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to keep out the crowd, as well as Europeans, who are carefully excluded. Six, seven, or eight women thus dance together, assisted by music, for about four hours. Rich spectators, when remarkably pleased with a part of the song, throw to the singer as much as four, eight, or sixteen roopees; beside which, those who engage these women make them presents of garments, and of considerable sums of money. The sons of the rich natives are highly pleased with these dances.
On the second day, the worship and sacrifices are much the same as on the first, except that the bathing of the goddess, called the great snanŭ, is attended with more ceremonies. In this ceremony the priest first brings some earth said to have been thrown up by the teeth of a wild hog, and, mixing it with water, presents it with prayers to the goddess, to be used as soap. Then in succession earth from before the door of the king, or lord of the soil; from before that of a courtezan; from the side of the Ganges; earth raised by ants; and, lastly, earth from any river side, not the Ganges, is presented with the same ceremonies. After this, turmeric, fruits, and spices; the water of the cocoa-nut, and of the water melon; the juice of the sugar cane; honey, clarified butter, sour milk, milk, cow's urine, cow-dung, sugar, treacle, and different sorts of oil, are presented in succession, with the necessary formulas. While the officiating bramhŭn is going through these ceremonies, he revolves in his mind that he is making these gifts to assist the goddess in bathing. At the close, he presents some water of the Ganges, and after this the water of four seas; or, if unable to obtain this, the water of the Ganges again, and then the water of some other river. The bathing ceremonies are closed by a present of cloth for the loins. In the evening, or else in the night, according
to the conjunction of the stars, worship is again performed, in which only one bloody sacrifice is offered; and in some cases none. Widows fast on this day, particularly a widow with children; the latter deriving great benefits from the meritorious actions of the mother.
On the third day, the goddess is worshipped only once, but the offerings and sacrifices are many; buffaloes are offered only on this day. A respectable native once told me, he had seen one hundred and eight buffaloes sacrificed by one Hindoo at this festival: the number slain in the whole country must therefore be very great. Formerly some of the Hindoo kings killed a thousand animals on these occasionsy. The males only are sacrificed; and they are in general young and very tame, costing from five to sixteen roopees each. None of the Hindoos eat the sacrificed buffaloes, except the shoemakers?. Each animal is bathed before it is slain; after which the officiating bramhŭn puts red lead on its horns, and, with a red string, ties a piece of wool smeared with red lead on the forepart of the
y The father of the present king of Nůdēzya, at one of these festivals, offered a great number of goats and sheep to Doorga. He began with one, and, doubling the number each day, continued it for sixteen days. On the last day he killed 33,768, and in the whole he slaughtered 65,535 animals. He loaded boats with the bodies, and sent them to the neighbouring bramhủns; but they could not devour them fast enough, and great numbers were thrown away.-Let no one, after this, tell us of the scru. ples of the bramhŭns about destroying animal life, and eating animal food.
2 In some places ihe tame hog is offered to Doorga by the lowest casts, who, among other offerings, present spirituous liquors to the goddess. At the end of the ceremonies, these persons cook and eat the flesh, drink the spirits, and then, in a state of intoxication, the men and women dance together, and commit the greatest indecencies. No bramhŭn, on pain of losing cast, can assist at these ceremonies; and indeed all bramhŭns, who perform ceremonies for persons of low cast, sink in society.
breast; he also puts a piece of cloth coloured over with turmeric on his back, and a necklace of vilwŭ leaves on his -neck, repeating prayers during these actions. The oeremony of cutting off the heads of the buffaloes, and presenting them to the goddess, is similar to those already described respecting the sacrifice of goats and sheep.
After the beasts are all slain, the multitude, rich and poor, daub their bodies all over with the mud formed with the blood which has collected where the animals were slain, and dance like furies on the spot; after which they go into the street, dancing and singing indecent songs, and visit those houses where images of the goddess have been set up.
At the close of the whole, the officiating bramhŭn presents a burnt-offering, and gives to the goddess a sum of money, commonly about four roopees: some indeed give one hundred, and others as much as a thousand roopees; which at length return into the hands of the officiating bramhŭn,
In the year 1806, I was present at the worship of this goddess, as performed at the house of Raja Raj-Krishnŭ at Calcutta. The buildings where the festival was held were on four sides, leaving an area in the middle. The room to the east contained wine, English sweetmeats, &c. for the entertainment of English guests, with a native Portuguese or two to wait on the visitors. In the opposite room was placed the image, with vast heaps of all kinds of offerings before it. In the two side rooms were the native guests, and in the area groups of Hindoo dancing women, finely dressed, singing, and dancing with sleepy steps, surrounded with Europeans who were sitting on chairs and couches. One or two groups of Músèlman men-singers entertained the company at intervals with Hindoost'hanee songs, and ludicrous tricks. Before two o'clock the place was cleared of the dancing girls, and of all the Europeans except ourselves; and almost all the lights were extinguished, except in front of the goddess ;—when the doors of the area were thrown open, and a vast crowd of natives rushed in, almost treading one upon another; among whom were the vocal singers, having on long caps like sugar loaves. The area might be about fifty cubits long and thirty wide. When the crowd had sat down, they were so wedged together as to present the appearance of a solid pavement of heads; a small space only being left immediately before the image for the motions of the singers, who all stood up. Four sets of singers were present on this occasion, the first consisting of bramhŭns, the next of bankers, the next of voishnůvủs, and the last of weavers & ; who entertained their guests with filthy songs, and danced in indecent attitudes before the goddess, holding up their hands, turning round, putting forward their heads towards the image, every now and then bending their bodies, and almost tearing their throats with their vociferations. The whole scene produced on my mind sensations of the greatest horror. The dress of the singers-their indecent gestures—the abominable nature of the songs--the horrid din of their miserable drum—the lateness of the hour—the darkness of the place—with the reflection that I was standing in an idol temple, and that this immense multitude of rational and immortal creatures, capable of superior joys, werè, in the very act of worship, perpetrating a crime of high treason against the God of heaven, while they themselves believed they were performing an act of merit
excited ideas and feelings in my mind which time can never obliterate.
. I would have given, in this place, a specimen of the songs sung before the image, but found them so full of broad obscenity that I could not copy a single line. All those actions, which a sense of decency keeps out of the most indecent English songs, are here detailed, sung, and laughed at, without the least sense of shame. A poor ballad-singer in England would be sent to the house of correction, and flogged, for performing the meritorious actions of these wretched idolaters b. The singing is continued for three days, from about two o'clock in the morning till nine.
The next morning, between eight and nine, a short time is spent in worship, but no bloody sacrifices are offered. Amongst other ceremonies at this time the officiating bramhắn, in the presence of the family, dismisses the goddess, repeating these words: 'O goddess ! I have, to the best of my ability, worshipped thee. Now go to thy residence, leaving this blessing, that thou wilt return the next year:' after which the priest immerses a looking-glass, the representative of the goddess, in a pan of water; and then takes some of this water, and sprinkles himself and the company with it. When the goddess is thus dismissed, the women set up a cry-some even shed tears. In the afternoon the mistress of the house and other women go to the image, put a roopee and some betle in its hand, strew some turmeric at its feet, and rub the dust of its feet on their own foreheads and those of their friends. On their retiring, the
The reader will recollect that the festivals of Bacchus and Cybele were equally noted for the indecencies practised by the worshippers, both in their words and actions.