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boon. Vishnoo proposed to divide it with his own hands : but while the ŭsoorŭs went to prepare themselves by bathing in the sacred stream, the gods drank up the greatest part of the nectar; and, to give them time to drink the whole, Vishnoo assumed the form of a most captivating female; with which the giants were so charmed, that they totally forgot the nectar. One of them, however, having changed his shape, mixed with the gods, and, drinking of the water of life, became immortal; but Vishnoo, being informed of this circumstance by Sõõryŭ and Chủndrŭ, (the sun and moon,) cut off the head of the giant. The head and trunk, being thus immortalized, were made the ascending and descending nodes, under the names Rahoo and Kétoo.

SECT. II.-The Rakshúsús.

Many stories respecting the wars of the rakshủsús, or cannibals, with the gods, are contained in the pooranŭs and other shastrăs, and several will be found in different parts of this work. They are represented as assuming at pleasure the different shapes of horses, tygers, lions, buffaloes, &c.: some have a hundred heads, and others as many arms. In the Hindoo writings Malēē, Soomalēē, Ravủnŭ, Koombhủ-kúrnŭ, Vibhēēshủnŭ, Indru-jit, otikayů, and others, are distinguished as renowned rakshủsús. As soon as born, these giants are said to arrive at maturity. They devour their enemies. All the rakshúsús are bramhŭns, and are said to dwell in the S. W. corner of the earth.

• Some of the giants of the Grecian mythology, it will be remembered, had a hundred arms.

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Noiritú, a rakshúsů, is one of the ten guardian deities of the earth, and presides in the S. W. In this character he is worshipped at all the great festivals. He is represented in the form of meditation used by the bramhŭns as a black man, having in his right hand a scimitar.

Story of Koombhū-kúrnů.-Immediately after his birth, this cannibal stretched his arms, which were in proportion to his body, and gathered into his mouth every thing within his reach. At one time he seized five hundred courtezans belonging to Indrė; at another the wives of one hundred sages, and cows and bramhŭns without number. Brůmha at length threatened to destroy him, unless he contented him with less, as he would presently eat up the earth. He now became more moderate, and began to perform the most severe austerities in honour of Brămha; which he continued for ten thousand years. The gods trembled on their thrones, lest Koombhủ-kúrně, obtaining the blessing of Brumha, and especially the blessing of immortality, should swallow up every thing, gods and men. They appealed to Brúmha, and persuaded Sŭrŭswŭtēē, the goddess of learning, to enter into Koombhū-kórnă, and excite him to ask this blessing, that he should continue to sleep day and night; which request Brůmha granted, and sent the voracious rakshúsú to enjoy his everlasting sleep. The friends of Koombhū-kúrnu however persuaded Brůmha to change his destiny: who now ordered that he should sleep uninterruptedly six months, but on the last day of the sixth should awake; during half of which day he should fight with and conquer Brămha, Vishnoo, and Shivă, and during the other half be permitted to devour as much as he chose. At one meal he devoured six thousand cows, ten thousand sheep, ten thousand goats, five hundred buffaloes, five thousand deer, and drank four thousand hogsheads of spirits, with other things in proportion. After all, he was angry with his brother Ravěnŭ, for not giving him enough to satisfy nature, His house is declared to have been twenty or thirty thousand miles long, and his bed the whole length of the house, Lủnka itself, says the Ramayúnŭ, is eight hundred miles in circumference :-where then was the place for this bed?' I have heard this question put by a person to the bramhŭns, who, unable to find room for Koombŭ-kórnŭ's bed, were laughed at by the shõõdrůs, their disciples.

The Gundhŭrvŭs and Kinnŭrús are celestial choiristers, male and female. The latter have horses' headsd!!!

The Vidya-dhèrès are male and female dancers. The Upsűrűs are also female dancers, greatly celebrated for their beauty: they have been frequently sent down to earth to captivate the minds of religious devotees, and draw them from those works of merit which were likely to procure them the thrones of the gods. Eight of the upsúrós are mentioned as beyond all others beautiful : Oorvvŭshēē, Ménŭka, Rúmbha, Punchủ-chõõra, Tilottăma, Ghritachée, Boodbooda, and Mishrŭ-késhēē. The five first of these are the mistresses of the gods, and keep houses of ill-fame in the heaven of Indrŭ. When any one of the gods visits the king of heaven, he generally spends some time with one or more of these courtezans.

Story respecting the son of Indrė and an Upsůra.-On a certain occasion, many of the gods were invited to an entertainment at the palace of Indrŭ. In the midst of the

a Some idea may be formed of the taste of the early Hindoo poets, who here represent heavenly music as coming from beings with the mouths of horses !

dance, Gúndhůrvů-senů, the son of Indrů, was fascinated with the charms of one of the upsúras; and behaved so indelicately, that his father commanded him to descend to the earth in the form of an ass. All the gods joined the son in endeavouring to appease the angry father; who ultimately directed that Gŭndhŭrvú-sénŭ should be an ass in the day, and a man in the night : he promised his son too, that when Dhara, the king, should burn him, he should recover his place in heaven. With this modification of the curse, Gundhŭrvŭ-sénŭ sunk to the earth, and alighted in the form of an ass near a pond at Dhara-nŭgúrů. In the day the fallen son of Indrė remained in this form near the pond; and in the night, in that of a man, he wandered from place to place to appease his hunger. One day a bramhŭn came to this pond to bathe; when Gắndhŭrvŭsénŭ told him that he was the son of Indrė, and requested him to speak to king Dhară, to give him his daughter in marriage. The bramhŭn consented; but on speaking to the king, the latter refused to believe that he was Indrė's son, unless he himself had some conversation with him. The next day the king went, with his counsellors and courtiers, and held a conversation with the ass; who related his history, and the cause of his degradation : but the king still refused assent, unless he performed some miracle. To this the ass consented; and in one night raised a fort of iron forty miles square, and six high. The next day the king, seeing the fort finished, was obliged to consent, and to appoint the day of marriage. He invited bramhŭns, kings, and other guests without number, to the wedding; and, on the day appointed, with dancing, songs, and a most splendid shew, (the bride being adorned with jewels and the richest attire,) they marched to the iron fort to give the beautiful daughter of king Dharŭ in marriage to the ass. In that country weddings are celebrated in the day. When all was ready, they sent a bramhŭn to call Gũndhŭrvů-sénŭ from the pond; who, elated in the highest degree, having bathed, accompanied the bramhŭn to the assembly. Hearing music and songs, Gŭndhŭrvŭ-sénŭ could not refrain from giving them an ass's tune: but the guests, hearing the braying of the ass, were filled with sorrow : some were afraid to speak their minds to the king ; but they could not help whispering and laughing one amongst another, covering their mouths with their garments : others muttered to the king, 'O king, is this the son of Indrů? O great monarch ! you

have found an excellent bridegroom ; you are peculiarly happy in having to give your daughter in marriage to the son of Indrú; don't delay the wedding; in doing good delay is improper; we never saw so glorious a' wedding; we have heard of a camel being married to an ass, when the ass, looking upon the camel, said, “Bless me! what a fine form !' and the camel, hearing the voice of the ass, said • Bless me! what a sweet voice !'~The bramhŭns continued : In that wedding, however, the bride and bridegroom were equal; but in this marriage, that such a bride should have such a bridegroom is truly wonderful!' Other bramhŭns said, “O king, at other weddings, as a sign of joy, the sacred shell is blown; but thou hast no need of that,' (alluding to the braying of the ass.) The females cried out, 'O mother! what is this ! at the time of marriage to have an ass ! What a miserable thing! What! will he give such an angelic female in marriage to an ass ?'-The king, ashamed, held down his head. At length Gundhŭrvŭ-sénŭ began to converse with the king in Súngskritủ, and to urge him to the fulfilment of his promise; reminding him, that there was no act more meritorious than speaking truth, (putting the king in mind of his promise;) that the body was merely a garment, and that wise men never estimate the worth of a person by the clothes be wears : moreover, he was in this

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