India in Primitive Christianity - Introduction
Tree and Serpent worship carried by the Phenicians everywhere—The religion of the Indian jungle—Baal in Palestine—The "Star of Chiun" (S’iva)—The Mahâdeos and Masseboth—Special blood-thirstiness of the Phenician Divinity—"Holy of Holies" of Jewish Temple, and "Sanctuary of the S’iva-Linga" in India.
Colonel Tod tells us that somewhere near Baroda he came across some followers of Durgâ living in caves in abject poverty. They were called Aghoras, or Murdi Chors (man-eaters), and fed on human flesh of the most putrid description, sometimes coming down and begging the body at a funeral. Their goddess they called Aghora Îswarî Mata (Lean Famine), and they pictured her as hungry and as insatiate as themselves.
This spectacle is immensely interesting.
We see the religion of Durgâ in its earliest form.
Early man had three stages of progress:—
(1) The cave man, whose sole food came to him by hunting and battle.
(2) The shepherd, who by the invention of tents could move about from place to place seeking new pastures for his flocks and herds.
(3) In the third stage man had learnt to till the ground and build houses.
The Egyptians and Babylonians, when they emerge in real history, had selected vast plains watered by great rivers as sites for their cities. In a word, they had reached the third stage of progress, the agricultural. Between them and the starving Indian Aghora in his dripping cave there might be hundreds, possibly thousands, of years. And yet their religion was the religion of the Indian Aghora.
Let us try and picture to ourselves the condition of the earliest cave man in an Indian jungle. When we remember that man's first idea of a god is that of a malignant and hurtful being, we cannot be surprised that two special divinities soon suggested themselves.
(1) At the period when the rainy season is over and the burning sun strikes upon the rotten vegetation, Indian jungles are ravaged by a terrible fever called the jungle fever. It is almost certain death to expose oneself to it.
(2) The second danger comes from the cobra (Naja Tripudians), a snake whose poison mingling with the blood kills the victim in a few hours. In civilised modern India something like 24,000 Hindus perish every year from this snake. India is a vast triangular plain. In these days it was choked with jungles. The poor Aghora had to hunt for his food, bare-footed, in unhealthy seasons as well as healthy seasons. Soon came to him his first idea of a god, a cannibal witch, symbolised in the form of a tree. She was Nirriti, of the Rig Veda, the fever-breath of the Indian forest.
But the deadly snake likewise did not escape observation. He became at once a male god, the Seshanâg, S’iva the husband of Durgâ; the two seemed to work together. Both were propitiated with the gift that the starved and hungry Aghora most valued—raw meat, the warm blood of beasts and babies.
A third divinity very soon suggested itself: a stone; and at this point all that we shall say of it is that it was utilitarian. It was not carved or fashioned in any way; man did not know how to carve or fashion anything. In his cave dwelling it was a lump of the bed rock, and on this he poured the warm blood of the victim. The stone represented Durgâ as well as S’iva. These three objects of worship were started many thousand years ago.
What was the date of the early Indian cave men? How can we fix that? Cave dwellers before they could become shepherds had to invent the tent.
One fact suggests an enormous gap between the Aghora and the builder of cities. When the great Âryan shell burst in Bactria the fragments, the separate Âryan clans, must have been in a pastoral state of development at most. One fragment, Greece, as we see, learnt agriculture from the wife of S’iva or Kronos; one fragment, the Italian, learnt it from S’iva's son Janus, or Ganeśa; one, the Babylonian, learnt it from Rhea, or S’iva's wife Durgâ.
But Professor Max Müller tells us that thousands of years must have elapsed before the ancient Bactrian language could have changed to pure Greek or pure Latin; and Janus, let us say, and Ceres, must have given their instructions in some more modern tongue than the Bactrian, or they would not have been understood.
Of only one thing we can he quite certain, and that is that the epoch of the cave-dweller must be judged by the figures, almost of geological computation.
Kronos, or S’iva, taught Thebes, Babylon, Tyre, Jerusalem, agriculture. Another lesson he taught them: the religion of the Aghora.
That consisted, as we have seen, of three special points:—
(1) The worship of a cannibal witch in the form of a tree.
(2) The worship of a snake, the Naja Tripudians.
(3) The worship of a rough unhewn stone.
Now this in a word was the exact religion of Thebes, Babylon, Athens, Tyre; and the cannibalism of the witch survived everywhere in vast human sacrifices.
The following legend comes from the Skanda Purâna:—
Durgâ was once very angry with S’iva, accusing him of dalliance with the Apsaras. Refusing to be pacified she fled to the jungles, and seating herself in the hollow trunk of a Sami tree, she performed Tâpasya, or ascetic practices, for nine years. Immense magical powers came to her in her wrath, and flames burst forth which scattered all the animals and shepherds living near the place, and threatened ruin far and near. Sacrifices were made to her and, pacified by these, she determined to restrict this combustion to the Sami tree. She lives in it as Samirama, the goddess of the Sami tree. It was settled that the Araṇî, the wooden drill that lights the sacred fire, should always be from this tree, and that her festival as the Tree goddess should take place once a year, on which occasion she would bestow abundant wealth and corn to all her worshippers.*
This legend is plainly written to account for Indian tree worship to appease the goddess of Indian fire and Indian fever.
This festival of Durgâ is still the leading festival of India.
Let us now consider Tree-worship in Palestine.
"In early times," says Robertson Smith, "tree worship had such a vogue in Canaan that the sacred tree, or the pole its surrogate, had come to be viewed as a general symbol of Deity."
Mrs. Philpot, in her work on Tree-worship, says the same thing. "There is no country in the world where the tree was more ardently worshipped than it was in ancient Palestine. Amongst the Canaanites every altar to the god had its sacred tree beside it, and when the Israelites established local sanctuaries under their influence, they set up their altar under a green tree, and planted beside it, as its indispensable accompaniment, an Ashêra, which was either a living tree or a tree-like post, and not a 'grove,' as rendered in the Authorised Version."
But in some texts the Ashêra is confused with the goddess Ashtoreth in person, as the Sami Tree in India and Durgâ are deemed one.
Another point of contact between Israel and India is remarkable, namely, the reaping festival. The Jews are commanded to go out for nine days into the woods "when they have gathered the fruit of the land," and to "cut down the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook," and to live in booths of trees seven days.
In India, in the Deccan, during the festival of the tree, the Peishwa and all his followers move out into camp. The whole population marches in solemn procession towards the Holy Tree. Elephants and camels, Sepoys and noblemen, are all dressed out in gorgeous array. The Peishwa in person plucks a few leaves from the tree after the prescribed sacrifices are completed. Cannon and muskets are discharged and all decorate themselves with stalks of the jowri or rice plant.
Mrs. Philpot holds that the Israelites got this Tree worship from the followers of the Assyrian Astarte, but why go so far afield? Ezekiel (xx. 8, 13.) tells us that the Israelites were thoroughly imbued with the religion of Egypt, and that they "rebelled" against Jehovah in the wilderness, which phrase means, no doubt, that they still preserved Egyptian rites and Egyptian ideas. Lower Egypt, where they had been confined, worshipped Bal, or Typhon, with its serpent worship and tree worship. "Trees," says Maspero, "were the homes of the various divinities."
"They have built also their high places to Baal to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings to Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, nor came it into my mind."
Many critics hold that the earliest god of the Israelites was really this Baal, the chief point of discussion now being, When did Jehovah worship come in.
"Amos," says Professor Dozy, "tells us that the so-called Tabernacle, the Mosaic Sanctuary, was dedicated to Saturn (Chiun or Chievan, i.e., Baal), so that a sanctuary of Baal stood at Shiloh just as a feast of Baal took place at the Gilgal.
"The same is shown by the fact that the place where the ark stood in Samuel's days, known afterwards as Kirjath Jearim was formerly called Kirjath Baal or simply Baal (1 Chron. xiii. 6).
"The strongest proof, however, that the worship of Baal went hand in hand with that of J.H.V.H. and existed as lawful worship till David's time is the fact that the name Baal occurs in several proper names. Among others in those of the sons of Saul and David, viz., Eshbaal, Meribaal, Baalyahad. The Compiler o f the Books of Samuel, who disliked this, changed these names into Ishbosheth, Mephiboseth, Elyadah, but in parallel passages of the Chronicles the original names are preserved."*
Dr. Oort attacks this as "extravagant." He points out that the passage in Amos mentions not one but three objects of worship, a tent, a Chiun, and a star. He concludes that there is no proof at all that Chiun had anything to do with the planet Saturn. In writing thus confidently he little expected a bolt from the blue.
For Orientalists marking the controversy saw at once its immense importance. Chiun, in its more correct reading "Chievan," is almost the French "Chivin," their name for S’iva. He is called in different parts of India "Shiva," "Shivin," "Chivin." The French call him "Chivin." And the three objects that are supposed to confound Dr. Dozy confirm him instead. The Tabernacle is the Vahan or pavilion carriage of S’iva, and the six-rayed star is also most important. S’iva's symbol is an equilateral triangle; Durgâ's is the same turned upside down. The two joined form the six-rayed star of Amos. That is the S’iva-Durgâ combination.
And when Dr. Oort tells us that Chiun had nothing whatever to do with Saturn we are a little amazed.
In Acts vii. 443, we read, "Yea, ye took up the Tabernacle of Moloch and the star of your god Remphan." The author of "the Acts" knew what was meant, and in point of fact he is quoting the Septuagint, which altered "Chiun" into "Remphan."
And Jehovah's great anger against "Ashtoreth, the goddess of Sidon," and the "pillars" and "groves," does not harmonise with the early books. We are told (2 Kings xviii. 24) that "Hezekiah removed the high places and brake the images and cut down the groves and brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made."
Does it seem likely that Moses would have made a brazen serpent almost immediately after he had received a stupendous command from the Almighty never to make the likeness of anything in the heaven above or the earth beneath?
Professor Maspero shows a curious point of contact between the worshippers of Ba’al, in Syria and the worshippers of S’iva, in India. Each tribe, each city, each people had its special Baal, Baal Sur, Baal Sidon, as in India Andhikîśwara is the S’iva in Andheke's cave, another is in Perumterrai, and so on.
"Each of these Baalim, as they were called, had his Astarte, Ashera, Sanit." "Astartis," says the Professor, "presided over love, generation, war, and in consequence over the different seasons of the year, that when nature is restored to youth and that when she seems to die. Gods and goddesses they dwell on the tops of mountains, the Lebanon, Hermon, Sinai, Kasios. They love forests and springs. They reveal themselves to mortals in high places (bamoth). They dwell in trees, in unhewn stones (betyles) and even in fashioned columns (masseboth)."*
But when we have shown the Indian Durgâ in Palestine and Egypt as the provider of plenty at the tree festival, we have only got halfway to the real difficulty. Why, at that festival did she also figure as a cannibal witch?
Says the "Encyclopædia Britannica":—"Among the nations of Canaan the victims were peculiarly chosen. Their own children and whatever was nearest and dearest to them were deemed the most worthy offerings to their god. The Carthaginians who were a colony of Tyre, carried with them the religion of their mother country and instituted the same worship in the parts where they settled. It consisted in the adoration of several deities, but particularly of Kronus; to whom they offered human sacrifices, and especially the blood of children. If the parents were not at hand to make an immediate offer the magistrates did not fail to make choice of what was most fair and promising, that the god might not be defrauded of his dues. Upon a check being received in Sicily, and other alarming circumstances happening, Hamilcar without any hesitation laid hold of a boy and offered him on the spot to Kronus. The Carthaginians another time upon a great defeat of their army by Agathocles imputed their miscarriages to the anger of the god whose services had been neglected. Touched with this and seeing the enemy at their gates, they seized at once three hundred children of the prime nobility and offered them in public for a sacrifice. Three hundred men, being persons who were somehow obnoxious, yielded themselves voluntarily and were put to death with the others . . . There were particular children brought up for the altar as sheep are fattened for the shambles; and they were bought and butchered in the same manner. It is remarkable that the Egyptians looked out for the most specious and handsome person to be sacrificed. The Albanians pitched upon the best man of the community."
When we read of this awful butchery, we see at once a wild paradox, a monstrous inconsequence. A tree charged with ripe fruit suggests a festival of thanksgiving, but why should it be smeared and fouled with all this human blood. Durgâ is a cannibal witch, and I say that we must go back to the Indian Aghora and his jungle, at a time when human flesh was choice food. In those days the fever tree suggested frantic propitiations.
Mrs. Philpot and Professor Sayce carry Tree-worship back to Eridu on the Persian Gulf, B.C. 4,000.
But Assyria was badly off for trees and had to get her teak from India. Why should not the Indian Tree goddess have come with the Indian tree? In the Rig Veda, Bala has a wife, "Nirriti the Insurmountable."
"May Nirriti so formidable by her power, Nirriti the Insurmountable, never draw near to smite us. May she perish with the thirst that she causes."*
Monsieur Buffon thus describes an ancient forest:—
"All along the swampy banks of the river Niger or Oroonoko, where the sun is bot="HTMLMarkup" endspan i-checksum="53345" --> hot, the forests thick, and men but few, the serpents cling among the branches of the trees in infinite numbers. They carry on an unceasing war against all other animals in their vicinity. Travellers have assured us that they have often seen large snakes twining round the trunk of a tall tree, encompassing it like a wreath and thus climbing up and down at pleasure."
The French naturalist goes on to say that the fabulous stories of gigantic serpents may have had some solid truth. Pliny talks of a serpent one hundred and twenty feet long. In India is a serpent that attacks large tigers and buffaloes. These animals it swallows whole; and it takes, we learn, almost as many months to digest a big buffalo as Ravan's brother Kumbhakarna took to digest his gigantic meal.
This description of a forest by the French naturalist gives probably a good picture of an Indian jungle when the earliest Aghora was living in a cave near it. What wonder that he sacrificed to the Serpent Manasâ (one of the earliest forms of Durgâ), and prayed her to protect him from her too numerous brood.
Turning from India to the Delta of the Nile, we find that a city sprang up there which had for its god Typhon, or Bal; then Typhon had for wife Echidna, a serpent, and was himself furnished with one hundred serpent heads. The pair are certainly Seshanâg and Manasâ.
The Creator of the universe was the serpent god and "Kneph, and Egypt," says the anonymous author of "Ophiolatreia," "was the home of this peculiar worship." Gau gives a drawing of one of the columns of a cave temple at Derri. It was four-sided, with for capital four heads of Isis, and with Typhon's serpent body repeated four times along the shaft. This would make Typhon her first husband. In "Ophiolatreia," Horus is called a serpent god. Thermuthis was the name of the snake chiefly worshipped. It is a cobra, the Naja Hage. We learn from Diodorus Seculus that the kings of Egypt wore high bonnets that terminated at top in a round ball, and the whole was surrounded with figures of asps. The priests likewise had upon their bonnets these serpents.
Says the author of "Ophiolatreia," "The worship of the Serpent, next to the adoration of the Phallus, is one of the most remarkable, and at first sight, unaccountable forms of religion the world has ever known. Until the true source from whence it sprang can be reached and understood, its nature will remain as mysterious as its universality, for what man could see in an object so repulsive and forbidding in its habits as this reptile to render worship to, is one of the most difficult problems to find a solution to. There is hardly a country of the ancient world, however, where it cannot be traced pervading every known system of mythology.
"Whether the worship was the result of fear or respect is a question that naturally enough presents itself, and in seeking to answer it we shall be confronted with the fact that in some places, as Egypt, the symbol was that of a good demon while in India, Scandinavia, and Mexico it was that of an evil one."
All this is very important: indeed, far more important than the anonymous author of "Ophiolatreia" seems to suspect. In point of fact India viewed the serpent from two opposing points. First it was an object of wild terror when rude tribes like the Aghoras died in thousands from its bites. Ahi was a terrible god at the date of the Rig Veda. But by whatever name and under whatever symbol you describe the Supreme God, the god of the savage will in process of time gain in wisdom and gain in loving-kindness. Ahi became Sesh. At first "in distributing the regions to the different gods," says Colonel Moor, "Seshanâga had the regions under the earth allotted to him."* That is, he was S’iva living in his bottomless pit. Then Sesh with his thousand heads grew so popular in India that the followers of Vishnu were obliged to try and steal him. One thing is certain, serpents are more petted in India than elsewhere. Purchas, in his "Pilgrims," tells us that a king in Calicut (the city of Kâlî) built cottages for live serpents, whom he tended with particular care. He executed any one who in his dominions destroyed a snake.
Says Mr. Rivett Carnae:—
"I find from my notes that one Kunbi whom I questioned in old days when I was a Settlement officer in camp in the Nâgpur Division, stated that he worshipped the Nâg and nothing else; that he worshipped clay images of the snake, and when he could afford to pay snake catchers for a look at a live one he worshipped the living snake; that if he saw a Nâg on the road he would worship it, and that he believed no Hindu would kill a Nâg or cobra if he knew it was a Nâg. He then gave me the following list of articles that he would use in worshipping the snake.
(1) Water; (2) Cleaned rice; (3) Gandh pigment of sandal wood for the forehead and body; (4) Flowers; (5) Leaves of the Bail tree; (6) Milk; (7) Curds; (8) A thread, or piece of cloth; (9) Red powder; (10) Saffron; (11) Abir, a powder composed of fragrant substances; (12) Garland of flowers; (13) Buttemah, or grain; (14) Jowarri; (15) Five lights; (16) Sweetmeats; (17) Betel leaves; (18) Cocoa-nut; (19) A sum of money, according to means; (20) Flowers offered by the suppliant, the palms of the hand being joined.
We see from this that Indian Serpent, worship had two stages. The serpent was first of all a grim bogey, and then a benign being. In Egypt we see only the second stage. We must remember also that Egypt was inundated yearly by the Nile which would kill most of the snakes. Plainly the derivation comes from India.
Other coincidences I give for what they are worth. The city of Typhon was Memphis, where dwelt the Pharaoh of Exodus, and if it be true that the Israelites, as Dr. Erasmus Wilson assures us, had dwelt four hundred years in Lower Egypt, we may credit them with carrying away some of the local superstitions across the Red Sea. At the Nâgapanchami festival in India, Durgâ figures as Manasâ the Serpent, and it is curious that the first god objectivised after the Exodus takes the form of the curative brazen serpent erected by Moses to cure the bites of the "fiery" serpents. Miss Wilson Carmichael gives another point of contact. The natives of Madras once a year leave a number of hand-prints and fingerprints on their doors, marking them with S’iva's white paste made of cow dung and the ashes of the vilva and asoka. In India this is done that the snake Manasâ may spare the houses of her votaries. This suggests the marking of the houses in Exodus.
We have considered two out of the three special characteristics which I have put forward as tracing S’iva Worship to the early cave man. We now come to the third—sex-worship; and it is time to mention a fourth characteristic, namely, bull-worship. This, of course, cannot be traced as far back as the cave man, for it implies that the pastoral age had been reached. But when Saivism went abroad on its strange missionary career, this bull-worship was very prominent. We must all defer to an Indian authority as shrewd as Colonel Tod. He held that this bull worship was the strongest evidence in Palestine, Egypt, etc., of S’ivan derivation.
"What are Bal and the Brazen Calf to which especial honours were paid on the 15th day of the month but the Baliswar, and the Bull Nandi of India?"*
Colonel Tod explains that the Hindus divide the month into two pukhs or fortnights. At the beginning of the second pukh called the Amava, the bull Nandi is worshipped on the fifteenth day of the month. Now we learn from 1 Kings xiii. that Jeroboam made a golden calf and sacrificed to it on the fifteenth day of the month at Beth-el. Colonel Tod connects the two incidents.
Now although, as I have said, we cannot carry back bull worship to the date of the Aghora who lived by the chase alone, we may, I think, inferentially carry it back to the Rig Veda. Bala there figures living in his cavern with his "wives," "cows," "Devaputras," and if Âryan bards were like other bards, and used what was before their eyes to express their ideas, the Asura whose wives were "cows" must have been a bull. Indra is praised in one hymn for having "killed the wives whom the Black one had rendered pregnant." S’iva or Bala was the Black One, and his followers are called in the Rig Veda "Black, noseless Dasyus."
But Devî is certainly a cow when S’iva is a bull.
Of this union Sir William Jones writes thus:—
"Bhavânî (Durgâ) now demands our attention, and in this character I suppose the wife of Mahâdeva to be as well the Juno Cinxia or Lucina of the Romans(called also by them Diana Solvizona, and by the Greeks Ilithyia), as Venus herself, not the Idalian queen of laughter and jollity . . . but Venus Urania, so luxuriantly painted by Lucretius, and so properly invoked by him at the opening of a poem on nature; Venus presiding over generation, and on this account exhibited sometimes of both sexes (an union very common in the Indian sculptures), as in her bearded statue at Rome, in the images perhaps called Mermathena, and of those figures of her which had the form of a conical marble "for the reason of which figure we are left," says Tacitus, "in the dark." The reason appears too clearly in the temples and paintings of Hindustan, where it never seems to have entered into the heads of the legislators or people that anything natural could be offensively obscene, a singularity which pervades all their writings and conversation, but is no proof of depravity in their morals. Both Plato and Cicero speak of Eros or the Heavenly Cupid as the son of Venus and Jupiter, which proves that the monarch of Olympus and the goddess of Fecundity were connected as Mahâdeva and Bhavânî. (Works Vol. III., p. 367).*
This moderation of tone, and this spirit of abstract justice on the part of a distinguished legist contrasts with certain clerical petulancies.
Bishop Heber calls this worship "uncleanness and abomination." In fact he considers the 200,000,000 Hindus in India as "vile" as the poor Buddhists of Ceylon, who to the grosser vision of the laity, seem the most peaceable and loyal of His Majesty's subjects.
What though the spicy breezes
Blow soft on Ceylon's Isle,
And every prospect pleases,
And only man is vile. . .
But to visit on the heads of the Indians the blemishes of a form of worship which was universal at one time, and especially conspicuous and objectionable in Palestine of old, and not very nice at the head-quarters of Christianity in the Middle Ages, is scarcely just. The "Jew's harp" symbol, as it is called, is said to be on the portal of the cathedral of Toulouse, and also on other churches; and Nelson's friend, Sir William Hamilton, has described practices, not mere carnival fooleries, but proceedings at the solemn festivals of St. Cosmo and St. Damiana which bring down the "abomination" to very modern times.
The Aghora, the early savage, lived in a cave. Fever swept away some of his companions. Snakes killed others. He had an idea of a god, not a very lofty one, but the best obtainable. Vaguely he imaged to himself a potency that could oppose death; and he chose a stone to represent him, a plain stone. The idea was utilitarian, and by-and-bye it developed. In enlarging his cave he left a lump of the bed-rock to represent the "Mahâdeo," and the larger this object the less his labour. It is impossible to know how soon sex worship intervened. Mr. R. F. Burton, in a paper entitled "Certain Matters connected with the Dahoman," read before the Anthropological Society, shows that the crave for offspring is very strong with savages like the Dahomans, and the practices of sex worship very gross. Certainly, if births do not correct the death rates, the tribe promptly dwindles, and with savages, for labour and battle, strong men are required. But it is difficult to prove that this sex worship is spontaneous and not derived. The Aryans, when they first reached India, were in a rude state of development, and they fell foul of the Indian sex-worship at first instead of adopting it.
Mr. Grant Allen has shown the close analogy between S’iva and Yahveh, each being symbolised by a stone on which the oil, wine and ghee of the linga pûjâ was poured, and each being famous for opening the wombs of elderly Sarahs, Hannahs, Rebekahs.* The Holy Places were all Mahâdeos. A "Rock" accompanied the Israelites in the desert.
"Of the Rock that begot thee thou art unmindful," says Deuteronomy (viii. 18). Grant Allen thinks that the "ark" carried always a S’iva stone inside.
In the Temple of S’iva there is one holy chamber which contains the Shiva Linga, the most exalted form of Mahâdeo. No one but an Ati Shaiva Brahmin can enter this.† Two special forms of adoration are exacted in the "Sanctuary of the Shiva linga." The first is the Pari-i-dakshina. "I will compass thine altar, O Lord," said David. The second is the "Salutation with eight members." "And Balaam bowed his head and fell flat on his face" (Numbers xxiii. 31). I have alluded already to the S’iva Temple Dance. "Let them praise him in the dance," says Psalm clxix.
In the Sepher-Toldoth-Jeshu it is announced that there was a stone in the temple on which was inscribed the inexpressible name of God. It was placed in the Holy of Holies by David.
There is a controversy about this book, but the statement is partly confirmed by passages in the Old Testament:—"Jacob set up a pillar and anointed it with oil and poured a drink-offering on it, and called it Beth-el, the 'House of God.'" Plainly he worshipped it like the Indian Mahâdeo. (Genesis xviii. 22; xxv. 7, 14.)
Later on David selected a site for Solomon's Temple, and apparently this stone was chosen, this "House of God" (1 Chron. xxii. 1, 4). It was believed in the Talmud to figure in the Holy of Holies, and to be inscribed with the inexpressible name J.H.V.H. It was called the Shemhamphoras. Do we not here seem to get the "Sanctuary of the Shiva linga?"
And in many other points the worship of Baal and S’iva seems identical. The Israelites burn incense to the brazen serpent (2 Kings xviii. 4). There is mention of a "box" with perfumes and oil (1 Sam. x. 1); also of the "flowers," the "lamps" and the "tongs" (2 Chron. iv. 21). "A people that sacrificeth in gardens" (Isaiah lxv. 3) suggests the sacredness of the "Temple Gardens" of a S’ivan pile.
Noteworthy also is the "Prophet disguised with ashes" (1 Kings xx. 38).
The Yogis of S’iva are distinguished thus all over India, the god being imaged as a white-dusted Yogi. The Book of Numbers gives a receipt for this white ash:—
"Burn the heifer with her dung" (Numbers xix. 5).
The Indian white ash has also cow-dung for the chief ingredient. One more point is remarkable. The ashes of S’iva "can blot out all the greater sins."* In Israel the ashes were collected outside the camp to purify "the congregation and the children" (Numbers xix. 2, 17). In Hebrews (ix. 13) it is announced that these "ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean sanctify to the purifying of the flesh."
And the earliest Indian account of the Creation of the Fourteen Worlds is very remarkable. At first on the top of Kailâsa, S’iva's mount, appeared a bare tree trunk in a triangle, the lingam and the Yoni. This equilateral triangle is still S’iva's special symbol; and that of Yahveh is a similar triangle, with the upright letter Yodh in it.
It is plain too that the earlier Jewish divinity represented a god that supervised what men call evil as well as what they call good:—
Says Yahveh: "I make peace and create evil."
And S’iva's Hermaphrodite element appears as well as his Pantheism: "The Lord created Adam male and female."
Then, too, the priests who danced to the sound of the tabret and cut themselves with knives remind one of modern Sadhus in India. All this is of considerable importance as it points to a well-worn pathway between India and Palestine.
And why was the serpent viewed as a beneficent Divinity by Moses, and the Author of Evil in the fragment called the "Jehovistic" interpolation, in chapters ii., iii., and iv. of Genesis? It seems an attack on the Serpent and Tree Worship of the earlier times.
Suggestions for Further Reading
- Hinduism and Christianity, Jesus in India
- The Advaita Vedanta - Non Duality
- Introduction to Hinduism - Prakriti
- The Kapila And The Pâtañjala Samkhya Yoga
- Brahman According to Advaita and Dvaita in Hinduism
- Atheism and Materialism in Ancient India
- Solving the Hindu Caste System
- Emptiness or Sunyavada in Buddhism
- Buddhism - A Discourse on Ignorance
- The Working of Maya or Illusion - A Buddhist Perspective
- Buddhism - The Middle Way or the Middle Path
- What Samsara Means in Buddhism
- The Chaos Theory and Nirvana in Buddhism
- Hinduism and Caste System
- Dealing with Chance, Fate and Acts of God
- Death and Afterlife in Hinduism
- What is Hinduism?
- Hinduism and Diversity
- Hinduism and Judaism
- Hinduism and Same-sex Marriage
- Significance of Happiness in Hinduism
- Redirect - Symbolism Hinduism
- The Meaning and Purpose of Yoga
30:* "Asiatic Researches," Vol. IV.
32:* Cited in Dr. Oort's "Worship of Baalim," p. 7.
34:* Maspero, "Hist. Ancienne des Peuples d’Orient," p. 340.
35:* Lect. III., Hymn VI.
38:* Moor, "Pantheon," p. 180.
40:* "Travels in Western India," p. 54.
43:* Grant Allen, "Evolution of the Idea of God." p. 73.
43:† "Catechism of the Shaiva Religion," by Sabhapati Mudahya, p. 53.
44:* "Catechism of the Shaiva Religion," by Sabhapati Mudahya, p. 74.
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