Images de page

the Punjab, the Brahmins had no power or authority. They were merely messengers and sacrificers. No food so pure as that cooked by a Brahmin.1 Others among them, having a devout turn of mind, were hermits doing penance, immersed in contemplation. At the time of Alexander's conquest of northern India, many lived in convents, practising occultism. They were called gymnosophists by the Greeks, and were regarded as very wise men.2 But it must be remembered that the period between the establishment of the Vedic settlements on the Saraswati and the conquest of Hindostan by the Aryans, when they had become the leading power, probably covers an interval of thousands of years.3

"The Aryans appear to have had no definite idea of a universe of being or of the creation of a universe."4 From them, therefore, the Brahmins could not have borrowed their account of the creation, which differs from that we might infer from the Vedic hymns. Still "Manu borrowed some of the ideas conveyed in his account of the creation of the universe by Brahma." 6

From whom did he borrow them?

"The Brahmins rarely attempted to ignore or denounce the traditions of any new people with whom they came in contact; but rather they converted such materials into vehicles for the promulgation of their peculiar tenets."7

The Nagás, we have seen, were a highly civilized people,

J. Talboys Wheeler, History of India, vol. ii., p. 640. Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana, lib. ii., chap. 15, p. 242; lib. iii., chap. 11, p. 8. Translation of Charles Blount, London, 1680. J. Talboys Wheeler, History of India, vol. ii., p. 624.


Ibid., p. 452. Adolphe Pictet, Les Origines Indo-Européennes, vol. 410.

J. T. Wheeler, History of India, vol. ii., p. 452.



• Ibid., p. 449.


Ibid., p. 450.

whose rulers held sway over the whole of Hindostan when the Aryans established their first colonies on the banks of the Saraswati. Later on we shall see that these Nâgás were originally Maya adepts, who in remote ages migrated from Mayach to Burmah, whence they spread their doctrines among the civilized nations of Asia and Africa. How else explain the use of the American Maya language by the Hindoos, calling Maya the material world? (Ma, "country;" yach, the vérêtrum of the ancestor, through which all living earthly things were produced.)

This query may be answered by another. Why do we find English customs, English traditions, English language, in America, India, Australia, Africa, and a thousand and one other places very distant from each other, among peoples that do not even know of each other's existence? Why, any one will say, because colonists from England have settled in those countries, and naturally carried there the customs, traditions, language, religion, sciences, and civilization of the mother country. Why, then, not admit that that which occurs in our day has taken place in past ages? Is not man the same in all times? Has not the stronger always imposed his ideas on the weaker? If in the struggle toward eternal progress, the most civilized has not always been physically victorious, history teaches that intellectually he has obtained the victory over his conqueror in the long run; proving, what has so many times been asserted, that mind is mightier than matter.

Civilization is indeed like the waves of the sea; one wave follows another. Their crests are not of equal height. Some are higher; some are lower. Between them there is always a trough more or less deep. The wave behind inevitably pushes that immediately before it, often overwhelms it.

If we compare the "Sri-Santara " with the cosmogonic diagram of the Mayas, it does not require a great effort of imagination to perceive that it is an amplification of the latter. This being so, let us see what may be, in the Maya language, the meaning of the names of its different parts.

The use of the Maya throughout these pages, to explain the meaning of names of deities, nations, and localities whose etymon is not only unknown but a mystery to philologists, will show the necessity of acquiring this most ancient form of speech. It is not a dead language, being the vernacular of wellnigh two millions of our contemporaries. Its knowledge will help us to acquire a better understanding of the origin of the early history of Egyptian civilization, of that of the Chaldeans, and of the nations of Asia Minor. It will also illumine the darkness that surrounds the primitive traditions of mankind. By means of it, we will read the ancient Maya books and inscriptions, reclaim from oblivion part, at least, of the ancient history of America, and thus be enabled to give it its place in the universal history of the world. We shall also be able to comprehend the amount of knowledge, scientific and historical, possessed by the wise men who wrote on stone the most striking events in the life of their nation, their religious and cosmogonic conceptions. Perhaps when the few books written by them that have reached us, and the monumental inscriptions still extant, have been thoroughly deciphered, many among the learned will have to alter their pet opinions, and confess that our civilization may not be the highest ever reached by man. We must keep in mind the fact that we are only emerging from the deep and dark trough that had existed between the Greek and Roman civilizations and ours, and that we are as yet far from having arrived at the top of the wave.

Before proceeding, I may remark that although the Mayas seem to have penetrated the interior of Asia as far as Mesopotamia, and to have dwelt a long time in that country as well as in Asia Minor; that although, from remote ages, they had sojourned in the Dekkan and other localities in the south of India; that although the Greek language was composed in great part of Maya, and the grammars of both these languages were well-nigh identical'-they and the Aryans, so far as shown by philology, never had intercourse with each other. After a thorough study of Mr. Adolphe Pictet's learned work, "Les Origines Indo-Européennes ou les Aryas Primitifs," and a careful examination of their language and the Greek words derived from it, either directly, or indirectly through Sanscrit, then comparing these with the Maya, I am bound to confess that I have been unable to find the remotest analogy between them. No-not one word! It might be supposed that the name of the most abundant and necessary fluid for living beings would be somewhat similar in languages concurring to form a third one. Not so, however. The erudite Mr. Pictet is at a loss as to the origin of the Greek word, thalassa, for "sea." Had he been acquainted with the Maya language, he would easily have found it in the word thallac, that means a "thing unstable;" hence the Greek verb tarassô—thrasso— "to agitate." The name for water in Maya is ha, in Egyptian and Chaldean a.

What are we to argue from this utter want of relation between two peoples that have had such a stupendous influence on the civilization of Asiatic, African, and European popula

'Brasseur, Troano MS., vol. ii., edit. 1870. Introduction aux éléments de la langue Maya, from p. xxiv. to p. xl.


Adolphe Pictet, Les Origines Indo-Européennes, vol. i., pp. 138-139.

tions? Shall we say that when the Mayas colonized the countries at the south of Asia, then the banks of the Euphrates, then the valley of the Nile, and later Asia Minor, it was in ages so remote that the Aryans, regarded as a primitive people living at the dawn of history, had not yet multiplied to such numbers as to make it imperative for them to abandon their native country in search of new homes? Shall we say that the Maya colonies much antedated the migrations of the Aryan tribes, that, abandoning their bactrian homes only about three thousand years before the Christian era,1 went south and invaded the north of India; whilst others, going west, crossed over to Europe and spread over that continent? This would explain the use of Maya instead of Sanscrit words for the names of the various parts of the "Sri-Santara; " show the Maya to be more ancient than Sanscrit; and also account for the grammatical forms common to both the Maya and the Greek, that the ulterior admixture of Aryan words to the latter was unable to alter.

We must premise the explanation of the names of the parts of the "Sri-Santara" by stating that the letters D, F, G, J, Q, and are not used in the Maya language.2

From remote ages the Brahmins taught that in the beginning existed the Infinite. This they called Aditi, "that which is above all things." It is precisely the meaning of the Maya words A titich-composed of Ah, masculine article, the "strong," the "powerful; powerful;" and titich, "that which is above all things." A-titich or A-diti would then be the "powerful superior to all things," the "Infinite." In this

A. Pictet, Les Origines Indo-Européennes, vol. iii., pp. 508–515.

2 Beltran de Santa Rosa, Arte del Idioma Maya. Gabriel de Santa Buenaventura, Elementos de la Lingua Maya.

Pio Perez, Maya dictionary.

« PrécédentContinuer »