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coast of Coromandel; as does Sonnerat, who adds, that his images must be made of stone: but I have them also both of metal and composition.
Ganesha has been compared to the Janus of the Romans. The Hindu god is invoked upon the commencement of any business of importance, and his statues are (as I have before stated) placed over the houses of bankers and shops. The Roman deity was the god who presided over all new undertakings, and his images were placed in the Jani, or spot where usurers and creditors met to receive money. The first libations were made, and all prayers prefaced with a short address to him. In the latter point he also agrees with Ganesha. Janus was worshipped in the month of January, Ganesha in Maghu, which will farther correspond.
I do not find that many temples are dedicated to Ganesha; but his images are frequently discovered set up in those of the other deities.
Ganesha has several names: among which are Lumboduru, the longbellied; Eku Duntu, one-toothed; Gujanumu, elephant-faced; Gunniss ; Gannaputty; Pollyar, &c. &c.
In the second volume of the Transactions of the Bombay Literary Society, and in the seventh volume of the Asiatic Researches, are descriptions of a living god at Chincore near Poona, believed by the Hindus to be an incarnation of Ganesha, in the person of a supposed descendant of a pious man named Moroba.
It appears that an aged couple had been childless, and petitioned Ganesha to assist them out of the difficulty, so repugnant to the feelings of Hindus. They had been exemplary in their devotions to the god, who promised to the husband, in a dream, the fulfilment of his wishes in a male child; who, in return, vowed to dedicate the child to the deity. That child was Moroba ; thus named from it being one of the appellations of Ganesha.
Moroba, by his piety and austerities, had obtained the power of performing miracles upon all those who had a sufficient stock of faith therein; so that, in due time, he was considered and followed as a saint, and in a short period after was elevated to the rank of a Deo. This elevation he owed to his piety and faith : for having, in performance of a vow, undertaken a long journey to visit Ganesha's temple at Morgow, he arrived worn
out with sickness, fatigue, and fasting, after the gates were closed, and the Brahmans and devotees had retired. He lay down and slept. Ganesha then appeared to him in a dream, and commanded him to rise and enter the temple, telling him that his probation was expired, and that, in consequence of his virtue, to save him future journeys to Morgow, he would himself become incarnate in his person and that of his descendants for seven generations. Moroba arose and entered the temple, the doors of which flew open on his approach. He then removed the faded flowers from the image of the god, bedecked it with fresh ones, and having completed his devotions, retired, and again composed himself to rest. In the morning the Brahmans beheld the fresh woven garland with surprise; but, in no less amazement, beheld not a valuable pearl necklace that usually adorned the image ; which being, after some search, found on the neck of Moroba, he was committed by the Hakem to prison. The officer, however, had soon reason to regret the measure that he in this instance pursued, as Ganesha, having first afflicted him with a violent cholic, appeared to him, and told him instantly to release his favourite Moroba, as he himself had placed the necklace round his neck. Moroba was in consequence released, and permitted to return to his former residence at Chincore. The following night a conical stone, sacred to Ganesha, arose from the ground; and Moroba, on the spot, commenced building a superb temple in honour of the god. Having there performed numerous miracles, his fame was spread to the remotest parts of India. After this, finding his time approach, he caused himself to be buried alive in a sitting position, with the scriptures in his hand, commanding that his grave should not be disturbed.
Moroba was succeeded by his son, Chintamun Deo, who instanced his divinity by the following remarkable miracle :
Another living deity, named Tookaram, dwelt at no great distance from Chintamun. The two gods were not, as they should have been, good friends. It is true they were of rival sects; one being Ganaputty himself, but not remarkable for the possession of that quality of which he is said to be the god; the other a literary deity, and a friend of Wittoba (an incarnation of Vishnu), who, by his laudable endeavours to promote the march
of intellect, and enable mankind to understand the true nature of the divine institutes, gave offence to his brother divinity. Chintamun, in consequence, resorted to the weapons usually had recourse to by the ignorant and presumptuous,--revilings and evil actions. He declared that the works of Tookaram were only fit to be destroyed; and suiting the action to the word, contrived to possess himself of them. He then tied them in a bundle with heavy weights, and cast them into the water.
Tookaram being much grieved at this event, supplicated the aid of Wittoba, who caused the books to rise from the water free from damp and uninjured. Chintamun thus finding Tookaram to possess too many friends in heaven for him to injure him, acknowledged that some portion of divinity “dwelt within him," and they became tolerably good friends ; till Tookaram next found occasion to be envious and malicious, and was celestially rebuked in his turn. One day Chintamun civilly asked his brother god to dine with him, which invitation he thankfully accepted. But it is not to be supposed the usual vulgar means of dinner-cards were had recourse to: no, the whole business was managed mentally; for while Chintamun was engaged in the worship of Gunputtee or Ganesha, he thinks to himself, “ Tookaram, will you do me the honour to dine with me to-day ?” At the same time thinking that the period of an intended visit to Morgow was near, and his bridle wanted mending, he would therefore send it to the Moochey's to have it set to rights. Finishing his devotions, which had taken up more time than usual, he came out of the temple into his house, and found Tookaram already there, half-famished, waiting impatiently for his dinner. “What !” says Chintamun,“ how came you here? and when did I invite you to dine ?” “What!” says the other, " did not you think the invitation in the temple ? and did you not intend sending to the Moochey's to get your bridle repaired ?” “Verily,” says Chintamun, "I now give you full credit for supernatural intelligence. Come, sit down, and we will have dinner presently.” Two paats were accordingly placed. Tookaram observing this, desired another might be brought; which was done without remark, and dinner was brought in.
The base passions of envy, jealousy, and vanity, pervade every bosom:
the gods themselves are not free from them. Tookaram was envious of Chintamun's fame, and vain at the time of his own intimacy with Wittoba, “ now,” says he,“ that we may dine in good company, I'll persuade Wittoba, my god, to honour us, and to bring Gunputtee." Chintamun agreeing, after the performance of the necessary prayers and ceremonies on the part of Tookaram, a little lad about five years of age suddenly appeared, and introduced himself as Wittoba. Tookaram's heart was elate at his success. Chintamun prayed, and prayed, and prayed again; but a deaf ear was turned to his entreaties, and, alas! no Gunputtee made his appearance. Almost in despair, Chintamun seized a panchpatra and rushed to the temple; Tookaram followed, smiling at the other's melancholy countenance. Chintamun in the temple dropped upon his knees, and in doleful strain uttered all the moving passages he could think of to induce Gunputtee not to abandon him, particularly as the honour of the god was concerned. After much ado, Chintamun began to think his nose had rather a curious feel, and presently it lengthened out into an elephant's trunk, and his ears increased to the size of those belonging to that beast; his stomach swelled out into a respectable pot-belly, and two additional arms shot out from his shoulders, thus exhibiting, in his own person, the god himself. So public a demonstration of the incarnation of the divinity had never been witnessed before; and Tookaram, whose vanity was a good deal abated, thought it behoved him to conduct himself with proper respect. Knocking, therefore, his head against the ground three times, he observed, that for the future he could only designate Chintamun by the appellation of Deo (god). In consequence, from this period Chintamun and his descendants have been honoured with the official title of Deo, before which they only possessed it by courtesy. • Gunputtee, Wittoba, and Tookaram now returned to dinner, which had necessarily been interrupted, and after some friendly chat took leave of each other. Chintamun’s trunk, ears, and extra arms disappearing, and his belly resuming its pristine shape. Wittoba vanished, and Tookaram returned with as much speed as he had arrived. *
* Bombay Literary Transactions.
Chintamun married eight wives, and had eight sons. He did not follow the example set him by his father Moroba, of being buried alive, but rather chose to die a natural death, and his body was buried in the ordinary way. A stone, however, called Pashun, rose up amidst the ashes, preternaturally for six successive generations, and then discontinued to pay such monumental honours to the deceased.
Chintamun Deo was succeeded by his son Narrain Deo, who also performed singular miracles; and he by another Chintamun, who was followed by Dhurmedhur Deo, and he by Narrain the second; who having sacrilegiously disturbed the ashes of Moroba in spite of his denunciations, lost his divinity and became a mortal. Moroba, on his grave being opened, thus execrated his descendant: “ Degenerate wretch! thou hast sealed thy own fate; a curse lie upon thee and thy son, beyond whom thy name shall not exist.” On Narrain's death he was succeeded by his son, who completed the seventh generation and died childless.
“ The imposture should have ended here; but the Brahmans, with a laudable determination to preserve the valuable legends to the temple, and not without hopes of still farther profiting by the credulity of the pious, have endeavoured to persuade the public that the god has abrogated his limitation, and is satisfied to continue the incarnation for some time longer, and they have set up a boy, of the name Suckharee, a distant relative of Dhurmedhur.”
The god will neither want votaries nor champions, so long as his friends will admit of his continuing the practice of giving a dinner to a limited number of Brahmans once a month, and two annual entertainments to unlimited numbers. The guests at these entertainments sometimes amount to many thousands.
Mrs. Graham, who visited the Deo in 1809, has thus described her visit in her pleasing and interesting journal. “ The Deo's palace, or bara, is an enormous pile of building, without any kind of elegance, near the river Mootha, on which the town stands. As we entered the crowd we saw a number of persons engaged in the honourable and holy office of mixing the sacred cowdung to be spread on the floors of the bara. The whole place