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throw them into the river. This festival is called Chapůrashủshtēes.
The Ashwinŭ festival, distinguished by the name Doorgashủshtēē, is in almost every particular the same as the preceding.
At the Maghủ festival, called Shēētŭla-shủshtēē, the women, on the night preceding, boil a large quantity of rice and pulse for offerings; mixing with the latter, in boiling, a kind of kidney beans and varttakoost. The next morning they bathe very early, and on their return go through the ceremonies of worship in the house, before the two stones with which they grind their spices; and upon which they throw a yellow cloth, smeared with red lead. The worship is finished before ten o'clock, and at noon they eat what the goddess has left, i. e. every thing they gave her.
The two festivals in Choitrů are held on the 6th, and on the last day but one of the month: on the 6th, in the morning, either before a branch of the vătă, the shalgramů, or some proper representative of an image; and at the close of the month, in the evening, before an image of Shivů. On the 6th the worshippers eat the bud of the Euphorbia inclosed in a plantain ; and at the latter festival they fast during the day, and after worship eat some fruit, and some barley flour mixed with curds or water. Rich persons eat sweetmeats. These festivals are called Úshokŭ-shủshtēë and Nēēlú-shủshtēē.
• In allusion to the making of these images. The fruit of solanum melongena.
Another festival is held in honour of this goddess in some parts of Bengal, in the month ðgrúhayúnů, called Húree-shủshtēē. The worship is celebrated before a clay pot, filled with water, having six spouts.
In addition to all these times of worship, females who have lost all their children by death, worship this goddess every month : beside which, after a child is six days old, every father, to preserve the child, performs the worship of the goddess, while the officiating bramhŭn reads the incantations; and on the 21st day of the child's age, the mother presents offerings to the goddess with her own hands, while the officiating bramhŭn reads the prayers. The first of these ceremonies takes place in the evening, before a branch of the vŭtŭ tree, fastened in the house floor; the two stones with which spices are ground being placed against the wall in the inside of the house, covered with a piece of cloth. The husband, at the close, asks the blessing of the goddess on the child, promising to present to her a number of offerings when the child shall be twentyone days old. Before the door the family place the skull of a cow, rubbing some red lead on its forehead; and in three lumps of cow-dung, put on the forehead, they stick three cowries; upon which also they spread a yellow cloth. The head remains a month at the door of the house, as a kind of charm for the good of the children.
On the 21st day of the child's age, the mother invites ten or fifteen female neighbours, who, with the officiating bramhŭn, accompany her to a stone placed at the foot of the vŭtủ tree, which is supposed to be the representative of the goddess; around which they put a large necklace or garland of flowers, and go through the ceremonies of worship in the usual manner: at the close the mother promises, on condition that the goddess bless her child, that she will worship her every year. The mother distributes the sweetmeats, &c. that have been offered to the idol among the females present. This festival is called ékooshiya".
Shủshtēz has no temples in Bengal; her common representative, a rough stone, smeared with red paint, about as large as a man's head, is commonly placed at the root of the sacred vắtú; to which passengers, especially women, pay a degree of reverence. In fulfilling particular vows to Shủshtēē, some worshippers surround the vŭtủ tree with garlands of flowers, and great numbers of artificial lamps made of clay: others fulfil their vows by building an earthen or brick seat around one of these trees. A female of property, as a thank-offering after child-birth, presents by the hands of a bramhŭn a child made of curds, which the bramhŭn never fails to devour.
Bloody sacrifices of bullocks, goats, sheep, and sometimes of tame hogs, are offered to Shủshtēs. For receiving these latter offerings some persons call the goddess a cannibal
At the close of the different festivals held in honour of Shủshtēē, it is common for women to entertain the company with marvellous stories relating to this goddess. The wives of some of the lower casts beg for a share of the offerings at the doors of the bramhŭns.
Shůshtēē rides on a cat: hence the Hindoos, especially mothers, avoid hurting this animal, lest the goddess should revenge herself on their children.
# From ékooshủ, twenty-one.
INFERIOR CELESTIAL BEINGS, OBJECTS OF
THESE beings are either the enemies of the gods, as the ŭsoorus and rakshúsús; or their companions; or those who are employed as dancers, singers, or musicians in the heavens of the gods. They are worshipped at the great festivals, but have no separate images.
SECT. I.-The Usoorŭs, or Giants.
: THBSE enemies of the gods are the offspring of Kushyupă, the progenitor of gods, giants, men, serpents, and birds, by his different wives. They bear a resemblance to the titans or giants of the Grecian Mythology; and stories of their wars with the gods (some of which will be found in this work) abound in the pooranủs. Indrė, Vishnoo, Kartiků, and Doorga, are distinguished among the Hindoo deities for their conflicts with these beingsa. King Vũlee, a giant, is worshipped by the Hindoos on their birth-days, with the same forms as are used in the worship of the gods.
Jupiter was represented as aiming the thunder in his right hand against a giant under his feet: Doorga is aiming the spear in her right hand against an ůsoort under her feet.
Story of the churning of the sea by the gods and ůsoorůs.The most rancorous hatred has always existed betwixt the ůsoorŭs and the gods, although half-brothers; the former having been excluded by the gods from succeeding to the throne of heaven : and dreadful conflicts were carried on betwixt them with various success, till both parties sought to become immortal. The giants performed the most severe religious austerities, addressing their prayers alternately to Vishnoo, Shivů, and Brúmha; but were always unsuccessful. The gods, however, at last obtained this blessing at the churning of the sea of milk; which story is related at length in the Muhabharŭtă and other works : The gods first took mount Mundúrů, placed it in the sea, and wrapping round it the serpent Vasookēē, began to whirl it round as the milk-men do the staff in making butter. The gods took hold of the head of the snake, and the giants of the tail; but being almost consumed by the poison from the mouth of the serpent, the gods privately entreated Vishnoo to prevail upon the giants to lay hold of the head; upon which he thus addressed them: How is it,' said Vishnoo,
that you, giants as you are, have taken hold of Vasookēe's tail?' The gods and the giants then changed places; and the elephant Oiravŭtŭ first arose from the churned sea to reward their labours ; afterward the gem Koustoobhŭ—the horse Oochoishrúva—the tree Parijatu-many jewels—the goddess Lukshmēē—and then poison. Full of alarm at this sight, the gods applied to Muha-dévŭ (Shivă); who, to save the world from destruction, drank up the poison, and received no other injury than a blue mark on his throatb. Next came up the water of immortality; when the 330,000,000 gods, and the usoorŭs without number, took their stand on each side, each claiming the mighty
• Hence this god is called Neelů. kantů, the blue-throated.