104 GROWTH OF HINDUISM. enforce Sivaite conformity throughout his dominions, Ramanuja fled to the Jain sovereign of Mysore. This Jain prince he con- verted to the Vishnuite faith by expelling an evil spirit from his daughter. Seven hundred monasteries, of which four still remain, are said to have been erected by his followers before his death. Ramanand, 1300-1400 A.D. — Ramdnand stands fifth in the apostolic succession from Ramanuja, and spread his doc- trine through Northern India. He had his headquarters in a monastery at Benares, but wandered from place to place, preaching the one God under the name of Vishnu. He chose twelve disciples, not from the priests or nobles, but among the despised castes. One of them was a leather- dresser, another a barber, and the most distinguished of all was the reputed son of a weaver. Ramanuja had addressed himself chiefly to the pure Aryan castes, and wrote in the Sanskrit language of the Brdhmans. Ramanand appealed to the people, and the literature of his sect is in the dialects familiar to the masses. The Hindi vernacular owes its develop- ment into a written language, partly to the folk-songs of the peasantry and the war-ballads of the Rajput court-bards, but chiefly to the literary requirements of the new popular religion of Vishnu. Kabfr, 1380-1420 A. D.— Kabfr, one of the twelve disciples of Ram&nand, carried his doctrines throughout Bengal. As his master had laboured to gather together all castes of the Hindus into one common faith, so Kabfr, seeing that the Hindus were no longer the whole inhabitants of India, tried, about the beginning of the fifteenth century, to build up a religion that should embrace Hindu and Muhammadan alike. The writings of his sect acknowledge that the God of the Hindu is also the God of the Musalman. His universal name is The Inner, whether he be invoked as the Alf of the Muhammadans, or as the Rama of the Hindus. ' To Ali and to Rima we owe our life,' say the scriptures of Kabir's sect, 'and we should show like tenderness to all who live. . . . The Hindu fasts every eleventh day; the Musalmin on the Ramazan. Who formed the remaining months and days, that you should venerate but one ? . . . The city of the Hindu God is to the east [Benares],
Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/108
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