Historical Reprints Religion India in Primitive Christianity

India in Primitive Christianity

India in Primitive Christianity
Catalog # SKU1796
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.50 lbs
Author Name Arthur Lillie


India in
Primitive Christianity

Arthur Lillie

M. Burnouf asserts that the Indian origin of Christianity is no longer contested: "It has been placed in full light by the researches of scholars, and notably English scholars, and by the publication of the original texts. . . . In point of fact for a long time folks had been struck with the resemblances, or rather the identical elements, contained in Christianity and Buddhism. Writers of the firmest faith and most sincere piety have admitted them.

"In the last century these analogies were set down to the Nestorians, but since then the science of Oriental chronology has come into being, and proved that Buddha is many years anterior to Nestorius and Jesus. Thus the Nestorian theory had to be given up. But a thing may be posterior to another without proving derivation. So the problem remained unsolved until recently, when the pathway that Buddhism followed was traced step by step from India to Jerusalem."

A small work that had such a reception would by-and-by require a second edition, but intermediately an obstacle had come in the way, a very serious obstacle. Looking over the "Buddhist Records of the Western World," by the Reverend Samuel Beal, I came across a passage in which he declares that there was a complete union between Buddhism and the followers of S'iva, brought about by Nagarjuna about A.D. 100. I had been partially on this track myself. Mr Beal asserts that Quan Yin in Chinese means Avalokitisvara (S'iva looking down), and Mr. Beal asserts that in China Quan Yin is an Hermaphrodite God.

From the Author

At first I did not attach much weight to the theory. But when I thought of bringing out a second edition to my work, the "Influence of Buddhism in Primitive Christianity," I found that it complicated my task. The main postulate of my work was that the monks and mystics in Egypt and Palestine were in close touch with the Buddhist monks in India. How did S'iva-Buddhism affect them? Immensely. The task at first appeared too much for me. But I found a great difficulty in throwing over the matter altogether, and I subsequently got leisure to take it up in earnest. One flash of light quickly came to corroborate Mr. Beal.

I found that the Left-handed Tantrika rites, the devil-dancing, and the worship of S'iva as Bhairava, were in every Buddhist kingdom. This did not seem so very important at first. The worship was accounted for everywhere locally. In Tibet it was due to the Bons, in China to Dragon-Worshippers, in Ceylon to the aboriginal Nagas. These were mere remains of local superstitions, mere barnacles outside the ship. I accepted the interpretation.

But soon many points suggested themselves to completely overthrow it. In each Buddhist kingdom was a hierarchy as strongly organised and as persistent as the hierarchy at Rome. That is the testimony of the Roman Catholic bishop, Bigandet. Now a hierarchy is an institution specially framed to resist all change instead of effecting changes. Why should all these hierarchies accept radical changes suddenly and simultaneously. One writer suggests that Buddhism desired to gain over the poorer classes of India by bringing Durga into their Pantheon. But Buddhism was already the religion of the poorer classes. It was the religion of the Yellow races and the low caste Sûdras. It gave to these peace, honesty, prosperity instead of Eastern slavery and interminable Indian warfare. It changed wastes into waving rice fields. It established the first hospital for healing the sick instead of handing them over to the interested sorceries of greedy devil dancers. It revealed to the Sûdra the spiritual life which the haughty Aryan had steadily kept from him. Plainly the great change called Mahayana could not have come from the outside.

But it might have come from a Supreme Curia like the Court of Rome. The Dalai Lama claims to be the head of the Buddhist hierarchies. In ancient days he bore sway in the splendid monastery of Nalanda near Buddha Gaya. He was called the Âcharya (Teacher). He is alluded to in the Mahawanso as the "High Priest of all the World."

When the Buddhists were turned out of India at the revival of Brahminism, it is alleged that the great Buddhist establishment from Nalanda took refuge first in Kashmir and then in Tibet. Avalokitishvara (S'iva) guided them on their journey. And Avalokitishvara, becoming incarnate in the Dalai Lama, still inspires Buddhism: China, Nepal, and I believe Burma, still treat him as their Pope. Such a supreme Authority coerced by a monarch so powerful as Kanis'ka, might have forced a change as revolutionary as the Mahayana upon the minor churches. The task was quite beyond a few ignorant devil-dancers working separately and at far distances one from the other.

Many other points tend to the same conclusion. Avalokitishvara and his wife Durga have the chief place in the litanies and prayers of the Viharas.

The great seven days' festival of India the Durga Pûjah, under various names "Perahar," the "Festival of the She-devil Devi," etc., is the chief festival of most Buddhist countries.

The healing of the sick by the casting out of devils which was the chief outside function of the Buddhist monks, has now in Buddhist countries been taken from them and handed over to the unadulterated followers of Bhairava. The vow to worship the Chaitya is the chief solemn promise exacted from the Buddhist postulant at his baptism, or Abhisheka.

This Chaitya is a sham relic-dome made purposely like S'iva's Lingam. A model of it is given to the postulant with his beads and alms bowl. Now it must be remembered that the main subject of this book is the question of the influence of Buddhism on primitive Christianity. The first edition was directed chiefly to an attempt to show the many points of resemblance between the water-drinking vegetarian celibates of Galilee who had for their main point of attack the superstition of the bloody altar, and the water-drinking vegetarian celibates of India, who had for their main point of attack the same superstition. It was suggested that the analogy was so close between them that they must have been in close communication. This at once suggests enormous difficulties. If there was this close communication, evidences of the great change which brought back to India the reeking altar and Bacchantic intoxicants would soon find their way to Alexandria and the West.

This was the difficulty that faced me when I thought of preparing a new edition of this work. I saw that I would have to make an elaborate study of the religion of Serapis and of the gnostic and early Christian sects. I saw that I must get clearer ideas of the channel by which India was in communication with the West.

The result is now before the reader.


AS the Indian god S'iva has much to do with our present inquiry, first of all we must try to get a better knowledge of him. Professor Horace Hayman Wilson tells us that Saiva literature has been very little presented to the Hindus. The legends are not in Sanskrit.

From the earliest times the thunderstorm has been used to image God's voice and God's anger. We see Thor with his "hammer" knock down the enormous cloud-giant, Hrungner. In the First Book of Samuel, Yahve "thunders with a great thunder" and defeats the Philistine enemies of the chosen race. In Hesiod the "vaulted sky, the Mount Olympus, flashed with the terrible bolts" of Zeus in the Titan warfare. This symbolism naturally suggests itself when we look up to the "vaulted sky"; but in the Rig Veda it takes a different turn. Indra the Thunderer vanquishes his enemy Vritra, but often he seeks him in a "Cavern," a bottomless pit.

"He (Indra) has burst in the doors of that cavern where Vritra detained the waters shut up in his power. Indra has torn to pieces Suchna (Drought viewed as God) with his horns of menace."

"By him has been opened the bosom of that vault, yea, that vault without boundaries. Armed with the thunderbolt, Indra, the greatest of the Angiras, has forced the stable of the Celestial Cows."

That the chief god inimical to the Aryans was S'iva there can be no doubt. His special symbol is the Mahadeo, and Dr. Muir has unearthed two passages of the Rig Veda that blurt out this truth brutally.

"May the glorious Indra triumph over hostile beings. Let not those whose god is the S'is'na approach our sacred ceremony."

"Desiring to bestow strength on the struggle that warrior (Indra) has besieged inaccessible places at the time when irresistibly slaying those whose god is the S'is'na he by his force conquered the riches of the City with a hundred gates."

The S'is'na is the Mahadeo, sex worship in puris naturalibus.

Another symbol under which S'iva is attacked is that of a serpent. He is "Ahi," of the Rig Veda. Serpents even in modern times kill about 24,000 people every year in India.

It is most probable that S'iva and Durga as two snakes were the earliest of Indian gods. Every year Durga figures as a snake at the Nagapanchami Festival, and is prayed to to preserve her votaries against snake bites.

"He (Indra) has struck Ahi, who was hiding in the body of a mountain. He has struck him with that resounding weapon forged by Twashtri (the Vulcan of the Vedas), and the waters like cows ran towards their stable He has struck the first born of the Ahis." But Ahi or Vritra has a wicked wife, "Nirriti the insurmountable." This is plainly S'iva's wife, Durga (the Tower of Strength).

"May Nirriti whose force is so formidable never come near to smite us, Nirriti the insurmountable. May she perish with the thirst that she herself instils." A French Orientalist thinks that she was a personification of the terrible Indian fever. This is, of course, the basis of the tree worship in an Indian jungle.

But another name, a very important one, was rendered prominent by that active Orientalist, Colonel Tod, namely Bal. When he was staying in Saurashtra he noticed this name in many temples. There was Balpur (the City of Bala), Balnath (the Lord Bal), and the plateau of the Sahyadri mountains was called Mahabaleshwar (the Great Ishwara, Bala or S'iva).


Chapter Topical Outline

List Of Illustrations


Chapter I S'iva.

Chapter II Baal

Chapter III Buddha

Chapter IV "The Wisdom of the Other Bank"

Chapter V King Asoka

Chapter VI The Mahâyâna

Chapter VII Avalokitishwara

Chapter VIII The Cave Temple and Its Mysteries

Chapter IX Architecture

Chapter X The Essenes

Chapter XI The Essene Jesus

Chapter XII More Coincidences

Chapter XIII Rites

Chapter XIV Paulinism

Chapter XV Transubstantiation

Chapter XVI Ceylon

Chapter XVII Alexandria

Chapter XVIII Ophis And The Serpents

Chapter XIX Descent Into Hell


Softcover, 8" x 10¾", 220+ pages
Perfect-Bound - Large Print 13 point font - Illustrated

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