Selections from a Letter by Narsing Dass Chowdry | Editor’s Note by H.P.B.
. . . In The Sunday at Home, a Missionary publication . . . is found an extremely edifying confession from a Baptist padri . . . Indulging therein, in a description of his impressions while travelling through Rajpootana, and happening to visit Mugra, he went, he tells the readers, to see the temple of Kali-devi, which he was kindly permitted by the Brahmins to inspect. After all manner of vilification and chaff, at the expense of the great goddess—the philosophical symbol of something that will never find room in his brain—the reverend joker triumphantly boasts of the following brave exploit:—
“. . . The goddess,” he tells us, is “a most hideous and portentous female head, evidently formed of baked clay, with two staring silver eyes set on each side of a huge nose like the beak of an eagle. Much to the amazement and terror of our Mair guide and one or two others who accompanied us, I took the liberty of pulling the goddesses’s eagle-like beak, saying: ‘Now, if she is a deity, why does she not strike one dead for such an indignity?’”
I venture to assert that any Hindu could do as much—though he never would— in a Roman Catholic temple . . . I am less prepared to affirm with the same degree of confidence that the Hindu would find a like impunity at the hands of the Christians whose religious feelings he would have so outraged. Ten to one he would be dragged before a Magistrate and made to pay for the “sacrilege.” . . . What thinks the Editor, who is ever ready to accuse the natives of a want of self-respect; and tells us that in most cases it is we ourselves who bring insults upon our heads owing to our proverbial “mildness” and passive indifference? Would the Brahmins of the Peeplaj Temple have done wisely to bring the Rev. Shoolbred coward before a Police Magistrate, at the risk of having their evidence ruled out of Court and the case dismissed?”
Editor’s Note. [H.P.B.]—We still maintain that it is extremely unlikely that any decent Magistrate should have failed to do justice to the feelings of the outraged devotees of Kali. But the case might have been settled in a far easier and more speedy way. Had the Brahmins of the Temple or even the “Mair guide” after the perpetration of the outrage pulled immediately the reverend Baptist’s nose for it, on the very spot on which he had insulted the goddess, and without offering to him any worse or further molestation beyond nose pulling, “ten to one” he would not have repeated the offence, and it is as unlikely that he should have ever brought complaint or even mentioned this little attempt at lex talionis [“law of retaliation”] in any missionary organ.