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Is also a son of Brahma and Suraswati, the messenger of the gods, and the inventor of the vina, or Hindu lute. He was not only a wise legislator, an astronomer, and a musician, but a distinguished warrior. His name will be found frequently and respectably mentioned in Hindu mythology. Major Moor relates some humorous jokes practised upon him by Krishna, perfectly in accordance with the sportive character of that deity. Being once on a visit to him, Nareda having no wife or substitute, asked Krishna for the loan of one of his sixteen thousand. - The god told him to pick and choose. He endeavoured to do so sixteen thousand times, but in every place he entered he found the multiplied image of the god in the very spot that he wished to occupy. On a different occasion, being proud of his skill in playing on his own invented instrument, the vina, Krishna placed another instrument of the same kind in the hands of a bear, having with him a brother bruin beating the cymbals. In plate 3, fig. 6, Nareda is represented, from a compartment in the temple of Rama, bearing a vina in his hand, engaging the attention of a stork : with which story I am unacquainted.
Is another son of Brahma, of whom I have no representation. His name is frequently found in Hindu mythology. It is related of him, that on being once asked, in an assembly of the gods, which was the greatest, Brahma, Vishnu, or Siva, he undertook the task of ascertaining the point by a somewhat hazardous experiment. He first proceeded to Brahma, whom he purposely neglected to treat with his customary respect and decorum ; which unusual proceeding drew upon him the indignation and lavish abuse of that deity. He then repaired to Siva, to whom he behaved in a still more offensive manner; which roused in a much greater degree the anger of that impatient and vindictive personage. Brigu, however, on both of these occasions, by timely apologies, made his peace and retired. He finally proceeded to the heaven of Vishnu, whom he found asleep, with Lakshmi sitting by him. Knowing the mild temper of the god, he judged that a mere appearance of disrespect would not, as in the two former cases, be sufficient to try it: he therefore approached the sleeping deity, and gave him a severe kick on the breast. On this, Vishnu awoke; and instead of being indignant, as Brahma and Siva had been, he not only expressed his apprehensions and regret lest he should have hurt his foot, but benevolently proceeded to chase it. Brigu, on witnessing this, exclaimed, “This god must be the mightiest, since he overpowers all by goodness and generosity.” A similar exploit to another incident which is related of Brigu, would prove as inconvenient as extraordinary, were it to be exerted in the present state of mundane population. It is told of him, that the wife of King Suguru proving barren, applied to him to remove the evil; than which no greater can be apprehended by a Hindu female. Brigu promised that, on the performance of certain ceremonies, her wishes should be accomplished. The required measures were immediately adopted by the anxious queen, who was accordingly, by the aid of Brigu, enabled to produce at one birth, the moderate progeny of sixty thousand sons. Whether she continued to be equally prolific, Hindu mythology does not state.
Called the sons of Brahma, are named Marichi, Atri, Vasishta, Palastya, Angiras, Pulastia, and Critu. Colonel Wilford, in the Asiatic Researches, has considered the Brahmadicas, the Menus, and the Rishis, to be seven individuals only. The names of some of the Brahmadicas correspond with those of some of the Rishis.
Are seven : Swayambhuva (who by some is termed an incarnation of Brahma), Swarochesa, Uttoma, Tamasa, Raivata, Chaishusha, and Satyavrata. Sir William Jones has considered Swayambhuva to have been Adam ; and Satyavrata, Noah.
Were the children of the Menus, the offspring of the Brahmadicas, who were the sons of Brahma. They are seven in number, and are named Kasyapa, Atri, Vasishta, Viswamitra, Gautama, Jamadagni, and Bharadwaja. They are astronomically the husbands of the six Pleiades. How six and seven can accord, it may be difficult to understand. Mythologically, they were seven sages, who obtained beatitude by their virtue and
The goddess of learning, music, and poetry, is the wife of Brahma. The reverend missionary Ward, in his work on the history, &c. of the Hindus, has described her as the daughter of Brahma, and one of the wives of Vishnu; but all the other authorities which I have consulted represent her as I have described. She is also called Brahmi, or Brahmini, the goddess of the sciences; and Bharadi, the goddess of history. She is sometimes seen as a white woman standing on a lotus, or water-lily, holding a lute (or vina) in her hand, to shew that she is also the goddess of music ; at others, riding on a peacock, with the same emblem in her hand. (See fig. 4, plate 3.) Although the worship of Brahma has fallen into disuse, the annual festival of Suraswati, in the month Maghu, is highly honoured. On that day she is worshipped with offerings of perfumes, flowers, and rice; and the Hindus abstain from either reading or writing, as they ascribe the power of doing both to be derived from this goddess. Offerings are also made to her in expiation of the sin of lying, or of having given false evidence. If these offerings have, as is alleged, a successful effect, it may be imagined that they are not infrequently made, as the sin is one to which the Hindus are infinitely too prone.
Bartolomeo describes Suraswati as presiding over gold and silver, trees,
fruit, rice-fields, plants, and cattle; and as sitting on the lotus, suckling a child at her breast, and pouring from a bag the productions of the earth. This description will, I imagine, better apply to Sri, or Lakshmi, the Ceres
of the Hindus.
Suraswati has been compared to the unarmed Minerva, or
goddess of wisdom, of the Greeks and Romans.”
* I will take this opportunity of noticing, that, in the Pantheum Mythicum of Pomey (now in my possession), which formerly belonged to the late Sir William Jones, and is referred to by him in his dissertation on the gods of Greece, Italy, and India, he has, in various marginal and other notes, compared the deities of these several mythologies as follow :—
Indra . . . . . . . . } Jupiter.
Rama. . . . . . . . . Bacchus.
Heracula . . . . . . Hercules.