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temple of Rama, shews him mounted on that animal or an antelope, having, in one of his four hands, a pennon, and very appropriately in another, the head of (what appears to be) a spear or an arrow; which would indicate swiftness, from the supposed possession of which he is termed the messenger of the gods. Fig. 2, plate 22, represents him as I have described.
He is adorned with a rich crown, and the armlets, bracelets, and anklets, which are usually seen on the Hindu deities.
Yama, or Dhermarajah, resembles both the Grecian Pluto, the king of hell, and Minos, the judge of departed souls, and is the regent of the south, or lower division of the world, mythologically called Patala, or the infernal regions.
Yama is described of a green colour, with red garments, having a crown on his head, his eyes inflamed, and sitting on a buffalo, with a club and pashu in his hands. “ His dreadful teeth, grim aspect, and terrible shape,” says Mr. Ward, “ fill the inhabitants of the three worlds with terror." As Dhermarajah he is differently described : of a divine countenance, mild and benevolent. The virtuous only see the latter: the wicked are judged by Yama, surrounded by all his terrors. If the deceased have been virtuous, they ascend to a place of happiness; if wicked, they are sent to a particular hell, to undergo the punishment appointed for their especial crimes.
In a large chart, in my possession, of the celestial and infernal regions of the Hindus, the several heavens are placed in variously elevated positions, the roads to which are lined by gods, Gundharvas Apsaras, &c. &c., with lotus flowers in their hands, singing the praises, and waiting the approach of the good, and having near them convenient resting-places. In some parts are gilt temples and palaces, streams of water, and a variety of other agreeable things to render the journey as pleasant as possible. On the other hand, the passage to the infernal regions presents a different aspect. The road to the palace of Yama, which is believed to be situated in Yamapur, or the city of Yama, is both long and painful, being over burning sands and sharp-pointed or red-hot stones, amidst showers of burning cinders, scalding water, and molten metal, and through dark and terrific passages filled with snakes, tigers, enormous giants, and many inconceivable horrors. This road, according to Mr. Ward, is 688,000 miles; at the end of which, after crossing Vaitarini, the Indian Styx, Yama is beheld, “ clothed with terror, two hundred and forty miles in height; his eyes distended like a lake of water, of a purple colour, with rays of glory issuing from his body. His voice loud as the thunders at the dissolution of the universe ; the hairs of his body are each as long as a palm tree; a flame of fire proceeds from his mouth; and the noise of the drawing of his breath is greater than the roaring of a tempest, &c. &c.” His attendant, Chitra Gupta, is almost as terrible as his master. Thus attended he judges the trembling and wailing sinners, and consigns them to their punishments, in their different hells.
Of these hells and punishments there are some of all sorts and descriptions, each appropriated for different crimes; so that the wicked may very well know, before-hand, precisely what they have to expect hereafter. Some of these punishments are shewn, from the chart before mentioned, in figs. 8 to 22, in plate 28.
Fig. 8 represents the sinner in a hell of boiling oil, for having been a glutton, and guilty of destroying animals. In figs. 9, 10, ll, and 12, he is being fed upon by dogs, jackalls, swine, rooroos, and birds and beasts of prey, for highway robbery, burning the house of, or poisoning, or doing an injury to others; having been inhospitable, neglecting the ceremonials of religion, &c. &c. In fig. 13, he is being sawed in two. In fig. 14, he is sticking in the mud, with his head downwards, for despising a religious devotee. In fig. 15, he is in a hell of burning metal, having his head comfortably pinched with red hot pincers for 3,500,000 years, for disregarding the Veda and Brahmans : this gentleman would appear to be travelling in his hell, drawn, with a stake through his body, by the bull Nandi. In fig. 16, he is being eternally beaten with immense clubs, for having been an adulterer or a fornicator (chastity being an indispensable virtue with both the Hindu mortals and immortals), or a thief (honesty being also a highly venerated virtue): in fig. 17, the sinner is having molten lead poured into his
ears: in fig. 18, he is having his toe nails pulled out: in fig. 19, his tongue is being served in the same way, for a crime which the Hindus abhor (if we might believe themselves) above all others, “ lying.” In figs. 20 and 23, the sinner is being for ever bitten by fleas or lice, or stung by wasps : in fig. 21, he is being eternally preyed upon by snakes for having caused sorrow to others ; and in fig. 22, he is agreeably reposing on a bed of spikes, being soundly flagellated all the while that he might not compose himself to sleep, and, consequently enjoy, in greater perfection, the titillation intended for him. Besides these there any many other punishments equally extraordinary; with some of which the crimes do not appear to be at all commensurate. One of them, indeed, which represents a sinner in the embraces of a red hot iron female, for cohabiting with a woman of a low or discreditable caste, I intend to send sketches of (that this law of Yama may be passed into their statute books), to about fifty of the wisest and most virtuous of the legislators of Europe; so that the inhabitants of the western world may experience some gratifying return from the poor Hindu, for the numerous social, moral, and religious blessings, which they are daily conferring upon him. But to proceed : Yama is called Srad’ha deva, or lord of the obsequies, and presides over the ceremonies of Srad’ha. At the time of offering the oblations to the manes of deceased ancestors, he is invoked by the priest under several names, of which Mr. Colebrooke has enumerated fourteen. The priest thus addresses him. “ Salutation to Yama! salutation to Dherma Rajah, or the King of the Deities! to Death! to Antaka, or the destroyer! to Vaiwaswata, or the Child of the Sun ! to Time ! to the Slayer of all Beings ! to Andhambara or Yama, &c. &c." The prayers which conclude these ceremonies are, from their heterogeneous association of things, not a little singular. “ May the gods, demons, benevolent genii, huge serpents, heavenly choristers, fierce giants, blood-thirsty savages, unmelodious guardians of the celestial treasure, successful genii, spirits called Cushmamda, trees, and all animals which move in air or in water, which live on earth and feed abroad; may all these quickly obtain contentment. To satisfy them who are detained in all the hells and places of torment, this water is presented
The Hindus make daily oblations of water to Yama. The. second day of the month Karticu is sacred to him and his sister, the river goddess, Yamuna or Jumna, who entertained him on that day; in consequence of which an annual festival is held, in which sisters entertain their brothers. On this occasion an image of him of clay is made and worshipped, and then thrown into the river. He is also worshipped on the fourteenth day of the dark part of the month Aswina.
Some of the other names of Yama are Pitripeti, or lord of the Pitris; Andhambara, from a wood from which fire is produced by attrition; Antaka, the destroyer; Kala, Time ; and Dundudhara, he who has the rod of punishment, &c. &c.
Fig. 3, plate 22, from the temple of Rama, represents Yama on his vahan, the buffalo. On his head is a rich crown, and he is adorned with the usual Hindu ornaments. In one hand he has a club, and in another the pashu or cord to bind the wicked. (See PA snU.)
Is the personification of fire, and the regent of the south-east division of the earth. He is variously described : sometimes with two faces, three legs, and seven arms, of a red or flame colour, and riding on a ram, his vahan or vehicle. Before him is a swallow-tailed banner, on which is also painted a ram. He is by others represented as a corpulent man of a red complexion, with eyes, eyebrows, head, and hair of a tawny colour, riding on a goat. From his body issue seven streams of glory, and in his right hand he holds a spear.
Agni is the son of Kasyapa and Aditi. His consort or sac-ti is Swaha, a daughter of Kasyapa.
The Brahmans who devote themselves to the priesthood should maintain a perpetual fire; and in the numerous religious ceremonies of the Hindus, Agni, the regent of that element, is commonly invoked. He is usually drawn with a forked representation of fire issuing from his mouth, which may denote the seven tongues of fire described by Mr. Colebrooke. “ Pra
vaha, Avaha, Udvaha, Samvaha, Vivaha, Paruvaha, Nevaha (or else Anuvaha), all of which imply the power of conveying oblations to the deities to whom offerings are made.” v
In offering an oblation to fire, the priest utters this prayer. “ Fire! seven are thy fuels; seven thy tongues; seven thy holy sages; seven thy beloved abodes; seven ways do seven sacrificers worship thee. Thy sources are seven. May this oblation be efficacious !” The mystical number seven is also used respecting Agni on other occasions.
“ In exciting fire and sprinkling water on it, he also makes an oblation to Agni, and concludes the sacrament to the gods with six oblations, reciting six prayers. lst. Fire, thou dost expiate a sin against the gods (arising from any failure in divine worship), may this oblation be eflicacious! 2nd. Thou dost expiate a sin against man (arising from a failure in hospitality)! 3rd. Thou dost expiate a sin against the manes (from a failure in the performance of obsequies)! 4th. Thou dost expiate a sin against my own soul (arising from any blameable act)! 5th. Thou dost expiate repeated sins! 6th. Thou dost expiate every sin I have committed, whether wilfully or unintentionally: may this oblation be efficacious.”*
Numerous other oblations are made to Agni. He is thus the great moral purifier with the Hindus, as fire is physically the potent refiner of earthly matters. Agni is especially worshipped in every particular work requiring the agency of fire.
Sir William Jones, in allusion to the ancient Persians, says: “ while they rejected the complex Polytheism of their predecessors, they retained the laws of Mahabad, with a superstitious veneration for the sun, the planets, and fire ; thus resembling the Hindu sects called Sauras and Sagnicars, the second of which are very numerous at Benares, where many Agnihotras are continually burning, and where the Sagnicars, when they enter on their sacerdotal office, kindle with two pieces of the hard-wood (semi) a fire, which they keep lighted through their lives, for their nuptial ceremony, the performance of solemn sacrifices, the obsequies of departed ancestors, and
* Asiatic Researches.