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E. (Elizabeth) Prentiss.

The Masculine cross, or, A history of ancient and modern crosses, and their connection with the mysteries of sex worship : also an account of the kindred phases of phallic faiths and practices online

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shown, this bed and furniture, which has l)een duly honoured,
and which is sacred to Vishnu. 2. This day I give unto thee
(so and so) this gold, sacred to fire, as a sacerdotal fee, for the
sake of confirming the donation I have made of this bed and
furniture. The Brahmana both times replies '' be it well." Then
lying upon the bed, and touching it with the upper part of his
middle finger, he meditates the gayatri with suitable prayers,
adding '' This bed is sacred to Vishnu."

With similar ceremonies and declarations he next gives away
to a Brahmana, a golden image of the deceased, or else a golden
idol, or both. Afterwards he distributes other presents among
Brahmanas for the greater honour of the deceased. Of course,
all this can only be done by rich people.

The principal remaining ceremonies consist chiefly of the
obsequies called sradhas. The first set of funeral ceremonies is
adopted to effect, by means of oblations, the reimbodying of the
soul of the decease(f, after burning his corpse. The apparent
scope of the second is to raise his shade from this world (where
it would else, according to the notions of the Hindus, continue
to roam among demons and evil spirits), up to heaven, and there
deify him, as it were, among the manes of departed ancestors.
For this end, a sradha should regularly be offered to the de-
ceased on the day after mourning expires ; twelve other sradhas
singly to the deceased in twelve successive months : similar obse-



Masculine Cross. 127

quies at the end of the third fortnight, and also in the sixth
month, and in the twelfth ; and the oblation called Sapindana,
on the first anniversary of his decease. In most provinces the
periods for these sixteen ceremonies, and for the concluding
obsequies entitled Sapindana, are anticipated, and the whole is
completed on the second or third day. After which they are
again performed at the proper times, but in honour of the whole
set of progenitors, instead of the deceased singly. The obsequies
intended to raise the shade of the deceased to heaven are thus
completed. Afterwards, a sradha is annually offered to him on
the anniversary of his decease.

What we have just described, elaborate as it looks, is simply
an abridgment of the long and complicated ceremonies attendant
upon the funeral and after obsequies of a rich man among the
Hindus, but it is enough for our purpose. It shows the vast im-
portance attached to those obsequies, and enables us to under-
stand the desire on the part of these Hindus to have children
who will in a proper and acceptable manner carry out these
proceedings. We have already quoted from the sacred books to
show that a son was regarded as better able to perform those
duties than any other relation, and that failing such offspring in
the ordinary course of nature, it was obligatory upon the would-be
father to adopt one.

Dulaure and some other writers describe a variety of cere-
monies which were taken part in by the w^omen in order to pro-
cure the children who would satisfy the cravings of their hus-
bands. It is probable that a good deal of w^hat took place at
the shrines of heathen goddesses in other lands, arose from this
anxiety, and not altogether from a merely licentious habit of
character and disposition. It has been said, as Ave may have
already suggested perhaps, that the priests connected with some
of the temples resorted to by childless women for the cure of



128 Masculine Cross.

their misfortune, were cunning enough to provide for what was
wanted in a more practical way than by the simple performance
of certain ceremonies, and that where the failure to produce
children was due to some fault on the part of the husband, means
were at hand by which the woman soon found herself in the de-
sired condition. It is rather singular that something very similar
was found among the Jewish women in the time of Ezekiel, as
we have found in India ; the Indian woman sacrificed her virginitv
at the shrine of the Lingam, and in the i6th chapter of the
prophet's book, verse 17, we read: — ''Thou didst take also thy
fair jewels of my gold, and didst make to thyself images of men,
and didst commit whoredom with them." The latter, however,
was evidently of a very different character to the former, being
nothing more or less than the impure worship of Priapus as
carried on in the orgies of Osiris, Bacchus, and Adonis, the
images of the Hebrew women being such as the Priapi used in
those ceremonies ; on no account must those foolish and filthy
practices be confounded with that act of worship which men in
primitively simple condition rendered to the agents employed in
the act of generation, which was innocently regarded as only one
of the operations of nature.

The moral of this part of the subject, and with which for the
present we take leave of it, is this, that the Eastern, from his
views of the future life, deems it al)solutely necessary that he
should leave offspring, either real or adopted, behind him, to
carry out the obligations imposed by his religion, and that in
order to attain in the possession of what is to him such a bless-
ing, he is called upon to propitiate in every possible manner the
physical agents and powers emi)loyed in the process, — hence the
rise and practice of phallic worship.

THE END.



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The Masculine cross, or, A history of

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Online LibraryE. (Elizabeth) PrentissThe Masculine cross, or, A history of ancient and modern crosses, and their connection with the mysteries of sex worship : also an account of the kindred phases of phallic faiths and practices → online text (page 11 of 11)