Page images
PDF
EPUB

brought lightning and thunderbolts during the war. Thus, in a similar contest between Siva and the Daityas, or children of Diti, who frequently rebelled against heaven, Brahma is supposed to have presented the god of destruction with fiery shafts. When, beside this, we learn that Siva is believed to have three eyes, "and know from Pausanias, not only that Trioph

brawny and muscular; his colour, that of the beams of the crescent which decorates his brow; his long hair must be knotted in many convolutions; his shoulders covered by a tyger's skin; his ten arms ornamented with bracelets of snakes; pendents hung from his ears; his face bright, and exquisitely beautiful; a sword, a club, a trident, and other weapons, are perceived in his hands. When he appears in the character of the vanquisher of Tripura, during the conflagration of the city, he has sixteen arms, of which one wields the unerring Pinaca. When the moon of Vaisakha ushers in his feast, he is depicted as dancing amidst a crowd of sportive nymphs and satyrs, to the sound of instruments touched by celestial musicians. In the character of Yogheswara, his aspect must be terrific." Here follow the different proportions of his limbs and features in those four forms.-Edinburgh Review, vol. xvii. pp. 313, 314, article on Moor's Hindu Pantheon.

thalmos was an epithet of Zeus, but that a statue of him had been found at as early a period as the taking of Troy, with a third eye in his forehead, as we see him represented by the Hindūs,* we must conclude that the identity of the two gods falls little short of being demonstrated."

*Pausanias mentions having seen in the temple of Minerva at Corinth, a statue of Jupiter in wood, with two eyes, as men have them naturally, and a third in the middle of the forehead. "I was assured, (says he), that it is the Jupiter Patrius, that was in the palace of Priam, son of Laomedon, in an open place, and that it was at his altar that the unfortunate king fled for refuge on the taking of Troy. In the division of the booty, the statue fell to the share of Sthenelus, son of Capaneus, who afterwards placed it in this temple. It may reasonably be supposed that Jupiter is represented with three eyes, to signify that he reigns in heaven, secondly, in the infernal regions, for the God who governs these is also called Jupiter by Homer; and thirdly, over the waters. Whoever, therefore, made that statue, gave him, I believe, three eyes, in order to express that one and the same divinity reigns over the three parts; though some have divided them amongst three different divinities."-Pausanias, Journey to Corinth, lib. ii. c. 24.

[ocr errors]

"In the character of Destroyer also, we may look upon this Indian deity as corresponding with the Stygian Jove, or Pluto; especially since Cali or Time in the feminine gender, is a name of his consort, who will appear hereafter to be Proserpine."

"C

There is another attribute of Mahadeva, or Siva, by which he is too visibly* distinguished in the temples and drawings in Bengal," and it may be added in every part of India. "To destroy according to the Vedantiis of India, the Susis of Persia, and many philosophers of European schools, is only to generate and reproduce in another form. Hence the god of destruction is supposed in India to preside over generation, as a symbol of which he rides on a white bull. Can we doubt that the loves and feats of Jupiter Genitor (not forgetting the white bull of Europa) and his extraordinary title of Lapis,+ for which no satisfac

* Meaning, we presume, the emblems of the genital parts.

+ Various explanations are to be found for this name,

tory reason is commonly given, have a connexion with the Indian philosophy and mythology."

In the Jupiter Marinus, or Neptune, Sir

or epithet, given by the Romans to Jupiter; but, as Sir William Jones observes, none that can be considered satisfactory. The Romans believed that an oath made in the name of Jupiter Lapis, was the most sacred of all oaths: Cicero calls it, Jovem Lapidem Jurare. It is supposed to have been derived from the stone presented to Saturn by his consort Ops, as a substitute for Jupiter. Saturn had promised to his elder brother Titan, to destroy all males that should be born to him, provided Titan should leave him in the undisturbed possession of his crown. On the birth of Jupiter, his mother Ops, Cybele, Rhea, or the elder Vesta (for it is presumed that they are only distinctive names for the same personage) deceived her husband by presenting a stone to him, and thus saved the boy, whom she concealed in a cavern on mount Ida. The mode of taking the Roman oath was said to be as follows:-The person to whom it was administered, holding a flint-stone in his hand, said, "If knowingly I deceive, so let Diespiter, saving the city and the capitol, cast me away from all that is good, as I cast away this stone." It would be worthy of enquiry whether the Hindus have any similar mode of swearing.-Eusebius says that a sovereign, named Lapis, reigned in Crete.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

66

William Jones finds a resemblance with Mahadeva in another of his characters. The identity of the Trisula and the Trident, the former a weapon of Siva in this character, the other the distinctive sceptre of Neptune, seems to establish the analogy; -" and the veneration paid all over India to the large Buccinum, especially when it can be found with the spiral line and mouth turned from left to right, brings to our mind the music of Triton."* Mahadeva's consort Bhavani may be compared with the Venus Marina, their attributes being similar: and the Rembha of Indra's court, seems to correspond with the popular Venus, or goddess of beauty; this last sprung from the sea-foam, and Rembha was produced, according to the Indian fabulists, from the froth of the churned

ocean.

The way of considering the gods as individual substances, but as distinct persons in distinct characters, is common to the Euro

* Jones.

« PreviousContinue »