NATURAL RELIGION AND FOLK-LORE part iii
which had long since been lost, appeared to have been in all particulars according to the religion of Raja Brahil (still called by the Malays a Nabi Isa,a or a Tuan Isa,a the Lord Jesus).a Raja Brahil, however, which is a corruption of a Raja Jebrail,a is in reality the Archangel Gabriel (who is sometimes regarded as the special protector of these tribes), the phrase being borrowed directly from the Malays, and indirectly from Arabic sources. It is also impossible to believe, from what we know of them now, that the Mantra (in spite of M. Borieas ingenious supposition) ever had any religious books, or that they even knew the use of the alphabet, whilst the idea of pronouncing them to be a broken sect of Christians is nothing short of absurd.1 An additional difficulty lies in the extraordinary shyness and timidity common to all the Peninsula races, which in many cases is scarcely surpassed by anything of which we read among savage tribes in other parts of the world.
It is therefore hard to devise any analysis that will show at a glance the state of the case, but I believe when all the evidence is weighed and the errors eliminated, it will be found that generally speakinga
(a) The Semang religion, in spite of its recognition of a aThunder-goda (Kari) and certain minor adeities,a has very little indeed in the way of ceremonial, and appears to consist mainly of mythology and legends. It shows remarkably few traces of demon-worship,
1 See Vanhille on a Radja Berail,a Borneo, and corruptions of words of
(Ind. Gids, 1902), and compare the Sanskrit origin are also occasionally
Arabic a Firman a (a Decree of God a), found in the Peninsula, e.g. the Jakun
which (say the Malays) takes the a Jewa - jewa a (= Malay a Dewa -
form of aPirmana or aPirmala among dewaa), which is used in the sense
some of these tribes, and the obvious of a minor deity. The tradition of a
aAllah Taaalaa,a mentioned by Mr. lost book is an idea common among
Bellamy. Similar corruptions of the the tribes of Indo-China; cp. vol. L
Arabic attributes of Allah occur in pp. 378, 391, 536, and infra, 347.Arabic attributes of Allah occur in pp. 378, 391, 536, and infra, 347.