Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

fell upon Prúlhadŭ, but he received no injury. The father next gave him poison, but without effect. At length, wearied of trying to kill him, he said, 'Where does your preserver Vishnoo dwell?' He is every where,' says Prúlhadů.

Is he then in this pillar?" "Yes,' said the son. "Then,' said Hirŭnyú-kŭshipoo, ' I will kill him,' and gave the pillar a blow with his stick-when Vishnoo, in the form of halflion, half-man, burst from the pillar; laid hold of Hirúnyúkúshipoo by the thighs with his teeth, and tore him up the middle. This was in the evening, so that it was neither in the day nor in the night; it was done under the droppings of the thatch, about which the Hindoos have a proverb, that this place is out of the earth; he was not killed by a man, but by a being half-man, half-lion: so that the promise of Brúmha to him was not broken. Vishnoo next destroyed Hirŭnyakshủ. After the death of his father, Prúlhadú began to worship Vishnoo under the form which he had assumed, and with tears enquired into the future fate of his father. Vishnoo assured him, that as he had died by his hands, he would surely ascend to heaven. Vishnoo was so pleased with the praises which Prúlhadů bestowed on him, that he began to dance, hanging the entrails of Hirŭnyú-kŭshipoo round his neck. By Vishnoo's dancing the earth began to move out of its place, so that Brúmha and all the gods were frightened, but durst not go near him. However, at the entreaties of Prúlhadă, Vishnoo gave over dancing; the earth became fixed, and Vishnoo gave Prúlhadŭ this promise, that by his hands none of his race should die.

The fifth is the Vamŭnŭ incarnation. Prulhadů's grandson Bŭlee followed the steps of his great-grandfather, and committed every kind of violence. In contempt of the gods, he made offerings in his own name. He performed the ushwămédhŭ sacrifice one hundred times, by which he

was entitled to become the king of the gods; but as the time of the then reigning Indrė was not expired, the latter applied for relief to Vishnoo, who promised to destroy this giant: to accomplish which he caused himself to be born of Uditee, the wife of Kúshyŭpů, the moonee. Being exceedingly small in his person, he obtained the name of Vamŭnů, i. e. the dwarf. At a certain period king Bŭlee was making a great sacrifice, and Vamŭnŭ's parents, being very poor, sent him to ask a gift of the king. It is eustomary, at a festival, to present gifts to bramhŭns. Vamŭnŭ was so small, that in his journey to the place of sacrifice, when he got to the side of a hole made by a cow's foot, and which was filled with water, he thought it was a river, and entreated another bramhŭn to help him over it. On his arrival, he went to ask a gift of Bŭlee. The king was so pleased with him, on account of his diminutive form, that he promised to give him whatever he should ask. He petitioned only for as much land as he could measure by three steps. Búlee pressed him to ask for more, intimating that such a quantity was nothing; but Vamănă persisted, and the king ordered his priest to read the usual formulas in making such a present. The priest warned the king, declaring he would repent of making this gift; for the little bramhŭn was no other than Vishnoo himself, who would deprive him of all he had. The king, however, was determined to fulfil his promise, and the grant was made. Vanúnŭ then placed one foot on Indru's heaven, and the other on the earth, when, lo ! a third leg suddenly projected from his belly, and he asked for a place upon which he might rest this third foot. Bŭlee, having nothing left, and being unable to fulfil his promise, was full of anxiety. His wife, having heard what was going forward, came to the spot, and, seeing the king's perplexity, advised him to give his head for Vamúnŭ to set his foot upon. He did so; but Vamúnŭ then asked for what is called dukshinŭ, 'a small present which accompanies a gift, and without which the gift itself produces no fruit to the giver. Bŭlee knew not what to do for dūkshinů : his all was gone. His wife advised him to give his life to Vamŭnŭ as dúkshinŭ. He. did this also; but the latter told him, that as he had promised Průlhadů not to destroy any of his race, he would not take his life. He therefore gave him his choice either of ascending to heaven, taking with him five ignorant persons; or of descending to patŭlú, the world of the hydras, with five wise mend. Bŭlee chose the latter, but said that as he had done much mischief on earth, he was afraid of going to patălă, lest he should there be punished for his crimes. Vamănă told him not to fear, as he would, in the form of Vishnoo, become his protector. At the close, this god, having restored every thing on earth to a state of order and prosperity, returned to heaven.

The sixth is the Purúshoo-ramŭ incarnation. Purushoo is the name of an instrument of war. The occasion of this appearance of Vishnoo is thus related :-The kshŭtriyès, from the king to the lowest person of this cast, were become very corrupt. Every one did as he pleased, the king was without authority, all order was destroyed, and the earth was in the greatest confusion. In these circumstances the goddess Prit’hivēĉe went to Vishnoo, and prayed for relief. Her petition was heard, and one part of Vishnoo was incarnate as the son of Júmŭdŭgnee, a descendant of Bhrigoo the sage. After twenty-one different defeats the kshútriyŭs were exterminated by Purushoo-ramú; but after a lapse of years they again became numerous : Urjoonů, a

a It is a proverb among the Hindoos, that there is no pleasure in the company of the ignorant in any place or circumstances; and that a bad place, in the company of the wise, is better than a good one in that of the ignorant.

• The earth personified.

[ocr errors]

kshŭtriyè king with a thousand arms, overcame the greatest monarchs, and made dreadful havock in the world : he beat Ravŭnŭ, and tied him to the heels of a horse ; but Brūmha delivered him, and reconciled them again. One evening in the rainy season, Úrjoonŭ, being in the forest, took refuge in the hut of Júmŭdŭgnee, the learned ascetic. He had with him 900,000 people; yet Jumŭdŭgnee entertained them all. Orjoonů, astonished, enquired of his people how the sage, living in the forest, was able to entertain so many people? They could not tell; they saw nothing except a cow which Brúmha had given him; but it was by her means perhaps that he was able to entertain so many guests: its name was Kamŭ-dhénoo'. In fact, when Trjoonŭ was to be entertained at the sage's house, this cow in a miraculous manner gave him all kinds of food, clothes, &c. The king on his departure asked for the cow; but the sage refused it to him, though he offered for it his whole kingdom. At length, Grjoonŭ made war on Jumŭdŭgnee; and though the cow gave an army to her master, he was unable to cope with Ŭrjoonů, who destroyed both him and his army. After the victory, however, Ŭrjoonŭ could not find the cow, but went home disappointed. Părăshoo-ramů, hearing of the defeat and death of his father Júmúdúgnee, went to complain to Shivů, on the mountain Koilası; but could not get access to him till he had knocked down the gods Gủnéshủ and Kartiků, Shivè's door-keepers. Shivů gave Púrúshoo-ramŭ the instrument părăshoo, and promised him the victory. On his return Purushoo-ramŭ met his mother, who was about to throw herself on the funeral pile of her husband. After attending upon this ceremony, Pŭrúshoo-ramŭ went to the residence of Ŭrjoonŭ, and killed him .

[ocr errors]

f That is, the cow which yields every thing desired.
8 This story is told variously in the pooranús : according to the

These six incarnations are said to have taken place in the sútyŭ yoogủh. There are no images respecting them made for worship.

[ocr errors]

The seventh incarnation is that of Ramŭ to destroy the giant Ravùnů; for the history of which see the Translation of the Table of Contents of the Ramayúnů, toward the close of this volume. The eight incarnation is that of Bălúramů, to destroy Průlůmbŭ and other giants. This latter incarnation is said to have taken place in the dwapără-yoogů. The ninth is the Booddhŭ incarnation, in which Vishnoo appeared as Booddhů, to destroy the power of the giants. In order to effect this, Booddhủ produced among mankind by his preaching, &c. a disposition to universal scepticism; that having no longer any faith in the gods, the giants might cease to apply to them for those powers by which they had become such dreadful scourges to mankind. In this appearance the object of Vishnoo, the preserver, was accomplished by art, without the necessity of war; though the dreadful alternative to which he was driven to accomplish his object, that of plunging mankind into a state of universal scepticism, affords another proof how wretchedly the world would be governed if every thing depended on the wisdom of man.—The tenth incarnation is still expected, under the name of the Kulkee Úvŭtarů. See translation from the Kūlkee pooranŭ, in the second yolume,

The appearance of Vishnoo, when he took the name of Krishnŭ to destroy the giant Kủngshủ, is called the descent

!

Ramayúnů, Vủshis'thŭ was the owner of this cow, and Vishwůmitrů the person who fought with the moonee to obtain it.

h These ravages of tyranny, and bloody contests, form a sad specimen of the happiness of the Hindoo sůtyŭ yoogủ, could we believe that there ever had been such a period.

« PoprzedniaDalej »