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No. 1, in the lower part of plate 2,” is a single perpendicular line, which denotes the sect of Vishnu; as will two or more perpendicular lines, either without or with (as in Nos. 2 and 3) a small dot or circle between them; or (as in 4) under them; or a wheel (chuckra) or discus (5, 6); a cone, or triangle, or shield (7, 8, 9), or any similar form having the apex, or oval, or smallest parts downward; or with or without dots (10, 11, 12), or any thing else between, or under them, are indicative of Vishnu, and are typical, by pointing downwards, of water (the symbol of that deity), whose property it is to descend; as it is that of fire, the symbol of Siva, to ascend: therefore a cone, or triangle, or other form (13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18), having the apex, or oval, or smallest parts pointing upwards, either with or without dots, or other marks between or under them, denote the sect of Siva; as do two or more horizontal lines (19, 20), either without or with (21, 22, 23) a single dot or small circle (called putta), between or under them; or the circle alone (24); or an oval, with or without a smaller oval or semi-oval or putta within it, also denote Siva. The latter are typical of the third eye in the centre of the forehead (25, 26, 27, 28) of that deity. The crescent (29), either with or without circles or ovals, distinctly indicates Siva; as does (30), which Bartolomeo calls his trisula or trident. Two triangles crossed (31) denote the two sects, which will be seen in fig. 1, plate 21 (a form of Durga), with the addition of puttas on the legs of the triangles (32). A circle within a triangle, or a triangle within a circle (33, 34, 35), are said to be typical of the three sects, or the Hindu triad or trinity. The images of Brahma have usually the sectarial marks of Siva, but they have sometimes those of both that deity and Vishnu. Ganesha, Kartikeya, and the avatars and forms of Siva and Parvati have also the marks of Siva, whereas Indra, Chandra, Agni, Kamadeo, Hanuman, and the avatars of Vishnu, have the sectarial signs of Vishnu. The Buddhas (except the Brahmanical Buddhas, or ninth avatar of Vishnu, who have the marks of that deity) and the Jainas, have not sectarial distinctions; but the images of the Buddhas and Tir'thankaras of these heterodox sects are frequently
* In referring to plate 2 for illustrations of the Sectarial Marks, the reader will, to save unnecessary repetitions, be pleased to understand that the lower part of the plate is alluded to.
SECTARIAL MARKS.—AUSTERITIES AND PUNISHMENTS. 165
marked with the chuckra (or wheel) on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, and sometimes with a lozenge on the breast. According to Bartolomeo, the two marks under No. 10 denote the medhra or womb of Bhavani, and are used by the two sects of Siva and Vishnu. The same author describes, No. 36, the villa or bow, as the mark of Rama; but I do not recollect to have elsewhere seen it.
AUSTERITIES and PUNISHMENTS.
The Hindus subject themselves to more devotional austerities, penances, and mortifications, some of which are of a temporary and others of a permanent character, than, perhaps, any people in the world. The punishments which they have prescribed for themselves in a future state I have already noticed, in my account of Yama, the Hindu Pluto, in page 113, of which representations are given in plate 28. In my account of Siva, I have also described, in page 67 and following pages, and shewn in the plate just mentioned, some of the self-inflicted penances, tortures, and mortifications, to which this extraordinary people frequently devote themselves. I have, however, yet to notice the tapass, or propitiatory austerities, practised to obtain the more especial divine favour and blessings of the gods. This consists in standing on one toe, the shin of the same leg having the heel of the other foot resting upon it. The arms are at the same time raised over the head; and the eyes must, during the day, be constantly gazing upon the sun. See fig. 4, plate 28; and fig. 8, plate 26. The latter represents Arjun, one of the Pandu brothers, performing tapass to propitiate Vishnu, in order to obtain from him a celestial weapon, to enable him and his brothers to reconquer their patrimonial dominions, of which they had been unjustly dispossessed.
In the performance of the tapass the prescribed acts of devotion are termed mana, or the devotion that proceeds from the heart in profound silence; vauk, or devotion audibly pronounced; neyana, or devotion accompanied by religious ceremonies, purifications, &c. Arjun, in the performace of his tapass, took food, during the first month of his austerities, only once
166 AUSTERITIES AND PUNISHMENTS.—SUTTEES.
in four days; during the second month, once in seven days; during the third, once in a fortnight; and during the fourth month he subsisted alone on, what he was no doubt liberally supplied with on one of the loftiest peaks of the gigantic Himalaya, Lair; resting all the time, as represented in the plate, on the tip of his great toe. In the articles S1 v A, YAMA, and THE PANDUs, and in the plates beforementioned, the subject will be found more particularly noticed.
Among the many abominations which stain the practice of the Hindu religion, that of the suttee, with the no less barbarous practice of infanticide, are of the greatest. Many, and very strenuous, attempts have been made by the governments of India to abolish the latter, with (as will be seen under the article infanticide) very limited success; for, although the tribes, among whom it prevailed, promised much to the humane interceders for infant preservation, and for a time partially kept the word of promise to the sense, they soon returned to their former cruelties; and infanticide, at the present day, is, it may be feared, almost as much practised as ever.
In respect of suttees, or female immolation on the funeral pile of a deceased husband, it is gratifying to be enabled to withdraw the melancholy veil, and display a brighter and more cheering prospect. The humane exertions of the Indian governments have, at length, commenced upon, and it may be hoped, will consummate, what for a longtime was considered could not be attempted without a daring invasion of the religious principles and privileges of the Hindus (which we had pledged ourselves not to intermeddle with), and a consequent hazard to the foundation upon which the security of our eastern possessions rests. Its positive abolition, by the means of legal prohibitory enactments, has been lately notified; but against this benevolent and most laudable measure powerful opposition has been made by many wealthy and influential Hindus. Aided, however, by the diffusion of knowledge among the more enlightened of others of them, it is to be trusted that this decided and humane interference will soon be attended