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crime, and promise heaven to the self-murderer, provided he die in the Ganges! Nay, the bramhŭns, as well as persons of other casts, assist those who design thus to end life, of which the reader will find instances recorded in vol. ii. pp. 113, 114, 117. In some places of the Ganges, deemed peculiarly sacred and efficacious, infatuated devotees very frequently drown themselves. A respectable bramhŭn assured the author, that in a stay of only two months at Allahabad, he saw about thirty persons drown themselves ! Lepers are sometimes burnt alive with

and support of her old age ;-could, without the least apparent emotion, consign this child alive to the tomb, and herself continue an nnmoved spectator of the horrid deed. At eight P. M. the corpse, accompanied by this self-devoted viction, was conveyed to a place a little below our grounds, where I repaired, to behold the perpetration of a crime which I could scarcely believe possible to be committed by any human being. The corpse was laid on the earth by the river till a circular grave of about fifteen feet in circumference and five or six feet deep was prepared ; and was then (after some formulas had been read) placed at the bottom of the grave in a sitting posture, with the face to the N. the nearest relation applying a lighted wisp of straw to the top of the head. The young widow now came forward, and having circumambulated the grave seven times, calling out Huree Bůl! Húree Bůl! in which she was joined by the surrounding crowd, descended into it. I then approached within a foot of the grave, to observe if any reluctance appeared in her countenance, or sorrow in that of her relations : in hers no alteration was per. ceptible ; in theirs, there was the appearance of exultation. She placed herself in a sitting posture, with her face to the back of her husband, embracing the corpse with her left arm, and reclining her head on his shoulders ; the other hand she placed over her own head, with her fore. finger erect, which she moved in a circular direction. The earth was then deliberately put round them, two men being in the grave for the purpose of stamping it round the living and the dead, which they did as a gardener does around a plant newly transplanted, till the earth rose to a level with the surface, or two or three feet above the heads of the entombed. As her head was covered some time before the finger of her right hand, I had an opportunity of observing whether any regret was manifested; but the finger moved round in the same manner as at first, till the earth closed the scene. Not a parting tear was observed to be shed by any of her relations, till the crowd began to disperse, when the usual lamentations and howling commenced, without sorrow.' VOL. I.


their own consent, to purify themselves from disease in the next birth. Others throw themselves under the wheels of Jugünnat' hủ's ponderous car, and perish instantly. Thousands perish annually by disease and want on idolatrous pilgrimages; and notwithstanding the benevolent efforts of Mr. Duncan, it is pretty certain, that infanticide is still practised to a great extent in various parts of Hindoost hanů, (see vol. ii. p. 123.) I have, in vol. ii. p. 127, ventured to offer a calculation respecting the probable number of persons who perish annually, the victims of the bramhinical superstition, and find, that it cannot be less than Ten Thousand Five Hundred.

Another very popular act of Hindoo devotion is that of visiting sacred placesu. There are few Hindoos grown up to mature age, who have not visited one or more of these places, the resort of pilgrims; many spend their whole lives in passing repeatedly from one end of Hindoost'hanŭ to the other as pilgrims: nor are these pilgrimages confined to the lower orders, householders and learned bramhŭns are equally infatuated, and think it necessary to visit one or more of these spots for the purification of the soul before death. In some instances, a river; in others, a phenomenon in nature; and in others a famous idol, attracts the Hindoos. Large sums are expended by the rich, and by the poor their little all, in these journies, in the fees to the bramhủns, and in expenses at the sacred place. I have given an account of the ceremonies preparatory to the pilgrimage, as well as of those which are performed when the pilgrims arrive at the consecrated place; to which are also added particulars of the most frequented of these haunts of superstition.

u A journey to Benares, &c. and the performance of religious ceremonies there, are actions in the highest repate for religions merit amongst the Hindoos. Many sirkars in Calcutta indulge the hope, that they shall remove all the sins they commit in the service of Europeans (which every one knows are neither few nor small) by a journey to Benares, before they die. The Hindoo půndits declare, that even Europeans, dying at Benares, though they may have lived all their days upon cow's flesh, will certainly obtain absorption into Brůmhů. On this subject, they quote a couplet, in which Benares is compared to a loose female, who receives all, and destroys their desire of sin, by quenching their appetites. The Hindoo learned men also admit, that Englishmen may partake of the blessings of their religion in two other instances, viz. if they become firm believers in Gunga, or die at Júginnat'hů-kshétrů. In all other respects, the Hindoo beavens are all shut against eaters of cow's flesh.

For the expiation of sin, many different methods of atonement are prescribed in the Hindoo writings; many of which, however, have fallen into disuse.

Lest the observance of all these acts of religious homage should fail to secure happiness in a future state, the Hindoos are taught to repeat the names of the gods in their last hours; and are also enjoined to make presents to the bramhŭns, especially to their spiritual guides : their relations also immerse the body of a diseased person up to the middle in the Ganges, and pour copiously of this sacred water into the dying man.

To procure relief for the wandering spirit after death, they make to it offerings of rice, &c. in a religious ceremony, almost universally attended to, called the shraddhủ, and on which very frequently a rich man expends not less that 3 or 400,000 roopees. To make this offering at Gůya, is supposed to be "attended with the certain deliverance of the deceased from all


The pooranŭs teach, that after death the soul becomes united to an aërial body, and passes to the seat of judgment, where it is

* Ah! said a Hindoo one day; in the hearing of the author, lament ing the catastrophe, ‘ it is not every one, even of those who set out for Gůya, who reaches the place. Another Hindoo, in the presence of the author, reproving a young bramhŭn, who refused to afford pecuniary help to his aged infirm parent, asked him, if this was not the grand reason why a person entered into the marriage state, that he might have a son, who, by offerings at Gŭya, might procure for him happiness after death?

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tried by Yėmė, the Indian Pluto, who decides upon its future destiny. It, however, remains in this aërial vehicle, till the last shraddhủ is performed, twelve months after death; when it passes into happiness or misery, according to the sentence of Yümů.

The same works teach, that there are many places of happiness for the devout, as well as of misery for the wicked ; that God begins to reward in this life those who have performed works of merit, and punishes the wicked here by various afflictions; that indeed all present events, prosperous or adverse, are the rewards or punishments inevitably connected with merit or demerit, either in a preceding birth, or in the present life; that where merit preponderates, the person, after expiating sin by death and by sufferings in hell, rises to a higher birth, or ascends to the heaven of his guardian deity.

The joys of the Hindoo heavens are represented as wholly sensual, and the miseries of the wicked as consisting in corporal punishment: the descriptions of the former disgust a chaste mind by their grossness, and those given of the latter offend the feelings by their brutal literality.

Anxious to obtain the CONFESSION of Faith of a BRAMHUN, from his own pen, I solicited this of a man of superior understanding, and I here give a translation of this article :

. God is invisible, independent, ever-living, glorious, uncorrupt, all-wise, the ever-blessed, the almighty; his perfections are indescribable, and past finding out; he rules over all, supports all, destroys all, and remains after the destruction of all; there is none like him ; he is silence; he is free from passion, from birth, &c. from increase and decrease, from fatigue, the need of refreshment, &c. He possesses the power of infinite diminution, and lightness, and is the soul of all.

• He created, and then entered into, all things, in which he

exists in two ways, untouched by matter, and receiving the fruits of practicey. He now assumes visible forms, for the sake of engaging the minds of mankind. The different gods are parts of God, though his essence remains undiminished, as rays of light leave the sun his undiminished splendour. He created the gods to perform those things in the government of the world of which man was incapable. Some gods are parts of other gods, and there are deities of still inferior powers. If it be asked, why God himself does not govern the world, the answer is, that it might subject him to exposure, and he' chooses to be concealed: he therefore governs by the gods, who are emanations from the one God, possessing a portion of his power : he who worships the gods as the one God, substantially worships God. The gods are helpful to men in all human affairs, but they are not friendly to those who seek final absorption; being jealous lest, instead of attaining absorption, they should become gods, and rival them.

* Religious ceremonies procure a fund of merit to the performer, which raises him in every future birth, and at length advances him to heaven, (where he enjoys happiness for a limited period,) or carries him towards final absorption.

Happiness in actual enjoyment is the fruit of the meritorious works of preceding births ; but very splendid acts of merit procure exaltation even in the birth in which they are performed. So, the misery which a person is now enduring, is the fruit of crimes in a former birth : enormous crimes however meet with punishment in the life in which they are committed. The miseries of a future state arise out of sins unremoved by former sufferings : an inanimate state, and that of reptiles, are also called

y Here an objection presses hard on the bramhŭn, that it is God, or Spirit, then, in matter, that suffers, since matter cannot suffer. To this he answers, that the heart, though it be inanimate, and, in consequence, unconscious matter, by its nearness to spirit, comes capable of joy and sorrow, and that this is the sufferer.

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