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DEMONS AND DE VILS. 13
casts the shuttle to the other. Enemies to each other they will appear in every realm which knowledge has not mastered. There is a refrain, gathered from many ages, in William Blake's apostrophe to the tiger:
Tiger tiger burning bright
In what distant deeps or skies
When the stars threw down their spears
That which one of the devoutest men of genius whom England has produced thus asked was silently answered in India by the serpent-worshipper kneeling with his tongue held in his hand; in Egypt, by Osiris seated on a throne of chequer." It is necessary to distinguish clearly between the Demon and the Devil, though, for some purposes, they must be mentioned together. The world was haunted with demons for many ages before there was any embodiment of their spirit in any central form, much less any conception of a Principle of Evil in the universe. The early demons had no moral character, not any more than the man-eating tiger. There is no outburst of moral indignation mingling with the shout of victory when Indra slays Vritra, and Apollo's face is serene when his dart pierces the Python. It required a much higher development of the moral sentiment to give rise to the conception of a devil.
* As in the Bembine Tablet in the Bodleian Library.
I 4 SHADOWS OF THE GODS.
Only that intensest light could cast so black a shadow athwart the world as the belief in a purely malignant spirit. To such a conception—love of evil for its own sake—the word Devil is limited in this work; Demon is applied to beings whose harmfulness is not gratuitous, but incidental to their own satisfactions. Deity and Demon are forms of the same word, and the latter has simply suffered degradation by the conventional use of it to designate the less beneficent powers and qualities, which originally inhered in every deity, after they were detached from these and separately personified. A Every bright god had his shadow, so to say; and under the influence of Dualism this shadow attained a distinct existence and personality in the popular imagination. The principle having once been established, that what seemed beneficent and what seemed the reverse must be ascribed to different powers, it is obvious that the evolution of demons must be continuous, and their distribution co-extensive with the ills that flesh is heir to.
The degradation of deities — Indicated in names — Legends of their fall — Incidental signs of the divine origin of demons and devils.
THE atmospheric conditions having been prepared in the human mind for the production of demons, the particular shapes or names they would assume would be determined by a variety of circumstances, ethnical, climatic, political, or even accidental. They would, indeed, be rarely accidental; but Professor Max Müller, in his notes to the Rig-Veda, has called attention to a remarkable instance in which the formation of an imposing mythological figure of this kind had its name determined by what, in all probability, was an accident. There appears in the earliest Vedic hymns the name of Aditi, as the holy Mother of many gods, and thrice there is mentioned the female name Diti. But there is reason to believe that Diti is a mere reflex of Aditi, the a being dropped originally by a reciter's license. The later reciters, however, regarding every letter in so sacred a book, or even the omission of a letter, as of eternal significance, Diti—this decapitated Aditi—was evolved into a separate and powerful being, and, every niche of beneficence being occupied by its god or goddess, the new form was at once relegated to the newly-defined realm of evil, where she remained as the
16 PHILOLOGICAL TRACES.
mother of the enemies of the gods, the Daityas. Unhappily this accident followed the ancient tendency by which the Furies and Vices have, with scandalous constancy, been described in the feminine gender. The close resemblance between these two names of Hindu mythology, severally representing the best and the worst, may be thus accidental, and only serve to show how the demon-forming tendency, after it began, was able to press even the most trivial incidents into its service. But generally the names of demons, and for whole races of demons, report far more than this; and in no inquiry more than that before us is it necessary to remember that names are things. The philological facts supply a remarkable confirmation of the statements already made as to the original identity of demon and deity. The word ‘demon’ itself, as we have said, originally bore a good instead of an evil meaning. The Sanskrit deva, “the shining one, Zend dačva, correspond with the Greek 6eós, Latin deus, Anglo-Saxon Tiw; and remain in “deity,” “deuce” (probably; it exists in Armorican, teuz, a phantom), ‘devel’ (the gipsy name for God), and in ‘demon.” The Demon of Socrates represents the personification of a being still good, but no doubt on the path of decline from pure divinity. Plato declares that good men when they die become “demons, and he says “demons are reporters and carriers between gods and men.' Our familiar word bogey, a sort of nickname for an evil spirit, comes from the Slavonic word for God—bog. Appearing here in the West as bogey (Welsh bog, a goblin), this word bog began, probably, as the ‘’Baga' of cuneiform inscriptions, a name of the Supreme Being, or possibly the Hindu ‘Bhaga,' Lord of Life. In the “Bishop's Bible’ the passage occurs, ‘Thou shalt not be afraid of any bugs by night: ' the word has been altered to “terror.' When we come to
the particular names of demons, we find many of them bearing traces of the splendours from which they have declined. “Siva, the Hindu god of destruction, has a meaning (‘auspicious') derived from Svi, “thrive'—thus related ideally to Pluto, ‘wealth’—and, indeed, in later ages, appears to have gained the greatest elevation. In a story of the Persian poem Masnavi, Ahriman is mentioned with Bahman as a fire-fiend, of which class are the Magian demons and the Jinns generally; which, the sanctity of fire being considered, is an evidence of their high origin. Avicenna says that the genii are ethereal animals. Lucifer—light-bearing—is the fallen angel of the morning star. Loki—the nearest to an evil power of the Scandinavian personifications—is the German leucht, or light. Azazel — a word inaccurately rendered ‘scape-goat' in the Bible—appears to have been originally a deity, as the Israelites were originally required to offer up one goat to Jehovah and another to Azazel, a name which appears to signify the “strength of God.” Gesenius and Ewald regard Azazel as a demon belonging to the preMosaic religion, but it can hardly be doubted that the four arch-demons mentioned by the Rabbins — Samaël, Azazel, Asael, and Maccathiel—are personifications of the elements as energies of the deity. Samaël would appear to mean the ‘left hand of God;’ Azazel, his strength; Asael, his reproductive force; and Maccathiel, his retributive power. Although Azazel is now one of the Mussulman names for a devil, it would appear to be nearly related to Al Uzza of the Koran, one of the goddesses of whom the significant tradition exists, that once when Mohammed had read, from the Sura called ‘The Star,' the question, ‘What think ye of Allat, Al Uzza, and Manah, that other
third goddess 2' he himself added, “These are the most VOL. I. B