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Brahmanisme The religious system practiced by the Hindus. It presents a profound and spiritual philosophy, strangely blended with the basest superstitions. The Veda is the Brahmanical Book of the Law, although the older hymns springing out of the primitive Aryan religion have a date far anterior to that of comparatively modern Brahmanism. The Laws of Menu is really the text- book of Brahmanism; yet in the Vedic hymns we find the expression of that religious thought that has been adopted by the Brahmans and the rest of the modern Hindus.

The learned Brahmans have a bidden or esoteric faith, in which they recognize and adore one God, without form or quality, eternal, unchangeable, and occupying all space; but confining this concealed doctrine to their interior schools, they teach, for the multitude, an open or exoteric worship, in which the incomprehensible attributes of the supreme and purely spiritual God are invested with sensible and even human forms. In the Vedic hymns all the powers of nature are personified, and become the objects of worship, thus leading to an apparent polytheism.

But, as J. F. Clarke in his Ten Great Religions (page 90) remarks, "behind this incipient polytheism lurks the original monotheism ; for each of these gods, in turn, becomes the Supreme Being." And Max Mller says (Chips, 1, 2) that "it would be easy to find in the numerous hymns of the Veda passages in which almost every important deity is represented as supreme and absolute." This most ancient religion-believed in by one seventh of the world's population, that fountain from which has flowed so much of the stream of modem religious thought, abounding in mystical ceremonies and ritual prescriptions, worshiping, as the Lord of all, "the source of golden fight," having its ineffable name, its solemn methods of initiation, and its symbolic rites-is well worth the serious study of the Masonic scholar, because in it he will find much that will be suggestive to him in the investigations of the dogmas of his Order.

In speaking of the Brahmins, or Brahmans (Kenning's Cyclopaedia of Freemasonry), Brother A. F. A. Woodford tells us, " It has been said, and apparently on good authority, that they have a form of Masonic initiation and recognition amongst them"

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