Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

SECT. V.-Khữnjūnů, or the Wag-tail,

Is considered as a form of Vishnoo, on account of the mark on its throat, supposed to resemble the shalgramů. The Hindoos honour it in the same manner as they do the eagle of Coromandel.

SECT. VI.-Other Birds worshipped.

The peacock, the goose, and the owl, are worshipped at the festivals of Kartiků, Brúmha, and Lukshmēē.

· If, however, the owl, the vulture, or any other unclean birds, perch upon the house of a Hindoo, it is an unlucky omen, and the effect must be removed by the performance of the following expiatory ceremony: • If a vulture, a heron, a dove, an owl, a hawk, a gull, a kite, a Bhasha, or a Pundura, should settle upon a house, the wife, or a child, or some other person belonging to the master of the house, will die, or some other calamity will befal him within a year afterwards. To prevent this, the house, or its value in money, must be given to bramhŭns ; or a peace-offer. ing of an extraordinary nature must be offered: viz. five productions of the cow, the five gems, the five nectareous juices, the five twigs of trees, and the five astringents, are to be put into a pot of water; the guardian deities of the quarters of the universe must then be worshipped, and an hundred and eight oblations of clarified butter must be made with a sacri. ficial piece of the wood of the Khadira tree, while the prayer of Mrityoonjúyŭ is repeated. The oblation, called the múha-vyadhee homů, is to be performed at the commencement, or at the end of this ceremony. Oblations of clarified butter, at each of which the gayitree is repeated, are then to be made to Vishnoo, the nine planets, Udbhootě, and the household gods; which being done, the bramhúns must be entertained with clarified butter and rice milk. The sacrificial fees must then be paid, and water sprinkled with appropriate incantations; when an assurance that all has been dnly performed being given, a prostration is made to the bramhŭns, and the benediction received from them.'

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

TREES are worshipped by the Hindoos as the forms of particular gods: the ŭshwŭtŭ and vŭtŭ are representatives of Vishnoo, and the vilwŭ that of Shivŭ. The devout Hindoos worship them, water their roots, plant them near their houses, &c. The Hindoo females, who are never seen in the streets, plant a sacred tree within the compound, that they may not lose the merit of watering it in the sultry months. The female shõõdrės, to honour the wives of bramhŭns, carry water to these trees, and on a fortunate day make offerings to them.

SECT. 1.- The Toolưsee &

The Hindoos have no public festival in honour of this plant; but they occasionally prostrate themselves before it, repeating a form of prayer or praise: they have great faith also in the power of its leaves to cure diseases, and use it with incantations to expel the poison of serpents. They plant it also before their houses, and in the morning cleanse the place around it with water and cow-dung; and in the evening place a lamp near it. Throughout the month Voishakhủ they suspend a large pot over it filled with water, and let the water drop upon it through a small hole.

[ocr errors]

Basil, Ocimum gratissimum, and 0. sanctum. The myrtle was sacred to Venus.

Whenever any of these plants die, it is considered a sacred duty to commit them to the river; and when a person is brought to the river side to die, his relations plant a branch of the toolúsee near the dying man's head. A pillar, hollow at the top, is erected by many Hindoos, in which they deposit earth, and set the plant. They walk round these pillars and bow to the plant; which actions are declared by the shastrŭs to be

very

meritorious.

The origin of the worship of the Toolŭsee is thus related in the Vishnoo pooranŭ, and in the Toolúsee-Mahatmŭ :Toolúsee, a female, was engaged for a long time in religious austerities; and at length asked this blessing of Vishnoo, that she might become his wife. Lủkshmēē, Vishnoo's wife, hearing this, cursed the woman, and changed her into a Toolúsee plant b; but Vishnoo promised, that he would assume the form of the shalgramů, and always continue with her. The Hindoos, therefore, continually keep one leaf of the toolúsee under and another upon the shalgramů.

Daphne

- Apollo changed the youth Cyparissus into a cypress tree. was changed into a laurel.

SECT. II.-Other sacred Trees.

The ŭshwŭttă c, větů“, vŭkoolů , hŭritŭkēë', amălăkēēs, vilwŭ ", and nimbů i trees receive divine honours from the Hindoos, and are set apart with the same ceremonies as are common at the setting up of an image of the gods. These ceremonies take place either at the time of planting the tree, or after the person has watered and nourished it for some time. An individual who consecrates an úshwŭttă or a vŭtủ, considering these trees as continuing to flourish many years, says, 'Oh ! Vishnoo! grant that, for planting this tree, I may continue as many years in heaven as this tree shall remain growing in the earth! The person expects too, that as he has set apart this tree to afford shade to his fellow creatures, so after death he will not be scorched by excessive heat in his journey to Yŭmŭ, the regent of death.

1

c Ficus religiosa. This and other trees are never injured, nor cut down, nor burnt by devout Hindoos. I was once informed by a bramhŭn, that his grand father planted one of these trees near his house, which has now spread its branches so widelv, that, as my informant affirmed, 2000 persons may stand under it; and so much is this tree reverenced by his family, that they do not suffer its withered branches to be burnt.

d Ficus Indiea, vulgarly called the banyan tree. e Mimusops elengi.

f Terminalia citrina. & Phillanthus emblica. h Ægle marmelos. i Melia azodaracta.

1

CHAP. XIII.

THE WORSHIP OF RIVERS.

RIVERS are to be placed among the objects of Hindoo worshipk: they are of both genders, Núdŭ and Nudēē. The worship of these rivers is performed at auspicious seasons, as laid down in the shastră, and at some of the great festivals. Certain places also of these rivers are peculiarly sacred, and draw to them great numbers of devotees; as, the source of the Ganges; the union of the Ganges, the Yumoona, and the Súrŭswūtēē at Prủyagŭ'; the branching of this united river into three streams at Trivénēé; the place where the Ganges disembogues itself into the sea, &c. . Their waters are used for food, bathing, medicine, religious ceremonies, &c. and formerly when a Hindoo king was crowned, they were poured upon his head as a part of his consecration

SECT. I.-Gũnga.

This goddess is represented as a white woman, wearing a crown, sitting on the sea animal Múkórŭ, and having in

k The notion of certain rivers being sacred, seems to have prevailed amongst other heathen nations. Hence Naaman, the Syrian, said, 'Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? May I not wash in them and be clean?

| It is ascertained, that there are six places of this name, five of which are situated on the river Ulúkanúnda. See Asiatic Researches, vol. xi.

« PoprzedniaDalej »