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That the mysterious Irish Ögum characters have connexion with the mysterious O'M of the Hindus, I hoped to have shewn in these pages, but fear I cannot. O'M, Ogum, Ogham, and Agama, are closely cognate in radical sound. The last means, in Sanskrit, occult, obscure, mysterious, cryptic. The Agama Sastra is a portion of the Hindu Scripture, which treats on those dark matters. In a former page, 151, I hinted that our doxological Amen and the Hindu O'M, might perhaps be found to assimilate. The Jews have an adage, that whoever repeat Amen, energetically, with all his might, opens the doors of Paradise.
A remarkable feature in Major Moor's work consists in the repeated traces it developes of that peculiar worship termed the phallic, the sensible objects of which were the linga and yont. That this worship prevailed almost universally throughout all the inhabited parts of the earth, in ancient, times, there can be no room to doubt, or that, though innocent in its origin, it should have been easily corrupted to the most licentious purposes. The sacred historian, enumerating (2 Kings, XXII. 30) the idols and high places of the pagans of that age, says that “ the men of Babylon made ni 7100 succoth benoth,” which Parkhurst renders the tabernacle sacred to the Productive Powers Feminine,' i. e. the Yoni. The phallic allusions in the classical authors are too well known; they attest the ancientness of the worship. In India, it is more or less diffused throughout most of the sects of Hindus, and Mr. Henderson (as we stated in our last journal) has discovered that it is the only worship extant amongst the rade races of New Holland.
Turn we to Mr. O'Brien's work, which has been slightly noticed already in our February number. This gentleman has produced a theory of a very startling kind, and which many will reject as soon as it is proposed to them. We confess, that, whilst we are not convinced by probabilities alone, we are not shocked by improbabilities : “ le vrai peut quelquefois n'étre pas vraisemblable."
Mr. O'Brien rightly insists upon the misapprehension often exhibited in confounding exoteric with esoterio doctrines, or those which the founders of early systems concocted as indications of what might be imparted to the profane, contradistinguished from those confided only to the initiated. He argues that Iran, or Persia, according to the concurrent testimoniy of sacred and profane history, was the scene of early civilization and refinement. The Irish, he contends, are descended from Persian progenitors, and in the Irish language, accordingly, we may seek an exposition of the mysteries of ancient creeds; of which the most ancient was that which shrouded, under peculiar symbols, the downfall of our first parents.
How think you was this accomplished ? By assigning to certain terms a twofold signification, of which one represented a certain passion, quality, or value, and the other its sensible index. To the latter alone had the multitude any
; whilst the sanctity of the former was guarded against them, by all the horrors of religious interdicts. For instance, in the example before us, Budh or Fiodh-which is the same thing--means, primarily, lingam, and, secondly, a tree. Of these, the latter, which was the popular acceptation, was only the outward signal of the former, which was the inward mystified passion comprehended only by the initiated. When, therefore, we are told that Eve was desired not to taste of the tree, i. e. Budh, we are to understand that she was prohibited what Budh meant in its true signification, viz. lingam :—that, in short, missis ambagibus, the word Budh was to be taken, not figuratively, but, literally.
Again, in this cradle of literary wonders, the Irish language, every letter in its alphabet expresses some particular tree; but its first Beth,—whence the Beta of the Greeks, and a formative only of Budh, the radix,-signifies in addition to the tree* which it represents, knowledge, also! And here, obvious as light and impregnable to contradiction, you have the tree of knowledge in, natural nakedness, divested of the mystery of pomiferous verbiage, and identified in attributes as in prolific import with the name and essence of the sacred Budh.
:-P. p. 228.9. “ Then be it known” (says Mr. O'Brien), “ that in the sacred, i, e. Irish language, the word Sabht has three significations, firstly voluptuousness, or the yoni ; secondly, a serpent, or sinuosity; and, thirdly, death or life (p. 503). So that the dialogue in Genesis, between Eve and the serpent, was, in truth, a parley between Eve and the Yoni : and the materials for the allegory were afforded by the fact of serpent and Yoni being both expressed in the sacred, i. e. Irish language, by one and the same name, just as the lingam and the tree of knowledge have been before identified.”:-(P.506.)
With respect to the observation contained in the note, we may remark that the linga is almost the only form in which Siva is worshipped in India, where, according to Professor Wilson, it has been “ the most ancient object of homage subsequently to the ritual of the Védas," and it is the main purport of several of the Puránas. The linga worship, according to the same authority, was universal in India at the time of the Mahomedan invasion, and the celebrated idol Somnat, destroyed by Mahmud' of Ghizni,a block of stone four or five cubits long, was a linga.
According to Mr. O'Brien, the round-towers of Ireland were similar symbols, the relics of what he terms Buddhism. But how came Buddhism in association with the linga worship; and how came it into Ireland ?
We can answer, on Mr. O'Brien's behalf, the first question. M. Klaproth has shewn that the formula of the prayer in common use amongst the Buddhists of Central Asia, namely, “ Om mani padme-houm,” is directly identifiable with the phallic worship. The exoteric meaning of the words (to use Mr. O'Brien's distinction) is, “Oh, the jewel is in the lotus, amen!" The esoteric signification is, “Oh, the lingam is in the yoni, amen!” For, “ it is well known," observes M. Klaproth, “ that mani is one of the commonest names of the lingam in India, and padma, or the lotus, is the symbol of the yoni." Besides, persons best acquainted with the tenets of the Jains, or Indian Buddhists, tells us, that the lingam is a conspicuous object of their worship.
With respect to the other question, Mr. O'Brien must answer for himself, # The Betula or Birch-tree.
t.." Pronounced Sauv. This was the Siva of the Hindoos, by which although they understood indeed, as well generation as destruction to be symbolized; yet, it is clear, that they must have long lost the method of accounting for the reason why, otherwise than saying that death and life meant the same thing; that is, the cessation of existence in one form was but the commencement of existence in another.” Asial Journ. N.S. Vou. 14. No. 55.
His theory is, that certain Persian emigrants, whom he terms Pish-de-danaans and Tuath-de-danaans (the former worshippers of the yoni, the latter of the linga), carried on a theological war in the East; that the latter found their way, being worsted, into Ireland, and there disseminated their arts and their doctrines, of both of which the round towers are remains. These emigrants (the Tuath-de-danaans) received, from the object of their worship, the epithet Budh, which signifies, in Hiberno-Persic, not only the linga, but the sun; hence Sabæism, as well as Buddhism, is capable of illustration from this hypothesis.
We must leave the readers of Mr. O'Brien's work, in which the evidence in support of his hypothesis is very fully detailed, to decide upon its preten- .' sions to favour. We shall merely direct notice to the singular fact, that Major Moor, in a passage we have cited from his work, declares (without any previous knowledge of Mr. O'Brien's theory) that the Irish round lowers, which he saw, would be deemed “ Lingaic” in India.
NATURAL HISTORY OF THE ELEPHANT.
TO THE EDITOR,
Sır: I consider it an act of justice to the character of the late Bishop Heber, as a strictly correct journalist, in relating facts which came under his own personal observation, when in the East, and which I have been the innocent cause of having had, in some degree, called in question, to make the following statement; and I address it to you, as the editor of a periodical inost extensively circulated, both in this country and in India, as it may thus more easily meet the eye of such as have expressed an opinion opposed to the statement of the Bishop, to which I am about to allude. I do not hesitate, however, to add, that I have some hope of calling forth a further elucidation of the question, which will not be considered uninteresting by many of your readers.
In the seventeenth chapter of the bishop's Journal, and in recording the events which occurred on his journey from Bareilly towards the Himalaya range, he states that he was visited, at about sixteen miles from that city, by the young native raja, Gourman Singh, who, in the course of conversation, mentioned that there was a tiger in the neighbouring jungle, and invited the bishop to assist in hunting it. Although this amusement was altogether wide of the object which had occasioned the bishop's most interesting, but fatiguing journey through these northern provinces, yet it appears from many parts of his journal, that he had no small degree of natural taste for every thing connected with a country life, and with both animal and vegetable productions which were néw to him.' This, together with the eager desire of Mr. Boulderston, who accompanied him through this district, in which he held an important office, and who was a keen sportsman, induced the bishop to take advantage of this opportunity of witnessing a scene so novel to him; and no one can read the account of what followed, although the chase proved unsuccessful, without admiring the aniinated and graphic, though truly clerical, sketch which Heber has drawn of it, with but a few lively strokes of his pen.
In describing the young raja, he states that he " was mounted on a little female elephant, hardly bigger than the Durham ox, and almost as shaggy as a poodle. She was a native of the neighbouring woods, where they are generally, though not always, of a smaller size than those of Bengal and Chittagong." Now, sir, it is with regard to the above description of a little elephant,“ nearly as shaggy as a poodle,” that the doubt has arisen as to the bishop's correctness, on a point in the natural history of that race, which is altogether new to writers on zoology. It happened that, about two years ago, I was occupied in a geological work, the object of which was to refute some of the arguments of Baron Cuvier, and other philosophers, founded on the remarkable fossil elephant, of the Asiatic race, which was, in 1803, discovered in an entire state, buried in the icy soil of Siberia, and which was covered with a shaggy coat of hair, with a finer sort of wool at the roots, much in the manner of the hogs of cold climates. These philosophers argued, from the warm covering on that antediluvian elephant, and from its nearly entire state, that it must have been an inhabitant of Siberia ; and it followed, if this inference was just, that the whole of those heaps of fossil bodies, scattered in such abundance over every part of the north of Europe, but more especially on the shores of the Frozen Ocean, towards the mouth of the Lena, must also have been inhabitants of those inclement latitudes, and been overwhelmed by some very sudden catastrophe, and become buried on or near to the very spots where they had formerly lived. Notwithstanding the firm footing which this theory had acquired, under the authority of such men as Baron Cuvier, Dr. Buckland, and others, it was evident to many, and amongst others to myself, that the idea was altogether inconsistent with probability, and with the other facts of the case. It became, therefore, of the greatest importance to the new science of geology, founded, as it so materially is, on the phenomena of fossil remains, to exa. mine the point most closely.
It was very clear that, if numerous herds of huge elephants formerly inhabited such latitudes as those of Siberia, they must have had an abundant: supply of vegetable food on which to subsist, and in which to find shelter. If, then, these animals were overwhelmed suddenly, as Cuvier supposed, and buried on or near to the very place over which they had formerly ranged in life, it was equally clear that the same icy bed, which preserved their flesh, in some cases, entire, would also have preserved, in a perfect manner, the woods and jungles through which they must have ranged, and without which they could not have subsisted. Such, however, are no where to be found in Siberia, any more than in other less severe climates, in immediate contact with the fossil bodies; and, therefore, it became certain that the ideas of geologists on this point were
There is, perhaps, no single point in that science, on which so many important conclusions depend, as the true history of that one hairy elephant of Siberia ; for it is clear that, if it did not inhabit that latitude, neither did the other elephants, whose remains are now found in Russia; and from that country we are forced to extend a similar conclusion to the fossils of the very same kind found in France, in England, in Italy, and in other countries, where the necessary accompaniment of a luxuriant tropical vegetation, proper for the support and shelter of such huge animals, cannot be looked for. The chief ground, on which Cuvier's opinion seems to have been founded, was the warm natural covering of that remarkable specimen which certainly iinplied a colder country than the plains of India, where the elephants have generally been supposed to be quite bare : and so prevalent was the opinion respecting the naked skin of the existing race, that I am not aware of the slightest allusion to a
natural coat, in the writings of any zoologist, in speaking of the elephant. With respect to the hairy fossil of the north, however, I, for one, felt confident that, as the catastrophe, which had overwhelmed it, and all the other crowd of animals whose remains accompany it, was admitted to have been aqueous; it had been drifted thither by such marine currents as are universally prevalent in the ocean; and I felt the more confident on this head, from its being the unavoidable result of animal destruction by drowning, as is well known to all seamen, though Cuvier and Buckland appear to have been ignorant of the fact, that, after death, bodies swell and float like bladders, and would thus become subject to any strong current within the influence of which they might happen to fall. I had previously shown that sueh currents exist as would rapidly bear buoyant substances from tropical to polar latitudes, as well as in an opposite direction; and I could not hesitate in concluding, that even the hairy elephant of Siberia had been thus borne along, if not from the tropics, at least from a latitude so far south as to admit of a most luxuriant vegetation for his support.
In this state of the argument, I chanced to read Bishop Heber's Journal; and it may easily be conceived that such a fact as he slightly alludes tò, in the above passage, was well calculated to create a deep interest, as throwing much light on the geological question at issue; for it would appear, if Heber really saw an elephant, with a rough coat, in the northern provinces of India, and yet inhabiting jungles with a grass capable of entirely concealing even an elephant; that we had discovered the very point of which we were in search, combining a comparatively low temperature with great vegetable luxuriance. , I immediately set on foot a strict inquiry into the subject; but I soon found from such as had been long in India, that they had never seen or heard of a hairy elephant; and as some of those from whom I sought information had been in that very district of Bareilly where the animal was supposed to have been seen, I could not help joining in the common opinion, that there must have been some misapprehension on the part of Heber respecting it. In answer to my inquiries, I was often told that Heber was not looked upon, by Indian men, as very good authority; and also that, as he did not live to edit his own Journal, such mistakes, as this must certainly be, might easily be accounted for. I was still certain, however, that the whole record of that transaction came from the pen of the bishop; but as he unfortunately could not himself be appealed to, I took the next best step, and wrote for further particulars to: the gentleman who was with him on the occasion, Mr. Boulderston, and who is still living in the East.
While awaiting the reply to these inquiries, which could not be expected in less than a year, I found strong confirmation of the possibility of the fact related by Heber, in no less than four living specimens of the elephant in London. The Zoological Society had, in the Regent's Park, two living. elephants; one, which is still there, from Mysore, a magnificent animal, and fast increasing in bulk; the other from Ceylon, and not bigger than a small Highland ox. Both these animals were covered all over with hair ; and in the case of the smaller one, this coat was very rough ; as much so, indeed, as that of a common hog. This last specimen is now sold, but in its place the Society have got another, also of small size, but rather less shaggy in its coat. In both these cases, the keepers are conscious of an increase in this hairy.. covering since the animals have been in England; and as we know that the natural clothing of all animals is changed from hair to wool, and from wool to ltair, according to the circumstances in which they are placed, we cannot now.