Divine Births

Other  "Virgin Birth" stories.

"virgin births" are not that uncommon in the realms of legends and myths, gods and goddesses. Yet, those of faith profess only their own exclusive story as possessing either literal or symbolical truth. But surely,  there are many concepts, ethics, morality and much wisdom found in other traditions much as Christians would habitually claim as their own.

The Virgin Birth genre was not new when Jesus was born. Mythology is full of such stories. An Egyptian Virgin Birth story, told about 2,000 years before Jesus, had many details identical with those found in the Gospel accounts.

The Egyptian god, Ra (the Sun), was said to have been born of a virgin mother, Net (or Neith), and to have had no father.

Horus was said to be the parthenogenetic child of the Virgin Mother, Isis. In the catacombs of Rome black statues of this Egyptian divine Mother and Infant still survive from the early Christian worship of the Virgin and Child to which they were converted. In these the Virgin Mary is represented as a black negress, and often with the face veiled in the true Isis fashion. When Christianity absorbed the pagan myths and rites it also adopted the pagan statues, and renamed them as saints, or even as apostles.

The Grecian God Dionysos was said -- in one version of the myth concerning him -- to be the son of Zeus out of the virgin goddess Persephone. In another version he was said to be the miraculously begotten son of Zeus out of the mortal woman Semele.

Adonis, the Syrian god; Osiris, the first person of the principal Egyptian Trinity; and Mithra, the Persian god whom so many of the Roman soldiers worshipped -- all had strange tales told about their births.

Of Plato it was related that his mother Perictione was a virgin who conceived him immaculately by the god Apollo. Apollo himself revealed the circumstances of this conception to Ariston, the betrothed husband of the virgin.

To the founders of all great religions (either mythical or historical) virginal or other remarkable births are usually attributed.  http://www.religioustolerance.org/virgin…

The Birth of Lord Krishna:

In the story of Krishna the deity is the agent of conception and also the offspring. Because of his sympathy for the earth, the divine Vishnu himself descended into the womb of Devaki and was born as her son, Vaasudeva (i.e., Krishna). The Hindu Vishnu Purana relates: "Devaki bore in her womb the lotus-eyed deity...before the birth of Krishna, no one “could bear to gaze upon Devaki, from the light that invested her, and those who contemplated her radiance felt their minds disturbed.” This reference to light is reminiscent of the Vedic hymn "To an Unknown God," which refers to a Golden Child. According to F. M. Müller this term means "the golden germ of child" and is an attempt at naming the sun.[1]

This is occasionally brought up as evidence for the hypothesis that "virgin birth" tales are a fairly common phenomenon in non-Christian religions around the world.[2][3][4] However, there is nothing in Hindu scriptures to suggest that it was a "virgin" birth. By the time of conception and birth of Krishna, Devaki was married to Vasudeva and had already borne 7 children.[5]  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miraculous_births

Are Jesus' and Krishna's mother both Holy Virgins?

The virginal state of Mary when she conceived Jesus is a matter of debate. Paul and the author(s) of the Gospel of John appear to directly reject the concept. The author of the Gospel of Mark appears to have been unaware of it. The authors of Matthew and Luke accepted the belief. Christians today are divided.

The virginal state of Devaki is also a matter of debate. One tradition states that Krishna was her eighth child. Another states that it was a virgin birth: "In the context of myth and religion, the virgin birth is applied to any miraculous conception and birth. In this sense, whether the mother is technically a virgin is of secondary importance to the fact that she conceives and gives birth by some means other than the ordinary....the divine Vishnu himself descended into the womb of Devaki and was born as her son Krishna." http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jckr1.htm

Note: Perhaps the term "Virgin Birth" does not necessarily denote being literally born of woman without sex. Might this be a symbolic term for an unusual event or the coming of a superior gifted child such as no one in their lifetime has witenessed before? An unsual birth could be a way to explain, in story telling fashion, the coming of a holy savior; such as a Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, Horus etc.

The Birth of the Buddha:

Twenty-five centuries ago, King Suddhodana ruled a land near the Himalaya Mountains.

One day during a midsummer festival, his wife Queen Maya retired to her quarters to rest, and she fell asleep and dreamed a vivid dream. Four angels carried her high into white mountain peaks and clothed her in flowers. A magnificent white bull elephant bearing a white lotus in its trunk approached Maya and walked around her three times. Then the elephant struck her on the right side with its trunk and vanished into her.

When Maya awoke, she told her husband about the dream. The King summoned 64 Brahmans to come and interpret it. Queen Maya would give birth to a son, the Brahmans said, and if the son did not leave the household he would become a world conqueror. However, if he were to leave the household he would become a Buddha.

When the time for the birth grew near, Queen Maya wished to travel from Kapilavatthu, the King’s capital, to her childhood home, Devadaha, to give birth. With the King’s blessings she left Kapilavatthu on a palanquin carried by a thousand courtiers.

On the way to Devadaha, the procession passed Lumbini Grove, which was full of blossoming trees. Entranced, the Queen asked her courtiers to stop, and she left the palanquin and entered the grove. As she reached up to touch the blossoms, her son was born.

Then the Queen and her son were showered with perfumed blossoms, and two streams of sparkling water poured from the sky to bathe them. And the infant stood, and took seven steps, and proclaimed “I alone am the World-Honored One!”

I

n this story. The white elephant was a sacredanimal representing fertility and wisdom. The lotus is a common symbol for enlightenment in Buddhist art. A white lotus in particular represents mental and spiritual purity. The baby Buddha’s seven steps evoke seven directions – north, south, east, west, up, down, and here.

http://buddhism.about.com/od/buddha/a/birthofbuddha.htm

Here is a Native American legend containing a claim of a "virgin birth.

This story of Dekanawidah describs how he united the Native American Iroquois Tribes into a confederation. It illustrates spiritual truths of the battle between “good” and “evil” so common to world Faiths.

It tells how Adodarhoh, the evil one of crooked stature, the one whom everyone followed in a time of war and bloodshed, was made straight by the “Hymn of Peace”. It describes Dekanawidah changing the hearts which, in turn, causes them to accept his mission of bringing the five warring tribes together.

Read this as you would a Bible story, with the same search for understanding. This story originates from a time before European contamination.

“North of the beautiful lake, in the land of the Crooked Tongues...in the village lived a good woman who had a virgin daughter. Now strangely this virgin conceived...The daughter about this time went into a long sleep and dreamed that her child should be a son whom she should name Dekanawidah. The messenger in her dream told her that he should become a great man and that he should go among the Flint people to live and that he should also go to the Many Hill Nation and there raise up the Great Tree of Peace.

Then in those days there was no great law. Our founder had not yet come to create peace and give united strength to the Real Men, the Ongwe-oweh. In those same days, the Onondagas had no peace. A man's life was valued as nothing. For any slight offense a man or woman was killed by his enemy and in this manner feuds started between families and clans. At night, none dared leave their doorways, lest an enemy’s war club strike them down. Such was the condition when there was no Great Law.

South of the Onondaga town lived an evil-minded man...His body was distorted by seven crooks and his long tangled locks were adorned by writhing living serpents. Moreover, this monster was a devourer of raw meat, even of human flesh. He was also a master of wizardry, and by his magic he destroyed men but he could not be destroyed. Adodarhoh was the name of the evil man.

Not withstanding the evil character of Adodarhoh the people of Onondaga, the Nation of Many Hills, obeyed his commands and though it cost many lives they satisfied his insane whims, so much did they fear him for his sorcery.

Dekanawidah requested some of the Mohawk chiefs to call a council, so messengers were sent out among the people and the council was convened. Dekanawidah said, "I, with my co-worker, have a desire to now report on what we have done on five successive midsummer days, of five successive years. We have obtained the consent of five nations. These are the Mohawks, the Oneidas, the Onondagas, the Cayugas, and the Senecas. Our desire is to form a compact for a union of our nations. Our next step is to seek out Adodarhoh. It is he who has always set at naught all plans for the establishment of the Great Peace. We must seek his fire and look for his smoke.

Then Dekanawidah taught the people the Hymn of Peace and the other songs. He stood before the door of the longhouse and walked before it singing the new songs. Many came and learned them so that many were strong by the magic of them when it was time to carry the Great Peace to Onondaga.

The frontier of the Onondaga country was reached and the expedition halted to kindle a fire, as was customary. Then the chiefs of the Onondagas, with their headmen, welcomed them and a great throng marched to the fireside of Adodarhoh, the singer of the Peace Hymn leading the multitude.

Then Dekanawidah himself sang and walked before the door of Adodarhoh's house. When he finished his song he walked toward Adodarhoh and held out his hand to rub it on his body and to know its inherent strength and life. Then Adodarhoh was made straight and his mind became healthy.

When Adodarhoh was made strong in rightful powers and his body had been healed, Dekanawidah addressed the three nations. He said, "We have overcome a great obstacle. It has long stood in the way of peace. The mind of Adodarhoh is now made right and his crooked parts are made straight. Now indeed may we establish the great peace.

Before we do firmly establish our union each nation must appoint a certain number of its wisest and purest men who shall be rulers, Rodiyaner. They shall be the advisers of the people and make the new rules that may be needful. These men shall be selected and confirmed by their female relations in whose lines the titles shall be hereditary." (Paul Halsall Aug 1997 halsall@murray.fordham.edu )

From all the forgoing examples, added to much more that has survived the plunders and wars of history, what gives Christianity the right to claim an exclusive right to God's grace and salvation; then to turn around and historically do their utmost to destroy "heathen" temples, objects, writings, rituals and practices, considered unholy, in the name of God? Is it not time to seek and find, and come to recognize enlightened truth wherever it may be found?

"There can be no doubt whatever that the peoples of the world, of whatever race or religion, derive their inspiration from one heavenly Source, and are the subjects of one God. The difference between the ordinances under which they abide should be attributed to the varying requirements and exigencies of the age in which they were revealed. All of them, except a few which are the outcome of human perversity, were ordained of God, and are a reflection of His Will and Purpose.

Arise and, armed with the power of faith, shatter to pieces the gods of your vain imaginings, the sowers of dissension amongst you. Cleave unto that which draweth you together and uniteth you. This, verily, is the most exalted Word which the Mother Book hath sent down and revealed unto you. To this beareth witness the Tongue of Grandeur from His habitation of glory." (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 217)

"the Bible record shows that as Christ in His time overshadowed the peoples, so did Abraham and Noah likewise in their time. Each was supreme in his own Day over the people committed to him, and was remembered and venerated long ages after his Day had passed away. Of Moses, God said to Aaron: 'He shall be to thee as God.'

(George Townshend, The Heart of the Gospel, p. 50)

"The faith of God and religion of God hath been revealed and manifested from the heaven of the Will of the King of Preexistence only for the union and concord of the dwellers upon earth: make it not a cause of discord and dissension." (Abdu'l-Baha, A Traveller's Narrative, p. 84)

We have seen a few examples of "Virgin (miraculous birth) stories from the East. This same theme is played out in the West as well.