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or the detestable worship of the degraded sactis the Abbé Dubois relates : “ They bring before the idol Vishnu all sorts of meat that can be procured, without excepting that of the cow; they likewise provide abundance of arrack (the brandy of the country), of toddy, of opium, and several other intoxicating drugs. The whole is presented to Vishnu. Then he who administers tastes each species of meat and of liquor, after which he gives permission to the worshippers to consume the rest. Then may be seen men and women rushing forward, tearing and devouring. One seizes a morsel, and while he gnaws it another snatches it out of his hands; and thus it passes on from mouth to mouth till it disappears, while fresh morsels,
‘in succession, are making the same disgusting round. The meat being
greedily eaten up, the strong liquors and the opium are sent round. All drink out of the same cup, one draining what another leaves, in spite of their natural abhorrence of such a practice. When the liquors are exhausted, they have nothing left but to scramble for the leaves of betel. On such occasions they regard not the pollution that must ensue when they eat and drink in a manner so beastly and disgusting. When arrived at a state of drunkenness, men and women being all indiscriminately mixed, there is no restraint on any sort of excess. A husband sees his wife in the arms of another man, and has not the right to recall her, or to find fault with what
is going on. The women are there in common. All castes are confounded, and the Brahman is not above the Pariah.
It cannot well be doubted, that these enthusiasts endeavour, by their infamous sacrifices, to cover with the veil of religion the two ruling passions, lust and the love of intoxicating liquor. It is also certain, that the Brahmans, and particularly certain women of the caste, are the directors of these horrible mysteries of iniquity. Fortunately, the great expense of these ceremonies prevents their frequent recurrence.”
This god is the king of the immortals and the lord of the firmament. He is represented as a white man sitting upon his celestial vahan, the elephant
Airavat, produced at the churning of the ocean, and holding in his hand the vqjra or thunderbolt. He is depicted, like Argus, covered with eyes, and is thus called the thousand-eyed god: which distinction was not conferred upon him in consequence of his good deeds; for having become enamoured of Ahilya, the wife of the pious rishi Gotama, he endeavoured to seduce her. The rishi having discovered his intentions in time, bestowed on the god his curse, that his body should be covered in a very extraordinary manner, which, on the contrition of the offending deity, he changed into eyes.
The heaven of Indra is Swerga; a beautiful description of which has been given, in the English language, by a native Hindu youth (Kasiprasad Ghosh, educated at the Anglo-Indian College of Calcutta), who has not only made himself proficient therein, but has greatly distinguished himself, as a poet far above common pretensions. The opening lines of his description of Indra's heaven accord so well with the nature of this work, that the in
sertion of them here will need no apology. I will simply premise, that this
heaven, made by Vishmakarma, the architect of the gods, is represented in the Mahabharat to be eight hundred miles in circumference, and forty miles high; its pillars are formed of diamonds, its palaces of gold, and it is said to be so resplendent with gems as to exceed in radiance the blended brightness of a dozen suns. Flowers of delightful perfume shed their fragrance around, and all that can fascinate the oriental sensualist are to be found in the heaven, which the youthful Hindu poet thus describes :
“ Great Surya ' smiles with lustre gay, And flings through azure skies his ray; The golden mountain's glittering brow
Is decked with many a sparkling gem,
And on the mount beneath this beam
' The sun. f Indra.
In which by many a gurgling stream, The God his time in pleasure whiles. Here Vayu * through the charming wood For ever creeps in gentlest mood :
Now o’er the bowing grass he goes,
Now stirs the fragrance of the rose.
Unto the ears of mortals, blessed,
For pious deeds, with heavenly rest.
The garden’s edge is compassed round With trees with lasting verdure crowned, And in the garden’s centre stands
A palace built by heavenly hands;
With sapphires decked,ithe golden walls Of Satakratu’s courtly halls,