Ancient Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism
by Thomas Inman, M.D. (1874)
Pagan and Christian symbolism
Figure 134 is taken from plate xxiv., fig. 1, of Moor's Hindu Pantheon. It represents a subject often depicted by the Hindoos and the Greeks, viz., androgynism, the union of the male and female creators. The technical word is Arddha-Nari. The male on the right side bears the emblems of Siva or Mahadeva, the female on the left those of Parvati or Sacti. The bull and lioness are emblematic of the masculine and feminine powers. The mark on the temple indicates the union of the two; an aureole is seen around the head, as in modern pictures of saints. In this drawing the Ganges rises from the male, the idea being that the stream from Mahadeva is as copious and fertilising as that mighty river. The metaphor here depicted is common in the East, and is precisely the same as that quoted in Num. xxiv. 7, and also from some lost Hebrew book in John vii. 38. It will be noticed, that the Hindoos express androgyneity quite as conspicuously, but generally much less indelicately, than the Grecian artists.