example. There is an hereditary sacred chief who "was originally the sole chief, possessing temporal as well as spiritual power, and regarded as of divine origin," but who is now politically powerless. Abyssinia shows us something analogous. Holding no direct communication with his subjects, and having a sacredness such that even in council he sits unseen, the monarch is a mere dummy. In Gondar, one of the divisions of Abyssinia, the king must belong to the royal house of Solomon, but any one of the turbulent chiefs who has obtained ascendancy by force of arms becomes a Ras—a prime minister or real monarch; but he requires "a titular emperor to perform the indispensable ceremony of nominating a Ras," since the name, at least, of emperor "is deemed essential to render valid the title of Ras." The case of Thibet may be named as one in which the sacredness of the original political head is dissociated from the claim based on hereditary descent; for the Grand Lama, considered as "God the Father," incarnate afresh in each new occupant of the throne, does not receive his divine nature by natural descent, but, receiving it supernaturally, is discovered among the people at large by certain indications of his godhood; and with his divinity, involving disconnection with temporal matters, there goes absence of political power, A like state of things exists in Bootan. "The Dhurma Raja is looked upon by the Bootanese in the same light as the Grand Lama of Thibet is viewed by his subjects—namely, as a perpetual incarnation of the Deity, or Buddha himself in a corporeal form. During the interval between his death and reappearance, or, more properly speaking, until he has reached an age sufficiently mature to ascend his spiritual throne, the office of Dhurma Raja is filled by proxy from among the priesthood." And then along with this sacred ruler there coexists a secular one. Bootan "has two nominal heads, known to us and to the neighboring hill-tribes under the Hindoostanee names of the Dhurma and the Deb Rajas. . . . The former is the spiritual head, the latter the temporal one." Though in this case it is said that the temporal head has not great influence (probably because the priest-regent, whose celibacy prevents him from founding a line, stands in the way of unchecked assumption of power by the temporal head), still the existence of a temporal head implies a partial lapsing of political functions out of the hands of the original political head. But the most remarkable and at the same time most familiar example is that furnished by Japan. Here the supplanting of inherited authority by deputed authority is exemplified, not in the central government alone, but in the local governments. "Next to the prince and his family came the karos or 'elders.' Their office became hereditary, and, like the princes, they in many instances became effete. The business of what we may call the clan would thus fall into the hands of any clever man or set of men of the lower ranks, who, joining ability to daring and unscrupulousness, kept the princes and the karos out of
Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/760
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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.