Obrazy na stronie
[ocr errors]



Deified Men and Women.

ALL the bramhuns, but especially the religious guides, (gooroo,) are objects of worship among the Hindoos, and have divine honours paid to them. The spiritual guide, in the estimation of the disciple, is literally a god. Whenever he approaches, the disciple prostrates himself in the dust before him, and never sits in his presence without leave. He drinks the water with which he has washed the feet of his goorooo, and relies entirely upon his blessing for final happiness. I have heard some Hindoos speak with comparative contempt of all other ways of salvation. When the claims of the bramhŭns to deity have been disputed by any one, I have seen the poor besotted shõõdrŭ prostrate himself at the feet of the nearest bramhŭn, and, raising his head, and closing his hands, say, “You are my god.' At the same time the character of the bramhŭn has perhaps been notorious for every vice,

The shastrús declare that the daughters of bramhŭns, till they are eight years old, are objects of worship, as forms of the goddess Bhúgủvūtēz; and some persons worship these girls daily. The worshipper, taking the daughter of

Doing reverence to the very feet of superiors prevailed among the Jews. Hence the woman wasted the feet of Christ, and wiped them with the hair of her head. Paul was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel.

some neighbouring bramhŭn, and placing her on a seat, performs the ceremonies of worship; in which he presents to her flowers, paint, water, garlands ļ, incense, and, if a rich man, offerings of cloth and ornaments. He closes the whole by prostrating himself before the girl. At the worship of some of the female deities also, the daughters of bramhŭns have divine honours paid to them.

The wives of bramhŭns are also worshipped occasionally as an act of great merit. A man of property sometimes invites ten, twenty, or one hundred of these females, and repeating before them forms of prayer, praise, &c. worships them, and at the close entertains them with the offerings. This is frequently done at Benares.

On the 14th of the decrease of the moon in Shravínů, at the time of the Savitrēé vrútú, the wives of bramhŭns very generally worship their husbands. The worshipper, having placed a seat for her husband, and presented him with new garments, entreats him to be seated, and puts round his neck a garland of flowers. She then anoints his body with fragrant ointments, and performs before him the various ceremonies which belong to the worship of the gods. In presenting the offerings she says, regarding her husband as a form of Vishnoo, 'Oh! husband, grant that I may long live in the marriage state, and never become a widow.' The husband then partakes of the offerings, and the wife having walked round him either three or seven times, the service ends. The origin of this ceremony is given in the Brůmhŭ-voivŭrttă pooranŭ, but the story is too long for insertion.

P Both the Greeks and Romans, it is well known, used to adorn their images with garlands at the time of worship,

Many of the túntrús, and particularly the Roodrůyamŭlă, the Yonēz-túntrŭ, and the Nēēlŭ-tủntrú, contain directions respecting a most extraordinary and shocking mode of worship, which is understood in a concealed manner amongst the Hindoos by the name of Chủkrŭ. These shastrès direct, that the person who wishes to perform this ceremony must first, in the night, choose a woman as the object of worship. If the person be a důkshinacharēē, he must take his own wife; and if a vamacharēē, the daughter of a dancer, a kúpalee, a washerman, a barber, a chủndalú, or of a Músulman, or a prostitute; and place her on a seat, or mat : and then bring broiled fish, flesh, fried peas, rice, spirituous liquors, sweetmeats, flowers, and other offerings ; which, as well as the female, must be purified by the repeating of incantations. To this succeeds the worship of the guardian deity; and after this, that of the female,—who sits naked.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

Here things too abominable to enter the ears of man, and impossible to be revealed to a Christian public, are contained in the directions of the shastră. · The learned bramhŭn who opened to me these abominations, made several efforts -paused and began again—and then paused again-before he could mention the shocking indecencies prescribed by his own shastrūs.

As the object of worship is a living person, she partakes of the offerings, even of the spirituous liquors; and of the flesh, though it should be that of the cow. The refuse is eaten by the persons present, however different their casts; nor must any one refuse to partake of the offerings. The spirituous liquors must be drank by measure; and the company while eating must put food into each other's mouths. The priest then-in the presence of all-behaves towards this female in a manner which decency forbids to be mentioned; after which the persons present repeat many times the name of some god, performing actions unutterably abominable : and here this most diabolical business closes. The benefits promised to the worshippers are riches, absorption in Brúmhŭ, &c.

At present the persons committing these abominations (vamacharēēs) are becoming more and more numerous; and in proportion as they increase, the ceremonies are more and more indecent. They are performed in secret ; but that these practices are becoming very frequent among the bramhŭns and others, is a fact known to all. Those who abide by the rules of the shastrós are comparatively few : the generality confine themselves chiefly to those parts that belong to gluttony, drunkenness, and whoredom, without acquainting themselves with all the minute rules and incantations of the shastrůs.



SECT. 1.The Cow.

BROMHA created the bramhŭns and the cow at the same time : the bramhŭns to read the formulas, and the cow to afford milk, (clarified butter,) for the burnt-offerings. The gods by partaking of the burnt-offerings are said to enjoy exquisite pleasure, and men by eating clarified butter destroy their sins. The cow is called the mother of the gods, and is declared by Brúmha to be a proper object of worship

The shastrů appoints that the images of the gods shall be anointed with milk, curds, clarified butter, cow-dung, and cows' urine, whereby they become free from impurity; and all unclean places are purified with cow-dung. Indeed many bramhŭns do not go out of the house in a morning, till the door-way has been rubbed with cow-dung.

The cow was created on the first of Voishakhủ, and on this day, or on the second of the moon in Jyoisht'hũ, she is worshipped annually. No image is used, but the worship is performed in the cow-house before a jar of water. The ceremonies are the same as those before the images of the gods: the prayers are necessarily peculiar to the object worshipped. The officiating bramhŭn, at the close of the VOL, I,


« PoprzedniaDalej »