In Hindu (the Puranas), Parsi and Arab tradition, Mer y is looked upon as the ancient Paradise, the cradle of the Aryan families of mankind, and so of the human race.
Fully described in the Puranas, it is in the form of the linga (phallic emblem) that he is almost universally worshipped.
The origin of this kingdom, famous alike in the political and religious history of India, is lost in the mists of antiquity; and though the Brahmanical Puranas give lists of its rulers extending back to remote ages before the Christian era, the first authentic dynasty is that of the Saisunaga, founded by Sisunaga (c. 600 B.C.), whose capital was at Rajagaha (Rajgir) in the hills near Gaya; and the first king of this dynasty of whom anything is known was Bimbisara (c. 528 B.C.), who by conquests and matrimonial alliances laid the foundations of the greatness of the kingdom.
Though of later date than most of the canonical Buddhist books, they are held in veneration by the orthodox, and occupy much the same position with regard to Buddhism that the Puranas do towards Brahminism.
Even greater was the support it received later on from the Puranas, a class of poetical works of a partly legendary, partly discursive and controversial character, mainly composed in the interest of special deities, of which eighteen principal (maha-purana) and as many secondary ones (upa-purana) are recognized, the oldest of which may go back to about the 4th century of our era.
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