I have not made a study of Hindû law, but I do know something of the
principles of Hindû religions, or rather ethics, and of those of its
glorious Founders. I regard the former as almost the embodiment of justice,
and the latter as ideals of spiritual perfectibility. When then anyone points
out to me in the existing canon any text, line or word that violates one's
sense of perfect justice, I instinctively know it must be a later perversion
of the original Smriti. In my judgment, the Hindûs are now patiently
enduring many outrageous wrongs that were cunningly introduced into the
canon, as opportunity offered, by selfish and unscrupulous priests for their
personal benefit, as occurred in the case of Suttee, the burning of widows.
The marriage laws are another example. To marry a child, without her knowledge
or consent to enter the married state, and then to doom her to the awful,
because unnatural, fate of enforced celibacy if the boy-child to whom she
was betrothed should die (and one half of the human race do die before
coming of age), is something actually brutal, devilish. It is the quintessence
of injustice and cruelty, and I would sooner doubt the stars of heaven than
believe that any one of those star-bright human souls called Rishis had
ever consented to such a base and idiotic cruelty. If a female has entered
the marital relation, she should, in my opinion, remain a chaste widow if
her husband should die. But if a betrothed boy-husband of a non-consenting
and irresponsible child-wife should die, or if, upon coming to age, either
of them should be averse from matrimony, and prefer to take up the religious
life, to devote themselves to charitable occupations, to study, or for other
good reasons wish to remain celibate, then they ought to be allowed to do
so. We personally know of several cases where the males or females are so
bent upon becoming Chelâs that they prefer death rather than to enter
or continue in as the cases severally may be the married state.
My woman's instinct always told me that for such there was comfort and protection
in the Hindû law of the Rishis, which was based upon their spiritual
perceptions, hence upon the perfect law of harmony and justice which pervades
all nature. And now, upon reading your excellent pamphlet, I perceive that
my instincts had not deceived me.
Wishing every possible success to your noble and highly philanthropical
enterprise, believe me, dear sir, with respect,
H. P. B.
[Copy of a letter received by Dewan Bahadur Ragunath
Row from Madame Blavatsky.
Mylapore, June 3rd, 1882
H. P. Blavatsky