« PoprzedniaDalej »
crowd assemble, with their bodies daubed with turmeric, oil, and sour milk; and, bringing out the image, place it on a stage, to which they fasten it with cords, and carry it on their shoulders to the water. It is here placed in the centre of two boats lashed together, and filled with people, among whom are dancers, musicians, singers, &c. At this time, in many instances, men dance stark naked on the boat before many thousands assembled, who only laugh at this gross indecency. Perhaps in one place on the river twenty or thirty images will be exhibited at once, while the banks are crowded with spectators rich and poor, old and young, all intoxicated with the scene. The last ceremony is that of letting down the image, with all its tinsil and ornaments, into the river.
The women of the house to which the temple belongs go to the room from whence the goddess has just been taken, and place a pan of water upon the spot where the image stood, and put upon the top of the pan a branch of the mango tree. After the goddess has been drowned, the crowd return to the temple; and the officiating bramhŭn, taking his place by the side of the pan of water, dips the
• In a memorandum of my own, dated Sept. 26, 1803, I find these remarks, made one evening in the course of a journey :— About five in the afternoon we came to Búlargúr. The people of about twenty villages, more than 2000 in number, including women and children, were assembled to throw their images into the river, this being the termination of the Doorga festival. I observed that one of the men standing before the idol in a boat, dancing and making indecent gestures, was naked. As the boat passed along, he was gazed at by the mob; nor could I perceive that this abominable action produced any thing beside laughter. Before other images young men, dressed in women's clothes, were dancing with other men, making indecent gestures. I cannot help thinking the most vulgar mob in England would have turned with disgust from these abominable scenes. I have seen the same abominations exhibited before our own house at Serampore.'
branch of the mango tree into the water, and sprinkles al the people, repeating incantations; and thus blessing the people they are dismissed, when each one clasps his neighbour in his arms. Adjourning to their own houses, they partake of sweetmeats, and of an intoxicating beverage made with hemp leaves. In a vast number of instances this festival is thus closed with scenes of the most shameful intoxication: almost all the Hindoos in Bengal think it duty to indulge to a certain degree in drinking this liquor at this festival.
Presents to the bramhŭns and their wives are made on each of the fifteen days of the festival by the person at whose house the image is set up, if he be very rich. If he be not rich enough to bear so great an expense, he gives presents on the nine or three last days of worship; and if he be still poorer, on the last day. These presents consist of gold and silver female ornaments, silk and cloth garments, brass and other metal dishes, basons, &c. Some persons expend the greatest sums on the dances and other exhibitions, and others in feasting and giving presents to bramhŭns.
Some classes of Hindoos, especially those who are the disciples of Vishnoo, do not offer bloody sacrifices to Doorga, though they celebrate this festival with much shew. These persons, instead of slaying animals, cut pumkins in two, or some other substitute, and offer them to the goddess.
In the month Choitrů a number of Hindoos hold a festival to this goddess, after the example of king Soorůtů.
Many Hindoos are initiated into the rites by which this VOL, I.
goddess becomes their guardian deity; and as she is considered as the image of the divine energy, her disciples are called Shaktūs; a word signifying energy.
Images of Doorga, made of gold, silver, brass, &c. are preserved by many, and worshipped daily.
In the year 1808, a bramhŭn of Calcutta, who had celebrated the worship of Doorga, pretended that he had seen the goddess in a dream; who had declared that she would not descend into the river till he had sacrificed his eldest son to her : and that when the people went to convey the image to the river, it was found so heavy that it could not be lifted. Vast crowds of people flocked to see this new miracle, many of whom made offerings to this terror-inspire ing goddess; and others assisted the poor man, by their contributions, to pacify the goddess in some way consistent with the preservation of his son.
One of the Tuntrús contains an account of an incarnation of Doorga in the form of a jackal, in order to carry the child Krishnŭ over the river Yumoono, when he was flying from king Kủngsů. Some of the heterodox Hindoos, called vamacharēēs, feed the jackal daily, by placing the offerings in a corner of the house, or near their dwellings, and then calling the goddess (in the form of some one of these animals) to come and partake of them. As this is done at the hour when the jackals come out of their lurking places to seek for food, one of these animals sometimes comes and eats the offerings in the presence of the worshipper; and this is not wonderful, when he finds food in this place every day. Images of the jackal are made in some parts of Bengal, and worshipped, sometimes alone, and at others with the images of Doorga and Shmushanŭ-Kalēē. Some Hindoos bow to
the jackal; if it pass by a person on his left, it is a fortunate omen.
The cow is regarded by the Hindoos as a form of Doorga, and called Bhŭgúvětēē.
This goddess has a thousand names, among which are Katyayúnēē, or, the daughter of the sage Katyú.-Gourēē, the yellow coloured.-Kalēē, the black.--Hoimŭvŭtēs, the daughter of Himalŭyú.-Eeshwūrēē, the goddess.-Shiva, the giver of good.-Bhủvanēē, the wife of Shivů.--Súrvŭmăngúla, she who blesses all.-púrna, she who amidst religious austerities abstained from eating even leaves.Parvŭtēē, the daughter of the mountain.-Doorga, she who destroyed the giant Doorgủ; the inaccessible.--Chủndika, the terrible.-Umbika, the mother of the universe.
SECT. II.-The ten Forms of Doorga.
This goddess is said to have assumed ten different forms in order to destroy two giants, Shoombhủ and Nishoombhủ.
The following account of these wars is translated from the Markúndéyè pooranŭ:-At the close of the tréta yoogů, these two giants performed religious austerities for 10,000 years; the merit of which actions brought Shivŭ from heaven, who discovered that by these works of extraordinary devotion they sought to obtain the blessing of immortality. Shivŭ reasoned long with them, and endeavoured
• It is a maxim of the Hindoo religion, that by performing religious austerittes the gods become subject to the wishes of men.
to persuade them, though in vain, to ask for any other blessing short of immortality. Being denied, they entered upon more severe austerities, which they continued for another thousand years; when Shivă again appeared, but refused to grant what they asked for. They now suspended themselves with their heads downwards over a slow fire, till the blood streamed from their heads; and continued thus for 800 years, till the gods began to tremble, lest, by performing such rigid acts of holiness, they should be supplanted on their thrones. The king of the gods assembled a council, and imparted to them his fears : the gods admitted that there was great ground for fear, but asked what remedy there was. Agreeably to the advice of Indrė, Kủndurpė (Cupid), with Rŭmbha and Tilottuma, the most beautiful of the celestial courtezans, were sent to fill the minds of these giants with sensual desires; and Kủndúrpů, letting fly his arrow, wounded them both : upon which, awaking from their absorption, and seeing two beautiful women, they were taken in the snare, and abandoned their devotions. With these women they lived 5000 years, after which they began to think of the folly of thus renouncing their hopes of immortality for the sake of sensual gratifications. They suspected that this must have been a contrivance of Indrė's; and driving the courtezans back to heaven, renewed their devotions, cutting the flesh off their bones, and making burnt-offerings of it to Shivă; which they continued for another thousand years, till they became entire skeletons, when Shivŭ again appeared, and bestowed upon them this blessing--that in riches and strength they should excel the gods.
Being thus exalted above the gods, they soon began to make war with them. After various success on both sides, the giants were every where victorious; till Indrī