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The Brahmin was thus a sacred and inviolable person, and to murder him the greatest sin.
Brahminism has wrongly been compared with medieval Christianity (cf. In the Middle Ages there was indeed a privileged priesthood, but not an hereditary priestly caste; then as now the lowest classes could attain to the highest ecclesiastical offices.
Nevertheless, since it is the interior spirit that gives a religion its characteristic stamp, we can recognize in these externals, not a true copy of Catholicism, but only a wretched caricature.
In addition to the maintenance of the sacred fire, the duties of the priests were the offering of sacrifices (flesh, bread, flowers, fruit), the performance of purifications, prayers, and hymns, and instructing in the holy law.The Buddhist redemption is merely an ascetical self-redemption wrought by sinking into the abyss of nothingness (Nirvana).The bonzes are not priests in the strict sense; nor has Buddhist monasticism anything beyond the name in common with Christian monasticism.Teichmüller, "Religionsphilosophie", Leipzig, 1886, p. Still less justified, in view of the pantheistic character of the Brahminic religion, are all attempts to trace a genetic connection between the Catholic and Indian priesthoods, since the monotheistic spirit of Catholicism and the characteristic organization of its clergy are irreconcilable with a pantheistic conception of the Deity and the unsocial temper of a caste system.The same remarks apply with even greater force to Buddhism which, through the reform introduced by King Asoka (239-23 B. As this reform inaugurated the reign of Agnosticism, Illusionism, and a one-sided morality, the Brahminic priesthood, with the decay of the ancient sacrificial services, lost its If there be no eternal substance, no Ego, no immortal soul, no life beyond, the idea of a God, of a Redeemer, of a priesthood forthwith disappears.
The importance of the priesthood grew with the extension of the mysteries, which were embodied especially in the Orphic and Eleusinian cults.