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: 23

Vishnu (the Preserver) and said: In seven days from the present time . . . the worlds will be plunged in an ocean of death, but in the midst of the destroying waves, a large vessel, sent by me for thy use, shall stand before thee. Then shalt thou take all medicinal herbs, all the variety of feeds, and, accompanied by seven saints, encircled by pairs of all brute animals, thou shalt enter the spacious ark, and continue in it, secure from the flood, on one immense ocean without light, except the radiance of thy holy companions. When the ship shall be agitated by an impetuous wind, thou shalt fasten it with a large sea-serpent on my horn; for I will be near thee (in the form of a fish), drawing the vessel, with thee and thy attendants. I will remain on the ocean, O chief of men, until a night of Brahma shall be completely ended. Thou shalt then [Pg 25]know my true greatness, rightly named the Supreme Godhead; by my favor, all thy questions shall be answered, and thy mind abundantly instructed."

Being thus directed, Satyavrata humbly waited for the time which the ruler of our senses had appointed. It was not long, however, before the sea, overwhelming its shores, began to deluge the whole earth, and it was soon perceived to be augmented by showers from immense clouds. He, still meditating on the commands of the Lord, saw a vessel advancing, and entered it with the saints, after having carried into effect the instructions which had been given him.

Vishnu then appeared before them, in the form of a fish, as he had said, and Satyavrata fastened a cable to his horn.

The deluge in time abated, and Satyavrata, instructed in all divine and human knowledge, was appointed, by the favor of Vishnu, the Seventh Menu. After coming forth from the ark he offers up a sacrifice to Brahma.[25:1]

The ancient temples of Hindostan contain representations of Vishnu sustaining the earth while overwhelmed by the waters of the deluge. A rainbow is seen on the surface of the subsiding waters.[25:2]

The Chinese believe the earth to have been at one time covered with water, which they described as flowing abundantly and then subsiding. This great flood divided the higher from the lower age of man. It happened during the reign of Yaou. This inundation, which is termed hung-shwuy (great water), almost ruined the country, and is spoken of by Chinese writers with sentiments of horror. The Shoo-King, one of their sacred books, describes the waters as reaching to the tops of some of the mountains, covering the hills, and expanding as wide as the vault of heaven.[25:3]

The Parsees say that by the temptation of the evil spirit men became wicked, and God destroyed them with a deluge, except a few, from whom the world was peopled anew.[25:4]

In the Zend-Avesta, the oldest sacred book of the Persians, of whom the Parsees are direct descendants, there are sixteen countries spoken of as having been given by Ormuzd, the Good Deity, for the Aryans to live in; and these countries are described as a land of delight, which was turned by Ahriman, the Evil Deity, into a [Pg 26]land of death and cold, partly, it is said, by a great flood, which is described as being like Noah's flood recorded in the Book of Genesis.[26:1]

The ancient Greeks had records of a flood which destroyed nearly the whole human race.[26:2] The story is as follows:

"From his throne in the high Olympos, Zeus looked down on the children of men, and saw that everywhere they followed only their lusts, and cared nothing for right or for law. And ever, as their hearts waxed grosser in their wickedness, they devised for themselves new rites to appease the anger of the gods, till the whole earth was filled with blood. Far away in the hidden glens of the Arcadian hills the sons of Lykaon feasted and spake proud words against the majesty of Zeus, and Zeus himself came down from his throne to see their way and their doings. . . . Then Zeus returned to his home on Olympos, and he gave the word that a flood of waters should be let loose upon the earth, that the sons of men might die for their great wickedness. So the west wind rose in its might, and the dark rain-clouds veiled the whole heaven, for the winds of the north which drive away the mists and vapors were shut up in their prison house. On hill and valley burst the merciless rain, and the rivers, loosened from their courses, rushed over the whole plains and up the mountain-side. From his home on the highlands of Phthia, Deukalion looked forth on the angry sky, and, when he saw the waters swelling in the valleys beneath, he called Pyrrha, his wife, and said to her: 'The time has come of which my father, the wise Prometheus, forewarned me. Make ready, therefore, the ark which I have built, and place in it all that we may need for food while the flood of waters is out upon the earth.' . . . Then Pyrrha hastened to make all things ready, and they waited till the waters rose up to the highlands of Phthia and floated away the ark of Deukalion. The fishes swam amidst the old elm-groves, and twined amongst the gnarled boughs on the oaks, while on the face of the waters were tossed the bodies of men; and Deukalion looked on the dead faces of stalwart warriors, of maidens, and of babes, as they rose and fell upon the heavy waves."