“But still, under this dreadful awe of heaven, a certain wonderful divine confidence secretly animated the hearts of Brahma, Mareechee, and the other genii, who immediately began praises and thanksgiving. That vara (boar-form) figure, hearing the power of the Vedas and Mantras from their mouths, again made a loud noise, and became a dreadful spectacle. Shaking the full flowing mane which hung down his neck on both sides, and erecting the humid hairs of his body, he proudly displayed his two most exceedingly white tusks; then, rolling about his wine-colored (red) eyes, and erecting his tail, he descended from the region of the air, and plunged headforemost into the water. The whole body of water was convulsed by the motion, and began to rise in waves, while the guardian spirit of the sea, being terrified, began to tremble for his domain and cry for mercy.
flow fully does this legend accord with the descriptions of comets given by astronomers, the “horrid hair,” the mane, the animal-like head! Compare it with Mr.
[1. Maurice’s “Ancient History of Hindustan,” vol. i, p. 304.]
Lockyer’s account of Coggia’s comet, as seen through Newell’s large refracting telescope at Ferndene, Gateshead, and which he described as having a head like “a fan-shaped projection of light, with ear-like appendages, at each side, which sympathetically complemented each other at every change either of form or luminosity.”
We turn to the legends of another race:
The Zendavesta of the ancient Persians describes a period of “great innocence and happiness on earth.”
This represents, doubtless, the delightful climate of the Tertiary period, already referred to, when endless summer extended to the poles.
“There was a ‘man-bull,’ who resided on an elevated region, which the deity had assigned him.”
This was probably a line of kings or a nation, whose symbol was the bull, as we see in Bel or Baal, with the bull’s horns, dwelling in some elevated mountainous region.
“At last an evil one, denominated Ahriman, corrupted the world. After having dared to visit heaven” (that is, he appeared first in the high heavens), “he descended upon the earth and assumed the form of a serpent.”
That is to say, a serpent-like comet struck the earth.
“The man-bull was poisoned by his venom, and died in consequence of it. Meanwhile, Ahriman threw the whole universe into confusion (chaos), for that enemy of good mingled himself with everything, appeared everywhere, and sought to do mischief above and below.”
We shall find all through these legends allusions to the poisonous and deadly gases brought to the earth by the comet: we have already seen that the gases which are proved to be associated with comets are fatal to life.
[1. Faber’s “Horæ Mosaicæ,” vol. i, p. 72.]