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Mysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) online

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death of the late Maharaja, the said Government, being desirous that the
said territories should be administered by an Indian dynasty, under such
restrictions and conditions as might be necessary for ensuring the main-
tenance of the system of administration so introduced, declared that if
Maharaja Chamrajendra Wadiar Bahadur, the adopted son of the late
Maharaja, should, on attaining the age of eighteen years, be found qualified
for the position of ruler of the said territories, the government thereof
should be entrusted to him, subject to such conditions and restrictions as
might be thereafter determined : And whereas the said Maharaja Cham-
rajendra Wadiar Bahadur has now attained the said age of eighteen years,
and appears to the British Government qualified for the position aforesaid,
and is about to be entrusted with the government of the said territories :
And whereas it is e.xpedient to grant to the said Maharaja Chamrajendra
Wadiar Bahadur a written instrument defining the conditions subject to
which he will be so entrusted. It is hereby declared as follows : —

1. The Maharaja Chamrajendra Wadiar Bahadur shall, on the 25th day
of March 1881, be placed in possession of the territories of Mysore, and
installed in the administration thereof.

2. The said Maharaja Chamrajendra Wadiar Bahadur and those who
succeed him in manner hereinafter provided, shall be entitled to hold
possession of, and administer the said territories as long as he and they
fulfil the conditions hereinafter prescribed.

3. The succession to the administration of the said territories shall
devolve upon the lineal descendants of the said Maharaja Chamrajendra
Wadiar Bahadur, whether by blood or adoption, according to the rules and
usages of his family, except in the case of disqualification through manifest
unfitness to rule.

Provided that no succession shall be valid until it has been recognized by
the Governor-General in Council.

In the event of a failure of lineal descendants, by blood and adoption, of
the said Maharaja Chamrajendra Wadiar Bahadur, it shall be within the
discretion of the Governor-General in Council to select as a successor any
member of any collateral branch of the family whom he thinks fit.

4. The Maharaja Chamrajendra Wadiar Bnhadur and his successors

* See above, p. 441.


(hereinafter called the Maharaja of Mysore) shall at all times remain
faithful in allegiance and subordination to Her Majesty the See Imi. An!., IV, 5.


to be lor the [nirposL; of obtaining offspring. A woman is nearly always
the priest, and women are the chief worshippers.

Mih-iaini/in or Mdni/iuna, familiarly styled Ajiiina, the mother, or in
the honorific plural A/niiiaiiavaru,^ is the universal object of rural
worship, as the grama di'va/d, or village goddess. She seems to corre-
spond in some of her attributes with Durga or Kali, also called
Chamundi, and is explained to be one of the furies attendant on that
goddess. Though bearing so tender an appellation as mother, she is
feared and propitiated as the source of calamity rather than loved as the
bestower of blessings." She is supposed to inflict small-pox — which
indeed is called after her, ainma, as chicken-pox and measles are called
chik-amijta — and to send cholera and other epidemics upon those who
have incurred her wrath. She is appeased only by the shedding of
blood and therefore receives animal sacrifices. In former times there
is no doubt that human victims were offered up at her shrine. She
appears also to be the author of cattle disease. To avert this and other
evils the sacrifice is annually made in many parts of a buffalo.' I find
the following description of the ceremony by Mr. Elliot as performed
in Manjarabad : — ■

A three or four year old (male) buffalo is brought before the temple of
Miira, after which its hoofs are washed and unboiled rice thrown over its
head, the whole village repeating the words Mara ko?m, or in other words
buffalo devoted to Mdra. It is then let loose and allowed to roam about
for a year, during which time it is at liberty to eat of any crops without fear
of molestation, as an idea prevails that to interfere with the buffalo in any
way would be sure to bring down the wrath of Mara. At the end of that
time it is killed at the feast held annually in honour, or rather to divert the
wrath, of Md.ra.'*

Almost every village has its Mari gudi, though .she sometimes bears
various local names compounded with amvia.

At the foundation of a village it is the practice to erect at some
point of the ground two or three large slabs of stone, which are called
kari kallu or kani kallu. These are also objects of worship, and are
generally painted in broad vertical stripes of red and white. An annual
ceremony is held in connection with them, when all the cattle of the

^ This is evidently the Amnor of the Todas mentioned in Colonel Marshall's book,
but by him misunderstood as the name of a place, answering to heaven.

* Buddhists believe in a kind of devil or demon of love, anger, evil and death,
called Mara, who opposed Buddha and the spread of his religion — Monier Williams,
Ind. Wis., 58 ; cf. Wilson, Works, II, 340.

•'' For a similar Toda custom see Phren. am. Todas, 81.

* Exper. of PL, I, 66. Reference is also there made to Jour. Ethnol. Soc. of
July 1S69, for further particulars by Sir Walter Elliot.


village are presented before the stone. This is supposed to avert cattle
disease. For the same purpose a sylvan god named Kdtama Rdya is
worshipped under the form of an acute conical mound of mud,
erected on a circular base, also of mud. At a little distance it
looks not unlike a large ant-hill' This rude symbol may often be
seen in a field in the open, with a bunch of wild flowers adorning
the apex.

Another deity, or class of deities, is known by the name of bhuta,
a word which is taken to mean demon, but may relate to bhi'i fayi,
Mother Earth, or the occult powers of Nature." It is generally
worship[)ed under the form of a few naturally rounded stones, placed
together either under a tree or in a small temple and smeared with oil
aiid turmeric. To avert calamity to crops from the bhuta, a rude figure
of a man is sometimes drawn with charcoal on the ground at the
angles of the field, and a small earthen vessel containing boiled rice
and a few flowers broken over it. An off'ering is also made in some
parts by a man walking round the skirts of the field, at every few
steps casting grains of seed into the air, shouting out at the same
time ho ball !

The various objects of superstitious awe described above may
perhaps be classified as .spirits of the air and spirits of the ground. The
former include disembodied ghosts, those of the dead for whom the
prescribed ceremonies have not been performed. The spirits of the air
seem inclined to lodge in trees and burial-places, and by them human
beings are sometimes possessed or bewitched. Charms, consisting of
a bit of metal engraved with a numerical puzzle in squares, are
suspended round the necks of children to protect them against this
danger, as well as against " the evil eye," and similar charms are
inscribed on stones called jia/z/z-fj; kallu, often erected at the entrance of
villages. The spirits of the ground guard hidden treasure, breach tank
bunds, undermine houses, stop the growth of the crops, and perform a
variety of other malignant oi)erations. All have to l)e propitiated
according to their supposed influence and disposition.

The above are doubtless all relics of aboriginal or primitive beliefs
and rites, and may be included under the name of Animism, which is
thus explained by Dr. Tiele : —

■ ' It bears a striking resemblance, in external form at least, to the Toda conical
temple called l)y Colonel Marshall the boath, though on a greatly reduced scale,
much too small for an interior chamlier. — Phrcn. am. Tod., ch. XIX. See the closing
remarks regarding the bolhaii or bee-hi%-e houses in Scotland, &C.

^ "YXm:. paiuha bhiita are the five elements — earth, air, fire, water, and ether.

^ Bali — presentation of food to all created beings ; it consists in throwing a small
parcel of the offering into the open air. — Benfey, Sans. Diet., s. v.


Animism is the belief in the existence of souls or spirits, of which only
the powerful— those on which man feels himself dependent, and before
which he stands in awe — acquire the rank of divine beings, and become
objects of worship. These spirits are conceived as moving freely through
earth and air, and, either of their own accord, or because conjured by some
spell, and thus under compulsion, appearing to men {Spiritism). But they
may also take up their abode, either permanently or temporarily, in some
object, whether lifeless or living it matters not : and this object, as endowed
with higher power, is then worshipped or employed to protect individuals or
communities {Fetishism).

The more regularly organized systems of Hindu faith may be
described as four in number, associated with the worship respectively
of Jina, Buddha, Siva and Vishnu. Though they existed contem-
poraneously in various parts, as is the case at the present day, each of
these religions had its period of ascendancy, but not to the exclusion of
the others. 1

Brahmanism. — Preceding them all was the ancient Indo-Aryan
Brahmanism, based upon the Vedas. The generally received opinion
which assigned these works to about 1500 to 1200 B.C., has lately been
disturbed by calculations based on astronomical data, which would
throw back their date to from 4500 to 2500 i;.c.'' But these con-
clusions, though arrived at independently by different scholars, are
not undisputed.'^ On the other hand, that Jainism was older than
Buddhism has been definitely established. Its founder, it seems
probable, was Pars'vanatha, which would take us back to the eighth
century i;.c., but its more recent chief apostle, Varddhamana or
Mahavira, was a little earlier than Buddha. Buddhism, as is well
known, dates from the fifth century B.C., and was at the height of
its power in the third century b.c. If it be the case that the

Online LibraryB. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) RiceMysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) → online text (page 54 of 98)