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Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Puranic, by W.J. Wilkins, [1900], at sacredtexts.com

Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Puranic


By W. J. Wilkins
Calcutta: Thacker, Spink & Co.; London: W. Thacker & Co. [1900]
Scanned, proofed and formatted at sacred-texts.com by John Bruno Hare, May 2009. This text is in the public domain because it was published prior to 1923.

Click to enlarge DURG!. Lakshmi. Sarasvati. Ganesa. The Demon Durg". Kartikeya.

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Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Puranic, by W.J. Wilkins, [1900], at sacred-texts.com

p. vii

PREFACE.
ON reaching India, one of my first inquiries was for a full and trustworthy account of the mythology of the Hindus; but though I read various works in which some information of the kind was to be found, I sought in vain for a complete and systematic work on this subject. Since then two classical dictionaries of India have been published, one in Madras and one in London; but though useful books of reference, they do not meet the want that this book is intended to supply. For some years I have been collecting materials with the intention of arranging them in such a way that any one without much labour might gain a good general idea of the names, character, and relationship of the principal deities of Hinduism. This work does not profess to supply new translations of the Hindu Scriptures, nor to give very much information that is not already scattered through many other books. In a few cases original extracts have been made; but, generally speaking, my work has been to collect and arrange translations ready to hand. It has been my endeavour to give a fair and impartial account of these deities, as far as possible in the words of the sacred books; such an account as I should expect an honest-minded Hindu to give of God from a careful study of the Bible. I have honestly
p. viii

striven to keep free from prejudice and theological bias; and, wishing to let the sacred books speak for themselves, have refrained from commenting on the passages quoted, excepting where some explanation seemed necessary. I have not selected those texts which describe the darker side only of the Hindu gods, nor have such been altogether suppressed. There was much that could not be reproduced. Of what was fit for publication I have taken a proportionate amount, that this, together with what is worthy of commendation, may give a faithful picture. To magnify either the good or the evil is the work of the advocatea work I, in this book, distinctly disclaim. An honest effort has been made to give a reliable account of the things commonly believed by millions of our Hindu fellow-subjects. In order to render the work more interesting and instructive, a number of illustrations of the principal deities have been introduced. Most of them have been copied from pictures drawn by the Hindus themselves, and which may be seen in the houses of the people. No attempt has been made to idealize them; they are, what they profess to be, faithful representations of the designs of Hindu artists. For their kindness in making these drawings from the original highly-coloured pictures, I am very greatly indebted to my friends the Rev. A. J. Bamford, B.A., and Messrs. H. T. Ottewill and C. A. Andrews, B.A. By the introduction of a full index it is hoped that this work will serve as a classical dictionary of India; whilst the classification of the gods will enable the student to obtain a general view of Hindu mythology, and of the relation in which one deity stands to others. And as many legends are given at some length, the book can hardly fail to be interesting to the general reader,
p. ix

who may not have time or opportunity to refer to the sacred writings from which they are taken. A word of explanation respecting the classification of the deities is called for. It will be noticed that some of those described as belonging to the Vedic Age appear under the same or other names in the Purnas; whilst others spoken of as belonging to the Purnic Age have their origin, traceable indeed with difficulty in some cases, in the Vedas. It was a common practice with the writers of the later books to claim a remote antiquity, and the authority of the Vedas, for the more recent additions to the Pantheon. In some instances an epithet, descriptive of one of the old deities, is attached as the name of a later one. And by this means the old and the new are linked together. The Vedic gods are those whose description is chiefly to be found in the Vedas, and whose worship was more general in the Vedic Age; the Purnic are those who are more fully described in the Purnas, and whose worship was more general in the Purnic Age. Any very rigid classification it is impossible to make. W. J. W. CALCUTTA, February 22, 1882.

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Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Puranic: Preface to Second Edition

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Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Puranic, by W.J. Wilkins, [1900], at sacredtexts.com

p. x

p. xi

PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION.


AS a large edition of this work has been sold out, and a new one called for, an opportunity is presented of adding a few words to what was said eighteen years ago. The reception given to it both in India and in England was most gratifying, practically the only serious condemnation of it being that I had not pronounced judgment on much that I had quoted from the Hindu sacred books. This was a task that I distinctly disavowed in my preface. I set out with the intention of rigidly abstaining from comment, commendatory or condemnatory. I feel that a mere statement of much that was written in books professedly inspired by God, carried its own condemnation. And at the same time it was a pleasure to indicate how, amid much evil, there was also much good. The sages of India were not in complete darkness. As we examine the earlier writings, the light was bright indeed contrasted with what came later. It is most instructive to notice the marked deterioration in the quality of the teaching, deities as described by the earlier
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Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Puranic: Preface to Second Edition

sages being vastly better than their successors declare them to be. "Non-Christian Bibles are all developments in the wrong direction. They begin with some flashes of true light, and end in darkness." As Max-Mller says, "The more we go back, the more we examine the earliest
p. xii

germs of any religion, the purer I believe we shall find the conceptions of the Deity." In this edition there is some added matter. Errors have been corrected, and an attempt made to render certain passages more clear that were somewhat obscure. Substantially the book remains the same. An account of the ordinary worship and the festivals of these gods will be found in another work "Modern Hinduism." W. J. W. 1900.

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Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Puranic, by W.J. Wilkins, [1900], at sacred-texts.com

p. xiii

CONTENTS.
PART I.THE VEDIC DEITIES.
CHAPTER. PAGE

I. THE VEDAS II. THE VEDIC GODS GENERALLY III. DYAS AND PRITHIVI IV. ADITI AND THE DITYAS V. AGNI VI. SUN OR LIGHT DEITIES 1. SURYA 2. P USHAN 3. MITRA AND VARUNA 4. THE ASVINS 5. USHAS VII. THE STORM DEITIES 1. INDRA 2. INDRNI 3. P ARJANYA 4. VYU 5. THE MARUTS VIII. SOMA IX. TVASTRI OR VISVAKARMA X. YAMA PART II.THE PURNIC DEITIES. I. THE PURNAS II. BRAHMA
p. xiv

3 9 13 17 21 30 36 37 44 48 53 63 63 64 67 69 75 78

89 93
PAGE

CHAPTER

III. BRAHM SARASVATI IV. VISHNU LAKSHMI V. THE INCARNATIONS OR AVATRAS OF VISHNU 1. THE MATSYA OR FISH AVATRA 2. THE KRMA OR TORTOISE AVATRA 3. THE VARHA OR BOAR AVATRA 4. THE NRISINGHA OR MAN-LION AVATRA 5. THE VMANA OR DWARF AVATRA 6. THE PARASURMA AVATRA 7. THE RMA CHANDRA AVATRA 8. THE KRISHNA AVATRA 8a. THE BALARMA AVATRA 9. THE BUDDHA AVATRA 10. THE KALKI AVATRA JAGANNTH

98 107 116 127 134 141 144 149 155 162 170 197 220 225 245 248

CHAITANYA KMADEVA VI. SIVA P ANCHNANA VII. UM P RVATI DURG THE CHIEF FORMS OF DURG 1. DURG 2. DASABHUJ 3. SINGHAVHINI 4. MAHISHAMRDINI 5. JAGADDHTRI 6. KLI 7. MUKTAKESI 8. TRA 9. CHINNAMUSTAKA 10. JAGADGAURI 11. P RATYANGIR 12. ANNAPURN 13. GANESAJANANI 14. KRISHNAKRORA THE SAKTIS
p. xv

253 256 262 283 285 289 296 307 307 308 308 308 309 317 317 317 317 318 318 320 320 320
PAGE

CHAPTER

VIII. SONS OF SIVA AND PRVATI 1. GANESA 2. KARTIKEYA IX. THE PURANIC ACCOUNT OF THE CREATION X. THE PURNIC DIVISIONS OF TIME PART III.THE INFERIOR DEITIES. I. THE DIVINE RISHIS 1. BHRIGU 2. P ULASTYA 3. P ULAHA 4. KRATU 5. ANGIRAS 6. MARICHI 7. ATRI 8. DAKSHA 9. VASISHTHA 10. NRADA II. KUVERA III. THE DEMIGODS OF THE RMYANA 1. SUGRIVA 2. HANUMN 3. NALA 4. NLA 5. SUSHENA IV. THE DEMIGODS OF THE MAHBHRATA V. THE PLANETS 1. RAVI, OR SURYA 2. CHANDRA, OR SOMA

323 334 342 353

363 368 369 369 369 370 371 372 380 382 388 394 401 406 408 408 411 432 432

3. MANGALA 4. BUDHA 5. VRIHASPATI 6. SUKRA 7. SANI 8. RHU AND KETU


p. xvi

432 433 433 434 435 435


PAGE

CHAPTER

VI. THE ASURAS JALANDHARA VII. SACRED ANIMALS AND BIRDS GARUDA JATYUS AND SAMPTI VIII. GANG IX. SACRED TREES X. MISCELLANEOUS MINOR DEITIES 1. SHITALA 2. MANAS 3. SAST 4. THE SHLGRMA 5. THE DHENK 6. KA? WHO? XI. SUPERHUMAN, THOUGH NOT DIVINE BEINGS 1. APSARAS AND GANDHARVAS 2. RKSHASAS 3. JIN DEITIES Index

437 441 448 449 456 460 469 473 474 477 478 479 480 482 485 488 491

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Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Puranic, by W.J. Wilkins, [1900], at sacredtexts.com

p. xvii

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
PAGE

DURG AND OTHER DEITIES. AGNI. SURYA. VARUNA. INDRA VYU YAMA BRAHM SARASVATI VISHNU LAKSHMI THE MATSYA AVATRA THE KRMA AVATRA THE NRISINGHA AVATRA THE VMANA AVATRA THE PARASURMA AVATRA THE RMA CHANDRA AVATRA RVANA THE KRISHNA AVATRA KRISHNA SLAYING BAKSURA KRISHNA HOLDING UP MOUNT GOVARDDHANA RDH WORSHIPPING KRISHNA AS KLI BALARMA BUDDHA.

From a native picture From Moor's "Hindu Pantheon" From a native picture Drawn from an image in Ceylon by Rev. A. J.

(Frontispiece.) 22 31 38 53 65 78 98 108 117 129 135 143 149 158 164 171 185 198 205 208 211 221 225

Bamford, B. A. BUDDHIST TEMPLE AND Original sketch by Rev. A. DAGOBA AT KELANIYA, J. Bamford, B.A. CEYLON. BUDDHA. Drawn from an image in Ceylon by Rev. A. J. Bamford, B. A. KALKI. From a native picture JAGANNTH
p. xviii

226

232

246 249
PAGE

KMADEVA. SIVA SLAYING KMADEVA. SIVA. SIVA TEMPLE AT BENARES. HAR-HARI. SIVA SLAYING AN ASURA. P ANCHNANA. SIVA AND PRVATI. P RVATI WORSHIPPING THE L INGA. DASARHUJ. JAGADDHTRI. KLI. KLI DANCING ON SIVA. ANNAPURN. GANESA. KARTIKEYA. DAKSHA. SUGRIVA. MONKEYS CONSTRUCTING THE BRIDGE AT LANKA. HANUMN. ARJUNA SHOOTING AT THE FISH. BATTLE OF THE KURS AND THE P ANDVAS . GARUDA.

From a native picture. From a photograph From a native picture From Moor's "Hindu Pantheon" From a native picture. From Moor's "Hindu Pantheon" From a native picture.

257 258 262 264 276 279 284 290 294 301 308 310 311 319 323 334 373 394 397

From Moor's "Hindu Pantheon" From a native picture From Moor's "Hindu Pantheon"

402 419 423 450

JATYUS. GANG. SHITALA. MANAS. SAST. SACRED TREES. Soma-plant. The Tulsi The Lotus Banyan Tree The Bl The Fig Tree The Nim Pipal Leaves.

From a native picture. Drawn by the Rev. A. J. Bamford, B.A.

457 460 473 475 477

70 362 459 469 470 472 481 500

The tail pieces are taken from drawings of Hindu temples and decorations in the works of RAM RAZ, RJENDRALLA MITRA, FERGUSSON, and others. Next: Chapter I. The Vedas