古时候,有人有一种特技,能够一只脚站很久,他向斯巴达(Sparta,在今天Greece)人说:“我不信你们有这本事。”(I do not believe you can do as much.)但斯巴达人回他一句,这有什么了不起,“每条鹅都能。”(True, but every goose can.)

   古时候过去了,但现代仍有这种用一只脚站着显摆的人,这就是印度人。印度人这种鬼名堂多得很,一只脚站着,一只手举着,太阳底下晒着(standing exposed to the sun for many hours),拿大顶(remain with the head bent down),手握拳,让指甲穿过手心长出来(Keep their fists closed for years, so that the nails grow through the palm and out of the back of the hand.),或埋在地里几天,还活过来(remain buried for days at a time and emerge from their “graves” alive)。……

   这些无聊的特技,都是印度人的本事。这一套本事,最像样的部分就叫“瑜伽”(yoga 1.(in Hindu religious philosophy)a system of ascetic practice, abstract meditation, and mental concentration, used as a method of attaining union with the supreme spirit. 2. a system of exercises or rigid physical positions for achieving serenity and well-being.),信瑜伽的就叫yogi,印度人很多都信。去年十月十九日爸爸给你信上提到的现在印度总理甘地夫人的爸爸(坐过十年半牢的),每天早起就要拿大顶,据说这样可relax himself(Nehru's wife died in 1936 and his only daughter is his official hostess. He likes playing with his two grandsons. Every morning he starts his day by standing on his head to relax himself.)。中国古话说,救老百姓是“解民倒悬”,如果老百姓都这样以“倒悬”为乐,那还解个屁!(上次信上谈到Peter要求倒钉十字架以表示他对他老师耶稣的敬意,大概Peter也是一个yogi!)

   印度人好像脑袋顶上总要来点什么,“包头”是最起码的,其他头顶上的东西可多了!印度女人有一种“水壶舞”(The Dance of the Water Pots),每人头顶上顶了一把大铜茶壶,中国人要“顶天立地”,印度人只要“顶茶壶立地”就满意了,虽没中国人志气大,但比中国人实际而具体。


   锡克人长得人高马大,是战士,常做警察和开计程车的(There are about six million Sikhs, and their picturesque appearance distinguishes them from the rest of the population. They are strong, tall and vigorous, and in cities often serve as policemen, watchmen and cab drivers.),所以理发的也不敢捉他们,也捉不到。锡克人为什么不理发呢,因为他们信锡克教,锡克教(Sikhism)不准,于是锡克人就把须发缠在一起,在头顶上用白布包起来。(Keeping the hair and beard tied in a knot above the head.)(The Sikhs' religion forbids them to cut their hair or beards. It strongly emphasizes the brotherhood of all men and forbids the drinking of alcohol. These soldiers have their hair fastened into a tightly-rolled topknot on the crown of the head and are wearing the characteristic beard retainer, a fine net attached to the ears at either end.)


   你记得去年二月十六日爸爸给你谈牛的信上,提到的印度“牛被惯得可以在马路上逛”吗?这是因为印度有百分之八十五是印度教徒,印度教徒只拿牛耕田拉车,但不许吃牛肉,因为他们认为牛是神圣的。印度选举的时候,因为不认识字的人太多,不知道哪一党是哪一党,于是在选票上印上图画,用牛代表国大党(就是甘地夫人那一党),结果大家都投牛的票!(牛以外,monkeys and snakes也神圣。)

   印度教(Hinduism)(The religious(Polytheistic)and social systems of the Hindus, developed from Brahmanism, and embodying animistic beliefs. The caste system is the chief characteristic.印度多神教,为婆罗门教的变相,并信灵魂造生命之说,社会阶级制度是它主要特点)虽然对牛客气,对人却极不客气。印度教把人分四种阶级(caste),每一阶级干什么,永远干什么(从爷爷的爷爷到孙子的孙子)。四阶级中,第三级是农人商人(甘地就属于这一级,甘地坐过近六年五个月的牢,爸爸在去年十月十九日信上跟你谈过),第四级是奴隶、仆人。另有一种不入级的叫“不能碰的”(Untouchables),连做奴隶、仆人都不准,甚至不准他们工作,只准讨饭(even forbidden to work, and can only beg),讨饭还不准在给钱的人的身边讨,要躲得远远的,钱由给钱的人丢在地下,Untouchables再去捡,直接给是不行的,这叫“授受不亲”!



   其他阶级的人,若犯了规,一被开除,就沦为Untouchables,所以大家都不敢,万一犯规,也缴罚金或吃牛屎喝牛尿(cow dung and cow urine)来求饶,下次再也不敢犯规了(promise never to sin again),因为一变成Untouchables就等于变成了political prisoner,谁都要躲着你了。


   其实也不怪,因为印度教把佛教吸收到它大口袋里头去了,所以今天的印度,还有很多很多佛教的痕迹,印度国旗中间那个脚踏车车轮子,就是佛教里头“法轮长转”的法轮(Flag of India. The saffron(orange-yellow)stripe is for courage and sacrifice;white is for truth and purity;and green for faith and chivalry, the wheel is an ancient symbol, the Dharma Chakra(Wheel of Law). Adopted in 1947),公元前三世纪的印度阿育王(Asoka)——他就是拼命把佛教传到别人家里去的家伙——有石狮子雕刻,下面就是这法轮。

   又如两手“合十”,这也是佛教的习惯。去年十月十九日信上跟你提到的坐过一年一个月牢的political prisoner甘地夫人这个手势(gesture),你注意一下。


   印度人火葬,因为相信人死了一烧,就可把灵魂烧出来,使灵魂从肉体里解脱出来(free the soul from the body)(中国直到宋朝才有火葬,《水浒传》你看过吗?打虎的武松哥哥即潘金莲的丈夫武大郎就是火葬的)。

   印度的火葬是公开的露天的(public cremation),印度古习惯,丈夫死了,太太要在火葬时跳到火堆里陪死!英文叫suttee,印度人以前平均只活三十二岁(现在已到四十一岁了),丈夫很容易早死,一死太太就倒了霉,这种坏风俗,现在已经犯法了。(SUTTEE is a Hindu custom that people once practiced is India. Its name comes from the Sanskrit word sati, which means faithful wife. By the custom of suttee, a widow allows herself to be burned to death beside her husband's body on the funeral pyre. The pyre is a pile of material that burns easily. No one knows how the custom began. An ancient book states that a widow should lie by her husband's body on the funeral pyre. A few widows, especially the wives of kings, refused to leave the pyre and burned to death. In 1829, the British, then the rulers of India, made suttee illegal.)

   不过做印度人老婆,有一个人至少占了便宜,那就是三百年前印度国王沙迦罕(Shah Jahan)的老婆默哈儿(Mahal),她死后,她丈夫为她花了二十多年,修了一座漂亮的大坟——Taj Mahal,taj是阿拉伯文皇冠(crown)的意思。Taj Mahal是印度最有代表性的建筑,在印度Agra地方(地图上没有,爸爸为你点了一个小·点就在那儿)。它是全世界最漂亮的坟。(TAJ MAHAL at Agra, in north central India, the crowning jewel of Indo-Islamic architecture. A Mogul ruler, Shah Jahan, erected the monument as a tomb for a beloved wife, Arjumand Banu, better know by her title of Mumtaz Mahal or Taj Mahan 1(Crown of the Palace). In 1631 she died after bearing fourteen children in eighteen years. The construction of the tomb, begun the next year, employed some 20000 workmen for nearly twenty years.)

   印度女人头上多点小点,叫“吉祥点”,她们披“纱丽”(sari),二十英尺长三英尺宽,不用裁缝(当然裁缝恨这东西)。有的女人穷得只有一件纱丽,所以没法洗换。(Many Indian men have partly adopted European dress. Indian women, however, remain loyal to the national costume, the sari, a garment which emphasizes their dignified and majestic bearing. The simple yet extremely elegant line of the sari is reminiscent of the costume of ancient Greece, while its striking colors, and gold and silver embroidery, are a further example of the Indians' love of bright things. The garment is a strip of cloth some twenty feet long and three feet wide. It is draped round the body without any pin or button being used. It is extremely simple in use and presents no dress-making problem.)


   印度的宪法,是全世界最长的。(The constitution of India is the longest in the world.)

   印度人吃饭用右手抓着吃,认为左手没右手干净。(他们这些怪毛病可真多!)(The various Hindu castes have different food laws. Most castes eat only with the right hand because they consider the left hand unclean. Some castes eat meat, and others eat fish but not meat. Some eat neither meat nor fish, but so eat eggs. Still others do not eat eggs.)



   印度的蛇很多,每年咬死三十万人。印度有玩蛇的或弄蛇的(snake-charmer),在蛇面前吹笛子,其实蛇听不见,只是看他动作再跟着动。(Indian Snake Charmer may fool his audience, but he does not charm the snake. The cobra cannot hear the music of the flute. It sways merely to follow the movements of the charmer.)


   印度最有名的文学家叫泰戈尔(Tagore),他到中国来过,得过Nobel Prize(诺贝尔奖),中国的一位学者梁启超,给Tagore起了一个中国名字叫“竺震旦”。(竺是天竺,古代中国叫印度是“天竺”,震旦是“中国”的另一叫法。)(TAGORE was an Indian poet, philosopher, and supporter of freedom for India. In his many poems and songs, he stirred pride among his Hindu countrymen. He also had a strong influence on the West. Tagore was influenced by European models in his writings. He was a mystical and religious poet, and saw God in all beauties of nature. He wrote prose and poetry in the Bengali Language. These have been translated into many languages. Tagore received the 1913 Nobel Prize in Iiterature.)

爸 爸 一九七五年四月二十日