By Shamsul Islam
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Additional info for Kipling’s ‘Law’: A study of his philosophy of life
19 7) It is therefore not surprising that Kipling, who was continuously searching for order and design, was attracted to the synthesizing power of Buddhism. Kipling evokes the world of Buddhism by reference to some of its famous symbols. The most noted is the Bhavacakramudra or 'Wheel of life'. Here is how Kipling describes the Wheel, rich in philosophic symbolism: He [the Lama] drew from under the table a sheet of strangely scented yellow Chinese paper, the brushes, and the slab of India ink.
Lockwood Kipling's reaction to Hindus and Hinduism may be gathered from his book Beast and Man in India: A Popular Sketch of Indian Animals in their Relations With the People (London, 1891), a source book for the later Jungle Books. Here is, for example, a comment on Hindu historians: There are many lies in history, but Hindu writers are remarkable for having deliberately and of set principle ignored all the facts of life. All is done, however, with such an air of conviction and pious purpose that we must use Dr Johnson's kindly discrimination and say that they are not inexcusable, but consecrated liars.
Kipling was also interested in the Hindu concept of The Moral Order 41 samsara (continual incarnation). The most striking use of rebirth is in 'The Finest Story in the World' (1891). Here Charlie Mears, a young bank clerk, is able to go back into the past and recollect the happenings of his previous lives as a galley slave and as a ship-mate of one of the Norse explorers of America. Charlie thinks that his memories of the past are just dreams or notions, but the narrator knows that he 'was dealing with the experiences of a thousand years ago, told through the mouth of a boy of today'.
Kipling’s ‘Law’: A study of his philosophy of life by Shamsul Islam