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NEARLY all the ancient nations of the world, of whom we have any record, carry back their origin to a period immensely remote; nor is this to be wondered at, when we consider that the traditions of the diluvian age must then have been fresh in the memories of men. Noah lived three hundred and fifty years, and Shem five hundred years after the flood. Nimrod, from whom was "the beginning of the kingdom of Babel," was the great grandson of Noah; and the kingdom of Egypt is supposed to have had its origin from Mizraim, the son of Ham. The founders of these kingdoms, therefore, conversed with men who had seen the flood, and who had been witnesses of the most fearful mundane convulsion that had taken place since the formation of our species. Who, in the days of his childhood, when the mind yearns after information relative to the past, and the strangest fiction is received as sober truth, has ever listened to the tales that none are so ready to tell as the aged, whether grandsire or gammer, without the receiving of impressions which the experience of future years can never entirely obliterate? It is then that the spirit leaves the narrow bound that in infancy was its world, and breaks away into other regions where it sees that which was before invisible, and hears that which was before inaudible, and enters upon a new existence. But the wildest romance ever heard in our day, from lips all garrulous, must be poor and spiritless when

compared with the wondrous revelations that the members of the Noachic family could impart; and when the children to whom they told them grew up into manhood, and wandered into the lands where they founded dynasties and established kingdoms, all these tales and traditions would be cherished in the memory, increasing in extravagance as they went on, until some superior mind would arise, and reduce them to order. Thus, from that which in its origin was the simple truth, would arise the legend, the myth, and the cnronological cycle almost limitless, of the times succeeding the deluge. The traditions of the Budhists are in unison with this order of development.

In the ages previous to the present Maha Bhadra kalpa, a kela-laksha of worlds was destroyed by fire, in which destruction the Great Earth was included, and all the worlds in each sakwala from the Ajatákása to the sixth brahma-lóka, Abhassara; so that the whole space was void, like the inside of a drum. But by the united merit of all sentient existence, the rain called Samartthakara, (or Sampattikara)* Mégha, began to fall. The drops were at first in size like a grain of rice, then gradually increasing in magnitude they became large as a needle, an arrow, a bamboo, an areca, a palm, four miles, and eight miles, until as much space as is occupied by a kela-laksha of worlds was entirely inundated. Then, by the same power, a wind was brought into existence, which agitated this mighty ocean, until the whole was evaporated, with the exception of that which composes the seas of the earth and the world of waters under the earth. At this time the whole space was enveloped in darkness. The monarchs of the brahma-lókas, coming to see whether the lotus was formed that indicates whether a supreme Budha will appear in the same kalpa or not, dispersed the darkness in an instant; when they beheld five flowers, with five sets of priestly requisites near them; by which they knew that the kalpa would be honoured by the presence of five Budhas. Then taking the five robes, alms-bowls, &c., they returned to their respective lókas.

"Janárddano, in the person of Rudra, having consumed the whole world, breathes forth heavy clouds; and those called Samvartta, resembling vast elephants in bulk, overspread the sky, roaring and darting lightnings." -Wilson's Vishnu Purána.


On the destruction of the previous worlds, the beings that inhabited them, and were in the possession of merit, received birth in the Abhassara brahma-lóka; and when their proper age was expired, or their merit was insufficient to preserve them any longer in a superior world, they again came to inhabit the earth. It was by the apparitional birth they were produced; and their bodies still retained many of the attributes of the world from which they had come, as they subsisted without food, and could soar through the air at will; and the glory proceeding from their persons was so great that there was no necessity for a sun or a moon. Thus, no change of seasons was known; there was no difference between night and day; and there was no diversity of sex. Throughout many ages did the brahmas thus live, in all happiness, and in mutual peace.* There was afterwards the formation, upon the surface of the earth, of a peculiar substance like the scum that arises upon the surface of boiled milk; but it was free from all impurity, as the virgin honey in the cell of the bee. This attracted the attention of one of the brahmas, who took up a little of the substance with his finger, and applied it to his mouth; but as its taste was most delightful, it excited the wish for more; and a principle of evil was now first manifested among the beings of the earth, who had hitherto kept themselves pure. The other brahmas soon began to follow this example; by which the glory proceeding from their persons was extinguished, and it became necessary that a sun and moon, and other shining bodies, should be brought into existence.

The whole of the brahmas assembled together; and after expressing to each other their regret for the loss of the privileges they had once enjoyed, they determined upon forming a sun. By the power of their united karma this was effected; and the shining body thus produced was called súrya, from sura, might, and wírya, energy. The name of Sun-day was given to the day upon which this luminary was formed. Before the assembly had dispersed, the sun went down, leaving the brahmas again in

"The beings who were created by Brahmá, of the four castes, were at first endowed with righteousness and perfect faith; they abode wherever they pleased, unchecked by any impediment; their hearts were free from guile; they were pure, made free from soil, by observance of sacred institutes. In their sanctified minds Hari dwelt; and they were filled with perfect wisdom, by which they contemplated the glory of Vishnu."--Wilson's Vishnu Purána.

darkness, which led them to resolve that another light should be formed. By their united karma the moon was then produced; and they called it chanda, from channa, thought or determination, because they had determined upon forming it, when the sun went down. To this day they gave the name of Monday. Upon the five subsequent days, they caused the five planets to appear in order, viz., Kuja, Budha, Guru, Sekra, and Sæni; and to these days respectively they gave the names of the planets thus formed.

When the brahmas had been long accustomed to eat the terrene production, their skins became coarse; and the complexion of one was light, whilst that of another was dark. This produced pride and contention, by which the substance was deprived of its delicious flavour, and in time entirely dis appeared. But in its stead there arose a kind of fungus, in taste like cream mingled with butter, by subsisting upon which the difference in their complexions was increased, in proportion as the brahmas partook of it with more or less avidity. In process of time, the fungus also disappeared, and was followed by a climbing plant called badalátá, after which rice of a superior kind was produced. It was pure as a pearl, and had no outward pellicle. As much as sufficed for the day was formed in the morning; and at night, when the evening meal was wanted, it was again renewed. By subsisting upon the rice, the apertures of the body were produced, and the generative powers were developed; which led to passion and sexual intercourse.* But those who had preserved their purity reproached those who had indulged their passion, and drove them from the community; by which the banished brahmas were led to build houses as places of concealment and privacy. They then became too indolent to fetch each meal as it was wanted, and accordingly at one journey brought away as much rice as sufficed for many days. By degrees an outer integument was formed upon the grain, then a coarse husk, and at last, when it had been cut down it was not renewed. This loss occasioned the necessity of setting limits to

Bardesanes in the second century taught, that the inhabitants of the world came out of the forming hand of God pure and incorrupt, endued with subtil, ethereal bodies and spirits of a celestial nature. But when in process of time, the prince of darkness had enticed men to sin, then the Supreme God permitted them to fall into sluggish and gross bodies, formed of corrupt matter by the evil principle.--Mosheim, Eccles. Hist.

the places where it grew, that each one might know his own portion. But some of the brahmas became discontented with what they received as their share; and coveting the property of others, they began to make aggressions, and commit theft. Thus arose the want of some administration, by which the lawless could be restrained; as some of the brahmas pelted the purloiners with sticks, whilst others beat them with clubs.

Then the brahmas once more assembled, and said to one of their number, "From this time forth thou shalt be the terror of the wrong-doer, that evil may be eradicated; and we will give thee a portion of our grain for support." By the suffrages of all present this individual was elected to be the supreme ruler; on which account he was called Sammata (the appointed, or the elect). From the power he exercised over the cultivated lands, khettáni, he was called a khattiyo, or kshatriyá,* and his descendants retained the same appellation. Thus the royal race, or the caste of warriors, was produced.

Among the brahmas there were some who, on observing the acts of insubordination that were committed by the wicked, thought within themselves that it would be proper to suppress their impious proceedings; on which account they were called brahmaná, suppressors.

There were others again who built habitations, and became skilful in the arts, by which wealth is acquired, on which account they were called wessá; and from them originated the waisyás, or caste of merchants.

Again, there were other brahmas who became addicted to hunting; whence they were called ludda, or sudda, and from them came the sudras.

Thus arose the four great castes; but all the brahmas were originally of one race, and were all equally illustrious. From each of the four castes, certain individuals repaired to the wilderness, and became recluses, on which account they were called sumano, or sramanas, ascetics.

No single institution, unless that of slavery is to be excepted, has exercised a greater influence upon the interests

*A. J. Pott supposes that Xerxes is a compound of the Zend ksathra, king (with the loss of the t). and ksahya, also meaning king, the original form of shah.

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