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.fo allude to the circumstance of the oblation: As to the other inscription, NAMA SABASIO; which appears upon the neck of the animal, just above the part into which the dagger is plunged, and which, the Abbé says, has perplexed all the antiquaries; the meaning will appear very evident, when we consider that NAMA may possibly be an appellative, and that SABA means the host of heaven.
In the celebrated work of Hyde there are two other plates, peculiarly illustrative of the rites and symbols of the Mithratic religion. The former, facing page 111, exhibits, in as many different compartments, no less than four
striking emblematical portraits of Mithra, and : the bull sacred to him ; but the one, which I
wish particularly to point out to the reader's notice, is that in which an elevated figure, decorated with a high tiara, stands erect upon the same animal, with one foot placed upon his head and the other centred upon his back: his right hand grasps a dagger, his left supports a globe.* These symbols display, at once, the power of the God and the extent of that power. The position of his feet on the head
* Vide Hyde, de Religione veterum Persarum, p. 111 and 113, edit. Oxon, 1760, ubi etiam supra.
and back of the bull, and the perpetual recurrence of that animal itself in the attitude of prostration upon all these bas-reliefs, plainly mani-, fest, that the bull was not less than the horse sacred to the sun in 'Persia, and from what source the GOMEDHA JUG of India, in all probability, originated. On either side of this figure, likewise, are seen the youths with their torches, who represent the morning and the evening star, but with this difference, that, whereas, both are in the former table standing; in the latter table, the figure with the uplifted flaming torch is alone in a standing posture, while the figure, with the torch just ready to be extinguished, is beautifully represented sitting in a melancholy attitude, as if overwhelmed with anguish for the loss of his expiring light, and that the world was going to be wrapped in nocturnal clouds and incumbent darkness. In the second plate of the same book, there is an engraving of Taurus gestans Solem, that is, of the sun rising on the back of the BULL, which, Hyde informs us, is a device very common on the coins of the MOGUL EMPE. RORS OF INDIA. The reader will perhaps be pleased to see his words at length : Sic nempe pingunlur signa: adeo ut in dicto iconismo erhibeatur sol in signo TAURI, Persarum more VOL. II.
designatus. Sic etiam in nummis MAGNI MOGUL IMPERATORIS INDIÆ, erhibitur
corpus solare super dorso tauri, aut leonis, qui illud eodum modo gestat. Nam sol videtur portari et circumduci super 12 zodiacalia symbola, dum singula dodecatemoria percurrit,
But, to return to the subject of the antient sanguinary sacrifices in India, of which, however unaccountable, this of the bull was one, though in the present age forbidden. They constitute a feature of national character so directly opposite to that of the modern Indians, who, according to Mr Orme, the truest delineator of that character, shudder at the very sight of blood, who are tatally ignorant of one great branch of medical science, because anatomical dissections are repugnant to their religion, and who, in the opinion of the same writer, are at this day the most pusillanimous and enervated inhabitants of the globe ;* that on this review it is impossible to refrain from a high degree of astonishment; and, since the subject is equally curious and profound, it is my intention not to pass it slightly over, but to give it a discussion in some degree proportionate to its
See Orme's Hist. of Hindost. vol. i. p. 5, first edition.
importance. importance. The object then of our inquiry is, of what nature and origin were the vindictive deities, whose implacable fury exacted, from the benignant Hindoo, rites from which his nature seems to have been so abhorrent? Let us explore the latent sources of this wonderful and complicated superstition.
From the earliest periods of time, among all idolatrous nations of antiquity, a constant and uniform belief prevailed of the agency of intellectual beings in the government of the world. They supposed the whole compass of creation to be animated with those imaginary beings, assigning to some an elevated station in the celestrial orbs, to others a residence in the elements of nature, while others again had more particularly in charge the management of this terrestrial globe and superintended the concerns of mortals. But, as they imagined there were good spirits, οι αγαθοδαιμονες, whose office was of this protecting and benevolent kind, so they also believed in the existence of beings of a very contrary nature and disposition, or xoxodaspoves, whose constant employment and whose infernal delight it was to derange the beautiful order and harmony of nature, and to spread desolation through the works of God. I say
the works of God; because, there hardly ever existed a nation, notwithstanding the representation of Sanchoniatho, and other writers of that class, who did not believe in one grand original presiding Deity, but whom they suppose to be infinitely removed from the material universe which he had formed, and to govern that universe. by celestial agents. The Indians, in particular, are to this day
of opinion that the supreme felicity of the * Deity consists in a state of divine absorption
in the contemplation of his own wonderful -perfections ; but, still they imagine that his spirit intimately pervades every part of the creation. These good and evil genii, or, as they are called in the language of Hindostan, these DevATAS, are represented as eternally contending together; and the incessant conflicts, that existed between them, filled crea, tion with uproar and all its subordinate classes with dismay. The antient 'Per. sians, according to Dr Hyde,* affirmed, that there were
two mighty, predominant principles in nature ; the first they denominated ORMUZD, or OROMASDES, the superior and benevolent being; the second they styled
* Hist. Relig. vet. Pers. c. ix. p. 160, edit. Oxon. 1760.