« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
which this insatiate lady will be gratified and kept in good humour by each, ordains that one man (or a lion) will please her for a thousand years; but that by the immolation of three men she will graciously condescend to be pleased one hundred thousand years. At present, her smiles are not courted for so long a period, nor I believe even for a thousand years, by any other sacrifices than those of animals; that of human life, whatever practices may have formerly prevailed, being now strictly forbidden. Kids are usually sacrificed, which the priests allege immediately ascend to the heaven of Indra, and become musicians in his band.
A short abstract from the Rudhira a'hya ya, or sanguinary chapter, quoted in the Asiatic Researches, from the work above mentioned, will enable the reader to form an opinion of the nature of the worship formerly practised; and which, in a great degree, still exists.
Through sacrifices princes obtain bliss, heaven, and victory over their enemies. Birds, tortoises, alligators, fish, nine species of wild animals, bufl'alos, bulls, goats, lions, tigers, men, blood drawn from the ofl‘erer’s body, &c. &c. are proper oblations. From the blood drawn from fishes and tortoises, the goddess is pleased one month: a crocodile's will please her three; wild animals’, nine; a wild bull’s and a guana’s, a year; antelope’s and wild boar’s, twelve years; bufl'alo’s, rhinoceros’, and tiger’s, a hundred; lion’s and the human species, a thousand; and three of the latter, one hundred thousand. Bad flesh must not be offered; and the sacrifice should be performed with an axe, which should be previously invoked by holy texts. The sacrificer must repeat the name of Kali, and pay her the compliment of saying “ Hrang, hring, Kali Kali! O, horridtoothed goddess! eat, cut, destroy all the malignant; cut with this axe; bind, bind, seize, seize, drink blood; spheng, spheng: secure, secure! salutation to Kali !” The blood may be presented in vessels of gold, silver, copper, brass, &c. &c., but not in an iron, pewter. tin, or a leaden one, or one made of the hide of an animal or the bark of a tree. On the sacrifice of a human being, the sacrificer is directed not to cast his eyes on the victim, but to present the head with them averted. The person of the vic
tim must be of good appearance, and properly prepared and decorated for the important occasion.
This long chapter of sanguinary ordinances contains many variations, according to the deity to whom the sacrifices are to be offered, and other circumstances; but I think I have stated sufficient to enable the reader to form a judgment on the subject. I shall, therefore, close it by a communication which may appear somewhat supererogatory', but which, as it is most expressly stated, I should not be justified in withholding. If, says the Puran, “ the severed head of the human victim smiles, it indicates increase of prosperity, and long life to the sacrificer, without doubt; and if it speak, whatever it says will come to pass.”
Immense sums of money are annually spent in the worship of this terrific deity. There is, as I have mentioned in my account of Siva, a celebrated temple dedicated to her at Kalighat in the vicinity of Calcutta, or the city of Cali or Kali. In the same account I have also mentioned the impure sacrifices offered at it; to which, and the relation in the preceding page to this, I need only add, that on the occasion of the festivals of Kali, her temples are literally swimming with blood. An adequate delineation of the scene, and of the horribly disgusting appearance of the executioners and other attendants of the place, is scarcely possible, and would, indeed, afford no gratifying information to the reader.
The festivals of Kali are numerous, and her images, like those of Durga, are afterwards thrown into the river.
Is a form of Parvati as Kali, and, I imagine, the sacti of Siva, in the form of Kapali (which see in the third part of this volume). She is described as a naked woman with a necklace of skulls. Her head is almost severed from her body, and her blood is spouting into her mouth. In two of her, hands she holds a sword and a skull. In a note on this subject in Mr. Ward’swork, it is stated that this goddess was so insatiate of blood, that
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 god; dess 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