Sacred Texts  Sacred Sexuality  Index  Previous  Next 


In bringing this paper to a close, I would refer shortly to what may be called the modern religions--Brahminism, Buddhism, and Christianity--seeing that these still exist as the faiths of great peoples. As to the first of these, it may be thought that its real character cannot be ascertained from the present condition of Hindu belief. It is said that the religion ofthe Vedas is very different from that of the Puranas, which have taken their place. It should be remembered, however, that these books profess to reproduce old doctrine, the word "Purana" itself meaning old, and that Puranas are referred to in one of the Upanishads, while the Tantras, which contain the principles of the Sacti Puja, and which are, as yet, almost unknown to Europeans, are considered by the Brahmans to be more ancient than the Puranas themselves. 133 The origin of the ideas contained in these books is a difficult question. The germs of both Vishnu-worship and Siva-worship appear to be found in the Vedas, 134 and are undoubtedly referred to by the Mahabharata. 135 I am inclined to think with Mr. Fergusson and other late writers that they are only indirectly sprung from the primitive Hinduism. The similarity between Sivaism and the Santal worship of the Great Mountain, pointed out by Mr. Hunter, is very remarkable, and this analogy is strengthened by intermixture in both cases with river-worship. 136 There is no doubt that the Great Mountain is simply a name for the phallic emblem, which is the chief form under which Siva is represented in the numerous temples at Benares dedicated to his honor.

Next: Serpent-Worship a Vishnavic Custom