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The Land of idols, or, Talks with young people about India

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Title:
The Land of idols, or, Talks with young people about India
Added title page title:
Talks with young people about India
Creator:
Pool, John J. ( Author, Primary )
London Missionary Society ( Publisher )
John Snow & Co ( Publisher )
Selwood Printing Works ( Printer )
Butler and Tanner ( Printer )
Place of Publication:
London
Publisher:
London Missionary Society
John Snow & Co.
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Butler & Tanner ; Selwood Printing Works
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Language:
English
Edition:
London Missionary Society's ed.
Physical Description:
[ix], 217 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Christian life -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
Idolatry -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
Converts -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
Buddhism -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
Hinduism -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
Caste -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
Animal worship -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
Natural history -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
Juvenile literature -- India ( lcsh )
Baldwin -- 1895
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non-fiction ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
England -- Frome
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

Statement of Responsibility:
by John J. Pool ; with numerous illustrations.

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University of Florida
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LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY,
FOR COLLECTING THE SUM go?
FOR PAYING OFF: THE DEB

ON THE STEAMER ‘‘JOHN WILLIAMS,”
AND FOR THE
New YEAR OFFERING FOR SHIPS,

JANUARY, 1896,
IN CONNECTION WITH

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DEALERS IN PRAYER-WHEELS, DARJEELING.



THE LAND OF IDOLS

OR

Talks witb Woung People about Fndia

BY i.
REV. JOHN J. POOL, B.D

(FORMERLY OF CALCUTTA)

Author of “Woman's Influence in the East,” “Studies in Mohammedanism,” etc. ete
LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY’S EDITION

WITH NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS

London
LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY
14 BLOMFIELD STREET, E.C
JOHN SNOW & CO., 2 Ivy Lang, PATERNOSTER Row, E.C

1895
[All rights reserved]



Butter & TANNER,
Tue SELWoop PRINTING Works,
FROME, AND LONDON.



PREFATORY NOTE

HESE talks about India are designed to help the Missionary For-
ward Movement by drawing out the interest and sympathies of
the young towards our great Eastern dependency.

India has exercised a remarkable fascination over many devout and
ardent souls in the past; and I trust that the rising generation will be
second to none in responding to the Missionary calls which come con-
tinually from the Land of Idols.

I send the book forth with a prayer for the Divine blessing to rest
upon it.
., JOHN J. POOL.
THE MANSE, REIMS, FRANCE.



AFFECTIONATELY INSCRIBED
TO MY

FATHER















CONTENTS

PREFATORY NOTE ; ; : . . . . a

CHAP.
CONJURING TRICKS : . ' , : : : J : a I

II. Ipois, IDOLS EVERYWHERE . . : : ; : . eels
III. Burroo, THE FAMoUS ARCHER . . : : . : . - 24
IV. THE WORSHIP OF JUGGERNAUT . 2 . . : , : - 33
V. SACRED MONKEYS. 4 ‘ . . : : 5 : . - 49
VI. THE STORY OF KRISHNA . : . 5 . 0 , 4 - 60
VII. SNAKES AND SNAKE-WORSHIP . : : 5 , : , g 9B
VIII. MANNERS AND CUSTOMS . : : ; : . : ; eos)
IX. FAKIRS OR SAINTS ; a 5 ; 7 . . s ; . 100
X. SACRED Cows AND BULLS . 5 5 : . : i ; . 109
XI. BUDDHIST PRAYER-MACHINES . : , . , , . - 120
XII. STORIES OF CASTE , 7 : : 3 _ , 7 : . 134
XIII. SacrepD BIRDS : f : . A : : . : 5 meer)
ATV. Gir_-Lire . 5 : 5 : : 6 ; 7 ; 2 - 154
XV. FIRE-WORSHIPPERS : : . : , : - ; ' ee O7,
XVI. HOUSEHOLD AND OTHER PESTS . : 2 é , . . eee,
XVII. SACRED FOOTPRINTS . ; ‘ : : : ; : : . 186
XVIII. BHEESTIES, OR WATER-CARRIERS 7 . . - ; 7 107,

XIX. BRAVE YOUNG CONVERTS . 3 : A . : ; : - 208







THE LAND OF IDOLS



I.
CONJURING TRICKS.

“THE East is the home of conjurers and jugglers, and both young

T and old amongst Hindus and Mohammedans take intense
delight in witnessing the performances of the men and women whose
whole business in life it seems to be to astonish and amuse their
fellow-creatures. And I have thought that the young people of the
West would like to read of some of the tricks of legerdemain practised
by the conjurers of the East.

My first experience of conjurers was on board the Dacca, the noble
vessel on which I went out to India some years ago. At Port Said,.
where we stopped for a few hours to coal, a celebrated magician came
on board to show the passengers his tricks, and to make a little money.
He had a rabbit with him which he pretended assisted him in his
clever feats.

Bidding us make a circle round him, the man began operations by
borrowing a florin from a young gentleman who was watching the
proceedings with rather a sceptical look on his face. Having received
the coin, the conjurer passed it on to a young lady whom he requested
to look at the silver, and to hold it so that we all might see it. The
next command was for the young lady to close her hand and immedi-
ately open it again; when lo! the florin had disappeared, and a worn
halfpenny was found in its place.

Then the conjurer borrowed a ring from a lady, which he gave to
a gentleman, who showed it to the company on the palm of his hand.

B



2 THE LAND OF IDOLS

To the gentleman now came the command to close and open his hand;
and when he had done so, lo the ring was no more to be seen, and
nothing had appeared in its place! A laugh went round the circle,
and a general whisper to the effect that neither the florin nor the ring
would be found again. However, the suspicion was unjust, for the
conjurer, turning to his rabbit, said, “ Now, rabbit, find the silver and
the ring.” Whereupon the well-trained animal opened its mouth, and
to our astonishment out dropped the missing articles on to the deck,
and they were at once picked up by their respective owners.

The conjurer then took off his turban or head-dress, which was a
piece of muslin perhaps three yards in length, and giving one end to
one person and the other to another, he requested a third party to cut
the material right through the middle. This we saw carefully and
thoroughly done, and yet when the two pieces were screwed up in the
hands of the performer and spread out again for our inspection, not a
trace of a cut could be found, but the turban was as entire as it had
been at the beginning.

Next a quantity of string was cut up into little pieces and set fire
to. This burning mass the conjurer put into his mouth and pretended
to swallow, all the time sending out volumes of smoke. Suddenly the
smoke stopped, and the man, putting his hand to his mouth, began to
pull out, in place of the string, a host of things, such as ribbons and
beads, ending at last with a long sword. How sucha stock of goods
had been stowed away in his mouth passes comprehension. The
conjurer then proceeded to hide a hen’s egg in a hat lent him by one
of the passengers; but when the hat was lifted the egg had dis-
appeared. Again the rabbit was appealed to to find the missing
article ; and amidst roars of laughter the quaint little animal immedi-
ately kicked the egg out from between its hind legs.

The concluding trick was perhaps the most singular of all. The
conjurer put his hands behind his back, and kept them there. Then
he shook his head, and money fell out of his eyes. Again he shook his
head, and apples came out of his mouth. Again he shook his head,
and round heavy pieces of lead fell out of his nostrils. And he kept



















































































































































































































INDIAN JUGGLERS.

3



4 TIE LAND OF IDOLS

on shaking his sagacious old cranium until the deck around him was
simply littered with goods like the counter of a draper’s shop in
England when some young ladies are shopping. Of course, at the
conclusion of the performance a hat was passed round, and the clever
conjurer was well rewarded for his pains.

Miss Eden, who lived some time in Madras, writing of a clever con-
jurer she knew, says: ‘He did all the ordinary tricks with balls and
balancing, and then he spit fire in large flames, and put a little rice
into the top of a basket or small tray and shook it, and before our eyes
a tiny handful of rice turned into a large quantity of cowrie shells.
Then he made a little boy, one of my servants, sit down, and he put a
small black pebble into his hand, and apparently did nothing but wave
a little switch round his head, and forty rupees came tumbling out of
the boy’s little hands. He made him put them up again, and hold
them as tight as he could; but in an instant the rupees were all gone,
and a large live frog jumped out.” Wecan imagine the dismay and
disappointment of the little fellow.

In a book entitled The Good Old Days of Honourable John
Company, a few very good stories are told of conjurers. It is a book
well worth reading. Let me give one or two extracts :—

“The conjurer was seated on a white cloth. He asked some one
present to produce a rupee, and to lay it down at the remote edge of
the cloth. He then asked for a signet-ring. Several were offered
him, and he chose out one which had a very large oval seal, projecting
- well beyond the gold hoop on both sides. This ring he tossed and
tumbled several times in his hands, now throwing it into the air and
catching it, then shaking it between his clasped hands, all the time
mumbling half-articulate words in Hindustanee. Then setting the
ring down on the cloth at about half arm’s length in front of him, he
said, slowly and distinctly, ‘Ring, rise up and go to the rupee.’

“The ring rose with the seal uppermost and, resting on the hoop,
slowly, with a kind of dancing or jerking motion, it passed over the
cloth until it came to where the rupee lay on the remote edge ; then it
lay down onthe coin. The conjurer thereupon said, ‘ Ring, lay hold of



CONJURING TRICKS 5

the rupee and bring it tome.’ The projecting edge of the seal seemed
to grapple the edge of the coin; the ring and the rupee rose into a kind
of wrestling attitude, and, with the same dancing and jerking motion,
the two returned to within reach of the juggler’s hand.”

Another tale is still more extraordinary. It runs: “The juggler
gave me a coin to hold, and then seated himself about five yards from
me, on a small rug, from which he never attempted to move during
the whole performance. I showed the coin to several persons who
were close beside me ona form in front of the juggler. At a sign
from him I not only grasped the coin I held firmly in my right hand,
but crossing that hand with equal tightness with my left, I enclosed
them both as firmly as I could between my knees. Of course I was
positively certain that the small coin was within my double fists.

“The conjurer then began a sort of incantation, accompanied by a
monotonous and discordant kind of recitative, and repeating the words,
‘Ram, Sammu,’ during some minutes. He then suddenly stopped,
and still keeping his seat, made a quick motion with his right hand, as
if throwing something at me, giving at the same time a puff with his
mouth. At that instant I felt my hands suddenly distend, and become
partly open, while I experienced a sensation as if a cold ball of dough
or something equally soft, nasty, and disagreeabie was now between
my palms. I started to my feet in astonishment, also to the astonish-
ment of others, and opening my hands, found there no coin, but to my
horror and alarm I saw a young snake, all alive-oh! and of all snakes
in the world a cobra, folded or rather coiled roundly up. I threw it
instantly to the ground, trembling with rage and fear as if already
bitten by the deadly reptile, which began immediately to crawl along
the ground, to the alarm and amazement of every one present.

“The juggler now got up for the first time since he had sat down,
and catching hold of the snake, displayed its length, which was nearly
two feet. He then took it cautiously by the tail, and opening his
mouth to its widest extent, let the head of the snake drop into it, and
deliberately commenced to swallow the reptile, till the end of the tail
only was visible; then making a sudden gulp, the whole disappeared.



6 THE LAND OF IDOLS

After that he came up to the spectators, and, opening his mouth
wide, permitted us to look into his throat, but no snake or snake’s
tail was visible, and it was seemingly down his throat altogether.
During the remainder of the performance we never saw the snake
again, nor did the man profess his ability to make it reappear.”

One of the cleverest of the conjuring feats of India is, I think, that
known as the “mango trick.’ Mango is a most delicious fruit
peculiar to the East. The conjurer will take the stone of this fruit
and say, ‘‘ Now, watch me, and see if I do not cause this stone to take
root in the earth, and grow into a tree which shall bring forth fruit.”
We watch accordingly. The conjurer produces a quantity of soil,
which he forms into a little hillock, and into this soil he places, with
many a flourish of the hand and many an incantation, the stone of the

mango.
The whole is then covered over with a cloth, under which the man
places his hands. “Grow! grow!” he exclaims, and then uncovers

the earth suddenly, when we see on examination that a little shoot is
pushing its way through the soil. Again the cloth is spread, and the
conjurer blows over it, and mutters unintelligibly ; and when we look
once more we find that the little shoot has grown into a plant a few
inches high. And gradually the plant becomes larger and larger,
until it stands nearly a yard above the mound.

So much I have seen with my own eyes, and very wonderful it
appeared to me, but I never saw a conjurer’s tree bear fruit, as
some have declared they have done. Sir Edwin Arnold, in his book
India Revisited, for instance, says, ‘The Maharajah of Benares was
kind enough to send the entire company of his palace-jugglers for our
entertainment. They performed with much adroitness the usual series
of Hindu tricks. They made the mango-tree grow and bear fruit.” I
wish I had been there to witness it!

Another famous juggiler’s artifice is the one known as the “ basket
trick.” On several occasions I saw this entertainment carried out to
perfection. The conjurer had a wickerwork basket, in size and shape
resembling a large old-fashioned beehive. This he showed to the





















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THE MANGO-TREE TRICK,



3 THE LAND OF IDOLS

company. Then he spoke to a handsome young girl standing by,
whom he called his daughter, and bade her sit down on the floor in the
centre of the room. The graceful girl obeyed after making a salaam
to the company.

The man then covered her with the basket, so that she was hidden
entirely from public view. Thereupon he pretended to be angry with
her for being a wilful and disobedient child, and reproached her with
her undutiful behaviour. The girl replied, indignantly denying the
charges; but the man only got more and more excited, and held forth
threats, at which the frightened girl remonstrated, and finally asked
for pardon. The juggler, however, was by this time in a towering
rage, and suddenly drawing his sword, he ran it through and through
the basket in every direction. Shrieks of fright and pain proceeded
from the girl, but the man took no heed. Wild with anger, he pro-
ceeded with his deadly work, and blood was seen to trickle out from
under the wickerwork, and at length a suffocating groan seemed to
proclaim that the girl was at the point of death.

Nowise sobered by this, the conjurer imprecated evil on his
murdered child, and coolly wiped his sword and returned it to the
scabbard. Then advancing towards the basket, he kicked it over and
exposed to view—the floor of the room. The girl had disappeared
completely! The whole thing had been a farce. And in answer toa
call from the juggler his daughter came from behind us all smiles and
salaams, as scathless as any of our party, and much amused at our
astonishment and surprise. At what stage of the entertainment the
girl had succeeded in slipping out of the basket we could not tell.
As there were no trap-doors and no curtains, the trick must be con-
sidered an exceptionally clever one.

Miss C. F. Gordon-Cumming, in her book entitled J the Himalayas
and on the. Indian Plains, mentions a few conjuring tricks which she
either saw or heard of. She writes: ‘Another curious feat is to
throw a cocoanut into the air and catch it on the head, when the nut
shivers to atoms instead of breaking the head, as might be expected.
Of course this is all knack, just like breaking a poker across your arm.



CONJURING TRICKS 9

After this the juggler took a large earthen vessel with wide mouth,
filled it with water, and turned it upside down, when all the water of
course ran out. He then reversed the jar, which all present perceived
to be quite full, and all the earth around was perfectly dry. He then
emptied the jar and handed it round for general inspection. He bade
one of the company fill it to the brim; after which he upset it, but not
a drop of water flowed, nevertheless; to the astonishment of all it was
quite empty. This trick was shown repeatedly, and at last he broke
the jar to prove that it really was nothing but the ordinary earthen-
ware that it appeared.

“Next, a large basket was produced, and on lifting it a pariah dog
lay crouching on the ground. The basket cover was replaced, and
the second peep showed a litter of seven puppies with their interesting
mother. A goat, a pig, and other animals successively appeared from
this magic receptacle, although the exhibitor stood quite alone, in full
view of all spectators.”

Another trick which it is very difficult to understand is the one
that consists in a man, with his feet doubled up under him, ascending,
to the sound of music, into the air, and maintaining himself there with
the aid of nothing but a light pole; and while in that strange position
the juggler will count his beads many times over. A still more
marvellous variation of this performance is related by Ibu Batuta, who
says: “IT was once in the presence of the Emperor of Hindustan when
two jogis entered wrapped up in cloaks with their heads covered. The
Emperor caressed them, and said, pointing to me, ‘ This is a stranger ;
show him what he has never yet seen.’ They answered, ‘ We will.’
One of them assumed the form of a cube, and rose from the earth, and
in this cubic shape he occupied a place in the air over our heads. His
companion then took a sandal belonging to one of those who had
come out with him, and struck it upon the ground, as if he had been
angry. The sandal thereupon ascended until it came opposite to the
cube. It then struck the latter upon the neck, and the jogi descended
gradually to the earth, and at last rested in the place which he had
left. The Emperor told me that the man who took the form of a cube



10 THE LAND OF IDOLS

was a disciple to the owner of the sandal; and, continued ‘he, ‘Had I
not entertained fears for the safety of thy intellect, I should have
ordered them to show thee greater things than these.’ On this, how-
ever, I took a palpitation of the heart, until the Emperor ordered me a
medicine, which restored me.”

A well-known character in Calcutta many years ago was the
famous conjurer Hassan Khan, who gave many private and some
public performances. With a short account of this wizard’s wonder-
tul deeds I shall close this chapter. The stories are culled from The
Good Old Days of Honourable John Company, the author of which
in turn took them from the columns of the Calcutta paper, Zhe
Englishman.

“One of Hassan Khan's tricks was to borrow a watch and trans-
port it to some unthought-of place, and send the owner to find it.
Being present at a select party at the house of a European
gentleman then residing in Upper Circular Road, he politely asked a
lady to lend him her watch. Then, after the usual by-play, in the
view of all present he flung the watch with force from an upper
verandah into a tank in front of the house. Every one saw the watch
With the chain dangling whisk through the air and fall into the water.
A short time after, the fair owner waxing impatient, he requested
her to go into the next room and hold out her hand for it. She did
so, and behold! the watch and chain, both dripping wet, came into
her hand.

“ At another time Hassan Khan took a watch and a ring belong-
ing to different owners, and tied up the two in a handkerchief. After
a while he pointed to a press, and inquired if it was locked and who
had the key. The owner produced the key from his pocket, the press
was opened, and ring, watch, and handkerchief found inside it.”

But Hassan Khan could, it appears, do still more wonderful things
—things passing our poor human understanding. The Englishman
gravely tells us, that this great conjurer “could, without any regard
to time, place, or circumstances, produce at will a bag of sandwiches
and cakes, or wine of any mark and quality required.” In every case













































































































































































































































































INDIAN CONJURING TRICK.



I2 THE LAND OF IDOLS

the material supplied was the best of its kind. ‘“ Who or what this
man was has never been satisfactorily explained. He went about
freely, was to be seen everywhere, and mixed with all sorts of people;
but he was always enshrouded in an impenetrable mystery.” Surely
he was what the Theosophists call a Mahatma!



























































































A GHAUT AT BENARES, WITH RECESSES FOR DEVOTEES,

II.
IDOLS, IDOLS EVERYWHERE.

F one were asked to describe India, I think the first remark that
would spring from one’s lips would be—‘It is a land of idols!
There are idols, idols everywhere!’ I can well remember as a

boy. that at a certain missionary meeting in England, when the mis-
sionary held up two or three idols for our inspection, I greatly mar-
velled at the sight, and wondered whether I should ever visit India
and see idolatry for myself in all its power and degradation.

And now that I have been in the East, my astonishment is no whit

lessened at the fact that so many millions of boys and girls, young
men and maidens, and older people, human beings like ourselves, can

bow down before gods of wood and stone and brass. Idolatry
13 :



I4 THE LAND OF IDOLS

seems to have a fascination for the Hindus; it is the very air they
breathe ; it is the food of their souls. They are the willing slaves
of custom in this respect, for the common people of India, it is easy
to be seen, are passionately interested in and devoted to the worship
and service of idols.

So strong in fact in the Hindus is this passion for worshipping
something they can see and handle, that they will almost use any-
thing for an idol. I have heard of a Hindu gentleman in South India
who wanted to get possession of an English doll for purposes of wor-
ship. The doll had been given by a missionary lady to a native
Christian girl as a prize for good conduct at scliool. The little girl
had carried it home, of course, and shown it to her friends with great
glee, little thinking any one would wish to deprive her of it. A
neighbour, an acquaintance of her father, however, having seen the
doll, took a fancy to it, thinking it would make a capital idol, and tried
to bribe the little girl into parting with it. The child. refused, though
offered the equivalent of ten shillings for it; and had the courage to
tell the man that he was: foolish to worship idols at all, and that he
would show wisdom by putting his trust in Jesus Christ the Saviour
of the world. The Hindu sharply replied, “I don’t want your Christ,
but only that pretty image, if you will sell it to me.”

It would be impossible to compute the number of idols that there
must be at the present time in India. The Hindus pretend to have
333,000,000 gods, and these are represented by innumerable idols, so
that we are quite bewildered with the thought of taking the census of
the idols of India. The population of the whole Indian Empire is now
about 300,000,000, and probably the country contains ten times as
many idols as people. The world is therefore a long way off the ful-
filment of that Bible prophecy which says, “And the idols shall He
utterly abolish.”’

Benares is the great centre of the idol-making business, though
in ali parts of India the trade flourishes. Potters the day through
may be seen in the sacred city moulding images of clay for tempo-
rary use. Sculptors also may be found producing representations of



IDOLS, IDOLS EVERYWHERE I5

the gods in stone or marble. Carpenters, moreover, make great
wooden idols for the temples; and workers in metal—goldsmiths,





















































































coppersmiths, and brass-workers—turn out more or less highly-
finished specimens in their respective metals.



16 THE LAND OF IDOLS

When speaking of idols it should be borne in mind that the
images turned out by the potter, sculptor, carver, or manufacturer,
are not considered sacred or fit to be worshipped until certain mystic
words have been uttered over them bya priest. The ceremony of
“the giving of life,’ as it is called, to the image, is a very solemn
affair, and when it is done the idol is regarded as holy, and must ever
afterwards be approached and treated with the utmost reverence.

Out of the many millions of so-called gods in India, all of whom
are counted worthy of worship, three are regarded as specially
sacred, and form the Hindu Triad or Trinity. They are respectively
Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva. Of these, it is stated, the second person
of the Trinity only has been represented on this earth by human
incarnations. Through one or all of these gods the Hindus believe
they may obtain salvation. Brahma represents the way of salvation
by wisdom, Vishnu by faith, and Siva by works. It is immaterial
which method is adopted, as they all lead to the same goal.

And from what do the Hindus wish or hope to be saved? Well, I
can say, once for all, that it is not, generally speaking, from sin. ‘‘The
idols are not worshipped for spiritual blessings, holiness, and aids to
moral culture, but to obtain exemption from the physical evils of life—
relief from sickness, victory over enemies, healthy children, wealth,
good luck, worldly gain, temporal prosperity. According to the
philosophical system of Hinduism, only temporal benefits are to be
obained from worshipping idols.’ The Hindus have not yet realized
that ‘“ God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him
in spirit and in truth.”

Soon after I landed on Indian soil it was my lot to obtain posses-
sion of an idol, under most interesting circumstances. It was at
Madras, where I had gone on shore to visit a college friend who had
preceded me to India by a year or so. My friend told me how his
heart had been cheered by a Hindu, whom he knew, forsaking idol-
atry, and becoming a follower of Christ. I rejoiced with him, and in
course of conversation asked what the new convert would do with
his old household idols. For reply I was asked if I would like to



LDOLS, IDOLS EVERYWHERE 17

possess one of them, as a memento of the event, and of my visit to
Madras. I promptly answered “ Yes”; and my friend brought from
another room a tiny brass idol, and, placing it in my hand, said,
“Take it, and welcome. It was given to me by the new convert, but
I am sure he will not mind my giving it to you.”

The idol that I thus obtained possession of, and have yet, repre-
sents Ganesha, the god of Wisdom. Ganesha is said to have been a
son of Siva. He sits cross-legged, and has many arms; but the
strangest thing about him is that he has the head and trunk of an
elephant. The story told concerning this god is, that he was origin-
ally born with a human head, but having been deprived of it by his
father, in a fit of anger, his mother vowed to supply its place with
the head of the first living creature she met. This proved to be an
elephant; and with the head of the elephant, Ganesha is credited
with receiving the wisdom of this ungainly but sagacious animal.
Ganesha is very popular in India, and his shrine may be found in
every village throughout the length and breadth of the land. He is
worshipped by every schoolboy, for is he not the god of wisdom, the
master of calligraphy, and the patron of literature?

The second idol that came into my possession, and this time by
‘purchase, represents even a more popular god than Ganesha. His
name is Krishna, and he is the favourite idol of all the women, as
well as the boys and girls, of Hindustan. And yet from all accounts
the character of this god is not of the best. The image that I own
represents him as quite dark in colour—it has been suggested to me
that he is painted black on account of his sins. Of this god, and
especially of his escapades in the days of childhood and youth, a
pretty full account will be found in a later chapter in this book.

The idols of India, it will already have been noticed, are not con-
fined to the male sex. There are quite a number of goddesses as well
as gods in the Hindu Pantheon. Perhaps the principal may be said
to be Sarasvati the wife of Brahma, Lakshmi the wife of Vishnu, and
Kali the wife of Siva. The first is the goddess of Knowledge, the
second of Love and Prosperity, and the third—well, it is difficult to say

Cc



1S THE LAND OF IDOLS

what she is the goddess of, for though she is familiarly called Mother
Kali, she delights in blood, and revels in the sacrifice of goats and
buffaloes. Kali is generally represented as standing on the body of
her husband, with her tongue protruding from her mouth, her hair
hanging far down her back, and with a wreath of skulls round her
neck. ‘Truly this notorious idol is horrible to look upon, and to think
about. To speak of her as “ Mother’? seems blasphemy. The Hindu
Scriptures tell some dreadful tales of her wicked doings; and if space













= & 2 RP
MN pte PR Se 8) BBE
MN 4 SN St MocccIRY
; WER ERE,
S pecs iues Ve eh



FERRARIS
CSN, oy y
COXEXOKE
et

(22 DOSG0OD a



u

BRAIMA AND SARASVATIL

permitted I might relate some sad stories of the infamous deeds of
numbers of her worshippers, who have been robbers and murderers.
At one time it is said even little children were offered up in sacrifice
to this bloodthirsty idol.

I may mention that Brahmins or priests come in for a share of
worship themselves, for the common people of India look upon the
members of the highest caste as veritable gods. The Brahmins are
living idols, whom the lower classes are degraded enough to worship.
The Hindu Scriptures say :—

“Before the Brahmins bow with awe,
Esteem their every word as law,



IDOLS, IDOLS EVERYWHERE 19

For they shall prosper all who treat
The Priests with filial reverence mect.

“Yea, though they servile tasks pursue,
To Brahmins high esteem is due ;
For, be he stolid as a clod,

A Brahmin is a mighty god.”

Mr. Minturn, in his book From New York to Delhi, relates how
he met a Brahmin who actually laid claim to divine attributes. ‘One
day,” says the traveller, ‘“while we were eating under a grove, a
great dirty fellow, smeared with cow-dung, and wearing the sacred
Brahminical thread over his shoulder, with no clothing but a rag six
inches wide, marched boldly up to us and asked for money. I, being
paymaster, wanted to know ‘ What for ?’ when he answered as coolly
as possible, ‘Because I am a god andam hungry.’ If I could have
mastered Hindustanee enough I would have told him that if his divine
character could not protect him from hunger it certainly should not
secure him unmerited charity.”

The Hindus have a syllogism in honour of Brahmins which runs
thus :—

“The whole world is under the power of the gods,
The gods are under the power of the mantras,
The mantras are under the power of the Brahmin,
The Brahmin is therefore our God.”

Leaving the animate idol, the Brahmin, let us now return for a
little space to the further consideration of inanimate idols. The
Hindus have descended even to the worship of mud. Ponder over an
incident related by the Rev. J. D. Bate, a Baptist missionary in India.
He says: “A while ago I was making my way to a village called
Lokipore, about twenty miles to the west of Allahabad, for the pur-
pose of preaching. On emerging from a field I saw a little way in
front of me what I took at first to be the dry trunk of a very tall tree
that had been denuded of leaves and branches. Going a few steps
nearer, I thought I detected high up what had the appearance of the
rude outline of a human face, but very large; and on coming close to



20 THE LAND OF IDOLS

the object I saw what it really was. It was a huge round pile of
mud, dug up from a ditch near by, and dried in the sun. Jf was an
idol! On the top of the pile the eyes and nose had been scratched by
the finger when the mud was soft, and for a mouth there was a broad,
deep gash, right across the face from one side to the other. For ears,
a couple of pieces of broken pitcher had been stuck in so as to project
on either side of the head and curve forwards.

“Legs there were none: it was merely a trunk built up from the
ground. For arms, a couple of long pieces of bamboo had been stuck
into the sides so as to project at right angles, and at the end of each
of these primitive-looking limbs there was another pile of mud much
smaller in its proportions: the arms were supported by these piles.”

The missionary stood in amazement and sorrow before this scare-
crow, thinking of the sin and shame of such idolatry, when a loud voice
came from among the trees of a neighbouring flower-garden asking
him why he gazed so intently upon the god. It was a Brahmin priest
who spoke.

Mr. Bate answered, “A god! You call this a god?” “ Yes,’
said the priest, ‘it is a god; it is holy; it has stood where it is for
seven years, and it is an object of adoration to those who are looking
to me for instruction and guidance in the path of salvation.” Was
there ever such folly? We may well say that the Hindus are given
up altogether to idolatry, when they will worship anything—from a
man to the mud upon the roadside.

It has been questioned whether the Hindus really regard idols as
gods and goddesses. Sir Edwin Arnold, who looks through rose-
coloured spectacles at everything Eastern, says that they do not. In
his India Revisited he remarks: “ All these various sacred objects
are for the educated Indians mere ‘aids to faith,’ manifestations, more
or less appropriate and elevated, of the all-pervading and undivided
Para-Brahm.- Even the poor peasant of the fields, and the gentle
Hindu wife, perambulating a peepul-tree smeared with red, will tell
you that the symbol they reverence is only a symbol. There is
hardly one of them so ignorant as not to know that commonplace of



IDOLS, IDOLS EVERYWHERE 21

Vedantism, ‘Every prayer which is uttered finds its way to the ears
of Kashava.’ ”

I think that Sir Edwin Arnold is wrong, and that the common
people of India are more ignorant and superstitious than he realizes.
Most of the lower classes of Hindus, I am convinced, believe that
when they worship idols they worship gods and goddesses, not merely
as represented by the idols, but as actually dwelling in the idols.
Doubtless the educated know better, and regard the idols merely as
symbols, but still even they outwardly worship the symbols.

While idolatry is still almost universal in India, we are safe, I
think, in saying that in all classes of society, amongst both the rich
and the poor, the learned and the unlearned, there is less reverence
for idols than of yore. A Hindu gentleman in South India said lately
to a missionary, “Upwards of twenty or thirty years ago, we, both
men and women, had a great reverence for idols, but that reverence
is failing even when we see them in temples, because we know now
that they are nothing more than the material with which they are
made—that is, wood, stone, copper, or gold. The foolishness of by-
gone days is gradually giving way, and things are viewed now as.
they actually exist. You ask, How have we come to this? I will
tell you. It is through the influence of the Gospel of Christ which is
being regularly preached amongst us.”

Then in North India the Rev. E. Greaves, writing not very long
ago of a tour he had made in the Benares district, said: “‘During the
last year we visited many villages where we had been in previous
years, and also went over much that was to us fresh ground. On
some few occasions we were met by opposition and rudeness; this,
however, was quite exceptional. It was inspiring now and again to
hear a village group giving their assent to all that was said, and
confessing that it was God alone who could save them. In one
village some men said, ‘This is quite new to us, and very good; we
will not worship idols any more.’ On another occasion I put my
hearers’ genuineness to the test, by asking them to grant me per-
mission to fling their idols into a pond close by. Superstition was



22

THE LAND OF IDOLS

too strong, however, and they begged me not to touch them. ‘ What!
said I, ‘could they not protect themselves if they were gods?’ The
people did not dispute my logic, but declined to give me the coveted





FIGURE OF HINDU PRAYING,
FROM ‘TEMPLE AT MADURA,



permission. God grant that the day may
soon come when they will themselves break
down their idols, and worship, in spirit and
in truth, the great God and Saviour!”

Even from the purely native state of
Myderabad a story comes of the growing lack
of faith in idols. Some lads who had been
taught to read and write in a mission school,
when sent out into the fields by their parents
to tend cattle, tested the power of certain gods
and goddesses they found by the roadside by
asking them to take charge of the animals for
an hour or two, while they themselves engaged
in play. The little fellows found, however, to
their dismay, that while their backs had been
turned the cattle had wandered into forbidden
ground, and had eaten up some standing corn.
Conscious of their own negligence, and yet
vexed with their idols for not being more
watchful, the lads removed the images from
their places; and becoming still more bold,
they banged one idol against another, and left
the two lying ignominiously on the ground.

When asked by their parents the cause of
such an outrage, the bold little fellows ex-
claimed with one voice, ‘‘ Because the gods did
not mind the cattle while we were at play!”
The elder people waited a few days with
trembling anxiety to see what disasters the

gods would call down upon their households for such iniquity, but as
nothing happened, a suspicion was generated all round that perhaps



IDOLS, IDOLS EVERYWHERE 23

after all the children were right, and that the idols were powerless
to do either good or harm.

Idolatry in India is doomed, for it cannot stand before the light of
education spreading in the land, before the truth, “as the truth is in
Jesus.” Reforms move slowly in the East, however. Christian
workers must not be over-sanguine of immediate success on a large
scale, but must labour on diligently, wisely, and lovingly, believing
that in due season they shall reap if they faint not. It will be a
glorious day for India when the Hindus as one man shall cast their
idols all away!













III.

BUTTOO, THE FAMOUS ARCHER.

HE Land of Idols has a history going back thousands of years,
and of that past we read in such Hindu works as the Mahabha-
rata, the Ramayana, and the Vedas, which are religious books of
considerable merit, though containing a great mass of superstitions
and strange, grotesque stories of the doings of gods and men.
Amongst other stories dealing with life in ancient India, I have
been particularly struck with one very beautiful and human one,
which I am sure my young readers will peruse with interest and
delight. It is the pathetic story of Buttoo, the famous archer. I tell
the tale now to show something of the manners and customs of the
people of India in years long gone by, and also that it may serve as
an illustration of three very desirable virtues which all young people
should possess—viz., self-help, truth, and modesty.
Buttoo was born many centuries ago, and belonged to the lowest

of the mixed orders of humankind in India. Then, as now, existed
24



BUTTOO, THE FAMOUS ARCHER. 25

the hateful system of caste, which legally separates the different
classes of Hindu society. Originally there were four great castes,
which can be described briefly as (1) the priestly, (2) the soldier, (3)
the merchant, and (4) the servant castes. These four classes, the
law says, cannot eat or drink together, cannot intermarry, and
cannot even touch each other accidentally without defilement. Caste
has been the curse of India, the cause of many of its bitterest woes.
It has dried up the wells of human sympathy, separated man from
man, and opposed itself to everything approaching wide brotherly
love, leading men to say one to another: “ Between us and you there
is a great gulf fixed, so that they which would pass from hence to
you cannot, neither can they pass to us that would come from
thence.”

Poor Buttoo, the hero of our story, was of the lowest caste, and
consequently to all who were not of the same caste he was an object
to be looked upon with not a little scorn, a being to be crushed and
trampled upon by proud Brahmins. From his earliest years, accord-
ing to the chronicles, Buttoo had been thoughtful and rather reserved,
and seemed very different from the majority of the boys who were
his playmates. And when he had passed the age of fourteen the
difference became more marked. His friends could see that he was
a boy who thought much, who had within him a noble soul, and who
was evidently seeking earnestly to be good and great. ‘

The grand ambition of youth at the time Buttoo lived was to be
skilful in all warlike pursuits. The state of the country was very
unsettled, and men were suspicious of their neighbours, and safety
for life and property lay in being able to defend them. And the road
to wealth and fame was the trade of war. Now Buttoo, though
different from many youths in the majority of things, was at one
with them in desiring to be a mighty warrior, whose name should
be known far and wide. Only he desired that his path to glory
might not be sullied with any cruelty or any crime. Asa hunter's
son, of course, he was early trained in the use of various weapons,
and especially in the use of the bow, with which he became exceed-



26 THE LAND OF IDOLS

ingly skilful. Amongst his companions few could equal him in skill
in archery, and none could beat him.

But skilful as the young man became, he was not satisfied, for
stories reached him of still more marvellous skill to which many
youths of the higher castes had attained. From one quarter, in
particular, news came which set his heart on fire, and which made
him long to leave his home that he might see, and if possible imitate,
the exploits of others.

Of all the great teachers of archery of whom Buttoo could hear
anything, the mighty Drona was the acknowledged head and _ chief.
And Drona was the teacher of the Bharata princes, whose capital
city was Hastinapore. For years Drona had been giving lessons to
the royal youths, and had brought them to a wonderful state of pro-
ficiency. But though all the princes were skilful, one, Arjuna by
name, far eclipsed his brethren, and was the joy of his old teacher’s
heart. Let us take, by way of example, one occasion when Arjuna’s
superiority was shown. Drona one day gathered his pupils together,
and declared that he wanted to test their abilities. Fixing an arti-
ficial vulture on the top of a neighbouring tree, he said, ‘‘ Children,
take up your bows quickly, and stand here aiming at that bird on the
tree, With arrows fixed on your bow-strings; shoot and cut off the
bird’s head as soon as I give the order. I shall give each of you a
turn, one by one.”’

Yudhisthira, the eldest, was the first to step forward, and stood
aiming at the bird as his preceptor directed. Then came the question :
‘Dost thou behold, O Prince, that bird on the top of the tree?” “TI
do,’ was the answer. But when asked again, ‘‘ What dost thou now
see? seest thou the tree, myself, or thy brothers?” Yudhisthira
replied, ‘‘ I see the tree, thyself, my brothers, and the bird.” And no
matter how often the question was asked, the same answer was given
by the prince, until the preceptor was annoyed, and said sharply,
“Stand thou aside, thou canst not hit the bird.’’ Then the other
princes, except Arjuna, were called forward, but in every case the
same words were uttered: ““We behold the tree, thyself, our fellow-



BUTTOO, THE FAMOUS ARCHER 27,

pupils, and the bird.’ At last came the turn of Arjuna, and Drona,
looking upon him smilingly, said, “ By thee the bird must be hit—get
ready ; but first tell me, seest thou the bird there, the tree, and my-
self?”

And Arjuna replied, “I see the bird only, but not the tree or
thyself.” Then the preceptor laughed, and pleasantly asked again,
“Tf thou seest the vulture, then describe it to me.” And Arjuna
answered, “I only see the head of the vulture, which thou hast com-
manded me to hit, and not its body.’ At these words Drona was
beside himself with pride in his pupil's skill. “Shoot!” he cried,
“shoot!” and the sharpened shaft from the young man’s bow went
straight to its mark, and down upon the ground fell the head of the
vulture; and Arjuna was declared the prince of archers. Then
Drona, the preceptor, vowed, earnestly and solemnly, that no living

eing should surpass Arjuna in skill.

Wonderful deeds of the kind just mentioned reached the ears of
the low-caste Buttoo, and he said to himself that what man had done
man could do; and one day he left his home and his father and his
friends, and went forth to visit Hastinapore, to pray the mighty
Drona to become his instructor also. See our hero then, his journey
over, in the presence of the great preceptor as he sat surrounded
by the princes. And marching boldly forward, he declared, in
reverent yet manly words, that, hearing of the fame of Drona and
his pupils, he had come to seek his guidance also in the use of the
bow.

“ And who art thou?” the teacher said. “My name is Buttoo,”
replied the youth, ‘a hunter’s son.” And then a laugh of scorn
proke on his ears. The great teacher was laughing, and the princes
were laughing; all were laughing together to think that such a
low-born boy should come into their city and presence with such a
request. And with words of bitter reproach they bade him be gone,
and not show his face to them again. And the lad made reverent
obeisance to the preceptor, and turned with flushed cheeks yet with
calm dignity away :—



28 THE LAND OF IDOLS

“And lo,—a single, single tear
Dropped from his eyelash as he past ;
‘ My place, I gather, is not here :

No matter! What is rank or caste?
fm us is honour, or disgrace,

Not out of us,’—’twas thus he mused.
‘The question is,—not wealth or place,
But gifts well used, or gifts abused.
And I shall do my best to gain

The science that man will not teach ;
For life is as a shadow vain

Until the utmost goal we reach

To which the soul points.’ ”

Were these not brave and noble words, and who could doubt that
such a youth would become famous? And famous Buttoo did
become, though not just in the way that one might have expected.
From the presence of Drona and the scoffing princes the low-born
but high-souled Buttoo passed into the forest. Of home he did not
think for a moment, for he had resolved that he would not return
thither until his name was honoured even by the great ones of the
earth. In the forest he built himself a little hut in which to dwell,
and near the hut he carved out for himself an image of the great
teacher who had cast him off, yet whom he still reverenced.

And the image was so skilfully worked that any one seeing it
might have thought for a moment that the teacher in his flesh was
there. And when Buttoo had completed his task he knelt down
before the figure, and in his zeal hailed it as his master. And from
that hour he devoted himself to archery, and archery alone. Day by
day he practised with his bow at marks set up by himself, and at
birds and animals in the forest ; and with such enthusiasm, persever-
ance, and patience did he labour, that in the course of time he
attained unheard-of and almost undreamt-of skill. Even high-caste
Arjuna could not now hope to hold his own in archery against
low-born Buttoo. And thus did Buttoo show clearly to the youths
of his own time, and to the youths of all time, that by self-help even
those in a lowly station in life and placed in adverse circumstances



ee
re . .

jE NY EAS
FAERS

Sie
SP

ERIN va
HO BS \
ay



INDIAN WEAPONS OF WAR.

29



30 THE LAND OF IDOLS

may yet win for themselves an honourable position in the world,
and the respect and admiration of their fellows.

But the story of Buttoo’s life is not yet ended. There came a
day when the princes from Hastinapore went into the wood, where
Buttoo dwelt, on a hunting expedition. With them they took a
beautiful and favourite dog; and ere the day declined this dog had
found out the presence of Buttoo, and thereupon set up a most terrific
barking. It may be that even the aristocratic dog, learning evil
from its masters, was offended at the sight of a low-caste boy like
Buttoo. Be that as it may, it barked so loudly and so fiercely that
Buttoo was well-nigh distracted; and the princes just then appearing
on the scene, he resolved to show his skill and to obtain quiet by
shooting an arrow from his bow into the mouth of the dog. In a
moment the deed was done, and before the dog could close its mouth
six other arrows were sent with such speed that they also entered.
And the tongue of the dog was fastened to its jaw: and, the story
adds, though the seven arrows remained in its mouth, no pain was
felt, but perfect silence was obtained.

Struck with astonishment at such marvellous shooting, the
princes were speechless, and turned away with haste and dismay.
All felt that Buttoo was their superior, and they were angry and
envious. Arjuna, in particular, was white with rage, and hurried
home to find his teacher, that he might tell him what had happened,
and reproach him with breaking the promise he had once made, that
no one living should excel the young prince in skill with the bow.

Drona quieted the envious and enraged Arjuna with the words,
“What I said still stands good: let us go and see this wonderful
youth in the forest.” And soon they stood before the statue which
adjoined the hut; and from the lowly dwelling-place stepped forth
Buttoo, still noble-looking, still respectful, and with a smile of
welcome on his face. ‘“ What means this statue?” said the teacher.
And the youth explained that not being permitted to have the living
person as his master, he had carved out his image, that by looking
at it he might obtain inspiration.



BUTTOO, THE FAMOUS ARCHER Ts

co

Drona listened well pleased, for the homage was flattering, but
yet he was troubled, as he thought of Buttoo’s skill and his own
promise to Arjuna. Meditating for some time, he saw only one way,
and a very painful way, out of the difficulty. Turning to Buttoo, the
teacher said, “If Iam thy master, now thou hast finished thy course,
give me my fee, and let all the past be dead and passed, and hence-
forth let us form fresh ties.”

And the youth answered :—

“All that I have, O master mine,
All I shall conquer by my skill,

Gladly shall I to thee resign,
Let me but know thy gracious will.’”

“Beware ! beware!” exclaimed the teacher ; ‘“‘rash promises often
end in strife.”

But Buttoo in his great generosity protested his sincerity, and
his willingness to do anything :—

“¢ Thou art my master—ask ! oh, ask !
From thee my inspiration came,
Thou canst not set too hard a task,
Nor aught refuse I free from blame.’”

“Then listen,’ said Drona; “thou seest this prince Arjuna. I
promised him once that no other archer should be as great as he.
Thou art already greater than he, and only by thine own act can
thy skill be spoiled. Thou hast promised to give me as my fee
anything I choose to ask. I ask thee, O Buttoo! for thy right-hand
thumb, that thumb whose light touch enabled thee to shoot so
wonderfully. Canst thou now keep thy word? What sayest thou?”

Buttoo answered not by words, but by deeds :—

“ Glanced the sharp knife one moment high,
The severed thumb was on the sod ;

There was no tear in Buttoo’s eye,
He left the matter with his God.”

And thus the story ends. Doubtless the poor lad went back to
his home and to his father and kindred, but he went not back a great



32 THE LAND OF IDOLS

archer, for “his right hand had lost its cunning.’ However,
“oreater is he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city.”
While the world lasts, O Buttoo! thou shalt be remembered :—

“Fame
Shall sound thy praise from sea to sea,
And men shall ever link thy name
With self-help, truth, and modesty.”





+
SSS ee oer e
er g ra
See ae
= —_— le



FESTIVAL OF JUGGERNAUT.

IV.
THE WORSHIP OF JUGGERNAUT.

ITUATED on the sandy shores of Orissa, washed by the wild
waves of the Bay of Bengal, stands the well-known Temple of
Juggernaut, containing the god who is called, by the Poon of India,
the Lord of the World.
This Temple of Juggernaut at Puri is one of the largest and

most famous temples of the East. It is within a sacred enclosure,
33
D



34 THE LAND OF IDOLS

and is protected from prying eyes by a massive stone wall 20 feet
high, 652 feet long, and 630 feet broad. There are many other
temples all around, but the great pagoda of the Lord of the World
stands towering over the rest. Its conical tower rises like an
elaborately carved sugar loaf, 192 feet high, black with time, and
surmounted by the mystic wheel and flag-of Vishnu.

The temple consists of four large chambers, opening one into the
other. The first is called the Hall of Offerings, where the wor-
shippers deposit the presents they have brought in honour of the idol.
The second is called the Pillared Hall, and is devoted to the musicians
and the dancing-girls who frequent the temple. The third is the
Hall of Audience, in which the pilgrims assemble to gaze upon the
face of the god. And the fourth is the Holy Sanctuary itself, the
room in which Juggernaut sits in great state to receive his wor-
shippers.

It should be mentioned, perhaps, at this stage, that the famous
idol is never alone, but has the constant companionship of a brother
and sister. All three images are nothing but huge logs of wood,
coarsely fashioned into human shape, but without arms or legs.
The priests say, when questioned about the absence of such useful
members of the body, that the Lord of the World does not need them
for his purposes amongst men. Such appendages. would have im-
proved the appearance of the images, however. As it is, the mighty
Juggernaut and his relatives are about as ugly, senseless-looking
idols as could possibly be imagined.

The worship of Juggernaut dates back, it would appear, nearly
two thousand years, and Orissa has been the Holy Land of the
Hindus from that time till the present day. Sir William Hunter
says: “On the inhospitable sands of Puri, a place of swamps and
inundations, the Hindu religion and Hindu superstition have stood
at bay for eighteen centuries against the world. Here is the national
temple whither the people flock to worship from every province of
India. Here is the gate of heaven, whither thousands of pilgrims
come to die, lulled to their last sleep by the roar of the eternal ocean.”










































































































































‘TEMPLE



























AND TANK, SOUTH INDIA.



36 THE LAND OF IDOLS

Now what is there about this god Juggernaut that should lead
the people of India to yearn after a sight of him with such intense
solicitude? Let us get to know all we can of his history and
reputed character. Juggernaut, we are told, is just Vishnu, the
second person of the Hindu Trinity, in one of his earthly forms.
The story goes that ages ago a good king who lived in Malwa sent
out priests to the east, and to the west, and to the north, and to the
south in search of Vishnu, who, it was commonly reported, had come
to this earth to dwell amongst men. The priests who went to the
west and to the north and to the south returned, but he who went to
the east returned not.

And why not? The fact is the priest had been kept a prisoner in
Orissa, in the house of a certain man named Basu, who was a fowler
of the wilderness. Basu had taken a fancy to the stranger, and was
determined to marry him to his daughter. For a time the priest
refused his consent, but at last, pleased with his intended wife, if
not with her father, he resigned himself to his fate and married her.
Now Basu was the possessor of the very idol which the good king
had sent the priest to find. The latter noticed that his father-in-law
went every morning into the jungle to worship, taking with him
fruits and flowers, but he could not tell where exactly he went, or
what it was precisely that he worshipped. So one morning,
prompted by curiosity, he expressed his willingness to accompany
Basu, and the latter consented on condition that he went blindfold,
which he agreed to.

After a long walk the two men reached their destination, and
the eyes of the priest having been unbound, he beheld Vishnu in
the form of a blue stone image, propped up against a fig-treec.
Presently the old man left his son-in-law alone, whereupon the
Brahmin prayed to the Lord of the World and worshipped him.
The legend says further: And as he poured out his heart a crow that
sat rocking herself upon a branch above fell down before the god,
and suddenly taking a glorious form, soared into the heavens. The
Brahmin seeing how easy the path to eternal bliss appeared to be



THE WORSHIP OF JUGGERNAUT 37

from that holy spot, climbed into the tree, and would have thrown
himself down, but a voice from heaven cried, “Hold, Brahmin!
First carry to thy king the good news that thou hast found the Lord
of the World.” At the same moment Basu came back with his
newly-gathered fruits and flowers, and spread them out before the
image. But, alas! the god would not partake of the offering. Only
a voice was heard saying, “Oh, faithful servant, I am weary of thy
jungle fruits and flowers, and crave for cooked rice and sweetmeats.
No longer shalt thou see me in the form of thy blue god. Hereafter
I shall be known as Juggernaut, the Lord of the World!”

After these strange events, the story says, the two men wended
their way homewards, and the Brahmin was permitted to return to
his king to tell the glad tidings that the Lord of the World. had been
found. Then the King of Malwa rejoiced exceedingly, and with a
great army and an immense retinue of followers, made his way to
Orissa to see Juggernaut. As he drew near the place where the
idol was to be found his heart swelled within him with pride, and he
cried aloud, “ Who is like unto me, whom the Lord of the World has
chosen to build his temple, and to teach men in this age of darkness
to call upon his name?”

Such proud words displeased the idol, however, and a voice was
heard from the clouds saying, “Oh, king! thou shalt indeed build
my temple, but me thou shalt not behold. When the building is
finished then thou shalt seek anew for thy god.” And lo, when the
priest led the monarch to the fig-tree, the blue idol was not to be
found. It had vanished into space.

The king, obedient to the heavenly voice, we are told, built a
magnificent temple at Puri, and when it was finished, sent forth
Brahmins once more in every direction in the land to search for the
lost idol, but years upon years passed by, and Juggernaut still was
not found. At length, however, the god, when he had sufficiently
humbled the proud king, appeared to him in a vision of the night,
and said to him, “To-morrow cast thine eyes on the sea-shore, when
there will arise from the water a piece of wood fifty-two inches long



38 THE LAND OF IDOLS

and eighteen inches broad. That is my true form. Take me up and
keep me in hiding twenty-one days, and in whatever shape I shall
then appear, place me in the temple thou hast built and worship me.”

On the morrow the king went down to the sea-shore in hot haste,
and there, sure enough, was a great block of wood which the waves
had cast up. This he took home with him. It proved to be as hard as
stone; and when some of his carpenters put their chisels on the wood
the iron lost its edge, and when they struck it with their mallets they
only bruised their own hands. So the king had the unshapen. block’
placed in a room of his palace, and he issued a decree that no human
being should see it until the stipulated twenty-one days had expired.
However, the curiosity of the queen, who had heard the story, was
aroused, and she somehow managed to open the door of the strong
room; and, lo! when she looked in she found the great block of wood
had become three blocks, and that the three blocks represented three
images, carved however only from the waist upwards. One was
Juggernaut, and the other two his brother and sister.

Thus the curiosity of a woman, the Hindus say, led to the Lord
of the World having no proper arms, only stumps, and no legs at all.
If the queen had only restrained her inquisitiveness until the end of
the twenty-one days, it is believed that Juggernaut would have
appeared to the world in a form of exquisite grace and beauty,
instead of in his present very imperfect and uncouth condition.
However, the king made the best of his idol-god, and had him placed
along with his relatives in the holy chamber at Puri, where he is to
be found at the present day, by all true believers, on payment of the
customary fees to the priests. Such is the mythological origin and
history of Juggernaut, the Lord of the World,

The present temple was built in the year 1198. The present idol,
moreover, it might be noted, is believed to contain within it some
mysterious substance, which has been variously described as the
bones of Krishna, a box of quicksilver, and small pieces of the
original idol. What the truth is only the priests can say, and they
keep their own counsel. With regard to the title, “Lord of the



THE WORSHIP OF JUGGERNAUT 39

World,’ the worshippers of Juggernaut declare that it is well
deserved, because all classes and conditions of men are welcomed to
Puri to look upon the face of the renowned idol. Juggernaut is a
public god, and an immensely popular one; and it certainly is a
remarkable fact that people of all castes visit the idol, and eat the
food that is prepared in his temple, a thing that is not done in any
other temple throughout the length and breadth of India.

There is a legend, related in connection with the “holy food” and
the “equality of castes” at Puri, that is worth repeating. A certain
young man, of high standing in society, it is said, puffed up with the
shameful pride of caste, made a vow that he would visit Puri and see
Juggernaut, but that he would eat no leavings of any mortal being.
The proud young fellow drew near the sacred city, but when just
about to pass within the gates he was stopped by the power of the
Lord of the World and stricken with illness, so that his arms and legs.
tell off, and there remained of him only a miserable body, which lay
by the roadside. For two long months the crippled object was abso--
lutely dependent on the charity of passers-by, but at length it chanced
that a dog came that way with a mouthful of the “holy food” of
Juggernaut, and let a few grains of rice fall on the ground.

The poor, humbled youth, noticing the food, managed to roll him--
self forward so that with his lips he might gather up the precious.
grain, the leavings of a dog, whose mere shadow falling on ordinary
food would have defiled it. And, wondrous to relate, immediately the
food had passed the young man’s lips the mercy of Juggernaut was
extended to him, and his health was restored, and he was suffered to
enter Puri, and to approach in lowliest penitence the shrine of the
Lord of the World. And ever after the youth was humble-minded
and modest to a degree.

In writing of this doctrine of human brotherhood at the Temple of
Puri, it is only fair to say, however, that at the present day it is in a
great measure ignored by the priests, who keep out some people of
the lowest castes. They have no right to do so, and thereby violate
their own religious laws; but they are a degenerate race of men and



40 THE LAND OF IDOLS

do not care. Generally speaking, admission to the temple is now
refused to those who handle unclean substances, and to all who have
to do with the destruction of animals, birds, or fishes, and to Chris-
tians, Moslems, and the aboriginal tribes of India. Thus the one
good thing about the Temple of Juggernaut—its theory of the uni-
versal brotherhood of mankind—is being gradually encroached upon,
and made of none effect.

It has been already said that devotees come to worship the Lord
of the World at Puri from all parts of India. While images of
Juggernaut are to be found all over the country—and there is a very
famous one at Serampore, not far from Calcutta—the greatest merit
is obtained, so it is believed, by seeing the original idol, or what
passes for the original idol, in the black pagoda of Orissa. So thither
the people journey day and night throughout every month of the
year. There is, indeed, a constant pilgrimage of Hindus to Puri; a
vaster concourse of human beings than ever journeyed on pilgrimage
to Jerusalem to the tomb of Christ, or to Mecca the birthplace of
Mohammed. It is said that for three hundred miles along the great
Orissa road every village has its pilgrim encampment slowly making
‘its way to Juggernaut. :

The encampments consist of from twenty to four hundred persons,
and at the time of the great festivals they tread so closely on each
other’s heels as almost to touch each other, and a continuous train of
pilgrims many miles long may often be seen on the Puri high-road.
‘They march in orderly procession, each party under its own leader.
Often nine-tenths of them are women and children. Some of the
pilgrims, in all probability, have come a thousand or even fourteen
hundred miles, from the very farthest extremities of the empire. In
these days of railways many of the travellers journey parts of the
way by train, but some cover the whole distance on foot.

The great object of the worshippers is to see Juggernaut, as it is
declared that a sight of the idol will destroy sin in the observer, and
bring him untold bliss in eternity. Unfortunately, however, the
sanctum in which the god is kept is so dark that scarcely anything



THE WORSHIP OF JUGGERNAUT AI

is visible within, even at midday. The pilgrims usually enter the
pagoda grounds by the east gate, and are then conducted round the
outside of the building once, twice, and even seven times. Then they
are shown into the Dancing ‘Hall, through which they pass into the
Audiencé Chamber. Now they are directed to look towards the Holy
Sanctuary. Obeying the command with all eagerness, a cry of dis-

iS ot BS 4
Pree

ria
Beitrh

i







appointment arises from their lips, for they are utterly unable to see
a single object.

The fact is, the glare of the sun from the buildings they perambu-
lated just before they entered the temple has for the moment dazed
their vision. The priests, however, explain the matter by saying
that the effect of sin renders carnal eyes unfit to behold the divine
Juggernaut. Gradually as the people continue before the sanctum,



42 THE LAND OF IDOLS

and get used to the darkness, a faint appearance of the idol is noticed.
There is Juggernaut indeed, with his face painted black; and there is
his brother, with a white face; and there also is his sister, with a
golden-coloured complexion. At this sight the pilgrims raise a cry
of rapture, and pass out of the temple with glad and joyous hearts,
apparently amply repaid for their expense and sufferings by the road.
Truly a very little satisfies the heart of the Hindu worshipper !

But what of those unfortunate creatures who, owing to the great
throng at special festival times, cannot stand long enough in front of
the holy sanctuary for their eves to adjust themselves to the gloom?
This happens in the case of countless thousands. These are, from
their own point of view, unfortunate indeed, and depart with cries of
despair; at which, however, the hard-hearted priests only laugh, and
tell them to come another year, when perhaps their vision will be
sufficiently cleansed from sin to behold the face of the Lord of the
World. It must be terribly painful and humiliating to have to go
back home and confess that the journey was made almost altogether
in vain, that, at any rate, though they had worshipped in Juggernaut’s
temple, the crowning mercy had not been granted of beholding the
famous and precious idol—the god himself.

« The revenues of the temple are of course enormous. The Moham-

medans in past days, when supreme rulers in India, are said to have’
raised a sum equivalent to £100,000 per annum merely by putting a
tax on pilgrims. The British Government continued the tax, but
somehow only managed to raise a little over £6,000 by the unholy
traffic. In 1840 the English had the good sense and the courage to
give up entirely an income derived from idolatry; and now all the
taxes and fees which pilgrims pay are imposed and received by the
raja of the district and the priests of the temple. It is believed one
way and another the income at present will certainly be not less than
£50,000 per annum.

The wealth of Juggernaut has often attracted the cupidity of
thieves; and I read a dreadful story a while back in the Times of
India of a young Englishman, an officer in the Madras Army, in



THE WORSHIP OF JUGGERNAUT 43

financial difficulties, who conceived the mad enterprise of robbing the
Lord of the World of some jewels of fabulous worth, which are com-
monly reported to hang round the neck of the idol. Let the rest of
the story be told in the words of the original narrator, a friend of the
would-be thief, who was staying with him at the Traveller’s Bunga-
low at Puri, but who had no idea of his companion’s wicked resolve.

The narrator says: ‘When my friend went to bed, I took my pipe
and sat smoking in the verandah. The moon was just rising, when
I thought I saw the figure of a European stealing along the wall of
the compound. Strange, I thought, and wondered what other Euro-
pean there could be here at the same time. An idea struck me, and I
went across to my companion’s room. There was nobody in it, the
bed was undisturbed. I threw down my pipe and rushed out into the
moonlight. A few seconds later Iwas in the road, and turned in-
stinctively in the direction of the town. Running down the road, I
soon came to a sandy lane, which went outside the village walis in
the direction of the temples, their pinnacles standing out clear and
distinct in the moonlight. In the distance I thought I saw the figure
of my poor lad; but soon the turnings and twistings of the lane, with
its thick cactus hedges on each side, shut him out from my view.

“Jn a few minutes I was close by the big temple compound.
Running up to the wall, I looked over, and this is what I saw: an
enormous courtyard of paved stone, on which were lying a number of
priests, their white garments wrapped round their heads and bodies ;
in the background was placed temple upon temple, but in the very
centre stood one solitary shrine, raised on three separate flights of
steps, and inside I could see the great black god raised on three other
smaller flights of coloured marble steps. The moonbeams shone
directly on the god and lit up the emerald eyes and ruby lips, while
the pearl necklace glowed on his huge black bosom.

‘Not a sound was to be heard, except some distant tomtoming at
the further end of the town. The festival was over, and Puri had
lapsed into solemn silence. To my unutterable horror I saw my
companion walking right across the courtyard. Not a living creature



44 THE LAND OF IDOLS

moved, until a pariah dog rose up from near the wall, gave one howl,
and then slunk away, and crouched down again. Still no one stirred.
My tongue clave to the roof of my mouth. I dared not shout even if
I could have raised my voice. A ghastly horror took hold of me, as
the idea struck me that in his madness my poor friend intended to
save his honour by the greater dishonour of robbing the idol.

“Speechless I saw him mount step after step, and the next moment
I saw him enter the sacred shrine, across the threshold of which no
other foot but that of the Brahmin has ever passed. Nine steps led
up to the god—one, two, three, four, five, six. He paused; I tried to
shout, but no sound would come. He raised his hand as if to tear off
the pearl necklace. It was still above his reach; his foot then touched
the seventh. Oh! can I ever forget the sight? In the moonlight
flashed out two arms covered with one hundred—nay, two hundred—
daggers, and clasped the daring youth to the black god’s breast. At
the same moment the sound of a gong broke the stillness of the night,
and in one moment the priests had cast off their coverings, and were
rushing to the shrine. Two minutes later, I saw the amazed and
horrified priests carrying out the lifeless body of the dishonoured
Englishman, and I turned and fled.”

We may indulge the charitable hope that this horrible and impro-
bable story is an invention, yet its truth is vouched for by the
correspondent who contributed it to the Zimes of India, who says,
‘To this day, by the pilgrim camp-fires of Orissa, is told with bated
breath, and listened to with rapt attention, the terrible tale of the
Jewels of Juggernaut, and of the vengeance of the great god.”

There are three famous festivals in connection with the worship
of Juggernaut, of which mention ought to be made. The first is called
the Bathing Festival, which occurs in June or July, when the god is
taken from his place in the holy sanctuary, and brought into full
public view, and bathed by the priests in the presence of tens of
thousands of spectators, who at a given signal unite in one loud
thunder-cry of “Victory! victory to Juggernaut!” The god then
retires to the privacy of his own room. Next, a fortnight later,



THE WORSHIP OF JUGGERNAUT. 45

comes the Car Festival, when the Lord of the World, who is supposed
to have caught a cold from his bath, is taken out for a change of air,
for the good of his health. His brother and sister, from tender solici-
tude for his welfare, insist.on accompanying him.

Witness, then, the three ugly idols placed on three mighty cars,
ready to start for their drive. Juggernaut’s conveyance stands forty-
one feet high, and has fourteen enormous wheels; while the upper
parts of it are covered with green, blue, red, and yellow, and other
coloured cloths, hung in strips fantastically arranged, and adorned
with various devices. The tower of the car is surmounted by a
globe and a flag, conveying to all whom it may concern that
Juggernaut, the Lord of the World, is there in royal state.

And now comes the most exciting part of the proceedings. The
great cars have to be dragged a certain distance—half a mile or more
—from the temple; and the god will not allow horses or elephants to
undertake this work, but calls upon his faithful worshippers to do it
themselves. Immense ropes, or rather cables, are manufactured and
attached to the cars, and at the word of command from the priests
thousands of men, and even women and children, rush forward and
seize the ropes, and range themselves in order, and the next moment
are straining and pulling at the cumbersome conveyances, which at
length move with a heavy, creaking noise.

On one occasion, at. a village near Serampore, I witnessed this
extraordinary spectacle of the dragging of Juggernaut’s car, and the
cars of his brother and sister. Never shall I forget the sight. The
road was filled with tens of thousands of lookers-on, all wild with
excitement; and the poor fanatics who held the ropes were dragging
the cars along with frenzied zeal. Every now and then there would
be a stop, that the men might rest, I supposed; but instead of resting
they took to jumping in the air, and to whirling themselves round like
dancing dervishes, and shouting at the top of their breath, ‘‘ Victory !
victory to Juggernaut!” At length the vehicles reached their desti-
nation. All of a sudden a noise of firearms was heard—a signal from
the priests—and in a moment the great ropes were thrown down, and



46 THE LAND OF IDOLS

the cars stopped in the middle of the road. Then once more the dense
throng of worshippers raised a mighty cry of victory to the Lord of
the World, that could be heard miles away.

In connection with the car festival there are associated, in European
minds, sad tales of infatuated human beings who have thrown them-
selves under the wheels of Juggernaut’s conveyance, and have been
crushed to death. Such deeds have certainly happened, but they have
not been anything like so frequent as many people have supposed;
and they are not in harmony with the teaching of the priests with re-
spect to Juggernaut, who is described as a merciful god, desiring the
good of men, and wishing harm to befall no one. Self-immolation is
altogether opposed to the will of the idol, so the Hindus say; and yet
it remains a fact that some worshippers have deliberately sacrificed
their lives under the wheels of Juggernaut’s car. This is accounted
for, and probably correctly, by the statement that such suicides are
for the most part cases of diseased and miserable people, utterly tired
of life, and who falsely imagined that the Lord of.the World would be
pleased with their violent death.

Juggernaut and his brother and sister extend their visit to the
country for a fortnight, and during that time they remain by the road-
side the observed of all observers. Pilgrims who failed to see the
renowned god when they visited him in his temple may now, if they
have stayed for the car festival, have a splendid opportunity of making
up their loss. It was really pitiful to see with what eagerness the
Hindus rushed forward to get a near view of Juggernaut that day I
was present at the festival. Directly the car stopped and the ropes
were thrown down there was a scramble for first places.

The men, however, were soon satisfied, and after gazing a moment
and giving donations to the priests of money and fruits, they quickly
withdrew and went their way. The women lingered longer, and
seemed to be more truly in earnest in their worship, and more deeply
impressed by the vision of the god. And young people and even
children too were there. It was pathetic to see mothers with little
ones in their arms pointing the babies solemnly to Juggernaut, and



THE WORSHIP OF JUGGERNAUT 47

teaching children a little older, whom they led by the hand, to bend
their heads reverently until their foreheads touched the car. I watched
many such parties come and go, and in every case the parents and
children departed with beaming faces, evidently convinced that their
devotions had been accepted by the great deity whom they had been
privileged to see in all the glory of his holiday paint and apparel.

But I must close this chapter, which has extended to a greater
length than I at first intended, by stating that after fourteen days The





EMBLEM OF DHARMA, TEMPLE OF JUGGERNAUT.

Festival of the Return takes place; and Juggernaut and his brother
and sister are dragged back to Puri, and the idols are reseated on
their thrones in the holy sanctuary of the black pagoda. And there
they remain the great centre of attraction for millions of human
beings. ‘The sad sea waves” are heard within the courts of the
temple of Juggernaut, though not, it is said, in the inner chamber
where the Lord of the World dwells. But sadder still are the sounds
of woe that come from every corner of India after the great festivals
are over, for of the thousands upon thousands of pilgrims who journey
from far to sce Juggernaut thousands never see again their distant



48 THE LAND OF IDOLS

homes, or the faces of loved friends. In innumerable households
sorrowful relatives are mourning the loss of fathers, mothers, sisters,
brothers or children, who have perished either from the privations of
the journey, or from the epidemics of cholera and other diseases which
break out every year during the special seasons of pilgrimage.

Truly Juggernaut, the Lord of the World, brings sorrow rather
than joy to his worshippers; and it will be a glad day for the East
when India’s sons and daughters turn from their favourite idol with
dissatisfaction, and look upon the dear face of Jesus, the compassion-
ate Lord, the true Brother of mankind, the only Saviour of the human
race from sin and sorrow and death.





SACRED MONKEYS OF THE HINDUS.

Vv.
SACRED MONKEYS.

ee monkeys are sacred in the eyes of a devout Hindu; so that
my young readers must understand, when I speak about sacred
monkeys, I am not speaking of some monkeys in particular, but of
monkeys in general. But how comes it, some may ask, that the Hindu
regards all monkeys as sacred? To understand this we must take
our thoughts back many ages, and dive into the literature of the
Hindus. In the sacred book called Ramayana, which gives an ac-

count of the wonderful adventures of the god Rama, we read that
49 E



50 THE LAND OF IDOLS

Sita, his wife, was captured by a demon-king, Ravana by name, and
carried off a prisoner to Ceylon, where she was detained.

Rama, distressed on account of the loss of his beautiful Sita, planned
an expedition to Ceylon to rescue her from the demon. Not feeling
equal to the enterprise alone, he made friends with a powerful tribe of
aborigines, scornfully called monkeys, in the south of India, and en-
listed their services, which seem to have been readily given. The
king of the monkeys was called Sugriva, but the real hero of the
tribe was one Hanuman, who occupied the post of prime minister.
Of Hanuman let me give a few particulars.

Hanuman was the son of Vayu, the god of wind, and Vanar, a
female monkey. Of his childhood many wonderful stories are told.
It is said that on one occasion, seeing the sun rising, he thought it to
be the fruit of a tree, and being anxious to have a taste of what pro-
mised from appearances to be rather a delicious morsel, he sprang up
three hundred leagues to clutch it. We may be sure he fell back to
the earth again a little wiser. On another occasion, for some boyish
indiscretion, the god Indra let a thunder-bolt fly at him, which caused
him to fall violently on a rock. The fall shattered his cheek, and
hence the name Hanuman, the “ long-jawed one,” was given to him.

When ten years of age this monkey-god is said to have lifted a
stone of fabulous size, and to have played a curious prank with it on
a number of fakirs or holy men, whom he found worshipping by the
waters of a sacred tank. When the saints had closed their eyes in
devotion, Hanuman dropped the immense stone into the tank; and,
lo! the worshippers were surrounded by water, and had to swima
great distance before they could reach dry land. At the water’s edge
they again closed their eyes and resumed their prayers. At that
moment, however, the monkey-god took out the gigantic stone, and
the waters retired, so that when the holy men opened their eyes they
found they were quite a distance from the tank. Thus they were
tricked again and again, until they found out that Hanuman was the
source of all their annoyance, when they punished him by taking from
him, so the story says, half his strength.



SACRED MONKEYS 51

The mischievous monkey even now, however, was stronger than
the strongest human being, if we may judge by an anecdote which
relates that he one day spread out his long tail right across a road
along which a giant named Bheema was walking. When the giant
reached the tail, he stopped, and asked the monkey courteously to
remove it, for a Hindu will not stride across a person’s body, or even
the shadow of any one. Hanuman laughed, and told him to remove
it himself. At last Bheema stooped to do so, thinking he had an easy
task to perform. To his intense astonishment, however, he found that
the tail was heavier than the heaviest iron, and that even when he
put forth his whole strength to lift it, he could not move it a single
inch. Overcome with his exertions, he acknowledged the superior
powers of the monkey, and swore eternal friendship with him.

Such was the ally Rama sought to help him in war against the
King of Ceylon. And so well did Hantiman conduct himself in that
famous enterprise, and such was the renown he gained by his daring
exploits and remarkable feats of strength, that Rama and his people
looked upon the monkey-general as an incarnation of a deity, and
rendered him divine honours. And ever since that time the people
of India have regarded Hanuman as the prince of monkeys, as the
monkey-god, and have worshipped his image in their temples.

I remember when in Allahabad seeing an immense idol-monkey
which was meant to represent Hanuman. The monster image was
kept in a dry tank, flat on its back, and there was a covering to
keep off the rays of the sun. This idol, the priests in charge said,
was made of stone, but it looked as if made of some kind of composi-
tion. Anyway, it was painted a brilliant red from head to foot. I
went down to the lowest step to view the image. It was covered
except the head with a sheet, and on this covering there were coins
here and there, evidently the offerings of worshippers. The cloth
was removed, so that I might have a good view. Truly the monkey-
god was a frightful-looking fellow, and the sight of him gave me
the most vivid idea I ever received of the hideousness of idol-worship.

The priests, in answer to the question, “When was this idol



52 THE LAND OF IDOLS

made?’’ remarked that it was self-created, and appeared a number
of years ago in the twinkling of an eye in the very place in which
I saw it. I imagined as I turned to go away that I detected a
twinkle in the eye of one of the speakers, grave Brahmin though he
appeared to be. The priests evidently thought that I was ready to
believe any tale they saw fit to palm upon me.

Passing from image-monkeys to living monkeys, it has to be said
that the Hindus regard them with equal or greater reverence. As
the representatives in the flesh of their great forefather Hanuman, all
monkeys are now considered holy. It is deemed by the Hindus a
very dreadful thing to injure or even attempt to injure a monkey,
for by doing so you would be casting an indignity upon the god
Hanuman, who would be sure to resent and punish it.

It isa matter of history that two Englishmen lost their lives in
Muttra, the sacred city of Krishna, where monkeys abound, through
striking a sacred animal. The gentlemen were walking through the
streets of the town, and being pestered by some monkeys that followed
them, they turned and struck one of them rather a severe blow on
the head. In a moment there was a commotion in the streets, for
the people who had witnessed the sacrilegious act were wild with
indignation and rushed at the delinquents. The two unfortunate
Europeans, thoroughly alive then to the mistake they had made,
defended themselves as best they could; but it was in vain they
fought against the thousands of infuriated priests and pilgrims who
surrounded them. In a few minutes the struggle was over. The
Englishmen paid with their lives for their error.

- The Rev. J. Ewen, of Benares, tells a story of the monkeys of
Muttra. He writes, ‘“We had a school in this town some years
ago, at a place near which the monkeys used to congregate in very
large numbers. One morning I was examining the pupils, but found
it difficult to keep their attention. Something seemed to be amusing
them. It was evidently over my head; but as I had kept my sun hat
on to protect me from the heat, I could not see what it was. Their
amusement went on increasing, till I could no longer resist the



SACRED MONKEYS 53

temptation to follow the direction of their gaze. Looking up, I saw
a monkey stretched out on the trellis roof like a man over a grating,
its arm stretched out to the full, in a frantic effort to seize my hat.
When I looked up and stopped the fun, it grinned and chattered at
me as if I had been its greatest enemy.”

Monkeys are said to be very affectionate towards each other as
a rule, and are generally found to gather in large numbers. In
times of scarcity of food the strong will exercise mastery over the
weak, but in a general way they are peaceably and lovingly inclined
to one another. The attachment of the mother-monkey towards her
offspring is remarkable, and has become proverbial in India. When
a young monkey has died the mother has been observed to keep it
closely encircled in her arms, moaning piteously the while, and only
parting with the dead body at the urgent supplication of companions.
And even when the little one has been carried away and thrown
into a waste place, the mother has followed, and has lain down on
the ground at no great distance and watched with intense anxiety
for hours to see if there was any sign of returning life. So we
perceive that even troublesome monkeys have their good points.

It is regarded as a very meritorious act to feed a monkey; and
here and there in India, troops of these sacred animals are to be
found in temples, where the priests see to their comfort. Perhaps
the most famous of these temples is the one at Benares called the
Durga Kund, but more commonly “the Monkey-Temple.’? When I
visited the spot there were thousands of the monkeys to be seen, of all
ages, sizes, tempers, and peculiarities. At a signal from one of the
priests a troop of the agile, mischievous creatures surrounded us, and
I began to fear somewhat for our safety. However, the animals
behaved themselves well, apart from a little teasing, and were
rewarded with handfuls of grain.

Many visitors were there besides myself, but they were Hindus,
and I was pained to see that they actually worshipped the chattering,
comical creatures as living gods and goddesses. Saturday is the
great day for worshipping monkeys. Birthdays are also considered



54 TUE LAND OF IDOLS

propitious occasions, and the boon then asked for is length of days.
Hanuman is considered immortal, and it is believed that he will add
to the years of those who are devout in the worship of his living
representatives upon earth.

There is a story told in Benares of a gentleman who brought a
spet mionkey of a rare species from the Himalayas to the plains.
“Such a beautiful specimen of the monkey tribe had never been seen
‘in the sacred city, and he was the seven days’ wonder of the
inhabitants. At length a deputation of priests from the monkey-

“temple waited on the fortunate owner, craving permission to conduct

the pet to the temple with all honour, as it was incumbent on them
“to worship him. So the monkey had a holiday granted to him, and
“he was carried off in triumph by the priests and a concourse of
“people to the sacred shrine, where he was duly worshipped with
choice offerings, and the next day was restored to his master with
many thanks for the loan. Of late the number of the monkeys has
so increased in Benares that they are felt to be a public nuisance.
“What to do with our monkeys?” is the burning question of the day
inthe sacred city of the Hindus. There has been talk of exporting
them, but two difficulties lie in the way—the refusal of the railway
company to carry them, and the want of a place to receive them.

While in India, when I was visiting in the neighbourhood of
Mirzapore, I made a journey of some miles to a temple to see a
family gathering of monkeys about which I had been told an amusing
tale. In the neighbourhood of the temple, almost whenever you go,
you will see a priest sitting on the ground with his legs crossed
under him. There he sits very solemnly reading something, probably
one of the sacred volumes in his possession, and every now and
then he will take off his spectacles and replace them with great
care,

On one occasion the monkeys, which had formed a circle round
this venerable man, and were watching his proceedings with un-
common interest, made up their minds to clear up the mystery of
the spectacles. So when the priest took off his glasses for the fourth



Wh me

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Fok 3 >

VIEW OF ‘THE MONKEY TEMPLE,

55

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56 THE LAND OF IDOLS

time and held them at arm’s-length, one of the most daring of the
little company clutched them out of his hand, and placed them
deliberately across his own nose. The result seemed to please him
immensely, if his grimaces and antics and cries meant anything.
Probably his eyesight was failing him, and he found out that the
spectacles just suited his impaired vision. But the fun did not end
there. The priest, when he recovered somewhat from his surprise,
saw his spectacles going the round of the delighted company of
monkeys, some of which they fitted and suited, and some of which
they did not fit or suit. And to make the whole affair still more
enjoyable, the spectacles were coolly handed back to the patient
priest when curiosity had been completely satisfied; and, strange to
say, they were no worse for the handling they had received and
the examination they had undergone.

Monkeys and dogs seem to have a strong antipathy to each other,
and it is impossible for them to meet without quarrelling. Miss
Cumming tells about a magnificent hill dog that was presented to
her, called Ramnee, who was as gentle as a lamb with human beings,
but a perfect tartar with monkeys. She writes: “ This antipathy to
the monkey-tribe came near to causing me trouble on our return to
the plains, for as we neared the Nerbudda river he suddenly espied
a great encampment of devotees, accompanied by a regiment of
monkeys. He was sitting beside me in an open dak-gharry, and
ere I could possibly check him he sprang out and made for them.
In an instant the whole camp was routed, and men and monkeys
put to flight. The general confusion was diverting, but I was
heartily glad when, tardily obeying my call, the great big gentle
puppy returned, like a gentleman, to his seat in the carriage.

“Then the obnoxious-looking company plucked up courage to
approach and claim backsheesh for their insulted monkeys, when
happily it occurred to me to turn the tables and claim backsheesh
for my beautiful dog, who was sitting gravely at my side. Whether
they were dumbfounded by the exquisite absurdity of the demand,
or simply considered that a white woman who would sit beside a



SACRED MONKEYS 57

dog was altogether impracticable, I cannot say, but they laughed
and departed. That was poor Ramnee’s last scamper in India.”

A friend of mine, the Rev. W. J. Wilkins, late of Calcutta, had
an encounter on one occasion with monkeys when he had a little
dog with him. He relates the adventure in his interesting book,
Daily Life and Work in India. He writes: “I once received
rather too much attention from a number of these four-handed
animals. Having with me a little dog that evidently had not been
often in the presence of monkeys, and who expressed his surprise
at their appearance in a manner that irritated them, about twenty of
them made an attack upon the little terrier. I knew that if once
they caught him he would be carried to a tree and there torn to
pieces ; and asI had nothing but an umbrella to defend myself with,
the odds were rather against me for atime. I confess I was rather
annoyed to see the villagers standing as mere spectators of the game,
evidently wishing to see fair play, for not one of them raised a finger
to help me. With my open umbrella I managed to shelter the dog,
whilst I marched backwards as quickly as possible, until I was near
enough to call to my companions for help. I have no wish for
another encounter with monkeys.”

I have heard of another terrier, named Fury, belonging to Lady
Barker, which had no gallant defender in the hour of need, and
which consequently came to an untimely end through its hatred of
monkeys. Simla, the pleasant hill-station of the Imperial Govern-
ment, was the scene of the catastrophe. Miss Cumming tells the
story. In Simla there is a hill named Jakko, the woods on which
are infested with monkeys, both the common brown ones, and the
ereat big grey ones with black face and paws, and fringe of white
hair round the forehead.

From Jakko it appears the monkeys were in the habit of wander-
ing to the different houses in the neighbourhood intent on “ picking
and stealing,” and in the course of their wanderings they often
came across the little terrier, which never lost a chance of barking
at them and frightening them off the premises. The disappointed



58 THE LAND OF IDOLS

monkeys bore the matter in mind, and bided their time for a terrible
revenge. One day, as little Fury was accompanying his mistress
through a dark thicket of rhododendrons, she saw the skinny arm
of a monkey suddenly dart out from amid the scarlet blossoms, and
quick as thought the poor terrier was seized by his long, silky hair,
and in a second had disappeared in the thicket. Vain were all at-
tempts at rescue; vainly and piteously the doggie yelped and howled,
while a shaking of the branches and sound of scuffling were all that
betrayed his unwilling ascent to the top of a high tree, where a
monkey-jury had assembled to try the criminal. Once there, his
unhappy mistress beheld her little favourite passed from one to
another, that each in turn might have the satisfaction of pinching,
and tweaking, and pulling out his hair till his particular grudge was
revenged. Then, when all were tired of this amusement, they took
him to the extreme end of a branch and dropped him down a
precipice. And so ended poor Fury’s quarrel with the monkeys.
In the Statesman and Friend of India a remarkable anecdote
appeared some time back of an adventure a monkey had with a
tiger. It appears that the village of Mahabpore, in the district of
Rajshahji, was greatly troubled by a man-eating tiger, which had
taken up its quarters in a jungle hard by. The inhabitants did their
best to destroy or drive away the brute, but without avail. At last
a monkey came to the rescue. The tale runs that when the tiger
was lying down in a shady place a monkey, espying it, took it into
its head to poke the savage animal with a stick, and seemed to relish
the joke very much. And whenever the tiger tried to attack its
malicious assailant, the latter sprang up a tree out of the way.
Thus the fun went on at intervals for a few days, when the
monkey thought a ride would be a pleasant variety, and in a moment
placed itself on the back of the tiger and seized its ears with its
fore paws, while it twisted its hind paws under its body. The in-
sulted and enraged animal needed neither spur nor whip, but at once
began to race across the country with terrific leaps and bounds, the
monkey holding on bravely all the time. In sheer disgust and



SACRED MONKEYS 59

despair the tiger at last dashed towards the village, as if to suppli-
cate the inhabitants to rid it of its tormentor. The people of course
refused to interfere; and so the distressed animal sought again the
seclusion of the jungle, and there, when it was thoroughly knocked
up, the monkey took advantage of an overhanging branch, and im-
mediately climbed to the top of a tree. The next day the tiger left
the district, and was at last killed in a neighbouring village. Thus
did a monkey do a good turn to human beings.

There is a famous village in Bengal called Goopteeparah, which is
noted for its pundits, or learned men, and its monkeys. This curious
double notoriety has led to much satire, and it is now a common
saying in India to ask whether a man comes from Goopteeparah
when the speaker means to insinuate that he is nothing better than
a monkey. It was from this celebrated village that Raja Krishna
Chunder Roy procured some monkeys, which he took to Krishnugger,
and there caused to be married, with all the usual formalities, as if
they had been human beings. The expenses of the nuptials came to
a small fortune.

Some years ago the Raja of Nuddea did the same mad trick. He
is said to have spent one hundred thousand rupees in marrying two
monkeys. In the procession were seen elephants, camels, horses
richly caparisoned, palanquins, lamps and torches. The male mon-
key was fastened into a fine carriage, having a crown upon his head,
with men by his side to fan him. Then followed musicians and
dancing-girls in carriages, and a great concourse of people. For
twelve days the rejoicings were continued in the palace and in the
town. All Nuddea seemed to have gone crazy over the extraordinary
event. At the close of the ceremonies the bride and bridegroom
were given their liberty, but they remained in the neighbourhood,
and their descendants are there to this day. Indeed, Nuddea is now
overrun with the troublesome creatures.

Nothing more, Iam sure, is needed to show the utter folly of the
Hindus. An intellectual race has fallen low indeed when it can wor-
ship such a silly, comical, and mischievous animal as a monkey!



Oy thie 58
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THE KRISHNA AVATARA (from a@ native picture).

VI.
THE STORY OF KRISHNA.

RISHNA, or, to give him his full name, Shree Krishnu Chund,

is one of the most popular of the gods of India, and is the
special favourite of the women and children of India. The story of
the life of this god is most curious and interesting, and reminds us
in some respects of the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. The very
name Krishna, as pronounced in the East, suggests to us the name
of our Saviour. But my young readers will see, as they peruse this
chapter, that Krishna was a poor character when placed in contrast
with Christ; for while our Lord appealed to the nobler side of

human nature, Krishna appealed to the baser,
co



THE STORY OF KRISHNA 61

But now to give some details of the life of this popular god.
Krishna, it is said, was born at Muttra, a city in the neighbourhood
of Agra in Northern India. He is represented to have been an in-
carnation of Vishnu, the second person of the Hindu Trinity—not a
complete incarnation, but ‘a portion of a portion” of the divine
essence of Vishnu, the preserver of all created things. The first
appearance of Krishna in this world is fabled to have been on this
wise: At midnight on a Wednesday he was born, and appeared at
once before his father and mother “the colour of a cloud, with a face
like the moon, and with eyes like a water-lily.”” He had on his head
a crown of gold, and round his neck was hung a necklace composed
of jewels, and—would you believe it ?—round his body there was a
yellow vest.

What a curious little fellow this new-born babe would look, being
unlike, I am sure, any baby that you or I have yet been privileged
to see. This wonderful appearance of the boy was all illusory,
however, for, as the story tells us, no sooner had his parents shouted
out at the sight of him, “Great is our good fortune,” than he be-
came like other children, and began to cry in a hearty and vigorous
fashion. Just as we are told in the Bible that Herod sought to
destroy the child Jesus, so the Hindus in their sacred scriptures say
that a wicked king or demon, called Kansa, sought to slay the babe
Krishna. But Prince Basoodeo, the father of Krishna, fled by night
with the child to carry him to a place of safety.

The story relates how that Krishna was placed in a basket
and carried out into the darkness on his father’s head. The night
was wild, the rain came down in torrents, the winds blew a hurri-
cane, and the beasts of the field roared with terror; but the new-
born babe was as happy as possible, and crowed with delight. At
length the river Jumna, which flows by Muttra, was reached, and
the anxious and distressed father paused in dismay, for there seemed
no possible way of crossing the swollen stream. Plunging in, how-
ever, he resolved to essay the task; but the depth of the river in-
creased as he advanced, and soon the water reached his mouth. It





62 THE LAND OF IDOLS

seemed as if father and child must perish, but in a most unexpected
way deliverance was wrought. The babe in the basket, the Hindus
say, worked a miracle. Seeing the danger, he stretched out a chubby
little foot and touched the water ; when lo, the river became shallow,
and the other side was speedily reached in safety !

Through the raging storm Basoodeo pressed on with his precious
burden until he reached the village of Gokool, where he found for
the babe a home in the house of a
poor shepherd called Nund, whose
little daughter, born the same even-
ing, was taken away in exchange.
Thus Krishna was delivered from
the power of the wicked king.
What became of the prince and
princess, the father and mother of
Krishna, we are not told — they
drop out of the story altogether;
and Krishna, for some years at
any rate, was led to think that his
foster-parents, Nund and Jasodha,
the poor peasants, were his real
parents. With these lowly but
kind-hearted people, who treated
him with much affection, the child
henceforward passed his days.

KRISHNA. And very happy the days of

Krishna's childhood and youth seem

to have been. He had a foster-brother named Bulram, who loved
him dearly, and was his inseparable companion as they both grew
in years. The two boys are represented as being of a very merry
and somewhat mischievous disposition. One favourite pastime of
these youngsters was to lay hold of cows’ tails and hang on, while
the animals ran hither and thither, evidently enjoying the fun as
much as their little masters. -But while we may smile at such esca-




ae,



Boe

Se Ory
wo*.





THE STORY OF KRISHNA 63

pades of youth, we have quite different feelings when we are told
in the Hindu writings that Krishna developed into a very clever
thief. Is it not strange that any people can worship a thief? But
the Hindus, I am afraid, think that it does not matter what their
gods do. Divinity seems to be regarded as an excuse for any
wickedness. Though Krishna is generally acknowledged to have
been an immoral character, yet he is almost universally adored and
loved in India.

And, not content with being a thief himself, we are told that
Krishna sought to train his companion Bulram and his other play-
mates in the same craft. There is a story told about his taking a
number of cowherds’ children to a place called Bruj, and encouraging
them to steal butter. They searched for this tempting article of
diet in houses which were left for a few hours by their owners, and
stole all they found. They also carried away the milk-pails belong-
ing to people they found asleep in their houses.

One day, however, Krishna was caught in the very act of thiev-
ing, and taken before his foster-mother, who, instead of scolding him,
or punishing him, or pointing out to him the sinfulness of his con-
duct, simply said, “ Son, do not go to any one’s house; whatever you
wish to eat, eat at home.’ Upon this, Krishna told a lie to cover
his theft. Let me quote the very words of the Hindu book from
which I have learned these things. Creeping up to his foster-mother,
the boy said in whining tones, “Do not, mother, place any reliance
on what they say. These false shepherdesses have spoken falsely,
and have come roaring in pursuit of me. Sometimes they make me
lay hold of milk-pails and calves; sometimes they make me perform
the drudgery of their houses, and having placed me at the door to
watch, they go about their business, and then come and tell you
stories.” Thus the youth very meanly excused himself.

Even in his own house Krishna gave trouble at times, for he was
far from being an obedient boy. Take one story as an example. It
was a special churning day, and Jasodha was very busy. But right
in the middle of her churning Krishna, who had been asleep, must



64 THE LAND OF IDOLS

needs awake, and call out crossly for something to eat. ‘ Mother!
mother!” he shouted, ‘how often have I to call you, and you will
not attend to me!” Not satisfied with the promise that he would
receive something to eat directly, the peevish boy grumbled and
threatened mischief. Before his foster-mother was aware of his
purpose, he had seized the churn-staff from a large dish, and putting
both his hands in, had taken out the butter, and begun throwing it
about, and besmearing his body with it. Thereupon Jasodha, hoping
to pacify him, stopped her work and said, ‘““Come along with me,
and I will give you food, you naughty boy!” But the perverse
young man was not to be so easily quieted down, for he answered,
“T will not take it now: why did you not give it me at first?” At
length with coaxing and kissing he was prevailed upon to eat, and
the wearied woman went back to her churning.

Jasodha had scarcely resumed her occupation, however, when
Master Krishna threw over and smashed some pottery, and ran into
the yard with a dish of butter in his hand to divide amongst his
companions. Captured and led back to the house, the naughty lad
was told that he must submit to being tied to the wooden mortar,
so that he might be kept out of mischief. He agreed; but every
string with which his foster-mother sought to secure him proved on
trial to be too short, for, according to the story, the young prince
by his supernatural powers shortened them. At length, however,
perceiving that Jasodha was on the point of bursting into tears, the
exasperating youth opposed no longer, and suffered himself to be
tied up, and was on his best behaviour for the rest of the day.

When Krishna was a little older, he was permitted by his foster-
parents to go out with other boys to graze the cattle at some dis-
tance from home. On one such expedition a curious and comical
event is reported to have happened. The tale goes that while
Krishna was tending the cattle out in the open fields his old enemy,
Kansa, sent a demon in the form of a big crane to gobble the lad
up. Krishna, it appears, knew well enough what the crane was
after; and when he saw it approaching he assumed an attitude of



THE STORY OF KRISHNA 65

indifference, and without a struggle allowed himself to be seized by
the enormous bill and swallowed wholesale.

From the inside of the crane, Krishna gathered from the loud
screams he heard that his companions were terribly upset with
what had happened. “ Alas! alas!” they cried, “let us go and tell
his mother!” Ere they could start, however, the young prince or
god carried out a little scheme he had been revolving in his mind.
All of a sudden he made himself hot, and he grew hotter and hotter,
until the crane became uncomfortable ;, and then he grew hotter still,
until the bird could bear it no longer, and ejected him from its mouth.
Once again at liberty, Krishna turned on the disguised demon, and
seizing the beak of the crane, pressed the bird under his feet and
tore it to pieces, thus inflicting death on his enemy. Collecting the
calves, the victorious youngster then returned home with his com-
panions, laughing and playing.

But a still more wonderful tale is told of Krishna and his friends,
the cowherds’ children. It is said that one day when they were all
out in the fields together, they allowed the cattle to stray a little while
during the dinner-hour. The god Brahma, noticing from heaven
their carelessness, collected and took away the calves as a punish-
ment. The children, knowing nothing of this mishap, went gaily
on with their repast, until quite suddenly one of them said to
Krishna, “We are sitting here at our ease and eating; who knows
where the calves may have strayed?’’ Whereupon Krishna jumped
up, and exclaimed, “Do you all remain feasting, let no one be
anxious; I will collect the calves and bring them here.’’ And away
the lad went in his search for the animals, but of course found them
not. Then it was revealed to him that the god Brahma had spirited
them away.

However, Krishna, the legend says, was equal to the occasion, for,
using his divine powers, he made other calves, exactly like the lost
ones, and drove them before him. Imagine his dismay when, on his
return, he found that Brahma had meanwhile abstracted the children.
But Krishna, not to be outdone in cleverness, created other children,

F



66 THE LAND OF IDOLS

exactly like those that had been taken away. And the newly-created
cattle and children went to their homes, and no one discovered the
secret.

And where, meanwhile, were the original children and cattle?
Brahma had shut them up in a mountain cave, and blocked up the
entrance with a stone, intending only to keep them his prisoners for
a day or two. However, the god fell into a state of forgetfulness
regarding the circumstance for the space of twelve months, but then
recollecting what he had done, he said to himself, “One of my
moments has not passed, but a year of mortals has elapsed; I will
go and see what has been the state of things in Bruj without the
cowherds’ children and the calves.” Thinking thus, Brahma rose
and went to the cave, and having raised the stone, saw the children
and the calves were fast asleep. Leaving them there, the god passed
on to Bruj, and to his intense astonishment found Krishna and the
‘children playing in the street, while the calves were in the stalls.
Then was it revealed to Brahma that it was the miraculous power
of Krishna that had caused the illusion, whereupon he bowed to the
superior wisdom and greatness of the shepherd-god, and worshipped
him. The children and the calves were of course released from the
cave.

As Krishna grew in years and became a young man, we are in-
formed that he was a general favourite amongst the fair sex of the
district. Many a strange story is told of his escapades with the
pretty milk-maids of Muttra and Brindaban. The chief delight of
the forward youth was to watch when the girls went to bathe in the
Jamna, for then he would steal their clothes, and hang them all over
the branches of a great tree, while he sat on a convenient bough,
calmly waiting for the damsels to approach to supplicate for their
garments. When Iwas on a visit to Muttra, the identical tree was
pointed out to me. I noticed that the branches were literally covered
With many-coloured rags; and when I asked the meaning of such
a strange display, the priests who were in attendance told me that
the pieces of cloth were affixed to the tree as votive offerings by



THE STORY OF KRISHNA 67

pilgrims from all parts of India, in memory of the merry deeds of
the god Krishna in the days of old. Thus you see the people of India
are proud of actions which we think unseemly and wrong.

Krishna sometimes, however, was helpful to those maidens of
Brindaban, for there was pointed out to me near the bathing-ghaut
a spot where a terrible conflict took place between the young god
and a poisonous serpent of monstrous size and strength, which had
been a terror to the bathers. Krishna, after an awful struggie,
succeeded in obtaining the mastery over the reptile, and thus earned
the thanks of all the country side for ridding the river banks of
such an enemy.

I have in my collection of Indian curiosities an idol which repre-
sents Krishna as a young and handsome lad, joyful and triumphant,
holding up a great serpent, whose head he had crushed beneath his
feet. Speaking of images of Krishna, I might say that he is repre-
sented in many forms, the most popular being those which picture
him as a babe in his mother’s arms; as a boy resting on one knee
with his right hand extended begging for sweetmeats ; as a youth
playing a flute or standing on the head of a serpent, and as a man
fully armed for battle.

No Indian god seems to have so taken the fancy of the common
people as Krishna. The women and children are never tired of
talking of his strange actions and marvellous exploits, and they
sing his praises all the year round. They call him the pleasant, the
cheerful, the merry god, their darling, and seem to see nothing wrong
in his character or life.

The miracles which Krishna is said to have wrought are legion.
In addition to those I have related, I might mention that the Hindus
assert that at the sound of Krishna's flute stones and trees became
animated, and the wild beasts of the field became as tame as turtle-
doves. It is said also that he.cured many sick people of their dis-
eases by a word. And as a crowning proof of his mighty power, it
is declared: that on one occasion when the god Indra was angry
with the people of Gokul, and tried to destroy them with torrents of



68 THE LAND OF IDOLS

rain, Krishna-saved their lives by holding a great mountain over
their village, balanced on his little finger, just as easily as any
ordinary person could have held an umbrella.

There is no need to follow Krishna very closely through the re-
mainder of his eventful history. When he became a man, and had
gathered round him a number of followers, he attacked Kansa, the
wicked king of Muttra, who had persecuted his parents, and de-
stroyed him. Thus he became famous as a soldier and a warrior,
and his services were in request in every part of India. Finally, he
took part in the great wars between the Kauravas and the Panda-
vas, fighting on the side of the latter, who were victors in the long
struggle. It is said that Krishna, who thus survived many enemies
and innumerable dangers on fields of battle, was at length accident-
ally slain while resting in a forest against a tree, by a hunter who
mistook him for a tree. If the story be true it was an untimely end
to which ‘to come. His foster-brother and lifelong .companion, Bul-
ram, it is said, also perished in the same forest, from exhaustion, so
that in their death the two friends were not divided.

Now who can say how much of this strange story of Krishna’s life
and doings is truth, and how much is fiction? It almost seems as if
somebody of this name did once live in India, and passed through
very wonderful experiences, especially in the days of youth and early
manhood. To make a god of such a man, and to exaggerate his
deeds, would not be unlike the impressible and imaginative people of
India.

Some students of Indian history think, however, that the whole
tale of Krishna’s life is a mere invention, probably founded on im-
perfect accounts of the life of Christ which early Christian emigrants
would carry to India from Palestine. It really does not matter much
which view we hold. Krishna of the Hindus when contrasted with
Christ cuts a sorry figure; and this is the point I want my young
readers specially to notice. Think of the disobedience of Krishna to
his parents; think of the immoral character of the god—of his
thievish propensities, and impure actions; think of the silly and



THE STORY OF KRISHNA 69

childish miracles with which he is credited ; think of his days passed
in strife and bloodshed. And thinking of these things, remember that











ae Li Sas
elit ain
‘ N



maa



TEMPLE OF KRISHNA, NEPAUL.

Christ—God manifest in the flesh—was subject to His parents in all
reverence and love; that He grew up an innocent, dutiful Child; that



7O THE LAND OF IDOLS

as a Man He was truthful, and candid, and holy in all His ways;
that He was of a peaceful disposition; that He exhorted His friends,
neighbours, and fellow-countrymen to love God their heavenly Father,
and also to love one another; and that He went about daily doing
good to friends and enemies alike, until, in the fulness of time, He
died upon the Cross, a sacrifice for the sins of the world. Thus of
Christ, but not of Krishna, we can say :—

“And so the Word had breath, and wrought,
With human hands, the creed of creeds,
In loveliness of perfect deeds,

More strong than all poetic thought.”

The anniversary of Krishna's birth is kept in India on the eighth
Sravana, which occurs either in July or August. On that day
images of the infant Krishna are adorned with sacred leaves, and the
idol is fervently worshipped. Then on the festival called the Huli,
the great saturnalia of the vernal equinox in India, Krishna is wor-
shipped with special honours, which too often degenerate into mid-
night orgies.

Worshippers of Krishna-are assured that in this life they will
obtain innumerable pleasures, and in the world to come such joys as
the heart of man never conceived. The heaven promised to all who
call Krishna their god is a vast golden city, containing a multitude of
beautifully furnished palaces, mansions, and halls. “Rivers of
crystal flow through the city, and broad, beautiful lakes are over-
shadowed by fair, fruit-bearing trees. These lakes are covered with
water-lilies, red, blue, and white, each blossom having a thousand
petals; and on the most beautiful of all these calm lakes floats a
throne, glorious as the sun, whereon Krishna the beautiful reposes.”

And, sad to say, it is not considered necessary, according to Hindu
teaching, that the followers of Krishna should live holy and righteous
lives, either for their own comfort and happiness in this world or the
next. All that is considered necessary for salvation is, that believers
should mention the name of Krishna. Then, no matter what may be



THE STORY OF KRISIINA 71

the character of the worshippers, an abundant entrance into heaven
is assured them.

To illustrate the efficacy of the mere name of Krishna, the Hindu
gurus, or religious teachers, are fond of relating a story of a wicked
woman who daily amused herself by teaching her parrot to repeat
the name of Krishna. When the woman died, although she felt no
sorrow for her sins, her spirit, it is asserted, went at once to heaven,
where she was received with acclamations, and entered upon untold
bliss, and all because, in teaching her parrot to talk, she had re-
peatedly mentioned the name of Krishna.

How different all this is from the teaching of Christ, who depre-
cated vain repetitions of the name of God, and laid such stress upon
holy living as well as trustful faith, saying, ‘Not every one that
saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven.” The
best wish we can express for the welfare of the people of India is,
that in the religious life of the people Christ may take the place of
Krishna.



Lea

i
ti

i
i ‘| i

li



INDIAN SNAKE-CHARMERS,

VI.
SNAKES AND SNAKE WORSHIP.

HE very term snake has an objectionable sound with it, and we

doubtless find it difficult to understand that the people of India

can worship such a reptile. However, the fact remains that many of

them do, for they fear them—especially the poisonous snakes—and
worship them to escape the venom of their bite.

In Cashmere years ago, there were said to be seven hundred
temples for snake worship, but nearly all have been demolished.
However, in the neighbourhood of Nagpore, or the city of the Naga or
Snake, the old worship is still more or less practised. And in South
India snake worship very generally prevails amongst the lower

classes of the people. In the town of Trevandrum the other day,
72



SVAKES AND SNAKE WORSHIP 73

au

while a Christian colporteur was reading the Scriptures to some
people in the courtyard of a house, a serpent passed by him. He
wished to kill it, but was forbidden by his audience, who shouted,
“Do not touch it—it is our god.” Whata god! Just think of falling
down and worshipping a snake! To our Western feelings it is
shocking in the extreme, but in the East it is an everyday occurrence.

There are more snakes in India than in any other part of the
world, and a learned writer on the subject, Sir Joseph Fayrer, asserts
that there are at least twenty-one distinct varieties of snakes im the
East. Out of this number fortunately only four varieties are vemo-
mous, but then there are millions belonging to each variety or order.
The snake in India that is most feared is of course the cobra, or, to
give it its full name, which is derived from the Portuguese, the Cobmna
di Capello. This deadly reptile is found all over Hindustan, and is
remarkable for the faculty of dilating the back and sides of the meck,
when excited, into the form of a hood.

The cobra is usually three or four feet long, of a pale, rusty brown
colour above, and a bluish or yellowish white below. On the back of
the neck there is a singular mark, always more or less clear, which
bears such a close resemblance to an old-fashioned pair of spectacles
that the reptile has from some people received the name of the
“spectacles snake.” Its ordinary food is lizards, flies, grasshoppers,
and other small insects and animals.

There are many sad and thrilling stories told of adventures with
snakes on the part of human beings, and every year a very great
number of deaths occur, both amongst cattle and mankind, through
the bite of snakes, and particularly through the bite of the cobra. It
is estimated that 20,000 human beings every year perish in India
alone through this cause. While Iwas living in Calcutta I remember
the case of a boy of ten years of age who was walking along a road
in the suburbs and was bitten in the foot by a snake, and though
every effort was made to save his life, the poor little fellow died after
two days of suffering. I remember also the case of a girl of thirteen
who was bitten in the arm while she was asleep, and who died within



74 THE LAND OF IDOLS

a few hours. And such cases are occurring daily, for the snake is no
respecter of persons, putting his venom into the form of a little child
as readily as into the form of a grown-up man.

It is not often we hear of Europeans being bitten by snakes in
India, though occasionally they have very narrow escapes. Bishop
Heber, in his “ Diary,” tells a story or two on this subject.. Writing
on September 18th, 1823, while sailing on the Ganges, he says: “This
morning, as I was at breakfast, the alarm was given of a great snake
in the after-cabin, which had found its way into a basket containing
two caps, presents for my wife and myself from Dacca. The reptile
was immediately and without examination pronounced to be a cobra,
and caused great alarm amongst my servants.

“However, on dislodging it from its retreat, it proved to be only a
water-snake. It appeared to have been coiled up very neatly round
the fur of the cap, and though its bite would not have been venomous,
it would certainly have inflicted a severe wound on anybody who had
incautiously opened the basket. I had once or twice fancied I heard
a gentle hissing, but the idea of a snake in the boat seemed so im-
possible that I attributed the noise to different causes or to fancy.
Much wonder was expressed at finding it in such a place, but as I
have seen one of the same kind climb a tree, it is probable that it had
ascended one of the ropes by which the boat is moored at night, and
so got amongst us.”’

Bishop Heber then remarks: “I had heard of an English lady at
Patna who once lay a whole night with a cobra under her pillow.
She repeatedly thought during the night that something moved, and
in the morning, when she snatched her pillow away, she found the
thick black throat, the square head, and green diamond-like eye ad-
vanced within two inches of her neck. The snake fortunately was
without malice, his hood was uninflated, and he was merely enjoying
the warmth of his nest: but alas for her if she had during the night
pressed the reptile a little too roughly!”

Snakes as a rule do not chase human beings, or seek to attack
them, but rather try to escape out of the way. ‘Knowing this











FESTIVAL OF THE SERPENTS, BOMBAY.



76 THE LAND OF IDOLS

characteristic of the reptile, some people always go about with a stout
walking-stick or umbrella, not so much with the idea of striking any
snake they may meet as to give the reptile warning of their approach
by the vibration of the ground, with the result that the snake usually
glides rapidly away as the traveller approaches it.

Sometimes, however, vicious snakes are met which boldly attack
a stranger, and seem determined to cause mischief. The Rev. J.
Ewen, of Benares, in his Sketches and Stories of Native Life, tells
a remarkable tale of a vicious snake. He writes: “In the rainy
season of 1880, I had the narrowest escape I have ever had. I was
returning to Delhi about 9 a.m. one day, along the Agra road, when I
saw a bright yellowish snake glide out from among the tombs and
come on to the road. I apprehended no danger, and drove on, feeling
confident it would get out of my way as I went forward. In this I
was mistaken, for it stopped short in front of my horse. The poor
brute was paralysed with fright and stood still. The snake was then
by the footboard, and before I could take in the situation, it deliber-
ately sprang at me. [I instinctively dropped the reins, and the
horrible thing flashed past, striking me on the tips of the fingers and
the knees as it passed. The spring carried it over the conveyance;
but it turned and renewed the attack, and I could distinctly hear it
beating against the bottom. Fortunately the horse, feeling the reins
loose, dashed off and broke the spell. When I drew him up and looked
back, the snake was still on the road as defiant as ever.”

It would appear that poisonous snakes, dangerous though they
are, have actually been made pets of by human beings, who have
handled them freely. I have heard of a European gentleman at
Rangoon who kept cobras in his house, and who, when he wanted to
show one, put his hand boldly into a narrow-mouthed basket, containing
quite a number, and pulled out the one he had chosen. Mr. Edward
Moor, in his book entitled Oriental Fragments, relates that when he
was a boy in India he took a great fancy toa little cobra which he
found on the road. It was at first no larger than an ordinary
penholder, and the lad kept it for some time in a bottle, feeding it



SNAKES AND SNAKE WORSHIP 77

with flies and crumbs of bread. As it got older and larger he put it
into a larger bottle, and every now and then took it out for the
amusement of himself and a playmate, who whistled to the dancing of
the pet.

In a while the snake was big enough almost to fill a gallon bottle,
and then it developed restive tendencies, and a neighbour calling at
the house might perhaps find the reptile coiled up on the sofa. One
cold morning, Mr. Moor says, the strange creature crawled up into
his bedroom, and nestled in the bed beside him, and from that day he
became much attached to it. However, in the course of time, when
the snake had grown to be more than a yard in length, though it had
done no one any mischief, it was decided, in solemn family conclave,
that it would be as well to part with it, for fear of future trouble.
Accordingly the curious pet was carried to a rocky, sunny place, two
or three miles away, and given its liberty; and thus the friendship
between the snake and the boy was broken off, much to the distress
of the latter, who mourned many days at the loss of his favourite.

In Old Deccan Days, a book written by Miss Frere, a daughter
of Sir Bartle Frere, a story is told of a Brahmin boy in the country west
of Poona, who could, as he sat out of doors, by the charms of his voice,
attract to himself and handle without fear all the snakes which might
be within hearing in any thicket or dry stone wall, such as in that
country is their favourite refuge. So great was the popular excite-
ment among the Hindus regarding this boy, that thousands and tens
of thousands of people flocked to see him; and as they witnessed the
remarkable power he had over snakes, they regarded him also asa
god, and proceeded to worship him. The poor lad, however, was at
last bitten by one of the reptiles and died, and the wonder ceased.

It has often been a debated point as to whether snakes can kill each
other—as to whether their poison is deadly when injected into each
other’s bodies, just as it is when injected into the bodies of animals
and human beings. Dr. Vincent Richards, in his book entitled
Landmarks of Snake Poison Literature, says: “I have kept sixty
to seventy cobras in a pit together, and they very often, on the



78 THE LAND OF IDOLS

slightest provocation, began to fight in a most savage and curious
fashion. On being provoked, several commenced to hiss fiercely, and
some would raise themselves up,. expand their hoods, and begin a
vigorous attack in all directions ; and after making several ineffectual
darts, two would catch each other by the mouth, rapidly entwine
themselves, and after wriggling and struggling about in this state for
some time, relax their hold. Then one would be seen gliding away
vanquished to the corner of the cage, while the triumphant onc,
raised to its full balancing height, hissed out its challenge for a
renewal of the combat. In what consisted the getting the worst of it,
I could never discover, as neither of the combatants ever seemed any
the worse for the fight; nor can I understand why one snake dreads
another if no danger is involved.” However, in a footnote to this
paragraph, Dr. Richards announces that after other and numerous
experiments he at last came to the conclusion that one species of
snake could kill another by the injection of poison.

A paragraph which I saw in a Bombay paper a year or two ago,
headed ‘‘ A Duel between Snakes,” should aid in settling the disputed
point. A correspondent writes: “Last Tuesday, when taking an
afternoon stroll in my garden, I was surprised to see a cobra and a
rock-snake in the road before me, moving in a circle and apparently
following each other. This cautious manoeuvre was pursued for a
time, the circle closing at each round, until when within a few feet
I observed the cobra to stop, coil, and place itself in an attitude to
strike. The rock-snake then passed round its antagonist several
times, lessening the distance at each round, when it also stopped and
began to coil. But before it was ready to strike, the cobra suddenly
darted upon it. The evolutions were too rapid to be detected; and
then again I distinctly observed both the snakes stretch out at full
length. The rock-snake was enveloped in the folds of the cobra,
which had also seized the rock-snake at the back of the head, and
held it there. After a short interval the cobra gradually unfolded
itself, loosened its grip with its mouth from the rock-snake's head, and
moved away. I called to my. gardener, who was working a few paces



SVAKES AND SNAKE WORSHIP 79

off, but before he could come up to the spot the victor of the duel dis-
appeared in a neighbouring bush. On examination I found the rock-
snake to be dead.”

In his Three Years of a Wanderer’s Life, Mr. Keene tells the
story of a snake and a mouse that is worth repeating. He writes:
‘T was visiting at a friend’s house in Calcutta, and was on a certain
evening sitting at dinner alone. I had finished and was still lingering
at the table when a little mouse ran up on the top of a bowl with a
sort of basket cover on it. I should not have thought that of itself
very singular, for the ‘tribes on the frontier’ make most unexpected
incursions. But this mouse, when he got perched on the cover of the
bowl, rose up on his hind legs, with his hands before him, and began
to entertain me with the funniest little song you can imagine. ‘Chit
—chit, chup—chup—chit,’ he whistled, and kept it up before me ina
most unembarrassed and self-possessed little way. I must have been
a trying audience, for I leaned back in my chair and roared with
laughter.

‘““ However, as I looked at the little performer I gradually became
aware of a shadow, a something strange gliding out from behind a
dish toward the mouse. Silently and slowly it drew near: in another
minute a beady snake's eye glittered in the lamplight. My hand stole
softly for the carving-knife. The snake reared his head level with
the mouse, and the poor little fellow’s song, which had never ceased,
became piercingly shrill, though he sat up rigidly erect and motion-
less. The head of the snake drew back a little to strike: and out
flashed my carving-knife.

“The spell was broken instantly, for the mouse dropped and
scampered. The snake was evidently wounded, for there were spots
ot blood on the table-cloth, and it was writhing about among the
dishes and plates.. I would not have believed, until I had seen it, how
much of himself a snake can stow away under the edge of a plate.
At last I saw the end of his tail projecting out from under the dish.
A snake held by the tail and swung round rapidly cannot turn and
bite. I grabbed the tail with my left thumb and finger, and drew him



So THE LAND OF IDOLS

out until I judged the middle of his body to be under the knife: then I
came down and cut him in two.” Thus was the little singing mouse
saved from the jaws of death.

Everywhere in India are to be found wandering samzp-wallahs, or
snake-charmers, who for a trifling sum will favour you with an
exhibition of snakes which they carry about in a basket or upon their
persons. When in Calcutta I often called in these entertaining
gentlemen with their snakes, more especially when visitors were
in the house from England or Australia. I remember well one
entertainment. Two dark fellows came in and squatted on the
verandah, with some earthen pots which contained the snakes. The
latter were taken out one by one, and made to dance to the noise of a
tubri, a curious instrument from which the snake-charmers bring
out some weird music. The dancing of half a dozen snakes all ina
line was very peculiar and somewhat awe-inspiring, for it seemed
as if at any moment they might turn on us, the spectators.

However, the men had the snakes well in hand, and made them go
through many manceuvres in the dancing line. Then one of the men
seized the nearest snake, and immediately twined it round his waist;
the next he threw over his shoulders; the next round his throat; and
the others round his head and his legs. And not satisfied with this
startling display, he irritated the reptiles until they erected their
heads and hissed with rage.

The snakes round the man’s neck and head actually put out their
forked tongues and struck him fiercely on the face, until the blood
flowed down pretty freely. The man did not seem to care, but only
laughed. And no harm seemed to result from the wounds, which
were probably only skin-deep. So freely do snake-charmers usually
handle their reptiles that some people have supposed that the
poisonous fangs must have been previously extracted from the
snakes. However, this is not the case.

When Sir Edwin Arnold paid his last visit to India he tells us
that he put the matter to the test. A snake-charmer who exhibited
before him was questioned as to the presence or absence of poison in



SNAKES AND SNAKE WORSHIP

A
a

his snakes, and replied, “If the gentlefolk would supply a sheep or

Or



SERPENT-CHARMERS IN INDIA.
goat, they might quickly see whether he spoke a true word.” Ewen
tually a white chicken was produced, and seizing his cobra by the

&



82 THE LAND OF IDOLS

neck, the juggler pinched its tail and made it bite the poor fowl, which
uttered a little cry when the sharp tooth punctured its thigh. But
being replaced on the ground, the chicken began to pick up rice with
unconcern, apparently uninjured. In about four minutes, however, it
ceased moving about, and began to look sick. In two minutes more
it had dropped its beak upon the ground, and was evidently paralysed
and unable to breathe freely. In another minute it fell over upon its
side, and was dead with convulsions within ten minutes after the
infliction of the wound.

Seeing that snakes are so common in India, and the bite of many "
of them so deadly, we can quite understand that great anxiety is
shown to find out, if possible, something that will act as an antidote,
that life may be saved. The poison of the cobra is secreted in a large
gland in the head, and when the serpent compresses its mouth upon
any object the liquid flows through a cavity of a tooth, which is sharp
as a needle, into the wound, and quickly runs through the system.
‘Unfortunately, nothing has yet been discovered which can, in a
genuine case of poisoning, be looked upon as a certain cure.

Dr. Vincent Richards, the specialist already referred to, has
examined one by one the so-called antidotes, such as ammonia,
arsenic, mercury, nitrate of silver, oil and opium, and declares that
all of them when weighed in the balances are found wanting. The
man, it would appear, has yet to come forward who will confer
upon his fellow-mortals the inestimable boon of a sure antidote to the
bite of a venomous serpent.

Amongst other antidotes that have been tried in past years, and
found of no use whatever, is the one which bears the name of “ snake-
stone.” I have one in my possession which I bought at Benares from
a snake-charmer. It was believed for many years, even by intelligent
men, that there was asecretion in the head of a cobra which, as the
snake advanced in years, grew hard like a stone, and that this stone
when extracted, as it was often supposed to be.by snake-charmers,
and applied to the wound inflicted by a snake bite, would immediately
cause it to heal.



SNAKES AND SNAKE WORSHIP '83

These “stones’’ are usually of a dark hue, and are flat, like a
tamarind stone, and about the same size; that is, say, the size of a
threepenny bit. If put into a glass of water they sink, and emit
small bubbles every half-score seconds. A snake stone was once
sent to Professor Faraday to analyse, and he believed it to be “a
piece of charred bone, which had been filled with blood several times,
and then carefully charred again. It consisted almost entirely of
phosphate of lime, and if broken showed an organic structure with
cells and tubes.” Probably the fullest and most reliable account of
snake stones is to be found in Moor’s Oriental Fragments, to which
I would refer any of my readers who may be specially interested in
the subject. Mr. Moor, in a clever fashion, convicted a snake-charmer
of deceit, and the man confessed that he was a rogue, and that snake
Stones were all an invention of the snake-charming fraternity, to
impress the public with their cleverness and to add to their gains.

In the native almanacs the fifth day of Srawan (July-August) is
noted as the birthday of the King of the Snakes, and on that day
worship is very generally in India offered to snakes. In Benares
Hindus of all ranks and of both sexes go to the famous Serpent's
Wells in that city, and after bathing therein return quietly to their
homes. Elsewhere the practice is for the people to draw a serpentine
figure on their houses and do homage thereto. Then they adjourn to
the nearest rocks or trees where serpents are known to live, and
finding their holes, plant sticks near them, and winding cotton round
the sticks, hang up festoons of fragrant flowers.

After that is done, offerings of fruit, sugar, ghee and flour are
placed round the holes, into which milk is very often poured. The
women-folk and children then joining hands, circle five times round
the snake’s dwelling, and then lie down and watch anxiously to see
if the reptiles will come out of their holes and partake of the things
presented to them. If the snakes do, which is usually the case, the
foolish people are delighted, and go back to their homes believing
that the snake-king has heard their prayers, and will give them his
blessing.



84 THE LAND OF IDOLS

When will the people of India learn that the only Being to be
worshipped is God, and that the only thing to be feared is sin? It is
sin that ‘“‘biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder.” And the -
only remedy for sin-stricken souls is faith in Christ, of whom the
Bible speaks when it says, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the
wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever
believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”









































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































i _ atte

‘ ae Stree ee eT
SS MEE Seu Oy
aes oe NONE

ae ae SOR LT
—— Qe
mee tye SEW coSFES as
nee iad Ss

WORSHIPPING THE GANGES.

VIIL
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS.

HE manners and customs of the people of India are an endless
source of interest to visitors from Europe. All is so very
different from what we are accustomed to at home, that we cannot
but notice and comment on what we see and hear of the character of

the people, their way of life, and general appearance.
89



86 THE LAND OF IDOLS

Everything seems to be turned topsy-turvy, and it takes new
arrivals in the East some time to get used to the remarkable change.
“The Oriental has an odd way of doing everything backwards, as
it seems to us, though from his point it is we who turn everything
upside down. Their saw, for example, has the teeth set towards the
handle, and the carpenter pulls it towards him; their screws turn the
wrong way; their writing begins at the wrong end; they take off
their shoes and keep on their hats, while we take off our hats and
keep on our shoes; they beckon with the finger held downwards;
. and, strangest of all, if a man wishes to spite his enemy he occasion-
ally does so by hurting himself.”

Thus in both thought and action the people of the East differ
radically from the people of the West, and these facts have to be
taken into consideration when we desire to form an estimate of the
character of the natives of India. We must take care that we do not
condemn others simply because they differ from ourselves, for it does
not necessarily follow that our ways of thinking and acting are the
only true and right ways.

The morning bath is a favourite custom of the East, and it would
be well if it were as widely followed in the West. It is a remark-
able sight, in the early morning in India, to observe the natives of
ull ages and of both sexes going down to the river or the tank, and
there performing their ablutions with great care and every appear-
ance of enjoyment. Of course the hot climate favours the practice,
for no one is afraid of cold water or of a chill. The boys and girls
of India have not to be driven or coaxed to the river for their bath,
as they are always delighted when the hour comes round, for it is
one of the enjoyments of their life.

The custom of bathing is associated with religion. Ido not know
that the Hindus believe that “cleanliness is next to godliness,” but
they certainly affirm that their gods are pleased with them if they
attend regularly and punctiliously to their ablutions. If you watch
the bathers closely you will observe that their lips move as if in
prayer. They are in reality dedicating themselves to their idols, and



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 87

praying that they may be cleansed from all defilement, incurred by
touch, taste, deed, word or thought, known or unknown.

Unfortunately, the people are not as particular as they ought to
be with regard to the purity of the water in which they bathe. The
river, of course, is all right, but sometimes the tanks in which they
wash themselves are stagnant pools of filth and corruption, and are
dangerous to health. It would be a great gain for India if the
Imperial Government appointed inspectors of the tanks, whose duty
it would be to see that all places of public ablution were kept in
proper repair and free from all injurious matter. As it is, the
universal custom of bathing in the East, which ought to be a great
public blessing, is very often a means of propagating numerous
diseases.

The Hindus have a curious custom of marking the forehead, and
rubbing other parts of the body with ashes, in the early morning,
and these caste or sectarian marks are retained throughout the day.
It is a disfiguring custom, and serves no good end, while at times it
leads to strife. There are about seventy distinguishing marks in all,
most of which are placed on the arms and breast. The face marks
are the fewest, but they are the most striking. These marks consist
of spots, circles, triangles, straight lines, curved lines, crescents,
simple or in combination, and of varied colours. Thus a simple spot
on the forehead symbolises Brahma the Supreme Being, while a spot
in the centre of a circle enclosed in a triangle symbolises the Hindu
Trinity—Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva. Some sects adopt a mark like
an eccentric cross with the four points bent. Some are simply marked
with three white lines, while others have perpendicular stripes. A
small horizontal line on the forehead denotes having bathed—in fact,
being ready for society.

The Hindus spend a lot of thought and time every morning over
these sectarian marks, time which would be better spent in quiet
meditation and prayer. I dislike the custom, chiefly, however, be-
cause it makes a public display of differences in religious opinions,
and thus helps to perpetuate feelings of class hatred.



88 THE LAND OF IDOLS

In association with the morning bath, and at other times during
the day, the people of India pay great attention to their teeth. Itis a
fact that Eastern people do not suffer anything like as much from
decayed teeth as Western people, and one reason probably is because
they clean their teeth daily with great care. Tooth-brushes are not
used. Indeed, the Hindus think our custom of using tooth-brushes to
be a most unclean and disgusting one, inasmuch as we do not have
new ones daily, for the touch of saliva is deemed utterly polluting.
The people of India simply use a piece of soft stick bruised at one end,
usually the wood of a tamarind or nim tree, for purposes of teeth-
cleansing. ,

Dress is not a matter which very much exercises the attention of
the millions of India. Some of the rich people put on beautiful and
even costly clothing, but the common people are, if anything, too
careless with regard to their apparel. Of course, in a hot climate
very little clothing is needed, but decency requires that some should
be used. Commonly, children go about quite naked, unless a string
round the waist, with a key or coin attached to it, can be called a
garment. The key is worn as a charm to keep away evil influences
from the little ones. When boys and girls reach the age of five or
six clothing is worn, but it is even then very scanty, consisting only
of a cloth round the loins. And with the poor all through life very
little more is worn, even in the rainy or cold weather. Sometimes at
night a sheet is wrapped round the body for warmth. Among well-
to-do people the ordinary female dress is the saree—a piece of cloth,
between nine and ten cubits long, and two or two-and-a-half cubits
broad, which is worn round the waist with one end covering the
shoulders and the head. Of men the ordinary dress everywhere is
the dhoti, which is wrapped round the middle of the body, and tucked
up between the legs, while a part of it hangs down in front a good
deal below the knees. A chadur is also used by people who can
afford to have one, and is worn over the shoulders.

Of late years in the cities some of the native gentlemen have
taken to imitating Europeans in their dress. It is surely a mistake.



Full Text





The Baldwin Library

University
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BY













LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY,
FOR COLLECTING THE SUM go?
FOR PAYING OFF: THE DEB

ON THE STEAMER ‘‘JOHN WILLIAMS,”
AND FOR THE
New YEAR OFFERING FOR SHIPS,

JANUARY, 1896,
IN CONNECTION WITH

Mabeighe Itech




DEALERS IN PRAYER-WHEELS, DARJEELING.
THE LAND OF IDOLS

OR

Talks witb Woung People about Fndia

BY i.
REV. JOHN J. POOL, B.D

(FORMERLY OF CALCUTTA)

Author of “Woman's Influence in the East,” “Studies in Mohammedanism,” etc. ete
LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY’S EDITION

WITH NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS

London
LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY
14 BLOMFIELD STREET, E.C
JOHN SNOW & CO., 2 Ivy Lang, PATERNOSTER Row, E.C

1895
[All rights reserved]
Butter & TANNER,
Tue SELWoop PRINTING Works,
FROME, AND LONDON.
PREFATORY NOTE

HESE talks about India are designed to help the Missionary For-
ward Movement by drawing out the interest and sympathies of
the young towards our great Eastern dependency.

India has exercised a remarkable fascination over many devout and
ardent souls in the past; and I trust that the rising generation will be
second to none in responding to the Missionary calls which come con-
tinually from the Land of Idols.

I send the book forth with a prayer for the Divine blessing to rest
upon it.
., JOHN J. POOL.
THE MANSE, REIMS, FRANCE.
AFFECTIONATELY INSCRIBED
TO MY

FATHER









CONTENTS

PREFATORY NOTE ; ; : . . . . a

CHAP.
CONJURING TRICKS : . ' , : : : J : a I

II. Ipois, IDOLS EVERYWHERE . . : : ; : . eels
III. Burroo, THE FAMoUS ARCHER . . : : . : . - 24
IV. THE WORSHIP OF JUGGERNAUT . 2 . . : , : - 33
V. SACRED MONKEYS. 4 ‘ . . : : 5 : . - 49
VI. THE STORY OF KRISHNA . : . 5 . 0 , 4 - 60
VII. SNAKES AND SNAKE-WORSHIP . : : 5 , : , g 9B
VIII. MANNERS AND CUSTOMS . : : ; : . : ; eos)
IX. FAKIRS OR SAINTS ; a 5 ; 7 . . s ; . 100
X. SACRED Cows AND BULLS . 5 5 : . : i ; . 109
XI. BUDDHIST PRAYER-MACHINES . : , . , , . - 120
XII. STORIES OF CASTE , 7 : : 3 _ , 7 : . 134
XIII. SacrepD BIRDS : f : . A : : . : 5 meer)
ATV. Gir_-Lire . 5 : 5 : : 6 ; 7 ; 2 - 154
XV. FIRE-WORSHIPPERS : : . : , : - ; ' ee O7,
XVI. HOUSEHOLD AND OTHER PESTS . : 2 é , . . eee,
XVII. SACRED FOOTPRINTS . ; ‘ : : : ; : : . 186
XVIII. BHEESTIES, OR WATER-CARRIERS 7 . . - ; 7 107,

XIX. BRAVE YOUNG CONVERTS . 3 : A . : ; : - 208

THE LAND OF IDOLS



I.
CONJURING TRICKS.

“THE East is the home of conjurers and jugglers, and both young

T and old amongst Hindus and Mohammedans take intense
delight in witnessing the performances of the men and women whose
whole business in life it seems to be to astonish and amuse their
fellow-creatures. And I have thought that the young people of the
West would like to read of some of the tricks of legerdemain practised
by the conjurers of the East.

My first experience of conjurers was on board the Dacca, the noble
vessel on which I went out to India some years ago. At Port Said,.
where we stopped for a few hours to coal, a celebrated magician came
on board to show the passengers his tricks, and to make a little money.
He had a rabbit with him which he pretended assisted him in his
clever feats.

Bidding us make a circle round him, the man began operations by
borrowing a florin from a young gentleman who was watching the
proceedings with rather a sceptical look on his face. Having received
the coin, the conjurer passed it on to a young lady whom he requested
to look at the silver, and to hold it so that we all might see it. The
next command was for the young lady to close her hand and immedi-
ately open it again; when lo! the florin had disappeared, and a worn
halfpenny was found in its place.

Then the conjurer borrowed a ring from a lady, which he gave to
a gentleman, who showed it to the company on the palm of his hand.

B
2 THE LAND OF IDOLS

To the gentleman now came the command to close and open his hand;
and when he had done so, lo the ring was no more to be seen, and
nothing had appeared in its place! A laugh went round the circle,
and a general whisper to the effect that neither the florin nor the ring
would be found again. However, the suspicion was unjust, for the
conjurer, turning to his rabbit, said, “ Now, rabbit, find the silver and
the ring.” Whereupon the well-trained animal opened its mouth, and
to our astonishment out dropped the missing articles on to the deck,
and they were at once picked up by their respective owners.

The conjurer then took off his turban or head-dress, which was a
piece of muslin perhaps three yards in length, and giving one end to
one person and the other to another, he requested a third party to cut
the material right through the middle. This we saw carefully and
thoroughly done, and yet when the two pieces were screwed up in the
hands of the performer and spread out again for our inspection, not a
trace of a cut could be found, but the turban was as entire as it had
been at the beginning.

Next a quantity of string was cut up into little pieces and set fire
to. This burning mass the conjurer put into his mouth and pretended
to swallow, all the time sending out volumes of smoke. Suddenly the
smoke stopped, and the man, putting his hand to his mouth, began to
pull out, in place of the string, a host of things, such as ribbons and
beads, ending at last with a long sword. How sucha stock of goods
had been stowed away in his mouth passes comprehension. The
conjurer then proceeded to hide a hen’s egg in a hat lent him by one
of the passengers; but when the hat was lifted the egg had dis-
appeared. Again the rabbit was appealed to to find the missing
article ; and amidst roars of laughter the quaint little animal immedi-
ately kicked the egg out from between its hind legs.

The concluding trick was perhaps the most singular of all. The
conjurer put his hands behind his back, and kept them there. Then
he shook his head, and money fell out of his eyes. Again he shook his
head, and apples came out of his mouth. Again he shook his head,
and round heavy pieces of lead fell out of his nostrils. And he kept
















































































































































































































INDIAN JUGGLERS.

3
4 TIE LAND OF IDOLS

on shaking his sagacious old cranium until the deck around him was
simply littered with goods like the counter of a draper’s shop in
England when some young ladies are shopping. Of course, at the
conclusion of the performance a hat was passed round, and the clever
conjurer was well rewarded for his pains.

Miss Eden, who lived some time in Madras, writing of a clever con-
jurer she knew, says: ‘He did all the ordinary tricks with balls and
balancing, and then he spit fire in large flames, and put a little rice
into the top of a basket or small tray and shook it, and before our eyes
a tiny handful of rice turned into a large quantity of cowrie shells.
Then he made a little boy, one of my servants, sit down, and he put a
small black pebble into his hand, and apparently did nothing but wave
a little switch round his head, and forty rupees came tumbling out of
the boy’s little hands. He made him put them up again, and hold
them as tight as he could; but in an instant the rupees were all gone,
and a large live frog jumped out.” Wecan imagine the dismay and
disappointment of the little fellow.

In a book entitled The Good Old Days of Honourable John
Company, a few very good stories are told of conjurers. It is a book
well worth reading. Let me give one or two extracts :—

“The conjurer was seated on a white cloth. He asked some one
present to produce a rupee, and to lay it down at the remote edge of
the cloth. He then asked for a signet-ring. Several were offered
him, and he chose out one which had a very large oval seal, projecting
- well beyond the gold hoop on both sides. This ring he tossed and
tumbled several times in his hands, now throwing it into the air and
catching it, then shaking it between his clasped hands, all the time
mumbling half-articulate words in Hindustanee. Then setting the
ring down on the cloth at about half arm’s length in front of him, he
said, slowly and distinctly, ‘Ring, rise up and go to the rupee.’

“The ring rose with the seal uppermost and, resting on the hoop,
slowly, with a kind of dancing or jerking motion, it passed over the
cloth until it came to where the rupee lay on the remote edge ; then it
lay down onthe coin. The conjurer thereupon said, ‘ Ring, lay hold of
CONJURING TRICKS 5

the rupee and bring it tome.’ The projecting edge of the seal seemed
to grapple the edge of the coin; the ring and the rupee rose into a kind
of wrestling attitude, and, with the same dancing and jerking motion,
the two returned to within reach of the juggler’s hand.”

Another tale is still more extraordinary. It runs: “The juggler
gave me a coin to hold, and then seated himself about five yards from
me, on a small rug, from which he never attempted to move during
the whole performance. I showed the coin to several persons who
were close beside me ona form in front of the juggler. At a sign
from him I not only grasped the coin I held firmly in my right hand,
but crossing that hand with equal tightness with my left, I enclosed
them both as firmly as I could between my knees. Of course I was
positively certain that the small coin was within my double fists.

“The conjurer then began a sort of incantation, accompanied by a
monotonous and discordant kind of recitative, and repeating the words,
‘Ram, Sammu,’ during some minutes. He then suddenly stopped,
and still keeping his seat, made a quick motion with his right hand, as
if throwing something at me, giving at the same time a puff with his
mouth. At that instant I felt my hands suddenly distend, and become
partly open, while I experienced a sensation as if a cold ball of dough
or something equally soft, nasty, and disagreeabie was now between
my palms. I started to my feet in astonishment, also to the astonish-
ment of others, and opening my hands, found there no coin, but to my
horror and alarm I saw a young snake, all alive-oh! and of all snakes
in the world a cobra, folded or rather coiled roundly up. I threw it
instantly to the ground, trembling with rage and fear as if already
bitten by the deadly reptile, which began immediately to crawl along
the ground, to the alarm and amazement of every one present.

“The juggler now got up for the first time since he had sat down,
and catching hold of the snake, displayed its length, which was nearly
two feet. He then took it cautiously by the tail, and opening his
mouth to its widest extent, let the head of the snake drop into it, and
deliberately commenced to swallow the reptile, till the end of the tail
only was visible; then making a sudden gulp, the whole disappeared.
6 THE LAND OF IDOLS

After that he came up to the spectators, and, opening his mouth
wide, permitted us to look into his throat, but no snake or snake’s
tail was visible, and it was seemingly down his throat altogether.
During the remainder of the performance we never saw the snake
again, nor did the man profess his ability to make it reappear.”

One of the cleverest of the conjuring feats of India is, I think, that
known as the “mango trick.’ Mango is a most delicious fruit
peculiar to the East. The conjurer will take the stone of this fruit
and say, ‘‘ Now, watch me, and see if I do not cause this stone to take
root in the earth, and grow into a tree which shall bring forth fruit.”
We watch accordingly. The conjurer produces a quantity of soil,
which he forms into a little hillock, and into this soil he places, with
many a flourish of the hand and many an incantation, the stone of the

mango.
The whole is then covered over with a cloth, under which the man
places his hands. “Grow! grow!” he exclaims, and then uncovers

the earth suddenly, when we see on examination that a little shoot is
pushing its way through the soil. Again the cloth is spread, and the
conjurer blows over it, and mutters unintelligibly ; and when we look
once more we find that the little shoot has grown into a plant a few
inches high. And gradually the plant becomes larger and larger,
until it stands nearly a yard above the mound.

So much I have seen with my own eyes, and very wonderful it
appeared to me, but I never saw a conjurer’s tree bear fruit, as
some have declared they have done. Sir Edwin Arnold, in his book
India Revisited, for instance, says, ‘The Maharajah of Benares was
kind enough to send the entire company of his palace-jugglers for our
entertainment. They performed with much adroitness the usual series
of Hindu tricks. They made the mango-tree grow and bear fruit.” I
wish I had been there to witness it!

Another famous juggiler’s artifice is the one known as the “ basket
trick.” On several occasions I saw this entertainment carried out to
perfection. The conjurer had a wickerwork basket, in size and shape
resembling a large old-fashioned beehive. This he showed to the


















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THE MANGO-TREE TRICK,
3 THE LAND OF IDOLS

company. Then he spoke to a handsome young girl standing by,
whom he called his daughter, and bade her sit down on the floor in the
centre of the room. The graceful girl obeyed after making a salaam
to the company.

The man then covered her with the basket, so that she was hidden
entirely from public view. Thereupon he pretended to be angry with
her for being a wilful and disobedient child, and reproached her with
her undutiful behaviour. The girl replied, indignantly denying the
charges; but the man only got more and more excited, and held forth
threats, at which the frightened girl remonstrated, and finally asked
for pardon. The juggler, however, was by this time in a towering
rage, and suddenly drawing his sword, he ran it through and through
the basket in every direction. Shrieks of fright and pain proceeded
from the girl, but the man took no heed. Wild with anger, he pro-
ceeded with his deadly work, and blood was seen to trickle out from
under the wickerwork, and at length a suffocating groan seemed to
proclaim that the girl was at the point of death.

Nowise sobered by this, the conjurer imprecated evil on his
murdered child, and coolly wiped his sword and returned it to the
scabbard. Then advancing towards the basket, he kicked it over and
exposed to view—the floor of the room. The girl had disappeared
completely! The whole thing had been a farce. And in answer toa
call from the juggler his daughter came from behind us all smiles and
salaams, as scathless as any of our party, and much amused at our
astonishment and surprise. At what stage of the entertainment the
girl had succeeded in slipping out of the basket we could not tell.
As there were no trap-doors and no curtains, the trick must be con-
sidered an exceptionally clever one.

Miss C. F. Gordon-Cumming, in her book entitled J the Himalayas
and on the. Indian Plains, mentions a few conjuring tricks which she
either saw or heard of. She writes: ‘Another curious feat is to
throw a cocoanut into the air and catch it on the head, when the nut
shivers to atoms instead of breaking the head, as might be expected.
Of course this is all knack, just like breaking a poker across your arm.
CONJURING TRICKS 9

After this the juggler took a large earthen vessel with wide mouth,
filled it with water, and turned it upside down, when all the water of
course ran out. He then reversed the jar, which all present perceived
to be quite full, and all the earth around was perfectly dry. He then
emptied the jar and handed it round for general inspection. He bade
one of the company fill it to the brim; after which he upset it, but not
a drop of water flowed, nevertheless; to the astonishment of all it was
quite empty. This trick was shown repeatedly, and at last he broke
the jar to prove that it really was nothing but the ordinary earthen-
ware that it appeared.

“Next, a large basket was produced, and on lifting it a pariah dog
lay crouching on the ground. The basket cover was replaced, and
the second peep showed a litter of seven puppies with their interesting
mother. A goat, a pig, and other animals successively appeared from
this magic receptacle, although the exhibitor stood quite alone, in full
view of all spectators.”

Another trick which it is very difficult to understand is the one
that consists in a man, with his feet doubled up under him, ascending,
to the sound of music, into the air, and maintaining himself there with
the aid of nothing but a light pole; and while in that strange position
the juggler will count his beads many times over. A still more
marvellous variation of this performance is related by Ibu Batuta, who
says: “IT was once in the presence of the Emperor of Hindustan when
two jogis entered wrapped up in cloaks with their heads covered. The
Emperor caressed them, and said, pointing to me, ‘ This is a stranger ;
show him what he has never yet seen.’ They answered, ‘ We will.’
One of them assumed the form of a cube, and rose from the earth, and
in this cubic shape he occupied a place in the air over our heads. His
companion then took a sandal belonging to one of those who had
come out with him, and struck it upon the ground, as if he had been
angry. The sandal thereupon ascended until it came opposite to the
cube. It then struck the latter upon the neck, and the jogi descended
gradually to the earth, and at last rested in the place which he had
left. The Emperor told me that the man who took the form of a cube
10 THE LAND OF IDOLS

was a disciple to the owner of the sandal; and, continued ‘he, ‘Had I
not entertained fears for the safety of thy intellect, I should have
ordered them to show thee greater things than these.’ On this, how-
ever, I took a palpitation of the heart, until the Emperor ordered me a
medicine, which restored me.”

A well-known character in Calcutta many years ago was the
famous conjurer Hassan Khan, who gave many private and some
public performances. With a short account of this wizard’s wonder-
tul deeds I shall close this chapter. The stories are culled from The
Good Old Days of Honourable John Company, the author of which
in turn took them from the columns of the Calcutta paper, Zhe
Englishman.

“One of Hassan Khan's tricks was to borrow a watch and trans-
port it to some unthought-of place, and send the owner to find it.
Being present at a select party at the house of a European
gentleman then residing in Upper Circular Road, he politely asked a
lady to lend him her watch. Then, after the usual by-play, in the
view of all present he flung the watch with force from an upper
verandah into a tank in front of the house. Every one saw the watch
With the chain dangling whisk through the air and fall into the water.
A short time after, the fair owner waxing impatient, he requested
her to go into the next room and hold out her hand for it. She did
so, and behold! the watch and chain, both dripping wet, came into
her hand.

“ At another time Hassan Khan took a watch and a ring belong-
ing to different owners, and tied up the two in a handkerchief. After
a while he pointed to a press, and inquired if it was locked and who
had the key. The owner produced the key from his pocket, the press
was opened, and ring, watch, and handkerchief found inside it.”

But Hassan Khan could, it appears, do still more wonderful things
—things passing our poor human understanding. The Englishman
gravely tells us, that this great conjurer “could, without any regard
to time, place, or circumstances, produce at will a bag of sandwiches
and cakes, or wine of any mark and quality required.” In every case










































































































































































































































































INDIAN CONJURING TRICK.
I2 THE LAND OF IDOLS

the material supplied was the best of its kind. ‘“ Who or what this
man was has never been satisfactorily explained. He went about
freely, was to be seen everywhere, and mixed with all sorts of people;
but he was always enshrouded in an impenetrable mystery.” Surely
he was what the Theosophists call a Mahatma!
























































































A GHAUT AT BENARES, WITH RECESSES FOR DEVOTEES,

II.
IDOLS, IDOLS EVERYWHERE.

F one were asked to describe India, I think the first remark that
would spring from one’s lips would be—‘It is a land of idols!
There are idols, idols everywhere!’ I can well remember as a

boy. that at a certain missionary meeting in England, when the mis-
sionary held up two or three idols for our inspection, I greatly mar-
velled at the sight, and wondered whether I should ever visit India
and see idolatry for myself in all its power and degradation.

And now that I have been in the East, my astonishment is no whit

lessened at the fact that so many millions of boys and girls, young
men and maidens, and older people, human beings like ourselves, can

bow down before gods of wood and stone and brass. Idolatry
13 :
I4 THE LAND OF IDOLS

seems to have a fascination for the Hindus; it is the very air they
breathe ; it is the food of their souls. They are the willing slaves
of custom in this respect, for the common people of India, it is easy
to be seen, are passionately interested in and devoted to the worship
and service of idols.

So strong in fact in the Hindus is this passion for worshipping
something they can see and handle, that they will almost use any-
thing for an idol. I have heard of a Hindu gentleman in South India
who wanted to get possession of an English doll for purposes of wor-
ship. The doll had been given by a missionary lady to a native
Christian girl as a prize for good conduct at scliool. The little girl
had carried it home, of course, and shown it to her friends with great
glee, little thinking any one would wish to deprive her of it. A
neighbour, an acquaintance of her father, however, having seen the
doll, took a fancy to it, thinking it would make a capital idol, and tried
to bribe the little girl into parting with it. The child. refused, though
offered the equivalent of ten shillings for it; and had the courage to
tell the man that he was: foolish to worship idols at all, and that he
would show wisdom by putting his trust in Jesus Christ the Saviour
of the world. The Hindu sharply replied, “I don’t want your Christ,
but only that pretty image, if you will sell it to me.”

It would be impossible to compute the number of idols that there
must be at the present time in India. The Hindus pretend to have
333,000,000 gods, and these are represented by innumerable idols, so
that we are quite bewildered with the thought of taking the census of
the idols of India. The population of the whole Indian Empire is now
about 300,000,000, and probably the country contains ten times as
many idols as people. The world is therefore a long way off the ful-
filment of that Bible prophecy which says, “And the idols shall He
utterly abolish.”’

Benares is the great centre of the idol-making business, though
in ali parts of India the trade flourishes. Potters the day through
may be seen in the sacred city moulding images of clay for tempo-
rary use. Sculptors also may be found producing representations of
IDOLS, IDOLS EVERYWHERE I5

the gods in stone or marble. Carpenters, moreover, make great
wooden idols for the temples; and workers in metal—goldsmiths,





















































































coppersmiths, and brass-workers—turn out more or less highly-
finished specimens in their respective metals.
16 THE LAND OF IDOLS

When speaking of idols it should be borne in mind that the
images turned out by the potter, sculptor, carver, or manufacturer,
are not considered sacred or fit to be worshipped until certain mystic
words have been uttered over them bya priest. The ceremony of
“the giving of life,’ as it is called, to the image, is a very solemn
affair, and when it is done the idol is regarded as holy, and must ever
afterwards be approached and treated with the utmost reverence.

Out of the many millions of so-called gods in India, all of whom
are counted worthy of worship, three are regarded as specially
sacred, and form the Hindu Triad or Trinity. They are respectively
Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva. Of these, it is stated, the second person
of the Trinity only has been represented on this earth by human
incarnations. Through one or all of these gods the Hindus believe
they may obtain salvation. Brahma represents the way of salvation
by wisdom, Vishnu by faith, and Siva by works. It is immaterial
which method is adopted, as they all lead to the same goal.

And from what do the Hindus wish or hope to be saved? Well, I
can say, once for all, that it is not, generally speaking, from sin. ‘‘The
idols are not worshipped for spiritual blessings, holiness, and aids to
moral culture, but to obtain exemption from the physical evils of life—
relief from sickness, victory over enemies, healthy children, wealth,
good luck, worldly gain, temporal prosperity. According to the
philosophical system of Hinduism, only temporal benefits are to be
obained from worshipping idols.’ The Hindus have not yet realized
that ‘“ God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him
in spirit and in truth.”

Soon after I landed on Indian soil it was my lot to obtain posses-
sion of an idol, under most interesting circumstances. It was at
Madras, where I had gone on shore to visit a college friend who had
preceded me to India by a year or so. My friend told me how his
heart had been cheered by a Hindu, whom he knew, forsaking idol-
atry, and becoming a follower of Christ. I rejoiced with him, and in
course of conversation asked what the new convert would do with
his old household idols. For reply I was asked if I would like to
LDOLS, IDOLS EVERYWHERE 17

possess one of them, as a memento of the event, and of my visit to
Madras. I promptly answered “ Yes”; and my friend brought from
another room a tiny brass idol, and, placing it in my hand, said,
“Take it, and welcome. It was given to me by the new convert, but
I am sure he will not mind my giving it to you.”

The idol that I thus obtained possession of, and have yet, repre-
sents Ganesha, the god of Wisdom. Ganesha is said to have been a
son of Siva. He sits cross-legged, and has many arms; but the
strangest thing about him is that he has the head and trunk of an
elephant. The story told concerning this god is, that he was origin-
ally born with a human head, but having been deprived of it by his
father, in a fit of anger, his mother vowed to supply its place with
the head of the first living creature she met. This proved to be an
elephant; and with the head of the elephant, Ganesha is credited
with receiving the wisdom of this ungainly but sagacious animal.
Ganesha is very popular in India, and his shrine may be found in
every village throughout the length and breadth of the land. He is
worshipped by every schoolboy, for is he not the god of wisdom, the
master of calligraphy, and the patron of literature?

The second idol that came into my possession, and this time by
‘purchase, represents even a more popular god than Ganesha. His
name is Krishna, and he is the favourite idol of all the women, as
well as the boys and girls, of Hindustan. And yet from all accounts
the character of this god is not of the best. The image that I own
represents him as quite dark in colour—it has been suggested to me
that he is painted black on account of his sins. Of this god, and
especially of his escapades in the days of childhood and youth, a
pretty full account will be found in a later chapter in this book.

The idols of India, it will already have been noticed, are not con-
fined to the male sex. There are quite a number of goddesses as well
as gods in the Hindu Pantheon. Perhaps the principal may be said
to be Sarasvati the wife of Brahma, Lakshmi the wife of Vishnu, and
Kali the wife of Siva. The first is the goddess of Knowledge, the
second of Love and Prosperity, and the third—well, it is difficult to say

Cc
1S THE LAND OF IDOLS

what she is the goddess of, for though she is familiarly called Mother
Kali, she delights in blood, and revels in the sacrifice of goats and
buffaloes. Kali is generally represented as standing on the body of
her husband, with her tongue protruding from her mouth, her hair
hanging far down her back, and with a wreath of skulls round her
neck. ‘Truly this notorious idol is horrible to look upon, and to think
about. To speak of her as “ Mother’? seems blasphemy. The Hindu
Scriptures tell some dreadful tales of her wicked doings; and if space













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BRAIMA AND SARASVATIL

permitted I might relate some sad stories of the infamous deeds of
numbers of her worshippers, who have been robbers and murderers.
At one time it is said even little children were offered up in sacrifice
to this bloodthirsty idol.

I may mention that Brahmins or priests come in for a share of
worship themselves, for the common people of India look upon the
members of the highest caste as veritable gods. The Brahmins are
living idols, whom the lower classes are degraded enough to worship.
The Hindu Scriptures say :—

“Before the Brahmins bow with awe,
Esteem their every word as law,
IDOLS, IDOLS EVERYWHERE 19

For they shall prosper all who treat
The Priests with filial reverence mect.

“Yea, though they servile tasks pursue,
To Brahmins high esteem is due ;
For, be he stolid as a clod,

A Brahmin is a mighty god.”

Mr. Minturn, in his book From New York to Delhi, relates how
he met a Brahmin who actually laid claim to divine attributes. ‘One
day,” says the traveller, ‘“while we were eating under a grove, a
great dirty fellow, smeared with cow-dung, and wearing the sacred
Brahminical thread over his shoulder, with no clothing but a rag six
inches wide, marched boldly up to us and asked for money. I, being
paymaster, wanted to know ‘ What for ?’ when he answered as coolly
as possible, ‘Because I am a god andam hungry.’ If I could have
mastered Hindustanee enough I would have told him that if his divine
character could not protect him from hunger it certainly should not
secure him unmerited charity.”

The Hindus have a syllogism in honour of Brahmins which runs
thus :—

“The whole world is under the power of the gods,
The gods are under the power of the mantras,
The mantras are under the power of the Brahmin,
The Brahmin is therefore our God.”

Leaving the animate idol, the Brahmin, let us now return for a
little space to the further consideration of inanimate idols. The
Hindus have descended even to the worship of mud. Ponder over an
incident related by the Rev. J. D. Bate, a Baptist missionary in India.
He says: “A while ago I was making my way to a village called
Lokipore, about twenty miles to the west of Allahabad, for the pur-
pose of preaching. On emerging from a field I saw a little way in
front of me what I took at first to be the dry trunk of a very tall tree
that had been denuded of leaves and branches. Going a few steps
nearer, I thought I detected high up what had the appearance of the
rude outline of a human face, but very large; and on coming close to
20 THE LAND OF IDOLS

the object I saw what it really was. It was a huge round pile of
mud, dug up from a ditch near by, and dried in the sun. Jf was an
idol! On the top of the pile the eyes and nose had been scratched by
the finger when the mud was soft, and for a mouth there was a broad,
deep gash, right across the face from one side to the other. For ears,
a couple of pieces of broken pitcher had been stuck in so as to project
on either side of the head and curve forwards.

“Legs there were none: it was merely a trunk built up from the
ground. For arms, a couple of long pieces of bamboo had been stuck
into the sides so as to project at right angles, and at the end of each
of these primitive-looking limbs there was another pile of mud much
smaller in its proportions: the arms were supported by these piles.”

The missionary stood in amazement and sorrow before this scare-
crow, thinking of the sin and shame of such idolatry, when a loud voice
came from among the trees of a neighbouring flower-garden asking
him why he gazed so intently upon the god. It was a Brahmin priest
who spoke.

Mr. Bate answered, “A god! You call this a god?” “ Yes,’
said the priest, ‘it is a god; it is holy; it has stood where it is for
seven years, and it is an object of adoration to those who are looking
to me for instruction and guidance in the path of salvation.” Was
there ever such folly? We may well say that the Hindus are given
up altogether to idolatry, when they will worship anything—from a
man to the mud upon the roadside.

It has been questioned whether the Hindus really regard idols as
gods and goddesses. Sir Edwin Arnold, who looks through rose-
coloured spectacles at everything Eastern, says that they do not. In
his India Revisited he remarks: “ All these various sacred objects
are for the educated Indians mere ‘aids to faith,’ manifestations, more
or less appropriate and elevated, of the all-pervading and undivided
Para-Brahm.- Even the poor peasant of the fields, and the gentle
Hindu wife, perambulating a peepul-tree smeared with red, will tell
you that the symbol they reverence is only a symbol. There is
hardly one of them so ignorant as not to know that commonplace of
IDOLS, IDOLS EVERYWHERE 21

Vedantism, ‘Every prayer which is uttered finds its way to the ears
of Kashava.’ ”

I think that Sir Edwin Arnold is wrong, and that the common
people of India are more ignorant and superstitious than he realizes.
Most of the lower classes of Hindus, I am convinced, believe that
when they worship idols they worship gods and goddesses, not merely
as represented by the idols, but as actually dwelling in the idols.
Doubtless the educated know better, and regard the idols merely as
symbols, but still even they outwardly worship the symbols.

While idolatry is still almost universal in India, we are safe, I
think, in saying that in all classes of society, amongst both the rich
and the poor, the learned and the unlearned, there is less reverence
for idols than of yore. A Hindu gentleman in South India said lately
to a missionary, “Upwards of twenty or thirty years ago, we, both
men and women, had a great reverence for idols, but that reverence
is failing even when we see them in temples, because we know now
that they are nothing more than the material with which they are
made—that is, wood, stone, copper, or gold. The foolishness of by-
gone days is gradually giving way, and things are viewed now as.
they actually exist. You ask, How have we come to this? I will
tell you. It is through the influence of the Gospel of Christ which is
being regularly preached amongst us.”

Then in North India the Rev. E. Greaves, writing not very long
ago of a tour he had made in the Benares district, said: “‘During the
last year we visited many villages where we had been in previous
years, and also went over much that was to us fresh ground. On
some few occasions we were met by opposition and rudeness; this,
however, was quite exceptional. It was inspiring now and again to
hear a village group giving their assent to all that was said, and
confessing that it was God alone who could save them. In one
village some men said, ‘This is quite new to us, and very good; we
will not worship idols any more.’ On another occasion I put my
hearers’ genuineness to the test, by asking them to grant me per-
mission to fling their idols into a pond close by. Superstition was
22

THE LAND OF IDOLS

too strong, however, and they begged me not to touch them. ‘ What!
said I, ‘could they not protect themselves if they were gods?’ The
people did not dispute my logic, but declined to give me the coveted





FIGURE OF HINDU PRAYING,
FROM ‘TEMPLE AT MADURA,



permission. God grant that the day may
soon come when they will themselves break
down their idols, and worship, in spirit and
in truth, the great God and Saviour!”

Even from the purely native state of
Myderabad a story comes of the growing lack
of faith in idols. Some lads who had been
taught to read and write in a mission school,
when sent out into the fields by their parents
to tend cattle, tested the power of certain gods
and goddesses they found by the roadside by
asking them to take charge of the animals for
an hour or two, while they themselves engaged
in play. The little fellows found, however, to
their dismay, that while their backs had been
turned the cattle had wandered into forbidden
ground, and had eaten up some standing corn.
Conscious of their own negligence, and yet
vexed with their idols for not being more
watchful, the lads removed the images from
their places; and becoming still more bold,
they banged one idol against another, and left
the two lying ignominiously on the ground.

When asked by their parents the cause of
such an outrage, the bold little fellows ex-
claimed with one voice, ‘‘ Because the gods did
not mind the cattle while we were at play!”
The elder people waited a few days with
trembling anxiety to see what disasters the

gods would call down upon their households for such iniquity, but as
nothing happened, a suspicion was generated all round that perhaps
IDOLS, IDOLS EVERYWHERE 23

after all the children were right, and that the idols were powerless
to do either good or harm.

Idolatry in India is doomed, for it cannot stand before the light of
education spreading in the land, before the truth, “as the truth is in
Jesus.” Reforms move slowly in the East, however. Christian
workers must not be over-sanguine of immediate success on a large
scale, but must labour on diligently, wisely, and lovingly, believing
that in due season they shall reap if they faint not. It will be a
glorious day for India when the Hindus as one man shall cast their
idols all away!










III.

BUTTOO, THE FAMOUS ARCHER.

HE Land of Idols has a history going back thousands of years,
and of that past we read in such Hindu works as the Mahabha-
rata, the Ramayana, and the Vedas, which are religious books of
considerable merit, though containing a great mass of superstitions
and strange, grotesque stories of the doings of gods and men.
Amongst other stories dealing with life in ancient India, I have
been particularly struck with one very beautiful and human one,
which I am sure my young readers will peruse with interest and
delight. It is the pathetic story of Buttoo, the famous archer. I tell
the tale now to show something of the manners and customs of the
people of India in years long gone by, and also that it may serve as
an illustration of three very desirable virtues which all young people
should possess—viz., self-help, truth, and modesty.
Buttoo was born many centuries ago, and belonged to the lowest

of the mixed orders of humankind in India. Then, as now, existed
24
BUTTOO, THE FAMOUS ARCHER. 25

the hateful system of caste, which legally separates the different
classes of Hindu society. Originally there were four great castes,
which can be described briefly as (1) the priestly, (2) the soldier, (3)
the merchant, and (4) the servant castes. These four classes, the
law says, cannot eat or drink together, cannot intermarry, and
cannot even touch each other accidentally without defilement. Caste
has been the curse of India, the cause of many of its bitterest woes.
It has dried up the wells of human sympathy, separated man from
man, and opposed itself to everything approaching wide brotherly
love, leading men to say one to another: “ Between us and you there
is a great gulf fixed, so that they which would pass from hence to
you cannot, neither can they pass to us that would come from
thence.”

Poor Buttoo, the hero of our story, was of the lowest caste, and
consequently to all who were not of the same caste he was an object
to be looked upon with not a little scorn, a being to be crushed and
trampled upon by proud Brahmins. From his earliest years, accord-
ing to the chronicles, Buttoo had been thoughtful and rather reserved,
and seemed very different from the majority of the boys who were
his playmates. And when he had passed the age of fourteen the
difference became more marked. His friends could see that he was
a boy who thought much, who had within him a noble soul, and who
was evidently seeking earnestly to be good and great. ‘

The grand ambition of youth at the time Buttoo lived was to be
skilful in all warlike pursuits. The state of the country was very
unsettled, and men were suspicious of their neighbours, and safety
for life and property lay in being able to defend them. And the road
to wealth and fame was the trade of war. Now Buttoo, though
different from many youths in the majority of things, was at one
with them in desiring to be a mighty warrior, whose name should
be known far and wide. Only he desired that his path to glory
might not be sullied with any cruelty or any crime. Asa hunter's
son, of course, he was early trained in the use of various weapons,
and especially in the use of the bow, with which he became exceed-
26 THE LAND OF IDOLS

ingly skilful. Amongst his companions few could equal him in skill
in archery, and none could beat him.

But skilful as the young man became, he was not satisfied, for
stories reached him of still more marvellous skill to which many
youths of the higher castes had attained. From one quarter, in
particular, news came which set his heart on fire, and which made
him long to leave his home that he might see, and if possible imitate,
the exploits of others.

Of all the great teachers of archery of whom Buttoo could hear
anything, the mighty Drona was the acknowledged head and _ chief.
And Drona was the teacher of the Bharata princes, whose capital
city was Hastinapore. For years Drona had been giving lessons to
the royal youths, and had brought them to a wonderful state of pro-
ficiency. But though all the princes were skilful, one, Arjuna by
name, far eclipsed his brethren, and was the joy of his old teacher’s
heart. Let us take, by way of example, one occasion when Arjuna’s
superiority was shown. Drona one day gathered his pupils together,
and declared that he wanted to test their abilities. Fixing an arti-
ficial vulture on the top of a neighbouring tree, he said, ‘‘ Children,
take up your bows quickly, and stand here aiming at that bird on the
tree, With arrows fixed on your bow-strings; shoot and cut off the
bird’s head as soon as I give the order. I shall give each of you a
turn, one by one.”’

Yudhisthira, the eldest, was the first to step forward, and stood
aiming at the bird as his preceptor directed. Then came the question :
‘Dost thou behold, O Prince, that bird on the top of the tree?” “TI
do,’ was the answer. But when asked again, ‘‘ What dost thou now
see? seest thou the tree, myself, or thy brothers?” Yudhisthira
replied, ‘‘ I see the tree, thyself, my brothers, and the bird.” And no
matter how often the question was asked, the same answer was given
by the prince, until the preceptor was annoyed, and said sharply,
“Stand thou aside, thou canst not hit the bird.’’ Then the other
princes, except Arjuna, were called forward, but in every case the
same words were uttered: ““We behold the tree, thyself, our fellow-
BUTTOO, THE FAMOUS ARCHER 27,

pupils, and the bird.’ At last came the turn of Arjuna, and Drona,
looking upon him smilingly, said, “ By thee the bird must be hit—get
ready ; but first tell me, seest thou the bird there, the tree, and my-
self?”

And Arjuna replied, “I see the bird only, but not the tree or
thyself.” Then the preceptor laughed, and pleasantly asked again,
“Tf thou seest the vulture, then describe it to me.” And Arjuna
answered, “I only see the head of the vulture, which thou hast com-
manded me to hit, and not its body.’ At these words Drona was
beside himself with pride in his pupil's skill. “Shoot!” he cried,
“shoot!” and the sharpened shaft from the young man’s bow went
straight to its mark, and down upon the ground fell the head of the
vulture; and Arjuna was declared the prince of archers. Then
Drona, the preceptor, vowed, earnestly and solemnly, that no living

eing should surpass Arjuna in skill.

Wonderful deeds of the kind just mentioned reached the ears of
the low-caste Buttoo, and he said to himself that what man had done
man could do; and one day he left his home and his father and his
friends, and went forth to visit Hastinapore, to pray the mighty
Drona to become his instructor also. See our hero then, his journey
over, in the presence of the great preceptor as he sat surrounded
by the princes. And marching boldly forward, he declared, in
reverent yet manly words, that, hearing of the fame of Drona and
his pupils, he had come to seek his guidance also in the use of the
bow.

“ And who art thou?” the teacher said. “My name is Buttoo,”
replied the youth, ‘a hunter’s son.” And then a laugh of scorn
proke on his ears. The great teacher was laughing, and the princes
were laughing; all were laughing together to think that such a
low-born boy should come into their city and presence with such a
request. And with words of bitter reproach they bade him be gone,
and not show his face to them again. And the lad made reverent
obeisance to the preceptor, and turned with flushed cheeks yet with
calm dignity away :—
28 THE LAND OF IDOLS

“And lo,—a single, single tear
Dropped from his eyelash as he past ;
‘ My place, I gather, is not here :

No matter! What is rank or caste?
fm us is honour, or disgrace,

Not out of us,’—’twas thus he mused.
‘The question is,—not wealth or place,
But gifts well used, or gifts abused.
And I shall do my best to gain

The science that man will not teach ;
For life is as a shadow vain

Until the utmost goal we reach

To which the soul points.’ ”

Were these not brave and noble words, and who could doubt that
such a youth would become famous? And famous Buttoo did
become, though not just in the way that one might have expected.
From the presence of Drona and the scoffing princes the low-born
but high-souled Buttoo passed into the forest. Of home he did not
think for a moment, for he had resolved that he would not return
thither until his name was honoured even by the great ones of the
earth. In the forest he built himself a little hut in which to dwell,
and near the hut he carved out for himself an image of the great
teacher who had cast him off, yet whom he still reverenced.

And the image was so skilfully worked that any one seeing it
might have thought for a moment that the teacher in his flesh was
there. And when Buttoo had completed his task he knelt down
before the figure, and in his zeal hailed it as his master. And from
that hour he devoted himself to archery, and archery alone. Day by
day he practised with his bow at marks set up by himself, and at
birds and animals in the forest ; and with such enthusiasm, persever-
ance, and patience did he labour, that in the course of time he
attained unheard-of and almost undreamt-of skill. Even high-caste
Arjuna could not now hope to hold his own in archery against
low-born Buttoo. And thus did Buttoo show clearly to the youths
of his own time, and to the youths of all time, that by self-help even
those in a lowly station in life and placed in adverse circumstances
ee
re . .

jE NY EAS
FAERS

Sie
SP

ERIN va
HO BS \
ay



INDIAN WEAPONS OF WAR.

29
30 THE LAND OF IDOLS

may yet win for themselves an honourable position in the world,
and the respect and admiration of their fellows.

But the story of Buttoo’s life is not yet ended. There came a
day when the princes from Hastinapore went into the wood, where
Buttoo dwelt, on a hunting expedition. With them they took a
beautiful and favourite dog; and ere the day declined this dog had
found out the presence of Buttoo, and thereupon set up a most terrific
barking. It may be that even the aristocratic dog, learning evil
from its masters, was offended at the sight of a low-caste boy like
Buttoo. Be that as it may, it barked so loudly and so fiercely that
Buttoo was well-nigh distracted; and the princes just then appearing
on the scene, he resolved to show his skill and to obtain quiet by
shooting an arrow from his bow into the mouth of the dog. In a
moment the deed was done, and before the dog could close its mouth
six other arrows were sent with such speed that they also entered.
And the tongue of the dog was fastened to its jaw: and, the story
adds, though the seven arrows remained in its mouth, no pain was
felt, but perfect silence was obtained.

Struck with astonishment at such marvellous shooting, the
princes were speechless, and turned away with haste and dismay.
All felt that Buttoo was their superior, and they were angry and
envious. Arjuna, in particular, was white with rage, and hurried
home to find his teacher, that he might tell him what had happened,
and reproach him with breaking the promise he had once made, that
no one living should excel the young prince in skill with the bow.

Drona quieted the envious and enraged Arjuna with the words,
“What I said still stands good: let us go and see this wonderful
youth in the forest.” And soon they stood before the statue which
adjoined the hut; and from the lowly dwelling-place stepped forth
Buttoo, still noble-looking, still respectful, and with a smile of
welcome on his face. ‘“ What means this statue?” said the teacher.
And the youth explained that not being permitted to have the living
person as his master, he had carved out his image, that by looking
at it he might obtain inspiration.
BUTTOO, THE FAMOUS ARCHER Ts

co

Drona listened well pleased, for the homage was flattering, but
yet he was troubled, as he thought of Buttoo’s skill and his own
promise to Arjuna. Meditating for some time, he saw only one way,
and a very painful way, out of the difficulty. Turning to Buttoo, the
teacher said, “If Iam thy master, now thou hast finished thy course,
give me my fee, and let all the past be dead and passed, and hence-
forth let us form fresh ties.”

And the youth answered :—

“All that I have, O master mine,
All I shall conquer by my skill,

Gladly shall I to thee resign,
Let me but know thy gracious will.’”

“Beware ! beware!” exclaimed the teacher ; ‘“‘rash promises often
end in strife.”

But Buttoo in his great generosity protested his sincerity, and
his willingness to do anything :—

“¢ Thou art my master—ask ! oh, ask !
From thee my inspiration came,
Thou canst not set too hard a task,
Nor aught refuse I free from blame.’”

“Then listen,’ said Drona; “thou seest this prince Arjuna. I
promised him once that no other archer should be as great as he.
Thou art already greater than he, and only by thine own act can
thy skill be spoiled. Thou hast promised to give me as my fee
anything I choose to ask. I ask thee, O Buttoo! for thy right-hand
thumb, that thumb whose light touch enabled thee to shoot so
wonderfully. Canst thou now keep thy word? What sayest thou?”

Buttoo answered not by words, but by deeds :—

“ Glanced the sharp knife one moment high,
The severed thumb was on the sod ;

There was no tear in Buttoo’s eye,
He left the matter with his God.”

And thus the story ends. Doubtless the poor lad went back to
his home and to his father and kindred, but he went not back a great
32 THE LAND OF IDOLS

archer, for “his right hand had lost its cunning.’ However,
“oreater is he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city.”
While the world lasts, O Buttoo! thou shalt be remembered :—

“Fame
Shall sound thy praise from sea to sea,
And men shall ever link thy name
With self-help, truth, and modesty.”


+
SSS ee oer e
er g ra
See ae
= —_— le



FESTIVAL OF JUGGERNAUT.

IV.
THE WORSHIP OF JUGGERNAUT.

ITUATED on the sandy shores of Orissa, washed by the wild
waves of the Bay of Bengal, stands the well-known Temple of
Juggernaut, containing the god who is called, by the Poon of India,
the Lord of the World.
This Temple of Juggernaut at Puri is one of the largest and

most famous temples of the East. It is within a sacred enclosure,
33
D
34 THE LAND OF IDOLS

and is protected from prying eyes by a massive stone wall 20 feet
high, 652 feet long, and 630 feet broad. There are many other
temples all around, but the great pagoda of the Lord of the World
stands towering over the rest. Its conical tower rises like an
elaborately carved sugar loaf, 192 feet high, black with time, and
surmounted by the mystic wheel and flag-of Vishnu.

The temple consists of four large chambers, opening one into the
other. The first is called the Hall of Offerings, where the wor-
shippers deposit the presents they have brought in honour of the idol.
The second is called the Pillared Hall, and is devoted to the musicians
and the dancing-girls who frequent the temple. The third is the
Hall of Audience, in which the pilgrims assemble to gaze upon the
face of the god. And the fourth is the Holy Sanctuary itself, the
room in which Juggernaut sits in great state to receive his wor-
shippers.

It should be mentioned, perhaps, at this stage, that the famous
idol is never alone, but has the constant companionship of a brother
and sister. All three images are nothing but huge logs of wood,
coarsely fashioned into human shape, but without arms or legs.
The priests say, when questioned about the absence of such useful
members of the body, that the Lord of the World does not need them
for his purposes amongst men. Such appendages. would have im-
proved the appearance of the images, however. As it is, the mighty
Juggernaut and his relatives are about as ugly, senseless-looking
idols as could possibly be imagined.

The worship of Juggernaut dates back, it would appear, nearly
two thousand years, and Orissa has been the Holy Land of the
Hindus from that time till the present day. Sir William Hunter
says: “On the inhospitable sands of Puri, a place of swamps and
inundations, the Hindu religion and Hindu superstition have stood
at bay for eighteen centuries against the world. Here is the national
temple whither the people flock to worship from every province of
India. Here is the gate of heaven, whither thousands of pilgrims
come to die, lulled to their last sleep by the roar of the eternal ocean.”







































































































































‘TEMPLE



























AND TANK, SOUTH INDIA.
36 THE LAND OF IDOLS

Now what is there about this god Juggernaut that should lead
the people of India to yearn after a sight of him with such intense
solicitude? Let us get to know all we can of his history and
reputed character. Juggernaut, we are told, is just Vishnu, the
second person of the Hindu Trinity, in one of his earthly forms.
The story goes that ages ago a good king who lived in Malwa sent
out priests to the east, and to the west, and to the north, and to the
south in search of Vishnu, who, it was commonly reported, had come
to this earth to dwell amongst men. The priests who went to the
west and to the north and to the south returned, but he who went to
the east returned not.

And why not? The fact is the priest had been kept a prisoner in
Orissa, in the house of a certain man named Basu, who was a fowler
of the wilderness. Basu had taken a fancy to the stranger, and was
determined to marry him to his daughter. For a time the priest
refused his consent, but at last, pleased with his intended wife, if
not with her father, he resigned himself to his fate and married her.
Now Basu was the possessor of the very idol which the good king
had sent the priest to find. The latter noticed that his father-in-law
went every morning into the jungle to worship, taking with him
fruits and flowers, but he could not tell where exactly he went, or
what it was precisely that he worshipped. So one morning,
prompted by curiosity, he expressed his willingness to accompany
Basu, and the latter consented on condition that he went blindfold,
which he agreed to.

After a long walk the two men reached their destination, and
the eyes of the priest having been unbound, he beheld Vishnu in
the form of a blue stone image, propped up against a fig-treec.
Presently the old man left his son-in-law alone, whereupon the
Brahmin prayed to the Lord of the World and worshipped him.
The legend says further: And as he poured out his heart a crow that
sat rocking herself upon a branch above fell down before the god,
and suddenly taking a glorious form, soared into the heavens. The
Brahmin seeing how easy the path to eternal bliss appeared to be
THE WORSHIP OF JUGGERNAUT 37

from that holy spot, climbed into the tree, and would have thrown
himself down, but a voice from heaven cried, “Hold, Brahmin!
First carry to thy king the good news that thou hast found the Lord
of the World.” At the same moment Basu came back with his
newly-gathered fruits and flowers, and spread them out before the
image. But, alas! the god would not partake of the offering. Only
a voice was heard saying, “Oh, faithful servant, I am weary of thy
jungle fruits and flowers, and crave for cooked rice and sweetmeats.
No longer shalt thou see me in the form of thy blue god. Hereafter
I shall be known as Juggernaut, the Lord of the World!”

After these strange events, the story says, the two men wended
their way homewards, and the Brahmin was permitted to return to
his king to tell the glad tidings that the Lord of the World. had been
found. Then the King of Malwa rejoiced exceedingly, and with a
great army and an immense retinue of followers, made his way to
Orissa to see Juggernaut. As he drew near the place where the
idol was to be found his heart swelled within him with pride, and he
cried aloud, “ Who is like unto me, whom the Lord of the World has
chosen to build his temple, and to teach men in this age of darkness
to call upon his name?”

Such proud words displeased the idol, however, and a voice was
heard from the clouds saying, “Oh, king! thou shalt indeed build
my temple, but me thou shalt not behold. When the building is
finished then thou shalt seek anew for thy god.” And lo, when the
priest led the monarch to the fig-tree, the blue idol was not to be
found. It had vanished into space.

The king, obedient to the heavenly voice, we are told, built a
magnificent temple at Puri, and when it was finished, sent forth
Brahmins once more in every direction in the land to search for the
lost idol, but years upon years passed by, and Juggernaut still was
not found. At length, however, the god, when he had sufficiently
humbled the proud king, appeared to him in a vision of the night,
and said to him, “To-morrow cast thine eyes on the sea-shore, when
there will arise from the water a piece of wood fifty-two inches long
38 THE LAND OF IDOLS

and eighteen inches broad. That is my true form. Take me up and
keep me in hiding twenty-one days, and in whatever shape I shall
then appear, place me in the temple thou hast built and worship me.”

On the morrow the king went down to the sea-shore in hot haste,
and there, sure enough, was a great block of wood which the waves
had cast up. This he took home with him. It proved to be as hard as
stone; and when some of his carpenters put their chisels on the wood
the iron lost its edge, and when they struck it with their mallets they
only bruised their own hands. So the king had the unshapen. block’
placed in a room of his palace, and he issued a decree that no human
being should see it until the stipulated twenty-one days had expired.
However, the curiosity of the queen, who had heard the story, was
aroused, and she somehow managed to open the door of the strong
room; and, lo! when she looked in she found the great block of wood
had become three blocks, and that the three blocks represented three
images, carved however only from the waist upwards. One was
Juggernaut, and the other two his brother and sister.

Thus the curiosity of a woman, the Hindus say, led to the Lord
of the World having no proper arms, only stumps, and no legs at all.
If the queen had only restrained her inquisitiveness until the end of
the twenty-one days, it is believed that Juggernaut would have
appeared to the world in a form of exquisite grace and beauty,
instead of in his present very imperfect and uncouth condition.
However, the king made the best of his idol-god, and had him placed
along with his relatives in the holy chamber at Puri, where he is to
be found at the present day, by all true believers, on payment of the
customary fees to the priests. Such is the mythological origin and
history of Juggernaut, the Lord of the World,

The present temple was built in the year 1198. The present idol,
moreover, it might be noted, is believed to contain within it some
mysterious substance, which has been variously described as the
bones of Krishna, a box of quicksilver, and small pieces of the
original idol. What the truth is only the priests can say, and they
keep their own counsel. With regard to the title, “Lord of the
THE WORSHIP OF JUGGERNAUT 39

World,’ the worshippers of Juggernaut declare that it is well
deserved, because all classes and conditions of men are welcomed to
Puri to look upon the face of the renowned idol. Juggernaut is a
public god, and an immensely popular one; and it certainly is a
remarkable fact that people of all castes visit the idol, and eat the
food that is prepared in his temple, a thing that is not done in any
other temple throughout the length and breadth of India.

There is a legend, related in connection with the “holy food” and
the “equality of castes” at Puri, that is worth repeating. A certain
young man, of high standing in society, it is said, puffed up with the
shameful pride of caste, made a vow that he would visit Puri and see
Juggernaut, but that he would eat no leavings of any mortal being.
The proud young fellow drew near the sacred city, but when just
about to pass within the gates he was stopped by the power of the
Lord of the World and stricken with illness, so that his arms and legs.
tell off, and there remained of him only a miserable body, which lay
by the roadside. For two long months the crippled object was abso--
lutely dependent on the charity of passers-by, but at length it chanced
that a dog came that way with a mouthful of the “holy food” of
Juggernaut, and let a few grains of rice fall on the ground.

The poor, humbled youth, noticing the food, managed to roll him--
self forward so that with his lips he might gather up the precious.
grain, the leavings of a dog, whose mere shadow falling on ordinary
food would have defiled it. And, wondrous to relate, immediately the
food had passed the young man’s lips the mercy of Juggernaut was
extended to him, and his health was restored, and he was suffered to
enter Puri, and to approach in lowliest penitence the shrine of the
Lord of the World. And ever after the youth was humble-minded
and modest to a degree.

In writing of this doctrine of human brotherhood at the Temple of
Puri, it is only fair to say, however, that at the present day it is in a
great measure ignored by the priests, who keep out some people of
the lowest castes. They have no right to do so, and thereby violate
their own religious laws; but they are a degenerate race of men and
40 THE LAND OF IDOLS

do not care. Generally speaking, admission to the temple is now
refused to those who handle unclean substances, and to all who have
to do with the destruction of animals, birds, or fishes, and to Chris-
tians, Moslems, and the aboriginal tribes of India. Thus the one
good thing about the Temple of Juggernaut—its theory of the uni-
versal brotherhood of mankind—is being gradually encroached upon,
and made of none effect.

It has been already said that devotees come to worship the Lord
of the World at Puri from all parts of India. While images of
Juggernaut are to be found all over the country—and there is a very
famous one at Serampore, not far from Calcutta—the greatest merit
is obtained, so it is believed, by seeing the original idol, or what
passes for the original idol, in the black pagoda of Orissa. So thither
the people journey day and night throughout every month of the
year. There is, indeed, a constant pilgrimage of Hindus to Puri; a
vaster concourse of human beings than ever journeyed on pilgrimage
to Jerusalem to the tomb of Christ, or to Mecca the birthplace of
Mohammed. It is said that for three hundred miles along the great
Orissa road every village has its pilgrim encampment slowly making
‘its way to Juggernaut. :

The encampments consist of from twenty to four hundred persons,
and at the time of the great festivals they tread so closely on each
other’s heels as almost to touch each other, and a continuous train of
pilgrims many miles long may often be seen on the Puri high-road.
‘They march in orderly procession, each party under its own leader.
Often nine-tenths of them are women and children. Some of the
pilgrims, in all probability, have come a thousand or even fourteen
hundred miles, from the very farthest extremities of the empire. In
these days of railways many of the travellers journey parts of the
way by train, but some cover the whole distance on foot.

The great object of the worshippers is to see Juggernaut, as it is
declared that a sight of the idol will destroy sin in the observer, and
bring him untold bliss in eternity. Unfortunately, however, the
sanctum in which the god is kept is so dark that scarcely anything
THE WORSHIP OF JUGGERNAUT AI

is visible within, even at midday. The pilgrims usually enter the
pagoda grounds by the east gate, and are then conducted round the
outside of the building once, twice, and even seven times. Then they
are shown into the Dancing ‘Hall, through which they pass into the
Audiencé Chamber. Now they are directed to look towards the Holy
Sanctuary. Obeying the command with all eagerness, a cry of dis-

iS ot BS 4
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ria
Beitrh

i







appointment arises from their lips, for they are utterly unable to see
a single object.

The fact is, the glare of the sun from the buildings they perambu-
lated just before they entered the temple has for the moment dazed
their vision. The priests, however, explain the matter by saying
that the effect of sin renders carnal eyes unfit to behold the divine
Juggernaut. Gradually as the people continue before the sanctum,
42 THE LAND OF IDOLS

and get used to the darkness, a faint appearance of the idol is noticed.
There is Juggernaut indeed, with his face painted black; and there is
his brother, with a white face; and there also is his sister, with a
golden-coloured complexion. At this sight the pilgrims raise a cry
of rapture, and pass out of the temple with glad and joyous hearts,
apparently amply repaid for their expense and sufferings by the road.
Truly a very little satisfies the heart of the Hindu worshipper !

But what of those unfortunate creatures who, owing to the great
throng at special festival times, cannot stand long enough in front of
the holy sanctuary for their eves to adjust themselves to the gloom?
This happens in the case of countless thousands. These are, from
their own point of view, unfortunate indeed, and depart with cries of
despair; at which, however, the hard-hearted priests only laugh, and
tell them to come another year, when perhaps their vision will be
sufficiently cleansed from sin to behold the face of the Lord of the
World. It must be terribly painful and humiliating to have to go
back home and confess that the journey was made almost altogether
in vain, that, at any rate, though they had worshipped in Juggernaut’s
temple, the crowning mercy had not been granted of beholding the
famous and precious idol—the god himself.

« The revenues of the temple are of course enormous. The Moham-

medans in past days, when supreme rulers in India, are said to have’
raised a sum equivalent to £100,000 per annum merely by putting a
tax on pilgrims. The British Government continued the tax, but
somehow only managed to raise a little over £6,000 by the unholy
traffic. In 1840 the English had the good sense and the courage to
give up entirely an income derived from idolatry; and now all the
taxes and fees which pilgrims pay are imposed and received by the
raja of the district and the priests of the temple. It is believed one
way and another the income at present will certainly be not less than
£50,000 per annum.

The wealth of Juggernaut has often attracted the cupidity of
thieves; and I read a dreadful story a while back in the Times of
India of a young Englishman, an officer in the Madras Army, in
THE WORSHIP OF JUGGERNAUT 43

financial difficulties, who conceived the mad enterprise of robbing the
Lord of the World of some jewels of fabulous worth, which are com-
monly reported to hang round the neck of the idol. Let the rest of
the story be told in the words of the original narrator, a friend of the
would-be thief, who was staying with him at the Traveller’s Bunga-
low at Puri, but who had no idea of his companion’s wicked resolve.

The narrator says: ‘When my friend went to bed, I took my pipe
and sat smoking in the verandah. The moon was just rising, when
I thought I saw the figure of a European stealing along the wall of
the compound. Strange, I thought, and wondered what other Euro-
pean there could be here at the same time. An idea struck me, and I
went across to my companion’s room. There was nobody in it, the
bed was undisturbed. I threw down my pipe and rushed out into the
moonlight. A few seconds later Iwas in the road, and turned in-
stinctively in the direction of the town. Running down the road, I
soon came to a sandy lane, which went outside the village walis in
the direction of the temples, their pinnacles standing out clear and
distinct in the moonlight. In the distance I thought I saw the figure
of my poor lad; but soon the turnings and twistings of the lane, with
its thick cactus hedges on each side, shut him out from my view.

“Jn a few minutes I was close by the big temple compound.
Running up to the wall, I looked over, and this is what I saw: an
enormous courtyard of paved stone, on which were lying a number of
priests, their white garments wrapped round their heads and bodies ;
in the background was placed temple upon temple, but in the very
centre stood one solitary shrine, raised on three separate flights of
steps, and inside I could see the great black god raised on three other
smaller flights of coloured marble steps. The moonbeams shone
directly on the god and lit up the emerald eyes and ruby lips, while
the pearl necklace glowed on his huge black bosom.

‘Not a sound was to be heard, except some distant tomtoming at
the further end of the town. The festival was over, and Puri had
lapsed into solemn silence. To my unutterable horror I saw my
companion walking right across the courtyard. Not a living creature
44 THE LAND OF IDOLS

moved, until a pariah dog rose up from near the wall, gave one howl,
and then slunk away, and crouched down again. Still no one stirred.
My tongue clave to the roof of my mouth. I dared not shout even if
I could have raised my voice. A ghastly horror took hold of me, as
the idea struck me that in his madness my poor friend intended to
save his honour by the greater dishonour of robbing the idol.

“Speechless I saw him mount step after step, and the next moment
I saw him enter the sacred shrine, across the threshold of which no
other foot but that of the Brahmin has ever passed. Nine steps led
up to the god—one, two, three, four, five, six. He paused; I tried to
shout, but no sound would come. He raised his hand as if to tear off
the pearl necklace. It was still above his reach; his foot then touched
the seventh. Oh! can I ever forget the sight? In the moonlight
flashed out two arms covered with one hundred—nay, two hundred—
daggers, and clasped the daring youth to the black god’s breast. At
the same moment the sound of a gong broke the stillness of the night,
and in one moment the priests had cast off their coverings, and were
rushing to the shrine. Two minutes later, I saw the amazed and
horrified priests carrying out the lifeless body of the dishonoured
Englishman, and I turned and fled.”

We may indulge the charitable hope that this horrible and impro-
bable story is an invention, yet its truth is vouched for by the
correspondent who contributed it to the Zimes of India, who says,
‘To this day, by the pilgrim camp-fires of Orissa, is told with bated
breath, and listened to with rapt attention, the terrible tale of the
Jewels of Juggernaut, and of the vengeance of the great god.”

There are three famous festivals in connection with the worship
of Juggernaut, of which mention ought to be made. The first is called
the Bathing Festival, which occurs in June or July, when the god is
taken from his place in the holy sanctuary, and brought into full
public view, and bathed by the priests in the presence of tens of
thousands of spectators, who at a given signal unite in one loud
thunder-cry of “Victory! victory to Juggernaut!” The god then
retires to the privacy of his own room. Next, a fortnight later,
THE WORSHIP OF JUGGERNAUT. 45

comes the Car Festival, when the Lord of the World, who is supposed
to have caught a cold from his bath, is taken out for a change of air,
for the good of his health. His brother and sister, from tender solici-
tude for his welfare, insist.on accompanying him.

Witness, then, the three ugly idols placed on three mighty cars,
ready to start for their drive. Juggernaut’s conveyance stands forty-
one feet high, and has fourteen enormous wheels; while the upper
parts of it are covered with green, blue, red, and yellow, and other
coloured cloths, hung in strips fantastically arranged, and adorned
with various devices. The tower of the car is surmounted by a
globe and a flag, conveying to all whom it may concern that
Juggernaut, the Lord of the World, is there in royal state.

And now comes the most exciting part of the proceedings. The
great cars have to be dragged a certain distance—half a mile or more
—from the temple; and the god will not allow horses or elephants to
undertake this work, but calls upon his faithful worshippers to do it
themselves. Immense ropes, or rather cables, are manufactured and
attached to the cars, and at the word of command from the priests
thousands of men, and even women and children, rush forward and
seize the ropes, and range themselves in order, and the next moment
are straining and pulling at the cumbersome conveyances, which at
length move with a heavy, creaking noise.

On one occasion, at. a village near Serampore, I witnessed this
extraordinary spectacle of the dragging of Juggernaut’s car, and the
cars of his brother and sister. Never shall I forget the sight. The
road was filled with tens of thousands of lookers-on, all wild with
excitement; and the poor fanatics who held the ropes were dragging
the cars along with frenzied zeal. Every now and then there would
be a stop, that the men might rest, I supposed; but instead of resting
they took to jumping in the air, and to whirling themselves round like
dancing dervishes, and shouting at the top of their breath, ‘‘ Victory !
victory to Juggernaut!” At length the vehicles reached their desti-
nation. All of a sudden a noise of firearms was heard—a signal from
the priests—and in a moment the great ropes were thrown down, and
46 THE LAND OF IDOLS

the cars stopped in the middle of the road. Then once more the dense
throng of worshippers raised a mighty cry of victory to the Lord of
the World, that could be heard miles away.

In connection with the car festival there are associated, in European
minds, sad tales of infatuated human beings who have thrown them-
selves under the wheels of Juggernaut’s conveyance, and have been
crushed to death. Such deeds have certainly happened, but they have
not been anything like so frequent as many people have supposed;
and they are not in harmony with the teaching of the priests with re-
spect to Juggernaut, who is described as a merciful god, desiring the
good of men, and wishing harm to befall no one. Self-immolation is
altogether opposed to the will of the idol, so the Hindus say; and yet
it remains a fact that some worshippers have deliberately sacrificed
their lives under the wheels of Juggernaut’s car. This is accounted
for, and probably correctly, by the statement that such suicides are
for the most part cases of diseased and miserable people, utterly tired
of life, and who falsely imagined that the Lord of.the World would be
pleased with their violent death.

Juggernaut and his brother and sister extend their visit to the
country for a fortnight, and during that time they remain by the road-
side the observed of all observers. Pilgrims who failed to see the
renowned god when they visited him in his temple may now, if they
have stayed for the car festival, have a splendid opportunity of making
up their loss. It was really pitiful to see with what eagerness the
Hindus rushed forward to get a near view of Juggernaut that day I
was present at the festival. Directly the car stopped and the ropes
were thrown down there was a scramble for first places.

The men, however, were soon satisfied, and after gazing a moment
and giving donations to the priests of money and fruits, they quickly
withdrew and went their way. The women lingered longer, and
seemed to be more truly in earnest in their worship, and more deeply
impressed by the vision of the god. And young people and even
children too were there. It was pathetic to see mothers with little
ones in their arms pointing the babies solemnly to Juggernaut, and
THE WORSHIP OF JUGGERNAUT 47

teaching children a little older, whom they led by the hand, to bend
their heads reverently until their foreheads touched the car. I watched
many such parties come and go, and in every case the parents and
children departed with beaming faces, evidently convinced that their
devotions had been accepted by the great deity whom they had been
privileged to see in all the glory of his holiday paint and apparel.

But I must close this chapter, which has extended to a greater
length than I at first intended, by stating that after fourteen days The





EMBLEM OF DHARMA, TEMPLE OF JUGGERNAUT.

Festival of the Return takes place; and Juggernaut and his brother
and sister are dragged back to Puri, and the idols are reseated on
their thrones in the holy sanctuary of the black pagoda. And there
they remain the great centre of attraction for millions of human
beings. ‘The sad sea waves” are heard within the courts of the
temple of Juggernaut, though not, it is said, in the inner chamber
where the Lord of the World dwells. But sadder still are the sounds
of woe that come from every corner of India after the great festivals
are over, for of the thousands upon thousands of pilgrims who journey
from far to sce Juggernaut thousands never see again their distant
48 THE LAND OF IDOLS

homes, or the faces of loved friends. In innumerable households
sorrowful relatives are mourning the loss of fathers, mothers, sisters,
brothers or children, who have perished either from the privations of
the journey, or from the epidemics of cholera and other diseases which
break out every year during the special seasons of pilgrimage.

Truly Juggernaut, the Lord of the World, brings sorrow rather
than joy to his worshippers; and it will be a glad day for the East
when India’s sons and daughters turn from their favourite idol with
dissatisfaction, and look upon the dear face of Jesus, the compassion-
ate Lord, the true Brother of mankind, the only Saviour of the human
race from sin and sorrow and death.


SACRED MONKEYS OF THE HINDUS.

Vv.
SACRED MONKEYS.

ee monkeys are sacred in the eyes of a devout Hindu; so that
my young readers must understand, when I speak about sacred
monkeys, I am not speaking of some monkeys in particular, but of
monkeys in general. But how comes it, some may ask, that the Hindu
regards all monkeys as sacred? To understand this we must take
our thoughts back many ages, and dive into the literature of the
Hindus. In the sacred book called Ramayana, which gives an ac-

count of the wonderful adventures of the god Rama, we read that
49 E
50 THE LAND OF IDOLS

Sita, his wife, was captured by a demon-king, Ravana by name, and
carried off a prisoner to Ceylon, where she was detained.

Rama, distressed on account of the loss of his beautiful Sita, planned
an expedition to Ceylon to rescue her from the demon. Not feeling
equal to the enterprise alone, he made friends with a powerful tribe of
aborigines, scornfully called monkeys, in the south of India, and en-
listed their services, which seem to have been readily given. The
king of the monkeys was called Sugriva, but the real hero of the
tribe was one Hanuman, who occupied the post of prime minister.
Of Hanuman let me give a few particulars.

Hanuman was the son of Vayu, the god of wind, and Vanar, a
female monkey. Of his childhood many wonderful stories are told.
It is said that on one occasion, seeing the sun rising, he thought it to
be the fruit of a tree, and being anxious to have a taste of what pro-
mised from appearances to be rather a delicious morsel, he sprang up
three hundred leagues to clutch it. We may be sure he fell back to
the earth again a little wiser. On another occasion, for some boyish
indiscretion, the god Indra let a thunder-bolt fly at him, which caused
him to fall violently on a rock. The fall shattered his cheek, and
hence the name Hanuman, the “ long-jawed one,” was given to him.

When ten years of age this monkey-god is said to have lifted a
stone of fabulous size, and to have played a curious prank with it on
a number of fakirs or holy men, whom he found worshipping by the
waters of a sacred tank. When the saints had closed their eyes in
devotion, Hanuman dropped the immense stone into the tank; and,
lo! the worshippers were surrounded by water, and had to swima
great distance before they could reach dry land. At the water’s edge
they again closed their eyes and resumed their prayers. At that
moment, however, the monkey-god took out the gigantic stone, and
the waters retired, so that when the holy men opened their eyes they
found they were quite a distance from the tank. Thus they were
tricked again and again, until they found out that Hanuman was the
source of all their annoyance, when they punished him by taking from
him, so the story says, half his strength.
SACRED MONKEYS 51

The mischievous monkey even now, however, was stronger than
the strongest human being, if we may judge by an anecdote which
relates that he one day spread out his long tail right across a road
along which a giant named Bheema was walking. When the giant
reached the tail, he stopped, and asked the monkey courteously to
remove it, for a Hindu will not stride across a person’s body, or even
the shadow of any one. Hanuman laughed, and told him to remove
it himself. At last Bheema stooped to do so, thinking he had an easy
task to perform. To his intense astonishment, however, he found that
the tail was heavier than the heaviest iron, and that even when he
put forth his whole strength to lift it, he could not move it a single
inch. Overcome with his exertions, he acknowledged the superior
powers of the monkey, and swore eternal friendship with him.

Such was the ally Rama sought to help him in war against the
King of Ceylon. And so well did Hantiman conduct himself in that
famous enterprise, and such was the renown he gained by his daring
exploits and remarkable feats of strength, that Rama and his people
looked upon the monkey-general as an incarnation of a deity, and
rendered him divine honours. And ever since that time the people
of India have regarded Hanuman as the prince of monkeys, as the
monkey-god, and have worshipped his image in their temples.

I remember when in Allahabad seeing an immense idol-monkey
which was meant to represent Hanuman. The monster image was
kept in a dry tank, flat on its back, and there was a covering to
keep off the rays of the sun. This idol, the priests in charge said,
was made of stone, but it looked as if made of some kind of composi-
tion. Anyway, it was painted a brilliant red from head to foot. I
went down to the lowest step to view the image. It was covered
except the head with a sheet, and on this covering there were coins
here and there, evidently the offerings of worshippers. The cloth
was removed, so that I might have a good view. Truly the monkey-
god was a frightful-looking fellow, and the sight of him gave me
the most vivid idea I ever received of the hideousness of idol-worship.

The priests, in answer to the question, “When was this idol
52 THE LAND OF IDOLS

made?’’ remarked that it was self-created, and appeared a number
of years ago in the twinkling of an eye in the very place in which
I saw it. I imagined as I turned to go away that I detected a
twinkle in the eye of one of the speakers, grave Brahmin though he
appeared to be. The priests evidently thought that I was ready to
believe any tale they saw fit to palm upon me.

Passing from image-monkeys to living monkeys, it has to be said
that the Hindus regard them with equal or greater reverence. As
the representatives in the flesh of their great forefather Hanuman, all
monkeys are now considered holy. It is deemed by the Hindus a
very dreadful thing to injure or even attempt to injure a monkey,
for by doing so you would be casting an indignity upon the god
Hanuman, who would be sure to resent and punish it.

It isa matter of history that two Englishmen lost their lives in
Muttra, the sacred city of Krishna, where monkeys abound, through
striking a sacred animal. The gentlemen were walking through the
streets of the town, and being pestered by some monkeys that followed
them, they turned and struck one of them rather a severe blow on
the head. In a moment there was a commotion in the streets, for
the people who had witnessed the sacrilegious act were wild with
indignation and rushed at the delinquents. The two unfortunate
Europeans, thoroughly alive then to the mistake they had made,
defended themselves as best they could; but it was in vain they
fought against the thousands of infuriated priests and pilgrims who
surrounded them. In a few minutes the struggle was over. The
Englishmen paid with their lives for their error.

- The Rev. J. Ewen, of Benares, tells a story of the monkeys of
Muttra. He writes, ‘“We had a school in this town some years
ago, at a place near which the monkeys used to congregate in very
large numbers. One morning I was examining the pupils, but found
it difficult to keep their attention. Something seemed to be amusing
them. It was evidently over my head; but as I had kept my sun hat
on to protect me from the heat, I could not see what it was. Their
amusement went on increasing, till I could no longer resist the
SACRED MONKEYS 53

temptation to follow the direction of their gaze. Looking up, I saw
a monkey stretched out on the trellis roof like a man over a grating,
its arm stretched out to the full, in a frantic effort to seize my hat.
When I looked up and stopped the fun, it grinned and chattered at
me as if I had been its greatest enemy.”

Monkeys are said to be very affectionate towards each other as
a rule, and are generally found to gather in large numbers. In
times of scarcity of food the strong will exercise mastery over the
weak, but in a general way they are peaceably and lovingly inclined
to one another. The attachment of the mother-monkey towards her
offspring is remarkable, and has become proverbial in India. When
a young monkey has died the mother has been observed to keep it
closely encircled in her arms, moaning piteously the while, and only
parting with the dead body at the urgent supplication of companions.
And even when the little one has been carried away and thrown
into a waste place, the mother has followed, and has lain down on
the ground at no great distance and watched with intense anxiety
for hours to see if there was any sign of returning life. So we
perceive that even troublesome monkeys have their good points.

It is regarded as a very meritorious act to feed a monkey; and
here and there in India, troops of these sacred animals are to be
found in temples, where the priests see to their comfort. Perhaps
the most famous of these temples is the one at Benares called the
Durga Kund, but more commonly “the Monkey-Temple.’? When I
visited the spot there were thousands of the monkeys to be seen, of all
ages, sizes, tempers, and peculiarities. At a signal from one of the
priests a troop of the agile, mischievous creatures surrounded us, and
I began to fear somewhat for our safety. However, the animals
behaved themselves well, apart from a little teasing, and were
rewarded with handfuls of grain.

Many visitors were there besides myself, but they were Hindus,
and I was pained to see that they actually worshipped the chattering,
comical creatures as living gods and goddesses. Saturday is the
great day for worshipping monkeys. Birthdays are also considered
54 TUE LAND OF IDOLS

propitious occasions, and the boon then asked for is length of days.
Hanuman is considered immortal, and it is believed that he will add
to the years of those who are devout in the worship of his living
representatives upon earth.

There is a story told in Benares of a gentleman who brought a
spet mionkey of a rare species from the Himalayas to the plains.
“Such a beautiful specimen of the monkey tribe had never been seen
‘in the sacred city, and he was the seven days’ wonder of the
inhabitants. At length a deputation of priests from the monkey-

“temple waited on the fortunate owner, craving permission to conduct

the pet to the temple with all honour, as it was incumbent on them
“to worship him. So the monkey had a holiday granted to him, and
“he was carried off in triumph by the priests and a concourse of
“people to the sacred shrine, where he was duly worshipped with
choice offerings, and the next day was restored to his master with
many thanks for the loan. Of late the number of the monkeys has
so increased in Benares that they are felt to be a public nuisance.
“What to do with our monkeys?” is the burning question of the day
inthe sacred city of the Hindus. There has been talk of exporting
them, but two difficulties lie in the way—the refusal of the railway
company to carry them, and the want of a place to receive them.

While in India, when I was visiting in the neighbourhood of
Mirzapore, I made a journey of some miles to a temple to see a
family gathering of monkeys about which I had been told an amusing
tale. In the neighbourhood of the temple, almost whenever you go,
you will see a priest sitting on the ground with his legs crossed
under him. There he sits very solemnly reading something, probably
one of the sacred volumes in his possession, and every now and
then he will take off his spectacles and replace them with great
care,

On one occasion the monkeys, which had formed a circle round
this venerable man, and were watching his proceedings with un-
common interest, made up their minds to clear up the mystery of
the spectacles. So when the priest took off his glasses for the fourth
Wh me

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VIEW OF ‘THE MONKEY TEMPLE,

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56 THE LAND OF IDOLS

time and held them at arm’s-length, one of the most daring of the
little company clutched them out of his hand, and placed them
deliberately across his own nose. The result seemed to please him
immensely, if his grimaces and antics and cries meant anything.
Probably his eyesight was failing him, and he found out that the
spectacles just suited his impaired vision. But the fun did not end
there. The priest, when he recovered somewhat from his surprise,
saw his spectacles going the round of the delighted company of
monkeys, some of which they fitted and suited, and some of which
they did not fit or suit. And to make the whole affair still more
enjoyable, the spectacles were coolly handed back to the patient
priest when curiosity had been completely satisfied; and, strange to
say, they were no worse for the handling they had received and
the examination they had undergone.

Monkeys and dogs seem to have a strong antipathy to each other,
and it is impossible for them to meet without quarrelling. Miss
Cumming tells about a magnificent hill dog that was presented to
her, called Ramnee, who was as gentle as a lamb with human beings,
but a perfect tartar with monkeys. She writes: “ This antipathy to
the monkey-tribe came near to causing me trouble on our return to
the plains, for as we neared the Nerbudda river he suddenly espied
a great encampment of devotees, accompanied by a regiment of
monkeys. He was sitting beside me in an open dak-gharry, and
ere I could possibly check him he sprang out and made for them.
In an instant the whole camp was routed, and men and monkeys
put to flight. The general confusion was diverting, but I was
heartily glad when, tardily obeying my call, the great big gentle
puppy returned, like a gentleman, to his seat in the carriage.

“Then the obnoxious-looking company plucked up courage to
approach and claim backsheesh for their insulted monkeys, when
happily it occurred to me to turn the tables and claim backsheesh
for my beautiful dog, who was sitting gravely at my side. Whether
they were dumbfounded by the exquisite absurdity of the demand,
or simply considered that a white woman who would sit beside a
SACRED MONKEYS 57

dog was altogether impracticable, I cannot say, but they laughed
and departed. That was poor Ramnee’s last scamper in India.”

A friend of mine, the Rev. W. J. Wilkins, late of Calcutta, had
an encounter on one occasion with monkeys when he had a little
dog with him. He relates the adventure in his interesting book,
Daily Life and Work in India. He writes: “I once received
rather too much attention from a number of these four-handed
animals. Having with me a little dog that evidently had not been
often in the presence of monkeys, and who expressed his surprise
at their appearance in a manner that irritated them, about twenty of
them made an attack upon the little terrier. I knew that if once
they caught him he would be carried to a tree and there torn to
pieces ; and asI had nothing but an umbrella to defend myself with,
the odds were rather against me for atime. I confess I was rather
annoyed to see the villagers standing as mere spectators of the game,
evidently wishing to see fair play, for not one of them raised a finger
to help me. With my open umbrella I managed to shelter the dog,
whilst I marched backwards as quickly as possible, until I was near
enough to call to my companions for help. I have no wish for
another encounter with monkeys.”

I have heard of another terrier, named Fury, belonging to Lady
Barker, which had no gallant defender in the hour of need, and
which consequently came to an untimely end through its hatred of
monkeys. Simla, the pleasant hill-station of the Imperial Govern-
ment, was the scene of the catastrophe. Miss Cumming tells the
story. In Simla there is a hill named Jakko, the woods on which
are infested with monkeys, both the common brown ones, and the
ereat big grey ones with black face and paws, and fringe of white
hair round the forehead.

From Jakko it appears the monkeys were in the habit of wander-
ing to the different houses in the neighbourhood intent on “ picking
and stealing,” and in the course of their wanderings they often
came across the little terrier, which never lost a chance of barking
at them and frightening them off the premises. The disappointed
58 THE LAND OF IDOLS

monkeys bore the matter in mind, and bided their time for a terrible
revenge. One day, as little Fury was accompanying his mistress
through a dark thicket of rhododendrons, she saw the skinny arm
of a monkey suddenly dart out from amid the scarlet blossoms, and
quick as thought the poor terrier was seized by his long, silky hair,
and in a second had disappeared in the thicket. Vain were all at-
tempts at rescue; vainly and piteously the doggie yelped and howled,
while a shaking of the branches and sound of scuffling were all that
betrayed his unwilling ascent to the top of a high tree, where a
monkey-jury had assembled to try the criminal. Once there, his
unhappy mistress beheld her little favourite passed from one to
another, that each in turn might have the satisfaction of pinching,
and tweaking, and pulling out his hair till his particular grudge was
revenged. Then, when all were tired of this amusement, they took
him to the extreme end of a branch and dropped him down a
precipice. And so ended poor Fury’s quarrel with the monkeys.
In the Statesman and Friend of India a remarkable anecdote
appeared some time back of an adventure a monkey had with a
tiger. It appears that the village of Mahabpore, in the district of
Rajshahji, was greatly troubled by a man-eating tiger, which had
taken up its quarters in a jungle hard by. The inhabitants did their
best to destroy or drive away the brute, but without avail. At last
a monkey came to the rescue. The tale runs that when the tiger
was lying down in a shady place a monkey, espying it, took it into
its head to poke the savage animal with a stick, and seemed to relish
the joke very much. And whenever the tiger tried to attack its
malicious assailant, the latter sprang up a tree out of the way.
Thus the fun went on at intervals for a few days, when the
monkey thought a ride would be a pleasant variety, and in a moment
placed itself on the back of the tiger and seized its ears with its
fore paws, while it twisted its hind paws under its body. The in-
sulted and enraged animal needed neither spur nor whip, but at once
began to race across the country with terrific leaps and bounds, the
monkey holding on bravely all the time. In sheer disgust and
SACRED MONKEYS 59

despair the tiger at last dashed towards the village, as if to suppli-
cate the inhabitants to rid it of its tormentor. The people of course
refused to interfere; and so the distressed animal sought again the
seclusion of the jungle, and there, when it was thoroughly knocked
up, the monkey took advantage of an overhanging branch, and im-
mediately climbed to the top of a tree. The next day the tiger left
the district, and was at last killed in a neighbouring village. Thus
did a monkey do a good turn to human beings.

There is a famous village in Bengal called Goopteeparah, which is
noted for its pundits, or learned men, and its monkeys. This curious
double notoriety has led to much satire, and it is now a common
saying in India to ask whether a man comes from Goopteeparah
when the speaker means to insinuate that he is nothing better than
a monkey. It was from this celebrated village that Raja Krishna
Chunder Roy procured some monkeys, which he took to Krishnugger,
and there caused to be married, with all the usual formalities, as if
they had been human beings. The expenses of the nuptials came to
a small fortune.

Some years ago the Raja of Nuddea did the same mad trick. He
is said to have spent one hundred thousand rupees in marrying two
monkeys. In the procession were seen elephants, camels, horses
richly caparisoned, palanquins, lamps and torches. The male mon-
key was fastened into a fine carriage, having a crown upon his head,
with men by his side to fan him. Then followed musicians and
dancing-girls in carriages, and a great concourse of people. For
twelve days the rejoicings were continued in the palace and in the
town. All Nuddea seemed to have gone crazy over the extraordinary
event. At the close of the ceremonies the bride and bridegroom
were given their liberty, but they remained in the neighbourhood,
and their descendants are there to this day. Indeed, Nuddea is now
overrun with the troublesome creatures.

Nothing more, Iam sure, is needed to show the utter folly of the
Hindus. An intellectual race has fallen low indeed when it can wor-
ship such a silly, comical, and mischievous animal as a monkey!
Oy thie 58
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THE KRISHNA AVATARA (from a@ native picture).

VI.
THE STORY OF KRISHNA.

RISHNA, or, to give him his full name, Shree Krishnu Chund,

is one of the most popular of the gods of India, and is the
special favourite of the women and children of India. The story of
the life of this god is most curious and interesting, and reminds us
in some respects of the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. The very
name Krishna, as pronounced in the East, suggests to us the name
of our Saviour. But my young readers will see, as they peruse this
chapter, that Krishna was a poor character when placed in contrast
with Christ; for while our Lord appealed to the nobler side of

human nature, Krishna appealed to the baser,
co
THE STORY OF KRISHNA 61

But now to give some details of the life of this popular god.
Krishna, it is said, was born at Muttra, a city in the neighbourhood
of Agra in Northern India. He is represented to have been an in-
carnation of Vishnu, the second person of the Hindu Trinity—not a
complete incarnation, but ‘a portion of a portion” of the divine
essence of Vishnu, the preserver of all created things. The first
appearance of Krishna in this world is fabled to have been on this
wise: At midnight on a Wednesday he was born, and appeared at
once before his father and mother “the colour of a cloud, with a face
like the moon, and with eyes like a water-lily.”” He had on his head
a crown of gold, and round his neck was hung a necklace composed
of jewels, and—would you believe it ?—round his body there was a
yellow vest.

What a curious little fellow this new-born babe would look, being
unlike, I am sure, any baby that you or I have yet been privileged
to see. This wonderful appearance of the boy was all illusory,
however, for, as the story tells us, no sooner had his parents shouted
out at the sight of him, “Great is our good fortune,” than he be-
came like other children, and began to cry in a hearty and vigorous
fashion. Just as we are told in the Bible that Herod sought to
destroy the child Jesus, so the Hindus in their sacred scriptures say
that a wicked king or demon, called Kansa, sought to slay the babe
Krishna. But Prince Basoodeo, the father of Krishna, fled by night
with the child to carry him to a place of safety.

The story relates how that Krishna was placed in a basket
and carried out into the darkness on his father’s head. The night
was wild, the rain came down in torrents, the winds blew a hurri-
cane, and the beasts of the field roared with terror; but the new-
born babe was as happy as possible, and crowed with delight. At
length the river Jumna, which flows by Muttra, was reached, and
the anxious and distressed father paused in dismay, for there seemed
no possible way of crossing the swollen stream. Plunging in, how-
ever, he resolved to essay the task; but the depth of the river in-
creased as he advanced, and soon the water reached his mouth. It


62 THE LAND OF IDOLS

seemed as if father and child must perish, but in a most unexpected
way deliverance was wrought. The babe in the basket, the Hindus
say, worked a miracle. Seeing the danger, he stretched out a chubby
little foot and touched the water ; when lo, the river became shallow,
and the other side was speedily reached in safety !

Through the raging storm Basoodeo pressed on with his precious
burden until he reached the village of Gokool, where he found for
the babe a home in the house of a
poor shepherd called Nund, whose
little daughter, born the same even-
ing, was taken away in exchange.
Thus Krishna was delivered from
the power of the wicked king.
What became of the prince and
princess, the father and mother of
Krishna, we are not told — they
drop out of the story altogether;
and Krishna, for some years at
any rate, was led to think that his
foster-parents, Nund and Jasodha,
the poor peasants, were his real
parents. With these lowly but
kind-hearted people, who treated
him with much affection, the child
henceforward passed his days.

KRISHNA. And very happy the days of

Krishna's childhood and youth seem

to have been. He had a foster-brother named Bulram, who loved
him dearly, and was his inseparable companion as they both grew
in years. The two boys are represented as being of a very merry
and somewhat mischievous disposition. One favourite pastime of
these youngsters was to lay hold of cows’ tails and hang on, while
the animals ran hither and thither, evidently enjoying the fun as
much as their little masters. -But while we may smile at such esca-




ae,



Boe

Se Ory
wo*.


THE STORY OF KRISHNA 63

pades of youth, we have quite different feelings when we are told
in the Hindu writings that Krishna developed into a very clever
thief. Is it not strange that any people can worship a thief? But
the Hindus, I am afraid, think that it does not matter what their
gods do. Divinity seems to be regarded as an excuse for any
wickedness. Though Krishna is generally acknowledged to have
been an immoral character, yet he is almost universally adored and
loved in India.

And, not content with being a thief himself, we are told that
Krishna sought to train his companion Bulram and his other play-
mates in the same craft. There is a story told about his taking a
number of cowherds’ children to a place called Bruj, and encouraging
them to steal butter. They searched for this tempting article of
diet in houses which were left for a few hours by their owners, and
stole all they found. They also carried away the milk-pails belong-
ing to people they found asleep in their houses.

One day, however, Krishna was caught in the very act of thiev-
ing, and taken before his foster-mother, who, instead of scolding him,
or punishing him, or pointing out to him the sinfulness of his con-
duct, simply said, “ Son, do not go to any one’s house; whatever you
wish to eat, eat at home.’ Upon this, Krishna told a lie to cover
his theft. Let me quote the very words of the Hindu book from
which I have learned these things. Creeping up to his foster-mother,
the boy said in whining tones, “Do not, mother, place any reliance
on what they say. These false shepherdesses have spoken falsely,
and have come roaring in pursuit of me. Sometimes they make me
lay hold of milk-pails and calves; sometimes they make me perform
the drudgery of their houses, and having placed me at the door to
watch, they go about their business, and then come and tell you
stories.” Thus the youth very meanly excused himself.

Even in his own house Krishna gave trouble at times, for he was
far from being an obedient boy. Take one story as an example. It
was a special churning day, and Jasodha was very busy. But right
in the middle of her churning Krishna, who had been asleep, must
64 THE LAND OF IDOLS

needs awake, and call out crossly for something to eat. ‘ Mother!
mother!” he shouted, ‘how often have I to call you, and you will
not attend to me!” Not satisfied with the promise that he would
receive something to eat directly, the peevish boy grumbled and
threatened mischief. Before his foster-mother was aware of his
purpose, he had seized the churn-staff from a large dish, and putting
both his hands in, had taken out the butter, and begun throwing it
about, and besmearing his body with it. Thereupon Jasodha, hoping
to pacify him, stopped her work and said, ‘““Come along with me,
and I will give you food, you naughty boy!” But the perverse
young man was not to be so easily quieted down, for he answered,
“T will not take it now: why did you not give it me at first?” At
length with coaxing and kissing he was prevailed upon to eat, and
the wearied woman went back to her churning.

Jasodha had scarcely resumed her occupation, however, when
Master Krishna threw over and smashed some pottery, and ran into
the yard with a dish of butter in his hand to divide amongst his
companions. Captured and led back to the house, the naughty lad
was told that he must submit to being tied to the wooden mortar,
so that he might be kept out of mischief. He agreed; but every
string with which his foster-mother sought to secure him proved on
trial to be too short, for, according to the story, the young prince
by his supernatural powers shortened them. At length, however,
perceiving that Jasodha was on the point of bursting into tears, the
exasperating youth opposed no longer, and suffered himself to be
tied up, and was on his best behaviour for the rest of the day.

When Krishna was a little older, he was permitted by his foster-
parents to go out with other boys to graze the cattle at some dis-
tance from home. On one such expedition a curious and comical
event is reported to have happened. The tale goes that while
Krishna was tending the cattle out in the open fields his old enemy,
Kansa, sent a demon in the form of a big crane to gobble the lad
up. Krishna, it appears, knew well enough what the crane was
after; and when he saw it approaching he assumed an attitude of
THE STORY OF KRISHNA 65

indifference, and without a struggle allowed himself to be seized by
the enormous bill and swallowed wholesale.

From the inside of the crane, Krishna gathered from the loud
screams he heard that his companions were terribly upset with
what had happened. “ Alas! alas!” they cried, “let us go and tell
his mother!” Ere they could start, however, the young prince or
god carried out a little scheme he had been revolving in his mind.
All of a sudden he made himself hot, and he grew hotter and hotter,
until the crane became uncomfortable ;, and then he grew hotter still,
until the bird could bear it no longer, and ejected him from its mouth.
Once again at liberty, Krishna turned on the disguised demon, and
seizing the beak of the crane, pressed the bird under his feet and
tore it to pieces, thus inflicting death on his enemy. Collecting the
calves, the victorious youngster then returned home with his com-
panions, laughing and playing.

But a still more wonderful tale is told of Krishna and his friends,
the cowherds’ children. It is said that one day when they were all
out in the fields together, they allowed the cattle to stray a little while
during the dinner-hour. The god Brahma, noticing from heaven
their carelessness, collected and took away the calves as a punish-
ment. The children, knowing nothing of this mishap, went gaily
on with their repast, until quite suddenly one of them said to
Krishna, “We are sitting here at our ease and eating; who knows
where the calves may have strayed?’’ Whereupon Krishna jumped
up, and exclaimed, “Do you all remain feasting, let no one be
anxious; I will collect the calves and bring them here.’’ And away
the lad went in his search for the animals, but of course found them
not. Then it was revealed to him that the god Brahma had spirited
them away.

However, Krishna, the legend says, was equal to the occasion, for,
using his divine powers, he made other calves, exactly like the lost
ones, and drove them before him. Imagine his dismay when, on his
return, he found that Brahma had meanwhile abstracted the children.
But Krishna, not to be outdone in cleverness, created other children,

F
66 THE LAND OF IDOLS

exactly like those that had been taken away. And the newly-created
cattle and children went to their homes, and no one discovered the
secret.

And where, meanwhile, were the original children and cattle?
Brahma had shut them up in a mountain cave, and blocked up the
entrance with a stone, intending only to keep them his prisoners for
a day or two. However, the god fell into a state of forgetfulness
regarding the circumstance for the space of twelve months, but then
recollecting what he had done, he said to himself, “One of my
moments has not passed, but a year of mortals has elapsed; I will
go and see what has been the state of things in Bruj without the
cowherds’ children and the calves.” Thinking thus, Brahma rose
and went to the cave, and having raised the stone, saw the children
and the calves were fast asleep. Leaving them there, the god passed
on to Bruj, and to his intense astonishment found Krishna and the
‘children playing in the street, while the calves were in the stalls.
Then was it revealed to Brahma that it was the miraculous power
of Krishna that had caused the illusion, whereupon he bowed to the
superior wisdom and greatness of the shepherd-god, and worshipped
him. The children and the calves were of course released from the
cave.

As Krishna grew in years and became a young man, we are in-
formed that he was a general favourite amongst the fair sex of the
district. Many a strange story is told of his escapades with the
pretty milk-maids of Muttra and Brindaban. The chief delight of
the forward youth was to watch when the girls went to bathe in the
Jamna, for then he would steal their clothes, and hang them all over
the branches of a great tree, while he sat on a convenient bough,
calmly waiting for the damsels to approach to supplicate for their
garments. When Iwas on a visit to Muttra, the identical tree was
pointed out to me. I noticed that the branches were literally covered
With many-coloured rags; and when I asked the meaning of such
a strange display, the priests who were in attendance told me that
the pieces of cloth were affixed to the tree as votive offerings by
THE STORY OF KRISHNA 67

pilgrims from all parts of India, in memory of the merry deeds of
the god Krishna in the days of old. Thus you see the people of India
are proud of actions which we think unseemly and wrong.

Krishna sometimes, however, was helpful to those maidens of
Brindaban, for there was pointed out to me near the bathing-ghaut
a spot where a terrible conflict took place between the young god
and a poisonous serpent of monstrous size and strength, which had
been a terror to the bathers. Krishna, after an awful struggie,
succeeded in obtaining the mastery over the reptile, and thus earned
the thanks of all the country side for ridding the river banks of
such an enemy.

I have in my collection of Indian curiosities an idol which repre-
sents Krishna as a young and handsome lad, joyful and triumphant,
holding up a great serpent, whose head he had crushed beneath his
feet. Speaking of images of Krishna, I might say that he is repre-
sented in many forms, the most popular being those which picture
him as a babe in his mother’s arms; as a boy resting on one knee
with his right hand extended begging for sweetmeats ; as a youth
playing a flute or standing on the head of a serpent, and as a man
fully armed for battle.

No Indian god seems to have so taken the fancy of the common
people as Krishna. The women and children are never tired of
talking of his strange actions and marvellous exploits, and they
sing his praises all the year round. They call him the pleasant, the
cheerful, the merry god, their darling, and seem to see nothing wrong
in his character or life.

The miracles which Krishna is said to have wrought are legion.
In addition to those I have related, I might mention that the Hindus
assert that at the sound of Krishna's flute stones and trees became
animated, and the wild beasts of the field became as tame as turtle-
doves. It is said also that he.cured many sick people of their dis-
eases by a word. And as a crowning proof of his mighty power, it
is declared: that on one occasion when the god Indra was angry
with the people of Gokul, and tried to destroy them with torrents of
68 THE LAND OF IDOLS

rain, Krishna-saved their lives by holding a great mountain over
their village, balanced on his little finger, just as easily as any
ordinary person could have held an umbrella.

There is no need to follow Krishna very closely through the re-
mainder of his eventful history. When he became a man, and had
gathered round him a number of followers, he attacked Kansa, the
wicked king of Muttra, who had persecuted his parents, and de-
stroyed him. Thus he became famous as a soldier and a warrior,
and his services were in request in every part of India. Finally, he
took part in the great wars between the Kauravas and the Panda-
vas, fighting on the side of the latter, who were victors in the long
struggle. It is said that Krishna, who thus survived many enemies
and innumerable dangers on fields of battle, was at length accident-
ally slain while resting in a forest against a tree, by a hunter who
mistook him for a tree. If the story be true it was an untimely end
to which ‘to come. His foster-brother and lifelong .companion, Bul-
ram, it is said, also perished in the same forest, from exhaustion, so
that in their death the two friends were not divided.

Now who can say how much of this strange story of Krishna’s life
and doings is truth, and how much is fiction? It almost seems as if
somebody of this name did once live in India, and passed through
very wonderful experiences, especially in the days of youth and early
manhood. To make a god of such a man, and to exaggerate his
deeds, would not be unlike the impressible and imaginative people of
India.

Some students of Indian history think, however, that the whole
tale of Krishna’s life is a mere invention, probably founded on im-
perfect accounts of the life of Christ which early Christian emigrants
would carry to India from Palestine. It really does not matter much
which view we hold. Krishna of the Hindus when contrasted with
Christ cuts a sorry figure; and this is the point I want my young
readers specially to notice. Think of the disobedience of Krishna to
his parents; think of the immoral character of the god—of his
thievish propensities, and impure actions; think of the silly and
THE STORY OF KRISHNA 69

childish miracles with which he is credited ; think of his days passed
in strife and bloodshed. And thinking of these things, remember that











ae Li Sas
elit ain
‘ N



maa



TEMPLE OF KRISHNA, NEPAUL.

Christ—God manifest in the flesh—was subject to His parents in all
reverence and love; that He grew up an innocent, dutiful Child; that
7O THE LAND OF IDOLS

as a Man He was truthful, and candid, and holy in all His ways;
that He was of a peaceful disposition; that He exhorted His friends,
neighbours, and fellow-countrymen to love God their heavenly Father,
and also to love one another; and that He went about daily doing
good to friends and enemies alike, until, in the fulness of time, He
died upon the Cross, a sacrifice for the sins of the world. Thus of
Christ, but not of Krishna, we can say :—

“And so the Word had breath, and wrought,
With human hands, the creed of creeds,
In loveliness of perfect deeds,

More strong than all poetic thought.”

The anniversary of Krishna's birth is kept in India on the eighth
Sravana, which occurs either in July or August. On that day
images of the infant Krishna are adorned with sacred leaves, and the
idol is fervently worshipped. Then on the festival called the Huli,
the great saturnalia of the vernal equinox in India, Krishna is wor-
shipped with special honours, which too often degenerate into mid-
night orgies.

Worshippers of Krishna-are assured that in this life they will
obtain innumerable pleasures, and in the world to come such joys as
the heart of man never conceived. The heaven promised to all who
call Krishna their god is a vast golden city, containing a multitude of
beautifully furnished palaces, mansions, and halls. “Rivers of
crystal flow through the city, and broad, beautiful lakes are over-
shadowed by fair, fruit-bearing trees. These lakes are covered with
water-lilies, red, blue, and white, each blossom having a thousand
petals; and on the most beautiful of all these calm lakes floats a
throne, glorious as the sun, whereon Krishna the beautiful reposes.”

And, sad to say, it is not considered necessary, according to Hindu
teaching, that the followers of Krishna should live holy and righteous
lives, either for their own comfort and happiness in this world or the
next. All that is considered necessary for salvation is, that believers
should mention the name of Krishna. Then, no matter what may be
THE STORY OF KRISIINA 71

the character of the worshippers, an abundant entrance into heaven
is assured them.

To illustrate the efficacy of the mere name of Krishna, the Hindu
gurus, or religious teachers, are fond of relating a story of a wicked
woman who daily amused herself by teaching her parrot to repeat
the name of Krishna. When the woman died, although she felt no
sorrow for her sins, her spirit, it is asserted, went at once to heaven,
where she was received with acclamations, and entered upon untold
bliss, and all because, in teaching her parrot to talk, she had re-
peatedly mentioned the name of Krishna.

How different all this is from the teaching of Christ, who depre-
cated vain repetitions of the name of God, and laid such stress upon
holy living as well as trustful faith, saying, ‘Not every one that
saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven.” The
best wish we can express for the welfare of the people of India is,
that in the religious life of the people Christ may take the place of
Krishna.
Lea

i
ti

i
i ‘| i

li



INDIAN SNAKE-CHARMERS,

VI.
SNAKES AND SNAKE WORSHIP.

HE very term snake has an objectionable sound with it, and we

doubtless find it difficult to understand that the people of India

can worship such a reptile. However, the fact remains that many of

them do, for they fear them—especially the poisonous snakes—and
worship them to escape the venom of their bite.

In Cashmere years ago, there were said to be seven hundred
temples for snake worship, but nearly all have been demolished.
However, in the neighbourhood of Nagpore, or the city of the Naga or
Snake, the old worship is still more or less practised. And in South
India snake worship very generally prevails amongst the lower

classes of the people. In the town of Trevandrum the other day,
72
SVAKES AND SNAKE WORSHIP 73

au

while a Christian colporteur was reading the Scriptures to some
people in the courtyard of a house, a serpent passed by him. He
wished to kill it, but was forbidden by his audience, who shouted,
“Do not touch it—it is our god.” Whata god! Just think of falling
down and worshipping a snake! To our Western feelings it is
shocking in the extreme, but in the East it is an everyday occurrence.

There are more snakes in India than in any other part of the
world, and a learned writer on the subject, Sir Joseph Fayrer, asserts
that there are at least twenty-one distinct varieties of snakes im the
East. Out of this number fortunately only four varieties are vemo-
mous, but then there are millions belonging to each variety or order.
The snake in India that is most feared is of course the cobra, or, to
give it its full name, which is derived from the Portuguese, the Cobmna
di Capello. This deadly reptile is found all over Hindustan, and is
remarkable for the faculty of dilating the back and sides of the meck,
when excited, into the form of a hood.

The cobra is usually three or four feet long, of a pale, rusty brown
colour above, and a bluish or yellowish white below. On the back of
the neck there is a singular mark, always more or less clear, which
bears such a close resemblance to an old-fashioned pair of spectacles
that the reptile has from some people received the name of the
“spectacles snake.” Its ordinary food is lizards, flies, grasshoppers,
and other small insects and animals.

There are many sad and thrilling stories told of adventures with
snakes on the part of human beings, and every year a very great
number of deaths occur, both amongst cattle and mankind, through
the bite of snakes, and particularly through the bite of the cobra. It
is estimated that 20,000 human beings every year perish in India
alone through this cause. While Iwas living in Calcutta I remember
the case of a boy of ten years of age who was walking along a road
in the suburbs and was bitten in the foot by a snake, and though
every effort was made to save his life, the poor little fellow died after
two days of suffering. I remember also the case of a girl of thirteen
who was bitten in the arm while she was asleep, and who died within
74 THE LAND OF IDOLS

a few hours. And such cases are occurring daily, for the snake is no
respecter of persons, putting his venom into the form of a little child
as readily as into the form of a grown-up man.

It is not often we hear of Europeans being bitten by snakes in
India, though occasionally they have very narrow escapes. Bishop
Heber, in his “ Diary,” tells a story or two on this subject.. Writing
on September 18th, 1823, while sailing on the Ganges, he says: “This
morning, as I was at breakfast, the alarm was given of a great snake
in the after-cabin, which had found its way into a basket containing
two caps, presents for my wife and myself from Dacca. The reptile
was immediately and without examination pronounced to be a cobra,
and caused great alarm amongst my servants.

“However, on dislodging it from its retreat, it proved to be only a
water-snake. It appeared to have been coiled up very neatly round
the fur of the cap, and though its bite would not have been venomous,
it would certainly have inflicted a severe wound on anybody who had
incautiously opened the basket. I had once or twice fancied I heard
a gentle hissing, but the idea of a snake in the boat seemed so im-
possible that I attributed the noise to different causes or to fancy.
Much wonder was expressed at finding it in such a place, but as I
have seen one of the same kind climb a tree, it is probable that it had
ascended one of the ropes by which the boat is moored at night, and
so got amongst us.”’

Bishop Heber then remarks: “I had heard of an English lady at
Patna who once lay a whole night with a cobra under her pillow.
She repeatedly thought during the night that something moved, and
in the morning, when she snatched her pillow away, she found the
thick black throat, the square head, and green diamond-like eye ad-
vanced within two inches of her neck. The snake fortunately was
without malice, his hood was uninflated, and he was merely enjoying
the warmth of his nest: but alas for her if she had during the night
pressed the reptile a little too roughly!”

Snakes as a rule do not chase human beings, or seek to attack
them, but rather try to escape out of the way. ‘Knowing this








FESTIVAL OF THE SERPENTS, BOMBAY.
76 THE LAND OF IDOLS

characteristic of the reptile, some people always go about with a stout
walking-stick or umbrella, not so much with the idea of striking any
snake they may meet as to give the reptile warning of their approach
by the vibration of the ground, with the result that the snake usually
glides rapidly away as the traveller approaches it.

Sometimes, however, vicious snakes are met which boldly attack
a stranger, and seem determined to cause mischief. The Rev. J.
Ewen, of Benares, in his Sketches and Stories of Native Life, tells
a remarkable tale of a vicious snake. He writes: “In the rainy
season of 1880, I had the narrowest escape I have ever had. I was
returning to Delhi about 9 a.m. one day, along the Agra road, when I
saw a bright yellowish snake glide out from among the tombs and
come on to the road. I apprehended no danger, and drove on, feeling
confident it would get out of my way as I went forward. In this I
was mistaken, for it stopped short in front of my horse. The poor
brute was paralysed with fright and stood still. The snake was then
by the footboard, and before I could take in the situation, it deliber-
ately sprang at me. [I instinctively dropped the reins, and the
horrible thing flashed past, striking me on the tips of the fingers and
the knees as it passed. The spring carried it over the conveyance;
but it turned and renewed the attack, and I could distinctly hear it
beating against the bottom. Fortunately the horse, feeling the reins
loose, dashed off and broke the spell. When I drew him up and looked
back, the snake was still on the road as defiant as ever.”

It would appear that poisonous snakes, dangerous though they
are, have actually been made pets of by human beings, who have
handled them freely. I have heard of a European gentleman at
Rangoon who kept cobras in his house, and who, when he wanted to
show one, put his hand boldly into a narrow-mouthed basket, containing
quite a number, and pulled out the one he had chosen. Mr. Edward
Moor, in his book entitled Oriental Fragments, relates that when he
was a boy in India he took a great fancy toa little cobra which he
found on the road. It was at first no larger than an ordinary
penholder, and the lad kept it for some time in a bottle, feeding it
SNAKES AND SNAKE WORSHIP 77

with flies and crumbs of bread. As it got older and larger he put it
into a larger bottle, and every now and then took it out for the
amusement of himself and a playmate, who whistled to the dancing of
the pet.

In a while the snake was big enough almost to fill a gallon bottle,
and then it developed restive tendencies, and a neighbour calling at
the house might perhaps find the reptile coiled up on the sofa. One
cold morning, Mr. Moor says, the strange creature crawled up into
his bedroom, and nestled in the bed beside him, and from that day he
became much attached to it. However, in the course of time, when
the snake had grown to be more than a yard in length, though it had
done no one any mischief, it was decided, in solemn family conclave,
that it would be as well to part with it, for fear of future trouble.
Accordingly the curious pet was carried to a rocky, sunny place, two
or three miles away, and given its liberty; and thus the friendship
between the snake and the boy was broken off, much to the distress
of the latter, who mourned many days at the loss of his favourite.

In Old Deccan Days, a book written by Miss Frere, a daughter
of Sir Bartle Frere, a story is told of a Brahmin boy in the country west
of Poona, who could, as he sat out of doors, by the charms of his voice,
attract to himself and handle without fear all the snakes which might
be within hearing in any thicket or dry stone wall, such as in that
country is their favourite refuge. So great was the popular excite-
ment among the Hindus regarding this boy, that thousands and tens
of thousands of people flocked to see him; and as they witnessed the
remarkable power he had over snakes, they regarded him also asa
god, and proceeded to worship him. The poor lad, however, was at
last bitten by one of the reptiles and died, and the wonder ceased.

It has often been a debated point as to whether snakes can kill each
other—as to whether their poison is deadly when injected into each
other’s bodies, just as it is when injected into the bodies of animals
and human beings. Dr. Vincent Richards, in his book entitled
Landmarks of Snake Poison Literature, says: “I have kept sixty
to seventy cobras in a pit together, and they very often, on the
78 THE LAND OF IDOLS

slightest provocation, began to fight in a most savage and curious
fashion. On being provoked, several commenced to hiss fiercely, and
some would raise themselves up,. expand their hoods, and begin a
vigorous attack in all directions ; and after making several ineffectual
darts, two would catch each other by the mouth, rapidly entwine
themselves, and after wriggling and struggling about in this state for
some time, relax their hold. Then one would be seen gliding away
vanquished to the corner of the cage, while the triumphant onc,
raised to its full balancing height, hissed out its challenge for a
renewal of the combat. In what consisted the getting the worst of it,
I could never discover, as neither of the combatants ever seemed any
the worse for the fight; nor can I understand why one snake dreads
another if no danger is involved.” However, in a footnote to this
paragraph, Dr. Richards announces that after other and numerous
experiments he at last came to the conclusion that one species of
snake could kill another by the injection of poison.

A paragraph which I saw in a Bombay paper a year or two ago,
headed ‘‘ A Duel between Snakes,” should aid in settling the disputed
point. A correspondent writes: “Last Tuesday, when taking an
afternoon stroll in my garden, I was surprised to see a cobra and a
rock-snake in the road before me, moving in a circle and apparently
following each other. This cautious manoeuvre was pursued for a
time, the circle closing at each round, until when within a few feet
I observed the cobra to stop, coil, and place itself in an attitude to
strike. The rock-snake then passed round its antagonist several
times, lessening the distance at each round, when it also stopped and
began to coil. But before it was ready to strike, the cobra suddenly
darted upon it. The evolutions were too rapid to be detected; and
then again I distinctly observed both the snakes stretch out at full
length. The rock-snake was enveloped in the folds of the cobra,
which had also seized the rock-snake at the back of the head, and
held it there. After a short interval the cobra gradually unfolded
itself, loosened its grip with its mouth from the rock-snake's head, and
moved away. I called to my. gardener, who was working a few paces
SVAKES AND SNAKE WORSHIP 79

off, but before he could come up to the spot the victor of the duel dis-
appeared in a neighbouring bush. On examination I found the rock-
snake to be dead.”

In his Three Years of a Wanderer’s Life, Mr. Keene tells the
story of a snake and a mouse that is worth repeating. He writes:
‘T was visiting at a friend’s house in Calcutta, and was on a certain
evening sitting at dinner alone. I had finished and was still lingering
at the table when a little mouse ran up on the top of a bowl with a
sort of basket cover on it. I should not have thought that of itself
very singular, for the ‘tribes on the frontier’ make most unexpected
incursions. But this mouse, when he got perched on the cover of the
bowl, rose up on his hind legs, with his hands before him, and began
to entertain me with the funniest little song you can imagine. ‘Chit
—chit, chup—chup—chit,’ he whistled, and kept it up before me ina
most unembarrassed and self-possessed little way. I must have been
a trying audience, for I leaned back in my chair and roared with
laughter.

‘““ However, as I looked at the little performer I gradually became
aware of a shadow, a something strange gliding out from behind a
dish toward the mouse. Silently and slowly it drew near: in another
minute a beady snake's eye glittered in the lamplight. My hand stole
softly for the carving-knife. The snake reared his head level with
the mouse, and the poor little fellow’s song, which had never ceased,
became piercingly shrill, though he sat up rigidly erect and motion-
less. The head of the snake drew back a little to strike: and out
flashed my carving-knife.

“The spell was broken instantly, for the mouse dropped and
scampered. The snake was evidently wounded, for there were spots
ot blood on the table-cloth, and it was writhing about among the
dishes and plates.. I would not have believed, until I had seen it, how
much of himself a snake can stow away under the edge of a plate.
At last I saw the end of his tail projecting out from under the dish.
A snake held by the tail and swung round rapidly cannot turn and
bite. I grabbed the tail with my left thumb and finger, and drew him
So THE LAND OF IDOLS

out until I judged the middle of his body to be under the knife: then I
came down and cut him in two.” Thus was the little singing mouse
saved from the jaws of death.

Everywhere in India are to be found wandering samzp-wallahs, or
snake-charmers, who for a trifling sum will favour you with an
exhibition of snakes which they carry about in a basket or upon their
persons. When in Calcutta I often called in these entertaining
gentlemen with their snakes, more especially when visitors were
in the house from England or Australia. I remember well one
entertainment. Two dark fellows came in and squatted on the
verandah, with some earthen pots which contained the snakes. The
latter were taken out one by one, and made to dance to the noise of a
tubri, a curious instrument from which the snake-charmers bring
out some weird music. The dancing of half a dozen snakes all ina
line was very peculiar and somewhat awe-inspiring, for it seemed
as if at any moment they might turn on us, the spectators.

However, the men had the snakes well in hand, and made them go
through many manceuvres in the dancing line. Then one of the men
seized the nearest snake, and immediately twined it round his waist;
the next he threw over his shoulders; the next round his throat; and
the others round his head and his legs. And not satisfied with this
startling display, he irritated the reptiles until they erected their
heads and hissed with rage.

The snakes round the man’s neck and head actually put out their
forked tongues and struck him fiercely on the face, until the blood
flowed down pretty freely. The man did not seem to care, but only
laughed. And no harm seemed to result from the wounds, which
were probably only skin-deep. So freely do snake-charmers usually
handle their reptiles that some people have supposed that the
poisonous fangs must have been previously extracted from the
snakes. However, this is not the case.

When Sir Edwin Arnold paid his last visit to India he tells us
that he put the matter to the test. A snake-charmer who exhibited
before him was questioned as to the presence or absence of poison in
SNAKES AND SNAKE WORSHIP

A
a

his snakes, and replied, “If the gentlefolk would supply a sheep or

Or



SERPENT-CHARMERS IN INDIA.
goat, they might quickly see whether he spoke a true word.” Ewen
tually a white chicken was produced, and seizing his cobra by the

&
82 THE LAND OF IDOLS

neck, the juggler pinched its tail and made it bite the poor fowl, which
uttered a little cry when the sharp tooth punctured its thigh. But
being replaced on the ground, the chicken began to pick up rice with
unconcern, apparently uninjured. In about four minutes, however, it
ceased moving about, and began to look sick. In two minutes more
it had dropped its beak upon the ground, and was evidently paralysed
and unable to breathe freely. In another minute it fell over upon its
side, and was dead with convulsions within ten minutes after the
infliction of the wound.

Seeing that snakes are so common in India, and the bite of many "
of them so deadly, we can quite understand that great anxiety is
shown to find out, if possible, something that will act as an antidote,
that life may be saved. The poison of the cobra is secreted in a large
gland in the head, and when the serpent compresses its mouth upon
any object the liquid flows through a cavity of a tooth, which is sharp
as a needle, into the wound, and quickly runs through the system.
‘Unfortunately, nothing has yet been discovered which can, in a
genuine case of poisoning, be looked upon as a certain cure.

Dr. Vincent Richards, the specialist already referred to, has
examined one by one the so-called antidotes, such as ammonia,
arsenic, mercury, nitrate of silver, oil and opium, and declares that
all of them when weighed in the balances are found wanting. The
man, it would appear, has yet to come forward who will confer
upon his fellow-mortals the inestimable boon of a sure antidote to the
bite of a venomous serpent.

Amongst other antidotes that have been tried in past years, and
found of no use whatever, is the one which bears the name of “ snake-
stone.” I have one in my possession which I bought at Benares from
a snake-charmer. It was believed for many years, even by intelligent
men, that there was asecretion in the head of a cobra which, as the
snake advanced in years, grew hard like a stone, and that this stone
when extracted, as it was often supposed to be.by snake-charmers,
and applied to the wound inflicted by a snake bite, would immediately
cause it to heal.
SNAKES AND SNAKE WORSHIP '83

These “stones’’ are usually of a dark hue, and are flat, like a
tamarind stone, and about the same size; that is, say, the size of a
threepenny bit. If put into a glass of water they sink, and emit
small bubbles every half-score seconds. A snake stone was once
sent to Professor Faraday to analyse, and he believed it to be “a
piece of charred bone, which had been filled with blood several times,
and then carefully charred again. It consisted almost entirely of
phosphate of lime, and if broken showed an organic structure with
cells and tubes.” Probably the fullest and most reliable account of
snake stones is to be found in Moor’s Oriental Fragments, to which
I would refer any of my readers who may be specially interested in
the subject. Mr. Moor, in a clever fashion, convicted a snake-charmer
of deceit, and the man confessed that he was a rogue, and that snake
Stones were all an invention of the snake-charming fraternity, to
impress the public with their cleverness and to add to their gains.

In the native almanacs the fifth day of Srawan (July-August) is
noted as the birthday of the King of the Snakes, and on that day
worship is very generally in India offered to snakes. In Benares
Hindus of all ranks and of both sexes go to the famous Serpent's
Wells in that city, and after bathing therein return quietly to their
homes. Elsewhere the practice is for the people to draw a serpentine
figure on their houses and do homage thereto. Then they adjourn to
the nearest rocks or trees where serpents are known to live, and
finding their holes, plant sticks near them, and winding cotton round
the sticks, hang up festoons of fragrant flowers.

After that is done, offerings of fruit, sugar, ghee and flour are
placed round the holes, into which milk is very often poured. The
women-folk and children then joining hands, circle five times round
the snake’s dwelling, and then lie down and watch anxiously to see
if the reptiles will come out of their holes and partake of the things
presented to them. If the snakes do, which is usually the case, the
foolish people are delighted, and go back to their homes believing
that the snake-king has heard their prayers, and will give them his
blessing.
84 THE LAND OF IDOLS

When will the people of India learn that the only Being to be
worshipped is God, and that the only thing to be feared is sin? It is
sin that ‘“‘biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder.” And the -
only remedy for sin-stricken souls is faith in Christ, of whom the
Bible speaks when it says, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the
wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever
believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”






































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































i _ atte

‘ ae Stree ee eT
SS MEE Seu Oy
aes oe NONE

ae ae SOR LT
—— Qe
mee tye SEW coSFES as
nee iad Ss

WORSHIPPING THE GANGES.

VIIL
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS.

HE manners and customs of the people of India are an endless
source of interest to visitors from Europe. All is so very
different from what we are accustomed to at home, that we cannot
but notice and comment on what we see and hear of the character of

the people, their way of life, and general appearance.
89
86 THE LAND OF IDOLS

Everything seems to be turned topsy-turvy, and it takes new
arrivals in the East some time to get used to the remarkable change.
“The Oriental has an odd way of doing everything backwards, as
it seems to us, though from his point it is we who turn everything
upside down. Their saw, for example, has the teeth set towards the
handle, and the carpenter pulls it towards him; their screws turn the
wrong way; their writing begins at the wrong end; they take off
their shoes and keep on their hats, while we take off our hats and
keep on our shoes; they beckon with the finger held downwards;
. and, strangest of all, if a man wishes to spite his enemy he occasion-
ally does so by hurting himself.”

Thus in both thought and action the people of the East differ
radically from the people of the West, and these facts have to be
taken into consideration when we desire to form an estimate of the
character of the natives of India. We must take care that we do not
condemn others simply because they differ from ourselves, for it does
not necessarily follow that our ways of thinking and acting are the
only true and right ways.

The morning bath is a favourite custom of the East, and it would
be well if it were as widely followed in the West. It is a remark-
able sight, in the early morning in India, to observe the natives of
ull ages and of both sexes going down to the river or the tank, and
there performing their ablutions with great care and every appear-
ance of enjoyment. Of course the hot climate favours the practice,
for no one is afraid of cold water or of a chill. The boys and girls
of India have not to be driven or coaxed to the river for their bath,
as they are always delighted when the hour comes round, for it is
one of the enjoyments of their life.

The custom of bathing is associated with religion. Ido not know
that the Hindus believe that “cleanliness is next to godliness,” but
they certainly affirm that their gods are pleased with them if they
attend regularly and punctiliously to their ablutions. If you watch
the bathers closely you will observe that their lips move as if in
prayer. They are in reality dedicating themselves to their idols, and
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 87

praying that they may be cleansed from all defilement, incurred by
touch, taste, deed, word or thought, known or unknown.

Unfortunately, the people are not as particular as they ought to
be with regard to the purity of the water in which they bathe. The
river, of course, is all right, but sometimes the tanks in which they
wash themselves are stagnant pools of filth and corruption, and are
dangerous to health. It would be a great gain for India if the
Imperial Government appointed inspectors of the tanks, whose duty
it would be to see that all places of public ablution were kept in
proper repair and free from all injurious matter. As it is, the
universal custom of bathing in the East, which ought to be a great
public blessing, is very often a means of propagating numerous
diseases.

The Hindus have a curious custom of marking the forehead, and
rubbing other parts of the body with ashes, in the early morning,
and these caste or sectarian marks are retained throughout the day.
It is a disfiguring custom, and serves no good end, while at times it
leads to strife. There are about seventy distinguishing marks in all,
most of which are placed on the arms and breast. The face marks
are the fewest, but they are the most striking. These marks consist
of spots, circles, triangles, straight lines, curved lines, crescents,
simple or in combination, and of varied colours. Thus a simple spot
on the forehead symbolises Brahma the Supreme Being, while a spot
in the centre of a circle enclosed in a triangle symbolises the Hindu
Trinity—Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva. Some sects adopt a mark like
an eccentric cross with the four points bent. Some are simply marked
with three white lines, while others have perpendicular stripes. A
small horizontal line on the forehead denotes having bathed—in fact,
being ready for society.

The Hindus spend a lot of thought and time every morning over
these sectarian marks, time which would be better spent in quiet
meditation and prayer. I dislike the custom, chiefly, however, be-
cause it makes a public display of differences in religious opinions,
and thus helps to perpetuate feelings of class hatred.
88 THE LAND OF IDOLS

In association with the morning bath, and at other times during
the day, the people of India pay great attention to their teeth. Itis a
fact that Eastern people do not suffer anything like as much from
decayed teeth as Western people, and one reason probably is because
they clean their teeth daily with great care. Tooth-brushes are not
used. Indeed, the Hindus think our custom of using tooth-brushes to
be a most unclean and disgusting one, inasmuch as we do not have
new ones daily, for the touch of saliva is deemed utterly polluting.
The people of India simply use a piece of soft stick bruised at one end,
usually the wood of a tamarind or nim tree, for purposes of teeth-
cleansing. ,

Dress is not a matter which very much exercises the attention of
the millions of India. Some of the rich people put on beautiful and
even costly clothing, but the common people are, if anything, too
careless with regard to their apparel. Of course, in a hot climate
very little clothing is needed, but decency requires that some should
be used. Commonly, children go about quite naked, unless a string
round the waist, with a key or coin attached to it, can be called a
garment. The key is worn as a charm to keep away evil influences
from the little ones. When boys and girls reach the age of five or
six clothing is worn, but it is even then very scanty, consisting only
of a cloth round the loins. And with the poor all through life very
little more is worn, even in the rainy or cold weather. Sometimes at
night a sheet is wrapped round the body for warmth. Among well-
to-do people the ordinary female dress is the saree—a piece of cloth,
between nine and ten cubits long, and two or two-and-a-half cubits
broad, which is worn round the waist with one end covering the
shoulders and the head. Of men the ordinary dress everywhere is
the dhoti, which is wrapped round the middle of the body, and tucked
up between the legs, while a part of it hangs down in front a good
deal below the knees. A chadur is also used by people who can
afford to have one, and is worn over the shoulders.

Of late years in the cities some of the native gentlemen have
taken to imitating Europeans in their dress. It is surely a mistake.
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 89

The native garments when ample and of good material look very
picturesque, and are more suitable for an Eastern climate than
European clothing. Ido not suppose that the people generally will
ever be foolish enough to discard their national costume, though it is
to be hoped that the poorer classes will be led to be more particular
with respect to the decency of their personal appearance. Neatness
and cleanliness in dress, both in the West and the East, are greatly
to be desired on the part both of young people and adults, and in all
classes of society.

Stockings are very seldom used by the natives of India; nor,
indeed, are they needed. Shoes also are not common amongst the
Hindus, though the Mohammedans wear them. The poor classes,
both male and female, especially in Bengal, go barefoot, and experi-
ence no inconvenience from the custom. Even amongst Mohamme-
dans it is considered only reverent to take off one’s shoes when
entering the courtyards of the mosques, and only respectful to leave
them at the door when entering the dwelling house of a friend or
stranger. Bare feet have always been regarded as signs of politeness
in the East, just as a bare head has been in the West. Eastern
people keep the head covered on all occasions both indoors and out,
as a general rule, though recently in the large cities custom has been
varying on this matter and also on the shoe question. The fact is,
the presence of Europeans in India is slowly but surely working a
change in some of the manners and customs of the people, and has
certainly affected this time-honoured practice of taking off the shoes
as a mark of respect. However, the change as yet is chiefly confined
to the educated classes of society and to cities. The people as a
whole still keep the head covered and the feet bare in the presence of
those whom they regard as their social superiors.

Both Hindus and Mohammedans are apt to carry their civility to
the verge of servility and beyond it on occasion. The people of India
lack what we might call a proper feeling of respect, what the French
designate amour propre. A little more manliness and independence
of character would be beneficial to the whole country. Very few of
go THE LAND OF IDOLS

the people seem to have a mind or a will of their own in the presence
of superiors. Indeed, the manners of the natives of India may be
represented as cringing. In addressing a superior they will use such
terms as “Lord,” “Provider for the poor,” ‘ Representative of God,”
“Your Worship,’ and so on; while they speak of themselves with
the utmost humility as “ Your slave.”

There is a story told of a Lieutenant-Governor of the North-west
Provinces entering a public school on one occasion to question the
lads as to their progress in knowledge. The pupils were over-
powered by the honour done them, and seemed scarcely to know
whether they were standing on their feet or their heads. Matters
came to a climax, and the gravity of the great man was completely
upset when, in answer to a question he had put as to what makes
the earth go round the sun, the head scholar of the school exclaimed
solemnly and earnestly, “Sir, the earth revolves by favour of your
Highness.” Is not such servility disgraceful? Yet amongst men as
well as boys in the East it is all too common. Why, I have knowna
servant in my own house in Calcutta, when I was displeased with
him, fall down on the floor, and attempt to put one of my feet
upon his neck as a sign of the most complete self-abasement and
submission to my will. Such conduct was always a trial to me.
The people of India greatly need to be taught “self-respect,”
without which no people can be honoured and no nation can be
great.

Yet, strange to say, while true self-respect is lacking in the Hindus
and Mohammedans, they are not troubled as a rule with diffidence, and
they cannot be regarded as modest in their estimate of themselves.
The Rev. F. H. Blackett, late of the Cambridge Mission, Delhi,
writing on this point, says, ‘There is in all of these a serene self-
complacency which is not easily disturbed, and is a source of great
weakness and a great obstacle to their moral improvement, its root
being obviously in the absence of any highexternal standard. Natives
of India are not troubled with any excessive reserve on their own
merits; if these are not readily apparent to others they are always
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS gI

willing to supply the deficiency.” Thus conceit flourishes though
self-respect does not.

Inquisitiveness is another failing of the people of India. They
think that everybody’s business is their business, and they do all they
can to find out what salary you get, what failings or virtues you
may have, and other matters of private interest. For instance, the
servants in the house of a European will obtain keys to open drawers
and desks when the master’s back is turned, and will count money,
and read any correspondence they find, if they can. I have known
a packet of love-letters disappear for a few days, and then be brought
back again. In all probability the precious parcel was placed for a_
while in the hands of some one who could read English, and who for
a consideration would tell the inquisitive servant what the contents
were. Such meddlesomeness seems unbearable, but English people
in India get used to it in time, and put up with it simply because they
cannot mend matters. As education spreads in the land, and the laws
of morality are taught even to the servants, we may hope for a change
for the better. “Paul Prys” are not pleasant people to have to deal
with.

Except amongst the well-to-do in India the houses of the people
have very little furniture in them. Chairs and tables are almost un-
known. The people usually sit or recline on a mat on the ground,
and sleep on a little framework of bamboo called a charpoy. At any
moment in India a man could easily take up his bed and walk. Our
custom of sitting on chairs seems very comical to the natives who
live in country places, if they happen to enter a European house. I
well remember the perplexity of a young man who was brought by an
evangelist to'see me in Calcutta when I offered him a chair and asked
him to sit down. He stared at the chair in amazement, and then,
feeling that he ought to do something, he first stood upon it, and then,
doubling up his feet under him, sat on it in true Eastern fashion, like
a tailor on his bench.

The habit the natives have of sitting on the ground poised on the
soles of their feet is a very peculiar one also. It is a position in which
92 THE LAND OF IDOLS

a European would have difficulty in retaining his balance, and yet the
Hindus adopt it as an attitude of rest. A coachman, for instance,
will get off his comfortable box directly the carriage stops anywhere,
and will squat in the dust and poise himself on the soles of his feet
with his shoulders almost between his knees, and enjoy himself rest-
ing thus by the hour together, while waiting for his master and
mistress.

It isa custom in India to dismiss a visitor who may have called
upon you when you think he has stayed long enough. Of course in
England it would be considered the height of rudeness to do sucha
thing, but in the East it is a right course to take.

Untruthfulness and dishonesty are bad traits of Eastern Shmracien.
To tell a lie seems, I am afraid, to many Hindus and Mohammedans
as natural as to tell the truth. Missionaries, in their dealings with
young people in the colleges and schools, have great difficulty in
getting them to understand that it is wrong to deceive, wrong to tell
lies, and wrong to purloin articles that belong to others.

Europeans, in association with native servants, find the same
absence of truthfulness and honesty. Taking them altogether,
servants in India are useful and faithful; but it seems almost im-
possible for them to be straightforward and upright in all their
conduct. The fact is, there is no religious teaching on these questions
of morality, and the example ofthe so-called gods of the land,
particularly Krishna and Siva, is very injurious, for they are credited
with doing all kinds of wicked things. I was fortunate in my
servants while in India; but still every now and then something
would disappear from the house. I would miss money out of my
pockets, and writing-paper out of my desk, and various ornaments
and curiosities I had collected would vanish from the walls and no
more be seen or heard of.

One night I missed a new silk umbrella on which I had just turned
my back for amoment. As I felt sure it could not have been taken
away, but must be hidden somewhere in the house, I called the
servants together and asked them to assist me in finding it. Our
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 93

search was in vain. However, at midnight I ransacked the house
again on my own account, and at last came across the missing
article. stowed away behind the sideboard in the dining-room.
Foolishly, I resolved to leave it there till morning, and then show it







THE AUTHOR’S NATIVE SERVANTS, CALCUTTA,

to the servants and try to convict one of them of hiding it with
felonious intent. After breakfast I marshalled the whole household
and led them to the sideboard; but the thief had been too sharp for
me, for the umbrella was no longer there. Words fail me to describe
my chagrin at the discovery. As for the servants, not a muscle of
their countenances moved, though I could see from the sparkle in
94 THE LAND OF IDOLS

their eyes that they were enjoying my discomfiture. I had to buy
another umbrella.

Another bad custom of Eastern people is that of running into
debt. It is noticeable in all classes of society, and even amongst
native Christians, who ought to know better, and who ought to set a
better example to their non-Christian countrymen. Debt is incurred
chiefly in connection with marriage ceremonies, which are celebrated
on a grand scale; and once in debt it is almost impossible for the
poorer classes to get free, as the money-lenders charge high interest,
and it is all the people can do to meet the payments as they fall due.
Thus many of the people are kept for life under the yoke of debt.

One of the sights of India, and one which my young readers would
be sure to notice if they travelled in the East, is the barbers plying
their razors in the streets and the market-places. The Hindus never
shave themselves, though it is a general custom to be shaved. The
Mohammedans seldom shave, as the beard is sacred, being a passport
to Mecca and to Paradise. Amongst the Hindus the people called
Rajputs and some others allow the beard to grow, but the general
practice is to have thé face and part of the head shaved. I have
often stood in the street and watched with curiosity and amusement
the skilful operations of the barber, who, with a miserable apology
for a razor, would industriously scrape away at the-chins and
craniums of his customers. I noticed that a small tuft was always
left on the top of the head; and this, I was told, rightly or wrongly,
was left for the convenience of celestial messengers, who would thus
be able, after death, to clutch the Hindus struggling in “the sea of
sin,’ and drag them through to the shores of the Better Land.
Religion, you see, in India, even plays a part in the shaving of the
head. Is it not a foolish and superstitious custom ?

The women-folk amongst the Hindus do not have the head shaved
except when they become widows. The belief is that “the glory of
the woman is her hair,” and they encourage it to grow long, and will
not, as a rule, voluntarily sacrifice a single hair. An exception is
made, however, when they go on pilgrimage to Allahabad to bathe
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 95

in the sacred confluence of the Ganges and Jumna, which takes place
near that city. ‘Once a year, there, at the junction of the holy
river, it is deemed the honourable privilege of a good wife, with her
husband’s sanction, to offer the tips of her long hair, which are most
solemnly cut off by the priests with golden scissors, while reciting
prayers and verses from the sacred books. The hair thus sacrificed
is laid on a metal dish, with a gift of coin from the husband. The
priest takes the coin, and the holy river receives the hair.” The



STREET BARBER.

deed is regarded as a meritorious one, sure to secure the favour and
blessing of the gods.

Smoking is indulged in by young and old in India. I have scen
mere children pulling away at the native pipe. Boys, however,
never smoke in the presence of their parents, nor do students in the
company of their tutors. It is not considered respectable for women
to smoke, though many of them are known to do so and to like it.
There seems indeed in India to be a perfect passion for the use of
tobacco. That less harm results from the custom of smoking in the
East than in the West is doubtless due to the fact that the smoke
96 THE LAND OF IDOLS

passes through water ere it reaches the mouth, and is thus greatly
purified of the injurious nicotine, which is the bane of all smokers.

The food of the people of India is worthy of notice, as it differs
from our own in the matter of meat. The Hindus are vegetarians.
Ordinarily the diet is exceedingly simple and light—the solid food
consisting mainly of rice, wheat or other grains, and of vegetables
and fish; and the drink of water and milk. The prejudice against
butchers’ meat is very strong, though occasionally a Hindu will eat
a little goat’s flesh or venison, if it has been sacrificed before an
idol. Fruits are plentiful and cheap in the country and are largely
eaten.

Knives and forks are not used at meals, nor even spoons. Plates
also amongst the poorer classes are unknown, and the food is eaten
off palm leaves or any other convenient leaf. It is surprising with
what dexterity the Hindus can eat, and still more surprising to notice
the quantity that disappears down their capacious throats. Of course
it must be borne in mind that rice is not a very satisfying food, and
quantity has to make up for quality.

Just after a meal, and at other times during the day, the natives
of India may be observed chewing what is called pan. And what is
pain? Itis a tonic ingredient composed of betel-nut, lime, cinnamon,
cardamom, and other spices, wrapped in a pén leaf and fastened with
a clove. This concoction is put bodily into the mouth and vigorously
chewed. The taste is aromatic and slightly astringent, and it is said
to aid digestion. A peculiarity of it is that it makes the saliva quite
red, and thus gives a repulsive appearance to the mouth. It is a
national custom to offer this pin or betel to guests, and it would be
considered the height of rudeness to refuse it.

Europeans, however, invariably decline to take it, but they are
excused on the ground of their nationality. It is a custom that
Europeans cannot get used to, and generally regard with disgust.
Miss Cumming tells us that when in the Himalayas she tried to take
pan, but in vain. She writes: “ All this time I found myself provided
with an honorary escort, a white-robed moonshee or scribe, who had
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 97

taken a lift on the top of my carriage, and who in return was con-
tinually bringing me fruit, and insisted on teaching me to chew betel-
nut as the greatest delicacy he had to offer. It was unspeakably
nasty, and I was thankful next day to find that my teeth were not
permanently stained red.”

Bishop Heber, however, had a better opinion of pan, for he wrote
in his diary, on June 28th, 1824: “I tried chewing the betel to-day,
and thought it not unpleasant; at least, I can easily believe that
where it is fashionable people may soon grow fond of it. It is warm

‘and pungent. My servants fancy it is good for the teeth; but they
do not all take it. I see about half the crew without the stain on
their lips ; but I do not think the teeth of the others are better.”

What a noisy people the Hindus are, and the Mohammedans like-
wise! . They seem unable to talk without shouting, and they are
ready at a moment’s notice to have a wrangle over a few coppers. It
used to be a grief to me to hear my servants loudly quarrelling over
the veriest trifle; and it was a distraction also, for the strife would
usually continue for half an hour or more, and while it lasted it was
impossible to study or to write with any comfort.

And what dreadful language was used! It is said that no race
on the face of the earth has so large a vocabulary of oaths as the
Hindu. To call another “The child of an owl,” “The son of a
chicken,” or “ Toom gudha ”—i.e. ‘‘ You donkey ! ’’—is, comparatively
speaking, to utter pleasant words. Much more dreadful execrations.
are used, and the people curse one another unto the third and fourth
generations.

Yet while the natives of India are so free with abusive words,
they seldom proceed to blows. Their swords are curses. If they do.
under great provocation proceed to violence, it is generally nothing
worse than the knocking off of a turban or head-dress, or a re-
sounding smack with the open hand, or a blow with a slipper. No
great harm is done. And once blows have been struck the people
seem frightened with what has occurred, and the tumult immediately

subsides.
H
98 THE LAND OF IDOLS

In this matter Eastern people differ greatly from Western, for
with the latter one blow generally leads to another, and the strife
grows fiercer and more deadly, and confusion becomes worse con-
founded. It isa pity that everywhere human beings have not more
control over their angry passions. The Eastern saying is very true—
‘Greater is he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” It
is wise to “ leave off strife before it be meddled with.”

There are two words often used in the East to which I would call
the special attention of my young readers. They are pukka and
cutcha. Pukka is used to express everything that is good, solid, and
enduring, while cutcha represents the opposite characteristics. For
example, if a man is erecting a building of stone or bricks, and is
putting good cement.and plaster on the structure, then he is making
what is called “a pukka job of it,” but if he uses inferior materials it
is called “cutcha work.” In architecture, the public buildings of
Lucknow compared with those of Delhi are cutcha; for though they
have a good appearance to the outside view, they are not solid and
enduring as well as beautiful, like the latter.

Then, too, the people of the East speak of a cutcha or pukka
appointment, of a cutcha or pukka road, and of cutcha or pukka
characters. The words are comprehensive and expressive, and
might with advantage be taken over into our English vocabulary.
Anyway, I hope that all who read this account of the manners and
customs of the people of India will-discriminate between the good and
the bad, the temporary and the lasting, the cutcha and the pukka, and
judge accordingly.

I would conclude this chapter with a brief reference to the Eastern
methods of the disposal of the dead. All the world over the day of
death as well as the day of birth comes to every child of Adam.
Methods of disposal of the dead, however, vary with different
nationalities and races. The Parsees, about whom I shall give many
particulars in a later chapter, expose their dead bodies on what are
called Towers of Silence, until they crumble to dust. Mohammedans
bury their dead in the earth much as Christians do. Hindus, however,
burn their dead.
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 99

It is in my judgment a sad spectacle to go to a Hindu burning-
ghaut and watch the bodies of young and old being brought to be
cremated. As I stood near a ghaut one day on the banks of the
Ganges, a dead man was carried past me, borne on four bamboos.
The bearers chanted “Ram! Ram! Ram is the true God!” And
those who followed with the fire and the sacred water answered,
“What you say, brothers, is true!”” Then the body was laid on the
wood provided for it, a light was applied, and the corpse was slowly
consumed.

I prefer burial on the “earth to earth” principle tocremation. Yet
it matters little, except for sanitary purposes, how our bodies are dis-
posed of after death! The great concern for us all, my young readers,
is to live well. Then we shall find that, whether, like the Parsees, we
are “exposed,” or, like the Hindus, we are “cremated,” or, like other
races, we are “buried,” ‘to die is gain.”


A HINDU SAINT,

IX,
FAKIRS OR SAINTS.

N India there is a class of religious mendicants called Fakirs or

Saints, about whom I am sure my young readers would like to
have some account.

Though of Arabian origin, the term fakir is applied in India both
to Hindu and Moslem ascetics, though other names are also used, such
as Gosains, Bairagis and Yogis. Though fakirs are generally regarded
in the East as holy or saintly characters, much like the monks of

Europe, yet in too many cases they are nothing of the kind, but a
100
FAKIRS OR SAINTS Ior

dirty, idle, dissolute community, living by their wits, and imposing
upon the religious credulity and feelings of compassion of the people.
The more thoughtful natives of India say that by far the great major-
ity of fakirs are most pitiable characters, averse to labour, and in-
clined to take life easy by begging.

The clothing and general appearance of fakirs is most grotesque.
The best dressed amongst them, the gentlemen of the profession, wear
deep yellow or saffron robes, that being a sacred colour, pleasing to
the gods. As a general rule, however, the clothing that is worn is
simply a dirty rag round the loins, and a string of beads round the
neck; while under the right arm may be seen a tiger’s skin, and in
the hand a hollow gourd with which to draw water. The head
presents the appearance of a filthy mass of tangled hair. It is difficult
to imagine a more living picture of squalid wretchedness than these
poor creatures of India called fakirs or saints.

Now and again a fakir may be seen in a country place absolutely
naked—“ sun-clad,” as it is called. I saw one once at Gaya. To go
about “sun-clad’”’ was some time back very popular amongst the
fraternity, but the British Government has very properly issued a bye-
law against the custom. Still, however, it is practised in some places.
In a most valuable work by Bishop Thoburn, of Calcutta, entitled,
My Missionary Apprenticeship, the following incident is found. At
the time the author was travelling in the Himalayas. ‘Late at night
I went out for a little walk, and had made a turn up and down the
little pathway by the tent, when I was startled by the figure of a man,
perfectly nude, standing on a spur of rock which jutted out over the
seething river below. His matted hair was bound up on the crown
of his head, and he stood perfectly erect and still, with his clasped hands
stretched towards the stars, while he seemed to be gazing intently
into the distant heavens. A flickering camp-fire under a tree behind
him threw its light upon his form, so as to give him a strange, ghost-
like appearance, and for the moment I was quite startled by the seem-
ing spectre. I watched hima short time, but he did not move, and he
probably remained there long after I had fallen asleep.”
102 THE LAND OF IDOLS

I have heard of another case of a Hindu fakir, who would persist
in going about the city of Lucknow, “ sun-clad,”’ at all hours of the
day, to the vexation of many of the inhabitants. The holy man was
again and again arrested, and taken before the English magistrate,
and warned that he would be punished if he persisted in defying the
laws of public decency. The stupid fellow, however, refused to mend
his ways, and was finally imprisoned, and ordered to receive ten
stripes. When set at liberty he was presented with a waist-cloth, and
told that he must beware of offending again.

The news of the punishment of the saintly fakir spread like wildfire
throughout the city, and greatly displeased some of the people, who
thought that the magistrate had gone too far. Others were delighted,
however, that the yogi had been taught a lesson, more especially as the
flogging had frightened him, and cured him of his offence. The saint
was greatly chaffed as he went through the streets with his bran-new
clothing on; and when asked how it was such a holy man as he had
been subjected to such indignities, he gave the following explanation of
events, which was ingenious if not convincing. He said, “In my
former birth I was a washerman, and the magistrate was my donkey.
Tused to treat him abominably. I would load him up with heavy
bundles till his legs were bending under him, then sit on the top and
whip him up. In this life things have changed. I have been borna
poor fakir, and he a magistrate, that he may pay me back in my own
coin the injury I did him.” Thus the troublesome but good-humoured
mendicant, in true Eastern fashion, sought to turn the laugh against
the Englishman.

The person to whom Bishop Thoburn referred as standing naked
and alone on a spur of rock in the Himalayan mountains was a typical
Hindu saintly character of the best sort. The idea of such is that a
man should withdraw himself from the world, and in absolute quiet
concentrate his thoughts on God alone. And in Western lands we
have the same idea as illustrated by the actions of monks and nuns,
who have retired to desert places, or to monasteries or nunneries.
The idea is not, however, Scriptural; for the Bible teaches us that
FAKIRS OR SAINTS 103

“godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life
that now is, and of that which is to come.” We cannot but regard
with feelings of respectful pity the misguided people who truly believe
that God is pleased with their voluntary severance from their fellows
and endurance of many hardships, including the infliction of austeri-
ties upon their bodies.

Very remarkable things are related of Indian fakirs in the matter
of austerities. Some will hang themselves up by the feet head down-
wards, and remain in that position for a long time; others will take
a vow of silence for five or ten or twenty years; others will make
long pilgrimages to various shrines, painfully “measuring their
length” on the ground all the way; others will hold up the right
hand over the head until it has become stiff and fixed; others will
clench the hand till the nails grow through the palm; others will
sit between four fires with the blazing sun overhead, or stand up to
the neck in water for hours; and others will walk round a temple
yard wearing shoes studded inside with sharp nails. In short, there
seems to be no folly or personal cruelty for the sake of obtaining
renown and merit that fakirs will not commit or undergo.

In proof of the foregoing statements let me give an instance or
two that I have myself witnessed, and a few illustrative stories that
[have heard or read. At the Temple of Kalighat, near Calcutta, I
often saw more than one mendicant with feet twisted under the body and
with hand uplifted as in the engraving on p. 108. The arm had become
paralysed with disuse. Then one year when I was visiting Allahabad
I remember seeing an aged man lying ona clay table or bed on the
bank of the river Jamna, with only a single sheet over him to protect
him from the scorching sun. This fakir was quite ready to speak
when spoken to, and, though very feeble, was very cheerful. He
stated that he was over ninety years of age, and had been sixty
years in the same place, never moving except to go down at midnight
to bathe in the spot where the Ganges and the Jamna meet, which is
considered specially sacred.

I noticed that the old man’s face was deeply pitted with small-
104 THE LAND OF IDOLS

pox; and on being questioned on this point, he said that God had
smitten him with disease when twenty years of age, and that
he was not only severely marked, but had lost his sight. Lifting
up his sightless orbs, the fakir presented a sad appearance, and my
heart went out to him in sympathy. When asked if the austerities
of his life, exposed as he was to the heat by day and the cold by night,
and to all the changes of the seasons, did not distress him and dis-
hearten him at times, he answered, ‘Oh no, Iam perfectly happy!
I spend my time in thinking of the gods, and I never get tired of
thinking of those great beings.”

His next remark startled me considerably, for it was to the effect
that he was without sin, and, in fact, had never sinned. Some neigh-
bours I talked with afterwards about the old man told a different tale,
however. Their statement was that in his early days the fakir had
lived a wild life; but by his austerities, and especially by his bathing
in the confluence of the sacred rivers, his guilt had all been washed
away, and he was now an example of holiness to the whole world.
This famous saint has recently, I believe, passed from time into
eternity.

Bishop Heber, in his famous “Diary,” has much to say about
strange cases of austerity amongst fakirs. Let me give one instance.
It is taken from the second volume, and is as follows:—" As I passed
through the principal street of Khanwah in my evening’s walk, I
saw a very young man naked and covered with chalk and ashes,
his hair wreathed with withered leaves and flowers, working with his
hands anda small trowel in a hole about big enough to hide him if
he stooped down. I asked him if he were sinking a well; but a
bystander told me that he was a Mussulman fakir from the cele-
brated shrine near Ajmere, that this was his dwelling, and that he
used to make a fire at the bottom and cower over it. They called
this a suttee, but explained themselves to mean that he would not
actually kill, but only roast himself by way of penance. I attempted
as far as I could to reason with him, but obtained no answer except
a sort of faint smile. His countenance was pretty strongly marked
FAKIRS OR SAINTS 105

by insanity. I gave him a few pice, which he received in silence
and laid down on a stone, then touched his forehead respectfully
and resumed his work, scraping with his hands like a mole.”

In January, 1812, the celebrated missionary, the Rev. W. Ward,
witnessed what he described as “uncommonly severe acts of re-
ligious austerity’’ on the part of fakirs in the suburbs of Calcutta.
{t seems that a number of these saints surrounded themselves daily
with scorching fires, and for three or four hours rested, in front of
the flames, on their shoulders with their legs in the air, repeating
the names of their gods and counting their beads. Crowds of people
assembled to witness the strange proceedings of the infatuated men,
who continued their austerities in the night by standing up to their
necks in the Ganges for two or three hours, counting their beads.

Fakirs differ very greatly in their characters and ways of life.
Not all are of the meditative, austere, or self-denying temperament.
The majority, it is consideréd, are mere loafers, who travel about
from place to place simply to take life easily by living upon the
bounteous alms of the people, who are usually very ready to give to
the so-called saints, that they may obtain their blessing and the
merit which is believed to accrue from almsgiving. As well as being
beggars, it is thought that many of these fakirs are thieves and
robbers and worse.

The poor people of India have a great dread of these vicious
fakirs, and render them assistance even more from fear than from
love.

The Rev. J. Ewen, of Benares, in his Sketches and Stories of
ative Life, tells a very good tale of how he offended a fakir and
yet survived his curses. Mr. Ewen says: “I was walking in the
garden one morning when a fakir entered and asked me if I would
give him a few flowers. ‘Certainly,’ I said, never dreaming to what
use he was to put them, and I never thought of asking him. I sup-
posed he wanted them for the same reason as I myself would ask
for flowers—because of their beauty and fragrance.

“On the following morning he called again, and made a similar
106 THE LAND OF IDOLS

request. ‘Are those withered I gave you yesterday?’ I asked. ‘Oh
yes, I offered them to the god,’ he replied. When I heard this ex-
planation I said, ‘You cannot have any more. I cannot give you
flowers as an offering to an idol.’ He seemed surprised, and began
to threaten. ‘You will give me no flowers! Very well, I shall
curse your garden. I shall curse every plant. They will die, and
your garden will become a jungle.’ ‘Oh,’ I said, ‘you had better be
off, if you are to use threats! They are of no avail. They do not
frighten me, for lam not a Hindu; and certainly I will not consent
to take abuse. Be off!’ Away he went; but as he left he cursed
the ground, he cursed the trees, he cursed me and mine. The natives
who heard him looked very frightened. They expected it would all
take place. It happened, however, on that particular morning there
were quite a number of buds ready to burst, and on the following
morning the garden was like a sea of glory. The bushes were
covered with flowers. The natives smiled, shrugged their shoulders,
and, let us hope, lost faith in the fakirs’ curses.”

If these lazy mendicants consent to work at all for their living,
it is in a very curious fashion. JI remember seeing certain of the
community carrying a framework which contained jars of sacred
water from the Ganges or the Jamna or the Nerbudda. Of this
precious fluid they sell a few drops at high prices to rich people far
inland, who sprinkle their idols with it. Thus the fakirs accumulate
quite a store of silver coins, which they soon spend, however, in
questionable pleasures, and in giving feasts to their less fortunate
brethren.

At different periods of Indian history, fakirs, who are always a
public nuisance, have caused serious trouble in the State. In the
days of the Emperor Aurungzebe a vast host of these mischievous
vagabonds formed themselves into an army, and attacked and de-
feated the Imperial troops, and made the great Moghul tremble on
his throne. Ultimately they were put down, however, with a strong
hand. Then, in the days of Warren Hastings, the English had a
terrible struggle with certain fakirs who, coming from the fastnesses
FAKIRS OR SAINTS 107

of the Himalayas, and banding themselves together in companies of
two or three thousand, swept like a torrent through Bengal, burning,
destroying the villages, and committing unnumbered horrors wher-
ever they went. Five battalions of troops were sent against them,
but failed to put them down. Then the Governor-General took the
field in person against them, but he fared very little better than his
generals; for the fakirs evaded the troops, and went on with their
plundering and murdering until they had gathered together an enor- -
mous booty, when they as quickly departed as they had come, and
disbanded themselves, much to the relief of the East India Com-
pany.

Nowadays, though occasionally fakirs may be found in bands of
five hundred strong in certain parts of the country, they content
themselves with begging, or at the worst with surreptitiously ap-
propriating the goods of the people through whose towns or villages
they pass. The British Government rules with too strong a hand
for the saints to dare to proceed to open violence, however much
they might like to.

Strange to say, India has known women fakirs as well as men,
though there are comparatively few of the former now. A native
writer says, “It is now rare to see a woman who has renounced all
pleasures, all property, all society, and all domestic affections, pass
from city to city with a vermilion spot on her forehead, a cloth of
dull orange on her body, a long trident in one hand, and a hollow
gourd in the other. Hindu female ambition is not exercised now to
distinguish itself by a public life of abstinence, but by the qualities
which fit a woman to be the companion of man.” Let us hope that
it will always be so.

It is in vain we try to find out how many fakirs there are at the
present time in India—an immense number, there can be no doubt.
Some estimate that there are probably a million or more of them.
What an encumbrance such a host of non-workers—of beggars—
must be on the land! The public opinion of India needs educating
on the subject. The people need to be shown the evil of promiscuous,
108 THE LAND OF IDOLS

thoughtless almsgiving, and how sinful it is to encourage any class
of men in idleness who are well able to earn their own living.

The Gospel of Christ is needed in India, as well for the bodies as
the souls of the people, as well for their material as their spiritual
welfare; for the Gospel teaches us that true saintliness lies in holy
living, in active living, in self-denying living, for the good of others;
and that if a man will not work neither shall he eat. The Gospel
teaches us that health, prosperity and happiness come, not through
a life of ease and idleness, but through faithfully and diligently
serving our generation according to the will of God.



ASCETIC AT THE TEMPLE OF KALI, CALCUTTA,


SACRED BULL, MYSORE.

X.
SACRED COWS AND BULLS.

HE bull is the most sacred animal of Hindu mythology. He is
called Nahadeo, the little god. The Hindus say that when
Brahma created the sacred caste of the Brahmins he at the same
time created the cow to afford sustenance by its milk to man, and to
supply clarified butter for the burnt offerings which man should
present to his creator. The cow is called, moreover, the mother of
the gods.

So sacred have cows and bulls become in the eyes of Hindus that
they consider their slaughter a greater crime than parricide, and
years ago this offence against the sacred animals was punished by
death. No orthodox Hindu will eat beef at the present day, and he
imagines that never in the history of his race was such an unholy
thing done. However, facts are against such a supposition, as has
been clearly shown by various writers, and notably by Dr. Rajandra-
lala Mitra, a learned Bengali.

However, superstitions die hard in the East, and Dr. Mitra has
109
IIo THE LAND OF IDOLS

failed to convince his countrymen as a whole of the error of their
ways; for almost universally the belief is still tenaciously held, that
it is now, and always has been, an unpardonable sin to slay for any
purpose one of the most sacred of animals.

Many explanations have been given of the introduction of this
curious belief into India. Dr. Mitra thinks that it was the general
teaching of the Buddhists shortly before the birth of Christ, on the
sacredness of all life, that first led the Hindus to give up their beef-









BRAHMIN BULL AND ZEBU.

eating tastes,and make cows and bulls sacred animals, and their
destruction a crime. This may be the true explanation of the
custom; but I incline to another which I have heard propounded
by thoughtful students of the question.

I have heard it stated that the frequency of terrible famines in
India was the real origin of the veto that was put upon taking the
lives of cows and bulls. It is said that the wisest of the forefathers
of the Hindus, afraid that in times of famine the starving people
would eat all their cattle, and thus leave themselves absolutely with-
SACRED COWS AND BULLS IIt

out those useful animals of produce and labour, saw no way to
prevent the disaster except by investing the valuable animals with a
religious character, and treating their destruction as an impious,
sacrilegious act. So the command went forth from the priests that
thenceforth the life of a cow or a bull was equally as precious as, or
more precious in the eyes of the gods than, the life of a human
being.

However, be the explanation what it may, it is certain that for
hundreds, if not thousands, of years the Hindus have regarded their
cattle with great reverence, and have treated as blasphemous the
mere suggestion that a cow or a bull should be killed for any
purpose whatever, save now and again to be offered in sacrifice to
such bloodthirsty goddesses as Bhowani and Kali, whose divinity
might excuse the otherwise monstrous and unpardonable deed.

Not only are cows and bulls held in great reverence in India, but
they are actually worshipped as gods. Especially at one season of
the year, on what is supposed to be the anniversary of the creation of
the first cow, the worship of the sacred animal is very general. No
image is used, but the worship is performed in the cow-house before
a jar of water. At another season of the year the milkmen paint the
horns and hoofs of their cattle yellow, and bathe them in the river,
after which they do pooja to them—that is, worship them. Persons
strict in their religion actually worship the sacred animal every
morning immediately after performing their own religious ablutions.
The form of worship is to throw flowers at the feet of the cow, and
feed her with fresh grass, all the time saying, ““O Bhuguvutee! eat!
eat!” Then the worshippers solemnly walk round the animal three
or seven times, and make obeisance to her.

The Rev. S. Mateer, in his work entitled Wative Life in Travan-
core, gives some interesting information about cows and_ their
worship by royal personages. He says: “The worship of cows,
especially at the time of death, is a favourite one with the Hindus.
Baka Bhai, widow of the last Rajah of Nagpore, spent twelve hours
daily in the adoration of cows, the tulsi plant, the sun, and her idols.
112 THE LAND OF IDOLS

When her end was at hand, five cows were introduced into the room
where she lay, in order to be bestowed on Brahmins. The gift of the
animals was accompanied by a further donation in money, and as one
after another the cows passed onward from the bedside they were
supposed to help the dying woman forward on her way to heaven.
Among the last acts of her life was to call for a cow, and having
fallen at its feet, as far as her now fast waning strength would allow
her, she offered it grass to eat, and addressed it by the venerated
name of mother.”

It is generally understood that the Maharajahs of Travancore,
though renowned princes who have descended from an ancient line,
were originally, and are therefore still, in the matter of caste, Sudras;
that is, members of the lowest caste. However, that the reigning
princes may have due honour and respect paid them, even from the
people of every caste in their dominions, the priests, Mr. Mateer says,
have instituted a curious custom in association with a golden cow,
into the body of which each Maharajah must enter, as soon as possible
after his accession to the throne, and when the ceremony has been
performed the prince is regarded as “ born again.”

In the south of India in the Neilgherry Hills there lives a tribe of
aborigines called Todas. The most striking peculiarity of this very
peculiar people is the absorbing importance they attach to all duties
connected with the management of the cow and her chief product,
milk. Travellers say that so closely are Todas and cows associated
that it is simply impossible to think of one without the other. The
Todas are exceedingly kind to their cows, and treat them as really
and truly sacred animals, scarcely touching them with light wands
when they wish to guide them, and calling them by pet names which
the animals seem to understand and obey with intelligence.

The Todas have one cow in each herd of cattle which they regard
with special veneration. It is called the bell-cow, because of a
certain bell-idol, or bell-god, which is given to it. These bell-cows
are not selected on account of their good milking qualities, their size,
or beauty, but are the descendants in direct female line from certain
SACRED COWS AND BULLS II3

originals whose early history has been lost. Colonel W. E. Marshall,
in, his book entitled Travels amongst the Todas, says that a priest
told him that no matter how old and worthless the bell-cow might
become, the bell-idol belonged to her till she died, When without fail it
was transferred to her daughter. Strange to say, the beil-god is not
worn by the bell-cow except for a few days, but is kept in the priest's
houses, though it is clearly understood to which cow it belongs



TODAS.

The same priest gave Colonel Marshall a short account of the
installation of a new bell-cow. “ Twice a day, morning and evemimg,
for three successive days, the priest waves the bell, with his right
hand, round and round the head of the bovine heiress, talking to

her the while much as follows :—

‘What a fine cow your predecessor was !
How well she supported us with her mill!
Won't you supply us in like manner?

You are a god amongst us !

Let all be well!

Let us have plenty of calves !

Let us have plenty of milk !°”


II4 THE LAND OF IDOLS

So taken up are the Todas, both young and old, with their cows,
that they think of little else, talk of little else, and care for little else.
The tendance of cows, and the worship of cows, have become a
perfect passion with them. “Sitting apparently thinking of nothing
at all,a man will pick up a bit of cane or forked twig from the
ground, and like the typical Yankee, who is supposed to whittle a
stick while he speculates, so the Toda will employ himself for an
hour at a time, splitting his bit of cane or rounding the little branches
of his twig into the likeness of cows’ horns, as he muses. Even
children may be seen coming in from cattle-driving with strings of
these small horns over their arms.”

The great usefulness of cows is recognised all over India, and has
doubtless something to do with the reverence in which these animals
are held.

As the Rev. Lal Behari Day says in his book entitled Bengal
Peasant Life: “To the Bengal peasant the cow is the most useful of
all animals as well as the most sacred.” Mr. Day, in summing up the
advantages of this quadruped, remarks: “The cow supplies the
newly-born infant with food for some years; the cow, or rather the
bull, tills the ground on which the raiyots’ food grows; the cow
brings home on its back that food when it is ready from the fields ;
the cow furnishes the peasant family with the only fuel they have ;
the cow provides the peasant with curds, sour milk and whey; and
the cow gives that ghi or clarified butter which is so grateful to the
palate and nostrils of Hindu gods and Bengali Babus. After this, is
it to be wondered at that the cow should be greatly respected by the
Hindus?” The pity is, however, that gratitude should degenerate
into worship !

In the Mahabharata, the great epic poem of India, there is a story
told of a most wonderful cow, called Nandini. As the Hindus believe
the tale and hold the memory of Nandini in very special regard, I will
relate the extraordinary incidents of her career. It is said that
Nandini, cow though she was, could talk and reason and. work all
kinds of miracles. She was the property of a famous rishi or saint,
SACRED COWS AND BULLS I15

named Vashishta, who lived in a dense forest far from the dwellings
of men. Now to the abode of this venerable saint there came one day
a king and his suite, who had been out hunting deer and wild boar in
the forest, and had got lost, and who, when they were almost ready to
sink with exhaustion, espied the dwelling place of the poor fakir.
The good old man received his unexpected guests with deep saluta-
tions, offered them water to wash their feet, and bade them welcome
to his humble home.

But where was food to be obtained for such a company? The
saint appealed in his perplexity to his wonder-working cow, which had
never yet failed him in the hour of need. And, according to the
story,—

“ The cow, from which all plenty flows,
Obedient to her saintly lord,
Viands to suit each taste outpoured.
Honey she gave, and roasted grain,
Made sweet with flowers and sugar-cane.
Each beverage of flavour rare,
And food of every sort were there—
Hills of hot rice, and sweetened cakes,
And curdled milk, and soup in lakes.
Vast beakers flowing to the brim
With sugared drink prepared for him,
With dainty sweetmeats, deftly made,

_ Before the hermit’s guests were laid.”

We can quite understand that the king and his courtiers were
filled with astonishment at the marvellous deeds of the saint’s cow.
Indeed, nothing would satisfy the king but the possession of the
valuable animal, so he proposed to buy it from the fakir, offering
him ten thousand ordinary cows in exchange for it. The saint
quietly answered “No! But the king still pressed the matter, .
saying, “If nothing less will satisfy thee, take my kingdom in ex-
change for thy cow.” But the holy man replied that he did not want
a kingdom, but desired merely to be left in peace with his beloved
animal, Nandini.

Thereupon the monarch waxed wroth, and in his anger repaid the
116 THE LAND OF IDOLS

saint’s hospitality with unkingly threats, and ended by declaring, “I
will take thy cow even by force.” The rishi being of a peaceful
disposition, said simply, “ As thou wilt, O king.” It was one thing,
however, to talk of taking away Nandini, and another thing to do it;
for the faithful cow was not disposed to leave her master, and when
the attendants of the king laid violent hands upon her to drag her
away, she showed them what mettle she was of.

Breaking from her captors, the fair Nandini raised her head and
neck high in the air and became terrible to behold. Then she ran at
the king and his suite, and scattered them right and left. And when
they attacked her with their whips, her eyes became red with anger,
and her whole person, as the Hindu historian says, became “ like unto
the sun in his mid-day glory.’”’ Then the enraged animal turned on
her tormentors again; and from her tail, which she lashed in fury,
there came forth showers of burning coals which effectually put the
strangers to rout. The whole band, except the king, fled ignomini-
ously, and left Nandini master of the field. Thereupon the king was
so surprised with the valour as well as other virtues of the cow that
he declared there was none like her in the universe, and that she and
all her kind ought to receive the homage and worship of mankind
throughout allages. The king, the story adds, gave up his kingdom,
remained in the forest, and became a fakir or saint like the master of
Nandini.

A striking peculiarity of the cows, bulls, and bullocks of India, is
a great fleshy hump between the shoulders, a part of the animal which
obtains great favour with Europeans in the East, as it is a close-
grained and very delicate meat. This hump seems to be a providen-
tial arrangement, like the hump of the camel, and acts as a reser-
voir of food; for in times of famine it has been noticed to shrivel up
slowly before the rest of the body showed any signs of emaciation or
suffering.

As cattle are very generally used in India as beasts of burden, a
yoke laid across the necks of a pair of bullocks is kept in place by their
humps. The drawback to this arrangement, however, is that, as the
SACRED COWS AND BULLS 117

poor animals pull by the hump, and not, as in other countries, by the
head, the hump is often terribly galled. The Hindus, notwithstanding —
their religious regard and veneration for their cattle, cannot be said to
treat them very kindly. Though they consider it a sin to kill sacred
cows or bulls, they do not hesitate a moment to overload them or to
work them to death.

Miss Cumming, in her book on India, speaks of the cruel overload-
ing of cattle which she saw in the hill station of Simla. She writes:
“One poor bullock sank exhausted near our windows, and was of
course left to die. We would fain have had it shot, butno one dared
to touch the poor sacred creature. All we coulddo was to carry water
to it in a brass basin; but it was too ill to drink. Next morning it
died, and the first passer-by threw its carcase down the Khud. Mean-
while eagles, kites, and vultures had assembled in a great body on the
hill above us. We watched them, perched in a row, expectant, till
apparently one gave a signal, whereupon all swooped down simul-
taneously. In ten minutes only the carcase remained, picked quite
clean, and the bones were finally polished by swarms of ants.” Thus,
as a rule, fare the sacred cattle of India—they are literally worked to
death.

But though the majority of the cows and bulls of the East are
treated as beasts of burden, and have hard times of it, a few fare
better, owing to a singular custom of letting loose on special occa- -
sions—usually on the death of a worshipper of Siva—one or two of the
sacred animals, which are given up by their owners, and allowed to
roam for life about the country according to their own sweet will. It is
believed that in some way the setting free of a bull on earth secures
the happiness of the dead in heaven.

I remember when in Benares seeing numbers of these favoured
animals, for they are as plentiful in the North-west as in Bengal.
Indeed, all over India they are to be found; and their numbers have
become so excessive, and their depredations so great, that the municipal
authorities have begun to take measures to suppress them as a public
nuisance. In some places these sacred animals, or Brahmini bulls,
118 WE LAND OF IDOLS

may now be seen yoked in conservancy carts removing the city refuse,
‘or drawing water to irrigate the public gardens. Owners may not
like the new state of things, but they can take no steps to prevent this
Wise use of strong animals. By dedicating them to a god their right
inthem has been transferred to him. Should they maintain that they
are still their property, they may be called upon to pay very heavy bills
for the destruction they have wrought to standing crops and flower-
gardens. Asa result of this dilemma, the original owners are obliged
to regard what they consider the desecration of the sacred cattle in
silence. Between the Moslems and the Hindus there has been a long-
standing quarrel—a quarrel of centuries—with regard to sacred cows
and bulls. While the Hindus will not kill’ cattle or eat beef, the
Moslems will. On the other hand, the followers of Mohammed will
not slay pigs or eat swine’s flesh. The slaughter-houses of Moslems in
Hindu towns and cities are a constant source of annoyance to the
Hindus, and are provocative of strife. The Hinduseven say that the
Mohammedans are not content with killing their own cattle, but that
they place a tempting bundle of grass at the slaughter-house gates at
dusk, and wait till a cow or bull attacks it, when they make a rush,
drive it in, close the gates, kill it, and sell it next day in open
market.

There have been many serious riots between the followers of the
two religions, even of late years, on this very question, and it requires
a great deal of watchfulness, at certain seasons of the year, on the
part of the authorities, to keep the peace. In the past Hindus have,
in times of war and victory, defiled Mohammedan mosques with the
blood of slain pigs, and the Mohammedans have retaliated by killing
cows, and smearing the Hindu temples with the blood of the sacred
animals. And if the opportunity arose, Iam afraid they would do so
again. It is pitiable to think that a difference of opinion with regard
to the sacred character or otherwise of certain animals should lead
human beings to commit acts of violence on each other and sacrilege
on their respective places of worship.

It just remains for me to say that the sacred bull of India is found
SACRED COWS AND BULLS 119

in the form of statues outside the temples of Siva, it being the animal
on which the god is supposed to ride when he wishes to make a
journey. These carved bulls, of all sizes, can be bought from the
traffickers in sacred symbols, whose booths or stalls are in all the
chief cities of the land. I have two or three carved images in my
possession which I obtained in Benares.

The sacred animal is also engraved on brass lotas or water-vessels,
and on many of the copper trays used for temple offerings. And the
Brahmin ostentatiously telling his beads will be found to have the holy
bull embroidered on the bag which contains his rosary. And I have
seen paintings which represent human beings as holding on to the tail
of the sacred animal, which is piloting them through the sea of sin,
and across the river of death to the golden shore. Thus we see that
the sacred cows and bulls of India, whether in the flesh or in the
form of images, are held in the highest reverence. We have read in
history of the apis or bull which the ancient Egyptians worshipped,
and of the golden calf which the Israelites once worshipped for a brief
season in the wilderness of Sinai. Is it not curious, and sad withal,
to think that the old idolatrous custom exists to-day amongst the
Hindus in the land of India?








































































































































































































































































































































































































BUDDHIST CONVENT IN THIBET.

XI.
BUDDHIST PRAYER-MACHINES.

NE of the most curious religious practices that I noticed in India
was that of using prayer-machines, or, to speak more correctly,
praise-machines, for Buddhist prayers nearly always take the form of
ascriptions of praise to the founder of their creed, the noble-minded
Prince Gautama, also called Buddha, or the Enlightened One.
Buddha is believed to have been born about 600 B.c., of the royal
house of Kapilavastu, a country in Northern India. His father
designed him to be a great warrior and conqueror, as his ancestors
had been before him, but the young prince shunned all warlike
pursuits, and even the rough sports of his companions, and preferred
to study religious books, and to meditate on the grave and solemn
aspects of human life. The king, disappointed with these peaceful

and retiring habits of his son, sought to win him to more worldly
120
BUDDHIST PRAYER-MACHINES I2I

things, and a more practical career, by marrying him to a beautiful
and talented princess. For a time it seemed as if this scheme would
answer; for Gautama took his charming bride into the brightest
society of the gay court, and gave himself up to a season of
pleasure, and sought in the delights of the world to banish from his
mind the puzzling questions of the inner meanings of human life,



STATUE OF BUDDHA,

which had so greatly exercised and distressed his spirit for some
years.

However, the strong cravings of the soul of the young prince
triumphed over the merely surface joys of society life; and one day,
after his feelings had been deeply stirred by the sorrowful sight of
old age, disease, and death, he resolved to leave his wife and child,
his father and friends, and all the honours of his princely state, and
122 THE LAND OF IDOLS

go out into the wide world to seek for knowledge of human life, and
to unravel, if he could, the mystery of human existence.

This resolution of the abandonment of earthly pomp and power
and of loved friends was carried into effect one dark and gloomy night,
and Gautama found himself on the road outside the royal city of his
forefathers a homeless beggar. The Buddhists call this remarkable
deed of self-sacrifice “The Great Renunciation.” Gautama, after
travelling some distance from home, made friends with two Hindu
fakirs in the Patna district, who taught him that the path to knowledge
and tranquillity of soul lies in the subjection of the flesh.

So the prince became a fakir, and, retiring into a desert place
called Gaya, he practised all kinds of cruel austerities on his person
in a mountain cave. Five strangers are said to have joined him, who
in time became his disciples and imitated all his fastings and scourg-
ings. For six years this painful life of austerities continued; but
Gautama became no happier in mind, nor more contented in spirit.
Torn with doubts and fears as to whether, after all his sacrifices
and self-torture, he was not missing the secret of life, his physical
strength gave way, and he fell ina swoon to the earth. When he
again awoke to consciousness he found a great change had taken place
in his feelings and convictions, and he felt that the path of salvation
lay not in fastings and other penances, but simply in living a holy
life.

Full of this new conviction, Gautama made it known to his five
disciples, who, however, were grieved and vexed with him for his
change of views, and retired from him in disgust. Thus once more
the prince was left alone, and the Buddhists then say that he had a
fearful struggle with Maya, the spirit of evil, while meditating under
a Bo-tree at Gaya, in which he came off conqueror, and earned for
himself the name by which he is known now to the whole world—viz.,
Buddha, the enlightened, the wise, the one whose eyes had been opened
to eternal things.

Two months after the “new birth” at Gaya, Buddha began his
public ministry at Saranath, or the Deer Forest, near Benares. His
BUDDHIST PRAYER-MACHINES 123

words were addressed both to the rich and the poor, to the learned and
the unlearned, and were received by many as a divine revelation. As
the inspired man spoke of holiness and righteousness, of self-control
and self-denial, the common people at any rate heard him gladly, and
he speedily gathered around him a band of devoted followers. When
he had sixty disciples, many of whom were women, he started ona
missionary tour throughout Northern India, urging his countrymen to







BUDDHIST PRAYER-MACHINE.

forsake idolatry, to give up the selfish customs of caste, and to live
pure and saintly lives. It is pleasing to learn that his five early
friends the fakirs, who had forsaken him at Gaya, returned penitently
to his side, and became his most enthusiastic and devoted adherents ;
and it is still more pleasing to find that eventually his father, his wife,
his son, and all the members of his princely family, became converts
to the new faith, called Buddhism.

Buddha lived to a good old age, and to the very last was a preacher
124 THE LAND OF IDOLS

of righteousness to the people of India. His parting words to his
weeping followers were: ‘Work out your salvation with diligence.
Be earnest, be thoughtful, be holy. Keep steadfast ; watch over your
hearts. He who holds fast to the law and discipline, and faints not,
he shall cross the ocean of life, and make an end of sorrow.” After
the death of Buddha his religion spread over Northern India, and
was carried thence to other countries, such as Burmah, Ceylon, Siam,
China, Japan, Thibet, Nepaul, Mongolia, and all Central Asia, right
up to Siberia and Lapland, and at the present time it is the faith
of five hundred millions of human beings.

The secret of Buddha’s wonderful success, as Sir W. W. Hunter has
said, was in the fact that he brought spiritual deliverance to the
people. “He preached that salvation was equally open to all men,
and that it must be earned, not by propitiating imaginary deities,
but by our own conduct. His doctrines thus cut away the religious
basis of caste, impaired the efficiency of the sacrificial ritual, and
assailed the supremacy of the Brahmins as the mediators between
God and man. Buddhism taught that sin, sorrow, and deliverance,
the state of man in this life, in all previous and in all future lives,
are the inevitable results of his own acts. He thus applied the in-
exorable law of cause and effect to the soul. What a man sows he
must reap.”

This teaching is good as far as it goes; but I would ask my
young readers to notice that in the Buddhist religion nothing is said
of God. We are not even sure that Buddha believed in or taught
the existence of a personal God; and it is certain that nowhere in
the sacred books of Buddhism is God referred to, as He is in our
Bible, as the great and loving Being to whom man is accountable
for his deeds, who in Christ Jesus will help man to overcome his
besetting sins, and who will, after life here is ended, receive re-
deemed man into the eternal felicity of heaven. What the Buddhists
look forward to is Wirvana, which is believed by many to be anni-
hilation, the blowing out, as it were, of the soul like the flame of
a candle.
BUDDHIST PRAYER-MACHINES I25

It is very strange that though India was the cradle of Buddhism,
it is one of the few countries of the East where that religion does
not now flourish. Hinduism, with its false gods and corrupt creed,
proved too mighty for the godless, yet much purer, religion of
Buddhism; and the followers of the latter creed were, in course of
time, either forcibly converted or driven out of the country; and at
the present day there are not more than a few thousand Buddhists
in Hindustan, and these are to be found in the mountains on the
frontiers of Nepaul and Thibet.

Darjeeling, the hill sanatorium of Bengal, a day's railway jour-
ney from Calcutta, and 7,167 feet above the sea-level, is the nearest
place where Buddhists can be met. More than once I visited that
charming hill resort, and was delighted with the magnificent scenery
of the district of mighty forests and eternal snow. But I found the
people of Darjeeling—the Buddhists of the town and neighbourhood
—even a more attractive study than the grand scenery; for their
religious faith and manner of life were so different from those of
the Hindus and Mohammedans of the plains.

And what specially attracted my notice were the curious religious
symbols, or aids to worship, referred to in the title of this chapter,
viz., prayer-machines, about which I would now write. From
the sketch I have given of the life and doctrines of Buddha, my
young readers will now be able to follow with intelligent interest
what I have to say of the way or manner in which many of the
Buddhists engage in the religious exercise of prayer or praise.

Strange as it may seem, it is a fact that the Buddhists of Dar-
jeeling, of Thibet, and other places, employ what are called prayer-
wheels, or cylinders, in their religious devotions. These machines
are of various kinds—viz., hand-wheels, house or temple-wheels,
‘wind-wheels, water-wheels, and another variety called prayer-flags,
which are affixed to the top of high poles, in the neighbourhood of
dwelling-houses, temples, or on high hills, where they may be seen
by all.

The use of these wheels can be traced back, so the Buddhists
126 THE LAND OF IDOLS

say, for at least one thousand four hundred years. They are be-
lieved to have originated from the notion that it is an act of merit
and a cure for sin to be for ever reading or reciting portions of the
sacred writings of Buddha. But as many people of the poorer
classes were unable to read, it came to be considered sufficient for
devotions to turn over the rolled manuscripts containing the pre-
cious sayings. This convenient substitute was found to save so
much time and trouble, that the learned as well as the unlearned
adopted it; and instead of reading the manuscripts which contained
the writings of their great teacher, the people generally were to be
seen contenting themselves with merely rolling and unrolling them.
And even this method of honouring their teacher or prophet or lord
became irksome in time, and prayer- or praise-wheels were invented,
which simplified matters greatly.

A hand prayer-wheel is a little round box or cylinder, of either
brass, copper, or silver, about three inches in length by two and a
half in diameter. Ascriptions of praise to Buddha are closely writ-
ten on strips of cloth or paper, and are tightly rolled round a spindle
about six inches long, of which one half, which is left bare, forms
the handle. The upper half of the spindle, which is covered with
the cloth or paper, is enclosed in the cylinder. From the middle
of the cylinder hangs a chain with a small lump of metal at the
‘end, which, when the prayer-wheel is twirled round on a pivot, gives
the necessary impetus to the little machine, so that it revolves
without the slightest exertion, and goes on grinding any given
number of prayers.

It is a very common thing to meet men in countries where these
prayer-wheels are used, walking along the road or going about
their work, carrying and incessantly spinning round and round the
pretty little playthings I have described. At Darjeeling I saw it
done every day during my visit. And the men who did it thought
that they were really praying to and worshipping the “Lord
Buddha,” though no word might move their lips, nor thought exer-
cise their minds. It is a mechanical contrivance to save trouble,
BUDDHIST PRAYER-MACHINES 127

and it is expected that Buddha will take the will for the deed. I
have said that inside the little prayer-wheels are strips of cloth or
paper on which are written ascriptions of praise to Buddha. The
same words, it may be added, appear also on the outside of the
cylinder in embossed characters. Miss Gordon Cumming speaks of
a prayer-wheel in her possession, on which was written a short but
very comprehensive prayer in Thibetan, a prayer for the six classes
of living creatures according to Buddhism—viz., the souls in heaven,
the evil spirits in the air, men, animals, souls in purgatory, and
souls in hell.

The wheels in my possession, and wheels in general, however,
contain what is known as the six-syllabled charm. All worship, as a
rule, begins, continues, and ends with the sentence, ““Om Mani Padmi
Hom.” These words are raised in embossed letters, perhaps a dozen
times, on the outside of the cylinder, and are closely written, perhaps
many hundred times, on strips of paper inside. There is considerable
diversity of opinion as to the meaning of the words, ‘Om Mani Padmi
Hom.” Dr. Rennie, in his Story of the Botan War, translates the
sentence, ‘Oh, the jewel on the lotus!’’ Dr. Hooker renders the
words, “ Hail to him of the lotus and jewel!” And Miss Cumming
gives the meaning of the sentence as follows: “Om, equivalent to
the Hebrew Jah, the holiest and most glorious title of the Almighty ;
Mani, the jewel, one of Buddha’s titles; Padmi, the lotus; Hom,
equivalent to Amen.” Accordingly, if we accept the last interpre-
tation, which seems likely to be the true one, the people who use the
prayer-wheels are addressing Buddha as “ The Almighty, the Jewel
on the Lotus, Amen.”

And this prayer or charm is the sovereign balm for every con-
ceivable evil. By many no other prayer seems to be known or
thought of. “Om Mani Padmi Hom” is repeated thousands, and tens
of thousands of times, by every worshipper. Thus we can under-
stand what our Saviour meant when He said, ‘When ye pray, use
not vain repetitions, as the heathen do, for they think they shall be
heard for their much speaking.’ Some of the little hand prayer-
128 THE LAND OF IDOLS

wheels are very pretty, and some are even inlaid with precious
stones. There was one I saw, made of silver and inlaid with tur-
quoise stones, which I coveted; but it was very dear, and I had to
be content with two brass wheels. However, there was this conso-
lation : the silver prayer-wheel was evidently made for sale to travel-
lers, while the commoner brass ones were what the people had used
in their daily devotions. In some parts, Buddhists have the greatest
reluctance to sell even the ugliest old wheels or mills. They cling
to them, one writer says, as we do to our dear old Bible.

When I bought my hand prayer-wheels, the man who sold them
showed me the right way to use them. There is a right, and there
is a wrong way. The right way to twirl the wheels, it seems, is
sun-wise, from east to west; and if even by the merest accident they
are turned the other way, the results will be very disastrous. This
belief accounts in many cases for the reluctance to sell. There is
not merely the charm of association, but a dread lest a careless
hand should turn them against the sun, and so change the past
acts of merit into positive sin.

All Buddhists are not able to buy hand prayer-wheels, cheap as
the common ones are, and so for the very poor house or temple-
wheels have been instituted. These are great egg-shaped barrels,
full of prayers, a cord being attached to the base of the barrel,
which, on being pulled, sets the cylinder twirling like a child’s
whirligig. These are erected at the doors of dwelling-houses and
in temples, so that those who do not possess the luxury of a hand-
wheel of devotion may not lose their chance of heaping up merit.
Every man going in or out of the house or temple may set the big
wheels spinning for his own benefit and that of the inmates. It is
a simple contrivance, and the simple people are content with it, and
the prayers of the head of a family seldom rise above the mecha-
nical act of twirling round an old barrel a few times a day. His wife
and children, as well as himself, are, he believes, benefited by such
a deed, It is,a sad thing to learn, is it not, that men can form
such a low ideal of prayer; that human beings can conceive that
BUDDHIST PRAYER-MACHINES 129

the One whom they look upon as their Divine Lord could be satis-
fied with His people mechanically pulling a prayer-wheel, in place
of offering the conscious adoration of their lips and their hearts ?

In the neighbourhood of Darjeeling there are two or three
Buddhist temples which contain prayer-wheels, and these I visited. -
The largest was a medium-sized building, made of wood and thickly
thatched, and would hold perhaps fifty people. There was a very
low upper story inhabited by the lama or priest and his servants,
accessible by a stone staircase at one side of the building. The
main body of the temple is the room in which is kept an image of
Buddha. This room is entered through a small transverse véstibule,
the breadth of the temple; and it was in this vestibule I found the
prayer-wheels.

On the right hand there were ten wheels or barrels, about one
foot in height, arranged in a row, and so lightly poised that when
one of the attendants ran his hand along them they were all set
spinning in a moment. Another attendant began to ring a big bell
to rouse Buddha from his forenoon sleep, while another set six bar-
rels on the other side in motion, and still another began pulling a
cord attached to an enormous wheel, which was the chief attraction
of the temple. It was about five feet high and three feet in diameter.
“Om Mani Padmi Hom” was inscribed on the outer case, and the same
sentence was to be found inside repeated innumerable times. As
this great barrel slowly revolved on its axis, a musical bell marked
each revolution, and the worshipper was accredited with having
repeated the sacred words just as often as the bell rang. The big
barrel was the devotion store of the neighbourhood, and men from
far and near came every day to have a pull.

In addition to hand prayer-wheels and house or temple prayer-
wheels, there are wind- and water-wheels. The wind-wheels are
so constructed as to go round obedient to the action of fan-like wings,
and are erected usually on mountain tops, where they will constantly
catch the breeze. The water-wheels are large cylinders placed
upright in a shed built over running water. A spindle, passing

K
oct





BUDDHIST TOPE OR SACRED MONUMENT,

DARJEELING, WITH PRAYER-FLAGS.,
BUDDHIST PRAYER-MACHINES I3I

through each cylinder, terminates in a horizontal wheel, having the
cogs turned diagonally to the water. Sometimes several of these
water-wheels are placed in a line across a stream; and thus day and
night thousands and tens of thousands of prayers are offered up,
whereby the people obtain unlimited stores of merit without any
trouble or expense, except the first labour and cost of erecting the
wheels. The device which has enlisted the breeze and the mountain
stream in multiplying never-ceasing praises to Buddha is certainly
an ingenious one. Then in the neighbourhood of temples there are
usually to be seen what are called prayer-flags, which are of great
length, but only about a yard in width, on which are to be found
ascriptions of praise offered on behalf of the dead. These flags are
affixed to lofty poles, and as they flutter in the breeze it is believed
by devout Buddhists that the words of prayer or praise are waftedt
on the wings of the wind into the ears of their lord.

Just think that for the last thousand years or more this kind of-
folly has been perpetrated! We cannot but acknowledge the-
ingenuity and the poetic grace of prayer-wheels, but still their use-~
can only be characterised as folly. We may be pleased and amused
for the moment as we see men twirling the wheels round in the
street, or pulling them at the door of a house, or in a temple, or
causing them to revolve in the breeze or in the water; but when we
think at length, and soberly, of what the whole thing means, surely
our hearts are grieved that any of our fellow-creatures should be so.
foolish and superstitious as to think that prayer offered in such ways:
could be acceptable to the Divine Being they desire to worship !

Thank God, Christian missionaries are labouring amongst the
Buddhists of many lands, and are imparting unto them the teaching
- of Jesus Christ on prayer as on every other duty and privilege of the
Christian calling. I am sure my young readers join me in the
earnest desire that our Buddhist brethren, instead of twirling round
in acylinder “Om Mani Padmi Hom,” may ere long be heard repeating
with their lips, because they accept with their minds and hearts, the
beautiful prayer, “Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be.








cnt

Mi







COLOSSAL FIGURE OF BUDDHA, CEYLON.
BUDDHIST PRAYER-MACHINES 133

Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is
in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our
' trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us; and lead us
not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for Thine is the
kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.”



BUDDHIST PRAYER-WHEEL,






HINDUS,

XII.

STORIES OF CASTE.

T is not my intention in this chapter to go very deeply into the

subject of caste, but only to relate some stories of caste which seem
to me of interest, and which, taken together, will give a very fair
idea to my young readers of this system, which has been oo curse
of India for ages.

In the chapter entitled “ Buttoo, the Famous Archer,’ it will be
remembered that I said that there were originally four castes—viz.,
the Brahmin or Priestly, the Soldier, the Merchant, and the Servant
or Sudra caste. Of these, now, practically only the first and the last
exist—the Brahmin and the Sudra—though these are broken up into
innumerable sub-castes.

There are four things in which the rules of caste exercise a special
influence, and those are (1) that individuals cannot be married except
in their own caste; (2) that people of different castes must not

eat together, or partake of food prepared by a member of another
134
STORIES OF CASTE 135

caste, save by a Brahmin, who can cook for all castes; (3) that the
different castes must keep to the occupations they have inherited
from their fathers; (4) that certain particular matters must be
attended to by the different castes at funerals.

It is easy to be seen from these regulations that caste and rank
are two very different things. A native of India has forcibly said,
“Rank is accessible to all, but caste is not: worth and greatness of
mind have raised the weaver and the ploughman in England to the
station of peers; but between the Brahmins and the Sudras the gulf,
now at least, is impassable.” Thus in a hundred ways caste in-
terferes with the progress, the comfort, and the happiness of the
people of India. Bishop Heber, speaking of this system in his famous
“Diary,” has said, “ The caste system tends, more than anything else
the devil has yet invented, to destroy the feelings of general benevo-
lence, and to make nine-tenths of mankind the hopeless slaves of the
remainder.”

The pride which caste has engendered in the Brahmins of
India has gone to the absurd and sinful length of leading them to
regard themselves as gods, before whom all the rest of mankind must
bow in reverence and awe. To some extent, at the present day, the
people of India resent these intolerant claims of the men of the
highest caste; but still subserviency to, and even adoration of,
Brahmins is all too common. A true independence of spirit is sorely
needed in India on this vital subject, and it would be well if all
Hindus would say with one of their number, the poet Kapila, in
vigorous tones,—

“Oh, Brahmins, list to me!
In all this blessed land
There is but one great caste,
One tribe and brotherhood. }
One God doth dwell above,
And He hath made us one
In birth and frame and tongue.”

Mr. Minturn, in an account of his travels in India, tells a story of
136 THE LAND OF IDOLS

how he inadvertently broke the caste of a Brahmin. He writes: “]
had a little illustration of the inconveniences of caste before reaching
Benares, after crossing the river Sone. The coachman had left the
carriage to get a fresh horse, and, as he was rather long gone, I took
up the bugle, which is carried by all dak-coachmen, to recall him.
No sooner, however, had my lips touched it, than all the bystanders
groaned in concert. I asked my servant what the matter was, and
heard in reply that the coachman was a Brahmin, and would be
unable henceforth to use the bugle without loss of caste, which, as
he was a Brahmin, could not be regained. However, it turned out
he was a very low-caste Brahmin, and could be reinstated by the
payment of a fine, in the shape of a feast to his friends ; so he finally
made up his mind to blow the bugle, lose caste, and restore himself
by standing treat, rather than have the greater expense of buying a
new bugle. He would not, after all, however, put his mouth to it
until he had heated the mouthpiece in live coals and scoured it with
mud and cowdung to purify it from the pollution of my lips.”

The same writer, commenting on the subject of caste in another
part of his book, says: “ Although the Brahmins are properly priests,
and the other castes are generally called by the name of some trade,
so that they are to some extent guilds, yet a man of any caste is
allowed to do anything which does not require him to touch sub-
stances, or engage in occupations which are polluting, according to
the rules of his particular caste. For instance, a Brahmin will be
a coachman, a clerk, or an employé of Government; and perhaps
their most common occupations are cooking and begging. But no
matter how menial is their occupation, however poor and miserable
they may be, whether squatted on the mud, cooking, or begging,
naked in the streets, Brahmins consider themselves, and are looked
upon by the Hindus, as infinitely superior in rank to the mightiest
monarchs in Christendom. So also any Hindu will be a domestic
servant ; but he will not cook beef or take care of fowls: he will make
his master’s bed, and mend his clothes; but he will not sweep the
room, or empty the dirty water, unless he be of low caste. The
STORIES OF CASTE 137
higher the caste generally, the fewer the occupations that the subject
can engage in, and the more limited the number of articles he can
eat. There are some castes so low that scarcely anything is a
pollution to them, and they even eat the putrid meat of animals which































































































































































































BRAHMIN SAYING PRAYERS.

have died a natural death. Still they are very punctilious om the few
points which mark their caste.”

The fact mentioned by Mr. Minturn, that Hindu serwaimts willl
attend to some household matters and not to others, is the reasem why
in Northern India so many servants are needed im the hhomes of
Europeans. There were, if I remember aright, tem serwaunts jim my
own household when I was in Calcutta.
138 THE LAND OF IDOLS

In India, though innumerable animals are held in great reverence,
and are treated as sacred, yet there are some, such as the dog, the
long-tailed sheep, and the donkey, which are held in great dishonour,
being regarded as unclean, and as defiling members of nearly all
castes who may touch or be touched by them.

Miss Cumming, in her book on India, tells a story of how some
children’s desire to ride a donkey caused a great stir amongst her
dependants, who told her that only the lowest castes would touch
such an animal. Let me quote the passage, which runs: “ We had a
curious proof of caste prejudice when it was proposed that the
children should have a donkey instead of being carried by men. The
servants came in a body to my sister to represent the horrors of the
case. Surely she could not be in earnest in wishing to subject the
children to such an indignity ; but if indeed it were so, they must
with one voice protest that not one of them would touch it. So great
was the excitement that as she passed through the public bazaars
strangers came up to her in a most respectful manner to express
their hope that the mem-sahib would not think of such a thing, for
indeed Charlie-Sahib was worthy of more honour. Surely he might
have a pony. Charlie, however, resolutely refused to ride a pony, so
a goat carriage was substituted.” Thus the difficulty was surmounted,
to the great satisfaction of the Hindus, whose caste prejudices would
have been greatly outraged if Master Charlie had taken donkey-rides.

In association with caste, the so-called sacred thread plays a pro-
minent part. Though it is the distinguishing mark of Brahmins, yet
other castes also wear it. Indeed, itis only the Sudra or lowest caste
which does not wear it. It is the Brahminical thread, however,
which is held in the greatest reverence. When a Brahmin youth
attains his eighth year, he is invested with this simple badge of
honour, of which, however, it is no exaggeration to say he is as proud
as any earl is of his coronet. The poitra, or sacred thread, is the
mark in India of the aristocracy; and a Brahmin would sooner part
with his life than with this emblem of his power and greatness.

The difference between the poitra of other castes and the sacred
STORIES OF CASTE 139

thread of the Brahmins lies mainly in the fact that the latter must
be of cotton only. According to one authority, “It must be made of
three cotton threads, each composed of three other fine threads, which
must be twisted to a running accompaniment of sacred texts while
sprinkled with holy water from a sprinkler of the divine Kusa grass.



















































































WOMEN OF VARIOUS CASTES, MADRAS,

The cord is supposed to symbolise the three incarnations of Brahma,
and it must, moreover, be entirely the handiwork of some parental
Brahmin, who must himself gather the cotton from the plant, spin
and twist the mystic cord, which is the bearer’s patent of nobility.”
To show how caste at times stands in the way of common
140 THE LAND OF IDOLS

humanity, let me recite a typical case which the Rev. J. Ewen men-
tions in his Sketches and Stories of Native Life. The passage reads:
‘“One Sunday morning during the rains of 1880, we were engaged in
divine service, when we were startled by the crash of a falling house.
I happened to be sitting by the door, and, turning round, saw the
masonry and beams of a neighbouring dwelling coming down in a
confused mass. Shortly before I had looked at the building, but saw
no reason for supposing it was in danger; and the shopman evidently
had no idea the walls were being undermined, for he was busy weigh-
ing out various commodities to several customers, who were equally
unconscious of danger.

“The service was brought to a close, and those of .us who were
present went to work to dig out the seven or eight persons who were
reported buried under the débris. And we were left to do it alone,
although hundreds of natives hurried up to look on. Not a man would
assist. We appealed in vain, for the only reply we got to our re-
quests for assistance was, ‘We don’t know what caste they are of.’
About half an hour after the collapse of the building an army of
labourers came up, and with their aid we dug out eight men, who had

“been buried close onan hour. One poor fellow hada heavy beam
resting over his chest. Ail seemed terribly injured; and we thought.
as we placed them on the litters and sent them off to the hospital, not
one would survive. What was my surprise, on inquiring after them
next day, to find that they had all gone home, not much the worse
for their experience of falling bricks and timber !”

The entombed people might have died, however, but for the prompt
action of the missionary and his friends. The point of the story is
that the Hindu onlookers were prevented from helping their fellow-
countrymen, even in the hour of deadly peril, by the fear of breaking
caste. When caste and humanity are thus opposed, are we not right
in characterising the custom as an accursed thing ?

In treating a subject like this, it is only fair to say that there are
some Europeans who declare that the Hindus are greatly maligned
with respect to caste. Sir George Birdwood, for instance, in an
STORIES OF CASTE I4I

article in the Indian Magazine and Review of January, 1892, declares
that all restrictions between caste and caste, and even between men
of caste and outcasts, break down at once under circumstances calcu-
lated to evoke strong sympathy between man and man. This asser-
tion Sir George illustrates by a story or two. He says: “My personal
servant in Bombay was of good caste,—in fact,a Rajput. He dared
never touch me under ordinary circumstances. But once when I
was ill of dysentery, he would let no one else attend upon me, and
rendered me every service exacted under such circumstances of the
most self-sacrificing Christian charity. Further, one year when I
was staying at Matheran, I recollect the late Sir Munguldas Nathoob-
hoy, when riding out, coming upon a Chinaman in a most agonising
condition of suffering and squalor, apparently dying of an open ulcer
of the stomach. Sir Munguldas at once dismounted, and assisted the
man home to his own house, and there had the poor fellow attended
to and nursed until he most happily recovered. . . . I could fill
a book with like anecdotes; but the round sum of them is this—that
in all the amenities, sympathies, charities, and other good offices of
affection, justice and religion, which, according to Christian theo-
logians, make up holy living, I have never known man in India,
Hindu or Mohammedan, fall short of Christian Englishmen.”

I do not agree with Sir George Birdwood in the conclusions he
draws from his anecdotes. I, however, admire the conduct of the
caste men he refers to. Thank God that there are men, even in
India, too tender-hearted and noble-minded to let caste rules stand in
the way of their humanity; but such men are choice spirits, they
are not the usual run of the Hindu race. As far as I can form a
judgment from my experience of life in the East, and from my studies
in the subject of caste, I believe that such gracious cases of humani-
tarian conduct in the face of caste rules, as quoted by Sir George
Birdwood, are decidedly the exception, and not the rule. It is vain
for any one to seek to prove that caste and humanity can go hand in
hand. The people of India as a whole dread caste-defilement, and
while they may be kindly disposed at the sight of human suffering,
142 THE LAND OF IDOLS

they are almost uniformly kept by the fear of contamination from
acting the Good Samaritan. Why, some of the Hindus themselves
acknowledge and regret their national failing. The learned author
of India, Past and Present, Mr. Shoshee Chunder. Dutt, in a thought-
ful and fair article on ‘“‘ Caste,” has the courage and the grace to say,
—‘ The sum total of the effects of caste is, that civilisation has been
brought to a standstill in the country by its mischievous restrictions,
and there is no hope of a remedy till these restrictions are removed.”

One of the worst things about caste is its innate selfishness. It
teaches a man to think of himself first and chiefly, and only of others
as they minister to his comfort or happiness in this life. Brahmins
are, sad to say, not ashamed to acknowledge that selfishness is at the
root of their religion, for they have a curious proverbial saying to
this effect:

“Preserve your wife, preserve your pelf,
But give them both to save yourself;
There’s other wealth, another wife,
But where is there another life ?”

How opposed is such teaching to the spirit of Christ, who exhorted
all men to think of self last, saying, “If any man would be My
disciple, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow
Me!” Brahminism is as the poles asunder from Christianity.

Caste, as may easily be understood, is a most serious obstacle in
the way of some Hindus becoming avowed Christians, and the mis-
sionary has to act cautiously and judiciously in such cases, and not
to expect too much from anxious inquirers all at once. Bishop
Thoburn, of Calcutta, in his book entitled My Misstonary Apprentice-
ship, tells very graphically the story of his treatment of his first
inquirer. He says: “My first inquirer was an elderly devotee of
high caste, who was a stranger at Nynee Tal. His ears had been
cruelly perforated, and he wore two large, clumsy wooden rings in
them. He was a dull man, but avowed his intention to become a
Christian, and seemed to have a little knowledge of the new religion.
STORIES OF CASTE 143

He expected me to provide for him in all respects, and I was unwise
enough to assume the obligation.

“I took the case in hand with more vigour than common sense,
and soon brought matters to a crisis. Having made up my mind that
caste was a great iniquity, I required this simple old man to break
through all its restraints at a stroke; and in order to make the work
more complete, I required him to show his renunciation of both caste
and mendicancy by taking a basket and going to work among the
coolies. He very meekly went to work; but when it came to the
question of formally breaking his caste by eating with Christians, he
quietly but persistently refused. He remained a few days; but find-
ing at last that he must choose between breaking his caste and
leaving, he quietly disappeared. I thought at the time the case had
been well managed, but I am not very proud of it now. Young
missionaries cannot be too careful to study the prejudices and modes
of thought of those to whom they go, nor can they be too gentle or
considerate in dealing with them. To the old devotee I must have
seemed a harsh and exacting young man, while it is to be feared that
he went away with an utterly distorted notion of the requirements of
the Christian religion.”

Missionaries in India are, however, now pretty well agreed that
all their converts should, either at baptism or soon after their
admittance into the Christian Church, renounce all caste prejudices
and customs, and I think rightly so; for are not all such distinc-
tions utterly foreign to the Christian religion, which declares that
‘“God hath made of one blood all the nations of the earth,” and that
“there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free,
there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ
Jesus"?

In various churches in India, but more especially in South India,
native Christians have at times been very wilful and stubborn in
the matter of caste. Mr. Hough in his History of Christianity in
India, speaking of the Tranquebar Mission in the time of the devoted
Danish missionary, Dr. John, says: “ The Christians contended for
144 THE LAND OF IDOLS

distinct places at church, and even two cups at the Lord's Supper,
for the higher and lower castes. The latter, however respectable for
wealth or moral and Christian character, were compelled to sit apart
from the rest, and to have their separate cup. At last Dr. John
resolved to endure this anti-Christian custom no longer, and gave
notice, that if they would not of their own accord put an end to these
odious distinctions, especially at the Lord’s table, he would himself
abolish them. His admonitions being obstinately resisted, he exe-
cuted his threat, with regard to the Sacrament at least, by melting
the two cups into one. This effectually settled the matter. The men
of caste made a great outcry at first, and left the church; but finding
they could not intimidate their faithful pastor into a compliance with
their wishes, they gradually returned, and henceforth drank out of
one and the same cup with the pariah.”

It would be a calamity, indeed, if Hindu caste were allowed to
obtain a permanent foothold in Christian churches. But such is not
likely to be the case. The tendency is rather for the whole gigantic
system of caste in the East to give way before the demands of
civilisation and humanity. It will probably be long years before this
hydra-headed monster is slain; but some day, in the mercy of God,
it will come to pass.
















XIU.

SACRED BIRDS.

N° one can travel much in India without being struck with the
beauty of the birds which fly about so joyously im the rays
of the rising or the setting sun.

Almost every variety of birds known to ornithologists may Ihe
found in India, either on the plains or in the hill countries. The
birds of the plains are perhaps more beautiful in appearaner, Tbvantt
they are lacking in the gift of song; and the power to si sing smeetity
is after all what we like best in our feathered friends.

It is not my intention in this chapter to deal with the wide sip-
ject of Indian birds in general, but only to treat of these for which
the peopie of the East have special regard, and which they charac~
terise as sacred. The list is not long. Let us commence with oe
not very beautiful but yet substantial and useful goose. It tis suranga:
that in almost every part of the world, and im alll ages, the gomse
has been held in reverence. It was worshipped for ages Iby tlhe

Egyptians, and almost worshipped by the Romans, Auguwstitme says
oo lL,


146 THE LAND OF IDOLS

that the respect for the goose displayed by the Romans was due to
their gratitude for the service the bird rendered them that night
when the Goths attacked Rome, and would have taken the city but
for the warning cries of vigilant geese which acted well the part of
watch-dogs. In honour of the event and the bird, the Romans
instituted a holy day or yearly holiday, which they called “the
Goose’s feast.”

According to Czesar, the early Britons held it sinful to eat the
flesh of goose; but we think differently now, ‘and especially at
Christmas-time, as my young readers well know. The Dutch and
the French in the middle ages also held the goose in veneration,
believing that the Holy Spirit dwelt in the bird; and therefore they
would not allow it to be killed, either in sport or for food. At the
present day all superstitious reverence for the goose has died out in
the West, however, and we have to journey to the East to find adorers
of the so-called sacred bird.

Amongst both Hindus and Buddhists the goose is regarded with
feelings of religious respect: it is indeed the national emblem em-
blazoned on the standard of Burmah. Sir Emerson Tennent, in his
well-known book on Ceylon, remarks: “Taken in connection with
the proverbial contempt for the supposed stolidity of the goose, there
is something still unexplained in the extraordinary honours paid to
it by the ancients, and the veneration in which it is held to-day by
some of the Eastern nations. The figure that occurs so frequently
on Buddhist monuments is the Brahminee goose, which is not a native
of Ceylon, but from time immemorial has been the object of venera-
tion there, and in all parts of India.”

There is a curious legend told of the Brahminee goose. It is to
the effect that for some indiscretion two young people who were
lovers were turned into geese, and condemned to pass their nights
apart from each other on the opposite banks of a river. All night
long each asks in turn if it shall join its mate, and receives a reply
in the negative. The female bird calls aloud, “Chakwa, shall I
come?” And the male bird answers, ‘No, Chakwi.” . Then the
SACRED BIRDS 147

male bird says, “Chakwi, shall I come?” and receives for reply,
‘““No, Chakwa.” Thus the night through the forlorn lovers are heard
calling to one another, and will call, until time shall be no more.
It is the punishment of folly.

There is in India a Brahminee kite as well as a Brahminee
goose, which is also held in high esteem. This is not the common
or govind kite, but the white-headed bird, sometimes called the eagle
of Coromandel. The Brahminee kite is considered an incarnation of
the goddess Durga, and is reverenced by the Hindus, who bow to it
with great humility every time it passes them in flight.

Even the Mohammedans regard this kite with respect, and believe
that by whirling one of these birds round the head of a child on a
Tuesday or a Saturday, and then letting it go, great blessings are
sure to descend upon the little one. Kites, like crows, are great
thieves, and sometimes carry off silver or gold ornaments; and
Moslem women say the reason is because the young kites will not
open their eyes till something precious is placed in the nest beside
them. Hence the Indian proverb, “ The philosopher’s stone is in the
kite’s nest.” And truly it would be a more profitable occupation
searching kites’ nests for gold, than seeking by alchemists’ arts to.
turn base metal into the true thing.

The peacock is also a sacred bird. Amongst the Rajputs it is
held to be sacred to the war-god Kumara. The peacock is said to
scream and dance with joy at the sound of thunder, just as a Rajput
warrior does at the noise of the kettledrum which calls to war.
This bird is also sacred to the Hindu god of beauty, who is generally
represented as riding on the back of the peacock.

The peacock, like the kite, is said to be a great thief, but never-
‘theless it is held in high esteem and regard. It is counted a great
crime, as many a sportsman has found in India to his cost, to shoot a
peacock; and yet in some parts of the North-West Provinces the
bird is a great nuisance to the farmers, who have a saying that “the
monkey, the partridge, and the peacock rob the field of its store.”
As sacred birds, however, peacocks have a license to rob as much as
148 THE LAND OF IDOLS

they like. Thus does religious superstition stand in the way of
national prosperity in the East.

The white owl is considered sacred, though the common owl is
a bird of ill omen. The white owl is believed to bring good luck,
and it is considered great good fortune to see this bird in the day-
.time. The white owl is held sacred to Lakshmi, the goddess of
prosperity; and the people of India are delighted if an owl or owls
will condescend to build in their houses. In lonely country places
old houses are often infested with these birds, which establish their



WHITE OWL,

quarters in dark nooks and corners, and breed twice a year, pro-
ducing five or six young ones at a time. The screeching and
shrieking that goes on is of course something wonderful to hear,
but it is endured, and even counted sweet music, for luck’s sake.
The common belief is that no evil will come nigh a house where a
white owl lives. Experience, however, does not justify faith in the
superstition.

Perhaps the most famous of Indian sacred birds is the one styled
Garuda, who is called “the King of Birds.” He only exists, how-
SACRED BIRDS 149

ever, in the Hindu sacred books, and in the imagination of the
people. Garuda is a mythical being, and is described as half man
and half eagle. He has the head and wings of a bird, while the
rest of his body is like that of a human being. He-is always as-
sociated with the god Vishnu, being indeed the carrier of the god
when he wishes to move from piace to place.

There is a story concerning Garuda that is more sensible than
the rest, and this my young readers may like to hear. It is as
follows :—

On a certain day Garuda, with a friendly Brahmin priest, alighted
on the peak of a mountain, where they found a celebrated female’
ascetic named Candili, living apart from the world, and practising
all kinds of bodily mortifications. Seeing this good lady, Garuda
and his friend saluted her reverently and received her blessing.
Candili then asked concerning their welfare, gave them seats, and
set food before them, and herself waited upon them as a servant.
So kind was the hospitable lady, so amiable, and withal so beautiful,
notwithstanding her fastings and other austerities, that Garuda fell
in love with her, and while he should have slept that night he lay
awake forming the wicked resolve to bear away the lovely lady by
force on his strong wings next morning.

But lo! when the day broke, the king of birds found that his
wings, on which he depended for flight, had fallen off; and a very
pitiable object he presented. When his companion the priest beheld
the sad plight of his friend, he was distressed ; and after expressing
his sympathy, asked ‘how it was that this evil had come to pass—
“ Surely thou hast been harbouring an evil thought in thy mind?”
Then Garuda confessed that he had purposed the ruin of the fair
lady who had treated them so graciously when they alighted on the
mountain.

“Confess thy fault,” said the priest, “if haply thou mayest be
forgiven and regain thy proper form.” Then Garuda approached’
their hostess Candili, expressed his contrition, and prayed for pardon,
which was freely granted. The gracious lady said, ‘Fear not, O
I50 THE LAND OF IDOLS

thou of beautiful feathers; resume thy wings and cast off thy fears,
and learn this lesson: that purity of conduct beareth virtue as its
fruit—it is purity that bringeth on prosperity—it is purity that
driveth away all signs of evil. Go thou whithersoever thou dost
wish. Never more entertain low thoughts of me, and take care thou
dost not despise women who may be truly blamable. Reverence
womankind.” At these words Garuda had his wings again, and
they became even stronger than before, and he went on his way
with a light and happy heart.

We may regard this story as a parable, and it teaches us that
we lose our wings—that is our strength, and energy, and peace of
mind—when we cherish unholy thoughts or desires; and that we
only regain them when we humbly acknowledge our transgres-
sions and are forgiven, and resolutely turn away from evil. The
Hindu Shastars beautifully say in one place, “Convert thy body
into a temple, give up evil thoughts, and see God with thine internal
eye. The source of final happiness is in the heart. Be chaste.
Neither sacred Scriptures, religious ceremonies, pious austerities, the
offering of sacrifices, nor liberality, will procure felicity to a man
contaminated with sensuality. Virtue and vice are heaven and
hell.”

Garuda, the king of birds, is believed to be the great enemy of
snakes, and on this account, as well as for the reasons already
given, he is regarded with favour by the Hindus. The common
people of India repeat the name of Garuda three times when in the
fields, and before going to sleep at night, as a safeguard against
snakes. :

There are other birds held in special regard in the East, though
I scarcely know whether they are called “sacred” or not. There is
the pretty little bird designated “the bird of the lost money,” be-
cause it utters in a low tone something that sounds like “Oh that
we had kept it!” Ever as it flies about in the still evening air the
plaintive cry is heard, “Oh that we had kept it! Oh that we
had kept it!” There is a tradition that its ancestors were a man
SACRED BIRDS I51

and his wife, who, having lost their wealth by thoughtless specula-
tion, died broken-hearted, and were transformed into these little birds,
to be a constant warning to the Hindus against investing their money
carelessly. And the warning is needed all the world over.

Pigeons are great favourites both with the Hindus and: the Mos-
lems. They are kept in the house, and are supposed to preserve
buildings from decay. Turtle-doves also are looked upon as har-
bingers of good luck, and are treated with great kindness. They
are such gentle creatures that I do not know how any one could
hurt them. There were two always in my garden in Calcutta, and
I never heard their coo-coo-cooing without pleasure. These gentle
creatures speak to us of true affection and enduring love.

Parrots also are favourite birds, and are often kept in the house
as pets. There is a bird called the papiya, of the parrot species,
which is said to cry, “‘ My eye is going!” from the legend that once
a man, seeing some wicked deeds done before his eyes, died of terror,
uttering the words, ‘‘My eye is going!” and was transformed into
a bird. Some people are afraid, and it is well that they are, to do
anything wrong before a papiya, lest it should betray them. If such
had the fear of God before their eyes it would be better still.

One of my predecessors in the pastorate of Union Chapel, Cal-
cutta, Dr. Boaz, a lovable man, and a most successful minister of the
Gospel, had a great affection for birds, and especially for parrots.
Let me quote an extract from his Memoirs, edited by his widow, who
writes: ‘Dr. Boaz had a favourite parrot, whose note was harsh and
discordant, but when about to repeat his daily vocabulary—viz., Papa,
Mamma, Padri Boaz, Union Chapel, Dick, Tom, Alick—he would
soften his voice, and imitate his master’s in a manner the most
ludicrous :—

‘“‘ Just as the old year of 1860 was bidding us adieu, and we were
waiting to greet the new year, Polly walked out of his cage, mounted
the table, and, with wings outstretched, exhibiting his gay robes of
scarlet hue,'as if he, too, must come out in holiday attire, he prome-
naded with a proud bearing, as if lord of all he surveyed, helping












UNION CHAPEL, CALCUTTA,
SACRED BIRDS 153

himself freely to his favourite dishes. The general remark was that
we never saw Polly make himself so agreeable. The boys said, ‘Oh,
but he knows papa has come home to keep a merry Christmas with
us.” Next day this beautiful creature was seen lying shivering in a
fit, with ruffled plumage, and a look so pitiful that, had he spoken,
we could not have more distinctly understood that he sought for
sympathy.

“Polly was removed to the fireside, and laid on the hearthrug. It
was distressing to witness his agony, which, however, was of short
duration, for his pretty little head soon dropped, and there he lay dead.
The father’s tears were mingled with those of his sons. A relative
standing by remarked, ‘ Surely you don’t mean to weep so for a bird ? 7
His reply was, ‘You know my nature: I cannot help it. Has the
parrot not been with us in all our joys and sorrows, and been the com-
panion of the boys by land and sea? I fear it will not be the only
death among us this year.’”’

The last remark, alas! proved prophetic, for in October of the
same year Dr. Boaz himself was suddenly taken from time into
eternity.

There is something very attractive about birds; and all who live
in India, whether Europeans or natives, seem to love the birds of the
country, with perhaps one or two exceptions, about which more
later on when I come to write of household and other pests.

It is sad, however, to think of human beings worshipping birds, as
the Hindus do. It is a custom dishonouring to God, and degrading to
man!
iG

i

Ka







































































































































THE ZENANA.
[By permission of the British and Foretgn Bible Society.)

XIV.
GIRL-LIFE.

HERE is a common saying in India which throws a flood of light
upon girl-life; it is, “Better to be a clod than to have been

born a woman.” Truly the lot of females in the East is hard!
154
GIRL-LIFE 155

When more than one daughter is born in a family, the father in
all probability will be heard to say, “What great sin have I com-
mitted that I should have another daughter?” And if a man in
trouble of any kind is seen sitting about in a dejected mood, he is
nearly sure to be greeted by a neighbour with the proverb, “ Why do
you sit as if a girl had been born at home ?”’

It must not be supposed, however, that Hindu parents do not love
their girls, though they speak disparagingly of them. Of course they
love them! How can they help loving the dear little mites? Yet it
remains a fact, that, at heart, the fondest father wishes that his girl
had been a boy. Boysare always welcome, no matter how many may
arrive on the scene. Indeed, the Hindus have a prayer to the effect,
“May the gods give us seven wise sons, but only two handsome
daughters.”

At a very early age girls are separated from boys in the better-
class homes of India. At seven or eight girls find that boys will not
condescend to play with them for fear of being teased. Thus girls
are left to the companionship of their own sex until they are married,
but they do not seem to mind.

Speaking of the training of girls, a native gentieman, Mr. Shoshee
Chunder Dutt, says: ‘“ Dancing, riding, and singing are objected to as
improper accomplishments; but sweeping the house, cleaning the
utensils of the family, and even assisting at cookery are taught them
as part of the training necessary for fulfilling the duties they are
bound to. The labour thus imposed preserves girls from becoming
useless and indolent, and gives full exercise even to the strongest,
improving both appearance and health. Pale cheeks and a languid
aspect are rare among women in India, while active habits and alert-
ness of mind are quite common among them. Clean-limbed and
agile, a girl of ten years may be seen daily performing duties without
fatigue which would almost require a labourer to get through; and
there is no doubt that the discharge of these callings goes far to
accomplish those ends which are elsewhere sought to be secured by
backboards and dancing.” ;
1560 TME LAND OF IDOLS

With respect to education, girls have been sadly neglected in India
for centuries. Until within the last forty years or so it was con-
sidered a sin to teach girls to read and write. So strong was the
prejudice that no man would marry a girl who was at all educated, it
being believed that the knowledge of the wife would shorten the life
of her husband. A Brahmin gentleman, who was once asked by a
missionary what he considered a woman ought to know, replied, “She
must know two things. First, she must know the way to the bazaar
to buy necessaries for the house; and secondly, she must know the
nearest way from the bazaar home again.” It is estimated that
ninety out of every hundred girls of ten years of age in India are
entirely uneducated. Is not such ignorance deplorable ?

Of late years there has been an effort in cities, and to some extent
also in country places, to improve this sad state of things. Mission-
aries have been the chief agents in this reform, which has been very
successful, though of course as yet only a few girls have been reached
out of the many millions that need to be educated.

It was very difficult at first to get parents to consent to send their
girls to school. The older women especially were opposed to it, and
declared that their gods would be very angry with them if they
allowed their girls to be educated, as ignorance was the heritage of
the sex. Fora time only the poor and low-caste would permit their
daughters to be taught, and these had to be paid to come to school.
However, as the advantages of education were perceived the prejudice
grew less pronounced, and girls of all castes are now found in Mission
schools. The schools are situated generally in a quiet lane or strect
in the middle of a Hindu village or suburb. Sometimes schools are
built for the purpose, sometimes rooms-are rented in Hindu houses.
The: girls attend from the time they are about six until they are
eleven or twelve years of age.

The education is, of course, only elementary in these village
schools, and the teachers are content if the girls when they leave can
read, write, and sew nicely. When in India I visited many girls’
schools, and was greatly pleased with the diligence of the scholars,
GIRL-LIFE 157

and their evident delight in their new accomplishments. I found
some of them reading those excellent lesson-books, ‘the “Line upon
Line” series, and all seemed to have a very fair knowledge of the
Bible, and especially of the Gospel stories.

As an example of the religious impression made upon the minds of
these schoolgirls, I would mention an incident related to me by Miss
Heysham, superintendent of girls’ schools in connection with the work
of the London Missionary Society in the suburbs of Calcutta. ‘One
of my little girls,” said Miss Heysham, “ who was married, and was
leaving the district, in all probability never to return, sent for me to
say good-bye. I went, and in course of conversation said to her, ‘I
should like to give you some little token to keep in remembrance of
me. What would you like best ?’ She replied, ‘There is no need to
give me anything, for I shall never forget you.’ On being pressed.
she said, ‘Give me an English Bible, and write my name init.’ ‘But
you cannot read English well enough to understand it,’ I remarked.
She said, ‘I will ask my husband to read and explain it to me.’ That
girl loved the Holy Scriptures. May they make her wise unto salva-
tion!”

One of the first to engage in this enterprise of educating native
girls was the devoted missionary lady, Mrs. Mullens, who laboured
in Calcutta some fifty years ago. Her efforts, however, were mostly
confined to the children of native Christians, but amongst these she
toiled lovingly, assiduously, and very:successfully. And through her
Christian girls Mrs. Mullens was able, to some extent, to reach the
non-Christians.

Writing of her work in May, 1850, Mrs. Mullens mentions a very
pleasing instance that is worth recording. It shows how even at that
time labour spent over the girls of India was well spent. The pas-
sage runs: “It was only a few weeks since that I found out that one
of my little girls loved the Bible, and prized Christianity very much.
She is, perhaps, the last I should have expected-to do so, for she is
very quict, and not at all clever, and I never could find out what her
thoughts were. But a little while ago she went to spend a month
158 THE LAND OF IDOLS

with a good Christian woman I know. When little Batasy came
home the other day I had such a nice account of her. Mary, the
woman with whom she lived, told me that she never let a day pass
without reading her Bible, and she used often to ask her the meaning
of different passages. One day she reproved Mary’s master, a rich
native gentleman, for telling a lie in fun, saying that all falsehood
was hateful in the sight of God. He was not offended, but patted her
head and replied, ‘ Yes, my little girl, you are right and I am wrong ;
I must not do so again.” —

From South India there ‘has reached me a story of the good that
girls’ schools are now doing. It isa tale for the littlc ones, related
by Mrs. Haines, of Bellary, who says: “ One little girl, named Nee-
lammah, who attended the Canarese school, openly confessed her love
to Jesus. She would not pray to idols, though urged to do so by her
mother. She was most regular in her attendance while she was able,
and told Mary, the Bible-woman, that it was a great delight to her to
come. All through her last illness she was very patient, and more
than once expressed her faith in Jesus. When asked if she were
afraid to die, she said, ‘No, Jesus loves me, and I am going to see
Him.’ Not long after Neelammah’s death I was questioning some of
the Canarese girls on their Bible lesson, which was about Christ
choosing His disciples. I asked them if Jesus had any disciples now.
They said ‘Yes!’ eagerly. ThenI asked, ‘Do you know any?’ One
little girl immediately replied, to my astonishment, ‘ Yes, Neelammah
is His disciple. And when asked how she knew this, she replied
simply, ‘ Because Neelammah loved Jesus.’ ”

When I was editor of the Indian Missionary, a time-past organ of
the London Missionary Society in India, I received one day a com-
munication which gave me very great pleasure. It related to a wee
Hindu child, called Sukhiya, who lived in the neighbourhood of
Benares. The communication was simply signed “R.,” but I knew
who had written it. I do not think it is any breach of faith to say
that it was from a young missionary lady of the London Missionary
Society, since retired from India, who wields a facile pen. Let me
GIRL-LIFE 159

give the story here, for I am sure my readers, young and old, will be
delighted with it. The communication was as follows :—

“My little Sukhiya! Let me show her to you. Only a tiny
Hindu child, the pet of the village where she lived. With a round
bonny face and big eyes, and close black hair over her round head,
and brown limbs so plump and babyish. A questioning way of look-
ing at you, which dissolved into a smile, and a chuckle of delight, and
a display of white, even little teeth, when you turned to look at her.
Never still, except latterly when in pain—and then, oh! the sad little
face. of hers!

‘“« She came to school—my Hindu school—one of the very first, and
was so frightened that nothing would induce her to stay, till the
singing pleased her; and though to the end she could never talk
plainly, she would repeat in her baby way all the lessons that the
other children learned. You should have heard her, standing up
with joined hands, bent head, and peeping eyes, saying, in her own
language, ‘Our Father, who art in heaven.’ All the native hymns
she learned easily too; she was not to be left behind by the other
children. Indeed, she surpassed many of them; her memory seemed
very acute. I could never get her to read, but she would repeat such
hymns as ‘The sweet story of old,’ and best of all ‘ Suffer the little
children to five times, and many things besides.

“Poor little Sukhiya! Now and then she would get sleepy in
school and say, ‘Let me sit beside my sister, and would go up and
lay her head on her elder sister’s knee, and fall sound asleep, only to
wake, rub her eyes, and laugh again when school was over. Now
and then she was full of mischief, would come and sit by me on the
floor with her book of letters, and softly pull my dress, or pass her
soft little fingers over my feet, and then look up in my face and laugh.
She would sometimes come to school in her mother’s big chddar,
much too long, of course, for such a wee mite, and she would amuse
herself with standing up and winding it in the most approved method
over her head and round her little body, vainly trying to get rid of its
- 160 THE LAND OF IDOLS

voluminous folds, tucking them in at the waist in front after the
fashion of Indian women’s costume. She had a print jacket with the
rest last Christmas (she will have something fairer and better this
year, I know—a pure white robe—and I think I see the happy smile
on her sweet face as she thanks the Giver), but Sukhiya soon spoiled
hers playing, and it had to be washed in the
village tank (none of the cleanest, the plague-
spot of the place), and the colour went out,
so that the child discarded it. But in general
she went about only in Nature’s simplest
garb, guiltless of jacket or shawl.

‘She would follow me up the bazaar
when I left school, and only a passing cart or
herd of buffaloes would scare her. She used
to run and touch me, and away to the other
Side, back again, and dare me once more.
The other children would not have done it.
Sukhiya knew that I loved her, that every
one loved her, dear little happy soul! Then
they pierced her ears: ‘It was the custom,’
they said—and the sores festered. They put
black stuff on them, and never washed the
little thing. She got fever and became very
weak. One Sunday afternoon she was asleep
nearly all service-time; her grandmother said
she had been awake all the night before
with pain. I did long to take her away and
nurse her in my own home; but it was im-
possible.

‘When, after much suffering, her ears got better, and the smile
once more brightened her sad face, she caught the measles prevalent
in the village; she rallied from this complaint, but only to catch a
chill, which brought on the illness from which she died. I was away
for a time, and, returning, did not find out how ill she was; and,





INDIAN EAR ORNAMENTS.
GIRL-LIFE 161

sceking for her one day in school, was told that she had died just two
days before. IfI had onlyknown! It seems so strange without her ;
the school-house is altered, the lessons have lost much of their in-
terest! Dear little girl! Iwonder if one day we shall see you
again, and you will have learnt the meaning of the words you sang
so heartily here. The whole village wept aloud for Sukhiya. ‘Of
such is the kingdom of heaven !’”

Girls in India are married very early, far too early, in fact, and
this is one of the crying evils of their lot. Fancy being married at
five or six years of age !—and that is not at all uncommon, though
girls do not go to live with their husbands until they are eleven or
twelve. Child-marriage is, in the opinion of many, the curse of
India, both physically and morally. Boys and girls, it must be un-
derstood, have no choice in the matter of marriage. It is considered
a disgrace to remain single, and long before they even know what
marriage means, they are, as a rule, married, their parents having
settled things for them. The consent of the parties vitally interested
is never even thought of, and they must take each other “ for better,
for worse,” just as their parents decide. As for love, the rule is in
India, ‘Marry first, and love will come after,” and generally speaking
it does, at any rate on the side of the young wife, who is said to be
devotedly affectionate to her lord and master.

“Tier faith is fixt and cannot move,
She darkly feels him great and wise,
She dwells on him with faithful eyes,
‘I cannot understand: I love.”

Marriage interferes greatly with the education of a girl. With
her marriage, say at the latest when she is twelve years of age, she
must give up going to school, and it is not often that the husband has
either time or inclination to teach his young wife at home. And then
the cares of family life multiply, and very often all desire to learn
more dies out of the breast of the girl-wife and mother. Yet the
knowledge they have received in mission schools must be a great

M
162 THE LAND OF IDOLS

blessing to young wives in various ways—a help to them in thcir
duties, and a comfort in their hours of depression.

A girl belonging to the middle or upper classes of society at
marriage is lost to the world, for she is immured in her house, and
not allowed thereafter to look upon the face of man, other than her
husband and his younger brothers. This custom the Hindus learned
from the Moslems. It is a custom that prevails almost all over India,
though in some parts the rules of seclusion are more strict than in
others. It is a custom that makes life very monotonous for ladies,
and especially for those who, though married, are but girls.

The seclusion of women in India has given rise to a special kind
of missionary enterprise called Zenana Missions, in which gentlemen
can take no part. The word Zenana simply means “a woman,” and
Zenana work, therefore, is mission work as carried on amongst
Women in the homes of Hindus and Mohammedans. Mrs. Mullens,
already referred to, was practically the originator of this form of
work, though others had thought of it, and one or two, notably Miss
Bird, had even obtained admittance into a few homes to teach
privately. Mrs. Mullens, however, began Zenana work on a syste-
matic basis, with the firm resolve, under God's blessing, of making the
work permanent, and drawing other missionary ladies into it. It
was designed to follow up the teaching of the school in the home in
the case of those girls who, at their marriage, had been obliged to
leave school.

The girls themselves had something to do with the starting of the
enterprise, for some of them had said to Mrs. Mullens, As we cannot
come to school any longer, cannot you visit us?” “ Certainly,” was
the reply, “if your husbands will permit me.’ To obtain consent
was no light matter, as, apart from the question of education, native
gentlemen seemed afraid of the consequences if they permitted
Europeans, even ladies, to pass within the sacred precincts of the
Zenana. The elder women also were stoutly opposed to the scheme,
and foretold all kinds of calamities if the innovation was permitted.

However, a start was made by Mrs. Mullens in two or three


GIRL-LIFE >= 163

houses, and though it was anything but agreeable or encouraging
work, yet it was persevered in, and by degrees it grew in favour, and
other missionary ladies were drawn in, and houses began to open on
every side in Calcutta and other places, until to-day Zenana work is
counted the most promising, perhaps, of the many forms of missionary
enterprise in India.

The ladies connected with the London Missionary Society in
Calcutta alone visit in more than three thousand houses. Who can
compute the number of Zenanas visited now daily all over India by
European ladies and their native assistants? Truly a good work is
thus being done amongst the women of India, and Hinduism is being
undermined in the very citadel of its strength—the home. And more
workers are urgently needed in this special field of labour.

Miss Fletcher, of Calcutta, speaking of Zenana work, says that it
is now almost entirely Gospel teaching, as the Bible is the chief text-
book, and is varied by readings from the Peep of Day and kindred
publications of a Christian character. The girls of the household,
the young wives who in age are but girls, and the older women, all
alike now seem eager to receive instruction.

I might here give Miss Fletcher's account of the way in which the
work is carried on in Calcutta:—‘On entering a house, after the
ordinary greetings, we sing a hymn, which usually draws all the
women of the house together. It is seldom our singing is stopped,
but sometimes a poor little timid wife is afraid it might disturb her
husband, who is at home, and she thinks that for that day we had
better only have the Bible lesson. As a rule we cannot satisfy the
women, for I believe they would listen to any number of hymns.
The other day I went to a house and sang two hymns, but I was not
let off so easily, for the bow (girl-wife) said, ‘What, do you really
mean that that is all the singing I am to have? I want six more
hymns at least!’ I was amused, and sang two more, and told her if
I did all she wished, I should certainly have no voice left for anybody
else. Sometimes we get as many as ten or fifteen women all seated
round us, and then we begin the Bible teaching.
164 THE LAND OF IDOLS

“We usually have attentive listeners, but sometimes the babies
begin to cry, and so the mothers have to go away; and sometimes
two of them will enter into a lively conversation, and rather hinder
us; and then again sometimes they get so excited defending their
own religion that for that day our lessons remain unfinished. The
girl-wives, and the older ones too, like to talk to us about themselves,
and we encourage them to do so, for we want them to feel that we
are their friends, and are interested in all that concerns them. Some-
times the babies are ill, and we are asked what is the best thing to
do for them; and perhaps a relation has died, and they like our
sympathy ; a daughter is married, and we must congratulate them;
and in many other ways like these we are able to show our interest
in them.”

The sad lot of girl-widows in India has of late been much com-
mented upon. As women are married so very young, it of course
often happens that they are left widows long before they are out of
their teens. It is estimated that there are over twenty-one millions
of widows in India, and of these no fewer than sixty thousand are
under ten years of age, and fifteen and a half millions are between ten
and twenty years of age. And these millions of girl-widows are for-
bidden to marry again. Once a widow, always a widow, in India. It
is true that the Indian Government has passed a law legalising widow-
remarriage, but the people generally count it as a dead letter, and
will not sanction second marriages on the part of females, though
a man may marry as often as he pleases, and have as many wives
as he likes.

And the poor girl-widows are treated badly in other ways. Im-
mediately their husbands die, “they are deprived of their ornaments—
in which they so much delight—and of the use of coloured garments,
and of their long hair. They are also reproached as unfortunate,
and cruelly debarred as accursed of the gods from assisting in
domestic religious ceremonials.” And during the rest of their life,
whether it be short or long, they are under a cloud. They can take
no part in gaieties, are allowed no ornament on the person, no food
GIRL-LIFE 165

may pass their lips save once a day, and on the monthly fast days
they are not allowed food or water from sunrise to sunset. Oh, the
pity of it!

Ere closing this chapter I must refer, however briefly, to medical
work among the women of India. The inmates of Zenanas, even the
girl-wives, are not allowed to have a male doctor in attendance; no,
not even one of their own co-religionists. Sometimes the doctor may
speak to the patient from behind a curtain, and there have been cases
known of women putting their tongues through a slit in the curtain,
for the medical man to judge as to the state of health. Asa rule,
however, the suffering ones have to trust themselves in the hands of
old women who have gained a reputation in the healing ‘art, or they
have to go unattended altogether.

Christian missionaries recognising this evil, have had compassion
on the sufferers, and now lady doctors, both from Europe and
America, are being introduced into native homes, where they are
gladly welcomed. I know no nobler work than this. And while
the body is being healed the soul also may be reached by a word in
season. Female Medical Missions are only in their infancy, but
they give promise of great usefulness in the near future.

A National Association for supplying female medical aid to the
women of India, on unsectarian lines, has also been started of late
years under the highest patronage. To this enterprise also I wish
all success. Let every method be tried that suggests itself, only let
something be done on a wide scale as soon as possible ; for hundreds
of thousands of women and girls are in great need of better medical
treatment than they at present receive.

“ Altogether the condition of women in India is not a particularly
enviable one,” says Mr. Shoshee Chunder Dutt in one of his books. I
am sure we all agree with this native writer. And there is no hope.
for permanent improvement, it seems to me, except through the
spread of Christianity in the East.

May God richly bless the work of our lady missionaries and their
assistants in the schools and homes of India!




























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































=
SN:
SS



PARSEE SUN-WORSHIP.

166
XV.
FIRE-WORSHIPPERS.

HE fire-worshippers of India are the Parsees, the story of
whose entry into India is quite a romance. They are not
natives of the country, but the descendants of the ancient Persians.
The term Parsee is just the Hindustani word for Persian. The total
number of Parsces in India is extremely limited, being not more than
one hundred thousand; but their influence, especially in commerce, is
very great, and they are known far and wide for their natural genius
in trade, their intelligence, and their munificent charities.

To account for the presence of Parsees or Persians in India we
must go back to the seventh century, when the Mohammedans from
Arabia overran and conquered Persia, in the reign of the Caliph
Omar. YVezdigird was the last monarch of the ancient Persian
dynasty ; and at his overthrow and death the people of the country,
who in religion were Zoroastrians, or, popularly, fire-worshippers,
were commanded to give up their own religion and adopt that of the
Mohammedans.

The bulk of the people of Persia, afraid of the swords of the
Moslems, agreed to the change of religion; but others, having the
courage of their convictions, refused thus to demean themsclves, and
preferred death or banishment. Many were slain, but a few escaped
and retired to desert places and bleak mountains in Korasan, where
for a while, some say for many years, they were left in peace.

Eventually, however, the power of the Moslem arms extended to
Korasan, and the hunted Persians fled to the island of Hormuz in the

Persian Gulf, where again they were unmolested for a season. After
167
168 THE LAND OF IDOLS

fifteen years, however, the Moslems were once more upon the track
of the fugitives, and this time with the determination to exterminate
them. The enemy were baulked of their prey, however, for on arrival
at Hormuz they found the forlorn band of persecuted fire-worshippers
had flown, and were beyond the reach of pursuit.

Like the Pilgrim Fathers of later days, the Persians had taken to
the sea, resolved to cross the ocean and found a new home for them-
selves in a far country. Sailing eastward, they stayed for a time on
an island called Dir, but soon they moved on and on, and after
narrowly escaping shipwreck they landed at a spot called Sanjan, on
the coast of Guzerat, in India. Thus did the faithful few amongst the
Persians forsake country, friends, and worldly possessions, in prefer-
ence to giving up their faith in the religion of their forefathers!

The Prince of Sanjan was satisfied with the account the Parsees
gave of themselves, and expressed his willingness to let them stay in
his dominions, and to afford them protection, on certain conditions.
The conditions were fourin number. First, the refugees must give
up their own language, and for the future speak Guzerati, the
language of the land of their adoption. Secondly, their women must
exchange their own peculiar dress for the garment of the country.
Thirdly, the men must forego the use of military arms and armour,
and become peaceful citizens. And fourthly, the marriage ceremony
among them must be celebrated at night, and not by daylight.

The Parsees after a little consideration agreed to these terms, and
they were then, in the year 717, allowed to settle in the country;
_ and in India they have remained ever since, and, as I have already
said, they have grown into a prosperous, if not a very large, com-
munity.

It may be asked, Did the Parsees keep their part of the agrec-
ment? Practically they did, though not to such an extent in some
particulars as to lose their individuality or nationality amongst their
new friends, the Hindus. With respect to the language, the Parsees
only retain their old Persian dialect in the exercises of religion. For
general conversation in public, and even amongst themselves in
FIRE-WORSHIPPERS 169

private, they invariably speak Guzerati, and seem to have as much
affection for it as the natives themselves.

With respect to dress, a Parsee lady wears a sart like her Hindu
sisters, only the upper part of the garment, instead of passing from
the right waist diagonally over the chest to the left shoulder, is
carried up the left side over the head and brought from the right
shoulder to be tucked under the left waist. Moreover, a Parsee lady
has a relic of ancient Persia round her head in the form of a white
handkerchief, and this distinguishes her from a Hindu lady.

Sir Edwin Arnold, referring to this peculiar custom, says: “Tt is
incumbent on Parsee ladies to wear a rather ugly white band drawn
tightly over the crown and brows; and this remnant of the early
times has resisted even the new taste for silk stockings, satin shoes,
and European ornaments. But the pretty Zoroastrians, who possess
the finest and glossiest black tresses in the world, object to their
concealment, and so the white headband is pushed farther and farther
back, until it threatens to disappear altogether under the silk sari of
violet or rose, sea-green or sapphire, drawn so coquettishly over the
head.”

With respect to the agreement not to wear armour or to bear
arms, the Parsees have kept to it more or less strictly all along. In
times of extreme peril, now and again, they have fought in their own
defence; but at the present day they are an eminently peaceable
people, and never follow the trade of war.

It is said that when the Parsees first gave up their armour they
symbolised it by a thin muslin shirt which they wear next the skin,
and which is called a sadaro. As this garment is worn by men and
women alike, however, the foregoing explanation of its origin can
scarcely be correct. No one, not even the Parsees themselves, seems
to know why it is worn.

The Parsees, like the Hindus, have the investiture of the sacred.
thread. The thread of the Parsees is more like a cord, as it consists
of seventy-two threads, and instead of being worn over the shoulders,
it is used asa girdle round the waist. The knot by which it is tied










PARSEE CHILDREN.
FIRE-WORSHIPPERS 171

is undone daily, and a prayer is repeated over it when it is re-tied.
Ladies as well as gentlemen wear this sacred thread, which is sup-
posed to preserve both body and soul from the power of the evil
spirit, Ahriman, who is represented in the Parsee faith as antago-
nistic to the good spirit, Ormuzd.

The name fire-worshippers has been given to the Parsees on
account of their extreme veneration for the sun and for fire. There
are some who say that this strange people actually worship fire,
and perhaps some of the ignorant and more superstitious amongst
them do; but the majority do not, but simply venerate fire as the
representation of Him who is the Eternal Light.

Though the Parsees cannot be said as a body actually to worship
fire, yet they appear to do so, and hence are called fire-worshippers.
They have what are called fire temples in which to perform their
religious ceremonies. These are small, unpretentious buildings, and
each temple contains an altar, on which is found a portion of the
‘holy fire,” which is said to have come down from heaven originally,
and which is designed to be a perpetual reminder to the faithful of
the Eternal Light, even God Himself.

The fire, which is called Bahram, is never allowed to die out in
Parsee temples, but is fed day and night by the priests, who are in
constant attendance. The worshippers gather round it reverently at
the time of service, though they take care not to approach very near
it. Even the priests approach it only with a half-mask over the face,
lest their breath should defile it, and never touch it with their hands,
but with sacred utensils.

Offerings are made to the fire as the representative of God—offer-
ings of flesh, milk, butter, and homa twigs, and as these things are
offered in sacrifice by the priests, the people signify their approval
with bowed heads. Prayer and the reading of a lesson from the
Parsee scriptures follow. Then the priests chant the praises of
Ormuzd, pour out a libation of homa juice to the sacred fire, per-
form other religious ceremonies, and finally conclude with prayer,
especially for kings and all in places of authority and power, that
172 THE LAND OF IDOLS

righteousness may be done throughout the earth, and that peace may
everywhere prevail. Thus the service in a fire temple seems to
be a strange mixture of truth and superstition, of sense and of non-
sense. No stranger is allowed to enter at any time within the doors
ot a Parsee temple. It would be unpardonable profanity so to do.
The Parsees are considered a very upright, if a rather peculiar,
people. They have the very highest character for honesty, industry,
peacefulness, intelligence, and benevolence. Truthfulness is a heri-
tage of the race. The very children amongst the Parsees are taught
that to tell a lie is a most shameful thing, grieving to God and dis-
astrous to man. It is believed that “he that -speaketh lies shall
perish little by little.’ The evil spirit, Ahriman, is called “ the liar of
liars,” and young people are exhorted to beware of becoming like him.
The Parsees are an enlightened people, and have been foremost
amongst the races of India in taking advantage of European educa-
tion for the benefit of their children, both boys and girls.
Commenting on the changes wrought of late years in the Parsee
community, Dr. Mitra, in a lecture given in Calcutta, said: “At the
beginning of this century the Parsee at home differed very little from
his Hindu fellow-subjects. The furniture of his house was the same,
and he enjoyed life squatting on cushions and carpets like the Hindus.
His victuals consisted of rice, home-made unleavened bread, kid,
mutton, and vegetables, dressed exactly in the same way as Hindu
dishes are. He ate from plates of silver or bronze or brass, according
to circumstances, as did the Hindus; and his lady sat apart and took
her meals separately from the male members of the family.
‘“Amongst the higher and middle classes of the people of Bombay
these customs have been entirely given up. In no respectable Parsee
house are the old farsh and takia to be met with; chairs and couches
have entirely set them aside. Metal plates have made room for glass
and china; the meal is now served on English tables, and tea, Icav-
ened bread, and pastry figure thereon.
“At ordinary meals the rice and curry still hold their ground, and
on ceremonial occasions English dishes are generally eschewed. The
o

FIRE-WORSHIPPERS 172

C

restriction about the lady of a family dining with her male relations
has also been to a great extent set aside. Mrs. Bomanji sits at the
head of table, and distributes tea just in the same way as does Mrs.
Jones, Brown, or Robinson. Her presence, too, serves in a great
measure to improve the decorum and tone of conversation at table.”

It has to be said, however, that, as a rule, Parsees will not invite
individuals of another religion or nationality to dine with them,
having not yet seen their way to break through all caste distinctions.

Parsees are fond of active exercise, and in this they differ from
Hindus and Mohammedans, who love to take life easily, even in their
play. A Parsee boy may not always be the dux of his class at school,
but he is always leader in the playground. Parsees play both cricket
and football with considerable energy and skill; and all manly
games are their delight. Consequently in physique this race is the
superior of other Indian raccs.

Notwithstanding their general intelligence and good sense, the
Parsees display surprising superstition in one direction. They have
absolute faith in the exploded science of astrology. ‘They will do
nothing without consulting the stars, their conjunctions and their
oppositions. They rarely start on a journey without being satisfied
that no adverse star stands in the way, and no marriage can be
solemnised among them without a careful scrutiny of the relative
position and disposition of the heavenly bodies.” They believe also
in lucky and unlucky days, and kindred superstitions, just like the
rest of Easterns.

The religious book of the Parsees is called the Zend-Avesta. It
is a small work, chiefly taken up with remarks about uncleanness
and the evils which result therefrom. The Parsees say that at one
time their forefathers had a very voluminous sacred book, which
gave instructions to men concerning good actions, which explained
religious duties and the way to obtain paradise, which gave a full
account of the Spirit of Good and the Spirit of Evil, and of the angels
in heaven, and countless other matters. However, that old book has
been lost.
L723 THE LAND OF IDOLS

In writing of the Parsees one remarkab!e custom of theirs cannot
be overlooked, as it differs so much from anything that exists amongst
any other race. The custom I refer to is the manner in which the
dead amongst them are disposed of. It might be thought that fire-
worshippers would burn their dead like the Hindus, but no! fire is
considered too sacred a thing to be profaned by a dead body. The
earth also must not be contaminated by a body from which the soul
has departed.

As, then, the Parsees, owing to their religious scruples, can neither
burn nor bury their dead, they have recourse to “exposing” them
on what are called Towers of Silence. I visited some of these towers
when in Bombay, and witnessed the funeral of a little girl. Visitors
are only allowed within a certain distance of the towers, but I was
near enough to see all that passed.

The finest tower at Bombay is over ninety feet in height, and has
a circular inside platform of three hundred feet, with a central wall
about a hundred and fifty feet in circumference. The circular plat-
form at the top of the tower is entirely paved with large stone slabs,
well cemented, and divided into three rows for the reception of the
dead bodies of males, females, and children respectively. The bodies
are taken in by priests dedicated for life to the Towers of Silence.

At the funeral I witnessed there were very few mourners; but the
few there were walked behind the bier in pairs, each couple joined
hand in hand by holding a white handkerchief between them, in
token of sympathetic grief. The bier was made of iron, and was
carried by the priests. As the procession drew close to the tower
it stopped, and the mourners then turned back, while the priests
carried the body of the departed child within the gloomy edifice, up
the staircase to the top of the building, where they “ exposed” it in
the children’s portion.

It was an extraordinary sight, and a sad one for mourners and
spectators. Vultures and other birds of prey were hovering round,
and within an hour or so, I was told, nothing would be left but bones,
which, when perfectly dried up by atmospheric influences and the


























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































TOWER OF SILENCE, MALABAR HILL, BOMBAY.

175
176 THE LAND OF IDOLS

powerful heat of the tropical sun, would be thrown down the central
well, where they would gradually crumble to dust. Thus do the
Parsees dispose of their dead.

What a romantic history the Parsees have! How extraordinary
some of their customs are! It is surprising to think of their preserv-
ing their individuality through all the centuries since they landed on
the shores of India; and to all appearance they seem destined to
remain “a peculiar people” for generations to come..

It is very seldom indeed that a Parsee becomes a Christian. Yet
there are one or two notable instances. The Rev. Sorabji Kharsadji,
now a member of the Church Missionary Society at Poona, was
brought up in a strict Parsee home. However, while pursuing his
studies, he was led to read the Bible, and the old, old story of Jesus
and His love laid hold upon his affections.

Terrible was the wrath of the young man’s friends when he
declared himself to be a Christian. He was imprisoned and cruelly
treated, but all in vain; for nothing could shake his faith in Christ
or his determination to join himself openly to a Christian community.
As a last resort his relations placed him in an oarless and rudderless
boat of the flimsiest description, and left him out on the open sea,
hoping he would be drowned. He reached land, however, and
obtained the protection of the Government until he joined the Church
Missionary Society, when his father disinherited him and his mother
died of a broken heart.

The young convert was beside himself with grief at this sad turn
of events ; but with a still greater and nobler man he could only say,
‘““Here I stand: I can dono other.” He felt that ““no man having
put his hand to the plough and looking back is fit for the kingdom
of God.” In due time the young man was ordained to the Christian
ministry, and to-day the Rev. Sorabji Kharsadji is a pillar of strength
to the native Christian Church of India.

Thus from all religions Christ our Lord is gradually winning true
and devoted followers, and fulfils His prophetic saying, “ And I, if I
be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.”




A CALCUTTA BUNGALOW.

XVI.
HOUSEHOLD AND OTHER PESTS.

N all countries there are certain household pests which are more

or less of a trouble and grief to housewives, and an amusement,
if not a terror, to children and young people; but perhaps India
carries off the palm for the number of such pests, and for the discom-
forts they cause.

In attempting to describe these minor drawbacks of life in India,
it is difficult to know where to begin; but it may not be amiss to

mention that the common flea is as prominent as any other enemy of
Li7
N
178 THE LAND OF IDOLS

mankind, and worthy of a forward place. This little torment seems
to be ubiquitous, for wherever in the world you go, you are sure to
make his acquaintance, or, perhaps more correctly, he is sure to make
yours. And where you would find one in England you will meet
with fifty in India.

I remember on one occasion seeing my wife’s white dress, when
we were travelling, quite black with a little army of fleas, that
sprang up suddenly and unexpectedly from the floor of a room which
we had just entered. The contingent that attacked me I did not see,
but I felt them. Has any boy or girl reading this book ever slept or
attempted to sleep in a house fairly swarming with fleas? It is a
daring enterprise, and requires courage and patience — especially
patience. As some poet has said :—

“No sleep till morn, when flesh and hunger meet.”

In large cities in India and in European houses it is possible,
except in times of epidemics of fleas, when they come by millions, to
keep this plague fairly well in hand by the liberal use of kerosene oil
amd carbolic acid; but in country places, and when you are travel-
ling, you must just bear the infliction as philosophically as possible.
It might be worse.

Closely allied to the flea in popular fancy is the bug, and India has
produced a few splendid varieties of this unclean creature.

Let me relate a personal experience I had with bugs at a Dék
bungalow or travellers’ rest I once entered at Gya in Northern India.
My presence in the district arose from a desire to visit the celebrated
Buddhist temple not far away. A kind and paternal Government
has provided travellers with a bungalow in which to abide for a day
or two, as there are no hotels within fifty miles.

A travellers’ rest in India is a very primitive dwelling-house of
one or two small rooms, with a bedstead in a corner, a table in the
centre of the floor, a chair or two, and a man in charge to cook for
you and wait upon you. When I entered the bungalow at Gya, my
first duty was to inspect the bedstead, with the result that I dis-
HOUSEHOLD AND OTHER PESTS 179

covered an interesting colony of very fine bugs arranged in a solid
mass, five or six layers deep, all round the woodwork. I did not take
the trouble to count the colony, but at a rough guess I should say
there would be not less than many thousands of the dark creatures.
I stayed there three nights, and slept, on the whole, very peacefully ;
but it was on the table, and not on the bed.

India has a speciality in bugs which is called the “ flying-bug,”’
and one passing through a room is enough to take away the appetite
of a party of hungry people, owing to the unpleasant odour that is left
behind. Bishop Heber, in his travels up the Ganges by boat, was
greatly troubled by these pests. Writing in his Diary on June 19th,
1824, he says: “One of the greatest plagues we have as yet met with
in this journey is that of the winged bugs. In shape, size, and scent,
with the additional faculty of flying, they resemble the ‘ grabbatic ’
genus, too well known in England. The night of our lying off
Barrackpore they were very troublesome ; but when we were off the
Raja’s palace they came out in hundreds and thousands from every
bush and every heap of ruins, and so filled our cabins as to make
them barely endurable.”” The wonder is that the good bishop was
able to endure the affliction at all.

Happily bugs will not stay in clean houses or with clean people,
so the remedy is simple in European homes in India.

Cockroaches, however, which are almost as plentiful as bugs, are no
respecters of persons, and are found in European and native houses
alike. These cockroaches, which are nearly two inches in length,
love darkness rather than light, and not because their deeds are evil,
for I believe they are fairly useful in clearing away odds and ends
that even the best of servants will sometimes leave in unwatched
corners. Personally, I have no dislike to cockroaches as long as they
are content to work in the dark; but now and again the lamp-light
attracts them, and, using their wings, they fly up into the drawing-
room, and give one the horrors by alighting on the nape of one’s
neck. (

Ladies, for some unexplained reason, stand greatly in dread of
180 THE LAND OF IDOLS

- cockroaches, almost as much so as of mice. I have known children,
however, play with them, and turn them over on their backs, with
great glee. I have heard that cockroaches sometimes take the place
of raisins in puddings, but I cannot remember eating any.

A more serious pest is the centipede, which fortunately is very
rarely seen in houses, though now and again
I have killed one both in bathroom and bed-
room. The common species is two or three
inches in length; but sometimes a variety is
found about seven inches in length and half

CENTITEDE. an inch thick. A nasty-looking creature isa
centipede, with its hundred little legs, as sharp as needles.

I know a lady who trod on a centipede one morning with her bare
foot, and in a second the vicious creature had nearly buried itself in
her flesh, and a heated iron had to be applied before it could be in-
duced to relax its hold. The place was very much inflamed, and had
to be poulticed, and it was weeks before the foot could be freely used
again for walking. It is well never to walk about the house with
bare feet in India, though of course the servants do, and they seldom
come to any harm through the practice.

Musquitoes are a perpetual pest in India, and nowhere are they
Worse than in the city of Calcutta, especially in the rainy season,
when the country around is a perfect swamp, and malaria is in the
air. A musquito is a very small, insignificant-looking insect, but it
makes its presence felt both by night and day. Its bites are sharp
and painful, and make the skin very irritable, so that it is almost
impossible to keep from scratching ; and yet it is extremely foolish to
do so, for scratching usually makes matters worse. If a bite is
bravely borne, and judiciously let alone, probably the pain will soon
pass away; but scratching increases the irritation, and what was
merely a speck becomes a big sore.

Musquitoes trouble young people as much as or more than adults.
I remember, when visiting the General Hospital one Thursday to
have a chat with the patients, I came to a bed on which a sailor-boy


HOUSEHOLD AND OTHER PESTS 181

lay in pain. His face was pitted as if with small-pox, and I asked
him if he was recovering from that disease. ‘No, sir,” he said, “‘ the
marks are only musquito bites.” It was a revelation to me that the
little pests could do such mischief. Sailors inthe harbour at Calcutta
suffer much from musquitoes which swarm on the river. The poor
lad had been driven into a feverish state by the constant torment,
and was in the hospital to recruit. From that day I understood how
it was that the musquito had earned for itself the name of “ that
villain musquito !”’

Another household pest is the lizard, which may be seen on the
walls and ceilings of every house in India. I scarcely think the
lizard should be regarded as a pest, for he is a very useful little
creature, and gentle and harmless. Yet most ladies and young
people feel afraid of lizards, and try to clear them out of the house;
chiefly, I suppose, because you can never be sure that one of the cold,
clammy little things will not fall from the ceiling on to your face, or
down the back of your neck.

Lizards are useful in one respect, because they delight in flies and



LIZARD.

musquitoes for food, and spend their whole time in catching and eat-
ing them. It is a remarkable sight to watch a lizard stalking a
musquito, on the wall or the ceiling. The insect may be five or six
yards away, but the lizard can see it, and slowly, very slowly, and
cautiously, draws nearer and nearer to it, until at last, when within
a foot or so of its prey, it will dart forward like lightning, and the
musquito disappears down the capacious throat of the lizard, and is
no more seen or felt by human beings.

On my study table in Calcutta a lizard was constantly to be seen,
182 THE LAND OF IDOLS

as tame as could be, and I let it have a drawer fora home. I have
heard of a gentleman who became quite attached to two lizards, and
invariably carried them about with him in his coat pockets, and
would produce them sometimes in juvenile society, much to the
delight of some and the terror of others—the latter chiefly being girls.

Mohammedans, strange to say, hate lizards, from a silly belief that
they hang their heads in mimicry of the attitude of reverent Moslems
at prayer. A Mohammedan calls lizards “evil things,” and will kill
them without the slightest compunction, though of other pests, as
a rule, he will take no special notice. J must confess to having a
partiality for lizards, and I could never bear to see them needlessly
disturbed.

Spiders, however, I detested.. I do not mind a little English spider
that can be swept down and turned out of doors without any trouble ;
but a gigantic Indian spider, sprawling over the table or running
along the floor or the ceiling, is enough to make one’s flesh creep.
The worst spiders are called Balork Mukra, and are black and hairy.
Another kind not quite as large is red and white, and hairy. These
creatures when driven into a corner will, if they have a chance, turn
and bite, and a nasty mark they can make, too, which if not attended
to at once will cause a painful swelling, which will last for two or
three days. Beware of spiders!

Scorpions well deserve the name of pests. There are not many of
them in the cities of the plains in India, but in the Northern Provinces
they abound. I have a scorpion, which I caught and bottled, and
have on exhibition’in my museum, and I never look at it without
thinking what a dangerous customer it was when alive.

A scorpion is not unlike a lobster on a small scale. The claws
are not the worst part of it, however—the sting is in the tail, which
is usually carried curled over the back. Scorpions feed on beetles,
and other insects; and after seizing them, pierce them with the
sting before eating them. ‘They also eat the eggs of spiders. They
lurk under stones, and in holes and crevices, but come forth to seek
their prey, running with great activity. When alarmed or irritated
HOUSEHOLD AND OTHER PESTS 183

they show great fierceness, evidently aware of the power of their
sting, which they move about in all directions as if threatening an
adversary.

Scorpions are universally disliked, and not a little dreaded, being
apt to get into houses and into shoes and boots and hats, so that acci-
dents are very frequent in places where they abound. The sting of



SCORPION (NATURAL SIZE).

a scorpion is seldom fatal, but is very painful, and is attended with
much sickness and constitutional derangement, nor do the effects soon
cease. The best remedy is ammonia internally administered, and
also applied externally.

' The industrious little creatures, the ved and black auts, are very
often a pest in India. It is impossible to keep these ants out of the
house, and they are usually to be found just where you do not want
them—in the store-room, having a fine time amongst the provisions.
They seem to be specially fond of sweet things.

I remember when drinking my first cup of tea in India—it was in
Madras—noticing some little things floating on the top. I asked my
host what they were, and he said, “Oh, nothing, only ants; they
will be after the sugar.’ I began to lift them out of the cup with my
spoon, but was laughed at for my pains, and assured that before I
had been long in India I would not hesitate to swallow any number
of ants. The prediction was not fulfilled, however, for I never got
over my objection to the mixture. Ants are well enough out of doors
attending to their multitudinous duties, but they are decidedly in the
184 THE LAND OF IDOLS

way ina cup of tea. I cannot say that I like them any better in jam
either, and they are very fond of jam.

Red ants are held in great reverence by the Hindus, who may
constantly be observed searching for ants’ nests, near which they
will place a small quantity of sugar, or some coarsely ground flour.
The idea is, wherever red ants colonise, prosperity is sure to follow
in the homes of human beings. All the same, ants, both red and
black, are a pest in the household.

And white ants, which are about the size of a grain of rice, area
thousand times worse, for they can do as much mischief in an hour
as would take a man a week to redeem. These depredators do not
attack provisions, but have a taste for millinery and ladies’ finery in
general. They do not object either to a suit of clothes. They are
partial also to furniture, and the beams of houses. Books, too, seem
to agree with their digestive organs. Only give them a fair field in
a house, and they can do wonders in the destructive line in a very
short time.

White ants work in the dark. They cannot bear the light, and if
they have to cross an open space they form for themselves along the
wall or ceiling tunnels of hard mortar, in which they hide. For-
tunately thus they betray their presence. However, much mischief
is usually done before they are discovered. It is surprising how they
will eat a great beam to dust in the inside which outwardly appears
sound. :

In the church of which I was pastor in Calcutta, we had all the

eams tapped at regular intervals of time; and every four years we
incurred a very heavy expense in renewing beams which the ants
had eaten. On one sad occasion a beam that had been overlooked
cracked during service, and a little girl was so much injured by the
falling débris that she had to be carried to the infirmary; but she
ultimately recovered, and was no worse for the accident. My pulpit,
also, was more than once attacked, and had to be partially replaced.
In private houses, in shops, and in public buildings the depredations
of these little pests are indeed very serious in India.
HOUSEHOLD AND OTHER PESTS 185

There are many other pests that might be referred to at consider-
able length, but I shall simply mention some of them in bringing this
chapter to a close.

Frogs often hop into the house from the road or the garden, and
their plaintive cry at night-time is distressing, and their croaking is
at all times objectionable. Bats at dusk make free to fly through the
house. Quite a number every evening came to eat nuts over my bed
while hanging on to the ceiling. The nuts they got from trees in the
garden. Every morning the shells had to be removed from the top
of the musquito curtain, which was the only protection between the
bats and the bed. The little insects called silver fishes abound in all
houses, and make sad havoc of clothing.

At certain seasons of the year green flies would come into the
house by tens of thousands, and try hard to get into the soup tureen,
and to interfere generally with the comfort of the evening meal. In
the morning there were heaps of dead flies on the floor, which had to
be shovelled out.

Crows, too, and flying-foxes were very anxious to make my ac-
quaintance, and did not scruple to enter the house. Oh, those
comical but wicked crows! If anything bright was left lying about
on a table, a smart crow would be sure to notice it, and hop in and
pick it up, and be off again before you could expostulate even in the
mildest of tones. Crows are fond of eggs, and when the egg-man
came these thieves would be sure to be about, and sometimes would
succeed in making away with two or three treasures. It was a
sight, to be sure, to see a crow with its head on one side drawing
nearer and nearer to a coveted egg, and at last suddenly and fiercely
sticking its bill into it. Occasionally the egg would fall just as the
thief was sailing out of the window with it, and then what an
uproar there was over the lost tit-bit!

But I must stop! Household pests make an attractive and almost
endless subject for a returned Anglo-Indian to write about. Let not
any reader think that by these pests life is made unbearable in the
East. Far from it! Use becomes second nature.


ADAM’S PEAK, CEYLON.

XVIL
SACRED FOOTPRIN7S.

NE of the most curious customs of the East is the worship of
sacred footprints of gods and goddesses.. As I travelled about
India I often saw men, women and children drawing near to with
reverence, and bowing down in admiration before, footmarks on
stone, which they believed to be impressions from the feet of Siva,
Vishnu, or Buddha, or some other so-called divinity or revered
personage.
_ The worship of sacred footprints has arisen, I suppose, from other
customs of the East connected with the feet of human beings. The
feet of kings and holy people are spoken of in preference to the other
parts of the body. His Majesty the ex-king of Burmah was always
mentioned as the “golden feet.” Then putting the feet upon the

necks of fallen kings was a favourite way of triumphing over .foes.
186
SACRED FOOTPRINTS 187

When people are disputing, even at the present day, in India, should
one be a little pressed, and the other begin to exult, the former will
say in anger, “I will tread upon thy neck, and after that beat thee.”
A low-caste man insulting one of a higher caste is sure to hear an
onlooker say to the offended individual, ‘‘ Put your foot on his neck.”

The idea between man and man in this humiliating custom is, that
one is the inferior of the other—that one is the servant and slave of
the other. And the custom has been extended to gods and goddesses.
Thus a worshipper will say in his devotions, “ Truly the feet of Siva
are upon my head!”

Now I do not say that this idea of total subjection when connected
with God is a wrong one. It is, I believe, a good thing to recognise
the fact that all things are under God’s feet—that heaven is His
throne, and the earth His footstool. Not that God is trampling upon
us as a wrathful king who has conquered us, but rather that we are
under His feet because He is all-powerful. To be under God’s feet
should mean to us that we are subject to God as a child is subject to
a kind and affectionate father. The positicn is, so to speak, one of
humility, but not of humiliation.

The people of India, alas! have not confined themselves to the
spiritual side of this subject, but have made for themsclves footmarks
on stone in different parts of the country, which have in course of
time come to be believed in by the ignorant as the actual footprints
of their divinities, and as such they are now commonly worshipped.
Thus a helpful spiritual truth has been degraded into an idolatrous
practice which is harmful to the souls of all who indulge in it.

I remember visiting a small sacred footprint temple at the corner
of a bathing ghat on the banks of the Ganges close to Scandal Point
at Monghyr. A Hindu priest, with whom walked a bright little boy,
went with me to show me the temple, which was dedicated to Sita,
the good and beautiful wife of Rama. Looking inside, I saw a foot-
‘mark chiselled on stone.

The story goes that the goddess Sita, after bathing in the hot
springs at Sita Kund, about six miles away, took one stride to the
188 THE LAND OF IDOLS

Ganges, and left her footprint on a stone, then took another stride
and landed on a rock in the middle of the Ganges, about a mile
away. There there is another footprint. A Rishi, or holy man,
dwelt on that rock, and Sita’s errand was to see him and talk with
him.

The priest in charge of the little temple at Scandal Point, which
has been built over the footprint of Sita, asserted that once a year,
generally in the month of October, sweet music came from the
temple; and that the general belief was that Sita even now at
intervals visits the spot to gratify her faithful worshippers by giving
them a foretaste of the music of the blest. I asked if the little boy
was musical, and the priest answered, “ Yes,’’ with some confusion.
My question was not what lawyers call a “leading” one, but it
nevertheless set me thinking when I saw the effect it had produced,
and I came to the conclusion that the priest and his sharp little lad
knew more about how the music was produced than they would care
to tell.

However, Hindu worshippers rarely raise any sceptical questions,
believing implicitly what the priests tell them. Thousands and tens
of thousands of people visit that temple at Monghyr annually, and
when the music is heard there is a great cry of “Sita! Sita!’ and
the worshippers bow themselves down in humble adoration before the
sacred footprints of their favourite goddess.

When in Benares, the sacred city of the Hindus, I was taken to
see some footprints near Manikarnika Kund, the famous well of
Hindu mythology. Upon the ghat or bathing place is a large round
slab called Charana-paduka, projecting slightly from the pavement;
and in the middle of it stands a stone pedestal, the top of which is
inlaid with marble. In the centre of the marble are two small flat
objects representing the two feet of Vishnu.

The tradition is that Vishnu selected this precise spot for the
performance of ascetic rites, and the worship of his brother god Siva.
When he left two footmarks were seen, and these have ever since
been held in great veneration, and have received divine honours. In




























BUDDHA GYA BEFORE RESTORATION,
189


190 THE LAND OF IDOLS

the month of Kartic (October) multitudes of people flock to the place
to worship Vishnu’s feet, and by that worship the priests tell them
they are certain of an entrance into heaven.

At the moment I was looking on only a few people were gathered
round the sacred footprints, but I was struck with the devoutness of
their worship. Again and again did they bow themselves down
before the sacred feet, and earnestly did they seem to be invoking
the blessing or deprecating the anger of Vishnu. And a little mite
of a girl was one of the most ardent and enthusiastic of the wor-
shippers.

It is interesting to note that the Buddhists as well as the Hindus
have their sacred footprints to worship. In 1885 I visited Buddha
Gya, which is famous as the locality of the holy pipul tree under
which Buddha sat for six years in mental abstraction, and was
tempted of the devil, and overcame the evil one. In front of the great
temple at Buddha Gya there is a small open temple of four pillars,
covering a large circular stone, and on this stone two feet are carved,
which are believed by Buddhists to be the footprints of their Lord.
That little temple is called Buddhapad, or the temple of Buddha's
feet.

Buddha during his lifetime had many opponents, the greatest
being Mahavira, the last of the twenty-four patriarchs of the Jain
religion ; and at Pawa there is a small temple containing the foot-
prints of Mahavira. Pilgrimages are made yearly to this shrine, for
the footprints are counted very sacred, and their adoration is believed
to be a cure for various diseases.

Pawéai is called “the sinless or pure town,” and is one of the holy
places of the Jains, who in many respects resemble the Buddhists,
differing from the latter chiefly in their ritual and objects of venera-
tion. The Jains believe that their past and future state depend
entirely upon their own actions. They practise a strict morality, but
offer no sacrifices to gods. They hold life, in both man and beast, to
be very precious, and are the chief supporters of beast hospitals in
India.




BUDDHA GYA AS IT IS,

191
192 THE LAND OF IDOLS

The Jains number about half a million, and are a prosperous
community like the Parsees. In Calcutta they have a very beautiful
temple which is well worth a visit from all tourists, and yet it is
often overlooked.

But to return to the sacred footprints of the Jain patriarch at
Pawa. The stone on which the impressions appear is believed by the
Jains to have been the footstool of Mahavira, who taught his followers
sitting out in the open air. The marks were left by constant use, and
when the great teacher was taken away his disciples continued to
meet at the old familiar place, and having their master no longer to
reverence, they adored the prints of his feet. And from those far-
off days until the present day, according to popular belief, the custom
has been kept up. Only, I think, in the East could such statements
be credited.

Perhaps the most striking instance of the worship of sacred foot-
prints that I saw in India was at a Hindu temple in Gya, about five
miles from Buddha Gya. This temple is called Vishnu-pad, the
temple of Vishnu’s foot, and is in the heart of the old town. It is a
large building as temples go in Northern India, and the porch in
front is a very neat, airy structure, and looked at from a little
distance, appears singularly graceful. Inside the porch hangs a large
brass bell, which when I was there was constantly in motion. The
clanging of the bell, the cries of the priests, and the prayers of a large
gathering of worshippers in the immense porchway, made a deafen-
ing noise, and yet, withal, one had the feeling that Vishnu-pad was a
place for worship.

The centre of the shrine, the most sacred part of the temple, was
guarded with high folding doors plated with silver, and through these
doors [ was not allowed to go, nor did I indeed desire to, for without
doing soa very fair view of the interior, which was lighted by oil-
lamps, could be got. In the centre of the shrine was an octagonal
basin coated with silver, and on this basin there was the impress in
stone of a foot sixteen inches or so inlength. I have a model of it
hanging on my study wall, which refreshes my memory, and enables
SACRED FOOTPRINTS 193

me to speak with considerable certainty. The foot is said to be





















































































































































































































































































































n
Br et
ee pad

























































































































































































































































































JAIN TEMPLE OF ADINATH, GWALIOR.

Vishnu’s. There were seven worshippers, a priest, a boy assistant,
and a cow in the shrine on the occasion of my visit.

oO
194 THE LAND OF IDOLS

The priest was seated at one corner of the octagonal basin, the
boy was standing behind him, the seven worshippers were at the
other corners, and the cow was walking round the sanctuary and
making herself very much at home.

Ganges or Soan water, flowers, and rice were thrown into the
basin and the priest instructed the worshippers at a given signal to
bend their heads over the side and touch reverently with their
foreheads the sacred footprints. This the devotees proceeded to do;
and I was thinking that the scene was impressive, though sad, when
the large brown cow upset my gravity by proceeding very quietly
and sedately, while the worshippers’ heads were bowed, to eat up all
the offerings.

It was a strange sight, combining the sublime and the ridiculous,
and I could see that the boy behind the priest was highly pleased with
the action of the cow, though he said nothing. Sacred cows, of
course, are privileged creatures in India, and it is no uncommon
thing to see them in temples. The particular cow I am referring
to was only doing its duty in eating the offerings, but it should have
waited until the worshippers had finished their devotions.

As a final ceremony the priest grasped some lights, and solemnly
waved the flames before the faces of the worshippers, who then got
up and passed out of the shrine to make room for others.

In Ceylon there is a world-renowned sacred footprint on Adams.
Peak, one of the highest mountains of the land. Almost all sects have
claimed and do claim an interest in the spot.

Portuguese Christians have been superstitious and credulous
enough to declare that the mark on Adam’s Peak was the footprint
of the Apostle Thomas, who they say visited Ceylon to speak to the
people of a Saviour’s love. The Mohammedans declare that the
mark was left by Adam, who, after the Fall and the expulsion from:
Paradise, was compelled to perform penance for his sins by standing
on one foot on the summit of Adam’s Peak, where he remained for
ages, until God pardoned him. The Hindus maintain that the mark
was made by the god Siva, who on one occasion alighted on the
SACRED FOOTPRINTS 195

mountain when on a journey, and left behind the impression of his
foot, and, finally, the Buddhists say that their great master, when on
a visit to Ceylon, ascended Adam’s Peak and left the imprint of
his foot upon a rock as a convincing proof of his superhuman power,
and enjoined his followers ever afterwards to adore and worship the
impression.

At the present day Adam’s Peak is in possession of the Buddhists,
who have erected a little temple over the sacred footprints ; but they
permit Hindus and Mohammedans, and indeed adherents of any and
every creed, to visit the spot and worship to their hearts’ content.

In the months of February, March, and April, thousands of people
perform the somewhat weary pilgrimage, for the roads to the sacred
shrine are rough, and in parts near the top of the mountain steep
and dangerous. Many accidents have been known to happen, and a
few deaths have occurred, in connection with the ascent of Adam's
Peak. Iron chains are fixed in the sides of the rock on which the
temple is built, to assist the climbers.

The sacred footprint is on the very apex of the mountain. It is.
only called a footprint by worshippers, for any one else looking at it
would declare that it was just a cavity in the rock. The cavity is
about five feet and a half in length, and two feet five inches in width.
There are small raised portions which are meant to delineate the
form of the toes, but altogether it is as clumsy an attempt at
deception as can well be imagined. Fancy a footprint nearly six
feet long !

The form of worship is as follows: The priest stands on the
sacred footprint facing the pilgrims, who prostrate themselves on the
ground, only raising their hands above their heads in an attitude of
supplication. The priest then recites several articles of Buddhistic
faith, which the worshippers repeat after him. When the priest has
finished, the people rise from the ground, and raise a loud and united
shout of thanksgiving and praise, which is echoed and re-echoed
from crevice to crevice and crag to crag on the mighty mountain.
Then turning to each other, the worshippers exchange salutations of
196 THE LAND OF IDOLS

peace and good-will; and relatives warmly embrace each other, and
express kindly feelings for each other’s happiness.

Before leaving the spot—and they must leave the same day, as no
one is allowed to spend a night on the mountain—the pilgrims make
offerings to the sacred footprint, according to their means and
inclination, som2 presenting money, others fruit, or grain, or flowers,
and others pieces of cloth wherewith to decorate the temple. The
offerings are allowed to remain on the sacred footprint a short time,
but they are then taken away by attendants and become the
property of the chief priest of Adam’s Peak, who, as may easily be
imagined, amasses in course of time great wealth. Thus the
superstitions of the many are made to minister to the greed of the
few.

Ts it not extraordinary that human beings can descend so low
_as to worship so-called sacred footprints! Verily Eastern people are
-credulous to a degree! Oh, the folly and wickedness of such degrad-

ing practices !

What the people of the East need to learn as rational creatures
is, that the object of their affection and worship should not be the
imaginary footprint of a god or goddess, but the one true God Him-
self, powerful and majestic, putting all enemies under His feet,
without doubt, but yet merciful and gracious, a God of compassion
and love, as revealed to mankind in the person of Jesus Christ our
Saviour, who, in moral conduct, in beauty of character, in self-sacri-
ficing deeds for the good of humanity, has left us an example that we
should follow in His steps.
MI nut Hi i
ae
a |

a

In
Hh
hi a



‘

HN
i i H
PTAA A
HRT HTH

ia
AN
a

































































































WATER-CARRIERS,

XVIII.
BHEESTIES, OR WATER-CARRIERS.

SIGHT that is sure to attract the attention of a stranger in
India is that of the bheesties, or water-carriers, who are to be

seen at certain hours of the day busily engaged in watering the dry
and dusty roads. Though water-carts are not unknown in the East,
yet they are not greatly favoured, and water-men, or bheesties, as

they are called, are preferred. The work, of course, proceeds very
197
198 THE LAND OF IDOLS

slowly, but no one grumbles at that, and water-carriers have the
advantage of costing little, for common labour is cheap in India.
The Odheesti’s work is laborious. I have often pitied the poor
creatures as I have seen them, in an almost naked condition, and
usually lean and lanky, toiling along under the heavy load of a great
water-skin called a mussuk. This curious arrangement for carrying
water is made from goats’ skin, and when full looks not unlike an
unwieldy pig slung over the shoulder. The water is judiciously
squirted out of a small orifice in the musswzk on to the thirsty road,
and the quantity of liquid that the vessel will hold is something
wonderful. It is said that the constant pressure of the wet skin on
the back of the bheesti-wallah is the cause of a serious sore, in
which is often found a parasitic worm, which occasionally causes
death.

In the towns the bheesties, fortunately, have not far to go for
their water, whether they want it for the roads, or the public and
private gardens, or to supply the empty baths in the homes of the
people; but in country places, and especially in the hill stations, the
distance to be traversed sometimes is very great, and thus adds
seriously to the exhaustion of the toil.

W. Trego Webb, Esq., of the Bengal Education Service, in a
charming little book of Indian lyrics, calls attention, in a few
appropriate words, to the work and worth of the Indian water-
carriers.

The words are :—

“ Like as the organ-man in public road
Beareth his music with him on his back,
Or as the hawker bends beneath his pack,
The dheest toileth with his watery load
The dusty precincts of our town abode.
The baths, which one could ill endure to lack,
Have oft, when pipe-fed rillet runneth slack,
Their debt of moisture to the dheest? owed.
So, dheesti, mayst thou still at eventide

Subdue the dust, and, foe to all that’s dry,
Water the paths where others walk and ride.
BHEESTIES, OR WATER:-CARRIERS 199

Thine is, I ween, no useless destiny ;
Yet thou at length, thy goat-skin laid aside,
Subdued thyself, beneath that dust must lie.”

There are various tales told of water-carriers which are inter-
esting and instructive, and a few of these I will relate, as they throw
light on the beliefs and customs of the people of the East. Let me
begin with one that illustrates the superstition of the Hindu mind in
association with idolatry.

In ancient times, it is said, when there was a famine in the
land, as, alas! often happens in India, some of the gods and god-
desses, as represented by stone idols, did not receive their accustomed
morning ablution on account of the scarcity of water. There was
one idol in particular, the image of Siva, the third person in the
Hindu Trinity, in a certain district, which for months had been
neglected. The people of the neighbourhood, in the hour of terrible
distress, thought more of their own wants than of the wants of the
so-called gods. Indeed, some of the men were heard to say, “Of
what use are our gods if they cannot provide water for themselves
and for us their worshippers, so that we may all be preserved from
death?'’ The women, dreadfully shocked, exclaimed, “Hush! hush!
that is blasphemy: the gods will be angry with us and send
greater and more dreadful troubles upon us if we do not speak
respectfully to them and of them.” It should be borne in mind
that the Hindus believe that all calamities are the work of the gods
when they are grieved with mankind. Even the women in this
particular case, however, agreed that out of the little water that
could be obtained none could be spared for the ablution of the gods:
the latter must be left to take care of themselves.

Thus neglected, of course, many idols, owing to the intense heat,
cracked, and otherwise came to grief; and it seemed likely that the
idol in question would share the same fate as the others; and it
would have done so but for the altogether unexpected succour of a
water-carrier. Amongst the villagers, it appears, a poor bheestz,
after listening to a conversation one evening about the god Siva,
200 THE LAND OF IDOLS

resolved that, at any cost, the idol should receive, at least, his morning
bath. From that time, therefore, whenever the water-carrier drew
near the village with water, which he had to bring from a long
distance, he stopped to sprinkle the idol. It was, perhaps, at the peril
of his life he did it, for every drop of the water was more precious



than gold, for the existence of many human beings depended upon
the daily supply. However, the man risked something for the sake
of Siva, with the firm conviction that, in the long run, the god would
reward him.

After the famine had passed away, and prosperity had returned
BHEESTIES, OR WATER-CARRIERS 201

to the land, the bieesti was still observed going about his laborious
work as poor as ever. His neighbours, who had discovered what he
had done, even taunted him, saying, “ Behold, your attention to Siva
has brought you no reward! It would have been better to have
drunk the water yourself!’? The man made no reply, but performed
day by day his allotted task in his menial position, still holding fast



BHEESTI, OR WATER-CARRIER.

his faith in the merit of the act he had done, and in the justice of his
favourite god.

And at the last, the story says, his deserts were fully recognised.
One night, just twelve months after the time he had begun to bathe
the idol, he had a remarkable dream. Siva came to him in his dream,
radiant with beauty and glory, and praised him for his attention
during the period of scarcity of water, and promised him that if he
202 THE LAND OF IDOLS

would go at midnight on the following day to a certain spot, he
would find a herd of buffaloes, and as many of these as he could tie
with ropes should be his own.

At the appointed hour the bheesti was on the spot with a quantity
of rope that he had made or borrowed, and there he found the
buffaloes, and with nervous haste he proceeded to tie up as many as
he could before daylight appeared. When at length the sun rose
above the horizon, he found himself the fortunate possessor of over
two hundred large, strong, and healthy buffaloes. Passing with them
from village to village, he soon disposed of his stock at very good
prices, and returned to his home and to his wife and children in great
joy, and lived ever afterwards in ease and comfort, the admired of all
his friends and neighbours. ‘Thus,’ the Hindu chronicler says,
“was the devout worshipper rewarded for his attention to the god
Siva in a day of calamity and sore distress.” It is a foolish tale,
evidently invented by the priests of Siva to increase the reverence of
the people for the idol. I have related it because it is associated with
a bheesti, and because it illustrates the superstitious thought and feel-
ing and action of the Hindus on the subject of idolatry.

I have heard of another story in which a bheesti figures, which
powerfully illustrates the convictions of the Hindus in the matter of
caste. It is said that after one of the battles of India, during the.
time of the great Mutiny, a British officer, who was badly wounded,
was heard crying out for water. ‘Water! water!" he exclaimed;
“give me a drink of water, or I die!” Many heard the sad cry, but
there was no water at hand: what little had been provided had been
consumed. Still the piteous wail was heard of “Water! water! for
the love of God!”

At length a bheesti was seen coming from a distance with the
precious fluid in a mussuk on his back. It was brackish water,
scarcely fit to drink, and it was carried in an old skin bag; but,
poor as it was, dirty as it was, oh, how gladly it was received! The
wounded Englishman stretched out his hand towards it eagerly,
feverishly, and took it, and put it to his lips, and drank it as joyously
BHEESTIES, OR WATER-CARRIERS 203

and as freely as if it had been water from the freshest and sweetest
spring.

Not far away from the British officer lay a native officer, a brave
man of the Punjab, who had fought well, but had fallen at last with
his face to the foe, covered with wounds. This man also longed for
a draught of water to assuage, if possible, the terrible thirst which
was upon him, and which added tenfold to the agony of his dying
hours.

To the side of the native officer the water-carrier was directed,
but the wounded man waved him away. His caste prejudices, his
religion, forbade him to take meat or drink from the hands of a low-
caste man. It was not that he objected to the water because it was
brackish, or dirty—the objection was that it was carried in a skin,
and that the bheesti was of a lower caste than himself. Two or three
Englishmen standing by remonstrated with the officer, telling him
that the water would assuage his sufferings, but it was all to no
purpose. Casting a greedy look on the life-giving fluid, he turned his
head resolutely away, and bade the water-carrier depart. The power
of caste was stronger than the agony of thirst which was upon the
brave but misguided native officer.

Some time ago there appeared in the Christian Miscellany a story
concerning bheesties, which Iam sure my young readers will be glad
to know. It was as follows :—

“ Outside a sera, or resting place for travellers, sat in the moon-
light four men, smoking their hookahs, or Indian pipes, and having
one of those long talks which natives of the East most dearly love,
and which they sometimes prolong far into the night. Perhaps the
most striking figure of the group was a venerable Sikh, whose hair
and beard, never touched by razor, were now of silvery whiteness.
The other men were of various nationalities, but used Urdu as a
tongue common to all.

“The first speaker, a Persian, was giving a flowery account of
his own country, which none of the others had ever seen. Such
horses, such fruits, such cities, he described, that to hear him one
204 THE LAND OF IDOLS

might think that Persia of all the lands of earth was the most
eautiful and the most blest.

‘“““ And our men are unmatched for size and strength,’ pursued the
speaker, using a good deal of gesticulation. ‘Iam one of a family of
ten sons, and not one of my brothers but is taller and stronger than I
am. What would you say to our bheesti? He is some eight feet in
height, and carries a mzusswk made of the hide of an ox, which, when
full, five of your ordinary men could not lift!’

‘“Dominie Sampson at these statements would have exclaimed,
‘Pro-di-gi-ous!’ The friends of the Persian merely remarked, ‘Wah !
wah!’ though the sage old Sikh rather incredulously shook his head,
and muttered in his beard, ‘I should like to see such a bheesti.!’

“Then spoke a fine tall Afghan: ‘I could tell you of a bheesti
compared to whom your Persian bheesti is but an emmet. I know one
who can carry a mussuk as big as a mountain, and as white as the
snows on the Himalayas. This water-carrier can travel thot’sands
of miles without stopping or oe weary, sometimes ps gs and
sometimes howling as he goes.’

‘“““ Wah! wah!’ cried the listeners. The Persian coloured, and
angrily said, ‘I will not believe such a pack of lies!’

‘““*Oh, brother!’ remarked the old Sikh, smiling, ‘there is more
truth in the Afghan’s tale than in thine. Look yonder,’ he continued,
as a white cloud passed over the face of the moon, ‘and listen to the
rushing blast which is shaking the leaves of yon palms. The wind
is the mighty bheesti whom the great Creator employs to bear swiftly
the huge white musswks which convey this gift of rain.’

“Thou art wise, O father!’ said the youngest man in the group,
who had hitherto spoken but little. ‘Now, listen whilst I tell of
a third bheesti—not tall like the first, nor strong like the second, but

earing a more wonderful mussuk than either. This nzssuk is not
longer than my hand. It is very old, too, and it is carried by a feeble
man.’

“* Useless! good for nothing!’ exclaimed the Persian, somewhat
rudely interrupting the narrative.
BHEESTIES, OR WATER-CARRIERS 205

“Listen before you say so,’ calmly replied the speaker. ‘In this



A WATER-CARRIER, MADRAS.

mussuk is water of such wonderful virtue, that if but a few drops fall
206 THE LAND OF IDOLS

on good soil a spring of surpassing sweetness bursts forth, some-
times spreading and spreading, till first a brook, then a wide stream,
and then a glorious river appear. The most learned cannot calcu-
late, nor ages on ages limit, the effects of a few living drops from
that blessed mussuk.’

‘The Persian and Afghan uttered exclamations of surprise, but
a thoughtful inquiring look was on the face ot the aged Sikh, who
whispered, ‘Where can that zzssek be seen?’

‘“““ Here,’ replied the speaker, a Bengali, as he drew a Bible from
his vest. ‘This book contains the Word of God; and its contents,
when received with faith, are spirit and life.’

““Tt is the Christian’s Shaster!’ said the old Sikh, raising his
hand to his brow in token of respect.

““Tet me pour forth some drops of the living water,’ said the
Bengali, who was a native evangelist ; ‘the moonshine is so bright
that I can by it read a little from the pages which I know and love
so well.’

‘““No one made any objection. The Persian listened with curio-
sity, and the Afghan with some attention, but it was on the old
Sikh that the holy words fell like the rain from heaven. This was
not the first time that he had drunk from the precious mussuk
of inspired truth, and its waters became to him as a stream of
life, which would never fail him till time should be lost in
eternity.” .

And what passage of Scripture did the evangelist read? The
Christian Miscellany, in telling the story, did not say, but probably
it was the seventh chapter of the Gospel according to John, the
chapter in which we read these words: “In the last day, that great
day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let
him come unto Me and drink.”

Now is there not one great lesson we may all learn from the
foregoing narrative? Just this, that we may all be bheesties, yea,
that God wishes us to be water-carriers. Like the Bengali evan-
gelist, we may carry about with us, wherever we go, the mussuk of
BHEESTIES, OR WATER-CARRIERS 207

‘Divine truth, scattering a drcp here and a drop there on the dry
and thirsty land of the human heart.

India needs an army of Christian bheesties, to carry the precious
“water of life” far and wide, and to cry aloud as they go, ‘“ Ho,
every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters!” “The Spirit and
the bride say, Come; and let him that heareth say, Come; and let
him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the
water of life freely.”

I pray that my young readers may obtain for themselves a copious
supply from the “pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, pro-
ceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb,” and then listen
to the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ, who has said, “ Freely ye have
received, freely give.”







































WATER-CARRIER.










































A GROUP OF ZENANA PUPILS.

XIX.
BRAVE YOUNG CONVERTS.

T will be clearly understood by those who have read this book
so far that it must be no light matter for the natives of India
to give up their ancestral religion and embrace Christianity. And

yet every year some of the people receive grace so to do. The
208
BRAVE YOUNG CONVERTS 209

labours of our missionaries and other servants of Christ in India are
not in vain, for the Word of Truth finds a lodging place in many
hearts; and though perhaps the majority who receive the Word
gladly remain secret disciples, there are a few who are bold enough
to declare before all the world that they are Christians. And of
such I would now write.

These converts come from all classes of society, and are of both
sexes, and of all ages. My intention, however, is only to deal with
the young in this chapter. I wish my readers in Europe to see that
amongst the young people of India may be found brave and noble
characters, who for Christ’s sake shrink from no sacrifice and fear
no danger. Would that both in the West and the East there were
more young people with the courage of their convictions in things
moral and spiritual !

A while ago there was in Bangalore a young Brahmin who
attended a mission school, first as a scholar and then as a teacher.
He was a clever and promising youth, and his friends had hopes
of his making his mark in life; but these hopes were frustrated, or
at least his friends thought so, by his announcement one day that
he was seriously thinking of becoming a Christian,—yea, that he was
a Christian at heart, and was making up his mind to confess his
faith publicly by baptism.

The reading of the Bible, the teaching of the missionaries, and
the holy, consistent lives of the latter, had wrought this change
in the feelings and convictions of the young Brahmin, and led him
to forsake idolatry. It was a genuine case of conversion by con-
viction, and when the missionaries heard thereof they were glad.
The youth’s friends, however, were beside themselves with anger,
and adopted all kinds of harsh measures to turn the young man
from his resolve to be baptized.

Persecution, as so often happens, but deepened the convictions of
the convert and strengthened his resolves; andone day he overcame
all his fears, and proceeding to the native Christian Church at
Bangalore connected with the London Missionary Society, was

P
210 THE LAND OF IDOLS

baptized in the presence of a large congregation, after answering
decidedly and firmly the questions put to him with regard to his
abandonment of Hinduism and trust in the Saviour.

Even after the baptism the relatives of this young man did not
cease their persecution and their efforts to turn the new convert
trom his trust in Jesus, but all was in vain. The enraged Hindus
‘then said, “ The missionaries have given you a drug to turn your
mind”; but they were met with the quiet and wise rejoinder, ‘No!
“God has given me His Spirit to change my heart.” Is not such
moral courage in its way heroic?

A similar story comes from Belgaum. Shiddhappa, a native of
Hubli, the son of a basket-maker, made the acquaintance of some
Christian people while he was at school, who lent him books by
which he was convinced of the folly of idol worship. Aspiring to
the study of English, the lad joined first one school and then another,
and finally settled at the London Mission School at Belgaum.

There his knowledge of Christian truth increased, and his im-
pressions of the uselessness of idolatry deepened; and his letters
home to his parents showed signs of the change that was taking
place in him by frequent references to Christianity, which he con-
trasted with Hinduism, to the disadvantage of the latter.

Now Shiddhappa had a sister whom he tenderly loved, and as -
she was ill,—indeed, sick unto death,—the boy was called home to
see her, with the hope that a change to his native village and a
talk with his friends would lead his thoughts away from the new
truths he had imbibed. However, the visit had the opposite effect,
for the sight of his dying sister brought very vividly before his
mind words he had heard concerning Christ and the life hereafter.
The words were, “I am the resurrection and the life: he that
believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and who-
soever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou
this?” Shiddhappa felt that it would be good for all of them if
they did believe the beautiful and comforting words.

Thereupon he spoke to his friends of his convictions, and in-
BRAVE. YOUNG CONVERTS 211

timated that on his return to Belgaum he would be baptized, and

would cast in his lot with the followers of Christ. Great was

the grief of his relatives at the announcement ; and when entreaty
proved of no avail in altering the young man’s decision, an uncle,

more irascible than the rest, locked him up in a room in his house,

and vowed that he should never leave it until he had promised to

think no more of Christianity.

Shiddhappa bore all this ill-treatment with patience, but did not
in the least waver in his resolution, and,when a favourable oppor-
tunity presented itself, he escaped from his stern relative’s custody,
and fled to Belgaum, where he rejoined the missionaries.

His mother, however, was soon upon his track. Leaving her
dying daughter, she hurried to the rescue, if possible, of her son
from what she conceived to be worse than death—viz., Christian
baptism. The interview between mother and child was touching
in the extreme. She pleaded passionately with her boy not to
forsake the faith of his forefathers and bring disgrace upon the
family name. She promised to let the lad have everything that
his heart could wish in every other direction, if he would only
renounce his intention of becoming a Christian. But the faith of
Shiddhappa was fixed; and while he sought to soothe and comfort
his mother with kind words, he yet let her know that all her
arguments and pleading were in vain.

Then the sorrowful lady turned to the missionaries who were
standing by and piteously exclaimed, “There are plenty of others
who will join you, spare my son!’’ The missionaries, of course,
told her that the decision lay entirely with her boy, but that they
hoped he would be true to his love to Christ, as the change from
Hinduism to Christianity could not be other.than great gain, and
was rather a matter for rejoicing than for sorrow.

To bring the painful interview to an end, Shiddhappa took some
water from a Christian child, and at once broke caste by drinking
it. ‘There, mother,” he said, “my caste is broken. You sce that
I am determined to follow my religious convictions.” But even
212 THE LAND OF IDOLS

then the determined mother did not give up hope of success in her
mission, for with a look of inexpressible sorrow in her face she
exclaimed, “Do you think I shall leave you? No, not even for
that!”

Eventually, however, the distressed lady saw that nothing could
shake the faith of her son in Christianity; and then, though re-
luctantly, she left him with the missionaries, and returned almost
broken-hearted to resume her care of her dying daughter.

Shiddhappa was baptized soon after. We can see, however, how
terribly hard it ‘must have been to the youth to run counter to the
wishes of his parents, and give his dear mother such sorrow of
spirit. Such a case helps us to understand those strange words
of Christ which read, “Think not that I am come to send peace
on the earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am
come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter
against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-
in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He
that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me;
sand he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not
~sorthy of Me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that
‘Yoseth his life for My sake shall find it.”

Though females as a rule in India are very slow to declare
themselves Christians, yet when they do so they are as brave as
their husbands or brothers. I recall the case of a young person
who, about five years ago, was greatly persecuted for her faith at
ikelayapuram in Quilon, South India. She was an orphan, living
with and looking after the house of her only brother, who was a
bigoted Hindu, and a hard-hearted, cruel man.

Kota was the name of the young woman. She made friends
with some Christians living in the district, and eventually, notwith-
standing the threats of her brother, joined herself to a Christian
Church. Then commenced a series of petty persecutions, which
reached their climax one day in personal violence. Kota, on her
return from service one Sunday, was seized by her brother and
BRAVE YOUNG CONVERTS 213

severely beaten. Then, with a refinement of cruelty seldom wit-
nessed, the poor girl was tied to a tree, at the foot of which was
a flourishing colony of red ants.

In a little while Kota was completely covered with the insects,
which bit her, and gave her great pain. When she cried out for pity,
her brother only mocked her, and going. up to her, struck her
savagely. Again the poor girl wept under the stings of the ants and
the blows of her brother, and prayed aloud in agony. . “ Yes, pray!”
said her inhuman tormentor. “Call on Jesus and the catechist to
come to your help!”

When Kota heard the name of her Lord thus taken in vain, she
ceased her tears, remembering that she was a Christian, and that as
such she must be prepared, in a heathen land, to suffer persecution.
Not another cry did she raise; but with the courage of a martyr
endured her aches and pains, until even the stony heart of her
brother was touched, and after some hours of torment she was
released by him, with the remark that she was a brave girl, at any
rate, though a foolish one for becoming a Christian.

Poor Kota! it was some time before she recovered from the
physical effects of that day of ill-treatment. The trial, however,
strengthened her faith and ennobled her character. Truly she was
made perfect through suffering !

From South India let us journey in thought to the extreme north,
and there, also, cases are constantly being reported of victory over
weakness and fears, through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. In a
report of work which I once received from the Rev. H. Coley, now of
London, but then of Almora, I find these words: “At Almora we
have had the pleasure of baptizing several persons during the past
few weeks. One was an old woman, named Jasia, for many years
ayah in Mr. Budden’s household. She had received a good deal of
instruction, and prayer on her behalf has been offered for many a
year. Now, at last, in her old age, she has found faith and courage
to confess Christ openly ; and our hearts are glad.

“The next was Tulsi, a nice little maiden of about twelve years ot
214 THE LAND OF IDOLS

age. She, too, had been under influence in the Bazaar Girls’ School,
and in joining out little Christian community followed the example of
her sister, who was baptized from the same school in 1879.

“Another was a young man froma distant village. .He had beer
hindered by the intervention of his relatives, and kept a close prisonz1
at home for some time. But he at last regained. his liberty, and
speedily made his way back to us. His mother came again in
search of him. But his steadfast determination to seek a Saviour in
Christ Jesus touched her heart. Though filled with wrath and indig-
nation against us when she came, a great change took place. She
quietly watched the ceremony, and it is not improbable may herself
before long be seeking to join the same Master as her son. We thank
God for these signs of His mighty working, and would ask our friends
to remember these ‘little ones’ in their prayers.”

When in Calcutta I frequently met a native Christian gentleman
called Atul Krishna Naj. It is over twenty years since he was
baptized, but I refer to his case now because it is worthy of special
notice in association with an event which happened comparatively
recently.

When Atul Babu decided to become a Christian, he was taken into
the house of that fine missionary, the late Rev. S. J. Hill, of Berham-
pore, who, after a time, baptized the young man amidst a scene of
great excitement. The whole neighbourhood was enraged at the
event, for Atul was a youth of good parts. The anger of the parents,
however, was the most intense, and the father banished the lad from
home, and vowed that he would never look upon his face again.

Atul found the Scripture true which says, ‘‘ When my father and
my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” He obtained
remunerative employment under Government, and made many kind
friends amongst the Christians, but still it was a great grief to him
to be at variance with his relatives, and he did all he could to soften
their hearts towards him. After a few years his mother could bear
the separation no longer, and sent for him to visit the house after dark.
His father at such times either left the house or kept entirely out of
BRAVE YOUNG CONVERTS 215

sight. Thus for twenty long years this unnatural state of things
continued ; but at last, a while back, the father’s heart relented, anda
complete reconciliation has been effected.

Let me tell the rest of the story in the words of the Rev. W. B.
Phillips, of Calcutta, an intimate friend of Atul Babu. Mr. Phillips
says: ‘This morning Atul Babu and I met. It was a treat once
more to shake hands, look each other in the face, and talk of the many
associations that we have in common. A friendship spreading over
fourteen years, cemented by loyalty to the same Lord, and marked by
long co-operation in Christian work, affords many topics for happy
converse.

“He was long the secretary of our Berhampore Total Abstinence
Society. Just recently he has become secretary to a similar society
started in Calcutta. He is also a teacher in the Sunday School.
After talking freely for some time about various things, he suddenly
said, ‘I have a piece of good news for you.’ ‘Indeed! what may
that be?’ ‘My father has spoken to me.’ As these words were
uttered, and the full depth of their meaning grew upon him, his eyes
filled with tears. All other thoughts were driven from my own mind,
and I seemed to stand before the gathered emotions of twenty
years.

“Here was one who, at the age of twenty-two, had said before God
and man: ‘Iwill follow Christ, whatever it may cost.’ At the very
threshold it had cost the bitterest grief of loving, indulgent parents ;
it had raised a barrier which seemed to shut him off from them for
ever. Years came and went; his eldest child died; others were born,
grew up, and attended school; sickness, disappointment, and sadness
blended with his life; and yet through all the changes of time his
father’s heart never melted—no word of sympathy ever fell upon his
ears.

“Twenty years! what a long time it seems never to hear a word
from the lips of a father living within a few hundred yards! To
have no smile of a grandfather on one’s children! No wonder that
the tears stood in his eyes as he was able at last, after twenty years,
216 THE LAND OF IDOLS

to say: ‘My father has spoken to me.’ My own heart was much
moved. I stood in the presence of one to whom ‘the cross of Christ’
had meant such a bitterness as I had never known.”

Now let me give just another instance of youthful bravery for
Christ’s sake, which happened in Calcutta in i891.

Lalit Kumar Ghose, a young Hindu of a thoughtful turn of mind,
borrowed a copy of the Bible, about which he had heard much, to see
for himself what the Christian Scriptures were. The Book was a
revelation to him, and he speedily saw how superior was its teaching
to anything that the Hindu Shasters contained. Thereupon he sought
the companionship of Christians and the guidance of missionaries,
which, coming to the ears of his friends, brought upon the young man
much persecution.

However, grace was given to him to bear meekly every trial, and
on Sunday morning, August 23rd, 1891, he was baptized in Union
Chapel—the church of which I was formerly minister. The service is
said to have been a most impressive one, and was attended by many
young people, who were deeply affected by the outspokenness and
bravery of the new convert.

In his short statement of belief addressed to the congregation,
Lalit Kumar said, amongst other things: ‘I have implicit faith in the
Christian religion. I believe Jesus to be the Way, the Truth, and the
Life, who gave Himself for sinners. My hungry soul has been
satisfied, my thirst has been quenched. Now I come forward to con-
fess my Saviour publicly, by taking the external sign of baptism. I
accept Jesus as my Saviour before everybody here, and I earnestly
beseech you to pray that I may be kept in the faith to the last.”

After his baptism the young man went to live with the missionaries
of the London Missionary Society at Bhowanipore, where he carried
on his studies in the Society’s college, giving great satisfaction to his
Christian friends. It was hoped that his relatives would leave him at
peace, but no, they were only waiting a favourable opportunity to
get him again into their power.

It happened one day that the new convert was out alone walking,
BRAVE YOUNG CONVERTS 217

and ere he was aware of their intentions his uncle and other relations.
seized him and carried him off, first to Gobra, and then to his home at
Gouhati, where every pressure was brought to bear upon him to
renounce Christianity.

The brave lad declined even to think of such a thing, and then
insults and stripes were the portion of his cup, but he still held fast
his integrity. He was kept a close prisoner for a time, but through
the help of Mr. Burdett, a missionary living in the district, he effected
his escape. However, he was recaptured, and persecutions began
afresh, but still he remained true to Christ ; and once more he effected
his escape, and this time succeeded in reaching his friends at
Bhowanipore, who received him with open arms. And there the
young man has remained ever since, unmolested, his relatives
evidently having given up the struggle in despair. This case shows
how many and how great are the difficulties in the way of a young
Hindu confessing his faith in Christ. All honour to such as Lalit
Kumar Ghose, who have the courage of their beliefs!

Not all the young men in India, however, are as brave as Lalit
Kumar or Atul Babu, or the others I have mentioned. There are
many who, though they have leanings towards Christianity and are
convinced of the claims of Christianity upon them, yet have not the
courage to forsake all for Christ’s sake. More than one such case
have I known myself. Again and again I have said toan anxious

inquirer, “Iam convinced that you are a Christian.” “Tam!Iam!”
has been the reply, “but I dare not confess it to my friends. I fear
persecution.”

Let me plead with my young readers of the West for their sympathy
and prayers on behalf of the young people of the East. The advent
of that day is earnestly to be desired when all the world over young
men and maidens will be able to say,‘ We fear God: but we have
no other fear!”

THE END.



















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