158 TRANSMIGRATION OF SOULS book iii
them out of devotion in order to do what cannot be named for shame, you
do not see in them any sign of sensuality; but on the contrary, as they
pay no attention to anyone, and roll their eyes terribly, you would say
they are absorbed in abstraction.
Concerning the belief of the Idolaters touching the condition of the soul of man after death.
one of the articles of belief of the idolaters that the souls of men on
leaving their bodies after death are presented to God, who, according
to the life the owners have led, allots them other bodies to inhabit,
so that the same person is several times reborn into the world. And God
sends the souls of men of evil life, degraded in their habits and
plunged in all kinds of vices, after being separated from the bodies,
into the bodies of inferior animals, such as asses, dogs, cats, and
others, in order that they may perform penance for their crimes in
these infamous prisons. But it is believed that the souls which enter
the bodies of cows are supremely happy, because these animals are
regarded as divinities. If a man dies with a cow's tail in his hand,
that will suffice, it is said, to render him altogether happy in a
the idolaters believe in this passage of human souls into the bodies of
animals, they abhor the slaughter of any kind of animal, through fear
of being guilty of the death of some one of their relations or friends
who may be doing penance in one of these bodies.2
these men, during their lives, perform virtuous actions, such as
pilgrimages and the giving of alms, it is believed that after death
their souls pass into the bodies of some powerful
1 For the doctrine of Metempsychosis or transmigration of souls see Manu, Laws, xii. 1 ff.; Dubois, Hindu Manners, 556 ff ; Mrs. S. Stevenson, Sites of the Tivice-born, 195 f., 198 f., 225, 436 ff. For notices by early travellers, P. della Valle, i. 79; Ovington, 283 f.; Fryer, i. 95.
2 The doctrine of Ahimsa, or veneration for animal life, exemplified in Buddhism (V. A. Smith, Asoka, 27 ff. E. W. Hopkins 'Religions of India, 199 f.).