Early Religion Of The Hindus -- By: H. W. Magoun

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 055:218 (Apr 1898)
Article: Early Religion Of The Hindus
Author: H. W. Magoun

Early Religion Of The Hindus

H. W. Magoun


Much of the region to the north and west of the Hindu Kush is now a barren waste. It was once a land of countless lakes and numerous rivers. The country could not have lost this character when occupied by the Indo-Iranians; and the pressure of the tribes behind, rather than the need of pasturage, was probably the cause of their onward march. The region to the south of the range does not appear to have suffered any great change, and it was probably not materially different from what it is to-day. It is a great plateau with lofty mountains, and extends as far east as the Indus valley. In its extreme northeastern corner, just under the Hindu Kush, lies the Kābul basin, which

was for many centuries a part of India. This has a temperate climate. The descent from the plateau is sudden, and the change in the climate is equally marked. It is a region of scanty rain-fall, and the Indus valley is intensely hot. Here, in the dry season, everything becomes parched, and the surface of the ground gradually turns to an impalpable powder, which rises over all the plain like a mist. With the change in the monsoon comes the needed and longed-for rain.

As the time for this approaches, a slight haze begins to be visible about the mountains. It gradually increases in density from day to day; and, in the course of several weeks, begins to form into floating clouds, which, however, merely serve to tantalize the suffering beholders. At length an occasional flash of lightning is seen in the region of the peaks, and the haze at last begins to spread over the landscape. The action now becomes rapid. In a few hours the horizon grows black, and the clouds mass themselves in the heavens. The approach of the storm is marked by fitful gusts of wind, which are followed by terrific blasts, as the hurricane gathers itself and breaks in its fury. At times, when the approaching tempest is of unu-

sual severity, a ruddy glare is seen in the sky. The lightning begins to play incessantly, sometimes in broad sheets of flame, sometimes in blinding; flashes which are instantly followed by the crashing thunder. The rain streams down in torrents. It is the typical thunder-storm of the tropics.2 What wonder that a profound impression was made on men accustomed to worship the lightning and the fire, the sun and the moon, the dawn and the wind? Although the Aryans may have met with an occasional tornado to the

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