Letter by Ramji Mall Pandit | Reply by H.P.B.
I beg to call the attention of those who are interested in the question of “Personal, Impersonal, or No God,” to the following extract of a dialogue in Urdu which took place between myself and a Sannyasi (Brahmin ascetic) at Lahore Railway station on the evening of the 3rd Instant. He is a Chela of a Vedantin Sannyasi of Benares known as Sankar-Giri Swami. He has studied, he said, Gooroo Geeta and Upanishads. He refused to give out his name, of course, for no Sannyasi will ever give it.
Q. Is God kind?
A. Paramatma is the sat (essence) of everything and all the rest is mithya (illusion) brought on by ignorance. There is nought but Parabrahm. To whom or to what then can it be kind?
Q. Do you pray?
A. To whom am I to pray? I do not, for I am myself Parabrahm. I only contemplate. Contemplation is a state of mind.
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Q. Are you then a nastika (atheist)?
Q. Are you a Mussulman or a Christian?
Q. What religion to you then belong to?
A. I am a Buddhist, that is to say, a Vedantin of Sankaracharya’s school.
I thrice questioned whether he was a Buddhist, and to my utter amazement he thrice replied in the affirmative. I am myself a strict orthodox Brahmin and believe in one Personal God, discarding the idea of the thirty-three crores of gods.
RAMJI MALL PANDIT,
Clerk in the Rohilkhand,
Patriotic Association’s Office.
(Travelling on duty with the President.)
Sialkot, 4th April, 1883.
The above statement took place in the presence of a Chela from the north who corroborates the statement.
(RAI) BISHENLALL, F.T.S.
Editor’s Note [H.P.B.]—So true is the claim that there is no difference whatever between esoteric Buddhism and those Vedantins who understand the correct meaning of Sankaracharya’s teachings—the advanced Adwaitees—that the latter are spoken of throughout southern India as Prachchhanna Bauddhas—or “Buddhists in disguise” especially by the Visishtadwaitees.