Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies

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

animals that are offered as sacrifices must be at least three years old, and must be healthy and free from all defects. Under no circumstances can Brahmins preside or assist in any way at a sacrifice of blood.


CHAPTER VII

Inanimate Objects of Worship.—The Salagrama Stone.—The Tulasi.— Darbha Grass.—The Sacred Fig-Tree.

Voltaire thought it incredible that the Egyptians could ever have worshipped onions and other products of their gardens. He always jeered at this tradition, and looked upon it as a mere fable. But the fact is, in matters of superstition truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. What have already said and what I am now about to say respecting the Hindus will show incontestably that there are absolutely no limits to the follies of idolatry. The Brahmins, indeed, must needs borrow objects from all three kingdoms of nature in order to arrive at the magnificent total of three hundred and thirty millions of deities which they recognize1. Amongst the inanimate substances which they worship, there are four which they consider especially sacred, namely, the salagrama stone, darbha grass, the plant tulasi, and the aswatta or sacred fig-tree.


THE SALAGRAMA2.

This little stone is held in great honour throughout India. Brahmins consider it to be a metamorphosis of Vishnu, and for this reason they offer daily sacrifices to it. It is a sort of fossilized shell, ammonite or nautilus, oval, striated, umbilicated, and ornamented with 'arborizations' or tree-like! markings on the outside. The more there are of these treelike markings, the more highly they are revered.

It is obligatory for, every Brahmin to have one of these stones in his possession. They are handed down from father

____________________
1
These are properly speaking devas or divine beings, not deities in the strict sense: of the term.—Ed.
2
The salagram or ammonite found in the Gundick and other rivers flowing through Nepal is said to be a form of Vishnu. The account of its origin given in the Skanda-purana is most monstrously and incredibly abominable.—Pope

-648-

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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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