Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/264

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but it seems almost superfluous to remark that ideas like those which it contains can scarcely be accepted as expressing man’s earliest theory of the origin of all things. Thought expressed in terms so abstract is only possible, as philologists will admit, after language has thrown off its first concrete and material forms. Again, abstract cosmogonic speculation like that of the hymn, is the rare exception, which we seldom meet with except in the records of a civilised people. Crude mythological speculations, on the other hand, a medley of cosmogonic gods and beasts and men, is the general rule, quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus. We turn, therefore, from the ideas which are exhibited so rarely to those which the Aryans of India have in common with black men and red men, with far-off Finns and Scandinavians, Chaldeans, Haidahs, Cherokees, Murri and Maori, Mangaians and Egyptians.

The next Vedic account of creation which we propose to consider is as remote as possible in character from the sublime philosophic poem. In the Purusha Sukta, the ninetieth hymn of the tenth book of the Rig-Veda Sanhita, we have a description of the creation of all things out of the severed limbs of a magnified non-natural man, Purusha. This conception is of course that which occurs in the Norse myths of the rent body of Ymir. Borr's sons took the body of the Giant Ymir and of his flesh formed the earth, of his blood seas and waters, of his bones mountains, of his teeth rocks and stones, of his hair all manner of plants, of his skull the firmament, of his brains the