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P U L I A R or BELLY - GOD- 

far description vtdc .page 35. 
Published >->y J.Hi^'ginbutham.. Madras 

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Bookseller anil $uoltsfjer, 
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I H *\ o E l\ 5 

1 I >j fe 

<£a tfje jj^lctnarij of 

The Rev. SAMUEL PEARCE, op Birmingham; 
The Rev. JOHN SUTCLIFF, of Olney ; 


The Rev. ANDREW FULLER, of Kettering, 

una ta 

The Rev. JOHN RYLAND, of Bristol; 
The Rev. JOHN FAWCETT, of Hepden-bridge ; 


The Rev. ROBERT HALL, op Leicester; 

autr ta 





Rerampore, June, 1815, 


In endeavouring to give the sounds of Sungskritu words, the author has 
adopted a method, which he hopes unites correctness with simplicity, and 
avoids much of that confusion which has been so much complained of on this 
subject. If the reader will only retain in his memory, that the short ii is to be 
sounded as the short o in son, or the u in Burton ; the French e, as a iu plate ; 
and the ee as in sweet ; he may go through the whole work with a pronuncia- 
tion so correct, that a Hindoo would understand him. At the beginning and 
end of a word, the inherent vowel (u) has the soft sound of au. 


Biographical Introduction, by Key. W. 0. Simpson* 

The following are the illustrations. 

I.— Gnneshu, commonly known as the Pulliar or B&hj GW. •FRONTISPIECE* 
II. — Brainah, the Creator. 

III. — Vishnu, the Protector. 

IV. — Shiva, the Destroyer with his Wife Parvatee. 

V. — Krishna, the most celebrated Incarnation ofVishiu\ 
jVI. — Khali, Parvatee represented as avenging Justice, 


The Hindoo theology founded on the same philosophical notion as that 
of the Greeks, that the Divine Spirit is the soul of the world, proved from the 
Greek writers, i. — from the Vedantrt-Sar'u, ii — A system of austerity founded 
on this system, iii. — Extract from the Shree-Bhaguvutii on this subject, iv. — 
Account of the ceremony called yogii, by which the Divine Spirit, dwelling hi 
matter, becomes purified, extracted from the Patiinjiilu Dhtirshftnii and the 
Gomkshu-sunghita, v. — No real yogees to be found at present, vi. — Absurdity 
of these opinions and practices, id. — Another class of Hindoos place their hopes 
on devotion, vii. — The great mass of the population adhere to religious cere- 
monies, viii. — Conjectures on the origin of the Hindoo Mythology, ib. — on 
images, as originating in moral darkness, and the depravity of men, ib. — those 
of the Hindoos not representations of the One God, ix. — nor of his perfec- 
tions, ib — nor of human virtues, ib. — nor of the objects of natural science, x. — 
but iu general the invention of kings, to please the multitude, ib. — The doc- 
trine of all the East, that God in his abstract state is unknown, and unconnect- 
ed with the universe, ib. — the object of worship the divine energy, subject to 
passions, in consequence of its union to matter, xi. — the creation of the gods 
first, ib. — Proofs that the divine energy is the object of adoration, from the forms 
of the gods, xii. — the modes of worship, ib. — the common observations of the 
Hindoos on the phenomena of nature, xiii. — The divine energy the object of 
worship among the Egyptians, Greeks, Persians, &c. proved by quotations from 
various authors, xiv. — The subjects embraced by the Hindoo mythology, ib. — 
The ancient idolatry of this people confined to the primary elements, the 
heavenly bodies, and aerial beings, xv. — the succeeding objects of worship, 
Br'rimha, Vishnoo, and Shivri, the creator, the preserver, and destroyer, ib.—- 
next the female deities, as the representatives of nature, ib. — then sundry 
deities, connected with corrupt notions of Divine Providence ; and afterwards 
deified heroes, xvi. — The number of the Hindoo gods, ^.-—Benefits sought from 
different gods by their worshippers, ib. — Brdmha — his form — allusions to his 
attributes — conjecture of Mr. Paterson's examined, xvii. — Vishnoo — the attri- 
butes of his image explained — conjecture of Mr. Paterson's noticed, xviii.— 
Shivn, and the attributes of his image — remarks on the worship of the Lingrt— 
resemblance between Bacchua and Shivri — two other forms of Shivlt noticed^ 



KalH-BhoimvH and Muha-Kalii, xix. — Indru, xx. — Ynmn, ib. — Guneshrt, xxi, 
■ — Kartikeyii, ib. — Sooryu, ib. — Ugnee, xxii. —, ib. — Vuroonu, xxiii. — 
Sumoodr'a, ib. — Prit'hivee; ib. — The heavenly bodies, ib. — Doorga, xxiv. — ■ 
Kalee, ib. — Lakshrnee, xxv. — Sitraswntee, ib. — Sheetiila, ib. — Mnmisa, xxvi. 
■ — Shiisht'hee, ib. — Krishna, ib. — Jngiinnat'hii, xxvii, — Eamii, xxviii. — Choi- 
tiinyu, ib. — Vishwd-kiirraa, ib. — Kamn-devil, ib — Sutyu-Narayunii, ib. — Pun- 
chaniinii, ib. — Dhjtnnii-t'hakooru, ib. — Kaloorayii, ib. — 'Deified beings in strange 
shapes, ib. — worship of human beings, xxix. — Worship of beasts, ib. — birds, 
— trees, ib. — Worship of rivers, xxx. — fish, ib. — books, ib\ — stones, ib. — a 
log of wood, ib*. — Eemarks on the system of mythology y ib. — on the use of 
idols in worship, xxxi. — Indelicacy of many of the Hindoo images, ib. — Corrupt 
effects of idol worship in this country, xxxii. — especially after the festivals, ib. 
— The history of the gods and religions pantomimes exceedingly increase these 
effects, xxxiii. — Practices of the vamacharees add to the general corruption, 
xxxiv. — Keflections on this state of things, xxxvi. — causes of the popularity of 
the festivals, remarks, with a view of correcting the false estimate made 
of the Hindoo character by the Rev. Mr. Maurice and others, xxxvii. — Idolatry- 
exciting to frauds, xxxix. — setting up of gods a trade, ib. — Hindoo Temples, — 
their use, xl. — dedication of them, ib. — Images, of what materials made, xli. — 
Priests, ib. — Ceremonies at temples, xlii. — Periodical ceremonies, ib — daily 
duties of a bramhiin, xliii. — form of initiation into the Hindoo rites, ib. — the 
spiritual guide, ib. — Bathing, ib. — forms of worship before the idol, xli v. — Ex~< 
tract from the Ain Akbiiree, z<5.note.— forms of praise and prayer, xlv. — 
meditation, ib. — repeating the names of the gods, xlvi. — vows, fasting, and gifts 
to bramhiins,^. — hospitality ..digging pools, planting trees,rehearsing and hearing 
the pooranris, &c. xlvii. — Burning widows, and burying them alive, ib. — an 
affecting relation by Captain Kemp, xlviii. note. — number of the victims, xlix. 
— Visiting sacred places,^. — atonements, and offerings to themanes, 1. — heavens 
and hells, ib. — Confession of faith made by a bramhun, li — Remarks on it. liL 
— Sum of the Hindoo system, liii. — view of its effects, ib. — Remarks of the same 
bramhiin on the present state of religion among his countrymen, ib. — Appear- 
ances in the streets, reminding the passenger of the different Hindoo ceremonies,. 
lv» — This system incapable of producing moral effects, notwithstanding the 
doctrine of future rewards and punishments, lvi.— Errors inculcated in the 
Hindoo writings respecting God, ib. — Impure actions of the gods, lix. — the gods 
counteracting each other in the government of the world, ib.— Irreverence of the 
people towards the gods, lx. — Contrast betwixt Hindooism and Christianity,?^. 
— Hindoo system ascribes all sin to God, Ixi. — teaches the bramhiin to despise 
the shoodru, ib. —exhorts to the extinction of every virtuous passion, ib. — 
declares that sin is removed by the most trifling ceremony, lxii. — supplies pray- 
ers for the destruction of enemies, ib. — permits falsehood, and theft even from 
a slave, ib. — Works, said to raise men to heaven, not beneficial to others, ib. — 
Remarks on the impurities and cruelties connected with this system, lxiii. — 
Impossible to know the Hindoo idolatry, as it is, without initiation, lxiv. — The 
dispensations of Providence towards the Hindoos unfolded by this state of 
things, ^.—Happiness under the British government, ib. — Misrepresentations 
of European writers noticed and reprehended, lxv. — Scripture testimony against 
idolatry, lxvii. — Of the seceders, or heterodox Hindoos, the Joinvis, Bouddhus, 
Shikhs, and followers of Choitunyu — the founders of all these sects religious, 
mendicants Ixix. — Observations on the tenets of these seceders, ib. 

* In this Introduction, the author has gone over the whole of the Hindoo Pantheon* 
that he might supply a number of omissions in the body of the work ; and hence it 

forms an epitome of the whole, 



BOOK 1. 





The One God an object of speculation only ; not a single temple 
erected to his honour throughout the whole of Hindoost'hann, ... l 



Their number, three hundred and thirty millions, ... ... 2 

Sect. I. Vishnoo. The source of all the Hindoo incarnations, 2. 

Accounts of the ten incarnations, ibid. — Other incarna- 
tions, 6. — Meaning of these fables, 7. — Images of Vishnoo, 
8. Mark of his followers, ibid. His names, ibid. His 
wives, ibid. His heaven, ... ... >#< g 

II. Shivu. Forms of this god, 9. The lingd, ] 0. Eesembles 

the phalli of the Greeks, ibid. Form of this god as Mnha- 
Kaln, 11. Names and mark of the sect, ibid. Shivii's 
festivals — particularly the silnyasee and swinging ditto, 
12—16. Origin of these horrid rites, 17. Marriage of 
Shivn, ibid. Fables respecting Shivu, 18. Names ibid. 
Description of Shivu's heaven, ... ... 29 

III. Brumha. Account of the creation, 21. Form of this o- d* 

ibid. Worship paid to him, ibid. He attempts to commit 
incest, 22. Heaven of Brnmha. ibid. His names, 23 

IV. Indrtj. His image and festivals, 23. Account of a criminal 

intrigue, 24. Other fables, 25. Heaven of Indrii, 26. 
Scenes in this heaven, in several stories, 27. Names of 
this god, ... ... ... ... ^ 31 

V. Sooryu. His descent, 31. His festivals, 32. Anecdotes 

of this god, 33. His names, ... ... 3^ 

VI. Guneshu. His image, 35. Descent and birth, ibid. Wor- 
ship, 36. Names, ... ... ... 37 

VII. Kartikeyu. His image and descent, 37. Festivals, 39. 

Names, ... ... ... ... ^ 

VIII. Ugnee. His form and descent, 40. Festival, 41. Names" 41 
IX. Puvunu. His birth, 42. A story respecting him, ibid. His 

impure character, 43. Names, ... ... 43 

X. Vuroonu. His image and worship, 43. Fables, 44. His 
heaven, 45. His names, 

XI. Yumu. His image and festivals, 46. His court as judge 

of the dead, 47. His palace, ibid. Fables respecting 
him, 47-50. His heaven, 50. Marriage, ibid. Names, 52 

XII. " Host of Heaven" Eem arks on their worship, 53 

XIII. Tlanets. Worshipped in a body, ... ... 54 

XIV. Rtjvee. His form and worship, 55. Commits a rape, 55 





XV. Somu. His image and worship, 56. Names, ... ... 56 

XVI. Mungulu. His image, 57. An evil planet, ... ... 51 

XVII. Booddhu. His form, 57. Accouut of his birth, ... h r i 
XVIII. Vrihusptjtee. His image, 58. An auspicious planet, 

ibid. Names, ... ... ... ... 5£ 

XIX. Shookru. His form, 59. A fable respecting his blind- 
ness, ibid. A propitious planet, ibid. A fable, ibid. 
Names,... ... ... ... ... ... 6] 

XX. Shcnee. His image, 61. An evil and much dreaded 

planet, ... ... ... .. .«• 61 

XXI. EahOo. His image, 62. Eeceived this form at the churn- 
ing of the sea, ibid. Names, 63. Unaccountable coincidence 
in the customs of different nations respecting an eclipse, 62. note 
XXII. Ketoo. His image, ... ... ... ... Qc 

OF the goddesses. 

I. Doorga. Her descent, 64. Keason of her name, a fable, 
ibid. Festivals, 67. Image, ibid. Ceremonies at her 
festival minutely described, 68. Bloody sacrifices, 69. 
Offerings, 70. Dances, 71. A scene at Eaja Raj-krish- 
nu's at Calcutta, 72. Drowning the image, 74. Fables 
respecting this goddess,... ... . . ... 7c 

II. The ten Forms of Doorga. Story from the Marnkiindeyii 
poorann, and another from the Chundee, relative to the 
wars of Doorga, 76. Names of the ten forms, ... 

III. Singhu-vahinee, a form of Doorga, Her image, 79. and 

worship, ... ... ... ... ... 7J 

IV. Muhishu-mtjrdinee. Her image, and worship, 80. Be- 

nefits attending it, ... .... ... ... 8( 

V. Juguddhatree. Her image, 80. A popular festival, held 

in her honour, ... ... ... ... ... 8( 

VI. Mooktu-keshee. Her image, 81. Her festival^ and the 

benefits promised to her worshippers, ... ... 81 

VII. Tara. Her image and worship, ... ... ... 8 

VIII. Chinnu-mustuka. Her image, 82. Her worship, and the 
benefits resulting from 
IX. Jugudgotjree. Her image and worship, ... ... 8 

X. Vugulamookhee. Her festival, 83. Benefits resulting 

from her worship, ... ... ... ... 8 

XI. Prutyungira. Petitions addressed to this goddess, 83. 

Story respecting her, ... ... ... 8 

XII. Unnu-poorna. Her image, and festival, ... ... 8 

XIII. Guneshu-jununee. Her image, 85. Regular and occa- 

sional festival, ... ... ... ... 8 

XIV. Krishnu-krora. Her image, and festival, 85. The 

history of this goddess, ... ... ... 8 

XV. Vishalakshee. Offerings to this goddess, ... ... 8 

XVI. Chundee. Her worship, and festivals, 87. Offerings to 










& XVIII. Other forms of Doorga of inferior note, ...87, 89 

Kalee. Her image, and anecdotes connected with it, 89. 
Human sacrifices, 91. Other horrid rites, 93. A singu- 
lar fact, that thieves worship her, ibid. Festivals — a 
scene at Kalee-Shunkuni-Goshu's, at Calcutta, 95. The 
degree of honour formerly paid to this goddess by the 
Hindoo rajas, 96. Image and temple at Kalee-ghatu, 
described, 97. This image much honoured, presents 
being made to it by kings, merchants, and even by Chris- 
tians, 99. Statement of the value of the monthly offer- 

lU^Sj mmm • •• ••• 

Other forms of Kalee of inferior note, ... ... ... 102 

Ltjkshmee. Her image, 105. Her descent and festivals, 105 
Kojagurtj-Ltjkshmee, another form of Lukshinee. Her 
worship, and festival, ... ... ... ... 106 

Suruswtjtee. Her descent, 106. Indecencies practised 
during her festival, 

Sheetula. Her image, 107. Worshipped during the 

Muntjsa*. Her image and descent, 108. Her festival, ... 
Shushtee. Her six festivals described, 




inferior celestial beings objects of worship. 

I. Usoorus. Their conduct at the churning of the sea, a story, 1 13 
II. Jiakshusus: Story of Koombhn-karnn. 115. The Gund- 
hurvus and Kinrniriis, ibid. Vidya-dhuriis and Upsiiriis, 
ibid. Nayikas, 117- Yiikshus, 118. Pishachls, Good- 
ghukus, Siddhus, Bhootiis, Chariiniis, &c. ... ... 118 


of the terrestrial gods. 

I. Krishnu. His birth, 119. Juvenile exploits, ibid. His 
image and festivals, 120. Image of Radha accompanies 
Krishna's, 123. Number of his followers, ibid. Stories 
of Krishnu, ... ... ... ... ... 123 

II. Gopaltj. His image, 125. A story of this image found 

iu a field, ... ... ... ... ... 125 

III. Gofie-nat'hu. A celebrated image of him at Ugrrt-dweepu, 125 

IV. Jugtjnnat'htj. Form of Ids image, with the origin of it, 

127. His temples, ibid. Festivals, ... ... 128 

V. Bulu-ramu. His image generally accompanies Jiigun- 

nat'hu's, ... ... ... ... ... 129 

* This goddess is honoured as she who protects from serpents : but the author is 
assured, that, in the upper provinces, the serpent itself is worshipped, and that the 
image is formed into a circle, the head and tail of the serpent being joined. The legend 
respecting this serpent-god is, that the earth rests on his thousand heads, 

\ contents, 

Sect. Page. 

VI. Eamu. His history, including his war with Eavfum, 130. 

His image and festival, ... ... ... ... 134 

VII. Choitunyu. History of this mendicant god, 134. His 

festivals, 136. Another mendicant-god, ... ... 137 

VIII. Vishwu-kurmu. Form of his image and festival, ... 137 
IX. Kamu-devu. His image and festival, 138. A story respect- 
ing him, 139. His names, ... ... ... 139 

X. Sutyu-narayunu. His image and worship, ... ... 139 

terrestrial goddesses. 

X«. S EETA j **• • • • X 4: 1 

XI • ^K)A-X) 7"I A j o a * • • • %%) • 

III. Eookminee, and Sutyu-bhama. ... ... ... 142 

IV. Soobhudha, ... ... ... ... ib. 

deities worshipped by the lower orders only. 

1. Punch anuntj. Form of the image, 143. A story respect- 
ing him, ... ... ... ... 144 note. 

II. Dhurmu-Thakooru. A form of Shiviij 144. His image 

and festival, ... ... ... ... ... 145 

III. Kaloo-rayu, ... ... ... ... ib. 

IV. Kaltj-bhoiruvu, ... ... ... ... 146 

/"V. Worship to cure the itch and scurvy. ... ... ib. 



I. Urdhu Nareeshwuru. Origin of this image, as related in 

the pooraniis, 147. Its festival, ... ... ... 148 

II. Krishnu-Kalee, ... ... ... ... ib. 

III. Huree Huru. Form of the image, 149. Different ac- 

counts in the pooraniis of its origin, ... ... 149 



Deified men and women — Bramhims, especially religious 
guides, 151 Daughters of bramhiins, ib. Wives of 
bramhrins, ib. A female, 152. Unutterable abominations 
practised, ... ... ... ... ib. 



Sect. Page. 



T. The Cow, ... ... ... ... ... 154 

II. The Monkey, (Hiinooman,) 155. Marriage of two given by 

the Baja of Nikleeya, who spent 100,000 rupees on the 

ceremony, ib. Anecdotes of this god, ... ... 156 

III. The Dog, ... ... ... -.. ... ]57 

IV. The Jackal, ... ... ... ... ib. 

V. Other animals worshipped,... ... ... ... ib. 



I. Guroorw. His image and descent, 158. A story respect- 

ing him, ibid. His names, ... ... ... 159 

II. Uroonu, ... ... ... ... * ... ib. 

III. Jutayoo, ... .. ... ... 160 

IV. Shunkuru Chillu, or the Eagle of Coromandel, ... ib. 
V. Khungunu, or the Wag Tail, ... ... ... ib. 

VI. Other birds worshipped. ... ... ... ib. 



L The Tooliise'e, ... ... ... ... ... 161 

II. Other sacred trees, ... ... ... ... 162 



I. Gunga. Her image, 163. Descent, 164. Worship, 165. 
Festivals, 166. Attachment of the natives to this river, 
168. This attachment encouraged by the shastriis, ib. 
note. Anxiety of the Hindoos to die in sight of the 
Ganges, 169. Children and grown-up persons drowned 
in it, 170. Extracts from the pooranus, ib. Beflections, 171 

II. Other deified rivers, ... ... ... ib. 










The SJialgramu.* Different kinds, 174. Reason of its deification, Hid. 

Constant representative of the gods in worship, 175. 
Other stones worshipped, ... ... ... 176 



The Pedal. Origin of its worship, 176. Festival given in honour of it 

by the Eaja of Ndlii-danga, ... ... ... 176 





Sect. T. Of different kinds of temples, ... ... ... 177 

II. Dedication of temples, ... ... ... 180 

III, Endowment of temples, ... ... ... ... 181 



Of what made, 182. Ceremonies of consecration,... .,. ... 183 



Different orders, with their employments, ... ... ... 185 



In the temples of Shivit, 187. In those of Vishnoo, ... ... 188 

* One of these stones, by a fall, being split asunder, was lately shewn to the au- 
thor. The internal appearance of this strongly indicates, that these stones are not, as 
has been supposed, (see Asiatic Researches, vol vii. p. 240. ) perforated stones, but 
petrified shells : the shell in the inside of this was the Argonauta Argo.— May 8, 1815.. 





of the times of worship. 


Sect. I. Lunar days, ... ... ... ... ... 190 

II. Weekly ceremonies, ... ... ... ... # m 

III. Monthly ceremonies, .. ... ... ... 191 

IV. Annual festivals, extracted from the Tit'hee-Tuttwa,... %b, 
V. Daily ceremonies, 192. Daily duties of a bramhun, extracted 

from the Anhiku-Tuttwu, 193 — 198. Present practice 
among bramhuns, shoodrus, and women, as it respects the 
daily duties of religion,... ... ... ... 199 




Form of initiation into the Hindoo religion, 



Duties of a disciple to his spiritual guide, (gooroo,) 200 

Ancedote of a dying gooroo, 



Religious austerities,* (tnpasya,) 



Burnt sacrifices, (yugnu.) Rules for them, 204. Human 

sacrifices — Proofs from the shastrns that they have 

been offered, 205. Facts relative to present times, 206. 

Sacrifice of a bull, 208. Of a horse, ibid. Of an ass, 210. 

At the birth of a son, ibid. After death, ibid. To the 

nine planets, ibid. Other burnt sacrifices, ... 



Burnt offerings, (honm,) ... ... 



Bloody sacrifices, (bulee-danu,) 



Bathing, (snanu,) 213. Ceremonies accompanying it, 



Drink-offerings to the gods and deceased ancestors, (turpunii,) 



Ceremonies of worship, (pooja,) 



Forms of meditation, (dhyanu,)... 


* These are not penauces for sin : the yogee is not a penitent, but a proud ascetic, 







.Repeating the names of the gods, (jupa,) 



Forms of praise to the gods, (stuva,) 



Forms of prayer to the gods, (knvuchu,) 



Petitions and vows, (kamunu and man anil,) 



Vows (vrutu,) ... 



Fasting, (oopuvasii,) ... 



Gifts, (danii,) 



Entertaining bramhims, 



Various works of merit. Hospitality to strangers, 225. 

Digging pools, 226. Planting trees, &c. 227. Ancedotes, 



Reading and hearing the poorancis, ... 



Sacred rehearsals, (geetii,)... 



Hanging lamps in the air, 


Method of preventing family misfortunes, 



Ceremony for removing evils following bad omens, ... 



Ceremonies performed while sitting on a dead body, 



Ceremonies for removing, subduing, or destroying enemies, 



Impure orgies, with flesh, spirituous liquors, &c. (poorna- 

bhisheku,) ... 



AA V 111 . 

Burning of Widows alive. Extracts from the shastriis 

on this subject, 235. Ceremonies preceding the immola- 

tion, 236. Many affecting relations of this lamentable 

practice, 238. Widows of weavers buried alive, 244. 

Reflections on the state of mind of the widow, and on the 

conduct of the bramhuns, 245. Calculation of the number 

1)111 lit j m • « ft • • • * • • • • » • « 



Voluntary suicide, (kamyu-muranii,) 246. Drowning in the 

Ganges — several shocking instances, 247. Burning of a 

leper, 248, — Burial alive of ten persons, 



Persons casting themselves from precipices, &c... 



Dying under the wheels of Jngimnat'hri's car, 



Infanticide, ... 



Ascetics devoured in forests by wild beasts, 



Perishing in cold regions. ... 


Calculation relative to the number of Hindoos who annually 

perish, the victims of superstition, ... 



Ceremonies performed on visiting holy places, 255. Princi- 

pal holy places in Hindoost'hanii,.., 



Ceremonies at death,... 



Rites for the repose of the soul, (shraddhu,) 






Atonements for offences,..,,. 









Extracts from the Kurnm-vipaku on this subject, 274. And from the 
Ugnee pooranu, 275. Conversations among the Hindoos respecting 
transmigration, ... ... ••• ••• ••• 





Different kinds of happiness, 281. Description of heaven, id. Various 
works of merit entitling to heaven, 282. Conversations respecting 
the state of the dead, 284. Doctrine of the Hindoos concerning 
absorption, 285. Method of obtaining it, ... ... ... 286 



Extracts from the Shree-bhagilvutu, 288. Names and nature of the 
Hindoo hells, id. A fable respecting them, ... ... 289 



Preparatory duties of a mendicant, extract from Miinoo, 291. Eemarks 
on the present state of mendicity, 293. Brief account of twenty differ- 
ent kinds of mendicants, 294. A scene at Gnnga-Sagnru, 298. A 
remarkable account, 300. Reflections on the number of Hindoos 
living in a state of mendicity, ... ... ... ... 301 




The soivKs, 302. The voishnuviis, ib. The shaktus, ... ... 303 






The same as the followers of Fo, 303. Eise of Bouddhism, 304, Per- 
secution of the Bouddhus, 305. Their shastms and doctrines, 306. 
Their temples and worship, 309. Their colleges, 310. Their festivals, 
311. Translation of the substance of the Temee Jatii, a Biirman 
account of the incarnation of Booddhu, ... ... .,. 312 



Eise of this sect, 326. Account of Muha-veeru, 327. Summary of 
the joinii doctrines, 329. Prescribed duties, 331. Festivals, 333. 
Sects, 334. Bramhinical account of the joinas, ibid. Extract from 
the Booddhu poorann, 335. And from Mr. Colebrooke's " Obser- 
vations," ... ... ... ... ... ... 340 



Particulars respecting Naniiku and other leaders of the sect, 342. Their 
shastms, 345. Different sects, 347. Form of initiation, ibid. Their 
festivals, 348. Additional remarks, Hid. Translation from the Adee- 
Griint'ml, elucidating the opinions of Nanuku, ... ... 349 



Their peculiar doctrines, 354. Account of their leaders, 355. Their 
progressive increase ... ... ... ... ... 356 




The object of worship the same throughout India, Tartary, China, Japan, 
the Biirman Empire, Siam, and the Indian Isles, proved from the 
preceding accounts, and from different works, ... ... 364 

Glossary ... ... ... ... ... ... 369 

Index ... ... ... ... 39s 


There is a propriety, I think, in prefacing the follow- 
ing work by some account of the author; for upon our know- 
ledge of his career and capabilities depends the amount of 
credibility and confidence which we award to his book. After 
a careful perusal of the Lives we have of him,* I have been led 
to conclude that we do not yet know all we ought to know 
of the Reverend William Ward of Serampore: — a man who, 
though not endowed with genius, was possessed of great capacity 
for mental toil and physical endurance, just such a man as the 
world wants and romance avoids: — a Missionary, expert and 
diligent in many varieties of toil; — a Christian, whose piety 
retained its freshness during a long and arduous career, breathed 
itself out in the last efforts of his penf, and shed a quiet beauty 
over his end. Scant justice can be done to him in a sketch so 
brief as this; yet as far as space will admit, I will place before 
the reader the chief events of his life. 

William Ward was born of middle-class parents, in Derby, on 
the 20th of October 1769. Soon after his birth, his mother, a good 
and pious woman, was left a widow. Up to her prayers, con- 
versation and example, Ward traced his religious history. The 
first human hand that went to form his career and character was 
a mother's : so should it ever be. His school life was not spent 
under favourable auspices, and gave him an education plain and 
common enough. But the lad was studious, retired, self-forming, 
with high aims, which now and then peeped out and startled his 
more common place companions. So came it, that he saw after 
his own education when his masters had done with him, and 
by such ways and means as a determined young man will 
always find out, he acquired a knowledge of the literature 
and science of his country. He became a printer by trade, and 

* Memoirs of the Life of the Rev. William Ward, by Samuel Stennett. London, 

Life and Times of Carey, Marshman and Ward by John Clark Marshman. 
In two volumes. Longmans, London, 1859. 

t " Reflections for every day in the year." Published in 1822. The work was 
highly prized by his Christian friends and brought into daily use in many families. 



spent some ten years, first in putting up type for newspapers, and 
then in writing for them, in Derby, Stafford, and Hull; and he 
acquired more than ordinary influence as an Editor. But the 
power which fixed his future course lay not in these external cir- 
cumstances, but in that inner life of piety, to the beginnings of 
which I have already adverted. In his case, the influence of 
maternal example and youthful associations did not supersede the 
exercise of individual decision. After much thought, it appeared 
to him that the opinions held by the Baptists were most in 
accordance with the word of God and, by public baptism, he 
became a member of that denomination, in 1794 or 1795, being 
about twenty-five years of age. Prior to that event, he passed 
through many troubles of heart, — "storms," "miry clay," "fierce vol- 
cano fires not to be quenched by a mere sprinkling of words" — such 
are his own phrases: but that rite spoke truly of a heart then 
resting quietly and lovingly in discipleship to Jesus. Prompted 
by his own earnest feelings, and drawn by the necessities of his 
neighbourhood, Ward occasionally presided at religious assemblies 
and gave "a word of exhortation" at cottage meetings: not with- 
out notice, for in 1797 he was selected as a man of promise for 
the future, and sent to Ewood Hall, near Halifax, where 
Dr. Fawcett, the tutor of Foster, trained a few young men for the 
ministry. There study, not wide, yet careful and regular, became 
a habit, bearing fruit afterwards in the translation work of the 
Serampore press and the uniform diligence of Serampore life. 
Yet then and there the missionary spirit of the man found a 
sphere for itself. He was often out preaching in the villages, 
amongst a rough people; men and women such as the Brontes 
describe, and among whom they also lived, listened to him and 
loved him. He had a cottage church all his own; rough handed, 
good hearted, long headed, plain spoken laborers crowding in to 
hear their lecturer as, "elevated on a three-legged stool with his 
little Bible in his hand, he preached with fervor and affection the 
unsearchable riches of Christ." There seemed every probability 
of his settling down to the pulpit and pastoral work of the home 
ministry, when a circumstance occurred which reversed every 
calculation, and led to his becoming one of India's pioneer 
missionaries, for which, after all, God had been fitting him by this 
twofold training of printing and preaching. So at least thought 
a member of the Baptist Missionary Committee, who went down 
casually to Halifax and saw Ward, and spoke to him of Brother 
Carey working alone on the banks of the Hoogly. Ward was 
now thirty years of age, a time of life when men generally allow 
their emotions to freeze a little, and act on something stronger 
than impulse. Add to this, that he had had fifteen years of 
practical life, forming him to prosaic steady work, and that 
at that time there was a future before him more hopeful than 
generally falls to the lot of ministerial novitiates. We need not 
then wonder at the absence of sentimentality in his decision to 



become a missionary. We feel the man will do his work well, 
when a sense of duty sends him to it. Speaking on the occasion 
of his ordination, of what is technically termed a "call," he said, 
"I have received no new revelation on the subject: I did not 
expect any. Our Redeemer has said 'Go ye into all the world 
and preach the Gospel unto every creature and lo, I am with you 
always even unto the end of the world.' This command I con- 
sider is still binding. In His strength, therefore I will go forth, 
borne up by your prayers, hoping that two or three stones at least 
may be laid of Christ's Kingdom in India, nothing doubting but 
that the fabric will rise from age to age, till time shall be no 
more." Thus much for his public confession; as to his heart pre- 
paration, we have the following sentence in a letter to a friend. 
" Every day's experience convinces me that 'tis safety, 'tis life, 'tis 
heaven to rest in the bosom of our God and no where else, but 
there. I am afraid lest my heart should deceive me, but I feel 
at present a resignation to the divine will, which I never felt 
before. With such views the voyage to India, seems but like 
crossing the Humber. A few more respirations, and the lungs shall 
cease to play, the pulse to beat, the tongue to move, and then 

'What boots it where the high reward is given, 
Or whence the soul triumphant wings to heaven.'" 

He embarked on the 24th of May 1799 with three companions, 
one of whom was Dr. Marshman. 

There are few circumstances of note in the next nineteen 
years of Ward's life. Not that he lost his individuality ; no, he 
gave it up to the steady carrying out of a system unique in the 
love, self denial and energy of the men who devised and worked it. 
His history henceforth, is one with that of the Serampore Mission. 
Calcutta was closed against him and his companions ; so they 
moved up to that Danish Settlement, which their labors brought 
into celebrity; there Dr. Carey and his comrades joined them. 
Death speedily thinned their ranks, and Carey, Marshman and 
Ward, a memorable trio, were left to work alone. 

It is evident from his letters, that Ward, from the beginning, 
cultivated a habit of constant observation, and enhanced its value 
by the admirable practice of taking accurate notes. In this lay 
the foundation of the Work, now re-printed more than fifty years 
after its materials were first gathered. Mission life was then for 
the most part what it is now; a daily diligence in unobtrusive 
labors; its motives, methods and effects being scarcely known to the 
outside public, save when some event more distinctive than usual 
attracts notice and awakens criticism. The language came but 
gradually, but work came at once. Ward did that which lay near- 
est to him, he preached and taught in English, and superintended 
the Mission Press; and God blessed him in these first labora 


When lie could speak Bengali (and lie spoke it fluently and well), 
bazaar preaching and touring formed his only relaxation from the 
toils of the printing office. Soon after his arrival, the first convert 
was baptized; in 1800, two thousand copies of the Bengali New 
Testament issued from the press, — 2,000 Missionaries, he called 
them — and in 1803, the first native Minister preached his first 
sermon. New successes followed extending labors, and fresh crises 
of progress were gained almost yearly. In 1809 amidst all the 
opposition of Government, the missionaries "had succeeded in 
settling four stations in Bengal; they had sent a Missionary to 
Patna, and planted stations on the borders of Orissa and Bootan, 
and in Burmah ; the number of members in church fellowship ex- 
ceeded two hundred; they had obtained a footing in Calcutta, 
where a chapel had been erected at a cost of more than £3000, 
and a large church and congregation collected ; the Scriptures had 
been printed in whole or in part, in six languages, and translations 
had been commenced in six others."* His prayer was fulfilled 
ere half his course was run; he saw laid the foundation stones of 
Christ's kingdom in Hindustan. One circumstance alone threat- 
ened Ward's peculiar work. In 1812 the printing offices were burnt 
down, and a loss of £10,000 was inflicted on the Mission. The 
public evinced their confidence in the Missionaries by ready and 
ample liberality, and before the close of the following year, he 
writes " ten presses are going, and nearly two hundred people are 
employed about the printing office." He knew the value of the 
press, and the spirit in which he wrought, would have dignified 
the meanest toil. When about to commence his career, he wrote 
thus in his diary, "but to me, who am less than the least of all Saints, 
is this grace given that I should" print "among the heathen, the 
unsearchable riches of Christ." Now again he writes; "what 
multitudes of Christian works will be wanted ! We have not been 
able to print one argumentative work against idolatry; not one 
elaborate defence of Christianity. We have let off nothing but 
squibs. The Hindu Pundits have not yet felt in their learned 
languages the weight of Christian artillery; except in one or two 
parts of the Bible. We have not yet had the honor of an attack 
from one Hindu scholar. These times are all to come; they are 
coming. The struggle will be a tough one." What he anticipated, 
we realize, and it will be well with us, if we can use his weapon, 
the press, wisely and effectively. 

Though this notice chiefly concerns the public career of Ward, 
it would scarcely be just to close this period without a reference 
to his domestic life, and that of the Missionaries with whom he 
was associated. He married the widow of his deceased colleague, 
Mr. Fountain, and the ceremony so far characterized the man and 
his fellows, as to warrant the extract in which it is narrated. 

* Carey, Marshman and Ward. i. 421. 



" 1802 May 10th. This evening sister Fountain and I were 
married at our house in the presence of our Bengali friends and 
others. This connection was intended for sometime, but circum- 
stances prevented. Brother Carey introduced the business by a 
few words and read the marriage agreement. I then took sister 
Fountain by the hand and walked up to the table, saying 'we sign 
this our solemn covenant to each other.' We then signed it, and 
about a dozen friends, European and Bengali added their signa- 
tures. Brother Carey then delivered a very appropriate address 
to the parties on the duties of husband and wife, and made a 
pleasing allusion to our family situation, in which all personal 
interests are swallowed up in the interest of the whole. A short 
prayer concluded the service. I gave some fruit and a few things 
of native manufacture amongst the native friends, and thus the 
marriage was celebrated."* 

Let us now take a glance at "the situation" of Ward and his 
companions. These men who by their labors brought in £50,000 
in eighteen years to defray the expenses of the Mission, practised 
the sternest economy in their household and personal expenditure. 
Thev all dined together at four long tables, Missionaries, wives, 
children and scholars, and this arrangement continued until the 
enlargement of the mission circle by the arrival of new mission- 
aries rendered it no longer desirable or practicable.-)- 

Including a child of his wife's, by her first husband, Ward 
had five children, two of whom died young; the remainder he 
trained, with anxious solicitude for their best interests. In 1815 
Mrs. Ward was compelled to visit England for her health, and 
returned to find her husband so broken down in constitution as 
to be under medical orders for home. Leaving his family behind, 
he embarked in 1818, after nineteen }^ears of almost unre- 
lieved toil; yet he carried Serampore with him, and marked out 
for himself Serampore work to be done in England. His scheme 
was to obtain the help and sympathy of British Christians for 
the establishment of a Training College for native agents. His 
visit was paid at a time unseasonable for the accomplishment of 
his object, but seasonable enough for the general welfare of the 
Mission. He found the public mind disturbed by many calum- 
nies as to the Serampore brethren and their work. He took joy- 
fully upon himself the responsibility of their defence, and in a 
great measure succeeded in restoring confidence, and in placing 
the Mission in a less exceptional position than it had hitherto 
occupied. He travelled all over England, and visited Holland 
and America; pleading first for the Society with which he was 
connected, and then for the College, realizing for the latter, about 

* Life of Ward. 111. 

f Carey, Marshman and Ward. i. 152. 


"During the voyage from America, Mr. Ward employed his 
time in writing "Farewell Letters" to his friends in England and 
America. He was subsequently induced to publish them, and the 
work speedily went through three Editions. They are valuable 
as the effusion of those fervent and affectionate feelings which 
endeared him to all with whom he was associated. They also 
breathe the genuine spirit of Christian benevolence, expanded by 
the magnitude of the sphere in which he had laboured. In suc- 
cessive letters he presents a vivid picture of the superstitions of 
the natives, the impurity and cruelty to which they gave birth, 
and the moral and religious degradation they entailed."* 

He embarked for India in 1821; as the event proved, he 
returned but to die. After his arrival at Serampore the Train- 
ing School occupied his time along with the press. He was at 
work when his Master called him. "On Wednesday the 5th of 
March (1823) he preached the evening lecture, apparently in 
excellent health and spirits. The next morning he joined his 
brethren at their weekly breakfast, though suffering from what he 
considered a simple diarrhoea which he attributed to a cold caught 
during the night. After breakfast he proceeded as usual to his 
labours, and began a letter to the Rotterdam Bible Society. At 
noon he was obliged to leave the letter unfinished, and retired to 
his room which he never left. At three in the afternoon he was 
seized with cramps; and it then became evident that the disease 
from which he was suffering was cholera of a virulent type. Two 
medical gentlemen were immediately called in, and under their 
treatment the dangerous symptoms appeared to abate. His friends 
never left his couch the whole of that night. He was placed in a 
warm bath, and fell into a sound sleep, which gave hopes of his 
recovery, and induced Dr. Carey to go down to his collegiate 
duties at Calcutta. But at eleven in the forenoon of Friday his 
pulse began to sink, and at five in the afternoon he was a corpse. 
The scene of distress was heart rending. The three old men had 
lived and laboured together for twenty three years as if one soul 
animated them, and it was difficult to realize the fact that one of 
them was gone. Dr. Marshman had been afflicted for some days 
with deafness which the present distress served to aggravate, and 
for a time he was altogether deprived of the power of hearing. He 
paced the room in silent dismay, watching with intense anguish 
the gradual dissolution of his beloved colleague; yet unable to 
receive any communication. Thus at the age of fifty-three died 
the first of the men at Serampore.""f" Ward was no genius; no 
dilettante missionary, but a conscientious worker, who amidst his 
labour kept alive a spiritual mind, and graced it with an amiable 
disposition, and herein he is a model of what the Mission field 
requires in all its laborers, in all spheres and at all times. 

* Carey, Marshman and Ward. ii. 245. 
f Carey, Marshman and Ward. ii. 278. 



A word or two is now required about that work which keeps 
alive the name of Ward, and a new edition of which is here present- 
ed to the reader. The idea of such a composition appears to have 
suggested itself to the author soon after his arrival in India, and 
he forthwith began to collect materials for it. It was first printed 
at Calcutta in 1806, in two volumes quarto,* and was well received. 
In 1815 a second edition was published in one volume, and in the 
list of subscribers were found the names of more than two hundred 
and fifty individuals of high position in the service of the East 
India Company. It was re-printed in England soon after its ap- 
pearance in Calcutta; and whilst the Author was sojourning there 
in 1820, he carried a new edition through the press, the preface 
to which is dated at sea, June 1st 1821. We have here then the 
result of a process of observation, research, and correction, which 
extended over twenty years of the Author's life. 

The present re-print is from the edition published in London 
in 1817, by order "of the Committee of the Baptist Missionary 
Society," said in the title page "to be carefully abridged ' 
and greatly improved." The edition of 1821 was on the other 
hand, "arranged according to the order of the original work print- 
ed at Serampore." There being no preface to the edition of 1817, 
we are left to surmise by whom and upon what principle the 
abridgment was effected. As the dedication however bears date 
at "Serampore, June 1815," I am inclined to think that the 
Author himself revised the work, and it is not difficult by a com- 
parison of the two editions to discover the principle upon which 
he acted. He appears to have regarded those parts of the first 
edition which referred to the historical traditions and literature 
of India as foreign to the purpose of the new issue, and these he 
left to the antiquarian and the scholar. There was wanted for 
general use a book that should, in a popular way, treat of the belief, • 
institutions, and practices of the Hindus, and this he found to his 
hand in the remaining portions of the original work. This we 
have in the edition of 1817. Subsequent circumstances have 
proved that such a selection has preserved to us the truly valu- 
able parts of Ward's work. Oriental scholars, too numerous to 
name, have superseded the productions of Ward's pen upon sub- 
jects so abstruse as the history and philosophy of India, so wide 
as its ancient literature. But no one has followed him, much less 
surpassed him in his own sphere, in the subjects brought before 
us in this volume. At first sight, one might regret the absence of 
one chapter of the first edition; I mean that which treats of some 
features of social life in India, not directly religious. But more 
detailed accounts of these matters are found in the work of Abbe 
Dubois and to us, the Abbe's narrations have this additional 
value, that they specifically refer to the Hindus of South India. 

* Life of Ward, it is said in 1806:— Carey, Marshman and Ward, 1810. 



On the whole, the publisher appears to have done wisely and well 
for the public, in selecting for publication the edition of 1817, 
rather than the bulky volumes of 1821. From the latter how- 
ever he has taken the glossary, in which the several terms used 
in the work are explained. 

"In the introduction, the author has gone over the whole of 
the Hindu Pantheon, that he might supply a number of omissions 
in the body of the work and hence it forms an epitome of the 
whole." Coming to the work itself, after a few sentences upon 
the views of philosophers as to the Deity he introduces us (Book 
1.). to the whole assemblage of Hindu Deities. No name 
of note in that long muster roll is omitted from these des- 
criptions. Gods and goddesses, powers celestial and powers ter- 
restrial, avatars and symbols, devils and monsters, birds and 
beasts, trees and stones, have each assigned to them their modi- 
cum of divinity, their quantum of reverence. The machinery 
of worship is next described; the shrine, the idol and the priest. 
(Book ii.). We attend the Hindu in his lunar fasts and annual 
ceremonies; we follow him to his ablutions and stand by his 
sacrificial fire; we listen to the mystic ejaculations of his prayers 
and the intoned music of his hymns; we share his weary pilgri- 
mages, watch the kindling of his funereal fires, and are spectators 
of the repeated and sacred hospitalities that give repose to his 
soul. (Book iii). Betaking ourselves to the "lotus feet" of the 
Guru, we learn the laws that guide the wanderings of the soul 
in future births, the nature of perfect bliss, and the modes of 
future retribution. (Book iv.). We are introduced to the Brother- 
hood of Holy Mendicants and made familiar with the tricks and 
trappings of religious beggary. (Book v.). Lastly we become ac- 
quainted with the orthodox sections of the Hindu community; 
and then with heretics and schismatics, Buddhists, Jainas, Sikhs 
and Bhaktas (Book vi.). 

The Author gathered the materials for his work by personal 
observation, by information derived from others, and by transla- 
tions from standard native works. For the acquisition of in- 
formation on reliable authority, few men have ever had so favor- 
able an opportunity; for the extensive translations carried on by 
the Serampore press gathered round the Missionaries a large body 
of Pundits from all parts of India, whilst their philological ac- 
quirements and official position associated them, not only with 
learned natives unconnected with themselves, but with a circle of 
Oriental scholars, amongst whom may be mentioned the names 
of Colebrooke and Leyden. Ward taxed all the stores thus 
placed within his reach for the production of this work. He is 
generally however careful to cite his authority, so that the reader 
may be fairly warned as to the degree of confidence to be placed 
in the several statements. It is no slight voucher both for the facts 



and opinions of the book, that it should have received the sanc- 
tion of eminent scholars, and that it should have gone through so 
many editions during the very period (1803-1821) when Hindu 
matters were discussed with the greatest interest, when the bitter- 
est hostility was manifested towards the Missionaries both as to 
their evangelistic and literary enterprises. I may be permitted 
to quote one illustration of the style of criticism with which the 
book was received. It is taken from an article in the Asiatic 
Journal for 1817,* written it should be observed, when the work 
had reached its third edition and after a good deal of adverse 
criticism had been exercised upon it. "As a general survey of 
whatever is connected with Hindustan, we mean the most essen- 
tial concern of morals and religion, the singular book which we 
are now about to review will be found the most luminous and 
comprehensive of any ever published in this country, speaking to 
facts and to facts only, upon the evidence of the senses: — the 
scrutinising eye and the attentive ear whose accuracy could not 
be deceived. The distinguishing, the sterling merit of this pub- 
lication is that direct translations from the original Sanscrit ac- 
company all the assertions, however apparently incredible, made 
in the course of it. To the versions already published by Mr. 
Colebrooke, Mr. Patterson and other members of the Asiatic Soci- 
ety, are added those made by the Missionaries, assisted by learned 
brahmans, from the Vedas and the sastras, illustrative of each 
object discussed; so that the authenticity of the facts narrated 
can admit of no doubt, however revolting may be the enormities 
displayed to the mind of refined sentiment." 

About 100 pages of Professor H. H. Wilson's Essay on the Re- 
ligious Sects of the Hindus,*f- coincide with part of the following 
work and I find many references to this work, cited as substantia- 
tions of the text, a proof that that great oriental scholar consider- 
ed Ward a reliable authority, and made him the companion of his 
own researches. 

As I have before hinted, this work is specially adapted for po- 
pular use. It gives an answer to the casual observer on points 
about which he is most curious, the temples that meet the eye in 
every street ; the festivals with which every Hindu home is busy, 
the worship which attracts his notice by the banks of lake or 
river, the books by which the youth of India is still instructed 
and upon which its manhood feeds. This book is a sine qua non 
to every one who has not the leisure or liking for deep research, 
yet wishes to have some key to the ongoings of Hindu life and 
the elements of Hindu faith. In this respect it is as welcome to- 

* Asiatic Journal, iii, 1817, 34, 35. 

f Works of H. H. Wilson, Vol. 1. 1862. Trubner and Co., 152, 168, 171, 181, 
196, 253, 258, 262, 277. 




day as when first issued. We have little books without end that 
nibble at Indian life and manners ; but Ward remains yet unri- 
valled as a repertory of detailed information, and an indispensable 
book of reference. The present publisher has recognised this, as 
the worth of the work, and greatly aided it by the portable form 
of the present volume, and by the devices of modern typography; 
I refer to the detailed table of contents, the page headings, the 
ample Index, and the beautiful colored plates, doing for us by the 
eye what can scarcely be done by the pen; — helping us to shape 
a correct idea of those "holy forms" of the principal deifies before 
which, painted, carved, moulded or graven, millions of Hindus 
daily bend in reverence. 

One fault however has been charged upon this work with con- 
siderable uniformity. It is said that the views contained in it 
upon Hindu morals, manners and worship, are prudish and con- 
demnatory beyond reasonable limits. Nor can the book be alto- 
gether acquitted ; yet some considerations should be taken into 
account which may modify censure. One is suggested by a phe- 
nomenon of our own times. Let any one refer to the papers, 
speeches, and pamphlets of modern Hindu reformers, from the 
days of Rammohun Roy to our own, and he will find young Bengal, 
or young Madras dealing in opinions and terms as to the creed 
and practices of his grand-father much more in accordance with 
the pages of this work than the oily apologies of a Twining or a 
Scott Waring. Only the other day I observed in the public prints 
the following expressions used by a brahman, a graduate of the 
Madras University, in the course of a very able address on female 
education. "In one point of view, a forgetful course is advisable 
for some of our females. For some of the Hindu works, be they 
Sanscrit, Telugu or Tamil, which out families use, are interspersed 
with delineations and pictures that we males cannot read with- 
out a blush; and we altogether abstain from reading such portions, 
if females chance to be near us. Just imagine the effects that 
may flow from our females reading such books! When a girl 
quits her school, her parents in general put into her hands books 
like the Neishadam, Camba-Ramayanam, Arichendra-Vilasam, 
Sakunthalie-Vilasam and Mathana-Kkama-raja-Kathei. These 
are dangerous instruments, especially in the hands of young in- 
experienced persons" — and so on. The very sensible conclusion 
of the whole address may be put thus; "if we educate our children, 
especially our girls, we must have a new literature." — Such evi- 
dence is surely of some weight. 

Another consideration, which, I suggest, should qualify our 
censure, arises from the state of public feeling when the book 
made its several appearances before the public. At that time an 
influential section of Indian politicians, who could both write and 
speak well, ventured boldly to assert and defend opinions of a 
character very opposite to those of Ward; according to them the 



Hindus were almost immaculate in morals, the possessors of a lite- 
rature and religion singularly perfect. For instance, a Mr. Charles 
Marsh, a quondam Madras barrister, had a seat in the House of 
Commons, during the Indian Debate of 1813, and delivered a very 
effective speech against the opening of India to the labors of 
Missionaries, whom he spoke of as "crawling from the holes and 
caverns of their original destinations; apostates from the loom 
and the anvil, renegades from the lowest handicraft employments." 
In that speech occurs this paragraph. "When I turn to her philo- 
sophers, lawyers and moralists, who have left oracles of political 
and ethical wisdom to restrain the passions and awe the vices 
which disturb the commonwealth: — when I look at the peaceful 
and harmonious alliances of families guarded and secured by the 
household virtues ; — when I see among a cheerful and well ordered 
society, the benignant and softening influences of religion and 
morality, a system of manners founded on a system of mild and 
polished obeisance, and preserving the surface of social life, smooth 
and unruffled, I cannot hear without surprise, mingled with horror, 
of sending Baptists and Ana-Baptists to civilize or convert such a 
people at the hazard of disturbing or deforming institutions which 
appear hitherto to have been the means ordained by Providence 
for making them virtuous and happy."* By the way, one cannot 
help the question, was there any work for lawyers in a land where 
the surface of social life was so smooth and unruffled \ Had this 
barrister ever a brief? Views, such as those stated above, were 
spawned multitudinously from the public press, and uttered 
eloquently in public addresses by Anglo-Indians, the very men 
apparently most fitted to write and speak on such subjects. 
If a voice was to be raised in qualification of these high flown 
eulogies, it must come from India, and it could not come better 
than from those who had unwillingly been made the scape-goats 
of the controversy, the Serampore Missionaries. Intimate ac- 
quaintance with popular literature — that literature which is both 
the index of popular morality, and the power that fashions it — 
and personal observation, gave Ward a right to speak, and speak 
he did, and for the most part gave chapter and verse for his utter- 
ances. We cannot be surprised if, under the circumstances, he 
did not care to smooth the roughness of his sentences, or stay to 
count the grains of his indignation. Deduct something for the 
heat of controversy, and the Missionary's views escape censure. 
Certainly the sober opinion of our own day leans rather to the 
plain spoken printer of Serampore, than the polished apologists 
of the senate. The biographer of Carey, Marshman and Ward 
says significantly enough: "But all these suspicions of exaggera- 
tion have been at once and for ever dispelled by recent events. 
While these pages are passing through the press, the mutiny of 
a hundred thousand of our native soldiery has been announced 

* Carey, Marshman and Ward. ii. 36. 



and Mr. Ward's view of the genuine character of Hinduism has 
been lamentably verified by the wanton and unparralleled atroci- 
ties committed on unoffending women and helpless babes, by the 
mild and humane Hindus, when released from all restraint, and 
at liberty to indulge their passions."* 

Whether these views were narrowly accurate or not, they 
were the author's own, and no subsequent publisher has a right 
to omit, or modify them. They therefore stand in the present 
edition in the very terms in which the author originally ex- 
pressed them. 

W. 0. Simpson. 

.Royapettah, November 12, 1863. 

* Carey, Marsh man and Ward. i. 444. 




The whole system of Hindoo theology is founded upon the doctrine that; 
the Divine Spirit, as the soul of the universe, becomes, in all animate beings, 
united to matter ; that spirit is insulated or individuated by particular portions 
of matter, which it is continually quitting, and joining itself to new portions 
of matter ; a that the human soul is, in other words, God himself ; that the 
knowledge of this, leading men to seek complete deliverance from the degrad- 
ing and polluting influence of material objects, is the only means of being re- 
united to the divine nature ; that this deliverance from matter may be obtained 
in the present state by separation from human intercourse, the practice of 
bodily austerities, and entire abstraction of mind ; and that, if not obtained in 
one birth, it is to be sought through every future transmigration till obtained, 

a There are two opinions among the Hindoos on this subject ; some philosophers 
maintaining, that it is one soul which is united to sentient creatures ; while others sup- 
port a contrary opinion, and affirm, that human souls must be emanations from the 
Great Spirit, otherwise, when one person obtained absorption into the divine nature, 
all would obtain it at the same moment. The vddantfj philosophers teach, ' that God 
exists in millions of forms, from the ant to Brttmha, the grandfather of the gods, as 
one moon is seen at once in twenty different pans of water. 5 

The agreement betwixt these opinions and those of the Greek philosophers is very 
remarkable : — ' Almost all ancient philosophers agreed in admitting two principles in 
nature, one active and the other passive ; but they differed in the manner in which 
they conceived these principles to subsist. Some held God and Matter to be two 
pi-inciples, which are eternally opposite ; not only differing in their essence, but having 
no common principle by which they can be united. This was the doctrine taught by 
Anaxagoras, and after him by Plato, and the whole Old Academy. This system, for 
the sake of perspicuity, we will call the Dualistic system. Others were convinced, 
that nature consists of these two principles ; but finding themselves perplexed by the 
difficulty with which they saw the Dualistic system to be encumbered, that of suppos- 
ing two independent and opposite principles, they supposed both these to be compre- 
hended in one universe, and conceived them to be united by a necessary and essential 
bond. To effect this, two different hypothesis were proposed : some thought God to 
have been eternally united to matter in one whole, which they called Chaos, whence it 
was sent forth, and at a certain time brought into form, by the energy of the divine 
inhabiting mind. This was the System of Emanation, commonly embraced by the 
ancient barbaric philosophers, and afterwards admitted into the early theogonies of the 
Greeks. Others attempted to explain the subject more philosophically, and, to avoid 
the absurdity which they conceived to attend both the former systems, asserted that 
God, the rational and efficient principle, is as intimately connected with the universe, 
as the human mind with the body, and is a forming power, so originally and necessarily 
inherent in matter, that it is to be conceived as a natural part of the original chaos. 


This doctrine is taught in many parts of the Hindoo writings, especially 
in the Durshunus ; which works, though almost wholly speculative, make known 
a method of abstraction, to assist ascetics in obtaining deliverance from mortal 

Udwuyanundu, a sunyasee, and the compiler of 4 the Essence of the 
Vedantu,' says, ' Brumhu and life are one : that which, pervading all the 
members of the body, gives to them life and motion, is called jeevu, life ; that 
which, pervading the whole universe, gives life and motion to all, is Brumhu ; 
therefore these two are one. Every kind of matter is without life ; that which 
is created cannot possess life : therefore all life is the creator, or Briimhu ; God 
is the soul of the world. This is the substance of the Vedantu philosophy. 

Not only is God thus declared to be the soul of the world, but the writer 
of the above work affirms, that the world itself is God — God expanding him- 
self in an infinite variety of forms : ' All things past, present, and to come ; 
all that is in the earth, sky, &c. of every class and description ; all this is 
Briimhu, who is the cause of all things, and the things themselves.' Yet this 
writer, in another part of this work, seems to affirm, that the universe is the 
work of God : — ' The principle of life is Briimhu ; that which is animated is 
the work of Brumhu, b who directs every thing, as the charioteer directs the 
chariot. Brumhii is everlasting and unchangeable ; the world, which is his 
work, is changeable.' 

This work represents Brumhu, in his state of repose, as destitute of ideas 
or intelligence, and entirely separated from all intelligences. It describes this 
repose by comparing it to whatever may communicate the idea of undisturbed 
tranquillity ; to the bosom of the unruffled ocean ; or to the rest enjoyed in a 
deep sleep, in which there is an entire cessation even of the faculties of the 

The Vedantu writers add, that at certain revolutions of time, 4 Briimhii 
awaking from this repose, unites to himself his own energy, and creates the 
universe f that as soon as souls are united to matter, they become impressed, 

This system seems not only to have been received by the Ionic philosophers, Thales 
and Anaximander ; but by the Pythagoreans, the followers of Heraclitus, and others. 
Seno, determining to innovate upon the doctrine of the Academy, and neither choosing 
to adopt the Dualistic nor the Emanative System, embraced the third hypothesis, 
which, though not originally his own, we shall distinguish by the name of the Stoical 
System. Unwilling to admit, on the one hand, two opposite principles, both primary 
and independent, and both absolute and infinite • or on the other, to suppose matter, 
which is in its nature diametrically opposite to that of God, the active efficient cause, 
to have been derived by emanation from him ; yet finding himself wholly unable to 
derive these two principles from any common source, he confounded their essence, and 
maintained that they were so essentially united, that their nature was one and the 
same.' Enfield, p. 329, 330. 

b Or, as some writers explain it, exists as an effect, as heat is an effect of fire. 

c 'Wheu Brumhu withdraws hi3 energy, the destruction of the world succeeds ; 
when he employs it ; creation springs to birth.' The Vedantu-mviu 


according to their destiny, with more or less of three qualities 5 : — as 1st, with 
that which gives rise to excellence of character ; — 2ndly, with that which ex- 
cites to anger, restlessness, worldly desire, &c. — and 3dly, that which leads to 
inactivity, ignorance, and such-like errors. The character is formed, and the 
future destiny regulated, by the preponderance of any one of these qualities. 
Krishnu. is represented in the Shree-Bhaguvutu-Geetri as teaching Urjoonu, 
that, ' the man who is born with divine destiny is endued with certain qualities, 
[here follow a number of excellent qualities ;] that those who come into life 
under the influence of the evil destiny, are distinguished by hypocrisy, pride, 
presumption, harshness of speech, and ignorance ; that divine destiny is for 
eternal absorption into the divine nature ; and that the evil destiny confmeth 
the soul to mortal birth.' 6 

The soul then, by these writers, is considered as separated from the source 
of happiness when it takes mortal birth, and as remaining a miserable wanderer 
in various births and states, till it regains its place in the divine essence. A 
devotee, sighing for absorption, is described as uttering his feelings in words to 
this purport : 'When shall I be delivered from this world, and obtain God !' 

In consonance with these ideas, a system of devotion has been formed, 
to enable men to emancipate themselves from the influence of material 
objects, and thus to prepare them for absorption. In the first place, the 
devotee is to acquire the right knowledge of Brumhu, namely, that God and 
matter are the same ; that Brumhu is the soul of the world. ' That error £ which 
excites earthly desires, and impels to worldly exertions^ is destroyed,' says 
the writer of the work already quoted, 1 by the knowledge of Brumhu.' The 
person possessed of these ideas of God is called ' the wise man.' Brumhu 
gnanee; and he who is destitute of this knowledge is considered as in a state 
of pitiable ignorance, like an insect incrusted with matter. 

Further to enable him to subdue his passions, and renounce all natural 
desires, he is directed to retire from the world ; to counteract all his natural 
propensities ; and to confine himself to intense meditation on Brumhu, till he 
has thoroughly established in his mind this principle, that, ' seeing every thing 
proceeded from Brumhu, and that, at the end of the four yoogus, when the 
universe shall be dissolved, every thing will be absorbed into bim again, 
therefore Brumhu is every thing.' 

The Vedantu-saru says, ' There are four ways by which the knowledge of 

d The possession of more or less of any one of these qualities is owing to the balance 
of merit or demerit in the preceding birth. Many Hindoo philosophers, however, have 
no idea of accountability as the cause of reward or suffering : they suppose that all ac- 
tious, good and bad, produce certain natural effects, which ripen in a future birth ; as 
poverty, disease, and wickedness, or riches, health, and works of merit. j 

See Wilkins's translation of this work. 

f Error here refers to the false idea, that a man's self and spirit are different, as 
that / is any thing different from spirit. This idea of the separate existence of / 
*eads to the idea of mine, and thus to every worldly desire, 



■Bramhu is perfected : — 1st, By that reflection, in which the person decides 
upon what is changeable and what is unchangeable in the world ; — 2dly, By 
cultivating a distaste of all sensual pleasures, and even of the happiness 
enjoyed by the gods ; — 3dly, By the following qualities, an unruffled mind, the 
subjugation of the passions, unrepenting generosity, contempt of the world, 
the rejection of whatever obstructs the acquisition of the knowledge of 
Brumhu ; — and Athly, By unwavering faith in the shastrMs, added to the 
desire of absorption.' 

Krishna, in his conversation with Urjoonu, makes the perfection of 
religion to consist in subduing the passions, in perfect abstraction from all 
objects of the senses, and in fixing the whole mind on Brrimhn. : I extract a 
few paragraphs from Wilkins. — ' A man is said to be confirmed in wisdom-, 
when he forsaketh every desire which entereth into his heart, and of himself is 
happy and contented in himself. His mind is undisturbed in adversity, he is 
happy and contented in prosperity, and he is a stranger to anxiety, fear, and 
anger. Such a wise man is called a sage. The wisdom of that man is 
established, who, in all things, is without affection, and having received good 
or evil, neither rejoiceth at the one, nor is cast down by the other. His 
wisdom is confirmed, when, like the tortoise, he can draw in all his members, 
and restrain them from their wonted purpose.' * The wise neither grieve for the 
dead nor for the living.' * The wise man, to whom pain and pleasure are the 
same, is formed for immortality.' e The heart, which folio weth the dictates of 
the moving passions, carrieth away the reason, as the storm the bark in the 
raging ocean. 5 ' The man whose passions enter his heart as waters run into 
the unswelling placid ocean, obtaineth happiness : s Even at the hour of death, 
should lie attain it, he shall mix with the incorporeal nature of Briimlm. 5 
'The man who maybe self-delighted and self-satisfied, and who may be 
happy in his own soul, hath no interest either in that which is done, or that 
which is not done.' 'The learned behold Brumhu alike in the reverend 
bramlrim perfected in knowledge, in the ox, and in the elephant ; in the dog, and 
in him who eateth of the flesh of dogs/ e Those whose minds are fixed on this 
equality, gain eternity even in this world. They put their trust in Briimhu, 
the eternal, because he is every where alike free from fault.' The enjoyments 
which proceed from the feelings, are as the wombs of future pain.' £ To the 
yogee, gold, iron, and stones, are the same.' 'The yogee constantly exerciseth 
the spirit in private. He is recluse, of a subdued mind and spirit ; free from 
hope, and free from perception. He planteth his own seat firmly on a spot 
that is undefiled, neither too high nor too low, and sitteth upon the sacred 
grass which is called kooshu, covered with a skin and a cloth. There he, 
whose business is the restraining of his passions, should sit, with his mind fixed 
on one object alone, in the exercise of his devotion for the purification of his 
soul ; keeping his head, neck, and body steady without motion, his eyes fixed 
on the point of his nose, looking at no other place around.' ' The man whose 
mind is endued with this devotion, and looketh on all things alike, beholdeth 

s This is strange doctrine in the mouth of Krishna, who spent his youth in 
licentious amours; and afterwards cohabited with Radha, the wife of Ayanft-ghoshft, 
while he retained 1,600 mistresses. 



the supreme soul in all things, and all things in the supreme soul. 5 ' He who 
shaving closed up all the doors of his faculties, locked up his mind in his own 
breast, and fixed his spirit in his head, standing firm in the exercise of devo- 
tion, repeateth in silence Om ! the mystic sign of Brarnhu, shall, on his quit- 
ting this mortal frame, calling upon me, without doubt go the journey of 
supreme happiness.' ' He my servant is dear unto me, who is unexpecting, 
just, and pure, impartial, free from distraction of mind, and who hath forsaken 
everv enterprize. He is worthy of my love, who neither requireth, nor findeth 
fault ; who neither lamenteth, nor coveteth; and being my servant, hath forsa- 
ken both good and evil fortune ; who is the same in friendship and in hatred, 
in honor and dishonor, in cold and in heat, in pain and in pleasure ; who is 
uusolicitous about the events of things ; to whom praise and blame are as one ; 
who is of little spirit, and pleased with whatever comethto pass ; who owneth 
no particular home, and who is of a steady mind.' ' Wisdom is exemption 
from attachments and affection for children, wife, and home ; a constant even- 
ness of temper upon the arrival of every event, whether longed for or not; a 
constant and invariable worship paid to me alone ; worshipping in a private 
place ; and a dislike to the society of man.' 

A most singular ceremony, called yoga, is said to have been formerly prac- 
tised by ascetics to prepare them for absorption. I give an account of this 
ceremony from the first part of the PatnnjrUii Ddrshunii, and the Gortikshii- 
siinghita : — 

The yogee must in the first place, by medicines (here described) reduce 
the appetites of the body, and increase its strength ; he must then learn the 
proper posture for the ceremony ; this posture may be various, but a particular 
one is here enjoined — the yogee is to put his legs across in a sitting posture, 
and to hold his feet with his hands crossed behind him. The next act of 
austerity is that of learning to inhale and discharge his breath ; in doing 
which, he is to take a piece of cloth fifteen cubits long and four fingers in 
breadth, and swallow it repeatedly, drawing it up and taking it down his throat, 
drinking water at intervals. He must next choose a seat on some sacred spot, 
at the bottom of a virtu tree, at some place frequented by pilgrims, near an 
image of an uncreated lingii, or in any place peculiarly pleasant to a yogee ; 
but it must be a secret one. — That on which lie must sit may be either kooshu 
grass, or the skin of a tiger or a deer, or a blanket ; he must not sit on wood, 
nor on the earth, nor on cloth ; his back, neck, and head must be exactly 
erect; and he must remain motionless, keeping his eyes fixed on his nose. 
The act of yogi! consists of several parts: the devotee must first with his 
thumbs and fingers prevent the air from issuing through his eyes, ears, nostrils, 
and mouth, and with his feet bind up the two other avenues of respiration. This 
lie is to practise by degrees till he is able to exist without inspiration and 
respiration. He who is thus far perfected will be able to subdue his passions, 
and to disrelish all the pleaures of the senses. Should the mind, at any time, 
be again entangled in worldly attachments, the devotee must study the essential 
virtue of things, as, that the world is a dream ; that God is the all in all ; and, 
thus bring back the mind to abstraction. He is next to meditate on his guardian 



deity according to the rules of the shastm. After thus annihilating, as it were 
the body and the world, he is then to fix in his mind that he and Briunhii are 
one, and so to settle this point as never to lose sight of it, nor return to earthly 
attachments. From this state of mind arises complete pleasure ; he becomes 
dead to food and to every other bodily want. 

The yogee who has attained this state of perfection becomes emancipated 
in the following manner :— while he sits confining the air within his body, and 
closing his eyes, by the power of wisdom all his members become dead to action ; 
he unites the energy which is lodged in the body to the soul, and they both 
ascend by means of the veins and arteries to the skull, from which the soul 
escapes, by the basilar suture : and the body being thus shaken off, he is reuni- 
ted to the supreme soul. m 

The Vedantu-saru also pronounces in favour of an opinion of the philoso- 
pher Shunkuru, that the practice of ceremonies is to be renounced by the per- 
son seeking absorption, in whom all desires respecting himself are to be 

From the preceding sketch, the reader will be able to form some idea of 
this system of Hindoo theology, which is doubtless very ancient. No yogees, 
however, now exist, who perform these bodily austerities to the extent laid 
down in the shastrus. A number of mendicants may be seen, who profess to 
aim at abstraction of mind, and contempt of the world ; but they are in general 
the greatest sensualists in the country. 

Amongst the learned, a few are to be found, who consider the attainment 
of divine wisdom, as the only means of securing future beatitude : these persons 
either renounce all wordly connections and become pilgrims, or they remain in 
a secular state, and ground their expectations (if they have any) of future hap- 
piness, on their speculative opinions being less gross than those of the vulgar. 
As an apology for not practising severe austerities, and for continuing in a 
secular state, they quote a sentence of Junuku : * A man does not become a 
a hermit by residing in a forest ; but he is a hermit, who even in his own house 
subdues his passions.' Some of those persons despise the popular supersti- 

The absurdity and impiety of the opinions upon which the practices of 
these yogees are founded, need not be exposed : the doctrine which destroys all 
accountability to the Creator, and removes all that is criminal in immorality, 
must be condemned by every good man ; and the absurdity of rejecting those 
rational enjoyments which at once prove the beneficence of the Creator, and con- 
tribute to the refinement of our nature, is so flagrant, that the slightest notice 
of it may surely be considered as more than necessary to the discharge of our 
duty to the interests of Christian morals. 

The author may however remark, that he has had many opportunities of 
witnessing the pernicious effects of the belief, that it is God in man who 

m For further remarks on absorption, and on those mendicants who practise aus- 
terities leading to it, the reader is referred to pages 285, 286, 298—301. 



is the author of every volition, and that evil and good actions are both to be 
referred to him. A Hindoo, perverted by these ideas, does not perceive the 
evil of ascribing every villainous action to God ; though when the dreadful 
and unavoidable result of this doctrine has been pointed out, many revolt from 
the conclusion. Under the influence of this doctrine, that the human soul is 
God, the crimes of a malefactor lose their turpitude, and he is bewailed as a 
person who has acted under unfortunate influence, or as one born with evil 
destinv. It is also easy to perceive, that where such a belief prevails, all efforts 
to fly from evil, and to attain moral perfection, are out of the question : — ' God 
does every thing ;' ' My evil destiny follows me every where, as a shadow the 
body,' is the method by which the Hindoo accounts for all his evil propensi- 
ties and unjust actions. 

Another class of Hindoos place a greater reliance on devotion than on 
divine knowlege. They derive their opinions from different parts of the Hindoo 
writings, and from favourite books of their own, as the Madhyu-bhashyii, 
Bhuktee-rHsamritii-sindhoo, &c One of the sentiments of this sect is thus 
given in the Shree-bhaguvutii : — ' He who, renouncing the service of God, 
enters the path of wisdom, (practises religious austerities,) works hard at bruis- 
ing the straw, but obtains only chaff.' Another of their poets has a verse to 
this purport : — f He who dies at Kashee obtains absorption : true ; but the 
cause of his emancipation is his devotion.' Vurahvi, a poet belonging to the 
court of Vikriim-adityu, says, personifying a person of this sect, ' God ! I 
ask not for the merit of works ; nor for riches ; nor for fame ; I leave all 
this to fate ; nor do I refuse to endure the fruit of my actions : — but this 
I ask, that, through every transmigration, I may be thy devoted servant.' — 
Vilwu-mungKlii, another poet of this sect, says, addressing himself to Vish- 
noo, ' God ! I desire not absorption. I ask for a distinct existence, and 
to be always near thee, as my lord and master.' Some of these persons express 
attachment to their guardian deity in the most familiar acts of devotion — as his 
friends, or servants ; in songs or prayers ; by bowing or making offerings to 
his image, by washing its feet, by repeating his name, or listening to his praise, 
or meditating on his qualities. These persons are mostly found among the fol- 
lowers of Krishna and Choitiinyu. 

Such a worshipper presents himself before the image of Krishnu, and says, 
'Oh, t'hakooru. ! thou art God, the maker of the world, the saviour, the friend 
of the friendless : I am destitute ; I am thy servant ; save me !' Others, more 
fervent in their attachment, omitting the usual purifications and ablutions before 
morning worship, hasten, as soon as they rise, to pay all those marks of respect 
and attention to the image which belong to the character under which they wor- 
ship it. For instance, one man's image is that of the infant Krishnu : he 
imagines it necessary, that the god should be honoured as a child, and he there- 
fore makes an offering of sweetmeats to him early in the morning ; he is very 
careful too that the image should be laid down to rest, and raised up again, only 
at the appointed hours ; he bathes, anoints it, and adorns it with the utmost 
fondness. Songs in praise of Krishnu are very common amongst this 
sect ; and sometimes an enthusiast falls to the ground while singing, 
ajid exhibits all the symptoms of superstitious frenzy. These persons reject 



many of the Hindoo ceremonies ; but they repeat the name of Krishna, worship* 
the common images of this god, and observe the national festivals to his 
honor. Some individuals are directed in their religious duties by the Hindoo- 
writings : but the great body are enthusiasts, following the impulse of feelings- 
enkindled by their own impure imaginations. Some of them wander from, 
village to village, proclaiming the name and reciting the praises of Krishna.. 

Those who reverence thcphilosophical doctrine, and those who thus adhere- 
to devotion, form however but a very small part of the Hindoo population. The 
great majority of the community are attached to the popular ceremonies, con- 
sidering them as at least leading to the knowledge of God, or as laying in a 
stock of merit which will influence their condition in this or a future birth. 

The other branch of Hindoo theology enjoins religious duties, as ? 
preparing a person for that state which leads to absorption. Krishna, in 
his address to Urjoonu, thus holds up the value of religious practice : — 
s Perform thy duty, and make the event equal whether it terminate in good 
or evil. The miserable are so on account of the event of things. Wise 
men, who have abandoned all thought of the fruit of their actions, are 
freed from the chains of birth, and go to the regions of eternal hap- 
piness. 1 Junuku and others have attained perfection even by works." 
Wise men call him a pundit, whose every undertaking is free from the 
idea of desire. He abandoneth a desire of a reward of his actions ; he 
is always contented and independent, and although he may be engaged in 
a work, he as it were doth nothing. God is to be obtained by him who 
maketh God alone the object of his works. The speculative and the prac- 
tical doctrines are but one, for both obtain the self-same end, and the place 
which is gained by the followers of the one is gained by the followers of 
the other. The man who. performing the duties of life, and quitting all interest 
in them, placeth them upon Brumhu the supreme, is not tainted by sin ; but 
remaineth, like the leaf of the lotus, unaffected by the waters. — If thou shouldest 
be unable, at once, steadfastly to fix thy mind on me, endeavour to find me by 
means of constant practice. If after practice thou art still unable, follow 
me in my works supreme, for by performing works for me thou shall obtain 

This brings us to the popular superstition of the Hindoos, of which I 
shall now endeavour to give a summary account, beginning with their 

It is very difficut, perhaps, to speak decisively on the precise origin of 
any of the Ancient Systems of Idolatry ; but not so difficult to trace idolatry 
itself to certain natural causes, and to prove, that the heathen deities owe 
their origin to the common darkness and depravity of men ; who, rejecting 

» Mr. Wilkin s has thus translated this part of the Bhaguvuttf ; but the fact is, 
that there is no distinct happiness in the Hindoo absorption, because there is no re- 
maining individuality. The spirit being liberated from every thing which is not 
spirit, and absorbed in the ocean of universal spirit, or deity, there can be no such 
thing as individual enjoyment. The Hindoos illustrate their idea on this subject, by 
comparing the soul to air confined in a vessel, which, when the vessel breaks, is im- 
mediately lost in the vast body of air which composes the atmosphere. 



the doctrine of the divine unity, and considering God as too great or too 
spiritual to be the object of human worship, chose such images as their 
darkness or their passions suggested. Hence idolatry has arisen out of 
circumstances common to all heathen nations ; which fact, and another here- 
after mentioned, will account for many coincidences in the mythology of 
nations the most remote, while differences in manners and customs, and in 
the degrees of civilization, may account for most of the diversities found in the 
images and worship of different idolatrous nations. 

It is not to be supposed that any of the images invented by the heathen 
were intended to be representations of the One God, according to the ideas 
given of this adorable Being in the sacred Scriptures ; they are images of 
beings formed by the fancies of men, who c by wisdom knew not God.' It is 
probable, indeed, that no heathen nation ever made a single idol in honour of 
' the one living and true God;' and that direct worship to Him was never 
offered by any heathens. 

Nor does it appear, from the various systems of idolatry, that the 
heathen regarded the gods as intercessors with the Supreme Being. It is 
certain that no such idea exists among the Hindoos, who never worship the 
One God, either directly or through the intercessions of others. The gods 
are regarded as the onlv divine beings from whom evil is to be dreaded, or 
good to be expected. It is true, I have heard the bramhuns often speak of 
the worship of the gods as introducing the worshipper to a great approximation 
to final beatitude, but this has nothing to do with the Christian doctrine of 

Writers on heathen mythology have frequently supposed, that the 
extraordinary bodily organs of the gods were intended to represent the 
perfections of Deity. Such writers, in elucidating the Hindoo system, would 
have said, ' Indrii. is represented as full of eyes, k to exhibit the divine omni- 
science ; Brumha with four faces, to display the perfect wisdom of God ; and 
Doorga with ten hands, to teach that God is almighty.' It is a fact, however, 
that the Hindoos are never thus instructed by the forms of their idols. When 
the author once interrogated a learned brarnhun on this subject, he rejected 
this Christian explanation of the forms of his idols, and referred him to the 
image of Ravuim, the cannibal, who is painted with a hundred arms, and ten 
heads. 1 

It has been common too to represent the idols as personifications of the 
virtues, and as teaching, by hieroglyphics, a theory of morals. As it respects 

k The Hindoo fable on this subject is so insufferably gross, that it cannot be 

1 Thus Briareus, one of the monsters brought forth by the earth, is said to 
have had a hundred arms, with which he threw up to heaven the rocks from the sea 
shore against Jupiter. 


the Hindoos, however, the fact is, that they have still, for popular use, a sys- 
tem of morals to seek : some of their idols are actually personifications of vice ; 
and the formularies used before the images, so far from conveying any moral 
sentiment, have the greatest possible tendency to corrupt the mind with the 
love of riches and pleasure. 111 

To the author it seems equally improbable, that the original framers of 
idols designed to teach by them a system of natural science. The distance of 
time betwixt the formation of different images, militates strongly against such 
an idea : men of science, also, have generally held idolatrous rites in contempt ; 
but before a man would sit down to frame an image, to teach the sciences, 
his mind must have been enthusiastically attached to idolatry. Nor does it 
appear probable, that the Hindoo poets were the first who set up idol worship ; 
though we admit, that many ideas on this subject were borrowed from their ex- 
travagant descriptions, and ethereal visions. The introduction of new idols seemsj 
in most instances, to have been the work of kings, who sought the gratification 
of the populace, rather than their instruction ; and the exhibition of popular 
sentiments, rather than the teaching of profound mysteries, or the principles of 
science. It appears from the Brumhu- voivur t tu pooranu, that king Soorut'hu 
first set up the image of Doorga ; king MunguUI, that of Lukskmee ; TTshwu- 
putee, that of Savitree, the wife of Brum ha 5 king Sooyugnii, that of Radha, 
the mistress of Krishnu. ; Rumyu-rut'hn, king of Oojjunyinee, that of 
Kartikeyu. ; king Shiva, that of Sooryu ■ and the sage Boudhayunu, that 
of Guneshu. 

The anthor imagines, that the disclosure of real facts respecting the 
Mythology of the Hindoos, would greatly tend to elucidate the origin of that 
of all the Eastern nations ; and he here offers to the consideration of 
his readers a conjecture or two, the fruit of his own enquiries. The philoso- 
phers of all these nations conceived, that the Great Spirit remains for ever un* 
known, that he neither comes within the thoughts nor the speech of men. In 
the Chandogyu. oopunishud of the Eig vedu, we have a discourse on this sub- 
ject, in which Shwetii-ketoo enquired of Boudhayunu respecting Brumhu : the 
sage answered him by an impressive silence : on being called upon for the rea- 
son of this silence, he answered, ' Brumhu is undescribable : he who says, *' I 
know Brumhu," knows him not ; he who says, " I know him not," has obtain- 
ed this knowledge.' The vedu. declares, that * he is that which has never 
been seen nor known. 5 In other words, he is the Athenian ' unknown God.* 
The One God is never worshipped by the Hindoos as a mere spiritual being, 
but always as united to matter, and before some image. 

m See Mr. Colebrooke's translation of many of these formularies, in his excellent 
Essays on the Religious Ceremonies of the Hindoos 3 in the fifth and seventh volumes 0! 
the Asiatic Researches, 



When Brumha resolved to create, according to the pooraniis, 11 he looked 
upon that which is denominated by the Hindoo philosophers delusion, or 
inanimate energy, p and became subject to the three qualities (goonus) of 
which it is composed — that which leads to truth, and is called suttu. ; that 
which excites desires, (rnju ;) and that which leads to sensuality, (tamu.) He 
now created time, nature, and future consequences ; the primary elements ; the 
organs of sense, of action, and of intellect : he next became the first form, or 
pattern, or the aggregate, of life, and individuated himself into separate por- 
tions of animal life ; and then, under the name of Vishnoo, he created the 
universe from the waters, and entered it as the soul of the world. 

While Yishnoo lay asleep on the waters, a lotus ascended from his navel, 
from which sprung Brurnha, the creator. Shivu, Vishnoo, and Brumha, are 
considered as the representations of the three goonus : Yishnoo of the suttu 
goonit, Brumha of the rnju, and Shivu of the tumu. We have no regular 
account of the creation of Vishnoo and Shivu. Almost all the other Hindoo 
deities are found to be derived from the three principal gods : — Indrii, Kamu- 
devu, Doorga, Sooryu, Ugnee, Puvunu, Vuroonu, Gurooru, Vishwu-kurma, 
Siiruswiitee, Yumu, &c. are the descendants of BrumJia ; — Gnneshu, 
Jugiinnat'hu, Buliiramu, Kamu, Krishnu, Gopahl, Gop'ee-nat'hu, Valu-Gopalu 
Choitunyu, Sutyu-lSTarayunu, Lukshmee, &c. are forms of Vishnoo ; — Karti- 
keyu, PHuchanunu, Koodru, Kalu-Bhoiruvu, &c. are forms of Shivu. ' Thus' 
as Sir W. Jones has observed, c we must not be surprised at finding, on a 
close examination, that the characters of all the Pagan deities, male and female, 
melt into each other, and at last into one or two.' 

But the enquiry returns, 'What is the object of worship among the 
Hindoos ?' It is not the One God, but this compound being, the soul of the 
world enclosed in matter, the primeval energy, the prolific and vivifying principle 
dwelling in all animated existences' 1 or in other words the personification of 

n The Shree-BhaghVutu, &c. The Noiyayikus declare, that the universe was 
created from atoms; while the Meemangsukus, equally wise, affirm, that the 
consequences of actions were the only things united to birth. 

' Or,' as the word is explained by some Hindoo scholars/ the first inclinationof 
the Godhead to diversify himself, by creating worlds. Sir IF. Jones. 

p It is called delusion, or appearance, to shew, that it is something assumed for an 
occasion, and which, when that occasion is served, will be destroyed : hence they say, 
that matter is from everlasting, but is subject to destruction. It is called inanimate 
energy, as it supplies the forms of things, though the vivifying principle is God. 

1 When the following lines of Pope were read to Gopalu-titrkalunkaril, a learned 
bramhhn, he started from his seat, begged for a copy of them, and declared that the 
author must have been a Hindoo 

are but parts of one stupendous whole, 
Whose body Nature is, and God the soul ; — 
W arms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze. 
Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees ; 
Lives through all life, extends through all extent, 
Spreads undivided, operates unspent.' 



whatever the disordered imaginations of the Hindoos have attributed to this 
God encompassing himself with delusion. 1- This energy is said to have created 
the universe; and therefore this, as displayed in the grandest of the forms it 
assumes, s is the object of worship. Hence the gods, the heavens collectively, 
the sun and moon, as well as the stars, the sea, mighty rivers, and extraordi- 
nary appearances in nature, receive the adorations of the Hindoos.* This 
energy itself has been personified and worshipped, not only in the form of 
Bhuguvutee, u but, as it is manifested equally in creation, in the government of 
the world, and in the work of destruction, in Brumha, Vishnoo, and Shivu. 
The universe being full of the divine majesty, a deity has been consecrated as 
the regent of every element ; and, to complete this mass of folly, the bramhun 
and the devout mendicant, as sharing more largely of the indwelling deity, have 
received the adoration of the multitude. 

If we recur to the bodily powers of the different images worshipped by 
the Hindoos, we see the same principle exhibited : hence Ununtu has a 
thousand heads ; Brumha has four faces ; Indru is full of eyes ; Doorga has 
ten, and even Kavunu, the giant, has an hundred arms : — the formidable 
weapons 1 of the gods too, have evidently the same allusion, as well as their 
symbols and vehicles, among which we find the eagle/ the serpent, the lion, 

r The Tftntrus teach, that after Brtfmhff had entered the world, he divided 
himself into male and female. 

3 ' It seems a well-founded opinion, that the whole crow T d of gods and goddesses in 
aucient Rome, and modern Vanares, mean only the powers of nature, and principally 
those of the Sun, expressed in a variety of ways, and by a multitude of fanciful names.' 
Sir W. Jones. — ' Nature herself, and its plastic powers, originating solely in the 
sovereign energies of the supreme creative source of all being, they (the Asiatics) ab- 
surdly dignified by the majestic denomination of God. This supreme creative energy, 
diffused through nature, they distinguished by various names ; sometimes it was Osiris, 
the fountain of Light, the Sun, the prolific principle by which that was invigorated ; 
sometimes it was the life-generating Fire, the divine offspring of the solar deity ; and 
it was sometimes called by an appellation consonant to the Soul of the World. The 
First Vivific Principle, emanating from the primeval source of being, is visibly of 
Chaldaic origin ; and thence, through the medium of the Egyptians, the Stoic philoso- 
phers doubtless had their doctrine of ' the fiery soul of the world,' by which they sup- 
posed all things to be created, animated, and governed.' Maurice. 

* They (the pagans) called the elementary fire Pitha, Vulcan, Ugnee ; the solar 
light they denominated Osiris, Mithra, Sooryh', Apollo, and the pervading air, or spirit ; 
Cneph, Narayftnu, Zeus, or Jupiter.' Maurice. 

u Many Hindoos are denominated shaktus, as devoted to the worship of this 
shuktee, or energy. It is remarkable, also, that all the goddesses are called the 
energies of their lords, as well as matrees, or mothers. 

x Indrfr's thunder-bolt ; the Brumhastrft, a weapon wielded by the gods, which 
infallibly destroys an enemy. ' Vishnoo's chukra, a weapon in the form of a circle, 
continually vomiting flames.' — Maurice. 

y ' Vishnoo riding upon his Guroortt, or eagle,' says Maurice, £ puts us in mind 
of the thunder-bearing eagle of the Grecian Jupiter.' 


* • • 


the tiger, the elephant, the bull, the buffalo, &c. The abominable lingu wor- 
ship too, (the last state of degradation to which human nature can be driven,) 
no doubt took its rise from the same doctrine. 

Under the influence of this doctrine, the philosophic mind chose, as the 
objects of its adoration, the forms in which this energy displays itself with 
the greatest magnificence, and almost confined its worship to the primary 
elements, the heavenly bodies, and aerial beings ; — the great body of the 
community became attached to this energy in its forms of preservation : — 
persons of gloomyhabits, as ascetics and yogees, adored it in the work of 
destruction, as connected with emancipation and with return to ineffable 
repose in the divine essence. The first class chose the retirement of forests 
as the scene of their contemplations ; the second, the public streets, to adore 
the prolific power; aud the last retired to gloomy caverns,* for the celebration 
of those horrid rites, which took their rise in the common error, that the 
energetic principle is the chief object of worship. 

Thus the indwelling principle is adored in whatever form it is supposed 
to display itself : in the cow, as a form of Bhugrtviitee ; in the boar, as an 
incarnation of Yishnoo ; and in an ascetic, who has passed through religious 
austerities supposed to be too dreadful to be borne without support from the 
divine inhabiting energy. Exactly conformable to the Hindoo idea was the 
declaration respecting Simon Magus, ' This man is the great power of God.' 

The object of adoration being thus simple power, or energy, wherever this 
is supposed to reside, the impiety of the possessor forms no obstacle to his 
becoming an object of worship : it is sufficient that he be a god or a bramhun. 
c The learned,' says Krishnu, ' behold Brumhu alike in the reverend bramhun, 
perfected in knowledge, in the ox and the elephant ; in the dog, and in him 
who eateth of the flesh of dogs.' Upon the same principle the Hindoo, when 
he sees the force with which the flood-tide comes into the Ganges or any other 
similar phenomena of nature, recognizes it as God, or the energy of God. The 
blessing which he supposes a yogee obtains, as the fruit of his religious 
austerities, he confines to power — power to heal or to kill others, to ride in 
the air on the back of a tiger, to foretel future events, &c. Benevolent dis- 
positions and actions procure for a man praise, but not reverence. Howard 
would have obtained the encomiums of this people, and would have been 
complimented on the exaltation he was likely to have in the next birth, but 
nobody would have worshipped him ; this honour is always reserved for men 
of pretended supernatural powers. 

If these conjectures be just, they may perhaps afford a solution of the 

1 The Scythians, the Druids, and other ancient nations, it is well known, wor- 
shipped this energy in its destructive forms in gloomy recesses, and there offered 
human and other victims. In the caverns of Salsette and Elephanta, too, the same 
horrid rites were practised by gloomy ascetics. 



difficulties attending the worship of the Egyptians," the Scythians, the Greeks, 
the Persians, and other idolaters ; some of them adoring, by sanguinary rites, 
this principle in its destructive forms, and others in its prolific forms, fire, and 
the solar orb. b It is the same energetic principle that is also worshipped in 
the wonderful motions of the heavenly bodies, and in the conflicting gods and 
the giants, shaking to its centre the solid world ; in the warring elements ; c and 
even in all the forms of brute matter in which it appears. 

These ideas the author offers to the examination of men of greater leisure 
and erudition, not without the hope, that they may tend to elucidate a subject 
exceedingly complicated, and upon which a great variety of opinions have been 
held. As the same ideas respecting the divine energy were held in common by 
almost all the ancient philosophers, it is not wonderful that the same objects of 
worship should be seen among all nations, subject to those variations and addi- 
tions which might be expected whenman had abandoned the doctrine of the divine 
unity, and had resolved to worship every form and appearance of this energy. 

The Hindoo mythology, in its present mixed state, presents us with gods 
of every possible shape, and for every possible purpose, {even to cure the itch /) 
but most of them appear to refer to the doctrine of the periodical creation and 
destruction of the world, d — the appearances of natures — the heavenly bodies, f 
■ — the history of deified heroes, g — the poetical wars of the giants with the 
gods, h — or to the real or imagined wants of mankind. 1 

a ' Taut, or Thoth, was the true Anubis of the Egyptians, one of their eight 
greater gods. Thoth considers the cosmogony of Phoenicia as founded on the doctrine 
which maintains two principles in nature, matter or darkness, and spirit or intelligence. 
By the former, he would understand the chaos, obscure and turbid ; by the latter, the 
agitative wind or spirit, which put that chaos in motion, and ranged in order the various 
parts of the universe. 1 Maurice. 

b In this island of Albion, the image of the sun was placed upon an high pillar, as 
half a man, with a face full of rays of light, and a flaming wheel on his breast. He was 
worshipped in the same manner as Mithra in Persia, and the divinities of the East. 
The Persian Magi preserved a continual fire upon an altar in hono\ir of the sun and the 
lights in the firmament, as the Romans did their holy fire dedicated to Yesta. The 
Jewish writers affirm, that this was the god Abraham refused to worship in Ur of the 
Chaldees.' Galtruchius. — 'The sun became the deity adored by the Sabian idolaters.' 

c ' Sees God in clouds, and hears him in the wind.' 
d As Bruinha and Shivu. 

e The deified elements, as PuvuniS, Yuroonti, &c. 
f SooryiS, Chh'ndrh', &c. 

s Ramn', who, in reference to his forest residence, is painted green, and carries a 
bow and arrow. 

h Doorga, who has a giant at her feet, and the head of another in her hand. The 
author will not presume to decide, whether these wars of the gods have reference to 
human contests, and as such are to be regarded as real history disguised in fable ; or 
whether images of this class have been borrowed merely from the reveries of the poets. 

* Stfrifswiftee, the goddess of learning; Unnu-poornft', the goddess of plenty, &c. 



It cannot be doubted, from what has been published of the ve'dus, said to 
be the most ancient of the Hindoo writings, that the primary elements, fire, 
air, water, earth, and space, with the heavenly bodies, and aerial beings, 
were the first objects of worship among this people. 

The worship of the primary elements possibly originated in the doctrine 
of the ve'dus respecting the eternity of matter ; for we find in these writings 
the elements deified, and called by appropriate names, as in the modern mytho- 
loo-v of the Hindoos. 


The worship of the heavenly bodies may probably be attributed to the astro- 
nomical notions of the Hindoos : and, as the worship of heathens has always 
been dictated by their fears and hopes rather than by their reason, it is not a 
matter of surprise that they should have worshipped the host of heaven, while 
they believed the stars to have such a mighty and immediate influence on their 
destiny here and hereafter. In the prayers of the vedus, the name of Indru is 
found, who was probably considered as a personification of the heavens : his 
name, Indru, signifies the glorious ; and his body, covered with stars, might 
easily be supposed to resemble ' the spangled heavens. 5 

The worship of aerial beings, under the general name of spirits, is easily 
accounted for from the proneness of mankind to superstitious fears respecting 
invisible existences, and from the notion found in the Hindoo writings, that 
every form of animated existence has its tutelar divinity presiding over it. k 

These appear to have been the first gods worshipped in India, though 
such a system of mythology could in no way account for the existence and 
government of the universe ; which exhibited a process for which this system 
made no provision. This might therefore induce later Hindoo theologians to 
add three new gods, under the characters of the Creator, the Preserver, 
and the Destroyer, — Brumha, Vishnoo, and Shivu ; and the pooranris 
exhibit each of these gods at his post, committing faults and absurdities that 
would disgrace beings destitute of every spark of divinity, and even of reason. 

A philosophical doctrine found in the Tuntrus, having reference to the 
supposed union of spirit and matter in the formation of the world, 1 has intro- 
duced an order of female deities among this people, at the head of which 
stands Bhuguvutee, or Doorga. Of this goddess, many forms are worshipped 
among the Hindoos ; and indeed almost all the goddesses are only different 
forms of Bhuguviitee, as the image of Prukritee, or nature. 

JHgunnat'hvi, the lord of the world ; Kooveru, the god of riches ; Kamu- 
devu, the god of love ; Kartikeyu, the god of war ; Yumii, the regent of death ; 

k Diseases also, and divisions of time, as well as places, have their tutelar deities. 
The god Bhttgft, who is blind of both eyes, presides over the members of the body. 

1 Mr. Paterson thinks, that the mixed image of Hnrfr-Gotiree, in which Shivif 
and Doorga are united in one image ; is intended to represent this union, 



and Vishwu-kftrmn, the architect of the gods ; seem to have originated in the 
fables of the Hindoos, and in the imagined necessities of a people destitute of 
just ideas respecting Divine Providence. 

Krishna, Ramii, and other terrestrial gods, are evidently deified heroes. 

These general remarks may probably account for the whole system of 
Hindoo idolatry, without the absolute necessity of admitting that this people 
borrowed their gods from their neighbours. That they borrowed some, or the 
features of some, many striking coincidences hereafter mentioned seem to indi- 
cate ; but, these coincidences excepted, we have found no further evidence of 
this fact. m 

I shall now give some account of the gods found in the Hindoo Pan- 
theon, 11 as a very brief notice of what the reader has to expect in this volume. 

It may be necessary, however, to premise, that the Hindoos profess to 
have 330,000,000 of gods : not that they have even the names of such a num- 
ber ; but they say, that God performs all his works by the instrumentality of 
the gods, and that all human actions, as well as all the elements, have their 
tutelar deities. 

Images have been chosen to fix the mind of the worshipper, and attributes 
of power and splendour, and various fables, having been added in the forms of 
devotion and the addresses to the gods, all these attributes are recognized, and 
the contents of these fables rehearsed, to raise in the mind of the worshipper 
the highest thoughts of the power of the idol. 

He who approaches an idol, seeking the happiness of a future state, is 
required to fix in his mind only one idea, that the god can save him : and in 
this respect all the gods, however various their images, are equal. But when 
a Hindoo is anxious to obtain any peculiar favour, he applies to the god whose 
province it is to bestow it : thus, he who prays to Bmmha, entreats that he 
may be like him, in order to absorption ; but he who is anxious that his mem- 
bers may continue perfect, and that he may enjoy the pleasures of the senses, 
worships Indra ; he who desires children, prays to the progenitors of mankind ; 
he who seeks worldly prosperity, worships Liikshmee ; he who prays for a 
shining body, supplicates Ugnee ; the person who is anxious for strength, ap- 
plies to Roodrn. ; the glutton prays to Uditee ; he who pants for a crown, ap- 
plies to Vishwiidevu or Swayumbhoovu. ; a king intreats Sadhyu, that his 
kingdom may be free from sedition ; he who prays for long life, addresses him- 

m Should the reader, however, be inclined to pursue this subject, he will find 
much ingenious conjecture, and many apparent resemblances betwixt the Egyptian, 
Greek, and Roman mythology and that of the Hindoos, in Mr. Paterson's essay already 
alluded to. 

n The Hindoos have no temple like the Pantheon at Rome ; but the palaces of 
some Hindoo rajas contain courts filled with idols, each of which has an establishment 
of priests, who daily perform the ceremonies of worship. 



self to Ushvvinee-koomara ; he who desires corpulence, addresses Prit'hivee ; he 
who prays that he may preserve his homestead, petitions Prit'hivee and the re- 
gents of space ; he who seeks beauty, prays to the Gundhurvus ; he who prays 
for a good wife, calls on Oorviisee, a celestial courtezan ; he who seeks honour, 
prays to Yfignn. : he who is anxious for store-houses full of wealth ; calls on 
Priiche'ta ; the seeker of wisdom, solicits the favour of Shivu. ; he or she who 
seeks union and happiness in the marriage state, addresses Doorga ; he who 
wishes to destroy his enemy, supplicates Noiritu ; he who is anxious for 
strength of body, prays to Vayoo ; he who prays to be preserved from obstruc- 
tion in his affairs, calls on Kooveru ; he who prays for the merit of works, ap- 
plies to the regent of verse ; he who prays for pleasure in the enjoyment of 
earthly things, addresses Chandra ; he who desires freedom from worldly pas- 
sions, he who asks for the completion of all his desires, he who prays for ab- 
sorption, and the person free from all desire, worship Brumha. Hence it ap- 
pears, that all the Hindoo gods, except Briimha, are considered as bestowing 
only temporal favours ; and it has been already observed, that this god has 
been abandoned, and left without either temples or images. Thus the whole 
system excites in the mind of the worshipper only cupidity and the love of 
pleasure ; and to this agrees what I have repeatedly heard from sensible bram- 
huns, that few if any persons now attend the public festivals with a direct view- 
to a future state. 

It is common for the Hindoos to speak of some of their gods as benevo- 
lent, and to treat others as malignant beings : Shivu, as well as other gods, 
unites both these qualities ; in one hand he holds a dreadful weapon, and with 
two others he blesses a worshipper, and invites him to approach. Not one of 
these images, however, conveys the least idea of the moral attributes of God. 

1. BmmJia. This god may be properly noticed first, as he is called the 
creator, and the grandfather of gods and men ; in the latter designation he 
resembles Jupiter, as well as in the lasciviousness of his conduct, having betray- 
ed a criminal passion towards his own daughter. Brainha's image is never 
worshipped, nor even made ; but the Chiindee describes it as that of a red man 
with four faees. p He is red, as a mark of his being full of the rnjn. goonii ; he 
has four faces, to remind the worshipper that the vedus proceeded from his four 
mouths. In one hand he has a string of beads, to shew that his power as 
creator' was derived from his devotion. The pan of water in his left hand 
points out, that all things sprang from water. It has excited much surprise, 
that this deity, sopre-eminent, should be entirely destitute of a temple and of 

Hindoo women, and the lower orders, regard Punchann'nfo', Dftkshintirayf?, 
Mtfnttsa, Sheetftla, Shftsht'hee, as malignant demons', and worship them through fear, 
still praying to them for protection. The superior deities, though arrayed with attri- 
butes of terror, are considered as using their power only in favour of the worshipper. 

p Brimma had five heads, hut Shivil deprived him of one, as a punishment for 
his lust. 



worshippers. Mr. Paterson supposes, that, in some remote age, the worshippers 
of Shivu carried on a contest with the followers of Briimha, and wholly sup- 
pressed the worship of this god. This conjecture opens a wide field of enquiry ; 
but this gentleman does not adduce any historical evidence of the fact. The 
story of Shiva's cutting off one of the heads of Briimha, and the existence of 
violent contentions betwixt different sects of Hindoos at the present day, can 
scarcely be considered as establishing it, though the conjecture appears not alto- 
gether improbable. These contentions for superiority are annually renewed at 
Huree-dwarii, Uyodhya, &c. betwixt the Vokhnuvus (Ramatus) and the fol- 
lowers of Shivu, in which quarrels many perish. q 

2. Vis/moo. This is the image of a black man, with four arms, sitting on 
Gurooru, a creature half-bird, half-man, and holding in his hands the sacred 
shell, the chukril, the lotus, and a club. His colour (black) is that of the de- 
stroyer, which is intended to show, that Shivu and he are one ; he has four 
hands, as the representative of the male and female pow r ers ; the shell (blown 
on days of rejoicing) implies that Vishnoo is a friendly deity ; the chiikra is to 
teach that he is wise to protect ; the lotus is to remind the worshipper of the 
nature of final emancipation, that, as this flower is raised from the muddy soil, 
and after rising by degrees from immersion in the waters, expands itself above 
the surface to the admiration of all, so man is emancipated from the chains of 
human birth ; the club shews that he chastises the wicked. Gurooru is a por- 
tion of Shivu ; his body represents the vedii. Vishnoo is distinguished as 
being the source of most of the Hindoo incarnations ; in which forms he com- 
mands the worship of the greatest division of the Hindoo population. I know 
of no temples nor festivals in honour of Vishnoo. He is called the Preserver, 
but the actions ascribed to him under this character are referred to other forms 
and names. The shalgramu, a stone, is a form of Vishnoo. During four 
months of the year, all the forms of this god are laid to sleep. From the 
agreement of this fact with what is said of Horus, Mr. Paterson gathers a 
resemblance betwixt Vishnoo and Horus, and supposes that the Hindoos 
derived their system from the Egyptian i he conjectures, also, that the fable of 
Vishnoo's lying down to sleep, turning to one side, and rising, refer to the 
increase, the greatest rise, and the retiring of the waters of the Ganges, the 
Indian Nile. The state of the river in these four months agrees with this sup- 
position, though the bramiiuns I consulted were not aware that this ceremony 
had any connection with the Ganges. Vishnoo is sometimes called the 
household god. 

3. SMvu is a white man with five faces and four arms, riding on a bull, 
[n one hand he holds an axe, as the destroyer of the wicked ; in another a deer, 

q Raja-Ramft, a learned Shikh, employed as a translator in the Serampore print- 
ing-onice, says, that about forty years ago, not less than 10,000 persons, and, about 
twenty years ago, 4 or 5,000 perished in these contests at Htfree-dwaril Another 
proof, added to that respecting the Bouddhfts, that the Hindoo is not free from the 
fiercest spirit of persecution* 



alluding to a sacrifice, when the deer, fleeing from the sacrificial knife, took 
refuge with Shiva ; with another hand he is bestowing a blessing, and with 
the last forbidding fear. Pour of his faces are designed to point out the sixty- 
four tantrus, and the other a different tonka. The bull is a form of Vishnoo, 
as the personification of religion ; its four feet are, religious austerities, purity, 
compassion, and truth. In some particulars, this god strongly reminds us of 
Vulcan and Bacchus. The few Hindoos in Bengal who adopt Shiva as their 
guardian deity, are called soivyus. Except those of the linga and Punchanunu, 
very few temples exist in honour of any other form of Shiva : and none of his 
form riding on a bull. Before the linga, Shiva is however daily worshipped 
under eight separate names, answering to the sun, moon, wind, fire, water, 
earth, air, and an officiating priest at a sacrifice. Mr. Paterson thinks, 
that there were once fierce contentions amongst the four principal sects, and 
that as the Soivyas first prevailed against the worshippers of Brumha, so, in 
its turn, this sect was subdued by the followers of Vishnoo and of the female 
deities. The filthy appearance of Shiva as a mendicant covered with ashes, and 
his quarrels with Doorga, his wife, have given rise to several ludicrous stories 
found in the pooraniis. This marriage excited the same surprise as that 
betwixt Venus and Vulcan, and seems an unaccountable event, unless it was 
intended to illustrate the gross idea of the Tiintra writers respecting the origin 
of the universe Shiva has three eyes like Jupiter, wears a tiger's skin like 
Bacchus, and like him wandered about when on earth as a bloated mendicant, 
accompanied by satyrs. Bacchus wore a deer's skin ; and Shiva is represent- 
ed as holding a deer in his hand. The worship of the linga, also, strongly 
resembles the worship of the Phallus in honour of Bacchus. The sunyasee 
festival in honour of Shiva (see p. 12-16) appears to resemble much the 
orgies of Bacchus, especially in the behaviour of the devotees/ who are said 
to have run up and down the streets with their hair disheveled, and with 
lighted torches in their hands. In the months Voishakha and Kartiku. the 
linga is worshipped daily in the numerous temples dedicated to this abomina- 
tion throughout Bengal. It is difficult to restrain one's indignation at the 
shocking violation of every thing decent in this image; nor can it be ground of 
wonder, that a chaste woman, faithful to her husband, is scarcely to be found 
among all the millions of Hindoos, when their very temples are polluted with 
filthy images, and their acts of worship tend to inflame the mind with licentious 
ideas. 8 Another form of Shiva is that of Kalu-BJioiriivu, in which form he 

r A most singular coincidence appears to exist here betwixt the Hindoo and the 
Roman ceremonies. — These sunyasees, though taken from the lowest order, wear the 
poita as bramhKns during this festival. Kennett. in his Roman Antiquities, book 
v. p. 305, says, respecting the shows after a funeral, 'Though the exhibitors of these 
shows were private persons, yet during the time of the celebration, they were con" 
sidered as of the highest rank and quality, having the hono-ar to wear the Prsetexta.' 

3 I am credibly informed, that a Hindoo, once on a visit at a temple near Seram« 
pore, asked the officiating bramhtm to give him a proof that the idol was able to con* 


cut off Brnmha's head, which is seen in one of his hands. A sect of mendi- 
cants, called yogfibhogn-vadees, who wear a large stone inserted through an 
incision in each ear, live at the temples of this god. and are sometimes seen, 
with a prostitute in one hand, a pan of hot coals in the other, with each of 
which (the representatives of pleasure and pain") they profess to be equally 
pleased. Another form of this god is that of Miiha-Kalu, in which he 
appears as the destroyer. ' Miiha-kaln, as represented in the caverns of 
Elephanta,' says Mr. Paterson, ' has eight arms ; in one hand he holds a 
human figure; in another, a sword or sacrificial axe; in a third, a basin of 
blood ; and with a fourth he rings over it the sacrificial bell : two other arms 
are broken off, but with the two remaining he is drawing behind him a veil, 
which extinguishes the sun, and involves the whole universe in one undis- 
tinguished ruin. In the hieroglyphic of the Muha Pruluyii, (or grand consum- 
mation of all things,) Shiva is represented as trodden under foot by Miiha 
KaleeV or Eternity. He is there deprived of his crescent, trident, and 
necklaces, to show that his dominion and powers are no more ; and is blowing 
the tremendous horn, which announces the annihilation of all created things.' 

4. hidru. This is the king of heaven, and the infamous violator of the 
wife of his religious guide : he is painted as a yellow man, sitting on an 
elephant, with a thunder-bolt in one hand, and a club in the other; and, 
like Argus, is full of eyes. All the attributes of his image are only the 
signs of his office as a king. He has one annual festival, and is very- 
famous in the pooranus for the number of wars and intrigues in which 
he has been engaged. His throne changes masters at the end of seventy- 
one yoogiis of the gods. Jupiter was called the king of heaven, and the 
Eulminator : Indrii's names, Divus-pntee and Vujree, are significant of 
similar offices. 

5. Yiimit, the Indian Pluto, is a dark-green man, clothed in red, with 
inflamed eyes ; he sits on a buffalo, has a crown on his head, and holds in his 
right hand a club with which he drives out the soul from the body, and 
punishes the wieked. This is his form of terror, as king of the souls of the 
dead ; but he is also worshipped in a form less terrific, which he is said to 
assume when he passes a sentence of happiness on the meritorious. Beside his 
annual festival, he is worshipped on other occasions ; and receives the homage 
of the Hindoos in their daily ablutions. There are several remarkable coinci- 
dences between Yumii and Pluto, as will be seen by comparing the fables res- 
pecting the latter and those in page 48 of this work : the images of 

verse with him. The bramhrm entered the temx)le, shutting the door after him, and 
the visitor, astonished at immediately hearing voices, interrogated the priest respect- 
ing it, who solemnly affirmed from within, that it was Jifgh'nnat'hti who was speaking ; 
—but the visitor, determined to ascertain so interesting a fact, forced open the temple 
door, and — whom should he see, inquisitive reader, but the mistress of the officiating 
bramhifn. ? 

t This is the famous image worshipped at Kalee-Chatlf, near Calcutta, 


both c Grin horribly a ghastly smile.' Pluto had a rod in his hand ; 
Yumu is called Dandii-dhuru, because he holds in his hand the rod of 
punishment. Yumu is the shraddhii de'vu., or the regent of funeral rites ; and 
the institution of funeral obsequies is ascribed to Pluto. The dead, in going 
to Taunt's judgment-hall, cross Voituriinee, the Indian styx ; u the waters of 
which, like those of Phlegethon, the fourth river of hell which the dead were 
obliged to cross, are said to be boiling hot. Yumu has several assistants, 
like Minos, who keep a register of human actions. There is something in the 
story inserted in page 51, which seems to coincide with Pluto's being 
obliged to steal his wife Proserpine, because he could obtain no other goddess, 
his visage being so horrible and his habitation so gloomy. The Hindoos con- 
sider hell as situated at the southern extremity of the earth ; the Greeks and 
Romans thought it was a large subterraneous spot in the earth. 

6. Giiiieshu. A fat short red man, with four arms and an elephant's 
head, sitting on a rat. His corpulency is a type of Brumha, as the aggregate of 
all things. In one hand he holds a bell, which is the pattern of a temple, and 
also points out that this god banishes fear ; in another he holds a serpent- 
weapon, to show that he throws impediments in the way of the wicked ; 
another grasps the hook by which elephants are guided, which points out that 
he guides the mind ; and with the other he forbids fear. His elephant's head 
is a sign of the mystical sound Om, and the trunk is the type of the instrument 
with which clarified butter is poured on the fire at a sacrifice. The author of 
the Roodm-yamulu, from whom this is extracted, assigns no reason for 
Guneshu's riding on a rat. Though he has been compared to Janus, I find but 
two instances of coincidence betwixt them : every act of worship (pooja) is 
preceded by an invocation to Guneshn ; x and men in business paint his image 
over the doors of their shops, or suspend it amongst their merchandize, to 
insure prosperity. Guneshii has been complimented as the god of wisdom . 
but the Hindoo deity presiding over knowledge, or wisdom, is Sumswutee, a 
goddess. Gune'shu receives many honours from the Hindoos, and is con- 
sidered as bountiful in bestowing wisdom and other favours, though 
there are no temples erected to his honour in Bengal. Those who adopt 
him as their guardian deity, are called Ganuputyus. 

7. Kartikeyii is the Indian Mars, or commander-in-chief to the gods. 
He has in some images one, and in others six faces ; is of a yellow colour; and 
rides on the peacock, an incarnation of Indrii. In one hand he holds a bow, 
and in the other an arrow. He is worshipped as the giver of bodily strength. 

8. Sooryu, (the sun.) I do not find the least resemblance betwixt this 
Hindoo deity and Sol, either in their images or history. The Hindoos, in 

u _ This river encircled the infernal regions nine times : Voiloninee encircles this 
hall six times. 

x ' In the Roman sacrifices, the priest alwavs mentioned first the name of Janus.' 
Kevnctt, p, 35. 


a most indelicate fable respecting this god, have described the twelve signs of 
the zodiac. Yamii, the regent of death, is his son ; and Chaya, a shadow, the 
name of one of his wives. y The image of Sooryii is that of a dark-red man, 
from whose body issue a thousand streams of light : he has three eyes, and four 
arms ; in eacli of two of his hands he holds a water-lily, with another he is 
bestowing a blessing, and with the last forbidding fear. He sits on a red lotus, 
in a chariot drawn by seven horses. He is painted red, to show that his glory 
is like flame ; his three eyes represent the day, evening, and night ; and his 
four arms indicate, that in him are united priikritee and poorooshu, or matter 
and spirit. One lotus explains the nature of emancipation, (see Vishnoo ;) and 
the other, upon which the rays of Sooryu. are reflected, is a type of sound, 
which some Hindoo philosophers believe to be eternal. The red lotus repre- 
sents the earth ; his chariot, the measures of time ; and the seven horses, the 
seven poetical measures of the vedus. The image of this god is never made, 
but the sun itself is worshipped daily ; the shalgramu is also his constant 
representative in the bramhinical worship. The disciples of this god are 
called Sourus. 

9. Ugnee, the regent of fire, is represented as a corpulent man, riding on 
a goat, with copper-coloured eye-brows, beard, hair, and eyes ; his belly is the 
colour of the dawn ; he holds a spear in his right hand, and a bead-roll in 
his left ; from his body issue a thousand streams of glory, and he has seven 
flaming tongues. His corpulency points out, that he grants the desires of his 
worshippers ; the colour of his eye-brows, &c. represents the flame of the 
burnt-offering when it ascends of a copper-colour, at which time he who desires 
secular blessings offers his clarified butter ; but he who desires emancipation, 
pours his offering on the fire when its colour is like that of the dawn. The 
goat teaches, that Ugnee devours all things ; his spear, that he is almighty ; 
and his bead-roll, that he is propitious. The rays of gitiry are to encourage 
the worshipper to expect that he shall obtain the greatest blessings from this 
god. Ugnee has neither temples nor images consecrated to him, but has a 
service in the daily ceremonies of the bramhiins ; and one class of his wor- 
shippers, called sagniku bramlmns preserve a perpetual fire like the vestal 
virgins. 55 He presides over sacrifices, and is called the mouth of the gods. 

10. Fuvunii, the god of the winds, and the messenger of the gods, is 
represented as a white man, sitting on a deer, holding in his right hand the 
hook used by the driver of an elephant. He is painted white, to shew that he 

y The pooranSs contain a fable respecting Sooryii and his wife, which almost 
literally corresponds with the filthy story of Neptune and Ceres, when the latter turned 
herself into a mare. 

z There seems to be no order of females among the Hindoos resembling these 
virgins ; but many Hindoo women, at the total wane of the moon, to fulfil a vow, 
watch for twenty-four hours over a lamp made with clarified butter, and prevent its 
being extinguished till the time for the appearance of the new moon. 


XXI 11 

preserves life. The deer represents the swiftness of his flight ; the elephant 
driver's hook explains his power over the body. He is worshipped daily, but 
has neither separate festival, image, nor temple. I can find little or no resem- 
blance betwixt this god and Mercury. 

11. Vuroonu, the Indian Neptune, is a white man, sitting on a sea 
animal, having a serpent-weapon in his right hand. He is painted white, to 
shew that he satisfies the living ; and he wields a terrific weapon, to point out, 
that he is approached with fear by the worshipper. His name is repeated in 
the daily worship of the bramhuns, but he has neither public festival nor temple, 

12. Siimoodru, the sea, is worshipped by tbe Hindoos when they visit 
the sea, as well as at the different festivals, and on the sixth day after the birth 
of a child. 

13. Prifhivte, the earth, is worshipped daily by the Hindoos. She is a 
form of Bhuguvutee, and may be called the Indian Ceres. The Hindoos have 
divided the earth into ten parts, and assigned a deity to each. These are, 
Indrii, Ugnee, Yumu, Noiritu, Yuroonu, Yayoo, Kooveru, Eeshu, Brumha, and 

14. The heavenly bodies. It is a remarkable fact, that almost all heathen 
nations have fallen into the worship of the heavenly bodies. Perhaps the evi- 
dent influence which the sun and moon have over the seasons and the vegeta- 
ble kingdom, might, in the primeval ages, lead men to make them objects of 
worship : after the introduction of judicial astrology, this species of idolatry 
becomes less surprising. Whatever may be the antiquity of the ve'diis, it is 
very plain, that the worship of the sun, moon, and other planets is there incul- 
cated : many of the forms of praise and petition in those books, are addressed 
to the heavenly bodies ; and to this day the worship of all the planets in one 
service, and of different planets on separate occasions, has place among the 

Miivee* the sun. See the article Sooryu. 8omii, h the moon. We do 
not perceive the least agreement betwixt this god and Diana. The Hindoo 
feasts are regulated by the revolutions of the moon, but Soma is not °reatlv 
honoured in the Hindoo mythology, being esteemed a malignant planet, as is 
also Mungulu, c or Mars. Booddhii* or Mercury, is a fortunate planet ; and 
so is VrihUsputee* or Jupiter, who is the preceptor of the gods. Shookru, f 
or Venus, preceptor to the giants, is also a fortunate planet. This god is 
represented as blind of one eye. Shunet* or Saturn, the son of Sooryu, an 
evil planet. Eahoo and Ketoo, the ascending and descending nodes. The 

a From this god the first day of the week is named Knvee-varn, as Sunday 
derives its name from the Sun : day and varrt are synonymous, 

b Hence Somtt-vartf, Monday. ° Mnngriln'-vartf, Tuesday. 

d Booddh-varri, Wednesday, ? Vrihnsptitee-varn, Thursday, 

f Shookrft-Yarfc, Friday, s Shifoee-varif, Saturday, 



planets are not honoured with temples, images, or festivals in Bengal. When 
hope or fear, respecting their benign or malignant influence, is excited in the 
mind of a Hindoo, he is drawn or driven to worship them. 

15. JDoorga. The image of this goddess and that of Minerva, in one or two 
instances, exhibit a pretty strong resemblance : both are described as fond of 
arms; and it is remarkable, that Doorga derives her name from the giant 
Doorga, whom she slew, as Pallas (Minerva) obtained hers from the giant Pal- 
las, whom she destroyed. She resembles Minerva also as a goddess difficult of 
access, which is one signification of the name Doorga. Sir W. Jones says, 
c As the mountain-born goddess, or Parv'utee, she has many properties of the 
Olympian Juno : her majestic deportment, high spirit, and general attributes 
are the same ; and we find her both on Mount Koilasu, and at the banquets of 
the deities, uniformly the companion of her husband. One circumstance in the 
parallel is extremely singular : she is usually attended by her son Kartikeyu, who 
rides on a peacock ; and in some drawings, his own robe seems to be spangled 
with eyes : to which must be added that, in some of her temples, a peacock, 
without a rider, stands near her image. 5 The image of Doorga is that of a 
yellow female with ten arms, sitting on a lion. The weapons she wields, the 
trident, the scimitar, the discus, the arrow, the spear, the club, the bow, the 
serpent-weapon, the hook for guiding an elephant, and the axe, are to point 
out, that with these ten arms and weapons she protects the ten points. She 
has one foot on Muheshu, a giant, to shew that she subdues the enemies of her 
worshippers ; and she sits on a lion, a form of Vishnoo, as the giver of success 
to her worshippers, and as exciting fear in their enemies. The quarrels of this 
goddess with Shivu, her husband, strongly remind us of those betwixt Jupiter 
and Juno, arising from the jealousy of the latter. The festivals in honour of 
Doorga and of Krishna draw the whole Hindoo population to the temples, 
while those in honour of other gods are comparatively neglected. Before the 
temples of this goddess, thousands of victims are annually slaughtered, and 
offered to her image. She is not merely honoured as Doorga, but, under other 
names, distinct temples, images, festivals, and ceremonies have been institut- 
ed. Doorga, as has been already observed, is also the representative of matter in 
the creation of the universe, and in this character she is called Pnikritee. h Her 
wars with the giants also add to her fame, and make her extremely popular 
among the Hindoos : she is adopted by many, who take the name of skaktiis, 1 as 
their guardian deity. In Bengal, the greater number of bramhuns are shakt a s : 
in the western and southern provinces this sect tis less numerous. 

16. Kalee, the Indian Diana Taurica. Though this is another form of 
Doorga, her fame is so great, that it seems necessary to devote a few lines 
exclusive to her. The dark image of this goddess is a truly horrid figure : her 
hair is disheveled; her tongue hangs out; she holds in one hand a scimitar, in 
another a giant's scull, with another she forbids fear, and with the last is 

h Literally, the chief, or nature, f Shaktit, means energy, 



bestowing a blessing. Her colour is that by which time is designated, and 
she siands upon her husband, the destroyer, to keep him in subjection till 
the time of the universal conflagraiion, when, with the eye in the centre of 
his forehead, he will burn the universe. Her four arms represent the four 
v edits ; the two inspiring terror point out those portions of the vedi which relate 
to the destruction of enemies and the government of the world, and the other 
tvro allude to those parts of the vedu which belong to devotion. Her dishevel- 
ed hair represents the clouds, and intimates too thai time has neither beginning 
nor end. Her tongue is the representative of lightning. She exhibits alto- 
gether the appearance of a drunken frantic fury. Yet this is the goddess 
whom thousands adore, on whose altars thousands of vicunas annually bleed, 
and whose temple at Kalee-ghatu, near Calcutta, is the resort of Hindoos from 
ail parts of India. This temple, it is said, frequently receives presents from 
persons of the highest rank, and not unfrequently from persons called Chris- 
tians. There are two things respecting Kalee which remind us of Laverna : 
she is the protectress of thieves, and her image at Kalee-ghatu. is a head 
without a body. Ano her form of this goddess, under the name of Siddhe'sh- 
waree, is to be seen in clay temples all over Bengal. Human victims, it is 
said, have often been immolated on the altars of Kaiee and Siddkeshwaree. 

17. Lu/csh//id?, the goddess of fortune, is the wife of Vishnoo : she is 
said to have been produced at the churning of the sea, as Yenus was said to 
be born of the froth of the sea. At her birth, all the gods were enamoured of 
her. She is painted yellow, with a water-lily in her right hand; (in which 
form she is worshipped frequently by Hindo > women ;) but no bloody sacri- 
fices are offered to her. The Hindoos avoid all payments of money on the 
Thursday, (Lukshmee-varu,) from the fear of offending this goddess. 

18. SuriktEiifte. the goddess of learning, another wife of Vishnoo. She 
i- painted white, and stands on the water lily. In some images she is seen 
holding a lute; and in others as possessed of three eyes, with a fan in one 
hand and a book in the other. Her colour is to point out, that she is the 
source of wisdom ; the lute reminds the worshipper that she is the author of 
melody ; her three eyes represent the three vedus ; the book and pen obviously 
belong to her character as the goddess of learning. 1 find no goddess in the 
Ptoman or Grecian pantheon who resembles her. Sue has an annual festival, 
when clay images are set up, and wo: shipped all over Bengal. Some of her 
worshippers, on the last day of the festival, dance naked before the procession 
of the image through the streets. Even prostitutes, at this festival, make an 
image of this goddess, and set it up near their houses, to draw the spectators 
to their brothels. On this day students, merchants, and others, refuse to 
touch a pen ; for the Hindoos ascribe their ability to read, write, and even to 
speak, to the favour of Surnswutee. 

19. Sfieetula, the goddess who cools the body when afflicted with the 
saaail-poXj receives many honours from the lower orders of Hindoos, among 



whom the ravages of the small-pox are often dreadful. This goddess is also 
worshipped to procure the removal of cutaneous diseases. 

20. Miifiusa, the queen of the snakes, or she who protects meti from 
their fatal bite. The lower orders crowd to the three annual festivals held in 
honour of this goddess. 

21, Sushtfte'e, the goddess of fecundity. She is honoured with six 
annual festivals, celebrated chiefly by females. Her image is that of a yellow 
woman, sitting on a cat, and nursing a child ; though, in general, a rough 
stone, painted on the top, and placed under a tree, is the object worshipped. 

These may be considered as the celestial deities worshipped by the 
Hindoos. The terrestrial goddesses are, Seeta, the wife ofRamu; k Had ha, 
the mistress of Krishna; Rookminee and SHtyu-bhama, the wives of Krishnri ; 
and Soobhxidra, the sister of Jugunnat'hu. 1 The terrestrial gods are the 
following : — 

1. Krishnu resembles Appollo in his licentious intrigues ; in his being a 
herdsman, m and an archer ; in his destroying a dreadful serpent ; in his love of 
music ; and in the celebrity to which he attained. Krishna's image is that of a 
black man, with a flute in his hand. His colour points out, that he fills the 
mind with sensual desires, and the flute designates him as the author of 
musical sounds. Apollo had in one hand a harp, and in the other a shield of 
arrows. The history of Krishnu is chiefly found in the Shree-Bhagnvuta ; the 
outline of which will be seen in p. 119, &c. Several festivals in 
honour of this god are held annually, at which times the greatest licentiousness 
prevails among all ranks. A great proportion of the Hindoo population in 
Bengal are devoted to Krishnu. 11 His intrigues with the milk maids, and 
especially with Radha, his favourite mistress, are familiar to every Hindoo, 
being incorporated into their popular songs, and the image of Radhn being- 
placed by that of Krishnu in many of the temples. Under several other 
names Krishnu is worshipped, to which forms separate temples have been 
erected; among the rest to Gopalu, the herdsman; to Valii-gopalu, the 

k This goddess, it is said, was dug out of the ground by king Jtfnrfktf, when he 
was ploughing his field. A boy who was ploughed up out of the ground among the 
Tuscans, gave rise to the order of Roman priests, whose business it was to divine 
from appearances in the annual sacrifice. 

1 It does not appear that Jngftnnat'hrt was ever married. 

™ The pooranfts contain a story of this god much resembling that of Mercury's 
stealing a cow from Apollo. In the Hindoo fable, Brhmha is the thief. 

* Sometimes Hindoos are seen licking up the very dust of the place where the 
crowd are celebrating the praises of Krishna* ; and others are said to faint with joy 
on these occasions. In memory of Krishna's lewd conduct with the milk-maids in 
the forest of Vrindavttnh', persons of property sometimes spend a day in the fields, and 
entertain their friends. 



infant Gopalii, to Gopee-nat'hii, the lord of the milk-maids. Krishna is one of 
the ten incarnations of Vishnoo, The Kev. Mr. Maurice calls him ' the 
amiable Krishna !' 

2. Jugiumafhu, another deified hero, complimented with the title of 
lord of the world, a form of Vishnoo. He is honoured with several annual 
festivals, but the car festival is the most popular. Imitations of his ponderous 
ear abound in many of the large towns ia Bengal : that in Orissa, connected 
with the ancient temple erected in honour of this god, has crushed to death 
hundreds of victims, perhaps thousands, and immolates a number every year. 
This god receives the homage of pilgrims from all parts of India, for whose 
accommodation roads have been cut, and lodging-houses erected. Such, 
however, is the great mortality among the pilgrims, that a Hindoo of property 
always makes his will before he sets out on this journey, and takes a most 
affecting farewell of his disconsolate relations, Southey's description, 1 * ' in 
his Curse of Kehama, 5 though not literally correct, conveys to the mind 
much of the horror which a Christian spectator of the procession of the car 
cannot but feel. Mr. Paterson finds in the images of this god, and his brother 
and sister, which are worshipped together, an hieroglyphic of the mystical 
word Om. 

° Krishnrf-vtfsoo gave to the temple of Jttgh'nnat'hn', near Serampore, an immense 
car, which could not cost less than four or five thousand rupees. He also added an 
allowance of six rupees a day for the expenses of the worship of this idol. Gourh'- 
mttlikfl, a goldsmith of Calcutta, who gave the interest of his mother's weight in gold 
to different temples, added six rupees more to the daily offerings at this temple ; but 
these two benefactors, perceiving that the bramhtfns of the temple, instead of expend- 
ing these sums in offerings to the god, and in alms to strangers, applied the greater 
part to their private use, reduced the six rupees to one rupee four annas a day. To 
extort more money from the donors, the bramhSns of this temple, at two succeeding 
festivals, prevented the car from proceeding to an adjoining temple in which the donors 
were interested, pretending that the god was angry with them for their parsimony 
and would not go. 

p ' A thousand pilgrims strain, 
Arm, shoulder, breast, and thigh, and might and main, 

To drag that sacred wain, 
And scarce can draw along the enormous load. 

Prone fall the frantic votaries in its road, 
And, calling on the god, 

Their self-devoted bodies there they lay 
To pave his chariot way ; 

On JttgiSnnat'h they call, 
The ponderous car rolls on, and crushes all. 

Through blood and bones it ploughs its dreadful path ; 
Groans rise unheard ; the dying cry, 

And death and agony 
Are trodden under foot by yon mad throng, 

Who follow close, and thrust the deadly wheels along, ' 



3. F.auiu, a deified monarch, and the hero of the Ramayunu, comes in for 
a considerable share of the wretched devotion of the Hindoos, especially in the 
western provinces. His history, found in Yalmeekee's epic poem, is partly 
before the public. He is adored as the seventh Hindoo incarnation ; has an 
annual festival, and is daily worshipped in the temples dedicated to him, his 
brother, and his friend Hanoomanu; in which temples he appears as a green 
man, with a how and arrows in his hands, sitting on a throne, having Seeta on 
his left : his brother Lnksbmanu holds a white umbrella over his head, and 
Hiinoomanii stands be r ore him as his servant with joined hands. He is consi- 
dered as a beneficent deity. Some think that Rami! was deified on account of 
a successful attack on Cevlon, when he was king of Mut'hoora. 

4. ChoUunyii, i. e. the wisp, a form of Krishna ; the god of a sect of 
voiragees, whose leader v as a religious mendicant. His most famous temple 
in Bengal is at Ugra-dw eepd, where an annual festival is held, and to which 
crowds resort from all parts of Bengal. The bramhans despise this sect. 

5. Vishwu-kiirmu, the son of Bidmha, as architect of the gods, may be re- 
garded as the Hindoo Vulcan. He is worshipped at an annual festival, the 
implements of each artificer being the representative of the god. He employs 
no Cyclops with one eye, but has a workman named Ma}d, a giant, who is 
capable of exhibiting all manner of illusive edifices. 

6. KamuJevii, the Indian Cupid. This god is also said to be the sun of 
Bnimha : he is painted as a beautiful youth, carrying a bow and arrow of 
flowers. He i as an anneal festival, but his image is not made ; nor does this 
festival command much celebrity. Petitions are addressed to him by the bride 
and bride-groom anxious fir offspring. 

7. Sulyii Narayuitn. I have not discovered the origin of this idol : ihe 
name implies that he is the true Yishnoo. He is worshipped frequently in the 
houses of the rich, from the desire of insuring prosperity. 

8. PuiicJianitttii, a form of Shiva, worshipped by the lower orders, who 
consider him as the destroyer of children. The image used as his representa- 
tive is a mis-shapen stone, anointed, painted, and placed under the vtitti and 
other trees. 

9. Dhurmu-l'hakoorUy another form of Shiva, held in much the same esti- 
mation as Punchanunii. 

10. Xaloo-rayii, the god of forests, another form of Shivu. He is 
painted as sitting on a tiger, and carrying a bow and arrows: is worshipped 
by the wood- cutters in the forests, to insure protection from wild beasts. 

11. Deified Beings in strange, shapes. — Urdhu-varVeshwiirli. This com- 
pound deity is Shiva and Doorga united in one body. The fable respecting 
this singular transformation will be- found in p. 147. Eeligious worship 
is paid to this idol. — Kris/i?/u-Kal?e. In this image of Krishna and Kalee 
united in one body, vice itself is personified and worshipped. See p. 



US — Hwee-UurUi Another compound deity, Vishnoo and Shivi. The 
worship paid to these idols appears to owe its origin to stories in the pooranis ; 
but the original idea, meant to be conveyed by two of them, no doubt, was, 
that the Great Spirit and matter are one. 

12. The worship of Human Beings. The Hindoos worship their spiritual 
guides ; also bramhnns, and their wives and daughters : and, among the 
vnmacharees, women of the lowest caste, and even prostitutes, are worshipped 
with lites too abominable to be recorded. Seep. 152. 

13. The worship of Beasts. The cow, as a form of Bhitgtivafcee, is an 
object of worship, and receives the homage of the Hindoos at an annual festi- 
val:" 1 (see p. 154.) Hunoomanu, the monkey, has also been placed 
arnon^ the gods, as a form of Shiva. Temples to this god are to be seen, and 
in some places his image is worshipped, daily ; he is even chosen by many as 
their guardian deity. Hiinoomana bears some resemblance to Pan, and like 
him owes his birth to the god of the winds. The dog, the jackal, and a num- 
ber of other animals, have also places among the Hindoo deities, though they 
are not greatly honoured. 

14. Worship of Birds. Garopra, the carrier of Vishnoo, half a bird and 
half a man, has received deification, as well as his brother Uroonii, the chario- 
teer of Vishnoo. JAtayoo, another bird, the friend of Rama, receives divine 
! onours ; as do the eagle of Coromaudel, (said to be an incarnation of Doorga,) 
the wag-tail, the peacock, the goose, and the owl ; but the honours they receive 
are not of the highest kind. 

15. Worship of Trees. The Hindoos do not seem ever to have conse- 
crated groves, but several trees they esteem sacred. Toolusee, a female raised 
to deity by Vishnoo, was cursed by Lukshmee, his wife, in a fit of jealousy, and 
turned into the tree of this name; which the Hindoos preserve with great care 
near their houses, erect pillars to its honour, 1- esteem its leaves and wood sacred, 
and with the latter make the beads with which they repeat the names of their 
guardian deities. Several other trees receive almost an equal homage : 
(see p. 162.) It is considered as a great sin among the Hindoos for any mem- 
ber of a family to cut down trees planned by an ancestor, and the misfortunes 
of many a family have been ascribed to such an act of indiscretion. 

<J The very dung of the cow is eaten as an atonement for sin, and, with its urine, is 
used in worship. A Hindoo does not carry any thing out of his house in the morning, 
till he has rubbed his door-way with cow-dung. Notwithstanding this reverence, the 
bullocks employed in cai'rying burdens and at the plough, are used more cruelly by the 
Hindoos than any other animals. ' The Athenians and almost all other nations 
thought it a very great crime to kill the ox, insomuch that the offender was thought 
to deserve death.' Potter's Antiquities of Greece, vol. i. p. 217- 

r The heads of these pillars, which commonly open like a cup, are filled with 
earth, and the plant is placed in them. 'The Romans and Grecians,' says Potter 
4 consecrated certain trees to their gods.' 



16. River worship. The Hindoos not only reverence their rivers, 
but actually worship them, dividing them into male and female deities. But 
Gunga, (the Ganges,) both in their poems, their pooranris, and in the supersti- 
tious customs of the natives, appears to rank highest among the river deities. 
She is declared to have descended from Vishnoo's heaven, the anniversary of 
which event is celebrated by particular festivities. The most extravagant things 
are related in the pooranas respecting the purifying nature of these waters ; and 
several works have been written to extol the saving properties of the Ganges. 3 
Its waters are carried to immense distances ; every thing they touch becomes 
purified ; crowds of Hindoos perform their worship on the banks of the river 
daily, after purifying themselves in its stream ; the sick are laid on its banks, 
expecting recovery from the mere sight of this goddess ; and it is reckoned 
a great calamity not to die within view of Griinga. Many other rivers receive 
the honours of divine worship, as will be seen in page 171. 

17. Worship of Fish. Even the finny tribes are honoured by the Hin- 
doos, though the worship paid to them is of an inferior nature. 

1 8. The worship of Books is very common among this people. The lower 
orders have such a profound respect for a book, that they think every thing in 
such a form must be divine. On several occasions a book is converted into an 
image, and worshipped with all the forms used before the most popular idol. 

3 9. Worship of Stones. The shalugramu, as a form of Vishnoo, is more 
frequently worshipped than any other idol in India/ not excepting the lingii 
itself; which perhaps ought to be placed next, and which is also a stone. The 
representatives of Punchanunu and other gods are shapeless stones. Many 
images of idols sold in the markets are made of stone, and worshipped. 

20. A log of wood. The pedal with which rice is cleansed from the husk 
has also been raised to godship by the Hindoos. See p. 176. 

Such are the objects adored by the Hindoos. Such is the deplorable 
state into which the mind continues to sink, after it has once renounced the 
doctrine of the unity of God. Divine Worship is confessedly the highest act 
of reverence and homage of which man is capable. How shocking then, how 

* The Gilnga-vakya-vulec, &c. 

« ' The shaltfgramus are black stoues, found in a part of the Gttndttkee river, 
within the limits of Nepal. They are mostly round, and are commonly perforated in 
one or more places by worms, or, as the Hindoos believe, by Vishnoo in the shape of 
a reptile. According to the number of perforations, and of spiral curves in each, the 
stone is supposed to contain Vishnoo in various characters. For example, such a 
stone perforated in one place only, with four spiral curves in the perforation, and with 
marks resembling a cow's foot, and a long wreath of flowers, contains Lttkshmee-Nara- 
yttntt. In like manner stones are found in the NfrrmSda, which are considered as 
types of Shivri, and are called Vanff-LingS. The shalttgramtt is found, upon trial, not 
to be calcareous : it strikes fire with steel, and scarcely at all effervesces with acids,' 
Asiatic Researches, vol vii. p. 240. 


afflicting to a philanthropic mind, to see man prostrated before a beast, or a 
log of wood ! How greatly is the horror increased, when this prostration of 
intellect respects many millions ! 

I have repeatedly conversed with learned Hindoos on the use of idols in 
worship : the best account I have ever received may amount to this. — God is 
every where ; this is allowed, but his spirituality perplexes the mind. To col- 
lect and fix the ideas on the object of adoration, therefore, an image is chosen ; 
into which image, by the power of incantations, the deity is imagined to be 
drawn. Hence, in dedicating an image, they call upon the god to come and 
dwell in it. I have urged in reply, that if this were the whole end to be 
answered, any image might do,u but that I saw amongst them many sorts of 
idols. To this the bramhftn says, ' God has made himself known in these forms, 
and directed these various images to be made, that men may be fascinated and 
drawn to the love of worship ; that none of these images are intended to exhibit 
the natural perfections of God, but his actions when incarnate; and that images 
are only necessary while men continue in a rude state, and may be laid aside by 
those who can attain to devotion by means of rational speculation.' This is 
the best apology I have obtained for the worship of idols. Yet, surely, instead 
of elevating the mind, and carrying it to a Being so glorious as God, images 
debase a subject so sublime, and destroy all reverence for Him, who is ' glorious 
in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders.' Images of God are therefore 
highly offensive, and their makers and worshippers justly expose themselves to 
the cutting reproof of Isaiah : 4 To whom then will ye liken God? or what 
likeness will ye compare to him ? Behold, the nations are as drop of a 
bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance : all nations before 
him are as nothing, and are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.' But 
that idols are not necessary, even to the rude and ignorant, let the experience 
of every protectant country bear witness. Where shall we find piety more 
elevated, or morals more correct, even among individual in the lowest orders 
of society, than in our own land ? 

But what shall we say, when many of these idols are monstrous personifi- 
cations of vice ; and when it is a fact, that not a single virtuous idea is ever 
communicated by any of them? The image of Kalee exhibits a female with 
inflamed eyes, standing on the body of her husband, her hair disheveled, 
slavering the blood of her enemies down her bosom, her tongue hanging from 
her mouth, wearing a necklace of skulls, and holding a skull in the left hand, 
and a sword in the right. Another image, that of Krishna Kalee, exhibits 
Rrishnrt and Radha, his mistress, united in one body, to conceal Radha's infide- 
lity from her husband. Another image is the lingu ! Another that of a monkey, 
an incarnation of ' the great god' Shivii ; the offspring of the god of the winds 
by a female monkey ! x The image of Doorga is that of a female warrior : and 

n They admit this : a pan of water is indeed often substituted for an idol, 
x Pan is said to have been the son of Mercury. 


one form of this goddess is that of a female so a thirst for blood, that she is repre- 
sented as cutting off her own head ; and the severed head, with the mouth dis- 
tended, is s.en devouring the Wood streaming from the trunk. This goddess 
stands upon two other deities in an attitude so abominably indecent that it cannot 
be described : the common form of Kalee, standing on her husband Shivii, has 
secret meaning, well known to a Hindoo, but which is so indelicate that even 
they, licentious as they are, dare not make it according to the genuine meaning 
of the fable to which it belongs. 7 Some of the formulas used at the festival 
in honour of this g >ddess, called the Shyama-pooja, relate to things which 
can never become the subject of description ; but perhaps in this concealed 
state they are more pernicious than if painted, and exhibited to the open gaze 
of the mob. To this it may be added, that amidst ail the numerous idols 
worshipped by the Hindoos, there is not one to represent, any of the Virtues. 
In this respect, the Hindoo mythology sinks far below the European ; for the 
Greeks and Romans aJored Virtue, Truth, Piety, Chastity, Clemency, Mercy, 
Ju-tice, Faith, Hope and Liberty, and consecrated images and temples to 
these deities. Among the Hindoos, the most innocent part of the system, and 
that which existed in the purest, a^es, wa3 the worship of the primary elements, 
tne adoration of inanimate matter ! 

The manifest effect of idolatry in this country, as held up to thousands of 
Christian spectators, is an immersion into the grossest moral daikness, and a 
universal corruption of manners. The Hindoo is taught, that the image is 
reallv God, and the heaviest judgments are denounced against him, if he dare 
to suspect, that the image is nothing more than the elements of which it is 
composed. The Tiutni-sain declares, that such an unbeliever will sink into the 
regions of torment* In the apprehensions of the people in general, therefore, 
the idols are real deities ; they occupy the place of God, and receive all the 
homage, all the fear, all the service, and all tne honours which HE so justly 
claims. Tne government of God is subverted, and all the moral effects arising 
from the knowledge of his perfections, and his claims upon his rational crea- 
tures, are completely lost. 

It is a fact too, that the festivals in honour of the gods have the most 
pernicious effects on the minds of the people. During the ceremonies of 
worship before the image, the spectators are very few, and these feel no interest 
whatever in the mummery going forward; and were it not for those who come 
to pay a visit of ceremony to the image, and to bring their offeiiugs, the temple 
would be as little crowded on festival, as on common days : but as soon as the 
well-known sound of the drum is heard, calling the people to the midnight 
orgies, the dance and the song, whole multitudes assemble, and almost tread 
one upon another; and their joy keeps pace with the number of loose women 
present, and the broad obscenity of the songs. Gopalu-Tdrkkaluukaru, a 
ptindit employed in the Setampore printing office, and a veiy respectable man 

y Hindoos of the baser sort may be seen whispering to each other before this 
image, and dilating on that which is too filthy for them to utter in an audible voice. 



among the Hindoos, avowed to a friend of mine, that the only attractives on 
these occasions were the women of ill-fame, and filthy songs and dances ; 
that these songs were so abominable, that a man of character, even amongst 
them, was ashamed of being present ; that if ever he (Gopalii) remained, he 
concealed himself in a corner of the temple. He added, that a song was scarcely 
tolerated which did not contain the moat marked allusions to unchastity; while 
those which were so abominable that no person could repeat them out of the 
temple, received the loudest plaudits. 2 All this is done in the very face of the 
idol ; nor does the thought, ' Thou God seest me,' ever produce the slightest 
pause in these midnight revels. In open day, and in the most public streets 
of a large town, I have seen men entirely naked, dancing with unblushing 
effrontery before the idol, as it was carried in triumphant procession, encouraged 
by the smiles and eager gaze of the bramhuus. Yet sights even worse than 
these, and such as can never be described by the pen of a Christian writer, are 
exhibited on the rivers and in the public roads, to thousands of spectators, at 
the Doorga festival,* the most popular and most crowded of all the Hindoo 
festivals in Bengal ; and which closes with libations to the gods so powerful, as 
to produce general intoxication. What must be the state of morals in a coun- 
try, when its religious institutions and public shows, at which the whole popu- 
lation is present, thus sanctify vice, and carry the multitude into the very gulph 
of depravity and ruin ! 

There is another feature in this system of idolatry, which increases its per- 
nicious effects on the public manners : — The history of these gods is a highly 
coloured representation of their wars, quarrels, and licentious intrigues ; which 
are held up in. the images, recitations, songs, and dances at the public festivals. 
At the separate recitations, which are accompanied with something of our 
pantomime, these incredible and most indecent fables are made still more 
familiar to the people ; so familiar indeed, that allusions to them are to be 
perceived in the most common forms of speech. Many works of a pernicious 
tendency in the European languages are not very hurtful, because they aie too 
scarce and expensive to be read by the poor ; but the authors of the Hindoo 
mythology have taken care, that the quarrels and revels of the gods and god- 
desses shall be held up to the imitation of the whole community. 

In some of these histories and pantomimes, ShivH is represented as declar- 
ing to Lukshmee, that he would part with all the merit of his works for the 
gratification of a criminal passion ; Brumha as burning with lust towards his 
own daughter ; Krishnu as living with the wife of another, murdering a 

2 Sometimes the Hindoos open a subscription to defray the expense of a grand 
act of worship in honour of some idol. If 400 rupees be subscribed on such an 
occasion, I am assured, that 300 will be spent on the songs and dancing-girls. 

a The author has more than once been filled with alarm, as this idolatrous 
procession has passed his house, lest his children should go to the windows, and see 
the gross obscenity inhibited by the dancers. 




washerman and stealing his clothes, and sending- his friend Yoodhist'him to the 
regions of torment by causing him to utter a falsehood ; Indrii and Chiindrii 
are seen as the paramours of the wives of their spiritual guides-— But these 
stories are so numerous in the pooraniis, that it seems unnecessary to drag 
more of them to light. The thing to be deplored is, that the Hindoo objects 
of worship were themselves monsters of vice. 

Painful as this is, it is not all : there is a numerous and growing sect 
among the Hindoos in Bengal, and perhaps in other provinces, who, in con- 
formity with the rules prescribed in the works called Tuntrn, practise the most 
abominable rites. The proselytes to this sect are chiefly bramhiins, and are 
called vamacharees. I have given some account of them in p. 152, and p. 232, 
and should have declined blotting these pages with any further allusion to these 
unutterable abominations, had I not omitted in those accounts an article which 
I had prepared, and which throws much additional light on the practices of a 
sect so singularly corrupt. 

The rules of this sect are to be found more or less in most of the Tuntriis ; 
but particularly in the Neelu, Koodm-yamulu, Yonee, and Unnuda-kulpii. In 
these works the writers have arranged a number of Hindoo sects as follows : — 
VedachareeSjVoishniivachareesj Shoivacharees, Dukshinacharees, Vamacharees, 
Siddhantacharees, and Koulacharees ; each rising in succession, till the most 
perfect sect is the Koulacharii. When a Hindoo wishes to enter into this sect, he 
sends for a person who has been already initiated, and who is well acquainted with 
the forms of initiation ; and presenting to him garments, ornaments, &c. begs him 
to become his religious guide. The teacher then places this disciple near him 
for three days, and instructs him in the ceremonies of the sect : at the close of 
which period, the disciple spreads some loose soil on the floor of the house in 
which the ceremonies of initiation are to be performed ; and sows a small 
quantity of barley, and two kinds of peas, in this soil, sprinkling water upon 
it. He next proceeds to perforin some parts of the ten ceremonies practised 
by the regular Hindoos from the time of birth to that of marriage : after which 
he makes a declaration, that he has from that period renounced all the cere- 
monies of the old religion, and is delivered from their yoke ; and as a token of 
joy celebrates what is called the Vriddhee shraddhu. All these ceremonies are 
to be performed in the day ; what follows is to be done in darkness : and there- 
fore, choosing the darkest part of the night, the seed sown in the house having 
sprung up, the disciple and his spiritual (it would not be too harsh to say 
infernal) guide enter the house, with eight men, (vamacharees,) and eight 
females, (a dancing-girl, a weaver's daughter, a woman of ill-fame, a washer- 
woman, a barber's wife or daughter, a bramhiinee, the dauhghter of a land-own- 
er, and a milkmaid.) Each of the vamacharees is to place by his side one of 
the females, and the teacher and his disciple are to sit close to each other. 
The teacher now informs his disciple, that from henceforward he is not to 
indulge sharae^ nor dislike to anything, nor prefer one plan to another, nor 



regard ceremonial cleanness, or uncleanness nor caste ; and that, though he may 
freely enjoy all the pleasures of sense, the mind must be fixed on his guardian 
deity : that is, he is neither to be an epicure nor an ascetic, but to blend both in 
his character ; and to make the pleasures of sense, that is, wine and women, the 
medium of obtaining absorption-into Briimha j since women are the represen- 
tatives of the wife of Cupid, and wine prevents the senses from going astray. 
A pan of spirits, or of water mixed with spirits, is placed near each man and 
woman; and in the centre another pan of spirits, different kinds of flesh, (of 
which that of the cow makes a part,) rice, fruits, &c. and upon each of the 
eight pans different branches of trees, and garlands of red flowers are placed ; 
the pans also are to be marked with red paint : all these are surrounded with 
eighty pounds of flour formed into different colours. A pan of intoxicating 
beverage, called siddhee, is next consecrated ; of which each partakes : after 
which they chew the pahu leaf. Next, before all the things placed in the 
centre of the room, the spiritual guide rehearses the common ceremonies of 
worship, addressing them to any one of the female deities who happens to be 
the guardian deity of this disciple. The vessels from which the company arc 
to drink, and the offerings, are next consecrated : these vessels may be formed 
of earth, copper, brass, silver, gold, or stone, the cocoanut, or a human skull ; 
but the latter is to be preferred. The spiritual guide then gives as much as a 
wine glass of spirits to each female, as the representative of the divine 
energy ; and the men drink what they leave. At this time the spiritual 
guide declares, that in the sutyu yoogrt the people were directed in their 
religious duties by the vedus, in the tretii by the writings of the learned, 
in the dwapurn. by the different pooranris, and, in the kulee yoogu, the tiintrus 
are the only proper guides to duty. As if well pleased with this sentiment, 
each one of the company now drinks two more glasses of the spirits. The 
disciple next worships each male and female separately, applying to them the 
names of Bhoirnvii and Bhoiruvee, titles given to Shivu and Doorga, and 
presents to each of them spirits, meat-offerings, garments, ornaments, &c. ; after 
which the spiritual guide offers a burnt- sacrifice, with the flesh and other meat- 
offerings, pouring on them, as they burn, clarified butter : the disciple also 
repeats the same ceremony. The eight females now anoint the disciple by 
sprinkling upon him, with the branches which were placed on the pan, spirits 
and water ; and after mixing together the whole of the spirits, or spirits 
and water, from all the pans, the spiritual guide, with all the branches, again 
sprinkles the disciple : to whom he declares that he has now, for the good of 
his soul, instructed him, according to the commandment of the great god 
Shivu, in all the ceremonies belonging to the profession of a vamacharee ; 
urging him, in practising these ceremonies, to keep his mind on Shivu, and 
that he will be happy after death : at the close, he causes him to drink the 
liquor thus mixed, repeating separate incantations. During his initiation 
he is not to drink so as to appear intoxicated, -or to cause his mind to wander ; 
but having habituated himself to a small quantity, he may take more, till he 



falls down in a state of intoxication ; still however so as to rise again after a 
short interval : after which he may continue drinking the nectar, till he falls 
down completely overcome, and remains in this state of joy, thinking upon his 
guardian deity. He is now known as an UviidhoStii, that is, as one who lias 
renounced all secular affairs ; and receives a new name, perhaps Aruindu- 
nat'hvi, or the joyous. He is to drink spirits with all of the same profession ; 
to sleep constantly in a house of ill-fame; and to eat of every thing he pleases, 
and with all castes indiscriminately. The next thing is to offer a burnt- 
sacrifice ; after which the spiritual guide and the guests are dismissed with 
presents, and the new disciple spends the night with an infamous female. 
These vamacharees adore the sex, and carefully avoid offending a woman. 
They also practise the most debasing rites, using the heads of persons who 
have been guilty of suicide, also when sitting on a dead body, and while naked 
and in the presence of a naked female. — It might seem impossible to trace 
ceremonies gross as these to any principle except that of moral depravity ; but 
the authors of this system attempt to reconcile it with the pursuit of future 
happiness. The reader is aware that the regular Hindoo theologians attribute 
all the vices to the passions, and consider their subjugation, or annihilation, as 
essential to final beatitude ; they therefore aim at the accomplishment of this 
object by means of severe bodily austerities. The vamacharees profess to seek 
the same object, not by avoiding temptation, and starving the body, but by 
blunting the edge of the passions with excessive indulgence. They profess to 
triumph over the regular Hindoos, reminding them that their ascetics are safe 
only in forests, and while keeping a perpetual fast ; but that they subdue their 
passions in the very presence of temptation. 

Thus, that which to the Hindoo should be divine worship, is the great 
source of impiety and corruption of manners : and, instead of returning fiom 
his temple, or from religious services, improved in knowledge, grieved for his 
moral deficiences, and anxious to cultivate a greater regard to the interests of 
morality and religion, his passions are inflamed, and his mind polluted to such 
a degree, that he carries the pernicious lessons of the temple, or the festival, 
into all the walks of private life. His very religion becomes his greatest bane, 
and where he should have drank of the water of life, he swallows the poison 
that infallibly destroys him. 

In conversation with a learned bramhnn, in the year 1813, he acknowledged 
to the author, that, at present, reverence for the gods made no part of the 
attractions to the public festivals. One man celebrates a festival to preserv e 
himself from disgrace, another to procure the applause of his countrymen, and 
a third for the sake of the songs, dances, &c. This brarahiin instanced cases 
of images being made without any reference to the rules of the shastrii. At 
one place, a Hindoo, having prepared an image, at an expense which he could 
not meet, permitted it to be broken, and its head, arms, and legs to be trodden 
upon in the streets ;•— another, who had been thus disappointed, threw ths 



image into the water ; — and a third, having made an enormous image, had fas- 
tened it to a cart, but on the first motion of the vehicle, the head of the idol 
had fallen off, and the rest of the image was permitted to lie in the street as a 
dead carcase. 1 give these instances to confirm what I have already said, that 
it is not devotion that leads the Hindoo to the temple, but a licentious appetite . 
and to afford another proof, that idolatry always tends to sink, but never to 
raise its votaries. In the account of Kalee, (p. 94,) the reader will 
find a fact respecting the execution of two Hindoos, who, when under sentence 
of death, became Eoman Catholics, in pure revenge upon Kalee ; who did not, 
as she was believed to have done in many other cases, protect them in the act 
of robbery. One of the pundits who assisted me in this work begged, if I 
mentioned this fact, that I would assure the English reader, that although this 
goddess assisted public robbers, she always informed them that they must suffer 
hereafter for their crimes, though she did assist them in their perpetration. 

The Reverend Mr. Maurice seems astonished that a people so mild, so 
benevolent, so benignant as the Hindoos, ' who (quoting Mr. Orme) shudder at 
the very sight of blood' should hare adopted so many bloody rites. But are 
these Hindoos indeed so humane? — these men, and women too, who drag their 
dying; relations to the banks of the river at all seasons, dav and night, and 
expose them to the heat and cold in the last agonies of death, without remorse ; 
— who assist men to commit self-murder, encouraging them to swing with hooks 
in their backs, to pierce their tongues and sides, to cast themselves on naked 
knives, to bury themselves alive, b throw themselves into rivers, from pre- 
cipices,* and under the cars of their idols ; — who murder their own children, 

b ' Instances are not unfrequent, where persons afflicted with loathsome and 
incurable diseases, have caused themselves to be buried alive.' Asiatic Researches, 
p. 257. 

c Mr. W. Carey, of Cutwa, in a letter to the author, dated the 4th of November, 
1814, says, ' Two or three days ago I witnessed a scene more shocking than any I ever 
saw in this place : — A poor weaver was brought here, and cast into the water, with a 
pan of water tied round his waist to make him sink ; but providentially the river was 
shallow, and he was taken out, after being in the water a day and a night. Hearing 
of the circumstance, 1 went to see him, and found the poor man only affected with 
rheumatic pains. I had him brought to my house, but could not prevail on the un- 
feeling natives to carry him up till I procured an order from an officer of the police. 
I hope he will be restored to health in a fortnight, when he will return home, with 
some knowledge of the gospel. What adds to the horror of this narration, is, that the 
perpetrators of this intended murder were the mother and brother of this unfortunate 

d ■ A very singular practice prevails among the lowest tribes of the inhabitants of 
Berar and Gondwunii. Suicide is not unfrequently vowed by such persons in return 
for boons solicited from idols ; and to fulfil his vow, the successful votary throws him- 
self from a precipice named Kalff-Bhoirrivft, situated in the mountains between the 
Taptee and NftrmrMa rivers. The annual fair, held near that spot at the beginning of 
spring, visually witnesses eight or ten victims of this superstition,' Asiatic Researches, 
vol, vii. p. 257. 



by burying them alive, throwing them to the alligators, or hanging them up 
alive in trees for the ants and crows before their own doors, 6 or by sacrificing 
them to the Ganges ; — who burn alive, amidst savage shouts, the heart-broken 
widow, by the hands of her own son, and with the corpse of a deceased 
father f ; — who every year butcher thousands of animals, at the call of 
superstition, covering themselves with their blood, consigning their 
carcases to the dogs, and carrying their heads, in triumph through the 
streets ? — Are these the c benignant Hindoos' ? — a people who have 
never erected a charity-school, an alms'-house, nor an hospital; who suffer 
their fellow-creatures to perish for want before their very doors, refusing to 
administer to their wants while living, or to inter their bodies, to prevent their 
being devoured by vultures and jackals, when dead ; who, when the power of 
the sword was in their hands, impaled alive, cut off the noses, the legs, and 
arms of culprits ; and inflicted punishments exceeded only by those of the fol- 
lowers of the mild, amiable, and benevolent Booddhu in the Burman empire 8 ! 

e I fancy this is done when the child is born with bad omens, or is supposed to be 
afflicted by some evil spirit. 

f At Benares and near Buxar numerous brick monuments have been erected 
to perpetuate the memory of women who have been burnt alive with the bodies 
of their' deceased husbands. 

s It is well known, that the Burmans are the followers of Booddhu, whose princi- 
pal aim was to excite in mankind a horror of shedding blood, and of destroying animal 
life. The following facts will show how much humanity there is among a people far 
exceeding the Hindoos in their care not to injure whatever contains life. Mr. 
F. Oarey thus writes to his friends in Bengal: — ' I will now relate what has taken 
place in this single town of Rangoon since my residence in this country, which does 
not exceed four years. Some of the criminals I saw executed with my own eyes ; the 
rest I saw immediately after execution. One man had melted lead poured down his 
throat, which immediately burst out from the neck, and various parts of the bocty. 
Four or five persons, after being nailed through their hands and feet to a scaffold, had 
first their tongues cut out, then their mouths slit open from ear to ear, then their ears 
cut off, and finally their bellies ripped open. Six people were crucified in the following 
manner : their hands and feet were nailed to a scaffold ; their eyes were then extracted 
with a blunt hook ; and in this condition they were left to expire : two died in the 
course of four days ; the rest were liberated, but died of mortification on the sixth or 
seventh day. Four persons were crucified, viz. not nailed, but tied with their hands 
and feet stretched out at full length, in an erect posture, in which they were to remain 
till death ; every thing they wished to eat was ordered them, with a view to prolong 
their lives and misery. In cases like this, the legs and feet of the criminals begin to 
swell and mortify at the expiration of three or four days ; some are said to live in this 
state for a fortnight, and expire at last from fatigue and mortification. Those which 
I saw were liberated at the end of three or four days. Another man had a large bam- 
boo run through his belly, which put an immediate end to his existence. Two persons 
had their bellies ripped up, just sufficient to admit of the protrusion of a small part of 
the intestines ; and after being secured by the hands and feet at full stretch with cords, 
were placed in an erect posture upon bamboo rafters, and set adrift in the river, to float 
up and down with the tide for public view. The number of those who have been be- 



and who very often, in their acts of pillage* murder the plundered, cutting off 
their limbs with the most cold-blooded apathy, turning the house of the 
murdered into a disgusting shambles ! — Some of these cruelties, no doubt, 
arise out of the religion of the Hindoos, and are the poisoned fruits of supersti- 
tion, rather than the effects of natural disposition : but this is equally true res- 
pecting the virtues which have been so lavishly bestowed on this people. At 
the call of the shastru, the Hindoo gives water to the weary traveller during the 
month Voishakhu ; but he may perish at his door without pity or relief from the 
first of the following monih, no reward being attached to such an act after these 
thirty days have expired. He will make roads, pools of water, and build lodg- 
ing-houses for pilgrims and travellers ; but he considers himself as making a 
good bargain with the gods in all these transactions. It is a fact, that there is 
not a road in the country made by Hindoos except a few which lead to holy 
places ; and had there been no future rewards held out for such acts of merit, 
even these would not have existed. Before the .kulee-yoogu it was lawful to 
sacrifice cows ; but the man who does it now, is guilty of a crime as heinous as 
that of killing a bramhun ; he may kill a buffalo, however, and Doorga will 
reward him with heaven for it. A Hindoo, by any direct act^shonld not destroy 
an insect, for he is taught that God inhabits even a fly : but it is no great 
crime if he should permit, even his cow to perish with hunger ; and he beats it 
without mercy, though it be an incarnation of Bhugiivutee — it is enough, that 
he does not really deprive it of life ; for the indwelling Brumhu feels no stroke 
but that of death. The Hindoo will utter falsehoods that would knock down 
an ox, and will commit perjuries so atrocious and disgusting, as to fill with 
horror those who visit the courts of justice ; but he will not violate his shastru 
by Iwearing on the waters of the Ganges. 

Idolatry is often also the exciting cause of the most abominable frauds. 
Several instances are given in this work : one will be found in page 75, and 
another respecting an image found under ground by the raja of Nudeeva, in 
p. 125. h 

Indeed keeping gods is even a trade among the Hindoos : the only diffi- 
culty to be overcome, is that of exciting attention to the image. To do this, 

headed I do not exactly recollect ; but they must be somewhere between twenty and 
thirty. One man was sawn to death, by applying the saw to the shoulder bone, and 
sawing right down until the bowels gushed out. One woman was beat to death with a 
large cudgel. — These are most of the punishments I have seen and heard of during my 
stay in this plaea ; but many other instances happened during my absence, which I 
have not related. As for the crimes for which these punishments were inflicted, I shall 
only add, the crimes of some deserved death, some were of a trivial nature, and sume of 
the victims were quite innocent.' 

h Plutarch says, that Eomulus, when he instituted the Ludi Consuales, to sur- 
prise the Sabine virgins, gave out, that he had discovered the altar of the god Consus 
hid under ground ; which discovery attracted great multitudes to the sacrifice. 



the owner of the image frequently goes from village to village, to call the atten- 
tion of the neighbourhood : he also persuades some one to proclaim, that he 
lias been warned in a dream to perform vows to this image ; or he repeats to 
all he sees; that such and such cures have been performed by it. In the years 
1807 and 1808, almost all the sick and imaginary sick Hindoos in the south of 
Bengal presented their offerings to an image called Taruk-eshwnru, at a place 
bearing this name. The bramhiins owning this image became rich. This ex- 
cited the attention of some bramhiins near NHdeeya, who proclaimed another 
image of Shiva, in their possession, to be 'the brother of Tarnk-eshwuru ;' and 
the people of those parts flocked to this image as others had done to the 
original one. 

The author has devoted a volume (Book I.) of this work to the gods. The 
next article (Book II.) i elates to the Hindoo temples, none of which appear to 
be distinguished for the elegance of their architecture: they are not the work 
of a people sunk in barbarism ; neither will they bear any comparison with 
the temples of the Greeks or Komans.* They are not constructed so as to hold a 
crowd of worshippers, who are always accommodated in an area opposite the 
temple. The room in which the idol is placed is considered sufficiently spacious 
if it hold the officiating priest, the utensils for worship, and the offerings. 

These temples answer none of the ends of a lecture room, nor of a 
Christian temple. Here the passions are never raised to heaven by sacred 
music, nor by the voices of a large and devout congregation celebrating the 
praises of the Deity in the strains of sacred poetry ; here no devout feelings 
are awakened by the voice of prayer and confession, nor are the great truths of 
religion explained, or enforced upon the mind of an attentive crowd by the elo- 
quence of a public speaker : the daily worship at the temple is performed by 
the solitary priest with all the dulness, carelessness, and insipidity necessarily 
connected with a service always the same, repeated before an idol made of a cold 
stone, and in which the priest has no interest whatever ; and when the crow r d 
do assemble before the temple, it is to enter upon orgies which destroy every 
vestige of moral feeling, and excite to every outrage upon virtue. 

The dedication of a temple is a work of great ceremony, k if the 
building belong to a man of wealth ; the expense incurred in presents to 
the bramhiins and others is also very great. The person who employs his 

1 We learn from the Ain Akbftree, however, that the entire revenues of Orissa, 
for twelve years, were expended on erecting a temple to the sun. — Maurice's Indian 

k Circumambulating a temple is an act of merit, raising the person to a place in 
the heaven of the god or goddess whose temple he thus walks round. At Benares the 
devout do it daily. If the circumambulator be a learned man, he repeats the praise of 
the god as he is walking, and bows to the image every time he arrives at the door of 
the temple. The ignorant merely walk round, and make the bow. The right hand is 
always kept towards the object circumambulated. 



wealth in this manner is considerably raised in the estimation of his country- 
men : he frequently also endows the temple, as well as raises it ; which is 
generally done by grants of land. The annual produce of the land thus be- 
stowed, is expended in wages to the officiating priest, in the daily offerings to 
the idol, and in lighting and repairing the temple. Many temples, however, 
do not depend entirely on their endowments : they receive considerable sums 
from occasional offerings, and from what is presented at festivals. 1 Some 
temples are supported at an expense so trifling as to astonish a reader not 
acquainted with the forms of idolatry : many individuals who officiate at 
temples obtain only the offerings, the value of which does not amount, in many 
instances, to more than twenty shillings a year. Some few temples are however, 
splendidly endowed, and many families receive their maintenance from them. 
Where an idol has become very famous, and the offerings have amounted to a 
large sum, even kings have been anxious to lay hold of such a source of 

The images of the gods may be made of almost all the metals, as well as of 
wood, stone, clay, &c. Most of the permanent images are made of wood or 
stone ; those which are destroyed at the close of a festival, are made of clay. 
Small images of brass, silver, and gold, are not uncommon. The sculpture of 
the stone images resembles that of the Popish images of the 12th century ; 
those cast in brass, &c. exhibit a similar progress of the arts. The consecration 
of an image is accompanied with a number of ceremonies, the most singular of 
which is that of conveying sight and life to the image, for which there are 
appropriate formulas, with prayers, inviting the deity to come and dwell in it. 
After this ceremony, the image becomes sacred, and is carefully guarded from 
every offensive approach. The shastrus contain directions for making idols, 
and the forms of meditation used in worship contain a description of each 
idol : but in many instances these forms are disregarded, and the proprietor, 
though compelled to preserve the identity of the image, indulges his own 
fancy. Some images are very diminutive, especially those made of the 
precious metals ; but others, if for temporary use, are very large : a stone 
image of the lingu is to seen at Benares, which six men with joined hands can 
hardly grasp. At the festival of Kartikeyu, the god of war, an image is some- 
times made thirty cubits high. Whatever may have been the case in other 
countries, idolatry in this has certainly not contributed to carry the arts of 
painting or sculpture to any perfection. 

Any bramhun, properly qualified by rank and knowledge, may officiate in 
a temple, and perform the general work of a priest. There is no order of 
bramhiins to whom the priesthood is confined : m many bramhuns employ others 

1 In the year 1809, at the temple of Jugannat'hu, near Serauipore, at the car 
festival, about 570 rupees were presented to the idol, in vegetables, fruits, sweetmeats, 
garments, and money. About 150 bramhiins, 50 females, and 150 shoodrns, were 
entertained daily ; and, at the close of the festival, the priests of the temple received 
420 rupees. 

m I insert a short extract from Bryce's ' Sketch of the State of British India, ' in 
order to assure the author, that as it respects Bengal, it is wholly without foundation. 




as priests ; a shoodrii must employ a bramhiin, but he has his own choice of 
the individual ; he cannot repeat a single formula of the vedus himself without 
being guilty of the highest offence. There are different offices in which priests 
are employ< d ; but any bramlmn, properly qualified, may perform the cere- 
monies attached to them all : (see p. 186.) In general, a family, able to bear 
the expense, employs a priest on a regular allowance : some priests are retained 
by many families of the same caste ; such a person is called the joiners' priest, 
or the weavers' priest, &c. The bramhuns employed as priests to the shoodrus 
are not in high estimation among their brethren, who never fail to degrade the 
shoodrii in every stage and state of life. The fees of the priest are in general very 
small : on some occasions, at the dedication of a temple, at the ceremonies for 
the dead when performed for a rich man, at the great festivals, &c., the priest 
receives very liberal presents. Female priests are almost unknown to the 
Hindoos ; one or two instances are recorded in pp 143, 145. 

The ceremonies at the temples are in most cases performed daily, morning, 
noon, and evening, at which times food is presented to the idol : the services are 
short, consisting of a few forms of petition and praise ; during the presentation 
of flowers, leaves and (except to Shivu) a few articles of food, the priest is com- 
monly the only person present. The doors of the lingu temples are generally 
open all day ; multitudes of these temples are never honoured with worship, 
though they contain an idol : this is accounted for by there being several of these 
temples erected in one spot belonging to the same individual. Hindoos in general 
bow to the image as they pass the temple, whether the doors be open or shut. 
Where the deity is honoured by bloody sacrifices, a post is erected in front of the 
temple, for the slaughter of animals. No assemblies can be formed in these 
edifices ; but on particular occasions the people are collected before the door, and 
sit or stand under an awning. The idols in honour of Vishnoo are laid down to 
sleep in the day, if the image be not too large ; — a poor compliment to a god, that 
he wants rest. The utensils employed in the ceremonies at the temples are, 
several dishes to hold the offerings, a hand bell, a lamp, jugs for holding water, an 
incense dish, a copper cup to receive drink-offerings for deceased ancestors and 
the gods, another smaller one to pour from, a seat of kooshu grass for the 
priest, a large metal plate used as a bell, and a conch or shell. All these 
articles do not cost more than twenty shillings, unless the owner wish them to 
be costly. 

Daily, weekly, monthly, and annual ceremonies abound among this people, 
to whom may truly be applied the remark of Paul to the Athenians, (Acts xvii. 
22 ;) the festivals are noted in the Hindoo almanacs, and are generally held at 
the full or total wane of the moon. In the month of February, they have one 
festival in honour of the goddess of learning, Sunlswutee, which continues 
one day. In March three, in honour of Shivu, Krishna, and Giinga. In April 

4 The laws have always confined a certain proportion of bramhnns to the service 
of the pagodas, to the education of youth, and to study.' p. 57- ' No pains are spared 
in rendering accomplished those females, who, as the fascinating instruments of 
superstition, are employed in the service of their temples.' p. 54. 



two ; one on the anniversary of the birth of Ramu, and the other the horrid 
swinging festival. In June two ; one in the honour of Gunga, and the other 
Jftgimnat'ha's car festival; the latter is again revived in July, when the car 
returns to the temple. In August the cow is worshipped, and the birth of 
Krishmi celebrated. In September the memory of deceased ancestors is com- 
memorated, and the Doorga festival held. In October one, in honour of the 
goddess Eiituntee ; and in November another, in honour of Kartikevu, the 
god of war. On all these occasions the public offices are closed; but many 
other holidays are kept by the Hindoos, which are not honoured as public 

The reader will find, in p. 193, an account of the daily duties of a 
bramhun ; by which it appears, that if he strictly conform to the rules of his 
religion, he must spend almost his whole time in religious ceremonies. The 
present race of bramhiins curtail these ceremonies, especially those engaged in 
secular affairs, who spend perhaps ten or twenty minutes in the morning, after 
their ablutions, in repeating the usual formulas before the lingu, or the stone 
called the shaltigramu, or a pan of water. Many, however, content themselves 
with bathing, and repeating the name of their guardian deity. 

The form of initiation into the service of a person's guardian deity consists 
in giving him the name of this deity, and exhorting him to repeat it continually. 
The ceremony of initiation is given in p, 199. From this time, the initiated 
becomes entitled to all the privileges of the Hindoo religion, is placed under the 
protection of the ^ods, and receives the benediction of his spiritual guide. The 
Hindoos are careful to conceal the words of initiation, and do not wish to 
declare to strangers what god they have chosen for their guardian deity. 

The spiritual guide, who is chosen by the person hiuiself, receives the highest 
reverence from the disciple, and is sometimes worshipped by him as a god. 
Disobedience to this guide is one of the highest offences a Hindoo can commit, 
and his anger is dreaded more than that of the gods. When the disciple ap- 
proaches him, he prostrates himself at his feet, and the priest places his foot on 
his head. To such a state of degradation does the Hindoo superstition reduce 
the people ! These priests are notorious for covetousness and impurity : some 
of them plunder the disciple of their all, and others violate the chastity of their 
wives. They are not distinguished by any particular dress, nor do thev per- 
form any offices of worship for their disciples. 

Bathing in the Ganges, or in some other sacred river, or pool, is one of 
the most constant and necessary duties enjoined upon the Hindoos; the 
bramhiins, after bathing, frequently complete their devotions on the banks of 
the river ; others go home, and repeat the requisite forms before the shalngra- 
mn, or a pan of water. The people are taught that bathing is a religious cere- 
mony, by which they become purified from sin 11 ! They are never directed to 

n And yet so far are the Hindoos from having any moral feelings, even in their 
acts of purification, that few men bathe in a retired situation ; the majority choose those 
places to which the female bathers resort, and on their accou ut remain in the water 
Ion? beyond the time necessary for their ablutions. Many an infamous assignment i s 


bathe to promote bodily health. In the act of bathing, they pour out drink- 
offerings to deceased ancestors. — To be convinced how entirely the present race 
of Hindoos are influenced by the promises of salvation held out in their sacred 
books on this subject, it is only necessary for a person to attend to what is 
passing around him, viz., to the crowds bathing at the landing-places of the 
Ganges ; to the persons bearing the sacred water into distant countries, in 
vessels suspended from their shoulders ; to the shraddhus and other religious 
ceremonies performed on its banks; to the number of temples on both sides of 
the river ; to so great a part of the Bengal population having erected their 
habitations near the river ; to the number of brick landing-places, built as acts 
of holiness, to assist the people in obtaining the favour of Giinga ; to the houses 
erected for the sick by the sides of the river ; to the people bringing their sick 
relations, and laying them on bedsteads, or on the ground, by the side of the 
Ganges, waiting to burn them there, and to throw their ashes into the river ; 
to the immense crowds on the banks, waiting fur a junction of the planets, at 
which moment they plunge into the stream with the greatest eagerness ; to 
the people committing the images of their gods to the sacred stream, at the 
close of their festivals ; and, finally, to the boats crowded with passengers 
going to Sagvir island ijarnnga-saguru) every year . 

The forms of worship (popja ) before the idol are particularly laid down 
in p. 215. The priest who officiates has the common dress of a bramhun ; it 
must, however, be clean : he has occasionally one or two bramhuns to assist 

him in presenting the offerings. 

made by looks, &c while they are thus washing away their sins. A number of bram- 
iiftns engage as cooks to opulent families, to facilitate their licentious intrigues : this 
is become so common, that the bramhuns, proverbially known by the name of cooking 
bramhtfns, are treated with the greatest suspicion by those who care for the chastity 
of their wives. Multitudes of bramhuns likewise are employed as priests to prostitutes, 
and actually perform the offices of religion in houses of ill-fame; — so completely 
absent is the moral principle from the religion of the Hindoos ! 

° Till lately, eople used to thro w themselves, or their children, to the alligators 
at this place, under the idea that dying at Gftnga-sagrfrif, ia the jaws of an alligator, 
was the happiest of deaths. This is now prevented by a guard of sepoys sent by 

p The Ain Akbtfree says, the Hindoos ' divide pooja into sixteen ceremonies. 
After the devotee has performed his usual and indispensable ablutions, with the 
sSndhya and homtf, he sists down, looking towards the east or the north, with his legs 
drawn up in front. Then, taking in his hand a little water and rice, he sprinkles the 
idol, and conceives this act to be a proper preface to the commencement of his adora- 
tion. Next follows the worship of the idol's flagon. Then succeeds the worship of 
the conch-shell. Last in order, a ceremony which consists in plastering the bell with 
ashes of sandal- wood. When he has finished, he throws down a little rice, and wishes 
that his god may be manifested. These various duties are all comprised in the first of 
the sixteen ceeemonies. — In the second, he prepares and places a table of metal, 
either gold, silver, or copper, as a seat or throne for a deity.— In the third, he 
throws water into a vessel to wash his feet ; for in Hindoost'hanS it is the custom, 
that, when a superior enters the house of an inferior, he washes his feet. — In the 
fourth, he sprinkles water thrice, to represent the idol rincing his mouth, since it is 



Short forms of praise and prayer to the gods q are continually used, and 
are supposed to promote very highly a person's spiritual interests. The 
following is an example of praise addressed to Giinga : — ' goddess, the owl 
that lodges in the hollow of a tree on thy banks, is exalted beyond measure ; 
while the emperor, whose palace is far from thee, though he may possess a 
million of stately elephants, and may have the wives of a million of conquered 
enemies to serve him, is nothing.' Example of prayer :— ' god ! I am the 
greatest sinner in the world ; but thou, among the gods, art the greatest 
saviour : I leave my cause in thy hands.' Praise is considered as more 
prevalent with the gods than prayer, as the gods are mightily pleased with 
flattery. Some unite vows to their supplications, and promise to present to 
the god a handsome offering if he be propitious. 

Another act of Hindoo devotion is meditation on the form of an idol. 
Mr. Hastings, in his prefatory letter to the Geeta, says, the Rev. Mr. Maurice 
describes the bramhiins as devoting a certain period of time to the contem- 
plation of the deity, his attributes, and the moral duties of life. The truth 
is, that in this Hindoo act of devotion there is not a vestige of reference to 

also the custom for an inferior to bring to a superior water to riuce his mouth with 
before meals. — In the fifth, sandal, flowers, betel, and rice are offered to the idol. — In 
the sixth, the idol and his throne are carried to another spot : theu the worshipper 
takes in his right hand a white conch-shell full of water, which he throws over the 
idol, and with his left hand rings the bell. — In the seventh, he wipes the idol dry 
with a cloth, replaces it upon its throne, and adorns it with vestments of silk or gold 
stuff. — In the eighth, he puts the zennar upon the idol. — In the ninth, he makes the 
tilttk upon the idol in twelve places — In the tenth, he throws over the idol flowers or 
green leaves. — In the eleventh, he fumigates it with perfumes. — In the twelfth, he 
lights a lamps with ghee. — In the thirteenth, he places before the idol trays of food, 
according to his ability ; which are distributed among the by-standers, as the holy 
relics of the idol's banquet. — In the fourteenth, he stretches himself at full length 
with his face towards the ground, and disposes his body in such a manner, as that 
his eight members touch the ground, namely, the two knees, two hands, forehead, 
nose, and cheeks. These kinds of prostration are also performed to great men in 
Hind oost'hantL — In the fifteenth, he makes a circuit around the idol several times.—— 
In the sixteenth, he stands in the posture of a slave, with his hands uplifted, and 
asks permission to depart.'— At some of the great festivals, boys in play make an 
image, paint it, and beg from house to house for the offerings, as rice, fruits, &c. 
When all things are ready, some one becomes the priest, and performs the ceremonies. 
Thus early are the Hindoo children initiated into their idolatrous rites. If, however, 
the parents of these children discover what is going on, they forbid it. and warn the 
children, that the god will be displeased. If it be an image of Kalee, or any ferocious 
deity, they endeavour to terrify the children, by telling them that the goddess is a 
fury, and will certainly devour them. If any elderly boy be concerned, and the 
image made be a good one, the parents will sometimes, rather than destroy it, call 
a bramhft'n, and have the ceremonies performed in a regular way. 

i Instead of hymns in honour of the gods, the Hindoos, at present, as has been 
already noticed, introduce before the idol little beside filthy songs. Some bramhhns 
acknowledge, that not a single Hindoo seeks in his religion any thing of a moral 
nature. A real Christian, when he approaches God, prays, ' Create in me a clean 
heart, and renew a right spirit within me.' ' Lead me not into temptation, but 
deliver me from evil.' « Give me neither poverty nor riches.' 'Guide me with thy 




the dirine attributes, nor to moral duty. The Hindoo rehearses in his mind 
the form of the god, his colour., the number of his beads, eyes, hands, &c. and 
nothing more. 

Eepeating the names of the gods, particularly of a person's guardian deity, 
is one of the most common, and is considered as one of the most efficacious 
acts of devotion prescribed in the shastms. The oftener the name is repeated, 
the greater the merit. Persons may be seen in the streets repeating these 
names either alone, or at work, or to a parrot ; others, as they walk along, 
count the repetitions by the beads of their necklace, which they then hold in 
the hand. 

A great number of prescribed ceremonies, called vrutus, exist among the 
Hindoos, which are practised with the hope of obtaining some blessing : females 
chiefly attend to these ceremonies. 

Fasting is another act of religious merit among the Hindoos. Some fasts 
are extremely severe, and a Hindoo who is very religious must often abstain 
from food. It is commended, not as an act of preparation for some duty, 
calling for great attention of mind, but as an instance of self-denial in honour 
of the gods, which is very pleasing to them. One man may fast for another, 
and the merit of the action is then transferred to the person paying and em- 
ploying another in this work. 

Gifts to bramhuns are highly meritorious, as might be expected in a system 
exclusively formed for their exaltation : the more costly the gift, the more 
valuable the promissory note, drawn on heaven, aud presented to the giver. 
Giving entertainments to bramhuns is also another action which procures 

Hospitality to travellers is placed among the duties of the Hindoos, and 
is practised to a considerable extent, though the distinctions of caste destroy 
the feelings which should give efficacy to this excellent law. So completely 
do these distinctions destroy every generous and benevolent feeling, that many 
unfortunate creatures perish in the sight of those who are well able to relieve 
them, but who exonerate themselves from this duty, by urging, that they are 
of another caste : a bramhun finds friends every where, but the caste has sunk 

counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory.' A Hindoo, when he supplicates his 
god, prays for riches, or for recovery from sickness, or for a son, or for revenge 
upon his enemy. Sometimes the worshipper places himself before the image in a 
sitting posture, and, closing his eyes, prays, ' Oh, god ! give me beauty, let me be 
praised, give me prosperity, give me a son, give me riches, give me long life, or, 
give me health, &c.' The eldest female of the house, throwing her garment over 
her shoulder, and sitting on her hams, joining her hands, in the same manner, praj^s, 
' god ! preserve these my childen, and my son's wife ; do not suffer us to have 
sorrow again in our family, (referring to some death in the preceding year,) and then 
I will present offerings to thee every year :' saying this, she prostrates herself before 
the image. Sometimes a woman, after bathing, stretches her arms towards the sun, 
and says, ' god of day ! such a one has ill-treated me ; do thou afflict her. See ! I 
supplicate thee without having touched or tasted food.' A poor man, in the presence 
of an image, sometimes prays, ' god I fill me every day with food. I ask no more.' 



the afflicted sh5odrri to the level of the beasts': when a bramhun is relieved, 
however, he is not indebted to the benevolence of his countrymen, so much as 
to the dread which they feel lest neglect of a bramhun should bring upon them 
the wrath of the gods. 

Digging pools, planting trees for fruit or shade, making roads for pilgrims, 
&c. are other duties commanded by the shastru, and practised by the modern 

Reading and rehearsing the pooranns are prescribed to the Hindoos as 
religious duties, and many attend to them at times in a very expensive 

Other ceremonies contrary to every principle of benevolence exist among 
this people, one of which is to repeat certain formulas, for the sake of injuring, 
removing, or destroying enemies. Here superstition is made an auxiliary to 
the most diabolical passions- 

But what shall we say of the murder of widows on the funeral pile? — this 
too is an act of great piety. The priest assists the poor wretch, in her last 
moments, before she falls on the pile, with the formulas given by the Hindoo 
legislators : and, to complete this most, horrible of all religious customs, the 
son of this wretched victim kindles the fire in the very face of the mother who 
gave him birth. Can there possibly be a greater outrage on human nature ? 
Is there any thing like it in all the records of the most wild and savage nations ? 
The North American Indian proceeds with the utmost coolness, it is true, in the 
work of scalping and minder, but the victim is his enemy, taken in battle; heie 
the victim is an innocent woman — a mother — a widow, her heart fresh bleeding 
under the loss of the companion of her youth— the murderer, her own 
child— dragged to the work by the mild bramhun, who dances, and shouts, and 
drowns the cries of the family and the victim in the horrid sounds of the drum. 
Such is the balm which is here poured into the broken heart of the widow, Nor 
are these unheard of, unparalleled murders, perpetrated in the night, in some 
impenetrable forest ; but in the presence of the whole population of India, in 
open day : — and oh ! horrible ! most horrible ! not less than five thousand of 
these unfortunate women, it is supposed, are immolated every twelve months. 
I have heard that the son sometimes manifests a great reluctance to the deed r 
and that some of these human sacrifices are almos' dead before they are touched 
by the flames." It is certain, that in many cases the family do much to 
prevent the female from being thus drawn into the flaming gulph ; but such 
are the effects of supetstition, and the influence of long established customs, 

r The shastru prescribes, that he should do it with his head turned from the pile. 
Kennett, describing the Roman funeral, says, ' The next of blood performed the cere- 
mony of lighting the pile, which they did with a torch, turning their face all the while 
the other way, as if it was done out of necessity and not willingly.' 

s These barbarous murderers say, that when a woman is thus frightened to death, 
the gods, charmed with her devotion, have taken her before she entered upon this 
holy act. 



joined to the disgrace and terrors of a state of widowhood, that, in the first 
moments of grief and distraction for the loss of her husband, reason is 
overpowered, and the widow perishes on the funeral pile, the victim of grief, 
superstition, and dread. Many widows are buried alive with the corpses of 
their husbands.* 

Voluntary suicide is not only practised to a dreadful extent among 
the Hindoos, but the shastriis positively recommend the crime, and 
promise heaven to the self-murderer, provided he die in the Ganges ! 
Nay, the bramhuns, as well as persons of other castes, assist those 
who design thus to end life, of which the reader will find instances recorded 
in pp. 245, 245, 248. In some places of the Ganges, deemed peculiarly 
sacred and efficacious, infatuated devotees very frequently drown themselves. 
A respectable bramhiin assured the author, that in a stay of only two months 

* The following circumstance took place at Gondul-para, about 20 miles N. of 
Calcutta, on the 18th of March, 1813, and was communicated to the author by Cap- 
tain Kemp, an eye-witness. The description is nearly in his own words : — ' On Thurs- 
day last, at nine in the morning, Vishwrmat'hu, one of our best workmen, who had 
been sick but a short time, was brought down to the river side to expire : he was 
placed, as is customary, on the bank, and a consultation held respecting the time he 
would die ; the astrologer predicted, that his dissolution was near at hand. This sick 
man was then immersed up to the middle in the river, and there kept for sometime ; 
but death not being so near as was predicted, he was again placed on the beach, extend- 
ed at full length, and exposed to a hot sun, where he continued the whole of the day> 
excepting at those intervals, when it was supposed he was dying, when he was again 
immersed in the sacred stream. I visited him in the evening ; he was sensible, but 
had not the power of utterance ; he however was able to make signs with his hand, 
that he did not wish to drink the river water, which they kept almost continually 
pouring into his mouth by means of a small shell. He remained in this situation 
during the night : in the morning the immersions commenced, and were continued at 
intervals till about five in the evening, when he expired, or was literally murdered. 
His wife, a young woman about sixteen years of age, hearing of his death, came to the 
desperate resolution of being buried alive with the corpse. She was accompanied by 
her friends down to the beach where the body lay, where a small branch of the Mango 
tree was presented to her, which (as I understood) was setting a seal to her determina- 
tion ; from which, after having accepted the branch, she could not retreat. I went to 
her, and questioned her with respect to the horrid act she was about to perform, 
whether it was voluntary or from persuasion : nothing of the latter appeared ; it was 
entirely her own desire. I spoke to her relations on the heinousness of the crime they 
were guilty of, in allowing the young creature thus to precipitate herself into the pre- 
sence of her Creator uncalled for. Mrs. K. spoke both to the mother and the daughter 
a good deal, but all to no purpose. The mother declared, that it was her daughter's 
choice, who added, that she was determined to " go the road her husband had gone." 
There was not the least appearance of regret observable in the mother's countenance, 
or conduct. A woman, then, can " forget her sucking child, and forsake the child 
of her womb :" the prophet seemed to think it only possible that there might exist 
such a monster, but here it was realized ; here was a monster of a mother, that could 
resign her child, the gift of a gracious Providence, and designed to be the comfort 
and support of her old age ; — could, without the least apparent emotion, consign this 
child alive to the tomb, and herself continue an unmoved spectator of the horrid deed. 
At eight P. M. the corpse, accompanied by this self -de voted victim, was conveyed to 
a place a little below our grounds, where I repaired, to behold the prepetration of a 
crime which I could scarcely believe possible to be committed by any human being. 



at Allahabad, he saw about thirty persons drown themselves ! Lepers are 
sometimes burnt alive with their own consent, to purify themselves from 
disease in the next birth. Others throw themselves under the wheels of 
Jngunnat'hns ponderous car, and perish instantly. Thousands perish annually 
by disease and want on idolatrous pilgrimages ; and notwithstanding the 
benevolent efforts of Mr. Duncan, it is pretty certain, that infanticide is still 
practised to a great extent in various parts of Hindoost'hanrt, (see p. 251.) 
I have, in p. 254, ventured to offer a calculation respecting the probable num- 
ber of persons who perish annually, the victims of the bramhinical superstition, 
and find, that it cannot be less than Ten Thousand Five Hundred. 

• Another very popular act of Hindoo devotion is that of visiting sacred 
places." There are few Hindoos grown up to mature age, who have not visited 
one or more of these places, the resort of pilgrims ; many spend their whole 
lives in passing repeatedly from one end of Hindoost'hanii to the other as pil- 
grims : nor are these pilgrimages confined to the lower orders, householders and 

The corpse was laid on the earth by the river till a circular grave of about fifteen feet 
in circumference and five or six feet deep was prepared ; and was then (after some 
formulas had been read) placed at the bottom of the grave in a sitting posture, with 
the face to the N., the nearest relation applying a lighted wisp of straw to the top of 
the head. The young widow now came forward, and having circumambulated the 
grave seven times, calling out Hftree Bui ! Hftree Brtl ! in which she was joined by the 
surrounding crowd, descended into it. I then approached within a foot of the grave, to 
observe if any reluctance appeared in her countenance, or sorrow in that of her 
relations : in hers no alteration was perceptible ; in theirs, there was the appearance of 
exultation. She placed herself in a sitting posture, with her face to the back of her 
husband, embracing the corpse with her left arm, and reclining her head on his 
shoulders ; the other hand she placed over her own head, with her forefinger erect, 
which she moved in a circular direction. The earth was then deliberately put round 
them, two men being in the grave for the purpose of stamping it round the living and 
the dead, which they did as a gardener does around a plant newly transplanted, till 
the earth rose to a level with the surface, or two or three feet above the heads of 
the entombed. As her head was 'covered some time before the finger of her right 
hand, I had an opportunity of observing whether any regret was manifested ; but the 
finger moved round in the same manner as at first, till the earth closed the scene. 
Not a parting tear was observed to be shed by any of her relations, till the crowd 
began to disperse, when the usual lamentations and howling commenced, without 

u A journey to Benares, &c. and the performance of religious ceremonies there, 
are actions in the highest repute, for religious merit amongst the Hindoos. Many sir- 
kars in Calcutta indulge the hope, that they shall remove all the sins they commit 
in the serviee of Europeans (which every one knows are neither few nor small) by a 
journey to Benares, before they die. The Hindoo pffndits declare, that even Europeans, 
dying at Benares, though they may have lived all their days upon cow's flesh, will cer- 
tainly obtain absorption into Brttmhfr. On this subject, they quote a couplet, in which 
Benares is compared to a loose female, who receives all, and destroys their desire of 
sin, by quenching their appetites. The Hindoo learned men also admit, that English- 
men may partake of the blessings of their religion in two other instances, viz., if they 
become firm believers in Ghnga, or die at Jftgrtnnat'brt-kshe'trit In all other respects, 
the Hindoo heavens are all shut against eaters of cow's flesh. 




learned bramhttns are equally infatuated, and think it necessary to visit one or 
more of these spots for the purification of the soul before death. In some 
instanoes, a river; in others, a phenomenon in nature ; and in others, a famous 
idol, attracts the Hindoos. Large sums are expended by the rich, and by the 
poor their little all, in these journies, in the fees to the bramhnns, and in ex- 
penses at the sacred place. I have given an accouut of the ceremonies prepara- 
tory to the pilgrimage, as well as of those which are performed when the pil- 
grims arrive at the consecrated place ; to which are also added particulars of 
the most frequented of these haunts of superstition. 

For the expiation of sin, many different methods of atonement are pre- 
scribed in the Hindoo writings ; many of which, however, have fallen into 


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

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

The pooranus teach, that after death the soul becomes united to an aerial 
body, and passes to the seat of judgment, where it is tried by Ynnm, the Indian 
Pluto, who decides upon its future destiny. It, however, remains in this 
aerial vehicle, till the last shraddhu is performed, twelve months after death ; 
when it passes into happiness or misery, according to the sentence of Yiimri. 

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

x 4 Ah !' said a Hindoo one day, in the hearing of the author, lamenting the catas- 
trophe, ' it is not every one, even of those who set out for Grtya, who reaches the 
place. ' Another Hindoo, in the presence of the author, reproving a young bramhtin, 
who refused to afford pecuniary help to his aged infirm parent, asked him, if this was 
not the grand reason why a person entered into the marriage state, that he might have 
a son, who, by offerings at Gtiya, might procure for him happiness after death ? 



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

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

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

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

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

' Happiness in actual enjoyment is the fruit of the meritorious works of 
preceding births ; but very splendid acts of merit procure exaltation even in 
the birth in which they are performed. So, the misery w T hich a person is now 
enduring, is the fruit of crimes in a former birth: enormous crimes however 
meet with punishment in the life in which they are committed. The miseries 

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



of a future state arise out of sins unremoved by former sufferings : an inanimate 
state, and that of reptiles, are also called states of suffering. Absorption can 
be obtained only by qualifications acquired on earth ; and to obtain this, 
even an inhabitant of heaven must be born on earth. A person may sink to 
earth again by crimes committed in heaven. The joys of heaven arise only 
from the gratification of the senses. A person raised to heaven is considered 
as a god. 

' Every ceremony of the Hindoo religion is either accompanied by a 
general prayer for some good, or is done from pure devotion, without hope of 
reward ; or from a principle of obedience to the shastru, which has promised 
certain blessings on the performance of such and such religious actions. 

' Various sacrifices are commanded, but the most common one at present 
is the burnt-offering with clarified butter, &c. It is performed to procure 
heaven. — The worship of the gods is, speaking generally, followed by benefits 
in a future state, as the prayers, praise, and offerings, please the gods. — Re- 
peating the names of the gods procures heaven, for the name of god is like 
fire, which devours every combustible. — Bathing is the means of purification 
before religious services, and when attended to in sacred places, merits heaven. 
— Gifts to the poor, and to persons of merit, and losing life to save another, 
are actions highly meritorious, and procure for the person future happiness. 
— Fasting is an act of merit, as the person refuses food in devotion to the 
gods. — Vows to the gods procure heaven.— Praise offered to the gods in songs, 
is efficacious in procuring future happiness.— Visiting holy places, a spiritual 
guide, a father or a mother, destroys all sin. — Compassion, forbearance, tender- 
ness, (regarding the shedding of blood,) speaking truth, entertaining strangers, 
becoming the refuge of ^the oppressed, planting trees, cutting pools of water, 
making flights of steps to holy rivers, and roads to holy places, giving water 
to the thirsty, building temples and lodging-houses for travellers, hearing the 
praise of the gods or a sacred book, &c. are actions which merit heaven. — 
Religious austerities are useful to subdue the passions, and raise the mind to 
a pure state. These austerities are rewarded either by heaven or absorption/ 

Thus far this bramhinical Confession of Faith. Its author has scarcely 
noticed the amazing efficacy ascribed to religious abstraction, and the austeri- 
ties practised by anchorites, though the doctrine of the vedus evidently favours 
an ascetic life. Indeed, retirement from the world and abstraction of mind, 
assisted by bodily austerities, is considered as the direct way to final beatitude ; 
yet it is not denied, but that a person who continues in a secular state, may, by 
performing the duties of his religion, accelerate his approach, either in this or 
some future birth, to divine destiny. The yogee being thus exalted in the 
Hindoo system of theology, and in consequence honoured by his countrymen, it 
has become very common to embrace the life of a religious mendicant ; to do 
which, indeed, among an idle, effeminate, and dissolute people, there are many 
inducements very different from those of a religious nature : disappointments in 


life, disagreeable domestic occurrences, wandering propensities, illicit connections, 
and very often a wish to procure impunity in the commission of flagrant crimes,* 
induce many to embrace such a life. Perhaps there is not a single instance at 
present known, of a person's becoming an ascetic from the pure desire of ab- 
sorption. In cases where there is the greatest appearance of such a desire, the 
hermit possesses a motive no higher than that of exemption from the troubles of 
mortal existence. I have given in this work an account of nearly twenty orders 
of mendicants, (p. 294, &c.) the followers of different deities : these are the 
scourge of the country, though the legitimate offspring of tins baneful super- 
stition. Nor need we now expect to see realized the description of a yogee as 
laid down in the shastru : this description never was realized ; those who have 
received the highest fame as yogees, were as corrupt, perhaps, as the present 
wretched imitators of these austerities. Many actions are attributed to them 
which put human nature to the blush. 

The sum of the Hindoo doctrine, then, is this : — spirit dwelling in bodies, 
and partaking of the passions incident to residence in matter, is purified by 
austerities and numerous transmigrations, nnd at length re-obtains absorption 
into the divine nature. Religious practice leads to better destiny, and divine 
destiny draws the person to abstraction and religious austerities. 

Such is the Hindoo religion ; let us examine how far it is practised at 
present. The ceremonies most popular are — the daily ablutions, repeating the 
names of the gods, the daily worship of some idol, and visiting holy places. 
The works of merit in greatest estimation are, entertaining bramhuns, building 
temples, cutting pools, erecting landing-places to the Ganges, and expensive 
offerings to deceased ancestors. 

The strict bramb uns are distinguished by a scrupulous regard to bathing, 
the daily worship of their guardian deity, and a proud contempt of the lower 
orders. The voishntiviis are more sociable, and converse much among each 
other on their favourite Krishnu, and the accidents connected with religious 

' At present,' says the bramhun whose confession of faith has been given 
in the preceding pages, ' nine parts in ten of the whole Hindoo population have 
abandoned all conscientious regard to the forms of their religion. They rise 
in the morning without repeating the name of god, and perform no religious 
ceremony whatever till the time of bathing at noon, when, for fear of being re- 
proached by their neighbours, they go and bathe : a few labour through the 
usual ceremonies, which occupy about fifteen minutes ; the rest either merely 
bathe, or hypocritically make a few of the signs used in worship, and then re- 

z I have noticed in p. 293 the fact, that many hordes of mendicants are armed, 
and live by public plunder ; but perhaps there are quite as many secret robbers to be 
found in the garb of religious mendicants. Since this fact has become more generally 
known, many have suffered the punishment of their crimes. 



turn home, and eat. This constitutes the whole of their daily practice. Among 
these nine parts, moreover, there are many who spend the time of bathing in con- 
versation with others, or in gazing at the women ; and some are to be found 
who ridicule those who employ a greater portion of time in religious ceremonies : 
" What ! you have taken an ass's load of religion." " Faith ! you are become 
very religious — a very holy man. Eise, and go to your proper work." Three- 
fourths of the single tenth part attend to the daily duties of their religion in the 
following manner: — when they rise, they repeat the name of their guardian 
deitv, make a reverential motion with the head and hands in remembrance of 
their absent spiritual guide, then wash themselves in the house, and pursue their 
business till noon. Should the wife or child have neglected to prepare the 
flowers, &c. for worship, the master of the family scolds his wife in some such 
words as these : — " Why do I labour to maintain you? It is not because you 
can answer for me, or preserve me from punishment at death ; but that you 
may assist me in these things, that I may repeat the name of God, and perpare 
for a future state." If the son is to be reproved for such a neglect, the father 
asks him, if he is not ashamed to spend so much time in play, careless how 
much fatigue he undergoes to please himself, while he is unwilling to do the 
smallest trifle to please the gods. He declares himself ashamed of such a family, 
and desires to see their faces no more. He then gathers the flowers himself, 
and going to the river side, takes some clay, examines whether it be free from 
every impurity, lays it down, taking a morsel with him into the water, iramersse 
himself once, and then rubs himself with the clay, repeating this prayer, " 
earth ! thou bearest the weight of the sins of all : take my sins upon thee, and 
grant me deliverance." He then invites to him the river goddesses Yrtmoona, 
Godavuree, Suruswtitee, Nurnmda, Sindhoo, and Kaveree, that he may, in 
Gunga, have the merit of bathing in them all at once, and again immerses 
himself, after repeating, " On such a day of the month, on such a day of the 
moon, &c. I (such a one) bathe in the southwards-flowing Gunga." He then 
olFers up a prayer for himself in some such words as these ; — " Ubbnyn-chnrnnfi 
praying for final happiness for ten millions of his family, bathes in Gunga :" and 
then immerses again. Next, he repeats the day of the month, of the moon, &c, 
and immerses himself, while he utters, " Let my guardian deity be propitious ;" 
and then ascends the bank, wiping his hair, and repeating the praises of Gilnga, 
as, " O Gunga, thou art the door of heaven, thou art the watery image of 
religion, thou art the garland round the head of Shiva : the very craw-fish in 
thee are happy, while a king at a distance from thee is miserable." He then 
sits down, and repeats certain prayers to the sun for the removal of his sins, 
among which is the celebrated gayutree, 41 Let us meditate on the adorable 
light of the divine Ruler , (Savitree :) may it guide our intellects'* He next 
pours out drink-offerings to Ynmu, to Brumha, Vishnoo, Roodrn, the eight 
progenitors of mankind, to all the gods, and all living things in the three 
worlds, to certain sages, and at length to his forefathers, praying that they 
may hereby be satisfied. Now he forms, with the clay he had prepared, an 
image of the tingu, and worships it ; which act includes praise to one of the 


gods, prayers for preservation, meditation on the form of the idol, hymns on 
the virtues of some deity, and repetitions of the names of the gods. He then 
returns home, and repeats, if he has leisure, certain portions of one of the 
shastrus. Before he begins to eat, he offers up his food to his guardian deity 
saying, " I offer this food to such a god and after sitting, with his eyes 
closed, as long as would be requisite to milk a cow, he takes the food and eata 
it. In the evening, just before sun-set, if he have a temple belonging to him, 
he presents some fruits, &c. to the image, repeats parts of the ceremonies of 
the forenoon, and the name of some deity at considerable length. When he 
retires to rest, he repeats (he word Pitdmu-nabhn, a name of Vishnoo. Perhaps 
one person in ten thousand carries these ceremonies a little farther than this.' 

As a person passes along the streets and roads he is continually reminded 
of one or other of these ceremonies : — here 9its a man in his shop, repeating the 
name of his guardian deity, or teaching it to his parrot b — there go half a dozen 
voiragees, or other persons, making their journey to some holy place— here 
passes a person, carrying a basket on his head, containing rice, sweetmeats, 
fruits, flowers, &c. an offering to his guardian deity — here comes a man with a 
chaplet of red flowers round his head, and the head of a goat in his hand, having 
left the blood and carcase before the image of Kalee — there sits a group of Hin- 
doos, listening to three or four persons rehearsing and chanting poetical versions 
of the poorauiis — here sits a man in the front of his house reading one of the 
pooranftV moving his body like the trunk of a tree in a high wind — and (early 
in the morning) here comes a group of jaded wretches, who have spent the night 
in boisterously signing filthy songs, and dancing in an indecent manner, 
before the image of Doorga — add to this, the villagers, men and women, 
coming dripping from the banks of the Ganges — and the reader has a 
tolerable view of the Hindoo idolatry, as it stalks every day, along the streets 
and roads, and as it may be recognized by any carelesss observer. 

The reader will perceive, that in all these religious ceremonies not a 
particle is found to interest or amend the heart ; no family bible, ' profitable 

b This ceremony is supposed to bring great blessings both on the teacher and the 
scholar : the parrot obtains heaven, and so does its master. Numbers of Hindoos, 
particularly in a morning and evening, may be seen iu the streets walking about with 
parrots in their hands, and repeating aloud to them, ' Radha-Krishnrt, Radha- Krishnrf, 
Krishna", Krishnrf, Radha, Radha,' or ' Shivtt-Doorga,' or ' Kalee-tn'rah' . Some 
are thus embloyed six months, others twelve or eighteen, before the parrot has 
learnt hiB lesson. The merit consists in having repeated the name of a god so great a 
number of times. 

c Reading a book, or having it read at a person's house, even though the person 
himself should not understand it, is a most meritorious action. The love of learning 
for its own sake is unknown in Bengal : a Hindoo, if he applies to learning, always does 
it to obtain rupees — or heaven. When he opens one of the shastrfts, or even an account 
book, he makes a bow to the book. A shopkeeper, when he is about to balance his 
books, uncertain how the balance will fall, makes a vow to some god, that if by his 
favour he should not find himself in debt, he will present to him some offerings. 


for doctrine, for reproof, for instruction in righteousness, that men may be 
thoroughly furnished unto all good works no domestic worship ; d no pious 
assembly where the village preacher ' attempts each art, reproves each dull delay, 
allures to brighter worlds, and leads the way. 5 No standard of morals to re- 
press the vicious ; no moral education in which the principles of, virtue and 
religion may be implanted in the youthful mind. Here every thing that as- 
sumes the appearance of religion, ends (if you could forget its impurity) in an 
unmeaning ceremony, and leaves the heart cold as death to every moral 
principle. Hence the great bulk of the people have abandoned every from and 
vestige of religious ceremony. The bramhun who communicated this informa- 
tion, attributed this general disregard of their religion to the kulee-yoogu. ; and 
consoled himself with the idea, that this deplorable state of things was an exact 
fulfilment of certain prophecies in the pooranus. 

Some persons may plead, the doctrine of a state of future rewards and 
punishments has always been supposed to have a strong influence on public 
morals : the Hindoos not only have this doctrine in their writings, but are taught 
to consider every disease and misfortune of life as an undoubted symptom of 
moral disease and the terrific appearances of its close-pursuing punishment — can 
this fail to produce a dread of vice, and a desire to merit the favour of the 
Deity? I will still further assist the objector, and inform him, that the 
Hindoo writings declare, that till every immoral taint is removed, every sin 
atoned for, and the mind has obtained perfect abstraction from material objects, 
it is impossible to be re-united to the Great Spirit; and that, to obtain this 
perfection, the sinner must linger in many hells, and transmigrate through al- 
most every form of matter. Great as these terrors are, there is nothing more 
palpable than that, with most of the Hindoos, they do not weigh the weight of 
a feather, compared with the loss of a rupee. The reason is obvious : every 
Hindoo considers all his actions as the effect of his destiny ; he laments perhaps 
his miserable fate, but he resigns himself to it without a struggle, like the 
malefactor in a condemned cell. To this may be added, what must have forced 
itself on the observation of every thoughtful observer, that, in the absence of 
the religious principle, no outward terrors, especially those which are invisible 
and future, not even bodily sufferings, are sufficient to make men virtuous. — 
Painful experience proves, that even in a Christian country, if the religious 
principle does not exist, the excellency and the rewards of virtue, and the 
dishonour and misery attending vice, may be held up to men for ever, without 
making a single convert. 

But let us now advert to the pernicious errors inculcated in the Hindoo 
writings, and to the vices and miseries engendered by the popular superstition : — 

The Bhuguvut-Geeta contains the following most extraordinary descrip- 
tion of God : — ' Sunjuyii. The mighty compound and divine being Huree, 
having, raja, thus spoken, made evident and to Urjoonu his supreme and 

d The women and children take no share in the worship performed by the master 

of the family. It is not supposed to belong to them. See p. 198. 



heavenly form ; of many a mouth and eye ; many a heavenly ornament ; many 
an upraised weapon ; adorned with celestial robes and chaplets ; anointed with 
heavenly essence ; covered with every marvellous thing ; the eternal God, whose 
countenance is turned on every side ! The glory and amazing splendour of this 
mighty being may be likened to the sun rising at once iuto the heavens, with a 
thousand times more than usual brightness. The son of Pandoo then beheld 
within the body of the god of gods, standing together, the whole universe 
divided into its vast variety. He was overwhelmed with wonder, and every 
hair was raised an end. He bowed down his head before the god, and thus 
addressed him with joined hands: — Urjoonii. I behold, god ! within thy 
breast, the devus assembled, and every specific tribe of beings. I see Bmmha, 
that diety sitting on his lotus-throne ; all the rishees and heavenly oorngiis : I see 
thyself, on all sides, of infinite shape, formed with abundant arms, and bellies, 
and mouths, and eyes ; but I can neither discover thy beginning, thy middle, 
nor again thy end. universal lord, form of the universe ! I see thee with a 
crown, and armed with club and chftkra, a mass of glory, darting refulgent 
beams around. I see thee, difficult to be seen, shining on all sides with light 
immeasurable, like the ardent fire, or glorious sun. I see thee of valour infinite ; 
the sun and moon thy eyes ; thy mouth a flaming fire ; and the whole world 
shining with reflected glory ! The space between the heavens and the earth is 
possessed by thee alone, and every point around ; the three regions of the uni- 
verse, mighty spirit ! behold the wonders of thy awful countenance with 
troubled minds. Of the celestial bands, some I see fly to thee for refuge ; 
whilst some, afraid, with joined hands sing forth thy praise. The mlihiirshees, 
holy bands, hail thee, and glorify thy name with adoring praises. The roodriis, 
the adityns, the viisoos, and all those beings the world esteemeth good ; iishwinrt, 
and koomaru, the muroots and the ooshmiipa9, the gundhdrviis and yiikshns, 
with the holy tribes of usoonis ; all stand gazing on thee, and all alike amazed ! 
The worlds, alike with me, are terrified to behold thy wondrous form gigantic ; 
with many mouths and eyes ; with many arms, and legs, and breasts ; with 
many bellies, and with rows of dreadful teeth ! Thus as I see thee, touching the 
heavens, and shining with such glory ; of such various hues ; with widely-op- 
ened mouths, and bright expanded eyes ; I am disturbed within me ; my 
resolution faileth me, Yishnoo ! and I find no rest ! Having beholden thy 
dreadful teeth, and gazed on thy countenance, emblem of time's last fire, I know 
not which way I turn ! I find no peace ! Have mercy then, O god of gods ! 
thou mansion of the universe! The sons of Dhriturashtrft, now, with all those 
rulers of the land, Bheeshmii, Dronii, the son of Sootu, and even the fronts of 
our army, seem to be precipitating themselves hastily into thy mouths, discover- 
ing such frightful rows of teeth ! whilst some appear to stick between thy teeth 
with their bodies sorely mangled.' 6 — It should be observed, that this frightful 
description of the Hindoo Supreme Being does not relate to the ferocious Kalee a 

e Wilkins's translation of the BhttgoViftft Geeta. 




drinking the blood of the giants ; but it is the playful Krishiui who thus shews 
his dreadful teeth, with the mangled bodies of the family of Dhritiirashtra 
sticking between them. 

No question occurs so frequently in the Hindoo shastriis as this — ' What 
is God ?' To know whether he exists or not, page upon page has been written ; 
and this question has been agitated in every period of Hindoo history, wherever 
two or three pandits happened to meet, with a solicitude, but, at the same time ? 
with an uncertainty, which carries us at once to the apostolic declaration, ' The 
world by wisdom knew not God.' Some pundits call him the invisible and 
ever-blessed ; others conceive of him as possessing form : others have the idea 
that he exists like an inconceivably small atom ; sometimes he is male ; at other 
times female ; sometimes both male and female, producing a world by conjugal 
union ; sometimes the elements assume his place, and at other times he is a 
deified hero. Thus in 330,000,000 of forms, or names, this nation, in the 
emphatical language of St. Paul, has been, from age to age, c feeling after' the 
Supreme Being, like men groping c in the region and shadow of death and, 
after so many centuries, the question is as much undetermined as ever — What 
is God ? 

One day, in conversation with the Sungskrita head-pundit of the College 
of Fort William, on the subject of God, this man, who is truly learned in hi s 
own shastrus, gave the author, from one of their books, the following parable : 
— In a certain country there existed a village of blind men, who had heard of an 
amazing animal called the elephant, of the shape of which, however, they could 
procure no idea. One day an elephant passed through the place : the villagers 
crowded to the spot where the animal was standing ; and one of them seized his 
trunk, another his ear, another his tail, another one of his legs. After thus 
endeavouring to gratify their curiosity, they returned into the village, and sittitfg 
down together, began to communicate their ideas on the shape of the elephant 
to the villagers : the man who had seized his trunk said, he thought this animal 
must be like the body of the plantain tree ; he who had touched his ear was of 
opinion, that he was like the winnowing fan ; the man who had laid hold of his 
tail said, he thought he must resemble a snake ; and he who had caught his leg 
declared, he must be like a pillar. An old blind man of some judgment was 
present, who, though greatly perplexed in attempting to reconcile these jarring 
notions, at length said — c You have all been to examine this animal, and what 
you report, therefore, cannot be false : I suppose, then, that the part resembling 
the plantain tree must be his trunk ; what you thought similar to a fan must be 
his ear ; the part like a snake must be the tail ; and that like a pillar must be 
his leg.' In this way the old man, uniting all their conjectures, made out 
something of the form of the elephant. — * Kespecting God/ added the pundit, 
e we are all blind ; none of us have seen him ; those who wrote the shastrus, like 
the old blind man, have collected all the reasonings and conjectures of mankind 
together, and have endeavoured to form some idea of the nature of the divine 



Being.' e It is an irresistible argument in favour of the majesty, simplicity, 
and truth of the Holy Scriptures, that nothing of this uncertainty has been left 
on the mind of the most illiterate Christian. However mysterious the subject, 
we never hear such a question started in Christian countries — What is God ? 

The doctrine of a plurality of gods, with their consequent intrigues, crimi- 
nal amours, quarrels, and stratagems to counteract each other, has produced the 
most fatal effects on the minds of men. Can we expect a people to be better 
than their ^ods '? Briimha was inflamed with evil desires towards his own 
daughter. f — Vishnoo, when incarnate as Banmna, deceived king Bulee, and 
deprived him of his kingdom.* — Shivfi's wife was constantly jealous on account 
of his amours, and charged him with associating with the women of a low caste 
at Coocb-Behar. The story of Shiva and Mohinee, a female form of Vishnoo; 
is shockingly indelicate. 11 — Yrihaspittee, the spiritual guide of the gods, com- 
mitted a rape on his eldest brother's wife. 1 — Intra was guilty of dishonouring 
the wife of his spiritual guide. k — Soory a ravished a virgin named Koontee. 1 — 
Yamii, in a passion, kicked his own mother, who cursed him, and afflicted him 
with a swelled leg, which to this day the worms are constantly devouring.*— 
Ugnee was inflamed with evil desires towards six virgins, the daughters of as 
many sages ; but w r as overawed by the presence of his wife n — Bnlnramu was 
a great drunkard . — Vayoo was cursed by Dakshii, for making his daughters 
crooked w T hen they refused his embraces. He is also charged with a scandalous 
connection with a female monkey. p — When Viiroona was walking in his own 
heaven, he was so smitten with the charms of Oorvtishee, a courtezan, that, 
after along contest, she was scarcely able to extricate herself from him. q — 
Krishnii's thefts, wars, and adulteries are so numerous, that his whole history 
seems to be one uninterrupted series cf crimes. r — In the images of Kalee, she 
is represented as treading on the breast of her husband, a — Lukshmee and 
Saras wiitee, the wives of Yishnoo, were continually quarrelling. * — It is worthy 
of enquiry, how the world is governed by these gods more wicked than men, 
that we may be able to judge how far they can be the objects of faith, hope, 
and affection. Let us open the Hindo sacred writings ; here we see the Creator 
and the Preserver perpetually counteracting each other. Sometimes the Preserver 
is destroying, and at other times the Destroyer is preserving. On a certain 
occasion, u Shiva granted to the great enemy of the gods, Baviina, a blessing 
which set all their heavens in an uproar, and drove the 330,000,000 of gods 
into a state of desperation. Briimha created Koombhu-kiirnn, a monster 
larger than the whole island of Lftnka ; but was obliged to doom him to an 
almost perpetual sleep, to prevent his producing an universal famine. This 

e Acts xvii. 27. f See Kalika pooranil s See Mfihabharrttrt. 

h Ibid. i Ibid. k ibid. 1 Ibid. 

m See Mtfhabharfttri. n Ibid. • Ibid. p See Kamayfmft. q Ibid. 
* See tbe Shree-bhagftvfrtit 8 See the Markfrndeytt poorann*. fc See the 

Vrihh'ddhttnnft' pooranft. u See the Ramyftntf. 



ood is often represented as bestowing a blessing, to remove the effects of which 
Vishnoo is obliged to become incarnate : nay, these effects have not in some cases 
been removed till all the gods have been dispossessed of their thrones, and obliged 
to go a begging ; till all human affairs have been thrown into confusion, and 
all the elements seized and turned against the Creator, tite Preserver, and the 
Reproducer. When some giant, blessed by Briimha, has destroyed the creation, 
Vishnoo and Shivn. have been applied to ; but they have confessed that they 
could do nothing for the tottering universe. 

Reverence for tne gods, especially among the poor, as might be expected, 
does not exceed their merits ; yet it is a shocking fact, that language like the 
following should be used respecting what the Hindoos suppose to be the Provi- 
dence which governs the world : — when it thunders awfully, respectable Hin- 
doos say, ' Oh ! the gods are giving us a bad day the lower orders say, • The 
rascally gods are dying.' During a heavy rain, a woman of respectable caste 
frequently says, e Let the gods perish ! my clothes are all wet.' A man of low 
caste says, ' These rascally gods are sending more rain.' 

In witnessing such a state of gross ignorance, on a subject of infinite 
moment to men, how forcibly do we feel the truth and the wisdom of the 
declaration of the Divine Author of the Christian religion, ' This is life eternal, 
to know thee the only true God !' A correct knowledge of the Divine perfec- 
tions, in the mind of a sincere Christian, is a treasure which transcends in value 
all the riches of the earth : for instance, how much does the doctrine of the 
Divine Unity tend to fix the hope and joy of the Christian ! but the poor Hin- 
doo knows not, amongst so many gods, upon whom to call, or in whom to trust. 
In the spirituality of the Divine Nature, united to omniscience and omnipresence, 
the Christian finds a large field for the purest and most sublime contemplations ; 
but the degraded idolater, walking round his pantheon, sees beings that fill him 
only with shame or terror : he retires from the image of Kalee overwhelmed with 
horror, and from those of Radha -Krishna, with confusion and contempt — or 
else inflamed with concupiscence. How effectual to awaken the fears and 
excite the salutary apprehensions of those who neglect their best interests, 
is the scripture doctrine of the Divine Purity and Justice ; but the 
wretched Hindoo has the examples of the most corrupt beings, even in his 
gods, to lead him to perdition. How necessary to the happiness of a good 
man, are just ideas of the wisdom, and equity, and beneficence, of providential 
dispensations : — the reader has seen how impossible it is for a Hindoo to 
derive the smallest consolation in adversity from the doctrine of the shastms 
respecting the government of the world. How consoling to a person, sensible of 
many failings, is the doctrine of the Divine Mercy : — but these heathens have 
nothing held out to encourage the hopes of the penitent ; nothing short of 
perfect abstraction, and the extinction of every desire, qualify for deliverance 
from matter, — The sincere Christian, with his knowledge of God, ' casteth all 
his care on his Father, who is in heaven and the language of his mind, 



invigorated by the living waters flowing from the fountain of eternal truth, is, 
* Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel ' Though I walk through the valley 
and even the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me ; thy 
rod and thy staff they comfort me.' 

The Hindoo writings farther teach, that it is the Great Spirit which is 
diffused through every form of animated matter; that actions of every kind are 
his ; that he is the charioteer, and the body the chariot ; x that it is the highest 
attainment of human wisdom to realize the fact, that the human soul and 
Briimhu are one and the same. By this doctrine all accountability is destroyed, 
and liability to punishment rendered preposterous. How often has the author 
heard it urged by the most sensible Hindoos, that the moving cause of every 
action, however flagitious, is God ; that man is an instrument upon which God 
plays what tune he pleases. Another modification of this doctrine is that of 
fate, or unchangeable destiny, embraced, without a dissentient voice, by all the 
Hindoos. Thus the Deity on his throne is insulted as the author of all crimes, 
and men are emboldened to rush forward in the swiftest career of iniquity. 

The sacred writings of the Hindoos encourage the bramhuns to despise 
the great body of the people, and teach them, that the very sight and touch of 
a shoodru renders them unclean. To be contented in ignorance is the duty of 
a shoodru, as well as to drink with reverence and hope the water in which the 
bramhun has dipped his foot. The services too and the hopes held forth by 
this religion, are almost exclusively confined to the bramhuns. The shoodru 
is supposed to be born to evil destiny ; and the only hope he can indulge is, 
that after a long succession of transmigrations he may probably be born a 

The subjugation of the passions, so much insisted upon in the Hindoo 
shastriis, applies to all virtuous as well as vicious desires. The person who is 
divested of all desire, even that of obtaining God, is described as having arrived 
at the summit of perfection. The love of parents, of children, &c. is an 
imperfection, according to the Hindoo code : hence says Krishna, c Wisdom is 
exemption from attachment and affection for children, wife, and home 7 

x See the Vedanttf-sarfr. 

y At the time a learned native was assisting the Rev. Mr. Carey in the transla- 
tion oi the New Testament into the Sftngskritrf, when such passages as these were 
translating, ' Henceforth know I no man after the flesh ' We are dead, and our life is 
hid,' &c. ' I am crucified to the world ;' ' We are fools for Christ ;' ' We are made a 
spectacle,' &c. he exclaimed, ' This is pure voirageeism : Paul was a true Purum- 
hungsee.' Yet the divine principles upon which Paul trampled upon the world, and 
devoted himself supremely to God, have no existence in the shatrfts. The Hindoo 
principle is mere stoicism ; its origin is either selfishness, or infatuated ambition : but 
the principle of the apostle, was the love of Christ, who died on a cross for his 
enemies— as he himself says, « The love of Christ, like an irresistible torrent, bears us 
away 4 If we are beside ourselves, it is for your sakes.' 



These shastrfts also teach, that sin may be removed by the slightest cere- 
mony ; and thus, instead of reforming, they promise impunity in transgression. 
See different stories in pp. 51, 168, 170. 

The Mt'huryvn vedu contains many prayers for the destruction of enemies ; 
and gives a list of offerings proper to be presented to Bhiigiiv'rttee, that she may 
be induced to assist in the gratification of revengeful passions : among the rest, 
the worshipper is to make a paste image of a man, cut off its head, and offer 
this head to the goddess, with a burnt-sacrifice, &c. Is it not reasonable to 
suppose, that human sacrifices preceded the cutting off the head of this man of 
paste ; and that one man was sacrificed and offered to the gods to induce them 
to destroy another ? 

In the Institutes of Miinoo a man is allowed to commit adultery, if the 
female consent ; to steal, for the sake of performing a religious ceremony ; and 
to perjure himself, from benevolent motives : they also allow of lying, to 
preserve the life of a bramlmn, to appease an angry wife, or to please a mistress. z 
What is still worse, in this code a bramhiin, in case of want, is permitted to 
steal, not from the rich merely, but — from his slave ! It is a common senti- 
ment among this people, that in secular transactions lying is absolutely necessary ; 
and perjury is so common, that it is impossible to rely upon the testimony of 
Hindoo witnesses. The natives ridicule the idea of administering justice by 
oral testimony. 

I have given in p. 282, a few examples of persons raised to heaven 
by their own works, to shew that these works have nothing to do with 
real morality. But how shall we describe the unutterable abominations con- 
nected with the popular superstition ? The author has witnessed scenes which 
can be clothed in no language, and has heard of other abominations practised in 
the midst of religious rites, and in the presence of the gods, which, if they 
could be described, would fill the whole Christian world with disgust and 
horror. Let impenetrable darkness cover them till ' the judgment of the 
great day.' 

Men are sufficiently corrupt by nature, without any outward excitements 
to evil in the public festivals ; nor have civil nor spiritual terrors, the frowns of 
God and governors united, been found sufficient to keep within restraint the 

z If a man, by the impulse of lust, tell lies to a woman, or if his own life would 
otherwise be lost, or all the goods of his house spoiled, or if it is for the benefit of a 
bramhhn, in such affairs falsehood is allowable.' Halhetfs Code of Gentoo Laws.— Row 
can we wonder that the Hindoos should be so addicted to falsehood, when even in the 
rig-vedh\ approached with profound reverence by so many Christian infidels, we find 
monstrous exaggerations like the following ?— * Bhh'rh'tu' distributed in Mnshnarh* a 
hundred and seven thousand millions of black elephants with white tusks, and decked 
with gold.' < A sacred fire was righted for Bhnrfttif, son of Dooshhntri, in Sachigoontf, 
at which a thousand bramhtfns shared a thousand millions of cows a piece.' See Mr. 
Colebroohe's Essay. 


overflowings of iniquity : — but what must be the moral state of that country, 
where the sacred festivals, and the very forms of religion, lead men to every 
species of vice ! These festivals and public exhibitions excite universal atten- 
tion, and absorb, for weeks together, almost the whole of the public 
conversation :]and such is the enthusiasm with which they are hailed, that the 
whole country seems to be thown into a ferment : health, property, time, 
business, every thing is sacrificed to them. In this manner are the people 
prepared to receive impressions from their national institutions. If these 
institutions were favourable to virtue, the effects would be most happy ; but as. 
in addition to their fascination, they are exceedingly calculated to corrupt the 
mind, the most dreadful consequences follow, and vice, like a mighty torrent, 
flows through the plains of Bengal, with the force of the flood-tide of the 
Ganges, carrying along with it young and old, the learned and the ignorant, 
rich and poor, all castes and descriptions of people — into an awful eternity ! 

In short, the characters of the gods, and the licentiousness which prevails 
at their festivals, and abounds in their popular works, with the enervating 
nature of the climate, have made the Hindoos the most effeminate and corrupt 
people on earth. I have, in the course of this w r ork, exhibited so many 
proofs of this fact, that I will not again disgust the reader by going into 
the subject. Suffice it to say, that fidelity to marriage vows is almost unknown 
among the Hindoos ; the intercourse of the sexes approaches very near to that 
of the irrational animals. The husband almost invariably lives in criminal 
intercourse durirjg the pupilage of his infant wife ; and she, if she becomes a 
widow, cannot marry, and in consequence, being destitute of a protector and of 
every moral principle, becomes a willing prey to the lascivious. 

Add to all this, the almost incredible number of human victims which annu- 
ally fall in this Aceldama. I have ventured on an estimate of the number of 
Hindoos who annually perish, the victims of the bramhinical religion ; (p. 
254,) and have supposed, that they cannot amount to less than 10,500 ! 
Every additional information I obtain, and the opinions of the best informed 
persons with whom I am acquainted, confirm me in the opinion, that this 
estimate is too low, that the havoc is far greater, however difficult it may be 
to bring the mind to contemplate a scene of horror which out-does all that has 
ever been perpetrated in the name of religion by all the savage nations put to- 
gether. These cruelties, together with the contempt which the Hindoos feel for 
the body as a mere temporary shell, cast off at pleasure, and the disorganizing 
effects of the caste, render them exceedingly unfeeling and cruel : of which their 
want of every national provision fur the destitute ; their leaving multitudes to 
perish before their own doors, unpitied and even unnoticed ; the inhuman manner 
in which they burn the bodies of their deceased relations, and their savage 
triumph when spectators of a widow burning in the flames of the funeral pile, 
are awful examples. 



But to know the Hindoo idolatry, as it is, a person must wade through 
the filth of the thirty-six pooratms and other popular books — he must read 
and hear the modern popular poems and songs — he must follow the bramhun 
through his midnight orgies, before the image of Kalee, and other goddesses ; or 
he must accompany him to the nightly revels, the jatras, and listen to the filthy 
dialogues which are rehearsed respecting Krishna and the daughters of the milk- 
men ; or he must watch him, at midnight, choking, with the mud and waters of 
the Ganges, a wealthy rich relation, while in the delirium of a fever ; or, at the 
same hour, while murdering an unfaithful wife, or a supposed domestic enemy ; 
burning the body before it is cold, and washing the blood from his hands in 
the sacred stream of the Ganges ; or he must look at the bramhun, hurrying 
the trembling half-dead widow round the funeral pile, and throwing her, like a 
long of wood by the side of the dead body of her husband, tying her, and then 
holding her down with bamboo levers till the fire has deprived her of the power 
of rising and running away. — After he has followed the bramhun through all 
these horrors, he will only have approached the threshold of this temple of 
Moloch, and he will begin to be convinced, that to know the Hindoo idolatry, 
as it is, a man must become a Hindoo — rather, he must become a bramhun ; 
for a poor shoodru, by the very circumstances of his degradation, is restrained 
from many abominations which bramhtms alone are privileged to commit. And 
when he has done this, let him meditate on this system in its effects on the mind 
of the afflicted or dying Hindoo, as described in pp. 277, 278, and 285 ; on 
reading which description he will perceive, that in distress the Hindoo utters 
the loudest murmurs against the gods, and dies in the greatest perplexity and 
agitation of mind. 

The state of things serves to explain the mysterious dispensations of Provi- 
dence, in permitting the Hindoos to remain s© long in darkness, and in causing 
them to suffer so much formerly under their Mahometan oppressors. The mur- 
der of so many myriads of victims has armed heaven against them. Let us 
hope that now, in the midst of judgment, a gracious Providence has remembered 
mercy, and placed them under the fostering care of the British government, 
that they may enjoy a happiness to which they have been hitherto strangers. 

If then this system of heathenism communicates no purifying knowledge 
of the divine perfections, supplies no one motive to holiness while living, no com- 
fort to the afflicted, no hope to the dying ; but on the contrary excites to every 
vice, and hardens its followers in the most flagrant crimes ; how are we to account 
for the conduct of its apologists, except in the recollection, that the sceptical part 
of mankind have always been partial to heathenism. Voltaire, Gibbon, Hume, 
&c. have been often charged with a strong partiality for the Grecian and Eoman 
idolatries ; and many Europeans in India are suspected of having made large 
strides towards heathenism. Even Sir Wm. Jones, whose recommendation of 
the Holy Scriptures (found in his Bible after his death) has been so often and 
so deservedly quoted, it is said, to please his pundit, was accustomed to study 



the shastriis with the image of a Hindoo god placed on his table: — his fine 
metrical translations of idolatrous hymns are known to every lover of verse. d 
In the same spirit, we observe, that figures and allusions to the ancient idola- 
tries are retained in almost all modern poetical compositions, and even in some 
Christian writings. 

However wonderful this partiality of professed Christians to heathenism 
may be, it is not more extraordinary than the extravagant lengths into which 
some learned men have gone in their expectations from the antiquity of the 
Hindoo writings. Mr. Halhed seems to prefer Hindooism to Christianity pure- 
ly on account of its boasted antiquity 6 . Dr. Stiles, president of Yale College, 
in North America, formed such an enthusiastic expectation from the amazing 
antiquity of the Hindoo writings, that he actually wrote to Sir William Jones, 
to request him to search among the Hindoos for the Adamic books. Had not 
this gentleman been a zealous Christian,- it is likely his extravagant expectations 
might have led him to ask Sir William to translate and send him a book two or 
three millions of years old, written in some krilpli amidst the endless succession 
of worlds. 

For sometime, a very unjust and unhappy impression appeared to have 
been made on the public mind, by the encomiums passed on the Hindoo writings. 
In the first place, they were thus elevated in their antiquity beyond the Chris- 
tian Scriptures^ the writings of Moses having been called the productions of 
yesterday, compared with those of the bramhiins. The contents of these books 
also were treated with the greatest reverence ; the primitive religion of the Hin- 
doos, it was said, revealed the most sublime doctrines, and inculcated a pure 
morality. We were taught to make the greatest distinction between the 
ancient and modern religion of the Hindoos ; for the apologists for Hindooism 
did not approve of its being judged of by present appearances. Some persons 
endeavoured to persuade us, that the Hindoos were not idolaters, because they 
maintained the unity of God ; though they worshipped the works of their own 
hands as God, and though the number of their gods was 330,000,000. It is 

d ' I could not help feeling a degree of regret, in reading lately the Memoirs of the 
admirable and estimable Sir William Jones. Some of his researches in Asia have no 
doubt incidentally served the cause of religion ; but did he think the last possible di- 
rect service had been rendered to Christianity, that his accomplished mind was left at 
leisure for hymns to the Hindoo gods ? Was not this a violation even of the neutrality, 
and an offence, not only against the gospel, but against theism itself ? I know what 
may be said about personification, license of poetry, and so on : but should not a wor- 
shipper of God hold himself under a solemn obligation to adjure all tolerance of even 
poetical figures that can seriously seem, in any way whatever, to recognize the pagan 
divinities, or abominations, as the prophets of Jehovah would have called them ? What 
would Elijah have said to such an employment of talents ? It would have availed little 
to have told him, that these divinities were only personifications (with their appropriate 
representative idols) of objects in nature, of elements, or of abstractions. He would 
have sternly replied — And was not Baal, whose prophets I destroyed, the sams ?' See 
Fosters incomparable Essays. 

e Is Mr. Halhed an example of the amazing credulity of unbelievers in every case, 
wherein the Holy Bible is not concerned ? When he wrote his ' Code of Gentoo Laws/ 



very probable, that the unity of God has been a sentiment amongst the 
philosophers of every age ; and that they wished it to be understood, that 
they worshipped the One God, whether they bowed before the image of Moloch, 
Jupiter, or Kalee : yet mankind have generally concluded, that he who worships 
an image is an idolater ; and I suppose they will continue to think so, unless, in 
this age of reason, common sense should be turned out of doors. 

Now, however, the world has had some opportunity of deciding upon the 
claims of the Hindoo writings, both as it respects their antiquity, and the value 
of their contents. Mr. Colebrooke's essay on the vedfis, and his other import- 
ant translations ; the Bhugiivut-Geeta, translated by Mr. Wilkins ; the trans- 
lation of the Ramayunii, several volumes of which have been printed ; some 
valuable papers in the Asiatic Researches ; with other translations by different 
Siingskrita scholars ; have thrown a great body of light on this subject : — and 
this light is daily increasing. 

Many an object appears beautiful when seen at a distance, and through a 
mist ; but when the fog has dispersed, and the person has approached it, he 
smiles at the deception. Such is the exact case with these books, and this 
system of idolatry. Because the public, for want of being more familiar with the 
subject, could not ascertain the point of timeSvhen the Hindoo shastrus were 
written, they therefore at once believed the assertions of the bramhrms and their 
friends, that their antiquity was unfathomable. 

The Reverend Mr. Maurice has attempted to describe the Hindoo cere- 
monies, which he never saw, in the most captivating terms, and has painted 
these c abominable idolatries' in the most florid colours. It might have been 
expected, (idolatry being in itself an act so degrading to man, and so dishonour- 
able to God,) that a Christian divine would have been shocked while writing 
in this manner. If Mr. Maurice think there is something in Hindooism to 
excite the most sublime ideas, let him come and join in the dance before the 
idol; — or assist the bramhuns in crying Huree bull Huree bul* ! while the 

he hesitated to believe the Bible, because it was out done in chronology by the his. 
tories of the Chinese and Hindoos. "With sacred reverence he exclaims, at the close 
of his account of the four yoogtis, c To such antiquity the Mosaic creation is but as 
yesterday ; and to such ages the life of Methuselah is no more than a span !' He says, 
in another page, ' The conscientious scruples of Brydone will always be of some weight 
in the scale of philosophy.' If the age or reign of Brifmha, viz., 55,987,200,000,000 
years, excited such sacred awe in the mind of this gentleman, what would have been 
his sensations, and how strong his faith in ' holy writ' of the Hindoos, if he had hap- 
pened to read in the Kamayunu the account of Ramu's army ; which, this ' holy writ' 
says, amounted to 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 soldiers, or rather monkies ? Again, 
two thousand times the four yoogiSs, or 8,640,000,000 years, is the age of the sage 
MarkfindSktf ! What, in the name of Mr. Halhed, is the life Of Methuselah to this ?— 
This unbeliever in Moses became at last, it is said, a firm believer in Richard Brothers ! 

f Sounds of triumph, which the brambitns use when the fire of the funeral pile 
begins to burn, and when they are choking a dying person with the water of the 
Ganges. These words literally mean, 'call upon Huree,' or repeat the name of Hhree, 
viz., Krishna'. In their popular use, they are like the English phrase, huzza / huzza ! 



fire is seizing the limbs of the young and unfortunate Hindoo widow ; — or let 
him attend at the sacrificing of animals before the images of Kalee and 
Doorga ; — or come and join in the dance, stark naked, in the public street, in 
open day, before the image of Doorga, in the presence of thousands of spectators, 
young and old, male and female. He will find, that the sight will never make 
these holy bramhtms, these mild and innocent Hindoos, blush for a moment. — 
Seriously, should sights like these raise the ardour of enthusiasm, or chill the 
blood of a Christian minister ? Say, ye who blush for human nature sunk in 
shame. As a clergyman, Mr. Maurice should have known, that antiquity 
sanctifies nothing : — ' The sinner, being an hundred years old, shall be 

What will a sober Christian say to the two following paragraphs, inserted 
in the fifth volume of the Indian Antiquities ? s ' Mr. Forbes, of Stanmore-hill, 
in his elegant museum of Indian rarities, numbers two of the bells that have 
been used in devotion by the bramhuns. They are great curiosities, and one of 
them in particular appears to be of very high antiquity, in form very much 
resembling the cup of the lotos ; and the tune of it is uncommonly soft and 
melodious. I could not avoid being deeply affected with the sound of an 
instrument which had been actually employed to kindle the flame of that 
superstition, which I have attempted so extensively to unfold. My transported 
thoughts travelled back to the remote period, when the bramhiin religion 
blazed forth in all its splendour in the caverns of elephanta : I was, for a 
moment, entranced, and caught the ardour of enthusiasm. A tribe of vener- 
able priests, arrayed in flowing stoles, and decorated with high tiaras, seemed 
assembled around me; the mystic song of initiation vibrated in my ear; I 
breathed an air fragrant with the richest perfumes, and contemplated the Deity 
in the fire that symbolized him.' In another place: — 'She [the Hindoo 
religion] wears the similitude of a beautiful and radiant Cherub from Heaven, 
bearing on his persuasive lips the accents of pardon and peace, and on his 
silken wings benefaction and blessing.' 

The sacred scriptures, of which this writer professes to be a teacher, in 
every part, mark idolatry as the abominable thing which God hateth. 
Mr. Maurice calls it, £ a beautiful and radiant cherub from heaven.' How this 
Christian minister will reconcile his ideas of idolatry with those of his Great 
Master in the great day of final account, I must leave ; but I recommend to 
him, and to all Europeans who think there is not much harm in Hindooism, 
the perusal of the following passages from the word of the true and living 
God : — 

c If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or 
the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee 
secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, 

s While the author cannot but withhold his assent from Mr. Maurice's application 
of the Hindoo triad, and the whole of his attempt to illustrate Scripture doctrines from 
the ancient systems of idolatry, he embraces this opportunity of expressing his admira- 
tion of the great merit of this singular and masterly work* 



thou, nor thy fathers ; (namely, of the gods of the people which are round about 
you, nish unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even 
unto the other end of the earth ;) thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken 
unto him ; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither 
shalt thou conceal him : but thou shall surely kill him; thine hand shall be first 
upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And 
thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die because he hath sought to thrust 
thee away from the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, 
from the house of bondage. And all Israel shall hear and fear, and shall do 
no more any such wickedness as this is among you.' Deut. xiii. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 
11. — I quote this remarkable passage, not because I think the Christian dispen- 
sation allows of punishing idolaters with death, but to shew how marked is the 
divine abhorrence of this sin. 

c And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and 
cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor 
you.' Leviticus xxvi. 30. — ' Cursed be the man that maketh any graven image, 
any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the Lord, the work of the 
hands of the craftsmen, and putteth it in a secret place. And all the people 
shall answer and say, Amen.' Deut. xxvii. 15. — ' Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, 
the God of Israel, Ye have seen all the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, 
and upon all the cities of Judah ; and, behold, this day they are a desolation, 
and no man dwelleth therein. Because of their wickedness which they have 
committed to provoke me to anger, in that they went to burn incense, and to 
serve other gods, whom they knew not, neither they, ye, nor your fathers. 
Howbeit, I sent unto you all my servants the prophets, rising early aud send- 
ing them, saying, O do not this abominable thing that I hate. But 
they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear to turn from their wickedness, to 
burn no incense unto other gods. Wherefore my fury and mine anger was pour- 
ed forth, and was kindled in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem ; 
and they are wasted and desolate, as at this day.-' Jeremiah xliv. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. 
■— c And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols V 2 Cor. vi. 16. — ■ 
' For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the 
Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, 
banquetings, and abominable idolatries.' 1st Peter iv. 3. — ' But the fearful, 
and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whore-mongers, and 
sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake -which 
burnetii w r ith fire and brimstone : which is the second death.' Rev. xxi. 3. 

Let every conscientious Christian fairly weigh these portions of the divine 
word, and then say, whether there be not, according to the spirit of these pas- 
sages, a great degree of criminality attached to the person who in any way 
countenances idolatry. I am not ashamed to confess, that I fear more for the 
continuance of the British power in India, from the encouragement which 
Englishmen have given to the idolatry of the Hindoos, than from any other 
quarter whatever. The Governor of the world said to the Israelites, in parti- 
cular reference to idolatry, ' If ye walk contrary to me, I will walk contrary to 
you.' Moses, in the name, of Jehovah, thus threatens the Jews, if they 



countenance id olatry : — ' I call heaven and earth to witness against you this 
day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over 
Jordan to possess it : ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly 
be destroyed.' It cannot be doubted, that in every case in which either a 
person, or a nation, begiDS to think favourably of idolatry, it is a mark of 
departure in heart and practice from the living God: it was always so con- 
sidered among the Jews. There is scarcely any thing in Hindooism, when 
truly known, in which a learned man can delight., or of which a benevolent man 
can approve ; and I am fully persuaded, that there will soon be but one opinion 
on the subject, and that this opinion will be, that the Hindoo system is less 
ancient than the Egyptian, and that it is the most puerile, impure, and 


To this description of the Hindoo Mythology, the author has added ac- 
counts of the principal Hindoo Seceders, including the sects founded by 
Boocldhu, Bishubhu-devii, Nanukii, and Choitiinyu. 

All the founders of these sects appear to have been religious mendicants, 
who, animated by excessive enthusiasm, have attempted to carry certain points 
of the Hindoo system farther than the regular Hindoos, particularly those 
which respect severe mortifications- Nanukii and Choitiinyu were less rigid, and 
do not seem to have pressed the importance of religious austerities. Booddhii 
and Bishudhu-devti evidently adhered to the systems of those Hindoo philoso- 
phers who were atheists. 11 

Both these systems are comprised in two or three doctrines .- — the world 
is eternal, and possesses in itself the energy which gives rise to what we call 
creation, preservation, and resuscitation ; religion (Dluirrau) regulates all states, 
and is in fact what Christians call providence, connected with absolute predes- 
tination ; the person who acquires the greatest portion of dhurmu becomes a 
personification of religion, procures happiness for himself, and deserves the 
worship of others. Amongst all excellent qualities, compassion is the cardinal 
virtue, especially as manifested in a rigid care not to hurt or destroy sentient 

Without abating an atom of our abhorrence and contempt of a scheme of 
religion which excludes a God, it is a singular feature of this system of atheism, 
that it has placed the sceptre of universal government in an imagined being 
under the name of Beligion ; or, to speak more correctly, in the hands of two 
beings, Beligion and Irreligion, who have the power of rewarding and punish, 
ing the virtuous and the vicious. In short, these heresiarchs have not promul- 
gated a system of atheism, without making some provision for the interests of 
morality in their way ; and if the idea of punishment alone would make men 
virtuous, a Bouddhii and a Joinu might attain a place in the niche of fame not 
much below thousands who believe in a First Cause. 

h The Shee-bhagtivtitu mentions Booddhii as the son of Unjffnh', of.Keekh'th' ; 
and that Charvvakri, a celebrated atheist, embraced and published the real opinions 
of Booddhii. See Shree-bhagKvrftrf, chap. i. sect. 3, 



As men are bora under a certain destiny and as every action produces its 
destined fruit, little is left to human exertion, and in consequence religious 
ceremonies have little place in these systems. The only object of worship is a 
deceased or living perfect ascetic : the former has temples erected to his memory, 
which contain his image, and before which a few ceremonies are performed 
similar to those before the Hindoo idols ; and the living mendicant is wor- 
shipped by the devout, wherever he happens to rest from his peregrinations. 

These men have almost entirely excluded from their system a social life ; 
and at present those Joiniis, who find the rules of their guides too strict, are 
obliged to solicit the forms of marriage at the hands of some Hindoo priest. 
In the translation of the Te'mee Jatli, a Bouddhii work, (see p. 312,) the reader 
will perceive, that a monarch and all his subjects abandoned a civil life at the 
call of the monarch's son, an ascetic, and sought in a forest that abstraction 
from secular concerns which they considered as an essential preparation for re- 
union to the divine essence. 

The ceremonies of these two sects are all comprised in the worshipping of 
their saints, rehearsing their praises, listening to their sayings or written works s 
and a rigid care to avoid the destruction of animal life, even in its most 
diminutive forms. The Booddhiis and Joimis have not excluded, it is true, 
every thing pleasant from their religion, for a number of festivals are celebrated 
among them monthly or annually : but there is reason to suppose, that these 
are no parts of the original system, but the additions of mendicants less rigid 
in their principles and less austere in their manners. 

The Joiniis speak of the Bouddhiis with a degree of contempt, as being very 
loose in their practice, praticularly as it regards the destruction of animal life. 
from this circumstance, and from the Joiniis being still found in Hindoost'- 
hanii, as well as from the fact that they trace their religion up to a very early 
Hindoo monarch, it may be conjectured, that they are the oldest of the two 
sects, and are the scattered remnants of those persecuted under the name of 
atheists, after the destruction of the Goutiimii dynasty, or, as they were then 
called, Bouddhiis. 

Naniiku, the Shikh leader, does not appear to have had any connection 
with the atheists ; he disapproved of the excessive polytheism of the Hindoos, 
and wished to draw them to the worship of the one God, whom, however, he 
called by the names usually adopted by the Hindoos : Briimhti, Purum-eshwiirii, 
Unadee, Nirakani, &c. He did not publicly reprobate those parts of the 
Hindoo system to which he was most averse, but contented himself with observ- 
ing, that while he left them indifferent, the practice of them would not be ac- 
companied with the benefits held out by the Hindoo writers. He formed, from 
the bramhinical system, a new one, having little polytheism in it, but borrowing- 
all its principal doctrines from the Hindoo writings ; and he and his successors 
incorporated the whole in two volumes. The principal tenets of this seceder 
are : There is one invisible God, who is to be worshipped or honoured in holy 
men ; his name is to be repeated ; that spiritual guide is to be reverenced ; all 
evil avoided : if images be'adopted, they should be those of eminent ascetics. 



Future happiness, consisting in union to the divine nature, is secured to those 
Sliikhs who observe the rules laid down by their sacred books. 

Choitiinyu, the last of the seceders, departed still less from regular 
Hindooism : his principal opposition was aimed at the rising sect of the 
shaktiis, or those who worship the female deities with bloody sacrifices : he 
testified his abhorrence of the destruction of animal life in sacrifices, and 
professed to be a rigid Voishniivii, adopting Krishna, or Hiiree, as his favourite 
deity. He did not proscribe the other gods, but set up Vishnoo as uniting all 
in himself; nor did he explode any tenet of Hindooism beside that relating 
to bloody sacrifices. A devout attachment to Krishnu ; a strict union among all 
his followers ; reverence for religious mendicants ; visiting holy places ; re- 
peating the name of Hiiree, and entertaining mendicant Voishniivhs, compose 
the prime articles in the creed of this sect. 

Such are the systems established by these Hindoo heresiarchs, each of 
which, though different in many essential points, is distinguished by one re- 
markable feature, reverence for mendicant saints, especially those who seem to 
have carried abstraction of mind, seclusion from the world, and religious austeri- 
ties to the greatest lengths. Among the atheistical sects, these mendicants are 
regarded as personifications of religion ; and among the two last, as partial 
incarnations, or persons approaching the state of re-union to the Great Spirit. 

Respecting the priority of the atheistical or the baramhinical systems, the 
author has not been able entirely to satisfy his own mind. Some persons 
conjecture, that they see a coincidence betwixt the doctrines of the vedris, and 
of the atheistical sects, respecting the origin of things, and the worship of the 
elements. It may be safely added, that to these systems succeeded the pouranie 
mythology, and after that the worship of the female deities with bloody sacri- 
fices. The whole of these systems, however, when more generally known, will, 
no doubt, exceedingly endear the 'Word of Truth* to every sincere Christian, 
and more and more prove, how deep and important a stake he has in the 
glorious gospel of the blessed God. 






It is a painful reflection to every benevolent mind, that not 
a single Hindoo temple, dedicated to the One God, is to be found 
in all Hindoost'han ; nor is any act of worship, in any form, 
addressed by this people to God. The doctrines respecting the 
Divine Nature are considered as mere philosophical speculations, 
totally unconnected with religious services. 

It is true, indeed, that the Hindoos believe in the unity of 
God. ' One Brumhu, without a second,' is a phrase very commonly 
used by them when conversing on subjects which relate to the 
nature of God. They believe also that God is almighty, allwise, 
omnipresent, omniscient, &c, and they frequently speak of him as 
embracing in his government the happiness of the good, and the 
subjection or punishment of the bad : yet they have no idea of 
God's performing any act, either of creation or providence, except 
through the gods ; and thus are prevented all the beneficial effects 
which might have arisen out of their notions of the divine perfec- 
tions : for in the whole of the reigning superstition the gods alone 
are seen ; and these gods bear no more resemblance to the one true 
God, than darkness to light, than vice to virtue. 

Perceiving, therefore, that the speculations of the Hindoo 
philosophers on the divine nature have no place whatever in the 
religion of the country, I have placed these dogmas in the preceding 
volume. ; f see Introduction, 




The deities in the Hindoo pantheon amount to 330,000,000, 
Yet all these gods and goddesses may be resolved into the three 
principal ones, Vishnoo, Shivu, and Bramha ; the elements ; and 
the three females, Doorga Lukshmee, and Suraswutee. The follow- 
ing pages will contain accounts of all those at present worshipped 
by the Hindoos, particularly in the provinces of India under the 
English government. 

Sect. I. — Vishnoo. 

This god is represented in the form of a black man, with four 
arms ; in one of which he holds a club, in another a shell, in the 
third a chukru a , and in the fourth a water-lily. He rides on 
Gtirooru, an animal half-bird and half-man, and wears yellow 

The Hindoo shastrtis give accounts of ten appearances or incar- 
nations of Vishnoo, in the character of the Preserver ; nine of 
which are said to be past. 

The first is called the Mtitsyu incarnation. Brumhia b , the one 
God, when he resolves to recreate the universe after a periodical 
destruction, first gives birth to Brumha, Vishnoo, and Shivu, to 
preside over the work of creation, preservation, and destruction. 
After a periodical dissolution of the universe, the four vedus re- 
mained in the waters. In order to enter upon the work of creation, 
it was necessary to obtain these books, for the instruction of Brumha. 
Vishnoo was therefore appointed to bring up the vedus from the 
deep ; who, taking the form of a fish, (some say one kind and some 
another,) descended into the waters, and brought up these sacred 

In the Kuchyupu. incarnation, Vishnoo assumed the form of a 
tortoise, and took the newly created earth upon his back, to render 
it stable. The Hindoos believe that to this hour the earth is sup- 
ported on the back of this tortoise. 

The Vurahu incarnation happened at one of the periodical des- 
tructions of the world, when the earth sunk into the waters. Vish- 
noo, the preserver, appearing in the form of a boar (vurahu), des- 
cended into the waters, and with his tusks drew up the earth. 

a An iron instrument of destruction like a wheel. 

b The reader will please to keep in mind that Brurnhu means the one God, and 
that Brumha means the idol of that name. 

Published by J-Ki^iribottiain, ^adr** 

A. Barren " tliotf 



What contemptible ideas on such a subject ! The earth, with all its 
mountains, &c. &c. made fast on the back of a turtle, or drawn up 
from the deep by the tusks of a hog ! 

The fourth incarnation is called Numsinghu . Among other des- 
cendants ofDukshu, (the first man that Brumhajcreated,) was Kush- 
yupu, a moonee, and his four wives, Ditee, Uditee, Yintita, and 
Ktidroo. From Ditee, sprang the giants ; from Uditee, the gods ; 
from Yiniita, G&rooru ; and from Ktidroo, the hydras. The giants 
possessed amazing strength, and amongst them two arose of terrific 
powers, named Himnyakshu and Hirunyu-kushipoo, both of whom 
performed religious austerities many thousand years to obtain im- 
mortality. Brumha at length gave them a blessing apparently 
equivalent to that which they desired. He promised, that no com- 
mon being should destroy them ; that they should not die either 
in the day or in the night, in earth or in heaven, by fire, by water, 
or by the sword. After this these giants conquered all the king- 
doms of the earth, and even dethroned Indru., the king of heaven. 
Indru, collecting all the gods, went to Brumha, and intreated him 
to provide some way of deliverance, as the universe which he had 
created was destroyed. Brumha asked the gods, how he could 
destroy those who had obtained his blessing ? and advised them to 
go to Yishnoo. They obeyed, and informed this god of the miseries 
brought upon the universe by these giants, whom Brumha had 
blessed. Sarayunu promised to destroy them, which he did in the 
following manner : Himnyti-kushipoo's son Prulhadu was constan- 
tly absent from home performing religious austerities, at which his 
father became angry, and, tying a stone to his body, threw him 
into the water ; but Vishnoo descended, and liberated him. His 
father next threw him under the feet of an elephant ; but the 
elephant took him up, and put him on its back. He then built a house 
of sealing wax, put his son into it, and set it on fire ; the wax melted, 
and fell upon Prulhadu, but he received no injury. The father next 
gave him poison, but without effect. At length, wearied of trying 
to kill him, he said, ' Where does your preserver Yishnoo dwell V 
'He is every where,' says Prulhadu. ' Is he then in this pillar V 
'Yes,' said the son. 'Then,' said Hirunyu-kushipoo, 'I will kill 
him,' and gave the pillar a blow with his stick — when Yishnoo, in 
the form of half-lion, half-man, burst from the pillar; laid hold of 
Hirunyu-kushipoo by the thighs with his teeth, and tore him up 
the middle. This was in the evening, so that it was neither in. 
the day nor in the night ; it was done under the droppings of 
the thatch, about which the Hindoos have a proverb, that this 
place is out of the earth; he was not killed by a man, but by a 
being half-man, half-lion : so that the promise of Brumha to him 
was not broken. Yishnoo next destroyed Hirunyakshu. After 
the death of his father, Prulhadu began to worship Yishnoo under 

c From nUru, a man ; and singhu, a lion, 



the form which he had assumed, and with tears, enquired into the 
future fate of his father. Vishnoo assured him, that as he had 
died by his hands, he would surely ascend to heaven. Vishnoo 
was so pleased with the praises which Prulhadti bestowed on him, 
that he began to dance, hanging the entrails of Hiruny ii-kushipoo 
round his neck. By Vishnoo's dancing, the earth began to move 
out of its place, so that Brumha and all the gods were frightened, 
but durst not go near him. However, at the entreaties of Prulha- 
du, Vishnoo gave over dancing ; the earth became fixed, and Vish- 
noo gave Prul had u. this promise, that by his hands none of his 
race should die. 

The fifth is the Vamunu incarnation. Prulhadu's grandson 
Bulee followed the steps of his great-grandfather, and committed 
every kind of violence. In contempt of the gods, he made offer- 
ings in his own name. He performed the •ftshwumedhu sacrifice 
one hundred times, by which he was entitled to become the king 
of the gods ; but as the time of the then reigning Indrii was not 
expired, the latter applied for relief to Vishnoo, who promised 
to destroy this giant : to accomplish which he caused himself to be 
born of Uditee, the wife of Kushyupu, the moonee. Being ex- 
ceedingly small in his person, he obtained the name of Vamunil, 
i. e., the dwarf. At a certain period king Bulee was making a 
great sacrifice, and Vamunu's parents being very poor, sent him 
to ask a gift of the king. It is customary, at a festival, to 
present gifts to bramhuns. Vamunit was so small, that in his 
journey to the place of sacrifice, when he got to the side of a hole 
made by a cow's foot, and which was filled with water, he thought 
it was a river, and entreated another bramhun to help him 
over it. On his arrival, he went to ask a gift of Billee, The 
king was so pleased with him, on account of his diminutive 
form, that he promised to give him whatever he should ask. He 
petitioned only for as much land as he could measure by three 
steps. Bulee pressed him to ask for more, intimating that such 
a quantity was nothing ; but Vamunu persisted, and the king, 
ordered his priest to read the usual formulas in making such a pre- 
sent. The priest warned the king, declaring he would repent of 
making this gift ; for the little bramhun was no other than 
Vishnoo himself, who would deprive him of all he had. The king, 
however, was determined to fulfil his promise, and the grant was 
made. Vamunu' then placed one foot on Indru's heaven, and the 
other on the earth, when, lo ! a third leg suddenly projected from 
his belly, and he asked for a place upon which he might rest this 
third foot, Bulee, having nothing left, and being unable to fulfil 
his promise, was full of anxiety. His wife, having heard what was 
going forward, came to the spot, and, seeing the king's perplexity, 
advised him to give his head for Vamunu to set his foot upon. He 
did so ; but Vamunu then asked for what is called dukshinu, a 
small present which accompanies a gift, and without which the 


gift itself produces no fruit to the giver. Bulee knew not what to 
do for dukshinii : his all was gone. His wife advised him to give 
his life to Vaumnu as dukshind. He did this also ; but the latter 
told him, that as he had promised Prulhadu not to destroy any of 
his race, he would not take his life. He therefore gave him his 
choice either of ascending to heaven, taking with him five ignorant 
persons ; or of descending to patulu, the world of the hydras, with 
five wise men A . Bulee chose the latter, but said that as he had 
done much mischief on earth, he was afraid of going to patulu, 
lest he should there be punished for his crimes. Yamuna told him 
not to fear, as he would, in the form of Vishnoo, become his pro- 
tector. At the close, this god, having restored every thing on 
earth to a state of order and prosperity, returned to heaven. 

The sixth is the Purushoo-ramix incarnation. Purushoo is the 
name of an instrument of war. The occasion of this appearance 
of Vishnoo is thus related : — The kshutriyus, from the king to the 
lowest person of this caste, were become very corrupt. Every one 
did as he pleased, the king was without authority, all order was 
destroyed, and the earth was in the greatest confusion. In these 
circumstances the goddess Prit'hivee 6 went to Vishnoo, and prayed 
for relief. Her petition was heard, and one part of Vishnoo was 
incarnate as the son of Jmnudgunee, a descendant of Bhrigoo the 
sage. After twenty-one different defeats the kshutriyus were 
exterminated by Purushoo-ramu ; but after a lapse of years they 
again became numerous : Urjoonu, a kshutriyu king with a 
thousand arms, overcame the greatest monarchs, and made dread- 
ful havock in the world : he beat Ravunii, and tied him to the 
heels of a horse ; but Bmmha delivered him, and reconciled them 
again. One evening in the rainy season, Urjoonu, being in the 
forest, took refuge in the hut of Jumudugnee, the learned ascetic. 
He had with him 900.000 people ; yet Jumudugnee, entertained 
them all. Urjoonu, astonished, enquired of his people how the 
sage, living in the forest, was able to entertain so many people ? 
They could not tell ; they saw nothing except a cow which Brlmha 
had given him ; but it was by her means perhaps that he was able to 
entertain so many guests : its name was Kamu-dhenoo. f In fact, 
when Urjoonu was to be entertained at the sage's house, this cow 
in a miraculous manner gave him all kinds of food, clothes, &c. 
The king on his departure asked for the cow ; but the sage refused 
it to him, though he offered for it his whole kingdom. At length, 
Urjoonu made war on Jumudugnee ; and though the cow gave an 
army to her master, he was unable to cope with Urjoonu, who des- 
troyed both him and his army. After the victory, however, Ur- 

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

e The earth personified. 

f That is, the cow wh:ch yields every thing desired, 



joonu could not find the cow, but went home disappointed. Puru- 
shoo-ramu, hearing of the defeat and death of his father Jumu- 
dugnee, went to complain to Shivu, on the mountain Koilasii ; but 
could not get access to him till he had knocked down the gods 
Gune'shu and Kartiku, Shivu's door-keepers. Shivu gave Purushoo- 
ramu the instrument purushoo, and promised him the victory. On 
his return Purushoo-ramu met his mother, who was about to throw 
herself on the funeral pile of her husband. After attending upon 
this ceremony, Purushoo-ramu went to the residence of Urjoonu, 
and killed him g . 

These six incarnations are said to have taken place in the 
sutyft yoogu' 1 . There are no images respecting them made for 

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

The appearance of Vishnoo, when he took the name of Krishnu. 
to destroy the giant Kungshu, is called the descent of Vishnoo 
himself, and not an incarnation of this god. There are, how- 
ever, beside the preceding ten incarnations, and this of Krishnu, 
many others mentioned in the pooranus, all having their source in 
Vishnoo. — The Shree-bhaguvutu contains accounts of the following : 
Soo-yugnu created certain gods, and removed distress from the 
three worlds ; — Kupilu taught his mother the knowledge of 

s? This story is told variously in the pooranus : according to the "Ramaytinu, Vtfshis- 
'thu was the owner of this cow, and Vishwiimitru the person who fought with the 
moonee to obtain it. 

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



Brumhu, by which she obtained absorption ; — Duttatreyu. delivered 
all his disciples, by means of the ceremony called yogu, from future 
birth, and obtained for them absorption ; — Koormaru declared the 
events that had happened in a former age ; that his, previous to 
the dissolution of things which preceded his incarnation ; — Nuru- 
Narayunu was such a perfect ascetic that the courtezans, sent by 
the gods to allure him from his religious austerities, were unsuc- 
cessful ; Vishnoo himself created a female on purpose to divert him 
from his devotions, but her attempts were equally abortive ; — 
Prit'boo opened the bowels of the earth, and brought forth its 
treasures ; — Kishuvu was an incomparable yogee, who was worship- 
ped by the purum-hungsus and other ascetics ; — Huyugreevu was 
so great a saint, that the words of the ve'du were uttered every time 
he breathed ; — Huree delivered his disciples from all their enemies, 
whether among men or the inferior animals ; — Rungsu taught his 
disciples the mysteries of yogu, and obtained absorption himself 
while performing the ceremonies of a yogee ; — Munoo's fame filled 
the three worlds, and ascended even as far as Sutyu-loku ; — Dhun- 
wunturee delivered all diseased persons from their disorders on 
their mere remembrance of his name, and gave the water of 
immortality to the gods ; — V}^asu arranged the vedus, was the 
author of the pooranus, &c. — Vibhoo was the spiritual guide of 
80,000 disciples, whom he taught the knowledge of Brumhu, and 
the ceremonies of yogu ; — Sutyuse'nu cleared the earth of hypocrites 
and wicked persons ; — Voikoont'hu created the heaven of^Yishnoo 
known by this name, and performed other wonders ; — Ujitu in- 
structed the gods to churn the sea to obtain the water of immor- 
tality, and did other things which distinguished him as an incar- 
nation ; — Mohunee was incarnate, to prevent the giants from 
obtaining the water of immortality at the churning of the sea ; 
— Narudu revealed the work called Voishnuvu Tuntru. The 
following incarnations are expected : Sarvubhoumu to dethrone 
the present Indru, and instate Bulee in his stead ; — Yishwukse'nu 
as the friend of Shumbhoo, Avhen he becomes the king of heaven ; 
— Dhurmu-se'too to nourish the three worlds ; — Soodhama to assist 
Koodru-savurnee, the twelfth of the fourteen munoos ; — Yogesh- 
wuru to place Divus-putee on the throne of Indru ; — Vrihud- 
bhanoo to make known many new religious ceremonies. — The reader, 
however, is not to suppose that there are no other incarnations 
mentioned in these marvellous books : every hero, and every 
saint, is complimented by these writers as an incarnate deity. 

I have not discovered any proof in the Hindoo writings, or in 
conversation with learned natives, that these incarnate persons are 
personifications of any of the divine attributes ; or that these 
stories have any other than a literal meaning. No doubt they 
were written as fables, which the ignorance of modern Hindoos has 
converted into facts ; or many of them may relate to common 
events here magnified into miracles. 



Stone images of Vishnoo are made for sale, and worshipped in 
the houses of those who have chosen him for their guardian deity. 
There are no public festivals in honor of this god, yet he is wor- 
shipped at the offering of a burnt sacrifice ; in the form of medita- 
tion used daily by the bramhuns ; at the times when ' the five 
gods' are worshipped, and also at the commencement of each shrad- 
dhu. No bloody sacrifices are offered to Vishnoo. The offerings 
presented to him consist of fruit, flowers, water, clarified butter, 
sweetmeats, cloth, ornaments, &c. 

Many choose Vishnoo for their guardian deity. These persons 
are called Voishnuvus. The distinctive mark of this sect of 
Hindoos consists of two lines, rather oval, drawn the whole length 
of the nose, and carried forward in two straight lines across the 
forehead. This mark is common to the worshippers of all the dif- 
ferent forms of Vishnoo. It is generally made with the clay of the 
Ganges ; sometimes with powder of sandel wood. 

Vishnoo has a thousand names 1 , among which are the follow- 
ing : — Vishnoo ; that is, the being into whom, at the destruction 
of the world, all is absorbed. — Narayun-u, or, he who dwelt in the 
waters k , and he who dwells in the minds of the devout. — Voikoon- 
t'hu, or, the destroyer of sorrow. — Vishturu-shruva, or, he who, in 
the form of Viratu, is all eye, all ear, &c. — Rhisheekeshu, viz., the 
god of all the members, and of light. — Keshuvix, or, he who gave 
being to himself, to Brumha and Shiva ; or, he who has excellent 
hair. — Madhuva, or, the husband of Lukshmee. — Mudhoosoodhttnu, 
the destroyer of Mudhoo, a giant. — Swumbhdd, or, the self-existent. 
— Doityaree, or, the enemy of the giants. — Poondureekakshtt, or, 
he whose eyes are like the white lotus. — Govindu, or, the raiser 
of the earth. — Pitamvura, or, he who wears yellow garments. — 
Uchyoottt, or, the undecayable. — Sharungee, or, he who possesses the 
horn bow. — Vishwukshe'nu, or, he whose soldiers fill all quarters of 
the world. — Junarddunu, or, he who afflicts the wicked, and, he of 
whom emancipation is sought. — Pudmunabhu, or, he whose navel is 
like the water lily. — Vishwumvuru, or, the protector of the world.-— 
Koitubhujit, or, he who overcame the giant Koitubhu. 

Vishnoo has two wives 1 , Lukshmee, the goddess of prosperity, 

i The meaning of the principal names of some of the gods is to be found in the 
comment upon the Umuru-koshii, by Bhtirutu-mulliku. 

Jupiter had so many names, they could scarcely be numbered ; some of them 
derived from the places where he lived and was worshipped, and others from the 
actions he performed. 

k At the time of a pruluyii, when every thing is reduced to the element of water, 
Vishnoo sits on the snake Uniintu, which has 1,000 heads. 

1 One of the Hindoo poets, in answer to the question, Why has Vishnoo assumed 
a wooden shape? (alluding to the image of Jugunnat'hu,) says, 1 The troubles in his 
family have turned Vishnoo into wood : in the first place, he has two wives, one of 
whom (the goddess of learning) is constantly talking, and the other (the goddess of 



and Suruswutee, the goddess of learning. The former was produced 
at the churning of the sea : Suruswutee is the daughter of Brumha. 

The following description of the heaven of Vishnoo is taken 
from the Muhabharutu. This heaven, called Voi-koont'hu m , is 
entirely of gold, and is eighty thousand miles in circumference. All 
its edifices are composed of jewels. The pillars of this heaven, and 
all the ornaments of the buildings are of precious stones. The 
chrystal waters of the Ganges fall from the higher heavens on the heads 
of Droovu, and from thence into the bunches of hair on the heads 
of seven rishees in this heaven, and from thence they fall and 
form a river in Voi'koont'hu. Here are also fine pools of water, 
containing blue, red, and white water-lilies, the flowers of some 
of which contain one hundred petals, and others a thousand ; gar- 
dens of nymphceas, &c On a seat as glorious as the meridian sun, 
sitting on water-lilies, is Vishnoo, and on his right hand the god- 
dess Lukshmee. From the body of Lukshmee the fragrance of the 
lotus extends 800 miles. This goddess shines like a continued 
blaze of lightning. The devurshees, rajurshees, and supturshees 
constantly celebrate the praise of Vishnoo and Lukshmee, and 
meditate on their divine forms. The brumhurshees chant the 
vedus. The glorified voishnuvus approach Vishnoo, and constantly 
serve him. The gods 11 are also frequently employed in celebrating 
the praises of Vishnoo ; and Gurooru, the bird-god, is the door- 

Sect. II. — Shivit. 

Shivu, the detroyer, has the second place among the Hindoo 
deities, though in general, in allusion to their offices, these three 
gods are classed thus : Brumha, Vishnoo, Shivu* 

This god is represented in various ways. In the form of me- 
ditation used daily by the bramhuns, he is described as a silver 
coloured man, with five faces ; an additional eye and a half-moon 
grace each forehead p . He has four arms ; in one hand he holds a 

prosperity) never remains in one place : to increase his troubles, he sits on a snake ; 
his dwelling is in the water, and he rides on a bird. ' All the Hindoos acknowledge 
that it is a great misfortune for a man to have two wives ; especially if both live in 
one house. 

m The work called Kurmu-Vipaku says, that the heavens of Vishnoo, Brumha, 
and Shiva are upon three peaks of the mountain Soomeroo ; and that at the bottom of 
these peaks are the heavens of twenty-one other gods. 

n These gods are supposed to be visitors at Vishnoo's. 

° One of the names of Shivu is Trilochtinu, viz., the three-eyed. One of the names 
of Jupiter was Trioculus, (Triophthalmos,) given him by the Greeks, because he had 
three eyes. An image of this kind was set up in Troy, which, beside the usual two eyes, 
had a third in the forehead. 

p At the churning of the sea, Shivij obtained the moon for his share, and fixed it, 
with all its glory, in his forehead. 



purushoo ; in the second a deer ; with the third he is bestowing a 
blessing, and with the fourth he forbids fear : he sits on a lotus q , and 
wears a tyger-skin garment. 

At other times Shivu. is represented with one head, three eyes, 
and two arms, riding on a bull, covered with ashes, naked, his eyes 
inflamed with intoxicating herbs r , having in one hand a horn, and 
in the other a drum, 

Another imao-e of Shivu is the lingu, a smooth black stone 
almost m the form of a sugar-loaf, with a projection at the base 
like the mouth of a spoon. 

There are several stories in the pooranus respecting the origin 
of the lingu worship, three of which I had translated, and actually 
inserted in this work, leaving out as much as possible of their of- 
fensive parts : but in correcting the proofs, they appeared too 
gross, even when refined as much as possible, to meet the public 
eye. It is true I have omitted them with some reluctance, because 
I wish that the apologists for idolatry should be left without ex- 
cuse, and that the sincere Christian should know what those who 
wish to rob him of the Christian Religion mean to leave in its stead. 

From these abominable stories, temples innumerable have 
arisen in India, and a Shivu lingu placed in each of them, and 
worshipped AS A god ! ! These temples, indeed, in Bengal and 
many parts of Hindoost'han, are far more numerous than those 
dedicated to any other idol ; and the number of the daily worship- 
pers of this scandalous image, (even among the Hindoo women,) 
who make the image with the clay of the Ganges every morning 
and evening, is beyond comparison far greater than the worship- 
pers of all the other gods put together. 

The account of the origin of the phalli of the Creeks bears a 
strong and unaccountable resemblance to some parts of the 
pouranic accounts of the lingu : Bacchus was angry with the 
Athenians, because they despised his solemnities, when they were 
first brought by Pegasus out of Bceotia into Attica ; for which he 
afflicted them with a grievous disease, that could have no cure, till, 
by the advice of the oracles, they paid due reverence to the god, 
and erected phalli to his honour ; whence the feasts and sacrifices 
called Phallica were yearly celebrated among the Athenians. — The 
story of Piiapus is too indecent, and too well known to need recital. 

i It appears that this plant was formerly venerated by the Egyptians as much as 
it is now by the Hindoos. The sacred images of the Tartars, Japanese, and other 
nations are also frequently represented as placed upon it. 

r Bacchus, who appears to bear a pretty strong resemblance to Shivii, is said to 
have wandered about naked, or to have had no other covering than a tyger's skin, 
which is the common garment of Shivu, and of his followers, the sunyasees. The 
bloated image of Shivii corresponds with that of Bacchus ; and though the Indian god 
did not intoxicate himself with wine, yet his image is evidently that of a drunkard, 
Shivu perpetually smoked intoxicating herbs. 



Should the reader wish for farther information on this subject, he 
is referred to an extract from Diodorus Siculus, as given in the 
Keverend Mr. Maurice's second volume of Indian Antiquities. The 
perusal of this extract may help further to convince the reader that 
the old idolatry, and that of the present race of Hindoos, at least 
in their abominable nature, and in some of their prominent 
features, are one. 

Beside the clay image of the lingu, there are two kinds of 
black stone lingus : these are set up in the Hindoo temples 8 . The 
first is called swuyumb56, (the self-existent,) or unadee*, that 
which has no beginning. The second they call vanu-lingu, because 
Vanu, a king, first instituted the worship of this image. These 
stones are brought from the neighbourhood of the river Gund- 
kuhee, which falls into the Ganges near Patna. The images are 
made by Hindoo and Mixsulman stone-cutters. 

There is another form in which Shivu is worshipped, called 
Muha-kalu. This is the image of a smoke-coloured boy with three 
eyes, clothed in red garments. His hair stands erect ; his teeth 
are very large ; he wears a necklace of human skulls, and a large 
turban of his oavu hair ; in one hand he holds a stick, and in the 
other the foot of a bed-stead ; he has a large belly, and makes a 
very terrific appearance. Shivu is called Muha-kalu, because he 
destroys a]l ; by which the Hindoos mean, that all is absorbed in 
him at last, in order to be reproduced 11 . 

Images of this form of Shivu are not made in Bengal ; but a 
pan of water, or an unadee-lingu, is substituted, before which 
bloody sacrifices are offered, and other ceremonies performed, in 
the month Choitru, at the new moon. Only a few persons perform 
this worship. Except before this image, bloody sacrifices are 
never offered to Shivu, who is himself called a voishnuvu, i. e., a 
worshipper of Vishnoo, before whose image no animals are slain, 
and whose disciples profess never to eat animal food. 

Under different names other images of Shivu are described in 
the shastrus ; but none of these images are made at present, nor 
is any public worship offered to them. 

Those who receive the name of Shivu from their spiritual 
guides, are called Soivyus. The mark on the forehead which 

s It is remarkable, that a stone image, consecrated to Venus, bore a strong 
resemblance to the lingti. Of this stone it is said, that it was " from the top to the 
bottom of an orbicular figure, a little broad beneath ; the circumference was small, 
and sharpening towards the top like a sugar loaf. The reason unknown.'' 

* At the time of a great drought, the Hindoos, after performing its worship, 
throw very large quantities of water upon this unadee-lingil, in order to induce Shivii 
to give them rain. 

u Some say Saturn received his name, because he was satisfied with the years he 
devoured. Saturn was also represented as devouring his children, and vomiting them 
up again. 



these persons wear, is composed of three curved lines like a half- 
moon, to which is added a round dot on the nose. It is made 
either with the clay of the Ganges, or with -sandal wood, or the 
ashes of cow-dung. 

Worship is performed daily at the temples of the lingu ; when 
offerings of various kinds are presented to this image. If the 
temple belong to a sh55dru, abramhiin is employed, who receives a 
small annual gratuity, and the daily offerings x . These ceremonies 
occupy a few minutes, or half an hour, at the pleasure of the 
worshipper. Many persons living in Bengal employ bramhuns at 
Benares to perform the worship of the lingu in temples which they 
have built there. 

Every year, in the month Phalgoonix, the Hindoos make the 
image of Shivu, and worship it for one day, throwing the image 
the next day into the water. This worship is performed in the 
night, and is accompanied with singing, dancing, music, feasting, 
&c. The image worshipped is either that of Shivu with five faces, 
or that with one face. In the month Maghu also a festival in 
honour of Shivix is held for one day, when the image of this god 
sitting on a bull, with Parvufcee on his knee, is worshipped. This 
form of Shivu is called Huru-Gouree v . 

In the month Choitru an abominable festival in honour of 
of this god is celebrated ; when many Hindoos, assuming the 
name of sunyasees, inflict on themselves the greatest cruelties. 
Some of the chief sunyasees purify themselves for a month previ- 
ously to these ceremonies, by going to some celebrated temple or 
image of Shivu, and there eating only once a day, abstaining from 
certain gratifications, repeating the name of Shivu, dancing before 
his image, &c. Other sunyasees perform these preparatory cere- 
monies for fifteen, and others for only ten days ; during which 
time parties of men and boys dance in the streets, having their 
bodies covered with ashes, &c. and a long piece of false hair mixed 
with mud wrapped round the head like a turban. A large drum 
accompanies each party, making a horrid din. 

On the first day of the festival, these stmyasees cast themselves 
from a bamboo stage with three resting places, the highest about 
twenty feet from the ground. From this height these persons cast 
themselves on iron spikes stuck in bags of straw. These spikes are 
laid in a reclining posture, and when the person falls the} r almost 
constantly fall down instead of entering his body. There are 
instances however of persons being killed, and others wounded ; 

x The shastriis prohibit the bramhuns from receiving the offerings presented to 
Shivu : the reason I have not discovered. The bramhuns, however, contrive to 
explain the words of the shastru in such a manner, as to secure the greater part of the 
things presented to this idol. 

y Hfirti is the name of Shivu, and Gouree that of Doorga, 



but they are very rare. A few years ago, a person at Kidurpooru, 
near Calcutta, cast himself on a knife used in cleaning fish, which 
entered his side, and was the cause of his death. He threw him- 
self from the stage twice on the same day ; the second time, 
(which was fatal,) to gratify a prostitute with whom he lived. — In 
some villages, several of these stages are erected, and as many as 
two or three hundred people cast themselves on these spikes in one 
day, in the presence of great crowds of people. The worshippers 
of Shiva make a great boast of the power of their god in preserv- 
ing his followers in circumstances of such danger. 

The next day is spent in idleness, the sunyasees lying about 
Shiva's temple, and wandering about like persons half drunk, or 
jaded with revelling. On the following day, a large fire is kindled 
opposite Shiva's temple ; and when the burnt wood has been form- 
ed into a great heap, one of the chief sunyasees, with a bunch of 
canes in his hand, flattens the heap a little, and walks over it with 
his feet bare- After him, the other sunyasees spread the fire about, 
walk acorss it, dance upon it, and then cast the embers into the air 
and at each other. 

The next morning early the work of piercing the tongues and 
sides commences. In the year 1 806 I went to Kaleeghatu, in company 
with two or three friends, to witness these practices ; at which 
place we arrived about five o'clock in the morning. We overtook 
numerous companies who were proceeding thither, having with 
them drums and other instruments of niusic ; also spits, canes, 
and different articles to pierce their tongues and sides. Some with 
tinkling rings on their ancles were dancing and exhibiting indecent 
gestures as they passed along, while others rent the air with the 
sounds of their filthy songs. As we entered the village where the 
temple of this great goddess is situated, the crowds were so great 
that we could with difficulty get our vehicles along, and at last 
were completely blocked up. We then alighted, and went amongst 
the crowd. But who can describe a scene like this 1 — Here, men 
of all ages, who intended to have their tongues pierced, or their 
sides bored, were buying garlands of flowers to hang round their 
necks, or tie round their heads ; — there, others were carrying their 
offerings to the goddess : — above the heads of the crowd were seen, 
nothing but the feathers belonging to the great drums, and the 
instruments of torture which each victim was carrying in his hand. 
These wretched slaves of superstition were distinguished from 
others by the quantity of oil rubbed on their bodies, and by streaks 
and dots of mud all over them : some of the chief men belonging 
to each company were covered with ashes, or dressed in a most 
fantastic manner, like the fool among mountebanks. For the sake 
of low sport, some were dressed as English women ; and others had 
on a hat, to excite the crowd to laugh at Europeans. As soon as 
we could force our way, we proceeded to the temple of Kalee, 



where the crowd, inflamed to madness, almost trampled upon one 
another, to obtain a sight of the idol. We went up to the door-wa} r , 
when a bramhun, who was one of the owners of the idol, addressed 
one of my companions in broken English : " Money — mone}^ — for 
black mother." My friend, not much liking the looks of his black 
mother, declared he should give her nothing. From this spot we 
went into the temple-yard, where two or three blacksmiths had 
begun the work of piercing the tongues and boring the sides of 
these infatuated disciples of Shivu. The first man seemed reluctant 
to hold out his tongue ; but the blacksmith, rubbing it with some- 
thing like flour, and having a piece of cloth betwixt his fingers, 
laid firm hold, dragged it out, and, placing his lancet under it in 
the middle, pierced it through, and let the fellow go. The next 
person, whose tongue we saw cut, directed the blacksmith to cut 
it on a contrary side, as it had been already cut twice. This man 
seemed to go through the business of having his tongue slit with 
perfect sang froicl. The compairy of natives were entirely unmoved, 
and the blacksmith, pocketing the trifling fee given by each for 
whom he did this favour, laughed at the sport. I could not help 
asking, whether they were not punishing these men for lying. — 
After seeing the operation performed on one or two more, we 
went to another group, where they were boring the sides. The 
first we saw undergoing this operation was a boy, who might be 
twelve or thirteen years old, and who had been brought thither by 
his elder brother to submit to this cruelty. A thread rubbed with 
clarified butter was drawn through the skin on each side, with a 
kind of lancet having an eye like a needle. He did not flinch, but 
hung by his hands over the shoulders of his brother. I asked a 
man who had just had his sides bored, why he did this ? He said, 
he had made a vow to Kalee at a time of dangerous illness, and 
was now performing this vow : a bye-stander added, it was an 
act of holiness, or merit. Passing from this group, we saw a man 
dancing backwards and forwards with two canes run through his 
side as thick as a man's little finger. In returning to Calcutta we 
saw many with things of different thicknesses thrust through their 
sides and tongues, and several with the pointed handles of iron 
shovels, containing lire, sticking in their sides. Into this fire every 
now and then they threw Indian pitch, which for the moment blaz- 
ed very high. I saw one man whose singular mode of self-torture 
struck me much : his breast, arms, and other parts of his body, were 
entirely covered with pins, as thick as nails or packing nee- 
dles. This is called vanu-phora z . The person had made a vow to 
Shivu thus to pierce his body, praying the god to remove some 
evil from him. 

Some sunyasees at this festival put swords through the holes 
in their tongues ; others spears ; others thick pieces of round iron 
which they call arrows. Many, as a bravado, put other things 

81 Piercing with, arrows. 



through their tongues, as living snakes, bamboos, ramrods, &c. 
Others, to excite the attention of the crowd still more, procure 
images of houses, gods, temples, &c. and placing them on a single 
bamboo, hold them up in their hands, and put the bamboo through 
their tongues. In 1805, at Calcutta, a few base fellows made a 
bamboo stage, placed a prostitute upon it, and carried her through 
the streets, her paramour accompanying them, having one of her 
ancle ornaments in the slit of his tongue. Another year a man put 
his finger through the tongue of another person, and they went 
along dancing and making indecent gestures together. Others 
put bamboos, ropes, canes, the stalk of a climbing plant, the long 
tube of the hooka, &c. through their sides, and rubbing these things 
with oil, while two persons go before and two behind to hold the 
ends of the things which have been passed through the sides, they 
dance backwards and forwards, making indecent gestures. These 
people pass through the streets with these marks of self-torture 
upon them, followed by crowds of idle people. They are paid by 
the towns or villages where these acts are performed, and a levy is 
made on the inhabitants to defray the expense. On the evening 
of this day some sunyasees pierce the skin of their foreheads, and 
place a rod of iron in it as a socket, and on this rod fasten a lamp, 
which is kept burning all night. The persons bearing these lamps 
sit all night in or near Shivu s temple, occasionally calling upon 
this god by different names. On the same evening, different parties 
of sunyasees hold conversations respecting Shivu in verse. 

On the following day, in the afternoon, the ceremony called 
Churuku, or the swinging by hooks fastened in the back is per- 
formed. The posts are erected in some open place in the town or 
suburbs : they are generally fifteen, twenty, or twenty-five cubits 
high. In some places a kind of worship is paid at the foot of the 
tree to Shivu, when two pigeons are let loose, or slain. In other 
parts, i. e., in the neighbourhood of Calcutta, the worship of Shivu 
is performed at his temple ; after which the crowd proceed to the 
swinging posts, and commence the horrid work of torture. The 
man who is to swing prostrates himself before the tree, and a per- 
son, with his dusty fingers, makes a mark where the hooks are to 
be put. Another person immediately gives him a smart slap on 
the back, and pinches up the skin hard with his thumb and fingers ; 
while another thrusts the hook through, taking hold of about 
an inch of the skin : the other hook is then in like manner put 
through the skin of the other side of the back, and the man gets 
up on his feet. As he is rising, some w T ater is thrown in his face. 
He then mounts on a man's back, or is elevated in some other 
way ; and the strings which are attached to the hooks in his back 
are tied to the rope at one end of the horizontal bamboo, and the 
rope at the other end is held by several men, who, drawing it 
down, raise up the end on which the man swings, and by their run- 
ning round with the rope the machine is turned. In swinging, 


the man describes a circle of about thirty feet diameter. Some 
swing only a few minutes, others half an hour or more: I have 
heard of men who continued swinging for hours. In the southern 
parts of Bengal, a piece of cloth is wrapt round the body under- 
neath the hooks, lest the flesh should tear, and the wretch fall, and 
be dashed to pieces ; but the whole weight of the body rests on 
the hooks. Some of these persons take the wooden pipe, and 
smoak while swinging, as though insensible of the least pain. 
Others take up fruit in their hands, and either eat it or throw it 
among the crowd. I have heard of a person's having a monkey's 
collar run into his hinder parts a , in which state the man and the 
monkey whirled round together. On one occasion, in the north 
of Bengal, a man took a large piece of wood in his mouth, and 
swung for a considerable time without any cloth round his body to 
preserve him, should the flesh of his back tear. On some occa- 
sions these sunyasees have hooks run through their thighs as 
well as backs. About the year 1800 five women swung in this 
manner, with hooks through their backs and thighs, at Kidur- 
pooru. near Calcutta. It is not very uncommon for the flesh to 
tear, and the person to fall : instances are related of such persons 
perishing on the spot. A few years ago a man fell from the post 
at Kidurpooru, while whirling round with great rapidity ; and, 
falling on a poor woman who was selling parched rice, killed her 
on the spot : the man died the next day. At a village near Bujbuj, 
some years since, the swing fell, and broke a man's leg. The man 
who was upon it, as soon as he was loosed, ran to another tree, 
was drawn up, and whirled round again, as though nothing had 
happened. I have heard of one man's swinging three times in one 
day on different trees ; and a bramhun assured me, that he had 
seen four men swing on one tree ; while swinging, this tree was 
carried round the field by the crowd. 

On the day of swinging, in some places, a sunyasee is laid be- 
fore the temple of Shivu as dead, and is afterwards carried to the 
place where they burn the dead. Here they read many incanta- 
tions and perform certain ceremonies, after which the (supposed) 
dead sunyasee arises, when they dance around him, proclaiming 
the name of Shivu. 

The next morning the sunyasees go to Shivu's temple, and 
perform worship to him, when they take off the poita which they 
had worn during the festival. On this day, they beg, or take 
from their houses, a quantity of rice, and other things, which they 
make into a kind of frumenty, in the place where they burn the 
dead. These things they offer, with some burnt fish, to departed 

Each day of the festival the sunyasees worship the sun, pouring 

a At Kidurpooru. 


water, flowers, &c. on a clay image of the alligator, repeating 

These horrid ceremonies are said to derive their origin from a 
king named Vanu, whose history is related in the Muhabharutn. 
This work says, that Vanix, in the month Choitru, instituted these 
rites, and inflicted a number of the cruelties here detailed on his 
own body, viz., he mounted the swing, pierced his tongue and 
sides, danced on fire, threw himself on spikes, &c At length he 
obtained an interview with Shivu, who surrounded his palace with 
a Avail of fire, and promised to appear whenever he should stand in 
need of his assistance. Those who perform these ceremonies at 
present, expect that Shivu* will bestow upon them some blessing 
either in this lite or in the next. 

Doorga is the wife of Shivu. This goddess is known under 
other names, as Blmguvutee, Sutee, Parvutee, &c. In one age 
Shivu w^as married to Sutee, the daughter of king Dukshu, and in 
another to the same goddess under the name of Parvutee, the 
daughter of the mountain Himaluyu : hence she is the mountain- 

When Doorga was performing religious austerities to obtain 
Shivu in marriage, the latter was so moved that he appeared to 
her, and enquired why she was thus employed ? She was ashamed 
to assign the reason, but her attendants replied for her. He, in 
jest, reproved her, observing that people performed religious aus- 
terities to obtain something valuable ; in the article of marriage 
they desired a person of a good family, but he (Shivu) had neither 
father nor mother ; — or a rich person, but he had not a garment 
to wear ; — or a handsome person, but he had three eyes. 

When Shivu was about to be married to Parvutee, her mother 
and the neighbours treated the god in a very scurrilous manner : 
the neighbours cried out, " Ah ! ah ! ah ! This image of gold., this 
most beautiful damsel, the greatest beauty in the three worlds, to 
be given in marriage to such a fellow — an old fellow with three 
eyes ; without teeth ; clothed in a tiger's skin ; covered with 
ashes ; incircled with snakes ; wearing a necklace of human bones ; 
with a human skull in his hand ; with a filthy juta (viz., a bunch 
of hair like a turban) twisted round his head; who chews intoxi- 
cating drugs ; has inflamed eyes ; rides naked on a bull, and 
wanders about like a madman. Ah ! they have thrown this 
beautiful daughter into the river b !" — In this manner the neighbours 

b In allusion to the throwing of dead bodies into the river. This resembles ^the 
surprise said to have been excited by the marriage of Venus to the filthy and deformed 
Vulcan. Another very singular coincidence betwixt the European idolatry and that 
of the Hindoos is furnished by the story of Vulcan and Minerva, and that respecting 
Shivu and Mohinee as given in the Markundeyu pooranu ; but which I have suppres- 
sed on account of its offensive nature. 




exclaimed against the marriage, till Narcdil who had excited the 
disturbance, interfered, and the wedding was concluded. 

A number of stories are related in some of the Hindoo books 
of an inferior order, respecting the quarrels of Shivu and Par vu tee, 
occasioned by the revels of the former, and the jealousy of the 
latter. These quarrels resemble those of Jupiter and Juno. Other 
stories are told of Shivu's- descending to the earth in the form of a 
mendicant, for the preservation of some one in distress ; to per- 
form religious austerities, fee, 

Shivu is said, in the pooranus, to have destroyed Kundurpu 
(Cupid), for Interrupting him in his devotions, previous to his-- 
union with Boorga. We find, however, the god of love restored 
to existence, after a lapse of ages, under the name of Prudyoomu, 
when he ao\ain obtained his wife Rutee. After his marriage with 
the mountain-goddess, Shivu on a certain occasion offended his 
father-in-law, king Dukshu, by refusing to bow to him as he en- 
tered the circle in which the king was sitting. To be revenged,, 
Dukshu refused to invite Shivu to a sacrifice which he was about 
to perform. Sutee, the king's daughter, however,- was resolved to 
go, though uninvited and forbidden by her husband. On her ar- 
rival Dukslm poured a torrent of abuse on Shivu, which affected 
Siitee so much that she died c . When Shivu heard of the loss of 
his beloved wife, he created a monstrous giant, whom he command- 
ed to go and destroy Bnkslru, and put an end to his sacrifice. He 
speedily accomplished this work, by cutting oft' the head of the 
king, and dispersing all the guests. The gods, in compassion to 
Dukshu, placed on his decapitated body the head of a goat, and 
restored him to his family and kingdom. 

This god has a thousand names, among which are the following ; 
Shivu, or, the benefactor. Muheshwuru, the great god 4 . Eeshwuru, 
the glorious god. Chundrushekuru, he whose forehead is adorned 
with a half-moon. Bh65tcshu, he who is lord of the bhootus c . 
Mriril, he who purifies. Mrityoonjuyu, he who conquers deaih. 
Krittivasa, he who wears a skin. Oogru, the furious. Shreekuntu r 
he whose throat is beautiful* - . KupaliSbhrit, he whose alms' dish is 

c In reference to this mark of strong attachment, a Hindoo widow burning with 
her husband on the funeral pile is called Siitee. 

d The pundits give proofs from the shastrtLs, in which Shivu is acknowledged to be 
the greatest of the gods, or Muha-deVii r from muha, great, and devil, god. 

e Bhootus are beings partly in human shape, though some of them have the faces of 
horses, others of camels, others of monkeys, &c. Some have the bodies of horses, and 
he faces of men. Some have one leg, and some two. Some have only one ear, and 
thers only one eye. Shivu is attended by a number of these bhootifs, as Bacchus had 
body of guards consisting of drunken satyrs, demons, nymphs, &c. 

f After Shivu, to preserve the earth from destruction, had drank the person 
which arose out of the sea, when the gods churned it to obtain the water of immortali- 
ty, he fell into a swoon, and appeared to be at the point of death. All the gods were 
exceedingly alarmed ; the usoorus were filled with triumph, under the expectation that 


a skill K Smuru-lmra, the destroyer of the god of love. Tripoo- 
rantuku, he who destroyed Tripooru, an usoorii. Gunga-dhuru, he 
who caught the goddess Gunga in his liair h . Vrishu-dwnju, he 
whose standard is a bull 1 . Shoolee, he who wields the trident k , 
St'hanoo, the everlasting. Shurvu, he who is every thing. 
Gireeshu, lord of the hills, he who dwells on the hills. 

The following account of the heaven of Shivu is translated from 
the work called Krityu-tutwu. This heaven, which is situated on 
mount Koilasu, and called Shivupooru, is ornamented with many 
kinds of gems and precious things, a>s pearls, coral, gold, silver, 
&c. — Here reside gods, danuvus 1 , gundhurvus m , upsurus", siddhus , 
charunus p , brumhurshees q , devurshees r , and muhurshees 8 ; also 
other sages, as Sunatunu, Sunutkoomaru, Sunundu, TJgustyu, 
Ungira, Poolustyu, Pooluhu, Chitra, Angirusu, Goutumu, Bhrigoo, 
Purashuru, Bhurudwaju, Mrikundu, Markundeyu, Shoonushephu, 
Ushtavukru, Dhoumyu, Valmeekee, Vushisht'hu, Doorvasa, &c. 
These persons constantly perform the worship of Shivu and Doorga, 
and the upsurus are continually employed in singing, dancing, and 
other festivities. — The flowers of every season are always in bloom 
here : among which are, the" yoothee 1 , jatee u , mullika*, malutee y , 
dor& z , tuguru a , kuruveeru b , kulharu c , kurnikarii' 1 , keshuru 6 , 
poonnagu d , drona c , gundhuraju f , shephalika s , chumpukn' 1 , bh65mee- 
chtimpulca', nagu-keshuru k , moochukoondii 1 , kanchunu 1 ", pioolee 11 , 
jhintee", neel^-jhintee p , riikt'tt-jhintee q , kudumbu r , rujuneegundhu 8 , 
turku', turooluta 11 , parijatu x , &c. &c. Cool, odoriferous, and gentle 
winds always blow on these flowers, and diffuse their fragrance all 

one of the gods (even Shivii himself) was about to expire. The gods addressed Doorga, 
who took Shivu in her arm, and began to repeat certain incantations to destroy the 
effects of the poison : Shivu revived. This was the first time incantations were used 
to destroy the ] tower of poison. Though the poison dkl not destroy Shivn, it left a 
blue mark on his throat ; and hence one of his names is Neelu-ktlntu, the blue-throated. 

s This is Brilmha's skull. Shivu in a quarrel cut off one of Brumha's five heads, 
and made an alms' dish of it. Brumha and other gods, in the character of mendicants, 
are represented with an earthen pot in the hand which contains their food. This pot 
is called a knmun-diiloo. 

h In Gunga's descent from heaven, Shivu caught her in the bunch of hair tied at 
the back of his head. 

i Shivu's conduct, on the day of his marriage with Parvutee, puts us in mind of 
Priapxis. The Indian god rode through Kamu-roopu on a bull, naked, with the bride 
on his knee. 

k Here Shivu appears with Neptune's sceptre, though I cannot find that be re- 
sembles the watery god in any thing else. 

1 A particular kind of giants. m The heavenly choristers. n Dancers and 
courtezans. ° P Gods who act as servants to some of the other gods. i Sacred 
sages. r Divine sages. s Great sages. * Jasminum auriculatum. u J. grandi- 
florum. _ x J. zambae. y Gatnera raeemosa. z Unknown. a Taberntemontana 
coronaria. b Nerium odorum. c Nymphaea cyanea. d Pterospermum acerifolium. 
e Mimusups elengi. d Rottlera tinctoria. e Phlomis zeylanica. f Gardenia florida. 
s Nyctanthesarbor tristis. h Michelia champaca, 1 Kempferia rotunda. k Mesua 
ferrea. 1 Pterospermum suberifolia. m Bauhinia (several species). 11 Linum trigynum. 
° Barleria cristata. p Barleria cocrulea. i Barleria ciliata. r Kauclea orientalis- 
B The tuberose. * .'Eschynomcnesesban. u Ipomea quamoclit. x Phoenix paludosa. 



over the mountain. The shade produced by the parijatu tree is 
very cooling. This mountain also produces the following trees 
and fruits : shala y , talu z , tumalu a , hintalu b , kurjodra c , amrtt d , 
jumvesru 3 , goovaku f , punusil ? , shreephulu 11 , draksha 1 , ingoodee k , 
vutu 1 , ushwub'hu 111 , kupitt'hu", &c. A variety of birds are constantly 
singing here, and repeating the names of Door ga and Shiva, viz., 
the kak&°, shooku p , paravutu' 1 , tittiree', chatuku s , chasu*, bhasu u , 
k5kilu x , sarasit 7 , daty55hu z , chukruvaku a , &c. &c. The waters of 
the heavenly Ganges (Mundakinee ) glide along in purling streams. 
The six seasons are uninterruptedly enjoyed on this mountain, viz., 
vusixntu (spring) , greeshmu (summer), vursha (rainy), slmrut (sultry) , 
shishiril (dewy), and sheatu (cold). On a golden throne, adorned 
with jewels, sit Shivu and Doorga, engaged in conversation. 

The Shree-bhaguvutu contains another description of the heaven 
of Shivu: — Sixteen thousand miles from the earth, on mount 
Koilasu*, resides this god, in a palace of gold, adorned with jewels 
of all kinds. This palace is surrounded with forests, gardens, 
canals, trees laden with all kinds of fruit, flowers of every fragrance. 
The kulpu tree also grows here, from which a person may obtain 
every kind of food and all other things he may desire. In the 
centre of a roodrakshu u forest, under a tree, Shivu frequently sits 
with his wife Parvutee. The fragrance of the parijatu flowers 
extends 200 miles in all directions ; and all the seasons are here 
enjoyed at the same time. The winds blow softly, filled with the 
most refreshing odours. At the extremities of this heaven south- 
wards and northwards Shivu has fixed two gates, one of which is 
kept by Nunde^, the other by Muha-kalu. A number of gods and 
other celestial beings constantly reside here, among whom are 
Kartike'yu and Gune'shu, the sons of Shiva" ; also the female ser- 
vants of Doorga, Juya, and Vijuyar, eight nayikas, and sixty -four 
yoginees, with bhootfts, pishachus, Shivu s bull, and those disciples 
of Shiva (shaktus) who have obtained beatitude. The time is 
spent here in the festivities and abominations of the other heavens. 

y Phoenix sylvestris. z Erythriua fulgens. a Shorea robusta. b Borassus flabelli- 
formis. c Diospyrus cordifolia. d Mangifera Indica. e The citron or lime tree. 
f Areca catechu. s Artocarpus integrifolia. h JEgle raarmelos. 1 The grape 
vine. k Unknown. 1 Ficus Iudica. m Ficus religiosa. u Feronia elephantiuro. 
° The crow. p The parrot. q The pigeon. r The partridge. s The sparrow. 
1 Coracias Indica. u Unknown. x The Indian cuckow. y The Siberian crane, 
z The gallinule. a Anas casarea. 

4 Sonini, "during his travels in Greece aud Turkey, made a journey into ancient 
Macedonia, and paid a visit to mount Olympus, the abode of the gods. It was the 
middle of July when this excursion was made, and although the heat was extreme 
towards the base of the mountain, as well as in the plain, vast masses of snow render- 
ed the summit inaccessible. " It is not astonishing," says Sonini, " that the Greeks 
have placed the abode of the gods on an eminence which mortals cannot reach." The 
monks of the convent, " who have succeeded them in this great elevation," confirmed 
what has been sometimes disputed, the perpetual permanence of ice and snow on the 
top of the mountain. With the exception of chamois and a few bears, there are hard- 
ly any quadrupeds to be seen beyond the half of the height of Olympus. Birds also 
scarcely pass this limit. 

u Eleocarpus ganitrus. 


•Sect. IIL — Brumha. 

As has been already mentioned, Brumha, Vishnoo, and Shivu 
derived their existence from the one Brumhu. The Hindoo pundits 
do not admit these to be creatures, but contend that they are ema- 
nations from, or parts of, the one Br&mhu. 

Brumha first produced the waters, then the earth ; next, from 
his own mind, he caused a number of sages and four females to be 
born : among the sages was Kushyupu, the father of the gods, 
giants, and men. From Uditee were born the gods ; from Ditee 
the giants ; from Kudroo the hydras ; and from Vinuta, Gurooru 
and Uroonu. After creating these sages, who were of course bram- 
huns, Brumha caused a kshutriyu to spring from his arms, a 
voishyu from his thighs, and a sh5odru from his feet. In this 
order, according to the pooranus, the whole creation arose. The 
Hindoo shastrus, however, contain a variety of different accounts 
on the* subject of creation. I have thought it necessary to give 
this brief statement, as it seems connected with the history of this 

Brumha is represented as a man with four faces, of a gold 
colour ; dressed in white garments ; riding on a goose. In one 
hand he holds a stick, and in the other a kumunduloo, or alms' 
dish. He is called the grandfather (pitamuhtt) of gods and men 5 . 
He is not much regarded in the reigning superstition ; nor does 
any one adopt him as his guardian deity. 

The bramhuns, in their morning and evening worship, repeat 
an incantation, containing a description of the image of Brumha ; 
at noon they perform an act of worship in honour of this god, pre- 
senting to him sometimes a single flower : at the time of a burnt 
offering, clarified butter is presented to Brumha. In the month 
Maghii, at the full moon, an earthen image of this god is worship- 
ped, with that of Shivu on his right hand, and that of Vishnoo on 
his left. This festival lasts only one da} 7 , and the three gods are, 
the next day, thrown into the river. This worship is accompanied 
with songs, dances, music, &c. as at all other festivals ; but the 
worship of Brumha is most frequently celebrated by a number of 
young men of the baser sort, who defray the expences by a sub- 
scription. — Bloody sacrifices are never offered to Brumha. 

Brumha, notwithstanding the venerable name of grandfather, 
seems to be as lewd as any of the gods. At the time that intoxicat- 
ing spirits were first made, all the gods, giants, gundhurvus, yuk- 
shus, kinnurus, &c. were accustomed to drink spirits, and no blame 
was then attached to drunkenness : but one day Brumha, in a state 
of intoxication, made an attempt on the virtue of his own daughter, 

" Jupiter was called the father and king of gods and men. 


by which he incurred the wrath of the gods. Sometime after- 
wards, Brumha boasted in company, that he was as great a god as 
Shiva. Hearing what Brumha had been saying, the latter, inflam- 
ed with anger, was about to cut off one of Brumha's heads, but 
was prevented by the intercessions of the assembled gods. Brumha 
complained to Doorga, who appeased him by saying, that Shivu 
did not attempt to cut off his head because he aspired to be greater 
than he, but because he (Brumha) had been guilty of a great crime 
in endeavouring to seduce his daughter. BrtLmha was satisfied 
with this answer, but pronounced a curse on whatever god, gund- 
hurvu, or ixpsura should hereafter drink spirits. 

The above is the substance of the story as related in the Mu- 
habharutu. The Kash e e-khun d.u of the Skunda pooranu says, 
that Brumha lost one of his heads in the following manner:— this 
god was one day asked by certain sages, in the presence of Krutoo, 
a form of Vishnoo, who was greatest, Brumha, Vishnoo, or Shivu ? 
Brumha affirmed that he was entitled to this distinction. Kratoo, 
as a form of Vishnoo, insisted that the superiority belonged to 
himself. An appeal was made to the veMus ; but those books de- 
clared in favour of Shivu. On hearing this verdict, Brumha was 
filled with rage, and made many insulting remarks upon Shivu ; 
who, assuming the terrific form of Kalu-Bhoiruvu, appeared before 
Brilmha and Krutoo, and, receiving farther insults from Brumha, 
with his nails tore off one of Brumha's five heads. Brumha was 
now thoroughly humbled, aud with joined hands acknowledged 
that he was inferior to Shivu. Thus this quarrel betwixt the three 
gods was adjusted ; and Shivu, the naked mendicant, was acknow- 
ledged as Muha-devu, the great god. 

Brumha is also charged with stealing several calves from the 
herd which Krishnu was feeding. 

This god, assuming the appearance of a religious mendicant, 
is said to have appeared many times on earth for different purposes. 
Stories to this effect are to be found in several of the pooranus. 

The Muhabharutu contains the following description of the 
heaven of Brumha : — this heaven is 800 miles long, 400 broad, and 
40 high. Narudu, when attempting to describe this heaven, de- 
clared himself utterly incompetent to the task ; that he could not 
do it in two hundred years ; that it contained in a superioY degree 
all that was in the other heavens ; and that whatever existed in 
the creation of Brumha on earth, from the smallest insect to the 
largest animal, was to be found here. 

A scene in the heaven of Brumha : — Vrihusputee, the spiritual 
guide of the gods, on a particular occasion went to the place of his 
elder brother Ootut'hyu, and became enamoured of his pregnant 
wife. The child in the womb reproved him. Vrihusputee cursed 



the child ; on which account it was born blind, and called Deerghu- 
turna . When grown up, Deergliu-tuma followed the steps of his 
uncle, and from his criminal amours Goutumu and other Hindoo 
saints were born. Deergl iu-tuma was delivered from the curse of 
Vrihusniltee by Yoodhist'hiru. 

This god lias many names, among which are the following : 
Brumha, or, he who multiplies [mankind] Atmuboo, the self- 
existent. Puramest'Kee, the chief sacrificer' 1 . Pitamuhu, the grand- 
father. Hiruiryu-gurbhu, he who is pregnant with gold. Lokeshu, 
the god of mankind, the creator. Chutoor-anuim, the four-faced, 
Dhata, the creator. Ubju-yonee, lie who is born from the water- 
lily. Hroohinu, he who subdues the giants. Prujaputee, the lord 
of all creatures. Savitree-putee, the husband of Savitree. 

Sect. IV.—Indrit 

Indru is called the kino- of heaven, and his reijm is said to 
continue 100 years of the gods ; after which another person, from 
among the gods, the giants, or men, by his own merit, raises himself 
to this eminence. The sacrifice of a horse 6 one hundred times 
raises a person to the rank of Indru. 

The Shree-bhaguvutu gives the following list of the persons 
who have been or will be raised to the rank of king* of the <rods 
during the present kulpii : Huree, Rocnunu, Sutyu-jit Trishikhu, 
Vibhoo, Muntru-droomu, and Poorundxiru, the present Indru. To 
him will succeed Bulee, Shrootu, Shumbhoo, Voidhritu, Gundhu- 
dhama, Divusputee, and Shoochee. 

Indru is represented as a white man, sitting on an elephant 
called Oiravutu, with a thunderbolt in his right hand, and a bow 
in his left. He has 1,000 e}~cs. 

The worship of Indru is celebrated annually, in the day time, 
on the 14th of the lunar month Bhadru. The usual ceremonies of 
worship are accompanied with singing, music, dancing, &c. In 
Bengal the greater number of those who keep this festival are 
women ; in whose names the ceremonies are performed by officiat- 
ing bramhuns. It lasts one day, after which the image is thrown 
into the river. This festival, which is accompanied by the greatest 
festivities, is celebrated all over Bengal ; each one repeating it 
annually during fourteen years. On the day of worship, a few 
blades of dodrva grass are tied round the right arm of a man, and 

e From deerghu, long ; tuma, darkness. 

d That is, as the first bramhitn, he performed all the great sacrifices of the Hindoo 
law. To every sacrifice a bramhun is necessary. 

e The horse, on account of his usefulness in war, was sacrificed to Mars. 



the left of a woman. Some persons wear this string, which contains 
fourteen knots, for a month after the festival is over. Fourteen kinds 
of fruits, fourteen cakes, &c. must be presented to the image. This 
worship is performed for the purpose of procuring riches, or a house, 
or a son, or pleasure, or a residence after death in Indru' s heaven. 

Indru is supposed- to preside over the elements, so that in 
times of drought prayers are addressed to him as the giver of rain. 

He is also one of the ten guardian deities of the earth, and 
is said to preside in the east. To render the worship of any other 
god acceptable, it is necessary that the worship of these deities be 
previously performed, viz.^ of Indru, Ugnee, Yumu, Noiritu^ 
VuYoonu, Puvunu, Eeshu, TJniintu, Kooveru, and Brumha ; also 
that of * the five deities', viz., Sdoryu, Guneshu, Shivu, Bsorga, 
and Vishnoo ; and of the nine planets, viz., Ruvee, Somu, Mun- 
gulu, Boodhu, Vrihusputee, Shookru, Shunee, Rahoo, and Ketoo. 
In consequence of this rule, a few ceremonies of worship are per- 
formed to Indru at the commencement of every festival. 

The pooranus and other writings contain a number of stories 
respecting this king of the gods, who is represented as particularly 
jealous lest any persons should, by the performance of sacred aus- 
terities, out-do him in religious merit, and thus obtain his king- 
dom To present these devotees from succeeding in their object, 
he generally sends a captivating female from his own residence to 
draw away their minds, and thus throw them down from the lad- 
der of religious merit, and send them back again to a life of gratifi- 
cation amono- the delusive forms of earth. Bu t that which entails the 
greatest infamy on the character of this god is, his seducing the 
wife of his spiritual guide Goutumu. This story is related in the 
Ramayunu as follows : ' After receiving the highest honours from 
Prumutee, the two descendants of Rughoo, having passed the night 
there, went towards Mit'hila. When the sages beheld at a distance 
the beautiful city of Junuku, they joyfully exclaimed, ' Excellent ! 
excellent !' Raghuva, seeing a, hermitage in a grove of Mit'hila, 
asked the chief of sages, ' What solitary wilderness is this, O divine 
one? I desire to hear whose hermitage this is, beautiful, of im- 
penetrable shade, and inhabited by sages.' Vishwamitru,, hearing 
these words, in pleasing accents thus answered the lotus-eyed 
Ramu : 'Attend, I will inform thee whose is this hermitage, and 
in what manner it became solitary, cursed by the gTeat one in his 
wrath. This was the sacred hermitage of the great Goutumu, 
adorned with trees, flowers, and fruits. For many^ thousand years, 
O son of Rughoo, did the sage remain here with Tj hulya, perform- 
ing sacred austerities. One day, O Ramu, the sage being gone far 
distant, the king of heaven, acquainted with the opportunity, and 
sick with impure desire, assuming the habit of a sage f , thus addres- 

f That is, the habit of Goutumu. This resembles Jupiter's seducing Alcmena, 
the wife of Amphytrion, in her husband's absence, in the likeness of Araphytrion. 

seel UhuTya, 'The menstrual season deserves regard 5 , thou 

This depraved woman, O afflicter of enemies, knowing Sliukru 4 in 
the disguise of a sage, through wantonness consented, he being 
king of the gods. The chief of the gods having perpetrated his 
crime, she thus addressed him : ' O chief of gods, thou hast accom- 
plished thy design, speedily depart unobserved. O sovereign of 
the gods, effectually preserve thyself and me from Goutumu.' In- 
<3ra smiling replied to Uhulya, * O beautiful one, I am fully pleased ; 
I will depart ; forgive my transgression.' After this, he, O Ramu, 
with much caution left the hermitage, dreading the wrath of 
Goutumu. At that instant he saw Goutumu enter, resplendent 
with energy, and, through the power of sacred austerities, invinci- 
ble even to the gods 6 ; wet with the waters of the sacred teer'- 
thu f , as the fire moistened with clarified butter 5 , he saw him com- 
ing to the hermitage, laden with sacrificial wood, and the sacred 
kooslnl. Perceiving him, Shukru was overwhelmed with sad- 
ness. The sage clothed in virtue, beholding the profligate lord 
of' the gods in the disguise of a sage, in dreadful anger thus 
addressed him : * O profligate wretch, assuming my form thou 
hast perpetrated this crime : therefore become an eunuch.' At 
the word of the magnanimous and angry Goutumu, the thou- 
sand-eyed god instantly became an eunuch. Deprived of man- 
ly energy, and rendered an eunuch by the anger of the devout 
sage, he, full of agonizing pain, was overcome with sorrow 11 . 
The great sage, having cursed him, pronounced a curse upon his 
own wife: 4 Innumerable series of years, O sinful wretch, of depra- 
ved heart, thou, enduring excessive pain, abandoned, lying con- 
stantly in ashes, invisible to all creatures, shalt remain in this forest. 
When Ramu, the son of Dushurut'hu, shall enter this dreadful 
forest, thou, beholding him, shalt be cleansed from thy sin. Hav- 
ing, O stupid wretch, entertained him without selfish views, thou, 
filled with joy, shalt again approach me without fear.' Having 
thus addressed this wicked woman, the illustrious Goutumu, the 

g ' According to the shastrus, sixteen days from the appearance of the menses is 
reckoned the menstrual season. All connubial intercourse is forbidden during the 
first three of these days. The guilt incurred by a violation of this rule, on the first 
day is equal to that of a criminal connection with a female chundahl, on the second 
day equal to the same act with a washerwoman, and on the third to the same act 
with a female shoodru.' 

d A name of Indru, signifying strength. 

e The Hindoos believe that the merit of works is such as to be sufficient to 
raise a person higher than the gods themselves. 

f Teert'hus are certaiu places esteemed peculiarly sacred by the Hindoos, 
Bathing in these places is reckoned highly meritorious. 

s That is, the fire of the burnt offering. 

h Other accounts say, that Goutfimu imprinted a thousand female marks upon 
him as proofs of his crime, and that Indru was so ashamed, that he petitioned Goutxtmi! 
to deliver him from his disgrace. The sage, therefore, changed these marks into eyes, 
and hence InchiS became the thousand-eyed god. 



great ascetic, abandoned this hermitage, and performed austerities 
on the pleasant top of Himuvut, frequented by the siddhus and 

charilnus . 

Indru was also guilty of stealing a horse consecrated by king 
Suguru, who was about to perform, for the hundredth time, the 
sacrifice of this animal. 

Indru, though king of the gods, has been frequently overcome 
in war : Meghu-nadu d , the son of Ravunu, the giant, once over- 
came him, and tied him to the feet of his horse. On condition of 
releasing the king of the gods, Bramha conferred on Meghu-nadu 
the name Indru-jit, that is, the conqueror of Indru. He was called 
Meghu-nadu because he fought behind a cloud, (meghu ;) and this 
enabled him to overcome Indru, who, in the engagement, was un- 
able to see him, though he had a thousand eyes. 

Kushyupu, the sage, once performed a great sacrifice, to 
which all the gods were invited. Indru, on his way to the feast, 
saw 60,000 dwarf bramhuns trying in vain to cross a cow's footstep 
which was filled with water, and had the misfortune to laugh at 
these pigmies ; at which they were so incensed, that they resolved 
to make a new Indru, who should conquer him, and take away his 
kingdom. Indru was so frightened at these 60,000 pigmy bram- 
huns, who could not get over a cow's footstep, that he entreated 
Brumha to interfere ; who saved him from their wVath, and conti- 
nued him on his throne. 

Description ofUmUravUtee, the residence of Indict, from the Mu- 
habharutU : — This heaven was made by Vishwu-kurma,the architect 
of the gods. It is 800 miles in circumference, and 40 miles high ; 
its pillars are composed of diamonds ; all its elevated seats, beds, 
&c. are of gold ; its palaces are also of gold. It is so ornamented 
with all kinds of precious stones, jasper, chrysolite, sapphire, 
emeralds, &c. &c.,that it exceeds in splendour the brightness of twelve 
suns united. It is surrounded with gardens and forests, contain- 
ing among other trees the parijatu, the fragrance of the flowers of 
which extends 800 miles, that is, fills the whole heaven 6 . In the 
pleasure grounds are pools of water, warm in winter and cold in 
summer, abounding with fish, water-fowl, water-lilies, &c. the land- 
ing places of which are of gold. All kinds of trees and flowering 
shrubs abound in these gardens. The winds are most refreshing, 
never boisterous ; and the heat of the sun is never oppressive. 
Gods, sages, upsuras, kinnurus, siddhus, saddhyus, deVurshees, 
brumhurshees, rajurshees, Yrihusputee, Shookru, Shunee, Boodhu, 
the winds, clouds, Oiravutu, (Indru's elephant,) and other celes- 

c Carey and Marshman's Translation of the Ramayunil, vol. i., page 433. 
d This word signifies thunder. 

e It is a curious fact, that though this flower is so celebrated in the pooraniis for its 

fragrance, it has no scent at all, 


tial beings, dwell in this heaven. The inhabitants are con- 
tinually entertained with songs, dances, music, and every species 
of mirth. Neither sickness, sorrow, nor sudden death, are found 
in these regions, nor are its inhabitants affected with hunger or 
thirst. — When the god Narudu was sitting in an assembly of princes 
at king Yoodhist'hirus, the latter asked him whether he had 
ever seen so grand a scene before, Narudu, after some hesitation, 
declared he had beheld a scene far more splendid in Indru's heaven, 
of which he then gave the above account ; but confessed that the 
place exceeded all his powers of description. 

A scene in IndrtiL's heaven : — On a certain occasion an assem- 
bly of the gods was held in this place, at which, beside the gods, 
Narudu and the rishees, the gunus, ditkshus, gundhurvus, &c. were 
present. While the courtezans were dancing, and the kinnurus 
singing, the whole assembly was filled with the highest pleasure. 
To crown their joys, the gods caused a shower of flowers to fall on 
the assembly. The king of the gods, being the most distinguished 
personage present, first took up a flower, and, after holding it to 
his nose, gave it to a bramhun. The assembled gods laughing at 
the brumhun for receiving what Indru had used, he went home in 
disgrace ; but cursed Indru, and doomed him to become a cat in the 
house of a person of the lowest cast. Suddenly, and unknown to 
all, he fell from heaven, and became a cat in the house of a hunter. 
After he had been absent eight or ten days, Shuchee, his wife, be- 
came very anxious, and sent messengers every where to enquire for 
her husband. The gods also said among themselves, 'What is be- 
come of Indru ? — A total silence reigns in his palace, nor are we in- 
vited to the dance and the usual festivities ! What can be the mean- 
ing of this V — All search was in vain ; and the gods assembled to 
enquire where he was. They found Shuchee in a state of distrac- 
tion, of whom Brum ha enquired respecting the lost god. At 
length Brumha closed his eyes, and by the power of medi- 
tation discovered that Indru, having offended a bramhun, had 
become a cat. Shuchee, full of alarm, asked Brumha what she 
was to do. He told her to go to the house of the bramhun, 
and obtain his favour ; upon which her husband would be restored to 
her. Shuchee obeyed the directions of Brumha, and went to the house 
of the bramhun ; who was at length pleased with her attentions, 
and ordered her to descend to the earth, and go to the house of the 
hunter, whose wife would tell her what to do that her husband 
might be restored to his throne in heaven. Assuming a human 
form, she went to the house of the hunter, and, looking at the cat, 
sat weeping. The wife of the hunter, struck with the divine form 
of Shuchee, enquired with surprise who she was. Shuchee hesita- 
ted, and expressed her doubts whether the hunter's wife would be- 
lieve her if she declared her real name. At length she confessed 
who she was, and, pointing to the cat, declared that that was her 
hnsband, Indru, the king of heaven. The hunter's wife, petrified 



with astonishment, stood speechless. Shuchee, after some farther 
discourse, said, she had been informed that she (the hunter's wife) 
alone could assist her in obtaining the deliverance of her husband. 
After some moments of reflection, this woman directed Shuchee to* 
perform the Kalika-vrutu. She obeyed and poor lodrti, quitting 
the form of the cat, ascended to heaven, and resumed his place 
among the gods. No doubt he took care in future not to ofTend 
a branihun. 

Another scene in the heaven of Indru, from the Shree-bha- 
gnvutu. — On a certain occasion, the heavenly courtezans and 
others were dancing before the gods, when Indru was so 
charmed with the dancing and the person of Oorvushee, 
one of the courtezans, that he did not perceive when his 
spiritual guide Vrihusputee entered theassembly, and neglected to 
pay him the usual honours. Vrihusputee was so incensed at this, 
that he arose and left the assembly. The gods, perceiving the 
cause, in the utmost consternation* went to Indru, and made him 
acquainted with what had passed. The latter intreated the gods 
to join him in seeking for the enraged Vrihusputee ; but the spiri- 
tual guide had, by the power of yogu, rendered himself invisible. 
At last they found the angry gooroo in his own house ; and the 
gods, joining their petitions to those of Indru, entreated that the 
offence might be forgiven. Vrihusputee declared that he had for 
ever rejected Indrii, and that his resolution would not be changed. 
Indru, offended that for so small an offence he should be so harshly 
treated, declared that he would make no farther concessions, but 
seek another religious guide. The gods approved of his resolution, 
and advised him to choose Vishwu-roopu, a giant with three heads. 
In process of time, at the suggestion of his mother, Vishwur65pu 
began a sacrifice to procure the increase of the power of the giants, 
the natural enemies of the gods. Indru heard of this, and, hurling 
his thunders on the head of the faithless priest, destroyed him in 
an instant. The father of Vishwur56pu heard of his son's death, 
and, by the merit of a sacrifice, gave birth to a giant, at the sight 
of whom Indru fled to Brumha ; who informed the king of the gods 
that this giant could not be destroyed by all his thunders, unless 
he could persuade Dudheeehee, a sage, to renounce life, and give 
him one of his bones. The sage consented, and by the power of 
yogu renounced life ; when Vishwu-kurma made this bone into a 
thunder-bolt, and the giant was destroyed. But immediately on 
his death, a terrific monster arose from the body, to punish Indru 
for his bramhunicide Wherever the king of the gods fled, this 
monster followed him with his mouth open, ready to swallow him 
up, till Indru took refuge in a place where the monster could not 
approach him ; however he sat down, and watched the trembling 
culprit. After some time the gods began to be alarmed : there 

f A Hindoo considers the anger of his spiritual guide as the greatest possible 




was no king in heaven, and every thing was falling into complete 
disorder. After consultation, they raised to the throne of heaven, 
in his bodily state, Nuhooshu, who had performed the sacrifice of a 
horse one hundred times. When Nuliooshu enquired for Shuchee, 
the queen of heaven, he found she was in the parijatu forest. He 
sent for her ; but she declared she would not come, as he had a 
human and not a divine body. The messengers remonstrated with 
her, but she fled to Brumha; who advised her to send word to the 
new Indru, that she would live with him, if he would come and 
fetch her with an equipage superior to whatever had been seen 
before in heaven. This message was conveyed to the new Indru ; 
who received it with much joy, but took several days to consider 
in what way he should go to fetch home the queen. At last, he 
resolved to be carried to her in the arms of some of the principal 
sages. As the procession was moving along, the king, in his exces- 
sive anxiety to arrive at the parijatu forest, kicked the sacred lock 
of hair on the head of Ugustyu ; who became filled with rage, and, 
pronouncing a dreadful curse on the new Indru, threw him down, 
and he fell, in the form of a snake, upon a mountain on the earth, — 
Yishnoo, perceiving that one Indru was kept a prisoner, and that 
another had been cursed and sent down to the earth, resolved to 
find a remedy for this evil, and, cursing the monster who had im- 
prisoned the former king of the gods, restored him to his throne 
and kingdom. 

Another scene in Inclrus heaven, from the Muhabliarnlu. — 
Narudu one day called at Krishnu's, having with him a parijatu 
flower from the heaven of Indru. The fragrance of this flower 
filled the whole place with its odours. Narudu first called on 
Rookminee, one of Krishnu's wives, and offered the flower to her. 
She recommended him to give it to Krishnu, that he might dispose 
of it as he chose. He next went to Krishnu, who received him 
with great respect : 1 Well, Narudu, you are come after a long ab- 
sence : what flower is that T ' Can't you tell by its fragrance X said 
Narudu, 'it is the parijatu. . I brought it from Indru s garden, and 
I now present it to you.' Krishnu received it with pleasure, and, 
after some further conversation, Narudu retired into another part 
of the house and watched Krishnu, to see to which of his wives he 
would give this flower ; that he might excite a quarrel in Krish- 
nu's family, and ultimately a war betwixt Krishnu and Indru. 
Krishnu, after Narudu had retired, went to Rookminee, and gave 
the flower to her, warning her to keep it secret, lest Sutyu-bhama 
(another of Krishnu's wives) should hear of it. As soon as Naru- 
du saw to whom Krishnu had given the flower, he paid a visit 
to Sutyu-bhama, who received him with great attention. After 
the first compliments were over, Narudu fetched a deep sigh, 
which Sutyu-bhama noticing, enquired the cause. He seemed to 
answer with reluctance, which made Sutyu-bhama still more in- 
quisitive. He then acknowledged that his sorrow was on her ac- 



count. Her anxiety was now inflamed to the highest degree, and 
she begged him to tell her without delay what he meant. ' I have 
always considered you,' says NarMu, 'as the most beloved wife 
of Krishnu ; the fame of your happiness has reached heaven itself : 
but from what I have seen to-day, I suspect that this is all mis- 
take.' ■ Why ? Why ?' asked Sutyu-bhama most anxiously. Naru- 
du then unfolded to her, in the most cautious manner, the story 
of the flower : ' I brought from heaven,' says he, ' a parijatu flower, 
(a flower which is not to be obtained on earth,) and gave it to 
Krishnu. I made no doubt but he would present it to you — to 
whom else should he present it ? But instead of that he went 
secretly to the apartments of Rookminee, and gave the flower to 
her. Where then is his love to you ?' — Sutyu-bhama asked what 
kind of flower this was. Narudu declared that it was not in his 
power to describe it. ' Do you not perceive,' said he, ' its odours V 
* I perceived,' said Sutyu-bhama, ' the most delightful fragrance, 
but I thought it was from your body.' Narudu. declared that his 
body was offensive, and that it was the parijafcu that diffused its 
odours all around. ' But,' says he, ' when you see Krishnu, ask 
him to let you look at it/ 'And do you think then,' said 
Sutyu-bhama, 'that I shall speak to Krishnu, or see his face any 
more !' — 4 You are right,' said Narudu : ' he did not even let you 
see so precious a jewel ; but secretly gave it to another.' — 
The enraged Sufcyii-bhama made the most solemn protestations 
that she had done with Krishnu for ever. Narudu praised her for 
her resolution, but hinted, that if she ever did make up the 
matter with Krishnu, she should insist upon his fetching one of 
the trees from heaven, and giving it to her. Narudu, having thus 
laid the foundation of a dreadful quarrel betwixt Krishnu and his 
wife, and of a war with Indru, withdrew, and Sutyu-bhama retired 
to the house of anger*. — Some days after this, Krishnu went to 
see Sutyii-bhama, but could not find her : on asking the servants, 
they told him that she had on some account retired to the house of 
anger. Not being able to discover the cause, he went to her, and 
made use of every soothing expression ; but in vain. At last he 
threw himself at her feet, when, after many entreaties, she 
consented to be reconciled, on condition that he should fetch 
one of the trees from heaven, and plant it in her garden. This 
he engaged to do, and sent Gurooruto Indru with his respects : 
but commissioned Gtirooru. in case of refusal to threaten him 
with war ; and if this did not avail, to add, that Krishnu would 
come and trample on the body of his queen, overturn his throne, 
and take the tree from him by force. Neither the entreaties nor 
threats of Krishnu" moved Indru ; who, on the contrary, sent 
him a defiance. Krishnu, on the return of Guroorii, collected 
his forces, and invaded heaven. Dreadful havock was made 
on both sides. All the heavens were in a state of frightful 

s A house set apart for an angry wife, where she retires till her husband recon- 
ciles himself to her. 



uproar ; and the gods, full of alarm, advised Indru to submit, as he 
would certainly be overcome. At length Krishnti let fly a weapon 
called Soodtirshunu, which pursued the foe wherever he went. 
The gods again exhorted IncLrii to sue for peace, to prevent his 
immediate destruction : he at length took this advice, and sub- 
mitted to the enraged Krishnu, who carried off the tree in triumph, 
and appeased his jealous wife Sutyu-bhama. 

The following are some of the names of this god : Indru, or, 
the glorious. — Murootwan, he who is surounded by the winds. 
— Pakushasunu, he who governs the gods with justice. Pooroohootu, 
he who is invited to a sacr ifice performed by king Pooroo.— 
Poorunduru, he who destroys the dwellings of his enemies. — 
Jishnoo, the conqueror. — Shukru, he who is equal to every thing. 
— Shutumunyoo, he who performed a hundred sacrifices. — Divus- 
putee, the god of the heavens. — Gotrubhid, he who dipt the wings 
of the mountains 1 . — Bujree, he who wields the thunder-bolt k . — 
Vritruha, he who destroyed the giant Vritru. — Vrisha, the 
holy. — Sooru-putee, the king of the gods. — Bularatee, the destroyer 
of Bulu, a giant. — Hurihuyu, he who is drawn by yellow horses. 
— Numoochisoodunu, the destroyer of Numoochee, a giant. — 
Sunkrundunu, he who causes the wives of his enemies to weep. 
— Toorashat, he who is able to bear all things. — Meghu-vahunu, he 
who rides on the clouds. — Stihusrakshu, he who has a thousand 
eyes. 1 . 

Sect. V. — JSodryu™. 

This god is said to be the son of Kushyupu, the progenitor of 
gods and men. He is represented as a dark-red man, with three eyes, 
and four arms ; in two hands he holds the water-lily ; with 
another, he is bestowing a blessing, and with the other forbidding 
fear. He sits on a red water-lily, and rays of glory issue from 
his body. 

The bramhuns consider Sdoryu as one of the greatest of the gods, 
because in glory he resembles the one Brumhu, who is called 
tejomuyu, or the glorious. In the vedus also this god is much 
noticed : the celebrated incantation called the gayutree, and 
many of the forms of meditation, prayer, and praise, used in the 
daily ceremonies of the bramhuns, are addressed to him. He is at 
present worshipped daily by the bramhuns, when flowers, water, 
&c. are offered, accompanied with incantations. 

» It is said, that formerly the mountains had wings, and that they flew into all 
parts of the earth, and crushed to atoms towns, cities, &c. 

k In this Indru resembles Jupiter Fulminator. 

i Mr. Wilkins considers Indru, with his thousand eyes, as a deification of the 

m The Sun, 



On a Sunday, at the rising of the sun, in any month, but es- 
pecially in the month Maghu, a number of persons, chiefly women, 
perform the worship of S56ryu : I shall give an account of this 
worship in the words of a respected friend. — ' The sun is annually 
worshipped on the first Sunday in the month Maghu. The name of 
this worship is called Dlrurmu-bhaoo, or S55ryu-bhaoo. The cere- 
monies vary in different places, but in this district the women appear 
to be the principal actors ; though none are excluded, and even 
Musulmans are so far Hindooized as to join in the idolatry. I saw it 
once thus conducted : — at the dawn of the morning a great number 
of offerings were carried into the open field, and placed in a row. 
The offerings consisted of fruits, sweatmeats, pigeons and kids. A 
small pot was placed by each person's offering, containing about a 
pint and a half of water. A device made of a water-plant, a species 
of Millingtonia, intended to represent the sun, was placed on the 
edge of the pot, and a small twig of the mango-tree, with a few 
leaves on it, put into it, as people in England keep flowers. The 
pot with all its appendages represented the sun perhaps as the 
vivifier of nature. By each offering also was placed (what shall I 
call it V) an incense-altar, or censer called dhoonachee. It resembled 
a chafing-dish, made of copper, and stood upon a pedestal about a 
foot long. It contained coals of fire, and a kind of incense from 
time to time was thrown into it, principally the pitch of the salu- 
tree, called dhoona. Near each offering was placed a lamp, which 
was kept burning all day. The women also took their stations 
near the offerings. At sun-rise they walked four times round the 
whole row of offerings, with the right hand towards them, and the 
smoking dhoonachees placed on their heads ; after which they re- 
sumed their stations again, where they continued in an erect pos- 
ture, fasting the Avhole day, occasionally throwing a little incense 
into the dhoonachee. Towards evening, the bramhun who attend- 
ed the ceremony, threw the pigeons up into the air ; which, being 
young, could not fly far, and were scrambled for and carried away 
by the crowd. The officiating bramhun perforated the ears of the 
kids with a needle ; after which they were seized by the first per- 
son who touched them. About sun-set, the offerers again took up 
the smoking dhoonachees, and made three circuits round the rows 
of offerings. After this, the offerings and lighted lamps were taken 
away by their respective owners, who threw the lamps into a pool 
of water.' 

Women frequently make a vow to Sodryu to worship him, on 
condition that he give — to one, a son ; to another, riches ; to 
another, health, &c. Some perform these ceremonies after bearing 
a son. This worship is sometimes attended to by one woman 
alone ; at other times by five, six, or more in company. 

So5ryu and the other planets are frequently worshipped in 
order to procure health. This the Hindoos call a sacrifice to the 



nine planets, when flowers, rice, water, a burnt-sacrifice, &c are 
offered to each of these planets separately. It is said, that two or 
three hundred years ago Muy55rubhuttu, a learned Hindoo, in 
order to obtain a cure for the leprosy, began to write a poem of one 
hundred Sungskritu verses in praise of S56ryu ; and that by the 
time he had finished the last verse, he was restored to health. 
These verses have been published under the title of Sooryushutuku, 
the author at the close giving this account of his cure. Sometimes 
a sick person procures a bramhun to rehearse for him a number of 
verses in praise of S55ryu, offering at the same time to this god 
rice, water, and juva 11 flowers. If the person be very ill, and a man 
of property, he employs two or three bramhuns, who repeat as 
many as a thousand verses. This ceremony must be performed 
standing in the sun : when a thousand verses are rehearsed, the 
recitation occupies more than a day. The origin of this method of 
obtaining relief from sickness is ascribed to Shambu the son of 
Krishnii, one of the most beautiful youths in the three worlds, who 
was directed in a dream to repeat, twice a day, the twenty-one 
names of Sooryu then revealed to him. 

The persons who receive the name of Sooryu, and adopt this 
god as their guardian deity, are called Sourus : they never eat till 
they have worshipped the sun, and when the sun is entirely cover- 
ed with clouds they fast. On a Sunday, many Sourus, as well as 
Hindoos belonging to other sects, perform, in a more particular 
manner, the worship of this idol ; and on this day some of them 

The Ramayunu contains the following story respecting S56ryTS, 
Hunoomanu, &c. In the war betwixt Kamu and Ravunii, an arrow 
discharged by Puvunu pierced the body of Lukshmunu : Ramu. 
and all his friends were exceedingly alarmed for the life of 
Lukshmiinu ; the physicians tried all their efforts in vain. At 
last one physician declared that if four kinds of leaves could be 
brought from the mountain Gundhu-madhunu, and applied to the 
wound, Lukshmunu might probably be restored to health. The 
god who had given this arrow to Ravunii had declared, that who- 
ever was wounded with it in the night should not recover, if a 
cure were not obtained before day-light. It was night when the 
wound was inflicted, but Hunoomanu engaged to bring the leaves 
before morning. To secure the fulfilment of his promise, he leaped 
into the air, and alighted on the mountain ; but searched in vain 
for the medicinal leaves. While in his search, Ravunu, who had 
heard what was going forward, sent Sooryu to arise on the moun- 
tain at midnight. Hunoomanu, in a rage, leaped up, and seizing 
Sooryu's chariot wheels, placed the blazing god under his arm and 
the mountain on his head, and carried them to the camp of Ramu ; 
where the friends of Lukshmunu searched out the plants, applied 

11 Hibiscus rosa Sinensis, 



the leaves, and restored him to health : after which Hunoomanu 
permitted Sooryu to depart. 

Sooryu has two wives, Suvurna and Chaya. The former is 
the daughter of Vishwukiirma. After their marriage, Suvurna, 
unable to bear the power of his rays, made an image of herself ; and, 
imparting life to it, called it Chaya , and left it with S55ryu. She 
then returned to her father's house ; but Vishwukurma reproved 
his daughter for leaving her husband, and refused her an asylum ; 
but promised that if she would return, he would diminish the 
glory of Sooryu's rays. Suvurna resolved not to return, and, 
assuming the form of a mare, fled into the forest of Dunduku, 
Chaya and Yumu, whom Suvurna had left with Sooryu, could not 
agree ; and Yumu one day beating Chaya, she cursed him, so that 
he ever since has had a swelled leg. Yumu, weeping, went to his 
father Sooryu, shewed him his leg, and related what had happened ; 
upon which Sooryu began to suspect that this woman could not 
be Suvurna, for no mother ever cursed her own son ; and if she 
did, the curse could not take effect. He immediately proceeded to 
the house of his father-in-law, who received him with great respect, 
but unperceived gave him a seat consisting of different sharp 
weapons, by which he became divided into twelve round parts. 
S56ryu was enraged, and could not be pacified till his father-in- 
law informed him that his daughter, unable to bear the glory of his 
rays, had forsaken him. On enquiring where she was gone, the 
father said he had sent her back to him immediately on her 
arrival, but that where she now was he could not say. Sooryu, 
by the power of dh}^anu p , perceived that Suvurna had become a 
mare, and was gone into some forest. The story here becomes too 

obscene for insertion. -Sooryu and Suvurna, in the forms of a 

horse and a mare, had two children, to whom they gave the names 
of TJshwinee and Koomaru q . When Sooryu returned to his palace, 
he asked his wife who this woman (Chaya) was. She gave him 
her history, and presented her to him as a wife ; and from that 
time Chaya was acknowledged as Sooryu's second wife. 

There are no temples dedicated to Sooryu in Bengal. The 
heaven of this god is called Sooryu-loku. A race of Hindoo kings, 
distinguished as the descendants of the sun, once reigned in India ; 
of which dynasty Ikshwakoo was the first king, and Ramu the 

The following are the principal names of Sooryu : Sooru, or, he 
who dries up the earth. — Sooryu, he who travels, he who sends 

This word means a shadow. 

P When the old Hindoo ascetics wished to ascertain a fact, they performed what 
is called dhyanil, viz. , they shut their eyes, and began to meditate, when, it is said, 
the information they sought was revealed to them. 

q That is, the sons of a mare : these are now physicians to the gods. 


men to their work. — Dwadushatma, lie who assumes twelve forms 1 '. 
— Divakuru, the maker of the day. — Bhaskurii, the creator of the 
light. — Vivus wilt, the radiant. — Suptashwu, he who has seven 
horses in his chariot. — Vikurttunu, he who was made round by 
Vishwukurma in his lathe. — IJrku, the maker of heat. — Mihiru, he 
who wets the earth 3 . — Pooshunu, he who cherishes all. — Dyoo- 
munee, he who sparkles in the sky. — Turimee, the saviour. — 
Mitru, the friend of the water-lily 1 . — Gruhuputee, the lord, of the 
stars. — Suhusrangshoo, the thousand-rayed. — Ruvee, he who is to 
be praised. 

Sect. VI — Guntfshu. 

This god is represented in the form of a fat short man, with 
a long belly, and an elephant's head u . He has four hands ; holding 
in one a shell, in another, a chiikru, in another, a club, and in the 
fourth, a water-lily. He sits upon a rat. In an elephant's head 
are two projecting teeth, but in Guneshu's only one, the other 
having been torn out by Vishnoo, when in the form of Purusoo- 
ramu he wished to have an interview with Shivii. Gune'shu, who 
stood as door-keeper, denied him entrance, upon which a battle 
ensued, and Purusoo-ramu, beating him, tore out one of his 

The work called Guneshu-khundu contains a most indecent 
story respecting the birth of this god ; which, however necessaiy 
to the history, is so extremely indelicate that it cannot possibly be 
given. It is mentioned in this story, that Doorga cursed the gods ; 
so that they have ever since been childless, except by criminal 
amours with females not their own wives. 

When it was known that Doorga had given birth to a son, 
Shunee and the rest of the gods went to see the child. Shunee 
knew that if he looked upon the child it would be reduced to 
ashes ; but Doorga took it as an insult that he should hang down 
his head, and refuse to look at her child. For some time he did 
not regard her reproofs ; but at last, irritated, he looked upon 

r Alluding to his progress through the twelve signs. 

s The Sooryu-shutnliu says, the sun draws up the waters from the earth, and 
then lets them fall in showers again. 

t Ac the rising of the sun this flower expands itself, and when the sun retires shuts 
up its leaves again. 

u Sir W. Jones calls Gnneshn the god of wisdom, and refers, as a proof of it, to 
his having an elephant's head, I cannot find, however, that this god is considered 
by any of the Hindoos as properly the god of wisdom ; for though he is said to give 
knowledge to those who worship him to obtain it, that is what is ascribed also to 
other gods. The Hindoos in general, I believe, consider the elephant as a stupid 
animal, and it is a biting reproof to be called as stupid as an elephant. 



Gune'shu, and its head was instantly consumed x . The goddess, 
seeing her child headless y , was overwhelmed with grief, and would 
have destroyed Shune? ; but Brumha prevented her, telling Shu- 
nee to bring the head of the lirst animal he should find living with 
its head towards the north. He found an elephant in this situ- 
ation, cut off its head, and fixed it upon Gune'shu, who then assumed 
the shape he at present wears. Doorga was but little soothed 
when she saw her son with an elephant's head : to pacify her, 
Brumha said, that amongst the worship of all the gods, that of 
Gune'shu should for ever bear the preference. In the beginning of 
every act of public worship therefore, certain ceremonies are 
constantly performed in honour of Gune'shu 2 . Not only is 
Gune'shu thus honoured in religious ceremonies, but in almost all 
civil concerns he is particularly regarded : as, when a person is 
leaving his house to go a journey, he says, ' Oh ! thou work per- 
fecting Gune'shu, grant me success in my journey ! Gune'shu ! 
Gune'shu • Gune'shu !' — At the head of every letter, a salutation is 
made to Guneshu 3 . When a person begins to read a book, he 
salutes Gune'shu ; and shop-keepers and others paint the name or 
image of this god over the doors of their shops or houses, expecting 
from his favour protection and success. 

No public festivals in honour of Guneshu are held in Bengal. 
Many persons however choose him as their guardian deity, and are 
hence called Ganuputyus. 

At the full moon in the month Maghu, some persons make or 
buy a clay image, and perform the worship of Gune'shu ; when the 
officiating bramhun performs the ceremonies common in the 
Hindoo worship, presenting offerings to the idol. This god is also 
worshipped at considerable length at the commencement of a 
wedding, as well as when the bride is presented to the bridegroom. 
Great numbers , especially from the western and southern provinces, 
celebrate the worship of Guneshu on the 4th of the new moon in 

x This property is ascribed to Shunee, (Saturn.) to point out, no doubt, the 
supposed baneful influence of this planet. This resembles the fable of Saturn's 
devouring all his male children. The Kamaynnu contains a story respecting 
Dusharut'hu. and Shunee, in which it is said, that Dashurut'hu was once angrywith 
this god for preventing the fall of rain in his kingdom : he ascended his chariot to 
make war with him, when Shunee, by a single glance of his eyes, set the king's 
chariot on fire, and Dushiirut'hu, in the most dreadful state of alarm, fell from the 

y One cause of this misfortune is said to be this : Doorga had laid her child to 
sleep with its head to the north, which is forbidden by the shastru. The Anhikn- 
tutwu declares, that if a person sleep with his head to the east, he will be rich ; if to 
the south, he will have long life ; if to the north, he will die ; and if to the west, (except 
when on a joui*ney,) he will have inisforttxnes. 

z It will occur to the reader, that in all sacrifices among the Romans, prayers 
were first offered to Janus. 

a Gune'shu" is famed as writing in a beautiful manner : so that when a person 
writes a fine hand, people say, ' Ah ! he writes like Gune'shu.' This god is said to 
have first written the MuhabharatiJ from the mouth of Vyasilde'vu. 



Bhadrii, when several individuals in each place subscribe and de- 
fray the expence. Many persons keep in their houses a small 
metal image of Guneshu, place it by the side of the shalgramu, and 
worship it daily. At other times, a burnt-offering of clarified butter 
is presented to this idol Stone images of Guneshu are worshipped 
daily in the temples by the sides of the Ganges at Benares ; but I 
cannot find that there are any temples dedicated to him in Bengal. 

Guneshu is also called Huridra-Guneshu. This name seems to 
have arisen out of the following story : — When Doorga was once 
preparing herself for bathing, she wiped off the turmerick, &c. with 
oil, and formed a kind of cake in her fingers b . This she rolled to- 
gether, and made into the image of a child ; with which she was 
so much pleased, that she infused life into it, and called it Huridra- 
Gune'shu c . The image of this god is yellow, having the face of an 
elephant. He holds in one hand a rope ; in another, the spike used 
by the elephant driver ; in another, a round sweetmeat, and in an- 
other, a rod. 

The principal names of Guneshu are : — Guneshu, or, the lord of 
the gunnu deVtas d . — Dwoimatooru, the two-mothered e . — Eku- 
duntu, the one-toothed. — Herumbu, he who resides near to Shivu. 
— Lumboduru, the long-bellied. — Gujanunu, the elephant-faced. 

Sect. YII. — Kartikeyu. 

This is the god of war. He is represented sometimes with 
one, and at other times with six faces ; is of a yellow colour ; rides 
on a peacock f ; and holds in his right hand an arrow, and in his 
left, a bow. 

The reason of the birth of Kartikeyu is thus told in the Koo- 
maru-sumbhuvu, one of the kavyus : — Taruku, a giant, performed 
religious austerities till he obtained the blessing of Brumha, after 
which he oppressed both bramhuns and gods. He commanded that 
the sun should shine only so far as was necessary to cause the 
water-lily to blossom ; that the moon should shine in the day as 
well as in the night. He sent the god Yumu to cut grass for his 
horses ; commanded Puvunti to prevent the wind from blowing any 
stronger than the puff of a fan ; and in a similar manner tyrannized 

b The Hindoos have a custom of cleaning their bodies by rubbing them ail over 
with turmerick ; and then, taking oil in their hands, wiping it off again, when it falls 
as a paste all round them. 

c HSridra the name for turmerick. 

d These are the companions of Shivu. 

e One of Gune'shiTs mothers was Doorga, and the other the female elephant 
whose head he wears. 

f Juno's chariot was said to be drawn by peacocks, 



over all the gods. At length Indrii called a council in heaven, 
when the gods applied to Brumha : but the latter declared he was 
unable to reverse the blessing he had bestowed on Tariiku ; that 
their only hope was Kartikeyu, who should be the son of Shivu, 
and destroy the gaint. — After sometime, the gods assembled again 
to consult respecting the marriage of Shivu, whose mind was entire- 
ly absorbed in religious austerities. After long consultations, Kun- 
durpu 8 was called, and all the gods began to Batter him in such a 
manner that he was filled with pride, and declared he could do 
every thing : he could conquer the mind even of the great god 
Shivu himself. That, 'says Indrii,' is the very thing we want you 
to do.' At this he appeared discouraged, but at length declared, 
that he would endeavour to fulfil his promise. He consulted his 
wife Eutee ; who reproved him for his temerity, but consented to 
accompany her husband. They set off, with Vusuntu h , to mount 
Himaluyu, where they found Shivu sitting under a roodrakshu* tree, 
performing his devotions. 

Previously to this, Himaluyu k had been to Shivu, and propos- 
ed that Doorga, his daughter, should wait upon him, that he might 
uninterruptedly go on with his religious austerities ; which offer 
Shivu accepted. One day, after the arrival of Kundurpu and his 
party, Doorga, with her two companions Juya and Vijuya, carried 
some flowers and a necklace to Shivu. In the moment of opening 
his eyes from his meditation, to receive the offering, Kundurpu let 
fly his arrow ; and Shivu, smitten with love, awoke as from a 
dream, and asked who had dared to interrupt his devotions. — 
Looking towards the south he saw Kundurpu, when fire proceeded 
from the third eye in the centre of his forehead, and burnt Kun- 
durpu to ashes 1 . The enraged god left this place for another forest, 
and Doorga, seeing no prospect of being married to Shivu, returned 
home full of sorrow. She sought at last to obtain her object by 
the power of religious austerities" 1 , in which she persevered till 
Shivu was drawn from his devotions, when the marriage was con- 

The Miihabharutu and Ramayunu contain accounts of the 

s The god of love. 

h The spring. The Hindoo poets always unite love and spring together. 

» From the fruit of this tree necklaces are made, the wearing of which is a 
great act of merit among the Hindoos. 

k The mountain of this name personified. 

1 Through the blessing of Shivu to Riitee, Ktindurpu was afterwards born in 
the family of Krishrm, and took the name of Kamu-devu ; after which Ilutee (then 
called Mayavutee) was again married to him. 

111 When this goddess, says a kavyu shastru, told her mother that she 
would perform austerities to obtain Shivu, her mother, alarmed, exclaimed — " Ooma ! 
(Oh! mother!) how can you think of going into the forest to perform religious aus- 
terities ? Stay and perform religious services at home, and you will obtain the god you 
desire. How can your tender form bear these severities ? The flower bears the weight 
of the bee, but if a bird pitch upon it, it breaks directly." 



birth of Kavtikeyti, the fruit of this marriage ; but they are so 
indelicate that the reader, I doubt not, will excuse their omission. 

On the last evening in the month Kartiku, a clay image of 
this god is worshipped 11 , and the next day thrown into the water. 
These ceremonies differ little from those at other festivals : but 
some images made on the occasion are not less than twenty-five 
cubits high ; that is, a whole tree is put into the ground, and wor- 
shipped as a god. The height of the image obliges the worshippers 
to fasten the offerings to the end of a long bamboo, in order to 
raise them to the mouth of the god. This festival is distinguished 
by much singing, music, dancing, and other accompaniments of 
Hindoo worship. 

The image of Kartikeyu is also made and set up by the side of 
his mother Doorga, at the great festival of this goddess in the 
month Ashwinu ; and each day, at the close of the worship of 
Doorga, that of her son is performed at considerable length. In 
the month Choitra also the worship of Kartikeyu accompanies that 
of his mother. — No bloody sacrifices are offered to this idol. 

At the time when the above festival is held, some persons 
make or purchase clay images, which they place in their houses, 
and before which the officiating bramhtin performs the appointed 
ceremonies ; preceding which a prayer is made for offspring. This 
is repeated sometimes on the anniversary- of this day, for four years 
together. If the person, long disappointed, should, in these years, 
or soon after, happen to have a child, particularly a son, the whole 
is ascribed to Kartikeyu^ . When persons have made a vow to 
Kartikeyu, they present offerings to this idol at the completion of 
the vow. These vows are sometimes made to obtain the health of 
a child, or a son ; a woman, when she makes this vow, thus ad- 
dresses the god : ' Oh ! Kartikeyu t'hakooru q , give me a son, and 
I will present to thee [here she mentions a number of offerings, as 
sweetmeats, fruits, &c] — I do not want a female child.' This 
vow may be made at any time, or place, without any previous 

n Vast numbers of these images are made; in some towns as many as five hun- 
dred. It is supposed that in Calcutta more than five thousand are made and wor- 

He who makes an image for his own use is supposed to do an act of much 
greater merit than the person who purchases one. 

p A part of the Muhabharutu is sometimes recited to obtain offspring. The part 
thus read is a list of the ancestors of Huree, (a name of Vishnoo.) When a person 
wishes to have this ceremony performed, he employs a learned native to recite these 
verses, and another to examine, by a separate copy, whether the verses be read with- 
out mistake: if they be read improperly, no benefit will arise from the ceremony. If 
the person who seeks offspring be unable to attend himself during the ceremony, he 
engages jsorne friend to hear the words in his stead.— Some verses of praise, addressed 
to Shivu, are also occasionally read in the ears of a husband and wife who are anxious 
to obtain offspring. 

q A term of respect, meaning excellent. 



ceremony. When several women are sitting together, another 
woman perhaps comes amongst them, and, in the course of 
the conversation, asks the mistress of the house, * Has your 
daughter-in-law any children yet V She replies, in a plaintive man- 
ner, ' No, nothing but a girl.' Or she answers altogether in the 
negative, adding, ' I have again and again made vows to Karti- 
keyu, and even now I promise before you all, that if the god will 
give her a son, I will worship him in a most excellent maimer, 
and my daughter-in-law will do it as long as she lives.' 

There are no temples in Bengal dedicated to Kartike'vu, nor 
are any images of him kept in the houses of the Hindoos except 
during a festival. 

The principal names of Kartikeyii, are : Kartikeyu, or, he who 
was cherished by six females of the name of Krittika r . — Muha- 
se'nu, he who commands multitudes. — Shuranunu, the six-faced. — 
Skundu, he who afflicts the giants. — Ugnibhoo, he who arose from 
tjgnee. — Goohu, he who preserves his troops in war. — Tarukujit, 
he who conquered Taruku. — Vishakhu, he who was born under 
the constellation of this name. — Shikhi-vahunu, he who rides on a 
peacock. — Shuktee-dhuru, he who wields the weapon called 
shuktee. — Koomaru, he who is perpetually young 8 . — Krounchu- 
darunu, he who destroyed the giant Krounchu. 

It is said that Kartikeyu was never married, but that Indru 
gave him a mistress named De'vuse'na. He has no separate heaven, 
nor has Gune'shu : they live with Shivu on mount Koilasil 

Sect. VIII. — ffgnee. 

This god is represented as a red corpulent man, with eyes, eye- 
brows, beard, and hair, of a tawny-colour. He rides on a goat ; 
wears a poita, and a necklace made with the fruits of eleocarpus 
ganitrus. From his body issue seven streams of glory, and in his 
right hand he holds a spear. He is the son of Kushyupu and 

Ugnee has his forms of worship, meditation, &c. like other 
gods ; but is especially worshipped, under different names, at the 
time of a burnt -offering, when clarified butter is presented to him. 
The gods are said to have two mouths, viz., that of the bramhun, 
and of fire (Ugnee). 

r Six stars, (belonging to ursa major) said to be the wives of six of the seven rishees. 
These females are called Krittika. They cherished Kartike'ya' as soon as he was born 
in the forest of writing-reeds, and hence his name is a regular patronymic of Krittika, 
because they were as his mothers. 

8 Under sixteen years of age. 



At the full moon in the month Maghu, when danger from fire 
is considerable, some persons worship this god before the image of 
Brumha, with the accustomed ceremonies, for three days. When 
any particular work is to be done by the agency of fire, as when a 
kiln of bricks is to be burnt, this god is worshipped ; also when 
a trial by ordeal is to be performed. 

Some bramhuns are distinguished by the name sagniku, be- 
cause they use sacred fire in all the ceremonies in which this ele- 
ment is used, from the time of birth to the burning of the body 
after death. This fire is preserved in honour of the god Ugnee, 
and to make religious ceremonies more meritorious*. 


Ugnee, as one of the guardian deities of the earth, is wor- 
shipped at the commencement of every festival He presides 
in the S. E. 

Bhrigoo, a sagniku bramhun and a great sage, once cursed his 
guardian deity Ugnee, because the latter had not delivered Bhrigoo's 
wife from the hands of a giant, who attempted to violate her 
chastity when she was in a state of pregnancy. The child, how- 
ever, .sprang from her womb, and reduced the giant to ashes. 
Bhrigoo doomed the god to eat every thing. Ugnee appealed to 
the assembled gods, and Brumha soothed him by promising, that 
whatever he ate should become pure. Ugnee was also once cursed 
by one of the seven rishees, who turned him into cinders. 

^ Urjoonu, the brother of Yoodhisthiru, at the entreaty of 
Ugnee, set fire to the forest Khunduvu, in order to cure him of a 
surfeit contracted in the following manner : — Murootu, a king, 
entered upon a sacrifice which occupied him twelve months, during 
the whole of which time clarified butter had been pouring on 
the fire, in a stream as thick as an elephant's trunk : at length 
Ugnee could digest no more, and he intreated Urjoonu to bum 
this forest, that he might eat the medicinal plants, and obtain his 
appetite again. 

Swaha, the daughter of Kushyupu, was married to Ugnee. Her 
name is repeated at the end of every incantation used at a burnt- 
offering, as well as in some other ceremonies. The reason of this 
honor is attributed to Ugnee's uxoriousness. 

The heaven of this god is called Ugnee-loku. His principal 
names are . — Vunhee, or, he who receives the clarified butter in 
the burnt-sacrifice (homu). — Veetihotru, he who purifies those 
who perform the homu. — Dhununjuyu, he who conquers (destroys) 
riches. — Kripeetuyonee, he who is born^from rubbing two sticks 
together. — Jwuiunu, he who burns. — Ugnee, he to whom fuel is 

* There may be some resemblance in this to the custom of the Romans, in preserve 
ing a perpetual fire in the temple of Vesta. 



Sect. IX. — PuvUnit. 

This is the god of the winds, and the messenger of the gods u . 
His mother Uditei, it is said, prayed to her husband, that this son 
might be more powerful than Indru : her request^was granted ; 
but Indru, hearing of this, entered the womb of TJditee, and cut 
the foetus, first into seven parts, and then each part into seven 
others. Thus Puvunu assumed forty-nine forms x . He is meditated 
upon as a white man, sitting on a deer, with a white flag in his 
his right hand. 

Puvunu has no separate public festival, neither image, nor 
temple. As one of the ten guardian deities of the earth, he is 
worshipped, with the rest, at the commencement of every festival. 
He is said to preside in the N. W. Water is also offered to him 
in the daily ceremonies of the bramhuns ; and, whenever a goat 
is offered to any deity, a service is paid to Vayoo, another form 
and name of Puvunu. In the work called Udikurunu-mala, a 
burnt-sacrifice of the flesh of goats y is ordered to be offered to 
this god. 

The following story is related of Puvunu in the Shree- 
bhaguvutu : — On a certain occasion Narudu paid a visit to 
Soomeroo 2 , and excited his pride in such a manner, that he protest- 
ed the god Puvunu could not approach his summit. Narudu 
carried the news of Soomeroo's insolence to Puvunu, and advised 
him to go and breakdown the summit of Soomeroo ; which, even 
to the depth of 800 miles below the surface, was of solid gold. 
Puvunu went, and produced such a tempest, that the earth 
trembled to its centre ; and the mountain god, terribly alarmed, 
invoked Gurooru, who came to his relief, and, covering the moun- 
tain with his wings, secured it from the wrath of Puvunu. For 
twelve months, however, the storm raged so that the three worlds 
were hastening to destruction. The gods desired Narudu to prevail 
on Puvunu to compose the difference with Soomeroo : instead of 
complying with which the mischievous rishee went, and calling 
Puvunu a fool for exciting such a storm to no purpose, told him that 
as long as Gurooru protected the mountain with his wings, there 
was no hope ; but that, if he would attack Soomeroo, when 
Gurooru was carrying Vishnoo out on a journey, he might easily 
be revenged. This opportunity soon occurred : all the gods 

u I can find no agreement betwixt this god and either Mercury or JEolus. 

x The forty-nine points. The Hindoos have 49 instead of 32 points ; and the 
pooranfts, which contain a story on every distinct feature of the Hindoo philosophy, 
have given this fable : and in the same manner all the elements are personified, and 
some remarkable story invented to account for their peculiar properties. 

y The goat, it will be remembered, was slain in the sacrifices of Bacchus. 

3 The mountain of this name personified. 


(330,000,000) were invited to Shivu's marriage with Parvutee, 
among whom were the mountains Soomeroo, Trikootu, Ooduyu 8 , 
Ustu b , Vindhyu, Malyitvanu, Gnndhuma-dunn, Chitmkootil, Mu- 
lityu, Nilu, Moinaku c , &c. Vishnoo, riding on Gurooru, also went to 
the marriage, and all the heavens were left empty. Seizing this op- 
portunity, Puvumx flew to Soomeroo, and, breaking the summit 
of the mountain, hurled it into the sea d . 

Puvunu is charged with an adulterous intercourse with. Unjuna, 
the wife of Keshuree, a monkey. The fruit of this intercourse was 

Puvunu was once inflamed with lust towards the hundred 
daughters of Kooshunabhu, a rajurshee ; and because they refused 
his offers, he entered the body of each, and produced a curvature 
of the spine. They were made straight again by a king named 
Brumhu-duttu, to whom they were married. 

The name of the heaven of this god is Vayoo-loku. His prin- 
cipal names are : — Shwixsunu, or, he who is the giver of breath. — 
Spurshunu, the toucher. — Vayoo, he who travels. — Maturishwa, he 
who gave his mother sorrow 6 . — Prishudushwa, he who rides on the 
deer. — Gunclhuvuhu, he who carries odours.— Ashoogu, he who 
goes swiftly — Marootu, without whom people die. — Mubhuswutu, 
he who moves in the air. — Puvunu, the purifier. — Prubhungjunu, 
the breaker. 

Sect. X. — Vuroonu. 

This is the god of the waters. His image is painted white ; he 
vsits on a sea-animal called mukuru, with a rope f in his right 

Vuroonu's name is repeated daily in the worship of the bram- 
huns ; but is image is never made for worship, nor has he any pub- 
lic festival or temple in Bengal. He is worshipped however as one 

a Mountains over which the sun rises. 
b Behind which the sun sets. 

c Some of these belong to the snowy range north of India, and others to the tropi- 
cal range dividing south from north India. These and other mountains are personified, 
and by the Hindoo poets are designated as the residence of the gods, and by poetical 
licence ranged among the inferior gods. 

d Here it became the island of Ceylon, (Lunka.) 

e When Iudra cut him into forty-nine pieces in the womb. 

f This weapon is called pashu, and has this property, that whomsoever it catches, 
it binds so fast that he can never get loose. All the gods, giants, rakshusus, &c. learn 
the use of this weapon. 



of tlie guardian deities of the earth ; and also by those who farm 
the lakes in Bengal, before they go out a fishing : and in times of 
drought people repeat his name to obtain rain s . 

A story of this god is contained in the PMmu pooranu to this 
purport : — Eavunu was once carrying an unadee-lingu from Hima- 
luyu to Lunka 11 , in order that he might accomplish all his ambitious 
schemes against the gods : for it was the property of this stone, 
also called kamu-lingu, to grant the worshipper all his desires, 
whatever they might be. Shivu, however, when permitting 
Eavunu to remove this his image to Lunka, made him promise, that 
wherever he suffered it to touch the ground, there it should remain. 
When the gods saw that Ptavunu was carrying this stone to Lunka, 
all the heavens were in a state of agitation : for the gods knew, 
that if Eawunu could be permitted to accomplish his wishes, nei- 
ther Indru nor any other god would continue on his throne. 
Council after council was held, and applications made to different 
gods in vain. It was at last resolved that Vurooiru should enter 
the belly of Eavunu, who would thereby be compelled to set the 
stone down, while discharging his urine\ Vuroonu accordingly 
entered the belly of Eavunu, as he was carrying the lingu on his 
head ; and the latter soon began to feel the effects of his visit. 
His belly swelled prodigiously : — he proceeded however on his 
journey, till at last he could wait no longer. At this moment Indru, 
in the form of an old bramhun, meeting him, Eavunu, after asking 
who he was, and where he was going, entreated him to hold the 
lingu for a short time, promising to bestow on him the greatest 
favours ; to which the bramhun consented, agreeing to hold the 
stone an hour, but no longer. Eavunu told him he would not de- 
tain him half that time ; and squatted on his hams to rid himself 
of Vurooiru. After he had thus sat for four hours, the bramhun, 
complaining he could hold the stone no longer, threw it down- 
when the lower part sunk into the world of the hydras, and the 
top is said to be visible to this day at Voidyu-na'thu, a place 
in the zillah of Beerbhoom, where the river Khursoo is believed 
te have arisen from the urine of this enemy of the gods 1 . Eavunu, 
when he arose, and saw what had taken place, went home full of 

s At the time of a drought, it is common for bramhuns to sit in crowds by the 
sides of the Ganges, or any other river, and address their prayers to this god. A bram- 
hun once informed me, that he remembered when Krishnu-Chundrn, the raja of Nuvii- 
dweepft, gave presents to vast multitudes of bramhuns thus employed ; and that, in 
the midst of their prayei-s, Vuroonu' sent a plentiful supply of rain, 

h Ceylon. 

i Kamii means desire. 

k Ravumt could not hold the lingu while in this act r as a person hereby becomes 
unclean until he has bathed. This is the strict rule of the shastril : at present, how- 
ever, should a person, in the midst of his worship, be compelled to discharge urine, he 
does not bathe, but only changes his clothes. 

1 The Hindoos do not drink the water of this river, but bathe in and drink the 
water of a pool there, which they have called Nuvu-gilnga, viz., the New Gilnga. 



rage and disappointment : some accounts add, that lie went and 
fought with the gods in the most furious manner. 

The heaven of this god, called onu-loku, is 800 miles in 
circumference, and was formed by Yishwukurma, the divine ar- 
chitect. In the centre is a grand canal of pure water. Vuroonu, 
and his queen Varoonee, sit on a throne of diamonds ; and around 
them the court, among whom are Suxnoodru, Gunga, and other 
river gods and goddesses 01 ; the twelve Adityus, and other deities ; 
the hydras ; Oiravutu ; the doityus ; the danuvus, &c. The plea- 
sures of this heaven consist in the gratification of the senses, as in 
the heavens of Indru. and others. There does not seem to be a 
vestige of any thing here, but what would exactly meet the wishes 
of a li be] 'tine. 

A scene in the heaven of Vuroonu : — Nimee, a king, invited 
Vushisht'hu to preside as priest over the ceremonies at a sacrifice 
he was about to perform. Yushisht'hu, being engaged at that time 
as priest to perform a sacrifice for some other king, from whom 
he expected very large presents, excused himself for the present ; 
when Nimee, after using entreaty in vain, employed another sage 
as priest. Yushisth'hu, having concluded the sacrifice in which he 
was engaged, proceeded to the palace of Nimee ; but hearing that 
the king had employed another priest, was filled with rage, and 
pronounced a curse on the king, by which he was reduced to ashes. 
Before the curse took effect, however, the king cursed Yushisht'hu, 
and reduced his body also to ashes. The soul of Yushisht'hu ascend- 
ed to Brumha, to enquire how he was to procure a body again. 
Brumha said, ' Go to the gods Vuroonu and Sooryu.' He went, 
and obtained his body in the following manner ; Sooryu, captivated 
with the sight of Oorvushee, a courtezan, as she was dancing in 
Indrus heaven, invited her to his house. As she was going, 
Vuroonu met her, and became enamoured of her also. [Here the 

story becomes too filthy to be written. —] From the inflamed 

passions of these two gods, Ugustyu, an eminent ascetic, was born, 
and Vushisht'hu, one of the most exalted of the Hindoo saints, ob- 
tained a new body. The priests who had been employed by Nimee, 
fearing they should lose all employment hereafter if they suffered 
the king thus to perish, at the close of the sacrifice formed from the 
ashes a young man, to whom they gave the name of Junuku ; who 
became the father of Seeta, the wife of Ramu. 

The meaning of the name Vuroonu is, he who surrounds. — 
This god is also called Pruche'ta, or the wise. — Pashee, he who holds 
a rope. — Yadusang-putee, the lord of the watery tribes. — Upputee, 
the lord of waters. 


m Among these deities are included gods of wells, pools, lakes, basins, whirl- 
pools, &c. 



Sect. XI. — Yumu. 

This god is called the holy king, who judges the dead. His 
image is that of a green man, with red garments ; inflamed eyes ; 
having a crown on his head, and a flower stuck in his hair D ; sitting 
on a buffaioe, with a club in his right hand. His dreadful teeth, 
grim aspect, and terrific shape, fill the inhabitants of the three 
worlds with terror. 

An annual festival is held in honour of Yumu on the second 
day of the moon's increase in the month Kartiku, when an image 
of clay is made, and wors hipped with the usual ceremonies for one 
day, and then thrown into the river. No bloody sacrifices are 
offered to this god. 

Yumu is also worshipped at the commencement of other festi- 
vals, as one of the ten guardian deities of the earth. He presides 
in the south. 

Every day the Hindoos offer water to Yumu, in the ceremony 
called turpunu, as well as annually on the 14th of the month 
Ugruhayunu, when they repeat several of his names. 

At the time of other festivals, the Hindoos sometimes make an 
image of the mother of Yumu , and worship it. At other times 
children in play make this image, and pretend to worship it. 

On the first of the month Kartiku, a curious ceremony takes 
place in every part of Bengal : — the unmarried girls of each house 
engage a near relation to dig a small pit near the front of the house, 
at the four corners of which they sow rice, or barley, or wheat, and 
plant some stalks of the plantain or other tree : they also plant 
other branches in the midst of the pit. The place being thus pre- 
pared, every morning for a month these girls, after putting on clean 
apparel, and sprinkling their heads with the water of the Ganges to 
purify themselves, present flowers, &c. to Yumu by the side of this 
small pit, repeating an incantation. Each day they put a single 
kouree p in an earthen pot, and at the end of the ceremony present 
the thirty kourees to the person who dug the pit. They perform 
this ceremony to procure from Yumu either husbands, or sons, or 
happiness, and also that they may escape punishment after death. 

n It is very common to see a flower, which has been presented to an image, stuck 
in the bunch of hair which the Hindoos tie behind the head. This is done under the 
idea that the flower has some virtue in it. Several shastrus prescribe this practice, and 
promise rewards to the person who places in his hair flowers which have been present- 
ed to his guardian deity, or to any other god. 

A very old woman, who is at the same time a great scold, is called by the 
Hindoos the mother of Yumu. 

p Shells from the Maldive islands, which pass for money in Bengal. More than 
six thousand of these shells may be bought for a rupee. 



I have heard of some Hindoos, who, rejecting the worship of 
other gods, worship only Yumu ; alleging that their future state is 
to be determined only by Yumu, and that they have nothing there- 
fore to hope or to fear from any beside him. 

Yumu is judge of the dead. He is said to hold a court, in 
which he presides as judge, and has a person to assist him, called 
Chitru-gooptu q , who keeps an account of the actions of men. A 
number of officers are also attached to the court, who bring the 
dead to be judged. If the deceased persons have been wicked, Yumu 
sends them to their particular hell ; or if good, to some place of happi- 
ness. The poor Hindoos, at the hour of death, sometimes fancy they 
see Yumu's officers, in a frightful shape, coming to fetch them away. 

Yumu is said to reside at Yumaluyix, on the south side of the 
earth 1 ". All souls, wherever the persons die, are supposed to go to 
Yumu in four hours and forty minutes ; and a dead body cannot 
be burnt till that time have elapsed. 

The following account of Yumaluyu, and of Voiturunee, the 
river to be crossed after death, is taken from the Muhabharutu : — 
After Brumha had created the three worlds, viz., heaven, earth, and 
patulu, he recollected that a place for judgment, and for the punish- 
ment of the wicked, was wanting. He therefore called Vishwu- 
kurma, the architect of the gods, and gave him orders to prepare a 
very superb palace. Opposite the south door Vishwukurma made 
four pits for the punishment of the wicked. Three other doors 
were reserved for the entrance of the good, that they might not see 
the place of punishment when they went to be judged. Brumha, 
taking with him the gundhurvils, the giants, &c. went to see the 
place, and gave it the name of Sunjee-vuuee. The gundhurvus 
asked Brumha to give them this beautiful palace. Brumha asked 
them if they were willing to inflict the punishments on the wicked : 
to which they replied in the negative. The giants were next about 
to seize the place by force ; to prevent which Brumha ordered Vish- 
wukurma to form a vast trench around, and to fill it with water, 
which became the river Voiturunee. Brumha next ordered Ugnee 
to enter the river, and the waters became hot. Having thus sur- 
rounded the hall of judgment with a river of boiling water, the 
creator ordered, that after death each one should be obliged to swim 
across. This, however, subjected the good to punishment : to pre- 
vent which it was ordained, that the offering of a black cow to a 
bramhun should cool the river,, and render the person's passage 
easy 8 . It was still necessary, that some one should occupy this place, 
and judge the dead ; and Brumha assigned this work to Yumu. 

i That is, he who paints in secret ; or, he who writes the fates of men in secret. 
r One Hindoo sometimes jokes with another, by asking him where he is going, as 
he seems to be proceeding southwards. 

8 I do not find that the Hindoos have any ferryman, like Charon, or boat to cross 
this river ; though they talk of crossing it by laying hold of the tail of the black 



The Ramayunu contains the following story about Yumu : — < 
Soon after Giinga came down to the earth, Yumu was very angry 
with the gods, as she left him nothing to do in his office of judge ; all 
the people, however sinful, through her power ascending to heaven. 
His officers, in a rage, were about to give up their places, and leave 
him. On applying to Indru, he advised him not to place his mes- 
sengers in any situation where the wind, passing over Gixnga blew ; 
for that all persons touched even by the wind of this sacred river 
had all their sins removed, and would go to heaven*. 

Many other stories are to be found in the pooranus, some of 
them supposed to be related by persons who have been at Yumaluyu: 
the following are of this description.- — In a certain village lived 
two persons of the same name ; one of whom had lived out his 
whole time, the other had many years to live. Chitru-gooptu, 
examining his register, sent Yumu's messengers to fetch the person 
whose appointed time was expired : the messengers went, but 
brought the wrong person. On re-examining his records, Chitru- 
gooptu found out the mistake, and directed the officers to hasten 
back with the soul before the relations had burnt the body. While at 
Yumaluyu, this person looked all around, and saw, in one place, the 
punishments inflicted on the wicked : Yumu's officers were chastising 
some, by casting them into pits of ordure ; others, by throwing them 
into the arms of a red hot image of a woman 11 ; others, by making their 
bellies immensely large, and their mouths as small as the eye of a 
needle ; others, by feeding them with red hot balls ; others, by 
throwing them into pits filled with devouring worms and insects, 
or with fire. In other places he saw those who had practised severe 
mortifications living in a state of the greatest magnificence ; and 
women who had been burnt on the funeral pile, sitting with their 
husbands, enjoying the greatest delights. As he was coming away, 
he saw preparations making for the reception of some one in the 
highest style of grandeur, and asked the messengers who was to 
enjoy this. The messengers replied that it was for one of his neigh- 
bours, a very holy man, whose appointed time was nearly expired ; 
and who, in fact, died soon afterwards. 

A story very similar to this is often related of a person named 
Buluramu, of the voidyu cast, who lived some years ago at Choopee, 
near Nudieya. This man, to all appearance, died ; and was lying 
by the side of the Ganges, while his relations were collecting the 
wood and other materials to burn the body. Before the fire was 

cow which the}' offered in order to obtain a safe passage. It is very common in Bengal 
for a herdsman to cross a river by taking hold of a cow's tail. 

* Whatever the Hindoos may think of Gunga's taking away their sins, it is ac- 
knowledged by all, that the inhabitants who live on the banks of the Ganges are the 
most corrupt and profligate of all the Hindoos. 

u This instrument is used for the punishment of adulterers. When Ravunu was 
carrying off Seeta by force, she reminded him, that for this crime he would have to go 
into the burning arms of this image after death. 



lighted, however, the body began to move, and in'a little while the 
dead man arose, and told bis Mends of his having been carried by 
mistake to Yumaluyu, where he saw terrific sights of the punish- 
ments of the wicked. This man lived fifteen years after this journey 
to Yumii's palace. 

The following story was invented, no doubt, in order to check 
excessive sorrow for deceased relations. — A rich bramhun had only 
one son, who grew up to manhood, and was loved almost to distrac- 
tion by his parents 3 ". This son, however, died in his youth, and his 
wife was burnt with him on the funeral pile. The father and 
mother were so overwhelmed with distress, that for years they 
refused all comfort. During this time an old servant, who had 
served the bramhun many years, and had eaten of his food y , died, 
and, for his merit, was made one of Yumus officers. This man 
was going one day to fetch the soul of some one from the village 
where he had once lived, and saw his former master weeping by 
the side of the road for the loss of his son. Assuming his old form, 
he raised up his master, and endeavoured to comfort him, but in 
vain. He then told him, that he was become one of Yumus offi- 
cers, on account of the merit he had obtained by serving him (the 
bramhun), and eating of his food; and that now, to remove his 
sorrow, he would take him and shew him his son. The old man 
got on his back, and the officer immediately carried him to the 
residence of Yumu, and shewed him his son and daughter-in-law 
in the greatest happiness, surrounded with every delight, playing 
at chess. But the son, having lost all affection for his parent, 
would not even look at him, though exhorted to it by his wife. 
He replied, that in numerous transmigrations, it was very likely 
that this old man might have been his son again and again. The 
old man was so incensed, to see that his daughter-in-law had more 
affection for him than his own son, for whom he was dying with 
grief, that he desired the constable to carry him back. The old 
brarnhunee would not believe that her son's affections were thus 
alienated from them : the constable, therefore, carried her also to 
see him ; but she met with the same treatment. They both im- 
mediately renounced their grief for a son who had lost all his filial 
affection, and resolved to think no more about him. 

Other stories abound in the pooranus respecting Yumu, some 
of which relate to disputes betwixt the messengers of this god and 
those of some other god, about the soul of a departed person, whe- 
ther it shall be happy or miserable. I insert two of these stories : — 

x The Hindoos in general carry their attachment to children, especially to sons, 
to the greatest excess. — They are amazed at the supposed want of affection in Euro- 
peans, who leave their parents in order to traverse foreign countries ; some of them 
without the hope of ever seeing them again. 

y It is a very meritorious action for a shoodrn to eat the leavings of a bramhfm, 
Hence a shoodrn will serve a bramhun for rather less wages than another person; 



When the gage 13 nimand nvyn was a child of five years old, he put 
a straw into the tail of a locust, and let it fly away. In advanced 
years, while once employed in performing religious austerities, he 
was seized as a thief by the officers of justice, and, as he gave no 
answer on his trial, the king took it for granted that he was guilty, 
and ordered him to be impaled. After he had been impaled four 
years, his bod}^ had undergone no change, and, though he appeared 
perfectly insensible to human objects, he was evidently alive. The 
king, being informed of this, was filled with astonishment, and 
declared that he was certainly some great ascetic, equal to one of 
the gods. He then immediately ordered him to be taken down ; 
but in endeavouring to extract the wood upon which he had been 
impaled, it broke within his body. The sage was then suffered to 
depart, and, after sometime, his religious abstraction was inter- 
rupted ; though his mind had been so set upon his god, that neither 
impaling him for four years, nor breaking the stake within his 
body, had disturbed his intense devotion. On awaking from this 
state he discovered what had been done to him, and that he had 
suffered all this from the hands of Yumu, for having pierced the 
locust when he was a child, fie was exceedingly angry with Ynmu 
for such unrighteous judgment. To punish a person for a sin com- 
mitted at the age of five 5^ears, and for so small a crime to impale 
him for four years, was what he could not bear. He then cursed 
Yumu, and doomed him to be born on earth, and to take the name 
of Vidooru, the son of a servant girl in the house of the mother of 
Vedu-vyasu. — How the administration of justice in the other world 
was carried on after Yumu assumed human birth, this story does 
not relate. — What an excellent religion for a wicked man : the 
criminal can punish his judge ! 

TJjamilu had committed the most enormous crimes, having 
killed cows and bramhuns, drank spirits, and lived in the practice 
of evil all his days. He had four sons ; the name of one was 
Narayunu. In the hour of death TJjamilu was extremely thirsty, and 
thus called to his son : ' Narayunu, Narayunu, Narayunii, give me 
some water. 5 After his decease, the messengers of Ynmu seized 
him, and were about to drag him to a place of punishment, when 
Vishnoo's messengers came to rescue him. A furious battle^ensued, 
but Vishnoo's messengers were victorious, and carried off TJjamilu 
to Voikoontu, the heaven of Vishnoo. The messengers of Yumu, 
enraged, returned to their master, threw their clothes and staves 
at his feet, and declared that they would serve him no longer, as 
they got nothing but disgrace in all they did. Yumu ordered 
Chitru-gooptu, the recorder, to examine his books. He did so, and 
reported that this TJjamilu had been a most notorious sinner, and 
that it was impossible for him to reckon up his sins, they were so 
numerous. Yunru hastened to Voikoontu, and demanded of Vish- 
noo an explanation of this affair. Vishnoo reminded him, that 
however wicked this man might have been, he had repeated the 



name Narayunu in his last moments ; and that he (Yumu) ought to 
know, that if a man, either when laughing, or by accident, or in 
anger, or even in derision, repeated the name of Vishnoo, he would 
certainly go to heaven, though, like TJjamilu, covered with crimes, 
he had not a single meritorious deed to lay in the balance against 
them — This is the doctrine that is universally maintained by the 
great body of the Hindoos : hence, when a person in a dying situa- 
tion is brought down to the river side, he is never exhorted to re- 
pentance, but is urged in his last moments to repeat the names of 
certain gods, as his passport to heaven. A Hindoo shopkeeper one 
day declared to the author, that he should live in the practice of 
adultery, lying, &c. till death ; and that then, repeating the name 
of Krishnu, he should, without difficulty, ascend to heaven. How 
shocking this sentiment ! How dreadful this mistake ! 

Description of the heaven of YUmu, from, the MiihabharUtU. 
This heaven, formed by Vishwukurma, is 800 miles in circumfer- 
ence. From hence are excluded the fear of enemies, and sorrow 
both of body and mind ; the climate is mild and salubrious ; and 
each one is rewarded in kind, according to his works : thus he, 
who has given much away on earth, receives a far greater quantity 
of the same things in heaven ; he who has not been liberal, will 
have other kinds of happiness, and will see food, houses, lands, &c. 
but will receive nothing. All kinds of excellent food are here heap- 
ed up into mountains*. To this heaven have been raised a great 
number of Hindoo kings, whose names are given in the Muha- 
bharutu. The pleasures of this heaven are like those of Indru- 
pooru : the senses are satiated with gratifications as gross as the 
writer of this pooranu, the licentious vyasu, could make them. 

"Yumu married Vijuyu, the daughter of Veeru, a bramhun. The 
Bhirvishyut pooranu contains the following story respecting this 
marriage : — Yum it was so pleased with this female, on account of 
her having performed the Boodhashtumee vrittu, that he appeared 
to her, and offered her marriage. She was alaimed at the sight of 
this stranger, and asked him who he was. When she found it was 
Yumu, the judge of the dead, who was thus paying his addresses to 
her, she was filled with terror. Yumu calmed her fears, and per- 
mitted her to acquaint her brother ; as he would be full of distress 
after her departure, if he were left in ignorance. Her brother told 
her she was certainly mad : — ' What, to be married to Yumu ! A 
fine husband truly !' She however consented, and Yumu conveyed 
her to his palace, but charged her never to go to the southwards. She 
suspected that there Yumu had another favourite, and would not 
be satisfied till he had explained to her, that his reasons for forbid- 
ding her to go southwards were, that there the wicked were 
punished, and that she would not be able to bear so dreadful a 
sight. All these warnings, however, were given in vain : while 

z This seems to be a heaven for gluttons ! 



Yumu was one day busy, she took another female or two, and went 
southwards, till the cries of the damned had nearly terrified her to 
distraction : to add to the horror of the scene, she saw her mother 
in torments. On her return, Yumu. found her in a state of the 
greatest distress, and soon discovered the cause. She insisted on 
Yumti's delivering her mother that very day, or he should see her 
face no more. Yumu declared this to be impossible ; that her own 
bad conduct had brought her there, and that she could only be de- 
livered, according to the forms of the shastru, after suffering the 
punishment due to her. Vijuyu became impatient and clamorous ; 
till Yumtl told her, that if she could get the merit of the Boodhas- 
tumee vrutu, transferred to her by some one, she might deliver her 
mother. Yumu further informed her, that on earth a certain queen, 
who had performed the Boodhashtumee vrutu, had been three days 
in the pains of child-birth ; and that, if she would perform a certain 
ceremony, which, he described to her, the queen would be delivered, 
and would in return transfer the merits of this vriltu to her mother, 
who would immediately be delivered from torments. Yijuyu took 
this advice; and thus procured the deliverance of her mother from 

Yumu's principal names are ; Dhurmuxraju, or, the holy king. 
— Pitriputee, the lord of the ancients. — Sumuvurttee, he who 
judges impartially. — Pre'tu-rat, the lord of the dead. — Kritantu, 
the destroyer. — Yumoona-bhrata,.the brother of Yttmoona*. — Shu- 
munu, he who levels all. — Yuinu-rat, the chief of the fourteen 
Yumus b . — Yumu, he who takes out of the world. — Kalu, time. — 
Dundud.huru, he who holds the rod of punishment. — Shraddhu- 
devu, the god of the ceremonies paid to deceased ancestors ; or, he 
who eats his share of the shraddhu. — Voivuswutu, the son of 
Vivuswut, or Sooryu. — Untuku, he who kills, or puts an end to life. 

Sect. XII.— The Worship of the " Host of Heaven" 

The Hindoos, like other idolatrous nations, have gone into the 
worship of the heavenly bodies. The planets, the constellations, 
the signs of the zodiac, the stars in general, the star Canopus , the 
star Kalu-poorooshti, &c. have all been deified, and are worshipped 
with appropriate forms of petition, praise, &c. some of them at the 
festivals of other gods, and others at different times. The constel- 
lations are worshipped separately at the births of children, as well 
as at the anniversaries of these births till the time of death. 

a The river Yitmoona. 

b Yumu has thirteen assistants, whose names are here given as different names 
of this judge of the dead. 

c Called by the Hindoos Ugftstyn', the sage. 



Some persons suppose, that the worship of the elements was 
the primitive idolatry of the Hindoos, and that of heroes the in- 
vention of later times. It is plain, however, that the vedus, sup- 
posed to be the most ancient of the Hindoo writings, countenance 
the worship of deified heroes. These books contain accounts of 
Brumha, Vishnoo, and Sbivu, and most of the other deities. A. 
paragraph in the Rig-vedit speaks of the gods choosing Indra to be 
their king, whom they placed on a throne fancifully constructed 
with texts of the ve'du : (amongst all the gods none are charged 
with greater crimes than Indru, who seduced the wife of his spiri- 
tual guide :) indeed from a variety of facts it is highly probable, 
that to the ve'dus we are to attribute the foundation of this whole 
fabric of superstition. These books contain prayers to procure the 
destruction of enemies, as well as encourage the burning of widows 
alive d , which is surely a far greater crime than any thing done in 
the presence of the images of Ramii or Krishnu. The ancient 
idolatry, therefore, seems to have been as corrupt as any thing 
practised at present. — Is it not probable that the horrid worship 
of Moloch was really that of the element of fire ? 

I do not find, however, that the heavenly bodies are worship- 
ped on the tops of houses, as appears to have been the case among 
those nations from whom the Jews learnt their idolatry. It is said 
of Manasseh, that ' he worshipped all the host of heaven, and 
served them/ Josiah, the son of Manasseh, put down all that burnt 
incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, 
and to all the host of heaven. By the prophet Jeremiah, God 
threatens, that the people shall bring out the bones of the 
king of Judah, of the princes, priests, prophets, and people ; and 
adds, ' And they shall spread them before the sun, the moon, and 
all the host of heaven, whom they have served ; they shall not be 
gathered nor be buried ; they shall be for dung upon the face of 
the earth.' By the prophet Zephaniah, God threatens to cut off 
them 'that worship the host of heaven upon the house-tops.' 
Stephen, in rehearsing the history of the children of Israel before 
the Jewish council, declares, that God formerly gave up their fore- 
fathers to worship the host of heaven ; and mentions among other 
objects of worship the star of the god Remphan. 

This worship, which has been so general among heathen na- 
tions, seems to have originated in judicial astrology, and in the 
belief that the heavenly bodies have a great influence upon human 
events. Hindoos, whose birth under a supposed evil planet has 
been ascertained, are often filled with melancholy ; some abandon 
themselves to despair, careless of what becomes of an existence 

d e O fire, let these women, with bodies anointed with ghee, eyes (coloured) with 
stibium and void of tears, enter the parent of water, that they may not be separated 
from their husbands, may be in union with excellent husbands, be sinless, and be 
jewels among women.' fiig-vedu. 


connected with such omens. The reader will perceive, in reading 
the account of Saturn, to what a degree the Hindoos dread the in- 
fluence of this planet, especially at the time when it is in a certain 
sign. Against fears of this kind the prophet Jeremiah warned the 
Jews : c Learn not the way of the heathen, and he not dismayed at 
the signs of heaven, for the heathen are dismayed at them.' 

Sect. XIII. — The Worship of the Nine Gruhus*.or 


At the great festivals a small offering is presented to all the 
planets at once ; but except on these occasions they are never 
worshipped together. They are, however, frequently worshipped 
separately by the sick or unfortunate, who suppose themselves to 
be under the baneful influence of some planet. At these times the 
nine planets are worshipped, one after the other, in regular succes- 
sion. The ceremonies consist of the common forms of worship 
before other images, and close with a burnt-offering to each planet. 

To S55ryu are offered in the burnt-sacrifice small pieces of 
the shrub urku 1 ; to Chundru, those of the pulashu 8 ; to Mars, 
those of the khudiru h ; to Mercury, those of the upamargu. 1 ; to 
Jupiter, those of the ushwutt'hu k ; to Venus, those of the ooroom- 
buru ; to Saturn, those of the shumee 1 ; to Rahoo, blades of d55rva 
grass; and to Ketoo, blades of kooshii grass. 

In honour of Sooryu boiled rice, mixed with molasses, is 
burnt ; milk is to be mixed with the rice offered to Chundru ; 
with that to Mars, curds ; with that to Mercury, clarified butter : 
to Jupiter is offered frumenty ; to Venus, boiled rice alone ; to 
Saturn, various kinds of food ; to Rahoo, goat's flesh or fish ; to 
Ke'too, blood from the ear of a goat, mixed with rice. 

The image of Sooryu is to be a round piece of mixed metal, 
twelve fingers in diameter ; that of Chundru is to be like a half 
moon, a cubit from end to end ; that of Mars, a triangular piece of 
metal measured by the thickness of six fingers ; that of Mercury, 
a golden bow measuring the thickness of two fingers from one 
extremity to the other ; that of Jupiter, like a flower of the water- 
lily ; that of Venus, a four-square piece of silver ; that of Saturn, 
an iron scymitar ; that of Rahoo, an iron muktiru ; and that of 
Ke'too, an iron snake. 

c These stars are called gruhus,because they make known to people good and evil. 
f Asclepias gigantiac. % Butea frondosa. 

h Mimosa catechu. 5 Achyranthes aspera. 

k Ficus religiosa. 1 Mimosa albida. 


The fees accompanying the worship of the different planets 
are various : at that of Sooryu, a milch cow ; of Chandra, a shell ; 
of Mars, a bull ; of Mercury, a morsel of gold ; of J upiter, a piece 
of cloth ; of Venus, a horse ; of Saturn, a black cow ; of ftahoo, a 
piece of iron ; and of Ke'too, a goat. 

When the officiating bramhun performs the worship of separate 
planets, he must put on vestments of divers colours, and offer 
different kinds of flowers. 

Sect. XI \ r . — litivee™, the Sun. 

This god, the son of Kushyupu, the sage, is painted red. He 
holds a water-lily in each hand, and rides in a chariot drawn by 
seven yellow 11 horses. 

Ruvee, as one of the planets, is worshipped only at the great 
festivals. The Jyotish-tutwu says, that if a person be born under 
the planet Ruvee, he will possess an anxious mind, be subject to 
disease and other sufferings, be an exile, a prisoner, and endure 
much sorrow from the loss of his wife, children, and property. 

This god has been already noticed under the name of Sooryu : 
but in that account several particulars were omitted by mistake ; 
and which I insert here, though they properly belong to another 
form of this idol. — While bathing, the Hindoos repeat certain 
incantations, in order to bring the waters of all the holy places in 
the heaven of this god into the spot where they are standing, and 
thus obtain the merit of bathing not only in Gunga, but in all the 
sacred rivers, &c. in the heaven of Sodryu. After bathing too, the 
Hindoos make their obeisance to this god in a standing posture ; 
the more devout draw up their joined hands to the forehead, gaze 
at the sun, make prostration to him, and then turn round seven 
times, repeating certain forms of petition and praise. On these 
occasions they hold up water in their joined hands, and then ' pour 
out a drink-offering' to the sun. 

When the terrific being which sprung out of Shivu's bunch of 
hair went with all the bhootus, &c. to destroy Dukshu's sacrifice, 
all the gods being present, this monster seized on Sooryu and 
knocked out his teeth : in consequence, at the time of worship, 
only soft things, as flour, &c. are now offered to this god, such as a 
toothless old man might eat. 

Sooryu is charged in the Muhabharutii with ravishing Koonte, 
a virgin, from whence Kurnnu, a gaint, was born. 

m Hence Ruvee- variS, or Sunday. 
n ?N T ot green, as mentioned by Mr. Maurice. 



Sect. XV. — Somu , or C/cundru, the Moan, • 

The image of Somu is that of a white man, drawn by ten 
horses, or sitting on the water-lily. With his right hand he is 
giving a blessing, and in the other he holds a club. 

111 the work called Udhiku>unu-mala, a sacrifice is ordered to 
be performed to Somu, and the worshipper is promised a place in 
the heaven of this god. 

All the Hindoo ceremonies are regulated by the rising or 
setting, the waxing or waning of the moon. The JyotishtutwiS 
says, 'If a person be born under the planet Somu, he will have 
many friends ; will possess elephants, horses, and palanqueens ; be 
honourable and powerful ; will live upon excellent food, rest on 
superb couches, &c.' 

A race of Hindoo kings are said to have descended from Somu 
by Rohinee p , and are called the children of the moon. The first of 
these was Booclhu, and the forty-sixth Yoodhist'hiru. 

This god on a certain occasion was forcibly carried away b}^ 
Gurooru, the bird on which Vishnoo rides, and delivered up to the 
giants. The giants, anxious to become immortal as well as the 
gods, promised Gurooru that if he would bring the moon by force, 
so that they might drink the nectar supposed to exist in the bright 
parts of that planet, they would deliver his mother from the curse 
pronounced against her by her son Uroonu, by which she had been 
doomed to become the slave of her sister. Gurooru' soon seized 
the god, and placed him trembling among the assembled giants ; 
but while the latter were gone to bathe, and prepare for partaking 
of the waters of immortality, Indru arrived and delivered the cap- 
tive, and thus disappointed these implacable enemies of the gods. 

Somu is charged with seducing the wife of Vrihusputee, his 
preceptor. — See p. 51 

The chief names of this god are : Somii, or, he from whom the 
water of immortality springs. — Himangshoo, he whose beams are 
cooling. — Chundru, he at whose rising people rejoice. — Indoo, the 
great. — Koomoodu-banduvu, the friend of the flower Koomoodu q . 
— Vidhoo, he who causes the gods to drink the water of life. — - 
Soodhangshoo, he whose rays* are as the water of life. — Oshudhee- 
shu, the lord of medicinal plants. — Nishaputee, the lord of night. — 
TJbju, he who was born from the waters. — Joivatriku, the pre- 
server of men. — Glou, he who decreases. — Mrigranku, he on whose 

° Hence Somil-varu, or Monday. P The Hyades. 

i Nymphcea lotus. After the rising of the moon this flower is said by the Hindoos 
to expand. 


lap sits a deer r . — Kulanidhee, he with whom are the kulas\ — 
Dwij^raj€, the chief of the bramhuns. — N-ukshutreshft, the lord of 
the planets. — Ksh%aktiru\ he who illumines the night. 

Sect. XVI.—Mungulu\ or Mars. 

This god is painted red ; rides on a sheep ; wears a red neck- 
lace, and garments of the same colour ; and has four arms : in one 
hand lie holds a weapon called shuktee ; with another he is giving 
a blessing ; with another forbidding fear ; and in the fourth he 
holds a club. 

' If a person be born under the planet Mtmgtiru, he will be full 
•of anxious thoughts, be wounded with offensive weapons, be im- 
prisoned, be oppressed with fear from robbers, fire, &c. and will 
lose his lands, trees, and good name.' — Jyotish-tutwu. 

Sect. XVII. — Boodhu", or Mercury, 

This god has four arms ; in one hand he holds the discus, 
In another a club, in another a scymitar, and with the fourth is be- 
stowing a blessing. He rides on a lion ; is of a placid countenance ; 
iind wears yellow garments. 

The following is an account of the birth of Booclhu : — On a 
certain occasion Vrihuspiitee, the spiritual guide of the gods, made 
a, great feast, to which he invited all the gods. Chundru. was 
present among the rest ; who, during the festival, fell in love with 
Tara, the wife of Vrihusputee. Not knowing how to accomplish 
his wishes, after his return home he invited Vrihusputee to a 
sacrifice, begging him to bring his wife with him. Vrihusputee 
and his wife proceeded to the palace of Chundru, but saw no pre- 
parations for the sacrifice. The former expressing his surprise at 
this circumstance, Chundru told him that the sacrifice was una- 
voidably delayed, and advised him to return for a short time to 

r See a story of tlie birth of Boodhu in the following page. 

8 Kit la is the one 16th part of the disk of the moon, viz., that quantity which it 
increases or decreases in one day. 

1 Mnngttlu-vani, or Tuesday. Mungulu is also called Ungaraku. or, he who 
travels ; Koojtt, the son of the earth ; and Lohitangn, the blood-coloured. 

u Boodhu'-varu, or Wednesday. The meaning of Boodhu is, the wise. He is also 
called RouhineyS, the son of Rohinee, and Soumyn, the son of ISomn. 



his devotions, leaving his wife at his house. Vrihuspiitee consent- 
ed, and during his absence Chundru dishonoured the wife of his 
spiritual guide ; who on his return, finding his wife pregnant, 
cursed Chilndru, and hurled him into the sea, where he continued 
like a cinder, leaving the earth in darkness for two kulpus, or 
864,000,000 years. Vrihusputee compelled his wife to deliver 
herself, and, on the birth of the child Boodhu, reduced her to 
ashes. Briimha afterwards raised her from her ashes, and, thus 
purified, Vrihusputee took her to his embraces again. Sumoodru, 
(the sea,) incensed at his son for this horrid crime of dishonouring 
the wife of his divine teacher, disinherited him. Clrttndru then 
applied to his sister Lukshmee x , the wife of Vishnoo, by whose 
power part of his sin was removed, and he became light like the 
moon when three days old. She also applied in his behalf to 
Parvutee, who resolved to restore Chundru to heaven, and for this 
purpose planted him in the forehead of her husband 7 ; who went, 
thus ornamented, to a feast of the gods. Vrihusputee, on seeing 
Chundru again in heaven, was greatly incensed, and could only be 
appeased by Briimha's ordaining, that the lascivious god should be 
excluded from heaven, and placed among the stars ; and that the 
sin by which his glory had been obscured should remain for ever, 
f'hundru now asked Brumha to remove the vomiting of blood, 
with which be had been seized since his fall from heaven ; who 
directed him, as a certain cure, to hold a deer on his knees. 

' If a person be born under the planet Boodhu, he will be very 
fortunate, obtain an excellent wife, &c.' — Jyotish-WMvu. 

Sect. XVIII. — Frihilsjmtee 7 ', or Jupiter. 

The image of this god, the son of the sage Ungira, is painted 
yellow. He sits on the water-lily ; has four arms ; in one hand he 
holds a roodrakshu bead-roll ; in another, an alms' dish ; in another, 
a club ; and with the fourth, he is bestowing a blessing. 

Vrihusputee is preceptor and priest to the gods ; in whose 
palaces he explains the vedus, and performs a number of religious 

If a person be born under the planet Vrihilsputee, he will be 
endowed with an amiable disposition; possess palaces, gardens, 
lands, and be rich in money, corn, &c. ; obtaining the affections of 
all, his honours will increase ; he will possess much religious merit ; 

x Liikshmee was born, like Chundrif, at the churning of the sea by the gods. 
y In Shiva's forehead is placed a half moon. 
z Vrihusputi-varti, or Thursday. 


and, in short, will have all his wishes gratified. Kshutriyus, 
Voishytis, and Shoodrus, if born under this planet, will be prosper- 
ous and happy ; but bramhuns will not be so fortunate : the reason 
given is, that Vrihusputee is a bramhttn, and therefore does not 
wish to exalt those of his own cast. — Jyotish-tutivu. 

This £od is charged in the Muhabharutu with deflowering the 
wife of his eldest brother Ootut'hyu. 

Names. — Vrihusputee, or, preceptor to the gods. — Sooracharyu, 
the priest of the gods. — Gisbputee, the eloquent. — Gooroo, the 
preceptor. — Jeevu, he who revives the gods a . — Angirusu, the son 
of Ungira. — Vachusputee, the lord of words, viz., the eloquent. 

Sect. XIX. — ShookrU h , or the Planet Venus. 

This god, the son of the sage Bhrigoo, is dressed in white ; sits 
on the water-liry ; has four hands : in one, he holds a roodrakshu 
bead-roll ; in another, an alms' dish ; in another, a club ; and with 
the other is bestowing a blessing. 

Shookrft is preceptor and officiating priest to the giants. He 
is represented as blind of one eye ; the reason of which is thus 
related: — When Vanvrmu went to king Bulee, to solicit a present, 
Shookru, being Bulee's preceptor, forbad his giving him any thing. 
The king disregarding his advice, the priest was obliged to read 
the necessary formulas, and to pour out the water from a vessel, 
to ratify the gift. Shookru, still anxious to withhold the gift, 
which he foresaw would be the destruction of his master, entered 
the water in an invisible form, and by his magic power prevented 
it from falling ; but Vamunu, aware of the device, put a straw into 
the bason of water, which entered Shookru's eye, and gave him so 
much pain, that he leaped out of the bason : the water then fell, 
and the gift was offered. 

' If a person be born under the planet Shookru, he will have 
the faculty of knowing things past, present, and future ; will have 
many wives ; have a kingly umbrella, (the emblem of royalty ;) 
and other kings will worship him ; he will possess elephants, horses, 
palanqueens, footmen, facJ—Jyotish-tutwu. 

Shookru's daughter, DeVujanee, was deeply in love with one 
of her father's pupils, Kuchu, the son of Vrihusputee. This youth 

a That is, when the gods die in battle. Vrihuspiitee by incantations restores 
them to life. 

b Shookru varu or Fridav. 


had been sent b} T bis father to learn from Shookru an incantation 
for raising the dead. One day Devujanee sent Kuchu to bring: 
some flowers to be used in worship c from a forest belonging to the 
giants. Previously to this* Kuchti bad been devoured several 
times by different giants; but Shookru by the above incantation 
had restored him to life : when be tore open the bellies of these- 
cannibals, and destroyed them. The giants now resolved to make? 
Shookru himself eat this boy ; for which purpose they caught him 
in the forest, cut him into the smallest pieces, boiled him up in 
spirits, and invited Sookruto the entertainment. Kuohu not 
returning from the forest, Devujanee wept much, and told her 
father, that she would certainly kill herself 1 if he did not bring; 
back her lover. Shookru at length, by the power of meditation, 
discovered that he had eaten this youth, so beloved by his daugh- 
ter ; and he knew not how to bring him back to life, without the- 
attempt being- fatal to himself. At last, however, while the boy 
continued in his belly, he restored him to life, and taught him 
the incantation for raising the dead } after which Kuchu, tearing 
open Shookru's belly, came forth, and immediately restored his 
teacher to life. Kuohu, having obtained the knowledge of revivify- 
ing the dead, took leave of his preceptor, and was about to return 
to his father Vrihusputee, when Devujanee insisted upon his 
marking her. Kuchu declined this honour, as she was- the daugh- 
ter of his preceptor ; at which she was so incensed that she pro- 
nounced a curse upon him, by which he was doomed to reap no 
advantage from all his learning. In return Kuchu cursed Devu- 
jauee, and doomed her to marry a kshutriyu ; which curse after 
sometime took effect, and she was married to king Yujatee. 
After l>evujanee had borne two children, she discovered that the 
king maintained an illicit connection with a princess of the name 
of Summisht'ha, by whom he had three sons. She appealed to her 
father Shookru, who pronounced a curse on Yujatee ; when his 
hair immediately became grey, his teeth fell from his head, and 
he was seized with complete decrepitude. Yujatee remonstrated 
with his father-in-law, and asked him who should live with his 
daughter, who -was yet young, seeing, that he had brought old age 
upon him. Shookru replied, that if he could persuade any one to 
take upon him this curse, he might still enjoy connubial felicity. 
Yujatee returned home, and asked his eldest son by I>evujanee to* 
take this curse for a thousand years, and possess the kingdom ; at 
the close of which time he should become young, again, and con- 
tinue in the kingdom : but this son, his brother, and the two 
eldest sons of Summisht'ha refused the kingdom on these condi- 
tions ; which so enraged the father, that he cursed them all. The 
youngst son, however, by Summisht'ha accepted the conditions, 

c Gathering flowei-s for the worship of the gods is often at present the employe 
ment of young persons. 

d The Hindoo children often resort to this threat to extort some favour from thei? 



and instantly became weak and decrepid ; when the father assumed 
his former youth, and returned to the company of his wives. 

Names. — Shookru, or, he who sorrows at the destruction of 
the giants. — Doityii-gooroo. preceptor to the giants. — Kavyu, the 
poet. — Ooshuna, the friend of the giants, — Bhargtivn, the descen- 
dant of Bhrigoo. 

Sect. XX.— Shunee*, or Saturn, 

This god is dressed in black ; rides on a vulture f ; has four 
arms ; in one he holds an arrow ; in another, a javelin ; in another 
a bow ; and with the other is giving a blessing. He is said to be 
the son of Sooryu by Chaya. 

All the Hindoos exceedingly dread the supposed baneful in- 
fluence of this god, and perform a number of ceremonies to appease 
him. Many stories of him are to be found in the writings of the 
Hindoos, such as that of his burning off the head of Gune'shu ; his 
burning Dushurut' hit's chariot in his descent from heaven ; his 
giving rise to bad harvests, ill fortune, &c. 

a person be born under the planet Shunee,' says the 
Jyotish-tutwft, ' he will be slandered, his riches dissipated, his son, 
wife, and friends destroyed ; he will live at variance with others ; 
and endure many sufferings.' The Hindoos are under constant fear 
of bad fortune from this planet. Some persons, if absent from 
home at the time of his appearance, return through fear, and others 
forsake their business lest they should meet with misfortunes. If 
one person persecute another, the latter sometimes takes it patient- 
ly, supposing it to arise from the bad fortune which naturally 
springs from the influence of this star. The Hindoos believe that 
when Shunee is in the ninth stellar mansion, the most dreadful 
evils befal mankind : hence, when Raraii broke the bow of Shivu, 
which was the condition of obtaining Seeta in marriage, and when 
the earth sunk, and the waters of the seven seas were united in 
one, Purushoo-ramu, startled at the noise of the bow, exclaimed, 
'Ah ! some one has laid hold of the hood of the snake, or fallen under 
the ninth of Shitnee.' At present, when a person is obstinate, and 

e Shfmee-varu, or Saturckvy. One of the names of Shunee is Shtinoish-churi?, 
viz., he who travels slowly. 

f This god is represented as sitting on this bird, probably, to denote his destruc- 
tive power. Saturn, in the Grecian system of idolatry, was represented as devouring 
his children. The vultures in Bengal are highly useful in devouring the dead bodies 
of men and beasts, many of which are left in the roads and on the banks of rivers. It 
is astonishing how swiftly these birds collect wherever a dead body falls, though 
one of them should not have been seen in the place for weeks or months before ; 
illustrating, in the most striking manner, the words of our Lord, " Wheresoever the 
carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together." — Matt. xxiv. 28. 


will not hearken to reason, a bye-stander says, ' I suppose he has* 
fallen upon Shunee, or he has laid his hand upon the hood of the 
snake, viz., he is embracing his own destruction.' When Ramu 
found that some one had stolen Seeta, in the midst of his rage he 
exclaimed, ' This person must have been born when Slmnee was in 
the ninth mansion.' 

Sect. XXI- Rahoo\ 

This god, the son of Singhika, is painted black : he rides on 
a lion ; has four arms, in three of which he holds a scymitar, a 
spear, and a shield, and with the other hand is bestowing a blessing. 

' If a person be born under the planet Rahoo,' says the work 
already quoted, ' his wisdom, riches, and children will be destroy- 
ed ; he will be exposed to many afflictions, and be subject to his 

Rahoo was originally a giant, but at the churning of the sea 
he took his present name and form ; (that is, he became one of the 
heavenly bodies 1 ;) which transformation is thus described in the 
pooranus : — At the time when the gods churned the sea to obtain 
the water of life, SooryS (the sun) and Chundru (the moon) were 
sitting together. When the nectar came up, these gods hinted to 
Vishnoo, that one of the company who had drank of the nectar 
was not a god. but one of the giants. Vishnoo immediately cut 
off his head ; but after drinking the water of life, neither the 
head nor the trunk could perish. The head taking the name of 
Rahoo, and the trunk that of Ke'too, were placed in the heavens 
as the ascending and descending nodes ; and leave was granted, by 
way of revenge on S65ryu and Chundru, that on certain occasions 
Rahoo should approach these gods, and make them unclean, so that 
their bodies should become thin and black. The popular opinion, 
however, is, that, at the time of an eclipse, Rahoo swallows the sun 
and moon, and vomits them up again k . 

h The ascending node. 

» We are here reminded of Jupiter's deflowering Calisto, the daughter of Lycaorr, 
king of Arcadia. It will be remembered, that when her disgrace became known, Juno 
turned her into a bear, which Jupiter afterwards advanced into heaven, and made it a 
constellation, now called Ursa major. 

k It is a most unaccountable coincidence in the notions of remote nations, that 
the Chinese and the Greenlanders, as well as the Hindoos, should think that the still 
or the moon is devoured at the time of an eclipse. "As soon as they (the Chinese) 
perceive that the sun or moon begins to be darkened, they throw themselves on their 
knees, and knock their foreheads against the earth. A noise of drums and cymbals is 
immediately heard throughout the whole city. This is the remains of an ancient 
opinion entertained in China, that by such a horrid din they assisted the suffering 
luminary, and prevented it from being devoured by the celestial dragon. " Crantz in 
his History of Greenland asserts, that a similar custom exists among this people, who 
could certainly never have learnt it either from the Hindoos or the Chinese. 



Many persons perform a number of ceremonies on these occa- 
sions, as, those to the manes ; pouring out water to deceased 
ancestors ; repeating the names of the gods ; setting up gods ; 
making offerings, &c. The Jyotish-tutwu declares, that performing 
these duties now is attended with benefits infinitely greater than 
at other times. Nobody must discharge the faeces or urine, or eat 
any food, until they have seen the sun or moon after the eclipse, 
though, it be till their rising the next day. He who does not 
observe this law, will have a million of hells in one. 

Names. — Tumu, the dark, or, he who is possessed of a great 
proportion of the quality of darkness. — Rahoo, he who swallows 
and afterwards vomits up the sun or moon. — Swurbhanoo, he who 
shines in the heavens. — Soinghikeyu, the son of Singhika. — Vid- 
hoontoodu, he who afflicts the moon. 

Sect. XXII.— K4too\ 

Ketoo is the headless trunk of Rahoo, which became immortal 
at the churning of the sea. This god is painted of a light green 
colour. He rides on a vulture ; in one hand holds a club, and with 
the other is bestowing a blessing. 

The preceding may be called the Hindoo Celestial Gods. 
I dare not say, that I have given every deity of this order, as I 
have not found any book containing an exact list of them. I could 
easily have enlarged the number, by inserting accounts of other 
forms of these gods ; but this would have swelled the work, without 
adding to its value. 

1 The descending node. 




Sect. I. — Doorga. 

In those parts of the Hindoo shastriis which treat of the 
production of the world, this goddess is spoken of as the female 
power, under the name of Pmkritee or Bhuguvutee. She was 
first born in the house of Duksbu, one of the progenitors of man- 
kind, and called Stitee ; under which name she was married to 
Shivttj but renounced her life on hearing her father reproach her 
husband. On her second appearance, we recognize her under the 
name of Parvutee, the daughter of Himaluyu* ; when she was 
again married to Shivu, by whom she had two children, Kartikeyu 
and Gime'shu. 

Doorga has had many births to destroy the giants* • The 
reason of her being called Doorga is ^thus given in the Kashee- 
khunclu : — On a certain occasion Ugustyu, the sage, asked 
Kartikeyu, why Parvutee, his mother, was called Doorga. Karti- 
keyu replied, that formerly a giant named Doorgu, the son of 
Rooroo, having performed religious austerities in honour of Brum ha, 
obtained his blessing, and became a great oppressor • he conquered 
the three worlds, and dethroned Indru, Yayoo, Chandra, Yumu, 
TJgnee, Vtiroonu, Kooveru, Bulee, Eeshanu, Roodru, S5oryu, the 
eight Vusoos, &c. The wives of the rishees were compelled to 
celebrate his praises. He sent all the gods from their heavens to 
live in forests ; and at his nod they came and worshipped him. 
He abolished all religious ceremonies ; the bramhuns, through 
fear of him, forsook the reading of the ve'dus ; the rivers changed 
their courses ; fire lost its energy ; and the terrified stars retired 
from sight : he assumed the forms of the clouds, and gave rain 
whenever he pleased ; the earth through fear gave an abundant 
increase ; and the trees yielded flowers and fruits out of season. 
The gods at length applied to Shivu. Indru said, ' He has 
dethroned me ;' — Sooryu said, ' He has taken my kingdom :' and 
thus all the gods related their misfortunes. Shivu, pitying their 
case, desired Parvutee to go and destroy the giant. She willingly 
accepting of the commission, calmed the fears of the gods, and 
first sent Kalu-ratree, a female whose beauty bewitched the in- 
habitants of the three worlds, to order the giant to restore things 

a The mountain of this name. 

b Sir W. Jones, not improperly, considers Doorga as bearing a pretty strong 
resemblance to Juno, as well as to Minerva. 



to their ancient order. The latter, full of fury, sent some soldiers 
to lay hold of Kalu-ratree ; but, by the breath of her mouth, she 
reduced them to ashes. Doorgu then sent 30,000 other giants, 
who were such monsters in size, that they covered the surface of 
the earth. Among them were the following: Doordhnrn , 
DoormookhuV 1 , Khuru 6 , Shiru-panee f , Pashn-panee g , Soorendrti h , 
Dumunu. 1 , Hunoo k , Yugiiuhanee 1 , Khurgu-roma m , Oograsyu", Devu- 
kilmpunu , &c. At the sight of these giants, Kafu-ratree fled 
through the air to Parvutie, and the giants followed her. Doorgu, 
with 100,000,000 chariots, 200 tirvoodus (or 120,000,000,000) 
of elephants, 10,000,000 of swift-footed horses, and innu- 
merable soldiers, went to fight with Parvutee on the mountain 
Vindlru. As soon as the giant drew near, Parvutee assumed 1,000 
arms, and called to her " assistance different kinds of beings, as 
jumbhu p , mnhajumbhu q , vijumblm 1 ', vikutairunu 3 , pingakshiT, mii- 
hishu u , muhogra*, iityoogru 7 , vigruhu 2 , kroorakshn a , krodhnnn b , 
krundiinu , snnkr"undnnn d , muha-blmyn e , jitantnkn/, muha-vahoo 5 , 
muha-vuktru h , muh^edhuru 1 , doondooblru k , doondoobhiruvu 1 , nruha- 
doondoo-bhinasiku" 1 , oograsyu", deergu-dushunu , me'ghu-ke'shu 11 , 
vrikanim"u q , singhasyu 1 ', shookuru-mooklru 8 , shiva-rnvn-muhotkutu*, 
shookut-oondu' 1 , pruchnndasyu^ bhsemakshu 7 , kshoodra-manusu z , 
oolook"unetru a , kunnkasyu b , kakntoondu , khurnnukhu d , deergti- 
greevu e , mulmjunglru f , shiroddhnrn g , ruktu-vrindu-jnvanetrn 11 , vi- 
dyootjivlm 1 , ngninetrnkn k , tapunu 1 , dhoomrakshu m , dhoomunish- 
wasu a , slK)orn-chundai]gshoo-tapnnii°, muhabheeshitn"u-mookh"u p , 
&c She also brought a number of weapons out of her body, as 
usee q , clvukra r , bhooshoondee 3 , giacla*, moodgnru u , tomuru x , bhindi- 
palu y , purighia*, koontu a , shulyu , shuktee , urdhu-chundi'u d , kshoo- 
ruprir 9 , narachu f , shileemookhu", mnhabhulln h , pnrushoo 1 , bhidooru k , 
and mnrmubhedu 1 . The troops of the giant poured their arrows 
on Parvutee, sitting on the mountain Yindhru thick as the drops of 
rain in a storm ; they even tore up the trees, the mountains, &c. 

c Difficult to catch. d Foul-mouthed. e Cruel. f Holding a human 
skull in the hand. e WieMers of the pashu. h Sovereigns of the gods. 

» Bullies. k Of high cheek bones. 1 Sacrifice- destroyers. m They whose 
hair is like scymitars. n Of terrific countenance. ° They who make the gods 
tremble, p Malicious. ^Very malicious. r In various ways malicious. 8 Of fear- excit- 
ing countenance. * Of yellow eyes. u Like buffaloes. x Wrathful. >' Exceedingly 
wrathful. z Warriors. a Cruel-eyed. b Wrathful. c Causers of crying. d Causing 
to cry excessively. e Fear exciting. f Death conquering, s Large-armed. h Large - 
faced. » Mountain-like. k Noisy like the doondoobhee. 1 Dittoo. m With noses 
like the doondoobhee. n With wrathful countenance. Long toothed. p With hair 
like clouds, q Leopard-faced. r Lion-faced. s Pig-faced. 1 Exciting terrors by 
making sounds like the jackal. u With bills like a parrot. x Terrible-faced. >' Ter- 
rific-eyed. * Little-minded. a Owl-eyed. b Gold-faced. c Crow-faced. d Sharp- 
nailed. e Long-necked. f Long-thighed. s Large-veined. h With eyes red like 
the yuva flower. i With tongues like lightning. k Fiery-eyed. 1 Inflamers. 
m Smoke-eyed. n With breath like smoke. Giving pain to the sun and moon. 
p Of horrid countenance, i A scymitar. r A discus. s A hatchet. 1 A bludgeon 
or club. u A hammer. * An iron crow y A short arrow. z A bludgeon. 

a A bearded dart. b A javelin. c Another. d An arrow like a half-moon. 
e A weapon like a spade. f A small arrow, s A round arrow. h A very long spear. 
' A hatchet like a half -moon. k A thunderbolt full of spikes. 1 A bearded arrow, 


and hurled at the goddess ; who however threw a weapon winds 
carried away many of the arms of the giant : when he, in return, 
hurled a flaming dart at the goddess ; which she turning aside, lie- 
discharged another ; but this also she resisted by a hundred arrows. 
He next let fly an arrow at Parvutse's breast ; but this too she re- 
pelled, as well as two other instruments, a club and a pike. At 
last Parvutee seized Doorgti and set her left foot on Ms breast ; but 
he disengaged himself, and renewed the fight. The beings 
(9,000,000) whom Parvutee caused to issue from her body then des- 
troyed all the soldier's of the giant ; in return, Doorgtt caused a 
dreadful shower of hail to descend, the effect of which Parvutee 
counteracted by an instrument called Shoshunu" 1 . He next, break- 
ing off the peak of a mountain, threw it at Parvutee, who cut it 
into seven pieces by her arrows. The giant bow assumed the shape 
of an elephant as large as a mountain, and approached the god- 
dess ; but she tied his legs, and with her nails, which were like 
scymitars, tore him to pieces. He then arose in the form of a buf- 
falo, and with his horns, cast stones, trees, and mountains at the 
goddess, tearing up the trees by the breath of his nostrils. The 
goddess next pierced him with her trident, when he reeled to and 
fro, and, renouncing the form of the buffalo, assumed his ori- 
ginal body as a giant, with a thousand arms, and weapons in each,. 
Going up to Parviltee, the goddess seized himby his thousand arms, 
and carried him into the air, from whence she threw him down with 
dreadful force. Perceiving however, that this had no effect, she 
pierced him in the breast with an arrow ; when the blood issued 
in streams from his mouth, and he expired. The gods were now 
filled with joy : Sooryu, Chundru, TJgnee, &c. obtained their former 
splendour ; and all the other deities, who had been dethroned by 
this giant, inimediatety re-ascended their thrones ; the bramhuns 
resumed the study of the vediis ; sacrifices were regularly perform- 
ed, and every thing assumed its pristine state : the heavens rang 
with the praises of Parvittio, and the gods, in return for so signal 
a deliverance, honoured her with the name of Doorga. 

Miihishu, king of the giants, at a certain period overcame the 
gods in war, and reduced them to such a state of indigence, that 
they were seen wandering about the earth like common beggars. 
Indru, after a time, collected them together, and they went in a 
bod}^ to Brum ha, and afterwards to Shivu, but met Avith no redress, 
At last they applied to Vishnoo, who was so enraged at beholding 
their wretchedness, that streams of glory issued from his face, from 
which sprang a female named Miiha-maya (Doorga). Streams of 
glory issued also from the faces of the other gods, and entering 
Muha-maya, she became a body of glory resembling a mountain on 
fire. The gods then gave their weapons to this female, and with a 
frightful scream, she ascended into the air. 

A weapon which dries up liquids. 


[The work Cliundee, in this place, contains a long account of 
the dreadful contest betwixt Muha-maya and this giant, which 
•ended in the destruction of the latter.] 

After the victory, the gods chanted the praises of Muha-maya ; 
?ind the goddess, pleased with their gratitude, promised to succour 
them whenever they were in distress, and then disappeared. 

The Hindoos believe that the worship of Doorga has been per- 
formed through the four yoogus ; but that Soorutu, a king, in the 
end of the dwapuru-yoogtl, made known the present form of wor- 
shipping the goddess., and celebrated these orgies in the month 
Choitru ; (hence called the Vasuntee, or spring festival.) Soorutu 
offered a very great number of goats, sheep, and buffaloes to Doorga ; 
believing, according to the shastru, that he should enjoy happiness 
in heaven as many years as there were hairs upon the different 
animals offered. After his death, however, his case excited much 
discussion in the court of Yunm ; v/ho at length decided, that 
though Soorutu had much merit, he had destroyed the lives of 
many animals, and that he must be born and suffer death from all 
these beasts assembled in one place, when he should immediately 
be advanced to heaven. Others interpret this passage of the 
shastru as moaning, that the king was to assume in succession the 
forms of all these beasts, and be put to death in each form before 
lie could ascend to heaven. In the tre'til-yoogu Kanra is said to 
have performed the worship of Doorga in the month Ashwinu ; 
and from him it is continued in this month, and called the Sham- 
<leeya, or autumnal festival. 

This festival, celebrated in the month Ashwinu, the most 
popular of all the annual festivals held in Bengal, I shall now 
attempt to describe. Immense sums are expended upon it n ; all 
business throughout the country is laid aside for several days, and 
universal festivity and licentiousness prevail. A short time before 
the festival, the learned men and sirkars employed in Calcutta 
almost universally return home ; some of them enjoy a holiday of 
several weeks. 

The image of Doorga has ten arms. In one of her right hands 
is a spear, with which she is piercing the giant Muhishu ; with one 
of the left she holds the tail of a serpent, and the hair of the giant, 
whose breast the serpent is biting. Her other hands are all stretch- 
ed behind her head, and filled with different instruments of war. 
Against her right leg leans a lion, and against her left the above 

■» In the city of Calcutta alone, it is supposed, upon a moderate calculation, that 
half a million sterling is expended annually on this festival. About fifty years ago, 
(1811) Kuudfirpii-gooru, a kaist'hu, expended in this worship 38,000 pounds, and spent 
12,500 pounds annually as long as he lived in the same manner. 

Natives who direct the business of Europeans are commonly called sirkar*. 
The proper name is Mootsuddee, or Mookuree. 


giant — The images of Lukshmee, Sumswutee, Kartikeytr, and 
Guneshu, are very frequently made and placed by the side of this 

On the 9th dav of the decrease of the moon this festival begins, 
when the ceremony called sunktilpu is performed, by the officiating 
bramhun's taking into his joined hands a metal kosha, (which con- 
tains water, flowers, fruits, sesamum, rice, and a blade of kooshu 
grass,) reading an incantation, and promising that on the succeed- 
ing days such a person will perform the worship of Doorga. After 
this, Doorga is worshipped before a pan of water with the accus- 
tomed formularies. 

On the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 11th, and 15th days of the 
moon, the same ceremonies are performed before the pan of water ; 
and, with some trifling variations in the offerings, continued on. the 
16th, 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th. 

On the 21st day of the moon, at the close of the worship, what 
is called tidhivasu is performed. This also is a preliminary cere- 
mony, and consists in taking rice, fruits, &c, and touching with 
them a pan of water, and afterwards the forehead of the image, at 
intervals repeating incantations. 

On the 22d, early in the morning, the officiating bramhun con- 
secrates the image, placing it on the spot prepared for it in the 
temple, and repeating the proper formulas. After this, the princi- 
pal ceremonies before the image begin. First, the business of 
giving eyes and life to the images is performed ; when they become 
objects of worship. In this curious ceremony, the officiating 
bramhun touches with the two fore-fingers of his right hand the 
breast, the two cheeks, the eyes, and the forehead of the image. 
When he touches these places, he says, ' Let the soul of Doorga long 
continue in happiness in this image.' After this, he takes a leaf of 
the vilwu tree, rubs it with clarified butter, and holds it over a 
burning lamp till it be covered with soot ; of which he takes a little 
on the stalk of another vilwu leaf, and touches the eyes, filling up 
with the soot a small white place left in the pupil of the eye. 

The worship of Gune'shii and other gods is now performed ; then 
that of the demi-goddesses, the companions of Doorga in her wars, 
who are represented by the dots of paint on the canopy which covers 
the image of the goddess. The offerings presented to them consist of 
very small slices of plantains, on each of which are stuck two or 
three grains of rice, &c. Then follows the worship of the other images 
set up with that of Doorga ; to which succeeds the principal worship, 
that of Doorga. First, the officiating barmhun perforus dhyanu ; 
in which, sitting before the image, he closes his eyes, and repeats 
the proper formulas, meditating on the form of the goddess, and 
repeating to himself, ' I present to the goddess all these flowers, 
fruits, &c. [here he goes over all the offerings ;] I slay all these 



animals/ &c. He then calls the goddess, saying, ' O goddess, come 
here, come here ; stay here, stay here. Take up thine abode here, 
and receive my worship,' The priest next places before the image 
a small piece of square gold or silver, for the goddess to sit upon, 
and asks if she has arrived happily ; adding the answer himself, 
' Very happily.' After this, water for washing the feet is offered, 
by taking it with a spoon from one vessel, and pouring it out into 
another, while the incantation is repeated. Ten or fifteen blades 
of doorvu grass, a yiiva flower, sandal powder, rice, &c. are then 
offered with an incantation, and laid at the feet of Doorga. Next 
follows water to wash the mouth ; curds, sugar, and a lighted 
lamp. Then water to wash the mouth, and to bathe ; then cloth, 
or garments ; then jewels, or ornaments for the feet, arms, fingers, 
nose, ears, &c, with sandal wood, and red or white lead ; then 
flowers of different kinds, one at a time, with a separate incanta- 
tion for each flower : also a vilwu leaf, with some powder of 
sandal wood put upon it. Then are offered thrice successively two 
handfuls of flowers of different kinds ; afterwards incense, a 
lighted lamp, and meat offerings. At the close, the bramlrun walks 
round the image seven times, repeating forms of petition and 

Now the bloody sacrifices are offered. If the animal be a 
sheep or a goat, as is always the case on the first day, the officiat- 
ing bramhun, after bathing it either in the river or in the house, 
puts his left hand on its forehead, marks its horns and forehead 
with red lead, and reads an incantation, in which he offers it up 
to the goddess, thus : e goddess, I sacrifice this goat 1 ' to thee, that 
I may live in thy heaven to the end of ten years.' He then reads 
an incantation in its ear, and puts flowers, and sprinkles water on 
its head. The instrument with which the animal is killed is 
consecrated by placing upon it flowers, red lead, &c , and writing 
on it the incantation which is given to the disciples of Doorga. 
The officiating bramhun next puts the instrument of death on the 
neck of the animal, and, after presenting him with a flower as a 
blessing q , then into the hand of the person appointed to slay the 
animal, who is generally the black-smith 1 ", but sometimes a brmhun. 
The assistants put the goat's neck into an upright post, excavated 
at the top so as to admit the neck betwixt its two sides ; the body 
remaining on one side of the post, and the head on the other. An 
earthen vessel containing a plantain is placed upon a plantain 
leaf ; after which the blacksmith cuts off the head at one blow, 

p Only male animals are offered. 

i It is common among the Hindoos for a superior to give a blessing while pre- 
senting a flower. 

r The Hindoos covet the honour of cutting off the head of an animal dexterously 
at the time of these sacrifices. If it be not done at one blow, they drive the blacksmith 
away in disgrace. The shastrus have denounced vengeance on the person who shall 
fail to cut off the head at one blow : his son will die, or the goddess of fortune 
(Lukshmce) will forsake him. 



and another person holds up the body, and drains out the blood 
upon the plantain in the bason If the person who performs the 
sacrifice does not intend to offer the flesh to Doorga 8 , the slayer 
cuts only a small morsel from the neck, and puts it on the plan- 
tain ; when some one carries it, and the head, and places them 
before the image, putting on the head a lighted lamp. After all the 
animals have been thus killed, and some of the flesh and the 
heads carried before the image, the officiating bramhtin repeats 
certain prayers over these offerings, and persents them to the 
goddess, with the blood which fell on the plantains : then, taking 
the blood from the bason, he puts it on a plantain leaf, and cuts 
it into four parts, presenting it to the four goddesses who attend 
upon Doorga. 

Offerings of rice, plantains, sugar, sweetmeats, sour milk, 
curds, pulse of different sorts, limes, fruits, &c. are next presented 
with prayers. Now the names of Doorga are repeated by the 
priest, who afterwards presents camphorated water to the goddess ; 
then betle -nut, limes, spices, &c, made into what is called pantt 1 . 
After repeating a number of forms of praise, this part of the service 
closes with the prostration of the officiating bramhun before the 
idol. Next, food is presented with many prayers to the goddess ; 
which food consists of what is called khechuru 11 , fried fruits, fried 
fish and flesh. <foc. About four in the afternoon, large quantities of 
food are presented to the goddess ; amongst which are, prepared 
greens of three or four kinds ; prepared peas of three or four kinds ; 
fried fruits, sweet potatoes, &c ; fried fish, mixed with fruits of 
four or five different sorts ; the flesh of sheep and goats, stewed in 
two or three ways ; preparations of tamarinds, two or three sorts ; 
rice boiled in milk, two or three sorts ; fifteen or sixteen sorts of 
sweetmeats &c. ; all which are offered with separate prayers : after 
which water, betle, &c. are presented. 

The bramh. uns are entertained either with sweetmeats, or pre- 
pared food, by the person at whose house the worship is perform- 
ed : some of them are expressly invited, and others attend to see 
the ceremonies. The food which has been presented to the god- 
dess, being considered almost as ambrosia, is given to the guests 
with a sparing hand ; some of whom (mothers) beg to take a 
morsel home to cure their children, or relatives, of diseases. Food 
is also sent to the neighbours, and persons of inferior cast carry 
away great quantities*. 

s This is rarely or never done at present. There are no parts of the animal* 
however, which may not be offered. 

1 Chewed by almost all the natives. 

u A common dish in Bengal, made of rice, boiled up with turmeric, peas, spices, 
elarified butter, &c. 

x In some places a family or several families of bramhuns are supported by the re- 
venues attached to a temple, and by the offerings presented to the idol. At the time of 
a festival, the heads of these families wait on those who come to make offerings to theidol, 
and present them with betle, sweetmeats, fruits, water, &c, according to their quality. 



In the evening, the officiating bramhun waves a brass candle- 
stick, or lamp with five lights, before the goddess, repeating incan- 
tations ; afterwards a shell with water in it, and then a piece of 
cloth. At night the temple is lighted up, and, about eight o'clock, 
unleavened bread, butter, fruits, sweetmeats, curds, milk, &c, are 
presented to the goddess. At midnight some persons repeat the 
worship ; but in this case the offerings are few, and there are no 
bloody sacrifices. 

After the worship of the day, many rich men engage a num- 
ber of prostitutes, richly dressed and almost covered with orna- 
ments, to dance and sing before the idol. The songs are exceed- 
ingly obscene ; the dances highly indecent ; and the dress of the 
dancing women no less so : their clothing being so fine as scarcely 
to deserve the name of a covering. The tresses of some are thrown 
loose, hanging down to the waist. Daring the dances, the doors 
.are shut to keep out the crowd, as well as Europeans, who are 
excluded. Six, seven, or eight women thus dance together, assist- 
ed by music, for about four hours. Rich spectators, when remark- 
ably pleased with a part of the song, throw to the singer as much 
as four, eight, or sixteen rupees ; beside which, those who engage 
these women make them presents of garments, and of considerable 
sums of money. The sons of the rich natives are highly pleased 
with these dances. 

On the second day, the worship and sacrifices are much the 
same as on the first, except that the bathing of the goddess, called 
the great Snanu, is attended with more ceremonies. In this cere- 
mony the priest first brings some earth said to have been thrown 
up by the teeth of a wild hog, and, mixing it with water, presents 
it with prayers to the goddess, to be used as soap. Then in suc- 
cession earth from before the door of the king, or lord of the soil ; 
from before that of a courtezan ; from the side of the Ganges ; earth 
raised by ants ; and, lastly, earth from any river side, not the 
Ganges, is presented with the same ceremonies. After this, tur- 
meric, fruits and spices ; the water of the cocoa-nut, and of the 
water melon ; the juice of the sugar cane ; honey, clarified butter, 
sour milk, milk, cow's urine, cow-dung, sugar, treacle, and different 
sorts of oil, are presented in succession, with the necessary formulas. 
While the officiating bramhun is going through these ceremonies, 
he revolves in his mind that he is making these gifts to assist the 
goddess in bathing. At the close, he presents some water of the 
Ganges, and after this the water of four seas ; or, if unable to ob- 
tain this, the water of the Ganges again, and then the water of 
some other river. The bathing ceremonies are closed by a present of 
cloth for the loins. In the evening, or else in the night, according 
to the conjunction of the stars, worship is again performed, in which 
only one bloody sacrifice is offered ; and in some cases none. Widows- 
fast on this day, particularly a widow with children : the latter 
deriving great benefits from the meritorious actions of the mother. 



On the third da}', the goddess is worshipped only once, but 
the offerings and sacrifices are many ; buffaloes are offered only on 
this day. A respectable native once told me, he bad seen one hun- 
dred and eight buffaloes sacrificed by one Hindoo at this festival : 
the number slain in the whole country must therefore be very 
great. Formerly, some of the Hindoo kings killed a thousand ani- 
mals on these occasions y . The males only are sacrificed ; and they 
are in general young and very tame, costing from five to sixteen 
rupees each. None of the Hindoos eat the sacrificed buffaloes, ex- 
cept the shoemakers 2 . Each animal is bathed before it is slain ; 
after which the officiating bramhun puts red lead on its horns, and, 
with a red string, ties a piece of wool smeared with red lead on the 
forepart of the breast ; he also puts a piece of cloth coloured over 
with turmeric on his back, and a necklace of vilwu leaves on his 
neck, repeating prayers during these actions. The ceremony of 
cutting off the heads of the buffaloes, and presenting them to the 
goddess, is similar to those already described respecting the sacrifice 
of goats and sheep. 

After the beasts are all slain, the multitude, rich and poor, 
daub their bodies all over with the mud formed with the blood 
which has collected where the animals were slain, and dance like 
furies on the spot ; after which they go into the street, dancing 
and singing indecent songs, and visit those houses where images of 
the goddess have been set up. 

At the close of the whole, the officiating bramhun presents a 
burnt-offering, and gives to the goddess a sum of money, commonly 
about four rupees : some indeed give one hundred, and others as 
much as a thousand rupees ; which at length return into the hands 
of the officiating bramhun. 

In the year 1806, I was present at the worship of this goddess, 
as performed at the house of Raja Raj-Krishnu at Calcutta. The 
buildings where the festival was held were on four sides, leaving 
an area in the middle. The room to the east contained wine, 
English sweetmeats, &c. for the entertainment of English 
guests, with a native Portuguese or two to wait on the 
visitors. In the opposite room was placed the image, with 

y The father of the present king of Nudeeya, at one of these festivals, offered a 
great number of goats and sheep to Doorga. He began with one, and, doubling the 
number each day, continued it for sixteen days. On the last day he killed 33,768, and 
in the whole he slaughtered 65,535 animals. He loaded boats with the bodies, and 
sent them to the neighbouring bramhuns ; but they could not devour them fast enough, 
and great numbers were thrown away. — Let no one, after this, tell us of the scruples 
of the bramhuns about de&troying animal life, and eating animal food. 

x In some places, the tame hog is offered to Doorga by the lowest casts, who, 
among other offerings, present spirituous liquors to the goddess. At the end of the 
ceremonies, these persons cook and eat the flesh, drink the spirits, and then, in a state 
of intoxication, the men and women dance together, and commit the greatest indecen- 
cies. No bramhun, on pain of losing cast, can assist at these ceremonies ; and indeed 
all bramhuns, who perform ceremonies for persons of low cast, sink in society. 


vast heaps of all kinds of offerings before it. In the two side 
rooms were the native guests, and in the area groups of Hindoo 
dancing women, finely dressed, singing, and dancing with sleepy- 
steps, surrounded with Europeans who were sitting on chairs and. 
couches. One or two groups of Musulman men-singers entertained 
the company at intervals with HindoostTianee songs, and ludicrous 
tricks. Before two o'clock the place was cleared of the dancing 
girls, and of all the Europeans except ourselves ; and almost all 
the lights were extinguished, except in front of the goddess ; 
— when the doors of the area were thrown open, and a vast crowd 
of nati ves rushed in, almost treading one upon another; among 
whom were the vocal singers, having on long caps like sugar loaves. 
The area might be about fifty cubits long and thirty wide. When 
the crowd had sat down, they were so wedged together as to pre- 
sent the appearance of a solid pavement of heads ; a small space 
only being left immediately before the image for the motions of the 
singers, who all stood up. Four sets of singers were present on 
this occasion, the first consisting of bramhuns, the next of bankers, 
the next of voishnuvus, and the last of weavers ; a who entertained 
their guests with filthy songs, and danced in indecent attitudes 
before the goddess, holding up their hands, turning round, putting 
forward their heads towards the image, every now and then bend- 
ing their bodies, and almost tearing their throats with their 
vociferations. The whole scene produced on my mind sensations 
of the greatest horror. The dress of the singers — their indecent 
gestures — the abominable nature of the songs — the horrid din of 
their miserable drum — the lateness of the hour — the darkness of 
the place — with the reflection that I was standing in an idol 
temple, and that this immense multitude of rational and immortal 
creatures, capable of superior joys, were, in the very act of worship, 
perpetrating a crime of high treason against the God of heaven, while 
they themselves believed they were performing an act of merit — 
excited ideas and feelings in my mind which time can never obli- 

I would have given, in this place, a specimen of the songs 
sung before the image, but found them so full of broad obscenity 
that I could not copy a single line. All those actions, which a 
sense of decency keeps out of the most indecent English songs, are 
here detailed, sung, and laughed at, without the least sense of 
shame. A poor ballad-singer in England would be sent to the 
house of correction, and flogged, for performing the meritorious 
actions of these wretched idolaters. b The singing is continued for 
three days, from about two o'clock in the morning till nine. 

a Distinguished among the natives by the name of Huroo-t'hakooru, BhoVa- 
nilndii, Nitaee, and Lukshmee. 

b The reader will recollect that the festivals of Bacchus and Cybele were equally 
noted for the indecencies practised by the worshippers, both in their words and actions. 




The next morning, between eight and nine, a short time is 
spent in worship, but no bloody sacrifices are offered. Amongst 
other ceremonies at this time the officiating bramhun, in the pre- 
sence of the family, dismisses the goddess, repeating these words: 
' goddess ! I have, to the best of my ability, worshipped thee. 
Now go to thy residence, leaving this blessing, that thou wilt return 
the next year : ' after which the priest immerses a looking-glass, 
the representative of the goddess, in a pan of water ; and then 
takes some of this water, and sprinkles himself and the company 
with it. When the goddess is thus dismissed, the women set up a 
cry — some even shed tears In the afternoon, the mistress of the 
house and other women go to the image, put a rupee and some betle 
in its hand, strew some turmeric at its feet, and rub the dust of its 
feet on their own foreheads and those of their friends. On their 
retiring, the crowd assemble, with their bodies daubed with tur- 
meric, oil, and sour milk ; and, bringing out the image, place it on 
a stage, to which they fasten it with cords, and carry it on their 
shoulders to the water. It is here placed in the centre of two 
boats lashed together, and filled with people, among whom are 
dancers, musicians, singers, &c. At this time, in many instances, 
men dance stark naked on the boat before many thousands assem- 
bled, who only laugh at this gross indecency. Perhaps in one 
place on the river twenty or thirty images will be exhibited at 
once, while the banks are crowded with spectators rich and poor, 
old and young, all intoxicated with the scene. The last ceremo- 
ny is that of letting down the image, with all its tinsil and orna- 
ments into the river. 

The women of the house to which the temple belongs go to the 
room from whence the goddess has just been taken, and place a 
pan of water upon the spot where the image stood, and put upon 
the top of the pan a branch of the mango tree. After the goddess 
has been drowned, the crowd return to the temple ; and the offi- 
ciating bramhun, taking his place by the side of the pan of water, 
dips the branch of the mango tree into the water, and sprinkles all 
the people, repeating incantations ; and thus blessing the people 
they are dismissed, when each one clasps his neighbour in his arms. 
Adjourning to their own houses, they partake of sweetmeats, and 
of an intoxicating beverage made with hemp leaves. In a vast 

c In a memorandum of my own, dated Sept. 26, 1803, I find these remarks, made 
one evening in the course of a journey :-' About five in the afternoon, we came to 
Btilargtir. The people of about twenty villages, more than 2,000 in number, including 
■women and children, were assembled to throw their images into the river, this being 
the termination of the Doorga festival. I observed that one of the men standing before 
the idol in a boat, dancing and making indecent gestures, was naked. As the boat 
passed along, he was gazed at by the mob ; nor could I perceive that this abominable 
action produced any thing beside laughter. Before other images, young men dressed 
in women's clothes, were dancing with other men, making indecent gestures. I cannot 
help thinking the most vulgar mob in England would have turned with disgust from 
these abominable scenes. I have seen the same abominations exhibited before our 
own house at Serampore.' 



number of instances, this festival is thus closed with scenes of the 
most shameful intoxication : almost all the Hindoos in Bengal 
think it a duty to indulge to a certain degree in drinking this 
liquor at this festival. 

Presents to the bramhuns and their wives are made on each of 
the fifteen days of the festival by the person at whose house the 
image is set up, if he be very rich. If he be not rich enough to 
bear so great an expense, he gives presents on the nine or three 
last days of worship ; and if he be still poorer, on the last day. 
These presents consist of gold and silver female ornaments, silk 
and cloth garments, brass and other metal dishes, basons, &c. Some 
persons expend the greatest sums on the dances and other exhibi- 
tions, and others in feasting and giving presents to bramhuns. 

Some classes of Hindoos, especially those who are the disciples 
of Vishnoo, do not offer bloody sacrifices to Doorga, though they 
celebrate this festival with much shew. These persons, instead of 
slaying animals, cut pumkins in two, or some other substitute, 
and offer them to the goddess. 

In the month Choitru, a number of Hindoos hold a festival to 
this goddess, after the example of king Soorutti. 

Many Hindoos are initiated into the rites by which this 
goddess becomes their guardian deity ; and as she is considered as 
the image of the divine energy, her disciples are called Shaktus, 
a word signifying energ}^ 

Images of Doorga, made of gold, silver, brass, &c, are preserved 
by many, and worshipped daily. 

In the year 1808, a bramhun of Calcutta, who had celebrated 
the worship of Doorga, pretended that he had seen the goddess in 
a dream ; who had declared that she would not descend into the 
river till he had sacrificed his eldest son to her : and that when 
the people went to convey the image to the river, it was found so 
heavy that it could not be lifted. Vast crowds of people flocked 
to see this new miracle, many of whom made offerings to this 
terror-inspiring goddess ; and others assisted the poor man, by their 
contributions, to pacify the goddess in some way consistent with 
the preservation of his son. 

One of the Tuntrus contains an account of an incarnation of 
Doorga in the form of a jackal, in order to cany the child Krishnu 
over the river Yumoono, when he was flying from king Kungsu. Some 
oi the heterodox Hindoos, called vamacharees, feed the jackal 
daily, by placing the offerings in a corner of the house, or near 
their dwellings, and then calling the goddess (in the form of some 
one of these animals) to come and partake of them. As this is done 
at the hour when the jackals come out of their lurking places to 



seek for food, one of these animals sometimes comes and eats the 
offerings in the presence of the worshipper ; and this is not 
wonderful, when he finds food in this place every day. Images of 
the jackal are made in some parts of Bengal, and worshipped, 
sometimes alone, and at others with the images of Doorga and 
Shmushanu-Kalio. Some Hindoos bow to the jackal; if it pass 
by a person on his left, it is a fortunate omen. 

The cow is regarded by the Hindoos as a form of Doorga, and 
called Bhuguvutee. 

This goddess has a thousand names, among which are Katya- 
yunee, or, the daughter of the sage Katyu. — Gouree, the yellow 
coloured. — Kalee, the black. — Hoimuvut ie, the daughter of Hima- 
luyu. — Eeshwuree, the goddess. — Shiva, the giver of good. — Blni- 
vanee, the wife of Shivu — Survumungnla, she who blesses all. — 
"IT pur n a, she who amidst religious austerities abstained from eating 
even leaves. — Parvrttee, the daughter of the mountain. — Doorga, 
she who destroyed the giant Doorgu ; the inaccessible, — Cb&ndika, 
the terrible. — Umbika, the mother of the universe. 

•Sect. II. — The ten Forms of Doorga. 

This goddess is said to have assumed ten different forms in 
order to destroy two giants, Shoomblm and Nishoombhu. 

The following account of these wars is translated from the 
Markundeyu poorarm : — At the close of the tre'ta yoogu, these two 
giants performed religious austerities for 10,000 years; the merit 
of which actions brouo-ht Shiva from heaven, 6 who discovered that 
by these works of extraordinary devotion they sought to obtain 
the blessing of immortality. Shivu reasoned long witli them, and 
endeavoured to persuade them, though in vain, to ask for any 
other blessing short of immortality. Being denied, they entered 
upon more severe austerities, which they continued for another 
thousand years ; when Shiva again appeared, but refused to grant 
what they asked for. They now suspended themselves with their 
heads downwards over a slow fire, till the blood streamed from 
their heads ; and continued thus for 800 years, till the gods began 
to tremble, lest, by performing such rigid acts of holiness, they 
should be supplanted on their thrones. The king of the gods 
assembled a council, and imparted to them his fears : the gods ad- 
mitted that there was great ground for fear, but asked what remedy 
there was. Agreeably to the advice of Indru, Kundtirpu (Cupid), 
with Kumbha and Tilottuma, the most beautiful of the celestial 
courtezans, were sent to fill the minds of these giants with sensual 

e It is a maxim of the Hindoo religion, that by performing religious austerities 
the gods become subject to the wishes of men, 

markunde'yu pooranu and chundee of dgorga. 


desires ; and Kundurpu, letting fly his arrow, wounded them botli : 
upon which, awaking from their absorption, and seeing two 
beautiful women, they were taken in the snare, and abandoned 
their devotions. With these women they lived 5,0l)0 years, after 
which they began to think of the folly of thus renouncing their 
hopes of immortality for the sake of sensual gratifications. They 
suspected that this must have been a contrivance of Indru's ; and 
driving the courtezans back to heaven, renewed their devotions, 
cutting the flesh off their bones, and making burnt-offerings of it 
to Shivu ; which they continued for another thousand years, till 
they became entire skeletons, when Shivu again appeared, and 
bestowed upon them this blessing — that in riches and strength 
they should excel the gods. 

Being thus exalted ^above the gods, they soon began to make 
war with them. After various success on both sides, the giants 
were every where victorious ; till Indru and all the gods, reduced to 
the most deplorable state of wretchedness, solicited the interference 
of Brumha and Vishnoo ; but they referred them to Shivu : who 
also declared that he could do nothing for them. When, however, 
they reminded him that through his blessing they had been ruined, 
he advised them to perform religious austerities to Doorga. They 
did so ; and after sometime the goddess appeared, gave them her 
blessing, and immediately, disguised like a common female carrying 
a pitcher of water, passed the assembled gods. This female asked 
them whose praise they were chanting ? While she uttered these 
words, she assumed her proper form, and replied, ' They are cele- 
brating my praise.' The new goddess then disappeared, and ascend- 
ed mount Himaluytt, where Chundu and Mundu, two of Shoombhu 
and Nishoombhu's messengers, resided. As these messengers 
wandered on the mountain, they saw the goddess, and were ex- 
ceedingly struck with her charms, which they described to their 
masters ; and advised them to engage the affections of this female, 
even if they gave her all the glorious things which they had ob- 
tained in plundering the heavens of the gods. Shoombhu sent 
Shoogreevu, a messenger, to the goddess, to inform her that the 
riches of the three worlds were in his palace ; that all the offerings 
which used to be presented to the gods were now offered to him ; 
and that all these riches, offerings, &c. should be her's if she would 
come to him. The goddess replied, that this offer was very 
liberal ; but she had resolved, that the person whom she 
married must first conquer her in war, and destroy her pride. 
Shoogreevfi, unwilling to return unsuccessful, still pressed for 
a favourable answer ; promising that he would engage to 
conquer her in war, and subdue her pride ; and asked in 
an authoritative strain, ' Did she know his master, before whom 
none of the inhabitants of the three worlds had been able to stand, 
whether gods, hydras, or men ? How then could she, a female, 
think of resisting his offers 1 If his master had ordered him, he 



would have compelled her to go into his presence immediately.' 
She said all this was very correct, but that she had taken her 
resolution, and exhorted him, therefore, to persuade his master to 
come and try his strength with her. The messenger went to his 
master, and related what he had heard from this female; on 
hearing which Shoombhu was tilled with rage, and without making 
any reply, called for Dho5mloclmnu, his commander-in-chief, and 
gave him orders to go to Himaluyu, and seize a certain goddess, 
(giving him particular directions,) and bring her to him ; and if 
any attempted to rescue her, utterly to destroy them. The 
commander went to Himaluyu, and acquainting the goddess with 
his master's orders, she, smiling, invited him to execute them ; 
but, on the approach of this hero, she set up a dreadful roar, (as is 
usual among the Hindoo warriors when two combatants meet,) by 
which he was reduced to ashes ; after which she destroyed the 
army of the giant, leaving only a few fugitives to communicate the 
tidings. Shoombhu and Nishoombhu, infuriated, sent Chundu and 
Mundu, who, on ascending the mountain, perceived a female 
sitting on an ass, laughing ; but on seeing them she became 
full of rage, and drew to her ten, twenty, or thirty of their 
army at a time, devouring them like fruit. She next seized 
Mundu' by the hair, cut off his head, and, holding it over her 
mouth, drank the blood. Chundu, on seeing the other commander 
destroyed in this manner, came to close quarters with the goddess ; 
but she, mounted on a lion, sprang on him, and dispatching him as 
she had done Mundu, devoured part of his army, and drank the 
blood of the greater part of the rest. The two giants no sooner 
heard this alarming news, then they resolved to go themselves, and 
engage the furious goddess ; for which purpose the}^ collected all 
their forces, an infinite number of giants, and marched to Himaluyu. 
The gods looked down with astonishment on this army of giants, and 
all the goddesses descended to help Muha-maya (Doorga), who how- 
ever soon destroyed the giants. Ruktuveeju, the principal com- 
mander under Shoombhu and Nishoombhu, seeing all his men 
destroyed, encountered the goddess in person ; but though she filled 
him with wounds, from every drop of blood which fell to the ground 
arose a thousand giants equal in strength to Ruktu-veeju himself ; f 
hence innumerable enemies surrounded Doorga, and the gods were 
fdled with alarm at this amazing sight. At length Chundee, a 
goddess who had assisted Kalee in the engagement, promised that 
if she would open her mouth, and drink his blood before it fell on 
the ground, she (Chundee) would engage the giant, and destroy 
the whole of his strangely-formed offspring. Kalee consented, and 
this commander and his army were soon dispatched. Shoombhu 
and Nishoombhu, in a state of desperation, next engaged the 
goddess in single combat, Shoombhu making the first onset. The 
battle was dreadful, inconceivably dreadful, on both sides, till at 

f This arose from a blessing given by Brumha. 



last both the giants were killed, and Kalee sat down to feed on the 
carnage she had made. The gods and goddesses then chanted the 
praises of the celestial heroine, and she in return bestowed a bles- 
sing on each. 

After the destruction of these enemies of the gods, the sun 
(S5oryu) shone resplendently forth ; the wind (Vayoo) blew salubri- 
ously ; the air became pure ; the gods ascended their thrones ; the 
hydras attended to the duties of their religion without fear ; the 
sages performed their devotions without interruption ; and the 
people at large were restored to happiness. 

The Chundei, a part of the Markundeyu pooranu, places these 
forms of Doorga in the following order : First, as Doorga, she 
received the messenger of the giants ; 2, as Dushubhooja/ she 
destroyed part of their army ; 3, as Singhu-vahine^, h she fought 
with Rnktn-veeju ; 4, as Muhishu-murdinee, 1 she slew Shoombhu, 
in the form of a buffalo ; 5, as Juguddhatree, k she overcame the 
army of the giants ; C, as Kalee/ she destroyed Rnktu-veejn ; 7, 
as Mooktu-keshee,™ she again overcame the army of the giants ; 8, 
as Tara, n she killed Shoombhu ; 9, as Chinnumustuka, she killed 
Nishoombhu ; 10, as Jugudgourei/ she was praised by all the gods. 

Such of the above forms as are honoured by separate festivals' 
will be noticed hereafter under their different names. 

Sect. III. — Singhti-vahinee.' 1 

This goddess with yellow garments is represented as sitting on 
a lion. She has four hands ; in one a sword ; in another a spear ; 
with a third is forbidding fear, and with the fourth bestowing a 

Many people make this image, and worship it in the day- 
time, on the 9th of the increase of the moon, in whatever month 
they please, but in general in the month Ashwinu or Choitru, for 
two or three days. The ceremonies, including bloody sacrifices, 
are almost entirely the same as those before the image of Doorga. 
Sometimes a rich man celebrates this worship at his own expense, 
and at other times several persons, who expect heaven as their re- 
ward, unite in it. 

Some Hindoos keep in their houses images of all the following 
forms of Doorga, made of gold, silver, brass, copper, crystal, stone, 
or mixed metal, and worship them daily. 

s Having ten arms. * Sitting on a lion. i Destroyer of the buffalo, 

[viz., of Shoombhu in this form.] k Mother of the world. 1 The black. 

m With flowing hair. «« Saviour. ° Headless. p The yellow. i She 
who sits upon a lion. 


Sect. IV. — Muhishu-mnrdinee. r 

This is the image of a yellow woman, sitting on a lion ; having 
either six or ten arms. In her hands are seen a conch, a discus, a 
club, a water-lily, a shield, a large spear, and the tail of a snake. 

Some persons make this image, and worship it with the ac- 
customed ceremonies, including bloody sacrifices, on the 9th of the 
month Choitru. 

The Tuntrii-saru declares, that those who worship this goddess 
will obtain present riches and future happiness. 

Many of the regular Hindoos, as well as the heterodox sects, 
receive the initiatory rites of this goddess, and adopt her as their 
guardian deity. 

Sect. V. — Juguddhatree.* 

This is the image of a yellow woman, dressed in red, and sit- 
ting on a lion. In her four hands she holds a conch, 1 a discus, a 
club, and a water-lily. 

A very popular festival in honour of this goddess is held in the 
month Kartikil, on the 7th, 8th and 9th of the increase of the 
moon, when bloody sacrifices are offered as at the Doorga festival : 
the formulas are necessarily different. Very large sums are fre- 
quently expended on these occasions, especially in the illuminations, 
dances, songs, entertaining of bramhuns, &c, as many as one hun- 
dred and fifty persons being employed as singers and dancers, 
beside others who sing verses from the Chundee, the Krishnnmun- 
gulu, the Ramayunu, &c. A number of men like guards are also 
hired, and placed near the temple for the sake of shew. Much 
indecent mirth takes place, and numbers of men dance naked before 
the image, and call this the %vay to heaven ; the venerable bram- 
huns smiling with complacency on these works of merit, so accep- 
table to the gods. The benefits expected from this worship are, 
the fruit of meritorious actions, riches, the gratification of every 
desire, and future happiness. These four things are commonly 
mentioned in the Hindoo shastrus, as promised by the gods to 
their worshippers. 

r She who destroyed Muhishxl, a giant. 
8 The mother of the world. 

1 This shell is blown at the times of worship, and at other festivals. 



Sect. VI. — MooMu-keshee*. 

This is the image of a naked woman, painted blue, standing 
on the breast of Shivu, and having four arms : the upper right arm 
is placed in the posture of bestowing a blessing ; with the other 
she is forbidding fear, and in her left hand she holds a sword and 
a helmet. 

The festival of this goddess is held on the 14th of the decrease 
of the moon in the month Maghu : the ceremonies are like those 
before the image of Kalee, but the bloody sacrifices are very 
numerous. Spirituous liquors are privately presented to the god- 
dess, at a late hour at night, or rather early in the morning. Some 
of the Hindoo shastrus allow of this practice, yet it is far from being 
honourable. I have been credibly informed, that numbers of bram- 
huns, in different places, at the annual festival of this goddess, join 
in drinking the spirits which have been offered to her, and, in a 
state of intoxication, pass from the temples into the streets, prece- 
ded by lighted torches, dancing to the sound of music, and singing 
indecent songs. Some are hugging one another ; others fall down 
quite intoxicated ; others lose their way, and go along lifting 
up their hands, dancing and singing alone. The purer Hindoos 
stand gazing at a considerable distance, lest they should be drag- 
ged among this crowd of drunken bramhuns. 

The benefits promised to the worshippers of this goddess are 
riches now, and heaven hereafter. 

Very many persons are initiated into the rites of this goddess 
as their guardian deity. 

Sect. VII.— Tara\ 

This is the image of a black woman, with four arms, standing 
on the breast of Shivu : in one hand she holds a sword ; in another 
a giant's head ; with the others she is bestowing a blessing, and 
forbidding fear. 

The worship of Tara is performed in the night, in different 
months, at the total wane of the moon, before the image of Sid- 
dheshwuree ; when bloody sacrifices are offered, and it is reported, 
that even human beings were formerly immolated in secret to this 
ferocious deity ; who is considered by the Hindoos as soon incen- 
sed, and not unfrequently inflicting on an importunate worshipper 
the most shocking diseases, as a vomiting of blood, or some other 
dreadful complaint which soon puts an end to his life. 

u Of flowing hair. x TLe deliverer. 



Almost all the disciples of this goddess are from among the 
heterodox : many of them, however are learned men, Tara being 
considered as the patroness of learning. Some Hindoos are sup- 
posed to have made great advances in knowledge through the 
favour of this goddess ; and many a stupid boy, after reading some 
incantations containing the name of Tara, has become a learn- 
ed man. 

Sect. VIII. — Chinnu-mustuka/. 

This is the image of a naked yellow woman, with her head 
half severed from her body 2 , wearing a necklace of skulls, and 
standing on the body of Shiva. She is surrounded with dead 
bodies ; has a scymitar in one hand ; a giant's skull in another ; 
and with two others is forbidding fear, and bestowing a blessing. 

This image is not made at present, but the worship may 
be celebrated before the images of any other female deities. Those 
who receive the initiatory rites of this goddess worship her daily 
before the shalgramu, or water, or flowers, or an incantation written 
on a metal dish a . She promises her disciples riches, learning, or 
absorption**, but principally riches. Some people are afraid of 
becoming her disciples, lest, in a lit of anger, she should bring 
upon them a violent death . 

Sect. IX. — Jugudgouree*. 

This is the whole length figure of a yellow woman, with four 
arms ; holding in her hands a conch, a discus, a club, and a water- 
lily. She is mostly worshipped on the 7th, 8th, and 9th of the 
increase of the moon in Maghu. Very few persons learn the 
initiatory rites of this goddess. 

y The headless. 

« The Tuntrus give the following explanation of this monstrous feature in the 
image of this goddess : — At a certain time, not being able to procure any of the 
giants for her prey, to satisfy her thirst of blood, Chinml-mustiika actually cut her 
own throat, that the blood issuing thence might spout up into her mouth. I have 
seen a picture of this image, agreeing with this description ; and at Chachra, in 
Jessore, such an image may be seen at present, the half-severed head resting on the 
left hand of the goddess, and streams of blood falling into her mouth. 

a Before any one of these things, the worship of any of the gods may be per- 
formed ; but the shalgramu is mostly preferred. 

b A person can receive only one blessing at a time from his god. The Hindoos, 
however, relate a story of a blind man, who put a trick on his guardian deity, by 
obtaining three blessings from him at once : he asked that he might see — his child- 
eat from off a golden dish every day. He was then childless. 

c The following story, current among the Hindoos, I give as a proof of the 
dread in which they live of some of their deities : — A bramhiln who had received the 
initiating incantation of this goddess, to avoid dying an unnatural death, used to 
confine himself to his house ; where, however, a hatchet, hung up for sacrificing 
animals, fell upon and killed him as he lay asleep. 

d The yellow. 


Sect. X. — Vugulamookhee*. 

The image of this deity is never made ; though she is some- 
times worshipped on the 7th, 8th, and 9th of the moon in Maghu, 
before a pan of water, or some other proper substitute. The 
officiating bramhun, in yellow garments, presents yellow flowers, 
flesh, fish, and spirituous liquors to her : the animals sacrificed are 
not numerous. 

This goddess is frequently worshipped in the hope of procuring 
the removal, the injury, or the destruction of enemies, or whatever 
else the worshipper desires — which is sometimes the wife of 
another. He makes no doubt, if he can please the goddess by 
presents, or flattery, or by inflicting, for her sake, certain cruelties 
on his body, that she will be disposed to grant him even this 
last favour. If the ceremonies be not performed in strict conformity 
to the rules laid down in the shastru, it is believed that the wor- 
shipper will be deprived of reason, or of speech, or that some other 
dreadful calamity will befal him. 

In the burnt-sacrifice presented to this goddess, turmeric, oil; 
and salt, form the principal ingredients. The Hindoos believe that 
after performing the proper ceremonies for the destruction of an 
enemy, the goddess soon complies with the prayers of the wor- 
shipper. Sh55drus, of course, employ bramhuns in thus attempting 
to accomplish their murderous wishes. Particular forms of praise 
and of petition, referring in many cases to the injury or destruction 
of enemies, addressed to this goddess, are contained in the Tuntm- 

Sect. XI. — Prutytingira}. 

The image of this idol is never made, but is worshipped in the 
night whenever a person chooses, which is, generally, when he 
wants to injure or destroy another. The officiating bramhun dress- 
ed in red, and wearing a roodrakshu necklace, offers, among other 
things, red flowers, spirituous liquors, and bloody sacrifices. The 
flesh of crows, or cats, or of some other animal, after having been 
dipped in spirituous liquors, sometimes makes a part of the burnt- 
offerings ; the worshippers believing that the flesh of the enemy, 
for whose injury these ceremonies are performed, will swell on his 
body as the sacrificed flesh does on the fire. Particular forms of 
praise are also repeated before this image to accomplish the destruc- 
tion of enemies. I here give a specimen : ' Oh ! Prutyungira, 
mother ! Destroy, destroy my enemies ! Kill ! kill ! Eeduce them to^ 

• Of fear-exciting countenance. 
f The well-proportioned. 


ashes ! Drive them away ! Devour them ! devour them ! Cut them 
in two ! Drink, drink their blood ! Destroy them root and branch I 
With thy thunder-bolt, spear, scymitar, discus, or rope, destroy 

A story to the following purport is very current among the 
Hindoos : — J afur-alee-kha, the nabob of Moorshudubad, was 
much attached to Ramu-khantu, his Hindoo treasurer ; who was 
at enmity with Kalee-shunkuru, a very learned Hindoo, and a 
great worshipper of the female deities. The latter, to effect the 
destruction of Ramu-kantu, began to worship the goddess Priityun- 
gira. He had not performed the ceremonies long, before Eamu- 
kantil became sick, and it was made known to him and the nabob, 
that Kalee-shunkuru was thus employed. The nabob, full of rage, 
ordered that Kalee-shunkixru should be brought before him : but 
he fled before the messengers could seize him, and began to perform 
these ceremonies for the destruction of the nabob. A servant, 
mistaken for Kalee-shunkuru, was, however, seized ; but he bribed 
the messengers, that they might protract his journey as much as 
possible. They did so, and the day before they arrived at 
Moorshudubad the nabob died. I give this story to shew, what a 
strong possession the popular superstition has taken of the minds 
of the people ; who, while smoaking together, listen to these 
stories with the utmost eagerness and surprise, as the villagers in 
England tell stories current amongst them while sitting round the 
winter's fire. 

Sect. XII. — Unnu-poorna g . 

This image may be made standing, or sitting on the wa- 
ter-lily : in the right hand is a spoon, like that with which the 
Hindoos stir their boiling rice, and in the other a rice dish : Shivu, 
as a naked mendicant, is standing before the image asking relief. 

The worship .paid to this form of Doorga is performed on the 
7th, 8th, and 9th days of the moon's increase in the month Choitru : 
bloody sacrifices, fish, and spirituous liquors are among the offer- 
ings. Unnu-poorna being the guardian deity of many of the Hin- 
doos, (who have a proverb amongst them, that a sincere disciple of 
this goddess never wants rice,) very great festivities take place at 
this festival, accompanied with music, dancing, filthy songs, and 
every thing else calculated to deprave the heart. 

A Hindoo rising in a morning, before his eyes are well open, 
repeats the name of this goddess — ' Unnu-poorna ! Unnu-po5rna f 
and hopes, that through her favour he shall be well fed that day. 

s She who fills with food ; from finnti , food, and poorivft, full 


When one Hindoo wishes to compliment another on his riches or 
liberality, he says, ' Oh ! Sir, your house is as full of riches as that 
of TJnnu-p55rna :' or, if he speak of another when absent, he says, 
' Such a one, in liberality, is like Unnu-poorna.' 

Sect. XIII . — Otm^shu-jUnun ee \ 

This name Doorga assumed after the birth of Guneshu : she 
is here represented as sitting on the water-lily, dressed in red, and 
supporting with one arm the infant Guneshu at the breast, while 
the other hand rests on the knee of the infant. 

A small festival in honour of this goddess is celebrated in the 
month Ugruhayunu or Phalgoonu, on the 7th, 8th and 9th of the 
increase of the moon. Some years ago, at Gooptee-para, a village 
about forty miles north of Calcutta, a great festival was held in 
honour of Guneshu-jununee, when fifty thousand rupees or more 
were expended. The bramhuns of the village collected money to 
defray the expenses ; some gave one thousand, others two, and 
. others five thousand rupees : and crowds came two or three days 
journey to be present. The dancing, singing, music, &c. began a 
month before the principal day of worship ; all the visitors were 
entertained, and more than two thousand animals were slain. 

Sect. XIV. — Ki'ishnu-kroraK 

This is an image of Doorga giving suck to Krishnu, to des- 
troy the poison which he had received in a quarrel with Kaleeyu, 
a hydra. 

A festival in honour of this goddess is held on the 7th, 8th, 
and 9th of the increase of the moon, in the day, in the month 

The history of this idol is thus related : — In the west of Hin- 
doost'han, a stone image was once found in a pool ; and no inform- 
ation could be obtained to what it related, until a Brumhucharee 
referred them to the following story in one of the Tuntrus. — In the 
neighbourhood of Vrinda-vunu, by the river Yumoona, Soubhuree, 
a sage, for a long time performed religious austerities. One day, while 
in the midst of his devotions, he saw a shukoolu and some other 
fish playing together ; with which sight he was much pleased, till 
Gurooru, the king of the birds, descended into the water, and 
snatched up the shukoolu fish. The sage, unable to punish Gu- 

h The mother of Guneshtt. 

* She who holds Krishnti in her arms. 


vishalakshee, offerings to this goddess. 

room, pronounced a curse upon tins bird-god, or any other bird, 
who should hereafter come to destroy the fish in this spot ; and 
this curse was afterwards the means of preserving the king of the 
hydras from the wrath of Gurooru in the following manner. — The 
mountain Iiuluyu was the resort of many serpents, who daily col- 
lected a number of frogs, &c. and presented them to Gurooru, to 
conciliate him, and to prevent his devouring them. At last Kaleeyu, 
the king of the hydras, commanded his subjects^to give the frogs to 
him, promising to protect them from Gurooru : but the latter on 
his arrival, finding no food, attacked and overcame Kaleeyu ; who, 
though defeated, amused Gurooru by rehearsing some verses which 
no one understood but hiinself\ till he had made good his retreat 
into a deep place of the river, where Gurooru durst not follow him 
for fear of the curse of the sage. In consequence of the serpent's 
remaining in this spot, the poison proceeding from his body had 
destroyed all the trees, water, &c. for two miles round, and who- 
ever drank of the water died. About this time Krishnu was born ; 
who in his childhood, on a certain day, discovering that a dreadful 
mortality existed among the cows and the boys who kept them, 
asked the reason, and was informed that they had been poisoned 
by the waters of the Yumoona. Krishnu then jumped from a tree 
into the river ; overcame the serpent, and drove him out of the 
place. Kaleeyu, full of fear, asked where he was to go, for that 
Gurooru would certainly kill him. Krishnu, putting his foot on 
his head, assured him that when Gurooru discovered the mark of 
his foot, he would not destroy him. The waters now became 
wholesome ; the trees gained their verdure ; and the boys and cows 
were restored to life : but the pain arising from the poison in the 
wounds which Kaleeyu had given to Krishnu was intolerable. He 
therefore prayed to Doorga, who made him suck the milk from her 
own breast, by which he was immediately restored to health. 

Sect. XV. — Vishalakshee \ 

A CLAY image of this goddess is set up at Shyenfrhatee, a village 
in Burdwan, which is become a place of great resort for pilgrims. 
Vast multitudes of buffaloes, sheep, goats, &c. are offered at differ- 
ent times to this goddess, not unfrequently for the destruction of 
enemies : sheep and goats are offered every day, and it is said that 
formerly human sacrifices were offered to this goddess. Many per- 
sons, it is affirmed, have obtained the privilege of conversing with 
their guardian deities in consequence of worshipping this image 
with very shocking ceremonies, while others thus employed are 
said to have been driven mad ; yet some persons receive the name 
of Vishalakshee as their guardian deity. 

k These verses, it is said, now compose one of the kavyils called Pingtilit 
1 Of large or beautiful eyes. 


Sect. XYI.—Chundee™. 

Images of this form of Doorga are not made at present in Ben- 
gal ; but this goddess is worshipped by many of the bramlmris, &c, 
before a metal cup containing the water of the Ganges. This wor- 
ship is celebrated daily, or at the time of the full or change of the 
moon, or when the sun enters a new sign, or on the 9th of the moon. 

The Kaliku-poorann directs that birds, tortoises, alligators, 
fish, buffaloes, bulls, he-goats, ichneumons, wild boars, rhinoceroses, 
antelopes, guanas, rein-deer, lions, tigers, men, and blood drawn 
from the offerer's own body, be offered to this goddess. The follow- 
ing horrid incantation is addressed to the goddess Chundee, when 
offering an animal in order to effect the destruction of an enemy : 
' O goddess, of horrid form, O Chundika ! eat, devour such a 
one, my enemy, O consort of fire ! Salutation to fire ! This is the 
enemy who has done me mischief, now personated by an animal : 
destroy him, O Muhamaree ! Spheng ! spheng ! eat, devour.' 

Women sometimes make a vow to Chundee to engage her to 
restore their children to health, or to obtain some other favour. 
If a person recover in whose name such a vow has been made, his 
neighbours ascribe it to Chundee. 

The exploits of this goddess are celebrated in a poem written 
by the poet Kunkimu, and recited on various occasions, under the 
name of Chundee-ganil, or Ch it n d e e-y a t r a . 

Sect. XYII. — Other forms of Loorga. 

Kamakhyaf. — This goddess is worshipped daily by persons of 
property before a pan of water, or some other substitute ; and also 
by many shaktus on the 8th of the moon in both quarters. Those 
who worship her monthly, generally present some particular re- 
quest in favour of themselves or families. At the Doorga festival, 
this goddess is also worshipped with many ceremonies and at a 
great expense. A few persons receive the initiatory rites of this 
goddess, and worship her as their guardian deity. 

VindhyU-vasinee . — This is the image of a yellow female, 
sitting on a lion, with either four or eight arms : she is worshipped 
in the month Voishakhu, on the 9th, or on the 7th, 8th, or 9th of 

m The wrathful. 
n She who is called desire. 
She who dwelt on mount Vindhyii 



the increase of the moon : at Benares she is worshipped daily. The 
destruction of several giants is ascribed to this goddess. 

MUngUlu-Chundikct 9 . — This is the image of a yellow female, 
sitting on three skulls, clothed in red ; having in her right hand a 
book, and in her left a roodrakshu bead-roll. She is mostly 
worshipped by females, or rather by bramhuns employed by them, 
in consequence of some particular distress in their families ; when 
they make a vow to the goddess to worship her a certain number 
of times if she will deliver them. Even the wives of Musulmans 
sometimes send offerings to the house of a bramhun, to be pre- 
sented to her with prayers. In the month Poushu a small festival 
is held in honour of this goddess. 

Kumule-Jcaminee q > — This is the image of a female sitting on 
the water-lily, swallowing an elephant, while with the left hand 
she is pulling it out of her throat r . — She is worshipped on the 8th 
of Voishakhu, with the usual ceremonies and festivities. 

Raju-rajeshivuree 5 . — This goddess is represented as sitting on 
a throne, the three feet of which rest on the heads of Brumha, 
Vishnoo, and Shivu. She is worshipped on the Tth, 8th, and 9th 
of Voishakhu, with the ceremonies common to all the female deities 
to whom bloody sacrifices are offered. 

Yoogadya* is represented as sitting on a lion, having ten arms. 
— A festival in honour of this goddess is held on the last day of 
Voishakhu, at Ksheeru, a village in Burdwan, where many animals 
are slain, and large quantities of spirituous liquors offered : the 
goddess at the time of worship is taken out of a tank near the 
temple. It is supposed that not less than 100,000 people assemble 
at this place on this occasion. Human sacrifices, I am informed, 
were formerly offered to this goddess. — So numerous are the sacri- 
fices, that the water of the pool, in which the dead bodies are 
thrown immediately after decapitation, becomes the colour of blood. 
These bodies are taken out of the pool again in a little time after 
the sacrifice. The disciples of this goddess are very numerous. 

Ktiroonamtiyee" ; — In some places the image of thi? goddess is 
set up and worshipped daily. At the festivals of Doorga, Kalee, 
&c. she is worshipped in a more splendid manner. Some persons 
make vows to this goddess in times of distress, and many receive 
the initiatory rites by which she becomes their guardian deity. 

p The fervent benefactress. 

q She who sits on the water-lily. 

r This image is said to owe its rise to a vision at sea ascribed to Shreemtintii, 
a merchant, the particulars of which are related in the Kilvee-kunkilntt 

8 The goddess who governs Brumha, Vishnoo, and Shivfi. 

* She who existed before the yoogus, 

T * The compassionate. 



Sect. XVIII. — Other Forms of Doorga. 

Twuiita y , 
Prustabin ee a , 
Juyii-doorga b , 
Shoolinee , 
Muha-lukshmee d , 
Shree-vidya 6 , 
Tripoora-soonduree f , 
Vunu-devee a , 
Clmndu-nayika h , 

Pruchunda 1 , 

Chimdagra k , 

Dhooma-vutee 1 , 

Ublmya m , 

Sut5e u ', 

Gouree , 

Pudma p , 

Shuchee q , 

M^dha r , 

Savitree 8 , 

Juya u , 
Devu-se'na s , 
Swudha y , 
Swaha z , 
Shantee a , 
Toostee b , 
Poostee , 
Dhritee d , 
Atmu-deVta e , 
Koolu-deVta f , 
&c, &c. 


All these goddesses are worshipped at the festivals of Doorga, 
as well as at other times, before the proper representative of a god, 
as water, the shalgramu, &c, but their images are not now made in 
Bengal. Many persons receive the initiatory rites of these deities, 
and pay their devotions daily to the particular goddess whom they 
have chosen as their guardian deity. Bloody sacrifices, fish, and 
spirituous liquors, are presented to these goddesses. The last sixteen 
are worshipped when rice is first given to a child, at the investiture 
with the poita, at the time of marriage, and in general at all the 
ceremonies performed for a son before marriage. Juyu-doorga is 
worshipped to obtain deliverance from danger. 

Beside the above forms of Doorga, there are many others, whose 
names end with the word Bhoiruvee, viz., the terrific ; and temples 
consecrated to Bhoiruvu and Bhoiruvee are erected at many of the 
holy places visited by the Hindoo pilgrims. When a person per- 
forms any of the ceremonies of Hindoo worship at these places, he 
must first, on pain of meeting with some misfortune, worship these 
two deities. 

Sect. XIX. — Kalee. 

This goddess may also be considered as a form of Bhuguvutee, 
or Doorga. According to the Ohundee, the image of Kalee, *t pre- 
sent worshipped in Bengal, had its origin in the story of Euktu- 
veeju, already inserted in page ]78 r . Kalee was so overjoyed at the 
victory she had obtained over this giant, that she danced till the 

x She who governs the three worlds, heaven, earth, and the world of the hydras, 
y She who speedily executes her will. z The everlasting. a The praise-worthy. 
b The destroyer of the giant Doorgu. c She who wields the weapon of this name, 
d The great goddess of fortune. e The learned. - f The beaut}' of the three worlds. 
s The goddess of forests. h The destroyer of the giant Chundu. i The wrathful. 
k The furious. 1 She who is the colour of smoke. m She who removes fear. n The 
wife of Shivti. The yellow, p She who sits on the water-lily, q She who tells the 
truth of all. r The wise. s The cause of all, 1 The victorious. u Ditto. x The 
celestial heroine. J She who presides over the manes. z Ditto. a The comforter, 
b Ditto. c The nourisher. ,l The patient. e The goddess of souls. f She who presides 
over the generations of men. • 




earth shook to its foundation ; and Shivu, at the intercession of the 
gods, was compelled to go to the spot to persuade her to desist. 
He saw no other way, however, of prevailing, than by throwing 
himself among the dead bodies of the slain. When the goddess saw 
that she was dancing on her husband, she was so shocked, that to 
express her surprise she put out her tongue to a great length, and 
remained motionless ; and she is represented in this posture in 
almost all the images now made in Bengal. 

The TJdhyatmu Ramayunu 5 gives another story from which 
the image of Kalee may have originated : — Ramu, when he return- 
ed home with Seeta from the destruction of Ravmiu, began to boast 
of his achievements before his wife ; who smiled, and said, ' You 
rejoice because you have killed a Ravunu with ten heads ; but 
what would you say to a Ravunu with 1,000 heads ? ' ' Destroy him,' 
said Ramu. Seeta, again smiling, advised him to stay at home ; 
but he, collecting all themonkies, the giants, and his own soldiers 
together, with Si^ta, Lukshmunu, Shutrughnu, and Bhurutu, im- 
mediately departed for Shutu-dweepu to meet this new Ravunu ; 
sending Himoomanu before to discover the residence of this thou- 
sand-headed monster, and bring a description of his person. Hunoo- 
manu, after a little play with him, returned to Ramu, who soon 
after attacked the giant : but he, looking forward, beheld Ramus 
army as so many children ; and discharged three arrows, one of 
which sent all the monkies to Kishkindha, their place of residence ; 
another sent all the giants to Lunka, (Ceylon ;) and the third sent 
all the soldiers to TJyoclhya, Ramus capital. Ramu, thunderstruck 
at being thus left alone in a moment, and thinking that all his 
adherents had been at once annihilated, began to weep : when 
Seeta, laughing at her husband, immediately assumed the terrific 
form of Kalee, and furiously attacked this thousand- headed Ravunu. 
The conflict lasted ten years, but she at length killed the giant, 
drank his blood, and began to dance and toss about the limbs of 
his body. Her dancing shook the earth to its centre, so that all 
the gods, filled with alarm, applied to Shivu : but he declared that 
he almost despaired of calming her passions, for she was mad with 
joy ; he promised, however, to do all that could be expected from 
a god in so desperate a case ; but, pausing for some time, and 
seeing no other alternative, he, in the presence of the assembled 
gods, threw himself among the dead bodies under her feet. Brumha 
called to the goddess, and said, ' goddess ! what art thou doing ? 
Dost thou not see that thou art trampling on thy husband V She 
stooped, and saw Shivu under her feet ; and was so ashamed, that 
she stood still, and threw out her tongue to an uncommon length 11 . 

s There are four Ramayiinus, one written by Valmeekee, another by Vyasu-deVit, 
and two others, called the Udbootu and the Udhyatrml Ramayiinus ; but the others 
are in little estimation compared with the work of Valmeekee. 

h When the Hindoo women are shocked or ashamed at any thing, they put 
out their tongues, as a mode of expressing their feelings. 



By this means Shivu' saved the universe ; and Seeta, again assuming 
her proper form? went home with Kamu and his brothers. 

In the images commonly worshipped/ Kalee is represented as 
a very black female, with four arms ; having in one hand a 
scymitar, and in another the head of a giant, which she holds by 
the hair ; another hand is spread open bestowing a blessing ; and 
with the other she is forbidding fear. She wears two dead bodies 
for ear-rings, and a necklace of skulls ; and her tongue hangs down 
to her chin. The hands of several giants are hung as a girdle 
round her loins, and her tresses fall down to her heels. Having 
drank the blood of the giants she has slain in combat, her eye- 
brows, are bloody, and the blood is falling in a stream down her 
breast ; her eves are red like those of a drunkard. She stands 
with one leg on the breast of her husband Shivu, and rests the 
other on his thigh 1 . 

This deity is equal in ferocity to any of the preceding forms of 
Doorga. In the Kaiika pooranu, men are pointed out, amongst 
other animals, as proper for sacrifice. It is here said that the 
blood of a tiger pleases the goddess for one hundred years, and 
the blood of a lion, a rein-deer, or a man, a thousand. But by the 
sacrifice of three men, she is pleased 100,000 years ! I insert|.two 
or three extracts from the sanguinary Chapter of the Kaiika 
pooranu : — ' Let a human victim be sacrificed at a place of holy 
worship, or at a cemetery where dead bodies are buried. Let the 
oblation be performed in the part of the cemetery called heruku, 
or at a temple of Kamakshya, or on a mountain. Now attend 
to the mode : The human victim is to be immolated in the east 
division, which is sacred to Bhoiruvu ; .the head is to be presented 
in the south division, which is looked upon as the place of skulls 
sacred to Bhoiruvu ; and the blood is to be presented in the west 
division, which is denominated heruku. Having immolated a 
human victim, with all the requisite ceremonies at a cemetery, or 
holy place, let the sacrificer be cautious not to cast his eyes upon 
it. The victim must be a person of good appearance, and be pre- 
pared by ablutions, and requisite ceremonies, (such as eating 
consecrated food the day before, and by abstinence from flesh and 
venery,) and must be adorned with chaplets of flowers, and 
besmeared with sandal wood. Then causing the victim to face 
the north, let the sacrificer worship the several deities presiding 
over the different parts of the victim's body : let the worship be 
then paid to the victim himself by his name. Let him worship 
Brumha in the victim's rhundru, i. e., cave of Brumha, cavity in 
the skull, under the spot where the sutuva coronalis and sagittalis 
meet. Let him worship the earth in his nose, &c. — Worshipping 

1 The image of Minerva, it will be recollected, was that of a threatening goddess, 
exciting terror : on her shield she bore the head of a gorgon. Sir \Y. Jones con- 
siders Kalee as the Proaerpine of the Greeks, 



the king of serpents, let him pronounce the following incantation : 
O best of men ! O most auspicious ! O thou who art an assemblage 
of all the deities, and most exquisite ! bestow thy protection on me; 
save me, thy devoted ; save my sons, my cattle, and kindred ; pre- 
serve the state, the ministers belonging to it, and all friends ; and 
as death is unavoidable, part with (thy organs 01) life, doing an act 
of benevolence. Bestow upon me, most auspicious ! the bliss 
which is obtained by the most austere devotion, by acts of charity, 
and performance of religious ceremonies; and at the same time, O 
most excellent ! attain supreme bliss thyself. May thy auspices, O 
most auspicious ! keep me secure from rakshusus, pishachus, terrors, 
serpents, bad princes, enemies, and other evils; and, death being 
inevitable, charm Bhuguvutee in thy last moments by copious 
streams of blood spouting from the arteries of thy fleshly neck.' — 
When this has been done, O my children! the victim is even as 
as myself, and the guardian deities of the ten quarters take place 
in him ; then Brum ha and all the other deities assemble in the 
victim ; and be he ever so great a sinner, he becomes pure from 
sin ; and when pure, his blood changes to ambrosia, and he gains 
the love of Muhadevee, the goddess of the yogu nidru, (i.e., the 
tranquil repose of the mind from an abstraction of ideas,) who is 
the goddess of the whole universe, the very universe itself. He does 
not return for a considerable length of time in the human form, but 
becomes a ruler of the gunu devtas, and is much respected by me 
myself. The victim who is impure from sin, or ordure and urine, 
Kamakshya will not even hear named. The blind, the crippled, 
the aged, the sick, the afflicted with ulcers, the hermaphrodite, the 
imperfectly formed, the scarred, the timid, the leprous, the dwar- 
fish, and the perpetrator of muha patuku, (heinous offences, such 
as slaying a bramhun, drinking spirits, stealing gold, or defiling a 
spiritual teacher's bed,) one under twelve years of age, one who is 
impure from the death of a kinsman, &c, one who is impure from 
the death of muha gooroo, (father and mother), which impurity 
lasts for one whole year — these severally are unfit subjects for im- 
molation, even though rendered pure by sacred texts. Let not a 
bramhun or a chundalu be sacrificed; nor a prince, nor that which 
has been already presented to a bramhun, or a deity ; nor the offspring 
of a prince ; nor one who has conquered in battle ; nor the offspring of 
a bramhun, or of a kshutriyu ; nor a childless brother ; nor a father; 
nor a learned person ; nor one who is unwilling ; nor the maternal 
uncle of the sacrificer. The day previous to a human sacrifice, let 
the victim be prepared by the text maimshtuku and three deVee 
gundhu shuktus, and the texts wad run gu, and by touching his head 
with the axe, and besmearing the axe with sandal, &c. perfumes, and 
then taking some of the sandal, &c. from off the axe, and besmearing 
the victim's neck therewith. If the severed head of a human victim 
smile, it indicates increase of prosperity and long life to the sacrificer, 
without doubt ; and if it speak, whatever it says will come to pass.' 



This work further lays down directions for a person's drawing 
blood from himself, and offering it to the goddess, repeating the 
following incantation : ' Hail ! supreme delusion ! Hail ! goddess 
of the universe ! Hail ! thou who fulfillest the desires of all. May 
I presume to offer thee the blood of my body ; and wilt thou 
deign to accept it, and be propitious towards me/ 

A person's cutting off his own flesh, and presenting it to the 
goddess as a burnt-sacrifice, is another method of pleasing this infer- 
nal deity : ' Grant me, goddess ! bliss, in proportion to the fer- 
vency with which T present thee with my own flesh, invoking thee 
to e be propitious to me. Salutation to thee again and again, under 
the mysterious syllables ting, ting .' 

A person's burning his body, by applying the burning wick of 
a lamp to it, is also very acceptable to KaJei, <fcc. On this occasion 
this incantation is used : ' Hail ! goddess ! Salutation to thee, un- 
der the syllables ting, ting. To thee I present this auspicious 
luminary, fed with the flesh of my body, enlightening all around, 
and exposing to light also the inward recesses of my soul.' k 

It is observed in this work, that the head or the blood of an 
animal, in its simple state, forms a proper offering to a goddess, but 
that flesh must be presented as a burnt-offering. Other Tuntrus 
observe, that the eating of the flesh of men, cows, and swine, and 
drinking spirits, after these things have been offered to an idol, 
must be done in secret ; or the -person will commit a great crime, 
and sink into poverty. I am credibly informed, that very many 
bramhuns in Bengal eat cow's flesh, and, after they have been offer- 
ed to an idol, drink spirits, though none of them will publicly ac- 
knowledge it. 

Thieves frequently pay their devotions to Kalee, and to all the 
goddesses to whom bloody sacrifices are offered, under the hope of 
carrying on their villainous designs with security and success 1 . A 
gang of ten persons, perhaps, agree to plunder a house ; who meet 
together in a dark night, under a tree where an image of Sid- 
de'shwuree is placed ; and bring to the spot spirituous liquors, fish, 
and other offerings. One of the company, a bramhun, goes through 
the ceremonies of worship : at the close of which a bloody sacrifice is 
offered, and the instrument worshipped which is to cut through the 
wall of the house* at which time the following incantation from 
the Choru-punchashika is read: '0! Sindhukatee ! (the name of 

k See Mr. Blaquiere's translation of the Sanguinary Chapter, Asiatic Researches, 
vol- y- — —The author hopes Mr. Blaquiere will excuse the liberty he has taken of 
altering his spelling of Sungskritii words, as he has done it merely to preserve unifor- 
mity throughout the work. 

1 One of Jupiter's names, it is well known, was Praedatof. because plunder was 
offered to him. 


the instrument formed by the goddess Visha'e ! Kalee commanded 
thee to cut a passage into the house, to cut through stones, bones, 
bricks, jvood, the earth, and mountains, and, through the bless- 
ing of TJnadya m , to make a way by cutting the earth from the 
house of the Malineeto that of Vidya", and that the soil brought 
out should be carried away by the wind. Haree-jhee and Chamunda 
have given this blessing, and Kamakshya (Kalee) has given the 
command/ After the reading of this incantation, the thieves sit 
down to eat and drink the things that have been offered ; and 
when nearly intoxicated, they gird their garments firmly round 
their loins, rub their bodies well with oil, daub their eyes with 
lamp-black, and repeat an incantation to enable them to see in the 
dark ; and thus proceed to the spot : when they cut a hole through 
the wall, plunder the house, and sometimes murder the inhabitants. 

Sometime ago, two Hindoos were executed at Calcutta for 
robbery. Before they entered upon their work of plunder, they 
worshipped Kalee, and offered prayers before her image, that they 
might be protected by the goddess in the act of thieving. It so 
happened, that the goddess left these disciples in the lurch ; they 
were detected, tried, and sentenced to be hanged. While under 
sentence of death, a native Catholic, in the same place and circum- 
stances, was visited by a Roman Catholic priest to prepare him for 
death. These Hindoos now reflected, that as Kalee had not pro- 
tected them, notwithstanding they had paid their devotions to her, 
there could be no hope that she would save them after death ; they 
might as well, therefore, renounce their caste : which resolution they 
communicated to their fellow-prisoner, who procured for them a 
prayer from the Catholic priest, translated into the Bengalee lang- 
uage. I saw a copy of this prayer in the hands of the native Catholic 
who gave me this account. These men at last, out of pure revenge 
upon Kalee, died in the faith of the Virgin Mary : and the Catholics, 
after the execution, made a grand funeral for them ; as these per- 

m A name of Kalee, which means, without beginning. 

n Soondurn, the son of Goonu-sindhoo, raja of Kanchee-poora, was overcome by 
the charms of Vidya, the daughter of Veeru-singhu, the raja of Burdwan. For the 
purposes of courtship, he concealed himself at the house of a flower-seller (Maliuee) 
near the palace of Veeru-singhii, and began to pay his devotions to the goddess Kalee ; 
who gave him this incantation, and the instrument Sindhukatee, that he might cut 
his way to his fair one. One night, however, Soondnru was caught in the palace, and 
seized as a thief. As he was led from prison to the place of execution, he composed 
fifty verses in praise of the raja's daughter, which verses have since received the name 
of Choru-punchashika. The Hindoos add, that when they weVe about to execute 
Soondurn, the cords by which he was bound miraculously burst asunder, and the exe- 
cutioners fell senseless to the ground ; in consequence, the execution was postponed, 
and the next night Kalee appeared to Veeru-singhu in a dream, and directed him to 
marry his daughter to Soondurn ; who was not a thief, but the son of the raja of 
Kanchee-pooru, a very proper person to become his son-in-law. The marriage was 
soon after celebrated in the most splendid manner. 

° The Hindoos say, that a female of the Haree cast was once honoured with an 
interview by the goddess Kamakshya, who delivered to her a variety of incantations, 
now used by the lowest casts for the most ridiculous, as well as brutal and wicked 


sons, they said, embraced the Catholic faith, and renounced their 
cast, from conviction. 

Agiim-vageeshu / a learned Hindoo, about five hundred years 
ago, formed the image of Kalee according to the preceding descrip- 
tion, and worshipped it monthly, choosing for this purpose the 
darkest nights in the month ; he made and set up the image, 
worshipped it, and destroyed it, on the same night. At present 
the greater number of the worshippers of Kalee hold a festival to 
her honour on the last night of the decrease of the moon in the 
month Kartiku, and call it the Shyama p festival. 

A few persons celebrate the worship of Kalee at the full moon 
in Kartiku ; the ceremonies of which are performed before a pic- 
ture of this goddess, drawn on a stiff mat of reeds seven or eight 
feet long. This festival lasts three days, and on the fourth the 
picture is thrown into the river. 

Some also worship Kalee for one night on the 1 1th of the 
decrease of the moon, in the month Maghu ; and a few rich men 
do so monthly, on the last night of the moon : while others wor- 
ship this goddess in the month Jyoisht'hu, when it is called the 
Phulu-huree festival, on account of the many mangoes, jack fruits, 
&c. offered to her. 

A few years ago, I went to the house of Kalee-shunkuru- 
ghoshu, at Calcutta, at the time of the Shyama festival, to see the 
animals sacrified to Kalee. The buildings where the worship was 
performed were raised on four sides, with an area in the middle. The 
image was placed at the north end, with the face to the south ; 
and the two side rooms, and one of the end rooms opposite the 
image, were filled with spectators : in the area were the animals 
devoted to sacrifice, and also the executioner, with Kalee-shunkuru, 
a few attendants, and about twenty persons to throw the animal 
down, and hold it in the post, while the head was cut off. The 
goats were sacrificed first, then the buffaloes, and last of all two 
or three rams. In order to secure the animals, ropes were fastened 
round their legs ; they were then thrown down, and the neck 
placed in a piece of wood fastened into the ground, and made open 
at the top like the space betwixt the prongs of a fork. After the 
animal's neck was fastened in the wood by a peg which passed 
over it, the men who held it pulled forcibly at the heels ; while 
the executioner, with a broad heavy axe, cut off the head at one 
blow : the heads were carried in an elevated posture by an 
attendant, (dancing as he went,) the blood running down him on 
all sides, into the presence of the goddess. Kalee-shunkuru, at 
the close, went up to the executioner, took him in his arms, and 
gave him several presents of cloths, &c. The heads and blood of 
the animals, as well as different meat-offerings, are presented with 

p A name of Kalee, meaning black. 


mean vci tions as a feast to the goddess ; after which clarified butter 
is burnt on a prepared altar of sand. Never did I see men so 
eagerly enter into the shedding of blood, nor do I think any 
butchers could slaughter animals more expertly. The place 
literally swam with blood. The bleating of the animals, the 
numbers slain, and the ferocity of the people employed, actually 
made me unwell ; and I returned about midnight, filled with 
horror and indignation. 

The gifts to bramhuns and guests at this festival are numerous, 
and in some instances very expensive. The bramhuns, and then 
the family and other guests, are entertained, when the spirituous 
liquors which have been presented to the goddess are drank pri- 
vately by those who are in the secret. The festival closes with 
the dances and songs before the goddess. 

The reader may form an idea how much idolatry prevailed at 
the time when the Hindoo monarchy nourished, from the following 
circumstance, which belongs to a modern period, when the Hindoo 
authority in Hindoost'hanu was almost extinct. — liaja Krishnu- 
chundru-rayu, and his two immediate successors,, in the month 
Kartiku, annually gave orders to all the people over whom they 
had a nominal authority to keep the Shyama festival, and threaten- 
ed every offender with the severest penalties on non-compliance. 
In consequence of these orders, in more than ten thousand houses, 
in one night, in the zillah of, the worship of this 
goddess was celebrated. The number of animals destroyed could 
not be less than ten thousand. The officiating bramhuns, especially 
those who perform religious ceremonies for shoodrus, were greatly 
perplexed, as a single bramhun had to perform the ceremonies of 
worship at two hundred houses, situated in different villages, in 
one night. All the joiners, barbers, or blacksmiths, in fifteen or 
twenty villages, in many instances have but one officiating priest, 
the bramhuns in general being unwilling to incur the disgrace 
which arises from performing religious services for shoddrus. 

Eeshanu-chundru-rayu, the grandson of Krishnu-chvtndm- 
rayu, in certain years, presented to Kalee eighty thousand pounds 
weight of sweetmeats, the same quantity of sugar, a thousand 
women's cloth garments, the same number of women's China silk 
garments,, a thousand offerings, including rice, plantains, peas, &c, 
and immolated a thousand buffaloes, a thousand goats, and the 
same number of sheep ; which altogether could not cost less than 
ten thousand rupees, while the other expenses amounted to scarcely 
less than twenty thousand. To defray these expenses, this 
rajah sold the greater part of his patrimony; and in this and 
other idolatrous customs, he and other Hindoo rajahs have expend- 
ed almost the whole of their estates. 

Raja Eam-Krishnu also expended very large sums of money 


upon the worship of Kalee. He set up a stone image of this god- 
dess at Vurahu-nuguru ; on • which occasion he is said to have 
spent a lack of rupees. He also endowed this image with such 
a large revenue, that at present five hundred persons are maintain- 
ed there daily. In the service of this goddess he has nearly reduced 
himself to poverty, though formerly from the rents of the lands, 
&c, he used to pay fifty-two lakhs of rupees annually into the Com- 
pany's treasury. 

Kalee is the guardian deity of very many of the Bengalees, 
especially of the bramhuns. 

At Kalee-ghatu, near Calcutta, is a celebrated image of this 
goddess, 'whom (in the opinion of the Hindoos) all Asia, and 
' the whole world worshippeth.' Having obtained an account of 
this temple from a bramhun whom I sent to Kalee-ghatu for the 
purpose, I here lay it before my readers : — 

The temple consists of one room, with a large pavement 
around it. The image is a large black stone, to which a horrid 
face, partly cut and partly painted, has been given ; there are 
neither arms nor legs, a cloth covering all the lower part which, 
should be the body. In front of the temple is a very large build- 
ing capable of seating two hundred people ; in which, and on the 
pavement around the temple, many bramhuns daily sit reading the 
Chundee, a work on the wars of Kalee : on some days, as many as 
a thousand bramhuns may be seen thus employed. Beyond 
this building, in front of the image, the animals for sacri- 
fice are slain. Not fewer than four thousand persons assemble on 
particular occasions at this temple, especially at the Shyama and 
Doorga festivals ; and, twice a week, on the Chetula q market days, 
two thousand people or more visit this place, multitudes of whom 
(my informer says, not less than a thousand) present offerings. 
At these times it is common for a Hindoo to go up to the temple, 
and, presenting himself at the door with joined hands, to address 
himself thus to the idol : 1 Ob ! mother ! I am going to the market 
for such and such a purpose. If thou grant me success, I will on 
the next market day present offerings to thee to the amount of/ — 
Or he says to another person standing near, ' See, brother, I have 
promised to mother so and so, if she will accomplish my wishes in 
the market / r 

About nine o'clock each day, the bramhun who in turn per- 
forms the duties at the temple, and who receives the offerings of 
the day, after cleaning and bathing the image, puts on it the gar- 
lands of flowers and other ornaments, sweeps the temple, and then 
throws open the doors, calling out, ' Victory to the great Kalee ! 

i An adjoining village. 

r It is said that formerly, especially in times of scarcity, numbers of men were sold 
at this market. 



Victory to the great Kalee S' These compliments on different 
mornings he changes at pleasure. After this, persons going to 
bathe, or coming from bathing, approach the door of the temple, 
and bow to the goddess : and now the daily worship is performed, 
which occupies about an hour ; after which men and women are 
seen bringing their offerings to the idol, which continue to be pre- 
sented during the greater part of the day. Some merely present 
them, without asking for any blessing : these persons take away 
a few flowers, or any other trifle of what they have offered, as 
something that will secure the good of the family ; and friends on 
a visit at the house of such a person beg any thing of this kind, 
and eat it, or wear it in their hair. Other visitors to the temple 
leave part of the offerings there, and take away the other part to 
present to their friends. Others make a vow, while the offering 
is presented to the image, in some such words as these : ' Oh ! 
goddess ! mother Kalee ! If thou wilt deliver me out of such or 
such a trouble, or wilt bestow such or such a blessing, I will pre- 
sent to thee [here the petitioner repeats the names of all the offer- 
ings or bloody sacrifices/] Disputes arise almost daily in the 
temple betwixt the worshippers and the priests respecting the offer- 
ings, and not unfrequently a violent scramble takes place for the 
meat-offerings in the presence of the goddess herself : the officia- 
ting bramhun says, ' Who is to have these offerings' ? to which the 
worshipper replies, ' Oh ! sir ! our family priest always receives 
these things. I must carry them home for him.' Or a man bring- 
ing offerings procures a bramhun to go and tell a lie in the pre- 
sence of the goddess, saying to him, ' Sir, the bramhuns at the 
temple of Kalee are such notorious cheats, that of all I give to the 
goddess, she will probably get nothing but a few flowers ; and 
they are so rapacious that I shall never get these offerings out of 
their hands :' on which this bramhun carries the offerings to the 
temple, and declares, that they belong to the bramhuns of such a 
temple, and must be returned to them. By these contrivances, the 
offerer obtains what he has given to the goddess ; and, giving part 
to the bramhun who has extricated him from the rapacious hands 
of the proprietors of the temple, he takes the remainder home. 
About three o'clock in the afternoon, food is placed before the 
goddess, consisting of rice, greens, roots, fruits, milk, curds, clari- 
fied butter, flesh, spirituous liquors 3 (in a concealed form,) sweet- 
meats, &c. &c. Generally about 250 pounds of rice are cooked 
daily, but at particular time twice or thrice as much. After reser- 
ving as much as is necessary for his own family, the officiating 
bramhun sells the rest of the offerings to devout visitors or neigh- 
bours, and gives away what he cannot sell. When a bloody sacri- 
fice is offered, the offerer either pays the priest for his trouble, or 

8 It is affirmed that the greater number of grown up persons in this village drink 
spirits. Bramhuns may be seen in front of the temple, drinking spirits at noon-day ; 
and religious mendicants walking about, naked, without the least sense of shame. 



gives up the slaughtered animal. The slayer also receives a fee. 
Of this flesh, the officiating bramhun keeps what he pleases, and 
sells the rest to bramhims, shoodrus, Portuguese, and persons from 
all parts of the neighbourhood.* 

The daily offerings to this goddess are astonishingly numerous. 
On days when the weather is very unfavourable, not less than 
three hundred and twenty pounds of rice, twenty-four of sugar, forty 
of sweetmeats, twelve of clarified butter, ten of flour, ten quarts 
of milk, a peck of pease, eight hundred plantains, and other things, 
(the price of which may amount to about five shillings,) are offer- 
ed, and eight or ten goats sacrificed. On common days, of all these 
things three times the quantity ; and at great festivals, or when a 
rich man comes to worship, ten, twenty, or forty times this quantity; 
and as many as forty or fifty buffaloes and a thousand goats are 

Raja Nuvu-Krishnu, of Calcutta, about fifty years ago, when 
on a visit to Kalee-ghatu, expended, it is said, not less than 
100,000 rupees on the worship of this goddess. Amongst the offer- 
ings was a gold necklace valued at 10,000 rupees, and, beside 
other ornaments, a rich bed, silver plates, dishes, and basons ; 
sweetmeats, and other food sufficient for the entertainment of a 
thousand persons ; and trifling presents of money to near two thou- 
sand of the poor. 

About twenty years ago, Juyu-Narayunu-Ghoshalu, of Kicldur- 
pooru, near Calcutta, expended 25,000 rupees at this place : when 
he sacrificed twenty-five buffaloes, one hundred and eight goats, 
and five sheep ; and presented to the goddess four silver arms, two 
gold eyes, and many gold and silver ornaments. 

About ten years ago, a merchant from the east of Bengal ex- 
pended 5,000 rupees on the worship of this goddess, beside the 
price of a thousand goats which were slaughtered. 

In the year 1810, a bramhun from the east of Bengal expend- 
ed on this idol about four thousand rupees, with part of which 
he bought a golden necklace, the beads of which were in the shape 
of giants' skulls. 

In the year 1811, Gopee-mohunu, a bramhun of Calcutta, ex- 
pended ten thousand rupees in the worship of this goddess ; but, 
being a voishnuvu, he did not offer any bloody sacrifices. 

The Hindoos, it seems, are not the only persons who worship 

* The women belonging to the temple have become such good cooks, that it is not 
uncommon for persons to pay for a dinner from their hands, preferring it to any thing 
they could get elsewhere, 



this black stone : I have received accounts several times of Euro- 
peans, or their native mistresses, going to this temple, and expend- 
ing thousands of rupees in offerings. The bramhun with whom 
I wrote this account declares, that when he was a student at Vurisha, 
near Kalee-ghatu, he several times saw the wives of Europeans 
come in palanqueens with offerings ; though I suppose these ladies 
were born in India. But the proprietors of the temple positively 
assured this bramhun, (as he says,) that very frequently European 
men presented offerings, soliciting some favour at the hands 11 of the 
goddess ; and that very lately a gentleman in the Hon. Company's 
service, who had gained a cause at law, presented thank-offerings 
to Kalee which cost two or three thousand rupees*. I confess that 
I very reluctantly insert these accounts, because I should hope 
they mostly originate in wilful misrepresentation on the part of the 
bramhun s of the temple, or in mistake. I suppose some Portu- 
guese (who also go by the name Sahe'b) may present offerings, and 
pray to this goddess — hence one source of misinformation ; the 
mistresses of Europeans are supplied with money by their retainers, 
and hence the worship not unfrequently passes off, with many a 
triumph over degraded Christianity, as the worship of such a Euro- 
pean ;* and many Europeans, who go for curiosity to see the temple 
and the image, inconsiderately or wantonly give presents to the 
clamorous and greed} 7 bramhims, who proclaim it as an offering to 
their goddess. Actions the most innocent, (even going to view the 
image,) are construed by these ignorant idolaters into an approval of 
idolatry. A European who was lately there, says my informant, 
to make a drawing of the image, when he departed gave the offici- 
ating bramhun a gold mohur, and this present was probably enrolled 
among the gifts to the temple. 

It is further affirmed, that many MtUssiilmans (four or five 
hundred) present offerings to Kalee monthly — so strangely has the 
veneration for this image seized the minds of the natives ! And it 
is added, that an equal number of prostitutes, from all parts of 
Bengal, pay their devotions at this temple : some pray for the 
health of their paramours, and others that great numbers may 
visit their houses of ill fame. It is not uncommon for a loose female 
to say to her paramour, after his recovery from sickness, ' I made 
vows to Kalee, that if she would restore you to health, I would 
present her with such and such offerings : you are recovered ; and 
I must now go and perform my vows.' Such a female sometimes 

thus prays for her paramour — ( O mother Kalee ! I pray for — . 

If thou wilt increase his wealth, [or remove sickness from him — or 
make him successful in such a concern — or increase his attachment 

u Silver hands, and gold tongues and eyes are among the presents made by rich, 
men to this goddess. Such is the stupidity of idolaters. 

x It is probable, that the real worshipper in this instance was a head-servant of 
this gentleman's ; though the expense might be defrayed by the master. Without 
thinking of the guilt of such conduct, I have known frequent instances of Europeans 
making presents to their servants for the avowed purpose of idol worship. 



to me, that he may always follow my advice] I will present to thee 
all these offerings [here she repeats the names of what she intends 
to give].' When she returns home, she takes off all her ornaments, 
laying them aside till her vow be either fulfilled or abandoned. 

Merchants 7 and tradesmen present offerings to Kalee once, 
twice, or thrice a year, to obtain success in their concerns ; — many 
rich men (thirty or forty) place bramhuns at this temple to worship 
the goddess, to walk round the temple, and read the Chundee, 
daily in their names ; — others place bramhuns here for these pur- 
poses, for two or three months in the year ; — sepoys from all parts 
of Hindoost'hanu resort to this temple as often as they can obtain 
leave of absence ; — mothers present offerings, praying for the re- 
covery of their children, and promising to bring the restored child 
in their arms when they come to fulfil their vows ; z or, that it shall 
be invested with the poita, a or pass through some other ceremony 
at the temple ; — servants in search of employment make vows to 
the goddess to present her with a month's wages, if she will raise 
them to such a situation ; — in a word, the occasions of drawing 
people to this famous temple are as endless as the superstitious 
hopes and fears, the crimes and the wants of the worshippers. 

Goats are devoted to Kalee, and kept, in some cases, for a long- 
time, till the owner be able to meet the other expenses attending 
the offerings and worship. These animals are called the goats 
of Kalee. 

The village of Kalee-ghttttu. (or Kalee-ghatu) owes the greater 
part of its present population to this temple ; from which near two 
hundred persons derive their subsistence, exclusive of the proprie- 
tors, who amount to about thirty families. Some proprietors have 
a day in turn, others half a day, and others two or three hours ; to 
whom all the offerings presented in the portion of time thus appor- 
tioned belong. All these families have become rich. 

In the month Maghu, a festival is held in various places of 
Bengal in honour of Ghatoo, the god who presides over blotches on 
the skin ; but the assembly at Kalee-ghatu is very great. At the 
time of swinging in Choitru also, the concourse of people at this 
place is also very large. See the account of Shivu. 

y Hindoo merchants engaged in foreign commerce, after the successful voyage of 
a ship in which they had property, frequently present thank-offerings to this goddess. 

z The hair of some children is not cut at all till the vow be fulfilled ; others only 
separate a lock of the child's hair, tying it up in a bunch A large hillock of human 
hair, collected at the times of shaving when vows have been fulfilled, is formed near 
the temple. 

a A bramhiin once assured me, that he had seen not less than three hundred boys 
invested with the poita in one day at this place ; on which occasion many bloody 
sacrifices were offered. The concourse of people was immense. 



I here add a rough account of what is expended on this idol 
monthly : — 

Buffaloes slain, (5) 

Goats ditto, (1,000) ... 

Sheep ditto, (30)... 

Bice, (200 cwt.) 

Salt, Spices, Pease, Fish, &c. 

Clarified Butter, ... ... 

Milk and Curds, ... 
Sugar, (11 cwt.) 

Sweetmeats, (22 cwt.) ... ... ... ... 

Plantains, (25,000) 
Evening offerings,... 
Dressed food, 

_F©GS^ • • • ••• • • • ••• 

Travelling Expenses, 

Alms given to the poor by visitors, ... 

Extraordinaries from rich men, and at festivals, 

Es. As. P. 



.. 40 






.. 360 


.. 60 


.. 80 


.. 300 



Sa. Rs. 6,000 

Seventy-two Thousand Rupees annually, or Nine Thousand 

Pounds sterling. 

Sect. XX.— -Other Forms of Kalee, Sec. 

Chamunda h . — This image, which is similar to that of Kalee, 
except that Chamfindais represented with two giants' heads in her 
hands, and as sitting on a dead body, is seldom or never made. 
The goddess is worshipped at the festival of Doorga, on three 
different days. 

Shmushanu-Kulee c . — When this image is made, other figures 
are introduced, as those of the giants Shoombhu and Nishoombhu, of 
jackals, dead bodies, &c. These giants are represented as sitting 
on elephants, throwing arrows at the goddess ; while the latter is 
standing on her husband, and aiming blows at them with a sword. 
The ceremonies of worship are like those performed in honour of 
Kalep : the worship begins at the total wane of the moon in Maghu, 
and continues for three nights. Bevelling is carried to the greatest 

b She who seized Chundu and Miindu, two giants. 

c This uame denotes, that Kalee dwells in the place of burning the dead, and 

presides over cemeteries. Shiutishanu means a cemetery. 


pitch : some of the worshippers, and not unfrequently the sons of 
rich men, dance before the image naked, ' glorying in their shame.' 
A few Hindoos adopt this goddess as their guardian deity. 

Manuvu-Kalee 11 . — Another form of Kalee, whose image it 
resembles except in the colour, which is blue. The worship is 
celebrated on the fifteenth night of the decrease of the moon in 
Maghu : — the present fruit, diversion ; — and hereafter, heaven. 
Such are the ideas of the poor deluded Hindoos. A whole village 
sometimes joins to defray the expense, at other times a rich man 
bears it alone. Many bloody sacrifices are offered, and great shew 
made, especially with illuminations ; to which are added dancing, 
singing, music, &c. 

Phulu-huree. e — This form of Kalee is that of a black female, 
with four arms, standing on the breast of Shivu. She is worship- 
at the total wane of the moon in the month Jyoisht'hu, or in any 
other month, at the pleasure of the worshipper. The offerings are 
numerous, especially of fruits : and buffaloes, goats, and sheep, are 
sacrificed. The day after the worship, the image is thrown into 
the river. 

Bhuclru-KaleeJ — An image similar to that of Kalee; the 
worship also resembles that which is paid to that goddess. The 
image is in some places preserved, and worshipped daily. 

Oogru-chunda." is worshipped at the total wane of the moon 
in the month Kartiku : in some places temples made of clay are 
erected in honour of this goddess, in which she is worshipped 
either daily or monthly. 

Anundu-mUyee. h — A black female, with four arms, sitting on 
a throne ; to whom a number of temples are dedicated, containing 
stone or clay images of the goddess. She is worshipped daily ; 
also on fortunate days, at the pleasure of her numerous disci- 
ples ; as well as at the great festivals of Doorga, Kalee, &c. when 
bloody sacrifices are offered to her. 

Nuvu-putvika} — These nine goddesses are worshipped at the 
great festivals, but with the greatest shew as that of Doorga ; 
when these assistants of Doorga in her wars are represented by 
nine branches of different trees : Rumbha, by a plantain : k 
Kuchwee-roopa, by a ktichwee ; 1 Huridra, by a huridra ; m Juyitntee 
by a juyuntee ; n Vilwar56pa, by a vilwu ; Darimee, by a darimu ; p 

d Viz., in the form of man. 

e She who receives much fruit. f The beneficent. s The furious. 

k The joyful. 

1 The nine goddesses. k Musa paradisaica. 1 Arum esculentum. m Cur- 
cuma longa. n iEschynomene seshau, yEglo marmelos. p Punica granatum. 



IJshoka, by a an ushoku ; q Manuka, by a mania ; r and Dhanyu- 
rodpa, by a dhanyu. s 

Bheemu-chundee. 1 — This image is made and worshipped at 
Benares : in Bengal also the goddess is worshipped, especially on 
a Tuesday, before another image, or a pan of water, or some 
appointed representative of an idol. 

Upura-jita. u — There is no public festival in honour of this 
goddess, nor is her image set up for worship ; but in times of 
sickness she is worshipped before the shalgramu, when forms of 
praise from the Tuntrus are addressed to her. 

Vimula* — A stone image of this idol is worshipped in one of 
the temples erected in Orissa, near the famous temple of Jugun- 
natTiu. Bloody sacrifices are offered to this goddess ; but as this 
place is sacred to Yishnoo, these offerings are made in secret. 
Yimula is also worshipped in Bengal at the festivals of Doorga 
and Kalee. 

Siddheshwuree. 7 — In many villages in Bengal one, and in 
some large villages several of these images are set up. They 
are in general made of clay; but some are of stone. The image 
is commonly the property of one family, who worship her every 
day : others in the village worship her when they choose ; but 
all the gifts and offerings come to the person who owns the 
image. If a child have a fever, the parents worship the goddess 
that it may recover, and promise to present various offerings to her 
if she be propitious. If a woman want a son, she procures a bramhun 
to worship the goddess in her name ; — if another person be seeking 
employment, he prays the goddess to favour him ; — if a koolinu 
bramhun wish his daughter to be married, he intercedes with the 
goddess, and promises to celebrate her worship if she be favoura- 
ble. On all occasions of particular distress or want, the people re- 
sort to these images with their presents and vows. Thieves also 
worship Siddheshwuree, that they may be favoured with her 
smiles and be protected in thieving. 2 Honest and poor people also 
worship this image to obtain protection from thieves. An annual 
festival is held in honour of Siddheshwuree on the same day as the 
Shyama festival. 

i Jonesia asoca. r Arum macrorliyzon. 8 Coriandrum sativum. * The 
terrific. u The unconquerable. x She who purifies. y She who fulfils the 
wishes of her worshippers. 

z The goddess Laverna, it is well known, was the protectress of thieves, who, 
from her, were named Laverniones, and who worshipped her, that their designs and 
intrigues might be successful : her image was a head without a body. 



Sect. XXI. — Lukshmee. 

Is called the goddess of prosperity : she is painted yellow, 
and sits on the water-lily, holding in her right hand the pashu, 
(a rope,) and in the left,, a necklace. 

Vishnoo is said to have obtained this goddess at the churning 
of the sea a ; at which time all the gods were so charmed with her 
beauty that they desired to possess her, and Shiva was entirely 
overcome by his passion. The reader will remember something 
similar to this in the account of Venus, who is also said to have 
sprang from the froth of the sea ; and whom, on being presented 
to the gods, they all desired to marry. 

The worship of Lukshmee is celebrated in five different months, 
viz. in Bhadru, on the first Thursday of the increase of the moon, 
in the morning ; in Ashwinu, at the full moon, in the evening ; in 
Kartiku, on the last day of the decrease of the moon, in the night ; 
on the last day in Poushu, in the morning ; and in Choitru, on the 
first Thursday of the increase of the moon, either in the day or 
night. The ceremonies are performed before a basket used as a 
corn-measure, painted red : the worshippers fill this measure with 
rice in the husk, and put round it a garland of flowers ; then cover 
it with a white cloth ; and, encircling it with a number of small 
shells, place before it a box containing red paint, a comb, &c. The 
officiating bramhun performs the usual ceremonies, varying but 
little from those at the "worship of Vishnoo, in the name of the 
master or mistress of the house. No bloody sacrifices are offered. 
Bramhuns are entertained rather liberally at this festival ; but on 
the day of worship no alms must be given to the poor, (except 
cooked food,) nor any money lost ; lest this goddess, who is sup- 
posed to preside over wealth, and to have taken up her abode at 
the worshipper's house, should be angry at her riches being wasted. 

This worship is celebrated in almost every Hindoo family 
five times a year ; the frequency of which is not to be wondered at, 
when it is considered that Lukshmee is the goddess of prosperity. 
If a man be growing rich, the Hindoos say, ' Lukshmee is gone to 
abide at his house ;' if he be sinking into poverty, they say, 
' Lukshmee has forsaken him.' If they wish to abuse another, they 
call him Lukshmee-chara. b 

The morning after the festival, the women take up the corn- 
measure, and preserve it for some future time of worship : the 
rice is used in worship during the whole year. At the close of 
the festival, if a female of the family remember any stories respect- 

a She is also called the daughter of Bhrigoo. 

*> la the provincial dialect it is Lftkhee-chara, that is, luckless ; thus forming an 
extraordinary coincidence of sound .and meaning in languages so extremely different. 


ing Lukshmee, she relates them ; and the rest of the family, 
joined by two or three neighbouring females, sit around and hear. 
In some places a number of persons subscribe towards the expense 
of making an image of Lukshmee, and worship it on any of the 
days before-mentioned. 

Names. — Lukshmee, or, the goddess of fortunate signs ; — 
Pudmaluya, she who dwells on the water-lily ; — Pudma, she who 
holds in her hand the water-lily ; Shree, she in whom all take 
refuge Huree-priya, the wife of Huree. 

Sect. XXII. — Kojaguvu-LUkslimee. c 

This form of Lukshmee is worshipped at the full moon in 
Ashwinu, in the evening, before a corn-measure, surrounded by 
four plantain trees ; though some persons worship this goddess 
before an image of Lukshmee. Bloody sacrifices are offered. The 
worshippers invariably drink the water of the cocoanut at this 
festival ; and numbers keep awake the whole night, listening to 
the filthy songs, and the horrid din of Hindoo music. 

Sect. XXIII. — Surttswutee. 

This is the goddess of learning, the daughter of Brumha, and 
the wife of Yishnoo. She is represented as a white woman, 
standing on the water-lily, and playing on a lute. 

On the 5th day of the increase of the moon, in Maghu, the 
worship of this goddess is performed before her image, or a pen, 
inkstand, and book ; the latter articles are supposed to form a 
proper substitute for the goddess, who is called Vagvadinee, the 
eloquent. The image is placed on a table, either at the west or 
south side of the house. After the officiating bramhun has read 
the formulas and presented the offerings, each worshipper whose 
name has been read in the service takes flowers in his hands, and, 
repeating a prayer, presents them to the goddess ; after which 
follow gifts to the bramhuns, and a feast. 

Every Hindoo who is able to read and write endeavours to 
celebrate the worship of this goddess : the raja of Burdwan i s 
said to expend 15,000 rupees annually at this festival. In every 
Hindoo college, the students keep the festival with great joy . 
many °^ them dance naked, and are guilty of every indecency. 

c The shastrns have commanded that each Hindoo shall remain awake during 
the night of the full moon in Ashwinu, when a festival is held in honour of this god- 
dess ; and from this circumstance this name is derived, 



The day after the festival, the image is carried in procession 
through the town, and then thrown into the river. In passing 
through the streets of Serampore, at the time of this festival in the 
year 1806, I was exceedingly shocked at observing among the 
crowd, who were dancing, playing on music, bearing flags, &c. 
two or three young men quite naked, the mob triumphing in this 
shocking insult on public decency. To induce young men to resort 
to their houses, many prostitutes keep this feast, and connect with 
it, all that low merriment which corrupts the mind and draws the 
attention of the crowd. d 

On this day the Hindoos neither read nor write/ though they 
will do any other secular business. They eat only once during the 
day, and those who are accustomed to eat fish abstain from it on 
this day. 

The Hindoos believe, that from this goddess they derive their 
learning and powers of eloquence/ as well as their ability to read 
and write. Some of those who can neither read nor write, insist 
upon it, that they ought to worship her, as they derive their powers 
of speech from her. s Others however complain, ' Suruswutee has 
bestowed nothing on us — why should we perform her worship V 

The image of Suruswutee is sometimes painted blue, and 
placed in temples ; when she is called Neelu-Suruswutee. 

Names. Bramhee, or, the daughter of Brumha ; — Bharutee, 
she who presides over words ; — Bhasha, she who bestows the power 
of speech ;— Suruswutee, she who through the curse of a bramhun 
was turned into a river. 

Sect. XXIV.— SheetUla^ 

Is painted as a yellow woman sitting on the water-lily, dress- 
ed in red, and giving suck to an infant. Before this image, or a 
pan of water, the worship of this goddess is performed, in any part 
of the year ; but in general on the 7th, 8th, and 9th of the increase 

d In the year 1808, I saw a group of performers reciting the Ramayunrl in the 
street ; and on enquiry, I found it was before the door of some prostitutes, who had 
subscribed to bear the expense. The reasou assigned was, that it would be an act of 
merit, helping them in another world ; and would also draw men into whoredom. 
Offerings are sometimes brought home, and shared by a prostitute with her paramour ; 
like the harlot, in the Book of Proverbs, who is represented as saying to the young 
man she met in the street, ' I have peace-offerings with me ; this day have I payed my 
vows.' — Prov. vii. 14. 

e The only reason I can find for this is, it is the command of the shastrti. 

f Of an eloquent man, the Hindoos say, ' Suruswutee sits on his tongue.' 

s Of this fact they give the example of Ravuuu, who, when Raniu w r as about to 
kill him, procured a reprieve by flattering his adversary ; but the gods, afraid lest 
Ravtinu should be spar-ed, sent Suruswutee into his throat, and caused him to say pro- 
voking things to Ramu. 

h Or, she who cools the Jbody at the time of the small-pox, 


of the moon, in the day time. Bloody sacrifices are not offered. 
On the 10th, the image is thrown into the water* 

This goddess is also worshipped to obtain preservation from 
the evil effects of the small-pox. In the months Choitru and 
Voishakhu, the Hindoos inoculate those of their children who 
are two years old ; on which occasion the inoculating bram- 
hun 1 presents offerings and prayers to this goddess in the name 
of the child, promising for the parents, that if she be kind to 
the child, they will present to her certain offerings, &c. as soon 
as it is recovered. At the close of the ceremony, the bramhun 
places the flowers which have been offered in the hair of the child, 
telling the parents that the goddess will be favourable ; and then 
performs the operation. When the child becomes affected with the 
disease, the family priest (if the parents be rich enough to pay for 
it) comes to the house every day, and repeats certain forms of pray- 
er and praise to Sheetula ; after recovery she is again worshipped. 
If the child become dangerously ill, it is carried to an image of 
Sheetula, and bathed in the water which has been offered to this 
goddess, some of wdrich is given it to drink. 

Beggars of different descriptions procure a stone, gild a small 
part of it, and carry it from place to place, singing the praises of 
Sheetula. These mendicants sometimes proclaim in a village, that 
Sheetula has appeared to one of them in a dream, and ordered, 
that in this village the mistress of each house shall beg at three, 
four, or more doors, and take whatever is given her, and eat it in 
some neighbouring garden or forest. k The most dreadful misfor- 
tunes being threatened in case of disobedience, the affrighted 
women beg from door to door, and fulfil the supposed commands 
of the goddess. 

Sect. XXV.— Munusa 1 . 

This goddess, the sister of Vasookee,™ and the wife of Jurut- 
karu, a sage, is called the queen of the snakes, and is worshipped 
to obtain preservation from their bite. She is represented as sitting 
on the water-lily, clothed with snakes. 

In the month Jyoist'hu, on the 10th of the increase of the 
moon ; also on the 5th of the moon's increase and decrease in 
Ashwinu and Shravunu, as well as on the last day of Shravunu, 
this goddess is worshipped. On the three last occasions, the wor- 

1 The regular Hindoo doctors (voidytt) do not inoculate, but a lower order of 
bramhun s called doivugnus, or astrologers. 

k This is a trick to extort some part of the alms from these deluded women. 
1 Or Mimusa-dSvee ; the goddess who possesses pleasure in herself. 
m The king of the serpents. 



shippers plant branches of the Euphorbia before the house, and 
worship them. In Shravunu, the worship is celebrated with the 
greatest show ; on which occasion an image, or some branches of 
the same tree, or a pan of water surrounded with snakes made of 
clay, is placed as the object of worship : in some places, twenty or 
thirty thousand people assemble ; and amidst singing, dancing, 
music, &c. some persons play with snakes of different kinds, parti- 
cularly the cobra capello, suffering them to bite them. This play, 
however, ends fatally when the venomous fangs have not been 
carefully extracted. The cast called Mai, who play with snakes 
for a livelihood, profess great regard for Mrmusa. On the days of 
the festival, the Hindoos do not kindle a fire, alleging that one of 
the names of Munusa is Urundhuna, she who does not cook. 
A day or two before the festival, in some places, the women 
of the village (perhaps fifty or a hundred, or even two 
hundred) beg rice, either in their own or an adjoining vil- 
lage ; which they offer, in a field in the neighbourhood, in the 
name of Munusa, but without an image. After thus offering rice, 
milk, curds, sugar, &c. to the goddess, they eat them on the spot ; 
and this act of holiness, they say, preserves their children from the 
bite of snakes, as well as assists the parents themselves on their 
way to heaven. A song founded upon the following story con- 
cludes the whole : — Chandu, a merchant, not only refused to 
worship the goddess, but professed the utmost contempt for her. 
In process of time, however, she caused his six youngest sons to 
be killed by the bite of snakes : to avoid the fate of whom, the 
eldest son, Lukinduru, made an iron house, and retired to it ; yet 
Munusa caused the snake Tukshuku to enter by a crevice, which 
destroyed Lukinduru on his wedding-day ; his widow escaped, and 
went weeping into the presence of her mother-in-law. The 
neighbours again attempted to reason with Chandu ; but he 
continued obstinate, declaring that Munusa was no goddess. She 
appeared to people in dreams, and commanded them to persuade 
him to celebrate her worship ; and, after much entreaty, to pacify 
the goddess, he was induced to comply : but declared he would 
present the offerings only with the left hand ; n and, turning back 
his head, he threw a flower at her image with the left hand. 
Munusa, however, was so pleased, that she restored his seven sons ; 
and from this circumstance, the worship of this goddess has since 
been very much celebrated. 

When the worship is performed before an image, sheep, goats, 
and buffaloes are offered to Munusa, and even swine. 

When a Hindoo has been bitten by a snake, the persons who 
pretend to cure him read different incantations containing the 

n The hand used in washing after stools. 

fl Among the Egyptians, swine, it is well known, were offered to Bacchus. 


shushtee's festivals described. 

names of Munusa. If one or two persons in a village have died 
by the bite of snakes, all "the inhabitants become alarmed, and 
celebrate the worship of Munusa. 

Sect. XXVL—Shtishtee? 

Is a yellow woman sitting on a cat, nursing a child. The 
Hindoos regard her as the protectress of their children. 

Six annual festivals are held in honour of this goddess, viz., in 
Jyoisht'hu, Bhadru, Ashwinu, Maghu, and two in Choitru ; on 
the 6th of the increase of the moon, and on the last day but one 
of the month. 

The worship celebrated in Jyoisht'hu is performed by a 
bramhunee, or an officiating bramhun, under the vutu tree, q or 
under a branch of this tree planted in the house. At the time of 
this worship, every woman of the village, dressed in her best 
clothes, with her face painted, her ornaments on, and her body 
anointed with oil, goes to the place of worship under the tree, taking 
in her hand an offering ; over each of which the officiating bram- 
hun performs the usual ceremonies. The offerings are sent to the 
house of the officiating bramhun, or distributed amongst the eager 
by-standers. Among others who are eager to obtain some of these 
offerings, are women who have not been blessed with children ; 
each of whom sits down pensively among the crowd, and opens 
the end of her garment to receive what the assembled mothers are 
eager enough to bestow : when the giver says, * May the blessing 
of Shush tee be upon you, and next year may you bring offerings — 
with a child in your arms.' The receiver adds with eagerness, 
' Ah ! if she bestow this blessing, I will celebrate her worship ; 
I will keep my vows, and bring offerings every year.' This festival 
is called Arunyu-shushte5, because the worshippers are directed to 
walk in some forest on this day, with fans in their hands. 

In those houses where the daughter is married, but has not 
left her parents, they send for the son-in-law ; and at the close of 
the worship the girl's father sends to him, on a metal plate, a 
flower, some unhusked rice, a piece of string consecrated to the 
goddess, five or six blades of d56rva grass, a garment, &c. The 
son-in-law, if a person of respectability, contents himself with 
sticking the flower in his hair. If a poor man, he puts on the 
garment, and raises all the other presents to his head. If the son- 
in-law neglect to stick the flower in his hair, the girl's father be- 
comes very sorrowful ; and all the spectators pronounce the former 

p She is worshipped on the sixth lunar day, 
i Ficus Indica. 

shushtee's festivals described. . Ill 

a dead man, for throwing away a flower which has been offered to 

The worship in the month Bhadru does not differ from the 
preceding, except in its being performed by the river side, or at a 
pool of water, before the stick which is whirled round in churning 
butter, upon which a fan is placed. In the midst of the worship 
the women make little paste images of children, and, placing them 
on leaves of the kuntukee tree, r present them to the goddess, and 
afterwards throw them into the river. This festival is called 
Chapura-shushtee. 8 

The Ashwinu festival, distinguished by the name Doorga- 
shilshtee, is in almost every particular the same as the preceding. 

At the Maghu festival, called Sheetula-shushtee, the women, 
on the night preceding, boil a large quantity of rice and pulse for 
offerings ; mixing with the latter, in boiling, a kind of kidney 
beans and varttakoos. 1 The next morning they bathe very early, 
and on their return go through the ceremonies of worship in the 
house, before the two stones with which they grind their spices ; 
and upon which they throw a yellow cloth, smeared with red lead. 
The worship is finished before ten o'clock, and at noon they eat 
what the goddess has left, i. e. every thing they gave her. 

The two festivals in Choitru are held on the 6th, and on the 
last day but one of the month : on the 6th, in the morning, either 
before a branch of the vutu, the shalgramu, or some proper repre- 
sentative of an image ; and at the close of the month, in the even- 
ing, before an image of Shivu. On the 6th the worshippers eat the 
bud of the Euphorbia inclosed in a plaintain ; and at the latter 
festival they fast during the day, and after worship eat some fruit, 
and some barley flour mixed with curds orjwater. Rich persons 
eat sweetmeats. These festivals are called Ushoku-shushtee and 

Another festival is held in honour of this goddess in some- 
parts of Bengal, in the month TJgruhayunu, called Huree-shushtee. 
The worship is celebrated before a clay pot, filled with water, 
having six spouts. 

In addition to all these times of worship, females who have 
lost all their children by death, worship this goddess every month : 
beside which, after a child is six days old, every father, to preserve 
the child, performs the worship of the goddess, while the officiating 
bramhun reads the incantations : and on the 21st day of the 
child's age, the mother presents offerings to the goddess with her 
own hands, while the officiating bramhun reads the prayers. The 

1 Artecarpus integrifolia. 
6 In allusion to the making of these images, 
4 The fruit of solanum melon gena, 


shushtee's festivals described. 

first of these ceremonies takes place in the evening, before a branch 
of the vutu tree, fastened in the house floor ; the two stones with 
which spices are ground being placed against the wall in the inside 
of the house, covered with a piece of cloth. The husband, at the 
close, asks the blessing of the goddess on the child, promising to 
present to her a number of offerings when the child shall be twenty- 
one days old. Before the door the family place the skull of a cow, 
rubbing some red lead on its forehead ; and in three lumps of cow- 
dung, put on the forehead, they stick three cowries ; upon which 
also they spread a yellow cloth. The head remains a month at the 
door of the house, as a kind of charm for the good of the children. 

On the 21st day of the child's age, the mother invites ten or 
fifteen female neighbours, who, with the officiating bramhun, ac- 
company her to a stone placed at the foot of the vutu tree, which 
is supposed to be the representative of the goddess ; around which 
they put a large necklace or garland of flowers, and go through the 
ceremonies of worship in the usual manner : at the close the 
mother promises, on condition that the goddess bless her child, that 
she will worship her every year. The mother distributes the sweet- 
meats, &c. that have been offered to the idol among the females 
present. This festival is called ekooshiya. u 

Shushtee has no temples in Bengal ; her common representa- 
tive, a rough stone, smeared with red paint, about as large as a 
man's head, is commonly placed at the root of the sacred vutu ; to 
which passengers, especially women, pay a degree of reverence. 
In fulfilling particular vows to Shushtee, some worshippers sur- 
round the vutu tree with garlands of flowers, and great numbers 
of artificial lamps made of clay : others fulfil their vows by building 
an earthen or brick seat around one of these trees. A female of 
property, as a thank-offering after child-birth, presents by the 
hands of a bramhun a child made of curds, which the bramhun 
never fails to devour. 

Bloody sacrifices of bullocks, goats, sheep, and sometimes of 
tame hogs, are offered to Shushtee. For receiving these latter 
offerings some persons call the goddess a cannibal. 

At the close of the different festivals held in honour of Shush- 
tee, it is common for women to entertain the company with mar- 
vellous stories relating to this goddess. The wives of some of the 
lower castes beg for a share of the offerings at the doors of the 

Shushtee rides on a cat : hence the Hindoos, especially mothers, 
avoid hurting this animal, lest the goddess should revenge herself 
on their children. 

u From eltooslm, twenty-one. 





These beings are either the enemies of the gods, as the 
usoorus and rakshusus ; or their companions : or those who are 
employed as dancers, singers, or musicians in the heavens of the 
gods. They are worshipped at the great festivals, but have no 
separate images. 

Sect. I. — The Usoorus, or Giants. 


These enemies of the gods, are the offspring of Kushyupu, the 
progenitor of gods, giants, men, serpents, and birds, by his different 
wives. They bear a resemblance to the titans or giants of the 
Grecian Mythology ; and stories of their wars with the gods (some 
of which will be found in this work) abound in the pooranus. 
Indru, Vishnoo, Kartiku, and Doorga, are distinguished among the 
Hindoo deities for their conflicts with these beings*. King Vulee, 
a giant, is worshipped by the Hindoos on their birth-days, with 
the same forms as are used in the worship of the gods. 

Story of the churning of the sect by the gods and usoorus. — 
The most rancorous hatred has always existed betwixt the usoorus 
and the gods, although half-brothers ; the former having been 
excluded by the gods from succeeding to the throne of heaven : 
and dreadful conflicts were carried on betwixt them with various 
success, till both parties sought to become immortal. The giants 
performed the most severe religious austerities, addressing their 
prayers alternately to Vishnoo, Shiva, and Brumha ; but were 
always unsuccessful. The gods, however, at last obtained this 
blessing at the churning of the sea of milk ; which story is related 
at length in the Muhabhartitu and other works : — The gods first 
took mount Mundurii, placed it in the sea, and wrapping round it 
the serpent Vasookee, began to whirl it round as the milk-men 
do the staff in making butter. The gods took hold of the head of 
the snake, and the giants of the tail ; but being almost consumed 
by the poison from the mouth of the serpent, the gods privately 
entreated Vishnoo to prevail upon the giants to lay hold of the 

a Jupiter was represented as aiming the thunder in his right hand against a 
giant under his feet : Doorga is aiming the spear in her right hand against an usooril 
under her feet. 





head ; upon which he thus addressed them : ' How is it' said 
Vishnoo, ' that you, giants as you are, have taken hold of 
Vasookee's tail T The gods and the giants then changed places ; 
and the elephant Oiravutu. first arose from the churned sea to 
reward their labours ; afterward the gem Koustoobhu — the horse 
Oochoishruva — the tree Parijatu — many jewels — the goddess 
Lukshmee — and then poison. Full of alarm at this sight, the 
gods applied to Muha-devu. (Shivu) ; who, to save the world from 
destruction, drank up the poison, and received no other injury 
than a blue mark on his throat. b Next came up the water of 
immortality ; when the 330,000,000 gods, and the usoorus without 
number, took their stand on each side, each claiming the mighty 
boon. Vishnoo proposed to divide it with his own hands : but 
while the usoorus went to prepare themselves by bathing in the 
sacred stream, the gods drank up the greatest part of the nectar ; 
and, to give them time to drink the whole, Vishnoo assumed the 
form of a most captivating female ; with which the giants were so 
charmed, that they totally forgot the nectar. One of them, how- 
ever, having changed his shape, mixed with the gods, and, drink- 
ing of the water of life, became immortal; but Vishnoo, being in- 
formed of this circumstance by S65ryu and Chundru, (the sun and 
moon,) cut off the head of the giant. The head and trunk, being 
thus immortalized, were made the ascending and descending nodes, 
under the names Rahoo and Ketoo. 

Sect. II, — The Bakshusus, 

Many stories respecting the wars of the rakshusus, or canni- 
bals, with the gods, are contained in the pooranus and other shas- 
trus, and several will be found in different parts of this work. 
They are represented as assuming at pleasure the different shapes 
of horses, tigers, lions, buffaloes, &c. : some have a hundred heads, 
and others as many arms. c In the Hindoo writings Malee, Soo« 
malee, Ravunu, Koombhu-kurnu, Vibheeshunu, Indru-jit, TJtikayu, 
and others, are distinguished as renowned rakshusus. As soon as 
born, these giants are said to arrive at maturity. They devour 
their enemies. All the rakshusus are bramhuns, and are said to 
dwell in the S. W. corner of the earth. 

Noiritu, a rakshusu, is one of the ten guardian deities of the 
earth, and presides in the S. W, In this character he is worship- 
ped at all the great festivals. He is represented in the form of 
meditation used by the bramhuns as a black man, having in his 
right hand a scimitar. 

b Hence this god is called Neelu-kantu, the blue throated. 

r Some of the giants of the Grecian Mythology, it will be remembered, had 
a hundred arms. 



Story of Koombhu-kuvnu. — Immediately after his birth, this 
cannibal stretched his arms, which were in proportion to his body, 
and gathered into his month every thing within his reach. At one 
time he seized five hundred courtezans belonging to Indru ; at 
another the wives of one hundred sages, and cows and bramhuns 
without number. Brumha at length threatened to destroy him, 
unless he contented him with less, as he would presently eat up 
the earth. He now became more moderate, and began to perform 
the most severe austerities in honour of Brumha ; which he con- 
tinued for ten thousand years. The gods trembled on their thrones, 
lest Koombhu-kurnii, obtaining the blessing of Brumha, and es- 
pecially the blessing of immortality, should swallow up every 
thing, gods and men. They appealed to Brumha, and persuaded 
Suruswutee, the goddess of learning, to enter into Koombhu- 
kurnu, and excite him to ask this blessing, that he should con- 
tinue to sleep day and night ; which request Brumha granted, 
and sent the voracious rakshiisu to enjoy his everlasting sleep. 
The friends of Koombhu-kumu however persuaded Brumha to 
change his destiny : who now ordered that he should sleep unin- 
terruptedly six months, but on the last day of the sixth should 
awake ; during half of which day he should fight with and con- 
quer Brumha, Vishnoo, and Shivu, and during the other half be 
permitted to devour as much as he chose. At one meal he devour- 
ed six thousand cows, ten thousand sheep, ten thousand goats, 
five hundred buffaloes, five thousand deer, and drank four 
thousand hogsheads of spirits, with other things in proportion. 
After all, he was angry with his brother Bavunu, for not giving 
him enough to satisfy nature. His house is declared to have been 
twenty or thirty thousand miles long, and his bed the whole 
length of the house. ' Lunka itself, sa} 7 s the Ramayunu, is eight 
hundred miles in circumference : — where then was the place for 
this bed V I have heard this question put by a person to the 
bramhuns, who, unable to find room for Koombu-kurnu's bed, 
were laughed at by the shoodrus, their disciples. 

The Gundhurvus and Kinnurus are celestial choiristers male 
and female. The latter have horses' heads ! ! l d 

The Vidya-dhuvus are male and female dancers. The UpsurUs 
are also female dancers, greatly celebrated for their beauty : they 
have been frequently sent down to earth to captivate the minds 
of religious devotees, and draw them from those works of merit 
which were likely to procure them the thrones of the gods. Eight 
of the upsurus are mentioned as beyond all others beautiful : 
Oorvvushee, Me'nuka, Kumbha, Punch u-choora, Tilottuma, Ghri- 
tachee, Boodbooda, and Mishru-keshee. The five first of these 
are the mistresses of the gods, and keep houses of ill-fame in the 

d Some idea may be formed of the taste of the early Hindoo poets, who here 
represent heavenly music as coming from beings with the mouths of horses I 



heaven of Indru. When any one of the gods visits the king of 
heaven, he generally spends some time with one or more of these 

Story respecting the son of Indrti and an Upstira. — On a 
certain occasion, many of the gods were invited to an entertain- 
ment at the palace of Indru. In the midst of the dance Gundhui - 
vu-senu, the son of Indru, was fascinated with the charms of one 
of the upsuras ; and behaved so indelicately, that his father com- 
manded him to descend to the earth in the form of an ass. All the 
gods joined the son in endeavouring to appease the angry father ; 
who ultimately directed that Gundlim*vu-senu should be an ass in 
the day, and a man in the night ; he promised his son too, that 
when Dhara, the king, should burn him, he should recover his 
place in heaven. With this modification of the curse, Gundhurvu- 
senu sunk to the earth, and alighted in the form of an ass near a 
pond at Dhara-nuguru. In the day the fallen son of Indru remain- 
ed in this form near the pond ; and in the night, in that of a man, 
he wandered from place to place to appease his hunger. One day a 
bramhun came to this pond to bathe ; when Gundhurvu-senii told 
him that he was the son of Indru, and requested him to speak to 
king Dharu, to give him his daughter in marriage. The bramhun 
consented ; but on speaking to the king, the latter refused to be- 
lieve that he was Indru's son, unless he himself had some conver- 
sation with him. The next day the king went, with his counsellors 
and courtiers, and held a conversation Avith the ass ; who related 
his history, and the cause of his degradation : but the king still 
refused assent, unless he performed some miracle. To this the ass 
consented ; and in one night raised a fort of iron forty miles square 
and six high. The next day the king, seeing the fort finished, 
was obliged to consent, and to appoint the day of marriage. He 
invited bramhuns, kings, and other guests without number, to the 
wedding ; and, on the day appointed, with dancing, songs, and a 
most splendid shew, (the bride being adorned with jewels and the 
richest attire,) they marched to the iron fort to give the beautiful 
daughter of king Dharu* in marriage to the ass. In that country 
weddings are celebrated in the day. When all was ready, 
they sent a bramhun to call Gundhurvu-senu from the pond ; 
who, elated in the highest degree, having bathed, accompanied the 
bramhun to the assembly. Hearing music and songs, Gundhurvu- 
se'nu could not refrain from giving them an ass's tune : but the 
guests, hearing the braying of the ass, were filled with sorrow ; 
some were afraid to speak their minds to the king ; but they could 
not help whispering and laughing one amongst another, covering 
their mouths with their garments : others muttered to the king, 
' O king, is this the son of Indru ? O great monarch ! you have 
found an excellent bridegroom ; you are peculiarly happy in 
having to give your daughter in marriage to the son of Indru ; 
don't delay the wedding ; in doing good delay is improper ; we 



never saw so glorious a wedding ; we have heard of a camel being 
married to an ass, when the ass, looking upon the camel, said, 
' Bless me ! what a fine form and the camel, hearing the voice of 
the ass, said ' Bless me ! what a sweet voice V — The bramhuns 
continued : ( In that wedding, however, the bride and bridegroom 
were equal ; but in this marriage, that such a bride should have 
such a bridegroom is truly wonderful !' Other bramhuns said? 
' O king, at other weddings, as a sign of joy, the sacred shell is 
blown ; but thou hast no need of that,' (alluding to the braying of 
the ass.) The females cried out, ' O mother ! what is this ! at the 
time of marriage to have an ass ! What a miserable thing ! What 1 
will he give such an angelic female in marriage to an ass ?' — The 
king, ashamed, held down his head. At length Gundhurvu-senu 
began to converse with the king in Sungskritu, and to urge him 
to the fulfilment of his promise ; reminding him, that c there was 
no act more meritorious than speaking truth, (putting the king in 
mind of his promise ;) that the body was merely a garment, and 
that wise men never estimate the worth of a person by the clothes 
he wears : moreover, he was in this shape from the curse of his 
father, and during the night he should assume the body of a man. 
Of his being the son of Indru there could be no doubt.' The minds 
of the guests were now changed, and they confessed, that though 
he had the outside of an ass, he was unquestionably the son of 
Indru ; for it was never known that an ass could speak Sungskri- 
tu. The king, therefore, gave his daughter to him in marriage. 
By the time the guests were dismissed, night drew on, when Gund- 
hurvu-senu assumed the form of a handsome man, and, having 
dressed himself, respectfully went into the presence of the king. 
All the people, seeing so fine a man, and recollecting that in the 
morning he would become an ass, felt both pleased and sorrowful. 
The king brought the bride in great state to the palace, and the 
next day gave her servants, camels, jewels, &c and dismissed the 
guests with many presents. Dhara, however, in the midst of his 
other cares, could not but feel anxious that Gundhurvu-senu 
should throw off his ass's body. After a thousand contrivances, 
he said to himself, 'Gundhurvu-senu is the son of Indru ; therefore 
he can never die : at night he casts off his ass's body, and it 
lies like a dead body : T will therefore burn this body, and thus 
keep him constantly in the shape of a man.' Accordingly, one 
night, he caused the ass's body to be burnt, — when Gundhurvu- 
senu appeared in his presence, told him that now the curse was 
removed, and that he should immediately ascend to heaven. After 
saying this he withdrew, and the king saw him no more. 

Nayihas. — These are female companions of Doorga, and are 
worshipped at the festivals of this goddess. Eight of them have 
a pre-eminence over the rest. The Tuntru-shastrus declare, that 
these females visit the worshippers either as their wives, 
or as mothers ; and declare to them how they may obtain 



heaven : or, as sisters, bring to them any female they choose, 
and reveal whatever they desire to know of the present or future. 
He who wishes to obtain the company of a Nayika must worship 
her thrice a day, and repeat her name at night in a cemetery 
for seven, or fifteen, or thirty [days. On the last night he must 
continue to repeat her name till she appears to him, and asks what 
he wishes for. She remains with him during the night, and departs 
the next morning, leaving with him presents to a large amount ; 
which, however, he must expend the next day, or they will all eva- 
porate. If the worshipper wishes to go to any place in the three 
worlds, the Nayika takes him thither in a moment. If after 
cohabiting with one of the Nayikas, he cohabit with any other fe- 
male, the Nayika immediately destro}^s him. Anundu-chundru, a 
bramhun of Soopooru in Veeru-bhodmee, who died only a few 
years since, is said to have obtained the fruit of his worshipping 
the Nayikas. 

The Yukshus are the servants of Kooveru, the god of riches, 
and fly through the world preserving the wealth of men. A 
number of stories, not worth detailing, principally referring to 
their wars or intrigues, are contained in the pooranus. In the 
form of meditation, Kooveru is described as a white man, having 
a hammer in his right hand. He is worshipped at the festival of 
the goddess Lukshmee, and at all the other great festivals ; but 
has no separate feast, image, nor temple. The Ramayunu relates 
that Kooveru, by prayer to Brumha, accompanied with religious 
austerities, obtained Lunka, (Ceylon ;) the very mire of whose 
streets is gold. Here he reigned till Ravunu dispossessed him. 
Brumha also gave to this god the chariot Pooshpuku ; which had 
the property of expansion, and, of going wherever the charioteer 
wished. From Limka, Kooveru went to mount Koilasu, where he 
is supposed to be at present. 

Flshctchus. — These messengers of the gods guard the sacred 
places tli e resort of pilgrims. Sixty thousand are said to guard 
the streams of the Ganges from the approach of the profane. 

The Goorlgliuhus, the Sirldhus, the Bhootus, and the Cha- 
runus. — These are beings of inferior orders, residing with the gods 
as servants. 

There are several other orders of females, as the Yoginees, 
Dakinees, Kakinees, Shakhinees, Bhodtinees, and Pre'tinees, who 
wait upon Doorga or Shivu, as their attendants. All these also are 
worshipped at the great festivals. 





The Hindoo celestial goddesses, it will be seen, are very few. 
There are no more indeed than three which can be considered as 
really distinct, and as holding a distinguished place among this 
class of Hindoo deities : these are Doorga, Suruswutee, and Luksh- 
mee. Many of the others are different forms of Doorga ; and Munusa, 
Shushtee, and Sheetula, would have been placed among the terres- 
trial goddesses, but they do not seem to have had an earthly ori- 
gin. — I now proceed to give an account of the terrestrial gods, 
some of whom are worshipped with more shew than any of the 
celestial deities. 

Sect. I.— Krishnu. e 

According to the Shree-Bhaguvutu, Muhabharutu, and other 
works, this god, a form of Vishnoo, was incarnate to destroy kings 
Shishoo-palii and Kungsu, and a number of giants. 

Krishna was born at Mut'hoora ; his father's name was Vusoo- 
devu, a kshutriyu, and his mother's Devukee ; but Kungsu. seeking 
to destroy him when an infant, his father fled to Vunda-vunu, and 
concealed him in the house of Nimdu, a voishyu : hence he is 
sometimes called the son of Nundu. 

Many stories are recorded of Krishnu in the pooranus : in his 
infancy he deprived a giant of her breath, who had poisoned her 
breasts before she gave him suck ; f — soon after he destroyed a 
carriage against which he hurt his foot, when laid by his nurse at 
the door to sleep ; g — Nundus wife, when looking into his mouth 
one day, had a surprising view of the three worlds, with Brumha, 
Vishnoo, and Shi vu sitting on their thrones ; — at the age of eight 
years he took up mount Govurdhunu in his arms, and held it as an 
umbrella over the heads of the villagers and their cattle during a 
dreadful storm, with which the angry king of heaven was over- 
whelming them ; he created a number of cattle, and also of boys 
and girls, to replace those which Brumha had stolen from Vrinda- 
vunu ; — he destroyed a large r^dra, which had poisoned the 
waters of the Yumoona ; — he seduced the wife of Ayunu-ghoshu, 
a voishyu, and sported with 16,000 milk- maids in the wilderness 

e The black. 

f It is common for a Hindoo nurse to offer the breast to a neighbour's child 
when she happens to be on a visit. 

« Mothers frequently lay their infants exposed to the rays of the sun to sleep, 
after rubbing their breasts with oil. 



of Vrindu ; — he next assumed four arras, destroyed Rungs 11, and 
placed Rungsus father on the throne ; after this he was engaged 
in various quarrels, and had to combat with many formidable 
enemies ; which induced him to build a fort at Dwaruka, where he 
resided, and married two wives ; — he next joined the family of 
Yoodhisht'hiru in their war with the race of Dooryodhunu ; — and, 
lastly, destroyed Shishoo-palu. He closed his life with an act 
worthy of such a character, by destroying his whole progeny; 11 and 
was at length himself accidentally killed by an arrow, while sitting 
under a tree. 

It is very possible, if any real Hindoo history could be dis- 
covered, that many of these facts would be found recorded in the 
life of a Hindoo king of this name ; which facts have been embel- 
lished by the Asiatic poets till they have elevated the hero into a 
god. The images of this lascivious and blood-stained hero are now 
worshipped by the Hindoos with an enthusiasm, which transforms 
them into the very image of Rrishnu himself. 

This god is represented as a black man, holding a flute to his 
mouth with both hands : his mistress Radha stands on his left. 

On the 8th of the moon's decrease in the month Bhadru, an 
annual festival is held in the nio;ht, to celebrate the birth of this 
god. On this day all the worshippers fast 6 . The regular Hindoos, 
and the disciples of the Gosaees f , sometimes differ a day or two in 
celebrating this feast. After the ceremonies of worship are conclu- 
ded, the worshippers assemble before the temple near a hole cut in 
the ground, into which have been thrown water, oil, curds, turmeric, 
and earth ; and seize first one person and then another, and throw 
them into this hole ; and others jump into it. Music, dancing, 

h The posterity of Krishnu, say several pooranfis, were destroyed by the curse of 
a brarnhun ; but as all events are ascribed to Krishnu by his votaries, this of destroy- 
ing his own family is referred to his agency. So infamous is the character of this god, 
even among those who hope for salvation through him, that Vilwti-mimgnln, a blind 
poet, wrote the following verse, which certainly contains the severest possible censure 
of this profligate deity. 

' Oh ! Krishnu ! thou who didst destroy thy own offspring ; 

Thou who didst renounce (Seeta) the spotless daughter of Ztinuku, in the wilderness ; 
Thou who didst cast down to hades Vulee, who had given thee his all ; — 
Who would think on thee, if thou wert not the deliverer from death V 

In exact agreement with this Siingskritu verse, was the declaration made before 
several persons in company in the year 1812, by Ram-nat'hii, the second Sungskritii 
pundit in the College of Fort- William ; who, speaking of the universal profligacy of 
manners in Calcutta, declared, that 'every house contained a KrishnuV 

e In a Hindoo fast, the person abstains, for three days, from anointing himself 
with oil, from connubial intercourse, from fish, every thing fried, and eats only once 
a day. At the time of a Jewish fast, the person is said to have ' afflicted his soul 
but among the Hindoos fasting and merriment go together. The Jewish fast was 
connected with moral sentiment : the Hindoos fast as an act of mere ceremonial purity. 

f The Gosaees are the religious leaders of a large portion of the worshippers of 
Krishnu. Gosaee is a term of respect equivalent to Sir. 



singing obsence songs, &c. accompany these acts of rude merriment ; 
at the close of which, dancing through the streets, the crowd go to 
some pool, or to the river, and wash themselves : and thus the 
festivity ends. 

In the month Shravunu, another festival is held in honour of 
Krishna, called Jhoolunu-yatra g . On the 11th night of the increase 
of the moon this festival begins ; when a chair or throne, contain- 
ing the image, being suspended from the ceiling of an adjoining 
room in the temple, the proprietor begins to swing the image, and 
other bramhun guests continue it at pleasure. At ten o'clock the 
god is taken to his usual place, when the different forms of worship 
are repeated, amidst the offering of flowers, incense, sweetmeats, 
fruits, and other acts of adoration. During the celebration 
of worship in the house, the crowd out of doors sing, dance, 
and make a horrid discord with barbarous instruments of music, 
connecting with the whole every kind of indecency. At twelve 
o'clock the owner of the image entertains a great multitude of 
bramhuns. After eating and drinking, they literally ' rise up to 
play :' youths, dressed so as to represent Krishnu and his mistress 
Radha, dance together ; and the festivities are thus continued till 
the crowd retire at day -light. Some keep this feast for five nights, 
beginning on the eleventh ; and others for three nights, beginning 
on the thirteenth. 

On the 15th of the increase of the moon in the month Karti- 
ku, another festival is held during three nights, to celebrate the 
revels of this impure god with the milk-maids. It is called the 
Rasu. Each night, after the ceremonies in the temple are closed, 
the crowd carry the image out with much noise, music, singing, 
and dancing ; and place it in a brick building in the street, which 
is open on all sides, and has one highly elevated sitting place. 
This building is annually gilt, ornamented, and grandly illumina- 
ted for this festival. Sixteen small images of Krishnu are neces- 
sary on this occasion ; but a very small gold image, about the size 
of a breast-pin, is placed as the object of adoration, and afterwards 
given to the officiating bramhun. At the close of the festival, the 
clay images are thrown into the river. 

Round the building in the street, booths are erected, filled 
with sweetmeats, playthings, and other articles, as at an English 
fair. Here fathers and mothers, leading their children by the 
hand, or carrying them on their hips, h come for fairings. Thieves 

s The swinging festival. 

h This is the way in which all Hindoos carry their children : a child is rarely 
seen m a person's arms, as in Europe. The same custom appears to have existed 
among the Jews : ' Ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees, 
Isaiah lxvi 12. 




and gamblers are very busy at these times 1 ; and upon the whole 
it is amazing how much a European is here reminded of an English 
race-ground. At these times I have seen the grey-headed idolater 
and the mad youth dancing together ; the old man lifting up his 
withered arms in the dance, and giving a kind of horror to the 
scene, which idolatry itself, united to the vivacity of youth, would 
S3arcely be able to inspired In England the bait to corrupting 
amusements is merely a horse-race : but in Bengal the Hindoo is 
at once called to what he considers divine worship and to a licen- 
tious festival ; no one imagining, but that worship and adultery 
may be performeed in the same hour. About four or five in the 
morning the crowd carry the god back to the temple ; and then 
retire to cure their hoarseness and rest their wearied bodies. 

On the fourth morning, having brought the god home, after 
the usual ceremonies, they sing songs in celebration of the 
actions of Krishnu ; and continue them from ten till twelve 
or one o'clock in the day. Many come to hear, who present 
various offerings to the god ; after which a grand feast is given to 
the bramhuns. The expenses of this festival are defrayed either 
by rich natives, or from the revenues of the temples. 

At the full moon in Phalgoonu, the Dolu, 1 another swinging 
festival is held. — Fifteen days before the full moon the holidays 
begin, from which time the Hindoos assemble in the night to sing 
and dance ; and in the day they wander about the streets, throwing 
red powder™ at the passengers, either with their hands or through 
a syringe. On the night before the full moon, the ceremonies of 
worship are performed ; at the close of which, having besmeared 
themselves with red powder, they carry the god from his house to 
some distance, amidst the sounds of music, dancing, fireworks, 

1 In the year 1810, on account of the depredations of preceding years, the 
magistrate of Serampore forbad the erection of booths and all games at this festival : 
in consequence of which an expense of near four hundred rupees, incurred in perform- 
ing the ceremonies of worship, fell upon the owner of the image of KrishnS, who 
would otherwise have received as much from the proprietors of the booths and gaming 

k Illuminations, fireworks, and the gilding of their temples, give a very shewy 
effect to Hindoo ceremonies, which are often performed at the time of the full 
moon, and at midnight. A moon-light night in India is highly pleasant. At the 
time of the Rasu festival, I have seen a scene so gaily illuminated and adorned, that the 
whole seemed enchantment ; every native, as he approached the god, threw himself on 
the ground with the most profound reverence, and muttered his praise with rapture 
as he mingled in the delighted crowd. Could I have forgotten that these people were 
perpetrating a dreadful crime, and that these nightly festivals were connected with 
the greatest impurities, I should have been highly gratified. 

1 All these festivals are intended to represent the obscene acts or play of 
Krishnu. This is the play of swinging common to young folks in Europe. I am told 
that on this occasion, in various places in Hindoost'hanu, many families sit up all 
night, swinging hy the light of the moon. They suspend a cord betwixt two trees, 
and while some are swinging, others are singing impure songs, and others dancing. 

*» This powder is made with the roots of wild ginger, coloured with sappan wood. 
Other ingredients are added to make superior kinds. 



singing, &c. A bamboo, with a straw man tied to it, having been 
erected in some plain, they place the god here, and again worship 
him. After three hours have been spent in various sports, especially 
with fireworks, they set fire to the bamboo and straw, carrying 
back the image to the temple. Very early in the morning they 
bathe the god, set him on a chair, and then worship him, rocking 
him in this chair, and throwing upon him red powder. At twelve 
o'clock at noon these ceremonies are repeated with greater splend- 
our ; when many offerings are presented, and the bramhuns 
entertained. About four the festival closes by another repetition 
of the same ceremonies. The god is then washed, anointed, clothed, 
and put into the temple ; where food remains before him for some 
time, and is then given to the bramhuns. 

Besides these many other festivals less popular are held in 
the course of the year. 

Many small black stones, having images of Krishnu. cut in 
them, are to be found in the houses of the Hindoos; to which 
different names are given, but they are all forms of Krishnu. The 
temples dedicated to Krishnu are very numerous ; and it is a 
scandalous fact that the image of Radha, his mistress, always 
accompanies that of Krishnu, and not those of his wives Rookminee 
and Sutyu-bhama. Many persons may be heard in the streets, 
and when sitting in their shops, repeating to themselves and to 
parrots the names of Radha and Krishnu, as works of merit. 
Pantomimical entertainments are frequently represented, in which 
the lewd actions of this god are exhibited. 

Six parts out of ten of the whole Hindoo population of Bengal 
are supposed to be the disciples of this god. The far greater part 
of these, however, are of the lower orders, and but few of them 
bramlmns. n The mark on their foreheads consists of two straight 
lines from the tip of the nose to the back of the head. 

A story of Krishnu. — The death of Shishoo-palu is thus 
related : — A quarrel arose at a sacrifice between Krishnu and this 
monarch, respecting the point of precedency, which Shishoo-palu 
would not resign to Krishnu: ''What !' says he, ' shall T be preceded 
by the son of a cowherd ; one who has eaten with a cow-keeper, 
who has led cows to pasture, and has been guilty of all manner 
of abominations V Krishnu restrained his ra^e for some time ; 
but at length became exceedingly angry, and cut off his head at 
one blow. It was prophesied of Shishoo-palu, that as soon as he 
saw the person by whose hands he should die, two of his four 
arms would fall off; and this is said to have happened the moment 
he saw Krishnu at the meeting of the kino-s at this sacrifice. 

n The greater part of the brarahiSns are disciples of the female deities, (Shaktus.) 



Another Story. — On a certain occasion the lascivious Krishnu 
heard, that king Dundee possessed a horse, which every night 
assumed the form of a beautiful female. Krishna asked for this 
horse : but the king refused him, and fled to Bheemu, Krishnu' s 
friend ; who, rather than abandon a person who had claimed his 
protection, resolved to break the ties of friendship with Krishnu, 
and go to war with him. A war commenced, which continued to 
rage with the utmost fury, till the horse, assuming the shape of 
a kinnuree, ascended to heaven, the period of the curse under which 
it lay being expired. 

Krishnu ruining his friend by urging him to declare a deli- 
berate falsehood. — In the war betwixt the family of Dooryodhunu 
and the Panduvus, Dronacharjyu. was so mighty a warrior that 
the Panduvus had no hope of success, unless they could cut him 
off ; to accomplish which, Krishnu contrived to throw Dronacharjyu 
off his guard, by causing it to be reported through the army, that 
his son Ushwutt'hama was killed. The father refused to believe 
the report, unless Yoodhist'hiru would say it was true. Krishnu 
pressed Yoodhist'hiru to tell this lie, as it would insure success to 
their affairs ; and, in cases of extremity, the shastru had declared 
it lawful to employ falsehood. Yoodhist'hiru at first positively 
refused, but was at length persuaded by the entreaties of Krishnu, 
XJrjoonu, and others ; who told him the assertion would not be a 
lie, as an elephant of Dooryodhunifs, of the same name, had actu- 
ally been killed in battle. Dronacharjyu was so^ overcome when 
he was thus brought to believe the news, that tJrjoonu soon dis- 
patched him ; which completely changed the face of the battle. 
On account of this falsehood, Yoodhist'hiru, in going to heaven, 
was terrified by a sight of the torments of hell. — Where did Krishnu, 
the father of this lie, go ? 

Theft and murder committed by Krishnu. — When Krishnu 
was going to Mut'hoora to destroy Kungsft, as he approached the 
city he felt ashamed of the meanness of his dress, which consisted 
only of some shreads of cloth, like ropes, tied round his loins ; and 
said to his brother Bulu-ramu, ' All are going to this sacrifice 
elegantly dressed ; we cannot go in this condition.' Krishnu then 
sent his brother to a washerman, who however would not part 
with the clothes in his possession, as they belonged to king Kungsu. 
A quarrel ensued, in the midst of which Krishnu killed the washer- 
man, and carried off the clothes. These free-booters next went to 
a shop, and stole two necklaces ; and afterwards seized some sandal- 
wood, which a deformed woman was taking to the palace of 
Kungsu : but, to reward her, Krishnu pulled her straight, and 
made her more beautiful than the upsuras. The woman asked 
Krishnu, since he had made her so beautiful, who should marry 
her. Krishnu asked her, to whom she wished to be united. She 
said, to himself ; — and from that time she became his mistress. 


Sect. II. — Gopalu. 

This is an image of Krishna in his childhood. He is resting 
on one knee, with his right hand extended, craving some sweet- 
meats from his mother. 

This infant god is worshipped at the festivals in honour of 
Krishna : the ceremonies are the same, though the formulas are 

Those who preserve stone, or brass, or other images of this 
god in their houses, as many do, worship them every day, or when- 
ever they choose. Many persons receive the initiating incantation 
of Gopalu as their guardian deity. 

Gireesha-chundru, the raja of Nudeeya, in the year 1807, had 
two dreams, in which the god Gopalu appeared to him, and told 
him, that in a certain place in Nudeeya, a beautiful image of him 
was buried deep in the ground. The raja paid no attention to his 
dreams, till the god appeared to him a third time, telling him the 
same thing : when he consulted his principal servants, who sent 
labourers to dig up the image ; but none was found. A few nights 
after, Gopalu appeared again, and told the raja that he was to be 
found in such a place, describing the spot in a more particular 
manner. The raja again sent his servants, who found the image. 
The greatest rejoicings took place at Nudeeya on this occasion ; 
learned bramhuns were called ; and a vast concourse of people 
collected from the surrounding country to behold this miraculously 
discovered god, and to witness his installation, at which four thou- 
sand rupees were expended : a temple was afterwards erected on 
the spot, and the god placed in it. This image is now become very 
famous : the offerings presented to it do not amount, it is said, to 
less than two hundred rupees monthly. 

Another image of the infant KrishirS, called Balugopalu, made 
of stone or metal, is kept in the houses of many, and worshipped 
daily, as well as at the festivals in honour of Krishna. 

Sect. III. — Gopee-nat'hti,.* 

This is another form of Krishnu. In some places the image 
is worshipped every day, as well as at the festivals in honour of 

A celebrated image of this god is set up at Ugru-dweepu 
where an annual festival is held, on the 11th and five following 
days of the decrease of the moon, in Choitru. The origin of this 
image is so recent, that the story is known to every Hindoo : — 

° The cowherd. 

p The god of the milk-maids. 



Two religious mendicants, since become famous among the follow- 
ers of Krishnu, Choitunyu and Nityanundu, sent their disciple 
Ghoshu-t'hakooru, who did not relish an austere life, to TJgru- 
dweepu, and directed him to take a certain stone with him, and 
make an image of Gopee-nat'hu, which he should set up there and 
worship. Ghoshu-t'hakooru obeyed his spiritual guides ; took the 
stone on his head ; set it up as a god, the gift of Choitunyu 
and Nityanundu, and began to worship it in public daily. 
The god soon appeared to him in dreams, and revealed a num- 
ber of secret things ; so that by degrees Gopee-nat'hu of TJgru- 
dweepu became very famous. One night a stranger came to 
the temple at a very late hour, when no one was awake to 
give him refreshment. The god himself, however, in the form 
of Ghoshu-t'hakooru, took an ornament from his ancle, and pur- 
chased some food for the stranger at an adjoining shop. In the 
morning there was a great noise in the town about this ornament, 
when the shopkeeper and the stranger declared these facts, so 
creditable to the benevolence of the god ; and from this circum- 
stance the fame of Gopee-nat'hu spread still wider. After the 
death of Ghoshu-t'hakooru, the god appeared to his successor, and 
directed him to perform the funeral rites ; in the celebration of 
which it was contrived that the god himself should present the 
offering to the manes : for when the kooshu grass, the rice, and the 
water were put into the hands of the image, the god (a little more 
water than usual being poured into his hand) poured out the 
offering ; when the crowd set up a great shout, declaring that the 
god himself had presented the offering to the manes. At present, 
it is said, this god brings in not less than 25,000 rupees annually 
to his owner. 

At the above-mentionedjfestival, it is supposed that 100,000 
people assemble each day at Ugru-dweep$ ; among whom are great 
multitudes of lewd women, who accompany the religious mendi- 
cants. Filthy songs about Krishnu and his mistresses are sung 
by the crowd, and all manner of indecent diversions practised. 
Different castes eat together here. 

After the death of Ghoshu-t'hakooru, the image fell into the 
hands of the raja, or lord of the soil ; who sent bramlmns to per- 
form the ceremonies before the image, and receive the offerings. 
Raja Nuvu-krishnu, of Calcutta, once seized this image for a debt 
of three lacks of rupees, due to him from the owner, raja Krishnu- 
chundru-rayu. The latter afterwards regained the image by a 
suit at law ; but not till Nuvu-krishnii had made another Gopee- 
nat'hu exactly like it. 

All this has arisen out of a stone given by two mendicants to 
one of their companions ! — Who can avoid feeling a mingled sensa- 
tion of disgust and pity, while he beholds such multitudes, the abject 
slaves of a superstition so degrading ? 

jugunnat'hu, his image, temples 


Sect. IV. — Jugunnat , hu. q 

The image of this god has no legs, and only stumps of arms : r 
the head and eyes are very large. At the festivals the bramhuns 
adorn him with silver or golden hands. 

Krishnu, in some period of Hindoo history, was accidentally 
killed by Ungudu, a hunter ; who left the body to rot under the 
tree where it fell. Some pious person, however, collected the 
bones of Krishnu, and placed them in a box ; where they remain- 
ed till Indru-dhoomnu, a king, who was performing religious aus- 
terities to obtain some favour of Vishnoo, was directed by the 
latter to form the image of Jugunnat'hu, and put into its belly 
these bones of Krishnu, by which means he should obtain the 
fruit of his religious austerities. Indru-dhoomnu enquired who 
should make this image ; and was commanded to pray to Vishwu- 
kurmu. 8 He did so, and obtained his request ; but Yishwii-kurmu 
at the same time declared, that if any one disturbed him while 
preparing the image, he would leave it in an unfinished state. He 
then began, and in one night built a temple upon the blue 
mountain in Orissa, and proceeded to prepare the image in the 
temple : but the impatient kin<r, after waiting fifteen days, went 
to the spot , on which Yishwu-kurmu desisted from the work, and 
left the god without hands or feet. The king was very much 
disconcerted ; but on praying to Brumha, he promised to make 
the image famous in its present shape. 

Indru-dhoomnu now invited all the gods to be present at the 
setting up of this image : Brumha himself acted as high priest, 
and gave e} T es and a soul to the god, which completely established 
the fame of Jugunnat'hu. This image is said to lie in a pool near 
the present temple, at Jugunnat'hu-kshetru in Orissa, commonly 
known among the English by the name of Jugunnat'hu's pagoda. 
The particulars of this place will be found in the account of the 
Hindoo holy places, the resort of pilgrims. 

Jugunnat'hu has many temples in Bengal, built by rich men 
as works of merit, and endowed either with lands, villages, or 
money. The worship of this god is performed in these temples 
every morning and evening ; at which times people come to see 
the god, or prostrate themselves before him. During the intervals 
of worship, and after the god has partaken of the offerings, he is 

i The lord of the world, from jiigiSt, the world, and nat'hn, lord. 

r The Athenians placed statues at their doors to drive away thieves, which they 
called Hermte, from Mercury. These images had neither hands nor feet, and hence 
Mercury was called Cyllenius, and by contraction Cyllius, from Kullos, viz., without 
hands or feet. 

8 The architect of the gods. 



laid down to sleep/ when the temple is shut up till the next hour of 

Bramhiins may make offerings of boiled rice to this or to any 
other god, but shoodrus cannot : they are permitted to offer only 
dried rice. a The food which is offered to Juopmnat'hu is either 
eaten by the bramhuns and their families at the temples, or by 
passengers and others, who purchase it of those shopkeepers that 
have brought it of the bramhuns ; a little is given to the poor. 

There are two annual festivals in Bengal in honour of this 
god ; the Snanu-yatra, and the Rut'hu-yatra. 

At-the Snanu-yatra, in the month Jyoisht'hu, this lord of the 
world, wrapped in a cloth, is carried out and placed in a seat on a 
large terrace built in an open place near the temple. Here the 
bramhuns, surrounded by an immense concourse of spectators, 
bathe the god by pouring water on his head, during the reading of 
incantations. The people at the close of the ceremony make obei- 
sance, some by lifting their hands to their foreheads, and others 
by prostration, and then depart, assured by the shastrus that they 
shall be subject to no more births, but be admitted to heaven after 
the death of this body. The. bramhuns then wipe this creator of 
the world, and carry him back to the temple ; after which the 
ceremonies of worship are performed before him with great shew. 
This snanu, however, is not confined to Jugunnat'hu; but at 
this time all the different images of Yishnoo, throughout the 
country, are bathed. It is the custom of the Hindoos to feed their 
children with rice for the first time when they are six, seven, or 
nine months old. On this day, before the ceremony of feeding 
the child, they bathe it, repeating incantations. Krishnu par- 
took of his first rice at the full moon in Jyoist'hu; in commemo- 
ration of which, this snanu-yatra is performed annually by the 
worshippers of any separate form of Vishnoo, 

About seventeen days after the snanu-yatra, on the second of 
the increase of the moon in Asharhu, the Ku'thu or car festival is 
held. Before the god is taken out of the temple to be placed on the 
car, the usual ceremonies of worship are performed. The car be- 
longing to the image near Serampore is in the form of a tapering 
tower, between thirty and forty cubits high. It has sixteen wheels, 
two horses, and one coachman, all of wood. Jugunnat'hu, his 
brother Bulii-ramu, and their sister Soobhudra, are drawn up by 
ropes tied round the neck, and seated on benches in an elevated 

* The images of the gods in all the Hindoo temples, at certain hours, are laid 
down to sleep ; at least, all those that are small enough to be laid down and lifted up 

u The bramhuns do not eat the boiled rice of the shoodrus. Sweetmeats, fruit, 
the water of the Ganges, &c. are things received from shoodriis. Yet there are a few 
bramhuns who refuse even sweetmeats and water from the hands of shoodrus. 


part of the carriage ; when a servant on each side waves a tail of 
the cow of Tartary, called a clmmuru.* The crowd draw the car- 
riage by means of a hawser ; their shouts, as the carriage proceeds, 
may be heard at the distance of a mile. Being arrived at the ap- 
pointed spot, the bramhims take out the images, and carry them 
to the temple of some other god, or to a place prepared for them, 
where they remain eight days. At Serampore, Jugunnat'hu, and 
his brother and sister, visit the god Radhavullubhu ; y and here the 
wives of bramhuns, who are never seen at shews, and who seldom 
leave home, come to look at Jugunnat'hu. The car stands empty 
during this time, and the crowd flock to gaze at the indecent 
figures, 2 alluding to the abominations of the gods, which are paint- 
ed all over it. Temporary shops are erected near the place where 
the car stands, like booths on a race-ground. a At the end of eight 
days, the god is again drawn up by the neck, placed in the car, 
and carried back to the place from whence he came ; but the crowd 
is not quite so great as when the carriage is drawn out. Many 
recent instances might be collected of persons,diseased or in distress, 
casting themselves under the wheels of this ponderous car, and 
being crushed to death. 

This festival is intended to celebrate the diversions of Krishnu 
and the milk-maids, with whom he used to ride out in his chariot. 

Sect. V. — Bulu-ramu. h 

This god was cotemporary with Krishnu. His image, 
painted white, almost always goes with that of Jugunnat'hu, 
though in a few temples it is set up alone. At the worship 
of Jugunnat'hu, and also at that of Krishnu, a short service is 
performed in the name of Bulu-ramu, whose image also sometimes 
accompanies that of Krishnu. Some place the image of Revutee 
by the side of her husband. From the sutyu to the kulee-yoogu 
this female, the daughter of king Revutu, remained unmarried: 
The king, at length, asked Brumha, to whom he should give his 
daughter in marriage : Brumha recommended Bulu-ramu, who 
saw her for the first time when ploughing. Notwithstanding her 

x The chamuru is a necessary appendage to royalty among the Hindoos. 

y Another form of Krishnu\ The name intimates that this god is the paramour 
of Kadha. 5 v 

* Romans i. 27- 

a The spirit of gambling is very prevalent at this festival. I have been credibly 
informed, that, a year or two ago, at Serampore, a man actually sold his wife for a 
slave, in order to supply himself with money for gaming. 

b He who pursues pleasure, or bestows it, in his own strength. 
c This old maid must have been 3,888,000 years old at the time of her marriage 
if we date her birth from the beginning of the sfityu-yoogu. 



immense stature, (it is said her stature reached as high as a sound 
ascends in clapping the hands seven times.) Buluramu married her ; 
and to bring down her monstrous height, he fastened a plough- 
share to her shoulders. 

Sect. Yl.—Ramu d . 

The following history of this god forms a brief table of con- 
tents of the Ramayuim/ an epic poem, much celebrated among the 

At a certain period, king Dushu-rut'tm, having been cherished 
with great affection by his wife Ke'koiyee/ promised her whatever 
she should ask. She told him that she would avail herself of his 
promises on some future occasion ; and when Ramu was called to 
the eo-adjutorship by the voice of the people, and to which Dushu- 
rut'hu gladly assented, Ke'koi3 7 ee reminded the king of his promise; 
and at the instigation of a deformed and revengeful female slave, 
whom Ramu had formerly beaten, she petitioned that Ramu might 
be exiled to a distant forest to live as an ascetic, and that Bhurutu 
her son might be installed in his stead. The king reluctantly 
complied. Ramu however readily submitted, and went into the 
forest, taking with him Seeta and his brother Lukshmunu. 
Dushu-rut'hu soon died of grief for Ramu. ; after which a shoe of 
Ramus was placed on the throne, Bhurutu refusing the crown. 
When in the forest, Soorpu-nukha/ the sister of Ravunu, a giant 
who reigned at Lunka, (Ceylon,) proposed marriage to Ramu, who 
sent her to Lukshmunu ; he sent her again to Ramu ; Ramu 
sending her back to Lukshmunu, the latter cut off her nose : on 
this she fled to her brothers Khuru and Dodshunu, who immediately 
made war upon Kamu ; Hamu, however, destroyed them, as well 
as their army of 14,000 giants, (rakshusus.) Ravunu, on hearing 
of these events, requested Mureechu, another giant, to go to the 
residence of Ramu in the form of a beautiful deer, and tempt 
Ramu to pursue him, while he stole Seeta. Mareechu consented, 
and Ramu, at the urgent request of Seeta, pursued the flying deer, 
leaving Lukshmunu to guard his family. When Mareechu, in the 
form of the deer, was wounded, he set up a loud cry like the 
voice of Ramu; which greatly alarmed Seeta, who prevailed on 
Lukshmunu to follow her beloved husband. While Seeta was 

d The happy, or he who makes happy. 

e I have omitted the long table of contents of this work inserted in the first 
edition, thinking it unnecessary, as the Ramayunu* with an English translation is 
issuing from the Serampore press. [The second edition is now published in England. — 

* DKshu-rut'hu had 250 wives. 

s A name given to her on account of her having nails like a Hindoo fan for 
winnowing corn. 



thus left alone, Ravunu carried her off in triumph. The 
poem then describes the grief of Ramu and his brother for the 
loss of Seeta. Ravunu, in taking away Seeta, was met by Juta- 
yoo, a vulture, formerly the friend of Dushu-rut'hu. This bird 
endeavoured to deliver Seeta by fighting with Ravunu ; but being 
unsuccessful, Seeta directed him to inform Ramu, that Ravunu was 
carrying her away. Ramu in his search for Se^ta met with this 
bird, which, as soon as it had delivered this account, died of the 
wounds it had received in fighting with Ravunu. Ramu and his 
brother now went forward in pursuit of Ravunu, and met with the 
giant Kubundhu, whom they destroyed. This giant immediately 
assumed another bod}^, and informed Ramu, that he had formerly 
lived in the heaven of Indru, but had been cursed, and sent down 
to take the body of a rakshusu. He further informed Ramu, that 
two brothers, (monkies,) Soogreevu and Balee, were in a state of 
warfare, Balee having seduced his brother's wife ; he therefore ad- 
vised Ramu to destroy Balee, and contract an alliance with Soog- 
reevu, by whose means he should obtain Seeta. Ramu took this 
advice, and having destroyed Balee, h restored Soogreevu to his 
kingdom. To prove his gratitude to Ramu, Soogreevu collected 
his army of monkies, and sent them to seek for Seeta. The mon- 
kies who went southward met Sumpatee, a vulture without wings, 
brother to Jutayoo, who informed them that he had seen Seeta at 
Lunka, (Ceylon.) Hunooman, one of Soogreevu s generals, im- 
mediately leaped across the sea, (five hundred miles,) 1 to Lunka, 
where he found Seeta in a garden belonging to Ravunu ; to whom 
he gave a ring from Ramu, while she, in return, sent Ramu a jewel 
from her hair. Hunooman then began to destroy one of Ravunu's 
gardens ; who sent people to kill Hunooman, but he destroyed 
those who were sent. Ravunu then sent his son TJkshuyu against 
the mischievous monkey ; but he also was destroyed. Ravunu 
next sent his eldest son Indrujit, who seized Hunooman, and bring- 
ing him before his father, the king ordered his attendants to set 
fire to his tail ; when the enraged monkey, with his burning tail, 
leaped from house to house, and set all Lunka on fire : after finish- 
ing which he came to Seeta, and complained that he could not ex- 
tinguish the fire that had kindled on his tail ; she directed him to 
spit upon it, and he, raising it to his face for this purpose, set his 
face on fire. He then complained, that when he arrived at home 
with such a black face, all the monkeys would laugh at him. 
Seeta, to comfort him, assured him, that all the other monkeys 
should have black faces also ; and when Hunooman came amongst 
his friends, he found that, according to the promise of Seeta, they 
had all black faces as well as himself. After hearing the account 

h Ramu, compared with Krishnu, is a pure character ; yet we see him here, with- 
out provocation, destroy the rightful heir to a throne, and set up one who had seduced 
the wife of his brother. 

1 No one can doubt the propriety of makiog a spy of a monkey who can leap 500 
miles at once. 



brought by Hunooman, Ramu and Lukshmunu, with Soogreevu 
and his army of monkeys, proceeded to invade Lunka. They 
tore up the mountains, trees, and other large substances, and 
cast them into the sea to form a bridge ; k which, however, 
Ravunu was constantly employed in breaking down. Yibhee- 
shunu, Ravunus brother, perceiving that Ramu would make 
good his landing, recommended that Seeta should be given up : 
but his brother, unable to bear this advice, quarrelled with 
Vibheeshunu ; who came over to Ramu, and advised him to 
throw into the sea a temple and image of Shivu, assuring him, 
that as Ravunu was a worshipper of Shivft, he would not destroy 
the temple and image of his god. Kamu followed this advice, soon 
made good his landing, and began the war with Ravunu. After 
many giants had been killed, Koombhukurnu, a monstrous giant, 
2,400 cubits high, and 1,600 thick, brother to Ravunu, engaged 
Ramu and the monkeys. He began the combat by seizing and 
devouring his enemies. Some of them, as soon as they entered his 
mouth, came out at his nostrils and ears, and escaped. The terri- 
fied monkeys fled ; but Ramu with his arrows first cut off his arms, 
then his legs. Still he waddled round, and endeavoured to devour 
all within his reach, till Ramu gave him a mortal wound in the 
neck. Next after Koombhukurnu, Indrujit engaged in the contest. 
He seized Kamu, and, by the power of enchantment, carried him 
down to patalu; where Hunooman went in search of him, and, 
while Muheeravunix was there, instructing Indrujit how to prostrate 
himself before an image of the goddess Bhudru-kalee, Hunooman 
cut off his head, and rescued Ramu. At length Ravunu himself 
entered the combat ; but after many conflicts, finding himself very 
weak, he resolved to restore Seeta, and put an end to the war. To 
this Ramu consented ; but while Ravunu was on the point of 
bringing Seeta, he thought within himself, ' If I do this, every one 
will charge me with cowardice : shall I, a giant, refuse to fight ?' 
The combat was again renewed, and Ravunu was slain. 1 Rami! 
then obtained his wife ; but as a trial of her innocence while in 
the hands of Ravunu, he compelled her to pass through a fiery 

k Ramu's bridge. See the map of Hindoost'han. Ramu was at a loss how to lead 
his army across the sea to Lunka. He fasted, and prayed to SagSru for three days, 
and was angry with the god for not appearing to him. He therefore ordered Liiksh- 
munft to fire an arrow, and carry away the god's umbrella. He did so, and the arrow, 
carrying away the umbrella, penetrated even as far as patalu. The god, aroused from 
his sleep, exclaimed, ' Is Ranaii arrived by the sea side, and I have not known it ?' He 
then directed Ramu to apply to king NnliS, to whom he had given a blessing, that 
whatever he threw into the sea should become buoyant. At the command of Niihl, 
the monkeys tore up the neighbouring mountains, and cast them into the sea. HiSnoo- 
lnan brought three mountains on his head at once, each 64 miles in circumference ; and 
one on each shoulder, equally large ; together with one under each arm, one in each 
paw, and one on his tail. All these mountains being thrown into the sea, and becom- 
ing buoy ant j a complete bridge was formed. 

1 The engagement betwixt Ramu and Ravanu lasted seven days : Rami! cut off 
the ten heads of Ravunu a hundred times, but they were always miraculously restored. 
Ramu then discharged an arrow which had these properties, that if it went into the 
air. it became a thousand : if it entered the body of an enemy, it became an innumer- 



ordeal : winch she did unhurt. He then returned to Uyodhya. and 
mounted the throne. After this, however, some person objected to 
Ramu, that it was not proper for him to receive Seeta, after she had 
been in keeping of a giant. He therefore sent her into the forest to 
Valmeekee, the writer of the Ramayun'u, where she was delivered 
of two sons, Luvu and Kooshu ; the latter of whom was afterwards 
stolen by the god Punchanunu, when Valmeekee, to comfort the 
mother, took a blade of kooshu grass, and secretly made a child so 
much like Kooshu, that Seeta did not know it from her own son. 
In a short time, however, Punchanunu, not being able to destroy a 
child of Ramu s, restored Kooshu, and Valmeekee caused the two 
boys to become one. Before his death Ramu performed the 
sacrifice of a horse ; m and Seeta and her two sons, Luvu and 
Kooshu, were restored to him : but Ramu wishing Seeta again to 
pass through a fiery ordeal, she entered the fire ; but the goddess 
Prut'hivee, n (Seeta' s mother,) opened her mouth, and received her 
into patalu. At length Kalupoorooshu, the angel of death, went 
to Eamu, expressing a wish for a secret conference. Ramu pro- 
mised that while he was present no one should be admitted, and 
placed Lukshmunu at the door to keep out all intruders : but 
while Ramu and Kalu-poorooshu were closeted, Doorvasa, the 
sage, arrived, and demanded an interview with Ramu. This sage 
was so very passionate, that every one dreaded contradicting him ; 
Lukshmunu, therefore, through fear, went in and announced his 
arrival. Ramu, for this offence, rejected his brother, who in a 
paroxysm of grief drowned himself in the sacred river Suruyoo, 
and went to heaven. Ramu afterwards put an end to his life in 
the same manner. Luvu and Kookshu succeeded him. 

able multitude. Ravunu at the sight of this arrow was filled with fear, and would 
have fled ; but recollecting that ShivA had once given him an arrow that was to rescue 
him in a time of extreme peril, he discharged it, and destroyed Ramfi's terrible arrow. 
Still however he was full of fear, for whichever way he turned, he saw Rami! ; he shut 
his eyes, but still he saw him in his mind. At length, perceiving no way of escape, 
he began to flatter Ramu ; who was so softened, that he declared he would never des- 
troy Ravunii. The gods, alarmed lest RavuniS should be spared, excited him to reproach 
Ramu ; who, indignant at such conduct, let fry an arrow which pierced RavunrTs body, 
proceeded through the earth into the regions below, and having there bathed, returned 
in the form of a goose, and again entered the quiver in its original shape. The gods 
were so much in fear of RaviSniS, that they durst not begin to rejoice till they were sure 
he was dead : in whispers they asked each other, 'Is he dead?' — ' Is he really dead?' 
&c. When it was known that he was certainly dead, the gods, Ramu, the monkeys, 
and the bears, all began to dance. — Mundoditree, the chief wife of Ravunti, and mother 
of Indritjit, after the death of her husband, went to Ramti, weeping. Ramu, not 
knowing who she was, gave her this blessing, that she should never become a widow. 
Finding his mistake, (having just killed her husband,) he ordered Htinooman continually 
to throw wood into the fire ; according to a proverb among the Hindoos, that as long as 
the body of the husband is burning, a woman is not called a widow. To this day, 
therefore, Hunooman keeps laying logs on the fire ; and every time a Hindoo puts his 
fingers in his ears and hears a sound, he says, he hears, the bones of Ravnnfi burning. 

m This sacrifice was performed by many of the ancient Hindoo princes, and was 
considered as highly meritorious. 

n The earth personified. 

° There arc a few sentences in this history, which are not to be found in 
Valmeekee's Ramayfiuft ; but they may be seen in the Bengalee translation. 



The image of Ramu is painted green ; he is represented as 
sitting on a throne, or on Himooman, the monkey, with a crown 
upon his head. He holds in one hand a bow, in another an arrow, 
and has a bundle of arrows slung at his back. 

The worship paid to him is of the same kind as that to 
Krishnu ; but the formulas are different. On the ninth of the 
increase of the moon in Choitru, on which day Ramu was born, an 
annual festival is held, when multitudes of clay images are 
worshipped. The dolu festival also is observed in honour of this 
god on this day, which is also kept as a fast ; when Ramus three 
brothers, Bhurutu, Lukshmunu, and Shutrughnu are worshipped, 
but the imao-es of the first and last are never made. At other 


festivals also a few ceremonies in honour of Ramu are performed. 

The birth of Ramu forms the seventh of the Hindoo incarna- 
tions. On the birth-day of this god p the Hindoo merchants in 
general begin their new year's accounts. At the time of death, 
many Hindoos write the name of Ramu on the breast and forehead 
of the dying person, with earth taken from the banks of the 
Ganges ; and hence these persons after death, instead of being 
dragged to Yumu to be judged, immediately ascend to heaven. 
Many of the disciples of Raima become Ramahoots, a class of 
mendicants who impress on different parts of their bodies Ramu's 
name and the figure of his foot. The mark on the forehead of 
Ramu's followers very much resembles a trident. 

Temples containing the images of Ramu, Lukshmunu, Seeta, 
and Hunooman are erected in many parts of Bengal ; and the 
worship of Ramu performed in them daily. 

Sect. VII. — Choitunyu* 

This is the image of an almost naked mendicant, painted yel- 
low. Some of the Hindoos believe, that amongst all the Hindoo 
incarnations there are four principal ones. The first, in the sutyu- 
yoogu, called the Shooklu-vurnu r incarnation, was that of Ununtu ; 
that in the treta, the ruktu-vurnu, 8 was the incarnation of Kopilu- 
devu ; that in the dwapuru-yoogu, the Krishnu-vurnu ;* and the 
last, in the kulee-yoogu, called peetu-vurnu, u that of Choitunyu. 

According to the disciples of Choitunyu, the founder of this 
sect, Udwoitu, a voidiku bramhun, lived at Shantipooru about 400 
years ago. Nityanundu, another leader, was born at Nudeeya, a 
little before Choitunyu. His father was a rarheeyu bramhun. 

p The gods on this day are said to have caused a shower of flowers to fall, as at 
the birth of Minerva it is said to have rained gold. 

q The wise, r The white. s The blood-coloured. * The black. u The yellow. 



Choitunyu's father, Jugunnatliu-Mishru, a voidiku bramhun, lived 
at Nudeeya ; his wife's name was Shuchee ; their first son, Vish- 
wumbhura, embraced the profession of a dundee. The mother was 
advanced in years when Choitunyu was born ; the child continued 
three days without taking the breast, and the parents, not think- 
ing it would live, putting it^into a basket, hung it on a tree near 
the house." At this time Udwoitu before-mentioned, who had 
heard of this birth, having some suspicions that it might be the in- 
carnation he had expected and foretold, visited the parents, and 
learning from the mother that she had not received the initiating 
incantation of Huree, he wrote, with his great toe, this incantation 
on the soft earth : — ' Huree, Krishna ; Huree, Krishna ; Krishna, 
Krishna, Huree, Huree ; Huree, Rama, Huree, Ramu, Ramu, Rama, 
Huree, Huree.' After the mother had received this incantation, 
the child was taken down, and immediately began to draw the 

Choitunyu made a great progress in learning ; at sixteen he 
married Vishnoo-priya, and continued in a secular state till forty- 
four, when he was persuaded by Udwoitu and other dundees then 
at his house, to renounce his poita, and become a mendicant : upon 
which, forsaking his mother and wife, he went to Benares. His 
family was reduced to great distress indeed ; and it was thought a 
crime that a person upon whom such a family depended should 
embrace a life of mendicity. ✓ 

From this period Choitunyu began to form a new sect, giving 
to all his followers the preceding initiatory incantation, and con- 
tinuing to call them voishnuvus. He exhorted them to renounce 
a secular life ; to visit the different holy places on pilgrimage ; to 
eat with all castes who should receive the preceding incantation ; to 
repeat the name of Vishnoo, using the bead-roll made with the 
stalk of basil. He further taught that widows might marry ; but 
forbad the eating of fish or flesh, and the worship of the deities to 
whom bloody sacrifices are offered, as well as all communion with 
those who make these sacrifices. 

He went to Jugunnat'hu-kshetru in Orissa, and there assum- 
ing six arms, received many honors. He exhorted Udwoitu and 
Nityanundu to labour in making proselytes ; but directed Nitya- 
nundu to enter into a secular state : F he did so, and took up his 

x There are still many instances of children being exposed. If a child appear un- 
likely to live, the parents consult an astrologer, who perhaps gives but small hopes of 
the child's recovery. Voiragees and other mendicants, who make a merit of possessing 
no worldly attachments, some times hang up a child in a pot in a tree ; or, putting it in 
a pot, let it float down the river. Persons of other castes may do it, but these the most 
frequently. Mr. Carey's journal, dated in July, 1794, contains the following paragraph : 
' One day, as Mr. Thomas and I were riding out, we saw a basket hung in a tree, in 
which an infant had been exposed ; the skull remained, but the rest had been devoured 
by ants.' See Baptist Mission Accounts, vol. i. p. 183. This practice is now prohibit- 
ed by the Hon. Company's Government, in a regulation made for that purpose. 

y Perceiving his aversion to a life of mendicity 



residence at Khurdu, near Calcutta. Choitunyu wrote to his two 
principal disciples from Orissa, again exhorting them to labour in 
gaining proselytes ; yet few or none joined them : and from this 
time Choitunyu himself was never more heard of. Udwoitu and 
Nityanundu raised families, whose descendants live at Shantipooru, 
Vagna-para, and Khurdu to this day, where they are become leaders 
of the sect ; all other Gosaees 2 acknowledging the descendants of 
these two families as their superiors, and prostrating themselves 
before them. These Gosaees at present are men of large fortunes ; 
at whose houses are the images originally set up by the male des- 
cendant of Choittinyu, by Nityanundu, and Udwoitu Crowds are 
almost constantly arriving at these places with offerings : besides 
which, the Gosaees derive a large revenue from marriages, to super- 
intend which they have agents distributed throughout the country, 
who are allowed a sixth part of the fee ; a sum that from both 
parties amounts to about six shillings. They also dissolve marriages 
at the pleasure of the parties, on receiving the same fees. When 
a new disciple is initiated, a fee is also given ; but the Gosaees 
obtain the largest sums at the deaths of such of their disciples as 
die intestate. At Calcutta, nearly all the women of ill-fame profess 
the religion of Choitunyu before their death, that they may be 
entitled to some sort of funeral rites : as almost all these persons 
die intestate, and have no relations who will own them, the 
Gosaees obtain their effects. 

The anniversaries of the deaths of the original founders of the 
sect are observed as festivals. 

One-fifth of the whole Hindoo population of Bengal are sup- 
posed to be followers of Choitunyu, and of the Gosaees, his successors. 

Many of these persons despise the other sects of Hindoos, and 
are great enemies of the bramhuns. They refuse to eat without 
their necklace, as the bramhuns do without their poita. Most of 
the mendicant followers of Yishnoo have embraced the tenets of 
Choitunyu ; but many of the disciples of the latter live in a secular 
state, and some of them are possessed of large property. Persons of 
this description frequently entertain a great number of voiragees 
at their houses; when, as an act of great merit, they prostrate 
themselves before these wanderers, wash, and lick the dust of 
their feet, and devour their orts. They pay no attention to the 
feasts and fasts of the Hindoo calendar, except those in honour of 

The images most regarded among this sect are those of Choi- 
tunyu and Nityanundu, set up at Umbika, in the district of 

z Distant branches of the same families. 



About a hundred years ago, another man rose up in Bengal as 
the leader of a sect, whose dress, of many colours, is said to be so 
heavy that two or three people can scarcely carry it. This and his 
string of beads are preserved as relics at Ghoshparu, where he 
continued five years, and died at the house of Ramu-Shurunu-Palu, 
a sh5odru of the Sud-gopu caste, to whom he communicated his 
supernatural powers ; and who, after the death of this mendicant, 
began to teach the doctrine of a constant incarnation, and that 
God then dwelt in him. He persuaded many that he could cure 
the leprosy, and other diseases ; and preached the doctrines of 
Choitimyu, imitating him in conforming, for convenience sake, to 
many of the superstitions of the Hindoos. He also gave a new 
initiating incantation to his followers,* who, of whatever caste, ate 
together privately. Vast multitudes joined this man, both Musul- 
mans and Hindoos ; and carried him presents, eating together once 
or twice a year. By this means, from a state of deep poverty he 
became rich, and his son now lives in affluence. 

A number of Ramu-Shurunu's disciples adhere to his son 
Doolalu ; others follow Shivu-Ramu and some others of the old 
man's disciples, who pretend to have received the power of their 
master to cure diseases, &c. Though part of the father's followers 
have thus apostatized, Doolalu pretends that he has now 20,000 

Sect. VIIL~Vishwti-ktirma h 

Is the son of BrSmha, and architect of the gods : he is painted 
white, has three eyes, holds a club in his right hand ; wears a 
crown, a necklace of gold, and rings on his wrists. He presides 
over the arts, manufactures, &c. 

The worship of this god js performed once, twice, or four 
times a year, in the month TJgruhayunu, Poushu, Choitru, or 
Bhadru, by all artificers, to obtain success in business. The 
ceremonies may be performed either in the day or night, before any 
implements of trade. The joiners set up their mallet, chisel, saw, 
hatchet, &c. as the representative of this god. Weavers choose 
their shuttle, &c, putting them into the hole in the earth wherein 
they place their feet when they sit at work. The razor is the 
barber's god on this occasion. The potter, after a month's fast, 
adopts and worships the w^heel with which he turns his pots. 
Masons choose their trowel ; washermen take the beetle or stamper, 

* The following is a translation of this incantation: ' sinless Lord, great 
Lord ; at thy pleasure I go and return : not a moment am I without thee. I am 
ever with thee ; save, great Lord.' 

b Vishwti, the world ; kurmi?, work. 




their smoothing irons, &c. as their god ; blacksmiths worship 
their hammer and bellows ; the farmer his plough ; spinsters their 
wheel. The shoemaker chooses his awl and knife, and bows down 
to them : and thus, amongst all the artificers, each one chooses the 
principal tool or instrument with which he works, and makes 
it a god, or the representative of Vislrwu-kurma c . The cere- 
monies are not long ; but according to their ability the worship- 
pers provide as good a feast as possible. At the close of the festi- 
val, the crowd form themselves into parties of pleasure : some go 
upon the river in boats, singing songs, and playing on different in- 
struments of music ; others sit in companies, smoke, and relate the 
news of the village ; others spend their time in gaming, and some 
resort to houses of ill-lame. 

Though the illiterate consider this god, who may be called the 
Indian Vulcan, as the inventor of all the mechanic arts, the shilpu 
shastrus, a part of the original ve'du, are more properly considered 
as their source. These works are not now read in Bengal, if they 
really exist : they describe, it is said, the proper shape and dimen- 
sions of all the various images of the Hindoo gods. 

Sect. IX. — Kamn-ddvn, the Indian Cupid* 

The image of this god, the son of Brumha, is that of a beauti- 
ful youth, holding in his hands a bow and arrow of flowers. He 
is always supposed to be accompanied by his wife Rutee/ by spring 
personified, the cuckoo, the humming-bee, and gentle breezes ; and 
is represented as wandering through the three worlds. 

The image of Kamu-devu is never made in Bengal, but on the 
13th of the increase of the moon in Choitru an annual festival is 
held, when the ceremonies of worship are performed before the 
shalgramu. At the time of marriage, and when a wife leaves her 
father's house to go to her husband for the first time, petitions are 
addressed to this god for children, and for happiness in the mar- 
riage state. 

c This worship affords another strong proof of the low and sordid nature of 
idolatry, and strikingly illustrates the words of our Lord, ' after all these things do 
the Gentiles seek.' Instead of raising their minds to the Great Source of all good, 
these persons are taught to worship the tools belonging to their trades, as the cause 
of their temporal happiness, This conduct seems to be reproved in the first chapter of 
the book of Habakkuk, ' They sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their 
drag ; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous.' 

d Kamii, desire ; devu, god. 

e F rom RumiS, to play, or to give pleasure. It is said that the god of love found. 

-^utee in the house of Shumbum, a giant, whom he destroyed. 


The pooranu and kavyu shastrfis abound with stories respect- 
ing Kanm-deVii, one of which I here give from the Kaliku poo- 
ranu : — The god of love, the most beautiful creature in the three 
worlds, with whom every one was pleased, immediately after his 
creation solicited the commands of Brumha ; who assured him, 
that, with his five arrows, he should wound with love the hearts of 
the inhabitants of the three worlds ; that all beings should be sub- 
ject to his sway, not excepting even Brumha, Vishnoo, and Shivu; 
and that through him the universe should be peopled. Kundurpu 
first discharged his arrow at Brumha himself, who became en- 
amoured of his own daughter, Sundhya. Mureechee, and the other 
sons of Brumha, also smitten by his arrows, were inflamed with 
unlawful desires toward their sister. Shivu said to Brumha, 
' What ! art thou inflamed with lust towards thy own daughter V 
Brumha was covered with shame, and, from the perspiration which 
issued from his body, Ugnishwuta and other progenitors of man- 
kind/ to the number of 149,000, were born. Brumha, full of rage 
against Kundurpu, cursed him, and declared that he should be 
burnt to ashes by the fire from the eye of Shivu. ; but on his inter- 
cessions promised, that when Shivu should be married to Doorga* 
he would restore to him his body. 

Names. — Mudunu, or he who intoxicates with love ; — Mun- 
mttt'hu, he who agitates the mind ; — Maru, he who wounds with 
love ; — Prudyoomnii, he who overcomes all ; — Meenu-ketunu, he 
whose flag^ is a fish ; — Kundurpu, he who bloats the mind with 
desire ; — Tjnungu, he who is destitute of body ; Bamu, the creator 
of desire ; — Punchushuru, he who has five arrows ; — Smuru, he 
who inflames ; — Shumburaree, the enemy of the giant Shumburu' ; 
— Munusiju, he who is bom in the heart ; — Koosoome'shoo, he 
whose arrows are flowers ; — Ununyuju, he who is born only in the 
mind ; — Pooshptt-dhunwa, he whose bow is made of flowers ;■ — 
Rutee-puteC, the husband of Rutee ; — Mukuru-dhwuju, he whose 
flag is the animal Mtfkuru ; — Atmubhoo, he who is self-created. 

Sect. X. — Sutyit-NarayunU. 

This is a form of Vishnoo, but the image is never made : a 
pan of water is the substitute. 

This god is worshipped several times in the year, in the house 
of the richer Hindoos, when all the bramhtms in the village are 

f In performing the ceremony called turpunu, seven names are used in pouring 
out drink.offerings to all these ancestors. 



invited. The object of worship, painted red, and covered with 
leaves of the mango tree, is placed near a square board, at the 
four corners of which four arrows are set up, and from which 
garlands of flowers are suspended ; a piece of clean linen is laid on 
the board, and then the offerings of flowers and sweetmeats. At 
the close of the festival, some one present reads different marvellous 
stories in praise of this god. The sweetmeats are given to the 
guests, especially to the bramhuns : the acquisition of riches, 
recovery from sickness, the birth of children, the obtaining of any 
of the blessings, or the removing any of the miseries of life, are 
objects sought in the worship of this god. 

The preceding account of the terrestrial gods contains the 
names of all the principal deities of this description worshipped in 
Bengal. I am aware, however, that worship is paid to some idols 
not* mentioned here ; but these are only different forms of the 
deities whose history is given, and the worship is merely an 
appendage to the ceremonies at the great festivals. 





Sect. I. — Seeta. 

This is the image of a yellow woman, covered with jewels : 
it always accompanies and is worshipped with that of her husband. 

Seeta was the daughter of king Junuku, a whose capital was 
Mit'hila. Her history, after her marriage with Ramu, will be 
found in the account of that god. b 

Sect. II. — Eadha. 

Radha was the wife of Ayunu-ghoshu, a cowherd of Gokoolu, 
where Krishnu in his youth resided : through Vuraee, a procuress, 
he seduced Radha, and led her into the forest near the river 
Yumoona, where they continued till Krishnu. left her to begin the 
war with Kungsu. 

This mistress of Krishnu has been deified with her paramour. 
Her image is set up in temples with different forms of Krishnu, 
and worshipped at the festivals of this god. The act of looking 
upon these images together, is declared by the shastrus to be an 
act of peculiar merit ! 

If a Hindoo be charged with any particular act of which he 
wishes to express his abhorrence, he exclaims, ' Radha-Krisbnu !' 
Many persons repeat ' Ramu ! Ramu ! Ramu !' on such occasions, 

* Shivii gave to Jiintiku* a bow so heavy that a thousand men could not lift it, 
and which the father placed iu a separate room, and commanded Seeta to sweep the 
room daily ; in doing which she used to lift up the bow with her left hand, and sweep 
under it with her right. One day the king saw her thus move the bow, and, filled 
with astonishment, was at a loss to whom he should give this daughter in marriage. 
After some time, he came to this resolution, that whoever should be able to break this 
bow, should obtain Seeta. — Udhyatmu- Ramayunu, 

b While Seeta was detained at LiSnka, she was fed with ambrosia for twelve 
months by Indru, as she would not eat in the house of a giant. That RavftnG could 
not destroy her virtue, is thus accounted for by the poorauiis : — -This giant had before 
seized the wives of the gods, aud dishonoured them ; and one day he dishonoured, his 
niece, the wife of king NulQ. : for which crime Kooveru cursed him, and caused tire to 
proceed from his ten heads at once. By the entreaty of Brtlmha, this curse was mitigat- 
ed ; with the proviso, however, that if he ever denied the wife of another, it should 
be renewed in full force. — Ibid. 



but no one says Seeta-Ramu ; yet when Krishna's name is to be 
repeated, they always join to it that of his mistress Radha. 

One of the Hindoo learned men has written a work (the 
Radha-timtru) to prove that Radha was an incarnation of Bhugu- 
vutee ; and this opinion is quoted by the Hindoos of the present 
day to cover this abominable transaction. 

Sect. III. — RooJcminee and Sutyu-hhama. 

These are the most distinguished wives of Krishna, but their 
images are never made, Krishna being always associated with 
Radha his mistress, and not with his lawful wives. At the festivals 
of Krishnu, however, these women are worshipped, as well as six 
other wives of this god, viz., Jambubutee, Mitruvinda, Lugunujitee, 
Lukshmuna, Kalindee, and Bhudra ; but Rookminee and SutytU 
bhama are the most distinguished. 

Sect. IV. — Soobhudra. 

This sister of Jugunnat'hu is worshipped at the same time 
with her brother, and placed with him in the temples dedicated to 
his honour. 





Sect. I. — Punchanunu* 

Is a form of Shi via : the image has five faces, and in each face 
three eyes. Some persons make a clay image, and worship it with 
the usual forms, adding bloody sacrifices ; while others worship 
Pimchanunu before a stone placed underneath the vutu,' ushwut'h- 
t'hu,° or koolu d trees. This stone is painted red at the top, and 
anointed with oil. 6 Offerings of flowers, fruits, water, sweetmeats, 
and fried peas accompany the worship, and sometimes bloody 
sacrifices. In almost every village this worship is performed 
beneath some one of these trees. In some villages several of these 
shapeless stones 1 ' are to be seen thus anointed, and consecrated to 
the worship of this god. In other places the clay images of 
Ptmchanunu are placed in houses, or under trees ; and old 
women, called dyasinees/ devote themselves to his service : they 
sweep the inside of the clay temple, and repeat the ceremonies of 
worship for others ; constantly remaining near the image, and re- 
ceiving all offerings and presents. Not more than one woman 
waits upon one idol, unless she admit a pupil, who expects to suc- 
ceed her. These women, either married or widows, are treated 
almost as witches. 

There is no appointed time for the worship of this god, but 
Tuesdays or Saturdays are preferred to other days. 

There are some places in Bengal, where images of Punchanunu 
are in great celebrity for bestowing the blessing of children, and 
other favours on the worshippers. 

The Hindoo women are terrified at this god, and are exceed- 
ingly afraid lest their children should, in play, injure the stone 

a The five-faced. b Ficus ludica. 

c Ficus religiosa. d Zizyphu3 jujuba. 

e The statue of the god Terminus was either a square stone, or a log of wood ; 
which the Romans usually perfumed with ointments, and crowned with garlands. 

f The representative of the goddess Passinuntia was a shapeless stone. The 
Arabians are said to have worshipped a stone without the form or shape of a deity. 

s It is probable that these dyasinees resemble the priestesses of Cybele. 



under the tree. 8 Some therefore warn their children against going 
near these stones, by declaring that PunchanuntL will assuredly 
kill them, if they touch or play with his image. 

Children in fits of epilepsy are supposed to be seized by this 
god, and thrown into a state of frenzy, till they foam at the mouth, 
tear their hair, &c. The mother asks the supposed evil spirit his 
name, who answers, through the child, ' I am Punchanunu : your 
child has cast dust on my image, kicked it, and is the ringleader of 
all the children of the village in this wickedness. I will certainly 
take away his life.' The dyasinee is now called, who comforts the 
weeping and alarmed family, and addresses the god thus : ' Pun- 
chanunu S I pray thee restore this child : these are thy worship- 
pers : the offender is but a child ; and it is not proper for thee to 
be angry with such paltry offenders. If thou restore the child, the 
parents will sacrifice a goat to thee, and present to thee many offer- 
ings.' If this should foil to render the god propitious, they take 
the child to the image, before which they sit down, and offer the 
most excessive flattery to the god, causing the child to beat its head 
on the ground. After using every contrivance, they retire, and, at 
the close of the fit, believing that Punchanunu has cured the child, 
they present to him offerings according to their ability. 

Sect. II. — Dhtirmu ThakoorU. 

Another form of Shivu. A black stone of any shape becomes 
the representative of this god. The worshippers paint the part 
designated as the forehead, and place it under a tree ; others place 
the stone in the house, and give it silver eyes, and anoint it with 
oil, and worship it. Almost every village has one of these idols. 

s The late Jugunnat'hu-Turkkit-Punchanvlmi, who died in the year 1807, at the 
advanced age of 112, and who was siipposed to be the most learned Hindoo in Bengal, 
used to relate the following ancedote of himself : — Till he was twenty years old he was 
exceedingly ungovernable, and refused to apply to his studies. One day his parents 
rebuked him very sharply for his conduct, and he wandered to a neighbouring village, 
where he hid himself in the vutiS tree, under which was a very celebrated image of 
Punchanunu. While in this tree, he discharged his urine on the god, and afterwards 
descended and threw him into a neighbouring pond. The next morning, when the per- 
son arrived whose livelihood depended on this image, he discovered his god was gone ! ! 
He returned into the village distracted, and the village was veiy soon all in an uproar 
about the lost god. In the midst of this confusion, the parents of Jilgfinnat'hu- 
Turkku-Punchanflnit arrived to search for their son ; when a man in the crowd de- 
clared that he had seen a young man sitting in PSnchantinu's tree, but what was be- 
come of the god he could not say. The runaway at length appeared, and the sus- 
picions of all the villagers fell upon him, as the stealer of Punchaniinu'. After some 
time he confessed the fact, pointed out the place where he had thrown the stone, and 
added moreover that he had discharged his urine on the god. All hands were lifted 
up in amazement at this atrocious crime, and every one present pronounced his death 
as certain ; for Punchanfinu woidd certainly revenge such a daring insult. Our young 
hero was himself terribly affrighted, and from that hour sat down so sedulously to his 
studies, that he became the most learned man in Bengal. He was employed by the 
government in India for many years, at a salary of 300 rupees per month, and used to 
give advice on the subject of the Hindoo law in all difficult cases. 


A festival in honour of this god is observed by some of the 
lower orders in Voishaku, in the day. The ceremonies are like 
those at the swinging festival, with the addition of bloody sacri- 
fices, the greater number of which are goats. At this time devotees 
swing on hooks ; perforate their sides with cords ; pierce their 
tongues with spits ; walk upon fire, and take it up in their hands ; 
walk upon thorns ; and throw themselves upon spikes, keeping a 
severe fast. The people who assemble to see these feats of self- 
torture, are entertained with singing, music, and dancing. On the 
14th day, a great feast is held, when people bring their offerings, 
and giving them to the officiating bramhun, request him to present 
them to the idol, to fulfil a vow ; or with petitions to the god for 
some particular favour, as the birth of a child, recovery from sick- 
ness, or any other blessing. 

Wherever this idol is placed in a house, a woman called a 
dyasinee attends upon it, and repeats the daily ceremonies. 

At two villages in Bengal, Poosooree and Rayu-kalee, the 
worship of this god is constantly attended by crowds from a great 
distance. If a woman's eldest child die, she makes a vow before 
witnesses, that she will not cut her hair for two years ; and that 
then, going to one of these villages, she will cut it off, and present an 
offering to the god, provided he will preserve her second child. 
Some women, as an acknowledgment of a favour, or to beg a bles- 
sing, take a young child in their arms ; and putting on wet clothes, 
place and earthen pot full of burning coals upon some cloth on their 
heads ; and sitting before the god in a supplicating posture, con- 
tinue for sometime offering incense, throwing Indian pitch into 
the pan of coals. 

A poor man sometimes places the black stone, adorned with 
garlands, &c. in a basket, and the offerings which he collects at the 
doors of housekeepers in another, and, tying the baskets to a bam- 
boo which he lays on his shoulder, carries the god from door to door 
as a show ; while another plays on a rude instrument of music, and 
joins in singing the praises of Dhurmu-t'hakooru. House-holders 
give a handful of rice, and the beggars present in return a flower 
which has been offered to the god. 

Sect. III. — Kaloo-rayti. 

This is another form of Shivu. : the image is that of a yellow 
man sitting on a tiger, holding in his right hand an arrow, and in 
his left a bow. 

A few of the lower orders set up clay images of this god in 
straw houses, and worship them at pleasure. The wood-cutters in 
the Eastern, Western, and Southern forests of Bengal, in order to 



obtain protection from wild beasts, adopt a peculiar mode of wor- 
shipping this idol. The head-boatman raises elevations of earth 
three or four inches high, and about three feet square ; upon which 
he places balls of clay, painted red ; and, among other ceremonies, 
offers rice, flowers, fruits, and the water of the Ganges carried from 
the river Hooglee, keeping a fast : the god then directs him in a 
dream where to cut wood free from danger. There is no authority 
for this worship in the shastrus. 

Dukshina-rayu is another god worshipped in the same manner, 
and by the same class of persons. 

Sect. IV. — Kalu-Bhoiruvu. 

A NAKED Shivu, smeared with ashes ; having three eyes ; 
riding on a dog ; and holding in one hand a horn, and in the other 
a drum. In several places in Bengal this image is worshipped 

Shivu, under this name, is regent of Kashee, (Benares.) All 
persons dying at Benares are entitled to a place in Shivu's heaven ; 
but if any one violate the laws of the shastru during his residence 
there. Kalu-Bhoiruvu at death grinds him between two mill-stones. 

Sect. V. — Worship to cure the Itch and Scurvy. 

The goddess Sheetula is worshipped by the Hindoo females 
whenever their families are afflicted with the itch ; and the god 
Ghetoo (a black boiling pot) is worshipped to remove the scurvy or 
any kind of blotches on the skin. 

In the preceding sections of this work, the god Prit'hivee, 
regent of the earth, should have been noticed : he has no separate 
worship, but certain formulas are repeated in his name at all the 
great festivals. Vishnoo is revered as the Household God ; he 
is worshipped when a person enters a new house, or at any other 
time to procure the removal of family misfortunes. Doorga 
should have been mentioned also as the Village Goddess ; she 
is worshipped by the villagers in the month Asharhu, before a jar 
of water, when bloody sacrifices are offered. An annual festival is 
also held in each village in Asharhu, in honour of Vishnoo, Indru, 
Kooveru, and Lukshmee ; when the persons pay the first instalment 
of their rents. The land-owner is at the expense. 





Sect. I. — Urdhu-nareeshw&ru. 11 

Here Shivu and Doorga are united in one body, white and 
yellow. The origin of this image is thus given in the Lingu 
pooranu : — Shivu and Doorga after their marriage lived on mount 
Koilasu, where Doorga kept the house, cooked, and nursed her two 
children, Guneshu and Kartiku ; and Shivu supported the family 
as a mendicant. On a certain occasion, Shivu, having one day 
smoked intoxicating herbs to excess, was unable to go his daily 
rounds. Doorga informed him that there was nothing in the 
house ; that the family had eaten half of what was collected the 
day before, and that Guneshu's rat and Kartiku's peacock 1 had 
devoured the rest. After much altercation, Shivu left his hut, 
and Doorga, to avoid perishing for want, went to her father's, 
taking her children with her. On the way Narudu met her, and 
advised her to assume the form of the goddess TJnnu-po6rna, k and 
lay an embargo on all the food where Shivu would ask for alms. 
She did so ; and Shivu begged in vain for a handful of rice. Narudu 
at length meeting Shivu also persuaded him to return to his wife : 
Doorga received him with joy, and relieved his hunger ; which so 
pleased the old mendicant, that in pressing her in his arms both 
bodies became one. 

In the Radha-tuntru it is said, that Shivu and Doorga assumed 
this form in order to prove that Shivu' is the one Brumhu, in whom 
both the male and female powers are united. 

In one of the smaller Hindoo poems, a different account of the 
origin of this image is given : — Shivu, finding it Very difficult to 
procure a subsistence by the alms which he daily collected, especially 
as Doorga had ten mouths, and Gune'shu a very large belly, agreed 
with his wife, that they should assume one body, which would be 
supported with less labour. 

Notwithstanding this apparently close union of Shivu and 
Doorga, the Shivopa-khyanu, a poem, contains a story, in which 
Doorga is represented as quarrelling with Shivu in a fit of jealousy, 

h Urdhu, half ; naree, woman ; eeshwuru, a name of Shiva. 
1 GiSne'shfi rides on a rat, and KartikS on a peacock. 
k One of the forms of Doorga, as the regent of food. 



on account of his begging in that part of Shivu-pooru* 1 where the 
women of ill-fame live. — On another occasion, as related in the 
Ramayunu, a dreadful quarrel took place betwixt Shivu and Doorga, 
because Purushoo-ramu had beaten Kartiku and Guneshu, the two 
sons of Doorga. Another account of these quarrels is given both 
in the Ramayunu and the Muhabharutu : — Ramil's efforts to destroy 
Ravunu proving abortive, in consequence of the protection afforded 
the giant by Shivu, all the gods whom Ravunu had oppressed joined 
Eamu in supplications to Shivu : and on the seventh day, when 
Ravunu was to be slain, the gods resolved to be present ; and Shivu 
was about to join them, when Doorga interfered, and asked him how 
he could witness the destruction of his own disciple : that disciple, 
who had stood praying to him all day in the sultry weather, sur- 
rounded with four fires ; who had continued his devotions in the 
chilling cold, standing in the water ; and had persevered in his sup- 
plications, standing on his head in the midst of torrents of rain ? 
— Here she poured a volley of abuse upon Shivu, as a withered old 
fellow who smoked intoxicating herbs ; covered himself with 
ashes ; dwelt in cemeteries ; a beggar ; whose name would never be 
remembered ; — 'and dost thou think,' said she, > that I shall be 
present at such a sight ?' — Shivu could no longer smother his resent- 
ment, but reproached her in the severest terms, reminding her that 
she was only a woman, and knew nothing : and indeed that she did 
not act like a woman, for she was continually wandering from place 
to place ; engaged in wars ; was a drunkard ; spent her time with 
degraded beings ; killed giants, drank their blood, and hung the 
skulls round her neck. Doorga was enraged to madness by these 
cutting reproaches, so that the gods became alarmed, and intreated 
Kamu to join in supplications to Doorga, or there would be no 
possibility of destroying Ravunu. He did so, and so pleased the 
goddess by his flatteries, that she was at length brought to consent 
to the destruction of Ravunu. 

At the new or full moon, or on the 8th or 14th of the moon in 
any month, or on the last day of any calendar month, in the day, 
the usual ceremonies of worship are performed before this disgusting 
image, which is thrown into the water the succeeding day. The 
formulas are those used in the worship of Doorga, not of Shivu. 
Animals are slain and offered to the goddess. 

Sect, II. — Krishnu-Kalee. 

This scandalous image is worshipped annually at the total 
wane of the moon m in Kartiku, in the night. 

Of all the milk-maids that used to collect around him, Krishnu 

1 Shiva's heaven. 

m A very proper time for such a worship. Let neither sun nor moon shine on 

such deeds. 



was most charmed with Radha, the wife of Ayiinughoshu. When 
the attachment was first formed, the sister of Ayiinu-ghoshu saw 
them together, and informed her brother of the circumstance ; at 
which Radha became very much alarmed, assured Krishnu that her 
sister-in-law had seen her with him, and that her husband would 
certainty destroy her. Krishnu commanded her not to fear, adding, 
if her husband came, he would assume the form of Kalee, and she 
should be found in the act of worship. When her husband and others 
arrived, they found her thus employed, and joined her in her devo- 
tions. Could it be believed that such an abominable instance of 
adultery and treachery would be made the subject of worship? — yet 
so it is. Four images are made from this stroy,viz : Krishnu-Kalee, 
Radha, Ayunu-ghoshu, and Kootila, Ayftnu's sister. — Bloody sacri- 
fices are offered to this image ; but the worshippers of Krishnu are 
ashamed, when asked by the shaktus, if Krishnu has begun to 
drink blood ? 

Sect. lll.—Hnvee-Huru. 

Here Vishnoo (Huree) and Shivu (Hum) appear in one body ; 
the former is black, and the latter white. The image has four arms 
and two feet. 

The origin of this image is thus recorded in the Vishnoo 
pooranu : — Lukshmee and Doorga were once sitting together in the 
presence of Shivu, when Lukshmee contended that her husband 
(Vishnoo) was greater than Shivu ; which Doorga as firmly denied. 
Lukshmee said, her husband must be greatest, since Shivu had 
worshipped him. In the midst of this conversation, Vishnoo arrived, 
and to convince Lukshmee that both were equal, he immediately 
entered the body of Shivu, and they became one. 

Another account of the origin of this image is given in the 
Kashee-khundu, a part of the Sundu pooranu. — On a certain occa- 
sion, when Vishnoo and Shivu were conversing together, Shivu 
requested Vishnoo to assume the beautiful female form which he 
had formerly done at the churning of the sea : to which he consented ; 
when Shivu, overpowered with desire, pursued the flying beauty, 
till, overcome with fatigue, she hid herself behind a tree, and 
re-assumed the form of Vishnoo. Shivu, however, embraced Vishnoo 
with such eagerness, that the bodies of both became one . n 

The worship of this image takes place whenever any one 
pleases. Stone images in some places are continually preserved ; 
and in others a clay one is made, and worshipped, and afterwards 
committed to the river. 

n The reader need not be informed how much this story in its termination resem- 
bles that of the nymph Salmacis, who is said to have fallen excessively in love with a 
son of Mercury by his sister Venus. 



Raja Krishnu-chundrti-rayu expended fifty or sixty thou- 
sand rupees at the consecration of a stone image of Huree-Huru, 
which may be still seen at Gunga-vasu, near Nudeeya. While this 
raja lived, fifty rupees were daily expended in this worship ; yet, 
though a number of villages have been bequeathed to the god, the 
expense of the daily worship and offerings is less now than formerly. 
Few places in Bengal, however, can now boast of a temple at which 
fifty rupees are daily expended °. No bloody sacrifices are offered 
to this image. 

However shocked a professed Christian may be at reading such 
accounts, and however revolting to every feeling of modesty and 
decency these stories may be, the Hindoo philosophers have thought 
proper to perpetuate them, and in this image to personify lust itself. 
The bramhuns also bow down to this image as to a deity worthy of 

This expensefis incurred in the meat-offerings, consisting of rice, peas, salt, oil, 
ghee, butter, sugar, sweetmeats, fruits of different kinds, herbs, spices, betle nuts, &c. ; 
in the offerings of cloth, metal vessels, and other things ; and in the wages of the 
bramhuns and shoodrils employed. About ten bramhuns and fourteen shoodrijs con- 
stantl}' attend on the service of this image. 




Deified Men and Women. 

All the bramhuns, but especially the religious guides, 
(gooroo,) are objects of worship among the Hindoos, and have 
divine honours paid to them. The spiritual guide, in the estima- 
tion of the disciple, is literally a god. Whenever he approaches, 
the disciple prostrates himself in the dust before him, and never 
sits in his presence without leave. He drinks the water with 
which he has washed the feet of his gooroo, p and relies entirely 
upon his blessing for final happiness. I have heard some Hindoos 
speak with comparative contempt of all other ways of salvation. 
When the claims of the bramhuns to deity have been disputed by 
any one, I have seen the poor besotted shoodru prostrate himself 
at the feet of the nearest bramhun, and, raising his head, and 
closing his hands, say, 6 You are my god.' At the same time the 
character of the bramhun has perhaps been notorious for every 

The shastrus declare that the daughters of bramhuns, till they 
are eight years old, are objects of worship, as forms of the goddess 
Bhuguvutee ; and some persons worship these girls daily. The 
worshipper, taking the daughter of some neighbouring bramhun, 
and placing her on a seat, performs the ceremonies of worship ; 
in which he presents to her flowers, paint, water, garlands, 11 incense, 
and, if a rich man, offerings of cloth and ornaments. He closes 
the whole by prostrating himself before the girl. At the worship 
of some of the female deities also, the daughters of bramhuns 
have divine honours paid to them. 

The wives of bramhuns are also worshipped occasionally as an 
act of great merit. A man of property sometimes invites ten, 
twenty, or one hundred of these females, and repeating before 
them forms of prayer, praise, &c, worships them, and at the close 
entertains them with the offerings. This is frequently done at 

On the 14th of the decrease of the moon in Shravunu, at the 
time of the Savitree vrutu, the wives of bramhuns very generally 

p Doing reverence to the very feet of superiors prevailed among the Jews. Hence 
the woman washed the feet of Christ, and wiped them with the hair of her head. 
Paul was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel. 

i Both the Greeks and Romans, it is well known, used to adorn their images with 
garlands at the time of worship. 


worship their husbands. The worshipper, having placed a seat for 
her husband, and presented him with new garments, entreats him 
to be seated, and puts round his neck a garland of flowers. She 
then anoints his body with fragrant ointments, and performs before 
him the various ceremonies which belong to the worship of the 
gods. In presenting the offerings she says, regarding her husband 
as a form of Vishnoo, ' Oh ! husband, grant that I may long live in 
the marriage state, and never become a widow/ The husband 
then partakes of the offerings, and the wife having walked round 
him either three or seven times, the service ends. The origin of 
this ceremony is given in the Brumhu-voivurttu pooranu, but the 
story is too long for insertion. 

Many of the tuntrus, and particularly the Roodruyamulu, the 
Yonee-tuntru, and the Neelu-tuntru, contain directions respecting 
a most extraordinary and shocking mode of worship, which is 
understood in a concealed manner amongst the Hindoos by the 
name of Chukru. These shastrus direct, that the person who 
wishes to perform this ceremony must first, in the night, choose a 
woman as the object of worship. If the person be a dukshina- 
charee, he must take his own wife ; and if a vamacharee, the 
daughter of a dancer, a kupalee, a washerman, a barber, a chundalu, 
or of a Musulman, or a prostitute ; and place her on a seat, or mat : 
and then bring broiled fish, flesh, fried peas, rice, spirituous liquors, 
sweetmeats, flowers, and other offerings ; which, as well as the 
female, must be purified by the repeating of incantations. To this 
succeeds the worship of the guardian deity ; and after this, that of 
the female, — who sits naked. * * * * 

* * * ****** 

Here, things too abominable to enter the ears of man, and 
impossible to be revealed to a Christian public, are contained in 
the directions of the shastru. The learned bramhun who opened 
to me these abominations, made several efforts — paused and began 
again — and then paused again — before he could mention the shock- 
ing indecencies prescribed by his own shastrus. 

As the object of worship is a living person, she partakes of 
the offerings, even of the spirituous liquors ; and of the flesh, 
though it should be that of the cow. The refuse is eaten by the 
persons present, however different their castes ; nor must any one 
refuse to partake of the offerings. The spirituous liquors must be 
drank by measure ; and the company while eating must put food 
into each other's mouths. The priest then — in the presence of all 
— behaves towards this female in a manner which decency forbids 
to be mentioned ; after which the persons present repeat many 
times the name of some god, performing actions unutterably 
abominable : and here this most diabolical business closes. The 



The benefits promised to the worshippers are riches, absorption in 
Brumhu, &c. 

At present the persons committing these abominations (vama- 
charees) are becoming more and more numerous ; and in propor- 
tion as they increase, the ceremonies are more and more indecent. 
They are performed in secret ; but that these practices are be- 
coming very frequent among the bramhuns and others, is a fact 
known to all. Those who abide by the rules of the shastrus are 
comparatively few : the generality confine themselves chiefly to 
those parts that belong to gluttony, drunkenness, and whoredom, 
without acquainting themselves with all the minute rules and 
incantations of the shastrus. 





Sect. I. — The Cow. 

Brumha created the bramhuns and the cow at the same time : 
the bramhuns to read the formulas, and the cow to afford milk, 
(clarified butter,) for the burnt-offerings. The gods by partaking 
of the burnt-offerings are said to enjoy exquisite pleasure, and 
men by eating clarified butter destroy their sins. The cow is called 
the mother of the gods, and is declared by Brumha to be a proper 
object of worship. 

The shastru appoints that the images of the gods shall be 
anointed with milk, curds, clarified butter, cow-dung, and cows' 
urine, whereby they become free from impurity ; and all unclean 
places are purified with cow-dung. Indeed manjr bramhuns do 
not go out of the house in a morning, till the door-way has been, 
rubbed with cow-dung. 

The cow was created on the first of Voishakhu, and on this 
day, or on the second of the moon in Jyoisht'hu, she is worshipped 
annually. No image is used, but the worship is performed in the 
cow-house before a jar of water. The ceremonies are the same 
as those before the images of the gods : the prayers are 
necessarily peculiar to the object worshipped. The officiating 
bramhun, at the close of the service, reads the whole of the Chun- 
dee, a poem relating to the wars of Doorga. On the 13th of Phal- 
goonu, the milkmen paint the horns and hoofs of their cattle yel- 
low, and bathe them in the river. Persons strict in their religion 
worship the cow daily : after bathing, they throw flowers at her 
feet, and feed her with fresh grass, saying, ' O Bhuguvutee ! eat 
and then walk round her three or seven times, making obeisance. 

If you speak among Hindoos of eating the flesh of cows, they 
immediately raise their hands to their ears : yet milkmen, carmen, 
and farmers, beat the cow as unmercifully as a carrier of coals beats 
his ass in England ; and many starve them to death in the cold 
weather, rather than be at th e expense of giving them food. a Thus 
is the cow at once a beast of burden and a goddess. Some of the 
poor think themselves happy if they can support a cow, as by 
serving this animal they expect reward in a future state. If a man 
sell his cow, the shastrus threaten him with the torments of hell 
during as many thousand years as there are hairs on her body. 
If any one neglect to burn cow-dung, &c. in the cow-house, where- 

a In the year 1812, a bramhfin was convicted before the Magistrate of Serampore, 
of stealing from a relative a cow in calf, and offering this goddess for sale to a butcher* 


by smoke is raised, and the musquitoes prevented from hurting the 
cows, he will descend into the hell of musquitoes and gad-flies. 
The gift of a cow to a bramhun is an act of great merit. 

The dung of the cow is gathered and dried as fuel amongst the 
Hindoos. Some cows are of more value for their dung than for 
their milk ; tor the Bengal cow gives very little milk indeed, com- 
pared with the European cow. 

Sect. II. — The Monkey. 

The black-faced monkey, Hunooman, b the son of the god 
Puvunii, by TJnjiina, a female monkey, is believed to be an 
incarnation of Shivu. 

The Hindoos worship Hunooman on their birth-day to obtain 
long life, which they suppose this monkey can bestow, as he is 
immortal. In some temples his image is set up alone, and in 
others with that of Ramu and Seeta, and worshipped daily. The 
worship of Ramu is always preceded by a few ceremonies in honour 
of Hunooman. 

Stone images of Hunooman are kept in the houses of some of 
his disciples, and worshipped daily. The worshipper of this animal 
is promised every gratification he can desire. 

Many Hindoos receive the initiating incantation by which 
this monkey becomes their guardian deity. The mark which 
these disciples make on their foreheads is the same as that made 
by the followers of Shivu. 

About twenty years ago, Eeshwuru-chundru, the raja of 
Nudeeya, spent 100,000 rupees in marrying two monkeys/ when 
all the parade common at Hindoo marriages was exhibited. In 
the marriage procession were seen elephants, camels, horses richly 
caparisoned, palanqueens, lamps, and flambeaus ; the male monkey 
was fastened in a fine palanqueen, having a crown upon his head, 
with men standing by his side to fan him ; then followed singing 
and dancing girls in carriages ; every kind of Hindoo music ; a 
grand display of fireworks, &c. Dancing, music, singing, and every 
degree of low mirth, were exhibited at the bridegroom's palace for 

b Hunooman broke his cheek-bone by a fall from the sun's orbit ; and his nams 
is derived from hunoo, the cheek-bone. 

e There is nothing too filthy for idolatry : here the god of the winds pays his 
addresses to a monkey, as Jupiter is said to have done to a swan. 

d At this time none of these monkeys were to be seen about Nfideeya ; now they 
are so numerous that they devour almost all the fruit of the orchards, as the- 
inhabitants are afraid of hurting them. 


twelve days together- At the time of the marriage ceremony, 
learned bramhuns were employed in reading the formulas from 
the shastrus I 

Amongst men of sense the performance of the ceremonies of 
worship before the image of this monkey is attended with a degree 
of disgrace. I have heard of a quarrel between two bramhuns, 
one of whom was paid by a rich Hindoo to repeat the ceremonies 
of Hindoo worship before the image of Hunooman, daily, at his 
house: amidst the quarrel the other said. 'Thou refuse of 
bramhuns ! thou gainest a subsistence by worshipping a monkey/ 

Stories of this god. — When Hunooman first saw the rising 
sun, thinking it a ripe fruit, he leaped up to the residence of the 
god of day, and seized his chariot : Indru fearing Hunooman 
would swallow the glorious luminary, with his thunderbolt smote 
him to the earth, where he lay lifeless. His distracted mother 
applied to his father Puvtinu, who, enraged at the loss of his son, 
retired into an inaccessible chasm, and bound up the wind, till 
both men and gods began to perish. Briimha, Vishnoo, Shivu, 
and other gods now petitioned Puvunu ; but he refused them the 
privilege of breathing, unless they would make Hunooman im- 
mortal. Brumha then bestowed on Hunooman the water of life, and 
Puvunu restored to men and gods the vital air. — When ten years 
old, Htinooman was possessed of immense strength. He brought 
a stone, from a mountain, sixteen or twenty miles in circumfer- 
ence, and threw it into a pool of water where a number of sages 
were at worship. This raised the water, so that the sages, who 
had closed their eyes in the act of meditation, began to sink. After 
a few struggles they regained the land, and again sat down with 
closed eyes to their work. Himooman next took out the stone, 
and the waters retired ; and when the sages put out their hands 
to take up water for worship, they were again disappointed. 
Opening their eyes, they saw the water had sunk exceedingly ; and 
following it, again closed their eyes, and sat down. Hunooman 
again flung in the stone, and the sages began to sink. He con- 
tinued to repeat these frolics, till the sages, discovering the culprit, 
took away his strength. The sagacious monkey now began to 
natter the sages ; brought them fruits, &c. from the forest, and 
performed, with agility, every act of menial service. After three 
years they blessed him, and assured him that, when he should see 
Ramu upon mount Rishyumooku, he should obtain twice his former 
strength. — On a certain occasion Hunooman was resolved to put 
the strength of Bheemu to trial, as he was reputed to be so 
tremendous a giant : and lengthening his tail, he threw it across 
the path. As the Hindoos never stride across a person's body, or 
even his shadow, Bheemu requested Hunooman to take up his 
tail : but he complained he was grown old and could not. At last 
Bheemu stooped to lift it out of his way ; he tried at the end, and 


then at the middle, but found, giant as he was, he could not lift 
up this monkey's tail. Overcome with astonishment, he began to 
praise Hunooman, and at length prevailed on him to promise that 
he would help the Panduvus in their expected war with Dooryo- 

Sect. 111.— The Dog. 

Carries Kalu-Bhoiruvu, a form of Shivu, and therefore receives 
the worship of the Hindoos whenever his master is worshipped. 6 
I have heard also that there are many Hindoos in the west of 
Hindoost'hanu, who pay their devotions to the dog, and become 
his disciples. Though the dog is thus placed amongst the objects 
of worship, he is mentioned in the Muhabharutu as an unclean 
animal : ever} r offering which he approaches is rendered unaccept- 
able to the gods, and every one who touches him must purify him- 
self by bathing. 

Sect. IV. — The Shacked. 

The Tuntrus mention an incarnation of Doorga in the form of 
the shackal, when she carried the child Ivrishnu over the Yumoona, 
in his flight from king Kungsu. All the worshippers of the female 
deities adore the shackal as a form of this goddess, especially the 
vamacharees, who present offerings to him daily. Every worship- 
per lays the offerings on a clean place in his house, and calls the 
god to come and partake of them. As this is done at the hour 
when the shackals leave their lurking places, one of these animals 
sometimes comes and eats the food in the presence of the worship- 
per : this will not appear wonderful when it is considered, that 
the same animal finds food placed for him in this place every day. 
In temples dedicated to Doorga and other deities, a stone image 
of the shackal is placed on a pedestal, and daily worshipped. When 
a shackal passes a Hindoo, he must bow to it ; and if it pass on the 
left hand, it is a most lucky circumstance. 

Sect. V. — Other Animals worshipped. 

The elephant, the lion, the bull, the buffalo, the rat, the deer, 
the goat, &c. are worshipped at the festivals of the gods whom 
they respectively carry, that is, of Indru, Doorga, Shivu, Yunm, 
Guneshu, Puvunu, and Brumha. 

s The dog, it will be remembered, was consecrated to Mars. 





Sect. I. — Guroorti.* 

This god, with the head and wings of a bird, b and the rest 
of his body like that of a man, is called the king of the birds, and 
the carrier of Yishnoo. Vinuta, the wife of Kushyupu, the 
progenitor of gods and men, laid an egg, c and became the mother 
of this bird-god. As soon as Gurooru was born, his body expand- 
ed till it touched the sky ; all the other animals were terrified at 
him ; his eyes were like lightning ; the mountains fled with 
the wind of his wings, and the rays which issued from his body 
set the four quarters ^ of the world on fire. The affrighted gods 
sought the help of Ugnee, conceiving that Gurooru must be an 
incarnation of the god of fire. 

In consequence of a dispute betwixt Vinuta, the mother of 
Gurooru, and Kudroo, the mother of the serpents, respecting the 
colour of the horse procured at the churning of the sea, a continual 
enmity has subsisted betwixt the descendants of these females ; 
and Gurooru once obtained permission from one of the gods to 
devour all the serpents he could find. d 

The story of Gurooru' s becoming the carrier of Yishnoo is thus 
related in the Muhabharutu : — His mother in the above dispute 
having laid a wager, and being the loser, was reduced to a state 
of servitude to her sister ; and the serpents, wushing to become 
immortal, promised to liberate his mother on condition that 
Gurooru should bring Chundru, (the moon ;) whose bright parts, 
the Hindoos say, are filled with the water of immortality. Before 
Gurooru departed, he asked his mother for some food. She advised 
him to go to the sea shore, and gather up whatever he could see ; 
but conjured him to beware of eating a bramhun : adding, ' Should 
you at any time feel a burning heat in your stomach, be sure you 
have eaten a bramhun.' Thus instructed, he began his journey: 
at his flight the three worlds were agitated like the sea at the 
great deluge. Passing by a country inhabited by fishermen, he 
at one inspiration drew in houses, trees, cattle, men, and other 

a Some suppose Gurooru to be a large species of vulture, and others the 
gigantic crane. 

b Gnrooru in some degree resembles Mercury, viz., in his having wings, and 
being the messenger of Vishnoo, as Mercury was of Jupiter. 

c Jupiter is said to have been enamoured of the goddess Nemesis in the shape 
of a goose ; and that she laid an egg, from which was born Helena. 

d "When the Hindoos lie down to sleep, they repeat the name of Gurooru three 
times, to obtain protection from snakes. 



animals; but, among the inhabitants swallowed, one was a 
bramhun, who caused such an intolerable burning in his bowels, 
that Gurooru, unable to bear it, called, in the greatest haste, for 
him to come out. The bramhun refused, unless his wife, a 
fisherman's daughter, might accompany him ;"to which 'Gurooru 
consented. Pursuing his journey, Gurooru met his father Kushyupu, 
who directed him to appease his hunger at a certain lake where 
an elephant and a tortoise were fighting. The body of the tortoise 
was eighty miles long, and the elephant's one hundred and sixty. 
Gurooru with one claw seized the elephant, with the other the 
tortoise, and perched with them on a tree eight hundred miles 
high ; but the tree was unable to bear the ponderous weight, and 
unhappily thousands of pigmy bramhun s were then worshipping 
on one of its branches. Trembling lest he should destroy any of 
them, he took the bough in his beak, continuing to hold the 
elephant and tortoise in his claws, and flew to a mountain in an 
uninhabited country, where he finished his repast on the tortoise 
and elephant. Gurooru, having surmounted astonishing dangers, 
at last seized the moon, and concealed it under his wing : but on 
his return was attacked by Indru and other gods, all of whom, 
however, except Vishnoo, he overcame ; and even he was so 
severely put to it in the contest, that he came to terms with 
Gurooru, who was made immortal, and promised a higher seat 
than Yishnoo, while Gurooru on his part became the carrier of 
Vishnoo. Since this time Vishnoo rides on Gurooru ; while the 
latter, in the shape of a flag, sits at the top of Vishnoo's car. 

Gurooru is worshipped at the great festivals before the different 
images of Vishnoo ; but has no separate time of worship. His 
image is placed in the temples dedicated to various forms of 
Yishnoo ; and some persons receive his name as their guardian 
deity, and repeat it daily. 

Gurooru' s two sons, Sumpatee and Jutayoo, once flew, as a 
trial of strength, up to the sun ; but the wings of Sumpatee were 
burnt off. Gurooru resides in Kooshu-dweepu, one of the seven 
islands into which the Hindoos divide the earth. 

Names. — Guroomut, or, he who is clothed with feathers. — 
Gurooru, he who swallows [serpents, and throws up their bones.] 
Turkshyu, the father of Gurooru.— Yoinuteyu, from Vinuta.— 
Khugeshwuru, the lord of the feathered tribes. — Nagantuku, the 
destroyer of the serpents, (nagus.)— Vishnoo -rut' hu, the carrier of 
Vishnoo. — Soopurnu, he whose feathers are of the colour of gold. 
— Punnuga-shunu, the devourer of the serpents. 

Sect. II— Uroonti. 
The elder brother of Gurooru, is the charioteer of S65ryu, the 


sun ; and is worshipped with his master, as well as at the festivals 
of other gods. The image of this god is that of a man without 

Sect. III. — Jutayoo. 

This bird is the friend of Ramu, and is worshipped at the 
same festival with him. He is mentioned in the preceding account 
of Ramu. 

Sect. IV. — Shunkuru Chillu, or the Eagle of Coromandel. 

This is the white-headed kite, commonly called the bramhunee 
kite. It is considered as an incarnation of Doorga, and is rever- 
enced by the Hindoos, who bow to it whenever it passes them. 

Sect. V. — KhnnjunU or the Wag-tail. 

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

Sect. VI. — Other Birds worshipped 

The peacock, the goose, and the owl, e are worshipped at the 
festivals of Kartiku, Brumha, and Lukshmee. 

e If, however, the owl, the vulture, or any other unclean birds, perch upon the 
house of a Hindoo, it is an unlucky omen, and the effect must be removed by the per- 
formance of the following expiatory ceremony : ' If a vulture, a heron, a dove, an owl, 
a hawk, a gull, a kite, a Bhasha, or a Pundura, should settle upon a house, the wife, 
or a child, or some other person belonging to the master of the house, will die, or some 
other calamity will befal him within a year afterwards. To prevent this, the house, 
or its value in money, must be given to bramhfins ; or a peace- offering of an extraordi- 
nary nature must be offered : viz., five productions of the cow, the five gems, the five 
nectareous juices, the five twigs of trees, and the five astringents, are to be put into a 
pot of water ; the guardian deities of the quarters of the universe must then be wor- 
shipped, and an hundred and eight oblations of clarified butter must be made with a 
sacrificial piece of the wood of the Khadira tree, while the prayer of Mrityoonjityu is 
repeated. The oblation, called the muha-vyadhee homu, is to be performed at the 
commencement, or at the end of this ceremony. Oblations of clarified butter, at each 
of which the gayitree is repeated, are then to be made to Vishnoo, the nine planets, 
XJdbhootu, and the house-hold gods ; which being done, the bramhuns must be enter- 
tained with clarified butter and rice milk. The sacrificial fees must then be paid, and 
water sprinkled with appropriate incantations ; when an assurance that all has been 
duly performed being given, a prostration is made to the bramhiSns, and the benedic- 
tion received from them.' 





Trees are worshipped by the Hindoos as the forms of parti- 
cular gods : the ushwutu and vutu are representatives of Vishnoo, 
and the vilwu that of Shiva. The devout Hindoos worship them, 
water their roots, plant them near their houses, &c. The Hindoo 
females, who are never seen in the streets, plant a sacred tree 
within the compound, that they may not lose the merit of watering 
it in the sultry months. The female shoodrus, to honour the wives 
of bramhuns, carry water to these trees, and on a fortunate day 
make offerings to them. 

Sect. I. — The Toolusee* 

The Hindoos have no public festival in honour of this plant ; 
but they occasionally prostrate themselves before it, repeating a 
form of prayer or praise : they have great faith also in the power 
of its leaves to cure diseases, and use it with incantations to expel the 
poison of serpents. They plant it also before their houses, and in 
the morning cleanse the place around it with water and cow-dung ; 
and in the evening place a lamp near it. Throughout the month 
Yoishakhu they suspend a large pot over it filled with water, and 
let the water drop upon it through a small hole. Whenever any 
of these plants die, it is considered a sacred duty to commit them 
to the river ; and when a person is brought to the river side to die, 
his relations plant a branch of the toolusee near the dying man's 
head. A pillar, hollow at the top, is erected by many Hindoos, in 
which they deposit earth, and set the plant. They walk round 
these pillars and bow to the plant ; which actions are declared by 
the shastrus to be very meritorious. 

The origin of the worship of the Toolusee is thus related in 
the Vishnoo pooranu, and in the Toolusee-Mahatmu : — Toolusee, a 
female, was engaged for a long time in religious austerities ; and 
at length asked this blessing of Vishnoo, that she might become his 
wife. Lukshmee, Vishnoo's wife, hearing this, cursed the woman, 
and changed her into a- Toolusee plant ; b but Vishnoo promised, 
that he would assume the form of the shalgramu, and always con- 
tinue with her. The Hindoos, therefore, continually keep one leaf 
of the toolusee under and another upon the shalgramu. 

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

b Apollo changed the youth Cyparisgus into a cypres-.; tree. Daphne was changed 
into a laurel. 



Sect. II. — Other sacred Trees. 

The ushwuUu, vutu/ vukoolu, 6 limitukee/ amulukee/ vilwu, b 
and nimbu* trees receive divine honours from the Hindoos, and are 
set apart with the same ceremonies as are common at the setting 
up of an image of the gods. These ceremonies take place either at 
the time of planting the tree, or after the person has watered and 
nourished it for some time. An individual who consecrates an 
itshwuttu or a vutu, considering these trees as continuing to flou- 
rish many years, says, ' Oh ! Vishnoo ! grant that, for planting this 
tree, I may continue as many years in heaven as this tree shall 
remain growing in the earth V The person expects too, that as he 
has set apart this tree to afford shade to his fellow creatures, so after 
death he will not be scorched by excessive heat in his journey to 
Yumu, the regent of death. 

c Ficus religiosa. This and other trees are never injured, nor cut down, nor burnt 
by devout Hindoos. I was once informed by a bramhiSn, that his grandfather planted 
one of these trees near his house, which has now spread its branches so widely, that,, 
as my informant affirmed, 2,000 persons may stand under it ; and so much is this tree 
reverenced by his family, that they do not suffer its withered branches to be burnt,. 

d Ficus Indica, vulgarly called the banyan tree; 
e Mimusops elengi. f Terminalia citriua. 

s Phillanthus emblica. 11 JEgle marmelas. 

i Melia azodaracta* 




Rivers are to be placed among the objects of Hindoo wor- 
ship : k they are of both genders, Nudti and Nudee. The worship 
of these rivers is performed at auspicious seasons, as laid down 
in the shastru, and at some of the great festivals. Certain 
places also of these rivers arwpeculiarly sacred, and draw to them 
great numbers of devotees | as, the source of the Ganges ; the 
union of the Ganges, the Yumoona, and the Suruswutee at Pruy- 
agu; 1 the branching of this united river into three streams at 
Trivenee ; the place where the Ganges disembogues itself into the 
sea, &c. Their waters are used for food, bathing, medicine, religi- 
ous ceremonies, &c. and formerly when a Hindoo king was crown- 
ed, they were poured upon his head as a part of his consecration. 

SECT.,iI. Gunga. 

This goddess is represented as a white woman, wearing a 
crown, sitting on the sea animal Mukuru, and having in her right 
hand a water-lily, and in her left the lute. She is called the daugh- 
ter of mount Himavut, though some of the pooranus declare that 
she was produced from the sweat of Vishnoo's foot, which Brumha 
caught and preserved in his alms' dish. 

The grandfather of Beeshmu was one day performing religious 
austerities near the Ganges, when the goddess fell in love with 
him, and, in order to persuade him to a union, went and sat upon 
his right knee. He toJd her that the left knee was the proper 
place for the wife, and the right for the^son ; that therefore she 
should not become his, but be united tohts son : whose name was 
Santunoo. After Santunoo and Gunga had been married some 
time, she was about to leave him ; but consented to stay, on con- 
dition that she might kill all her children at their birth. When 
the first child was born, she threw it into the river, and so on 
to the seventh inclusive. As she was destroying the eighth, 
Santunoo forbad her, in consequence of which the child was saved, 
but^ she abandoned her paramour. The whole of this was to 
fulfil a curse pronounced by Yishnoo on the eight P*ods named 
U shtu-vusoo. 

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

1 It is ascertained, that there are six places of this name, five of which are situat« 
ed on the river Ulukannnda. — See Asiatic Researches, vol. xi, 


The Ramayunu, Muliablmrutu, and the Gunga-khundu, a part 
of the Skundu poorariu, give long accounts of the descent of 
Gunga from heaven : — Snguru, a king, having no children, entered 
upon a long course of austere devotions ; in the midst of which 
Bhrigoo appeared to him, and promised, that from the eldest 
queen should be born sixty thousand children, and from the other 
only a single child. After some time, the queen was delivered of 
a pumpkin ! which the king in anger dashed to the ground, when 
the fruit was broken, and, to his astonishment, he saw children 
rising from it ; and, calling sixty /thousand nurses, put each 
child into a pan of milk. The other wife had a son, whom they 
called Ungshooman. After these sons were grown up, the king 
resolved to perform once more the sacrifice of a horse before his 
death, and committed the victim to tne care of his sixty thousand 
sons. The person who performs this sacrifice one hundred times, 
succeeds to the throne of heaven. On this occasion the reigning 
Indru was alarmed, this being Suguxu's hundredth sacrifice. To 
prevent its taking effect, therefor&Jra descended to the earth, and 
assuming another form, privately carried off the horse, which he 
placed in patalu, near to Kupilu, a sage. The sixty thousand sons, 
after searching throughout the eWfh in vain, began to dig into 
patalu, c where the}^ found the horse standing by the side of Kupilu, 
who was absorbed in his devotions. Incensed at the old man, 
whom they supposed to be the thief, they began to beat him ; 
when, awaking from his abstraction of mind, he reduced them all 
to ashes. The king for a long time heard no more of his sons ; 
but at length JSTarudii informed him of the catastrophe. He then 
v sent his son Ungshooman down to the sage, who delivered up the 
horse, and informed the king, that if he could bring the goddess 
Gunga from heaven,' 1 his sons might be restored to him. The king 
offered the sacrifice, and placing Ungshooman on the throne, took 
up his residence in a forest as a hermit, where he died. Ungshoo- 
man, in his turn, m^kin^jhis son Dwileepu his successor, died also 
in a forest. Dwileepu two wives, but no children ; he there- 
fore abdicated the throne, and embracing the life of a hermit, 
sought of the gods a son, and the deliverance of the sons of 
Suguru. Shivu promised him, that by means of his two queens a 
son should be born. These women lived together, and after some 
time the youngest had a son, whom they called Bhugeerut'hu ; e 
who, however, was only a mass of flesh. Though greatly moved at 
the sight of such a child, thev nreserved it, and in time it grew 
up to manhood. One day Ushtu-vukru, a moonee, who was 

c The Hindoo Avriters say, tliat the seven seas were thus formed by the sons of 
Suguru. Some accounts add, that not finding a place large enough to contain the earth 
which they thus dug up— they devoured it ! 

d Or, as it is explained, if he could perform the funeral rites for these sixty thou- 
sand persons with the efficacious waters of the Ganges, they would be delivered from 
the curse, and ascend to heaven. 

8 This story is so extremely indelicate, that it is impossible to translate it. 



hump-backed, and wriggled in walking, called to see these females ; 
when Bhu geeVut'hu, in rising to salute the sage, trembled and. 
wriggled in such a manner, that TTshtu^&ru, thinking he was 
mocking him, said, ' If thou canst not help wriggling thus, be a 
perfect child ; but if thou art mockinpfme, be destroyed.' The 
boy immediately became perfect, and fflWage gave him his bless- 
ing. When Bhngeerut'hu was grown up, he addressed his prayers 
to different gods for the restoration of his sixty thousand rela- 
tions — but in vain ; at length Brumha, moved by his piety, gave 
him a single drop of the water, and Yishnoo giving him a shell 
which he blew, Gunga followed him. As she had to fall from 
heaven to earth, Bhugeemt'hu was afraid lest the earth should be 
crushed by her fall : wherefore Shivu, standing on mount Himaviit, 
caught Gunga in his bunch of matted hair, and detained her there 
for some time ; but at length suffered one drop to fall on the 
mountain : and from thence, on the tenth of the increase of the 
moon in Jyoisht'hu, the goddess touched the earth, and whichever 
way Bhugeerut'hu went blowing the conch, there Gunga followed 

Several very curious circumstances happened to Gunga as she 
passed along. In one place she ran near Junhoo, a sage, and 
washed away his mendicant's dish, the flowers for worship, &c. 
upon which he, in anger, took her up, and swallowed her. At 
the in treaties of Bhugeerut'hu, however, the sage let her pass out 
at his thigh, on which accept Gunga received the name of 
J anhuvee. 

On they went, till Gunga asked Bhugeerut'hu where these 
sixty thousand relations were whom she was to deliver. He being- 
unable to inform her, she, to make sure of their deliverance, at the 
entrance of the sea, divided herself into one hundred streams/ and 
ran down into patalu ; where, as soon as the waters of Gunga 
touched their ashes, they were delivered from the curse, and 
ascended in chariots to heaven. 

When G^nga was brought from heaven, the gods, conscious 
that their sins also needed washing away, petitioned Brumha on 
the subject, who soothed them by promising that Gunga should 
remain in heaven, and descend to earth also. This goddess, 
therefore was called Mundakinee in heaven, Gunga on earth, and 
Bhoguvutee in patalu. 

All casts worship Gunga, yet most of the ceremonies at the time 
of the daily ablutions, with the exception of some forms of praise to 
this goddess, are in the name of Shivu and other gods. The Hin- 
doos particularly choose the banks of this river for their worship, 
as the merit of works performed here, according to the promise of 

f The mouths of the Ganges. 



the shastrus, 8 becomes exceedingly augmented. In Voishakhu, 
Jyoisht'hu, Kartiku, and Maghu, the merit is greater than in 
other months ; and ^^ie full moon in these months is still more 
enhanced. In every month, on the first, sixth, and eleventh of 
the moon, and at its tot^l wane also, bathing in Gunga is much 

On the third of the moon in Voishakhu, a few Hindoos per- 
form the ceremonies of worship by the side of the river, under the 
expectation that the benefits will be undecayable : such is the pro- 
mise of the smritee shastrus. 

On the 10th of the moon's increase in Jyoisht'hu, in the fore- 
noon, the Dushuhura festival is held, in commemoration of Gunga's 
descent to the earth. Crowds of people assemble from the different 
towns and "villages near the river, especially at the most sacred 
places of the river, bringing their offerings of fruit, rice, flowers, 
cloth, sweetmeats, &c, and hang garlands of flowers across the river, 
even where it is very wide. After the people have bathed, the 
officiating bramhun ascends the banks of the river with them ; and 
after repeating sungkulpu, 11 places before him a jar of water, and 
sitting with his face to the north or east, perfoms what his called 
ghutu-st'hapunuV After this, the bramhun performs other cere- 
monies, as asunu shoodhee, k ungu-nyasu, 1 kurangu-nyasu, 1 bhoot- 
sho5dhee, m dig-vundhunu, n bhoot-otsartinu, &c. then the worship 
of the five gods ; of the nine planets ; of the regents of the ten 
quarters, &c. To this succeeds meditation, manusu, p &c. ; the priest 
next presents the offerings, which may be sixty-four, or eighteen, 
or sixteen, or ten, or five, or merely flowers and water, according 
to the person's ability. To these offerings, the worshipper must 
add sesamum, clarified butter, and barley-flour. The officiating 
bramhun next performs the worship of Narayunu, Muhe'shwuru, q 

g ' He who thinks upon Gttnga, though he may be 800 miles distant from the 
river at the time, is delivered from all sin, and is entitled to heaven. — At the hour of 
death, if a person think upon Gunga, he will obtain a place in the heaven of ShiviS. 
— If a person, according to the regulations of the shastru, be going to bathe in. 
Gunga, and die on the road, he shall obtain the same benefits as though he had 
actually bathed. —There are 3,500,000 holy places belonging to Gunga : the person 
who looks at Gunga, or bathes in this river, will obtain all the fruit which arises 
from visiting all these 3,500 000 holy places. — If a person who has been guilty of 
killing cows, bramhiins, his gooroo, or of drinking spirits, &c. touch the waters 
of Gunga, desiring in his mind the remission of these sins, they will be forgiven. — By 
bathing in Gunga, accompanied with prayer, a person will remove at once the sins 
of thousands of births. 1 — Gunga- Vakya- Vulee. 

h An incantation, at the time of repeating which the person promises to attend to 
certain ceremonies. 

1 The ceremonies performed at the setting up of an image. Here the jar of water 
is the image, before which the worship of any of the gods may be performed. 

k Purifying the seat. 1 Ceremonies accompanied with motions of the fin- 

gers. m Purifying the five elements of which the body is composed. n Bind- 
ing the ten quarters, to prevent evil spirits from arriving to defile the worship. 

Driving away the evil spirits. p Going over all the ceremonies in the mind, 

1 Shivtt. 



Brumha, SooryiS, Bhugeerut'hu, and Himaluyu ; then the worship 
of the inhabitants of the waters, as the fish, the tortoises, the frogs, 
the water-snakes, the leeches, the snails, 1, the mukurus> the shell- 
fish, the porpoises, &c. The offerings, after having been presented 
to the inhabitants of the waters, are thrown into the Ganges. 
Ten lamps of clarified butter are then lighted up, and all the other 
offerings presented. After this, the names of certain gods are re- 
peated, with forms of praise ; the fee is presented to the priest, the 
bramhuns are entertained, and the offerings sent to the houses of 
bramhuns. At the close of these ceremonies the people perform 
obeisance to Gunga, and then depart. Great multitudes assemble 
on the banks of the river on these occasions, and expect much both 
in this life and hereafter from this act of worship. If a person, 
placing on his head ten fruits of any kind, thus immerse himself 
in the Ganges on this day, the sins of ten births will be removed. 

In this month also clay images of Gunga are set up in domes- 
tic temples, and worshipped, and the next day thrown into the 
river. In some places clay images of this goddess are preserved in 
clay temples, and worshipped daily. Persons escaping dangers on 
water present offerings to Gunga, as well as to Vuroonu, the Indian 
Neptune ; as mariners, having escaped the dangers of the sea, used 
to offer a sacrifice to Venus. 

On the thirteenth of the decrease of the moon in Choitru, the 
people descend into the water, and with their hands joined immerse 
themselves ; after which the officiating bramhun reads a portion of 
the shastru, describing the benefits arising from this act of bathing. 
The people repeat after the priest certain significant words, as the 
day of the month, the name of Vishnoo, &c, and then immerse 
themselves again. Gifts of rice, fruits, and money are offered to 

r This strongly reminds us of the lines of Juvenal, Satire xv, 

' Who has not heard, where Egypt's realms are nam'd, 

What monster gods her frantic sons have fram'd ? 

Here Ibis gorg'd with well-grown serpents*, there 

The crocodile t commands religious fear : 

Where Memnon's statue magic strings inspire 

With vocal sounds that emulate the lyre ; 

And Thebes (such, Fate, are thy disastrous turns !) 

Now prostrate o'er her pompous ruins mourns; 

A monkey-god £ , prodigious to be told ! 

Strikes the beholder's eye with burnished gold : 

To godship here blue Triton's scaly herd, 

The river progeny is there preferr'dll : 

Through towns Diana's power neglected lies, 

Where to her dogs§ aspiring temples rise : ! 

And should you leeks or onions eat, no time 

Would expiate the sacrilegious crime. 

Religious nations sure, and blest abodes, 

Where every orchard is o'errun with gods !' 

* See Gurooru. t The Hindoos throw their children to the alligators. £ Hunoomaa, 
S See the account above, § See a preceding article. 



the poor, the bramhuns, and the priest. On this occasion groups 
of ten or twelve persons stand in the water in one spot, for whom 
one bramhun reads the formulas. These groups are to be seen ex- 
tending themselves very far along the river. At the moment of 
the conjunction of the moon (on the thirteenth of its decrease) 
with the star Shutubhisha, this festival is called the Great Varoo- 
nee. The merit arising from bathing at this lucky moment is sup- 
posed to be very great ; the people fast till the bathing is over. 
When there is a conjunction as above, and the day falls on a 
Saturday, the festival is called the Great, Great Varoonee. 8 

The pooranus declare, that the sight, the name, or the touch 
of Gunga takes away all sin, however heinous ; that thinking of 
Gunga, when at a distance, is sufficient to remove the taint of 
sin ; but that bathing in Gunga has blessings in it of which no 
imagination can conceive. 

So much is this river reverenced among the Hindoos, that many 
bramhuns will not cook upon it, nor throw saliva into it, nor wash 
themselves nor their clothes in it.* Some persons perform a 
journey of five or six months to bathe in Gunga, to perform the 
rites for deceased relations, and to cany this water to place in their 
houses, for religious and medicinal uses. The water of this river 
is used also in the English courts of justice to swear upon, as the 
koran is given to Musulmans, and the New Testament to Chris- 
tians ; but many of the most respectable Hindoos refuse to 
comply with this method of making oath, alleging that their 
sha,stras forbid them in these cases to touch the water of the 
Ganges/ the shalgramu, or a bramhun. When such cases occur 
in the courts, the judges very candidly permit the person, if of 
good character, to give his evidence in a way consistent with his 
peculiar prejudices, as, after bathing, &c. and standing with his 
face to the east. The Hindoo courts formerly admitted a person's 
evidence without an oath ; and when a cause could not be deter- 
mined by evidence thus given, they resorted to the ordeal. It is 
not uncommon for one Hindoo to say to another, ' Will you make 
this engagement on the banks of Gunga t The other replies, 
' I engage to do what I have said ; but I cannot call Gunga to 
witness it/ If a person utter a most audacious lie, while near or 
upon the Ganges, the person to whom he is speaking says, ' Are you 

s At the time of many of the festivals, the sides of the Ganges, in many places, 
are gaily illuminated ; and lights fastened on boards, plantain stalks, &c. or put in 
earthen pots, are floated down the stream. 

k In the work called Valmeekee-moonee, amongst many other forms of praise to 
be offered to Gunga, is the following : — ' goddess, the owl that lodges in the hollow 
of a tree on thy banks is exalted beyond measure ; while the emperor, whose 
palace is far from thee, though he may possess a million of stately elephants, and 
may have the wives of millions of conquered enemies to serve him, is nothing.' 

u Many persons refuse to contest causes in which large sums are at stake, 
under the fear that they may be constrained to make oath on the waters of the Ganges. 


not afraid of uttering such a falsehood in the presence of Gunga ?' 
A third person perhaps adds, as a continuation of the reproach — ■ 
i Not lie ; he has been guilty of discharging his urine into Gunga, 
even at Pruyagu.' 

Morning and evening the Hindoos visit and look at this river 
to remove the sins of the night or of the day ; when sick they 
smear their bodies with the sediment, and remain near the river 
for a month perhaps. Some of course recover, and others die : a 
Hindoo says, that those who have a steady faith and an unwaver- 
ing mind, recover ; the rest perish. 

The Hindoos are extremely anxious to die in the sight of the 
Ganges, that their sins may be washed away in their last moments. 
A person in his last agonies is frequently dragged from his bed 
and friends, and carried, in the coldest or in the hottest weather, 
from whatever distance, to the river side ; where he lies, if a 
poor man, without a covering day and night till he expires : with 
the pains of death upon him, he is placed up to the middle in the 
water, and drenched with it. Leaves of the toolusee plant are 
also put into his mouth ; and his relations call upon him to 
repeat, and repeat for him, the names of Bamu, Huree, Narayunu, 
Brumha, Gunga, &c. In some cases the family priest repeats 
some incantations, and makes an offering to Voiturunee, the river 
over which the soul, the}^ say, is ferried after leaving the body. 
The relations of the dying man spread the sediment of the river 
on his forehead or breast, and afterwards with the finger write on 
this sediment the name of some deity. If a person should die in 
his house, and not by the river side, it is considered as a great 
misfortune, as he thereby loses the help of the goddess in his 
dying moments. If a person choose to die at home, his memory 
becomes infamous. The conduct of Raja Nuvu-krishnu of 
Nudeeya, who died in his bed -room about the year 1800, is still 
mentioned as a subject of reproach, because he refused to be carried 
to the river before death. 'Ah ! Ah !' say the superstitious, when 
a neighbour at the point of death delays the fatal journey to the 
river, ' he will die like Raja Nuvu-Krishnu.' 

Dead bodies are brought by their relations to be burnt near 
this river ; and when they cannot bring the whole body, it is not 
uncommon for them to bring a single bone and cast it into the 
river,* under the hope that it will help the soul of the deceased. 

x Many persons, whose relations die at a distance from the Ganges, at the time 
of burning the body preserve a bone, and at some future time bring this bone and 
commit it to Gunga, supposing that this will secure the salvation of the deceased. 
The work called Kriya-yognsariS contains the following curious story : — A brainhiin, 
Avho had been guilty of the greatest crimes, was devoured by wild beasts ; his bones 
only remained. A crow took up one of these bones, and was carrying it over Gunga, 
when another bird darting upon it, the crow let the bone fall. As soon as the bone 
touched Gunga, the bramhiin sprang to life, and was ascending to heaven, when the 
messenger of Yumu, the judge of the dead, seized him, as a great sinner. At this 


In the eastern parts of Bengal, married women, long disap- 
pointed in their hopes of children, make an offering to Gunga, and 
enter into a vow, that if the goddess will give them two children, 
they will present one to her : and it is not uncommon for such 
women to cast the first chi]d into the river as an offering ; "but it 
is said, that at present some relation or religious mendicant stands 
ready to preserve the life of the child. The mother cannot take it 
again, but this person adopts and provides for it. These offerings 
are made on the tenth of the moon in Jyoisht'hu, and on the 13th 
of Choitrii. 

Some persons even drown themselves in the Ganges, not 
doubting but they shall immediately ascend to heaven. The 
shastru encourages this. y It is a sin for a bramhun, but an act of 
merit in a shoodru or a dun dee, if he be in worldly trouble, or 
afflicted with an incurable distemper. The Gunga-Vakya-Vulee 
says, ' Should any person have eaten with another who is degrad- 
ed for seven successive births ; or have committed the five sins, 
each of which is called muha-patuku ; should he have eaten the 
food which has been touched by a woman in her courses ; or have 
constantly spoken falsely ; or have stolen gold, jewels, &c. ; should 
he have killed the wife of his friend ; or have injured bramhuns, 
or friends, or his mother, &c. ; or have committed the sins which 
doom a man to the hell called Muharouruvu ; or have committed 
those sins for which the messengers of Yumu constantly beat a 
person ; or have committed multitudes of sins in childhood, youth, 
and old age ; — if this person bathe in Gunga at an auspicious period, 
all these sins will be removed : he will also be admitted into the 
heaven of Brumha, the Pururn-hungsee ; be put in possession of 
the merits of the man who presents, a lac of red cows to a bram- 
hun learned in the four vedus ; and afterwards will ascend and 
dwell at the right hand of Vishnoo. After he has enjoyed all this 
happiness, and shall be re-born on the earth, he will be possessed 
of every good quality, enjoy all kinds of happiness, be very honour- 
time Naray ami's messengers interfered, and pleaded, that the sins of this man, since 
one of his bones had touched Gnnga, were all done away. The appeal was made to 
Vishnco, who decided in the tramhun's favour. The bramhiin immediately went to 

y The Skundu pooranu declares, that by dying in the Ganges, a person will obtain 
absorption into Brumhii. The same work contains a promise from Shivu, that who- 
ever dies in Gunga shall obtain a place in his heaven. — The Bhuvishyu pooranu affirms 
that if a worm, or an insect, or a grass-hopper, or any tree growing by the side of 
Gunga, die in the river, it will obtain absorption into Brumhu. — The Briimhu pooranix 
says, that whether a person renounce life in Gunga, praying for any particular benefit, 
or die by accident, or whether he possess his senses or not, he will be happy. If he 
purposely renounce life, he will enjoy absorption, or the highest happiness ; if he die 
by accident, he will still attain heaven.— -Munoo says, 'A mansion with bones for its 
rafters and beams ; with nerves and tendons for cords ; with muscles and blood for 
mortar ; with skin for its outward covering ; filled with no sweet perfume, but loaded 
with faeces and urine ; a mansion infested by age and by sorrow, the seat of malady, 
harassed with pains, haunted with the quality of darkness, and incapable of standing 
long ; such a mansion of the vital soul let its occupier always cheerfully quit.' 


able, &c. He who shall doubt any part of this, will be doomed to 
the hell called Koombhee-paku, and afterwards be born an ass. If 
a person, in the presence of Giinga, on the anniversary of her arri- 
val on the earth, and according to the rules prescribed in the 
shastrus, present to the bramhuns whole villages, he will obtain 
the fruits that arise from all other offerings, from all sacrifices, from 
visiting all the holy places, &c. ; his body will be a million times 
more glorious than the sun ; he will obtain a million of virgins, 
and multitudes of carriages, palankeens, &c. covered with jewels ; 
he \*ill dwell for ages in heaven, enjoying its pleasures in company 
with his father; as many particles, of dust as are contained in the 
land thus given away to the bramhuns, for so many years will the 
giver dwell in happiness in Vishnoo's heaven.' 

Every real Christian must be deeply affected on viewing the 
deplorable effects of this superstition. Except that part of the 
rig-ve'du which countenances the burning of women alive, no writers 
ever gave birth to a more extensive degree of misery than those 
who have made the Ganges a sacred river. Thousands, yea mil- 
lions of people are annually drawn from their homes and peaceful 
labours, several times in the year, to visit different holy places of 
this river, at a great expense of time, and money spent in making 
offerings to the goddess ; expensive journeys are undertaken by 
vast multitudes to obtain the water 2 of this river, (some come two 
or three months' journey for this purpose,) or to carry the sick, the 
dying, the dead, or the bones of the dead, to its banks. What the 
sick and dying suffer by being exposed to all kinds of weather in 
the open air on the banks of the river, and in being choked by the 
sacred water in their last moments, is beyond expression. In short, 
no eyes, , but those of Omniscience, can see all the foul deeds done 
upon and by the sides of this river ; and the day of judgment alone 
can bring all these deeds to light. The bramhun will then see, 
that instead of Gunga's having removed the sins of her worshippers, 
she has increased them a million -fold. 

Sect. II. — Other deified Rivers. 

The Godavuree, the Nurmuda, the Kaveree, the Atreyee 
the Kurdtoya, the Bahooda, the Gomutee, the Suruyoo, the 
Gundiikee, the Varahee, the Churmun-wutee, the Shutudroo 
the Yipasha, the Goutumee, the Kurmitnasha, the Shonu, a the 
Giravutee, the Chundrubhaga, the Vitusta, the Sindhoo, the 
BLudra-vukasha, the Punusa, the Devika, the Tamrupurnee, the 
Tcongubhudra, the Krishna, the Vetruvutee, the Bhoiruvu, the 
Biumhu-pootru, b the Voiturunee, and many other rivers, are 
mentioned in the Hindoo shastrus as sacred. 

z Many thousands perish by the dysentery, and o.thers through want, in these 

» This is a male river. b Ditto. 



At the full moon in Asharlm, many thousand Hindoos assemble 
at Prutapu-guriS, a place to the west of Lucknow, and bathe in the 
Godavuree, or in the remains of it, (for at this season of the year 
this river is nearly dried up.) 

On the last day of Choitru, a large assembly of Hindoos meet 
at Moduphuru-poorn, about sixteen miles from Patna, where the 
Gundakee, the Suruyoo, and the Ganges meet. b The assembly 
remains eight days, and a large fair is held on the spot, at which 
horses, camels, and other beasts, and also children, are bought 
and sold : the price of a boy is from ten to twelve rupees ; That 
of a girl is less. 

On the same day a large concourse of Hindoos, some say as 
many as 20,000, principally women, assemble at "Oyodhya, to 
bathe in the Suruyoo. 

On the 14th of the decrease of the moon in Phalo;oonu, an 
equal number of people are said to meet on the banks of the 
Suruyoo at Buh ur uin-gh atu, near Lucknow : but they do not 
bathe in the river, the water of which is very filthy, but in a 
sacred pool adjoining. 

On the banks of the Yumoona, on the second of the moon in 
Kartiku, and on the eighth of the decrease of the moon in Bhadru, 
vast crowds of Hindoos assemble in different places to bathe. 

The Brumhu-pootru receives the same honours on the eighth 
of the increase of the moon in Choitru. At a place three days' 
journey from Dacca 50 or 60,000 people assemble, and sacrifice 
pigeons, sheep, and goats, casting them into the river. Children 
are also cast into the river here by their mothers, but are generally 
rescued and carried home by strangers. Superstitious people say, 
that on this day the river gradually swells so as to fill its banks, 
and then gradually sinks to its usual level. 

The Voiturunee, in Orissa, is also placed among the sacred 
rivers, and on the thirteenth of the decrease of the moon in Choitru, 
great multitudes of Hindoos, (six or seven hundred thousand,) 
assemble at Yaju-pooru, near the temple of Jugunnat'hu, and 
bathe in this river. 

Many other rivers receive the same honours ; c and I could 
have greatly enlarged this account, in detailing their fabulous 
histories, and in noticing the superstitious ceremonies of this 
deluded people on their banks : but what I have here inserted, 
and the preceding account of Gunga, must suffice. 

b There are several causes why particular places of these rivers are esteemed 
peculiarly sacred. Some of these causes are given in the shastrus, and others arise from 
tradition. One instance of the latter occurs respecting Voidyvuatee, a place near 
Serampore, where Nimaee, a religious mendicant, performed his devotions, and where 
at present, at a conjunction of particular stars, multitudes assemble to bathe. 

c See Asiatic Researches. 





ViSHNOO, having been incarnate in the form of a fish, is worship- 
ped on certain occasions, or rather a form of praise is repeated in 
honour of this incarnation. 

In the preceding account of Gunga it will also be seen, that the 
finny tribes of that river are worshipped at the festivals in honour 
of this goddess. 

I am informed, however, that female Hindoos, residing on the 
banks of the Pudmu, on the 5th of the increase of the moon in Maghu, 
actually worship the Ilishu fish, Avhen they first arrive in the river, 
with the usual ceremonies, and after that partake of them without 
the fear of injuring their health. 



The Hindoos have deified their shastrus, which, on different 
occasions, they worship with the same ceremonies as an idol, 
anointing the book with perfumes, and adorning it with garlands. 

At the reading of any part of the vedus, the Chundee, and other 
works, the book to be read is always addressed as an idol. At such 
times the worshipper thus prays to the book : ' Oh ! book ! thou art 
the goddess of learning, bestow learning upon me.' 

When an individual employs a bramhun to recite to his family 
and neighbours the Muhabharutu, Ramayunu, Shreebhaguvutu, 
or any other pooranu, the worship of the work recited is performed 
on the first and last days at considerable length, many offerings 
being presented : each day's recital is also preceded by a short 
service paid to the book. 

At the festival in honour of the goddess Suruswutee any one 
of the shastrus is adopted and worshipped, joined with the pen 
and inkstand. 

The followers of Vishnoo, and especially the mendicant 
voiragees, pay a still greater reverence than the regular Hindoos to 
the books they esteem sacred. These books relate to the amours 
of Krishnu, or to the mendicants Choitunyu and Nityanundu. 

A book placed on a golden throne, and presented to a bramhun, 
is a very meritorious gift. 




The Shalgramu 11 . 

This is the setites, or eagle-stone, of which there is a great 
variety, and to which many virtues were ascribed by the ancients. 
When I shewed a picture of the eagle-stone to a bramhun who was 
sitting with me, without informing him what it was, he exclaimed 
■ — ' This is the shalgramu !' and added, (jocularly,) ' Oh ! then, 
Englishmen will be saved, as they have the shalgramu amongst 

This stone, black, hollow, and nearly round, is said to be 
brought from mount Gundukee, in Nepaul. It is added, that in 
this mountain there are multitudes of insects which perforate the 
masses of stone, so that' pieces fall into the river Gunduku in the 
shape of the shalgramu, from whence they are taken with nets. 
Common ones are about as large as a watch. They are valued 
according to their size, their hollowness, and the colours in the 
inside ; and from these circumstances they are called by different 
names.The chief sorts are called Lukshme3-Narayunu,R"Sghoonat'hu, 
Lukshmee, Jimardunu, Vamunu, Damoduru, b &c. These different 
shalgramus are worshipped under their different names. The first 
is sometimes sold for as much as two thousand rupees. The Hin- 
doos have a notion, that whoever keeps in his house this celebrated 
stone, and a shell called dukshina-vurtu, c can never become poor ; 
but that the very day in which any one parts with one of them,; 
he will begin to sink into poverty. Almost every respectable 
bramhun keeps a shalgramu, as do some sho5drus. The bramhun 
who does not keep one is reproached by his neighbours. 

The reason why this stone has been deified is thus given in 
the Shree-bhaguvutu : — Yishnoo created the nine planets to preside 
over the fates of men. Shunee (Saturn) commenced his reign by 

a From sharu and gramu, which, indicates that this stone makes the place 
excellent in which it is preserved, as the Muhabhariitu is said to purify the places in 
which it is read : hence bramhuns are forbidden to enter a village where the 
Muhabhariittt is not found, as such place is pronounced unclean. 

b The Hindoos say, that this last shalgramu requires large offerings of food to 
be preseuted to it ; and that a bramhun, who had begged one of them, and neglected 
to feed it sufficiently, was brought to ruin, this god having swept away nearly his 
whole family by death. Many stories of this kind are related of this stone. Though 
a single grain of rice was never known to be eaten by an image, yet the Hindoos 
firmly believe this and similar stories, against all the evidence of their senses for 
hundreds of years together. Gopalu, a learned bramhun employed in the Serampore 
printing-office, declared that one of these stones had been placed in his house by a 
relation, who attributed his family misfortunes to its powers. 

c A shell, the convolutions of which turn to the right. Vishnoo is said to hold 

a shell of this kind in his hand. 


proposing to Brumha, that he should first come under his influence 
for twelve years. Brumha referred him to Vishnoo, but this god, 
equally averse to be brought under the dreaded influence of this 
inauspicious planet, desired Saturn to call upon him the next day, 
and immediately assumed the form of a mountain. The next day 
Saturn was not able to find Vishnoo, but discovering that he had 
united himself to mount Gundukee, he entered the mountain in 
the form of a worm called vujru-keatu. c He continued thus to 
afflict the mountain- formed Yishnoo for twelve years, when Vish- 
noo assumed his proper shape, and commanded that the stones of 
this mountain should be worshipped, and should become proper 
representatives of himself ; adding, that each should have twenty- 
one marks in it, similar to those on his body, and that its name 
should be shalgramu. 

The worship of any of the gods may be performed before the 
shalgramu, and it is often adopted as the representative of some 
god. It claims no national festival, but is placed near the image 
worshipped, and first receives the devotions of the Hindoos. The 
shalgramu is also worshipped daily by the bramhuns, after morn- 
ing ablutions : they first bathe or wash the stone, reading the 
formulas ; and then offer flowers, white lead, incense, light, sweet- 
meats, and water, repeating incantations : the offerings, after 
remaining before it a short time, are eaten by the family. In the 
evening, incense, light, and sweetmeats are offered, preceding 
which a bell is rung, and a shell blown ; and the whole is closed 
by the priest's prostrating himself before the stone. 

During the month Voishakhu, bramhuns suspend a pan of 
water every day over the shalgramu, and, through a small hole at 
the bottom, let the water fall on it, to preserve it cool during this 
month, which is one of the hottest in the year. This water is caught 
in another pan placed beneath, and drank in the evening as holy 
water. When the country is in great want of rain, a bramhim in 
some instances places the shalgramu in the burning sun, and sits 
down by it, repeating incantations. Burning the god in the sun 
is said to be a sure way of obtaining rain. 

Some persons, when sick, employ a bramhim to present single 
leaves of the toolusee plant, sprinkled with red powder, to the 
shalgramu, repeating incantations. A hundred thousand leaves 
are sometimes presented. It is said, that the sick man gradually 
recovers as every additional leaf is offered. When a Hindoo is 
at the point of death, a bramhun shews him the marks of the 
shalgramu, the sight of which is said to secure the soul a safe pas- 
sage to Vishnoo's heaven. 

In a work called Shalgramu-nirnuyu an account is given of 
the proper names of the different shalgramus ; the benefits arising 

c Literally, the thunder-bolt worm. 



from their worship ; the kinds of shalgramus proper to be kept 
by persons in a secular state, and also by the religious. 

A separate room, or house, or a particular spot in the room 
where the family dwell, is assigned to this god. Some persons 
keep one, others ten, others a hundred, and some even as many as 
a thousand of these stones. 

The shalgramu is rendered impure by the touch of a shoodru d 
and in such cases must be purified by rubbing it over with cow- 
dung, cow's urine, milk, ghee, and curds. If a small part of the 
shalgramu be broken off, the owner commits it to the river. The 
bramhuns sell these stones, but trafficing in images is dishonorable. 

[The shalgramu is the only stone deriving its deity from 
itself: all other stones worshipped are made sacred b}^ incanta- 
tions. For an account of them, see a succeeding article relative 
to the Hindoo images.] 



The Pedal. 

This is a rough piece of wood, (termed dhenkee,) generally 
the trunk of a tree, balanced on a pivot, with a head something 
like a mallet ; it is used to separate the rice from the husk, to 
pound brick-dust for buildings, &c. A person stands at the farthest 
end, and with his feet presses it down, which raises up the 
head ; after which he lets it fall on the rice, or brick-ends. One 
of these pedals is set up at almost every house in country places. 

The origin of this worship is thus given : — A religious guide, 
being called upon to give the initiating incantation to one of his 
disciples, commanded him to repeat the word dhenkee, dhenkee. 
Narudu, the god of the dhenkee, pleased with the disciple, visited 
him, riding on a pedal, and gave him as a blessing another incan- 
tation, by which he immediately became perfect, and ascended 
to heaven. 

The pedal is worshipped at the time of marriage, of investiture 
with the poita, of giving the first rice to a child, and at any other 
particular time of rejoicing. The women are the worshippers. It 
is also worshipped in the month Voishaklm by all castes of females, 
not excepting the wives of the most learned bramhuns ; who con- 
secrate it by putting red, white, or yellow paint, and also some 
rice, doorva grass, and oil on its head. 

About twenty years ago, the raja of Nulu-danga, Muhendru- 
devu-rayu, spent three hundred thousand rupees in a grand 
festival in honour of this log of wood. At the close of the festival, 
the raja took a firebrand, and set all the gilded scenery on fire, 
and thus finished this scene of expensive folly and wickedness. 

d So are all other images that have been consecrated. 








The Hindoo temples in Bengal, though different in shape, are 
nearly of the same description of architecture : they are very in- 
inferior, it is true, to the sacred edifices in Europe ; but some of 
these buildings are in a better style than might have been expected 
from a people so little advanced in the arts. 

Sect. 1. — Of different Kinds of Temples. 

The Mitndiru* dedicated to the lingu, is a double-roofed 
Gothic building, the body square, but the upper part short and 
tapering to a point. It contains one, two, three, or more rooms, 
about three cubits by four, with a porch in front for spectators. 
The centre room contains the lingu ; in the others are placed the 
utensils for worship, the offerings, &c. — Small square temples for 
the lingu, with flat roofs, are erected in rows facing the houses of 
rich men, or before a college, a consecrated pool of water, another 
temple, or a flight of steps descending into the river. Similar 
temples in honour of Guneshu are to be seen in some places. Very 
small temples like the Mundiru, only three or five cubits high, and 
containing a lingu about a foot in height, have been erected at 

The DeooltC 3 temples, sacred to Jugunnat'hu, rise from the 
foundation in a gradual slope like a sugar loaf, with an iron image 
of Gurooru on the pinnacle. These temples, made of brick, are 
ascended by a flight of steps, and contain only one room. 

The PUnchu-rUtnil temple has two or three rooms, and a 
single-arched roof, with a large pinnacle or turret on the dome, and 
a smaller one on each corner. It is dedicated to the different forms 

a Milndinl means any edifice of brick or stone ; but custom has appropriated it 
almost exclusively to the temples of the lingii. 

b Corrupted from devalayil, i. e. } devil, a god, alitytlj a house. 

r Having five turrets. 



of Vishnoo, as Radha-bullubhu, Gopalu, Mudunu^mohunu, Govin- 
dhu, &c. The temple called Nuvu-rUtn^ dedicated also to the 
various forms of Vishnoo, has a double roof like the Mundira, with 
a small turret on each corner of the lower roofs, and on the upper 
one a larger ^turret to crown the dome. It contains four or five 
rooms. At Ugru-dweepu, the temple of Gopee-nat'hu has different 
houses attached to it ; one for cooking, another for the utensils 
used in worship ; another is a store-house for the offerings, and two 
others are open rooms for the accommodation of visitors and 

The Vishnoo-mtindiru, having one room, with a partico in 
front, is a flat-roofed building, erected either within or without the 
wall which encloses a Hindoo house, or at a little distance from 
the owner's house ; and sometimes by the side of the Ganges, when 
the person's house is near the river. A few temples may be 
seen, having three rooms ; one of which is the god's hall of audience, 
another his dining room, and the third his room for sleeping. 

Another kind of temple, with a flat roof, is often erected by 
rich Hindoos adjoining to their houses, and called Chundee-mun- 
dtipti, and is designed for the image of Doorga or Kalee. This is 
built on four sides, with an area in the middle. The image is 
placed at the north end, with its face to the south ; the two sides, 
and the north end, in most cases, contain upper rooms with porticos 
beneath. The room which contains the image is about ten cubits 
long and sixteen broad : the other rooms are open in front with 
arched doorways ; and in these the visitors sit to see the ceremo- 
nies of worship, hear the singing, &c. 

The Yoru-bangala is made like two thatched houses or ban ga- 
las, placed side to side ; and has what is called in England a 
double-pitched roof, generally covered with tiles or bricks. The 
front is open without doors. These temples are dedicated to dif- 
ferent gods, but are not now frequently built in Bengal. 

The Hindoos have another sacred edifice, called Rasumunchti, 
in which the image of Krishnu is annually placed and worshipped. 
This building is octagonal, with eight turrets at the corners, and 
a steeple in the centre supported by pillars ; and consists of one 
room, open on all sides, and elevated five or six feet from the 
ground. On the nights of the rasu festival, the image is brought 
and placed in this elevated open room, there worshipped, and 
afterwards carried back to the temple adjoining to the owner's 
house. The Dolu-munchu is a similar building, but is sometimes 
made larger. 

A great number of small clay and thatched buildings are erected 
in Bengal, in which the images of Siddheshwuree, Krishnoo. 

d Having nine turrets. 



Kamu, &c. are set up. The roofs of these buildings are sloping, 
like the huts of the poor in Europe. 

Images of some of the inferior deities are placed under trees, 
and these trees become as it were temples for worship. 

In some few towns a number of different temples are built in a 
square. I once saw a BevaLuyn of this kind at Chanchra, in 
Jessore, which contains twenty-one temples and as many gods. 
One thousand acres of ground are attached to this place ; one 
bramhun perform the ceremonies ; six others cook for these gods ; 
four others gather flowers, and bring the articles for the daily 
worship. Nimaee-mulliku, a goldsmith of Calcutta, built and 
endowed this place. Similar devaluyus are to be seen at Krishnu- 
nuguru, e Gunga-vasu, Shiu-nivasu,Bmuhu-nuguru f , Natoru, Poonte\ 
Somra h , Bho5-koilasu, Gooptu-para, and at many other places in, 
Bengal. — Raja Chundru-rayu, of Patulee, is said to have built two 
hundred of these devaluyus, at each of which two or three hundred, 
people are daily fed. The relict of raja Tiluku-chundru, of Burdwan, 
erected one hundred and eight temples in one plain, and placed in 
them as many images of the lingu ; attaching to them eleven bram- 
hun s and inferior servants, and endowing the temples with estates 
to the amount of the wap;es of the attendants. 

Before many temples is seen a roof, supported by pillars, 
under which portions of the shastrus are recited or sung, and at 
other times animals for sacrifice slaughtered. In general, however, 
the singing and dancing at the festivals take place under an 
awning in the open air, near some temple, or near the person's 
house who bears the expense. The long periods of dry weather in 
this climate render this practicable ; nor would the heat allow of 
such large assemblies meeting in houses, even if buildings suffici- 
ently large could be constructed. This accounts for the Hindoo 
temples being so small in the inside : many of them, especially 
those of the lingu, are only large enough to contain the image, the 
offerings, the utensils of worship, and the officiating priests. 

Much of the wealth of the Hindoo kings was formerly expend- 
ed in building temples, and supporting splendid festivals. At 
present, those who erect these temples in Bengal are principally 
the head-servants of Europeans, who appropriate part of their 
gains to these acts of supposed merit. 1 

e These belong to Gireeshu-chiSndri^the raja Nuvii-dweepn. 

f This first place is in Moorshudabadii, and belongs to raja Vishoonat'hu, as* doe» 
that at NatorS. 

s This belongs to raja Bhoovunu-t'hakooru. 

h This place is the property of Ram-sunkuru-rayu, a voidyil. 

1 The capitol, or temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, was raised in consequence of a 
vow made by Tarquinius Priscus in the Sabine war. 



The expense of erecting one of these temples, if a single room, 
amounts to about two hundred rupees ; and the wages and daily 
offerings to one image are about three rupees per month. Some 
give the bramhun who officiates twelve annas, and others a rupee 
monthly, with his food and clothes. Sometimes the offerings are 
given to him, but in other cases they are presented to the bram- 
hnns of the village alternately, and the priest has money given him 
in their stead. These offerings frequently consist of a pound of 
rice, a pint of milk, half an ounce of sugar, and two plantains. 
The quantity, however, is not prescribed ; and other things are 
added by the wealthy. 

Sect. II. — Dedication of Temples. 

When a Hindoo has erected a temple, he appoints a day to 
dedicate it to some god. The following account of the dedication 
of one hundred and eight temples to Shivu, some years ago, at 
Talitu, in the district of Burdwan, by the mother of Tejush-chun- 
dru, the raja of Burdwan, will give an idea of the manner in which 
this ceremony is performed. 

The foundation of these temples being about to be laid, a place 
was dug in the earth about a cubit square, into which water was 
poured, and a brick placed in the hole ; after which the worship of 
the household god, (Yishnoo,) of Vuroonu, and the lingu, was per- 
formed. At the close of the worship, a flower was thrown into the 
water, the floating of which to the right was considered as a good 
omen, and decided the point that the temple should be raised on 
that spot. The following prayer was then addressed to this brick : 
' As long as the earth and mountains remain, so long do thou 
remain immoveable.' After the temples were nearly finished, many 
bramhuns and the relations of the queen were invited, and on an 
auspicious day the ceremony of consecration was performed. An. 
altar was raised before each temple, and four priests chosen for 
each altar ; who, purifying them, performed the worship of the 
five gods, k the nine planets, the ten guardian deities of the earth, 
and of Shivu, Vishnoo, and Doorga. To this succeeded the 
burnt-sacrifice. One hundred and eight officiating priests then 
celebrated the worship of Shivu, while sitting at the doors of the 
temples. A person, in the name of the queen, next made a present 
to the builder, and hinted to him that she now wished to conse- 
crate these temples to Shivu. The trident of Shivu was next 
worshipped, and fixed on the steeple. The princess then, sitting 
in an enclosure below the steps of one of the temples, in the 
presence of one of the priests and her attendants, devoted these 
temples to Shivu, saying, ' O Shivu ! I present to thee these one 
hundred and eight temples, made of brick : may I be rewarded 

t Brumha, Vishnoo, Shivu, Gfin^shu, and Sooryit 



with an everlasting residence in heaven.' In making this offering, 
a number of minute ceremonies took place. The princess next 
sent one of her relatives to perform the worship of Indru near a 
bamboo, bearing a trident, with a flag fastened thereto. The same 
person, after professing to animate one hundred and eight wooden 
images of the bull, worshipped them, and placed them in the 
temples thus dedicated. A representative of the princess next 
walked round the temples three times : — (the princess herself 
began to perform the ceremonies of circumambulation, but being 
very corpulent, she resigned it to one of the priests.) — One 
hundred and eight priests, bringing garlands 1 and the other articles 
used in worship, now performed the worship of the lingu in the 
temples. At the close of these ceremonies, the princess presented 
a rupee to each of the four hundred and thirty -two officiating 
bramhuns, and one hundred and eight rupees to her own private 
priest, who also obtained the offerings. She also presented twelve 
kinds of offerings to Shivu, among which were vessels of gold, 
silver, and other metals, cloths, &c. An entertainment to the 
bramhuns succeeded, and at length the guests were dismissed with 
presents from among the offerings, or in money, from ten to fifty 
rupees each bramhun. One hundred thousand rupees, it is said, 
were expended upon these buildings." 1 

The ceremonies are nearly similar to the above when idols 
are dedicated and set up in temples ; when pools or trees are 
consecrated to the public use ; when cars are presented to some 
god ; and when a person is finishing the ceremonies of a vrutu 
or vow. 

Sect. III. — Endowment of temples. 

The worship in some temples is conducted, and the offerings 
supplied by the family which has erected the temple ; but in 
others by a hired bramhun, who receives monthly wages : the 
offerings are in general distributed among the bramhuns of the 

To a temple particularly celebrated, rich men make grants of 
houses, sometimes of whole villages ; and of lands, orchards, pools, 
&c. to a large amount ; and the produce of these grants is applied 
to the uses of the temple. 

The temple of Radha-bullubhu at Bullubhu-pooru, about twelve 

1 At the time of worship the priest always puts upon the image a garland of 
flowers. This seems to have been practised among other idolaters : for when the 
priest of Jupiter came to worship Paul and Barnabas, (Acts xiv. 13.) he brought oxen 
and garlands. No doubt the latter were inteuded to be put upon the heads or necks 
of the apostle and his companion, the persons about to be worshipped. 

m Te*jush-chilndril has since built one hundred and eight temples at Umbika 
and dedicated them to Shivn. 



miles north of Calcutta, has been endowed with lands, houses, &c. 
to the annual amount of 3,000 rupees, by Raja Muvu-Krishnu ; 
which is divided among sixteen families of bramhuns. 

The temple of Jugunnat'hu at Muhe'shu, about the same dis- 
tance from Calcutta, has been endowed with lands, &c. to the 
annual amount of 1,400 rupees, by Raja Anundu-Chundra-Rayil 

The temple of Gopee-nat'hu at Ugru-dweepu has been endow- 
ed with lands, &c. to the annual amount of 6 or 7,000 rupees, by 
Raja Krishnu-Chundru-Rayu. 

The temple of Jugunnat'hu in Orissa has been endowed by 
several rich Hindoos : Raja Ram-Krishnu-devu gave two villages, 
the rents of which bring in about 4,000 rupees annually : Nimoo- 
mulliku of Calcutta gave daily one rupee, or 365 annually ; and 
his children continue the donation. Other rich men make similar 
annual presents. It is supposed that not less than 100,000 rupees 
a year are drawn from the Hindoos by the bramhuns of this 



The images of the Hindoo gods are made either of gold, silver, 
quicksilver mixed with the powder of tin, brass, copper, iron, mixed 
metal, n crystal, stone, wood, or clay. The common workmen in 
gold, silver, brass, &c. make these images. 

The images made of gold are generally those of Doorga, Luksh- 
mee, Radha, Krishnu, and Suruswutee ; which are kept in private 
houses, and worshipped daily. These images must not not be less 
in weight than one tola ; p they are generally three or four. 

The image of Sheetula is often made of silver, kept in the 
house, and worshipped daily. It is as heavy as ten or twelve 

n Containing, as the Hindoos say, eight ingredients, viz., gold, silver, tin, copper, 
iron, zinc, lead, and brass. 

The shastrtis allow images to be made of no other substances than these. The 
image of Shunee alone is made of iron. 

p Three tolas are rather more than one ounce. At Kidderpooru, adjoining 
to Calcutta, is a golden image of Putitil-pavunee, two cubits high. Near Serampore, 
is a golden image of Jugudhatree, about a cubit and a half high. 



The images of Shivu only are made of quicksilver and 
crystal. They are very small, and are kept in the houses of the 
rich, and used for daily worship. 

Small brazen images of many of the gods are kept in private 
houses, and worshipped daily. These are very small, weighing 
only an ounce or two. 

Very small copper images of Sooryu, and of Shivu riding on a 
bull, are preserved in private houses, and worshipped daily. 

The images of mixed metal are those of Radha, Doorga, 
Lukshmee, Shivu, &c. The images of any of the gods may be 
made with this mixed metal ; and may be worshipped either in 
private houses or in temples. 

The images of all the gods and goddesses may be made of 
stone : the greater number are placed in temples ; a few small 
ones are found in private houses. All images of stone are worship- 
ped daily : the greater number are of the lingu, or the various 
forms of Vishnoo. A few exist of the lingu nine or twelve cubits 
high. q The mendicant followers of Vishnoo carry small images of 
Krishnu with them in their peregrinations, which are from one to 
two cubits high. All the stone images in Bengal are of black 
marble ; but there are some at Benares which are white. The 
sculpture on these stones is in much the same state of perfection 
as that to be seen in the oldest churches in England, These stones 
are brought into Bengal from the upper provinces, and cut by men 
who are to be found in all the great towns, and to whom it is an 
employment. Some stone images are miraculously found under 
ground. 1- See p. 125. 

The nimbxr 5 tree supplies the images of Vishnoo in his different 
forms ; also of Doorga, Radha, Lukshmee, Shivu, Gurooru, Choi- 
tunyu, &c. None of the wooden images are kept in private 
houses, but in separate temples. They are generally from one to 
three cubits in height. 

All the images which, after worship, are thrown into the 
water, are of clay baked in the sun, about four cubits high : the 
images of the lingu, made daily and worshipped, are immediately 
thrown away. In some places, clay images of Kartiku, twenty-one 
cubits high, are set up, and after the festival jjommitted to the river. 
The images of Doorga, SiddheVhwuree, Unnu-poorna, Krishnu, 
Punchanunu, Shust'hee, Munusa, Dukshinu-rayu, &c. are however 
constantly preserved in temples. The Hindoo potters are the prin- 

i An image of the lingu is set up at Benares, which six men can hardly grasp. 

r An image of Cybele is said to have fallen from heaven into a certain field in 

Melia azadarachta, 



cipai god-makers, though many other castes, and even Musulmans, 
follow this employment, The maker first takes a board, and raises 
upon it a little frame-work, to which he fastens bamboos covered 
with straw, for the back-bone, the arms, legs, &c. Round these he 
lays clay mixed with cow-dung, chaff, and straw, which he suffers 
to dry. Having made the head of clay, he lays it to dry, and 
afterwards joins it to the trunk Very carefully. He again clothes 
the body, arms, and legs, with more cow-dung and clay, and covers 
the whole with a cloth, that it may not crack. When ready, he 
carries it to the person's house who may have ordered it, and, ac- 
cording to the size, obtains two, four, seven, or eight rupees for it. 
Sometimes the maker paints it at his own house, which costs two, 
three, four, or five rupees more. 

The evening before the consecration, the person at whose 
temple this image is to be set up, brings twenty-two different 
articles, among which are fruits, flowers, gold, silver, rice, a stone, 
turmeric, sugar, cow-dung, clarified butter, a shell, peas, red 
powder, &c. With all these things the officiating bramhun 
touches the forehead and other parts of the image, repeating in- 
cantations. This is called udhivasu, or inviting the goddess to 
come and dwell in the image. The next day, eyes and a soul 
(pranu) are given. No one reverences the image till this work is 

When an image of Doorga is to be consecrated, in addition to 
the above ceremonies, a plantain tree is brought, and bathed either 
in the house, or in the river. At this time the service occupies 
about an hour : after which the tree is clothed like a woman, with 
two vilwu. fruits for breasts ; and nine sorts of leaves, smeared with 
red paint, are hung round the neck. The trees, from which these 
leaves are taken, are said to have assisted in different wars the 
deities whose images accompany that of Doorga. The Hindoo 
shastrus make no hesitation in giving tongues to stones, or making 
trees into soldiers. It may be allowed in a romance ; yet the 
modern Hindoos are silly enough to believe most gravely that all 
this is the very truth. They say, ' Why not ? God can do every 

If a woman, a dog, or a shoodra touch an image, its godship 
is destroyed, and the ceremonies of deification must be again per- 
formed. A clay image, if thus defiled must be thrown away. 
There are degrees of impurity imparted by the touch of different 
animals. Breaking the hand or foot of an image is an evil omen. 
If an image be unequal in any of its parts, or if the eyes be made 
to look, upwards or downwards, and not straight forwards, some- 
thing evil will befall the owner. If it be set up with ease, the 
spectators declare, that god himself is pleased. 

Godship of Images tried. — By performing a ceremony called 



shora, it is imagined, a person may obtain the power of ascertaining 
whether the deity dwell in an image or not. In this ceremony, 
which must be repeated during fifteen days and nights, the devotee 
bathes an image of the goddess Vipureetu-prutyungira with milk, 
curds, clarified butter, cow's dung, and cow's urine ; worships it, 
having on red garments; and repeats the initiating incantation of 
this goddess ten thousand times. In the night, he walks round 
the image, in a triangular manner, one hundred and eight times, 
prostrating himself after every circumambulation. On the last 
day, the ceremonies are continued to a greater extent, and the 
burnt-sacrifice is added. When such a person bows to an image, 
if the deity dwell not in it, it will break to pieces A person of 
Krishnu-nuguru is mentioned as having obtained this power : 
he bowed to an image ©f Mudunu-Mohunu, at Vishnoo-pooru ; 
when the image became bent in the neck, and continues so to this 
day. At Re'boona, a village near Balasore, several stone images 
are said to have been broken by a man named Kalaparhu, who 
bowed to them. 



The Poorohitu. — Every bramhun may perform the ceremonies 
of his religion. The priest, called a poorohitu, is, however, called 
in to assist in the shracldhu, the ten ceremonies called sungskaru, 
in those at the offering of a temple, at the different vrutus, at the 
festivals, and at a burnt-sacrifice ; and he is sometimes called to 
fast, and bathe, in the name of another. A man of property in 
some cases, unwilling to fast himself, gives his poorohitu a rupee 
to do it for him ; and, in the cold weather, he gives him a fee, to 
bathe for a month, and perform the ceremonies connected with 
bathing, instead of himself. Some rich men retain a family priest, 
who receives the fees and separate presents of cloth, sweetmeats, 
rice, fruits, &c. as his reward. 

Any bramhun, who is acquainted with the different formulas 
of worship, may become an officiating priest. In some cases, one 
person is priest to a thousand families ; but he employs assistants, 
and gives them a stipulated share of the perquisites. If the 
priest do not arrive in time, or if he blunder in performing the 
ceremonies, the person employing him reproves him. When 
several families have the same priest, and wish to perform certain 
ceremonies on the same day, the priest is sure to offend, and never 
fails to be told of his partiality to one family, and neglect of the 
other. These priests are generally very avaricious, and take care 




to have their full share of the presents at the close of a ceremony, 
The amount of the fees depends upon the ability and generosity 
of the person who employs the priest ; who is not unfrequently 
very much dissatisfied with what he receives, and complains to 
others, that ' the duties at such a man's house are very heavy, 
but that he gives only a very trifling fee, and no more of the 
offerings than a crow might eat.' This man subsists upon the fees 
aud offerings, engaging in no other employment. 

The higher orders despise a bramhun who becomes priest to 
shdodrus, and refuse to eat with him. Such a person can only be 
priest to one caste, and is called the joiners' bramhun, or the 
blacksmiths' bramhun, &c. 

The yogees, (mostly weavers,) the ehandalus, and the basket- 
makers, have priests of their own castes, and not from among the 

The shastrus point out the proper qualifications of a poorohitu, 
which are similar to those of a spiritual guide, mentioned in a 
following article. Some enjoy this office by hereditary succession. 
When a person, immediately after the performance of a religious 
ceremony in his family, meets with success in his connections or 
business, he not unfrequently attributes his prosperity to his 
priest, and rewards him by liberal presents. On the other hand, 
if a person sustain a loss after employing a new priest, he lays it at 
the door of the priest. If at a bloody sacrifice the slayer happen 
to fail in cutting off the head at one blow, the priest is blamed 
for having made some blunder in the ceremonies, and thus produc- 
ing this fatal disaster. 

The Acharyu. — The person who taught the ve'dus used 
to be called acharyu ; and at present the bramhun, who reads a 
portion of them at the time of investiture with the poita, is called 
by this name ; as well as the person who reads the formularies at 
a sacrifice. This latter person is generally the poorohitu, but he 
then assumes the name of acharyu. A considerable number of 
bramhuns are qualified to discharge the duties of an acharyu ; and 
any one thus qualified may perform them, without any previous 
consecration or appointment. Twenty or thirty rupees is the 
amount of the fee of the acharyu at festivals. 

The Sudushyu. — The Sudushyu regulates the ceremonies of 
worship, but is not employed on all occasions : he is however gene- 
rally engaged at the festivals ; at the first shradhu after a person's 
death ; at the dedication of images, temples, flights of steps, ponds, 
&c. At the reading of the pooranus also he attends, and points 
out where the reading or the copy is defective. He receives a fee 
of ten or fifteen rupees, and sometimes as much as one hundred 
and fifty. On extraordinary occasions, five or ten sudushyus are 



The Brtimha sits near the lire at the time of a burnt-offering 
and supplies it with wood. The fee to this person is five rupees in 
cases where the Sudushyu receives fifteen ; to which is added a 
gift*of rice, &c. 

The Hota throws the clarified butter on the fire in the burnt- 
offering, repeating the proper formulas. He receives the same fee 
as the acharyu. 

w The four last-mentioned persons divide the offerings presented 
to Ugnee, and are worshipped at the commencement of a sacrifice ; 
when rings, poitas, clothes, seats of cloth, or wood, pillows/ awn- 
ings, brass and copper vessels, &c. are presented to them. 

The Hindoo priests wear their usual dress during the perform- 
ance of any ceremony. 

Other priests. — A number of persons are employed as assistants 
to the priests : as, the Yuroo, who gathers flowers to present to the 
image, sweeps the temple, &c. The person who buys and collects 
the things for the offerings is called TJdhikaree ; he who performs 
the ceremonies of worship is called Poojuku ; he who cooks for the 
image, Pachuku ; he who recites the pooranu in an assembly is 
called Pat'huku ; he who holds the book and corrects the reading 
and the copy, Dharuku ; he who hears the words, as the represen- 
tative of the person who is to enjoy the merit arising from the 
hearing of these stories, is called Shrota ; and he who repeats in 
the evening the meaning of what has been read in the day, 



The daily ceremonies in the temples erected in honour of 
Shivu are as follows : — In the morning the officiating bramhun, 
after bathing, enters the temple b and bows to Shivu. He then 
anoints the image with clarified butter or boiled oil ; c after which 
he bathes the image with water which has not been defiled by the 
touch of a sh5odru, nor of a bramhun who has not performed his 
ablutions, by pouring water on it, and afterwards wipes it with a 

napkin. He next grinds some white powder in water, and, dipping 


* The rich Hindoos sit with a large pillow placed at their backs. 
b Pulling off his shoes at the bottom of the steps. 

c The Greeks used to smear the statues of their gods with ointments, and *iorn 
them with garlands. 

- # 





the ends of bis three fore-fingers in it, draws them across the lingu, 
marking it as the worshippers of Shivu mark their foreheads. He 
next sits down before the image, and, shutting his eyes, meditates 
on the work lie is commencing ; then places rice and d55rva grass 
on the lingu ; next a flower on his own head, and then on the top 
of the lingu ; then another flower on the lingu ; then others, one 
by one, repeating incantations ; he then places white powder, 
flowers, vilwu leaves, incense, meat offerings, and a lamp before the 
image ; also some rice and a plantain : he next repeats the name 
of Shivu, with some forms of praise ; and at last prostrates him- 
self before the image. These ceremonies, in the hands of a secular 
person, are concluded in a few minutes ; a person who has sufficient 
leisure spends an hour in them. In the evening the officiating 
bramhun goes again to the temple, and after washing his feet, &c. 
prostrates himself before the door ; then opening the door, c he 
places in the temple a lamp, and, as an evening oblation, presents 
to the image a little milk, some sweetmeats, fruits, &c. when, fall- 
ing at the feet of the image, he locks the door, and comes away. 

At the temple of Shivu, ,on the 14th of the increase of the 
moon in Phalgoonu, in the night, a festival in honour of Shivu is 
kept : the image is" bathed four times, and four separate services 
are performed during tJie night. Before the temple, the worship- 
pers dance, sing, and revel all night, amidst the horrid din of their 
music. The occasion of thi^ festival is thus related in the Bhuvish- 
wu-pooranfi : — A bird-catcher, detained in a forest in a dark night, 
' climbed a vilwu tree under which was an image of the lingu. By 
shaking the boughs of the tree, the leaves and drops of dew fell 
upon the image ; with which Shivu was so much pleased, that he 
declared, the worship of the lingu on that night should be received 
as an act of unbounded merit. 

The worship at the temples in honour ^pf the different 
forms of Vishnoo, is nearly the same as thatr at the temples 
of the lingu. Very early in the morning the officiating bram- 
hun, after putting on * clean apparel, and touching the purify- 
ing water of the Ganges, comes to the temple to awake the 
god. He first blows a shell and rings a bell ; then presents water 
and a towel,- and mutters certain prayers, inviting the god to 
awake, &c. The offerings made to the forms of Vishnoo are much 
greater in quantity than those presented to Shivu. About noon, 
fruits, roots, soaked peas, sweetmeats, &c. are presented to the 
image ; and after this, that which answers to the English idea of 
dinner, consisting of boiled rice, fried herbs, spices, &c. Vishnoo 
neither eats flesh, fish, nor fo^l. After dinner, betle nut, &c. in 
leaves of the betle vine, are given to be chewed. The god is then 

c It is reported of some Hindoo saints, that when they went to the temple to 
awake the god, while repeating the words of the shastru used on these occasions, the 
doors always flew open of themselves ; reminding us of the European superstition, 
that 'the temple of Cybele was opened not by hands, but by prayers.' 




left to sleep, and the temple is shut up. While he sleeps the 
bramhuns eat the offerings. In the evening, curds, butter, sweet- 
meats, fruits, &c. are presented, and at this hour people come to 
the temple to look at the god and make their obeisance. After the 
setting of the sun, a lamp is brought into the temple, and a small 
quantity of milk, sweetmeats, &c. are offered. The priests wave a 
lamp of five lights before the image, ring a small bell, present 
water to wash the mouth, face, and feet, and a towel d . After the 
offerings have continued before the god about ten minutes, they 
are withdrawn, as well as the lamp, and the god is shut up in the 
dark all night. 

d When I enquired into the meaning of these ceremonies, I -was informed, that 
they were in imitation of the service paid to Krishml when he used to return from 
tending the cattle : — water to wash himself, a towel, lights to examine where the 
thorns had entered his feet or any other parts of the body, a bell to testify their joy 
that he has arrived in safety, and some food to refresh him after the fatigues of the 
day in following the herds. 







Sect. I. — Lunar Bays. 

The eighth, eleventh, fourteenth, and fifteenth lunar days, both 
of the increase and decrease of the moon in each month, are consi- 
dered as fortunate days. At the full moon in Asharhu, Kartiku, 
Maglvu, and Voishakhu, religious ceremonies are peculiarly meritori- 
ous, especially gifts to learned bramhuns ; but on the third lunar day 
in Voishakhu, their merit is imperishable. Bathing in the Ganges 
on the tenth lunar day in Jyoisht'hu, is extremely meritorious. 
The second lunar day in Asharhu, and the eleventh in Shravunu, 
are auspicious times for religious ceremonies. The performance of 
the shraddhu during the decrease of the moon in Bhadru is a work 
of great merit. On the seventh, eighth, and ninth lunar days of 
Ashwinu, eleventh in Kartiku, the fifth lunar day in Maghu, the 
thirteenth in Phalgoonu, and the seventh In Choitru, and at the 
full moon in Poushu, very great benefits flow from religious acts. 
On all these days the Hindoos are particularly occupied in the 
different ceremonies of their religion. 

Sect. II. — Weekly Ceremonies. 

Some Hindoos fast every Sunday, and perform the worship of 
their guardian deity Sooryu. Others, to fulfil a vow, fast on a 
Monday/ performing the worship of Shivu. Others, who suppose 
themselves to be under the baneful influence of the planet Saturn, 
fast on a Saturday, and endeavour to propitiate this god by acts of 

* It is rather singular, that both in the European and Hindoo Mythology, the two 
first days of the week should be called after the same gods: Rnvee-varii, Sunday, from 
Rfivee, the sun ; and Sorati-varfi, Monday, from Soma, the moon, 



Sect, III. — Monthly Ceremonies. 

The Shyama festival is held monthly by certain Hindoos. 
The shraddhu should be repeated monthly. Some persons, not able 
to attend to the weekly ceremonies connected with their vows, 
perform them monthly. 

Sect. IV. — Annual Festivals. 

The festivals of Doorga, J-vhyama, Juguddhatree, Kartiku, 
Muhish-murdinee, Kutuntee, TJnnu-pdorna, Phuluharee, Shivti, 
Krishnu, Guneshu, &c. are held annually. Two festivals of Shiva 
and nine of Krishnu are annual. 

The following account of the Hindoo festivals in each month 
of the year is taken from the Tit'hee-tuttwu : — 

Voishakhu. — On the third lunar day, (the anniversary of 
Gunga's descent,) the worship of Gunga, of the mountains Koilasu 
and Himaluyu, of Bhugeerut'hu, and of Shivti. On the twelfth 
lunar day the bathing and worship of Vishnoo. 

Jyoishtliu. — On the tenth lunar day, (the anniversary of the 
birth of Gunga,) the worship of Munusa, and of the nagus, (serpents.) 
At the full moon, the bathing of Jugunnat'hu ; and on the four- 
teenth of the wane of the moon, the worship of the goddess Savifcree. 

Asharhn. — On the second lunar day, the drawing of Jugun- 
nat'hu's car, with the worship of this god, and of Buluramu and 
Soobhudra. On the tenth, the return of the car, and the worship 
of these three gods. The next day is the anniversary of Vishnoo's 
lying down to sleep. 

Shravtinu. — At the full moon, the dolu festival. On the 
eighth of the wane, (the anniversary of the birth of Krishnu,) the 
worship of this god, of his father, Jushoda, Rohinee, Chundika, 
Buluramu, Dukshu, Gurgu, Brumha, Lukshmee, and Shust'hee. 

Bhadru. — On the seventh lunar day, the worship of Shivuand 
Doorga ; and on the seventh, the worship of Munusa, before small 
sheaves of doorva grass. On the twelfth, the worship of Indru, 
before a kind of flag-staff made with a tree called dumunu. On the 
fourteenth, the worship of TJnuntu. The shraddhu is performed 
every day during the wane of the moon. 

Ashwinu. — From the first to the ninth lunar day, the worship 
of Doorga. At the full moon, the worship of Lukshmee, and the 
game of Ohutoorajee ; and on the last day of the moon, the 
Shyama festival. 



Kartiku. — On the first lunar day, the worship of king Bulee ; 
and on the second that of Yumu, and the feasting of own brothers 
by their sisters. b On the eighth, the worship of Gurooru ; and on 
the ninth, that of Juguddhatree. At the full moon, the rasu 
festival, and the worship of Shyama before a picture. At the 
entrance of the sun into a new sign, or on the last day of Kartiku, 
the worship of Kartiku. 

Ugruhayunu. — On the sixth lunar day, the worship of 
Kartiku ; and on the seventh, eighth, and ninth, that of Muhishu- 
murdinee. On the fourteenth that of Gouree ; and on the seventh 
of the wane of the moon, the offerings to the dead. 

Poushu. — On the eighth of the decrease of the moon, the 
offerings to the dead. On the fourteenth, the Shyama festival. 

Magh . — On the fourth, the worship of Gouree ; on the fifth, 
that of Suruswutee, and of the inkstand ; on the sixth, that of 
Shush t'hee ; on the seventh, that of Sooryu ; and on the eighth ; 
that ofBheeshmu. On the eighth of the decrease of the moon, 
the offerings to the dead ; and on the fourteenth, the anniversary 
of the rise of the lingu. 

Phalgoonu. — On the eighth, the worship of Mungulu- 
chundika ; and at the full moon, the dolu festival. 

Ghoitru. — On 'the sixth, the worship of Kartiku ; on the 
eighth, that of Vishnoo with ushoku flowers ; on the ninth, the 
anniversary of the birth of Ramu. On the seventh, eighth, and 
ninth, the worship of Doorga ; and on the ninth, that of TJnnu- 
poorna. On the fourteenth, the worship of Kamu-de'vu. On the 
thirteenth of the decrease of the moon, the worship of Gunga. On 
the entrance of the sun into a new sign at the close of this month, 
the presenting of water, rice, &c. to bramhuns. 

Sect. V. — Daily Ceremonies. 

The shastrus prescribe daily duties towards the gods, de- 
ceased ancestors, strangers, and the cow. The worship of 
Vishnoo, before the shalgramu ; of Shivu, before the lingu ; 
of a person's guardian deity, before the shalgramu or water ; 
and of any image constantly preserved, is performed daily. If the 
family of a bramhun, where such an image is set up, has become 
unclean by the death of one of its members, or by any other cause, 
they do not omit the daily worship, but invite another bramhun 
to perform the ceremonies. Sometimes a person makes a vow to 

b The smritee shastrils ordain this custom. The manner of keeping it is as fol- 
lows : — The sisters mark the foreheads of the brothers with white powder, and present 
them with garments, poitas, &c. and provide a great feast. It is said that Yumil and 
his sister Yiimoona established this custom. 



perform for a certain time the daily worship of Vishnoo, Shivu, 
and his guardian deity. Bathing also, and repeating the names 
of the gods, with or without a bead-roll, especially the name of a 
person's guardian deity, are acts of daily worship. The daily 
shraddhu is performed by very few ; but at the time of bathing, 
in the ceremony called turpunu, the Hindoos pour out water from 
a copper vessel, or from their hands, for their deceased ancestors. 
Some religious acts are performed daily for three or four months 
together : as during the time of Vishnoo' s sleeping, (viz., from the 
twelfth or fifteenth of the moon in Asbarhu, to the twelfth or 
fifteenth in Kartiku,) a person vows that no ra-zor shall come 
on his head ; that he will abstain from flesh, fish, salt, peas, oil, 
curds not made at home, &c. ; that he will not visit at the house 
of a shoodru, nor eat there nor any where else more than once 
a day. During this period he engages particularly to attend to 
his daily duties, as bathing, repeating the name of his god, &c. 

Agreeably to the directions of the Anhiku-tuttwu, the daily 
duties of a bramhun, walking in strict conformity to the rules of his 
religion are as follows : — 

He must divide the day, from five o'clock in the morning till 
seven at night, into seven equal parts. The duties of the first 
part are thus described : — first, awaking from sleep, and rising up 
in his bed, he must repeat the names of different gods and sages, 
and pray that they would make the day prosperous. He must 
then repeat the name of TJrjoonu, and pray to him, that whatever 
he may lose during the day may be restored to him d ; and then 
the names of any persons celebrated for their religious merit. 
Next the names of uhulya 6 , Dropudee f , Seeta*, Tara h , and Mun- 
dodure*. After this, he must meditate with his eyes closed on the 
form of his spiritual guide, and worship him in his mind, repeating 
these two incantations : Oh [****! according to thy commands 
I descend from my bed.' — ' Oh ! * * * * ! I know what is right, but 
I doit not : I know what is wrong, but I forsake it not : But do 
thou reside within me, and whatever thou commandest I shall 
do.' Then follows another incantation, and obeisance to Huree. 
He now descends from his bed, placing first his right foot on the 
ground. On going out, if he see a Shrotriyu bramhun, a beloved 
and excellent wife, fire, a cow, an TJgnihotree bramhun, or any 

c Rock salt may be eaten. 

d It is said that when TJrjoonu was king, there were no robberies ; or if such a 
thing did happen, by repeating his name, the loser was sure to find his property again. 

e The wife of Goutumu : she was guilty of adultery with Indru. 

f The wife of Yoodhisht'hira and his brothers. 

g The wife of Ramii. 

h The wife of Balee and Soogrecvn, two monkies, 
' The wife of KavuntC, 



other bramhun, the day will be auspicious. If he see a wicked or 
naked person, a wretched woman, distilled spirits, or a man with a 
great nose, the day will be inauspicious. By repeating the names 
of Kurkotuku, 1 " Dumuyrtntee/ Nulu, m and Ritoopurnu, n no quarrel 
will arise during the day. He must then, after discharging wind, 
washing his mouth, &c. go at least a hundred and ten yards from 
his house into the field ; and taking water, choosing a clean place, 
scattering some grass to the S, W., tying a turban round his head, 
remaining silent with his face to the north, refraining from spit- 
ting, and holding his breath, perform the offices of nature. His 
poita must remain on Iris right ear till he has washed his hands. 
It is unlawful to attend to the offices of nature on a road, in the 
shade, where cattle graze, in the fire, or water, in a ploughed field, 
where dead bodies are burnt, upon a mountain, on the ruins of a 
temple, on an ant-hill, in a ditch, or by the side of a river. After 
this, he must go to a more clean spot, and taking some good earth, 
cleanse the left hand ten times, then both hands seven times, and 
the back, of the left hand six times ; then his nails ; then wash his 
hands ; each foot three times, and then rince both fe,et. If he per- 
ceive any evil smell remaining on his hands or feet, he must wash 
them again. If the bramhun have no water-pot, he must wash 
himself in this manner in a common pool or river, and take care 
that he come out of the water clean. His water-pot must neither 
be of mixed metal, copper, nor gold : an earthen pot must be 
thrown away as soon as used. If the pot be of brass or silver, he 
must scour it well after he return. If a bramhun attend not to 
these modes of cleansing, all his other religious actions will be 
void of merit. p 

The bramhun must next attend to his morning ablutions. 
Taking a dry towel, he must go to a pool or river, and placing the 
cloth on the ground, wet his feet and hands ; then perforin achu- 
munu, by taking up Avater in the palm of his right hand three times, 
and drinking it as it runs toward his wrist ; then with his right 
hand touch his lips, nose, eyes, ears, navel, breast, forehead, and 
shoulders, repeating an incantation ; wash his hands again and 
perform achumunu, repeating an incantation ; then sitting to 
the N, or E. before sunrise, cleanse his teeth with the end of 
a green stick/ 1 about six or seven inches long. If he clean his 

k A serpent. ! The wife of king Nulu. m A king. n Another king. 

° So little is this regarded, that almost all the lower orders of Hindoos go to 
the Ganges. 

pOne of the things, in the conduct of Europeans, which gives most offence to the 
Hindoos, is the omitting these modes of cleansing. 

q On the 1st, Cth, 8th, 10th, and 14th days of the increase and wane of the moon, 
and at the full and new moon ; on the last day of the calendar month : on a fast day, 
and on the day of performing a shraddhu ; it is unlawful for a bramhun to clean his 
teeth with a stick. If he should do this on these days, he will sink into a dreadful hell. 
If the Bible had laid down rules and penalties like these, what occasion for ridicule 
to unbelievers/ 


teeth after sunrise, in the next birth he will be born an in- 
sect feeding on ordure. He must now wash from his face the mark 
on his forehead made the day before ; then scrape and wash his 
tongue, taking care that the blood does not flow. If in cleansing 
his teeth he should make them bleed, he becomes unclean, and is 
disqualified for performing any religious ceremony on that day. If, 
however, he make his teeth bleed by the side of the Ganges, he does 
not become unclean. 

He must next gather flowers for worship on the banks of a 
pool or river. If any one forbid him, he must willingly desist ; if 
any are given him by a bramhun, he must receive them ; but not 
if a sho5dru offer them : if a person have them to sell, he must give 
him what he asks. If in carrying these flowers to the side of the 
water, a person of mean cast touch them, or he touch any unclean 
thing, he must throw them away. If a person of any cast make a 
bow to him while the flowers are in his hand, he mus also throw 
them away/ 

Returning*to the river, and sitting in silence, he must rub himself 
all over with mud; then descending into the river as high as his breast, 
with his face towards the east or north, he must repeat certain incan- 
tations, by which (in his imagination) all other sacred rivers will flow 
into that in which he stands, as well as other holy places; he must 
afterwards repeat many incantations, and perform moodra, viz., 
certain motions by twisting his fingers into several curious shapes ; 
then, dividing his hair behind, and bringing it into his hands before, 
with his thumbs he must stop his ears ; with the three first fingers 
of each hand cover his eyes, and with his two little fingers his nos- 
trils, and then immerse himself three or four times ; then with his 
hands joined throw up water to his head ; then repeat other incan- 
tations ; then, taking up water with his joined hands, he must offer 
it three times to the sun ; then washing his body, and repeating 
certain prayers, that he may ascend to some heaven, or receive some 
temporal good, he must again immerse himself in the water. After 
this he must ascend to the side of the river, and wipe his body with 
a towel ; then repeat certain forms of praise to Gtinga, S5oryu, Vish- 
noo, and other gods ; then put dry and newly- washed cloth round 
his loins ; and sitting down cleanse his poita by rinsing it in the 
water ; then taking up some earth in his hand, and diluting it with 
water, put the middle finger of his right hand in this earth, and 
make a line betwixt his eyes up to the top of his forehead ; then 
draw his three first fingers across his forehead ; make a round dot 
with his little finger in the centre at the top of his head, another on 

r The meaning of this is, that the sin of the person who made the bow being- 
transferred to the bramhun, the sin, instead of entering the fire said to lodge in a 
bramhun's hand, by which it would be consumed, enters the flowers, and they thereby 
become unclean. If a bramhun, with flowers in his hand, meet a shoodril who is 
ignorant of the rules of the shastru . he forbids him to bow to him ; b it in general, the 
lower orders know this custom. 


the upper part of his nose, and another on his throat ; then with his 
three first fingers make marks across his breast and arms ; then 
make dots on his sides, and another on the lower part of his back. 
After this he must take up water in his right hand three times, and 
drink it. 

To this succeeds the morning stindhya, in which the person 
must offer many prayers ; pour out water to different gods ; repeat 
certain forms of praise in honour of the sun, which he must worship ; 
and repeat the gayutree : then take up water with his kosha, 8 and 
pour it out to his deceased ancestors ; after which he must return 
home, and read some part of the ve'dtL* 

After this, if the bramhun be a house-keeper, he must seek the 
provisions for his family for the day. If he be diligent in discharg- 
ing social duties, he will obtain heaven ; but if not, he will sink 
into hell. 

About eleven o'clock, taking the flowers, his kosha and kooshee, 
some seeds of sesamum, leaves of the vilwfi tree, , blades of the 
kooshu grass, and a towel, he must proceed to the river. Placing 
these things by the side of the river, he must prepare a place for 
worship ; take some proper earth, and cleanse it, so that neither 
insects, hair, nor any thing impure remain ; and then make the 
earth into a ball, lay it down, and wash his own body, rubbing him- 
self with his towel. Then he must descend into the water up to 
the middle, and perform his ablutions as in the morning. After 
bathing, he must ascend to the side, wipe himself, put on a, dry piece 
of cloth, (not a black one ;) sit with his face to the east or north ; 
tie a lock of hair into a knot, and having repeated a prayer, the 
whole of his hair in a knot ; mark his forehead as in the morning ; 
then perform the ceremony called achumtmu ; and then the sundhya, 
After this he must make an image of the iingd. with the pure earth 
which he has prepared ; and laying it aside, descend into the water, 
or sit by it, and pour out water (containing a few seeds of the 
sesamum) from his kosha to three or four of the gods, repeating in- 
cantations : then to certain sages, and deceased ancestors, viz., to 
three generations on the father's and three on the mother's side, 
(males.) If a bramhun do not present drink-offerings to deceased 
relations, all his works of merit lose their virtue. 

The next thing is the act of worship, (poqja ;) in which the 
bramhun must sit with his face to the north, and placing the lingu 
towards the same point, bathe it by sprinkling it with water ; 
then, closing his eyes, sit for some time in the act of meditation, 
(dhyanu ;) after which, placing some flowers on his own head, he 

s A small copper cup. Another still smaller is called kooshee. 

1 If at this time he copy a part of any of the shastr&s, and present it to some 
bramhun, he will receive everlasting happiness, 



must perform the worship of Shivu ; then meditate on the image, 
and placing flowers on the lingu, repeat other incantations, to com- 
municate a soul (pranu) to the lingu ; then another prayer to bring 
Shivu himself into his presence ; and then perform a ceremony 
called yonee-moodra, which consists of five curious motions with 
the hands ; then he must offer to the lingu a morsel of silver or 
gold ; or, if he he poor, water, reading prayer. He must after this 
offer water for the god's feet ; also a little dry rice, and a few 
blades of doorva-grass, with a prayer ; then a number of raw 
vegetables. He must next repeat the name of Shivu a certain 
number of times ; offer water, and repeat an incantation, (offering 
water or flowers,) and worship Shivu in his eight forms, u repeating 
eight incantations ; then follow forms of praise in honour of Shivu, 
during which he must prostrate himself before the lingu ; and 
afterwards make a drumming noise with his thumb or fingers on 
the right cheek, and beat against his sides with his arms. If he 
has been worshipping by the side of the Ganges, he must throw the 
lingu into the river ; or if by the side of a pool or any other river, 
he must throw away the lingu on the land. To this should suc- 
ceed the worship of Vishnoo before the shalgramu, or before water. 
Next that of Sooryu, TJgnee, Doorga, Brumha, the gayutree, the 
spiritual guide, the nine planets, the ten guardian deities of the 
earth, and lastly of the person's guardian deity. The offerings in 
this last act of worship are the same as in the worship of the lingu, 
but the prayers are more numerous. 

When all these ceremonies have been performed by the side 
of a poo], or a river, the worshipper, having presented the burnt- 
offering, must return to his house, perform the daily shraddhu, and 
offer to the gods plantains, dry rice, peas, sweetmeats, cocoanuts, &c. 

The day's work must be closed by entertaining several poor 
bramhuns, or other guests who may be in his house. If no guests 
should arrive, about three o'clock in the afternoon he must sit 
down to dinner ; which may consist of boiled rice, fried fruits, 
split peas, greens, sour curds, or milk, but neither fish nor flesh. 
First, he must offer the whole food to his guardian deity, sprinkling 
water on the rice, and repeating incantations ; and then put morsels 
of the different articles of his food in five places on a clean spot ; 
which, after sprinkling with water, he must offer to the five winds, 
Nagu, Koormu, Kreekutu, Devu-duttu, and Dhunun-juyu. After 
this, drink a little water, repeating an incantation ; and then put a 
little .rice into his mouth with his right hand at five different times, 
and repeat incantations, containing the names of five airs which 
the Hindoos say are lodged in the body ; he may then, remaining 
in silence, finish his repast ; afterwards drink a little water, 
wash his hands and mouth, and cleanse his teeth. After 

u These eight forms of Shiva are representatives of the earth, water, fire, air, 
space, sacrifice, the sun, and the moon. 



washing his feet, he must sit upon a mat of kooshu-grass, 
and chew betle-nut, mixed with some or all of the following 
articles ; lime, treacle, catechu, cardamums, cloves, nutmeg, mace, 
camphor, coriander seed, &c. Before he begins to chew the betle, 
he must offer it with prayers to his guardian deity. If he do not 
chew betle, he must eat fruit of the terminalia citrina, and repeat 
the name of Yishnoo once. 

To this must succeed the evening simdhya, either in his own 
house or by the side of the river. The ceremonies are the same as 
those already described. After this, repeating the name of his 
guardian deity during two hours, he may take a little refreshment, 
as sweetmeats, milk, plantains, curds, or something of the same 
nature ; and about ten retire to rest. 

At present, those bramhuns who live without secular employ- 
ment spend about four hours daily in worship ; an hour in the 
morning, two at noon, and one in the evening. Such a person's 
first act in the morning, as he rises, is to repeat the name of his 
guardian deity ; after which he goes into a field with a pan of water, 
and returning, bathes ; then taking the water of the Ganges, he sits 
down in his bouse, or by the river, and pours out drink-offerings 
to his deceased ancestors ; repeat certain forms from the vedu, 
the meaning of which he himself does not understand ; wor- 
ships Shivu. with the usual forms of praise, as, 1 Oh ! Shivu ! thou 
art every thing ; thou unitest all the gods in thyself ; thou canst 
do all things,' &c. during which he offers with proper forms water, 
flowers, &c. to the god ; and then repeats for some time the name of 
his guardian deity. At noon, after bathing, he repeats certain forms 
from the vedu ; and worships Shivu, his guardian deity, and other 
gods, with the usual forms and offerings ; pours out drink-offerings 
to deceased ancestors, and repeats the name of his guardian deity. 
At this time, the worshipper prays for any thing he may be anxious 
to obtain, as the health of his child, a lucrative situation, &c, but 
this is done only when sickness, poverty, or any other necessity, 
forces a person to express his complaints to his god. The worship 
in the evening is similar to that in the morning. 

Bramhuns in employment unite the first and second services 
together in the morning, and finish the whole in half an hour ; con- 
fining themselves to the repetition of the name of their guardian 
deity, the forms from the vedu, including the gayufcree, and pouring 
out a drink-offering to deceased ancestors. Most of these persons 
omit the evening service altogether. 

Though these ceremonies are in general performed in the house, 
the family do not unite in them : during their performance, the 
family business is transacted, and the children play as usual ; the 
worshipper himself not unfrequently mixes in conversation, or gives 
directions respecting matters of business. The children sometimes 


sit as spectators, so that by the time they grow up, they learn the 
different forms of daily worship. 

The women, though not allowed to touch a consecrated image, 
(beasts, women, and sh55drus are forbidden,) worship the gods daily 
in their own houses, or by the river side, (repeating certain forms 
from the Tuntru shastrus,) before an earthen image of the linong, or 
the water 01 the Ganges : if they should worship before a consecrat- 
ed image, they must keep at a respectable distance from the idol. 
Some merely repeat a few forms while standing in the water, 
bow to the god without an image, and thus finish the religion 
of the day ; others spend half an hour in these ceremonies, and 
females who have leisure, an hour or more. 

The shoodrus in general repeat the name of their guardian 
deity while bathing, and this comprises the whole of their daily 
religion : yet rich men of the lower castes spend an hour in religious 
ceremonies, in the house or by the side of the river. 

As there is nothing of pure morality in the Hindoo writings, 
so in the ceremonies of this people, nothing like the rational and 
pure devotion of a Christian worshipper is to be found. In perform- 
ing their daily duties, as might be expected from a ritual possessing 
little meaning and no interest, the Hindoos are sometimes precise, 
and at other times careless ; muttering forms of praise or prayer to 
the gods, while their attention is drawn to every surrounding 
object. To expect that services like these would mend the heart, 
is out of the question. 



Sect. I. — Form of Initiation into the Hindoo Religion. 

Every Hindoo receives an initiating incantation from some 
bramhun, 8 who then becomes his spiritual guide, (gooroo :) the 
principal thing in this incantation is the name of some god, who 
becomes his (ishtu) chosen deity, and by repeating whose name he 
is to obtain present and future happiness. 

When the ceremony of initiation is to be performed, an aus- 
picious day is chosen, which is preceded by a fast. On the morning 
of the day appointed, the disciple bathes ; after which, entreating 
the priest to sit down, he presents him with some cloth, kourees, 
betle-nut and a poita : after which he performs the ceremony called 

a There are some rare examples among the poor, of persons -who nerer receive 
the initiatory incantation. 



simkulpu, in doing which he first takes in his joined hands a 
small copper dish, with some water in it ; lays a plantain, some 
flowers, sesamum, kooshu-grass, rice, &c. upon it ; and then says, 
' For the removal of all my sins, and to obtain happiness after 
death, I take the incantation from my gooroo.' The gooroo then 
performs, at some length, the worship of the god whose name is to 
be given ; to which succeeds the burnt-offering. He next thrice 
repeats, in the right ear of the disciple, the incantation : after which 
the disciple presents a fee of from one to twenty rupees, and wor- 
ships the feet of the gooroo, presenting sweetmeats, cloths, flowers, 
fruits, and other offerings commonly presented to the gods. He 
next repeats certain forms, and in his meditation brings into his 
mind that his spiritual guide is in fact his guardian deity, from 
whom he is to receive salvation. Another fee is then given ; after 
which the disciple drinks the water in which the gooroo's feet have 
been washed, and prostrates himself at his feet; when the spiritual 
guide, putting his right foot on his head, and stretching forth his 
right hand, gives him a blessing. The gooroo is then feasted, with 
other bramhuns. Two or three persons only are permitted to be 
present at this ceremony. 

The above incantation is called veeju miintru. b It generally 
consits of a single sound : as, when it is to be taken from the name 
of a god, a consonant is taken out of this name, and a vowel added 
to it : thus, when Krishnu is about to become the chosen god of a 
person, the gooroo takes the consonant k, and adds to it a, or oo, or 
some other vowel, and then the muntru becomes ka, or koo. Very 
frequently the sound ung is united to a consonant, to form the 
initiating incantation, of which there are many specimens in the 
Tuntru-saru. It is probable that no meaning was ever intended to 
be attached to these sounds. 

Sect. II. — Duties of a Disciple to his Spiritual Guide, ( Gooroo.), 

The following article respecting the qualifications of a gooroo 
is taken from the Tuntru-saru : — A spiritual guide must be free 
from the following faults : he must not be subject to his passions, 
so as to become an adulterer, a thief, &c. ; be born of a good family ; 
possess suavity of manners ; be attentive to religious duties ; 
honourable in the eyes of others ; always keep his body pure ; be 
ready in religious ceremonies ; faithful in the discharge of the 
duties of his caste ; wise, able to keep in order as well as to cherish 
his disciples ; learned in the shastrus, &c. From a gooroo thus 
qualified it is proper to receive the initiatory rites. A person who 
is a glutton, who has the leprosy, is blind of one or both eyes ; 
very small in stature, or who has whitlows ; whose teeth stand 

b The original incantation, or [that which gives rise to works of merit, wealth, 
the desire of happiness, and absorption. 



out ; who is noisy and talkative ; subject to his wife, or whose toe3 
or fingers are unnaturally unequal, or of an improper number ; an 
asthmatic person, or in other respects diseased, is disqualified. 

The following are the duties of a disciple to his preceptor, as 
given in the Timtru-saru : — A disciple must be docile ; keep his 
body pure ; be obedient in receiving all that the shastrus make 
known ; be capable of understanding what he is taught, &c. If 
the disciple consider his gooroo as a mere man, and not the same 
as his guardian deity, he will sink into misery. A pupil must 
worship his father and mother, as those who gave him birth ; but 
he must honour his gooroo in a superior degree, as he who rescues 
him from the path of sin, and places him in the way of holiness ; 
the gooroo is in fact the disciple's father, mother, and god ; if 
even Shivu be offended with a disciple, his gooroo is able to 
deliver him. The disciple must promote "the welfare of his gooroo 
by all his actions ; if he injure him, in another birth he will become 
a worm feeding on ordure. If a disciple renounce the initiating 
incantation, he will die; if he reject his gooroo, he will become 
poor ; if both, he will fall into the hell Rouruvu. ; if he, leaving his 
guardian deity, worship another god as his guardian deity, he will 
sink into torments. A disciple must honour his gooroo's son and 
grandson as he honours the gooroo. Whether the spiritual guide 
be learned or ignorant, a vile or a holy person, a disciple has no 
other resource, no other way to happiness, but his gooroo. Other 
shastrus prescribe, that the disciple shall make prostration to the 
gooroo three times a day, if he live in the same village, viz., in the 
morning, at noon, and in the evening. If he meet him at any time, 
he must prostrate himself at his feet, and receive his blessing. 
When a gooroo dies, a disciple becomes unclean. 

When the gooroo arrives at the house of a disciple, the whole 
family prostrate themselves at his feet, and the spiritual guide 
puts his right foot on the heads of the prostrate family. One of the 
family washes his feet, and all afterwards drink some of the dirty 
water with which his feet have been washed ; the water which 
remains is preserved. Others present to him flowers, or anoint his 
body with oil, or bathe him by pouring water on his head. After 
they have all bathed, they again worship the gooroo's feet, by 
presenting flowers, sweetmeats, &c. repeating incantations. The 
gooroo is then entertained. Of the little that he leaves, each ore 
seizes a morsel with eagerness. At length he departs with presents 
according to the disciple's ability. Some give a piece of cloth, 
others from one to ten rupees. The disciple sometimes sends 
presents to his gooroo's house. 

As a proof how rigidly many of the Hindoos adhere to the 
commands of the shastru on this subject, it may not be amiss to 
record the following circumstance : — In the year 1804, Huree- 
Turku-Bhodshunu, a bramhun of Calcutta, aged about 60, was 




carried to the river side, at the point of death ; and while there one 
of his disciples, Ubhnyu-chnrnnu-Mitru, akaist'hu, went to see him. 
The disciple asked his dying gooroo if there was any thing that he 
wished from him. The gooroo asked him for 100,000 rupees. The 
disciple hesitated, and said he could not give so much. The gooroo 
then asked him what he was worth. He said, he might be worth 
about 100,000, but it was not all in rupees. The gooroo asked him 
to give his children half this sum. This the disciple surrendered ; 
and then asked him what else he could do for him. He pretended 
not to want any thing else, but his youngest son then present was 
in want of a pair of gold rings for his wrists, and which he had 
been unable to give him. The disciple had a son standing near 
who had on a pair. These rings, worth about five hundred rupees, 
were immediatly taken off, and put on the wrists of the old gooroo's 
son. The disciple again asked what else he could do for him. The 
gooroo requested him to give his eldest son a piece of ground in 
Calcutta. He gave it. This land was worth twenty thousand 
rupees. The disciple again asked, if there was any thing further 
he could do to please him. The old fellow made apologies, but at 
length requested him to make a present of five thousand rupees 
towards the expences of his shraddhu. c This was added. The 
next morning the gooroo died. His wife was burnt with his body. 
At the time of his shraddhu, the disciple added another five thousand 
rupees towards defraying the expenses. This man's memory is exe- 
crated by all the Hindoos ; who say, he would certainly have gone 
to hell, if his wife had not burnt herself with him. — Since this 
event, TJbhuyu-churunu died at Muttra ; and his widow, taking 
his clog and stick, renounced life at Calcutta, on a funeral pile pre- 
pared for the purpose. 

At present, the office of spiritual guide is often hereditary, and 
of course is frequently in the hands of persons really disqualified. 
Neither do the modern Hindoos pay much regard to the qualifica- 
tions of their teachers : these guides too are equally careless re- 
specting their disciples ; they give the incantation, and receive in 
return reverence and presents. To become a religious guide it is 
only necessary to be a bramhun, and be acquainted with the incan- 
tations. In many cases, indeed, the wives of bramhuns become 
gooroos to their own children, as well as to others, both male and 
female. It is considered as a happy circumstance to receive the 
form of initiation from a mother. Among the followers of Choitu- 
nyu, some shoodrus are gooroos. 

The business of a religious guide is very profitable. Some ob- 
tain a thousand disciples ; and all are ambitious of guiding the 
rich. Upon a moderate calculation, the gooroo of a thousand dis- 
ciples receives in presents much more than a thousand rupees an- 

c ites for the repose of the soul. 



mially. A poor man generally gives his gooroo a rupee a year, or 
if he visit him twice a year, two rupees. One or two of the 
Gosaees, descendants of Choitunyu, have two or three thousand 

Instances of disputes between a spiritual guide and a disciple 
are not uncommon : in which case the former does not fail to curse 
such a disobedient disciple in terms like these : ' May your pos- 
terity perish.' ' May all your wealth evaporate.' The disciple is 
exceedingly alarmed at the curse of his gooroo, and if in a short 
time any of the family die, his neighbours ascribe it to this curse. 
If the children do not choose their father's gooroo, he curses the 
family. If a bramhun consider himself as having claims on any 
member of a family to become his spiritual guide, and this person 
or the family be unwilling, the bramhun goes to their house, and 
refuses to 'eat till they consent. The family dare not eat till the 
gooroo has eaten. — On some occasions, the gooroo is called in to 
adjust family differences. If two brothers quarrel about an estate, 
an appeal is made to the gooroo, who generally gives his judgment 
in favour of the brother who can afford the greatest bribe. 

The gooroos or not distinguished by any particular dress, and 
many pursue secular employment. 

I have heard of some religious guides who, taking advantage 
of the profound reverence in which they are held, are guilty of im- 
proper conduct with their female disciples ; and others of these 
demi-gods are guilty of crimes which they expiate on a gallows. 

Assistant Gooroo. — These persons are sometimes employed in 
teaching the disciple how to worship his guardian deity. If the 
chief gooroo be a female, or be ignorant of the proper incantation, 
the assistant gooroo is called in. 

Sect. III. — Religious Austerities, (Tuptisya.) 

Those religious works which require bodily sufferings, are, in 
general, denominated tupusyas. Among other acts which fall 
under this description, are, — severe abstinence ; repeating the 
name of an idol, and sitting in particular postures, for a long 
time ; a person's surrounding himself with five fires ; d and the 
severities practised by ascetics. These works of severity towards 

d In January 1812, the author witnessed the performance of some xmcommonly 
severe acts of religious austerity, in the suburbs of Calcutta. A number of Hindoo 
mendicants had erected huts near one of the descents into the Ganges, and several 
devotees on this spot daily surrounded themselves with fires of cow-dung, and for three 
or four hours each day rested on their shoulders with their legs upward, repeating the 
names of the gods in silence, and counting their bead-rolls. Crowds of people were 
coming and going, astonished spectators of these infatuated men ; who continued their 
religious austerities in the night, by standing up to the neck in the Ganges for two or 
three hours, euiuiting their beads. 



the body are not done as penances for sin, but as works of extra 
ordinary merit, producing large rewards in a future state. 

Sect. IV. — Burnt Sacrifices (Yugnu.) 

In these sacrifices, the following ceremonies are commanded by 
the shastru : — The names of deceased ancestors for six generations 
must be repeated in the morning before the sacrifice ; to this 
succeeds the appointment of the sacrificial priests ; then a cere- 
mony for the success of the sacrifice, in which the priest, tak- 
ing up dry rice, scatters it on the ground, repeating incantations ; 
after this, sunkulpu, in which the person, repeating the name of 
the day, month, &c. declares that he is about to perform this 
ceremony to obtain such and such benefits ; lastly follows a sacri- 
fice of mustard seed to drive away evil c-enii and enemies. On the 

a/ O 

altar are placed things necessary for the different ceremonies, as 
pans for water, branches of the mangoe tree, fruits, flowers, garlands, 
sandal wood, toolusee e and vilwu f leaves, do5rva and kooshu grass, 
rice, seeds of sesamum, curds, red lead, small twigs of sacred trees 
to be burnt, a mortar and pestle, spoons, meat offerings, garments, 
&c. The priest sitting on the altar worships certain gods ; after 
which the alter is set in order for the sacrifice, and the fire prepar- 
ed ; the worship of Ugnee then takes place, at the commencement 
of which the priest repeats a prayer from the vedu to this purport : 
' Oh ! Ugnee ! thou who sittest on a goat, and hast seven columns 
of fire ; thou art energy itself; thou art the mouth of the gods. — 
I worship thee ; come.' One of the priests next purifies, with in- 
cantations, the vessels, the wood for the sacrifice, and the clarified 
butter ; he then boils the rice, and afterwards performs the burnt- 
sacrifice either with clarified butter, the flesh of some animal, pieces 
of wood, vilwu leaves, flowers of the kuruveeru^ or the water-lily, 
boiled rice, seeds of sesamum, or fruits. To this succeeds a burnt- 
sacrifice to certain gods, with rice, clarified butter, sugar, curds, 
milk, flesh, and other articles, and a sacrifice to the nine planets, 
and to all the gods whom the priest can remember. An atonement 
for any mistake which may have occurred is next made by a burnt- 
offering of clarified butter. The officiating priest must then put 
on the fire a new poita, cloth, flowers, a plantain, betle, and rice ; 
when the sacrificer, standing behind the priest, must put his right 
hand on his shoulder, while the latter pours clarified butter on the 
tire, till the flame ascends to a great height. If the flame be free 
from smoke, and surround the altar in a southerly direction, the 
blessings sought by the sacrificer will be obtained. After this, 
the priest, sprinkling some water on the fire, dismisses the god 
Ugnee. The sacrificer now presents fees to the priests, and the 

e Ocy mum gratissimum. 

f -i5Sgle marrnelos. 

s Nerium odorum. 



whole ends with a feast to the bramhuns, and the dismissing of 
the guests with presents. 

I have obtained from several works accounts of the following 
burnt-sacrifices : — 

The sacrifice of a MAN ! ! — First, a covered altar h is to be 
prepared in an open place near the house of the offerer ; sixteen 
posts are to be erected, six of vilwu, six of khudiru, and four of 
oodoomburu ; a golden image of a man, and an iron one of a goat, 
are then to be set up ; and also golden images of Vishnoo and 
Lukshmee, a silver one of Shivu, with a golden bull on which 
Shivu rides, and a silver one of Gurooru. Brass pans are also to 
be provided for holding water, &c. Animals, as goats and sheep, 
are to be tied to the posts, one of the khudiru posts being left for 
the man who is to be sacrificed. Fire is next to be procured with 
a burning-glass, or with flint, or brought from the house of a devout 
bramhun. The priest, called brumha, sits on a seat of kooshu grass 
at one corner of the altar with an alms' dish in his hand, and con- 
secrates the different utensils. The priest, called hota, then per- 
forms certain minute ceremonies, and lays blades of kooshu grass 
all round the fire on the alter ; to which succeeds the burnt-sacri- 
fice to the ten guardian deities of the earth, to the nine planets, to 
Roodru, Brumha, Vastoo-poorooshu, and Vishnoo : to each of the 
two latter clarified butter is to be poured on the fire a thousand 
times. Next follows another burnt-sacrifice, and the same sacrifice 
to sixtj^-four gods, beginning with Douvariku. After this, in the 
name of all the gods above-mentioned, is made the burnt-sacrifice 
with the flesh of the other animals tied to the different posts. To 
this succeeds the human sacrifice. The victim must be free from 
bodily distemper, be neither a child nor advanced in years.' After 
slaying the victim, the hota, with small pieces of flesh, must offer 
the sacrifice to the above-mentioned gods, walking round the altar 
after each separate offering. 

In the third book of the Muhabharutu, a story is related res- 
pecting a king of the name of Somuku, who obtained from the 
gods a hundred sons in consequence of having offered a human 

The Ramayunu contains a story respecting Muhee-Ravunu, 
who attempted to offer Ramu and Lukshmunu, when in paturu, as 
a sacrifice to Bhudra-Kalee, in order to obtain success in war for 
his father Kavunu. 

Another story is contained in the Ramayunu, that TJmvureeshu, 

h The Hindoo altar may have brick- work around it, but in the inside it is to be 
filled up with pure earth. In the centre some persons make a hole for the fire, and 
others raise on the centre a small elevation of sand, and on this kindle the fire. 

1 These victims were formerly bought for sacrifice. 


king of Uyodhya, once resolved on offering a human victim ; 
which, after being prepared, was stolen by Indru. The king 
traversed many countries unable to obtain another victim, till at 
last Kicheeku sold his second son to him, for ' heaps of the 
purest gold, jewels, and a hundred thousand cows/ The father 
refused to sell his eldest son, and the mother would not give up 
the youngest. The second son, after he had been sold, claimed the 
protection of the sage Vish wa-mitru, who directed each one of his 
sons to give himself up to be sacrificed instead of this youth : 
but they all refused ; when Vishwa-mitru cursed them, and 
gave this youth an incantation, by repeating which the gods would 
deliver him from death. After he had been bound for execution, 
he repeated this incantation from the Rig-veda ; when Indru 
delivered him, and bestowed on the king the blessing he sought by 
this sacrifice. The Shreebhaguvutu gives a similar story respecting 
an ascetic, Juru-Bhurutu ; but in this case the goddess worshipped 
burst from the image, rescued the devotee, k and destroyed those 
who were about to sacrifice him. 

The Institutes of Munoo contain the following paragraph : — 
1 The sacrifice of a bull, of a man, or of a horse, in the kulee age, 
must be avoided by twice-born men ; so must a second gift of a 
married young woman, whose husband has died before consumma- 
tion : the larger portion of an eldest brother, and procreation on a 
brother's widow or wife/ 

However shocking it may be, it is generally reported amongst 
the natives, that human sacrifices are to this day offered in some 
places in Bengal. At a village called Ksheeru, near the town of 
Burdwan, it is positively affirmed, that human sacrifices are still 
offered to the goddess Yoogadya, a form of Doorga ; at Kireetu- 
kona, near Moorshudubad, to Kalee ; and at many other places. 
The discovery of these murders in the name of religion is made by 
finding the bodies with the heads cut off near these images ; and 
though no one acknowledges the act, } r et the natives well know 
that these people have been offered in sacrifice. 

About seven years ago, at the village ofSerampore, near 
Kutwa, before the temple of the goddess Tara, a human body was 
found without a head ; and in the inside of the temple different 
offerings, as ornaments, food, flowers, spirituous liquors, &c. All 
who saw it knew that a human victim had been slaughtered in the 
night ; and search was made after the murderers, but in vain. 

At Brumha-neetula, near Nudeeya, is an image of Munusa, 
before which the worship of D55rga is performed. It is currently 
reported, that at this place human victims are occasionally offered, 
as decapitated bodies are found there. 

k This man observed a voluntary silence, and refused all intercourse with human 
beings, that he might avoid injuring any one. 


Ramu-natMiu-Yachuspu^ee, the second Sungskrifcu pundit in the 
College of Fort-William, once assured me, that about the year 1770, 
at the village of Soomura, near Gooptipara, he saw the head of a 
man, with a lamp placed on it, lying in a temple before the image 
of the goddess Siddheshwuree, and the body lying in the road op- 
posite the temple. A similar fact is related respecting an image of 
Bhurga-Rheema at Tumlooku, where a decapitated body was found. 

At Chit-pooru, and at Kalee-ghatu, 1 near Calcutta, it is said, 
that human sacrifices have been occasionally offered. A re- 
spectable native assured me, that at Chitpooru, near the image 
of Chittreshwuree, about the year 1788, a decapitated body was 
found ; which, in the opinion of the spectators, had been evidently 
offered on the preceding night to this goddess. 

The following story respecting raja Krishnu-chundriarayu is 
believed by a great number of the most respectable natives of 
Bengal : — A brumhucharee of Kritukona, after repeating (jupu) 
the name of his guardian deity for a long time, till he had 
established a great name as a religious devotee, at length had a 
dream, in which he supposed that his guardian deity told him to 
make a number of offerings to her, which he understood to mean 
human sacrifices ; and that then she would become visible to him, 
and grant him all his desires. He was now very much perplexed 
about obtaining the necessary victims ; and, as the only resource, 
he applied to Krishnu-chundru-rayu, and promised, that if he 
would supply the victims, he should share in the benefits to be 
derived from this great act of holiness. The raja consented to 
this, and built a house in the midst of a large plain, where he 
placed this brumhucharee ; and directed some chosen servants to 
seize persons of such and such a description, and forward them to 
the brumhucharee. This was done for a considerable time, (some 
say for two or three years,) till at length the brumhucharee became 
weak and emaciated through the perpetration of so many murders ; 
and the raja began to suspect that there must be some mistake in 
the business. He consulted a learned man or two near him, who 
declared that the brumhiicharee had very likely mistaken the 
words spoken to him in his dream, for that these words might 

1 About the year 1800, according to Ubhfiyu^chuTfinu, a learned bramhun, who 
has assisted the author in this work, two Hindoos cut out their own tongues, and 
offered them to the idol at Kalee-ghatti. Both these men came from Hindoost'hanu : 
one of them was seen by my informant lying on the ground after the action, the blood 
running from his mouth. At Jwala-mookhu, to the N. W. of Delhi, from time im- 
memorial, infatuated Hindoos have cut out their tongues, and offered them to Sfitee, 
to whom this place is sacred, and where the tongue of this goddess is supposed to have 
fallen, when Shivit threw the members of her body into different parts of the earth. 
In the inside of the temple at this place (which appears to be part of a burning moun- 
tain) fire ascends, exhibiting to this degraded people a constant miracle. The same 
person informed the author, that two diseased persons, who who had gone to the 
idols at Tarnkeshwuru and at Muoola in Bengal, some years ago, despairing of a 
cure, sacrificed themselves to these idols by stabbing themselves, and Jetting the 
blood fall into the pans placed to receive the blood of slaughtered animals. 



mean simple offerings of food, &c. A thousand victims are said to 
have been thus butchered. 

The sacrifice of a Bull. — In this sacrifice four altars are re- 
quired for offering the flesh to four gods, Lukshmee-Narayunu, 
Ooma-muheshvvuru, Brumha, and TJnunttL Before the sacrifice, 
Prit'hivee, the nine planets, and the ten guardian deities of the 
earth, are worshipped. Five vilwu, m five khudiru," five pulashu, 
and five oodoomburu p posts are to be erected, and a bull tied to 
each post. Before the burning of the flesh, clarified butter is burnt 
on one altar, and afterwards small pieces of the flesh of the 
slaughtered animals on the four altars. The succeeding ceremonies 
are common to all burnt-sacrifices* This sacrifice was formerly 
very common. The Pudmu-pooranu and Muhabharutu contain 
accounts of a great sacrifice of a bull performed by Runtee-deVu. 

The sacrifice of a Horse, ( Ushwu-medhu.) — The animal must 
be of one colour, q without blemish, of good signs, young and well- 
formed. On an auspicious d&y, the sacrificer must touch the head 
of the horse with clay from the Ganges, sandal wood, a pebble, 
rice not cleansed from the husk, leaves of doorva grass/ flowers, 
fruits, curds, clarified butter, red lead, a shell, lamp-black, turmeric, 
mustard, gold, silver, metal, a lamp, a looking-glass, and other 
things, repeating the prescribed formulas. The horse is next 
bathed with water, in which has been immersed a ball compo- 
sed of the bark of different trees, and spices ; and afterwards superbly 
caparisoned. The god Indru is then invoked by a number of prayers, 
and invited to come and preserve the horse, which is about to be let 
loose. A paper is next fastened on the forehead of the horse, con- 
taing an inscription in Sungskrittt to the following purport: 'I 
liberate this horse, having devoted it to be sacrificed Whoever 
has strength to detain it, let him detain it s . I will come and deliver it. 
They who are unable to detain it, will let it go, and must come to 
the sacrifice, bringing tribute.' The horse is then liberated, and 
l'uns at liberty for twelve months, followed by servants belonging to 
the sacrificer. At the close of the year, he is brought and bound ; 
and at the time appointed, a proper place is chosen and cleansed, 
and an altar of earth, walled round with bricks, sixteen cubits 
square, and one cubit high, is built, with a roof over it resting on 
posts. At the east end a hole is made, and lined with bricks, to 
contain the fire ; or a small teiTace of sand may be raised on the 
altar for receiving the" fire. Under the roof is suspended a canopy, 
with elegant curtains on all sides. A rope is fastened round the 

m iEgle marraelos. n Mimosa catechu. 

° Butea frondosa. p Ficus glomerata. 

i A white horse is preferred. r Agrostis linearis. 

" The poorantis give accounts of dreadful wars both among gods and men to 
obtain this horse. 



posts of the altar ; also branches of the mango tree, tails of the 
cow of Tartary, bells, and garlands of flowers. The sacrificer then, 
accompanied with presents, and the reading of different formulas, 
appoints to their different work in the sacrifice, the acharyu, the 
sudusyu, the brumha, 1 the hota, u and the oodgata, the latter of 
whom repeats portions of the Samu-ve'd-u, sitting on the altar. 
Twenty-one posts, eighteen cubits and ten fingers high, are fixed 
in the ground ; six of vilwu, six of the khudiru, six of pulashu, one 
of piyalu, v and two of devu-daroo. w Each post is to have eight points 
at the top, to be covered Avith painted cloth, and encircled with 
garlands. The six pulashu posts are to be put into the ground with 
their heads bent towards the altar. The horse is to be tied to one 
of the khudiru posts ; and thirty animals and birds for sacrifice to 
the other posts. All these animals and birds are to be purified by 
sprinkling water on their faces, and by repeating incantations. 
A silver image of Gurooru with gold feathers, and sixteen gold 
bricks, are then to be brought ; after which the sacrificer and his wife 
are to wash the feet of the horse, and caparison him afresh. Afan 
of deer's skin is provided to blow the coals ; also some kooshu grass, 
with piles of thin twigs of the fig or the pulashu tree ; a large pestle 
and mortar for bruising the rice ; a bowl made of the fig-tree for 
holding the holy water ; a wooden spoon to stir the boiling rice ; 
another large one with two holes in the bowl to pour the clarified 
butter on the fire ; another kind of spoon to pour the boiled rice on 
the fire ; a pan of water, having on its top some branches, fruits, 
and flowers, with the image of a man painted on it, and smeared 
over with curds, &c; round the neck of the pan a piece of new cloth 
is to be tied, and five articles, viz., gold, silver, a pearl, a coral, and 
a gem, put into the pan ; five smaller pans of water are also to be 
placed near the other, ornamented without in the same manner. 
The horse is then killed by the hota, who divides the flesh into 
pieces, and casts it on the fire, adding clarified butter, and repeating 
the formulas. When the serum is put on the fire, the sacrificer and 
his wife are to sit upon the altar, and receive the fumes. The 
other animals are to be next sacrificed, amidst the repeating of 
incantations. These sacrifices are offered to Brumha, Vishnoo, 
Shivu, and the ten guardian deities of the earth . At the close of 
th ese ceremonies, the hota casts a small quantity of curds on the 
fire towards the north-east ; sprinkles a little water on the face of 
the sacrificer and his wife ; bathes them by pouring upon them 
water from the large pan, repeating incantations ; and marks their 
foreheads, shoulders, throats, and breasts with the ashes from the 
burnt curds. x This sacrifice was performed by many of the 

1 He must sit within a cubit of the fire. . 

u In this sacrifice sixteen hotas are employed. v Chiron jia sapida. w Pine, or fir. 

* The manners of the Hindoos at the time this sacrifice used to be offered, must 
have been very different from what they are now : a Hindoo female of rank never 
appears at present in a public assembly, permitting another man to mark her forehead 
with paint, &c. 



Hindoo kings, as mentioned in several poorantis. He who per- 
formed one hundred was entitled to the throne of Indru, the king 
of the gods. 

The sacrifice of an Ass. — The sacrifice is to be performed by a 
dundee, or other religious mendicant, as an atonement for some 
fault, by which he has lost his station as a devotee. After the 
fire is prepared, Noiritu is worshipped : the sacrificer then anoints 
the ass with turmeric, bathes it, and ties it to a vilwu post ; and 
afterwards purifies it by repeating incantations and sprinkling it 
with water. A burnt-sacrifice with clarified butter is then offered 
to the ten guardian deities of the earth ; and the ceremonies by 
which a person is created a dundee are repeated. The relapsed 
mendicant is now placed near the altar ; the ass is slain, and its 
flesh offered to Noiritu in the burnt-sacrifice ; after which the 
staff is put into the hand of the dundee, who addresses petitions to 
the god ttgnee, and to the dundees who are present. He next 
performs the sacrifice, thinking on Briimha, and then closes the 
whole by dismissing Ugnee ; or, in other words, he quenches the 
fire by pouring curds upon it. This sacrifice is supposed to be 
effectual to all spiritual purposes, but it does not restore the 
dundee to his rank among the same class of mendicants. 

Sacrifice at the birth of a Son. — A father, on first visiting 
his son, is commanded to take a piece of gold in his hand ; and with 
fire produced by rubbing two pieces of wood together, to offer a 
sacrifice to Brumha, and then anoint the forehead of the child 
with the clarified butter left on the fingers at the close of the 
sacrifice. The mother must sit near the altar, and receive the 
scent of the offerings, having the child in her arms. To secure the 
strength of the child, clarified butter and curds must be burnt, and 
prayers repeated. The father must also bind a string of seven 
or nine threads, and five blades of cl55rva grass, round the 
wrist of the child ; and sprinkle water on its forehead with blades 
of kooshu grass. He must also present oil and betle to ten or 
twelve married females, and entertain them at his house. This 
ceremony is never performed at present. 

Sacrifice after Death. — The sagniku. bramhuns, who burn the 
bodies of the dead with the fire kindled at their birth, are directed 
to make this sacrifice. First, a burnt-offering is made with clarified 
butter ; then the corpse, being washed, is laid upon the altar, and 
the person officiating puts some of the clarified butter to the mouth 
of the deceased ; after which the fire is made to surround the body, 
and a prayer is repeated, that all the sins collected in this body 
may be destroyed by this fire, and the person obtain an excellent 

Sacrifice to the nine Planets. — Most of the formulas in the 
preceding sacrifices are used in this. The only differences belong 



to the wood and food burnt, to the images of the planets, the dress 
of the priests, and to the fees presented at the close of the cere- 
mon}^. This sacrifice is made to remove the supposed baneful in- 
fluence of an evil planet. The author once witnessed this ceremony 
at Calcutta. 

Other sacrifices. — Beside these, many other sacrifices are men- 
tioned in the Hindoo writings; I select the names of a few. — 
Raju-s55yu, offered by the^kshutriyu kings to atone for the sin of 
destroying men in war. — TJgnishtomu, a sacrifice to Ugnee. — Jyo- 
tishtomu, to obtain a glorious body ; and Ayooshtomu, to obtain 
long life. — Surpugnu., to destroy snakes. — Muha-vrutu, to obtain 
the heaven of Brumha. At the close of this sacrifice, a brambun 
and his wife are brought out, worshipped, feasted, and loaded with 
presents. — Poundureeku, performed with the flowers of the water- 
lily, dipped in clarified butter, in order to obtain Vishnoo's heaven. 
— Utiratru, performed in the last stages of the night, to the god 
Brumha. — Vishwu-jatu, to obtain universal conquest. — Oindru- 
dudhee, performed with curds, made from milk taken from the 
cow while the calf is kept at a distance with a twig of the pulashu 
tree ; the whey to be given to a horse. — Pruja-yagu, performed by 
a king for the good of his subjects. — Ritoo-yagu, attended to for 
six years, the time being varied according to the six seasons. — 
Survvu-dukshinu ; so called because the fees to the officiating 
bramhuns, at the close of the sacrifice, amount to the whole pro- 
perty of the sacrificer.* — Nuvushus-yshtee, a sacrifice with first 
fruits to obtain good harvests. 

Sect. V. — Burnt-Offerings, (Homu.) h 

This is a particular part of the sacrifice called yugnu. but at 
present it is often performed separately. The things offered are 
clarified butter, sesamum, flowers, boiled rice, rice boiled in milk and 
sweetened with honey, dddrvu-grass, vilwu leaves, and the tender 
branches, half a span long, of the usliwuttuhu, the doomvuru/ the 
pulashu/ the akundu/ the shumee, g and the khudiru, h trees. Clari- 
fied butter alone is sufficient, but any or all of these things may be 
added. 1 

a One of the gifts proper to be presented to brarnhiins is a person's wJiole property I 
See a succeeding article, Danu. Here the fee at the close of a sacrifice is a person's all ! 
Such is the rapacity of these priests of idolatry. 

b From hoo, to offer by fire. c Ficus religiosa. 

d Ficus racemosa. e Butea f rondosa. 

f Asclepias gigantea. s Mimosa albida, 

*> Mimosa catechu . 

1 The flesh of goats may be used in the homu ; but it is not customary at present. 



The person who wishes to perform this ceremony, provides a 
bramhun acquainted with the usual forms, and on the day before 
the service observes a fast. The next day he rises early and bathes, 
performing in the morning his usual worship : then coming home, 
he begins the ceremony in the presence of his friends, with the 
assistance of the bramhun whom he has chosen. First he sits down, 
either in the house or before the door, with his face towards the 
east, and makes a square altar of four cubits with clean dry 
sand ; upon which, with a blade of kooshu-grass, he writes the 
proper incantation. He then takes a little straw in each hand, 
lights that in his left, and throws the other away. He re- 
peats this action again, and then laying down the wisp of light- 
ed straw on the altar, repeating ^incantations, lays upon it the 
wood, and worships the god IJgnee, (fire.) Having already 
provided clarified butter, and placed twigs, half a span long, by his 
side, he takes up one of them at a time, and, dipping it in the 
clarified butter, lays it on the fire, repeating a prayer. He may 
offer either eight twigs, twent}-eight, one hundred and eight, two 
hundred and eight, or three hundred and eight, and so on till he be 
satisfied, or till he think the gods have had clarified butter enough. k 
At the close, he puts or pours upon the fire, plantains, the leaves of 
the piper betle, and sour milk. He does this, as they say, to cool 
the earth, which, being a goddess, is supposed to have sustained 
some harm by the heat of the fire. Finally, he makes presents, and 
entertains bramhuns. 

Sect. VI. — Bloody Sacrifices, (Bulee-danuK) 

The reader will have observed, that for the burnt-sacrifices 
animals were slain, and offered on the altar. In these sacrifices 
(Bulee-danu) animals are slain, but the flesh is offered raw, and not 
burnt on the altar : this is the difference between the two sacrifices. 
Among the things proper for sacrifice are men, buffaloes, goats, sheep, 
horses, camels, deer, fish, and birds of various kinds. At present 
only buffaloes, goats, and sheep are offered. 

When an animal (for example, a goat) is sacrificed, the follow- 
ing forms are used. — First, the animal is bathed either with or in 
water ; and then brought before the idol ; when the officiating 
bramhun paints its horns red, and whispers an incantation in its 
right ear ; after which, taking the right ear of the goat in his left 
hand, with a blade of kooshu grass he sprinkles the head of the 
animal with water, and repeats many incantations : the goat is then 
worshipped, and fed with the offerings ; after which, it is led out, 

k The god tjgnee was once surfeited with clarified butter, and to relieve him 
Urjoonii burnt a whole forest containing medicinal plants. 

1 FromBiHee, a sacrifice, and da, to give. The shastrns include all offerings under 
the name bulee ; but at present this term is confined to the offering of the flesh of animals. 



and fastened to the stake. The instrument of death is next brought, 
bathed, smeared with red lead during the repetiton of an incantation, 
worshipped, and made to touch a burning lamp, that its edge may 
not be blunted by the power of any incantation . The officiating 
bramhun next puts the instrument and a flower into the hand of the 
slayer, (perhaps the blacksmith,) who places the flower in his hair, 
and prostrates himself before the idol. Then laying down the 
weapon, he binds his cloth firmly round his loins, and waits at the 
post, in the excavation of which the neck of the goat is to be placed, 
till the bramhun has anointed the post with red lead, and placed a 
saucer containing a plantain to catch the blood. The goat's neck is 
now fastened in the excavation of the post, with its head on one 
side and the body on the other. One man pulls its head by the 
cord round its neck, which has been smeared with red lead, and 
another pulls the body. The officiating bramhun sprinkles the neck 
with water, and divides the hair on the neck ; after which he goes 
into the presence of the idol, and offers a cloud of incense ; and 
then he and all present, putting their loose garment around their 
necks, rise, and stand before the idol with joined hands : and while 
they remain in this attitude, the executioner, at one blow,™ strikes 
off the head. The man who holds the body suspends it over the 
dish containing the plantain, and the blood runs into it ; after 
which he lays the body down. The officiating bramhun pours 
some water on the head, which another person holds in his hand, 
and afterwards places it before the idol, fastening it on each side 
with two sticks put into the ground to prevent its moving. The 
slayer then going to the body, cuts a morsel of the flesh from the 
neck, and casts it among the blood preserved in the dish, which is 
now carried and placed before the idol. The doors are then shut ; 
a light made with clarified butter is placed on the head, and the 
head is offered to the idol with appropriate prayers. The whole of 
the blood is next offered, and afterwards divided into four parts 
and offered, which closes the ceremony. 

Sect. VII. — Bathing, (Snanu). a 

Bathing, as an act of purification, always precedes and some- 
times follows other ceremonies. It may be performed by pouring 

m A person in the east of Bengal, who wap accustomed to lay aside part of his 
monthly savings to purchase offerings for the annual worship of Doorga, was exceed- 
ingly alarmed during the festival one year, when the person who was to cut off the 
head of the sacrifice (a buffalo) failed to sever the head from the body at one blow. 
Leaving the sacrifice struggling and half killed, he went up to the image, and with 
joined hands cried out, : Oh ! mother ! why art thou displeased with me ? What have 
I done?' His female relations came into the temple, and wept before the image in 
the most bitter manner. The spectators began to reason upon this dreadful circum- 
stance, imputing the failure in slaughtering the buffalo to different causes according to 
their fancies. One opinion, among the rest, was, that the owner of the image was in 
no fault, but that the goddess was angry because the officiating bramhun had let fall 
saliva upon the offerings while reading the formulas, 

n From shna, to purify or bathe, 


water on the bocty in or out of doors, or by immersing the body in 
a pool or river. 

A bramhim bathes in the following manner : — he first rubs 
his bod}'' with oil, and takes with him to the river a towel, a brass 
cup called a kosha, flowers, leaves of the vilwu tree, and a few 
seeds of sesamum. Some take alonp; with them a little rice, a 
plantain or two, and sweetmeats. Arriving at the river side, the 
bramhun, hanging a towel round his neck, makes a bow, or 
prostrates himself before the river ; then rising rubs his forehead 
with the water, and offers praise to Gunga. If he has omitted 
his morning duties, he performs them now. After this he makes a 
clay image of the lingu : then descends into the water, and 
immerses himself twice, having his face towards the north or 
east. Rising, he invokes some god, and, with his forefinger 
making circles in the water, prays, that all the holy places 
of the river may surround him at once, or rather that all the fruit 
arising from bathing in them may be enjoyed by him. He again 
immerses himself twice, and, rising, cleanses his body, rubbing 
himself with his towel. He then comes up out of the water, 
wipes his body, and repeats many forms of prayer or praise. This 
is what properly belongs to bathing ; but it is succeeded by 
repeating the common forms of worship, for which the person 
made preparations in bringing his kosha, flowers, leaves, sesamum, 
making the lingu, &c. 

Bathing, in cases of sickness, may be performed without 
immersing the head in water, by rubbing the arms, legs, and 
forehead, with a wet cloth ; or by changing the clothes ;° 
or by sprinkling the body with water, and repeating an incanta- 
tion or two ; or b}^ covering the body with the ashes of cow-dung. 

Sect. VIII. — D rink-Offerings to the Gods and deceased Ancestors 

(Turpunu)? % 

The Hindoos, at the time of bathing, present water daily ta 
the gods, the sages, yukshus, nagus, gundhurvus, upsurus, iisoorus, 
vidyadhurus, pishachus, siddus, and to their deceased ancestors. 11 
This they call turpunu ; which should t be performed three times 
a day : those who use the kosha take up water in it, putting in 
sesamum, repeating the proper formulas, and then pouring out the 
water into the river or pool where they are bathing. Those who 

° A Hindoo considers those clothes defiled in which he has been employed in 
secular concerns. 

v From Tripu, to satisf}\ 

q Seeds of sesamum are also presented to deceased ancestors, and, among the gods, 
to Yumu, the regent of death. 



perform this ceremony without the kosha, take up water with their 
hands, and, repeating a prayer, present it to the gods, by pouring it 
out from the ends of the fingers ; to parents, by letting it fall be- 
twixt the fingers and thumb of the right hand ; and to the sages, 
by pouring the water out at their wrists. For those who have 
died in a state of extreme poverty, and have no one to perform the 
ceremonies for the repose of the soul, instead of pouring it out of 
the hands, they offer the libation by wringing the cloth with 
which they bathe. If the person bathe in any other water, and 
not in the Ganges, he cannot use sesamum, but performs the cere- 
mony with water alone. 

Sect. IX. — The Ceremonies of Worship, (Pooja.) 

The following ceremonies in the presence of the idol are 
what the Hindoos call pooja. — Previously to entering on this 
act of idolatry, the person bathes ; returning home/ he washes his 
feet, spreads a blanket or some other proper thing to sit upon, and 
then sits down before the idol, having the articles necessary for 
worship before him : a kosha, or metal bason, and a koshee, or 
smaller one ; a small wooden stand, a metal plate, an iron stand 
to hold five lamps, a censor, a brass stand with a small shell placed 
on it, a metal plate on which to place flowers, a metal bowl into 
which the water and flowers are thrown after they have been 
presented to the idol, a metal jug for holding water, a metal plate 
to be used as a bell ; a shell, or sacred conch, 8 which sounds like a 
horn; with a number of dishes, cups, and other utensils for holding 
rice, paint, incense, betle, water, milk, butter, curds, sweetmeats, 
flowers, clarified butter, &c. Having all these articles ready,* the 
worshipper takes water from the kosha with the koshee, and let- 
ting it fall into his right hand, drinks it ; he then takes a drop 
more, and then a drop more, repeating incantations. After this 
with the finger and thumbs of his right hand he touches his 
mouth, nose, eyes, ears, navel, breast, shoulders, and the crown of 
his head, repeating certain forms. He then washes his hands, 
makes a number of motions with his fingers, and strikes the 
earth with his left heel three times, repeating incantations, 
When this is done, he flirts the first finger and thumb of his 
right hand, waving his hand towards the ten divisions of the 
earth ; closes his eyes, and repeats incantations to purify his 
mind, his body, the place where he sits, as well as the offer- 

r These ceremonies are frequently performed by the river side. 

s Both men and women, ou entering a temple, often blow the conch or ring the bell, 
to entertain the god. 

1 In general when the worship is performed in the house, a bramhnn's wife, against 
the arrival of her husbsnd from bathing, sets in proper order all the articles mtd in 
worship ; - flowers, water, utensils, &c. 



ings about to be presented, (which it is supposed may have 
become unclean, by having been seen or touched by a cat, a dog, a 
shackal, a sh55dru, or a Musulman.) Next, he takes a flower, 
which he lays on his left hand, and, putting his right hand upon it, 
revolves in his mind the form of the god he is worshipping. He 
then lays the flower on his head, and, joining his hands together, 
closes his eyes, thinks upon the form of the god, that he has a nose, 
eyes, four arms, four heads, &c. and then recites the outward forms 
of worship in his mind. He now presents the offerings ; first, a 
square piece of gold or silver, as a seat for the god, inviting him to 
come and sit down, or visit him ; and then, asking the god if he 
be happy, repeats for him, ' Very happy.' After this, he presents 
water to wash the feet ; takes up water with the koshee, and pours 
it into the metal bowl ; and presents at once rice, a vilwu leaf, 
eight blades of doorva grass, paint, and water, with incantations. 
He then presents water to wash the mouth, curds, sugar, honey ; 
then water to wash the mouth again, and water to bathe in, with 
prayers ; then cloth, jewels, gold, silver, ornaments, bedsteads, cur- 
tains, a bed, pillow, cloth, printed cloth ; clothes for men, women, 
or children ; shoes, brass drinking cups, candlesticks, and what- 
ever would be proper presents to the bramhuns. u After this paint, 
either red or white, is presented on a flower ; then eight or ten 
flowers ; leaves of the vilwu tree ; a necklace of flowers ; incense 
of three kinds, and a lighted lamp, with incantations. After the 
bloody sacrifices, the offerings are presented, comprising rice, split 
peas, different kinds of peas, shaddocks, pomegranates, pine-apples, 
netted custard-apples, another species of custard-apples, bread fruit 
or jakus, mangoes, water-melons, cucumbers, plantains, oranges, 
ginger, cocoanuts, almonds, raisins/ guavas, dates, j ambus, jujubes, 
wood-apples, melons, sugar-canes, radishes, sweet-potatoes, kesooru/ 
water, milk, curds, another sort of curds, cream, butter, sour-milk, 
clarified butter, sugar, sugar-candy, &c. &c. After presenting the 
offerings, the person repeats the name of a god for some time, and 
then prostrates himself, (the spectators doing the same ;) putting 
the cloth round his neck, and joining his hands, he offers praise to 
the god, and prostrates himself again. The dinner follows, consist- 
ing of fried greens, and several other dishes made up of kidney, 
beans, varttakee, z cocoanuts, &c. fried together ; split peas, and 
several kinds of fried herbs or fruits ; four kinds of fish ; boiled 
and fried goats' flesh, vension, and turtle ; different fruits prepared 
with treacle ; rice and milk boiled with sugar ; things prepared 

u It must not be supposed that all these articles are presented daily by the Hin- 
doos. This account describes what is performed at festivals. In the daily worship, 
flowers, leaves, sacred grass, a little rice, &c. are presented. 

x These and several other articles are imported from foreign countries ; and 
though they have been prepared by the hands of the unclean, yet the Hindoos make 
no difficulty in presenting them to their gods, and afterwards eating them. 

y The root of scirpus maximus 

z Solanum molongena. 



with pounded rice ; curds, sweetmeats, &c. The fish, flesh, fried 
greens, and every thing of this kind is eaten with boiled rice. A 
dish called kechooree, consisting of rice, split peas, clarified butter, 
turmeric, and spices, boiled together, is also presented ; and then 
water to drink. With every article of food a separate prayer is 
offered. Water is next presented to wash the mouth, and a 
straw to pick the teeth, with prayers ; then the burnt-offering 
is made, and a present of money given. At last the person pros- 
trates himself before the object of worship, and then retires to feast 
on the offerings with other bramhuns. This is a detail of the form 
of worship on a large scale, at which time it occupies the officiating 
bramhun two hours. 

Sect. X. — Meditation (Dhyanti.*) 

In this act of devotion, the worshipper (of Shivu for instance) 
closes his eyes, places his arms before him, and repeating the names 
of the god, ruminates thus : — ' His colour is like a mountain of 
silver ; his body shines like the moon ; he has four arms ; in one 
hand he holds an axe, in another a deer, with another bestows a 
blessing, and with the other forbids fear ; he has five faces, and 
in each face three eyes ; he sits on the w^ater-lily ; the gods 
surround him, and celebrate his praise ; lie is clothed with the 
skin of a tiger ; he was before the world ; he is the creator of the 
world ; he removes fear from every living creature.' While he 
meditates on the offerings, he proceeds thus : — ' Oh ! god, 1 give 
thee all these excellent things (recounting in his mind the names 
of all the offerings, one by one.) 

Both these forms of meditation are constantly used at the 
time of worship, (pooja.) Many things are related in the pooranus 
respecting the meditation known to ascetics, who, by the power 
of dhyanu, discovered things the most secret. 

Sect. XI. — Repeating the Names of the Gods, (Jupu)^ 

The Hindoos believe that the repetition of the name of God 
is an act of adoration ; some add that the name of God is like fire, 
by which all their sins are consumed : hence repeating the names 
of the idols is a popular ceremony among the Hindoos. 

In this act the worshipper, taking a string of beads, repeats 
the name of his guardian deity, or that of any other god ; counting 
by his beads 10, 28, 108, 208, and so on, adding to every 108 not 

a From dhyoi, to tHiuk, 

b To f?rjeak. 




less than one hundred more. This act is not efficacious, however, 
unless the person keep his mind fixed on the form of the idol. 
Many secular persons perform jupu without beads, hy counting 
their fingers. 

It is said that a person obtains whatever he seeks by persever- 
ing in this act of adoration. If he be desirous of a wife, or of 
children, or of money, (say a lac of rupees ;) or seek recovery 
from sickness, or relief from misfortune ; he begins to repeat the 
name of his god, and believes that he soon becomes subject to his 
wishes. Jupu makes an essential part of the daily worship of a 
Hindoo : some mendicants continue it day and night, year after 
year, except when eating, sleeping, bathing, &c. 

The Tuntru-saru contains the following account of the 
consecration of the bead-roll : — The person sits down on the floor 
of his house, and taking some green, red, black, yellow, and white 
paint, draws a water-lily on the floor, upon which he places a 
small brass dish ; and upon this, nine leaves of the ushwut'hu 
tree, and upon the leaves a string of beads, cow's urine, cow- dung, 
sour-milk, milk, and clarified butter, mixing them together, and 
repeating an incantation : he then places honey, sugar; sour-milk, 
milk, and clarified butter, upon the bead-roll, repeating another 
incantation ; then some red lead and spices ; and then, with 
incantations, he gives the bead-roll a soul, (pranu,) and according 
to the usual forms worships it, and offers a burnt-offering to 
the god whose name he intends to repeat with this string of 

Sect. XII. — Forms of Praise to the Gods, (Sitivu.) 

Forms of praise to the gods constitute a part of the daily 
worship of the Hindoos. They spring not from emotions of 
gratitude, but are repeated as acts of merit, to draw down favours 
on the obsequious worshipper. — In this act, the person draws his 
upper garment round his neck, joins his hand in a supplicating 
manner, and repeats the forms of praise with a loud voice. 
Examples : — { Oh ! Shivu ! thou art able to do every thing ! 
Thou art the preserver of all ! Thou art the fountain of life !' — 
To Kartiku : £ Thou art the god of gods ; therefore I come to thee, 
to enquire how I may repeat the praise of Sheetula, that she may 
remove swellings on the body.' — To Sheetula : ' I salute Sheetula, 
the goddess, for she can remove the fear of boils.' 

The Hindoos say, that by praise a person may obtain from 
the gods (who are fond of flattery) whatever he desires. The 
forms are taken from the shastrus, though on some occasions, a 
person may recite words of his own invention. 



Sect. XIII. — Forms of Prayer to the Gods, (Kuvuchu.) 

These prayers are principally found in the Tuntrus ; a few in 
the pooranus. They relate to the welfare of the petitioner here 
and hereafter ; and are given by a spiritual guide to his disciple. 
Examples: — 'O ! Hunooman ! when I go eastward, do thou 
preserve me ! O ! son of Puvunu ! when I proceed southward, do 
thou keep me ! O ! beloved son of Keshuree ; c when I go westward, 
do thou preserve me. O ! Kamugnu ! d keep me from danger when 
I go northward. O ! Saguru-parugu! 6 save me when I descend. 
! burner of Lunka ! (Ceylon,) deliver me from all danger. O ! 
counsellor of Soogreevu ! preserve my head.' In this manner the 
person addresses petitions to this monkey-god, as for his head, so 
for the preservation of every member of his body, from the fore- 
head to the toes. 

He who repea/ts this form twelve times beneath the urku tree, 
will obtain long life, be the strongest man on earth, and the god- 
dess of fortune will never forsake his dwelling. If he repeat this 
kuvuchu seven times, at midnight, standing in water, he will be 
able to drive away from his body every kind of disease : if at any 
time, in any place, he will obtain beauty, eloquence, wisdom, 
strength, victory, patience, and be free from fear and disease. If 
any one bind this kuvuchu (as a charm 1 ) on his arm, he will 
obtain every desire of his heart. 

Sect. XIV. — Petitions and Vows, (Kamtinu and Mantinti.) 

The Hindoos are continually resorting to their gods for parti- 
cular favours : if a person wish for a son, g or any other blessing, 
he takes rice, plantains, and sweetmeats, and goes to some idol ; 
and after worshipping it, and presenting offerings, asks the god to 
bless him with a son. This petition is called kamunu ; after 
putting up which he vows, that if the god grant his request, he 

c K^shuree was married to the mother of HiSnooman, (if marriages take place 
among monkies,) and Hunooman was the illegitimate son of Puvfinu. 

d This monkey-god is called by this name, as the destroyer of evil desire ; from 
kamu, desire, and hun, to destroy. 

e Sagiiru, sea, parugu, the crosser ; alluding to his leaping across the sea to 

f Not only the Hindoos, but the Musulmans also are much attached to charms. 
I once saw a Musulman woman dropping slips of paper into the river, and, upon 
inquiry, found that they contained some sacred words, and that the woman was 
presenting these papers to the river-saint, Khajakhejur, in hopes of obtaining relief 
from sickness, service, or the like. 

s The Hindoos in general never pray for daughters, because they do not bring 
much honour to the family : they are expensive, and they can do nothing for the 
family when the father is dead ; whereas a son preserves his father's memory, 
performs the ceremonies for the repose of his soul, and nourishes the family by his 

220 vows. 

will offer to him two goats, or present him with two loads h of 
sweetmeats : this vow is called mairimih 

In this manner the Hindoo asks for different blessings from his 
god ; such as to become the servant of some European, or to have 
sickness removed, or for riches, a house, a wife, or for a son to be 
married. A woman prays for a husband who is absent. A 
mother prays that her sick child may recover. Thus the poor 
Hindoo carries his property to dumb idols, and knows nothing of 
the happiness of casting all his cares on that glorious Being, ' who 
careth for him.' The vows made at such times are various. One 
promises to sacrifice a goat, a sheep, or a buffalo ; another to 
present sweetmeats, or cloth, ornaments, money, rice, a house, a 
necklace, one hundred water-lilies, one thousand toolusee leaves, 
or a grand supper. All these offerings come to the bramhuns. 1 

If the god do not grant the requests and regard the vows 
made at these times, the worshipper sometimes vents his rage in 
angry expressions ; or, if the image be in his own house, he dashes 
it to pieces. Such an enraged worshipper sometimes says, £ Oh ! 
thou forsaken of the goddess Fortune, thou blind god ; thou canst 
look upon others, but art blind to me/ ' The gods are dying,' says 
another, ' otherwise my five children would not have died ; they 
have eaten my five children at once.' 1 After having worshipped 
this god so faithfully, and presented so many offerings, this is the 
shameful maimer In which I am requited.' Words like these are 
common ; but this is in times when the passions of the worshippers 
are touched by the death of a child, or by some dreadful misfortune : 
and those who treat the gods so roughly are generally of the lower 

Sect XV.— Votes, (Vruiu.) 

Certain ceremonies, performed at stated times, frequently 
by females, are called by the name vrutu. The following is an 
example of one of these ceremonies : — At the fifth of the increase 
of the moon, in the month Maghu, what is called the Punchumee- 
Yrutu is performed. On the day before*the commencement of this 
ceremony, the woman who is to perform it, eats food without salt, 
and only once in the day ; refrains from anointing her body with 
oil ; eats rice that has not been made wet in cleansing ; and puts 

• b That is, as much as a man can carry, at twice in the way the bearers carry 
water ; w T ho put a bamboo yoke on the shoulder, and suspend a jar of water from 
each end of the bamboo, 


» The shastrii has declared that no gift3 are to be received from the hands of 
shoodrus, except land or virgins. If, however, a bramhun have received a forbidden 
gift, he is directed to oifer it lo Vishuoo, and then distribute it among bramhuns, 
repeating, for the removal of his sin, the gayatree one hundred and eight times, or 



oti new apparel. The following morning she bathes ; after which 
the officiating bramhun arrives at her house, and the things necessary 
for the worship are brought : as, a new earthen jar, rice, sweetmeats, 
a new poita, a piece of new cloth, clarified butter, fruits, flowers, 
&c. The woman presents to the officiating bramhun, who sits in 
the house on a mat made of kooshu -grass, with his face towards the 
north or east, a piece of new cloth ; and putting a cloth over her 
shoulders, and joining her hands, informs him that she intends to 
perform this vrutu every month for six } 7 ears, and prays him to 
become her representative in this work. She then rises, and the 
bramhun, taking the shalgramu, places it before him, and performs 
the worship of Vishnoo and Lukshmee. In the third and fourth 
years, on the day preceding and on the day of the worship, she 
eats rice not made wet in cleansing ; the next year, on these 
days, only fruits ; the following year, on these two days, 
she fasts. On the last day, (at which time the six years 
expire,) the officiating bramhuns attend, to whom she says, 'I 
have now finished the six years' vrutu I promised : I pray you 
to perform another vrutu.' She then gives to each a piece of 
cloth, a poita, and some betle-nut ; and putting a cloth round her 
neck, and joining her hands, begs them to perform the necessary 
ceremonies. Placing the shalgramu before them, they then per- 
form the worship of of Shivu, S5oryu, Guneshu, Vishnoo, and Door- 
ga ; in which offerings are made of cloth, sweetmeats, &c. Next 
they worship the woman's spiritual, guide ; in which, amongst other 
things, an offering is made of a bamboo plate, having on it a num- 
ber of articles, and among the rest a piece of cloth. To this suc- 
ceeds the worship of Vishnoo, Lukshmee, and the officiating priests. 
A priest next prepares an altar four cubits square, by spreading 
sand upon the ground. At three of the corners he fixes three pieces 
of wood, lights some straw, and then worships the fire ; next he 
boils rice, and, with clarified butter, presents the burnt-offering. The 
female now puts a bamboo plate on her head, and walks round the 
h're seven times ; then, standing still, she says, ' ! TJgnee ! I call 
thee to witness, that I have performed this vrutu. six years.' She 
says the same to the sun, the shalgramu, and to the bramhuns. 
Next she gives a fee, and distributes the gifts to the priests and 
bramhuns. The bamboo plate which she placed on her head is 
laid up in the house, and the whole closes with a grand dinner to 
the bramhuns and others. This is the form of a vrutu on a large 
scale. The Hindoos have, it is said, two or three hundred cere- 
monies called by this name. 

Savitree-vvUtu. In this ceremony the wife of a Hindoo, in 
the month Asharhu, worships her husband : she first presents 
to him a new garment, hangs a garland of flowers round his neck, 
rubs his body with red lead and ointments ; and while he sits on 
a stool, worships him, by presenting different offerings to him 
repeating incantations, and praying that she may never be separat- 



ed from him as her husband, nor ever become a widow. After a 
number of other services paid to him, among which she makes 
him partake of a good dinner, she walks round him seven times, 
and then retires. 

Adih* u-singh asunu-vrutu is observed every day in Voishakhu 
for one year. During the thirty days, thirty women, the wives of 
bramhuns, are entertained ; a different female each day. When 
the bramhunee arrives, a seat is given her on the porch, and the 
mistress of the house washes her feet, fans her, anoints her head 
with oil, combs her hair, ornaments her forehead witli paint, anoints 
her body with perfumes, and employs a female barber to paint the 
edges of her feet. After this she conducts her into the house, 
where she is fed with all the dainties the house can afford, 
and dismissed with a gift of kourees. On the last of the thirty 
days, in addition to this entertainment, a piece of cloth is presented 
to a bramhunee. The benefit expected from this vrutu is, that the 
female who thus honours the wives of bramhuns shall be highly 
honoured by her husband in another birth. 

It would be easy to multiply examples, for almost every 
Hindoo female performs one or another of these vrutus : k but this 
will be sufficient to give the reader an idea of these ceremonies ; 
from the merit of which some expect heaven, others children, others 
riches, others preservation from sickness, kc. — The vrutus are a 
very lucrative source of profit to the bramhuns. 

Sect. XVI. — Fasting, (Oopuvasu.) 

Fasting is another work of merit among the Hindoos. A 
common fast is conducted in the following manner : — The person 
abstains on the preceding day from rubbing his body with oil, and 
from eating, except once in the former part of the day. The next 
day he eats nothing ; and on the following day he eats once, : 
worships some god, and entertains one or more bramhuns. If a 
person be unable to fast to such a degree, he is permitted to take a 
little milk on the second day ; if he be very weak, he may add 
fruit, curds, sweetmeats, &c. 

Some Hindoos fast on the 11th 1 of the increase, and the 12th 
of the decrease of the moon in every month; on the 11th in 

k Vrutus are unconditional vows to perform certain religious ceremonies ; but 
what is called muminu (see a preceding article) is a conditional vow, promising to pre- 
sent offerings on condition that the god bestow such or such a benefit. 

1 Widows keep this fast so strictly, that if a widow were dying, and a draught 
of water would prolong life, her friends would scarcely give it. 



Shravunii, Bhadru, and Kartiku ; m on the 12th in Shravunu ; on 
the 14th of the decrease of the moon in Phalgoonu ; n on the 9th in 
Choitru ;° on the 8th in Bhadru ; p and on the 8th in Ashwinu. q In 
this month many natives of Hindoost'han fast on the first nine 
days of the moon, in honour of Doorga ; and observe, as they sa}^ 
a total abstinence? even from water. Fasts precede some of the 
festivals : after the death of parents, Hindoos fast three days ; after 
that of a husband, a wife fasts three days ; before offering an atone- 
ment, a fast is observed ; the day any pilgrim arrives at a holy 
place he fasts ; in fulfilling vows, the Hindoos keep many fasts ; 
some persons enter into a resolution to fast every other day, and 
persevere in this for years. Some renounce rice altogether, and 
keep a perpetual fast, living on milk, fruits, &c. Others (pilgrims) 
offer a certain fruit to some idol, and renounce this kind of fruit, 
promising never to eat of it again to the end of life. The gods, it 
is said, delight to see their followers renounce anything as an act 
of devotion or attachment to them. This person presents to 
bramhuns fruit thus renounced, on the aniversary of the day on 
which he renounced it. — Another custom, bearing a similarity to 
fasting, also prevails among the Hindoos : — In the months Asharhu, 
Shravunu, Bhadru, and Ashwinu, many renounce certain articles 
of diet, and others omit to be shaved, as acts of devotion to the 

The blessing expected from fasting is, that the person will 
ascend to the heaven of that god in whose name he observes 
the fast. 

Sect. XVII.— Gifts, (DanU. T ) 

Peesents to learned bramhuns; to those less learned ; to unlearn- 
ed bramhuns ; to one whose father was a bramhun, but his mother 
a sh5odru ; and alms to the poor, are called by the name of danu. 
The things which may be presented are, whatever may be eaten, or 
worn, or is in use among Hindoos. These are the common gifts, but 
the shastrus have pointed out extraordinary gifts : a daughter in 

m On the first of these days Vishnoo goes to sleep ; on the second he turns to the 
other side ; and on the third he awakes. 

n The occasion of this fast is thus related : — On a certain occasion, Doorga asked 
Shivil what would please him most, and be a work of the greatest merit. He replied, 
to hold a fast in his name on the 14th of tha wane of the moon in Phalgoonu. 

The birth-day of Ramu. ■ p Krishnu's birth-day. 
n The time of the Doorga festival 

1 From da, to give. 



marriage without receiving a fee ; 8 a pool of water;* a shalgramu ; 
a house containing food, clothes, &c. for twelve months ; gold ; 
cows ; elephants ; horses ; palankeens ; a road ; a copy of a poo- 
ranu ; a mountain of gold, u silver, brass, rice, or other articles ; 
land ; x a person's ivhole property ; yea, even his life. 

There are three ways of presenting a gift ; one in which the 
person worships the receiver; another in which he gives as an act 
of benevolence ; and the last, in which the giver prays for some 
blessing on presenting his gift. If a sh65dru wish to present a gift 
to a bramhun, he bathes, and carries it fasting : on arriving in the 
presence of the bramhun, he sprinkles the gift with water, repeating 
an incantation that it may be thereby purified, and then presents 
it with such words as these : ' Sir, I have presented to you this gift : 
let me have your blessing, that I may obtain heaven, or, that my 
father may obtain heaven, or that it may be imputed to me as an 
act of merit.' 

If a man present land to bramhuns, he will obtain heaven ; 
if a cow, he will after death ride on a cow across the river Voiturunee ; 
if water, after death he will find refreshing water in his journey to 
Yumaluyu, (the residence of Yumu, the regent of death) ; if a house 

8 The generality of the respectable Hindoos say, that receiving a fee for a 
daughter is like selling flesh ; yet the lower orders of bramhuns commonly receive 
money on giving a daughter in marriage. Formerly the Hindoo rajas assisted the 
bramhuns by giving them money for the expenses of their weddings. A story is re- 
lated of a raja, who was intreated by a bramhiin to bestow a gift upon him for the 
expenses of his marriage. The raja ordered him to put a garland round the neck of 
the first woman he met, and let her become his wife. The bramhun went out, and 
met the raja's mother returning from bathing. When about to put the garland round 
her neck, she demanded the reason of this strange conduct; which the bramhun ex- 
plained. The old lady told him to wait, and she would bring about what he wanted. 
She sat at the door of the palace, and compelled her son to come and invite her in. 
She replied, that she was become the wife of such a bramhun, and that she must go 
with her new husband. The raja, thunderstruck, called for the bramhun, gave him 
a thousand rupees towards his wedding, and brought his mother into the house again. 

* Pools are dug every year in all parts of Bengal, and offered to all creatures, ac- 
companied with a number of ceremonies. 

u The height of these mountain-gifts is given in the Pooshkurti-khilndu of the 
Pudmu-pooranu. It must not be supposed that they are very large ; but it is neces- 
sary that figures of trees, deer, &c. should be seen on them. In one of the smritees is 
an account of a prostitute, who offered a mountain of gold. About the year 1794, 
Chunooghoshu, a kaist'hu of Midnapore, gave to the bramhuns an artificial mountain 
of gold. A little before this, Gopalu-krishnu, a voidyu of Raju-nuguru, presented to 
the bramhuns three mountains, one of gold, another of rice, and another of the seeds 
of sesamum. 

x It is very common for rich land-owners to make presents of land to bramhuns. 
At a shraddhil for a father or a mother, a piece of laud, or its value in money, is in- 
variably given to bramhtins, unless the person be poor. Many of the Hindoo rajas 
sought out poor bramhttns, and gave them grants of land. A story is related of 
Keerttee-chundra, raja of Burdwan, who once found a poor fatherless boy, the son 
of a bramhun, tending cattle : he gave him a village, with as much land as he 
could run over without stopping ; and disinherited the shoSdru who had dared to 
employ the son of a bramhun in so mean an occupation. The same raja ordered a 
man to be cut in pieces, for refusing to restore to a bramhun a grant of land which the 
former had bought in a lot offered for gale. 


to bramhuns, he will obtain a palace in Leaven ; if an umbrella to a 
bramhun, he will not suffer, in another world, from the rays of the 
sun ; if shoes, in his way to heaven he will not suffer from the 
heat of the ground ; if perfumes to bramhuns, he will never, after 
death, receive an offensive smell ; if medicine to the blind, he will 
be delivered from darkness hereafter ; if a daughter to a bramhun, 
without a fee, he will gain as much as if he had given the whole 

Sect. XVIII.— Entertaining Bramhuns. 

As might be expected in a system formed by bramhuns, honour- 
ing them with a feast is represented as an act of the highest merit. 
At the close of all religious ceremonies, bramhuns are entertained ; 
private individuals, during particular holidays, make a feast for 
one or more bramhuns ; a person on his birfch-day, on the anniver- 
sary of the day in which received the initiating incantation, or at 
the full moon, or at any feast, entertains bramhuns. During the 
whole of the month Voishakhu, it is very meritorious to give 
feasts to bramhuns. 

Sect. XIX. — V arious Works of M erit. 

The Hindoo lawgivers have established several customs, 
which, if separated from idolatry, would be worthy of the highest 
commendation : they promise to the obedient the greatest rewards 
in a future state. 

Among these we may place hospitality to strangers. 7 The 
traveller, when he wishes to rest for the night, goes to a house, 
and says, ' I am utit'hee' ; i. e., I am to be entertained at your 
house. The master or mistress of the house, if of a hospitable dis- 
position, gives him water to wash his feet, a seat, tobacco, 
water to drink, &c. After these refreshments, they give him 
fire-wood, a new earthen pot to cook in, z rice, split peas, oil, 
spices, &c. The next morning he departs, som times without 

saying any thing, and at other times he takes leave. 8 In the 


y Munoo says, ' No guest must be dismissed in the evening by a house-keeper: he 
is sent by the returning sun, and whether he come in fit season or unseasonably, he 
must not sojourn in the house without entertainment. Let not himself eat any delicate 
food, without asking his guest to partake of it : the satisfaction of a guest will as- 
suredly bring the housekeeper, wealth, reputation, long life, and a place in heaven. 3 

z Almost every Hindoo is either constantly or occasionally his own cook. 

a The Hindoos have no word for ' thank you' in their common language, and 
gratitude itself appears to constitute no part of their virtues. The greatest benefits 
conferred very rarely meet with even the Least acknowledgment, I have known 



houses of the poor or the covetous, a stranger meets with worse 
entertainment. Not ^infrequently the mistress of the house 
exeeuses herself to a person wishing to become a guest, and among 
other things alleges, that there are none but women and children 
at home. It is not very uncommon for a traveller to go to several 
houses, and to be refused at all. This is partly owing to fear, that 
the stranger may plunder the house in the night. Where persons 
have porches at the outside of their houses, they have less fear, as 
the stranger is then kept at a distance. This hospitality to strangers 
is indeed sometimes abused by a thief* who robs the house and de- 
camps. Yet if a person refuse to entertain a stranger, the shastru 
declares that all the sins of the guest become his, and his works 
of merit become the guest's. The traveller sometimes murmurs on 
going away, exclaiming that the people of this village are so 
depraved, that they refuse a handful of rice to a traveller. If a 
family are unable through poverty to entertain a guest, the 
shastru orders that they shall beg for his relief. The stranger 
after eating must take nothing uncooked from the house. 

A person of the name of Goluku-Chundru-Rayu, of Serampore r 
formerly sirkar to the Danish East India Company, has particularly 
distinguished himself in the present day, as the most eminent 
Hindoo in Bengal for liberality to strangers. Upon an average, 
two hundred travellers or mendicants were formerly fed daily 
at and from his house ; and it is said that he expended in this 
manner fifty thousand rupees annually. 

Another work of charity is the digging of pools by the side of 
public roads, to supply the thirsty traveller with water. The 
cutting of these ponds, and building flights of steps in order to 
descend into them, is in many cases very expensive : four thousand 
rupees are frequently expended in one pond, including the expense- 
attending the setting* it apart to the use of the public ; at which 
time an assembly of bramhuns is collected, and certain formulas 
from the shastrus read by a priest ; among which, in the name of 
the offerer, he says, ■ I offer this pond of water to quench the 
thirst of mankind..' At the close of the ceremony, a feast is given 
to the assembled bramhuns, who are also dismissed with presents, 

European physicians perform the most extraordinary cures on .the bodies of the 
natives gratuitously, without a solitary instance occurring of a single individual 
returning to acknowledge the favour. Amongst the higher orders of Hindoos, how- 
ever, the master of a house sometimes says to a guest on his departure, ' You nvill 
excuse all inattention ;' and the guest replies, 1 Oh I sir, yim are of a distinguished 
caste ! What shall I say in return for the manner in which I have been entertained ? 
Such food ! such a bed ! But this is like yourself. No one entertains a guest as you 
do. May Lukshmee (the goddess of riches) ever dwell in your house.' 

I suppose, that in all eastern countries it is a custom for guests to be thus 
entertained at private houses. The address of our Lord to his disciples seems to- 
intimate that such was the ease among the Jews : ' And into whatsoever city or town 
ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy ; and there abide till ye go thence. And 
whosoever shall not receive you, when ye depart out of that house, &c.' 



It is unlawful for the owner ever afterwards to appropriate this 
pond to his own private use. If the water be very clear and 
sweet, the offerer is complimented as a person with whose merits 
the gods are pleased. A person of Burdwan, of the name of 
Ramu-palu, is mentioned as having prepared as many as a hundred 
pools in different places, and given them for public use. Persons 
inhabiting villages where water was scarce, used to petition this 
public benefactor to cut a pool for them ; and, after obtaining 
leave of the raja, he bestowed upon them this necessary blessing. 13 

The planting of trees to afford shade to travellers is another 
act of merit among the Hindoos, and, in a hot climate like 
this, deserves to be classed among actions that are commendable. 
Some trees also are considered as sacred, and the planting of them 
is therefore deemed a religious act The trees thus planted are 
generally the ushwut'hu, c the vutu, d vilwu, 6 ushoku/ vukoolu/ 
plukshu, h oodoomburu, 1 shiiigshupa, k tumalii, 1 jeevu-pootree, m 8zc. 
At the time of planting these trees, no religious ceremony takes 
place ; but when they are dedicated to public or sacred uses, the 
ceremony called prutisht'ha is performed. The person avIio plants 
one ushwut'hu, n one nimbu, two chumpuku, p three nagukeshwuru, q 
seven talu, r and nine cocoanut trees, and devotes them with their 
fruit, shade, &c. to public uses, is promised heaven. 

About twenty years ago, a landowner of Patu-duhu, about 
fourteen miles from Calcutta, planted an orchard by a public road, 
placed a person to keep it, and dedicated it to the use of travellers 
of all descriptions ; who are permitted to enter it, and take as 
much fruit as they can eat on the spot. Krishnu-vusoo, of Calcutta, 
made a road 3 from Kutuku to the temple of Jugunnat'hu, in Orissa, 
und planted a double row of fruit trees on the sides of this road 
for the use of pilgrims going to the temple. The pilgrims cook 
their food, sleep under the shade of these trees, and eat the fruit 
which they yield. He also cut a large pool near the temple, to 
supply these pilgrims with water. Raja Sookhu-muyu, of Calcutta, 
who died in the year 1811, left 100,000 rupees to be appropriated 
to the repairs and improvement of the road to the temple of 
Jugunnat'hu, in Orissa, and to assist pilgrims going there in 
paying the tax to Government. 

In some parts, in the sultry months Vcishakhu and Jyoisht'hu, 

b Cutting wells made a mail famous in patriarchal times : a well, said to be 
Jacob's well, existed in Samaria at the commencement of the Christian era. John 
iv. 6, 12. 

c Ficus religiosa. d Ficus Indica. e iEgle marmelos. f Jonesia asoea. 
* Mimusops eleugi. h Ficus venosa. 1 Ficus glomerata. k Dalbergia Sisso. 
1 Xanthochymus pictorius. m Unascertained. n Ficus religiosa. Melia 
azadirachta, p Michelia champaca. <i Mesua ferea. r Borassua flabelliforrnis. 

8 There are very few good public -road^ iu Bengal, 


rich Hindoos, as an act of merit, erect sheds by the public roads, 
and supply travellers gratis with water and other refreshments. 

For the comfort of travellers, lodging-houses are erected by 
opulent Hindoos on the side of public roads, in some of which 
travellers are supplied with refreshments gratis. 

Sect. XX. — Heading and hearing Poorantis. 

At the close of most of the pooranus, the writers affirm, that 
it is an act of the greatest merit, extinguishing all sin, for the 
people to read these works, or hear them read. Those principally 
recited in Bengal, as an act of merit, are the Muhabharutu, the 
Shrei-bhaguvutu, the Kaliku pooranu, the Ootkulu and Kalie- 

Some auspicious day, in the month Kartiku, Maghu, or Voi- 
shakhu, is chosen, on the day preceding which the bramhuns are 
entertained. A shed, covered with thatch and open on all sides, 
is prepared, sufficiently large, if the ceremony be on a grand scale, 
to accommodate four or five thousand people. At one end, a place 
rather elevated is prepared for the person who is to read ; and the 
other end, if there be a portico to the house, is enclosed by a cur- 
tain, from whence the women hear, and peep through the crevices. 
3&ats are spread for the people to sit on, the bramhuns in one place, 
and the kayust'hils in another, u and the sho5drus in another. On 
the appointed day all take their places : the people, on entering, 
make prostration to the shalgramu and to the bramhuns. The 
person at whose expense this is performed, after bathing, enters 
the assembly, acquaints the pundits with his design, and asks 
leave to choose those who are to read ; to each of whom he pre- 
sents a piece of cloth, directing him what to do. The reader 
(Pat'hukil) sits on the elevated seat ; below him, on the right and 
left, sit the examiners, (Dharukus) : and before him the Sudusyus, 
who decide upon the exactness of the copy. Two persons (Shrotas) 
sit in front, and in the name of the householder hear it read. 
Before the recitation begins, a bramhun in his name presents a 
garland of flowers, and some white paint, to theshalgramu ; places 
very thick garlands on the neck, arms, and head of the reader, and 
anoints his breast and forehead with white paint ; and afterwards 
places garlands round the necks of the bramhuns and some of the 

1 The two last works are parts of the Sknndu pooranu. 

°- When a kayust'hu lias a pooranu read at his own house, before the recital 
commences the officiating bramhun worships the book, the author, and the person 
whose actions are celebrated in this work. Flowers, rice, a burnt- offering, &c. are 
presented to the book, and to the persons worshipped, 



sh55drus. The Pat'huku then (about nine or ten o'clock in the fore- 
noon) beings to read one of these pooranus aloud. The first day 
they sit about an hour ; but on the succeeding days they begin at 
seven and continue till twelve ; and in the afternoon meet again, 
when the meaning of what was read in the forenoon in Sungskritu. 
is to be given in Bengalee, by the Kut'huku, or speaker ; who takes 
the seat of the Pat'huku, placing the shaJgramu upon a stand before 
him. At times the passions of the multitude are greatly moved ; 
when some one perhaps presents the reader with a piece of money. 
The whole is closed at dusk, when the people retire, and converse 
upon what they have heard. This method is pursued from day to 
day till the book is finished. The recitation of the Muhabharutu 
occupies four months, of the Shree-bhaguVutu about one. 

Some persons entertain the guests on the last day instead of 
the first, dismissing the bramhuns with presents. It is said, that 
not less than 1 00,000 rupees have been sometimes expended by 
rich men at such recitals. The person who causes these books to 
be read, is promised great future rewards. 

Sect, XXI. — Sacred Rehearsals, (Geeiu.*) 

The Hindoos, as an act of merit, employ persons to sing those 
parts of their shastrus, which contain the history of their 
gods. These songs have been composed in the Bengalee 
from the following, among other shastrus : the Chundee, Rama- 
yunu, the Muhabharutu, the Shree-bhaguvutu, the Gunga-vakyu- 
vulee, the Kaliku, Pudmu, and Shivu pooranus, and the Kashee- 
khiindu. The names of the songs are : Kalee-keertunix, TJnnuda- 
mungulu, Krishnu-munguhi, Gunga-bhuktee-turunginee, Kuvee- 
kunkunu, Munusa-mungulu. Huree-sungkeirtunu, Peere'r-ganu, 

As a specimen of the manner in which this singing is conduct- 
ed, I insert an account of the performance called Kuvee-kunkunu. 
— Sometimes a rich man bears the expense, and at others half a 
dozen persons join in it. If the former, he has the rehearsal in his 
own yard ; and if several unite, it is done in some suitable place in 
the village, after the place has been swept, and an awning put over 
it. Eight or ten singers of any caste, attended by four or five musi- 
cians are employed. Upon the ancles of all the singers are loose 
brass rings, which make a gingling noise : in the left hand is held 
a brush made from the tail of the cow of Tartary ; and in the 
right, round flat pieces of metal, which by being shook, make a 
jingling noise. The drum continues to beat till all the people 

* From goi, sing, 


have taken their places ; after which the chief singer steps forth, 
and after a short preface begins to sing, moving his feet, waving 
his hands, and now and then dancing. The softer music also plays 
at intervals, and the other singers take parts, waving the cow-tails, 
and dancing with a slow motion. When the passions of the hearers 
are affected, some throw small pieces of money at the feet of the 
principal singer. The performance continues during the day for 
nearly six hours, and is renewed again at night. 

These rehearsals are in some instances continued a month : 
each day a new song is chosen. The inferior singers receive about 
eight-pence a day each ; and for this trifle sing till they are black 
in the face, and become quite hoarse. The performance being oat 
of doors, is very unfavourable to vocal efforts, and the exertions 
of the singers are in consequence very painful. The gifts to those 
singers who excel, often increase the allowance considerably ; and 
at the time of their dismission, the performers have garments, &c. 
presented to them. A feast to the bramhuns concludes the re- 
hearsal. Sometimes women are employed, though not frequently. 

The hearing of these songs, however filthy some of them may 
be, is considered as an act of religious merit. 

Sect. XXII. — Hanging Lamps in the Air. 

In the month Kartiku, the Hindoos suspend lamps in the air 
on bamboos, in honour of the gods, and in obedience to the shastrus. 
I cannot learn any other origin of this custom than this, that as 
the offerings of lamps to particular gods is considered as an act of 
merit, so this offering to all the gods, during the auspicious month 
Kartiku, is supposed to procure many benefits to the giver. 

Sect. XXIII. — Method of preventing Family Misfortunes. 

If a Hindoo die on an unlucky day, the shastrus declare 
that not only the whole race of such a person, but the very 
trees of his garden will perish. To prevent these direful effects, a 
ceremony called Pooshkura-shantce is performed in the night, by 
the river side, or in some plain ; where two bramhuns sit on an 
altar, and worship the nine planets, also Yumu, Chitru-gooptu, 
Pooshkuru-poorooshii/ and the shalgramu ; and afterwards offer a 
sacrifice. One of the bramhuns then makes the images of Yumii 

y Yumii is the judge of the dead ; Chitru-gooptu is his recorder ; and Pooshkurif 

poorooshtl, a kind of inferior deity, who resides with Yumii. 



and Pooshkuru-poorooslm ; one with cow-clung, and the other with 
paste made of rice. To these images he imparts souls, worships 
the knife, slays a fish, and offers it in two parts, with some blood, 
to the cow-dung and paste images. The person who performs this 
ceremony then dismisses the two bramhuns with fees, and avoids 
seeing their faces any more on that night. 

Sect. XXIV. — Ceremony for removing the Evils following bad 


If a thunder-bolt fall on a house ; if a vulture, or hargilla 
(the gigantic crane,) alight on it ; or if shackals or owls lodge in 
it ; or if a shackal howl in the yard in the day-time, some evil will 
befall the persons living in this house. To prevent this, the cere- 
mony called IJdhhootii-shantee is performed ; which comprises the 
worship of Brumha and other gods, the burnt-sacrifice, repeating 
the name of a certain deity, &c. 

Sect. X-XY. — Ceremonies performed while sitting on a dead Body 

In the former edition of this work, I inserted a pretty long 
account of a number of strange ceremonies, principally drawn from 
the tuntrus, and known under the name of Sadhunu. One of 
these rites is performed while sitting on a dead body ; and the 
whole are practised under the superstitious notion that the wor- 
shipper will obtain an interview with his guardian deity, and be 
empowered to work miracles. 

The late Kamn-Krishnu, raja of Natoru, employed the greater 
part of his time in repeating the name of his guardian deity, and 
in other gloomy and intoxicating rites. The princess who had 
adopted him, and who had become his spiritual guide, was offend- 
ed on perceiving his turn of mind. A little before his death, he 
performed the 8huvu-sadhimu, and his house steward, a bramhun, 
provided for him a dead body and other necessary articles ; and it 
is affirmed, that while the raia was sitting on the dead bodv, 
(which was placed in the temple of Kalee, built by the raja at 
Natoru/) he was thrown from it to the river Narudu, a distance 
of about half a mile. After a long search, the raja was found on 
this spot in a state of insensibility, and in a few days after he 
died. I give this story as it was related to me by tw T o or three 
bramhuns. That the raja performed the Shuvu-sadhtinu is very 

z The raja is? said to have endowed this temple with lands, &c. of the annual 
•value of 100,000 rupees. % 


Sect. XXVI. — Ceremonies for removing, subduing, or 

destroying Enemies. 

The tuntru shastrus, and even the veMus, have laid down the 
forms of an act of worship to remove an enemy to a distance, to 
bring him into subjection, or to destroy him. This worship is ad- 
dressed to the yoginees, or other inferior deities, before a female 
image made of cow-dung, or a pan of water, on a Tuesday or Satur- 
day, at the darkest hour of the night. Many incantations are re- 
peated, and some bloody sacrifices offered. The worshipper ex- 
pects, that by the power of these incantations his enemy will be 
seized with some dreadful disease, and will thus perish by the un- 
seen hand of the yogineJs If a person hear that his enemy is 
performing these ceremonies for his destruction, he pays another 
person to perform similar rites, to prevent any evil arising to him. 

The Hindoos have also a great variety of incantations, which 
are supposed to possess the same power as charms in Europe. a For 
destroying the cattle or goods of an enemy, incantations are used ; 
as well as to hinder cows from calving, milk from yielding butter, 
&c. Another incantation is used to extract fish bones from the 
throat. They have incantations also for almost every disease ; as, 
the head-ache, tooth-ache, fever, dysentery, leprosy, madness, burns, 
scalds, eruptions on the skin, &c. In the tooth-ache they are taught 
to imagine, that by the power of the incantation a small grub is ex- 
tracted from the tooth. An incantation is repeated to make a tree 
grow in the belly of an enemy, as well as to obtain preservation 
from snakes, tigers, witches, ghosts, and all other destructive 
things ; and to drive away serpents, or wild beasts. If any one 
has been robbed, he prevails upon a person to read an incantation 
to discover the thief. If any one, who has power to injure another, 
be offended, the Hindoos read an incantation to appease him. If a 
person has a trial depending in a court of justice, he reads an in- 
cantation while putting on his turban, that he may gain his cause. 
The caste of Hindoos who keep snakes for a show, repeat incanta- 
tions that they may handle these snakes without harm. Other in- 
cautious are mentioned, by which a person is able to conceal him- 
self, when in the act of doing any thing requiring secrecy. 

Sect. XXVII.— Impure Orgies, with Flesh, spirituous 
Liquors, &c. (Poornabhisheku.) 

Some of the worshippers of the female deities assume the pro- 
fession of brumhucharees ; among whom the ceremony called 
poornabhisheku is known, and which is performed in the night, in 

a Some incantations must be read every day, others preserve their power three, 
and some eight days ; but no incantation will keep good longer than eight days, with- 
out being read afresh. 



a secret manner, at the house of the person who understands the 
formulas. He who wishes to be initiated into these rites, raises an 
altar of earth in the house appointed, and scatters some peas on it, 
which sprout out by the time the altar is used. On the day pre- 
ceding the rites, he performs the vriddhee-shraddhu in the name 
of his deceased ancestors ; and during the whole of the following 
night, repeats the name of the goddess to be worshipped, rehearses 
her praise, eats flesh, drinks spirits, &c. On the following day, 
he takes to the house appointed some flesh, (of airy animal,) 
spirituous liquors, rice, fish, and many other offerings ; with 
nine females of different castes, (one of which, must be a bram- 
hun's daughter,) and nine men, (brumhucharees ;) with one 
female for the priest, and another for himself. The priest next 
takes nine pans of water, and places on them branches of different 
trees, and sets up some plantain trunks around them ; after which 
the person to be initiated presents a garment to the priest, and 
intreats him to anoint him. The priest then offers to the goddess, 
an intoxicating beverage made with the leaves of hemp ; of which 
all present, both women and men partake. He next rubs on the 
foreheads of the persons present some red lead, and worships the 
goddess, the guardian deity, of the person to be initiated, making 
the latter repeat it ; and worships the men and women who are 
present, presenting to each a piece of cloth and other offerings. 
Next the priest gives to the women spirituous liquors, in cups 
made of the cocoanut, or of human skulls. What they leave is 
taken out of the cups, mixed together, and given to the men. The 
women then arise one by one, and, dipping the branches into the 
pans of water, sprinkle the person to be initiated, repeating incan- 
tations. This action is repeated by the priest, who changes the 
name of the disciple, and gives him one expressive of the state into 
which he is entering, as, Anundu-nat'hu, i. e., the lord of joy. If 
after this the disciple should become a religious mendicant, he is 
called a Vyuktavu-dh5otu : if he continue in a secular state, he is 
called a Gooptavu-dhootu. b All the persons present continue 
repeating the names of their guardian deities, and at intervals 
partake of the offerings, without considering the distinctions of 
caste, or the unlawfulness of the food. After midnight, acts of 
obscenity are perpetrated so abominable, that the bramhun who 
gave me this account could only repeat them in part. After this, 
the priest worships one or more females, the daughters of bramhuns, 
and sacrifices a goat to Bhuguvutee. The initiated then offers a 

b The first of these two names implies, that the person makes no secret of his 
being in the order into which he is initiated. He therefore becomes a religious 
mendicant, and publicly drinks and smokes intoxicating herbs. The latter, after 
initiation, continues in a secular state, and drinks spirituous licpiors in secret. 

c RarrrK-nat'hu, the second Sdngskritn p&ndit in the college, informed a 
friend of mine, that he once watched one of these groups unobserved, when spirits 
were poured on the head of a naked woman, while another drank them as they ran 
from her body. 




present of money to the priest, and to the females and males 
present. The remainder of the night is spent in eating, drinking 
spirits, and repeating the names of different deities. These abom- 
inable ceremonies are enjoined in most of the tuntru shastrus. 
The bramhun who gave me this account had procured it from a 
brumlmcharee, by pretending that he wished to perform these 

In the year 1809, Trikonu-goswamee, a vynktavu-dhootu died 
at Kalee-ghatu, in the following manner : — Three days before his 
death he dug a grave near his hut, in a place surrounded by three 
vilwu trees, which he himself had planted. In the evening he 
placed a lamp in the grave, in which he made an offering of flesh, 
greens, rice, &c. to the shackals, repeating it the next evening. 
The following day he obtained from a rich native ten rupees worth 
of spirituous liquors, and invited a number of mendicants, who 
eat drinking with him till twelve at noon, when he asked among 
the spectators at what hour it would be full moon ; being informed, 
he went and sat in his grave, and continued drinking liquors. 
Just before the time for the full moon, he turned his head towards 
the temple of Kalee, and informed the spectators that he had 
come to Kalee-ghatu with the hope of seeing the goddess, not the 
image in the temple. He had frequently been urged by different 
persons to visit the temple ; but though he had not assigned a 
reason for his omission, he now asked, what he was to go and see 
there : — a temple ? He could see that where he was. A piece of 
stone made into a face, or the silver hands ? He could see 
stones and silver any where else. He wished to see the 
goddess herself ; but he had not, in this body, obtained the sight. 
However, he had still a mouth and a tongue, and he would again 
call upon her. He then called out aloud, twice, ' Kalee ! Kalee !* 
and almost immediately died ; — probably from excessive intoxi- 
cation. The spectators, though Hindoos, (who in general despise 
a drunkard,) considered this man as a great saint, who had 
foreseen his own death when in health : he had not less than four 
hundred disciples. 

The persons who have gone through the ceremony of Poornab- 
bisheku conceal this fact as much as possible, as the drinking of spirits 
is disgraceful. They renounce all the ceremonies of the otherHindoos, 
as far as they can do it without incurring disgrace and loss of caste, 

Two bramhuns, who sat with me when I was finishing this 
account, assured me, that the drinking of spirits was now so com- 
mon, that out of sixteen Hindoos, two drank spirits in secret, and 
about one in sixteen in public* Several of the Hindoo rajas, who 

d They offer, or pretend to offer, these spirits to the idols, and then the drinking, 
or drinking to excess, is no crime in the opinion of these brnrahucharees. Amongst 
the regular Hindoo, 1 ?, the eating of flesh is a crime, but eating flesh that has been 
offered to an image is an innocent action, 


had received the initiating incantations of the female deities, are 
said to have given themselves up to the greatest excesses in drink- 
ing spirits. 

Sect. XXVIII. — Burning of Widows alive. 

The following and other passages from the Hindoo shastrus 
have no doubt given rise to this singularly shocking practice. 

' Fire, let these women, with bodies anointed with clarified 
butter, eyes ( coloured) with stibium, and void of tears, enter thee, 
the parent of water, that they may not be separated from their 
husbands, but may be in union with excellent husbands, be sinless, 
and jewels among women. — Rig-vedu. 

' There are 35,000,000 hairs on the human body. The woman 
who ascends the pile with her husband, will remain so many years 
in heaven. — As the snake-catcher draws the serpent from its 
hole, so she, rescuing her husband, (from hell,) rejoices with 
him. — The woman who expires on the funeral pile with her 
husband, purifies the family of her mother, her father and her 
husband. — If the husband be a bramhunicide, an ungrateful 
person, or a muderer of his friend, the wife by burning with him 
purges away his sins. — There is no virtue greater than a virtu- 
ous 6 woman's burning herself with her husband. — No other 
effectual duty is known for virtuous women, at any time after the 
death of their lords, except casting themselves into the same 
fire. — As long as a woman, in her successive transmigrations, shall 
decline burning herself, like a faithful wife, on the same fire with 
her deceased lord, so long shall she not be exempted from spring- 
ing again to life in the body of some female animal/ — Ungira. 

* If a woman who had despised her husband, and had done 
what was contrary to his mind, should (even) from mercenary 
motives, as fear, or a suspension of the reasoning powers, die with 
her husband, she shall be purged from all (crimes.)' — Muhabharutu. 

* Though he have sunk to a region of torment, be restrained 
in dreadful bonds, have reached the place of anguish, be seized by 
the imps ofYumu, be exhausted of strength, and afflicted and 
tortured for his crimes ; still, as a serpent-catcher unerringly drags 
a serpent from his hole, so does she draw her husband from hell, 
and ascend with him to heaven by the power of devotion. — If the 

e ^ The terms Sadhwee and SXtee, here rendered virtuous, are thus explained by 
Hareetfi : — ' commiserating with her husband in trouble, rejoicing in his joys, neglect- 
ing herself when he is gone from home, and dying at his death.' In the Mfttshyft 
pooranu" it is said, « By the favour of a chaste woman (Sadhwee) the universe is preserv- 
ed, on which account she is to be regarded by kings and people as a goddess.' 



wife be within one day's journey of the place where the husband 
died, and signify her wish to burn with him, the burning of his 
corpse shall be delayed till her arrival. — If the husband die on the 
third day of the wife's menstrual discharge, and she desire to burn 
with him, the burning of his corpse shall be delayed one day to 
accommodate her.' — Vyasti. 

' If the husband be out of the country when he dies, let the 
virtuous wife take his slippers, (or any thing else which belongs to 
his dress,) and binding them (or it) on her breast, after purification, 
enter a separate fire.' — Br miiJvu pooranu. 

c A bramhunee cannot burn herself on a separate pile.' Goutumu. 
— c But this is an eminent virtue in another woman.' Ooshuna. 

e A woman with a young child, pregnant, doubtful whether 
she is pregnant or not, or menstruous, cannot ascend the pile. 
Vrihun-narucleeyu pooranti. — The A^ishnoo pooranu adds, ' or 
lately brought to bed, (within 20 or 30 days,) cannot,' &c. 

I do not find, that it is common for women to reveal their 
intention of being burnt with their husbands while both parties 
are in health. A few, however, avow this in confidence to their 
husbands, and there may be circumstances in the family which 
may lead to the expectation of such an event. In some families, 
for several generations, the widow invariably perishes at the death 
of her husband ; and thus established custom exacts this self- 
immolation from every woman, who has been so unhappy as to 
have become united to such a family. How shocking to the female 
herself, had she Christian feelings, to know that such a death awaits 
her! How shocking to the son, had he the feelings of a man, to 
know that he is doomed to perpetrate so horrible a matricide ! 

When the husband is directed by the physician to be carried 
to the river side, there being then no hopes of his recovery, the wife 
declares her resolution to be burnt with him/ In this case, she is 
treated with great respect by her neighbours, who bring her deli- 
cate food, &c, and when the husband is dead, she again declares her 
resolution to be burnt with his body. Having broken a small, 
branch from the mangoe tree, she takes it with her, and proceeds to 
the body, where she sits down. The barber then paints the sides 
of her feet red ; after which she bathes, and puts on new clothes. 
During these preparations, the drum beats a certain sound, by which 
it is known, that a widow is about to be burnt with the corpse of 
her husband. On hearing this all the village assembles. The son, 
or if there be no son, a relation, or the head man of the village 

f Dying in the sight of the Ganges is not considered as absolutely necessary, 
however, if a woman perish with the dead body ; and sometimes a wife forbids the 
reinoval of her sick husband, assuring her friends, that she means to be burnt, and 
thus make, the salvation of her husband certain without the help of Gnnga. 


provides the articles necessary for the ceremony. A hole is first 
dug in the ground, round which stakes are driven into the earth, 
and thick green stakes laid across to form a kind of bed ; and upon 
these are laid, in abundance, dry faggots, hemp, clarified butter, 
pitch, &c. The officiating bramhtin now causes the widow to re- 
peat the formulas, in which she prays, that ' as long as fourteen 
Indms reign, or as many years as there are hairs on her head, she 
may abide in heaven with her husband ; that the heavenly dancers 
during this time may wait on her and her husband ; and that by 
this act of merit all the ancestors of her father, mother, and hus- 
band, may ascend to heaven.' She now presents her ornaments to 
her friends, ties some red cotton on both wrists, puts two new 
combs in her hair, paints her forehead, and takes into the end of 
the cloth that she wears some parched rice and kourees. While 
this is going forward, the dead body is anointed with clarified 
butter and bathed, prayers are repeated over it, and it is dressed in 
new clothes. The son next takes a handful of boiled rice, prepared 
for the purpose, and, repeating an incantation, offers it in the name 
of his deceased father. Ropes and another piece of cloth are spread 
upon the wood, and the dead body is then laid upon the pile. The 
widow next walks round the funeral pile seven times, strewing 
parched rice and kourees as she goes, which some of the spectators 
endeavour to catch, under the idea that they will cure diseases. g The 
widow now ascends the fatal pile, or rather throws herself down 
upon it by the side of the dead body. A few female ornaments 
having been laid over her, the ropes are drawn over the bodies 
which are tied together, and faggots placed upon them. The son 
then, averting his head, puts fire to the face of his father, and at the 
same moment several persons light the pile at different sides, when 
women, relations, &c. set up a cry : more faggots are now thrown 
upon the pile with haste, and two bamboo levers are brought over 
the whole, to hold down the bodies and the pile. h Several persons 
are employed in holding down these levers, and others in throwing 
water upon them, that they may not be scorched. While the fire 
is burning, more clarified butter, pitch, and faggots, are thrown into 
it, till the bodies are consumed. It may take about two hours 
before the whole is burnt, but I conceive the woman must be dead 
in a few minutes after the fire has been kindled. At the close, each 
of the persons who have been employed, takes up a burning stick 
and throws it on the remaining fire. The bones, &c. that may be 
left, are cast into the Ganges. The place where the bodies have 
been burnt is plentifully washed with water ; after which the son 
of the deceased makes two balls of boiled rice, and, with an incan- 

s Mothers hang the kourees round the necks of sick children. 

h A person sometimes takes one of these bamboos, after the bodies are burnt, 
and, making a bow and arrow with it, repeats incantations over it. He then makes 
an image of some enemy with clay, and lets fly the arrow into this image. The per- 
son whose image is thus pierced is said to be immediately seized with a pain in hi* 



tation, offers them in the name of his father and mother, and lays 
them on the spot where they were burnt. The persons who have 
been engaged in burning the bodies now bathe ; and each one, 
taking up water in his hands three times, and repeating incanta- 
tions, pours out drink-offerings to the deceased. The son binds 
upon his loins, in coming up out of the water, a shred of new cloth ; 
which he wears, if a bramhun, ten days. After this the family re- 
turn home, or remain till evening ; or, if the burning has taken 
place in the evening, till the next morning. Before entering the 
house, they touch a piece of hot iron, and also fire. This is done as 
a charm against evil spirits. 

Soon after my arrival in Bengal, I was an eye-witness to two 
instances of the burning of widows to death : — on the latter occa- 
sion two women were burnt together ; one of them appeared to 
possess great resolution, but the other was almost dead with fear. 
In the year 1812, I saw another widow burnt to death at Soonduru- 
pooru, a distance of about three miles from Serampore ; and in the 
month of November, 1812, the wife of Ramu-nidhee, a banker, of 
Serampore, was burnt alive with the dead body of her husband, not half 
a mile from the Mission-house. These facts respecting the murder 
of the helpless widow as a religious ceremony are indeed so notori- 
ous, that the most careless traveller may convince himself, if he take 
the least notice of what is doing on the banks of the river. The 
natives do not attempt to hide these murders, but rather glory in 
them as proofs of the divine nature of their religion. The facts here- 
after inserted have been voluntarily given to me by respectable 
natives, most of whom were eye-witnesses of what they here testify. 

Several years ago, Ram-Nat'hu, the second Sungskritu pundit 
in the College of Fort- William, saw thirteen women burn them- 
selves with one Mooktua-ramu, of Oola, near Shantee-pooru. After 
the pile, which was very large, had been set on fire, a quantity of 
pitch being previously thrown into it to make it burn the fiercer, 
another of this man's wives came, and insisted on burning : while 
she was repeating the formulas, however, her resolution failed, and 
she wished to escape ; but her son, perceiving this, pushed her into 
the fire, which had been kindled on the sloping bank of the river, 
and the poor woman, to save herself, caught hold of another woman, 
a wife also of the deceased, and pulled her into the fire, where they 
both perished. 

About the year J 789, Ubhuyu-churunu, a bramhun, saw four 
women burnt with Ramu-kantu, a kooleenu bramhun, at Vasu- 
duroonee, near Kalee-ghatu. Three of these women were already 
surrounded by the flames when the fourth arrived. She insisted on 
being burnt with them : accordingly, after going rapidly through 
the preparatory ceremonies, (the bramhuns in the mean time bring- 
ing a large quantity of combustible materials,) some fresh wood was 
laid near the fire already kindled, upon which this infatuated female 



threw herself. In a moment faggots, oil, pitch, &c. were thrown 
upon her, and, amidst the shouts of the mob, she expired. 

Ramu-Huree, a bramhun, had three wives living at Khuruduh, 
near Calcutta, at the time of his death, about the year 1802. One 
of them was deranged ; with another he had never cohabited, and 
by the other he had one son. The latter had agreed with her hus- 
band, that, whenever he should die, she would burn with him ; and 
he promised her, that if he died at Patna, where his employer lived, 
the body should be sent down to Khurftduh. This woman touched 
her husband's body at the time of this agreement, as a solemn rati- 
fication 11 of what she said. 1 After some time this man died at Patna, 
and a friend fastened the body in a box, and sent it down on a boat. 
As soon* as it arrived at Khuruduh, the news was sent to his rela- 
tions. The wife who had made the agreement failed in her resolu- 
tion, and sat in the house weeping. Her son, who was grown to 
manhood, ordered her repeatedly, in the most brutal manner, to pro- 
ceed to the funeral pile ; and reminded her, that it was through her 
that his father's body had been brought so far : but she refused, and 
still remained weeping. While this was going forward, the derang- 
ed wife, hearing that her husband was dead, and that his body had 
arrived at the landing-place, instantly declared that she would burn 
with him. The people endeavoured to terrify her, and divert her 
from her purpose ; but she persisted in affirming that she would 
positively burn. She came to the house, and poured the most bitter 
reproaches on the wife who was unwilling to die. This poor de- 
ranged wretch had a chain on her leg : a spectator proposed to take 
it off, and lead her to the funeral pile ; and the third wife arriving, 
she was led with this deranged woman to the body : the wood and 
other articles for the funeral pile were prepared, and a large crowd 
had assembled by the river side. As soon as the deranged wife saw 
the dead body, which was very much disfigured, and exceedingly 

h The Hindoos also make oath while touching one of the shastrus, or the shal- 
gramu, or a cow, or fire, or the toolusee, or a roodrakshu" string of beads, or rice. 
When made before a bramhun, or in a temple, or by laying the hand on the head of a 
eon, an oath is ratified. 

* The Hindoos relate a number of stories respecting women who promised their 
husbands to burn with them, but afterwards shrank from the task. A story of this 
kind is related of a man named Gopalu-bharii, who pretended to die, in order to try 
the faithfulness of his wife. As soon as she thought he was really dead, she declared 
she would not die on his funeral pile ; when the (supposed) dead man arose, and 
upbraided her for her insincerity. Another story is related of Shumbhoo-ramu, of 
Arachya, in Burdwan, who had three wives, but was most attached to the youngest. 
This woman had promised her husband to burn with him after his death, and he had 
in consequence behaved with the greatest coolness towards his other wives, and had 
heaped all his wealth on this favourite. A person suggested doubts respecting the 
sincerity of this woman's declaration. To try her, on a certain occasion, when 
absent from home, her husband sent a relation to say he was dead, and to urge her 
to go to the spot to be burnt with him. As soon as she heard the tidings, instead of 
proceeding to the spot where the body was supposed to be waiting, she locked up 
all the jewels, &c. her husband had given her, and set her husband's relations at 
defiance. In a few hours the (dead) husband arrived, degraded this wife, and for the 
future became more attached to the other two. 



offensive, she declared it was not her husband ; that in fact they 
were going to burn her with a dead cow. She poured curses on 
them all, and protested she would not burn with a dead cow. k The 
other female, who had never touched her husband, except at the 
marriage ceremony, was then bound to this putrid carcase, and de- 
voured by the flames. 

About the year 1796, the following most shocking and atrocious 
murder, under the name of suhu-murunu, 1 was perpetrated at Mujil- 
pooru, about a day's journey south from Calcutta. Bancha-ramu, 
a bramhun of the above place dying, his wife at a late hour went 
to be burnt with the body : all the previous -ceremonies were per- 
formed ; she was fastened on the pile, and the fire was kindled ; but 
the night was dark and rainy. When the fire began to scorch this 
poor woman, she contrived to disentangle herself from the dead 
body, and creeping from under the pile, hid herself among some 
brush-wood. In a little time it was discovered that there was only 
one body on the pile. The relations immediately took the alarm, 
and searched for the poor wretch ; the son soon dragged her forth, 
and insisted that she should throw herself on the pile again, or drown 
or hang herself. She pleaded for her life at the hands of her own 
son, and declared that she could not embrace so horrid a death — but 
she pleaded in vain : the son urged, that he should lose his caste, and 
that therefore he would die, or she should. Unable to presuade her 
to hang or drown herself, the son and others present then tied her 
hands and feet, and threw her on the funeral pile, where she quickly 

Gopee-nat'hu, a bramhun employed in the Serampore Printing- 
office, was informed by his nephew, that in the year J 799, he saw 
thirty-seven females burnt alive with the remains of Ununtu-ramu, 
a bramhun of Bagna-para, near Nudeeya. This kooleenu bramhun 
had more than a hundred wives. At the first kindling of the fire, 
only three of them were present ; but the fire was kept burning 
three days ! When one or more arrived, the ceremonies were 
performed, and they threw themselves on the blazing fire ! On the 
first day, three were burnt ; on the second fifteen ; and on the 
third nineteen ! Among these, some were forty years old, and 
others as young as sixteen. The three first had lived with this 
bramhun ; the others had seldom seen him. From one family he 
had married four sisters ; two of these were among the slaughtered 

In the year 1812, a kooleenu bramhun, who had married twenty- 
five women, died at Choona-khalee. Thirteen died during his life- 

k la the month of January, 1813, a poor deranged woman was burnt alive with 
the corpse of her busband, Rughoo-nat'hu, a bramhun, at Bujiira-pooru, in the zillah 
of KrishniS-nu'giSrii. 

1 SubiS, with ; niur&nu', death. 



time ; the remaining twelve perished with him on the funeral pile, 
leaving thirty children to deplore the fatal effects of this horrid 

Some years ago, a kooleenu bramhun, of considerable property, 
died at Sookhuchuru, three miles east of Serampore. He had mar- 
ried more than forty women, eighteen of whom perished on the 
funeral pile. On this occasion a fire extending ten or twelve yards 
in length was prepared, into which they threw themselves, leaving 
more than forty children. 

About the year 1802, the wife of a man of property of the writer 
easte was burnt at Kashee-pooru, in the suburbs of Calcutta. The 
bramhun who witnessed this scene informed me, that when he went 
to the spot, he saw a vast crowd of people assembled ; and amongst 
the rest the above female, a girl about fourteen years old, and 
another female, of a different caste, who had cohabited with the 
deceased. The girl addressed herself to the mistress of her hus- 
band, and asked her what she did there : it was true, her husband 
had never loved her, nor had he for one day since their marriage 
lived with her ; yet she was now resolved to enjoy his company 
after death. She added, (continuing her address to the mistress of 
her husband,) ' If, however, you will accompany him, come, let us 
burn together ; if not, arise and depart.' She then asked the woman 
what her husband had bequeathed to her, and was answered that 
he had given her twenty-five rupees, and some clothes. To this the 
wife of the deceased added twenty -five more. After this conversa- 
tion, the bramhuns hastened the ceremonies ; her friends entreated 
her to eat some sweetmeats, but she declined it, and declared that 
she would eat nothing but that which she came to eat, (fire.) At 
this time the clouds gathered thick, and there was the appearance 
of heavy rain : some persons urged delay till the rain was over ; but 
she requested them to hasten the business, for she was ready. A 
bramhun now arrived, and entreated the favour of this woman to 
forgive a debt due to her husband, for which his brother was in con- 
finement. She forgave it, leaving a written order behind her, to which 
she affixed her mark. After the ceremonies by the side of the river, 
and near the pile, were concluded, she laid herself down on the 
pile, placing one arm under the head of the deceased, and the other 
over his breast, and they were thus tied together. At the time of 
lighting the pile, the rain fell in torrents, and the fire was so 
partially lighted, that during half an hour it only singed her 
clothes and her hair. This devoted female, however, remained in 
the same posture on the pile till the rain ceased, when, in a few 
seconds, the fire devoured her. It was reported that she had 
cohabited with others, but she denied it before she ascended the 

An English clergyman, now deceased, once related to me two 
scenes to which he had been an eye-witness : — one was that of a 



young woman, who appeared to possess the most perfect serenity of 
mind during every part of the preparatory ceremonies : calm and 
placid, she acted as though unconscious of the least danger ; she 
smiled at some, gave presents to others, and walked round the 
funeral pile, and laid herself down by the dead body, with as much 
composure as though she had been about to take rest at night. 
The other scene was very different ; the woman, middle-aged and 
corpulent, appeared to go through tiie business with extreme reluc- 
tance and agitation ; the b ram Ira us watched her, followed her 
closely, held her up, and led her round the funeral pile, and seemed 
to feel uneasy till they had tied her fast to the dead body, and 
had brought the faggots and bamboo levers over her. This clergy- 
man added, that he saw one of this woman's arms move, as in 
convulsive motions, for some time after the pile was lighted. The 
Hindoos say, that it is a proof the woman was a great sinner, if 
any part of her body is seen to move after the pile has been lighted ; 
and, on the contrary, if she is not seen to move, they exclaim, 
' Ah ! what a perfect creature she was ! What a blessed suhu-rnu- 
runu was her\s !' A respectable native once told me, that he had 
heard of a woman's shrieking dreadfully after she was laid on the 
pile, which, however, did not save her life. m 

Instances of children of eight or ten years of age thus devoting 
themselves are not uncommon. About the year 1804, a child 
eight years old was burnt with the dead body of Huree-nat'hu, 
bramhun of Eio, near Calcutta. At the time the news arrived of 
the death of this child's husband, she was playing with other 
children at a neighbour's house. Having just before been severely 
chastised by her aunt, and having formerly suffered much from her, 
she resolved to bum witlrthe dead body, in order to avoid similar 
treatment in future ; nor could her relations induce her to alter 
her resolution. She said she would enter the fire, but would not 
go back to her aunt. As soon as she was laid on the pile, she 
appeared to die, (no doubt from fear,) even before the fire touched 
her. The Hindoos say, it is often the case, that the female who is 
really Sadhwee, is united to her husband immediately on hearing 
the news of his death, without the delay of the fire. — Another in- 
stance of the same kind occurred in the year 1802, at Vurisha, near 
Calcutta ; a child, eight years old, was burnt with her husband. 
Before she went to the funeral pile r she was compelled to put her 
hand upon some burning coals, and hold it there for some time, to 
convince her friends that she should not shrink at the sight of the 
fire. — About the year 1794, a girl, fifteen years old, who had been 
delivered of her first child about three weeks, was burnt with her 
husband, Devee-churunu, a bramhun of Muniramu-pooru, near 

m l am credibly informed, that on the banks of the Brumhit-pootrS, the Hindoos 
do not lay faggots on the bodies, nor are bamboos used as levers to hold them down ; 
but the widow lies on the pile with her arms round her husband, and fire is kindled 
beneath them. 



Barraek-pooru. Her friends remonstrated with her, and did 
all except (what they ought to have done) use force. When 
they urged the situation of the infant she would leave, she 
begged they would not disturb her mind with such things : it was 
only a female child, and therefore the leaving it was of less conse- 
quence. After she had mounted the pile, she sat up, and assured 
the officiating bramhun she then recollected, that in a former birth 
he was her father. 

Women eighty years old and upwards sometimes burn with 
their husbands. About the year 1791, G opal u-nay alunk aru , a 
very learned bramhun, died at Nudeeya, He was supposed to have 
been one hundred years old at the time of his death ; his wife 
about eighty. She was almost in a state of second childhood, yet her 
gray hairs availed, nothing against this most abominable custom. 
— A similar instance occurred about the year 1809, at Shantee- 
pooru, when the wife of Ramu-chundru-vusoo, a kayust'hu, at the 
age of eighty or eighty-five, was burnt with the corpse of her 

Mrityoonjuyu, the first Sungskritu pundit in the College of 
Fort- William, once saw a bramhunee at Rungu-pooru, who had 
escaped from the pile. She was carried away by a mat-maker, 
from whom she eloped, and afterwards lived with a Musulman 
groom. — About the year 1804, a woman who had lived with a man 
as his wife, burnt herself with his body at Kalee-ghatii, near 
Calcutta. — Some 3'ears ago, a sepoy from the upper provinces died 
at Khiddiru-pooru, near Calcutta. The woman who had cohabited 
with him went to the head land-owner, and requested him to 
provide the materials for burning her w T ith the dead body. He 
did so, and this adulteress entered the flames, and was consumed 
with the dead body of her paramour. 

In Orissa, the defenceless widow is compelled to cast herself 
into a pit of fire. If, on the death of a raja, his wife burn herself 
with him, his concubines are seized, and by beating, dragging, 
binding, and other forcible methods, are compelled to throw them- 
selves into the pit, where they are all destroyed together. On this 
subject I beg leave to insert a letter drawn up by Purushoo-ramu, 
a learned bramhun : — ' Shree Purushoo-ramu writes : I have myself 
seen the wives of one of the rajas of Ourisya burn with their husband. 
These are the particulars : — after the death of raja Gopee-nat'hu- 
devu, the head-queen, of her own accord, being prepared to be 
burnt with the body, a pit was dug, and quantities of wood piled 
up in it, upon which the corpse was laid, and upon this more 
faggots : when the fire blazed with the greatest fury, the head- 
queen cast herself into the flames and perished. The two other 
wives of the raja were unwilling to follow this example ; but they 
were seized by force, and thrown into the pit, and consumed. This 
happened about the year 1793/ 


The widows of the yogees, a description of weavers, are some- 
times buried alive with their deceased husbands. If the person 
have died near the Ganges, the grave is dug by the side of the 
river, at the bottom of which they spread a new cloth, and on it 
lay the dead body. The widow then bathes, puts on new clothes, 
and paints her feet ; and after various ceremonies, descends into 
the pit that is to swallow her up : in this living tomb she sits 
down, and places the head of her deceased husband on her knee, 
having a lamp near her. The priest (not a bramhun) sits by the 
side of the grave, and repeats certain ceremonies, while the friends 
of the deceased walk round the grave several times, repeat- 
ing ' Huree bul ! Huree bul !' (that is, literally, ' Repeat 
the name of Huree ;' but in its common use it is equivalent 
to ' Huzza ! Huzza !'). The friends (if rich) cast into the grave 
garments, sweetmeats, sandal wood, rupees, milk, curds, clarified 
butter, or something of this kind ; and the widow directs a few 
trifles to be given to her friends or children. The son also casts a 
new garment into the grave, with flowers, sandal wood, &c. after 
which earth is carefully thrown all round the widow, till it has 
arisen as high as her shoulders, when the relations throw earth in 
as fast as possible, till they have raised a mound of earth on the 
grave ; when they tread it down with their feet, and thus bury 
the miserable wretch alive. They place on the grave sandal wood, 
rice, curds, a lamp, &c. and then, walking round the grave three 

times, return home. -Among the voishnuvus also are instances 

of widows being buried alive with the dead bodies of their husbands. 
— On enquiring among the bramhuns, and other Hindoos em- 
ployed in the Serampore printing-office, I found that these murders 
were much more frequently practised than I had supposed : almost 
every one had seen widows thus buried alive, or had heard of 
them from undoubted authority. 

I could easily increase the number of these accounts so as to 
form a volume ; but I am not anxious to swell this work with more 
facts of this nature : these are sufficient to fill the mind of the 
benevolent with the deepest compassion for the miserable victims 
of this shocking superstition. 

The Hindoo shastrus permit a woman to alter her resolution, 
even on the funeral pile, and command such a person to observe a 
severe fast as an atonement. This fast, however, may be commut- 
ed by gifts to bramhuns. The Vishnoo pooranu directs such a 
female to become a brumhucharee ; which profession obliges the 
person to abstain from every pleasure, from chewing betel or other 
exhilirating herbs, from anointing herself with oil, 11 &c. Notwith- 

n This anointing is called Sbhisheku : when oil is applied to the crown of the 
head, and reaches to all the limbs, it is called iibhyilngu. There seems to be a strong 
affinity betwixt the Jewish and Hindoo methods of anointing in this respect : ' It is 
like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's 
beard, that went down to the skirts of his garments.' 


standing this provision of the shastru, T am informed that at pre- 
sent a widow, if she go to the dead body, declaring that she will 
be burnt with it, is never permitted to return : or, should such a 
case occur, she is delivered up to persons of the lowest caste to do 
what they will with her ; she never goes back to her relations. 

The desire of Hindoo women to die with their husbands, and 
the calmness of many in going through the ceremonies which pre- 
cede this terrible death, are circumstances almost, if not altogether, 
unparalleled. It is another proof of the amazing power which this 
superstition has over the minds of its votaries. Among other cir- 
cumstances which urge them to this dreadful deed, we may rank 
the following : — First, the vedus, and other shastrus, recommend 
it, and promise the widow that she shall deliver her husband from 
hell, and enjoy a long happiness with him in heaven; secondly, 
long custom has familiarised their minds to the deed ; thirdly, by 
this act they escape the disgrace of widowhood, and their names 
are recorded among the honorable of their families ; p fourthly, 
they avoid being starved and ill-treated by their relations ; and 
lastly, the Hindoos treat the idea of death with comparative indif- 
ference, as being only changing one bod 3^ for another, as the snake 
changes his skin. If they considered death as introducing a per- 
son into an unalterable state of existence, and God, the judge, as 
requiring purity of heart, no doubt these ideas would make them 
weigh well a step pregnant with such momentous consequences. 

The conduct of the bramhuns at the burning of widows is so 
unfeeling, that those who have represented them to the world as 
the mildest and most amiable of men, need only attend on one of 
these occasions to convince them, that they have greatly imposed 
on mankind. Where a family of bramhuns suppose that the burn- 
ing of a mother, or their brother's or uncle's wife, or any other 
female of the family, is necessary to support the credit of the family, 
the woman knows she must go, and that her death is expected. 
She is aware also, that if she should not burn, she will be treated 
with the greatest cruelty, and continually reproached, as having 
entailed disgrace on the family. The bramhun who has greatly 
assisted me in this work, has veiy seriously assured me, that he 
believed violence was seldom used to compel a woman to ascend 
the pile ; nay, that after she has declared her resolution, her friends 

Such a widow reflects thus : 'It is right that the wife leave the world with her 
husband ; a son can never be to a mother what a husband is to a wife ; the extinction 
of life is the work of a minute ; by strangling, by drowning, how soon does the soul 
leave the body : there are no terrors then in the funeral pile, and I shall at once enter 
on happiness : what multitudes have died in this manner before me ; and if I live, I 
have nothing but sorrow to expect.' 

p It is common at Benares to set up, by the side of the river, stone monuments to 
the memory of widows who have been burnt with the bodies of deceased husbands. 
Persons coming from bathing bow to these stones, and sprinkle water on them, repeat- 
ing the words Stitee, S&tee, i. e., chaste. 


use various arguments to discover whether she be likely to per- 
severe or not ; (for if she go to the water side, and there refuse to 
burn, they consider it an indelible disgrace on the family ;) that it 
is not uncommon for them to demand a proof of her resolution, by 
obliging her to hold her finger in the fire ; if she be able to endure 
this, they conclude they are safe, and that she will not alter her 
resolution. If, however, she should flinch at the sight of the pile, 
&c. they remain deaf to whatever she says ; they hurry her through 
the preparatory ceremonies, attend closely upon her, and go 
through the work of murder in the most determined manner. 

Some years ago, two attempts were made, under the immediate 
superintendance of Dr. Carey, to ascertain the number of widows 
burnt alive within a given time. The first attempt was intended 
to ascertain the number thus burnt within thirty miles of Calcutta, 
during one year, viz. in 1808. Persons, selected for the purpose, 
were sent from place to place through that extent