Asiatic Mythology: A Detailed Description and Explanation of the Mythologies of All the Great Nations of Asia

By J. Hackin; Clément Huart et al. | Go to book overview
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Fig. 1. AVATARS OF VISHNU: AS A FISH, A WILD BOAR, A TORTOISE, A LION, A CHILD

BRAHMANIC MYTHOLOGY

INVOCATION

AN orthodox Hindu, no matter what task he may enter upon, never fails to pay homage to the divinity.

That is the reason for the ritual invocation Om! which, followed by one of the sacred names, is found at the beginning of most of the ancient texts. Gaṇeṣa and Sarasvatī are especially invoked, but Siva also very frequently.

Om! Gaṇeṣāya namah!--Homage to Gaṇeṣa, god of initiative and the intellect! God who removes obstacles in the way!
Om! Sarasvatyai namah!--Homage to Sarasvatā, goddess of eloquence!
Om! ivāya namah!--Homage to iva, dispenser of all gifts!

May we be allowed this triple invocation on the threshold of this inextricable Hindu pantheon, to review which briefly is our formidable task, for the help of these three omnipotencies will be far from too much to ensure a simple and clear summary of this mythology --the most tangled and uncertain in existence!


GENERAL SURVEY OF THE HINDU RELIGIONS

Although they are of different origins and different speech, their religious tradition is what unites the scattered peoples throughout the vast territory of Hindustan. Despite the vicissitudes of an eventful history, it was, as a matter of fact, Brahmanism that made the Hindus out of the Aryans, the Dravidians, and the autochthonous Indians; it was Brahmanism that gave India its moral and social unity and in some sort makes a nation of that country.

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