Rawlinson, H. G. Intercourse between India and the western world from the earliest times to the fall of Rome

(Cambridge :  University Press,  1916.)



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178  Effects of the Intercourse between

of the vast amount of ingenuity which has been
expended on them. Still less convincing are the
parallels between the Gospels and the Bhagavad
Gitd, collected with such industry by Lorinser^.
In the same way, Weber takes the incident in
the Mahdbhdrata of the visit of Narada and other
Sages to the mysterious island of Svetadvipa or
White Island, to be a poetical account of an actual
visit on the part of some Indian travellers to
Alexandria or Persia or some other Christian
country. The description of the White Island is
purely imaginary, and there is no reason to suppose
that any reference to Christianity is intended in
the remotest fashion 2. Even less satisfactory are
the supposed parallels between the life of Gautama
and that of Christ. It is, however, probable that
the striking resemblances which Lamaist ritual of
to-day bears to Catholic ceremonies may be due
to the influence of the Christian Church in Persia.
These resemblances seem to be something more
than coincidence. They startled the Abbe Hue
when he visited Lhassa in 1842. "The crozier,
the mitre, the chasuble, the cardinal's robe,... the
double choir at the Divine Office, the chants, the

1  Die Bhagavad Gitd, Breslau, 1869. Trans, in Indian
Antiquary, 1873, p. 283. An able refutation is given in the
introduction to Telang's translation of the Gitd in the Sacred
Books of the East.

2  The passage is in Mahdbhdrata, xii. 12. 702. Weber's
views are in his Indische Studien, i. 400. See P. C. Ray's
translation (Calcutta, 1891), viii. 752.
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