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the world itself being God, under various forms, has arisen the Hindoo practice of paying divine adorations to the heavens collectively ;-to the sun, moon, the stars, the sea, great rivers, and all extraordinary appearances in nature. Even the divine energy itself has been personified, as a sort of holy spirit, and worshipped under different names.
* Many Hindoos are denominated Shaktus, as devoted to the worship of this shuktee, or energy, and all their addresses are called the energies of their lords, as well as matres, or mothers.
The universe being full of the Divine Majesty, a deity has been consecrated as the regent of every element; and even the brambu and the devout mendicant, as sharing more largely of the in-dwelling Deity than others, have received the adoration of the multitude. Thus it appears, that the Hindoo system of theology, is a kind of polytheistical Sabellianism, making all things to be gods in which the Supreme Godhead or energy is supposed eminently to dwell.
The same principle is exhibited in the bodily powers of the different images worshipped by the Hindoos. Ununtu has a thousand heads ; Brumha four faces ; Indru is full of eyes ; Doorso has ten; and Shavunu, the giant, a hundred arms, The formidable weapons of the gods, too, have evidently the same allusion, as well as their symbols and vehicles : among them are the eagle,* the serpent, the lion, the tiger, the ele.. phant, the bull, the buffalo, &c.
After this general description of the Hindoo theology, we may next enter into a more minute detail of some of their principal deities.
1. Brumha. 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, in the lasciviousness of his conduct, having betrayed a criminal passion towards his own daughter. Brumha's image is never worshipped, nor even made : but the Chundu describes it as that of a red man with four faces. He is red, as a mark of his being full of the ruju goonu : he has four faces, to remind the worshippers that the vedus proceeded from his four mouths. In one hand he has a string of beads, to show that his power as creator was derived from his devotion : the pan of water in
* " Vishnoo riding upon his Gurooru, or eagle,” says the ingeni. oys Mr. Maurice in his “ Indian Antiquities,« puts us in mind of the thunder bearing eagle of the Grecian Jupiter."
his left hand, denotes that all things sprang from water. This deity, thus pre-eminent, is yet entirely destitute of a temple and worshippers.
2. Vishnoo. 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 chuckru, the lotus, and a club. His colour, (black) is that of the destroyer ; which is intended to show that Shivu and he are one ; he has four hands, as the representative of the male and female powers : the shell (blown on days of rejoicing) implies that Vishnoo is a friendly deity : the chukru is to teach that he is wise to protect ; the lotus to remind the worshipper of the nature of final emancipation ; that, as the 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 portion of Shivu ; his body represents the vedu. Vishnoo is distinguished, as being the source of most of the Hindoo in. carnations ; and he commands the worship of the greatest division of the Hindoo population. There are no temples por 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.
3. Siva or Shivu, is seen with his Trisula, or Trident, in one hand ; and, in another, the Pasha, which is a rope for binding and strangling incorrigible offenders ; his two foremost hands, right and left, are in a position very common to several deities; they are said to indicate an invitation to ask, and a promise to grant or proteci. His third eye, pointing up and down, is seen in his forehead-his three eyes, probably denoting his view of the three divisions of time, past, present, and future. Serpents, emblems of immortality, form his earrings. His pendant collar is composed of human heads, and marks the extinction and succession of generations of mankind by Time.
4. Indru. 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 thunderbolt 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 yoogus of the gods. Jupiter was called the king of heaven, and the Fulminator : Indru's names, Divus-Putee and Vujree, are significant of similar offices.
5. Yumu.--The Indian Pluto, is a dark green man, clothed in red, with inflamed eyes ; he sits upon 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 wicked. This is the form of terror, as a king of the souls of the dead; but he is also worshipped in a form less terrific, which he is said to assunje when he passes a sentence of happiness on the meritorious. Besides this annual festival, he is worshipped on other occasions, and receives the homage of the Hindoos in their daily ablutions. There are several remarkable coincidences hetween Yumu and Pluto.
6. Guneshu.--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 serpentweapon, to show that he throws impediments in the way of the wicked ; another grasps the book 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 of a sacrifice. Every act of worship (pooja) is preceded by an invocation to Guneshu, and men in business paint his image over the doors of their shops, or suspend it amongst their merchandize, to insure prosperity. Guneshu has been complimented as the god of wisdom ; but the Hindoo deity presiding over knowledge, or wisdom, is Suruswutee, a goddess. Guneshu receives many honours from the Hindoos, and is considered 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. Of this god the images are not quite all alike.
7. Kartikeyu~is the Indian Mars, or commander in chiefto 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 Indru. 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).-The Hindoos, in a most indelicate fable respecting this god, have described the twelve signs of the zodiac. Yumu, the regent of death, is his son, and Chayy, a shadow, the name of one of his wires. The image of Soo- : ryu is that of a dark-red man; from his body issues a thousand streams of light; he has three eyes, and four arms ; in each of two of his hands he holds a water-lily, with another hė is bestowing a blessing, and with the last forbidding fear. He sits on a red lotus, in a chariot drawn by seven horses. Hé 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 Prukretee and Poorooshu, or matter and spirit. One lotus explains the nature of emancipation; and the other, upon which the rays of Sooryu are reflected, is a type of sound, and some Hindoo philosophers believe it to be eternal. The red lotus represents the earth ; his chariot the measure of time ; and the seven borses 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 Brahminical 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 issues 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 glory 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 he has a service in the daily ceremonies of the Bramhuns; and one class of his worshippers, called Sagniku Bramhuns, preserve a perpetual fire, like the vestal virgins. There seems to be no order of females among the Hindoos resembiing 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. Ugnee presides over sacrifices, and is called the mouth of the gods.