"Great Gana-pathi, thou in sport
Dost clap thy hands and dance,
Dost crack six cocoanuts, and eat
Bushels of rice at once.
Like us thou lovest sweetmeats too,
So look on us and help us now.
Once in a year the grown people honor him with a
great feast. Then the children make images of him out
of clay and get their parents and others to give them
plenty of cakes and candies for offerings to him, after
which they have a good time ; for if Gana-pathi can not
eat them they know who can.
The Hindoos think that this God is able to help them
to do anything they desire by taking away whatever
hinders it or prevents it from succeeding. They call
upon him for aid by repeating a prayer or by making his
sign. If they are going to build a house they make it in
the sand; if they are about to write a letter to a friend
that mark is always made first at the top of the page.
Sometimes, instead of that mark, they write these words,
"By the help of Gana-pathi." May we not learn a good
lesson from these poor heathen, and remember what Jesus
says to us: "Without me ye can do nothing."
WORSHIPIIN^G AN IDOL.
He idol in this picture is the same as that
in the other. There is a man standing
in front of it, pouring oil upon its head.
Some of you will remember that this is
just what Jacob did at Bethel, when he
took the stone he had used for a pillow
and set it up and "poured oil upon it." God told him
to set up the stone, that whenever he saw it he might
remember the wonderful vision he had had there, and
then to pour the oil upon it, just to mark it, so that he
might always know it from the other stones. But Jacob
knew better than to worship it. Perhaps the Hindoos
got into the way of pouring oil upon their idols in this
way and from hearing of this thing which Jacob did.
But they think they do a great honor to their gods when
they anoint them. Tou would not think it was an honor
when you saw what black, filthj^ and unpleasant-looking
objects it made them.
This idol is set up out of doors, in a grove. The tree
growing near, with branches stretching over it, looks like
a banyan. The others are cocoanut-trees. Those in the
distance, over the river, are Palmyra-trees.
Wherever you go in India you see idols â€” by the road-
side, in the palm-groves and under the green wide-
spreading banyan. This idol stands upon a square stone.
Behind it is a pillar, on which stands an oil-lamp. On
still nights this is lighted. The man pouring the oil is
probably the priest. Under his arm is a garland of
flowers, which he will leave there. He has also some
sacred ashes, with which he will mark its forehead. He
does this every day. Sometimes lie brings fruit and
sugar and rice as an offering. All tlie while he stands
there doing these things he keeps repeating his prayers,
or muntras, as he calls them. Should we not be more
earnest in praying to the great and holy Saviour than he
is in praying to his dumb idol?
ERE in this picture you see the Hindoos
at work making their idols.
That man on the right-hand side is
sawing a stick of wood. One piece of it
is for an idol; and when he has finished
it he will worship it and pray to it, and
will say, ''Deliver me, for thou art my god." With the
rest he will kindle a fire, and will warm himself and say,
"Aha, I am warm," as the prophet Isaiah says of the
heathen in his day in chapter xliv. The man at the
back there, on the left-hand side, has nearly finished an
image of Gana-pathi.
The workman in front is just touching off one of the
four heads of a serpent. On its body, which is coiled up
below, there is a god sleeping. The name of that god is
Yishnoo. The story which is told of this god in their
sacred books is very curious. The serpent, they say, was
an enormous one, with a thousand heads. It lay floating
upon a shoreless, fathomless ocean of milk. It was float-
ing there long before the world, or any of the gods even,
were created. During all this time the god Vishnoo, who
was the father of all the gods, lay sleeping on the folds
of its enormous body. He had lain there for millions and
millions of years, when there sprung up out of him a lotus
flower. Out of this flower there came another great god
called Brahma. As soon as Brahma was born he created
a number of big elephants and made them stand on the
heads of the serpent. Then he created the world and put
that on the backs of the elephants.
How thankful we should be that we were not taught
to believe such foolish stories, but have the holy Bible,
wliicli was given to us by the true God, who, by his
ahnighty power, created the world. The Hindoos worship
both Yishnoo and the serpent on which he lies. Every-
where you see images of the cobra. They even build
temples for it, and j)ray to it and make it many offerings.
When they have one in their houses, as they often do,
they do not dare to kill it, but give it milk and fruit, and
treat it with great respect. Besides the serpent, they
worship many other animals.
They call the cow the "mother of the gods." If a man
kills a cow they say he w411 be punished in the other
world for as many years as there are hairs on her body.
Some of them think they are sure of going to heaven,
if, when they die, they hold in their hand the tail of a
cow. The sacred ashes, which they rub upon their idols,
and with which they mark themselves every morning, are
made by burning cow-dung. Bulls are an especial object
of reverence. You often see them walking about around
the temples; large, fat, sleek-looking fellows; they get
to be very bold and self-willed, because everybody feeds
them and treats tliem well. They go through the bazaars,
or market-places, and help themselves to grain or fruit
from the stalls, and the shop-keepers do not dare to beat
them away, lest they should offend the god. Thus the
Hindoos have to pay for their folly. These Brahminee
bulls often stand about in the narrow streets and block
up the way. Sometimes you hear a man beg one of them
to get out of the way. He will say, "Please, my lord, be
so good as to stand aside and let me pass."
They worship the monkey, too. There is a monkey-
god, of whom they tell the most wonderful and ridiculous
stories. When he was quite a child, he one day saw the
rising sun, and thinking it was a ripe fruit, he leaped up
to seize and eat it. One of the gods, seeing what he was
doing, struck him with a thunderbolt, upon which he fell
to the earth and broke his cheek-bone ; so from that they
called him Hanu-man, for hanu, in that language, means
cheek-bone. They say he was wonderfully strong. When
only ten years old lie lifted up and carried off a rock that
was nearly twenty miles in circumference. He did tliis
to trouble some holy men who cursed him and for a time
took away all his strength. As they do not like to drive
away monkeys, in many places they become very trouble-
some indeed to the people, though to you they would be
very amusing. The Hindoos not only worship beasts,
but birds, and even fishes.
A BRAHMm PRIEST.
HE man who stands looking up and
stretching out his hand in that picture
is a priest, or gooroo, as they call him.
He is also called a Brahmin. It is his
business to read and explain the vedas
4;^^ "" to the people. The vedas are to them
what the Bible is to us. There are four of them. They
are all written in a language which the common people
do not understand. They are not translated as the Bible
is ; so that when the people want to know what the vedas
say they are obliged to ask the Brahmins. These Brahmins
say they are gods, and try to make the people believe it.
In the vedas they say there is the following verse:
Creation bows before its Maker's nod,
But muntras can enchain the power of God,
Yet muntras do before the sacred Brahmins bow,
So Brahmins are the gods of mortals, and immortals now.
Muntras are short prayers, the meaning of which the
priests themselves do not always understand. There is
one which they think possesses very great power. It has
these live syllables, Na, Ma, Si, Ya, Ya. When these are
all pronounced as they should be, it is said they produce
the most wonderful effects. Once fire was seen to come
straight down from heaven and burn up all the sin in the
man who pronounced them; and at another a flock of
crows were seen to fly out of the body of a man. These,
the gooroo gaid, were the sins which he had committed
before he was born. Some muntras have power sufficient
to destroy an army, and some to make even the gods
You will say that all this is very foolish and wicked ;
and so it is. We know, however, that there is great
power in the prayer of a good man, for the Bible says
that "the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man
availeth much." And the prayer of a child even, when
it comes from his heart, has power enough "to move the
hand that moves the world."
In the picture there is a man w^orshiping a Brahmin.
He has fallen down before him with his face to the
ground. The Brahmin is repeating a muntra and hold-
ing out his hand to give him his blessing. But the poor
man must give him some money for that. The place
where he stands looks like a temple. Many Brahmins
live all the time in these temples, and receive many
presents from pilgrims that come from a distance, as well
as from the people who live near by.
The white marks on his arms and forehead are made
with the sacred ashes. He has a cord and a string of
beads about his neck. They think the cord is very
sacred ; it is a sign that lie is a Brahmin. It is first put
on to Brahmin boys when they are about eight years old.
He is as proud of his cord as a nobleman is of his stars,
or as a soldier of his medals. He uses those beads when
he repeats his prayers. He says a short prayer over and
over a great many times, and he thinks the value of his
prayer depends on the number of the times he repeats it,
so he keeps count with his beads. How much this makes
us think of what the Saviour says about praying, â€” "Use
not vain repetitions as the heathen do."
The two men talking together, in the same picture, are
also Brahmins. You notice that they have only a knot
of hair on the top of their head, and that all the rest is
shaved off. They are very careful of that lock of hair, for
they think they could not be saved without it. How
strange it seems that such good-looking men should
believe such foolish things ! and how very sad it is they
should teach all the people to believe them!
You will be glad to know that since the missionaries
have gone and told them of the Saviour who died upon
the cross for all men, many of the people, and some
Brahmins even, have given up the worship of their false
gods and have believed in him. Still there are many
millions in India who have never even once heard of
Jesus and the true way to be saved. Many more mis-
sionaries should be sent there. "When you grow up
would you not like to go?
/ 1 ^