Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies

By J. A. Dubois; Henry King Beauchamp | Go to book overview

It will, doubtless, be easily guessed that these pitiable fooleries are the outcome of a premeditated understanding between the shameless charlatans who practise them. But the multitude who pay for being treated to a spectacle of this kind, and who look upon the actors with fear and admiration, are fully persuaded that all their contortions are due to supernatural causes. It must, however, be admitted that these men go through their parts with really admirable skill and precision. On many an occasion they have been seen to perform sleight-of-hand tricks with such rare skill as to astonish persons of a much less credulous turn of mind than the Hindus1.


CHAPTER XXII

The Poetry of the Hindus.

From the very earliest times poetry has been very much in vogue with the Hindus, and it is still held in high regard by them. One is even inclined to believe that at first they had no other written language. Not one of their original ancient books is written in prose, or in the vulgar tongue— not even the books on medicine, which are said to be very numerous in the Sanskrit language.

We may naturally infer that the practice of writing in a style and idiom beyond the comprehension of the vulgar was mainly due to the artful precaution of the Brahmins, who found in it a sure means of excluding all other castes from participating in a knowledge of which they wished to retain a monopoly.

It is quite certain that all the Hindu books in prose are of modern origin. It is in verse that the eighteen Puranas, and other similar works, have been translated from the Sanskrit into Tamil, Telugu, and Canarese, and, I think, into all the other vernaculars of India.

____________________
1
The magic art is still firmly believed in throughout India. However, the rules whereby magical powers can be acquired are so rigorous and difficult, and the consequences of any violation or infringement of them supposed to be so dangerous to the man who attempts to practise them, that only a very few ever become adepts. In all parts of the country men are to be seen who are said to have become mad on account of some violation of the prescribed ceremonies for the acquisition of the black art.—Ed.

-392-

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Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Editor's Preface to Third Edition iii
  • Prefatory Note v
  • Editor's Introduction viii
  • Contents xxix
  • Author's Preface 1
  • General View of Society in India, and General Remarks on the Caste System 14
  • Chapter I 14
  • Chapter II 27
  • Chapter III 38
  • Chapter IV 44
  • Chapter V 48
  • Chapter VI 80
  • Chapter VII 97
  • Chapter VIII 108
  • Chapter IX 111
  • Chapter X 123
  • Chapter XI 134
  • Chapter XII 138
  • Chapter XIII 143
  • Chapter XIV 155
  • The Four States of Brahminical Life 160
  • Chapter I 160
  • Chapter II 170
  • Chapter III 178
  • Chapter IV 186
  • Chapter V 194
  • Chapter VI 205
  • Chapter VII 235
  • Chapter VIII 269
  • Chapter IX 282
  • Chapter X 288
  • Chapter XI 295
  • Chapter XII 306
  • Chapter XIII 316
  • Chapter XIV 326
  • Chapter XV 332
  • Chapter XVI 336
  • Chapter XVII 343
  • Chapter XVIII 350
  • Chapter XIX 355
  • Chapter XX 368
  • Chapter XXI 376
  • Chapter XXII 392
  • Chapter XXIII 401
  • Chapter XXIV 415
  • Chapter XXV 420
  • Chapter XXVI 433
  • Chapter XXVII 450
  • Chapter XXVIII 474
  • Chapter XXIX 482
  • Chapter XXX 489
  • Chapter XXXI 500
  • Chapter XXXII 509
  • Chapter XXXIII 517
  • Chapter XXXIV 522
  • Chapter XXXV 528
  • Chapter XXXVI 538
  • Religion 542
  • Chapter I 542
  • Chapter II 556
  • Chapter III 567
  • Chapter IV 577
  • Chapter V 612
  • Chapter VI 636
  • Chapter VII 648
  • Chapter VIII 654
  • Chapter IX 667
  • Appendix I 685
  • Appendix II 701
  • Appendix III 706
  • Appendix IV 708
  • Appendix Vi. 717
  • Index 723
  • Some Opinions of the Press *
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