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the mountain in the form of a worm called văjrů-kēētă c. He continued thus to afflict the mountain-formed Vishnoo for twelve years, when Vishnoo assumed his proper shape, and commanded that the stones of this mountain should be worshipped, and should become proper representatives of himself; adding, that each should have twenty-one marks in it, similar to those on his body, and that its name should be shalgramů.
The worship of any of the gods may be performed before the shalgramů, and it is often adopted as the representative of some god. It claims no national festival, but is placed near the image worshipped, and first receives the devotions of the Hindoos. The shalgramŭ is also worshipped daily by the bramhŭns, after morning ablutions : they first bathe or wash the stone, reading the formulas; and then offer flowers, white lead, incense, light, sweetmeats, and water, repeating incantations : the offerings, after remaining before it a short time, are eaten by the family. In the evening, incense, light, and sweetmeats are offered, preceding which a bell is rung, and a shell blown; and the whole is closed by the priest's prostrating himself before the stone.
During the month Voishakhở, bramhŭns suspend a pan of water every day over the shalgramŭ, and, through a small hole at the bottom, let the water fall on it, to preserve it cool during this month, which is one of the hottest in the year. This water is caught in another pan placed beneath, and drank in the evening as holy water. When the country is in great want of rain, a bramhŭn in some instances places the shalgramŭ in the burning sun, and sits down by it, repeating incantations. Burning the god in the sun is said to be a sure way of obtaining rain.
Literally, the thunder-bolt worm.
Some persons, when sick, employ a bramhŭn to present single leaves of the toolúsee plant, sprinkled with red powder, to the shalgramů, repeating incantations. A hundred thousand leaves are sometimes presented. It is said, that the sick man gradually recovers as every additional leaf is offered. When a Hindoo is at the point of death, a bramhŭn shews him the marks of the shalgramů, the sight of which is said to secure the soul a safe passage to Vishnoo's heaven.
In a work called Shalgramă-nirnŭyŭ an account is given of the proper names of the different shalgramús; the benefits arising from their worship; the kinds of shalgramús proper to be kept by persons in a secular state, and also by the religious.
A separate room, or house, or a particular spot in the room where the family dwell, is assigned to this god. Some persons keep one, others ten, others a hundred, and some even as many as a thousand of these stones.
The shalgramŭ is rendered impure by the touch of a shoodrůd, and in such cases must be purified by rubbing it over with cow-dung, cow's urine, milk, ghēē, and curds. If a small part of the shalgramů be broken off, the owner commits it to the river. The bramhŭns sell these stones, but trafficking in images is dishonourable.
[The shalgramů is the only stone deriving its deity from itself: all other stones worshipped are made sacred by incantations. For an account of them, see a succeeding article relative to the Hindoo images.]
• So are all other images that have been consecrated.
À LOG OF WOOD WORSHIPPED.
This is a rough piece of wood, (termed dhénkee,) generally the trunk of a tree, balanced on a pivot, with a head something like a mallet; it is used to separate the rice from the husk, to pound brick-dust for buildings, &c. A person stands at the farthest end, and with his feet presses it down, which raises up the head ; after which he lets it fall on the rice, or brick-ends. One of these pedals is set up at almost every house in country places.
The origin of this worship is thus given :-A religious guide, being called upon to give the initiating incantation to one of his disciples, commanded him to repeat the word dhénkee, dhénkee. Narŭdŭ, the god of the dhénkee, pleased with the disciple, visited him, riding on a pedal, and gave him as a blessing another incantation, by which he immediately became perfect, and ascended to heaven.
The pedal is worshipped at the time of marriage, of investiture with the poita, of giving the first rice to a child, and at any other particular time of rejoicing. The women are the worshippers. It is also worshipped in the month Voishakhả by all casts of females, not excepting the wives of the most learned bramhŭns; who consecrate it by put
ting red, white, or yellow paint, and also some rice, dõõrva grass, and oil on its head.
About twenty years ago, the raja of Nŭlu-danga, Múhéndrŭ-dévů-rayů, spent three hundred thousand roopees in a grand festival in honour of this log of wood. At the close of the festival, the raja took a firebrand, and set all the gilded scenery on fire, and thus finished this scene of expensive folly and wickedness.
END OF VOL. I.
W. H. PEARCE, Printer, High-street, Birmingham.