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SUKRA,

The planet Venus, is a Brahman, the preceptor or guru of the giants or ditis, and is held in great estimation by the Hindus. He is by some called the son, by others the grandson, of Brigu, and is described as variously mounted. In one of the zodiacs he is seated on a camel (see fig. 2, plate 26), with a large ring or hoop in his hands, and having the appearance of a female; in another on an animal resembling a rat. By Colonel Delamaine he is represented on a horse, with a stick, beads, a lotus, and sometimes a bow and arrows in his hands. He is thus represented in my plate from the temple at Ramnaghur. He is of a white complexion, middle-aged, and of an agreeable countenance. A person born under this planet will be gifted with the power of omniscience, and possess the gifts of fortune and the blessings of life, among which are many wives. He presides over Sukerwar, or Friday.

SANI or SHUNI,

Is the planet Saturn. He is described of a dark colour, and clothed in black; holding a sword, arrows, and two daggers in his hands. (See fig. 3, plate 26.) His vahan is variously represented, being by some called a black vulture or raven, and by others an elephant. He is old, ugly, lame, of an evil disposition, has long hair, nails, and teeth, and is of the Sudra caste. It is unfortunate to be born under this planet, and the ills of life are ascribed to his influence, as he is supposed to be skilled in all kinds of wickedness. In the worship of him numerous ceremonies are in consequence resorted to, to appease him. He presides over the day of the week Saniswar, or Saturday.

RAHU

Is by some called the sun, and by others the grandson of Kasyapa, and is the planet of the ascending node. He is also variously represented on a lion, a flying dragon, an owl, and a tortoise. Fig. 5, plate 26, from a zodiac, shews him on the latter with a spear in his hand. He is worshipped

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7 Clerk.ath 11 Deon sa Soho. 11g 2 Brishput oriri hurpati 2. Sukra J. Sani: 7. Kelu 5. Rahu. 6. Tknown. 7. Varuna. 8. Arjun performing Toprasa

from Drawings, Temple of Rama dc.

in misfortune, and to avert the approach of evil spirits, malignant diseases, earthquakes, comets, &c., and especially during an eclipse. He is represented without a head, which is supposed to belong to his other portion.

KETU,

The planet of the descending node, also variously described; by some sitting on a vulture; and by others, as a head on the back of a frog. (See fig. 4, plate 26.) For further particulars of Rahu and Ketu refer to a preceding account of Kartikeya.

VARUNA

Is the god of the waters, the Indian Neptune, and the regent of the west division of the earth. He is represented as a white man, four-armed, riding on a sea animal, with a rope called pashu in one of his hands, and a club in another. He is worshipped daily, as one of the regents of the earth; and also, according to Mr. Ward, by those who farm the lakes in Bengal, before they go out a fishing. And in times of drought, people repeat his name to obtain rain. His heaven, formed by Viswakarma, is eight hundred miles in circumference, in which he and his queen, Varuni, are seated on a throne of diamonds, attended by Samudra, Gunga, &c. &c.

Fig. 7, plate 26, from the temple at Ramnaghur, represents him on the the mukara, or sea animal, armed as above described.

CHAPTER X.

O'm!—The Vedas. The Brahmans.— The Poita or Zenaar.–Temples.

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A MYSTICK syllable, signifying the supreme god of gods, which the Hindus, from its awful and sacred meaning, hesitate to pronounce aloud; and, in doing so, place one of their hands before their mouths. “ A Brahman beginning or ending a lecture of the Veda (or the recital of any holy strain) must always pronounce, to himself, the syllable O’m; for unless that syllable precede, his learning will slip away from him; and unless it follow, nothing will be long retained. It is prefixed to the several names of worlds, denoting that the seven worlds are manifestations of the power signified by that syllable.” “ All rites ordained in the Veda, oblations to fire, and solemn sacrifices pass away ; but that which passeth not away, says Menu, is declared to be the syllable O'm, thus called Aschara, since it is the symbol of God, the Lord of created beings.*

From various passages in the Asiatic Researches, principally by Mr. Colebrooke, as well as other authorities, it may be collected, that this sacred monosyllable, spelt Om, is pronounced A,O,M, or A,U,M, signifying Brahm, the supreme being, under his three great attributes of the Creator, the Preserver, and the Destroyer; the letters standing, in succession, for the attributes as they are here described.

The gayatri, called by Sir William Jones the mother of the Vedas, and in another place the holiest text of the Vedas, is expressed by the triliteral monosyllable aum, and means, if I understand it correctly, that divine light of knowledge dispersed by the Almighty, the sun of righteousness,

* Asiatic Researches, Vol. v.

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