Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies

By J. A. Dubois; Henry King Beauchamp | Go to book overview
received everywhere—a gallant warrior, a learned man, and a pretty woman.
LXVI. The favours of a prostitute appear like nectar at first, but they soon become poison. The pursuit of knowledge is troublesome at first, but knowledge is a source of great delight when it is acquired.
LXVII. A virtuous man ought to be like the sandal-tree, which perfumes the axe that destroys it.

CHAPTER XXIX

The Funeral Ceremonies of Brahmins.

The closing moments of a Brahmin's life are associated with a number of ridiculous ceremonies. One might suppose therefrom that Brahmins were eager to preserve after their death that superiority over their fellows which they boast about so much during their lifetime; and that their desire was to surpass everybody else in the foolishness of their practices at the period when the scythe of Father Time reduced these gods of the earth to the level of the humblest Pariah. For the rest, most Hindus observe very many formalities when their near relatives die. As soon as the symptoms of death become manifest in a Brahmin, a spot is chosen on the ground and smeared over with cow-dung. On this darbha grass is strewn, and over this again is placed a new and ceremonially pure cloth, upon which the dying man is then laid. His loins are next girded with another ceremonially pure cloth. Then, the dying man having given his permission, the ceremony called sarva prayaschitta, or perfect expiation, is performed by the purohita and the chief mourner—that is to say, the person who is most nearly related to the deceased or who by common usage has the right to perform this function. Then a few small coins of gold, silver, and copper are carried in on a metal salver, and on another akshatas, sandalwood, and pancha-gavia. The purohita pours a few drops of the pancha-gavia1 into the mouth of the dying man, by virtue of which his body becomes perfectly purified. Then the general purification ceremonies are proceeded with. The purohita and the chief mourner invite the sick Brahmin to

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1
See Part I, Chapter XIII.

-482-

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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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