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ceremonies common in the Hindoo worship, presenting of ferings 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 Bhadru, when several individuals in each place subscribe and defray the expense. 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.
Varoonu. Varoonu's name is repeated daily in the worship of the Bramhuns; but his image is never made for worship, nor has be any public festival or temple in Bengal. He is worshipped, however, as one of the 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.
The heaven of this god, called Vuroonu-loku, is 800 miles in circumference, and was formed by Vishwukurina, the divine architect. 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 Sumoodru, Gunga, and other river gods and goddesses* ; the twelve Adityus, and other deities ; the hydras ; Oiravutu ; the doityus; the dapuvus, &c. The pleasures 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 libertine.
Yumu.-00 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 prepared, every morning, for a month, these girls, after putting on clean apparel, and sprinkling their heads with the water of the Gan. ges to purify themselves, present flowers, &c. to Yumu, by the side of this small pit, repeating an incantation. Each day they
* Among these deities are included gods of wells, pools, lakes, basins, whirlpools, &c.
put a single kouroe into an eartheo pot, and at the end of the ceremony, present the thirty kourees to the person who dug the pit. They performn this ceremony to procure from Yamu either husbands, or sons, or happiness, and also that they may escape punishment after death.
The heaven of this god is 800 miles in circumference. 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 be, wbo has given away much 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 heaped up into mountains. To this heaven have been raised a great number of Hindoo kings, whose names are given in the Muhabharutu. 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.
We shall close these descriptions of Hindoo worship, by the following account of the ceremonies performed at the worship of the goddess Doorga, the most popular of all the annual feasts held in Bengal.
On the 9th day of the decrease of the moon, this festival begins, when the ceremony called sunkulpu is performed, hy the officiating Bramhun's taking into his joined hands a metal kosha, (which contains water, flowers, fruits, sesamum, rice, and a blade of koshu grass,) reading an incantation, and promising that on the succeeding days such a person will perform the worship of Doorga. After this, Doorga is worshipped before a pan of water with the accustomed formularies.
On the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 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 to the 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th.
On the 21st day of the moon, at the close of the worsbip, what is called udbivasu is performed. This also is a preliminary ceremony, 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 23d, early in the morning, the officiating Bramhun consecrates the image, placing it on the spot prepared for it in the temple, and repeating the proper formulas. After this the principal 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 worship of Guneshu 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 other images set up with that of Doorga; to which succeeds the principal worship, that of Doorga. First, the officiating Bramhun performs 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, ‘0 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 square piece of gold or silver, for the goddess to sit upon, and asks if she has arrived happily : adding the answer himself, . Very bappily.' 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 yuvu 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 incantation 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 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, 1 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 upon 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 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 bramhun repeats certain prayers over 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 wbich 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 bramhons 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 presented 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 goddess. 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 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.