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The Gods of India

   The religion of the Hindus, like most great world religions, is based on the Trinity, the Hindu Trimurti. The Absolute manifests Himself in three powers or aspects symbolized as three Gods: Brahma the Creator; Vishnu the Preserver; and Siva the Destroyer and Transmuter. These powers may be known.

   Brahma, derived from the root brih meaning to expand, denotes the unmanifest and unknowable Principle by and of which all things are made. When this becomes manifest it is Brahma, the Creator, first person of the Hindu Trinity. Vishnu, the second person, is solar energy, the Preserver. Siva, the third person, is known as the Destroyer, but he destroys only to build on a higher plane.

   Brahma is the cosmic Father principle which manifests as creative will in the individual. He is often pictured with four heads, symbolic of the four great Vedas, and He is most frequently represented as "the God seated upon the lotus."

   Vishnu first appears as Surya, the Sun God, seated in a chariot drawn by seven ruddy horses and preceded by the dawn, as eloquently described in a hymn of the Rig-Veda. He is deified and adored as the source of all light and the preserver of life. The most sacred of Vedic texts, the prayer to the Sun Being as vivifier, is used by all Brahmins in their daily devotions. As the second cosmic principle, Vishnu corresponds to the Son of the Christian Trinity, the love power which gives itself for the preservation of all things. Portions of his essence, according to Hindu theology, became incarnate in the lower kingdoms of life as well as in men. Repeatedly this Love or Wisdom Principle has descended to earth to aid mortals in times of crisis. Upon nine occasions has the earth been lightencd by His ministrations, and a tenth will occur before His service to earth is fully accomplished.

   The first Avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu was as Matsya, the Great Fish (teacher) who came to save the seventh Mann (Noah), the progenitor of the race, after the Deluge. The second appearance was as Kurma, the Tortoise (a name symbolic of his nature), who came to recover valuables lost in the Deluge — that is, the esoteric truths of Atlantis. The third appearance was as Varaha, the Boar, who came to lift the earth from the influence of a demon that had dragged it to the bottom of the sea. After one thousand years the rescue was effected and the earth was lifted up. Vishnu's names obviously signify astronomical periods, as suggested by the earth's being dragged to the bottom of the sea for a thousand years, the millenium figure in all ancient chronologies and later adopted into Christianity.

   The fourth incarnation of Vishnu was as a Being, half-man and half-lion, to deliver the world from the tyranny of evil. His fifth was that of the symbolic dwarf, Vamana (originally a Sun God). His object at this time was to regain dominion over the three worlds. That he might humble the pride of King Bali, Vamana asked for as much land as he could cover in three paces. He then strode once over the earth, once over the oceans and once again over the sky. Having thus lost all the visible universe, Bali had nowhere to abide. He was driven into the underworld where Vishnu compassionately allowed him to remain. This is a poetic description of the conflict between good with evil and the ultimate victory of good, as symbolized by the Sun God.

   The sixth appearance was that of the son of the Brahman Jamadagni, a descendant of the great Sage, Bhrigu. He began the work of equalizing the castes. The seventh incarnation was that of Rama of the Solar Race, hero of that great epic poem, the Ramayana. He came to teach man how to destroy the demon Ravana, symbolic of the lower nature.

   The eighth appearance was his incarnation as Krishna, the most beloved of all of India's later deities. Krishna is said to have appeared in India about the year 1200 B.C., within the opening centuries of the Arian Age and close to the time of Moses in Egypt (c. 1200 B.C.) and Orpheus in Greece (c. 1100 B.C.). Akhnaton came to Egypt somewhat earlier (c. 1300 B.C.). The esotericist perceives in these the activity of the Earth Spirit which, Itself a manifestation of cosmic law, brings forth for each Age a group of messengers which embodies the spirit of that Age. Thus, it has more than one human vehicle through whom It manifest in order to guide the various peoples.

   In Krishna Vishnu purposed the destruction of all hate and ignorance, as personified in the evil tyrant, Kansa. There is a most striking similarity between the life story of Krishna and that of the Master Jesus.

The Holy Birth

   The most holy and beautiful maiden in all the land was Devaki, while her bridegroom, Vasudeva, was the most gentle and wisest of men. These two illumined beings were to become the parents of Krishna. To Devaki came the Gods Brahma and Siva, chanting in words reminiscent of the New Testament: "In thy delivery, O favored among women, all nations shall have cause to exalt." His birth was attended by Angels, and he received from certain shepherds gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. In a room filled with celestial light lay the mother and Child; and those who were with them, knowing the Child to be the preserver of the world, began to worship him.

   When Kansa, the evil king of the realm and brother of Krishna's mother, was told by a Wise Man that a son of Devaki should one day take his throne, in anger and fear be decreed the death of every first-born son in the land. The infant Krishna was sent away secretly to be reared deep in a forest as the foster son of King Nanda and his Queen Yasodi. This king delighted in bedecking the child in his richest jewels, but so brilliant was the light which shone around the little one that the jewels were dull and lusterless by comparison.

   As he grew in wisdom and stature the people became aware of a new spirit in the land. Men were kinder to one another, speaking more gently because there was tolerance and understanding among them. Patience, forbearance, compassion and love permeated the affairs of daily living. Life took on new color and beauty, so powerful and far-reaching was the influence of the young child.

   The day arrived when priests and Seers who read the Vedas and the stars came to bestow a name up on the youthful one. The Seer contemplated the stars and saw revealed the wonder of his birth, whereupon the Wise Ones declared: "The oppressed he shall succor, the enslaved he shall free, and he will bring all blessings to the land wherein he dwells. He is crowned with the living stars of love and adorned with the rainbow of promise on his breast; this child shall bring glory and bliss wherever he goes. Blessed was the day I looked into his eyes and touched his holy feet, for in him dwell the virtues and powers of love."

   One day in a vision his mother became conscious of her son's great wisdom and the significance of his earthly mission. She saw him as "one who knows all things, yet is unknowable to all."

   The childhood of Krishna was filled with miracles of love and compassion. On one occasion at play he heard the voice of an old woman selling fruits. Quickly he ran to meet her and, as be poured out love upon her, the beauty and litheness of youth returned to her and her basket became heavy with rich gems and glittered in the sunlight.

   Love and plenty and peace reigned in the land where he who was Love personified grew up in youthful power and grace. By the magic of his music storms were stilled, fires quenched, meadows brought to bloom. It is said that the sacred tones of AUM sound forth the love song of Krishna's flute; also, that in Sanscrit these characters are a representation of Krishna playing his flute even as the Hebrews saw in the vertical arrangement of the Tetragrammaton the figure of man after having attained divinity.

   Wherever the young messenger of Love appeared, love was renewed and magnified in the hearts and lives of the people. Love between man and wife, between parents and child, between sister and brother was purified and so rose to loftier expression. Youth was fired by a higher idealism; maturity knew a deeper contentment. As horizons broadened, age basked in a serene and ever-deepening realization of the continuity and purpose of life. This great messenger bestowed continual blessings as he taught and demonstrated the totality of love.

   The ninth Avatar of Vishnu was the Buddha, who brought a new world religion based on pure reason, divine compassion and universal love. His life and work are dealt with in a later chapter.

   According to prophecy, Vishnu's tenth incarnation will be as the emancipator of the race, One who will bring destruction upon the wicked and, like Horus of Egypt, establish a Golden Age of righteousness that shall Endure. It is said he will come as the son of an ancient Brahman of Shamballa and, at a propitious time, will be seen in the sky surrounded by a great light and seated upon a white horse, with his sword uplifted; also, that his coming will be with the suddenness and brilliance of a comet. In this Avatar we behold the Indian version of the Messiah.

   The story of the incarnation of Vishnu is not to be dismissed as old-wives' tales or primitive legends. Vishnu is another name for the cosmic Christ Principle whose visible symbol is the Sun; Vishnu's incarnations reveal how this Principle has aided, and continues to aid, the life evolving on our planet. The narrative unfolds a history of evolution from the first forms (the fish) evolved in the depths of the primordial ocean through this half-animal-half-man link between animal and human kingdoms; next the "little man" or man at his most primitive stage, yet definitely human; then an ever-ascending progression until Divine Man is born. But the end is not yet. The path leads still higher, to the appearance of God-Man and the establishment of the new heaven and the new earth.

   Siva, born as Rudra Kumara (one of the seven sons of Brahma and the third member of the great Trimurti), is both creator and destroyer. He is called "the Auspicious" and is associated with reproductive symbols, the Lingam and Yoni: "In the midst of life we are in death." None are higher and none lower than the devotees of Siva. In his aspect of destroyer he attracts to his worship all manner of evil men — men who are, in fact, proceeding to their own destruction though they know it not. But the stern ascetic is also called to Siva and his statue adorns many Temples where worshippers seek the highest attainable truth. A poet thus describes him: "He had placed upon his right thigh the lotus of his left foot; upon his right knee, the hand sinister; his rosary upon the forepart of his right arm, the hand of which made the gesture called the gesture of argumentation."

   Siva is said to be "clothed in air" for he represents movement, the great activity principle which continually changes and transmutes the elements. Above all else the worshippers of Siva must learn to "let go," to live in the Now without attempting to hold fast to the whirling atoms of passing moments; maintaining, instead, a serene detachment therefrom. He sees life as a red rose glowing at the heart of a crystal maze and is never entrapped by the maze. From a point above it, he beholds inner beauty and thus is blessed by the vision of both maze and rose.

   Siva and his work are above and beyond the limitation of time. He symbolizes an eternal principle and is therefore represented as unmoved by the pleasures and pains of sense life. Only by suppressing every human instinct is it possible to become his "Bride."

   The famous Temple dances of Siva derive from the dancer's consciousness of his nature as never-ending change, the mystical rhythmic currents basic of all things from atom to God.

   The sacred monosyllable AUM symbolizes the three Gods of the Hindu Trimurti in Unity. When properly spoken or chanted, it releases a tremendous vibration. The Hebrew Anwn is of similar nature, but more closely comparable to the Tetragrammaton. The pronunciation of the Amen's four sacred letters was the most closely guarded secret of the Hebrew priesthood.

   All ancient Scriptures mention some such word, by means of which God created the world. Thus AUM is said to have been the first sound which reverberated throughout the universe at its creation, and which has been ever since the signal for communication between Gods and men.

Indra

   The God Indra is of special interest as the national or Race Spirit of Indian Aryans; he is the God of the Air. Both the firmament and the atmosphere are under his jurisdiction. The sky is his helmet, Earth lies in the hollow of his hand, and he orders nature's phenomena as he wills. As the archangelic Race Spirit, he broods over the land like a great cloud and is literally breathed in by those under his care. It was said, therefore, that Indra controlled one's breath as he also controlled the winds cf heaven, and that various breathing exercises. were developed by the Rishis to bring people into closer attunement with the God's influence.

   This great Being still remains the Race Spirit of India. In common with all other Race Spirits, Indra. was given a tremendous impulse with the coming of the Christ. The original keynote of every Race Spirit is separativeness, that the race may be brought to its highest degree of perfection, After this is achieved the barriers may be removed and individuals constituting the race left free to work out their own destiny. From this point unity becomes the keyword. The Event in Palestine marked the evolutionary hour when Race Spirits were to yield up their kingdoms. From that time on boundaries which separated nations have been destroyed almost as fast as they were established. No racial group is able to maintain itself in isolation. This is particularly evident in India.

   The beginnings of the Hindu race have been placed anywhere from 36,000 to 5,000 B. C. The first Initiate-Teacher was Manu, a name which, as previously stated, is applied to the "father of the human race." He is the Hindu Noah.

   The Rig-Veda, like the other Bibles of the world, tells the story of a great flood. One morning water for washing was brought to Mann and he found therein a fish which said, "Protect me and I will save thee." "From what?" asked Manu. "From a deluge which will sweep all creatures away. Keep me until I am a larger fish, then throw me into the ocean. The year I reach my full growth the deluge will happen. Build a vessel when the waters rise; enter it and I will save thee." Manu obeyed by releasing the fish. He builded a ship and entered it when the Deluge came. The fish appeared, swam with the ship to the mountains of the north, and anchored it there. When the waters subsided it was found all living creatures had been carried away; only Manu remained. From Manu's sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Gods was born a beautiful woman who became the mother of the new race.

   The fish has been universally used to symbolize esoteric doctrine. Tartullian speaks of the Christians as so many fishes bred in the waters and saved by the One Great Fish, the Christ. In like manner, Hindu Sages speak of the Fish (incarnation of Vishnu) that saved Manu and his people from the Deluge; by its wisdom they were led to the new lands of Aryana.

   When at last the Aryan race was strong enough to leave its mountain citadel it branched out over Europe and Asia. Those who went down into India found themselves in the presence of a very ancient civilization. Churchward has stated that historians place the birth of Indian civilization at the point where its decline began. He asserts that Naacal writings in a Tibetan monastery show that the Mayas from Lemuria settled in India over 70,000 years ago, and that these settlers were skilled architects. Many of the remains of colossal sculptured Temples are commemorative of their genius as builders. This Lemurian culture belonged, in point of time, to the Atlantean Epoch also, but it differed in one vital respect, namely, that it was the last flowering of Lemuria, the lost continent that now sleeps beneath the waters of the Pacific Ocean.

   When pioneers of the ancient Lemurian peoples received the germ of mind and were led forth into Atlantis to become the nucleus of the Atlantean races, most of the Lemurian masses perished. Some few of them, however, escaped, and their colonies in Africa and Asia flourished.

   About mid-point of the Atlantean Epoch the human race as a whole, including these Lemurian survivors, received the germ of mind, so the latter's evolution paralleled that of the Atlanteans.

   Invading Aryans learned much from this aboriginal Indian culture. There was also a mingling of their Gods. In time Siva supplanted Rudra, the Vedic God. Some of the excesses connected with his worship are perhaps traceable to their origin in the Lemurian culture, which had become decadent.

   The Deluge appears again in Sumerian and Hebrew Scriptures, and will be discussed at greater length in another place. Suffice to say that there were three great floods. The story of Manu relates to the very first one, at which time the first band of Original Semites was led out of Atlantis as seed for the Aryan race.

 — Corinne Heline


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