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flaming dart at the goddess ; she turned it aside. but this also she resisted by a hundred arrows.
He discharged another; He next let fly an arrow at Parvati’s breast; but this too she repelled, as well as two other instruments, a club and a pike. At last Parvati seized Durgu and set her left foot on his breast ; but he disengaged himself and renewed the fight. The beings (9,000,000) whom Parvati caused to issue from her body, then destroyed all the soldiers of the giant. In return, Durgu caused a dreadful shower of hail to descend, the effect of which Parvati counteracted by an instrument called shoshunfi. He next, breaking off the peak of a mountain, threw it at Parvati, who cut it into seven pieces by her arrows. The giant now assumed the shape of an elephant as large as a mountain, and approached the goddess; but she tied his legs, and with her nails, which were like scymitars, tore him to pieces. He then arose in the form of a buffalo, and with his horns cast stones, trees, and mountains at the goddess, tearing up the trees by the breath of his nostrils. The goddess next pierced him with her trident, when he reeled to and fro, and renouncing the form of a buffalo, assumed his original body as a giant, with a thousand arms and weapons in each. Going up to Parvati, the goddess seized him by his thousand arms and carried him into the air, from whence she threw him down with dreadful force. Perceiving, however, that this had no effect, she pierced him in the breast with an'arrow, when the blood issued in streams from his mouth and he expired. The gods were filled with joy. Surya, Chandra, Agni, obtained their former splendour; and all the other deities, who had been dethroned by this giant, immediately reascended their thrones. The Brahmans resumed the study 'of the Veda, sacrifices were regularly performed, and every thing assumed its pristine state; the heavens rang with the praises of Parvati, and the gods, in return for so
signal a deliverance, honoured her with the name of Durga.” It is the happy privilege of mythological personages that they can be
“ Every thing by turns ;"
Thus it is that we find in the mythology of the Hindus apparently more gods than their country possesses of mortal inhabitants. Of these gods,
however, hundreds of names and attributes are but varieties, as I have elsewhere stated, belonging to one individual deity. Indeed, it was imperatively necessary that they should have been endowed with such a harlequin facility of transition of characters, without which they would have been no match for the giants and demons, with whom they had to contend, and whose skill in metamorphoses and other things I have, in different parts of this work, already described. The promptness (which is the soul of business) with which they manage these matters, is no less surprising than their power of performance. A glance of the eye, a shake of their serpent locks, a bound from the earth, and a variety of other modes and gestures which cannot with propriety be mentioned, tend to the same happy effect of destroying thousands of Asuras and Rakshasas, and giving to the victorious deity a new name; under which laudatory strains are instanter sung to him or her by the other gods and goddesses. The deity thus honoured is, however, still the same; and Durga, who destroyed more giants than all the rest of the Hindu divinities together, is, under all her numerous names and forms derived therefrom, no other than Parvati, Bhavani, or Devi, the sacti or personified energy of Siva.
The Yoni, the symbol of female energy, is the emblem of this goddess, as the Linga is that of her husband. This emblem is worshipped by the Sactis; and, in conjunction with the Linga, by the Saivas. It forms the rim or edge of the Argha, or cup, which encircles the Linga. (See figs. of the Linga, l, 2, and 3 of plate 33.)
The next form under which I shall notice Parvati is that of Kali, or Maha Kali, the consort of Siva, in his destroying character of Time. As such, she is painted of a black or dark blue complexion. In Calcutta her images are usually seen of the last-mentioned colour. In plate 19, also taken from a model by Chit Roy, she is shewn as trampling (as the personification of Eternity) on the body of Siva (Time). In one hand she holds the exterminating sword; in another a human head; a third points downward, indicating, according to some, the destruction which surrounds her; and the other is raised upwards, in allusion to the future regeneration of nature by a new creation.
Mr. Ward, however, is of an opinion, which he has expressed respecting others of the deities, but which appears to be much at variance with. the character of Kali, who is here annihilating Time itself, viz. that one of the two last-mentioned hands is bestowing a blessing, the other forbidding fear. Whatever her gestures may import, the image of this goddess is truly horrid; as are the devotional rites performed in honour of her. Her wild dishevelled hair reaching to her feet, her necklace of human heads, the wildness of her countenance, the tongue protruded from her distorted mouth, her cincture of blood-stained hands, and her position on the body of Siva, altogether convey in blended colours so powerful a personification of that dark character she is pretended to pourtray, that whatever we may think of their tastes, we cannot deny to the Hindus our full credit for the possession of most extraordinary and fertile. powers of imagination. In the plate the appearance of this goddess could not be given with so much precision as in the coloured and ornamented model, which is a faithful representation of her as seen during the festivals in Calcutta. It has the body of a dark blue; the insides of the hands are red, as is also the circlet of hands round the waist. The heads which form the necklace have a ghastly appearance. Her tongue is protruded from her mouth, the sides of which are marked with blood. Her head-dress and other ornaments are splendidly adorned with gems of various kinds. The body of Siva is white.
Kali is also called the goddess of cemeteries, under which form she is described dancing with the infant Siva in her arms, surrounded by ghosts and goblins (likewise dancing) in a cemetery amongst the dead. A paragraph appeared some time ago in a Calcutta paper, which stated, that her images, under this form, were now worshipped by the Hindus as a propitiation against the destructive ravages of the cholera.
To this ferocious goddess sanguinary sacrifices are made. The Kalika Parana, which details, in due order and with much precision, the different descriptions of animals that are to be sacrificed, and the length of time by