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various obstacles to union, and there are so many gradations of rank by which marriages are regulated, that cases do exist in which men cannot obtain wives, nor women husbands. Still, so great a disgrace is incurred by remaining unmarried, that on one occasion a number of old maids were married to an aged kooleenu bramhun, as his friends were carrying him to the Ganges to die.
The Hindoos are seldom happy in their marriages ; nor can domestic happiness be expected where females are reduced to a state of complete servitude, and are neither qualified nor permitted to be the companions of their husbands. A inan, except he is of low cast, never enters into conversation with his wife, during the day, nor is she ever permitted to eat in the presence of her husband, or to sit in the company even of near friends. An elder brother never looks at his younger brother's wife. .
Manners and Customs.- The Hindoos are generally loquacious, and the common people very noisy in conversation. Their youth are lively, inquisitive, and of quick perception. They appear to be capable of great improvement, and of imitating most of the European arts, and carrying them to the greatest perfection : either they are incapable of bold and original designs, or their long slavery to ancient patterns and usages has, like the Chinese shoe, made the whole race cripples.
In the forms of address, and behaviour in company, the Hindoos must be ranked amongst the politest nations. It is true, there is a mixture of flattery, and of fulsome panegyric in their address, but this is given and received rather as the requirement of custom than the language of the heart. It is a polish always understood to lie on the surface; it pleases without deceiving any body. When he enters the presence of a spiritual guide, the Hindoo prostrates himself, and, laying hold of his feet, looks up to him, and says, “ You are my saviour ;'-to a benefactor, he says, “ You are my father and mother ;'--to a man whom he wishes to praise, “You are religion incarnate ;' or, .0! Sir, you fame is gone all over the country ; yes, from country to country. As a Benefactor, you are equal to Kurnnu. You are equal to Yoodhisthiru in your regard to truth. You have overcome all your passions. "You shew due respect to all.”
You are a sea of excellent qualities. "You are devoted to the service of your guardian deity.' 'You are the father and mother of bramhuns, cows and women.
When two Hindoos, after a short absence, meet, the infe
rior first attempts to take hold of the feet of the other, which the latter prevents. They then clasp each other in the arms, and move their heads from one shoulder to the other twice ; and afterward ask of each other's welfare. The inferior replies, "Through your favour, I continue well,' “ As you command ; all is well.' Or he asks, • How ? Is the house well ? meaning the family. When a bramhun happens to sit near another bramhun, if a stranger, and if he is speaking to an inferior, he asks, • Of what cast are you ? The other replies, 'I am a bramhun.' • To which line of bramhuns do you belong ? • I am a Rarhee bramhun.' . Of what family ? : Of the family of Vishnoot'hakooru.
When two persons of the lower orders of Hindoos quarrel, if one should strike the other, the person injured appeals to the spectators, and, taking hold of their feet, says, “You are witnesses that he struck me.' Some of the spectators, unwilling perhaps to become witnesses, say, “Ah! don't touch our feet;' or, the injured party takes a corner of the garment of each one present, and ties it in a knot, saying, “You are witnesses that he struck me.' When a Hindoo is guilty of common swearing, he says, 'If I live, let me endure all the sorrow you would endure if I should die ; but this oath is wrapped up in three words, · Eat your head.' Another says, • Touching your body, I say this.' • Dohaee Gunga !' is another oath; the meaning of which is, From such a falsehood, preserve me Gunga.' If I speak a falsehood, let me be esteemed a rascal.' . If I have committed such an action, let me be a leper.'
When a Hindoo sneezes, any person who may be present, says, Live,' and the sneezer adds, With you. When he gapes, the gaper snaps his thumb and finger, and repeats the name of some god, as Ramu! Ramu! If he should neglect this, he commits a sin as great as the murder of a brambun. When a person falls, a spectator says, 'Get up. If he should not say this, he commits a great sin.
The work of a house-wife is nearly as follows; after rising in the morning, in industrious families, she lights the lamp, and spins cotton for family garments ; she next feeds the children with sweetmeats, or some parched rice, or milk ; after this she mixes cow-dung with water, and sprinkles it over the house floor, to purify it. She then sweeps the house and yard, and, mixing cow-dung, earth, and water together, smears the floor of the house, the bottom of the walls, and the veranda. After this, she eats a little cold, boiled rice, and then cleans the brass and stone vessels with straw, ashes and water. Her next work is to bruise the rice and other things in the pedal, (dhenkee,) or to boil the rice, in order to cleanse it from the husk. At ten or eleven o'clock, she takes a towel, and goes to bathe, accompanied by a few neighbours; some women, during bathing, make an image of the lingu, and worship it with the same forms as are used by the men : others merely bathe, and after repeating a few formulas, bowing to the water, the sun, &c. which occupy about fifteen minutes, return home; but if the worship of the lingu is performed, it employs nearly an hour.
It is surprising, how the country day-labourers are able to support life with their scanty earninge. In some places, their wages do not exceed a penny a day ; in others three half pence, and in others two pence. To enable us to form some idea how those people are able to maintain their families on so small a sum, it is necessary to consider, that their firewood, herbs, fruits, &c. cost them nothing ; they wear no shoes nor hats ; they lie on a mat laid on the ground; the wife spins thread for her own and her husband's clothes, and the children go naked. A man who procures a roopee monthly, eats, with his wife and two children, two muns of rice in he month, the price of which is one roopee. From hence it appears, that such a day-labourer must have some other resource, otherwise he could not live : if he is a Mussulman, he rears a few fowls; or, if a Hindoo, he has a few fruit trees near his house, and he sells the fruit. If by these, or any other means, the labourer can raise half a loopee or a roopee monthly, this procures him salt, a little oil, and one or two other prime necessaries ; though vast multitudes of the poor obtain only, from day to day, boiled rice, green pepper pods, and boiled herbs : the step above this, is a little oil with the rice. The garments of a farmer for a year (two suits) cost about two roopees (58.) ; while those of a servant employed by a European, cost about sixteen, (40s.) A few rich men excepted, the Hindoos, burn in their houses only oil ; they will not touch a candle. Some of the rich, place a couple of wax candles in the room which contains the idol.
The Hindoos are enveloped in the grossest superstition, not only as idolators, but in their dread of a great variety of supernatural beings, and in attaching unfortunate consequences to the most innocent actions.* They never go across a
* The Hindoos consult astrologers on many occasions; the ques. tions they ask refer to alınost all the affairs of life: as, whether an article bought for sale will produce profit or not; whether a child
rope which ties an animal, nor across the shadow of a bramhun or his image ; this is a rule laid down in one of the shastrus, for which no reason is assigned. We may suppose, however, with regard to the shadow of a bramhun or an image, that the rule is meant to preserve a proper reverence in the minds of the people.
Many persons in Bengal are called dainus, or witches, whose power is exceedingly dreaded : they are mostly old women ; a man of this description is called Khokusu. Amongst other things, it is said, they are able, while sitting near another, imperceptibly to draw all the blood out of his body, and by a look, to make a person mad. If a dainu slakes her hair in a field at night, it is said, that a number of dainus immediately assemble, and dance and play gambols together as long as they choose, and that if any one comes within the magic circle, he is sure to fall a victim to their power. When a person falls suddenly sick, or is seized with some new disorder, or behaves in an unaccountable mạnner, they immediately declare that he is possessed by a dainu. Sometimes the dainu is asked, why she has entered this person ; she replies, that when she came to ask alms, he reproached her. Asking her who she is, she hesitates, and begs to be excused, as her family will be disgraced; but they again threaten her, when she gives a wrong name; but being again more severely threatened, at last she replies, “I am such a person, of such a vil. lage ;” or, “ I am such a person's mother." The people then peremptorily order her to come out ; she promises ; and is then asked on what side she will fall, and what she will take, in going out ; whether she will take a shoe in her mouth or not. This she refuses, declaring that she belongs to a good family ; but at last she consents to take a pan of water ; and after two or three attempts, she actually carries the pan of water betwixt her teeth to the porch, where, after sitting down carefully, she falls down on the right side in a state of
in the womb will be a boy or a girl; whether a wife will bear children or not; when certain family troubles will be over ; whether a cause pending in a court of justice will be decided in a person's fa.. vour or not; whether a person will enjoy prosperity in a new house which he is building or not; whether a person will acquire riches or not ; whether a person's death will happen at a holy place or not; how many wives a person will marry; which wife will be most beautiful; which wife a person will love most; how many children by each wife ; how long a person will live ; at the time of death will a person retain his senses or not ; at that time, which son will be present; a youth asks, which god he shall chuse as his guardian deity : shall he chuse his father's spiritual guide, or a new one, &c. &c.
insensibility. The attendants then sprinkle some water in the person's face, repeating incantations, and in a few minutes the possessed comes to himself, arises, and goes into the house. This is the common method with dainus. The persons who have been thus bewitched, are said to be numerous ; my informants declared, that they had seen persons in these circumstances, who had been thus delivered from this possession. In former times, the Hindoo rajas used to destroy the cast of a dainu.
Proverbial sayings and descriptions illustrative of manners.
Speaking of a beautiful woman, her dress, &c. What beautiful hair! it hangs down like the tail of the cow of Tartary, like a skein of silk, like the thatch of a house, &c. It is as black as darkness itself, black as the clouds, &c. The round dot of paint which women make in the centre of the forehead, is compared to the moon, to a star. The parting of the hair on the forehead is compared to a dragon with his mouth wide open, ready to swallow the moon ; the face is compared to the moon, and to the water lily ; the teeth to the seeds of the pomegranate ; to pepper corns; to a row of pearls ; the chin to a mango ; the breasts to a box of essences, or to a pomegranate, or to the bud of a water lily.
A woman walks elegantly when her gait is like that of a goose or an elephant.
Religious comparisons.—The departure of the soul is com- . pared to the flight of young birds when they leave the nest, or to the snake casting his skin ;-the body after death, to the bed, which the person awaking from sleep, has left ; death is called the great journey ; the long sleep ;-the world, for its vanity, is compared to a bubble ; to a dream ; to the tricks of a juggler; a person who neglects the great object of his existence, is said to sell himself for the price of an earthen pot ; to scatter jewels in a jungle ; he who sets his heart on the world, is said to act the part of a mother who throws her child into the arms of a dainu, viz, a witch ; or of him, who rejects the water of life, and swallows poison ; or of him, who ties the knot in the corner of his garment, but leaves out the gold; or of him who not only sells without profit, but loses the very article itself. In this world, men are like travellers meeting and passing on the road ; or like those who meet at a market;
men bound by the cords of worldly anxiety, are compared to persons swinging with hooks in their backs on the churuku; or to straws in a whirlpool; the inan who is absorbed in worldly cares, is compared to the bullock in the mill, with a cloth over his eyes; or to the silk-worm, wrapped in its own