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are nearly similar to those of the first day. After the whole of the beasts have been slain, the multitude daub their bodies with the mud and clotted gore of the blood, and then dance like Bacchanalian furies on the spot. On the following morning the image is, with certain ceremonies, dismissed by the officiating Brahman. It is then placed on a stage formed of bamboos, and carried, surrounded by a concourse of people of both sexes, and accompanied by drums, horns, and other Hindu instruments, to the banks of the river, and cast into the water, in the presence of all ranks and descriptions of spectators; the priest, at the time, invoking the goddess, and supplicating from her life, health, and affluence; urging her (their universal mother, as they term her) to go then to her abode, and return to them at a future time. During this period a licentiousness and obscenity prevail, which too well justify Mr. Ward's indignant remarks on the Hindu festivals. That gentleman relates an anecdote of a rajah of Nudeya, who, occasion, during the several days of the Durga festival, slaughtered no less a number of beasts than 65,535, in honour of this goddess.
During the three days of worship, in Bengal, the houses of the rich Hindus are at night splendidly illuminated, and thrown open to all descriptions of visitors ;* and they acknowledge with much attention and gratitude the visits of respectable Europeans. On some occasions they, formerly,
* Plate 18 represents the house of a rich Hindu gentleman illuminated on the occasion of the Durga Puja. The place seen in the plate is the compound, or court of the house, covered over with a canopy. Round the court are piazzas, and above these are galleries, with interior chambers. At the upper end of the court are the images of Durga, Ganesha, and Kartikeya, as seen in the frontispiece. In front of the images, on the left side of the plate, are European visitors of rank receiving uttr and conserves from the servants of the house: opposite is the master of the house with some of his male relations. In the centre is a Nautch (a singing or dancing) girl ;t and on the right are others of the same profession, some of whom are said to receive as much as three hundred rupees a night: on the left are musicians. Under the piazzas are Hindus of various ranks. In the gallery and rooms on the right, and at the farther end, are respectable European and other visitors. The pillars, fronts, and hangings of the piazzas and galleries are fancifully decorated, in the oriental style, with gold and silver tissue, coloured silk, or paper, &c. &c. which reflecting the brilliant light of numerous lamps in vases or wall-shades, gives the scene a dazzling, and sometimes an imposing effect. The closed parts of the left gallery are the apartments of the females of the family, who can view the festivities through the venetians without being seen.
+ These people have different appellations, but I have used a common one.
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evinced their hospitality by suppers, and ample supplies of wine, which have been unfortunately too frequently abused by persons, who have not been of the most respectably behaved of our countrymen.
The images exhibited on these occasions, of which the figures in the frontispiece are correct specimens, are made of a composition of hay, sticks, clay, &c., and some of them are ten and twelve feet high. On the morning after the puja, hundreds of them are conveyed on stages through the streets of Calcutta, accompanied as I have before described, to be cast into the river. During the whole of the day, as some of them are brought from villages at a considerable distance from the holy stream, the uproar and din are indescribable. Immense sums of money are expended on these festivals. In Calcutta alone, it has been calculated that no less a sum than half a million is, or at least was, annually spent. A few years ago it was said that some of the most wealthy of the Hindus expended each a lac of rupees (£12,500).
Fig. 4, plate 17, is another representation of Durga from the temple of Rama. She is here also ten-armed, holding in her hands various weapons. Fig. 1, plate 20, represents her with four arms, having in her hands the sword, the trident, the damara, and a cup containing a human head.
Numerous images of Durga, in gold, silver, and other metals, are made ; and she is worshipped by the Vishnaivas as well as by the Saivas. The cow is regarded as one of her forms.
I now come to the martial deeds of Durga, which have obtained for her so important a position in the Hindu Mythology. It is with no inconsiderable share of reluctance that I place the gods, in accordance with my authorities, in situations of so much wretchedness and humiliation, as to have required the interposition of the extraordinary skill and intrepidity displayed, on many occasions, by Durga, who, in the all-work kind of employment of destroying giants, was as redoubtable as our renowned champion, the infant fascinator, Jack the Giant-killer.
Fig. 4, plate 17, and fig. 1, frontispiece, represent her in the act of killing, after a desperate battle, Muhisha, the king of these monsters, who had reduced the gods to such straits, by having in the shape of an immense buffalo conquered Indra and his celestial bands, that they were wandering about the earth without, if I may use a homely expression, shoes or stockings to their feet, “ as common beggars.” Muhisha, having obtained possession of Swerga, deprived its immortal inmates of their amrita, and reduced them to such a plight, that Brahma at length took compassion on them, and conducted them to Vishnu and Siva, whose omniscience would appear to have been taking a temporary slumber; but on being roused by the wretchedness of Indra and his vanquished hosts, radiant flames issued from their mouths, as well as from the mouths of the other principal deities, which blending themselves together, formed a female (Durga or Katyayini) of celestial beauty, with ten arms, into which the gods delivered their weapons, the emblems of their power, with which she attacked and slew the monster Muhisha, and restored to the gods their celestial abodes.
On this occasion she received from Vishnu the discus; from Siva, the trident; from Varuna, the conch or shell; from Agni, a flaming dart; from Vayu, a bow ; from Surya, a quiver and arrows; from Yama, an iron rod or mace; from Brahma, a bead-roll ; from Indra, a thunderbolt; from Kuvera, a club; from Viswa-karma, a battle-axe; and from Samudra (the sea), precious stones and offensive weapons; from the milky ocean, a necklace of pearls; from Mount Himala, a lion for a charger; and from Ananta, a wreathed circlet of snakes. The other gods presented to her various other gems and instruments of war. Her person was similarly formed. One god gave her a head, another arms, another legs, and others a nose, breast, feet, &c. &c.
Sir John Malcolm, in the Transactions of the Bombay Literary Society, in allusion to the Durga Puja, or Dusrah, has stated, that the Hindu soldiers have converted the animals and instruments of modern warfare into emblems of their Bellona. Thus the horse is invoked to carry his master, first to victory and then to repose. The flag-staff is the ensign of Indra; the sword is celebrated under several names; the bow and arrows are also praised ; and even fire-arms have their proper pre-eminence of adoration. The Hindu artilleryman, at all times, regards the gun to which he is attached as an object of superstitious reverence, and usually bestows on it