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balf a bird and half a man, has received deification, as well as his brother Uroonu, the charioteer of Vishnoo, Jutayoo, another bird, the friend of Ramu, receives divine honours ; as do the eagle of Coromandel, (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 tò have consecrated groves, but several trees they esteem sacred. Toolusee, a female raised to deity by Vishnoo, was cursed by Lukshmee, bis wife, in a fit of jealousy, and turned into a tree of this name ; which the Hindoos preserve with great care near their houses, and erect pillars to its honour. The heads of these pillars, which commonly open like a cup, are filled with earth, and the plant is placed in them. Its leaves and wood are esteemed sacred ; and, with the latter they make their beads, with which they repeat the names of their guardian deities. Several other trees receive almost an equal homage. It is considered as a great sin among the Hindoos for any member of a family to cut down trees planted by an ancestor; and the misfortunes of many a family have been ascribed to such an act of indiscretion.
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 Pooranus, and in the superstitious customs of the natives, appears to rauk highest amongst the river dei. ties. She is declared to have descended from Vishpoo's heaven ; an anniversary of which event is celebrated by particular festivities. The most extravagant things are related in the Pooranus respecting the purifying nature of these waters; and several works have been written to extol the sav. ing properties of the Ganges. Its waters are carried to immense distances ; every thing they touch becomes purified; crowds of Hindoos perform their worsbip on the river daily, after purifying themselves in the 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 sight of Gunga. Many other rivers receive the honours of divine worship.
Bathing in the Ganges.--The engraving exbibits a view of a bathing scene in the holy waters of the river Ganges, the persons in the water and on the banks are the devotees, or the superstitious worshippers and bramhuns, or priests, who assist them in their worship, and who, after the people have bathed, perform a number of ceremonies, and incantations,
and present offerings, and pay worship to the various inhabitants of the waters. The dishes and baskets on the margin, contain fruits, flowers, &c. which are designed as offerings to the goddess. The banks are steep, and flights of steps have been laid for the accommodation of the worshippers.-Millions of people are annually drawn from their homes several times in a year to visit different holy places of this river, and frequently vast crowds of people rush down the steps with great eagerness and violence, in order to get into the water at a supposed lucky moment ; and in consequence of this crowding, great numbers are often killed or shockingly bruised. This deluded people expect great good will result to them from this detestable idolatry. Their sacred books declare that the sight, the name or the touch of the Ganges takes away all sin ; that thinking of the Ganges when at a distance is sufficient to remove the taint of sin ; but that bathing in the Ganges has blessings in it which no imagination can conceive.
At the hour of death if a person think on Ganga, he will obtain a place in the heaven of their god Siva. So much is this river reverenced, that many will not wash themselves or their clothes in its waters; some persons undertake journies of five or six months to bathe in the Ganges in behalf of deceased relations, and to carry back its waters for religious and medicinal uses. The water of this river is used in the Ecglish courts of justice to swear upon. 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 besmear their bodies with its sediment, and remain perhaps for a month near the river; they are extremely anxious to die in sight of the Ganges, that their sins may be washed away in their last moments. Dead bodies are often brought by relatives to be burnt near the river, under the hope that the soul of the deceased will thus receive benefit. Some persons even drown themselves in the Ganges, not doubting but they shall immediately ascend to heaven. Their sacred books teach that if a person bathe in the Ganges at an auspicious moment, his sins will be removed, he will be admitted into the heaven of Brama, and after having enjoyed great happiness in heaven, will be re-born on the earth, possessed of every good quality, enjoy all kinds of happiness, and be loaded with honours. There are upwards of three millions of holy places on the Ganges ; to these places natives continually resort, at a great expense of time and money, in making offerings and paying worship.
17. Worship of Fish. Even the finny tribes are honoured
by the Hindoos, though the worship paid to them is of an inferior sort.
18. 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 form used before the most popular idol.
19. The Worship of Stones. The Shalugramu, as a form of Vishnoo, is more frequently worshipped than any other idol in lodia, not excepting the Lingu 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 Hjodoos.
Temples for Religious Worship.--A multiplicity of temples characterizes the Hindoo worship. They are spread over the desert and crown the summit of almost every mountain ; no village is considered inhabitable without one. To erect these oven-like edifices, supply them with images, and maintain their worship are regarded as the most meritorious actions : their number is, therefore, incredible. On a plain near Burduan, a widow has caused 108 to be built, each con. taining an image. These images are often clothed with valuable garments and adorned with jewels of great price. The Brahmins, (Hindoo Priests) attend on the worship paid at these temples, and omit no sort of imposture to keep up the popular credulity, and to allure votaries to the worship of that deity by which they are supported. A religion more shameful or indecent has never existed among a civilized people. The Brahmins being resolved to make the popular religion a mere machine for advancing their temporal interests and gratifying their passions, have gradually urged the Hindoo people from one superstitious error to another, from a deep to a deeper pit in that chaos in which they are now ingulfed. Many of the worshippers perform their religious service before the door of the temple. They carefully fix their eyes upon the god to whose presence they have come, mutter a few words, salute the image by bringing both hands to the forehead, bow the head slowly and solemnly, turn around, ring the bell, and retire after paying the tribute to the