Изображения страниц

deified saint, and one who, whatever scattered notions may have before existed, was the first who reduced them to a system.

All that we can gather from history or by means of antiquities, tends strongly to the belief that these now incompatible sects (the Jainas and Brahmans) were parts of one general system. Rishabha, as well as Sakya Kapila, and Vyása, may then have been an avatara; and if the Brahmans consider the avatara Rishabha a distinct personage from him who founded the Jaina sect, it may be but with the same inotive which induces them to assert a distinct Buddha avatara, viz. that of denying men whose memory has from subsequent broils become obnoxious.

As the source of the Jain, or Arhata sect, is acknowledged by all to be Rishabha déva, I do not know how to reconcile to this opinion the supposition of Mr. Colebrooke, that Parswanatha might be the real founder of the sect. *

The usual idea of the Jainas being a modern sect may not be erroneous, the doctrines originating with Rishabha, and dividing at periods of schism into more distinct classes, of which the Jainas or Srawacs as now established, form one; and the modern Buddhists, as in Burma, Siam, Ceylon, Thibet, &c., another.

Parswanatha I consider only as another form of Vishnu, in his distinct character of preserver; and that the histories of Buddha, son of Suddhodana, as well as of Salivahan, Gautama, &c. &c. are, in a great measure, a jumble derived from the same source, with the addition of foreign legends.

The latter sectarians appear to have merely given locality, name, and parentage, through the medium of saints or real existences, to original

* “That supposition rests upon the surmise, that the history of Rishabha, and the other deified saints anterior to Parswanatha, is mere fable. It is vain to look for any foundation in truth for the monstrous absurdities related of them, their more than gigantic stature, prodigious duration of life, &c. There is a nearer approach to sober history and credible chronology, amid much which is silly, in the account of Parswanatha. He lived to the age of one hundred years ; his predecessor to one thousand. He Aourished 1230 years before the date of the work which gave an account of him and of his successor ; his predecessor more than eighty thousand years earlier.” -Note by Mr. Colebrooke.

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][merged small]


notions, varying the minor details as facts or convenience might dictate. The names of the ten forms of Parswanatha are Marabuti, Gaja, Deva, Kirawavega, Surabhiman, Vajranabhi, Suranabhi, Chakravarti, Suvarnabahu, and Parswanat’ha."

Plate 34, is a representation from a Jaina sculpture three feet eight by two feet six, of Bhavani. She is seated on a lion, and is richly decorated with gems. In one hand she holds a human figure to her breast, and in another a lotus flower. Over her head is one of the Jaina Tirt'hankaras with two attendants, having chawries in their hands, standing on elephants; and two others holding over his head the umbrella or ensign of royalty. On each side are two larger elephants with their keepers, numerous figures of devotees, gundharvas, apsaras, &c. &c., fill up the other parts of the sculpture, which is very elaborately executed.

Plate 35, represents Parswanat'ha, from a highly finished and beautiful sculpture in basalt. He is seated beneath an arch on a lotus throne, on the pedestal of which are three figures in various positions. Standing on the platform of the arch are two Fakeers supporting on their upraised hands the figure of Siva, Durga, and Indra and Indrani on elephants. On the head of Parswanat'ha is a rich tiara, with large bows at the sides; and over it an umbrella or canopy formed like the branches of a tree. The octangular pilasters, which support the arch, as well as the ornamental parts of the arch itself, are finely sculptured : the latter in a flame-like wreath, apparently forming the tails of birds, and terminating in a colossal head. Above this are three (probably Swetambara and Digambara) figures. The whole has a rich and beautiful effect.


The doctrines of the Shikhs appear to partake both of the Brahminical and Jaina sects, blended with peculiar tenets of their own. They believe in a divine unity, and preach a strict and fervent devotion to the Deity; but raise their Gurus, or spiritual guides, to an equality with, or superiority over him. Like the Brahmans, in one of their hypotheses, they believe that nature is the mother of the world, and that Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva are her sons, who regulate it ; but they teach that there is a god (Narayana) superior to them, who created the world and innumerable other worlds, which, and the periods of their creation, are known only to himself.

The Shikh doctrines, as taught by their founder, Nanock, inculcate, that devotion to God is to partake of God, and finally to obtain absorption into the divine essence. The Shikhs believe in transmigration, a multiplicity of heavens and hells, and future births; and that mankind will be punished or rewarded according to their merits or demerits.

outward forms he disregards. He is infinite, omnipotent, invisible : nothing can speak his praise; nothing describe his power. Every thing is absorbed in him : all that exists in the world is of him. The millions of Hindu deities, with Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, as well as Mahomet and all other divine personages, are subject to his power; nothing in fine is equal to him-except the Gurus, or spiritual teachers of the Shikhs.

Notwithstanding this reservation, the fundamental doctrines of the Shikh religion, as taught by Nanock, breathe the purest spirit of holines

e the purest spirit of holiness, truth, justice, benevolence, a regard towards sentient animals, and that meek and inobtrusive devotion of the heart which acknowledges the deity in all his works, and leads to the worship of him, regardless of outward forms and observances, in silent meditation and prayer.

Such, and other not less excellent doctrines, appear to have been those inculcated by the founder of, and his immediate successors among the Shikhs; but how soon the staff of the wandering and pious pilgrim, and the devotion of the mind-absorbed ascetic, were exchanged for the sword and shield, and predatory ravages of the mountain warrior, the following pages will shew.

The founder of this sect, as before intimated, was Nanock, a Hindu of the Khetrie caste, who was born in the year 1469, at the village of Talawundy (now called Rhaypore), about sixty miles westward of Lahore, He is said to have travelled through most of the countries in India, and even into Persia and Arabia, preaching his doctrines in peace, and preserving an unaffected meekness and simplicity of manners. He died at

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »