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Considering the position occupied by the serpent as a symbol of life, and, indirectly, of the male power, we should expect to find its worship connected to some extent with that of Siva. Mr. Fergusson, however, declares that it is not so; and, although this statement requires some qualification, 137 yet it is certain that the serpent is also intimately associated with Vishnu. In explanation of this fact, Mr. Fergusson remarks: "The Vaishnava religion is derived from a group of faiths in which the serpent always played an important part. The eldest branch of the family was the Naga worship, pure and simple; out of that arose Buddhism, . . . and on its decline two faiths--at first very similar to one another--rose from its ashes, the Jaina and the Vaishnava." The serpent is almost always found in Jaina temples as an object of worship, while it appears everywhere in Vaishnava tradition. 138 But elsewhere Mr. Fergusson tells us that, although Buddhism owed its establishment to Naga tribes, yet its supporters repressed the worship of the serpent, elevating tree-worship in its place. 139

It is difficult to understand how the Vaishnavas, who are worshippers of the female power, 140 and who hate the Iingam, can yet so highly esteem the serpent, which has, indirectly at least, reference to the male principle. Perhaps, however, we may find an explanation in Mr. Fergusson's own remarks as to the character and development of Buddhism. According to him, Buddhism was chiefly influential among Naga tribes, and "was little more than a revival of the coarser superstitions of the aboriginal races, 141 purified and refined by the application of Aryan morality, and elevated by doctrines borrowed from the intellectual superiority of the Aryan races." 142 As to its development, the sculptures on the Sanchi Topes show that at about the beginning of the Christian era, although the dagoba, the chakra, or wheel, the tree, and other emblems, were worshipped, the serpent hardly appears; while, at Amravati, three centuries later, this animal had become equal in importance to Buddha himself. 143 Moreover, there can be no doubt that the lingam was an emblem of Buddha, as was also the lotus, which represents the same idea--the conjunction of the male and female elements, although in a higher sense perfect wisdom. 144 The association of the same ideas is seen in the noted prayer, Om mani padmi hum ("Om, the jewel in the Lotus"), which refers to the birth of Padmipani from the sacred lotus-flower, 145 but also, there can be little doubt, to the phallus and the yoni. We may suppose, therefore, that, whatever the moral doctrine taught by Gautama, he used the old phallic symbols, 146 although, it may be, with a peculiar application. If the opinion expressed by Mr. Fergusson, as to the introduction into India of the Vaishnava faith by an early immigrant race, be correct, it must have existed in the time of Gautama; and, indeed, the Ionism of Western Asia is traditionally connected with India itself at a very early date, 147 although probably the early centre of Ion-ism, the worship of the Dove, or Yoni, was, as Bryant supposes, in Chaldea. 148 We see no trace, however, in Buddhism proper of Sacti Puja, and I would suggest that, instead of abolishing either, Gautama substituted for the separate symbols of the linga and the yoni, the association of the two in the lingam. If this were so, we can well understand how, on the fall of Buddhism, Siva-worship 149 may have retained this compound symbol, with many of the old Naga ideas, although with little actual reference to the serpent itself other than as a symbol of life and power; while, on the other hand, the Vaishnavas may have reverted to the primitive worship of the female principle, retaining a remembrance of the early serpent associations in the use of the sesha, the heavenly Naga with seven heads, 150 figured on the Amravati sculptures. It is possible, however, that there may be another ground of opposition between the followers of Vishnu and Siva. Mr. Fergusson points out that, notwithstanding the peculiarly phallic symbolism of the latter deity, "the worship of Siva is too severe, too stern, for the softer emotions of love, and all his temples are quite free from any allusion to it." It is far different with the Vaishnavas, whose temples "are full of sexual feelings, generally expressed in the grossest terms." 151

Siva, in fact, is especially a god of intellect, typified by his being three-eyed, and, although terrible as the resistless destroyer, yet the re-creator of all things in perfect wisdom; 152 while Vishnu has relation rather to the lower type of wisdom which was distinctive of the Assyrians among ancient peoples, and which has so curious a connection with the female principle. Hence the shell, or conch, is peculiar to Vishnu, while the linga belongs to Siva. 153 Gautama combined the simpler feminine phase of religion with the more masculine intellectual type, symbolizing this union by the lingam and other analogous emblems. The followers of Siva have, however, adopted the combined symbol in the place of the linga alone, thus approaching more nearly than the Vaishnavas to the idea of the founder of modern Buddhism. Gautama himself, nevertheless, was most probably only the restorer of an older faith, according to which perfect wisdom was to be found only in the typical combination of the male and female principles in nature. The real explanation of the connection between Buddhism and Sivaism has perhaps, however, yet to be given. 154 The worship of the serpent-god is not unknown, even at the present day, in the very stronghold of Sivaism, 155 reminding us of the early spread of Buddhism among Naga tribes. In the "crescent surmounted by a pinnacle, similar to the pointed end of a spear," which decorates the roofs of the Tibetan monasteries, 156 we, undoubtedly, have a reproduction of the so-called trident of Siva. This instrument is given also to Sani, the Hindu Saturn, who is represented as encompassed by two serpents, 157 and hence we may well suppose the pillar-symbol of this primeval deity to be reproduced in the linga of the Indian phallic god. 158

But the pillar-symbol is not wanting to Buddhism itself. The columns said to have been raised by Asoka have a reference to the inscribed pillars of Seth. The remains of an ancient pillar, supposed to be a Buddhist Lat, is still to be seen at Benares; 159 the word Lat being merely another form of the name Tet, Set, or Sat, given to the Phoenician or Semitic deity. In the central pillar of the so-called Druidical circles, we have, doubtless, a reference to the same primitive superstition, the idea intended to be represented being the combination of the male and female principles. 160

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