Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/275

This page has been validated.

earth, and the fortunes of their children. We have already seen that in New Zealand heaven and earth were regarded as real persons, of bodily parts and passions, united in a secular embrace. We shall apply the same explanation to the Greek myth of Gaea and of the mutilation of Cronus. In India, Dyaus (heaven) answers to the Greek Uranus and the Maori Rangi, while Prithivi (earth) is the Greek Gaea, the Maori Papa. In the Veda, heaven and earth are constantly styled "parents;"[1] but this we might regard as a mere metaphorical expression, still common in poetry. A passage of the Aitareya Brahmana, however, retains the old conception, in which there was nothing metaphorical at all.[2] These two worlds, heaven and earth, were once joined. Subsequently they were separated (according to one account, by Indra, who thus plays the part of Cronus and of Tane Mahuta). "Heaven and earth," says Dr. Muir, "are regarded as the parents not only of men, but of the gods also, as appears from the various texts where they are designated by the epithet Devapatre, 'having gods for their children.'" By men in an early stage of thought this myth was accepted along with others in which heaven and earth were regarded as objects created by one of their own children, as by Indra,[3] who "stretched them out like a hide," who, like Atlas, "sustains and upholds them;"[4] or, again, Tvashtri, the divine smith, wrought them by his craft; or, once more, heaven and earth sprung from the head and feet of

  1. Muir, v. 22.
  2. iv. 27; Haug, ii. 308.
  3. Rig-Veda, viii. 6, 5.
  4. Rig-Veda, iii. 32, 8.