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Title: Phallic Miscellanies - Facts and Phases of Ancient and Modern Sex Worship, as - Illustrated Chiefly in the Religions of India
Author: Jennings, Hargrave
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Phallic Miscellanies - Facts and Phases of Ancient and Modern Sex Worship, as - Illustrated Chiefly in the Religions of India" ***

                        Phallic Miscellanies.

    [Illustration: _Female at the ceremony of Linga Puja._
                                                 _E. W. Alais Sc._]

                        PHALLIC MISCELLANIES;
                Facts and Phases of Ancient and Modern

                             SEX WORSHIP,

                    As Illustrated Chiefly in the
                         Religions of India,

                            AN APPENDIX OF
                            TO THE VOLUMES

                     Phallism and Nature Worship.

                   _BY THE AUTHOR OF “PHALLICISM.”_

                          PRIVATELY PRINTED.



All that it is necessary to say by way of preface to this book is,
that, having in various former volumes, entitled severally Phallism,
Nature Worship, Phallic Objects, &c., entered at some length into a
consideration of the peculiarities indicated by these denominations,
we now propose laying before our readers an additional mass of
important matter which illustrates and throws further light upon the
subject. This has been sought out with great labour and research
amongst the most trustworthy sources of information, and will form a
valuable appendix to the several volumes in question.



    India, the home of Phallic-worship—Linga described—The bull
    Nandi—Linga puja—Large and small lingams—Antiquity of
    Linga-puja—Growth of the Hindu Pantheon—Siva the
    destroyer—Sacred bulls—Shrine of Ek Linga—Legend relating
    to rivers—The Churning of the sea—Variety of forms of
    Siva—Deities of India—Origin of the Universe—Hindu
    Triad—Aum and O’M—Jupiter Genitor—Attributes of
    Siva—Worship of Osiris—Identity of Egyptian, Grecian and
    Indian deities—Hindu temples—Ceremonies.


    Hindu evidence respecting the origin of Phallic
    worship—Legend of the wounded Hara—The four sects of
    worshippers instituted by Brahma—Resumption of the Lingam by
    Siva—Siva and Parvati propitiated—Visit of Bhrigu to
    Siva—The Lainga Puran on the Origin of Lingam
    worship—Abolition of worship of Brahma—Moral character of
    Hindu worship—-Profligate sects—Egyptian
    phallus—Bacchus—Testimony of Tertullian and Clement of
    Alexandria—Dionysus—Directions for worship—Unsatisfactory
    legends—Legend of Bhima—The fourth avatar of Vishnu—Visit
    of Captain Mackenzie to the Pagoda at Perwuttum.


    Representations of Siva—Siva’s quarrel with his
    father-in-law—Quarrel between Brahma and Vishnu—Misconduct
    of Siva—Bengal temples of Siva—Ancient linga idols—Siege of
    Somnath—Ferishtah’s history—The twelve great
    lingams—Account of the Viri-Sawas—The Jangamas—Legend of


    Lingam Worship in the Sheeve Pouran.


    The four kinds of stone lingas—Siva under a form called
    Muhakalu—Temporary images of Siva—Siva’s wives—Siva’s and
    Parvati’s quarrels—Siva and Doorga—Siva’s names—The heavens
    of Siva—Latsami—Power of the priests—Tamil poetry—Indecent
    worship—Dancing girls at religious ceremonies—Christian and
    Pagan idolatry—Religious prostitution—Worship of the
    female—Development of indecent practices—Sakti-puja.


    Further account of Right-hand and Left-hand worship—The
    practices of the Vamis or Vamacharis—The rite of Mantra
    Sadhana—Ceremony of Sri-Chakra—Claims of the priests to
    supernatural power—Legends.


    Considerations respecting the origin of Phallic
    worship—Comparisons between Indian and Egyptian practices and


    Vocabulary of words of Indian and Sanscrit origin.



    India, the home of Phallic Worship—Linga described—The Bull
    Nandi—Linga puja—Large and small Lingas—Antiquity of
    Linga-puja—Growth of the Hindu Pantheon—Siva, the
    Destroyer—Sacred Bulls—Shrine of Ek-Linga—Legend relating
    to rivers—The Churning of the sea—Variety of Forms of
    Siva—Deities of India—Origin of the Universe—Hindu
    Triad—Aum and O’M.—Jupiter Genitor—Attributes of
    Siva—Worship of Osiris—Identity of Egyptian, Grecian, and
    Indian deities—Hindoo Temples—Ceremonies.

India, beyond all other countries on the face of the earth, is
pre-eminently the home of the worship of the Phallus—the Linga puja;
it has been so for ages and remains so still. This adoration is said
to be one of the chief, if not the leading dogma of the Hindu
religion, and there is scarcely a temple throughout the land which has
not its Lingam, in many instances this symbol being the only form
under which the deity of the sanctuary is worshipped.

Generally speaking, the Linga may be described as a smooth, round,
black stone, apparently rising out of another stone, formed like an
elongated saucer, though in reality sculptured from one block of
basalt. The outline of this saucer-like stone, similar in form to what
is called a jew’s harp, is called Argha or Yoni: the upright stone,
the type of the virile organ, is the Linga. The whole thing bears the
name of Lingioni. This representation of the union of the sexes,
typifies the divine sacti, or active energy in union, the procreative
generative power seen throughout nature; the earth being the primitive
pudendum or yoni, which is fecundated by the solar heat, the sun—the
primeval Lingam, to whose vivifying rays, men and animals, plants and
the fruits of the earth owe their being and continued existence. Thus,
according to the Hindus, the Linga is God and God is the Linga; the
fecundator, the generator, the creator in fact.

Lingas are of all sizes and of various forms. Sometimes they are
extremely minute, being then enclosed in small silver reliquaries, and
worn as amulets or charms upon the breast or arm. At other times they
are several inches in height, as in the domestic examples, and often
have the bull Nandi carved either at the end of the yoni or at the
side of the emblem. The Hindus say that the bull will intercept the
evil which is continually emitted from the female sacti. Upon the
erection of a new village, in setting up the Linga, they are careful
to turn the spout of the yoni towards the jungle, and not upon the
houses or roads, lest ill fortune should rest upon them. These Lingams
are of a much larger size than those just mentioned, being generally
two or three feet in height. Early in the morning around these emblems
may be seen the girls of the neighbourhood who are anxious for
husbands, sprinkling them with water from the Ganges; decking them
with garlands of bilwa flowers; performing the mudra, or gesticulation
with the fingers, and while rubbing themselves against the emblem,
reciting the prescribed incantations, and entreating the deity to make
them the fruitful mother of children.

This is what is called the Linga puja. During its performance the five
lamps are lighted and the bell frequently rung to frighten away the
evil demons.

Still larger Lingas than any yet mentioned are found in the temples,
some of them immense—as high as forty feet and measuring twenty-five
feet in circumference. These large emblems are, as a rule, Lingas
only, not in conjunction with the Yoni. Colonel Sykes in his “Account
of the Ellora Excavations,” (near Poonah, in the Bombay Presidency),
speaking of the Bisma Kurm, says, “The first thing that meets the eye
on entering the temple is the enormous hemispherical figure of the
Ling (Lingam) at the end of the cave; it is always found on this scale
in the arched Boodh excavations, and even at Tuneer, in a flat roofed
cave, this emblem is forty-two feet in circumference, though its
height is inconsiderable.”

How long this worship of the Lingam has prevailed in India it is
impossible to say; it is positively known to have existed for at least
1500 years, and it is estimated that about two thirds of all the Hindu
people, perhaps eighty millions of souls, practise it. The idols are
often described as conspicuous everywhere, in all parts of British
India from the Himalaya to Ceylon. We are told that throughout the
whole tract of the Ganges, as far as Benares, in Bengal, the temples
are commonly erected in a range of six, eight, or twelve on each side
of a ghat leading to the river, and that at Kalna is a circular group
of 108 temples, erected by a raja of Bardwan. Each of the temples in
Bengal consists of a single chamber, of a square form, surmounted by a
pyramidal centre. The area of each is very small, the linga of black
or white marble occupying the centre. What race brought the Lingam
worship into India is not known, but it seems to have come from the
basin of the Lower Indus through Rajputana, about the beginning of the
Christian era. At Ujjain it was particularly celebrated about the
period of the Mohammedan invasion, but probably long before, and one
particular Linga was named Vinda-swerna; from Vindu, _drop_, Swerna,
_gold_. At present there is a four-faced lingam, sometimes three-faced
or tri-murti; and tri-lingam is said to be the source of the name
Telinga and Telingana, the country extending north of Madras to
Ganjam, and west to Bellary and Beder. The four-faced lingam is called
the Choumurti Mahadeva, such as may be seen in the caves of Ellora,
and of common occurrence in other districts; and a famous shrine of
ek-linga, or the one lingam is situated in a defile about six miles
north of Udaipur, and has hills towering around it on all sides.

This ek-lingam, or one phallus, is a cylindrical or conical stone; but
there are others termed Seheslinga and Kot-Iswara, with a thousand or
a million of phallic representations, all minutely carved on the
monolithic emblem, having then much resemblance to the symbol of
Bacchus whose orgies both in Egypt and Greece are the counterpart of
those of the Hindu Baghes, so called from being clad in a tiger’s or
leopard’s skin, as Bacchus had that of the panther for his covering.
There is a very ancient temple to Kot-Iswara at the embouchure of the
eastern arm of the Indus; and there are many to Seheslinga in the
peninsula of Saurashtra. At the ancient Dholpur, now called Barolli,
the shrine is dedicated to Gut-Iswara Mahadeva, with a lingam
revolving in the yoni, the wonder of those who venture amongst its
almost impervious and unfrequented woods to worship. It is said that
very few Saiva followers of the south of India ever realize the lingam
and the yoni as representations of the organs of the body, and when
made to apprehend the fact they feel overpowered with shame that they
should be worshipping such symbols.[1]

        [1] See the Indian Cyclopædia.

The age assigned by the above writer to this particular kind of
worship falls very far short of what has been stated by others, and
appears most probable. It has been asserted that its history goes
back two thousand years before the Christian era—that it was then, as
it is now, in full force—that it witnessed the rise, decline, and
fall of the idolatry of Egypt, and of the great Western Mythology of
Greece and Rome. “And when we reflect,” says a modern writer, “on its
antiquity, and on the fact that hitherto it has scarcely yielded in
the slightest degree to the adverse influence of the Mohammedan race
on the one hand, or to European dictation on the other; and that it
exercises by its system of caste, a powerful control over the manners,
customs, costumes, and social status of the entire Hindu community, it
becomes a subject fraught with interest to every cultivated mind, and
offers an affecting but curious example of the power of a hoary and
terrible superstition in degrading and enslaving so large a portion of
the human race.”[2]

        [2] Sellon.

It can scarcely be questioned, theorise as writers may, that the
origin of this worship is lost in antiquity; we seem able to trace it
back to times when it was comparatively pure and simple—when it was
the worship of one god only, the Brühm Atma, the “Breathing Soul,” a
spiritual Supreme Being. As time passed, however, the primitive
simplicity disappeared, and rites and ceremonies became complicated
and numerous. The spiritual worship of the Deity gave place to the
worship of a representative image of him—a block of stone called
Phallus or Linga, representing the procreative power discerned in
Nature. Even this was comparatively simple at first, but it soon
spread itself out in a variety of directions, until an extensive
Pantheon was formed and an elaborate ritual and worship organised. It
is computed that this Pantheon contains little short of a million gods
and demi-gods.

It is more particularly with the god Siva we shall have to do in
stating facts which illustrate the subject of Phallic worship, for the
Lingam or Phallus was the emblem under which he was specially
worshipped. It certainly does seem remarkable, as Mr. Sellon remarked,
that of the host of divinities above mentioned, Siva should be the god
whom the Hindus have delighted to honour. “As the Destroyer, and one
who revels in cruelty and bloodshed, this terrible deity, who has not
inaptly been compared to the Moloch of Scripture, of all their
divinities, suggests most our idea of the devil. It may therefore, be
concluded that the most exalted notion of worship among the Hindus is
a service of Fear. The Brahmins say the other gods are good and
benevolent, and will not hurt their creatures, but that Siva is
powerful and cruel, and that it is necessary to appease him.”

The attribute of destruction is found visibly depicted in the drawings
and temples throughout Bengal. To destroy, according to the Vedantis
of India, the Susis of Persia, and many philosophers of the European
schools, is only to generate and reproduce in another form: hence the
god of destruction is held in India to preside over generation; as a
symbol of which he rides on a white bull.

The sacred bull, Nanda, has his altar attached to all the shrines of
Iswara, as was that of Menes, or Apis to those of the Egyptian Osiris.
He has occasionally his separate shrines, and there is one in the
valley of Oodipoor, which has the reputation of being oracular as
regards the seasons. The Bull was the steed of Iswara, and carried him
to battle; he is often represented upon it with his consort Isa, at
full speed. The Bull was offered to Mithras by the Persian, and
opposed as it now appears to Hindu faith, formerly bled on the altars
of the Sun-god, on which not only the Buld-dan (offering of the bull)
was made, but human sacrifices. We do not learn that the Egyptian
priesthood presented the kindred of Apis to Osiris, but as they were
not prohibited from eating beef, they may have done so. The shrine of
Ek-Linga is situated in a defile about six miles north of Oodipoor,
the hills towering around on all sides are of the primitive formation,
and their scarped summits are clustered with honeycombs. There are
abundant small springs of water, which keep verdant numerous shrubs,
the flowers of which are acceptable to the deity, especially the Kiner
or Oleander, which grows in great luxuriance on the Aravulli. Groves
of bamboo and mango were formerly common, according to tradition; but
although it is deemed sacrilege to thin the groves of Bal, the bamboo
has been nearly destroyed: there are, however, still many trees sacred
to the deity scattered around. It would be difficult to convey a just
idea of a temple so complicated in its details. It is of the form
commonly styled pagoda, and, like all the ancient temples of Siva, its
sikra, or pinnacle, is pyramidal. The various orders of Hindu sacred
architecture are distinguished by the form of the sikra, which is the
portion springing from and surmounting the perpendicular walls of the
body of the temple. The sikra of those of Siva is invariably
pyramidal, and its sides vary with the base, whether square or oblong.
The apex is crowned with an ornamental figure, as a sphynx, an urn, a
ball, or a lion, which is called the kulkis. When the sikra is but the
frustrum of a pyramid, it is often surmounted by a row of lions, as at
Biolli. The fane of Ek-Linga is of white marble and of ample
dimensions. Under an open vaulted temple, supported by columns, and
fronting the four-faced divinity, is the brazen bull Nanda, of the
natural size: it is cast, and of excellent proportions. The figure is
perfect, except where the shot or hammer of an infidel invader has
penetrated its flank in search of treasure. Within the quadrangle are
miniature shrines, containing some of the minor divinities.[3]

        [3] Tod’s Rajasth, vol. I., p. 515.

Just here we may introduce a legend relating to Siva, which, if not of
very great importance, is of some interest on account of its reported
connection with one of our English rivers. The gods, after the
creation, soon perceived that there were still many things wanting for
the good of mankind, and more particularly on account of themselves.
In their numerous wars with the giants, many of the gods being killed,
they were informed by Vishnu that it was possible to procure a
beverage, which would render them immortal. The task, however, was
immense; for it consisted of throwing all the plants and trees of the
universe, according to some, but, according to others, only those that
grew on the sides of the White mountain or island, into the White sea;
which was to be churned for a long time, in order to obtain the butter
of immortality, or Amrit, the ambrosia of the western mythologists:
and the old moon, which was already of Amrit, would serve as a leaven
to predispose the whole mixture. The old moon was inert, and of little
use; they wanted also intoxicating liquors to exhilarate themselves,
and celestial nymphs for their own amusement. This churning took place
in the Dwapar, or third age of the Manwantura of Chacshusa, which
immediately preceded that of Noah. It lasted exactly twenty-nine years
and five months, or 10,748 days, 12 hours, and 18 minutes. This is
obviously the revolution of Saturn, which was in use amongst the
inhabitants of the Isles in the Northern Ocean, who celebrated with
great pomp, the entrance of that planet into Taurus, according to

It is declared in the Puranas, and acknowledged by everybody that this
momentous transaction took place in the White Sea, called the
Calas-odadhi or the caldron-like sea; from its being an inland one,
and surrounded on all sides, or nearly so, by the land; from which
circumstance it was compared to a pot or caldron. This sea was
contiguous to the White Island on one side, for on account of its
contiguity, the Amrit is said, in the Matsya-purana and others, to
have been produced on, or near the White or silver mountain, called
there also the mountain of Soma or Lunus. On the other side it
bordered on Suvarn-a-dwipa, or Ireland: for we are told in the
Vrihat-Catha, that there was a sea town in that country, called
Calas-a-puri, from its being situated on the Calas-odad’hi, or sea
like a Calasa or caldron. This caldron-like, or landlocked sea, is
evidently the Irish sea. Into this Calasa, according to the
Varaha-purana, the gods flung all the plants, and agreed to churn it.
This they did, says our author, in Varunaleyam or Varunasyabyam, the
abode, abyam, or st’han of Varuna, the god of the sea. His abode, to
this day, is well known, and is in the very centre of that sea. The
Manx and Irish mythologists, according to Col. Valancey, call Varuna,
_Mananan-Mac-Lir_, Mananan, the son of the sea: and his abode,
according to them, is in the Isle of Man, or Mannin, as it is called
by the Irish bards. According to Gen. Valancey, it was called also
Manand, which answers to the Monœda of Ptolemy.

After the gods had fixed on the most proper time for the churning of
the sea of milk, they soon perceived that it would be impossible for
them to accomplish this tremendous work, without the assistance of
giants. They made peace accordingly with them, under the most solemn
promise of sharing with them the fruit of their joint labours. The
gods in general are represented as a weak race, but full of cunning
and very crafty; the giants, on the contrary, are very strong, and
generally without much guile. The gods of the Goths, and of the Greeks
and Romans, did not bear a much better character. Even among
Christians there are old legends, in which the devil is most
egregiously taken in by holy men.

Having thus settled the conditions, they all went to work, and
gathered all the trees and plants, and flung them into the
caldron-like sea. They then brought the mountain of Mandara with
infinite labour. It is said that this mountain is in the peninsula,
near the sea shore, and to the north of Madras. They placed it in the
middle of the caldron-like sea, which they used for a churn, and mount
Mandara as a churning staff. The serpent Vasuci served them instead of
a rope, and they twisted him round mount Mandara, and the giants were
allowed to lay hold of the snake by the head: his fiery breath
scorched the giants, and they became black: the unfortunate reptile
suffered much; he complained, but in vain. Mount Mandara began to
sink; but Vishnu, assuming the shape of a tortoise, placed himself
under it. In the Scanda-purana chapter of the Sanata-cumara-Sanhita,
in the 75th section, we have a minute account of the churning of the
White sea by Vishnu, the gods and the giants: the latter had Bali at
their head. After churning for five years the froth began to appear:
and after three years more, Varuni or Sura, with her intoxicating
liquors. The cow Camadhenu or Surabhi appeared after another year’s
labour. According to the Brahman-da-purana, she was worshipped by the
gods, and both gods and giants were highly pleased when they saw her.

One year after, the elephant Airavata made his appearance; and the
next year a horse with seven heads. Three months after, the Apsaras
with Rambha-Devi at their head. Chandra or Lunus, came one year after;
then after three years more, was produced Cala-cuta, a most subtile
poison, flowing in large quantities; and then Vishnu became black. It
was of a fiery colour, and began to set fire to the three worlds.
Mankind, being alarmed, began to call out, Ah! Ah! The earth, in great
distress, with Vishnu, waited on Siva, craving his assistance. Siva
swallowed up the poison which stuck in his throat, and caused a most
intolerable heat, which parched his throat and body. His throat turned
blue; from which circumstance he is worshipped under the name of
Nilacanteswara, or the lord with the blue throat.

Siva, after swallowing the poison, as related, went to Himalaya, where
he buried himself in the snow. There are many places of worship
dedicated to Siva, under that title; but the original one is in the
White Island. It is very doubtful if our ancestors knew anything of
this churning, and of the deadly poison produced by it, and of a deity
swallowing it up. “In that case,” says Major Wilford, “there was no
such a place in the White Island. Yet I cannot resist the temptation;
and I am inclined to believe it not altogether improbable, but that
many of these idle legends originated in the west. If so, there might
have been such a place; and it could not have been far from
Camalo-dunum. The poison, which Siva drank up, is called in Sanscrit,
Cala-cuta, or the black lump or mole, because it remained like a lump
in Siva’s throat, which looked like a cuta, a peak, also a lump or
mole. Cala-cuta in Welh is y-duman, or the black lump or mole, and
this was, according to Ptolemy, the name of a river in England, now
called the Blackwater, in Essex. It might have been supposed once,
that the black stinking mud of marshes and fens, and more particularly
that of the mosses, so baneful to living creatures, was produced in
consequence of this churning; probably the emblem used to signify some
dreadful convulsion of nature in those parts. That such a thing
happened in the western ocean, is attested by tradition: and such was
its violence, and the dreadful consequences which attended it, that
they could not but suppose that it had destroyed entirely the
_Atlantis_ and left nothing in its place but mud. A deity is then
introduced, putting a stop to the progress of this black and poisonous
substance, ready, according to the Puranas, to overwhelm, not only the
White Island, but the whole world also. The serpent Midgard, being at
the bottom of the sea, like Ananta, and vomiting torrents of deadly
poison, and surrounding the world like Seshanaga, is the subject of
several fundamental legends in the mythology of the Goths: but
absolutely unknown to the Greeks and Romans. This Cala-cuta, or black
lump of poison, stuck in Siva’s throat, like the apple that Adam ate,
and occasioned that protuberance, since called Adam’s apple or

        [4] See Asiatic Researches, Vol. II.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have already stated that Siva is usually deemed the third person of
the Hindu triad, that he represents the destructive energy, and that
he appears in such a variety of forms, and on so many occasions, that
scarcely a step can be taken in any department whatever of eastern
science, art, or subject of literature, without encountering him in
some of his varied characters. The whole race of Hindoos, it seems, is
divided into two classes, denoting the worship of Siva, or of Vishnu;
Brahma, the first or creative power, having no worshippers or temples.
These two classes are also called Saiva-bakht, and Vishnu-bakht. We
have also had occasion to inform our readers that destruction being
used in the sense of renovation, the character of Siva is that of the
renovator, or recreator; associating him in character with Brahma, the
producing or creative power. The variety of relations in which this
and the other two members of the Hindu triad appear—whether they be
introduced mythologically, metaphysically, or philosophically, has
been exhibited as follows—all three are symbols of the sun, as he is
typical of that great light, as the theologians express it, “whence
all proceeded, and to which all must return.”

    Brahma | Power   | Creation     | Matter | The Past    | Earth
    Vishnu | Wisdom  | Preservation | Space  | The Present | Water
    Siva   | Justice | Destruction  | Time   | The Future  | Fire

But these characters, or attributes, are not exclusively applicable to
the three powers, as indicated above. They coalesce and participate,
more or less in several. An attempt has been made to shew in what
degree, more particularly, they represent their material forms of
earth, water, and fire, thus:—

    Brahma and Siva are Fire, in which Vishnu  } does not participate,
    Vishnu and Brahma are Earth, in which Siva } or participates but
    Siva and Vishnu are Water, in which Brahma } remotely.

In his examination of the Vedas, or Indian Scriptures, Mr. Colebrooke
gives the following description of the deities of India:

“The deities invoked appear, upon a cursory inspection of the Veda, to
be as various as the authors of the prayers addressed to them: but
according to the most ancient annotations on the Indian Scriptures,
these various names of persons and things, are all resolvable into
different titles of three deities, and ultimately of one God. The
Nig’hanti, or Glossary of the Vedas (which is the first part of the
Niructa), concludes with three lists of names of deities: the first
comprising such as are deemed synonymous with Fire; the second with
Air; and the third with the Sun. In the last part of the Niructa,
which entirely relates to deities, it is twice asserted that there are
but three gods, ‘Tisra eva Devatah.’ The further inference, that these
intend but one deity, is supported by many passages in the Veda; and
is very clearly and concisely stated in the beginning of the index to
the Rigveda, on the authority of the Niructa, and of the Veda itself.”

After citing several passages, Mr. Colebrooke continues:—“The deities
are only three, whose places are the earth, the intermediate region,
and heaven: [namely] Fire, Air, and the Sun. They are pronounced to be
[deities] of the mysterious names severally; and (Prajapati) the lord
of creatures is [the deity] of them collectively. The syllable O’m
intends every deity: it belongs to (Paramasht’hi) him who dwells in
the supreme abode; it pertains to (Brahma) the vast one; to (Deva)
god; to (Ad’hyatma) the superintending soul. Other deities belonging
to those several regions, are portions of the [three] gods; for they
are variously named and described on account of their different
operations, but [in fact] there is only one deity, the Great Soul
(Mahanatma). He is called the Sun; for he is the soul of all beings;
[and] that is declared by the Sage. [The Sun] ‘the soul of (jagat)
what moves, and of (tast’hush) that which is fixed’; other deities are
portions of him: and that is expressly declared by the Sage, ‘The wise
call Fire, Indra, Mitra, and Varuna, etc.”

In the Manava Sastra or Institutes of Menu the origin of the Universe
is thus unfolded: “It existed only in the first divine idea, yet
unexpanded, as if involved in darkness, imperceptible, indefinable,
undiscoverable by reason, and undiscovered by revelation, as if it
were wholly immersed in sleep. Then the sole self-existing power, who
had existed from eternity, shone forth in person, expanding his idea
and dispelling the gloom. With a thought he first created the waters,
and placed in them a productive seed: this seed became an egg, in
which he was himself born in the shape of Brahma, the great forefather
of all spirits. The waters are called Nara, because they were the
production of Nara, or the spirit of God: and since they were his
first Ayana, or place of motion, he was thence named Narayana, or
moving in the waters. In that egg the great Power sat inactive a whole
year of the Creator: at the close of which, by his thought alone, he
caused the egg to divide itself, and from its two divisions framed the

The name given by the Indians to their Supreme Deity, or Monad, is
Brahm; and notwithstanding the appearance of materialism in all their
sacred books, the Brahmans never admit they uphold such a doctrine,
but invest their deities with the highest attributes. He is
represented as the Vast One, self-existing, invisible, eternal,
imperceptible, the only deity, the great soul, the over-ruling soul,
the soul of all beings, and of whom all other deities are but
portions. To him no sacrifices were ever offered; but he was adored in
silent meditation. He triplicates himself into three persons or
powers, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, and is designated by the word O’M or
rather AUM.

This word O’M is a monosyllable of very profound import. It is
supposed to be so holy and awful, like the name Jehovah of the Jews,
as not to be guiltlessly pronounced, even by a priest. It must be
contemplated, or recited mentally; and it then is said to excite many
efficacious aspirations. This awful monosyllable is triliteral, and
perhaps therefore better written AUM, for three Sanscrit letters do in
fact compose it: but in composition A and U coalesce in O. The first
letter is supposed to be symbolical of Brahma, the creative power of
the Deity; the second of Vishnu, the preserver; and the last of Siva,
the destroyer or renovator. As all the inferior deities of the Hindoos
are avataras or manifestation of, and resolve themselves into those
three superior powers, so those superior powers resolve themselves
ultimately into Brahm, or the supreme being, of whom the sun is the
most perfect and glorious murti, or image. A combination of the three
symbolical letters forms, therefore, a hieroglyphical representation
of the union of the three powers or attributes, and a word that, if
uttered, would be nearly expressed by our letters A U M, or O O M,
dwelling a little on each letter. A name of Parvati, the consort of
Siva, is Uma or Ooma, and it is perhaps hence derivable; as well as
Omkar, one of the most sacred places of pilgrimage in India, dedicated
to the worship of this mysterious union.

In the Institutes of Menu, many verses occur denoting the importance
of this monosyllable, and of a text of the Veda closely connected with
it, called the Gayatri. Among those verses are the following:

Chap. ii, v. 74. “A Brahman beginning and ending a lecture on the
Veda, must always pronounce to himself the syllable OM: for unless the
syllable OM precede, his learning will slip away from him; and unless
it follow, nothing will be long retained.” A commentator on this verse
says, “As the leaf of the palasa is supported by a single pedicle, so
is this universe upheld by the syllable OM, a symbol of the supreme

76. “Brahma milked out as it were, from the three Vedas the letter A,
the letter U, and the letter M, which form by their coalition the
triliteral monosyllable, together with three mysterious words, _bhur_,
_bhuva_, and _siver_.” These words mean earth, sky, and heaven, and
are called the vyahritis.

77. “From the three Vedas, also, the Lord of creatures
incomprehensibly exalted, successively milked out the three measures
of that ineffable text beginning with the word _tad_, and entitled
Savitri or Gayatri.”

78. “A priest who shall know the Veda, and shall pronounce to himself,
both morning and evening, that syllable, and that holy text, preceded
by the three words, shall attain the sanctity which the Veda confers.”

79. “And a twice born man who shall a thousand times repeat those
three (OM, the vyahritis, and the gayatri), apart from the multitude,
shall be released in a month from a great offence, as a snake from his

80. “The priest, the soldier, and the merchant, who shall neglect this
mysterious text, and fail to perform in due season his peculiar acts
of piety, shall meet with contempt among the virtuous.”

81. “The great immutable words preceded by the triliteral syllable and
followed by the gayatri, which consists of three measures, must be
considered as the mouth or principal part of the Veda.”

82. “Whoever shall repeat, day by day, for three years, without
negligence, that sacred text, shall hereafter approach the divine
essence, move freely as air, and assume an ethereal form.”

83. “The triliteral monosyllable is an emblem of the Supreme, the
suppressions of the breath with a mind fixed on God are the highest
devotion; but nothing is more exalted than the gayatri.”

The suppression of the breath is thus performed by the priest: closing
the left nostril with the two longest fingers of the right hand, he
draws his breath through the right nostril; then closing that nostril
likewise with his thumb, holds his breath while he meditates the text:
he then raises both fingers off the left nostril, and emits the
suppressed breath, having, during its suppression, repeated to himself
the gayatri, the vyahritis, the triliteral monosyllable, and the
sacred text of Brahm. By an ancient legislator it is said to imply the
following meditation: “OM! earth! sky! heaven! mansion of the blessed!
abode of truth!—_We meditate on the adorable light of the resplendent
Generator which governs our intellects_: which is water, lustre,
savour, immortal, faculty of thought, Brahm, earth, sky, heaven.” The
words in italics are very nearly the gayatri.

Chap. vi., v. 70. “Even three suppressions of breath, made according
to the divine rule, accompanied by the triliteral phrase
(bhurbhuvaswah), and the triliteral syllable (OM), may be considered
as the highest devotion of a Brahman.”

71. “For as the dross and impurities of metallic ores are consumed by
fire, thus are the sinful acts of the human organ consumed by the
suppression of breath, while the mystic words and the measures of the
Gayatri are revolved in the mind.”

The extreme importance that the Hindoos attach to the gayatri, renders
it a text of more curiosity than perhaps a general reader will be able
to discover in the words themselves, in either their familiar or
recondite meaning. It is, like the holy monosyllable, to be mentally
revolved, never articulated. It is taught, as we have seen in the
preceding extracts from the Menu, to the three first classes, that is,
to the Brahman, or priesthood; to the Kshetriya, or soldier; and to
the Vaisya, or merchant; but not to the Sudra, or labourer, nor to
individuals of the three first named classes if rendered by vicious
propensities unworthy of the ‘second birth,’ promised in the holiness
of this mysterious regeneration. Fasting, ablution, prayer,
alms-giving, and other commendable acts, are necessary preliminaries
and accompaniments to initiation in the mysteries of this ‘ineffable
text,’ which is done by the Guru, or spiritual preceptor, in a
reverent and secret manner. In the Vedas the text occurs several
times, and translations of it by different Sanscrit scholars are
given, with many particulars of it and other mysterious points in the
Hindoo Pantheon. “There is no doubt,” says the author of that work,
“but that pious Brahmans would be very deeply shocked at hearing the
gayatri denied by unholy articulation, even if expressed in the most
respectful manner; and many would be distressed at knowing the
characters, sound, and meaning, to be in the possession of persons out
of the pale of sanctity. A gentleman on the western side of India,
unaware of the result, began once to recite it audibly in the presence
of a pious Pandit: the astonished priest stopped his ears, and
hastened terrified from his presence.” In the frontispiece to that
work, the character or symbol is given that would, if uttered, yield
the sound of OM. The author says he once shewed it to a Brahman, who
silently averted his face, evidently pained at what he unwillingly

       *       *       *       *       *

The Hindoo deities have vehicles assigned for the conveyance of
themselves and wives. These are called vahan. The vahan of Siva is a
bull, called Nandi. They have likewise peculiar symbols or attributes:
those that more particularly designate Siva, his sakti, or anything
connected with them are the Linga, or phallus, and the Trisula or
Trident. The phallic emblem denotes his presiding over generation,
reminding us of the Jupiter Genitor of western mythologists, with whom
Sir William Jones identifies the Siva of the East.

“The Jupiter Marinus, or Neptune of the Romans, resembles Mahadeva
(Siva) in his generative character; especially as the Hindoo god is
the husband of Parvati, whose relation to the waters is evidently
marked by her image being restored to them at the conclusion of the
great festival, called Durgotsava. She is known to have attributes
exactly similar to those of Venus Marina, whose birth from the
sea-foam, and splendid rise from the couch in which she had been
cradled, have offered so many charming subjects to ancient and modern

        [5] Asiatic Researches, vol. I.

Another writer, Mr. Paterson, offers a passage descriptive of the
character and attributes of Siva. “To Siva,” he says, “are given three
eyes, probably to denote his view of the three divisions of time; the
past, the present, and the future. A crescent on his forehead,
pourtrays the measure of time by the phases of the moon; a serpent
forms a necklace to denote the measure of time by years; a second
necklace formed of human skulls marks the lapse and revolution of
ages, and the extinction and succession of the generations of mankind.
He holds a trident, to show that the great attributes are in him
assembled and united; in another is a kind of rattle, shaped like an
hour glass, and I am inclined to think that it was at first intended
as such, since it agrees with the character of the deity; and a sand
gheri is mentioned in the Sastra as a mode of measuring time. In the
hieroglyphic of Maha Pralaya, or grand consummation of things, when
time itself shall be no more, he is represented as trodden under foot
by Mahakala, or eternity.”

       *       *       *       *       *

A writer in the Edinburgh Review for February, 1811, says:—“The most
ancient worship of which any trace is left in Hindustan, is that of
Osiris or Bacchus, whose Indian names are Iswara and Baghesa. In him,
and in the gods of his family, or lineage, we recognise the divinities
adored by the ancient Egyptians. That Osiris and Bacchus were the same
divinity, is attested by the unanimous suffrage of all the writers of
antiquity. But the most ancient Bacchus was not celebrated as the god
of wine, a character ascribed to that divinity in later times. The
Egyptians assert that Osiris conquered India; and indeed his
expedition to that region is the subject of the celebrated epic poem
of Nonnus. We by no means contend for the reality of these
expeditions; but it is an indisputable fact that the worship of
Osiris, distinguished by the same attributes and emblems, has
continued in India from the earliest ages to this day, under the
appellation of Iswara. This, we think, may be completely proved by a
comparative survey of both, before, as patron of the vine, he assumed
in Europe a new character.

“Osiris was adored in Egypt, and Bacchus in Greece, under the emblem
of the Phallus. It is under the same emblem that he is still venerated
in Hindustan; and Phalla is one of the names of Iswara in the
dictionary of Amara Singha. The bull was sacred to him in Egypt.
Plutarch assures us that several nations of Greece depict Bacchus with
a bull’s head; and that when he is invoked by the women of Elis they
pray him to hasten to their relief on the feet of a bull. In India he
is often seen mounted on a bull; hence one of his Sanscrit names
Vrishadwaja, signifying, whose ensign is a bull. Plutarch inform us
that ‘Nilum patrem ac servatorem suæ regionis, ac defluxum Osiridis
nominant.’ The Ganges in like manner is fabled by the Hindoos to flow
from the tresses of Siva; hence another of his names, Gangadhara, the
supporter of the Ganges. We conceive by the way, that Scaliger and
Selden are mistaken in supposing that Siris, the Egyptian name of the
Nile, is synonymous with Osiris. Siris seems to us the Sanscrit word
Saras, a river in general, or _the_ river, from its imputed
superiority. Isis is the consort of Osiris; Isa that of Iswara, or
Siva. The attributes of the goddesses might be shown to correspond as
precisely as those of their lords.

“The attendants of Iswara resemble, in their frantic demeanour, the
furious Bacchants of the god of Naxos. Many tribes of imaginary beings
compose his train. The Pramatha, whose name denotes intoxication; and
the Jacchi, from whom he derives the appellation of Jaccheo, or lord
of the Jacchi, corrupted into Jacchus, by his western votaries. It is
remarkable that many of the appellations by which the Greeks
distinguish Bacchus, are also used by the Hindus; but instead of
applying them to Baghesa himself, the latter refer them to his son,
whilst both nations have their legends to account for them. Thus the
Greeks name Bacchus, Dimeter, having two mothers; the Hindus call
Scandha, the son of Baghesa, Divimatri, with the same signification.
Pyrigenes, born from fire; and its equivalent in Sanscrit—Agnija, are
respectively Greek and Indian appellatives of Bacchus and of Scandha.
The title of Thriambus we are told by Diodorus, was assumed by the
Greek Deity in his triumph after the conquest of India. Tryambo, in
like-manner, is one of the most common appellations of the Indian
Bacchus, but we are not aware of its signification.

“We believe we have done more than was requisite to prove the identity
of the Egyptian, Grecian, and Indian Divinity; for our readers will
remark that our proofs do not rest in this instance, on analogy of
_sounds_, which may undoubtedly be fortuitous, but on that analogy,
combined with the unity of the attributes denoted by those names,
which it is impossible should be accidental.”

There are five kinds of temples among the Hindoos, one of which is
dedicated exclusively to the linga, another to Jugunnathu, and another
is appropriated to the images of any of the gods or goddesses. The
first of these is called by the general name of Mundiru; the second
Daool, and the third Yorubangala. The names of the other two are
Punchu-rutnu, and Nuvu-rutnu, in which the images of different gods
and goddesses are placed, according to the wish of the owner.

The Mundiru is a double roofed building, the upper roof short and
tapering. It contains only one room, in which is placed the image of
the linga. It is ascended by steps. The floor is about three cubits by
four. On the roof are placed three tridents. The building is of the
Gothic order, as well as most of the other pyramidical temples of the
Hindoos. Some of the temples of the linga contain two, three, or more
rooms, arched over in the Gothic manner, with a porch in front for
spectators. The rooms in which the image is not placed contain the
things with which the ceremonies of worship are performed, the
offerings, etc.

Some rich men as an act of merit, build one, and others, erect four,
six, twelve, or more of these temples in one place. Some great
landowners build a greater number, and employ Brahmins to perform the
daily ceremonies. The relict of raja Tiluku-Chundru, of Burdwan, built
one hundred and eight temples in one plain, and placed in them as many
images of the linga, appointing eleven Brahmins, with other inferior
servants, to perform the daily ceremonies before these images. She
presented to these temples estates to the amount of the wages of these
persons, the daily offerings, etc.

Many persons build flights of steps down the banks to the river side,
for the benefit of persons coming to bathe, and very often also build
a row of temples for the linga in front of these steps, two, four, or
six on each side, and a roof supported by pillars immediately opposite
the steps. At the present day, most of the persons who build these
temples are the head-servants of Europeans, who appropriate a part of
their fortunes to these acts of supposed merit. Near Serampore a rich
Hindoo built twelve linga temples, and a flight of steps, and on the
opposite side of the river, he built a house for his mistress, without
any suspicion of the latter action spoiling the former.

Small square temples for the linga with flat roofs are erected in rows
on the right and left before the houses of rich men, or before a
college, or a consecrated pool of water, or before the descent to a
flight of steps.

Very small temples like the Mundiru, two, three, or five cubits high
only, and containing a linga about a foot in height, are to be seen at

Some persons build near the temples of the linga, a small house, open
in front, for the accommodation of such persons who wish to die in
sight of the river; and others build a temple, adjoining to that built
for the linga, and dedicate it some other idol.

These temples of the linga are to be seen in great numbers on both
sides of the Ganges, especially in the neighbourhood of Calcutta. The
merit of building them near the river is greater than in the interior
of the country, and if in a place of the river peculiarly sacred, the
merit becomes the greater. The west side of the river is more sacred
than the east.

The expense of one of these temples, if a single room, amounts to
about two hundred rupees, and the wages and daily offerings to one
linga amount to about three rupees per month. Some give the brahmin
who officiates twelve anas, and others a rupee per month, with his
food and clothes. Sometimes the offerings are given to him for his
food, but in other cases they are presented to the brahmins of the
village alternately, and the priest has money given him in their
stead. These offerings consist of a pound of rice, a pint of milk,
half an ounce of sugar, and two plantains. The quantity, however, is
not prescribed, and other things are articled by some persons.

The daily ceremonies are:—In the morning the officiating brahmin,
after bathing, goes into the temple and bows to Siva. He then anoints
the image with clarified butter or boiled oil, after which, with water
which has not been defiled by the touch of a shoodru, nor of a brahmin
who has not bathed, he bathes the image by pouring water on it, and
afterwards wipes it with a towel. He next grinds some white powder in
water, and dipping the ends of his three fore-fingers in it, draws
them across the linga, marking it as the worshippers of Siva mark
their foreheads. Next he sits down before the image, and, shutting his
eyes, meditates on the work he is commencing; then puts rice and
doorva grass on the linga; next a flower on his own head, and then on
top of the linga; then another flower on the linga; then others one by
one, repeating incantations; then white powder, flowers, vilwu leaves,
incense, meat-offerings, and a lamp before the linga; next some rice
and a plantain; then he repeats the name of Siva, with some form of
praise, and at last he prostrates himself before the image.

The ceremonies in the hands of a secular person, are discharged in a
few minutes; if performed by a person who has sufficient leisure he
spends an hour in them.

In the evening the officiating brahmin goes again to the temple, after
washing his feet, etc., and prostrates himself at the door; then
opening the door he places in the temple a lamp, and, as an evening
oblation, presents to the image a little milk, some sweet-meats,
fruit, etc., that is, such things as a Hindoo eats and drinks at those
times when he does not eat his regular meals. The worship of the day
closes with prostration to the image, when the brahmin locks the door
and comes away.

At this temple on the 14th of the increase of the moon, in the month
Phalgoonu, in the night, a festival in honour of Siva is kept. On this
occasion the image is bathed four times, and four separate pujas
performed during the night. Before the temple Siva’s worshippers
dance, sing, and revel all night, amidst the horrid din of their

The occasion of this festival is thus related in the puranas:—A
bird-catcher was detained in a wilderness in a dark night, and took
refuge in a vilwu tree under which was an image of the linga. By
shaking the boughs of the trees the leaves and drops of dew fell upon
the image, with which Siva was so pleased, that he declared, that
whoever should from that time perform the worship of the linga on that
night, he should do an act of unbounded merit.


    Hindu evidence respecting the origin of Phallic
    worship—Legend of the wounded Hara—The four sects of
    worshippers instituted by Brahma—Resumption of the Lingam by
    Siva—Siva and Parvati propitiated—Visit of Bhrigu to
    Siva—The Lainga Puran on the origin of Lingam
    worship—Abolition of worship of Brahma—Moral character of
    Hindu worship—Profligate sects—Egyptian
    Phallus—Bacchus—Testimony of Tertullian and Clement of
    Alexandria—Dionysus—Directions for worship—Unsatisfactory
    legends—Legend of Bhima—The fourth avatar of Vishnu—Visit
    of Captain Mackenzie to the Pagoda at Perwuttum.

So far as Hindu mythology is concerned, we find ample and interesting
evidence respecting the origin of Phallic worship in the East, in the
form of the adoration of the lingam. Thus in the Vamana Purana we are
enlightened as follows:—“Then Hara, wounded by the arrows of Kama,
wandered into a deep forest, named Daruvanam, where holy sages and
their wives resided. The sages on beholding Shiva, saluted him with
bended heads, and he, wearied, said to them,—‘Give me alms.’ Thus he
went begging round the different hermitages; and, wherever he came,
the minds of the sages’ wives, on seeing him, became disturbed and
agitated with the pain of love, and all commenced to follow him. But
when the sages saw their holy dwellings thus deserted, they
exclaimed,—‘May the lingam of this man fall to the ground!’ That
instant the lingam of Shiva fell to the ground; and the god
immediately disappeared. The lingam, then, as it fell, penetrated
through the lower worlds, and increased in height until its top
towered above the heavens; the earth quaked, and all things movable
and immovable were agitated. On perceiving which Brahma hastened to
the sea of milk, and said to Vishnu,—‘Say, why does the universe thus
tremble?’ Hara replied,—‘On account of the falling of Shiva’s lingam,
in consequence of the curse of the holy and divine sages.’ On hearing
of this most wonderful event, Brahma said,—‘Let us go and behold this
lingam.’ The two gods then repaired to Daruvanam; and on beholding it
without beginning or end, Vishnu mounted the king of birds and
descended into the lower regions in order to ascertain its base; and
for the purpose of discovering its top, Brahma in a lotos car ascended
the heavens: but they returned from their search wearied and
disappointed, and together approaching the lingam, with due reverence
and praises, entreated Shiva to resume his lingam. Thus propitiated,
that god appeared in his own form and said,—‘If gods and men will
worship my lingam, I will resume it; but not otherwise. (In the Nagar
Khand of the Skanda Puran, it is said that Shiva, afflicted for the
loss of Sati, thus replied:—‘O gods! it was in consequence of the
grief which I suffer in being separated from Sati that I cast away
this lingam, apparently fallen through the curse of the sages; but,
had I not willed it, who is there in the three worlds that could have
deprived me of it? why then should I resume it?’)

“To this proposal Vishnu, Brahma, and the gods assented; and Brahma
divided its worshippers into four sects, the principal one of those,
that which simply worships Shiva under the symbol of the lingam; the
second, that of Pashupati; the third, of Mahakala; and the fourth, the
Kapali; and revealed from his own mouth the ordinances by which this
worship was to be regulated. Brahma and the gods then departed, and
Shiva, having resumed the lingam, was also leaving the spot, when he
beheld Kama at a distance; and, incensed with anger on remembering the
pains which he had endured, looked at him with his world-consuming eye
and reduced him to ashes.” _Chapter 6._

“The resumption of the lingam by Shiva,” remarks Vans Kennedy in his
researches into Hindu Mythology, “is related differently in the Shiva
Puran, which account explains the reason of the particular form, under
which that symbol is represented.”

The Shiva Puran account says:—‘On falling in consequence of the
sages’ curse, the lingam became like fire, and caused a conflagration
wherever it penetrated; the three worlds were distressed, and as
neither gods nor sages could find rest, they hastened for protection to
Brahma. Having heard them relate all that had happened, Brahma
replied:—‘After having committed knowingly a reprehensible act, why
say that it was done unknowingly? For who that is adverse to Shiva
shall enjoy happiness, and yet when he came as a guest at noon-day you
received him not with due honours. But every one shall reap the fruit
of his good or bad actions, and the lingam therefore shall not cease
to distress the three worlds until it is resumed by that god. Do ye,
therefore, adopt such means as you think best for restoring
tranquility to the universe.’ The gods said,—‘But, O Lord! what means
ought we to adopt?’ Brahma replied,—‘Propitiate by adoration the
mountain-born goddess, and she will then assume the form of the yoni
and receive this lingam, by which means alone it can be rendered
innocuous. Should you thus obtain her favourable assistance, then form
a vessel of the eight kinds of leaves, place in it boiled rice and
sacred plants; and having filled it with holy water, consecrate the
whole with the proper prayers and invocations, and with this water,
repeating at the same time suitable prayers, sprinkle the lingam.
After, also, Parvati shall have under the form of the yoni received
the lingam, do you erect and consecrate the form of a lingam in the
yoni; and, by worshipping it with offerings of flowers, perfumes, and
such things, by kindling lamps before it, and by singing and music,
propitiate Maheshwara, and thus will the forgiveness and favour of
that god be undoubtedly obtained.’ Having heard these words, the gods
and sages hastened to implore the protection of Shiva and the
assistance of Parvati, as directed by Brahma; and these deities having
been propitiated, Parvati, under the form of the yoni, received the
lingam and thus appeased its consuming fire; and in commemoration of
this event was instituted the worship of the lingam.’

The Padma Puran ascribes the origin of the particular form under which
this symbol is represented, to the effects of a curse imprecated on
Shiva by Bhrigu. It is there said that, when, Bhrigu was sent to
ascertain the preeminence of the three gods, on arriving at Kailasa he
thus addressed Shiva’s door-keeper:—“Quickly inform Shankara that I,
the Brahman Bhrigu, am come to see him.” But the door-keeper
said,—‘Stop, stop, if thou wishest to preserve thy life; for my lord
cannot be approached at present, as he is engaged in amorous dalliance
with Devi.’ The divine sage being thus denied access, waited some time
at the gate of Shiva’s abode, and at length incensed with anger
imprecated this curse:—‘Since thou, O Shankara! hast thus treated me
with contempt, in consequence of thy preferring the embraces of
Parvati, your forms shall on that account become the lingam in the
yoni.’ It is generally understood that it was in consequence of this
curse, that Shiva was deprived of his lingam in the Daruvanan, and
that Parvati assumed the form of the yoni in order to receive and
render it innocuous.

The Lainga Puran relates the origin of the worship of the linga,

Brahma, addressing the angels.—‘When I sprang into existence, I
beheld the mighty Narayana reposing on the abyss of waters; and, being
under the influence of delusion, awakened him with my hand and thus
addressed him,—‘Who art thou that thus slumberest on this terrible
ocean?’ Hari awoke, and dispelling sleep from his lotos eyes, looked
upon me, and then arising said,—‘Welcome, welcome, O Pitamaha! my
dear son!’ On hearing the first of gods smiling thus speak, I,
confined within the bonds of the quality of impurity, replied,—‘Why
dost thou say my dear son? for know me to be the eternal god, the
universal spirit, the creator, preserver, and destroyer of the three
worlds.’ But he immediately answered,—‘Hear the truth, O four-faced!
and learn that it is I who am the creator, the preserver, and the
destroyer, how canst thou thus forget Nayarana the self existent and
eternal Brahm? but thou committest no fault, for thy error proceeds
from the delusion of Maya.’ Hence arose between us a terrible combat
amidst the waters of the deluge, when, to appease the contest and
recall us to our senses, appeared a lingam blazing like a thousand
suns. Bewildered by its radiant beams, Hari thus said to me, lost in
amazement,—‘I will proceed downwards in order to ascertain the
termination of this wondrous column of fire, do thou, O Lord! proceed
upwards and seek for its top.’ Having thus spoken, he assumed the form
of a boar, and I that of a swan, and we both prosecuted our search for
four thousand years but being unable to ascertain its terminations, we
then returned back wearied and disappointed. Thus still under the
influence of delusion, we prostrated ourselves before the lingam, and
were reflecting on what it could be, when we heard a voice, saying,
_om, om, om,_—and shortly after appeared Shiva in the midst of that
column of fire.’ In commemoration of this event, therefore, was the
worship of the lingam instituted.

The Skande Puran relates that the abolition of the worship of Brahma
is at the present day generally attributed to the inevitable
consequences resulting from the curse of Shiva.

“The lingam of Shiva, having in Daruvanam fallen on the ground in
consequence of the curse of the holy sages, instantly increased in
size, until its base went far beyond the lowest profound, and its head
towered above the heavens; and Brahma, Vishnu, Indra, and all the
gods, having hastened to behold this wonder, thus spoke to one
another:—‘What can be its length and breath? Where can be situated
its top and base?’ Having thus considered, the gods said,—‘O Vishnu!
do thou ascertain the base of this lingam, and O Lotos-born, do thou
discover its head, and let this be the place where you shall return to
relate what you may have seen.’ Having heard these words, Vishnu
proceeded to Tartarus, and Brahma to heaven; but high as he ascended,
Pitamaha could not perceive the head of that lingam, and he was
therefore returning and had arrived at the top of Meru, when
_Surabhi_, as he reclined under the shade of a ketaki tree, saw him
and thus spoke,—‘Where hast thou gone, O Brahma! whence dost thou
return? Say, can I do anything for you?’ Brahma smiling, replied,—‘I
have been sent by the gods to discover the head of this wonderful
lingam which fills the three worlds, but I have not been able to reach
it. What, therefore, shall I say to them when I return; for, if I
falsely assert that I have seen its top, they will require witnesses
to attest the truth of it? Do thou, then, with this _ketaki_, give
testimony to what I shall declare.’ _Surabhi_ and the _ketaki_ tree
consented to act as Brahma desired; and he, having made this
agreement, proceeded to where the angels had remained, and thus
addressed them:—‘O gods! I have seen the top of this lingam, which is
spacious, pure, delightful, adorned with the leaves of the _ketaki_,
and wonderful to behold, but without my assistance no one can see it.’
On hearing these words the immortals were astonished, and Vishnu
said,—‘This is most surprising; for I have penetrated through all the
lower worlds, and have not been able to discover its base; but most
assuredly this lingam form of Mahadeva has neither beginning, nor
middle, nor end; for it was through his divine will that you, O gods
and holy sages! were produced, and also this universe with all that it
contains, movable and immovable; and in this lingam of the lord is
centred creation, preservation, and destruction.’ Brahma then
said,—‘O Vishnu! why art thou surprised that I have seen the top,
because thou hast not been able to reach the base of this lingam; but
what proof dost thou require to convince thee that I have seen it?’
Vishnu, smiling, replied,—‘Explain, O Brahma! how thou could’st have
seen the head in heaven, while I could not discover the base in
Tartarus; but if this be really the case, who are the witnesses to
your having seen it?’ Brahma quickly replied,—‘The _ketaki_ and
_Surabhi_; these, O ye gods! will attest that I speak the truth.’ The
immortals then immediately sent for them; and when they arrived,
_Surabhi_ and the _ketaki_ declared that Brahma had actually seen the
top of the lingam. At this instant a voice was heard from heaven,
saying,—‘Know, O Suras! that _Surabhi_ and the _ketaki_ have spoken
falsely, for Brahma has not seen its top.’ The immortals then
imprecated this curse on _Surabhi_,—‘Since thou hast with thy mouth
uttered a falsehood, may thy mouth be henceforth deemed impure!’ and
on the _ketaki_,—‘Though thou smellest sweetly, mayest thou be
considered unworthy to be offered to Shiva!’ After the gods had ceased
speaking, the voice from heaven thus cursed Brahma:—‘Since thou hast
childishly and with weak understanding asserted a falsehood, let no
one henceforth perform worship to thee.’”

Lieutenant Colonel Vans Kennedy remarks that these are the only
accounts of the origin of this worship which occur in the Puranas, but
Mr. Ward in his “Account of the Writings, Religion, &c., of the
Hindus,” says:—“There are several stories in the Puranas respecting
the origin of the lingam worship, three of which I had translated, and
actually inserted in this work, leaving out as much as possible of
their offensive parts; but in correcting the proofs, they appeared too
gross, even when refined as much as possible, to meet the public eye.”
Lieutenant Kennedy alluding to this, says:—“Mr. Ward takes every
opportunity of objecting indecency and obscenity to the Hindu
mythology; but, after a most attentive examination of the subject, I
have not been able to discover, unless calling a spade a spade be
considered a sufficient ground, the slightest foundation for such an
objection in either the Purans, Upa-Purans, Ramayanum, or Mahabharat;
and with regard to other Sanscrit works, I agree entirely in the
justness of the opinion expressed by Mr. Wilson in a note to his
translation of the Magha Duta. He says:—‘I have, indeed, in this
place concentrated, and in part omitted, two verses of the original,
as offensive to our notions of the decorum of composition. I cannot
admit, however, that Hindu literature, speaking generally, is more
liable to the reproach of indecency than that of Europe: nothing can
be found in their serious works half so licentious as many passages in
the writings of Ovid, Catullus, Propertius, and even the elegant
Flaccus. To descend to modern times, Ariosto and Boccaccio amongst the
Italians, Brantome, Crebillon, Voltaire, La Fontaine, and the writers
of many recent philosophical novels amongst the French, furnish us
with more than parallels for the most indelicate of the Hindu writers.
With respect to ourselves, not to go back to the days in which
“_obscenity was wit_,” we have little reason to reproach the Hindus
with want of delicacy, when we find the exceptionable, though elegant,
poetry of Little generally circulated and avowedly admired. We should
also recollect the circumstances of Indian society, before we condemn
their authors for the ungarbled expressions which we conceive to
trespass upon the boundaries of decorum. _These authors write to men
only, they never think of a woman as a reader._’”

Moor in his “Hindu Pantheon,” bears general testimony to the perfectly
decent character of Hindu worship, on the whole, whatever may take
place in exceptional cases. Speaking of the sect of naked
gymnosophists, called Lingis, and the Sactas, he says:—“In this last
mentioned sect, as in most others, there is a right-handed and decent
path, and a left-handed and indecent mode of worship; but the indecent
worship of this sect is most grossly so, and consists of unbridled
debauchery with wine and women. This profligate sect is supposed to be
numerous, though unavowed. In most parts of India, if not in all, they
are held in deserved detestation; and even the decent Sactas do not
make public profession of their tenets, nor wear on their foreheads
the marks of their sect, lest they should be suspected of belonging to
the other branch of it…. It is some comparative and negative praise
to the Hindus, that the emblems under which they exhibit the elements
and operations of nature, are not externally indecorous. Unlike the
abominable realities of Egypt and Greece, we see the phallic emblem in
the Hindu Pantheon without offence; and know not, until the
information be extorted, that we are contemplating a symbol whose
prototype is indecent. The plates of my book may be turned and
examined, over and over again, and the uninformed observer will not be
aware that in several of them he has viewed the typical representation
of the generative organs or powers of humanity.” “From the very
nature, also, of this symbol,” says Kennedy, “it will be evident that
it was never intended to be carried in the processions consecrated to
Shiva,” and Abraham Roger, two hundred years ago, has in consequence
correctly stated,—“Mais quand on fait la procession par les villes
avec l’idole Eswara, ce qui arrive en certains temps, on ne la porte
pas sous la figure de lingam, mais sous la figure d’homme: la raison
est, comme le Brahmine témoignoit, pour ce que les hommes ont plus de
plasir et de contentement en la veuë d’une figure humaine que dans la
veuë du lingam, en laquelle figure il est dans son pagode.”[6]

        [6] La Porte Ouverte, p. 157.

Both Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus, as noticed by Gyraldus, though
speaking of the phallus, fail to explain its precise nature and form.
Mr. Payne Knight in his “Symbolical Language of Ancient Art and
Mythology,” says:—“In Egypt and all over Asia, the mystic and
symbolical worship appears to have been of immemorial antiquity. The
women of the former country carried images of Osiris in their sacred
processions, with a movable phallus of disproportionate magnitude, the
reason for which Herodotus does not think proper to relate, because it
belonged to the mystic religion. Diodorus Siculus, however, who lived
in a more communicative age, informs us that it signified the
generative attribute; and Plutarch, that the Egyptian statues of
Osiris had the phallus to signify his procreative and prolific power,
the extension of which through the three elements of air, earth and
water, they expressed by another kind of statue, which was
occasionally carried in procession, having a triple symbol of the same
attribute. The Greeks usually represented the phallus alone, as a
distinct symbol, the meaning of which seems to have been among the
last discoveries revealed to the initiated. It was the same, in
emblematical writing, as the Orphic epithet, _Pan-genetor, universal
generator_, in which sense it is still employed by the Hindus.”
Herodotus, in allusion to the above, says:—“To Bacchus, on the eve of
his feast, every Egyptian sacrifices a hog before the door of his
house, which is then given back to the swineherd by whom it was
furnished, and by him carried away. In other respects the festival is
celebrated almost exactly as Bacchic festivals are in Greece,
excepting that the Egyptians have no choral dances. They also use,
instead of phalli, another invention, consisting of images a cubit
high, pulled by strings, which the women carry round to the villages.
A piper goes in front; and the women follow, singing hymns in honour
of Bacchus. They give a religious reason for the peculiarities of the
image.” Payne Knight supports his statement relative to the discovery
of the meaning of the symbol by a quotation from Tertullian:
Concerning the Valentinians (a sect of Ophites or of Gnostics) “After
many sighings of the seers, the entire sealing of the tongue (from
divulging it) an image of the virile organ is revealed.” This opinion,
however, has been pronounced by others as extremely questionable; “but
were it admitted,” says Colonel Kennedy, “it seems indisputable that
the phallus was always formed in such a manner as to leave no doubt
with respect to the object which it represented, and that in religious
processions it was always attached to a human figure. It hence appears
evident that the phallus bore no similarity to the lingam, and that,
though the causes which may originally have produced the worship of
these objects may have been the same in Egypt and India, still the
symbols adopted for their representation, and the adoration paid to
them by the Egyptians and the Hindus, differed most materially.”

Clement of Alexandria was most severe in his condemnation of the
abominations connected with certain festivals in which the phallus
occupied a conspicuous position, but as the lingam is never carried in
procession, and its worship is not celebrated by bacchanalian rites,
his castigation could have had no reference, or at any rate, was not
applicable to the Hindus. “Extinguish the fire, O hierophant!” he
said, “be ashamed of thy own torches, O torch-bearer! the light
betrays thy Jacchus: permit, if thou wish them to be reverenced, thy
mysteries to be concealed by night, and thy orgies to be covered with
darkness; fire does not dissimulate, but exposes and punishes all that
is subjected to its power. These, therefore, are the mysteries of
atheistical men; atheists I call them justly, because ignorant of the
true God, they unblushingly worship an infant who was torn in pieces
by the Titans, and a lamenting woman, and those parts of the body
which modesty forbids us to name.”

“The games and phalli consecrated to Bacchus, not only corrupt
manners, but are considered shameful and disgraceful by all the

Clement then speaks of a certain event, in commemoration of which,
“was this mystery instituted, and phalli erected in every city in
honour of Dionusos; so that Heraclitus even says that misfortune would
ensue, if processions were not made, and hymns sung, and pudenda
shamelessly worshipped, in honour of Dionusos. This then is the Hades
and the Dionusos, in whose honour men become agitated with
bacchanalian madness and fury; not so much, in my opinion, an account
of natural inebriation, as in consequence of the reprehensible
ceremonies which were first instituted in commemoration of that
abominable turpitude.”

The event just referred to is this:—Dionysus was particularly anxious
to descend to Hades, but was ignorant of the way; a certain man named
Prosymnus offered to shew him the same, provided he would grant him a
specified reward. “The reward,” says Clement, “was a disgraceful one,
though not so in the opinion of Dionysus: it was an Aphrodisian favour
that was asked. The god was not reluctant to grant the request made to
him, and promised to fulfil it should he return, conforming his
promise with an oath. Having learned the way, he departed and again
returned: he did not find Prosymnus for he had died. In order to
acquit himself of his promise to his lover, he rushed to his tomb,
burning with unnatural lust. Cutting a fig-branch that came to his
hand, he shaped the likeness of the _membrum virile_, and sat over it;
thus performing his promise to the dead man. As a mystic memorial of
this incident, _phalloi_ are raised aloft in honour of Dionysus
through the various cities.”

The character of Lingam worship may be gathered from the ritual
prescribed in the Lainga Puran, which we find to be as follows:
“Having bathed in the prescribed manner, enter the place of worship;
and having performed three suppressions of the breath, meditate on
that god who has three eyes, five heads, ten arms, and is of the
colour of pure crystal, arrayed in costly garments, and adorned with
all kinds of ornaments: and having thus fixed in thy mind the real
form of Maheshwara, proceed to worship him with the proper prayers and
hymns. First, sprinkle the place and utensils of worship with a bunch
of darbha dipped in perfumed water, repeating at the same time the
sacred word _Om_, and arrange all the utensils and other things
required in the prescribed order; then in due manner and repeating the
proper invocations, prayers and hymns, preceded by the sacred word
_Om_, prepare thy offerings. For the padiam (water for the ablution of
the feet), these should consist of ushiram (the root of the Andropogon
muricatus), sandal, and sweet-smelling woods: for the achamanam (water
for rinsing the mouth), of mace, camphor, bdellium, and agallochum,
ground together; and for the arghya (a particular kind of oblation,
which, consisted of different articles in the worship of different
deities), of the tops of Kusha grass, prepared grains of rice, barley,
sesamum, clarified butter, pieces of money, ashes and flowers. At the
same time, also, must be worshipped Nandi (the principal attendant of
Shiva, and supposed to be a portion of that god, who granted a son as
a boon to a holy ascetic named Shilada, and also consented that he
would be born as that son), and his wife, the daughter of Marut.
Having then, with due rites, prepared a seat, invoke with the
prescribed prayers the presence of Parameshwara, and present to him
the _padiam_, _achamanam_ and _arghya_. Next bathe the lingam with
perfumed water, the five products of the cow, clarified butter, honey,
the juice of the sugar-cane, and lastly pour over it a pot of pure
water, consecrated by the requisite prayers. Having thus purified it,
adorn it with clean garments and a sacrificial string, and then offer
flowers, perfumes, frankincense, lamps, fruit, and different kinds of
prepared eatables, and ornaments. Thus worship the lingam with the
prescribed offerings, invocations, prayers and honours, and by
circumambulating it, and by prostrating thyself before Shiva,
represented under this symbol.”

Colonel Vans Kennedy says that at the present day the whole of this
ritual is not observed, nor is this worship performed in that costly
manner which is recommended in the Purans. But the worship of all the
deities consists of sixteen essential requisites:—1, _Asanam_, the
preparing a seat for the god; 2, _Asahanam_, the invoking his
presence; 3, _padiam_; 4, _achamanam_; 5, _Arghya_; 6, bathing the
image; 7, clothing it; 8, investing it with a sacrificial string:
offerings of; 9, perfumes; 10, flowers; 11, incense; 12, lamps; 13,
naivedya, _i.e._ offerings consisting of fruits and prepared eatables;
14, betel leaf; 15, prayers, &c.; 16, circumambulation. The more of
these acts that are performed the more complete is the worship; but at
present it in general consists of nothing more than presenting some of
the prescribed offerings, and muttering a short prayer or two while
the lingam is circumambulated: the rest of the acts being performed by
the officiating priest.

This worship, it seems, need not be performed at a temple, any
properly purified place will do; it is most efficacious when performed
on the bank of some holy river, before a lingam formed of clay, which,
on the termination of the worship, is thrown into the sacred stream.

       *       *       *       *       *

Colonel Kennedy says:—“The legends respecting the origin of the
worship of the lingam, cannot satisfy the philosophical enquirer; and
the real cause, therefore, which produced the adoration of so singular
an object might appear to be a curious subject of speculation. But,
though in the Purans there are copious descriptions of the high
importance of this worship, and of the spiritual advantages to be
derived from it, still these works contain not the slightest
indication from which any just conclusion could be formed, with
respect to either the period when it was first introduced, or the
motives which may have occasioned the substitution of this symbol for
the image of Shiva. Yet it seems probable that this change had not
been effected at the time when the Vedas were composed, and that the
earliest record of this worship which has been preserved is contained
in the Purans. But, as in those sacred books there is not the least
appearance of its being either mystical or symbolical, it must be
evident that if it originated in such causes they have long ceased to
exist; and consequently that the speculations on this subject, in
which the literati of Europe have indulged, are totally incompatible
with the simple principles, as far as they are known, on which this
worship is founded. For, in fact, both in the Purans and by the Hindus
of the present day, the lingam is held to be merely a visible type of
an invisible deity; and nothing whatever belongs to its worship, or to
the terms in which this is mentioned, which has the slightest tendency
to lead the thoughts, from the contemplation of the god, to an undue
consideration of the object by which he is typified. But it is
impossible to understand by what process of reasoning the founders of
the Hindu religion were induced to place Shiva among the divine
hypostases; for they supposed, at the same time, that dissolution and
death proceeded from the fixed laws of nature, and that his power was
not called into exertion until after the termination of twelve
millions of years. During the whole, therefore, of this inconceivable
period, what functions could be ascribed to this god consistent with
his character of destroyer? This difficulty, however, seems to have
been very soon obviated by investing him with the attributes of the
Supreme Being, and even in the Purans it is under this character that
he is generally represented. As, therefore, the attributes which are,
according to the Hindus, peculiar to the one god are immovability and
inaction, Shiva is described as being principally engaged in devout
meditation, and as exerting his divine power through the means either
of Devi (or his energy personified) or of certain forms which he
creates for the occasion, such as Bhairava and Virabhadra. In Hindu
mythology, consequently, there are only three legends, the destruction
of the Tripura Asuras, and of the Asuras Audhaka, and Jalandhara, in
which Shiva appears as the actor, unconnected with any reference to
the worship of the lingam. But on the introduction of this worship,
not a lingam seems to have been erected without its foundation having
been ascribed to some miraculous appearance of Shiva; and hence have
originated a multiplicity of legends in the highest degree puerile,
and everyone erring against the just principle,—

  Nec deus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus

For in the Shiva Puran, Suta thus speaks: “Innumerable are the lingams
which are adorned, as the type of Shiva, in heaven, earth, and
Tartarus; but where some of these are erected, there Shiva for the
good of the three worlds appeared, and consequently whoever visits and
worships them, acquires more complete remission of sins and a greater
degree of holiness. Even of these, however, the number is
unascertainable, but the twelve Jyolisha lingams are considered the
most sacred; there are, of course, many others, the worship of which
insures the remission of sins and final blessedness.”

_Legend from the Shiva Puran._

A Rakshasa, named Bhima, the son of Kumbakarna, having obtained
invincible might as a boon from Brahma, commenced exerting his newly
acquired power by attacking the king of Kamarupa. Him he conquered,
and having seized his riches and kingdom, he placed him in chains in a
solitary prison. This king was eminently pious, and, notwithstanding
his confinement, continued daily to make clay lingams, and to worship
Shiva with all the prescribed rites and ceremonies. Meanwhile the
Rakshasa continued his conquests, and everywhere abolished the
religious observances and worship enjoined by the Vedas; and the
immortals also, were reduced by his power to great distress. At length
the gods hastened to implore the protection of Shiva, and to obtain
his favour by the worship of clay lingams; and Shambu, being thus
propitiated, assured them that he would effect the destruction of the
Rakshasa through the medium of the king of Kamarupa, who was his
devoted worshipper. At this time the king was engaged in profound
meditation before a lingam, when one of the guards went and informed
the Rakshasa that the king was performing some improper ceremonies in
order to injure him. On hearing this, the Rakshasa, enraged, seized
his sword and hastened to the king, whom he thus addressed:—“Speak
the truth, and tell me who it is that thou worshippest, and I will not
slay thee, but otherwise I will instantly put thee to death.” The king
having considered, placed his firm reliance in the protection of
Shiva, and replied undauntedly,—“In truth, I worship Shankara: do
thou what thou pleasest.” The Rakshasa said,—“What can Shankara do to
me? for I know him well, and that he once was obliged to become the
servant of my uncle (Ravana); and thou, trusting in his power, did’st
endeavour to conquer me, but defeat was the consequence. Until,
however, thou showest me thy lord, and convincest me of his might, I
shall not believe in his divinity.” The king replied,—“Vile as I am,
what power have I over that god? but mighty as he is, I know that he
will never forsake me.” Then Rakshasa said,—“How can that delighter
in ganja (an intoxicating drug prepared from the hemp plant) and
inebriation, that wandering mendicant, protect his worshippers? let
but thy lord appear, and I will immediately engage in battle with
him!” Having thus spoken, he ordered the attendance of his army, and
then, revisiting the king, the mighty Rakshasa, while he smote the
lingam with his sword, thus, laughing, said,—“Now behold the power of
thy lord.” But scarce had the sword touched the lingam than Hara
instantly issued from it, exclaiming,—“Behold! I am Ishwara, who
appears for the protection of his worshipper, on whom he always
bestows safety and happiness; and now learn to dread my might.” On
hearing this spoken, Shiva engaged in combat with the Rakshasa, and
after fighting with him for some time, at length with the fire of his
third eye reduced him and all his army to ashes; and in commemoration
of this event was the spot where it occurred rendered sacred, and the
lingam, under the name of Bhimashankara, an object of pilgrimage and
worship until all succeeding ages. (_From the legend Jyolisha-linga

Colonel Kennedy says:—“On perusing this legend, it will immediately
occur that it is a mere imitation of the fourth avatar of Vishnu, the
concluding part of the account of which is thus given in the Padma
Puran:—‘Hiranyakashipu having ordered his son Pralhada to be put to
death on account of his devotion to Vishnu, and all means employed for
this purpose having proved ineffectual, the king of the Daityas was
astonished, and with gentleness addressed his son:—‘Where is that
Vishnu whose pre-eminence thou hast declared before me, and who, as
thou sayest, was called Vishnu because he pervades all things, and
consequently, being omnipresent, he must also be the Supreme Being?
Show to me a proof of the divine power and qualities which thou
ascribest to him, and I will acknowledge the divinity of Vishnu; or
let him conquer in battle me, who have obtained the boon of being
unslayable by any existing thing.’ Pralhada, astonished,
replied,—‘Narayana, the eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent, and Supreme
Spirit dwells in heaven, and man cannot obtain the view of his divine
form through anger and hatred, but, though unseen, he is present in
all things.’ Having heard these words, Hiranyakashipu was incensed
with anger, and, reviling his son, said,—‘Why dost thou thus with
endless boasts exalt the power of Vishnu?’ and then striking a pillar
of his royal hall, thus continued: ‘If Vishnu pervades all things let
him appear in this pillar, or I will this moment put thee to death.’
This said, he struck the pillar with his sword, and instantly from it
burst a loud and dreadful sound, while Vishnu issued forth under a
fearful form, half man and half lion.’

“But as the avatars of Vishnu are unquestionably an essential part of
the Hindu religion, since they are noticed in the Vedas, Upanishads,
and Purans, and as the miraculous appearances of Shiva, on which the
sanctity of various lingams is founded, are not generally acknowledged
by the Hindus, and are mentioned only in the Shanka and Shiva Purans,
it must necessarily follow that the fourth avatar of Vishnu is the
original from which the above legend of Bhima Shankara has been merely
copied. The introduction, however, of a new mode of worship, is
always, as experience has shewn, supported by miracles; and it may
therefore be concluded that the legends respecting the Jyolisha
lingams, at least, are as ancient as the first institution of the
worship of the lingam. In which case it will be evident that the
transferring by the Shaivas to Shiva of the peculiar attribute of
Vishnu, that of preservation, and their founding various miracles on
such transfer, are convincing proofs that Vishnuism must have existed
before the present form of Shivaism; and that, in inventing these
miracles, the Shaivas have wished to ascribe to the god of their
particular adoration similar manifestations of divine power to those
by which Vishnu was supposed to be peculiarly distinguished.”[7]

[7] Vaus Kennedy, Hindu Mythology.

       *       *       *       *       *

An account was published, about a hundred years ago, by Captain Colin
Mackenzie, of a visit he had lately paid to the Pagoda at Perwuttum,
the home of the Linga Mallikarjuna or Sri Saila. He said:—“Having
sent notice to the manager of the revenues, that I was desirous of
seeing the pagoda, provided there was no objection, I was informed at
noon, that I might go in. On entering the fourth gate, we descended by
steps, and through a small door, to the inner court, where the temples
are: in the centre was the pagoda of Mallecarjee, the principal deity
worshipped here. From hence I was conducted to the smaller and more
ancient temple of Mallecarjee, where he is adored, in the figure of a
rude stone, which I could just distinguish, through the dark vista of
the front building on pillars. Behind this building, an immense fig
tree covers with its shade the devotees and attendants, who repose on
seats, placed round its trunk, and carpeted. Among these, was one
Byraggy, who had devoted himself to a perpetual residence here; his
sole subsistence was the milk of a cow, which I saw him driving before
him: an orange coloured rag was tied round his loins, and his naked
body was besmeared with ashes.

“The weather being warm, I was desirous of getting over as much of
this bad road, as I could, before noon: my tents and baggage had been
sent off at four A.M., and I only remained near the pagoda with the
intention of making some remarks on the sculptures of its wall, as
soon as daylight appeared.

“But the Brahmins, with the Rajpoot amuldar (who had hitherto shewn a
shyness that I had not experienced in any other part of the journey),
came to request, that as I was the first European who had ever come so
far to visit Mallecarjee, and had been prevented from seeing the
object of their worship, by yesterday not being a lucky day, I would
remain with them that day, assuring me that the doors would be opened
at ten o’clock. I agreed to wait to that hour, being particularly
desirous of seeing by what means the light was reflected into the
temple, which the unskilfulness of my interpreter could not explain
intelligibly to my comprehension. Notice being at last given, at about
half-past eight, that the sun was high enough, the doors on the east
side, the gilt pagoda were thrown open, and a mirror or reflecting
speculum was brought from the Rajpoot amuldar’s house. It was round,
about two feet in diameter, and fixed to a brass handle, ornamented
with figures of cows; the polished side was convex, but so foul, that
it could not reflect the sunbeams; another was therefore brought,
rather smaller, and concave, surrounded by a narrow rim, and without a
handle. Directly opposite to the gate of the pagoda is a stone
building, raised on pillars, enclosing a well, and ending in a point;
and being at the distance of twelve or fourteen feet, darkens the
gateway by its shadow, until the sun rises above it: this no doubt has
been contrived on purpose to raise the expectation of the people, and
by rendering the sight of the idol more rare, to favour the imposition
of the Brahmins. The moment being come, I was permitted to stand on
the steps in front of the threshold without (having put off my shoes,
to please the directors of the ceremony, though it would not have been
insisted on), while a crowd surrounded me, impatient to obtain a
glimpse of the awful figure within. A boy being placed near the
doorway, waved and played the concave mirror in such a manner, as to
throw gleams of light into the pagoda, in the deepest recess whereof
was discovered by means of these coruscations, a small, oblong,
roundish white stone with dark rings, fixed in a silver case. I was
permitted to go no further, but my curiosity was now sufficiently
satisfied. It appears, that this god Mallecarjee, is no other than the
Lingam, to which such reverence is paid by certain castes of the
Gentoos; and the reason why he is here represented by stones
unwrought, may be understood from the Brahmin’s account of the origin
of this place of worship. My interpreter had been admitted the day
before into the sanctum sanctorum, and allowed to touch the stone,
which he says is smooth and shining, and that the dark rings or
streaks, are painted on it; probably it is an agate, or some other
stone of a similar kind, found near some parts of the Kistna, and of
an uncommon size.

“The Brahmins gave me the following account of the origin of the
pagoda. At Chundra-gumpty-patnum, twelve parvus down the river, on the
north side, formerly ruled a Raja, of great power; who being absent
several years from his house, in consequence of his important pursuits
abroad; on his return, fell in love with his own daughter, who had
grown up during his long absence. In vain the mother represented the
impiety of his passion; proceeding to force, his daughter fled to
these deserts of Perwuttum, first uttering curses and imprecations
against her father; in consequence of which, his power and wealth
declined, his city, now a deserted ruin, remains a monument of divine
wrath, and himself, struck by the vengeance of heaven, lies deep
beneath the waters of Puttela-gunga, which are tinged green by the
string of emeralds that adorned his neck.

“The princess was called Mallicadivi, and lived in this wilderness.
Among her cattle, was a remarkably fine black cow, which, she
complained to her herdsman, never gave her milk. He watched behind the
trees, and saw the cow daily milked by an unknown person; Mallicadivi
informed of this, placed herself in a convenient situation, and
beholding the same unknown person milking the cow, ran to strike him
with the iron rod, or mace, which she held in her hand; but, the
figure suddenly disappeared, and to her astonishment, nothing remained
but a rude shapeless stone. At night, the god appeared to her in a
dream, and informed her, he was the person that milked the cow; she
therefore, on this spot, built the first temple that was consecrated
to the worship of this deity, represented by a rude stone. This is the
second temple that was shewn yesterday, where he is exhibited in the
rude state of the first discovery, and is called Mudi-Nulla-carjee or
Mallacarjee; the other temples were afterwards built, in later times,
by Rajahs and other opulent persons. The Lingam shewn by reflected
light in the gilded temple, has also its history, and stories, still
more absurd and wonderful, attached to it. It was brought from the
city of Chundra-goompty-patnam. The princess, now worshipped as a
goddess, is also called Brama-Rumbo or Strichillumrumbo, from which
the pagoda is sometimes called Strichillum.””


    Representations of Siva—Siva’s quarrel with his
    father-in-law—Quarrel between Brahma and Vishnu—Misconduct
    of Siva—Bengal temples of Siva—Ancient linga idols—Siege of
    Somnath—Ferishtah’s history—The twelve great
    lingams—Account of the Viri-Saivas—The Jangamas—Legend of

Siva, has the second place among the Hindoo deities, though in
general, in allusion to their offices, the principal gods are classed
thus: Brahma, Vishnu, Siva. Siva, personifies destruction or
reproduction, for Hindu philosophy excludes, while time shall exist,
the idea of complete annihilation: to destroy is, therefore, but to
_change_, or _recreate_, or _reproduce_.

This god is represented in various ways. In the dhyanu he appears as a
white or silver coloured man with five faces; an additional eye (one
of his names is Trilochunu, the three eyed), and a half-moon on each
forehead; four arms; in the first a purushao; in the second a deer;
with the third giving a blessing, and with the fourth forbidding fear;
sitting on a water-lily, and wearing a tiger’s skin. He is worshipped
in the daily puja of the brahmins, who silently meditate upon him in
this form.

At other times Siva is represented with one head, three eyes, and two
arms, riding on a bull, covered with ashes, naked, his eyes inflamed
with intoxicating herbs, having in one hand a horn, and in the other a
musical instrument called a dumbooru.

Another of his images is the linga, a smooth black stone very much
like a sugar-loaf in shape, with a projection of a spoon shape.

There are three different stories respecting the origin of this image.
The Purana called Doorga-bhagavata gives the following account: King
Dukshu, having had a quarrel with Siva, refused to invite him to a
sacrifice which he was performing. Siva had married Sutee, the
daughter of Dukshu. She resolved, uninvited, to attend at this
sacrifice; but while there, she was so overcome by the abuse which
Dukshu poured upon her husband, that she died.

The ground of the quarrel between Siva and his father-in-law was this:
It was the custom for the junior branches of a family, as they arrived
at an assembly, to bow to their older relation. On a certain occasion
Siva neglected, or refused, to bow to his father-in-law, who began to
abuse him in such a manner that a dreadful enmity was raised which
ended in the destruction of Dukshu.

On hearing the news of the fate of his beloved wife, Siva, in
vexation, renounced a secular life, and assumed the profession of a
religious mendicant called a sunyasee. As a naked sunyasee he wandered
from forest to forest, in the bitterness of grief. At length he
arrived in a certain wilderness where many moonees were performing
religious austerities, by the side of the river at a distance from
their homes. The wives of these moonees, on beholding this naked,
dirty, and withered sunyasee, asked him who he was, and why he was
wandering up and down in this state? He related to them the cause of
his sorrow, viz., that he had been deprived of his wife, and was
overwhelmed with distress on her account. The women laughed at him,
and pretended to doubt his relation, declaring that his body was so
withered, that all desires must have been extinguished. In this manner
they provoked Siva, till at length he seized the wife of one of the
moonees and deflowered her. The moonee on hearing this relation,
pronounced a curse on Siva, and he became an hermaphrodite. As soon as
the curse had taken effect, the linga sunk into patalŭ, the world of
serpents, and ascended into the boundless space.

Before this period, a fierce quarrel had taken place betwixt Brahma
and Vishnu, as to which of them was the greatest, the former as the
creator, or the latter as the preserver or cherisher, of all. They
appealed to Siva, who left it to be determined by a trial of strength
at some future time, when he should have leisure.

Siva at length proposed to the two gods to settle their quarrel in
this way: one of them should ascend, and endeavour to ascertain the
height of the linga, and the other descend, and bring up word of its
depth. Brahma ascended, and Vishnu plunged into patalŭ. In this way
both the gods tried their utmost efforts, but could not find either
the height or the depth of the linga. As Brahma ascended, he met a
flower which had fallen from the top of the linga, and asked how far
it was to the top. The flower told him that it had been falling from
the head of the linga so many kŭlpŭs (one kŭlpŭ is four hundred and
thirty-two millions of years of mortals) and had not reached the earth
yet; what hope was there then of his reaching the top? Brahma related
the account of the difference betwixt him and Vishnu, and that upon
this trial of their powers the point of pre-eminence was to be
decided. The flower advised Brahma to tell the assembled gods, that he
had gone to the top, and if they doubted the fact, he might call him
to confirm it.

Brahma descended, and Vishnu came up disappointed in his attempt to
get to the bottom of the linga. When the two gods arrived in the
assembly, Brahma declared that he had been to the top, and brought the
flower to prove it. Vishnu confessed his disappointment, and charged
the flower with witnessing a falsehood. To this all the gods assented,
and Vishnu pronounced a curse upon the flower, that it should never be
received among the offerings presented to Siva.

After the matter was thus disposed of, the gods resolved that the
worship of the linga should have the precedency of every other
worship; that the benefits attending its worship should be boundless,
and that the heaviest curses should fall on those who neglected to
worship this image. So much for the account in the Doorga-bhagavata:
in the Kaduru-khundu the origin of the worship is thus mentioned:

When the gods resolved to churn the sea, in order to obtain the water
of life, become immortal, and overcome the usoorus, they were greatly
afraid lest the usoorus should seize the water of life, and become
immortal also. When the water of life came up, they contrived to send
the usoorus to bathe; but after bathing, they arrived before the gods
had drank the life-giving beverage. To draw off their attention,
Vishnu assumed the form of a most beautiful female. This contrivance
was successful.

The god Siva hearing that Vishnu had assumed this form, went to the
spot, and was so overcome by the charms of Mohinee, that he was about
to seize her by force: she fled, and Siva followed her; mad with lust,
he pursued her till she could run no longer, when she turned, and
pronouncing a curse upon him by which he became a hermaphrodite, she
immediately assumed her original form, viz., that of Vishnu. Siva was
so enraged, that all the gods, full of fear, arrived to soften him by
praise. He at length consented to dismiss his anger on condition that
the linga should become an object of universal worship.

Another account of the origin of this worship is contained in some of
the other puranas: At the time of a universal destruction of the world
all the gods are absorbed in what is called akashu; the linga alone
remains. The puranas, therefore, say that as all the gods except the
linga are absorbed in the akashu, he who worships the linga, obtains
the unbounded merit of embracing all the deities at once. From these
stories, temples innumerable have arisen in India, and a Siva linga
placed in each of them, and worshipped as a god.

The worship of Siva under the type of the Linga, is almost the only
form in which that deity is reverenced. Its prevalence throughout the
whole tract of the Ganges, as far as Benares, is sufficiently
conspicuous. In Bengal the temples are commonly erected in a range of
six, eight, or twelve, on each side of a Ghat, leading to the river.
At Kalna is a circular group of one hundred and eight temples, erected
by the Rajah of Bardwan. Each of the temples in Bengal consists of a
single chamber, of a square form, surmounted by a pyramidal centre;
the area of each is very small, the Linga, of black or white marble,
occupies the centre; the offerings are presented at the threshold.
Benares, however, is the peculiar seat of this form of worship: the
principal deity, Visweswara, is a Linga, and most of the chief objects
of the pilgrimage are similar blocks of stone. Particular divisions of
the pilgrimage direct visiting forty-seven Lingas, all of pre-eminent
sanctity; but there are hundreds of inferior note still worshipped,
and thousands whose fame and fashion have died away. If we may believe
Siva, indeed, he counted a hundred Pararrdhyas in the Kasi, of which,
at the time he is supposed to tell this to Devi, he adds sixty crore,
or six hundred millions were covered by the waters of the Ganges. A
Pararrdhya is said, by the commentator on the Kasi-Khanda, in which
this dialogue occurs, to contain as many years of mortals as are equal
to fifty of Brahma’s years.

This worship of Siva, under the type of the Linga, is also, perhaps,
the most ancient object of homage adopted in India, subsequently to
the ritual of the Vedas, which was chiefly, if not wholly, addressed
to the elements, and particularly to Fire. How far the worship of the
Linga is authorised by the Vedas, is doubtful, but it is the main
purport of several of the Puranas—such as the Skanda-Purana, the
Siva, Brahmanda, and Linga Puranas. There can be no doubt of its
universality at the period of the Mohammedan invasion of India. The
idol destroyed by Mahmud of Ghizni, was nothing more than a Linga,
being, according to Mirkhond, a block of stone of four or five cubits
long, and of proportionate thickness. The passage from the _Rozet as
Sefa_ (cited in the Asiatic Researches, vol. 17), runs thus:—“The
temple in which the idol of Somnath stood, was of considerable extent,
both in length and breath, and the roof was supported by fifty-six
pillars in rows. The idol was of polished stone, its height was about
five cubits, and its thickness in proportion: two cubits were below
ground. Mahmud having entered the temple, broke the stone Somnath with
a heavy mace; some of the fragments he ordered to be conveyed to
Ghizni, and they were placed at the threshold of the great Mosque.”

Another authority, the Tebkat Akbeeri, a history of Akber’s reign,
with a preliminary Sketch of Indian History, has the following: “In
the year 415 (Hijera) Mahmud determined to lead an army against
Somnath, a city of the seashore, with a temple appertaining to the
followers of Brahma; the temple contained many idols, the principal of
which was named Somnath. It is related in some histories that this
idol was carried from the Kaaba, upon the coming of the Prophet, and
transported to India. The Brahminical records, however, refer it to
the times of Krishna, or an antiquity of 4000 years. Krishna, himself,
is said to have disappeared at this place.

“When the Sultan arrived at Neherwaleh (the capital of Guzerat) he
found the city deserted, and carrying off such provisions as could be
procured, he advanced to Somnath: the inhabitants of this place shut
their gates against him, but it was soon carried by the irresistable
valour of his troops, and a terrible slaughter of its defenders
ensued. The temple was levelled with the ground: the idol Somnath,
which was of stone, was broken to pieces, and in commemoration of the
victory, a fragment was sent to Ghizni, where it was laid at the
threshold of the principal mosque, and was there many years.”

Ferishtah, the historian, supplies a much more graphic, if not
reliable account. He says: “When the garrison of Sumnat beheld their
defeat, they were struck with confusion and fear. They withdrew their
hands from the sight, and issuing out at a gate towards the sea, to
the number of four thousand embarked in boats, intending to proceed to
the island of Sirindiep. But they did not escape the eyes of the king.
He seized upon boats which were left in a neighbouring creek, and
manning them with rowers and some of his best troops, pursued the
enemy, taking and sinking some of their boats while others escaped.
Having then placed guards round the walls and at the gates, he entered
Sumnat, with his son and a few of his nobles and principal attendants.
When they advanced to the temple, they saw a great and antique
structure, built of stone, within a spacious court. They immediately
entered it, and discovered a great square hall, having its lofty roof
supported by fifty-six pillars, curiously turned and set with precious
stones. In the centre of the hall stood Sumnat, an idol of stone, five
yards in height, two of which were sunk in the ground.

“The king was enraged when he saw this idol, and raising his mace,
struck off the nose from the face. He then ordered that two pieces of
the image should be broken off, to be sent to Ghizni, there to be
thrown at the threshold of the public mosque, and in the court of his
palace. Two more fragments he reserved to be sent to Mecca and Medina.
When Mahmood was thus employed in breaking up Sumnat, a crowd of
Brahmins petitioned his attendants, and offered some crores (ten
millions) in gold, if the king should be pleased to proceed no
further. The Omrahs endeavoured to persuade Mahmood to accept the
money; for they said that breaking up the idol could not remove
idolatry from the walls of Sumnat, that therefore it would serve no
purpose to destroy the image, but that such a sum of money given in
charity, among believers, would be a very meritorious action. The king
acknowledged that what they said was, in some measure, true; but
should he consent to that bargain, he might justly be called a seller
of idols; and that he looked upon a breaker of them as a more
honourable title. He therefore ordered them to proceed. The next blow
having broken up the belly of Sumnat, which had been made hollow, they
discovered that it was full of diamonds, rubies, and pearls, of a much
greater value than the amount of what the Brahmins had offered, so
that a zeal for religion was not the sole cause of their application
to Mahmood.”

It is said, by some writers, that the name of this idol is a compound
word of Sum and Nat; Sum being the name of the prince who erected it,
and Nat the true name of the god; which in the language of the
Brahmins, signifies Creator. In the time of eclipses we are told that
there used to be forty or fifty thousand worshippers at this temple;
and that the different princes of Hindostan had bestowed, in all, two
thousand villages, with their territories, for the maintenance of its
priests; besides the innumerable presents received from all parts of
the empire. It was a custom among these idolaters, to wash Sumnat,
every morning and evening, with fresh water from the Ganges, though
that river is above one thousand miles distant.

Among the spoils of this temple was a chain of gold, weighing forty
maunds, which hung from the top of the building by a ring. It
supported a great bell, which warned the people to the worship of the
god. Besides two thousands Brahmins, who officiated as priests, there
belonged to the temple five hundred dancing-girls, three hundred
musicians, and three hundred barbers, to shave the devotees before
they were admitted to the presence of Sumnat. The dancing-girls were
either remarkable for their beauty or their quality, the Rajas
thinking it a honour to have their daughters admitted. The king of
Ghizni found in this temple, a greater quantity of jewels and gold,
than, it is thought, any royal treasury contained before. In the
history of Eben Assur, it is related that there was no light in the
temple, but one pendant lamp, which being reflected from the jewels,
spread a strong and refulgent light over the whole place. Besides the
great idol above mentioned, there were in the temple some thousands of
small images, in gold and silver, of various shapes and dimensions.

The idol destroyed by Mahmood was, in fact, one of the twelve great
Lingas, then set up in various parts of India, several of which
besides Somesware, or Somanath, which was the name of the Siva
demolished by Mahmood, were destroyed by the early Mahommedan

In the Kedara Kalpa, Siva says: “I am omnipresent, but I am especially
in twelve forms and places.

“(1) Somanatha, in Saurashtra. (2) Mallikarjuna, or Sri Saila. (3)
Mahakala, in Ougein. (4) Omkara, said to have been in Ujayin. (5)
Amareswara, also placed in Ujayin. (6) Vaidyanath, at Deogerh in
Bengal. (7) Ramesa, at Setubandha. (8) Bhimasankara, in Dakini. (The
9th is missing from the list enumerated by Mr. Wilson in the Asiatic
Researches, said to be unknown). (10) Tryambaka, on the banks of the
Gomati. (11) Gautamesa, site unknown. (12) Kedaresa, or Kedaranath, in
the Himalaya.”

One of the forms in which the Linga worship appears, is that of the
Lingayets, Lingawauts, or Jangamas. These are the anti-braminical
worshippers of Siva, who are distinguished by their wearing a small
idol, either hung on the breast, round the neck or arm, or placed in
the turban; the idol is of silver or copper. In common with the
Saivas, generally the Jangamas smear their foreheads with Vibhuti or
ashes, and wear necklaces and rosaries of the Rudraksha seed. The
priests stain their garments with red ochre. They have never been very
numerous in the north of India, being rarely met with except as
beggars, leading about a bull, the living type of Nandi, the bull of
Siva, decorated with housings of various colours and strings of Cowri
shells: the conductor carries a bell in his hand, and thus accompanied
goes about from place to place, subsisting upon alms. These are the
disciples of Basava, whom they regard as a form of the god Siva. They
are numerous in the South of India, among the Canarese, the Telugus,
and the Tamils, the officiating priests of the Saiva shrines are
generally of this sect, when they bear the designations of Aradyha,
and Pandaram. The sect is also known by the name of Vira Saiva.

Many years ago, Professor Wilson supplied certain information relative
to this sect in his paper in the 17th volume of the Asiatic
Researches. That information was sufficiently interesting to create a
desire for further particulars. Additional researches were accordingly
entered upon and we are now able to supply a much fuller account than
had hitherto been possible.

Among Brahmins the Smartas (followers of Sancar Achari) are generally
called saivites, but are in fact freethinkers, equally willing to
adore Siva and Vishnu. Their creed may be found in the Mahabharat, the
Bhagavat, and the Ramayan, all of which are entirely rejected by the
disciples of Basava. There are indeed some few Siva Brahmins who
officiate as priests in the Siva temples, and though but little is
known of their peculiarities they certainly are different from the
Smartas, who refuse to receive the holy water and rice.

The Vira-Saivas are divided into two sects: one is semi-braminical,
called Aradhyas; the other is anti-braminical, and is called Jangam.
The Aradhyas claim to be descendants of saivite brahmins, and between
them and the Smartas there is a certain degree of reluctant
intercourse: founded upon the rites of initiation which both parties
use. Their history, when divested of fabulous decoration seems to be
that, their creed was founded by Basava, whom they adore as their one
deity; looking upon him as an avatar or incarnation of Siva, the god
of this creed.

Basava was the son of a Saivite brahmin, named Madenga Madamantri, at
Hinguleswaram, a village near Bagwari in Belgaum, in the southern
Mahratta country. When he was a boy he refused (they allege) to wear
the braminical thread, because the rites that confer this mark of
initiation require the adoration of the sun in the manner prescribed
in the Vedas. Perhaps in truth he did assume it, but if so, he
subsequently renounced it. Shortly after this time he escaped from his
parents, and accompanied by his sister Acca Nagamma, he fled to
Calianum, the capital of the Carnataca country, where the reigning
prince was Bizzala or Vijala, a Jaina by religion, whose minister, a
brahmin, was Basava’s maternal uncle: he bestowed employment on
Basava, and ultimately gave him his daughter in marriage. (“This
proves,” says a writer in the Madras Journal, “in my opinion, though
opposed to that of his followers, that he did not lay aside the
braminical thread in childhood, for had he done so no brahmin could
have given him his daughter in marriage.”) At his death Basava
succeeded to his office, and gradually usurped great power.

It would seem that at this time he began to compare the opposed
statements of Jainas and Brahmins, and perceived that both creeds were
idolatrous. In the end he determined on getting rid of the braminical
priestcraft, and accordingly refused to worship any deity but Siva,
whose image, the lingam, is the most ancient idol known among the

A writer on the subject says:—“This symbol is as separate from
indecency in the Hindu mind as circumcision is to the Mahomedan mind.
The Brahmins with their usual love of filth have connected a variety
of obscenities with the linga worship, but these are wholly unknown to
the Jangams, who look upon this idol just as the catholics do upon a
reliquary, with deep veneration

  ‘Hanging a golden stamp about their necks
  Put on with holy prayers.’

“The image erected in the Saiva temples being denominated Sthavara
Linga, or the stable image, he denominated this reliquary the Jangama
Lingam or Locomotive image: a phrase borrowed from the Vedas, where it
is used for living being. Hence he and his followers are denominated
Jangams, or living images of the deity.”

Basava’s determined opposition to the Saivite Brahmins and to the
Jainas raised him many enemies; while his bounty to the poor gained
him friends equally numerous. At last the prince’s jealousy was
roused, and a civil war ensued, wherein Bizzala was slain, and this
event was soon succeeded by the death of Basava, who, according to his
followers was “absorbed into the image,” or vanished; while the Jaina
account declares that he fled to Capila Sangam, where the Malparba and
Krishna rivers meet, about one hundred and four miles west of Bellary.

The name Basava is a very common one among Hindus: the Jangams have
taken occasion from their teacher having borne it to feign that he was
an incarnation of Nandi or Bassava (the Apis or bull appertaining to
Siva or Osiris), and this has been the source of numerous idle legends
in the subject.

The Basava Purana after recording the events just alluded to,
enumerates various marvellous actions, performed by Basava and several
of his disciples, such as converting grains of corn to pearls,
discovering hidden treasures, feeding multitudes, healing the sick,
and restoring the dead to life, and then gives various anecdotes from
which we make a selection.

Basava having made himself remarkable for the profuse bounties he
bestowed upon the Jangamas, helping himself from the royal treasury
for that purpose, the other ministers reported his conduct to Bijala,
who called upon him to account for the money in his charge. Basava
smiled, and giving the keys of the treasury to the king, requested him
to examine it, which being done, the amount was found wholly
undiminished. Bijala thereupon caused it to be proclaimed, that
whoever calumniated Basava, should have his tongue cut out.

A Jangama, who cohabited with a dancing-girl, sent a slave for his
allowance of rice to the house of Basava, where the messenger saw the
wife of the latter, and on his return reported to the dancing-girl the
magnificence of her attire. The mistress of the Jangama was filled
with a longing for a similar dress, and the Jangama having no other
means of gratifying her, repaired to Basava, to beg of him his wife’s
garment. Basava immediately stripped Gangamba, his wife, and other
dresses springing from her body, he gave them all to the Jangama.

A person of the name of Kanapa, who regularly worshipped the image of
Ckamreswara, imagining the eyes of the deity were affected, plucked
out his own, and placed them in the sockets of the figure. Siva,
pleased with his devotion, restored his worshipper his eyes.

A devout Saiva named Mahadevala Machaya, who engaged to wash for all
the Jangamas, having killed a child, the Raja ordered Basava to have
him secured and punished; but Basava declined undertaking the duty, as
it would be unavailing to offer any harm to the worshippers of Siva.
Bijala persisting, sent his servants to seize and tie him to the legs
of an elephant, but Machaya caught the elephant by the trunk, and
dashed him and his attendant to pieces. He then proceeded to attack
the Raja, who being alarmed, applied to Basava, and by his advice,
humbled himself before the offended Jangama. Basava also deprecated
his wrath, and Machaya being appeased, forgave the king, and restored
the elephant and the guards to life.

A poor Jangam having solicited alms of Kinnaraya, one of Basava’s
chief disciples, the latter touched the stones about them with his
staff, and converting them into gold, told the Jangam to help himself.

The work is also in many places addressed to the Jainas, in the shape
of a dialogue between some of the Jangama saints and the members of
that faith, in which the former narrate to the latter instances of the
superiority of the Saiva religion, and the falsehood of the Jain
faith, which appears to have been that of Bijala Raza, and the great
part of the population of Kalyana. In order to convert them Ckanta
Ramaya, one of Basava’s disciples, cut off his head in their presence,
and then marched five days in solemn procession through and round the
city, and on the fifth day replaced his head upon his shoulders. The
Jain Pagodas were thereupon, it is said, destroyed by the Jangamas. It
does not appear, however, that the king was made a convert, or that he
approved of the principles and conduct of his minister. He seems, on
the contrary, to have incurred his death by attempting to repress the
extension of the Vira Saiva belief. Different authorities, although
they disagree as to the manner in which Bijala was destroyed, concur
in stating the fact.

In the city of Kalyana were two devout worshippers of Siva, named
Allaya and Madhuvaya. They fixed their faith firmly on the divinity
they adored, and assiduously reverenced their spiritual preceptor,
attending upon Basava whithersoever he went. The king, Bijala, well
knew their merits, but closed his eyes to their superiority, and
listening to the calumnious accusations of their enemies, commanded
the eyes of Allaya and Madhuvaya to be plucked out. The disciples of
Basava, as well as himself, were highly indignant at the cruel
treatment of these holy men, and leaving to Jagaddeva, the task of
putting Bijala to death, and denouncing imprecations upon the city,
they departed from Kalyana—Basava fixed his residence at

Machaya, Bommidevaya, Kinnara, Kannatha, Kakaya, Masayana, Kolakila,
Bommadeva, Kesirajaya, Mathirajaya, and others, announced to the
people, that the fortunes of Bijala had passed away, as indicated by
portentous signs; and accordingly the crows crowed in the night,
jackals howled by day; the sun was eclipsed, storms of wind and rain
came on, the earth shook, and darkness overspread the heavens. The
inhabitants of Kalyana were filled with terror.

When Jagaddeva repaired home, his mother met him, and told him when
any injury had been done to a disciple of the Saiva faith, his fellow
should avenge him or die. When Daksha treated Siva with contumely,
Parvati threw herself into the flames, and so, under the wrong offered
to the saints, he should not sit down contented: thus saying, she gave
him food at the door of his mansion. Thither also came Mallaya and
Bommaya, two others of the saints, and they partook of Jagaddeva’s
meal. Then smearing their bodies with holy ashes, they took up the
spear, and sword, and shield, and marched together against Bijala. On
their way a bull appeared, whom they knew to be a form of Basava come
to their aid, and the bull went first, even to the court of the king,
goring any one that came in their way, and opening a clear path for
them. Thus they reached the court, and put Bijala to death in the
midst of all his courtiers, and then they danced, and proclaimed the
cause why they had put the king to death. Jugaddeva on his way back
recalling the words of his mother, stabbed himself. Then arose
dissension in the city, and the people fought amongst themselves, and
horses with horses, and elephants with elephants, until, agreeably to
the curse denounced upon it by Basava and his disciples, Kalyana was
utterly destroyed.

Basava continued to reside at Sangameswara, conversing with his
disciples, and communing with the divine Essence, and he expostulated
with Siva, saying, ‘By thy command have I, and thy attendant train,
come upon earth, and thou hast promised to recall us to thy presence
when our task was accomplished.’ Then Siva and Parvati came forth from
the Sangameswara Lingam, and were visible to Basava, who fell on the
ground before them. They raised him, and led him to the sanctuary, and
all three disappeared in the presence of the disciples, and they
praised their master, and flowers fell from the sky, and then the
disciples spread themselves abroad, and made known the absorption of
Basava into the emblem of Siva.[8]

        [8] See the Mackenzie Collection, vol. 2, Halakanara MSS.

A writer in the Madras Literary Journal, upwards of fifty years ago,
said that by perusing the books and observing the customs of the
Jangams, we might plainly see the grounds of that hatred in which
Brahmins held the Jangams. Their leader was the resolute opponent of
every braminical principle. The Brahmins inculcated the adoration of
many gods. He declared that there was only one sole deity. They
venerated goddesses and subordinate beings; they reverenced cows,
hawks, monkeys, rats and snakes; they used fasts and feasts, penance
and pilgrimage, rosaries and holy water. All these he renounced; he
set aside the Vedas which they venerated. They declared Brahmins to be
literally gods upon earth, women to be vastly inferior to men in all
things, and parias to be utterly abominable. Basava abolished these
distinctions. He taught that all men are holy in proportion as they
are temples of the great spirit; that by birth all are equal; and
amongst those whom the Jangam books describe as saints, we find not a
single Brahmin, but many parias and many women. In the braminical
writings, women are usually treated in a manner abhorrent to European
feelings, but in the Jangama books we find a very different temper.

The three words Guru, Linga, Jangam, are said to comprise the creed of
the sect, and were evidently intended to disavow every part of the
braminical priestly tyranny. This mystic phrase is thus expounded. The
image (lingam) is the deity: the Jangam is the wearer or fellow
worshipper: and he who breathes the sacred spell in the ear is the
Guru. Thus he supplies the link between the god and the worshipper,
and ever after is looked upon with affection as the true parent: even
more respected than the father according to the flesh. For, says the
Jangam, I am one with the deity, and he alone is my father who
conferred this unity on me.

“Brahmins frequently allege that the Jangams are a depraved sect, who
are guided by the Tantras or heretical books,” says Mr. Brown, “but we
should not incautiously believe this. The Jangams are in all respects
opposed to licentiousness, which is the main-spring of the Tantras.
The Jangams came from the west, the Tantricas from the north. The
Jangams adore the Linga, and abhor Maia the goddess of delusion (Venus
or Cali, as Devi), who is expressly the goddess (Yoni, or Bhaga
Malini) of the Tantricas. The Tantricas take no notice of the Lingam;
they adore Betala (the devil), and other malevolent powers. The
Jangams honour Siva as Daxina Murti, or the beneficent and loving
deity. The Tantricas say they aim at a perfect release from fleshly
lusts. The Jangams do the same. But the former being hypocrites
pretend to yield to their passions as the path to freedom. Whereas the
Vira Saivas call on their votaries to deny themselves in all respects.
They attend especially to the rules concerning funerals, marriage; and
placing infants in the creed. On all these points the Tantras are
silent. The Tantras inculcate the use of flesh, wine, magic and
debauchery, the Jangam creed abhors these. The Jangams are an avowed
sect; the Tantricas assume the guise of Smartas. The Jangams train up
their children in their creed; the Tantricas merely admit proselytes.
The Jangams are sober, devout and humble; the Tantricas are debauched,
atheistical and proud. The Jangams are rigid puritans: the Tantricas
are licentious atheists. Herein their depravity resembles that of the
worshippers of Isis in Rome, the St. Simonians in France, the
Illuminati, and other philosophers of Germany, the followers of
Cagliostro in Italy, and the Nessereahs at Kerrund in Persia.”

With a few touches of his felicitous pencil, Shakespeare has given a
view of their system, or _philosophy_ which is the Sacti Puja or
Worship of Power.

	“Thus everything includes itself in Power:
	_Power_ into will: will into Appetite:
	And Appetite, an universal wolf,
	So doubly seconded with Will and Power
	Must make perforce an universal prey,
	And, last, eat up himself.”

                                        TROILUS I.


	“Let witchcraft join with beauty, lust with both:
	Tie up the libertine in a field of sweets
	Keep his brain fuming,” &c.

Indeed, the sottish aspirations of Gonzalo (Tempest, Act II, Scene 1),
give a summary of the bacchanalian rites taught in the Tantras. And if
the reader has any curiosity regarding their system of magic, he will
find it in Dr. Herklot’s English translation of the Canom-e-Islam, or
customs of the Moosulmans of India.

Knowing the deserved odium that attaches to the Tantras, Brahmins
assert that these constitute the Jangam system. But were this the case
how does it happen that the Tantra volumes are found only in the
possession of Brahmins? The fact is that both parties read the Tantras
from motives of curiosity, just as a Protestant might read the Koran
without in any point adopting the Mahommedan faith. The Jangams
honestly avow, and vindicate all they do, they have no motive for
concealment. The Brahmin acts on an opposite principle and assures us
that the Jangams are a depraved and senseless set of heretics, who
obey the levelling principles of the Tantras, and pay honour to the
vilest castes.

It is to be observed that no instance is known of a Vira Saiva acting
on the principles laid down in the Tantras. To excuse their aptness to
read these abominations they allege that the Tantras belong to their
creed because they describe Siva as the great deity, and countenance,
as Basava does, the abolition of caste. These are but slender
apologies, for such an imitation of the evil example set them by the

The Minda Jangamas or Bachelors are spoken of in various passages of
the Lingadhari poems. They are confessed to be libertines, but are
devout. They have interviews with (Vesias) courtezans who are likewise

The following is the received opinion. The Jangams are entirely
forbidden to have intercourse with prostitutes: but among the earliest
proselytes were some unmarried men, who were permitted by Basava to
have intercourse with courtezans who belonged to the sect. These men
were called Minda Jangams or libertines, and in the present age there
are none; for all are bound either to marriage or to virtuous

In the western districts there are prostitutes who are called
Basvinis, and are said to be thus devoted by their parents, on their
lives being in danger through illness in infancy. Some of these are
daughters of Jangams: but all are not so, being children of Hindus of
other castes. I have heard of some Jangams in similar cases attempting
to remove a child’s illness by giving it a braminical name, with a
view to appease some god or goddess, whose displeasure is imagined to
have caused disease. These statements certainly shew the purity of the
creed not to be so complete as its devotees assert.

The Vira Saivas illustrate their creed by a comparison quite in the
Hindu style. They say, the guru is the cow: whose mouth is the Jangam
or brother in the faith; and the lingam or image is the udder. The cow
benefits its owner by means of the udder: but what fills the udder?
the mouth. And what connects the mouth and the udder? the body.
Accordingly if a Vira Saiva wishes the image to benefit him (that is,
if he desires to obtain the favour of the deity), he must feed the
mouth—that is sustain and comfort his brethren. And then the blessing
will be conveyed to him by means of the teacher. Accordingly the
Jangams blame the Aradhyas for neglecting this command, and ask how
they can expect the image to nourish them if they neglect to sustain
brethren and fellows in the faith, for the Aradhya refuses to look
upon any but Aradhyas as brethren.

The strangest part of their legends regarding Siva is that wherein he
is represented in the most contemptible light as completely the
servant of various worthies or saints. Such stories abound in the
Basava Puran but are excluded from the Lila. In these, some personages
are represented under most degraded circumstances, as obeying or
waiting upon the saint whom the legend extols. Thus in the fourth book
of the Basava Puran is a story of a certain “worthy” named Nambi, who
by force of faith got Siva so completely into his hands that he
employed the god as a mere slave. In another story one of the
“worthies” scolded Siva, who was so much alarmed that he slunk round
the other side of the image, and ran away into the jungle. Other
stories represent this paltry demi-god acting either as a thief or as
a receiver of stolen goods, to protect his adorers; and they
frequently represent him as acting the part of a pander, at the
bidding of one of the worthies.

In apology for these stories Jangams allege that they all establish
the necessity of faith as the great means of attaining happiness and
miraculous power. “As the Brahmins,” say they, “call themselves gods
upon earth, we will shew that our worthies are quite a match for
them.” Accordingly there are many legends to prove that food or the
leavings of food blessed by a worthy, can perform all sorts of
miracles. For instance, a Brahmin, who, by a curse, had become a
swine, ate what a Jangam had spit out and hereby resumed the human
form. Elsewhere a Jangam’s shoe works miracles.

       *       *       *       *       *

Ravŭnŭ was once carrying an ŭnadee-lingu from Himalŭyŭ to Lŭnka, in
order that he might accomplish all his ambitious schemes against the
gods, for it was the property of this stone, also called Kamŭ-lingŭ,
to grant the worshipper all his desires, whatever they might be.
Shinŭ, however, in permitting him to remove this, his image to Lŭnka,
made Ravŭnŭ promise that wherever he let it touch the ground, there it
should be set up.

When the gods saw that Ravŭnŭ was carrying this stone to Lŭnka, all
their heavens were in an uproar, for they knew that if Ravŭnŭ could do
what he pleased, neither Indrŭ nor any other god would be able to sit
on his throne. Council after council was held, and appeals to this and
to that god made, in vain. At last it was resolved that Vŭrvonŭ should
be sent, to cause the sea to enter the belly of Ravŭnŭ, who would
thereby be compelled to set the stone down while he discharged his
water. (Ravŭnŭ could not continue to hold the lingŭ while in this act,
as a person becomes unclean at this time until he has bathed). Vŭrvonŭ
accordingly set off, and entered the belly of Ravŭnŭ, as he was
carrying the lingŭ on his head, and the latter soon began to feel the
effect of his visit. His belly swelled prodigiously, but he went on
till he could hold his water no longer. At this moment Indrŭ, in the
form of an old Bramhŭn, met him. Ravŭnŭ asked him who he was, and
where he was going? The latter told him he was an old Bramhŭn going
home. Ravŭnŭ entreated him to take hold of the lingŭ for a short time,
and he would bestow upon him the greatest favours. At length the
Bramhŭn consented, and Ravŭnŭ, setting the lingŭ on his head, squat on
his hams to ease himself. The Bramhŭn agreed to hold the stone an hour
but no longer. Ravŭnŭ told him he should not keep him half that time.
After Ravŭnŭ had thus sat for four hours, the Bramhŭn complained he
could hold the stone no longer, and he threw it down,—when the bottom
part sunk into patŭlŭ, and the top part remains to this day in a place
in the zillah of Beerbhoom, called Voidyŭnathu, which is also the name
of this lingŭ, and the river at that place called Khŭrsoo is said to
have arisen from the water of Ravŭnŭ. Ravŭnŭ when he arose, seeing
what had taken place, full of rage and disappointment, went home: some
accounts say, having discovered that the gods had played him this
trick, he went and fought with them in the most furious manner.


    Lingam worship in the Sheeve Pouran.

In the Sheeve Pouran are the following references to lingam-worship.
Chapter 38—Particularisation of the Lings of Seda Sheev; and first of
the twelve Jyotee Lings, with the history of the first, called
Somentathe. Chapter 40—Of sundry Lings; and of Atree, the Reshee, and
his wife Anesoomya, procuring the access of the Ganges in a most
extraordinary drought. Chapter 41—Sheev’s appearance in Mertye Lok to
the Reeshees’ wives, with a Ling in his hand, while the husbands were
absent. Their curses on returning, in consequence of which Sheev’s
Ling fell off; and moving along on the ground, burnt wherever it
touched. The Deivetas, in despair, applied to Brahma, who advised them
to sacrifice to Parvetee, and importune her to assume the
correspondent form. She did so, and the two Lings becoming united,
have ever since been worshipped under that shape by Brahma, Vishnu,
etc. Chapter 67—Krishna worships a Ling for seven months, covering it
every day with leaves and flowers, all of which were afterwards thrown
into a heap: at the end of that time Sheev appears in the midst of a
heap, and his august name was Beleishwer. Chapter 72—More particular
account of the Mahatmye of the Sheeve Ratree. The history of a hunter
who was converted to religion by the accidental falling of the leaves
of a tree, where he had placed himself to shoot deer on a Ling, which
had been turned up by the deer’s foot: the deer and his whole family
had engaged themselves by strong oaths to return and offer themselves
as food for the hunter’s children, and all kept their promise.

Another.—The attendants of Sheev and Dherma Raj dispute about the
property in the soul of a thief, who was slain in stealing the
victuals belonging to a sacrifice; but having lighted a lamp on the
Vrete Sheeve Ratree, for the mere purpose of distinguishing his prey,
the holy act of lighting the lamp was held sufficient to secure his

Fourth Adhyaye.

Brehma is ordered to create the World.

On the Smerene of these five Mentres which were taught to Vishnu, Shree
Meha Deiv, who is the compilation of all perfections, came himself and
taught Vishnu other Mentres, and Vishnu taught those Mentres, and the
mode of Gyan for them, to Brehma. Brehma, with deep foresight and
capacious understanding, having practised the Smerene of all these
Mentres in purity of heart, thus addressed his prayers to the majesty of
Shree Meha Deiv.

A distich.

‘O thou who knowest both what is present and what is concealed, O thou,
who art the understanding of the sinner and the saint, O teach thy
devotees the several works which it will please thee to perform, and by
what means we may imprint on our obsequious hearts the reflection of thy
majestic essence.’ Shree Bhegewan, out of the loving-kindness which he
exerts towards his devotees, turning himself that way, said,
‘Attentively listen: having imprinted the Dhyan of this Ling firmly in
your heart, be diligent in the Pooja thereof. From piety and devotion to
this Ling shall innumerable benefits redound upon you.’ Then addressing
himself to Vishnu, he proceeded: ‘Perform worship to me with perfect
fidelity.’ Vishnu, submissively signifying assent with his eyes, and
performing Nemeskar, returned for answer:—

‘Thou art our Lord and we thy slaves, we live one by one in thy power.’

After this, Shree Meha Deiv said: ‘Having thoroughly impressed your
minds with the image of my form, compose all your doubts and
perplexities; and since your origin is from Prekreetee, ye are strong
and mighty: and I have divided my person into three parts: I have fixed
Brehma on my right hand, Vishnu on my left, and myself in the place of
the breast. And, whereas your faithful attachment is beyond all bounds;
whatever desire ye shall have in your minds, it shall be
fulfilled.’—‘After that,’ said Brehma, ‘I and Vishnu, performing
Nemeskar, humbly observed, that, having bound ourselves with complete
attachment to his munificent service, we were hopeful that we should,
under no circumstance or place, ever let slip from our hearts the
recollection of his Majesty.’


In terms of gracious import he answered: ‘Since your creation is for the
purpose of producing the world, your request hath obtained its
accomplishment; and your Bekt, _i.e._, adoration, shall ever be firm and
orthodox towards me. You must make a Preteema, _i.e._, my image, of
clay, and perform Pooja to it: in which ye shall both consult your own
advantage and my contentment. Moreover, another figure in this same form
of mine, shall appear from a wrinkle of Bremha’s forehead, and be named
Roodre, and shall apply to compose the perplexities of the creatures;
and he shall possess power not inferior to my own. Between him and me
there is no distinction. Thou, too, and Bremha, and Roodre, we are in
fact all one form, and in no manner whatsoever is there any difference
between us four to be be admitted: except only that there is this one
distinction between us, that your origin is from Prekreete and mine is
not. Wherefore, keeping this in your minds, be diligent in Dyan to me.
The four castes also, which are the Brehmen, the Khshtree, the Vishye,
and the Soodre; and the four Ashreme, _i.e._, the Brehmecharee, the
Grehest, trye, the Waneprest, and the Sanyassee; together with all other
creatures, shall thou introduce into the field of existence, that they
may become capable of Gyan and Aghyan.’ And to Vishnu he said: ‘Be thou
the granter and bestower of Mooktee in this world, and that, which in my
sight is good, shall appear the same in thine; and whosoever shall admit
any doubts herein is no Gyanee (_i.e._, learned in the truths of
divinity). And, of the Lings which have been already mentioned, having
made one of pearl, another of the dung of a milch cow, a third of gold,
and a fourth of clay, and joined them together, be diligent in
worshipping them.’ After giving these orders he vanished; and the Ling
of the Pooja of Shree Meha Deiv made its appearance from that same day.
He, who in presence of Ling shall open his mouth in praise of Shree Meha
Deiv, is for six months in the form of Shree Meha Deiv. There is no
doubt of it.

Fifth Adhyaye.

The Reeshes again mentioned to Soote that, by the particulars of the
production of the Ling, their greatest crimes were entirely done away,
and they became liberated and redeemed. But the Mahatemye, _i.e._, the
mightiness of Sheev and the production of all creatures, was what they
wished more expressly to hear specified. Soot Pouraneeke said: ‘A mercy
on your understanding, for ye have well demanded. The Ling of Seda
Sheev, which is Anente and Neergoone, announced to Vishnu, ‘All
creatures shall employ themselves in worshipping thee, and whosoever
shall be in straights and difficulties shall obtain release thence by
thy favour. Thou must therefore assume a variety of appearances in the
world, and obtain fame and glory by the Avetars, and conduct the
inhabitants of the world to the degree of liberation. I, also, becoming
Roodre, in this very form of mine, will closely attend to the different
necessities of those who shall be created and sooth their griefs and
calamities. As there is no difference between thee and me, and Dhyan,
_i.e._, thought of me, dwells constantly in thy heart, I, too, will
never be forgetful of thy Dhyan: and, whosoever shall be a faithful
devotee of mine, and hath at the same time evil thoughts towards thee, I
will set aside, all his merits and deserts towards me, and precipitate
him to the lowest abyss!’ Vishnu also answered,’O! Meha Raja, whosoever
shall be devoted to my Bhekt, and who, shall in the least instance be
deficient of respect to thee, I will hold him guilty of the blackest
offence, and dispatch him to hell, nor will release him thence until the
universal dissolution of all things.’ After that, Vishnu said to Brehma,
‘Whenever any difficulty shall shew itself to me, be thou my protector;
and since thou art the most exalted and chief of all the Deivetas, pay
attention to all matters both in gross and detail. He who shall
acknowledge thee, acknowledgeth me also; and he, who between us two
shall start the least distinction, takes the securest method to fix
himself in hell. For the space of one hundred grand years, no obscurity,
nor diminuition shall be obtruded on the light of thy being; and one of
thy days, which is composed of four thousand Yoogs, and is called
Kelpe;—for that time, be thou rigorous and absolute.’

Thirty-eighth Adhyaye.

Of the particular Lings of Seda Sheev.

The Reesheeshwers demanded of Soote an account of the Lings of Seda
Sheev, that are known upon this part of the earth, and are worthy to be
worshipped, and where they are stationed.

Soote answered: The Lings of Seda Sheev are innumerable. The whole earth
is replete with them; and whatsoever is visible is a form or species of
Ling. Besides which, no place whatsoever is void of them; both Paradise
and Patal are stocked with them; and all the Deivetas and Reeshes are
occupied in their worship. And those who with complete devotion and
entire faith have worshipped them, Bhegewan, for the gratification of
such devotees, hath appeared and established himself there, at the
desire of his votaries, with a Ling for each particular case of demand.

The Lings which are thus extant over the land, are not to be counted:
but of such as are now more especially in repute I shall immediately
state to you the twelve Jyotee Lings.

  Chapter 44.  1.—On the confines of the country of Soorashtree, on the
                   south side is Somenathe,—a Ling of Seda Sheev.
  Chap. 37,44. 2.—On the mountain Shree-Shile—Mellekarjoone.
  Chapter 45.  3.—And in the city of Oojeyeenee—two; the first Mahakate.
               4.—And the second Omkaree.
  Chapter 46.  5.—On the back of the mountain Heemachel is Keidarenathe.
  Chapter 47.  6.—And in the Dakshenee is Bheeme Shenker.
  Chapter 48.  7.—In Benares is Veesheishmer.
  Chapter 52.  8.—And on the bank of the river Gotemee, Treembeke.
  Chapter 53.  9.—In Jete Bhoom, Veidenathe.
  Chapter 54. 10.—And in the desert belonging to Dareka, Nageishwer.
  Chapter 55. 11.—In Leitoo Cendhe, Rameishwer.
  Chapter 56. 12.—And on the confines of the Dekshen, adjoining the
                   mountain Geere Deive, Doohshemeishe.

He, who rising early in the morning shall repeat the names of these
twelve Jyotee Lings, will be freed from all his crimes, and shall
obtain his desires: and whoever, on any particular account, addresses
a particular Ling, he will succeed accordingly, and such person is not
freed from the crimes by the Dershene, or view of the twelve Jyotee
Lings. It is enjoined all the four casts to perform Pooja to those;
and, after Pooja, if they eat the sacrificial morsels they are
purified from their crimes on the spot. And if they worship any one of
these twelve Jyotee Lings for six months, Mooktee becomes their
destiny, and they are no more subject to birth: and, if ever a Meicke,
or Chandale, or deceiver, obtains Deersheene of the Jyotee, in another
generation he is born in the house of a Veidread Brahmin, and becomes


    The four kinds of Stone lingas—Siva under a form called
    Muhakalu—Temporary images of Siva—Siva’s wives—Siva’s and
    Parvati’s quarrels—Siva and Doorga—Siva’s names—The heaven
    of Siva—Latsami—-Power of the priests—Tamil
    poetry—Indecent worship—Dancing girls at religious
    ceremonies—Christian and Pagan idolatry—Religious
    prostitution—Worship of the female—Development of indecent

Mr. Ward informs us that besides the clay images of the linga, there
are four kinds of stone lingas which are set up in the Hindu temples.
“The first,” he says, “is called swuyumbhoo, that is, the
self-existent linga. The second is named unadee, or that which has no
beginning. (At the time of a great drought, the Hindoos, after
performing its worship, throw very large quantities of water upon this
unadee-linga, in order to induce Siva to give them rain). The third
they call vanu-linga, because a king named Vanu first instituted this
worship. The fourth is the common, or factitious linga. These images
are all of stone, brought from the neighbourhood of the river
Gundhukee, which falls into the Ganges near Patna.”

The Hindoos of every caste and of both sexes, make images of the linga
with the clay of the river Ganges, every morning, after bathing, and
worship it, making bows, presenting offerings, and repeating
incantations before it. This is most frequently done by the side of
the river.

Besides the linga, there is another form in which Siva is worshipped,
called Muhakalu. This is the image of a smoke-coloured boy, with three
eyes, his hair standing erect, clothed in red garments, his teeth very
large; he wears a necklace of human skulls, and a large juta; in one
hand he has a stick, and in another the foot of a bedstead; a half
moon appears on his forehead; he has a large belly; and presents a
very terrific appearance. Siva is called Muhakalu, because he destroys
all, or all is absorbed in him at the time of a kalpu, and afterwards

Images of this form of Siva were not made in Bengal, but a pan of
water, or an unadee-linga, was substituted, before which bloody
sacrifices were offered, and other ceremonies performed, in the month
Kartiku, at the new moon.

In the month Phalgoonu, every year, the Hindoos made the image of
Siva, and worshipped him for one day, throwing the image the next day
into the water. This worship was performed in the night, and was
accompanied with singing, dancing, music, feasting, &c. The image
worshipped was either that of Siva with five faces or that with one

In the month Maghu a festival in honour of Siva is held for one day,
when the image of this god, sitting on a bull, with Parvutee his bride
on his knee, is worshipped in the principal towns in Bengal.

Siva had two wives, Sutee and Parvutee. Sutee was the daughter of king
Dukshu, and Parvutee the daughter of the mountain Himaluyu.

The fourth chapter of the Shreebhaguvutu, contains the history of
Dukshu, the son of Brahma; of his daughter Sutee, who was married to
the god Siva; of the abuse of Siva by Dukshu; of Siva’s cursing
Dukshu; of the grand sacrifice of Dukshu; the gods all arrive at this
sacrifice; the daughters of Dukshu are also present; Sutee wishes to
go, but is forbidden of Siva her husband; Siva, however, at last
consents to her going; she goes, and while her father is abusing her
husband, she dies of grief; Siva on hearing of the death of his wife,
was transported with rage, and taking his juta from his head, threw it
on the ground with great force, and up sprang a monster, in the form
of a sunyasee, covered with ashes, having three flaming eyes, with a
trishoolu in his hand, wearing a tiger’s skin, and a necklace of human
bones; and having a round red mark like a ball betwixt his eyebrows;
this monster asked Siva why he created him; Siva ordered him to go and
destroy Dukshu; this monster then took along with him armies of
pratus, bhootus, yukshus, pishacus, etc. (wandering spirits), and
destroyed Dukshu’s sacrifice; Siva’s great sorrow at the loss of
Sutee; the gods come to comfort him; Sutee is again born; her father’s
name Heemaluyu, her mother’s Manuku; Dukshu, after repairing the
injuries which Siva’s juta-formed monster had made, completes his
sacrifice, etc.

A number of stories are contained in some of the Hindoo books
respecting the quarrels of Siva and Parvutu, some of them arising out
of the revels of the former, and the jealousy of the latter. These
quarrels resemble those of Jupiter and Juno. The chief fault of Juno
is said to have been jealousy. When Siva and Parvatu quarrelled, she
frequently upbraided him with his filthy condition as a yogee. When
they were about to be married, the mother of the girl, and the
neighbours poured the utmost abuse on Siva: the neighbours cried out,
“Ah! ah! ah! this image of gold, this most beautiful damsel, like whom
there is hardly such a beauty in the three worlds, to be given in
marriage to such a fellow—an old fellow with three eyes; without
teeth; clothed in a tiger’s skin; covered with ashes; encircled with
snakes; with a necklace of human bones; with a human skull in his
hand; with a filthy juta, viz., a bunch of hair like a turban, twisted
round his head; who chews intoxicating drugs; has inflamed eyes; rides
naked on a bull, and wanders about like a madman. Ah! they have thrown
this beautiful daughter into the river!” In this manner the neighbours
exclaimed against the marriage, till at last, Narudu, who had excited
this hubbub, settled the matter, and the wedding was consummated.

       *       *       *       *       *

On a certain occasion Siva ordered his servants Nundee and Bhringee to
prepare his bull that he might go a-begging; he himself bound the rag
round his loins, twisted snakes as ornaments round his wrists, made a
poita of three other snakes; put a tiger’s skin on his back, a drum
and a trident in his right hand, and in his left a horn; his body was
covered with ashes. Thus arrayed he mounted his bull, Nundee going
before and Bhringee behind, and went into different places begging
from door to door. Where-ever he went, he saw the people happy and
contented, enjoying all the pleasures of life. At the sight of all
this happiness, Siva was full of grief, and said in his mind, “All
these people are surrounded with their friends and children, and are
happy; but after marrying, I have obtained nothing. I beg for my daily
bread.” Having collected a little rice, etc., Siva returned home, full
of vexation. Doorga, his wife, gave him water to wash his feet, and
Siva ordered her to prepare an intoxicating beverage called siddhee,
and asked her whether she had prepared his food? She told him that she
had not yet kindled the fire. “What!” said Siva, “it is now two
o’clock in the afternoon, and you have not begun to prepare the
dinner?” Filled with anger, he began to use the most violent language:
“How is this? I have married a wife destitute of fortunate signs, and
I spend my life in misery. I see other families have bathed and sit
down to dinner by noon. I beg three times a day, and yet I cannot
obtain sufficient to support nature. It has always been said in the
three worlds, that he who obtains a lucky wife, will through her
become rich; through a lucky husband, sons are born. See now
(addressing himself to those present), I have two sons; but where are
the riches which a fortunate wife procures? I suppose that in marrying
the wife of Himaluyu (a mountain) every one is become hard as the rock
towards me. In constantly begging I have obtained the name of
Shunkuru, the beggar. A person marrying a lucky wife sits at his ease
in his house, and eats excellent food, and I go a-begging, and yet
starve. Narudu has given me such an unlucky wife, what shall I say to
him, a fellow without ancestry? He is not content unless he insult the
dead. I can no longer support my family by begging. I can support
myself, but how can I provide for so many?”

Doorga, hearing all this, was full of sorrow, and began to utter her
grief to her two maids Juya and Vijuya: “Hear! without thought, why
does he abuse me in this manner? If he call me an unlucky wife, why
did he marry me? When a person’s fate is bad, they say his forehead is
on fire. Why does he call me unlucky? Is not his own forehead on fire,
and are we not suffering through his bad fate? True, I have neither a
beautiful form, nor excellent qualities, nor conduct, nor honour, nor
wisdom, nor learning, nor property, nor race, nor brother, nor friend,
nor father, nor mother, nor relations, nor ornaments; but, look at his
form; he covers himself with the ashes of the dead; at his qualities;
he is known as the smoker of intoxicating herbs (the drunkard); at his
conduct; he resides in cemeteries, and dwells with the bhootus;—at
his wisdom: amidst the assembled guests at his wedding he sat naked;
rides on a bull, and is hooted at by the children in the streets as a
fool;—at his learning; he does not know the names of his father and
mother; at his property, he owns a bull, a drum, and a tiger’s
skin;—at his ornaments: he is covered with snakes;—at his honour: at
the time of marriage he was not able to obtain anything richer than a
tiger’s skin for a garment, though he begged for something better. It
is true he has had two sons born, and on this account, I suppose, he
is filled with pride. But such sons, in the three worlds, were never
born before, and I hope will never be born again. Behold his eldest
son Kartiku, he drinks intoxicating beverage like his father; he is
full of rage if his food be delayed but a moment; what his father
begs, he, with his six mouths, devours; the peacock that carries him
devours the snakes with which his father clothes himself; his other
son Gunashu has four arms, an elephant’s head, and eats like an
elephant; he is carried by a rat, which steals and eats the unshelled
rice brought by Siva. Thus the children and the father are equally
forsaken of fortune. The companions of Siva are either ghosts or

As soon as Siva had mounted his bull to go a-begging, Doorga said to
Juya and Vijuya, “I will stay no longer here. He tells me to keep my
hair clothed with dirt, and to cover my body with ashes. I will go to
my father’s house, come along.” The maids endeavoured to pacify her,
and to shew her the danger of leaving her husband. After a number of
expostulations, she was persuaded to assume the form of Unnu-poorna,
by which means the wealth of the whole world flowed into her lap. She
gave a splendid entertainment on mount Koilasu to all the gods, at the
close of which Siva arrived from a begging journey. Struck with
astonishment at what he saw, he was wonderfully pleased, and ate for
once till he was nearly surfeited. When he and Doorga were sitting
together on the evening of this feast, he apologised to his wife for
the unkind language he had used towards her, to prevent which in
future, he proposed that they should be united in one body. Doorga at
first strongly objected, but was at length persuaded to consent, and
Siva and Doorga became one, the right side (white) being Siva, and the
left side (yellow) Doorga. In this form an image is annually
worshipped in Bengal.

Other stories are told of Siva’s descending to earth in the form of a
sunyasee, for the preservation of some one in distress, or to perform
religious austerities.

Amongst the fanciful names (a thousand in number) belonging to this god,
are the following:—Siva, the benefactor—Muhashwuru, the great
god—Ceshwuru, the glorious god—Chundrushakuru, he on whose forehead
is seen a half-moon—-Bhootashu, he who is lord of the bhootus—Miriru,
he who purifies—Mirityoonjuyu, he who conquers death—Krittivasa, he
who wears a skin—Oogru, the furious—Shree-kuntu, he whose throat is
beautiful—Kupalubhrit, he whose alms dish is a skull—Smuruhuru, the
destroyer of Kama-davu, the god of love—Tripoorantuku, he who
destroyed an usooru named Tripooru—Gungadhuru, he who caught the
goddess Gunga in his bunch of hair—Vrishudhwujn, or he who rides on a
bull—Shoolee, he who wields the Trident—St’hanoo, the everlasting—Survu,
he who is everything—Gireeshu, lord of the hills—Undhuku-ripoo, he
who destroyed an usooru named Undhuku—Sunkurshunu, he who destroys
the world—Trilochunu, the three-eyed—Ruktupu, the drinker of
blood—Siddhusavitu, the drinker of an intoxicating beverage called

The work called Krityu-tuttwu describes the heaven of this god as
situated on the mountain Koilasu, and called Shivu-pooru. It is said
to be ornamented with many kinds of gems and precious things, as
pearls, coral, gold, silver. On the mountain reside gods, the heavenly
choristers, dancers and courtezans, gods who act as servants to the
other gods, sacred sages, divine sages, great sages, and a number of
moonees. These persons constantly perform the worship of Siva and
Doorga, and the upsurus are continually employed in singing, dancing,
etc. The flowers of every season are always in bloom here, the winds
shvityu, sangundu, and mandyu—gentle winds accompanied with coolness
and sweetness—always blow on these flowers, and diffuse their
fragrance all over the mountain wherein many birds are constantly
singing and repeating the names of Doorga and Siva, where the waters
of the heavenly Ganges pass along in purling streams, where the six
seasons—the spring, the summer, the rainy, the sultry, the dewy, the
cold—at once exist, and where on a golden throne, adorned with
jewels, sit Siva and Doorga, holding conversation, in which Doorga
asks questions of her husband.

When the mountain Mervuva was whirled about in the sea, the motion
produced a foam which was like the cradle of a beautiful woman named
Latsami. This second Venus was bestowed on Vishnvu, preferably to the
Devetas, who were all in love with her. The Seivias, who assert that
Eswara is the sovereign God, say also, that he has a wife called
Parvati. They tell us that she had a double birth; first she was
daughter to Datsja, son of Brahma, and of Sarasvati his wife. Her
father gave her in marriage to Eswara, and some time after intended to
perform a Jagam or sacrifice, to which he invited the Devetas, such as
Deuendre, the Sun, the Moon, and the rest, but neglected Eswara, his
son-in-law. Parvati told him he should also have invited him, but he,
instead of agreeing with her, made her the following injurious
answer:—Eswara, says Datsja, is not worthy of that honour, he is a
fellow that subsists only on alms, and has no clothes to put on. We
are to suppose that Eswara was at that time _incog._, and veiled under
such a shape as made him unknown to all. Parvati inflamed with rage,
cried out to her father, I myself am therefore not worthy to assist at
it; and saying these words, she leaped into the fire that was prepared
for this solemnity. Eswara, exasperated in the highest degree at this
unhappy accident, was all over in a sweat, and one of the drops of it
happening to fall on the earth, Virrepadra sprung from it, who
immediately asked his father what commands he had for him. Eswara bid
him go and destroy the Jagam of Datsja, and was obeyed; for he killed
some of the guests, drove away others, cut off Datsja’s head, kicked
the sun, and broke all his teeth, so that he had not one left, and
drubbed the moon so heartily, that her face was covered all over with
the marks of the blows he gave her, which continue to this day. The
Devetas implored Eswara’s mercy, and obtained it; he was softened by
their entreaties, and restored Datsja to life, on whose body he fixed
the head of a he-goat instead of his own. Parvati being consumed in
the fire into which she had thrown herself, was indulged a new birth,
and was daughter of the mountain Chimawontam, who married her to
Eswara. Her husband was so passionately in love with her, that he gave
her half his body, so that she became half man and half woman; for
which reason the Brahmins call her Andhanari-Eswara, a name implying
such an union.

These people are of opinion, that both Vishnu and Eswara can procreate
children without the commerce of the other sex, since they ascribe to
them a power of getting them by the bare act of the will, so that they
suppose they only have them for dalliance sake. Eswara is represented
in the temples under a very immodest shape, expressing by an action,
the union of both sexes. This is grounded on a tradition which the
Brahmins themselves are partly ashamed of, and is as follows: It fell
out one day that a Moniswara came to visit Eswara in a place where the
latter used to caress Parvati. The Moniswara came at a very
unseasonable hour; in vain the porter shut the gate upon him, and even
told him the reason why he could not be admitted; for the Moniswara
was so enraged to find he must be forced to stay till Eswara should
please to shew himself, that he broke out into an imprecation, which
he immediately repented of. Eswara had overheard him, but pardoned him
when he found he was sorry for it. The Moniswara, not satisfied with
being pardoned for his offence, requested that all who should worship
the image of Lingam—the figure representing the union of the sexes in
the manner above mentioned, should reap greater advantages from it
than if they were to worship Eswara when represented with his whole
body. He obtained his desire, and it is to this circumstance that
those scandalous images under which Eswara is worshipped in the
Pagods, owe their original.[9]

        [9] Picard, Ceremonies et Coutumes Religieuses.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mahadeu signifies the sovereign God. He is represented under the shape
of a pillar which diminishes insensibly from its base to its extremity
at top. It is evident that this figure is the same as the Priapus of
other nations; and that the modern Indians, as well as those of
antiquity, have equally considered it as the God of Nature. Pictures
which have reached us from India exhibiting the interiors of the
Pagods of Mahadeu reveal beyond all doubt the nature of this pillar;
it cannot be mistaken for any else than what we have just suggested,
viz., the male organ of generation. It is of gigantic size, rising
many feet from the floor, and the most profound veneration is rendered
to it by the worshippers who completely uncover their feet before
passing the threshold.

Ixora (Mahadeu) bears also the name of Lingam. The Jogins wear the
Lingam about their necks; but it would be impossible for fancy, says
Picard, to invent anything more obscene, than the posture in which
they represent this double figure, to whom they assiduously offer the
first fruits of their meals. We ascribe to the notion the Indians
entertain that everything is formed by generation, the blind devotion
they pay to this Lingam, in which they confound the agent with the
means he employs. It will be impossible to justify them in any manner
on this head, but by considering it as a type or symbol, which still
cannot but be shocking to decency and good manners; some, however,
cannot help thinking that those who first invented these figures, were
naturally inclined to satiate by lust, what they exhibited for the
emblem of a Deity.

“It cannot be denied, but that the worship which is paid to nature,
may have migrated from the east into the west, together with the
symbolical figures under which they represented it; we are therefore
not to wonder, that the same idea should have discovered itself under
different names, to people who live at a great distance one from the
other; since, as they both received the object of their worship from
the same source, they were under a necessity of receiving the same
images with the same ceremonies. To do these people justice, nothing
can better express the fruitfulness of nature than the union of both
sexes, and the vigour of Priapus, whose name is very expressive;
however, it is surprising that men, who, if we except some of the most
brutal savages, have always paid some regard to decency, should be so
lost to all sense of it, as to carry in procession with great pomp and
solemnity, those parts of the body, which ought never to be revealed
but in cases of the highest necessity; and expose them publicly in the
roads, in houses and temples, as is the custom in India.”[10]

        [10] Picard, Ceremonies et Coutumes Religieuses.

Pietro Dello Valle, observes, that the gods of the Indians are always
represented naked, and that several figures in very indecent postures
are seen in the pagods; undoubtedly he saw the Lingam above-mentioned
there. The other figures might possibly represent the vows or homages
of the devout Indians, among whom the women do not scruple to
prostitute themselves in honour of the gods. Husbands behold with the
most profound humility these meritorious prostitutions, which so often
revive what we in Europe look upon as the greatest injury and affront;
so true it is, that false principles in religion easily destroy those
of common decency, and even frequently change the very ideas which
nature has implanted in us. As a husband is fully persuaded he has
been cuckolded by a god, he is therefore very well satisfied. The
Jognis is the idol’s curate, and performs the ceremony in quality of
his proxy, while the devoutly patient husband, in the meantime, washes
the saint’s feet, and pays him the utmost veneration. The people of
the house withdraw, and leave the lady to the saint’s embraces. When
this institution was made, the crafty Indians undoubtedly insinuated
some hopes of future felicity at the same time. When we have once
found out the secret of gaining an ascendant over people’s minds, can
it be a difficult matter to assure the female devotees, that,

	_Si quelque chose les empêche
	D’aller tout droit en paradis,
	C’est d’epargner pour leurs maris,
	Un bien dont ils n’ont plus que faire,
	Quand ils ont pris leur necessaire._

                         La Fontaine dans ses Contes.

The sense of which is,

    _If anything prevents their being immediately wafted to
    Paradise, ’tis to reserve for their husbands a pleasure which
    they have no farther occasion for, when they have had their
    quantum of it._

We mention an instance which manifestly shews, that the Indians look
upon the obscene devotions just alluded to, as highly meritorious.
Over the gate of one of the cities of the little kingdom of
Sirinpatau, says Dellon in the preface to his Voyages, printed in
1709, stands a stone statue representing Sita, wife to Ram, one of
their gods, about as big as the life. On each side of her are three
famous Faquirs, or Penitents, naked, on their knees, their eyes lifted
up towards her, and holding with both hands what decency will not
permit me to mention. They pretend by this posture, to pay such an
homage, at they judge to be most grateful to this pretended

        [11] Picard, Ceremonies et Contumes Religieuses.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. R. C. Caldwell, writing in Johnson’s Universal Cyclopædia,
says:—“Of old, pious Hindus who spiritualised their religion, even
the grossest forms of it, linga-worship included, were not, lacking.
For instance, the great Tamilian poet, Sivavakkiar, writes as follows
(see the Indian Antiquary, Bombay, Apr., 1872, first paper on Tamil
Popular Poetry):

	“My thoughts are flowers and ashes,
	  In my breast’s fane enshrined,
	My breath, too, is therein it,
	  A linga unconfined:
	My senses, too, like incense
	  Rise, and like bright lamps shine,
	There, too, my soul leaps ever
	  A dancing god divine.”

This, is my opinion, is one of the finest stanzas penned by
Sivavakkiar. The drift of it is this:—You popular Hindus, you have
your temples,—you have your flowers, and sacred ashes,—you have your
phallus, or emblem of divine creative power,—you have also your
incense and lamps, and you have your divine dancer, Siva. I, too, have
my flowers and ashes, but they are of the mind! I, too, have my linga,
but it is my breath or spirit. I, too, have my incense and lamps, but
they are my five senses. And I, too, have my deity leaping in divine
sport within me, but that is my soul. In a word, mine is the true
spiritual worship.

“Here the sage speaks of his body as a metaphorical temple (using
language similar to that employed in the New Testament, ‘Ye are the
temples of the Holy Ghost’); then he likens his thoughts to flowers
and ashes, which are used in the services of temples; lastly, he
declares that his breath or spirit—which as a part of universal life
has no bound or limit—is the true _linga_, creative, and a part of
the creation, of his own being.”

       *       *       *       *       *

The serious consequences of adopting erroneous principles, even such
as are commonly called metaphysical ones, seemingly the most remote
from practice, is perhaps in nothing more apparent than with respect
to the ideas which were in early ages entertained concerning _nature_,
when its attributes came to be objects of worship. As there must be a
concurrence of male and female powers for the production of all living
creatures, it was supposed that, in the great productive powers of
nature, there must be both male and female qualities. The Egyptians
had this idea, and accordingly several of their principal deities were
said to be both male and female. Having little idea of delicacy, they
represented those powers by the figures of the parts of generation.
The constant exhibition of these figures in their religious worship
could not but lead to much lewdness, first as an act of religion,
acceptable to their gods, and then in common life; though this might
be far from the intention of those who formed the plan of the popular

Hence, however, it is that, in the ancient heathen religions, we find
rites of the most opposite nature, the extreme of severity and cruelty
in some, and the extreme of indecency and sensual indulgence in
others. This is well known to have been the case in Egypt, the mother
of religion and of science, to a great part of the Western world. We
cannot without the utmost disgust and horror think of what, according
to the testimony of Herodotus, whose authority in this case cannot be
questioned, women did before the bull Apis, and especially with the
goat that was worshipped at Mendes, to say nothing of the peculiarly
indecent manner in which he says that in their religious processions,
they carried the phalli, and of their behaviour; when, in some of
their festivals, they went in boats along the Nile, and exhibited
themselves to the inhabitants of the villages on its borders. The Nile
itself, according to the testimony of Christian writers, was
worshipped with the most obscene and execrable rites, even Sodomitical

The idea that Plutarch gives us of the Egyptian rites is sufficiently
disgusting. “Many of their religious ceremonies,” he says, “were of a
mournful cast, and celebrated with much austerity. Some of their
festivals and direful sacrifices were considered as unfortunate and
mournful days, and were celebrated by eating raw flesh, torn with
men’s nails. On other days they fast, and smite their breasts, and in
several places filthy and indecent words are used during the
sacrifices. In their festivals and processions, the greater part act
ludicrous things both, speaking and thinking words of the most wicked
and lewd meaning, and that even of the gods themselves. But when they
consult their oracles they are advised to have pious thoughts in their
hearts, and words of good sound in their mouths.”

No revels of the most irreligious persons could be more extravagant
and indecent than the festivals of Bacchus; and the same people who
sacrificed men, and even their own children, had places appropriated
to prostitution, even of both sexes, adjoining to their temples, the
profits arising from which were a part of their revenues.

The Hindoo religion has much in it in this respect, that is similar to
that of the ancient Egyptian. “Nothing,” says De la Crose, “is more
revered by the Hindoos than the lingam. Their most solemn worship is
presented to their gods in this form. Lighted lamps are continually
burning before it, in the inmost recesses of their temples, surrounded
by other lamps with seven branches, like that of the Hebrews. Besides
those in the temples, they have small ones of stone or crystal, which
they hang to their necks, and fasten upon their heads. To these they
address almost all their prayers, and frequently have them buried with

Captain Campbell, after describing the lascivious dancing of Hindoo
girls, who get their living by it, says, “that such enticements to
vice should make a part of the system of any society is to be
lamented: yet in all ceremonies and great occasions, whether religious
worship or domestic enjoyment, they make a part of the entertainment;
and the altars of their gods, and the purity of the magic rites, are
alike polluted by the introduction of the dancing girls. The impurity
of this custom, however, vanishes, when compared with the hideous
practice of introducing dancing boys.”

With respect to the pagoda of Jaggernat, which he calls a curious and
grotesque monument of superstitious folly, he says, “it is an immense
barbarous structure of a kind of pyramidal form, embellished with
devices cut in stone work, not more singular than disgusting.”

Christian idolaters, in forming types and figures of divine things,
always endeavour to represent them with personal beauty, as
proportionate to their divine nature as human skill can make it. Those
Pagans, on the contrary, in forming their idols, cast out every
vestige of beauty—everything that, by the consent of mankind, is
supposed to convey pleasing sensations; and, in their place,
substitute the most extravagant, unnatural deformity, the most
loathsome nastiness, the most disgusting obscenity. It is not in
language to convey an adequate idea of their temples and idols; and if
it was, no purpose could be answered by it, only the excitement of
painful and abominable sensations. To keep pace with the figures of
their idols, a chief Brahmin, by some accursed artificial means (by
herbs, I believe), has brought to a most unnatural form, and enormous
dimensions, that which decency forbids me to mention; and the pure and
spotless women who from infancy have been shut up from the sight of
men, even of their own brothers, are brought to kiss this disgusting
and misshapen monster, under the preposterous belief that it promotes

Tavernier mentions the same abominable custom, as also does Alexander
Hamilton, in his account of the East Indies.

In this pagoda, Capt. Campbell says, stands the figure of Jaggernat,
but it is nothing more than a black stone of an irregular pyramidal
form, having two rich diamonds in the top by way of eyes, and a nose
and mouth painted red. For this god, he says, five hundred priests are
employed in spoiling food.

Every pagoda, says La Crose, has a certain number of prostitutes
annexed to it, dedicated to its use by pompous and solemn ceremonies.
They choose the handsomest, and educate them in such a manner, that
when they come to a proper age they may bring the greatest gain to the
temple by the price of their prostitution. They can never marry, or
leave the idol; and their children, if they have any, are also
dedicated to it.

Some, says Mr. William Chambers, devote their own children to this
profession. This is customary in the Decan, but not with the Hindoos
of Bengal or Hindoostan proper. He says this custom was probably
derived from the religion of Buddha. But almost all the ancient
heathen religions had the same custom. It is described at large by
Herodotus, as it was practised at Babylon in his time; and it is
frequently alluded to in the Old Testament. Lucian in his Treatise on
the Syrian goddess, says that those women who refuse to cut off their
hair on her festival, must prostitute themselves during one day; and
that what they receive on that account is given to the goddess for a
sacrifice. In Malabar it is reckoned meritorious to bring up girls,
who are commonly bastards, for the service of the temples, and they
are taught music and dancing. When they are of a proper age, they go
through the ceremony of a marriage to the god.

The Shastrus declare that the daughters of Brahmins, till they are
eight years old, are objects of worship as forms of the goddess
Bhagavatee. Many persons performed the worship of these girls daily.
They took the daughter of some neighbouring brahmin, and placing her
on a seat, with flowers, paint, water, garlands, etc., performed her
worship, and then presented to her, if they were rich, offerings of
cloth, ornaments, etc. At the close, the worshipper offered incense,
and prostrated himself before this girl. At the worship of some of the
female deities also, the daughters of Brahmins have divine honours
paid to them. Many of the Tantra Shastrus, and particularly the
Roodru’yamulu, the Yoni-tantra, and the Neelu-tantra, contain
directions for a most extraordinary and disgusting puja, which is
understood in a private manner amongst the Hindoos by the name of

These Shastrus direct that the person or persons who wish to perform
this puja must first, in the night, take a woman as the object of
worship. If the person who performs this worship be a dukshinacharu,
he must take his own wife, and if a vamacharu, he must take the
daughter of a dancer, a kupalee, a washerman, a barber, a chundalu, or
of a mussulman, or a prostitute, and place her on a seat or mat; and
then bring boiled fish, flesh, fried peas, rice, spirituous liquors,
sweetmeats, flowers, and all the other offerings and things necessary
for the puja. These offerings, as well as the female, must next be
purified by the repeating of incantations. To this, succeeds the
worship of the person’s guardian deity; and after this the worship of
the female, with all the ceremonies included in the term puja. The
female must be naked during the worship…. Here indecencies not fit
to be recorded in the present age and country, are contained in the
directions of the shastru for this worship, relating to every part of
the body in turn. Ward said that the learned Brahmin who opened to him
these abominations, made several efforts—paused and began again, and
then paused again, before he could pronounce the shocking indecencies
prescribed by his own shastrus.

As the object of the worship was a living person, at the close of the
puja she partook of the offerings in the presence of the worshipper or
worshippers. Hence she drank of the spirituous liquors, ate of the
flesh, though it was that of the cow, and also of the other offerings.
The orts were to be eaten by the person or persons present, while
sitting together, however different their castes may be, nor might any
one despise any of the offerings, or refuse to eat of them; the
spirituous liquors were to be drunk by measure. The company while
eating had to put food also in each other’s mouths.

Ward wrote:—“The person who performs the ceremonies, in the presence
of all, behaves towards this female in a manner which decency forbids
to be mentioned. The persons present must then perform puja in a
manner unutterably abominable, and here this most diabolical business
closes. At present persons performing these abominations are becoming
more and more numerous. They are called vamacharees. In proportion as
these things are becoming common, so much the more are the ways of
performing them more and more beastly. They are done in secret: but
that these practices are becoming very frequent among the Brahmins and
others is a fact known to all. The persons who perform these actions
agreeably to the rules of the Shastrus are very few. The generality do
those parts that belong to gluttony, drunkenness and whoredom only,
without being acquainted with all the minute rules and incantations of
the shastrus.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Pratapuchandra Ghosha, in reading a paper before the Asiatic Society
of Bengal, in September, 1870, said:—“In the earliest portraits of
the Aryan race, as delineated in the Vedas, we find their ideas and
their thoughts centred in their homes, their cattle, their fields, and
in the discomfiture of their enemies. Their wants were few, and their
prayers, therefore, were less varied; and their ceremonies were,
probably, equally simple. But this simplicity wore within itself the
seed of a very complex system of thought. Everything that was useful
in some way or other, everything that was beautiful or awful in
nature, or that excited unusual feelings, or suggested new ideas, was
estranged from the ordinary and associated with the supernatural. A
new current of thought soon after set in. In the freshness of
imagination during the primitive state of society, comparisons,
metaphors, and allegories, were soon changed into real entities, and
mythology rapidly gained ground in men’s minds. Thus, the Puranas, by
a natural poetical idea, made the sun and the moon, which witness all
that is done on the earth, the spies of the divine ruler—a myth
describing the all-pervading nature of their rays. In the Vedas, they
are regarded as the universal witnesses of all ceremonies. The Ráhu,
the ascending node, is derived from the verb literally meaning to
abandon, void, hence also black, darkness, shadow, etc., and is
represented in mythology as having no body, the _umbra_ of the
astronomers. The _umbra_ may be said to devour as it were the
luminaries. Later mythology makes Ráhu a trunkless head, an ingenious
mythological adaptation of the umbra which devours, but inasmuch as it
has no body, the moon comes out from the throat. Again, poetic
imagination or extreme fear, personifies qualities, and that to such
an extraordinary extent, that while describing the bloodthirsty
vengeance of Sakti, she is said to have, in the _Chhinnamasta_
incarnation, cut off her own head from the trunk, and with the gaping
trunkless skull gluttonously drank her own blood which springs with
the warmth of life. However hideous the conception is, it is the
result of the license allowed to poets to use partial similitudes. To
such flights of unshackled imagination, the variously formed sphinxes
of the Chaldeans are but mere flutters of the wings. As allegories
illustrative of the concentration of force to overcome difficulties,
and the adaptation of means to a purpose, the achievements of Durga
offer many interesting instances. On the occasion of vanquishing the
mighty _Asuras_, Sumbha and Nisumbha, and their general, named
Mahishásura (the buffaloe-demon), the several gods are made to direct
their energy to their weapons for the purpose. The goddess Durga,
representative of this union, sprung forth with ten arms, fit to crush
several _Asuras_ at one fell swoop. Káli, another incarnation of
Sakti, in the war with Raktavija, a demon multiplying his race, as his
name implies, from the drops of blood flowing from his body, and
touching the earth, is represented as having licked up the blood as it
streamed forth from his person with a view to arrest that dreadful

“Many of these myths, again, may be traced partly to oriental
hyperbole, and partly to the many-sided meanings of the words used in
describing them: figurative expressions were seized and new myths were
invented in illustration of them. Others again are illustrative of
national customs; thus the protruded tongue of Káli has been the theme
of several fanciful tales. With some, in the heat of the battle, Káli
was so maddened, that the gods despaired of the world, and sent Siva,
her husband to appease her. Siva crept among the dead soldiers lying
in the field, and contrived to pass under the feet of Káli, who no
sooner perceived her husband trampled under her feet, than she became
abashed, and in the fashion of the women of the country, bit her
tongue as expressive of her regret and indelicacy.

“It is amusing to follow the line of argument put forth in the Puranas
in support of these myths. In some instances, they approach so near
the ludicrous, that were it not for their thorough adaptability to the
state of native society of the time, their fallacies would have been
long ago exposed, and the whole Puranic system spurned and despised.

“Sakti is Force. Originally a sect of Hindoos worshipped force and
matter as eternal. The word being in the feminine gender, its
personification is a female divinity of supernatural powers, and every
occupation which called for great exercise of energy and power at once
selected her as tutelary goddess, and she is now the most popular of
all the three and thirty millions of the Hindu pantheon. _Saktaism_
has since imbibed so many brutal practices of cannibalism, human
sacrifices, and bacchanalian rites, that the very name of a Sakta,
inspires horror and disgust, nevertheless the unholy Tantras, which
propound and explain the principles of this doctrine, and give rules
for worshipping the different forms of Sakti, are increasing in number
and popularity. They were, until lately, comparatively unknown beyond
the frontier of Bengal, but copies of MSS. are now demanded from every
quarter of Hindustan. The Tantric system is of Bengali origin, and its
rites and customs are ultimately interwoven with those of the hill
tribes, especially those of Nepal and Assam. Demonology is a principal
feature in the Sakta faith, and the various nocturnal ceremonies are
fixed which were much in vogue in Bengal, even as late as about fifty
years ago.”

       *       *       *       *       *

The great feature of the religion taught by the Tantras is the worship
of Sakti—Divine power personified as a female, and individualised,
not only in the goddesses of mythology, but in every woman: to whom,
therefore, in her own person religious worship may be and is
occasionally addressed. The chief objects of adoration, however, are
the manifold forms of the bride of Siva; Parvati, Uma, Durga, Kali,
Syama, Vindhya-vasini, Jaganmata, and others. Besides the usual
practices of offerings, oblations, hymns, invocations, the ritual
comprises many mystical ceremonies and accompaniments, gesticulations
and diagrams, and the use in the commencement and close of the prayers
of various monosyllabic ejaculations of imagined mysterious import.
Even in its last exceptionable division it comprehends the performance
of magical ceremonies and rites, intended to obtain super-human
powers, and a command over the spirits of heaven, earth, and hell. The
popular division is, however, called by the Hindus themselves, the
_left-hand_ Sakta faith. It is to this that the bloody sacrifices
offered to Kali must be imputed; and all the barbarities and
indecencies perpetrated at the Durga Puja, the annual worship of
Durga, and the Churuk Puja, the swinging festival, are to be ascribed.
There are other atrocities which do not meet the public eye. This is
not a random foundationless charge, we have the books describing the
rites and ceremonies, some of them are in print, veiled necessarily in
the obscurity of the original language, but incontrovertible witnesses
of the veracity of the charge. Of course no respectable Hindu will
admit that he is a Vamachari, a follower of the left-hand ritual, or
that he is a member of a society in which meat is eaten, wine is
drunk, and abominations not to be named are practised. The imputation
will be indignantly denied, although, if the Tantras be believed,
“many a man who calls himself a Saiva, or a Vaishnava, is secretly a
Sakta, and a brother of the left-hand fraternity.”[12]

        [12] Wilson’s Lectures.

The worshippers of Sakti have always been divided into two classes, a
right and a left-hand order, and three sub-divisions of the latter
were enumerated, who until lately were still well known—the
Purnabhishiktas, Akritarthas, Kritakrityasamas.

Time, and the presence of foreign rulers, it is evident to all
observers, have very much modified the character of much of the Hindu
worship; if the licentious practices of the Saktas are still as
prevalent as ever, which may well be questioned, they are, at least,
carefully concealed from observation, and if they are not exploded,
there are other observances of a more ferocious description, which
seem to have disappeared. The worship of Bhairava, still prevails
amongst the Saktas and the Jogis; but in upper India, at least, the
naked mendicant, smeared with funeral ashes, armed with a trident or a
sword, carrying a hollow skull in his hand, and half intoxicated with
the spirits which he has quaffed from that disgusting wine-cup,
prepared, in short, to perpetrate any act of violence and crime, the
Kapalika of former days, is now rarely, if ever, encountered.

A hundred years ago, the worshippers of the Sakti were exceedingly
numerous amongst all classes of Hindus, it was computed that of those
of Bengal, at least three-fourths were of this sect. The bride of Siva
in one or other of her many and varied forms, was by far the most
popular emblem in Bengal, and along the Ganges.

The worship of the female principal, as distinct from the divinity,
appears to have originated in the literal interpretation of the
metaphorical language of the Vedas, in which the will or purpose to
create the universe, is represented as originating from the creator,
and co-existent with him as his bride, and part of himself. Thus in
the Rig Veda, it is said, “That divine spirit breathed without
afflation single, with her who is sustained within him; other than him
nothing existed.” First desire was formed in his mind, and that became
the original productive seed, and the Sama Veda, speaking of the
divine cause of creation, says, “He felt not delight, being alone. He
wished another, and instantly became such. He caused his ownself to
fall in ’twain, and thus became husband and wife. He approached her,
and thus were human beings produced.” In those passages it is not
unlikely that reference is made to the primitive tradition of the
origin of mankind, but there is also a figurative representation of
the first indication of wish or will in the Supreme Being. Being
devoid of all qualities whatever, he was alone, until he permitted the
wish to be multiplied to be generated with himself. This wish being
put into action, it is said, became united with its parent, and then
created beings were produced. Thus this first manifestation of divine
power is termed _Ichchháupaá_, personified desire, and the creator is
designated as _Swechchamaya_, united with his own will; whilst in the
Vedanta philosophy, and the popular sects, such as that of Kabir, and
others, in which all created things are held to be illusory, the
Sakti, or active will of the deity, is always designated and spoken of
as Maya, or Mahamaya, original deceit or illusion.


    Further account of Right-hand and Left-hand worship—The
    practices of the Vamis or Vamacharis—The rite of Mantra
    Sadhana—Ceremony of Sri Chakra—Claim of the priests to
    supernatural power—Legends.

With regard to what have been called right-hand and left-hand worship
we proceed to develop a few further particulars on the authority of
certain statements made in the Calcutta Review for 1848. When the
worship of the Shakti is publicly performed, and in a manner quite
harmonious to the Vaidik or Puranik ritual, and free from all obscene
practices and impurities, it is termed the Dhakshina or right-hand
form of worship; and those who adopt this pure ritual are termed
Dhakshinacharis. The peculiarities of this sect were described at
length, many years ago, in a work compiled by Kasinath, and entitled
_Dhakshinachara_, _Tantra Raja_. According to this authority—the
ritual declared in the Tantras of the Dhakshinacharis is pure, and
conformable to the Vedas. Its leading parts are:—

1st.—_Auchmana._ The object of this, as well as some other ceremonies
that follow, is the purification of the worshippers. It consists in
taking up water from a copper vessel, with a small spoon of the same
metal, by the left hand, and pouring a small quantity of it on the
half-closed palm of the right hand: in sipping up this water thrice
with the lips, and in touching with the fingers in rapid succession,
the lips, the eyes, and other parts of the head, along with the
repetition of proper formulæ. With respect to the quantity of water to
be sipped, it is directed and strictly enjoined that it must be such
as to run down the throat to the mouth of the œsophagus, and no

2nd.—_Shasti Buchana._ This part of the ceremony is performed with
the view of rendering the result of adoration beneficial to the
worshipper. Mention is now made of the month, the age of the moon, and
the day in which the ceremony takes place, and then appropriate
mantras are repeated, such as, like good omens, are believed to
prognosticate happy results.

3rd.—_Sankalpa._ This is like the prayer part of a petition. In this
the adorer discloses the immediate object of his worship, mentioning
again by name the month, the fortnight, whether dark or bright, and
the age of the moon. He mentions also his own proper name and his
gotra, which is always the name of some rishi or saint. A fruit,
generally a betel-nut or a _haretaki_, is necessary, which is held in
the water contained in the copper vessel called Kosha.

4th.—_Ghatasthapana._ or the placing of a pot. This consists in
placing a pot or jar, generally made of earth, but sometimes of brass
or any pure metal, on a small elevation formed of mud,—the mud of the
thrice sanctifying Ganges is of course preferable to any other. The
jar is filled with water, a bunch of mango leaves, with a green
cocoanut, or a ripe plantain, is placed on its top, and the sectarial
mark called the yantra is painted with red lead on its front. This is
to serve for a temporary abode of the goddess, whose presence in it is
worshipfully solicited.

5th.—_Sámánya Argha Sthapana._ This part of the devotion is opened by
offering prayers to the ten cardinal points, which, according to the
Hindus, are the East, South-east, South, South-west, West, North-west,
North, North-east, the Zenith, and the Nadir, presided over by Indra,
Agni, Yama, Nairit, Baruna, Bayu, Kubera, Isha or Mohadeva, Brahma and
Ananta. After this, what is called an Argha, composed of a small
quantity of soaked rice and a few blades of durva-grass, is to be
placed on a dumb-conch shell, on the left side of the worshipper; and
if, besides the worshipper, any Brahman, or Brahmans be present, a few
grains of rice must be given to each of them, after which, they all
throw the rice on the pot.

6th.—_Ashan Suddhi_, or literally the purification of the seat, but
technically, of the posture in which the worshipper is to sit or stand
while engaged in his devotion. This varies according to the immediate
object of worship. The Tantras prescribe eighty thousand different
sorts of postures. Some of these are impossible, others are very
painful, all are more or less ludicrous.

7th.—_Bhuta Shuddhi_, or the purification of the body. It is called
Bhuta Suddhi, for the body is believed to be composed of the five
elementary substances called bhuta, viz., earth, water, fire, air, and
ether. In this observance, the worshipper is to conceive, that his old
body is consumed, and that a new and purified one is put on. It is
declared that fire and nectar are deposited in every man’s forehead;
and it is by this brain-fire that the old body is to be conceived to
be reduced to ashes, on which nectar being mentally sprinkled over, a
regenerated body must be conceived to come to existence by virtue of
the mantras.

8th and 9th.—_Pránáyáin_ and _Rishyádinyás_. These are introductory
prayers, inviting the presence of the goddess.

10th and 11th.—_Matrikanyas_ and _Barnanyas_. These are singular
rites, in which the worshipper repeats in order the letters of the
Sanskrit alphabet, each with the Anaswara combined, as ang, áng, kang,
khang, gang, ghang, and so on with the rest. And as he repeats these
letters, which are fifty in number, he touches fifty different parts
of his own body, according to directions minutely laid down in the
Tantras; and when an earthen image of the goddess is to be worshipped
for the first time, the officiating priest touches also the
corresponding parts of the idol.

12th.—_Dyana._ In this, the worshipper is required, by closing both
his eyes, to form the image of his guardian divinity in his mind, and
to fix his mental vision upon it for some time.

13th.—-_Abáhan_, _Chakshudán_, and _Pránpratisthá_. When the worship
is performed without an image of the goddess, she is invoked to
vouchsafe her presence in the jar.

14th.—_Pujah_, or the presenting of offerings of rice, fruit,
incense, etc.

15th.—_Lelehi Mudra_, or the performance of the gesticulation called
Lelehi, which consists in putting the palm of the right hand upon the
back of the left, and shaking the fingers. There are no less than
sixty-four thousand different sorts of Mudra prescribed in the

16th.—_Abarana Pujah_, or the worship of the attendants of the

17th.—_Mahákála Pujah_, or the adoration of Mahákála, a form of

18th.—_Balidan_, or the offering of sacrifice, commonly a blood

19th.—_Kabajan Patheth._ In praise of the exploits of the goddess.

20th.—_Homa._ Pouring clarified butter upon the consecrated fire,
made for the purpose on a bed of sand about one foot square. The ashes
are worn on the forehead, and the residue carefully deposited or
buried in a corner of the house.

The Vamis, or the left-hand worshippers, adopt a form of worship
contrary to that which is usual, and they not only worship the Shakti
of Siva in all her terrific forms, but pay adoration to her numerous
fiend-like attendants, the Yoginis, Dakinis, and the Sankinis.

The rites practised by the Vamis or Vámácháris are so grossly obscene,
as to cast into shade the worst inventions which the most impure
imagination can conceive. “In this last mentioned sect (the Shaktas),”
says a learned Sanskrit scholar, “as in most others, there is a
right-handed and decent path, and a left-handed and indecent mode of
worship, but the indecent worship of this sect is most grossly so, and
consists of unbridled debauchery, with wine and women. This profligate
sect is supposed to be numerous, though unavowed. In most parts of
India, if not in all, they are held in deserved detestation; and even
the decent Shaktas do not make public profession of their tenets, nor
wear on their foreheads the mark of the sect, lest they should be
suspected of belonging to the other branch of it.” Solitude and
secrecy being strictly enjoined to the Vamis, they invariably
celebrate their rites at midnight, and in most unfrequented and
private places. They neither acknowledge their participation in these
most scandalous orgies, nor, as we have already remarked, confess that
they belong to any branch of the Shakta sect, although their reserve
in this respect is becoming every day more and more relaxed, if not of
all, at least, of many. Those, whose immediate object is the
attainment of super-human powers, or whose end is specific, aiming at
some particular boon or gift, are more strict on the point, lest they
reap no fruits of their devotion. They never admit a companion, nor
even one of their own fraternity, into the place of their worship.
Even when they are believed by the credulous Hindus to have become
Shiddas, that is, possessed of supernatural powers; or in other words,
when they have acquired sufficient art to impose upon their ignorant
and superstitious countrymen, and have established their reputation as
men capable of working miracles, they take every care not to disclose
the means through which they have attained the object of their wishes,
unless revealed by some accidental occurrence or unlooked-for
circumstance. Those whose object is of a general character, hold a
sort of convivial party, eating and drinking together in large
numbers, without any great fear of detection. But yet they always take
care to choose such secluded spots for the scenes of their devotion,
as lie quite concealed from the public view. They generally pass
unnoticed, and are traced out only when we make it our aim to detect
them by watching over their movements like a spy. At present, as their
chief desire appears to be only the gratification of sensual
appetites, they are at all times found to be more attentive to points
which have a direct reference to the indulgence of their favourite
passions, than to those minor injunctions which require of them
secrecy and solitude. These, however, they are obliged to observe, at
least in part, for their own account; for the abominations which,
under the name of religious rites, they practice, cannot but expose
them to disgrace and reproach, even among the degenerate Hindus.[13]

        [13] Religious Sects of India by H. H. Wilson.

Guided by the same authority we present a brief summary of the
principal rites observed by the above sect. The drinking of spirituous
liquors, more or less, is with them, we are told, no less a habit than
a religious practice. They will perform no religious ceremony without
wine. In their various forms of daily worship, in the performance of
all their ceremonial rites, in the celebration of all their public
festivals, wine is indispensable. Every article of food which they
offer to their goddess, is sprinkled over with the intoxicating
liquor. Here it should be observed that the orthodox Vamis will never
touch any foreign liquor or wine, but use only the country doasta,
which they drink out of a cup formed either of the cocoa, or of a
human skull. The liquor is first offered to their especial divinity in
quart bottles or pints, but more frequently in _chaupalas_ and earthen
jars, and then distributed round the company, each member having a cup
exclusively his own. If there be no company, the worshipper pours the
liquor into his own cup and after certain motions and prayers, empties
it at a single draught. They call themselves and all other men that
drink wine, _birs_ or heroes, and those that abstain from drinking,
_pasus_, _i.e._, beasts. No sooner is a child born, than they pour
into its mouth a drop or two of wine; at the time of its Sankára,
called the _Anna prásana_, which takes place at the sixth moon from
its birth, if it be a male, or at the seventh moon, if it be a female,
they give it pieces of cork or _shola_ dipped in wine to be sucked, so
they habituate the child from its cradle, in the drinking of
spirituous liquors. At the time of the principal initiation, or
_mantra grahana_, that is, when the specific or Bij mantra is received
from the Guru, he and his new disciple drink together, the former at
intervals giving instructions to the latter as to the proper mode of
drinking. Whenever the spiritual guide visits a Kaula family, all its
members, men, women, and children, gather round him, and with great
cheers and feasting, drink his health as he drinks theirs. The fact
is, drinking is carried on to an infamous and degrading extent, their
principle is said to be, drink, and drink, and drink again, till you
fall flat on the ground; the moment you rise, drink again, and you
shall obtain final liberation.

In justice to some who are exceptions to this rule, we must observe
that all Vámácháris are not drunkards, though they all drink. Some of
the Tantras prescribe the exact quantity to be drunk. According to
their prescription, the least dose to be taken is an ounce, and the
largest not exceeding three ounces.

There is another variety of the Vámis who substitute certain mixtures
in the place of wine. These mixtures are declared in the Tantras to be
equivalent to wine, and to possess all its intrinsic virtues without
the power of intoxication; such as the juice of the cocoanut received
in a vessel made _kansa_: the juice of the water-lemon mixed with
sugar, and exposed to the sun; molasses dissolved in water, and
contained in a copper vessel, etc.

In all the ceremonies, which not only comprehend the worship of the
Shakti, but are performed for the attainment of some proposed object,
the presence of a female, as the living representative, and the type
of the goddess, is indispensably necessary. Such ceremonies are
specific in their nature, and are called _Shádhanás_. Some who are
more decent than the rest of the sect, join their wives in the
celebration of the gloomy rites of Kali. Others make their beloved
mistresses partners in their joint devotion. Here the rite assumes a
blacker aspect. The favourite concubine is disrobed, and placed by the
side or on the thigh of her paramour who is in the same condition. In
this situation, the usual calmness of the mind must be preserved, and
no evil lodged in it. Such is the requisition of the Shastras, say the
Vámis, when reproached for their brutal practices.

In this way is performed the rite called the _Mantra Sádhaná_. It is,
as must be expected, carried on in great secrecy, and is said to lead
to the possession of supernatural powers. The religious part of it is
very simple, consisting merely of the repetition of the Mula mantra,
which may or may not be preceded by the usual mode of Shakta worship.
Hence it is called the _Mantra Sádhaná_, to distinguish it from other
sorts of Sádhanás. After ten P.M., the devotee, under pretence of
going to bed, retires into a private chamber, where, calling his wife
or mistress, and procuring all the necessary articles of worship, such
as wine, grains, water, a string of beads, etc., he shuts the doors
and the windows of the room, and, sitting before a lighted lamp, joins
with his partner in drinking. The use of this preliminary is obvious.
When, by the power of the spirits, the veil of shame is withdrawn, he,
making his wife or mistress sit in the manner already described,
begins to repeat his mantra, and continues to do so till one, two, or
three o’clock in the morning. At intervals the glass is repeated, and
the ceremony is closed in a manner which decency does not allow us to

We now come to the blackest part of the Vámá worship. Nothing can be
more disgusting, nothing more abominable, nothing more scandalously
obscene, than the rite we are about to describe. The ceremony is
called Shi-Chakra, Purnábhisheka, the ring or full initiation. This
worship is mostly celebrated in mixed societies, composed of motley
groups of various castes, though not of creed. This is quite
extraordinary, since, according to the established laws of the caste
system, no Hindu is permitted to eat with an inferior. But here the
rule is at once done away with, and persons of high caste, low caste,
and no caste, sit, eat, and drink together. This is authorised by the
Shastras in the following text:—“While the Bhairavi Tantra (the
ceremony of the Chakra) is proceeding, all castes are Brahmans—when
it is concluded they are again distinct.” Thus while the votaries of
the Shakti observe all the distinctions of caste in public, they
neglect them altogether in the performance of her orgies.

The principal part of the rite called the Chakra is Shakti Sádhaná or
the purification of the female representing the Shakti. In the
ceremony termed mantra Sádhaná, we have already noticed the
introduction of a female, the devotee always making his wife or
mistress partner in his devotion. This cannot be done in a mixed
society. For although the Vámis are so far degenerated as to perform
rites such as human nature, corrupt as it is, revolts from with
detestation, yet they have not sunk to that depth of depravity as to
give up their wives to the licentiousness of men of beastly conduct.
Neither is it the ordination of the Shastras. For this purpose they
prescribe females of various descriptions, particularly “a dancing
girl, a female devotee, a harlot, a washerwoman, or barber’s wife, a
female of the Braminical or Sudra tribe, a flower girl, or a milk
maid.” Some of the Tantras add a few more to the list, such as a
princess, the wife of a Kápali, or of a Chandal, of a Kulála, or of a
conch seller. Others increase the number to twenty-six, and a few even
to sixty-four. These females are distinguished by the name of Kula
Shakti. Selecting and procuring females from the preceding classes,
the Vamacharis are to assemble at midnight in some sequestered spot,
in eight, nine, or eleven couples, the men representing Bhairavas or
Viras, and the women Bhairavas or Náyikás. In some cases a single
female personating the Shakti is to be procured. In all cases, the
Kula Shakti is placed disrobed, but richly adorned with ornaments on
the left of a circle (chakra) described for the purpose, whence the
ceremony derives its name. Sometimes she is made to stand, totally
destitute of clothing, with protuberant tongue and dishevelled hair.
She is then purified by the recitation of many mantras and texts, and
by the performance of the mudra or gesticulations. Finally she is
sprinkled over with wine, and if not previously initiated, the Bij
mantra is thrice repeated in her ear. To this succeeds the worship of
the guardian divinity; and after this, that of the female, to whom are
now offered broiled fish, flesh, fried peas, rice, spirituous liquors,
sweetmeats, flowers, and other offerings, which are all purified by
the repeating of incantations and the sprinkling of wine. It is now
left to her choice to partake of the offerings, or to rest contented
simply with verbal worship. Most frequently she eats and drinks till
she is perfectly satisfied, and the refuse is shared by the persons
present. If, in any case, she refuses to touch or try either meat or
wine, her worshippers pour wine on her tongue while standing, and
receive it as it runs down her body in a vessel held below. This wine
is sprinkled over all the dishes which are now served among the

Such is the preliminary called the purification of the Shakti. To this
succeeds the devotional part of the ceremony. The devotees are now to
repeat their radical mantra, but in a manner unutterably obscene. Then
follow things too abominable to enter the ears of men, or to be borne
by the feelings of an enlightened community; things, from which the
rudest savage would turn away his face with disgust.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here the diabolical business closes.

The religious practices of the Shaktas being such as are believed to
lead to the possession of supernatural powers, many persons of this
sect, taking advantage of the religious blunders of the great mass of
the people, practice the most barefaced impositions. The credulity of
the Hindus becomes to many an inexhaustible source of wealth,
especially to those who are at the head of any religious
establishment, where any form of the Shakti is the presiding divinity.
These priests who day and night attend on the goddess, and perform
various mystical rites, gradually acquire the credit of having close
intimacy and secret communication with her; and then gifts, presents,
and votive offerings are incessantly poured on the altar. Under
pretence of healing diseases of children, and curing barrenness,
mothers and young women are induced to join in the worship of Kali,
when the worthy votaries of the black goddess, the priests, thank her
for having fulfilled the object of their wishes. Offerings are
presented, not only for receiving blessings, but also for personal
safety. Life and death are said to be in the hands of these Shiddhas.
They, if provoked, can sooner or later, kill the offender by the power
of their mantras. This deadly ceremony is called Máranuchchátan. There
is in one district, a temple dedicated to Shiddheswari, a form of
Kali, the late attending priest of which was a man universally
believed to be of no common rate. The belief yet prevails in the
neighbourhood, that once in the height of indignation he caused the
death of a rich native for having indirectly called him a drunkard.
The story runs thus:—At a feast given to the Brahmans by this native
gentleman, the priest of Shiddheswari was invited to his house,—the
latter, on account of the manifold duties of the temple, was late in
his attendance, on which the host, being displeased with his conduct,
said to him as he entered the door, “Well, Bhattacharjya, now I
believe the dimness of your eyes has vanished,” alluding to his known
habit of drinking. At this raillery, the rage of the favourite of Kali
knew no bounds. He instantly returned to the temple and closed its
doors, strictly enjoining his servants not to disturb his meditation
before flames from the funeral pile of the wretched host ascended to
the skies. And, wonderful to relate, an hour had scarcely elapsed,
before the sons of the host came to the priest with clothes around
their necks, fell suppliant on their knees, and with folded hands
implored his mercy, saying, “O! Sir, save us and our family.” The
priest smiling, asked them what was the matter, to which they replied,
weeping, “Our father is no more. No sooner had your holy feet left our
doors, than on a sudden blood came out rushing from his mouth, he fell
on the ground and expired. Save us, we entreat thee, and the rest of
his family, for we have not offended against thy holy divinity.” On
this, the wrath of the priest was pacified, and he spoke to them in an
affectionate tone; “No fear, my children, you are safe, go home and
perform your father’s funeral obsequies.”

Another marvellous anecdote is told of him, as well as of many others
of similar character. When on one occasion he was bringing liquor
concealed in a water-pot, a person whose object was to expose him,
stopped him on the way and wanted to see what was in the pot. To this
he calmly replied, nothing but milk. Saying this, he poured out the
contents, and the liquor was found converted into milk. Such persons,
by taking advantage of the fears of the superstitious Hindus, extort
money and other presents from them.

Much of the splendour of the Hindu idolatry consists in the
celebration of the Shakta rites. The great festivals, which are
annually celebrated in Bengal, such as the Durga Puja, the Jagaddhari
and Kali Pujas, the Charak, the Basanti, Rutanti and Falahari Pujas,
are all Shaktya observances, and for the most part performed by the
worshippers of the Shakti. These festivals themselves, and the
exhibitions that accompany them, exert a pernicious influence over the
morals of the people. The spirit in which these religious days are
kept, the splendid and fascinating ceremonies connected with them, and
the merry exhibitions, including savage music and indecent dancing,
that form a part of the worship, cannot but captivate and corrupt the
heart and overpower the judgment of youth.

The Shakta processions are utterly abominable. One of them takes place
after the blood-offerings at public festivals. Of a similar character
are those which go before and follow the images, when carried to be
thrown into the river or into a pond. On these occasions the Shaktas
utter terms most grossly obscene, loudly and repeatedly, and make
gestures the most indecent that can be imagined; and all this before
their goddess and the public.

The habit of drinking wine, which prevails so widely among the
Shaktas, produces baneful effects on the minds of the Hindus. Leaving
the Kaulas as out of the question, since they themselves train up
their children in the habit of drinking, the Shaktas in general are
more forward in trying the qualities of the prohibited article than
any other sect of the orthodox Hindus, and their example stimulates
others to do the same. This is one of the reasons why the drinking of
spirituous liquors, which was almost unknown among the Hindus of yore,
has gradually become so prevalent among them, as at this day. The
tenets of the Shaktas open the way for the gratification of all the
sensual appetites, they hold out encouragement to drunkards, thieves
and dacoits; they present the means of satisfying every lustful
desire; they blunt the feelings by authorising the most cruel
practices, and lead men to commit abominations which place them on a
level with the beasts. The Shaktya worship is impure in itself,
obscene in its practices, and highly injurious to the life and
character of men.[14]

        [14] See Calcutta Review for 1855.


    Considerations respecting the origin of Phallic
    worship—Comparisons between Indian and Egyptian practices and

For the bulk of the evidence respecting Phallic or Nature Worship, and
for illustrations of its original character and ultimate developments,
it is evident that India is the land to which we must chiefly look for
information: for this reason the majority of the preceding pages deal
with that part of the world. Historically perhaps there is
considerable difficulty in deciding as to where this worship
originated; its antiquity is so great, and its diffusion throughout
various countries so general and extensive, that it appears impossible
to say whether Greece, Rome, India, or Egypt was its earliest home or

There are some considerations, however, which render it probable that
it was in India where its earliest manifestations were exhibited.
Whatever impurities and abominations may have clustered round it in
comparatively modern times, the fact must not be lost sight of, that
in its earlier phases in that country nothing was associated with it
that was calculated to cause any offence to the most refined and
modest of minds. Very little judgment is needed to understand that the
tendency of practices thus appealing to the most easily excited of the
animal passions would be downward rather than upward, that instead of
growing pure and free from the taint of lustful desires, the almost
inevitable fruit would be impurity and licentious indulgence; it is
not likely therefore that the more respectable worship of early India
would be the product of the gross practices of the other nations we
have named. We can see clearly enough, we think, the origin of this
worship resting upon the highest aspirations of the human soul. In
endeavouring to frame a theological system and arrange a method of
worship to meet the cravings of the mind for intercourse with the
creative powers of the universe, men would be sure to fix their
thoughts upon those means and agents by which living beings and things
were brought into existence, and which, to say the least of it, acted
as secondary causes in the creative work. These, of course, would be
the generative organs of men and animals in general, and for want of
better and more exalted teaching, they would easily enough persuade
themselves that it was a proper thing to worship the power symbolized
by such objects, if they did not actually worship the objects
themselves. Perhaps originally, the first of these two ideas was all
that was intended or contemplated, for it is undeniable that many
cases have come under our notice in which men were really rendering
adoration to an unknown spiritual power when they appeared to be doing
nothing but worshipping a graven image.

There is no doubt the religious system of the Hindus is very ancient,
and it has been supposed by some that it was formed about the same
time as that of the Egyptians, from which that of the Greeks and other
western nations was in some measure derived. Many points of
resemblance have been observed between them, too many, and too
striking, to have been fortuitous. Even some of the inhabitants of
Ethiopia appear to have been of the same origin with those of
Hindostan, and both the Ethiopians and Egyptians seem to have had some
connection or intercourse with the Hindoos; but of what kind it was,
or when it subsisted, we have no certain account; and they appear to
have been so long separated, that at present they are in total
ignorance of each other.

According to Eusebius and Syncellus, some people from the river Indus
settled in the neighbourhood of Egypt in the reign of Amenophis, the
father of Sesostris, and many Egyptians, banished by their princes,
settled in other countries and went as far as India. It is also
supposed that many of the priests of Egypt left the country on the
invasion of it by Cambyses. But such circumstances as these are not
sufficient to account for the great resemblance between the two
systems. The Hindoos themselves say that their sacred books came from
the West, but they themselves, no doubt, as well as their books, came
from that quarter, and their sacred books, it is supposed, were
probably composed while the seat of the empire was in Persia.

There are a few Egyptian words similar to those in the ancient
language of Hindostan, which seem to shew that the two people had some
affinity to each other. _Brama_, pronounced _birouma_ in Malabar,
signifies man, and so did _pirouma_ in the language of Egypt. The name
of the river of Egypt, Nile, is probably Sanscrit, since _nila_ in
that language, signifies blue, and the ancients say it had its name
from that colour.

But circumstances of much more importance than these discover some
early connection between Hindostan and Egypt. The names and figures of
the twelve signs of the Zodiac among the Hindoos are nearly the same
with ours, which came from Egypt through Greece, and each of these
signs is divided into thirty degrees. Both the Egyptians and Hindoos
had also the same division of time into weeks, and they denominated
each of the days by the names of the same planets.

The resemblance between the Oriental and Occidental systems extends
much farther than Egypt. The office and power of the Druids in the
northern parts of Europe, did not differ much from those of the
Brahmins; and the Etruscans, from whom the Romans derived the greatest
part of their learning and religion, had a system which had a near
affinity with that of the Persians and Indians, and they wrote
alternately to the right hand and the left.

Several remarkable general principles were held alike by the ancient
Egyptians and the Hindoos. They both believed that the souls of men
existed in a prior state, and went into other bodies after death. They
had the same ideas of the body being a prison to the soul, and
imagined that they could purify and exalt the soul by the
mortification of the body; and from the idea of the great superiority
of spiritual to corporeal substances, they held all _matter_ in great
contempt. They also believed (according to La Croze) that plants had a
principle of animation.

Several religious ideas and customs were common to both countries. The
Egyptians of Thebais represented the world under the figure of an egg,
which came from the mouth of Cneph, and this resembled the first
production according to the Hindoo system. Several of the Egyptian
deities were both male and female, which corresponds with the figure
of the lingam with the Hindoos. This obscene figure, at least the
phallus, was much used in the Egyptian worship, and from Egypt it was
carried into Greece, where it was used in the mysteries of Bacchus. As
the Hindoos worshipped their god Siva under this figure, and carried
it in procession, the Egyptians and Greeks did the same with the
phallus. Also, the lascivious postures of the Egyptian women before
their god Apis, were the same as those of the Hindoo women before
their idols. The Hindoos also chose their sacred bulls by the same
marks as were used by the Egyptians.

Then, again, the account of the flight of the Egyptian gods, as given
by the Greeks, and their concealing themselves under the forms of
animals, bears some resemblance to the various transformations of
Vishnu. Also, the Egyptians worshipped the Nile and the Hindoos the
Ganges. Some of the Hindoo temples have the same remarkable form,
viz., that of a pyramid, or cone. That the pyramids of Egypt had some
religious use can hardly be doubted. All the pagodas are in that form,
or have towers of that form in the buildings which surround them. The
temples in Pegu are also of a conical form. Sir William Jones says
that the pyramids of Egypt, as well as those discovered in Ireland,
and probably also the tower of Babel, seem to have been intended for
images of Mahadeva, or Siva. One other thing, the onion, which was
held in veneration by the Egyptians, is not eaten by the Hindoos.

Not only do we find the same general principles, and the same, or
similar, religious customs, but some of the same gods among the
Hindoos, Egyptians, and Greeks. The Egyptian Cneph was the Supreme
intelligence, which was never lost sight of by the Hindoos. With the
Egyptians, Isis represented not only the moon, but sometimes the
powers of Nature, which were supposed to have been in a great measure
derived from the moon; and in Bengal and Japan, also, the same is
called Isari, or Isi, and is described as a goddess with many arms.
According to Sir William Jones, Iswara of the Hindoos is the Osiris of
the Egyptians, and Nared, a distinguished son of Brahma, resembles
Hermes, or Mercury. A statue of Jupiter had a third eye in its
forehead, and Siva has three eyes. Diodorus Siculus and Plutarch say
that Osiris signifies a person that has many eyes, and Siva is drawn
with an additional eye in his forehead, though the phallus is his
usual form. Osiris was said to have been killed by Typhon, and Chib
cut off the head of Brahma.

Indra of the Hindoos, called also Divespiter, is Jupiter, or
Diespiter; the bull of Iswara is the Apis, or Ap, of Egypt. Cartraya,
with six faces and many eyes, was the Egyptian Orus, and the Mars of
Italy. Sri, or Iris, called also Pedna, and Camala, was Ceres, and
according to Herodotus, she was the Egyptian Isis. Ganesu was Janus.
Visuacarman, the Indian forger of arms for the gods, was Vulcan. The
Rama of India is Dyonisus, called also Bromius by the Greeks: Krishnu
or Vishnu, is Apollo, and in Irish, it signifies the sun. According to
the Vedas and other sacred works, a bad genius, or giant, seizes on
the sun and moon when they are eclipsed, and the Egyptians ascribed
the same thing to their Typhon, who was said even to have swallowed
their god Horus, or the Sun.

The Egyptians at certain festivals carried the images of their gods in
procession. Herodotus says they drew one of them in a carriage with
four wheels, and the same was done by the Hindoos. The Egyptians held
cows in much greater veneration than any other animals; they were
sacred to Isis, and never sacrificed. Some superstitious respect was
also paid to horned cattle by the Persians. In an account of the
Zendavesta, Ormusd, the Supreme Being, directs Zerdusht to render
worship and praise to the _Supreme Ox_, and to the rain, of which the
angel Jashter, who subsists in the form of an ox, is the distributor.
The Hindoos made some use of the image of a bull, as Mr. Sonnerat
relates in his account of some of their Temples, though they never
carried their superstition in this respect so far as the Egyptians,
who made live bulls the immediate objects of their worship.

It may be said that in all this there is a great deal of mere
conjecture, and therefore of uncertainty; the evidence, however, upon
which it is founded, coming from a number of independent sources from
writers of repute, learning, and veracity—is not easily disposed of.
It seems conclusive that systems very like one another indeed
prevailed in different parts of the world, and though similar
situations may lead to similar sentiments, and corresponding
practices, the above mentioned similarity is too great, and extends to
too many particulars, to be thus accounted for. It is not at all
extraordinary that men who had no communication with each other should
be equally worshippers of the sun, moon, and stars, that they should
fancy deep caverns, or thick woods, to be haunted with spirits, that
particular rivers should have their several genii, or deities
dispensing their waters at their pleasure, as the sun, they might
suppose, did his heat, and the moon, the stars, and the planets their
peculiar influences; but that they should adopt the same rites in the
worship of these natural deities, and especially that they should give
them _attributes_, and even _names_, so nearly alike, is beyond the
effect of accident.

The conclusion we come to, and which we think is fully warranted by
all the circumstances, is, that the great mass of phallic worship
existing in different parts of the world began in India, and gradually
found its way into the western nations, becoming, as was perfectly
natural with such a system, more and more depraved as time went on,
and as it was found that it could be made subservient to the desires
and passions of licentious men.

Our frontispiece represents a pious female propitiating Mahadeva or
Siva in his generative character, indicated by the Linga, inserted in
its appropriate receptacle, the Argha, or Yoni. The engraving is taken
from a picture which Moor describes as being delicately executed, the
female being young, handsome, and elegantly dressed. She is performing
the ceremony of _Linga puja_, to which such frequent references is
made in these pages, and she has spread out in front of her the
various objects required in that service. The symbol is placed in one
of the many domestic temples, common at one time in India, known as
Dewal, or Devel, from Deva, a _deity_, and _havela_, a house,
literally a house of God. It is this erection which is ordinarily
written pagoda, by the English, a word not used in India. The stone of
the building is white, its lines gold, and it is surmounted by a gold
spire, called Sekra; when temples, or other things have a conical, or
pine-apple shaped termination, such ornament is called Kalasa. The
exterior of the temple is white, its interior, ash coloured, like its
patron deity, the Linga and Asgha are of black stone with gilt edges:
the Linga (the upright conical stone), which has mystical orange
coloured lines traced on it, is crowned with encircled folds of Bilva
flowers; and a chaplet of three strings of them, white with yellow
buds at regular distances, hangs pendent from the top of the Linga,
falling towards the termination or spout of the Argha. The Bilva is a
shrub consecrated to Mahadeva, who alone wears a chaplet of its
flowers, which are offered in sacrifice to no other deity. The various
implements used in the puja to Siva are, five lighted lamps; (or one
lamp with five wicks) a spouted vessel holding lustral water; a cup
for ghee; another cup for water with which to sprinkle the flowers;
and a bell rung at certain times to scare away evil spirits.

The woman sits on an embroidered carpet, called Asana: her right hand
is in a bag of gold brocade, the hand being supposed to hold a rosary
of round beads, 108 in number without the connecting ones.

This picture admirably illustrates the true character of the original
lingam-worship of India, and fully bears out all that has been said
respecting its original freedom from the indecencies which afterwards
became so flagrant and universal.


    Vocabulary of words of Indian and Sanscrit origin.

Abádi—An inhabited place.

Aban—The name of the eighth month.

Abáshan—A low caste of labourers.

Abd—A slave.

Abdáli—Fakirs of the báshara order.

Abdár—A servant who prepares water for domestic use.

Abdhut—A sect of religious mendicants.

Abhir—A caste employed as cowherds and shepherds.

Abkár—A maker of strong waters.

Abri—A building stone found at Kabul.

Achárgya—A caste of Bengalese, said to have originated from the

Achárya—A teacher.

Achátur—A caste of cultivators of the soil.

Adálat—A court of justice.

Adar—The ninth month.

Adbhutásánti—A burnt sacrifice used to counteract evil omens.

Adhipati—-A ruler.

Adhwaryu—The third class of priests employed at a vedic sacrifice.

Adi Granth—The chief scripture of the Sikhs.

Adináth—The first arhat of the Jains.

Aditya—The sun.

Adlingadawar—A caste of agriculturists.

Advichinchi—A caste of cultivators of the land.

Afrit—A demon.

Agarwala—A trading caste.

Agasa—A caste of washermen.

Aghora—Religious mendicants who sometimes feed on human flesh.

Agiari—A temple in which perpetual fire is maintained.

Agni—The god of fire.

Aguri—A Bengalese caste of cultivators.

Ahri—One of the Himalayan gods.

Ahriman—The personification of evil in the Zoroastrian religion.

Akshamala—A string of beads.

Alifshai—The Benawa fakirs.

Amanth—A Bengalese caste employed as servants.


Ambattan—A caste employed as barbers.

Amma Kodagas—A sect driven away by the Brahmins.

Anant—Endless, a name applied to Vishnu and other gods.

Andhyaru—A Parsi priest.

Andra—A Buddhist dynasty considered to have reigned in India from 31
B.C. to 429 A.D.

Anila—The god of fire.

Annapurná—The goddess who is said to feed the inhabitants of Benares.

Aranyaka—A part of the Veda, considered so holy that it may be read
only in the solitude of a forest.

Archáka—An officiating priest at a pagoda.

Ardha-matra—A mysterious word applicable to the deity.

Ardhanárisa—Name of Siva in his form as half male, half female.

Arjà—A female mendicant.

Asani—A small seat, also a carpet used at prayers.

Asiloma—A demon who had swords instead of hair.

Asthal—A temple.

Asura—A spirit.

Atasil—The eight precepts binding on an upasaka.

Atharwa—The name of the fourth veda.

Aukamma—A village goddess.

Avasta—The Zoroastrian scriptures.

Ayenar—A god of India who is supposed to guard the fields from demons.

Azád—An order of fakirs.

Bagh—A garden.

Bahucharaji—A goddess worshipped in Gujarat.

Bahuta—An amulet worn on the arm by the worshippers of Narsingh.

Bai—A lady.

Baidni—A woman of the Baidya caste.

Baidya—A caste supposed to be the offspring of a Brahman father and
Vaisya mother.

Balái—A caste of Sudras.

Balarám—The elder brother of Krishna, sometimes an incarnation of

Bàna—An arrow.

Bandhá—A slave or bondmen.

Baráhan—A goddess who is supposed to cure swelled hands and feet.

Barát—The final ceremony of a marriage.

Barwa—A wise man of the Bhils.

Basani—A prostitute, or female dedicated to a god.

Basawa—The sacred bull.

Báshkala—A demon.

Benawa—A community of fakirs of the beshara order.

Beshara—Those fakirs who hold themselves above the law.

Bhadarià—Mendicant astrologers of Brahman origin.

Bhadu—A low class of Uriya Brahmans.

Bhagat—A worshipper.

Bhagván—The divine spirit.

Bhagwat—A name for God.

Bhairawa—A name of Siva.

Bhairawanath—A name of Siva.

Bhairon—_same as_ Bhaironath.

Bhákta—A devotee.

Bhávin—A woman devoted to the service of the Temple.

Bhikhu—A religious mendicant.

Bhopi—A priest of a village temple.

Bhu—The earth.

Bhut—The spirit of the dead; a goblin.

Bhuteswara—A name of Siva as destroyer.

Bhutya—Devotees of Bhawani.

Bilwa—The bel tree.

Bishéswar—A name of Siva, alluding to his having swallowed poison.

Boa—A Temple.

Bo-tree—The pipal.

Brahmá—The Creator.

Bráhman—The first of the Hindu castes.

Bráhmáni—A woman of Brahman caste.

Broto—A vow.

Budibudaki—A religious beggar who smears himself with ashes.

Burha-Deo—The great God.

But—The name of a devi.

Catanar—A priest of the Syrian Church.

Chakra—The weapon of Vishnu.

Chattur—A consecrated cake of cow-dung.

Chhandas—A sacred hymn.

Chhandoga—A name of the udgatri priest.

Chillah—A forty days’ fast.

Chitpáwan—A subdivision of the Maharashtra Brahmans.

Chitragupta—The first of the ministers of Yama.

Cholipanth—A sect of Panjabis allowing free sexual intercourse.

Chori—A marriage hall.

Churel—A hobgoblin in the form of a hideous woman.

Crore—Ten millions.

Dádá—An elderly person, or a paternal grandfather.

Dádupanthi—A Vaishnawa sect founded by Dadu.

Daftar—A register.

Dágoba—A dome-like structure built over the relics of a saint.

Dáin—A witch.

Daitya—A demon.

Daiwatapka—Parsi betrothal ceremony.

Dakaut—Braminical astrological mendicants.

Dakiri—A female imp who feeds upon human flesh.

Dachocha—A caste said to be descended from a Brahman father and a Gauli

Dakshina—A cow fit to be given to a Brahman.

Danawa—A demon.

Dargah—The tomb of a saint.

Dasi—A woman dedicated to a temple.

Dastur—A Parsi high priest.

Devi—A goddess; especially Durga.

Devrukhi—The room of a temple where the idol stands.

Dewa—A god.

Dewánga—One who wears the emblem of Siva.

Dewasthán—A temple.

Dewatá—A deity.

Dhumra—A giant.

Dinesha—Lord of the day.

Diwar—-Divinity of a village, for whom a portion of the grain is set
apart at each harvest.

Dobe—A brahma who has studied two of the four Vedas.

Durdhara—A leader in the army of demons.

Durgá—The consort of Siva.

Durgá-pugá—The worship of Durgá.

Durmukha—The name of a demon—the fury faced.

Dwáparayuga—The Third age of the world.

Eshana—One of the names of Siva.

Fakir—A Mohammedan religious mendicant.

Gábhára—The inner room of a temple where the idol stands.

Gadipati—Chief of a body of religious mendicants.

Ganesa—A god, the son of Siva.

Garudi—A snake charmer.

Gentoo—Another name for a Hindu.

Ghaus—A fakir of the highest sanctity.

Gomedha—The sacrifice of a cow.

Gondhal—A noisy festival in honour of Devi.

Gopura—Building over the gate of a temple.

Gorakhnath—A name of Siva.

Gosain—An ascetic.

Goshanashin—A Mohammedan ascetic.

Grámadewatá—Tutelary deity of a village.

Granthi—A reader of the Granth, or Sikh Scriptures.

Grihadava—The tutelary god of a house.

Grihastha—A Brahman in the second asrama.

Guga—A saint to whom offerings are made to avert danger from snakes.

Guru—A religious teacher.

Haj—A pilgrimage.

Haji—One who has performed the Haj.

Hambali—One of the orthodox schools of Sunnis.

Har—A name of Siva.

Hara—The destroyer.

Harpuji—The worship of the plough.

Homa—An oblation made by pouring butter on a fire.

Hotri—The highest class of priest employed at a Vedic sacrifice.

Huttari—Festival in honour of the rice harvest.

Id-al-fitr—Festival of breaking fast.

Idgáh—A place of prayer for Mussalmans.

Imám—The officiating priest of a mosque.

Indra—The king of the firmament.

Iravata—The elephant of Indra.

Ishna-namaz—Prayer of sunset.

Ishrak-namaz—Prayer at sunrise.

Ishtadewa—A favourite deity.

Iswara—A name of Siva.

Jág—A vigil kept by Sudras on the tenth night after a sudden death, in
order to summon the spirit of the deceased into the body of his son, or
other person, and reveal the cause of death, the place where his
treasures are hidden, or other matter desired to be known.—_J. T.

Jagannáth—A name of Vishnu.

Jajmán—A patron.

Janárdan—A name of Vishnu.

Jánhavi—A name of the Ganges.

Játra—A pilgrimage to a holy place.

Jin—A goblin.

Jivagár—A Buddhist ascetic.

Jnándewa-panthi—A supposed incarnation of Vishnu.

Kabir-panthi—A Vaishnawa sect, followers of Kabir.

Kailása—The heaven of Siva.

Káli—The wife of Siva.

Kalki—The name of Vishnu in his tenth awatar, which is to take place at
the end of the present, or kali, age, when he will destroy the wicked
and inaugurate a new age of purity.—_Whitworth._

Karniji—A goddess worshipped in Bikaner.

Kátáyani—A name of the goddess Parvati.

Kesari—The name of the lion of Durga.

Keshava—One of the names of Vishnu.

Khatib—The preacher in the mosque on Fridays and feast-days.

Khirakasi—A sect of Hindus who renounced idolatry and Brahmanism.

Khodiár—The devi of one of seven sisters of the Charan caste.

Koti—A crore, or ten millions.

Kowmári—A appellation of Durga.

Kowshiki—A goddess that emanated from Párvati.

Kuber—The god of riches.

Lakshmi—Wife of Vishnu.

Linga—The phallus or emblematic representation of Siva.

Lingait—A sect of Saiwas who wear the emblem of the linga.

Lohana—The most numerous class of Hindus in Sindh.

Lokas—The world.

Madhu—The name of a demon.

Madhwáchárya—A Vaishava sect.

Mahádeva—A name of Siva.

Mahájanwádi—A place where caste feasts are celebrated.

Mahákála—A name of Siva.

Mahéswar—A name of Siva.

Mánbhawa—A Vaishnava sect.

Mantra—Form of worship in the oldest part of the veda.

Manu—Man. Founder of the Manvantara.

Máruta—Wind. A god of the wind.

Masjid—A Mohommedan church.

Mastán—The Rasulsháhi fakirs.

Mátá—Name applied to various goddesses.

Matiá—A believer.

Matsya—The first principal awater of Vishnu.

Mobed—A Parsi priest.

Mund—A demon.

Muni—A saint.

Mundphoda—The Gurzmar fakirs, who beat their heads until they bleed in
order to extort charity.

Musá Sohág—A body of fakirs who dress as women.

Mutawalli—The warden of a mosque.

Nádiyá—A bull marked as sacred.


Nágéswaraswámi—A serpent deity.

Nama—A mark worn on the forehead by followers of Vishnu.

Námadári—A Vaishnava.

Nandana—A beautiful garden in Indra’s heaven.

Nandá Devi—A name of Durga.

Nandi—Siva’s bull.

Narak—The place of punishment for souls.

Narakásur—A demon son of Bhumi, slain by Vishnu.

Nárangkár—The maker of men.

Náráyana—The divine spirit moving on the waters.

Narsinh—A form assumed by Vishnu in order to destroy the demon

Nat—A spirit supposed to have the power to ward off evil.

Navar—A Parsi priest of low order.

Nazar—The evil eye.

Nimbárka—A Vaishavan sect worshipping Krishna and Riadha conjointly.

Nirwána—Having the fire of life extinguished.

Pagoda—A Hindu temple in the south of India.

Parameshvari—A name of Durga.

Paramahansa—A sect of Siva’s devotees.

Pariah—An outcast from society.

Párvati—The consort of Siva.

Pasupati—A name of Siva.

Pátála—The nether regions.

Pávaka—The god of fire.

Pináki—A name of Siva.

Prakriti—A goddess.


Purusha—Man; the human soul.

Rájasuya—A sacrifice performed at a coronation.

Rali—The deified spirit of a woman who drowned herself on being married
to a child.

Rámánandi—A sect of Vaisnavas.

Rámánuja—A Vaishawan sect in the south of India.

Ramban—A priest of high rank.

Rath—A war chariot.

Rig—The first Veda.

Rishi—A sage or hermit.

Rozah—A fast.

Rudra—The storm-god.

Sádhu—A saint.

Sadrá—The sacred shirt worn by the Parsis.

Sadubá—The name of a goddess.

Sákta—A worshipper of a sakti.


Sama—The third Veda.

Sanhita—A collection of Vedic hymns.

Sannyási—An ascetic.

Saptapadi—Seven steps taken round the sacred fire, part of a Hindu

Saravasti—Goddess of eloquence and literature.

Sastri—A teacher.

Sattra—A sacrifice.

Sanra—A worshipper of the sun.

Sávitri—One of the incarnations of Sarasvati.

Shakra—One of the denominations of Indra.


Shambu—An appellation of Siva.

Siva—The third person of the Hindu triad.

Srawak—A Buddhist saint.

Sura—A deity.

Tarpana—Offering of water.


Ugni—God of fire.

Umbiká—A name of Durga.

Vaishnavi—The consort of Vishnu.

Vanhi—One of the names of the god of fire.

Vidhi—One of the names of Brahma.

Vipra—A person who recites Vedas.

Vishnu—The second person of the Hindu triad, the preserver.

Vrutra—The name of a demon.

Yogini—A class of malicious female fiends.

Nature Worship and Mystical Series.

Cr. 8vo, Vellum, 7s. 6d. each, nett.

_Only a very limited number_, PRIVATELY PRINTED.

PHALLICISM.—A Description of the Worship of LINGAM-YONI in various
parts of the World, and in different Ages, with an Account of Ancient
and Modern Crosses, particularly of the CRUX ANSATA (or Handled Cross)
and other Symbols connected with the Mysteries of SEX WORSHIP. _(Only
in sets), or 10s. 6d. separately._

    The importance of this subject, may be gleaned from the
    following remarks of Major Gen. Forlong. “Our Queen rules
    over, according to the latest census returns, some 100
    millions of PURE-PHALLIC worshippers, that is three times the
    population of these Islands, and if we say merely Phallo-Solar
    worshippers, then 200 millions.”

OPHIOLATREIA.—An Account of the Rites and Mysteries connected with
the Origin, Rise, and Development of SERPENT WORSHIP in various parts
of the World, enriched with Interesting Traditions, and a full
description of the celebrated Serpent Mounds and Temples, the whole
forming an exposition of one of the phases of PHALLIC, or SEX WORSHIP.

Development of the PHALLIC IDEA (Sex Worship), and its embodiment in
Works of Nature and Art. _Etched Frontispiece._

illustrative Legends, Superstitious Usages, etc.; exhibiting its
Origin and Development amongst the Eastern and Western Nations of the
World, from the earliest to modern times.

    This work has a valuable bibliography which will be of the
    greatest use and value to the student of Ancient Faiths. It
    contains references to nearly five hundred works on Phallism
    and kindred subjects.

INDIA, etc., with illustrative Myths and Legends.

ARCHAIC ROCK INSCRIPTIONS; an Account of the Cup and Ring Marking on
the Sculptural Stones of the Old and New Worlds. _With etched

    “Let any one inspect the plates in works delineating the Hindu
    Pantheon, and compare the drawings of the lingam-yoni with
    many of the rock markings we have described, with those for
    instance on the frontispiece of this book, and they will find
    it difficult to avoid the conclusion that there is a manifest
    and striking connection. The fact is, the phallic idea, has
    prevailed all over the world to a far greater extent than many
    have ever imagined, and superficial observers have passed by
    many things as inexplicable which came properly within its
    domain, and which thus recognised, would have been readily
    understood. It is not, of course, to the gross forms of the
    Priapus used in ancient Greek, Roman, or Egyptian Festivals
    that we allude, but to the much more refined, and, if we may
    so call it, modest lingam worship of India.”—THE AUTHOR.

NATURE WORSHIP, or an Account of PHALLIC FAITHS and Practices, Ancient
and Modern, including the Adoration of the Male and Female Powers, and
the SACTI PUJA OF INDIAN GNOSTICISM, by the author of Phallicism,
_with etched frontispiece_.

    The subject reaches from the earliest dawn of history through
    long and eventful ages, down to the most modern times, and
    touches almost every kingdom of the past and present, in the
    four quarters of the earth. The unearthing of long-buried
    statues, monuments, and mystifying inscriptions, has suggested
    and provoked new lines of study among symbolical remains, and
    the key to so much that for long was unreadable has been found
    in the singular revelations of this peculiar worship.

MYSTERIES OF THE ROSIE CROSS, or the History of that Curious Sect of
the Middle Ages, known as the ROSICRUCIANS, with Examples of their
Pretensions and Claims.

    In this work an attempt has been made to convey an
    intelligible idea of the peculiar mystic sect of the
    Rosicrucians. It is the first serious attempt to penetrate the
    secret recesses of this occult body, whose strange beliefs and
    curious practices have, ever since the days of Rosenkreutz,
    been enveloped in a cloud of profound mystery.

Transcriber's Note
The spellings are inconsistent as presented in the original work.

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