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came back by the way of Persia, and of course crossed the Indus. On their return they were treated as outcasts, because they conceived it hardly possible for them to travel through countries inhabited by Mlech'has, or impure tribes, and live according to the rules laid down in the sacred books. It was also alleged that they had crossed the Attaca or Attock. Numerous meetings were held in consequence of this, and learned Brahmans were convened from all parts. The influence and authority of Raghu Nath Raya could not save his ambassadors. However, the holy assembly decreed, that in consideration of their universal good character, and of the motives of their travelling to distant countries, which was solely to promote the good of their country, they might be regenerated, and have the sacerdotal ordination renewed. For the purpose of regeneration, it is directed to make an image of pure gold, of the female power of nature, in the shape either of a woman or of a cow. In this statue the person to be regenerated is enclosed and dragged through the usual channel. As a statue of pure gold and of proper dimensions would be too expensive, it is sufficient to make an image of the sacred yoni, through which the person to be regenerated is to pass. Raghu Nath Raya had one made of pure gold and of proper dimensions: his ambassadors were regenerated, and the usual ceremonies of ordination having been performed, and immense presents bestowed on the Brahmans, they were readmitted to the communion of the faithful.” + The five great sacraments of the Brahmans are, the study of the Veda; the sacraments of the manes; of deities; of spirits; and the hospitable reception of guests. The rites and ceremonies used on these occasions are numerous. On rising from his sleep, a Brahman must clean his teeth with the twig of the ramiferous fig-tree, repeating to himself at the same time a prayer; or on certain days must rinse his mouth twelve times with water. He must then proceed to perform his ablutions, which are accompanied by various prayers and ceremonies. Having finished these, he puts on his mantle after washing it, and sits down to worship the rising sun. During this worship he occasionally sips water, and touches with his wet hand different parts of his body: but if he happen to sneeze or spit, he must not sip water till he has first touched the tip of his right ear. He next meditates the holiest of texts (the gayatri) during three suppressions of the breath, which is thus performed. Closing the left nostril with the two longest fingers of his right hand, he draws his breath through the right nostril; and then closing that nostril likewise with his thumb, holds his breath while he meditates the text: he then raises both fingers off the left nostril, and emits the breath he had suppressed : he next inhales water through each nostril as an internal ablution to wash away sins. Again he worships the sun, standing on one foot, and resting the other against his ankle or heel, looking towards the east, and holding his hands open before him in a hollow form, repeating prayers, in allusion, says Mr. Colebrooke (from whose copious essays on the religious ceremonies of the Hindus I have abstracted this matter), to the seven rays of the sun, four of which are supposed to point towards the four quarters, one upwards, one downwards, and the seventh, which is centrical, is the most excellent of all. An oblation, called argha, is offered, consisting of tila,” flowers, barley, water, and red sanders wood, in a clean copper vessel made in the shape of a boat. (See fig. 5, plate 32.) This the priest places on his head, and presents it with a text, expressive that the sun is the manifestation of the supreme being, present every where, produced every where, and pervading every place and thing. The oblation over, the sun is again worshipped with another prayer. Bathing at noon and in the evening is also enjoined, which may be done with water drawn from a well, a fountain, or a bason of a cataract: but water that lies above ground should be preferred; as should a stream to stagnant water; a river to a brook; a holy stream before a vulgar river; and, above all, the water of the Ganges. Preparatory to any act of religion, ablutions should be performed : but ablution does not, in all cases, consist of the use of water. The body may be purified by ashes, by dust raised by the treading of cows, from wind or air, standing in the rain during day-light, &c. &c. The sacrament of deities consists in oblations to fire, with prayers and offerings, which vary according to the divinity worshipped. In consecrating the fire and hallowing the sacrificial instruments many ceremonies are practised; after these the priest takes a lighted ember out of a covered vessel which contains the fire, and throws it away, saying, “I dismiss far away carnivorous fire: may it go to the realm of Yama bearing sin (hence)!” He then places the fire before him, adding “earth! sky! heaven' this other (harmless) fire alone remains here.” He then names the fire according to the purpose for which it is prepared, burning at the same moment a small log of wood smeared with ghee." Numerous ceremonies follow, with prayers and oblations of cusa grass, &c. &c. The sacrament of the manes is also accompanied by numerous ceremonies. The corpse of the deceased is washed, perfumed, and decked with wreaths of flowers, and gold, gems, &c. put into its mouth, nostrils, ears, and eyes. A perfumed cloth is then thrown over it, and it is carried to a holy place in a forest, or near water, accompanied by fire and food. The corpse of a Sudra is conveyed out of a town through the southern gate; that of a Brahman through the western ; of a Ketrie through the northern; and of a Vaisya through the eastern. The funeral procession, in passing to its destination, must make a circuit to avoid any inhabited place. On reaching the spot, the relations must first bathe, and then prepare the funeral pile: having done which, they again bathe. These proceedings are attended, like the rest of the Hindu rites, by prayers, &c. The ceremonies occasionally vary, according to the person whose funeral obsequies may be performed. After the body has been burnt, oblations of water, &c., are offered; the relations of the deceased then change their clothes, and, sitting down, utter the following or other moral sentences, “Foolish is he who seeks permanence in the human state; unsolid, like the stem of the plantain tree; transient, like the foam of the sea. All that is low must finally perish; all that is elevated must fall; all compound bodies must end in dissolution; and life is concluded with death.”
* Asiatic Researches, vol. vi.
* Sesamum. Various other articles are also used in Pujah. Cusa grass, sugar-cane, &c. &c.; and to the vindictive deities, human beings (now, it is to be hoped, not practised), beasts, birds, fishes, spirituous and fermented liquors, warlike instruments, &c. &c. Forms are prescribed for offering up the blood of the victims, which must be in vessels of peculiar shapes and compositions. See farther particulars in the account of the goddess Kali.
The other funeral ceremonies, as well as those of marriage, and the duties attendant upon hospitality (which are peremptorily enjoined towards strangers, especially Brahmans), are very numerous and diversified. The inquisitive reader will find them detailed in the seventh volume of the Asiatic Researches.
POITA or ZENNAAR.
Various ceremonies are attendant upon Hindu boys between infancy and the age of eight years. After that age, and before a boy is fifteen, it is imperative upon him to receive the poita, gennaar, or sacred thread, which after a variety of preliminary ceremonies is thus performed. “The priest first offers a burnt sacrifice, and worships the salagrama, repeating a number of prayers. The boy's white garments are then taken off, and he is dressed in red, and a cloth is brought over his head, that no Sudra may see his face : after which he takes in his right-hand a branch of the vilwa, and a piece of cloth in the form of a pocket, and places the branch on his shoulder. A poita of three threads, made of the fibres of the suru, to which a piece of deer's skin is fastened, is suspended from the boy's left shoulder, falling under his right arm, during the reading of the incantations.” The father of the boy then repeats certain formulas, and pronounces three times, in a low voice, from the Gayitree, “Let us meditate on the adorable light of the divine Ruler (Savitri): may it guide our intellect.” After this the suru poita is taken off, and the real poita, or sacred thread, put on. During this ceremony the father repeats certain formulas; the suru poita is fastened to the vilwa staff, shoes are put on the boy's feet, and an umbrella in his hand. He then solicits alms from his parents and the company present, who give more or less according to their means. Various other ceremonies then follow, which are succeeded by the service called sandhya: