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the stock or family of her husband ; she ought to have
brothers, and her lineage and family for ten generations are
to be publicly known among her contemporaries. Her re-
lations also make strict inquiries into the merits and demerits
of the bridegroom, particularly as to the state of his health
and stamina. Some writers assert, that a Brahman may
occasionally demand in marriage the daughter of a Chattri,
merchant, or cultivator, but on this condition, that they do
not join their husband in partaking of food or drink.

Among the Hindus there are five modes of contracting
marriage ;* the first, Vivdka, after this form : the damsel's
father looks out for a son-in-law, to whom he presents
money and goods in proportion to his means, and gives him
his daughter, which is the most legitimate mode.f The
second is the Asurvlvahak, when without the consent of the

*In the Institutes of Manu (1. III. si. 21.) eight forms of marriage
are enumerated, viz : the marriage form of Brahma, of the D6vas
(gods), of the Riskis (saints), of the Praja j>atis (creators), of the
Asu'ras (demons), of the Gandharvas (celestial musicians), of the
Ra'kshasas (giants), and of the Pisa'chas (vampires). The six first in
direct order are by some held valid in the case of a priest; the four
last in that of a warrior; and the same four, except the Rakshasa
marriage, in the cases of a merchant and a man of the servile class.
Some consider the four first only as approved in the case of a priest;
one, that of Rakskasas, as peculiar to the soldier; and that of Asuras
to a mercantile and a servile man; but in this code three of the five
last are held legal, and two illegal : the ceremonies of Pisa'chas and
Asuras must never be performed.

tit is when the bridegroom gives to the bride, her father, and
paternal relations, as much as he can afford. According to Ward, it
is when money is received in exchange for a bride. Where a present
is made to the father of the girl, the caste of the boy is not very
respectable. In the most respectable marriages, the father not only
gives his daughter without reward, but bears the expenses of the
wedding, and presents ornaments, goods, cattle, and money to the


father or mother, by employing force and violence, or the in-
fluence of money, the damsel is forcibly taken by the bride-
groom from her parents' house to his own, and there
married to him. The third is the Gandharvivdhah, when
the bridegroom takes the damsel away with her consent,
but without the approbation of her parents, and espouses
her at his own house. The fourth is the Rdkshasa-vivdha,
when the parties on both sides are at the head of armies,
and the damsel, being taken away by force, becomes the
victor's bride.

The fifth is the Pisdcha-vivdka, when the lover, without
obtaining the sanction of the girl's parents, takes her home
by means of talismans, incantations, and such like magical
practices, and then marries her. PIsdch, in Sanscrit, is the
name of a demon, which takes whatever person it fixes on,
and as the above kind of marriage takes place after the
same manner, it has been called by this name.

On espousing a damsel, the intelligent Brahman, having
taken the bride's hand into his own, must go through the
established forms prescribed by his faith, and move seven
steps in advance. When he espouses the daughter of a
Chattri, at the time of solemnizing the marriage, an arrow
is to be held at one extremity by the bridegroom, and
at the other by the bride ; on contracting an alliance
with a merchant's daughter, the bride and bridegroom are
to hold a scourge or some similar object in the same
manner ; on his marriage with the virgin daughter of a
cultivator, the parties mark their union by a token of secret
intimacy. When they deliver the bride to her husband, if
her father be not alive, or her paternal grandfather, or if
her brothers be not forthcoming on the occasion, then the
most respectable person of the tribe or family is to perform
the necessary ceremonies ; and if the relations be not in-
telligent, then the damsel's mother.

It is to be remarked, that when a girl attains the proper
age for entering into the married state, if her parents, not-
withstanding their ability, do not provide a husband for
her, they commit a great sin. If a distinguished suitor
should not present himself, they are however to provide a
husband of a good family ; this they are to perform only


once in their lives, as on the husband's death it is unlaw-
ful for the widow to become the wife of another person :
after her husband's decease, she is obliged to pass the rest
of her life in his house. If, previous to advancing the
seven steps prescribed at the time of contracting the mar-
riage, there should present himself a more distinguished
suitor than the former, it is allowed to take the damsel
from the former and give her to the latter, as before ad-
vancing the seven paces, the matrimonial contract is not
binding. Should a wife prove to be immoral, all inter-
course with her must terminate ; but putting her to death
or turning her out of doors are also forbidden : she is to
be confined to a small and dark chamber, clad in a coarse
dress, and to receive food but once a day.

The period of a woman's illness, according to the Brah-
mans, extends to sixteen days : on the four days following
the first day of the symptoms, all intercourse with her is
forbidden. Women are strictly enjoined to show the great-
est respect to their husbands, parents, brothers, and rela-
tions, and to use every possible exertion for the preserva-
tion of their husbands' property. When he goes on a
journey, she is not to deck her person, nor appear cheerful
and smiling ; she is not to go to entertainments, to the
houses of her acquaintances or relations, nor invite them to

As long as a girl is unmarried, it is necessary to guard
her with the closest attention ; but, when married, this
would be highly improper, with this restriction however,
that it is by no means fitting that a female, from her tender-
est years to the period of her maturity, should be allowed
unlimited liberty: on the contrary, she is to be ever sub-
missive and obedient to her father, husband, and relations :
but if these should not be in existence, the actual rulers
are to take care of her state.

Thk Sattke's Compensation

When the husband is on a journey, the wife is not to re-
main alone in the house, but is to repair to the dwelling


of her parents, brethren, or relations; and if, on her hus-
band's death, she become not a Sattee, that is, burn herself
with the deceased, she is then to reside with his relations,
devoting herself to rigid abstinence and the worship of the
Almighty. They say that when a woman becomes a Satiee,
the Almighty pardons all the sins committed by the wife
and husband, and that they remain a long time in para-
dise : * nay, if the husband were in the infernal regions,
the wife by this means draws him from thence and takes
him to paradise ; just as the serpent-catcher charms the
serpent out of his hole. Moreover the Sattee, in a future
birth, returns not to the female sex ; but should she reas-
sume the human nature, she appears as a man ; but she who
becomes not a Sattee, and passes her life in widowhood,
is never emancipated from the female state. It is therefore
the duty of every woman, excepting one that is pregnant,
to enter into the blazing fire along with her deceased hus-
band ; a Brahman's wife in particular is to devote herself
in the same fire with her husband ; but others are allowed
to perform the rite in a separate place. It is, however, crim-
inal to force the woman into the fire, and equally so to pre-
vent her who voluntarily devotes herself. -j-

The enlightened doctors say that by a woman's becoming
a Sattee is meant that, on her husband's decease, she should
consume in the fire along with him all her desires, and thus
die before the period assigned by nature ; as in metaphysi-

* This passage is nearly a literal translation from the Hetopades.

t The sacrifice of widows was abolished in the year 1834, in all the
Indian provinces under the government and influence of the English


cal language woman signifies ** passion,'* or, in other words,
she is to cast all her passions into the fire ; but not throw
herself into it along with the deceased, which is far from being
praiseworthy. A respectable woman must not from vanity
expose herself to the gaze of a stranger, but she is to wear
a dress which will completely cover her to the sole of the

It is to be noted, that the son of a Brahman by a Chat-
tri female is not of the father's caste, but a superior Chattri.
It is moreover laid down as a rule that a Brahman, on be-
coming a BrahmachAri, should regularly worship the fire,
which fire he is to discontinue at the time of the marriage
contract ; but on that occasion he is bound to light another
fire and to recite the prescribed prayers, so that it may be
as a witness of the compact entered into between husband
and wife : also after the celebration of the marriage, they
are to repeat the prayers prescribed at the time of lighting
the fire which they are ever after to worship daily.

The Brahman is moreover to offer up USma, or burnt of-
ferings, at the rising and setting of the great luminary, and
to partake of food twice ; once during the day on the ex-
piration of two watches (midday) ; the second time at
night, on the expiration of one watch: he is also to assist
with food and clothing, to the utmost of his power, the
indigent, and friends who come to his house.

The Chattri is to learn the V6das and Shasters, or the
divine revelations and sciences, but he is not to teach them
to another; he is likewise to perform H6ma, or ^'burnt-
offerings.*' His occupation consists in governing and pro-
tecting the human race, for which reason all monarchs were
anciently of the Chattri class, the more effectually to estab-
lish the righteous decrees of Brahma, and the institutions
of the Brahmans.

To the Bakk.'il, or ** merchant caste," appertains the pro-
fession of buying, selling, and commercial transactions, the
protection of animals, and agriculture, which is attended
with profit.

The cultivator, who is called Dalmah, or Ktimb'i, is en-
joined to engage in service, to practice tillage, or any em-
ployment within his capacity by which he can gain a


maintenance ; there are in fact no limits prescribed as to the
nature of his occupations.

All four classes are strictly enjoined not to injure any
living being whatever, especially not to deprive anyone
arbitrarily of life ; to speak the truth, to act uprightly, and
as long as they live not to defraud a fellow-creature of his

Sacrificial Offerings

Every Brahman is obliged once a year to celebrate the
established rite of Tajna, or " sacrifice *' : if he be in indigent
circumstances, he is to go round to his brethren, and expend
whatever he collects in the Yajna, which is thus performed:
there are three Kundams, or *^ fire-pits " to be formed, in
front of which is fixed a wooden post ; then a rope made
of Durva grass (in Sanskrit, Kiisd) is thrown around the
neck of a black he-goat, and fastened to that post; H6m
is then offered up during five days; on the first day, the
sacrificer and his wife both perform their ablutions, nine
Brahmans at the same time going through the rite of wash-
ing their heads and persons ; of these nine, one is looked
upon as Brahma himself, all present obeying his commands,
and the remaining eight Brahmans waiting obsequiously on
him. In addition to these, sixteen more Brahmans are re-
quired, who are to recite by themselves the Mantra^ or
"forms of prayer," at the moment of the H6m, or "burnt-
offering.** In order to light the fire, they bring small pieces
of a wood which in Sanskrit they call Arana, in Hindi,
Ak (asclepias gigantea) ; and also for the same purpose
another kind, in Sanskrit, Kkandira, in Telinga, Chandaru;
for the Homa, a wood in Sanskrit called Pdmdrak, in
Telinga, Utarini, in Dakhani Akhdrah, of which they
make tooth-picks; also a wood, in Sanskrit Uddmvarah
(ficus racemosa), in Telinga, Miri, in Dakhani, Kular,
in Parsi Anjir dasti, or " wild fig ** ; and another wood, in
Sanskrit saml, and in Telinga, Khammi; also a grass,
named in Sanskrit Di'irvd, in Telinga, Kargi, in Dakhani,
Harydli; also another sort, called Darbas^ altogether nine
are required. The eight Brahmans first mentioned having


repeated the proper incantation lay hold of the goat in such
a manner that they make it lie down on a bed formed of
the leaves and branches of the tree Khartarhari, or
Karshartari, in Sanskrit, Kalis akha, in Telinga, Sal-
siikuma, and in Dakhani Karankabdnta. In the next place,
the sixteen Brahmans, having recited the formula, or ap-
propriate Mantra, stop up all the animal's orifices, so that
he can neither exhale nor inhale, and keep him in that
position until he dies. Then one of the sixteen Brahmans,
cutting off the head at one blow, flays the carcass and cuts
it up in small pieces, throwing away all the bones to some
distance, and then mixes up clarified butter with the flesh.
The eight Brahmans next lay it piece by piece on the fire,
whilst the other sixteen are employed in throwing on the
above-mentioned kinds of wood, and pouring clarified
butter on them. The eight Brahmans eat of the meat thus
roasted; the person who offers the sacrifice also partakes of
it ; after which he gives among all the officiating Brahmans
one hundred and one cows with their calves, along with a
dakshinah, or "presents of money. ^* H(5ma must also be
performed on the second day, and gifts presented to the
Brahmans; on the three following days, they recite the ap-
propriate Mantras, and light up the fire in the manner
before described, but lay no meat upon it ; in short during
the whole five days, they entertain all Brahmans who present
themselves, offering up perfumes and giving presents to
each of them. On the expiration of the five days, they
completely fill and stop up two of the fire-receptacles,
leaving the third, which they do not close up until they
have removed the fire it contains to their dwelling. As the
fire on this occasion had been made outside the city, they
erect there a house which they burn down on the comple-
tion of the ceremony. When they have taken the fire to
their dwelling, they deposit it in a peculiar receptacle
excavated for the purpose ; they offer up the H6ma daily,
never suffering this fire to go out ; they also make a cover-
ing for it, which they remove at the time of offering up
the H6ma.

The manner of offering the Hdma is as follows: the sac-
rificer having performed his ablution and made the tilek, or


* inaugural mark," on the forehead with ashes from the fire
receptacle, then celebrates the H6ma ; the rites must be per-
formed by a Brahman, as it is of no avail when performed
by any other. If the officiating Brahman be a Vaishnavah,
"worshiper of Vishnu,*^ he performs the Tajna, or "sacri-
fice,* in the same manner, excepting that, instead of a
goat, he employs the figure of a goat formed of flour, over
which he goes through the established ceremonies. When
one goat is sacrificed, it is called AgnishtSma, or " sacrifice
to Agni " ; where two are oflfered, T'Anyikam; the sacrifice
of three is called Wajp^ya; the sacrifice of four is called
yyotishtdma; and the sacrifice of five is named Panjdham.
When they sacrifice a cow after this manner, it is called
the Gomddha; the sacrifice of a horse, As'wamedka; that of
a man, Narni4dha.

The Tajna, or " sacrifice '* is to be offered in the months
of Mdgha, "January"; Vdishdka, "April," or Mdrga-
sirsha, "August." Every person performs the Yajna once;
but he sacrifices a goat every year; or, if in indigent cir-
cumstances, the figure of a goat formed of flour ; and if he
be a follower of Vishnu, the goat is to be a figure formed
of the same materials, as among that sect cruelty toward
the animal creation is reckoned as impiety. In their Smriti,
or *' sacred writing," it is thus laid down: "Let that per-
son put animals to death who has the power of reanimat-
ing them, as the victim thus sacrificed must be restored to
life." Moreover, their pious doctors have said that, by
the sacrifice of a sheep, is meant the removal of igno-
rance; by that of a cow, the abandoning of low pursuits;
by that of the horse, the curbing of the mind ; as accord-
ing to the Hindus, Manah, or "the heart," from which
proceed all phantasies and internal sense, is a fiery and
unbroken steed ; finally, shedding man's blood in sacrifice,
implies the eradication of all reprehensible human qualities.

The Proprikties

It is also to be highly commended in a Brahman not to
devote himself to lucrative pursuits, but to repair to the


abode of his co-religionists, and being satisfied and grateful
for the portion of grain he receives from them, to give up
the rest of his time to devotion ; nor is he to collect so
much food as to have any remaining for the next day.
Vessels of gold are esteemed more pure than those of any
other metal. Whenever a Brahman sees an idol-temple, a
cow, or a holy personage, he is to walk reverentially round
each. He is not to perform the offices of nature in run-
ning water, nor in a cow-shed, nor in ashes ; before a
Brahman, or a cow, or in sight of the great luminary;
when he retires to any place for this purpose, he is not, in
that state of nudity, to look toward the stars ; neither is he
to go out naked in rain, nor sleep with his head to the
west ; he is not to cast saliva, blood, nor semen into
water, nor extend his feet toward the fire for the purpose
of warming them ; he is not to leap on fire, nor drink
water with both hands. It is also wrong to awake, unless
in case of necessity, one who is in a profound sleep ; nor
is it allowed to sit on the same couch with a sick person.
It is not right to enter upon any undertaking to which a
suspicion of evil consequences is attached. Great care must
also be taken to remove to a distance from the smoke of a
dead body on the funeral pile. No one is to return to his
home, whether in a city or village, except by the public
gate. A Brahman must not receive a gift from a mean
and sordid monarch, or from an avaricious person of de-
grading pursuits, as in the future investigation, punishment
certainly awaits such conduct ; in short, he never accepts
anything from the impure or base. He is not to look at
his wife when sneezing, yawning, or gaping ; when she is
seated in privacy at her ease ; or when applying collyrium
to her eyes or anointing her hair. He ought not to sleep
naked in his bedroom, nor in an empty house without a
companion ; he ought not to throw water about in play,
with the palm of his hand or with his foot, nor to blow
out fire with his breath, without using any instrument.

It is to be known, that the astronomers among the Brah-
mans, in their computation, divide the month into two
parts ; from the beginning to the fifteenth day they reckon
one part, and call the sixteenth day Purva, that is, one


entire part; and the rest, to the end of the month, is the
other part ; in like manner, they have in each month twice
twelve and six days ; which they distinguish by the denom-
ination dvdddsl, " the twelfth, *> and chachtl, " the sixth day **
of the lunar fortnight.

Nobody ought to put his feet upon the shade of a Dfv,
that is, of the image of a celestial being, of a king, a pre-
ceptor, a saint, and a married wife of another. It is not
right to look with contempt upon a Brahman. One may
beat a delinquent on account of a fault, or a pupil by way
of chastisement, but his blows must not hurt the upper
parts of the body. No man ought to dispute or wrangle
with one higher in rank than himself, nor with a widow,
nor with a man without connection, an old woman, a beg-
gar, nor with children. Let him feign ignorance with
respect to a mandate upon a woman, and toward a person
who should be aware of the bad conduct of his wife. He
is never to take his meal upon the same table-cloth with a
man without religion, a butcher, and one who sells his
wife. The master of the house ought never, with a loud
voice, to invite another to his board, because this looks like

Nine stars are to be worshiped for the increase of wealth,
the accomplishment of our wishes, and the union with the
divinity namely, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the sun, Venus,
Mercury, the solstice, and the descending node. Let the
pious distribute to the Brahmans and to the wise men what
is prescribed of corn, raiment, and jewels that may suit
them. The king is to possess dignity, wisdom, and affa-
bility toward young and old ; he is to be just toward
the complainants; at court, condescending to all, mild and
liberal, knowing the truth, understanding the wishes of men,
respectful to the pious and the saints, and showing defer-
ence to the lords of the faith, and the secluded from the
world. He is to be humble and command his ambition ; and
in whatever may occur, pleasure and pain, fortune and
misfortune, let his conduct never be mutable and incon-

Whoever runs away in battle, renders himself highly
guilty, and all the merit which he might have acquired


before, falls to the share of another who stood firm in the
field of battle. A king who, with the laudable qualities be-
fore described, exerts himself in the maintenance of his laws,
the distribution of justice, and the welfare of the culti-
vators, shares the recompense of all the good actions which
the inhabitants of the country have performed. The exer-
cise of justice is imposed as a necessity upon a king ; in
order that, if a son, brother, uncle, brother-in-law, precep-
tor, or any other friend, commit a crime, he may imme-
diately, according to the established code of laws, order
their chastisement, terrify, reprimand, or subject them to

In the Hindu Institutes which are called Smriti, it is
said to be established that, after the worship of the Su-
preme God, they ought to venerate the subordinate divini-
ties, and perform the prescribed rites. To eat flesh, and to
put to death some animals, is therein not prohibited, ex-
cepting the cow ; he who kills, or even hurts this animal,
shall never enjoy the sight of heaven ; and they say that
he only who can restore to life, may put to death an ani-
mal ; this is necessary : who destroys a living being must
vivify it again ; if he be not able to do this, he ought to
forbear from that act, because he shall not escape punish-
ment for it. According to their learned interpreters, the
killing of certain animals which is permitted in their sacred
books, signifies the eradicating and destroying of such
blamable qualities as are proper to these animals.

In ancient times, it was the custom among the Brahmans
and the wise among them, when they had become householders
and begotten a son, to withdraw from society, and when
they had established their sons, to separate from them, and
having retired into a desert, to devote themselves to the
worship of God; and when the sons had children in their
house, their father and mother did not visit each other in the
desert, but lived separate from each other, at the distance
of several farsangs.

The religious austerity of this people is very great ; thus
they practice perpetual standing upon their legs, hanging
themselves up, abstaining from conversation, keeping silence,
cutting themselves asunder, leaping down from a rock, and


such like. Women used to burn themselves alive with their
dead husbands : this is according to tlie Smriti, which is
ascribed to Brahma, and believed to be eternal truth.

Of this people, the author of this book saw in Labor, the
capital of the Sultan, a Brahman, called Sri Manu Rama,

Online LibraryCharles Reed PeersUniversal classics library (Volume 6) → online text (page 20 of 37)