I shall enter as little as possible into th subject of Hindu philosophy; no farther, indeed, than is immediately connected with their mythology. The following passage from Sir WILLIAM JoNzss Dissertation on the Gods of Greece, Italy, and India, will show how those subjects are connected, and how the three great powers emanate from, and edst in, BRAHM.
"It must always be remembered, that the learned hindus, as they are taught by their own books, in truth, acknowledge only One Supreme Being, whom they call BRAHMB, or the Great One. They believe his essence to be infinitely removed from the comprehension of any mind but his own; and they suppose him to manifest his power bythe operation of his divine spirit, VISHNU, the peroader, and NARAYAN, or moving on the waters; both in the masculine gender: whence he is often denominated thefirst male. And by this power it is believed, that the whole order of the universe is preserved and supported; but the Vedantis, unable to form a distinct idea of brute matter independent of mind, or to conceive that the work of supreme goodness was left a moment to itself, imagine that the Deity is ever present to his work, and constantly supports a series of perceptions; which, in one sense, they call illusory, though they cannot but admit the reality of all created forms, as far as the happiness of creatures can be affected by them. When they consider the divine power exerted in creating, they call the deity BRAIIMA, in the masculine gender also; and when they view him in the light of destroyer, or rather changer of forms, they give him a thousand names: of which, SIvA, ISA OF ISwARA, RUDRA, HARA, SAMBIIU, MAHADEVA or MAHZSA, * are the most common. The first operations of these three powers are variously described in the different Puranas, by a number of allegories; and from them we may deduce the lonian philosophy, of primeval water the doctrine of the mundane egg; and the veneration paid to the Nymphz’, or Lotos, which was anciently revered in Egypt, as it is at present in Hindustan, Tibet, and Nepal.”—Asiatic Researches. Vol. I. p. 243.
The names of BRAHMA are not so numerous as those of his great coadjutors. 1, VISHNU and SIvA are said to have a thousand each. He is sometimes called KAMALAYONI. Kamal is the lotos, Yoni the pudendum muliebre, (a type of BRAHMA, or the creative power,) the mystical matrix, into which is inserted the equally mysterious Linga of SIVA. BRAHMA having, by a generally
- MAHESA is, maha, greal, and ISA, Lord; the epithet is prefixed to many names of gods: and when the name baa an initial vowel, the final of the eptbet is omitted, both in writing and conversation.— MAHISWARA, the same with MAIIESA.
f These mysterious subjects will be noticed hereafter. - C . . I , a . a