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ARYAS, DASYUS, AND NAGAS.
would indicate that there too was found reason to associate diabolism with the white face. It is said the Thugs spared Englishmen because their white faces suggested relationship to Siva. In some of the ancient Indian books the monster whom Indra slew, Vritra, is called Dasyu (enemy), a name which in the Vedas designates the Aborigines as contrasted with the Aryans of the North. “In the old Sanskrit, in the hymns of the Veda, ârya occurs frequently as a national name and as a name of honour, comprising the worshippers of the gods of the Brahmans, as opposed to their enemies, who are called in the Veda Dasyus. Thus one of the gods, Indra, who in some respects answers to the Greek Zeus, is invoked in the following words (Rigveda, i. 57, 8):– Know thou the Aryas, O Indra, and those who are Dasyus; punish the lawless, and deliver them unto thy servant! Be thou the mighty helper of the worshippers, and I will praise all these thy deeds at the festivals.'1
Naglok (snakeland) was at an early period a Hindu name for hell. But the Nagas were not real snakes,-in that case they might have fared better,—but an aboriginal tribe in Ceylon, believed by the Hindus to be of serpent origin,—naga' being an epithet for 'native.'? The Singhalese, on the other hand, have adapted the popular name for demons in India, 'Rakshasa,' in their Rakseyo, a tribe of invisible cannibals without supernatural powers (except invisibility), who no doubt merely embody the traditions of some early race. The dreaded powers were from another tribe designated Yakkhos (demons), and be
i Max Müller, ‘Science of Language,' i. 275.
? The term is now used very vaguely. Mr. Talboys Wheeler, speaking of the 'Scythic Nagas' (Hist. of India, i. 147), says: 'In process of time these Nagas became identified with serpents, and the result has been a strange con fusion between serpents and human beings.' In the • Padma Purana 'we read of serpent-like men.' (See my 'Sacred Anthology,' p. 263.)
lieved to have the power of rendering themselves invisible. Buddha's victories over these demonic beings are related in the ‘Mahawanso.' 'It was known (by inspiration) by the vanquishers that in Lanka, filled by yakkhos, ... would be the place where his religion would be glorified. In like manner, knowing that in the centre of Lanka, on the delightful bank of a river, ... in the agreeable Mahanaga garden, ... there was a great assembly of the principal yakkhos, ... the deity of happy advent, approaching that great congregation, ... immediately over their heads hovering in the air, ... struck terror into them by rains, tempests, and darkness. The yakkhos, overwhelmed with awe, supplicated of the vanquisher to be released from their terror. ... The consoling vanquisher thus replied: 'I will release ye yakkhos from this your terror and affliction : give ye unto me here by unanimous consent a place for me to alight on. All these yakkhos replied: ‘Lord, we confer on thee the whole of Lanka, grant thou comfort to us. The vanquisher thereupon dispelling their terror and cold shivering, and spreading his carpet of skin on the spot bestowed on him, he there seated himself. He then caused the aforesaid carpet, refulgent with a fringe of flames, to extend itself on all sides : they, scorched by the flames, (receding) stood around on the shores (of the island) terrified. The Saviour then caused the delightful isle of Giri to approach for them. As soon as they transferred themselves thereto (to escape the conflagration), he restored it to its former position.'1
This legend, which reminds one irresistibly of the expulsion of reptiles by saints from Ireland, and other Western regions, is the more interesting if it be considered that these Yakkhos are the Sanskrit Yakshas, attendants
1 Mahawanso' (Turnour), pp. 3, 6.
on Kuvera, the god of wealth, employed in the care of his garden and treasures. They are regarded as generally inoffensive. The transfer by English authorities of the Tasmanians from their native island to another, with the result of their extermination, may suggest the possible origin of the story of Giri.
Buddha's dealings with the serpent-men or nagas is related as follows in the same volume:
"The vanquisher (i.e., of the five deadly sins), ... in the fifth year of his buddhahood, while residing at the garden of (the prince) Jeto, observing that, on account of a disputed claim for a gem-set throne between t naga Mahodaro and a similar Chalodaro, a maternal uncle and nephew, a conflict was at hand, ... taking with him his sacred dish and robes, out of compassion to the nagas, visited Nagadipo. ... These mountain nagas were, moreover, gifted with supernatural powers. ... The Saviour and dispeller of the darkness of sin, poising himself in the air over the centre of the assembly, caused a terrifying darkness to these nagas. Attending to the prayer of the dismayed nagas, he again called forth the light of day.. They, overjoyed at having seen the deity of felicitous advent, bowed down at the feet of the divine teacher. To them the vanquisher preached a sermon of reconciliation. Both parties rejoicing thereat, made an offering of the gem-throne to the divine sage. The divine teacher, alighting on the earth, seated himself on the throne, and was served by the naga kings with celestial food and beverage. The lord of the universe procured for eighty kotis of nagas, dwelling on land and in the waters, the salvation of the faith and the state of piety.'
At every step in the conversion of the native Singhalese, -the demons and serpent-men,-Buddha and his apostles are represented as being attended by the devas,—the
deities of India,—who are spoken of as if glad to become menials of the new religion. But we find Zoroaster using this term in a demonic sense, and describing alien worshippers as children of the Devas (a Semite would say, Sons of Belial). And in the conventional Persian pictures of the Last Judgment (moslem), the archfiend has the Hindu complexion. A similar phenomenon may be observed in various regions. In the mediæval frescoes of Moscow, representing infernal tortures, it is not very difficult to pick out devils representing the physical characteristics of most of the races with which the Muscovite has struggled in early times. There are also black Ethiopians among them, which may be a result of devils being considered the brood of Tchernibug, god of Darkness; but may also, not impossibly, have come of such apocryphal narratives as that ascribed to St. Augustine. “I was already Bishop of Hippo when I went into Ethiopia with some servants of Christ, there to preach the gospel. In this country we saw many men and women without heads, who had two great cyes in their breasts; and in countries still more southerly we saw a people who had but one eye in their foreheads.' 1
In considering animal demons, the primitive demonisation of the Wolf has been discussed. But it is mainly as a transformation of man and a type of savage foes that this animal has been a prominent figure in Mythology.
Professor Max Müller has made it tolerably clear that Bellerophon means Slayer of the Hairy; and that Belleros is the transliteration of Sanskrit varvara, a term applied to the dark Aborigines by their Aryan invaders, equivalent to barbarians. This points us for the origin of the title rather to Bellerophon's conquest of the Lycians, or Wolfmen, than to his victory over the Chimæra. The story of
1 Ser. xxxiii. Hardly consistent with De Civ. Dei, xvi. 8. 9. Chips,'ii.
LYCIANS AND HIRPINI.
Lycaon and his sons—barbarians defying the gods and devouring human flesh-turned into wolves by Zeus, connects itself with the Lycians (hairy, wolfish barbarians), whom Bellerophon conquered.
It was not always, however, the deity that conquered in such encounters. In the myth of Soracte, the Wolf is seen able to hold his own against the gods. Soranus, worshipped on Mount Soracte, was at Rome the god of Light, and is identified with Apollo by Virgil.1 A legend states that he became associated with the infernal gods, though called Diespiter, because of the sulphurous exhalations from the side of Mount Soracte. It is said that once when some shepherds were performing a sacrifice, some wolves seized the flesh; the shepherds, following them, were killed by the poisonous vapours of the mountain to which the wolves retreated. An oracle gave out that this was a punishment for their pursuing the sacred animals; and a general pestilence also having followed, it was declared that it could only cease if the people were all changed to wolves and lived by prey. Hence the Hirpini, from the Sabine 'hirpus,' a wolf. The story is a variant of that of the Hirpinian Samnites, who were said to have received their name from their ancestors having followed a sacred wolf when seeking their new home. The Wolf ceremonies were, like the Roman Lupercalia, for purposes of purification. The worshippers ran naked through blazing fires. The annual festival, which Strabo describes as occurring in the grove of Feronia, goddess of Nature, became at last a sort of fair. Its history, however, is very significant of the formidable character of the Hirpini, or Wolf-tribe, which could alone have given rise to such euphemistic celebrations of the wolf. It is interesting to note that in some regions this wolf
1 'Sancti custos Soractis Apollo.'-Æn. xi. 785.