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of Juggernaut, is painted white, and his sister Shubudra yellow. A hundred lamps are continually burning before them, and fifty-six Bramins attend upon them. They present to them offerings of various kinds of food, bathe them six times a day with water, oil, and milk, and dress them each time in fresh clothes. At the great annual festival, these three images are gorgeously decorated, seated on thrones of nearly equal height, and placed in a huge car, sixty feet high, adorned with costly ornaments, and sculptured all over with sexual emblems. On each side are sixteen enormous wheels, which cut deep into the ground, as it slowly rolls along. It is preceded by elephants, dressed in crimson, bearing flags, and decorated with bells, that sound musically as they move. Multitudes of Braming wave palm branches, recite extracts from their Sacred Books, and sing hymns in honour of Juggernaut. Troops of Devedasses dance around the car, while swarms of devotees, many of them naked, perform innumerable ceremonies, and make gestures, which to an unbelieving spectator seem very indecent. The crowd thrust each other violently for the privilege of seizing the ropes by which the chariot is drawn. Many throw themselves across the street, deeming themselves sure of salvation if they can be crushed to death by the wheels; and whenever this occurs, the multitude shout aloud in approbation. At this festival all distinctions are laid aside for the time; Bramin and Pariah can eat together without pollution.
On pilgrimages to these holy places, processions of different sects often fight by the way, to determine whose temples shall be enriched by the taxes levied on pilgrims. At one of their great religious festivals in 1760, a battle occurred between the Sivaites and the Vishnuites, in which the latter had eighteen thousand men killed.
Thousands of people are employed in carrying water to the temple of Juggernaut from an aperture in the rocks, called the Cow's Mouth, whence the Ganges issues. They travel more than two thousand miles, with two flasks of
water slung across their shoulders on a piece of elastic bamboo. The labour thus expended would long since have converted the whole country into a highly cultivated garden. It is often done as penance for the lighter sorts of sins. Women of rank, not venturing to appear in public, pay others to carry it for them. Princes and wealthy persons have this holy water conveyed to them in all parts of Hindostan. It is used at feasts, as well as upon religious festivals. A gentleman in Ceylon drank this water daily, brought three thousand miles, at the expense of five thousand rupees per month. As the Ganges is supposed to descend from Paradise, its waters increase in holiness the nearer they approach its source. At certain seasons of the year, millions of pilgrims, from various districts and countries, visit the place where two rivers unite to form the Ganges; and many thousands scramble up the steep precipices of the Himalaya mountains, where a shrine is erected over the spot whence it issues from under eternal snows.
Women have never been admitted to the priesthood by any of the sects. The Code of Menu forbids women and children to devote themselves to the ascetic life. But in the Pouranas are mentioned some who retired into the solitude of the forests, and became celebrated saints. The mother of Crishna vowed herself to perpetual contemplation, and attained to complete absorption in God. A story is likewise told of a child five years old, who went into the forest and performed most painful penances in honour of Vishnu. But this was an exceptional extravagance, originating in the popular admiration for ascetics, which fired the boy's imagination and tempted him to imitation. In Malabar, the memory of several saintly women is held in high veneration; particularly one named Avyar, whose wise sayings have become proverbs. The ancient Jains denied that a woman could attain the highest degree of holiness, and discountenanced their devoting themselves to the religious life. But this might have arisen from jealous care of their modesty; for in later times, when it was the custom for the saints to wear white robes, instead of going
naked, they granted that women also might arrive at a state of perfect sanctity. From the most ancient time, a class of women called Devedasses were devoted in early childhood to the service of the temple. They are often infants consecrated by their mothers to some god, in fulfilment of a religious vow. Being deemed an honourable way of providing for daughters, as well as a sacrifice highly acceptable to the deity, even princes are desirous of obtaining the situation for their children. It is required that they should be healthy, with pleasing features and graceful forms. The Devedasses bathe the little novitiate in a pool belonging to the temple, dress her in new robes, and ornament her with jewels. The presiding Bramin puts into her hand an image of the deity, and teaches her to repeat a solemn vow of dedication to his service. Her ears are then bored and the seal of the temple imprinted on her with red-hot iron. She is taught to read, write, dance, sing, and play on musical instruments. No other women in Hindostan, not even those of the highest rank, are allowed to read and write. Many frightful stories are in cir. culation concerning the disasters sure to befall a woman bold enough to attempt such an innovation. Even Devedasses are not permitted to look into the Sacred Books. Their scanty education is employed in learning verses and legends concerning the gods, to recite at public solemnities. It is their business to gather flowers for the temple, light the lamps, and perform the dancing and singing in religious ceremonies. About the waist, arms, and ankles, they wear little bells of silver or gold, which make a monotonous tinkling as they move, and mingle rather pleasantly with the small drums, tambourines, and silver cymbals, to which they keep time. They hold wooden castanets, which they strike in cadence, all making precisely the same movements and gestures at the same moment. At the end of each dance, they all turn toward the idol, and adore him with hands clasped before their faces. They receive food, clothing, and pay, from the funds of the temple. Five or six hundred are employed in the temple of Juggernaut. At the great annual festival, one is chosen for a bride to the god, to whom it is supposed he comes in the night and reveals whether it will be a fruitful year, and what kind of feasts, processions, prayers and contributions he requires from the people in order to secure it. She is placed in the chariot with the idol, and as it slowly rolls along, she proclaims these oracles to the believing multitude.
The Devedasses are not allowed to quit the precincts of the temple, or to marry. Some say they are allowed to receive no lovers but Bramins; others declare they are at liberty to choose among any of the three higher castes. The money thus obtained is put into the treasury of the temple. If they have daughters, they are brought up in the same way as themselves; if sons, they are trained to play on musical instruments and assist the priests. When these women become old or unhealthy, or the Bramins wish to have them leave for any reason, they are dismissed; but they are ever after received in society with peculiar respect. A degree of sanctity is attached to them, and it is considered an honour to marry them. Sometimes, however, if they are old when they retire from service, they are reduced to poverty, unless they have a handsome daughter, on whose earnings they can rely.
In no part of the world are suicides so extremely. common as in India. Thousands perish every year by drowning in the sacred rivers, lying in wait for crocodiles
, starving, burning, and causing themselves to be buried alive. This doubtless originates in the prevailing idea that the connection of spirit with matter is an evil, and the destruction of the body a sacrifice acceptable to the deities. The number of women who voluntarily seek death is much greater than that of men; for in addition to their belief in the same melancholy creed, life is far less free to them, and their abject situation requires more severe repression of all the natural sentiments and instincts. To be born again into a female form they dread as one of the worst punishments. To avoid it, they perform innumerable religious ceremonies, and subject themselves to most painful penances. When the custom first began of women burning themselves on the funeral pile of their husbands, is unknown. It probably originated in the universal practice of offering sacrifices at funerals, and at tombs, to expiate the sins of the deceased. Perhaps some zealous devotee voluntarily set the example, and many motives would naturally combine to fix it as a custom. This selfimmolation is called Suttee, more properly Sati, a Sanscrit word meaning purification. It is not enjoined in any of their Sacred Writings, but some of their celebrated saints commend it as highly meritorious; as may be seen from the following extracts :—“So long as a woman does not burn herself after the death of her lord, she will be subject to transmigrations into the female form." "The woman who follows her lord in death expiates the sins of three races; her father's line, her mother's line, and the family of him to whom she was given a virgin.” “Even though her husband bad slain a Bramin, or returned evil for good, or killed an intimate friend, the woman expiates his crimes.” “Possessing her husband as her chiefest good, herself the best of women, enjoying the highest delights, she shall partake of bliss with him as long as fourteen Indras reign."
The professed rule is that the immolation must be perfectly voluntary; and since such rewards were offered in Paradise, in addition to the applause of multitudes on earth, while on the other hand law and custom condemned every widow to an extremely secluded and gloomy life, it is not surprising that great numbers rushed on such a fate with religious ecstasy, or the courage of despair. A Bramin of Bagnapore had more than a hundred wives. Twenty-two of them were burned with his corpse, though several of them had seldom even seen the man for whom they died. The fire was kept burning three days, waiting the arrival of successive victims. A woman is never allowed to marry again, or even to mention the name of another man, after the death of her husband or betrothed. As they are often mated by parents in infancy, they may