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The entire universe with all its tirthas and holy spots is there where dwelleth the divine and eternal Narayana, the Supreme soul, for he is Merit, he is the Supreme Brahma, he is tirtha, he is the ascetic retreat, he is the First, he is the foremost of gods, and he is the great Lord of all creatures. He is eternal, he is the great Creator, and he is the highest state of blessedness.

What Moses had taught his people Christ and his Hellenising disciples had the beautiful courage to preach to all mankind. Yet this virtue of charity, on its subtler and more metaphysical side, belongs to the spirit of redemption, to that ascetic and quasi-Buddhistic element in Christianity to which we shall presently revert.

The deity Surya, having heard that narrative from those Rishis crowned with ascetic success, repeated it to the six and sixty thousands of Rishis, O king, of cleansed souls, that follow in his train. The high-souled Rishis that follow in Surya's train, O son, repeated that excellent narrative unto the deities assembled on the breast of Meru.

By degrees his God, if he could have been said to have had one in his consciousness, sank back into a dual personality or a compound of good and evil the most ideal and ascetic good, as well as the most fantastic and swinish evil. His God, for a time at least, was a God of storms and horrors as well as of serenities and perfections.

To Presley's morbidly keen observation, the general impression of the shepherd's face was intensely interesting. It was uncommon to an astonishing degree. Presley's vivid imagination chose to see in it the face of an ascetic, of a recluse, almost that of a young seer.

Cæsar and Cicero were profligates and at the same time great men. Cato in his old age married a young girl, and yet he was regarded as a great ascetic and a pillar of morality.

Dharma alone, however, could not directly achieve this end. This could be done by the path of yoga or self-discipline a path which involved penances, meditation and asceticism. By ridding his mind of all desires and attachments, by concentrating on pure abstractions, the ascetic 'obtained insight which no words could express.

Stoicism rapidly developed into a religion, having its rites, obediences, ascetic practices, directors of conscience, examination of conscience, and its adepts with a traditional dress, long cloak, and long beard. Like Epicureanism, Stoicism had a renaissance in modern times in opposition to Christianity; this will be dealt with later.

During Apostolic times various teachings and practices were current that may be characterized as ascetic. The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Colossians, doubtless had in mind a sect or school which despised the body and abstained from meats and wine. A false asceticism, gathering inspiration from pagan philosophy, was rapidly spreading among Christians even at that early day.

Their arms upraised, and eye fixed, long was the period for which they observed their vows. And during the course of their ascetic penances, a wonderful incident occurred there. For the mountains of Vindhya, heated for a long course of years by the power of their ascetic austerities, began to emit vapour from every part of their bodies.