II. GODS, SPIRITS AND GHOSTS

(a) PRIMITIVE GODS
THE Mantra, a Proto−Malay tribe, claim to be descended from Mertang, the first magician, who was the child
of two persons called Drop of Water and Clod of Earth. In the Moluccas the earth is a female deity, who in the
west monsoon is impregnated by Lord Sun−Heaven. The Torajas in Celebes believed in two supreme powers, the
Man and the Maiden, that is, the sun and the earth. The Dayaks of Borneo hold that the sun and the earth created
the world. The terms, "Father Sky and Mother Earth," occur in the Malay ritual of the rice−year, at the opening of
mines and of theatrical shows and in the invocations of the Kelantan shaman. A Kelantan account relates that sun
and earth once had human form, sun the form of a man and earth the form of a woman, whose milk may be traced
in the tin−ore of Malaya and whose blood is now gold. Actors in the north of the Malay Peninsula say that "the
earth spirit, whom actors fear, is the daughter of Seretang [1] Bogoh, who sits in the sun and guides the winds,
and of Sang Siuh, the mother of the earth, who sits at the navel of the world." Many religions at once unite and
dissociate the fruitful earth and the gloomy underworld. But as Malay drama came from India, this northern
tradition may be a corruption of Hindu mythology. By some Malay actors Raja Siu, lord of the surface of the
earth, is invoked along with Siva, and the name is perhaps a corruption of Siva. Anyhow, in time Siva and Sri
usurped the place of Father Sky (or Father Water, as he is sometimes called) and of Mother Earth in the Malay
pantheon, and to−day even the existence of these two primitive gods has been forgotten.
The study of early cults shows that the place of a sky−god tends later to be taken by gods of the sun, the moon
and the stars. So in some ancient layer of Malay beliefs before the introduction of Saivism, the white spirit of the
sun, the black spirit of the moon, and the yellow spirit of sunset may have been important, seeing that they have
Indonesian names (mambang), have been incorporated into the Malay's Hindu pantheon, and have survived under
Islam as humble genies.
"The fishermen along the west of the Peninsula sacrifice to four great spirits " (also called mambang) "who go
by many names but whose scope is always the same. One is the spirit of the bays, another
[1. A dialect form of Sultan.]
that of banks or beaches, another that of headlands, and last and fiercest is the spirit of tideways and currents."
Three of these bear primitive names used by the Proto−Malays. The spirit of the tides is famous. The spirit of the
bays is mentioned as a black genie and the spirit of headlands as a white. Was there originally a fourth spirit? To
the three Proto−Malay names yet another, not convincingly authentic, is sometimes added. But only three of the
four bear Sanskrit names. And the modern naming of four spirits after the Archangels may be due to the liking of
the Malay Muslim pantheist for that number.
It is uncertain, too, if the primitive Malays, like the people of Madagascar and Celebes, believed in four gods
of the air in charge of the quarters of the globe. In Bali Indian influence gave these gods Hindu names, and three
are still worshipped there as forms of Siva. One Peninsular charm speaks of "the four children of Siva who live at
the corners of the world." A Perak charm describes Berangga Kala as the spirit of the West, Sang Begor as the
spirit of the East, Sang Degor as the spirit of the North, and Sang Rangga Gempita as the spirit of the South. But
generally the four corners of the world are held to be in charge of four Shaikhs, of whom the most often
mentioned, 'Abdu'I−Qadir, is probably the founder of the famous order of Muslim mystics.
A Malay knows of Vayu under the name of Bayu. But when with arms akimbo, loosened hair, and head−cloth
streaming over his shoulder, the sailor whistled to the Raja of the Wind, he may have been invoking not Vayu but
some indigenous spirit or the Prophet Solomon, to whom Allah gave dominion over the breezes of heaven.
In the Malay pantheon there is a mysterious black Awang, addressed by actors as king of the earth, who "walks
along the veins of the earth and sleeps at its gate." Apparently, therefore, he is identified with Siva, and this
identification, if correct, suggests a high place for this forgotten figure of some early cult. But in a Proto−Malay
charm to propitiate the aforesaid spirits of the sea, Warrior Awang figures as their servant, who climbs the mast of
a ship in distress, a young man with "hairy chest, red eyes, black skin and frizzy hair." A Kelantan charm, also,
depicts him as a haunter of forest undergrowth, "a span in height, with bald temples, frizzy hair, red eyes, white
teeth, broad chest, and feet and hands disfigured with skin disease." This is a good picture of a Negrito, member
of the oldest race in Malaysia, but it may be a posthumous description as applied to this god or godling of a primitive cult, who rides the storm and can cause ague and disease.




Shaman, Saiva and Sufi

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