The Brahman Priest Caste
As the Salem missionaries penetrated southward into the Dravidian Deccan, they encountered an increasing caste system, the scheme of the Aryans to prevent loss of racial identity in the face of a rising tide of the secondary Sangik peoples. Since the Brahman priest caste was the very essence of this system, this social order greatly retarded the progress of the Salem teachers. This caste system failed to save the Aryan race, but it did succeed in perpetuating the Brahmans, who, in turn, have maintained their religious hegemony in India to the present time.
And now, with the weakening of Vedism through the rejection of higher truth, the cult of the Aryans became subject to increasing inroads from the Deccan. In a desperate effort to stem the tide of racial extinction and religious obliteration, the Brahman caste sought to exalt themselves above all else. They taught that the sacrifice to deity in itself was all-efficacious, that it was all-compelling in its potency. They proclaimed that, of the two essential divine principles of the universe, one was Brahman the deity, and the other was the Brahman priesthood. Among no other Earth peoples did the priests presume to exalt themselves above even their gods, to relegate to themselves the honors due their gods. But they went so absurdly far with these presumptuous claims that the whole precarious system collapsed before the debasing cults which poured in from the surrounding and less advanced civilizations. The vast Vedic priesthood itself floundered and sank beneath the black flood of inertia and pessimism which their own selfish and unwise presumption had brought upon all India.
The undue concentration on self led certainly to a fear of the non-evolutionary perpetuation of self in an endless round of successive incarnations as man, beast, or weeds. And of all the contaminating beliefs which could have become fastened upon what may have been an emerging monotheism, none was so stultifying as this belief in transmigration -- the doctrine of the reincarnation of souls -- which came from the Dravidian Deccan. This belief in the weary and monotonous round of repeated transmigrations robbed struggling mortals of their long-cherished hope of finding that deliverance and spiritual advancement in death which had been a part of the earlier Vedic faith.
This philosophically debilitating teaching was soon followed by the invention of the doctrine of the eternal escape from self by submergence in the universal rest and peace of absolute union with Brahman, the over-soul of all creation. Mortal desire and human ambition were effectually ravished and virtually destroyed. For more than two thousand years the better minds of India have sought to escape from all desire, and thus was opened wide the door for the entrance of those later cults and teachings which have virtually shackled the souls of many Hindu peoples in the chains of spiritual hopelessness. Of all civilizations, the Vedic-Aryan paid the most terrible price for its rejection of the Salem gospel.
Caste alone could not perpetuate the Aryan religio-cultural system, and as the inferior religions of the Deccan permeated the north, there developed an age of despair and hopelessness. It was during these dark days that the cult of taking no life arose, and it has ever since persisted. Many of the new cults were frankly atheistic, claiming that such salvation as was attainable could come only by man's own unaided efforts. But throughout a great deal of all this unfortunate philosophy, distorted remnants of the Melchizedek and even the Adamic teachings can be traced.
These were the times of the compilation of the later scriptures of the Hindu faith, the Brahmanas and the Upanishads. Having rejected the teachings of personal religion through the personal faith experience with the one God, and having become contaminated with the flood of debasing and debilitating cults and creeds from the Deccan, with their anthropomorphisms and reincarnations, the Brahmanic priesthood experienced a violent reaction against these vitiating beliefs; there was a definite effort to seek and to find true reality. The Brahmans set out to deanthropomorphize the Indian concept of deity, but in so doing they stumbled into the grievous error of depersonalizing the concept of God, and they emerged, not with a lofty and spiritual ideal of the Paradise Father, but with a distant and metaphysical idea of an all-encompassing Absolute.
In their efforts at self-preservation the Brahmans had rejected the one God of Melchizedek, and now they found themselves with the hypothesis of Brahman, that indefinite and illusive philosophic self, that impersonal and impotent it which has left the spiritual life of India helpless and prostrate from that unfortunate day to the twentieth century.
It was during the times of the writing of the Upanishads that Buddhism arose in India. But despite its successes of a thousand years, it could not compete with later Hinduism; despite a higher morality, its early portrayal of God was even less well-defined than was that of Hinduism, which provided for lesser and personal deities. Buddhism finally gave way in northern India before the onslaught of a militant Islam with its clear-cut concept of Allah as the supreme God of the universe.
--Presented by a Melchizedek of Nebadon, from the Urantia Papers.
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