India in Primitive Christianity - Chapter 1 - Siva

India In Primitive Christianity

Arthur Lillie

His legends being older, and not in Sanskrit, he has been neglected.—Found in India by the Aryans when they crossed the mountains—S’iva as the Cobra, and Durgâ as the Tree (pestilential Indian jungle) probably the oldest gods in the world.—S’iva as the Phenician Baal.—Esoterically a noble Pantheism fighting with the Polytheisms around.—The S’iva-Durgâ Cultus rises everywhere far above other religions, and also sinks lower. Invents the Yogi—and the Yoga philosophy.—Invents the Hypostases.—Great importance of Ganes’a in the history of civilization.

As the Indian god S’iva has much to do with our present inquiry, first of all we must try to get a better knowledge of him. Professor Horace Hayman Wilson tells us that Saiva literature has been very little presented to the Hindus. The legends are not in Sanskrit.

From the earliest times the thunderstorm has been used to image God's voice and God's anger. We see Thor with his "hammer" knock down the enormous cloud-giant, Hrungner. In the First Book of Samuel, Yahve "thunders with a great thunder" and defeats the Philistine enemies of the chosen race. In Hesiod the "vaulted sky, the Mount Olympus, flashed with the terrible bolts" of Zeus in the Titan warfare. This symbolism naturally suggests itself when we look up to the "vaulted sky"; but in the Rig Veda it takes a different turn. Indra the Thunderer vanquishes his enemy Vritra, but often he seeks him in a "Cavern," a bottomless pit.

"He (Indra) has burst in the doors of that cavern where Vritra detained the waters shut up in his power. Indra has torn to pieces Suchna (Drought viewed as God) with his horns of menace."

"By him has been opened the bosom of that vault, yea, that vault without boundaries. Armed with the thunderbolt, Indra, the greatest of the Angiras, has forced the stable of the Celestial Cows."*

That the chief god inimical to the Aryans was S’iva there can be no doubt. His special symbol is the Mahâdeo, and Dr. Muir has unearthed two passages of the Rig Veda that blurt out this truth brutally.

"May the glorious Indra triumph over hostile beings. Let not those whose god is the S’is’na approach our sacred ceremony."

"Desiring to bestow strength on the struggle that warrior (Indra) has besieged inaccessible places at the time when irresistibly slaying those whose god is the S’is’na he by his force conquered the riches of the City with a hundred gates."

The S’is’na is the Mahâdeo, sex worship in puris naturalibus.

Another symbol under which S’iva is attacked is that of a serpent. He is "Ahi," of the Rig Veda. Serpents even in modern times kill about 24,000 people every year in India. It is most probable that S’iva and Durgâ as two snakes were the earliest of Indian gods. Every year Durgâ figures as a snake at the Nâgapanchami Festival, and is prayed toto preserve her votaries against snake bites.

"He (Indra) has struck Ahi, who was hiding in the body of a mountain. He has struck him with that resounding weapon forged by Twashtri (the Vulcan ofthe Vedas), and the waters like cows ran towards their stable He has struck the first born of the Ahis."*

Durga as the serpent manasa

But Ahi or Vritra has a wicked wife, "Nirriti the insurmountable." This is plainly S’iva's wife, Durgâ (the Tower of Strength).

"May Nirriti whose force is so formidable never come near to smite us, Nirriti the insurmountable. May she perish with the thirst that she herself instils."

A French Orientalist thinks that she was a personification of the terrible Indian fever. This is, of course, the basis of the tree worship in an Indian jungle.

But another name, a very important one, was rendered prominent by that active Orientalist, Colonel Tod, namely Bal. When he was staying in Saurashtra he noticed this name in many temples. There was Balpur (the City of Bala), Balnath (the Lord Bal), and the plateau of the Sahyadri mountains was called Mahâbaleshwar (the Great Ishwara, Bala or S’iva).

Colonel Tod believed that this God, Bala, was the Baal of the Phenicians, and through them the Bal, Sit, or Typhon, the earliest god of Memphis and lower Egypt. In Babylon he was Bel with his wife Ashtoreth. The names Bala and Bali are philologically the same, being based on the word Balishwara. In the Râmâyana Sîva is termed Bali, and in the Rig Veda he is named Bala.

"God who wieldest the Thunderbolt, thou hast burst in the cavern where Bala kept the celestial cows."

"The Maruts support Indra when that God armed with the lightning and strengthened by our offerings, smites the soldiers of Bala, as Trita dispersed the guards."

Inscriptions dating as early as 4,000 B.C. have induced Professor Sayce and others to claim for Assyria the lead in early religious ideas. But Colonel Tod believes that the religion of S’iva was spread abroad at a very early age, before the Phenicians came in with their Baal worship. Recent discoveries have confirmed Colonel Tod.

It has been discovered that Indian teak was used for building purposes in Babylon, and Indian muslin was known there, and called "Sindhu," the early name for India.

Another singularly able Orientalist, Mr. Paterson, wrote thus in the "Asiatic Researches"*

"The doctrines of the Saivas seem to have extended themselves over the greatest portion of mankind. They spread amongst remote nations, who were ignorant of the origin and meaning of the rites they adopted, and this ignorance may be considered as the cause of the mixture and confusion of images and ideas which characterised the mythology of the ancient Greeks and Romans.

"In fact, foreign nations could only copy the outward signs and ceremonies. They could not be admitted beyond the threshold of the temple. The adytum was impenetrable to them.

"Kal and Kâlî assumed various names. Kal became Kronos, Moloch, Saturn, Dis, Pluto, and Typhon. Kâlî became Hecate, Proserpine, and Diana who was, worshipped with bloody sacrifice at Tauris. It was to the barbarians that the Greeks were referred by their own writers to understand the names and origin of their deities.

"S’iva in his character of the creative power became the Zeus triopthalmos (the 'three-eyed,' a special characteristic of S’iva) Jupiter and Osiris. His consort Bhavânî, became Juno, Venus, Cybele, Rhoea the Syrian goddess, the armed Pallas, Iris, Ceres, and Anna Perenna. The multiplication of deities arose from the ignorance of foreign nations as to the source of the superstition which they adopted, and the original meaning of the symbols.

"They supplied their want of information by fables congenial to their own national character and manners: hence arose those contradictions which made their theology a labyrinth of confusion."*

And now what is S’iva?

The first answer would be that he is the God of Destruction, who moves about amongst the tombs in the guise of an old and emaciated Yogi, a mere scaffolding of the human building. Around his neck is twisted a Naja Tripudians, the most deadly of snakes, but he wears also a larger necklace composed of human skulls. His waist-cloth is a tiger's skin. Vipers are his ear-rings. In one of his hands he holds the Pâs’a, the terrible noose of the Thugs, his ardent worshippers. In another hand hangs a bleeding head; a third holds the Gada, his terrible mace of war. But more awful than all, in his fourth hand is the Trisul, the three pronged pitchfork, with which he pushes about human enterprises and mars them chiefly. Ashes made of very disagreeable ingredients cover him.

Is that the King of Dread
With ashy musing face
From whose moon-silvered locks famed Gunga springs?

The religions invented by man have reached the most abject depths of baseness. The religions invented by man have reached superb heights of human exaltation. It is a strange paradox that at this early date the religion of S’iva-Durgâ capped both ends of this long line of human speculation. It gave to the world the foul left-handed Tântrika rites; and was also the forerunner of Patanjali, Buddha, Isaiah, Jesus, Fenelon, and Mirza the Sufi. For there sat the Indian Yogi, calmly contemplating this great problem: What is man, and what are his relations to the universe around him?

That the Indian Yogi was in existence when the Aryans reached India is proved from the Zend Avesta for in the fourth Fargard, the Persian Âryans denounce his solitary dreamings in an Indian forest:—

"Verily I say unto thee, O Spitâma Zarathustra, the man who has a wife is far above him who begets no sons; he who keeps a house is far above him who has none; he who has children is far above the childless man; he who has riches is far above him who is poor.

"And of two men he who fills himself with meat is filled with the good spirit much more than he who does not do so.

"It is this man who can strive against the onsets of the death fiend; that can strive against the winter fiend with the thinnest garments on; that can strive against the wicked tyrant and smite him on the head; can strive against the ungodly Ashemaogha (heretic) who does not eat."

S’iva is Darkness—the Lord of Hell, a region that seems to have sprung from him and his cave. But from him has also came the idea of Kailas and its jewelled buildings. That was still the Hindu Paradise at the date of the Râmâyana. And S’iva's rude stone denotes life as well as death,—earthly life, heavenly life.

Also he is sometimes represented with three heads. Trailinga Ishwara, as Creator, Protector, Destroyer. This fancy has been stolen by the Brahmins who call Brahma the Creator, and Vishnu the Protector. But the central head of his statue, say the one at Elora is not that of Brahma, for it has Ganga (a head of the Ganges) in its top knot. Trailinga Ishwara dates very far back, for a considerable portion of Madras is called Telinga after him. And Mr. Crawford tells us that in Java and the Islands it appeared to be the name of the islanders for India. And Siva has one more attribute, the most formidable of all. S’iva is Mahâkâla (Remphan, Kronos, "Great Time.") In the Râmâyana, Valmiki informs us that S’iva has "emasculated all the gods." And when winter tourists in India sneer at a white-dusted yogi in the bazaar, they little guess what he represents. He bears the white ash of the innumerable gods, stars, systems, races of men that the Great Yogi, Mahâ Kâla, has burnt up.*

Man's religion may be called the "Non-ego as viewed by the Ego." It is the relation that the thinking individual believes himself to hold with the infinite universe around him. What mind-picture did the facts of life present to the early races of India, driven by the hardier Aryans into jungles and wastes where serpents and fevers were very plentiful, and food very scarce? They were pronounced to be Pariahs. They were forbidden to look into any sacred book, death being the penalty. Indra, Agni, Varuna and other gods had poured down on the Indian soil colleges of holy men to perform certain rites that pleased these gods; and folks gained in return happiness and comfort. But such joys were not for the yellow-faced Turanian. Even the Nirvâna promised after many dreary rebirths was refused to him.

But whilst matters were running along in this manner S’iva's Yogi was sitting in his jungle seeking the Bodhi, or transcendental knowledge. It came to him in a form which we might call the critical faculty. He examined the divine claims of the priests, and found them contradicted by experience. Agni ate up greedily the flesh of the bullocks, the rice and the ghee, placed on his altar, but did not give in return wealth, health, or immunity from the accidents and sorrows of life. Indra, when requisitioned, refused, as often as not, to strike with his vajra the bellying cloud and deluge the baking earth with fruitful showers. Soon an early philosophy arose. It was called the Sankhya, and had two schools, two Bibles. One, that of Patanjali, is called Seshwara Sankhya, the Sûtras or maxims of S’iva, the Great Serpent Sesh. The other that of Kapila, is called the Nirîswara Sankhya, and it denies the existence of God altogether. These tractates are immensely old. Professor Manilal Mabhubhai* Dvivedi says that in the Yoga Patanjali talks as if he were only an editor, and Colebrooke believes Kapila to be a mythological personage.

We will copy down from Colebrooke a digest of the two prominent philosophies of the followers of S’iva, the first derived from the Yoga S’âstra of Patanjali, and the second from the Karica of Kapila. Says Colebrooke:—

"God, Îs’wara, the supreme ruler according to Patanjali, is a soul, a spirit distinct from other souls; unaffected by the ills by which they are beset; unconcerned with good or bad deeds and their consequences, or with fancies and passing thoughts. In him is the utmost omniscience. He is the instructor of the earliest beings that have a beginning (the deities of mythology), himself infinite, unlimited by time."

Kapila on the other hand, according to Colebrooke, denies an Îs’wara (ruler of the world by volition), alleging that there is no proof of God's existence unperceived by the senses, not inferred from reasoning, nor yet revealed. He acknowledges, indeed, a. being issuing from nature who is intelligence absolute, source of all individual intelligences, and origin of other existences successively evolved and developed. He expressly affirms that the truth of such an Îs’wara is demonstrated, the creator of worlds in such sense of creation: for "the existence of effects," he says, "is dependent on consciousness, not upon Iswara."*

As I shall have to show that the second or Atheistic Sankhya had so much to do with the great change of Buddhism, I will add another detail, taking advantage of an able essay by Ludwig Büchner.

"A consistent pessimism is the main feature of the system." "Happiness is a mere illusion, and all conscious life, pain and suffering."

Suffering man is involved in a vortex of rebirths. It is only after tasting old age and death and other infirmities time after time for thousands of years, that the saint can gain repose in complete annihilation.

S’iva is the God of Destruction as well as life. Periodically he destroys the entire Kosmos—gods, men, and whirling stars. The white ashes of his followers represent the charred remains of these portentous destructions, as I have shown. The idea was plainly invented as an answer to the high-blown pretensions of the Brahmin polytheism—"Yes, there are gods, Brahma, Indra, Vishnu, etc., but S’iva sweeps them all away"; and oddly enough, the Brahmins seem to have accepted the theory.

It is also plain that the callousness of the god is another gird against the Brahmin priesthoods, who urged that sacrifices and other savage rites alone could move him. The Yogis held that the Great All was unknowable, unthinkable, omnipresent, inert, eternal.

The theory of this Pralaya, or destruction of worlds, suggests the origin of the Nirvâna of Buddha, in the sense of annihilation. According to his biography, he came to earth to give immortality to mankind, but the Pralaya sweeps away gods, men, and stars. This made immortality out of the question. And the Mahayana movement plainly also got from the Sankhya philosophy its atheism, cosmism, pessimism, and the idea of the grievous, prolonged tortures of its metempsychosis. Early Buddhism had pronounced that by joining Buddha's fold these torments could be made at once to cease.

But the Yogi of S’iva in his jungle gave to the world another gift. He said practically this—A god mysterious and callous, who dwells in the great Temple of Darkness, may be said to be incomprehensible to all except minds of his own fathom. The Absolute must be treated as the Absolute. It could not create anything for everything is already perfection. It could not supervise and direct mortal affairs, for those affairs were by absolute wisdom already arranged. A mind inscrutable and boundless can have no will to produce anything but what is like himself boundless and perfect.

But in the world some men are more wise, some more strong, some more virtuous than others. Could we not, as a workable postulate, deify what seem to be the attributes of this mighty mystery? Could not we imagine a God of Wisdom, a son of God, and call him Gaṇes’a? Could we not imagine a God of Strength and call him Karttikeya? The result was the Avesthâ idea, which, according to Professor Horace Hayman Wilson, was translated "Hypostasis" in Alexandria. Gaṇes’a was the son of Sîva, the "Word" of God, the Creator of the World; and two great feats are plainly his. As Gaṇes’a he gave to India much of its civilisation. As Janus, which Orientalists all affirm is the word Gaṇes’a a little altered, he gave civilisation to ancient Rome.

I insert a quotation from the works of Sir William J ones.

"The titles and attributes of this old Italian deity are fully comprised in two choriambick verses of Sulpitius; a further account of him from Ovid would here be superfluous:—

Jane pater, Jane tuens, dive biceps, biformis,
O cate rerum fator, O principium deorum!

Father Janus, all beholding Janus, thou divinity with two heads and with two forms. O sagacious planter of all things and leader of deities.

"He was the God we see of Wisdom whence he is represented on coins with two, and on the Etruscan image found at Falisci, with four faces, emblems of prudence and circumspection. Thus is Gaṇes’a, the God of Wisdom in Hindustan, painted with an elephant's head, the symbol of sagacious discernment.

His next great character (the plentiful source of many superstitious usages) was that from which he is emphatically styled the Father, and which the second verse before cited more fully expresses; the origin and founder of all things. Whence this notion arose, unless from a tradition that he first built shrines, raised altars, and instituted sacrifices, it is not easy to conjecture. Hence it came, however, that his name was invoked before any other god; that in the old sacred rites corn and wine, and in later times incense also, were first offered to Janus; that the doors or entrances of private houses were called Januæ, and any previous passage or thoroughfare in the plural number Jani, or "with two beginnings;" that he was represented as holding a rod as guardian of ways, and a key as opening not gates only, but all-important works and affairs of mankind; that he was thought to preside over the morning or the beginning of day; that, although the Roman year began regularly in March, yet the eleventh month named Januarius, was considered as first of the twelve, whence the whole year was supposed to be under his guidance, and opened with great solemnity by the Consuls inaugurated in his fane, where his statue was decorated on that occasion with fresh laurel; and for the same reason a solemn denunciation of war, than which there can hardly be a more momentous national act, was made by the military consul opening the gates of the temple, with all the pomp of his magistracy. The twelve altars and twelve chapels of Janus might either denote according to the general opinion that he leads and governs twelve months, or that, as he says of himself in Ovid, all entrance and access to the principal gods must be made through him. They were, to a proverb of the same number. We may add that Janus was imagined to preside over infants at their birth or the beginning of life.

"The Indian divinity has precisely the same character. All sacrifices and religious ceremonies, all addresses even to superior gods, all serious compositions in writing and all worldly affairs of moment are begun by pious Hindus with an invocation to Gaṇes’a, a word composed of "Isa," the Governor or leader, and "gana" a company of deities, nine of which companies are enumerated in the Amaracosha. Instances of opening business auspiciously by an ejaculation to the Janus of India (if the lines of resemblance here traced will justify me in so calling him) might be multiplied with ease. Few books are begun without the words "Salutation to Gaṇes’a," and he is first invoked by the Brahmins who conduct the trial by ordeal, or perform the ceremony of the Homa, or sacrifice by fire. M. Sonnerat represents him as highly revered on the Coast of Coromandel, where, the Indians, he says, "would not on any account build a house without having placed on the ground an image of this deity which they sprinkle with oil and adorn every day with flowers. They set up his figure in all the temples, in the streets, in the high roads, and in the open plains at the foot of some tree, so that persons of all ranks may invoke him before they undertake any business, and travellers worship him before they proceed on their journey." To this I may add from my own observation that in the commodious and useful town that now rises at Gaya, under the auspices of the active and benevolent Thomas Law, Esquire, Collector of Rotas, every new built house agreeably to an immemorial usage of the Hindus has the name of Gaṇes’a superscribed on its door; and in the old town his image is placed over the gates of the temples."*

I pause here to notice an important point. Colebrooke, Sir William Jones, Horace Hayman Wilson, and the old giants, all held that the mythologies of Greece and Rome were derived from India, but since Oriental studies have become professorial, some authorities subscribe to the wild theory of Max Müller, that when the Âryans passed from Bactria across the Hindu Kush, "the great mountains closed for centuries their Cyclopeian gates," and India became a sort of undiscovered America until the arrival in India of Alexander the Great.

Now it seems to me that it would be quite impossible for any writer to compose a paragraph which would more completely pulverise Max Müller's fancy about the "Cyclopean Gates" than that of Sir William Jones. The Professor holds that the Greek and Latin languages were sisters to the Sanskrit before the separation at the Hindu Kush. He holds, too, that the Greek and Latin mythologies were sisters to the Indian mythology; but when the Âryans crossed the mountains, all connection ceased. And yet we find in Italy a wide knowledge of the best Indian religious ideas and customs. This knowledge could not have been obtained before the Âryan separation, for Gaṇes’a is a non-Aryan and non-Vedic god. It was not obtained subsequent to Alexander's expedition, for Gaṇes’a stretches away to the earliest and haziest traditions of Italy, to the time when Kronos his father battled with Zeus.

Learned professors who have never been to India study the Indian books, but not the Indians themselves. We must try and throw ourselves into very early times, when there were no letters of the alphabet, and folks had to rely on their rhapsodists and "bhats" for history; and the said rhapsodists had to make the dull framework of facts into a pleasant romance to obtain a hearing.

Let us suppose that the votaries of one religion think they have triumphed over another, and a pleasant allegory suggests itself. The god of the triumphing religion may be represented as a dwarf who comes to the god of the second religion, and humbly asks to be allowed as much land as he could pace with three of his poor, inconsiderable, dwarfish steps. Then comes the denouement. The dwarf becomes a giant and his three steps cover hell, earth and the vast region lit up by the stars. Every Indian would know what this was intended to mean quite as well as if it were written down in the unpoetical, systematically dull, language of Hallam.

How was such an attack to be met in days when there were no letters of the alphabet and no books.

An answer to this question comes from the S’iva Purâna. It is a legend of great importance to our inquiry.

At a place called Merlya Loka a number of very holy Brahmins had collected together with their wives. They lived in a collection of rude huts called an Â'sram, and they performed daily the most severe and painful exercises of ascetic Brahmanism, to gain magical powers. The people around flocked to them, with their ailments and troubles. All admitted that such holy men had never been seen in those parts. They were stern men, no doubt, especially towards the followers of S’iva, wicked men who neglected and derided the holy Vedas.

But one morning a strange circumstance occurred. One of them looking up whilst seated cross-legged under a tree, saw at the edge of the jungle a woman of exquisite beauty. She seemed to wish him to come towards her, although why he thought this he would not have been able to explain. She held in her hand an Indian lute. Suddenly on this she played a few bars. Such melody had never been heard before. He got up almost unconsciously and moved towards her. He was seeking to bridge earth and heaven. Perhaps Indra had sent one of his beautiful Apsaras to help him.

But the odd thing was that all the other ascetics had much the same experience. They wandered away into the leafy glades after the same Apsara. What occurred there is not narrated in the S’âstras. The next day they were in an angry mood, and specially angry with a magician whom in a body they visited and accosted with these stern words:—

"Ugly fiend, what trick is this that thou hast played?"

The person thus designated was a dwarf, certainly ugly, and as certainly endowed with very rare and magical faculties. He was named Tripurasura. He lived in a hut alone, and was quite independent of the other ascetics. Indeed, he intercepted many of the offerings of the poor people around, folks who thought that he was a greater magician than they were.

"Ugly fiend," said Tripurasura, with a laugh, "go to, the story of an ugly fiend has to be narrated to me and explained to me, worthy masters!"

"What dost mean, O deformed one?"

"I am told that an 'ugly fiend' persuaded certain grave ascetics to follow her into the paths of wantonness."

"Vile slanderer!" cried the ascetics.

"Did ye not recognise the woman with the gaping mouth, Durgâ, who feeds on little babies?"

"These words are silliness, O man of falsities!" said the Brahmins, now thoroughly alarmed.

"And all this time," pursued the malicious dwarf, with a chuckle, "where were the Brahmins’ wives? and where was the Apsara's husband, S’iva, the progenitor of many?"

With shrill voices the Brahmins’ wives treated this as a most pernicious insinuation. But women sometimes quarrel, and by-and-by it came out that a young man as handsome as Kama had visited them when the Brahmins were away in the forest.

The Brahmins were now furious, and desired a summary vengeance. They held that a Brahmajnâni (as initiate in the mysteries of Brahma), was superior to any tricky fiend whatever. They performed new incantations and sacrifices, and produced a tiger whose mouth was like a cavern, and his voice like thunder amongst the mountains. This they sent against the god S’iva. He seized the tiger and squeezed it to death, and he still wears its skin as a kummerbund.

Nothing daunted, the Brahmins tried new incantations. This time they determined to send something that he could not kill. They selected the Ânanta Naga, the Serpent of Eternity. S’iva played to it a tune on his flute to charm it, and wound it harmlessly round his neck, where it still remains. The Brahmins now thought of a new plot. It was to send the dwarf, Tripurasura, against the god. He was vain-glorious, and a little flattery might easily turn his head. He had, moreover, a terrible club charged with horrid spells by Vishnu himself. But S’iva seized the club, dashed out the dwarf's brains with it, and then danced in triumph over the dwarf's body. The club, as the Gada, figures in his hand in all his images.

A fourth plot of the Brahmins had a success that they did not anticipate. They united all their magical potencies to dismember the god, as Ouranos was dismembered by Saturn. In this they succeeded. But an astounding development took place. The severed Mahâdeo, flaming and burning, began to traverse the world and burn up the cities; and Durgâ followed it, uttering the piercing lamentations that re-echo still in the temples. The amazed Brahmins fled for help to Brahma, who advised them to sacrifice to Mahâdevî, and to pray to her to calm the fury of S’iva, before the Traipura (earth, hell, and the sky) was burnt up.

There are two terminations to the story.

One is that it was settled that the S’iva-Durgâ symbol should be set up as chief object of worship in every temple in India. The second termination was that a search was made for the remains of the charred Mahâdeo. It was at last found, and then by miraculous multiplication thirty-nine portions of it were detached. Of these twenty-one were distributed amongst that number of temples on earth, nine were delegated to the temples of heaven, and even dark Pâtâla got its portion, a solitary one, of the precious flesh. But this version of the story has a corollary which would be unintelligible unless we bear in mind S’iva's bull vitality, his marriage, his mutilation, his asceticism, his necklace of skulls, items which represent the sum of human life as seen through the yearly journey of the sun. In the Mahâkâla Sanhita S’iva dies at the end of the year, but at once springs up again as a baby, who becomes a giant almost immediately, under the title of Bâles’war.

And the moral of the story is clear enough. The Brahmin satire described Vishnu as a dwarf compassing the Traipura (earth, heaven and hell) with his portentous strides. "Just so," said the followers of S’iva, "but it was as the Evil Spirit (Asura)," and S’iva vanquished this Dwarf, Traipura Asura. "See the club which he holds as a trophy." And the dwarf has certainly got the worst of the fight. A missionary in Madras, Miss Wilson Carmichael, tells us that thirty millions of S’iva stones (the Mahâdeo, as it is called) are now being adored in India, and that the followers of Sîva number a hundred million. And the gods of the Brahman polytheism, Agni, Brahma, Indra, Vishnu, have been placed on a shelf to give way to a monism, with S’iva nicknamed "Brahma" (neuter).

Plate 3 Siva Dancing


Giver of joys untold
Thou trampledst on the wondrous dwarf of old,
His club made weird by Vishnu's might
Became thine honoured trophy in the fight,
O dancer in the wondrous halls of gold!

In Perunturrai's shrine
The saints assemble round the Lord divine,
Nilkanta,* when the mountain whirled around
To mark the land and fix the ocean's bound
He drank, to save us, all the poisoned brine.

Past days and present days
Thou art, great Mahâkâla, and thy gaze
Measures the future that thou hidst from all,
New joys, new pangs, surprises that appal,
For Time is Fate with Fate's remorseless ways.

Charred cities fame of old
Mark out thy fateful path; and we behold
At night thy diamonds streak across the sky,
Thy coils great Sesh enfold infinity,
O dancer in the wondrous halls of gold!

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Suggestions for Further Reading


10:* Rig Veda (Sect. II. Hymn IX. v. 3.)

10:† Muir's "Sanskrit Texts," IV., pp. 345, 346.

11:* Lect. II. Hymn XIII., v. 2.

12:* Vol. VIII.

13:* "Asiatic Researches," Vol. VIII.

15:* "Catechism of the Shaiva Religion," by Sabhapati Mudalyar, p. 73.

16:* "Translation of Yoga Sutras," p. 1.

17:* Colebrooke's "Essays," Vol. I., p. 251.

17:† Büchner, "Last Words on Materialism," p. 119.

17:‡ Ibid.

21:* Sir William Jones "Works," Vol. III., p. 329.

21:† Max Müller "Chips from a German Workshop," Vol. I., pp. 8-12.

26:* Blue Throat!