Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/104

This page needs to be proofread.


ioo GROWTH OF HINDUISM. afresh ; prisons were opened to them ; the sea received them and returned them to the land unhurt, while the earth opened and swallowed up their slanderers. Their lives were mar- vellous, and the deaths of the greatest of them a solemn mystery. Sankara Acharya, Ninth Century A.D. — The first in the line of apostles was Kumarila, a Brahman of Behar, who has been already referred to as having stirred up a legendary per- secution of Buddhism throughout India in the eighth century a.d. His yet more famous disciple was Sankara Acharya, with whom we reach historical ground. Sankara was born in Malabar, wandered as an itinerant preacher over India as far as Kashmfr, and died at Kedarnath in the Himalayas, aged 32. He moulded the Vedanta philosophy of the Brahmans into its final form, and popularized it into a national religion. It is scarcely too much to say, that since his short life in the eighth or ninth century every new Hindu sect has had to start with a personal God. He addressed himself to the high-caste philosophers on the one hand, and to the low-caste multitude on the other. He left behind, as the twofold results of his life's work, a compact Brahman sect and a popular religion. Forms of Siva and his Wife. — In the hands of Sankara's followers and apostolic successors, Siva-worship became one of the two chief religions of India. Siva, at once the Destroyer and Reproducer, represented profound philosophical doctrines, and was early recognized as being in a special sense the god of the Brahmans. To them he was the symbol of death as merely a change of life. On the other hand, his terrible aspects, pre- served in his long list of names, from the Roarer (Rudra) of the Veda, to the Dread One (Bhfma) of the modern Hindu pan- theon, well adapted him to the religion of fear prevalent among the ruder non-Aryan races. Siva, in his twofold character, thus became the deity alike of the highest and of the lowest castes. He is the Maha-deva, or Great God of modern Hinduism ; his wife is Devi, literally and pre-eminently the Goddess. His symbol of worship is the linga, or emblem of male repro- duction; his sacred beast, the bull, is connected with the same idea ; a trident tops his temples. His images partake of his