Page images

Kutka the Creator is Haetsh the First Man, who dwelt on earth, and died, and descended into Hades to be chief of the under-world; there he receives the dead and new-risen Kamchadals, to continue a life like that of earth in his pleasant subterranean land where mildness and plenty prevail, as they did in the regions above in the old days when the Creator was still on earth. Among all the lower races who have reasoned out this divine ancestor, none excel those consistent manes - worshippers, the Zulus. Their worship of the manes of the dead has not only made the clan-ancestors of a few generations back into tribal deities (Unkulunkulu), but beyond these, too far off and too little known for actual worship, yet recognized as the original race-deity and identified with the Creator, stands the First Man, he who 'broke off in the beginning,' the Old-OldOne, the great Unkulunkulu. While the Zulu's most intense religious emotions are turned to the ghosts of the departed, while he sacrifices his beloved oxen and prays with agonising entreaty to his grandfather, and carries his tribal worship back to those ancestral deities whose praisegiving names are still remembered, the First Man is beyond the reach of such rites. “At first we saw that we were made by Unkulunkulu. But when we were ill we did not worship him, nor ask anything of him. We worshipped those whom we had seen with our eyes, their death and their life among us.

Unkulunkulu had no longer a son who could worship him; there was no going back to the beginning, for people increased, and were scattered abroad, and each house had its own connections; there was no one who said, “For my part I am of the house of Unkulunkulu.” Nay more, the Zulus who would not dare to affront an “idhlozi,' a common ghost, that might be angry and kill them, have come to make open mock of the name of the great first ancestor.

When the grown-up people wish to talk privately or eat something by themselves, it is the regular thing to send the children out to

i Steller, ‘Kamtschatka,' p. 271.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

call at the top of their voices for Unkulunkulu. "The name of Unkulunkulu has no respect paid to it among black men; for his house no longer exists. It is now like the name of a very old crone, who has no power to do even a little thing for herself, but sits continually where she sat in the morning till the sun sets. And the children make sport of her, for she cannot catch them and flog them, but only talk with her mouth. Just so is the name of Unkulunkulu when all the children are told to go and call him. He is now a means of making sport of children.

In Aryan religion, the divinities just described give us analogues for the Hindu Yama, throughout his threefold nature as First Man, as solar God of Hades, as Judge of the Dead. Professor Max Müller thus suggests his origin, which may indeed be inferred from his being called the child of Vivasvat, himself the Sun: “The sun, conceived as setting or dying every day, was the first who had trodden the path of life from East to West—the first mortal—the first to show us the way when our course is run, and our sun sets in the far West. Thither the fathers followed Yama; there they sit with him rejoicing, and thither we too shall go when his messengers (day and night) have found us out. ... Yama is said to have crossed the rapid waters, to have shown the way to many, to have first known the path on which our fathers crossed over.' It is a perfectly consistent myth-formation, that the solar Yama should become the first of mortals who died and discovered the way to the other world, who guides other men thither and assembles them in a home which is secured to them for

As representative of death, Yama had even in early Aryan times his aspects of terror, and in later Indian theology he becomes not only the Lord but the awful Judge of the Dead, whom some modern Hindus are said to worship alone of all the gods, alleging that their future state is to be determined only by Yama, and that they have nothing therefore to hope or fear from any beside him. In these

1 Callaway, 'Religion of Amazulu,' pp. 1–104.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

days, Hindu and Parsi in Bombay are learning from scholars in Europe the ancient connexion of their long antagonistic faiths, and have to hear that Yama son of Visavat sitting on his awful judgment-seat of the dead, to reward the good and punish the wicked with hideous tortures, and Yima son of Vivanhâo who in primæval days reigned over his happy deathless kingdom of good Zarathustrian men, are but two figures developed in the course of ages out of one and the same Aryan nature-myth. Within

i the limits of Jewish, Christian, and Moslem theology, the First Man scarcely occupies more than a place of precedence among the human race in Hades or in Heaven, not the high office of Lord of the Dead. Yet that tendency to deify an ideal ancestor, which we observe to act so strongly on lower races, has taken effect also here. The Rabbinical Adam is a gigantic being reaching from earth to heaven, for the definition of whose stature Rabbi Eliezer cites Deuteronomy iv. 32, 'God made man (Adam) upon the earth, and from one end of heaven to the other.' It is one of the familiar episodes of the Koran, how the angels were bidden to bow down before Adam, the regent of Allah upon earth, and how Eblis (Diabolus) swelling with pride, refused the act of adoration. Among the Gnostic sect of the Valentinians, Adam the primal man in whom the Deity had revealed himself, stood as earthly representative of the Demiurge, and was even counted among the Æons.

The figures of the great deities of Polytheism, thus traced in outline according to the determining idea on which each is shaped, seem to show that conceptions originating under rude and primitive conditions of human thought and passing thence into the range of higher culture,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

'Rig Veda,'x. 'Atharva-Veda,'xviii. Max Müller, 'Lectures,' 2nd Ser. p. 514. Muir, ‘Yama,' &c., in ‘Journ. As. Soc. N. S.' vol. i. 1865. Roth in • Ztschr. Deutsch. Morgenl. G.' vol. iv. p. 426. Ward, ‘Hindoos,' vol. ii. p. 60. Avesta : 'Vendidad, ii. Pictet, ‘Origines Indo-Europ.' part ii. p. 621.

Eisenmenger, part i. p. 365. 3 Koran, ii, 28, vii. 10, &c.

Neander, 'Hist. of Chr.' vol. ii. pp. 81, 109, 174.



may suffer in the course of ages the most various fates, to be expanded, elaborated, transformed, or abandoned. Yet the philosophy of modern ages still to a remarkable degree follows the primitive courses of savage thought, even as the highways of our land so often follow the unchanging tracks of barbaric roads. Let us endeavour timidly and circumspectly to trace onward from savage times the courses of vast and pregnant generalization which tend towards the two greatest of the world's schemes of religious doctrine, the systems of Dualism and Monotheism.

Rudimentary forms of Dualism, the antagonism of a Good and Evil Deity, are well known among the lower races of mankind. The investigation of these savage and barbaric doctrines, however, is a task demanding peculiar caution. The Europeans in contact with these rude tribes since their discovery, themselves for the most part holding strongly dualistic forms of Christianity, to the extent of practically subjecting the world to the contending influences of armies of good and evil spirits under the antagonistic control of God and Devil, were liable on the one hand to mistake and exaggerate savage ideas in this direction, so that their records of native religion can only be accepted with reserve, while on the other hand there is no doubt that dualistic ideas have been largely introduced and developed among the savages themselves, under this same European influence. For instance, among the natives of Australia, we hear of the great deity Nambajandi who dwells in his heavenly paradise, where the happy shades of black men feast and dance and sing for evermore; over against him stands the great evil being Warrūgūra, who dwells in the nethermost regions, who causes the great calamities which befall mankind, and whom the natives represent with horns and tail, although no horned beast is indigenous in the land. There may be more or less native substratum in all this, but the hints borrowed from popular Christian ideas are unmistake

1 Oldfield in 'Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. iii. p. 228. See also Eyre, vol, ii. p. 356; Lang, 'Queensland,' p. 444.

[ocr errors]

able. Thus also, among the North American Indians, the native religion was modified under the influence of ideas borrowed from the white men, and there arose a full dualistic scheme, of which Loskiel, a Moravian missionary conversant especially with Algonquin and Iroquois tribes, gives the following suggestive particulars, dating from 1794. * They (the Indians) first received in modern times through the Europeans the idea of the Devil, the Prince of Darkness. They consider him as a very mighty spirit, who can only do evil, and therefore call him the Evil One. Thus they now believe in a great good and a great evil spirit; to the one they ascribe all good, and to the other all evil. About thirty years ago, a remarkable change took place in the religious opinions of the Indians. Some preachers of their own nation pretended to have received revelations from above, to have travelled into heaven, and conversed with God. They gave different accounts of their journey to heaven, but all agreed in this, that no one could arrive there without great danger; for the road runs close by the gates of hell. There the Devil lies in ambush, and snatches at every one who is going to God. Now those who have passed by this dangerous place unhurt, come first to the Son of God, and from him to God himself, from whom they pretend to have received a commandment, to instruct the Indians in the way to heaven. By them the Indians were informed that heaven was the dwelling of God, and hell that of the Devil. Some of these preachers had not indeed reached the dwelling of God, but professed to have approached near enough to hear the cocks in heaven crow, or to see the smoke of the chimneys in heaven, &c., &c.'1

Such unequivocal proofs that savage tribes can adopt and work into the midst of their native beliefs the European doctrine of the Good and Evil Spirit, must induce us to criticize keenly all recorded accounts of the religion of un

[blocks in formation]

'Gesch. der Mission unter den Ind. in Nord-Amer.' part i.

« PreviousContinue »