Imatges de pÓgina

it bears upon the subject. The women of the house. hold are always the first to rise in the morning, and this is usually long before daybreak. The early morning duties, after the performance of personal ablutions, consist of cleaning up those parts of the house that cannot be entered by people of lower castes, and cleaning the drinking pots and the numerous vessels that are used in a more or less ceremonious manner in a Hindu household. During the performance of these duties, which must be entirely done by or shared in by every good housewife, she generally sings in a low tone some song which is intended to rouse up the god Krishna or Siva, as the case may be. Two specimens of the songs thus sung are here given. The first is from the Telugu, and is called melukolupu, or the waking up :


1. Awake! Awake! Krishna divine,

Awake to save thine own.
Thou lord of all, thou perfect one,
Grant us each heavenly boon.

Awake! Awake!
2. Awake! Awake! for Kings have come,

And Queens to thee adore.
They come to wave their ruly hands,
And praise thee ever more

Awake! Awake!

3. Awake! Awake! thou loveliest one,

That earth or heaven e'er knew
Thy faithful with petitions come,
Full grace to them renew

Awake! Awake!
4. Awake! Awake! Hari divine,

Thou god adored by all.
Thou free'st thine own from every foe,
And liftest those who fall

Awake! Awake!
5. Awake! Awake! both old and young

Their sorrows to remove.
Have sought thy holy presence now
Oh grant them every good

Awake! Awake!.

6. Awake! Awake! with favour see

The faithful at thy feet.
Adored of Sanaka behold!
With grace each suppliant meet,

Awake! Awake!
7. Awake! Awake! e'en Parvati

Doth worship at thy shrine.
Oh grant to us our every need
Thine heart to us incliue

Awake! Awake!
8. Awake! Awake! I wait to bring,

Sweet Jasmine flowers to wave.
Thyself rouse quickly Madhava !
Shrihari ! come and save.

Awake! Awake! The second specimen of these songs is taken from the Sanskrit. Many women of the upper classes learn some of these songs, even in Sanskrit, althougb, probably, they do not often understand much of the meaning. This one is called Gopika Gíta or Song of the Nymphs.

Oh Krishna! Brundāvanam is
Made glorious by thy birth.
There Lakshmi sits for evermore,

As Queen of all the earth.
2. Thou cause of every good to men,

Our all, O God! is thine.
Come manifest thyself to us,

Thy heart to us incline.
3. Hari divine! thy story sweet

As nectar fills with joy.
'Tis praised by poets, loved by all ;

And doeth each sin destroy.
4. To hear of thee, to know thy name,

Who fills the universe,
To sing thy praise, to learn of thee,

Is to be ever blest. It should be mentioned that after her ablutions, he woman places upon her forehead the universally

n tilakam or mark with red powder made of saffand other ingredients. The shape of the mark l's according to the deity worshipped by the er. Those, for instance, who worship Lakshmi (the wife of Vishnu) have merely a circular spot in the centre of the forehead; whilst the followers of Gauri (the wife of Siva) have a horizontal mark. This mark is always worn except during days of mourning and other times of ceremonial uncleanness, as being without it is a sign of widowhood; and thus, whenever a woman washes her face, she must again renew the mark. The greater part of the forenoon is devoted to preparing the midday meal; and it may be mentioned that no food can be partaken of uptil after this cooking is done, as the partaking of food renders any one ceremoniously unfit either for cooking or for worship.

In a previous chapter we have described the ceremonies performed by the Hindu man before partaking of his first midday meal, and we have seen that much time is occupied in going through all that is necessary. The woman, too, has a kind of worship of her own before her midday meal, though it is of a comparatively simple character and occupies only a very short time. She has a metal box containing several images of brass or copper, representing various goddesses, usually Gauri or Lakshmi, or sometimes both of these, and perhaps an image of Subrahmanyam the snake god, who is worshipped only by women. None of these images are consecrated, for a woman must not even touch any image that has been consecrated. She may take the images out and place them on a low stool underneath the sacred canopy (vitanam) which is in the sacred room or sanctuary of every house; or perhaps keep them in the box and worship them there, still being under or near the canopy. A little lamp of ghee and wick is lit and placed near, and the worshipper says the Sankalpam, which must always preface worship, and which has been already described as consisting of mentioning the time and repeating the name of the place, and that of the family, and the tribe, as well as the personal name of the worshipper. After this she goes on to say some simple prayers asking for aid in any personal needs that may be pressing, or for divine help generally, and also a few words of praise,

all this accompanied by various bowings with clasped hands. The worshipper then proceeds to offer a bit of fruit, or sweetmeat, or betel, and to sprinkle the images with pinches of sandal paste and coloured rice, and perhaps a few flowers, sometimes also waving before them a bit of lighted camphor, at the same time ringing a little bell or striking a small gong. The whole is concluded by three times walking round the spot (pradakshanam) and by prostration (sāshtānga namaskāram). The whole ceremony, perhaps does not occupy as long in the doing as in the telling, and when it is over the things are replaced in the box, which is then put away in its own proper niche. Among certain sections of Hindus this midday worship is somewhat different. The lingam worshippers, for instance, merely light a little lamp, and taking in the left hand the lingam from its silver or copper box wbich is suspended from their neck, perform to it some slight worship and wave towards it from the food which is about to be consumed. Of course all these things differ slightly amongst different sections of the people, but for all intents and purposes this description may be taken as sufficiently representative. It may also be said that this midday worship is all the regular worship that the Hindu woman ordinarily engages in from day to day. At night, when she lights the family lamp, the good housewife will make obeisance to the flame with closed hands repeating the following Sanskrit verse :

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दीपं ज्योतिः परब्रह्म
दीपं ज्योतिः पसयणं ।
दीपेन हरतेपापं
संध्यादीप नमोऽस्तुते ॥

The flame of this lamp is the Supreme God.
The flame of this lamp is the abode of the Supreme.
By this flame sin is destroyed.
O thou light of the evening we praise thee.

to the gods.

The woman does no worship at the time of the evening meal as do the men; she simply says, as a kind of grace before meat, the words Govinda! Govinda! (a name of Vishnu) or Mabādēva ! Mahādēva! (an appellation of Siva) as the case may be, before putting the first morsel into her mouth.

As in Christian countries the good mother takes her little ones and teaches them her holy faith according to their capacity to understand, and also teaches them to pray at her knee, so the Hindu mother tells her children stories of the gods she has learned from the Rāmāyanam and the Mahabhāratam and other religious books, and at worship time, when the little bell is sounded, the children are taught to assemble, and, solemnly placing their hands together, make obeisance

It will be seen that practically a Hindu woman's worship is ordinarily confined to the brief midday service described above. Even this she is only supposed to do on sufferance, after having obtained the consent of her husband. A passage on this subject is quoted from the Padma Purāna :

पतिरेव प्रियः स्त्रीणां
ब्रह्मादिभ्योऽपि सर्वशः ।
आत्मानंच खभर्तार
मेकापिंडमनीषया ।
HOTEi feat na
कंचिद्धर्म समाचरेत् ॥

The husband is the beloved of the wife.
He is more to her than all the gods.
Herself and her husband
Be it known are one person.
Without the consent of her husband

Any kind of worship she must not perform. With the consent of her husband a wife may, and perhaps does, go on a short pilgrimage without him

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