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: 277[475:1] "As the Sun and all the solar deities rise from the east," says Prof. Max Müller, "we can well understand how Aditi (the Dawn) came to be called the 'Mother of the Bright Gods.'"[475:2]
The poets of the Veda indulged freely in theogonic speculations without being frightened by any contradictions. They knew of Indra as the greatest of gods, they knew of Agni as the god of gods, they knew of Varuna as the ruler of all; but they were by no means startled at the idea that their Indra had a mother, or that Varuna was nursed in the lap of Aditi. All this was true to nature; for their god was the Sun, and the mother who bore and nursed him was the Dawn.[475:3]
We find in the Vishnu Purana, that Devaki (the virgin mother of the Hindoo Saviour Crishna, whose history, as we have seen, corresponds in most every particular with that of Christ Jesus) is called Aditi,[475:4] which, in the Rig-Veda, is the name for the Dawn. Thus we see the legend is complete. Devaki is Aditi, Aditi is the Dawn, and the Dawn is the Virgin Mother. "The Saviour of Mankind" who is born of her is the Sun, the Sun is Crishna, and Crishna is Christ.
Indra, the sun, who was worshiped in some parts of India as a Crucified God, is also represented in the Vedic hymns as the Son of the Dawn. He is said to have been born of Dahana, who is Daphne, a personification of the Dawn.[475:7]
The humanity of this SOLAR GOD-MAN, this demiurge, is strongly [Pg 476]insisted on in the Rig-Veda. He is the son of God, but also the son of Aditi. He is Purusha, the man, the male. Agni is frequently called the "Son of man." It is expressly explained that the titles Agni, Indra, Mitra, &c., all refer to one Sun god under "many names." And when we find the name of a mortal, Yama, who once lived upon earth, included among these names, the humanity of the demiurge becomes still more accentuated, and we get at the root idea.
Horus, the Egyptian Saviour, was the son of the virgin Isis. Now, this Isis, in Egyptian mythology, is the same as the virgin Devaki in Hindoo mythology. She is the Dawn.[476:1] Isis, as we have already seen, is represented suckling the infant Horus, and, in the words of Prof. Renouf, we may say, "in whose lap can the Sun be nursed more fitly than in that of the Dawn?"[476:2]
Among the goddesses of Egypt, the highest was Neith, who reigned inseparably with Amun in the upper sphere. She was called "Mother of the gods," "Mother of the sun." She was the feminine origin of all things, as Amun was the male origin. She held the same rank at Sais as Amun did at Thebes. Her temples there are said to have exceeded in colossal grandeur anything ever seen before. On one of these was the celebrated inscription thus deciphered by Champollion:
"I am all that has been, all that is, all that will be. No mortal has ever raised the veil that conceals me. My offspring is the Sun."
She was mother of the Sun-god Ra, and, says Prof. Renouf, "is commonly supposed to represent Heaven; but some expressions which are hardly applicable to heaven, render it more probable that she is one of the many names of the Dawn."[476:3]
If we turn from Indian and Egyptian, to Grecian mythology, we shall also find that their Sun-gods and solar heroes are born of the same virgin mother. Theseus was said to have been born of Aithra, "the pure air," and Œdipus of Iokaste, "the violet light of morning." Perseus was born of the virgin Danae, and was called the "Son of the bright morning."[476:4] In Iô, the mother of the "sacred bull,"[476:5] the mother also of Hercules, we see the violet-tinted morning from which the sun is born; all these gods and heroes being, like Christ Jesus, personifications of the Sun.[476:6]
"The Saviour of Mankind" was also represented as being born of the "dusky mother," which accounts for many Pagan, and so-called Christian, goddesses being represented black.[477:1] This is the dark night, who for many weary hours travails with the birth of her child. The Sun, which scatters the darkness, is also the child of the darkness, and so the phrase naturally went that he was born of her. Of the two legends related in the poems afterwards combined in the "Hymn to Apollo," the former relates the birth of Apollo, the Sun, from Leto, the Darkness, which is called his mother.[477:2] In this case, Leto would be personified as a "black virgin," either with or without the child in her arms.
The dark earth was also represented as being the mother of the god Sun, who apparently came out of, or was born of her, in the East,[477:3] as Minos (the sun) was represented to have been born of Ida (the earth).[477:4]
In Hindoo mythology, the Earth, under the name of Prithivi, receives a certain share of honors as one of the primitive goddesses of the Veda, being thought of as the "kind mother." Moreover, various deities were regarded as the progeny resulting from the fancied union of the Earth with Dyaus (Heaven).[477:5]
Our Aryan forefathers looked up to the heavens and they gave it the name of Dyaus, from a root-word which means "to shine." And when, out of the forces and forms of nature, they afterwards fashioned other gods, this name of Dyaus became Dyaus pitar, the Heaven-father, or Lord of All; and in far later times, when the western Aryans had found their home in Europe, the Dyaus pitar of the central Asian land became the Zeupater of the Greeks, and the Jupiter of the Romans, and the first part of his name gave us the word Deity.
Tacitus, the Roman historian, speaking of the Germans in A. D. 98, says:
"There is nothing in these several tribes that merit attention, except that they all agree in worshiping the goddess Earth, or as they call her, Herth, whom they consider as the common mother of all."[477:8]
These virgin mothers, and virgin goddesses of antiquity, were also, at times, personifications of the Moon, or of Nature.[478:1]
Who is "God the Father," who overshadows the maiden? The overshadowing of the maiden by "God the Father," whether he be called Zeus, Jupiter or Jehovah, is simply the Heaven, the Sky, the "All-father,"[478:2] looking down upon with love, and overshadowing the maiden, the broad flushing light of Dawn, or the Earth. From this union the Sun is born without any carnal intercourse. The mother is yet a virgin. This is illustrated in Hindoo mythology by the union of Pritrivi, "Mother Earth," with Dyaus, "Heaven." Various deities were regarded as their progeny.[478:3] In the Vedic hymns the Sun—the Lord and Saviour, the Redeemer and Preserver of Mankind—is frequently called the "Son of the Sky."[478:4]
According to Egyptian mythology, Seb (the Earth) is overshadowed by Nut (Heaven), the result of this union being the beneficent Lord and Saviour, Osiris.[478:5] The same thing is to be found in ancient Grecian mythology. Zeus or Jupiter is the Sky,[478:6] and Danae, Leto, Iokaste, Io and others, are the Dawn, or the violet light of morning.[478:7]
"The Sky appeared to men (says Plutarch), to perform the functions of a Father, as the Earth those of a Mother. The sky was the father, for it cast seed into the bosom of the earth, which in receiving them became fruitful, and brought forth, and was the mother."[479:1]
This union has been sung in the following verses by Virgil:
Conjugis in grenium lætæ descendit."
The Phenician theology is founded on the same principles. Heaven and Earth (called Ouranos and Ghè) are at the head of a genealogy of æons, whose adventures are conceived in the mythological style of these physical allegorists.[479:2]
In the Samothracian mysteries, which seem to have been the most anciently established ceremonies of the kind in Europe, the Heaven and the Earth were worshiped as a male and female divinity, and as the parents of all things.[479:3]
The Supreme God (the Al-fader), of the ancient Scandinavians was Odin, a personification of the Heavens. The principal goddess among them was Frigga, a personification of the Earth. It was the opinion among these people that this Supreme Being or Celestial God had united with the Earth (Frigga) to produce "Baldur the Good" (the Sun), who corresponds to the Apollo of the Greeks and Romans, and the Osiris of the Egyptians.[479:4]
Xiuletl, in the Mexican language, signifies Blue, and hence was a name which the Mexican gave to Heaven, from which Xiuleticutli is derived, an epithet signifying "the God of Heaven," which they bestowed upon Tezcatlipoca, who was the "Lord of All," the "Supreme God." He it was who overshadowed the Virgin of Tula, Chimelman, who begat the Saviour Quetzalcoatle (the Sun).
3. His birth was foretold by a star. This is the bright morning star—
If better, thou belongst not to the Dawn,
Sure pledge of day, that crown'st the smiling morn
With thy bright circlet"—
which heralds the birth of the god Sol, the Saviour.
A glance at a geography of the heavens will show the "chaste, pure, immaculate Virgin, suckling an infant," preceded by a [Pg 480]Star, which rises immediately preceding the Virgin and her child. This can truly be called "his Star," which informed the "Wise Men," the "Magi"—Astrologers and Sun-worshipers—and "the shepherds who watched their flocks by night" that the Saviour of Mankind was about to be born.
4. The Heavenly Host sang praises. All nature smiles at the birth of the Heavenly Being. "To him all angels cry aloud, the heavens, and all the powers therein." "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men." "The quarters of the horizon are irradiate with joy, as if moonlight was diffused over the whole earth." "The spirits and nymphs of heaven dance and sing." "Caressing breezes blow, and a marvelous light is produced." For the Lord and Saviour is born, "to give joy and peace to men and Devas, to shed light in the dark places, and to give sight to the blind."[480:1]
5. He was visited by the Magi. This is very natural, for the Magi were Sun-worshipers, and at early dawn on the 25th of December, the astrologers of the Arabs, Chaldeans, and other Oriental nations, greeted the infant Saviour with gold, frankincense and myrrh. They started to salute their God long before the rising of the Sun, and having ascended a high mountain, they waited anxiously for his birth, facing the East, and there hailed his first rays with incense and prayer.[480:2] The shepherds also, who remained in the open air watching their flocks by night, were in the habit of prostrating themselves, and paying homage to their god, the Sun. And, like the poet of the Veda, they said:
And when the Sun rose, they wondered how, just born, he was so mighty. They greeted him:
And the human eye felt that it could not bear the brilliant majesty of him whom they called, "The Life, the Breath, the Brilliant Lord and Father." And they said:
"Let us worship again the Child of Heaven, the Son of Strength, Arusha, the Bright Light of the Sacrifice." "He rises as a mighty flame, he stretches out his wide arms, he is even like the wind." "His light is powerful, and his (virgin) mother, the Dawn, gives him the best share, the first worship among men."[480:3]