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part of it (which he thinks may have been composed of hardy mountaineers), gave rise to the poetical tale of the feats of Rama, aided by the heroic Hanuman and his host of monkeys. We shall, however, obtain a more consistent, as well as a better understood comprehension of Rama, in considering him to have been the son of Desaratha, of the solar race, king of Ayodhya, now termed Oude, a potent sovereign of Hindustan, who having been banished by his father in consequence of the machinations of his queens, retired to the banks of the Godavery, accompanied by his brother Lakshman and his wife Sita, and lived in the neighbouring forests the austere and secluded life of an ascetic: but Sita having been forcibly taken from him by Ravana, the king of Lanka (Ceylon), Rama, with the aid of Sugriva, the sovereign of Karnata, invaded the kingdom of Ravana, and having conquered him, placed his brother on the throne of Lanka in his stead. The Godavery is a sacred stream, and its banks appear to be classic ground, where the visitor is almost at every step reminded of the heroes of the Ramayana. Here are the temples of Rama and Hanuman, the caves of Nasuk (nose), which commemorate the ungallant action of Lakshman in cutting off the nose of Surpanukha; and the cave of Sita, round which Lakshman drew the circle with his bow, which in his absence she was not to overstep. Like the misguided bride of Blue-beard, however, she did so; and the war of Lanka and the Ramayana were the consequences. The bones of Brahmans, according to Colonel Delamain, are brought from a considerable distance to be cast into the holy stream of the Godavery, of which they are said to become immediately component parts. Rama is extensively worshipped, and numerous temples are erected to him; among which is the splendid one at Ramnaghur (see plate 27), from which many of the plates in this volume are taken. A farther description is given under the head of Hindu Temples.

SITA

Is likewise extensively worshipped in company with her husband Rama. F

(34)

CHAPTER IV.

Krishna, or the Eighth Avatar.—Radha.-the Ninth and Tenth Avatars.

KRISHNA.

I HAve now come to the eighth incarnation of Vishnu, in the person of Krishna, the shepherd Apollo of the Hindus, whose deeds, like those of Rama Chandra, have been sung by the noblest poets of the east.

This deity, one of the most extensively and enthusiastically worshipped among the Hindus, and the delight of the Hindu females, is variously represented; sometimes as a beautiful infant playing among the companions of his infancy; at others attending the flocks of Nanda, and sporting among the Gopias, or milk-maids, of Mount Govudun, where, like another Orpheus with his lyre, the ravishing harmony of his flute put in motion not only the nymphs and shepherds, but birds, beasts, trees, and all which came within the sphere of its enchanting melody. Again, he is seen as the youthful hero protecting the shepherds by his mighty power; and, at another time, raising up on his finger the mountain Govudun above the heaven of Indra, to shield them from a destructive storm, which that deity, in an angry mood, had poured upon them. Plate 11, fig. 3, represents him among the Gopias. He is richly dressed, with a crown on his head, round which is a ray or glory. In pictures he is usually seen of an azure colour; but at all times with a beautiful and engaging countenance. In plate 12, fig. 1, Krishna is represented crushing the head of the monstrous serpent. Fig. 2, from a richly emblazoned modern sculpture, represents him playing on his flute among the Gopias. Figs. 3 and 4 show him as Gopula, the infant Krishna; the head of fig. 3 is surmounted by the hooded snake. Fig. 5 represents his mistress, Radha; and fig. 6, Krishna upholding the

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