Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/274

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way the Satapatha Brahmana[1] represents mammals as the last result of a series of creative experiments. "Prajapati created living beings, which perished for want of food. Birds and serpents perished thus. Prajapati reflected, 'How is it that my creatures perish after having been formed?' He perceived this: 'They perish from want of food.' In his own presence he caused milk to be supplied to breasts. He created living beings, which, resorting to the breasts, were thus preserved. These are the creatures which did not perish."

The common myth which derives the world from a great egg—the myth perhaps most familiar in its Finnish shape—is found in the Satapatha Brahmana.[2] In the beginning this universe was waters, nothing but waters. The waters desired: 'How can we be reproduced?' So saying, they toiled, they performed austerity. While they were performing austerity, a golden egg came into existence. It then became a year. . . . From it in a year a man came into existence, who was Prajapati. . . . He conceived progeny in himself; with his mouth he created the gods." According to another text,[3] "Prajapati took the form of a tortoise." The tortoise is the same as Aditya.[4]

It is now time to examine the Aryan shape of the widely spread myth about the marriage of heaven and

  1. ii. 5, 11; Muir, 2d edit., i. 70.
  2. xi. 1, 6, 1; Muir, Journal of Royal Asiatic Society, 1863.
  3. Satapatha Brahmana, vii. 4, 3, 5.
  4. Aitareya Brahmana, iii. 34 (11, 219), a very discreditable origin of species.