repaid by the development of those truths that are unquestionably buried in the amazing mass of mythology, that I humbly endeavour to illustrate.
The will of God, that the world should exist and continue, is personified; and his creative and preservative powers appear in Brahma and Vishnu, while Siva, is the emblem of his destructive energy; not, however, of absolute annihilation, but rather of reproduction in another Form.
In mythology, therefore, this triad of persons represent the almighty powers of creation, preservation, and destruction. In metaphysks BRAHMA is matter,. VIsHNu spirit, SIVA time; or, in natural philosophy, earth, water, andfire
Once deviating from rational devotion, the ardent mind of man knows no. bounds: these three persons are hence fabled to have wives, the executors of the divine will, the energies of their respective lords. The fables arising from sexual allegories can scarcely fail of degenerating into indelicacy, although we may admit that many historical and scientific truths lie concealed in their- moral.
The rage for personification is unbounded the sun, moon, anã all the hea— venly host; fire, air, and all natural phenomena; all nature indeed is animated—- the passions and emotions of human beings, their vices and virtues, are trans.. formed into persons, and act appropriate parts in th.e turbulent history of man.
The preservative and regenerative powers, being in constant action, are feigned to have descended on earth innumerable times, in divers, places, for the instruction and benefit, including the profitable punishment, of mankind. The wives and children of these powers have also, like their lords and parents, descended and assumed an infinite variety of forms on. earth for similar purposes. The history of these endless incarnations affords ample scope for the imagina-. tion; and they are worked up by the poets with wonderful fertility of genius and. pomp of language into a variety of sublime descriptions, interspersed with theological and moral tests, that at length were received as inspired productions,, and have become the standard of divine truth.
Of BRAHMA, the deity’s creative energy, less appears to have been said and sung, than comparatively of the other coequal members of the triad: he has, like’ them, his consort and offspring, and has had terrestrial incarnations; but the work of creation being past, BRAHMA, its represented power, is no longer espedaily adored in temples dedicated exclusively to him: associated with the other’ deities, offerings are gratefully made, and invocations piously addressed to the primary person; but as his portion of divine activity doth not operate on the I 4 I