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Vishnoo is said to have obtained this goddess at the churning of the sea; at which time all the gods were so charmed with her beauty that they desired to possess her, and Shivă was entirely overcome by his passion. The reader will remember something similar to this in the account of Venus, who is also said to have sprang from the froth of the sea; and whom, on being presented to the gods, they all desired to marry.
The worship of Lủkshmēē is celebrated in five different months, viz. in Bhadrŭ, on the first Thursday of the increase of the moon, in the morning; in Ashwinŭ, at the full moon, in the evening; in Kartikŭ, on the last day of the decrease of the moon, in the night; on the last day in Poushủ, in the morning; and in Choitrů, on the first Thursday of the increase of the moon, either in the day or night. The ceremonies are performed before a basket used as a corn-measure, painted red: the worshippers fill this measure with rice in the husk, and put round it a garland of flowers; then cover it with a white cloth; and, encircling it with a number of small shells, place before it a box containing red paint, a comb, &c. The officiating bramhŭn performs the usual ceremonies, varying but little from those at the worship of Vishnoo, in the name of the master or mistress of the house. No bloody sacrifices are offered. Bramhŭns are entertained rather liberally at this festival; but on the day of worship no alms must be given to the poor, (except cooked food,) nor any money lost; lest this goddess, who is supposed to preside over wealth, and to have taken up her abode at the worshipper's house, should be angry at her riches being wasted.
This worship is celebrated in almost every Hindoo family
• She is also called the daughter of Bhrigoo.
five times a year; the frequency of which is not to be wondered at, when it is considered that Lukshmēē is the goddess of prosperity. If a man be growing rich, the Hindoos say, Lŭkshmēę iş gone to abide at his house;' if he be sinking into poverty, they say, “Lŭkshmēē has forsaken him. If they wish to abuse another, they call him Lukshmēê-charab,
The morning after the festival, the women take up the corn-measure, and preserve it for some future time of worship: the rice is used in worship during the whole year. At the close of the festival, if a female of the family remember any stories respecting Lăkshmēē, she relates them; and the rest of the family, joined by two or three neighbouring females, sit around and hear. In some places a number of persons subscribe towards the expense of making an image of Lúkshmēē, and worship it on any of the days before-mentioned.
Names. Lūkshmēē, or, the goddess of fortunate signs; Púdmalŭya, she who dwells on the water-lily ;-Pudma, she who who holds in her hand the water-lily;-Shrēē, she in whom all take refuge ;-Hŭree-priya, the wife of Húree.
SECT. XXII.- Kojagŭrů-Lŭkshmēēc.
This form of Lūkshmēē is worshipped at the full moon in Ashwinŭ, in the evening, before a corn-measure, sur
In the provincial dialect it is Lắkhēē-chara, that is, luckless; thus forming an extraordinary coincidence of sound and meaning in languages 80 extremely different.
• The shastrůs have commanded that each Hindoo shall remain awake during the night of the full moon in Ashwinů, when a festival is held in honour of this goddess; and from this circumstance this name is derived.
rounded by four plantain trees; though some persons worship this goddess before an image of Lŭkshmēē. Bloody sacrifices are offered. The worshippers invariably drink the water of the cocoa-nut at this festival; and numbers keep awake the whole night, listening to the filthy songs, and the horrid din of Hindoo music.
This is the goddess of learning, the daughter of Brŭmha, and the wife of Vishnoo. She is represented as a white woman, standing on the water-lily, and playing on a lute.
On the 5th day of the increase of the moon, in Maghủ, the worship of this goddess is performed before her image, or a pen, inkstand, and book; the latter articles are supposed to form a proper substitute for the goddess, who is called Vagvadinēē, the eloquent. The image is placed on a table, either at the west or south side of the house. After the officiating bramhŭn has read the formulas and presented the offerings, each worshipper whose name has been read in the service takes flowers in his hands, and, repeating a prayer, presents them to the goddess; after which follow gifts to the bramhŭns, and a feast.
Every Hindoo who is able to read and write endeavours to celebrate the worship of this goddess : the raja of Bŭrdwan is said to expend 15,000 roopees annually at this festival. In every Hindoo college, the students keep the festival with great joy: many of them dance naked, and are guilty of every indecency,
The day after the festival, the image is carried in procession through the town, and then thrown into the river. In passing through the streets of Serampore, at the time of this festival in the year 1806, I was exceedingly shocked at observing among the crowd, who were dancing, playing on music, bearing flags, &c. two or three young men quite naked, the mob triumphing in this shocking insult on public decency. To induce young men to resort to their houses, many prostitutes keep this feast, and connect with it all that low merriment which corrupts the mind and draws the attention of the crowd d.
On this day the Hindoos neither read nor write, though they will do any other secular business. They eat only once during the day, and those who are accustomed to eat fish abstain from it on this day.
The Hindoos believe, that from this goddess they derive their learning and powers of eloquence', as well as their ability to read and write. Some of those who can neither read nor write, insist upon it, that they ought to worship her, as they derive their powers of speech from
In the year 1808, I saw a group of performers reciting the Ramayünŭ in the street ; and on enquiry I found it was before the door of some prostitutes, who had subscribed to bear the expense. The reason assigned was, that it would be an act of merit, helping them in another world; and would also draw men into whoredom. Offerings are sometimes brought home, and shared by a prostitute with her paramour; like the harlot, in the Book of Proverbs, who is represented as saying to the young man she met in the street,' I have peace-offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. Prov. vii. 14.
• The only reason I can find for this is, it is the command of the shastrů.
r Of an eloquent man the Hindoos say, “Sărtiswŭtēë sits on his tongue.' herk. Others however complain, “Sărășwūtēē has bestowed nothing on us-why should we perform her worship?
The image of Súrůswūtēē is sometimes painted blue, and placed in temples; when she is called Nēēlú-Sŭruswūtēē.
Names. Bramhēē, or, the daughter of Brůmha ;-Bharůtēē, she who presides over words ;-Bhasha, she who bestows the power of speech ;--Súrăswětēē, she who through the curse of a bramhŭn was turned into a river.
Is painted as a yellow woman sitting on the water-lily, dressed in red, and giving suck to an infant. Before this image, or a pan of water, the worship of this goddess is performed, in any part of the year ; but in general on the 7th, 8th, and 9th of the increase of the moon, in the day time. Bloody sacrifices are not offered. On the 10th the image is thrown into the water.
This goddess is also worshipped to obtain preservation from the evil effects of the small-pox. In the months Choitrů and Voishakhủ the Hindoos inoculate those of their children who are two years old; on which occasion the ino
8 Of this fact they give the example of Ravůnů, who, when Ramů was about to kill him, procured a reprieve by flattering his adversary; bat the gods, afraid lest Ravůnŭ should be spared, sent Súrúswŭtēē into bis throat, and caused him to say provoking things to Ramů.
Or, she who cools the body at the time of the small-pox.