Caroline Augusta Frazer
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Title: Atmâ A Romance
Author: Caroline Augusta Frazer
Release Date: November 29, 2005 [EBook #17183]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

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"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.
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.

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.
Nanuk's successors were ten, fulfilling a prophecy which thus limited
their number. The compilation of their sayings and doings to form a
book which as years went on was venerated more and more,
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