Vaivasvata (who in the Bible becomes Noah) saves a little fish, which turns out to be an avatar of Vishnu. The fish warns that just man that the globe is about to be submerged, that all that inhabit it must perish, and orders him to construct a vessel in which he shall embark, with all his family. When the ship is ready, and Vaivasvata has shut up in it with his family the seeds of plants and pairs of all animals, and the rain begins to fall, a gigantic fish, armed with a horn, places itself at the head of the ark. The holy man, following its orders, attaches a cable to this horn, and the fish guides the ship safely through the raging elements. In the Hindu tradition the number of days during which the deluge lasted agrees exactly with that of the Mosaic account. When the elements were calmed, the fish landed the ark on the summit of the Himalayas.

This fable is considered by many orthodox commentators to have been borrowed from the Mosaic Scriptures. But surely if such a universal cataclysm had ever taken place within man’s memory, some of the monuments of the Egyptians, of which many are of such a tremendous antiquity, would have recorded that occurrence, coupled with that of the

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disgrace of Ham, Canaan, and Mizraim, their alleged ancestors. But, till now, there has not been found the remotest allusion to such a calamity, although Mizraim certainly belongs to the first generation after the deluge, if not actually an antediluvian himself. On the other hand the Chaldeans preserved the tradition, as we find Berosus testifying to it, and the ancient Hindus possess the legend as given above. Now, there is but one explanation of the extraordinary fact that of two contemporary and civilized nations like Egypt and Chaldea, one has preserved no tradition of it whatever, although it was the most directly interested in the occurrence — if we credit the Bible — and the other has. The deluge noticed in the Bible, in one of the Brahmanas, and in the Berosus Fragment, relates to the partial flood which, about 10,000 years B.C., according to Bunsen, and according to the Brahmanical computations of the Zodiac also changed the whole face of Central Asia. Thus the Babylonians and the Chaldeans might have learned of it from their mysterious guests, christened by some Assyriologists Akkadians, or what is still more probable they, themselves, perhaps, were the descendants of those who had dwelt in the submerged localities. The Jews had the tale from the latter as they had everything else; the Brahmans may have recorded the traditions of the lands which they first invaded, and had perhaps inhabited before they possessed themselves of the Punjab. But the Egyptians, whose first settlers had evidently come from Southern India, had less reason to record the cataclysm, since it had perhaps never affected them except indirectly, as the flood was limited to Central Asia.

Burnouf, noticing the fact that the story of the deluge is found only in one of the most modern Brahmanas, also thinks that it might have been borrowed by the Hindus from the Semitic nations. Against such an assumption are ranged all the traditions and customs of the Hindus. The Aryans, and especially the Brahmans, never borrowed anything at all from the Semitists, and here we are corroborated by one of those “unwilling witnesses,” as Higgins calls the partisans of Jehovah and Bible. “I have never seen anything in the history of the Egyptians and Jews,” writes Abbe Dubois, forty years a resident of India, “that would induce me to believe that either of these nations, or any other on the face of the earth, have been established earlier than the Hindus, and particularly the Brahmans; so I cannot be induced to believe that the latter have drawn their rites from foreign nations. On the contrary, I infer that they have drawn them from an original source of their own. Whoever knows anything of the spirit and character of the Brahmans, their stateliness, their pride, and extreme vanity, their distance, and sovereign contempt for

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everything that is foreign, and of which they cannot boast to have been the inventors, will agree with me that such a people cannot have consented to draw their customs and rules of conduct from an alien country.”

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