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instances has some symbolical meaning which the lower one, treated simply as the partner of the sun, does not express.
What this is, may be learnt from the Atharva Veda (ix, 6), which mentions Sōma, the God who is called Chandramas' [the moon]. Sōma is still one of the synonyms meaning the moon. The Rig Veda is in agreement with this, and also refers to Sōma as the moon. It says of Sōma, ' He follows the Wide-strider's [the sun's] rapid movement. . . . He with the sharpened horns brings forth abundance; the Silvery shines by night, by day the Golden' (ix, 79, 9). Sōma is also referred to as 'Subduing our assailants, chasing the demons hard to be encountered' (ix, 110, 12). We also expressly learn of him that 'The mighty takes his seat, and Sōma, ever watchful, guards from fiend and evil sprite. Gold-hued he makes the cloud his diadem, the milk his carpet in both worlds, and prayer his robe of state' (ix, 71, 1). One hymn which is addressed to Sōma ends with the words 'Those awful weapons that thou hast, sharpened at point to strike men down-guard us therewith from every foe' (ix, 61, 30). Sōma is also identified with the great demon-slayer Indra :- Indra's self is Pavamāna [Sōma], yea, the Bull' (ix, 5, 7). 'Indu [Sōma] is Indra' (ix, 5, 9).
It is most probably in this aspect, as Sōma, the everwatchful' protector from demoniacal interference, that the crescent is so often placed on the arched buildings represented on the coins, whether they are temples or palaces.
Thus it is seen that in the case of most of the early coins of the East, with its elaborate symbolism (excluding those which were mere imitations of Greek models) care was taken to insert on them emblems, or figures of deities, which were believed to have protective powers against evil spirits, as well as others that were thought to be especially luck-bringing.
This may furnish the explanation of the other strange punchmarks of the Purānas, the early signification of many of which is known, while that of some is difficult to understand. For instance, there can be little doubt as to the purpose of the following figures on the coins.
The Elephant is at once recognised both as the 'Vahana,'
or riding-animal, of Indra, a persistent enemy of the demons, and as a lucky emblem.1 It is also the Vahana of Ayiyanār, who in India protects villages from nocturnal spirits. The dream of a white elephant was the omen of the birth of the Buddha, Gōtama; and in Ceylon it is still thought to prognosticate the birth of a son, which in India is one of the most fortunate of all occurrences. Miniature elephants of ivory are still sold largely in Ceylon as lucky charms. As I have already mentioned, the elephants' heads projecting from the walling and wāhalkaḍas at the Anuradhapura dagabas were most probably placed there as a protection against evil spiritual influences, and not as mere ornaments.
Indra, the terrific wielder of the ancient thunder' 2 which was a favourite weapon of the Gods in their wars with evil spirits, whether Titans or others; and Agni, the master of all wealth'; and the Sun-all, according to the Vedas, noted slayers of demons, and those who practised evil magic -were all, but especially the first one, termed 'Bulls' in Vedic times, perhaps because of their irresistible power, which the Bull also symbolised in the Euphrates valley and Egypt. This animal afterwards became the Vahana of Siva, who through his Sakti, or female manifestation, slew the demons
The Taurine' symbol, which is in the form of the skull of a bull, perhaps also signifies these Bulls. Such skulls are everywhere employed in Ceylon as potent guards against the Evil Eye, that bug-bear of all people, and the Bull's head or skull was an amulet in Egypt from prehistoric times, as also in early Greece. It is extremely doubtful if this design has, as some have supposed, an astrological signification; when placed on the corners of the fence or enclosure at the tree its position proves that it was thought to be an additional protection.
The Sun was the luminary whose rays, shown on most of the early Indian coins as straight lines or arrow-heads radiating
* The Jātaka’(Translation), Vol. vi, p. 25I.
2 Rig Veda, iv, 20, 6; in x, 92, 8, it is stated of him 'Unhindered, from the air's vault thunders day by day the loud triumphant breathing of the fearful Bull.'
outwards from a central circle, the 'arrowy beams' (ix, 76, 4), or the 'long loose locks' (x, 136, 1) of the Rig Veda— every day discomfited the demons, and dispelled the darkness under cover of which they exerted their powers. Naturally, according to this view of the purpose of the emblems, this is the commonest of all designs on the earliest money. The circle with many internal radial lines proceeding from a central ring represents its single wheel, with which Indra destroyed the Asuras.1
The Sacred Tree, of whatever kind, owes its position to its guardian properties against demons; and according to the Atharva Veda amulets against them were made from many different species. From some kinds the wood of the firedrill was taken, by means of which the presence of Agni, the Fire Deity, the chief demon-slayer of Vedic times, was secured. In the Atharva Veda, the Bō-tree, the Pipal of India, is called 'the Seat of the Gods,' 2 and thus was a place to be avoided by the demons. It will be seen, therefore, that the Bō-tree or a Bō-branch is not necessarily a Buddhist emblem when it appears on these early coins.
The defensive value of the Cross is explained in a later chapter on the Swastika.
The Snake is a well-known protector against demons. In the Rig Veda (vii, 104, 9) Sōma is prayed to hand over the evil demons to the Serpent. In the Atharva Veda (xii, 3, 55-60) Serpents are mentioned as Guardians of the Four Quarters and the Zenith. Representations of five-headed or seven-headed Cobras carved in high relief are placed at the sides of some of the dāgabas at Anuradhapura and elsewhere, as guardians of the relics deposited in them. Similar carvings are also fixed as defenders at the outlets of the sluices and sometimes on the embankments, at the larger reservoirs in Ceylon. In the manuscript which I possess, containing magical formulae and diagrams, the Snake is included as a protector against illness caused by demons (Yakshas). The Snake is also everywhere believed to guard hidden treasures, and even to be 1 Rig Veda, i, 130, 9; iv, 30, 4.
2 Sacred Books of the East, Vol. xlii, p. 4.
a manifestation of the household guardian spirit. In China it is an emblem of the God who controls thunderstorms, rain, wind, and fire, all powerful weapons against demons, and used by Buddha against the Yakshas of Ceylon. In China its figure is also employed as a charm against evil influences.1
The Dog is also a demon-frightener. According to Sinhalese beliefs he howls at night when he sees them, and in the jungle dialect he is called Ædurā, 'the demon-expeller.' In some parts of India he is a sacred animal; and he still protects the household from evil spirits.2 In the Atharva Veda (xlii, 13) the Sun is termed the 'Heavenly Dog,' probably because he was constantly acting as a guardian against the demons, A Heavenly Dog' is an evil deity in China; but other dogs are worshipped as beneficent deities, while a dog's head drawn upon yellow paper is a protective charm.3
It is among the Aryans of Persia that we find the most decided evidence of the power of the Dog over demons. In the Vendidad (Fargard xiii) Ahura-Mazda says of one species, 'This is the good creature among the good creatures of the Good Spirit that from midnight till the sun is up goes and kills thousands of the creatures of the Evil Spirit." He also tells Zarathrustra regarding it that when Ahriman, the Evil Spirit, tried to kill Gayōmart, the first man, 'Ormazd [the Good Spirit] cried out "O thou yellow-eared dog, arise!" And directly the dog barked and shook his two ears; and the unclean Satan and the fiends when they saw the dreadful looks of the yelloweared dog, and heard his barking, were sore afraid and fled down to hell.' 4 In Fargard viii, (S.B. of E., iv, p. 99), such a dog is commanded to be brought to look at a dead body in order to scare away the Death Fiend. This is still done. At a Parsi funeral which he attended in 1875, Sir Monier Williams saw a white dog led in the procession; at a distance of thirty yards
1 Doolittle. Social Life of the Chinese, Paxton Hood's Revision, Pp. 204, 566.
2 Crookes. Popular Religion and Folklore of Northern India, Vol. ii, pp. 218, 222.
3 Doolittle, op. cit. pp. 230 ff., 567.
4 S.B. of E. The Zend Avesta, Vol. iv, p. 156; Introduction, p. lxxiv.
from the Tower of Silence to which it was going' the dog was brought towards the corpse, made to look at the features of the dead man, and then fed with bread.'1 Thus it is not surprising to find the figure of this powerful demon-scarer placed on the summit of the five-arched structures, if not as an independent emblem on the Purānas.
The Fish in the tank signified that it was full of water, and this betokened a good agricultural season for those whose crops depended on the water-supply derived from it.
Of the River, the winding design in which fish are pourtrayed in order to show its nature, the Rig Veda (x, 30, 2) says, 'Wealthy Waters, ye control all treasures, ye bring auspicious intellect and Amrit' [the water of immortality]. Thus both the Tank and the River were emblems, and therefore omens, of coming prosperity and wealth.
The Fish and the Turtle were incarnations of Vishnu, a wellknown enemy of demons. Crookes states that drawings of fish on the walls of houses are still a charm against demoniacal influence in India. 2
According to the Rig Veda (vii, 103, 10) the Frogs granted riches and cows in hundreds,' besides lengthening the lives of the Aryans.
The Horse was a Vahana of Indra, of Ayiyanar, and of Vaisravana or Kuvēra, the Overlord of the Yakshas, and the God of Wealth; it was also identified with the sun (R. V. i, 163, 2). It is still a demon-scarer and a guardian animal in some parts of India, where it is commonly worshipped. It is also carved in relief at the entrances of monastic buildings at Anuradhapura, on the top of a pilaster (see Fig. 157), as well as on 'moonstones' at the base of steps, doubtless as a guardian animal.
I have little information about the Rhinoceros, which is sometimes represented on Purānas; but scrapings from its horn are still thought to be a most valuable and powerful antidote in certain diseases in India and Ceylon. This may
1 Modern India and the Indians, p. 173.
2 Op. cit., Vol. ii, p. 254.
3 Crookes. Op. cit., Vol. ii, pp. 207, 208.