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of a beautiful hymn to this deity, Sir William Jones informs us :* “ The Hindu god, to whom the following poem is addressed, appears evidently the same with the Grecian Eros, and the Roman Cupido; but the Indian description of his person and arms, his family, attendants, and attributes, has new and peculiar beauties.”
According to the Hindu mythology, he is the son of Maya, or the general attracting power, and married to Retty, or Affection; his bosom friend is Vassant, or Spring ; he is represented as a beautiful youth, sometimes conversing with his mother and consort in the midst of gardens and in temples; sometimes riding by moonlight on a parrot, or lory, and attended by nymphs, the foremost of whom bears his standard, which represents a fish on a red ground. His favorite place of resort is a large tract of country round Agra, and principally the plains of Matra, where Krishen also and
* See Works of Sir William Jones, 8vo. edit. vol. xiii.
the nine Gopia, who are clearly the Apollo and Muses of the Greeks, usually spend the night with music and dance. His bow of
sugar-cane, or flowers, with a string of bees, and his five arrows, each pointed with an Indian blossom of a heating quality, are allegories equally new and beautiful. He has at least twenty-three names, most of which are introduced in the hymn.
When Tanjore was taken by the English, a curious picture was found, representing Camadeva riding on an elephant, whose body was composed of the figures of young women, entwined in so whimsical, but ingenious a manner, as to exhibit the shape of that enormous animal. Several pieces of sculpture of the same figure, in bas-relief, have been met with in other parts of Hindustan Sir William Jones mentions a picture of the same kind; in which the elephant is composed of nine damsels, and the rider is Krishen.
The Eros of the Greeks is found riding on, and guiding, a lion. The Hindus place Camadeva an elephant, the
strongest of the brute creation, and, perhaps, the most difficult to be tamed, but afterwards the most docile.
The ancients mention four Apollos: one, the son of Vulcan; another, the son of Corybas, and born in Crete;, a third, the son of Jupiter and Latona; and another, the pastoral Apollo, born in Arcadia, and named by the Greeks Nomius. * This last corresponds with the Krishen of the Hindūs, who is supposed by one of their sects, to have been the god Vishnu, in one of his incarnations, and to have come amongst mankind as the son of Divaci Vasudeva :
but his birth was concealed through fear of the tyrant Cansa, to whom it had been predicted, that a child born at that time, and in that family, would destroy him; he was, therefore, confided to an honest herdsman of Mathura, surnamed Ananda, or the Happy, and his amiable wife, Yasoda ;
* Nomius is also one of the names of the rural deity Aristæus, and an epithet given to Pan,
who, like another Pales,* was constantly occupied in her pastures and her dairy. In the family were numerous young gopas, or cow-herds, and beautiful gopis, or milkmaids, who were his play fellows during his infancy. When a youth, he selected out of these, nine damsels as his favourites, with whom he spent his
hours in dan. cing, sporting, and playing on his mourly, or flute. He is described as a youth of perfect beauty; and many princesses, as well as the damsels of Nanda's farm, were passionately in love with him. He is likewise named Mohun, or the Beloved, Maenoher, or the Heart-catcher; and he continues to this hour to be the darling divinity of Hindū women. When a boy, he slew the terrible serpent Caliya, with many giants and monsters; at a more advanced age, he killed his cruel enemy Cansa; and, having taken under his protection king Judishter, and the other Pandoos, who had been oppressed by the Kooroos and their tyrannical chief, he kindled the war described in the great epic poem, entitled the Mahabarat; at the prosperous conclusion of which he returned to his heavenly seat in Vaicontha, having left the instruction comprised in the Geetą to his disconsolate friend Arjoon, whose grandson became sovereign of India.”*
* The tutelar divinity of the shepherds, and protec. tress of their flocks,
It cannot be denied, that much affinity is to be found between the Krishen of Mathura, and Nomius, the pastoral Apollo, a god beautiful, amorous, and warlike, who fed the flocks of Admetus, and slew the serpent Python.
“ In the mystical and elevated character of Pan, as a personification of the universe, (according to the notion of Lord Bacon,) there arises a sort of similitude between him and Krishen,+ considered as Narayan. The
+ For Krishen, we presume, should be read Mahadeva.