« 上一頁繼續 »
of Noah, and consequently that the tradition is probably correct which states him to be the son of Ham, may be inferred from several circumstances. 1. History records no conqueror or legislator whose name could be so extensively venerated in that part of the world, and mingled with the religion of so many nations spread over so wide a space. It is impossible to imagine any satisfactory explanation of this remarkable fact, without resorting to the root from which so many branches sprung, and this will bring us back nearly to the reproduction of the human race. 2ndly, in the same way as Janua is derived from Janus, because it was his office to open, in token of which he held a key in his hand, and as Naus and Naos are derived from Noah, because he was the master of the ship, and that ship was long considered the most sacred place of worship, so there are numerous derivatives from Budha, considered as the first Architect, the first settler in India', the first who raised houses, or constructed dwelling places in that part of the world; and these derivatives from his name, all signifying an abode, are so very numerous, and occur in so many of the most ancient languages, that a notion so
1 Some have supposed that the Avatar of Budd'ha has reference to Noah, and that he visited India. Like Brahma and Bacchus, he planted the vine in the countries through which he travelled: he conquered the Yakshas or dæmons of Ceylon, and set them adrift upon a floating island. Capt. Low on Buddha, Tr. As. Soc. iii. 158. But as the same authority refers that event to the 156th year of the Kali Yug, or last period of the world, it will better coincide with the settlement of that country by Phut.
universal must have originated before any great dispersion of mankind. An abode is in Hebrew Beth; in Chaldee Betha; in Syriac Bitho; in Arabic Beith, in Turkish Beit; in Persian Bat; in Basque Bet; in Gaulish Bwth or Both; Bod: in Gaelic Buth, Boot; in Irish Botan, in Breton Bod; in Teutonic Bod'; and what is very remarkable, in Chinese it is Fo. 3rdly, This name, under one form or another, has a constant aspect towards the deluge. Unfortunately fear engenders superstition, much more readily than love does piety, and the consequence has been that the instruments of evil were worshipped as much or more than the author of good. Hence dæmons have had their share of religious rites, and rivers have been held sacred as representatives of the deluge." Herodotus reports, that they were the principal objects of Persian worship, and Seneca notices the veneration with which the sources of great rivers were regarded. These sources seem to have been more particularly sacred, because they were usually found on mountains, and were thus connected with
1 M. Bullet, Memoires sur la Langue Celtique, p. 2.
2 Streams and fountains were sacred in Greece, and Strabo mentions a great number of temples, élevés sur des eaux et consacrés à Diane, reine des eaux, ou à d'autres divinités relatives au même élément. M. Court de Gebelin, Monde Prim. Disc. Prelim. p. 198.
3 Magnorum fluviorum capita veneramur. Sen. Epist. 41. Les Perses rendaient à l'eau un culte religieux, les Gaulois rendaient les mêmes honneurs à cette élément. Les Gaulois avioent aussi le plus grand respect pour les lacs et les marais, parcequ'ils croyaint que la divinité se plaisait à les habiter. On joignait à ce culte celui des fleuves, des] rivieres, &c. - Mythol. Comp. avec l'Histoire, par M. l'Abbe de Tressan, ii. 325.
another branch of diluvian reminiscences. The Nile was worshipped in Egypt'; and if we can depend on Marco Polo's Italian version of the Ramayan, the name of Nila is given to a lofty and sacred mountain, with a summit of pure gold, from which flowed a river of clear, sweet, and fresh water.2 Mr. Wilford describes two sources of the Nile, according to the notions of the Hindoos; that of Abyssinia, was called Nanda. Now the Ganges, also a sacred river, is represented by Hindoo artists flowing from an ox's mouth, on the side of the mountain Cailasa; perhaps Nandi's, the sacred bull, the vehicle of Mahadeva, whose character is to be investigated by and by. The other branch is said to take its rise from the Lake of the Gods, Amara, between some mountains which seem to be part of Somagiri, the Mountains of the Moon; the country round being Chandrestan, or Moonland, and most of the mountains and rivers in it having appellations relating to the moon." Since, then, the moon in its first quarter was an emblem of the ark, we have here the three elements of diluvian worship,-the waters of the deluge, Mount Ararat, and the Ark. The Lake of the Gods is believed to be a vast reservoir, which
1 Caillié says, that Nile' is a generic term, and not necessarily the Egyptian river. Thus the Dhioliba bears at Timbuctoo the name of Bahar el Nil. - Travels to Timbuctoo, ii. 76.
2 A. R. Sir W. Jones, p. 271.
3 On the top of the mountains of Lenar is a spring, upon the mouth of which is carved the figure of an ox.-Ayeen Akbery, ii. 60.
4 Asiatic Researches, iii. p. 60.
supplied all rivers '; not in matter of fact, of course; for the most ignorant must have known the contrary, but mythologically; and hence all rivers became sacred2: not fewer than twenty-seven are thus honoured generally in India; and in one single village there are 360 sacred fountains. When the planet Jupiter entered the sign Leo, people came from great distances to worship the river Gungkoterry, dedicated to Kotum; but in another place, Abul Fazel gives what appears to be another version of the same story, and which is very remarkable, because it points out the real origin of the sacred character ascribed to the river. "At that same period," he says, "a hill arises out of the middle of the Ganges, and remains for a month, so that people go upon it, and perform divine worship." It would be difficult to select a more striking instance of the facility with which tradition blends itself in matters of religion with the phenomena of nature, and engenders superstitions unreasonable, and at first sight unaccountable, because their origin is forgotten. The Hindoo continues a practice prescribed by immemorial custom; but he knows not why: but when we consult the records of remote antiquity, to discover the origin of that custom, it is obvious, that the retiring of the waters from a mound of sand, such as the conflu
1 Asiatic Researches, iii. 60.
2 The source of the Nerbuddah (qu. river of Budha?) is held sacred by the Brahmins. so are the Talee and Tapty.- Ayeen Akbery, vol. ii.
3 Kehrow, ibid. p. 129.
4 Ayeen Akbery, ii. 28.
ence of two rivers often forms, gradually emerging from the bed of the stream as its depth is reduced by the dryness of the season', is no unapt image of the retiring of the deluge, when the tops of the mountains were first exposed to view. For the same reason, at the same time of the year, the Ganges was peculiarly sacred at its descent from the mountain which bears the same name; for the Himalayan peak, that overhangs its source, is called Gungotree. Since, then, rivers have obtained their sacred character, because they are representatives of the deluge, if Buddha have given his name to one of much celebrity, that circumstance may be supposed to infer some near relationship to the men of the ark, at least in the minds of the people among whom that name retained its place. Now the river that traverses the north of Italy at the foot of the Alps, in Piedmont, bears the name of Buddha: its ancient name was Bod-incus; whence also it was called the Po, which is a very slight variation from the Fo of the Chinese. Fo in Irish, and Vo in Japonese, signify a prince, a chief3; and
1 That such is the real explanation of the mount rising from the river, and magnified into a hill by imaginations under the influence of tradition, may be shown from another passage in the same work. When the planet Jupiter enters the sign Leo, for a month's continuance the soil near Gurgong is so intensely hot that it burns the trees; and a kettle set upon the ground will boil. ii. 298.
2 The Gungkoterry of the Ayeen Akbery, with a strong accent on the last syllable, sounds exactly the same as Heber's Gungotree; the y being pronounced as it is every where but in England.
3 Japonium omne nomen uni quondam parebat imperatori cui titulus Vo seu Dairi.- Maffeus, Hist. Ind. c. xii. 568.