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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 II, with these and the Egyptians. If to these characters we add the letter N, forming the border, we have the word CG ~ mehen, which in Maya means, as in Egyptian, the "son," the "engendered." 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.
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 x 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."
to mind the twenty-one prajapati, or creators, mentioned in the "Mahabharata;" and the twenty-one words constituting the most sacred prayer of the followers of Zoroaster, still in use by the Parsis.
On each side of the Creator, outside of the lower line of the border of the tableau, is the figure of a monkey in a sitting posture and in the act of adoration. We learn from the "Popol Vuh" that in his attempts to produce a perfect man, an intellectual creature, the Creator failed repeatedly, and each time, disgusted with his work, he destroyed the results of his early experiments; that at last he succeeded in making a human being nearly perfect, but yet wanting.
This primitive race of man having grown proud and wicked, forgetful of their Creator, to whom they ceased to pay due homage, the majority of them were destroyed by floods and earthquakes. The few
that escaped by taking refuge on the mountains were changed into monkeys. This is perhaps the reason why simians were held in great veneration by the Mayas. (Plate XXIV.)
It is indeed worthy of notice, although it may be a mere coincidence, that, wherever Maya civilization has penetrated, there also ape worship has existed from the remotest antiquity, and does still exist where ancient religious rites and customs are observed.
In Hindostan, some nations hold the same belief concerning monkeys that we read of in the sacred book of the Quichés, to wit: "That formerly men were changed into apes as a punishment for their iniquities." The ape god Hanuman, who rendered such valuable assistance to Rama in the recovery of his wife Sita when she was abducted by Ravana, is still held in
1 Popol Vuh, Brasseur translation, part i., chap. iii., p. 31. "Valmiki, Ramayana, part i., p. 342, et passim. French translation by Hippolyte Fauché.