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sandhyāvandanam, except that instead of the special prayer to the sun there is inserted one to Varuna the Hindu Neptune,-the god of the waters.
इमं मे वरुण शृधी हव
त्वामव स्युराचके ।
I who am helpless come to thee. The household gods are not again worshipped, as at noon, except that at the evening meal the food to be consumed is offered to them by what may be called the 'wave offering', accompanied by the ringing of the bell, or beating of the gong, and the burning of the lights. The evening meal, or supper, is conducted with much the same ceremonies as those described for that at noon. It is usually taken late in the evening, say about eight or nine o'clock, as may be most convenient.
It may be mentioned that, if on a journey and unable to reach the shelter of a suitable house or choultry (public rest-house), the Brahmin may cook and partake of his food in a grove or under a single tree, or in some other such place, although he cannot secure the privacy desirable. Still all the ritual must as far as possible, be followed just the same as if he were in the sanctity of his own home. This way of taking food is called Vanabhājanam, from vanam a forest or grove or garden and bhojanam food. In the event of no suitable place being found, or there being no necessary privacy, then a meal cannot be taken at all, and the traveller must fast. The Hindu, however, is, from habit and constitution, better able to endure such personal privation, than would be possible with a European.
Another kind of compromise that is made is in the event of any one being too ill to bathe at all. In
such an event, the invalid before partaking of food is, if a Vaishnava, sprinkled with pure water by some one present, repeating three times the word pundarī. kāksha (The white lotus eyed one,-one of the names of Vishnu) or, if the one so sprinkles is sufficiently learned, he may repeat the following mantram.
स बाह्याभ्यंतरःशुचिः ॥
He obtains both outward and inward purity. If the sick person should be a Saiva, instead of the above, he is rubbed with vibhūti or white clay with which the sacred marks are daubed on (see chapter on Sacred Marks), and another kind of mantram is said which is as follows:
त्रियंबकं यजामहे सुगंधिं पुष्टिवर्धनं ।
Siva the three eyed one we adore; he is fragrant, and he increases strength. May he deliver me from death as the gourd is parted from its stem.
Before retiring for the night, the pious Hindu will occupy himself in repeating a few prayers in very much the same way as has been described on his rising in the morning. A usual one for Smārtas to use on this occasion is as follows:
Bad dreams, evil omens, misfortune, evil thoughts,
It will have been noticed in the course of this sketch, that all the rites and ceremonies are performed by males; the female really has nothing to do with rites and ceremonies. As an old shastri put it, her vratam (religious observance) is pativratam ; pati meaning inusband or lord. Still the religious instinct of women cannot be entirely suppressed, and they do, as a matter of fact, perform worship of a kind as will be seen in the succeeding chapter.
Seeing the number of temples there are on every hand, it may surprise the ordinary observer to find that there is no regular going to service as with Christians. Each house has its own private chapel, (see page 44) and, the daily worship and such like ceremonies are performed there. The priests in the temple bathe the god every day, and duly worship it there; perhaps the idea being that this is done vicariously for the followers of that particular god. On certain festivals and high-days, of which there are many, the people, both males and females, go to the temples to do pūja to the god; to bow to the image and to make offerings of flowers or fruit and the like, and perhaps a few coins of money, but of church-going, in the ordinary sense of the world, there is none. There is no public religious teaching of any kind, and hence the dense ignorance of the bulk of the people, even as regards the simplest matters of their own religion.
From a perusal of this series of sketches it will be seen what a valley of dry bones is the whole Hindu ritual ; how meaningless, and spiritless, are the forms and words of the whole ceremonial; forms and words gone through, too often, as a mere matter of form, and without any attempt to understand their meaning, so that it is thus often little better than a mere fetichism. There is, however, a bright side to the picture thus presented; it will be noticed how intensely religious the Hindu is naturally ; for nothing but an inherent craving after the spiritual could cause a nation to submit to so burdensome a ritual. Religion is with him a thing of every day life, and it pervades every thing from the cradle to the grave. Once let the holy faith of Jehovah, the one true Dēva, and Christ, the one true Incarnation, once let this get a fair hold of the Hindus as a people; once let the Holy Wind blow from the four corners of heaven, and there will be heard a shaking amongst the dry bones, a shaking, faint sounds of which can even now be heard, though perhaps still as in the far distance, by the patient and believing listener. There is more hope for the bigoted Pharisee, Saul of Tarsus, than for the Gallios who care for none of these things. The religious instinct of the Hindus is such as to give bright hopes of the future to those who are willing to patiently toil on, sowing the good seed of eternal life, and waiting God's own
good time for the harvest. Then perhaps may be seen a nation born in a day and a whole people turn from dead works to serve the living God
THE HINDU WOMAN'S RELIGION.
er Tø:. (Stree Dharmah).
No sacrifice is allowed to women apart from their husbands, no religious rite, no fasting: as far only as a wife honours her lord, so far she is exalted in heaven.-Manu v. 155.
It is pleaded by some, in defence of Hinduism, and especially of the low position occupied by Hindu women, that this is the Kaliyuga, the iron age, or age of universal degeneracy, and that in primitive times, things were different generally, and the status of woman much higher than it is now. be, and doubtless there is, some truth in this, but there is also evidence that, as in modern, so in early days too, the woman was ever to be kept in a state of abject submission to the lords of creation. Even in a much quoted text of Manu, though it is said that in those times a man might perform religious rites together with his wife, it will be seen that the woman is nothing without the man, The verse runs as follows:
To be mothers were women created; and to be fathers, men; religious rites, therefore, are ordained in the Veda to be performed by the husband together with the wife. (ix. 96.)
The whole of the laws of Manu show, most unmistakably, that they were made by men and that their whole aim was to keep the other sex in complete submission; and this not only in matters of general behaviour but also in the sacred matter of religion and the soul's need. The woman must never dare have a will of her own or at any period of her life decide for herself in any thing :