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of the flower consecrated to Isis: the Persians know by the name of Nilufer, that species of it which botanists ridiculously call Nelumbo, which is remarkable for its curious pericarpium, where each of the seeds contains in miniature the leaves of a perfect vegetable. The Lotos of Linnæus is a papilionaceous plant, but he gives the same name to another species of Nymphæa, and the word Lotos is so constantly applied among us to the Nilufer, that any other would be hardly intelligible."*
"The true Lotos of Egypt is the Nymphæa Nilufer, and which in Sanscrit has all the following names: Padma, Nalina, Aravinda, Maholpala, Camala, Cuseshaya, Sahasrapatra, Sarasa, Panceruha, Tamarasa, Sarasiruha, Rajiva, Visaprasuna, Pushcara, Ambharuka, and Satapra. The new blown flowers of the rose-coloured Padma, have a most agreeable fragrance; the white and yellow have less odour; the blue I
* Jones, vol. xiii. p. 246.
am told is a native of Cashmir and Persia."*
In Egypt it grew in the canals that conducted the water of the Nile to the neighbouring plains, and in recesses on the borders of the river itself: its tubular roots, black without, white within, sprang from the muddy soil below; the flower and leaves displayed themselves above the surface of the water.
In India it has also its existence in the water. The seeds are very numerous, minute and round. The flowers of the blue, beautifully azure; but when full blown, more diluted, less fragrant than the red, or rose-coloured, but still with a delicate scent. The leaves are radical, subtargeted, hearted, deeply scollop-toothed. On one side dark purple, reticulated; on the other, dull green, smooth. Petals very smooth, long and tubular." Sir William Jones observes, that there is a variety
* Jones, vol. v. p. 128.
of this species, "with leaves purplish on both sides; flowers dark crimson, calycine petals richly coloured internally, and anthers flat; furrowed, adhering to the top of the filaments: the petals are more than fifteen, less pointed and broader than the blue, with little odour."*
Veneration for the Lotos continues to exist in Hindustan, Tibet, and Nepaul, as powerfully now as in ancient times. The
Tibetians," says Sir William Jones, said to embellish their temples with it, and a native of Nepal made prostrations before it on entering my study, where the fine plant and beautiful flowers lay for examination." With the Egyptians it ornamented the head of Osiris, and it still adorns some of the divinities of India. It was supposed to have served at the birth of one of these, for his cradle. The new-born god was seen floating on a flower on the water. A boy sitting on a Lotos, is found
* Jones, vol. v. p. 128.
+ See Voyage à Siam des Pères Jesuites envoyés par
on some ancient Greek medals and engravings, and is said to represent the dawn.* But, abstracted from this tradition, both Hindus and Egyptians paid adoration to the sun; and venerated water, considering heat and moisture as the sources of production, and indispensable to existence. The appearance, therefore, on the water of a flower of uncommon beauty, as if spreading to salute the rising orb, and of its again
le Roi (Louis XIV.) aux Indes et à la Chine ;---and Sketches on the Hindus, vol. ii. pp. 123 to 232.
* See Mémoires de l'Academie des Inscriptions, vol. iii. p. 170, and vol. xl. p. 275. M. de Guignes observes: "Il est singulier de trouver un livre Indien qui porte le nom de Fleur de Lotos, plante qui étoit si célébre en Egypte. Cette métaphore est prise des fables Indiennes. Abraham Roger rapporte, d'après le Vedam, que Dieu ayant dessein de faire le monde, avoit laissé flotter sur l'eau la feuille d'un arbre sous la forme d'un petit enfant qui jouoit avec le gros orteil dans sa bouche, et qu'il tira de son nombril une certaine fleur qu'ils nomment Tamara, d'où Brahma étoit sorti. Cette fleur qui est le Lotos, croît dans les étangs; ils l'estiment beaucoup, et Lacshmi, femme de Vishnu, est toujours représentée avec cette fleur à la main."-See likewise Sketches on the Hindūs, vol. ii. Sketch 13.
seeming to close on his disappearing, were circumstances which might easily be interpreted by the priesthood to proceed from something more than natural causes.
Whether veneration for the Lotos, was adopted by the Egyptians from the Hindūs, or whether it originated from causes common to both countries, may be doubtful; but Sir William Jones imagines that even the name Nile may have been taken from the Sanscrit word Nila, blue. Dionysius, he observes,* calls that river an azure
* Dionysius, Orbis Descriptio, &c.
Mr. Wilford informs us that Hindu authors also name this river Cali as well as Nila. "The river Cali took its name from the goddess Ma-ha-cali, supposed to have made her first appearance on its banks in the character of Rajarajeswari, called also Isani and Isi; and, in the character of Sati, she was transformed into the river itself. The word Cala signifies black; and, from the root Cal, it means also devouring, whence it is applied to Time; and from both senses in the feminine, to the goddess in her destructive capacity; an interpretation adopted, as we shall see hereafter, in the Puranas. In her character of Ma-ha-cali she has many other epithets, all implying different shades of black,