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KRONOS Vol VII, No. 3
CHILD OF SATURN (PART III)
Copyright (C) 1982 by Dwardu Cardona
12. The Mahadevi
It was Artur Isenberg who presented the best case for the identification of a particular Hindu deity as the proto-planet Venus of Worlds in Collision. His choice was the most obvious one - and it is puzzling how Velikovsky, who misidentified so many other Indic deities as Venus,(1) missed it. The candidate in question is Devi, the goddess par excellence.(2)
This is not to say that the identification is not problematical. In fact, the problems connected with Devi are precisely those that beset Venerian deities of other nations. To that we shall come anon. But first a few points raised by Isenberg's identification require some clarification.
"Devi" is often used, even by the Hindus themselves, as the proper name of this particular goddess. But actually "devi", the feminine of "deva", merely means "goddess". In Hindu mythology, any goddess and there are Vast numbers of them - is a devi. The use of this word as a proper name signifies the Goddess in much the same way we of the Western World mean the Deity when we use the word "God". Devi is also popularly known as Mahadevi, or "Great Goddess", thus differentiating her from the rest of her female cohorts. Personally, I prefer that designation and as such shall I henceforth refer to her. As Isenberg correctly observed, her actual names "are legion".(3)
Isenberg has also pointed out that Indologists have translated the word "devi" to mean "that Which is by its nature Light and Manifestation".(4) By the same token, however, every Hindu god (deva) and goddess (devi) has the Same connotation.
If Hindu deities, as seems certain, owe their origin to the anthropomorphosis of celestial bodies, we can understand how their association with light germinated. Venus, however, is not the only celestial luminary.
That the Mahadevi is called tara, star, and is said to be "of the form of the Moon",(6) does identify her as a celestial body but, again, not necessarily as Venus.
Isenberg also compared the Mahadevi to the Greek Athene, but one of the comparisons he used does not really hold. That the Mahadevi was called avara, "the youngest",(7) means nothing since it is not true that Athene was the youngest deity in the Greek pantheon. Heracles, Dionysus, and Pan were all believed to be younger.(8)
There is, however, a myth of the Mahadevi which compares favorably with an episode in the mythology of Athene. In Greek sources we see Athene taking part in the Revolt of the Giants. It was during this encounter that Athene faced and bested the monster Pallas.(1) Because of a curious twist, this battle may be seen as an echo of the one between the Mahadevi and the demon Durga (or Durgama).
Durga, like Pallas, caused much havoc both in heaven and on Earth. He drove the gods from their kingdoms, changed the courses of rivers, and forced the Earth to produce crops out of season. During his reign, the stars disappeared. The Mahadevi, in her turn, produced kalaratri, which was a dark night or an intense darkness.(2) To students of Velikovsky's work, the catastrophic signs should be unmistakable.
It was amid similar turmoil that the Greek Pallas attempted to rape Athene. But the goddess stood up to him, battled with him, slew him, and even flayed him.(3) It was because of this victory over Pallas that Athene received his name as an epithet, thus becoming known as Pallas Athene.
Likewise, the Mahadevi, having slain Durga, also assumed the name of her vanquished enemy and, in her turn, she too became known as Durga or Durgadevi.(4)
The Mahadevi's similarity to Venerian deities in general does not end there. Kali is another of the "legion" of names by which the Mahadevi was known. It was under this name and guise that she manifested her most fearsome aspect. At one time Kali's rites involved the sacrificial slaughter of human beings.(1) In Bali, where she is known as Rangda, self immolation under trance is still practiced in her name as most tourists to that country can attest. Kali's thirst for gore - she is often portrayed with hanging tongue and mouth dripping with blood - was developed after she had slain the asura (or demon) Raktavira (also known as Raktabija). Isenberg has already described how, from every drop of blood that fell to the ground from the wounded asura, there sprang another demon possessing his courage, strength, and valor.(2) In order to keep Raktavira's blood from reaching the ground, Kali was forced to drink it as it gushed out. This drinking of blood gave her such a blind lust for destruction that, when she gave free reign to it, nothing was able to stop her.
This myth is very similar to ones involving Sekhmet and Anath. Anath was identified by the ancients with Athene(4) and therefore with Venus. In a myth from Ugarit we see Anath coming to the aid of Baal when he was beset by his enemies. As cruel a goddess as Kali, Anath did not limit her slaughter to demons but went on a drunken rampage against mankind from "the rising of the sun" to "the shore of the sea".(5) In the end, Baal, like Shiva, was forced to intervene in order to stop the goddess from annihilating the human race.
At the time I noticed this similarity I was not aware that others had already preceded me. It is, therefore, with some gratification that I give the following words by W. F. Albright:
Meanwhile, that the Egyptian Sekhmet was the personification of a celestial body is evidenced by the fact that she is often portrayed with a planetary disc atop her feline head. Velikovsky and, after him, William Mullen, have both identified Sekhmet as Venus.(7)
Sekhmet, as Ra's destructive eye, was hurled in anger at the Earth. Incited by Ra, the goddess began a slaughter so complete that she ended up by flooding the Earth in blood. In both this myth and that of Anath, each respective goddess is described as wading up to her waist in gore. Once again, like both Shiva and Baal, Ra himself was forced to intervene and call the goddess back.(8)
Whether Sekhmet was truly Venus or not we shall find out in a later section dealing with that particular goddess. In the meantime I should point out that the goddess was invariably depicted as a woman with the head of a lioness.(9) Anath's sister, Asherah, who might be considered the evening aspect of Venus, was also associated with the lion;(10) and, as Isenberg has already pointed out, so was the Mahadevi.(11) Earlier, the association of the lion with the planet Venus was noted by Kugler.(12)
One direct connection presented by Isenberg between the Mahadevi and Venus is in the number sixteen. In Sanskrit Venus is, inter alia, known as shodashanarchis and/or shodashananshu, both designations meaning "sixteen rayed". It is noteworthy that no other heavenly body is known to the Hindus as "having sixteen rays". What can hardly be a coincidence is the additional fact that the Mahadevi, as Durgadevi, is known as Shodashanabhuja, which means "sixteen armed". Not only that but, despite the fact that Hindu deities are often portrayed as possessing a multitude of limbs, only Durgadevi is ever portrayed as having sixteen arms. As Shoashi, the Mahadevi is invoked as the "girl of sixteen" while Hindu astrology gives the "age" of Venus as "sixteen years".(1) The significance of this "sixteen" escapes me as much as it did Isenberg but, to echo the latter's belief, there is no gainsaying the fact that it explicitly ties the Mahadevi to the planet Venus.
That this, unfortunately, is not the whole story, I shall bring out anon.
16. The Mother Goddess
Whose offspring was the Mahadevi? The Markandeya Purana and the Skanda Purana both describe the goddess as having been born from the combined light and/or energy which issued forth from the major Indic deities.(1) Additionally, the Skanda Purana gives a second version in which the goddess seems to have already existed. Instead of their combined energy, the gods, in this instance, supply her with their weapons.(2) The Mahabharata speaks of the goddess as the daughter of Yasoda, wife of the cow-herd Nanda, and foster mother of Krishna.(3) In all of this Isenberg had to confess that he could find absolutely no relationship between the Mahadevi and Jupiter.(4) Can a connection, instead, be made between this goddess and Saturn?
Let us, first of all, examine the Mahadevi's supposed recentness. While conceding with most Indologists that the contents of the puranas derive from greater antiquity, as literary works they are very late sources - later by far than the works of Hesiod and Homer with which we commenced this work.(5) The Markandeya Purana, which contains perhaps the best material on the Mahadevi, has been dated to the 10th century A.D.(6) The Mahabharata, which includes some earlier references, has been dated by some scholars as early as 500 B.C. but it is conceded that the work did not appear in its present form until 500 A.D.(7) In the Vedas, generally dated to 1500 B.C., there is no mention of the Mahadevi. Isenberg has therefore concluded that the goddess "is clearly post-Vedic".(8) The Sanskrit scholar, W. D. O'Flaherty, however, does not agree. On the contrary, she has stated that:
This is also the opinion of the Indologist, V. Ions:
O'Flaherty is of the opinion that the Mahadevi is a composite figure who owes her origin to much earlier female divinities:
" . . . female divinities had served as the objects or instruments of divine struggles from the earliest times
This, if nothing else, explains why the Goddess was known under a "legion" of names. It also informs us that, while Isenberg was not entirely incorrect in claiming the Mahadevi - as such - to be post-Vedic, the female divinities which gave her origin were not. An examination of some of these earlier individuals might shed further light.
17. Black Saturn
Kali, not to be confused with Kala (Time), means "black".(1) As Kali Ma she is the Black Mother,(2) and as such is she usually portrayed. This does not compliment the Mahadevi's character as "resplendent light". Despite Jill Abery's contention, to which we shall come anon, Venus was not portrayed as black. But, for some reason I have not yet been able to fathom, Saturn was.
In an earlier paper, I had already indicated and explained the connection between the Pleiades and Saturn.(3) Now consider the following:
"The Navajo dignify the Pleiades by associating them with their principal deity, Black God, creator of fire and light. In fact, a recognisable form of this group appears on the face of the Black God."(4)
Just as Venus seems to have been associated with the number sixteen, Saturn was linked to the number seven.(5) Unlike the case of Venus, we do know of a basis for Saturn's number seven. This "holy" number arose in connection with the Saturnian Sun of Night because of the seven rings which ancient man saw surrounding that luminary in primeval times.(6) Consider therefore also the following by D. H. Kelly:
David Pingree, in his study of Indian astrology, has shown that Saturn was represented as a dark-skinned man in black clothing.(8) If this is not enough, note that the Babylonian Ninip (also Ninib and/ or Nirig) was deified as "the black Saturn".(9)
The above strongly implies that Kali Ma, the Black Mother - and therefore also the Mahadevi - was Saturn. This would mean that Saturn was also deified as a female deity. Actually, in an earlier paper, I had already implied as much when I presented the Pelasgian creatrix Eurynome as she who laid the Saturnian Cosmic Egg.(10) I need not continue to imply. I can now state it more directly.
As Parvati, the Mahadevi was Shiva's wife (as was Kali and Durgadevi). More than that, Parvati was Shiva's Sakti, which was also one of her names. In Sanskrit "sakti" means "power".(1) If Parvati was Shiva's power she must have been one with Shiva/Saturn.(2) And so we find out:
To clinch it we also learn that one of the names of Shiva's wife - the Mahadevi Parvati - was also Shiva.(5) That Shiva was Saturn I need not repeat.
Brahma, identified as Saturn by Velikovsky and others, was also bisexual. During the Creation, he divided himself into two forms - one half a woman and the other half a man.(6)
Nor must we believe that this androgynous characteristic of Saturn is unique to Hindu mythology. In Mesoamerica we meet with the Zapotec deity, Mbaz, who is usually considered to be an Earth god. The fact that he is said to have been a serpent with seven heads or seven horns,(7) however, easily identifies him as an aspect of Saturn. What is curious about Mbaz is that he is sometimes spoken of as a goddess "for the sex of these Zapotec deities is strangely unstable".(8)
Jill Abery, who has mistakenly identified the primeval Mother Goddess as the planet Venus, has also sought to associate black versions of her with "the sinister morning star aspect" of this planet.(9) There are, however, no black representations of Venus. The two candidates that Abery proposed, the Celtic Belisama and the Teutonic Rosemartha, are the respective consorts of Belen and Wotan(10) - both representations of the planet Saturn.(11) These black wives can therefore be equated, on the strength of comparative mythology, with the female aspects of the Saturnian deity.
Had it not been due to the Mahadevi's complex character, I would not, again, have taken such a circuitous route to prove that Saturn was thought of as an androgyne by ancient man. Both the Egyptians and the Greeks (as well as other nations) held the same belief. For instance, Atum (or Temu), whom William Mullen before me had already identified as Saturn,(12) was esteemed as "that great He-She".(13) In the Great Magical Papyrus of Paris, Kronos is given the title "Man-Woman".(14) Thus Zvi Rix was entirely wrong when he stated: "The combination of male and female procreational forces can only be conceived in a comet."(15) I would like to ask: Why only a comet?
This brings us to a strange situation. Instead of finding that the Mahadevi was Saturn's daughter, we seem to have reached the inescapable conclusion that she was Saturn. What, then, of the Mahadevi's connection with Venus?
Could the Mahadevi have personified both planets - Venus and Saturn? Not only is this possible but such seems to have been the case.
We have already noted the Mahadevi's connection with Venus through the curious numerological symbolism of the number sixteen. I stated in that section that what I had presented did not constitute the full story. The fact is that the number sixteen is just as inextricably connected with Saturn for which the following information was brought to my attention by Roger Ashton.
In an even earlier section I indicated why Prajapati should be identified as the planet Saturn.(1) That the lord of Saturn was called Prajapati had actually already been established by Manfred Mayrhofer in 1963.(2) In the Satapatha Brahmana we read that "Prajapati consists of sixteen parts".(3) Elsewhere in the same work Prajapati is presented as seventeenfold(4) but, as Ashton has indicated, this seems to be the result of "one Prajapati plus sixteen somethings".(5)
Also - that Brahma was Saturn has now been accepted. In the Shvetashvatara Upanishad it is stated:
This sharing of attributes has led to some confusion. A good example comes our way through Gauri, another epithet of the Mahadevi.(7) While, in India, Venus is generally identified as a male god, there are exceptions and Gauri is one of them. Kelly, for instance, speaks of Gauri as "the goddess who rules the planet Venus".(8) Yet, as Jagan-mata - i.e., Mother of the World - Gauri is the wife of Shiva/Saturn as well as of Varuna/Saturn.(9) As such, she must be viewed as the sakti of these deities, personifying the female aspect of the Saturnian Sun of Night.
Isenberg put it best when he stated:
It must be remembered, however, that in both the mythological context and Velikovsky's cosmology, Saturn preceded Venus. The Mahadevi must therefore first have been Saturn before her name(s) and characteristics passed on to Venus. This raises three very intriguing questions: (a) Which of the various events associated with the Goddess pertain to Saturn and which to Venus? (b) When was it that Venus "stole" the name(s) and characteristics of Saturn? (c) Why were Saturn's names and characteristics foisted on Venus?
20. First Interlude
We stop, at this point, to analyze all that we have so far uncovered We commenced by questioning the mythological evidence which purportedly established as fact the birth, or expulsion, of the planet Venus from Jupiter. Having run into controversy as far as Greek records are concerned, we decided to settle the issue by means of comparative mythology.(1) Our journey started in India(2) and, in the course of our research, we made the following discoveries:
The first is that Velikovsky's planetary identifications of Indic deities, with the possible exception of Kumara as Mars, cannot, and should not , be relied upon.(3)
The second is that among the Indic deities that Velikovsky called upon as witnesses in his attempt to bolster his theory of colliding worlds, we found absolutely no trace of the planet Venus.(4) Although such evidence exists, it took another, namely Artur Isenberg, to supply Velikovskian scholars with a deity that can be reliably identified as Venus.
We also found out that this goddess, the Mahadevi, has affinities also with Saturn and, in fact, can actually be identified as the feminine aspect of that luminary. This led us to conclude that the Mahadevi was originally Saturn and only later were her names and aspects foisted on Venus.
We discovered also that it was Saturn, rather than Venus, who was the great hermaphrodite or androgyne of ancient man in primeval times.
Most importantly we discovered that no matter which deity we examined and no matter which corner we turned, we were constantly and repeatedly brought face to face with Saturn. This impels us to believe that, even though Saturn is a more ancient deity, he has left a mark on humanity much deeper than that left by the more recent
Finally, other than Hesiod's tale of Athene's birth from the head of Zeus, we have yet to discover one Venerian deity who could be said to have been born directly from a Jovian one. In some instances, deities identified by Velikovsky as Venus were, instead, found to have been the offspring of Saturn. On further examination, however, we found that the identification of these deities as Venus cannot be substantiated. More often than not, these so-called "Venerian" deities were found to be Saturnian instead.
Meanwhile, I would again like to stress that the birth of Athene/Venus from Zeus/Jupiter is not only offset by the birth of Aphrodite/ Venus from Uranus/Saturn(5) but also by the claim that Athene/Venus herself was the daughter of Kronos/Saturn.(6)
The question now is: Does the mythology of other nations corroborate these discoveries and can we anywhere find a comparable myth to Athene's birth from Zeus, Aphrodite's birth from Uranus, or a comparable claim to that which makes Athene the daughter of Kronos or, for that matter, the daughter of Zeus?
. . . to be continued .
Section 12: The Mahadevi1. D. Cardona, "Child of Saturn," Part II, KRONOS VII:2, pp. 29-40.
2. A. Isenberg, "Devi and Venus," KRONOS II:1 (August 1976), pp. 89-103.
3. Ibid., p. 91.
4. Ibid, p. 94.
5. H. de Wilman-Grabowska, "Brahmanic Mythology," Asiatic Mythology (London, 1972), p. 102.
6. A. Isenberg, loc. cit.
8. P. James, "Aphrodite - The Moon or Venus?" SISR I:1 (Jan. 1976), p. 7, note No. 48. Section 13: Durga 1. Apollodorus, Bibliotheka, 1.6.
2. V. Ions, Indian Mythology (London, 1967), p. 93.
3 Apollodorus, loc. cit.
4. Swami Jagaddisvarananda (trans.), The Devi.Mahatmya (or Sri Durga-Saptasati), (Madras, 1953), p. 149. Section 14: Kali 1. V. Ions, loc. cit.
2. A. Isenberg, op. cit., p. 93.
3. V. Ions, op. cit, p. 9
4. E. Sachau, Aramaische Papyrus und Ostraka aus Judischen Militarkolonie zu Elephantine (1911), p. xxv.
5. W. F. Albright, Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan (N. Y., 1968), p. 130.
6. Ibid., p. 131.
7. I Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision (N. Y., 1950), p. 165; w. Mullen, "A Reading of the Pyramid Texts," Pensée IVR III (Winter 1973), pp. 13-14 where the author refers to Sekhmet by her alter-ego Hathor.
8. B. van de Walle, "Egypt: Syncretism and State Religion," Larousse World Mythology (London, 1972), p. 40.
9. See, for instance, the superb illustrations in the New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology (London, 1972), pp. 25, 35.
10. W. F. Albright, op. cit., pp. 121-122.
11. A. Isenberg, op. cit., p. 95.
12. L. C. Stecchini, "Astronomical Theory and Historical Data," The Velikovsky Affair, ed. by A. de Grazia (N.Y., 1967), p. 143 Section 15: Shodashanabhuja 1. A. Isenberg, op. cit, p. 96.> Section 16: The Mother Goddess
1. Swami Jagaddisvarananda, op. cit., pp. 25 ff.; Skanda Purana, 22.214.171.1242.
2. Skanda Purana, 126.96.36.199.1-69.
3. A. Isenberg, op. cit., p. 100.
4. Ibid, p. 96.
5. D. Cardona, op. cit., Part I, KRONOS VII:1 (Fall 1981), pp. 56 ff.
6. J Dowson, A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology and Religion (London, 1879),
7. A. Isenberg, op. cit., p. 101.
9. W. D. O'Flaherty, Hindu Myths (Harmondsworth, 1976), p. 238 (emphasis added).
10. V. Ions, op. cit., p. 91 (emphasis added).
11. W. D. O'Flaherty, loc. cit.
12. Ibid. (emphasis added). Section 17: Black Saturn 1. Ibid., p. 345.
2. P. Masson Oursel and L. Morin, "lndian Mythology," New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology (London, 1972), pp. 332, 335.
3. D. Cardona, "The Mystery of the Pleiades," KRONOS III:4 (Summer 1978), pp. 34-38.
4. A. F. Aveni, "Astronomy in Ancient Mesoamerica," In Search of Ancient Astronomies (ed. E. C. Krupp), (N.Y., 1977), p. 174.
5. See the author's forthcoming article, "The Rings of Saturn".
6. D. Cardona, op. cit., p. 38. [Cf. I. Velikovsky, Mankind in Amnesia, p. 99. - LMG]
7. D. H. Kelly, "Planetary Data on Caracol Stela 3," Archaeoastronomy in Pre-Columbian America (ed. A. F. Aveni), (N.Y., 1975), p. 259.
8. D. Pingree, "Representation of the Planets in Indian Astrology " Indo-lranian Journal, Vol. 8 (1964-65), p. 267.
9. D. A. Mackenzie, Myths of Babylonia and Assyria (London) p. 314.
10. D. Cardona, "Let There Be Light," KRONOS III:3 (Spring 1978), p. 37. Section 18: Androgyne 1. P. Masson-Oursel and L. Morin, op. cit., p. 375.
2. For Shiva as Saturn see D. Cardona, "Child of Saturn," Part II, KRONOS VII:2 (Winter 1982), pp. 32-33.
3. H. de Wilman-Grabovnska, op. cit., pp. 124-125.
4. J Herbert, "Hindu Mythology," in "India: The Eternal Cycle," Larousse World Mythology (London, 1972), p. 225; S. Kramrisch, The Presence of Siva, p. 205.
5. W. D. O'Flaherty, op. cit., p. 164, note no. 73.
6. The Linga Purana (Vol. 5, Part 1, of the Ancient Indian Tradition & Mythology Series, translated by a Board of Scholars), (Delhi, 1973), p. xxi.
7. R. J. Weitlaner and G. de Cicco, "La Jerarquia de los Dioses Zapotecos del Sur," Proceedings of the 34th International Congress of Americanists (Vienna, 1961), p. 702.
8. D. H Kelly, "The Nine Lords of the Night," Contributions of the University of California Archaeological Research Facility, No. 16 (October, 1972), p. 55.
9. J. Abery, "Black Madonnas - Modern Images of the Morning Star?" SIS Workshop 3 3 (Jan. 1981), p. 33.
11. For Wotan, who is the same as Odin, as Saturn, see D. N. Talbott, The Saturn Myth (N.Y., 1980), pp. 19, 82, 161,162; re Belen, see the author's forthcoming article, "The Rings of Saturn".
12. W. Mullen, op. cit., pp. 13 ff.
13. R T. Rundle Clark, Myth and Symbol in Ancient Egypt (N.Y., 1959), p. 41.
14. K. Preisendanz, Papyri Graecae Magicae: Die Griechischen Zauberpapyri (Berlin, 1928), Vol. I, p. 64.
15. Z. Rix, "Notes on the Androgynous Comet," SISR I:5 (Summer 1977), p. 18. Section 19: Gauri 1. D. Cardona, "Child of Saturn," Part II, KRONOS VII:2 (Winter 1982), pp. 34-36.
2. M. Mayrhofer, Kurzgefasstes Etymologisches Worterbuch des Altindischen (Heidelberg, 1963), Vol. II, p. 355.
3. Satapatha Brahmana, 188.8.131.52.
4. Ibid.,184.108.40.206, 220.127.116.11, 18.104.22.168, 22.214.171.124
5. R. Ashton to L. M. Greenberg, May 28,1981, private communiqué.
6. Shvetashvatara Upanishad, 1.4.
7. J. Dowson, op. cit., p. 86.
10. A. Isenberg, op. cit., p. 99 (emphasis as given). Section 20: First Interlude 1. D. Cardona, "Child of Saturn," Part I, KRONOS VII:1 (Fall 1981), pp. 56-67.
2 Ibid., Part II, KRONOS VII:2, pp. 29 ff.
3. Ibid, p. 34.
4. Ibid., pp. 29-40.
5. Ibid, Part I, pp. 58-63.
6. Ibid., p. 58.