Page:Queen Moo and the Egyptian Sphinx.djvu/98

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peninsula, and established themselves there; that, being also learned architects, they built great cities and palaces.' These Mayas became known in after times under the names of Da- navas,^ and are regarded by modern historians as aborigines of the country, or Nagds as we shall see later on. Of these J. Talboys Wheeler in his "History of India" says:^ "The traditions of the Nagds are obscure in the extreme ; they point, however, to the existence of an ancient Naga empire in the Dekkan, having its capital in the modern town of Nagpore, and it may be conjectured that, prior to the Aryan invasion, the Nagd rajas exercised an imperial power over the greatest part of the Punjab and Hindostan. . . . The Nagds, or serpent worshippers, who lived in crowded cities and were famous for their beautiful women and exhaustless treasures, were doubt- ' Valmiki, Bamayana, vol. ii., p. 26. " In olden times there was a prince of the Danavas, a, learned magician endowed with great power ; his name was Maya. It was he who, by magic art, constructed this golden grotto. He was the viivakarma (" architect of the gods ") of the principal Danavas, and this superb palace of solid gold is the work of his hands." Maya is mentioned in the Mahahharata as one of the si.x individuals who were allowed to escape with their life at the burning of the forest of Khandava, whose inhabitants were all destroyed. We read in John Campbell Oman's work, Tlte Great Indian Epics (p. 118) : " Now, Maya was the chief arcliitect of the Danavas, and iu grati- tude for his preservation built a wonderful saWia, or hall, for the Pandavas, the most beautiful structure of its kind in the whole world." Danava = Tan-ha-ba : Tan, " midst; " lia, "water; " ba, a com- positive particle used to form reflexive desinences; "tliey who live in the midst of the water " — navigators. This Maya etymon accords perfectly with what Professor John Camp- bell Oman in his work The Great Indian Epics, " Mahabharata " (p. 133), says with regard to the dwelling-place of the Danavas : " Arjuna carried war against a tribe of the Danavas, the Nivata-Kava- chas, who were very powerful, numbering thirty millions, whose principal city was Hiranyapura. They dwelt in the womb of the ocean." (The name Hiranyapura means iu Maya "dragged in the middle of the water jar.'") ' J. Talboys Wlieeler, Iliatonj of India, vol. iii., pp. 5G-57.