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Atmâ A Romance   By:

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ATMÂ.

A ROMANCE

BY

A.C.F.

(CAROLINE AUGUSTA FRAZER)

"When âtman (nom. sing. Atmâ) occurs in philosophical treatises ... it has generally been translated by soul, mind, or spirit. I tried myself to use one or other of these words, but the oftener I employed them the more I felt their inadequacy, and was driven at last to adopt ... Self as the least liable to misunderstanding."

Max Muller, in North American Review for June , 1879.

MONTREAL:

JOHN LOVELL & SON,

23 ST. NICHOLAS STREET.

Entered according to Act of Parliament in the year 1891, by JOHN LOVELL & SON, in the office of the Minister of Agriculture and Statistics at Ottawa.

ATMÂ

CHAPTER I.

O that Decay were always beautiful! How soft the exit of the dying day, The dying season too, its disarray Is gold and scarlet, hues of gay misrule, So it in festive cheer may pass away; Fading is excellent in earth or air, With it no budding April may compare, Nor fragrant June with long love laden hours; Sweet is decadence in the quiet bowers Where summer songs and mirth are fallen asleep, And sweet the woe when fading violets weep.

O that among things dearer in their wane Our fallen faiths might numbered be, that so Religions cherished in their hour of woe Might linger round the god deserted fane, And worshippers be loath to leave and pray That old time power return, until there may Issue a virtue, and the faith revive And holiness be there, and all the sphere Be filled with happy altars where shall thrive The mystic plants of faith and hope to bear Immortal fruitage of sweet charity; For I believe that every piety, And every thirst for truth is gift divine, The gifts of God are not to me unclean Though strangely honoured at an unknown shrine. In temples of the past my spirit fain For old time strength and vigour would implore As in a ruined abbey, fairer for "The unimaginable touch of time" We long for the sincerity of yore.

But this is not man's mood, in his regime Sweet "calm decay" becomes mischance unmeet, And dying creeds sink to extinction, Hooted, and scorned, and sepultured in hate, Denied their rosary of good deeds and boon Of reverence and holy unction First in the list of crimes man writes defeat.

These purest dreams of this our low estate, White robed vestals, fond and vain designs, I lay a wreath at your forgotten shrines.

Nearly four hundred years ago, Nanuk, a man of a gentle spirit, lived in the Punjaub, and taught that God is a spirit. He enunciated the solemn truth that no soul shall find God until it be first found of Him. This is true religion. The soul that apprehends it readjusts its affairs, looks unto God, and quietly waits for Him. The existence of an Omnipresent Holiness was alike the beginning and the burden of his theology, and in the light of that truth all the earth became holy to him. His followers abjured idolatry and sought to know only the invisible things of the spirit. He did not seek to establish a church; the truths which he knew, in their essence discountenance a visible semblance of divine authority, and Nanuk simply spoke them to him who would hear, emperor or beggar, until in 1540 he went into that spiritual world, which even here had been for him the real one.

And then an oft told story was repeated; a band of followers elected a successor, laws were necessary as their number increased, and a choice of particular assembling places became expedient. And as

"the trees That whisper round a temple become soon Dear as the temple's self,"

so the laws passed into dogmas having equal weight with the truths that Nanuk had delivered, and the places became sacred... Continue reading book >>




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