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destroying his whole progeny"; and was at length himself accidentally killed by an arrow, while sitting under a tree.
It is very possible, if any real Hindoo history could be discovered, that many of these facts would be found recorded in the life of a Hindoo king of this name; which facts have been embellished by the Asiatic poets till they have elevated the hero into a god. The images of this lascivious and blood-stained hero are now worshipped by the Hindoos with an enthusiasm, which transforms them into the very image of Krishnŭ himself.
This god is represented as a black man, holding a flutè to his mouth with both hands : his mistress Radha stands on his left.
On the 8th of the moon's decrease in the month Bhadrů, an annual festival is held in the night, to celebrate the
b The posterity of Krishni, say several pooranús, were destroyed by the curse of a bramhủn; but as alt events are ascribed to Krishnů by his votaries, this of destroying his own family is referred to his agency. So infamous is the character of this god, even among those who hope for salvation through him, that Vilwă-mångủlů, a blind poet, wrote the following verse, which certainly contains the severest possible censure of this profligate deity:
"Oh! Krishnů ! thou who didst destroy thy own offspring; Thou who didst renounce (Sēēta) the spotless daughter of Zůnůků, in the
wilderness; Thou who didst cast down to hades Vủlee, who had given thee his all; Who would think on thee, if thou wert not the deliverer from death ?'
In exact agreement with this Sủngskritů verse, was the declaration made before several persons in company in the year 1812, by Ram-nathủ, the second Sủngskritủ pundit in the College of Fort-William; who, speak. ing of the universal profligacy of manners in Calcutta, declared, that every house contained a Krishnů.'
birth of this god. On this day all the worshippers faste, The regular Hindoos, and the disciples of the Gosaees', sometimes differ a day or two in celebrating this feast. After the ceremonies of worship are concluded, the worshippers assemble before the temple near a hole cut in the ground, into which have been thrown water, oil, curds, turmeric, and earth ; and seize first one person and then another, and throw them into this hole; and others jump into it. Music, dancing, singing obscene songs, &c. accompany these acts of rude merriment; at the close of which, dancing through the streets, the crowd go to some pool, or to the river, and wash themselves : and thus the festivity ends.
In the month Shravùnŭ another festival is held in honour of Krishnů, called Jhoolúnŭ-yatras. On the 11th night of the increase of the moon this festival begins; when a chair or throne, containing the image, being suspended from the ceiling of an adjoining room in the temple, the proprietor begins to swing the image, and other bramhŭn guests continue it at pleasure. At ten o'clock the god is taken to his usual place, when the different forms of worship are repeated, amidst the offering of flowers, incense, sweetmeats, fruits, and other acts of adoration. During the celebration of worship in the house, the crowd out of doors sing, dance,
In a Hindoo fast, the person abstains, for three days, from anointing himself with oil, from connubial intercourse, from fish, every thing fried, and eats only once a day. At the time of a Jewish fast, the person is said to have afflicted his soul :' but among the Hindoos fasting and merriment go together. The Jewish fast was connected with moral sentiment: the Hindoos fast as an act of mere ceremonial purity.
f The Gosaees are the religious leaders of a large portion of the worshippers of Krishnú. Gosaee is a term of respect equivalent to Sir.
The swinging festival.
and make a horrid discord with barbarous instruments of music, connecting with the whole every kind of indecency. At twelve o'clock the owner of the image entertains a great multitude of bramhŭns. After eating and drinking, they literally rise up to play:' youths, dressed so as to represent Krishnŭ and his mistress Radha, dance together; and the festivities are thus continued till the crowd retire at day-light. Some keep this feast for five nights, beginning on the eleventh ; and others for three nights, beginning on the thirteenth.
On the 15th of the increase of the moon in the month Kartiků, another festival is held during three nights, to celebrate the revels of this impure god with the milk-maids. It is called the Rasă. Each night, after the ceremonies in the temple are closed, the crowd carry the image out with much noise, music, singing, and dancing; and place it in a brick building in the street, which is open on all sides, and has one highly elevated sitting place. This building is annually gilt, ornamented, and grandly illuminated for this festival. Sixteen small images of Krishnŭ are necessary on this occasion; but a very small gold image, about the size of a breast-pin, is placed as the object of adoration, and afterwards given to the officiating bramhủn. At the close of the festival, the clay images are thrown into the river.
Round the building in the street booths are erected, filled with sweetmeats, playthings, and other articles, as at an English fair. Here fathers and mothers, leading their children by the hand, or carrying them on their hips", come
h This is the way in which all Hindoos carry their children : a child is rarely seen in a person's arms, as in Europe. The same custom appears to have existed among the Jews : ' Ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees.' Isaiah lxvi. 12.
for fairings. Thieves and gamblers are very busy at these times'; and upon the whole it is amazing how much a European is here reminded of an English race-ground. At these times I have seen the grey-headed idolater and the mad youth dancing together; the old man lifting up his withered arms in the dance, and giving a kind of horror to the scene, which idolatry itself, united to the vivacity of youth, would scarcely be able to inspirek. In England the bait to corrupting amusements is merely a horse-race : but in Bengal the Hindoo is at once called to what he considers: divine worship and to a licentious festival; no one imagining, but that worship and adultery may be performed in the same hour. About four or five in the morning the crowd carry the god back to the temple ; and then retire to cure their hoarseness and rest their wearied bodies.
On the fourth morning, having brought the god home, after the usual ceremonies, they sing songs in celebration of the actions of Krishnŭ; and continue them from ten till
· In the year 1810, on account of the depredations of preceding years, the magistrate of Serampore forbad the erection of booths and all games at this festival : in consequence of which an expense of near four hundred roopees, incurred in performing the ceremonies of worship, fell upon the owner of the image of Krishnů, who would otherwise have received as much from the proprietors of the booths and gaming shops.
k Illuminations, fireworks, and the gilding of their temples, give a very shewy effect to Hindoo ceremonies, which are often performed at the time of the full moon, and at midnight. A moon-Jight night in India is highly pleasant. At the time of the Rasů festival, I have seen a scene so gaily illuminated and adorned, that the whole seemed enchantment; every native, as he approached the god, threw himself on the ground with the most profound reverence, and muttered his praise with rapture as he mingled in the delighted crowd. Could I have forgotten that these people were perpetrating a dreadful crime, and that these nightly festivals were connected with the greatest impurities, I should have been highly gratified.
twelve or one o'clock in the day. Many come to hear, who present various offerings to the god; after which a grand feast is given to the bramhŭns. The expenses of this festival are defrayed either by rich natives, or from the revenues of the temples.
At the full moon in Phalgoonů, the Dolú', another swinging festival, is held.--Fifteen days before the full moon the holidays begin, from which time the Hindoos assemble in the night to sing and dance; and in the day they wander about the streets, throwing red powder m at the passengers, either with their hands or through a syringe. On the night before the full moon, the ceremonies of worship are performed; at the close of which, having besmeared themselves with red powder, they carry the god from his house to some distance, amidst the sounds of music, dancing, fireworks, singing, &c.' A bamboo, with a straw man tied it, having been erected in some plain, they place the god here, and again worship him. After three hours have been spent in various sports, especially with fireworks, they set fire to the bamboo and straw, carrying back the image to the temple. Very early in the morning they bathe the god, set him on a chair, and then worship him, rocking him in this chair, and throwing upon him red powder. At twelve o'clock at noon these ceremonies are repeated with greater splendour; when many
| All these festivals are intended to represent the obscene acts or play of Krishnů. This is the play of swinging common to young folks in Europe. I am told that on this occasion, in various places in Hin. doost'hanŭ, many families sit up all night, swinging by the light of the moon. They suspend a cord betwixt two trees, and while some are swinging, others are singing impure songs, and others dancing.
m This powder is made with the roots of wild ginger, coloured with sappan wool. Other ingredients are added to make superior kinds.