received system, founded on the doctrines of the Vaishnavas, sprang on a lotos from the navel * of VXSHNIJ, to “bid all worlds exist,” has hence, and perhaps in other points, relation to the lotos: but it is a more immediate attribute of VISHNU, being the prime of aquatic vegetables; and he, a personification of water. His consort, LACSHMI, in one character, sprang from the sea; and the lotos, being also the emblem of female beauty, is peculiarly sacred to her; an(l she is called KAMALA, or lobs-like.
We shall, in future pages, enter more fully into all the points alluded to in the preceding paragraph; which are here given in outline, by way of introduction to our subjects.
All the principal, and several of the secondary deities, or incarnations of the principal, have wives assigned them, who are called Sacti; and, except in sex, exactly represent their respective lords, being their energy, or active power—t he executors of their divine will. The &icti of BRARMA is SARASWATI, the goddess of harmony and the arts. A separate article svill be allotted for a description and account of her, as well as to the Sactis in general.
Many deities have, as well ‘as wives, vehicles, or vahans, allotted to them: that of BRAIIMA, and of his Such, is the swan, or goose, called hanasa; but he is not so frequently seen mounted on it, as other deities are on theirs. In my collection of images and pictures, I have not one of him so mounted; nor do I recollect having met with him on, or with, his goose, except in the celebrated cave on Elephanta.
It is said by some authors, that there is no image of BRAHMA.—(CHAUTURD’S Sketches. Vol. I. p. 149.) “No image is made of BRARMA, or God.” ‘This is not correct of BRAHITA, but is of BRAHM. The two persons are often confounded by authors who wrote twenty or more years ago.
CRALTFURD appears to have taken his opinion from M. de la CR0zE; who, however, says, that “no image is ever made of God,”t that is, of BRAHM. At the time CIIAUF URD wrote, he might have seen many images and pictures of BRAHMA, both in India and in Europe.
Of BRAHMA, several pictures are given in this publication; and I will now proceed to describe one or two of them that, in the numerical order in which they are placed, fall into this early portion of our work. in future pages 1 shall frequently have occasion to point the reader’s attention to this deity, represented among others in correspondent plates.
- See PLATZS 7. 8. t Hiss. du Cria. des Inics. b . a. . a.