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The folk-element in Hindu cultures cont 

3 1924 023 005 204 

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i. The Science of History and the Hope of Mankind. (Longmans, 

Green & Co., London, New York.) Crown 8vo. viii + 76. 

Contents : — Problems of History — Scope and Function of History — Science of Life — World-Forces 
in Ancient and Mediaeval History — International Politics and National Advancements in Modern Times — 
International Relations and the Forms of Governmental Machinery — Relativity of Religious Movements to 
the Conjuncture of Circumstances — Recapitulation — World's Greatest Men — Outlook. 

2. Introduction to the Science of Education. (Longmans.) 

Translated from Bengali by Major B. D. Basu, I.M.S. (Retired), Editor, The 

Sacred Books of the Hindus Series. Crown Svo. Pp. 141. Price 3s. 6d. net. 

Contents :— Methods of Human Science— Divisions of Pedagogics— The Inductive Method of 
Teaching— The Study of Languages— The Study of History— The Study of Geography— The Study of Mental 
and Moral Sciences— The Study of Mathematics— The Study of Natural and Technical Sciences— General 
Remarks on the Inductive Method— Foreword to the Book— Plea for the Work. 

3. Sukra-niti (Hindu Economics and Politics). Rendered into 

English from Sanskrit with Introduction and Notes. [The Sacred Books of the 

Hindus, Vol. xiii. Panini Office.] With an Index by Narendra Nath Law, 

M.A., B.L., Author of " Studies in Ancient Hindu Polity ". 8vo. Pp. 36 + 270. 

Price ys. 6d. 

Contents:— The Duties of Princes— The Functions of the Crown Prince and other State Officials- 
General Rules of Morality— Characteristics of Friends — Treasure — Arts and Sciences — Social Customs and 
Institutions — King's Functions — Fortresses — Army — Supplementary and Miscellaneous. 

4. The Positive Background of Hindu Sociology. Book I. Non- 

Political. [The Sacred Books of the Hindus, Vol. xvi. Panini Office.] With 
Appendices by Dr. Brajendranath Seal, M.A., Ph.D., King George V. Professor 
of Philosophy in the University of Calcutta. 800. Pp. xxiii + 366. Price gs. 6d. 

Chapter I.— Relativity of Niti Sastras. Hindu Culture and Sociology in Sukraniti. Land- 
marks in the History of Hindu Political Development. Mile-stones in the History of Hindu Political 
Speculation. Unity and Diversity in Indian National Life. 

Chapter II.— The Data of Ancient Indian Geography. 

Chapter III.— The Data of Ancient Indian Ethnology. 

Chapter IV.— The Data of Ancient Indian Mineralogy. The Synthetic Philosophy of Sukra- 
charyya. Sukraniti as the "architectonic" Science. The Place of Mineralogy in Sukraniti. History of 
Hindu Mineralogy: («) Metals, (b) Gems. The Theory and Practice regarding Metallurgy in Sukraniti. 
The Doctrine of Seven Metals. The Economic Mineralogy of Ancient India. The Pure Metals and Alloys. 
The Theory and Practice regarding Gems in Sukraniti. The Doctrine of Nine Gems. The Economic 
Mineralogy of Ancient India : The Maharatnas. 

Chapter V.— The Data of Ancient Indian Botany. Sukranitias a source ofBotanical Information. 
Identification of the Sukra Flora. Geography of the Sukra Flora. Forestry: (a) Non-Economic, (6) 
Economic— Uses of Plants, Sacred Flora, Wines, Plants in other Industries, (c) Administration. Horti- 
Flori- Arbori-culture. Agriculture: (fl) Agricultural Occupation, Population and Tenure, (6) Crops, Cereals, 
Pulses, Oil-seeds. Botany as Science. Preliminary Survey of Hindu Botany : (a) Lines of Inquiry, (b) The 
so-called *' Indian Botany," (c) Researches in Ancient Hindu Botany. 

Chapter IV.— The Data of Ancient Indian Zoology. The Secular Sciences of the Hindus. The 
Alleged Decline of Hindu Intellect. The Zoological Lore of the Hindus : (a) Brief Survey of Zoology in 
Europe, (6) Vedic Fauna, (c) Fauna in Hindu Folklore, (d.) The Sacred Fauna, (e) Fauna in Hindu Art, (J) 
Varahamihira Fauna, is) Ayurvedic Fauna, (h) Fauna in Veterinary Literature — (i) Palakapya, (ii) Salihotra. 
Agricultural Livestock. Economic Zoology. The Animal-Corps. Horses: (a) External Anatomy, (6) 
Mettle and Worth, (c) Omens, (d) Breeds, (e) Training and Management, if) Grooming, (g) Forage, (A) Rules 
about Exercise, (*) Art of Training, (j) Stables and Trappings. Elephants : (a) Mettle and Worth, (6) Omens, 
(c) Breeds, (d) Training and Management. Camels and Bulls. The Anatomy of the Vertebrates : (a) Hindu 
Literature on Human Anatomy— Nervous System of the Tantras, Osteology, Varahamihira, (b) The Scientific 
Value of Hindu Anatomy, (c) Propagation of Anatomical Knowledge in Ancient India, id) Human Anatomy 
in Sukraniti, (e) External Anatomy of Horses, if) Dentition and Age. Organisation of Veterinary Depart- 
ment in the Sukra State. 


5. Chinese Religion through Hindu Eyes: A Study in the 

Tendencies of Asiatic Mentality. With an Introduction by Dr. Wu Ting- 
fang, LL.D., Late Chinese Minister to U.S.A., Spain, etc. Royal 8vo. Pp. xxxii + 
331. Price 6s. 

Chapter I.— The Hypothesis. 

Chapter II.— The Cult of World-Forces in Pre-Confucian China and Pre-Sakyan India. 

( 700 b.c.) (a) Yajna (Sacrifice), (6) Pitris (Ancestors), (c) Sandtanism (Eternal Order), (d) Bkam (The 

One Supreme Being), (e) Pluralism in God-lore, (/) Folk-Religion, (g) Idealism as a phase of spirituality, (A) 
" Through Nature up to Nature's God ". 

Chapter III.— Confucius the Historian and Sakyasimha the Philosopher. Section 1. 
Aufktarimg in Asia— The Age of Encyclopaedists (7th-5th Century B.C.). Section 2. Confucius and 
Sakyasimha in Contemporary Asia : (a) " Higher Criticism," (6) The Peers of Confucius, (c) The Peers of 
Sakyasimha. Section 3. Development of Traditional Socio-Religious Life : (a) Relativity of Religion to 
Environment, (6) Chinese Religion in the Age of Confucius, (c) Indian Religion in the Age of Sakyasimha. 
Section 4. Asiatic Positivism. 

Chapter IV.— The Religion of Empire-Building:— Neutrality and Eclecticism (b.c. 350—100). 
Section 1. The Political Milieu: (a) Imperialism and Laisser Faire, (6) Hindu Bushido and Indono 
Damashii. Section 2. Internationalism : (a) Western Asia and India, (6) Central Asia and China. Section 
3. General Culture : (a) Physical and Positive Sciences, (6) Metaphysical Thought, (c) Idealism and Super- 
naturalism in Literature. 

Chapter V.— The God-lore of China and India under the First Emperors (B.C. 350 — 100). 
Section 1. Progress in Hagiology and Mythology : (a) Invention of New Deities, (6) Simultaneous Develop- 
ment of Diverse God-lores, (c) Deification of Men as Avatdras. Section 2. Images as Symbols: (a) In 
China, (b) In India. 

Chapter VI.— The Birth of Buddhism (b.c. 150 — 100 a.d.). Section 1. Introduction of Buddha- 
Cult into China : (a) Chinese Romanticism, (6) The Religion of Love. Section 2. Exit Sakya, Enter Buddha 
and his Host: (a) The Psychology of Romantic Religion, (6) Spiritual Experience of Iran and Israel, (cj 
Buddha-Cult and its Indian " Cognates ". Section 3. The " Balance of Accounts " in International Philo- 
sophy : (a) Rival Claims of the East and the West, (6) Parallelism and " Open Questions ". Section 4. The 
" Middlemen " in Indo-Chinese Intercourse : (a) The Tartars in World-History, (6) The Indo-Scythian (Tartar ) 
Kushans, (c) Graeko-Buddhist Iconography. 

Chapter VII.— A Period of so-called Anarchy in China (220-618 a.d.). Section 1. Comparative 
Chronology and Comparative History. Section 2. Chinese Religious Development. Section 3. " Confu- 
cianism," " Buddhism," " Buddhist India," " Buddhist China ". Section 4. The Pioneers of Asiatic Unity. 

Chapter VIII.— The Beginning' of Hindu Culture as World Power (300-600 a.d.). Section 1. 
Indian Napoleon's Alexandrian March. Section 2. " World-Sense " and Colonising Enterprise. Section 3 . 
A Melting-pot of Races : (a) Capacity for Assimilation, (6) Tartarisation of Aryanised Dravidians, (c) Caste - 
System and Military History. Section 4. A Well of Devotional Eclecticism — the Religion of the Puranas : 
(a) Pauranic Synthesis, (6) Jainism, (c) Shaivaism, (d) Vaishnavism, (e) Buddhism mixed up with other isms. 
Section 5. The Age of Kalidasa : (a) Renaissance and the Navaratna, (6) Kalidasa, the Spirit of Asia. 

Chapter IX.— The Augustan Age of Chinese Culture (600-1250 a.d.). Section 1. The Glorious 
" Middle Ages " of Asia : (a) Enter Japan and Saracen, (6) Expansion of Asia. Section 2. San-goku, i.e. 
" Concert of Asia " : (a) The World Tourists of Mediaeval Asia, (6) Sino-Indic, Sino-Islamic, and Sino- 
Japanese Sea-borne Trade. Section 3. The " Great Powers " of San-goku. Section 4. Indianisation of 
Confucianism. Sections- " Ringing Grooves of Change " in Asia. 

Chapter X.— Japanese Religious Consciousness. Section 1. Toleration and Liberty of Con- 
science. Section 2. Shinto, the so-called Swadeshi Religion. Section 3. The Cult of World-Forces in the 
Land of if am*. Section 4. The Threefold Basis of Asiatic Unity. 

Chapter XI.— Sino-Japanese Buddhism and Neo Hinduism. Section 1. The Alleged Extinction 
of Buddhism m India. Section 2. The Bodhisattva-Cult in China, Japan, and India : (a) Ti-tsang (6) Jizo (c) 
Avalokiteswara, (d) Moods of Divinities. Section 3. The Buddhism of China and Japan euphemism for 
Shaiva-cum Shaktaism. Section 4. Neo-Hinduism in Trans-Himalayan Asia. Section 5. Modern Hindu- 

Chapter XII.— Epilogue : The Study of Asiatic Sociology. 

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il) The Panini Office (Academy of Indian Research), Allahabad, India : (2) The Grihastha Publish 
ing House, Calcutta. India ; (3) The Students' Library, Calcutta, India. urmastna ruDlisn- 







Professor, National Council of Education, Bengal; Translator of Sukraniti 

(Hindu Economics and Politics), and Author of The Positive Background 

of Hindu Sociology ; Chinese Religion through Hindu Eyes ; 

Love in Hindu Literature, etc. 


HEMENDRA K. RAKSHIT, B.A. (Wisconsin) 









The present work is based on a study of some of 
the folk-arts, folk-traditions, folk-songs and folk-festivals 
of Bengal. It is to a certain extent complementary to 
the author's Positive Background of Hindu Sociology, 
in which the object has been to focus the attention on 
the socio-economic and socio-political aspects of Hindu 

In the reconstruction of Indian history, modern 
scholarship has to be devoted more and more to the 
exposition of the influence that the masses of the country 
have ever exerted in the making of its civilization. It 
is a sign of the times that with this has been felt the 
need of greater recourse to vernacular literature as an 
important source of information. 

During the last decade or so considerable research 
has been bestowed on Indian vernaculars, from the 
philological and the historical points of view. Marathi, 
Hindi, Tamil and Bengali scholars. have been able thus 
to throw new light on political, linguistic, social and 
religious developments. A systematic work utilizing 
these vernacular evidences has yet to be attempted. 

It has not been the aim of the present writer to 
compile such a comprehensive treatise. His scope, on 
the contrary, is quite limited. The Folk-Element in 
Hindu Culture is mainly a study of the relations 


between Shaiva-cum-Shaktaism and Buddhism, both de- 
scriptive and historical, obtaining among the Bengali- 
speaking population of Eastern India. He has in 
contemplation to bring out later a parallel monograph 
on the folk-institutions and folk-minstrels of the Vaisnava 

The evidences have been derived from a first-hand 
exploration of oral tradition and folk-lore, as well as 
from mediaeval Bengali literature, especially from old 
MSS. The author is indebted to the work of the 
folk-lorists associated with the literary academies of 
Bengal, e.g. the Bangfya Sahitya Parisat of Calcutta, 
Sahitya Parisat of Rangpur, Sahitya Parisat of Dacca, 
and the like. 

The author is fortunate in having secured the assist- 
ance of Mr. Haridas Palit, of the District Council of 
National Education, Malda, who for over a quarter 
of a century has been collecting information as to 
popular life, faith, arts, crafts, songs, ceremonies, etc., 
in Radha and Varedran, the Western and Northern 
districts of Bengal — those regions especially which had 
been the centres of political and cultural greatness in 
mediaeval times. Mr. Palit is now in possession of 
several hundred old MSS., in the Bengali, Ooriya and 
Sanskrit languages, and he has written out notes of his 
studies which now amount to several volumes of con- 
siderable size. These volumes of notes may be looked 
upon as parts of a history of Bengal as spoken by the 
village folk, since in them are recorded faithfully the 
traditions and sentiments of the people about them- 
selves, their localities, their neighbours and their past. 
A portion of Mr. Palit's notes has been published in the 
form of articles in Bengali reviews, and also as a book 
which has been liberally drawn upon for this work. 



In his presidential address to the Folklore Society 
of London, Prof. R. R. Marett read a paper entitled 
Folklore and Psychology, in which he remarked: "To 
be a folklorist worthy of the name you must first have 
undergone initiation amongst the folk, must have be- 
come one of them inwardly and in the spirit ". In the 
introduction to his historical work, Adyer Gambhira, 
Mr. Palit gives an account of his folklorist career and 
methods, from which it would appear that he has had 
that " initiation amongst the folk " of which Dr. Marett 
speaks. Says Mr. Palit : — 

" It was in the month of Vaishakha (April-May) that 
I first entered Malda. Shortly after my arrival here, 
the Gambhira festivities were started on the Baro-iyari- 
tala (a place set apart for public amusement at public 
cost) of Mokdumpur. I witnessed them and felt my- 
self quite charmed by the grand ideas underlying these 
festivities. . . . 

" It was the stream of novel ideas and sentiments 
started within me by witnessing the Gambhira that 
prompted me to collect materials for writing the history 
of Malda. And it was while engaged in this task that 
the glorious pictures of old Gauda and Pundra Var- 
dhana were conjured up before and dazzled my mental 
eyes. The more the Gambhira has unfolded itself before 
me, the more have I enjoyed the music of the legends 
and stories of these places, and felt myself irresistibly 
inclined to look for its gamut. This search has put me 
in possession of many MSS. 

" For about twenty long years, however, my sole 
enjoyment was confined to tracing the rivers and trav- 
ersing the woods, travelling about the lake-like tanks 
and seeing the (old dilapidated) forts, listening to 
legends and stories from the lips of illiterate villagers 


and collecting the varied materials of history. During 
this period never did I cherish the hope nor did I ever 
entertain the wish that I should ever enter the literary 
world as a writer. It was to satisfy my own curiosity 
that I thus looked for materials of history, and it was to 
refresh my own memory that I jotted down notes." 

The author of the present brochure, based mainly 
on Mr. Palit's notes and writings, regards this small 
volume as a result of preliminary spadework in the Data 
of Hindu Sociology. He has, therefore, avoided com- 
parisons and interpretations excepting in a few places 
only to elucidate the topics dealt with. The following 
observations, however, may be recorded here : 

i. The masses and the folk have contributed to the 
making of Hindu Culture in all its phases no less than 
the court and the classes. 

2. Secular, material and social interests, as con- 
trasted with the other-worldly and spiritual ideals, have 
had considerable influence in moulding Hindu life and 

3. The caste-system has never been a disintegrating 
factor in Hindu communal existence, and is most prob- 
ably a very recent institution. 

4. Hinduism is an eclectic and ever-expansive 
socio-religious system built up through the assimilation 
of diverse ethnic, natural and spiritual forces during the 
successive ages of Indian history. 

5. There has ever been an attempt to govern the 
folk-customs, popular faith, image-worship and public 
festivals by the transcendental conceptions of the 
Divinity of Man and the Transitoriness of this World. 
The folklore of the Hindus is nothing but the adap- 
tation of their metaphysical culture-lore to the instincts 
and aptitudes of the " man in the street " ; or, obversely, 


the interpenetration of the grosser systems of thought 
and activity with the conceptions of a higher system of 
Life-values and Life-attitudes. 

6. The religious beliefs, practices and customs of the 
people are fundamentally the same in San goku (or the 
three countries, viz. India, China and Japan). What 
pass for Buddhism in the lands of Confucius and the 
Shinto Cult are but varieties of the same faith that is 
known as Tantric and Purinic Hinduism in the land 
of Buddha. The reasons are not only to be found in * 
the intercourse between the three countries both by 
land and sea during the Tang-Sung period of Chinese 
. history, the Augustan age of culture in the Middle 
Kingdom (7th- 1 3th cent), synchronous with the Var- ; 
dhana-Pala-Chola epoch of Indian history, and the Nari- 
Kamakura epoch of Japanese, but also probably in the 
common mentality that characterizes the Asiatic peoples. 

To maintain the character of this work as a contri- 
bution to general Sociology, it has been thought un- 
desirable to give copious details and dates of Indian 
political history. It need be remarked, however, that 
the chronology and identity of most of the mediaeval 
works and authors are yet anything but finally settled. 
With regard to the authorities consulted the following 
rules have been observed : 

1. To give the complete translations of extracts 
from MSS. in the body of the book. 

2. To refer to and quote from only such works 
published in Bengali as are easily accessible. 

3. To refrain from giving chapter and verse in the 
case of standard authorities, especially in instances 
where the historical facts are very well known. 

The author has gleaned facts and ideas from the 
following : 



i. Dr. Rajendralal Mitra's Antiquities of Orissa and 

2. The writings of Mahamahopadhyaya Haraprasad 
Sistri, in " The Journal of the Asiatic Society of 
Bengal " (Calcutta) ; and of Dr. Waddell in the J.R. A.S. 

3. Mr. Vincent Smith's Early History of India. 

4. Rai Bahadur Sarat Chandra Das's Indian 
Pundits in the Land of Snow. 

5. Mr. Dineschandra Sen's History of Bengali 
Language and Literature. 

6. Mr. Nagendranath Vasu's Vishwakosa ("En- 
cyclopaedia Indica " in Bengali), Modern Buddhism and 
Archceological Survey of Mayurbhanj. 

7. The works or articles of Dr. Radbakumud 
Mookerji, author of Indian Shipping; Dr. A. K. 
Coomaraswimy, the art-historian and art-critic ; Prof. 
Rikhaldas Banerji, of the Indian Museum, Calcutta ; 
Mr. Narendra Nath Law, M.A., B.L. ; Prof. Rabindra- 
narayan Ghosh, of the Dawn Society, Calcutta ; and Mr. 
Manomohan Chakravarti, M.A., B.L., of the Provincial 
Civil Service, Bengal. 

8. The contributions of Messrs. Akshay Kumar 
Maitra, B.L., and Ramaprasad Chanda, B.A., of the 
Varendra Research Society, Rajshahi ; Mr. Naliniranjan 
Pandit, of Nadia ; Mr. Yogendranath Gupta, author of 
Vikramapura ; Mr. Kumudnith Lihiri, of Moorshida- 
bad; Mr. Nalini Kanta Bhattasali, M.A., of the Dacca 
Museum, Dacca; Mr. Binod Behari Rai, of Rajshahi; 
the late Radhes Chandra Seth, B. L., and Pandits Ra- 
janikanta Chakravarti and Vidhu Sekhar Sastri, of 
Malda ; and of other students of Bengalee Culture, 
published in vernacular monthlies, e.g. " Bangadar- 
shana," "Sahitya," "Pravasi," "Grihastha," " Mdnasi," 


"Pratibha," " Sammilan," " Bangiya Sahitya Parisat 
Patrika," " Rangpur Sahitya Parisat Patrika," etc. 

The author is personally indebted to Prof. Radha- 
kamal Mukerjee, M.A., of Krisnath College, Moorshi- 
dabad, and Mr. Hemchandra Das Gupta, B.M.E. 
(Michigan), of the District Council of National Educa- 
tion, Malda, who, in the course of their educational 
work among the rural folk of the country, have been 
able to collect some interesting data of their social 
life; and also to Mr. Kumudini Kanta Ganguli, B.A., 
of Dacca, who has been of great help in explaining 
old Bengali and archaic expressions occurring in the 
salutation-hymns and other MSS. 

The work owes its present form to many sources as 
has been indicated above, but to none more than to Mr. 
Hemendra Kishor Rakshit, B.A. (Wisconsin, U.S.A.). 

It has to be added that portions of this book have 
been published as articles in "The Modern World" 
(Madras), "The Vedic Magazine" (Hardwar), and 
"The Collegian" (Calcutta). 

A word in conclusion as to the diacritical marks : 

A, a = long a; N, n = cerebral n ; both illustrated 
in the word Purana. 

Sh, sh = palatal s ; e.g. Shiva. 

S, s = cerebral s ; e.g. Aksobhya. 

I, i = ee; e.g. Kill. 


The Middle-West, U.S.A., 
April is, 1915. 

p _s .— Gambhira, the main theme of this work, has 
been a matter of personal knowledge to the author for 
the last twenty years. In its present form the work, 



small as it is, was conceived in India in 191 3, and 
written out partly in England in 191 4 and partly in 
America in 191 5. During the last few years there have 
been several publications on allied subjects, of which 
the most important are : 

1. Vaisnavism, Shaivaism and Minor Religious 
Systems, by Sir R. G. Bhandarkar ("The Encyclopaedia 
of Indo- Aryan Research," Strassburg, 191 3). 

2. The Bodhisattva Titsdng {Jizo) in China and 
Japan, by M. W. De Visser in "The Ostasiatische 

Zeitschrift " ( July, 1913 — December, 1914, Berlin). 

3. The Gods of Northern Buddhism, by Mrs. A. 
Getty (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 191 4). 

4. Kashmir Shaivaism, by J. C. Chatterji (Srinagar, 
Kashmir, India, 1914). 

5. The Tantra of the Great Liberation, and 6. 
Hymns to the Goddess, by Avalon (Luzac & Co., 
London, 191 4). 

7. H. P. Sastri's contributions on Mediaeval 
Buddhism to the Bengali monthly " The Narayana " 


Among archaeological works may be mentioned the 
third edition of Vincent Smith's Early History of India 
(Clarendon Press, Oxford, 19 14), in which the author has 
drawn prominent attention to the achievements of the 
Pala Emperors and their successors the Senas in making 
Bengal "a great power " in India (a.d. 800-1200) ; and 
The Pdlas of Bengal (Memoir of the Asiatic Society of 
Bengal, 191 5), and Bdngdldr Itihdsa (Calcutta, 191 5) 
or " History of Bengal" ( — a.d. 1200), written in Ben- 
gali language, both by Rakhaldas Banerji, who has 
thrown a flood of light on the international relations of 
the Bengalees with the other peoples of India during a 
period which will remain obscure for a considerable time 


yet. The race-intermixture and socio-religious trans- 
formation effected by military -political revolutions in 
Eastern India can be easily deduced from the inscriptions 
and other evidences on which these three works are 

The following three historical novels in Bengali 
published at Calcutta during 19 15 also furnish sidelights 
on the subject-matter dealt with in the present volume : 

1. Shashdmka — by Rakhaldas Banerji, dealing with 
life and thought in Bengal in the 7th century a.d. 

2. D harmap&la — by R. D. Banjeri, dealing with life 
and thought in Bengal in the 9th century a.d. 

3. Chdndeli — by Haridas Palit, dealing with life and 
thought in Bengal in the 12 th century a.d. 

To those who are unfamiliar with the names of the 
gods and goddesses of the people of India, The Myths 
of the Hindus and Buddhists (Harrap, London, 19 12), 
by Sister Nivedita and Dr. Coomaraswamy, with illustra- 
tions by painters of the Nationalist School of Indian Art, 
may be recommended. 

The terms Hinduism, Brahmanism, Buddhism, etc., 
are very ambiguous and more or less misnomers. These 
have been discussed in the author's latest work, Chinese 
Religion through Hindu Eyes : A Study in the Tenden- 
cies of Asiatic Mentality ( Shanghai, 1 9 1 6). The follow- 
ing is an extract from it : 

" The Buddhism that came into the land of Confucius 
was thus only one of the expressions of the comprehen- 
sive cult of Love and Romanticism which manifested 
itself at the same time in the promulgation of the worship 
of Visnu, Krisna, Shiva, etc. And the same religious 
emotionalism was being exploited by sculptors to enrich 
their Buddhist or Shaiva arts. 

" This common origin it is which makes it often so 

b * 


difficult to distinguish between the images of the gods and 
goddesses belonging to the Buddhistic and non-Bud- 
dhistic pantheons of Hinduism. This is why Chinese, 
Korean and Japanese forms of Buddhism look so similar 
to the many varieties of present-day Indian religion in 
spite of modifications under the trans- Himalayan soil and 
race-characteristics. This is why, in spite of the disap- 
pearance of Buddha as a god from Indian consciousness, 
Buddhism may be said to live in and through the other 
cults of modern Hinduism, e.g. Vaisnavism, Shaivaism, 
Jainism, etc." 

It has also been pointed out in that work that each 
of these mediaeval and modern isms of India, China and 
Japan are the joint products of the following three 
factors : 

" i. The Cult of World-Forces common to the 
Vedists (Rita\si), pre-Confucian Chinese (Tdoist) and 
the worshippers of Kdmi {Skintoisx). 

" 2. The Religion of Love and Romanticism which 
grew out of the first. This was born almost simultan- 
eously in India and China as the worship of saints, ava- 
tdras, heroes, Nature-Powers, etc., with the help of 
images ; and transferred to the Land of the Kdmi in the 
very first stage of its history, where it found a most con- 
genial soil, and where the race-consciousness might have 
developed it independently. 

" 3. The Religion of the Folk which was the parent 
of the first two has ever been active in creating, adapt- 
ing and re-interpreting local and racial myths of the 
three countries down to present day.'' 

B. K. S. 

North China, 

March 9, 1916. 



A Festival of the People. 

Section I. Theory of the institution ..... 
„ II. Geography of the institution 
,, III. History of the institution ... 

(a) In the Makdbhdrata ... 

(5) In the Vedas 

(c) As described by Hiuen Thsang 
„ IV. The institution as an instrument of national culture 

(a) Influence on Bengali literature 

(b) The Gambhira and the folk-arts 

(c) The institution as a school of moral training 

(d) The institution as a school of public life . 

The Bengali Folk-Poesy of Shaivaism. 

Section I. Importance of vernaculars . 
„ II. Salutation-Songs in Bengali MSS. 
„ III. Specimen I .... 

„ IV. „ 2 .... 

„ V. „ 3 • • • • 

„ VI. „ 4 ■ • • • 










The Gambhira" : A Popular Form of Shaiva Cult in 
Eastern India. 

Section I. The several parts of Gambhira festivities . 
„ II. Centres for Gambhira festivities . 

„ III. Popular decorations 

„ IV. The system of administration 

,, V. The name of the institution .... 





The Gajan : A Popular Form of Shaiva Cult in 

Eastern India 73 


Folk-Festivities in North Bengal and Orissa. 

Section I. Gambhira . ...'.... 88 
„ II. Sahiyatra 91 

Popular Buddhism in Hindu Bengal . . 39 


Physical Austerities Practised by the People. 

Section I. The Vanafoda . 103 

„ II. History of the practice of Vanafoda .... 106 


Folk-Dances in Religious Festivals. 

Section I. The mask 109 

,, II. The dance in 


Socialization and Secularization of Hindu Life. 

Section I. Processions . . . . . . . • 115 

„ II. Music and dance . ... 121 

„ III. Social gatherings 129 


Buddhist and Jaina Elements in Modern Hinduism. 

Section I. Hinayina School of Buddhism 135 

„ II. Jaina festivities . . . . . . . .136 

„ III. Mahayina School of Buddhism 14! 



National Festivals of the Seventh Century a.d. 

Section I. The age of religious eclecticism . ... 149 

„ II. Two festivities witnessed by Hiuen Thsang . . 153 

(«) The Special Buddhist Festival at Kanauj . .154 

(6) The Quinquennial Gift- Festival at Allahabad . .156 



Section I . The Pala-Chola period of Hindu Imperialism (ninth to 

thirteenth century A.D.) 160 

„ II. Submergence of Buddhism . . ... 163 

„ III. Establishment of Shaivaism 170 

The Tantric Lore of Mediaeval Buddhism. 

Section I. Mahayllnic mythology 175 

,, II. The common factor in neo-Hinduism and neo-Buddhism : 

(a) Bodhisattvas 177 

(6) Tari .... .... 182 

„ III. Drama and Tantrism (c. a.d. 600-800) . . . 186 


R&m&i Pandit, a Folk-Minstrel of Decadent Buddhism. 

Section I. Tantrism of Atisha, the Bengalee Buddhist missionary in 

Tibet (eleventh centuiy) . . . . . . i8g 

II. Hindu Elements in R&mii's Buddhism 

III. The work of Rimai as preacher (twelfth century) 

IV. The Creation-story in Shunya Purana 
V. Final Hinduizing of Mediaeval Buddhism 




People's Life in Bengal on the Eve of Moslem Invasions. 

Section I. Br4hmanism established (eleventh century) . . 202 

„ II. Folk-tradition about castes and creeds . . . 204 

„ III. Hal&yudha the Sociologist and other men of letters 

(twelfth century) . . .... 208 

„ IV. Shekh Shubhodayd, — a picture of moral degeneration . 212 
„ V. Beginning of Moslem rule (c. a.d. 1200) . . .213 




Islam in Popular Hinduism. 

Section I. Formative forces in Indian culture history . 
„ II. Aggressive Islam in Eastern India 
,, III. Hindu deities in Mohammedan Bengal 
„ IV. Mohammedan elements in mediaeval Buddhism 
„ V. Triumph of Shiva ..... 
„ VI. Propagation of Shaiva-cum-Sh&ktaism 


Sanskrit Texts of Shaiva Folk-lore. 

Section I. Shiva Purana ... . . 

(a) The Limga, or Phallus .... 

(b) Festivities 

(t) Conventional ceremonies .... 
{d) Sanction for the months of worship . 

„ II. Harivamsha on Vinafodi (physical austerities) 
(#) Discomfiture of Vina the Shivaite . 

(b) Shiva's boons to Vina .... 

(c) Faith of modern Shaivas in Vana-legend . 
„ III. Dharma Samhita: References to masks 

(a) Disguises of Shiva's attendants 

(6) The " comedy of errors " . 

(c) Masks and " comedy of errors " in modern Shaiva lore 

Invention of Gods and Goddesses by the People . 




I. Subjects 263 

II. Proper names and Literary references .... 299 



It has been well said that a new country is a problem, but 
that an old country is a study. Of no old region is this 
more true than of India. The complex web of Indian 
life and culture with its historic background of hoary 
past presents rites, ceremonies, customs, and institutions 
which well-nigh defy the attempts of the anthropologist, 
sociologist, or the philosophical historian at anything 
like a systematic and satisfactory account of their sources 
and careers. Each institution bears presumably the in- 
fluence of a diverse character, e.g. that left by the evolu- 
tionary or historic progress of the past, that due to the 
impact of the surrounding social and physical forces, as 
well as the special mark impressed upon it through the 
peculiar genius of the race among which it flourishes or 
the particular character of its habitat. For a proper in- 
terpretation of the institutions and practices obtaining in 
India at the present day the scientist has thus to lay 
under contribution the data of archaeology, ecology, as 
well as ethnology. 

But the study of Indian social facts and phenomena 
is yet in its nonage. We are yet in the stage of col- 
lecting materials about the manifold aspects of our socio- 
economic, socio-religious, and socio-political usages and 
theories. The science of Indian sociology is only in 
the making. At this stage of our social inquiry, there- 
fore, it would be quite unscientific to pass serious judg- 



ments, or, at any rate, anything but tentative and 
provisional or hypothetical remarks, on any of the in- 
stitutions that have obtained currency in the past or are 
influencing life and thought in the present. The same 
tentative, provisional or hypothetical character should 
also really pertain to the conclusions of what in Europe 
and America have been passing for the science of 
sociology. It bespeaks an unscientific or prepossessed 
turn of mind to speak of a certain people as the chosen 
race of God or to assert that certain manly virtues are 
the monopoly of a certain coloured people on the strength 
of social studies confined within certain boundaries of 
the Western world. The interests of humanity and 
comparative literature, philosophy, art and sociology 
require the inhibition of preconceived notions about 
colour, race or climate. 

A study of the data of Indian sociology would supply 
a parallax to correct the one-sided or biased ideas about 
the truths of the human world. The materials thus 
furnished would not only place Indian social life in 
its proper perspective, but also prepare the way for the 
universal sociology of man according to the principles 
of the inductive-historical method. 

It is the object of this chapter to place some of the 
past and present facts and theories in connexion with the 
worship of Shiva. The development of the Shaiva-cum- 
Shakta cult has had a varied course in Indian history, 
having its special features imprinted on it according as 
it has prevailed among the Andhras, Cholas, Marathas, 
Rajputs, Punjabis, Kashmiris and Bengalees. It is with 
the Bengalee phase of this all-India institution that 
we are concerned here. The Bengalee socio-religious 
festival of modern times (called Gambhira in certain 
districts of North Bengal, or Gajan in Radha or Western 
Bengal, or Nfla in East Bengal) that attends the worship 


of the gods of Shaiva pantheon, is being treated under 
the following heads : (1) Theory or philosophy of the 
socio-religious institution ; (2) Geography or ethnography 
of the institution ; (3) History of the institution ; and 
(4) The institution as an instrument of national culture. 

Section I. — Theory of the Institution. 

All the affairs of the Hindu are directly or indirectly 
connected with religion. He feels no interest and can- 
not induce himself to join in any work that does not seem 
to him to possess any religious merit. It is generally 
seen, however, that people are not disposed to undertake 
any religious work purely for the sake of the work itself 
without any reference to personal gain or loss. Very 
rare is the case where a person will be found to practise 
religious observances disinterestedly, and equally rare is 
the case where the pursuit of religion will be found to 
have a place among the inviolable duties of man. With 
man, self-interest is the mainspring of action, and no 
work which will not appear to serve it will be able to 
kindle his interest or earnestness. It is for this that 
although the Gambhira is a religious institution its 
organizers are found to pay great attention to their 
secular interests. 

The devotion to Shiva and his worship is broad- 
based upon the hearts of the people. Somehow or other 
it has come to be generally believed that of all gods 
Shiva is the most easily propitiated and pleased to grant 
the desires of his devotees. This will be clearly borne 
out by a study of the popular story concerning Shiva 
and how he is pleased that is recited and listened to 
with rapt attention in the night (called Shivaratri) of the 
fourteenth day of the dark half of the month of Phalgoon. 1 

1 February-March. 

1 * 


The Shivarata (now made in honour of Shiva, as nar- 
rated in the legend concerning Vana) is a bright record 
of the blessings that one will obtain for his devotion to 
Shiva, and it has vouchsafed to his devotees happiness 
in this world and salvation in the next. These are 
found to be the chief incentives for the worship of this 

The Gambhira is thus included in the worship that 
is offered with a view to the realization of certain objects 
or the attainment of particular blessings, i.e. it is what 
is called sakama (as opposed to niskama that is prac- 
tised for its own sake). It is believed that as a result 
of observing the ceremonies making up the Gambhira 
worship as Bhakta or Sannyasin, the observer is re- 
warded with a sound and healthy body through the 
grace of Shiva. Hence it is that the Bhaktas are found 
to put on many different masks and thus play various 
parts in the Gambhira with the object and hope of 
securing thereby the pleasure and grace of the god. 
Those who join the Gambhira festivities, after having 
themselves mentally vowed to them, hope thereby for 
the realization of some particular object but do not in 
the least look forward to moksa (i.e. final emancipation). 
' Little boys and girls are made to dance before the image 
of Shiva in the Gambhira temple. Their parents allow 
this in the happy belief that they will thereby secure the 
grace of the god in the shape of health and longevity of 
life. There is another class of Bhaktas or Sannyisis who 
dance and sing in the Gambhira not from any religious 
motive but simply for the sake of the aesthetic or vulgar 
pleasure. These belong to the class of Tamasika (ignor- 
ant or following the gross principle) worshippers. 

Shiva enjoys the Gambhira festivities with his wife 
and the other members of his family. Other gods 
also grace the Gambhira on this occasion with their 


presence, and on the eve of their departure from there, 
confer their blessings on the Bhaktas. On all the days 
of these festivities, especially on the last day when the 
Ahara worship takes place, and, as is popularly believed, 
when all the gods numbering thirty-three crores 1 come 
there to attend the farewell dinner, it is strictly forbidden 
to cross the Gambhira courtyard with one's shoes on 
or with one's umbrella spread over one's head. 

Section II. — Geography of the Institution. 

Festivals like these, in which dance, music and songs, 
as well as feasts, processions and social gatherings play 
a prominent part, are held in almost every district of 

The name, however, is not the same in all the centres. 
The Gambhira of Malda is found to have been trans- 
formed into the Gajan of Radha or West Bengal. 
Again the Gajan is found to have been split in two — 
Dharma's Gajan and Shiva's Gajan. Even in the 
Radha country, and not very long ago, the name Gam- 
bhira connoted all the festivities that the Gajan now 
does. Even now in one of the Gajan songs we have 
" Bhola Maheshwara is in the gambhira ". 

The Gajan festivities are still held in Malda, Rang- 
pur, Dinajpur, Rajshahi, Pabna, Faridpur, Moorshida- 
bad, Bankura, Birbhum, Burdwan, Hughli, Nadia, the 
24 Parganas and in many other districts. 

The Chaitra 2 festivities of Orissa under the name 
Sahiyatra are but another edition of the Gambhira 
festivities. These festivities are also held in the Midna- 
pore district. 

It is clear that the Gambhira is not restricted to any 

1 Ten millions = 1 crore. 2 March- April. 


particular district, but belongs to the whole of Bengal 
and Orissa. 

Nay, we may go farther and say that it extends even 
to Assam and Burma, the modern Buddhist festivities 
of these regions bearing a close resemblance to those of 
the Gambhira. 

In Bhutan also festivities like those of the Gambhira 
are observed after expiry of the summer season. Here 
for one full fortnight music and dance are performed, 
temples lighted, and feasts given on the occasion. 

Also, when the followers of the Lama of Tibet per- 
form dance, song and music, putting on masks of animals, 
one is naturally led to think that the Gambhira at one 
time extended its sway in all directions, north and south, 
east and west. 

This will be further borne out by the fact that a time 
was when festivities similar to those of the Gambhira 
were extensively held far beyond the limits of India — 
in the islands of the Indian Ocean. Even so far back 
as the time of the Shunya Purdna we find Ramai Pandit 
to have sung " Lord Dharma was highly revered in 
Ceylon". The Vana Patha and the Paritta festivities 
of this island seem to be closely allied to the Gambhira. 
So also if we carefully study the similar festivities of far- 
off countries we are reasonably led to infer that ana- 
logues and duplicates of the Gambhira crossed the 
limits of Asia and became established in Europe and 

Thus, great festivities were held in old Greece in 
honour of the God Bacchus. 1 The votaries of these 

1 Reference is made to this in Milton's Comus : — 
: ' Meanwhile welcome joy and feast, 

Midnight shout and revelry, 

Tipsy dance and jollity ". 
Although the poet has found in this an index of the degenerated 


festivities besmeared their bodies with ink and putting 
on lambskin danced fantastically to suitable songs and 
music. Similar festivities were also held in honour of 
the Son of Bacchus. On these occasions emblematical 
images were stationed along the roads. These festivi- 
ties were closely similar to those of the Gambhira. In 
Babylon also they were observed with great pomp and 

God Osiris of Egypt resembles our Shiva in nature 
and likes and dislikes, although in form he is like the 
image of Mahakala. His wife seems to be no other 
than our Shakti. They ride Apis as our Shiva rides 
the bull. Osiris is also decorated with snakes and clad 
in skin. In that country also festivities were held in his 
honour and these have been described in Mohammedan 
books as similar to the Id festivities. Similar ceremonies 
were also observed in honour of many other greater and 
lesser gods. 

Section III. — History of the Institution. 

It would be interesting to note some of the precursors 
of the present-day socio-religious festival in Bengal. We 
give here three pictures of this institution or its analogue 
in three different ages. 

mind, yet such dances and songs were very popular in those days of 
the distant past, and putting on masks people appeared on the stage 
to perform these. Their wild and " fantastic " dance of midnight be- 
came a very serious affair. The nature of this dance is well expressed 
in the following lines : — 

" Come, knit hands, and beat the ground 
In a light fantastic round ". 

This knitting of hands, this beating the ground, this light fan- 
tastic round remind one clearly of some of the wild dances of the 

The underlying religious idea is found in the following couplet : — 

" Come, let us our rites begin ; 
'Tis only daylight that makes sin ". — Comus. 


(a) The Institution in the Mahdbhdrata. 

In the Mahdbhdrata we find very realistic scenes 
about the family of the god Shiva, and we recognize 
him as the same jolly lover of feasts and festivities. 

Shiva has been painted there absorbed in worldly 
affairs. We find him, in the time of Yudhisthira (the 
eldest of the five Pandavas, of whose exploits we read 
so much in the Mahdbhdrata), a man of the family and 
attended by a host of ghosts and goblins. In his efforts 
to obtain the Pashupata (lit. belonging to Pashupati, i.e. 
Shiva) weapon, Arjuna (the third Pandava) had to fight 
with Shiva disguised as a mountaineer. Shiva was no 
longer a simple Fire-god that he had been in the Vedas, 
but here we find him as a man. In the Himalayas was 
his home ; Parvati was his wife, and he was the head 
of a family consisting of his wife, sons and daughters. 

In ancient Vedic rites Shiva and his energy had 
places assigned to them on the sacrificial ground. It is 
in the epics, however, that form was attributed to him. 
In the Rdmdyana Shiva is found to have served as 
porter at the gate of the palace of Ravana ; and in the 
course of the Kuruksetra war also we find him en- 
gaged in guarding the entrance to some tents. These 
facts lead us to suppose that it was about this time that 
his image first began to be constructed ; and it was 
probably at the next age, if not at this, that sacrifices 
were first performed with the image of Shiva. 

The character of sacrifices was gradually becoming 
more and more complex. It was out of the question 
for Yudhisthira to think of performing his Ashwamedha 
(i.e. in which is offered the flesh of the horse) sacrifice 
with soma-rasa * (juice of the soma plant) only or with 
the lives of two or three beasts. His sacrificial ground 

1 Soma : a celebrated Vedic plant not yet identified. 


rang with the sounds of small drums called mridangas 
and conchshells, looked brisk and alive with young 
ladies, and presented a scene of revelry. King Yudhis- 
thira feasted millions of Brahmanas with pork, venison 
and various other kinds of food according to their tastes. 
The guests of both the sexes were regaled with wine, 
meat and various other kinds of food ; a vast crowd 
attended the place of sacrifice ; and from there floated 
up rich strains of melodious song and music. 

The Shiva of these times is not the Shivagni of the 
Vedic age. He is the object of worship of a particular 
religious sect. He is the presiding god of the heaven 
named Shivaloka (i.e. region of Shiva) after him. The 
Shaiva sect (also named after him) follows the line of 
worship that was laid down by him. 

Like other gods he has not to be propitiated through 
the observance of severe austerities. He is, as his name 
Ashutosa implies, easily propitiated, and his patronage 
is easily secured. 

The author of the Bh&gavata, through the lips of 
Daksa, has described the votaries of Shiva thus : — 

" Let those the purity of whose lives is lost and 
whose reasoning is clouded, embrace the Shaiva cult 
and keep on matted hair, besmear their bodies with 
ashes and put on garlands of bones. To those who are 
thus initiated the four kinds of wine, viz. Gaudi, Pausti, 
Madhvi as well as Asava (i.e. made of the juice of the 
palm-tree), are as welcome as the gods themselves." 

The sannyasis, who on their initiation into the 
Shaiva cult regaled themselves with wine and kept 
matted hair on their heads and daubed their bodies 
with ashes, were always in a state of drunkenness 
and thus worshipped Shiva. The pramathas (attend- 
ants on Shiva) were supposed to dance to the music 
struck up by small drums called damaru and other 


instruments. All the people worshipped, and held festi- 
vities in honour of, this great god with dance, song and 
music, etc. 

(6) The Institution in the Vedas. 

The pre-eminently modern character of Shaiva-cum- 
Shakta cult that we find in the Epics has, however, 
been the growth of ages. The preceding Vedic litera- 
ture furnishes important stages in the evolution of 
Shaivaism. We can vividly realize the processes by 
which the complex institution of the present day with 
its paraphernalia of image, temples, votaries, tortures, 
songs, revelries, etc., seems to have evolved out of the 
simple primitive sacrificial festive rites. 

From time immemorial people are found to have 
gathered to offer up prayers to gods and to hold re- 
ligious festivities with music, song and dance. We get 
sufficient glimpses into those festivities, and the ancient 
literature bears a clear testimony to the fact that fes- 
tivities like the Gajan are not altogether new. 

At harvest time festivities were held in honour of 
the gods with feasts, dance and music. People wor- 
shipped the Sun -god and the Fire-god, and offered to 
them the produce of their fields, a thrilling draught 
of the juice of the soma plant known as soma-rasa 
and the flesh of beasts. At the conclusion of these 
sacrifices, the villagers assembled and partook of the 

People of the Vedic age offered worship and hymns 
to Varuna, Indra, Mitra (the Sun-god), the twin sons 
of Suryya (who were physicians to the gods) and the 
Ribhus (a host of spirits raised by Bhrigu from the 
fire kindled at the sacrifice of Daksa). They offered 
to these deities the delicious beverage known as soma- 


rasa, and then they regaled themselves with this offered 
drink ; men and women joined together in dancing and 
singing songs selected from the Sdma veda, etc., in 
honour of these gods and thus passed the day in great 

Then as the society became more advanced in cul- 
ture and grew more populous, these Vedic festivities 
also came to acquire greater pomp and grandeur. Each 
festivity was attended by a much larger concourse of 
people, and dance, song, music and other amusements 
were provided on a larger scale and the soma-rasa was 
consumed in a much larger quantity. 

The old festivities became more and more complex, 
and the insatiable imagination went on inventing newer 
ones to keep up the craze for amusements. 

The God of Fire came to be imagined in many dif- 
ferent forms, and complex sacrificial festivities were in- 
stituted on large scales. In these, however, Agni (the 
Fire-god) was not the only recipient of worship ; Angira 
and Sutratma as Virata (one of the first offsprings of 
Brahma) also came in for their shares. Their sons also, 
as descendants of Agni, were allowed a share in the 
sacrificial offerings besides having altars set apart for their 
seats. Thus with his sons, daughters and their progeny, 
the line of Agni became a very long one, and Achis- 
matt, Havismati and Mahamati received worship as dif- 
ferent forms of Agni. 

Nay, human imagination went a step farther and 
created wives for the Fire-gods. With them on their 
left sides they sat to receive worship. With Tara, wife 
of the Fire-god named Vrihaspati, the great sacrifices of 
Darsha and Paurnamasa began to be celebrated with 
great pomp. 

With the feeling of necessity for meat was intro- 
duced the horse-sacrifice. We come across the Shanyu 


Agni first in connexion with the Chaturmasya (extend- 
ing over four months) horse sacrifice. His second son 
Bharatagni was offered pitcherfuls of clarified butter ; 
and one of his descendants, viz. Siddhi-Agni, came to 
be the presiding deity of the Agni-daivata sacrifice. 

Visnu, Pinchajanya and Agni were worshipped in 
the Darsha (the new moon) and Paurnamasa (the full 
moon) sacrifices. Shivagni who was devoted to the 
worship of Shakti (divine energy personified), was also 
worshipped at these sacrifices and before him beasts were 
sacrificed. Hence this fire came to be regarded as a 
form of the destructive energy. 

The first followers of the Vedas, thinking the setting 
sun to be tired, offered worship to him under the name 
of Prashantagni (i.e. Pacified Fire). Kratu (Sacri- 
fice Personified) received worship as Niyatagni (i.e. 
Permanent Fire). Fires named Shiva, Visnu, Kratu, 
etc., and Agni (Fire-god) himself were regarded as 
luminous fires. Sacrifices were performed with wine, 
meat and other articles of food and drink and also with 
music, song and dance. 

It may be safely inferred that although in those days 
image-worship was not probably in vogue, yet it was 
the idea of these various Fire-gods with their wives, as 
imagined for sacrificial purposes, that was the real origin 
of the image-worship introduced at a later age. The 
germ of image-worship lay hidden in the imagination 
which influenced human nature to think of the necessity 
of a wife for the Fire-god. 

(c) The Institution as Described by Hiuen Thsang. 

From what may be called the formative stages of 
the institution we come to the broad daylight of history. 
And we find that in the days of Harsavardhana, in the 
seventh century of the Christian era, which enjoyed as 


a heritage the rich bequest of Vikramadityan culture, 
something like the present-day processions, street- 
songs, and social gatherings were religiously attended 
by both the Emperor and the dependent Princes 
themselves, to the entire satisfaction of the Hindu 
and Buddhist subjects. In the Imperial socio-religious 
ceremony that was witnessed by Hiuen Thsang, the 
Chinese Master of Law, we can see the counterpart of 
the existing institution of the people with the modifi- 
cations due to that epoch of toleration and religious 

Bright traces of the festivities that were noticed by 
the Chinese travellers, Fa Hien and Hiuen Thsang, 
have been left in their literature. The Chariot fes- 
tivities held in honour of Buddha, the installation of 
the Buddhist Trinity in the temple, the dance, song 
and music that attended all these festivities, the flocking 
of the country-folk from far and near to towns on these 
occasions and their passing sleepless nights in revelries 
— all these seem to be but an outcome of the Vedic 
and Epic festivities or rather a repetition of them in 
newer forms. 

From the report of Hiuen Thsang it is evident 
that during his stay in this country the Emperor of 
Northern India celebrated a great Buddhist festival at 
his capital Kanauj, in connexion with which wonderful 
festivities were held and grand entertainments provided. 
Emperor Harsa himself played the part of Indra, and his 
friend, Bhaskara Varmi (Kumaradeva), lord of Assam, 
appeared disguised as Brahma. This taking part in 
the Buddhist festivities by Kings in the guise of non- 
Buddhist gods seems to indicate that old Buddhism had 
been losing its hold and was becoming identified with 

Another festival was held at Allahabad. Worship 


was offered on the first day of these festivities to the 
image of Buddha, on the second day to that of the 
Sun-god, and on the third to that of Shiva ; and in 
connexion with these the above ceremonies were ob- 
served and entertainments given. It is not unlikely that 
in the neighbouring territories also similar festivities 
were held. 

In course of time these festivities became prevalent 
throughout the country and it became a custom to en- 
tertain the images of Buddha, the Sun-god and Shiva 
by putting on the guises of Hindu gods and goddesses. 

And eventually the Buddhists replaced the Hindu 
Shiva and Parvati by Bodhisattva Manjushri and his 
personified energy or wife Arya Tara respectively. 
There is good reason to suppose that the Buddhists 
resorted to this method of modifying their religion 
to suit the tastes of the people, only with a view 
to replacing Hinduism altogether. • In many places 
stone images of their Bodhisattva were constructed and 

Section IV. — The Institution as an Instrument 
of National Culture. 

The Gambhira institution is a potent factor of mass- 
education. The educative influence of such agencies 
as popular festivals is very well illustrated by their effects 
upon the literature, arts, industries, morals and public 
spirit of the people who take part in this socio-religious 
ceremony in connexion with the worship of Shiva. 

(a) Influence on Bengali Literature. 

Improved tone and healthy development always come 
to a language through the channel of religion. Litera- 
ture has largely flourished and gained in strength, beauty 
and sweetness as the handmaid of religion in our 


country as elsewhere. The literature of India reached 
a high development under the influence of Buddhism 
in the land. The Puranas and the literary works based 
on them owed their tone and style to religious culture. 
The growth and expansion of Bengali literature went 
hand in hand with the propagation of the Vaisnava 
faith by Chaitanya. The musical powers of the 
country-poets have also displayed themselves through 
the Shaiva cult as fostered by the Gambhira festivities. 
The songs of the Gambhira have flowed from the 
hearts of the village poets and have carried currents 
of devotion, love and poetry to the hearts of the mass. 
And as results of this there have been a continuous 
stream of national poetry and births of minnesingers, 
volksdichters and litterateurs. Many Ramaprasidas and 
many Chandidasas (the former was a saintly poet of the 
eighteenth century and the latter a poet of consider- 
able parts in the fourteenth) have thus owed their origin 
to the Gambhira. The sweet and melodious poems of 
these born poets have diffused, far and wide, like sweet 
flowers, the rich fragrance of their music. The growth 
and development of rural literature and folk-poesy in 
Bengal are solely due to the energy that institutions like 
the Gambhira have ever called into existence. 

The artful diction, the rich style and the high sen- 
timents of Bharatachandra, Chandidasa and Jayadeva 
are even now met with in the songs composed for the 
Gambhira. Even in the Lays of Visahari (songs relat- 
ing to the Goddess of Snakes) there are many proofs of 
the authors' thoughtfulness and deep religious fervour. 
In his song beginning with "Thou knowest quite well 
the art of weaving, O Lord ! " poet Harimohana of 
Sahapur (village in Malda) has displayed the same lofty 
character of a Sadhaka, the same spirit of devotion and 
the same thoughtfulness as the renowned Ramaprasada. 


The Gambhira festivities thus do not only provide three 
days' amusements for the people of a few villages of a 
certain district of Bengal, but have a far-reaching con- 
sequence. They promote largely the national spirit of 
the Bengalee people. To enrich the Bengali language 
and literature, to improve the tone of thought of the 
Bengalees, to raise higher their standard of culture, to 
create a lofty national ideal for them — we have the 
Gambhira of Malda as an effective means. 

The distinguished poet Baradacharana Mitra was 
present at the sitting of the North Bengal Literary 
Conference at Malda. The following are his re- 
marks about the songs of the Gambhira held on the 
occasion : — 

" From the representation of to-day I have come to 
learn that herein lie hidden the germs of progress for the 
drama of educated Bengal. It is beautiful in all its parts 
and we have much to know and learn from it. In the 
Gambhira representation we have nothing of the arti- 
ficialities of the yitra or the theatre, here we have 
sincere and natural outbursts of the unsophisticated life 
of the villager. I have heard these songs to-day with 
an inexpressible pleasure. In these natural words of 
the heart, denuded of all linguistic flourish, is to be found 
a perennial source of deep happiness. 

" Many of our prominent poets and authors are 
present here to-day and have themselves experienced 
the effect of naturalness in literature. I believe that if 
they will hereafter strive to introduce in their works 
this element of artless sincerity, their productions will 
acquire a real force in our life. 

" We should, all of us, do our best to see that ancient 
festivities of Bengal like those of the Gambhira do not 
die out." 

The following remarks about Gambhira literature 


are reproduced from The Collegian of Calcutta (No. 1, 
September, 1913): — 

" A very interesting paper was read by Kumud 
nath Lahiri at the last North Bengal Literary Con- 
ference held at Dinajpur and has been published in 
two issues of the Grihastka, a Bengali monthly of the 
first rank. The writer has introduced to the literary 
public several men of letters, poets, musicians, dancers, 
etc., whose performances give delight to thousands of 
inhabitants of the district of Malda. Their number 
is legion, and some of them display exceptionally high 
powers of versification and imagination. Most of 
them half-educated and unlettered, their productions 
are the spontaneous outcome of unsophisticated souls 
rich in sentiment and culture. The Grihastka doubts 
very much if among the so-called educated classes 
there are men so really influential and ' immortal ' as 
these who may be compared to the bards, minstrels 
and charanas of mediaeval India. Their songs cover 
almost every department of human thought and ac- 
tivity, love, domestic morality, social satire, economic 
reforms, religion, etc., and live from mouth to mouth 
for generations. . . . They are the poets of the poor 
and the lowly, and have a position in our society 
something like that of Langland, Gray, Collins and 
Burns among English-speaking people. Many are the 
institutions in Bengal which diversify the people's life 
in this way ; and men of letters like these who grow up 
in their connexion are the real mass-educators and 
social reformers of the country." 

(b) The Gambhird and the Folk- Arts. 

The Gambhira is not an institution simply for provid- 
ing two or three days' amusement. With the cultivation 
of literature, it also kindles the love of the fine arts. A 


spirit of excelling in decoration naturally takes possession 
of the hearts of the leaders of the several Gambhtra parties ; 
and as a result of this there springs up a keen competi- 
tion, and no pains are spared to make the decoration of 
each pandal as nice as possible. 

The spirit of competition expresses itself in two 
ways. First, with reference to the construction of the 
images of gods and goddesses. These have to be made 
in accordance with the descriptions found in legends 
or in Skilpa Skdstras (treatises on arts and crafts), but at 
the same time there have to be introduced the elements 
of novelty and diversity. The image of Shiva is made 
in accordance with Puranic descriptions, but the painters 
draw on their canvases various artful pictures and these 
are used to add to the decoration of the Gambhira 
house. As there is scope for novelty and variety, the 
painters are actuated by a feeling of emulation and 
strive to make these pictures as exquisite as they can. 
Owing to the spirit of competition growing keener and 
keener, the pictures of recent times have shown much 
improvement upon their predecessors, and the painters 
have learnt to produce from imagination more and 
more beautiful pieces. 

Secondly, with reference to the various items of de- 
coration. Imitation fruits and flowers made of clay, 
Indian cork and wax have been largely used in the 
decoration of the Gambhira pandals, and thus have 
helped to create a taste for improved fine arts. In 
mediaeval times Malda was specially noted for such 
works of art. 

The cornices, etc., of the Gambhira pandal are nicely 
made with paper. Beautiful fringes are made also with 
the same material, variously perforated with small files. 
These are very pretty to look at. There are many 
people who can make really exquisite things out of 


paper. This is an old art. The artists exhibited 
their skill by making flags and banners, lotuses and 
other flowers with paper, and the competition that was 
called into existence in this field helped not a little in 
making the art attain a gradually higher standard. 

The alipana is a characteristic product of the Indian 
art of painting. It consists in variously painting the 
floors and walls of a house or its courtyard with the 
paste of rice-powder on festive occasions. It was pro- 
bably first invented by the fair sex. This has also been 
an item in the decoration of Gambhira temples. Even 
here competition was rife, and the female painters of 
the several Gambhira parties tried to show their utmost 
skill. In this way even such a thing as the simple 
alipana has considerably improved. 

The Gambhira has supplied a stimulus also to the art 
of weaving. On such festive occasions various kinds of 
fine cloth have been largely in demand, and the local 
weavers competed with one another not only in supply- 
ing them but also in improving the art. 

Hence it will be seen that the Gambhira does not 
merely provide amusement for the people with dance, 
song and music, but it largely helps in awakening in the 
minds of men those springs of action that are the main 
causes of the improvement of literature and the fine 

(c) The Institution as a School of Moral Training. 

While, on the one hand, the Gambhira festival edu- 
cates the tastes and artistic sense of the people by in- 
fluencing the folk-poesy and handicrafts, it is, on the 
other, a powerful school of moral education and political 

The Gambhira has been a reformer of social defects 
and evils. People learn from it an earnestness and a 


capacity to work in a body for their common good. 
The truth that although independent in their individual 
affairs, the members of a society are but parts of the 
same unit, is well taught through their joint work for 
the Gambhira. 

Besides, the singers of the Gambhira publish, as it 
were, in and through their songs, an annual report of 
the social life, and thus largely help in improving its 
tone. The hidden offences and secret vices of indi- 
viduals are exposed by them, and thus very valuable 
services are rendered to morals. 

There is a tradition with the Gambhira minnesingers 
that sinners should confess x their own sins to be absolved 
from them. Very few persons are, however, found now- 
a-days to conform to this rule. But the Gambhiri is 
not prepared to let them off so easily. When one person 
commits an offence and tries to conceal it some other 
person makes a dramatic representation of the whole 
case in the Gambhira before a large audience. This 
serves as a double-barrelled gun. It makes not only the 
offender ashamed of himself but has a deterrent effect 
also upon the audience. They dare not repeat it 
overtly or covertly for fear of this terrible exposure. 
Judged from the social standpoint, the Gambhira will 
thus appear to be at once the guide, protector and re- 
former of society. 

(d) The Institution as a School of Public Life. 

Politics also has a place in the Gambhiri. The 
principle that works here is a very simple and ancient 
one. The Gambhira festivities equip the people with 
the strength of unity and create in them a sincere desire 
to combine in the realization of a common cause. 
Further, to regulate this strength and energy, heroes 
1 Vide pp. 135-6. 


grow up from among themselves, each of whom volun- 
tarily takes upon himself the responsibility of a depart- 
ment. Under each leader, again, there are several 
lieutenants, who avail themselves of his guidance and 
thus learn how to work in a methodical way. The 
Gambhira will thus be found to be a healthy organiza- 
tion. And it is this which has brought into force the 
system of administration by the Mandala or Headman, 
and it may also be taken to have helped in the growth 
of the Panchayet system (lit. government by five, i.e. 
management of village affairs by a body of competent 

The Mandalika system works exactly as a political 
organization. When discussing a subject affecting all 
his people or when he sits in judgment upon social of- 
fences of small magnitude, the Mandala does not sit 
alone but has the " Varika" or "Paramanika" to help 
him as his minister. All his people are invited to 
attend at the time of the trial. There are special 
messengers for summoning the people on this occa- 
sion. All these officers are honorary public servants. 
This practice has been in vogue from very early 
times. It is with the help of the Mandala that 
village administration is carried on. It will thus be seen 
that the assembly presided over by the Mandala is really 
but a miniature form of the Royal Court. On entering 
the assembly the members have to lower their heads 
in honour of "the five". This "five" represents the 
whole body of members or rather their united strength. 
Then meditating on "the five Narayanas" and imagin- 
ing themselves to have assembled before the energy of 
Narayana (God Visnu), the members commence the 
work of the assembly. No sympathy is seen to be felt 
with the offender, nor does any member venture to show, 
even if he feels at heart, any sympathy with him. The 


punishment inflicted is of two kinds : a fine may be im- 
posed upon the offender, or he may be ordered to pro- 
ceed to holy places to expiate his offence. The fine, 
when realized, is deposited with the Mandala to be 
spent thereafter on some common good and not for the 
benefit of any one individual. Again, the budget of the 
Gambhlra is passed and all other affairs relating to it are 
settled with common consent. It is evident from this 
that sound political principles are at work in the Gam- 
bhira organization. Further, it need be noted that the 
reverential attitude towards the Council of the Five as 
if it were an assembly of five gods indicates the demo- 
cratic spirit as expressed in the formula, vox populi vox 
deii. Students of world's mediaeval political institutions 
are well aware through the researches of Maine, Elphin- 
stone, Baden-Powell and others that the Indian Village 
Communities 1 (the analogues of Russian Mirs) were 
indigenous republican organizations of self-government, 
self-legislation, and local self-taxation for local purposes. 

1 Vide Dutt's Economic History of India. See also the account 
of Chola Administration (tenth-eleventh century) in Aiyangar's 
Ancient India. 

Section I. — Importance of Vernaculars. 

"With the analysis of the universe taught by the San- 
khya and the disciplines of the Yoga," says Principal 
P. T. Shrinivas Iyengar in the introduction to his trans- 
lation of the Shiva-Sutra- Vimarsini of Ksemaraja in the 
"Indian Thought Series," 1 "were welded in the Vais- 
nava and Shaiva schools, also the love of a personal God The meta- 
and the belief that God's grace is a necessary antecedent shaivSsm. 
of individual salvation. This provision for devotion to 
a distinct personal God enabled these cults to oust their 
rivals, the Bauddha and the Jaina, and to continue to 
our days to be the living religions of India, in spite of 
the supposed superiority of the Vedanta." 

The above extract puts in a nutshell the whole 
history and philosophy of Indian Shaiva-cum-Shaktaism. 
One or other of the forms of this cult have commanded 
for centuries, and do still command, the devotion of 
thousands of men and women in all parts of India 
among the Kashmiris, Punjabis, Rajputs, Marathas, 
Southerners, Andhras and Bengalees. In spite of the 
rigidity and inflexibility of customs and social life 
brought about by codification of laws in recent times, 
and notwithstanding the narrow provincial spirit of the 

1 Edited by Dr. Ganganath Jha and Dr. Thibaut. Vide Sir 
Bhandarkar's Vaisnavism, Shaivism and Minor Religious Systems, 
and also Chatterji's Kashmir Shaivaism. 



Anaii-india modern educated Indians, due to the growth of habits 
fact- and sentiments in watertight administrative compart- 

ments, the soul of India is really one. It would be 
interesting to study how in the absence of railways and 
telegraphs and printing presses in ancient and mediaeval 
times "one touch of Nature made," as it were, the whole 
Indian "world kin". It is at this age difficult to con- 
ceive the manifold processes of social intermixture and 
cultural rapprochements that made possible the nitration 
of ideas both horizontally and vertically. The kaleido- 
scopic political changes which shifted the vital centres 
of gravity from people to people, province to province, 
and district to district, and necessarily converted the 
borderlands or buffer-States of one epoch into prominent 
seats of political and cultural life of the next, and oc- 
casionally diverted the stream of civilization from a 
sometime stronghold of paramount ideas along new and 
untrodden channels, are hardly visible to us to-day be- 
cause of the paucity of historical details bearing on them. 
On the other hand, the translation of higher culture 
into the tongues of the people of the various parts from 
the common storehouse of Sanskrit, the lingua franca 
of educated India through the ages, and the necessary 
modifications or adaptations have imparted a local colour- 
ing and distinctive tone to the all-India Hindu traditions, 
sentiments and customs in the several parts of the 
country. Social and religious life of the people of India 
has thus been for ages governed not simply by the texts 
of the Shastras in Sanskrit (which, by the by, also could 
not escape the natural adaptation to the conditions of 
time and place), but also really and to a powerful extent 
by the vast mass of vernacular literature, both secular 
and religious, that grew up side by side with and 
eventually replaced the original storehouse. Tulsidasa, 
Krittivasa and Tukarama are a few of the numerous 


provincial poets and singers who have governed the its local 
thoughts and activities of the people. In fact, the di- diversities> 
versity that characterizes the customs and festivals, 
hymns and rituals of the people in different parts of India 
in the self-same socio-religious institution is so great to- 
day that it is difficult to perceive the unity underlying 

The present-day Shaivaism or Shaiva-cum-Shak- 
taism presents such a diversity of rites and ceremonies. 
In this chapter it is proposed to give an account of a 
modern socio-religious festival that has grown up in 
connexion with the worship of Shiva in certain districts 
of Bengal. The districts, again, present the same vari- 
ety and diversity not only in name but also in the actual 
incidents of worship. 1 

A study of the Gambhira festival, both in its 
present and past forms would reveal how Shaivaism has 
assimilated and ultimately swallowed up both Buddhism 
and Jainism in Bengal. It will also bring into pro- 
minence the place that vernacular literature ought to 
occupy in Indian historical research as representing the 
processes of this conquest and defeat. To all students 
of comparative mythology and sociology the study of 
Indian vernaculars will thus be found to be a desidera- 
tum. For a proper interpretation of the forces that 
have contributed to the building up of Indian civiliza- 

1 A voluminous literature that directly or indirectly pertains to 
the subject has been collected in the form of old Bengali manu- 
scripts through the efforts of literary associations like the Bangiya 
Sahitya Parisat of Calcutta and the numerous institutions in the 
districts affiliated to it, and educational institutions like the District 
Council of National Education, Malda, as well as the private efforts 
of research scholars like Mr. Nagendranath Vasu, editor of Vish- 
wakosa in Bengali, Mr. Dineschandra Sen, author of the History 
of Bengali Language and Literature, and Mr. Haridas Palit, author 
of Adyer Gambhira. 


tion the future historian would have to depend more 
and more on Tamil, 1 Bengali, Marathi and Hindi. 

Section II.— Salutation-Songs in Bengali 


Before proceeding to describe the various parts of 
the Gambhira festivities we give some of the Bengali 
folk-hymns that are recited by the devotees before their 
god Shiva on the festival days. The Vandands or 
Salutation-songs are in manuscript. These are the 
compositions of village poets and poetasters, and give 
an account of the various methods adopted by the 
Bhaktas or votaries to purify in mind and thought 
both themselves as well as the temple, pandal, cot- 
tages, the four quarters, and all the paraphernalia of 
the festival. The cosmogony adopted in these rustic 
songs indicates the peculiar channel through which the 
popular mind has grown in these parts of Eastern 
India, and would be interesting to scholars who have 
devoted themselves to the study of Indian sociology. 
To a certain extent, the literature of the Gambhiri- 
cycles may be aptly compared with the mysteries and 
miracle-plays in Old English 2 and the iVo-plays of 

On the days of the Chhota Tamasa 3 and the Bada 
Tamasa 4 the Bhaktas gather together at dusk in the 
Gambhira house. The Mandala of the Gambhira or 
the chief votary stands up, cane in hand, like the village 
schoolmaster, and makes the other votaries stand in a 
row before him. Then they begin simultaneously to 

1 Mr. S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar has in his scholarly historical 
work, Ancient India, demonstrated the value of Tamil in the con- 
struction of South Indian history. 

2 Vide The Mediceval Stage, by Chambers. 

3 Lesser festivities. i Greater festivities. 


sing aloud the hymn in front of the image of Shiva, under 
the tutoring of the chief votary, who sings first. During 
the offering of the hymns till the commencement of 
Arati (the presentation of lights, the smoke of burnt 
incenses and of the sounding bell to a god, jointly 
called wave-offering), the votaries have to stand on one 
leg only, and with the completion of each part of several 
hymns they have to advance two paces on one foot only 
and then to return in the same way to their former 
places. Comparing the Gambhtra hymns of different 
villages, one will, no doubt, find some differences among 
them, but the underlying idea will appear to be the same 
in all. 

Section III. — Specimen i. 

The first specimen of Salutation-song is given below. 1 

1. Whence do you come, O Lord, and where isTheinvoca- 
your home ? (you are a mysterious being), you come l0 
every day but never (we observe with wonder) do you 

take any food or drink. When there is no land or 
water but only an immense void, you do rest on (such a 
volatile thing as) camphor and live upon air only. 

Oh, what a God of Gods is our Shivanatha, Lord 
Shiva ! 

2. There was neither land nor water nor the region Dharma as 
of gods ; (only) Dharma managed somehow to abide as h^ory irfthe 
Void. The crab was sent by him under the earth and creation of 'the 

. , - . . , .-p.,. world. The 

it fetched a lump of earth as big as a dot. 1 o this was tortoise as its 
added another, as big as a sesamum seed, and to this yet last su PP° rt - 
another as big as a marmelos fruit (Vela) ; and thus was 
the world created (and placed) on the back of the tor- 
toise. Thus do I narrate before this assembly the 
history of the world's creation, as told by my Lord 

1 It is in the possession of Babu Gadadhara Das of Dhantala, 


(spiritual) preceptor through the favour of Saraswati 
(the Goddess of Knowledge). 

Oh, what a God of Gods is our Shivanatha ! 

Purification 3. There is the Lalgiri hill with Darsana as its door ; 

and the whole but I was not born on that. (The line is obscure, un- 

body- less it means that I was not born in the usual way.) 

(Hence) my hands are pure, my feet are pure and pure 
are the words of my five mouths (Shiva or Mahadeva 
being represented as having five mouths), although I 
have not worshipped Bhavani the first deity (represent- 
ing entire divine energy). I know my body is pure, 
standing before the door of Shiva, who is older than the 
Agama (the esoteric scripture of the Hindus) and the 

Oh, what a God of Gods is our Shivanatha ! 

Purification 4. The Ulluka (gibbon) says, it is the Guru (spiritual 

of the temple. \ u • if r 1 ■ t t 1 1 ■ 1 

preceptor) who is the cause of this. Under his orders 
the four corners of the temple have become purified. 
Here sits the Guru, the Lord of Gods in the temple 
with his mind (concentrated). His words have purified 
my votaries. 

Oh, what a God of Gods is our Shivanatha ! 
Creation of 5. Under orders of Kamakhya (another name of 

Chandi), Kala (the name of a blacksmith) shaped a bill- 
hook. Brahma (the creator) sits in the front, Visnu 
(the protector) in the rear, and Shiva (the destroyer) in 
the middle. Remembering the name of Shiva, beings 
have fallen into the mouth this day (i.e. have come into 
existence). 1 

Oh, what a God of Gods is our Bholanatha (another 
name of Shiva) or Shivanatha ! 
The descent 6. Kapila (the cow mentioned in the Puranas as 
Her birth' possessing divine powers) of heaven came down to the 

J It probably refers to the story that Brahma created the Brah- 
mana from his mouth. 


earth ; and Vishweshwara (lit. the lord of the universe, 
a name of Shiva) mounted his bull (and also came down). 
She supports the world of men, and her udder, which 
gives milk, curds, ghee and buttermilk, purifies the 
earth. I do tell the story of the birth of Kapila before 
this gathering, as I heard it from the lips of my Lord, 
the (spiritual) preceptor through the grace of Saraswati. 
Oh, what a God, etc. 

7. Alas! Mahadeva (Shiva), what are you doing churning of 
(thus), sitting (so idly) ! The other gods came down ^ "^"and 
in a body and they have churned the ocean. (Of the distribution of 
prizes thus obtained) Indra (the King of gods) has taken e pnzes ' 
the Uchchaisrava horse, and Narayana (another name of 

Visnu) has possessed himself of Laksmt (the Goddess of 
Fortune) ; and the other gods have distributed the rest 
among themselves. Being last (to claim your share) 
you are only to be deceived. (At this) Mahadeva cried 
out in anger, "What am I to do now? " 
Oh, what a God, etc. 

8. Make your salutation to land, water and to the Salutation to 
Gambhira of Vuda (oldest, meaning the First Person) theGambhlra ' 
Shiva, and also to the songs (hymns in praise) of Sara- 
swati, the Goddess of Knowledge. We bow low at the 

feet of Shiva who rides an ox. 

Oh, what a God of Gods is our Datinatha (Lord of invocation of 
the givers of boons ; another name of Shiva) or Shiva- l e g0 s ' 

9. (Make your salutation, etc.) Let us bow low at 
the feet of Ganesha (the bestower of success) who has 
come riding a mouse. 

Oh, what a, etc. 

10. (Make your salutation, etc.) Let us bow low 
at the feet of Kartika (the God of War) who rides a 

Oh, what a, etc. 


ii. (Make your salutation, etc.) Let us bow low 
at the feet of Laksmi who has come riding an owl. 
Oh, what a, etc. 

12. (Make your salutation, etc.) Let us bow low 
at the feet of Gamga (the presiding deity of the Ganges 
— wife of Shiva) who has come riding a makara (a fabu- 
lous marine creature something like the seal). 

Oh, what a, etc. 

13. (Make your salutation, etc.) Let us bow low 
at the feet of Durga (a name of Chandi, represented as 
having ten hands) who has come riding a lion. 

Oh, what a, etc. 

14. (Make your salutation, etc.) Let us bow low 
at the feet of Yama (Lord of Death) who has come 
riding a buffalo. 

15. (Make your salutation, etc.) Let us bow low 
at the feet of Brahma, the creator who has come riding 
a swan. 

Oh, what a, etc. 

16. (Make your salutation, etc.) Let us bow low 
at the feet of the thirty crores (three hundred millions) 
of gods who have come on the backs of gibbons. 

Oh, what a, etc. 

17. (Make your salutation, etc.) Let us bow low at 
the feet of those (gods), whose names we do not know. 

Oh, what a, etc. 
The opening 1 8. The horse is white and the palina (caparison) 
of the gates. j s ma( j e f t h e r j c h c i th known as net. Blessed be 

(the name of) Jagannatha (Lord of the Universe, also 
a name of the creator), the watchman (Kotala). As 
ordered by him, let me out through the southern gate. 
The southern Over the southern gate presides the blessed Jagan- 
s ate - natha. In his puri (there is here a pun. The word Puri 

means a town ; there is also a town of this name in Orissa, 
where the image of Jagannatha is worshipped) people 


purchase cooked rice for their food, and in the absence of 
water in the Kamandalu (a water-pot, more generally 
used by ascetics), they rub their (unclean) hands * over 
their heads (meaning that through the influence of the 
god there is observed here no caste distinction nor any 
differentiation between physical purity and impurity, 
everything being pure in the holy atmosphere of this 
sacred place). 

Oh, what a, etc. 

19. The horse is white and the caparison is made of The western 
the rich cloth known as net. Blessed be (the name of) gate " 
Jagannatha, the watchman. As ordered by him, now 

let me out through the western gate. 

Over the western gate presides the eleventh Bhima 
(a name of Mahadeva or Shiva, meaning the awful). I 
bow down at his feet. 

Oh, what a, etc. 

20. The horse is white, etc. At the northern gate The northern 
keeps watch Bhanu Bhaskara Raya (meaning probably gate> 

the glorious Sun-god. Bhanu and Bhaskara, both re- 
fer to the Sun. Raya means, of the royal line, honour- 
able. Hence it may be taken to mean glorious). 
Oh, what a, etc. 

21. The horse is white, etc. At Kamarupa(a town The eastern 
in Assam), which is the eastern gate, keeps watch, under gate - 
orders of Chandi, (represented here as) the daughter of 

a Hindi (belonging to the lowest class of Hindus), the 
(goddess) Kamakhya (the same goddess in another form 
and under a different name). I bow low at her feet. 
Oh, what a, etc. 

Section IV. — Specimen 2. 

A comparatively large account is to be found in 
an old manuscript which is in the possession of Babu 

1 The rule generally is to wash the hands clean with water after 



Creation of 

Creation of 

The story of 
the birth of 
Ghata and 

Kisorimohan Das of Radhanagar in Malda. We quote 
the hymns below : — 

i. We are anxious to know, O Lord, how you 
managed to abide in the form of the Void at the time of 
the universal deluge. 

He (the Lord) ordered the crab, of golden hue and 
born in the line of charioteers (Sutayoni), to fetch earth. 

The crab fetched a lump of earth in the shape of an 
egg. (And) the egg burst into two. 

(This is) how the world was created by the Lord 

Oh, what a, etc. 

2. Earth, Earth, Earth. — By whom was it created? 
— Brahma, Visnu and Maheshwara, the three together 
produced it. 

Kala, the expert blacksmith, shaped out the bill-hook. 
(They) ascertaining well its (probably meaning the egg) 
head, middle and end, applied the bill-hook to it. 

(Of the three parts thus made) Brahma takes his 
seat on the head, Visnu on the end, and Shiva on the 
middle. Let the creatures take their seats on the place 
where dwells the twelfth Shiva. 

Oh, what a God, etc. 

Earth, Earth, Earth. — By whom was it created ? 
— Brahma, Visnu and Maheshwara, the three together 
produced it. 

(Hearing this) the potter Kala cried out: "Yes, 
O Gosain (Lord), now have I remembered (all this)". 

3. This Kala potter had one or two brothers. They 
prepared clay and deposited it in several places. 

After the clay was prepared they put it on the wheel, 
and then, by two and a half turns of the wheel, they 
turned out the Danker patila (an earthen vessel with a 
mirror in it, placed in front of the image) and Ghata 
(pitcher) and Dhuvchi (vessel for burning incense in). 


These were dried by the Sun-god and burnt by 
Brahma (here the Fire-god), and the thirty crores of 
gods uttered their benedictions on them. 

Thus have I told in this assembly the birth story of 
Ghata and Dhuvchi. 

Oh, what a God, etc. 

4. On a white bedstead is a white seat and on that Salutation to 
white seat a white throne. Dharma Niranjana (lit JJJJSS 
meaning spotless, pure, white) has seated himself on the °harma 
white bedstead. Niranjana - 

The Lord is white both when he assumes a form 
and when he becomes formless ; and, hear me, through 
the grace of his white feet he has saved the world. 

Oh, what a God, etc. 

5. Rise, get up, O Sadashiva (the same as Shiva), The waking 
shake off your sleep ; for, behold, the devotees (followers) "Lafromhis 
of Aula * have come here to pay their homage to you. sleep. 

1 On inquiry as to who these devotees of Aula were, and why they 
came to the Gambhird to tender their homage to the Gambhira Deity, 
it has been found that they formed rather a new sect following the 
creed of Aula CMnd. A brief account of the life and teachings of 
this Aula Chand will not be deemed out of place here. 

" There was in the village of Ula a certain Barui (one who grows 
and sells betels) under the name of Mahadeva. 

" On the first Friday of the month of Phalgoon (February-March) 
in 1 616 a.d., he found in his betel- field an eight-year-old boy of 
unknown parentage. He took him home, brought him up with 
affection and gave him the name of Puma chandra. It was this 
foundling who was afterwards known as Aula ChUnd. For twenty- 
seven long years he travelled from place to place and through the 
influence of his teaching succeeded in winning over Ramasarana 
Pala to his faith. He founded a new creed and had twenty-two 
followers, among whom Laksmik&nta, Krisna Dasa and Visnu Dasa 
are the best known. In 1691 a.d., Aula Chand breathed his last. 

" He assumed the Koupina (a piece of cloth worn over the loins) 
and went out with a kantha (rags sewed up together in the form of a 
thin quilt) on his person. He used to impart instruction in Bengali 



Open your doors of sandal-wood so that they may 
give you milk and water of the Ganges (they have 

and looked upon the Hindus and the Mohammedans without dis- 
tinction. With him caste had no meaning. The followers of this 
sect look up to him as an incarnation of God. According to them 
Krisna chandra (Krisna of Nadia), Gaura chandra (Chaitanya of 
Nadia) and Aula chandra are but one and the same, being one in 
three and three in one. They say that it was the Mahaprabhu 
(Chaitanya) himself, who after his disappearance from Purusottama 
(Puri), reappeared in the guise of Aula Mahaprabhu (lit. the great 
Lord). He had many names, such as Phakir, Thakur, Sain, Gosain. 
Probably the name Aula was given him by his Mohammedan followers 
or admirers, from the Persian word Aulia, meaning one possessing 
divine powers. He is said to have performed many miracles, one 
among them being his crossing the Ganges with sandals on. Wise 
men of this sect say that their religion consists in worshipping the 
Maker alone, although idol-worship is also in vogue among them. 
The Gurus, spiritual preceptors of this sect, are styled Mahashayas 
(i.e. Sires). In Shiva Vandana we have ' The seat was purified by 
Dharamaguru Mahashaya (i.e. Sire Dharma),' and also the following 
line : — 

" ' We all the people assembled in the Gambhira are devotees of 
Visnu Bhai Aula.' 

" ' The Gambhira is purified, as we are devotees of Visnu Bhai 

The meaning of Visnu Bhai here is not at all clear. Probably it 
was the devotees of Aula following the lead of his disciple Visnu 
Dasa that thus invoked their preceptor's benediction, or the com- 
posers of the above hymn might be direct followers of Sire Visnu 
Dasa. The Aula sect commences revelries at the dead of night 
and passes the rest of it in religious emotion, expressing itself in 
terrific roars and grinnings. It would thus be clear why the 
Gambhira festivities should claim the attention of the devotees of 

We quote below a song of this Aula sect : — 

"All glory to our preceptor, to our Lord, mad after God and 
lost in his meditation. Oh, how charming are his virtues ! we are 
even prepared to die rather than suffer them to be impaired in any 
way. His virtues have no end ; owing to his deep religious fervour 
his body is besmeared with ashes instead of with sandal-wood paste 


brought as presents). Twelve times do they bow at 
your feet. 

Oh, what a God, etc. 

6. Here have we come to see you with buoyant visit with 
hearts. Be pleased, O Lord, to appear before us and to Shlva ' 
look at us with golden (i.e. gracious) eyes. 

We the followers of Aula do tender twelve bows at 
your feet. 

Oh, what a God, etc. 

7. There is Vina Raja (King Vina), a devotee of Salutation to 
Shiva, decorated with pearls and corals. The whole sur- va " a Raja ' 
face of his golden body, decorated with gold threads, 

shines as though it were all gold. Twelve times do we 
bow at his feet. 

Oh, what a God, etc. 

8. Mighty Hanumin (son of Pavana, the Wind-god, Hanuman 
and that monkey -follower of Rlma, who crossed over to The^uUdTng' 
Ceylon and brought the news of his consort Sita) fetched of chandi- 
four pieces of stone Shrikinta, scraped and shaped them 

and poured molten glass over them. Then he covered 
the four roofs of Chandi-mandapa (temple) with white 
chimaras (chourie, the tail of the Tibetan yak used as 
a fly-brush). 1 

(i.e. to him perfumes and ashes have the same value). Oh, how deep 
in his meditation ! — He is quite content with rags and torn Kanthas 
(thin quilts), and receives a menial and a king equally : He looks 
about him with restless eyes. Who knows why and who can say 
where he is, whither he goes and where he is not ? " 

Bharata-varsiya Upasaka-Sampraddya. (The Religious Sects 
of India.) By Aksayakumar Datta. 

1 In " Dharma-sthana," of Shunya Purana, we have : — 

" The stones were laid in four rows ; and many were the beauti- 
ful beams of gold that were used. The floor was paved with gold 
and looked like molten glass." 

In Dharmamangala (of Ghanarama) : — 

" The four roofs were covered with chamaras named Gangajala 



Oh, what a God, etc. 
The door- 9. Holding in their hands maces, the chatpati (flutter- 

shtoT En- m S or flexible ends ; it is an onomatopoetic word mean- 
trance into i n g that which falls chatpat, as smack in " smack went 
ofshiva!""" 1 the whip ") of which is made of copper, and the nala (lit. 
stem ; hence the steady part, i.e. the handle) of gold, 
Nandi, Bhringi and Mahakalaare mounting guard at the 
door of Shiva. The whole door is blocked by Bhaktas, 
too many to name them separately ; and with sandal- 
wood paste and the sweet fragrance of the screw- pine- 
flower Nandi is quickly relieving them of their fatigue. 
Thus do all the bhaktas enter the room of Shiva, the 
Kashishwara(Lord of Kashi, Benares). Gambhira is 
purified as we are Visnu Bhai (i.e. following the lead of 
Visnu Dasa) devotees of Aula. 
Oh, what a God, etc. 

1 o. The Guru tied the money that he would require to 
live six months at one end of the piece of cloth that he 
was wearing and entered the forest with a triumphant 
bustle. There he found a smooth and slim tree on which 
leaves grew from the root and which, closely resembled 
the Karavi-tree. He cut off its top and roots and took 
the middle portion. Then he skinned and scraped it and 
made two dhaka (drum) sticks out of it. The left- 
hand stick is Saraswati and the right-hand one is 
Urddha (lit. high or elevated). Through the grace of 
Shiva-Durga, the drum-sticks of the Gambhira are 

Oh, what a God, etc. 

or purified with waters from the Ganges and were nicely decorated 
here and there with peacock-tails. Pennons were placed on pitchers 
of gold or silver and the floor was decorated with gold looking like 
molten glass." 

Then again in Shunya Purana : — 

"The store-house was covered with peacocks (i.e. peacock-tails) 
and pitchers of gold adorned the floor." 

Making of 
the drum- 
sticks for 


11. When Hanumin went to Lamka (Ceylon) he shaping of 
ate mango {mangifera indica) fruits, throwing their (drum) out of 
stones about, and out of these sprang up trees known Mango-wood. 

a a /v 1 1 • -At- \ Sketching of 

as Amaravati (lit. belonging to Paradise, mango-trees), the skin of 
The sprout shoots out first ; then this grows into the framed ° n ' s 
tree. In every six months the tree grows taller by 
twelve cubits (6 yds.). The top and the roots (of one 
such tree) were cut off and the middle portion selected, 
scraping and skinning which a Dhaka (long drum) was 
made. The blacksmith shaped out an iron cauldron, 
and muchirama (i.e. a skinner) stretched the skin of 
Kapila cow (on the wooden frame of the drum) after 
heating it on the cauldron. Uttering the name of 
Shiva, the stick was applied to the drum and the dead 
leather made forty -two sounds (i.e. sounded loudly). 
Oh, what a God, etc. 

12. The Guru sits in a purified assembly with hisTheBhan- 
neck adorned with necklace of sateswari. I am going ho^sifand 
to purify the storehouse under orders of my Guru ; out Chandi-man- 
of kindness he has taught me (these) words (of purifica- 
tion). I am purifying the four corners of the Chandi- 
mandapa under orders of my Guru. 

Oh, what a God, etc. 

1 3. Purified are my parents and purified is the vasu- Purification 
mati (earth), from whom I have sprung. (Sitting on^ f re th D h s ^ ia by 
this seat) I have become as powerful as the gods Guru - 
(because) this seat has just been purified by sire 
Dharma Guru. 

Oh, what a God, etc. 

14. Make your obeisance to land and water and salutation to 
also to the hut of Shiva. Bow low also to the Sun and ^ t d er and 
Moon, covering eight cubits of ground (i.e. falling fiat 

on the ground with outstretched hands). 

I bow low at the feet of Kausena's son, Nayanasena 


Salutation to Datta, 1 who introduced (by bringing it down as it were 

Datta" asna from heaven) the vrata (voluntary vow attended with 

ceremonies and worship) that has to be observed in 

honour of Maheshwara (Shiva). 

Oh, what a God, etc. 

Lord Shiva 1 5. In the month of Vaishakha (April- May) the 

o°The cott d o S n cultivator ploughed the field and in the month of Asadha 

plant. (June-July) Lord Shiva sowed the seeds of the cotton 

plant. After this he went to kuchni-pada (hamlet of 

Koch women) in response (to a call from there) and on 

his return he collected the raw cotton and made it over 

to (his wife) Ganga. 

Gangs mak- Ganga made yarns out of this cotton and with those 

i" g ship's" 1 varns Shiva worked at the loom and brought out a piece 

work at the of cloth. It was washed by laundress Nitai in the 

charming waters of the ocean of milk. 
Theft of 16. Jagannatha went to Paradise and stole from 

riJ ta " there Parijata (flower tree of Paradise produced at the 
churning of the ocean as described in the Purdnas) — 
the crimson Parijata. The gosain took in his hands 
the end of the stalk as a pleasure cane (i.e. stick). 
(Thus) did the cane of heaven descend, i.e., on the 
earth ; Laksmi (also), out of condescension, came down 

Oh, what a God, etc. 

1 7. Offer your salutation to land and water and also 

1 In Dharmamangala we come across one Lausena, son of 
Karnasena, who introduced and propagated the worship of Dharma. 
Probably Kausena and Karnasena refer to the same person, and 
Nayanasena and Lausena also are but different names of one and 
the same man. Karnasena belonged to the Bania (mercantile) 
caste and his wife Ranjavati was the daughter of a Bania. Her 
brother Mahamada belonged to the Datta family, the members 
of which alone are found to have been patrons of the Dharma 


to Gambhira. Bow low to the Dumura 1 (slang form Salutation to 
of Damaru, a small drum shaped like an hour-glass andandobSce 
a favourite musical instrument of Shiva) to the right and t0 Bhagavatt. 
to Hanuman to the left. Lo! there's Bhagavati (an- 
other name of Chandi ; lit. possessed of the wealth of 
divine energy in all its aspects) seated on the back of 
a lion. Make your obeisance twelve times at her feet. 
Oh, what a God, etc. 

18. Offer your salutation, etc. . . . We bow low salutation to 
twelve times at the feet of all the Gods that are here. allthe gods- 

Oh, what a God, etc. 

19. Offer your salutation, etc. 

I have (thus) sung the salutation-hymns and do 
(now) make twelve bows at the feet of all. 
Oh, what a God, etc. 

Section V. — Specimen 3. 

The late Michhual Das of the Mandala family of 
Kasimpur in Malda recited the salutation-hymns in the 
Gambhira and also played the part of Hanuman. His 
hymns are an exact copy of the chapter on Creation in 
the Chandi of Manik Datta. From this it is apparent 
that in olden days the story of creation by Dharma 
Niranjana formed a part of the Gambhira festivities in 

1. Lord Dharma Niranjana of white complexion salutation to 
and dressed in white, is sitting on a white bedstead. 2 NUanjana. 

1 In Shunya Pur&na among the articles of Dharma's accoutre- 
ments, we have " There is the dumura (i.e. damaru) to the right and 
Hanuman to the left ". 

2 We have the following lines in the hymns of Dharma in the 
Dharmamangala of Manik Ganguli : — 

" White is the complexion, white is the dhuti (piece of cloth tied 
round the waist), and the whiteness of the ornaments is such as 

sumes body. 


Oh, what a God of Gods is our Shivanatha, the giver 
(of boons). 
Dharmaas- 2. Lord Dharma himself meditated on the globe 

(universe), and in doing this he brought into existence 
the head of Dharma. 

Lord Dharma himself meditated on the globe, and 
in doing this he created the body of Dharma. 

Oh, what a God of Gods is our Datanatha (lit. lord 
of the givers of boons). 

3. (Thus) has been born Lord Dharma, matchless 
in attributes, who will create the world and establish his 
glory. The saliva of Dharma fell down from his mouth, 
and from his hands and feet did water spring up on the 
earth. 1 

can be realized only through meditation. White is the sandal paste, 
white are the sandals on the feet, and the throne is also of the white 
complexion. The phonta (sectarian mark on the forehead) is white, 
the clotted hair on the head is white, and the necklace is also made 
of white moons. White are the canopy and bedstead and white are 
the standard and its staff. (Thus) the whole house is bright and 
glorious with (a profusion of) white colour." 

1 As to the creation of water we have in the Shunya Purana : — 

" All of a sudden did water flow from the Vimbu (Saliva ?) of 
the Lord". 

Adi Buddha or Dharma while floating on water, seated himself 
on his conveyance Ulluka (gibbon). From the Chandi of Minik 
Datta we learn of the creation of the lotus and of Dharma's sitting 
thereon. The lotus has been indicated as the seat of Buddha. 
: ' According to the Shunya Purana the world was created from the 
filth of the body. Thus 

" Narayana took a pinch of the filth." 

" In this way the Lord produced the materials for creation." 

Students of Pali Jataka (Birth) stories are familiar with the 
legend that in one birth Buddha assumed the form of a markata 
(monkey) and performed the Prajna Paramita. 

Ulluka seems to appear occasionally in the form of Hanuman. 
It was from the person of Dharma that he was born. It seems, 
therefore, that the theories about the origin of Ulluka were based 


Oh, what a God, etc. 

4. Gosain Niranjana had only water about him, he creation of 
stood on it and floated about on it. Once while thus the ocean- 
floating, he came across a resting place, but this was 

only after fourteen yugas or cycles (the duration of the 
world is divided into four periods, each of which is 
called a Yuga) had elapsed. 
Oh, what a God, etc. 

5. Ulluka came into being from the resting place of Birth of 
Dharma and stood in front with folded hands. The ° h n a v r e yance 
Lord of the Tridashas (immortals) smiled and said ;Uiiuka. 
"Tell me, O Ulluka, how many yugas (ages) have 
passed ". 

Oh, what a God, etc. 

6. Through all the ages that were passed in the re- 
demption of Brahma, I was absorbed in the meditation 
of mantras (incantations) ; and through this I obtained 
a good boon ; (so) you may now hear from me accounts 
of the fourteen yugas. Listen to the accounts of the 
fourteen ages, O you Formless One. There is no 
longer any sinner in all these three worlds (heaven, 
earth, and the nether regions). 

Oh, what a God, etc. 

7. The Lord created the lotus in front of him. Creation of 
Then he sat on it and meditated on the first origin. 1 S eat™he 

Oh, what a God, etc. lotus - 

Dharma Niranjana took his seat on a lotus and then 
found out the means of creating the world. 

on the story of Buddha's assuming in one life the form of a 

According to the Shunya Purdna of RUmai Pandit, 
" The Lord yawned through fourteen yugas ; and from his ex- 
halation did the bird Ullukai (Ulluka) spring into existence." 

1 The lotus is used in the worship of Dharma. Even now cases 
are not rare where this flower is offered in the Dharma's Gajan of 
Radha and in the Adya's Gambhira of Malda. 


8. Borne on many a leaf (he) started on his journey 
for the Patala (the nether regions). 

Oh, what a God, etc. 

9. In twelve years he reached earth, took a quantity 
with his hands and besmeared his body with it. Then 
taking in his hands a quantity of earth, of the measure 
of a Vitula (i.e. a very small quantity), Lord Dharma 
floated up in the form of shunya (void). 

Oh, what a God, etc. 

10. Again did the Formless Lord Dharma stand on 
his feet (i.e. on solid ground) and reflected within him- 
self, and determining mentally the person on whom the 
earth should be placed, created it. 

Oh, what a God, etc. 
Creation of an 11. Lord Dharma became himself attached to an 
the P convey- elephant and placed Vasumati (the earth) on it. The 
dh" ° f Bud eart h with her rest, the elephant, was (however) about to 
Dharma. sink down to the nether world. 

Oh, what a God, etc. 
Creation of 12. Lord Dharma himself assumed the form of a 

as^hecon^ tortoise and placed the earth on this tortoise. 
Dharma ° f ^e tortoise could (however) ill bear the weight of 

the earth ; and with the elephant and the tortoise, the 
earth was about to sink down to the nether regions. 1 

1 In the Shunya Purana, however, we have such lines as — 

" Placing his lotus-marked hand, the Lord said ' Be steady '. 

" (And) it was from this lotus-marked hand that the body of the 
tortoise came into existence." 

Ideas about the elephant are even now extant among the 
Buddhists. The story of su-hasti (lit. good elephant) is a proof 
of the Buddhist artists' fondness for the elephant. The mystery of 
the creation of an elephant by Dharma is laid bare before us in the 
salutations, etc., said to have been made by herds of elephants before 
Buddha. The Buddhist Tantrists (followers of the system of 
Tantra) are found to worship Buddha in the form of a tortoise, since 
the tortoise is supposed by them to have sprung from the body of 


Oh, what a God, etc. 

13. In this way growing wiser at every successive 
stage of creation, Dharma Niranjana ultimately created 
a serpent, and resting on him the burden of the earth 
found rest and peace for himself. 

He (Niranjana) snapped asunder the sacred thread Creation of 
of gold about his neck and this was transformed into a theSer P ent - 
hydra-headed serpent. Niranjana gave him the name 
of Vasuki and bade him bear the burden of these three 

Oh, what a God, etc. 

Just after its birth, Vasuki felt very hungry. And 
no sooner had Dharma Niranjana flung aside his ear- 
ring, to satisfy the serpent's hunger, than the frog came 
into being, and this unfortunate creature has ever since 
been food for Vasuki and his progeny. (This story has 
been told also in the Chandi of Manik Datta.) 

" Go you, Vasuki, be you immortal. Him I give 
shelter whom I do create." 1 

Oh, what a God, etc. 

Dharma. Among the ten incarnations of the Hindus also, Kurma 
(tortoise), like Buddha, has been honoured with a place. In many 
a part of Western Bengal, Dharma is worshipped in the guise of 
Kurma. As, for instance, in the village of Kaleswara in Burdwan 
there is a tortoise-like image of Dharma. 

In the MS. of an old poem, Jagann&tka Vijaya, composed by 
Mukunda Bharati, there are proofs of the tortoise being regarded 
as omniscient. 

1 In the Shunya Purdna also Vasuki is reported to have been 
created in the same way. 

" Having placed at your feet (i.e. before you for your considera- 
tion) all these arguments, I advise you to snap asunder your sacred 
thread of gold and to fling it into the waters. 

" Having heard these words of Ulluka, Lord Niranjana instantly 
took off his sacred thread of gold ; 

" Then he snapped it asunder and cast it off into the waters ; and 
there up sprang from it the serpent Vasuki with a thousand 


Hereafter the invocations of the other deities, nay, 
all the other parts of the Vandand, are found to be simi- 
lar to those of the other hymns to Shiva. 

At the time of Arati (wave-offering) at dusk the 
Bhaktas are found to stand on one foot only as long as 
the hymns are recited, and all this time they repeat 
mentally also the name of Shiva. 

" Some stand on, on one foot, and with uplifted arms 
and with concentrated minds glorify and repeat the name 
of Dharma " (Dharma mangala). 

Section VI. — Specimen 4. 

We have obtained the following Bhakta-vandand 
(hymns by Bhaktas) from Visnu Das, the present 
mandala of the Gajan of Baba Ishaneshwara of the 
village of Kudmun in Burdwan. Such Salutation- 
hymns are met with in many of the villages of this 
district. The other ceremonies of Gajan are almost 
identical in all the centres. 

(a) The Opening of Doors} 

Opening of i. " Lo and behold ! there, on his bull, is Shiva, the 

door EaSter " ' or d °f immortals, with a trident and a red stick in his 
hands and dressed in a tiger-skin. 

" Rise, get up, my brother, the keeper of truth — lo ! 
the Eastern gate of the Lord is opened." 

In this way, five other doors — viz. Western, 
Southern and Northern doors and the gates of Heaven 
and the Gajan — have to be opened. The hymn has 
to be sung with the face turned towards the direction 
of the door which is to be opened, and with the opening 
of each door the several names of Shiva are recited, 
followed by a flourish of music. 

1 Similar to the " Opening of Doors " in the Shunya Purana. 


(6) Awaking from Sleep or Meditation. 

1. " Lord, rise from thy sleep of meditation and look Awaking from 
upon thy merry votaries, who have surrendered them- sleep * 
selves absolutely at thy feet (i.e. mercy)." 

(Recitation of his names, with dance and a flourish of 

2. " Embracing Kartika and Ganesha, thou art 
lying in a sleep of oblivion. How are we then to make 
our obeisance at thy feet ? " 

(Dance, etc.) 

3. "Desist from sleep, O Lord of Gods, and sit in 
the centre of thy bedstead, with Gauri constantly on thy 
left side." 

(Dance, etc.) 

4. " Lord, thou art Master of the Gods, and, not to 
speak of the lesser ones, even Hari (Visnu) and 
Brahma sing thy eulogy." 

(Dance, etc.) 

5. " Lord Tripurari (destroyer of the demon Tri- 
pura), give up thy fondness for sleep, show mercy to 
thy devotees and satisfy their desires (?)." 

(Dance, etc.) 

6. " Take in thy hands thy shingi (horn used for 
blowing) and damaru (a small drum), and keep thy 
bull to thy left ; and let the Vasuki (king of serpents) 
stand on with unfolded hood. Hold on thy head 
the genial Gamga (tutelary deity of the river 
Ganges), and let thy forehead be adorned with the 
moon. Inside the last let the (brilliant) round mark 
called phonta shine (gloriously), and let thy body be 
adorned with a wreath of bones and the ashes of cow- 
dung, and put on the armour of meditation (yoga- 

(Recitation of the names with dance, etc.) 


7. "O Lord with three eyes, remove our troubles 
and obstacles which are beyond human control. We 
do absolutely rely on thee, and have renounced every 
other prop." 

(Recitation of the names, etc.) 

8. " We have in the Vedas and the esoteric Shastras 
that Lord Gamgadhara (lit. holder of Gamga on the 
head) is the God of Gods. Be pleased, O Conqueror 
of Death, to forgive our faults." 

(Recitation of the names, etc.) 

9. " O Shiva, leave the Kailasa mountain (the 
abode of Shiva) on the back of thy bull, and, O Tri- 
purari (destroyer of the demon Tripura), be pleased to 
satisfy our desires and to instal thyself in our Gambhira. 
Five times do we bow to thy feet." 

(Recitation of the names, etc.) 

(c) Hymns in Honour of the (Ten) Quarters. 1 

Hymns in i. "The temple, the threshold of the door, and 

Quarters* the ever y other article in and about the temple are pro- 
tected (by means of charms against the entrance of or 
molestation by wicked spirits). So also is protected the 
Tulasi (the holy basil, ocimum sanctum) of the Adyi. 
We do also sing the hymn of Saraswati. Make your 
obeisance to Rama and Laksmana to the right and to 
Siti and the heroic Hanuman to the left. 
East. " The glorious sun is in the East, and five times we 

make our obeisance to him." 
(Recitation of the names, etc.) 
N.B. — The words from "The temple . . ." to 

1 Similar to that in vogue in the Gambhiras of Malda. Cf. 
" Make your obeisance to the house, to the door and to the hut of 
Shiva ". 


"... the heroic Hanuman to the left " are repeated at 
the beginning of each hymn. 

2. ". . . There is Bhima (lit. terrific) Kedara (a North, 
name of Shiva) in the North, to whom we make our 
obeisance five times." 

(Recitation of the names, etc.) 

3. " . . . There is Arura Vaidyanatha (a name of West. 
Shiva) in the West, to whom we make our obeisance 
five times." 

(Recitation of the names, etc.) 

4. ". . . There is the glorious Jagannatha in the south. 
South, to whom we make our obeisance five times." 

(Recitation of the names, etc.) 

5. ". . . There is King Indra in the Paradise, to Paradise, 
whom we make our obeisance five times." 

(Recitation of the names, etc.) 

6. ". . . There is the serpent Vasuki in the Patala, The Pataia, 
to whom we make our obeisance five times." Nether 

(Recitation of the names, etc.) Regions. 

7. ". . . There is the guardian deity in the village, Tutelary Dei- 
to whom we make our obeisance five times." ^ es e ° f vu " 

(Recitation of the names, etc.) 

8. ". . . There is Bhola (lit. lost in meditation) obeisance to 
Maheshwara in the Gambhira, to whom we make our f^^n^e 
obeisance five times." Gambhira. 

(Recitation of the names, etc.) 

9. " . . . There is the Lord Dharma in the Gajan, obeisance to 
to whom we make our obeisance five times." th^GaTan? 

(Recitation of the names, etc.) 

10. ". . . There are thirty -six Sains and seventy- obeisance to 
two Bhaktas (devotees) in the Gajan, to whom we make s^nsTn^hT 
our obeisance five times." Gajan. 

(Recitation of the names, etc.) 


(d) Salutation-Hymns {in Eight Stanzas, hence called 
Shivdstakam) to Shiva. 

" One should meditate on the eternal God of Gods, 
resplendent like a silver hill, etc., etc." 
(Recitation of the names, etc.) 

(e) Salutation to Sadd Shiva. 

" I make my obeisance to Sada Shiva, the destroyer 
of sins and the repository of all attributes — the all-pow- 
erful god with a gracious face and with his cheeks de- 
corated with ear-rings of snakes, who was formless at 
first and then became a person (i.e. assumed a form)." 

(Recitation of the names, etc.) 

{/) The Dhula-sdpata Bhaktd (or the Bhakta that Dusts 
the Temple of Shiva with his Hair). 

Dhuia-sapata Of the Sannyasis of Gajan, one dances on one foot, 
1 ! ' and in this way comes to Shiva at the place of Gijan 

with the fist clenched over his head, and is made to re- 
cite the following hymn by the Mandala. He has to 
dust the floor of Shiva's temple with the hair of his 
The hymn i. " Lord, thou art like Atisini, like Vatisini : Vatisini 

be recited at is like Panchavatisini, which is again like Dharma 
dultfn^the Adhikari (Lord of Dharma), and Dharma Adhikari is, 
temple. as it were, the feet of God. Beyond the seven oceans 
and near the Valluka Sea is the seat of the eleventh 
Rudra, the servant of whose servants is the Dhula-sapata 

(Recitation of the names, etc.) 
2. " The temple has to be dusted with hair, under 
orders of the gods. The dust of heaven flies off to 


heaven ; that of the earth remains on the earth ; and let 
the rest go to the storehouse of our father (i.e. Shiva)." 

(And now all the Sannyasis will cry together :) 
" Glory to the Dhula-sapata Bhakta ! " 

(Recitation of the names, etc.) 

(g) The Jala-s&pata Bhaktd x {or the Bhakta that 
brings a Pitcher of Water to the Temple). 

Of the Sannyasis of Gajan, one will hold with hisThejaia- 
two hands a pitcher of water upon his head, and, follow- Bhakta. 
ing the lead of the Mandala, will recite the following 
hymn, dancing on one foot all the while : — 

1. " Lord, thou art like Atisini, etc., etc." 
(Recitation of the names, etc.) 

2. " The water of heaven goes up to heaven ; that 
of the earth remains on the earth ; and the rest goes to 
the storehouse of our father (i.e. Shiva)." 

(Recitation of the names, etc.) 

(h) The Salutation-Service of the Sannydsis before the 
Four Doors of the Gctjan Temple. 

1. "The Purvapira is in the East. Who is it that Salutation be- 
guards his door? It is the lion that guards there; it istastlmDoor. 
the rau (fire) that guards there. The names of my foes 
are written on plates of copper, etc., and thereat my 
face becomes upturned. Mrityunjaya (Conqueror of 

1 Similar to the " Jala-psb&na " (water and stone) hymn of the 
Shunya Purana : " The ghata (an earthen water-pot symbolizing the 
in-filling power of God in nature) and the pata (pictorial representa- 
tion of the god on a piece of canvas) are the sources of salvation. 
Orders have been given to bathe the ghata. The water of the Devi's 
ghata is well known in the world. Take, O Puspapani (lit. he who 
has a flower in his hand — a name of Shiva) the water of the ghata 
that has been (formally) bathed." 



Death, i.e. Shiva) himself is at the Eastern gate. Salu- 
tation to Shiva ! " 

(Recitation of the names, etc.) 
salutation be- 2 . " Vahuti Vahu Pare is in the North. Who is 
Northern it that guards his door ? It is the lion, etc., etc. The 
Door - Conqueror of Death is himself at the Northern gate. 

Salutation to Shiva ! " 

(Recitation of the names, etc.) 
Salutation be- 3. " Hanumanta is in the West. Who is it that 
Western guards his door? It is the lion, etc., etc The Con- 
Door, queror of Death himself is at the Western door. Salu- 
tation to Shiva ! " 

(Recitation of the names, etc.) 
salutation be- 4. " Bhava-rudreshwara is in the South. Who is it 
southern tnat guards, etc., etc. The Conqueror of Death is at 
Door. tne Southern door. Salutation to Shiva ! " 

(Recitation of the names, etc.) 

(?) The Daily Final Orders to tke Sannydsis when 
going Home ; or, the Final Orders after the Fes- 
tivities of each Day are held, technically called 
" Orders by the Thdkuras or Gods " . 

1. " Lord, thou art like Atisini, etc. , etc. . . . the 
servant of his servants." 

(Recitation of the names, etc.) 
orders by the 2. " Bhaktas named Avala-atita and Bhaktas named 
Gods. Chhatrishasain Vao are making their obeisance five 

times to the Thakuras or gods. 

" What are the pleasures of the gods ? 

" The gods are pleased to declare that they have been 
highly pleased with the five salutations. You are now 
free to return home, frisking and frolicking and singing. 

"The champa flower adorns the head of Shiva. 

" And he holds the oda flower in the name of his 

(Recitation of the names, etc.) 



Section I. — The Several Parts of the Gambhira 


The Gambhira. festivities consist of : — 

i. Ghata-bhara, the filling up with water of an 
earthen jar, symbolizing the infilling power of the god 
to be worshipped. 

2. Chhota Tamasa, smaller amusements. 

3. Bada Tamasa, greater amusements. 

4. Ahara, a particular worship, and 

5. Chadaka Puja, the swinging or whirling religious 
ceremony, observed by the Hindus on the last day of 
the month of Chaitra (March- April). 

The dates for these several festivities are thus fixed. 
If the month of Chaitra, when the Gambhira worship is 
held, closes on the 30th day, then the Ghata-bhara takes 
place on the 26th, the Chhota Tamasa on the 27th, the 
Bada Tamasa on the 28th, the Ahara on the 29th, and 
the whole ceremony is wound up with the Chadaka 
Puja on the 30th. 

The Ghata-bhard. 

Generally, on the day previous to that fixed for the installation of 
Chhota Tamasa, the ceremony of Ghata-sthapana, i.e. sy mboi ofthe 
installation of the Ghata, earthen jar, as the symbol of e od l ° be , 

' J ' * worshipped. 

5i 4 


the god to be worshipped, is held. This rule is not, 
however, observed in all the centres of the worship. 
According to their own traditions, in some places it takes 
place a week and in others three or nine days before. 

There are persons who observe severe austerities 
during the month of Chaitra as a means of propitiating 
the God Shiva, and earning an uncommon religious 
merit. They observe fasts, abstain from many of the 
enjoyments of life and go through many other hard vows. 
They are really temporary votaries of the god and gener- 
ally called Sannyasis. It is the privilege of the chief of 
them to help in preparing the offering of rice and the 
other items of the Gambhira worship. In some places 
this office is found to have become hereditary, but in 
The lighting most places it has become salaried. In former times 
bntra Gam t ^ ie Btiaktas or votaries observed the customary vows 
and injunctions with punctiliousness from this day, but 
the practice seems to have almost died out now. The 
Gambhira-house is lighted from this day. 

On this day of Ghata-bhara, a general meeting is 
called, and in that meeting it is formally settled unani- 
mously to fill up and instal the Ghata, and the 
Mandala sanctions it. After dusk, the Brahmana 
priest, in the midst of a loud music struck up by large 
drums, known as Dhakkas and used only at the time of 
worship, goes to and fills up the Ghata with water from 
the nearest tank or river, in accordance with a practice 
that has obtained from time immemorial, and then instals 
it according to the injunctions of the Shastras (Scriptures) 
on this point. No other ceremonies are held this day. 

The Chhota Tdmdsd. 

On the day fixed for the lesser festivities no ceremonies 
are held ; but the worship of Hara-Parvati (Shiva and 
his wife) commences on this day, and those who have in 


the name of Shiva voluntarily taken the vow (in expecta- 
tion of propitiating him and receiving some definite 
favours from him), dress themselves as, and apparently 
adopt the life of, Bhaktas or Sannyasis, i.e. votaries. 
The majority of these Bhaktas are boys and are known 
as Vala-bhaktas (boy-votaries). 

The Bada Tdmdsd. 

The next day at some auspicious time between sunrise Bada T&masa 
and sunset the customary worship of Hara-Parvati is cele- {J^^f ' 
brated. In the afternoon a procession of Bhaktas starts bodies with 
out. This procession is a very entertaining one and closely 
resembles that formed by the Sannyasis of Gajan on the 
day of the Nilapuja (worship of Hara-Gauri on the last 
but one day of the month of Chaitra) at Kaiighat in Cal- 
cutta. In every Gambhira all the Bhaktas, young and 
old alike, have to take part in this festivity. From every 
Gambhira-pandal they start out dancing. Dressing them- 
selves, according to their own tastes and pleasure, as male 
and female ghosts and goblins, as makers of fireworks, and 
their wives as Ramats (devotees of Rama), as players on 
bagpipes or as Santhals and other aboriginal tribes, etc., 
they proceed from pandal to pandal. 1 Some of them 
pierce either side of their chests with small arrows look- 
ing like tridents, wrap round the outer ends of these 
tridents pieces of cloth soaked in oil and then put fire to 
them. In this way they go out dancing, some one con- 
tinually throwing powders of dhupa (a fragrant gum- 
resin burnt before idols) on this fire. This festivity is 
brought to an end before the close of the day. 

In the evening a sort of mask-play, known as Hanu- 
man-mukha (mask of Hanuman) is held. Some one 

1 There are very often several pandals in one village or town at 
different wards. 


among the votaries puts on the mask of Hanumin and 
makes for himself a long tail with unripe banana leaves. 
Round the outer end of this tail dry banana leaves are 
wrapped, when the player stands up before the specta- 
tors. Then two persons hold up before him a piece of 
cloth and fire is applied to his tail ; and with this burn- 
ing tail he leaps over the piece of cloth and returns in 
the same way to his former place. This seems to be a 
fair representation of the monkey-god Hanuman's leap- 
ing across the sea and burning Ceylon, the piece of cloth 
representing the sea. The story is well known to readers 
of the Rdm&yana. 
Phuibhanga, After the part of Hanuman is played, the Vala- 
namef,danc- bhaktas march out in a body, crying aloud "Shivanatha 
ing in various y mahesha " (Oh, what a god of gods is our Shivanatha), 
and dancing to the music struck up by drums, towards 
an adjacent tank. Here they break down twigs from 
a jack tree and make up a bundle with these and a 
hemp plant. Then they put these bundles on their 
breasts and perform their ablutions. Thereafter they 
return to the Gambhira-pandal dancing, as before, to 
the music of drums, and " calling by names " (meaning 
probably crying aloud "Shivanatha ki mahesha") they 
bow low and place the bundles in the temple. Then, 
as on the previous day, they go through the salutation- 
hymns and return thereafter to the bundles. The priest 
now sprinkles "shinti jala" (holy water calculated to 
confer peace and happiness) over them. Then when 
flowers offered to and thus blessed by Shiva are placed 
over these bundles (technically called phula, flower), the 
devotees take away their respective " flowers " (bundles) 
and start a dance, firmly holding them against their 
breasts. This continues till, in obedience to a special 
note struck up by the drum, they roll themselves several 
times on the ground, bow low simultaneously and then 


place their " flowers " in the Shiva-Gambhira. This is 
technically known as Phula-bhanga (lit. breaking of 
flowers). Then wave-offerings are presented to Shiva- 
Durga (i.e. Hara-Gauri), and thereafter the whole 
Gambhira temple is illumined, as it were, with garlands 
of lights. It is at nine in the night that dances on small 
scales are started ; and these include mask-dances of 
ghosts and goblins, of Rama and Laksmana, of Shiva 
and Durga, of an old man and his old wife, of a horse, 
of fairies, of Kartika (God of War, son of Shiva and 
Durga), and of the Chali (the decorated background 
of an image). The dancing is attended with the music 
of long drums and Kansis (a musical instrument made 
of bell-metal). When the farewell note is struck by 
the long drum, the dancers cease dancing and go away 
for another Gambhira-pandal. The musicians gener- 
ally get rewards from the rich spectators, and in some 
cases they obtain even new pieces of cloth. 

Gradually various songs commemorating the merits Shiva both 
and demerits of Shiva are sung in his honour. At this p 1 r a™ed. and 
time Bhaktas come in troops into the Gambhira and 
amuse the spectators with their songs and dancings. 

Songs are also sung, exposing the wickedness of the 
countryman or fellow-villager that has done during the 
year, no matter whether covertly or overtly, anything 
unjustifiable. The singers dress themselves as males 
and females and sing these songs either in chorus or in- 
dividually. Besides, hymns in honour of Shiva, and songs 
of a lighter character, are also sung on the occasion. 

About daybreak but before sunrise the dancing of The dancing 
the mashana, technically known as mashana nacha, takes shLa^he ex- 
place. The word mashana properly means a cemetery cit j. n e music, 

r . . r r 1 y— 11 and river-bath 

or crematorium ; here it seems to mean the Goddess in the 
of Destruction. One of the Bhaktas plays the part of mormn e- 
this goddess. He dresses himself as a woman with 


dishevelled hair, with her forehead besmeared with 
vermilion, with her heaving breasts encased in a kan- 
chali (a sort of short jacket) and with her wrists adorned 
with bracelets of conch-shells. Decorated with orna- 
ments and with her face painted in such a way as to 
strike terror into the hearts of the spectators, this mashana 
dances with various gestures ; and her attendants throw 
powdered resin into the fire in an incense-pot and hold 
up, by way of appeasing her wrath, the smoke thus 
produced before her face. This appeasing ceremony is 
observed also during the dancings of Kali and other 
Goddesses of Terror in the Gambhira-house. When 
the drummer strikes up the note of stirring up (Matana) 
then the mukha (mask) dance reaches the highest pitch 
of frenzy. At this time the priest places a garland of 
flowers and the smoke of burnt incense before the maskers 
representing Kali and others, and they become appeased 
after turning their faces in the direction of the smoke 
and inhaling it, and the mashana Kali rolls herself on the 
ground. After this the Bhaktas travel from Gambhira 
to Gambhira till 8 or 9 a. m., and then, bathing together 
in the river, return to their respective homes. 

The Ahdrd Puja. 
Particulars of On the day following the Bada Tamasa, after the 
Puja and its mashana dance and the worship of Hara-Parvati are 
procession. overj tne ceremony of homa (casting of clarified butter 
into the sacred fire as an offering to gods) and the feed- 
ing of Brahmanas and virgins, take place. On this day 
an unripe bamboo or its branch is planted on the ground 
in one side of the pandal, and a mango and some blos- 
soms of the banana tree with some other articles are 
tied to it. Then this post is duly worshipped, and this 
worship is known as the Ahara Puja. If, after the 
Ahara Puja is over, any one passes through the Gam- 


bhiri with his shoes on or with his umbrella spread over 
his head, he is regarded as an offender and is punished 
by the Mandala. The practice has, however, died out 
now. During the third part of this day also, a pro- 
cession like that of the third day starts out from the 


On the day of Ahara, cultivation by Shiva is repre- cultivation 
sented 1 before the spectators in the following way. by sh,va- 
Some plough the field, some sow paddy, some plant the 
plants and others devour paddy like cattle. Then 
comes the reaping of the harvest, and last of all the 
Mandala or the chief votary brings the scene to a close 
with the question, " What's the quantity of the paddy 
grown?" The prospect of the year's paddy is deter- 
mined according to the answer given. 


At night on the fourth day songs of a special char- Gambhtra 
acter are sung in chorus by two or more persons. These mudda the ' r 
songs are technically called Volvahi. They are not only ('heme). 
different in name, their tunes also are different from those 
of the previous night. On this night no mask-dance 
takes place. The festivities of this day are performed 
with songs and music only. The tunes of these songs 
are quite characteristic. 

The theme of a song is technically called its mudda. 
Every song must have a mudda of its own, and the 
quality of the song depends on the quality of this mudda. 
To explain more clearly what is meant by the mudda, let 
us take the following case. Suppose there was an earth- 
quake this year. The song that will dwell on this 

1 This is done in the same way both in Dharma's and Shiva's 
Gijan. The description of Shiva's cultivation in the Shunya Pur&na 
is of a piece with the descriptions in well-known Indian works on 


earthquake will be taken to have the earthquake as its 
mudda. There are expert composers of songs for the 
purpose. They are called Khalifas or Professors. If 
the audience will suggest to them themes they will com- 
pose songs on them. In singing those songs which 
have nuptial quarrels or any other matter connected with 
both males and females as their themes, the singers dress 
themselves as such and play their respective parts. 

The Sdmsole Chhddd {Letting off of the Sdmsole 


samsoie In a basin a small Sakula fish is kept alive. After- 

crossing the wards it is taken to the nearest tank or river and let off 
A a mVMm nd into il - This ls known as Samsoie Chhada or the letting 
(fire-jump), off of the Samsoie fish. In the evening of the day of 
Ahara a small hole is excavated on the ground and 
filled with water. Then a fish is let off into it and the 
Bhaktas leap across it. This ceremony is observed till 
now in the Gambhira of Dhanatala in Malda. Then 
a hole is dug in front of the Gambhira and two bam- 
boo posts are planted on opposite sides. Thereafter 
another bamboo post is placed across them and the 
branches of trees making up the "Phulbhanga" are 
fetched and placed on the hole. Then fire is applied to 
these branches and powdered resin is occasionally 
thrown into the fire thus kindled. One by one the 
Bhaktas now get up on the horizontal bar, tie their feet 
to it and then hang themselves down and rock to and fro 
seven times with their heads downwards inhaling the 
choking smoke of burnt resin rising up from the fire be- 
neath. In some places this is known as Agni-jhamp 
(jump into fires). A description of this ceremony is 
to be found also in Dharma mangala. Thus it is said 
there : — 


"Over the sacrificial fire burning bright, they rock to 
and fro with their feet upwards, and heads downwards 
rolling on the ground." 

"Powdered resin is thrown profusely into that." 

The ceremony of Samsole Chhada seems to be but a 
Malda edition 1 of the "crossing of the Vaitarani" 2 (the 
river that is supposed to run between the land of the 
living and the land of the dead and that must be crossed 
by the departing soul), to be found in Dharma's Gajan 
in West Bengal. Here the Vaitarani is excavated on 
the ground and filled with water, and a fish is let off 
into it. A Pandit (priest) standing, cane in hand, on 
its brink, recites incantations for the purpose, and the 
Sannyasis cross the Vaitarani, catching hold of the tail 
of a cow. 

" Danapati ferries (passengers) with the help of a 
cow's tail." 

According to the Shunya Purdna, " Under the waters 
of the Vaitarani live and move sundry-coloured fish ". 


In connexion with Dharma's Gajan are represented Dhenki - man - 
the Dhenki-mangala ceremony and the advent of theception 
sage Narada on a husking pedal (made of a large and*^ ^ 4 ° 
long block of wood). In the Gambhiras of Malda also Narada - 
both these ceremonies are observed, the former under 
the name of Dhenki Chumana. On this occasion the 
Bhaktas carry on their heads into the Gambhira a dhenki 
coloured with turmeric paste and dotted with vermilion 
marks, attended with the joyous shout of " Ulu, Ulu" 

1 This festivity is held in the Gambhiras of Dhintald and some 
adjacent places on the days of the Bada Tamasa and the Ahari. 
According to the injunctions in the Shunya Purdna and Dharma- 
fujd-paddhati, a tank is excavated to bathe therein for attaining re- 
ligious merit. 

2 The Styx of Hindu mythology. 


uttered by women. One of the Bhaktas sits on it re- 
presenting Narada. The rest, after circumambulating 
the Shiva temple with this Narada on his dhenki, place 
it on the courtyard of the Gambhira-house. 

On this point we have in the Shunya Purdna : — 
"The gods ordered the four Kotalas (constables) to 
fetch Narada without delay. 

" Hearing this the lord of sages (Narada) equipped 
his conveyance, dhenki, and started on it." 

And thus he came to the Varamati-house, i.e. the 
place of Gajan. 

The flight of the dhenki is described below : — 

" Attended with the songs of frogs, the three-legged 
dhenki started on its aerial journey for the place of the 

" As soon as Narada thus appeared before them, the 
gods welcomed him cordially and seated him on a jew- 
elled throne." 

" The Lord of Tridiva (heaven) worshipped the 
dhenki with garlands of fragrant flowers ; and celestial 
damsels cheerfully received it with due forms, uttering 
the joyous shout of ' Ulu, Ulu '." 

Reception is accorded to the dhenki in the Gam- 
bhira in the following way : — 

" The wise men present recite the Vedic hymns and 
receive the dhenki with leaves of the piper betel (after- 
wards cast away), attended with the shout of 'Ulu, Ulu ' 
uttered in close succession." 

After the dhenki is thus received with the uttering 
of Vedic hymns, with the shouts of " Ulu, Ulu " and with 
betel leaves, the last one thrown away, Ramai Pandit 
invokes it, for conferring blessings on Danapati. 

He says : — 

" This is my earnest iprayer that Thou wilt never look 


with disfavour on Danapati ; rather that Thou wilt ever 
have his good at heart." 

Even now on the occasions of Anna Prashana (the 
ceremony with which rice is given for the first time to a 
child), Upanayana (i.e. investiture with a sacred thread) 
and marriage, the good housewives of Bengal do not 
forget to pay their respects to the dhenki and invoke 
its blessings. 

This is what is known as Dhenki Chumana in 

Section II. — The Several Centres for the Gam- 
bhira Festivities. 

The festivities that are held in connexion with the 
worship of the various Hindu gods, but more especially 
of Shiva, have in course of time received various designa- 
tions in various places. They were, however, originally 
one, and are everywhere held in temples named Gam- 
bhira. Hence it is apparent that they are but the 
Gambhira (festivity) under different names. 

Along with differences in names, differences have 
also crept in in the attendant ceremonies. In some 
places the festivities have received the name of Gajan ; 
they have widely spread under the names of Shiva's 
Gajan and Dharma's Gajan ; while in Orissa the name 
Sahiyatra has also been applied to them. 

Should an attempt be made to give a geographical 
account of the places where this festivity is held at the 
present day, an interesting chapter of the history of re- 
ligion would be opened thereby. We name at the out- 
set the places where Gambhira festivities are now seen 
to be held. These places are — Dinajpur, Rangpur, 
Rajshahi, Malda and Moorshidabad. 

It is on the eastern side of the Ganges that the 


Gambhira festivities are observed. In some villages 
of the Moorshidabad district, situated on the other side 
of the latter, they are also seen to have prevailed. On 
inquiry, however, it has been learnt that these villages 
have recently been peopled by men from the eastern 
side of this river. 

Festivities like the Gambhira are found to be held 
also in Orissa, Midnapore, Birbhum, Burdwan, Nadia, 
Hughli, 24 Parganas, Khulna, Jessore, and Faridpur, 
but under the name of Sahiyatra in the first two, and of 
Gajan in the rest. 

The word, " Gambhira " is found to occur in con- 
nexion with the ceremonies that are held in celebrating 
the Gajan in Birbhum, Burdwan, Hughli, etc. This 
leads us to infer that their old name was really 
Gambhira, although afterwards for some inevitable cause 
this was changed to Gajan. The Gajan of Baba 
(Father, lord) Ishaneshvara of village Kudmun in Bur- 
dwan was formerly held in the Gambhira-Mandapa 
(temple named Gambhira after the festivity that was 
first held there). It has been found on inquiry that it 
was due to the influx there of the goldsmiths of Gauda, 
the ancient capital of Bengal (now in ruins in the district 
of Malda). 

Of all these festivities the Gambhira of Malda 
deserves the most special notice, for this particular 
reason, that the original character of the Gambhira has 
been fully preserved here. 

Section III. — Popular Decorations. 

Paper lotuses. The first thing that attracts the attention of spectators 
at the Gambhira celebrations of Malda is the decoration 
of the dancing-house or pandal attached to and forming 
the front of the Gambhira-temple. For it has a pecu- 


liarity of its own, such as is not observable in the de- 
corations of the temples or of the Baro-yari Mandapa (a 
temporary temple erected by public subscription for the 
worship of a god or goddess on a particular occasion) of 
the other districts. Here almost the whole of the Gam- 
bhira- Mandapa is thickly decorated with paper lotuses 
of various colours. Over that part of the pavilion which 
is reserved for dance and music, nothing is spread and 
no arrangement is made for the party to sit upon, so 
that they have to play their respective parts on the bare 

There are reasons for thus decorating the entire 
Gambhira with paper lotuses of various colours. This 
practice has obtained without interruption from very 
early times. In connexion with Dharma's Gajan 1 the 
dehara (temple) of Adya (lit. the original, i.e. the first, 
the primitive deity) was decorated, as now, with lotuses. 
No doubt in olden times the Gambhira-Mandapa also 
looked brave and gay with live lotuses culled from 
nature. Now, however, this 'has become an impossi- 
bility for two reasons ; first, flowers are not so abundant 
now as in those days, and secondly, the festivities ex- 
tending over three or four days, the beauty and grandeur 
of the decoration cannot be kept unimpaired unless fresh 

1 In the Chandi of Manik Datta we find that Dharma created 
a lotus and sat on it. Thus he says : — 

" The Gosai (the All-Powerful Lord) conjured a lotus before 

"He then took his seat on it and began to mutter prayers 
to the First Cause." ("Sahitya Parisat Patrika," No. IV, p. 251, 
1317. B.S.) 

In Dkarmamangala of Minik Ganguli also we have " There 
are many-petalled lotuses in full bloom " 

" Getting down into the waters, I plucked innumerable lotuses." 

" Then meditating on, and saying ' Salutation to,' Brahman, I 
cast those lotuses in limitless waters." 


flowers be procured every day. For these reasons the 
decorators find it more convenient to have recourse to 
paper lotuses. 

The Gambhira-Mandapa is not now decorated in the 
same way as it was in former days, e.g. fifty years back. 
The Gambhira-temple and the attached dancing-hall 
looked brisk with fresh lotuses of lively colours and 
with the genial glow of lights burning with ghee (clari- 
fied butter), and were filled with the scented smoke of 
burnt resin and frankincense. 

The dancing-hall was lighted by Sara or earthen 
cups. This was done in the following way. Upon the 
top of a bamboo-post was placed an earthen cup and in 
it a wick drenched with mustard oil. The projecting 
end of this wick was lighted and occasionally the lamp 
thus made was replenished with oil from a bamboo tube. 
Incenses were also burnt here. Torches made of rags 
fastened to the end of a stick and drenched with oil 
were also used on the occasion. When the votaries ap- 
peared on the scene to dance and sing, these torches 
were kindled, and in the glaring light thus made they 
exhibited their various performances. With lighted 
ukas, bundles of dried jute plants, the performers went 
from Gambhtra to Gambhira. No arrangements were 
made for the public to sit upon, but they brought their 
own seats with them. For such respectable personages 
as the Mandala, a sort of bed was spread with coarse 
sackcloth. The organizers, however, entertained the 
audience with tobacco and smoking apparatuses. Gradu- 
ally, in order to ward off the sun, a canopy of sackcloth 
was hung up over the dancing stage with the help of 
bamboo-posts. Some open iron lamps of a peculiar 
kind, with four faces and known as chomackas, were sus- 
pended here and there with iron chains. These lamps 
were also placed on big stands, from three to five feet 


high. To regulate the flow of oil, a thick lump of clay 
was put in the centre of the lamp. This prevented the 
oil from gathering about the wick, but did not stand in 
the way of itsdrawing it slowly. To add to and com- 
plete the effect of the decoration, a few pictures drawn 
on cloths, known as Ramakeli and besmeared with clay, 
were hung up here and there. 

In course of time, with the rapid flow of luxury, with the ad- 
large canopies, big chandeliers, wall-lamps, lanterns, etc., ta" u c r y°he 
with candles, pictures by the Art Studios of Calcutta, cos . 1 «* dec °- 

rstions I13.S 

and the canvas paintings of Kalighat (southern portion enormously 
of Calcutta, named after the well-known image of the present* at 
Goddess Kali located there) have come to replace the 
old articles of decoration. Nay, pictures by the well- 
known Indian artist Ravi Varma, high-class kerosine 
lamps, flags and standards, garlands of various pat- 
terns, bouquets, birds of art, fruits and blossoms, 
gaslight and many other items of foreign decoration 
are not infrequently resorted to, to make the Gambhira- 
house look grand and glorious even in the eyes of 
modernists. The sitting place also with its carpet, bed- 
ding, big pillows, silver-capped hubble-bubbles, bears 
clear testimony to the influence of new ideas within 
the walls of the Gambhira. Chairs and benches, atar- 
dans (vessels from which otto is poured), and golappases 
(vessels from which rose-water is sprinkled) are also 
richly in evidence. The heads of the spectators are 
cooled every now and then by showers from syringes 
filled with rose-water, and coloured torches are lighted 
to add to the effect of the dancing. 

The lotus-decorated Gambhira-mandapas of the old The primitive 
days have not, however, been wholly extinct. The Gam- JheGarn- ° 
bhiras of the Koch, Palihas (nicknamed Vangals, or bh '"^? te - 

* served in 

rustics) of Varind (the outlying northern villages of Malda Varind. 
district), have even now preserved their ancient character. 



Section IV. — The System of Administration. 

In every village there are one or more Mandalas or 
headmen. The Mandala is the most important and wise 
man of the village. In olden times all the village affairs 
were settled and managed under his directions. An es- 
timate of his position may be formed from the following 
Sanskrit saying, " Grdmasya Mandalo Rdjd, i.e. the 
head-man is the king of the village ". He was held in 
esteem even by the Zamindar or landlord. Rents and 
taxes were realized through him with greater ease and 
less disturbance. He was bound, for this ensured suc- 
cess, to render help to Government officers whenever 
they came to the village on some business or other. In 
later times the Government created the post of Sahatana, 
vesting him with many of the duties formerly discharged 
by the Mandala. Even now many families are found 
to retain this title, shorn of its dignity and duties. 
Separate There is a Gambhira under every Mandala and no 

sepafatecom- Gambhira is found that is not. under the controlof a Man- 
munities. d a i a _ j n every village there are separate Mandalas for 
separate communities. Although this holds good in 
Malda also, and although accordingly there are separate 
Gambhiras for each of the several castes, yet there is to 
be found here a common Gambhira-worship celebrated 
by a General Assembly, as it were, of all the castes and 
sects. It is called Chhatrisi (lit. belonging to thirty-six, 
i.e. an indefinite number, hence it means common) 
Gambhira. The post of the Mandala of this common 
temple is held by one of the sectarian Mandalas. The 
meeting, called Vaithaka, that is convened to discuss and 
settle some business of this Gambhira, is called after it 
the Chhatrisi Vaithaka or the sitting of the thirty-six. 
Grants for In former days the Zamindar granted to the Mandala 

Gambhira. some rent-free land or reduced his dues below the pre- 


vailing rate of rents as a mark of respect for him and 
also to enable him to maintain his dignity. Besides 
this he also made some small allowance, in the shape of 
rent-free lands, for the establishment of the tutelary 
deities of villages and the Gambhira-worship. For this 
reason old Gambhiras are even now found to be in 
possession of some landed property. In mediaeval times 
the assets from these lands were quite sufficient for the 
expenses of Shiva worship, but now they can meet only 
a part. Primitive Gambhiras have thus rent-free lands 
of their own, through gifts from Zamindars or rulers, 
while those of more recent origin have no such source of 
income. There are, however, some among the latter 
that are found to hold land rent-free or rent-paying from 
quite different sources. 

The Mandala exercises a great sway over the com- 
munity of which he is the head. It is he who punishes 
the social culprits ; and these can exonerate themselves 
from the obloquy of having violated a social law or cus- 
tom and the consequent punishment inflicted by the 
Mandala, only by making, in the name of the Gambhira 
or its Lord Shiva, some gifts of land or some other equi- 
valent things. Besides, if any one die without an heir he 
makes over his property to the Gambhira. These gifts 
are casual sources of income. 

In course of time the members of the Mandala family How the 
increase in number and there occasionally break out £, u c ™ a ge S> 
feuds among themselves ; and on such occasions, among 
other things, the Gambhira also turns out to be an apple 
of discord. The villagers also side with the contending 
parties, and thus there arises a necessity for the establish- 
ment of a separate Gambhira for the seceding branch of 
the Mandala family and its supporters ; and they have to 
forego their claims to the old Gambhira. In this way 
in course of time there spring up more than one Gam- 



bhira in a village, without, however, any claims to the 
funds or any part of them from the original one. In some 
villages, however, only the Chhatrisi Gambhira is to 
be found. Besides these, there occasionally leap into 
existence amateur. Gambhira organizations also, which 
generally die out after a year or so. These are not con- 
trolled by any Mandalas. They are appropriately styled 
Sakher Gambhiras, i.e. those for pleasure. 
Budget of A short while before the time fixed for the celebra- 

bhfra. am ' tion of the Gambhira festivities, a general meeting, called 
Vaithaka, of the villagers is convened to settle the finan- 
cial question. In this meeting an estimate is formed by 
the Mandala, with the assistance of the other gentlemen 
present, of the probable expenses to be incurred, and 
thereafter a list of subscriptions is prepared. This is 
what is known as the Bhangan of the Gambhira. The 
Vaithaka is held in awe by the villagers ; for in it 
all social offences are also tried and punished and the 
" Gambhiracess " is instituted. 

Section V. — The Name of the Institution. 

Gambhira The question may naturally arise how the festivities 

houscfof God anc * ceremonies that are held in honour of the God Shiva 
a temple. ' in the Radha country (western part of Bengal, compris- 
ing the Hughli and Burdwan districts, the northern di- 
vision being Varendra) and generally known there as 
Shiva's Gajan, 1 have come to receive the appellation of 
Adya's Gambhira (Gambhira of Adya the first goddess, 
the origin of creation) in Malda. I n mediaeval times houses 
like Chandi-mandapa (a house for the worship of the 
goddess Chandi, personified divine energy in full splen- 

1 It is a comprehensive name including the festivities that are 
held and the self-tortures that are undergone by the devotees of Shiva 
in the month of Chaitra (March-April), beginning on the first day 
and ending with a worship of the god on the last day. 


dour) were called Gambhiri or Gambhira in this part of 
the country. At least, we learn from the Songs of Go- 
vindachandra that during the thirteenth and fourteenth 
centuries (?) the name Gambhira was exclusively ap- 
plied to houses of the above description. For we find 
there : — 

" The Queen had the two messengers tied down in 
the Gambhira." 

" The ascetic sat down in meditation in the Gam- 
bhira and came to know [of this]." 

" Hadipa [spiritual preceptor of Govindachandra's 
mother] applied himself to religious meditation in the 

"[He] left behind his own body in the Gambhira 
and taking, through his illusive powers, the airs of an 
astrologer, [he] set out." 

From the above uses of the word Gambhira, it is 
clear that it refers to a house of meditation or worship 
like the Chandi-mandapa. 

Householders kept Buddha-pada (foot -print of The dweiiing- 
Buddha) or Dharma-piduka (sandals used by Dharma)g°ddg S ° fthe 
in the Gambhira of their houses. In course of time Chandika - 
the goddess Adya came to be installed and worshipped 
there. And afterwards when she received worship 
under the name of Chandika, her ghata (a jar of water 
symbolizing her in-filling power) was also placed in 
the Gambhira. Then again, by and by, Chandika 
came to be regarded as the wife of Shiva, and joint 
images of Hara (another name of Shiva) and Gauri 
(another name of Chandika) were installed in the Gam- 
bhira. Thus we see that in the very temple where 
during Buddhistic supremacy the festivities of Dharma 
were held, during Shaiva supremacy worship was offered 
to, and festivities held in honour of, Hara and Gauri. 

It was not only in Malda, Rangpur, Dinajpur and 


shiva'stempie adjacent places in Varendra or North Bengal that the 
country. a Gambhira was transformed into Chandi-mandapa or 
Shiva's temple, the same practice came to obtain also 
in the district of Burdwan in Radha or West Bengal. 
From the panegyrics offered to Shiva in the Radha 
country in the course of his Gajan we find that Gam- 
bhira meant here the temple of Shiva. Thus, in the 
panegyrics of Baba (Father) Ishaneshwara (a name of 
Shiva) in the course of his G&jan at the village of Kud- 
mun in Burdwan we come across such lines as these : — 

" There in the Gambhira is Maheshwara (god of 
gods), who is ever lost in meditation. Five times do I 
make my obeisance at his feet." 

It is clear that in the Radha country also Gambhira 
meant the temple of Shiva. 

Consulting the Vaisnava Scriptures also one would 
find that Gambhira meant a temple of Shiva, or a temple 
generally. This will be clear from the following couplet 
in Chaitanya Charit&mrita : — 

" I will not sleep at night in the Gambhira. 

" For it results in the interior of the mouth and the 
head being ulcerated or scarred." 

In this book Gambhira has been definitely made 
to refer to a temple and to contain four doors. Lord 
Chitanya (1485-1533) once passed a night there. 

The following lines from the manuscript of Chdnd 
Vdul by Kedarnath Datta Bhaktivinoda may also be 
quoted : — 

" Inside the Antar-gambhira (inner temple) at the 
Akhada, a house of congregation of the followers of 
Chaitanya, there is a bed spread. There are two dimly 
burning and flickering lights on two sides of it. The 
main gate has been closed. In the centre of the bed is 
sitting the chief Vaul (a class of religious minstrels) 
Kisor Ddsa." 



Also in the incantations that are meant for the offer- 
ing of oblations to the manes of the departed, we come 
across the word Gambhira, and Gambhira there seems 
clearly to mean "a house". 

It also occurs in the panegyrics that are offered to 
Shiva in Orissa. Thus : — 

" Hymns in honour of Mahadeva (Shiva). 

" I bow down at the feet of the inhabitants of Kailasa a dark inner 
[the residence of Shiva] so that they may be pleased toorissa"' 
leave Kailasa for this place. May the wielder of the 
Khattinga [a peculiar weapon used by Shiva] and enemy 
of the god of passions be pleased to turn here for a mo- 
ment to remove my afflictions. He is the much beloved 
husband of Gauri and the only object of adoration by 
the ascetic. Bearing Gamga [the tutelary deity of the 
Ganges] upon his head, he bears the name of Gan- 
gadhara. Bells are ringing fast in the ghora Gambhira, 
the inner apartment, and lord Ardha-chandra [a name of 
Shiva, as his forehead is adorned with a half-moon], as 
luck would have it, is preparing himself. 

" Standing up, Kavi Kama makes it known that he 
has, to some extent, succeeded in winning the grace of 

In the above quotation we have " Bells are ringing 
fast in the ghora Gambhira". Hence it is clear that 
the image of Shiva was installed in a very dark inner 
apartment of the house, and it was this inner apartment, 
this temple of Shiva, that was called Gambhira. 

It is further clear from the above account that as 
Gambhira meant the temple of Shiva or a temple gener- 
ally, it was here that Shiva was worshipped and his 
festivities were held. In course of time the festivities of 
Shiva held in the Gambhira came to be regarded, after 
the name of the place, as Gambhira- worship. 

There is a further reason for the contention that 


Gambhira means a temple of Shiva. In mediaeval times 
the temple of Shiva used to be decorated with Gam- 
bhira or lotus (nelumbium speciosum). Hence it will not 
be unreasonable to conclude that the festivities that are 
now known as Gambhira came to be regarded as such 
owing to the fact that they were held in a place called 
Gambhira, which was decorated with Gambhira flowers. 
In Shiva-Samhitd, again, we find Gambhira as a 
name of Shiva. 1 From this it also seems probable that 
just as the place of worship of the goddess Chandi has 
received the name of Chandi-Mandapa, the place where 
the festivities were held in honour of Shiva under the 
name of Gambhira has become known as Gambhira- 
Mandapa. It may thus be the name of the deity that 
has furnished the name of the locale, and ultimately that 
of the stage and the performances. 

1 Cf. Yugadikrid yuga varto Gambhlro vrisa-vahanah. 



The current name for the festivities that are held in Shiva's 
honour of Shiva towards the close of the month of jan ' 
Chaitra (March- April), and the swinging ceremony that 
is performed on the last day of this month (generally 
known as Chadaka-puji), is the Gajan of Shiva. Those 
who have witnessed this Gajan ceremony will clearly 
understand that it is this Gajan that has received the 
name of Gambhira in Malda. The literal meaning of 
Gijan is " Festivities held in honour of Shiva," and the 
word seems to have been derived from the Sanskrit word 
" Garjana," meaning a loud clamour, since the ceremony 
is performed in the midst of a loud clamour caused by 
the shouting and singing of the Sannyasis and the noisy 
music struck up by long drums. 

The Shaiva cult has long exercised a considerable 
sway over Bengal. Not a single village but has not its 
own temple of Shiva. The festivities and the theatrical 
representations of the popular form (called Yatra) that 
are held annually in the month of Chaitra in honour of 
Shiva, are held in these village temples. Several other 
ceremonies are also performed in this connexion. 

As in the Gambhira festivities, the system of manage- The system of 
ment by the Mandala is also observable in some places {^"hfilun' 

73 dala. 


in connexion with the Gajan of Shiva. The title of 
Mandala and the system of management by the Mandala 
are still in vogue among the Podas and similar low-class 
people in the villages of Gopalanagar, Chetla, Taliganj, 
etc., in the Twenty -four Parganas. And, as in the Gam- 
bhiras of Malda, in the Gajan of Shiva also, the Man- 
dala is found to exercise a considerable sway. Nay, in 
many places it is he who manages all the affairs in con- 
nexion with the Gajan festivities ; and it is he who is re- 
garded as the master of the ceremonies. 

Before the commencement of the Gajan of Shiva, 
the Mandala, following the time-honoured custom on 
such occasions, makes all necessary arrangements for the 
ceremonies to be held in connexion with this festival. 
The Adi Shiva of the village has some landed property 
set apart for his maintenance. From its income are met 
all the essential expenses of the local worship. Should 
this source of income be found insufficient for the pur- 
pose, subscriptions are raised to augment it. Besides 
the Mandala, the Mula-Sannyasi (or chief votary) is also 
a necessary factor in the due performance of the Gajan 
festivities. Attached to every temple of Shiva where 
these festivities are held, there is an hereditary post of 
Mula-Sannyasi, although originally it was filled by se- 
lection from among the votaries of the time. It is this 
chief votary who makes all the necessary arrangements 
for the Gajan festivities, subject to control and direction 
by the Mandala, and who is primarily responsible for the 
due execution of the latter 's requirements. 

The Order of the Gdjan Festivities. 

Shiva's Gajan may be divided into the following six 
parts : — 

i. Selection of Sannyasis, called Sannyasi-dhara. 


(In some places it is also called marking, i.e. placing a 
phonta, or mark, on the forehead of the Sannyasi. 1 ) 

2. Shaving and abstinence from meat and fish, called 

3. Havisya (food consisting of boiled rice and ghee 
only) and Ghata-sthapana (installation of the sacred 

4. Maha-havisya (food consisting of fruits and roots 
only). On this day the festivities commence. 

5. Fast, festivities, and the worship of Nilavati. 

6. Chadaka, the swinging ceremony. On this day 
the festivities are brought to a close. 

1. Sannydsi-dhard. 

Six days before the Chadaka, the Mula-Sannyasi Abstinence 
enters the village in the afternoon, attended by loud mea t. 
music produced by the beating of long drums. Those 
who have taken the voluntary vow of becoming Sanny- 
asis gather together on the occasion. In some cases the 
Mula-Sannyasi is found to put marks of sandal-paste on 
their foreheads (and thus mark them out, as it were, as 
votaries of Shiva) ; in others, after assembling, they get 
themselves shaved. The Mula-Sannyasi is shaved first 
of all, and, after this is done, the votaries go in a body to 
bathe in the adjacent river or tank, dancing all the while 
to the music of long drums. After bathing, they take 
their supper, avoiding fish and meat, from separate 
plates. This ceremony is called Samyama or absti- 

1 2. Nijkdd-kdmdn, or Shaving. 

Next day, all the other volunteer Sannyasis get 
themselves shaved in the afternoon, after they have 
taken their food (avoiding fish and meat), and assemble 

1 The votaries of Gambhira and Gajan are technically known as 
Sannyasis. But generally speaking the term denotes persons who 
abstain from all worldly desires and enjoyments. 


in a place to dance to the music of long drums. All 
those who intend playing the parts of Sannyasis, have to 
get themselves shaved on this day ; for later than this 
no Sannyasis are taken. The shaving of this day is in 
some places called Nijhad-kaman. Those only who 
desire to be Sannyasis, or who, by way of propitiating 
the god, have voluntarily promised to serve as such, are 
enlisted in the ranks of Sannyasis. They have invariably 
to go through the following course : Eating of food con- 
sisting of boiled rice and ghee only ; eating of fruits 
only ; fasts ; passing sleepless nights ; dusting the temple 
(called dhulat) ; and swinging. 

3. Havisya. 

Ghata-stha- For the performance of the above ceremonies the 

swvaand" 6 services of the Gajane Brahmana 1 are not required. 
Utan-para. They are required for the first time on the day of Hav- 
isya, when the Ghata-sthapana (i.e. installation of a 
water-jar as symbolizing the in-filling power of the god) 
takes place. First the Sannyisis go to bathe attended 
by the music of the long drums, and return with water 
and flowers in a vessel and sit down in wet clothes at 
the place of Gajan. Then the Gajane Brahmana puts 
round their necks a garland of small thread-balls strung 
together on a kusha grass, and touches their heads with 
the Gajane Shiva. 2 As soon as this is done, they are 

1 The Gajane Brahmana (so called from his officiating in the 
Gajan festivities) is inferior to Brahmanas of the high order, because 
he is the priest of the low-class people. He is superior, however, to 
Brahmanas of the lowest order. He officiates in the Gajan festivi- 
ties as priest for Sannyisis recruited from all the orders of society. 

2 If the image of Shiva in whose honour the Gajan is held is 
permanently fixed and immovable, one or more small stones are used 
as his representatives, and one of these stone representatives of Shiva 
the Gajane Brahmana takes up in his hands and makes the Sannyasis 
touch it. After this, the stone is made over to them and they wor- 


recognized as real Gajane Sannyasis and become en- 
titled to worship Shiva. The above-mentioned garland 
of thread-balls is technically called Uttariya (shortened 
by the Sannyasis into Utari), and the ceremony of 
putting it on is called Utari-parl After all this is 
gone through, worship is offered to Shiva. The 
Gajane Brahmana closes this worship by making the 
Sannyasis recite hymns especially composed in honour 
of Shiva. The other hymns are recited, following the 
lead of the Mula-Sannyasi, or in some places, of the 
Mandala himself. In different villages, slightly different 
hymns are sung in honour of Shiva ; the underlying idea, 
however, is the same in all. The Mula-Sannyasi takes 
the lead in all matters, the lesser ones have always to 
carry out his orders. He is held in greater esteem than 
any one else. The supper of the Sannyasis consists of 
boiled rice and ghee only. 

4. Mahd-havisya. 

On the day of Maha-havisya, the festivities of Gajan 
are started and the Sannyasis have to go through the 
salutation service, the offering of worship, the reciting 
of hymns, etc. The whole day is passed in observing 
these ceremonies, and at night, after worship is offered 
to Shiva, the ceremony of Phul-kadhan, or " The 
Placing of Flowers" (explained below) is performed; 
and thereafter, among the votaries, some satisfy their 
hunger with one or two fruits and a small quantity of 
the water of the Ganges, and others partake of boiled 
rice with ghee, taking only three mouthfuls of it. This 
ceremony is called Maha-havisya. Among the essential 
duties on this occasion are the daily performance of 

ship it in place of the original image. Processions are started 
carrying this stone in a palanquin or on the head of a Sannyasi to 
some other place. It is this stone which is called Gajane Shiva. 


dance, music and song, the reciting of the hymns of 
Shiva and the narration of his virtues. 

Phui- The Phul-kadhan, or Phul-chapan, is one of the 

essential ceremonies that are observed daily. This 
ceremony is performed as follows. First, with a view 
to securing blessings for the king, a leaf of the marmelos 
tree, drenched in the waters of the Ganges, is placed on 
the head of the image of Shiva, and to the accompani- 
ment of music from the long drums the names of Shiva 
are recited. If the leaf falls off itself from the head of 
Shiva, it is taken as a sign that the god has been pleased 
with the ceremony and has deigned to show his ap- 
proval. Then the same ceremony is repeated several 
times to invoke the blessing of the deity on the Zamin- 
dar (landlord) and the Sannyasis. And, last of all, 
those who desire to be cured of their diseases, or who 
desire to have sons born to them through the favour of 
the god, come forward and repeat the ceremony. 

a Procession. In the afternoon the Sannyasis adorn their persons 
with various ornaments and set out in procession with 
canes in their hands and bearing aloft on their shoulders 
a palanquin inside which is placed the Gajane Shiva. 
This procession is attended by the music of the long 
drums. In this manner the Sannyasis march to the 
temples of Shiva in Gajan-tala, or place of Gajan, in 
the different adjacent villages. Here they exchange 
embraces with, and dance and sing in the company of, 
their brother-workers and thus add to the importance of 
the occasion. 

Every Gajane Sannyasi joins in the procession 
that marches out, according to local usage, with dancing, 
music, etc., from his own Gajan-tala to the original 
and principal Gajan-tala of the district. Here he joins 
his forces with those from other adjacent centres of 
Gajan, and. joins in the festivities that are held here 


with music, dance and song. I n some places the songs are 
sung in the same manner as the songs of the Kavi. 1 In 
this there are two rival parties contending with each 
other in making extempore verses. These songs are 
divided into the three parts of Chapan (a seemingly un- 
answerable charge made against the opponent after he 
has answered a previous charge), Chiten (a charge which 
is likely to excite the opponent), and Javav (i.e. answers 
and rejoinders). There is in Taliganj, a suburb of Cal- 
cutta, such an ancient and principal place of Gajan, 
known as the "place of Vuda (old) Shiva" ; and San- 
nyasis from the adjacent Gajan-talas of Kalighat, Bha- 
wanipur, Chetla, Calcutta and Savjibagan assemble 
here and pass the whole night with dance, song and 
music. Here also such festivities as are held in the 
Gambhiras of Malda take place. The passing of sleep- 
less nights with such festivities and merrymakings is 
what is known as Jagaran. The underlying idea of the 
songs is to some extent similar to that of the songs of 
Malda, for they consist likewise of hymns of Shiva and 
poetical recitals of his merits and demerits. 

In many places of the Twenty-four Parganas, with the Shiva's Cro- 
commen cement of the Gajan festivities, worship is also the 'lighting 
offered to the Crocodile of Shiva. By the side of the"P° f * e 
Gijan-tala a huge crocodile is shaped out with clay and 
its body is nicely finished and plastered. Its scales are 
made with the stones of the tamarind fruit and the in- 
terior of its mouth is besmeared with vermilion. An 
infant is shaped out with clay and placed before it in 
such a posture as to indicate that the crocodile is about 
to devour it. It is this crocodile which is known as 
Shiva's Crocodile. It has to be made as soon as the 

1 Competitive versifying (cf. Sangerkrieg) before large audiences 
has been a regular institution in Bengal's literary and social life. 


Gajan festivities are started. At dusk the temple of 
Ntla (a name of Shiva) is lit up. To place lamps in this 
house is calculated to confer high religious merits on 

5. Fasts. 
Worship of The next day the Sannyasis take no food whatsoever. 

Nlla. Music . 1 • • /y 1 i 1 -i 

and dance in At noon worship is offered and other ceremonies ob- 
shiva^Kait, served with great 6clat. The daily worship is offered 
etc., before after the Phul-kadh&n ceremony is gone through. 

the emblem ^ 

of Shiva. Most of the Gajans of the Hughli district go to Tara- 
keshwar on the occasion. A large number of pro- 
cessions assemble there. In the same way processions 
from adjacent places assemble at some well-known (old) 
place of Shiva in every district. Early in the morning 
of the Nilapuja day, the Gajane Sannyasis and many 
other people of Calcutta and the neighbouring places 
flock to the temple of Kali to offer worship there, and 
the painters of Patuatuli at Kalighat, on payment of 
necessary fees, paint the Sannyasis, according to their 
pleasure, as Hara, Gauri, Shiva, Kali, male and female 
ghosts and spirits, animals, ascetics and mendicants. 
They pass in troops, dancing and singing, through 
groups of spectators, into the temple of Kali, and, after 
offering worship to the goddess, bathe themselves and 
return ; some of them, however, return dressed and de- 
corated in the same way as they go. In the morning 
festivities of the Nilapuja day, Hindus and Mohammedans 
are found to join together. These festivities are similar 
to those of Malda, in which such mask dances as those 
of Chamunda, Kali, Visuli, etc., take place ; and it shows 
clearly that in mediaeval times these festivities were held 
throughout the length and breadth of Bengal. 

After these ceremonies have been observed, the 


Chadaka Post (on which devotees of Shiva swing on the The Awaken- 
occasion of the swinging ceremony performed on the dakf Post! ha 
last day of the month of Chaitra) has to be " awakened ". 3 Piercing the 

t>, . . , . i r n • t>i o • body with ar- 

1 his is done in the following way. 1 he Sannyasis, rowsjumping 
uttering the name of Tarakeshwara Shiva get down bm-hooks, 
into the waters of the tank in which the Chadaka Post etc - 
remains immersed throughout the year, and begin to 
look about for it. Tradition has it that the Chadaka 
Post is endowed with superhuman powers — for some 
time it plays hide and seek with the searchers, diving 
deep into the waters and swimming like a fish from 
place to place, thus giving the Sannyasis an opportunity 
to make themselves merry in the waters. Be that as it 
may, it is a fact that the Sannyasis divert themselves 
for some time in the water under this pretext, and 
at length come up with the Post and take it to the 
place where it has to be planted. As in the Gam- 
bhiri festivities, Vina foda (piercing the body with 
sharp hooks), Banti-jhamp (jumping over scythes), 
Kanta-jhamp (jumping over thorns), and Agnidola (i.e. 
swinging over fire) and such other feats are also exhibited 
on a day fixed for the purpose, before the swinging 
ceremony is performed. In many places in connexion 
with the Gajan, another feat, named Mashana-krida, 
is also exhibited, in which the Sannyasis, taking up dead 
bodies and severed heads, dance a wilddance, known as 

In this Gajan of Shiva, the Sannyasis sing hymns songs and 
of Shiva, versified accounts of creation, hymns and salu-j^™ 1 ^ 1 ^ 
tation-songs in honour of other gods and goddesses, and Shiva - 
many other songs regarding Shiva, such as his dressing 
himself in the guise of a Shankhari (shell-cutter) and 

1 After the Post is " awakened," worship is offered to it on the 
embankment of the tank in which it remained immersed. 



His cuitiva- cultivation of the land by him. This cultivation-song 
is also sung in the Gambhira of Malda, and, as here, in 
that song also reference is made to the growth of paddy. 
A detailed account of this cultivation is to be found in 
Shivayana and Shivagttd. As advised by his wife, 
Parvati, Shiva desired to take to cultivation, 1 but he 
needed lands for the purpose. Parvati then advised 
him to apply for them to Indra, the King of Gods. Ac- 
cordingly Shiva went to the place of the latter and 
addressed him thus : — 

"If you will grant me lands, I may take to cultiva- 
tion and thus satisfy the wishes of Parvati." 

Indra replied : " Being the landlord, how is it that 
you ask your servant for lands ? " 

Shiva said : " There are some difficulties about it, O 
Shakra [Indra]. I fear lest you should quarrel with me 
at the harvest time. It is not reasonable to rely on the 
words of one who is absorbed deeply in worldly affairs. If 
you grant me a lease, I may rest assured that no diffi- 
culties will arise in the future." 

Indra asked Shiva to state the extent and location 
of the lands he wanted, and then : — 

" Hara [Shiva] asked for the limitless fallow ground 
near the settlement of the Kochas, excluding lands al- 
ready granted [to others] as settlements for the service of 
gods and the grazing of cattle, or as remuneration to 
priests. " 

Thereupon the son of Kashyapa (i.e. Indra) " granted 
to the god of gods a lease of Devottaraland [i.e. land 
endowed for the support of a god] ". 

And " Digamvara [lit. stark-naked, a name of 
Shiva], binding the lease with the cord attached to his 
damaru [a peculiar small drum] and blessing Indra [for 

1 Similar to the growing of paddy, as described in the Shunya 


his goodness] made for the place of Yama [God of 

Why is Shiva going to call at Yama's ? It is to 
borrow the services of his buffalo. This and his own 
bull are to be yoked together for ploughing the fields. 

And Yama, "as soon as requested [lit. commanded], 
made over the buffalo to him ". 

Then Vishwa-karma (the chief engineer and mechanic 
of the gods), with a view to making the implements of 
agriculture, held up the trident of Shiva and said : — 

" The implements of agriculture are : one pashi, one 
ploughshare, two jalois, one spade, one sickle and one 
ukhun. Let us make the pashi weighing five maunds, 1 
the ploughshare eighty maunds, the two jalois together 
two maunds, the spade one maund, the sickle eight 
maunds and the ukhun eight maunds." 

Then Shiva, stopping the holes in the bellows with 
his tiger -skin, set to work with it and the ghosts supplied 
charcoal to the furnace from burning places called 
funeral pyres. He held the trident with the help of a 
pair of tongs in his left hand, and knelt down beside the 
furnace with much ado. With the help of his hands and 
feet he worked the formidable bellows, from which con- 
tinually went forth the sound of " detayyi ". 

When Shiva grew anxious how to secure seeds for 
the growth of paddy, " Katyayani [Parvati] said : ' How 
is it, my lord, that you have nothing at all ? There are 
plenty of seeds in the house of Kuvera [treasurer of Shiva] : 
go and get the quantities you require from there'." 

The questions of getting a ploughman to till his 
fields for him, and also a pair of bulls, were settled thus 
by her : — 

" We have in our own house the old bull, which is 

1 1 md. = 80 lbs. 
6 * 


exceptionally strong. It may be yoked with the buffalo 
of Yama. There is the plough of Valai [Valarama, 
step-brother of Lord Shri-Krisna, noted as being the 
wielder of a plough] and there is Bhima [the most 
powerful of the five brothers in the MaMbhdratd\ who 
will do well as a ploughman. Where, then, are your 

Then follows a detailed account of the various pro- 
cesses of cultivation. 

When the preliminaries of cultivation were over and 
the time of harvest came, " Bhima bowed to Vish- 
wanatha [lit. Lord of the Universe, a name of Shiva] 
and went to the fields, with a scythe weighing ten 
maunds in his hands. He rushed breathless, and in the 
course of two seconds only mowed the crops. The 
paddy thus obtained measured but two halas [a very 
small quantity]." 

" Hearing that it measured only two halas, Shiva 
ordered it to be cast into fire." 

Thereupon Bhima applied fire to the heap of paddy 
"and blew it with his mouth". The paddy burnt 
through eternity, and it was from this that paddies of 
different colours were grown. 

Even now the cultivation scene is enacted in con- 
nexion with the Gambhira festivities. 
Bhagavatt Shiva visited the house of Himalaya (father of 

pair o"conch- Gauri, wife of Shiva) in the guise of a seller of bracelets 
shell made of conch-shells, and helped Gauri in putting on a 


" The ladies sat in the courtyard surrounding 
Mahamaya [lit. the creative power of God, so called 
from the illusory nature of the world ; hence a name 
of Bhagavatt, or Durga] and Madhava [here meaning 
Shiva, although really a name of Krisna or Visnu]. 
These two sat on beautiful seats facing each other, Par- 


vati with her face eastward and Hara with his west- 

To make the bracelets suit the wrists, the palms 
of the hands had to be sorely squeezed. At this 
" Menaka [mother of Parvati] said sorrowfully : ' Oh ! 
how long will my tender girl be able to stand these 
squeezings ? ' She then admonishingly said : ' Rub 
your pair of bracelets to make the diameter longer. 
(This is not the first time that we see one put on a pair 
of bracelets of conch-shells.) By the time I have grown 
so old, I myself have put on ten or twelve pairs.' 
Madhava replied : ' What shall I do, ma'am ? You do 
not know how hard are the hands of your daughter. 
I know what trouble she has caused me. How can I 
help it, ma'am, when the hands are as stiff as stick ? ' " 1 

This song in commemoration of P&rvati's putting on 
a pair of bracelets of conch-shells is a holy one with 
married women, and many of them listen to it with 
rapture and devotion. Many such songs are sung in 
connexion with the Gajan of Shiva. 

On the day of fast such diversions as Banti-jhamp, 
Kanta-jhamp, Pat-bhinga, etc., are held. 

The Banti-jhdmp. — The Sannyasis get upon a high 
platform made of bamboo. Below this a number of 
iron weapons of the form of Bantis (Indian fish-knives) 
placed cross-wise along a line on a platform made 
of banana tree, are held up by a number of other 
Sannyasis, a little in front of the first platform. Then 
from this first platform the Sannyasis, one by one, jump 
down upon the weapons with extended arms. As soon 
as each falls down thus, he is covered with a piece of 
cloth and taken to the image of Shiva, where the 

*In Dharma's Gajan of West Bengal, this scene is enacted in 
connexion with the marriage festivities of Adya. 


Gajane Brahmana offers him a flower, already offered 
to Shiva, by way of conferring on him the benediction 
of the god. 

The Kdntd-jhdmp.—T\xt Sannyasis take their stand 
on a raised platform with a bundle of the branches of a 
thorny tree fastened to their breasts. Below, a piece 
of canvas is held aloft in front of them and they jump 
down on it one after another. In some places, branches 
of the thorny tree are placed on the piece of canvas 

The Pdt-bhdngd. — This is not observed in all the 

centres. In this case the Sannyasis take their stand on 
the bamboo-platform with some fruits tied in a corner 
of their cloths and throw them down among the crowd 
of spectators, many of whom try their best to catch some 
of these bundles before they reach the ground. If they 
succeed in doing this, with some object in their minds, 
they believe that object will be realized. 

The Dhund Poddna, or burning of resin. — This 
ceremony is performed in two ways. In the first, men 
and women fast the whole day and take their seats in 
wet clothes on one side of the temple of Shiva, with 
earthen cups called Sara, free from black spots, on 
their heads, held with their two hands and also placed 
between their two knees. Pieces of wood are placed on 
these Saras and fire applied to them. Then, when the 
Brahmana throws some flowers and sprinkles water of 
the Ganges upon them, powdered resin is also thrown 
into the fire. Some go through this ceremony also with 
infants on their knees. 

In the second method, two bamboo posts are planted 
on the ground and another piece of bamboo is tied to 
their heads. Below this a hole is dug on the ground 
and filled with fire. Then the Sannyasis, one by one, 
tie their feet to the horizontal bar and seven times swing 


their bodies headlong over the fire, into which is then 

thrown powdered resin. 

Ntl&vati-pujA. — Women say on this occasion : — 
" As the result of my placing lights in the temple of 

Nila, I shall have access to heaven [after death]. " 

At dusk the women light up the temple of Shiva 

with lamps burning ghee. In the Bengali almanacs 

also it is recorded that on this day the goddess Nilavatf 

should be worshipped. Next day 

6. Chadaka-pujd 

is performed with great eclat. In olden times on this 
occasion the place of Chadaka used to become a scene 
of stirring incident, and difficult performances such as 
the Vanafoda took place there. The Chadaka festivi- 
ties have of late been prohibited by law. 

On this day the marriage ceremony of Shiva is 
found to be represented in some places. This festivity 
also is performed about the end of the month of Chaitra, 
and is given with great pomp in Navadwipa (Nadia), 
Santipur and some other places. 1 

1 In the Chandi of Manik Datta, Shiva is married to Adya, 
and in Dharmapuja-paddhati Dharma is married to her. Adya is 
but another name of Arya Tara, the Buddhist goddess. Hinduization 
of mediseval Buddhist deities would thus be apparent. 

Section I. — Gambhira 

The Gam- The general name for the low-class people of Varendra 
vacate the (Northern Bengal), such as the Kochas, the Polihas, 1 
etc., is Vangal. The name might well be translated by 
the English word " rustic ". The Vangals offer wor- 
ship to Shiva towards the close of the month of Chaitra 
(March- April), as others do. Their Gambhiras are 
absolutely free from the remotest influence of luxury. 
In many cases the temple itself is in a dilapidated condi- 
tion, and the emblem of Shiva almost buried under 
earth ; inside the house only such poor articles of wor- 
ship as the chamara (yak-tail used as a fly-brush), dried 
garlands of flowers, wooden masks of Kill and other 
gods and goddesses, old earthen vessels and incense-pots 
make up the furniture. The courtyard is overgrown 
with grass and weeds. Only at the time of worship the 
floor is cleared and besmeared with cow-dung, and a part 
only of the courtyard is cleansed. 

On the occasion of the Gambhira festivities the 
Vangals are actuated by sincere devotion and religious 
feelings. They have no priest to officiate for them — 
they themselves perform their own worship. Even the 
drum is played on by them. The chief Sannyasi, or 
Guni, as he is otherwise called, plays the part of the 

1 Descendants of Mongol invaders of North Bengal (tenth cen- 
tury) according to Mr. Chanda. Vide Banerji's Palas of Bengal. 


The jagarana (i.e. passing sleepless nights) is ob- Their creed : 
served with dance and song and other festivities. It is ghosts?" 
said that ghosts and spirits of the village and also of 
other adjacent villages do possess and serve them. 
They believe in the existence of supernatural beings and 
offer worship to them' in every house. They do not 
feel much tempted by the thought of the life in heaven 
after death ; they are heard to remark : "It is no good 
to be a Krisna or Visnu. We want to be ghosts and 
goblins, that we may continue to enjoy the comforts of 
home." And actuated by this faith, they build little altars 
in their houses and besmear them with vermilion. They 
say that after the visible dissolution the material bodies or 
the materialized spirits of their deceased ancestors abide 
on in these altars. At the time of the Gambhira wor- 
ship, these ghosts and spirits are worshipped in every 
house. According to them, ghosts of one village quarrel 
with those of another ; and when a Bhakta is possessed 
by a village ghost his words are not true ; but when he 
is possessed by one of a different village his predictions 
come out true. 

In the Gambhira festivities of the Vangals the ghost „ Bhar .. or 
worship is performed with much greater pomp than the Possession by 
Shiva worship. In connexion with this, the Chhota the Mask-' 
Tamasa is no doubt held like the Bada Tamasa, but c a u " t "ation he 
even this not in the same manner as in the other by swva. 
Gambhiras. When the " bhar " descends on the 
Sannyasi, i.e. when he becomes possessed, then he 
performs very queer motions of the head, flounderings 
and contractions of the hands and feet, grimaces and 
dancings, and utters terrible shrieks. Upon this, the 
chief Sannyasi understands that through the possessed 
man a ghost or the Mashan Chamunda Kali herself has 
appeared on the scene, and sings, in his or her honour and 
for purchasing his or her pleasure, songs calculated to 


avert evils (technically called Shantipatha) and offers 
flowers and sacred water of the Ganges. After this the 
dancers are made to dance separately, each taking his 
turn on hearing his special note struck out by the drum. 
These dances are wild and ecstatic (like those of Shiva) 
and are attended with furious shrieks and exclamations. 
From the possessed or chief Sannyasi many will then 
get medicines for their diseases, and unfortunate women 
often find medicines wherewith to tame their indifferent 
husbands. The jagarana night is wholly passed with 
such mask-dances, relieved now and then by musical 
performances and Shiva's hymns. The scene of 
the cultivation by Shiva is also enacted in the follow- 
ing way. A boy or a young Sannyasi throws a quantity 
of paddy in the midst of a group of aged men, some of 
whom play the part of the bull in ploughing, some de- 
vour the seeds like birds, and others perform various 
other relevant parts. 
The Mashan On the third day, before sunrise, the Mashan 
Dm"' of "the (lit. a cemetery, hence its tutelary deity, the Mashan 
Corpse. Kali) dance takes place, and in the early morning of this 
day is held the Corpse Dance. On the previous day, 
or two or three days before, the Hadi (a scavenger, or 
a man of a very low order) fetches a corpse from some 
place, and " awakens " (i.e. instils life without the visible 
signs) it, after going through various rites and purifying 
it with incantations ; and then places it in a tank, or ties 
it to the higher branches of a tree near it. At the time 
of the Mashan dance, he decorates this "awakened" 
corpse with wreaths and vermilion, ties a cord round its 
waist, and then with it enters the Gambhira-mandapa, 
uttering various incantations. This part of the festivi- 
ties is extinct nowadays. Another peculiar ceremony is 
observed here, in " the descent of the Panta on the 
Bhaktas," i,e. when they become possessed by the tute- 


lary deity of the village. The man who is thus pos- 
sessed strives to strike terror into the hearts of the 
spectators by uttering terrible shrieks and making strange 

Section II. — Sahiyatra. 

The Sahiyatra is observed over the whole of Orissa, The 
to the great delight of the populace. sahiyatra. 

In the month of April spring adorns the almost dead 
trees with green foliage and lively blossoms, and the 
whole of Orissa seems to be rejuvenated with the 
round of merry-makings and festivities. The day of 
the full moon is the best time for the celebration of 
these festivities which generally cover three days, and 
are performed with dance, song, music, etc. 

One cannot say positively what the real name of the 
presiding deity of the Sahiyatra festivities is. Even in 
Orissa there are differences of opinion on this point. 
All that can be said with any degree of precision is that 
either Shiva, Shakti or Dharma is the god. This diffi- 
culty is due to the fact that in the temple where the 
Sahiyatra is held there is no image of any god, but only 
a ghata (pitcher of water) as representative of the pre- 
siding deity. In many villages, however, the festivities 
are held before the image of a goddess possessing one of 
the many forms that Shakti assumed. 

Music, song and dance form an integral part of these The sshi- 
festivities, and these are performed by the populace festivities, 
putting on masks of gods, goddesses and many lower 

As in the Gajan and Gambhtra festivities of other 
places, in these also there is the practice of enlisting 
Bhaktas. They are the principal organizers of these 
festivities, and they also observe the custom of Vana- 
foda (hook-piercing), the salutation service, etc. 


Among the several forms of dancing may be men- 
tioned the Chait Ghoda (lit. the horse that is ridden 
in the month of Chaitra, i.e. March- April). The 
Bhaktas decorate their bodies with vermilion and then, 
standing on two sticks (or hobby-horse), dance with 
various gestures. This Chait Ghoda dance can also 
be performed in a different way. The dancer hides 
himself inside a horse made of bamboo rods and 
covered with cloth, and makes the horse dance. Be- 
sides this, mask-dances of a he-sparrow and a she- 
sparrow (performed by washer-men), Vuda Vudf (an 
old man and his old wife), Ravana, Hanuman, Kali, 
etc., are also performed. 


The Gajan of Dharma. 

The Gajan festivities of Dharma are observed in West- 
ern Bengal. Although reputed to be a very ancient 
treatise regarding the method of the worship of Dharma, 
the Shunya Purdna is not the original treatise on the 
subject. It is simply a partial collection of the songs 
and hymns embodied in the Dkarmapujd, the original 
code of rules and regulations concerning this worship 
being quite different from this. The treatise on the 
worship of Dharma found at Vijayapur in Burdwan 
contains a fairly comprehensive account of the worship 
and festivities that are held in connexion with the 
Gajan of Dharma. The method of offering worship 
and holding festivities, as described in this work, is 
known as the Lauseni method. From this Dkarma- 
pujd code, explained to us by experts on the subject, 
we reproduce the following account of the methods in 
which the worship and festivities in connexion with the 
Gajan of Dharma are held. 

The Chief or Presiding God in the Gdjan of 

Dharma, or Dharma Niranjana, as he is otherwise 
called, is the presiding deity of these festivities. He 

1 See Sen's History of Bengali Language and Literature as well 
as H. P. Sastri's contributions (J.A.S.B., 1894, 1895), and Introduc- 
tion to Vasu's Modern Buddhism. 



is the Adi (Primitive) Buddha, who is not infrequently 
to be found identified with some of the Vedic and 
Puranic gods and goddesses. In some places, however, 
he is said to be different from and begotten of Adi 

Lord Dharma. 

According to the Dharma-gitd x of Mahadeva Das, 
Dharma is like the son of Adi Buddha. The Dharma 
worshippers of West Bengal sing their hymn in honour 
of the creative gods. 

" Who is there in these three worlds [heaven, earth 
and the nether regions] that knows thee, who art Buddha 
the protector of the meek and the poor ? 

" Thou hast no beginning or end, O Lord, and, 
having travelled over the whole universe, no one has 
ever seen thy hands or feet or body. 

"Thou hast neither form nor attributes. Who is 
there that has ever seen through or gauged thy illusive 
powers ? " 

Dharma has been shown as sitting with his face to- 
wards Adi Buddha. Then it is said : — 

" O ! how many crores 2 of ages did elapse in this state ! 
[i.e. sitting on this seat with his face towards Adi 
Buddha]. Hear me, I am going to tell you how 
Dharma was born thereafter. After Mahaprabhu [Lord 
of Lords] had destroyed the sins one by one, the glorious 
face of Dharma emanated from him " (Dharma-gttd\ 

We have it here that Mahaprabhu Adi Buddha re- 
vealed the glorious face of Dharma. Now, how did this 
Mahaprabhu look himself? And we are told : — 

" Whose graceful body is made of Shunya, and who 

1 Mayurbhanj Archaological Survey, by Nagendran&th Vasu, 

2 10 millions = i crore. 


is without any appetite or desire ; who has no form 
and who is absolutely indescribable and undefinable." 

His form is " Shunya ". In the Dharmapujd- 
paddhati Dharma has been described in the eight-stanza 
hymn composed by Chintamani thus : — 

" I make my obeisance to the spotless [Niranjana] 
Dharma, who is subtle, made up of the Shunya and is 
himself the Shunya 1 [the void], who is invisible [even] to 
the gods, who is above attributes, who is approachable 
[only] through meditation, and who is eternal." 

Throughout the whole of West Bengal, " Dharma Dharma's 
Niranjana" is a compound name for one and the same as e Nkanjana!' 
god ; but Dharma-gitd has shown Niranjana as separate 
from Dharma. Thus we have : — 

" Yuga was greatly afraid to undertake the task of 
creating the world, and accordingly produced out of his 
body a son, named Niranjana, and said to him : ' Go 
you, immediately, Niranjana, and come back to me 
after you have created the world '. Having thus been 
directed by his father, Niranjana [obediently] went away, 
but was highly afraid to create the world." 

In the above extract the son of Adi Buddha has 
been described as Niranjana. 

The Presiding Goddess in the Gajan of Dharma, 
Goddess Adyd? 

In the Gajan, goddess Adyi receives worship with 
Dharma Niranjana. She sprang out of the body of 
Dharma, as we have in the Mangala Chandi of 
Manik Datta. 

1 This doctrine, so popular in mediaeval Buddhism, can be traced 
back to the first century a.d. (J.R.A.S., London, 19 14 — Vidhusek- 
hara Sastri's communication). 

2 Accounts of Adyal are also to be found in Shunya Purana and 
kindred works. 


"Begotten of his smile, Adya fell down on the 
ground. When she stood up, people beheld her with 

In the Dharma-gttd of Mahadeva Das of Orissa, it 
is said that a female figure sprang into existence from 
the sweat of Dharma's brow, engaged in the thought of 

" Having thus reflected within himself, Dharma sat 
down in extreme anxiety and trouble of mind, and per- 
spiration flowed in streams from his body. He then 
wiped his forehead with his hand and shook off the drops 
of perspiration upon the ground, and immediately up 
sprang from there a female figure." 

Two Different Forms of the Gdjan. 

There are two different forms of the Gajan, viz. 
varsika (annual) and Avala. 

(a) The Annual Gdjan. — On the third day of the 
light half of the month of Vaishakha (April-May), 
the installation of the ghata takes place and the festivities 
are brought to a close on the day of the full moon. This 
is observed in accordance with the injunctions of Ramai 
Pandit and the Hdkanda Purdna. 

(6) The Avdla Gdjan. — This can be held in any 
month of the year, and is held when, with a view to 
achieve success in an undertaking, the god Dharma 
is sought to be propitiated. The phonta of niyama 
(mark put on the forehead in recognition of a vow) is 
put on on a Friday. 

The Daily Ceremony of Graha-bharana. 

The Dharmapuja covers twelve days from the con- 
struction of the Dehara (altar) and the installation of 


the ghata to the offering of the final worship. The 
worship in connexion with which the chief festivities are 
held is, however, over in four days. The list of the 
ceremonies that have to be observed each day is called 
Graha-bharana by the Dharma priests. 

The following is an extract from the treatise 
Dharmapujd-paddkati : — 

" The list of ceremonies, styled Graha-bharana, was 
prepared by Ramai Pandit, the chief priest of Dharma. 
Remembering the name of Dharma along with those of 
Ganapati [lit. lord of ghosts and goblins — a name of 
Ganesha, the conferrer of success] and Shri Kaminya, 
and offering worship, attended with songs, music, etc., 
to the twelve Adityas [sun-gods], I am going through 
the ceremonies of Kunda-seva [worshipping a pit of 
sacrificial fire], Hindolana [singing a peculiar air of the 
Hindu music, named Hindola], the five kinds of pierc- 
ing, such as piercing the tongue, mana-graha, etc., 
adoption of the life of a Sannyasi, the offering of goats 
as sacrifice, the reading of the Chandikd ; x the offering 
of clarified butter, etc., into the sacred fire, attended with 
proper incantations ; griha-darshana [looking inside a 
house to protect it from evil influences] ; and the wor- 
ship of the sun-god and other deities with the help of my 
spiritual preceptor and wise men versed in religious 
practices, with a view to absolve myself from the sin of 
uncleanliness due to the births and deaths of kinsmen. 
Thus pleasing my preceptor and the wise men, I hope 
to be able to realize my object. ..." 

The Dharma festivities are held at the present 
day after the Lau-seni 2 custom, and the priests of the 

1 Reading of the Chandikd does not mean here the reading of 
the Markandeya Chandi, but of the songs and hymns relating to the 
birth, marriage, etc., of the goddess Adya. 

2 See p. 38. 



Dharma-cult in Bengal also follow this custom in their 
worship, although the mantras (incantations) and hymns, 
etc., are those that were composed by Ramai Pandit. 
The system of worship advocated in the Hdkanda 
Purdna has long become a dead letter. Although Ramai 
Pandit has followed this authority in laying down most 
of his injunctions, yet by scholars of the Dharma cult he 
is also reputed to have instituted the practice of drawing 
the Dharmapaduka (explained below). 

The Several Parts of the Worship. 

( i ) Offering worship to the Sun-god and Samkalpa 
(i.e. a formal avowal of the object with which the wor- 
ship is offered) ; (2) selection of the place of festivities ; 

(3) construction of the Dehara (altar or temple) ; 

(4) drawing the Dharmapaduka (i.e. footprints of 
Dharma) ; (5) placing of Amina and Kaminya ; (6) in- 
stallation of and offering worship to the several attend- 
ants of Dharma ; (7) abstinence from fish and meat, 
partaking of food consisting of ghee and boiled rice, or 
of food consisting of fruits only, and fasting ; (8) the 
piercing ceremonies ; (9) the marriage of Adya ; (10) the 
breaking down of the Dehara ; and (11) dance, song 
and music. 

The Daily Worship. 

The First Part. — This consists of plucking flowers, 
making paste of sandalwood, phonta shuddhi (purifying 
the mark), tika-dana (putting a sacred mark), purifying 
waters, and purifying the seat. 

The Second Part. — The ceremonies in connexion 
with the awaking of Dharma from sleep, bathing, wor- 
ship, manui (or offering of cooked rice, etc, as food to a 
deity), Dharma's retirement to rest. 


The Ceremonies of the Last Three Days. 

There are some additional rules for regulating the 
worship of the thirteenth, the fourteenth and the fifteenth 
days of the bright half of the month. In the morning 
of each of the three days is held a peculiar festivity 
known as Amani Chiyana. Besides this, it is also en- 
joined that the four doors of the temple should be kept 
especially neat and clean on these days, and the fes- 
tivities of rousing Dharma from sleep, etc., should be 
held and worship offered to the deity. The ceremonies 
of Jihva Vana (piercing the tongue with a long needle), 
of Kapala Vana (piercing the forehead with the same 
instrument), of Shalebhara (lying down on the ends of 
pointed needles), etc., and of the Pashchima Udaya (lit. 
rising in the West) are also observed on these occasions. 

Last Day. — Marriage of Adyd. This is the con- 
cluding festivity and is a beautiful one. It is composed 
of several parts, such as Kaminya, Manui, etc. Next 
are observed the ceremonies of Crossing the Vaitarani, 
and of offering water to the manes of Rama, called Rama 
tarpana ; and these are followed by the extremely de- 
lightful and historically interesting ceremony of Dehara- 
bhanga (pulling down the Dehara): 

The incantations with which this Dehara-bhanga is 
observed are divided into two parts, known as Chhota 
(lesser) Janani and Bada (greater) Janani (lit. the act 
of intimating, or proclamation). 

The following extract is made from Chhota Janani, 
as described in Dharmapujd-paddhati : — 

" The Khonakara is offering his prayers to the deity 
sitting with his face towards the West. 

" Some worship Alia (God in Islam), some Ali, and 
others worship Mamudi Sain (Mohammed, the Prophet 
of Alia). 


"The crow is asking and Dharma is considering 
where Khodi (God in Islam) was first born. 

"They start for that place with Mother Mangala- 

"Goddess Kalika went there and settled in the 
house of Chakanda. Coming forward, Vivi [a common 
designation of married Mohammedan women] Visada 
was crushing to powder long pepper, etc. [God] Jagan- 
natha came there and sat down to see that nothing went 
wrong. He stole a quantity of spirituous liquor, and 
his hands were [consequently] cut off, etc." 

The Images of Dharma and His Retinue. 

God Dharma had no form. To represent him, 
however, the image of a tortoise is placed inside a 
small stone chariot amidst a very small heap of stones. 
On the occasion of the worship of Dharma, Dharma- 
pada (i.e. footprints of Dharma) is drawn with sandal 
paste on the image of this tortoise. The Dharma- 
paduka (sandals of Dharma) is a modern form of this 

Dharma is worshipped under various names, such 
as Dharma Raja, Kalu Raya, Bankuda Rciya, Vuda 
Raya, Kalachanda, Vriddhinaga, Khelarama, Adiyaraja, 
Swarupa-nariyana, etc. 

Gods and Goddesses worshipped with Dharma. — The 
Bhairavas (eight in number), Avarna, Damara Shain, 
Kamadeva, Hanuman, A Ulluka, Ksetrapala, Matanga, 
Nilajihva, Ugradanta, Amani, goddess Manasa (mother 
of serpents), Mani, Bhagini and Vasuki (king of 

The Meditation. 

"Salutation to Dharma — salutation to Dharmaraja 
the formless, who has neither beginning, middle, nor 


end ; who has neither hands nor feet, neither body nor 
voice, neither shape nor form ; who is above fears and 
death and is subject neither to birth nor to decay ; who 
is realizable through meditation only by Yogindra (i.e. 
Shiva) and dwells inside all creatures, and who is above 
all objects and desires, who is spotless (Niranjana), 
who confers boons on immortals and protects us, and 
whose form is the Void." — Dharmapujd-paddhati. 

The Salutation-Formula. 

" I make my obeisance to Dharma, named also 
Kalachanda, etc., who is spotless, formless, of the form 
of the Void, and is the great god. Be pleased, O God 
of Gods, to save me ! " 

Hymn to Dharma} 

" Humbly do I offer this hymn to thee, after bowing 
low by rolling myself on the ground. 

" Who is there in these three worlds that can know 
thee, who art Buddha, the protector of the meek and 
the poor ? 

" Travelling over the whole world, no one has ever 
found, O Formless Lord, thy beginning or end, thy 
hands or feet. 

" Thou hast neither form nor figure, and thou art 
above all attributes. Who is there that can ever see 
through or gauge thy illusive powers ? 

" Thou art not subject to birth, decrepitude or 
death, and thou art the great object of meditation of the 

" Salutation to Dharma, who is Shunya and whose 
form is Shunya." 

1 Found in the possession of a Dharma priest. 


A Hymn in Eight Stanzas 1 to Niranjana. 

" Salutation to that Niranjana who is both Shiva and 
Brahma, who is confined to no particular place [i.e. 
who is omnipresent], who is above the sense of honour 
and dishonour, who has no feet, who is subtle, colour- 
less and formless and absolutely undefinable, who is the 
observed of all observers and the essence of content- 
ment, etc ." — Dharmapujd-paddhati. 

1 Astakas (poems consisting of eight stanzas). 



Section I. — The VAnafoda. 

Both in Gambhiri and Gijan the Sannyasis perform 
a ceremony under the name of the Vanafodi. The 
word Vina (lit. an arrow) does not mean here the dart 
or arrow that goes off from the bow. Here it is quite a 
different thing, both in shape and use. 

Of the several Vanas said to be in use in the Gijan, 
the following three kinds are most generally noticed : 
(i) the Kapila Vana; (2) the Trishula (trident) or 
Agni (fire) Vana, also called Pirshwa (side) or Pasha 
Vina, and (3) the Jihva (tongue) or Sarpa (snake) 

(t) The Kap&la {forehead) Vdna. — It is short, being The different 
only a cubit in length; like the needle pointed at onevanas° f 
end and blunt at the other, and is made of iron. To the 
sharp end is attached a small pipe with an open iron 
lamp on it. 

How it is used. — The name Kapila Vina is due to 
the fact that it is stuck into the kapila, or forehead. 
This is done at night. The Sannyisi sits calm and still 
before the idol, and the blacksmith forces the Vina be- 
low his skin between the eyebrows in such a way that it 
may stick out about two inches from the forehead. 
Then the face of the Sannyisi is covered with a piece of 
new banana leaf, and the ends of it are drawn together 



and tied to the outer end of the Vina. Thereafter a 
quantity of ghee (clarified butter) and a wick are put on 
the iron lamp, which with the detached pipe is then 
attached to the end of the Vana, into the outermost 
extremity of which a Java (china rose) flower is also 
inserted. Another Sannyasi then comes forward and 
lights the lamp attached to the Vina. 

(2) The Trishula or Agni Vdna. — Made of iron and 
of the same shape as the Kapala Vina, only half a cubit 
longer. It has, however, no separate pipe or lamp 
attached to it. When two such Vinas are joined to- 
gether in a straight line, their joined ends are linked 
together by a device like a trident. Hence the name, 
Trishula (trident) Vina. 

How it is used. — This ceremony is performed in the 
course of a procession that is formed in some places in 
the day and in others at night. The Vinas are stuck 
into the skin of the sides below the arms, the pointed 
outer extremities sticking out, making an angle before 
the breast of the performer. These ends are then 
joined together by means of a pipe to which the trident 
is attached. Then the performer raises the Vinas a 
little with his hands, but in such a way that the linked 
ends may not be detached. Now a piece of cloth is 
steeped in a quantity of ghee and wrapped round the 
trident and fire is set to it. The Sannyasi now begins 
to dance, and powdered resin is thrown now and then 
into the flame. 

(3) The Jihvd or Snake Vdna. — Made of iron, as 
thick as the thumb, and six to nine cubits long. On 
the Shale-bhara day of the Gijan festival, the Jihvi- 
Vinafodi is exhibited. One end of this Vina is like 
the hood of a serpent, the other end is pointed, but the 
extremity is blunt. The tongue is pierced with it. 

How it is used. — The Jihvi is not inserted in the 


same way as the other Vinas. The tongue is first 
softened by rubbing it with ghee. Then the lower side 
of it is turned up by the blacksmith, and with a pointed 
iron nail known as Vela-kinti (lit. a thorn of the 
marmelos' tree) a side of this lower part is pierced. 
Thereafter, through the hole thus made, the pointed end 
of the Jihvi Vina is thrust till its middle portion is well 
inside the mouth. The ends of the Vina have to be 
equally poised. The ' hooded one is besmeared with 
vermilion, and a fruit of some kind is stuck into it. The 
Sannyasi now holds either end of the Vina with his 
hands and begins to dance, amidst flourishes of music. 
Many others repeat this feat. Sometimes they pass the 
Vina through the tongue before the very eyes of the 
spectators, and dance, and are rewarded with money, 
clothes and ornaments. 

Before use the Vinas have to be rubbed and cleansed, General 
so that not a trace of rust is left on them. Then they remar s " 
are besmeared with ghee and worship is offered to them. 
The blacksmith now bathes, takes as blessing some 
flowers from those offered to the god, and sets about his 
task. The Vela-kinti he brings from home with him. 
It has also to be worshipped and besmeared with ghee. 
That part of the body which has to be pierced has also 
to be rubbed with ghee. Then the blacksmith besmears 
this part and his own fingers with ashes of dried cow- 
dung (used as fuel) and thrusts the Vina. When it is 
drawn out, he applies a quantity of cotton soaked in ghee 
to the affected part and holds it for some time between 
his fingers. When the Vina is pulled out of the tongue, 
the mouth is filled with ghee, mixed in some places with 
powdered sesamum. The Sannyasi, whose tongue is 
thus pierced, is not allowed to talk with anybody for 
one whole day. Different parts of the tongue are 
pierced in different years. 


Piercing the Back with, the Vdna. 

Prfstha This ceremony was observed at the time of the 

" a ° ' Chadaka. In former times the back was pierced with 
one or two iron Vanas shaped like fishing-hooks. 
Cords were then passed through the outer ends of these 
hooks, and the Sannyasi, thus suspended, enjoyed 
swings on the Chadaka post. 

The thick skin in the centre of the back, and on 
either side of the backbone, was pulled out, leaving 
the spinal cord alone, and the weapon named Vela- 
kinta was made to run through it, and then through 
the hole thus made the hook was thrust. The skin is 
made ready for this operation by being rubbed with 
ghee and ashes of dried cow-dung. 

Section II. — History of the Practice of 

TheMaha- I n the MahdbMrata we find that Bhisma lay for a 

Harivamsha. considerable time on a bed of arrows before his death. 
This is not what is meant by Vanafoda ; still, it may be 
taken to have furnished the original idea of this practice. 
In Harivamsha .there is the legend of King Vana, 
who went, bathed in blood, with arrows stuck in his 
body, to the place of Shiva and danced before him. 
in Dharma On the affair of secret love between Vana's daughter 

Usa and Shri Krisna's son Aniruddha, a terrible war 
took place between the aggrieved fathers, in which King 
Vana of Shonitapura lost his arms, and blood trickled 
down his whole body, being wounded with darts. In 
this state he approached Shiva and danced before him, 
till the god was pleased to make him hale and hearty 
and immortal, and also to direct at the request of Vana 
that any sincere and earnest votary who would thus 
dance before him in future would be blessed with sons. 


It was this legend of Vina, in Dharma Samkitd, Fiom the 
more particularly the belief that Shiva had been pleased King vana 
to direct that any sincere and earnest votary who would °rig> nate <* 

J , J the practice 

fast and thus dance before him would be blessed with of vanafoda. 
issue, that gave rise to the practice of Vanafoda. As 
a means of purchasing the favour of Shiva, the Sanny- 
asis allow their bodies to be thus pierced, and this is 
why they thus dance before his image. Apparently 
the name of Vanafoda was given to the practice after 
King Vana, who was its originator. In the Gajan 
blood has to be spilt in one way or other ; and this is 
known as Vanafoda. 

In the Samkitds we find that provision hasTheSam- 

1 i r 1 • tTA • ,1 rhitas and the 

been made for worshipping Vanas in the course ot wors hi p0 f 
the worship that is offered to Shiva. Thus it is laid vanas - 
down : " While worshipping Shiva, worship should 
also be offered to the glorious trident in the north- 
east, the thunderbolt in the east, the axe in the 
south-east, the arrow in the south, the sword in the 
south-west, the noose in the west, the driving-hook (for 
elephants) in the north-west, and the bow (or the trident) 
in the north ". 

The story of Harishchandra's worshipping Dharma, The shunya 
as told by Ramai, reminds one of the legend of Vana. ^mlt ° f 
The following lines are quoted from his Shunya 
Purdna : — 

" A saw was applied to the head of Rama, but it 
could not make even the faintest impression, as the 
Master was with him" (" Yama Purana," 10). 

" There stood Chandra, the prefect of police, with 
the sword of Chandra Hasa in his hand" ("Message 
brought by the Messenger of Yama," 4). 

" Suryya, the prefect of police, stood with the 
weapons of Sena and Dakvusa " (ibid., 10). 

" Garuda, the prefect of police, stood up with the 



Vanafoda in 



Training in 

weapons of Jhati [broomstick?] and Jhagada" {ibid., 


" Ulluka, the prefect of police, stood up with the 
Jivanasa [life-destroying] Chuda in his hand " {ibid., 16). 

The treatise Dharmapujd-paddhati (on the system 
of worshipping Dharma) is said to have been com- 
posed by Ramai Pandit. The practice of Vanafoda has 
been recognized by him. In the chapter of "Graha- 
bharana " we are told of the processes of Kunda-seva, 
Hindolana, Jihva-vedana and Pancha-vedana. 

The performance of Vanafoda is even now exhibited 
in the Gajan and the Gambhira festivities. The pierc- 
ing of the tongue, and also of the back, on the occasion 
of the Chadaka festival, are not, however, included in 
the programme of our days ; only feats with small 
Kapila Vanas and Trishula Vanas are performed. 
The body is nowadays pierced in many places with the 
thorns of the marmelos tree, the outer ends of these 
being decorated with china roses. This seems to be a 
refined edition of Vanafoda. 

The Vanafoda is an heroic practice. In the modern 
Gambhira and Gajan festivities the Bhaktas dance with 
scimitars, spears, etc. The sect of Kutichaka followers 
of Shiva still wield the spade and the scimitar as their 
badges. The Naga (lit. naked) Sannyasis of the Shaiva 
cult also use the spade and the scimitar. 

To encourage the development of chivalrous ideas 
in society, the Vanafoda was introduced and cultivated 
probably as a semi-military feat. The class of men 
from whom these Sannyasis were recruited furnished the 
Hindu Zamindars (landlords) of yore with their infantry ; 
and it was they who were occasionally found to commit 
dacoities in the land. 

Section I. — The Mask (Mukha). 

Masks are made and used to represent Kalika (i.e. Masks made 
Kali), Chamunda (another name of Chandi), Narasimha Godsor Sent 
(lit. man-lion : this name was applied to that incarna- Ghosts - 
tion of God in which he killed the demon Hiranya- 
kashipu, after assuming a body, the upper half of which 
was like that of a lion and the nether half human), 
Vasuli, Rama and Laksmana, Hanuman, an old man 
and his old consort, Shiva, and others. Mask-dances 
also representing ghosts and goblins, or Kartika (War- 
God), a lame man, or the Chili (the background of an 
image), are seen to take place. The mask is made of 
wood or earth ; in olden days, however, the former 
alone was exclusively used. Among these, again, those 
made of the neem wood (a tree the bark and leaves of 
which are extremely bitter to the taste, azadirachta 
indica) were given the first place. 

All carpenters cannot carve these masks, for they 
have to be made in accordance with the descriptions of 
the gods and goddesses whom they are made to repre- 
sent. The rules are laid down in the treatises on arts 
and crafts called Shilpa-Shdstras. After the carpenters 
have done, the patua, i.e. the painter, applies his brush 
to them, and thus makes them ready for use. Besides 
these, earthen masks, variously coloured, are also offered 
for sale by expert potters. Head-gears for these wooden 



and earthen masks are made by malakaras, i.e. makers 
of artificial flowers and garlands. 

Before the Bhakta puts on a new mask of wood, he 
will place it before the priest in the Gambhira for its 
prana-pratistha (the religious rite that is supposed to 
bring life into an image). Those who have masks 
in their possession have to worship them duly on the 
Vijaya-dashami day (i.e. the fourth day of the Durga- 
puja, held generally in October), although this practice 
has for some time been fast dying out. Many old 
masks are seen hung in the Gambhira house. People 
believe that some of these masks are jigrata (lit. 
awake, hence endued with life and able to smile or 
frown) and that the tutelary deities of some are ex- 
tremely wrathful. It is reported that some mask-dancers 
somehow or other incurred the displeasure of the gods or 
goddesses they meant to represent and in consequence 
lost their lives. Those who in olden times danced with 
the masks of deities, especially of Kali, Chamunda, Nara- 
simha and Vasuli, took special care to do no such thing 
as might bring down on them the displeasure of their 
gods. Before they put on these masks for dancing, 
they gave up the use of oil and the eating of fish and 
meat, tried to make their hearts clean of all impious 
thoughts and ideas, and dressed and decorated themselves 
with pure clothes and ornaments. 
The an of Near the upper extremity of the mask and on its 

Mask. g ° nthe i nner s ^ e > J ust above the forehead of the wearer, there is 
one hole, and behind its ears there are two others, through 
which strings or cords are passed and the mask made 
fast to the face. A piece of cloth is wrapped over the 
head, covering the ears, in the manner of a turban, to 
protect the face from being scratched by friction with 
the mask. 


Section II. — The Dance. 

The horse of the horse-dance is made of a bamboo The Horse 
frame overlaid with paper. On its back, at the place Ka^MasiT 
where the saddle is put, there is a large hole. The ^ an ^J „ 

., , , . ir i • • i.ii the Old Man 

rider thrusts himself up to the waist into this hole, and his oid 
places across his shoulders the cords that are tied to the Wlfe * 
two upper sides of the hobby-horse and then commences 
his dancing. The peacock-dance of Kartika is similarly 
performed. The bear-dance is also occasionally met 
with. In this case the dancer puts on the mask of a 
bear and has his whole body covered with hair made of 
dark-coloured jute or hemp fibres, and is then made by 
another to dance in the manner of a bear. Like the 
image of Durga, its background (Chili) is also nicely 
decorated. The selected Bhakta fastens it to the front- 
side of his waist, and, seating little children on it, causes 
them to dance with his two hands from behind. In the 
dance of the Kali mask, the dancer is occasionally seen 
to have four hands. All these, however, are of wood, 
the dancer's own being tied together behind his back. 
The dancer in the Chimunda mask-dance wields in one 
hand a kharpara (the upper part of the human skull) to 
receive the blood of her victims and in the other a 
pigeon and such other things. In the Hanuman mask- 
dance, it is the chief votary that plays this part. He puts 
on the mask of, and dresses himself like, Hanuman, the 
great monkey-general, and then exhibits the crossing of 
the sea and the burning down of Lamka (these were 
among the most important feats performed by Hanuman 
as described in the Rdmdyana). The dance of Shiva- 
Parvati is performed in a gentle manner. Under her 
armpit and encircled by her left hand, Parvati wields a 
pitcher filled with water, and over its mouth are placed 
some fresh mango-twigs {mangifera indicd). In her 


right hand she holds a full-blown lotus. The dance of 
Vuda-Vudi (old man and his old consort) has a comic 
element in it. 
The Nara- Several dances do not require any particular obser- 

' e 'vation on them. The Narasimha dance and its mask 
cannot however be passed over without remark. We 
have seen that the dance in the Gambhira Mandapa 
is performed solely by representatives of Shiva, Shakti 
(Parvati) and their ghost and goblin retinue. This has 
been the practice from time immemorial and is also in 
keeping with the injunctions in the Purdnas on the point. 
There is no reason anywhere for the introduction of the 
Narasimha dance into these festivities, Narasimha being 
another name of Visnu and thus popularly quite dif- 
ferent from Shiva. The reason for this introduction may 
be found in the following. Among the several forms 
that Chandi is said to have assumed, we find one de- 
scribed as that of Narasimhi. As she is popularly re- 
garded as the wife of Shiva, it may be that the devotees 
felt inclined also to introduce her before her Lord in the 
Gambhira ; and in course of time her name came to be 
shorn of the final i, sign of the feminine, the dance thus 
coming to be known as the Narasimha dance. 

We reproduce below the Dhyana (set form of medi- 
tation) and the pranima (set form of salutation) of the 
goddess Narasimhi. 

Meditation on Narasimhi. 

" Om [symbol of the Hindu triad, being a contracted 
but joint name for Brahma, the God of Creation, Visnu, 
the God of Protection, and Maheshwara, the God of 
Destruction. Generally it introduces meditation and 
salutation hymns], [the object of my meditation is] 
dressed like a goddess, [is] of a very powerful build 
[or it may mean, forcibly brought out, referring to the 


crystal column from inside which she rushed out when 
the demon Hiranya-kashipu kicked against it], [is] de- 
corated with various ornaments, [is] engaged in rending 
the breast of Kashipu [i.e. Hiranya-kashipu, who dis- 
believed her existence, and, in support of his contention, 
said that if she was omnipresent she must be in yonder 
crystal column. Then he kicked at it, and, lo and 
behold : there stood before him the awful goddess as 
described above] and known as Narasimhi." 

Salutation to Narasimhi. 

"Om, T bow to the goddess who has assumed the 
form of Narasimha and humbled the pride of giants and 
demons, is the bestower of good, is of a glorious hue, is 
eternal and is called Narasimhi." 

From this it seems that the dance should be named 
after Narasimhi instead of Narasimha. 




The cheapest and most superficial view of Hindu civiliza- 
tion is that it is absolutely non-secular and ultra-spiritual. 
An excessive dose of pessimistic religiosity and an utter 
disregard of material interests are glibly talked of as the 
characteristic features of the Hindus. This interpretation 
of Hindu temperament is, however, not at all borne out 
by facts of history. It is strange that the Hindus should 
have been regarded so long as a purely non-political and 
non-economic or even a pre-political and pre-economic 
race in spite of the thousand and one evidences of a rich 
secular and material life furnished by architectural, sculp- 
tural, numismatic and literary records. It is unfortunate 
that sufficient attention has not been drawn to the study 
of palaces, temples, forts, irrigation works, tanks, roads, 
etc., that testify to the engineering skill of the Indians 
in ancient and mediaeval times ; for that alone is suffi- 
cient to dispel the erroneous theory about the genius of 
the civilization that has grown on Indian soil. Or, again, 
the idea that one gets from a study of the Ntti-Skdstras, 
Shilpa-Sh&stras, Vdstu-Shdstras, K&ma-Sh&stras, and 
other treatises on polity, warfare, town-planning, ad- 
ministrative machinery and financial management, arts 
and crafts, sex, hygiene, sanitation, eugenics, etc., is 
sure to convince the most critical student of history 

that the Hindus had their forte not only in transcen- 

ii 4 


dental and metaphysical speculations, but also in the 
management of the affairs of this earthly earth, the ad- 
ministration of secular interests and the supply of the 
necessaries, comforts and luxuries of life. 

It is the object of this chapter to give a historical 
account of one or two entertainments and amusements 
that are prominent features of Hindu social existence 
and make life in India thoroughly communal and collec- 
tive as opposed to merely individualistic and exclusive. 
The evidences are certainly not exhaustive, but will, at 
any rate, indicate the great zest that the Hindus have 
ever felt in enjoying secular life and making it sweet, 
socialized and comfortable, and undoubtedly prove that 
pessimism is not the stuff out of which the Indian mind 
is made. 

The subject is being treated under three heads : 
processions, musical performances, and social gatherings. 
It would be interesting to note that these features of 
modern life have each a long history behind them, and 
that as in many other things, India is the hoary birth- 
place of various social conventions and institutions. So 
that Indian literature and history require to be studied 
more "intensively" and elaborately by moderns not 
solely in the interest of comparative mythology and 
philology, but also of Comparative Social Art, i.e. the 
comparative study of social festivities and enjoyments, 
pastimes, merry-makings and at-homes. In fact the 
scientific study of social man has to be centred more 
and more on India. 

Section I. — Processions. 

By " processions " we mean the train of persons that 
proceeds through a town or village, as the case may be, 
on the occasion of a festival with flourishes of music, 
flags and buntings, elephants and horses, etc. 




The Vedic Age. — Processions do not seem to have 
been common in the Vedic age. We do, however, hear 
of a procession that was formed in connexion with the 
ceremony of Avabhritha bath winding up a sacrificial 

The Rdmdyana and the Mahdbhdrata. — Processions 
are mentioned in the Rdmdyana. In connexion with 
the installation of kings, marriages, etc., these were 
formed at Ayodhya. In the Mahdbhdrata also we come 
across processions in many places. Very often the 
kings made arrangements for these to signalize their 
sacrifices, marriages, and conquests. An account is 
given of a huge procession that was formed in con- 
nexion with the bath that concluded the celebrated 
Ashwamedha sacrifice of Yudhisthira. We are also 
told of another, and a very good one, that was formed 
on the occasion of the worship of Brahma. 

The Harivamsha. — A procession is said to have 
marched out on the occasion of the festivities that Shri 
Krisna held at the town of Dwaravatt. Another was 
formed when he and others, bound for the shrine of 
Pindaraka, went to the shores of the sea, stepped into 
a vessel decorated with flags and streamers waiting 
for the purpose, finished their ablutions and took their 
meals there. 

The Bhdgavata. — In the Bhdgavata processions are 
said to have been generally formed in connexion with 
marriages, etc. We are also told of one that was 
formed on a small scale in the house of Nanda on the 
occasion of the nativity of Shri Krisna. 

Visnu Purdna. — A procession marched out on the 
occasion of the Bow sacrifice performed by King Kamsa. 
On festive occasions also these are said to have been 

Shiva Purdna. — There is scope for processions in 


connexion with the installation of the image and worship 
of Shiva. In the Skanda and Padma Purdnas accounts 
are given of the Skandagovinda festival and a proces- 
sion that was started in connexion with this. 

Dharma, Jndna, Sanatkumdra and Vdyavia Sam- 
hitds. — On the occasion of the installation of the image 
of Shiva and the festivities that were held in his honour, 
the passing of sleepless nights and the starting of pro- 
cessions are recorded. It is also said that a procession 
marched out with the image of Shiva on the occasion of 
the Flowery Car festival and the swinging ceremony- 
Provisions have also been made for holding processions 
on the occasion of the great festival of Shiva to be held 
in the month of Phalgoon (February-March), of the 
swinging festival to be held in the month of Chaitra 
(March- April), and of the Puspa-mahalaya (Flowery 
Temple) to be held in Vaishakha (April-May) next. 

The Purdnas of the Jainas. — In the Padma Purdna 
it is said that on the occasion of the natal festivities of 
Risabha 1 Deva, the Hindu gods came down, showered 
flowers and released his father from confinement. We 
are further told that a procession marched out on the 
occasion, making gifts of money, etc., while passing. 
On the ninth day of the dark half of the month of 
Chaitra the birthday festivities of the Adi (First) Jina 
Risabha are held. Processions were also formed in 
connexion with the festivities that were held to celebrate 
the births and attainment of emancipation of the Jaina 

We learn from Aristanemi Purdna that a procession 
was started in connexion with the Jaina spring festival 
celebrated by King Sumukha. It is also found that a 
procession accompanied him when Vasudeva went with 

1 See Stevenson's Heart of Jainism (Oxford, 1915), pp. 22, 45, 
51, etc. 


Gandharva Sena to the place of the Phalgoon festivities 
with a view to rendering his homage to Parshwanatha. 

We are told in the Muni Suvrata Purdna that on a 
certain occasion Rama and Laksmana with some ladies 
celebrated the spring festival in the garden of Chitrakuta 
at Benares. An account is to be found also of a proces- 
sion that was formed on the occasion. Then again we 
come across the description of two other processions that 
were formed in connexion with the imposing ceremonies 
of the Jina worship performed on the 2nd day of the 
light half of the month of Kartika (October-November) 
and also with the worship of Jina Deva by Rama. 

Buddhist books. — In the various Buddhist works we 
become acquainted with the pomp and grandeur with 
which processions were formed and marched out. 

Shakyasimha (Buddha) was born on a full-moon day 
in the forest of Lumvini. Festivities were held in the 
town for a week from the birthday. When on the death 
of his mother he was brought into the capital from the 
forest of Lumvini, great festivities are said to have been 
held and grand processions to have been formed to 
signalize the occasion. If the glorious descriptions of 
these be not hyperbolical, it must be said that the great 
festivities and processions held by the later Buddhist 
Emperors were by far less grand and ceremonious than 
those described in Lalita Vistara. 

It says : " Five thousand well-dressed men with 
pitchers full of water will lead the van, followed by as 
many girls of the zenana, holding aloft in their hands 
fans of the peacock tail, to be followed in their turn by 
girls holding fans of the palm-leaf. They will be ac- 
companied by other girls with golden vases filled with 
fragrant waters in their hands. The public roads will 
have to be sprinkled with water. Five thousand girls 
will hold flags followed by as many decorated with 


variegated flowing garlands and by five hundred Brah- 
manas proceeding with ringing bells. The Prince will 
be followed by twenty thousand elephants, twenty thou- 
sand horses, eighty thousand chariots and forty thousand 
armed infantry." 

This was the first birthday festival of Buddha with 
procession. Festivities were also held with procession 
on the occasion of the cremation of his body after death. 
On the full-moon day of Vaishakha (April-May) a great 
Buddhist festival is celebrated with procession, because 
it was on this day that Buddha was born as well as at- 
tained his pari-nirvana (i.e. final emancipation) or death. 

A Buddhist procession 0/4.00 a.d. — From the record 
left by the Chinese traveller, Fa Hien, of Indian fes- 
tivities about 400 a.d., we get some account of a Bud- 
dhist procession. It was in the reign of Chandra Gupta 
II, Vikramaditya, that this traveller visited India. He 
witnessed a huge procession at Pataliputra (modern 
Patna) on the occasion of the Buddhist car-festival. 

Hiuen -Thsang s description {643 a.d.). — Hiuen- 
Thsang, the Chinese traveller, witnessed a grand pro- 
cession at Kanauj during the reign of Emperor Harsa 
Vardhana, in connexion with a great Buddhist festival 
that was then solemnized to commemorate the ablution 
ceremony of Buddha. This is known as Chaitrotsava 
(festival to be held in the month of Chaitra or March- 
April). The Emperor himself carried on his shoulders 
a small image of Buddha to the Ganges to give it a 
plunge there, and after this was done, returned to the 
pavilion for festivities. A procession consisting of twenty 
kings and three hundred elephants marched round the 
city following the image to the river and back from it. 

The Shunya Purdna and the Dharmapuja-pad- 
dhati of Rdm&i Pandit. — Ramai Pandit is said to have 
lived at Gauda in the twelfth century (?). Provision 


was made for a procession in the arrangement that he 
made for performing the worship of Dharma and holding 
festivities in his honour. It was laid down that on the 
occasion of the Gajan of Dharma the organizers should 
go round the city on a horse named Mcldhai and the 
chariot of Dharma. This is how the procession of 
those days was formed. 

In Dharma-Mangala. — In all the editions of Dharma- 
Mangala that have come to light, mention is made of 
processions in connexion with great festivities. 

" In Usatpur Sukha Datta of the V^rui (betel plant- 
grower) family is engaged in the worship of Dharma 
with heart and soul. Placing Dharma P&duka (sandals) 
in a gold palanquin he carried it on his head and thus 
brought Gijan to the circle of MayanaV' 

Ghanarima has referred to the practice of marching 
out processions of Dharma from village to village. 

In the GAjan of Shiva. — In Radha (western dis- 
tricts of Bengal) the Sanny&sis in honour of Shiva's 
Gajan or festival dress themselves in various ways and 
travel from village to village with rejoicings, placing the 
phallus of Shiva on a copper plate and carrying it in 
some places on the head and in some others in palan- 

It is clear that the custom of forming processions 
on festive occasions has come down from very early 
times and has been observed by all denominations, 
Vedist, Pur^nist, Shaiva, Vaisnava, Jaina and Buddhist. 
It was not only in connexion with the worship of gods, 
but on all auspicious occasions that the people are 
found to have indulged in this luxury. Processions 
are even now seen in connexion with the ceremonies 
of marriage, the first tonsure, the investiture with the 
sacred thread, etc. In Bengal the ceremony of consign- 
ing the image of Durga to the waters is attended with 


a procession. Along with this may be mentioned the 
Bharatmilap processions of the Punjab, Ramaltla pro- 
cessions of the U.P., and the Ganapati processions 
among the Marathas. The custom of forming similar 
processions is to be met with among the daily and 
casual observances of life. Going round and through 
the town or village in a body, singing the glories of 
Hari (Krisna), is also a kind of procession. 

Section II. — Music and Dance. 

The performances of dance and music have been in 
vogue on all festive occasions since the Vedic age, and 
point to the collective group-life that the people of 
Hindustan have ever lived. 

In the Rig Veda. — In the Rig Veda Vishwamitra's 
son Madhuchchhanda Risi has added to the grandeur 
of sacrifices by making dance and music inseparably 
connected with them. Thus he says : " O Shata- 
kratu, singers sing in your honour ; worshippers offer 
their homage to worshipful Indra (i.e. you). Like 
bamboo-pieces raised aloft by dancers, you are raised 
high (i.e. your glories are magnified) by your panegy- 
rists." x In another place of this scripture we find that 
the Karkari and the Vina (something like the lyre) 
were the favourite musical instruments. 

In the Rdmdyana, the Mahdbhdrata and the 
Purdnas. — In the Purdnas dance and music were 
largely introduced, and these were best performed by 
kinnaras (celestial musicians having human bodies with 
heads of horses) and their wives, the kinnaris. Musical 
instruments of various kinds were invented and dance 
and music were among the best accomplishments of 
princesses, who were one and all taught these fine arts. 

1 The Rig Veda, Astaka 1, Chap. I, Sukta 10, 1. 


In the Mahdbhdrata we find that when in disguise, 
Arjuna took to a musician's profession and taught music 
and dance to the princess of Virata. In the Rajasuya 
sacrifice of Yudhisthira, also, dance and music were pro- 
vided on a lavish scale. Not to speak of the place of 
festivities, even the courts and bed-chambers of princes 
resounded with their sounds. 

In Harivamsha. — In the pleasant boat-trip that was 
taken to the shrine of Pindaraka, the ladies and gentle- 
men of the Yadu family indulged themselves freely 
in dance and music. The particular mode of music 
known as Chhalikya was invented at this time by an 
Apsara (a celestial nymph devoted to dance and music) 
named Pancha-chuda, who defeated the accomplished 
celestial singer Narada the sage in a competition of 
music. Every Purdna, every Upa - Purdna, every 
Samhitd, teems with instances of the prevalence of 
these fine arts. The people of those days freely en- 
couraged their cultivation. 

In D karma Samhitd. — In D karma Samhitd we 
find an account of the musical entertainment attended 
with dance that was given to Shiva. 

" All the false mothers (sixteen goddesses such as 
Gauri, Padma, etc. ) entertained Rudra with dance and 
song — some danced, some sang, some laughed, and 
others amused him amorously." 

From this we learn that all the disguised mothers 
danced and sang round Shiva. King Vina himself 
treated Shiva with various dances to the accompaniment 
of music. We read of diverse gestures and noddings of 
the head exhibited on this occasion. 

J nana Samhitd. — Reference to dance and music is 
also to be found in Jndna Samhitd. 

" Inspired by the sentiment of devotion the wise per- 
form worship with dance and music in the first part of 


the night, and then apply themselves to the repetition of 
their respective mantras (incantations invoking the ap- 
pearance of the gods they worship)." 

" Dance and music have again to be performed till 
the rising of the sun." 

These injunctions go to prove that dance and music 
were much too indulged in in the worship of Shiva. 
Hence it is that he has got the name of Nritya-priya 
(fond of dance) and Nata-raja (prince of dance). 

In the Jaina Purdnas. — References to dance and 
music are also to be met with in the Jaina Purdnas. 
In the legend of Risabha Deva in Jaina Harivamsha, 
otherwise called Aristanemi Purdna, we are told of a 
dance performance. Risabha Deva lost all zest for the 
worldly life at the sight of the dance performed by 
Nilanjasa, one of the female dancers in the service of 
Indra, the king of gods. 

In Muni-Suvrata Purdna. — When the Jaina sage 
Suvrata took his birth among men, he was sprinkled 
with holy water, and on this occasion Indra and the 
other gods sang hymns to him. The spring festivals 
celebrated by kings were also accompanied with dance 
and music. 

In Buddhist Books. — Lalita Vistara says that five 
hundred Brahmanas who joined in the procession that 
was formed on the occasion of the birthday festival of 
Shakyasimha, were engaged in ringing bells. 

Blind Kunala with his wife " managed to penetrate 
into an inner court of the palace where he lifted up his 
voice and wept, and to the sound of a lute, sang a song 
full of sadness ". — Asoka, by Smith. 

In the record of his travels left by Fa Hien. — In the 
days of the Gupta Kings dance and music were exten- 
sively cultivated. Bright pictures of the cultivation of 
these arts are to be found in the dramas of the time. 


On the 8th day of Jyaistha (May- June) Fa Hien 
witnessed the Buddhist car-festival at Pataliputra. He 
says that to the image of Buddha seated on the car, 
flowers and other fragrant things were offered to the ac- 
companiment of dance, song and music. Gloriously the 
cars marched with flourishes of music, and in a serial 
order, to the place of festivities which were held through- 
out the night with dance, song and music. 

In the account left by Hiuen-Thsang. — The Chinese 
traveller Hiuen-Thsang visited India, as we have seen, 
when Harsa Vardhana was on the throne. Dance and 
music were lavishly provided in the temporary pavilion 
that was erected for the great festival which he wit- 
nessed at Kanauj and also in the procession that 
marched through the city on the occasion. Every day 
the festivities were held with dance and music. 

Among the injunctions of Buddhism. — The ringing 
of bells, the singing of religious songs, etc., are among 
the inviolable duties of the Buddhist. 

In the Shunya Purdna of Rdmdi. — In the course of 
the worship of Dharma, all the themes of Ramai's 
Shunya Purdna had to be sung in connexion with the 
celebration of the ceremonies. It is said that these 
were sung in the Mangala and the Ravari modes of 
music. They were interspersed also with incantations 
necessary for worshipping Dharma. At the time of 
this worship the male and female Sannyasis sang to the 
accompaniment of dance and the musicians played on 
their instruments. Thus : — 

" With offerings of flowers the songs of Ramai were 

" Putting on a copper ring, the dancer sings songs 
throughout the livelong night." 

" With various merry dances, music and songs the 
worship of Dharma charms the whole world." 


" Singing songs through his horn, keeping time with 
the damaru (a small drum), Shiva is meditating on 
Dharma and striking up a vocal music by playing on 
his blown-up cheeks with his fingers." 

" Some are selling, some are buying, and some are 
enjoying dance and music." 

Such accounts of dance and music are to be found 
in Shunya Purdna. 

In the worship of Dharma, while the ceremony of 
besmearing (the image) with an unguent of sandal pow- 
der, etc., is gone through, conch-shells are blown and 
the women utter the auspicious ulu ulu sound. 

" All the dancers danced with flourishes of music to 
the great enjoyment (of the spectators)." 

" Every day drums were beaten, conch-shells were 
blown, and bells rung to the satisfaction of all." 

Horns were repeatedly blown, and a music was 
struck up with drums, trumpets, kettle-drums, damama, 
khamaka and shimga. 

The worship of Dharma was thus performed with 
dance, song, the sound of ulu and the blowings of 

Govinda chandra Gtta, or Lays of Govinda chandra. 
— Poet Durlabha Mallik composed the songs collec- 
tively known as Govinda chandra Gtta (The Lays of 
Govinda chandra). This book was sung in toto. In 
Vaisnava literature we read of the songs of Yogipala, 
Mahipala, Bhogipala, and Gopipala. The last had a 
wide circulation in the country. 

In the Dharma-Mangala by Ghanardma. — All the 
Dharma- Mangala works are books of song. For a 
week prior to the celebration of the Dharma-Puja the 
whole of one Dharma-Mangala was sung. Ample re- 
ferences are to be found in each of these works to the 
prevalence of dance and music. Chamaras (yak-tail 


fly brushes) were brandished and cymbals were played 
on while the Dharma-Mangalas were sung. 

" On your way (or just go, and) see and hear dance 
and music in the gajan of Dharma." — Canto IV, 

" How many poems (songs) are sung and how many 
musical instruments are played on in the Gajan of 

"It was all the reign of music struck up with long 
and small drums, horns and Kada (drum beaten at one 
end)." — Canto III, ibid. 

"With great pleasure they went through the service 
of making salutations and passed a sleepless night with 
dance, song and music, meditation and worship." — Canto 
V, ibid. 

"They danced and sang with up-lifted arms." — 
Canto V, ibid. 

" Beating a couple of flat drums (beaten at one end 
only), blowing a horn and flying a royal flag (he) quickly 
went past Gauda." — Canto XIV, ibid. 

" Singers and musicians are the principal items of 
the Gajan. Hari and Hara be pleased to come and 
listen to the flourish of music in honour of Adya." 
— Dkarma-Pujd by Gaudeskwara. 

"In the morning and evening and at noon (i.e. 
throughout the day), with endless song and music 
the king worshipped Dharma with absorbed mind." 
— Dharma-Pujd by Gaudeskwara. 

In the D karma- Mangala by Mdnik Gdnguli. — 
"Music is struck up with dhakas and dholas (long 
drums), sanai (pipe) and kansi (an instrument of bell- 
metal), conch-shells and bells, lyres and flutes, kada and 
poota, turis (bugle) and veris (kettle-drum)." 

Mangala -Ckandi by Kavikamkana and Mdnik 
Datta. — Mangala-Chandi is another book of songs. 


The worship of Mangala-Chandi has obtained in Bengal 
for a long time. She has been the guardian angel of 
Bengalee homes, and every householder installs a 
pitcher filled with water as her representative to which 
worship is offered on every auspicious occasion. The 
singing of her songs is indispensable, especially in 
marriages. Long before the birth of Chaitanya 
(1485-1533) these songs used to be sung in every 
house. The lays of Mangala-Chandi by Kavikam- 
kana 1 (Mukundarama) are held in special esteem 
in Radha, just as the Chandi of Manik Datta pre- 
vails in Gauda. The usual accompaniments of these 
songs are the chamara, the cymbal, the khola (a kind 
of drum) and the Tanapura (a stringed instrument used 
as an accompaniment in vocal music). These songs 
cannot be sung without a principal singer (leader), 
some seconds and a musician. While singing, the 
leader and his seconds play on cymbals and dance 
to the measures of the music. 

Among the references to dance and music in Manik 
Datta's Chandi we find : — 

" Manik Datta sang a new song. 

" Be pleased, O Abhaya, to stay in (my) house for 
eight days. For your amusement dance and music will 
be provided, your yantra (diagram representing the 
goddess) will be duly drawn and worshipped, and an 
outer garment will be offered to you." " I make over 
the songs to you that will require eight days to be sung. 
Go and be pleased to sing in my temple. I make 
Raghu and Raghava your seconds and also provide 
you with a Tanapura and a musician. Thus you are 
provided with a full party." 

In the Lays of Visahari. — The songs in honour of 

1 Vide J. N. Das Gupta's Mukundaram : Bengal in the Sixteenth 
Century (Calcutta University, 1916). 


Visahari or Manasa are popularly known as the lays of 
Visahari or the Bhdsdna of Manasa. 1 Like Mangala 
Chandi songs, these also were held in great esteem 
by the people of Bengal. Many writers employed 
their pen on the Bhasana of Manasa. One Vipradasa, 
of the village of Vatagrama, composed the songs of 
Padma. Two old books on the songs of Manasa are 
still extant in Malda under the names of Tantravibkuti 
and Jagajjivana. These songs were circulated among 
the people as charms against the ravages of snakes. 
Most of these songs are to be found in the legend of 
Chanda Sadagara (trader) and Vehula. 

The songs are sung with the khola and cymbals. 
The Bhdsdna of Manasa is found to be sung by the 
actors representing the personnel of the story. All the 
different collections of the lays of Visahari are full of 
references to dances, songs and music. 

A study of the history of dance and music in India 
shows that these have largely influenced the Hindus. 
They grow and develop very naturally in the genial 
atmosphere of societies. As soon as the human mind 
seeks relaxation, dance and music spring up, as they 
largely help in driving out the gloom and in dispersing 
the clouds that hover above the mind. Hence it is 
that they have been extensively used for communal 
ceremonies and festivities. They are also very powerful 
agents in the hands of the preachers of religion ; and in 
every age a new religious sect has sprung up and let 
loose the current of devotion over the people's mind by 
initiating festivities and songs with dance and music. 
Since they have this efficacy, most of the scriptural 
works in India have from very early times been com- 
posed in the form of songs. 

1 They pass also by the name of the Lays of Padma. 


Section III. — Social Gatherings. 

From very early times the practice of Saubhratra 
Milana or entente cordiale has been in vogue among the 
Hindus. It consists in both the sexes forgetting their 
personal animosities for the time being and joining to- 
gether with all their hearts in social entertainments. 
This happy gathering took place in former times on 
all festive occasions, inspiring new sentiments and ideas, 
and strengthening the bonds of unity and harmony. 
Looking about for its history, we find that this healthy 
custom has obtained since the Vedic age. 

In the Vedic Age.— In the Vedic age when the 
Aryans performed any sacrifice, people of all ranks of 
society gathered together on the occasion and amused 
themselves in all possible ways. The distinction of sex 
was not observed, and males and females partook to- 
gether of the beverage of soma juice and the food that 
were offered in the sacrifice. All enmities, all hatreds, 
all jealousies were sunk in the happy feeling of unity and 
they all felt like strings of the same musical instrument. 
The different ranks offered prayers to the god of the 
sacrifice for conferring peace and happiness on one 

In the Rdmdyana. — On the conclusion of the terrible 
war, the armies of Rama and Ravana joined in a tri- 
umphant shout and embraced one another with the 
most cordial feelings. A similar bond of unity was 
also established between the followers of Rama and 
Vali after the latter was killed. 

In the Mahdbhdrata. — Innumerable are the in- 
stances in the Mahdbhdrata of such brotherly unions. 
In the Rajasuya sacrifice of Yudhisthira, people of all 
ranks and of all lands were invited, and they enjoyed 
the festivities, forgetting all their differences. The 



princes of the different countries with their relations 
may be said to have almost lived and moved together. 
They dined together, talked together, and very in- 
timately mixed with one another on the occasion of the 
Avabhrita (concluding) bath — so much so that the 
pangs of separation were very keenly felt and they 
could not part with one another without exchanges of 
embrace and other signs of deep cordiality. This was 
the form that Saubhratra Milana of those days took. 

In Harivamsha. — All the heroes of the city of 
Dwaraka (capital of Shri Krisna) amused themselves 
together on all festive occasions. When they diverted 
themselves in various ways in the waters of the sea, 
whether at Raivataka or in the course of their voyage 
to the shrine of Pindaraka, they forgot all personal 
quarrels and differences. That they dined, sat and 
talked together, is a proof, clear and simple, that they 
were inspired by brotherly love towards one another. 

In the Samhit&s. — On the occasions of worship, as 
for example, the worship of Shiva, the votaries lived 
together cordially for several days and helped in the 
celebration of the festivities. They danced and sang 
together and with exchanges of embrace parted with 
one another after the farewell dinner. This conduced 
largely to create and strengthen the bond of union and 

In the Jaina Scriptures. — The Jaina festivals in 
which all the members took part, helped in developing 
not only devotion to the same religion but also the feel- 
ing of cordiality among the members of the sect. 

Buddhist Congresses. — When the great religious con- 
ferences of Buddhists were started, Shramanas (monks) 
from different countries came as delegates and promoted 
the feeling of cordiality and unity by living and mix- 
ing freely together. Emperor Asoka tried to keep 


up this happy feeling by establishing a brotherly union 
among the several sects. He created opportunities for 
the development of a sincere concord and fellow-feeling 
by bringing people of all classes and creeds to mix to- 
gether with kindly sentiments. Each Buddhist festival 
was an occasion for the cultivation of fraternity among 
the followers of Buddhism. 

In the age of Vikramdditya. — Chandragupta II was 
on the throne when Fa Hien came into India. On the 
occasion of the Buddhist festival that he witnessed at 
Pataliputra, people from villages flocked to the city and 
joined in the festivities. A very cordial feeling grew up 
among them owing to their living and dining together 
and more especially to their taking part in the festivities 
with dance, song and music. This served the same 
purpose as the brotherly gatherings of other times. In 
these festivities the Shaiva, the Shakta and the Buddhist, 
the Shramana and the Brahmana, mixed with each other 
on an equal footing and found an equal share of amuse- 

In the time of tke Vardhana Kings. — In the reign 
of Shri Harsa Vardhana, Hiuen-Thsang witnessed the 
great conference for religious unification that was held at 
Prayaga (Allahabad). Worship was offered to Buddha, 
Shiva and Suryya (Sun) alike, and food and clothing, 
money and jewels were given away for over a month. 
This was a most notable instance of an Indian brotherly 

During the reign of the Pdla Kings. — The worship 
of Dharma preached by Ramai was also an effective 
means of creating a brotherly feeling among the several 
orders of the community. There were sixteen hundred 
Sannyasis, who followed this new religion of Ramai. 
They were all bound to one another by the tie of unity, 
brought about by their having to eat and live together 

Q * 


and to take part in the same religious festivities. Their 
friends and relations also joined in the Gajan ceremonies, 
as Ramai says in the Puspatolana (plucking flowers) 
Canto of his Shunya Purdna : — 

" Uncles of some and sons of others came, inspired 
by the feeling that they were all related to one another, 
and there was none that was not included in the self- 
same Swarupa Narayana (i.e. God)." 

" The sixteen hundred together cried out ' all glory 
(to Dharma)' with cheerful minds." 

" Fifty (a large number) courses of dinner were 
cooked, some say, through the grace of Anadya (lit. one 
who has no beginning)." 

The gods sat down (to dinner) with merry voices, 
Visnu sitting down with the Risis (sages), and Ma- 
hadeva with all the ascetics and all those persons who 
had matted hair on their heads. 

Adyanatha, Minanatha, Simga, Charamginatha, 
Dandapani and the Kinnaras (a class of demi-gods 
having human bodies and faces like horses) and all 
the other gods took their seats according to their respec- 
tive ranks, and the daughter of Janaka (Sita) began to 
serve them. 

The preparation of boiled rice, milk and sugar, that 
was offered to the god of the sacrifice, was served among 
the merry party. And the gods partook of it with great 
relish and cheerful hearts. 

After dinner they washed their hands and mouths 
and masticated (for purifying their mouths) myrobalans 
and Vaheda. Then with their minds constantly fixed on 
the feet (i.e. form and virtues) of Dharma, they retired 
to their own places. 

Ramai thus fed the gods, not forgetting their votaries 
also. Offerings of rice, etc., were made to the gods of 
all sects, and with these offerings were entertained the 

socialization And secularization 133 

followers of all creeds. It must be said that this social 
dinner was a very effective means of creating and 
fostering brotherly feelings. 

In the Shri Dharma-Mangala of Ghanar&ma. — Gha- 
narama has spoken of males and females joining together 
in the worship and festivities of Dharma. On these oc- 
casions the two sexes mixed together as though they 
were brothers and sisters. As a token of this happy 
social gathering, a piece of thread was tied round the 
wrists of one and all of the party. This ceremony was 
called Rakhi Vandhana x (lit. a tie that will ever keep 
one fresh in another's memory). 

" Ceremoniously welcoming the tree with pure and 
concentrated minds, they tied pieces of thread round one 
another's wrists." 

This custom of tying threads as a token of brotherly 
feeling is a very ancient practice, and obtains throughout 
India at the present day. 

In the Gdjan. — The Sannyasis of the Gajan and 
Gambhira are recruited from different castes, but so 
long as they go through the round of these festivities 
they observe no caste rules and seem as though they 
belonged to one and the same social group. They sit 
and walk together, bathe and worship together. Not 
only does this feeling of "kith and kin" run among the 
members of the same party, but it frequently extends 
to those of adjacent places. The Sannyasis of one 
Gajan go out to neighbouring villages, and, inspired by 
a strong fellow-feeling, embrace and salute the brother 
Sannyasis of those Gajans. At the conclusion of the 
festivities, they dine together, forgetting all caste dis- 
tinctions, on the Shiva-yajana (the "yajna" of Ramai) 
day. Under the auspices of the Gambhira party, they 

1 History records instances of r&khis being presented to each 
other by allies against a common enemy. 


work together for the common good, and thus reveal 
the fact that the idea of a collective life governs them. 
Even the distinction of Hindus and Mohammedans is 
sunk in this institution. 

Brotherly feeling fostered by the Durgd Pujd. — On 
the fourth day of the Durga (the creative energy of God, 
wife of Shiva) Puja, after the image is consigned to the 
waters, the Hindus forget all their personal and other 
differences and make it a point to offer Vijaya 1 (the day 
on which the image is consigned to the waters being 
called Vijaya Dashami) greetings to one another. It is 
a very sweet and cheering spectacle — that of people 
embracing one another and paying their due respects 
and compliments according to age, rank, etc. That the 
whole society feels oneness in its every limb is brought 
home to Hindu minds on this occasion. 

It would thus be apparent that life in India has ever 
afforded ample scope for the promotion of the sense of 
national solidarity, and has given rise to certain char- 
acteristic conventions, which, like the other conventions 
of other peoples, deserve attention from the students of 
Social Man. 

1 Vijaya is observed in one form or another all over India. The 
greetings have the same significance as Christmas and New Year 
greetings in Christian lands. 



Section I. — The Hinay&na School 1 of Buddhism. 

During Shakyasimha's life-time no steps were taken to 
worship Buddha through an idol. It was after he had 
attained final emancipation (i.e. after he had breathed 
his last) that processions were started with his corpse 
and festivities held in his honour. It was on the full- 
moon day of the month of Vaishakha (April-May) that 
he first saw the light of the day, and it was also on that 
day that he breathed his last. 

Hence on this one day were celebrated the festival Festivities 
of his nativity as well as the festivities of his attainment vaishakhi e 
of final emancipation. By way of memorial, a large Purnima day- 
stupa (mound) was erected over his hair, nails, teeth, 
bones, clothes and Kamandalu (water-pot used by 
ascetics), and such other sacred objects. It was here 
that the above festivals were celebrated. Occasions like 
these afforded the Buddhists opportunities to hold festi- 
vities and to make them well attended. 

At the time of initiation, the Buddhist had to resign Confession of 

himself to the protection of the Triratna. 2 It is laid sinner him- 

1 See Hackmann's Buddhism as a Religion (Probsthain, London, 

2 The Buddhist Trinity, lit. three jewels — Buddha, Dharma and 



down in the treatise named Prdtimoksa (i.e. pointing to 
Moksa or salvation) that confession of sin or guilt by 
the sinner himself is a means of absolution for four 
kinds of sin or offence. The sect that observed these 
rules was nicknamed by the later Buddhist sect as 
Hinayana, i.e. follower of Lower (Lesser) Vehicle. 

The Hinayanist also offered worship to Buddha on 
his seat, or footprints, by imagining him to have estab- 
lished himself there. And it is very likely that it was 
this practice that subsequently led the performers of 
Dharma's Gajan to introduce the offering of worship 
to Buddha Pada (foot-mark of Buddha) or Dharma- 
paduka (sandals of Dharma). The votaries of Shiva in 
the Gambhira have also adopted, and up till now pre- 
served, the Hinayana idea 1 of being absolved from sin 
by confessing it as enjoined in Prdtimoksa. Hence it 
may reasonably be said that the worship of the image of 
Buddha and the festivities that were held in his honour 
are being still enacted in the Gambhira temple only 
Materials for under different names and modified forms. Materials 
fur e n?shedby af o r the Gambhira festival have thus been furnished by 
of e th f eHi V na esthe f estivities that the Hinayana Buddhists held on the 
yana Bud- full-moon day of the month of Vaishakha. 


Section II. — Jaina Festivities. 

The Jaina religion was founded in the age which 
preceded the founding of Buddhism. Just as Buddhism 
has provided room for more than one Buddha, so the 
Jainas also believe that there have been several Tirtham- 
karas, and that others will follow in the time to come. 
Different from Hinduism in certain principles, Jainism 
has not wholly done away with, rather it shares, the 
orthodox belief in heaven and the body of gods headed 

1 See p. 2 o. This is a Jaina custom too. 


by Indra. Although slightly different here and there, 
the descriptions in the Jaina Pur&nas are similar to 
those of the Rdmdyana, the Mahtibh&rata and the 
orthodox Purdnas. The Tirthamkaras, as the historical The 
and semi-historical pioneers of Jainism are designated, karas?™" 
may be regarded as belonging to the same category as 
the Avataras (persons regarded as God incarnate) of 
the Hindus. Mixed up with the lives and activities 
of these Tirthamkaras are to be found accounts of 
the ancient religion of the country as well as of its 

The first Jina (chief saint after whom the sect has Risabha 
been named) of the Jainas was Risabha 1 Deva. Thefi r s^j ina e 
name of his father was Nabhi (the navel) and that of ™t^ thday 
his mother Merudevi (the backbone). He was born at 
the auspicious moment of planetary conjunction known 
as Brahma-mahayoga, on the ninth day of the dark half 
of the month of Chaitra (March- April). The birthday 
festival of this first Jina is celebrated with great care 
and reverence. 

It is said that at the time of Risabha's birth, Indra 
and the other gods came to see him. The Kailasa 
mountain (the reputed abode of Shiva) is also found to 
have some relation with him. It was here that he is 
said to have attained the state of Nirvana (eman- 

Like the Buddhists, the Jainas also had no manner 
of restriction to attending dance and music. For, as we 
learn from the Jaina Harivamsha, the first Jina Risabha 
was present at the dance of Nil&njasa, a dancing girl in 
the service of Indra. This first Jina went to the Kai- 

1 When she went with child Risabha Deva, Meru Devi saw in a 
vision that Risabha Deva was entering her womb in the likeness of 
a bull Risabha. The child was probably named after this bull. — 
Harivamsha {Aristanemi Piirdqa). 


lasa mountain and thence, surrounded by a large 
number of Ganis (probably the same word as Gana, 
meaning a host, a large number ; used more especially 
to denote the ghost attendants on Shiva), retired to the 
Siddha-sthana, i.e. the place where he achieved success. 
On this occasion the gods worshipped him with incense 
and flowers. 

The story of this first Jina will be found to be 
similar to that of Mahadeva of the Hindu, his con- 
nexion with the Kailasa mountain and his receiving 
homage of the gods being simply an echo of what has 
been said of the latter. The birthday festival of this 
Risabha and the practice of offering worship to him 
seem to have contributed not a little to the starting of 
the Gambhira affairs. 
The other The Jainas commemorate the times of appearance 

jina festivals. ^j e birth) of their Tirthamkara Jinas by holding fes- 
tivities annually on the occasions. After Jinendra (the 
chief of the Jinas) was born in the month of Jyaistha 
(May-June), the gods headed by Indra solemnized the 
occasion by holding festivities in his honour. Similarly 
in the months of Chaitra, Vaishakha and Jyaistha were 
celebrated the birthday festivals of the other Jinas. 1 
On these occasions the Jaina Ajivakas (priests) offered 
worship to the Jinas with resin, lights, flowers, etc., 
in their Viharas (Buddhist and Jaina temples are so 
called), and also offered prayers and sang their glories 
with the object of invoking their blessings. The 
temples were beautifully illuminated at night. The 
Jainas also installed the idol of Jina and offered worship 
to it. 

^Aristanemi Purarj.a, 14. The festival was celebrated on the 
bank of the Kalindt (a river). See the chapter on Mahavira's Pre- 
decessors and Disciples in Stevenson's Heart ofjainism. 


Parshwanatha is the twenty -third Tirthamkara, the Festivities in 
immediate predecessor of Mahivira, the reputed founder b,°th"f°p^ e 
of Jainism. He was the son of Ashwasena, ruler of shwanatha - 
Benares, by his wife Varna Devi. The conception took 
place on the fourth day of the dark half of the month of 
Chaitra. Just after his birth, the complexion of Par- 
shwanatha's body was found to be blue, and there were 
snake-like forms over his person (whence the epithet 
Phani-bhusana, adorned with snake ; this is the title of 
Shiva also). At the moment of his birth the gods blew 
trumpets in heaven, flowers were scattered in profusion 
from the skies, and the damsels of heaven entered the 
lying-in room, scattered flowers and performed other 
benedictory ceremonies there. It was thus that the 
gods and goddesses signalized his nativity ; and his 
father " released the prisoners and engaged beautiful 
girls to dance and sing amidst exclamations of triumph, 
shouts of ulu, ulu (uttered by women on festive oc- 
casions), blowings of conches, and various other bene- 
dictory ceremonies". 1 It was thus with dance, song, 
music and with gifts that the nativity festivities of the 
Jinas were observed. 

When he came of age, Parshwanatha travelled from He gained 
place to place to preach the Jaina religion. The re- bhava Kai- 
demption of the fallen was the only object of his life, ^month^f" 
In the forenoon of the fourth day of the dark half of the Chaitra. 
month of Chaitra when the moon had entered the region 
of Vishakha (the sixteenth lunar mansion consisting of 
four stars) he acquired the Ananta-vaibhava Kaivalya 
jnana (the knowledge that leads to attainment of 
identity with the divine essence and thus to final eman- 
cipation of the soul from all bondages, and which is 
Ananta-vaibhava, i.e. the repository or source of 

1 Aristanemi Puraij,a (Harivamsha). 


eternal bliss) under a Dhataki tree in Benares. There- 
after reports of his supernatural greatness and powers 
spread far and wide in all directions. Bent upon doing 
good to the Jainas, he came, in the course of his travels, 
to the country of the Pundras (North Bengal), which 
has ever since been regarded by the Jainas as a sacred 

To commemorate his acquisition of the above know- 
ledge, the Jainas offer worship to his memory and hold 
a festival in his honour in the month of Chaitra. This 
is the celebrated spring festival of the Jainas. 

It is under circumstances like the above that the 
Jaina festivals were started, and have ever since been 
practised in the months of Chaitra, Vaishakha and 
Jyaistha. 1 
Adoption of The Jaina festivities were first adopted and celebrated 
ties"^ ThT" b y the Pundras immediately after the visit of Parshwanatha 
Pundras to their country, and have ever since been duly observed. 
enga). 'pj lrou gj 1 ^ e ff orts f Goraksanatha and Neminatha, 
and thanks to the esteem in which Jainism was held 
by the mother of Govindachandra (c. twelfth century ?), 
a large number of Jaina Ashramas (hermitages or re- 
treats) sprang up in the Pundra country. Thus like 
Buddhism, Jainism was also largely favoured in Bengal. 
Eclecticism The birthday festival of the first Jina, celebrated 

in Gambhira. on fa & ^fa fay Q f t ^ e dark half of the month of 

Chaitra, came in course of time to be mixed up with the 
birthday and the Parinirvana festivals of Buddha in the 
month of Vaishakha ; and we may reasonably go a step 
further and say that in course of time again, all the 
Jaina and Buddhist festivities of the months of Chaitra 

1 The Nandishwara festival of the Jainas extends over eight days, 
from the eighth day of the light half of the months of Asadha (June- 
July), Kartika (October-November) and Phalgoon (February-March), 
to the full-moon day, and is celebrated in every Jaina temple with 
dance, song, music and the offering of worship, etc. 


and Vaishakha became lost in and contributed to the 
development of the festivities that are now known under 
the names of Gajan and Gambhira. Or, in other 
words, the Jaina festivities were in course of time in- 
corporated in, and superseded by, the Buddhist ones, 
which again were ultimately appropriated by the Hindus 
and have ever since passed as Shaiva. The close resem- 
blance that exists between Jainism and Shaivaism leads 
one naturally to suspect that the former with its whole 
body of Jinas has become wholly merged in Hinduism. 

Seeing that the images of the Jinas are like those identity be- 
of ascetics lost in mental abstraction and decorated with and e shiva. a 
figures of serpents (as the image of Shiva is conceived to 
be), they were in later times (when Shaivaism was get- 
ting the upper-hand) supposed to be identical with those 
of Shiva. That is, the Jinas gradually yielded place to 
Shiva and the Jaina festivals also lost themselves in the 
Gambhira. There was once a large number of Jaina 
hermitages in what is to-day the district of Malda 
(situated in the Pundra country) ; and there are ample 
evidences to show that Jainism 1 was once firmly estab- 
lished over the whole of Bengal. Even now relics of 
this creed are to be met with in the district of Bogra (in 
North Bengal). 

Section III. — The Mah&yAna School 2 of Buddhism. 

The doctrines preached by Shakyasimha could not Buddhist 
retain their original character after he had passed away. 
His disciples apprehended that their creed was in danger 

1 Mrs. Stevenson's Heart of Jainism is the only systematic work 
in English on the history, philosophy, mythology, literature and art 
of this creed. 

2 See the chapter on "The Birth of Buddhism" in Chinese 
Religion through Hindu Eyes by the present author. "One 
common ocean of devotionalism was being fed by Mahayana, as by 
Shaiva, Sanra, Vaisnava, Jaina and other theologies." 


of losing its purity, and to decide their course of action 
under the circumstances, are said to have met together 
at Rajagriha. In this assembly a careful and elaborate 
discussion took place regarding Vinaya and other parts 
of the canon. After this, several other assemblies were 
also convened, by which the Tripitaka or Threefold 
Canon (i.e. Vinaya, Sutra and Abhidharma) was defined 
and recorded. 

The disciples of Shakya became divided into num- 
erous camps even during the sitting of one of the first 
conventions, known as Dharma maha samgati. One 
of these parties professed its devotion to the old rigid 
order and expressed its intention to adhere to it. 
The views of this sect of Buddhism were not popular, 
since it could not find out a means of emancipation that 
would be equally applicable to the wise and the ignorant. 
According to this primitive form of Buddhism, only the 
Bhiksus (monks) were entitled to practise the austerities 
and obtain through them the path for emancipation. 

One of the new orders, however, that sprang up in 
opposition to the orthodox sect of Buddhism threw open 
the doors of emancipation for all mankind. They pro- 
claimed with a clear voice that through meditation and 
prayer every man, the wise and the ignorant alike, would 
be able to attain salvation very easily and very soon. 
The sect that announced this liberal or rather popular 
theory and showed an easy way of emancipation to one 
and all, assumed the title of Mahayana (lit. following a 
high, i.e. broad, way) and nicknamed their illiberal and 
narrow-minded opponents Hinayana (lit. following a 
low and narrow way). 
Mahayana It was this Mahayana branch that contributed largely 

to the propagation of the theory of Shunya or the void. 
Like the Vaisnava sect of Hinduism, they placed mercy 
and devotion above everything else. Their religious 



principle may briefly be explained in the following way. 
Sadhana (i.e. conscious efforts at devoting one's self to 
the service and thought of God), which can lift up our 
souls above gross materialism, is based upon Dhyana 
(abstract religious contemplation) and Dharana (steady 
abstraction of mind from all other considerations and 
concentration of it upon the idea of God or the religious 
goal aimed at). Besides this, they also enjoined, as 
articles of their faith, the extension of mercy and sym- 
pathy towards all creatures. It was this broad and 
liberal aspect of the newer form of Buddhism that 
tempted men and women alike to embrace it in the 
hope of finding peace and comfort therefrom ; and thus 
succeeded in giving it predominance over all the other 
creeds of the country. 

All the tenets of Mahayanic Buddhism can be traced NagSijuna. 
definitely back to Ashwaghosa, 1 who played a prominent 
part in the famous Congress convened by Kushan, 
Emperor Kaniska in Kashmir about 100 a.d. (?), when 
and where the schism may be said to have been officially 
effected. Nigirjuna was, however, the first to system- 
atize and explain Mah&yanist philosophy in a methodical 
way. He explained the object and goal of Buddhism 
to men and women of all ranks, and held it up before 
them as the only means of warding off trials and tribu- 
lations of all kinds, and then imparted to them instruc- 
tions as to the attainment of Nirvana. His religious 
view, however, does not seem to have been a purely 
Buddhist one, for he offered worship to the Shaiva 
goddess Chandika (of course as the personified energy 
of Buddha) and consulted her opinion as to the good 
or evil likely to spring from intended actions and 
guided himself accordingly. Thus, the Mahayana 

^ee V. Sastri's communication in J.R.A.S. (London, 1914). 


creed will seem to have been largely indebted to the 
Shaiva one. 
The Madhya- Nagarjuna's Order known as the Madhyamikas held 
NetT a " that for the acquisition of religious merit, it was essential 
Hinduism. to cu l t i vate charity, love of peace, and fortitude, to form 
character, develop understanding, and acquire the habit 
of withdrawing the mind from the senses and concentrate 
it wholly on the contemplation of God. The new 
form of Nirvana that they set up before their eyes was 
not for man alone ; but they even affirmed that the 
lower order of gods also such as Brahma, Visnu, Mahesh- 
wara, Kali, Tara and others might be entitled, by 
passing through the higher and higher processes of con- 
templation and meditation, to the attainment of Nirvana. 
For this respect and consideration that the Madhyamika 
Order of Mahayanism showed for the Hindu pantheon, 
the Hindu Brahmanas began to look upon them with 
favour and good-feeling. 

The reason why the Brahmanas, the leaders of 
Hinduism, were receiving so favourably the Buddhists 
of the Mahayana sect with their religious views and 
principles, is thus not far to seek. As the teachings of 
the Mahayana branch of Buddhism were similar to those 
of liberal Hinduism, many were the people that were 
consciously or unconsciously influenced by them ; and 
those who contracted an aversion to the observance of 
sacrifices and other ceremonies enjoined by the Brah- 
manas, retired into the woods, in order to devise the 
best methods of performing them mentally. It was 
these people that might be said to be really houseless 
Bhiksus (Buddhist mendicants), unaffected by pleasure 
and pain. They had renounced the ostentatious per- 
formance of sacrifices and the offering of worship to the 
lower order of deities, and took unmixed delight in the 
contemplation of the form of Maheshwara. 


Now it has been said in the Upanisad : " Although Mahayanic 
destitute of hands and feet, yet he takes up things and 2^" a* the 
walks with great speed. Sans eyes and sans ears, yet Upanisadic 
he sees and hears. He knows all that is knowable, 
but none can know him. He is said to be the foremost 
and the greatest." — Shwetdskwa, 3, 19. 

He, who has no body and yet can do all things, who 
is the repository of all attributes, is the greatest of be- 
ings. It is he who is Maheshwara (the God of Gods), 
who is the Lord of all. It was because the Shunya-vada 
(theory of Shunya, the void) of Mahayanism was based 
on such an idea, that the Hindus received the Mahayana 
sect so very favourably. A careful study will show that 
the mahashunya or the great void of Mahayanic Bud- 
dhism was no other than the Brahma or Maheshwara 
of the Upanisad. 

The doctrine that " All is void," which is the analogue 
of the Hindu notion that " All is Brahma," became 
popular with the Mahayanists through Nigirjuna's 
Order of Madhyamikas, but is at least as old as Ash- 
waghosa. It was this sub-sect that in later times in- 
spired the Shunya Purdna of Ramai Pandit and 
consolidated the basis of the Gambhira festival. 

From the Madhyamika 1 branch sprang up in later Tannic 
times the esoteric branch of Buddhism commonly known Bud lsm ' 
as Tantric Buddhism. This sect has given rise to such 
names as " Mantra-yana, " " Kala-chakra," " Vajra-yana". 
From all these sects of Buddhism the Gambhira festival 
has drawn its materials. 

The Mahayana sect had introduced idol-worship 2 idol-worship 
into its fold. Provisions were made for the worship of Mahayanists. 
Avalokiteshwara, Manjushri and the Dhyani Buddhas 

1 Vide H. P. Sastri's Introduction to Vasu's Modern Buddhism 
(Probsthain, London, 1914). 

2 See Mrs. Getty's Gods of Northern Buddhism. 



received by 
the Hindus. 

together with their personified energies as their wives 
known as T&ra, and others. In different places dif- 
ferent conceptions were formed of the forms, complexions 
and vahanas (animate conveyances) of Bodhisattvas and 
the Shaktis (personified energies). 

Vairochana is said to have ridden a lion, Aksobhya 
an elephant, Ratnasambhava a horse, and Amitfibha a 
goose or peacock, and Amoghasiddhi is said to have 
travelled on the back of Garuda (the king of birds, who 
according to the Hindus bears Visnu on his back). 
Deities r the The Brahmanas unhesitatingly welcomed into the fold 
of Hinduism the Buddhist deities Padmapani, Manjushri 
and Vajrapani Bodhisattva as Visnu, Maheshwara and 
Indra respectively, or in other words, they became in- 
directly and unconsciously converted to Buddhistic creed. 
Buddhism was also influenced by Hindu ideas because 
the Hindu deity Mahadeva was stealing into the Bud- 
dhist community, which, however, for the time being, 
relegated him to a position inferior to that of Buddha 

The particular days on which the Buddhists held re- 
ligious discussions were known as Uposatha. Nothing 
but religious observances was allowed on these days, 
which were like Sabbaths to the Buddhists. It was 
enjoined that they should have absolute rest from the 
pursuit of all mundane matters on these occasions. This 
practice is found to be even now observed on the last 
day of the Gambhira festival, when its organizers resign 
themselves wholly to entertainments and diversions and 
totally abstain from the pursuit of trade, agriculture, and 
all other worldly concerns. The merit accruing from 
listening to the Gambhira hymns, etc., is considered to 
be equal to that derived from listening to the religious 
aphorisms of the Buddhists. 

The Buddhists of Ceylon celebrate in the spring a 
festival known as Mara-Vinishaka (lit. the destroyer of 




Mara, i.e. Tempter, the god of amatory passions). In 
Bengal also, worship is offered to Mahadeva, the de- 
stroyer of Kama (the awakener of passions), in the 
spring. The birth and Parinirvana festivals of Buddha 
are celebrated in Vaishakha when the Gambhira and 
Gijan festivals are also solemnized. A car-festival of 
Buddha is also observed in Varendra (North Bengal) 
under the name of Rathai or Ratha chharata. It is 
on record that a car-festival was also held in honour of 
Dharma in connexion with his worship. 

Although the Hinayana and the Mahayana sects Hindu eie- 
differed on the cardinal principles of religion, yet neither dhut Trinity! 
was behind the other in its respect for the Triratna 
or Trinity, which, in course of time, assumed definite 
material forms. Thus, on the right side of the image 
of Buddha sat Dharma as his spouse, while on his left 
sat Samgha in the male garb ; and it became the custom 
to offer worship to their joint-images. It is said that 
Adi Buddha created this female Dharma out of Shunya 
or the void ; and it was from him that the gods Shiva, 
etc., sprang into being. He is the foremost of all the 

It will thus be seen that the germs of the present- Hindu and 
day Gambhira worship are to be found in the Buddhist festivities 
festivities that were celebrated on the full-moon day of mixed u p- 
the month of Vaishakha in honour of both Hindu and 
Buddhist deities. The hymns of the Gambhira even 
now reflect the controversies that arose from differences 
of opinion between the Hinayana and the Mahayana 
sects and contain elaborate discussions on Creation after 
their different philosophies. The Buddhist festivals were 
celebrated with offerings 1 of fruits, flowers, incense and 

1 Milinda Poinho : Whether Buddha accepts worship or not. 
" Maharaj (or king), if we are to reap here the fruit of evil actions 
done before (i.e. in a former life), then it is undeniable that both 

10 * 


food. Dance and music were also performed on these 
occasions. The offering of food before the image of 
Buddha is not opposed to the Buddhist creed. 

good and evil actions of this life and of previous lives must bear their 
respective fruits without fail. Hence it is to be understood, O King ! 
that even if not accepted by or acceptable to Tathagata (Buddha) 
who has attained Parinirvana (final emancipation), actions done in 
his honour or to gain his favours cannot but be productive of corre- 
sponding fruits." 



Section I. — The Age of Religious Eclecticism. 

It was Emperor Shn Harsa (606-47) who brought glory 
to the Vardhana line of kings. His father had been a 
powerful King of Thaneswar, near Delhi, who extended 
his dominions by conquering Malwa, Gujrat and other 
places and also by defeating the Huns on the north- 
western frontier. 

On his accession to the throne, Harsa's attention shashamka, 
was first given to warfare. Shashamka, 1 alias Narendra Gauda. 
Gupta, a powerful monarch of Eastern India, had put 
to death Harsa's brother Rajya Vardhana in the struggle 
for hegemony in Northern India. To avenge himself 
on him, Harsa invaded Shashamka's territories. Ulti- 
mately a part of Bengal and the city of Gauda fell under 
his sway. Shashamka ruled over Northern Radha, 
which was very close to Gauda ; and very likely Mag- 
adha and Gauda were also under his rule. But he had 
generally passed for the King of Gauda. 

After his conquest of Gauda, Harsa sent his army in 
different directions. It was about this time that he 

1 Latest reliable details about Shashamka are to be found in 
Banerji's Bengali work, Bangdlar ItiMsa, " Early History of Bengal " 
(1915). The reign of Harsa has been fully described in Smith's 
Early History of India (19 14). 



Hindu and 

Worship of 
Shiva and 
Shakti in 

brought under his sway practically the whole of Eastern 

At the time of the break-up of the Gupta Empire 
(c. a.d. 580), some valiant members of the family who 
were ruling neighbouring countries as tributary princes, 
set up a large number of small independent kingdoms. 
Shashamka Narendra Gupta was probably one such king 
of the Gupta line. He was a Shaiva and professed 
himself to be a staunch follower of the creed. Indeed, 
these scions of the Gupta family who were scattered over 
the country as petty chiefs, followed all of them the 
creed of the last 1 Gupta Emperors, and thus came to 
have firm faith in the non-Buddhist systems of worship. 
Their professed creed was in reality a mixture of the 
Mantra-yana form of the Mahayana branch of Bud- 
dhism and the new Tantric form that the Shaivas and 
the Shaktas had developed among themselves. Nay, 
it may with fairness be said of the whole Hindu and 
Buddhist communities of the time, that they had really 
lost sight of the differences in their respective creeds 
and had come to stand on a common religious platform, 
the planks of which were supplied alike by Buddhism 
and the Puranic and Tantric form of Hinduism. They 
had but little respect for the injunctions laid down in 
the Vedic texts or Tripitaka. The Brahmanas had in 
fact begun to practise Tantrism. 

Tantrism based on the Shaiva and the Shakta creed 
was accepted as personal religion by Shashamka and 
other kings of Eastern India. Hence it was that 
Shaiva Tantrism largely spread throughout Bengal. 

But when Harsa assumed the reins of government 
over these regions, Buddhism was re-established among 
the people. This Buddhism was not, however, genuine ; 

1 The first Guptas were worshippers of Visnu. 


it was simply the Tantric form that the Mantra-yana 
sect of the Mahayana branch had lately developed. 
However, it was this form of Buddhism, difficult to dis- 
tinguish from neo- Hinduism, that was being re-estab- 
lished about this time in various places of Upper India 
through Harsa's policy of religious neutrality. 

The line of the Vardhana Kings to which he be- catholicity of 
longed contained princes of various faiths; some were ^"1^1, ^ 
Shaivas, some Sauras, and others Buddhists. Pusya- Shiva . suryya 
bhuti, one of the earliest kings of the line, was a Shaiva a iike. 
from boyhood. Prabhakara Vardhana, father of Harsa, 
was a staunch Saura (Sun-worshipper). He used daily 
to worship the Sun-god on a crystal plate with red 
lotuses. During his reign the Saura religion exercised 
considerable influence. Rajya Vardhana, elder brother 
of Harsa, and their sister Rajyashri, were again earnest 
advocates of Buddhism. Harsa himself adopted, one 
after another, the Hinayina, the Mahayana and ulti- 
mately the Mantrayina creed ; but he worshipped 
equally the images of Shiva, Suryya and the different 
Buddhas. He also established their images in temples. 
In his early life he was a Shaiva ; later a devoted Bud- 
dhist, and during his last days he again professed himself 
to be a staunch Maheshwara(i.e. follower of Maheshwara, 
Shiva). Hence it cannot be said with any degree of 
certainty which of these was the creed of his heart. He 
performed various religious observances, but was not 
partial to any. It may be inferred that it was for the 
people of India an age of religious unification ; and 
Harsa made it a part of his state-craft to follow the 
subjects in the practice of those observances which had 
come to find favour with them. 

Thus during the reign of the Vardhana dynasty, the 
people celebrated the Shaiva, Shakta, Saura and Bud- 
dhist festivals alike. As all the different sects had 


Religious faith in Tantrism, all the religious festivities began 
unification. tQ be un ; fied ^j grow identical in character. The 

Buddhist spring festival and the birth and Parinir- 
vana festivals of Buddha (held in the month of Vai- 
shakha) as well as the Jaina spring and Shaiva festivals 
were celebrated about the same time ; and, as we have 
seen before, the worship and festivals in honour of the 
various gods and goddesses by the Mantra-yana sect of 
Mahiyana Buddhism were similar to those performed by 
the Hindus. Hence it will be seen that the festivities 
and entertainments of the whole people were the same, 
no matter how many different sects and denominations 
there were superficially. And in course of time the 
tendency of mutual imitation became so great among 
the several creeds and sects that the difference between 
Hindu and Buddhist festivals came to be very slight. 

These festivals that were held in the months of 
Chaitra (March- April) and Vaishakha (April-May) gradu- 
ally contributed to the growth and development of the 
Gambhira. It may be noted here that Hindu and 
Buddhist Tantrisms are so identical in character that 
even a trained eye can scarcely be expected to find 
out the nice points of difference. 

From a study of the festivities and entertainments 
that were actually held during the reign of Harsa, it 
would appear that the age of religious eclecticism 
reached its climax. 1 It was not among his subjects only 
that a harmonious spirit was at work tending towards 

1 Shri Harsa Deva was himself a poet and there was in his court 
the famous poet named Banabhatta. It was by this court that 
such dramas of genuine poetical merits as Nagananda, Ratnavali, 
Priyadarshikd, etc., were published. Jimutavahana, the hero of 
Nag&nanda, was a Buddhist, while his wife Malyavati was a model 
follower of the Shaiva cult. A study of this drama will lead one to 
infer that about this time a harmonious spirit tending towards unifica- 
tion was governing both Buddhism and Shaivaism. 


religious unification. He, too, was influenced by it ; 
and for the benefit of his subjects, without distinction of 
creed, he spent large sums of money in erecting inns 
and hotels, dispensaries and hospitals, Viharas and 
temples and the like. Throughout the length and 
breadth of his vast empire he allowed equal rights to 
his Buddhist, Jaina and Hindu subjects ; the people 
enjoyed royal patronage equally. The sincere love of 
the king for his people made them deeply attached to 
him and must have been an additional factor in promot- 
ing toleration and good-will. When the ruler was such, 
his subjects also could not help driving away all religious 
animosities and were unconsciously drawn towards a 
more or less unified faith. Although he was a Buddhist 
by creed, his subjects gladly took part in the religious 
festivities of the emperor and helped him in the practice 
of his religion ; nay, they even went to the extent of 
following him in their own festivities. Only an insig- 
nificant fraction of them, viz. the Brahmanas of the 
older Vedic order, felt dislike for the king because of 
his Buddhist predilection. 

Section II. — Two Festivities Witnessed by Hiuen- 


To learn particulars of Buddhism from its followers Hiuen- 
in India and to collect Buddhist treatises of various ^indiaf *""' 
classes, Hiuen-Thsang, the Chinese pilgrim, left China 
in 629 A.D., and made his way to India through Central 
Asia. He was a member of the Mahiyina sect of 
Buddhism. x 

He appeared before the court of Harsa, who re- 
ceived him with due respect. Enjoying the favour of 
the king, the pilgrim remained a state-guest for a long 
time and found his royal host deeply attached towards 


The accounts It is a matter for regret that in no historical, 
festivals" religious or poetical work of the time any detailed and 
systematic account is found of the festivities that were 
then in vogue. Fortunately for us, however, a foreigner, 
speaking a foreign tongue, viz. a pious Chinese pilgrim, 
took pains to record in his language a large chapter 
of the Indian history of the time ; and it has been 
accepted by posterity as a very accurate record of those 

Reliable proofs have been found as to the accuracy 
of his descriptions, and thus he may be said to have 
illumined a dark chapter of the mediaeval history of 
India. He saw with his own eyes the festivities that 
were held during the reign of Harsa, and we reproduce 
below in brief what he said of them. 

(a) The Special Festival at Kanauj (a.d. 643). 

The Kanya- It was this Chinese pilgrim that was the occasion of 

described - va the special assembly that was for the first time called 
wtth b dance at Kanyakubja (modern Kanauj) and was followed by 
song and festivities exhibiting the image of Buddha. He ob- 
tained an interview with Emperor Shri Harsa in 
Bengal, and the latter was so highly satisfied with his 
religious discourse that on his return to the capital 
Kanauj with Hiuen-Thsang, he convened a public 
assembly to let the people in general have an oppor- 
tunity of listening to his learned religious talks. 

At this congregation assembled a large number of 
Jaina and Buddhist Shramanas and Bhiksus as well as 
Brahmanas. A huge temporary pavilion was erected 
for the purpose ; and inside it a hundred feet high 
temple was built for holding festivities in honour of Bud- 
dha, a human-size image of whom was also established 
there. The Emperor himself carried on his shoulders a 



small gold image of Buddha for a bath in the Ganges 
and after ablution brought it back to the temple. 1 This 
festival extended from the 1st to the 21st day of the 
month of Chaitra (March-April). 

Provision was made here on a lavish scale for the 
performances of dance and music, vocal and instrumental, 
and every day the festivities opened with these. Shra- 
manas and Brahmanas, natives and foreigners, were fed 
alike with various articles of food in plenty. 

One day the Brahmanas, jealous of the Buddhists, 
are said to have set fire to this huge pavilion and a 
portion of it was burnt to ashes. 

The above festival which was held in the month of The Chaitra 
Chaitra was henceforward turned into an annual one. Harsa. ° 
And in course of time this Chaitra (spring) festival of 
Kanauj by Harsa has developed or rather degenerated 
into our Gambhira and Gajan festival. At least it has 
materially helped in the gradual development of the 

In later times to commemorate the burning of the 
pavilion, various feats were exhibited with fire after 
the festival was over. This part of the festivities also 
has not been neglected in the Gambhira. For even 
now various diverting feats are performed under the 
name of Phulkheli (lit. diversion with flowers) both 
in the Gambhira and Gajan festivals. The Phul- 
khela is performed in the following way. The Bhaktas 
or Sannyasis divide themselves into two opposite parties 
and kindle a fire with small pieces of wood, etc. They 
then snatch these burning pieces and hurl them at one 

1 Similar ceremonies of bathing and worshipping the image are 
to be met with also in connexion with the installation ceremony 
of the phallus of Shiva in the Gajan of Dharma and the Gambhira 
of Adya. 


another. As observed before, this is simply a reproduc- 
tion of the burning of the pavilion at Kanauj. 1 
Processions. i n the above spring festival a procession was started 
with the image of Buddha. The principal tributary 
chiefs with elephants, horses, etc., and the common 
people joined this procession and it was attended by 
dancers, singers and musicians. On this occasion 
flowers of gold were given away. The procession 
passed round the city and then returned to the place of 
festival. This practice of starting processions is still 
observed in the Gambhira and the Gajan of Shiva and 

(6) The Quinquennial Festival at Allahabad (a.d. 643). 

The festival Hiuen-Thsang witnessed a grand festival at Prayaga 

des P cribe 3 f. a (Allahabad). 2 It was a festival of charity, under the 

directions of Emperor Harsa. Upon the celebration 

of the Kanyakubja festival, the Emperor came to 

1 Even now on the eve of the Doal-yatri festival a fire-festival 
is held under the name of Nedapoda in some places, MedhapodS. 
in others, and Agchi in still others. Probably it was intended to 
insinuate the burning to ashes of the Nedas, i.e. clean-shaved Bud- 
dhists, by the Brahmanas. Although a reason for the celebration of 
this festival is to be found in the Shastra, yet the above seems to be 
the original cause. 

2 " Every Bhiksu or Buddhist ascetic had to confess his 
own sins twice in the month — on the full-moon and on the new- 
moon day. Gradually this practice was introduced among the 
householders also, but it was not always convenient to observe. 
Accordingly King Asoka started a great festival for the atonement 
of sins. At first it was ordained both to confess one's own sins and 
to practise the virtue of charity on this occasion. Subsequently, 
however, the first clause was omitted in the case of householders. 
This festival of charity was a quinquennial one. It was once 
observed in Prayaga in the 7th century a.d., when Hiuen-Thsang 
the Chinese pilgrim witnessed it." — The Religious Sects of India, by 
A. K. Datta. 


Prayaga and performed this quinquennial one. Every 
year of its celebration, it was preceded by the calling 
of a huge assembly like that of Kanauj. 

This great festival was held upon the vast field 
lying in the centre of the ground near the confluence of 
the Ganges and the Jumna at Allahabad. This wide 
field of festivities was, as it were, a field of delight ; it 
was enclosed on all sides by a beautiful fence of rose 
trees always sparkling with lovely blossoms and flowers 
in abundance. Inside this enclosure were beautifully 
furnished houses filled with gold and silver, silk clothes 
and other precious articles of gift. There were erected 
in front of these store-houses and in rows one hundred 
houses each commodious enough for the sitting down 
to dinner of one hundred persons at the same time. 
In compliance with the requisition of Harsa, all the 
tributary princes assembled at this congregation, and 
innumerable were the orphans and the diseased, the 
poor and the needy that also gathered together here. 
Besides, innumerable Brahmanas of Northern India 
and a very large number of ascetics of non-Brahmanical 
orders were also very respectfully invited. From the 
religious ceremonies that were observed on this occasion, 
it is reasonably inferred that the organizers were at 
great pains to bring about an unprecedented religious 

The festivities, the gifts and the worship extended The gifts. 
over seventy -five days. On the first day a cottage made 
of leaves was erected on the bank of the river and 
inside it was installed an image of Buddha. As soon 
as this was done, untold rich clothing and valuable 
ornaments were distributed. On the second day an 
image of the Sun and on the third an image of Shiva 
were also installed ; but the quantity of gifts came down 
to one-half. On the fourth day, to the great delight of 


ten thousand Buddhist Shramanas, vast riches were dis- 
tributed to them. Each of them was the recipient of 
precious food, drink, flowers and perfumes in plenty, 
and over and above these, one hundred gold coins, one 
pearl and one rich wrapper for the body. The next 
twenty days were devoted to the reception of Brah- 
manas. The next ten days were distributed riches and 
other things to the Jainas and the people of other creeds. 
Then after the Bhiksus coming from far-off places were 
gratified with gifts for the same period, the orphan and 
the helpless, the diseased and the poor received various 
kinds of help for full one month. 
Homage to In the course of this festival Harsa offered worship 

dettiesof tL to Shiva, the Sun, the Buddhas and the tutelary deities 
'fV ua f b" °^ t ^ le ten directions. ^ does not seem unreasonable to 
suppose that the tributary princes of the whole empire 
also celebrated similar Gift-festivities in their own ter- 
ritories, and there they played the part of the giver (i.e. 
gave away money, clothes, etc.), like Harsa. This is 
as much as to say that in this age of religious unification, 
in every tributary territory also homage was rendered 
alike to the Sun, Shiva and the Buddhas. On these 
occasions also, as in the time of Fa Hien, provision was 
made, in connexion with Buddhist festivities, for enter- 
taining the people with dance and music. 
Development The provisions that are met with in the present-day 
bhiS e ° am Gambhira for confessing one's own sin before Shiva 
and for worshipping Shiva and the other gods with the 
tutelary deities of the ten quarters of the globe, seem to 
be but relics of this Imperial festival. In Buddhist 
festivities of this nature, in the time of Ramai Pandit 
(twelfth century?), four Pandits with their respective 
gatis (devotees) of a fixed number (Ramai had sixteen) 
had to attend them ; and the hero or the principal 
organizer of the Dharmapuja was made to play the role 


of Danapati (master of charities) like Harsa and pro- 
vision was made for distributing in gifts a large amount 
of money. The ceremony of mukta-mangala (the au- 
spicious pearl) that was observed in this connexion in 
the time of Rimai Pandit is a clear proof that at this 
time also pearl was given away just as Harsa gave away 
gold and pearl to Buddhist mendicants. Like Harsa's 
installation and worship of the images of three gods on 
three successive days, the Gajan festivities also extend 
over three days, and the feeding ceremony of the latter 
performed on the last day under the name of Shiva- 
yajana is also a poor representation of the sumptuous 
feast that the Emperor provided on the occasion of his 

In the course of his travels in the eastern part ofReiigious 
the country, Hiuen-Thsang visited Pundra-Vardhana, , n Bengal. 
the capital of the Pundras in North Bengal. There 
were twenty Buddhist Samgharamas, and three hundred 
Buddhist preachers lived there. The pilgrim noticed 
also over one hundred Hindu temples and a good num- 
ber of Jaina devotees. In the southern part of Gauda 
circle, adjacent to this territory, King Shashamka had 
celebrated festivals both of the Shaiva and the Saura 
creed. The movement of religious unification was thus 
at work in Eastern India; since, although Shashamka 1 
was a Shaiva, there was in his kingdom a Buddhist 
Samgharama (monastery) named Raktamitti. 

1 Shashamka's alleged persecution of Buddhism is held to be 
"not proven" in the writings of R. D. Banerji. 



Section I. — The Pala-Chola Period of Hindu 
Imperialism (9TH to 13TH Century a.d.). 

Recent researches of Indian scholars in the mediaeval 
history of Eastern and Southern India from archaeo- 
logical, linguistic, religious and other standpoints have 
unearthed important facts of Bengal and Tamil anti- 
quities which demand prominent recognition in the 
standard works on Indian culture-history. The Palas 
and Cholas of mediaeval India can no longer be treated 
as subordinate or petty princes ruling over the " smaller 
kingdoms " in one of the so-called periods of disintegra- 
tion * which Indian history is said to repeat after every 
epoch of consolidation ; but must be ranked as by no 
means inferior in prestige, titles, pretensions, influences 
and achievements to the famous Vardhanas of the 
seventh century a.d., the Guptas of the fourth -fifth century 
A.D., and the Mauryas of the fourth-third century B.C. 
Dharmapala (c. a.d. 800), the Buddhist Emperor of 
Eastern India, with his immediate predecessors and suc- 
cessors, as well as Rajendra Chola (1018-35), tne great 

1 It need be noted that such periods of disintegration have been 
repeated in the history of every people. Vide the section on "Com- 
parative Chronology and Comparative History " in Chinese Religion 
through Hindu Eyes. 



Shaiva monarch of the South, with his predecessors and 
successors, constitute two remarkable contemporary im- 
perial families, which must have a place by the side 
of such renowned Indian Napoleons, empire-builders 
and statesmen as Chandragupta Maurya, Asoka the 
benevolent "Caesaro-papist," Samudragupta, Chandra- 
gupta the Gupta Vikramaditya, and Harsavardhana, 
who had preceded them in solving the same problems 
of administration, commerce, religion and culture on the 
stage of Hindusthan. The drama of Indian history 
should, therefore, have its first act closed not at the 
middle of the seventh century with the passing away of 
the Vardhanas from Kanauj and Upper India, but really 
at the end of the twelfth century (1193) with the over- 
throw of the successors of the Palas in Eastern India by 
a lieutenant of Muhammad Ghori, and about the be- 
ginning of the fourteenth century (1310) with the over- 
throw of the successors of the Cholas by a lieutenant of 
Ala-ud-din Khiliji. 

The Hindu period of Indian history does not end 
with Harsavardhana (seventh century) and the sub- 
jugation by Mussalmans of certain Rajput States in 
Western India in the tenth and eleventh centuries. 
For the social expansion, religious assimilation, com- 
mercial progress, and imperial achievements which we 
are wont to associate with the brightest eras of Hindu 
national culture, were going on in Eastern and 
Southern Hindusthan, free and unhampered as of yore, 
along the natural lines of progressive evolution, up till 
the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, while the buffer- 
princes of Lahore, Delhi, Ajmere, Kanauj, Malwa and 
Gujrat were performing their duties as, by position, the 
gate-keepers of India against the inroads of aggressive 
Islam. The period of the mighty Palas and Cholas 
and their successors has witnessed the solution of 



problems which are of paramount importance in Indian 
history, literature, fine arts, philosophy and religion ; 
because it was during this age that the ocean of Tan- 
trism finally swallowed up in a common philosophy the 
divergent channels of Mahayana Buddhism and latter- 
day Brahmanism, that Vaisnavism and Shaivaism, the 
corner-stones of modern Hindu life, received the official 
stamp, the parents of present-day vernaculars were 
encouraged and protected, noble religious edifices were 
built, huge sea-like tanks were excavated, magnificent 
images were sculptured in bronze and stones, the navi- 
gation of the sea was pushed forward, commercial and 
cultural intercourse between the Southerners and 
Easterners was promoted, and India became really the 
school of Asia by supplying faith, literature, arts, and 
material necessaries to Nepal, Tibet, China, Japan, 
Java, Burma and other lands beyond the seas. This 
period does in fact carry forward and develop the im- 
pulses, aspirations and tendencies of Hindu life testified 
to by the Chinese master of law in Harsavardhana's 

The Palas (780-1175) and Cholas (900-1300) are 
really the spiritual successors of the great empire-builder 
and statesman of the seventh century ; the epoch of 
their hegemony in Indian history is a brilliant sequel to 
the splendid epoch of imperialism, religious toleration and 
eclecticism, colonizing activity and social amalgamation 
which it had been the policy of the great Harsa to pioneer 
and direct. Their services to the making of Indian 
national culture deserve the same meed of homage, 
therefore, from historians as those of Harsa. And now 
that excavations, explorations, reading and interpreta- 
tion of old vernacular manuscripts, copper-plate inscrip- 
tions, and numismatics, study of folk-lore, folk-songs, 
folk-arts, and village traditions, evidences of Sanskrit 


literature, old sculptures and paintings, call up before us 
a picture of political and religious life, commercial and 
social intercourse, art development, and literary progress 
no less definite and clear than what we have for any 
other period of Indian history, the necessity of looking 
upon the Pala-Chola 1 period as the really last phase of 
Imperialism in Hindu India cannot be too strongly 

Section II. — Submergence of Buddhism. 

Northern India was agitated by anarchy and revolu- Anarchy and 
tions from the middle of the seventh down to the be- Beng^TnV" 
ginning of the eighth century. During the early years Northern 
of the eighth century it was subjugated by Yashovarman 
of Kanauj. Though this suppressed anarchy in other 
parts of Northern India, yet it was now that political 
troubles gathered over Magadha and Gauda-Pundra 

The conquest of Gauda by Yashovarman furnished The epic, 
to the poet Vakpati the theme of his epic, Gauda-vadha V adh£by 
(lit. The Murder of Gauda, i.e. the king of Gauda), Vak P ati - 
in Prakrit language. From this we learn simply that 
Yashovarman killed the king of Gauda and conquered 
it ; but we are left in the dark as to how long or if at 
all the country submitted to his yoke. 

It is believed that a little after this conquest, Gauda Efforts to re- 
was under the rule of Adishura, or Jayanta (c. 730), ve'dic'regu- 
when the tide of Buddhism almost overflowed the lations - 
country. The Shura kings made the first effort to 

1 Since the above was written Mr. Vincent Smith has in the third 
edition of his Early History (1914) admitted the claims of the Palas 
for " remembrance as one of the most remarkable of Indian dynas- 
ties," and as having made " Bengal one of the great powers of India ". 
He has also drawn prominent attention to the achievements of the 
Gurjara-Pratiharas of Kanauj (81 6-1 194). 

II * 


re-establish Vedic religion, and are by tradition known 
to have brought down some Vedic Brahmanas from 
Kanauj, and with their help promulgated the Vedic rites 
and ceremonies throughout the circle of Gauda. These 
Brahmanas, five in number, settled in Gauda and did 
all they could to make the people bow again to Vedic 
rules and injunctions. Their task became rather easy 
from the fact that the king himself followed the Vedic 
practice. The authenticity of this tradition is disputed 
by scholars. 
Matsya Bengal had to submit to three more foreign invasions 

'■state of from the east, the west, and the south, in succession, 
underato db Besides, the whole region was divided among a number 
Hooker and of smaller Vedist and Buddhist princes who were en- 
pmoza. gaged in a perpetual struggle with one another. The 
majority of the people, however, seem to have been 
Buddhists. They were engaged in a sort of continual 
warfare with the Vedists. " Matsya Nyaya" (the logic 
of Matsya, i.e. fish, implying the destruction of the 
weaker by the stronger) or the struggle for existence 
was at this time the characteristic of the people in 
Eastern India. The condition of the country was 
almost anarchic, there being no strong ruler ; or, if 
there were any, his attention was wholly absorbed in 
stamping out internal dissensions. The consequence 
was that the strong oppressed the weak with impunity 
and there was a veritable "state of nature". The 
following lines from Vasu's Banger Jdtiya Itihdsa (The 
History of Bengal Castes), Vaishya kinda (Chapter on 
the Vaishyas), Vaishya kula parichaya (Account of the 
several Vaishya families), mirror forth the actual con- 
dition of the country at this time : — 

" The throne is vacant, there being no king at the helm of affairs : 
Life and property are at the mercy of whoever can take them." 


To check the headlong current of this anarchy the Kingship by 
people of Bengal offered their throne to Gopala, an lection. 
elderly military genius among themselves. He became 
the first king of Gauda by virtue of popular election 


The Brahmanas alleged to have been brought byTheNeo- 
the Shura king had established the Vedic and Puranic ,n u u s 
forms of Hinduism in Gauda, and prior to that some 
had firmly embraced the Shaiva cult. Phanibhusana 
Lokeshwara and Tara and the other Shaktis of the 
Buddhists had already become incorporated with the 
gods of the Hindu pantheon. Lokeshwara, sitting 
under the bodhi tree, looked exactly like Shiva sitting 
under the marmelos tree, and was actually receiving 
homage as such. The Shaivas and the Tantrists wor- 
shipped Maheshwara and Lokeshwara alike. 

From this time forward the Shaiva, the Shakta and 
the Saura cults began to impress their influence upon 
the conduct of the Buddhist idolators. Buddhist in- 
fluence was in fact dying out ; the Mahayanists and 
Hindus of the Shaiva and other cults being almost 
equally addicted to Tantrism. 

Gopala was succeeded by his son, Dharmapala 
(795-830), on the throne of Gauda. The new king 
established the Vikramashila monastery in Magadha 
(present Behar Province). There is no means of know- 
ing if he established any in Gauda ; at least there are 
no relics of them extant, even if he did. It was about 
this time that Jetarimuni, son of prince Sanatana of 
Varendra (North Bengal), entered the order of Buddhist 
Bhiksus. He founded a satra (a place where food is 
supplied to the poor or pilgrims without cost) in the 
Vikramashila Vihara (monastery). 

Dharmapala was a Buddhist of the Mahayana school, 
but allowed his subjects full freedom as to their religious 


Image of 

Idol of 



principles. His chief general, Narayana Varman, in- 
stalled an idol of Narayana (Visnu) at a place named 
Shubhasthali. The Vedic and Puranic ceremonies were 
thus practised without opposition. The king was 
anxious to please his subjects without distinction of 
creed. Hence it was that Buddhism could not gain 
ground, or even hold its own, against its ostentatious 
and tolerated rivals. Jainism also was at a low ebb in 
Gauda during the reign of Dharmapala. He was an 
enemy of Amaraja, a Jaina king ; hence the influence 
that Buddhism had could not be exerted by the creed of 
the latter. In the twenty-sixth year of his reign was 
installed an idol of the four-faced Mahadeva not far off 
from the Mahabodhi tree of Gay a. 

On the death of Dharmapala, his second son 
Devapala (830-65) ascended the throne of Gauda. 
The Vedic Brahmanas had monopolized the office of 
prime minister of the Pala Emperors. This threw 
open the doors of the royal house to the gradual influx 
of the Hindu influence. Devapala looked upon his 
Brahmana Premier with great respect and esteem. For 
this reason Hari Mishra has greatly eulogized him in 
his Kdrikd (a poem consisting of expository stanzas). 

Ghanarama Pandit has said in his Dharmamangala 
that the line of the Pala kings was descended from the 
God of Ocean. Here he had not drawn on his imagina- 
tion, for such a tradition had long been current in the 
country. Ghanarama says : — 

"King Dharmapala is a pious ruler. Of good de- 
scent and high character, he is like the kalpataru (a 
fabulous wishing-treethat gives whatever is begged of it) 
of this Kali or Iron Age." 

"His son, Gaudeshwara, is born of the spirit of God. 
For his piety and indomitable energy, he is praised by 
the whole world." 


"What shall I say of him, who is devoted to hisTheOcean- 
faith, rules the earth and has descended from the Ocean, God * 
who has the Moon for his friend ? " 

It is this Devapala who is the Ocean's son in the 
Kdrikd. In Rtima-Charita (c. 1080), by Sandhyakara 
Nandi, also, the Pala family has been said to have 
been descended from the same source. 1 It was belief 
in this tradition that may have led the Pala kings to 
practise Hindu rites and customs. 

The Pala kings were gradually entertaining greater 
respect for the Brahmanas and the Brahmanic religion. 
In the inscription on the Garuda-stambha (pillar) we 
have : " Shurapala was like Indra himself, and was a 
favourite of the people ". Kedara Mishra was his ad- 
viser and prime minister. He was an orthodox Vedic 
Brahmana, the great-grandson of the first Premier of 
the Pala House. 

Some coins with the name of Vigrahapala have been 
found. These are like the coins of the fire-worshipping 
Sassanian royal family of Persia. The altar of fire- 
worship of the Sassanians and the effigies of the sacri- 
ficial priest, and of Adhvaryu (priest proficient in the 
Yajurveda) on its either side lead us to suspect that 
Vigrahapala, alias Shurapala, was a fire-worshipper, i.e. 
followed the Vedic practices. 

Kedara's son, Gurava Mishra, the prime minister of 
Nariyanapala, set up the pillar of Garuda, the bird- 
vehicle of Visnu. We learn from a stanza in a copper- 
plate granted by Narayanapala, that the Pashupata 
religion (i.e. the view that inculcated the worship of 

1 Like the contemporary Gurjara-Pratihara Emperors of Kanauj, 
the Palas of Eastern India must be ethnologically traced to Tartar 
or Mongol (Saka, Kushan, Hun) factors in Indian population. See 
the section on " Tartarisation of Aryanised Dravidians " in Chinese 
Religion through Hindu Eyes. 


Pashupati, i.e. Shiva) 1 also obtained unopposed in the 
country about this time. 
o/sa'hSr^a "(This piece of land is set apart by) Emperor 
tana. Nariyanapala, after having established the temple of 

Sahasrayatana, for meeting the expenses of duly wor- 
shipping Shiva Bhattaraka, who has been installed 
there, of offering sacrifices and oblations of rice, milk 
and sugar, boiled together, to him, and of giving 
away food to the poor and the needy in his honour ; 
for supplying beds, seats, food and medicines to the body 
of the priests of Pashupati , and for the discharge of the 
menial work that they may require; and also for the 
due maintenance, according to the allotment devised by 
himself, of those persons who follow the grantor's 

From this inscription on the copper-plate we get an 
idea of the deep root that Shaivaism had struck in Gauda. 
Although a staunch Buddhist himself, yet Nariyanapala 
endowed lands for the service of Shiva. The objects 
of the endowment are clearly set forth — the due worship, 
etc., of Shiva Bhattaraka, the supply of beds, etc., to the 
priests of Pashupati, and the due maintenance of those 
other persons who were of the grantor's (Emperor's) 
faith. This shows unmistakably that Narayanapala 
founded temples of Shiva for promulgating the Pashupata 
view, while he made arrangements for the gratification 
of his subjects of other creeds as well. Thus, while ar- 
rangements were made for the worship of Shiva Bhat- 
taraka in these temples, provision was made at the same 
time for supplying beds, etc., to the Buddhists as well as 
to the priests of Pashupati ; and, that these might not 
have occasion for quarrelling with one another, he also 
defined their respective rights and shares. 

1 A bronze image of Parvati, the wife of Shiva, was set up in the 
fifty-fourth year of this reign. 


In previous times the Buddhist kings established 
Viharas or monasteries, where they installed the idols of 
Lokeshwara and Tara, and made provision for the food, 
beds, etc., of the Buddhist priests. During the reign The temple of 
of Narayanapala (c. 875-930), however, no Buddhist tation of the' 
Viharas seem to have been built, but instead were built ^^" st 
the temples of Shiva, wherein were installed the idol 
of Maheshwara with the look of Lokeshwara. These 
temples, it might be noticed, had a peculiarity of their 
own. Although dedicated to Shiva, arrangements were 
made here for the residence and maintenance of Hindus 
and Buddhists alike. Further, the Buddhist festivals 
were observed here ; and persons of all creeds gathered 
on the occasions of the Shaiva festivities, which were 
accompanied with dance and music. Provision was 
made also for supplying food and drink to the guests. 

It was thus that while, on the one hand, materials 
were furnished for the growth and development of the 
Shaiva Gambhira, on the other hand, the death-knell of 
Buddhism as a separate creed was rung. 

It must be noticed, however, that although the 
Shaiva influence is predominant in the Gambhira, yet 
institutions and observances of the Buddhist Tantric 
school form its backbone. The influence exercised by 
the Brahmana ministers of the Pala kings helped 
Shaivaism in the displacement of Buddhism, which 
gradually became merged in the former. The Pila 
dynasty owed its political legitimacy to the "election" 
by the Folk, and it was the Folk that dominated the 
age in matters of faith. 


Section III. — Establishment of Shaivaism in 
Bengal (Eleventh Century). 

It was before the time of the Pala dynasty that 
Shaivaism had struck roots in Bengal. But it was 
under this dynasty that the predominant voice of the 
Brahmana ministers enhanced its influence and es- 
tablished Hinduism over Buddhism. More especially 
during the reign of Narayanapala Shaivaism gained an 
extensive hold upon the minds of the people. Buddhism 
was being driven out of Bengal, and what remained of 
it was so simply in name, the substance becoming 
gradually identified with Shaivaism. In the copper-plate 
injunction issued by him, Narayanapala ordered that 
" the Chatas (thieves) and Bhatas (lit. panegyrists, hence 
cheats) should be prevented from carrying on their de- 
predations within the limits of the country administered 
by the priests of Pashupati ". It may be inferred that 
previous to the issue of the order some sect or sects 
oppressed the Shaivas, and that this oppression was 
thus put an end to by royal proclamation. Being pro- 
tected from opposition and its course made smooth, the 
Shaiva creed gradually spread over the whole territory 
of the Pala kings. 
Religious The earlier kings of the Pala dynasty were person- 


tion. ally staunch Buddhists. But in later times kings of this 

line are found to have yielded to the Shaiva and the 
Vaisnava creeds. The country had in the meanwhile 
witnessed a religious revolution to which the rulers had 
to adapt themselves. 

In his edition of the Skunya Purdna, Vasu gives 
the following picture of the religious transformation in 
Eastern India : — 

" About the time of Dharmapala {c. 800), the whole 
of North and East India witnessed the successive rise and 


fall of various sects. Jainism gained the day where only 
a short while before the Vedic religion had swayed the 
minds of the people. In the same way, within a very 
short time, Hinduism was found to have risen out of the 
ashes of Jainism and to have enlisted the public sym- 
pathy on its side. The place which was once the scene 
of sacrifices, from which sacred smoke rose up in curls 
and overcast the heavens, and which resounded with the 
recitations of Vedic hymns, was found a short while after 
to have been transformed into a dismal scene, where the 
sacrifices of animals before the various terrific images of 
Mahakala, worshipped by the Tantric Buddhists, be- 
came the order of the day." 

In an age of such religious transitions, Hinduism be- 
came ultimately established through the influence of the 
Brahmana ministers of the Pala kings. The Tantric 
form of Buddhism was similar to that of Shaivaism, 
Lokeshwara and Tara of the former being simply 
shadows of Shiva and Durga of the latter. Hence it 
was easy for Tantric Buddhism to lose itself in Shaivaism ; 
and the consequence of this was that the Shaiva and the 
Shikta creed commanded the religious devotion of the 

Rajyapala " had tanks excavated and wells sunk as 
bottomless as the ocean, and had temples built the 
rooms of which were as high as a mountain ". He was 
probably a nominal emperor ; as about the middle of 
the tenth century the northern districts of the Pala 
Empire came under Kamboja (Mongolian) rule, and 
the western were overrun by the Gurjaras of Kanauj. 
It was Mahtpala I (c. 980-1026) who succeeded in 
establishing a Second Pala Empire. Archaeological evi- 
dences indicate that the " barbarian " Kambojas accepted 
the Shaiva faith of the people, and that Mahtpala, who 
was tolerant of all creeds, had a Brahmana Premier. 


Atisha, alias Dipamkara, born in Vikramapura (East 

Bengal), was an adept in the Buddhist Tantric practices, 

and gained the title of Shrijnana. He was appointed 

the spiritual Head (Acharyya) of the Vikramashila 

Dipamkara monastery. Nayapala (c. 1026-45), patron of the phy- 

Shrljnanaand . . ' , J .-^ v , , 7 i • i 

Tantrism. sician Chakrapani Datta, looked upon him as almost 
a god. Through the efforts of Shrijnana and the en- 
couragement of Nayapala, the Tantric view obtained 
now over the whole of Gauda. Even from far-off 
countries like Tibet scholars came in numbers to Vikra- 
mashila to obtain instructions of the Tantric school. 
Hindus and Buddhists were alike eager to worship 
goddess Tara (divine energy) and to learn the esoteric 
practices. People in those days looked upon this Tara 
as a Hindu goddess. Shiva and Shakti were then 
receiving worship throughout the country. Dipamkara's 
view of Buddhism had much in common with the Hindu 
Tantrism. In fact, Buddhism lingered on only in name 
— all its institutions, nay, even its deities, having be- 
come already incorporated with those of Hinduism. 

Under these circumstances it became almost im- 
possible for the people to mark out the line of demar- 
cation between Buddhism and Shaivaism. The former 
lost itself in and added to the development of the 
latter. Even for the propitiation of Buddha, grants of 
land were made to Brahmanas. Mahipala was a Bud- 
dhist ; still, on the day of the sun's passage from Libra 
to Scorpio or from Aries to Taurus, he performed his 

Eclecticism ablution in the Ganges and made grants of land to 

C lilt T." si *^ ^^ 

a ip a ' Brahmanas in the hope and belief of thus securing the 
good- will of Buddha. During his reign there was little 
or no distinction between Hindus and Buddhists. The 
current of Buddhism was fast emptying itself into Hin- 
duism and feeding the stream of Shaivaism, which had 
about this time established itself over Bengal. 


The Pala kings had begun to establish temples of Ramapaia 
Shiva. The famous Ramapala 1 (c. 1060- 1 100) had alhaiva 
tank dug as vast as a lake, and close by it three huge temples - 
temples of Shiva built where idols of the god were also 
duly installed. Many Hindu and Buddhist temples of 
this nature were established in the town of Ramavati 
(present village of Amriti in the district of Malda?), 
his new capital. Here were towering temples with 
the images of Avalokiteshwara, Lokeshwara and other 
Buddhist gods. The form of this Lokeshwara was like 
that of Shiva, and adorned in the same manner with 
ornaments of snakes. In the great Vihara of Jagad- 
dala at Ramavati also there was at this time installed 
the idol of Lokeshwara Buddha. In the eyes of the 
common people of this time, Shiva and Lokeshwara 
looked exactly alike and passed for the same god. Both 
the Shaivas and the Buddhists of the time were followers 
of the Tantric school, and the figure of the Buddhist 
Bhairava passed generally for that of the Hindu Shiva. 
Owing to this popular confusion, many a Buddhist temple 
was losing its distinctive denominational character. 

And it was now that Tara and Aryya Tira were 
taking their seats as Adyi Devi on the left side of Shiva. 
There is a report to the effect that Buddha first en- 
trusted to Shiva the task of protecting his religion from 
the violation of the Sakas ; but, when Shiva was found 
unequal to it, Buddha transferred the duty to Chamunda. 

1 During the latter half of the eleventh century Bengal passed 
through what may be called a period of Triarchy (or Three Inde- 
pendent Kingdoms). The Palas were rulers in the North, the 
Varmans in the East, and the Senas in the West. By the beginning 
of the twelfth century the Senas had made themselves masters of a 
United Bengal and pushed their arms into Assam, Orissa, and Bihar ; 
and they maintained the hegemony of their dynasty throughout the 
century till its close, when they fell before Moslem attacks. 


The Pala 
kings com- 
pared to 

It is clear that Buddhism was gradually passing into 

Shaivaism became well established in Ramavati and 
Gauda, the capital cities, and this led to the general 
adoption of its practices throughout the country. In 
the similes applied to the Pala kings, the influence of 
Shaivaism is clearly marked. In the copper-plate 
granted by Madanapala (c. mo) we find the following 
line : — 

" Of Vigrahapala was begotten Mahipala, as glorious 
as Chandra-shekhara Shiva." 1 

Thus Shaivaism found its way even into the inscrip- 
tions of professedly Buddhist rulers. The Pila Em- 
perors were Buddhists, while their wives became attached 
to Hinduism. From the above-mentioned copper-plate, 
we learn that Queen Chitramatika had the Mah&bhtirata 
recited to her by a certain Brahmana named Vateshwara 
Swamin, and as remuneration granted him a piece of 
land in the name of Buddha Bhattaraka of divine attri- 
butes. Even in the royal zenana Hindu customs were 
being practised as religiously as in a strict Hindu family. 
And we have seen, besides, that the difference between 
Hinduism and Buddhism had already died out. From 
these facts we may easily infer the trend of the people's 
socio-religious 2 life. It was this : Shaivaism had over- 
grown Buddhism ; 3 or, the latter had become identified 
with the former. 

1 " Like a second Chandra-shekhara Shiva, he had the glorious 
Mahipala for his son, whose fame was more fragrant than water mixed 
with sandalwood powder, and whose glories were sung by the joyous 
people over the whole world." 

2 For the archaeology of the period, see Banerji's Palas of 

3 Vide the section on " The Alleged Extinction of Buddhism in 
India " in Chinese Religion through Hindu Eyes. 



Section I. — Mahayanic Mythology. 

It was the Buddhists of the Mahayana branch that 
developed what may be called Tantric Buddhism. In 
course of time a branch shot out from this sect with 
the tenets of Guhya Dharma (occult religion), and later 
on another branch under the name of Mantrayana. 
From this last also, by and by, there sprang again first 
Kalachakra and then Vajrayana. 

In the middle of the seventh century, Hiuen-Thsang 
found the predominance of Tantrism in Buddhism. 
For a long while before this the Hinayana and Maha- 
yana sects had been quarrelling with each other. The 
Shramanas of the first sect inveigled against the second, 
and denounced it clearly as having brought about the 
ruin of genuine Buddhism. 

The Midhyamika sect of Mahayanists first produced 
religious unification in the country by being the connect- 
ing link between Hinduism and Buddhism. It was 
again this sect that indirectly helped in the downfall 
of Buddhism. For the Kalachakra and the Vajrayana 
sects that grew out of it caused Buddhism to ultimately 
lose itself in a Tantrism abounding in ceremonial forms 
and observances. The compiler of Sarva Darshana 
has assigned Shunyavada (the theory of the void) as 



The Void, the kernel of the Madhyamika religion. The Maha- 
yanists have drawn a complex picture of the creation of 
the Universe by fancying a Maha Shunya (great void) 
beyond and above the Shunya, and again many other 
things beyond it. 
The Adi Xhe Shramanas of the Mahayana sect have discussed 

the theory of creation after the manner of the Hindu 
Puranists. They have replaced the formless Mahes- 
hwara — of the form of the void — by an Adi (First) 
Buddha and with his help have thrown open the door 
to the realm of creation. They have traced the visible 
universe from this Adi Buddha, an embodiment of "the 
absolute void ". 
TheBuddhas, The Mahayanists have taken pains to establish the 
and the ' S antiquity of their religious view by tracing it through 
Bodhisattvas. many Dhyani Buddhas like Brahma, Visnu, Mahes- 
hwara and the other Hindu Puranic gods, to the Adi or 
Original Buddha, who is "all void," the state that existed 
before the universe came into being. Nay, not content 
with this, they have even fancied Shaktis (personified 
energies and wives) to these Buddhas and have thus 
made their pantheon a complex one. And to make it 
more complex, they have created Bodhisattvas 1 out of 
those ascetics who have, by virtue of their meditation 
and devotion, become entitled to the attainment of the 
real state of Buddha. Thus we have got three orders 
of divinities — the Buddhas, the Buddha Shaktis and the 
Bodhisattvas — which have given diversity to mediaeval 

We give below a list 2 of the several Buddhas, Buddha 
Shaktis and the Bodhisattvas : — 

1 The being that acquires Bodhi (i.e. the knowledge that confers 
the state of Buddha, " the Enlightened ") is so called, i.e. a 
Buddha in posse. 

2 Vide Getty's Gods of Northern Buddhism, pp. 25, 42, 102. 


Dhyani Buddha. Buddha-Shakti. Bodhisattva. 

(1) Vairochana Vajradhatwiswari Samantrabhadra 

(2) Aksobhya Lochana Vajrapani 

(3) Ratna Sambhava Mamaki Ratnapani 

(4) Amitabha Pandara, Padmapani Avalokiteshwara 

(5) Amogha Siddhi Tara. Vishwapani 

According to Mahayanism men can gradually rise, by Human 
virtue of their spiritual culture, to the attainment of the Buddhas - 
state of gods. Men who have thus attained the state 
of Buddha are said to be " Human Buddhas," and the 
names of seven such Buddhas are found on record. 
These are — Vipashyi, Sikhi, Vishwabhu, Krakuch- 
handa, Kanakamuni, Kashyapa and Shakyamuni. 

Thus the Buddhist pantheon was growing in extent 
with the addition of Buddhas, Buddha-Shaktis and Bodhi- 
sattvas. After the manner of the Puranic Hindus who 
had managed to raise the number of the Vedic gods from 
thirty-three to as many crores (1 crore=io millions), 
the Buddhist gods also were multiplied considerably. 
The imitation did not stop there. Like Hindu gods, 
the Buddhist ones also had their images made and 

Section II. — The Common Factor 1 in Neo-Hinduism 


(a) Bodhisattvas. 

A Buddhist god, named Avalokiteshwara, 2 was held The import- 
in special esteem among the Buddhists of the Mahayana Ivaiokite- 

sh Weirs 

1 See the chapter on " Sino- Japanese Buddhism and Neo- 
Hinduism " in Chinese Religion through Hindu Eyes. 

2 Vide Getty's Gods of Northern Buddhism, pp. 54-55, etc. An 
analysis of the attributes and forms of all the Bodhisattvas would 
indicate that the features of the neo-Hindu deities, Brahma, Visnu, 
and Shiva, can be ascribed to one or other of these. This explains 
why the mind of mediaeval India was fast obliterating the distinctions 
between Mahayanism and Puranism. 



sect. It is questionable if Buddha himself ever received 
the same amount of homage at their hands. Fa Hien 
as well as Hiuen-Thsang saw many an image of this 
Avalokiteshwara. This god with two others named 
Prajna-paramita and Manjushri, exercised undisputed 
sway from Muttra and Central India to .Bihar and 
Bengal. Even Emperor Harsa himself is known to 
have offered prayers to Bodhisattva Avalokiteshwara. 1 
From the account of Hiuen-Thsang we learn that a 
large number of the images of this god were standing 
about the celebrated Bodhi tree of Gaya. The Buddhists 
of Eastern India remembered this god and offered 
prayers to him and begged his grace while taking their 
seats, sitting down to dinner or going to bed. Nalanda 
also abounded with images of this god. Inside the 
Vihara here, exactly in the centre, was an image of his, 
of short stature, holding a lotus flower in full bloom in 
his hand, and aloft on his head, and enshrouded by his 
hair, the figure of Amitabha Buddha. People in general 
held this idol in great esteem and reverence. 

The location of Amitabha Buddha on the head of 
the image of Avalokiteshwara reminds the Hindus of and 
makes them hold it to be the figure of Shamkafa (Shiva) 
holding on his head the goddess Gamga. 

In Sddhana-mdld Tantra Khasarpana Lokeshwara 
has been described as " having an effulgent body like 
crores of moons, with long matted hair on his head, on 
which, like the crown, is seated Amitabha. He is 
decorated with all sorts of ornaments, and is lying down 
on a sofa placed above the moon, which is in its turn 
placed on a lotus representing the universe. He has a 

1 See Waddell's Indian Buddhist Cult of Avalokita and his Con- 
sort Tara the Saviouress in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 
(London, 1894). 


smiling face and is twice eight years old. His right Parapher- 
hand is in the posture of pronouncing benediction and Mahayanist 
in the left he is holding a lotus with the stalk. He is Pantheon - 
jovial with the use of nectar streaming down from his 
palms. Below him is the glorious Potalaka, who dwells 
in the Achalodara, whose face is turned upwards, who 
has a large belly and is very lean, whose complexion 
is very white, who has an elongated face, whose eyes 
are genial with kindness, who is intoxicated with the 
passion of love, but is very calm, and who is decorated 
with various ornaments. Behind him is Tira and on 
his right-hand side is Sudhanva Kumara. Here Tira 
is shyama (of dark complexion), holding a lotus with the 
stalk in her left hand and displaying the palm of her 
right adorned with various ornaments and bending 
down, as it were, under the weight of a pair of breasts 
revealing her blooming youth. Sudhanva Kumara, 
again, is standing with folded hands. His complexion 
is like that of gold. He is of the form of Kumara 
( Kartikeya, the god of war) and adorned with all sorts 
of ornaments and holding a book under his left arm-pit. 
On the west is Bhrikuti and on the north Hayagriva. 
Here Bhrikuti is represented as having four hands and 
three eyes, of golden complexion and with matted hair 
on his head. He is holding a tridandi (it should 
properly be tridanda, three staves, representing the 
control of thought, speech and action, the person who 
carries these staves being called tridandi) and a Kaman- 
dalu (water -pot, such as the ascetics carry) in his left 
hand, and in his right is carrying a rosary of beads 
showing the attitude of prayer. Hayagriva is crimson- 
coloured and of short stature. He has a long belly, 
the bright upturned hair of his head is reddish brown, 
and a snake is representing his sacred thread. The 
complexion of his beard is more reddish brown. . . . 

12 * 


The Arya 
shwara and 
the Khasar- 
pana Loke- 

He has three eyes, and all of them are red and circular 
and his eyebrows are contracted as if in a frown. He is 
clothed in a tiger's skin and holds a club as weapon (in 
his left hand), the right hand being set in the attitude of 
prayer. All these are standing ready and prompt to follow 
up the slightest hints through the eyes of their master." 

From the above we learn that Khasarpana Loke- 
shwara or Avalokiteshwara is as effulgent as ten million 
moons ; and amidst the locks of matted hair on his head 
is seated the image of Amitabha. Avalokiteshwara is 
seated in the particular posture known as Padmasana 
(in which the statues of Buddha are invariably repre- 
sented) and is about sixteen years old. Close by him 
Sudhanva Kumara is standing with folded hands. He 
has a golden complexion and a large belly. On the 
right-hand side is the goddess Tara in the full bloom of 
youth. She is crimson coloured and is holding a blue 
lotus in her left hand. On the west in the standing 
posture is Bhrikuti of three eyes and four hands and 
with a profusion of matted hair on his head. He is 
holding a tridanda and a kamandalu in his hands. And 
crimson-coloured Hayagriva of a long belly and three 
eyes, clad in a 'tiger's skin and wearing a snake as his 
sacred thread, is standing on the north. 

From these descriptions we get a glimpse into the - 
Tantric pantheon of Buddhism. Tara, Bhrikuti, Haya- 
griva and the like seem to be the courtiers of Avalokite- 
shwara. In the treatise known as Sddhana-mdld Tantra 
detailed accounts are to be found of the Arya Avalokite- 
shwara and the Khasarpana Lokeshwara. These are 
but two names of one and the same deity. 1 The Maha- 
yana sect used to worship all these gods. 

1 And some have clearly applied the name " Khasarpana- Avalo- 
kiteshwara ''. — Das's Indian Pundits in the Land of Snow, p. 18. 


In some places images of this beautiful Lokeshwara The form 
god are found with four hands and three eyes. Lokeshwara 

In Mayurbhanj, according to Vasu, Lokeshwara has Buddha j s 
four hands and three eyes. He has matted hair on his™ ' 
head from amidst which a moon shines. Snakes form 
the ornaments on his person. In two of his hands he 
holds a rosary and a Kamandalu, and the other two 
are raised by way of cheering the votaries and granting 
them boons. He is seated in the particular posture 
known as Padmasana under the Bodhi tree. 

This form of Lokeshwara, it must be said, is a distinct 
copy of the Hindu god Mahadeva. The Tantric Bud- 
dhists installed such images of Lokeshwara, offered wor- 
ship to him and held festivities in his honour. 

In Buddhist temples is to be found the image of 
Manjushri 1 on the right-hand side of the idol of Avaloki- 
teshwara. We quote below the description that is given 
of him in Sadhana-mtilti Tantra : — 

"One's own self (identical with the god on whom it The form in 
is concentrated — in this case Manjushri) is to be contem-j us hrihasto 
plated as of yellow complexion, performing the Vy&k- j^^ 146111 ' 
hyana mudra (a sign made by intertwining the fingers 
of both the hands in religious worship) and adorned with 
jewels. He wears a crown set with gems and is hold- 
ing a lotus in his left hand. He is seated on a throne 
with the image of Aksobhya placed on the crown of his 
head. On his right hand is standing with folded hands 
Sudhanva Kumara, sprung from the Vtja (a mystic syl- 
lable representing a deity and symbolizing his powers) of 
Hoom, resplendent with various ornaments, wearing a 
jewelled crown and holding under his arm-pit a book 
dealing with all religions. On the left is Jamari of dark 
complexion, sprung from the Vija of Hoom, of disfigured 
face and upturned and tawny coloured hair, holding a 
1 Vide Getty, p. 95. 


club in his hand and bedecked with jewels. To his south 
and north are standing Chandra-prabha and Surya- 
prabha respectively. In the east is Vairochana, in the 
west Ratna-sambhava, in the north Amitabha, and in 
the south Amoghasiddhi. And in the south-east and 
the three other corners are Lochana, Mamaki, Pandara 
and Tara." 

Buddhists worshipped Manjushri of this description 
and attended by all these Buddhist idols. Manjushri 
of yellow complexion and seated on the throne ; lovely 
Sudhanva-Kumara with a book under his arm -pit ; 
Jamari of disfigured face and dark complexion, and 
Vairochana, Ratna-Sambhava, Amitabha and Amogha- 
siddhi, as well as Lochana, Mamaki, Pandara and Tara ; 
this host of Mahayanic deities was more or less parallel 
to, and could be easily assimilated with, the prevailing 
Puranic gods and goddesses. 

(6) Tdrd. 

The image of the goddess Tara is generally found 
on the left side of that of Lokeshwara of three eyes and 
four hands, of white colour, with a profusion of matted 
hair on the head and seated under the Bodhi tree. In 
many Buddhist Viharas these images were installed. 
Although the ordinary place of Tara is on the left side 
of Lokeshwara, yet in some places her image has been 
found on his right-hand side. Owing to different names 
this Tara is found to be divided into several classes 
such as- — Nila Saraswati Tara, Arya Tara, Jangali 
Tira, Vajra Tara, etc. The female figure named 
as Nila Saraswati Tara is held in deep reverence by 
the Yogachara sect of Tibet. The following descrip- 
tion is found of this Saraswati in Swatantra Tantra : — 

" On the western side of Meru (Pamir) is the great 
lake of Cholana where was born Nila Saraswati Tara. " 1 
1 Archaeological Survey of Mayurbhanj. 


The figure of Tara was held in great esteem among Arya Tara. 
the Mahayanists. Hiuen-Thsang saw one such image tS. 
in the monastery of Nalanda, where worship was offered 
and festivities held with great pomp. He took care to 
leave an account of this idol. 

" To the north of a figure of Buddha — 2 or 3 li, in a 
Vihara, constructed of brick — is a figure of Tara Bodhi- 
sattva. This figure is of great height and its spiritual 
appearance very striking. Every fast-day of the year 
large offerings are made to it. The kings and ministers 
and great people of the neighbouring countries offer ex- 
quisite perfumes and flowers, holding gem-covered flags 
and canopies, whilst instruments of metal and stone 
resound in turns, mingled with the harmony of flutes 
and harps. These religious assemblies last for seven 

An under-current of the Gambhira festivities is 
found on observation to be stealthily flowing beneath 
the rituals and ceremonials that were observed in con- 
nexion with the worship and festival of Tara. On the 
day of festival the Buddhists would worship and make 
offerings to her, and in this kings and ministers and 
the people generally took part alike. Various kinds of 
music added to the grandeur of the occasion, and people 
from the neighbouring countries attended the places in 
their tens and thousands, and thus the current of festi- 
vities rolled on for seven consecutive days — just the 
number that the Gambhira festival covers. It will thus 
be seen that in course of time this Arya Tira festival 
passed on into the Shaiva Gambhira. 

Jangali Tara is similar to Arya Tara. The epi-Jangaii Tara. 
thet " Jangali " (lit. relating to a forest) is due to the 
fact that the Shramanas of the Mahayana sect wor- 
shipped this goddess with two or four hands in the 
wilderness. Her description is to be found in the follow- 


ing instruction for contemplation quoted from the Bud- 
dhist Tantric treatise, Sddhanamdld : — 

" She has to be contemplated as of white colour and 
two or four hands and as being all white, with matted 
hair on her head as crown. She is clad in white, adorned 
with white ornaments and white snakes and seated on 
the couch of truth. Of the four hands the principal 
two are engaged in playing on a lyre ; of the other 
two the left is holding a white snake and the right is 
set in the Mudra (attitude) of Abhaya (hope and re- 
assurance). She is encircled by a halo resembling the 
glow of the moon." 
vajraTara. Vajra Tara was worshipped by the Mahayanists. 

It is this goddess who in some parts of India has come 
to be known as Chandi. In Sddkana Samuchchaya, a 
treatise on Buddhist Tantrism, the following description 
is found : — 

" She has to be contemplated as seated firm on a 
moon as throne fixed on a lotus representing the universe, 
in the centre of the circle of the Mitrikas (lit. mothers, 
sixteen goddesses such as Padmi, Gauri, etc.). She has 
eight hands and four faces of white, dark, yellow and red 
colours and all turned a little to the left, and furnished 
with three eyes. She is decorated with all sorts of orna- 
ments. The glow of her complexion is like that of gold 
and she has a majestic appearance blooming with the 
signs of maidenhood. The halo of her person is blood- 
red, and four Buddhas are set on her crown. Close by 
her is a couch of the thunder-bolt. In three of her right 
hands are a thunder-bolt, a dart and a snake, and the 
fourth one is set in the attitude of conferring boons. 
And on the fore-fingers of the four left hands are a lotus, 
a bow, a thunder-bolt as a guiding hook (ankusha) and 
another as a noose." 

In the NepSlese edition of Sddhanamdld Tantra the 


following description is found of Kurukulla Devi, who Kurukuiu 
is also a personified energy of Buddha : — DevL 

" She has to be contemplated as of crimson com- 
plexion, seated on a red lotus and dressed in red. Her 
crown also is of crimson colour. She has four hands. 
Of the two left, the upper is set in the attitude of giving 
assurance and the lower is holding a quiver set with 
jewels ; of the two right the upper one is holding a bow 
with a set arrow and the lower is pulling to the ear the 
floral string of an arrow which is also made of the 
blossoms of the red lotus." 

Beside these the pantheon of the Mahayana sect con- Arya, Dharma 
tained many other gods and goddesses. The female Devi, the 
form of Dharma is also due to their fancy. Figures of goddess of the 
Dharma as a goddess have been discovered in the Maha- Gambhba. 
bodhi of Nepal and Vadasahi in Mayurbhanj. And 
as such Dharma has got the names of Prajna-paramita, 
Dharma Devi, Arya Tara and Gayeshwari. She is also 
known as Adi Dharma Devi and Adya Devi. It is this 
Arya Tara or Adya Devi in whose honour festivities are 
held in the present-day Gambhira. The real form of 
the Buddhist goddess Tara is to be found in the follow- 
ing quotation from Swatantra Tantra : — 

" She has to be contemplated as three-eyed, of a dark 
blue hue, and holding in her two hands a lotus and 
boons. She is surrounded by a number of Shaktis of 
many forms and diverse colours. She has a smiling face 
and her ornaments are made of sparkling gems and 
pearls. Her feet, resembling two full-blown lotuses, are 
resting on a jewelled footstool." 

Again, in Sddhanamdld Tantra we meet with theMahottart 

o ' T&ra. 

following description of Mahottari Tara. " She has to 
be contemplated as of a dark-blue colour with two hands. 
Her right is set in the attitude of granting boons and 
her left is holding the stalk of a glorious lotus. She 


is decorated with all sorts of ornaments and is reclining 
on a sofa made of moons and lotuses. " 

It will now be clear that the Buddhists were invest- 
ing with forms, according to their fancies, the gods and 
goddesses of Tantrism, and' devising their suitable forms 
of worship and festivities. It was this Tantrism that 
brought about the rapprochement of the Mahayanists 
with the Puranists, whose feminine divinities were 
analogues or duplicates of these Taras. 

Section III. — Drama and Tantrism. 

Nagananda From the time of Fa Hien down to that of Hiuen- 

40). Thsang, there was a steady spread of the Tantric influ- 
ence among the followers of Buddhism. In course of 
time there developed out of Mahiyanism the Mantra- 
yana and the Vajrayana sects. The dramatic works of 
the period testify to the Tantric influence. 

The drama Ndgdnanda, composed during the reign 
of Emperor Harsa (seventh century), indicates that 
Tantrism had become well established in upper India. 

Jimutavahana was a Buddhist while his consort Mal- 
yavati was an ideal Shaiva. She worshipped Gauri of 
all attributes. On one occasion Jimutavahana lost his 
life, but was restored to it through the grace of Shiva and 
Durga (Gauri). At this time Hiuen-Thsang (629-45) 
noticed extensive worship and festivities held in honour 
of gods like Avalokiteshwara, who, however, looked 
like Shiva in appearance, and also of goddesses like 
Tara and Aryya Tara looking like Gauri. After this, 
about the middle of the eighth century, Lalitaditya 
defeated Yashovarman, King of Kanauj, and took with 
him to Kashmir the renowned poet Bhavabhuti. It was 
this poet who was the author of the Sanskrit drama 
M&lati-M&dhava, in which we find clear proofs of the 


sway which Tantrism exercised about that time over 
the people. 

The plot of M&lati-M&dhava starts with the spring Maiati- 
festival otherwise known as the Madanotsava (Cupid's {f. 3 ^* 
festival). On one such occasion the scholar Madhava saw 
the minister's daughter Malatt passing by on the back of 
an elephant. Her eyes also fell on him and, as luck would 
have it, they loved each other at first sight. They were, 
however, very differently situated, and Midhava who 
could, on no account, aspire to the hands of his beloved, 
threw himself in despair on the mercy of one Kamandaki, 
who was a Buddhist nun. She gave him hopes of a 
union with the minister's girl, but could not effect this. 
Now, in greater despair, Madhava resolved to take re- 
course to some Tantric means as likely to be more effi- 
cacious in securing Malati. Hard by on the cremation- 
ground there was a temple dedicated to the service of 
the goddess Chamunda, and there was in her service at 
this time a Bhairavi (a female anchorite who has, accord- 
ing to the Tantric system, dedicated her life to the worship 
of Bhairava, a name of Shiva), named Kapala Kun- 
dali, who wore about her neck what may be called a 
garland of human skulls. She applied herself to the 
practice of Tantric rituals on the cremation-ground with 
raw flesh and the like. Bhairava (masculine of Bhairavi) 
Aghoraghanta intended to sacrifice a chaste maiden be- 
fore the goddess and then to sit in meditation on her 
corpse. And with this purpose in view he managed to 
bring the minister's girl Malatt to the place of cremation 
in the required guise. Somehow Madhava came to 
have an inkling of his mind and succeeded in taking 
away the life of Aghora before he could realize his heinous 
object. He could not, however, find out the whereabouts 
of his lady-love, and in the course of the search reached 
the Vindhya hills. Fortune smiles upon him now and 


here he met a Buddhist nun pursuing the Tantric system. 

Her name was Saudamini. And at length through her 

magic powers and the spiritual strength that she had 

gained through abstract contemplation, he became united 

with his Malati. The influence of Tantric Buddhism 

peeps out through incidents like this ; and under its spell, 

it will also be noticed, the commandment of Buddhism 

as to the abstention from killing, nay, dealing cruelly 

with any creatures, seems to have become a dead letter. 

Chamunda Chamunda also came to be an object of worship with 

shipperfby the Buddhists of the Tantric school. In the Tantric 

Se d Tantr S - ° f scr ip tures °f Buddhism accounts are found of many 

school. Buddhist Shaktis. Chamunda was at this time regarded 

as a Buddhist goddess. The following description of 

her is to be found in Sdradd-Tilaka : — 

" She has to be contemplated as of blood-red colour, 
wearing a garland of human heads and holding in her 
hands a spear, a sword, a human skull and the bone of 
the forehead." As to her hands, in some places we are 
told she has eight, in others ten, and in still others 
Development Thus the deities of Hindu Tantric pantheon were 
bhh-a? Gam " being worshipped by the Tantrists of Buddhism. The 
practice of worshipping deities sitting on a corpse and 
the other Tantric rites are akin to the Mashana dance 
and the " corpse dance " of the Shaiva Gambhira. The 
ceremonies of the Gambhira festival bear ample traces 
of the Tantric influence on it. The Tara of Buddhist 
Tantrism is similar in character to the Kali and Tara 
and the other Shaktis of the Hindu Tantrism. 1 Cha- 
munda also belongs to the same category. 

1 See Nivedita's Kali the Mother, and Avalon's Principles of 
Tantra and other works. 



Section I. — Tantrism of the Bengalee Buddhist 
Missionary in Tibet (Eleventh Century). 

In the early part of the eleventh century, Tantrism of 
both the Buddhist and the Shaiva forms obtained un- 
opposed in Gauda. From a study of the life of Atisha 
Shrijnana we may have a glimpse into the Buddhist 
Tantrism and the socio-religious condition generally of 
those times. It was Buddhism as practised by Atisha 
which was the prevailing form of the Buddhist creed 
in Eastern India. He followed the Vajrayina and the 
Mantrayana divisions of the Mahayana branch of 

During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries there 
flourished in Eastern India such Buddhist preceptors 
and minnesingers as Ramai, Setai, Nilai, Kamsai, Hadipa 
and Kanipa ; and there were composed such folk-songs 
as the Lays of Mahipdla, Lays of Mdnikachandra, and 
Lays of Govindachandra, and the Shunya Purdna of 
Ramai Pandit. 

The Bengal of this period presents a good many in- 
stances of self-denial and indifference to the world and 
all it can give. The life of Dipamkara or Shrijnana or 
Atisha (c. 1040) is a mirror in which we may see a 



faithful image of Buddhism as it prevailed in this age. 
It was this religious trend that found expression in later 
times in the Shunya Purdna of Ramai. Indeed, the 
religious ideal set forth in this work may be said to be 
a slightly modified form of that which Dipamkara had 
professed and inculcated. 
Meditation on Shrijnana worshipped Tara and in all his doings re- 
ceived his inspiration from her. When it was arranged 
that he should go to Tibet, with a view to ascertain if 
he should do this, and to know beforehand if good or 
evil was likely to accrue from it, he stepped into the 
temple of the goddess, and, placing before the image a 
Suvarna-mandala (golden orb) as a necessary ingred- 
ient of worship, offered prayers to her. Tara appeared 
before him in a vision with this instruction : " Go to 
Mukhen, the resort of pilgrims, which is not far off from 
Vikramashila. There you will meet a female mendi- 
cant. Tell her of your wishes and she will give you 
proper advice. " 

As was the custom in those days, with a handful of 
cowries (conch-shells, smallest units of currency) Atisha 
set out for the temple of Tara at Vikramashila with the 
object of consulting the Buddhist mendicant. He also 
carried with him presents for the goddess, including 
a golden orb. On his arrival there, he placed these 
articles before the idol and gave the cowries to the 
Yogini (female devotee) of the temple. He then con- 
sulted her as to the result of his intended visit to Tibet. 
The female devotee replied that it would be good, but 
she added that he was to meet his death there. 
Worship of From Vikramashila Shrijnana prepared to visit Vajra- 

VajraTara. gana Acharyya (preceptor) Janashn advised him to 
look for the instructions of a certain Yogini of the 
temple of Vajra Tara on this point. While proceeding 
accordingly to the above temple he met with a Yogini 


of resplendent form and consulted her also as to the 
consequences of his intended visit to Tibet. She also 
made the same reply as her sister. Then, when he 
had reached the temple of Vajra Tara, his wonder 
knew no bounds on the Yogini of this place asking him 
for the handful of cowries which Janashrt had advised 
him to take with him. But a greater surprise was in 
store for him, for he soon came to learn that the Yogini 
he had encountered on his way was no other than the 
goddess Vajra Tara herself. 

Atisha took along with him into Tibet Nagacho, 
Lochabha, Bhumigarbha, Bhumisamgha, Viryyachandra 1 
and a few other natives of Tibet. 

On their way they were encountered by a troop of 
pilgrims who belonged to the Shaiva, the Vaisnava and 
the Kapila creeds. These hired a band of eighteen 
robbers to assassinate Atisha and to plunder his bag 
and baggage. At the very sight of them he read their 
minds and uttered some incantation by touching the The Buddhist 
ground and making gestures with his fingers. This J^" 4 "^ pT ^ 
non-plussed the robbers and caused them to be spell- tism. 
bound. It is reported that it was through the grace of 
Tara herself that Atisha became master of this super- 
natural power. 2 

On his arrival in Tibet, he performed his ablutions 
in a tank and went through the ceremony of offering 
water, etc., to the manes of deceased ancestors. Na- 
gacho asked what all this meant, and he said he was 
offering water to the manes of the deceased. 3 He also 

1 Brother of Atisha. — Indian Pundits in the Land of Snow, 
p. 69. 

2 The goddess TirS. is believed to possess the secret of detecting 
and catching robbers by certain charms. — Ibid., p. 69. 

3 Atisha said that he was offering water to the Pretas. — Ibid., 
p. 72. 


instructed Nigacho in the worship of the god Kha- 
Supernatural From this incident in the life of Atisha we get a fair 
L°naWe a b y idea of the trend of Buddhism that obtained later in the 
Buddhist time of Ramai Pandit. We learn further that to every 
Assumption of temple of Buddhist goddesses was attached a Shramani, 
bftTeBud™ 01 " female devotee. We also obtain an idea of the hold 
dhist yogi, that the practice of the Yoga system then had upon the 
minds of the people from the supernatural powers as- 
cribed to a certain disciple of Atisha. This man, while 
bidding adieu to his preceptor, took his bag for alms and 
other articles, and, in order tosh ow his mastery of 
the yoga practices, he quickly transformed himself 
into a terrible tiger and devoured a corpse that was 
lying close by. Then, in the twinkling of an eye, he 
assumed his own form again and stood before his pre- 
ceptor. Thereupon Atisha remarked : " Now you can 
practise what form of worship you like ". 
Although The system of Dharma- worship inculcated by Ramai 

themselves P an dit was based on such views of Tantrism, but 
theMahayan- no where did he acknowledge this in words. Dipam- 
the practice kara Shrijnana also did not regard his worshipping 
°ys t tem TantnC and offering oblation of water to Lokeshwara, etc., and 
his art of making the robber spell-bound, as Tantric 
affairs ; for on one occasion Atisha observed before 
Gyatson : " Practising the Tantric system is not pro- 
ductive of good to Buddhists, nor is it proper for them ". 1 

Section II. — Hindu Elements in Ramai's Buddhism. 

The worship of Triratna-murti was in vogue in 
Bengal when Ramai Pandit preached his Dharma 
worship. The Trimurti (three figures) consisted 

1 Atisha said : " It was not good for a Buddhist priest to have 
learnt a Tantric charm from a heretic". — Indian Pundits in the 
Land of Snow, p. 70. 


of Buddha, Dharma and Samgha, and was then The Original 
known as Triratna (three jewels). Prior to this time, Trirnurtl - 
Dharma had a female form of sixteen years of age. 
Gradually, however, this form was discarded, and in 
a male form Dharma took his seat on the right side 
of Buddha, while Samgha, as a female, became es- 
tablished on his left. 1 

" Images of the gods and goddesses that were 
worshipped (during the reign of the Pala dynasty) 
have been discovered in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. 
Mention has been made of these deities also in the 
Shunya Purdna.'" 1 About this time the worship of 
Mahadeva, Lokeshwara and Mahakala was especially 
in force among Buddhists of the Tantric school. All 
of these three gods have received special consideration 
in the Shunya Purdna. Images of Mahakala have 
been found among the relics of the Pala Empire. 
Hindu Shaktas and Buddhists of the Tantric school 
alike recognized and provided for the worship of Maha- 

We find that in all the Buddhist Tantric treatises 3 
the descriptions of the system of worship, etc., are 
introduced by a meditation on the Shunya or Void. The Void. 
The Shunya Purdna of Ramai also is based on this 
meditation. It is with the Shunya that he has started 
his chapter on creation. Prior to creation he has con- 
ceived Dharma to have sprung from Shunya ; and 
from this Dharma he has derived the second place 

1 Such a joint image of the Triratna has been discovered in 
Mahabodhi at Gaya. — Cunningham's Mahabodhi, p. 55, plate xxvi. 

2 Preface to Shunya Purdna, published by the Bangiya Sahitya- 
Parisad, Calcutta. 

3 Sddhanamdla, Sddhanasamuchchayd, Sadhanakalpalata and 
other works of the Buddhist Tantric school, the old MSS. on Chandi, 
Manasd and Jaganndtha Vijaya and the Lays of Vaulas (minstrels) 
all have references to the Shunya, Dharma, Adya, etc. 



and, one after another, all the other deities, and then 
he has provided for their worship with that of Dharma. 
Ramai has introduced Hindu deities along with the 
Mahayanist Triratnamurti and the Shunya. Thus he 
says : — 
Eclecticism in " Bow to the all-powerful Master, who is Niranjana 
lore. (lit. spotless, hence perfect) and formless." 

" By a beautiful process of evolution, He manifested 
Himself in three forms, which, though different, are but 
one and the same." 

" From a change in the Immutable sprang Dharma 
of white form. (Thus) Dharma of white complexion 
assumed a figure." 

"' Naw' is the symbol of the worshipful Niranjana, 
'Aw' of the worshipful Rambha (Shakti), 'Saw' of 
Visnu, and ' Maw ' of Mahadeva. 

" ' Maw ' and ' Aw ' combined means the union of 
Shiva and Shakti — which destroys fears, which is with- 
out a beginning and is the master of Time. Clearly 
beyond forms and changes is the Shunya, whom the 
Immortals adore." 
Vedicformuiae Deities of the Hindu pantheon are thus mixed up 
Piwdna. with those of the Buddhist in the Shunya Purdna. 
Ramai's Trimurti is at once Mahayanic and Puranic. 
The mystic syllable "Om" of the Vedists was also 
adopted by the mediaeval Buddhist minnesingers. 
Ramai has sung : " The most heinous sins of the house- 
hold fly away from as far as the sound of " Om " of 
Dharma reaches " (i.e. the uttering of " Om " destroys 
all sins). 

Not only " Om," but even the Gayatrt (a short but 
significant hymn to the Sun representing the Creator, 
which the Brahmana repeats silently thrice a day) of 
Hinduism was gradually adopted by Buddhism, and the 
following Gayatri of Dharma was composed : — 


" Om : Let us meditate on the Siddhadeva (the 
perfect God), Whose religion is perfect (Siddhadharma), 
Who is Bhargadeva (the repository of all light and 
glory), Who is worshipful and upon Whom the mind 
should be fixed, that He may be pleased to direct our 
understanding towards the Siddhadharma." 

Section III. — The Work of Ramai as Preacher 
(Twelfth Century?). 

Ramai introduced the particular form of worship of Ramai travels 
Dharma known as Dharma's Gajan. He preached it^ f^^ t the 
to all people without distinction of caste or creed, and, Dharma. 
as the Buddhist Bhiksus of yore had done, he travelled 
from place to place for the propagation of his religion. 
Thus it is said : — 

" Then, with the object of establishing (the religion Ramai initi- 
of) Dharma throughout the sea-girt earth, Ramai tra- aiuastes. 
veiled in various directions. (He declared that) Niran- 
jana (i.e. Dharma) was equally pleased with the worship 
offered by people of all castes, and thus he tried to es- 
tablish the religion of Dharma among the thirty-six 

For the propagation of the worship of Dharma, Ramai Buddha-pada 
introduced the Dharma-pada, or Dharma-paduka (foot- Ramai 6 V 
prints or sandals of Dharma, also called Buddha-pada), 
in the place of his image, and enjoined that worship 
should be offered to it. Thus he says in the course 
of his own account in his Shunya Purana: — 

" I have introduced the footprints, glorious as the 
lotus, for which reason Niranjana has taken offence 
with me." 1 

1 The process of making the Dharma-paduka is to be found in 
the MS. treatise known as Dharma-puja-paddhati, referred to several 
times. There it is said that the picture of a quadrilateral fort 
with four gates should be drawn with panchagundi (five powders), 

13 * 


Songs in the The mantras (incantations) of Ramai's Shunya 
Pu"dia. Purdna do not really form the details of the worship 
of Dharma. They were simply sung by the Dharma 
sannyasis at the conclusion of every function making up 
the worship. The Dharma-pujd-paddhati by Ramai 
is quite a different treatise. The worship of Dharma 
was propagated in Bengal by Ramai in accordance with 
the system laid down in this work. The songs that 
were sung during the worship were based on Shunya 

Let us now examine the process by which Ramai 
evolved his story of creation from the Shunya and in- 
troduced the Mantrayana view regarding the Buddhist 

The following are the several chapters of Ramai's 
Shunya Purdna : — 
The Contents (i) Beginning of creation; (2) Deluge; (3) Tika- 
%ur&na. a pavana, or purifying with a mark ; (4) Plucking of 
flowers ; (5) Worship of Dharma by Harish-chandra ; 
(6) Inspection of the room ; (7) Inspection of the room 
by Danapati (master of gifts) ; (8) Opening of the door ; 
(9) Purifying with the urine of the cow ; (10) Putting 
the sacred mark; (11) Yama-purana, or the legend of 
Yama, the lord of death; (12) Conversation with the 
messenger of Yama; (13) Conversation with the lord 
of death ; ( 14) The Vaitarani (the river Styx of the 
Hindus); (15) The Place of Dharma; (16) Adhivasa 
(ceremony introducing a festival or holy function) ; (17) 

inside which Vasuki, the King of Serpents, should be represented 
in the form of a circle. And inside this circle a black tortoise 
should be drawn, upon the back of which a pair of footprints should 
be pictured with white sandal-paste. And it is this pair that is 
known as Dharma-paduka. The modern Dharma-pandits regard 
this process as the Lauseni system of Dharma-worship. In Bhotan 
and adjacent countries this pair of footprints is also known as Dharma- 
pada as well as Dharma-paduka. 


Varamati-puja : (a) Vedamanui ; (6) Burning of resin ; 
(c) Equipping the horse ; (d) Varamasi ; (18) Sandhya 
pavana; (19) Manui ; (20) Dhenkimangala ; (21) 
Gambhart-mangala ; (22) Ghata-mukta ; (23) Abode 
of Dharma ; (24) Invocation of shrines ; (25) Ablu- 
tion of Dharma ; (26) Dressing of Dharma ; (27) Offer- 
ing of flowers (with the hands joined together) ; (28) 
The abode of Gods ; (29) Mukta-mangala ; (30) Wor- 
ship of Dharma; (31) Bath of Deliverance; (32) 
Chala ; (33) Breaking of vows ; (34) Purifying with the 
urine of the cow; (35) Putting the sacred mark; (36) 
Performance of the homa (offering of clarified butter, 
etc., into the sacred fire) and the sacrifice ; (37) The 
Vaitarani ; and (38) The Manui of the Goddess. 1 

Section IV. — The Creation Story in Shunya 
Pur an a. 

We give below a short account of the Creation Dharma 
story. According to Ramai there was nothing but the j^f 8 out of 
Great Void in the beginning. There was then no God, s h hu "y a ' or 
no heaven, no being, nothing of the vegetable kingdom. Void, and as- 
Then Dharma Niranjana, "having his mind fixed O n sumesaform - 
the Shunya and depending on the Shunya, reflected : 
'What am I, the master of illusions, to create?" 


Then sprang Pavana, the wind-god, and of him 

were begotten the two Anilas. Dharma Niranjana, 

however, had not embodied himself in a form till now. 

After the Anilas were born, " the Lord Himself created 

His own form" (19). Hence "sprang all of a sudden 

1 The functions of " Dharma-sthana " (or the abode of Dharma), 
" Performance of the sacrifice," " Tamradharana " (holding of copper), 
"The sacrifice of goats,'' etc., are found to be observed nowadays. 
The hymns of Shunya Purana are set to music and attended with 


re-birth " (20) from the huge body of the Great Void. 
Then " from His exhalation was born the bird Ullukai " 
(26), on the back of which the Dharma Niranjana took 
his seat. 1 

Thereafter the goose was begotten of the Ulluka. 
Then came the tortoise. 2 When he was found unable 
to bear Dharma upon his back, then the latter " took 
off his sacred thread of gold " and flung it into the 
waters. From this "sprang into being the serpent 
Vasuki of thousand hoods " 8 (94). 
Creation of Then the " filth of the body " * was placed upon the 

the serpent . ' . . r r 

Vasuki and of head of Vasuki, and this was ultimately converted into 
the Vasumati, or earth. Thereafter Dharma Niran- 
jana, with Ullukai, "left the waters and got up on land," 
and in the course of his travels through the world, "He 
wiped off the sweat of one side of His body". And 

Goddess Adya " there sprang into being, 5 all of a sudden, the goddess 

is begotten of * , ^ r & , . ,? n , A . , -11,1 

Dharma. Adya from this sweat . Kamai has said that she 
bears the names of Adya, Durga and Jaya". This 
Durga or primordial energy brought into being the god 
Kamadeva (the god of love). All this time Dharma 
Niranjana was engaged in undivided religious medita- 
tion on the banks of the Valluka river. As advised by 

1 In the Jiig Veda the Ulluka has been said to be a messenger 
of death. 

2 In the poem Jagannatha- Vijaya (Conquest of Jagannatha) 
this tortoise has been described as "omniscient" and as "the king 
of tortoises," and creation has been said to have begun from the 

3 This is found in the Chandi of Manik Datta and The Salu- 

4 This is said in the Chandi of Manik Datta, The Songs of 
Visahari and also in the Gambhiri. hymns. 

5 This legend is to be found in the Chandi of Manik Datta, 
in the Gambhira hymns, in Jagannatha- Vijaya, and also in The Songs 
of Visahari, etc. 


Durga, Kamadeva went there and, by virtue of his 
powers, succeeded in disturbing the meditation of 
Dharma, who felt amorously inclined. Then the latter 
deposited his seed on a vessel, and, stepping into the 
temple of Adya with it, said that he was going to the 
Valluka to get a patra (leaf) for her. So he wended 
his way, leaving, however, his seed, which was mistaken 
for poison, in the house of Adya. Upon this the Births of 
goddess thought : " I shall make an end to myself by vujTfnd 
swallowing the poison " (178). The thought was soon Malieshwara - 
translated into action, and the result was that she be- 
came quick with child, and, in due course, one after 
another came out : " Visnu, by tearing asunder the 
navel" (185) ; " Brahma, by piercing the crown of the 
head " (187), and " Shiva, in the natural way " (187). 

Thus three gods were born of the personified pri- Shiva gifted 
mordial energy. 1 Dharma endowed Shiva with three ™* through 
eyes, using these words: "Shri Dharma said, ' You ^: grace of 

1 • ii r 111-1 Dharma. 

nave recognized me and thus, though formerly blind of 
both eyes, you have now become three-eyed'" (198). 

Ramai has again spoken through the lips of Dharma 
Niranjana of the marriage of Adya with this Mahesh- 
wara. Thus, Dharma says (to Adya) : — 

" I say, go on creating thus. 
In the next birth Mahesha will marry you." 2 (221.) 

1 The mysterious births of these three gods have been thus told 
in the Chandt of Manik Datta, in The Songs of Visahari, and in the work 
of Brahma Haridasa. Between the first and the third there is a slight 
difference : in both of these " Dharma embraced Adya and made her 
sit on his knees ". In the MSS. from Orissa also the birth-story of 
these three gods has been similarly told. In some Hindu works, such 
as Markandeya Purana, Devimahatmyachandi, " Madhukaitabha- 
vadha-prakarana " (stanzas 83 and 84) and Kashikhanda, Bhagavati 
has been said to have borne Brahma, Visnu and Maheshwara. 

2 Manik Datta has married Adya to Shiva. Brahma-Haridasa 
has also repeated this. In Dharma-puja-paddhati also Shiva was 
married to Adya. 


Section V. — Final Hinduizing of Medieval 

The chapter of the Shunya Purdna on Creation has 
thus been brought to a close. All the different func- 
tions, from "the beginning of Creation," are represented 
partly or fully in the modern Gambhira-pandal, in con- 
nexion with the Dharma's Gajan, and also with the 
Gajan of Shiva. In the Dharma's Gajan, the marriage 
ceremony of Shiva with Adya and the giving of dowry 
are performed with great dclat. 

A detailed account of the functions and ceremonies 
composing the Buddhist festival of Dharma's Gajan, 
which, according to the Shunya Purdna of Ramai, first 
took place during the rule of the Pala dynasty, is to be 
found in Dharma Mangala, We find that each of these 
functions is also observed in the Shaiva Gambhira. 
Ramai called Adya by the Hindu name of Durga. Nay, 
he went to the extent of decorating her with garlands 
of the java flower (China rose) — a favourite with the 
Hindu Durga — and sacrificing goats before her. Hence 
it is clear that in the time of Ramai the worship of the 
Buddhist deities was converted practically into that of 
the Hindu Shiva and Durga. This was done in the 
following way. At first in Dharma's Gajan, Adya sat 
as the presiding deity, Shiva and the other gods at- 
tending as spectators only. 1 Then, when the prediction 
of Ramai to the effect that " Mahesha will marry her 
(Adya) in the next birth " came to be true, Shiva 
received the worship of the Gajan votaries, with Adya 
as wife on his left side. Here must be sought the be- 

1 " (Adya) sitting on the ghata (a jar of water symbolizing the 
infilling power of God in nature) with Shiva, Kartikeya and Vin&yaka 
(Ganesha) witnessed the dance and listened to the music with eternal 
happiness." — Manik Ganguli. 


ginnings of the modern Gajan of Dharma and the Gam- 
bhira of Adya, the latter among the Brahmanic Hindus 
and the former among the Hinduized Buddhists. 
These Buddhists had been falling in social estimation 
for some time, and constitute probably the first layer 
of " untouchable " depressed classes that has been de- 
posited on the soil of Eastern India. 




Section I. — Brahmanism Established (Eleventh 

Under the long rule of the Pala kings, who, ostensibly 
Buddhist, were really eclectic in matters of faith, the 
people of Bengal became accustomed to the perform- 
ance of both Buddhist and Hindu rites. This hybrid 
trend of socio-religious life became so well established 
that Brahmanas of the orthodox school could not, with 
all their efforts, stamp it out to any appreciable extent. 
Hence they thought it more expedient to incorporate 
the deities of the Buddhist Viharas, either as they 
were or in some modified form, with those of their 
own religion : and these borrowed divinities were al- 
lowed the same rank as the deities of the Hindu 
Tantric school. The process did not involve any 
drastic change. For the Buddhist festivals had adapted 
themselves to the form the society of those days had 
assumed ; and the rites and ceremonies of the Mahayana 
school had become greatly Hinduized to suit the social 
organism of the time. Even the little vows and ob- 
servances practised by tender boys and girls were in 
keeping with that transformation. 

Bengal was then connected in various ways with 
Tibet, China and the adjacent countries. Owing to this 


foreign intercourse, 1 many a god of the Chinese, the 
Mongols, the Huns and the Burmese also found its way 
into the Hindu pantheon. The Tantric deities of the 
Buddhist Viharas having been recognized by the Hindu 
Tantric school, the people in general began to forget 
even the existence of the Viharas. Thus Visnu, Shiva, 
Suryya, Tara and the other gods and goddesses, with 
their various festivals, became firmly established in 

The descendants of those Brahmanas who are be- 
lieved to have settled in Bengal from Kanauj were 
spreading over the country. The Varman dynasty, 
descended from some Punjabi royal family, who had, 
during the declining days of the Pala Empire in the 
eleventh century, established their influence in East 
Bengal, encouraged Vedic Brahmanas hailing from 
North -Western India to settle in their country. From 
the title " Vrisabha Shamkara (Mahadeva) Gaudeshwara 
(Lord of Gauda)," applied to Shyamala Varma in a 
copper-plate granted by him, it may reasonably be in- 
ferred that his house was following the Shaiva creed. 
Under this dynasty the worship of Visnu and Shiva 
was held in great esteem, and the people bowed to 
the Brahmanic influence. 

When such was the state of the country, the Sena dyn- installation of 
asty descended from some South Indian settlers who had wara y shiva? 
come in the wake of the Tamil invader Rajendrachola 
(1025), conquered Bengal and established themselves 
on the throne. Vijaya-sena (1060- 11 08) dedicated a 
temple in his newly-founded capital, Vijayapura, 2 on 

1 Vide the section on "A Melting-pot of Races" in Chinese 
Religion through Hindu Eyes. 

2 The site of the city and the temple have been identified by 
the Varendra Research Society at a place ten miles east of Rampur 
Boalia in Rajshahi. 


the banks of the Ganges, to Mahadeva under the name 
of Pradyumneshwara. Stanzas composed by Umapati 
and inscribed on a stone-plate attached to the temple 
give us a glimpse into those times. Vijaya-sena was a 
staunch devotee of Shiva, and was called " Vrisabha 
Shamkara Gaudeshwara ". We find from Shekh Shub- 
hodayd that he did not take even a sip of water before 
offering his worship to Shiva. 

Section II. — Folk-Tradition about Castes and 

Founding of Vijaya-sena was succeeded by his aged son, Vallala- 

Kulimsm. / } . , . . • t, i ,• • 

sena (1109-1120), who is famous in Bengal tradition as 
the founder of Kulinism — the Hindu institution of Her- 
aldry, on which is based the present-day hierarchy of 
social grades in Eastern India. But the tradition may 
be as unfounded as the other one about Adishura and 
his importation of Brahmanas from Kanauj into Bengal. 
He held in esteem the Shaiva Tantric view. We may 
gather many anecdotes of his life from the Vall&lachar- 
ita of Ananda Bhatta. 1 When Aniruddha Bhatta be- 
came the spiritual preceptor of Vallala, his faith turned 
into the channel of Shaivaism. The king did not look 
upon the Buddhists with favour, hence they also did 
not like him. 
internal dis- Society in Gauda was perturbed over an incident 
the S severai° nS relating to a woman of the Doma (very low in social 
castes. estimation) caste ; and, as a consequence of this, many 

members of the higher castes ceased to have any con- 
nexion with Vallala. About this time also the census 
of the Brahmana and the other castes is said to have 

1 He was at first a follower of Shaivaism, his family creed. In his 
mature years, however, at the instance of a Tantric Buddhist named 
Simhagiri, he is believed to have adopted the Buddhist view. 


been instituted. Vallala was not favourably disposed 
towards the Suvarna-vanikas (goldsmith caste) ; hence 
the millionaire merchants and traders were not pleased 
with him. He vented his spleen upon them by re- 
moving them from the pale of the Vaishya caste, and 
by his orders they were degraded to the extent of 
being " untouchables ". This state of things continues 
till now, even the water touched by them being consi- 
dered unworthy of being used by persons of the higher 

The people of the ostracized mercantile class, who 
observed the Buddhist rites and ceremonies, purchased 
the favour of the Brahmanas and succeeded in entering 
the pale of Hindu society. It was probably an age 
when social status was being discussed by every order 
of people in the country, and this naturally led to dis- 
sension over the question as to who were kulinas (no- 
bility or social aristocracy) and who were not. To 
the problem of creeds was thus added the problem of 
castes as to their ranks in society, and the history of 
their origin and growth. The Ghatakas (professional 
match-makers) were engaged in compiling the genea- 
logical reference-books (kula-panjika) of the several 
castes. Dissatisfied with the conduct of Vallala, his 
spirited son, Laksmana-sena, is said to have retired to 
Vikramapura in East Bengal and endeavoured to organ- 
ize a separate society there. 

From the epithet " Nihshamka-shamkara Gaudesh- Pataia 
wara" (lit. Lord of Gauda, who may be compared to 
Shamkara, i.e. Shiva, and is above all fears) attached to 
the name of Vallala, one feels inclined to regard him as 
a Shaiva. Fascinated by the Tantric practices and the 
goals said to be attainable by them, the people of the 
country had long been embracing the Shakta and the 
Shaiva creed of the Tantric form. The worship of Tara 


was especially in vogue in Gauda. 1 The Pitha (a shrine 
containing, it is said, a part of the dismembered body of 
Shiva's wife) of Patala Chandi (a village in the present 
district of Malda) took its origin from a part of the body 
of Shiva's wife. In Padma Pur Ana occurs the line, 
" Patala in Pundra Vardhana," and Devi Purdna also 
assigns Patala Devi to Pundra Vardhana. Agama 
Vagisha, in his Tantrasdra, has ranked Pundra Var- 
dhana among the fifty-one Pithas ; and it is Patala 
Devi that is, according to him, the presiding deity of 
Patala. This shrine of Patala was on the banks of 
the Ganges, to the south of Gauda. 
Goddess In Vrihannila Tantra it is said that goddess Pra- 

chandt? ' 0r chanda flourished in Chandipura, which is, according to 
this Tantra, one of the fifty-one Pithas. Thus it is 
said : " Goddess Prachanda, also called Chandi, Chanda- 
vati and Shiva, reside in Chandipura ". This Chandi- 
pura was a suburb of Valalla's city, and is at present a 
village in the district of Malda. 
The Mand&ra It is customary that a Bhairava (a name of Shiva, 
Bhanava. almost as a correlative of Shakti) should live close to a 
Shakti in the Pitha place. Accordingly, here also we 
see that a Shiva of the name of Mandara resided in 
Pundra Vardhana. About this time the influence of 
the Tantrists of the Shaiva-cum-Shakta cult became ex- 
ceedingly great throughout Bengal. Among the relics 
recently unearthed, the images of Tan trie deities, scat- 
tered here and there over the country, greatly out- 

1 In Shaktisamgama Tantra it is said that the worship of Tara, 
obtained unopposed in Gauda. According to Rudra Yamala (a 
Tantric work), Vashistha, acting upon the advice of Buddha, brought 
Tara, Devi from China. In Kuvjika Tantra also Tara Devi has 
been said to have been imported from a foreign country. Tara (in 
her different forms as Aryya Tira, Vajra Tara, Banddha Devi, etc.) 
has been pointed out to be akin to Kali. 


number all others. During the twelfth century the 
Tantras were chiefly followed in the management 
and regulation of social affairs. The temples of Chandi, 
Chamunda and Vasuli are even now amply in evi- 

It was not with the lower castes only that Tantrism 
prevailed so extensively ; the Brahmanas also had begun 
to pay but little heed to the older Vedic rules and in- 
junctions. This led the minister Halayudha thus to 
express his regret in his Brdhmana-sarvaswa (a treatise 
on the whole duty of a Brahmana) : — 

"In this degenerate Kali or Iron Age, owing toTheBrah- 
the shortness of life, understanding, energy and de- ]]J^jfshed 
votion, only the study of the Vedas is undertaken theVedic and 
by the Westerners (i.e. natives of the western part ofTantric way. 
India) ; and the Brahmanas of the Radha and the Varen- 
dra country, on the other hand, without studying the 
Vedas, apply themselves to the finding out of the 
details and the functions of sacrifices and other rites 
with the help of that branch of the Vedas which is 
known as 'the settlement of rites and duties,' but 
which throws only a sidelight on the meaning of the 
Vedas. Even by this process they cannot arrive at the 
import of mantras and duties laid down in the Vedas, 
the knowledge of which alone can confer the desired 
result, and the absence of the knowledge of which is 
therefore said to be inefficacious." 

Ignorance led the Brahmanas to resort to oppression 
to keep up their former dignity, and this led Vallala, it 
is said, to banish a large number of them from his king- 
dom, ostensibly as Hindu missionaries among the neigh- 
bouring peoples, e.g. of Nepal, Burma and Orissa. 

" Sixty were sent into Bhotan and Magadha, and Banishment 
fifty into Utkala and Daranga, and thirty into the country °^*^~ 
of Sakhi Moranga." This is the way in which, says the 
minstrel, the banishment was effected. 


This procedure struck terror to some extent into the 
heart of the Brahmanic community. 

Treatises on 

Section III. — Halayudhathe Sociologist and other 
Men of Letters (Twelfth Century). 

When the germs of social revolution and of internal 
dissension among the several castes were developing, 
Laksmana-sena (1120-70) ascended the throne of Gauda, 
which since became known as Laksmanavati. The 
epithets of " Ariraja-sudana-shamkara " (like Sham- 
kara or Shiva the destroyer of the chief of enemies) and 
" Parama- Vaisnava " (a staunch devotee of Visnu) lead 
one to infer that he was a Shaiva first and then became 
a convert to Vaisnavism. His copper-plate inscriptions 
are found to have been introduced by hymns in eulogy 
of Shiva. The great scholar Halayudha was ap- 
pointed the " Gaudendra-dharma-garadhikari " (officer 
in charge of the religious affairs of the King of Gauda) 
during this reign. For the settlement of all religious 
controversies of the people of Gauda he compiled a 
treatise named Matsya-Sukta on the basis of the Vedas, 
the Code of Manu, the Purdnas and the Tantras. The 
supremacy of the Tantrists in the land had caused ob- 
jectionable practices to run riot. To check this and 
yet to preserve the spirit of Tantrism, his Matsya- 
Sukta was composed. He also compiled the following 
encyclopaedic works : Mimdmsd-Sarvaswa, Vaisnava- 
Sarvaswa, Shaiva-Sarvaswa, and Pandit-Sarvaswa. 
Each of these was intended to be a manual of the 
" whole duty " to certain classes and for certain purposes. 
The twelfth century was indeed a period of socio-re- 
ligious stock-taking, re-interpretation and re-adjustment, 
and witnessed the beginnings of a new order of things 
in Bengal. 


Halayudha had two elder brothers, named Pashu- Hindu Law. 
pati and Ishana, the first of whom compiled a body of 
laws for the government of Hindu society under the 
name of Pashupati-paddkati, or Samsk&ra-paddhati (a 
System of Laws for the Reformation of Society). 

The scholar Ishana, well versed in Smriti and Mi- The daily 
mamsa, composed a treatise named Ahnika-paddhattl^^l^. 
(System of Daily Worship) for the guidance of the 
Hindus with respect to their daily duties and observ- 

Shulapani was a distinguished scholar in the time of Dipakaiika, 
Laksmana-sena. He composed Dipakalikd, a com- y uapa " 1- 
mentary on Ydjnavalkya-Samhitd (The Institutes of 

Under the direction of Laksmana-sena, the Bud- a lexicon and 
dhist Purusottama Deva compiled a lexicon under a n C panini! ry 
the name of Trikdndashesa. It is full of historic 
materials concerning that age and the previous one. 
Under the royal direction he also wrote Laghuvritti, 
a commentary on the celebrated Grammar of Panini. 1 

Shridhara Dasa wrote Sukti-karndmrita, contain- Sukti-kar- 
ing selections from Bengalee poets. This work is likely namri a- 
to be of considerable help to historians. The antholo- 
gist mentions four hundred and fifty authors. 

The poet Govardhanacharyya was an adept in the Aryya-Sap- 
art of writing poems, the mainspring of which was the 
sentiment of love. He composed such a work under 
the name of Aryyd-Saptashati. 

In imitation of .Kalidasa's Meghaduta, the poet Pavanaduta, 
Dhoyi wrote Pavanaduta (The Wind as Messenger). 2 ^kfcoL 
It contains a beautiful account of the country of Gauda. taining an 

account of 

1 The Vedic portion of P&nmi's work was omitted from this. It 

was favourably received in Gauda and Varendra. 

2 In this poem the Gandharva-girl Kuvalayavati makes the wind 
the messenger of her love for King Laksmana. 



It may not be out of place to quote a few lines from this 
description : — 

" With white edifices the city of Mahadeva looks as 
grand and beautiful as the Kailasa mountain itself. 
There is installed here on the banks of the Ganges an 
image of Ardha Gaurtshwara (a joint-image consist- 
ing of a half of the body of Shiva and a half of that of 
his wife, Gauri). A huge dam, immortalizing the name 
of King Vallala, intervenes between this place of Maha- 
deva and the Ganges, although not so far away." Then 
follows a description of Vijayapura, the capital of Laks- 
mana-sena. "Vijayapura contains a huge cantonment. 
Look here ! you will find there on the roofs of houses 
small rooms covering the stair-cases, and you will find 
numbers of pictures engraved on the walls. The place 
is very sacred. Here Laksmana-sena has his palace, 
consisting of seven apartments. There is a great tank 
also in the house. The public thoroughfares of the 
capital resound with the jingling of the anklets worn by 
public women. The whole night is kept awake by the 
loving conversation of the female votaries of the god of 
love." 1 
Gitagovinda, We cannot ascertain whether Jayadeva composed his 
deva! ya Gitagovinda at Gauda, but it is certain that his sweet 
songs were sung before the Lord of Gauda. It is not 
unreasonable to guess that, fascinated by the charming 
music of these lays, Laksmana-sena was induced to 
embrace the Vaisnava creed. 

" Umapatidhara alone knows how to embellish and 
amplify a style, and Jayadeva alone knows how to 
keep up the correctness and purity of diction. In the 
swiftness of style and the collocation of difficult words 
Sharana is the most skilled. Acharyya Govardhana 

1 This work earned for the poet the title of " Kaviraja " (lit. 
king of poets) and other honours from Laksmana-sena. 


has no rival in dilating upon the sentiment of pure love 
as a matter of personal experience ; and the poet Dhoyi 
has the peculiar power of retaining whatever he hears 
and afterwards reproducing the same verbatim." 

King Vallalasen himself had been an author. He 
wrote Ddnasdgara, a work on law, and Adbhutasdgara, 
a work on astronomy. These and other works of the 
twelfth century were all written in Sanskrit, 1 and not in 
the vernacular Bengali. This has been described as the 
"Augustan age of Sanskrit learning " in Bengal. Laks- 
mana-sena was like his grandfather, Vijayasena, a mili- 
tary genius and a conqueror, and like his father, Vallala, 
was a poet and a patron of literature. Like Harsa 
of the seventh century, and Akbar the Great Moghul of 
the sixteenth, this warrior-author-philanthropist used to 
hold conversazione with scholars on literary and religi- 
ous topics and listened to the lays of GUagovinda 
from the lips of Jayadeva and his friends, Parashara 
and others. His generosity, too, was proverbial. 

In the time of Laksmana-sena the rule of Brahmanas Modem 
was established in Bengal under royal " protection " ^^*£ at 
and it was they who were the leaders of Hinduism, constituted 
Codes of their composition and ways of religious lifeiJngs? 
exhibited in them were the forces at work in organizing 
the Hindu society of that day. And it is these codes 
promulgated by the Brahmanas that are even now 
governing the social life of the Hindus in Bengal. 
The origins of the Caste system 2 in modern Bengal 
have to be sought in the efforts at social reconstruc- 
tion in Sena times and not in the earlier eras of Hindu 

1 Vide M. Chakravarti's writings in the J.A.S.B. (Calcutta, 
1905, 1906). 

2 Vide the section on "Caste System and Military History " in 
Chinese Religion through Hindu Eyes. 

14 * 


In Eastern India the twelfth century was indisputably 
the epoch of the powerful Senas as the ninth had been 
that of the mighty Palas. Both these epochs were 
marked by strong Imperial administration under which 
the achievements of Bengalee genius attained the highest 
watermark in medicine, veterinary science, chemistry, 
sculpture, architecture, belles-lettres, poetry and general 

Section IV. — Shekh Shubhodaya—A Picture of 
Moral Degeneration. 

Stories are not wanting to prove the increased fond- 
ness of the people of Gauda for luxury on the eve of 
Moslem conquest. Their morals appear to have de- 
teriorated. Shekh ShubhodayA gives a picture of de- 
generate Bengal. 
Harlotry. During the reign of Laksmana-sena, a certain Shekh 

(Mohammedan), "valiant, dressed in black and anxious 
to keep his head-dress in position," is represented as 
having arrived at Gauda. One day, "even that 
Shekh, while wending his way, met with Vidyutprabha 
(lit. as lustrous as the lightning flash), the wife of the 
dancer Ganga. She was wearing a tight bodice and 
resting a gold pitcher on her waist. Seeing her the 
Shekh said : — 

"'Return, O sinful frail woman holding an empty 
pitcher on your waist, if you wish your own weal — re- 
turn for a moment, and then you may, O sinful one, go 
back to your home.' 

" Hearing these words, Vidyutprabha thus re- 
flected . . . 

" Vidyutprabha approached him and said : ' Listen, 
O foreigner ! Explain to me the reason why you have 
addressed me as sinful.' The Shekh replied : 'Hear 
then : with all virtue the Creator created man, and with 


all vice woman. For fear of you, even the Brahmana 
has accepted the Vanaprastha way of life and retired 
into the wood ; and this Shekh, dressed in rags, has 
gone to reside in the temple of a god in a remote vil- 
lage, yet some of you cast glances at him and others 
expose to him their breasts. It is for this and not for 
anything else that you are sinful.' Hearing this, she 
went up to the Shekh with a smiling face, opened her 
bodice and showed him her breasts." 

The above extract is from a MS. copy of Shekh 
Skubhodayd of which the date of composition is un- 
certain. It was undoubtedly written long after Bengal 
had come under Moslem rule ; and as such, gives an ac- 
count of the demoralizing atmosphere, which, according 
to subsequent generations, must have led to the loss of 
their independence. No contemporary literary records 
or reliable archaeological evidences have yet been dis- 
covered which may throw light on the circumstances 
attending the establishment of Moslem rule about 1 200. 

Section V. — Beginning of Moslem Rule (1200 a.d.). 

Pilgrimage was not a safe undertaking after the north- 
western portion of India had fallen into the hands of the 
Mohammedans, and in consequence since the middle 
of the twelfth century the establishment of temples to 
Shiva was largely resorted to in Bengal and Eastern 
India. Bhuvaneshwara in Orissa became as holy a 
shrine of the Shaivas as Benares in the west, and the 
glory and sanctifying character of Jagannatha con- 
siderably increased. Pilgrimage was then made to 
Kamarupa, Jwalamukhi and other sacred places of 
Assam. Tantric Shaivaism became the faith of all, 
from the lowest Chandala to the highest Brahmana. 
The socio-religious life of those days has come down 
in toto. 


After Laksmana-sena his sons Madhava-sena, 
Keshava-sena 1 and Vishwarupa-sena became rulers of 
Bengal, in succession (1170-1199). Madhava-sena was 
a follower of the Shaiva creed. After the throne 
was snatched from him, he went away on pilgrimage 
with Brahmanas. Some words about him are to be 
found in the inscription on the walls of the Yogeshwara 
temple at Kumaun. 

Keshava-sena was a Saura or Sun-worshipper. His 
title was " Parama Saura Maharajadhiraja-Ghatuka- 
Shamkara Gaudeshwara ". Vikramapura in East 
Bengal was his capital. Gauda may then have passed 
into the hands of Bakhtiyar. From the copper- 
plate inscriptions it is known that Keshava and Vish- 
warupa had to fight with the Moslems and inflicted de- 
feat on them on one or two occasions. But the actual 
events leading to the final overthrow of the Hindus in 
North and West Bengal have yet to be brought to 
light. The general tendency is to accept the story as 
given by the Moslem chronicler in Tabakdt-i-Nasiri. 
But that is prima facie absurd as has been pointed out 
by Banerji in his recent Bdngdldr Itikdsa (History of 
Bengal). About this time, however, for fear of op- 
pression at the hands of Mohammedans, a large number 
of high-class families of the northern and western dis- 
tricts of Bengal migrated into Vikramapura. Hence it 
is that these families are found to preponderate in this 
part of the country at the present day. 

1 The chronology of the Sena kings accepted in this work is that 
adopted in Banerji's Memoir (A.S.B., 1915), and differs from that 
in Smith's Early History (Third Edition, 1914). 



Section I. — Formative Forces in Indian Culture 


The age of Harsavardhana, continuing all the tradi- 
tions of the Vikramadityan (Gupta) * Renaissance, 
marks one of the first epochs in the making of modern 
Hinduism — its culture, cult and literature. The Pala- 
Chola period of Hindu Imperialism briefly referred 
to as the last phase of Independent Hindu India, carries 
forward and accelerates the formative forces of the age 
of Harsa, and thus represents the second stage in the 
history of a great evolution. The advent of Islam in 
India, as one of the last waves of Islamization that had 
overwhelmed European and Asian humanity during the 
period from 600 to 900 A.D., closes the second epoch in 
the formation of modern Hindu civilization, and initiates 
the third. 

Islam was regarded in India by the people who en- 
countered it for the first time, primarily, and for a long 
period, solely, as an alien system of socio-religious faith 
and institutions. The character of Islam as a political 
power in India, as one of the rival claimants to the 

1 Vide the chapter on "The Beginning of Hindu Culture as 
World-Power (300-600)" in Chinese Religion through Hindu Ryes'. 
"With the establishment of the Guptas at Pataliputra we enter 
modern India". 



revenues of the land, was at first only subsidiary, or at 
any rate not felt as such till considerably after it had be- 
come a settled fact. And when the secular pretensions 
and political titles of the Mussalmans were firmly es- 
tablished in the consciousness of the people, the Hindus 
perceived all the more the new ideals of social life and 
thought and religious rites and ceremonies with which 
the proselytizing creed of the camel-driver of Mecca 
was associated. 

The people of Hindusthan did not invite Islam with 
warm feelings, nor did they allow it to settle down with- 
out great opposition. Northern India or Aryavarta, 
however, fell a more or less easy prey to the onrush of 
the Moslem hordes, and by the middle of the sixteenth 
century the Great Moghul was firmly established as the 
paramount sovereign. Daksinatya or India south of 
the Vindhya ranges, was not, however, the easy plain of 
the North, and did not allow of any smooth sailing to 
a conquering army. The southerners presented their 
bulwarks against the alien faith and power first in 
Vijayanagara and later in Maharastra. 

Aryavarta has known of no considerable patrons of 
Sayan-acharya and Madhav-acharya since the beginning 
of the thirteenth century, or of no powerful confederacy 
of the Hindus to measure their strength with the 
Moslems except in the mixed Sikh Misls. We are in 
fact at the parting of ways — Hindu culture and civiliza- 
tion developing along two distinct channels in North- 
ern and Southern India since the beginning of the 
thirteenth century. The third stage in the making of 
modern Hindu cult and culture witnesses the working 
of two separate formative forces. Southern Hinduism 
grows by induction, to use a term of electrical science, 
i.e. by opposing, and as the result of conscious move- 
ments against, the alien cult and culture. Northern 


Hindu culture, on the other hand, grows by conduction, 
i.e. by receiving and assimilating, and as the result of 
more or less conscious adaptation to, the new ideals, 
if not of the Pathans, certainly of the Great Moghuls, 
— and this in fine arts, literature, social etiquette, religi- 
ous institutions and what not. 

The Hindu literature and life of a section of 
Northern India, e.g. of Bengal, since the thirteenth 
century bear out this development of Hinduism along 
lines different from those in the South — in being greatly 
Islamized. The Mohammedan elements in Hindu litera- 
ture of this period have been noticed by Dineschandra 
Sen in his History of Bengali Literature. Haridas 
Palit's historical work, Gambhird, which has been liber- 
ally drawn upon for the present monograph, furnishes 
abundant proofs of the rapprochement of Hindus to Mus- 
salmans in forms, ceremonies, rites, usages, etc. In 
Narendranath Law's Promotion of Learning in India 
during Muhammadan Rule considerable sidelight has 
been thrown on Hindu-Moslem intercourse in language, 
literature, music and paintings. 1 

It is well known that Urdu is practically a new 
language born of this Indo- Islamic wedlock. The 
Bengali language also owes " its elevation to a literary 
status " to the Mohammedans. " Instances of Bengali 
translation of Sanskrit and Persian books at the order 
of Mussalman chiefs are not rare. They served to re- 
move the supercilious spirit in which Bengali was looked 
upon by the Sanskrit -loving Brahmanas and Hindu 
Rajas." " In the domain of music," writes Mr. Law, " it is 
very perceptible how the Hindus and Mohammedans were 
borrowing from each other. . . . This process of inter- 

1 Vide Ha veil's Indian Architecture (Murray, London, 1913), and 
Coom&raswamy's Arts and Crafts of India and Ceylon (Foulis, Lon- 
don, 1913). 


mixture was not new in the time of Akbar, but dated 
from a long time back. . . . Khyal, which is associated 
with the name of Sultan Husain Sharqin of Jaunpur as 
its inventor, has become an important limb of Hindu 
music, while Dhrupad has engrafted itself on Moham- 
medan music." Further, " Akbar 's was a systematic 
and deliberate policy of protection of Hindu learning, 
which showed itself in the generous provisions he made 
for the education of Hindu youths in their own culture 
in the madrasas along with Mohammedan boys ; in the 
discussions which he initiated in the Ibddat Khanah 
with the orthodox Hindu learned men ; in the transla- 
tions of Hindu classics and scriptures ; . . . and finally in 
the state patronage bestowed on distinguished Hindus 
for their proficiency in such fine arts as music and 
painting ". 

Section II. — Aggressive Islam in Eastern India. 

Indian Eciec- Mediaeval Bengali works afford ample evidence of the 
forward under wa y m which the transition from the neo-Buddhism of 
islamite P res- the age of Vardhanas, Palas and Senas into Tantric 

sure. . 

Hinduism or Shaiva-cum-Shaktaism (i.e. the trans- 
formation of the worship of Adi Buddha, Dharma, Tara, 
Niranjana, Shunya, the Void, and all other divinities 
of the latter-day Mahayanic pantheon to that of the 
Adya, Durga, Kill, Mangala Chandi, Manasi, etc., 
and of Shiva, Adama, Maheshwara, etc.) was helped 
forward by the advent of the new faith of the conquering 
Pathans and Moghuls. We find traces of Islamization 
or adaptation to the conditions of the Islamic world in 
both the declining Buddhistic lore as well as the rising 
Hindu literature of the time. It was, in fact, an age of 
rapid assimilation, as we have remarked above — give 
and take of ideas ; and every bit of socio-religious and 


literary picture of the day bears witness to all the three 
factors — Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, that made up 
the complex web of Indian life. 

The Dharma Gajan songs and hymns, interspersed 
with Mohammedan ideas, are a clear proof of the fact 
that after the establishment of the Mohammedan king- 
doms the followers of Dharma were not allowed to offer 
their worship openly. The reasons also are not far to 
seek. First, the Mohammedans were dead enemies of 
idolatry ; secondly, in the eye of Brahmanas and Hindus 
generally the Buddhists had sunk down to the rank and 
status of " untouchable " Domas (a very low-class people 
who generally earn their livelihood by making baskets 
and wicker-work) ; they were put to great impediments 
at every step in the performance of their religious services. 
Thirdly, the majority of the landholders of the province 
were Hindus, and hence, for fear of incurring the dis- 
pleasure of the Brahmanas, they could in no way en- 
courage these Buddhist Dharma festivities. 

For these reasons the Dharma worshippers could 
not offer their worship to Dharma in many parts of the 
country. They were, however, equal to the occasion. 
In the serious struggle for existence that had almost 
overwhelmed them, they resorted to many a trick at 
once to draw a veil upon their real creed and also to 
win over the Mohammedans to their side. Thus they 
held the festivities of Dharma by giving them the air of 
a debased form of Mohammedanism and also by vilify- 
ing right and left the gods of the Hindu pantheon. 
Nay, they even succeeded in having it pronounced 
through the lips of the Moslem officers called Kazis 
and Khonkars that the prayers were really offered 
to Khoda or the Paygambaras of Islam, and were 
full of encomiums of the Mohammedans. The Bada 
Jdndni songs bristle with spite and jealousy against the 


During Mohammedan supremacy there had been a 
time when the Hindus also could not openly profess the 
creed of their conscience. Then they also had to take 
recourse to various tricks to throw dust in the eyes of 
the Kazis. Thus they introduced the worship of Satya 
Pira (a Mohammedan saint), which was only a pseu- 
donym for their own " Narayana " or Visnu. 
independent The Hindu Zamindars (landlords) in many places 
'retained or regained virtual independence during the 
Mohammedan regime, and could then generally perform 
their religious ceremonies without being interrupted or 
molested. Hence the Gajan of Shiva, which had al- 
ready taken possession of the Hindu mind, was largely 
patronized by them ' and gradually became a more and 
more powerful institution. 

Just as the Hindus invoke and worship Ganesha and 
other gods and goddesses in connexion with the worship 
of any particular god or goddess, the Dharma worship- 
pers also following suit began to offer worship to 
Ganesha and the other Hindu gods or goddesses in 
connexion with the worship of Dharma. This was, 
Veiled however, only a screen to hide the service of " Niran- 

jana identical with the Void". For we find that al- 
though they substituted Durga for Adya, and Hari or 
Visnu for Dharma, yet the essence of their meditation 
revealed itself through such phrases as " having neither 
body nor sound " and " Niranjana identical with the 
Void". Again, in worshipping Visnu they were not 
really guilty of serving two masters at the same time, 
for the Hindus had already accepted Buddha as an 
incarnation of Visnu. 

1 In the Bengali monthly Pravasi (February-March, 1915) 
there is an article by a Mohammedan writer giving a list of seventy 
Hindu chiefs in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in different 
parts of India. 



The Brahmanas, however, still looked upon this 
veiled Buddhism with an evil eye and violently hurled 
it down headlong, reducing, in the eye of society, the 
worshippers of Dharma to the status of untouchable 
Domas and Chandalas', who occupy the lowest rung of 
the Hindu social ladder. The composers of the songs 
and hymns of Dharma had, therefore, to live in per- 
petual fear that at some time or other they might be 
deemed fit for excommunication through the adminis- 
tration of "social" justice. 

Section III. — Hindu Deities in Mohammedan 

The Skunya Purdna 1 (twelfth-thirteenth century ?), 
in the form in which we have it, represents a very 
important stage or stages in the socio-religious evo- 
lution of the people of India. The gods and goddesses 
of the Hindu pantheon are here presented under two 
environments, one the atmosphere of declining Bud- 
dhism, the other that of aggressive Islam. 

According to his own statement in the Skunya 
Purdna, Ramai Pandit propagated the worship of Adi 
Buddha and of his personified energy under the name of 
Prajna-paramita. In introducing the former, he said : — 

" There was neither form nor figure, 
Neither sound nor sign, 
Neither the sun, nor the moon, 
Neither day nor night." 

Nay, there was nothing at that time — " It was all 
chaotic ". 

" The Lord's mind was filled with (the idea of) the 
Shunya (void). Master of illusions, he thought within 
himself, ' Whom am I to create now out of this void ? ' " 

1 The authorship of this work, as of almost every other literary 
production in ancient and mediaeval India, has, in the absence of 
positive evidences, to be attributed to a cycle or school. 


"The Lord himself created his own body," — then 
" out of the Lord's body sprang the god Niranjana ". 
Thus the Lord left his formless state and assumed a 
form ; then after ages had elapsed — 

" The bird Ullukai came into being from the breath 
or exhalation." 

After creation was thus commenced, the Lord created 
Kurma (tortoise) and then the Vasuki snake. 

" He tore asunder the sacred thread of gold and cast 
it off into the waters — and up sprang from there the 
thousand-headed Vasuki snake." 

Thereafter he brought into existence Nature, the 
basis and primary condition of the creation of beings. 

"While travelling about, a drop of perspiration fell 
from his body and gave birth to the goddess named 
Adya (lit. the primitive energy), Durga and Jaya (the 
female agency in creation)." 

Intent upon committing suicide, Adya drank, for 
poison, the seed of Dharma, and thus in course of time 
became mother of three sons, named Brahma, Visnu, 
and Maheshwara. 

" In your desire to die you drank honey (seed) for 
poison, and thus gave birth to Brahma, Visnu and Ma- 
heshwara. " 

Shiva (Maheshwara) saluted Lord Dharma by touch- 
ing his feet. 

"There sit together Ulluka, Adya Shakti (i.e. prim- 
ordial energy) and Niranjana. Shiva saluted the Lord 
(Dharma) by touching his feet.'' 

Ramai Pandit, Mahadeva Dasa and Valarama Dasa 

have entertained almost the same opinions about Dharma 

Hindu deities and Adya. This Shiva of the Shunya Purdna is also 

feTdanfe a o"n found to have been invited to attend the Gajan or 

Dhaima. festival in honour of Dharma. 

" Hara (Shiva) riding his bull duly equipped hastened 
to the Gajan of Dharma." 


The Gajan of Dharma, as instituted by Ramai, was 
probably an imitation of the Buddhist festivities wit- 
nessed by Hiuen Thsang. In the latter, Harsa and 
Kumara Deva appeared as Indra and Brahma respec- 
tively to serve Buddha, Similarly in the former also, 
we find the gods of the Hindu pantheon present. 
Brahma, Indra, the king of the celestials, on his ele- 
phant named Airavata, and Narada also on his vehicle, 
the Dhenlri, graced the temple of Dharma. 

The status of Shiva in the Shunya Purdna is well 
described in the following passages : — 

" When the Lord travelled naked from door to 
door begging alms and with the name of God on his 
lips," Bhagavatt AdyS advised Mahesha to take to 
cultivation : 

"Grow in your fields all the varieties of crops and 
grow bananas also. So that we may get all the neces- 
sary things on the occasion of Dharma worship." 

Also, in the Devasthana (or abode of gods) as pic- 
tured by Ramai we have the following : 

"With his feet turned upwards and head turned 
downwards, Pashupati (Shiva) has struck up a concert 
with his Shinga (a horn used for blowing) and Damaru 
(small drum, these two being the favourite musical instru- 
ments of Shiva). He is playing a song on the Shinga 
to the music of the Damaru. He is meditating on 
Dharma and is playing on his cheeks. (This particular 
music sounding Vom, Vom, is struck up by beating 
one's fingers against one's cheeks, and is said to be very 
dear to Shiva)." 

For the pleasure of Dharma, all the gods are found 
to take part in singing and dancing on this occasion. 

From the above accounts it would appear that Shiva 
has so long been introduced in the Gajan of Dharma 
merely as a dancer or spectator — he has not yet been 


able to assert his own influence. And this picture of, 
Shiva and the other gods dancing, singing and playing 
on musical instruments may not have been the product 
of Ramai's own imagination. For it was the established 
custom among Buddhist votaries to amuse themselves 
on the occasion of their festivals by appearing in the 
masks of Hindu gods and goddesses. 

The picture of the Mohammedan invasion that was 
drawn in the Shunya Purdna under the title of the 
Rusmd (wratfi) of Niranjana, and that was said to 
have been sung by Ramai Pandit, was not really his 
work. This invasion-song was composed at some later 
period and then incorporated with the original Shunya 
Purdna. Songs like this are composed in connexion 
with the Dehara-bhanga (lit. breaking down of the 
dehara or temple) of the Gajan. Such pictures of 
Mohammedan invasion are also found in other Bengali 
manuscripts relating to the worship of Dharma. The 
following extracts are taken from the Shunya Purdna : — 
Hindu deities "Dharma assumed the form of a Yavana (Moham- 
isiamizmg. me( j an ) w j t h a black cap on his head and with triruchas 
(tridents) in his hands. He rode a beautiful horse, 
the sight of which sent a thrill of terror through the 
three worlds and assumed the only name of Khoda 

"The formless Niranjana became incarnated as 
Vesta (paradise) and happily uttered the name of 

"All the gods unanimously resolved to put on and 
did really put on gladly (the) loose trousers (worn by 

" Brahma became Mohammed, Visnu Paygambara 
(the prophet), and Shulapani (i.e. Shiva) became Adam 
(i.e. Adam). 

"Ganesha became Gazi (a Mohammedan saint), 


Kartika Kazi (Mohammedan judge), and all the Munis 
(Hindu ascetics) became fakirs (Mohammedan Sarnyasis). 

" Casting off his own religious habit Narada assumed 
that of a Sheikh (Mohammedan). 

" The Sun-God, the Moon -God, and many others be- 
came foot-soldiers, and all together struck up a concert. 

" Even the Goddess Chandika (personified primordial 
energy) assumed the form of lady Haya (Hava, i.e. Evil), 
and Padmavatt that of lady Nura (lit. light). And thus 
all the gods in a body entered Jajapura." 

They pulled down walls and doors, roved about and 
plundered (whatever they could), and had the cry "seize, 
seize " incessantly on their lips. 

. Ramai Pandit touched the feet of Dharma and said 
mournfully : " This is a very serious affair ". 

Section IV. — Mohammedan Elements in Medleval 


In Dharma-pujd-paddhati the worship of Adi Bud- 
dha itself has been designated as Dharma's Gajan. In 
this work also Mahakala (a name of Shiva) has been 
relegated to the position of the lord's (i.e. Dharma's) 

We have gathered from the lips of Dharma Pandits 
that Hdkanda Purdna is the original treatise on Dharma 
worship. This valuable work is not available now. 

For performing the worship of Dharma, his dehara 
(temple) has to be built. The song that has to be sung 
at its commencement is styled Harish chandra Paid (a 
portion of a Purdna done to music). The incantation 
that has to be recited at the time of the construction of 
the dehara is not of much importance, but the Dharma 
Sannyasis cannot do without singing the song entitled 
Dharma-pujd by Harish chandra. 



The following extract is made of this song from 
Dharma-pujd^paddhati : — 

" Now then of the construction of the dehara. 

" O God Visai, make the vessel (temple) with 
materials and do not neglect your work. 

"(For) King Harish chandra will celebrate there the 
worship of Dharma and it is now noon. " 

Thus was Visai brought to build at an auspicious 
moment the house for the worship of Dharma by Harish 
chandra. A cord, eighty cubits long and divided into 
nine parts, hooks of gold, feathers from the tails of 
peacocks looking like pieces of cloth studded with 
jewels, for roofing — with all these a decent house was 
constructed, and inside it on a long seat placed in front 
of Dharma were seated many gods, etc., etc. 

With such songs " the construction of the dehara " 
was completed. When the permanent deharas (build- 
ings) were profanedby Mohammedans — in many cases 
they were even pulled down — these temporary ones 
had to be built for the worship of Dharma ; and, with a 
view to please and pacify the Mohammedan audience, at 
the conclusion of the worship was sung the particular 
song named Dehdrd-bhanga (i.e. pulling down of 
the dehara), in which false and unjustifiable attacks 
were made upon the Hindus, and the Hindu gods and 
goddesses were made to embrace Islam. 

The " dehara-bhanga " song of Dharma-pujd-pad- 
dhati is given below :■ — 

" Then (we come to the topic) of Dehara- 

" The Khonakara is worshipping with his face to- 
wards the west. 

" Some worship Alia, some Ali and others Mamuda 
Sai (the same word as Sain, meaning master, lord). 
"The Mian (i.e. a respectable Mohammedan gentle- 


man) kills no living things nor does eat dead ones. He 
is cooking his food over a slow fire. 

" The caste-distinction will shortly be broken — for, 
behold, there's a Mohammedan in a Hindu family ; 
Khoda's Rahaman (devotee) has called a meeting (to 
this effect). 

" The crow is asking and Dharma is deciding where 
Khoda was first born. 

" He (i.e. Rahaman) is spitting on Brahmanas and 
thus violating their caste (i.e. converting them to Mo- 
hammedanism). Jajpura will (soon) be solely devoted to 
the service (i.e. worship) of Hassan and H ussain (grand- 
sons of Mohammed by his daughter Fatima). 

"He has a horse named Hamsa-raja (i.e. king of 
geese), and very prompt and obedient to orders : he put 
on a turban and looked like the moon. 

" With arrows and quivers in hand, he set out to kill 
the Hindu ghosts. 

" Be ready, ye brethren Mamuda Sais — ye Mussal- 
mans — (for they) have just started to kill the Hindu 

" The Khonakara started westward — the Moham- 
medans encamped themselves round the gold temple. 
"(He) set artisans to pull down the gold fortress ; 
and they broke down the sahighara (a particular kind 
of house) of gold. 

"They pulled all the gold fortress with violent force 
and they broke it down to pieces. 

"(Men) and they erected a Masjid (Mohammedan 
temple of worship) in its place and began to perform 
Bakr-Id (principal Mohammedan festival), etc., with the 
slaughter of cows." 

In this way are pulled down the fortresses of silver, 
copper and earth in the south, east and north respec- 

15 * 


After the earth-fortress is razed to the ground are 
recited the following lines : — 

" (They) could not pull down sahighara of earth, and 
Paygambara (i.e. Prophet, an epithet of Mohammed) 
established himself about it. 

" There were there throngs of Kazis (Mohammedan 
judges or learned men) and Mollas (Mohammedan 
teachers or priests) and all of them sat down to recite 
the Koran. With this the Khoda (God, i.e. the Pay- 
gambara) was excessively pleased. 

" Thou art, O Khoda, I know, superior to all others. 
How I wish to hear the Koran from Thy lips ! 

" Niranjana transformed to Alia will confer bless- 
ings. May the enemies of Amin fall under the wrath 
of Kutub." 

" Bada Janani (Janani really meaning proclamation) 
or the Great Proclamation. 

" Khonakara is worshipping with his face towards 
the west : upon his two feet is the excavated trunk of 
a tree used for an oil-mill as the receptacle of the seed 
and in his hands are the blossoms of such plants as 
the ginger, the turmeric, etc., and with this bunch in 
his hands he is offering the namaz (the prayer of the 

"Ahidin, Sahidin, Kutubdin and Babudin Molla 
asked Heta (the present life personified) there (in 
heaven) for an account of itself and seized it firmly by 
the head. (Then) Heta of gold colour goes to Khoda 

" Mother Mangala Chandi started for that place, and 
coming there she became known under the name of 
Thakardevi . . . (there) Visada Bibi (used with refer- 
ence to a Mohammedan lady) was crushing pungent 
spices to pulp, and here the white body of Khoda was 
feeling the bitterness of this preparation. 


" (At this) Jagannatha (with special reference to God 
Jagannatha of Puri) interposed himself (between there 
and here) ; the hands of this Jagannatha were lopped off 
for the theft of wine. 

" A certain Brahmana was making his escape ; he 
was, however, (detected), arrested and made to offer the 
namaz (Mohammedan worship), i.e. was converted to 
Mohammedanism. Another Brahmana was sneaking 
away ; he, too, was arrested, and a basket of heda 
(bone) was put upon his head. Behold, with this 
basket of heda on his head and Kava (a contraction of 
Kavab, meaning roasted meat) in his hands, there goes 
he slowly and softly to the quarters of the son-in-law. 

"O Heda, of the complexion of gold, do good to 
Khoda and keep him well, (for which) his Alia on high 
will bless you. 

"May Pir Paygamvara (Mohammed) shower his 
blessings on our heads and may our formidable enemies 
fall and die under the wrath of Kutub. 

" Thus has Ramai Pandit sung only the Proclama- 
tion, (and he hopes that) the Lord will confer boons on 
the leader." 

These queer hymns and songs relating to "dehara- 
bhanga " may provoke an outburst of laughter, but 
would indicate to what straits Mahayanic Buddhism 
was reduced during Islamite ascendency, and the extent 
of compromise to which the minnesingers of the Ramai- 
cycle were willing to submit if they were only allowed 
to utter somehow the name of Dharma or Shunya. 

Section V. — Triumph of Shiva. 

The knell of Buddhism had, however, been tolled ; 
and even these shifts could not save it from being ab- 
sorbed into Shaivaism. Adya, the principal goddes of 


Mahayana pantheon, was united in happy wedlock with 
the Hindu Shiva. The transformation was complete. 

In the treatise entitled Dharma-pujd-paddhati, re- 
covered from a Dharma Pandit of Burdwan, we find 
that Adya was married to Shiva. The representation 
of this marriage scene is universally admitted by all 
the Pandits (persons well versed in Dharma literature 
and the details of Dharma worship) as an indispensable 
item of Dharma's Gajan. There is a line — evidently 
an interpolation — in the body of the book to the effect 
that the treatise was written by Ramai Pandit. 

Mention is made here of all the varieties of Vana- 
foda (piercing the body with arrows), such as Jihva- 
bheda, Panchavedana, etc. (explained before). 

In place of the " invocation to gods" offered in the 
Gajan, we have here : — 

" I invoke that God who is the wielder of Khat- 
tanga (i.e. a leg of a bedstead, the name of a weapon), 
who is seated on the neck of a bull, whose sacred thread 
is made of a live snake, whose body is daubed with 
ashes and who is surrounded (and hence adored) by 
the celestials. Come, O Lord Rudra (Shiva), and sit 
motionless at the place of worship." 

The following is the invocation to Durga : — 

" I invoke that goddess who is the wielder of a tri- 
dent, who is the conferrer of success and blessings, who 
is seated (on a lion) and who is decorated with various 
ornaments, whose colour is like that of burnt gold and 
who is surrounded (and hence adored) by the celestials. 
Come, O Durga, the mistress of all attributes and sit 
motionless at the place of worship." 

Thus were Rudra and Durga invoked to attend the 
scene of festivities which were held with music, song 
and dance. 

" Then are the nuptial ceremonies, consisting first of 


Adhivasa (preliminary ceremonies of a great festival such 
as marriage, the installation of a king, etc.), and secondly 
of the holy wedlock ceremony, to be observed." 
This is done in the following way : — 
" The women made Adya put on bracelets of conch- 
shells and a new piece of cloth. After the ladies have 
thus welcomed the couple and observed the traditional 
ceremonies not enjoined in the Shastras but somehow 
or other accepted as inviolable by them (and known as 
stri-achara, lit. female custom), the Brahmanas com- 
menced reciting the Vedas. . . . 

"The priest, actuated by a noble impulse, tied to- 
gether the corners of the bride's and bridegroom's clothes 
(as a sign that they were united in holy wedlock). . . . 
" Seating Maheshwara on a gold seat (called pata 
and nicely decorated for the purpose), the ladies joined 
together in taking him round Adya. 

" (Then) a hundred ladies seated Shakti on a 
(similar) seat and with words of benediction on their 
lips, took her seven times round Maheshwara, seated or 
standing under a gold canopy." 

Thus was celebrated the marriage of Parvati, now 
named Adya, with Mahesha, and thus was the Buddhist 
Adya Chandika made to sit (as his consort) on the left 
side of Shiva. It was about this time that a joint- 
image of Hara-Gauri under the name of Vabhravi-kaya 
was inaugurated in Bengal and Orissa, and before this 
image the Gajan festivities in honour of Shiva came to 
be celebrated from now. Here Shiva was made to sit 
with Gauri. In Shiva's Gajan we see that all through 
the round of festivities Shiva has Adya on his left side 
and has invited Dharma Niranjana to attend them. 

Thus in course of time Dharma Niranjana came to 
be ousted from his usual place in the Gajan in favour 
of Shiva, who was made to marry, as Parvati, Adya the 
daughter of Adi Buddha. 


Section VI. — Propagation of Shaiva-cum- 

Besides, in the literature of Bengal since the thirteenth 
and fourteenth centuries we meet with ample proofs of 
the prevalence of the worship of Shiva and Shakti. 

Hussain Shah came to realize that the native Hindu 
Princes were the real bulwarks of Mohammedan rule in 
India, and allowed them to develop their strength till 
they became like so many independent chiefs. Most of 
them were worshippers of Shakti ; and consequently 
about this time there were being established in towns 
and hamlets temples of Shiva, Kali and Durga and 
other forms of Shakti with the necessary images ; and 
various songs and hymns were sung and festivities held 
in honour of Shiva. 

The following legend is given in Chaitanya Bhd- 
gavata : — 

" One day a singer of songs relating to Shiva came 
to beg alms at the temple of the Lord, and began to sing 
these songs by playing on a Darmaru (a small drum, a 
favourite musical instrument of Shiva) and dancing 
wildly, turning round and round. Hearing these songs 
relating to his own virtues, Lord Vishwambhara (Shiva) 
himself appeared there with fine matted locks." 

The Shiva songs of those times are even now sung 
in the Gambhiras. The Sannyasis of Shiva travelled 
from hamlet to hamlet singing the glories of the god 
and propagating his worship. The consequence of this 
was that here and there temples of Shiva sprang up 
announcing the triumph of the Shaiva cult. Even now 
remains of these temples are met with in many places. 
There was a Chandi-Mandapa (lit. a temple for the 
worship of Chandi, hence a house of worship of Shiva 
and Shakti) attached to the house of every Hindu 
householder. Every year Chandi was worshipped and 


on every auspicious occasion were sung songs relating 
to the glories of the goddess. 

Goddess Adya of Shunya Pur&na has been identified 
in the Chandi of Manik Datta with the same goddess 
as has received the various appellations of Chandika, 
Bhavani and Durga. 

" Dharma Niranjana knows that all the gods will 
worship Bhavani." 

In Narottama Vildsa by Narahari Chakravarti 
and other Vaisnava works of fourteenth to sixteenth 1 
century, we read of the great faith of Bengal Zamindars 
like Chand Ray and Kedara Ray of East Bengal in 
Shakti-cult, and also of the popularity of physical aus- 
terities in religion with all ranks. The worship of Kali 
and all the paraphernalia relating to it became, as it 
were, a school of military training, and kept up the 
spirit of energism among all orders of the community. 

It is a notorious fact that like the " Barons bold " of 
mediaeval Europe and the Daimyos of feudal Japan, the 
semi-independent Chiefs or Zamindars of Bengal used 
to wage warfare against each other in season and out of 
season and occasionally against the Imperial Head. 
And the deity who monopolized the devotion of this 
militant nobility was the War-Goddess Kali. Histori- 
cally the most famous Kali was that at Jessore, called 
Jashoreshwari (the patron divinity of Jessore), wor- 
shipped by Pratapaditya of South Bengal, who was 
ambitious enough to measure his strength with Akbar 
the Great Moghul (sixteenth century). 2 

1 Vide J. N. Das Gupta's Mukundardm : A Glimpse of Bengal 
in the Sixteenth Century. 

2 Akbar's Hindu general, M&n Singh, led a successful punitive 
expedition against Pratap and carried off the image of his goddess to 
Ambar, the capital of his own principality (present Jaipur State in 
Rajputana), where it was duly installed and has been receiving wor- 
ship till to-day according to the original Jessore (Bengali) custom. 



Section I. — The Shiva Purana. 

(a) The Limga, or Phallus. 

Before the universe was created, or, at least, when 
merely the preliminaries of creation were in operation, 
there existed only a huge phallus, as white as snow, as 
the emblem of divinity, pervading the whole of space. 
Shri Visnu and Shri Brahma were neither of them 
able to define the head, base and sides of this form. 
Although this emblem had a shape, yet it had no limits 
on any side, pervading, as it did, the boundless and 
endless void. This stupendous god, covering the en- 
tirety of space, is the first god of the Shaivas. He is 
the First Lord — the God of Gods (Mahadeva). It is 
from Him that this great universe has emanated. 

In course of ages, however, this huge form of Shiva, 
co-extensive with the universe, gave place to smaller 
and smaller forms ; and human nature gradually in- 
vested him with human qualities — made him the head 
of a family, swayed by human passions. 

" One day Trail okya-Sundari (i.e. Durga, so called 
from her powers of illusion), the repository of all attri- 
butes, went out for a stroll with her lord, Mahadeva 
(Shiva), both disguised as hunters. Seeing the male 
hunter, who looked like beauty and elegance embodied, 
and charmed with his sweet words, the wives of the 



Risis (sages) all followed him, despite the protests of 
their husbands. At this the sages cursed him, saying : 
' This ignorant rogue is depriving us of our wives ; and 
the condign punishment for such villains as are addicted 
to adultery is to cut off their generative organs. But 
since in this great forest of ours there is no such king as 
can inflict this punishment on him, we shall take the 
law into our own hands and punish him fittingly.' 

" And, owing to this curse by the sages, there 
dropped down in the dense forest the highly beautiful 
phallus, covering many a yojana (one yojana = four, 
seven, or eight miles)." — D karma Samhitd. 

Although the length 1 of the Indian phallus has 
nowhere been definitely stated, yet the phrase, " cover- 
ing many a yojana," may be taken as sufficient proof 
that the image was made a very long one. Below is 
given a short account of the incidents in the worship of 
the phallus as the emblem of Shiva. 

" On that day of the light half of the month on which 
the moon and the planets that were propitious to him 
on the day of his birth are in the ascendant, the wor- 
shipper will have, in accordance with the injunctions in 
the Shistras relating to Shiva-worship, to make a limga 
(phallus) of a certain measurement. Then have to be 
applied the tests of sacredness of earth to find out a 
suitable place of worship. Having thus selected the 
place of worship and made his phallus in accordance 
with Shastric details on the point, he will have to offer 
worship with the ten items (such as the smoke of 
burnt resin, a light, a seat, offerings of rice, etc., water, 
betel-rods, etc.) laid down in the Shastras for the 

Here follow the details of worship. At the outset 

1 Greek phallus of Bacchus is 60 yds., Assyrian phallus is 150 yds. 


is to be worshipped Ganesha, the conferrer of success 
(who receives the first honour in connexion with every 
Tantric worship) and the place is to be purified with in- 
cantations. The phallus has now to be taken to its 
bath-room, where it will be daubed with the juice of 
saffron and painted all over. Thereafter certain en- 
gravings will have to be made upon it with a gold chisel. 
The limga with the altar under it will now have to be 
worshipped, after being purified with the waters (called 
Panchamrita, containing, as it does, the five nectarine 
substances of milk, curds, ghee, honey and sugar) of 
eight full earthen pitchers, and also with Pancha-gavya 
(i.e. milk, curds, ghee and the two forms of excretion 
of the cow). Then the phallus with its altar will have 
to be taken to a clear and sacred tank and the ceremony 
of adhivasa (i.e. the preliminary ceremony of any great 
festival, such as the worship of a god, marriage, the in- 
stallation of a king, etc.) must be performed. The 
doors and gateways of the purified and beautiful house 
where this adhivasa has to be celebrated, are nicely 
decorated with garlands, the kusha grass and paintings : 
and here are to be placed images of the eight mytho- 
logical elephants residing in the eight quarters of the 
globe, images of the eight tutelary deities of the eight 
directions, and eight earthen pitchers, filled to the brim 
with the panchamrita water. And in the centre of the 
hall will be installed an altar of some metal or wood, 
and having the peculiar posture in religious meditation 
known as padmasana represented on its surface. 

The ceremony will now begin with the offering of wor- 
ship, one after another, to Subhadra, Vibhadra, Sunanda 
and Vinanda, the four gate-keepers, 1 and with the phallus 

1 According to the Shunya Purana, Dharma has five gate-keepers. 
Cf. " Now the opening of the doors," " The Ulluka opened the fifth 
door ". 


with its altar being bathed and surrounded on all sides 
with a piece of cloth. And, after taking the phallus 
repeatedly to the side of a tank or river, it will have to 
be laid down with its head eastwards on the altar. On 
its west is to be placed the offering of oblation. Here 
it is that the adhivasa of the limga, the conferrer of all 
blessings, has to be celebrated for five nights, three 
nights or one night. Then, consigning the images of 
the gods worshipped as described above to the river, only 
the phallus will be taken, with imposing ceremonies, to 
its own chamber. Thus, after it has been brought back 
with a flourish of auspicious music, it will have to be 
laid down, as before, draped in crimson-coloured cloth 
and surrounded by offerings of oblation. Like the 
phallus, the image also has to be installed. 

This account of the installation and worship of the 
phallus reminds one of the Buddhist festivities held by 
Shri Harsa Deva. There also we find the image of 
Buddha taken on the shoulder for a bath and brought 
back with pompous ceremonies. There are other points 
also of close resemblance. Similar ceremonies are found 
to be observed in connexion with the Gajan of both 
Adya and Shri Dharma. It is the chief spiritual guide 
who will offer clarified butter, etc., as enjoined in the 
Shastras, to the fire-pit representing Shiva and known 
as Shiva-kunda ; and the other Brahmanas will have 
to offer, similarly, clarified butter, etc., to the sacred 
fire, kindled on all sides, in the names of the principal 
gods. In connexion with the limga-worship, four Brah- 
manas are found to offer homa (clarified butter, etc.) 
to the sacred fire. It is said that in Adya's Gajan 
also four chief pandits kindle the sacred fire upon the 



(&) Festivities. 

Dance and " Dance, song, music and other auspicious perform- 

ances are to attend the worship of the limga of Shiva." 
— Vdyaviya Samhitd. 

That is, we find that besides the kindling of the 
sacrificial fire, dance, song and music were also among 
the incidents of worship. Dharma's Gajan is performed 
in a similar manner. We have already spoken of the 
Dehara of Dharma as well as of Adya. For the 
worship of Shiva, the Soul of Souls, it is essential to 
build a temple resembling a royal palace and possessing 
all the attributes that such a temple should have accord- 
ing to the Shastras dealing with Shiva- worship, and 
with huge gateways and bejewelled panels of gold. It 
should be furnished, besides, with two light white fly- 
brushes of the form of a gander, and mirrors decorated 
with beautiful garlands of sweet fragrance and set with 
gems on all the borders. In the Gajan of Shri Dharma 
also white fly-brushes and garlands are necessary. 
Keeping Detailed accounts are extant to show that " keeping 

awake whole nights " was observed with the performance 
of dance, song and music on the occasion of the Shiva- 
worship. Thus we find in th&Jndna Samhitd: — 

" The wise should repeat the names of the god after 
worshipping him, in the first of the eight divisions into 
which the space of day and night is divided, with dance, 
song and music and actuated by the feeling of devotion." 

The first prahara (two hours and a half) of the night 
is to be spent with various dances, songs and music, and 
with the formal avowal of the object for the realization 
of which the worship is offered. And all the remaining 
praharas are to be spent in the same way. 

"Then, avowing the object for the accomplishment 
of which the worship is offered, and singing various 



songs and performing various dances and music . . ." — 
Jndna Samhitd. 

It is further learnt that eight siddhas (a class of demi- 
gods) are constantly dancing before him whose votaries 
are now worshipping him, crying " All glory " to him. 
In Shri Dharma festivals also it is stated that the sam- 
yatas in a body cry : " Glory to Dharma ! Glory to 
Dharma ! " 

Clear-sighted men should offer worship, in such a 
state of the soul as is free from desires and is lost in de- 
votion, in every prahara with dance, song and music ; 
and should try with the recitation of various hymns to 
propitiate the Vrisabha-dhvaja (lit. he who is known 
by his bull, i.e. Shiva, who rides a bull). The per- 
former of the vow (of worshipping Shiva) should listen, 
with all attention, to the recital of the merits (i.e. the 
peculiar objects and greatnesses) realizable through this 
vow. The night is divided into four praharas, in every 
one of which worship has to be offered in this way. 

" Then to keep awake the whole night, holding great 
festivities." — -Jndna Samhitd. 

The festivities in connexion with the Shivapuja are 
brought to a close with dance, song and music. 

" Music and dance should be repeatedly performed 
till the appearance of the morning sun (above the 
horizon). " l 

Keeping awake the whole night in the way described 
above, the votary should recite at daybreak his guru- 
mantra (the mystical word or formula whereby to pro- 
pitiate his spiritual preceptor) and sing religious songs. 
Then he will have to bathe and offer worship to 

1 Worship is offered in the day in connexion with the festivities 
of Dharma, while it is offered at night in connexion with the Shiva- 


" Reciting the best of mantras and again dancing 
and singing."— /nana Samhitd. 

(c) Conventional Ceremonies. 

The giving away of cows, etc., is prescribed thus : — 
Directions for " A good-tempered cow, yielding a large quantity of 
away of cows, milk, should be given away with daksina (i.e. money 

given to a Brahmana as present)." 1 
Procession The Dharma Sannyasis, carrying on their heads the 

Sannyasis ' sandals of Shri Dharma, and cane in hand, proceed from 
their hands '" v *^ a & e to v ^' a g e wlt ^ dance, song and music. Similar 
observances are also to be found enjoined in the Shastras 
dealing with the Shiva festivities. " Invoking the celes- 
tial Pashupata (belonging to Pashupati, i.e. Shiva) 
weapon, worship it on a spacious metallic vessel, set 
with gems and decorated with lotuses. Then, placing it 
on the head of a Brahmana carrying an ornamented 
stick, and starting out with dance, song and music and 
various other auspicious ceremonies, proceed, neither 
very slowly nor very quickly, with lights, flags, etc., to 
the Mahapitha (sacred place), and then, with a view to 
propitiate the god, go round it thrice." Even now the 
Sannyasis of the Gajan are seen to adorn their persons 
with various ornaments and go out dancing, cane in hand 
and carrying copper-plates on their heads. 
Tree-worship. A peculiar ceremony known as Gamar-kata was ob- 
served in connexion with the festivities of Shri Dharma, 
in which the Gambhira (Gamara) tree was worshipped 
and all the Sannyasis of the Samyata touched and 
formally welcomed it. We find in Vdyaviya Samhitd 
mentioned in the Shiva Purdna that this worship is 

1 In Dharma Mangala also the giving away of cows is pre- 
scribed in connexion with the worship of Dharma. In Shunya 
Purana also it is enjoined : " Give away rice (i.e. food), clothing 
and cows ". 


offered in a building, then the worshippers should go to 
beautiful and delicate plants and observe the ceremonies 
of Dvarayaga and Parivaravali and hold continuous 
festivities there. And — 

" Going out with music and seated with their faces 
towards them (the trees) they should offer them flowers, 
burnt resin, lights, water and rice. " * 

Lotuses are held in high esteem for worshipping Worshipping 
Shiva. In the course of this worship, the glorious tri- the thunder- 
dent has to be worshipped in the north-east, the thunder- j^*^ th 
bolt in the east, the battleaxe in the south-east, the arrow arrow, the 
in the south, the sword in the south-west, the noose in n^ose,' the 
the west, the amkusha (the iron goad that is used in 1^ u ^ k l nd 
driving an elephant) in the north-west, and the pinaka 
(the bow) in the north. This mode of worship is still ob- 
servable in Shri Dharma-puja. In the Gambhira the 
trident and the arrow are found to receive worship. 2 It 

1 The Shunya Purana : — 

" All the people made haste, hearing that the votaries were pro- 
ceeding for the Gi.mi.ri Mangala, and flags were carried in rows 
with merry dance and music." ..." (They) sat down at the foot 
of the trees, spreading their seats of the sacred kusha grass, and 
worshipped Mayana. Kindling lights and burning resin, the learned 
Brahmanas recited the Vedas. The whole place, besides, was smeared 
with the juice of saffron and sandal paste, and the air sweetened with 
perfumes and flower-garlands." 

And in Dharma Mangala occur the following lines : — 

" On the tenth day they observed the ceremony of Gam&r-kata 
on the river- side, raising triumphant cries and bathing and worship- 
ping with dance and music. 

" Following the custom of the sages, the gamar tree was 
' awakened ' (i.e. conjured) by offering worship to Ganesha and the 
other gods. (Then) the whole body of the Samyata touched and 
formally welcomed the tree and tied pieces of thread (rakhi) round 
one another's wrists." 

2 " Worshipping the five gods, Dharma and the weapons, equip- 
ping the chariot and then giving away money." 



has been ordained that Shiva should be worshipped and 
festivities held in his honour every month, and the 
merits of these monthly celebrations have also been laid 

(d) Sanction for the Months of Worship. 

statement of "The best of men that will fast and worship Shiva 

monda"' 8 ° f m the month of Chaitra (March-April) with undivided 

worship. devotion will be rewarded with wealth in money and 

kind, with personal beauty and with birth in a high 


"The man that will fast and worship in the month 
of Vaishakha (April-May) will be rewarded with birth 
in a high order, as well as with wealth and honours." 
— Sanat kumdra Samhitd. 

The hopes here held out are too much for the wor- 
shippers of Shiva, and it is for this reason mainly that 
the months of Chaitra and Vaishakha seem to be especi- 
ally dedicated to the worship of Shiva. 

It is further ordained that great festivities should be 
held in the month of Phalgoona (February- March) when 
it is associated with the twelfth lunar mansion, and the 
swinging festival in the month of Chaitra. 

" As ordained in the Shastras, the swinging festival 
should be held on the day of the full moon in the month 
of Chaitra." (And) "on the day of the full moon in 
the month of Vaishakha, also the swinging festival should 
be held and a beautiful floral temple should be made in 
honour of Shiva." — Vdyavfya Samhitd. 

Ample references are found in the ancient dramas to 
the festival of Vasanta (the god of spring) or Madana 
(the god of love) being held in the month of Chaitra. 
An account of the merry-makings on this occasion with 
coloured water is to be found in the drama Mdlati 
Mddhava, wherein references are also to be met with 

temple in 



to the building of flower temples in the month of Vai- 
shakha in honour of Mahadeva. This floral temple is 
simply an imitation of the floral chariot, an account of 
which has been recorded by Hiuen-Thsang in connex- 
ion with certain Buddhist festivals. On these occasions 
images of Buddha and Bodhisattva were installed in the 
chariot. Similarly in the flower temple are placed the 
images of Shiva and his gate-keeper Nandi. Accounts 
are still extant of the dance, music and other rejoic- 
ings indulged in by the devotees on both these occa- 

We learn from K&sM-khanda that "the man or Annual pro- 
woman who will fast on the third day of the bright half | e h ^° n h ™/ d th in 
of the month of Chaitra, and at dead of night worship the month of 
Mangala-Gauri (Gauri, the Bestower of Blessings) with 
offerings of clothes, ornaments and other articles of wor- 
ship, and then pass the rest of the night with dance and 
music, will be rewarded with blessings beyond his or her 
expectations ". It is further stated that one and all of 
the people of Kashi (Benares) should join in an annual 
procession in honour of Shiva on the third day of the 
bright half of the month of Chaitra, and they should also 
hold a great festival in his honour on the day of full 
moon of the said month. The following story is told in 
this connexion. Once upon a time, on the day of full 
moon of the month of Chaitra, the festival of Shiva was 
being held, and the gods were cooking heaps of rice 
with other articles of food. The extensive ceremony of 
giving away rice by Shri Harsa Deva, and the Buddhist 
festival held by him, are exact imitations of this Chaitra 
festival. The present-day Gambhira of Malda also 
faintly represents this festival. 



Section II. — Harivamsha on Vanafoda (Physical 

The object of Harivamsha seems to be to diminish 
by stratagem the influence of the Shaiva cult, and to 
raise in higher esteem the Vaisnava worship of Shri 
Krisna. It contains the story of the terrible defeat of 
Vana, King of Shonitapura, a staunch devotee of Shiva. 
This part of the legend seems to be the Sanskrit basis 
of the Gajan of Shiva, or the Gambhira festivities. In 
this work distinct efforts have been made to place the 
Shaivas below the Vaisnavas, and to show a general 
degradation of the former. 

(a) Discomfiture of Vdna the Shivaite. 

" Usa, daughter of King Vana, a staunch Shaiva, fell 
secretly in love with Aniruddha, a grandson of Shri 
Krisna, King of Dwaraka. Enraged at this, high- 
souled Vana imprisoned Aniruddha in an iron cage. 
The latter implored the assistance of the goddess Kali, 
of complexion dark as collyrium ; and, pleased with his 
devotion, the goddess released him at dead of night on 
the fourteenth day of the black half of the month of 
Jyaisthai (May- June). On the following night (i.e. the 
dark night of the new moon), a formidable conflict took 
place between King Vana and Shri Krisna, in which, 
as soon as the latter had lopped off the arms of his 
opponent with his discus named Sudarshana and pre- 
pared himself to cut off his head, Shamkara (Shiva) 
cried out : ' Don't, oh don't, behead my Vana ; don't cut 
off Vana's head, rather withdraw your Sudarshana'." — 
Dharma Samhitd. 

"At this the Lord Shri Krisna said: 'Let then 
your Vana live. Here do I recall my discus.' 


" Then, with gracious words, Nandi (gate-keeper of 
and constant attendant on Shiva) said to Vana ; ' Yes, 
with these wounds on your person, just approach Shiva, 
the God of Gods'. Upon this King Vana made all 
haste to approach the Lord Shiva ; and powerful Nandi 
took him up in his own chariot and landed him at the 
door of Shiva, saying : ' Vana, just go and continue to 
dance in the presence of Mahadeva. In this way alone 
are you likely to receive his blessings.' Greatly com- 
posed at this, King Vana, distracted with fears, but 
anxious for the preservation of his life, approached 
Mahadeva with his bloodstained body, and, with great 
trepidation, began to dance ceaselessly." 

The above account is similar to that of Khila 
Harivamsha ; but the description of the dance by Vana 
is different in the Dharma SamhitA of Shiva Purdna, 
where it is said : — 

"Although at that time King Vana had only one Various p«- 
head and two feet, yet, in obedience to the instructions vana." Ces by 
of Nandi, he began to exhibit extraordinary perfor- 
mances in dancing before the Lord Shiva, such as the 
Altdha (an attitude of shooting, with the right knee ad- 
vanced and the left leg retracted), the Pramukha, the 
Vividhakara (cutting many figures), the Shali and the 
Sthana Panchaka, exhibiting gradually a thousand ways 
of shaking the head, and a thousand modes of the 
Pratyanika dance, as well as the several figures of the 
Chart dance." 

Thus King Vana danced before the Lord Shiva. The Gam- 
The mask-dances of Kali, Chamunda, Narasimhi, etc., ajf Nation 
in the Gambhira are similarly performed. Their ges- ofthis - 
tures and postures seem to be influenced by ideas and 
sentiments described in such Sanskrit texts. The dif- 
ference between these and modern methods of dancing 
is very slight. 


(6) Skivds Boons to Vana. 

Mahadeva, always kind to his devotees, felt great 
commiseration at the distress of King Vana, and was 
highly moved to see him dance ceaselessly in this almost 
unconscious state. Then he said to Vana : "My child, 
I have been touched to the quick at the sight of your 
distress. I have been highly pleased, however, with 
your devotion. Now, but ask for the boon of your 
heart, and it shall be granted to you." 

Vana replied: "My lord, if this be your pleasure, 
then grant me this boon, that I may ever be above de- 
crepitude and death. This is my first prayer." 

Mahadeva said : "Child, I grant that, equally with 
the gods, you will live for ever, defying death. You 
are an object of great favour with me. Ask any other 
boon of me, and I shall be glad to grant it." 

Vana added : " If so be your pleasure, then, O Lord, 
grant me this further boon, that if ever any of your 
devotees dance before you as I have done, afflicted with 
grief, wounded with arrows and with my body bathed 
in blood, he will attain to the state of your own child ". 

Mahadeva replied : " Child, that devotee of mine 
who is simple and straightforward and ever devoted to 
the truth, and will thus dance before me observing the 
vow of fast, will obtain these very rewards. Now, ask 
for such a third boon as you like, and I shall grant you 
that also." 

Vana said : " O Bhava (lit. that which exists, a 
name of Shiva), may you, then, be pleased to assuage 
the terrible pain that the discus has caused in my body ". 

Not only was this prayer granted, but also the God 
of Gods offered to grant him yet another boon. And, 
overjoyed at this, King Vana said : " Be pleased to 
grant me then this boon, that I may be the chief of 


your pramathas (attendants on Shiva), and be known 
for ever under the name of Mahakala ". This prayer 
was also conceded. 

(c) Faith of Modern Shaivas in Vdna-legend. 

Thus here do we find the origin of the fasts and 
other austerities, such as the piercing of the body with 
arrows, as well as of the dance and revelries that are 
practised on the occasion of the Chaitra festivities, 
otherwise known as the Chadaka-puja, held in honour 
of Shiva. This will be more clear and apparent when 
we consider that the author of the legend has it pro- 
nounced through the lips of Mahadeva himself that 
those of his votaries who will dance like Vana, observing 
the vow of fast, will obtain the same merits as Vana. 
It is a great temptation for the ordinary followers of 
Shiva to be thus able to attain to the position of Shiva's 
son and constant attendant, basking in the sunshine of 
his presence. It is for this reason that during the 
Chaitra festivities the devotees are seen to dance fan- 
tastic and ghastly dances before the image of Shiva, 
with their bodies pierced with arrows and bathed in 
blood. Fasts and music and revelries are also observed 
as additional inducements to purchase the favour of 
Shiva. It is under the influence of the above persua- 
sion that even now infants are made to dance before the 
Gambhira temple of Adya. The people firmly believe 
that by this means they will attain to longevity, position 
and wealth in this life and immortality in the next. 

Section III. — Dharma Samhita: References to 


We shall now proceed to inquire into the reason 
why it has become a practice with the votaries of Shiva 
to dance and sing before his image disguising themselves 


as Kali, Durga, Chamunda, ghosts and apparitions. 
Masks are put on in connexion with the Gajan of 
Shiva in Radha (West Bengal), the marriage of Shiva 
in Shantipur (Nadia), and the Gambhira and the Shiva 
festivities of Malda and North Bengal, and also on the 
morning of the Nilapuja day at Kalighat (Calcutta). 

That these songs and dances were introduced on the 
basis of mythological events and incidents is borne out 
by Dharma Samkitd, a part of Shiva Samhitd. The 
mask-dances of Gauri, Kali, Chamunda, Chandi, Vasuli, 
etc., that we now see in connexion with the Gambhira, 
are in agreement with the Purdnas and in fact based 
on them. 

(a) Disguises of Shiva s Attendants. 

The god Shiva has been represented as Nataraja or 
lord of dance and revelry. No wonder, therefore — rather 
it is natural — that his devotees should have recourse to 
these means to gain his favour. 

We read in Dharma Samhitd that one day, while 
diverting himself according to his pleasure, Chandra 
Shekhara (lit. one with the moon on his forehead, a 
name of Shiva) ordered his attendant Nandi with a glad 
heart : " Go, O Vanaranana (lit. having a face like that 
of a monkey, an epithet of Nandi, who had such a face), 
under my orders to the mountain of Kailasa (reputed to 
be the abode of Shiva) and bring Gauri, adorned with 
ornaments, to me without delay". When Nandi had 
gone away, the Apsaras (nymphs) began to indulge in 
talks like this : " What woman is there save Daksayant 
(daughter of Daksa, i.e. Gauri, wife of Shiva) that can 
dare touch his person ? " Upon this stood up Chitra- 
lekha, daughter of Kumbhanda, and, addressing her 
sisters, said : " I can personate Gauri and thus touch 
him, if any one of you will but be able to assume the 


form of Nandi. It is no hard work with the friends of 
Gauri to assume her form." At this, concentrating her 
mind upon the Vaisnava process of yoga, Urvashi ap- 
peared as Nandi, and this led the other nymphs to 
assume forms other than their own. Thus, Pram- 
nochi personated Savitri ; Menaka, Gayatri ; Saha- 
janya, Jaya ; Kunjikasthali, Vijaya ; and Kratusthali, 
Vinayaka — and so excellently that there was no means 
of seeing through the plot and recognizing who they 
really were. Last of all, Chitralekha, the daughter ofchitraiekha. 
Kumbhanda, who was an adept in the art of personat- fom™f S the 
ing and had an excellent power of imitation, inspired by p 1 ™*} 1 or 
beholding the elegance and perfection of these players' 
persons, took recourse to the special form of yoga known 
as Vaisnava-Atma Yoga, and in no time stood before 
them, and to the surprise and admiration of all, as 
Parvati herself, of celestial beauty and uncommon 
charms. It was indeed a masterpiece of personation : 
even the most trained eyes would have failed to dis- 
tinguish these imitation jewels from genuine ones. The 
merry jingle-jangle of their celestial anklets filled the 
whole place. 

Now, thus disguised, Urvashi approached Shiva and False Nandi's 
addressed him in these words. - "O Lord of Gods, the Mahadeva. 
heavenly mothers (a class of sixteen goddesses, such as 
Gauri, Padma, etc.) and myself, with Gauri and the 
Ganas (lit. a host, legion ; the large number of Shiva's 
spiritual attendants) have thus approached you. Be 
pleased, O Sire, to bless us with a benign look." 
What Shiva did in reply to this amorous address is thus 
described in Dharma Samhitd: — 

" Thus addressed by him and seemingly pleased 
with it, Rudra (Mahadeva) left his seat and, one by one, 
took seven steps forward ..." 


Amorous di- 
versions of 
Shiva with 
the false 

Dance, etc., 
by the false 

Real Gaur! 
appears on 
the scene. 

(b) The " Comedy of Errors ". 

Then he took Parvati by the hand and commenced 
a round of amorous diversions. This was followed by 
" the dissimulating mothers all dancing and singing to 
please Shiva — some dancing, some singing, some smiling 
(amorous) smiles, and others diverting in other ways ". 

The false mothers set to dancing and singing round 
merry Shiva. Some of them added to the joy of the 
merry couple by dancing and singing suitably to the 
occasion, and also by the genial glow of their illuminat- 
ing smiles. The other thousand and one mothers made 
various sweet sounds, and also made some strange ones. 
Some among the latter " sang, danced, smiled and even 
wept ". 

Shiva lost himself in this vortex of merry-making, 
and was utterly transported with delight, when there 
appeared on the scene the genuine Nandi with the 
genuine mothers, closely followed by the real Gaun, 
charmingly dressed, descending from her aerial car 
with the host of her spirit attendants. The surprise 
that greeted the latter, when the two sets confronted 
each other, was beyond description. 

"All the (merry) party started up, thinking again 
and again : ' Who is this Parvati — who is this goddess, 
so richly dressed and so beautiful ? ' " 

There being no distinguishing marks — not even the 
slightest — between the genuine and the counterfeit 
Parvati, the whole party was lost in confusion. 

Nay, the confusion became worse confounded when 
it was discovered that even the mothers and the other 
attendants could not be set the real against the sham. 
This was, however, a source of infinite secret pleasure 
to the counterfeit mistress and she burst into a peal of 
merry laughter. The Apsaras also, extremely amused, 


gave vent to their delight with their natural kilkil sounds. 
The ghosts and goblins and the Yaksas (demi-god at- 
tendants on Kuvera, employed in the protection of his 
treasures), too, became mad with delight. Even Shiva 
himself became highly amused with and greatly enjoyed 
this " comedy of errors ". He was equally delighted 
with the actions of the Apsaras. 

(c) Masks and " Comedy of Errors " in Modern 
Shaiva Lore. 

It is this "comedy of errors" which caused so much 
delight to Shiva that may be taken to be the origin of 
the practice that has obtained in Adya's Gambhira with 
the votaries of Shiva to dress themselves in various 
disguises for dancing in the hope of thus propitiating 
the god. And the enjoyable diversion of putting the 
husband to confusion with regard to his wife has be- 
come one of the most entertaining performances of the 
Gambhira-players. Then in course of time came to be 
introduced, by way of further embellishment, the various 
other mask-dances, such as those of the various forms 
that, according to the Tantrist, the goddess Sati 
(Gauri in her previous birth, also as the consort of Shiva) 
assumed to frighten Shiva into permitting her to attend 
the grand sacrifice that her father Daksa was holding 
but to which her husband had not been invited, and 
also of the terrible Chamunda and other forms that the 
goddess is said to have assumed in the course of the 
Shumbha-Nishumbha war for the destruction of the 
formidable demons, Chanda and Munda. 

The sanction for all the incidents in the Shaiva 
festivities of modern Folk-Bengal is thus to be found 
not only in vernacular treatises specially written for the 
purpose, but also in the more authoritative Purdnas 
composed in Sanskrit language. It is for this reason 


that there has ever been in India a community of 
thought between the masses and the classes, and a 
natural and necessary connexion of culture-lore with 
folk-lore. Through all the rungs of the intellectual and 
moral ladder, from the most nonsensical superstition to 
the most abstract metaphysics, there runs one increasing 
purpose which makes the whole Hindu world kin. 



There has been a multiplication of gods and goddesses 
of the Hindu pantheon 1 during the successive ages of 
Indian history. The literature and art of each age 
reflect the inventiveness of folk-imagination as displayed 
in the creation of new orders of deities to help man in 
the solution of new problems of life. 

When the Vedic Aryans gathered together to per- The Gods of 
form sacrifices to propitiate the gods, the list of the latter the Rl s veda - 
contained the names of Varuna, Indra, Agni, Rudra, 
Vayu, Mitra, Pusa, Bhaga, Aditya and Aditi, Sinivali, 
Saraswati, Mahatt, Sita, etc. Like the Aryan warriors, 
Rudra also was decorated with a crown and other orna- 
ments, wielded bows and arrows and prepared medicines 
with his own hands. Ulluka has been described as a 
messenger of Yama. Mention is made also of Laksmi 
and Alaksmi. 

Kali, Karali, Manojava, Sulchita, Sudhumravarna, Gods men- 
Sphulingini and goddess Vishwarupini — all these have upanisad* 6 
been described in the Munduka Upanisad as flames 
of fire and of the form of fire. Durga also was only a 
name of fire. 

We find the name of Uma in the Kena Upanisad, 

1 Vide Macdonell's Vedic Mythology, Fausboll's Indian Mythology, 
and Nivedita and Coomaraswamy's Myths of the Hindus and Buddhists. 



but not till then as the wife of Rudra. She introduces 
Brahma to Indra. When the gods were unable to 
recognize fire and the other forms of Brahman, then it 
was this Uma that sang his glories. 
Post-Vedic With the passing away of the Vedic age the forms 

and attributes of the gods suffered a change. Indra, 
Agni, Rudra, Vayu, and Aditi, Saraswati, Sita, Kali, 
Karali, Durga, Uma, etc., had now definite forms 
attributed to them and were made to share in the en- 
joyments and sufferings of the world. Detailed accounts 
of the Post-Vedic deities are to be found in the Rdmd- 
yana, the Mahdbhdrata and the Skrimad Bhdgavata, 
as well as in the Mdrkandeya, Devi, Kdlikd and many 
other Purdnas and Upapurdnas. 
Gods of the The great poet,, Valmiki, has furnished us in his 

"""" ya?a ' Rdmdyana with a very long list of gods and god- 
desses. Indra was then the King of Heaven and a 
warrior. He used even to fight with men. He used 
to ride an elephant with four tusks, named Airavata. 
Brahma was a four-faced, four-handed god, riding a 
goose. His worship was now introduced. Rudra, 
Sayana and Yaska are no longer the names of fire. 
The Rudra of the Vedic age, who used to prepare 
medicines, has now been transferred to the Kailasa 
mountain to live there. 
Goddesses of Shiva has been given many wives, such as Durga, 
deya'chandi. Chandika, Kali, Chamunda, etc. They have been ac- 
corded a higher position than the gods and described 
as Adya Shakti (primordial energy). Yama, Indra, 
Brahma and the other lesser gods have been made to 
acknowledge the suzerainty and bow to the will of 
Gods of the Indra is endowed with a thousand eyes, and Yama, 
Mahabharata. t ^ e g OC j Q f death, is said to have sprung from the planet 
Shani (Saturn) and to have been placed in charge of 


hell. He rides a buffalo, and Vayu, the god of wind, a 
deer. Agni has been conceived as riding a goat. 
Charmed by the devotion of his votaries, Shiva is found 
to have condescended to serve them. And it has be- 
come a practice to offer worship to Indra and his wife, 
and to Shiva and his wife. 

With a view to having a son born to him, Vasudeva Gods of the 
retires into the hermitage of Vadarika and there sits Hanvamsha - 
down in meditation on Shiva. Vasudeva, Valarama 
and Arjuna have been exalted to the rank of gods. 
Valarama has been recognized as one of the incarna- 

Indra becomes a god of the Buddhists, JainasGodsofthe 
and Kapalikas. Shiva now drinks the juice of Hatakafha^vata. 
(gold) and resides in the place of cremation. Uma, 
Durga and Kali are his wives. Palm-juice and other 
kinds of beverage have become favourite drinks of the 
followers of Shiva. Daksa has become the father-in-law 
of Shiva. Krisna is said to be an incarnation of 
Visnu. Indra, Brahma and Shiva have been relegated 
to a lower position than Visnu and subordinated to him. 

In Ndradiya and Dharma Purdnas, etc., the glories 
of Visnu have been described. Although mention is 
made in these of Shiva and his Shakti, a less impor- 
tance has been assigned to them. Laksmi and Saraswatt 
have been included in the family of Shiva. 

In the Limga, Shiva, Devi and Kdlikd Purdnas, 
Shiva and his Shakti have been assigned a superior 
place to the other gods. In Shiva Purdna, Shiva is 
said to have one thousand names. 

In Padma Purdna we hear of the interruption andpadma 
breaking up of the sacrifice arranged by Daksa (father ura " a ' 
of Shiva's wife, Satt, who sank down to death on the 
sacrificial ground on hearing of the vilification of her 
husband by her father), of Daksa's ultimate repentance 


and pacifying Shiva by singing his glories, and of his 
gaining boons from the god in conclusion. Thus the 
book is devoted to the extollation of Shiva. We find in 
it also an account of the journey of gods with Brahma 
and Shiva to Vaikuntha (the abode of Visnu). Refer- 
ence is made in this also to the story of the construction 
of a gold image of Sita (it is said in the Rdmdyana 
that while performing the Ashwamedha sacrifice Rama 
had a gold image of Sita made to take the place of his 
wife by his side). 
The Gods in There are several Samhitds (codes of law, conduct, 
the Samhitas. etc ) following the line of the Shiva Purdna, such as 
Dharma Samhitd, Jndna Samkitd, Sanatkumdra Sam- 
Mid, Vdyaviya Samhitd, etc. In these Samhitas we hear 
of many gods, but the preference is given to Shiva and 

Like the other Purdnas, the Skanda also contains 
accounts of gods and goddesses. The special feature of 
this work is that in it we are told of Kala Bhairava and 
of the sudden springing into existence of Bhadrakali 
and Virabhadra out of the spleen of Shiva. 

In the Vardha Purdna we find accounts of many 
gods and of the construction of their images. 

In the Uddisha, Damara, Nakulisha and the other 
Tantras 1 preference has been given to Shiva and his 
Shaktis and the various modes of their worship have 
been described. Also Mahakala, Shiva, Bhairava, 
Bhairavi, the Dakinis and the Yoginis (classes of female 
demi-gods) have been elevated to the rank of gods. 

Like the Puranas of the Hindus, the Jainas 2 also 
have Puranas of their own. In these, besides their 
Tirthamkaras, the Hindu deities also have been men- 

1 Vide Avalon's Hymns to the Goddess and other works on Tantras. 

2 Vide Stevenson's Heart ofjainism. 

Gods in the 

Gods of the 




The Jaina Adi Purdna gives us an account of god 
Risabha, on the occasion of whose nativity Indra, his 
wife and the other gods and goddesses came down to 
the place. 

In the Jaina Padma Purdna we meet with peculiar 
accounts of Indra, Hanuman, Rama and Laksmana. 
In the Aristanemi Purdna mention is made of Durga. 
In the Jaina work named Bhagavati Sutra we find 
descriptions of the images of the Tirthamkaras. They 
are adorned with snakes as ornaments. Many of the 
Jaina gods receive worship. Dhyani (absorbed in 
meditation) Parshwanatha looks like Dhyani Shiva. 

Like the Jainas, the Buddhists also have their own Gods of the 
Puranas. The majority of these are devoted to extol- f^ns* 
ling the greatness of Buddha. In Suvarnaprabhd, 
however, we meet with invocations to Laksmi and 

The Buddhists 1 call their Sddhanamdld and Sdd- Gods of the 
hana Samuchchaya Tantric works. These belong to the xanfras!' 
Mahayana sect. In these we meet with descriptions of 
the images of the Bodhisattvas, named Lokeshwara, 
Maitreya and Manjushri. The other name of Lokesh- 
wara is Lokanatha. We find the following and other 
names of Buddhist gods : Avalokiteshwara, Khasarpana 
Lokeshwara, Halahala Lokeshwara, Simhanada Loke- 
shwara, Hari-hari-hari Vahanodbhava Lokeshwara, 
Troilokya-bhayamkara Lokeshwara, Padmanarteshwara 
Lokeshwara, Nilakantha-charyya Lokeshwara, etc. On 
the left side of many of the images of Lokanatha Bud- 
dha, a female figure named Tara is found to have been 
placed. In Sddhanamdld a description of the person 
of Mahottari Tara has been given. The Buddhist work 
of Swatantra Tantra contains an account of Tara 
Devi, and elsewhere mention is found to have been made 
1 Vide Getty's Gods of Northern Buddhism. 


of Nila Saraswati Tara Devi. Tara is of dark complexion 
and has three eyes. The following description of Vajra 
Tara is to be found in Sddhana Samuchchaya : " Four- 
faced, eight-armed and adorned with various ornaments ". 
Like the Hindu Tantric works, those of the Buddhists 
also tell us of many forms of Shakti. 
Gods of the In the Shunya Pur&na and Dharma-pujd-pad- 

Pura^and dhoti of Ramai, among others we meet with the fol- 
D addhati puja l° w i n g deities : Dharma Niranjana, Ullukai, Brahma, 
Visnu, Maheshwara, Yama, Indra, Narada with his 
conveyance, the Dhenki, Damarasain, Mahakala, Adya, 
Chandi and Durga. 
Gods of In the Dharma Mangala of Ghanarama, Manik 

Ma^gafaand Ganguli and Yatrasiddhi Ray, mention is made of 
later medise- Dharma, Hanuman and the gods of Shunya Pur&na. 

val Bengali 

works. In the poetical works called Chandi by Kavikam- 

kana (Mukundarama), Manik Datta and others, accounts 
are found of Adya, Chandi, Shiva and the other Hindu 

In the Visahari Songs we meet with accounts of 
Shiva, Manasa (the goddess of snakes) and many other 
Hindu gods. In some of these Lays of Manasd mention 
is made also of Adya. 

Shitald Mangala x tells us of god Niranjana, Shiva, 
Brahma, Visnu, etc., as well as of Adya. In the story 
of Shitala also we find an account of her worship as anti- 
dote against small-pox. 

Gods and goddesses like these, more or less affiliated 
to the Shaiva-cum-Shakta pantheon, were invented by 
mediaeval Folk-Bengal principally to help man in the 
battle of life. They are all embodiments of shakti 
(energy), and are meant ( i ) to do away with enemies and 

1 ShitalS. — mentioned in Pichchhila Tantra and Skanda Purana. 
Buddhist goddess Hariti resided in the temple of Lokeshwara. The 
Hindu Shitala is identical with this Hariti. 


difficulties, both natural and human, and (2) to promote Gods as em- 
health, wealth, success in life and general prosperity, j^and' 5 ° f 
Pari passu there was being created another order of teachersof 
divinities designed mainly as " Great Exemplars," from " y- 
whom could be learnt the duties and obligations of life, 
individual, domestic and social. The ideal relations 
between parent and offspring, husband and wife, brother 
and brother, friend and friend, ruler and subject, master 
and servant, etc., were the themes of the literature and 
art which brought into prominence this new class of 
gods and goddesses. And the attribute chiefly person- 
ated by these deities is bhakti (love), the emotional 
element in humanity. 

The bhakti or devotional literature has since about 
the fifteenth century been the inspiration of the folk by 
appealing mainly to the sentiments of Love, Faith and 
Hope as contrasted with the practices of intellectual 
gymnastics and ratiocinative argumentation. The 
deities of this literature are (1) Rama and his consort 
Sita, as well as the ancestors and allies of the great hero ; 
and (2) Krisna and his sweetheart Radha, as well as 
their parents and personal friends. The note of love 
and faith is also the characteristic of the Malsi Songs 
of Ramaprasada, the great saint, devoted to Kali or 
Tara (wife of Shiva), of the eighteenth century. 

It may be said that the Folk-Bengal of the nine- 
teenth century has not cared much to inquire into the 
Sanskrit Vedas, Samhitds, Purdnas, Tantras, etc., for 
the origins and legends of its faith and devotion, but has 
sought for the " whole duty of man " in Bengali treatises 
like Krittivasa's Rdmdyana, Vidyapati and Chandidasa's 
Vaisnava Paddvali, and the Kali Songs of Mukunda- 
rama and Ramaprasada. Through all this literature 
there has been a steady increase in the number of gods 
and goddesses, saints and avataras. In some cases a 



new interpretation has been imparted to the older 
deities and heroes, who have thereby acquired an alto- 
gether fresh significance in the people's thought and 
activity. There has been no generation of Bengali 
history without its own mythology, hagiology and 
Agnosticism This is perfectly natural : because the Hindu is 
polytheism, fundamentally an agnostic, i.e. has never believed in 
the possibility of human intelligence ever to unravel the 
mysterious eternal truths of the universe, or to under- 
stand, except negatively, the nature and attributes of 
God ; and therefore he has ever felt to be at complete 
liberty to imagine and invent whatsoever God or Gods 
he chooses to adore. He has not feared to conceive the 
Divinity as He, She, It or They. He has worshipped 
his Deity as father, mother, brother, sister, sweetheart, 
lover, friend, and what not ; and has endowed his own 
creation or invention with any attributes he likes for 
the time being. He has borrowed his god-lore from the 
Mongols, he has taken his god-lore from the hill-tribes, 
he has imbibed his god-lore from the speechless mes- 
sage of sunshine and snows, and he has evolved his 
god-lore out of his own head and heart. His polytheism 
or heinotheism is based essentially on his agnosticism. 
Motherland as The Hindu tendency to deify the energies, Nature- 
Forces or personal attributes and emotions has con- 
structed all the gods and goddesses of India, practically 
speaking, as so many embodiments of the various phases 
of the Country itself and of the Culture it has developed 
through the ages. And the invention of deities has not 
yet ceased. 

The " Knight-poet " Rabindranath Tagore, probably 
an iconoclast in socio-religious opinions, has been, how- 
ever, pre-eminently an idolator, nay a polytheist, in and 
through his art. His celebrated hymn (c. 1 895) to Mother 


India is in the right orthodox strain which is noticeable 
in the psalms and songs in eulogy of Saraswati (Goddess 
of Learning), Laksmt (Goddess of Wealth), Durga, 
Jagaddhatrt and other goddesses : — 

" O Thou, who charmest all mankind ! 
Thou, whose lands are ever bright 
With ray serene of pure sun-light ! 
Mother of fathers and mothers ! 

With the blue deep's waters thy feet ev'r wash'd, 

Thy scarf of green ever waving in breeze, 

Sky-kiss'd on high thine Himalayan brow, 

Crown'd white thy head with tiara of snows. 
First in thy firmament appear'd the dawn, 
First rose sdma-cha.nts in thy holy groves, 
First were reveal'd in thy forest-abodes 
Wisdom and virtue and poesy's self. 

Ever beneficent 1 glory to Thee 1 

From Thee flows food to countries far and wide ; 

Jahnavi and Jumna, streams of thy love ; 

Giver of sweet sacred milk, O Mother ! " 

It is again the traditional folk- imagination, saturated 
with the monism of Vedantic thought, that has inspired 
the following verses of Tagore : — 

" O Thou Dust of my Motherland ! 
Down to Thee alone do I bend my head. 
Upon Thee is the mantle spread 
Of universe-bodied Mother Divine 1 " 

The same deification of the Country is evident in the 
following outburst (1905) of Dwijendralal Roy :— 

" Goddess mine ! Meditation's Aim ! 
Country mine ! O Heaven on earth ! " 

But the man who has started them all in this modern Synthesis of 
Bengali Bhakti-literature is Bankimchandra Chatterji. thakt'i tn"the 
According to him the ten-armed Durga (wife of Shiva) country-cult. 
with her whole family and retinue, the most popular 
goddess of Hindu Bengal in the nineteenth century, who 


was, as we have seen in the foregoing pages, one of> 
the Taras (Energy) of Avalokiteshwara Bodhisattva in 
mediaeval Mahayanic India and still receives worship as 
Tara in Buddhist China and Buddhist Japan, is none 
other than Motherland itself with all its resources and 
forces in natural agents and human arts. This synthetic 
interpretation crystallized in the song Vande Mdtaram 
(c. 1885), is bound to remain the greatest hymn of Folk- 
India during the twentieth century : — 

"Hail! Motherland! 
Vande Mdtaram ! 

Thou art my muse, Thyself my creed ; 

In Thee my heart and soul ; 

And in my limbs the spirit Thou ! 
In mine arm Thou art strength (shakti) ; 
Thyself heart's devotion (bhakti) ; 
Thine the images bodied forth 
In temples one and all, Mother ! " 

To worship Durga is to worship Motherland ; or, to 
worship Motherland is to worship Durga. This is the 
cult that in diverse forms has been invented by the brain 
and soul of India from the Vedic age of the adoration of 
World- Forces down to the present epoch of neo-Tan- 
trism represented by Bankimchandra and Ramakrisna- 
Vivekananda. 1 

1 Vide Max Miiller's Ramakrishna : His Life and Teachings 
(Scribner, New York). 


Absolution conditional on confession, 

20, 136. 
Adultery, old Hindu punishment for, 

„ 2 35- 

Adya (Chandika, Gaurt, Durga) :— 

An impersonification of primordial 
energy, igg, 222. 

Another name of Arya Tara, Bud- 
dhist goddess, 87 (note). 

Called Adya as first or primitive 
deity, 63, 68. 

Counsels Shiva to take to agriculture, 

Dharma predicts her marriage to 
Shiva in her next birth, igg. 

Drinking seed of Dharma, bears 
Visnu, Brahma, and Shiva, igg, 

Gods invited to hear music in her 
honour, 126. 

Hinduization of, shown by her mar- 
riage ceremony, first to Dharma, 
later to Shiva, 87, 22g-30. 

Hinduized as Durga by Ramai, 200. 

Identified with Chandika, Bhavant 
and Durga by Manik Datta, 233. 

Installed in Malda Gambhtra and 
ultimately worshipped as Chan- 
dika and regarded as the wife of 
Shiva, 68, 6g. 

Marriage of, concluded Dharma's 
Gajan, gg. 

— to Shiva, how performed, 230-1. 

Mentioned in Mahayanic Buddhist 
works, 258. 

Presiding goddess of Dharma's 
Gajan, gs. 

Sprang from the body, smile or sweat 
of Dharma, gg-6, ig8, 222. 
Agnosticism, fundamental in the Hindu, 
leads to free invention and imagi- 
native treatment of gods, 260. 

Agricultural implements manufactured 

for Shiva, 83. 
AharS ceremonies, 56-7. 
Akbar's protection of Hindu learning 

and arts, 218. 
Alipana : — 

Mural painting with rice-paste, a 

characteristic Indian art, ig. 
Used in decorating Gambhlra 

temples, 19. 
Women excel in this art and prob- 
ably invented it, ig. 
Anna Prashana : — 

First presentation of rice to a child, 
Animals, etc., in Hindu Mythology and 
Ritual: — 
Buffalo, ridden by Yama, 30, 83, 

Bull, ox, the steed of Shiva, 2g, 44, 

46, 83, 222, 230, 23g. 
Cow, divine, feeds and purifies, 28-g. 
Cows, slaughter of, 227. 
Crab, fetches earth for Dharma, 27, 

Crocodile of Shiva, 79. 
Crow, 227. 

Deer, steed of Vayu, 255. 
Elephant, created by Dharma to bear 

the earth, 42. 
— ridden by Aksobhya, 146. 

Indra, 223, 254. 

Frog, created as food for the Ser- 
pent, 43. 
Garuda, King of Birds, ridden by 

Visnu and Amoghasiddhi, 146. 
Gibbon, ' adviser of Dharma, 28, 30, 

40 (note), 41. 
Goat, vehicle of Agni, 255. 
Goats, offerings of, 97, 200. 
Goose, ridden by Brahma, 198, 

Hamsa-raja, King of Geese, 227. 
Horse, ridden by Dharma, 224. 



Animals, etc., in Hindu Mythology and 
Ritual — cont. — 
Horse ridden by Ratnasarabhava, 

— taken by Indra, 29. 

— the white, 30, 31. 

Lion, guardian of the Four Doors, 

— ridden by Durga, 30, 39, 230. 

Vairochana, 146. 

Makara, steed of Gamga, 30. 
Monkey, follower of Rama, 35. 

— incarnation of Buddha, 40 (note). 
Mouse, ridden by Ganesha, the Suc- 
cess-giver, 29. 

Owl, ridden by Laksml, 30. 
Peacock (or goose), ridden by 
Amitabha, 146. 

— ridden by Kartika, God of War, 

Sakula fish, 58. 
Serpent, created by Dharma, 43, 

198, 222. 
Snakes : — 

Hayagriva's, 179, 180. 

Manasa, Goddess of, 258. 

Shiva's, 230. 

Tstra's, 184. 

Tirthamkaras', 257. 
Swan, ridden by Brahma, 30. 
Tiger, 192. 

Tiger-skin of Hayagriva, 180. 
Tortoise, emblem of formless 
Dharma, 100. 

— last support of the earth, 27, 42, 

198, 222. 
Ullukai, Bird of Dharma, 41 (note), 
ig8, 222. 
Anthropomorphic ideas of Fire-gods, 

the origin of image-worship, 12. 
Arati, or wave offering, 27, 44. 
Arts, the fine : — 

Highest water-mark reached in 

Bengal in twelfth century, 212. 
Love for kindled by Gambhlra, 17. 
Asiatics, characterized by a common 

mentality, xi. 
Assam modern Buddhist festivities re- 
semble Gambhira, 6. 
Astrological detail in Shiva worship, 

Atisha (or Dipamkara Shrtjnana) : — 
A Buddhist ascetic, early eleventh 
century representative of Tantric 
Buddhism, 189. 
A practiser of Tantric magic him- 
self, but forbade it to other 
Buddhists, 192. 

Atisha (or Dipamkara Shrljnana) — 
cant. — 
Consults T&ra, his inspirer, as to a 

journey to Tibet, igo. 
Meets Tari as yogini, igi. 
Reads the minds of robbers and 

hypnotizes them through the 

grace of Tara, 191. 
Worships deceased ancestor at 

Tibet, 191. 
Yoga feats of a disciple, 192. 
Attitudes, sacred : — 
Abhaya, suggesting hope and reas- 
surance, 184. 
Padmasana, a sitting posture of 

Buddha, 180, 181, 236. 
Vyakhyana, intertwining the fin- 
gers of both hands in worship, 

Aula Chand :— 

Foundling, and founder of a new 

creed, 33-4 (note). 
Ignored caste, 34 (note). 
Performed miracles, 24 (note). 
Preached in Bengali, 33-4 (note). 
Sect of, worships Maker alone, but 

uses idols, 34 (note). 
Song in his honour, 34-5 (note). 
Avalokiteshwara (Khasarpana Lokesh- 
wara) : — 
A Mahayanic Buddhist god, 145. 
A Tantric god : his attributes, 178-9, 

180, 181. 
Distinctly a copy of Shiva, 181. 
Esteemed perhaps above Buddha, 

Firmly established in Harsa Vard- 

hana's time, 178. 
Mentioned in Buddhist Tantric works, 

Resemblance to Shiva noted by Hiuen 

Thsang, 186. 
Wears Amitabha Buddha on his head, 

causing Hindus to confound him 

with Shiva wearing Gamga., 178, 

Avataras, gods incarnate, 137. 


Bengali : — 
Appreciated and made literary by 

Mohammedans, 217. 
Despised by Brahmanas and Rajas, 

Important to future historians, 25-6. 
MSS., viii, 26, 31. 
Novels, xv. 



Bengali — cont. — 
Only easily accessible works referred 

to, xi. 
Research, vii. 
Bhaktas or Sannyasis : — 
Ascetic and other votaries of Shiva, 

4, 26, 52. 
Chief of, privileged to assist in the 

worship, 52. 
Initiation of, in Epic times, 9. 

— in the modern Gajan, 75-6. 
Methods described in their hymns, 26. 
Mostly salaried, sometimes heredit- 
ary, 52. 

Mula-sannyasi, chief votary in Gajan 

festivities, 74. 
Tamasika, or ignorant class of Bhak- 
tas, 4. 
Vala-bhaktas, boy-votaries, 53. 
Bhavani : — 
First deity, representing entire divine 

energy, 28. 
Identified with Adyaand Durga, 233. 
Bhiksus, Buddhist mendicants who re- 
nounce public worship, 144. 
Bhutan festivities resembling Gam- 

bhlra, 6. 
Birth stories : Buddha's birth as a 

monkey, 40 (note). 
Blacksmith, or Potter (Kala), assists at 

the Creation, 27, 32. 
Blind singer, a, 123. 
Brahmanas : — 
Attempt revival of Vedism in Gauda 

under Shura kings, 164, 165. 
Codes of, still govern Hindu life in 

Bengal, 211. 
Converted to Buddhism, 146. 

— Shaivism, 165. 

Dipamkara Shrtjnana, minister of 

Mahipala, greatly promotes 

Tantric Buddhism in Gauda, 

Feasted by Yudhisthira, g. 
Fraternize with Mahayana Buddhists, 

Gajane Brahmana, middle status of, 

76 (note). 
Greatly respected by Pala kings, 166, 

Incorporate Buddhist deities as safer 

than suppressing them, 202. 

— foreign gods also, 202-3. 
Influence of, under the Palas, helps 

Shaivism to displace Buddhism, 
169, 170, 171. 
Neglect Vedism for Tantricism under 
the Senas, 207. 

Brahmanas — cont. — 

Prime' ministers of the Palas, 166, 

170, 171. 

Ring bells at birthday festival ot 
Shakyasimha, 123. 

Social influence of, under the Senas : 
leaders of Hinduism, 205, 211. 

Under Mohammedans, despised 
Buddhists as " untouchable " and 
violently opposed their worship, 
2ig, 220. 

Vallala Sena banishes Brahmanas 
for oppression, 207-8. 

Vateshwara Swamin recites Mahd- 
bharata to Queen Chitramatika, 
Brahmanism (see Hinduism) : — 

An ambiguous term, xv. 

Brahmana, said to have been created 
by Brahma from his mouth, 28 

Gods of, 253-4. 
Buddha, the Protector (equivalent to 
the Hindu Visnu) : — 

As Adi Buddha, or Dharma, floated 
on his conveyance, Ulluka the 
Gibbon, 40 (note). 

As Shakyasimha, born on the full- 
moon day of Vaishakha, and 
died on the same day, 135. 

Birthday and national festivals held 
therefore on Vaishakha Purnima 
day, 135- 

Chariot festivities of, 13. 

Dharma like Adi Buddha's son, or an 
emanation from him, 04, 95. 

Disappeared from Hinduism as a god, 
but his spirit remains in the 
later faiths, xvi. 

Entertained by acting, 14. 

Entrusts to Shiva protection of Bud- 
dhism from Sakas, 173. 

Formless, without attributes, 94. 

Image of Lokeshwara Buddha con- 
founded with that of Shiva, 165, 

171. 173- 

Incarnation as a monkey, 40-1 (note). 

Lotus, his seat, 40 (note). 

Memorial mound and place of festi- 
val, 135. 

Offerings of food to, not opposed to 
Buddhism, 148. 

Without beginning or end, 94. 
Buddhism : — 

An ambiguous term, xv. 

Ancient Buddhism still lives in and 
through the modern Hindu cults, 


Buddhism — cont. — 

Assemblies for definition of the faith, 

Brahmanas as prime ministers of the 
Palas favour displacement of 
Buddhism by Shaivism in Gauda, 
166, 167, 169, 170. 

Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Indian 
forms similar because of common 
origin, xv-xvi. 

Confusion of Hindu with Buddhist 
gods leads to confusion of tem- 
ples, 173. 

Congresses attended by Buddhists 
from different countries, 130. 

— used to promote fraternity among 

Buddhists of all sects, 131. 
Dharmapala's tolerance of Hinduism 

handicaps Buddhism, 166. 
Distinction between Buddhism and 
Shaivism lost under later Palas, 
172, 173, 174. 
Elephant worship, 43 (note). 
Festivities in Assam and Burmah re- 
semble Gambhira, 6. 

— in seventh century described by 

Hiuen Thsang and marking 
transition from Buddhism to 
neo-Hinduism, 13-14, 119, 124, 
131, 154-8. 
Gsljan of Dharma, 93-102. 
Gods of, incorporated with Hindu 

gods, 146, 165. 
Impersonality of, cause of displace- 
ment by the more personal 
religions, Vaisnavism and Shaiv- 
ism, 23. 
Lokeshwara worshipped as Shiva, 165, 


Madhyamika sect, connecting link 
with Hinduism through Tan- 
trism, 175. 

Mahadeva's stealthy entrance into 
Buddhist pantheon, 146. 

Modification of religion by replace- 
ment of gods, 14, 87 (note). 

Ringing of bells and singing of hymns 
inviolable duties, 124. 

Sects arising from assemblies defin- 
ing the Canon, 142. 

Tantric form of, greatly promoted 
by Dipamkara, 

similar to that of Shaivism, 

171, 172. 

Tortoise worship, 43 (note), 100. 

Trinity, 13, 32, 135. 

Uposatha, Buddhist sabbaths, 146. 

Buddhism — cont. — 

Under later Palas becomes simply 
nominal in Bengal, the substance 
becoming identified with Shaiv- 
ism, 170, 172, 174. 
Viharas, Buddhist monasteries, cease 
to be built under Narayanapala, 
who builds temples to Shiva in- 
stead, 169. 
Buddhism, Chinese and Japanese :— 
A single expression of a comprehen- 
sive cult, xv. 
Akin to Tantric and Puranic Hindu- 
ism in India, xi. 
Buddhists, Hinduized, early " untouch- 
ables," 201. 
Burmese modern Buddhist festivities re- 
semble Gambhira, 6. 

Cane of Heaven, 38. 
Canon, Buddhist : — 
Assemblies at Rajagriha, 141-2. 
Definition of the Tripitaka, or Three- 
fold Canon, 142. 
Schisms occurring at the assemblies, 

Tantrism leads to disregard of the 
Canon, 150. 
Caste : — 
Ignored in the Gajan and Gambhira, 

Never a disintegrating factor, x. 
Not recognized by Aula Chand, 34 

Originated in efforts at social recon- 
struction in Sena times, 211. 
Probably a recent institution, *. 
Thirty-six castes, 195. 
Ceremony and Ritual : — 
Ablution of Buddha, 119, 155, 237. 
— Dharma, 197. 
Adhivsisa, preliminary ceremonies of 

an important festival, 196, 231, 

236, 237. 
Agni-jhamp (jump into fires), 58. 
Anointing the image, 125. 
Ashes, daubing with, 9, 45, 230. 
Avabhritha Bath, 116, 130. 
Bada Tamasa processions, 53. 
Burning of resin or incense, 53, 56, 

58, 64, 86, 87, 197, 235, 241. 
Confession of sins, 136, 156 (note), 

Crossing the Vaitarani, 99, 196, 197. 
Dehara-bhanga, 99, 226-9. 



Ceremony and Ritual — cont. — 
Dharmapada, 100, 136, igs. 
Dharmapaduka, 98, 100, 120, 136, 

Dharma-worship, list of ceremonies 

from Shunya Pur Ana, 196-7. 
— order of, 98. 

Dhenki Chumana, or Reception of 
Narada on his Dhenki, 59-60, 
Dvarayaga and Parivaravali, 241. 
Four Gates, 30-1. 
Gajan worship, order of, 74-5. 
GSmar-kata, tree worship, 133, 240-1. 
Gambhlra worship, order of, 51. 
Ghata-sthapana, installation of the 

Ghata, 51-2. 
Griha-darshana, looking inside a 
house to protect it from evil in- 
fluences, g7. 
Hindolana, singing Hindola, 97. 
Jagaran, passing sleepless nights, 13, 

76] 79. 9o, 117, 124, 126, 238-9. 
Kunda-seva, worshipping a pit of 

sacrificia A l fire, 97. 
Marriage of Adya, 99, 230-1. 
Mashana nacha, dance of Kali, 55-6. 
Matted hair, wearing, 9, 132. 
Pashchima Udaya, 99. 
Phallus of Shiva, the making, 235-6. 

the worship, 236-7, 238. 

Phula-bhanga, breaking of flowers, 

Phulkhela, flower-play (fire cere- 
mony), 155. 
Rakhi Vandhana, thread-tying, 133, 

241 (note). 
Rama tarpana, 99. 
Samsole Chhada, loosing the sacred 

fish, 58. 
Singing, 26-7, 44, 48, 49, 127. 
Sprinkling with holy water, 123. 
Stri-achara, traditional ceremonies at 

marriages, 231. 
Wine-drinking, g, n, 255. 
Ceylon : — 
Dharma highly revered in, 6. 
Vana Patha and Paritta, festivities 

similar to Gambhlra, 6. 
Chaitra festivities of Orissa, a local 
edition of the Bengal Gambhlra, 5. 
Chamunda (Chandi) : — 

A Hindu Tantric goddess worshipped 

by Buddhists, 188. 
Description of, 188. 
Mask-dance of, based on Purdnas, 

245, 248. 
paraphernalia of, Hi. 

Chamunda (Chandi) — cont. — 

Mentioned in Mdrkandeya Chandi as 

a wife of Shiva, 254. 
Protector of Buddha's religion, 173. 
Tantric rituals of described in Mdlati- 

Mddhava, 187.^ 
Chandi (Chandika, Adya, Chamunda, 
Durga, Gauri) : — 
Divine energy in full splendour, 39, 

Flourished as Prachanda in Chandi- 

pura, 206. 
Installed as Adya and then as 

Chandika in Gambhlra temple, 

Mentioned in Shunya Purdna, 258. 
Narasimhl, a form of, 112. 
Represented as the daughter of a 

Hand! (lowest class of Hindu), 

Temple of, attached to every Hindu 

house under Mohammedan rule, 

Worshipped as Vajra Tara by 

Mahayanists, 184. 
Charity or alms-giving : — 
Asoka's feast of atonement and 

charity, 156 (note). 
Feeding of worshippers, 56, 155, 

Gifts of money and pearl at Gambhlra 

and Gajan, 159. 
Harsa Vardhana's splendid gifts to 

men of religion and the poor, 

Children :— 
Dance before the temple, 4, 247. 
Vows and observances of, Hinduized 
under Pala kings, 202. 
Christmas Day, Hindu equivalent of, 

Churning of the Ocean by the Gods, 29. 
Civilization, Hindu : — 

Misunderstood by superficial ob- 
servers, 114. 
Three epochs of, 215. 
Colour no criterion of racial status, 2. 
Comedy of errors in Shaiva legend, 

Commerce greatly developed under 

the Palas and Cholas, 162. 
Concentration, of the Lord of Gods, 28. 
Confession : — 
An essential to absolution in Gam- 
bhlra ritual, 20. 
Failing confession, exposure, 20. 
Festival for atonement founded by 
Asoka, 156 (note). 


Confession — cotit. — 
Gambhira practice of confession be- 
fore Shiva probably relic of 
Asoka's festival, 158. 
Hlnayana Buddhists held that con- 
fession absolved from four kinds 
of sin, 136. 
Practised bi-monthly by Bhiksus or 
Buddhist ascetics, 156 (note). 
Co-operation, practically inculcated by 

the Gambhira, 20. 
Co-operative worship, 131. 
Corpse, dances and ritual, 81, go, 187, 

Cosmogony, Hindu, described in rustic 

hymns, 26, 27, 32. 
Cotton, sown by Shiva, and spun by 

his wife, 38. 
Cow and its products : — 
Ashes of dried cow-dung used in 
adornment of Shiva, 45. 

in preparation for the 

Vanafoda, 105, 106. 
Cow-dung as fuel, 105. 

— used to besmear the courtyard of 

the temple, 88. 
Pancha-gavya, mixture of milk, curds, 
ghee and the two excretions of 
the cow, used in ritual purifica- 
tion, 236. 
Sacred cow (Kapila), which supports 

the world, 28-9. 
Urine of cow used in purification, 
196, 197- 
Cows, giving away of, 240. 
Cowries (conch-shells), smallest cur- 
rency, igo. 
Crab, fetcher of earth for the Creation, 

27, 32. 
Creation : — 
Creator afraid to create the world, 


— creates himself, 40, 197, 222. 
Earth, created from the filth of the 

body, 40 (note), ig8. 
Effected by meditation, 40. 
Story as told in Gambhira hymns, 27, 

32. 39- 
Water, the saliva of Dharma, 40. 
Culture, Hindu : — 
Community of thought between 

classes and masses, 252. 
Differently developed in North and 

South, 216-7. 
Gambhira effectively raises standard 

of in Bengal, 16. 
Making of contributed to by masses 

no less than classes, x. 


Dances and dancing : — 
AUdha, shooting posture, 245. 
Chart dance, 245. 
Children, 4, 247. 
Effect of Nilanjasa's dance on 

Risabha Deva, 123, 137. 
False goddesses' dance to Shiva, 

122, 250. 
Gambhira mask-dances founded on 

King Vana's, 245. 
Mask-dancing founded on classic 

descriptions, 245. 
Modern dancing differs but slightly 

from traditional, 245, 
Pramukha, 245. 
Pratyanlka dance, 245. 
Shaking the head, 122, 245. 
Shali and Sthana Panchaka, 245. 
Shiva as patron god of dancing, 123. 
Vana's dancing before Shiva, 106-7, 

' 122, 244-7. 
Vividhakara, cutting many figures, 

Dancing-hall (pandal) : its decoration 

and lighting, 62-5. 
Dates, Times and Seasons : — 
Asddha (June-July) : — 
Sowing of Shiva, 38. 
Astrologically auspicuous date to be 
selected for making the phallus 
of Shiva, 237. 
Chaitra (March-April) : — 
Adi Jina, ninth day of dark half, 

117, 140. 
Chadaka-post ceremony, last day of 

month, 31, 81. 
Gajan festival, last six days, 75. 
Gambhira festival, last five days, 51 , 

Marriage of Shiva, about end of 

month, 87. 
Parshwanatha's conception, fourth 

day of dark half, 139. 
— illumination, forenoon of fourth 
day of dark half, when moon 
had entered Vishakha, 139. 
Sahiyatra, day of full moon, 91. 
Shiva's festival, day of full moon, 

Swinging ceremony, day of full 

moon, 242. 
Third day of bright half, auspicious 
for asking boons from Gaurt, 

Confession, on full-moon ana new 
moon days, 156 (note). 



Dates, Times and Seasons — cant. — 
Jyaistha (May-June) : — 

Aniruddha released by Kilt at 
dead of night on fourteenth day 
of black half of month, 244. 
Jinendra's birthday month, 138. 
Nandlshwara festival of the Jainas, 
from eighth day of light half 
of Asadha, Kartika (Oct.-Nov.) 
and Phalgoon (Feb.-March), to 
the full moon day, 140 (note). 
Phdlgoon (Feb.-March) :— 

Phalgoon festivities when moon is 

in its twelfth mansion, 242. 
Shivaratri, fourteenth day of dark 
half, 3. 
Praharas, divisions of day and night, 

238, 239. 
Rewards attached to worship of 
Shiva in Chaitra and Vaishakha, 
Sun's passage from Libra to Scorpio 
or from Aries to Taurus, Bud- 
dhist ceremonies on, 172. 
Vaishdkha (April-May) : — 
Buddha's birthday, full-moon day, 

"9. 135. 147- 
Dharma's Gajan, on third day of 
light half; closes on day of 
full moon, 96. 
Vijaya-dashamt day, fourth day of 
the Durga-puj£ (generally held 
in October) — day for the worship 
of masks, no. 
Decorative Arts : — 

Encouraged by the Gambhira, 17-8. 
Higher standard promoted by emula- 
tion, 18-g. 
Image-making must be orthodox, 
yet have elements of novelty and 
diversity, 18. 
Imitation fruits and flowers a speci- 
ality of old Malda, 18. 
Painting, competition and growth in 

beauty, 18. 
Paper-cutting, an old and exquisite 

art, 18-9. 
Mural decoration with rice-paste 
(alipana), an art excelled in by 
females, 19. 
Weaving of fine cloth, ig. 
Deluge, universal, 32. 
Dharma (Brahma, or Adi Buddha), the 
Creator : — 
Approachable through meditation 

only, 95, 101. 
As Void, the Primeval God or First 
Cause, 27, 32, 95, 101. 

Dharma (Brahma, or Adi Buddha), the 
Creator — cont. — 
Attribute of Whiteness, as Dharma 

Niranjana, 33, 39, 194. 
Building of his temple, 225-6. 
Counselled by Ulluka, his conveyance, 

41, 43 (note). 
Creates himself, 40, 197. 

— his seat, the lotus, 41. 

— Nature, 222. 

— the earth, 27, 32, 40 (note). 

— the elephant, tortoise and serpent, 

to bear up the earth, 42-3. 
Creation story of the Shunya Pur Ana, 

197-g, 221-2. 
Dehara-bhanga song, in which 

Dharma is Islamized, 226-g. 
Dharma Adhikari, Lord of Dharma, 48. 

— Niranjana in West Bengal a com- 

pound name for one and the 
same god ; but in Dharma-gitd 
Niranjana appears as the son of 
Dharma, 95. 
Disguises himself as a Mohammedan 
and joins other gods in breaking 
down and plundering the temple, 
Disturbed by Kamadeva, 199. 
Divides honours of Gajan with Shiva, 

Endows Shiva with three eyes, 199. 
Entertained by dancing and singing 

of the gods, 223-4. 
Eternal, 95. 

Fear of his task of creation, g$. 
Female form of, in Buddhist Trinity, 

147. 193- 

First or front position in Hindu 
Trinity, 28, 32, 194. 

Footprints and sandals of, 195. 

Formless, represented by image of 
tortoise, 100. 

Formlessness of, dweltupon in medita- 
tion, salutationsand hymns, 100-2. 

Gives birth to Adya, 95-6, 198, 222. 

Highly revered in Ceylon, 6. 

Illusive power of, 94, 101. 

Om, his mystic syllable, 194. 

Saluted by Shiva, 222. 

Seed of, drunk by Adya in mistake 
for poison, igg, 222. 

Shiva as his guest at the Gajan, 222. 

Springs out of the Void, 197-8. 

Worship of, not offered openly under 
Mohammedan rule, 219. 

Worshipped by day, Shiva by night, 
239 (note). 

— with song, music and dance, 124-5. 


Dhenki, popular reverence for, 61. 
Dhenki-mangala and Dhenki Chu- 

mana, 59-61. 
Dining as a socio-religious function, 5, 

129, 130, 131, 132, 133. 
Dinner-party of the gods, 5, 132. 
Divination ceremonies : — 
Mediumship, 8g, go. 
Paddy cultivation, 57. 
Pat-bhanga, 86. 
Phul-kadhan, 78. 
Doors of the temple : — 
Gajan : opening ceremony, 44. 
— salutation service before, 49. 
Gambhira — four in number, 70. 
Dramatic work showing Tantric in- 
fluence : — 
Mdlati-Mddhava (eighth century), in 
which the hero seeks aid of Tan- 
tric magic in his love-making, 
Ndgdnanda (seventh century), in 
which Shiva and Durga restore 
the dead to life, 186. 
Drinking, social, 129. 
Drums, Drumsticks: — 

Damaru, small hour-glass-shaped 
drum favoured by Shiva, g, 39, 
45. !25. 223. 
Dhaka, long drum, made of mango- 
wood and cowhide leather, 37, 
52, 53, 126. 
Dhaka-sticks, made of karavi-wood, 

Mridangas, small drums, 9. 
Drunkenness as a condition of worship, 

Durga (Chandi, Adya) :— 

A name of fire in the Manduka Upa- 

nisad, 253. 
As wife of Shiva in post-Vedic litera- 
ture has definite form and rules 

the gods, 254. 
Creative energy of God, and wife of 

Shiva, 84, 134, 198, 254. 
Identified with Adya by Ramai, 198, 

200, 220, 222. 
— Motherland by Bankimchandra 

Chatterji, 261-2. 
Illusive powers of, 234. 
Invocation to at marriage ceremony, 

Joins Shiva in restoring to life the 

Buddhist Jimutavahana, 186. 
Mentioned in Jaina Aristanemi 

Purdna, 257. 
Mentioned in Mahayanic Buddhist 

works, 258. 

Durga. (Chandi, Adya.) — cont. — 
Most popular modern goddess of 

Hindu Bengal, 261. 
Mother of Kamadeva and sends him 

after Dharma, 198-g. 
Procession of at ablution ceremony, 

Rides a lion and has ten hands, 30. 
Tara, her Tantric Buddhist shadow, 

Worship of, promoted by Hindu 

princes under the Mohammedans, 

Dusting the temple with the hair, 48-g. 

Eclecticism, Religious : — 

Culminated in the reign of Harsa 
Vardhana, 152-3. 

Helped forward under Islamite pres- 
sure, 218. 

Hiuen Thsang's testimony to in con- 
nection with Harsa's religiouB 
festivals, 154-5, 159. 

Mahlpala endows Brahmanas to pro- 
pitiate Buddha, 172. 

Narayanapala, a staunch Buddhist, 
endows Shaivism, 167-8. 

— builds temples to Shiva, but pro- 
vides that they shall be free also 
to Buddhists, 169. 

Ramai Pandit introduces Hindu 
along with Buddhist deities and 
adapts Hindu forms, 194. 

Pala kings' eclecticism paved the way 
for absorption of Buddhism by 
Shaivism, 202. 

Egyptian gods similar to Indian, 7. 

Festivities held similar to Gambhlra, 

Elephant : — 
Created by Dharma to bear up the 

earth, 42. 
Herds of, said to have saluted Buddha, 

42 (note). 
Worshipped by Buddhist Tantrists, 
42 (note). 
Endowment of land for the service of 

Shiva, 167-8. 
Energy (Shakti) embodied in the gods 
and goddesses, 258-9. 

False Mothers, legend of the, 122, 248- 



Fasting : — 
Absolute abstinence, 80. 
Avoidance of fish and meat, 75. 
Eating boiled rice and ghee only, 76, 

— fruit only, 76, 77. 
Feasting, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 56, 132-3, 155, 

157. 159- 
Festivals (and see Gajan, Gambhlra, 
Sahiyatra) :— 
Adi Jina Risabha (Jaina), 117. 
Babylon, 7. 
Bacchic (Greece), 6-7. 
Car (Hindu), 147. 
Car, or Chariot (Buddhist), 13, ng, 

124, 147, 243. 
Chaitrotsava (Buddhist), 13, tig, 124, 

Doal-yatra (Buddhist), 156 (note). 
Fire (Vedic), 11-2. 

— of Nedapoda, Medhapoda and 

Agchi (Buddhist), 156 (note). 
Floral (Shaivist), 242-3. 
Flowery Car (Shaivist), 117. 

— Temple (Shaivist), 117, 242, 243. 
Harvest (Vedic), 10-11. 

Id (Mohammedan), 7. 
Madana, God of Love, 242. 
Madanotsava (Cupid's), 187. 
Mara-Vinashaka (Ceylon, Buddhist), 

Nandishwara (Jaina) 140 (note). 
Osiris (Egypt), 7. 
Paritta (Ceylon), 6. 
Parinirvana (Buddhist), 140, 147, 152. 
Quinquennial (Buddhist), 13-14, 156-g. 
Shakyasimha's birthday (Buddhist), 

118-g, 123, 135, 152. 
Shashamka's (Shaivist-Saura), I5g. 
Shiva's in Phalgoon (Shaivist), 117. 
Skandagovinda (Shaivist), 117. 
Spring (Jaina), 117, 118, 140, 152. 
Swinging (Shaivist), 117, 242. 
Tirthamkaras, birth and emancipation 

of (Jaina), 117, 138. 
Vana Patha (Ceylon), 6. 
Vasanta, Spring God, 242. 
Filth, world created from, 40 (note). 
Fire, sacred, in worship, 237, 238. 
Fire feats, commemorating the burning 

of a pavilion, 155-6. 
Fire-gods and their wives, the real 

origin of idolatry, 12. 
Fire Worship : — 

Fire worshipped under various forms 

and names, n, 12, 253. 
Kunda-seva ceremonies of Dharma's 
Gajan, 97. 

Fire Worship — cont. — 

Shiva the God of Fire in Vedic times, 

Vigrahapala's coins suggestive of fire- 
worship, 167. 

Worship conducted with large-scale 
ceremony and pomp, n. 
First Cause : — 

Dharma as, 27. 

— prays to, 63 (note). 
Folk :— 

Base Shiva-worship on Purdnas as 
well as on modern treatises, 251. 

Dominated matters of faith in Pala 
days, 169. 

Elected Gopala, 165. 

King's anxiety to please, 166. 

Invented deities for help in life's 
battle, 253, 258. 
Folk-Element in Hindu Culture, 
The :— 

Assistance acknowledged, viii, xiii. 

Based on first-hand study, vii, viii. 

Bibliography, xii-xiii. 

Complementary to Positive Back- 
ground, vii. 

Diacritical marks, xiii. 

Limited to study of Shaiva-cum- 
Shaktaism relations with Bud- 
dhism in Bengali-speaking 
Eastern India, viii. 

Observations suggested by the 
Author's studies, x-xi. 

Political details and dates purposely 
restricted, xi. 

Result of preliminary spadework in 
data of Hindu sociology, x. 

Rules observed in quotation and re- 
ference, xi. 

Side-lights for students, xv. 

Sources of information, xii, xiii, xiv. 

Studies of Mr. Haridas Palit, viii. 

Vaisnava cult not included in scope, 
Folk-lore, Hindu, as an interpretation 
of transcendental conceptions to 
the people, x, xi. 
Folk-lorists : — 

Bengal, viii. 

Initiation among the folk a necessary 
qualification, ix. 

Palit, Mr. Haridas, special studies of, 
viii, ix, x. 
Folk-religion : — 

Parent of cult of World-Forces and 
its developments, xvi. 

Still active in creation, adaptation 
and re-interpretation, xvi. 


Gajan Ceremonies : — 

is* Day : Sannyasi-dhara, or Selec- 
tion : — 
Marking volunteer votaries with 
sandal-paste, or by shaving, 75. 
Musical procession and bathing, 

Supper avoiding meat and fish, 

■2nd Day : Nijhad-kaman, or Shav- 
ing :— 

Essential to acceptance, 76. 
Performed on latest date for ac- 
ceptance of sannyasis, 76. 
Rites obligatory on sannyasis, 
3rd Day : Havisya : — 

Brahmana (priest) begins his 

office, '76. 
Gajane Brahmana initiates 

Gajane sannyasis, 76-7. 
— Shiva, substitute for perman- 
ent idol, 76 (note). 
Garlands of thread balls (utta- 

riya), 76-7. 
Ghata-sthapana, installation of 

Shiva's water-jar, 76. 
Worship and singing of hymns, 

$th Day : Maha-havisya : — 

Day of full ceremonial worship, 

Divination by the Phul-kadhan 

ceremony, 77, 78. 
Jagaran, passing of sleepless 

nights (i.e. with festivities and 

merry-making), 76, 79, 238-g. 
Lighting of Nila's temple, 80. 
Procession round the district, 78. 
Verse-making competitions, 79. 
Worship of Shiva's crocodile, 79- 

$th Day : Fasts and Ntla-puja. : — 
Absolute fast, 80. 
Assistance of painters inmaking- 

up for processions and dances, 

Fancy-dress processions, 80. 
Hindus join with Mohammedans, 

Mask-dances like those of Gam- 

bhlra of Malda, 80. 
Nilavati-puja, lighting Shiva's 

temple with lamps burning 

ghee, a ceremony opening 

heaven's gates to women, 87. 

Gajan Ceremonies — cant. — 
$th Day : Fasts and Nila-puja — 
cont. — 

Pat-bhanga, scramble for fruit, 

Songs and hymns to Shiva, 81-5. 
Cultivation song, 82-4. 
Parvati's bracelets song, 84-5. 
Tortures, or physical austerities, 
as in Gambhlra, 81, 85-7. 
Banti - jhamp, jumping on 

knives or spikes, 85. 
Dhuna Podana, inhalation of 
resin-smoke, either seated or 
hanging head-downward (cf. 
agni-jhamp, pp. 58-9), 86-7. 
Kanta-jhamp, jumping on 
thorns, 86. 
6th Day : Chadaka-puja : — 

Day of exciting ceremonies, such 

as VanafodI, now forbidden, 

87, 103-6, 108. 

Marriage of Shiva celebrated in 

some places, 87, gg, 200-1, 229- 

Origin of Vanafoda — legend of 
Vana, 106-7, z 44 _ 7- 
Gajan of Dhiarma : — 
A form of worship introduced by 

Ramai Pandit, 195. 
Adi Buddha's worship called 

Dharma's Gajan, 225. 
Annual and occasional forms, 96. 
Based on codes more ancient than 

Ramai's, g3. 
Building of Dharma's temple to song 

and music, 225. 
Building song, 226. 
Caste differences ignored by 'Dharma, 

Ceremonies cover twelve days, 96. 
Dehara-bhanga (pulling down the 

altar), delightful and histori- 
cally interesting ceremony, 99. 
Dehdrd- bhdngd, song of Islamized 

Buddhism, 224, 226-g. 
Dharma, being formless, represented 

by the image of a tortoise, 100. 
Dharma Niranjana, ^presiding deity, 

the same as Adi (Primitive) 

Buddha, g3-4, ig4. 
Dharma's awakening, 98, gg. 
Dharmapaduka, sandals of Dharma, 

modern form of Dharmapada, 

footprints of Dharma, g8, 100, 

Dharma-mangala gives details of 
worship, 200. 



Gajan of Dharma — cont. — 
Difficulties under Islam : — 

Brahmana caste-prejudice endan- 
gers and handicaps the wor- 
ship, 2ig, 221. 
Hindu landlords discourage the 
worship for fear of the Brah- 
manas, 219. 
Moslem hatred of idolatry met by 
Islamizing the worship and 
vilifying Hindu gods, 219. 
Goddess Adya worshipped with 

Dharma, 95. 
Graha-bkarana, daily programme of 

R&mai, 97. 
Hdkanda Purdna, original treatise 
on Dhaima-worship, 225. 

system superseded by Ramai's, 

Hinduization of the festival: — 
Adaptation of Hindu gods and 

forms, 194-5, 220. 
Assisted by advent of Islam, 218. 
Dharma and Adya converted into 

Shiva and Durga, 200, 220. 
Shiva, introduced as spectator or 
guest, ultimately becomes pre- 
siding deity, 200, 222, 223-4, 
Lauseni ritual used with Ramai's 

hymns and mantras, 97-8. 
Mantras or incantations of Shunya 
Purdna not essential details, 
but sung after every item of 
worship^ ig6. 
Marriage of Adya, a beautiful festivity 
and indispensable to the Gajan, 
87, 99, 200-r, 229-31. 
Order of worship and daily ceremon- 
ies, 98. 
Other gods associated with Dharma, 

Peculiar festivity of the Amani 

Chiyana, gg. 
Piercings with needles, gg, 103-6. 
Ramai Pandit as missionary of 

Dharma's Gajan, igs- 
Shunya Purdna contents — legend 
and ritual, 196-7. 

creation story represented in 

Gajan, 200. 
Temporary deharas under Islam, 

Various names of Dharma, 100. 
Worship formula; : — 
Hymns, 101-2. 
Meditation, 100-1. 
Salutation, 101. 

Gajan, or Gambhlra, of West Bengal 
(Radha) :— 
A local name for the Gambhlra 

festival, 61. 
Caste rules ignored, 133-4. 
Crossing the Vaitaranl, in Dharma's 
Gajan, similar to the Samsole 
Chhada of the Gambhlra in 
Malda, 59. 
Cultivation of paddy by Shiva enacted 
both in Dharma's and in Shiva's 
Gajan, 57 (note). 
Dharma Niranjana a guest at Shiva's 

Gajan, 23r. 
Dhenki-mangala, advent of the sage 
Narada on a dhenki, or husk- 
ing pedal, 59-60. 

similar to the Dhenki Chumana 

of the Malda Gambhlra, 
Divided into Dharma's Gajan and 

Shiva's Gajan, 5. 
Fire, sacred, 237. 
Managed by Mandala in some places, 

Mohammedan hatred of idolatry met 

by turning the Hindu god into 

a Moslem saint, 220. 
Mula-sannyasi, chief votary, assists 

Mandala, 74, 77. 
Name comes from Sanskrit garjana, 

uproar, 73. 
— means literally " Festivities held 

in honour of Shiva," 73. 
Organization, 74. 
Phallus of Shiva, worship of, 120, 155 

(note), 235-7, 238- 
Phulkhela and other fire diversions, 

commemorating the burning of 

the pavilion at Kanauj, 155-6. 
Procession of the Nila-puja similar 

to the Gambhlra procession of 

the Bada Tamasa, 53. 
RSmai's Gajan probably imitates 

Buddhist festivities seen by 

Hiuen Thsang, 223. 
Shunya Purdna creation story re- 
presented, 200. 
Specimens of salutation songs, 44- 


Temple of Shiva in every village, 73. 

Vanafoda or some form of blood- 

' spilling necessary, 107, 247. 

Gambhlra, Adya's : — 

A Bengalee socio-religious festival, 2, 

Called after the place where held, 



Gambhira, Adya's — cont. — 

Called Gambhira in North, Gajan in 
West, Nlla in East Bengal, 2, 
5, 61-2. 

— Gambhira probably everywhere 

originally, 62. 

— SahSyatra in Orissa and Midna- 

pore, 61-2. 

Caste rules ignored, 133-4. 

Confession of sins before Shiva pro- 
bably relic of Asoka's atonement 
festival, 156 (note), 158. 

Connected with the worship of Shiva, 
4, 71-2. 

Connoted all the Gajan festivites of 
West Bengal, 5. 

Devotees of Aula Chand prominent 


Enjoyed by Shiva, his family and 
other gods, 4. 

Enriches language and literature, 

Extends all over Bengal and Orissa 
and even to Assam, Burma and 
Bhutan ; extended probably to 
Tibet, 5-6. 

Founded on the Sanskrit Pur Anas as 
well as on vernacular treatises, 

Geographical distribution — generally 
East of the Ganges as Gambhira, 
and elsewhere under other names, 

Germs of the worship to be found in 
Buddhist festivities held in 
honour of both Hindu and 
Buddhist deities, 147, 155, 158-g. 

Goldsmiths of old Gauda, migrating 
to Kudmun in Burdwan, took 
with them the Gambhira, 62. 

Inspires unlettered poets, 17. 

Known personally to the author for 
twenty years, xiii. 

Lotus offerings in, 41 (note). 

Maker of poets, 15. 

Malda Gambhira best preserves ori- 
ginal character, 62. 

Masking or disguise as gods favoured 
by royalty, 13. 

legendary origin of, 122, 148- 


spread of, 14. 

Milton's Comus dances suggestive of 

Gambhira, 6-7 (note). 
Organizers pay great attention to 

their secular interests, 3. 
Palit, Mr. Haridas, describes his first 

impressions of, ix. 

Gambhira, Adya's — cont. — 

Phulkheia and other fire diversions 
commemorating the burning of 
the pavilion at Kanauj, 133-6. 
Potent factor of mass-education, 14. 
Practised to please the god and to 
obtain his favours of health and 
long life, 4, 53. 
Prohibition of conduct disrespectful 

to the gods, 5, 56-7. 
Promotes national spirit, 16. 
Raises tone of thought and standard 

of culture, 16. 
Seventh century celebrations de- 
scribed by Chinese visitors, 13- 
Shaiva influence predominant, but 
Tantric Buddhism the backbone, 
Similar festivities formerly held in 
Ceylon, Greece, Babylon, Egypt, 
etc., 6-7. 
Specimens of the salutation songs, 

Spread of, from Asia to Europe and 

Africa, 6. 
Study of, reveals how Shaivism has 
assimilated both Buddhism and 
Jainism, 25. 
— shows the importance of verna- 
cular literature in historical re- 
search, 25. 
Tantric influence amply traceable in 
the ceremonies, 188. 
Gambhira ceremonies : — 
1st Day : Ghata Bhara : — 

Filling the jar with water, a 
symbol of the in-filling power 
of the god to be worshipped, 

Generally held the day before 

the Chhota Tamasa, 51. 
Ghata (jar, pitcher), emblem of 

the worshipped god, 31. 
— filled after dusk, then in- 
stalled, 32. 
2nd Day: Chhota Tamasa (Lesser 
Festivities) : — 
No formal ceremonies, 52. 
Worship of Hara-Parvatl begins 
and voluntary Bhaktas take 
up their vows, 53. 
3rd Day : Bada Tamasa (Greater 
Festivities) : — 
Begin with Hara-Parvatl wor- 
ship, 53. 
Dancing procession of Bhaktas 
in fancy dress, 53. 



Gambhlra ceremonies — cont. — 

3rd Day : Bada Tamasa (Greater 
Festivities) — cont. — 

Darts inserted in the body and 

the outer ends set on fire, 53. 
Dressing of Hanuman, 54. 

— of Kali, 55-6. 
Mashana dance of Kali, 55-6. 
Mask-play of Hanuman's burn- 
ing of Ceylon, 53-4. 

Minor mask-dances, 55. 
Procession and ceremony of 

Phula-bhanga, 54-5. 
Songs criticizing Shiva, 55. 

— denouncing the wicked, 55. 
Use of incense to appease Kali, 

Wave-offerings and illumination 
of the temple, 55. 
tfii Day ; Ahara-puja: — 

Ahara-puja, or worship of a bam- 
boo post hung with mango, 
banana blossoms, etc., 5, 51, 
Ceremony of homa, 56. 
Dhenki-chumana, advent of the 
sage Narada on a 
dhenki, or husking 
pedal, 59-60. 
described in Shunya Pur- 
Ana, 60. 

similar to the Dhenki- 

mangala ceremony of 
Dharma's Gajan, 59. 
Feeding of Brahmanas and vir- 
gins, 56. 
Inhalation of smoke of burning 
resin while hanging head 
downward (Agni-jhamp), 58-g. 
Sacredness of the ground after 

Ahara ceremony, 56-7. 
Samsole Chhada, release of the 
Samsole fish, 58. 

similar to the Gajan cere 

mony of crossing the 
Vaitaranl, 59. 
Shiva's cultivation of paddy (rice) 
enacted and the prospect of 
the year's crop divined, 57. 
Vol vahi , special improvised songs 
to appropriate music, 57-8. 
5th Day : Chadaka-puja (swinging 
or whirling) : — 

Held formerly on last day of the 

Gambhlra or Gajan, 51, 87. 
Now illegal, 87, 108. 
Origin of — legend of Vana, 106- 
7. 244-7- 

Gambhlra of the rustics in Varendra, 
or Northern Bengal : — 
Absolute absence of luxury, 88. 
Chief sannyasi, or Gunl, acts as 

priest, 88. 
Gambhlra-houses often dilapidated, 

Ghost worship prevails, and at the 
Gambhlra outshines that of 
Shiva, 89. 
Ghosts and spirits supposed to at- 
tend the jagarana (night cele- 
brations), 8g. 
Mashan, or Corpse Dance : — 
Awakening the corpse, 90. 
Bringing it into the temple, 90. 
Mediumship, or possession by ghost 

or god, 89-go. 
Possession by the local deity, go-i. 
Shiva's cultivation ceremony, 90. 
Solo mask- dancing, go. 
Gambhlra organization : — 

Bhangan, the budget and subscrip- 
tion-list of the Gambhlra, 68. 
Control of each Gambhlra by a Man- 

dala (headman of village), 66. 
Endowments or grants of land to 
old Gambhlras by zamindars, 
— which formerly paid for the wor- 
ship, now insufficient, 67. 
Fines from social culprits and legacies 
from those dying without heirs 
help to finance the Gambhlra, 67. 
General Assembly (Chhatrisi) of 

Gambhlras, 66. 
Modern Gambhlras not often en- 
dowed, 67. 
New Gambhlras due to splits in Man- 
dala families, 67-8. 

of an amateur nature called 

Sakher, or pleasure Gam- 
bhlras, 68. 
Vaithaka, or general meeting and 
court of the Gambhlra, 66, 68. 
Gambhlra Temple :— 
Appointments of in the past : — 

Adorned by paper lotuses for 

practical reasons, 63-4. 
Lighted by earthen cups burning 

mustard oil, 64. 
Open iron lamps (chomackas) 
suspended or on stands, 64-5. 
Pictures drawn on cloths, 65. 
Sackcloth couch for the Mandala 

and other gentry, 64. 
Seats not provided for the pub- 
lic, 63, 64. 



Gambhlra Temple — cont. — 

Appointments of in the past — cont. — 

Shade-canopies gradually intro- 
duced, 64. 

Tobacco and pipes provided, 

Torches of oil-drenched rags or 
bundles of dried jute plants, 

Varind district still preserves 
primitive conditions, 65. 
Appointments of in the present : — 

Luxurious and artistic — gaslight, 
elaborate paintings, chairs, 
benches and beds, sprays of 
rose-water, coloured torches, 
etc. — all adding enormously 
to the cost of decoration, 65 
General details : — 

In Orissa Shiva's image installed 
in a very dark inner apartment, 
or holy of holies, called the 
Ghora-Gambhlra, 71. 

Temple contains four doors, 70. 
Name : — 

Gambhlra, a name of Shiva, 

— in mediaeval times meant a 

house of meditation or 
worship, 68-g, 70, 71. 

— name of the lotus, used in de- 

coration, 70. 
Hence, temple probably called 
Gambhlra after Gambhlra 
(Shiva) who was worshipped 
in it ; and the festivities called 
Gambhlra. after the place in 
which they were held and 
which was adorned with Gam- 
bhlra flowers, 72. 
Transition : — 

Gambhlra-house formerly used 
for worship of Buddha or 
Dharma, 69. ^ 
Introduction of Adya prepared 

the way for Shiva, 69. 
Shiva worship supplanted that of 
Buddha and the Gambhlra. be- 
came the temple of Shiva, 6g- 
Ganapati, Lord of Ghosts and Goblins, 

a name of Ganesha, 97. 
GamgH : — 

Presiding deity of the Ganges and 

wife of Shiva, 30. 
Spins cotton handed her by Shiva, 38. 
Worn by Shiva on his head, 45, 46, 
71, 178. 

Ganesha (God of Success) : — 
Disguise as Gazi, 224. 
First deity to be honoured in every 

Tantric worship, 236, 241 (note). 
Rides a mouse, 29. 
Worshipped in connexion with the 

worship of other gods, g7, 220. 
Ganges : — 
Ablution in, of Buddha, 119, 155. 
Eastern side, the locality of Gambhlra 

festivities, 61-2. 
Mahadeva's city on its banks, 210. 
Mahipala bathes in, 172. 
Marmelos leaf drenched in its water 

placed on Shiva's head, 78. 
Water of, drunk by votaries, 77. 

— offered to Mashan Kail, go. 
to Shiva, 34. 

— sprinkled on flowers, 86. 

— used in purification, 36. 
Gates, the four, opening of, 30-ii 
Garuda (King of Birds) : — 

Conveyance of Visnu, 146. 
Holds the Jhati and Jhagada, 108. 
Pillar of, set up by Gurava Mishra, 

Gauda : — 
Ancient capital of Bengal, 62. 
Buddhist in eighth century, 163. 
Conquered by Yashovarman, 163. 
Effort by Shura kings to revive Ved- 

ism, 163-4. 
Eloquently described by Dhoyl, 210. 
Failure of Shura dynasty brings in 

the Palas, 164-5. 
Gradual displacement of Buddhism 

by Shaivism under the Palas, 

Moral decadence on eve of Moslem 

conquest, 212-3. 
Ramai Pandit a resident, ng. 
Shashamka, celebrated both Shaiva 
and Saura festivals, 159. 

— conquered by Harsa Vardhana, 

Tantrism (Buddhist and Shaivist) un- 
opposed in early eleventh cen- 
tury, 189. 

— supreme under Laksmana Sena 

in twelfth century, 208. 
Tarsi worship especially in vogue 

under the Senas, 205-6. 
Varman dynasty encourages Shaiv- 
ism, 203. 
Gaurl (Adya, Chandika) :— 
Bestower of blessings, 243. 
Fitted with bracelets by Shiva, 84. 
Joint image of with Shiva, 69, 210, 231. 



Gaud (Adya, Chandiki) — cont. 

One of the Sixteen Mothers, 122, 184. 
Sent for by Shiva and impersonated 

by Chitralekha, 248-g. 
Shiva worshipped as the " much be- 
loved husband of Gaurl," 71. 
Tara and Arya Tarsi images similar 
to Gaurl's, 186. 
Ghata (water-pitcher or jar), symbol 
of the in-filling power of a god, 
32, 49, 51, 69, 197. 
Ghost-worship in Northern Bengal, 8g- 

Gibbons, as steeds of the gods, 30. 
Gifts, to priests, guests and others : — 
Beds, etc., 168, i6g. 
Cloth, 55. 

Clothing, 131, 157, 158. 
Cows, 240. 
Drink, 158. 
Flowers, 86, 158. 

— of gold, 156. 

Food, 56, 131, 158, 165, 168. 

— and drink, 169. 
Jewels, 131. 
Maintenance, 168. 

Money, 117, 131, 158, 159, 240. 

Ornaments, 157. 

Pearls, 158, 159. 

Perfumes, 158. 

Rice, 61, 132-3, 240 (note), 243. 
God non-existent in the beginning, ac- 
cording to Ramai Pandit, 197. 
Gods and Goddesses of India :— 

Agnosticism of the Hindus leads to 
free invention and manipulation 
of gods, 260. 

All embodiments of shakti (energy) 
or bhakti (love), and invented as 
aids and exemplars in life and 
duty, 258-9. 

Augmented in number from age to 
age, 253, 259-t3o. 

Bhakti or devotional literature since 
fifteenth century has appealed 
more to the heart than to the 
head, 259. 

Book (Myths of the Hindus and Bud- 
dhists) recommended to students, 

Buddhist and non-Buddhist of com- 
mon origin and often difficult to 
distinguish, xv-xvi. 

Change in forms, attributes and sig- 
nificance, 254, 260. 

Deification of Motherland and its 
culture: Tagore's Hymn to 
Mother India, 260-1, 

Gods and Goddesses of India — cont. — 
Goddesses rank higher than gods, 234. 
Gods of the Rig Veda and Upanisads 

represent natural elements and 

potencies, 253-4. 

— take more definite form and are 

more humanized in the Purdnas 
and Epics, 254. 
Marriage and parentage among gods, 

Preference to Shiva and his wives in 

Purdnas and Samhitds, 254-6. 
Purdnas of the Buddhists, devoted 
chiefly to Buddha, 257. 

— of the Jainas mention Hindu 

gods, 256-7. 
Tantric works of Hindus favour Shiva 
and elevate demi-gods to 
the rank of gods, 256. 
Mahayana Buddhists intro- 
duce the Bodhisattvas and 
include Hindu deities, es- 
pecially forms of Shiva and 
Shakti, 257-8. 
To each generation its god-lore, 260. 
Tradition plus Vedantic monism : 
Durga as Motherland: Vande 
Mdtaram the summary and inter- 
pretation of India's god-lore, 
Vedic literature neglected in favour 
of later Bengali treatises and 
songs, 25g. 
Greece, illustrations from : — 
Bacchanalia, similar to Gambhira, 

Bacchus, phallus of, 235 (note). 
Griha-darshana : looking inside a house 
to protect it from evil influences, 

Gupta Emperors : — 
At first worshippers of Visnu, 150 

1 (note). 
Evolved into Tantric Shaiva-cum- 
Shaktaism, 150. 


Hair, dusting the temple with, 48-9. 
Halayudha :— 

A famous scholar, law-giver and re- 
ligious minister to Laksmana 
Sena, in twelfth century, 208. 

Complains of decay of learning among 
Brahmanas, 207. 

Writes Matsya-sukta to check the ex- 
cesses yet preserve the spirit of 
Tantrism, 208. 


Hanuman (Monkey-god) : — 

Brings stones for building Chandl's 

temple, 35. 
Introduces mango into Ceylon, 37. 
Mask-play of, 53-4, 111. 
Mentioned in Dharma Mangala, 258. 
— Jaina Padma Purdna, 257. 
Occasionally a disguise of Ulluka, 
40 (note). 
Rdmdyana story of his leaping across 
the sea and burning Ceylon, 54, 
Harsa Vardhana, Emperor (606-647 
a.d.) : — 
A ruler who brought glory to his 
dynasty in war and peace, 149. 
Conqueror of Gauda and nearly 

all Eastern India, 149-50. 
Establishes Tantric Buddhism in 
Eastern India in place of Tan 
trie Shaivism, 150-1. 
Founder of inns, hotels, dispen- 
saries, hospitals and places of 
worship, 153. 
Himself of mixed religious 
ancestry, he professed several 
creeds in turn, but his real pre- 
ference remains uncertain, and 
he allowed equal rights to his 
Buddhist, Jaina and Hindu 
subjects, 151-3. 

Hiuen Thsang, an honoured 
guest at court, found his 
host deeply attached to 
Buddhism, 153. 

describes two grand 

festivals, at which the 
religious eclecticism of 
king and people was 
fully displayed, ng, 
124, 131, 154-8. 
Performs the ablution of Buddha, 


Poet and patron of poets, 152 

Reign of, marked climax of re- 
ligious eclecticism in India, 

Harvest festivals in Vedic times, pre- 
cursors of Gambhlra, 10. 
Hell, in charge of Death, 254-5. 
Heraldry (Kulinism) : — 
Art or science of social grades, attri- 
buted to Vallala Sena, 204. 
Ghatakas, professional match-makers, 

Mercantile castes degraded by Vallala, 

Heraldry (Kulinism) — cont. — 

Mercantile castes partially restored 

through Brahmanas, 205. 
Precedence problems much discussed 
by the people, 205. 
Hermitages : — 
Ashramas, Jaina hermitages or re- 
treats, 140, 141. 
Vadarika, 255. 
Heroes, fraternal reunions of, 130. 
Hinayana Buddhism : — 
Early original or orthodox phase of 

Buddhism, 136, 142. 
Held that emancipation (salvation) 
could be attained by the monks 
(Bhiksus) only, 142. 
Inculcated worship of Buddha on his 

seat or foot-prints, 136. 
Nicknamed Hinayana (following a 
low and narrow way) by later 
sect of Mahayana, 142. 
Practised confession as a condition of 

absolution, 136. 
Similar practice in Gajan and Gam- 
bhira probably prove Buddhist 
origin, 136. 
Hindi :— 
Important to future historians, 25-6. 
Researches in, vii. 
Hinduism : — 
An ambiguous term, xv. 
An eclectic and ever-expansive socio- 

religious system, x. 
Built up through assimilation during 

successive ages, x. 
Connected with Buddhism through 
the Madhyamika sect which de- 
veloped Tantrism akin to Hindu 
Tantrism, 175. 
Established in Bengal through influ- 
ence of the Brahmana ministers 
of the Pala kings, 166, 169, 170, 
171, 172. 
Incorporated Buddhism under the 

later Palas, 172. 
Interchange of gods with Buddhism, 

146, 164, 173. 
Recognized Buddha as an incarnation 

of Visnu, 220. 
Tantric and Puranic, similar to the 
Buddhism of China and Japan, xi. 
Hindus: — 

A race well versed in material as well 

as spiritual affairs, 114. 
Affairs of, must all have religious as 

well as secular merit, 3. 
Agnosticism of, explains their imagi- 
native polytheism, 260. 



Hindus — cont. — 

Engineering skill, 114. 

Enjoyment of secular life, 115. 

Literature of arts, sciences and poli- 
tics, 114. 

Not distinguished from Mohamme- 
dans by Aula Chand, 34 (note). 

Scriptures, 28, 114. 

Social life of, has lessons for modern 
sociologists, 115. 
History, Bengali : — 

Caste system originated in efforts at 
social reconstruction in Sena 
times, 2ii. 

Moslem conquest of North and West 
Bengal not fully accounted for, 
213, 214. 

Novels, historical, xv. 

Oral folk-history collected by Mr. 
Palit, viii. 

Twelfth century the highest water- 
mark in science, art and literature, 

Works of Prof. Rakhaldas Banerji, 
shedding light on international 
relations, xiv-xv. 
History. Indian : — 

Details and dates of, purposely re- 
stricted in present work, xi. 

Disintegration periods not peculiar to 
Indian history, 160. 

Early History of India, by Vincent 
Smith, relates how the Palas and 
Senas made Bengal a great power 
in India, xiv. 

Hindu period does not end with Harsa 
Vardhana, but was carried on hy 
the Palas and Cholas, 161. 

Lessons for modern sociologists, 115. 

Pala-Chola period of great importance 
in Indian development, 162. 

really the last phase of Hindu 

Imperialism, 163, 215. 

Paucity of details of political changes 
obstruct study of the spread of 
Indian thought, 24. 

Popular influence to be studied, vii. 

Recent research proves the Palas and 
Cholas worthy to rank with the 
Vardhanas, Guptas and Mauryas, 

Rehabilitation of the Palas and Cholas 
extends drama of Indian history, 

Vardhana- Pala-Chola epoch syn- 
chronous with Tang-Sung period 
in China, Augustan age in Middle 
Kingdom (7th-i3th cent.) and the 

Nara-Kamakura epoch in Japan, 
Hiuen Thsang : — 
A pious and learned Chinese Buddhist 
who visited India in 629 a.d., 
Almost the only witness to Indian 

history of that time, 154. 
Assisted at the Chaitra festival 
founded by Harsa Vardhana, 
Saw the great Quinquennial festival 

at Allahabad, 156-9. 
Travelled in North Bengal, 159. 
Witness to religious eclecticism, 156- 
Homa ceremony, 56, 97, 197, 237. 
Horse-dance of Orissa, 92, in. 
Horse sacrifices : — 
Ashwamedha, 8, in, 116. 
Chaturmasya, 12. 

Introduced through necessity for meat, 
Human Buddhas (Bodhisattvas) : — 
Mahayanic Buddhist saints, 176. 
Men who by their spiritual culture 

have attained godhead, 177. 
Resemblance of to neo- Hindu deities, 
177 (note). 
Hymns and sacred songs : — 
Differ in different villages, but 
underlying idea the same in all, 
Gayatrl to Dharma, 194-5. 
Hymn to Mother India, Tagore's, 

Hymns by Bhaktas : — 
Awakening of Shiva, 45. 
Daily final orders, 50. 
Dhula-sapata, 48-9. 
Doors, four, of the temple, 49-50. 

— opening of, 44. 
Jala-sapata, 49. 
Quarters, the ten, 46-47. 
To Sada Shiva, 48. 

Hymns to Dharma, 94, 95, 101, 

Listening to hymns of equal merit to 

listening to sermons, 146. 
Meditation on Narasimhl, 112-3. 
Reflect sectarian controversies, 147. 
Salutation-songs : — 
Of the Creation by Dharma Niran- 
jana, 39-4,3.. 

— devotees of Aula, 32-9. 
To Dharma, 100-1. 

— Narasimhl, 113. 

— Shiva, 27-31. 


Hymns and sacred songs — cont. — 
Shunya Purdna, set to music and at- 
tended with dance, 197 (note). 
Vande Mdtaram, greatest modern 
folk-hymn, 262. 


Id festivities, Egyptian similar to, 7. 
Image-making : — 

An art fostered by the Gambhira, r8. 

Magnificently developed in Pala- 
Chola times, 162. 

Must conform to orthodox descrip- 
tions, yet gives scope to the im- 
aginative artist, 18. 

Shiva's crocodile, how made, 79-80. 
Image-worship : — 

Development of the early personifi- 
cation of gods, 12. 

First practised probably with or soon 
after the making of images of 
gods in Epic times, 8. 

Gajane Shiva, stone carried about 
in place of the permanent image, 

Images of new gods to replace those 
of old, 14. 

Opposed by Mohammedans, 219. 

Practised by Aulas, 24 (note). 

Triratna (Trinity) images, 147. 
Imitation fruits and flowers : — 

A famous product of mediaeval Majda, 

An art encouraged by the Gambhira, 

Clay, Indian cork and wax largely 
used, 18. 
India : — 

Hoary birthplace of various social 
conventions and institutions, 


School of Asia in Pala-Chola times, 

Still one in soul, despite recent dif- 
ferentiation and narrowing, 

Indra (King of Gods) : — 
Attends Jaina festivities, 123, 137, 

Becomes a god of the Buddhists, 

Jainas and Kapalikas, 255. 
Leases land to Shiva, 82. 
Part of, played by King Harsa, 13, 

Rides an elephant, 254. 
Sburapala compared to, 167. 

Indra (King of Gods) — cont. — 

Subordinated to Visnu in Shrimad- 
Bhdgavata, 255." 

Takes the Uchchaisrava horse, 29. 

Vajrapani Bodhisattva — a Madhya- 
mik'a deity — accepted by Brah- 
manas as Indra, 146. 

Worshipped in Rig Veda with music, 
song and dance, 121. 
Intolerance, religious : — 

Confined to an " insignificant frac- 
tion " in Harsa Vardhana's time, 

153- . 

Incendiarism attributed to that frac- 
tion, 155. 

Of idolatry, by Mohammedans, 219, 

— Veiled Buddhism, by Brahmanas, 

219, 221. 
Shashamka's alleged persecution of 
Buddhism not proven, 159 
Iron implements for self-wounding 

(Vanas), 103-6. 
Islam in India : — 
Advent of, initiates third epoch in 
making of modern Hinduism, 
At first regarded simply as alien, 215. 
Conquest by, easy in North, difficult 
in South, 216. 

— slowly realized by Hindus, 215-6. 
Easy Islamization of Bengal, 217. 
Facilitated the transformation of neo- 

Buddhism into Tantric Hindu- 
ism, 218. 
Instances of rapprochement of Hindus 

and Moslems, 217-8. 
Protection of Hindu arts and learning 

by Akbar, 218. 
Mohammedan gods and saints as 
masks for Buddhists and Hindu 
deities, 219-20. 

— hatred of idolatry drives Buddhists 

and Hindus to subterfuge, Jig, 

— invasion song added to Shunya 

Purdna, 224-5. 
Urdu, an ' Indo-Islamic language, 


Jagannatha : — 

Lord of the Universe, 30. 
Steals spirituous liquor, or wine, 
100, 229. 

— the Cane of Heaven, 38.* 



Jagannatha — cont. — 

Worship of, increased by check to 
pilgrimage under Islam, 213. 
Jainism : — 

A pre-Buddhist religion, 136. 
Assimilated by Shaivism, 25. 
Buddhism implicit in, xvi. 
Confession a condition of absolution, 

136 (note). 
Dharmapala denied patronage to, on 

personal grounds, 166. 
Festivals of, celebrated with music 
and dance, 123. 

— probably submerged in Buddhism 

and then in Shaivism, 140-1. 

— promoted cordiality, 130. 
Jina, chief saint of, 137. 

Jinas, worshipped at annual festivals, 

Once firmly established over all 
Bengal, 141. 

Parshwanatha, Jaina saint and mis- 
sionary, 139-40. 

Processions of, 11 7-8. 

Purdnas of, akin to Hindu and 
mention Hindu deities, 137, 


Risabha Deva the first Jina, 137. 

Shares with Hinduism belief in 
heaven and pantheon of gods 
headed by Indra ; differs in cer- 
tain principles, 136-7. 

Similarity of Jina images to those of 
Shiva, 141, 257. 

Story of Risabha similar to that of 
Shiva, 137-8, 257. 

Tirthamkaras, pioneers of Jainism, 
equivalent to Hindu avataras, 


Kali, or Kalika (War Goddess) :— 

A form of fire in the Manduka Upani- 
sad, 253. 

A goddess of Terror in the Gambhlra- 
house, 56. 

A wife of Shiva in the Purdnas, 254, 

Mask-dance of, based on Purdnas, 248. 

like Vina's, 245. 

with four hands, in. 

One of the lower order of gods in 
Mahay^na Buddhism, 144. 

Popular with the warlike Bengali 
chiefs or zamindars, 233. 

Pratipaditya, a Kail worshipper, re- 
bels against Akbar, 233. 

Kali, or Kalika (War Goddess)— cont.— 
Releases Aniruddha, 244. 
Similar to Tara of Buddhist Tantrism, 

188, 206 (note). 
Temples of, established under Mo- 
hammedan rule, 232. 
Worship of, a military cult, 233. 
— attended with physical austerities, 

Worshipped by Ramaprasada, 259. 
Kartika (War God) :— 

Disguise as a Kazi in Invasion Song, 

Mask-dance of, in. 
Rides a peacock, 29. 
Khalifas, improvisers of songs, 58. 
Krisna (Visnu) : — 
A deity of love and faith, 259. 
An incarnation of Visnu (Shrimad- 

Bhdgavata), 255. 
Diversions of at Dwlraka, 116, 130. 
Fights King Vana, 106, 244. 
Processions of, 116, 121. 

Laksml (Goddess of Fortune or 
Wealth) :— 
Condescends to come to earth, 38. 
Included in Shiva's family in Purdnas, 

Mentioned in Rig Veda, 253. 
Rides an owl, 30. 
Taken by Narayana (Visnu), 29. 
Land-holder, Shiva the first, 82. 
Landlords (Zamindars) : — 

Fear of Brahmanas deters from en- 
couraging Buddhist festivities, 
Independence of under Moham- 
medans favours patronage of 
Shaiva festivities, 220. 
Liberty, religious, striking examples of 

among Hindus, 131. 
Lights in worship : — 

Arati, or wave-offering, presentation 

of lights, 27. 
Gambhira temple, how lighted, 64-5. 

illumined with garlands of 

lights for mask-dancing, 55. 

lighted from day of installation 

of the Ghata, 52. 
Light, an item of phallic worship, 

Lights, carried on the Vinas, 104. 
Temple of Nlla (Shiva), 'lighting of 

meritorious for women, 80, 87. 
Torches, 64, 65. 


Literary academies of Bengal, viii. 
Literature, Bengali : — 

Grew and expanded hand in hand 
with religion, 15. 

Modern religious treatises preferred 
to Sanskrit classics, 259. 

Naturalness in, promoted by Gam- 
bhtra folk songs, 116. 

Poets of, 450 mentioned in twelfth 
century, 209. 

Senas, authors and patrons of litera- 
ture, 211. 

Writers of, in twelfth century, 208- 
Literature, Indian: — 

Deserves attention of modern socio- 
logists, 115. 

Has flourished as handmaid of re- 
ligion, 15. 

Highly improved under Buddhism, 

Lokeshwara : — 
A neo-Buddhist deity, resembling 

Shiva, and worshipped by both 

Shaivas and Tantrists under the 

Shura kings, 165. 
A shadow of Shiva, with Tara as a 

shadow of Durga, 171. 
Generally associated with Tara, 182. 
Khasarpana Lokeshwara (see Avalo- 

Shivas like Lokeshwara and Lokesh- 

waras like Shiva, 169, 173. 
Various forms of, 257. 
Worship of, not considered Tantric 

by Dipamkara, 192. 
Worshipped by Tantric Buddhists 

under the Palas, 193. 
Lotus : — 
Creation of, 40 (note), 41. 
Highly esteemed in Shiva worship, 

Seat of Dharma or Buddha, 40 (note), 

41, 42, 63 (note). 
Use of, in decorating the Gambhira- 
house, 63-4. 

— in mask-dance of Shiva- Parvatl, 


— in worship, 41 (note). 
Love (Bhakti) :— 

Embodied in the gods, 259. 
Exemplified (with Faith and Hope) 

in Hindu devotional literature by 

Rama and Sita, Krisna and 

Radha, 259. 
Love and Romanticism, Religion of : — 
Expressed in Hinduism, Brahmanism, 

Buddhism, etc., xv. 

Love and Romanticism, Religion of— 
cont. — 
Grew out of the cult of World-Forces 
common to i?tiaists, Twists 
and Shintoiats, xvi. 


A god worshipped by the Tantric 

Buddhists before terrific images, 

A name of Shiva, as Dharma's garden- 
keeper, 225. 
Demi-god before the Tantros, then a 

god, 256. 
King Vana appointed Shiva's chief 

attendant under the name of 

Mahakala, 246-7. 
Recognized by Hindu Tantrists, 193. 
Mangala-Chand!, Domestic Goddess : — 
Guardian angel of Bengalee homes, 

Songs of, how accompanied, 127. 

— indispensable, especially in mar- 

riages, 127. 
Mahayana Buddhism : — 
A sect proclaiming salvation for all, 
learned and unlearned alike, 142. 
Avalokiteshwara, or Khasarpana Lo- 
keshwara, god especially es- 
teemed by Mahayanists, 177-8. 

— image of, with Amitabha Buddha 

on his head, regarded by Hin- 
dus as Shamkara (Shiva) with 
Gamga, 178. 
Based on mercy and compassion as 
well as on religious devotion, 
Bodhisattvas, men who have risen to 

be Buddhas, 177. 
Buddhas, Buddha Shaktis and Bod- 
hisattvas, 176-7. 
Buddhist adoption of Vedic elements, 

194-5- . . . 

— and Hindu deities mixed in 

Ramai's Trinity, 194. 
Compromise with Islam under Mo- 
hammedan rule, 219, 226-g. 
Contributed largely to propagate 
theory of Shunya or the Void, 
Founded by dissenters from the nar- 
rower orthodoxy of the Hlna- 
yana, 142. 

— probably by Ashwaghosa about 

100 a.d. ; systematized by Na- 
garjuna, 143. 



Mahayana Buddhism — coat. — 

Influenced by Shaivism through Na- 
garjuna's worship of Chandika, 

Interchange of deities with Hinduism, 

146, 165. 
Madhyamika Order — sub-sect ,of 
Mahayanism — and its views 
on Nirvana, 144. 

as link between Hinduism and 

Buddhism brought about re- 
ligious unification by de- 
veloping a Tantrism in which 
Buddhism was ultimately 
lost, 175. 

inspired Ramai's Shunya 

Purdna, 145. 
Mahayanic Void same as Hindu 

Brahma, 145, 176. 
Mantrayana view of Buddhist deities 

introduced by Ramai, 196. 
Multiplication of gods by the 

Mahayanists, 176, 177. 

Pleasant relations of Hindu Brah- 

manas with Buddhist Mahayan- 

ists, 144. 

Provision for idol-worship, 145-6, 177. 

Quarrels with Hlnayana Buddhists, 

Sects : — 

1. Madhyamika (organized Ma- 
hayanism), 144, 145, 175. 

/ sects of Ma- 
ism, 145, 

^ Kalachakra f Tantric sects of 
3. Kalacnakral Mantrayan . 

Vajrayana \ {sm< ^^ 

Tantric Buddhism an offshoot from 
the Madhyamika branch, via 
Mantrayanism, 145, 175. 

— influence on, about equal to that 

on Hinduism, 165, 171. 

— practices forbidden by Mahayanic 

Tantrists in eleventh century, 

Teachings similar to those of liberal 
Hinduism, 142, 144. 

Triratna (Trinity), respect for, 147. 

Void endowed with form by Maha- 
yanists, 176, 194, 197-8. 

— source of all the gods, 193-4. 

— theory of, the kernel of the 

Madhyamika religion, 176. 
Makers-up, theatrical or processional, 

2. Guhya Dharma 

Mandala, headman of village : — 
A king in his own village, 66. 
A Mandala for each community or 

caste, 66. 
Controls the Gambhlra of his village 

or local sect or caste, 66. 
Esteemed by the zamindar or land- 
lord, 66. 
Formerly managed all village affairs, 

Now partly superseded by the 

Sahatana, 66. 
Punishes social culprits, 66. 
Splits in Mandala families result in 

separate Gambhiras for the 

seceders, 67-8. 
Title and system still hold among 

Podas and similar low-class 

villagers, 74. 
Mango-tree, account of its growth and 

uses, 37. 
Mantras (incantations) : — 

Complete knowledge of necessary for 

effectiveness, 207. 
Dharma Niranjana obtains a boon 

through meditating mantras, 41. 
Gurumantra, mystic word or formula 

to propitiate a spiritual preceptor, 


Of Shunya Purdna : sung after every 
function of Dharma worship, 
though not essential, 196. 
Manuscripts : — 

Collected by Mr. Palit, viii, ix. 

Of Salutation-songs, 26, 32. 
Marathi : — 

Important to future historians, 25-6. 

Researches in, vii. 
Mask-dances, how dressed for and per- 
formed : — 

Bear, in. 

Chamunda, in, 251. 

Hanuman, in. 

Horse, g2, in. 

Kali, in. 

Narasimha, 112. 

Peacock, in. 

Sati, 251. 

Shiva- Parvati, 111-2. 

Vuda-Vudi, 112. 
Mask-dancing, or dancing in dis- 
guise : — 

A part of Shiva worship based on the 
Purdnas as well as on folk-tradi- 
tion, 245, 247-8, 251-2. 

Dance, disguise and revelry peculiarly 
favoured by Shiva, 122-3, 24b, 


Mask-dancing, or dancing in disguise — 
cont. — 

Legend of the False Mothers : attend- 
ants of Shiva who, in disguise as 
goddesses, amuse the god until 
the arrival of the real goddesses 
creates great confusion and 
merriment, 122, 248-51. 

This legend probably suggested mask- 
dancing as a form of worship 
agreeable to Shiva, 251. 
Masks : — 

Always of wood formerly, especially 
neem-wood, log. 

Carved and painted according to pre- 
cise rules, log. 

Earthen masks made by potters, 

Favourite gods and others represented 
by masks, log. 

Headgear of artificial flowers, iog-10. 

How the mask is secured, no. 

y&grata, or living masks, no. 

Purification and fasting before wear- 
ing masks, no. 

Worship or consecration of the mask, 

Mdtsya Nydya (struggle for ex- 
istence or anarchy) or " state of 
nature," 164. 
Matted hair, an attribute of gods : — 

Bhrikuti, I7g. 

Kali, 56. 

Lokeshwara, 178, 180, 181. 

Shiva, 232. 

Tara, 182, 184. 
Matted hair, wearing of, an act of wor- 
ship, g, 132. 
Mediaeval research : — 

Chronology and identity of most 
mediaeval works and authors not 
finally settled, xi. 
Mediumship in worship : — 

Possession by a ghost, 89-90. 

god, 8g, go-i. 

Milk, ocean of, 38. 
Mohammedans : — 

Allow self-rule to Hindu princes, 
resulting in the protection and 
increase of Shaivism, 232. 

Enemies of idolatry, 2ig. 

Id festivities of, analogous to Gam- 
bhira, 7. 

Join with Hindus in Gajan Nlla-puja 
festivities, 80, 134. 

No distinction between them and 
Hindus recognized by Aula 
Chand, 34 (note). 

Rapprochement of to Hindus in 
Bengal after the conquest, 
Monasteries : — 

Nalanda, 178, 183. 

Vikramashila, founded by Dhar- 
mapala, 165. 

— made a centre of Tantrism by 

Dipamkara, 172. 
Months of festival : — 
Chaitra (March-April) and Vaishakha 
(April-May), especially dedicated 
to Shiva worship, 242. 

— worship in, rewarded with wealth, 

beauty and high birth, 242. 

— worship of Gaurl in, rewarded 

with blessings beyond expecta- 
tion, 243. 
Phalgoon (February-March), great 
festivities in, 242. 
Moral degeneracy in Bengal on the 

eve of Moslem conquest, 213. 
Moral training : — 
Gambhira a school for, ig. 

— songs used to expose hidden sins, 

thus powerfully promoting re- 
form, 20. 

— teaches earnestness and trains in 

co-operative effort, 20. 
Motherland identified with Durga, the 
inspiration of Indian theology, 
Munis (Hindu ascetics) disguise them- 
selves as Fakirs (Mohammedan 
sannyasis), 225. 
Music : — 
Akbar's encouragement of Hindu 

music, 218. 
Chhilikya, mode invented by Pancha- 

chuda, 122. 
Dhrupad, a Hindu invention, en- 
grafted upon Mohammedan 
music, 218. 
Hindola, a peculiar air sung at 

Dharma's Gajan, g7. 
Khyal, a Mohammedan invention, 
greatly used in Hindu music, 
Mangala, a mode of music, 124. 
Matana, note of stirring up, or ex- 
citement, 56. 
Mutual borrowing by Hindus and 

Mohammedans, 217-8. 
Ravari, a mode of music, 124. 
Scriptures, Hindu, mostly composed 

as songs, 128. 
Volvahi songs, characteristic tunes 
to, 57, 



Music and dance : — 
Accomplishments of princesses, 121. 
Add grandeur to sacrifices, 121. 
Aid the spread of religion, 128. 
Associated with festivals since 

Vedic times, 121. 
By celestial musicians, 121, 122, 

During sleepless nights (jagarana), 

Encouraged freely by the people, 

Epics, Purdnas and Samhitds teem 

with references to, 121-3. 
Fa Hien's testimony in Gupta times 

(400 a.d.), 124. 
Hiuen Thsang's testimony in Harsa's 

time (643 a.d.), 124, 155. 
In phallic worship, 238. 
Natural development of in societies, 

Playing upon the cheeks, 125, 223. 
Powerfully affect Hindus, 123. 
Musical instruments : — 
Bells, 123, 125, 126. 
Conch-shells, 9, 125, 126. 
Cymbals, 126, 127, 128. 
Damama, 125. 
Damaru (small drum), 9, 39, 125, 

Dhaka (long drum), 37, 52, S3. I26 - 
— sticks, 36. 
Dholas, 126. 

Drums (generally), 125, 126. 
Flutes, 126, 183. 
Harps, 183. 
Horns, 125, 126. 

Kada (drum beaten at one end), 126. 
Kansi (instrument made of bell- 
metal), 55, 126. 
Karkari, 121. 
Khamaka, 125. 

Khola (kind of drum), 127, 128. 
Lute, 123. 
Lyres, 126, 184. 
Mridangas (small drums), 9. 
Poota, 126. 
Sanai (pipe), 126. 
Shimga, 125, 223. 
Tanapura (a stringed instrument), 

" 127. 
Trumpets, 125. 
Turis (bugles), 126. 
Veris (kettle-drums), 125, 126. 
Vina (kind of lyre), 121. 
Musicians : — 
Apsaras, nymphs devoted to dance 

and music, 122, 248, 251. 

Musicians — cont. — 
Kinnaras, Kinnaris, horse-headed 
musicians of the Purdnas, 121, 
Narada, a celestial singer, 5g, 60, 

— defeated in competition by 

Pancha-chuda, 122. 
Vauls, class of religious minstrels, 


Names, recitation of, 44, 54, 238. 
Natural deifications : — 
Death, 30, 83, 84, 254. 
Destruction and terror, 55, 56, 112. 
Divine or primordial energy, crea- 
tive power, 7, 12, 3g, 68, 84, 
112, 134, 198, igg, 221, 222, 
Fire, 8, g, 10, n, 12, 33, 253. 
India, Motherland, 260, 261, 262. 
Love, amatory passions, tempter, 147, 

— benign emotion, 259. 
Moon, 37, 167, 225. 
Ocean, 166, 167. 
Protection, 101, 112. 
Sun, 10, 14, 31, 33, g7, 98. 

Void, 27, 32, 42, gs, 101, 142, 145, 
147. 175, 176. I 93. 197. 198, 220, 
Wind, 35, 197, 254. 
Nature, creation of by Niranjana 

Dharma, 222. 
Nature-worship, the source of Hindu 

deities, 260. 
Nirvana, emancipation, 137. 
North'and South India, different atti- 
tude to alien ideas, 216-7. 


Objects of worship : — 
Amkusha (elephant-goad), 107, 241. 
Arrow, 107, 241. 
Battleaxe, 107, 241. 
Dhenki, 59-61. 
Footprints or sandals of Buddha, 136, 

Images or idols, 8, 12, 14, 24 (note), 

76-7, 147, 2ig. 
Masks, no. 
Noose, 107, 241. 
Phallus of Shiva, 235-7, 238. 
Pinaka (bow), 107, 116, 241. 
Sword, 107, 241. 


Objects of worship — cont. — 

Thunderbolt, 107, 241. 

Trident, 107, 241. 

Vanas, 105. 
Occult Religion (Guhya Dharma), a sect 

of Mahayana Buddhism, 175. 
Ocean churned by the Gods, 29. 
Offerings to the Gods : — 

Betel-rods, 235. 

Burnt resin, 245. 

Clothes, 243. 

Cows, 227. 

Drink, 12. 

Flowers, 124, 147, 197. 

Food, 12, 148. 

Fruits, etc., 147-8. 

Ghee, 12, 56, 97, 197, 237. 

Goats, 97, 200. 

Golden orbs, 190. 

Horses, 8, n, in, 116. 

Incense, 27, 147. 

Lights, 27, 235, 241. 

Meat, 10, 12. 

Milk and water, 34-5. 

Ornaments, 243. 

Rice, 52, 98, 235, 241. 

— milk and sugar, 132, 168. 

Soma-rasa, 10, 11. 

Water, 99, 191, 235, 241. 

Wine, 12. 

A mystic syllable, sign of the Vedic 
Trinity, 112, 113, 194. 

Adopted by Buddhists, 194. 

Begins prayers and hymns, 112, 113, 

Destroys sin, 194. 
Ooriya language, MSS. in, viii. 
Osiris : — 

Like Shiva in character ; like Ma- 
hakala in form, 7. 

Rides Apis as Shiva rides the bull, 7. 

Wife apparently the Indian Shakti, 


Painting : — 
Art of, much encouraged by the 

Gambhtra festivals, 18. 
Canvas paintings of Kalighit, 65. 
Decorative, with rice-paste, ig. 
Emulation among artists constantly 

improves work, 18. 
Hindu, patronized by Akbar, 218. 
Pictures by Ravi Varma, 65. 
Pictures of gods, 18, 49 (note). 

Pala-Chola period, last phase of inde- 
pendent Hindu India, 163, 215. 
Pala Kings :— 
An under-rated group of monarchs 

until recently, 160. 
As rulers not inferior to the famous 

Vardhanas, Guptas and Mauryas, 

Carried on the highest traditions of 

Hindu national culture, 161, 162. 
Dharmapala and Rajendra Chola 

worthy to rank with their most 

eminent predecessors, 160-T. 
Earlier Palas staunch Buddhists; 

later gave way to Shaivism and 

Vaisnavism, 170. 
Hindu wives of Buddhist kings, 

Images of Mahakala found among 

Pala relics, 193. 
Madanapala, a Buddhist, in an in- 
scription glorifies Shiva, 174. 
Mahtpala makes grants of land to 

Brahmanas to propitiate Buddha, 

Mahlpala's minister, Dipamkara, 

spreads Tantric Buddhism 

throughout Gauda, 171-2. 
Narayanapala, a staunch Buddhist, 

endows and protects Shaivism, 

167-9, I7°- 
Pala kings chosen by the people and 

their eclectic religious policy 

dominated by the people, 165, 

Palas made Bengal one of the great 
powers in India, xiv, 163 (note). 

— said to be descended from the 

Ocean-god, 166-7. 
Rajyapala probably only a nominal 

emperor, 171. 
Ramapala builds temples to Shiva, 

Religious eclecticism of the Palas in 
Gauda, 165-9. 

— revolution among the people fol- 

lowed by their rulers, 170. 
Shurapala as a Vedic fire-worshipper, 
Paper-cutting : — 
An exquisite old Indian art, much 
used in Gambhtra decoration, 
Paper lotuses as temple decorations, 

Parshwanatha: — 
A Jaina saint or demi-god, 139. 
Born in the purple, I3g. 



Parshwanatha — tonl. — 
Excitement in heaven over his birth, 


Festival of his birth and emancipa- 
tion, 139, 140. 

Journeys as preacher to redeem the 
fallen, I3g. 

Realizes divine knowledge, exerts 

supernatural power and firmly 

establishes Jainism in the Pun- 

dras, 140. 

Parvatl (Chandi, Durga, Gauri, 

Adya) :— 

As Shiva's wife in Makdbhdrata, 8. 

Counsels Shiva to take to agriculture, 

Fitted with bracelets by Shiva, 84-5. 

Image of, set up by Narayanapala, 
168 (note). 

Impersonated by Chitralekha, 249- 

Married to Shiva, 231. 
Mask-dance of Shiva-Parvati, 111-2. 
Replaced by Arya Tara by Buddhists, 
Parvatl's bracelets, song of, considered 
holy by Hindu married women, 
Phallic Shaivism : — 
First god of the Shaivas, a phallus 

filling all space, 234. 
Gradual humanization of the original 

phallic Shiva, 234. 
Legend of the falling of the phallus, 

Length as compared with Greek and 

Assyrian forms, 235. 
Making of the emblem of Shiva, 235. 
Perfecting and purifying, 235-6. 
Procession in Shiva's Gajan, 120. 
Temple and altar, 236, 238. 
Worship celebrated with dance, song 
and music, 238. 

— ritual, 155 (note), 236-7. 

— similar to Buddhist festivities, 

Phonta, sectarian mark on forehead, 40 

(note), 45, 75, 96, 98, 196, 197. 
Physical austerities : — 
Ceremony of Vanafoda, or piercing 
with the vana (arrow, dart or 
needle), practised at Gajan and 
GambhJra, 87, 103, 108. 
Fire-holding or trident-vana, 104. 
Jihva Vanafoda (piercing the tongue), 

Kapala Vanafoda (piercing the fore- 
head), 103-4. 

Physical austerities — cont. — 

Piercing with thorns, a refined edi- 
tion of Vanafoda, 108. 

Popular with ail ranks, 233. 

Practised in Kail worship, as a mili- 
tary cult, 233. 

Pristha Vanafoda (piercing the back 
with hooks for suspension to the 
Chadaka Post), 51, 87, 106. 

Sannyasis recruited from a military 
class, 108. 

Spear, scimitar and spade dances, 

Tongue and back piercing Vanafoda 
not now practised, 108. 

Trishula Vanafoda (piercing the side 
with a trident-shaped vana), 104. 

Vela-kanta, piercing implement, 105, 

Village blacksmith's important func- 
tions, 103, 105. 

Worship of the vanas, cleansing from 
rust and preparation for use, 105, 
Piercings, the five, 97. 
Pilgrimage, increased risk of after Mos- 
lem conquest, led to building of 
home temples, 213. 
Pithas, shrines or holy places, 206. 
Plants in Hindu mythology andritual : — 

Bamboo, 56, 121. 

Banana, 54, 56, 85, 223. 

Bodhi, 165, 178, 181, 182. 

Champa, 50. 

Cotton, 38. 

Dhataki, 140. 

Flowers, 124, 147, 197, 241. 

Ginger, 228. 

Hataka, 255. 

Hemp, 54. 

Jack, 54. 

Java (China rose), 104, 108, 200. 

Jute, 64. 

Karavi, 36. 

Kusha, 76, 236, 241 (note). 

Lotus, 40 (note), 41, 42 (note), 63, 64, 
112, 151, 178, 179, 180, 181, 184, 
185, 186, 240, 241. 

Mango, 37, 56, in. 

Marmelos, 27, 78, 105, 108, 165. 

Myrobalans, 132. 

Neem, iog. 

Oda, 50. 

Paddy (rice), 57, 82-4. 

Palm, 9, 255. 

Parijata, 38. 

Rice, 52, 98, 132, 168, 235, 241- 

Saffron, 236, 241 (note). 


Plants in Hindu mythology and ritual — 
cont. — 

Sandal, 34, 36, 125, 165, 241. 

Screw-pine, 36. 

Sesamum, 27, 105. 

Soma, 8, 10. 

Tamarind, 79. 

Turmeric, 228. 

Vaheda, 132. 
Poetry : — 

Fostered and inspired by Gambhira, 

Twelfth century Bengali poets, 210-1. 
Vallala and Laksmana Sena, poets 

and patrons of letters, an. 
Verse-making competitions at the 

Gajan, 79. 
Poets of the Gambhira : — 
Express the life of the poor and lowly, 

More influential and "immortal" 

than poets of the educated 

classes, 17. 
Musical powers of, fostered by the 

Gambhira, 15. 
Political organization : — 

Gambhira affords practical political 

training, 20-1. 
Indian village communities analogues 

of Russian mirs, 22. 
Mandala, or headman, 21. 
Mandalika system of organization, a 

miniature royal court, 21. 
Panchayet, or council of five, 21, 

Used for trial of offenders and to ar- 
range Gambhira business, 21-2. 
Varika, or Paramanika, Mandala's 

man of affairs, 21. 
Potter, or Blacksmith (Kala), assists 

at the Creation, 27, 32. 
Prakrit language, 163. 
Processions : — 
Arranged from very early times, 120. 
Ashwamedha, 116. 
Avabhrita, ir6. 
Ayodhya, 116. 
Bharatmilap, 121. 
Brahma's, 116. 
Buddha's, 118-9, 123. 
Chaitrotsava (Buddhist), 119, 124, 

Chariot (Buddhist), 119, 124. 
Chitrakuta (Jaina), 118. 
Dharma Paduka, 120, 240. 
Durga's, T20-1. 
Flowery Car (Shaiva), ir7. 
— Temple (Shaiva), 117. 

Processions — cont. — 

Gajan of Dharma, rules by Ramai, 

— of Shiva, phallic, 120, 237. 
Ganapati, 121. 

Jina Deva's, 118. 

Kamsa's, 116. 

Krisna's (Vaisnava), 116, 121. 

Pas'hupata's (Shaiva), 240. 

Ramallla, 121. 

References to in Buddhist works, 


— Dharma-mangala, 120. 

— Purdnas, 116-8. 

— SamHitds, 117. 

— Vedas and Epics, 116. 

— works of Ramai Pandit, 119-20. 
Risabha Deva's (Jaina), 117. 
Shakyasimha's (Buddhist), 118-9, 123, 

Shiva's, 117, 243. 
Skandagovinda, 117. 
Sumukha's, 117. 
Tirthamkaras' (Jaina), 117. 
Vasudeva's (Jaina), 117-8. 
Purdnas, gods of, more definite and 
humanized than those of Vedas, 
— goddesses of, higher in status than 
gods ; deifications of primordial 
energy, 254. 
Purification : — 
No distinction of purity in the holy 

atmosphere of the gods, 28, 31. 
Of votaries by the words of the Lord 

of Gods, 28. 
With a mark, 196. 

— urine of the cow, 196, 197. 
Words of purification, 37. 

Rama (hero of the R&m&yana) : — 
Army of, embraces Ravana's army 

after the war, 129. 
Celebrates Spring Festival, 118. 
Has gold image of Slta made, 256. 
Head of, impervious to a saw, 107. 
Rama tarpana, offering water to his 

spirit, 99. 
Usually mentioned with Laksmana, 

46, 55, 109, 118, 257. 
Worships Jina, 118. 
Ramai Pandit :— 
Apostle of Dharma's Gajan, 195. 
Brotherhood of his disciples, 131-2. 
Chief priest of Dharma, 97. 
Creation story, Ramai's, 197-9. 



R£mai Pandit — cont. — 

Disciples sixteen in number, 158. 
Dharma-pujd-paddhati, Ramai's text- 
book of Dharma worship, ig6. 
Dharma worship, Ramai's, tacitly 

based on Tantrism, ig2. 
Graha-bharana ceremonies arranged 

by Ramai, 97. 
Introduces Dharma's footprints or 
sandals in lieu of his image, 
— Hindu along with Buddhist deities, 

Madhyamika sect of Mahayana Bud- 
dhism inspired Ramai's Shunya 
Pur Ana, 145. 
Mantrayana view of Buddhist deities 

introduced by Ramai, ig6. 

Preached Dharma to all people, 195. 

Religious ideal a slightly modified 

form of that of Atisha or Dipam- 

kara, 190. 

Said to have lived at Gauda in twelfth 

century, 119. 
Shunya Purdna based on Buddhist 
Tantric meditation on the 
Void, 193. 

order of chapters, 196-7. 

Reincarnation of Adya (Gauri, Sat!), 

references to, 199, 200, 251. 
Religion, Eastern : — 
Fundamentally the same in India, 

China and Japan, xi. 
Sameness probably due to the com- 
mon mentality of Asiatics, xi. 
Terms such as Hinduism, Brahman- 
ism, Buddhism, etc., very am- 
biguous, xv. 
Unity obscured by diversity of rites, 
etc., in different parts of India, 
Religious observances : — 
Local diversity of, obscures their 

underlying unity, 25. 
Observed in common by votaries of 

different deities, 131. 
Rarely quite disinterested, 3. 
Repetition of names of gods : — 
An act of worship performed standing 
on one foot, 44, 48. 
Revolution, religious : — 
In Bengal, in Pala times, 170. 
Jainism supplants Vedism to be it- 
self displaced by Hinduism, I7r. 
Tantric Buddhism ousts Hinduism 
to lose itself in Shaivism, 171. 
Rice cooked by the gods, 243. 
Rice-growing by Shiva, 82-4. 


Risabha Deva: — 
A religious pioneer, first Jina, or chief 

saint of the Jainas, 137-8. 
Born at the Brahma-mahayoga, 137. 
Favoured by the gods, 137. 
Impressed by the dancing of Nllan- 

jasa, 123, 137. 
Retires to the Kailasa mountain and 

there realizes Nirvana, 137-8. 
Story of, an echo of Shiva's, 138. 
Worship of at his birthday festival 

apparently contributed to the 

starting of the Gambhlra, 138. 
Ritual accessories and regalia of 
gods : — 
Appointments of Shiva's temple, 236, 

Ashes of cow-dung, 45, 105, 106. 
Attardans, 65. 

Bedstead, 33, 39, 40 (note), 45. 
Book dealing with all religions, 179, 

Chomackas, iron lamps, 64. 
Coloured water, 242. 
Copper-plates, 240. 
Danker patila, 32. 
Dhenki, 59, 223. 
Dhupa, incense, 53, 56, 64. 
Dhuvchi, 32. 

Fly-brushes, 35, 125-6, 127, 238. 
Frankincense, 64. 

Garlands, 56, 60, 65, ng, 200, 236, 

— of bones, g, 45. 

— of human skulls and heads, 187, 

— of thread balls, 76-7. 
Ghata, 32, 49, 51, 69, 75, 76, 197, 

200 (note). 

Holy water (shanti jala), 54, 123. 

Kamandalu, water-pot, 31, 135, 179, 

Maces, 36. 

Moon ornaments, 45, 181. 

Mustard oil, 64. 

Pancha-gavya, five substances mixed 
for purification, 236. 

Panchamrita, five nectarine sub- 
stances mixed for purification, 

Pata, 49 (note), 231. 

Ramakeli, pictures drawn on cloths, 

Rosary, I7g, 181. 
Sara, earthern cups, 64. 
Suvarna-mandala, golden orb, igo. 
Tridanda,. three staves, I7g, 180. 
Trident (trirucha), 224, 230, 241. 


Ritual accessories and regalia of gods — 
cont. — 
Ukas, torches of dried jute plants, 64. 
Utensils made by the gods, 32-3. 
Vanas, 103-6. 
Wine, g. 
Roaring and A grinning, acts of worship 

by the Aula sect, 34 (note). 
Rudra (Shiva) :— 
A fire-god in the Vedas, figured as 
wearing a crown and other orna- 
ments, wielding bows and arrows 
and preparing medicines, 253. 
Humanized and furnished with wives 
in Post-Vedic literature, 254. 

Sacrifices (see also Offerings) : — 

Agni-daivata, 12. 

Ashwamedha (horse), 8, n, 116, 256. 

Becoming more complex when Ma- 
hdbhdrata was written, 8. 

Bow, 116. 

Chaturmasya (horse, extending over 
four months), 12. 

Daksa's, 251. 

Darsha (new moon), 11, 12. 

Goat, 97, 197 (note), 200. 

Human, 187. 

Increasing complexity of, apparent 
in Vedic literature, 10, 11. 

Mohammedan (cows), 227. 

Music and dance inseparably associ- 
ated with, 121. 

Paurnamasa (full moon), 11, 12. 

Rajasuya, 122, 129. 

Renunciation of byBhiksus, 144. 

Tantric, of animals, 171. 

To ancestors, or the dead, 71, 191. 

To Fire-gods, 11, 12. 

Used as occasions of social enjoy- 
ment and fraternal gatherings, 
Sahiyatra of Orissa :— 

A celebration like the Gajan and 
Gambhlra festivities of other 
places and with similar cere- 
monies and dances, 91. 

Doubt as to presiding deity owing to 
ghata (water-jar) being gener- 
ally the sole emblem, 91. 

Image of goddess resembling Shakti 
used in many villages, 91. 

Local dances — Chait-Ghoda (horse- 
dance), dances of sparrows, old 
man and his old wife, etc., 92, 

Salvation, plan of, proclaimed by the 

Mahayftna Buddhists, 142-3. 
Sannyasis (see Bhaktas) : — 

General term for ascetics ; technical 
term for votaries of Gambhlra 
and Gajan, 75 (note). 
Ignore caste-rules in the Gambhlra 

and Gajan, 133-4. 
Mula-Sannyasi, or chief votary of the 
Gajan, an hereditary post, 

• leader of the Gajan ceremonies, 

Selection and initiation ceremonies, 

Self-tortures, or physical austerities, 
81, 85-7. 
Sanskrit : — 
Lingua franca of educated India 

through the ages, 24. 
MSS., viii. 

Translations from, into Indian ver- 
naculars, has imparted local 
colouring to all Indian tradi- 
tions, 24. 
Twelfth century the" Augustan Age 
of Sanskrit learning in Bengal," 
Vallala Sena, a royal author, an. 
Saraswatl : — 
A Vedic goddess, 253. 
Goddess of learning, 261. 
Included in family of Shiva, 255. 
Saubhratra milana, or Hindu ententes 

cordiales, 129, 130. 
Sects, denominations or churches of 

Hindu religion, 120. 
Secular interests, influence of, on Hindu 

life and thought, x. 
Self-creation of the Creator, 40. 
Sena Emperors : — 

Dynasty of strong Imperial adminis- 
trators in Bengal, 212. 
Established a United Bengal early in 

twelfth century, 173 (note). 
Failure of before Moslems not fully 

explained, 214. 
Laksmana Sena appoints Halayu- 
dha his religious minister, 
who endeavours to regulate 
the dominant Tantrism, 

first Shaivist, then Vaisnavlst, 


possibly converted by songs of 

Jayadeva, 210. 

poet and patron of literature, 




Sena Emperors — cont. — 
Vallala Sena, author, 211. 
banishes Brahmanas for op- 
pression, 207-8." 

degrades the goldsmith caste, 


founder of Kulinism, 204-5. 

offends higher castes, 204. 

Vijaya Sena, military genius and 
conqueror, 211. 

staunch Shaivist, 203-4. 

Serpent : — 
Created to bear the three worlds, 

Fed with frogs, 43. 
Made immortal, 43. 
Shaivism (or Shaiva - cum - Shakta- 
ism) : — 
A faith of centuries in all parts of 

India, 23. 
Assimilated both Buddhism and 

Jainism in Bengal, 25, 169. 
Buddhism implicit in, xvi. 
Chequered course of, in Indian 

history, 2. 
Dharmapala's religious toleration 
acts in favour of Hinduism as 
against Buddhism, 165-6. 
— successors show increasing respect 
for Brahmanas and their re- 
ligion, resulting in the gradual 
displacement of Buddhism by 
Shaivism in Bengal, 166-g. 
Diversity of rites and ceremonies ob- 
scures underlying unity, 25. 
Doctrine of a personal God gives ad- 
vantage over Buddhism and 
Jainism, 23. 
Drunkenness of early votaries, 9. 
Established in Bengal under the 
later Palas and almost undis- 
tinguishable from Buddhism, 
Establishment in the capitals leads to 
general adoption in the country, 
Incorporates Buddhist gods, 146, 165, 

Modern complex worship evolved 

from originally simple rites, 

Officially encouraged under the Palas 

and Cholas, 162, 170. 
Protection of, under Narayanapala 

favours gradual spread over all 

Pala territory, 170. 
Relations of with Buddhism the sub- 
ject of present book, vii-viii. 


Shaivism (or Shaiva-cum-Shaktaism)— 
cont. — 

Rooted in Bengal before Pala times, 

Shakti, Chand! or Durga identi- 
fied with the Buddhist Adya, 

Similarity of gods leads to indiscri- 
minate use of temples by Shaivas 
and Buddhists, 173. 

Spreads to Pala queens, 174. 

— to the inscriptions of Buddhist 
rulers, 174. 

Tantric form of, similar to Tantric 

Buddhism, 171, 172. 
Temple attached to every Hindu 
home, 232. 

— of Shiva, palatial, 236, 238. 
Under Islam, the favour shown to 

Hindu princes, mostly worship- 
pers of Shakti, gives impetus to 

Shaivism, 232. 
Wandering Sannydsis sing the glories 

of Shiva and propagate his 

worship, 232. 
Shakti (Parvati, wife of Shiva) :— 
" Aw " her verbal symbol: combined 

with the " Maw " of Shiva makes 

the mystic " Om," 194. 
Divine energy personified, 12. 
Marriage of, to Shiva, 231. 
Mentioned in Buddhist Tantric 

works, 258. 
Sahiyatra of Orissa held in many 

villages before an image of 

Shakti, 91. 
Worshipped with Shiva in eleventh 

century, 172. 
Shaktis, or goddesses, wives of gods ; — 
Impersonations of divine energy, 

Buddhist, incorporated with Hindu 

gods before Pala times, 165. 
In Buddhist Tantras, 188. 
Mahayanic Buddhists as creators of 

Shaktis or wives for the Buddhas, 

Tara imagined as surrounded by 

Shaktis, 187. 
Shdstras, or Scriptures and Sciences : — 
Adapted to conditions of time and 

place, 24. 
Govern social and religious life, 

Mostly composed as songs, 128. 
Varieties of, 114. 
Shaving, obligatory on devotees in the 
Gajan, 75, 76. 


Shiva : — 

A placable and popular Hindu deity, 
3. 8, g. 

Adornments of, 44, 45. 

Assists Vishwakarma to make imple- 
ments of agriculture, 83. 

Attends Dharma's Gajan as a guest, 

— Gambhlra with his wife and 

family, 4. 
Beverages of, 255. 
Bhadrakali and Virabhadra born from 

his spleen, 256. 
Boons granted by, to King Vana, 106, 

Concern at the plight of Vana, his 

devotee, 244, 246. 
Crocodile of, 79. 
Deceived and entertained by nymphs 

disguised as goddesses, 122, 248- 

Described as a man in Epic litera- 
ture, 8. 

Devotion to, of his wife, Sat!, 255. 

Disguises himself as Adam, 224. 

Follows his wife's advice in agri- 
cultural matters, 82, 83-4, 223. 

Formless at first, 48. 

Grows cotton, 38. 

— paddy, 57, 82-4, 90. 

Growth of in importance in Purdnas, 
Samhitds and Tantras, 254-8. 

Hires land of Indra, 82. 

Holds a flower and flowers adorn his 
head, 50. 

Image of, confounded with that of 
Lokeshwara Buddha, 165, 171, 


— probably began to be made when 

the Epics were written, 8. 
Image-worship of, probably began 

about the same time, 8. 
Invited to Dharma's Gajan, 222, 

Joint image of, with GaurJ, 231. 
Khattanga, peculiar weapon of, 71, 

Legend of the phallus, 234-5. 
Married to the daughter of Dharma, 

thereby taking chief place in 

Dharma's Gajan, 231. 
Middle position in the Hindu Trinity, 

28, 32. 
Patron of dancing, 122-3. 
Plays his shimga and damaru and 

also on his cheeks, 125, 223. 
Presides over Shivaloka in Epic times, 


Shiva — cont. — 

Quarrel and reconciliation with 
Daksa, 255-6. 

Replaced in Buddhism by Bodhisattva, 

Reproached for inactivity, 29. 

Sacred thread, a live snake, 230. 

Salutes Dharma, 222. 

Shivarata, recital of Shiva's rewards 
to his votaries, 4. 

Shivaratri, night of Shiva, 3. 

Temple of, to be like a palace, 238. 

Three eyes of, 46, 199. 

Travels from door to door as a beggar, 

Visits Parvati as a seller of shell 
bracelets, 84-5. 

Wives of, 254, 255. 
Shiva, other names of (for pages see 
Proper Names Index) : — 


Arura Vaidyanatha. 


Baba Ishaneshwara. 



Bhlma Kedara. 

Bhola Maheshwara. 


Chandra Shekhara. 






Madhava (mostly Krisna but some- 
times Shiva). 
























Shunya Purdna of Ramai Pandit : — 
A partial collection of songs and 

hymns of Dharma-worship, 93. 
All the songs to be sung at the 

worship, 124. 
Authorship attributed to a cycle or 

school, 221 (note). 
Contents of, 196-7. 
Creation story in, 197-9, 221-2. 
Dharma's Gajan the form of worship 

inculcated, 195. 
Inspired by tie doctrine, "All is 

Void," 145, 193. 
Mangala and Ravari modes of music 

used, 124. 
Marks a very important stage in socio- 

religious evolution, 221. 
Mohammedan invasion-song (Wrath 

of Niranjana) a later addition, 

Presents gods under two environ- 
ments — declining Buddhism and 

aggressive Islam, 221. 
Probably imitates Buddhist festivities 

seen by Hiuen Thsang, 223. 
Religious ideal of, a modification of 

Dipamkara's, igo. 
Sin :— 
Asoka's Festival of Atonement, 156, 

Bi-monthly confession of Bhiksus, 

156 (note). 
Confession a preliminary to absolu- 
tion in Gambhira, 20. 
Gambhira confession probably a relic 

of Asoka's festival, 158. 
Hlnayana Buddhists probably intro- 
duced confession, 136. 
Singers : — 

Kunala, blind, 123. 

Narada, singer and sage, 59, 60, 122. 

Pancha-chuda, inventor of Chhalikya, 

Singing : — 
At festivals, 11. 
Competition in heaven, 122. 
Exposure of sinners by, 20, 55. 
Hindolana, singing the Hindola at 

Dharma's Gajan, 97. 
Ritual of, 26-7, 44, 48, 4g. 
Songs of Ramai, all to be sung in 

Dharma-worship, 124. 
Sleeping in the temple at night, danger 

of, 70. 
Sleepless nights, passing of (jagaran), 

76, 79, 89, 90, 238-g. 
Smallpox, worship of Shttala prescribed 
for, 258. 

Snake Songs (Lays of Visahari) as 

charms against snakes, 128. 
Social gatherings: — 
Brotherly gatherings, Saubhrdtra 
Milana, a feature of Hindu 
social life from very early times, 
Festivals gave occasion for such 
gatherings, when both sexes 
laid aside their feuds and made 
merry together, 129. 
Frequent in the Vedic age, 129. 
Hostile armies fraternize after fight- 
ing, in Rdmayana, 129. 
Innumerable instances in Mahdbha- 

rata, 129-30. 
Loving relations of heroes in Hari- 
vamsha, 130. 

Shaivas in the Samhitds, 130. 

Meetings for worship promoted 
brotherly love among Jainas, 130. 
Religious conferences of Buddhists 
helped to develop fraternity 
among Buddhists of all varie- 
ties, 130-1. 

— gatherings attended by Fa Hien 

and Hiuen Thsang, at which 
devotees of different gods held 
united worship and festival, 131, 
155, 156-8. 
Sannyasis of Dharma bound by tie of 

unity, 131-2. 
Social dinner of the gods, 132. 
Thread-tying, a symbol of unity ob- 
served by men and women in 
Dharma-worship, 133. 
Union of different castes in Gam- 
bhira and Gajan, 133-4. 
Vijaya greetings of the Durga Puja, 
analogous to Christmas and New 
Year greetings, 134. 
Sociology, Indian : — 

A science in the making, 1. 

All conclusions at present provisional, 

Archaeology, ecology and ethnology 

to be consulted, 1. 
Bias to be avoided, 2. 
Data if studied would prepare the 
way for universal sociology, 2, 

— in present volume the result of 

preliminary spade-work, x. 
Soma : — 
An unidentified Vedic plant, 8. 
Drinking of its juice (soma-rasa), a 
characteristic rite of early wor- 
ship, 8, 10, 11. 


Songs, collections of: — 
Bhdsdna of Manasd, 127-8. 
Bhogipala, songs of, 125. 
Dkarma-Mangala, by Ghanarama, 

by Manik Ganguli, 126. 

by Yatrasiddhi Ray, 258. 

Dharma - pujd, by Gaudeshwara, 

Gopipala, songs of, widely circulated, 

Govinda Chandra, Lays of, sung in 

toto, 125, i8g. 
jfagajjivana, 128. 
Mahipala, songs of, 125, i8g. 
Mdlsi Songs, 259. 

Mangala-Chandi, by Kavikamkana, 

by Manik Datta, 126, 127. 

Mdnikachandra, Lays of, 189. 
Padmd, Songs of, by Vipradasa, 

Shivagitd, 82. 
Shunya Purdna, by Ramai Pandit, 

all sung in Dharma-worship, 124, 

Tantravibhuti, 128. 
V aulas, Lays of, 193 (note). 
Yogipala, songs of, 125. 
Songs of the Gajan: — 
Competitive versifying, 79. 
Dehara-bhanga (Breaking-down of 

the Temple), 224, 226-g. 
Rusma (Wrath) of Niranjana, or In- 
vasion Song, 224-5. 
Shiva's Cultivation Song, 82-4. 
— Bracelet Song, 84-5. 
Songs of the Gambhlra : — 
A poet's tribute to, 16. 
Comparable with English miracle- 
plays and Japanese »o-plays, 

Compositions of village poets, 26. 
Cover almost every department of 

human life, 17. 
Inspiration and fine quality of, 15. 
Poets of, 15. 
Quality of a song dependent upon its 

muddd (theme), 57. 
Used for exposing sinners, 20. 
Verse-making competitions, 79. 
Volvahi, special songs improvised by 

experts, 57-8. 
Soul, devotional state of necessary in 

worship, 239. 
Spiritual ideals associated with secular 
interests in moulding Hindu life 
and thought, x, 114-5. 

Spiritualism, rustic : — 
Possession by ghosts, 89. 

— the local god, 90-1. 

Predictions by local ghosts less re- 
liable than those by stranger 
ghosts, 89. 

Prescriptions by ghosts, 90. 
Quarrels of village ghosts, 89. 
Villagers prefer ghosts to gods, 89. 
Struggle for existence (mdtsya nydya) 
between Vedists and Buddhists, 
Sun and Moon worship : — 
Bowing to Sun and Moon, 37. 
" Glorious Sun-god," interpretation 

of Bhanu Bhaskara Ray a, 31. 
Prabhakara Vardhana and Keshava 
Sena, Sun-worshippers, 151, 214. 
Sun, represents the Creator, 194. 
Sun-god and Moon-god, become 
foot-soldiers and strike up a 
concert, 225. 
Sun-god, dries earthen vessels, 33. 

— worship of, 14, g7, 98, 131, 151, 

157. 158. 

— worshipped in Vedic times, 10. 
Sun-gods, the twelve, 97. 

Syllables, mystic or auspicious : — 
Aw, Maw, Naw, Saw, 194. 
Hoom, 181. 

Om, 112, 113, 194, 195. 
Ulu, ulu, 59, 60, 125, 139. 


Talent fostered by the Gambhlra, 17. 
Tamil :— 

Important to future historians, 25-6. 
Researches in, vii. 

Value of, demonstrated by Mr. S. K. 
Aiyangar, 26 (note). 
Tantric Buddhism (or neo - Bud- 
dhism) : — 
An offshoot from the Madhyamika 
branch of Mahayanism, 145, 


Animal sacrifices of, 171. 

Atisha (Dipamkara Shrtjnana), re- 
presentative Tantric Buddhist of 
Eastern India about 1040 a.d., 

Brought about rapprochement of 
Mahayanists and Puranists, 

Difficult to distinguish from Tantric 
Hinduism, 151, 152, 171. 

Dramatic work showing Tantric 
influence, 186-8. 



Tantric Buddhism (or neo-Buddhism) — 
cont. — 
Established by Harsa Vardhana in 

Eastern India, 151. 
Influence of, contrary to Buddhist 

humane doctrine, 188. 
Practices of, the backbone of the 

Shaiva GambhlrS, 169. 
Principal deities of : — 
Avalokiteshwara, or Lokeshwara 
Buddha, shining, holding a 
lotus, with Amitabha seated 
on his long matted hair, 178-9, 
180, 257. 
Bhrikuti, with four hands and 
three eyes, carrying tridanda, 
water-pot and rosary, 179, 
Chamunda, blood-red, wearing 
garlands of human heads, and 
with eight, ten or sixteen 
hands, 188. 
Haritl, identical with Hindu 

Shitala, 258 (note). 
Hayagriva, crimson - coloured, 
short, long-bellied, three-eyed, 
179, 180. 
Jamari, of disfigured face and 
tawny hair, holding club, 
Lokeshwara Buddha, image in 
Mayurbhanj, with four hands 
and three eyes, a copy of the 
Hindu Mahadeva (Shiva), 181. 
Mahakala, terrific images of, 171, 

Manasa, Goddess of snakes, 258. 
Manjushri, yellow - complexioned, 
adorned with jewels, holding a 
lotus, 181. 
Potalaka, lean, with large belly, 

Shakti, many forms of, 258. 
Sudhanva Kumara, yellow as gold, 
holding a book under his left 
arm-pit, 179, 180, 181. 
Tara, dark, in full bloom of youth, 
holding a lotus, 179, 180, 
185, 258. 
— other types of, 182-6, 257-8. 
Shunya, or Void, meditation on in- 
troduces worship, 193. 
Steady spread of, from time of Fa 
Hien to that of Hiuen Thsang, 
Transformation into Tantric Hindu- 
ism favoured by advent of Islam, 

Tantric Shaivism (or Shaiva-cum- 
Shaktaism, a phase of neo-Hindu- 
ism) : — 
Accepted as personal religion by 

Shashamka and other kings of 

Eastern India, 150. 
Difficult to distinguish from Tantric 

Buddhism, 151, 152, 171. 
Firmly established under the later 

Pala and the Varman kings, 

Likeness of gods, rites and ceremon- 
ies assists Shaivism to absorb 

Buddhism, 202. 
Madhava Sena a Shaivist, 214. 
Supremacy of under later Sena kings, 

Tantric images found in Bengal much 

outnumber all others, 206. 
Tantrism and Tara worship in great 

vogue in Gauda, 206. 
— leads to neglect of the Vedas and 
decay of Brahmanical learning, 
Tantrism : — 

A unifying principle in Hindu re- 
ligion, 151-2. 
Common faith in, led different creeds 

and sects to approximate in forms 

of worship, 152-3. 
Mahayanic Buddhists and Hindus of 

Shaiva and other cults almost 

equally addicted to Tantrism, 

Matsya-Sukta, written by Halayu- 

dha to check Tantric excesses, 

Predominant in Buddhism in middle 

of seventh century, 175. 
Supreme in twelfth century in Gauda, 

Swallowed up in a common philo- 
sophy Mahayana Buddhism and 

latter-day Brahmanism in Pala- 

Chola times, 162. 
Tantras rule social affairs in twelfth 

century, 207. 
Unopposed in Gauda early in the 

eleventh century, 189. 
Yoga, a feature of Tantrism, 192. 
Tara, chief Tantric goddess : — 
A goddess greatly esteemed by the 

Mahayanists, 183. 
Generally imaged as on the left side 

of Lokeshwara Buddha, 182, 

Hiuen Thsang describes her image 

at Nalanda, 183. 


Tara, chief Tantric goddess — cont. — 
Het various names a^d figures : — 
Arya Tara, or Adya Devi, or 
Dharma Devi, etc., presid- 
ing goddess of the Gambhtra, 
imaged as three-eyed and 
dark blue, two hands only, 
i85, 257. 
Jangalt Tara, all white, with two 
or four hands and seated 
on couch of truth, 184. 
worshipped in the wilder- 
ness, 183. 
Kurukulla Devi, or Tara, crimson, 

with four hands, 185. 
Mahottart Tara, similar to Arya 

Tara, 185. 
Nila Saraswatl Tara, reverenced 
by the Yogachira sect of 
Tibet, 182, 258. 
Vajra Tara, chief Mahayana 
goddess, in some parts 
known as Chandi, 184. 

figured with eight hands, 

four faces, each with 
three eyes, and in the 
bloom of youth, 184, 258. 
Puranist goddesses analogues or dup- 
licates of Tara, 186. 
Similar to Kail, Tara, Chamunda 
and other Hindu Tantric god- 
desses, 188. 
Worship of, tends towards and de- 
velops into the Shaiva Gam- 
bhtra, 183. 
Temples (churches, places of wor- 
ship) : — 
Antar-gambhtra, or Ghora-gambhtra, 
inner apartment of temple, 70, 71. 
Baro-yari Mandapa, temporary 

temple, 63, 134, 157. 
Bhandara, store-house of the temple, 

36 (note), 37. 
Buddhist, 181, 192. 
Chandl-Mandapa, 35, 37, 68, 69, 70, 

207, 232. 
Chamunda, 187, 207. 
Dehara, altar or temple of Dharma, 

98, 224, 225, 226-9. 
Dharma, 223. 
Eclectic, founded and endowed by 

Narayanapala, 168, 169. 
Floral, 243. 
Gajan, 48, 49, 60. 
Gajan-tali, place or temple of Gajan, 

76, 78. 
Gambhtra, shown to mean a temple 
of Shiva, 63-72. I 

Temples (churches, places of worship) — 
cont. — 
Gambhtra-Mandapa, 4, 19, 26, 46, 
55. 5 6 . 57. 58, 59. 6°. 61, 62, 63, 
64, 65, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 88, 
no, 112, 136, 247. 
Gambhtra-pandal, front or dancing- 
house of temple, 18, 53, 54, 55, 
62, 200. 
— temples in which the same festi- 
vities are held under other 
names, 61, 62. 
High-roomed, built by Rajyapaia, 

Hindu, noticed by Hiuen Thsang, 

Impartially favoured by Harsa Var- 

dhana, 131, 153. 
Kail, 80. 

Lokeshwara, 258 (note). 
Masjid, Mohammedan, 227. 
Ntla, 80, 87. 
Shiva, decoration and appointments 

of, 62, 236, 238. 
Tara, igo, 191. 
Vasult, 207. 

Viharas, Buddhist or Jaina monas- 
teries, 138, 153, 169, 173, 178, 182. 
Theology, Hindu : — 

Ananta-vaibhava Kaivalya jndna, 

knowledge leading to oneness 

with God and thus to final 

emancipation of the soul, 140. 

Thread-tying (Rakht Vandhana), 

ancient ceremony of friendship, 

133, 241 (note). 

Tibet: mask-dances performed in, 

similar to Gambhtra, 6. 
Tirthamkaras, demi-gods and pioneers 

of Jainism, 137. 
Tortoise : — 
Last support of the earth, 27. 
Symbol of the formless Dharma, 100. 
Transcendental conceptions popularized 

in folk-lore, x-xi. 
Transformation of Buddhist into Hindu 

deities, 200-1. 
Tree-worship (Gamar-kata) : — 
A Dharmic ceremony, 240. 
Consists in offerings to beautiful and 
delicate plants in a temple, 240-1. 
Worship of Gambhtra or Gamara- 
tree, 133, 240-1. 
Trinity (Triratna, Triratna-murti) : — 
Brahma, Visnu and Maheshwara 

(Hindu), f 12, igg. 
Buddha, Dharma and Samgha (Bud- 
dhist), 135 (note), 193. 



Trinity (Triratna, Triratna-murti)— 
cont. — 
Definite forms of, with a female 

Dhaima, 147, ig3. 
Evolution of from the Void, 194. 
Female Dharma gradually displaced 
hy male form, Samgha becoming 
female, 193. 
Installation of at Chariot Festival, 

Mahadeva, Lokeshwara and Maha- 

k&la (Tantric Buddhist), 193. 
Om, Vedic verbal symbol of, 112, 113, 

adopted by Buddhists, 194. 

R&mcti's Trimurti a mixture of Hindu 
and Buddhist deities, 194. 


Ulluka (Gibbon of Dharma) : — 
Born from Dharma, 40 (note), 41. 
Conveyance and counsellor of 
Dharma, 40 (note), 41, 43 (note). 
Holds the Chuda, 108. 
Messenger of Yama, 253. 
Occasionally appears as Hanuman, 

40 (note). 
Probably originated from story of 
Buddha's monkey incarnation, 
40-1 (note). 
Worshipped with Dharma, 100. 
Ullukai (Bird of Dharma) :— 
Born from Dharma's breath or ex- 
halation, 41 (note), 198, 222. 
Gives birth to the goose, ig8. 
Mentioned by RamSi, 258. 
Unknown gods, reverence to, 30. 
Upanayana, investiture with the sacred 

thread, 61. 
Urdu, practically a new Indo-Islamic 
language, 217. 

Vaisnavism : — 

A' subject for a future work, vii. 

Buddhism implicit in, xvi. 

Doctrine of a personal god gives 
advantage over Buddhism and 
Jainism, 23. 

Harivamsha, work written to exalt 
Vaisnavism over Shaivism, 244. 

Officially encouraged under the Paias 
and Cholas, 162. 

Propagated by Chaitanya, 15. 

Yoga, Vaisnava processes of, prac- 
tised by Shiva's attendants, 249. 

Vana Raja (King Vana) : — 

A legendary king of Shonitapura, 

Depicted as a golden-bodied devotee 
of Shiva, 35. 

Loses his two arms in fight with 
Krisna, 106, 244. 

Pleases Shiva with his wonderful 
dancing, though covered with 
blood and wounds, 106, 245. 

Shiva grants boons of immortality for 
himself and for devotees who 
should thereafter, like Vana, 
dance wounded and bloody be- 
fore the god; also heals his 
wounds and makes him a per- 
sonal attendant under the name 
of Mahakala, 106, 246-7. 

This legend the origin of the fasts 
and physical austerities of Shiva- 
worship, 107, 247. 
Vanafoda (and see Physical Austeri- 
ties) : — 

An heroic practice, introduced to en- 
courage chivalrous ideas, 108. 

Bhlsma's death on a bed of arrows 
possibly suggested the idea, 106. 

King Vana's dance before Shiva 
origin of name and practice of 
Vanafoda, 106-7, 244-7. 

Legend" of Harischandra's worship 
of Dharma, 107. 

Object of, to purchase the favour of 
Shiva ; health and long life, 107, 

Recognized by Ramai Pandit, 108. 

Worship of the vanas part of Shiva- 
worship, 107. 
Vande Mdtaram, India's greatest mod- 
ern folk hymn, 262. 
Vedic festivals: — 

At harvest-time, precursors of Gam- 
bhlra, 10. 

Increasing complexity of, 8, n. 
Vedism : — 

Adaptations from, by Mahay ana 
Buddhism, 194. 

Attempted revival of in Gauda by 
Shura kings, 163-4. 

Gods of, fire-gods and other deifica- 
tions of natural energies, 253. 

Rudra as a divine warrior and phy- 
sician, 253. 
Vernaculars, Indian : — 

Afford new light on national develop- 
ment, vii. 

Important to all students of compara- 
tive mythology and sociology, 25. 


Vernaculars, Indian — cont. — 

Literature in, powerfully governs 

social and religious life, 24. 
Parents of, encouraged and protected 

in Pala-Chola times, 162. 
Recent research in, vii. 
Translations into from Sanskrit im- 
part local colour to All-India 
traditions, 24. 
Verse-making competitions (Sanger- 
krieg) : — 
An institution in Bengal, jg (note). 
Chapan, Chiten and Javav, charges 
and rejoinders, 7g. 
Viharas, Buddhist monasteries : — 
Built by Buddhist kings, 169. 
Narayanapala, a staunch Buddhist, 
builds temples to Shiva, to be 
open, however, to Buddhists, 169. 
Vijaya, the Indian Christmas Day, 134. 
Visnu (or Narayana, the Protector) : — 
A fire-god in Vedic times, 12. 
LaksmI, Goddess of Fortune, his 

wife, 29. 
Third (or rear) position in the Hindu 

Trinity, 28, 32. 
Takes precedence of Indra in Shri- 
mad-Bhagavata, and Ndradiya 
and Dharma Purdnas, 255. 
Void, the :— 

Dharma springs from, 197-8, 222. 
Evolution of gods from, 194, 222. 
Given form by the Mahayitnists, 176. 
Maha-shunya, or Great Void, 176, 

Meditation on, introduces Tantric 

worship, 193. 
Mystery of, 27, 32. 

Shunya-vada, theory of the Void, a 
link between Buddhism and 
Hinduism, 145. 

the kernel of the Madhyamika 

religion, 175-6, 193. 


Water :— 

Creation of from the saliva of Dharma, 

Dharma's floating on for fourteen 

ages, 41. 
Pitcher of representing a god (ghata), 

49. 51. 52. 76. 9i» 96, 197- 
White God, the, 33, 39-40 (note). 
Wine, stolen by Jagannatha, 100, 229. 
Wines in worship : — 
Four kinds, 9. 

Indulged in to excess by early votar- 
ies, 9. 
Woods, retirement to by ascetics, 

World-Forces, religion of: — 
Born of folk religion, xvi. 
Common to Vedists, pre-Confucian 
Chinese and worshippers of 
Kami, xvi. 
Gave birth to religion of love and 

romanticism, xvi. 
In Vedic age, 262. 

Yoga :— 

Art-magic associated with Tantrism : 

illustrative feat of a disciple of 

Atisha, 192. 
Chitralekha, daughter of Kumbhanda, 

assumes form of Parvati by 

Vaisnava-Atma Yoga, 249. 
Disciplines of, welded in the Vaisnava 

and Shaiva schools with belief 

in and love of God, 23. 
Nymphs, practising Vaisnava Yoga, 

assume forms of goddesses, 




Abhaya, 127. 

Achalodara, 179. 

Achismati, 11. 

Adama, 218, 224. 

Adbhutasdgara, 211. 

Adi Buddha (First or Primitive Buddha, 

or Dharma), 40 (note), 94, g$, 147, 

176, 218, 221, 225, 231. 

— Dharma Devi, 185. 
— - Jina Risabha, 117. 
Adi Purdna, 257. 

Adi Shiva, 74. 

Adishura, 163, 204. 

Aditi, 253, 254. 

Aditya, 253. 

Adityas (Sun-gods), the twelve, 97. 

Adyaraja (Dharma), 100. 

Adya (first Goddess, Chandika), 41 
(note), 46, 63, 68, 69, 85 (note), 87 
(note), 95, 96, 97 (note), 98, 99, 126, 
155 (note), 193 (note), 198, 199, 
200, 201, 218, 220, 222, 223, 229, 
230, 231, 233, 237, 238, 247, 251, 

— Chandl, 258. 

— Chandika, 231. 

— Devi, 173, 185. 

— Shakti, 222, 254. 
Adyanatha, 132. 
Africa, 6. 
Agama, 28. 
Aghoraghanta, Bhairava, 187. 

Agni (Fire-god), n, 12, 253, 254, 255. 

Ahidin, 228. 

Ahnika-paddhati, 209. 

Airavata (Indra's elephant), 223, 254. 

Aiyangar, S. Krishnaswami, Ancient 

India, 22, 26 (note). 
Ajmere, 161. 

Aksobhya, xiii, 146, 177, 181. 
Ala'ksml, 253. 
Ala-ud-din Khilji, 161. 
Alf, 99, 226. 

Alia (God in Islam), 99, 226, 228, 229. 

Allahabad, 13, 131, 156, 157. 

Amani, 100. 

Amaraja, 166. 

Amaravat! (Tree of Paradise, Mango), 

Ambar, 233 (note). 
America, xiv, 2. 
Amin, 228. 
Amitabha Buddha, 146, 177, 178, 180, 

Amoghasiddhi, 146, 177, 182. 
Amriti, 173. 
Anadya, 132. 
Andhras, 2, 23. 
Angira, 11. 
Anilas, the two, 197. 
Aniruddha, 106, 244. 
Apis, 7. 

Apsaras (Nymphs), 122, 248, 251. 
Ardha-chandra (Shiva), 71. 

— Gaurlshwara, 210. 
Aries, 172. 

Ariraja-sudana-shamkara, 208. 
Aristanemi Purdna, 117, 123, 137 (note), 

138 (note), 139 (note), 257. 
Arjuna, 8, 122, 255. 
Arura Vaidyanatha (Shiva), 47. 
Arya Avalokiteshwara, 180. 

— Tara, 14, 87 (note), 173, 182, 183, 

185, 186, 206 (note). 
Aryans, 129, 253. 
Aryavarta, 216. 
Aryyd-Saptashati, 209. 
Ashwaghosa, 143, 145. 
Ashwasena, 139. 
Asia, 6, 162. 

— Central, 153. 

Asiatic Society of Bengal, xiv, 214 

Asiatics, 215. 

Asoka, 130, 156 (note), 161. 
Assam, 6, 13, 31, 173 (note), 213. 
Atisha Shrljnana (Dipamkara), 172, iag, 

190, 191, 192. 



Atisini, 48, 49, 50. 

Aula Chand (Chandra), 33, 33-4 (note), 

35- 36. 

— Mahaprabhu, 34 (note). 
Avalokiteshwara (Khasarpana Lokesh- 

wara), 145, 173, 177, 178, 180, 181, 
186, 257, 262. 
Avalon, xiv. 

— Principles of Tantra, 188 (note). 

— Hymns to the Goddess, 256 (note). 
Avaina, 100. 

Ayodhya, 116. 


Baba Ishaneshwara (Shiva), 44, 62. 

Babudin Molla, 228. 

Babylon, 7. 

Bacchus, 6, 7, 235 (note). 

Bada Jdndni, 219, 228. 

Baden- Powell, 22. 

Bakhtiyar, 214. 

Bakr-Id, 227. 

Banabhatta, 152 (note). 

Banddha Devi (Tara), 206 (note). 

Banerji, Prof. Rakhaldas, xii, xiv, xv, 
159 (note). 

History of Bengal, xiv, 149 

(note), 214. 

Pdlas of Bengal, 88 (note), 174 

(note), 214 (note). 

Bangadarshana, xii. 

Bangiya Sdhitya Parisat Patrikd, xiii, 
210 (note). 

Bankimchandra Chatterji, 261, 262. 

Bankuda Raya (Dharma), 100. 

Bankura, 5. 

Benares, 36, 118, I3g, 140, 213, 243. 

Bengal, viii, xii, xiv, xv, 5, 6, 7, 15, 
16, 17, 25, 61, 62, 73, 79 (note), 80, 
98, 120, 127, 128, 140, 141, 149, 
150, 154, 163, 164, 165, 170, 172, 
173 (note), 178, 189, 192, 193, 196, 
202, 203, 204, 206, 208, 211, 212, 

213, 214, 217, 231, 232, 233, 251, 
258, 261. 

— East, 2, 172, 173 (note), 203, 205, 

214, 233. 

— North, viii, 2, 16, 17, 70, 88 (note), 

140, 141, 147, 159, 165, 173 (note), 
214, 248. 

— South, 233. 

— West, viii, 2, 5, 43 (note), 59, 68, 70, 

85 (note), 93, 94, 95, 173 (note), 

214, 248. 
Bengalees, 2, 23. 
Bhadrakall, 256. 

Bhaga, 253. 
Bhagavan, 32. 
Bhdgavata, 9, 116. 

Bhagavatl (Chandl or Durga), 39, 84, 
199 (note). 

— Adya, 223. 
Bhagavati Sutra, 257. 
Bhagini, 100. 

Bhairava (Buddhist god), 173, 256. 

— (Shiva), 206. 
Bhairavas, the eight, 100. 
BhairavS, 256. 

Bhaktivinoda, Kedarnath Datta, 70. 

Bhandarkar, Sir R. G., Vaisnavism, 
Shaivism and Minor Religious 
Systems, xiv, 23 (note). 

Bhanu Bhaskara Raya (Glorious Sun- 
god ?), 31. 

Bharatagni, 12. 

Bharatachandra, 15. 

Bharati, Mukunda, 43 (note). 

Bhargadeva, 195. 

Bhdsdna of Manasd, 128. 

Bhatta, Ananda, 204. 

— Aniruddha, 204. 
Bhattasall, Nalini Kanta, xii. 
Bhava (Shiva), 246. 
Bhavabhuti, 186. 

Bhavan! (First deity, or entire divine 

energy), 28, 233. 
Bhava-rudreshwara, 50. 
Bhawanipur, 79. 
Bhima (Shiva), 31. 

— Kedara (Shiva), 47. 

Bhisma (or Bhlma, one of five brothers 

in the Mahdbhdrata), 84, 106. 
Bhogipala, 125. 
Bhola, Maheshwara, 5, 47. 
Bholanatha (Shiva), 28. 
Bhrigu, 10. 
Bhrikuti, I7g, 180. 
Bhringi, 36. 
Bhumigarbha, igi. 
Bhumisamgha, 191. 
Bhutan, 6, 196 (note), 207. 
Bhuvaneshwara, 213. 
Bihar (or Behar), 165, 173 (note), 178, 

Birbhum, 5, 62. 
Bodhisattvas, 146, 176, 177, 257. 
Bodhisattva Manjushri, 14. 
Bogra, 141. 
Brahma (or Brahman), 11, 13, 28, 30, 

32, 33. 41. 45. 63 (note), 102, 112, 116, 

144, 145, 176, 177 (note), 199, 222, 223, 

234, 254, 255, 256, 258. 
Brdhmana-sarvaswa, 207. 



Buddha xi, xvi, 13, 14, 42 (note), 43 
(note), 69, 94, 101, 118, 119, 124, 
131- 135. 136, 140, 143. 146, 147. 
148, 151, 152, 154, 155. 156. 157. 
158, 172, 173, 176, 177, 178, 180, 
183, 185, 193, 206 (note), 220, 
223, 237, 243, 257. 

— Bhattaraka, 174. 

— Shaktis, 176, 177, 188. 
Buddhas, 184. 

Burdwan, 5, 43 (note), 44, 62, 68, 70, 93, 

Burma, 6, 162, 207. 
Burmese, 203. 
Burns, 17. 


Calcutta, xv, 17, 25 (note), 53, 65, 79, 

— Banglya Sahitya Parisat, viii. 

— Dawn Society, xii. 

— Indian Museum, xii. 
Central India, 178. 
Ceylon, 6, 35, 37, 54, 146. 
Chaitanya, 15, 34 (note), 70, 127. 
Chaitanya Bhagavata, 232. 

— Charitdmrita, 70. 
Chakanda, 100. 
Chakravarti,Manomohan,xii,2ii (note). 

— Narahari, 233. 

— Pandit Rajanikanta, xii. 
Chambers, The Medieval Stage, 26 

Chamunda (Chandl), 80, log, no, nr, 

173, 187, 188, 207, 245, 248, 251. 254. 
Chdnd Vdul, 70. 
Chanda (a demon), 251. 

— Ramaprasad, xii, 88 (note). 

— Sadagara, 128. 
Chandavati, 205. 

Chand! (Goddess, personifying divine 
energy in full splendour), 28, 30, 31, 
39, 68, 72, iog, 112, 184, 206, 207, 
232, 248, 258. 

Chandl, of Kavikamkana, 258. 

— of Manik Datta, 39, 40 (note), 43, 

63 (note), 87 (note), 127, 193 

(note), 198 (note), 199 (note), 233, 

Chandidasa, A 15, 259. 
Chandika (Adya, Gauri), 69, 143. 225. 


— Bhavani, 233. 
Chandikd, 97. 
Chandipura, 206. 
Chandra, 107. 

Chandra Gupta II, 119, 131. 

Chandragupta Maurya, 161. 

— the Gupta, 161. 
Chandraprabha, 182. 
Chandrashekhara Shiva, 174, 248. 
Charanginatha, 132. 

Chatterji, Bankimchandra, 261, 262. 

— J. C, Kashmir Shaivism, xiv, 23 

Chetla, 74, 79. 
China, xi, xvi, 153, 162, 202, 206 (note), 

Chinese, 13, 119, 124, 203. 
Chintamani, 95. 
Chitanaya, 70. 
Chitrakuta, 118. 
Chitralekha, 248, 249. 
Chitramatika, Queen, 174. 
Chola, Rajendra, 160. 
Cholana, 182. 

Cholas, 2, 22 (note), 160, 161, 162. 
Collegian, xiii, 17. 
Collins, 17. 
Confucius, xi, xv. 
Coomaraswamy, Dr. A. K., xii. 

— Arts and Crafts of India and 

Ceylon, 217 (note). 

— and Sister Nivedita, Myths of the 

Hindus and Buddhists, xv, 253 

Cunningham's Mahdbodhi, 193 (note). 
Cupid, 187. 


Dacca, xiii. 

— Museum, xii. 

— Sahitya Parisat, viii. 
Dakinls, 256. 

Daksa, 9, 10, 248, 251, 255. 

Daksayani (Gaurl), 248. 

Dakjinatya, 216. 


Ddmara Tantra, 256. 

Damodara, 224. 

Danapati, 59, 60, 61, 159, 196. 

Danasagara, 211. 

Dandapani, 132. 

Daranga, 207. 

Darsana, 28. 

Das, Babu Gadadhara, 27 (note). 

Kisorimohan, 32. 

— Mahadeva, Dharma-gitd, g4, 96. 

— Michhual, 39. 

Rai Bahadur Sarat Chandra, Indian 

Pundits in the Land of Snow, xii, 
180 (note), 191 (note), 192 (note). 

Das, Visnu, 44. 

Dasa, Kisor, 70. 


Dasa, Krisna, 33 (note). 

— Mahadeva, 222. 

— Shrldhara, 209. 

— Valarama, 222. 

— Visnu, 33 (note), 34 (note), 36. 
Das Gupta, Hemchandra, xiii. 

— J. N., Mukundaram, 127, 233 (note). 
Datanatha (Shiva), 29. 

Datta, Aksayakumar, Religious Sects of 
India, 35 (note), 156 (note). 

— Chakrapani, 172. 

— Kausena (or Karnasena), 37, 38 


— Mahamada, 38 (note). 

— Manik, 39, 40 (note), 43, 63 (note), 

87 (note), 95, 126, 127, 198 (note), 
igg (note), 233, 258. 

— Nayanasena (or Lausena), 37, 38 


— Sukha, 120. 

De Visser, M. W., xiv. 

Delhi, 149, 161. 

Devapala, 166, 167. 

Devasthana (Abode of Gods), 223. 

Devi Purdna, 206, 254, 255. 

Devim&h&imy achandi , igg (note). 

Dhantala, 27 (note), 58, 59 (note). 

Dharamaguru Mahashaya, 34 (note). 

Dharma, 5, 6, 27, 38 (note), 44, 47, 57 
(note), 59, 61, 63, 69, 85 (note), 87 
(note), 91, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 
99, 100, 101, 107, 108, 120, 124, 
125, 126, 131, 132, 133, 135 (note), 
136, 155 (note), 156, 185, 192, 193, 
194, 195, ig6, 197, 200, 201, 218, 
219, 220, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 
226, 227, 229, 230, 236 (note), 237, 
238, 239, 240, 241 (note), 258. 

— Adhikari, 48. 

— DevS (Goddess Dharma), 147, 185, 


— Guru, 37. 

— Niranjana, 33, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 93, 

95, 101, 102, 197, 198, 199, 231, 

233. 258- 

Dharma-gitd, 94, 95, 96. 

Dharma Maha Samgati, 142. 

Dharma Mangala (of Ghanarama), 35 
(note), 38 (note), 39 (note), 44, 
58, 120, 125, 133, 166, 240 
(note), 241 (note), 258. 

(of Manik Ganguli), 63 (note), 

126, 200, 258. 

(of Yatrasiddhi Ray), 258. 

Dharmapala, 160, 163, 166, 170. 

Dharma-pujd (of GaudeBhwara), 126. 

Dharma-pujd-paddhati, 59 (note), 87 
(note), 93, 95, 97> 99> ior, 102, 108, 

119, 195 (note), 196, 199 (note), 
225, 226, 230, 258. 
Dharma Purdna, 255. 
Dharmaraja (Dharma), xoo. 
Dharma Samhitd, 107, 117, 122, 235, 

244, 245, 248, 249, 256. 
DhoyI, 2og, 211. 
Dhyanl Buddha, 145. 

— Buddhas, 176, 177. 

— Parshwanatha, 257. 

— Shiva, 257. 
Digamvara (Shiva), 82. 
Dinajpur, 5, 17, 61, 6g. 
Dipakalika, 209. 

Dipamkara Shrljnana, 172, 189, igo, 

Dravidians, 167 (note). 

Durga (Chandl, Gaurl), 30, 53, 84, rix, 
120, 134, 171, 186, 198, igg, 200, 218, 
220, 222, 230, 232, 233, 234, 248, 253, 
254. 255. 257. 258, 261, 262. 

Dutt, Economic History of India, 22 

Dwaraka, 130, 244. 

Dwaravati, 116. 

Eastern India, viii, xv, 26, 150, I5g, 
160, 161, 164, 167 (note), 170, 178, 
i8g, 201, 204, 212, 213. 

Easterners (Eastern Indians), 162. 

Egypt, 7- 

Elphinstone, 22. 

Encyclopedia Indica, xii. 

— of Indo- Aryan Research, xiv. 

England, xiv. 

Europe, 2, 6, 233. 

Europeans, 215. 


Fa Hien, 13, ng, 123, 124, 131, 158, 

178, 186. 
Faridpur, 5, 62. 
Fatima, 227. 
Fausboll's Indian Mythology, 253 

Fire-god, 8, 9, 10, n, 33. 
Fire-gods, n, 12, 253, 254. 

Gambhtra (Shiva), 72. 

Gamga (wife of Shiva), 30, 38, 45, 46, 

71, 178. 
— (a dancer), 212. 


Gamgadhara (Shiva), 46, 71. 

Ganapati (Ganesha), 97. 

Ganesha (Success-giver), 29, 45, 97, 

200 (note), 220, 224, 236, 241 (note). 
Ganges, 30, 34, 36 (note), 45, 61, 71, 77, 

78, 86, 90, ug, 155, 157, 172, 204, 

206, 210. 
Ganguli, Kumudini Kanta, xiii. 
— Manik, 39 (note), 63 (note), 258. 
Ganis (or Ganas), 138, 249. 
Garuda (King of Birds), 107, 146, 

Gauda, ix, 62, 119, 126, 149, 159, 

163, 164, 165, 166, 168, 172, 174, 

189, 203, 204, 205, 206, 208, 209, 

210, 212, 214. 
Gauda-Pundra (Bengal), 163. 
G auda-vadha, 163. 
Gaudeshwara, 126, 166. 
Gaura Chandra, 34 (note). 
Gaur! (Adya, Chandika), 45, 69, 71, 80, 

84, 122, 184, 186, 210, 231, 243, 248, 

249, 250, 251. 
Gaya, 166, 178, 193 (note). 
Gayatrl, 249. 
Gayeshwart, 185. 
Gazi, 224. 

Getty, Mrs. A., Gods of Northern Bud- 
dhism, xiv, 145 (note), 176 (note), 177 

(note), 181 (note), 257 (note). 
Ghanarama, 35 (note), 120, 125, 126, 

133, 166, 258. 
Ghosh, Prof. Rabindranarayan, xii. 
Gitagovinda, 210, 211. 
God (in an impersonal sense), 2, 23, 34 

(note), 49 (note), 84, 109, 134, 143, 

144, 166, 197, 223, 260. 
Gopala, 165. 
Gopalanagar, 74. 
Gopipala, 125. 
Goraksanatha, 140. 
Gosairi (Aula Chand), 34 (note). 
Govardhana, Acharyya, 209, 211. 
Govindachandra, 69, 125, 140. 
Govindachandra-gita, 69, 125, 189. 
Gray, 17. 
Greece, 6. 
Grihastha, xii, 17. 
Gujrat, 149, 161. 
Gupta, Yogendranath, xii. 
Guptas (Kings), 123, 150, 160, 161, 215 

Chandra Gupta II, the Gupta (Vik- 
ramaditya), 119, 131, 161. 

Maurya, 161. 

Samudra Gupta, 161. 

Shashamka Narendra Gupta, 149, 
15°. I 59- 

Gurjara-Pratih&ras, 163 (note), 167 

Gurjaras, 171. 
Gyatson, 192. 


Hackmann, Buddhism as a Religion, 

135 (note). 
Hadipa, 69, 189. 
Hdkanda Pur Ana, 96, g8, 225. 
Halahala Lokeshwara, 257. 
Halayudha, 207, 208, 209. 
Hamsa-raja (King of Geese), 227. 
Hanuman (Monkey-god), 35, 37, 39, 40 

(note), 46, 47, 53, 54, 92, 100, 109, in, 

257. 2S8. 
Hanumanta, 50. 

Hara (Shiva), 69, 80, 82, 85, 126, 222. 
Hara-Gauri (Shiva-Durga), 53, 55, 231. 
Hara-Parvati (Shiva and his wife), 52, 


Hari (Visnu, Krisna), 45, 121, 126, 

Haridisa, Brahma, 199 (note). 

Hari-hari-hari Vahanodbhava Lokesh- 
wara, 257. 

Harimohana, 15. 

Harischandra (or Harish Chandra), 107, 
196, 225, 226. 

Haritt, 258 (note). 

Harivamsha, 106, 116, 122, 130, 244, 


— (Jaina), 123, 137, 139 (note). 
Harsa Deva (Harsa Vardhana), 237, 

Harsa Vardhana, Emperor, 12, 13, 119, 

124, 131, 149, 150. 151. 153. 154. 

155. 156. 157. *58, 159. l6l > lfi 2. 

178, 186, 211, 215, 223. 
Hasa, Chandra, 107. 
Hassan, 227. 
Havell's Indian Architecture, 217 

Havismati, 11. 
Haya (HavS, or Evil), 225. 
Hayagriva, 179, 180. 
Heta, 228, 229. 

Himalaya (father of Gaurt), 84. 
Himalayas, 8, a6r. 
Hindu Bengal, 261. 

— India, 163, 215. 

Hindus, 3, 28, 31, 34 (note), 80, 114, 

115, 128, 129, 134, 141, 146, 152, 

165, X69, 172, 178, 196, 209, 211, 

214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 226, 

Hindusthan, 121, 161, 216. 


Hiranyakashipu, log, 113. 

Hiue'n Thsang, 13, 119, 124, 131, 153, 

154. *5&, 159, 175. 178. 183, 186, 

223. 243. 
Hughli, 5, 62, 68, 81. 
Huns, 149, 167 (note), 203. 
Hussain, 227. 
— Shah, 232. 


Ibadat-Khanah, 218. 

Indian Ocean, 6. 

Indian Thought Series, xiv, 23. 

Indra (King of Gods), 10, 13, 29, 47, 
82, 121, 123, 137, 138, 146, 167, 
223, 253, 254, 255, 257, 258. 

Ishana, 209. 

Islam (Mohammedan world, Moham- 
medanism), gg, 100, 161, 215, 216, 
219, 221. 

Iyengar, Principal P. T. Shrinivas, 23. 


Jagadala, 173. 

Jagaddhatr!, 261. 

Jagajjivana, 128. 

Jagannitha, 30, 31, 38, 47, 100, 213, 

jfaganndtha Vijaya of Mukunda Bhar- 

ati, 43 (note), 193 (note), ig8 (note), 
jahnavl, 261. 
Jaipur, 233 (note). 
Jajapura, 225, 227. 
Jamari, 181, 182. 
Janaka (S!ta), 132. 
Janashrl, Acharyya, igo, igi. 
Jangal! Tara, 182, 183. 
Japan, xi, xvi, 26, 162, 233, 262. 
JashoreshwarS, 233. 
Jataka, 40 (note). 
Jaunpur, 218. 
Java, 162. 
Jaya, 198, 222, 24g. 
Jayadeva, 15, 210, 211. 
Jayanta, 163. 
Jessore, 62, 233. 
Tetarimuni, 165. 
Jha, Dr. Ganganath, 23 (note). 
Jimutavahana, 152 (note), 186. 
Jina Deva (First Jina), 118, 137, 138, 

Jinas, 138, I3g, 141. 
Jinendra, 138. 
Jndna Samhitd, 117, 122, 238, 239, 

240, 256. 

Journal of the Asiatic Society of 
Bengal, xii, 93 (note), 211 (note). 

— of the Royal Asiatic Society, xii, 
95 (note), 143 (note), 178 (note). 

Jumna, 157, 261. 

Jwalamukhl, 213. 


Kailasa Mountain, 46, 71, 137, 138, 

210, 248, 254. 
Kala (Divine Blacksmith or Potter), 28, 

— Bhairava, 256. 
Kalachandra (Dharma), 100, 101. 
Kaleswara, 43 (note). 
Kali (W ar Goddess), xiii, 56, 65, 80, 
"" AS, IJ2,' 109, no, in, 144, 166, 

188, 206 (note), 207, 232, 233, 244, 

245, 248, 253, 254, 255, 259. 
Kdli Songs, 2Sg. 
Kalidasa, 209. 
Kalighat, 53, 63, 7g, 80, 248. 
Kalika, 100, 109. 
Kdlikd Purdna, 354, 255. 
Kalindi, 138 "(note). 
Kalpataru, 166. 
Kalu Raya (Dharma), 100. 
Kama, 147. 
Kdma-Shdstras, 114. 
Kamadeva (God of Love), 100, 198, 

Kamakhya (Chandi), 28, 31. 
Kamandakl, 187. 
Kamarupa, 31, 213. 
Kambojas (Mongols), 171. 
Kaminya, g7. 
Kamsa, King, 116. 
Kanakamuni, 177. 
Kanauj, 13, ng, 124, 154, 155, 156, 157, 

161, 163, 164, 167 (note), 171, 186, 

203, 204. 
Kaniska, Kushan Emperor, 143. 
Kanyakubya (Kanauj), 154, 156. 
Kapala Kundala, 187. 
Kapila (Divine Cow), 28, 2g, 37. 
Karall, 253, 254. 
Kdrikd, 166, 167. 
Kama, Kavi, 71. 
Kartika (or Kartikeya, God of War), 

2g, 45. 55. 109. i". 179. 200 (note), 

Kashi (Benares), 36, 243. 
Kdshi-Khanda, 243. 
Kashipu (Hiranyakashipu), 113. 
Kashlshwara (Shiva), 36. 
Kashmir, xiv, 143, 186. 
Kashmiris, 2, 23. 


Kashyapa (Indra), 82, 177. 
Kasimpur, 39. 
Katyftyanl (Parvati), 83. 
Kavikamkana(Makundarama), 126, 127. 
Kaviraja (King of Poets : Dhoyi), 210 

Kena Upanisad, 253. 
Keshava Sena, 214. 
Khasarpana Lokeshwara (Avalokitesh- 

wara), 178, 180, 181, 192, 257. 
Khelarama (Dharma), 100. 
Khila Hai'ivamsha, 245. 
Khoda (God in Islam), 100, 219, 224, 

227, 228, 229. 
Khonakara, 99, 226, 227, 228. 
Khulna, 62. 
Kinnaras, 121, 132. 
Kochas, 38, 65, 82, 88. 
Kordn, 228. 
Krakuchhanda, 177. 
Kratu (God of Sacrifice), 12. 
Kratusthali, 249. 

Krisna (Visnu), xv, 84, 89, 106, 116, 
mi, 130, 255, 259- 

— Chandra, 34 (note). 
Krittivasa, 24. 
Ksemaraja, 23. 
Ksetrapala, 100. 
Kudmun, 44, 62, 70. 
Kumara (Kartikeya), 179. 

— Deva, 13, 223. 
Kumaun, 214. 
Kumbhanda, 248, 249. 
Kunala, 123. 
Kunjikasthalt, 249. 

Kurma (Tortoise of Dharma), 43 (note), 

Kuruksetra, 8. 
Kurukulla Devi, 185. 
Kushans, 167 (note). 
Kutub, 228, 229. 
Kutubdin, 228. 
Kuvalayavati, 209. 
Kuvera, 83, 251. 
Kuvjikd Tantra, 206 (note). 

Lagkuvritti, 209. 

Lahiri, Kumudnath, xii, 17. 

Lahore, 161. 

Laksmana, 46, 55, 109, 118, 257. 

— Sena', 205, 208, 2og, 210, an, 212, 

Laksmanavatl, 208. 
Laksm! ' (Goddess of Fortune, or 

Wealth), 29, 30, 38, 253, 255, 357, 


Laksmikanta, 33 (note). 

Lalgiri, 28. 

Lalitaditya, 186. 

Lalita Vistara, 118, 123. 

Lamka (Ceylon), 37, in. 

Langland, 17. 

Lausena (Kausena?), 38 (note), ig6 

Law, Narandranath, xii. 

Promotion of Learning in India 

during Muhammadan Rule, 
Libra, 172. 
Limga Purdna, 255. 
Lochabha, 191. 
Lochana, 177, 182. 
Lokanatha Buddha, 257. 
Lokeshwara, 165, 169, 171, 173, 178, 

180, 181, 182, 192, 193, 257. 
London, Folklore Society of, ix. 
Lumvini, 118. 


Macdonell, A. A., Vedic Mythology, 253 

Madana (God of Love), 242. 
Madanapala, 174. 
Madhai, 120. 

Madhava (Krisna, sometimes Shiva), 

— (character in Mdlati-Mddhava), 187. 
Madhava Sena, 214. 
Madhavacharya, 216. 
Madhukaitabhavadha - prakarana, 199 

Madhyamikas, 144, 145. 
Madhuchchhanda. Risi, 121. 
Magadha (Behar), 149, 163, 165, 207. 
Mahdbhdrata, 8, 84, 106, 116, 121, 122, 

129, 137, I74> 254- 
Mahabodhi Tree, 166, 193 (note). 
Mahadeva (Shiva), 28, 29, 132, 138, 146, 

147, 166, 181, 203, 204, 210, 234, 

243. 245,, 246, 247, 249. 

— (father of Aula Chand), 33 (note), 71, 

193. 194- 
Mahakala, 7, 36, 171, 193, 225, 247, 256, 

Mahamati, 11. 
Mahamaya (Creative Power of God, 

hence Bhagavatl or Durga), 84. 
Mahaprabhu (Buddha), 94. 

— (Chaitanya), 34 (note). 
Maharastra, 216. 

Maha Shunya (Great Void), 176. 

MahatI, 253. 

Mahavlra, 138 (note), 139. 



Maheshwara (or Mahesha, Shiva), 32, 
70, 112, 144, 145, 146, 151, 165, 169, 
176, igg, 200, 218, 222, 223, 231, 258. 

Mahlpala, 125. 

Mahipdla, Lays of, i8g. 

Mahlpala I, 171, 172, 174. 

Mahottart Tara, 185, 257. 

Maine, 22. 

Maitreya, 257. 

Maitra, Akshay Kumar, xii. 

Malatl, 187, 188. 

Mdlati Mddhava, 242. 

Malda, ix, 5, 15, 16, 17, 18, 27 (note), 
32. 39. 4 1 (note), 58. 59. 61. 62, 65, 
68, 69, 73, 79, 80, 82, 128, 141, 
173, 206, 243, 248. 

— District Council of National Educa- 

tion, viii, xiii, 25 (note). 
Mallik, Durlabha, Lays of Govinda 

Chandra, 125. 
Mdls'i Songs, 259. 
Malwa, 149, 161. 
Malyavatl, 152 (note), 186. 
Mamaki, 177, 182. 
Mamuda Sam, or Sai (Mohammed), 99, 


— Sais (Mussalmans), 227. 
Man Singh, 233 (note). 

Manasa (Mother of Serpents), 100, 128, 

218, 258. 
Manasa, Lays of, 193 (note), 258. 
Mdnasi, xii. 
Mandara, 206. 
Mangala-Chandl, Mother (Domestic 

Goddess), 100, 127, 218, 228. 
Mangala Chandi of Kavikamkana, 126, 

127, 128. 

of Manik Datta, 95, 126, 127, 

128, 198 (note), 199 (note). 
Mangala-Gaurt, 243. 

Mani, 100. 

Mdnikachandra, Lays of, 189. 

Manjushri Buddha, 145, 146, 178, 181, 
182, 257. 

Manojava, 253. 

Manu, Code of, 208. 

Mara, 147. 

Marathas, 2, 121. 

Marett, Prof. R. R., Folklore and Psy- 
chology, ix. 

Mdrkandeya Chandi, 97. 

— Purdna, 199 (note), 254. 
Mashan "Chamunda Kali, 89. 

— Ktlll, 90. 
Matanga, 100. 
Matrikas, 184. 
Matsya-Sukta, 208. 
Mauryas, 160. 

Mayana, 120, 241 (note). 
Mayurbhanj, 181, 182 (note), 185. 
Mecca, 216. 
Meghaduta, 209. 

Memoir of the Asiatic Society of Ben- 
gal, xiv. 
Menaka (Mother of Parvatl), 85, 249. 
Meru (Pamir), 182. 

— DevS, 137. 
Midnapore, 5, 62. 
Milton, Comus, 6-7 (note). 
Mimdmsd-Sarvaswa, 208. 
Mlnanatha, 132. 
Mishra, Gurava, 167. 

— Hari, 166. 

— Kedara, 167. 

Mitra (Sun-god), 10, 253. 

— Baradacharana, 16. 

— Dr. Rajendralal, xii. 
Modern World, xiii. 

Moghul, the Great, 211, 216, 233. 
Moghuls, 217, 218. 
Mohammed, 224, 227, 228, 229. 
Mohammedans, 7, 34 (note), 134, 213, 

214, 217, 219, 224, 228, 229. 
Mokdumpur, ix. 

Mongols, 88 (note), 167 (note), 203, 260. 
Mookerji, Dr. Radhakumud, xii. 
Moon, 37. 

Moon-g'od, 167, 225. 
Moorshidabad, 5, 61, 62. 
Mother India, Tagore's, 260-1. 
Mrityunjaya (Shiva), 49. 
Muhammad Ghori, 161. 
Mukhen, 190. 

Mukerjee, Prof. Radhakamal, xiii. 
Mukundarama (Kavikamkana), 127, 258, 

Mukundardm, by Das Gupta, 127, 

233 (note). 
Muller, Max, Ramakrishna : His Life 

and Teachings, 262. 
Munda (a demon), 251. 
Munduka Upanisad, 253. 
Muni Suvrata Purdna, 118, 123. 
Murray, 217, note. 
Mussalmans, 161, 216, 217, 227. 
Muttra, 178. 


Nabhi, 137. 

Nadia, 5, 34 (note), 62, 87, 248. 
Ndgdnanda, 152 (note), 186. 
Nagacho, 191, 192. 
Nagarjuna, 143, 144. 
Nakulisha Tantra, 256. 
Nalanda, 178, 183. 



Nanda, 116. 

Nandi, 36, 243, 243, 248, 249, 250. 

— Sandhyakara, 167. 
Napoleons, Indian, 161. 

Narada (Sage and Singer of the Gods), 

122, 223, 225, 258. 
Ndradiya Pur&na, 253. 
Narasimha (Visnu as man-lion), 109, 

IIO, 112, II3. 

— (properly Narasimhf, Chandl), 112, 

"3. 245- 
Narayana (Visnu), 21, 29, 166, 220. 
Ndrayana, xiv! 

Narayanapala, 167, 168, 169, 170. 
Narottama Vil&sa, 233. 
Nataraja (Shiva), 123, 248. 
Nationalist School of Indian Art, xv. 
Navadwipa (Nadia), 87. 
Neminatha, 140. 
Nayapala, 172. 
Nepal, 162, 185, 207. 
Nihshamka -Shamkara - Gaudeshwara, 

Nlla (Shiva), 80, 87. 
— « Saraswatl Tara Devi, 182, 258. 
Nilai, 189. 
Nilajihva, 100. 

Nilakan thacharyya Lokeshwara, 237. 
Nilanjasa, 123, 137. 
Nllavatf, 73, 87. 
Niranjana (Dharma), 33, 39, 40, 41, 42, 

43. 93. 95. 101, 102, 194, 195. *97. 

198, 199, 218, 220, 222, 224, 228, 238. 
Nishumbha, 231. 
Nitai, 38. 

NUi-Shdstras, 114. 

Nivedita, Sister, Kdli the Mother, 188 

and Dr. Coomaraswamy, Myths 

of the Hindus and Buddhists, 
xv, 253 (note). 
Niyatagni (Permanent Fire), 12. 
North Bengal Literary Conference, 16, 

Northern India, 13, 149, 157, 163, 170, 

216, 217. 
North-Western India, 203, 213. 
Nritya-priya (Shiva), 123. 
Nura (Light), 225. 

Ocean-god, 166, 167. 

Om (Hindu Trinity), 112, 113, 194, 195. 

Orissa, 5, 6, 30, 61, 62, 71, 91, 96, 173 

(note), 207, 213, 231. 
Osiris, 7. 
Ostasiatische Zeitschrift, xiv. 


Pabna, 3. 

Padtna, 122, 184, 249. 

Padmd, Lays of, 128. 

Padtna Pur&na, 117, 206, 235, 257. 

Padmanarteshwara Lokeshwara, 257. 

Padmapani, 146. 

— Avalok'iteshwara, 177. 
Padmavatl, 225. 

Palas (Kings), xiv, 131, 160, 161, 162, 
163 (note), 166, 167, 169, 170, 171, 
173. 174. 193. 200, 202, 203, 212, 

Devapala, 166, 167. 
Dharmapala, 160, 163, 166, 170. 
Gopala, 163. 
Madanapala, 174. 
Mahlpala I, 171, 172, 174. 
Nar&yanapala, 167, 168, i6g, 170. 
Rajyapdla, 171. 
Rimapala, 173. 
Vigrahapala (Shurapala), 167. 
Palit, Mr. Haridas, viii, ix, x, xv. 

Adyer Gambhird, ix, 25 (note), 

Pamir, 182. 
Pancha-chuda, 122. 
Panchajanya, 12. 
Panchavatisini, 48. 
Pandara, 177, 182. 
Pandavas, the five, 8. 
Pandit, Mr. Naliniranjan,ixii. 
Pandit Sarvaswa, 208. 
Panini, 2og. 
Paradise, 37, 38, 47. 
Parama Saura Maharajadhiraja- 
Ghatuka- Shamkara Gaudeshwara, 
Parama - Vaisnava (Laksmana Sena), 

Parashara, 211. 

Parganas, the twenty-four, 5, 74, 79. 
Parijata (Flower of Paradise), 38. 
Parshwanatha, 118, 139, 140, 257. 
Parvati, 8, 14, 82, 83, 84, 83, in, 112, 

168 (note), 231, 249, 250. 
Pashupati (Shiva), 8, 168, 170, 223, 

— (author), 209. 
Pashupati-paddhati, 209. 
Patala (Nether Regions), 42, 47. 

— Chandl, 206. 

— Devi, 206. 

Pataliputra (Patna), 119, 124, 131, 213 

Pathans, 217, 218. 
Patna, 119. 


Pavana (Wind-god), 35, 197. 

Pavanaduta, 209. 

Paygambara (Prophet, Mohammed), 

224, 228. 
Paygambaras, 219. 
Persia, 1(37. 

Phakir (Aula Chand), 34 (note). 
Phanibhusana (Parshwanatha, also 

Shiva)', 139. 
— Lokeshwara, 165. 
Pickchhild Tantra, 258 (note). 
Pindaraka, 116, 122, 130. 
Pir Paygamvara (Mohammed), 229. 
Pithas, the fifty-one, 206. 
Polihas, 88. 
Potalaka, 179. 
Prabhakara, Vardhana, 151. 
Prachanda, 206. 
Prajna-paramita, 185, 221. 
Pramathas, 9. 
Pramnochi, 249. 
Prashantagni (Setting Sun or Pacified 

Fire), 12. 
Pratapiditya, 233. ' 

Pratibhd, xiii. 
Prdtimoksa, 136. 
Pravdsi, xii, 220 (note). 
Prayaga (Allahabad), 131, 156, 157. 
Pretas, 191 (note). 
Priyadarshikd, 152 (note). 
Pundra Vardhana, ix, 159, 206. 
Pundras, 140, 141, 159. 
Punjab, 121. 
Punjabis, 2, 23, 203. 
Purdnas (Hindu), 15, 28, 38, 112, 116-8, 

121", 123, 137, 208, 248, 251, 255, 

256, 259. 
Purdnas (Jaina), 117-8, 123, 137, 256. 
Puri (Purusottama), 30, 34 (note), 

Puma Chandra, 33 (note). 
Purusottama Deva, 209. 
Purvapara, 4g. 
Pusa, 253. 

Puspapani (Shiva), 49. 
Pusyabhuti Vardhana, 151. 


Rabindianath Tagore, 260, 261. 
Radha, viii, 2, s, 41 (note), 68, 70, 120, 

127, 149, 207, 248. 
Radha (Goddess), 259. 
Radhanagar, 32. 
Raghava, 127. 
Raghu, 127. 
Rai, Binod Behari, xii. 
Raivataka, 130. 

Rajagriha, 142. 

Rajendra Chola, 160. 

Rajput States, 161. 

Rajputana, 233 (note). 

Rajputs, 2, 23. 

Rajshahi, xii, 5, 61, 203 (note). 

Rajyapala, 171. 

Rakshit, Hemendra Kishoi, xiii. 

Raktamitti, 159. 

Rama, 35, 46, 53, 55, 99, 107, 109, 118, 
129, 256, 257, 259. 

Rama-Charita, 67. 

Ramai Pandit, 6, 41 (note), 60, 96, g7, 
98, 107, 108, ng, 131, 132, 133, 145, 
158, 159, 189, igo, 192, ig3, 194, 195, 
ig6, 197, 198, 199, 200, 221, 222, 223, 
224, 225, 22g, 230, 258. 

Ramakrisna-Vivekananda, 262. 

Ramapala, 173. 

Ramaprasada, 15, 259. 

Ramavatl, 173, 174. 

Rdmdyana, Krittivasa's, 25g. 

— Valmlki's, 8, 54, in, 116, 121, I2g, 

137. 254. 256. 
Rampur Boalia, 203 (note). 
Rangpur, 5, 61, 6g. 

— Sahitya Parisat, viii. 

Rangpur Sdhitya Parisat Patrikd, xiii. 
Ranjavatl (wife of Karnasena Datta), 

38 (note). 
Ratnapani, 177. 
Ratnasambhava, 146, 177, 182. 
Ratndvali, 152 (note). 
Ravana, 8, 92, 129. 
Ray, Chand, 233. 

— Kedara, 233. 

— Yatrasiddhi, 258. 
Ribhus, 10. 

Rig Veda, 121, ig8 (note), 253. 
Risabha Deva, 117, 123, 137, 138, 

Risis, 132, 235. 
Roy, Dwijendralal, 261. 
Rudra, 48, 122, 230, 24g, 253, 254. 
Rudra Ydmala, 206 (note). 

Sada Shiva, 33, 48. 
Sadhaka, 15. 

Sddhanakalpalatd, 193 (note). 
Sddhana-mdld Tantra, 178, 180, 181, 

184, 185, 193 (note), 257. 
Sddhana Samuchchaya Tantra, 184, 

193 (note), 257, 258. 
Sahajanya, 24g. 
Sahapur, 15. 
Sahasrayatana, 168. 


Sahidin, 228. 

Sdhitya, xii. 

Sain (Aula Chand), 34 (note). 

Sakas, 167 (note). 

Sakhi Moranga, 207. 

Sdma Veda, 11. 

Samgha, 135 (note), 147, 193, 194. 

Samantrabhadra, 177. 

Samhitds (Codes of Law, Conduct, 

etc.), 107, 117, 122-3, 256, 259. 
Sammilan, xiii. 
Samskdra-paddhati, 209. 
Samudragupta, 161. 
Sanatana, 165. 

Sanatkumdra Samkitd, 117, 242, 256. 
Sankhya, 23. 
Santhals, 53. 

Santipur (01 Shantipur), 87, 248. 
Sdradd-Tilaka, 188. 
Saraswatl (Goddess of Knowledge), 28, 

29, 36, 46, 253, 254, 255, 257, 


— Tara, 182. 

Sarkar, Benoy Kumar, xiii. 

Chinese Religion through. Hindu 

Eyes, xv, 141 (note), 160 (note), 
167 (note), 174 (note), 177, 203 
(note), 211 (note), 215. 

Sarva Darshana, 175. 

Sassanians, 167. 

Sastri, H. P., xii, xiv, 93 (note). 

— Introduction to Vasu's Modern 

Buddhism, 145 (note). 

— Vidhu Sekhar, xii, 95 (note), 143 

Sati, 251, 255. 
Satya Plra, 220. 
Saudamini, 188. 
Savatri, 249. 
Savjibagan, 7g. 
Sayana, 254. 
Sayanacharya, 216. 
Scorpio, 172. 
Sen, Mr. Dineschandra, xii, 25 (note). 

History of Bengali Language 

and Literature, xii, 25 (note), 93 
(note), 217. 
Senas (Kings), 173 (note), 203, an, 212, 
214 (note), 218. 

Gandharva Sena, 118. 

Keshava Sena, 214. 

Laksmana Sena, 205,208, 209, 210, 

211, 212, 214. 
Madhava Sena, 214. 
Vallala Sena, 204, 205, 206, 207, 

210, 211. 
Vijaya Sena, 203, 204, 211. 
Vishwarupa Sena, 214. 

Setai, 189. 

Seth, Radhes Chandra, xii. 

Shaiva-Sarvaswa, 208. 

Shakra (Indra), 82. 

Shakti (Parvat!, Divine Energy), 7, 12, 
91, 112, 172, 194, 206, 231, 232, 233, 
255. 256, 258. 

Shaktis, 146, 165, 176, 177, 185, 188. 

Shaktisamgama Tantra, 206 (note). 

Shakyamuni, 177. 

Shakyasimha (Buddha), 118, 123, 135, 
141, 142. 

Shamkara (Shiva), 178, 205, 208, 244. 

Shani (Saturn), 254. 

Shanyu-Agni, n. 

Sharana, 210. 

Sharqin, Sultan Husain, 218. 

Shashamka (Narendra Gupta), 149, 150, 

Shdstras, 24, 52, 114, 231, 235. 

Shatakratu (Indra), 121. 

Shekh Shubhodayd, 204, 212, 213. 

Shilpa-Shdstras, 18, log, 114. 

Shltala, 258. 

Shitald Mangala, 258. 

Shiva, xiii, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, g, 14, 18, 25, 
26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 35, 36, 
37, 38, 39. 44. 46, 47. 48. 49. 5°. 52, 
53. 54, 55. 57. 61, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 
72, 73. 74. 75. 76, 77. 78, 79, 80, 81, 
82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 90, gi, ior, 
102, 106, 107, 108, 109, 112, 117, 120, 
122, 123, 125, 130, 131, 134, 136, 137, 
138, 139, 141. 151. 155 (note), 156, 
157. 158, 165, 168, 169, 171, 172, 173, 
174. 177 (note), 178, 186, 187, 194, 
igg, 200, 203, 204, 205, 206, 208, 210, 
213, 218, 220, 222, 223, 224, 225, 230, 
231, 232, 234, 235, 237, 238, 239, 240, 
241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 
249. 250, 251, 354, 255, 256, 258, 259, 

Shiva Bhattaraka, 168. 

Shiva-Durga, 36. 

Shiva-kunda, 237. 

Shiva-Parvatl, in. 

Shiva Purdna, 116, 240, 245, 255, 

Shiva-Samhitd, 72, 248. 

Shiva-sutra-Vimarsini, 23. 

Shiva Vandana, 34 (note). 

Shivagitd, 82. 

Shivagni, g, 12. 

Shivaloka, g. 

Shivanatha (Shiva), 27, 28, 2g, 40, 54. 

Shivardtd, 4. 

Shivdyana, 82. 

Shonitapura, 106, 244. 


Shrijnana (Dipamkara, Atisha), 189, 

190, 192. 
Shrimad Bhdgavata, 254, 255. 
Shubhasthali, 166. 
Shulapani, 209, 224. 
Shumbha, 251. 
Shunya (Void), 42, 95, 101, 145, 176, 

193, 194, 196, 197, 2l8, 221, 22g. 

Shunya Purdna of Ramai Pandit, 6, 35 
(note), 36 (note), 39 (note), 40 (note), 
41 (note), 42 (note), 43 (note), 44 
(note), 49 (note), 57 (note), 59, 60, 93, 
95 (note), 107, 119, 124, 125, 132, 
145, 170, 189, 190, 193, 194. 195. 196, 
200, 221, 222, 223, 224, 236 (note), 
240 (note), 241 (note), 258. 

Shurapala, 167. 

Shuras, 163, 165. 

Shwetashwa Upanisad, 145. 

Siddhadeva (Perfect God), ig5- 

Siddhi-Agni, 12. 

Sikh Misls, 216. 

Sikhi, 177. 

Simga, 132. 

Simhagiri, 204 (note). 

Simhanada Lokeshwara, 257. 

Sinivali, 253. 

SSta, 35, 46, 132, 253, 254, 256, 259. 

Skanda Purdna, 117, 256, 258 (note). 

Smith, Vincent, Asoka, 123. 

Early History of India, xii, xiv, 

149 (note), 163 (note), 214 

Southern India, 160, 216, 217. 

Southerners (Southern Indians), 23, 
162, 203. 

Sphulingin!, 253. 

Stevenson, Mrs., Heart of Jainism, 
117 (note), 138 (note), 141 (note), 256 

Styx, 5g (note), 196. 

Subhadra, 236. 

Sudhanva Kumara, I7g, 180, 181, 182. 

Sudhumravarna, 253. 

Sukti-karndmrita, 209. 

Sulchita, 253. 

Sumukha, King, 117. 

Sun, 31, 37, 46, 157, 158, ig4. 

Sun-god, 10, 14, 31, 33, g7, 98, 131, 151, 

Sun-gods, 97. 

Sunanda, 236. 


Suryya (Sun), 10, 107, 131, 151, 203. 

Sutayoni, 32. 

Sutratma, 11. 

Suvarnaprabha, 257. 

Suvrata, 123. 

Swarupa-narayana (Dharma), 100, 132. 
Suiatantra Tanira, 182, 185, 257. 

Tabakdt-i-Nasiri, 214. 

Tagore, Rabindranath, 260, 261. 

Taliganj, 74, 79. 

Tantia, 42 (note). 

Tantras, 207, 208, 256, 259. 

Tantrasdra, 206. 

Tantravibhuti, 128. 

Tara, 11, 144, 146, 165, 169, 171, 172, 

173. *77i I 79. 180, 182, 183, 184, 

185, 186, 188, 190, 191, 203, 205, 

257. 258, 259, 262. 
Taras, 186, 262. 
Tara Bodhisattva, 183. 
— Devi, 206 (note), 257. 
Tarakeshwar, 80. 
Tarakeshwara Shiva, 81. 
Tartars, 167 (note). 
Tathagata (Buddha), 148 (note). 
Taurus, 172. 
Thakardev!, 228. 
Thakur (Aula Chand), 34 (note). 
Thakuras (Gods), 50. 
Thaneswar, 149. 
Thibaut, Dr., 23 (note). 
Tibet, 6, 162, 172, 182, 190, 191, 202. 
Tirthamkaras, 117, 136, 137, 138, 139, 

256, 257. 
Trailokya-Sundari (Durga), 234. 
Tridiva (Heaven), 60. 
Trikdndashesa, 209. 
Trimurti (Three Figures, Trinity), 192, 

ig 4 . 
Tripura, 45, 46. 
Tripurari (Shiva), 45, 46. 
Triratna (Three Jewels, Trinity), 135, 

i47> 193- 
Troilokya - bhayamkara Lokeshwara, 

Tukarama, 24. 
Tulasi (Holy Basil), 46. 
Tulsidasa, 24. 


Uchchaisrava (Mythical Horse), 29. 

Vddisha Tantra, 256. 

Ugradanta, 100. 

Ula, 33 (note). 

Ulluka (Gibbon of Dharma), 28, 40 

(note), 41, 100, 108, 236 (note), 253. ' 
Ullukai (Bird of Dharma, also called 

Ulluka), 41 (note), ig8, 222, 258. 


Uma, 253, 254, 255. 

Umapati (or Umapatidhara), 204, 210. 

United Provinces, 121. 

Upapuranas, 254. 

Upper India, 151, 161, 186. 

Urddha, 36. 

Urvashi, 249. 

Usa, 106, 244. 

Usatpur, 120. 

Utkala, 207. 


vabhravl-Kaya (Shiva- Adya), 231. 
Vadarika, 255. 
Vadasahi, 185. 
Vagisha, Agama, 206. 
Vahuti Vahu Pare, 50. 
Vaikuntha, 256. 
Vairochana, 146, 177, 182. 
Vaisnava-Sarvaswa, 208. 

— Paddvali, 25g. 
Vaitaran!, 59, gg, 196, 197. 

Vajra Tara, 182, 184, 190, 191, 206, 

Vajradhatwishwari, 177. 
Vajrapini Bodhisattva, 146, 177. 
Vajrasana, 190. 
Vakpati, 163. 
Valai (Valarama), 84. 
Valatama, 255. 
Vali, 129. 

ValldlacharUa, 204. 
Vallala Sena, 204, 205, 206, 207, 210, 

Valluka Sea (or River), 48, 198, igg. 
Valmlki, 254. 
VamaDevl, 139. 
Vana Raja, 4, 35, 106, 107, 122, 244, 

245, 246, 247. 
Vanaranana, 248. 
V ande Mdtaram, 262. 
Vangais, 63, 88, 89. 
Vardha Purdna, 256. 
Vardhanas (Kings), 131, 150, 151, 160, 
161, 218. 

Harsa Vardhana, 12, 13, 119, 124, 

131. 149. 150. I 5i. r 53> 154. 155. 

156. 157. 1 5S, 159. i°i> 162, 

178, 186, 211, 215, 223, 237, 243. 

Prabhakara Vardhana, 151. 

Pusyabhuti Vardhana, 131. 

Rajya Vardhana (brother of Harsa), 

149, 151. 
Rajyashrl (sister of Harsa), 151. 
Varendra, viii, 68, 70, 88,' 147, 165, 
207, 2og (note). 

— Research Society, xii, 203 (note). 

Varind (Varendra), 65. 
Varma, Ravi (Artist), 65. 
Varman, NarSyana (General), 166. 
Varmans (Kings), 173 (note), 203. 

Bhaskara Varma- (Kumaradeva), 13. 
Shyamala Varma, 203. 
Varui (Family of), 120. 
Varuna, io, 253. 
Vasanta, 242. 
Vashistha, 206. 
Vdstu-Shdstras, 114. 
Vasu, Mr. Nagendranath, xii, 170. 

Archceological Survey of Mayur- 

bhanj, g4 (note), 181, 182 (note) 

History of Bengal Castes, 164. 

Modern Buddhism, g3 (note), 145 


Vishwakosa, 25 (note). 

Vasudeva, 117, 255. 

Vasuki (King of Serpents), 43, 45, 47, 

100, 196 (note), 198, 222. 
Vasult, 80, iog, no, 207, 248. 
Vasumati (Earth), 37, 42, ig8. 
Vatagrama, 128. 
Vateshwara Swamin, 174. 
Vatisini, 48. 

Vdulas, Lays of, ig3 (note). 
Vdyaviya Samhitd, 117, 238, 240, 242, 

Vayu (Wind-god), 253, 254. 
Vedas, 8, 12, 28, 207, 208, 231, 241 

(note), 259. 
Vedic Magazine, xiii. 
Vehula, 128. 
Vesta (Paradise), 224. 
Vibhadra, 236. 
Vidyapati, 25g. 
Vidyutprabha, 212. 
Vigrahapaia (Shurapila), 167. 
Vijaya (Goddess), 24g. 
— Sena, 203, 204, 211. 
Vijayanagara, 216. 
Vijayapur, g3. 
Vijayapura, 203, 210. 
Vikramaditya, ng, 161, 215. 
Vikramashiia, 165, 172, igo. 
Vikrampura, 172, 205, 214. 
Vinanda, 236. 

Vinayaka (Ganesha), 200, 24g. 
Vindhya Hills', 187, 216. 
Vipashyi, 177. 
Vipradasa, 128. 
Virabhadra, 256. 
Virata, 11, 122. 
Viryyachandra, 191. 
Visada, Vivi (or Bibi), 100, 228. 
Visahari (Manasa, Goddess of Snakes), 

15. 128. 


Visahari, Lays of, 15, 198 (note), 199 
note (258). 

Visai, 226. 

Vishwabhu, 177. 

Vishwakarma, 83. 

Viskwakosa, 25 (note). 

Vishwambhara (Shiva), 232. 

Vishwamitra, 121. 

Vishwanatha (Shiva), 84. 

Vishwapani, 177. 

Vishwarupa Sena, 214. 

VishwarupinS, 253. 

Vishweshwara (Shiva), 2g. 

Visriu, xv, 12, 21, 28, 29, 32, 45, 84, 89, 
112, 132, 144, 146, 150 (note), 166, 
167, 176, 177 (note), 199, 203, 208, 
220, 222, 224, 234, 255, 258. 

— Bhai Aula (Aula Chand), 34 (note), 

Visnu Purdna, 116. 

Void, The, 27, 32, 42, 95, 101, 142, 145, 
147. I 7S. I 76, 193. 197. 198. 220, 221. 

Vriddhinaga (Dharma), 100. 

Vrihannila Tantra, 206. 

Vrihaspati, 11. . 

Vrisabha-dhvaja (Shiva), 239. 

Vrisabha Shamkara Gaudeshwara, 203, 

Vuda Raya (Dharma), 100. 


Waddell, Dr., xii. 

— Indian Buddhist Cult of Avalokita, 

etc., 178 (note). 
Western India, 161, 207. 
Westerners, 207. 
Wind-god, 35, 197, 254. 


Yadu (Family of), 122. 

Yaksas, 251. 

Ydjnavalkya Samkitd, 209. 

Yajur Veda, 167. 

Yama (God of Death), 30, 83, 84, 107, 

196, 253, 254, 258. 
Yama Purdna, 196. 
Yashovarmah, 163, 186. 
Yaska, 254. 
Yogeshwara, 214. 
Yogindra (Shiva), ior. 
Yoginl, Yoginis, igo, igi, 256. 
Yogis, ior. 
Yogipala, 125. 

Yudhisthira, 8, 9, 116, 122, 129. 
Yuga (Adi Buddha, Dharma), 93. 





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