Bernier, François, Travels in the Mogul Empire A.D. 1656-1668

(Westminster, Eng. :  Constable,  1891.)



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OF HINDOUSTAN                         347

our great Gassendy has so ably refuted; and it is similar
to the doctrines by which most of our alchymists have
been hopelessly led astray. Now these Sectaries or Indou
Pendets, so to speak, push the incongruities in question
further than all these philosophers, and pretend that God,
or that supreme being whom they call Achar ! (immov¬
able, unchangeable) has not only produced life from his
own substance, but also generally everything material or
corporeal in the universe, and that this production is not
formed simply after the manner of efficient causes, but
as a spider which produces a web from its own navel, and
withdraws it at pleasure. The Creation then, say these
visionary doctors, is nothing more than an extraction or
extension of the individual substance of God, ot those
filaments which He draws from his own bowels; and, in
like manner, destruction is merely the recalling of that
divine substance and filaments into Himself; so that the
last day of the world, which they call maperle or pralea,'^
and in which they believe every being will be annihilated,
will be the general recalling of those filaments which God
had before drawn forth from Himself—There is, therefore,
say they, nothing real or substantial in that which we
think we see, hear or smell, taste or touch; the whole of
this world is, as it were, an illusory dream, inasmuch as
all that variety which appears to our outward senses is
but one only and the same thing, which is God Himself;
in the same manner as all those different numbers, of ten,
twenty, a hundred, a thousand, etc., are but the frequent
repetition of the same unit.—But ask them some reason
for this idea; beg them to explain how this extraction and
reception of substance occurs, or to account for that ap¬
parent variety ; or how it is that God not being corporeal

^ See p. 325.

^ Maha-pralaya, or total dissolution of the universe at the end of a
ialpa (a day and night of Brahma, equal to 4,320,000,000 years) when
the seven lokas (divisions of the universe) and their inhabitants, men,
saints, gods, and Brahma himself, are annihilated. Pralaya is a
modified form of dissolution.
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