Images de page

thought came to Him, I wish to create worlds. And so He created these worlds, the water, the light, the mortal beings, and the waters. That water is the region above; the sky that supports it; the atmosphere that contains the light; the earth that is perishable; and the lower regions that of the waters."

On the first of the tablets inscribed with the cosmogony of the Chaldeans, found in the library of the palace of King Assurbanipal, at Nineveh, we read the following lines, translated by the late Mr. George Smith: "At a time when neither the heavens above nor the earth below existed, there was the watery abyss; the first of seed, the mistress of the depths, the mother of the universe. The waters clung together (covered everything). No product had ever been gathered, nor was any sprout seen. Ay, the very gods had not yet come into being." On the third tablet it is related how "the gods are preparing for a grand contest against a monster known as Tiamat, the depths,' and how the god BelMarduk overthrows Tiamat.”

[ocr errors]

My readers will forgive me for indulging here in a short digression that may seem unnecessary, but it is well to add to the proofs already adduced to show that, at some remote epoch, the primitive Chaldeans must have had intimate relations with Maya colonists; and that these were a great factor in the development of the civilization of the Babylonians, to whom they seem to have imparted their religious and cosmogonic notions. The names Tiamat and Bel-Marduk add corroborative evidence to confirm this historical truth, since no language except the Maya offers such a natural etymon and simple explanation of their meaning.

Tiamat, "the depths," is a Maya word composed of the four primitives, ti, ha, ma, ti (that is, ti, "there; " ha,

[ocr errors]

"" water; ma, "without; " ti, "land"), Tihamati; by elision, Tihamat, or be it Tiamat, "everywhere water, nowhere land," the "deep."

As to the name Bel-Marduk (in Maya) it would read BelMaltuuc; that is, Bel, "occupation," "business; " mal is a particle that, united to a noun, indicates "the act of multiplying," of "doing many things;" tuucul is a "mass of things placed in order." Bel-Maltuuc or Bel-Marduk would be a most appropriate name for one whose business seems to have been to put in order all the things that existed confusedly in chaos.

Mr. Morris Jastrow, Jr., in an article in the Century Magazine for January, 1894,' says that the word tehom occurs both in the cuneiform tablets and in Genesis with the meaning of "the deep," which is precisely its import in the Maya language-te or ti, "where; "hom, "abyss without bottom."

Returning to the comparison of the cosmogonic notions of the various civilized nations of antiquity, we find that Thales, like all the ancient philosophers, regarded water as the primordial substance, in the midst of which the "Great Soul" deposited a germ that became an egg, brilliant as gold and resplendent as a star with a thousand rays, as we read in the first book of the "Manava-Dharma-Sastra," and we see represented in the tableau over the door of the east façade of the palace at Chichen. (Plate XXIII.) In this egg was reproduced the Supreme Being under the form of Brahma, through whose union with the goddess Maya, the good mother of all gods and other beings, all things were created, says the "Rig-veda."2

1 Morris Jastrow, Jr., "The Bible and the Assyrian Monuments," New York, Century Magazine, January, 1894.


Rig-veda, Langlois' translation, sect. viii., lect. 3, h. ii., v. i., vol. iv., pp. 316-317.

[ocr errors]

The inhabitants of the islands of the Pacific entertained similar notions regarding creation. Ellis in his "Polynesian Researches" says: "In the Sandwich Islands there is a tradition that in the beginning there was nothing but water, when a big bird descended from on high and laid an egg in the sea. That egg burst, and Hawaii came forth." They believe that the bird is an emblem of deity; a medium through which the gods often communicate with men.

It is well not to forget that the Egyptians also caused Ptah, the Creator, to be born from an egg issued from the mouth of Kneph, the ruling spirit of the universe, whose emblem was an enormous blue serpent with yellow scales; that is, the ocean.

The learned men of Mayach always described with appropriate inscriptions the notions, cosmogonic or others, or the religious conceptions that they portrayed in the sculptures; ornamenting with them the walls of their public edifices, not only to generalize them among their contemporaries, but to transmit them to future generations in a lasting manner. They did not fail to do it in this instance.

The legend

the personage characters


on either side of the egg tells who is seated therein. It is composed of the

four times repeated, for the symmetry of the

and to emphasize the meaning of the word, as well as to indicate the exalted quality of said personage. Champollion le jeune tells us that in Egypt this very combination of letters means "the engendered." These letters emphatically belong to the alphabet of the Mayas. The sign


, or be it, that stands for our Latin M, represented

Ellis, Polynesian Researches, vol. i., chap. v., p. 100.

Champollion le jeune, Précis du Système Hieroglyphique des Anciens


the contour of the peninsula of Yucatan. It is pronounced ma in Egyptian as in Maya, and means, in both languages," place,' "land." Why this sign, with that meaning, in Egypt? Can learned Egyptologists tell? In Mayach it is the radical ma of the name of the country; it is a contraction of mam, the "ancestor," the "earth." The sign, so frequent in all the ancient edifices of the Mayas, is the letter corresponding to our Latin H, with these and the Egyptians. If to these characters we add the letter M N, forming the border, we have the word CG mehen, which in Maya means, as in Egyptian, the "son," the "engendered."1 mehen was the name of the serpent represented over the head of the god Kneph, the creator. According to Mr. Samuel Birch, said serpent was termed in Egyptian texts "proceeding from what is in the abyss." In the egg, behind the engendered, the scales of the serpent's belly form a background to the figure.


To complete the explanation of the tableau we must ask Eusebius's help. In his "Evangelical Preparations " he tells us that the Egyptians "represented the Creator of the world, whom they called Kneph, under a human form, with the flesh painted blue, a belt surrounding his waist, holding a sceptre in his hand, his head being adorned with a royal headdress ornamented with a plume." Were I to describe minutely the figure within the egg, I could not do it better. Although much mutilated by iconoclasts, it is easy to perceive that once it was painted blue, to indicate his exalted and holy character; around the waist he wears a puyut, or loin cloth, and his head is still adorned with a huge plume, worn among the Mayas by personages of high rank.

1 Pedro Beltran, Arte del Idioma Maya. Pio Perez, Maya dictionary. 2 Eusebius, Præp. Evang., lib. iii., p. 215.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Lastly, it is well to notice that there are forty-two rays around the cosmic egg. Those versed in the knowledge of the Kabbalah will say that the number of the rays, twenty-one, placed on each side of the egg, was not used arbitrarily, but as an emblem of the Creator, Jehovah; that, if we consider the numerical value of the Hebrew letters composing it, his name in numbers will read Jod, 10; He, 6; and Vav, 5; that is, 10, 6, 5,1 the sum of which is 21 = 3 × 7, the trinity and the septenary.

The rabbis, says J. Ralston Skinner,2 extol these numbers so beyond all others, that they pretend "that by their uses and permutations, under the cabalistic law of T'mura-that is, of permutation-the knowledge of the entire universe may be had."

The number of the assessors who, according to the Egyptians, assisted Osiris, when sitting in judgment upon the souls in Amenti, was, it will be remembered, 42; that is, 21 x 2. But these twenty-one rays on each side of the cosmic egg also call

'The reader's attention is here called to the following interesting facts which show the origin of the British foot-measure of dimension. The half of 1056 is 528. This number multiplied by 10 gives 5280, the length in feet of the British mile. By permutation 528 becomes 825. But 8.25 feet is the length of half a rod, whilst 5280 × 8.25 feet is the area in feet of one acre. In the drawing of their plans the builders of the great pyramid of Egypt and those of the pyramids of Mayach made use of these numbers. All the most ancient pyramids in Yucatan are twenty-one metres high, the side of the base being forty-two metres. Their vertical section was consequently drawn so as to be inscribed within the circumference of a circle having a radius of twenty-one metres, whose diameter formed the base line of the monument.

'J. Ralston Skinner, "Hebrew Metrology," p. 6, Masonic Review, July, 1885. "For the ratio 113 to 355 multiplied by 3 equals 339 to 1065. The entire circumference will be 1065 × 2 = 2130, of which 213 is factor with 10. And 213 is the first word of Genesis; viz., Rash, or head,' from whence the entire book."

« PrécédentContinuer »