Page:Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion volume 2.djvu/58
among the Hindus there is no higher feeling of themselves present. The idea which they have of Being is only that which they have of themselves; they place themselves upon the same level with all the productions of nature. This is because thought lapses so completely into this abstraction.
These natural powers, then, whose being is thus conceived of as anthropomorphic and as conscious, are above the concrete man, who, as having a physical nature, is dependent upon them, and his freedom is not as yet distinguished from this his natural aspect.
It is implied by this that the life of man has no higher value than the being of natural objects, the life of any natural thing; the life of man has value only if it is in itself or essentially, higher; but among the Hindus human life is despised, and is esteemed to be of little worth—there a man cannot give himself value in an affirmative, but only in a negative manner.
Life acquires value only by the negation of itself. All that is concrete is merely negative in relation to abstraction, which is here the ruling principle. From this results that aspect of Hindu worship according to which men sacrifice themselves, and parents their children. To this is due, too, the burning of wives after the death of their husbands. Such sacrifices have a higher value when they take place with express reference to Brahma, or to any god whatever, for the latter is Brahma likewise.
It is esteemed among the Hindus a sacrifice of high value when they mount to the snow clefts of the Himalaya, where the sources of the Ganges are, and cast themselves into the springs. Such actions are not penances on account of crime, nor are they sacrifices with a view to making amends for any evil deed, but merely sacrifices to give oneself value, and this value can be attained only in a negative way.
With the position which is here given to man animal-worship is closely connected. An animal is not a con- scious scious