GENERAL note on the Sacti Puja. POWER means the good goddess, Maya Maia (i.e. Delusion). She is also called Bhagala, Vagula, Bagala-mukhi. She has neither images nor pictures. The Girl in the Indian sacred, secret Temple rites, who figures as the representative of Sacti, is the supposed embodiment of the goddess offered for worship. The word Sacti corresponds to genius, or 'sylph', of the Rosicrucian creed. The doctrine of guardian angels and of patron saints is conveyed in these Hindoo meanings in the machinery of the 'sylphs'.
During Puja, the Yogini is supposed to be in an exalted visionary state (guyána nidra), wherein, like the sibyls among the ancients, and the modern clairvoyantes, she answers questions in a delirious manner, and is supposed to be for the time inspired. The Foreign Quarterly Review, No X. for February 1830; art. viii.: 'Histoire Critique de Gnosticisme, et de son influence sur les Sects religieuses et philosophiques des six premiers siècles de l’ère chrétienne. Ouvrage couronné par l’Académie Royale des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres. Par M. J. Matter, Professeur. 2 tomes, avec planches, 8vo, Paris, 1828.' The third volume is of small size, and contains eleven plates of gems and symbols. This book proves Gnosticism to be identical with the Sacti creed of the Hindus.
[paragraph continues] Edward Sellon advances this. See Annotations on the Sacred Writings of the Hindus, being an epitome of some of the most remarkable and leading tenets in the faith of that people. Printed for Private Circulation, 1865. London.
Brühm Atma, the Breathing Soul, is, according to the Hindoos, a spiritual Supreme Being, coeval with the formation of the world. In process of time the Hindoos appear to have adopted a material type or emblem of Brühm. A rude block of stone began to be set up. This was the 'Phallus', or, as they termed it, the 'Linga'. This emblem had reference to the Procreative Power seen throughout nature, and in that primæval age was regarded with the greatest awe and veneration. This simple and primitive Idolatry came by degrees to diverge into the adoration of the elements, particularly Fire, and at length developed itself by the institution of an emanation from Brühm Atma in his Triune capacity, as Creator, Preserver (or 'Saviour'), and Destroyer. These attributes were deified under the names of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, on whom were conferred three gunas, or qualities, viz. Rajas (passion), Sat (purity), and Tumas (darkness). This is the Trimurti. 'Trimurti' (three-formed Murti), signifying also an image. Our vital souls are, according to the Vedanta, no more than images, or εἴδωλοα of the 'Supreme Spirit'--As. Res. vol. iii. It may be concluded that the most exalted notion of worship among the Hindus is a service of fear. The Brahmins say that the other Gods are good and benevolent, and will not hurt their creatures; but that Siva is powerful and cruel, and that it is necessary to appease him. As fear is, and must be everywhere, the most potent feeling. Thence vital and active physical religion. Distrust and fear of the external phenomena of the world, as meaning mischief to us (it means the greatest
[paragraph continues] --apparently--in Death), created religion. Fear creates respect--respect is attention to an object, and therefore dread of it. Because we are not acquainted with its possible operation upon ourselves in regard of our being interfered with or injured. Hence all religion is selfishness apart from 'inspiration', which the world (in its folly) calls 'superstition'.
The most popular representation of the Divine Being in India is unquestionably the Linga; a smooth stone rising out of another stone of finer texture, simulacrum membri virilis et pudendum muliebre.
This emblem is identical with Siva in his capacity of 'Lord of all'. It is necessary, however, to observe that Professor Wilson, while admitting that 'the Linga is perhaps the most ancient object of homage adopted in India', adds, 'subsequently to the ritual of the Vedhas, which was chiefly, if not wholly, addressed to the Elements, and particularly to Fire. How far the worship of the Linga is authorized by the Vedhas is doubtful, but that it is the main purport of several of the Puranas 1 there can be no doubt.' 2
The universality of Linga puja (or worship) at the period of the Mohammedan invasion of India is well attested. The idol destroyed by Mahmoud of Ghizni was nothing more than one of those mystical blocks of stone called Lingas. The worship of Siva under the type of the Linga is almost the only form in which that Deity is reverenced. The Linga of black or white marble, and sometimes of alabaster slightly tinted and gilt, is placed in the middle of the Hindu temples. This is a Chinese hint. The Chinese Pagodas are Phalli, storied 'Tors', or Obelisks; abounding
in bells to be agitated in the winds to drive off the crowds of roving malignant spirits. The whole of China may be mystically said to be populated by 'Bells and the Dragon'. Speaking of Siva and Pawáti, M. de Langlet says 'Les deux divinités dont-il s’agit, sont très souvent et très pieusement adorées sous le figure du Linga (le Phallus des anciens), et de l’Yoni dans leur mystérieuse conjonction. L’Yoni so nomme aussi Bhaga (pudendum muliebre). Madheri, douce; et Argha, vase en forme de bateau.' Benares is the peculiar seat of the Linga or Phallic worship. No less than forty-seven Lingas are visited, all of pre-eminent sanctity; but there are hundreds of inferior note still worshipped, and thousands whose fame and fashion have passed away. It is a singular fact, that upon this adoration of the procreative and sexual Sacti (or power) seen throughout nature, hinges the whole strength of the Hindu faith. Notwithstanding all that has been said by half-informed and prejudiced persons to the contrary, this puja does not appear to be prejudicial to the morals of the people. Nearly all the Pujas are conducted with the frequent ringing of bells, and the object of this is twofold--first, to wake up the attention at particular parts of the service; and secondly, to scare away malignant Dewtas and evil spirits; precisely, in fact, for the same reasons as they are used at the celebration of Mass in Roman Catholic countries.
Prakriti, the mother of gods and men, one with matter, the source of error, is identified with Maya or delusion, and coexistent with the Omnipotent, as his Sacti, his personified energy, his bride. Prakriti is inherent Maya, 'because she beguiles all things'.--As. Res. xvii. It is stated in one of the Purans that Brahma, having determined to create the universe, became androgynous, male and female (or
[paragraph continues] 'reflector' and 'reflected'); the right half having the sex and form of a man, the left that of a woman. In his images he is sometimes thus represented, and is then termed Ardnari. 'This is Prakriti of one nature with Brühm--illusion, eternal, as the soul so is its active energy, as the faculty of burning is in fire.' The Sacti system bears a striking affinity with Epicureanism. It teaches Materialism, and the Atomic System of the 'Confluence of Chance'. Compare the Ananda Tantram, c. xvii. with Lucretius, lib. iii. On the base of Minerva's statue at Sais, whom the Egyptians regarded to be the same as Isis, a goddess who bears so striking an analogy to the Hindu Prakriti or nature, there was this inscription: 'I am everything that was, that is, that is to be. Nor has mortal ever been able to discover what I am.'--Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride, S. ix. According to the immediate object of worship is the particular ceremony, but all the forms (lighter or heavier) require the use of some or all of the five Makaras: Mánsa, Matsya, Madya, Maithuna, and Mudra, that is, fish, flesh, wine, women, and certain charms or mystical gesticulations with the fingers. Suitable muntrus, or incantations, are also indispensable, according to the end proposed, consisting of various seemingly unmeaning monosyllabic combinations of letters, of great imaginary efficacy. 'The combination of H and S is principal, and is called Prásáda-Mantra, and described in the Kulárnava.'--Wilson, As. Res. In many of the religious observances solitude is enjoined, but all the principal ceremonies culminate in the worship of Sacti, or POWER, and require, for that purpose, the presence of a young and beautiful girl, as the living representative of the goddess. This worship is mostly celebrated, in all due serious religious formality, in a mixed society; the men of which represent Bhairavas,
or Viras, and the women Bhanravis and Nayikas.
The female thus worshipped is ever after denominated Yogini, i.e. 'attached' (set apart, sacred). This Sanscrit word is in the dialects pronounced Jogi and Zogee, and is equivalent to a secular nun, as these women are subsequently supported by alms. The leading rites of the Sakti-Sodhana are described in the Devi-Radhasya, a section of the Rudra-Yámala. It is therein enjoined that the object of worship should be either 'A dancing-girl, a female devotee (or nun), a courtesan, a Dhobee woman, a barber's wife, a female of the Brahminical or Sudra tribe, a flower-girl, or a milkmaid'. Appropriate muntrus are to be used. She is to be solemnly placed naked (as a sacred, unapproachable 'Thing', or object), but richly ornamented with jewels and flowers--the triumphant spoils of glorious nature--on the left of a circle (inscribed for the purpose), with muntrus and gesticulations. The circle, or vacant enchanted space, must be rendered pure by repeated incantations and rites; being finally baptized with wine by the peculiar mantra. The Sacti is now sublimized or 'apotheosized'; but if not previously initiated, she is to be farther made an adept by the communication of the radical Mantra or last charm whispered thrice in her ear, when the object of the ceremony is complete. The finale to this solemnity is what might be concluded as likely, but--strange to say--accompanied throughout by muntrus and forms of meditation and of devotion incomprehensibly foreign to the scene. In other aspects this presentation of the 'Yogini' is a 'Sacrifice', and the whole meaning of the rites is sacrificial--rites performed before an altar, and implying--superstition undoubtedly--but deep mystery and some profoundest suggestions. (Wilson, As. Res. vol. xii. 225: on Hind. Sects. Vide Rig
[paragraph continues] Veda, Book ii. c. viii. ss. 13, 14, 2nd attham, 8th pannam, Rigs B. 14, which contain the Sucla Homa Mantram, etc.)
The caste-mark of the Saivas and Sactas consist of three horizontal lines on the forehead, with ashes obtained if possible from the hearth, on which a consecrated fire is perpetually maintained.
The Sacti (or 'Sacred Presence') is personified by a naked girl, to whom offerings are made of meat and wine, which are then distributed amongst the assistants. Here follows the chanting of the Muntrus, and sacred texts, and the performance of the mudra, or gesticulations with the fingers. The whole service terminates with orgies amongst the votaries of a very licentious description. This ceremony is entitled the Sri Chakra, or Purnabisheka, THE RING or 'Full Initiation'. This method of adoring the Sacti is unquestionably acknowledged by the texts regarded by the Vanis as authorities for the excesses practised. Wilson, on Hind. Sects, vol. xvii. As. Res. Ward, on the Vaisnavas, p. 309.
In Gregory's Works (Notes and Observations upon several difficult passages in Scripture, vol. i. 4to. London 1684) is to be found a significant comment. 'Noah prayed daily in the Ark before the body of Adam', i.e. before the PHALLUS, or Regenerator (Adam being the primitive 'Phallus', or great Procreator of the Human Race)--(under its present circumstances, and in the existing dispensation). 'It may possibly seem strange', Gregory says, 'that this orison should be daily said before the body of Adam; but it is a most confessed Tradition among the Eastern men that Adam was commanded by God that his dead body should be kept above ground till a fullness of time should come to commit it פיוססאלאוע to the middle of the earth by a priest of the Most High God.' See previous pages.
[paragraph continues] This 'middle of the earth' is Mount Moriah--the Meru of India.
The 'Brazen Serpent' continued to be worshipped by the Jews, and to have incense offered to that Idol, till the reign of Hezekiah: 'For, it being written in the Law of Moses "Whosoever looks upon it shall live", they fancied they might obtain blessings by its mediation, and therefore thought it worthy to be worshipped. Our learned Dr. Jackson observes that "the pious Hezekiah was moved with the greater indignation against the worship of this image, because in truth it never was--nor was intended to be--a type of our Saviour, but a figure of His Grand Enemy"', etc.
The Jews relapsed into idolatry by the adoration of the Golden Calf; set up, too, not by a few schismatics, but by the entire people, with Aaron at their head. The calf-superstition was doubtless a relic of what they had seen in Egypt in the worship of Apis and Mnevis. Next we have the 'Golden Calves' set up by Jeroboam at Dan and Bethel. Then follows (Judges viii. 22, etc.) the worship of Gideon's Ephod. 'The Ephod made by Gideon with the spoil of the Midianites became after his death an object of idolatry' (ibid., p. 41). We have also Micah's images and the 'Teraphim'. We learn from St. Jerome (who received it by tradition from the ancient Jews, and indeed it is so stated in Numbers xxv. 1, 2, etc.; xxiii. 28, and numerous other passages of the Old Testament) that the Jews adored Baal Phegor (Baal-Pheor), the Priapus of the Greeks and Romans. 'It was'; he says, 'principally worshipped by women; colentibus maxime feminis (Baal-Phegor).' Maimonides observes that the adoration offered to this Idol, called Pehor, consisted in discovering ------. Chemosh, probably the same as Baal-Pheor, also received the
homage of the Jews, as also did Milcom, Molech, Baal-berith (or Cybele), and numerous others--all of the same sexual cast.
From all this in regard to their irregular worship--or rather (mysteriously) to their regular or assigned worship, it will be seen that the Jews fell into Idolatry (and Phallic Idolatry, too) to an extent interpenetrating, again most mysteriously, the whole scope of their religion. There will consequently not appear anything so very startling in the supposition that the Ark of the Covenant contained symbolic objects referring to Phallic ideas. We have seen that the 'Stone', or 'Pillar', of Jacob was held in particular veneration--that it was worshipped and anointed. We know from the Jewish records that the Ark was supposed to contain the tables of stone. And if it can be demonstrated that these stones implied a Phallic reference, and that these 'tables' were identical with the symbolism accompanying the sacred name Jehovah, Iehovah, or Yehovah, which, written in unpointed Hebrew, with four letters is--IEVE or IHVH (the HE being merely an aspirate and the same as E)--this process leaves us the two letters I and V (or, in another of its forms, U). Then if we add the I in the U we have the 'Holy of Holies'; we also have the Linga and Yoni and Argha (Ark or Arc) of the Hindus, the 'Iswarra' or 'Supreme Lord'. In all this may be found--mystically--the 'Arc-Celestial' replicating-in upon itself--symbolically and anagrammatically--and presenting itself as identical with the 'Lingayoni' of the 'Ark of the Covenant'. Gregory observes that the 'middle of the Ark was the place of prayer--made holy (consecrated) by the presence of Adam's Body.' (Refer to the glyptic symbolism, the mystical engraving of the 'Ark', placed among the full-page plates.
[paragraph continues] Thence 'Man' was the Cabalistic (Rosicrucian) Microcosmos or 'Little World', in contradistinction to the causer, or pattern, or original--Macrocosmos, or 'Great', or 'Producing' ('Outside'), or 'Originating World'.
'The body of Adam was embalmed and transmitted from father to son, till at last it was delivered up by Lamech into the hands of Noah.' Again, the 'middle of the Ark' was the place of prayer (and worship) made holy by the presence of 'Adam's "Body".'--Gregory, p. 118. 'And "so soon as ever the day began to break" Noah stood up towards the "body of Adam",' etc., etc., 'and "prayed" (or "worshipped").' Here was the origin of the 'Eucharist', as the reader will clearly see farther on (see accompanying plate).
The most ancient monuments of Idolatry among the Gentiles were consecrated pillars (Lingas), or columns, which the Jews were forbidden to erect as objects of divine homage and adoration. And yet--a most extraordinary contradiction--this practice is conceived to arise from an imitation of Jacob, who 'took a stone' and 'set it up', etc. Further, 'this stone was held in great veneration in subsequent times by the Jews, and removed to Jerusalem.' They were accustomed to 'anoint this stone'; and from the word Bethel, the place where the pillar was erected, came the word Bœtylia among the Heathen, which signified rude stones, or uprights, which they worshipped either as 'symbols of Divinity', or as 'true gods', animated (at certain times) by the heavenly power. Thence the name 'Bowing Stones' amongst the Welsh--not as stones to be 'bowed to', but 'bowing of themselves', like the modern 'tipping-discs' or other supposed enchanted idols or consultative tables or objects. Indeed it would seem not
improbable that the erection of the Pillar of Jacob actually gave rise to the worship of Phallus among some of the Pagan peoples. 'For', says Lewis, 'the learned Bochart asserts that the Phœnicians (at least as the Jews think) first worshipped this very stone which Jacob set up, and afterwards consecrated others in imitation and in reminder of it.'
It is to little purpose that we are reminded that the Jews were forbidden by their law to 'make unto themselves any graven image'; for, as Lewis shows in the following passage, there may be exceptions to this, as to every other general rule. 'Notwithstanding', he says, 'the severity of the Law against the making of Images, yet, as Justin Martyr observes in his Book against Trypho, it must be somewhat mysterious, that God in the case of the "Brazen Serpent" should command an image to be made, for which one of the Jews confessed he never could hear a reason from any of their Doctors.' According to Theodoret, Arnobius, and Clemens of Alexandria, the Yoni (then become Ioni; thence Ionia and Ionic) of the Hindus was the sole object of veneration in the Mysteries of Eleusis (Demosthenes, On the Crown).
392:1 Puranas (New Testament), the Modern Scriptures of the Hindus, as distinguished from the Vedhas (as Bible), or more Ancient Scriptures. Wilson on Hindu Sects--As. Res. vol. xvii.
392:2 As. Res. vol. xvii. pp. 208-10.