Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions Being a Comparison of the Old and New Testament Myths and Miracles with those of the Heathen Nations of Antiquity Considering also their Origin and Meaning

Page: 190

virgin Devaki with her son Crishna

In India, they have worshiped, for ages, Devi, Maha-Devi—"The One Great Goddess"[326:3]—and have temples erected in honor of her.[326:4] Gonzales states that among the Indians he found a temple "Parituræ Virginis"—of the Virgin about to bring forth.[326:5]

Maya, the mother of Buddha, and Devaki the mother of Crishna, were worshiped as virgins,[326:6] and represented with the infant Saviours in their arms, just as the virgin of the Christians is represented at the present day. Maya was so pure that it was impossible for God, man, or Asura to view her with carnal desire. Fig. No. 16 is [Pg 327]a representation of the Virgin Devaki, with, the infant Saviour Crishna, taken from Moor's "Hindu Pantheon."[327:1] "No person could bear to gaze upon Devaki, because of the light that invested her." "The gods, invisible to mortals, celebrated her praise continually from the time that Vishnu was contained in her person."[327:2]

"Crishna and his mother are almost always represented black,"[327:3] and the word "Crishna" means "the black."

The Chinese, who have had several avatars, or virgin-born gods, among them, have also worshiped a Virgin Mother from time immemorial. Sir Charles Francis Davis, in his "History of China," tells us that the Chinese at Canton worshiped an idol, to which they gave the name of "The Virgin."[327:4]

The Rev. Joseph B. Gross, in his "Heathen Religion," tells us that:

"Upon the altars of the Chinese temples were placed, behind a screen, an image of Shin-moo, or the 'Holy Mother,' sitting with a child in her arms, in an alcove, with rays of glory around her head, and tapers constantly burning before her."[327:5]

Shin-moo is called the "Mother Goddess," and the "Virgin." Her child, who was exposed in his infancy, was brought up by poor fishermen. He became a great man, and performed wonderful miracles. In wealthy houses the sacred image of the "Mother Goddess" is carefully kept in a recess behind an altar, veiled with a silken screen.[327:6]

The Rev. Mr. Gutzlaff, in his "Travels," speaking of the Chinese people, says:

"Though otherwise very reasonable men, they have always showed themselves bigoted heathens. . . . They have everywhere built splendid temples, chiefly in honor of Ma-tsoo-po, the 'Queen of Heaven.'"[327:7]

Isis, mother of the Egyptian Saviour, Horus, was worshiped as a virgin. Nothing is more common on the religious monuments of Egypt than the infant Horus seated in the lap of his virgin mother. She is styled "Our Lady," the "Queen of Heaven," "Star of the Sea," "Governess," "Mother of God," "Intercessor," "Immaculate [Pg 328]Virgin," &c.;[328:1] all of which epithets were in after years applied to the Virgin Mother worshiped by the Christians.[328:2]

"The most common representation of Horus is being nursed on the knee of Isis, or suckled at her breast."[328:3] In Monumental Christianity (Fig. 92), is to be seen a representation of "Isis and Horus." The infant Saviour is sitting on his mother's knee, while she gazes into his face. A cross is on the back of the seat. The author, Rev. J. P. Lundy, says, in speaking of it:

"Is this Egyptian mother, too, meditating her son's conflict, suffering, and triumph, as she holds him before her and gazes into his face? And is this CROSS meant to convey the idea of life through suffering, and conflict with Typho or Evil?"

In some statues and basso-relievos, when Isis appears alone, she is entirely veiled from head to foot, in common with nearly every other goddess, as a symbol of a mother's chastity. No mortal man hath ever lifted her veil.

Isis was also represented standing on the crescent moon, with twelve stars surrounding her head.[328:4] In almost every Roman Catholic Church on the continent of Europe may be seen pictures and statues of Mary, the "Queen of Heaven," standing on the crescent moon, and her head surrounded with twelve stars.

Dr. Inman, in his "Pagan and Christian Symbolism," gives a figure of the Virgin Mary, with her infant, standing on the crescent moon. In speaking of this figure, he says:

"In it the Virgin is seen as the 'Queen of Heaven,' nursing her infant, and identified with the crescent moon. . . . Than this, nothing could more completely identify the Christian mother and child, with Isis and Horus."[328:5]

This crescent moon is the symbol of Isis and Juno, and is the Yoni of the Hindoos.[328:6]

The priests of Isis yearly dedicated to her a new ship (emblematic of the Yoni), laden with the first fruits of spring. Strange as it may seem, the carrying in procession of ships, in which the Virgin Mary takes the place of the heathen goddesses, has not yet wholly gone out of use.[328:7]