1Buddha, as a child, was also called Siddhartha, 2Theogony of the Hindus, p. 89.
with that of the unity, although frequently under other names than those of the Trimurtee of the Brahmans. (3) In acknowledging the doctrine of the transmigration of the soul. (4) Regarding the soul as an emanation of the Divine Being, which, after having accomplished its transmigration, returns to its high origin.1 Buddhism differs from popular Hinduism in the following particulars :—(1) It does not acknowledge the Vedas as a revelation from God, but only regards them as a highly-deserving human composition, containing great but not revealed truths. (2) It does not recognise the division of castes, as Hinduism does. (3) It considers the inferior gods and demi-gods of the Brahmin religion merely as holy men sent by the Almighty for the benefit of the human race. “These Buddhas, therefore, were, like Luther Calvin and Huss, reformers of religion.” (4) Their idea of God is different from the Hindu idea.
Sir E. Arnold says: “Buddhism has in it the eternity of a universal hope, the immortality of a boundless love, an indestructible element of faith in final good and the proudest assertion ever made of human freedom.”2
As regards the propagation of Buddhist doctrines, it is probable that at one time they spread over the whole world. In Burma, Siain, in most of the islands of the Indian Archipelago and Ceylon, in Thibet, Mongolia, Japan, Nepal, Bhutan and the Lesser Thibet it is still the prevailing religion; but that at one time it spread to
1This shows the origin of Buddhism to have taken place after the ahabliarata, when the Vedanta came to be received as an Advaita system. Its rejection of the caste system also points to the same period, as it was after the Mahabharata that the system began to be abused.
2Light of Asia, Preface, p. xiii.
Turkistan,. Persia, Egypt, and Rome, and even to Scandinavia and the British Islands, is most probable.’
Count Bjornstjerna says: “It is called Godanza’s (Gautama’s) doctrine in Assam, Pegu, Ava and Ceylon; Samana’s doctrine in Siam; Amidha Buddha’s in Japan, Fo’s ur Fahi’s in China and Cochin-China, Sakya Singh’ s in Eastern Bengal and Nepal, Dherma Ray’s in Bootan; Adi Buddha’s in Great Thibet; Mahanzuni’s in Lesser Thibet, and Salvia Muni’s inMongolia and Mants-Chouri.”2
“The Buddhist Monks, Bharana and Matanga, who first carried Buddhism to China, during the reign of the Han Emperor Mingti in A.D. 65 were natives of Gandhara (Punjab), of which the capital was Takshila. “Some authors conjecture the Gceti of the Chinese to be the same as the Greek Scythi, who were no other than the parent stock of the Hindu Sakya race.”3
“ That the true seat of Buddhism,” says Bjornstjerna, “in ancient times was Hindustan is attested by the temples of Ellora, Elephanta and Ajunta, of which the greater part were dedicated to Buddha, and also by the most authentic Hindu records. In a conversation with Bogle (the British envoy at Thibet) the Dalai Lama stated that Brahma, Vishnu and Siva were worshipped by the inhabitants of Thibet, but the lessor gods of India’ were not otherwise regarded by them than as holy men (Buddhism); that the people of Thibet, from 700 to 800 years back possessed many temples in India, but that the .Brahmins had destroyed them, and that India was the real native seat of their gods and doctrines; he therefore begged the English envoy to obtain permission from the Governor-General that they might again erect temples on the shores of the Ganges.”—Theogony of the Hindus, p. 98.
2Theogony of the Hindus, p. 86. A. H. Bitchourin, a Russian translator of Chinese religious books, says that Buddhism universally prevails in the highland of Central Asia.
3 See Sarat Chander Das, “Universities in India,” in the Hindustan Review for March 1906,
“The foot-prints of Buddha were worshipped by his followers and were called Phrabat. They were engraved on rocks and hills, where people flocked from all parts of the country to worship them. They have now been found to be existing in most countries. These foot-prints are regarded by the Buddhists in the same light as the rainbow in the religions founded on the Mosaic records, namely, as an assurance that the deluge shall not return. Six such Phrabats are found in the East, one of them singularly enough in Mecca, whither the Buddhists made pilgrimages long before the rise of Islamism.”20 This proves the prevalence of Buddhism in Arabia in ancient times.
Bjornstjerna continues: “But Buddhism has also penetrated to the banks of the Nile, of which we have many proofs. The so-called Hermes Scriptures (the name of the sacred writings of the Egyptians) contain a metaphysical treatise in the form of a dialogue between Hermes and Thodh, Bodh, Buddh, which throughout exhibits the doctrines of Buddhism; they speak of the pre-existence of the soul, of its transmigrations upon earth (Metempsychosis), of its emanation from the Divine Being, and of its final return to its high original.”21 There is another early Egyptian writing, Pimander’s Hermes Trisinegistus, in a dialogue form,between Pimander and Thodh, which develops the Buddhist doctrine of Trinity.
Count Bjorpstjerna again says: “The Chaldeans, the Babylonians and the inhabitants of Colchis derived their religion and culture from India.”22 “That a system of Hinduism,” says Colonel Tod,” pervaded the whole Babylonian and Assyrian empires, Scripture furnishes abundant proofs in the medium of the various types of the Sungod, Bal Math, whose pillar adorned every mount and every grove.”23
“The Samaritans in Aram were Buddhists, as also the Essenes in Palestine, at least as to their private doctrine, for outwardly they followed the Mosaic law.” The Gnostics were divided into two classes: (1) The Egyptians and (2) The Asiatics; and “the adherents of the latter,” says the Swedish Count, “ were in fact Buddhists who in a great measure adopted the external forms of Christianity, because they regarded Jesus as a Buddha who had appeared on earth in accordance with their own tenets.”24
Count Bjornstjerna continues: “Even the Druids in ancient Britain were Buddhists; they adopted the metempsychosis, the pre-existence of the soul and its return to the realms of universal space. They had a divine Triad consisting of a creator, preserver and destroyer as with the Buddhists (and Hindus). The Druids constituted a sacerdotal order which reserved to itself alone the interpretation of the mysteries of religion.”‘
The Druids propagated their doctrines in Gaul during the time of Caesar, whence they penetrated in the West to the Celtic tribes in Spain, and in the East to Germany and the Cimbrian peninsula.
The spread of Buddhism to the above-mentioned parts of the world was for the most part anterior to Christianity; simultaneously with the establishment of this creed, Buddhism penetrated so far as the Altai mountains in Asia and the Scandinavian peninsula in Europe. Into the last-named peninsula it was introduced by Sigge-Fridulfson, surnamed Odin (in the ancient Scandinavian dialect Whodin; in is the article which added to Whod, Bhodd, Buddh, makes Whodin—Odin), chief of an Asiatic tribe called Asar.”1
Buddhism being only a particular form of Hinduism, not only is Hinduism the groundwork of Buddhism, but the mythology and the traditions of both are necessarily one and the same. Hence, wherever Buddhism has spread through the exertions of the Indians or wherever the Buddhist Hindus migrated, there is found between the religion, mythology, and scientific and philosophical writings of India and of those countries; an affinity too close to be only accidental. In the case of Scandinavia, however, the resemblance is so close that without assuming the migration of the Hindus into the country, it cannot otherwise be explained satisfactorily. All the Indo-Sythian invaders of India, says Colonel Tod, held the religion of Buddha, and hence the conformity of manners and mythology between the Scandinavians or German tribes and the Raj puts.
iTheogony of the Hindus, p,’105. The author says: “It seems to be the same tribe which came by sea to Etruria.
‘2Tod.’s Rajasthan, Vol. I, p. 65.
(1) After giving a few questions with their answers from the Edda of the Scandinavians and a few similar ones from the Vedas, the Swedish Count, Bjornstjerna, concludes: “All these questions are so exceedingly similar to those which the angels make to Brahma and the answers similar to those of Brahma in the Vedas, that we can scarcely question the derivation of the Edda from the Veda.”‘
(2) “ A common symbol of the Creator among the Hindus (from whom it past into Egypt) was the scarabmus or beetle. In Scandinavia, likewise, this insignificant insect was secred, and bore the name of the god Thor.”
(3) “ The resemblance between the serpent of Midgard, in the Edda and the serpent of Vishnu in the Veda is also worthy of remark, both being described as having encircled the world.”
(4) “But what is most deserving of observation is the accordance between the gates of Walhall and the Indian ages of the world, or yugs. According to the Edda, Walhall has 540 gates; if this number be multiplied by 800, the number of Einheriers who can march2 out abreast from each gate, the product will be 432,000, which forms ‘the very elementary number for the so-frequentlynamed ages of the world or yugs, adopted both in the doctrine of Brahma and Buddha, of which the one now in course will extend to 432,000 years, the three pre-
Theogony of the Hindus, pp. 107,108.
2” Five hundred and forty doors, I believe to be in Walhall. Eight hundred Einheriers can go out abreast when they are to fight against the Ulfven (the wolf). Here is meant the fatal encounter with Fenris ‘Ulfven at the end of the world, when Odin, at the head of 4:1:2,000 armed Einheriers takes the field against them.—(See the Edda).
ceding ones corresponding to this number multiplied by 2, 3, and 4.”
Between the nomenclatures of the Scandinavian and Hindu mythologies there is a remarkable resemblance. Love is in Swedish, karlek: Bengali, Karlekeya; while Swerga is the Swedish name of Sweden and is situated near the North Pole. Strand, the God of war, reigns there (Scandinavia), and seven steps (zones) lead thither, of which the most northern is named Thule, the ancient name of Sweden.”‘
It appears that the Hindu settlers migrated to Scandinavia before the Mahabharata, taking their philosophy and religion with them, but were soon absorbed by the natives owing to their inferiority in numbers.
Count Bjornstjerna says: “We have seen how Buddhism has spread first over the two peninsulas of India and afterwards proceeded to Ethiopia, Egypt, China, Corea, Thibet: it penetrated to Chaldea, Phoenicia, Palestine, Colchis, Greece, Rome, Gaul, and Britain.”‘ It is thus clear that Buddhism, or rather Reformed Hi uduism, at one time spread over almost every country of the ancient world. We have already seen (see Colonization) that Egypt and Greece were colonized by the Hindus in ancient times: those settlers must have taken with them their religion from ancient India. Direct and conclusive proofs, however, are available to prove that the religion of the ancient Egyptians and ancient Greeks was derived from India. On comparing, the religious systems of the Egyptians and the Hindus we are struck by their resemblance to each other. “Both proceed from monotheistic
Theogony of the Hindus, p. 109.
2Theogony of the Hindus, p. 101.
principles and degenerate into a polytheistic heathenism though rather of a symbolic than of a positive character. The principle of Trinity with that of the Unity, the preexistence of the soul, its transmigration, the division of castes into priests, warriors, traders and agriculturists are the cardinal points of both systems. Even the symbols are the same on the shores of the Ganges and the Nile. Thus we find the Linganz of the Siva temples of India in the Phallus of the Ammon temples of Egypt—a symbol also met with on the head dress of the Egyptian gods. We find the lotus flower as the symbol of the sun both in India and in Egypt, and we find symbols of the immortality of the soul in both countries. The power of rendering barren women fruitful, ascribed to the temples of Siva in India, was also ascribed to the temples of Ammon in Egypt; a belief retained to our days, for the Bedouin women may still be seen wandering around the temple of AMMO21, for the purpose of obtaining this blessing.”‘
Several names of Hindu mythology are recognised in Egypt: “Thus, Ammon, the supreme god of the Egyptians corresponds to AUM of the Hindus; and the Brahminical Siva is found in the temple to which Alexander the Great made his pilgrimage from Egypt, and which yet bears this name.” These resemblances between the two systems of religion prove that the one is derived from the other. The following arguments advanced by Count Bjornstjerna prove conclusively that the Hindu religion is the source of the Egyptian religion.
(1) “It is testified to by Herodotus, Plato, Solon, Pythagoras and Philostratus that the religion of Egypt proceeded from India.
ITheogony of the Hindus, pp, 40, 41.
(2) “It is testified by Niebuhr, Valentia, Champollian, and Waddington, that the temples of Upper Egypt are of greater antiquity than those of Lower Egypt; that the templeS in Meroe are more ancient than, those of Elephantine and Thebes; these more ancient than the temples of Tentyra and Abydos; and these again more ancient than those of Memphis, Heliopolis and Sais; that consquently the religion of Egypt, according to the testimony of those monuments, proceeded from the South, which cannot be from any other land than from Ethiopia and Meroe, to which country it came from India, as testified by the above-named Greek authorities.
(3) “The chronicles found in the temples of Abydos and Sais, and which have been transmitted to us by Josephus, Julius Africanus and Eusebius all testify that the religious system of the Egyptians proceeded from India.
(4) “ We have Hindu chronologies (besides those of Puranas concerning the Yugs, which are nothing but astronomical allegories) which go still further back in time than the tables of the Egyptian kings, according to Manetho.
(5) “ There is a tradition among the Abyssinians which they say they have possessed from time immemorial, and which is still equally received among the Jews and the Christians of that country, that the first inhabitants (they say Cush, grandson of Noah, with his family) came over the chain of mountains, which separates the highlands of Abyssinia from the Red Sea and the Straits of Babel Mandeb from a remote Southern country. The tradition further says that they built the city of Axunt early in the days of Abraham, and that from thence they spread themselves, following the River Nile downwards until they became (as Josephus says) the Meroetes; namely, the inhabitants of that part of Nubia, which being situated between the Nile and its conflux the Atbara, forms what is commonly called the island of Meroe, from which they spread farther down the river to Egypt.” Count Bjornstjerna thus concludes: “It appears from the above-mentioned grounds that the Hindus have a greater claim to the primogeniture of ‘religion, and consequently to the pritnogeniture of civilization than the people of Ancient Egypt.”1
That the religion of ancient Greece was partly derived from Egypt and partly from India, as shown by Mr. Pococke, is sufficiently well known.. Indeed, the cosmogony of the whole world has been derived from India. That the Greeks derived theirs from the Hindus may be seen in the accounts which Damascius has given of the doctrine of Orpheus. It is as follows: “In the begining was Kronos, who out of chaos created rather (day) and erehos (night); therein he laid an egg (Hindu).from which came Phanes, furnished with three heads (the Brahmin Trimurti). Phanes created the man and the woman from whom the human race is derived. The cosmogony of the Egyptians also adopts the Hindu egg which, divided into two, formed heaven and earth (vide Diodorus and Plutarch).”2
The Mosaic system of cosmogony was derived from. India. Count Bjornstjerna says: “If we reflect upon all these testimonies respecting Moses, and consider the
1Theogony of the Hindus, pp. 43-4G. 2Theogony of the Hindus, pp. 13U, 131.
place (Heliopolis) where he studied, and if we also recollect that the religion of the Egyptians was derived from India, we thus find a clue from whence Moses must partly have obtained his cosmogony, and also his religious system, which, like the Vedas, was constructed upon monotheistic principles.”I
The present cosmogony prevalent in the Christian and Mohamedan countries is also of Indian origin. The Buddhistic cosmogony is as follows: “In the beginning the earth was uninhabited, at which time the inhabitants of Heaven or of Bhurana (angels) used to visit the earth. These glorious beings consisting of men and women, through the purity of their spirit, had never yet cherished any sensual desires, when Adi Buddha (the supreme God) infused into them the desire to taste the fruit of a tree resembling the almond, which excited the sensual appetite in them, and they afterwards disdained to return to Bhurana, and thus became the parents of the human race. “2 That this is the source from which the Bible and the Quran derived their common system of cosmogony there can scarcely be any doubt. It is thus perfectly clear that every system of cosmogony, whether ancient or modern, owes its origin to the Hindus.
The mythology of the Greeks, the Egyptians and the Assyrians is wholly founded on the Hindu mythology. Professor Max Muller says: “The poetry of Homer is founded on the mythology of the Vedas,” and without the Veda, he says a little further, “ the science of mythology would have remained a mere guesswork and
1 Theogony of the Hindus, p. 144. 2Theogony of the Hindus, p. 131. 3 Chips from a German Workshop, Vol. III, p. 79.
without a safe basis.”‘ The gods and godesses of Greece are but copies of their Hindu originals.
Jupiter stands for .Indra.
Juno 9, Durga or Parvati (Indrani).
Apollo 77 Krishna.
Cybele 7, Prithvi.
Neptune and Uranus 79 Varuna.
Cupid 79 Kama.
and Pollux)7) Aswini Kumars.
The Ramayana and the Mahabharata are the sources of the Homeric poems, and the mythology of the Greeks is, to a great extent, only an adaptation of the Hindu mythology to local life and traditions of Greece.
The Christian mythology, too, is derived from that of the Hindus. Both Mr. Maurice2 and Sir W. Jones3 believe Rama to be Raamah of Scripture, son of Cush (Genesis, Chapter x. verse 7.) it is thus clear to a
Chips from a German Workshop, Vol. III, p. 06. 2Maurice’s History, Vol. III, p. 104.
3 Sir W. Jones, in the Asiatic Researches, Vol. II, p. 40.
student of comparative mythology that the Hindu deities are the objects of worship in some form or other th ughout the world.
Mr. W D. Brown says: “By careful examination the unprejudiced mind cannot but admit that Hindu is the parent of the literature and theology of the world. The researches and investigations made in Sanskrit language, which was once.spoken in that country, by scholars like Max Muller, Jaccolliot, Sir William Jones and others, have found in the ancient records of India the strongest proofs that thence were drawn many or nearly all the favourite dogmas which latter theologians have adopted, and the strongest proofs show to the thoughtful student that the ancient Hindus were neither the practisers of idolatry nor the unlearned, uncivilized, barbaric race they have usually been thought, but a people enjoying a measure of inspiration that might be envied by more pretentious nations. And I have not the least doubt that these translations of ancient Hindu literature will confound the so-called modern civilizations, that they will look upon India as a century flower once more coming into full bloom, wafting forth its delicious fragrance, and will beg for a slip from its branches.”‘
1The Daily Tribune, Salt Lake City, United States, America, Sunday Morning, 20th February 1884