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not being able at one time to obtain enough of that of the giants, she cut her own throat to supply herself therewith. (See fig. 6, plate 20.)

Parvati, as Kali, had a variety of other forms, some of which will be noticed in the third part of this work.


Devi, the goddess, is a title given to Lakshmi, Suraswati and Parvati; but the latter is commonly called Maha Devi. The origin of these three goddesses is thus described in the Varaha Puran, translated in Colonel Vans Kennedy's learned researches on the mythology of the Hindus, &c. In consequence of the distressed situation of the gods from the oppression of the Asuras, Brahma hastened to Kailasa to Siva. Siva in thought summoned Vishnu, who instantly stood between them, “and the three gods viewing each other with delight, from their three refulgent glances sprang into being a virgin of celestial loveliness, who bashfully bowed before Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva. They said “ who art thou ? lovely one! and why art thou thus distinguished by the three several colours of black, white and red ?” She replied : “ from your glances was I produced ; and do you not know your own omnipotent energies ?” Brahma then praised her, and bestowed on her this blessing: “Thou shalt be named the goddess of the three times, Morning, Noon, and Evening, the Preserver of the Universe; and under various other appellations shalt thou be worshipped, as thou shalt be the cause of accomplishing the desires of thy votaries. But, oh, goddess ! divide thyself into three forms, according to the colours by which thou art distinguished.” On hearing these words she divided herself into three forms of a white, a red, and a black colour. The white was Suraswati, the sacti of Brahma; the red was Lakshmi, the beloved of Vishnu; and the black, Parvati.”

This account differs widely from other accounts of the origin of these goddesses, but consistency is out of the question in Hindu mythology. Parvati is now generally understood by the appellation of Devi, or Maha Devi. Nevertheless, by the Vishnaivas, Lakshmi is also thus called, to

whom they attribute, as the Saivas do to Parvati, the production of Kali, Kali Ratree, Chandika, &c. &c.

Fig. 3, plate 20, represents Devi seated on the lotus. She is richly dressed, and holds in one of her hands a pinda, or ball of rice, à distinguishing emblem of this benificent form of the sactis. In her nose is a large hoop ring, commonly worn by the Hindu females, from a sculpture. Fig. 3, plate 17, is another representation of Devi, also from a sculpture. The elephant pouring water over the goddess is an especial emblem of Devi.


Another form of Parvati, has been mentioned in several parts of this work. She is nature personified ; in which character she is fabled, in one of the hypotheses of the Hindus, as has been related in my account of the Creation, to have been the mother of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, and to have divided herself and become their sactis.

Parvati is very generally known under the form of Bhavani, among the Jainas, Bhuddas, and other heterodox sects. At Omercuntue, near the sources of the Nerbuddah and the Soane, she is fancifully worshipped as Bhavani, under the symbol of Narmada, or the Nerbuddah river. The images at this place are said to represent her much enraged with her slave Johilla, and attended by a great variety of attendants preparing a nuptial banquet; to which a very romantic fable is attached :--That Soane, a demi-god, being much enamoured with the extreme beauty of Narmada, after a very tedious courtship presumed to approach the goddess, in hopes of accomplishing the object of his wishes by espousing her. Narmada sent her slave Johilla to observe in what state he was coming, and if arrayed in jewels, of lovely form and dignity, or worthy to become her consort, to conduct him to Omercuntue. Johilla departed, met with Soane, and was so dazzled with the splendour of his ornaments and extreme beauty, that she fell passionately in love with him, and so far forgot her duty as to attempt to personate her mistress ; in which succeeding, Bhavani (or Narmada) was so enraged at the deceit, that upon their arrival at Omercuntue she severely chastised Johilla, and disfigured her face in the manner said to be represented in the image. She then precipitated Soane from the top of the table-land to the bottom, whence that river rises, disappeared herself into the very spot where the Nerbudda issues, and from the tears of Johilla a little river of that name springs at the foot of Omercuntue.*


In the modern representations of this beneficent form of Parvati, she is described of a deep yellow colour, standing, or (as in fig. 2, plate 16) sitting on the lotus, or water-lily. She has two arms, and in one hand holds a spoon, in the other a dish. In her dress she is decorated like the other modern images of Durga.

Mr. Patterson describes her as being of “ a ruddy complexion, her robe of various dyes, and a crescent on her forehead: she is bent by the weight of her full breasts. Bhava or Siva (as a child) is playing before her, with a crescent also on his forehead. She looks at him with pleasure, and seated on a throne relieves his hunger. All good is united in her. Her names are Annada, Anna Purna Devi, Bhavani, and Bhagavati.”

In fig. 2, plate 16, Siva stands before her as a mendicant. Round his loins is wrapt a tiger's skin; a serpent twines itself about him, and rears its head over his right shoulder. His eyes are inflamed, and turned up as if in invocation ; except the one in the centre of his forehead, which is represented by a resplendent gem. His hands are held out in the act of soliciting alms.

Anna Purna is a household goddess, and is extensively worshipped by the Hindus. Her name implies the goddess who fills with food, and they believe that a sincere worshipper of her will never want rice.

She has been considered as the prototype of the Anna Perenna of the Romans, whom Varro places in the same rank with Pallas and Ceres, and who was deified and held in high esteem by the Roman people, in consequence of having supplied them with food when they retired into Mount Aventine. Besides the great similarity of names, there is a singular coincidence in the times of their worship, the festivals of Anna Purna taking place in the early part of the increase of the moon in the month Choitru (partly in March), and those of the Roman goddess on the Ides of March. If, however, the patriotic country dame Anna Perenna was raised to the rank of a deity for her express services, there can be no great cause to imagine that she travelled from Benares to Rome on the occasion; so that we must suppose these coincidences, like many others that have been used to identify important personages, to be altogether casual.

* Asiatic Researches, vol. vii.


Is another form of Parvati, under which she is represented sitting on a lotus, dressed in red, and supporting the infant Ganesha in her arms (fig. 5, plate 20). Very expensive festivals are held in honour of this form of Parvati.

Fig. 4, in the same plate, from a model by Chit Roy, represents her under a form not known to me. She is apparelled like the forms of Durga from the other models, seated on a horse, without a saddle or bridle, and holding under her arm a jar. Her hands have probably had some distinguishing emblems placed in them, but they are now without any thing. I do not, at this moment, recollect to have seen this form of Durga or Parvati in Calcutta.

Fig. 1, in plate 20, is Durga seated on a lion or tiger, armed to encounter the giants. Fig. 2, is Parvati at prayer; both from sculptures.


A form of Parvati as Durga. She is represented as a yellow woman sitting on a lion, holding in her four hands a shell, a discus, a lotus flower, and a club. This goddess is worshipped with much rejoicing in the month Kartiku, on which occasions large sums are expended. After the ceremony

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