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kinds; afterwards incense, a lighted lamp, and meat offerings. At the close, the Bramhun walks round the image seven times, repeating forms of petition and praise.
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 officiating Brambun, 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 : O goddess, I sacrifice this goat 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 flow. ers, and sprinkles water, on its head. The instrument by 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, then into the hand of the person appointed to slay the animal, who is generally the blacksmith, but sometimes a Bramhun. The assistants put the goat's neck into an upright post, excavated at the top so as to admit the neck between 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 up. on a plantain leaf ; after which the blacksmith cuts off the head at one blow, and another person holds up the body, and drains out the blood upon the plantain in the basin. If the person who performs the sacrifice does not intend to offer the flesh to Doorga, the slayer cuts only a small morsel from the neck, and puts it on the plantain ; when someone 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 bramhun repeats certain prayers 0ver these offerings, and presents them to the goddess, with the blood which fell on the plantains : ther, taking the blood from the basin, be 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, lime, fruits, &c. are next presented with prayers. Now the pames 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 panu. 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 khechurue, fried fruits, fried fish and flesh, &c. 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, 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 bramhuns are entertained either with sweetmeats, or prepared food, by the person at whose house the worship is performed : some of them are expressly invited, and others attend to see the ceremonies. The food which has been pre. sented to the goddess, 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.
In the evening, the officiating bramhun waves a brass candlestick, or lamp with five lights, before the goddess, repeating incantations ; 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 godiless. At midnight some persons repeat the worsbip ; 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 number of prostitutes, richly dressed and almost covered with ornaments, to dance and sing before the idol. The songs are exceedingly 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. During the dances, the doors are shot to keep out the crowd, as well as Europeans, who are carefully excluded. Six, seven, or eight women thus dance together, assisted by music, for about four hours. Rich spectators, when remarkably pleased with a part of the song, throw to the singer as much as four, eight, or sixteen roopees ; besides 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 suaou, is attended with more cerenicnies. In this ceremony the priest first brings some earth said to have been thrown up by the teeth ofa wild bog, and, mixing it with water, presents it with prayers to the goddess, to be used as soap. Then, in succession, 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, turmeric, fruits, and spices ; the water of the cocoa nut, and of the watermelon ; 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 resolves 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 obtain 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 evenings, 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 day, 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 that he had seen one hundred 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 animals on these occasions. The males only are sacrificed ; and they are in general young and tame, costing from five to sixteen roopees each. None of the Hindoos eat the sacrificed buffaloes, except the shoemakers. Each animal is bathed before it is slain ; after which the officiating bramhon puts red lead on its borns, and, with a red string, ties a piece of wool smeared with red lead on the fore part of the breast : he also puts a piece of cloth covered over with turmeric on his back, and a necklace of vilwu leaves op his neck, repeating prayers during these actions. The ceremony of cutting off the heads of the buffalos, 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 are 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 roopees : some indeed give one hundred, and others as many as a thousand roopees; which they at length return into the hands of the officiating bramhun.
[Such are the gods and the worship paid to them, of the Hindoo Pantheon ; and such, to use the language of Dr. Ward, is the deplorable state into which the inind continues to sink, after it has once renounced the doctrine of the unity of God! Neither is the worship paid to these wretched deities of a more pure or dignified character. The Bacchanals of the ancients were not so licentious as the rites of the Hindoo religion. These pages must not, however, be polluted by a recital of the shocking indecencies practised on those occasions. One or two instances more, from other writers, of the cruelties of these eastern modes of conciliating their deities may be noticed ; together with some account of the four chief sects, or tribes into which they are divided. Forbes, Mrs. Graham, and other writers, besides Dr. Ward, have described these at some length. From these authors we learn, that the Hindoos have, from all antiquity, been divided into four great tribes, each of which comprehends a variety of inferior casts,
The first, and most noble tribe, are the Bramhuns,who are the priesthood. They are not excluded from government, trade, or agriculture, though they are strictly prohibited from all menial offices. They derive their name from Bramha, who they allegorically say, produced the Brahmins from his head, when he created the world.
The second in order is the Sittri tribe, who, according to their original constitution, ought to be all military men ; because Bramba is said to have produced them from his heart, as an emblem of that courage which warriors should possess.
The name of Beise is given to the third tribe. These are for the most part merchants, bankers, and shop keepers, and are said to have sprung from the belly of Bramha, the word Beish signifying a provider or nourisher.
The fourth tribe is that of Sudder, who are menial ser
vants, incapable of raising themselves to any superior rank ; they are supposed to have sprung from the feet of Bramha.
If any one of the four tribes be excommunicated, he and his posterity are for ever shut out from the society of every person in the nation, excepticg that of the Haricasts, who are held in utter detestation by the other tribes, and are employed only in the meanest and vilest offices. This circumstance renders excommunication so dreadful, that any Hindoo will suffer torture, and even death, rather than deviate from one article of his faith.
The devotion of the Hindoos to the Supreme Being, and the inferior deities, consists in a regular attendance at the dowels, or temples, especially at the solemn festivals ; in performing particular religious ceremonies in their own houses : in prayers, ablutions, fastings, and penances ; but especially in oblations, which consist chiefly of spices, incense, rice, fruits, and flowers ; and, although they have been in former times accused of offering human sacrifices, they now, as some assert, very rarely shed even the blood of an animal in their religious services.
Fakeers.--The fakeers, or yogees, of the Senassee tribe,are a set of mendicant philosophers, who travel all over Hindoostan, and live on the charity of the other casts of Hindoos.They are generally entirely naked, most of them robust, handsome men : they admit proselytes from the other tribes, especially youth of bright parts, and take great pains to instruct them in their mysteries. These Gymnosophists often nnite in large armed bodies, and perform pilgrimages to the sacred rivers and celebrated temples; but they are more like an army marching through a province, than an assembly of saints in procession to a temple ; and often lay the countries through which they pass under contribution.
Many yogees, and similar professors, are devotees of the strictest order, carrying their superstition and entbusiasm far beyond any thing we are acquainted with in Europe : even the austerities of La Trappe are light in comparison with the voluntary penances of these philosophers ; they reside in holes and caves, or remain under the banian trees near the temple. They imagine the expiation of their own sins, and sometimes those of others, consists in the most rigorous pepances and mortifications. Some of them enter into a solemn vow to continue for life in one unvaried posture; others 10dertake to carry a cumbrous load, or drag a heavy chain ; some crawl on their hands and knees for years, around an extensive empire ; and others roll their bodies on the earth,