Imágenes de páginas

nuance of his prosperity and good fortune. He afterwards erected statues of brass to the fish, and to the ass, and its owner. Suet. in Vit. August. § 96.

The victions, led by a long robe, were allowed to approach gently to the altar. “ If the beast by any chance escaped the stroke, leaped after it, did not fall prone upon the ground, kicked and. stamped, was restless as though it expired with pain and difficulty, did not bleed freely, and was a long time in dying, it was thought unacceptable to the gods; all these being unlucky omens, as their contraries were tokens of the divine will." Pott. Grec. Antiq. vol. i. lib. ii. ch. iv. p. 270.

NOTE Z. p. 159. THE invocation of malevolent deities was regarded as crimnial by some of the philosophers of Greece. It was authorized, however, by the religion of the times; and the arts of holy magic, which were of early origin, and almost in universal practice, continued to be studied and exercised by the philosophers of Greece and Italy,. in the first ages of Christianity. Venons maintenant a la magic, qui faisoit un des principaux dogmes de la Theologie Payenne, et qui est, en meme temps, celle de toutes qui a en les plus illustres partisans, surtout parmi les philosophes qui vivoient dans les pre.. mieres siecles du Christianisme. Bannier. Mytholog. tom. i. p. 396.

The Abbe is justified in the account which he gives of the two species of invocation. L'une, et c'etoit celle qui avoit recours aux Dieux bienfaisant, fut nommé Theurgie; l'autre, qui n'avoit pour objet que de faire le mal, et qui pour cela n'invoquoit que de Genies. malfaisantes, fut apellé Goetie. Les philosophes, et les gens les plus vertueux, se faisoient honneur d'etre initiés dans les mysteres de Theurgie. La Goetie etoit bien differente. Tout la rendoit egalement odieuse et meprisable. Id. vol. i. p. 396, 397,

[ocr errors]



161. PLUTARCH, in Lycurg. in Alexand. &c. records some of these oblations with the frigid indifference of a genuine Stoic.

When the sacrifice of Iphigenia was to be solemnized, the paternal anguish of Agamemnon, and the supplicating love of Achilles,

to whom the devoted girl was espoused, were compelled to submit to the pious fury by which the oblation was required. The chorus, in the tragedy, lament her fate, but so far are they from upbraiding the cruelty of the goddess who was to be soothed by her blood, that they implore the angry divinity to accept the offering with favour, as an evidence of the piety and humility of her votaries.

Polyxena was sacrificed with similar barbarity to appease the manes of Achilles; and all the hideous circumstances of the act are enumerated with a melancholy and unfeeling minuteness. Eurip. Hecub. act ii. The poet saw no reason to condemn the sacrifice, or the religion which claimed it.

With the same frigid indifference Virgil has recorded the sacri. fice offered by the religious zeal of the pious Æneas.

Sulmone creatos
Quatuor hic juvenes ; totidem, quos educat Ufens,
Viventes rapit: inferias quos immolet umbris,
Captivoque rogi perfundat sanguine flammas.

Æneid. lib. x. l. 517. This dreadful practice continued to exist when the taste and learning of the Greeks had acquired their greatest lustre. Alexander, the pupil of the grave and thinking Stagyrite, was impressed with the holiness of such oblations; and he coldly sacrificed the devoted tribe of the Cussæans, men, women, and children, as an oblation to the manes of the lamented Hæphestion. Plut. In Alexand. Not a word of reprobation is uttered by the biographer.

NOTE B. B. p. 164. THE forms of Hindu devotion are innumerable. See Paterson, on the origin of the Hindu religion, and Colebrook's Remarks. Asiat. Register, vol. viii. 68. 69. 83. Orme has adverted to the same subject. Military Transact. in the East, vol. i. p. 6, and Dissertat. vol. i. p. 34. Let the reader also turn to the Ayeen Akbery, vol. iii. p. 226. The worship of the snake is there particularly described, in all the variety of its observances. Women are commonly charged with the ceremony. At certain periods, a number of females assemble at a tank, shaded by the male Arichi, and the fernale Argosi. Under these trees they deposit a stone figure, on which is represented an impure emblem between two suakes. They then perform their ablutions with prescriptive scrupulosity, and, thus purified, they proceed to wash the emblem, to

burn before it certain pieces of wood according to certain rules, to cover it with fresh and fragrant flowers, to bow down fervently but humbly before it, and to invoke it for the blessing of a numerous progeny, and of a contented husband,

One of the Poojas from which these solemnities are extracted, includes sixteen ceremonies of worship equally tedious and minute. After the necessary ablutions are performed, the devotee is to sit down, look towards the east or north, draw up his legs in front, take some water and rice in his hand, sprinkle with both the idol which he adores, and, after soothing him by worship, supplicate his favour. He next proceeds to make his oblations of sandal flowers, betel, and rice; to pour water from a white conch on the god; to ring a bell; to dry the divinity with a cloth; to replace it on its pedestal ; to robe it in rich garments; to cast over it flowers and green leaves; to fumigate it with rich essences; to place before it a lamp lighted with ghee, and then, after having prostrated himself at full length on the ground, to walk several times round the statue, to stand, for a certain period, in the posture of a slave, and, at length, to solicit the permission of the idol to depart. Ayeen Akbery, vol. iii. p. 226. These observances constitute but a small portion of the sixteen ceremonies prescribed in the Poojas.

The young

NOTE C.C. p. 165. Da. BUCHANNAN, in the year 1807, saw a young man devoting himself before a temple dedicated to an idol. man was of a good figure, healthy complexion, and comely aspect. He had a garland of flowers round his neck, his long black hair was dishevelled. He danced, for some time, before the idol, sang the praises of the god in an enthusiastic strain, and then completed the oblation." Christ. Research. p. 146.

These sacrifices were encouraged as means of appeasing the gods. “ Some time since,” says the author of Sketches of the History, &c. of the Hindus, we saw an aged father of a numerous family, who devoted himself to the flames to satisfy the vengeance of some deity, who, as he imagined, had afflicted his household and neighbourhood with an epidemical disease."

NOTE D.D. p. 165. THE text of the Heetopades, and Mr. Wilkins' explanatory notes, afford ample evidence of the reality of these execrable oblations. In one of the apologues of the Heetopades, a father is introduced, who, having by the command of the goddess Cali, led his son to the altar, offered up the child with ferocious zeal, while he exclaimed, “ Accept the victim, O goddess, and be propitious." In another apologue of the same work, it is affirmed that a husband may self his wife to the gods, that is, devote her to the Naramedha, or human sacritice. Heetopades, p. 222, and note by the translator, p. 185.

Some of the forms prescribed for the regulation of human sacrifices, are detailed in the following passage:

“Let the human victim be sacrificed at a place of worship, or at a cemetery where dead bodies are buried. Let the victim be a person of goodly appearance, prepared by oblations and requisite ceremonies, adorned with chaplets of flowers, and smeared with sandal wood. Then let the sacrificer worship Brama in the cavity of the victim's skull, the earth in his nose, in his ears the subtle æther, in his tongue the regents of speech, and Vishnu in his mouth. Let him worship the moon in his forehead, Indra on his left cheek, death in his throat, and Variena between the eye-brows --then, worshipping the king of serpents in the stomach of the victim, let him pronounce the following mantra -0, thou, who art an assemblage of all the deities, bestow thy protection upon me, and, at the same time, O most excellent, attain supreme bliss thyself, and charm Bhagavati in thy last moments, by copious streams of blood spouting from the arteries of thy fleshy neck.”

When these rules are fulfilled, “Brama and all the other deities assemble in the victim, and be he ever so great a sinner, he becomes pure from sin, his blood changes to ambrosia, and he gains the love of Mahadevi, the goddess of Yog and Niddra, who is the goddess of the universe itself.” Sanguinary Chap. of the Calica Purana. Asiat. Research. vol. v. ch. xxiii, Ayeen Akbery, vol. ii. p. 133. Roger Porte Ouverte, p. 251. Heetopades, 185. 322. Voyage le Sonnarat. v. i. p. 207.

NOTE E. E. p. 167. THERE is a still more extraordinary picture of a true penitent, in the Sacontala, a work of high character among the Hiudus. “ You see a pious Yogi, motionless as a pollard, holding his thick bushy hair, and fixing his eyes on the solar orb. Mark! his body is covered with a white ant's edifice made of clay. The skin of a snake supplies the place of his sacerdotal thread, and a part of it girds his loins. A number of knotty plants circle and wound his neck, and surrounding birds nests almost conceal his shoulders.”

Sce for further details on this subject, Yajur Veda, translated by Sir William Jones, in his unfinished dissertation on the primæval religion of India. Dialogue in the Mahabarat between Krishnu and Arjoon. Maurice, Hist. of Hindostan. Ocean of Wisdom, translated by Mr. Kindersley; and Strabo, lib. xv.

NOTE F.F. p. 170. ALMOST every pagoda has its train of dancing girls, who bring a revenue to the priests. They are marked with a trident on the right arm, as a badge of their servitude to the temple. The number of girls attached to the temple of Madras, is about three hundred. Description of the great Pagoda of Madera. Archæol. v. X.

These girls, the instruments of priestly avarice, and the corruptors of the people, are distinguished by many important privileges. They are permitted to heighten their licentiousness by fermented liquors, and may indulge in every kind of meats except beef; and if any of the band commit a crime which subjects her property to confiscation, her clothes, her jewels, and her dwelling are exempted from the penalty, as a soldier, says Herbert, is left the implements of his profession.

“ Nay more," continues the same writer, “such is the stupid folly of the Hindus, that they persuade their fanatique daughters to become base strumpets to please their fancy and enrich their pagoda, insomuch as it is a great wonder to see so many girls, at such immaturity," &c. Soine Yeares Travels into Asia by Th. Herbert, p. 310.

NOTE G. G. p. 188. Lord BOLINGBROKE, the advocate of human reason, has him. self admitted, that the wisest of the philosophers of antiquity were sensible of the necessity of a divine revelation, for the proper instruction of mankind in the doctrines of devotion. Boling. Works, vol. v. p. 214, 215, 216. The acknowledgments of Socrates and of Jamblichus, on this subject, are clear and explicit. Plato, In Alcibiad. ii. and Jamblich. In Vit. Pythagor. cap. xxvii.

“ Il faut necessairement que Dieu ait ordonné un culte a l'homme. Quel chaos affreux ne s'ensuivroit il pas, si chacun avoit une pensée differente sur le culte, qu'on doit a la divinite.

« AnteriorContinuar »