in the general luxury of its ways of living, but also in philosophy, in religion, and in ethics. Europe sent out its missionaries to Asia on the assump­tion that Christianity was far superior to Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and Is­lam, and that from the height of its spiritual and ethical value it could bestow on the Asian world a unique and priceless gift. At first, Asia was a little blinded and was inclined to accept Europe at its own valuation. Of this Japan was a remarkable illustration, for it precipitated itself headlong into European [98] ways of living, dress, and manners. The Court adopted European dress, and changed its own graceful and exquisite clothes into the crude ugliness of modern European costume. There had been a time when Europe was splendidly dressed, and needed not to copy any other style of vesture; it was only in the last sixty years of the nineteenth century that it reached the nadir of ugliness. And it was this which Japan, in a moment of aberration, copied. As Swinburne once said, God would forgive Japan everything on the Day of Judgment except its desertion of its national dress.

This desertion, however, was not long lived. Japan’s innate love of grace and beauty lifted her from the pit into which she had fallen, and she returned to her own garments. The return was part of a general movement of recoil from much of European civilisation. Being, on the whole, a cautious and discriminating people, the Japanese sent out to Europe a Commission charged to investigate European conditions and to report. The report dealt with social conditions in Europe - the poverty, the drunkenness, the state of large cities from the social evil. The result was that Japan picked out all that was worthy of imitation in European civilisation and worked it into her own organisation, and for the rest - for ethics and social conditions - she retained her own. She found her own moral standard, in practice, was higher than the European, while [99] in theory it was quite as high. So she definite­ly, after examination, rejected Christianity. From the mixed milk and water offered to her by Europe she separated out the milk, and rejected the water.

The Times of India, not, perhaps, consider­ing that Japan had already quite quietly and firmly rejected Europe as an ethical instructor, is too much disturbed by what it fears will be the result of the present war on the attitude of Japan towards Europe. It does not recognise that Japan has long been no submissive pupil, but an extremely discriminating and critical student. Its Tokio correspondent writes:

“As to the effect of the war in Europe upon Japan, it is feared that the results will be grave.  So far the immediate results are not very serious, the most conspicuous being a rise in prices and a great falling off in foreign trade, but the steamship companies are reaping a harvest, owing to the scarcity of freight ships. The more serious result, however, will be the deterioration which Europe will suffer in Japanese eyes. Japan will probably never again have the same confidence in European civilisation which hitherto she has regarded as her model. The outcome will be an increase of national self-confidence that may or may not lead to mistakes. The blood-curdling atrocities of German brutality in Belgium and France, which are daily recorded in the pages of the Japanese vernacular press, for ever mar the fair face of Western civilisa­tion in Japanese eyes, and do something to excuse similar incidents in the more barbarous periods of Oriental history. At any rate, these horrible tales of German inhumanity seem to lift Japan to a very [100] high level in comparison, suggesting that she has little more to learn from Europe in a moral sense.”

To that conclusion, as we have said, Japan had already come. The ethics of Buddhism are morally on the very highest level of Christian teaching, and are far more com­pelling on the ordinary laity, owing to the insistence on the inevitable consequences which follow the disregard of the moral law; whereas the doctrine of vicarious atonement in Christianity offers a loophole of escape from those consequences, and thus induces moral laxity. The ethics of Shintoism yield Bushido, the chivalrous code for the man of honour in the world, as distinguished from that of the saint. Japan’s theoretical ethics cannot be bettered, and her practice comes nearer to her theory than does that of Europe.

Separating Great Britain from Europe, since Europe politically is not a unit, we see that Britain’s strength in Asia, that which makes her an example to Eastern nations, is not her religion nor her ethics, but her politics, her industries, and her science. She inspires love and emulation by her free institutions, by her popular representation, her free press, her encouragement of individual initiative and independence, leading to vigorous and sterling manhood. Her industries, well or­ganised from the capitalist standpoint, ensure wealth, though its distribution leaves much to be desired, bringing about huge fortunes [101] on the one side and ghastly poverty on the other. Her scientific progress and the appli­cation of science to industry, though inferior to the German in both respects, are warmly admired.

But it is, above all, in political life that Asia is willing to learn from England, as Mr.  E. S. W. Senathi Raja, writing to the Morning Post, truly says, after remarking that a generation ago Indians knew little of English his­tory, and thought that England wished to enslave them:

“But we who have been brought up from our infancy in the traditions of British ideals of liberty, we who have drunk deep at the fresh fountains of English literature, we know better. We know that these small British Isles in the far West are in reality ‘Freedom’s last stronghold, freedom’s keep’, even as the little States of Hellas were in ancient times. Experience has shown us that the colonies which the British have planted in all quarters of the globe, including the United States of America, are but nurseries of freedom where British ideals and institutions are sprouting with vigorous growth. India is quite aware that it is only under the aegis of Great Britain that she can attain her full development as a nation and contribute her proper share to the future progress of humanity. It is not a mere sentiment or whim or passing fancy. It is a reasoned conviction. It is educated India which is the inspiring source of the zeal and loyalty which have spread like wildfire to every nook and corner of this great country.”

Here lies England’s strength in India, not in her religion nor in her ethics. In these, [102] as the Times of India sadly says, India, like Japan, “has little more to learn”: “nothing more” would be truer, save as every nation may learn something from every other. - ­New India, December 15, 1914.

EUROPEAN WAR AND JAPAN

JAPAN’S part in the war up till now has been brilliant so far as it went. They have taken Tsing-tao, driven the German flag out of Asia, rounded up the German squadron so that it had to cross over into the Atlantic, taken possession of those of the Pacific islands which remained to Germany, and finally left not a single spot in the East where Germany could take shelter. They have co-operated ex­ceedingly well with the British and Australian navies, and Mr. Winston Churchill sent them a significant message of thanks on New Year’s Day. We have also heard a good deal of talk about the help Japan can give at this time on the battlefields of Europe, and what an immense assistance it would be to have half a million  troops from this far Eastern island to co­operate with the Allies either in Belgium or France direct or from the south through Servia.

The Yamato has written a series of articles in favour of sending a large army, so that Japan may, besides acquiring a greater [103] military renown, be able to promote her status and interests on the international stage. It will be recognised as a world-power of the first importance, and will have the right of being consulted on all important matters.

Now, if an army 500,000 strong of Japan’s best forces goes to the battlefields of Europe, it may be used in the western front in order to make a determined and successful on­slaught on the German right wing to drive it out of Belgium and turn their flank; or on the Allies’ right, rushing through Alsace and threatening the heart of Germany; or again, it may come in very useful to pour it into Servia and march on into Hungary. In any case, the Japanese Expeditionary Force will prove of the greatest assistance, and will turn the scale more quickly than it would turn otherwise in favour of the Allies. The sooner the war can be ended the better, and every­thing that can go to assist in the swift wind­ing up is more than welcome. - New India, February 4, 1915.

TRUE NOBILITY

THE Japanese had occupied certain islands near the Australian continent, lately under German control. The Japanese Government then intimated to the British Government that they were ready to hand the islands [104] over to an Australian force. The Australian Government was consulted, and, on their in­forming the Home Government of their in­tention to act accordingly, the latter informed Japan. This is an act of courtesy and innate nobility worthy of a fine race, and the Japan­ese have already won golden opinions all round. The worthy German professors who were clamouring so much against the “yellow heathens” might try to find out the real difference between German “Kultur” and Japanese “barbarity”. Indians would be more able to appreciate this courtly act, as this resembles the Hindu conception of Dharma Yuddha, so eloquently described by Shri Krishna in his song celestial. Truly it is an action without any desire for the fruit thereof; Japan rises thus even more in the esteem of all right-thinking people. - New India, December 8, 1914. [105]

 

AMERICA

To America, as to Europe, Germany stands as the enemy of civilisation, from whose hands the power to do harm in future must be wrenched, whatever may be the immediate cost. - New India, October 5, 1914.

AMERICA AND THE WAR

MR HAROLD BEGBIE, in an interesting letter to the Daily Chronicle from America - whither he went on a special mission to ascertain the feeling of the United States with regard to the war, - gives the following synopsis of a conversation he held with an American of German origin:

“I tell you what we see in this business. We see that Germany has ceased to be a nation and has become a monster. We see that all those things which are in the blood of every true American - freedom, peace, social progress, democratic ideal­ism, domestic happiness, everything which makes the life of a man worth living - we see that all those things are threatened not merely in Europe, but here in America, by the German monster. If you [106] are beaten, we shall perish. But long before you are beaten, if it looks like a beating, we shall take up arms. Yes, sure! We’re not going to have German militarism either in Canada or in South America, you can bet your life. Our existence is threatened; and you’ll never keep the American people quiet while they realise that ‘Germany Over All’ is something more than a cock-crow. Neu­trality? Yes, so long as you are keeping up your end. But there’ll be no American neutrality if and when England’s on her knees. Do you think we want conscription over here? No, sir!”

The States will not have the opportunity of proving their friendship in the way suggested, for England will not be beaten. The Allied Powers are strong enough to win. But the United States would earn undying gratitude if she joined them in fact as well as in feeling, now, while victory is not yet won. She would hasten the coming of peace; she would save hundreds of thousands of lives and immeasur­able misery. It is not worthy of the great Republic of the West to stand idly looking on at the European cockpit. She need not do very much; she might send some of her Fleet to patrol the Atlantic, setting the British free; she might send a small force to join the Allies in Flanders. It is the moral result that would be important, if the message flashed round the world: “The United States declare war on Germany”. Germany - the murderer of Belgium - counts on American sympathy, and her Empire - the would-be [107] tyrant of the world - looks on the free Re­public as her friend. “She will help if England is beaten”. But that means that she is wholly selfish, and will see the soldiers of liberty beaten, and only move when her own comforts are endangered. India refuses to think so meanly of the great Democracy. Mr. Begbie says:

“England may rest assured that with the exalt­ing loyalty of India and with the abiding love of her free Dominions she possesses in America a strong and a mighty friend, who is ready with the hour to prove his devotion. Terribly as she suffers, awful as are the sacrifices demanded of her, and long as the path of her agony and bitter anguish may be, England has at least this consolation that her act of self-sacrifice, her loyalty to a small nation, and her steadfast ratification of her pledged word even in the very face of death, have earned for her a new and more enduring place in the affections of a great democracy.

If the world is to have peace it will be through the triune ideals, the associated dispositions, and the allied democracies of America, France, and England.”

This is very nice; but the alliance of America with France and England will not be so valued when she proffers it in the hour of victory, as now when they are in the suffer­ing so graphically described. What right will America have to share in the triumph, if she stands aside in the hour of the struggle? Liberty is fighting for her life in Europe; her blood is staining crimson the soil of [108] Belgium, France, Russia, Poland, Servia, Alsace; her blood is splashing on the white robe of the Republic, which puts her statue at the entrance to New York and gazes  indifferently on her children as they die around her in Europe. One hundred thousand Americans have offered themselves to enlist in Canada. How much more glory would America reap if she enrolled them under the Stars and Stripes of the Republic and sent them across the Atlantic in her own name!

It may be that in the great plan which evolution follows, the closer tie of the United States of America with Britain and with France is to be forged on these battlefields, whereon Liberty’s soldiers meet the dense array of the armies of Tyranny. If so, she will come in while yet the battle is joined. Better the suffering of war than the dishonour of looking on while foul wrong is being wrought. - New India, November 30, 1914.

WILL AMERICA ACT?

MR BERNARD SHAW’s brilliant appeal to the President of the United States of America, printed in the Nation, and reprinted in our columns today, should be read carefully by all who are considering the nature of the [109] great struggle on the European continent, and the possibility of interference by a nation not involved in the combat. Mr. Shaw’s views are always well considered and brilliantly expressed, and they are entirely free from humbug and hypocrisy. G. B. S. is never afraid of saying that which he believes to be true, and he never seeks to envelop his thought in the coloured web of words which “destroys all definiteness of meaning”. His appeal to the American President to intervene on behalf of Belgium is well conceived, though it is obvious that it could not be effective, even if President Wilson could be persuaded to try his hand at such a “Shavian” proposal. With the Germans established along the line through Mons into Germany, their only possible line of retreat save the bottle-neck through the Vosges and Luxemburg - equally a neutral State, - how could they evacuate  Belgium, putting the Vosges between them­selves and home? They cannot well be asked to commit suicide by inviting a Sedan, not only to give up all hope of reaching the northern coast of France, but to surrender all possibility of regaining their own country at all. England and France would gain by the proposal, but Germany would - nay, must - reject it. Acceptance would be the voluntary flinging of herself over the precipice of ruin, and no one could blame her for a scornful refusal of such a proposition. [110]

Again, if Belgium had called on “the whole world of kindly men”, how would it have helped her? Far-off America could not have come to her rescue; so swift was the invasion that even France and England had not time to reach her ere Brussels was in the hands of the foe. Could Italy have helped her, far away to the south? Holland, that has remained neutral when every call of right summoned her to the field Denmark, Nor­way, Sweden? Or Greece and the Balkan States? Or Turkey, Germany’s secret ally? There was none, none to help her, nor to save. Only public honour and a “scrap of paper” were her shield. Germany trampled on the one and tore up the other.

Apart from this, Mr. Shaw’s view of the “right of way” means the perpetuation of war, the sacrifice of the weak nation to the strong, the consecration of national turpitude. If a nation claims that no treaty can bind her, that no pledged word can hold her, and that this view is to be approved by what modern nations call their conscience, on the ground of “necessity”, we are then com­mitted definitely to a policy of violence, and no protection for the weak State remains. As it is, Britain has written, in the blood of her sons and in the tears of her daughters, on the violated soil of Belgium that those who tear up a treaty to which she has set her hand will have to face the armed strength [111] of her Empire. In the future, nations will think twice - nay, many times - ere they face that issue. They thought her old, decadent, selfish, slothful in her “splendid isolation” they have found her young, honourable, selfless, full of vigour, and ready to spring forth from her island home and to call her Empire to arms in defence of her plighted word. For more than a generation, we may hope, that demonstration will guard the peace of Europe, and small States will sleep in safety because Britain wakes.

As we said yesterday, America’s duty seems to us to be far other than that of making useless appeals to German ruth, she who knows no compassion. If she would have her voice heard in the council chamber when the terms of peace are being discussed, let her come forward now and share the pains of the struggle. What right have the accents of America, of Holland, of Italy, to be heard then, when they are silent now amid the roar of cannon? Britain and the Dominions overseas, India, France, Russia, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Servia, Montenegro, these are paying with their blood the entrance price to the council chamber. Let those who look with indiffer­ence on their agony, careless whether right and truth or wrong and lies prevail, let them veil their eyes and seal their lips when the heroes of the struggle meet to decide on the [112] terms of peace. They might have shortened the horrors; why should they intrude when swords are sheathed? History will look back on this great struggle, and will do homage to the splendid heroism of the combatants. But she will glance at those who stood aside and-pass. - New India, December 1, 1914.

AMERICAN NEUTRALITY

I SEE that the Americans are going to hold their Panama Exposition this year, although few visitors are likely to go thither from the storm-swept countries of Europe. All our plans for a strong Asian contingent are shattered, for people have neither the money nor the will to travel. All thoughts are full of the war, and matters that do not bear on it win scant attention. For verily the lands are cast into the melting-pot, and none knows what may be the outpouring. Until the struggle is over, the tension is too great to turn to the ordinary affairs of life. The United States, in her safe distance from the storm of battle, may go on her peaceful way, holding exhibitions and the like, while her sister nations are writhing in the agony of  struggle. One cannot but wonder if this isolation be not somewhat selfish, somewhat harshly indifferent, a lotus-eating in a garden [113] of peace while the battle storms and shrieks on the other side of the wall. How will her quiescence work on her future status among the nations?

There are some voices heard, we learn from Current Opinion, on the far side of the Atlantic, which are sounding a doubtful note. Says the author John Jay Chapman:

“Is the United States, after signing treaties with Germany which were to protect the rights of small nations, going to stand aside while the small nations are eaten up? We so stand today. Bombs thrown upon innocent women and children in Antwerp do not move us from our position of dignified neutrality. The destruction of Louvain does not move us. The violation of the treaties signed by the Germans at The Hague with us does not move us. I say, then, may God raise up some other neutral nation that will protest in a manly way against these things. It is not size that counts, but courage.”

William Gardner Hale, LL.D., speaks equally strongly; the United States has declared, with forty-three other States, that “the territory of neutral Powers is inviolable”.

“When, then, Germany broke the law, her act did not concern England, France, Belgium, and herself alone - it concerned us. It was not merely a shameful act towards a brave but weak State - it was an offence to us. And we learned by it that Germany considered not merely her treaty with England, Belgium, and France a ‘scrap of paper’, in the illuminating words of her Chancellor, but a [114] treaty made between us and her, with other Powers, merely another scrap of paper. … This is no small quarrel; the fate of the world hangs upon it. That which we should some day do, we should do now - should have done already.”

Theodore Roosevelt takes up a similar parable:

“It is quite indefensible to make agreements and not live up to them. The climax of absurdity is for any Administration to do what the present Administration during the past three months has done. Mr. Wilson’s Administration has shirked the duty plainly imposed on it by the obligations of the conventions already entered into; and at the same time it has sought to obtain cheap credit by entering into a couple of score of new treaties infinitely more drastic than the old ones, and quite impossible of honest fulfilment.

When the Belgian people complained of viola­tions of the Hague Tribunal, it was a mockery, it was a timid and unworthy abandonment of duty on our part, for President Wilson to refer them back to the Hague Court, when he knew that the Hague Court was less than a shadow, unless the United States by doing its clear duty gave the Hague Court some substance. … The extent to which the action should go may properly be a subject for discussion. But that there should be some action is beyond discussion; unless, indeed, we ourselves are content to take the view that treaties, conventions, and international engage­ments and agreements of all kinds are to be treated by us and by everybody else as what they have been authoritatively declared to be, ‘scraps of paper’, the writing on which is intended for no better purpose than temporarily to amuse the feeble-minded.” [115]

The States are practically consenting to the fatal doctrine that treaties have no binding force when they become inconvenient. The peace of the world, if that doctrine be accepted, will thenceforth have no defence, and neutrality will be a meaningless word.

Some, however, take the other side. President Butler of the Columbia University, prides himself on the fact that the warring nations wish to gain the good opinion of the United States. He says:

“They can have been induced by nothing save their conviction that we are the possessors of sound political ideals and a great moral force. In other words, they do not want us to fight for them, but they do want us to approve of them. They want us to pass judgment upon the humanity and the legality of their acts, because they feel that our judgment will be the judgment of history. …

As a nation we have kept our word when sorely tempted to break it. We made Cuba independent, we have not exploited the Philippines, we have stood by our word as to Panama Canal tolls. In consequence we are the first moral power in the world today.”

Germany’s wish for the good opinion of the States had far more to do with copper than with morality, we fancy. The New York World thinks that the United States will play a dazzling part by becoming an arbiter:

“As a nation we never were in a situation where our policy was more easy, more obvious, more honourable, or more brilliant.

The war situation looks less and less like a [116] decisive victory on either side; more and more  like a military dead-lock, which could only be terminated by the utter financial and industrial  prostration of one side or the other. But a war fought out to such a conclusion would be little less disastrous to the winners than to the losers. Such a situation, the fear of such a termination, tend peculiarly to the triumph of American mediation. But the essential requisite of a mediator is neu­trality. Neither side will subject itself to the offices of a nation which has put itself on record as hostile.

Our nation is blessed with the almost un­believable opportunity of acting, when the time is ripe, as arbiter of peace for a world at war, of winning the dazzling predominance and prestige which such an achievement would carry with it.”

It is difficult to see where the dazzle comes in. The policy seems more selfish than noble. And is it likely that the proud countries of Europe will admit as counsellor a nation which looks on at their fearful struggle with folded arms? Why should a land that bore no part of the agony presume to speak when the clash of swords is over? Will it not be treated with disregard, as are the pleadings of the Pope? The war-stained Powers will hardly feel friendly when America steps in, calm and spotless, to adjudge the spoil of war.

Has not one of her own poets declared that, from time to time, there comes to nations,  as to men, the great day of decision, when the stupendous choice has to be made that shapes the life for many days to come? Such [117] a choice is before the nations now, when right and wrong are battling for the mastery, and when the future of the world is hanging in the balance. To declare now for the binding force of treaties, for the safety of small nations, for public honour, for humanity to non­combatants, for liberty of development - this is to be champion of civilisation against barbarism, to take part in the preparation for the higher social order that shall replace the era now setting in blood. Into this order Asia is stepping, side by side with Europe, in the persons of India and Japan. Shall the great Republic of the West stand aside and only step in to arbitrate when victory is declared on the side of right? No arbitra­tion will then be necessary, for arbitration is between parties neither of whom is vic­torious, neither of whom is definitely con­quered. And in this struggle the Allies have declared that they will not hold their hands until the menace of German militarism is destroyed. - Theosophist, February 1915.

AMERICA AND GERMANY

THE attitude of America is puzzling. She shows warm sympathy with the suffering in Belgium, and organises relief expeditions to take food to the starving; she thinks of the [118] children, and sends over a shipload of toys. … Moreover, it is quite clear that she realises the wickedness of German policy, and she gives vent to biting sneers. In a cartoon in this same paper, Life, a much decorated officer says to a more decorated general: “I haff der honor to announce, Cheneral, dot we haff blown up a nursery, killing twenty-­five babies.” “Goot! Make out a report and say dot der babies vos operating machineguns against us.” There is no doubt of the horror that Germany has aroused in America by her inhuman methods, and when peace returns, America’s welcome to German immi­grants will hardly be as warm as of yore.

In London, also, American women are pro­minent in organising relief schemes for women.  The American woman is extraordinarily cap­able as an organiser. … All this should help to draw America and England nearer together, for common work is one of the strongest of ties.

Apart from this, we cannot but wish that America would feel that her own honour and good name are soiled when she allows inter­national agreements to which she has put her hand to be torn into pieces and cast to the winds by Germany. Moreover, it is clear that America’s security and liberty are in very serious danger, and that England’s battle is a battle which protects America. America has within her borders 5,000,000 [119] Germans organised into Pan-German Leagues. A force of 5,000,000 men, mostly with mili­tary training, and all acting under orders, will be a very difficult problem to deal with, should America be invaded by Germany. Moreover, there are very large German colo­nies in South America to be depended on should need arise. England and the Allies stand between Germany and the States, and America’s safety depends on the line from the Yser through Soissons and Rheims to Alsace.  It is not enough that her women should work to help the soldiers in the field; her men should be beside them. When will the hour strike for her awakening? When will she stand out as the champion of freedom, England’s mighty daughter of the West? - ­Commonweal, February 6, 1915.

ALL American trade with Europe is thereby stopped - by threat at least – and America, sensitive in her pockets, as late events have shown, is cut off from all European markets. Nothing could better serve the Allies, for though President Wilson does not protect the American signature to the Hague Conventions, he has shown himself very amenable to the pressure exercised by American merchants. The New York Post bluntly says that any act of piracy committed under this Admiralty [120] order will mean war, and ship-owners and lawyers interviewed in New York agree that President Wilson must protest against “this breach of international law”. He has not protested against far more serious breaches affecting men’s lives and women’s honour, but we agree that it is likely that the endanger­ing of American trade will rouse him.

Britain laughs, America is furious, and there is a cry that the States must not wait till one of her steamers is torpedoed. Den­mark calls on Germany to respect the Danish flag, and the Dutch ship-owners are meeting to discuss the protection of Dutch shipping. Verily Germany has “astonished the world”, but not in the way she intended.

Germany has become alarmed over the uni­versal outcry she has raised, and now says that she does not intend to stop American vessels laden with food for the enemy countries. But this is swinging to the other extreme. They have a right to starve England if they can, as they starved Paris, as the North starved the South in the American Civil War, as Great Britain is trying to starve Germany now. But foodstuffs should pass to neutral coun­tries, and it is to Germany’s advantage that they should, as neutrals send them on to her. What she has no right to do is to drown the crew and passengers of British unarmed vessels or to touch neutrals save for contraband of war. No one complained of the Emden, [121] though she sank unarmed enemy ships, for she slew none. The British press says contemptu­ously that Germany cannot do by proclama­tion that which she has failed to do by force. - ­New India, February 8, 1915. [122]

 

THE FUTURE

 

 

SOCIAL RECONSTRUCTION IN EUROPE

THE war in Europe has forced the whole British nation to recognise the fact that the need of the nation is supreme, and every individual “right of property” is held on sufferance subject to the condition that the property is not required for the national wel­fare. If it be so required, then the nation may take it, paying such equivalent as it may think right, or paying nothing at all in return, as in the levying of taxes, duties, and the like, imposed by the collective will through the national representatives in Parliament. …

By taxation, without compensation, and by the compulsory sale of property required for public purposes, with compensation, the prin­ciple of the supreme right of the State over everything within its borders is theoretically fully admitted. But we have learned from the present conditions of war that this right may be practically exercised, and the exercise approved of by the nation, wherever the common need comes in. England submits [123] quite pleasantly and ungrudgingly to the harsh rule of martial law, which places life, liberty, and property wholly at the mercy of the Government, embodied in the highest military authority. Magna Charta, Bill of Rights, and all the rest of the guarantees of individual liberty are suspended. And it is a great lesson, which India should carefully note, to see how a free nation can, for the common good, submit itself willingly and cheerfully to the suspension of all its rights. The English are the Romans of Republican Rome in national type. When the Republic was in danger, the Roman appointed a dictator and placed everything in his hands. Only thus can a Democracy act with the vigour and one­-pointedness without which it cannot defend itself.

It may be remembered that in our articles on municipalities we urged that railways should be State property, and that their profits should go into the pockets of the nation, lightening the load of taxation. Here we see the power exercised promptly and efficiently, and the lesson will be remembered in “time of peace”.

For the sufferings of the poor in time of peace are as terrible, if not as dramatic, as the sufferings of non-combatants in time of war.

A friend of mine saw a milkman with his horse and cart going his rounds the other day [124] in a midland town. The man was stopped by an agent of the Government, who ran his  eye over the horse, approved it, named the price he would give for it, told the owner to take it out of the shafts, and forthwith led it away, leaving the man with his horseless milkcart to complete his rounds as best he could. He had learned rather abruptly the lesson we are all learning in our several ways, that in the ultimate analysis we own nothing and the State owns all. It can take our money to the last penny, it can restrict our liberties until we are little better than prisoners of war, it can appropriate our institutions with a stroke of the pen, in the final necessity it can take our lives to the last drop of our blood.

And so it should be. The State owns all, because it is all; we are the State; what the State does, we do.

Realising this, we will see what more we are doing in “time of war” through our brains and hands - the State - which will be useful to us in time of peace. - New India, October 2, 1914.

THE old individualistic system is passing away, and the Social State is beginning to glimmer through the smoke of the battle­fields. … There is a factor in evolution [125] other than inborn faculty and outer surround­ings, that which the Germans call the Zeit-Geist, the Time Spirit, or better, the Spirit of the Age. To us, this is the Divine will guiding humanity into successive stages of evolution, calling out qualities in a definite sequence. Let men call it what they will, it is a force outside human volition, im­posing a dominant idea on the evolution of an age.

In the past period of European history, the Spirit of the Age embodied itself in Individualism: it breathed of rights, it asserted independence, it inspired each man to fight for his own hand; hence the combative civilisation, which has made huge armaments the most crushing of burdens, and is now engaged in dashing itself into pieces on the rocks of war - its fitting end. It has wrought out its necessary addition to human experi­ence, the worth of the individual, the value of strength, the evolution of the concrete scien­tific mind. The spirit of the coming age will embody itself in Socialism: it will breathe of duties, it will assert interdependence, it will inspire the strong to bear the burdens of the weak, it will make power the measure of responsibility.

Thus do great changes come, in tumult, with confused noise of warring armies, and with the scourge of suffering, since men will not heed the still, small voice of reason and of [126] love. There is, as Matthew Arnold saw, a power in evolution which “makes for righteousness”, and which breaks into fragments all civilisations that ignore the law of brother­hood. As easily may a man build a house in defiance of the law of gravitation and expect it to stand, as nations build societies in defiance of the law of brotherhood and expect them to endure. Not in the face of that power which makes for righteousness may a society live which leaves its poor to rot in filthy slums, while its multi-millionaires loll in gorgeous palaces. The time has come for change. “We are all swallowed up in a common ruin”, wails a writer. “The whole machinery of civilisation has been scrapped.” Well, it is outworn. “The social displace­ment has been so cataclysmal that few of us know what is going to happen to us. I do not; you do not. We are all adrift together.”  Nay, friend; the world does not drift; it has a Pilot, and it is being steered to a foreseen end. “The machinery of civilisation” has been scrapped several times before, when it became rusty and internal flaws menaced the outer stability. MAN remains though civi­lisations perish, and the deathbed of one civilisation is the cradle of a new one.

And so amid the blare of battle-trumpets, and the bugle-cry of charges, and the roar of big artillery, and the crackle of rifles, and the trampling hoofs of cavalry, and the heavy [127] piles of dead and wounded men, the old civi­lisation is dying. Let it die. For silently, in home and school and college, are growing up the children, the lads and lasses, who shall be the builders of the new civilisation, whose wisdom shall be the fruit of our blunders, whose successes shall grow out of our failures, whose joys shall be the flowers born from the root of our pains. Ours to sow in sorrow that which they shall reap in joy, and they shall build from the stones which we have quarried the next homes in which humanity shall dwell. - New India, October 3, 1914.

THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENT IN A HUNDRED YEARS

ONLY a few have realised the deep import and significance of the part that Asia is playing in the present European conflagration. Else­where we print from the Daily Express a contribution by Sidney Dark on this subject. We quite agree with the sentiment the Japanese is expressing in the article:

“An even greater thing happened when you gladly allowed the Indian troops to come to Europe. You broke down the colour line, you admitted brotherhood within the Empire, irrespective of race.” [128]

It is a matter of general understanding that, at the end of the war, India and Japan will be ready for some national reward for the magnificent help both these countries are rendering now. Mr. Sidney Dark may “change the subject and discuss Bernhardi” now - ­the problem will come up for serious con­sideration as soon as the war is brought to a victorious close.

We do not wish to discuss here the result that shall be. We rather want to draw attention to a great phenomenon taking, place before our very eyes, and one which is not generally observed. The wars of nations, be they great or small, contribute something towards the enrichment of human civilisation. For instance, the horrors of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars made a new world of Europe, wherein came into being the principles and ideals of democracy, which have affected the political life of the very masses of every country in Europe. Coming nearer to our own time, the Russo-Japanese war - a war between two nations only - touched ideals and principles that affected mankind in both hemispheres. At the time Mrs. Annie Besant wrote thus: “Certain great ideas, necessary for the evo­lution of the race, may be said to belong especially to the civilisations of the East, and those ideas were in danger of being trampled out by the advancing Western civilisations. [129] That was a danger to humanity at large, the ideals of both Eastern and Western civilisa­tions being necessary in the future of the world; and it became necessary for some definite interference to take place to reestablish the balance of thought” - and this was attained by the Russo-Japanese War. That war proved that an Asiatic nation can and did beat a European nation on the battlefield; and wise England was the first among the European nations to acknowledge the fact by entering into treaty with Japan, whereby she recog­nised Japan’s position; for, as the Daily Express article points out, “Nations do not make offensive and defensive alliances with their inferiors.”

The thoughtful of all nations have realised the breaking down of the barrier that existed between Asia and Europe in the moral and intellectual world before that war; and now the intuitive are feeling the further unfold­ment of unity and solidarity in the race to  which we all belong. British soldiers helping the Japanese in German China, though they were not absolutely necessary – “we could quite easily settle the Germans ourselves”, - ­the sending of Indian troops to Europe, the holy alliance of Asia and Europe for the defence and upholding of humanity’s most cherished ideals of freedom and peace - these are but moves in the mighty game, in which the next step is “the parliament of men, the [130] federation of the world”. Thus the landing of the British force in Laoshan Bay, the land­ing of the Indian troops in France, is the most important event, not only in the war; but in the great peace that shall follow it. - ­New India, October 30, 1914.

EAST AND WEST AFTER THE WAR

THE appearance of our Indian troops on European soil proves the value of India to the Empire, and out of the evils and the honors of battlefields will emerge a greater brotherhood, and the man from the East meeting his fellow from the West may well make the world sing:

“There is neither East nor West,

Border, nor breed, nor birth,

When two strong men stand face to face,

Though they come from the ends of the earth.”

New India, October 1, 1914.

PROFOUNDLY interesting is this world-tragedy of conflict to those who see in it a necessary preparation, a clearing of the ground, for the coming of the World-Teacher and for the new civilisation. Already from many sides is [131] arising the idea that this war must usher in a settled peace, and that the States of Europe must form a definite Council, in which the representative of each nation shall find his place, and the Concert shall be recognised as the highest power, to which each autonomous country must bow as to the supreme authority.  The terrible lesson now being taught, the widespread suffering, the devastation by sword and fire, the poverty caused by the dislocation of trade, the tension, the bankruptcies - ­verily, it seems as though those who die by swift stroke of shot or bayonet thrust on the battlefield have the happiest fate. But through this Armageddon the world will pass into a realm of peace, of brotherhood, of co-operation, and will forget the darkness and the terrors of the night in the joy that cometh in the morning.

One great good is coming from the war Great Britain is seeing India as she is, and the two mighty nations have joined hands in a clasp which will never be forgotten by either. For so many, many years some of us have worked to draw them nearer to each other, and now, as by a lightning flash, they are fused into one. India’s place in the Empire is secure; she is bearing the responsibilities of it before she is enjoying the privileges, but England will be an honest debtor and act as generously as India has done. The good day of union, real union, is dawning [132] upon us, and details will be easily arranged when principles are acknowledged. - Theoso­phist, October 1914.

ON THE WATCH-TOWER

THE New Year is upon us, and upon us in the midst of war. Terrible has been the  record written by the year that closes just as we issue our first number for 1915 - a record of battling nations, of tottering thrones, of an exiled people and a devastated land. The thunder of the batteries drowned the chiming of Christmas bells; the whining of shells hushed the voices of peace; the moaning of the wounded broke into the carols of Christmastide. A strange, sad Christmas for all Christian nations; a carnival of hate re­placing a carnival of love.

Yet amid the tumult and the carnage there is a still, small voice that whispers consolation, for we have read that in the past the uprising of evil ever preceded the descending, the Avatara, of good. And albeit He for whom we look has not yet ascended to the sublime height from which an Avatara comes down, yet the greater cycles are reproduced in the smaller, and the retarding forces which delay evolution - for its helping in the end - must be gathered together for powerful [133] manifestation, ere the coming of a Great Teacher may bring new life to the world. In the huge reconstruction that must follow the ending of the war, the United States of Europe will be constituted, and a settled peace descend upon the shattered continent. How should such a reconstruction become possible without a breaking into pieces of the rocks of custom and the barriers of prejudice? - Theosophist, January 1915. [134]

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