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Title: Omens and Superstitions of Southern India
Author: Thurston, Edgar, 1855-1935
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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               OMENS AND SUPERSTITIONS OF SOUTHERN INDIA

                                   By

                         EDGAR THURSTON, C.I.E.

   Sometime superintendent of the Madras Government Museum and of the
              Ethnographic Survey of the Madras Presidency


                            T. Fisher Unwin
                        London: Adelphi Terrace
                        Leipsic: Inselstrasse 20
                                  1912



PREFACE


This book deals mainly with some aspects of what may be termed
the psychical life of the inhabitants of the Madras Presidency,
and the Native States of Travancore and Cochin. In my "Ethnographic
Notes in Southern India" (1906), I stated that the confused chapter
devoted to omens, animal superstitions, evil eye, charms, sorcery,
etc., was a mere outline sketch of a group of subjects, which, if
worked up, would furnish material for a volume. This chapter has
now been remodelled, and supplemented by notes collected since its
publication, and information which lies buried in the seven bulky
volumes of my encyclopædic "Castes and Tribes of Southern India"
(1909). The area dealt with (roughly, 182,000 square miles, with
a population of 47,800,000) is so vast that I have had perforce to
supplement the personal knowledge acquired in the course of wandering
expeditions in various parts of Southern India, and in other ways, by
recourse to the considerable mass of information, which is hidden away
in official reports, gazetteers, journals of societies, books, etc.

To the many friends and correspondents, European and Indian, who have
helped me in the accumulation of facts, and those whose writings I
have made liberal use of, I would once more express collectively,
and with all sincerity, my great sense of indebtedness. My thanks
are due to Mr L. K. Anantha Krishna Iyer for supplying me with the
illustrations of Malabar yantrams.



CONTENTS


                                            Page
    I.    Omens                               13
    II.   Animal Superstitions                73
    III.  The Evil Eye                       109
    IV.   Snake Worship                      121
    V.    Vows, Votive and other Offerings   137
    VI.   Charms                             180
    VII.  Human Sacrifice                    199
    VIII. Magic and Human Life               224
    IX.   Magic and Magicians                237
    X.    Divination and Fortune-Telling     273
    XI.   Some Agricultural Ceremonies       289
    XII.  Rain-Making Ceremonies             305
          Index                              312



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


Malayan Exorcist with Fowl in Mouth (see p. 246)         Frontispiece
                                                                 Page
Sacred Vultures, Tirukazhukunram                                   86
Evil Eye Figures, Malabar                                         112
Evil Eye Figures Set Up in Fields                                 114
Impressions of Hand on Wall of House                              119
Praying for Offspring before Lingam, Snake-Stones, and Figure of
Ganesa                                                            124
Pulluvan with Pot-Drum                                            129
Vettuvans Wearing Leafy Garments                                  152
Silver Votive Offerings                                           160
Clay and Metal Offerings, South Canara                            162
Subramaniya Yantram                                               185
Hanuman Yantram                                                   186
Meriah Sacrifice Post                                             202
Jumadi Bhutha, South Canara                                       237
Figure Washed Ashore at Calicut                                   249
Korava Woman Telling Fortune                                      283



OMENS AND SUPERSTITIONS OF SOUTHERN INDIA


I

OMENS


In seeking for omens, Natives consult the so-called science of omens
or science of the five birds, and are guided by them. Selected omens
are always included in native calendars or panchangams.

To the quivering and throbbing of various parts of the body as omens,
repeated reference is made in the Hindu classics. Thus, in Kalidasa's
Sakuntala, King Dushyanta says: "This hermitage is tranquil, and yet
my arm throbs. Whence can there be any result from this in such a
place? But yet the gates of destiny are everywhere." Again, Sakuntala
says: "Alas! why does my right eye throb?" to which Gautami replies:
"Child, the evil be averted. May the tutelary deities of your husband's
family confer happy prospects!" In the Raghuvamsa, the statement occurs
that "the son of Paulastya, being greatly incensed, drove an arrow
deep into his right arm, which was throbbing, and which, therefore,
prognosticated his union with Sita." A quivering sensation in the
right arm is supposed to indicate marriage with a beautiful woman;
in the right eye some good luck.

During a marriage among the Telugu Tottiyans, who have settled in
the Tamil country, a red ram without blemish is sacrificed. It is
first sprinkled with water, and, if it shivers, this is considered
a good omen. It is recorded, [1] in connection with the legends of
the Badagas of the Nilgiris, that "in the heart of the Banagudi shola
(grove), not far from the Dodduru group of cromlechs, is an odd little
shrine to Karairaya, within which are a tiny cromlech, some sacred
water-worn stones, and sundry little pottery images representing
a tiger, a mounted man, and some dogs. These keep in memory, it is
said, a Badaga who was slain in combat with a tiger; and annually
a festival is held, at which new images are placed there, and vows
are paid. A Kurumba (jungle tribe) makes fire by friction, and burns
incense, throws sanctified water over the numerous goats brought to
be sacrificed, to see if they will shiver in the manner always held
necessary in sacrificed victims, and then slays, one after the other,
those which have shown themselves duly qualified."

In many villages, during the festival to the village deity, water is
poured over a sheep's back, and it is accepted as a good sign if it
shivers. "When the people are economical, they keep on pouring water
till it does shiver, to avoid the expense of providing a second victim
for sacrifice. But, where they are more scrupulous, if it does not
shiver, it is taken as a sign that the goddess will not accept it,
and it is taken away." [2]

Before the thieving Koravas set out on a predatory expedition, a goat
is decorated, and taken to a shrine. It is then placed before the idol,
which is asked whether the expedition will be successful. If the body
of the animal quivers, it is regarded as an answer in the affirmative;
if it does not, the expedition is abandoned.

If, in addition to quivering, the animal urinates, no better sign
could be looked for. Thieves though they are, the Koravas make it a
point of honour to pay for the goat used in the ceremony. It is said
that, in seeking omens from the quivering of an animal, a very liberal
interpretation is put on the slightest movement. It is recorded by
Bishop Whitehead [3] that, when an animal has been sacrificed to the
goddess Nukalamma at Coconada, its head is put before the shrine,
and water poured on it. If the mouth opens, it is accepted as a sign
that the sacrifice is accepted.

At the death ceremonies of the Idaiyans of Coimbatore, a cock is tied
to a sacrificial post, to which rice is offered. One end of a thread
is tied to the post, and the other end to a new cloth. The thread is
watched till it shakes, and then broken. The cock is then killed.

Of omens, both good and bad, in Malabar, the following comprehensive
list is given by Mr Logan [4]:--


    "Good.--Crows, pigeons, etc., and beasts as deer, etc., moving
    from left to right, and dogs and jackals moving inversely, and
    other beasts found similarly and singly; wild crow, ruddy goose,
    mungoose, goat, and peacock seen singly or in couples either at
    the right or left. A rainbow seen on the right and left, or behind,
    prognosticates good, but the reverse if seen in front. Buttermilk,
    raw rice, puttalpira (Trichosanthes anguina, snake-gourd),
    priyangu flower, honey, ghi (clarified butter); red cotton juice,
    antimony sulphurate, metal mug, bell ringing, lamp, lotus, karuka
    grass, raw fish, flesh, flour, ripe fruits, sweetmeats, gems,
    sandalwood, elephants, pots filled with water, a virgin, a couple
    of Brahmans, Rajas, respectable men, white flower, white yak tail,
    [5] white cloth, and white horse. Chank shell (Turbinella rapa),
    flagstaff, turban, triumphal arch, fruitful soil, burning fire,
    elegant eatables or drinkables, carts with men in, cows with
    their young, mares, bulls or cows with ropes tied to their necks,
    palanquin, swans, peacock and crane warbling sweetly. Bracelets,
    looking-glass, mustard, bezoar, any substance of white colour,
    the bellowing of oxen, auspicious words, harmonious human voice,
    such sounds made by birds or beasts, the uplifting of umbrellas,
    hailing exclamations, sound of harp, flute, timbrel, tabor,
    and other instruments of music, sounds of hymns of consecration
    and Vedic recitations, gentle breeze all round at the time of
    a journey.

    "Bad.--Men deprived of their limbs, lame or blind, a corpse
    or wearer of a cloth put on a corpse, coir (cocoanut fibre),
    broken vessels, hearing of words expressive of breaking, burning,
    destroying, etc.; the alarming cry of alas! alas! loud screams,
    cursing, trembling, sneezing, the sight of a man in sorrow,
    one with a stick, a barber, a widow, pepper, and other pungent
    substances. A snake, cat, iguana (Varanus), blood-sucker (lizard),
    or monkey passing across the road, vociferous beasts such as
    jackals, dogs, and kites, loud crying from the east, buffalo,
    donkey, or temple bull, black grains, salt, liquor, hide, grass,
    dirt, faggots, iron, flowers used for funeral ceremonies, a eunuch,
    ruffian, outcaste, vomit, excrement, stench, any horrible figure,
    bamboo, cotton, lead, cot, stool or other vehicle carried with legs
    upward, dishes, cups, etc., with mouth downwards, vessels filled
    with live coals, which are broken and not burning, broomstick,
    ashes, winnow, hatchet."


In the category of good omens among the Nayars of Travancore,
are placed the elephant, a pot full of water, sweetmeats, fruit,
fish, and flesh, images of gods, kings, a cow with its calf, married
women, tied bullocks, gold lamps, ghi, and milk. In the list of bad
omens come a donkey, broom, buffalo, untied bullock, barber, widow,
patient, cat, washerman. The worst of all omens is to allow a cat
to cross one's path. An odd number of Nayars, and an even number of
Brahmans, are good omens, the reverse being particularly bad. On the
Vinayakachaturthi day in the month of Avani, no man is allowed to
look at the rising moon, on penalty of incurring unmerited obloquy.

By the Pulayas of Travancore, it is considered lucky to see another
Pulaya, a Native Christian, an Izhuva with a vessel in the hand, a
cow behind, or a boat containing sacks of rice. On the other hand,
it is regarded as a very bad omen to be crossed by a cat, to see a
fight between animals, a person with a bundle of clothes, or to meet
people carrying steel instruments.

It is a good omen for the day if, when he gets up in the morning,
a man sees any of the following:--his wife's face, the lines on the
palm of his right hand, his face in a mirror, the face of a rich man,
the tail of a black cow, the face of a black monkey, or his rice
fields. There is a legend that Sita used to rise early, and present
herself, bathed and well dressed, before her lord Rama, so that he
might gaze on her face, and be lucky during the day. This custom is
carried out by all good housewives in Hindu families. A fair skinned
Paraiyan, or a dark skinned Brahman, should not, in accordance with
a proverb, be seen the first thing in the morning.

Hindus are very particular about catching sight of some auspicious
object on the morning of New Year's Day, as the effects of omens
seen on that occasion are believed to last throughout the year. Of
the Vishu festival, held in celebration of the New Year in Malabar,
the following account is given by Mr Gopal Panikkar. [6]

"Being the commencement of a new year, native superstition surrounds
it with a peculiarly solemn importance. It is believed that a
man's whole prosperity in life depends upon the nature, auspicious
or otherwise, of the first things that he happens to fix his eyes
upon on this particular morning. According to Nair, and even general
Hindu mythology, there are certain objects which possess an inherent
inauspicious character. For instance, ashes, firewood, oil, and a lot
of similar objects, are inauspicious ones, which will render him who
chances to notice them first fare badly in life for the whole year,
and their obnoxious effects will be removed only on his seeing holy
things, such as reigning princes, oxen, cows, gold, and such like,
on the morning of the next new year. The effects of the sight of
these various materials are said to apply even to the attainment
of objects by a man starting on a special errand, who happens for
the first time to look at them after starting. However, with this
view, almost every family religiously takes care to prepare the
most sightworthy objects on the new year morning. Therefore, on the
previous night, they prepare what is known as a kani. A small circular
bell-metal vessel is taken, and some holy objects are arranged inside
it. A grandha or old book made of palmyra leaves, a gold ornament,
a new-washed cloth, some 'unprofitably gay' flowers of the konna tree
(Cassia Fistula), a measure of rice, a so-called looking-glass made
of bell-metal, and a few other things, are all tastefully arranged
in the vessel, and placed in a prominent room inside the house. On
either side of this vessel, two brass or bell-metal lamps, filled
with cocoanut oil clear as diamond sparks, are kept burning, and a
small plank of wood, or some other seat, is placed in front of it. At
about five o'clock in the morning of the day, some one who has got
up first wakes the inmates, both male and female, of the house, and
takes them blindfolded, so that they may not gaze at anything else,
to the seat near the kani. The members are seated, one after another,
in the seat, and are then, and not till then, asked to open their eyes,
and carefully look at the kani. Then each is made to look at some
venerable member of the house, or sometimes a stranger even. This
over, the little playful urchins of the house fire small crackers
which they have bought for the occasion. The kani is then taken round
the place from house to house, for the benefit of the poor families,
which cannot afford to prepare such a costly adornment."



I gather further, in connection with the Vishu festival, that it is
the duty of every devout Hindu to see the village deity the first of
all things in the morning. For this purpose, many sleep within the
temple precincts, and those who sleep in their own houses are escorted
thither by those who have been the first to make their obeisance. Many
go to see the image with their eyes shut, and sometimes bound with
a cloth. [7]

If a person places the head towards the east when sleeping, he will
obtain wealth and health; if towards the south, a lengthening of life;
if towards the west, fame; if towards the north, sickness. The last
position, therefore, should be avoided. [8] In the Telugu country, when
a child is roused from sleep by a thunderclap, the mother, pressing
it to her breast, murmurs, "Arjuna Sahadeva." The invocation implies
the idea that thunder is caused by the Mahabharata heroes, Arjuna
and Sahadeva. [9] To dream of a temple car in motion, foretells the
death of a near relative. Night, but not day dreams, are considered
as omens for good or evil. Among those which are auspicious, may be
mentioned riding on a cow, bull, or elephant, entering a temple or
palace, a golden horse, climbing a mountain or tree, drinking liquor,
eating flesh, curds and rice, wearing white cloths, or jewelry set
with precious stones, being dressed in white cloths, and embracing
a woman, whose body is smeared with sandal paste. A person will be
cured of sickness if he dreams of Braahmans, kings, flowers, jewels,
women, or a looking-glass. Wealth is ensured by a dream that one
is bitten in the shade by a snake, or stung by a scorpion. One who
dreams that he has been bitten by a snake is considered to be proof
against snake-bite; and if he dreams of a cobra, his wife or some
near relative is believed to have conceived. Hindu wives believe that
to tell their husband's name, or pronounce it even in a dream, would
bring him to an untimely end. If a person has an auspicious dream,
he should get up and not go to sleep again. But, if the dream is of
evil omen, he should pray that he may be spared from its ill effects,
and may go to sleep again.

The arrival of a guest is foreshadowed by the hissing noise of the
oven, the slipping of a winnow during winnowing, or of a measure
when measuring rice. If one dines with a friend or relation on
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday, it is well; if on a Tuesday,
ill-feeling will ensue; if on a Thursday, endless enmity; if on a
Sunday, hatred. While eating, one should face east, west, south,
or north, according as one wishes for long life, fame, to become
vainglorious, or for justice or truth. Evil is foreshadowed if a
light goes out during meals, or while some auspicious thing, such,
for example, as a marriage, is being discussed. A feast given to
the jungle Paliyans by some missionaries was marred at the outset
by the unfortunate circumstance that betel and tobacco were placed
by the side of the food, these articles being of evil omen as they
are placed in the grave with the dead. Chewing a single areca nut,
along with betel leaf secures vigour, two nuts are inauspicious,
three are excellent, and more bring indifferent luck. The basal
portion of the betel leaf must be rejected, as it produces disease;
the apical part, as it induces sin; and the midrib and veins, as they
destroy the intellect. A leaf on which chunam (lime) has been kept,
should be avoided, as it may shorten life.

Before the Koyis shift their quarters, they consult the omens, to see
whether the change will be auspicious or not. Sometimes the hatching
of a clutch of eggs provides the answer, or four grains of four kinds
of seed, representing the prosperity of men, cattle, sheep, and land,
are put on a heap of ashes under a man's bed. Any movement among them
during the night is a bad omen. [10]

When a Kondh starts on a shooting expedition, if he first meets an
adult female, married or unmarried, he will return home, and ask a
child to tell the females to keep out of the way. He will then make
a fresh start, and, if he meets a female, will wave his hand to her
as a sign that she must keep clear of him. The Kondh believes that,
if he sees a female, he will not come across animals in the jungle
to shoot. If a woman is in her menses, her husband, brothers, and
sons living under the same roof, will not go out shooting for the
same reason.

It is noted by Mr F. Fawcett [11] that it is considered unlucky by
the Koravas, when starting on a dacoity or housebreaking, "to see
widows, pots of milk, dogs urinating, a man leading a bull, or a
bull bellowing. On the other hand, it is downright lucky when a bull
bellows at the scene of the criminal operation. To see a man goading
a bull is a good omen when starting, and a bad one at the scene. The
eighteenth day of the Tamil month, Avani, is the luckiest day of
all for committing crimes. A successful criminal exploit on this day
ensures good luck throughout the year. Sundays, which are auspicious
for weddings, are inauspicious for crimes. Mondays, Wednesdays,
and Saturdays are unlucky until noon for starting out from home. So,
too, is the day after new moon." Fridays are unsuitable for breaking
into the houses of Brahmans or Komatis, as they may be engaged in
worshipping Ankalamma, to whom the day is sacred.

Some Boyas in the Bellary district enjoy inam (rent free) lands, in
return for propitiating the village goddesses by a rite called bhuta
bali, which is intended to secure the prosperity of the village. The
Boya priest gets himself shaved at about midnight, sacrifices a sheep
or buffalo, mixes its blood with rice, and distributes the rice thus
prepared in small balls throughout the village. When he starts on this
business, all the villagers bolt their doors, as it is not considered
auspicious to see him then.

When a student starts for the examination hall, he will, if he sees
a widow or a Brahman, retrace his steps, and start again after the
lapse of a few minutes. Meeting two Brahmans would indicate good luck,
and he would proceed on his way full of hope.

If, when a person is leaving his house, the head or feet strike
accidentally against the threshold, he should not go out, as it
forebodes some impending mischief. Sometimes, when a person returns
home from a distance, especially at night, he is kept standing at the
door, and, after he has washed his hands and feet, an elderly female
or servant of the house brings a shallow plate full of water mixed
with lime juice and chunam (lime), with some chillies and pieces
of charcoal floating on it. The plate is carried three times round
the person, and the contents are then thrown into the street without
being seen by the man. He then enters the house. If a person knocks at
the door of a house in the night once, twice, or thrice, it will not
be opened. If the knock is repeated a fourth time, the door will be
opened without fear, for the evil spirit is said to knock only thrice.

A tickling sensation in the sole of the right foot foretells that
the person has to go on a journey. The omens are favourable if any
of the following are met with by one who is starting on a journey,
or special errand:--


    Married woman.
    Virgin.
    Prostitute.
    Two Brahmans.
    Playing of music.
    One carrying musical instruments.
    Money.
    Fruit or flowers.
    A light, or clear blazing fire.
    Umbrella.
    Cooked food.
    Milk or curds.
    Cow.
    Deer.
    Corpse.
    Two fishes.
    Recital of Vedas.
    Sound of drum or horn.
    Spirituous liquor.
    Bullock.
    Mutton.
    Precious stones.
    One bearing a silver armlet.
    Sandalwood.
    Rice.
    Elephant.
    Horse.
    Pot full of water.
    Married woman carrying a water-pot from a tank.
    Pot of toddy.
    Black monkey.
    Dog.
    Royal eagle.
    Parrot.
    Honey.
    Hearing kind words.
    A Gazula Balija with his pile of bangles on his back.


If, on similar occasions, a person comes across any of the following,
the omens are unfavourable:--


    Widow.
    Lightning.
    Fuel.
    Smoky fire.
    Hare.
    Crow flying from right to left.
    Snake.
    New pot.
    Blind man.
    Lame man.
    Sick man.
    Salt.
    Tiger.
    Pot of oil.
    Leather.
    Dog barking on a housetop.
    Bundle of sticks.
    Buttermilk.
    Empty vessel.
    A quarrel.
    Man with dishevelled hair.
    Oilman.
    Leper.
    Mendicant.


Sometimes people leave their house, and sleep elsewhere on the
night preceding an inauspicious day, on which a journey is to be
made. Unlucky days for starting on a journey are vara-sulai, or days
on which Siva's trident (sula) is kept on the ground. The direction
in which it lies, varies according to the day of the week. For
example, Sunday before noon is a bad time to start towards the west,
as the trident is turned that way. It is said to be unlucky to go
westward on Friday or Sunday, eastward on Monday or Saturday, north
on Tuesday or Wednesday, south on Thursday. A journey begun on Tuesday
is liable to result in loss by thieves or fire at home. Loss, too, is
likely to follow a journey begun on Saturday, and sickness a start on
Sunday. Wednesday and Friday are both propitious days, and a journey
begun on either with a view to business will be lucrative. The worst
days for travelling are Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday. [12] On more
than one occasion, a subordinate in my office overstayed his leave
on the ground that his guru (spiritual preceptor) told him that the
day on which he should have returned was an unlucky one for a journey.

If a traveller sees a hare on his way, he may be sure that he will
not succeed in the object of his journey. If, however, the hare
touches him, and he does not at once turn back and go home, he is
certain to meet with a great misfortune. There is an authority for
this superstition in the Ramayana. After Rama had recovered Sita and
returned to Ayodha, he was informed that, whilst a washerman and his
wife were quarrelling, the former had exclaimed that he was not such
a fool as the king had been to take back his wife after she had been
carried away by a stranger. Rama thought this over, and resolved to
send his wife into the forest. His brother, Lutchmana, was to drive
her there, and then to leave her alone. On their way they met a hare,
and Sita, who was ignorant of the purpose of the journey, begged
Lutchmana to return, as the omen was a bad one. [13]

If a dog scratches its body, a traveller will fall ill; if it lies down
and wags its tail, some disaster will follow. To one proceeding on a
journey, a dog crossing the path from right to left is auspicious. But,
if it gets on his person or his feet, shaking its ears, the journey
will be unlucky.

A person should postpone an errand on which he is starting, if he
sees a cobra or rat-snake. In a recent judicial case, a witness gave
evidence to the effect that he was starting on a journey, and when he
had proceeded a short way, a snake crossed the road. This being an
evil omen, he went back and put off his journey till the following
day. On his way he passed through a village in which some men had
been arrested for murder, and found that one of two men, whom he had
promised to accompany and had gone on without him, had been murdered.

Sneezing once is a good sign; twice, a bad sign. When a child sneezes,
those near it usually say "dirgayus" (long life), or "sathayus" (a
hundred years). The rishi or sage Markandeya, who was remarkable for
his austerities and great age, is also known as Dirgayus. Adults who
sneeze pronounce the name of some god, the common expression being
"Srimadrangam." When a Badaga baby is born, it is a good omen if
the father sneezes before the umbilical cord has been cut, and an
evil one if he sneezes after its severance. In the Teluga country it
is believed that a child who sneezes on a winnowing fan, or on the
door-frame, will meet with misfortune unless balls of boiled rice are
thrown over it; and a man who sneezes during his meal, especially at
night, will also be unlucky unless water is sprinkled over his face,
and he is made to pronounce his own name, and that of his birthplace
and his patron deity. [14]

Gaping is an indication that evil spirits have effected an entrance
into the body. Hence many Brahmans, when they gape, snap their fingers
as a preventive. [15] When a great man yawns, his sleep is promoted by
all the company with him snapping their fingers with great vehemence,
and making a singular noise. It was noted by Alberuni [16] that Hindus
"spit out and blow their noses without any respect for the elder ones
present, and crack their lice before them. They consider the crepitus
ventris as a good omen, sneezing as a bad omen." In Travancore, a
courtier must cover the mouth with the right hand, lest his breath
should pollute the king or other superior. Also, at the temples,
a low-caste man must wear a bandage over his nose and mouth, so
that his breath may not pollute the idols. [17] A Kudumi woman in
Travancore, at the menstrual period, should stand at a distance of
seven feet, closing her mouth and nostrils with the palm of her hand,
as her breath would have a contaminating effect. Her shadow, too,
should not fall on any one.

A Kumbara potter, when engaged in the manufacture of the pot or
household deity for the Kurubas, should cover his mouth with a bandage,
so that his breath may not defile it. The Koragas of South Canara are
said to be regarded with such intense loathing that, up to quite recent
times, one section of them called Ande or pot Kurubas, continually wore
a pot suspended from their necks, into which they were compelled to
spit, being so utterly unclean as to be prohibited from even spitting
on the highway. [18] In a note on the Paraiyans (Pariahs), Sonnerat,
writing in the eighteenth century, [19] says that, when drinking,
they put the cup to their lips, and their fingers to their mouths,
in such a way that they are defiled with the spittle. A Brahman may
take snuff, but he should not smoke a cheroot or cigar. When once
the cheroot has touched his lips, it is defiled by the saliva, and,
therefore, cannot be returned to his mouth. [20]

At the festivals of the village deities in the Telugu country,
an unmarried Madiga (Telugu Pariah) woman, called Matangi [21]
(the name of a favourite goddess) spits upon the people assembled,
and touches them with her stick. Her touch and saliva are believed to
purge all uncleanliness of body and soul, and are said to be invited
by men who would ordinarily scorn to approach her. At a festival
called Kathiru in honour of a village goddess in the Cochin State,
the Pulayans (agrestic slaves) go in procession to the temple,
and scatter packets of palm-leaves containing handfuls of paddy
(unhusked rice) rolled up in straw among the crowds of spectators
along the route. "The spectators, both young and old, scramble to
obtain as many of the packets as possible, and carry them home. They
are then hung in front of the houses, for it is believed that their
presence will help to promote the prosperity of the family, until
the festival comes round again next year. The greater the number of
trophies obtained for a family by its members, the greater, it is
believed, will be the prosperity of the family." [22]

In a note on the Kulwadis or Chalavadis of the Hassan district in
Mysore, Captain J. S. F. Mackenzie writes [23] as follows:--


    "Every village has its Holigiri--as the quarters inhabited by
    the Holiars (formerly agrestic serfs) is called--outside the
    village boundary hedge. This, I thought, was because they are
    considered an impure race, whose touch carries defilement with
    it. Such is the reason generally given by the Brahman, who refuses
    to receive anything directly from the hands of a Holiar, and yet
    the Brahmans consider great luck will wait upon them if they can
    manage to pass through the Holigiri without being molested. To
    this the Holiars have a strong objection, and, should a Brahman
    attempt to enter their quarters, they turn out in a body and
    slipper him, in former times it is said to death. Members of
    the other castes may come as far as the door, but they must not
    enter the house, for that would bring the Holiar bad luck. If,
    by chance, a person happens to get in, the owner takes care to
    tear the intruder's cloth, tie up some salt in one corner of it,
    and turn him out. This is supposed to neutralise all the good
    luck which might have accrued to the trespasser, and avert any
    evil which might have befallen the owner of the house."


The Telugu Tottiyans, who have settled in the Tamil country,
are said by Mr F. R. Hemingway not to recognise the superiority of
Brahmans. They are supposed to possess unholy powers, especially the
Nalla (black) Gollas, and are much dreaded by their neighbours. They
do not allow any stranger to enter their villages with shoes on,
or on horseback, or holding up an umbrella, lest their god should be
offended. It is believed that, if any one breaks this rule, he will
be visited with illness or some other punishment.

I am informed by Mr S. P. Rice that, when smallpox breaks out in
a Hindu house, it is a popular belief that to allow strangers or
unclean persons to go into the house, to observe festivals, and even
to permit persons who have combed their hair, bathed in oil, or had
a shave, to see the patient, would arouse the anger of the goddess,
and bring certain death to the sick person. Strangers, and young
married women are not admitted to, and may not approach the house,
as they may have had sexual intercourse on the previous day.

It is believed that the sight or breath of Muhammadans, just after
they have said their prayers at a mosque, will do good to children
suffering from various disorders. For this purpose, women carry or
take their children, and post themselves at the entrance to a mosque
at the time when worshippers leave it. Most of them are Hindus, but
sometimes poor Eurasians may be seen there. I once received a pathetic
appeal from a Eurasian woman in Malabar, imploring me to lay my hands
on the head of her sick child, so that its life might be spared.

In teaching the Grandha alphabet to children, they are made to
repeat the letter "ca" twice quickly without pausing, as the word
"ca" means "die." In Malabar, the instruction of a Tiyan child in
the alphabet is said by Mr F. Fawcett to begin on the last day of
the Dasara festival in the fifth year of its life. A teacher, who
has been selected with care, or a lucky person, holds the child's
right hand, and makes it trace the letters of the Malayalam alphabet
in rice spread on a plate. The forefinger, which is the one used in
offering water to the souls of the dead, and in other parts of the
death ceremonies, must not be used for tracing the letters, but is
placed above the middle finger, merely to steady it. For the same
reason, a doctor, when making a pill, will not use the forefinger. To
mention the number seven in Telugu is unlucky, because the word (yedu)
is the same as that for weeping. Even a treasury officer, who is an
enlightened university graduate, in counting money, will say six and
one. The number seven is, for the same reason, considered unlucky by
the Koravas, and a house-breaking expedition should not consist of
seven men. Should this, however, be unavoidable, a fiction is indulged
in of making the house-breaking implement the eighth member of the
gang. [24] In Tamil the word ten is considered inauspicious, because,
on the tenth day after the death of her husband, a widow removes the
emblems of married life. Probably for this reason, the offspring of
Kallan polyandrous marriages style themselves the children of eight
and two, not ten fathers. Labha is a Sanskrit word meaning profit or
gain, and has its equivalent in all the vernacular languages. Hindus,
when counting, commence with this word instead of the word signifying
one. In like manner, Muhammadans use the word Bismillah or Burketh,
apparently as an invocation like the medicinal Rx (Oh! Jupiter,
aid us). When the number a hundred has been counted, they again
begin with the substitute for one, and this serves as a one for the
person who is keeping the tally. Oriya merchants say labho (gain)
instead of eko (one), when counting out the seers of rice for the
elephants' rations. The people of the Oriya Zemindaris often use,
not the year of the Hindu cycle or Muhammadan era, but the year of
the reigning Raja of Puri. The first year of the reign is called, not
one, but labho. The counting then proceeds in the ordinary course,
but, with the exception of the number ten, all numbers ending with
seven or nothing are omitted. This is called the onko. Thus, if a
Raja has reigned two and a half years, he would be said to be in the
twenty-fifth onko, seven, seventeen and twenty being omitted. [25]
For chewing betel, two other ingredients are necessary, viz., areca
nuts and chunam (lime). For some reason, Tamil Vaishnavas object to
mentioning the last by name, and call it moonavadu, or the third.

At a Brahman funeral, the sons and nephews of the deceased go
round the corpse, and untie their kudumi (hair knot), leaving
part thereof loose, tie up the rest into a small bunch, and slap
their thighs. Consequently, when children at play have their kudumi
partially tied, and slap their thighs, they are invariably scolded
owing to the association with funerals. Among all Hindu classes it
is considered as an insult to the god to bathe or wash the feet on
returning home from worship at a temple, and, by so doing, the punyam
(good) would be lost. Moreover, washing the feet at the entrance to a
home is connected with funerals, inasmuch as, on the return from the
burning-ground, a mourner may not enter the house until he has washed
his feet. The Badagas of the Nilgiris hold an agricultural festival
called devve, which should on no account be pronounced duvve, which
means burning-ground.

A bazaar shop-keeper who deals in colours will not sell white paint
after the lamps have been lighted. In like manner, a cloth-dealer
refuses to sell black cloth, and the dealer in hardware to sell nails,
needles, etc., lest poverty should ensue. Digging operations with a
spade should be stopped before the lamps are lighted. A betel-vine
cultivator objects to entering his garden or plucking a leaf after
the lighting of the lamps; but, if some leaves are urgently required,
he will, before plucking them, pour water from a pot at the foot of
the tree on which the vine is growing.

Arrack (liquor) vendors consider it unlucky to set their measures
upside down. Some time ago, the Excise Commissioner informs me,
the Madras Excise Department had some aluminium measures made for
measuring arrack in liquor shops. It was found that the arrack corroded
the aluminium, and the measures soon leaked. The shop-keepers were
told to turn their measures upside down, in order that they might
drain. This they refused to do, as it would bring bad luck to their
shops. New measures with round bottoms, which would not stand up, were
evolved. But the shop-keepers began to use rings of indiarubber from
soda-water bottles, to make them stand. An endeavour was then made to
induce them to keep their measures inverted by hanging them on pegs,
so that they would drain without being turned upside down. The case
illustrates how important a knowledge of the superstitions of the
people is in the administration of their affairs. Even so trifling an
innovation as the introduction of a new arrangement for maintaining
tension in the warp during the process of weaving gave rise a few
years ago to a strike among the hand-loom weavers at the Madras School
of Arts.

When a Paidi (agriculturists and weavers in Ganjam) is seriously ill,
a male or female sorcerer (bejjo or bejjano) is consulted. A square
divided into sixteen compartments is drawn on the floor with rice
flour. In each compartment are placed a leaf-cup of Butea frondosa,
a quarter-anna piece, and some food. Seven small bows and arrows are
set up in front thereof in two lines. On one side of the square, a big
cup filled with food is placed. A fowl is sacrificed, and its blood
poured thrice round this cup. Then, placing water in a vessel near
the cup, the sorcerer or sorceress throws into it a grain of rice,
giving out at the same time the name of some god or goddess. If the
rice sinks, it is believed that the illness is caused by the anger
of the deity, whose name has been mentioned. If the rice floats, the
names of various deities are called out, until a grain sinks. When
selecting a site for a new dwelling hut, the Maliah Savaras place
on the proposed site as many grains of rice in pairs as there are
married members in the family, and cover them over with a cocoanut
shell. They are examined on the following day, and, if they are all
there, the site is considered auspicious. Among the Kapu Savaras,
the grains of rice are folded up in leaflets of the bael tree (Ægle
Marmelos), and placed in a split bamboo.

It is recorded by Gloyer [26] that "when a Domb (Vizagapatam hill
tribe) house has to be built, the first thing is to select a favourable
spot, to which few evil spirits (dumas) resort. At this spot they put,
in several places, three grains of rice arranged in such a way that
the two lower grains support the upper one. To protect the grains,
they pile up stones round them, and the whole is lightly covered
with earth. When, after some time, they find on inspection that the
upper grain has fallen off, the spot is regarded as unlucky, and
must not be used. If the position of the grains remains unchanged,
the omen is regarded as auspicious. They drive in the first post,
which must have a certain length, say of five, seven, or nine ells,
the ell being measured from the tip of the middle finger to the
elbow. The post is covered on the top with rice straw, leaves, and
shrubs, so that birds may not foul it, which would be an evil omen."

In Madras, a story is current with reference to the statue of Sir
Thomas Munro, that he seized upon all the rice depôts, and starved
the people by selling rice in egg-shells, at one shell for a rupee. To
punish him, the Government erected the statue in an open place without
a canopy, so that the birds of the air might insult him by polluting
his face. In the Bellary district, the names Munrol and Munrolappa
are common, and are given in hope that the boy may attain the same
celebrity as the former Governor of Madras. (I once came across
a Telugu cultivator, who rejoiced in the name of Curzon). One of
Sir Thomas Munro's good qualities was that, like Rama and Rob Roy,
his arms reached to his knees, or, in other words, he possessed the
quality of an Ajanubahu, which is the heritage of kings, or those
who have blue blood in them.

In a case of dispute between two Koravas, [27] "the decision is
sometimes arrived at by means of an ordeal. An equal quantity of rice
is placed in two pots of equal weight, having the same quantity of
water, and there is an equal quantity of fire-wood. The judges satisfy
themselves most carefully as to quantity, weights, and so on. The
water is boiled, and the man whose rice boils first is declared to be
the winner of the dispute. The loser has to recoup the winner all his
expenses. It sometimes happens that both pots boil at the same time;
then a coin is to be picked out of a pot containing boiling oil."

At one of the religious ceremonies of the Koravas, offerings of
boiled rice (pongal) are made to the deity, Poleramma, by fasting
women. The manner in which the boiling food bubbles over from the
cooking-pot is eagerly watched, and accepted as an omen for good or
evil. A festival called Pongal is observed by Hindus on the first day
of the Tamil month Tai, and derives its name from the fact that rice
boiled in milk is offered to propitiate the Sun God.

Before the ceremony of walking through fire [28] (burning embers) at
Nidugala on the Nilgiris, the omens are taken by boiling two pots of
milk, side by side, on two hearths. If the milk overflows uniformly
on all sides, the crops will be abundant for all the villages. But,
if it flows over on one side only, there will be plentiful crops for
villages on that side only. For boiling the milk, a light obtained by
friction must be used. After the milk-boiling ceremonial, the pujari
(priest), tying bells on his legs, approaches the fire-pit, carrying
milk freshly drawn from a cow, which has calved for the first time,
and flowers of Rhododendron, Leucas, or jasmine. After doing puja
(worship), he throws the flowers on the embers, and they should remain
unscorched for a few seconds. He then pours some of the milk over
the embers, and no hissing sound should be produced. The omens being
propitious, he walks over the glowing embers, followed by a Udaya [29]
and the crowd of celebrants, who, before going through the ordeal,
count the hairs on their feet. If any are singed, it is a sign of
approaching ill-fortune, or even death.

It is recorded by the Rev. J. Cain [30] that, when the Koyis of the
Godaavari district determine to appease the goddess of smallpox or
cholera, they erect a pandal (booth) outside their village under a
nim tree (Melia Azadirachta).  They make the image of a woman with
earth from a white-ant hill, tie a cloth or two round it, hang a
few peacock's feathers round its neck, and place it under the pandal
on a three-legged stool made from the wood of the silk-cotton tree
(Cochlospermum Gossypium). They then bring forward a chicken, and
try to persuade it to eat some of the grains which they have thrown
before the image, requesting the goddess to inform them whether she
will leave their village or not. If the chicken picks up some of
the grains, they regard it as a most favourable omen; but, if not,
their hearts are filled with dread of the continued anger of the
goddess. At the Bhudevi Panduga, or festival of the earth goddess,
according to Mr F. R. Hemingway, the Koyis set up a stone beneath
a Terminalia tomentosa tree, which is thus dedicated to the goddess
Kodalamma.  Each worshipper brings a cock to the priest, who holds it
over grains of rice, which have been sprinkled before the goddess. If
the bird pecks at the rice, good luck is ensured for the coming year,
whilst, if perchance the bird pecks three times, the offerer of that
particular bird can scarcely contain himself for joy. If the bird
declines to touch the grains, ill-luck is sure to visit the owner's
house during the ensuing year.

Concerning a boundary oath in the Mulkangiri taluk of Vizagapatam,
Mr C. A. Henderson writes to me as follows:--


    "The pujari (priest) levelled a piece of ground about a foot
    square, and smeared it with cow-dung. The boundary was marked with
    rice-flour and turmeric, and a small heap of rice and cow-dung
    was left in the middle. A sword was laid across the heap. The
    pujari touched the rice-flour line with the tips of his fingers,
    and then pressed his knuckles on the same place, thus leaving an
    exit on the south side. He then held a chicken over the central
    heap, and muttered some mantrams. The chicken pecked at the rice,
    and an egg was placed on the heap. The chicken then pecked at
    the rice again. The ceremony then waited for another party, who
    performed a similar ceremony. There was some amusement because
    their chickens would not eat. The chickens were decapitated, and
    their heads placed in the square. The eggs were then broken. It
    was raining, and there was a resulting puddle of cow-dung,
    chicken's blood, egg, and rice, of which the representatives of
    each party took a portion, and eat it, or pretended to do so,
    stating to whom the land belonged. There is said to be a belief
    that, if a man swears falsely, he will die."


Though not bearing on the subject of omens, some further boundary
ceremonies may be placed under reference. At Sattamangalam, in the
South Arcot district, the festival of the goddess Mariamma is said
to be crowned by the sacrifice at midnight of a goat, the entrails
of which are hung round the neck of the Toti (scavenger), who then
goes, stark naked, save for this one adornment, round all the village
boundaries. [31]

It is recorded by Bishop Whitehead [32] that, in some parts of the
Tamil country, e.g., in the Trichinopoly district, at the ceremony for
the propitiation of the village boundary goddess, a priest carries
a pot containing boiled rice and the blood of a lamb which has been
sacrificed to the boundary stone, round which he runs three times. The
third time he throws the pot over his shoulder on to another smaller
stone, which stands at the foot of the boundary stone.  The pot is
dashed to pieces, and the rice and blood scatter over the two stones
and all round them. The priest then goes away without looking back,
followed by the crowd of villagers in dead silence. In the Cuddapah
district, when there is a boundary dispute in a village, an image
of the goddess Gangamma is placed in the street, and left there for
two days. The head of a buffalo and several sheep are offered to her,
and the blood is allowed to run into the gutter. The goddess is then
worshipped, and she is implored to point out the correct boundary. [33]
In Mysore, if there is a dispute as to the village boundaries, the
Holeya [34] Kuluvadi is believed to be the only person competent to
take the oath as to how the boundary ought to run. The old custom for
settling such disputes is thus described by Captain J. S. F. Mackenzie:
[35]


    "The Kuluvadi, carrying on his head a ball made of the village
    earth, in the centre of which is placed some earth, passes
    along the boundary. If he has kept the proper line, everything
    goes well, but, should he, by accident even, go beyond his own
    proper boundary, then the ball of earth, of its own accord,
    goes to pieces. The Kuluvadi is said to die within fifteen days,
    and his house becomes a ruin. Such is the popular belief."


Some years ago Mr H. D. Taylor was called on to settle a boundary
dispute between two villages in Jeypore under the following
circumstances. As the result of a panchayat (council meeting), the
men of one village had agreed to accept the boundary claimed by the
other party if the head of their village walked round the boundary and
eat earth at intervals, provided that no harm came to him within six
months. The man accordingly perambulated the boundary eating earth,
and a conditional order of possession was given. Shortly afterwards the
man's cattle died, one of his children died of smallpox, and finally
he himself died within three months. The other party then claimed
the land on the ground that the earth-goddess had proved him to have
perjured himself. It was urged in defence that the man had been made
to eat earth at such frequent intervals that he contracted dysentery,
and died from the effects of earth-eating. [36]

When the time for the annual festival of the tribal goddess of the
Kuruvikkarans (Marathi-speaking beggars) draws nigh, the headman or
an elder piles up Vigna Catiang seeds in five small heaps. He then
decides in his mind whether there is an odd or even number of seeds
in the majority of heaps. If, when the seeds are counted, the result
agrees with his forecast, it is taken as a sign of the approval of
the goddess, and arrangements for the festival are made. Otherwise
it is abandoned for the year.

At the annual festival of Chaudeswari, the tribal goddess of Devanga
weavers, the priest tries to balance a long sword on its point on
the edge of the mouth of a pot. A lime fruit is placed in the region
of the navel of the idol, who should throw it down spontaneously. A
bundle of betel leaves is cut across with a knife, and the cut ends
should unite. If the omens are favourable, a lamp made of rice-flour
is lighted, and pongal (boiled rice) offered to it.

It is recorded by Canter Visscher [37] that, in the building of a house
in Malabar, the carpenters open three or four cocoanuts, spilling the
juice as little as possible, and put some tips of betel leaves into
them. From the way these float on the liquid they foretell whether
the house will be lucky or unlucky, whether it will stand for a long
or short period, and whether another will ever be erected on its site.

Korava women, if their husbands are absent on a criminal expedition
long enough to arouse apprehension of danger, pull a long piece out
of a broom, and tie to one end of it several small pieces dipped in
oil. If the stick floats in water, all is well; but, should it sink,
two of the women start at once to find the men. [38]

In the village of Chakibunda in the Cuddapah district, there is a pool
of water at the foot of a hill. Those who are desirous of getting
children, wealth, etc., go there and pour oil into the water. The
oil is said not to float as is usual in greasy bubbles, but to sink
and never rise. They also offer betel leaves, on which turmeric and
kunkumam have been placed. If these leaves sink, and after some time
reappear without the turmeric and kunkumam, but with the marks of
nails upon them, the person offering them will gain his wishes. The
contents of the leaves, and the oil, are supposed to be consumed by
some divine being at the bottom of the pool. [39] At Madicheruvu, in
the Cuddapah district, there is a small waterfall in the midst of a
jungle, which is visited annually by a large number of pilgrims. Those
who are anxious to know if their sins are forgiven stand under the
fall. If they are acceptable the water falls on their heads, but,
if they have some great guilt weighing on them, the water swerves on
one side, and refuses to be polluted by contact with the sinner. [40]

Among the Vadas (Telugu fishermen) the Mannaru is an important
individual who not only performs worship, but is consulted on many
points. If a man does not secure good catches of fish, he goes to
the Mannaru to ascertain the cause of his bad luck. The Mannaru
holds in his hand a string on which a stone is tied, and invokes
various gods and goddesses by name. Every time a name is mentioned,
the stone either swings to and fro like a pendulum, or performs a
circular movement. If the former occurs, it is a sign that the deity
whose name has been pronounced is the cause of the misfortune, and
must be propitiated in a suitable manner.

The Nomad Bauris or Bawariyas, who commit robberies and manufacture
counterfeit coin, keep with them a small quantity of wheat and sandal
seeds in a tin or brass case, which they call devakadana or god's
grain, and a tuft of peacock's feathers. They are very superstitious,
and do not embark on any enterprise without first ascertaining by
omens whether it will be attended with success or not. This they do
by taking at random a small quantity of grains out of the devakadana,
and counting the number thereof, the omen being considered good or bad
according as the number is odd or even. [41] A gang of Donga Dasaris,
before starting on a thieving expedition, proceed to the jungle near
their village in the early part of the night, worship their favourite
goddesses, Huligavva and Ellamma, and sacrifice a sheep or fowl before
them. They place one of their turbans on the head of the animal as
soon as its head falls on the ground. If the turban turns to the right
it is considered a good sign, the goddess having permitted them to
proceed on the expedition; if to the left they return home. Hanuman
(the monkey god) is also consulted as to such expeditions. They go
to a Hanuman temple, and, after worshipping him, garland him with a
wreath of flowers. The garland hangs on both sides of the neck. If any
of the flowers on the right side drop down first, it is regarded as
a permission granted by the god to start on a plundering expedition;
and, conversely, an expedition is never undertaken if any flower
happens to drop from the left side first. [42] The Kallans are said
by Mr F. S. Mullaly [43] to consult the deity before starting on
depredations. Two flowers, the one red and the other white, are placed
before the idol, a symbol of their god Kalla Alagar. The white flower
is the emblem of success. A child of tender years is told to pluck a
petal of one of the two flowers, and the success of the undertaking
rests upon the choice made by the child. The Pulluvan astrologers of
Malabar sometimes calculate beforehand the result of a project in which
they are engaged, by placing before the god two bouquets of flowers,
one red, the other white, of which a child picks out one with its eyes
closed. Selection of the white bouquet predicts auspicious results,
of the red the reverse. In the same way, when the Kammalans (Tamil
artisans) appoint their Anjivittu Nattamaikkaran to preside over them,
five men selected from each of the five divisions meet at the temple
of the caste goddess, Kamakshi Amman. The names of the five men are
written on five slips of paper, which, together with some blank slips,
are thrown before the shrine of the goddess. A child, taken at random
from the assembled crowd, is made to pick up the slips, and he whose
name turns up first is proclaimed Anjivittu Nattamaikkaran.

Eclipses are regarded as precursors of evil, which must, if possible,
be averted. Concerning the origin thereof, according to tradition in
Malabar, Mr Gopal Panikkar writes as follows [44]:--


    "Tradition says that, when an eclipse takes place, Rahu the huge
    serpent is devouring the sun or moon, as the case may be. An
    eclipse being thus the decease of one of those heavenly bodies,
    people must, of necessity, observe pollution for the period during
    which the eclipse lasts. When the monster spits out the body, the
    eclipse is over. Food and drink taken during an eclipse possess
    poisonous properties, and people therefore abstain from eating
    and drinking until the eclipse is over. They bathe at the end of
    the eclipse, so as to get rid of the pollution. Any one shutting
    himself up from exposure may be exempted from this obligation to
    take a bath."


Deaths from drowning are not unknown in Madras at times of eclipse,
when Hindus bathe in the sea, and get washed away by the surf. It
is said [45] that, before an eclipse, the people prepare their
drums, etc., to frighten the giant, lest he should eat up the moon
entirely. Images of snakes are offered to the deity on days of eclipse
by Brahmans on whose star day the eclipse falls, to appease the wrath
of the terrible Rahu. It is noted by Mr S. M. Natesa Sastri [46]
that "the eclipse must take place on some asterism or other, and,
if that asterism happens to be that in which any Hindu was born,
he has to perform some special ceremonies to absolve himself from
impending evil. He makes a plate of gold or silver, or of palm leaf,
according to his means, and ties it on his forehead with Sanskrit
verses inscribed on it. He sits with this plate for some time, performs
certain ceremonies, bathes with the plate untied, and presents it to
a Brahman with some fee, ranging from four annas to several thousands
of rupees. The belief that an eclipse is a calamity to the sun or
moon is such a strong Hindu belief, that no marriage takes place in
the month in which an eclipse falls."

I gather [47] that, "during an eclipse, many of the people retire into
their houses, and remain behind closed doors until the evil hour has
passed. The time is in all respects inauspicious, and no work begun or
completed during this period can meet with success; indeed, so great
is the dread, that no one would think of initiating any important work
at this time. More especially is it fatal to women who are pregnant,
for the evil will fall upon the unborn babe, and, in cases of serious
malformation or congenital lameness, the cause is said to be that the
mother looked on an eclipse. Women, therefore, not only retire into
the house, but, in order that they may be further protected from the
evil, they burn horn shavings. The evils of an eclipse are not limited
to human beings, but cattle and crops also need protection from the
malignant spirits which are supposed to be abroad. In order that the
cattle may be preserved, they are as far as possible taken indoors,
and especially those which have young calves; and, to make assurance
doubly sure, their horns are smeared with chunam (lime). The crops
are protected by procuring ashes from the potter's field, which seem
to be specially potent against evil spirits. With these ashes images
are made, and placed on the four sides of the field. Comets, too,
are looked upon as omens of evil."

When a person is about to occupy a new house, he takes particular care
to see that the planet Venus does not face him as he enters it. With
this star before him, he sometimes postpones the occupation, or, if
he is obliged to enter, he reluctantly does so through the back-door.

On the day of the capture of Seringaptam, which, being the last
day of a lunar month, was inauspicious, the astrologer repeated the
unfavourable omen to Tipu Sultan, who was slain in the course of the
battle. It is recorded [48] that "to different Bramins he gave a black
buffalo, a milch buffalo, a male buffalo, a black she-goat, a jacket of
coarse black cloth, a cap of the same material, ninety rupees, and an
iron pot filled with oil; and, previous to the delivery of this last
article, he held his head over the pot for the purpose of seeing the
image of his face; a ceremony used in Hindostan to avert misfortune."

The time at which the address of welcome by the Madras Municipal
Corporation to Sir Arthur Lawley on his taking over the Governorship
of Madras was changed from 12-30 P.M. to 1 P.M. on a Wednesday,
as the time originally fixed fell within the period of Rahukalam,
which is an inauspicious hour on that day.

It is considered by a Hindu unlucky to get shaved for ceremonial
purposes in the months of Adi, Purattasi, Margali, and Masi, and,
in the remaining months, Sunday, Tuesday, and Saturday should be
avoided. Further, the star under which a man was born has to be
taken into consideration, and it may happen that an auspicious day
for being shaved does not occur for some weeks. It is on this account
that orthodox Hindus are sometimes compelled to go about with unkempt
chins. Even for anointing the body, auspicious and inauspicious
days are prescribed. Thus, anointing on Sunday causes loss of
beauty, on Monday brings increase of riches, and on Thursday loss
of intellect. If a person is obliged to anoint himself on Sunday,
he should put a bit of the root of oleander (Nerium) in the oil,
and heat it before applying it. This is supposed to avert the evil
influences. Similarly on Tuesday dry earth, on Thursday roots of
Cynodou Dactylon, and on Friday ashes must be used.

It is considered auspicious if a girl attains puberty on a Monday,
Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, and the omens vary according to the
month in which the first menstrual period occurs. Thus the month of
Vaiyasi ensures prosperity, Ani male issue, Masi happiness, Margali
well-behaved children, Punguni long life and many children. At the
first menstrual ceremony of a Tiyan girl in Malabar, her aunt, or,
if she is married, her husband's sister, pours gingelly (Sesamum)
oil over her head, on the top of which a gold fanam (coin) has been
placed. The oil is poured from a little cup made from a leaf of
the jak tree (Artocarpus integrifolia), flows over the forehead,
and is received with the fanam in a dish. It is a good omen if the
coin falls with the obverse upwards.

If a Brahman woman loses her tali (marriage badge), it is regarded as
a bad omen for her husband. As a Deva-dasi (dancing-girl) can never
become a widow, the beads in her tali are considered to bring good luck
to those who wear them. And some people send the tali required for a
marriage to a Deva-dasi, who prepares the string for it, and attaches
to it black beads from her own tali. A Deva-dasi is also deputed to
walk at the head of Hindu marriage processions. Married women do not
like to do this, as they are not proof against evil omens, which the
procession may come across, and it is believed that Deva-dasis, to whom
widowhood is unknown, possess the power of warding off the effects of
unlucky omens. It may be remarked, en passant, that Deva-dasis are not
at the present day so much patronised at Hindu marriages as in former
days. Much is due in this direction to the progress of enlightened
ideas, which have of late been strongly put forward by Hindu social
reformers. General Burton narrates [49] how a civilian of the old
school built a house at Bhavani, and established a corps de ballet,
i.e., a set of nautch girls, whose accomplishments extended to singing
God Save the King, and this was kept up by their descendants, so that,
when he visited the place in 1852, he was "greeted by the whole party,
bedizened in all their finery, and squalling the National Anthem." With
this may be contrasted a circular from a modern European official,
which states that "during my jamabandy (land revenue settlement) tour,
people have sometimes been kind enough to arrange singing or dancing
parties, and, as it would have been discourteous to decline to attend
what had cost money to arrange, I have accepted the compliment in
the spirit in which it was offered. I should, however, be glad if you
would let it be generally known that I am entirely in accord with what
is known as the anti-nautch movement in regard to such performances."

It was unanimously decided, in 1905, by the Executive Committee of
the Prince and Princess of Wales' reception committee, that there
should be no performance by nautch girls at the entertainment to
their Royal Highnesses at Madras.

The marriage ceremonies of Are Dammaras (Marathi-speaking acrobats) are
supervised by an old Basavi woman, and the marriage badge is tied round
the bride's neck by a Basavi (public woman dedicated to the deity).

When a marriage is contemplated among the Idaiyans (Tamil shepherds)
of Coimbatore, the parents of the prospective bride and bridegroom
go to the temple, and throw before the idol a red and white flower,
each wrapped in a betel leaf. A small child is then told to pick up
one of the leaves. If the one selected contains the white flower, it is
considered auspicious, and the marriage will be contracted. The Devanga
weavers, before settling the marriage of a girl, consult some village
goddess or the tribal goddess Chaudeswari, and watch the omens. A
lizard chirping on the right is good, and on the left bad. Sometimes,
red and white flowers wrapped in green leaves are thrown in front of
the idol, and the omen is considered good or bad, according to the
flower which a child picks up. Among the hill Uralis of Coimbatore,
a flower is placed on the top of a stone or figure representing the
tribal goddess, and, after worship, it is addressed in the words:
"Oh! swamil (goddess), drop the flower to the right if the marriage
is going to be propitious, and to the left if otherwise." Should the
flower remain on the image without falling either way, it is greeted
as a very happy omen. When a marriage is in contemplation among the
Agamudaiyans (Tamil cultivators), some close relations of the young
man proceed to some distance northward, and wait for omens. If these
are auspicious, they are satisfied. Some, instead of so doing, go to
a temple, and seek the omens either by placing flowers on the idol,
and watching the directions in which they fall, or by picking up
a flower from a large number strewn in front of the idol. If the
flower picked up, and the one thought of, are of the same colour,
it is regarded as a good omen. Among the Gudigaras (wood-carvers) of
South Canara, the parents of the couple go to a temple, and receive
from the priest some flowers which have been used in worship. These
are counted, and, if their number is even, the match is arranged. At
a marriage among the Malaialis of the Kollaimalai hills, the garlands
with which the bridal couple are adorned, are thrown into a well after
the tali has been tied on the bride's neck. If they float together,
it is an omen that the two will love each other.

Among the Telugu Janappans (gunny-bag makers), on the day fixed for
the betrothal, those assembled wait silently listening for the chirping
of a lizard, which is an auspicious sign. It is said that the match is
broken off if the chirping is not heard. If the omen proves auspicious,
a small bundle of nine to twelve kinds of pulses and grain is given by
the bridegroom's father to the father of the bride. This is preserved,
and examined several days after the marriage. If the pulses and grain
are in good condition, it is a sign that the newly married couple
will have a prosperous career. During the marriage ceremonies of
the Muhammadan Daknis or Deccanis, two big pots, filled with water,
are placed near the milk-post. They are kept for forty days, and then
examined. If the water remains sweet, and does not "teem with vermin,"
it is regarded as a good omen. The seed grains, too, which, as among
many Hindu castes, were sown at the time of the wedding, should by
this time have developed into healthy seedlings. At a Rona (Oriya
cultivator) wedding, the Desari who officiates ties to the ends of
the cloths of the bridal couple a new cloth, to which a quarter-anna
piece is attached, betel leaves and areca nuts, and seven grains of
rice. Towards the close of the marriage rites on the third day, the
rice is examined, to see if it is in a good state of preservation,
and its condition is regarded as an omen for good or evil.

On the occasion of a wedding among the Badagas of the Nilgiris,
a procession goes before dawn on the marriage day to the forest,
where two sticks of Mimusops hexandra are collected, to do duty as
the milk-posts. The early hour is selected, to avoid the chance of
coming across inauspicious objects. At the close of the Agamudaiyan
marriage ceremonies, the twig of Erythrina indica or Odina wodier, of
which the milk-post was made, is planted. If it takes root and grows,
it is regarded as a favourable omen. At a Palli (Tamil cultivator)
wedding two lamps, called kuda vilakku (pot light) and alankara vilakku
(ornamental light), are placed by the side of the milk-post. The
former consists of a lighted wick in an earthenware tray placed on
a pot. It is considered an unlucky omen if it goes out before the
conclusion of the ceremonial.

Prior to the betrothal ceremony of the Kammas (Telugu cultivators),
a near relation of the future bridegroom proceeds with a party to the
home of the future bride. On the way thither, they look for omens,
such as the crossing of birds in an auspicious direction. Immediately
on the occurrence of a favourable omen, they burn camphor, and
break a cocoanut, which must split in two with clean edges. One
half is sent to the would-be bridegroom, and the other taken to the
bride's house. When this is reached, she demands the sagunam (omen)
cocoanut. If the first cocoanut does not split properly, others are
broken till the desired result is obtained.

In the Telugu country, the services of a member of the Boya caste are
required if a Brahman wishes to perform Vontigadu, a ceremony by which
he hopes to induce favourable auspices, under which to celebrate a
marriage. The story has it that Vontigadu was a destitute Boya, who
died of starvation. On the morning of the day on which the ceremony,
for which favourable auspices are required, is performed, a Boya is
invited to the house. He is given a present of gingelly (Sesamum)
oil, wherewith to anoint himself. This done, he returns, carrying in
his hand a dagger, on the point of which a lime has been stuck. He is
directed to the cowshed, and there given a good meal. After finishing
the meal, he steals from the shed, and dashes out of the house,
uttering a piercing yell, and waving his dagger. He on no account
looks behind him. The inmates of the house follow for some distance,
throwing water wherever he has trodden. By this means, all possible
evil omens for the coming ceremony are done away with.

A curious mock marriage ceremony is celebrated among Brahmans,
when an individual marries a third wife. It is believed that a
third marriage is very inauspicious, and that the bride will become a
widow. To prevent this mishap, the man is made to marry the arka plant
(Calotropis gigantea), which grows luxuriantly in wastelands, and the
real marriage thus becomes the fourth. The bridegroom, accompanied
by a Brahman priest and another Brahman, repairs to a spot where this
plant is growing. It is decorated with a cloth and a piece of string,
and symbolised into the sun. All the ceremonies, such as making homam
(sacred fire), tying the tali (marriage badge), etc., are performed
as at a regular marriage, and the plant is cut down. On rathasapthami
day, an orthodox Hindu should bathe his head and shoulders with arka
leaves in propitiation of Surya (the sun). The leaves are also used
during the worship of ancestors by some Brahmans.  Among the Tangalan
Paraiyans, if a young man dies before he is married, a ceremony
called kannikazhital (removing bachelorhood) is performed. Before
the corpse is laid on the bier, a garland of arka flowers is placed
round its neck, and balls of mud from a gutter are laid on the head,
knees, and other parts of the body. In some places, a variant of
the ceremony consists in the erection of a mimic marriage booth,
which is covered with leaves of the arka plant, flowers of which
are placed round the neck as a garland. Adulterers were, in former
times, seated on a donkey, with their face to the tail, and marched
through the village. The public disgrace was enhanced by placing a
garland of the despised arka leaves on their head. Uppiliyan women
convicted of immorality are said to be garlanded with arka flowers,
and made to carry a basket of mud round the village. A Konga Vellala
man, who has been found guilty of undue intimacy with a widow, is
readmitted to the caste by being taken to the village common, where
he is beaten with an arka stick, and by providing a black sheep for
a feast. When a Kuruvikkaran man has to submit to trial by ordeal,
seven arka leaves are tied to his palms, and a piece of red-hot iron
is placed thereon. His innocence is established, if he is able to
carry it while he takes seven long strides. The juice of the arka
plant is a favourite agent in the hands of suicides.

At a Brahman wedding the bridegroom takes a blade of the sacred dharba
grass, passes it between the eyebrows of the bride and throws it away
saying, "With this grass I remove the influence of any bad mark thou
mayest possess, which is likely to cause widowhood."

There is a Tamil proverb relating to the selection of a wife, to the
effect that curly hair gives food, thick hair brings milk, and very
stiff hair destroys a family. As a preliminary to marriage among the
Kurubas (Canarese shepherds), the bridegroom's father observes certain
curls (suli) on the head of the proposed bride. Some of these are
believed to forebode prosperity, and others misery to the family into
which the girl enters by marriage. They are, therefore, very cautious
in selecting only such girls as possess curls of good fortune. One
of the good curls is the bashingam on the forehead, and bad ones are
the peyanakallu at the back of the head, and the edirsuli near the
right temple. [50] By the Pallis (Tamil cultivators) a curl on the
forehead is considered as an indication that the girl will become
a widow, and one on the back of the head portends the death of the
eldest brother of her husband. By the Tamil Maravans, a curl on the
forehead resembling the head of a snake is regarded as an evil omen.

A woman, pregnant for the first time, should not see a temple car
adorned with figures of a lion, or look at it when it is being
dragged along with the image of the god seated in it. If she does,
the tradition is that she will give birth to a monster.

In some places, before a woman is confined, the room in which her
confinement is to take place is smeared with cow-dung, and, in the
room at the outer gate, small wet cow-dung cakes are stuck on the
wall, and covered with margosa (Melia Azadirachta) leaves and cotton
seeds. These are supposed to have a great power in averting evil
spirits, and preventing harm to the newly-born babe or the lying-in
woman. [51] In the Telugu country, it is the custom among some castes,
e.g., the Kapus and Gamallas, to place twigs of Balanites Roxburghii or
Calotropis gigantea (arka) on the floor or in the roof of the lying-in
chamber. Sometimes a garland of old shoes is hung up on the door-post
of the chamber. A fire is kindled, into which pieces of old leather,
hair, nails, horns, hoofs, and bones of animals are thrown, in the
belief that the smoke arising therefrom will protect the mother
and child against evil spirits. Among some classes, when a woman
is pregnant, her female friends assemble, pile up before her door
a quantity of rice-husk, and set fire to it. To one door-post they
tie an old shoe, and to the other a bunch of tulsi (Ocimum sanctum),
in order to prevent the entry of any demon. A bitch is brought in,
painted, and marked in the way that the women daily mark their own
foreheads. Incense is burnt, and an oblation placed before it. The
woman then makes obeisance to it, and makes a meal of curry and rice,
on which cakes are placed. If there is present any woman who has
not been blessed with children, she seizes some of the cakes, in the
hope that, by so doing, she may ere long have a child. [52] In some
places, when a woman is in labour, her relations keep on measuring
out rice into a measure close to the lying-in room, in the belief
that delivery will be accelerated thereby. Sometimes a gun is fired
off in an adjacent room with the same object, and I have heard of a
peon (orderly), whose wife was in labour, borrowing his master's gun,
to expedite matters.

Some Hindus in Madras believe that it would be unlucky for a
newly-married couple to visit the museum, as their offspring would
be deformed as the result of the mother having gazed on the skeletons
and stuffed animals.

Twins are sometimes objects of superstition, especially if they are
of different sexes, and the male is born first. The occurrence of
such an event is regarded as foreboding misfortune, which can only
be warded off by marrying the twins to one another, and leaving them
to their fate in the jungle. Cases of this kind have, however, it is
said, not been heard of within recent times.

There is a proverb that a child born with the umbilical cord round the
body will be a curse to the caste. If a child is born with the cord
round its neck like a garland, it is believed to be inauspicious for
its uncle, who is not allowed to see it for ten days, or even longer,
and then a propitiatory ceremony has to be performed. By the Koravas
the birth of a child with the cord round its neck is believed to
portend the death of the father or maternal uncle. This unpleasant
effect is warded off by the father or the uncle killing a fowl,
and wearing its entrails round his neck, and afterwards burying them
along with the cord. In other castes it is believed that a child born
with the cord round its neck will be a curse to its maternal uncle,
unless a gold or silver string is placed on the body, and the uncle
sees its image reflected in a vessel of oil. If the cord is entwined
across the breast, and passes under the armpit, it is believed to be
an unlucky omen for the father and paternal uncle. In such cases, some
special ceremony, such as looking into a vessel of oil, is performed. I
am informed by the Rev. S. Nicholson that, if a Mala (Telugu Pariah)
child is born with the cord round its neck, a cocoanut is immediately
offered. If the child survives, a cock is offered to the gods on the
day on which the mother takes her first bath. When the cord is cut,
a coin is placed over the navel for luck. The dried cord is highly
prized as a remedy for sterility. The placenta is placed by the Malas
in a pot, in which are nim (Melia Azadirachta) leaves, and the whole
is buried in some convenient place, generally the backyard. If this
was not done, dogs or other animals might carry off the placenta,
and the child would be of a wandering disposition.

The birth of a Korava child on a new moon night is believed to augur
a notorious thieving future for the infant. Such children are commonly
named Venkatigadu after the god at Tirupati. [53] The birth of a male
child on the day in which the constellation Rohini is visible portends
evil to the maternal uncle; and a female born under the constellation
Moolam is supposed to carry misery with her to the house which she
enters by marriage.

Domb children in Vizagapatam are supposed to be born without souls, and
to be subsequently chosen as an abode by the soul of an ancestor. The
coming of the ancestor is signalised by the child dropping a chicken
bone which has been thrust into its hand, and much rejoicing follows
among the assembled relations.

By some Valaiyans (Tamil cultivators), the naming of infants is
performed at the Aiyanar temple by any one who is under the influence
of inspiration. Failing such a one, several flowers, each with a name
attached to it, are thrown in front of the idol. A boy, or the priest,
picks up one of the flowers, and the infant receives the name which
is connected with it. In connection with the birth ceremonies of the
Koyis of the Godavari district, the Rev. J. Cain writes [54] that, on
the seventh day, the near relatives and neighbours assemble together to
name the child. Having placed it on a cot, they put a leaf of the mowha
tree (Bassia) in its hand, and pronounce some name which they think
suitable. If the child closes its hand over the leaf, it is regarded
as a sign that it acquiesces, but, if the child rejects the leaf or
cries, they take it as a sign that they must choose another name,
and so throw away the leaf, and substitute another leaf and name,
until the child shows its approbation.

It is noted, [55] in connection with the death ceremonies of the
Kondhs, that, if a man has been killed by a tiger, purification is made
by the sacrifice of a pig, the head of which is cut off with a tangi
(axe) by a Pano, and passed between the legs of the men in the village,
who stand in a line astraddle. It is a bad omen to him, if the head
touches any man's legs. According to another account, the head of
the decapitated pig is placed in a stream, and, as it floats down,
it has to pass between the legs of the villagers. If it touches the
legs of any of them, it forebodes that he will be killed by a tiger.

The sight of a cat, on getting out of bed, is extremely unlucky, and
he who sees one will fail in all his undertakings during the day. "I
faced the cat this morning," or "Did you see a cat this morning?" are
common sayings when one fails in anything. The Paraiyans are said
to be very particular about omens, and, if, when a Paraiyan sets
out to arrange a marriage with a certain girl, a cat or a valiyan
(a bird) crosses his path, he will give up the girl. I have heard
of a superstitious European police officer, who would not start in
search of a criminal, because he came across a cat.

House dogs should, if they are to bring good luck, possess more than
eighteen visible claws. If a dog scratches the wall of a house, it
will be broken into by thieves; and, if it makes a hole in the ground
within a cattle-shed, the cattle will be stolen. A dog approaching a
person with a bit of shoe-leather augurs success; with flesh, gain;
with a meaty bone, good luck; with a dry bone, death. If a dog enters
a house with wire or thread in its mouth, the master of the house must
expect to be put in prison. A dog barking on the roof of a house during
the dry weather portends an epidemic, and in the wet season a heavy
fall of rain. There is a proverb "Like a dying dog climbing the roof,"
which is said of a person who is approaching his ruin. The omen also
signifies the death of several members of the family, so the dog's ears
and tail are cut off, and rice is steeped in the blood. A goat which
has climbed on to the roof is treated in like manner, dragged round
the house, or slaughtered. At the conclusion of the first menstrual
ceremony of a Kappiliyan (Canarese farmer) girl, some food is placed
near the entrance to the house, which a dog is allowed to eat. While
so doing, it receives a severe beating. The more noise it makes, the
better is the omen for the girl having a large family. If the animal
does not howl, it is supposed that the girl will bear no children.

The sight of a jackal is very lucky to one proceeding on an errand. Its
cry to the east and north of a village foretells something good for the
villagers, whereas the cry at midday means an impending calamity. If
a jackal cries towards the south in answer to the call of another
jackal, some one will be hung; and, if it cries towards the west,
some one will be drowned. A bachelor who sees a jackal running may
expect to be married shortly. If the offspring of a primipara dies,
it is sometimes buried in a place where jackals can get at it. It
is believed that, if a jackal does not make a sumptuous meal off the
corpse, the woman will not be blessed with more children. The corpses
of the Koramas of Mysore are buried in a shallow grave, and a pot
of water is placed on the mound raised over it. Should the spot be
visited during the night by a pack of jackals, and the water drunk by
them to slake their thirst after feasting on the dead body, the omen
is accepted as a proof that the liberated spirit has fled to the realms
of the dead, and will never trouble man, woman, child, or cattle.

When a person rises in the morning, he should not face or see a cow's
head, but should see its hinder parts. This is in consequence of a
legend that a cow killed a Brahman by goring him with its horns. In
some temples, a cow is made to stand in front of the building with its
tail towards it, so that any one entering may see its face. It is said
that, if a cow voids urine at the time of purchase, it is considered a
very good omen, but, if she passes dung, a bad omen. The hill Kondhs
will not cut the crops with a sickle having a serrated edge, such
as is used by the Oriyas, but use a straight-edged knife. The crops,
after they have been cut, are threshed by hand, and not with the aid of
cattle. The serrated sickle is not used, because it produces a sound
like that of cattle grazing, which would be unpropitious. If cattle
were used in threshing the crop, it is believed that the earth-god
would feel insulted by the dung and urine of the animals.

A timber merchant at Calicut in Malabar is said to have spent more
than a thousand rupees in propitiating the spirit of a deceased
Brahman under the following circumstances. He had built a new house,
and, on the morning after the kutti puja (house-warming) ceremony,
his wife and children were coming to occupy it. Just as they were
entering the grounds, a cow ran against one of the children, and
knocked it down. This augured evil, and, in a few days, the child was
attacked by smallpox. One child after another caught the disease,
and at last the man's wife also contracted it. They all recovered,
but the wife was laid up with some uterine disorder. An astrologer
was sent for, and said that the site on which the house was built
was once the property of a Brahman, whose spirit still haunted it,
and must be appeased. Expensive ceremonies were performed by Brahmans
for a fortnight. The house was sold to a Brahman priest for a nominal
price. A gold image of the deceased Brahman was made, and, after the
purification ceremonies had been carried out, taken to the sacred
shrine at Ramesvaram, where arrangements were made to have daily
worship performed to it. The house, in its purified state, was sold
back by the Brahman priest. The merchant's wife travelled by train to
Madras, to undergo treatment at the Maternity Hospital. The astrologer
predicted that the displeasure of the spirit would be exhibited on
the way by the breaking of dishes and by furniture catching fire--a
strange prediction, because the bed on which the woman was lying
caught fire by a spark from the engine. After the spirit had been
thus propitiated, there was peace in the house.

It is noted [56] that, in the middle of the threshold of nearly all the
gateways of the ruined fortifications round the Bellary villages may be
noticed a roughly carved cylindrical or conical stone, something like
a lingam. This is the boddu-rayi, literally the navel-stone, and so
the middle stone. It was planted there when the fort was first built,
and is affectionately regarded as being the boundary of the village
site. Once a year, in May, just before the sowing season commences,
a ceremony takes place in connection with it. Reverence is first made
to the bullocks of the village, and in the evening they are driven
through the gateway past the boddu-rayi, with tom-toms, flutes, and
other kinds of music. The Barike (village servant) next does puja
(worship) to the stone, and then a string of mango leaves is tied
across the gateway above it. The villagers now form sides, one party
trying to drive the bullocks through the gate, and the other trying
to keep them out. The greatest uproar and confusion naturally follow,
and, in the midst of the turmoil, some bullock or other eventually
breaks through the guardians of the gate, and gains the village. If
that first bullock is a red one, the red grains on the red soil will
flourish in the coming season. If he is white, white crops, such
as cotton and white cholam, will prosper. If he is red and white,
both kinds will do well.

Various Oriya castes worship the goddess Lakshmi on Thursdays, in
the month of November, which are called Lakshmi varam, or Lakshmi's
day. The goddess is represented by a basket filled with grain,
whereon some place a hair-ball which has been vomited by a cow. The
ball is called gaya panghula, and is usually one or two inches in
diameter. The owner of a cow which has vomited such a ball, regards
it as a propitious augury for the prosperity of his family. A feast
is held on the day on which the ball is vomited, and, after the ball
has been worshipped, it is carefully wrapped up, and kept in a box,
in which it remains till it is required for further worship. Some
people believe that the ball continues to grow year by year, and
regard this as a very good sign. Bulls are said not to vomit the balls,
and only very few cows do so.


    "Throughout India," Mr J. D. E. Holmes writes, [57] "but more
    especially in the Southern Presidency, among the native population,
    the value of a horse or ox principally depends on the existence and
    situation of certain hair-marks on the body of the animal. These
    hair-marks are formed by the changes in the direction in which
    the hair grows at certain places, and, according to their shape,
    are called a crown, ridge, or feather mark. The relative position
    of these marks is supposed to indicate that the animal will bring
    good luck to the owner and his relatives. There is a saying that
    a man may face a rifle and escape, but he cannot avoid the luck,
    good or evil, foretold by hair-marks. So much are the people
    influenced by these omens that they seldom keep an animal with
    unlucky marks, and would not allow their mares to be covered by
    a stallion having unpropitious marks."


It is recorded by Bishop Whitehead [58] that "we went to see the
Maharaja (of Mysore) at his stables, and he showed us his fine stud
of horses. Among them was the State horse, which is only used for
religious ceremonies, and is ridden only by the Maharaja himself. It is
pure white, without spot or blemish, and has the five lucky marks. This
horse came from Kathiawar, and is now about twenty years old. The
Maharaja is trying to get another, to replace it when it dies. But
it is not easy to get one with the unusual points required."

Two deaths occurring in a family in quick succession, were once
believed to be the result of keeping an unlucky horse in the stable. I
have heard of a Eurasian police officer, who attributed the theft of
five hundred rupees, his official transfer to an unhealthy district,
and other strokes of bad luck, to the purchase of a horse with unlucky
curls. All went well after he had got rid of the animal.

From a recent note on beliefs about the bull, [59] I gather that
"Manu enjoins a grihasta or householder to always travel with
beasts which are well broken in, swift, endowed with lucky marks,
and perfect in colour and form, without urging them much with the
goad. Marks are accounted lucky if they appear in certain forms,
and at certain spots. One of these marks is usually known as sudi in
Telugu, and suli in Tamil. A sudi is nothing but a whorl or circlet
of hair, a properly formed sudi being perfectly round in form, and
nearly resembling the sudivalu, the chakrayudha of Vishnu, which is
a short circular weapon commonly known as the discus of Vishnu. Every
ox should have at least two of these circlets or twists of hair, one
on the face, and one on the back, right about its centre. Two curls
may occur on the face, but they should not be one above the other,
in which case they are known as kode mel kode, or umbrella above
umbrella. The purchaser of such a bull, it is believed, will soon have
some mishap in his house. Some, however, hold that this curl is not
really so bad as it is supposed to be. If the curls are side by side,
they are accounted lucky. In that case they are known as damara suli,
or double kettle-drum circlet, from the kettle-drums placed on either
side of Brahmani bulls in temple processions. It is sometimes known
as the kalyana (marriage) suli, because such a kettle-drum is often
used in marriage processions. A curl on the hump is held to be a very
good one, bringing prosperity to the purchaser. It is known as the
kirita suli, or the crown circlet. The dewlaps should have a curl
on either side, or none. A curl on only one side is described as not
lucky. On the back of the animal, a curl must be perfectly round. If
it is elongated, and stretches on one side, it is known as the padai
suli, or the bier circlet. Kattiri suli, or the scissor circlet, is
found usually in the region of the belly, and is an unlucky sign. On
the body is sometimes found the puran suli, the circlet named after
the centipede from its supposed resemblance to it. On the legs is
often found the velangu suli, or chain circlet, from its being like a
chain bound round the legs. Both these are said to be bad marks, and
bulls having them are invariably hard to sell. Attempts at erasure of
unlucky marks are frequently noticed, for the reason that an animal
with a bad mark is scarcely, if ever, sold to advantage. One of the
most common and most effective ways of erasing an unlucky mark is to
brand it pretty deep, so that the hair disappears, and the curl is
no more observable. Animals so branded are regarded with considerable
suspicion, and it is often difficult to secure purchasers for them."

The following are some of the marks on horses and cattle recorded by
Mr Holmes: [60]--


(a) Horses

1. Deobund (having control over evil spirits), also termed devuman
or devumani, said by Muhammadans to represent the Prophet's finger,
and by Hindus to represent a temple bell. This mark is a ridge,
one to three inches long, situated between the throat and counter
along the line of the trachea. It is the most lucky mark a horse can
possess. It is compared to the sun, and, therefore, when it is present,
none of the evil stars can shine, and all unlucky omens are overruled.

2. Khorta-gad (peg-driver), or khila-gad, is a ridge of hair directed
downwards on one or both hind-legs. It is said that no horse in the
stable will be sold, so long as a horse with this mark is kept.

3. Badi (fetter), a ridge of hair directed upwards on one or both
forearms on the outer side, and said to indicate that the owner of
the animal will be sent to jail.

4. Thanni (teat). Teat-like projections on the sheath of the male
are considered unlucky.


(b) Cattle

5. Bhashicam suli is a crown on the forehead above the line of the
eyes, named after the chaplet worn by bride and bridegroom during
the marriage ceremony. If the purchaser be a bachelor or widower,
this mark indicates that he will marry soon. If the purchaser be a
married man, he will either have the misfortune to lose his wife and
marry again, or the good fortune to obtain two wives.

6. Mukkanti suli.  Three crowns on the forehead, arranged in the form
of a triangle, said to represent the three eyes of Siva, of which
the one on the forehead will, if opened, burn up all things within
the range of vision.

7. Padai suli. Two ridges of hair on the back on either side of the
middle line, indicating that the purchaser will soon need a coffin.

8. Tattu suli. A crown situated on the back between the points of
the hips, indicating that any business undertaken by the purchaser
will fail.

9. A bullock with numerous spots over the body, like a deer, is
considered very lucky.

The following quaint omen is recorded by Bishop Whitehead. [61] At
a certain village, when a pig is sacrificed to the village goddess
Angalamman, its neck is first cut slightly, and the blood allowed to
flow on to some boiled rice placed on a plantain leaf, and then the
rice soaked in its own blood is given to the pig to eat. If the pig
eats it, the omen is good, if not, the omen is bad; but, in any case,
the pig has its head cut off by the pujari (priest).

If a Brahmani kite (Haliastur indus), when flying, is seen carrying
something in its beak, the omen is considered very auspicious. The
sight of this bird on a Sunday morning is also auspicious, so, on
this day, people may be seen throwing pieces of mutton or lumps of
butter to it. [62]

If an owl takes refuge in a house, the building is at once deserted,
the doors are closed, and the house is not occupied for six months,
when an expiatory sacrifice must be performed. Brahmans are fed,
and the house can only be re-entered after the proper hour has been
fixed upon. This superstition only refers to a thatched house;
a terraced house need not be vacated. [63] Ill-luck will follow,
should an owl sit on the housetop, or perch on the bough of a tree
near the house. One screech forebodes death; two screeches forebode
success in any approaching undertaking; three, the addition of a girl
to the family by marriage; four, a disturbance; five, that the hearer
will travel. Six screeches foretell the coming of guests; seven, mental
distress; eight, sudden death; and nine signify favourable results. A
species of owl, called pullu, is a highly dreaded bird. It is supposed
to cause all kinds of illness to children, resulting in emaciation. At
the sound of the screeching, children are taken into a room, to avoid
its furtive and injurious gaze. Various propitiatory ceremonies are
performed by specialists to secure its good-will. Amulets are worn by
children as a preventive against its evil influences. To warn off the
unwelcome intruder, broken pots, painted with black and white dots,
are set up on housetops. In the Bellary district, the flat roofs of
many houses may be seen decked with rags, fluttering from sticks,
piles of broken pots, and so forth. These are to scare away owls,
which, it is said, sometimes vomit up blood, and sometimes milk. If
they sit on a house and bring up blood, it is bad for the inmates;
if milk, good. But the risk of the vomit turning out to be blood
is apparently more feared than the off chance of its proving to be
milk is hoped for, and it is thought best to be on the safe side,
and keep the owl at a distance. [64] The Kondhs believe that, if
an owl hoots over the roof of a house, or on a tree close thereto,
a death will occur in the family at an early date. If the bird hoots
close to a village, but outside it, the death of one of the villagers
will follow. For this reason, it is pelted with stones, and driven
off. The waist-belt of a Koraga, whom I saw at Udipi in South Canara,
was made of owl bones.

Should a crow come near the house, and caw in its usual rapid
raucous tones, it means that calamity is impending. But, should the
bird indulge in its peculiar prolonged guttural note, happiness will
ensue. If a crow keeps on cawing incessantly at a house, it is believed
to foretell the coming of a guest. The belief is so strong that some
housewives prepare more food than is required for the family. There
is also an insect called virunthoo poochee, or guest insect. If
crows are seen fighting in front of a house, news of a death will
shortly be heard. In some places, if a crow enters a house, it must
be vacated for not less than three months, and, before it can be
re-occupied, a purification ceremony must be performed, and a number
of Brahmans fed. Among the poorer classes, who are unable to incur
this expense, it is not uncommon to allow a house which has been thus
polluted to fall into ruins. [65] In Malabar, there is a belief that
ill-luck will result if, on certain days, a crow soils one's person or
clothes. The evil can only be removed by bathing with the clothes on,
and propitiating Brahmans. On other days, the omen is a lucky one. On
sradh (memorial) days, pindams (balls of cooked rice) are offered to
the crows. If they do not touch them, the ceremony is believed not to
have been properly performed, and the wishes of the dead man are not
satisfied. If the crows, after repeated trials, fail to eat the rice,
the celebrant makes up his mind to satisfy these wishes, and the crows
are then supposed to relish the balls.  On one occasion, my Brahman
assistant was in camp with me on the Palni hills, the higher altitudes
of which are uninhabited by crows, and he had perforce to march down
to the plains, in order to perform the annual ceremony in memory of
his deceased father. On another occasion, a Brahman who was staying
on the Palni hills telegraphed to the village of Periakulam for two
crows, which duly arrived confined in a cage. The sradh ceremony was
performed, and the birds were then set at liberty. On the last day
of the death ceremonies of the Oddes (navvies), some rice is cooked,
and placed on an arka (Calotropis gigantea) leaf as an offering to
the crows.  The arka plant, which grows luxuriantly on waste lands,
is, it may be noted, used by Brahmans for the propitiation of rishis
(sages) and pithrus (ancestors). [66] For seven days after the death
of a Paniyan of Malabar, a little rice gruel is placed near the grave
by the Chemmi (priest), who claps his hands as a signal to the evil
spirits in the vicinity, who, in the shape of a pair of crows, are
supposed to partake of the food, which is hence called kaka conji,
or crow's gruel. On the third day after the death of a Bedar (Canarese
cultivator), a woman brings to the graveside some luxuries in the way
of food, which is mixed up in a winnowing tray into three portions,
and placed in front of three stones set over the head, abdomen,
and legs of the deceased, for crows to partake of. On the sixth
day after the death of a Korava, the chief mourner kills a fowl,
and mixes its blood with rice. This he places, with betel leaves and
areca nuts, near the grave. If it is carried off by crows, everything
is considered to have been settled satisfactorily.  When a jungle
Urali has been excommunicated from his caste, he must kill a sheep
or goat before the elders, and mark his forehead with its blood. He
then gives a feast to the assembly, and puts part of the food on the
roof of his house. If the crows eat it, he is received back into the
caste. A native clerk some time ago took leave in anticipation of
sanction, on receipt of news of a death in his family at a distant
town. His excuse was that his elder brother had, on learning that
his son had seen two crows in coitu, sent him a post-card stating
that the son was dead. The boy turned out to be alive, but the card,
it was explained, was sent owing to a superstitious belief that, if a
person sees two crows engaged in sexual congress, he will die unless
one of his relations sheds tears. To avert this catastrophe, false
news as to the death are sent by post or telegraph, and subsequently
corrected by a letter or telegram announcing that the individual is
alive. A white (albino) crow, which made its appearance in the city
of Madras a few years ago, caused considerable interest among the
residents of the locality, as it was regarded as a very good omen.

Among some classes in Mysore, there is a belief that, if a death occurs
in a house on Tuesday or Friday, another death will speedily follow
unless a fowl is tied to one corner of the bier. The fowl is buried
with the corpse. Those castes which do not eat fowls replace it by
the bolt of the door. [67] Among the Tamils, if a burial takes place
on a Saturday, a fowl must be buried or burnt, or another death will
shortly occur in the family. There is a Tamil proverb that a Saturday
corpse will not go alone. When a fowl is sacrificed to the deity by the
jungle Paliyans of the Palni hills, the head ought to be severed at one
blow, as this is a sign of the satisfaction of the god for the past,
and of protection for the future. Should the head still hang, this
would be a bad omen, foreboding calamities for the ensuing year. [68]
An interesting rite in connection with pregnancy ceremonies among the
Oddes (navvies) is the presentation of a fowl or two to the pregnant
woman by her maternal uncle. The birds are tended with great care,
and, if they lay eggs abundantly, it is a sign that the woman will
be prolific.

By some it is considered unlucky to keep pigeons about a
dwelling-house, as they are believed, on account of their habit of
standing on one leg, to lead to poverty. The temple or blue-rock
pigeon is greatly venerated by Natives, who consider themselves
highly favoured if the birds build in their houses. Should a death
occur in a house where there are tame pigeons, all the birds will,
it is said, at the time of the funeral, circle thrice round the
loft, and leave the locality for ever. House sparrows are supposed
to possess a similar characteristic, but, before quitting the house
of mourning, they will pull every straw out of their nests. Sparrows
are credited with bringing good luck to the house in which they build
their nests. For this purpose, when a house is under construction,
holes are left in the walls or ceiling, or earthen pots are hung on
the walls by means of nails, as an attractive site for nesting. One
method of attracting sparrows to a house is to make a noise with
rupees as in the act of counting out coins.

There are experts who are able to interpret the significance of the
chirping of lizards, which, inter alia, foretells the approach of
a case of snake-bite, and whether the patient will die or not. The
fall of a lizard on different parts of the body is often taken as an
omen for good or evil, according as it alights on the right or left
side, hand or foot, head or shoulders. A Native of Cochin foretold
from the chirping of a lizard that a robbery would take place at a
certain temple. In accordance with the prophecy, the temple jewels
were looted, and the prophet was sent to prison under suspicion of
being an accomplice of the thieves, but subsequently released. The
hook-swinging ceremony is said [69] to be sometimes performed after
the consent of the goddess has been obtained. If a lizard is heard
chirping on the right, it is regarded as a sign of her consent. It
is believed that the man who is swung suffers no pain if the cause
is a good one, but excruciating agony if it is a bad one.

If an "iguana" (Varanus) enters a house, misfortune is certain to
occur within a year, unless the house is shut up for six months. The
appearance of a tortoise in a house, or in a field which is being
ploughed, is inauspicious. In the Cuddapah district, a cultivator
applied for remission of rent, because one of his fields had been left
waste owing to a tortoise making its appearance in it. If, under these
circumstances, the field had been cultivated, the man, his wife, or
his cattle, would have died. It was pointed out that, as the tortoise
was one of Vishnu's incarnations, it should have been considered as
an honour that the animal visited the field; but the reply was that
a tortoise would be honoured in the water, but not on the land. [70]

The sight of two snakes coiled round each other in sexual congress
is considered to portend some great evil. The presence of a rat-snake
(Zamenis mucosus) in a house at night is believed to bring good fortune
to the inmates. Its evil influence is in its tail, a blow from which
will cause a limb to shrink in size and waste away.

In a valley named Rapuri Kanama in the Cuddapah district, there is
a pond near a Siva temple to Gundheswara. Those desirous of getting
children, wealth, etc., should go there with a pure heart, bathe in the
pond, and then worship at the temple. After this, they should take a
wild pine-apple leaf, and place it on the border of the pond. If their
wishes are to be granted, a crab rises from the water, and bites the
leaf in two. If their wishes will not be granted, the crab rises, but
leaves the leaf untouched. If, however, the person has not approached
the pond with a pure heart, he will be set upon by a swarm of bees,
which live in the vicinity, and will be driven off. [71]

If the nest of a clay-building insect is found in a house, the birth
of a child is foretold; if a mud nest, of a male child; if a nest
made of jungle lac, of a girl. [72]



II

ANIMAL SUPERSTITIONS


1. Mammals

There is a belief that the urine of a wild monkey (langur) called
kondamuccha, which it discharges in a thick stream, possesses the
power of curing rheumatic pains, if applied to the affected part
with a mixture of garlic. Some of the poorer classes in the villages
of Kurnool obtain a sale even for stones on which this monkey has
urinated, and hill people suffering from chronic fever sometimes drink
its blood. [73] I am informed by Mr A. Ff. Martin, that he has seen
a Muduvar on the Travancore hills much pulled down by fever seize
an expiring black monkey (Semnopithecus johni), and suck the blood
from its jugular vein. Childless Muduvar couples are dieted to make
them fruitful, the principal diet for the man being plenty of black
monkey. The flesh of the black monkey (Nilgiri langur) is sold in the
Nilgiri bazaars as a cure for whooping-cough. When Savara (hill tribe
in Ganjam) children are seriously ill and emaciated, offerings are
said by Mr G. V. Ramamurthi Pantulu to be made to monkeys, not in the
belief that the illness is caused by them, but because the sick child,
in its wasted condition, has the attenuated figure of these animals.
The offerings consist of rice and other articles of food, which are
placed in baskets suspended from branches of trees in the jungle.

Some years ago, a drinking fountain was erected at the Madras Museum,
in which the water issued from the mouth of a lion. It entirely failed
in its object, as the Native visitors would not use it, because the
animal was represented in the act of vomiting.

I am informed by Mr C. Hayavadana Rao that the Beparis, who are traders
and carriers between the hills and plains in the Vizagapatam Agency
tracts, regard themselves as immune from the attacks of tigers, if
they take certain precautions.  Most of them have to pass through
places infested with these beasts, and their favourite method of
keeping them off is as follows. As soon as they encamp at a place,
they level a square bit of ground, and light fires in it, round
which they pass the night. It is their firm belief that the tiger
will not enter the square, from fear lest it should become blind,
and eventually be shot. Mr Hayavadana Rao was once travelling towards
Malkangiri from Jeypore, when he fell in with a party of Beparis
thus encamped.  At that time the villages about Malkangiri were being
ravaged by a notorious man-eater. In connection with man-eating tigers,
Mr S. M. Fraser narrates [74] that, in Mysore, a man-eater was said
to have attacked parties bearing corpses to the burning-ground.


    "The acquisition," he writes, "of such a curious taste may
    perhaps be explained by the following passage in a letter from
    the Amildar. It is a custom among the villagers here not to burn
    or bury the dead bodies of pregnant females, but to expose them
    in the neighbouring jungles to be eaten by vultures and wild
    beasts. The body is tied to a tree, in a sitting posture, and a
    pot of water is put close by. Not long ago some cowherd boys came
    across the dead body of a woman tied to a tree, and noticed the
    foot-prints of a tiger round it, but the body was untouched. The
    boys cut the rope binding the body, which fell to the ground,
    and the next day the corpse was found eaten away by the tiger."


The village of Hulikal, or tiger's stone, on the Nilgiris is so called
because in it a Badaga once killed a notorious man-eater. The spot
where the beast was buried is shown near the Pillaiyar (Ganesa) temple,
and is marked by three stones. It is said that there was formerly a
stone image of the slain tiger thereabouts. [75] When a tiger enters
the dwelling of a Savara (hill tribe in Ganjam) and carries off an
inmate, the village is said to be deserted, and sacrifices are offered
to some spirits by the inhabitants. It is noted by Mr F. Fawcett [76]
that the Savaras have names for numerals up to twelve only. This is
accounted for by a story that, long ago, some Savaras were measuring
grain in a field, and, when they had completed twelve measures, a
tiger pounced on them, and devoured them. So, ever after, they have
not dared to have a numeral above twelve for fear of a tiger repeating
the performance. In the Vizagapatam district, a ballad is sung by
the Dasaris (a mendicant caste) about the goddess Yerakamma, who is
reputed to have been the child of Dasari parents, and to have had the
possession of second sight foretold by a Yerukala fortune-teller. She
eventually married, and one day begged her husband not to go to his
field, as she was sure he would be killed by a tiger if he did. He
went notwithstanding, and was slain as she had foreseen. She killed
herself by committing sati (suttee, or burning of the living widow)
on the spot where her shrine still stands. The Muduvars are said by
Mr Martin to share with other jungle folk the belief that, if any
animal is killed by a tiger or leopard so as to lie north and south,
it will not be eaten by the beast of prey. Nor will it be revisited,
so that sitting over a "kill" which has fallen north and south, in
the hope of getting a shot at the returning tiger or leopard, is a
useless proceeding. The Billava toddy-drawers believe that, if the
spathe of the palm tree is beaten with the bone of a buffalo which
has been killed by a tiger, the yield of toddy will, if the bone has
not touched the ground, be greater than if an ordinary bone is used.

I once received an application for half a pound of tiger's fat,
presumably for medicinal purposes. The bones of tigers and leopards
ground into powder, and mixed with their fat, gingelly (Sesamum)
oil, and a finely powdered blue stone, make an ointment for the cure
of syphilitic sores. The bones of a leopard or hyæna, ground into
powder and made into a paste with ox-gall and musk, are said to be a
useful ointment for application to rheumatic joints. The addition of
the fat of tigers or leopards makes the ointment more effective. I am
told that when, on one occasion, a European shot a tiger, the Natives
were so keen on securing some of the fat, that the shikaris (hunters)
came to him to decide as to the proper distribution among themselves
and the camp servants.

The leopard is looked upon as in some way sacred by the hill
Kondhs. They object to a dead leopard being carried through their
villages, and oaths are taken on a leopard's skin.

Writing in 1873, Dr Francis Day states [77] that "at Cannanore (in
Malabar), the Rajah's cat appears to be exercising a deleterious
influence on one branch at least of the fishing, viz., that for
sharks. It appears that, in olden times, one fish daily was taken
from each boat as a perquisite for the Rajah's cat, or the poocha meen
(cat-fish) collection. The cats apparently have not augmented so much
as the fishing boats, so this has been converted into a money payment
of two pies a day on each successful boat."

In connection with cats, there is a tradition that a Jogi (Telugu
mendicant) bridegroom, before tying the bottu (marriage badge)
on his bride's neck, had to tie it by means of a string dyed with
turmeric round the neck of a female cat. People sometimes object
to the catching of cats by Jogis for food, as the detachment of a
single hair from the body of a cat is considered a heinous offence. To
overcome the objection, the Jogi says that he wants the animal for a
marriage ceremony. On one occasion, I saw a Madiga (Telugu Pariah)
carrying home a bag full of kittens, which he said he was going to
eat. Some time ago, some prisoners, who called themselves Billaikavus
(cat-eaters), were confined in the Vizagapatam jail. I am informed
that these people are Mala Paidis, who eat cat flesh.

The gun with which a wolf has been shot falls under some evil
influence, and it is said not to shoot straight afterwards. Hence
some shikaris (hunters) will not shoot at a wolf.

The hyæna is believed to beat to death, or strangle with its tail,
those whom it seizes. The head of a hyæna is sometimes buried in
cattle-sheds, to prevent cattle disease. Its incisor teeth are tied
round the loins of a woman in labour, to lessen the pains. [78]

There is a belief that, when a bear seizes a man, it tickles him to
death. [79] Bears are supposed, owing to the multilobulated external
appearance of the kidneys, to gain an additional pair of these organs
every year of their life. They are believed to collect ripe wood-apples
(Feronia elephantum) during the season, and store them in a secure
place in the forest. After a large quantity has been collected,
they remove the rind, and heap together all the pulp. They then bring
honey and the petals of sweet-smelling flowers, put them on the heap
of pulp, thresh them with their feet and sticks in their hands, and,
when the whole has become a consistent mass, feast on it. The Vedans
(hunters) watch them when so engaged, drive them off, and rob them of
their feast, which they carry off, and sell as karadi panchamritham,
or bear delicacy made of five ingredients. The ordinary ingredients
of panchamritham are slices of plantain (banana) fruits, jaggery
(crude sugar) or sugar, cocoanut scrapings, ghi (clarified butter),
honey, and cardamom seeds.

It is believed that the flesh or blood of some animals, which have
certain organs largely developed, will cure disease of corresponding
organs in the human subject. Thus, the flesh of the jackal, which is
credited with the possession of very powerful lungs, is said to be
a remedy for asthma.

By the jungle Paliyans of the Palni hills, the following device
is adopted to protect themselves from the attacks of wild animals,
the leopard in particular. Four jackals' tails are planted in four
different spots, chosen so as to include the area in which they wish
to be safe from the brute.  Even if a leopard entered the magic square,
it could do the Paliyan no harm, as its mouth is locked. [80]

There is a belief that the urine of wild dogs (Cyon dukhunensis) is
extremely acrid, and that they sprinkle with it the bushes through
which they drive their prey (deer and wild pigs), and then rush upon
the latter, when blinded by the pungent fluid. According to another
version, they jerk the urine into their victim's eyes with their tails.

The Koyis of the Godavari district are said by the Rev. J. Cain
[81] to hold in reverence the Pandava brothers, Arjuna and Bhima,
and claim descent from the latter by his marriage with a wild woman
of the woods. The wild dogs or dhols are regarded as the dutas or
messengers of the brothers, and they would on no account kill a dhol,
even though it should attack their favourite calf. They even regard it
as imprudent to interfere with these dutas, when they wish to feast
upon their cattle. The long black beetles, which appear in large
numbers at the beginning of the hot weather, are called by the Koyis
the Pandava flock of goats.

At a sale of cattle, the vendor sometimes takes a small quantity
of straw in his hand, and, putting some cow-dung on it, presents
it to the purchaser. [82] The five products of the cow, known as
panchagavyam--milk, curds, butter, urine, and fæces--are taken by
Hindus to remove pollution from confinement, a voyage across the seas,
and other causes. It is on record [83] that the Tanjore Nayakar,
having betrayed Madura and suffered for it, was told by his Brahman
advisers that he had better be born again. So a colossal cow was cast
in bronze, and the Nayakar shut up inside. The wife of his Brahman
guru (religious preceptor) received him in her arms, rocked him on
her knees, and caressed him on her breast, and he tried to cry like
a baby. It is recorded by Frazer [84] that, when a Hindu child's
horoscope portends misfortune or crime, he is born again from a
cow thus. Being dressed in scarlet, and tied on a new sieve, he is
passed between the hind-legs of a cow forward through the fore-legs,
and again in the reverse direction, to simulate birth. The ordinary
birth ceremonies are then gone through, and the father smells his
son as a cow smells her calf.

Tradition runs to the effect that, at the time of the separation
of Ramesvaram island from the mainland, the cows became prisoners
thereon. Not being able, like the cows of Cape Cod, which are fed
on herrings' heads, to adapt themselves to a fish diet, they became
gradually converted into diminutive metamorphosed cows, which may
still be seen grazing on the shore. The legend is based on the fancied
resemblance of the horned coffer-fishes (Ostracion cornutus), which
are frequently caught by the fishermen, to cattle. Portions of the
skulls of cats and dogs, which are sometimes picked up on the beach,
also bear a rude resemblance to the skull of a cow, the horns being
represented by the zygoma.

A story is told at Cochin that the beautiful blue and white tiles from
Canton, which adorn the floor of the synagogue of the White Jews,
were originally intended for the Durbar hall of a former Raja of
Cochin. But a wily Jew declared that bullock's blood must have been
used in the preparation of the glaze, and offered to take them off
the hands of the Raja, who was only too glad to get rid of them.

The afterbirths (placentæ) of cattle are tied to a tree which yields
a milky juice, in the belief that the cow will thereby give a better
yield of milk.

There is a custom among the Tellis (Oriya oil-pressers) that,
if a cow dies with a rope round its neck, or on the spot where it
is tethered, the family is under pollution until purification has
been effected by means of a pilgrimage, or by bathing in a sacred
river. The Holodia section of the Tellis will not rear male calves,
and do not castrate their bulls. Male calves are disposed of by sale
as speedily as possible.

If the jungle Paliyans of Tinnevelly come across the carcase of a
cow or buffalo near a stream, they will not go near it for a long
time. They absolutely refuse to touch leather, and one of them
declined to carry my camera box, because he detected that it had a
leather strap.

The Bakudas of South Canara will not carry a bedstead, unless the
legs are first taken off, and it is said that this objection rests
upon the supposed resemblances between the four-legged cot and the
four-legged ox. In like manner, the Koragas have a curious prejudice
against carrying any four-legged animal, dead or alive. This extends
to anything with four legs, such as a chair, table, etc., which they
cannot be prevailed on to lift, unless one leg is removed. As they
work as coolies, this is said sometimes to cause inconvenience. [85]

Among the Sembaliguda Gadabas of Vizagapatam, there is a belief that
a piece of wild buffalo horn, buried in the ground of the village,
will avert or cure cattle disease. [86]

The jungle Kadirs believe that their gods occasionally reside in the
body of a "bison" (Bos gaurus), and have been known to worship a bull
shot by a sportsman.

The goddess Gangadevi is worshipped by the Kevutos (fishing caste)
of Ganjam at the Dasara festival, and goats are sacrificed in her
honour. In the neighbourhood of the Chilka lake, the goats are not
sacrificed, but set at liberty, and allowed to graze on the Kalikadevi
hill. There is a belief that animals thus dedicated to the goddess
do not putrify when they die, but dry up.

The Tiyans (toddy-drawers) of Malabar carry, tucked into the
waist-cloth, a bone loaded with lead at both ends, which is used for
tapping the flower-stalk of the palm tree to bring out the juice. A man
once refused to sell one of these bones to Mr F. Fawcett at any price,
as it was the femur of a sambar (Cervus unicolor), which possessed
such virtue that it would fetch juice out of any tree. Deer's horn,
ground into a fine paste, is said to be an excellent balm for pains
and swellings. It is sometimes made into a powder, which is mixed
with milk or honey, and produces a potion which is supposed to aid
the growth of stunted women. [87]

A Yanadi shikari (hunter) has been known, when skinning a black
buck (antelope) shot by a European, to cut out the testicles,
and wrap them up in his loin-cloth, to be subsequently taken as an
aphrodisiac. Antelope horn, when powdered and burnt, is said to drive
away mosquitoes, and keep scorpions away. A paste made with antelope
horn is used as an external application for sore throat. Antelope
and chinkara (Indian gazelle) horns, if kept in grain baskets, are
said to prevent weevils from attacking the grain.

The Gadabas of Vizagapatam will not touch a horse, as they are
palanquin-bearers, and have the same objection to the rival animal
that a cab-driver has to a motor-car. In South Canara, none but the
lowest Pariah will rub a horse down. If a Malai Vellala of Coimbatore
touches one of these animals, he has to perform a religious ceremonial
for the purpose of purification.

The members of the elephant sept of the Oriya Haddis, when they see
the foot-prints of an elephant, take some of the dust from the spot,
and make a mark on the forehead with it. They also draw the figure
of an elephant, and worship it, when they perform sradh and other
ceremonies. Wild elephants are said to be held in veneration by the
jungle Kadirs, whereas tame ones are believed to have lost the divine
element. [88]

When cholera breaks out in a Kondh village, all males and females
smear their bodies from head to foot with pig's fat liquefied by heat,
and continue to do so until a few days after the disappearance of the
dread disease. During this time they do not bathe, lest the smell of
the fat should be washed away.

Some women rub the blood of the small garden-bat, which has
well-developed ears, into the artificially dilated lobes of their ears,
so as to strengthen them. The wings of bats are highly prized as a
hairwash. They are crushed, and mixed with cocoanut oil, and other
ingredients. The mixture is kept underground in a closed vessel for
three months, and then used to prevent the hair from falling out or
turning grey. [89] The Paniyans of Malabar are said to eat land-crabs
for a similar purpose.

The common striped or palm-squirrel (Sciurus palmarum) was, according
to a legend, employed by Rama to assist the army of monkeys in the
construction of the bridge to connect Ramesvaram island with Ceylon,
whither Ravana had carried off his wife Sita. The squirrel helped the
monkeys by rolling in the sand on the shore, so as to collect it in
its hairy coat, and then depositing it between the piled up stones,
so as to cement them together. Seeing it fatigued by its labours,
Rama sympathetically stroked its back with the three middle fingers
of his right hand, marks of which still persist in the squirrels at
the present day. There is a further legend that, once upon a time,
one of the gods, having compassion on the toddy-drawers because
their life was a hard one, and because they were constantly exposed
to danger, left at the foot of a palmyra tree some charmed water,
the value of which was that it saved from injury any one falling
from a height. A toddy-drawer, however, got drunk, and, forgetting
to drink the elixir, went home. When he returned, he found that a
squirrel had drunk it, and vowed vengeance on it. And that is why every
toddy-drawer will always kill a squirrel, and also why the squirrel,
from whatever height it may fall, comes to no harm. [90] In a note
on the Pariah caste in Travancore, the Rev. S. Mateer narrates [91]
a legend that the Shanans (Tamil toddy-drawers) are descended from
Adi, the daughter of a Pariah woman at Karuvur, who taught them to
climb the palm tree, and prepared a medicine which would protect them
from falling from the high trees. The squirrels also ate some of it,
and enjoy a similar immunity. There is a Tamil proverb that, if you
desire to climb trees, you must be a Shanan. The story was told by
Bishop Caldwell of a Shanan who was sitting upon a leaf-stalk at the
top of a palmyra palm in a high wind, when the stalk gave way, and
he came down to the ground quite safely, sitting on the leaf, which
served the purpose of a natural parachute. Woodpeckers are called
Shanara kurivi by bird-catchers, because they climb trees like Shanans.

There is a legend that, before the Kaliyuga began, the Pandavas lived
on the Nilgiris. A kind of edible truffle (Mylitta lapidescens) is
known as little man's bread on these hills. The Badaga legendary
name for it is Pandva-unna-buthi, or dwarf bundle of food, [92]
i.e., food of the dwarfs, who are supposed to have built the pandu
kulis or kistvaens. Being so small, they called in the black-naped
hare (Lepus nigricollis) to plough their fields. The black patches
on their necks are the inherited mark of the yoke. The blood of the
hare is administered to children suffering from cough.

Bramans use a porcupine quill for parting their wives' hair in a
ceremony connected with the period of gestation known as simantam. It
is said [93] that among the Nambutiri Brahmans, the quill should have
three white marks on it. The quills of porcupines are sold by Jogis
(Telugu mendicants) to goldsmiths, for use as brushes.

There is a tradition among the fishing folk of Ramesvaram island that
a box of money was once found in the stomach of a dugong (Halicore
dugong), and an official is consequently invited to be present at the
examination of the stomach contents, so that the possessors of the
carcase may not be punished under the Treasure Trove Act for concealing
treasure. The fat of the dugong is believed to be efficacious in the
treatment of dysentery, and is administered in the form of sweetmeats,
or used instead of ghi (clarified butter) in the preparation of food.



2. Birds

The following story is current concerning the sacred vultures of
Tirukazhukunram. The Ashtavasus, or eight gods who guard the eight
points of the compass, did penance, and Siva appeared in person before
them. But, becoming angry with them, he cursed them, and turned them
into vultures. When they asked for forgiveness, Siva directed that
they should remain at the temple of Vedagiri Iswara. One pair of
these birds still survives, and come to the temple daily at noon for
food. Two balls of rice cooked with ghi (clarified butter) and sugar,
which have been previously offered to the deity, are placed at a
particular spot on the hill. The vultures, arriving simultaneously,
appropriate a ball apiece. The temple priests say that, every day,
one of the birds goes on a pilgrimage to Benares, and the other to
Ramesvaram. It is also said that the pair will never come together,
if sinners are present at the temple.

When a person is ill, his family sometimes make a vow that they will
ofter a few pounds of mutton to the Braahmani kite (Haliastur indus,
Garuda pakshi) on the patient's recovery. It is believed that, should
the offering be acceptable, the sick person will speedily get better,
and the bird will come to demand its meat, making its presence known
by sitting on a tree near the house, and crying plaintively. The
shadow of a Braahmani kite falling on a cobra is said to stupefy
the snake. The Kondhs do not consider it a sin to kill this bird,
which is held in veneration throughout Southern India. A Kondh will
kill it for so slight an offence as carrying off his chickens.

The crow is believed to possess only one eye, which moves from socket
to socket as occasion demands. The belief is founded on the legend
that an Asura, disguised as a crow, while Rama was sleeping with his
head on Sita's lap in the jungles of Dandaka, pecked at her breasts,
so that blood issued therefrom. On waking, Rama, observing the blood,
and learning the cause of it, clipped a bit of straw, and, after
infusing it with the Brahma astra (miraculous weapon), let it go
against the crow Asura, who appealed to Rama for mercy. Taking pity
on it, Rama told the Asura to offer one of its eyes to the weapon,
and saved it from death. Since that time, crows are supposed to have
only one eye. The Kondhs will not kill crows, as this would be a
sin amounting to the killing of a friend. According to their legend,
soon after the creation of the world, there was a family consisting
of an aged man and woman, and four children, who died one after the
other in quick succession. Their parents were too infirm to take the
necessary steps for their cremation, so they threw the bodies away on
the ground at some distance from their home. God appeared to them in
their dreams one night, and promised that he would create the crow,
so that it might devour the dead bodies. Some Koyis believe that hell
is the abode of an iron crow, which feeds on all who go there. There
is a legend in the Kavarathi Island of the Laccadives, that a Mappilla
tangal (Muhammadan priest) once cursed the crows for dropping their
excrement on his person, and now there is not a crow on the island.

It is believed that, if a young crow-pheasant is tied by an iron
chain to a tree, the mother, as soon as she discovers the captive,
will go and fetch a certain root, and by its aid break the chain,
which, when it snaps, is converted into gold.

In some Kapu (Telugu cultivator) houses, bundles of ears of rice may
be seen hung up as food for sparrows, which are held in esteem. The
hopping of sparrows is said to resemble the gait of a person
confined in fetters, and there is a legend that the Kapus were once
in chains, and the sparrows set them at liberty, and took the bondage
on themselves. Native physicians prescribe the flesh and bones of cock
sparrows for those who have lost their virility. The birds are cleaned,
and put in a mortar, together with other medicinal ingredients. They
are pounded together for several hours, so that the artificial heat
produced by the operation converts the mixture into a pulpy mass,
which is taken in small doses. The flesh of quails and partridges is
also believed to possess remedial properties.

A west coast housewife, when she buys a fowl, goes through a mystic
ritual to prevent it from getting lost. She takes it thrice round
the fireplace, saying to it: "Roam over the country and the forest,
and come home safe again." Some years ago, a rumour spread through the
Koyi villages that an iron cock was abroad very early in the morning,
and upon the first village in which it heard one or more cocks crow it
would send a pestilence, and decimate the village. In one instance,
at least, this led to the immediate extermination of all the cocks
in the village.

The Indian roller (Coracias indica), commonly called the blue jay,
is known as pala-pitta or milk bird, because it is supposed that, when
a cow gives little milk, the yield will be increased if a few of the
feathers of this bird are chopped up, and given to it along with grass.

The fat of the peacock, which moves gracefully and easily, is supposed
to cure stiff joints. Peacock's feathers are sold in the bazaar,
and the burnt ashes are used as a cure for vomiting.

The deposit of white magnesite in the "Chalk Hills" of the Salem
district is believed to consist of the bones of the mythical bird
Jatayu, which fought Ravana, to rescue Sita from his clutches.



3. Reptiles and Batrachians.

It is recorded by Canter Visscher [94] that, "in the mountains and
remote jungles of this country (Malabar), there is a species of snake
of the shape and thickness of the stem of a tree, which can swallow men
and beasts entire. I have been told an amusing story about one of these
snakes. It is said that at Barcelore a chego (Chogan) had climbed up a
cocoanut tree to draw toddy or palm wine, and, as he was coming down,
both his legs were seized by a snake which had stretched itself up
alongside the tree with its mouth wide open, and was sucking him in
gradually as he descended. Now, the Indian, according to the custom
of his country, had stuck his teifermes (an instrument not unlike a
pruning knife), into his girdle with the curve turned outwards; and,
when he was more than half swallowed, the knife began to rip up the
body of the snake so as to make an opening, by which the lucky man was
most unexpectedly able to escape. Though the snakes in this country
are so noxious to the natives, yet the ancient veneration for them is
still maintained. No one dares to injure them or to drive them away
by violence, and so audacious do they become that they will sometimes
creep between people's legs when they are eating, and attack their
bowls of rice, in which case retreat is necessary until the monsters
have satiated themselves, and taken their departure."

Another snake story, worthy of the Baron Münchausen, is recorded in
Taylor's "Catalogue raisonné of Oriental Manuscripts." [95]


    "The Coya (Koyi) people eat snakes. About forty years since a
    Brahman saw a person cooking snakes for food, and, expressing great
    astonishment, was told by the forester that these were mere worms;
    that, if he wished to see a serpent, one should be shown him;
    but that, as for themselves, secured by the potent charms taught
    them by Ambikesvarer, they feared no serpents. As the Brahman
    desired to see this large serpent, a child was sent with a bundle
    of straw and a winnowing fan, who went, accompanied by the Brahman,
    into the depths of the forest, and, putting the straw on the mouth
    of a hole, commenced winnowing, when smoke of continually varying
    colours arose, followed by bright flame, in the midst of which a
    monstrous serpent having seven heads was seen. The Brahman was
    speechless with terror at the sight, and, being conducted back
    by the child, was dismissed with presents of fruits."


It is stated by Mr Gopal Panikkar [96] that, "people believe
in the existence inside the earth of a precious stone called
manikkakkallu. These stones are supposed to have been made out of
the gold, which has existed in many parts of the earth from time
immemorial. Certain serpents of divine nature have been blowing for
ages on these treasures of gold, some of which dwindle into a small
stone of resplendent beauty and brightness called manikkam. The moment
their work is finished, the serpents are transformed into winged
serpents, and fly up into the air with the stones in their mouths."

According to another version of this legend, [97] "people in Malabar
believe that snakes guard treasure. But silver they will have
none. Even in the case of gold, the snakes are said to visit hidden
treasure for twelve years occasionally, and, only when they find that
the treasure is not removed in the meantime, do they begin to guard
it. When once it has begun to watch, the snake is said to be very
zealous over it. It is said to hiss at it day and night. This constant
application is believed to diminish its proportions, and to make it
assume a smaller appearance. In time, in the place of the pointed tail,
the reptile is said to get wings, and the treasure, by the continuous
hissing, to assume the form of a precious stone. When this is done,
the snake is said to fly with its precious acquisition. So strong is
this belief that, when a comet appeared some ten years ago, people
firmly believed that it was the flight of the winged serpent with
the precious stone."

Natives, when seeking for treasure, arm themselves with a staff made
from one of the snake-wood trees, in the belief that the snakes which
guard the treasure will retire before it.

In Malabar, it is believed that snakes wed mortal girls, and fall in
love with women. When once they do so, they are said to be constantly
pursuing them, and never to leave them, except for an occasional
separation for food. The snake is said never to use its fangs against
its chosen woman. So strong is the belief, that women in Malabar would
think twice before attempting to go by themselves into a bush. [98]

There is a temple in Ganjam, the idol in which is said to be protected
from desecration at night by a cobra. When the doors are being shut,
the snake glides in, and coils itself round the lingam. Early in
the morning, when the priest opens the door, it glides away, without
attempting to harm any of the large number of spectators, who never
fail to assemble. [99]

The town of Nagercoil in Travancore derives its name from the temple
dedicated to the snake-god (naga kovil), where many stone images of
snakes are deposited. There is a belief that snake-bite is not fatal
within a mile of the temple.

The safety with which snake-charmers handle cobras is said to be due
to the removal of a stone, which supplied their teeth with venom,
from under the tongue or behind the hood. This stone is highly prized
as a snake poison antidote. It is said to be not unlike a tamarind
stone in size, shape, and appearance; and is known to be genuine if,
when it is immersed in water, bubbles continue to rise from it, or
if, when put into the mouth, it gives a leap, and fixes itself to
the palate. When it is applied to the punctures made by the snake's
poison fangs, it is said to stick fast and extract the poison, falling
off of itself as soon as it is saturated. After the stone drops off,
the poison which it has absorbed is removed by placing it in a vessel
of milk which becomes darkened in colour. A specimen was submitted to
Faraday, who expressed his belief that it was a piece of charred bone,
which had been filled with blood, and then charred again. [100]

There is, in Malabar, a class of people called mantravadis (dealers
in magical spells), who are believed to possess an hereditary power
of removing the effects of snake poison by repeating mantrams, and
performing certain rites. If a house is visited by snakes, they
can expel them by reciting such mantrams on three small pebbles,
and throwing them on to the roof. In cases of snake-bite, they recite
mantrams and wave a cock over the patient's body from the head towards
the feet. Sometimes a number of cocks have to be sacrificed before
the charm works. The patient is then taken to a tank (pond) or well,
and a number of pots of water are emptied over his head, while the
mantravadi utters mantrams. There are said to be certain revengeful
snakes, which, after they have bitten a person, coil themselves round
the branches of a tree, and render the efforts of the mantravadi
ineffective. In such a case, he, through the aid of mantrams, sends
ants and other insects to harass the snake, which comes down from
the tree, and sucks the poison from the punctures which it has made.

In the early part of the last century, a certain Tanjore pill had
a reputation as a specific against the bite of mad dogs, and of the
most poisonous snakes. [101]

The following note on a reputed cure for snake poisoning, used by
the Oddes (navvies), was communicated to me by Mr Gustav Haller.


    "A young boy, who belonged to a gang of Oddes, was catching
    rats, and put his hand into a bamboo bush, when a cobra bit him,
    and clung to his finger when he was drawing his hand out of the
    bush. I saw the dead snake, which was undoubtedly a cobra. I was
    told that the boy was in a dying condition, when a man of the same
    gang said that he would cure him. He applied a brown pill to the
    wound, to which it stuck without being tied. The man dipped a root
    into the water, and rubbed it on the lad's arm from the shoulder
    downwards. The arm, which was benumbed, gradually became sensitive,
    and at last the fingers could move, and the pill dropped off. The
    moist root was rubbed on to the boy's tongue, and into the corner
    of the eyes, before commencing operations. The man said that a used
    pill is quite efficacious, but should be well washed to get rid
    of the poison. In the manufacture of the pills, five leaves of a
    creeper are dried, and ground to powder. The pill must be inserted
    for nine days between the bark and cambium of a margosa tree
    (Melia Azadirachta) during the new moon, when the sap ascends."


The creeper referred to is Tinospora cordifolia (gul bel), and the
roots are apparently those of the same climbing shrub. There is a
widespread belief that gul bel growing on a margosa tree is more
efficacious as a medicine than that which is found on other kinds
of trees.

In cases of snake-bite, the Dommara snake-charmers place over the seat
of the bite a black stone, which is said to be composed of various
drugs mixed together and burnt. It is said to drop off, as soon as
it has absorbed all the poison. It is then put into milk or water to
extract the poison, and the fluid is thrown away as being dangerous
to life if swallowed. The Mandulas (wandering medicine men) use as
an antidote against snake-bite a peculiar wood, of which a piece is
torn off, and eaten by the person bitten. [102] Among the Viramushtis
(professional mendicants), there is a subdivision called Naga Mallika
(Rhinacanthus communis), the roots of which are believed to cure
snake-bite. The jungle Paliyans of the Palni hills are said [103]
to carry with them certain leaves, called naru valli ver, which they
believe to be a very efficient antidote to snake-bite. As soon as one
of them is bitten, he chews the leaves, and also applies them to the
punctures. The Kudumi medicine men of Travancore claim to be able to
cure snake-bite by the application of certain leaves ground into a
paste, and by exercising their magical powers. The Telugu Tottiyans
are noted for their power of curing snake-bites by means of mystical
incantations, and the original inventor of this mode of treatment
has been deified under the name of Pambalamman.

The jungle Yanadis are fearless in catching cobras, which they draw
out of their holes without any fear of their fangs. They claim to
be under the protection of a charm, while so doing. A correspondent
writes that a cobra was in his grounds, and his servant called in a
Yanadi to dislodge it. The man caught it alive, and, before killing
it, carefully removed the poison-sac with a knife, and swallowed it
as a protection against snake-bite.

The Nayadis of Malabar, when engaged in catching rats in their holes,
wear round the wrist a snake-shaped metal ring, to render them safe
against snakes which may be concealed in the hole.

A treatment for cobra-bite is to take a chicken, and make a deep
incision into the beak at the basal end. The cut surface is applied
to the puncture made by the snake's fangs, which are opened up with a
knife. After a time the chicken dies, and, if the patient has not come
round, more chicken must be applied until he is out of danger. The
theory is that the poison is attracted by the blood of the chicken,
and enters it. The following treatment for cobra bite is said [104]
to be in vogue in some places:--


    "As soon as a person has been bitten, a snake-charmer is sent for,
    who allures the same or another cobra whose fangs have not been
    drawn to the vicinity of the victim, and causes it to bite him
    at as nearly as possible the same place as before. Should this
    be fulfilled, the bitten man will as surely recover as the snake
    will die. It is believed that, if a person should come across two
    cobras together, they will give him no quarter. To avoid being
    pursued by them, he takes to his heels, after throwing behind
    some garment, on which the snakes expend their wrath. When they
    have completed the work of destruction, the pieces to which the
    cloth has been reduced, are gathered together, and preserved as
    a panacea for future ills."


A fisherman, who is in doubt as to whether a water-snake which has
bitten him is poisonous or not, sometimes has resort to a simple
remedy. He dips his hands into the mud, and eats several handfuls
thereof. [105]

The fragrant inflorescence of Pandanus fascicularis is believed to
harbour a tiny snake, which is more deadly than the cobra. Incautious
smelling of the flowers may, it is said, lead to death.

The earth-snake (Typhlops braminus) is known as the ear-snake, because
it is supposed to enter the ear of a sleeper, and cause certain death.

The harmless tree-snake (Dendrophis pictus) is more dreaded than the
cobra. It is believed that, after biting a human being, it ascends
the nearest palmyra palm, where it waits until it sees the smoke
ascending from the funeral pyre of the victim. The only chance of
saving the life of a person who has been bitten is to have a mock
funeral, whereat a straw effigy is burnt. Seeing the smoke, the
deluded snake comes down from the tree, and the bitten person recovers.

The green tree-snake (Dryophis mycterizans) is said to have a habit
of striking at the eyes of people, to prevent which a rag is tied
round the head of the snake, when it is caught. Another, and more
curious belief is that a magical oil can be prepared from its dead
body. A tender cocoanut is opened at one end, and the body of the
snake is put into the cocoanut, which, after being closed, is buried
in a miry place, and allowed to remain there until the body decays,
and the water in the cocoanut becomes saturated with the products of
decomposition. When this has taken place, the water is taken out, and
used as oil for a lamp. When a person carries such a lamp lighted, his
body will appear to be covered all over by running green tree-snakes,
to the great dismay of all beholders. [106]

For the following note on beliefs concerning the green tree-snake
(Dryophis), I am indebted to Dr N. Annandale. A recipe for making a
good curry, used by women who are bad cooks, is to take a tree-snake,
and draw it through the hands before beginning to make the curry. To
cure a headache, kill a tree-snake, and ram cotton seed and castor-oil
down its throat, until the whole body is full. Then bury it, and allow
the seeds to grow. Take the seeds of the plants that spring up, and
separate the cotton from the castor seeds. Ram them down the throat
of a second snake. Repeat the process on a third snake, and make a
wick from the cotton of the plant that grows out of its body, and
oil from the castor plants. If you light the wick in a lamp filled
with the oil, and take it outside at night, you will see the whole
place alive with green tree-snakes. Another way of performing the
same experiment is to bore a hole in a ripe cocoanut, put in a live
tree-snake, and stop the hole up. Then place the cocoanut beneath a
cow in a cowshed for forty days, so that it is exposed to the action
of the cow's urine. A lamp fed with oil made from the cocoanut will
enable you to see innumerable tree-snakes at night.

The bite of the sand-snake (Eryx Johnii) is believed to cause leprosy
and twisting of the hands and feet. An earth-snake, which lives at
Kodaikanal on the Palni hills, is credited with giving leprosy to
any one whose skin it licks. In the treatment of leprosy, a Russell's
viper (Vipera russellii) is stuffed with rice, and put in an earthen
pot, the mouth of which is sealed with clay. The pot is buried for
forty days, and then exhumed. Chickens are fed with the rice, and the
patient is subsequently fed on the chickens. The fat of the rat-snake
(Zamenis mucosus) is used as an external application in the treatment
of leprosy. An old woman, during an epidemic of cholera at Bezwada,
used to inject the patients hypodermically with an aqueous solution
of cobra venom.

Mischievous children, and others, when they see two persons
quarrelling, rub the nails of the fingers of one hand against those
of the other, and repeat the words "Mungoose and snake, bite, bite,"
in the hope that thereby the quarrel will be intensified, and grow
more exciting from the spectator's point of view.

When a friend was engaged in experiments on snake venom, some Dommaras
(jugglers) asked for permission to unbury the corpses of the snakes
and mungooses for the purpose of food.

If a snake becomes entangled in the net of a Bestha fisherman in
Mysore when it is first used, the net is rejected, and burnt or
otherwise disposed of.

There is a widespread belief among children in Malabar, that a lizard
(Calotes versicolor) sucks the blood of those whom it looks at. As
soon, therefore, as they catch sight of this creature, they apply
saliva to the navel, from which it is believed that the blood is
extracted.

A legend is recorded by Dr Annandale, [107] in accordance with which
every good Muhammadan should kill the blood-sucker (lizard), Calotes
gigas, at sight, because, when some fugitive Muhammadans were hiding
from their enemies in a well, one of these animals came and nodded
its head in their direction till their enemies saw them.

A similar legend about another lizard is described as existing in
Egypt. Dr Annandale further records that the Hindus and Muhammadans
of Ramnad in the Ramnad district regard the chamæleon (Chamæleon
calcaratus) as being possessed by an evil spirit, and will not touch
it, lest the spirit should enter their own bodies. I have been told
that the bite of a chamæleon is more deadly than that of a cobra.

There is a popular belief that the bite of the Brahmini lizard (Mabuia
carinata), called aranai in Tamil, is poisonous, and there is a saying
that death is instantaneous if aranai bites. The same belief exists
in Ceylon, and Mr Arthur Willey informs me that deaths attributed to
the bite of this animal are recorded almost annually in the official
vital statistics. I have never heard of a case of poisoning by the
animal in question. There is a legend that, "when the cobra and the
arana were created, poison was supplied to them, to be sucked from
a leaf. The arana sucked it wholesale, leaving only the leaf smeared
over with poison for the cobra to lap poison from; thereby implying
that the cobra is far less venomous than the arana. Thus people
greatly exaggerate the venomous character of the arana." [108]

It has already been noted (p. 73) that, when Savara children are
emaciated from illness, offerings are made to monkeys. Blood-suckers
are also said to be propitiated, because they have filamentous
bodies. A blood-sucker is captured, small toy arrows are tied round
its body, and a piece of cloth is tied round its head. Some drops of
liquor are then poured into its mouth, and it is set at liberty.

The Maratha Rajas of Sandur belong to a family called Ghorpade,
which name is said to have been earned by one of them scaling a
precipitous fort by clinging to an "iguana" (Varanus), which was
crawling up it. The flesh of the "iguana" is supposed to be possessed
of extraordinary invigorating powers, and a meal off this animal is
certain to restore the powers of youth. Its bite is considered very
dangerous, and it is said that, when it has once closed its teeth on
human flesh, it will not reopen them, and the only remedy is to cut
out the piece it has bitten. [109] This animal and the crocodile are
believed to proceed from the eggs laid by one animal. They are laid
and hatched near water, and, of the animals which come out of them,
some find their way into the water, while others remain on land. The
former become crocodiles, and the latter "iguanas." The flesh of the
crocodile is administered as a cure for whooping-cough.

It is popularly believed that, if a toad falls on a pregnant woman, the
child that is to be born will die soon after birth. The only remedy is
to capture the offending toad, and fry it in some medicinal oil, which
must be administered to the child in order to save it from death. [110]



4. Fishes

It is recorded [111] that "Matsya gundam (fish pool) is a curious
pool in the Macheru (fish river) near the village of Matam, close
under the great Yendrika hill. The pool is crowded with mahseer
(Barbus tor) of all sizes. These are wonderfully tame, the bigger
ones feeding fearlessly from one's hand, and even allowing their
backs to be stroked. They are protected by the Madgole zamindars,
who on several grounds venerate all fish. Once, the story goes, a
Brinjari caught one, and turned it into curry, whereon the king of the
fish solemnly cursed him, and he and all his pack-bullocks were turned
into rocks, which may be seen there to the present day. At Sivaratri,
a festival occurs at the little thatched shrine near by, the priest at
which is a Bagata (Telugu freshwater fisher), and part of the ritual
consists in feeding the sacred fish. The Madgole zamindars claim to
be descended from the rulers of Matsya Desa. They are installed on
a stone throne shaped like a fish, display a fish on their banners,
and use a figure of a fish as a signature. Some of their dependents
wear ear-rings shaped like a fish."

A tank at Coondapoor contained a species of fish locally known as
the flower-fish, which was especially reserved for the table of
Tipu Sultan, being fat and full of blood. [112] The sacred fish at
Tirupparankunram near Madura are said to have been sages in a bygone
age, and it is believed to be very meritorious to look at them. They
are said to appear on the surface of the water only if you call out
"Kasi Visvanatha." But it is said that a handful of peas thrown into
the pool is more effective. The Ambalakkarans (Tamil cultivators)
admit that they are called Valaiyans, but repudiate any connection
with the caste of that name. They explain the appellation by a story
that, when Siva's ring was swallowed by a fish in the Ganges, one of
their ancestors invented the first net (valai) made in the world.

Some Natives will not eat the murrel fish (Ophiocephalus striatus),
owing to its resemblance to a snake. Some Halepaiks (Canarese
toddy-drawers) avoid eating a fish called Srinivasa, because they fancy
that the streaks on the body bear a resemblance to the Vaishnavite
sectarian mark (namam). Members of the Vamma gotra of the Janappans
(Telugu traders) abstain from eating the bombadai fish, because,
when some of their ancestors went to fetch water in a marriage pot,
they found a number of this fish in the water collected in the pot.

When a new net is used for the first time by the Besthas of Mysore,
the first fish which is caught is cut, and the net is smeared with
its blood. One of the meshes of the net is burnt, after incense has
been thrown into the fire.



5. Invertebrates

The Sahavasis of Mysore are described [113] as "immigrants, like the
Chitpavanas. Sahavasi means co-tenant or associate, and the name is
said to have been earned by the community in the following manner. In
remote times, a certain Brahman came upon hidden treasure, but,
to his amazement, the contents appeared in his eyes to be all live
scorpions. Out of curiosity, he hung one of them outside his house. A
little while after, a woman of inferior caste, who was passing by
the house, noticed it to be gold, and, upon her questioning him about
it, the Brahman espoused her, and by her means was able to enjoy the
treasure. He gave a feast in honour of his acquisition of wealth. He
was subsequently outcasted for his mésalliance with the low caste
female, while those who ate with him were put under a ban, and thus
acquired the nickname."

It is commonly said that the scorpion has great reverence for the name
of Ganesa, because it is supposed that when, on seeing a scorpion,
one cries out "Pilliyar annai" (in the name of Ganesa), the scorpion
will suddenly stop; the truth of the matter being that any loud noise
arrests the movements of the animal. [114]

At the temple of Kolaramma at Kolar in Mysore, a pit under the
entrance is full of scorpions, and the customary offerings are silver
scorpions. The village goddess at Nangavaram in the Trichinopoly
district is called Sattandi Amman, and her idol represents her in the
act of weaving a garland of scorpions. It is generally supposed that
no scorpion can live in this village, and that the sacred ashes from
Sattandi Amman's shrine are a specific for scorpion stings. People
sometimes carry some of the ashes about with them, in case they
should be stung. [115] At Royachoti in the Cuddapah district, a
festival is held on the occasion of the god going hunting. The idol
Virabudra is carried to a mantapam outside the town, and placed on
the ground. Beneath the floor of the mantapam there is a large number
of scorpions. Whilst the god is taking his rest, the attendants
catch these scorpions, and hold them in their hands without being
stung. As long as the god remains in the mantapam, the scorpions do
not sting, but, directly he leaves it, they resume their poisonous
propensities. [116] The peon (attendant) in the zoological laboratory
of one of the Madras colleges would put his hand with impunity into
a jar of live scorpions, of which he believed that only a pregnant
female would sting him with hurt. Lieutenant-Colonel  D. D. Cunningham
records [117] the case of a certain Yogi (religious mendicant), who
was insusceptible to the stings of scorpions, "which would fix their
stings so firmly into his fingers that, when he raised and shook
his hand about, they remained anchored and dangling by their tails,
whilst neither then nor afterwards did he show the slightest sign
of pain or inconvenience. The immunity may possibly have been the
result of innate idiosyncratic peculiarity in the constitution of
the performer, or more probably represented the outcome of artificial
exemption acquired at the expense of repeated inoculations with the
virus, and corresponding development of its antitoxin."

A sweeper man, who had a mole on his back in shape somewhat resembling
a scorpion, believed himself to be immune against scorpion sting,
and would confidently insert the poison spine of a live scorpion
into his skin. In a letter to a medical officer, a Native wrote,
that, when a pregnant woman is stung by a scorpion, the child which
is in the womb at the time of such stinging, when delivered, does
not suffer from the sting of a scorpion, if ever it is stung during
its lifetime. Some families keep in their homes small pots called
thelkodukku undi (scorpion sting vessels), and occasionally drop
therein a copper coin, which is supposed to secure immunity against
scorpion sting. The Sakuna Pakshi mendicants of Vizagapatam have
a remedy for scorpion sting in the root of a plant called thella
visari (scorpion antidote), which they carry about with them on
their rounds. The root should be collected on a new-moon day which
falls on a Sunday. On that day, the Sakuna Pakshi bathes, cuts off
his loin-cloth, and goes stark-naked to a selected spot, where he
gathers the roots. If a supply thereof is required, and the necessary
combination of moon and day is not forthcoming, the roots should
be collected on a Sunday or Wednesday. In cases of scorpion sting,
Dommara medicine-men rub up patent boluses with human milk or juice
of the milk-hedge plant (Euphorbia Tirucalli), and apply them to
the parts. Among quaint remedies for scorpion sting may be noted,
sitting with an iron crowbar in the mouth, and the application of
chopped lizard over the puncture. The excrement of lizards fed on
scorpions, and the undigested food in the stomach of a freshly killed
goat, dried and reduced to powder, are also believed to be effective
remedies. There is a belief that scorpions have the power of reviving,
even after being completely crushed into pulp. We are, therefore,
warned not to rest secure till the animal has actually been cremated.

The whip-scorpion Thelyphonus is believed to be venomous, some Natives
stating that it stings like a scorpion, others that it ejects a slimy
fluid which burns, and produces blisters. The caudal flagellum of
Thelyphonus, of course, possesses no poison apparatus.

When the umbilical cord of a Kondh baby sloughs off, a spider is burnt
in the fire, and its ashes are placed in a cocoanut shell, mixed with
castor-oil, and applied by means of a fowl's feather to the navel.

The eggs of red ants, boiled in margosa (Melia Azadirachta) oil,
are said to be an invaluable remedy for children suffering from asthma.

If a house is infested by mosquitoes, or the furniture and bedding
by bugs, the names of a hundred villages or towns should be written
on a piece of paper. Care must be taken that all the names end in
uru, kottai, palayam, etc.  The paper is fastened to the ceiling or
bed-post, and relief from the pests will be instantaneous. [118]

The Oriya Haddis, on the evening of the tenth day after a death,
proceed to some distance from the house, and place food and fruits
on a cloth spread on the ground. They then call the dead man by his
name, and eagerly wait till some insect settles on the cloth. As soon
as this happens, the cloth is folded up, carried home, and shaken
over the floor close to the spot where the household gods are kept,
so that the insect falls on the sand spread on the floor. A light is
then placed on the sanded floor, and covered with a new pot. After
some time, the pot is removed, and the sand examined for any marks
which may be left on it.

A devil, in the disguise of a dung-beetle of large size, is believed
to haunt the house wherein a baby has been newly born, and the impact
of the insect against the infant will bring about its instant death.

The following case was brought to my notice by the Chemical Examiner to
Government. In Malabar, a young man, apparently in good health, walked
home with two other men after a feast, chewing betel. Arriving at his
home, he retired to rest, and was found dead in the morning. Blood
was described as oozing out of his eyes. It was given out that the
cause of death was an insect, which infests betel leaves, and is
very poisonous. The belief in death from chewing or swallowing the
veththilai or vettila poochi (betel insect) is a very general one,
and is so strong that, when a person suffers from giddiness, after
chewing betel, he is afraid that he has partaken of the poisonous
insect. Native gentlemen take particular care to examine every betel
leaf, wipe it with a cloth, and smear chunam (lime) over it, before
chewing. The poochi is called by Gundert [119] vettila pampu or
moorkhan (snake), or vettila thel (scorpion). It has been described
[120] as "a poisonous creature, which lives adhering to the betel
leaf. Its presence cannot be easily detected, and many deaths
occur among persons who are in the habit of carelessly chewing
betel. The poison passes into the system through the moisture of
the mouth, and death ensues within an hour and a half. It generally
inhabits the female leaf, i.e., the leaf that opens at night. The
following symptoms are seen when a person is affected with the
poison:--exhaustion, delirium, copious perspiration, and change of
colour of the skin. Treatment:--administer internally the juice of
the leaves of a tree called arippera. Make the patient suck the milk
of the breast of a woman, whose baby is more than eighty days old."

A perichæte earthworm was sent to me from Malabar as a specimen
of vettila poochi, with a note to the effect that, when it is
accidentally chewed, the chief symptom is drawing in of the tongue,
and consequent death from suffocation. The antidote was said to be salt
and water, and the leaves of the goa (guava) tree. From South Canara,
Mr H. Latham sent me a planarian worm, about two inches in length,
which is believed to be the vettila poochi. His camp boy told him of
a case in which death was said to have resulted from eating one of
these animals cooked with some jak fruit.

A few years ago, a scare arose in connection with an insect, which was
said to have taken up its abode in imported German glass bangles, which
compete with the indigenous industry of the Gazula bangle-makers. The
insect was reported to lie low in the bangle till it was purchased,
when it would come out and nip the wearer, after warning her to
get her affairs in order before succumbing. A specimen of a broken
bangle, from which the insect was said to have burst forth, was sent
to me. But the insect was not forthcoming.

As a further example of the way in which the opponents of a new
industry avail themselves of the credulity of the Native, I may cite
the recent official introduction of the chrome-tanning industry
in Madras. In connection therewith, a rumour spread more or less
throughout the Presidency that the wearing of chrome-tanned boots
or sandals gave rise to leprosy, blood poisoning, and failure of
the eyesight.



III

THE EVIL EYE


The objection which a high caste Brahman has to being seen by a low
caste man when he is eating his food is based on a belief allied to
that of the evil eye. The Brahmanical theory of vision, as propounded
in the sacred writings, and understood by orthodox pandits, corresponds
with the old corpuscular theory. The low caste man being in every
respect inferior to the Brahman, the matter or subtle substance
proceeding from his eye, and mixing with the objects seen by him,
must of necessity be inferior and bad. So food, which is seen by a low
caste man, in virtue of the radii perniciosi which it has received,
will contaminate the Brahman. This, it has been pointed out, [121] is
"a good illustration of the theory propounded by Mr E. S. Hartland at
the York meeting of the British Association (1906), that both magic
and religion, in their earliest forms, are based on the conception
of a transmissible personality, the mana of the Melanesian races."

A friend once rode accidentally into a weaver's feast, and threw
his shadow on their food, and trouble arose in consequence. On one
occasion, when I was in camp at Coimbatore, the Oddes (navvies) being
afraid of my evil eye, refused to fire a new kiln of bricks for the new
club chambers, until I had taken my departure. On another occasion,
I caught hold of a ladle, to show my friend Dr Rivers what were
the fragrant contents of a pot, in which an Odde woman was cooking
the evening meal. On returning from a walk, we heard a great noise
proceeding from the Odde men who had meanwhile returned from work,
and found the woman seated apart on a rock, and sobbing. She had been
excommunicated, not because I touched the ladle, but because she had
afterwards touched the pot. After much arbitration, I paid up the
necessary fine, and she was received back into her caste.

The following passage occurred in an official document, which was
sent to Sir M. E. Grant Duff, when he was Governor of Madras. [122]
The writer was Mr Andrew, C.S.


    "Sir C. Trevelyan visited Walajapet many years ago. When there,
    he naturally asked to see the cloths, carpets, etc. (which
    are manufactured there). Soon after (owing to the railway of
    course), trade began to diminish, and to this day, I hear that
    even the well-to-do traders think it was owing to the visit,
    as they believe that, if a great man takes particular notice
    of a person or place, ill-luck will follow. A month ago, I was
    walking near Ranipet, and stopped for a minute to notice a good
    native house, and asked whose it was, etc. A few hours after,
    the house took fire (the owner, after his prayers upstairs, had
    left a light in his room), and the people in the town think that
    the fire was caused by my having noticed the house. So, when His
    Excellency drove through Walajapet last July, the bazaar people
    did not show their best cloths, fearing ill-luck would follow,
    but also because they thought he would introduce their trade in
    carpets, etc., into the Central Jail, Vellore, and so ruin them."


In villages, strangers are not allowed to be present, when the
cows are milked. Sudden failure of milk, or blood-stained milk,
are attributed to the evil eye, to remove the influence of which
the owner of the affected cow resorts to the magician. When the hill
Kondhs are threshing the crop, strangers may not look on the crop,
or speak to them, lest their evil eye should be cast on them. If a
stranger is seen approaching the threshing-floor, the Kondhs keep
him off by signalling with their hands, without speaking.

In Malabar, a mantram, which is said to be effective against the
potency of the evil eye, runs as follows:--"Salutation to thee,
O God! Even as the moon wanes in its brightness at the sight of the
sun, even as the bird chakora (crow-pheasant) disappears at the sight
of the moon, even as the great Vasuki (king of serpents) vanishes
at the sight of the chakora, even as the poison vanishes from his
head, so may the potency of his evil eye vanish with thy aid." [123]
In Malabar, fear of the evil eye is very general. At the corner of
the upper storey of almost every Nayar house near a road or path is
suspended some object, often a doll-like hideous creature, on which
the eye of the passers-by may rest. [124]


    "A crop," Mr Logan writes, [125] "is being raised in a garden
    visible from the road. The vegetables will never reach maturity,
    unless a bogey of some sort is set up in their midst. A cow
    will stop giving milk, unless a conch (Turbinella rapa) shell
    is tied conspicuously about her horns. [Mappilla cart-drivers
    tie black ropes round the neck, or across the faces of their
    bullocks.] When a house or shop is being built, there surely
    is to be found exposed in some conspicuous position an image,
    sometimes of extreme indecency, a pot covered with cabalistic
    signs, a prickly branch of cactus, or what not, to catch the evil
    eye of passers-by, and divert their attention from the important
    work in hand."


Many of the carved wooden images recall forcibly to mind the Horatian
satire:--"Olim truncus eram.... Obscenoque ruber porrectus ab inguine
palus."

For the following note on the evil eye in Malabar, I am indebted to
Mr S. Appadorai Iyer.


    "It is not the eye alone that commits the mischief, but also the
    mind and tongue. Man is said to do good or evil through the mind,
    word and deed, i.e., manasa, vacha, and karmana. When a new house
    is being constructed, or a vegetable garden or rice-field are in
    a flourishing condition, the following precautions are taken to
    ward off the evil eye:--


    "(a) In Buildings

    "1. A pot with black and white marks on it is suspended mouth
    downwards.

    "2. A wooden figure of a monkey, with pendulous testicles,
    is suspended.

    "3. The figure of a Malayali woman, with protuberant breasts,
    is suspended.


    "(b) In Gardens and Fields

    "1. A straw figure, covered with black cloth daubed with black and
    white dots, is placed on a long pole. If the figure represents a
    male, it has pendent testicles, and, if a female, well developed
    breasts. Sometimes, male and female figures are placed together
    in an embracing posture.

    "2. Pots, as described above, are placed on bamboo poles.

    "3. A portion of the skull of a bull, with horns attached, is
    set up on a long pole.

    "The figures, pots, and skulls, are primarily intended to scare
    away crows, stray cattle, and other marauders, and secondly to
    ward off the evil eye. Instances are quoted, in which handsome
    buildings have fallen down, and ripe fruits and grain crops have
    withered through the influence of the eye, which has also been
    held responsible for the bursting of a woman's breasts."


In Madras, human figures, made of broken bricks and mortar, are kept
permanently in the front of the upstairs verandah. Some years ago,
Sir George Birdwood recorded the flogging, by order of the Police
Magistrate of Black Town (now George Town), Madras, of a Hindu
boy for exhibiting an indecent figure in public view. What he had
explicitly done was to set up, in accordance with universal custom,
a phallic image before a house that was in course of erection by a
Hindu gentleman, who was first tried under the indictment, but was
acquitted, he, the owner, not having been the person who had actually
exhibited the image. [126]

Monstrous Priapi, made in straw, with painted clay pots for heads, pots
smeared with chunam (lime) and studded with black dots, or palmyra palm
fruits coated with chunam, may often be seen set up in the fields,
to guard the ripening crop. In a note on the Tamil Paraiyans, the
Rev A. C. Clayton writes as follows: [127]


    "Charms, in the form of metal cylinders, are worn to avoid the
    baneful influence of the evil eye. To prevent this from affecting
    the crops, Paraiyans put up scarecrows in their fields. These
    are usually small broken earthen pots, whitewashed or covered
    with spots of whitewash, or even adorned with huge clay noses
    and ears, and made into grotesque faces. For the same reason,
    more elaborate figures, made of mud and twigs in human shape,
    are sometimes set up."


The indecent figures carved on temple cars, are intended to avert
the evil eye. During temple or marriage processions, two huge human
figures, male and female, made of bamboo wicker-work, are carried in
front for the same purpose. At the buffalo races in South Canara,
which take place when the first crop has been gathered, there is a
procession, which is sometimes headed by two dolls represented in
coitu borne on a man's head. At a race meeting near Mangalore, one
of the devil-dancers had the genitalia represented by a long piece
of cloth and enormous testicles.

Sometimes, in case of illness, a figure is made of rice-flour paste,
and copper coins are stuck on the head, hands, and abdomen thereof. It
is waved in front of the sick person, taken to a place where three
roads or paths meet, and left there. At other times, a hole is made in
a gourd (Benincasa cerifera or Lagenaria vulgaris), which is filled
with turmeric and chunam, and waved round the patient. It is then
taken to a place where three roads meet, and broken.

At a ceremony performed in Travancore when epidemic disease prevails,
an image of Bhadrakali is drawn on the ground with powders of five
colours, white, yellow, black, green, and red. At night, songs are
sung in praise of that deity by a Tiyattunni and his followers. A
member of the troupe then plays the part of Bhadrakali in the act
of murdering the demon Darika, and, in conclusion, waves a torch
before the inmates of the house, to ward off the evil eye, which is
the most important item in the whole ceremony. The torch is believed
to be given by Siva, who is worshipped before the light is waved.

In cases of smallpox, a bunch of nim (Melia Azadirachta) is sometimes
moved from the head to the feet of the sick person, with certain
incantations, and then twisted and thrown away.

The sudden illness of children is often attributed to the evil eye. In
such cases, the following remedies are considered efficacious:--

(1) A few sticks from a new unused broom are set fire to, waved several
times round the child, and placed in a corner. With some of the ashes
the mother makes a mark on the child's forehead.  If the broom burns
to ashes without making a noise, the women cry: "Look at it. It burns
without the slightest noise. The creature's eyes are really very bad."
Abuse is then heaped on the person whose eyes are supposed to have
an evil influence.

(2) Some chillies, salt, human hair, nail-cuttings, and finely powered
earth from the pit of the door-post are mixed together, waved three
times in front of the child, and thrown onto the fire. Woe betide the
possessor of the evil eye, if no pungent, suffocating smell arises
when it is burning.

(3) A piece of burning camphor is waved in front of the child.

(4) Balls of cooked rice, painted red, black, and white (with curds),
are waved before the child.

Loss of appetite in children is attributed by mothers to the visit of a
supposed evil person to the house. On that person appearing again, the
mother will take a little sand or dust from under the visitor's foot,
whirl it round the head of the child, and throw it on the hearth. If
the suspected person is not likely to turn up again, a handful of
cotton-seed, chillies, and dust from the middle of the street, is
whirled round the child's head, and thrown on the hearth. If the
chillies produce a strong smell, the evil eye has been averted. If
they do not do so, the suspect is roundly abused by the mother,
and never again admitted to the house.

Matrons make the faces of children ugly by painting two or three
black dots on the chin and cheeks, and painting the eyelids black with
lamp-black paste. It is a good thing to frighten any one who expresses
admiration of one's belongings. For example, if a friend praises your
son's eyes, you should say to him, "Look out! There is a snake at your
feet." If he is frightened, the evil eye has been averted. It is said
[128] that "you will cause mortal offence to a Hindu lady, should you
remark of her child 'What a nice baby you have,' or 'How baby has grown
since I saw him last.' She makes it a rule to speak deprecatingly of
her child, and represents it as the victim of non-existent ailments,
so that your evil eye shall not affect it. But, should she become
aware that, in spite of her precautions, you have defiled it with
your admiration, she will lose no time in counteracting the effect of
drishtidosham. One of the simplest methods adopted for this purpose
is to take a small quantity of chillies and salt in the closed palm,
and throw it into the fire, after waving it thrice round the head of
the child, to the accompaniment of incantations. If no pungent odour
is apparent, it is an indication that the dosham has been averted."

At the Sakalathi festival of the Badagas of the Nilgiris, a cake
is made, on which are placed a little rice and butter. Three wicks
steeped in castor-oil are put in it, and lighted. The cake is then
waved round the heads of all the children of the house, taken to a
field, and thrown thereon with the words "Sakalathi has come." At the
Suppidi ceremony, which every Nattukottai Chetti (Tamil banker) youth
has to perform before marriage, the young man goes to the temple. On
his return home, and at the entrance of Nattukottai houses which he
passes, rice-lamps are waved before him.

The custom of making a "wave offering" [129] at puberty and marriage
ceremonies is very widespread. Thus, when a Tangalan Paraiyan girl
attains puberty, she is bathed on the ninth day, and ten small lamps
of flour paste, called drishti mavu vilakku, are put on a sieve, and
waved before her. Then coloured water (arati or alam,) and burning
camphor, are waved in front of her. At the puberty ceremonies of
the Tamil Maravans, the girl comes out of seclusion on the sixteenth
day, bathes, and returns to her house. At the threshold, her future
husband's sister is standing, and averts the evil eye by waving betel
leaves, plantains, cooked flour paste, a vessel filled with water,
and an iron measure containing rice with a style stuck in it.

At a Palli (Tamil cultivator) wedding, water coloured with turmeric
and chunam (arati) is waved round the bride and bridegroom. Later on,
when the bride is about to enter the home of the bridegroom, coloured
water and a cocoanut are waved in front of the newly married couple. At
a marriage among the Pallans (Tamil cultivators), when the contracting
couple sit on the dais, coloured water, or balls of coloured rice with
lighted wicks, are waved round them. Water is poured into their hands
from a vessel, and sprinkled over their heads. The vessel is then waved
before them. During a Koliyan (Tamil weaver) wedding coloured water,
into which leaves of Bauhinia variegata are thrown, are waved. At a
marriage among the Khatris (weavers), when the bridegroom arrives at
the house of the bride, her mother comes out, and waves coloured water,
and washes his eyes with water. At a Tangalan Paraiyan wedding, during
a ceremony for removing the evil eye, a pipal (Ficus religiosa) leaf is
held over the foreheads of the bridal couple, with its tail downwards,
and all the close relations pour milk over it, so that it trickles over
their faces. During a marriage among the Sembadavans (Tamil fishermen),
the bride and bridegroom go through a ceremony called sige kazhippu,
with the object of warding off the evil eye, which consists in pouring
a few drops of milk on their foreheads from a fig or betel leaf. At
a Kapu (Telugu cultivator) wedding, the Ganga idol, which is kept
in the custody of a Tsakala (washerman), is brought to the marriage
house. At the entrance thereto, red-coloured food, coloured water,
and incense, are waved before it. During a marriage among the Balijas
(Telugu traders), the bridegroom is stopped at the entrance to the
room in which the marriage pots are kept by a number of married women,
and has to pay a small sum for the arati (coloured water), which is
waved by the women. At a Bilimagga (weaver) wedding in South Canara,
the bridegroom's father waves incense in front of a cot and brass
vessel, and lights and arati water are waved before the bridegroom.

At a royal marriage in Travancore, in 1906, a bevy of Nayar maidens,
quaintly dressed, walked in front of the Rani's palanquin. They were
intended as Drishti Pariharam, to ward off the evil eye.

Sometimes, in Malabar, when a person is believed to be under the
influence of a devil or the evil eye, salt, chillies, tamarinds,
oil, mustard, cocoanut, and a few pice (copper coins), are placed
in a vessel, waved round the head of the affected individual, and
given to a Nayadi, [130] whose curse is asked for. There is this
peculiarity about a Nayadi's curse, that it always has the opposite
effect. Hence, when he is asked to curse one who has given him alms,
he complies by invoking misery and evil upon him. The terms used
by him for such invocations are attupo or mutinjupo (to perish),
adimondupo (to be a slave), etc. [131]

During one of my tours, a gang of Yerukalas absolutely refused to
sit on a chair, and I had perforce to measure their heads while
they squatted on the ground. To get rid of my evil influence, they
subsequently went through the ceremony of waving red-coloured water
and sacrificing fowls.

During a marriage among the Madigas (Telugu Pariahs), a sheep or goat
is sacrificed to the marriage pots. The sacrificer dips his hand in the
blood of the animal, and impresses the blood on his palms on the wall
near the door leading to the room in which the pots are kept. This
is said to avert the evil eye. Among the Telugu Malas, a few days
before a wedding, two marks are made, one on each side of the door,
with oil and charcoal, for the same purpose. At Kadur, in the Mysore
Province, I once saw impressions of the hand on the walls of Brahman
houses. Impressions in red paint of a hand with outspread fingers
may be seen on the walls of mosques and Muhammadan buildings. [132]

When cholera, or other epidemic disease, breaks out, Muhammadans leave
the imprint of the hand dipped in sandal paste on the door. When a
Tamil Paraiyan dies, an impression of the dead man's palm is sometimes
taken in cow-dung, and stuck on the wall. [133]

The failure of a criminal expedition of the Koravas is said by Mr
F. Fawcett, [134] to be "generally attributed to the evil eye, or
the evil tongue, whose bad effects are evinced in many ways. If the
excursion has been for house-breaking, the house-breaking implement
is often soldered at its sharp end with panchalokam (five metals),
to counteract the effect of the evil eye. The evil tongue is a
frequent cause of failure. It consists in talking evil of others, or
harping on probable misfortunes. There are various ways of removing
its unhappy effects. A mud figure of a man is made on the ground,
and thorns are placed over the mouth. This is the man with the evil
tongue. Those who have suffered walk round it, crying out and beating
their mouths; the greater the noise, the better the effect. Cutting
the neck of a fowl half through and allowing it to flutter about,
or inserting a red hot splinter in its anus to madden it with pain,
are considered to be effective, while, if a cock should crow after
its neck has been cut, calamities are averted."



IV

SNAKE WORSHIP


Very closely connected with the subject of vows and votive offerings
is that of the worship of snakes, to which vows are made and offerings
dedicated.

In a note on serpent worship in Malabar, [135] it is stated that "even
to-day some corner of the garden of every respectable tarawad [136]
is allotted for snakes. Here a few trees are allowed to grow wild,
and under them, on a masonry platform, one or more sculptured granite
stones representing hooded serpents (cobras) are consecrated and set
up. The whole area is held sacred, and a mud lamp is lighted there
every evening with religious regularity. I have seen eggs, milk, and
plantains offered in the evening, after the lamp has been lit, at these
shrines, to invoke the serpent's aid on particular occasions. Such
is the veneration in which these shrines are held that Cherumars
(agrestic serfs) and other low caste aborigines, who are believed to
pollute by their very approach, are absolutely interdicted from getting
within the precincts. Should, however, any such pollute the shrine,
the resident snake or its emissary is said to apprise the owner of
the defilement by creeping to the very threshold of his house, and
remaining there until the Karanavan, [137] or other managing member
of the family promises to have it duly purified by a Brahman."


Concerning snake worship in Malabar, Mr C. Karunakara Menon writes [138]
as follows:--

"The existence of snake groves is said to owe its origin to Sri
Parasurama. [According to tradition, Parasurama was an avatar of
Vishnu, who destroyed the Kshatriya Rajas, and retired to Gokarnam
in Canara. He called on Varuna, the god of water, to give him some
land. Varuna caused the sea to recede, and thus the land called Kerala
(including Malabar) came into existence. Brahmans were brought from
Northern India to colonise the new country, but they ran away from
fear of the snakes, of which it was full. Parasurama then brought in a
further consignment of Brahmans from the north, and divided the country
into sixty-four Brahmanical colonies.] Parasurama advised that a part
of every house should be set apart for snakes as household gods. The
(snake) groves have the appearance of miniature reserved forests, as
they are considered sacred, and there is a strong prejudice against
cutting down trees therein. The groves contain a snake king and queen
made of granite, and a tower-like structure, made of laterite, [139]
for the sacred snakes. Snakes were, in olden days, considered a part
of the property. [Transfer deeds made special mention of the family
serpent as one of the articles sold along with the freehold.]

"When a snake is seen inside, or in the neighbourhood of the
house, great care is taken to catch it without giving it the least
pain. Usually a stick is placed gently on its head, and the mouth of
an earthenware pot is shown to it. When it is in, the pot is loosely
covered with a cocoanut shell, to allow of free breathing. It is
then taken to a secluded spot, the pot is destroyed, and the snake
set at liberty. It is considered to be polluted by being caught in
this way, and holy water is sometimes poured over it. Killing a snake
is considered a grievous sin, and even to see a snake with its head
bruised is believed to be a precursor of calamities. Pious Malayalis
(natives of Malabar), when they see a snake killed in this way, have
it burnt with the full solemnities attendant on the cremation of a
high-caste Hindu. The carcase is covered with a piece of silk, and
burnt in sandalwood. A Brahman is hired to observe pollution for some
days, and elaborate funeral oblations are offered to the dead snake."


In Travancore there was formerly a judicial ordeal by snake-bite. The
accused thrust his hand into a mantle, in which a cobra was wrapped
up. If it bit him, he was declared guilty, if not innocent.

In connection with snake worship in Malabar, Mr Upendra Pai gives
the following details. [140] Among snakes none is more dreaded than
the cobra (Naia tripudians), which accordingly has gathered round
it more fanciful superstitions than any other snake. This has led
to cobra worship, which is often performed with a special object in
view. In some parts of the country, every town or village has its
images of cobras rudely carved on stone. These cobra stones, as they
are termed, are placed either on little platforms of stone specially
erected for them, or at the base of some tree, preferably a holy
fig. [141] On the fifth day of the lunar month Shravana, known as the
Nagarapanchami--that is, the fifth day of the nagas or serpents--these
stones are first washed; then milk, curds, ghi (clarified butter), and
cocoanut water, are poured over them. Afterwards they are decorated
with flowers, and offerings are made to them. The cobra stone is
also worshipped at other times by those who have no male children,
in order to obtain such. But to establish new images of cobras in
suitable places is regarded as a surer method of achieving this
object. For this certain preliminary ceremonies have to be gone
through, and, when once the image has been established, it is the
duty of the establisher to see that it is properly worshipped at
least once a year, on the Nagarapanchami day. The merit obtained
is proportionate to the number of images thus worshipped, so that
pious people, to obtain a great deal of merit, and at the same time
to save themselves the expense of erecting many stone images, have
several images drawn, each on a tiny bit of a thin plate of gold or
silver. These images are handed over to some priest, to be kept along
with other images, to which daily worship is rendered. In this way,
great merit is supposed to be obtained. It is also believed that
such worship will destroy all danger proceeding from snakes. The
cobra being thus an object of worship, it is a deadly sin to kill or
maim it. For the cobra is in the popular imagination a Brahman, and
there is no greater sin than that of killing a Brahman. Accordingly,
if any one kills a cobra, he is sure to contract leprosy, which is
the peculiar punishment of those who have either killed a cobra, or
have led to the destruction of its eggs by digging in or ploughing
up soil which it haunts, or setting on fire jungle or grass in the
midst of which it is known to live and breed.

In a note on snake worship, Mr R. Kulathu Iyer writes as follows:
[142]--


    "In Travancore there is a place called Mannarsala, which is well
    known for its serpent worship. It is the abode of the snake king
    and queen, and their followers. The grove and its premises cover
    about 16 acres. In the middle of this grove are two small temples
    dedicated to the snake king and queen. There are also thousands
    of snakes of granite, representing the various followers of the
    king and queen. Just to the northern side of the temple there is
    a house, the abode of the Nampiathy, [143] who performs pooja
    (worship) in the temple. In caste he is lower in grade than a
    Brahmin. The temple has paddy (rice) fields and estates of its
    own, and also has a large income from various sources. There is
    an annual festival at this temple, known as Ayilyam festival,
    which is celebrated in the months of Kanny and Thulam (September
    and October). A large number of people assemble for worship
    with offerings of gold, silver, salt, melons, etc. The sale
    proceeds of these offerings after a festival would amount to a
    pretty large sum. On the day previous to the Ayilyam festival,
    the temple authorities spend something like three thousand rupees
    in feeding the Brahmins. A grand feast is given to nearly three
    thousand Brahmins at the house of the Nampiathy. On the Ayilyam
    day, all the serpent gods are taken in procession to the illam
    (house of the Nampiathy) by the eldest female member of the
    house, and offerings of neerumpalum (a mixture of rice-flour,
    turmeric, ghi, water of tender cocoanuts, etc.), boiled rice,
    and other things, are made to the serpent gods. It is said that
    the neerumpalum mixture would be poured into a big vessel, and
    kept inside a room for three days, when the vessel would be found
    empty. It is supposed that the serpents drink the contents. As
    regards the origin of this celebrated grove, Mr S. Krishna Iyer,
    in one of his contributions to the Calcutta Quarterly Review,
    says that 'the land from Avoor on the south to Alleppy on the
    north was the site of the Khandava forest celebrated in the
    Mahabaratha; that, when Arjuna set fire to it, the serpents
    fled in confusion and reached Mannarasalay, and there prayed
    to the gods for protection; that thereupon the earth around was
    miraculously cooled down, and hence the name mun-l-ari-l-sala,
    the place where the earth was cooled. After the serpents found
    shelter from the Khandava fire, an ancestress of the Nambiathy
    had a vision calling upon her to dedicate the groves and some land
    to the Naga Raja (snake king), and build a temple therein. These
    commands were obeyed forth-with, and thenceforward the Naga Raja
    became their family deity.' In the 'Travancore State Manual,'
    Mr Nagam Iyer, referring to Mannarsala, says that 'a member of
    this Mannarsala illam married a girl of the Vettikod illam, where
    the serpents were held in great veneration. The girl's parents,
    being very poor, had nothing to give in the way of dowry, so
    they gave her one of the stone idols of the serpent, of which
    there were many in the house. The girl took care of this idol,
    and worshipped it regularly. Soon she became pregnant, and gave
    birth to a male child and a snake. The snake child grew up,
    and gave rise to a numerous progeny. They were all removed to a
    spot where the present kavu (grove) is. In this kavu there are
    now four thousand stone idols representing snake gods.' Such is
    the origin of this celebrated grove of Central Travancore."


On the bank of the river separating Cranganore from the rest of
the Native State of Cochin is the residence of a certain Brahman
called the Pampanmekkat (snake guardian) Nambudri, who has been
called the high priest of serpent worship. It is recorded [144]
by Mr Karunakara Menon that, "a respectable family at Angadipuram
(in Malabar) sold their ancestral house to a supervisor in the Local
Fund P. W. D. (Public Works Department). He cut down the snake grove,
and planted it up. Some members of the vendor's family began to suffer
from some cutaneous complaint. As usual the local astrologer was
called in, and he attributed the ailment to the ire of the aggrieved
family serpents. These men then went to the Brahmin house of Pampu
Mekat. This Namboodri family is a special favourite of the snakes. When
a new serpent grove has to be created, or if it is found necessary to
remove a grove from one place to another, the ritual is entirely in
the hands of these people. When a family suffers from the wrath of the
serpents, they generally go to this Namboodri house. The eldest woman
of the house would hear the grievances of the party, and then, taking
a vessel full of gingelly (Sesamum) oil, and looking into it, would
give out the directions to be observed in satisfying the serpents."

Concerning the Pampanmekkat Nambudri, Mr Gopal Panikkar writes [145]
that, "it is said that this Nambudri household is full of cobras,
which find their abode in every nook and corner of it. The inmates
can scarcely move about without placing their feet upon one of these
serpents. Owing to the magic influence of the family, the serpents
cannot and will not injure them. The serpents are said to be always at
the beck and call of the members of this Nambudri family, and render
unquestioned obedience to their commands. They watch and protect the
interests of the family in the most zealous spirit."

It is said [146] that, "every year the Nambudri receives many
offerings in the shape of golden images of snakes, for propitiating
the serpent god to ward off calamity, or to enlist its aid in the
cure of a disease, or for the attainment of a particular object. It
is well known that the Nambudri has several hundreds of these images
and other valuable offerings, the collection of centuries, amounting
in value to over a lakh of rupees. This aroused the cupidity of a
gang of dacoits (robbers), who resolved some years ago to ease the
Nambudri of a great portion of this treasure. On a certain night,
armed with lathies (sticks), slings, torches, and other paraphernalia,
the dacoits went to the illam, and, forcibly effecting an entrance,
bound the senior Nambudri's hands and feet, and threw him on his
breast. This precaution taken, the keys of the treasure-room were
demanded, the alternative being further personal injury. To save
himself from further violence, the keys were surrendered. The dacoits
secured all the gold images, leaving the silver ones severely alone,
and departed. But, directly they went past the gate of the house,
many snakes chased them, and, in the twinkling of an eye, each of
the depredators had two snakes coiled round him, others investing
the gang, and threatening, with uplifted hoods and hisses, to dart
at them. The dacoits remained stunned and motionless. Meantime, the
authorities were communicated with, and the whole gang was taken into
custody. It is said that the serpents did not budge an inch until
after the arrival of the officers."

Other marvellous stories of the way in which the snakes carry out
their trust are narrated.

A section of Ambalavasis or temple servants in Malabar, called
Teyyambadis, the members of which dance and sing in Bhagavati temples,
perform a song called Nagapattu (song in honour of snakes) in private
houses, which is supposed to be effective in procuring offspring. [147]

In many houses of the Tiyans of Malabar, offerings are made annually to
a bygone personage named Kunnath Nayar, and to his friend and disciple,
Kunhi Rayan, a Mappilla (Muhammadan). According to the legend, the
Nayar worshipped the kite until he obtained command and control over
all the snakes in the land. There are Mappilla devotees of Kunnath
Nayar and Kunhi Rayan, who exhibit snakes in a box, and collect
alms for a snake mosque near Manarghat at the foot of the Nilgiri
hills. A class of snake-charmers in Malabar, called Kuravan, go about
the country exhibiting snakes. It is considered to be a great act of
piety to purchase these animals, and set them at liberty. The vagrant
Kakkalans of Travancore, who are said to be identical with the Kakka
Kuravans, are unrivalled at a dance called pampatam (snake dance).

The Pulluvans of Malabar are astrologers, medicine-men, and priests
and singers in snake groves. According to a legend [148] they are
descended from a male and female servant, who were exiled by a
Brahman in connection with the rescuing by the female of a snake
which escaped when the Gandava forest was set on fire by Agni, the
god of fire. Another legend records how a five-hooded snake fled
from the burning forest, and was taken home by a woman, and placed
in a room. When her husband entered the room, he found an ant-hill,
from which the snake issued forth, and bit him. As the result of
the bite, the man died, and his widow was left without means of
support. The snake consoled her, and devised a plan, by which she
could maintain herself. She was to go from house to house, and cry
out, "Give me alms, and be saved from snake-poisoning." The inmates
would give alms, and the snakes, which might be troubling them,
would cease to annoy. For this reason, the Pulluvas, when they go
with their pot-drum (pulluva kudam) to a house, are asked to play,
and sing songs which are acceptable to the snake gods, in return for
which they receive a present of money. A Pulluvan and his wife preside
at the ceremony called Pamban Tullal, which is carried out with the
object of propitiating the snake gods. Concerning this ceremony,
Mr L. K. Anantha Krishna Iyer writes as follows [149]:--


    "A pandal (booth) supported by four poles driven into the ground is
    put up for the purpose, and the tops of the poles are connected
    with a network of strings, over which a silk or red cloth is
    spread to form a canopy. The pandal is well decorated, and the
    floor below it is slightly raised and smoothed. A hideous figure of
    the size of a big serpent is drawn in rice-flour, turmeric (Curcuma
    longa), kuvva(Curcuma angustifolia), powdered charcoal, and a green
    powder. These five powders are essential, for their colours are
    visible on the necks of serpents. Some rice is scattered on the
    floor and on the sides, and ripe and green cocoanuts are placed on
    a small quantity of rice and paddy (unhusked rice) on each side. A
    puja for Ganapathi (the elephant god) is performed, to see that
    the whole ceremony terminates well. A good deal of frankincense
    is burned, and a lamp is placed on a plate, to add to the purity,
    sanctity, and solemnity of the occasion. The members of the house
    go round the pandal as a token of reverence, and take their seats
    close by. It often happens that the members of several neighbouring
    families take part in the ceremony. The women, from whom devils
    have to be cast out, bathe and take their seats on the western
    side, each with a flower-pod of the areca palm. The Pulluvan,
    with his wife or daughter, begins his shrill musical tunes (on
    serpents), vocal and instrumental alternately. As they sing, the
    young female members appear to be influenced by the modulation of
    the tunes and the smell of the perfumes. They gradually move their
    heads in a circle, which soon quickens, and the long locks of hair
    are soon let loose. These movements appear to keep time with the
    Pulluvan's music. In their unconscious state, they beat upon the
    floor, and wipe off the figure drawn. As soon as this is done,
    they go to a serpent grove close by, where there may be a few stone
    images of serpents, before which they prostrate themselves. They
    now recover their consciousness, and take milk, water of the
    green cocoanut, and plantain fruits, and the ceremony is over."


In connection with the Pamban Tullal, Mr Gopal Panikkar writes [150]
that "sometimes the gods appear in the bodies of all these females, and
sometimes only in those of a select few, or none at all. The refusal
of the gods to enter into such persons is symbolical of some want of
cleanliness in them; which contingency is looked upon as a source of
anxiety to the individual. It may also suggest the displeasure of
these gods towards the family, in respect of which the ceremony is
performed. In either case, such refusal on the part of the gods is
an index of their ill-will or dissatisfaction. In cases where the
gods refuse to appear in any one of those seated for the purpose,
the ceremony is prolonged until the gods are so propitiated as to
constrain them to manifest themselves. Then, after the lapse of the
number of days fixed for the ceremony, and, after the will of the
serpent gods is duly expressed, the ceremonies close."

Sometimes, it is said, it may be considered necessary to rub away
the figure as many as one hundred and one times, in which case the
ceremony is prolonged over several weeks. Each time that the snake
design is destroyed, one or two men, with torches in their hands,
perform a dance, keeping step to the Pulluvan's music. The family
may eventually erect a small platform or shrine in a corner of their
grounds, and worship at it annually. The snake deity will not, it is
believed, manifest himself if any of the persons or articles required
for the ceremony are impure, e.g., if the pot-drum has been polluted
by the touch of a menstruating female. The Pulluvan, from whom a
drum was purchased for the Madras Museum, was very reluctant to part
with it, lest it should be touched by an impure woman. In addition
to the pot-drum, the Pulluvans play on a lute with snakes painted
on the reptile skin, which is used in lieu of parchment. The skin,
in a specimen which I acquired, is apparently that of the big lizard
Varanus bengalensis. The lute is played with a bow, to which a metal
bell is attached.

In the "Madras Census Report," 1871, [151] Surgeon-Major Cornish
states that there is a place near Vaisarpadi, close to Madras, in
which the worship of the living snakes draws crowds of votaries,
who make holiday excursions to the temple, generally on Sundays,
in the hope of seeing the snakes, which are preserved in the temple
grounds; and, he adds, probably as long as the desire of offspring is a
leading characteristic of the Indian people, so long will the worship
of the serpent, or of snake-stones, be a popular cult. He describes
further how, at Rajahmundry in the Telugu country, he came across
an old ant-hill by the side of a public road, on which was placed a
stone representing a cobra, and the ground all round was stuck over
with pieces of wood carved very rudely in the shape of a snake. These
were the offerings left by devotees at the abode taken up by an old
snake, who would occasionally come out of his hole, and feast on the
eggs and ghi (clarified butter) left for him by his adorers. Around
this place he saw many women who had come to pray at the shrine. If
they chanced to see the cobra, the omen was interpreted favourably,
and their prayers for progeny would be granted.

>Concerning snake worship in the Tamil country, Mr W. Francis writes
as follows [152]:--


    "A vow is taken by childless wives to install a serpent
    (nagapratishtai), if they are blessed with offspring. The
    ceremony consists in having a figure of a serpent cut in a
    stone slab, placing it in a well for six months, giving it life
    (pranapratishtai) by reciting mantrams and performing other
    ceremonies over it, and then setting it up under a pipal tree
    (Ficus religiosa), which has been married to a margosa (Melia
    Azadirachta). Worship, which consists mainly in going round the
    tree 108 times, is then performed to it for the next forty-five
    days. Similar circumambulations will also bring good luck in a
    general way, if carried out subsequently."


It is further recorded by Mr F. R. Hemingway [153] that, "Brahmans
and the higher Vellalans think that children can be obtained by
worshipping the cobra. Vellalans and Kallans perform the worship on
a Friday. Among the Vellalans, this is generally after the Pongal
festival. The Vellalans make an old woman cry aloud in the backyard
that a sacrifice will be made to the cobra next day, and that they pray
it will accept the offering. At the time of sacrifice, cooked jaggery
(crude sugar) and rice, burning ghi in the middle of rice-flour,
and an egg, are offered to the cobra, and left in the backyard for
its acceptance. The Pallis annually worship the cobra by pouring milk
on an ant-hill, and sacrificing a fowl near it. Valaiyans, Pallans,
and Paraiyans sacrifice a fowl in their own backyards."

In the Tamil country, children whose birth is attributed to a vow
taken by childless mothers to offer a snake cut on a stone slab,
sometimes have a name bearing reference to snakes given to them,
i.e., Seshachalam, [154] Seshamma, Nagappa, or Nagamma. Naga, Nagasa,
or Nageswara, occurs as the name of a totemistic exogamous sept or
gotra of various classes in Ganjam and Vizagapatam. In the Odiya
caste of farmers in Ganjam, members of the Nagabonso sept claim to
be descendants of Nagamuni, the serpent rishi. Nagavadam (cobra's
hood) is the name of a subdivision of the Tamil Pallis, who wear an
ornament called nagavadam, representing a cobra, in the dilated lobes
of the ears.

Ant (i.e., white-ant, Termes) hills, which have been repeatedly
referred to in this chapter, are frequently inhabited by cobras,
and offerings of milk, fruit, and flowers are consequently made to
them on certain ceremonial occasions. Thus it is recorded, [155]
by the Rev. J. Cain that when he was living in Ellore Fort in the
Godavari district, in September, 1873, "a large crowd of people,
chiefly women and children, came in, and visited every white-ant
hill, poured upon each their offerings of milk, flowers, and fruit,
to the intense delight of all the crows in the neighbourhood. The
day was called the Nagula Chaturdhi--Chaturdhi, the fourth day of
the eighth lunar month--and was said to be the day when Vasuki,
Takshaka, and the rest of the thousand Nagulu were born to Kasyapa
Brahma by his wife Kadruva. [156] The other chief occasions when
these ant-hills are resorted to are when people are affected with
earache or pains in the eye, and certain skin diseases. They visit
the ant-hills, pour out milk, cold rice, fruit, etc., and carry away
part of the earth, which they apply to the troublesome member, and,
if they afterwards call in a Brahman to repeat a mantra or two,
they feel sure the complaint will soon vanish. Many parents first
cut their children's hair near one of these hillocks, and offer the
first fruits of the hair to the serpents residing there."

The colossal Jain figure of Gomatesvara, Gummatta, or Gomata Raya,
at Sravana Belgola in Mysore, [157] is represented as surrounded by
white-ant hills, from which snakes are emerging, and with a climbing
plant twining itself round the legs and arms.

On the occasion of the snake festival in the Telugu country, the Boya
women worship the Nagala Swami (snake god) by fasting, and pouring
milk into the holes of white-ant hills. By this a double object is
fulfilled. The ant-hill is a favourite dwelling of the cobra, and was,
moreover, the burial-place of Valmiki, from whom the Boyas claim to be
descended. Valmiki was the author of the Ramayana, and is believed to
have done penance for so long in one spot that a white-ant hill grew
up round him. On the Nagarapanchami day, Lingayats worship the image
of a snake made of earth from a snake's hole with offerings of milk,
rice, cocoanuts, flowers, etc. During the month Aswija, Lingayat
girls collect earth from ant-hills, and place it in a heap at the
village temple. Every evening they go there with wave-offerings, and
worship the heap. At the Dipavali festival, [158] the Gamallas (Telugu
toddy-drawers) bathe in the early morning, and go in wet clothes to an
ant-hill, before which they prostrate themselves, and pour a little
water into one of the holes. Round the hill they wind five turns of
cotton thread, and return home. Subsequently they come once more to the
ant-hill with a lamp made of flour paste. Carrying the light, they go
three or five times round the hill, and throw split pulse (Phaseolus
Mungo) into one of the holes. On the following morning they again go
to the hill, pour milk into it, and snap the threads wound round it.

The famous temple of Subramanya in South Canara is said to have
been in charge of the Subramanya Stanikas (temple servants), till
it was wrested from them by the Shivalli Brahmans. In former times,
the privilege of sticking a golden ladle into a heap of food piled
up in the temple on the Shasti day is said to have belonged to the
Stanikas. They also brought earth from an ant-hill on the previous
day. Food from the heap, and some of the earth, are received as sacred
articles by devotees who visit the sacred shrine.

At the Smasanakollai festival in honour of the goddess Ankalamma
at Malayanur, some thousands of people congregate at the temple. In
front of the stone idol is a large ant-hill, on which two copper idols
are placed, and a brass vessel is placed at the base of the hill,
to receive the various offerings.

At a wedding among the nomad Lambadis, the bride and bridegroom pour
milk into an ant-hill, and offer cocoanuts, milk, etc., to the snake
which lives therein. During the marriage ceremonies of the Dandasis
(village watchmen in Ganjam), a fowl is sacrificed at an ant-hill. At
a Bedar (Canarese cultivator) wedding, the earth from an ant-hill
is spread near five water-pots, and on it are scattered some paddy
(unhusked rice) and dhal (Cajanus indicus) seeds. The spot is visited
later on, and the seeds should have sprouted.



V

VOWS, VOTIVE AND OTHER OFFERINGS


In addition to the observance of penances and fasting, Hindus of
all castes, high and low, make vows and offerings to the gods, with
the object of securing their good-will or appeasing their anger. By
the lower castes, offerings of animals--fowls, sheep, goats, or
buffaloes--are made, and the gods whom they seek to propitiate
are minor deities, e.g., Ellamma or Muneswara, to whom animal
sacrifices are acceptable. [159] The higher castes usually perform
vows to Venkateswara of Tirupati, Subramanya of Palni, Viraraghava of
Tiruvallur, Tirunarayana of Melkote, and other celebrated gods. But
they may, if afflicted with serious illness, at times, as at the
leaf festival at Periyapalayam (p. 148), seek the good offices of
minor deities.


    "A shrine," Mr F. Fawcett writes, [160] "to which the Malayalis
    (inhabitants of Malabar), Nayars included, resort is that of
    Subramaniya at Palni in the north-west of the Madura district. Not
    only are vows paid to this shrine, but men, letting their hair
    grow for a year after their father's death, proceed to have it cut
    there. The plate shows an ordinary Palni pilgrim. The arrangement
    which he is carrying is called a kavadi (portable shrine). There
    are two kinds of kavadi, a milk kavadi containing milk, and a fish
    kavadi containing fish. The vow may be made in respect of either,
    each being appropriate to certain circumstances. [Miniature silver
    kavadis, and miniature crowns, are sometimes offered by pilgrims
    to the god.] When the time comes near for the pilgrim to start for
    Palni, he dresses in reddish-orange clothes, shoulders his kavadi,
    and starts out. Together with a man ringing a bell, and perhaps
    one with a tom-tom, with ashes on his face, he assumes the rôle of
    a beggar. The well-to-do are inclined to reduce the beggar period
    to the minimum, but a beggar every votary must be, and as a beggar
    he goes to Palni in all humbleness and humiliation, and there he
    fulfils his vow, leaves his kavadi and his hair, and a small sum of
    money. Though the individuals about to be noticed were not Nayars,
    their cases illustrate very well the religious idea of the Nayar
    as expressed under certain circumstances. It was at Guruvayur (in
    Malabar) in November 1895. On a high raised platform under a peepul
    tree were a number of people under vows, bound for Palni. A boy
    of fourteen had suffered as a child from epilepsy, and seven years
    ago his father vowed on his behalf that, if he was cured, he would
    make his pilgrimage to Palni. He wore a string of beads round his
    neck, and a like string on his right arm. These were in some way
    connected with the vow. His head was bent, and he sat motionless
    under his kavadi, leaning on the bar, which, when he carried it,
    rested on his shoulder. He could not go to Palni until it was
    revealed to him in a dream when he was to start. He had waited
    for his dream seven years, subsisting on roots (yams, etc.), and
    milk--no rice. Now he had had the longed-for dream, and was about
    to start. Another pilgrim was a man wearing an oval band of silver
    over the lower portion of the forehead, almost covering his eyes;
    his tongue protruding beyond the mouth, and kept in position by
    a silver skewer through it. The skewer was put in the day before,
    and was to be left in for forty days. He had been fasting for two
    years. He was much under the influence of the god, and whacking
    incessantly at a drum in delicious excitement. Several of the
    pilgrims had a handkerchief tied over the mouth, they being under
    a vow of silence. [At Kumbakonam in the Tanjore district, 'there
    is a math in honour of a recently deceased saint named Paradesi,
    who attained wide fame in the district some years ago. He never
    spoke, and was welcomed and feasted everywhere, and was the subject
    of many vows. People used to promise to break cocoanuts in his
    presence, or clothe him with fine garments, if they obtained their
    desire, and such vows were believed to be very efficacious.' [161]
    At the Manjeshwar Temple in South Canara, there is a Darsana,
    (man who gets inspired) called the dumb Darsana, as he gives signs
    instead of speaking. Bishop Whitehead records [162] the case of
    a Brahman, who had taken a vow of silence for twenty-one years,
    because people make so much mischief by talking. He conversed
    by means of signs and writing in the dust]. One poor man wore
    the regular instrument of silence, the mouth-lock [163]--a wide
    silver band over the mouth, and a skewer piercing both cheeks. He
    sat patiently in a tent-like affair. People fed him with milk,
    etc. The use of the mouth-lock is common with the Nayars, when
    they assume the pilgrim's robes and set out for Palni. Pilgrims
    generally go in crowds under charge of a priestly guide, one who,
    having made a certain number of journeys to the shrine, wears a
    peculiar sash and other gear."


In connection with kavadis, it may be noted that, at the time of
the annual migration of the sacred herd of cattle belonging to
the Kappiliyans (Canarese farmers in the Madura district) to the
hills, the driver is said to carry a pot of fresh-drawn milk within
a kavadi. On the day on which the return journey to the Kambam valley
is commenced, the pot is opened, and the milk is said to be found in a
hardened state. A slice thereof is cut off, and given to each person
who accompanied the herd to the hills. It is believed that the milk
would not remain in good condition, if the sacred herd had been in
any way injuriously affected during its sojourn there. The usual vow
performed at the shrine of Dandayudhapani or Subramanya near Settikulam
in the Trichinopoly district is to carry milk, sugar, flour, etc.,
in a kavadi, and offer it to the god. [164] A case is recorded [165]
from Ceylon, in which a man who was about to proceed with a kavadi to
a shrine was held by several men, while a blow with the palm of the
hand caught him in the middle of the back, to numb the pain created
by the forcing of sharp iron hooks into the fleshy part of the back.

Reference has been made (p. 137) to the offering of hair by devotees
at the Palni shrine. When people are prevented from going to a temple
at the proper time, hair is sometimes removed from their children's
head, sealed up in a vessel, and put into the receptacle for offerings
when the visit to the temple is paid. In cases of dangerous sickness,
the hair is sometimes cut off, and offered to a deity.


    "The sacrifice of locks," Mr A. Srinivasan writes, "is meant to
    propitiate deceased relations, and the deity which presides over
    life's little joys and sorrows. It is a similar intention that
    has dictated the ugly disfigurement of widows. We meet with the
    identical fact and purpose in the habit of Telugu Brahmans and
    non-Brahmans in general, sacrificing their whole locks of hair to
    the goddess Ganga of Prayaga, to the god Venkatesa of Tirupati,
    and other local gods. The Brahman ladies of the south have more
    recently managed to please Ganga and other gods with just one or
    two locks of hair."


Sometimes, in performance of a vow, Patnulkaran (Madura weaver) boys
are taken to the shrine at Tirupati for the tonsure ceremony. [166]
Married couples desirous of offspring make a vow that, if a child be
granted to them, they will perform the ceremony of the first shaving
of its head at the temple of the god who fulfils their desire. [167]
It is said [168] that Alagarkovil in the Madura district is such a
favourite place for carrying out the first shaving of the heads of
children, that the right to the locks presented to the shrine is
annually sold by auction.

Writing in 1872, Mr Breeks remarked [169] that "about Ootacamund,
a few Todas have latterly begun to imitate the religious practices
of their native neighbours, and my particular friend Kinniaven, after
an absence of some days, returned with a shaven head from a visit to
the temple of Siva at Nanjengudi" (in Mysore).

A Toda who came to see me had his hair hanging down in long tails
reaching below the shoulders. He had, he said, let it grow long because
his wife, though married five years, had borne no child. A child had,
however, recently been born, and he was going to sacrifice his locks
as a thank-offering at the Nanjengod temple. By the Badagas of the
Nilgiris, the fire-walking ceremony is celebrated to propitiate the
deity Jeddayaswami, to whom vows are made. In token thereof, they grow
one twist or plait of hair, which is finally cut off as an offering
to Jeddayaswami.

By some Gavaras (a cultivating caste) of Vizagapatam, special reverence
is paid to the deity Jagganathaswami of Orissa, whose shrine at Puri is
visited by some, while others take vows in the name of the god. On the
day of the car festival at Puri, local car festivals are held in Gavara
villages, and women carry out the performance of their vows. A woman,
for example, who is under a vow, in order that she may be cured of
illness or bear children, takes a big pot of water, and, placing it on
her head, dances frantically before the god, through whose influence
the water which rises out of the pot falls back into it, instead
of being spilt. The class of Vaishnavite mendicants called Dasari
claims descent from a wealthy Sudra, [170] who, having no offspring,
vowed that, if he was blessed with children, he would devote one to
the service of the deity. He subsequently had many sons, one of whom
he named Dasan, and placed entirely at the service of the god. Dasan
forfeited all claim to his father's estate, and his descendants are
therefore all beggars. [171] In a note on the Dasaris of Mysore,
[172] it is stated that "they become Dasas or servants dedicated
to the god at Tirupati by virtue of a peculiar vow, made either by
themselves or their relatives at some moment of anxiety or danger,
and live by begging in his name. Among certain castes (e.g., Banajiga,
Tigala, and Vakkaliga), the custom of taking a vow to become a Dasari
prevails. In fulfilment of that vow, the person becomes a Dasari,
and his eldest son is bound to follow suit."

It may be noted that, in the Canarese country, a custom obtains among
the Bedars and some other castes, under which a family which has no
male issue must dedicate one of its daughters as a Basavi. [173]
The girl is taken to the temple, and married to the god, a tali
(marriage badge) and toe-rings being put on her. Thenceforward she
becomes a public woman, except that she should not consort with any
one of lower caste than herself. It may be added that a Basavi usually
lives faithfully with one man, and she works for her family as hard
as any other woman.

Married couples, to whom offspring is born after the performance of
a vow, sometimes name it after the deity whose aid has been invoked,
such as Srinivasa at Tirupati, Lakshminarasimha at Sholingur, or some
other local god or goddess. At Negapatam, some Hindus make vows to
the Miran (Muhammadan saint) of Nagur, and name their child after
him. The name thus given is not, however, used in every-day life,
but abandoned like the ceremonial name given prior to the Hindu
upanayana ceremony. In the Telugu country, the poorer classes of
Hindus sometimes promise that, if a son is born to them, they will
call him after a Muhammadan Fakir, and, consequently, it is far from
uncommon to find a Hindu named Fakirgadu or Fakirappa, with a Hindu
termination to a Muhammadan commencement. [174]

It has been noted (p. 138) that some pilgrims to the shrine at Palni
have a skewer piercing both cheeks. It is recorded by Bishop Whitehead
[175] that "devotees go to the shrine of Durgamma at Bellary with
silver pins about six inches long thrust through their cheeks, and
with a lighted lamp in a brass dish on their head. On arriving before
the shrine, they place the lamp on the ground, and the pin is removed,
and offered to the goddess."

The Bishop was told that the object of this ceremony is to enable
the devotee to come to the shrine with a concentrated mind.

A common form of vow made to Mariamman at Pappakkalpatti in the
Trichinopoly district is a promise to stick little iron skewers into
the body. In performance of vows, the Sedans and Kaikolans (weaver
castes) pierce some part of the body with a spear. The latter thrust
a spear through the muscles of the abdomen in honour of their god
Saha-nayanar at Ratnagiri.

At the annual festival of the goddess Gangamma at Tirupati, a Kaikolan
devotee dances before the goddess, and, when he is worked up to the
proper pitch of frenzy, a metal wire is passed through the middle
of his tongue. It is believed that the operation causes no pain or
bleeding, and the only remedy adopted is the chewing of margosa
(Melia Azadirachta) leaves and some kunkumam (red powder) of the
goddess. If, during a temple car procession, the car refuses to move,
the Viramushtis (Lingayat mendicants), who are guardians of the idol,
cut themselves with their swords until it is set in motion. There is
a proverb that the Siva Brahman (temple priest) eats well, whereas
the Viramushti hurts himself with the sword, and suffers much. The
Viramushtis are said, in former days, to have performed a ceremony
called pavadam. When an orthodox Lingayat was insulted, he would
swallow his lingam, and lie flat on the ground in front of the house
of the offender, who had to collect some Lingayats, and send for a
Viramushti. He had to arrive accompanied by a pregnant Viramushti
woman, priests of Draupadi, Pachaiamman, and Pothuraja temples, some
individuals from the nearest Lingayat mutt, and others. Arrived at the
house, the pregnant woman would sit down in front of the person lying
on the ground. With his sword the Viramushti man then made cuts in his
scalp and chest, and sprinkled the recumbent man with the blood. He
would then rise, and the lingam would come out of his mouth. Mondi
mendicants, when engaged in begging, cut the skin of the thighs with a
knife, lie down and beat their chest with a stone, vomit, roll in the
dust or mud, and throw ordure into the houses of those who will not
contribute alms. It was noted, in a recent report of the Banganapalle
State, that an inam (grant of rent-free land) was held on condition
of the holder "ripping open his stomach" at a certain festival.

A vow performed in honour of the village goddess at Settikulam in
the Trichinopoly district is for the votaries, male and female, to
fling themselves on heaps of thorns before her. This vow is generally
fulfilled by those cured of disease. It is called mullu padagalam, or
bed of thorns. [176] At the annual fire-walking festival at Nuvagode
in Ganjam, the officiating priest sits on a seat of sharp thorns. It
is noticed [177] by the missionary Gloyer that, on special occasions,
some Dombs in Vizagapatam fall into a frenzied state, in which they
cut their flesh with sharp instruments, or pass long, thin iron bars
through the tongue and cheeks, during which operation no blood must
flow. For this purpose, the instruments are rubbed over with some
blood-congealing material. They also affect sitting on a sacred swing,
armed with long iron nails. Mr G. F. Paddison informs me that he once
saw a villager in the Vizagapatam district sitting outside the house,
while groans proceeded from within. He explained that he was ill, and
his wife was swinging on nails with their points upwards, to cure him.

In the Tanjore district, persons afflicted with disease promise that,
if they are cured, they will brand their bodies, go round a temple
a certain number of times by rolling over and over in the dust, and
offer a pregnant goat by stabbing it through the womb. Sometimes vows
of self-mortification are taken in anticipation of relief. Such are
undertaking to go without salt in one's food, or to eat without using
the hands, until a cure is effected. [178] At Palni in the Madura
district, there is an annual feast at the Mariamman temple, at which
people, in performance of a vow, carry in their bare hands earthen
pots with a bright fire blazing inside them. They are said to escape
burns by the favour of the goddess, but it is whispered that immunity
is sometimes rendered doubly sure by putting sand or rice-husk at
the bottom of the pot. [179] Some Dasaris (religious mendicants) go
through a performance called Panda Servai, which consists in beating
themselves with a flaming torch all over the body. I am informed by
Mr Paddison that some Dombs are reputed to be able to pour blazing
oil all over their bodies, without suffering any hurt; and one
man is said to have had a miraculous power of hardening his skin,
so that any one could have a free shot at him without hurting him.
In the Melur taluk of the Madura district, it is stated that women
who are anxious for offspring vow that, if they attain their wish,
they will go and have a cocoanut broken on their head by a priest
at the temple of Sendurai. [180] At an annual festival in honour of
the god Servarayan on the Shevaroy hills in the Salem district, those
Malayalis who wish to take a vow to be faithful to their god have to
receive fifteen lashes on the bare back with a stout leather thong,
administered by the chief priest.

The annual festival at the temple of Karamadai in the Coimbatore
district is visited by about forty or fifty thousand pilgrims,
belonging for the most part to the lower classes. In case of sickness
or other calamity, they take a vow to perform one of the following:--

(1) To pour water at the feet of the idol inside the temple. Each
devotee is provided with a goat-skin bag, or a new earthen pot. He
goes to the tank, and, after bathing, fills the receptacle with water,
carries it to the temple, and empties it before the idol. This is
repeated a number of times according to the nature of the vow. If the
vow is a life-long one, it has to be performed every year until death.

(2) To give kavalam to Dasaris (religious mendicants). Kavalam consists
of plantain fruits cut up into small slices, and mixed with sugar,
jaggery (crude sugar), fried grain, or beaten rice. The Dasaris
are attached to the temple, and wear short drawers, with strings of
small brass bells tied to their wrists and ankles. They appear to be
possessed, and move wildly about to the beating of drums. As they go
about, the devotees put some of the kavalam into their mouths. The
Dasaris eat a little, and spit out the remainder into the hands of
the devotees, who eat it. This is believed to cure all disease, and
to give children to those who partake of it. In addition to kavalam,
some put betel leaves in the mouths of the Dasaris, who, after chewing
them, spit them into the mouths of the devotees. At night the Dasaris
carry torches made of rags, on which the devotees pour ghi (clarified
butter).  Some people say that, many years ago, barren women used
to take a vow to visit the temple at the time of the festival, and,
after offering kavalam, have sexual intercourse with the Dasaris. The
temple authorities, however, profess ignorance of this practice.

On the last day of the Gangajatra festival at Tirupati, a figure is
made of clay and straw, and placed in the tope (grove), where crowds
of all classes, including Paraiyans, present food to it. Buffaloes,
goats, sheep, and fowls are sacrificed, and it is said that Brahmans,
though they will not be present, send animals to be slaughtered. At
the conclusion of the festivities, the image is burnt during the
feast, which last over ten days, the lower orders of the people
paint themselves, and indulge in much boisterous merriment. Those
who have made a vow to Ganga fast for some days before the festival
begins. They wear a structure made of bamboo in the form of a car,
which is decorated with paper of different colours, and supported by
iron nails pressed into the belly and back. They go about with this
structure on their heads. Those who have been attacked by cholera,
or other serious disease, make a vow to Ganga, and perform this
ceremonial.

A festival, which is attended by huge crowds of Hindus of all
classes, takes place annually in the month of Audi (July-August)
at the village of Periyapalayam, about sixteen miles from Madras,
where the goddess Mariamma is worshipped under the name of
Periyapalayaththamman. According to the legend, as narrated by the
Rev. A. C. Clayton, [181]


    "there was once a Rishi (sage), who lived on the banks of the
    Periyapalayam river with his wife Bavani. Every morning she
    used to bathe in the river, and bring back water for the use of
    the household. But she never took any vessel with her in which
    to bring the water home, for she was so chaste that she had
    acquired power to form a water-pot out of the dry river sand,
    and carry the water home in it. One day, while bathing, she saw
    the reflection of the face of the sky-god, Indra, in the water,
    and could not help admiring it. When she returned to the bank of
    the river, and tried to form her water-pot out of sand as usual,
    she could not do so, for her admiration of Indra had ruined her
    power, and she went home sadly to fetch a brass water-vessel. Her
    husband saw her carrying this to the river, and at once suspected
    her of unchastity, and, calling his son, ordered him to strike
    off her head with a sword. It was in vain that the son tried to
    avoid matricide. He had to obey, but he was so agitated by his
    feelings that, when at last he struck at his mother, he cut off
    not only her head, but that of a leather-dresser's wife who was
    standing near. The two bodies lay side by side. The rishi was so
    pleased with his son's obedience that he promised him any favour
    that he should ask, but he was very angry when the son at once
    begged that his mother might be restored to life. Being compelled
    to keep his word, he told the son that, if he put his mother's
    head on her trunk, she would again live. The son tried to do
    so, but in his haste took up the head of the leather-dresser's
    wife by mistake, and put it on Bavani's body. Leather-dressers
    are flesh-eaters, and so it comes about that, on days when her
    festival is celebrated, Bavani--now a goddess--longs for meat,
    and thousands of sheep, goats, and fowls, must be slain at her
    shrine. This legend bears marks of Brahmanic influence. Curiously
    enough, the priest of this Paraiya shrine is himself a Brahman."


The vows, which are performed at the festival at Periyapalayam,
are as follows:--

(1) Wearing a garment of margosa (Melia Azadirachta) leaves, or wearing
an ordinary garment, and carrying a lighted lamp made of rice-flour
on the head.

(2) Carrying a pot decorated with flowers and margosa leaves round
the temple.

(3) Going round the temple, rolling on the ground.

(4) Throwing a live fowl on to the top of the temple.

(5) Throwing a cocoanut in front, prostrating on the ground in
salutation, going forward several paces and again throwing the
cocoanut, and repeating the procedure till three circuits of the
temple have been made.

(6) Giving offerings to the idol Parasurama, cradle with baby made of
clay or wood, etc., to bring offspring to the childless, success in a
lawsuit or business transaction, and other good luck. In addition,
pongal (boiled rice) has to be offered, and by some a sheep or
goat is sacrificed. If a vow has been made on behalf of a sick
cow, the animal is bathed in the river, clad in margosa leaves,
and led round the temple. The leaf-wearing vow is resorted to by
the large majority of the devotees, and performed by men, women
and children. Those belonging to the more respectable classes go
through it in the early morning, before the crowd has collected in
its tens of thousands. The leafy garments are purchased from hawkers,
who do a brisk trade in the sale thereof. The devotees have to pay a
modest fee for admission to the temple precincts, and go round the
shrine three or more times. Concerning the Periyapalayam festival,
a recent writer observes that, "the distinctive feature is that the
worshippers are clad in leaves. The devotees are bound to wear a
garment made of fresh margosa twigs with their leaves. This garment
is called vepansilai.  It consists of a string three or four yards
long, from which depend, at intervals of two to three inches apart,
twigs measuring about two feet in length, and forming a fringe of
foliage. This string being wound several times round the waist, the
fringe of leaves forms a kilt or short petticoat. Men are content to
wear the kilt, but women also wear round their neck a similar garment,
which forms a short cloak reaching to the waist. To impress on devotees
the imperative obligation imposed on them to wear the leaf garment
in worshipping the goddess, it is said that a young married woman,
being without children, made a vow to the goddess that, on obtaining
a son, she would go on a pilgrimage to Periyapalayam, and worship her
in accordance with the ancient rite. Her prayer having been answered,
she gave birth to a son, and went to Periyapalayam to fulfil her
vow. When, however, it was time to undress and put on the vepansilai,
her modesty revolted. Unobserved by her party, she secretly tied a
cloth round her waist before putting on the vepansilai. So attired,
she went to the temple to worship. On seeing her coming, the goddess
detected her deceit, and, waxing wroth, set the woman's dress all
ablaze, and burnt her so severely that she died."

It is noted by Bishop Whitehead [182] that it was formerly the
custom for women to come to the shrine of Durgamma at Bellary clad in
twigs of the margosa tree. But this is now only done by children, the
grown-up women putting the margosa twigs over a cloth wrapped round the
loins. At a festival of the village goddess at Kudligi in the Bellary
district, the procession is said by Mr F. Fawcett to be headed by a
Madiga (Telugu Pariah) naked save for a few margosa leaves. The wearing
of these leaves on the occasion of festivals in honour of Mariamma is a
very general custom throughout Southern India. Garments made of leaves
are still worn by the females of some tribes on the west coast, e.g.,
the Thanda Pulayans, Vettuvans, and Koragas. Concerning the Koragas,
Mr Walhouse writes [183] that they "wear an apron of twigs and leaves
over the buttocks. Once this was the only covering allowed them, and
a mark of their deep degradation. But now, when no longer compulsory,
and of no use, as it is worn over the clothes, the women still retain
it, believing its disuse would be unlucky."


    "Kuvvakkam in the South Arcot district is known for its festival
    to Aravan (more correctly Iravan) or Kuttandar, which is one of
    the most popular feasts with Sudras in the whole district. Aravan
    was the son of Arjuna, one of the five Pandava brothers. Local
    traditions says that, when the great war which is described in the
    Mahabharata was about to begin, the Kauravas, the opponents of the
    Pandavas, to bring them success, sacrificed a white elephant. The
    Pandavas were in despair of being able to find any such uncommon
    object with which to propitiate the gods, until Arjuna suggested
    that they should offer up his son Aravan. Aravan agreed to yield
    his life for the good of the cause, and, when eventually the
    Pandavas were victorious, he was deified for the self-abnegation
    which had thus brought his side success. Since he died in his
    youth, before he had been married, it is held to please him if men,
    even though grown up and already wedded, come now and offer to
    espouse him, and men who are afflicted with serious diseases take
    a vow to marry him at his annual festival in the hope of thereby
    being cured. The festival occurs in May, and for eighteen nights
    the Mahabharata is recited by a Palli (Tamil agriculturist), [184]
    large numbers of people, especially of that caste, assembling to
    hear it read. On the eighteenth night, a wooden image of Kuttandar
    is taken to a tope (grove) and seated there. This is the signal
    for the sacrifice of an enormous number of fowls. Every one who
    comes brings one or two, and the number killed runs literally into
    thousands. While this is going on, all the men who have taken vows
    to be married to the deity appear before his image dressed like
    women, make obeisance, offer to the priest (who is a Palli by
    caste) a few annas, and give into his hands the talis (marriage
    badge worn by women) which they have brought with them. These
    the priest, as representing the God, ties round their necks. The
    God is brought back to his shrine that night, and, when in front
    of the building, he is hidden by a cloth held before him. This
    symbolises the sacrifice of Aravan, and the men who have just
    been married to him set up loud lamentations at the death of
    their husband. Similar vows are taken and ceremonies performed,
    it is said, at the shrines of Kuttandar, two miles north-west
    of Porto Novo, and Adivarahanattum (five miles north-west of
    Chidambaram), and, in recent years, at Tiruvarkkulam (one mile
    east of the latter place); other cases probably occur." [185]


I am informed by Mr R. F. Stoney that, in the Madura district, iron
chains are hung on babul (Acacia arabica) trees, and dedicated to
the rustic deity Karuppan. At Melur Mr Stoney saw large masses of
such chains, which are made by the village blacksmiths. They are very
rough, and are furnished at one end with what is said to be a sickle,
and also a spear-head. I gather further [186] that, in the Melur taluk,
the shrine of Karuppan may usually be known by the hundreds of chains
hung outside it, which have been presented to the god in performance of
vows. The deity is said to be fond of bedecking himself with chains,
and these offerings are usually suspended from a kind of horizontal
bar made of two stone uprights supporting a slab of stone placed
horizontally upon the top of them. The god is also fond of presents
of clubs and swords.


    "Sometimes," a recent writer states, "a big chain hangs suspended
    from a tree, and the village panchayats (tribunals) are held in
    the Aiyanar (or Sangali Karuppan) temple. The accused is made to
    submit to an ordeal in proof of innocence. The ordeal consists in
    his swearing on the chain, which he is made to touch. He has such
    a dread of this procedure, that, as soon as he touches the chain,
    he comes out with the truth, failure to speak the truth being
    punished by some calamity, which he believes will overtake him
    within a week. These chains are also suspended to the trees near
    the temples of village goddesses, and used by village panchayats
    to swear the accused in any trial before them."


It is narrated [187] by Moor that he "passed a tree, on which were
hanging several hundred bells. This was a superstitious sacrifice
by the Bandjanahs, [188] who, passing this tree, are in the habit
of hanging a bell or bells upon it, which they take from the necks
of their sick cattle, expecting to leave behind them the complaint
also. Our servants particularly cautioned us against touching these
diabolical bells; but, as a few were taken for our own cattle, several
accidents that happened were imputed to the anger of the deity to
whom these offerings were made, who, they say, inflicts the same
disorder on the unhappy bullock who carries a bell from this tree as
he relieved the donor from."

At Diguvemetta in the Kurnool district, I came across a number of
bells, both large and small, tied to the branches of a tamarind tree,
beneath which were an image of the deity Malalamma, and a stone bull
(Nandi). Suspended from a branch of the same tree was a thick rope,
to which were attached heads, skulls, mandibles, thigh-bones, and
feet of fowls, and the foot of a goat.

Mr Fawcett once saw, at a Savara village in Ganjam, a gaily ornamented
hut near a burning-ground. Rude figures of birds and red rags were
tied to five bamboos, which were sticking up in the air about eight
feet above the hut, one at each corner, and one in the centre. A
Savara said that he built the hut for his dead brother, and had
buried the bones in it. [189] It is noted by the Rev. J. Cain [190]
that, in some places, the Lambadis fasten rags torn from some old
garment to a bush in honour of Kampalamma (kampa, a thicket). On
the side of a road from Bastar are several large heaps of stones,
which they have piled up in honour of the goddess Guttalamma. Every
Lambadi who passes the heaps is bound to place one stone on the heap,
and make a salaam to it. It is further recorded by Mr Walhouse [191]
that, when going from the Coimbatore plains to the Mysore frontier,
he saw a thorn-bush rising out of a heap of stones piled round it, and
bearing bits of rag tied to its branches by Lambadis. In the Telugu
country, rags are offered to a god named Pathalayya (Mr Rags). On
the trunk-roads in the Nellore district, rags may be seen hanging
from the babul (Acacia arabica) trees. These are offerings made to
Pathalayya by travellers, who tear off pieces of their clothing with
a vague idea that the offering thereof will render their journey
free from accidents, such as upsetting of their carts, or meeting
with robbers. Outside the temple of the village goddess at Ojini in
the Bellary district, Mr Fawcett tells us, [192] "are hung numbers
of miniature cradles and bangles presented by women who have borne
children, or been cured of sickness through the intervention of the
goddess. Miniature cows are presented by persons whose cows have been
cured of sickness, and doll-like figures for children. One swami (god)
there is, known by a tree hung with iron chains, hooks--anything iron;
another by rags, and so on. The ingenious dhobi (washerman), whose
function is to provide torches on occasions, sometimes practises
on the credulity of his countrymen by tying a few rags to a tree,
which by and by is covered with rags, for the passers-by are not so
stiff-necked as to ask for a sign other than a rag; and under cover
of the darkness, the dhobi makes his torch of the offerings."

On the road to the temple at Tirumala (Upper Tirupati) in the
North Arcot district, the goddess Gauthala Gangamma has her abode
in a margosa or avaram (Cassia auriculata) tree, surrounded by a
white-ant hill. Passers-by tear off a piece of their clothing, and
tie it to the branches, and place a small stone at the base of the
ant-hill. Occasionally cooked rice is offered, fowls are sacrificed,
and their heads and legs tied to the tree. In the Madura district,
bits of rag are hung on the trees in which a deity named Sattan
is believed to reside. [193] It is noted by Mr W. Francis [194]
that, "in some places in the South Arcot district, for example,
on the feeder road to the Olakkur station in Tindivanam taluk and
near the eighth mile of the road from Kallakurchi to Vriddhachalam,
are trees on which passers-by have hung bits of rag, until they are
quite covered with them. The latter of the two cases had its origin
only a few years back in the construction by some shepherd boys of a
toy temple to Ganesa formed of a few stones under the tree, to draw
attention to which they hung up a rag or two. The tree is now quite
covered with bits of cloth, and beneath it is a large pile of stones,
which have been added one by one by the superstitious passers-by."

It is recorded by the Abbé Dubois [195] that "at Palni, in Madura,
there is a famous temple consecrated to the god Velayuda, whose
devotees bring offerings of a peculiar kind, namely large sandals,
beautifully ornamented, and similar in shape to those worn by the
Hindus on their feet. The god is addicted to hunting, and these shoes
are intended for his use when he traverses the jungles and deserts in
pursuit of his favourite sport. Such shabby gifts, one might think,
would go very little way towards filling the coffers of the priests of
Velayuda. Nothing of the sort: Brahmins always know how to reap profit
from anything. Accordingly the new sandals are rubbed on the ground
and rolled a little in the dust, and are then exposed to the eyes of
the pilgrims who visit the temple. It is clear enough that the sandals
must have been worn on the divine feet of Velayuda; and they become
the property of whosoever pays the highest price for such holy relics."

Mr Walhouse informs us [196] that the champak and other trees round
the ancient shrine of the Trimurti at the foot of the Anaimalai
mountains are thickly hung with sandals and shoes, many of huge
size, evidently made for the purpose, and suspended by pilgrims
as votive offerings. The god of the temple at Tirumala is said to
appear annually to four persons in different directions, east, west,
south and north, and informs them that he requires a shoe from each
of them. They whitewash their houses, worship the god, and spread
rice-flour thickly on the floor of a room, which is locked for the
night. Next morning the mark of a huge foot is found on the floor,
and the shoe has to be made to fit this. When ready, it is taken in
procession through the streets of the village, conveyed to Tirumala,
and presented to the temple. Though the makers of the shoes have worked
in ignorance of each others' work, the shoes brought from the north
and south, and those from the east and west, are believed to match and
make a pair. Though the worship of these shoes is chiefly meant for
Paraiyans, who are prohibited from ascending the Tirupati hill, as a
matter of fact all, without distinction of caste, worship them. The
shoes are placed in front of the image of the god near the foot of
the hill, and are said to gradually wear away by the end of the year.


    "At Belur in the Mysore Province," Mr Lewis Rice writes, [197] "the
    god of the temple is under the necessity of making an occasional
    trip to the Baba Budan hills to visit the goddess. On these
    occasions he is said to make use of a large pair of slippers kept
    for the purpose in the temple. When they are worn out, it devolves
    upon the chucklers (leather-workers) of Channagiri and Bisvapatna,
    to whom the fact is revealed in a dream, to provide new ones."


In order to present the slippers, they are allowed to enter the
courtyard of the temple.

On the way leading up to the temple at Tirumala, small stones heaped
up in the form of a hearth, and knots tied in the leaves of young
date-palms may be seen. These are the work of virgins who accompany
the parties of pilgrims. The knots are tied to ensure the tying of the
marriage tali string on their necks, and the heaping up of the stones
is done with a view to ensuring the birth of children to them. If
the girls revisit the hill after marriage and the birth of offspring,
they untie the knot on a leaf, and disarrange one of the hearths. Men
cause their name to be cut on rocks by the wayside, or on the stones
with which the path leading to the temple is paved, in the belief that
good luck will result if their name is trodden on by some pious man.

At Tirupati, a number of Balijas are engaged in the red sanders
(Pterocarpus santalinus) wood-carving industry. Figures of deities,
mythological figures, miniature temple cars, and domestic utensils,
are among the articles turned out by them. Vessels made of red
sanders wood carry no pollution, and can be used by women during the
menstrual period, and taken back to the house without any purification
ceremony. For the same reason, Sanyasis (ascetics) use such vessels
for performing worship. The carved figures are sold to pilgrims and
others who visit Tirupati, and are also taken for sale to Conjeeveram,
Madura, and other places, at times when important temple festivals
are celebrated. Carved wooden figurines, male and female, represented
in a state of nudity, are also manufactured at Tirupati, and sold
to Hindus. Those who are childless perform on them the ear-boring
ceremony, in the belief that, as the result thereof, issue will be
born to them. Or, if there are grown-up boys or girls in a family,
who remain unmarried, the parents celebrate the marriage ceremony
between a pair of figurines, in the hope that the marriage of their
children will speedily follow. They dress up the dolls in clothes
and jewelry, and go through the ceremonial of a real marriage. Some
there are who have spent as much money on a doll's wedding as on a
wedding in real life.

The simplest form of offerings consists of fruits, such as plantains
and cocoanuts. Without an offering of fruit no orthodox Hindu
would think of entering a temple, or coming into the presence of a
Native of position. The procession of servants and retainers, each
bringing a gift of a lime fruit, on New Year's Day is familiar to
Anglo-Indians. By the rules of Government, framed with a view to
preventing bribery, the prohibition of the receipt of presents from
Native Chiefs and others does not extend to the receipt of a few
flowers or fruits, and articles of inappreciable value, although even
such trifling presents should be discouraged.

As a thanksgiving for recovery from illness, votive offerings
frequently take the form of silver or gold representations of the
part of the body affected, which are deposited in a vessel kept for
the purpose at the temple. They are kept for sale in the vicinity of
the temple, and must be offered by the person who has taken the vow,
or on whose behalf it has been taken. When a person has been ill all
over, a silver human figure, or a thin silver wire of the same length
as himself, and representing him, is sometimes offered.

Of silver offerings from temples in the Tamil country, the Madras
Museum possesses an extensive collection, in which are included the
face, hands, feet, buttocks, tongue, larynx, navel, nose, ears,
eyes, breasts, genitalia, etc.; snakes offered to propitiate the
anger of serpents, snakes coiled in coitu, sandals, flags, umbrellas,
and cocoanuts strung on a pole.

When litigation arises in Malabar in connection with the title
to a house and compound (grounds) in which it stands, a vow is
sometimes made to offer a silver model representing the property,
if a favourable decree is obtained. Some time ago, a rich landlord
offered at the temple a silver model representing the exact number
of trees, house, well, etc., and costing several hundreds of rupees,
when a suit was decided in his favour.

In connection with the temple at Guruvayur in Malabar, Mr Fawcett
writes as follows [198]:--


    "I visited the festival on one occasion, and purchase was made of
    a few offerings such as are made to the temple in satisfaction
    of vows--a very rude representation of an infant in silver, a
    hand, a leg, an ulcer, a pair of eyes, and, most curious of all,
    a silver string which represents a man, the giver. Goldsmiths
    working in silver and gold are to be seen just outside the gate
    of the temple, ready to provide at a moment's notice the object
    that any person intends to offer, in case he is not already in
    possession of his votive offering."


A Nayar examined by Mr Fawcett was wearing a silver ring as a vow,
which was to be given up at the next festival at Kottiur in North
Malabar. Another was wearing a silver bangle. He had a wound in his
arm which was long in healing, so he made a vow to the god at Tirupati
(Tirumala) that, if his arm was healed, he would give up the bangle
at the temple.

A few years ago, a shrine was erected at Cochin for a picture of the
Virgin and Child, which attained to great celebrity for its power of
working miracles. "Many stories," Mr Fawcett writes, [199] "of the
power of the picture are current. A fisherman, who had lost his nets,
vowed to give a little net, if they were found. The votive offerings,
which are sometimes of copper or brass, take strange forms. There are
fishes, prawns, rice, cocoanut trees, cows, etc. A little silver model
of a bridge was given by a contractor, who vowed, when he found his
foundations were shaky, to give it if his work should pass muster. The
power of the picture is such that the votaries are not confined to the
Christian community. There are among them many Hindus and Mahomedans."

In South Canara, silver rats and pigs are offered to protect the crops
from destruction by these animals. Silver rice-grains are offered when
children do not take their food properly, and silver sheaves of grain
if the crop is abundant. At Pyka, brass or clay figures of the tiger,
leopard, elephant, wild boar, and bandicoot rat, are presented at the
shrine of a female bhutha [200] named Poomanikunhoomani, to protect the
crops and cattle from the ravages of these animals. The figures must
be solid, as the bhuthas would be very angry if they were hollow. A
brass figure of Sarabha, a mythological eight-legged animal, which is
supposed to be the vehicle of the god Virabhadra, is presented as an
offering to some Siva temples in South Canara in cases where a person
is attacked with a form of ulcer known as Siva's ulcer. Sometimes a
silver lizard is offered at temples, to counteract the evils which
would result from a lizard falling on some unlucky part of the body,
such as the kudumi (hair knot) of a female. The lizard, associated with
the name of Siva, is regarded as sacred. It is never intentionally
killed, and, if accidentally hurt or killed, an image of it in gold
or silver is presented by high caste Hindus to a Siva temple. [201]

In Malabar, a Brahman magician transfers the spirits of those who have
died an unnatural death to images made of gold, silver, or wood, which
are placed in a temple or special building erected for them. It is said
by Mr F. Fawcett, "to be a sacred duty to a deceased Tiyan in Malabar,
who was of importance, for example, the head of a family, to have a
silver image of him made, and arrange for it being deposited in some
temple, where it will receive its share of worship, and offerings of
food and water. The temples at Tirunelli in Wynad and Tirunavayi, which
are among the oldest in Malabar, were generally the resting-places
of these images, but now some of the well-to-do deposit them much
further afield, even at Benares and Ramesvaram. A silver image is
presented to the local Siva temple, where, for a consideration,
worship is done every new moon day. On each of these days, mantrams
are supposed to be repeated a thousand times. When the image has been
the object of these mantrams sixteen thousand times, it is supposed
to have become eligible for final deposit at Tirunavayi or elsewhere."

If a Muhammadan suffers from severe pain in the hand or foot, a vow
is sometimes taken to the effect that a silver hand or foot will be
taken to the grave of some saint, and put into the treasury which
is kept there to meet the expenses of the annual ceremonies of the
saint. At Vizagapatam [202] there is a celebrated Muhammadan saint,
who lies buried by the Durga on the top of the hill overlooking the
harbour. He is considered to be all potent over the elements of the
Bay of Bengal, and many a silver dhoni (native boat) is presented at
his shrine by Hindu ship-owners after a successful voyage. A suit
once arose between a Komati boat-owner and his Muhammadan captain
during settlement of the accounts. The captain stated that, during a
storm off the coast of Arakan, he had vowed a purse of rupees to the
saint, and had duly presented it on his return. This sum he charged to
the owner of the vessel, whose sole contention was that the vow had
never been discharged; the propriety of conciliating the saint in a
hurricane he allowed. At Timmancherla in the Anantapur district there
is a tomb of a holy Muhammadan named Masthan Ali, in whose honour a
religious ceremony is held annually in April, which is attended by
both Muhammadans and Hindus. The latter make vows at the tomb, which
has a special reputation for granting offspring to the childless. The
headman of the village, who is a Hindu, brings the first offerings
in procession with much ceremony. [203]

At the annual festival at the temple at Nedamangad in Travancore, which
is attended by large numbers of the lower classes, the worshippers are
said by the Rev. S. Mateer [204] to "bring with them wooden models of
cows covered, in imitation of shaggy hair, with ears of rice. Many of
these images are brought, each in a separate procession from its own
place. The headmen are finely dressed with cloths stained purple at
the edge. The image is borne on a bamboo frame, accompanied by a drum,"
and carried round the temple. The Gudigars (wood-carvers) at Udipi in
South Canara make life-size wooden buffaloes and large human figures as
votive offerings for the Iswara Temple at Hiriadkap, where they are set
up in a row. By the Savaras of Vizagapatam, rudely carved and grotesque
wooden representations of human beings, monkeys, lizards, parrots,
peacocks, guns, pickaxes, daggers, etc., are dedicated to the tribal
deity. They would not sell them to the district officer who acquired
them on my behalf, but parted with them on the understanding that
they would be worshipped by the Sirkar (Government). In like manner,
the fishermen of the Ganjam coast objected to specimens of the gods
which are placed in little shrines on the sea-shore being sent to me,
till they were told that it was because the Government had heard of
their devotion to their gods that they wanted to have some of them
in Madras. The gods, which are made in clay and wood, include Bengali
Babu riding on a black horse, who is believed to bless the fishermen,
secure large hauls of fish for them, and protect them against danger
when out fishing. It has been observed that this affinity between the
Ganjam fishermen and the Bengali Babu, resulting in the apotheosis
of the latter, is certainly a striking example of the catholicity
of hero-worship, and it would be interesting to know how long, and
for what reasons the conception of protection has appealed to the
followers of the piscatory industry. It was Sir George Campbell, the
Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, who compelled his Bengali officials,
much against their inclination, to cultivate the art of equitation.

I am informed by Mr G. V. Ramamurthi Pantulu that the Savaras attend
the markets or fairs held in the plains, or at the foot of the ghats,
to purchase salt and other articles. If a Savara is taken ill at
the market or on his return thence, he attributes the illness to a
spirit of the market called Biradi Sonum. The bulls which carry the
goods of the Hindu merchants to the market are supposed to convey the
spirit. In propitiating it, the Savara makes an image of a bull in
straw, and, taking it out of his village, leaves it on the footpath,
after a pig has been sacrificed. Owners of cattle take the animals
when sick round the sacred hill at Tirukazhukunram in performance of
a vow, in the belief that their health will be thus restored.


    "A Brahmini bull," Mr A. Srinivasan writes, "is dedicated to the
    god Venkateswara of Tirupati, for the benefit of the living in
    fulfilment of vows. The act of dedication and release is preceded
    by elaborate rituals of marriage, as among men and women. The
    bride, which should be a heifer that has not calved, is furnished
    by the father-in-law of the donor. The heifer is united in holy
    wedlock to the bullock, after formal chanting of mantrams, by the
    tying of the tali and toe-rings to the neck. In this sham marriage,
    the profuse ornamentation of the couple with saffron (turmeric) and
    red powder, the pouring of rice on their heads, and a procession
    through the streets with music, are conspicuous features."


I am told that, if the devotee cannot afford a live animal, a mimic
representative is made in rice.

Painted hollow images are made by special families of Kusavans
(potters) known as pujari (priest), who, for the privilege of making
them, have to pay an annual fee to the headman, who spends it on
a festival at the caste temple. When a married couple are anxious
to have female offspring, they take a vow to offer figures of the
seven virgins (Saptha Kannimar), who are represented all seated
in a row. If a male or female recovers from cholera, smallpox, or
other severe illness, a figure of the corresponding sex is offered. A
childless woman makes a vow to offer up the figure of a baby, if she
brings forth offspring. Figures of animals--cattle, horses, sheep,
etc.--are offered at the temple when they recover from sickness,
or are recovered after they have been stolen. Horses made of clay,
painted red and other colours, are set up in the fields to drive
away demons, or as a thank-offering for recovery from sickness, or
any piece of good luck. The villagers erect these horses in honour
of the popular deity Ayanar, the guardian deity of the fields, who
is a renowned huntsman, and is believed, when, with his wives Purna
and Pushkala, he visits the village at night, to mount the horses,
and ride down the demons. Ayanar is said [205] to be the special
deity of the Kusavan caste. Kusavans are generally the pujaris at his
temples, and they make the earthenware, and brick and mortar horses
and images, which are placed before these buildings. The pupils of
the eyes of the various images are not painted in till they are taken
to the temple, where offerings of fruit, etc., are first made. Even
the pupils of a series of images which were specially made for
me were not painted at the potter's house, but in the verandah of
the traveller's bungalow where I was staying. A very interesting
account of the netra mangalya, or ceremony of painting the eyes
of images, as performed by craftsmen in Ceylon, has been published
by Mr A. K. Coomaraswamy. [206] Therein he writes that "by far the
most important ceremony connected with the building and decoration
of a vihara (temple), or with its renovation, was the actual netra
mangalya or eye ceremonial. The ceremony had to be performed in
the case of any image, whether set up in a vihara or not. Even in
the case of flat paintings it was necessary. D. S. Muhandiram, when
making for me a book of drawings of gods according to the Rupavaliya,
left the eyes to be subsequently inserted on an auspicious occasion,
with some simpler form of the ceremony described."

On this subject, Knox writes as follows [207]:--


    "Some, being devoutly disposed, will make the image of this god
    (Buddha) at their own charge. For the making whereof they must
    bountifully reward the Founder. Before the eyes are made, it is not
    accounted a god, but a lump of ordinary metal, and thrown about
    the shop with no more regard than anything else. But, when the
    eyes are to be made, the artificer is to have a good gratification,
    besides the first agreed upon reward. The eyes being formed, it is
    thenceforward a god. And then, being brought with honour from the
    workman's shop, it is dedicated by solemnities and sacrifices,
    and carried with great state into the shrine or little house,
    which is before built and prepared for it."


Putting money into a receptacle (undi) as an offering to a particular
deity is a very common custom. In the case of a popular god, such
as the one at Tirumala, an earthen pot is sometimes replaced by a
copper money-box or iron safe. In South Canara there was a well-to-do
family, the members of which kept on depositing coins in the family
undi, which were set apart for the Tirumala god during a number of
generations. Not only in cases of sickness, but even when a member
of the family went to a neighbouring village, and returned safely, a
few coins were put into the undi. For some reason, the opening of the
undi, and offering of its contents at Tirumala, was postponed, and,
when it was finally opened, it was found to contain a miscellaneous
collection of coins, current and uncurrent. When a temple is far
away, and those who wish to make offerings thereat cannot, owing to
the expense of the journey or other reason, go there themselves,
the offerings are taken by a substitute. If the god to whom the
offering is made is Srinivasa of Tirumala, a small sum of money must
be offered as compensation for not taking it in person. The god is
sometimes called Vaddi Kasulu Varu, in allusion to the money (kasu)
or interest. In some large towns, in the months of July and August,
parties of devotees may be seen wandering about the streets, and
collecting offerings to the god, which will be presented to him in
due course. If a Kelasi (barber) in South Canara is seriously ill,
he sometimes undertakes a vow to beg from door to door, and convey
the money thus collected to Tirumala. In his house he keeps a small
closed box with a slit in the lid, through which he drops a coin at
every stroke of misfortune, and the contents are eventually sent to the
holy shrine. [208] A few years ago, a Native complained to the police
that about seven hundred rupees had been stolen from some brass pots,
which he kept in a separate room of his house. The money, he stated,
was dedicated to the Tirumula temple, and was kept in the pots buried
in paddy (unhusked rice). He himself had put in about fifty rupees
during the time that the pots had been in his charge, either as an
annual contribution, or on occasions of sickness. His mother stated
that it had been a custom in the family to put money into the vessel
for several generations, and she had never seen the pots opened.

It is whispered that Kallan dacoits invoke the aid of their deity
Alagarswami, when they are setting out on marauding expeditions, and,
if they are successful therein, put part of their ill-gotten gains
into the offertory box, which is kept at his shrine. [209] In this
connection, the Rev. J. Sharrock states that "there is an understanding
that, if their own village gods help them in their thefts, they are to
have a fair share of the spoil, and, on the principle of honour among
thieves, the bargain is always kept. When strange deities are met
with on their thieving expeditions, it is usual to make a vow that,
if the adventure turns out well, part of the spoil shall next day
be left at the shrine of the god, or be handed over to the pujari of
that particular deity. They are afraid that, if this precaution be not
taken, the god may make them blind, or cause them to be discovered, or
may go so far as to knock them down, and leave them to bleed to death."

The most popular of the Muhammadan saints who are buried at Porto
Novo, where a considerable number of Marakkayars (Muhammadans) are
engaged as sailors,


    "is one Malumiyar, who was apparently in his lifetime a notable
    sea-captain. His fame as a sailor has been magnified into the
    miraculous, and it is declared that he owned ten or a dozen ships,
    and used to appear in command of all of them simultaneously. He has
    now the reputation of being able to deliver from danger those who
    go down to the sea in ships, and sailors setting out on a voyage,
    or returning from one in safety, usually put an offering in the
    little box kept at his darga, and these sums are expended in
    keeping that building lighted and whitewashed. Another curious
    darga in the town is that of Araikasu Nachiyar, or the one pie
    lady. Offerings to her must on no account be worth more than one
    pie (1/192 of a rupee); tributes in excess of that value are of
    no effect. If sugar for so small an amount cannot be procured, the
    devotee spends the money on chunam (lime) for her tomb, and this is
    consequently covered with a superabundance of whitewash. Stories
    are told of the way in which the valuable offerings of rich men
    have altogether failed to obtain her favour, and have had to be
    replaced by others of the regulation diminutive dimensions." [210]


The chief god of the Dombs of Vizagapatam is said [211] to be
represented by a pie piece placed in or over a new earthen pot smeared
with rice and turmeric powder. It is said [212] that Muhammadans,
belonging to the lower classes, consult panchangam Brahmans about
the chances of success in their enterprises. Some of these Brahmans
send half the fee so obtained to the Muhammadan mosque at Nagur near
Negapatam, and will even offer sugar and flowers at that shrine,
though they endeavour to excuse the act by saying that the saint was
originally a Brahman.

I once saw a Muhammadan at Tumkur in Mysore, whither he had journeyed
from Hyderabad, who had a rupee tied round his arm in token of a
vow that, if he returned safe from plague and other ills to his own
country, he would give money in charity. When a Muhammadan falls
ill, a rupee and a quarter is sometimes done up in a red cloth, and
tied round the arm, to be given to the poor on recovery. Members
of the poorer classes tie an anna and a quarter in like manner,
after performing a fateha ceremony. Should the sickness of a Hindu
be attributed to a god or goddess, a vow is made, in token whereof
a copper or silver coin is wrapped up in a piece of cloth dipped in
turmeric paste, and kept in the house, or tied to the neck or arm of
the sick person. A cock may be waved round the head of the patient,
and afterwards reared in the house, to be eventually offered up at
the shrine of the deity. A Bedar, whom I saw at Hospet in the Bellary
district, had a quarter anna rolled up in cotton cloth, which he wore
on the upper arm in performance of a vow.

In an account of the cock festival at Cranganore in Malabar, whereat
vast numbers of cocks are sacrificed, Mr Gopal Panikkar records
[213] that, "when a man is taken ill of any infectious disease,
his relations generally pray to the goddess (at Cranganore) for his
recovery, solemnly covenanting to perform what goes by the name of a
thulabharam (or thulupurushadanam) [214] ceremony. This consists in
placing the patient in one of the scale-pans of a huge balance, and
weighing him against gold, or, more generally, pepper (and sometimes
other substances), deposited in the other scale-pan. Then this weight
of the substance is offered to the goddess. This has to be performed
right in front of the goddess in the temple yard."

At Mulki in South Canara there is a temple of Venkateswara, which is
maintained by Konkani Brahmans. A Konkani Brahman, who is attached
to the temple, becomes inspired almost daily between 10 and 11 A.M.,
immediately after worship, and people consult him. Some time ago,
a rich merchant from Gujarat consulted the inspired man as to what
steps should be taken to enable his wife to be safely delivered. He
was told to take a vow that he would present to the god of the temple,
silver, sugar-candy, and date fruits, equal in weight to that of his
wife. This he did, and his wife was delivered of a male child. The
cost of the ceremonial is said to have been five thousand rupees. In
the thulabharam ceremony as performed by the Maharajas of Travancore,
[215] they are weighed against gold coins, called thulabhara kasu,
specially struck for the occasion, which are divided among the priests
who performed the ceremony, and Brahmans.

The following quaint custom, which is observed at the village of
Pullambadi in the Trichinopoly district, is described by Bishop
Whitehead. [216]


    "The goddess Kulanthal Amman has established for herself a useful
    reputation as a settler of debts. When a creditor cannot recover
    a debt, he writes down his claim on a scroll of palm-leaves, and
    offers the goddess a part of the debt, if it is paid. The palmyra
    scroll is hung up on an iron spear in the compound of the temple
    before the shrine. If the claim is just, and the debtor does
    not pay, it is believed that he will be afflicted with sickness
    and bad dreams. In his dreams he will be told to pay the debt at
    once, if he wishes to be freed from his misfortunes. If, however,
    the debtor disputes the claim, he draws up a counter-statement,
    and hangs it on the same spear. Then the deity decides which claim
    is true, and afflicts with sickness and bad dreams the man whose
    claim is false. When a claim is acknowledged, the debtor brings
    the money, and gives it to the pujari, who places it before the
    image of Kulanthal Amman, and sends word to the creditor. The
    whole amount is then handed over to the creditor, who pays the
    sum vowed to the goddess into the temple coffers in April or
    May. So great is the reputation of the goddess, that Hindus come
    from about ten miles round to seek her aid in recovering their
    debts. The goddess may sometimes make mistakes, but, at any rate,
    it is cheaper than an appeal to an ordinary court of law, and
    probably almost as effective as a means of securing justice. In
    former times, no written statements were presented; people simply
    came and represented their claims by word of mouth to the deity,
    promising to give her a share. The custom of presenting written
    claims sprang up about thirty years ago, doubtless through the
    influence of the Civil Courts. Apparently more debts have been
    collected since this was done, and more money has been gathered
    into the treasury."


It is noted by the Rev. A. Margöschis [217] that "the Hindus observe a
special day at the commencement of the palmyra season (in Tinnevelly),
when the jaggery season begins. Bishop Caldwell adopted the custom,
and a solemn service in church was held, when one set of all the
implements used in the occupation of palmyra-climbing was brought
to the church, and presented at the altar. Only the day was changed
from that observed by the Hindus. The perils of the palmyra-climber
are great, and there are many fatal accidents by falling from trees
forty to sixty feet high, so that a religious service of the kind
was particularly acceptable and peculiarly appropriate to our people."

The story is told by Bishop Caldwell of a Shanar (toddy-drawer)
who was sitting upon a leaf-stalk at the top of a palmyra palm in a
high wind, when the stalk gave way, and he came down to the ground
safely and quietly sitting on the leaf, which served the purpose of
a natural parachute.

The festival of Ayudha Puja (worship of tools or implements) is
observed by all Hindu castes during the last three days of the Dasara
or Navarathri in the month of Purattasi (September-October). It is a
universal holiday for all Hindu workmen. Even the Brahman takes part
in this puja. His tools, however, being books, it is called Saraswati
puja, or worship to the goddess or god of learning, who is either
Saraswati or Hayagriva. Reading books and repetition of Vedas must be
done, and, for the purpose of worship, all the books in a house are
piled up in a heap. Non-Brahmans clean the various implements used by
them in their daily work, and worship them. The Kammalans (artisans)
clean their hammers, pincers, anvil, blowpipe, etc.; the Chettis
(merchants) clean their scales and weights, and the box into which
they put their money. The racket-marker at the Madras Club decorates
the entrance to the scoring-box in which his rackets are kept, with a
festoon of mango leaves. The weaving and agricultural classes will be
seen to be busy with their looms and agricultural implements. Fishermen
pile up their nets for worship. Even the bandywala (cart-driver)
paints red and white stripes on the wheels and axles. I have myself
been profusely garlanded when present as a guest at the elaborate
tool-worshipping ceremony at the Madras School of Arts, where puja
was done to a bust of the late Bishop Gell set up on an improvised
altar, with a cast of Saraswati above, and various members of the
Hindu Pantheon around.

At the festival held by the Koyis of the Godavari district in
propitiation of a goddess called Pida, very frequently offerings
promised long before are sacrificed, and eaten by the pujari. It is
not at all uncommon for a Koyi to promise to offer a seven-horned male
(i.e. a cock) as a bribe to be let alone, a two-horned male (i.e. a
goat) being set apart by more wealthy or more fervent suppliants. [218]
When smallpox or other epidemic disease breaks out in a Gadaba village
in Vizagapatam, a little go-cart on wheels is constructed. In this
a clay image, or anything else holy, is placed, and it is taken to a
distant spot, and left there. It is also the custom, when cholera or
smallpox is epidemic in the same district, to make a little car, "on
which are placed a grain of saffron-stained [219] rice for every soul
in the village, and numerous offerings such as little swings, pots,
knives, ploughs, and the like, and the blood of certain sacrificial
victims, and this is then dragged with due ceremony to the boundary
of the village. By this means the malignant essence of the deity who
brings smallpox or cholera is transferred across the boundary. The
neighbouring villagers naturally hasten to move the car on with similar
ceremony, and it is thus dragged through a whole series of villages,
and eventually left by the roadside in some lonely spot." [220]

Marching on one occasion, towards Hampi in the Bellary district,
where an outbreak of cholera had recently occurred, I came across
two wooden gods on wheels by the roadside, to whom had been offered
baskets of fruit, vegetables, earthen pots, bead necklets, and bangles,
which were piled up in front of them. It is recorded [221] by Bishop
Whitehead that, when an epidemic breaks out in a certain village in
the Telugu country,


    "the headman of the village gets a new earthenware pot, besmears
    it with turmeric and kunkuma (red powder), and puts inside it
    some clay bracelets, necklaces, and earrings, three pieces of
    charcoal, three pieces of turmeric, three pieces of incense,
    a piece of dried cocoanut, a woman's cloth, and two annas worth
    of coppers--a strange collection of miscellaneous charms and
    offerings. The pot is then hung up on a tree near the image of
    the village deity, as a pledge that, if the epidemic disappears,
    the people will celebrate a festival."


It is further recorded [222] by Bishop Whitehead that, during the
festival of Mariamma at Kannanur in the Trichinopoly district,
"many people who have made vows bring sheep, goats, fowls, pigeons,
parrots, cows, and calves, to the temple, and leave them in the
compound alive. At the end of the festival, these animals are all
sold to a contractor. Two years ago, they fetched Rs. 400--a good
haul for the temple."

Between the Madras museum and the Government maternity hospital,
a small municipal boundary stone has been set up by the side
of the road. To this stone supernatural powers are attributed,
and it is alleged that in a banyan tree in a private garden close
by a Muni lives, who presides over the welfare of the patients in
the hospital, and must be propitiated if the pregnant woman is to
get over her confinement without complications. Women vow that they
will, if all goes well, give a cocoanut, betel, or flowers when they
leave. Discharged patients can be seen daily, going to the stone
and making offerings. On the day of their discharge, their friends
bring camphor and other articles, and the whole family goes to the
stone, where the camphor is burnt, a cocoanut broken, and perhaps
some turmeric or flowers placed on it. The new-born child is placed
on the bare ground in front of the stone, and the mother, kneeling
down, bows before it. The foreheads of both mother and child are
marked with the soots from the burning camphor. If her friends do
not bring the requisite articles, the woman goes home, and returns
with them to do puja to the stone, or it is celebrated at a temple
or her house. The offerings are removed by those who present them,
or by passers-by on the road.

The Kudubi cutch (catechu) makers of South Canara, before the
commencement of operations, select an Areca Catechu tree, and place a
sword, an axe, and a cocoanut on the ground near it. They prostrate
themselves before the tree, with hands uplifted, burn incense, and
break cocoanuts. The success of the operations is believed to depend
on the good-will of a deity named Siddedevaru. Before they commence
work, the Kudubis make a vow that, if they are successful, they will
offer a fowl.


    "A palmyra tree in the jungle near Ramnad with seven distinct
    trunks, each bearing a goodly head of fan-shaped leaves is,"
    General Burton writes, [223] "attributed to the action of a deity,
    and stones smeared with oil and vermilion, broken cocoanuts,
    and fowl's feathers lying about, testify that puja and sacrifice
    were performed here."


On the Rangasvami peak on the Nilgiris are two rude walled enclosures
sacred to the god Ranga and his consort, within which are deposited
various offerings, chiefly iron lamps and the notched sticks used
as weighing-machines. The hereditary priest is an Irula (jungle
tribesman). [224] Certain caves are regarded by the Muduvars of
the Travancore hills as shrines, wherein spear-heads, tridents,
and copper coins are placed, partly to mark them as holy places,
and partly as offerings to bring good luck.

Prehistoric stone cells, found in the bed of a river, are believed
to be the thunderbolts of Vishnu, and are stacked as offerings by
the Malaialis of the Shevaroy hills in their shrines dedicated to
Vigneswara the elephant god, who averts evil, or in little niches
cut in rocks.

Of a remarkable form of demon worship in Tinnevelly, Bishop Caldwell
wrote that [225] "an European was till recently worshipped as a
demon. From the rude verses which were sung in connection with his
worship, it would appear that he was an English officer, who was
mortally wounded at the taking of the Travancore lines in 1809, and
was buried about twenty-five miles from the scene of the battle in
a sandy waste, where, a few years ago, his worship was established
by the Shanans of the neighbourhood. His worship consisted in the
offering to his manes of spirituous liquors and cheroots."

A similar form of worship, or propitiation of demons, is recorded [226]
by Bishop Whitehead from Malabar. He was told that "the spirits of the
old Portuguese soldiers and traders are still propitiated on the coast
with offerings of toddy and cheroots. The spirits are called Kappiri
(probably Kaffirs or foreigners). This superstition is dying out,
but is said to be common among the fishermen of the French settlement
of Mai (Mahé)."

On one occasion, a man who had been presented with two annas as
the fee for lending his body to me for measurement, offered it,
with flowers and a cocoanut, at the shrine of the village goddess,
and dedicated to her another coin of his own as a peace-offering,
and to get rid of the pollution caused by my money.



VI

CHARMS


Mantrams, or consecrated formulæ, are supposed to be very powerful,
and by their aid even gods can be brought under control. They are,
inter alia, believed to be efficacious in curing disease, in protecting
children against devils, and women against miscarriage, in promoting
development of the breasts, in bringing offspring to barren women,
in warding off misfortune consequent on marriage with a girl who has
an unlucky mark, in keeping wild pigs from the fields, and warding off
cattle disease. For the last purpose, the magical formula is carved
on a stone pillar, which is set up in the village. They are divided
into four classes, viz., mantrasara, or the real essence of magic;
yantrasara, or the science of cabalistic figures; prayogasara, or the
method of using these for the attainment of any object; tantrasara,
or the science of symbolical acts with or without words.

Mantrasara includes all mantrams, with their efficacy for good and
evil, and the methods of learning and reciting them with the aid of
a guru (spiritual preceptor). They are said to be effective only when
the individual who resorts to them is pure in mind and body. This can
be attained by the recitation of ajapagayithri (216,000 inhalations
and exhalations in twenty-four hours). These have to be divided among
the deities Ganesa, Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Jivathma, Paramathma,
and the guru, in the proportion of 600, 6000, 6000, 6000, 1000,
1000, 1000. A man can only become learned in mantrams (mantravadi)
by the regular performance of the recognised ceremonial, by proper
recital of the mantrams, by burning the sacred fire, and by taking
food. A Lambadi has been seen repeating mantrams over his patients,
and touching their heads at the same time with a book, which was a
small edition of the Telugu translation of St John's gospel. Neither
the physician nor the patient could read, and had no idea of the
contents of the book. [227] It is noted by the Abbé Dubois, [228]
that one of the principal reasons why so little confidence is placed in
European doctors by Hindus is that, when administering their remedies,
they recite neither mantrams nor prayers.

Yantrasara includes all cabalistic figures, the method of drawing and
using them, and the objects to be attained by them. They are usually
drawn on thin plates of gold, silver, copper, or lead. The efficacy of
the figures, when drawn on gold, will, it is said, last for a century,
while those drawn on the less precious metals will only be effective
for six months or a year. Leaden plates are used when the yantrams
are to be buried underground. The figures should possess the symbols
of life, the eyes, tongue, eight cardinal points of the compass,
and the five elements.

Prayogasara includes attraction or summoning by enchantment, driving
out evil spirits, stupefaction, tempting or bringing a deity or evil
spirits under control, and enticement for love, destruction, and the
separation of friends.

The following are examples of cases in which a European, who, having
been trained by a guru, was well versed in the theory and practice of
native magic, was called in to administer to Natives, who were under
the spell of devils. In the first case, a Telugu girl, about seventeen
years old, had been for some time possessed by her sister's husband,
under whose influence she used to eat abnormal quantities of food,
tear off her clothes, and use indecent language in a voice other than
her own. When the European arrived in her room, the devil, speaking
through the girl, threatened to kill her, or the European, or the
individual who put it into her. Under the spell of a suitable mantram,
the devil departed, and its return was prevented by the wearing of
a yantram. The other case was that of a boy, who was possessed by a
devil. He was found, on the occasion of the visit of the European,
lying down in the courtyard of his house, clad in an ample loin-cloth,
and with a high temperature. Suddenly, through some invisible agency,
a corner of his loin-cloth caught fire, which was stamped out. It then
caught fire in another place, and eventually was riddled with burnt
holes. This was the way in which the devil manifested its influence,
and sometimes the boy got burnt. A mantram was recited, with the
result that the burning ceased, and the fever abated. An impromptu
yantram was made out of vibhuti (sacred ashes), and tied round the
boy's neck. A religious mendicant came along a short time afterwards,
and treated the boy for some ordinary sickness not connected with
the devil, but the medicine did him no good. Finding the yantram
round his neck, the mendicant asserted that it was the cause of his
failure, and ordered its removal. This the boy's relations refused
to permit. But the holy man ripped it off. Whereon the boy instantly
fell down comatose. In recording these two cases, I have reproduced
my notes made on the occasion of an interview with the European.

Reference has been made (p. 180) to mantrams carved on stone
pillars. The story of a stone slab at Rayalcheruvu in the Anantapur
district, known as the yantram rayi or magic stone, is narrated by
Mr Francis. [229]


    "The charm consists of eighty-one squares, nine each way,
    within a border of tridents. Each square contains one or more
    Telugu letters, but these will not combine into any intelligible
    words. At the bottom of the stone are cut a lingam and two pairs
    of foot-prints. Some twelve years ago, it is said, the village
    suffered severely from cholera for three years in succession, and
    a Telugu mason, a foreigner who was in the village at the time,
    cut this charm on the stone to stop the disease. It was set up with
    much ceremony. The mason went round the village at night without
    a stitch of clothing on him, and with the entrails of a sheep
    hanging round his neck. Many cocoanuts were offered to the stone,
    and many sheep slain before it. The mason tossed a lamb in the
    air, caught it as it fell, tore its throat open with his teeth,
    and then bounded forward, and spat out the blood. More sheep
    and cocoanuts were offered, and then the slab was set up. The
    mason naturally demanded a substantial return for the benefit he
    had conferred on the inhabitants. When cholera now breaks out,
    the villagers subscribe together, and do puja (worship) to the
    stone in accordance with directions left by him."


Of similar stones in the South Arcot district, Mr Francis writes as
follows [230]:--


    "In several villages in the west of the district are magical slabs,
    which are supposed to cure cholera and cattle disease. On them,
    surrounded by a border of trisulas (the trident of Siva) are
    cut a series of little squares, in each of which is some Tamil
    letter. The villagers usually explain their existence by saying
    that, some forty years ago, an ascetic, whom they call the sangili
    (chain) sanyasi from his predilection for wearing red-hot chains
    round his neck, came there when cholera and cattle disease were
    rife, and (for a consideration) put up these slabs to ward off
    his ills. He left directions that, when either disease reappeared,
    108 pots of water were to be poured over the slab, 108 bilva (Ægle
    Marmelos) leaves tied to it and so on, and that men and animals
    were then to walk through the water which had been poured over it."


Mr Francis writes further [231] that "in many places, stone slabs may
be seen set up in the outskirts of the villages, on what are said
to be the old boundaries. These are thought to be able to ward off
sickness, and other harm which threatens to enter the place, and are
revered accordingly. Some are quite blank, others have letters cut
on them, while others again bear the rude outline of a deity, and are
accordingly given such names as Pidari or Ellai Amman (the goddess of
the boundary). To these last, periodical worship is often performed,
but, in the case of the others, the attentions of the villagers
are confined to an annual ceremony, whereat cocoanuts are broken,
camphor is burnt, and a light is placed on the stone."

It was noted by Lieutenant R. F. Burton [232] that, in some hamlets,
the Kotas of the Nilgiris have set up curiously carved stones,
which they consider sacred, and attribute to them the power of curing
diseases, if the member affected is rubbed against them. At cross-roads
in Bellary, odd geometric patterns may sometimes be noticed. These
are put there at night by people suffering from disease, in the hope
that the affliction will pass to the person who first treads on the
charm. [233]

As examples of yantrams, the following, selected from a very large
repertoire, may be cited:--

Ganapathi yantram should be drawn on metal, and worship performed. It
is then enclosed in a metal cylinder, and tied by a thread round the
neck of females, or the waist or arm of men. It will cure disease,
conquer an enemy, or entice any one. If the sacred fire is kept
up while the formula is being repeated, and dry cocoanut, plantain
fruits, money, ghi (clarified butter), and sweet bread put into it,
the owner will be blessed with wealth and prosperity.

Bhadrakali yantram. The figure is drawn on the floor with flour
or rice, turmeric, charcoal powder, and leaves of the castor-oil
plant. If the deity is worshipped at night, it will lead to the
acquisition of knowledge, strength, freedom from disease and impending
calamities, wealth, and prosperity. If puja (worship) is celebrated by
a mantravadi for twelve days with the face turned towards the south,
it will produce the death of an enemy.

Sudarsana yantram, when drawn on a sheet of metal, and enclosed in
a cylinder worn round the neck or on the arm, will relieve those who
are ill or possessed by devils. If it is drawn on butter spread on a
plantain leaf, puja performed, and the butter given to a barren woman,
there will be no danger to herself or her future issue.

Suthakadosham yantram. Children under one year of age are supposed
to be affected, if they are seen by a woman on the fourth day of
menstruation with wet clothes and empty stomach after bathing. She may
not even see her own baby or husband till she has changed her clothes,
and taken food. To avert the evil, a waist-band, made of the bark of
the arka plant (Calotropis gigantea), is worn.

Sarabha yantram will cure persons suffering from epilepsy or
intermittent fever.

Subramaniya yantram, if regularly worshipped, will expel devils from
those attacked by them, and from houses.

Hanuman yantram will protect those who are out on dark nights, and
produce bodily strength and wisdom. If drawn on a sheet of gold,
and puja is performed to it every Saturday, it will bring prosperity,
and help pregnant women during their confinement.

Pakshi yantram, if drawn on a sheet of lead, and kept in several
places round a house, will keep snakes away.

Vatugabhairava yantram cures disease in those who are under eighteen
years old, and drives out all kinds of evil spirits. If ashes are
smeared on the face, and the mantram is uttered sixteen times, it
will be very effective.

Varati yantram is very useful to any one who wishes to kill an
enemy. He should sit in a retired spot at night, with his face
turned towards the south, and repeat the mantram a thousand times
for twenty days.

Prathingiri yantram is drawn on a sheet of lead, and buried at a
spot over which a person, whose death is desired, will pass. It is
then placed on the floor, on which the sacred fire is kindled. The
mantram should be repeated eight hundred times for seven nights.

Chamundi and Raktha Chamundi yantrams are used for causing the death
of enemies. The mantram should be written on a sheet of lead, and puja,
with the sacrifice of toddy and mutton, performed.

Asvaruda yantram enables a person wearing it to cover long distances
on horseback, and he can make the most refractory horse amenable by
tying it round its neck. [234]

An inhabitant of Malabar presented Mr Fawcett with a yantram against
the evil eye, which, if whispered over a piece of string, and tied
round any part of the body affected, would work an instantaneous
cure. A Cheruman at Calicut, who was wearing on his loin-string a
copper cylinder containing a brass strip with mantrams, sold it to
me for a rupee with the assurance that it would protect me from devils.

To produce an ulcer, which will cause the death of an enemy in ninety
days, a mantram is written on a piece of cadjan (palm leaf), enclosed
in an egg with a small quantity of earth on which he has urinated,
and buried in an ant-hill. A fowl is killed, and its blood and some
toddy are poured over the egg. To cure fever, the formula is written
with the finger in water contained in a basin, and the appropriate
words are repeated while the water is being drunk.

By some Muhammadans, on festival days, the names of holy persons,
together with their sayings, are written on mango or palmyra leaves
in ink made of charred rice. When the ink is dry, the leaves are
washed in water, which is drunk. This is supposed to cure people of
many obstinate diseases. A European official was informed by a Native
magistrate in the Vizagapatam district that, when he wanted to tear up
some old abkari (liquor) licenses, a man implored him not to do so, as
they had brought him life for a year, and were therefore worshipped. So
the medicine was water, in which an old license had been dipped.

It is recorded [235] by Mr Logan that "in 1877, a poor Mappilla
(Muhammadan) woman residing in one of the Laccadive islands was put
upon her trial for witchcraft for importing into the island a betel
leaf with a certain cabalistic and magical inscription on it; but
it fortunately turned out for her that she had merely pounded it up,
and rubbed it over her daughter's body to cure her of fits. Ibn Batuta
(the Arab traveller who visited South India in the fourteenth century)
wrote of a Malayali king who was converted to Islam by the leaf of
'the tree of testimony,' a tree of which it was related to him that
it does not generally drop its leaves, but at the season of autumn in
every year one of them changes its colour, first to yellow, then to
red, and that upon this is written 'There is no God but God: Muhammad
is the Prophet of God,' and that this leaf alone falls. The falling
of the leaf was an annual event, and the leaf itself was efficacious
in curing diseases. Nowadays the belief among the Muhammadans still
subsists, that the leaves of a certain tree growing on Mount Deli
(in Malabar) possess similar virtues."

Metal bowls, engraved both on the outside and inside with texts from
the Quran, are taken or sent by Muhammadans to Mecca, where they are
placed at the head of the tomb of the Prophet, and blessed. They are
highly valued, and used in cases of sickness for the administration
of medicine or nourishment.

It is on record that, at the battle of Seringapatam in 1799, an officer
took from off the right arm of the dead body of Tipu Sultan a talisman,
which contained sewed up in pieces of fine flowered silk a charm
made of a brittle metallic substance of the colour of silver, and
some manuscripts in magic Arabic and Persian characters. A notorious
Mappilla dacoit, who was shot by the police a few years ago, and whom
his co-religionists tried to make a saint, was at the time of his
death wearing five copper and silver charm cylinders round his waist.

It is noted by Mr Logan [236] that "when affliction comes, the animal
affected is served with grass, fruit, etc., on which charms have been
whispered, or is bathed in charmed water, or has a talisman in the
shape of a palm leaf inscribed with charms rolled up and tied round
its neck."

The tooth or claw of a tiger, worn on the neck or round the loins,
is considered effective against evil influences. A tiger's whiskers
are held to be a most potent poison when chopped up; so, when
a tiger is killed, the whiskers are immediately singed off. [237]
They are represented in stuffed heads by the delicate bristles of the
porcupine. When a Savara of Ganjam is killed by a tiger, the Kudang
goes through a performance on the following Sunday to prevent a similar
fate overtaking others. Two pigs are killed outside the village, and
every man, woman, and child is made to walk over the ground whereon
the pig's blood is spilled, and the Kudang gives to each individual
some kind of tiger medicine as a charm. [238]

In Malabar the tusks of a wild boar are, in cases of protracted labour,
pressed over the abdomen of the woman from above downwards.

The hair of the bear is enclosed in a casket or cylinder, and tied to
the girdle round the loins of male children, and in strings round the
neck of female children, as a remedy against fever, and to prevent
involuntary discharge of urine during sleep. [239]

One of the occupations of the Kuruvikkarans (bird-catchers and
beggars) is the manufacture and sale of spurious jackal horns,
known as narikompu. To catch the jackals they make an enclosure of
a net, inside which a man seats himself armed with a big stick. He
then proceeds to execute a perfect imitation of the jackal's cry,
on hearing which the jackals come running to see what is the matter,
and are beaten down. Sometimes the entire jackal's head is sold, skin
and all. The process of manufacture of the horn is as follows. After
the brain has been removed, the skin is stripped off a limited area
of the skull, and the bone at the place of junction of the sagittal
and lambdoid sutures above the occipital foramen is filed away, so
that only a point, like a bony outgrowth, is left. The skin is then
brought back, and pressed over the little horn which pierces it. The
horn is also said to be made out of the molar tooth of a dog or
jackal, introduced through a small hole in a piece of jackal's skin,
round which a little blood or turmeric paste is smeared to make it
look more natural. In most cases only the horn, with a small piece
of skull and skin, is sold. Sometimes, instead of the skin from the
part where the horn is made, a piece of skin is taken from the snout,
where the long black hairs are. The horn then appears surrounded by
long black bushy hairs. The Kuruvikkarans explain that, when they see
a jackal with such long hairs on the top of its head, they know that
it possesses a horn. A horn-vendor, whom I interviewed, assured me
that the possessor of a horn is a small jackal, which comes out of
its hiding-place on full-moon nights to drink the dew. According to
another version, the horn is only possessed by the leader of a pack
of jackals. A nomad Dommara, whom I saw at Coimbatore, carried a bag
containing a miscellaneous assortment of rubbish used in his capacity
as medicine-man and snake-charmer, which included a collection of
spurious jackal horns. To prove the genuineness thereof, he showed
me not only the horn, but also the feet with nails complete, as
evidence that the horns were not made from the nails. Being charged
with manufacturing the horns, he swore, by placing his hand on the
head of a child who accompanied him, that he was not deceiving
me. The largest of the horns in his bag, he gravely assured me,
was from a jackal which he dug out of its hole on the last new-moon
night. The Sinhalese and Tamils regard the horn as a talisman, and
believe that its fortunate possessor can command the realisation
of every wish. Those who have jewels to conceal rest in perfect
security if, along with them, they can deposit a narikompu. [240]
The ayah (nurse) of a friend who possessed such a talisman, remarked:
"Master going into any law-court, sure to win the case." Two horns,
which I possessed, were stolen from my study table, to bring luck to
some Tamil member of my establishment.

The nasal bone of a jackal or fox, enclosed in a receptacle, is
believed to ward off many evils. The nose of a hyæna is also held in
great estimation as a charm. When a hyæna is killed, the end of the
nose is cut off and dried, and is supposed to be a sovereign charm
in cases of difficult labour, indigestion, and boils, if applied to
the nostrils of the patient. [241]

In Malabar, silver finger-rings with a piece of bristle from the tail
of an elephant set in them, are worn as a charm.

In the Vizagapatam district, a most efficacious charm, supposed to
render a man invulnerable to every ill, consists of a small piece of
black wool, given to every one who takes a black sheep for the priest
of a temple on the Bopelli ghat. Another much valued charm in this
district is called chemru mausa, which is described as being a small
musk-rat only an inch and a half long, very scarce, and only found on
rocky hills. It is worn in a gold or silver receptacle on the arm,
and is supposed to render a man invulnerable against sword cuts and
musket shots. In like manner, a mixture of gingelly (Sesamum) oil,
the red dye which women use, and other ingredients, put into a small
piece of hollow bamboo, and worn on the arm, are believed to protect
a man against being shot with a bow or musket.

Many of the Kadir infants on the Anaimalai hills have tied round the
neck a charm, which takes the form of a dried tortoise foot; the tooth
of a crocodile mimicking a phallus, and supposed to ward off attacks
from a mythical water elephant which lives in the mountain streams,
or wooden imitations of tiger's claws.

The joints taken from the tail of the black scorpion are believed to
ward off illness, if children wear them on their waist-thread. [242]

Of charms worn by the Nambutiri Brahmans in Malabar, the following
are recorded by Mr F. Fawcett [243]:--

Ring, in which an anavarahan coin is set. This is a very lucky
ring. Spurious imitations are often set in rings, but it is the
genuine one which brings good luck.

Gold case fastened to a string round the waist, and containing a
figure written on a silver plate. The man had worn it for three years,
having put it on because he used to feel hot during the cold season,
and attributed his condition to the influence of an evil spirit.

Two cylinders, one of gold, the other of silver. In each were some
chakrams (Travancore silver coins) and a gold leaf, on which a
charm was inscribed. One of the charms was prepared by a Mappilla,
the other by a Nambutiri.

In connection with the wearing of charms by the Nayars of Malabar,
Mr Fawcett writes [244] as follows:--


    "One individual wore two rings made of an amalgamation of gold and
    copper, called tambak on the ring-finger of the right hand for
    good luck. Tambak rings are lucky rings. It is a good thing to
    wash the face with the hand, on which is a tambak ring. Another
    wore two rings of the pattern called triloham on the ring-finger
    of each hand. Each of these was made during an eclipse. An Akattu
    Charna Nayar wore an amulet, to keep off the spirit of a Brahman
    who died by drowning."


As examples of charms worn by Bedar men in the Canarese country,
the following may be cited:--

String tied round right arm with metal box attached to it, to drive
away devils. String round ankle for the same purpose.

Necklet of coral and ivory beads worn as a vow to the goddess
Huligamma.

Necklets of ivory beads, and a gold disc with the Vishnupad (feet
of Vishnu) engraved on it, purchased from a religious mendicant to
bring good luck.

In an account of the Mandulas (medicine-men) of the Telugu country,
Bishop Whitehead records [245] that a baby three days old had an anklet
made of its mother's hair tied round the right ankle, to keep off
the evil eye. The mother, too, had round her ankle a similar anklet,
which she put on before her confinement. One of the men was also
wearing an anklet of hair, as he had recently been bitten by a snake.

A metal charm-cylinder is sometimes attached to the sacred thread,
which is worn by Devangas (a weaving caste), who claim to be Devanga
Brahmans.

I have seen the child of a Kuruba (Canarese agriculturist) priest
wearing a necklet with a copper ornament engraved with cabalistic
devices, a silver plate bearing a figure of Hanuman (the monkey god),
as all his other children had died, and a piece of pierced pottery from
the burial-ground, to ward off whooping-cough. The Rev. S. Nicholson
informs me that, if a Mala (Telugu Pariah) child grinds its teeth in
its sleep, a piece of a broken pot is brought from a graveyard, and,
after being smoked with incense, tied round the child's neck with a
piece of string rubbed with turmeric, or with a piece of gut. In the
Tamil country, the bark of a tree on which any one has hanged himself,
a cord with twenty-one knots, and the earth from a child's grave,
are hung round the neck, or tied to the waist-string as talismans.

A Kota woman at Kotagiri on the Nilgiris, was wearing a glass necklet,
with a charm pendant from it, consisting of the root of some tree
rolled up in a ball of cloth. She put it on when her baby was quite
young, to protect it against devils. The baby had a similar charm on
its neck. By some jungle Chenchus pieces of stick strung on a thread,
or seeds of Givotia rottleriformis are worn, to ward off various
forms of pain.

Small flat plates of copper, called takudu, are frequently worn by
Tamil Paraiyan children. One side is divided into sixteen squares
in which what look like the Telugu numerals nine, ten, eleven
and twelve, are engraved. On the other side a circle is drawn,
which is divided into eight segments, in each of which a Telugu
letter is inscribed. This charm is supposed to protect the wearer
from harm coming from any of the eight cardinal points of the Indian
compass. Charms, in the form of metal cylinders, are worn for the same
purpose by adults and children, and procured from some exorcist. [246]

By some Medaras of the Telugu country, a figure of Hanuman (the
monkey god) is engraved on a thin plate of gold with cabalistic
letters inscribed on it, and worn on the neck. On eclipse days,
a piece of root of the arka plant (Calotropis gigantea) is worn on
the neck of females, and on the waist or arm of males.

In a note regarding moon-shaped amulets against the evil eye described
by Professor Tylor, [247] Mr. Walhouse mentions that crescents, made of
thin plates of metal, sometimes gold, are worn by children on the west
coast, suspended upon the breast with the point upwards. Neck ornaments
in the form of a crescent are commonly worn by Muhammadan children.

Concerning the use of coins as charms, Mr V. Devasahayam writes as
follows [248]:--


    "Seeing a woman with several old coins strung on the tali
    (marriage badge) string round the neck, I offered to buy them
    of her for a good price, but got only a torrent of abuse, since
    she, in her ignorance and superstition, supposed that Lutchmi,
    the goddess of fortune, would forsake her if she parted with the
    coins. In Tranquebar there lives a head mason, who always carries
    in his betel-nut bag a copper coin bearing the inscription of
    Koneri Rayan, one of the later Pandyans or early Nayakars. The
    man would on no account part with this coin, for he believes
    that his success in business has improved since he came into
    possession of it, and that it will continue as long as he carries
    it with him. He says that he shall bequeath it to his family at
    his death, to hold in veneration almost amounting to worship. For
    dog bite, some Natives tie an old copper coin with a bandage over
    the wound, and wear it till it has healed. Others rub the coin
    against a copper vessel, using a few drops of the juice of the
    datura plant in order to form a paste, and apply the paste to the
    wound. Whooping-cough is believed to be caused by the displeasure
    of Bhairava, the dog-god, and the whooping is regarded as a sort
    of barking, under possession by the god. To appease his anger,
    an old coin is hammered into a flat round disc, a rude figure of a
    dog engraved on it, and suspended as a charm to the sick child's
    waist. In the treatment of skin disease, dyspepsia, and leprosy,
    old copper coins are ground to dust, heated till the dust is
    like ashes, and administered medicinally. Soon after a Sonaga
    woman is delivered of a child, she is made to swallow a small
    old copper coin together with some water. Natives believe that,
    during delivery, the whole system is so irritated that strong
    counter-irritants must be administered to prevent tetanus."


Mercury cups, said to be made of an amalgam of mercury and tin, are
stated to possess the property of allowing mercury, when poured in,
to ooze through them, and pass out. Milk preserved in such a cup
for a few hours is said to turn into hard curd. Milk kept over night
in one of these cups, or an amulet made from the cup materials, are
believed to exercise a most potent influence over the male fertilising
element. Such an amulet, applied to the neck of a chorister, is said
to have increased his vocal powers three or four times. Piles, and
other bodily ailments, are believed to be cured by wearing rings,
in the composition of which mercury is one of the ingredients.

In a case which was tried before a magistrate in Travancore, the
accused, in order to win his case, had concealed in his under-cloth
some yantrams, which had been prepared for him by a sorcerer. The
plaintiff, having got scent of this, gave information, and the charms
were handed over to the magistrate. It is recorded in the Vigada
Thuthan that, when a woman who gets tired of her husband sues him for
maintenance, she wears charm bundles (manthira kattu), so that his
evidence may be confused and incoherent. Such charms are said to be
concealed in the hair of the head or in the headdress, and generally
to consist of a lime fruit, which has been charmed by magical spells
in a graveyard, after the sorcerer has performed certain ceremonies
to guard him against devils catching him during the incantations. It
is said that, in former times, if the chastity of a Tamil Paraiyan
bride was suspected, she had to establish her virtue by picking some
cakes out of boiling oil, and then husking some rice with her bare
hand. Her hair, nails, and clothes were examined, to see that she
had no charm concealed about her. [249]

A friend once dismissed a servant for cheating and lying. A
short time afterwards, he found nailed to a teapoy a paper scroll
containing a jasmine flower tied up with coloured threads. On the
scroll were inscribed in Tamil the mystic syllable, "Om," and "Nama
Siva R. U. Masthan Sahibu avergal padame thunai" (I seek for help at
the feet of Masthan sahib). Masthan is a Muhammad saint. The servant
of a European police officer, who had been caught out in all sorts
of malpractices, tried to win back the good-will of his master by
means of a charm, for which he paid fifteen rupees, placed under his
master's pillow.

It is recorded by Marco Polo [250] that South Indian pearl divers
[251] call in the services of an Abraiman (Brahman?) to charm the
sharks. "And their charm holds good for that day only; for at night
they dissolve the charm, so that the fishes can work mischief at their
will." The prospects of a pearl fishery, when success seems certain,
may be abruptly ruined by accidents from sharks, of which the divers
have a superstitious, but not altogether unreasonable, dread. Before
the fishery of 1889, at which I was present, the divers of Kilakarai on
the Madura coast, as a preliminary to starting for the scene thereof,
performed a ceremony, at which prayers were offered for protection
against the attacks of sharks.


    "The only precaution," Tennent writes, [252] "to which the
    Ceylon diver devotedly resorts is the mystic ceremony of the
    shark-charmer, whose power is believed to be hereditary. Nor is
    it supposed that the value of his incantations is at all dependent
    upon the religious faith professed by the operator, for the present
    head of the family happens to be a Roman Catholic. At the time
    of our visit, this mysterious functionary was ill, and unable to
    attend; but he sent an accredited substitute, who assured me that,
    although he was himself ignorant of the grand and mystic secret,
    the fact of his presence, as a representative of the higher
    authority, would be recognised and respected by the sharks."


At the Tuticorin fishery in 1890, a scare was produced by a diver
being bitten by a shark, but subsided as soon as a "wise woman" was
employed. Her powers do not, however, seem to have been great, for more
cases of shark-bite occurred, and the fishery had to be abandoned at a
time when favourable breezes, clear water, plenty of boats, and oysters
selling at a good price, indicated a successful financial result.



VII

HUMAN SACRIFICE


    "The best known case," Mr Frazer writes, [253] "of human sacrifices
    systematically offered to ensure good crops, is supplied by the
    Khonds or Kandhs, a Dravidian race in Bengal and Madras. Our
    knowledge of them is derived from the accounts written by British
    officers, who, forty or fifty years ago, were engaged in putting
    them down. The sacrifices were offered to the earth goddess,
    Tari Pennu or Bera Pennu, and were believed to ensure good crops,
    and immunity from all diseases and accidents. In particular,
    they were considered necessary in the cultivation of turmeric,
    the Khonds arguing that the turmeric could not have a deep red
    colour without the shedding of blood. The victim, a Meriah,
    was acceptable to the goddess only if he had been purchased,
    or had been born a victim, that is, the son of a victim father,
    or had been devoted as a child by his father or guardian."


In 1837, Mr Russell, in a report on the districts entrusted to his
control, wrote as follows [254]:--


    "The ceremonies attending the barbarous rite (Kondh human
    sacrifice) vary in different parts of the country. In the Maliahs
    of Goomsur, the sacrifice is offered annually to Thadha Pennoo,
    under the effigy of a bird intended to represent a peacock, with
    the view of propitiating the deity to grant favourable seasons
    and crops. The ceremony is performed at the expense of, and in
    rotation, by certain mootahs (districts) composing a community,
    and connected together from local circumstances. Besides these
    periodical sacrifices, others are made by single mootahs, and even
    by individuals, to avert any threatening calamity from sickness,
    murrain, or other causes. Grown men are the most esteemed (as
    victims), because the most costly. Children are purchased, and
    reared for years with the family of the person who ultimately
    devotes them to a cruel death, when circumstances are supposed
    to demand a sacrifice at his hands. They seem to be treated with
    kindness, and, if young, are kept under no constraint; but, when
    old enough to be sensible of the fate that awaits them, they are
    placed in fetters, and guarded. Most of those who were rescued had
    been sold by their parents or nearest relations, a practice which,
    from all we could learn, is very common. Persons of riper age are
    kidnapped by wretches who trade in human flesh. The victim must
    always be purchased. Criminals, or prisoners captured in war, are
    not considered fitting subjects. The price is paid indifferently
    in brass utensils, cattle, or coin. The zanee (or priest),
    who may be of any caste, officiates at the sacrifice, but he
    performs the poojah (offering of flowers, incense, etc.) to the
    idol through the medium of the Toomba, who must be a Khond child
    under seven years of age. This child is fed and clothed at the
    public expense, eats with no other person, and is subjected to
    no act deemed impure. For a month prior to the sacrifice, there
    is much feasting and intoxication, and dancing round the Meriah,
    who is adorned with garlands, etc., and, on the day before the
    performance of the barbarous rite, is stupefied with toddy, and
    made to sit, or, if necessary, is bound at the bottom of a post
    bearing the effigy above described. The assembled multitude then
    dance around to music, and, addressing the earth, say 'Oh! God,
    we offer the sacrifice to you. Give us good crops, seasons,
    and health.' After which they address the victim. 'We bought
    you with a price, and did not seize you. Now we sacrifice you
    according to custom, and no sin rests with us.' On the following
    day, the victim being again intoxicated, and anointed with oil,
    each individual present touches the anointed part, and wipes the
    oil on his own head. All then proceed in procession around the
    village and its boundaries, preceded by music, bearing the victim
    and a pole, to the top of which is attached a tuft of peacock's
    feathers. On returning to the post, which is always placed near
    the village deity called Zakaree Pennoo, and represented by three
    stones, near which the brass effigy in the shape of the peacock
    is buried, they kill a pig in sacrifice, and, having allowed the
    blood to flow into a pit prepared for the purpose, the victim who,
    if it has been found possible, has been previously made senseless
    from intoxication, is seized and thrown in, and his face pressed
    down until he is suffocated in the bloody mire amid the noise of
    instruments. The Zanee then cuts a piece of the flesh from the
    body, and buries it with ceremony near the effigy and village idol,
    as an offering to the earth. All the rest afterwards go through
    the same form, and carry the bloody prize to their villages,
    where the same rites are performed, part being interred near the
    village idol, and little bits on the boundaries. The head and
    face remain untouched, and the bones, when bare, are buried with
    them in the pit. After this horrid ceremony has been completed,
    a buffalo calf is brought in front of the post, and, his forefeet
    having been cut off, is left there till the following day. Women,
    dressed in male attire, and armed as men, then drink, dance,
    and sing round the spot, the calf is killed and eaten, and the
    Zanee is dismissed with a present of rice, and a hog or calf."


In the same year, Mr Arbuthnot, Collector of Vizagapatam, reported
as follows:--


    "Of the hill tribe Codooloo (Kondh), there are said to be two
    distinct classes, the Cotia Codooloo and Jathapoo Codooloo. The
    former class is that which is in the habit of offering human
    sacrifices to the god called Jenkery, with a view to secure
    good crops. This ceremony is generally performed on the Sunday
    preceding or following the Pongal feast. The victim is seldom
    carried by force, but procured by purchase, and there is a fixed
    price for each person, which consists of forty articles such
    as a bullock, a male buffalo, a cow, a goat, a piece of cloth,
    a silk cloth, a brass pot, a large plate, a bunch of plantains,
    etc. The man who is destined for the sacrifice is immediately
    carried before the god, and a small quantity of rice coloured with
    saffron (turmeric) is put upon his head. The influence of this
    is said to prevent his attempting to escape, even though set at
    liberty. It would appear, however, that, from the moment of his
    seizure till he is sacrificed, he is kept in a continued state
    of stupefaction or intoxication. He is allowed to wander about
    the village, to eat and drink anything he may take a fancy to,
    and even to have connection with any of the women whom he may
    meet. On the morning set apart for the sacrifice, he is carried
    before the idol in a state of intoxication. One of the villagers
    officiates as priest, who cuts a small hole in the stomach of the
    victim, and with the blood that flows from the wound the idol is
    besmeared. Then the crowds from the neighbouring villages rush
    forward, and he is literally cut into pieces. Each person who is
    so fortunate as to procure it carries away a morsel of the flesh,
    and presents it to the idol of his own village."


Concerning a method of Kondh sacrifice, which is illustrated by the
wooden post preserved in the Madras Museum, Colonel Campbell records
[255] that "one of the most common ways of offering the sacrifice
in Chinna Kimedi is to the effigy of an elephant (hatti mundo or
elephant's head) rudely carved in wood, fixed on the top of a stout
post, on which it is made to revolve. After the performance of the
usual ceremonies, the intended victim is fastened to the proboscis of
the elephant, and, amidst the shouts and yells of the excited multitude
of Khonds, is rapidly whirled round, when, at a given signal by the
officiating Zanee or priest, the crowd rush in, seize the Meriah,
and with their knives cut the flesh off the shrieking wretch so
long as life remains. He is then cut down, the skeleton burnt, and
the horrid orgies are over. In several villages I counted as many
as fourteen effigies of elephants, which had been used in former
sacrifices. These I caused to be overthrown by the baggage elephants
attached to my camp in the presence of the assembled Khonds, to show
them that these venerated objects had no power against the living
animal, and to remove all vestiges of their bloody superstition."

It is noted by Risley [256] that, while the crowd hacked the body
of the victim, they chanted a ghastly hymn, an extract from which
illustrates very clearly the theory of sympathetic magic underlying
the ritual:--


            "As the tears stream from thine eyes,
            So may the rain pour down in August;
            As the mucus trickles from thy nostrils,
            So may it drizzle at intervals;
            As thy blood gushes forth,
            So may the vegetation sprout;
            As thy gore falls in drops,
            So may the grains of rice form."


In another report, Colonel Campbell describes how the miserable
victim is dragged along the fields, surrounded by a crowd of half
intoxicated Kondhs who, shouting and screaming, rush upon him, and
with their knives cut the flesh piecemeal from the bones, avoiding the
head and bowels, till the living skeleton, dying from loss of blood,
is relieved from torture, when its remains are burnt, and the ashes
mixed with the new grain to preserve it from insects. Yet again,
he describes a sacrifice which was peculiar to the Kondhs of Jeypore.


    "It is," he says, "always succeeded by the sacrifice of three
    human beings, two to the sun in the east and west of the
    village, and one in the centre, with the usual barbarities of
    the Meriah. A stout wooden post about six feet long is firmly
    fixed in the ground, at the foot of it a narrow grave is dug,
    and to the top of the post the victim is firmly fastened by the
    long hair of his head. Four assistants hold his outstretched arms
    and legs, the body being suspended horizontally over the grave,
    with the face toward the earth. The officiating Junna or priest,
    standing on the right side, repeats the following invocation,
    at intervals hacking with his sacrificing knife the back part of
    the shrieking victim's neck. 'Oh! mighty Manicksoro, this is your
    festal day. To the Khonds the offering is Meriah, to the kings
    Junna. On account of this sacrifice, you have given to kings
    kingdoms, guns, and swords. The sacrifice we now offer you must
    eat, and we pray that our battle-axes may be converted into swords,
    our bows and arrows into gunpowder and balls; and, if we have
    any quarrels with other tribes, give us the victory. Preserve us
    from the tyranny of kings and their officers.' Then, addressing
    the victim, 'That we may enjoy prosperity, we offer you as a
    sacrifice to our god Manicksoro, who will immediately eat you,
    so be not grieved at our slaying you. Your parents were aware,
    when we purchased you from them for sixty rupees, that we did so
    with intent to sacrifice you. There is, therefore, no sin on our
    heads, but on your parents. After you are dead, we shall perform
    your obsequies.' The victim is then decapitated, the body thrown
    into the grave, and the head left suspended from the post till
    devoured by wild beasts.  The knife remains fastened to the post
    till the three sacrifices have been performed, when it is removed
    with much ceremony."


The Kondhs of Bara Mootah promised to relinquish the Meriah rite on
condition, inter alia, that they should be at liberty to sacrifice
buffaloes, monkeys, goats, etc., to their deities, with all the
solemnities observed on occasions of human sacrifice; and that they
should further be at liberty, upon all occasions, to denounce to
their gods the Government, and some of its servants in particular,
as the cause of their having relinquished the great rite. The last
recorded Meriah sacrifice in the Ganjam Maliahs occurred in 1852,
and there are still Kondhs alive, who were present at it. The veteran
members of a party of Kondhs, who were brought to Madras for the
purpose of performing their dances before the Prince and Princess of
Wales in 1906, became widely excited when they came across the relic
of their barbarous custom at the museum. Twenty-five descendants of
persons who were rescued by Government officers, returned themselves
as Meriah at the census, 1901.

It is noted by Mr W. Francis that [257] "goats and buffaloes nowadays
take the place of human meriah victims, but the belief in the superior
efficacy of the latter dies hard, and every now and again revives. When
the Rampa rebellion of 1879-80 spread in this district, several cases
of human sacrifice occurred in the disturbed tracts. In 1880, two
persons were convicted of attempting a meriah sacrifice near Ambadala
in Bissamkatak. In 1883, a man (a beggar and a stranger) was found at
daybreak murdered in one of the temples in Jeypore in circumstances
which pointed to his having been slain as a meriah; and, as late as
1886, a formal enquiry showed that there were ample grounds for the
suspicion that the kidnapping of victims still went on in Bastar."

Even so recently as 1902, a European magistrate in Ganjam received a
petition, asking for permission to perform a human sacrifice, which
was intended to give a rich colour to the turmeric crop.

The flowers with which the sheep and goats which take the place
of human beings are decorated are still known as meriah pushpa in
Jeypore. [258]

In an account [259] of a substituted sacrifice, which was carried
out by the Kondhs in the Ganjam Maliahs in 1894, it is stated that,
"the Janni gave the buffalo a tap on the head with a small axe. An
indescribable scene followed. The Khonds in a body fell on the animal,
and, in an amazingly short time, literally tore the living victim to
shreds with their knives, leaving nothing but the head, bones, and
stomach. Death must mercifully have been almost instantaneous. Every
particle of flesh and skin had been stripped off during the few
minutes they fought and struggled over the buffalo, eagerly grasping
for every atom of flesh. As soon as a man had secured a piece thereof,
he rushed away with the gory mass, as fast as he could, to his fields,
to bury it therein according to ancient custom, before the sun had
set. As some of them had to do good distances to effect this, it was
imperative that they should run very fast. A curious scene now took
place. As the men ran, all the women flung after them clods of earth,
some of them taking very good effect. The sacred grove was cleared
of people, save a few that guarded the remnants left of the buffalo,
which were taken, and burnt with ceremony at the foot of the stake."

The buffalo sacrifice is not unaccompanied by risk, as the animal,
before dying, sometimes kills one or more of its tormentors. This
was the case near Balliguda in 1899, when a buffalo killed the
sacrificer. In the previous year, the desire of a village to intercept
the bearer of the flesh from a neighbouring village led to a fight,
in which two men were killed.

Like the Kondhs, the Koyis of the Godavari district believe in the
efficacy of a sacrifice, to ensure good crops. In this connection, the
Rev. J. Cain writes [260] that "the Koyi goddess Mamili or Lele must
be propitiated early in the year, or else the crops will undoubtedly
fail; and she is said to be very partial to human victims. There is
strong reason to think that two men were murdered this year (1876)
near a village not far from Dummagudem as offerings to this devata,
and there is no reason to doubt that every year strangers are quietly
put out of the way in the Bastar country, to ensure the favour of
the bloodthirsty goddess."

Mr Cain writes further [261] that a langur monkey is now substituted
for the human victim under the name of erukomma potu or male with
small breasts, in the hope of persuading the goddess that she is
receiving a human sacrifice.

On the site of the old fort at Ramagiri in the Vizagapatam district,
a victim was formerly sacrificed every third year.


    "The poor wretch was forced into a hole in the ground, three feet
    deep and eighteen inches square, at the bottom of which the goddess
    was supposed to dwell, his throat was cut, and the blood allowed
    to flow into the hole, and afterwards his head was struck off and
    placed on his lap, and the mutilated body covered with earth and a
    mound of stones until the time for the next sacrifice came round,
    when the bones were taken out and thrown away. At Malkanagiri,
    periodical sacrifices occurred at the four gates of the fort, and
    the Rani had a victim slain as a thank-offering for her recovery
    from an illness." [262]


The nomad Koravas are said to have formerly performed human sacrifices,
one effect of which was to increase the fertility of the soil. The
following account of such a sacrifice was given to Mr C. Hayavadana
Rao by an old inhabitant of the village of Asur near Walajabad
in the Chingleput district. A big gang of Koravas settled at the
meeting point of three villages of Asur, Melputtur, and Avalur,
on an elevated spot commanding the surrounding country. They had
with them their pack-bullocks, each headman of the gang owning about
two hundred head. The cow-dung which accumulated daily attracted a
good many of the villagers, on one of whom the headman fixed as their
intended victim. They made themselves intimate with him, plied him with
drink and tobacco, and gave him the monopoly of the cow-dung. Thus
a week or ten days passed away, and the Koravas then fixed a day
for the sacrifice. They invited the victim to visit them at dusk,
and witness a great festival in honour of their caste goddess. At
the appointed hour, the man went to the settlement, and was induced
to drink freely. Meanwhile, a pit, large enough for a man to stand
upright in, had been prepared. At about midnight, the victim was
seized, and forced to stand in the pit, which was filled in up to
his neck. This done, the women and children of the gang made off
with their belongings. As soon as the last of them had quitted the
settlement, the headmen brought a large quantity of fresh cow-dung,
and placed a ball of it on the head of the victim. The ball served
as a support for an earthen lamp, which was lighted. The man was
by this time nearly dead, and the cattle were made to pass over his
head. The headmen then made off, and, by daybreak, the whole gang had
disappeared. The sacrificed man was found by the villagers, who have,
since that time, scrupulously avoided the Koravas. The victim is said
to have turned into a Munisvara, and for a long time troubled those
who happened to go near the spot at noon or midnight. The Koravas are
said to have performed the sacrifice, so as to insure their cattle
against death from disease. The ground, on which they encamped, and on
which they offered the human sacrifice, is stated to have been barren
prior thereto, and, as the result thereof, to have become very fertile.

A similar form of human sacrifice was practised in former days by the
nomad Lambadis, concerning which the Abbé Dubois writes as follows
[263]:--


    "When they wish to perform this horrible act, it is said, they
    secretly carry off the first person they meet. Having conducted the
    victim to some lonely spot, they dig a hole, in which they bury
    him up to the neck. While he is still alive, they make a sort of
    lamp of dough made of flour, which they place on his head. This
    they fill with oil, and light four wicks in it. Having done this,
    the men and women join hands, and, forming a circle, dance round
    their victim, singing and making a great noise, till he expires."


It is recorded by the Rev. J. Cain [264] that the Lambadis confessed
that, in former days, it was the custom among them, before starting
out on a journey, to procure a little child, and bury it in the ground
up to the shoulders, and then drive their loaded bullocks over the
unfortunate victim. In proportion to their thoroughly trampling the
child to death, so their belief in a successful journey increased. I
am informed by the Rev. G. N. Thomssen that, at the present day, the
Lambadis sacrifice a goat or chicken, in case of removal from one part
of the jungle to another, when sickness has come. They hope to escape
death by leaving one camping ground for another. Half-way between the
old and new grounds, the animal selected is buried alive, the head
being allowed to be above ground. Then all the cattle are driven over
the buried creature, and the whole camp walk over the buried victim.

In the course of an interview with Colonel Marshall on the subject
of infanticide [265] among the Todas of the Nilgiri hills, an aged
man of the tribe remarked that [266] "those tell lies who say that
we laid the child down before the opening of the buffalo-pen, so
that it might be run over and killed by the animals. We never did
such things, and it is all nonsense that we drowned it in buffaloes'
milk. Boys were never killed--only girls; not those who were sickly
and deformed--that would be a sin; but, when we had one girl, or in
some families two girls, those that followed were killed. An old woman
used to take the child immediately after it was born, and close its
nostrils, ears, and mouth with a cloth. It would shortly droop its
head and go to sleep. We then buried it in the ground."

The old man's remark about the cattle-pen refers to the Malagasy
custom of placing a new-born child at the entrance to a cattle-pen,
and then driving the cattle over it, to see whether they would trample
on it or not. [267]

It is recorded by Bishop Whitehead, [268] in a note on offerings and
sacrifices in the Telugu country, that "sometimes, when there is a
cattle disease, a pig is buried up to its neck at the boundary of
the village, a heap of boiled rice is deposited near the spot, and
then all the cattle of the village are driven over the head of the
unhappy pig.... When I was on tour in the Kurnool district, an old man
described to me the account he had received from his 'forefathers' of
the ceremonies observed when founding a new village. An auspicious site
is selected on an auspicious day, and then, in the centre of the site,
is dug a large hole, in which are placed different kinds of grains,
small pieces of the five metals, and a large stone called boddu-rayée
(navel-stone), standing about three and a half feet above the ground,
very like the ordinary boundary stones seen in the fields. Then,
at the entrance of the village, in the centre of the main street,
where most of the cattle pass in and out on their way to and from
the fields, they dig another hole, and bury a pig alive."

It is suggested by Bishop Whitehead that the custom of thus burying
a pig may be connected with the worship of an agricultural goddess,
or a survival of a former custom of infanticide or human sacrifice,
such as prevailed among the Lambadis.

It has been suggested that certain rites performed by the Panan
and Malayan exorcists of Malabar are survivals, or imitations of
human sacrifice. Thus, in the Ucchaveli ceremony of the Panans for
driving out devils, there is a mock burial of the principal performer,
who is placed in a pit. This is covered with planks, on the top of
which a sacrifice (homam) is performed with a fire kindled with jak
(Artocarpus integrifolia) branches. [269]

The disguise of Ucchaveli is also assumed by the Malayans for the
propitiation of the demon, when a human sacrifice is considered
necessary. The Malayan who is to take the part puts on a cap made
of strips of cocoanut leaf, and strips of the same leaves tied to a
bent bamboo stick round his waist. His face and chest are daubed with
yellow paint, and designs are drawn thereon in red or black. Strings
are tied tightly round the left arm near the elbow and wrist, and the
swollen area is pierced with a knife. The blood spouts out, and the
performer waves the arm, so that his face is covered with blood. In
the ceremony for propitiating the demon Nenaveli (bloody sacrifice),
the Malayan smears the upper part of the body and face with a paste
made of rice-flour reddened with turmeric powder and chunam (lime),
to indicate a sacrifice. Before the paste dries, parched paddy
(unhusked rice) grains, representing smallpox pustules, are sprinkled
over it. Strips of young cocoanut leaves, strung together so as to
form a petticoat, are tied round the waist, a ball of sacred ashes
(vibhuthi) is fixed on the tip of the nose, and two strips of palm
leaf are placed in the mouth to represent fangs. If it is thought
that a human sacrifice is necessary to propitiate the devil, the man
representing Nenaveli puts round his neck a kind of framework made
of plantain leaf sheaths; and, after he has danced with it on, it is
removed, and placed on the ground in front of him. A number of lighted
wicks are stuck in the middle of the framework, which is sprinkled with
the blood of a fowl, and then beaten and crushed. Sometimes this is
not regarded as sufficient, and the performer is made to lie in a pit,
which is covered over by a plank, and a fire kindled. A Malayan, who
acted the part of Nenaveli before me, danced and gesticulated wildly,
while a small boy, concealed behind him, sang songs in praises of the
demon, to the accompaniment of a drum. At the end of the performance,
he feigned extreme exhaustion, and laid on the ground in a state of
apparent collapse, while he was drenched with water brought in pots
from a neighbouring well.

A very similar rite has been recorded by Mr Lewis Rice as being
carried out by the Coorgs, when a particular curse, which can only
be removed by an extraordinary sacrifice, rests on a house, stable,
or field. Concerning this sacrifice, Mr Rice writes as follows [270]:--


    "The Kaniya (religious mendicant) [271] sends for some of his
    fraternity, the Panikas or Bannus, and they set to work. A pit
    is dug in the middle room of the house or in the yard, or in the
    stable, or in the field, as the occasion may require. Into this one
    of the magicians descends. He sits down in Hindu fashion, muttering
    mantras. Pieces of wood are laid across the pit, and covered with
    earth a foot or two deep. Upon this platform a fire of jackwood
    is kindled, into which butter, sugar, different kinds of grain,
    etc., are thrown. This sacrifice continues all night, the Panika
    sacrificer above, and his immured colleague below, repeating their
    incantations all the while. In the morning the pit is opened, and
    the man returns to the light of day. These sacrifices are called
    maranada bali, or death atonements. Instead of a human being,
    a cock is sometimes shut up in the pit, and killed afterwards."


Evidence is produced by Mr Rice [272] that, in former days, human
sacrifices were offered in Coorg, to secure the favour of the Grama
Devatas (village goddesses) Mariamma, Durga, and Bhadra Kali.


    "In Kirinadu and Koniucheri Gramas," he writes, "once every three
    years, in December and June, a human sacrifice used to be brought
    to Bhadra Kali, and, during the offering by the Panikas, the people
    exclaimed 'Al Amma' (a man, Oh mother), but once a devotee shouted
    'Al all Amma, Adu' (not a man, oh mother, a goat), and since that
    time a he-goat without blemish has been sacrificed. Similarly,
    in Bellur, once a year, by turns from each house, a man was
    sacrificed by cutting off his head at the temple; but, when the
    turn came to a certain home, the devoted victim made his escape to
    the jungle. The villagers, after an unsuccessful search, returned
    to the temple, and said to the pujari (priest) 'Kalak Adu,' which
    has a double meaning, viz., Kalake next year, adu he will give,
    or adu a goat, and thenceforth only scapegoats were offered."


Human sacrifice is considered efficacious in appeasing the earth
spirit, and in warding off devils during the construction of a new
railway or big bridge. To the influence of such evil spirits the death
of several workmen by accident in a cutting on the railway, which was
under construction at Cannanore in Malabar, was attributed. A legend
is current at Anantapur that, on one occasion, the embankment of
the big tank breached. Ganga, the goddess of water, entered the body
of a woman, and explained through her that, if some one was thrown
into the breach, she would cause no further damage. Accordingly,
one Musalamma was thrown in, and buried within it. The spot is
marked by several margosa (Melia Azadirachta) trees, and sheep,
fowls, etc., are still occasionally offered to the girl who was thus
sacrificed. When a tank bund (embankment) was under construction in
Mysore, there was a panic among the workmen, owing to a rumour that
three virgins were going to be sacrificed. When a mantapam or shrine
was consecrated, a human sacrifice was formerly considered necessary,
but a cocoanut is now sometimes used as a substitute. At Kalasapad in
the Cuddapah district, a missionary told Bishop Whitehead that, when
a new ward was opened at the mission dispensary in 1906, none would
enter it, because the people believed that the first to enter would
be offered as a sacrifice. Their fears were allayed by a religious
service. During the building of a tower at the Madras Museum, just
before the big granite blocks were placed in position, the coolies
contented themselves with the sacrifice of a goat. On the completion
of a new building, some castes on the west coast sacrifice a fowl or
sheep, to drive away the devils, which are supposed to haunt it.

In a field outside a village in South Canara, Mr Walhouse noticed a
large square marked in lines with whitewash on the ground, with magic
symbols in the corners, and the outline of a human figure rudely drawn
in the middle. Flowers and boiled rice had been laid on leaves round
the figure. He was informed that a house was to be built on the site
marked out, and the figure was intended to represent the earth spirit
supposed to be dwelling in the ground (or a human sacrifice?). Without
this ceremony being performed before the earth was dug up, it was
believed that there would be no luck about the house. [273]

Belief in the efficacy of human sacrifice as a means of discovering
hidden treasure is widespread. It is recorded by Mr Walhouse
[274] that "one of the native notions respecting p­andu kuli, or
kistvaens, is that men of old constructed them for the purpose of
hiding treasure. Hence it is that antiquarians find so many have been
ransacked. It is also believed that spells were placed over them as a
guard, the strongest being to bury a man alive in the cairn, and bid
his ghost protect the deposit against any but the proprietor. The
ghost would conceal the treasure from all strangers, or only be
compelled to disclose it by a human sacrifice being offered."

Many beliefs exist with regard to the purpose for which the large
prehistoric burial jars, such as are found in various parts of Southern
India, were manufactured. In Travancore, some believe that they were
made to contain the remains of virgins sacrificed by the Rajas on
the boundaries of their estates, to protect them. [275] According to
another idea, the jars were made for the purpose of burying alive in
them old women who refused to die.

In a note on the Velamas of the Godavari district, Mr F. R. Hemingway
writes that they admit that they always arrange for a Mala (Telugu
Pariah) couple to marry, before they have a marriage in their own
houses, and that they provide the necessary funds for the Mala
marriage. They explain the custom by a story to the effect that
a Mala once allowed a Velama to sacrifice him in order to obtain
a hidden treasure, and they say that this custom is observed out
of gratitude for the discovery of the treasure which resulted. The
Rev. J. Cain gives a similar custom among the Velamas of Bhadrachalam
in the Godavari district, only in this case it is a Palli (fisherman)
who has to be married. Some years ago, a Native of the west coast,
believing that treasure was hidden on his property, took council with
an astrologer, who recommended the performance of a human sacrifice,
which happily was averted. On one occasion, a little Brahman girl is
said to have been decoyed when on her way to school, and murdered in
the god's room at a temple in Vellore, in which treasure was supposed
to be concealed.

In 1901, a Native of the Bellary district was tried for the murder of
his child, in the belief that hidden treasure would thereby be revealed
to him. The man, whose story I heard from himself in the lock-up, had
apparently implicit faith that the god would bring the child to life
again. The case, as recorded in the judgment of the Sessions Judge,
was as follows:--


    "The prisoner has made two long statements to the Magistrate,
    in each of which he explains why he killed the child. From
    these statements it appears that he had been worshipping at the
    temple of Kona Irappa for six or seven years, and that, on one
    or more occasions, the god appeared to him, and said: 'I am much
    pleased with your worship. There is wealth under me. To whom
    else should it be given but you?' The god asked the prisoner to
    sacrifice sheep and buffaloes, and also said: 'Give your son's
    head. You know that a head should be given to the god who confers
    a boon. I shall raise up your son, and give you the wealth which
    is under me.' At that time, the prisoner had only one son--the
    deceased boy was not then born. The prisoner said to the god:
    'I have only one son. How can I give him?' The god replied:
    'A son will be born. Do not fear me. I shall revive the son,
    and give you wealth.' Within one year, the deceased boy was
    born. This increased the prisoner's faith in the god, and it
    is apparent from his own statement that he has for some time
    past been contemplating human sacrifice. He was advised not to
    sacrifice the son, and for a time was satisfied with sacrificing
    a buffalo and goats, but, as a result, did not succeed in getting
    the wealth that he was anxious to secure. The prisoner says he
    dug up some portion of the temple, but the temple people did not
    let him dig further. The boy was killed on a Sunday, because the
    prisoner says that the god informed him that the human sacrifice
    should be on the child's birthday, which was a Sunday. The prisoner
    mentions in his statement how he took the child to the temple on
    the Sunday morning, and cut him with a sword. Having done so, he
    proceeded to worship, saying: 'I offered a head to the bestower of
    boons. Give boons, resuscitate my son, and show me wealth.' While
    the prisoner was worshipping the god, and waiting for the god to
    revive his son, the Reddi (headman) and the police came to the
    temple, and interrupted the worship. The prisoner believes that
    thereby the god was prevented from reviving the son.... The facts
    seem to be clear. The man's mind is sound in every respect but
    as regards this religious delusion. On that point, it is unsound."


A bad feature of the case, which was reckoned against the prisoner,
was that he deferred the sacrifice until a second son was born, so
that, in any case, he was not left without male issue. It was laid
down by Manu that a man is perfect when he consists of three--himself,
his wife, and his son. In the Rig Veda it is laid down that, when
a father sees the face of a living son, he pays a debt in him, and
gains immortality. In Sanskrit works, Putra, or son, is defined as
one who delivers a parent from a hell called put, into which those
who have no son fall. Hence the anxiety of Hindus to marry, and beget
male offspring.

A few years ago, in the Mysore Province, two men were charged
with the kidnapping and murder of a female infant, and one was
sentenced to transportation for life. The theory of the prosecution
was that the child was killed, in order that it might be offered
as a sacrifice with the object of securing hidden treasure, which
was believed to be buried near the scene of the murder. A witness
gave evidence to the effect that the second accused was the pujari
(priest) of a Gangamma temple. He used to tell people that there was
hidden treasure, and that, if a human sacrifice were offered, the
treasure might be acquired. He used to make puja, and tie yantrams
(charms). He also made special pujas, and exorcised devils. Another
witness testified that her mother had buried some treasure during
her lifetime, and she asked the pujari to discover it. He came to
her house, made an earthen image, and did puja to it. He dug the
ground in three places, but no treasure was found. In dealing with
the evidence in the Court of Appeal, the Judges stated that "it is
well known that ignorant persons have various superstitions about the
discovery of hidden treasure, and the facts that the second accused
either shared such superstitious beliefs, or traded on the credulity
of his neighbours by his pretensions of special occult power, and
that a Sanyasi (religious mendicant) had some four years ago given
out that treasure might be discovered by means of a human sacrifice,
cannot justify any inference that the second accused would have acted
on the last suggestion, especially when the witnesses cannot even
say that the second accused heard the Sanyasi's suggestion."

The temple was searched, and the following articles were found:--three
roots of the banyan tree having suralay (coil), a suralay of the banyan
tree, round which two roots were entwined, a piece of banyan root,
and a wheel (alada chakra) made of banyan root. Besides, there were
a copper armlet, copper thyati (charm cylinder), nine copper plates,
on which letters were engraved, a copper mokka mattoo (copper plate
bearing figures of deities), a piece of thread coloured red, white
and black, for tying yantrams, a tin case containing kappu (a black
substance), a ball of human hair, and a pen-knife. There was also
a dealwood box containing books and papers relating to bhuta vidya
(black art).

A man was accused in 1907, in the Kurnool district, of stabbing a
supposed wizard in the darkest hours of a new-moon night. In the course
of his judgment, the Judge stated that "what may be taken as the facts
of the case are very curious. The accused and his elder brother saw an
'iguana' (lizard) run from the foot of a hill. This is supposed to be
one of the signs of buried treasure. They killed the animal (and ate it
eventually), and dug, and found, where it had slept, treasure in the
shape of a pot full of old-time pagodas (gold coins). Now a goddess
(called here Shatti, i.e., Sakti) is supposed to guard such buried
treasure, and the finder ought to sacrifice a cock to the goddess
before receiving the treasure. The brother of the accused neglected
to do so, and came to the deceased, who was supposed to be a warlock,
though his wife represents him to be merely a worshipper of Vira
Brahma, and a distributor of holy water (thirtham) and holy ashes to
people possessed with devils. The deceased gave holy water to Pedda
Pichivadu to avert ill-luck, but the man suddenly died from running
a thorn into his foot, and his leg swelling in consequence. About
the same time, the accused's younger brother got palsy in his head,
and the deceased failed to cure him, though he made the attempt."

At Girigehalli in the Anantapur district, there is a temple, concerning
which the story goes that the stomach of the goddess was once opened
by an avaricious individual, who expected to find treasure within
it. The goddess appeared to him in a dream, and said that he should
suffer like pain to that which he had inflicted upon her, and he
shortly afterwards died of some internal complaint. [276]

In the Cuddapah district, many of the inhabitants are said [277]
to believe that there is much treasure hidden from the troublous
days of the eighteenth century, but they have a superstitious dread
against looking for it, since the successful finder would be smitten
by the guardian demon with a sudden and painful death.

The Panos (hill weavers) of Ganjam are said, on more than one occasion,
to have rifled the grave of a European, in the belief that buried
treasure would be found.

Many years ago, a woman was supposed to be possessed with a devil,
and an exorcist was consulted, who declared that a human sacrifice was
necessary. A victim was selected, and made very drunk. His head was
cut off, and the blood, mixed with rice, was offered to the idol. The
body was then hacked so as to deceive the police, and thrown into a
pond. [278]

At a village near Berhampur in Ganjam, Mr S. P. Rice tells us, [279]
a number of villagers went out together. By and bye, according to a
preconcerted plan, one of the party suggested a drink. The intended
victim was drugged, and taken along to the statue of the goddess, or
shrine containing what did duty for the statue. He was then thrown down
with his face on the ground in an attitude suggesting supplication,
and, while he was still in a state of stupor, his head was chopped
off with an axe.

It is narrated by Chevers [280] that, in 1840, a religious mendicant,
on his way back from Ramesvaram, located himself in a village near
Ramnad, and gave himself out to be gifted with the power of working
miracles. One evening, the chucklers (leather-workers) of the village,
observing crows and vultures hovering near a group of trees, and
suspecting that there was carrion for them to feast upon, were tempted
to visit the spot, where they found a corpse, mangled most fearfully,
and with the left hand and right leg cut off. Many nails were driven
into the head, a garland was placed round the neck, and the forehead
smeared with sandal paste.  It was rumoured that a certain person
was ailing, and that the holy man decreed that nothing short of a
human sacrifice could save him, and that the victim should bear his
name. The holy man disappeared, but was captured shortly afterwards.

A copper-plate grant, acquired a few years ago at Tirupati, and
believed to be a forgery, records that a temple car was made for the
goddess Kalikadevi of Conjeeveram by certain Panchalans (members of the
artisan classes). While it was being taken to the temple, a magician
stopped it by means of incantations. The help of another magician was
sought, and he cut off the head of his pregnant daughter, suspended it
to the car, and performed certain rites. The car then moved, and the
woman, whose head was cut off, was brought back to life. A somewhat
similar legend is recorded in another copper-plate grant discovered
in 1910 in the North Arcot district, which is also believed to be a
forgery. It is there stated that the five castes of artisans made a
bell-metal car for the Kamakshiamman temple at Conjeeveram. Members
of these five castes, belonging to the left-hand faction, commenced to
drag it, but Seniyasingapuli, belonging to the right-hand faction, by
means of magical powers, raised a thousand evil spirits against each
wheel, and arrested its progress. A woman, named Mangammal, offered
to sacrifice her son, and the artisans accordingly purchased the boy,
saying that they would give her a head equal to that of a new-born
child. Eventually, Mangammal herself laid down before the car. Her
head was cut off, and hung at the top of the car. Her abdomen was
torn open, and the foetus removed therefrom, and dedicated to the
evil spirit. The headless trunk was buried in the path of the wheels.



VIII

MAGIC AND HUMAN LIFE


Some of the cases here brought together serve as an illustration of
the difficulty which frequently arises in arriving at a decision as
to how far the taking of human life is justified as being carried
out in accordance with a genuine superstitious belief, and when the
act renders the perpetrator thereof liable to punishment under the
Indian Penal Code.

Five persons were charged a few years ago at the Coimbatore sessions
with the murder of a young woman. The theory put forward by the
prosecution was that two of the accused practised sorcery, and were
under the delusion that, if they could obtain the foetus from the
uterus of a woman who was carrying her first child, they would be
able to work some wonderful spells with it. With this object, they
entered into a conspiracy with the three other accused to murder
a young married woman, aged about seventeen, who was seven months
advanced in pregnancy, and brutally murdered her, cutting open
the uterus, removing the foetus contained therein, and stealing her
jewels. The five accused persons (three men and two women) were all of
different castes. Two of the men had been jointly practising sorcery
for some years. It was proved that, about two years before, they had
performed an incantation near a river with some raw beef, doing puja
(worship) near the water's edge in a state of nature. Evidence was
produced to prove that two of the accused decamped after the murder
with a suspicious bundle, a few days before an eclipse of the moon,
to Tiruchengodu where there is a celebrated temple. It was suggested
that the bundle contained the uterus, and was taken to Tiruchengodu
for the purpose of performing magical rites. When the quarters in
which two of the accused lived were searched, three palm-leaf books
were found containing mantrams regarding the pilli suniyam, a process
of incantation by means of which sorcerers are supposed to be able to
kill people. The record of the case states that "there can be little
doubt that the first and fourth accused were taken into the conspiracy
in order to decoy the deceased. The inducement offered to them was
most probably immense wealth by the working of charms by the second
and third accused with the aid of the foetus. The medical evidence
showed that the dead woman was pregnant, and that, after her throat
had been cut, the uterus was taken out."

In 1829, several Natives of Malabar were charged with having proceeded,
in company with a Paraiyan magician, to the house of a pregnant woman,
who was beaten and otherwise ill-treated, and with having taken the
foetus out of her uterus, and introduced in lieu thereof the skin of
a calf and an earthen pot. The prisoners confessed before the police,
but were acquitted mainly on the ground that the earthen pot was of a
size which rendered it impossible to credit its introduction during
life. The Paraiyas of Malabar and Cochin are celebrated for their
magical powers, and the practice of odi.


    "There are," Mr Govinda Nambiar writes, [281] "certain specialists
    among mantravadis (dealers in magical spells), who are known as
    Odiyans. Conviction is deep-rooted that they have the power of
    destroying whomever they please, and that, by means of a powerful
    bewitching matter called pilla thilum (oil extracted from the
    body of an infant), they are enabled to transform themselves into
    any shape or form, or even to vanish into air, as their fancy may
    suggest. When an Odiyan is hired to cause the death of a man, he
    waits during the night at the gate of his intended victim's house,
    usually in the form of a bullock. If, however, the person is inside
    the house, the Odiyan assumes the shape of a cat, enters the house,
    and induces him to come out. He is subsequently knocked down and
    strangled. The Odiyan is also credited with the power, by means of
    certain medicines, of inducing sleeping persons to open the doors,
    and come out of their houses as somnambulists do. Pregnant women
    are sometimes induced to come out of their houses in this way,
    and they are murdered, and the foetus extracted from them. Murder
    of both sexes by Odiyans was a crime of frequent occurrence before
    the British occupation of the country."


In a case which was tried at the Malabar Sessions a few years
ago, several witnesses for the prosecution deposed that a certain
individual was killed by odi. One man gave the following account of
the process. Shoot the victim in the nape of the neck with a blunt
arrow, and bring him down. Proceed to beat him systematically all
over the body with two sticks (resembling a policeman's truncheon,
and called odivaddi), laying him on his back and applying the sticks
to his chest, and up and down the sides, breaking all the ribs and
other bones. Then raise the person, and kick his sides. After this,
force him to take an oath that he will never divulge the names of
his torturer. All the witnesses agreed about the blunt arrow, and
some bore testimony to the sticks.

A detailed account of the odi cult, from which the following
information was obtained, is given by Mr Anantha Krishna Iyer. [282]
The disciple is taught how to procure pilla thilum (foetus oil)
from the six or seven months foetus of a young woman in her first
pregnancy. He (the Paraiyan magician) sets out at midnight from his hut
to the house of the woman he has selected, round which he walks several
times, shaking a cocoanut containing gurasi (a compound of water,
lime, and turmeric), and muttering some mantrams to invoke the aid of
his deity. He also draws a yantram (cabalistic figure) on the earth,
taking special care to observe the omens as he starts. Should they be
unfavourable, he puts it off for a more favourable opportunity. By
the potency of his cult, the woman is made to come out. Even if the
door of the room in which she might sleep be under lock and key,
she would knock her head against it until she found her way out. She
thus comes out, and yields herself to the influence of the magician,
who leads her to a retired spot either in the compound (grounds),
or elsewhere in the neighbourhood, strips her naked, and tells her
to lie flat. She does so, and a chora kindi (gourd, Lagenaria) is
placed close to the uterus. The foetus comes out in a moment. A few
leaves of some plant are applied, and the uterus contracts. Sometimes
the womb is filled with rubbish, and the woman instantly dies. Care
is taken that the foetus does not touch the ground, lest the purpose
be defeated, and the efficacy of the medicine completely lost. It is
cut into pieces, dried, and afterwards exposed to the smoke above a
fireplace. It is then placed in a vessel provided with a hole or two,
below which there is another vessel. The two together are placed in a
larger vessel filled with water, and heated over a bright fire. The
heat must be so intense as to affect the foetus, from which a kind
of liquid drops, and collects in the second vessel in an hour and a
half. The magician then takes a human skull, and reduces it to a fine
powder. This is mixed with a portion of the liquid. A mark is made on
the forehead with this mixture, and the oil is rubbed on certain parts
of the body, and he drinks some cow-dung water. He then thinks that he
can assume the figure of any animal he likes, and successfully achieves
the object in view, which is generally to murder or maim a person. A
magic oil, called angola thilum, is extracted from the angola tree
(Alangium Lamarckii), which bears a very large number of fruits. One
of these is believed to be capable of descending and returning to its
position on dark nights. Its possession can be secured by demons,
or by an expert watching at the foot of the tree. When it has been
secured, the extraction of the oil involves the same operations as
those for extracting the pilla thilum, and they must be carried out
within seven hours. The odi cult is said to have been practised by
the Paraiyas some twenty years ago to a very large extent in the
rural parts of the northern division of the Cochin State, and in the
taluks of Palghat and Valuvanad, and even now it has not quite died
out. Cases of extracting the foetus, and of putting persons to death
by odi, are not now heard of owing to the fear of government officials,
landlords, and others.

Of the odi cult as practised by the Panan magicians of the Cochin
State, the following account is given by Mr Anantha Krishna Iyer. [283]


    "A Panan, who is an adept in the black art, dresses in an unwashed
    cloth, and performs puja to his deity, after which he goes in
    search of a kotuveli plant (Plumbago zeylanica). When he has found
    it, he goes round it three times every day, and continues to do
    so for ninety days, prostrating himself every day before it, and
    on the last night, which must be a new moon night, at midnight,
    he performs puja to the plant, burning camphor and frankincense,
    and, after going round it three times, prostrates himself before
    it. He then thrusts three small candles on it, and advances twenty
    paces in front of it. With his mouth closed, he plucks the root,
    and buries it in the ashes on the cremation ground, after which he
    pours the water of seven green cocoanuts on it. He then goes round
    it twenty-one times, uttering all the while certain mantrams. This
    being over, he plunges himself in water, and stands erect until it
    extends to his mouth. He takes a mouthful of water which he empties
    on the spot, and takes the plant with the root which he believes to
    possess peculiar virtues. When it is taken to the closed door of a
    house, it has the power to entice a pregnant woman, and cause her
    to come out, when the foetus is removed. It is all secretly done
    at midnight. The head, hands, and legs are cut off, and the trunk
    is taken to a dark-coloured rock, on which it is cut into nine
    pieces, which are burned until they are blackened. At this stage
    one piece boils, and it is placed in a new earthen pot, to which
    is added the water of nine green cocoanuts. The pot is removed
    to the burial ground, where the Panan performs a puja in honour
    of his favourite deity. He fixes two poles deep in the earth,
    at a distance of thirty feet from each other. The two poles are
    connected by a strong wire, from which is suspended the pot to be
    heated and boiled. Seven fireplaces are made beneath the wire, over
    the middle of which is the pot. The branches of bamboo, katalati
    (Achyranthes aspera), conga (Bauhinia variegata), cocoanut palm,
    jack tree (Artocarpus integrifolia), and pavatta (Pavetta indica),
    are used in forming a bright fire. The mixture in the pot soon
    boils and becomes oily, at which stage it is passed through a
    fine cloth. The oil is preserved, and a mark made with it on the
    forehead enables the possessor to realise anything which is thought
    of. The sorcerer must be in a state of vow for twenty-one days,
    and live on a diet of chama kanji (gruel). The deity whose aid
    is necessary is also propitiated by offerings."


In 1908, the following case, relating to the birth of a monster, was
tried before the Sessions Judge of South Canara. A young Gauda girl
became pregnant by her brother-in-law. After three days' labour, the
child was born. The accused, who was the mother of the girl, was the
midwife. Finding the delivery very difficult, she sent for a person to
come and help her. The child was, as they thought, still-born. On its
head was a red protuberance like a ball; round each of its forearms
were two or three red bands; the eyes and ears were fixed very high
in the head; and the eyes, nose, and mouth were abnormally large. The
mother was carried out of the outhouse, lest the devil child should
do her harm, or kill her. The accused summoned a Muhammadan, who was
in the yard. He came in, and she showed him the child, and asked him
to call the neighbours, to decide what to do. The child, she said,
was a devil child, and must be cut and killed, lest it should devour
the mother. While they were looking at the child, it began to move
and roll its eyes about, and turn on the ground. It is a belief of
the villagers that such a devil child, when brought in contact with
the air, rapidly grows, and causes great trouble, usually killing
the mother, and sometimes killing all the inmates of the house. The
accused told the Muhammadan to cover the child with a vessel, which
he did. Then there was a sound from inside the vessel, either of
the child moving, or making a sound with its mouth. The accused then
put her hand under the vessel, dragged the child half-way out, and,
while the Muhammadan pressed the edge of the vessel on the abdomen
of the child, took a knife, and cut the body in half. When the body
was cut in two, there was no blood, but a mossy-green or black liquid
oozed out. The accused got two areca leaves, and put one piece of the
child on one, and one on the other, and told the Muhammadan to get a
spade, and bury them. So they went to the jungle close to the house,
and the Muhammadan dug two holes, one on one hillock, and one on
another. In these holes, the two pieces of the child were buried. The
object of this was to prevent the two pieces joining together again,
in which case the united devil child would have come out of the grave,
and gone to kill the mother.

Years ago, it was not unusual for people to come long distances
for the purpose of engaging Paniyans of the Wynad (in Malabar) to
help them in carrying out some more than usually desperate robbery
or murder. Their mode of procedure, when engaged in an enterprise
of this sort, is evidenced by two cases, which had in them a strong
element of savagery. On both these occasions, the thatched homesteads
were surrounded at dead of night by gangs of Paniyans carrying large
bundles of rice straw. After carefully piling up the straw on all sides
of the building marked for destruction, torches were at a given signal
applied, and those of the inmates who attempted to escape were knocked
on the head with clubs, and thrust into the fiery furnace. In 1904,
some Paniyans were employed by a Mappilla (Muhammadan) to murder his
mistress, who was pregnant, and threatened that she would noise abroad
his responsibility for her condition. He brooded over the matter,
and one day, meeting a Paniyan, promised him ten rupees if he would
kill the woman. The Paniyan agreed to commit the crime, and went
with his brothers to a place on a hill, where the Mappilla and the
woman were in the habit of gratifying their passions. Thither the man
and woman followed the Paniyans, of whom one ran out, and struck the
victim on the head with a chopper. She was then gagged with a cloth,
carried some distance, and killed.

In 1834, the inhabitants of several villages in Malabar attacked a
village of Paraiyans on the alleged ground that deaths of people and
cattle, and the protracted labour of a woman in childbed, had been
caused by the practice of sorcery by the Paraiyans. They were beaten
inhumanely with their hands tied behind their backs, so that several
died. The villagers were driven, bound, into a river, immersed under
water so as nearly to produce suffocation, and their own children
were forced to rub sand into their wounds. Their settlement was then
razed to the ground, and they were driven into banishment.

The Kadirs of the Anaimalais are believers in witchcraft, and attribute
diseases to the working thereof. They are expert exorcists, and
trade in mantravadam or magic. It is recorded by Mr Logan [284] that
"the family of famous trackers, whose services in the jungles were
retained for H.R.H. the Prince of Wales's (afterwards King Edward
VII.) projected sporting tour in the Anamalai mountains, dropped
off most mysteriously one by one, stricken down by an unseen hand,
and all of them expressing beforehand their conviction that they were
under a certain individual's spell, and were doomed to certain death
at an early date. They were probably poisoned, but how it was managed
remains a mystery, although the family was under the protection of
a European gentleman, who would at once have brought to light any
ostensible foul play."

The Badagas of the Nilgiris live in dread of the jungle Kurumbas, who
constantly come under reference in their folk-stories. The Kurumba is
the necromancer of the hills, and believed to be possessed of the power
of outraging women, removing their livers, and so causing their death,
while the wound heals by magic, so that no trace of the operation
is left. The Badaga's dread of the Kurumba is said to be so great,
that a simple threat of vengeance has proved fatal. The Badaga or
Toda requires the services of the Kurumba, when he fancies that any
member of his family is possessed by a devil. The Kurumba does his
best to remove the malady by means of mantrams (magical formulæ). If
he fails, and if any suspicion is aroused in the mind of the Badaga
or Toda that he is allowing the devil to play his pranks instead of
loosing his hold on the supposed victim, woe betide him. Writing in
1832, Harkness states [285] that "a very few years before, a Burgher
(Badaga) had been hanged by the sentence of the provincial court for
the murder of a Kurumba. The act of the former was not without what
was considered great provocation. Disease had attacked the inhabitants
of the hamlet, a murrain their cattle. The former had carried off
a great part of the family of the murderer, and he himself had but
narrowly escaped its effects. No one in the neighbourhood doubted
that the Kurumba in question had, by his necromancy, caused all this
misfortune, and, after several fruitless attempts, a party of them
succeeded in surrounding him in open day, and effecting their purpose."

In 1835, no less than fifty-eight Kurumbas were murdered, and a smaller
number in 1875 and 1882. In 1891, the inmates of a single Kurumba
hut were said to have been murdered, and the hut burnt to ashes,
because one of the family had been treating a sick Badaga child,
and failed to cure it. The district judge, however, disbelieved
the evidence, and all who were charged were acquitted. Again, in
1900, a whole family of Kurumbas was murdered, of which the head,
who had a reputation as a medicine man, was believed to have brought
disease and death into a Badaga village. The sympathies of the whole
countryside were so strongly with the murderers that detection was
made very difficult, and the persons charged were acquitted. [286]


    "It is," Mr Grigg writes, [287] "a curious fact that neither Kota,
    Irula, or Badaga, will slay a Kurumba, until a Toda has struck
    the first blow, but, as soon as his sanctity has been violated
    by a blow, they hasten to complete the murderous work, which the
    sacred hand of the Toda has begun."


Some years ago, a Toda was found dead in a sitting posture on the
top of a hill near a Badaga village, in which a party of Todas had
gone to collect the tribute due to them. The body was cremated, and a
report made to the police that the man had been murdered. On enquiry,
it was ascertained that the dead man was supposed to have bewitched
a little Badaga girl, who died in consequence, and the presumption
was that he had been murdered by the Badagas out of spite.

In 1906, two men were found guilty of killing a man by shooting him
with a gun in South Canara. It is recorded in the judgment that "the
accused have a brother, who has been ill for a long time. They thought
deceased, who was an astrologer and mantravadi, had bewitched him. They
had spent fifty or sixty rupees on deceased for his treatment,
but it did no good, and accused came to believe that deceased not
only would not cure their brother himself, but would not allow other
doctors to do so. Also, a certain theft having occurred some months
ago, deceased professed by his magic arts to have discovered that
accused and others were the thieves. In consequence of these things,
accused had expressed various threats against deceased. One witness,
who is a mantravadi in a small way, was consulted by one of the accused
to find some counter-treatment for deceased's bewitchment. Accused
said that deceased refused to cure their brother, and would not let
others do so, unless they gave him certain gold coins called Rama
Tanka, said to be in their possession. They desired this possession,
so would not satisfy deceased. So their brother was dying by inches
under deceased's malign influence. This witness professed to have
discovered that accused's brother was being worried by one black
devil and two malignant spirits of the dead. It is clear from the
evidence that accused, who are ignorant men of a low type, really
believed that deceased was by his magic wilfully and slowly killing
their brother. They believed that the only way to save their brother's
life was to kill the magician."

During an epidemic of smallpox in the Jeypore hill tracts, a man
lost his wife and child. A local subscription had been organised for
a sorcerer, on the understanding that he was to stay the course of
the epidemic. The bereaved man charged him with being a fraud, and,
in the course of a quarrel, split his skull open with a tangi (axe).

In 1906, a Komati woman died of cholera in a village in Ganjam. Her
son sought the assistance of certain men of the "Reddika" caste in
obtaining wood for the pyre, carrying the corpse to the burning-ground,
and cremating it. The son set fire to the pyre, and withdrew, leaving
the Reddikas on the spot. Among them was one, who is said to have
learnt sorcery from a Bairagi (religious mendicant), and to have
been generally feared and hated in the village. To him the spread
of cholera by letting loose the goddess of the cremation-ground,
called Mashani Chendi, was attributed. Arrack (liquor) was passed
round among those who were attending to the burning corpse, and they
got more or less drunk. Two of them killed the sorcerer by severe
blows on the neck with wood-choppers. His corpse was then placed
on the burning pyre of the Komati woman, and cremated. The men who
delivered the death blows were sentenced to transportation for life,
as their intoxicated state and superstitious feeling were held to
plead in mitigation of the punishment.

In 1904 a case illustrating the prevailing belief in witchcraft
occurred in the Vizagapatam hill tracts. The youngest of three brothers
died of fever, and, when the body was cremated, the fire failed to
consume the upper portion. The brothers concluded that death must have
been caused by the witchcraft of a certain Kondh. They accordingly
attacked him, and killed him. After death, the brothers cut the
body in half and dragged the upper half of it to their own village,
where they attempted to nail it up on the spot where their deceased
brother's body failed to burn. They were arrested on the spot, with
the fragment of the Kondh's corpse. They were sentenced to death. [288]

In the North Arcot district, a few years ago, a reputed magician,
while collecting the pieces of a burning corpse, to be used for the
purposes of sorcery, was seized and murdered, and his body cast on
the burning pyre. From the recovery of duplicate bones, it was proved
that two bodies were burnt, and the murder was detected. Two persons
were sentenced to transportation for life. [289]



IX

MAGIC AND MAGICIANS


It has been stated [290] that sorcerers usually unite together to form
a society, which may attain great influence among backward races. In
Southern India there are certain castes which are summed up in the
"Madras Census Report," 1901, as "exorcists and devil-dancers," whose
most important avocation is the practice of magic. Such, for example,
are the Nalkes, Paravas, and Pompadas of South Canara, who are called
in whenever a bhutha (demon) is to be propitiated, and the Panans
and Malayans of Malabar, whose magical rites are described by me in
detail elsewhere. [291]

Concerning sorcery on the west coast, the Travancore Census
Commissioner, 1901, writes as follows:--


    "The forms of sorcery familiar to the people of Malabar are of
    three kinds:--(1) kaivisham, or poisoning food by incantations; (2)
    the employment of Kuttichattan, a mysteriously-working mischievous
    imp; (3) setting up spirits to haunt men and their houses, and
    cause illness of all kinds. The most mischievous imp in Malabar
    demonology is an annoying quip-loving little spirit, as black as
    night, and about the size of a well-nourished twelve-year-old
    boy. Some people say that they have seen him vis-à-vis, having
    a forelock. There are Nambutiris (Brahmans) in Malabar to whom
    these are so many missiles, which they may throw at anybody they
    choose. They are, like Shakespeare's Ariel, little active bodies,
    and most willing slaves of the master under whom they happen
    to be placed. Their victims suffer from unbearable agony. Their
    clothes take fire; their food turns to ordure; their beverages
    become urine; stones fall in showers on all sides of them, but
    curiously not on them; and their bed becomes a bed of thorns. With
    all this annoying mischief, Kuttichattan or Boy Satan does no
    serious harm. He oppresses and harasses, but never injures. A
    celebrated Brahman of Changanacheri is said to own more than
    a hundred of these Chattans. Household articles and jewelry of
    value may be left in the premises of homes guarded by Chattan,
    and no thief dares to lay his hand on them. The invisible sentry
    keeps diligent watch over his master's property, and has unchecked
    powers of movement in any medium. As remuneration for all these
    services, the Chattan demands nothing but food, but that in a
    large measure. If starved, the Chattans would not hesitate to
    remind the master of their power, but, if ordinarily cared for,
    they would be his most willing drudges. As a safeguard against the
    infinite power secured for the master by Kuttichattan, it is laid
    down that malign acts committed through his instrumentality recoil
    on the prompter, who dies either childless or after frightful
    physical and mental agony. Another method of oppressing humanity,
    believed to be in the power of sorcerers, is to make men and women
    possessed with spirits. Here, too, women are more subject to their
    evil influence than men. Delayed puberty, permanent sterility,
    and still-births, are not uncommon ills of a devil-possessed
    woman. Sometimes the spirits sought to be exorcised refuse to leave
    the victim, unless the sorcerer promises them a habitation in his
    own compound (grounds), and arranges for daily offerings being
    given. This is agreed to as a matter of unavoidable necessity,
    and money and lands are conferred upon the mantravadi Nambutiri
    to enable him to fulfil his promise."


Reference has been made (p. 238) to the falling of stones round those
attacked by Chattans. Hysteria, epilepsy, and other disorders, are,
in Malabar, ascribed to possession by devils, who can also cause
cattle disease, accidents, and misfortunes of any kind. Throwing
stones on houses, and setting fire to the thatch, are supposed to be
their ordinary recreations. The mere mention of the name of a certain
Nambutiri family is said to be enough to drive them away. [292] A few
years ago, an old Brahman woman, in the Bellary district, complained to
the police that a Sudra woman living in her neighbourhood, and formerly
employed by her as sweeper, had been throwing stones into her house for
some nights. The woman admitted that she had done so, because she was
advised by a Lingayat priest that the remedy for intermittent fever,
from which she was suffering, was to throw stones at an old woman,
and extract some blood from her body on a new or full-moon day.

Some demons are believed to have human mistresses and concubines, and
it is narrated [293] that a Chetti (merchant) in the Tamil country
purchased a Malabar demon from a magician for ninety rupees. But
hardly a day had passed before the undutiful spirit fell in love with
its new owner's wife, and succeeded in its nefarious purpose.

Quite recently a woman, in order to win the affection of her husband,
gave him a love-charm composed of datura in chutney. The dose proved
fatal, and she was sentenced to two years' rigorous imprisonment. [294]
A love-philtre, said to be composed of the charred remains of a mouse
and spider, was once sent to the chemical examiner to Government
for analysis in a suspected case of poisoning. In connection with
the dugong (Halicore dugong), which is caught in the Gulf of Manaar,
Dr Annandale writes as follows [295]:--


    "The presence of large glands in connection with the eye afford
    some justification for the Malay's belief that the dugong weeps
    when captured. They regard the tears of the ikan dugong (dugong
    fish) as a powerful love-charm. Muhammadan fishermen of the Gulf
    of Manaar appeared to be ignorant of this usage, but told me that a
    'doctor' once went out with them to collect the tears of a dugong,
    should they capture one."


Native physicians in the Tamil country are said to prepare an
unguent, into the composition of which the eye of the slender Loris
(Loris gracilis), the brain of the dead offspring of a primipara,
and the catamenial blood of a young virgin, enter, as an effective
preparation in necromancy. The eye of the Loris is also used for
making a preparation, which is believed to enable the possessor to
kidnap and seduce women. The tail of a chamæleon, secured on a Sunday,
is also believed to be an excellent love-charm.

A young married student at a college in Madras attributed his illness
to the administration by his wife of a love-philtre containing the
brains of a baby which had been exhumed after burial. Among the Tamil
Paraiyans and some other classes, a first-born child, if it is a male,
is buried near or even within the house, so that its corpse may not
be carried away by a sorcerer, to be used in magical rites. [296]
If a first-born child dies, a finger is sometimes cut off, lest a
sorcerer should dig up the body, and extract an essence (karuvu) from
the brain, wherewith to harm his enemies. [297] The Rev. J. Castets
informs me that he once saw a man being initiated into the mysteries
of the magician's art. The apparatus included the top of the skull
of a first-born male child inscribed with Tamil characters.

A station-house police officer informed Mr S. G. Roberts that
first-born children, dying in infancy, are buried near the house,
lest their heads should be used in sorcery, a sort of ink or decoction
(mai) being distilled from them. This ink is used for killing people at
a distance, or for winning a woman's love, or the confidence of those
from whom some favour is required. In the last two cases, the ink is
smeared over the eyebrows. It is believed that, if an infant's head is
used for this purpose, the mother will never have a living child. When
Mr Roberts was at Salem, he had to try a case of this practice, and
the Public Prosecutor informed him that it is believed that, if a hole
is made in the top of the head of the infant when it is buried, it
cannot be effectively used in sorcery. In the Trichinopoly district,
the police brought to Mr Roberts' notice a sorcerer's outfit, which
had been seized. There were the most frightful Tamil curses invoking
devils, written backwards in "looking-glass characters" on an olai
(strip of palm leaf), and a looking-glass to read them by. Spells
written backwards are said to be very potent. There was also a small
round tin, containing a black treacly paste with a sort of shine
on it, which was said to have been obtained from the head of a dead
child. There is a Tamil proverb "Kuzhi pillai, madi pillai," meaning
grave child, lap child, in reference to a belief that, the quicker
a first-born child is buried, the quicker is the next child conceived.

The following form of sorcery in Malabar is described by Mr
Walhouse. [298]


    "Let a sorcerer obtain the corpse of a maiden, and on a Saturday
    night place it at the foot of a bhuta-haunted tree on an altar,
    and repeat a hundred times: Om! Hrim! Hrom! O goddess of Malayala
    who possessest us in a moment! Come! Come! The corpse will then be
    inspired by a demon, and rise up; and, if the demon be appeased
    with flesh and arrack (liquor), it will answer all questions put
    to it."


A human bone from a burial-ground, over which powerful mantrams
have been recited, if thrown into an enemy's house, will cause his
ruin. Ashes from the burial-ground on which an ass has been rolling
on a Saturday or Sunday, if thrown into the house of an enemy, are
said to produce severe illness, if the house is not vacated.

From Malabar, a correspondent writes as follows:--


    "I came across a funny thing in an embankment in a rice-field. The
    tender part of a young cocoanut branch had been cut into three
    strips, and the strips fastened one into the other in the form
    of a triangle. At the apex a reed was stuck, and along the
    base and sides small flowers, so that the thing looked like a
    ship in full sail. My inspector informed me, with many blushes,
    that it contained a devil, which the sorcerer of a neighbouring
    village had cut out of a young girl. Mrs Bishop, in her book
    on Korea, mentions that the Koreans do exactly the same thing,
    but, in Korea, the devil's prison is laid by the wayside, and is
    carefully stepped over by every passer-by, whereas the one I saw
    was carefully avoided by my peons (orderlies) and others."


In the Godavari district, Mr H. Tyler came across the burning funeral
pyre of a Koyi girl, who had died of syphilis. Across a neighbouring
path leading to the Koyi village was a basket fish-trap containing
grass, and on each side thorny twigs, which were intended to catch
the malign spirit of the dead girl, and prevent it from entering the
village. The twigs and trap containing the spirit were to be burnt
on the following day. By the Dombs of Vizagapatam, the souls of the
dead are believed to roam about, so as to cause all possible harm to
mankind, and also to protect them against the attacks of witches. A
place is prepared for the Duma in the door-hinge, or a fishing-net,
wherein he lives, is placed over the door. The witches must count
all the knots of the net, before they can enter the house. [299]

At cross-roads in the Bellary district, geometric patterns are
sometimes made at night by people suffering from disease, in the
belief that the affliction will pass to the person who first treads
on the charm. [300]


    "At cross-roads in the South Arcot district may be sometimes seen
    pieces of broken pot, saffron (turmeric), etc. These are traces
    of the following method of getting rid of an obstinate disease. A
    new pot is washed clean, and filled with a number of objects (the
    prescription differs in different localities), such as turmeric,
    coloured grains of rice, chillies, cotton-seed, and so forth,
    and sometimes a light made of a few threads dipped in a little
    dish of oil, and taken at dead of night to the cross-roads, and
    broken there. The disease will then disappear. In some places
    it is believed that it passes to the first person who sees the
    débris of the ceremony the next morning, and the performer has
    to be careful to carry it out unknown to his neighbours, or the
    consequences are unpleasant for him." [301]


Some Valaiyans, Paraiyans, and Kallans, on the occasion of a death
in the family, place a pot filled with dung or water, a broomstick,
and a firebrand, at some place where three roads meet, or in front of
the house, to prevent the ghost from returning. [302] When a Paraiyan
man dies, camphor is burnt, not at the house, but at the junction of
three lanes.

In the Godavari district, a sorcerer known as the Ejjugadu (male
physician) is believed, out of spite or in return for payment,
to kill another by invoking the gods. He goes to a green tree, and
there spreads muggu or chunam (lime) powder, and places an effigy of
the intended victim thereon. He also places a bow and arrow there,
recites certain spells, and calls on the gods. The victim is said
to die in a couple of days. But, if he understands that the Ejjugadu
has thus invoked the gods, he may inform another Ejjugadu, who will
carry out similar operations under another tree. His bow and arrow
will go to those of the first Ejjugadu, and the two bows and arrows
will fight as long as the spell remains. The man will then be safe.

Writing concerning the nomad Yerukalas, Mr F. Fawcett says [303] that
"the warlock takes the possessed one by night to the outskirts of the
village, and makes a figure on the ground with powdered rice, powders
of various colours, and powdered charcoal. Balls of the powders, half
cocoanut shells, betel, four-anna pieces, and oil lamps, are placed on
the hands, legs, and abdomen. A little heap of boiled rice is placed
near the feet, and curds and vegetables are set on the top of it,
with limes placed here and there. The subject of the incantation
sits near the head, while the magician mutters mantrams.  A he-goat
is then sacrificed. Its head is placed near the foot of the figure,
and benzoin and camphor are waved. A little grain is scattered about
the figure to appease the evil spirits. Some arrack is poured into a
cup, which is placed on the body of the figure, and the bottle which
contained it is left on the head. The limes are cut in two, and two
cocoanuts are broken. The patient then walks by the left side of the
figure to its legs, takes one step to the right towards the head,
and one step to the left towards the feet, and walks straight home
without looking back."

In Malabar, Mr Govinda Nambiar writes, [304] "when a village doctor
attending a sick person finds that the malady is unknown to him,
or will not yield to his remedies, he calls in the astrologer, and
subsequently the exorcist, to expel the demon or demons which have
possessed the sick man. If the devils will not yield to ordinary
remedies administered by his disciples, the mantravadi himself comes,
and a devil dance is appointed to be held on a certain day. Thereat
various figures of mystic device are traced on the ground, and in their
midst a huge and frightful form representing the demon. Sometimes an
effigy is constructed out of cooked and coloured rice. The patient
is seated near the head of the figure, and opposite sits the magician
adorned with bundles of sticks tied over the joints of his body, tails,
and skins of animals, etc. Verses are chanted, and sometimes cocks are
sacrificed, and the blood is sprinkled on the demon's effigy. Amidst
the beating of drums and blowing of pipes, the magician enters upon
his diabolical dance, and, in the midst of his paroxysm, may even
bite live cocks, and suck with ferocity the hot blood."

When a Malayan exorcist is engaged in propitiating a demon, a fowl is
sometimes waved before him, and decapitated. He puts the neck in his
mouth, and sucks the blood. By the Tiyans of Malabar a number of evil
spirits are supposed to devote their attention to a pregnant woman,
and to suck the blood of the child in utero, and of the mother. In the
process of expelling them, the woman lies on the ground and kicks. A
cock is thrust into her hand, and she bites it, and drinks its blood.

It is noted by Mr L. K. Anantha Krishna Iyer that by the Thanda
Pulayans of the west coast "a ceremony called urasikotukkuka is
performed with the object of getting rid of a devil, with which a
person is possessed. At a place far distant from the hut, a leaf,
on which the blood of a fowl has been made to fall, is spread on the
ground. On a smaller leaf, chunam and turmeric are placed. The person
who first sets eyes on these becomes possessed by the devil, and
sets free the individual who was previously under its influence. The
Thanda Pulayans also practise maranakriyas, or sacrifices to demons,
to bring about the death of an enemy. Sometimes affliction is supposed
to be brought about by the enmity of those who have got incantations
written on a palm leaf, and buried in the ground near a house by the
side of a well. A sorcerer is called in to counteract the evil charm,
which he digs up and destroys."

In a note on the Paraiyas of Travancore, [305] the Rev. S. Mateer
writes that Sudras and Shanars [306] frequently employ the Paraiya
devil-dancers and sorcerers to search for and dig out magical charms
buried in the earth by enemies, and counteract their enchantments.

A form of sorcery in Malabar called marana (destruction) is said by
Mr Fawcett [307] to be carried out in the following manner:--


    "A figure representing the enemy to be destroyed is drawn on a
    small plate of metal (gold by preference), and to it some mystic
    diagrams are added. It is then addressed with a statement that
    bodily injury, or the death of the person, shall take place at a
    certain time. This little sheet is wrapped up in another metal
    sheet or leaf (of gold if possible), and buried in some place
    which the person to be injured or destroyed is in the habit of
    passing. Should he pass over the place, it is supposed that the
    charm will take effect at the time named."


One favourite tantra of the South Indian sorcerer is said [308]
to consist of "what is popularly known in Tamil as pavai, that
is to say, a doll made of some plastic substance, such as clay
or wheat-flour. A crude representation of the intended victim is
obtained by moulding a quantity of the material, and a nail or pin
is driven into it at a spot corresponding to the limb or organ that
is intended to be affected. [309] For instance, if there is to be
paralysis of the right arm, the pin is stuck into the right arm
of the image; if madness is to result, it is driven into the head,
and so on, appropriate mantras being chanted over the image, which
is buried at midnight in a neighbouring cremation ground. So long
as the pavai is underground, the victim will grow from bad to worse,
and may finally succumb, if steps are not taken in time. Sometimes,
instead of a doll being used, the corpse of a child recently buried
is dug out of the ground, and re-interred after being similarly
treated. The only remedy consists in another sorcerer being called
in for the purpose of digging out the pavai. Various are the methods
he adopts for discovering the place where the doll is buried, one of
them being very similar to what is known as crystal-gazing. A small
quantity of a specially prepared thick black fluid is placed on the
palm of a third person, and the magician professes to find out every
circumstance connected with the case of his client's mental or physical
condition by attentively looking at it. The place of the doll's burial
is spotted with remarkable precision, the nail or pin extracted,
and the patient is restored to his normal condition as by a miracle."

The following form of sorcery resorted to in Malabar in compassing
the discomfiture of an enemy is recorded by Mr Walhouse. [310]


    "Make an image of wax in the form of your enemy; take it in
    your right hand at night, and hold your chain of beads in your
    left hand. Then burn the image with due rites, and it shall
    slay your enemy in a fortnight. Or a figure representing an
    enemy, with his name and date of his birth inscribed on it, is
    carved out of Strychnos Nux-vomica wood. A mantram is recited,
    a fowl offered up, and the figure buried in glowing rice-husk
    embers. Or, again, some earth from a spot where an enemy has
    urinated, saliva expectorated by him, and a small tuft of hair,
    are placed inside a tender cocoanut, and enclosed in a piece of
    Strychnos Nux-vomica. The cocoanut is pierced with twenty-one
    nails and buried, and a fowl sacrificed."


A police inspector, when visiting a village a few years ago, was told
by one of the villagers that a man was going to bury two wax dolls,
in order to cause his death. The inspector accordingly went to the
house of the suspected enemy, where he found the two dolls, and some
books on witchcraft.

The Native servant of a friend in Madras found buried in a corner
of his master's garden the image of a human figure, which had been
deposited there by an enemy who wished to injure him. The figure was
made of flour, mixed with "walking foot earth," i.e., earth from the
ground, which the servant had walked over. Nails, fourteen in number,
had been driven into the head, neck, and each shoulder, elbow, wrist,
hip, knee, and ankle. Buried with the figure were fourteen eggs,
limes, and balls of camphor, and a scrap of paper bearing the age
of the servant, and the names of his father and mother. A Muhammadan
fortune-teller advised the servant to burn the image, so at midnight
he made an offering of a sheep, camphor, betel nuts, and cocoanuts,
and performed the cremation ceremony.

In 1903, a life-size nude female human figure with feet everted and
directed backwards, carved out of the soft wood of Alstonia scholaris,
was washed ashore at Calicut in Malabar. Long nails had been driven
in all over the head, body, and limbs, and a large square hole cut
out above the navel. Inscriptions in Arabic characters were scrawled
over it. By a coincidence, the corpse of a man was washed ashore
close to the figure. Possibly it represented the figure of a woman
who was possessed by an evil spirit, which was attached to it by a
nail between the legs before it was cast into the sea, and was made
on the Laccadive islands, [311] some of the residents on which are
notorious necromancers. It has been suggested [312] that the figure
may represent some notorious witch; that the nails were driven into
it, and the mutilation made in order to injure her, and the spells
added to destroy her magical powers; finally, that the image was cast
into the sea as a means of getting rid of the sorceress. There is a
tradition that the goddess Bhagavati, who is worshipped at Kodungallur
in Malabar, was rescued by a fisherman when she was shut up in a jar,
and thrown into the sea by a great magician. The Lingadars of the
Kistna district are said [313] to have made a specialty of bottling
evil spirits, and casting the bottles away in some place where no
one is likely to come across them, and liberate them.

A few years ago, another wooden representation of a human being was
washed ashore at Calicut. The figure is 11 inches in height. The arms
are bent on the chest, and the palms of the hands are placed together
as in the act of saluting. A square cavity, closed by a wooden lid,
has been cut out of the abdomen, and contains apparently tobacco,
ganja (Indian hemp), and hair. An iron bar has been driven from the
back of the head through the body, and terminates in the abdominal
cavity. A sharp cutting instrument has been driven into the chest
and back in twelve places.

A life-size female figure, rudely scratched on a plank of wood, with
Arabic inscriptions scrawled on it, and riddled with nails, was washed
ashore on the beach at Tellicherry in Malabar. In the same district,
a friend once picked up on the shore at Cannanore a wooden figure about
6 inches high, riddled with nails. His wife's ayah implored him to get
rid of it, as it would bring nothing but misfortune. He accordingly
made a present of it to a recently married friend, whose subsequent
career was characterised by a long series of strokes of bad luck, which
his wife attributed entirely to the possession of the dreadful image.

Sometimes, in Malabar, "a mantram is written on the stem of the kaitha
plant, on which is also drawn a figure representing the person to
be injured. A hole is bored to represent the navel. The mantram
is repeated, and at each repetition a certain thorn (karamullu)
is stuck into the limbs of the figure. The name of the person,
and of the star under which he was born, are written on a piece
of cadjan, which is stuck into the navel. The thorns are removed,
and replaced twenty-one times. Two magic circles are drawn below the
nipples of the figure. The stem is then hung up in the smoke of the
kitchen. A pot of toddy, and some other accessories, are procured,
and with them the warlock performs certain rites. He then moves three
steps backwards, and shouts aloud thrice, fixing in the thorns again,
and thinking all the while of the particular mischief with which he
will afflict the person to be injured. When all this has been done,
the person whose figure has been drawn on the stem, and pricked with
thorns, feels pain." [314]

The following variant of the above rite has been described [315]:--


    "A block of lead is moulded into the effigy of a man about a span
    in length. The stomach is opened, and the name and star of the
    intended victim are inscribed along with a charm on a lead plate,
    and placed therein. The effigy is laid recumbent on a plantain
    leaf, on which a little water mixed with sandal has first been
    sprinkled, and the smoke of an extinguished wick is passed thrice
    over it. Then nine little square pieces of plantain leaf (or leaves
    of Strychnos Nux-vomica) are placed round the effigy, and in each
    square some rice-flour, and chouflower petals. Beside the effigy
    are shells holding toddy and arrack (liquor), a burning lamp,
    and several little wicks. One of the wicks is lighted, and the
    flame passed thrice over the collection. Nine wicks are lighted,
    and put on the nine squares. The charm inscribed on the lead plate
    is at this stage repeated fervently in an undertone no less than
    twenty-one times. This preamble, or one closely resembling it,
    is generally the beginning of the mantravadi's programme. The rest
    of it is guided by the special circumstances of each case. Let us
    suppose that the wizard, having a victim in view, wishes the latter
    to be afflicted with burning pains and insufferable heat all over
    his body. The following is the ceremony he would perform. Thinking
    of the victim, he drives a thorn of Canthium parviflorum into
    the effigy, and then, folding up the collection detailed above
    in the plantain leaf, he proceeds to a tank or pool, and immerses
    himself up to the neck. He places the bundle on the surface of the
    water--he tells you it will float despite the lead--and, calling
    for a cock, cuts off its head, permitting the blood and the head
    to fall on the bundle. He presses the bundle down into the water,
    and submerges himself at the same time. Coming to the surface, he
    goes ashore, whistling thrice, and being very careful not to look
    behind him. Within twenty-one days, the charm will take effect. In
    order to induce a boil or tumour to appear in a victim's foot,
    the mantravadi inscribes a certain charm on a sheet of lead,
    and stuffs the plate into a frog's mouth, repeats another charm,
    and blows into the batrachian's mouth, which is then stitched
    up, after which the creature is bound with twenty-one coils of
    string. The frog is next set down on a plantain leaf, the ritual
    already described with the squares, toddy, etc., is performed,
    the frog is wrapped up together with the various substances in
    the leaf, and buried at some spot where two or more roads meet,
    and which the victim is likely to pass. Should he cross the
    fateful spot, he will suddenly become conscious of a feeling in
    his foot, as though a thorn had pricked him. From that moment
    dates the beginning of a week of intense agony. His foot swells,
    fever sets in, he has pains all over his body, and for seven days
    existence is intolerable.  The cherukaladi is another form of
    odi mantram, and the manner in which it is performed is extremely
    interesting. The wizard takes three balls of rice, blackens one,
    reddens another, and passes through the third a young yetah fish
    (Bagarius yarrellii), after having put down its throat seven green
    chillies, seven grains of raw rice, and as many of pepper. In the
    carapace of a crab some toddy, and in the valve of a particular
    kind of mussel, some arrack is placed. The sorcerer conveys
    all these things to a hill built by termites (white-ants). The
    crown of the hill is knocked off, and the substances are thrown
    in. Walking round the mound thrice, the magician recites a charm,
    and comes away without looking over his shoulder. [316] Within a
    very short time, similar effects are produced as those resulting
    from the previously described form of sorcery."


A grandha (palm-leaf book), describing how an enemy may be struck down,
gives the following details. The head of a fowl with dark-coloured
flesh is cut off. The head is then split open, and a piece of cadjan
(palm-leaf), on which are written the name of the person to be injured,
and the name of the star under which he was born, is stuck in the
split head, which is then sewn up and the tongue stitched to the
beak. The head is then inserted into a certain fruit, which is tied
up with a withe of a creeper, and deposited under the enemy's gateway.

In Malabar, a wooden figure is sometimes made, and a tuft of a woman's
hair tied on its head. It is fixed to a tree, and nails are driven
into the neck and breast, to inflict hurt on an enemy. Sometimes a
live frog or lizard is buried within a cocoanut shell, after nails have
been stuck into its eyes and stomach. The deaths of the animal and the
person are supposed to take place simultaneously. [317] When a Tamil
woman of the Parivaram caste who commits adultery outside the caste is
punished with excommunication, a mud image representing her is made,
two thorns are poked into its eyes, and it is thrown away outside the
village. [318] At Bangalore in the Mysore province, a monthly festival
is held in honour of Gurumurthi Swami, at which women disturbed by the
spirits of drowned persons become possessed. The sufferer is dragged
by the hair of the head to a tree, to which a lock of the hair is
nailed. She flings herself about in a frenzy, and throws herself on
the ground, leaving the lock of hair torn out by the roots fastened
to the tree by the nail. Eventually the spirit goes up the tree,
and the woman recovers. [319] In the Madura district, women possessed
by devils may be seen at the great temple at Madura every Navaratri,
waiting for release.


    "There are many professional exorcists, who are often the pujaris
    (priests) at the shrine of the local goddess. At dead of night
    they question the evil spirit, and ask him who he is, why he
    has come there, and what he wants to induce him to go away. He
    answers through the mouth of the woman, who works herself up into
    a frenzy, and throws herself about wildly. If he will not answer,
    the woman is whipped with the rattan which the exorcist carries,
    or with a bunch of margosa (Melia Azadirachta) twigs. When he
    replies, his requests for offerings of certain kinds are complied
    with. When he is satisfied, and agrees to leave, a stone is
    placed on the woman's head, and she is let go, and dashes off
    into darkness. The place at which the stone drops to the ground
    is supposed to be the place where the evil spirit is content to
    remain, and, to keep him there, a lock of the woman's hair is
    nailed with an iron nail to the nearest tree." [320]


Sometimes a sorcerer makes an evil spirit take a vow that it will not
trouble any one in the future, and, in return, offers to it the blood
of fowls, a goat, etc. He then orders the spirit to climb a tree,
and drives three large iron nails into the trunk thereof. As iron is
disliked by evil spirits, the result is to confine the spirit in the
tree, for it cannot descend beyond the nails. In the Telugu country,
when a person is supposed to be possessed by a devil, it is often
the practice to take him to some special tree, which is believed
to be a favourite residence of demons, and drive a nail into the
trunk. If the devil has any proper feeling, he thereupon leaves the
man or woman, and takes up his abode in the tree. This ceremony is
performed with certain religious rites, and involves considerable
expenditure. Sometimes, devil drivers are called in, who "seat the
woman in a fog of resin smoke, and work upon or beat her until she
declares the supposed desires of the devil in the way of sacrifice;
and, when these have been complied with, one of her hairs is put in
a bottle, formally shown to the village goddess, and buried in the
jungle, while iron nails are driven into the threshold of the woman's
house to prevent the devil's return." [321]

At the first menstrual ceremonies of a Pulaya girl in the Cochin
State, she stands on the morning of the seventh day before some
Parayas, who play on their flute and drum, to cast out the demons,
if any, from her body. If she is possessed by them, she leaps with
frantic movements. In this case, the demon is transferred to a tree by
driving a nail into the trunk, after offerings have been made. [322]
When an Odde (Telugu navvy) girl reaches puberty, she is confined in
a special hut, in which a piece of iron, and other things, are placed,
to keep off evil spirits. In some castes, when a woman is in labour, an
iron sickle is kept on the cot for a similar purpose. After delivery,
she keeps iron in some form, e.g., a small crowbar, knife, or nails,
in the room, and takes it about with her when she goes out. At a Nayar
funeral in Malabar, the chief mourner holds in his hand, or tucks into
his waist-cloth, a piece of iron, generally a long key. [323] At a
marriage among the Musu Kammas in the Telugu country, an iron ring is
tied to the milk-post. For curing sprains, it is said to be a common
practice to keep near the patient a sickle, an iron measure, or any
article of iron which is at hand. A ceremony, called Dwara Pratishta,
is performed by Lingayats when the door-frame of a new house is set up,
and an iron nail is driven into the frame, to prevent devils or evil
spirits from entering the house. A former Raja of Vizianagram would
not allow the employment of iron in the construction of buildings in
his territory, because it would inevitably be followed by smallpox
or other epidemic. [324]

A few years ago, a Native servant was charged with beating with a cane
a woman who was suffering from malarial fever after her confinement,
in order to drive out a devil, which was said to be the spirit of a
woman who was drowned some time previously. The woman died three days
after the beating, and various abrasions were found on the head and
body. The sub-magistrate held that the hurt was part of the ceremony,
to which the husband and mother of the woman, and the woman herself,
gave their consent. But, as the hurt was needlessly severe, the
servant was fined twenty-five rupees, or in default five weeks'
rigorous imprisonment.

The practice of extracting or knocking out some of the teeth of
a magician is widespread throughout Southern India. In connection
therewith Mr R. Morris writes to me as follows:--


    "A sorcerer's spells depend for their efficacy upon the
    distinctness with which they are pronounced. The words uttered
    by a man, some or all of whose front teeth are damaged, are
    not so clear and distinct as those of a man whose teeth are
    intact. Consequently, if a sorcerer's front teeth are smashed,
    he is ruined as a sorcerer. And, if the front teeth of his corpse
    are broken or extracted, his ghost is prevented from bewitching
    people. It is necessary to mutilate a corpse, in order to prevent
    the ghost doing what the live man unmutilated could have done. For
    example, when a man is murdered, he is hamstrung, to prevent the
    ghost from following in pursuit."


In connection with sorcery among the Oriyas, Mr S. P. Rice tells us
[325] that a girl was suffering from mental disease, and believed
to be possessed by a devil. She declared that she was bewitched by a
certain man, who had to be cured of his power over her. Accordingly,
the friends and relatives of the girl went to this man's house,
dragged him out into the road, laid him on his back, and sat on his
chest. They then proceeded to extract two of his front teeth with a
hammer and pincers. Mr Rice adds that it does not appear how the cure
was to work--whether the operators thought that words of cursing or
magic, coming through the orifice of the teeth, would be mumbled, and
thus lose some of their incisive force, and therefore of their power
for evil, or whether it was thought that the devil wanted room to fly
out. Attacks upon supposed sorcerers are said to be not uncommon in the
Jeypore Agency. In one instance, a wizard's front teeth were pulled
out by the local blacksmith, to render him unable to pronounce his
spells with the distinctness requisite to real efficiency. [326] In the
Vizagapatam district, where a village was supposed to contain a witch,
a Dasari (religious mendicant) was called upon to examine his books,
and name the person. He fixed on some wretched woman, whose front
teeth were knocked out, and her mouth filled with filth. She was then
beaten with a switch made from the castor-oil plant. A few years ago,
a woman in the North Arcot district was suffering from severe pain
in the abdomen, and she and her husband were made to believe that
she was possessed by a devil, which a Bairagi (religious mendicant)
offered to expel. His treatment went on for some days, and the final
operations were conducted by the side of a pond. The Bairagi repeated
mantrams, while the woman was seated opposite him. Suddenly she grew
violently excited, and possessed by the deity Muniswara. She pulled the
Bairagi backwards by his hair, and cried out, "Break his teeth." She
then opened his mouth by pulling up the upper lip, and her husband
took a small stone, and broke some of the incisor teeth. The woman
continued to cry out, "He is chanting mantrams; pour water into his
mouth, and stop his breathing." A third party brought water, and the
woman's husband poured it into the Bairagi's mouth. A struggle ensued,
and the woman called out, "I am losing my life; he is chanting; the
mantram is in his throat; he is binding me by his spell; put a stick
into his throat." The third party then brought the Bairagi's curved
stick (yogathandam), which the husband thrust into the Bairagi's mouth,
with the result that he died. The woman was sent to a lunatic asylum,
and her husband, as there was no previous intention to cause death,
and he was evidently under the influence of blind superstition,
received only four and a half months' imprisonment. In a further case
which occurred in the North Arcot district, a man was believed to have
great power over animals, of which he openly boasted, threatening to
destroy all the cattle of one of his neighbours. This man and his
friends believed that they could deprive the sorcerer of his power
for evil by drawing all his teeth, which they proceeded to do with
fatal results. In the Kistna district, a Mala weaver was suspected
of practising sorcery by destroying men with devils, and bringing
cholera and other diseases. He was met by certain villagers, and asked
for tobacco. While he stopped to get the tobacco out, he was seized
and thrown on the ground. His hands were tied behind his back, and
his legs bound fast with his waist-cloth. One man sat on his legs,
another on his waist, and a third held his head down by the kudumi
(hair-knot). His mouth was forced open with a pair of large pincers,
and a piece of stick was thrust between the teeth to prevent the
mouth closing. One of the assistants got a stone as big as a man's
fist, and with it struck the sorcerer's upper and lower teeth several
times until they were loosened. Then nine teeth were pulled out with
the pincers. A quantity of milk-hedge (Euphorbia) juice was poured
on the bleeding gums, and the unfortunate man was left lying on his
back, to free himself from his bonds as best he could. [327] In the
Tamil country, the Vekkil Tottiyans are supposed to be able to control
certain evil spirits, and cause them to possess a man. It is believed,
however, that they are deprived of their power as soon as they lose
one of their teeth.

The Kondhs of Ganjam believe that they can transform themselves
into tigers or snakes, half the soul leaving the body and becoming
changed into one of these animals, either to kill an enemy, or to
satisfy hunger by having a good feed on cattle. During this period
they are said to feel dull and listless, and, if a tiger is killed
in the forest, they will die at the same time. Mr Fawcett informs me
that the Kondhs believe that the soul wanders during sleep. On one
occasion, a dispute arose owing to a man discovering that another
Kondh, whose spirit used to wander about in the guise of a tiger,
ate up his soul, and he fell ill. Like the Kondhs, some Paniyans of
Malabar are believed to be gifted with the power of changing themselves
into animals. There is a belief that, if they wish to secure a woman
whom they lust after, one of the men gifted with the special power
goes to the house at night with a hollow bamboo, and goes round it
three times. The woman then comes out, and the man, changing himself
into a bull or dog, works his wicked will. The woman is said to die
in the course of a few days. For assuming the disguise of an animal,
the following formulæ are said [328] to be effective:--

1. Take the head of a dog and burn it, and plant on it a vellakuthi
plant. Burn camphor and frankincense, and adore it. Then pluck the
root, mix it with the milk of a dog, and the bones of a cat. A mark
made with the mixture on the forehead will enable a person to assume
the form of any animal he thinks of.

2. Worship with a lighted wick and incense before a stick of the
malankara plant. Then chant the Sakti mantram one hundred and one
times. Watch carefully which way the stick inclines. Proceed to the
south of the stick, and pluck the whiskers of a live tiger. Make with
them a ball of the veerali silk, string it with silk, and enclose it
within the ear. Stand on the palms of the hand to attain the disguise
of a tiger, and, with the stick in hand, think of a cat, white bull, or
any other animal. Then you will appear as such in the eyes of others.

The name Chedipe (prostitute) is applied to sorceresses in the Godavari
district. The Chedipe is believed to ride on a tiger at night over
the boundaries of seven villages, and return home at early morn. When
she does not like a man, she goes to him bare-bodied at dead of night,
the closed doors of the house in which he is sleeping opening before
her. She sucks his blood by putting his toe in her mouth. He will
then lie like a corpse. Next morning he feels uneasy and intoxicated,
as if he had taken ganja, and remains in this condition all day. If
he does not take medicine from some one skilled in the treatment of
such cases, it is said that he will die. If he is properly treated,
he will recover in about ten days. If he makes no effort to get cured,
the Chedipe will molest him again, and, becoming gradually emaciated,
he will die. When a Chedipe enters a house, all those who are awake
will become insensible, those who are seated falling down as if they
had taken a soporific drug. Sometimes she drags out the tongue of the
intended victim, who will die at once. At other times, slight abrasions
will be found on the skin of the victim, and, when the Chedipe puts
pieces of stick thereon, they burn as if burnt by fire. Sometimes
she will find him behind a bush, and, undressing there, will fall
on any passer-by in the jungle, assuming the form of a tiger with
one of the legs in human form. When thus disguised, she is called
Marulupuli (enchanting tiger). If the man is a brave fellow, and
tries to kill the Chedipe with any instrument he may have with him,
she will run away; and, if any man belonging to her village detects
her mischief, she will assume her real form, and say blandly that
she is only digging roots. The above story was obtained by a Native
official when he visited a Koyi village, where he was told that a
man had been sentenced to several years' imprisonment for being one
of a gang who had murdered a Chedipe for being a sorceress.

In the Vizagapatam district, the people believe that a witch, when she
wishes to revenge herself on any man, climbs at night to the top of his
house, and, making a hole through the roof, drops a thread down till
the end of it touches the body of the sleeping man. Then she sucks at
the other end, and draws up all the blood out of his body. Witches
are said to be able to remove all the bones out of a man's body,
or to deposit a fish, ball of hair, or rags in his stomach. The town
of Jeypore was once said to be haunted by a ghost. It was described
as a woman, who paraded the town at midnight in a state of nudity,
and from her mouth proceeded flames of fire. She sucked the blood
of any loose cattle she found about, and, in the same way, revenged
herself on any man who had insulted her. [329]

I am informed by Mr G. F. Paddison that, in cases of sickness among
the Savaras of Vizagapatam, a buffalo is tied up near the door of the
house. Herbs and rice in small platters, and a little brass vessel
containing toddy, balls of rice, flowers, and medicine, are brought
with a bow and arrow. The arrow is thicker at the basal end than
towards the tip. The narrow part goes, when shot, through a hole in
front of the bow, which is too small to allow of the passage of the
rest of the arrow. A Beju (wise woman) pours some toddy over the
herbs and rice, and daubs the patient over the forehead, breasts,
stomach, and back. She croons out a long incantation to the goddess,
stopping at intervals to call out "Daru," to attract the attention
of the goddess. She then takes the bow and arrow, and shoots twice
into the air, and, standing behind the kneeling patient, shoots balls
of medicine stuck on the tip of the arrow at her. The construction
of the arrow is such that the balls are dislodged from its tip. The
patient is thus shot at all over the body, which is bruised by the
impact of the medicine balls. Afterwards the Beju shoots one or two
balls at the buffalo, which is taken to a path forming the village
boundary, and killed with a tangi (axe). The patient is then daubed
with the blood of the buffalo, rice, and toddy, and a feast concludes
the ceremonial. Mr Paddison once gave some medicine to the Porojas of
Vizagapatam during an epidemic of cholera in a village. They took it
eagerly, but, as he was going away, asked whether it would not be a
quicker cure to put the witch in the next village, who had brought on
the cholera, into jail. In the Koraput taluk of Vizagapatam, a wizard
once had a reputation for possessing the power of transplanting trees,
and it was believed that, if a man displeased him, his trees were
moved in the night, and planted in some one else's grounds.

It is recorded [330] by the Rev. J. Cain that the Koyis of the
Godavari district "assert that the death of every one is caused by
the machinations of a sorcerer, instigated thereto by an enemy of
the deceased, or of the deceased's friends. So, in former years,
inquiry was always made as to the person likely to have been at
such enmity with the deceased as to wish for his death; and, having
settled upon a suspicious individual, the friends of the deceased
used to carry the corpse to the accused, and call upon him to clear
himself by undergoing the ordeal of dipping his hands in boiling oil
or water. [331] Within the last two years, I have known of people
running away from their village because of their having been accused
of having procured by means of a wizard the death of some one with
whom they were at enmity about a plot of land."

According to another account, [332] "some male member of the family
of the deceased throws coloured rice over the corpse as it lies on the
bed, pronouncing as he does so the names of all the known sorcerers who
live in the neighbourhood. It is even now solemnly asserted that, when
the name of the wizard responsible for the death is pronounced, the
bed gets up, and moves towards the house or village where he resides."

The Rev. J. Cain [333] once saw a magician at work in the Godavari
district, "discovering the cause of the sickness which had laid
prostrate a strong Koyi man. He had in his hand a leaf from an old
palmyra leaf book, and, as he walked round and round the patient,
he pretended to be reading. Then he took up a small stick, and drew
a number of lines on the ground, after which he danced and sang
round and round the sick man, who sat looking at him, evidently much
impressed with his performance. Suddenly he made a dart at the man,
and, stooping down, bit him severely in two or three places in the
back. Then, rushing to the front, he produced a few grains, which
he said he had found in the man's back, and which were evidently the
cause of the sickness."

In another case, a young Koyi was employed to teach a few children in
his village, but ere long he was attacked by a strange disease, which
no medicine could cure. As a last resource, a magician was called in,
who declared the illness to have been brought on by a demoness at
the instigation of some enemy, who was envious of the money which the
lad had received for teaching. The magician produced a little silver,
which he declared to be a sure sign that the sickness was connected
with the silver money he was receiving for teaching.

A riot took place, in 1900, at the village of Korravanivasala in the
Vizagapatam district, under the following strange circumstances. A
Konda Dora (hill cultivator caste) named Korra Mallayya pretended that
he was inspired, and gradually gathered round him a camp of four or
five thousand people from various places. At first his proceedings were
harmless enough, but at last he gave out that he was a reincarnation
of one of the five Pandava brothers, the heroes of the Mahabharata,
who are worshipped by the Konda Doras. [334] He further announced
that his infant son was the god Krishna; that he would drive out the
English, and rule the country himself; and that, to effect this,
he would arm his followers with bamboos, which would be turned by
magic into guns, and would change the weapons of the authorities
into water. Bamboos were cut, and rudely fashioned to resemble guns,
and, armed with these, the camp was drilled by the Swami (god),
as Mallayya had come to be called. The assembly next sent word that
they were going to loot Pachipenta, and, when two constables came to
see how matters stood, the fanatics fell upon them, and beat them to
death. The local police endeavoured to recover the bodies, but, owing
to the threatening attitude of the Swami's followers, had to abandon
the attempt. The district magistrate then went to the place in person,
collected reserve police from various places, and rushed the camp to
arrest the Swami and the other leaders of the movement. The police
were resisted by the mob, and obliged to fire. Eleven of the rioters
were killed, others wounded or arrested, and the rest dispersed. Sixty
of them were tried for rioting, and three, including the Swami, for
murdering the constables. Of the latter, the Swami died in jail,
and the other two were hanged. The Swami's son, the god Krishna,
also died, and all trouble ended.

A Kapu (Telugu cultivator) in the Cuddapah district once pretended
to have received certain maxims direct from the Supreme Being, and
forewarned his neighbours that he would fall into a trance, which
actually occurred, and lasted for three days. On his recovery, he
stated that his spirit had been during this time in heaven, learning
the principles of the Advaita religion from a company of angels. One
of his peculiarities was that he went about naked, because, when once
engaged in separating two bullocks which were fighting, his cloth
tumbled down, after which he never put it on again. This eccentric
person is said to have pulled a handful of maggots from the body of
a dead dog, to have put them into his mouth, and to have spat them
out again as grains of rice. A shrine was built over his grave. [335]

A few years ago, a Muhammadan fakir undertook to drive away the plague
in Bellary. Incantations were performed over a black goat, which was
sacrificed at a spot where several roads met. A considerable sum
of money was collected, and the poor were fed. But the plague was
not stayed.

On one occasion, an old woman hearing that her only son was dangerously
ill, sought the aid of a magician, who proceeded to utter mantrams,
to counteract the evil influences which were at work. While this was
being done, an accomplice of the magician turned up, and, declaring
that he was a policeman, threatened to charge the two with sorcery
if they did not pay him a certain sum of money. The woman paid up,
but discovered later on that she had been hoaxed.

Two men were, some years ago, sentenced to rigorous imprisonment under
the following circumstances. A lady, who was suffering from illness,
asked a man who claimed to be a magician to cure her. He came with his
confederate, and told the patient to place nine sovereigns on a clay
image. This sum not being forthcoming, a few rupees and a piece of a
gold necklace were accepted. These were deposited on the image, and it
was placed in a tin box, which was locked up, one of the men retaining
the key. On the following day the two men returned, and the rupees
and piece of gold were placed on a fresh image. Becoming inspired by
the god, one of the men announced that the patient must give a gold
bangle off her wrist, if she wished to be cured quickly. The bangle
was given up, and placed on the image, which was then converted into
a ball containing the various articles within it. The patient was
then directed to look at various corners of the room, and repeat a
formula. The image was placed in a box, and locked up as before, and
the men retired, promising to return next day. This they failed to do,
and the lady, becoming suspicious, broke open the box, in which the
image was found, but the money and ornaments were missing.

A case relating to the supposed guarding of treasure by an evil
spirit came before the Court in the Coimbatore district in 1908. Two
Valluvans (Tamil astrologers) were staying in a village, where they
were foretelling events. They went to the house of an old woman,
and, while telling her fortune, announced that there was a devil in
the house guarding treasure, and promised to drive it out, if twenty
rupees were given to them. The woman borrowed the money, and presented
it to them. In the evening the Valluvans went into the kitchen, and
shut the door. Certain ceremonies are said to have been performed,
at the conclusion of which the woman and her son entered the room,
and, in the light of a flickering torch, were shown a pit, in which
there was a copper pot, apparently full of gold sovereigns. One of the
astrologers feigned a sudden attack from the devil, and fell down as
if unconscious. The other pushed the people of the house outside the
door, and again shut it. Eventually the men came out, and announced
that the devil was a ferocious one, and would not depart till a wick
from an Erode paradesi was lighted before it, for obtaining which a
hundred rupees were required. If the devil was not thus propitiated, it
would, they said, kill the people of the house sooner or later. The old
woman borrowed the sum required, and her son and the two astrologers
went to Karur to take the train to Erode, to meet the paradesi. At
Karur the two men took tickets for different places, and the son,
becoming suspicious, informed the police, who arrested them. On them
were found some circular pieces of card covered with gold tinsel.

A few years ago, a Zamindar (landowner) in the Godavari district
engaged a Muhammadan to exorcise a devil which haunted his house. The
latter, explaining that the devil was a female and fond of jewelry,
induced the Zamindar to leave a large quantity of jewels in a locked
receptacle in a certain room, to which only the exorcist, and of course
the devil, had access. The latter, it was supposed, would be gratified
by the loan of the jewels, and would cease from troubling. The exorcist
managed to open the receptacle and steal the jewels, and, such was
the faith of his employer, that the offence was not suspected until
a police inspector seized Rs. 27,000 worth of jewels in Vizagapatam
on suspicion, and they were with difficulty traced to their source.

In a note on wonder-working in India, the Rev. J. Sharrock narrates
the following incident.


    "A Sanyasi (ascetic) was ordered with contempt from the house of a
    rich Zemindar. Thereupon, the former threatened to curse his house
    by despatching a devil to take possession of it that very night. On
    one of the doors of the inner courtyard he made a number of magical
    passes, and then left the house in high dudgeon. As soon as it
    grew dark, the devil appeared on the door in flickering flames
    of phosphorus, and almost frightened the Zemindar and the other
    inmates out of their five senses. Wild with terror, they fled to
    the Sanyasi, and begged and entreated him to come and exorcise
    the devil. Of course he refused, and of course they pressed him
    with greater and greater presents till he was satisfied. Then he
    came with kungkuma (a mixture of turmeric, alum, and lime-juice),
    and rubbed the fiery demon off with the usual recitation of
    mantras. During the rest of his stay, the Sanyasi was treated
    with the most profound respect, while his sishyas (disciples)
    received the choicest food and fruits that could be obtained."


The following cases are called from the annual reports of the Chemical
Examiner to the Government of Madras, in further illustration of the
practices of pseudo-magicians.

(a) A wizard came to a village, in order to exorcise a devil which
possessed a certain woman. He was treated like a prince, and was
given the only room in the house, while the family turned out into
the hall. He lived there for several days, and then commenced his
ceremonies. He drew the figure of a lotus on the floor, made the woman
sit down, and commenced to twist her hair with his wand. When she
cried out, he sent her out of the room, saying she was unworthy to sit
on the lotus figure, but promising nevertheless to exorcise the devil
without her being present. He found a half-witted man in the village,
drugged him with ganja, brought him to the house, and performed his
ceremonies on this man, who, on becoming intoxicated with the drug,
began to get boisterous. The wizard tied him up with a rope, because
he had become possessed of the devil that had possessed the woman. The
man was subsequently traced by his relatives, found in an unconscious
state, and taken to hospital. The wizard got rigorous imprisonment.

(b) Some jewels were lost, and a mantrakara (dealer in magical spells)
was called in to detect the thief. The magician erected a screen,
behind which he lit a lamp, and did other things to impress the crowd
with the importance of his mantrams. To the assembly he distributed
betel-leaf patties containing a white powder, said to be holy ashes,
and the effect of it on the suspected individuals, who formed part
of the crowd, is said to have been instantaneous. So magical was the
effect of this powder in detecting the thief, that the unfortunate
man ultimately vomited blood. When the people remonstrated with
the magician for the severity of his magic, he administered to the
sufferer an antidote of solution of cow-dung and the juice of some
leaf. The holy ashes were found to contain corrosive sublimate,
and the magician got eighteen months' rigorous imprisonment.

I may conclude with a reference to an interesting note on the Jesuits
of the Madura Mission in the middle of the seventeenth century by
the Rev. J. S. Chandler, who writes as follows:--


    "Dr Nobili lodged in an incommodious hut, and celebrated mass in
    another hut. The older he got, the more he added to the austerity
    of his life. The Pandarams [336] (non-Brahman priests) made a new
    attempt against his life. One fine day they held a council as to
    the death he should die, and decided on magic. They summoned the
    most famous magician of the kingdom. Every one knew of it. When
    the day came, the magician presented himself, followed by a crowd,
    all alert to witness the vengeance of their gods. He insolently
    arranged his machines, and then described circles in the air. Dr
    Nobili regarded him with a composed air. Soon the ceremonies
    became more noisy. The features of the magician became decomposed,
    his eyes inflamed, his face contracted like that of one possessed;
    he ground his teeth, howled, and struck the ground with his feet,
    hands, and forehead. Dr Nobili asked what comedy he was pretending
    to play. Then he recited magical sentences. Dr Nobili begged him
    to spare his throat. The magician said 'You have laughed, now die,'
    and threw a black powder into the air, at the same time looking at
    his victim, to see him fall at his feet, and then ... skedaddled
    from the jeers of the crowd. Dr Nobili addressed the crowd,
    and from that time they regarded him as more than human."


Mr Chandler narrates further that [337] "a Jogi (sorcerer and exorcist)
lost in public opinion by pretending to perform a miracle in imitation
of a previous Jogi, by making a stone bull eat. A quantity of rice
and other grains was served to the figure, but the vahanam (vehicle)
of Rudra was not hungry. The Jogi made many grimaces, threatened, and
even employed a rattan cane, but the bull remained motionless. Not
so the spectators, who overwhelmed the Jogi with blows, and he was
only saved by his friends, conducted to the frontier by soldiers,
and forbidden ever again to enter the kingdom."



X

DIVINATION AND FORTUNE-TELLING


It has been said [338] that "men not only attempt to act directly
upon nature, but they usually exhibit a keen desire to be guided
as to the best course to take when in doubt, difficulty, or danger,
and to be forewarned of the future. The practice of divination is by
no means confined to professional magicians, or even to soothsayers,
but any one may employ the accessory means."

Of professional diviners in Southern India, perhaps the best example
is afforded by the Kaniyans [339] or Kanisans of Malabar, whose caste
name is said to be a Malayalam corruption of the Sanskrit Ganika,
meaning astrologer. Duarte Barbosa, [340] at the beginning of the
sixteenth century, has a detailed reference to the Kaniyans, of whom
he writes that "they learn letters and astronomy, and some of them are
great astrologers, and foretell many future things, and form judgements
upon the births of men. Kings and great persons send to call them, and
come out of their palaces to gardens and pleasure-houses to see them,
and ask them what they desire to know; and these people form judgement
upon these things in a few days, and return to those that asked them,
but they may not enter the palaces; nor may they approach the king's
person on account of being low people. And the king is then alone
with him. They are great diviners, and pay great attention to times
and places of good and bad luck, which they cause to be observed by
those kings and great men, and by the merchants also; and they take
care to do their business at the time which these astrologers advise
them, and they do the same in their voyages and marriages. And by
these means these men gain a great deal."

Buchanan, [341] three centuries later, notes that the Kaniyans
"possess almanacks, by which they inform people as to the proper time
for performing ceremonies or sowing their seeds, and the hours which
are fortunate or unfortunate for any undertaking. When persons are
sick or in trouble, the Cunishun, by performing certain ceremonies
in a magical square of 12 places, discovers what spirit is the cause
of the evil, and also how it may be appeased."

The Kaniyans are practically the guiding spirits in all the social
and domestic concerns in Malabar, and even Christians and Muhammadans
resort to them for advice. From the moment of the birth of an infant,
which is noted by the Kaniyan for the purpose of casting its horoscope,
to the moment of death, the services of the village astrologer
are constantly in requisition. He is consulted as to the cause of
all calamities, and the cautious answers that he gives satisfy the
people. "Putro na putri," which may either mean no son but a daughter,
or no daughter but a son, is referred to as the type of a Kaniyan's
answer, when questioned about the sex of an unborn child.


    "It would be difficult," Mr Logan writes, [342] "to describe
    a single important occasion in everyday life when the Kanisan
    is not at hand, foretelling lucky days and hours, casting
    horoscopes, explaining the cause of calamities, prescribing
    remedies for untoward events, and physicians (not physic) for
    sick persons. Seed cannot be sown, or trees planted, unless the
    Kanisan has been consulted beforehand. He is even asked to consult
    his shastras to find lucky days and moments for setting out on
    a journey, commencing an enterprise, giving a loan, executing
    a deed, or shaving the head. For such important occasions
    as births, marriages, tonsure, investiture with the sacred
    thread, and beginning the A, B, C, the Kanisan is, of course,
    indispensable. His work, in short, mixes him up with the gravest
    as well as the most trivial of the domestic events of the people,
    and his influence and position are correspondingly great. The
    astrologer's finding, as one will assert with all due reverence,
    is the oracle of God himself, with the justice of which every one
    ought to be satisfied, and the poorer classes follow his dictates
    unhesitatingly. The astrologer's most busy time is from January
    to July, the period of harvest and marriages, but in the other
    six months of the year he is far from leading an idle life. His
    most lucrative business lies in casting horoscopes, recording
    the events of a man's life from birth to death, pointing out
    dangerous periods of life, and prescribing rules and ceremonies
    to be observed by individuals for the purpose of propitiating the
    gods and planets, and so averting the calamities of dangerous
    times. He also shows favourable junctures for the commencement
    of undertakings, and the grantham or book, written on palm leaf,
    sets forth in considerable detail the person's disposition and
    mental qualities, as affected by the position of the planets in
    the zodiac at the moment of birth. All this is a work of labour,
    and of time. There are few members of respectable families who
    are not thus provided, and nobody grudges the five to twenty-five
    rupees usually paid for a horoscope, according to the position
    and reputation of the astrologer. Two things are essential to the
    astrologer, namely, a bag of cowry shells (Cypræa moneta), and
    an almanac. When any one comes to consult him, [343] he quietly
    sits down, facing the sun, on a plank seat or mat, murmuring some
    mantrams or sacred verses, opens his bag of cowries, and pours
    them on the floor. With his right hand he moves them slowly round
    and round, solemnly reciting meanwhile a stanza or two in praise
    of his guru or teacher, and of his deity, invoking their help. He
    then stops, and explains what he has been doing, at the same time
    taking a handful of cowries from the heap, and placing them on
    one side. In front is a diagram drawn with chalk (or soapstone)
    on the floor, and consisting of twelve compartments (rasis), one
    for each month in the year. Before commencing operations with the
    diagram, he selects three or five of the cowries highest up in
    the heap, and places them in a line on the right-hand side. [In
    an account before me, three cowries and two glass bottle-stoppers
    are mentioned as being placed on this side]. These represent
    Ganapati (the belly god, the remover of difficulties), the sun,
    the planet Jupiter, Sarasvati (the goddess of speech), and his
    own guru or preceptor. To all of these the astrologer gives due
    obeisance, touching his ears and the ground three times with both
    hands. The cowries are next arranged in the compartments of the
    diagram, and are moved about from compartment to compartment by
    the astrologer, who quotes meanwhile the authority on which he
    makes the moves. Finally he explains the result, and ends with
    again worshipping the deified cowries, who were witnessing the
    operation as spectators."


According to another account, [344] the Kaniyan "pours his cowries
on the ground, and, after rolling them in the palm of his right hand,
while repeating mantrams, he selects the largest, and places them in a
row outside the diagram at its right-hand top corner. They represent
the first seven planets, and he does obeisance to them, touching his
forehead and the ground three times with both hands. The relative
position of the nine planets is then worked out, and illustrated with
cowries in the diagram."

The Mulla Kurumbas (jungle tribe) of Malabar are said [345] to "have a
gift of prophecy, some being initiated in the art known as Kotiveykal,
literally planting betel vine. The professor, when consulted about
any future event, husks a small quantity of rice by hand, places it
inside a scooped shell of a dried kuvvalam fruit (Ægle Marmelos), and
asks one of his men to plant the betel vine. The man understands the
meaning, takes out the rice, and spreads it on a plank. The professor
invokes the Puthadi deity, makes a calculation, and gives his reply,
which is generally found correct."

Concerning a class of people called Velichchapad, who are regarded
as oracles in Malabar, Mr F. Fawcett writes as follows [346]:--


    "Far away in rural Malabar, I witnessed the ceremony in which the
    Velichchapad exhibited his quality. It was in the neighbourhood
    of a Nayar house, to which thronged all the neighbours (Nayar),
    men and women, boys and girls. The ceremony lasts about an
    hour. The Nayar said it was the custom in his family to have it
    done once a year, but could give no account of how it originated;
    most probably in a vow, some ancestor having vowed that, if such
    or such benefit be received, he would for ever after have an
    annual performance of this ceremony in his house. It involved
    some expenditure, as the Velichchapad had to be paid, and the
    neighbours had to be fed. Somewhere about the middle of the little
    courtyard, the Velichchapad placed a lamp (of the Malabar pattern)
    having a lighted wick, a kalasam (brass vessel), some flowers,
    camphor, saffron (turmeric), and other paraphernalia. Bhagavati
    was the deity invoked, and the business involved offering flowers,
    and waving a lighted wick round the kalasam. The Velichchapad's
    movements became quicker, and, suddenly seizing his sword,
    he ran round the courtyard (against the sun, as sailors say),
    shouting wildly. He is under the influence of the deity who has
    been introduced into him, and gives oracular utterances to the
    deity's commands. What he said I know not, and no one else seemed
    to know, or care in the least, much interested though they were in
    the performance. As he ran, every now and then he cut his forehead
    with the sword, pressing it against the skin and sawing vertically
    up and down. The blood streamed all over his face. Presently he
    became wilder, and whizzed round the lamp, bending forward towards
    the kalasam. Evidently some deity, some spirit was present here,
    and spoke through the mouth of the Velichchapad. This, I think,
    undoubtedly represents the belief of all who were present. When
    he had done whizzing round the kalasam, he soon became a normal
    being, and stood before my camera. The fee for the self-inflicted
    laceration is one rupee, some rice, etc. I saw the Velichchapad
    about three days afterwards, going to perform elsewhere. The
    wound on his forehead had healed. The careful observer can always
    identify a Velichchapad by the triangular patch over the forehead,
    where the hair will not grow, and where the skin is somewhat
    indurated."


The Kotas of the Nilgiris worship Magali, to whose influence outbreaks
of cholera are attributed. When the dread disease breaks out among
them, special sacrifices are performed with a view to propitiating
the goddess, who is represented by an upright stone in a rude temple
near Kotagiri. An annual ceremony takes place there, at which some man
becomes possessed, and announces to the people that Magali has come. At
the seed-sowing ceremony, a Kota priest sometimes becomes inspired,
and gives expression to oracular utterances. At a Toda funeral,
the men, congregating on the summit of a neighbouring hill, invoked
the gods. Four of them, seized, apparently in imitation of the Kota
devadi (priest), with divine frenzy, began to shiver and gesticulate
wildly while running to and fro with closed eyes. They then began
to talk in Malayalam, and offer an explanation of an extraordinary
phenomenon, which had appeared in the form of a gigantic figure,
which disappeared as suddenly as it appeared. The possession by some
Todas of a smattering of Malayalam is explained by the fact that, when
grazing their buffaloes on the western slopes of the Nilgiris, they
come in contact with Malayalam-speaking people from the neighbouring
Malabar country.

For the following note on the Sakuna Pakshi (prophetic bird) mendicant
caste, I am indebted to Mr C. Hayavadana Rao. The name of the caste is
due to the fact that the members thereof wear on their heads a plume
composed of the feathers of the Indian roller (Coracias indica) or
blue jay of Europeans. This is one of the birds called sakuna pakshi,
because they are supposed to possess the power of foretelling events,
and on their movements many omens depend. Concerning the roller,
Jerdon writes [347] that


    "it is sacred to Siva, who assumed its form, and, at the feast of
    the Dasserah at Nagpore, one or more used to be liberated by the
    Rajah, amidst the firing of cannon and musketry, at a grand parade
    attended by all the officers of the station. Buchanan Hamilton
    also states that, before the Durga Puja, the Hindus of Calcutta
    purchase one of these birds, and, at the time when they throw the
    image of Durga into the river, set it at liberty. It is considered
    propitious to see it on this day, and those who cannot afford to
    buy one discharge their matchlocks to put it on the wing."


A Sakuna Pakshi, before starting on a begging expedition, rises
early, and has a cold meal. He then puts on the Vaishnava namam mark
on his forehead, slings on his left shoulder a deer-skin pouch for
the reception of the rice and other grain which will be given to him
as alms, and takes up his little drum (gilaka or damaraka) made of
frog's skin.

Closely allied to the Sakuna Pakshis are the Budubudikes or
Budubudukalas, a class of beggars and fortune-tellers, whose name
is derived from the drum (budbuki) which they use when engaged in
predicting future events.


    "A huge parti-coloured turban, surmounted by a bunch of feathers,
    a pair of ragged trousers, a loose long coat, which is very often
    out at elbows, and a capacious wallet, ordinarily constitute
    the Budubudukala's dress. Occasionally, if he can afford it,
    he indulges in the luxury of a tiger or cheetah (leopard) skin,
    which hangs down his back, and contributes to the dignity of his
    calling. Add to this an odd assortment of clothes suspended on
    his left arm, and the picture is as grotesque as it can be. He
    is regarded as able to predict the future of human beings by
    the flight and notes of birds. His predictions are couched in
    the chant which he recites. The burden of the chant is always
    stereotyped, and purports to have been gleaned from the warble of
    the feathered songsters of the forest. It prognosticates peace,
    plenty and prosperity to the house, the birth of a son to the
    fair, lotus-eyed housewife, and worldly advancement to the master,
    whose virtues are as countless as the stars, and have the power
    to annihilate his enemies. It also holds out a tempting prospect
    of coming joy in an unknown shape from an unknown quarter, and
    concludes with an appeal for a cloth. If the appeal is successful,
    well and good. If not, the Budubudukala has the patience and
    perseverance to repeat his visit the next day, and so on until,
    in sheer disgust, the householder parts with a cloth. The drum,
    which has been referred to as giving the Budubudukala his name,
    is not devoid of interest. In appearance it is an instrument of
    diminutive size, and is shaped like an hour-glass, to the middle
    of which is attached a string with a knot at the end, which serves
    as the percutient. Its origin is enveloped in a myth of which the
    Budubudukala is very proud, for it tells of his divine descent,
    and invests his vocation with the halo of sanctity. According to
    the legend, the primitive Budubudukala who first adorned the face
    of the earth was a belated product of the world's creation. When
    he was born or rather evolved, the rest of mankind was already
    in the field, struggling for existence. Practically the whole
    scheme was complete, and, in the economy of the universe, the
    Budubudukala found himself one too many. In this quandary, he
    appealed to his goddess mother Amba Bhavani, who took pity on
    him, and presented him with her husband the god Parameswara's
    drum with the blessing 'My son, there is nothing else for you
    but this. Take it and beg, and you will prosper.' Among beggars,
    the Budubudukala has constituted himself a superior mendicant, to
    whom the handful of rice usually doled out is not acceptable. His
    demand is for clothes of any description, good, bad or indifferent,
    new or old, torn or whole. For, in the plenitude of his wisdom,
    he has realised that a cloth is a marketable commodity, which,
    when exchanged for money, fetches more than the handful of
    rice. The Budubudukala is continually on the tramp, and regulates
    his movements according to the seasons of the year. As a rule, he
    pays his visit to the rural parts after the harvest is gathered,
    for it is then that the villagers are at their best, and in a
    position to handsomely remunerate him for his pains. But, in
    whatever corner of the province he may be, as the Dusserah [348]
    approaches, he turns his face towards Vellore in North Arcot, where
    the annual festival in honour of Amba Bhavani is celebrated." [349]


The principal tribal deity of the Kuruvikkaran beggars is Kali or
Durga, and each sept possesses a small metal plate with a figure of
the goddess engraved on it, which is usually kept in the custody of
the headman. It is, however, sometimes pledged, and money-lenders give
considerable sums on the security of the idol, as the Kuruvikkarans
would on no account fail to redeem it. At the annual festival of the
goddess, while some cakes are being cooked in oil, a member of the
tribe prays that the goddess will descend on him. Taking some of the
cakes out of the boiling oil, he rubs the oil on his head with his
palm. He is then questioned by those assembled, to whom he gives
oracular replies, after sucking the blood from the cut throat of
a goat.

The nomad Koravas or Yerukalas earn a livelihood partly by telling
fortunes. The Telugu name Yerukala is said to mean fortune-teller,
and, as the women go on their rounds through the streets, they call
out "Yeruko, amma, yeruku" i.e., prophecies, mother, prophecies.

Concerning the Pachaikutti (tattooer) or Gadde (soothsayer) section of
these people, Mr Paupa Rao Naidu writes [350] that "the woman proceeds
with a basket and a winnowing tray to a village, proclaiming their
ostensible profession of tattooing and soothsaying, which they do
for grain or money. When unfortunate village women, who always lose
their children or often fall ill, see these Gadde women moving about,
they call them into their houses, make them sit, and, pouring some
grain into their baskets, ask them about their past misery and future
lot. These women, who are sufficiently trained to speak in suitable
language, are clever enough to give out some yarns in equivocal terms,
so that the anxious women, who hope for better futurity, understand
them in the light uppermost in their own minds. The Korava women will
be duly rewarded, and doubly too, for they never fail to study the
nature of the house, to see if it offers a fair field for booty for
their men." [351]

It is said that Korava women invoke the village goddesses when they
are telling fortunes. They use a winnowing fan and grains of rice in
doing this, and prophecy good or evil according to the number of grains
on the fan. [352] They carry a basket, winnow, stick, and a wicker
tray in which cowry shells are embedded in a mixture of cow-dung and
turmeric. The basket represents the goddess Kolapuriamma, and the
cowries Poleramma. When telling fortunes, the woman places on the
basket the winnow, rice, betel leaves and areca nuts, and the wicker
tray. Holding her client's hand over the winnow, and moving it about,
she commences to chant, and name all sorts of deities. From time
to time, she touches the hand of the person whose fortune is being
told with the stick. The Korava women are very clever at extracting
information concerning the affairs of a client, before they proceed to
tell her fortune. In a note on the initiation of Yerukala girls into
the profession of fortune-telling in Vizagapatam, Mr Hayavadana Rao
writes that it is carried out on a Sunday succeeding the first puberty
ceremony. A caste feast, with plenty of strong drink, is held, but the
girl herself fasts. The feast over, she is taken to a spot at a little
distance from the settlement, called Yerukonda. This is said to be the
name of a place on the trunk road between Vizianagram and Chicacole,
to which girls were taken in former days to be initiated. The girl is
blindfolded with a cloth. Boiled rice and green gram (grain) are mixed
with the blood of a black fowl, black pig, and black goat, which are
killed. Of this mixture she must take at least three morsels, and,
if she does not vomit, it is taken as a sign that she will become
a good fortune-teller. Vomiting would indicate that she would be a
false prophetess.

The Irulas of the Tamil country, like the Yerukalas, are professional
fortune-tellers. The Yerukala will carry out the work connected with
her profession anywhere, at any time, and any number of times in a
day. The Irula, on the contrary, remains at his home, and will only
tell fortunes close to his hut, or near the hut where his gods are
kept. In case of sickness, people of all classes come to consult
the Irula fortune-teller, whose occupation is known as Kannimar
varnithal. Taking up his drum, he warms it over the fire, or exposes
it to the heat of the sun. When it is sufficiently dry to vibrate
to his satisfaction, Kannimar is worshipped by breaking a cocoanut,
and burning camphor and incense. Closing his eyes, the Irula beats the
drum, and shakes his head about, while his wife, who stands near him,
sprinkles turmeric water over him. After a few minutes, bells are
tied to his right wrist. In about a quarter of an hour he begins to
shiver, and breaks out in a profuse perspiration. This is a sure sign
that he is inspired by the goddess. The shaking of his body becomes
more violent, he breathes rapidly, and hisses like a snake. Gradually
he becomes calmer, and addresses those around him as if he were the
goddess, saying: "Oh! children, I have come down on my car, which is
decorated with mango flowers, margosa, and jasmine. You need fear
nothing so long as I exist, and you worship me. This country will
be prosperous, and the people will continue to be happy. Ere long my
precious car, immersed in the tank (pond) on the hill, will be taken
out, and after that the country will become more prosperous," and so
on. Questions are generally put to the inspired man, not directly,
but through his wife. Occasionally, even when no client has come
to consult him, the Irula will take up his drum towards dusk, and
chant the praises of Kannimar, sometimes for hours at a stretch,
with a crowd of Irulas collected round him.

I gather, from a note by Mr. T. Ranga Rao, that the jungle Yanadis of
the Telugu country pose as prophets of human destinies, and pretend to
hold intercourse with gods and goddesses, and to intercede between god
and man. Every village or circle has one or more soothsayers, who learn
their art from experts under a rigid routine. The period of pupilage
is a fortnight spent in retreat, on a dietary of milk and fruits. The
god or goddess Venkateswaralu, Subbaroyadu, Malakondroyadu, Ankamma, or
Poleramma, appears like a shadow, and inspires the pupil, who, directly
the period of probation has ceased, burns camphor and frankincense. He
then sings in praise of the deity, takes a sea-bath with his master,
gives a sumptuous feast, and becomes an independent soothsayer. The
story runs that the ardent soothsayers of old wrought miracles by
stirring boiling rice with his hand, which was proof against burn or
hurt. His modern brother invokes the gods with burning charcoal in
his folded hands, to the beat of a drum. People flock in large numbers
to learn the truth. The soothsayer arranges the tribal deity Chenchu
Devudu, and various local gods, in a god-house, which is always kept
scrupulously clean, and where worship is regularly carried on. The
auspicious days for soothsaying are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The
chief soothsayer is a male. The applicant presents him with areca nuts,
fruit, flowers, and money. The soothsayer bathes, and sits in front
of his house smeared with black, white, red, and other colours. His
wife, or some other female, kindles a fire, and throws frankincense
into it. He beats his drum and sings, while a woman within repeats the
chant in a shrill voice. The songs are in praise of the deity, at whose
and the soothsayer's feet the applicant prostrates himself, and invokes
their aid. The soothsayer feels inspired, and addresses the suppliant
thus:--"You have neglected me. You do not worship me. Propitiate
me adequately, or ruin is yours." The future is predicted in song,
and the rural folk place great faith in the predictions.

As an example of devil worship and divination, the practice thereof by
the Tamil Valaiyans and Kallans of Orattanadu in the Tanjore district
is described as follows by Mr F. R. Hemingway. [353]


    "Valaiyan houses generally have an odiyan (Odina Wodier) tree
    in the backyard, wherein the devils are believed to live,
    and, among the Kallans, every street has a tree for their
    accommodation. They are propitiated at least once a year, the
    more virulent under the tree itself, and the rest in the house,
    generally on a Friday or Monday. Kallans attach importance to
    Friday in Adi (July and August), the cattle Pongal day in Tai
    (January and February), and Kartigai day in the month Kartigai
    (November and December). A man, with his mouth covered with a
    cloth to indicate silence and purity, cooks rice in the backyard,
    and pours it out in front of the tree, mixed with milk and jaggery
    (crude sugar). Cocoanuts and toddy are also placed there. These
    are offered to the devils, represented in the form of bricks or
    mud images placed at the foot of the tree, and camphor is set
    alight. A sheep is then brought and slaughtered, and the devils
    are supposed to spring one after another from the tree into one
    of the bystanders. This man then becomes filled with the divine
    afflatus, works himself up into a kind of frenzy, becomes the
    mouthpiece of the spirits, pronounces their satisfaction or the
    reverse at the offerings, and gives utterance to cryptic phrases,
    which are held to foretell good or evil fortune to those in answer
    to whom they are made. When all the devils in turn have spoken and
    vanished, the man recovers his senses. The devils are worshipped
    in the same way in the house, except that no blood is shed."


The following example of the conviction of a thief by a diviner is
recorded by Mrs Murray-Aynsley. [354]


    "A friend's ayah had her blanket stolen. The native woman rejected
    the interference of the police, which her mistress proposed,
    but said she would send for one of her own diviners. He came,
    caused a fire to be lighted in an earthen vessel, then took a
    small basket-work grain-sifter used for winnowing rice. Having
    repeated certain prayers or incantations, the diviner stuck a
    pair of scissors into the deepest part of this tray, and, having
    done this, required the two assistants he brought with him each to
    put a finger beneath the holes in the scissors, and then hold the
    sifter suspended over the fire. The servants of the house were then
    all required, each in turn, to take a small quantity of uncooked
    rice in their hands, and drop it into the flame, between the
    fork formed by the scissors, the diviner all the time repeating
    some formula. All went very smoothly till the woman-servant,
    whom my friend had all along suspected of the theft, performed
    this ceremony, on which the grain-sifter commenced turning round
    rapidly. The culprit was convicted, and confessed the theft."


The following method of discovering theft by chewing rice is described
by Daniel Johnson. [355]


    "A Brahmin is sent for, who writes down all the names of the people
    in the house, who are suspected. Next day he consecrates a piece
    of ground by covering it with cow-dung and water, over which he
    says a long prayer. The people then assemble on this spot in a
    line facing the Brahmin, who has with him some dry rice, of which
    he delivers to each person the weight of a four-cornered rupee,
    or that quantity weighed with the sacred stone called Salagram,
    which is deposited in a leaf of the pippal or banyan tree. At the
    time of delivering it, the Brahmin puts his right hand on each
    person's head, and repeats a short prayer; and, when finished,
    he directs them all to chew the rice, which at a given time must
    be produced on the leaves masticated. The person or persons, whose
    rice is not thoroughly masticated, or exhibits any blood on it,
    is considered guilty. The faith they all have of the power of
    the Brahmin, and a guilty conscience operating at the same time,
    suppresses the natural flow of saliva to the mouth, without
    which the hard particles of the rice bruise and cut the gums,
    causing them to bleed, which they themselves are sensible of,
    and in most instances confess the crime."



XI

SOME AGRICULTURAL CEREMONIES


For the following note [356] on agricultural ceremonies in Malabar,
I am indebted to Mr C. Karunakara Menon, who writes as an eye-witness
thereof.


"Vishu, the feast of the vernal equinox, is celebrated on the
first of the Malabar month Medom, between the 10th and 14th of
April. To the Tamulians it is the New Year's day, but to the people
of Malabar it marks the commencement of the new agricultural year. A
Malabar proverb says 'No hot weather after Vishu.' The first thing
seen on the morning of Vishu day is considered as an omen for the
whole year. Every Malayali takes care, therefore, to look at an
auspicious object. Arrangements are accordingly made to have a kani,
which means a sight or spectacle (see p. 18). After the first sight,
the elders make presents of money to the junior members of the family
and the servants. After the distribution of money, the most important
function on Vishu morning is the laying of the spade-furrow, as a
sign that cultivation operations have commenced. A spade decorated
with konna (Cassia Fistula) flowers, is brought, and a portion of
the yard on the north side smeared with cow-dung, and painted with
powdered rice-water. An offering is made on the spot to Ganapathi
(the elephant god), and a member of the family, turning to the
east, cuts the earth three times. A ceremony on a grander scale is
called the Chal, which literally means a furrow, for an account of
which we must begin with the visit of the astrologer (Kanisan) on
Vishu eve. Every desam (hamlet) in Malabar has its own astrologer,
who visits families under his jurisdiction on festive occasions
(see p. 275). Accordingly, on the eve of the new agricultural year,
every Hindu home in the district is visited by the Kanisans of the
respective desams, who, for a modest present of rice, vegetables, and
oils, make a forecast of the season's prospects, which is engrossed
on a cadjan (palm leaf). This is called the Vishu phalam, which is
obtained by comparing the nativity with the equinox. Special mention
is made therein as to the probable rainfall from the position of the
planets--highly prized information in a district where there are no
irrigation works or large reservoirs for water. But the most important
item in the forecast is the day and time at which the first ploughing
is to take place. The Chal is one of the most impressive and solemn of
the Malabar agricultural ceremonies, and, in its most orthodox form,
is now prevalent only in the Palghat taluk. At the auspicious hour
shown in the forecast, the master of the house, the cultivation agent,
and the Cherumars, [357] assemble in the barn. A portion of the yard
in front of the building is painted with rice-water, and a lighted
bell-metal lamp is placed near at hand with some paddy (unhusked
rice) and rice, and several cups made of the leaves of the kanniram
(Strychnos Nux-vomica)--as many cups as there are varieties of seed
in the barn. Then, placing implicit faith in his gods and ancestors,
the master of the house opens the barn-door, followed by a Cheruman
with a new painted basket containing the leaf cups. The master then
takes a handful of seed from a seed-basket, and fills one of the cups,
and the cultivating agent, head Cheruman, and others who are interested
in a good harvest, fill the cups till the seeds are exhausted. The
basket, with the cups, is next taken to the decorated portion of the
yard. A new ploughshare is fastened to a new plough, and a pair of
cattle are brought onto the scene. Plough, cattle, and basket, are
all painted with rice-water. A procession proceeds to the fields,
on reaching which the head Cheruman lays down the basket, and makes
a mound of earth with the spade. To this a little manure is added,
and the master throws a handful of seed into it. The cattle are then
yoked, and one turn is ploughed by the head Cheruman. Inside this
at least seven furrows are made, and the plough is dropped to the
right. An offering is made to Ganapathi, and the master throws some
seed into the furrow. Next the head Cheruman calls out, 'May the
gods on high, and the deceased ancestors, bless the seed which has
been thrown broadcast, and the cattle which are let loose, the mother
and children of the house, the master and the slaves. May they also
vouchsafe to us a good crop, good sunshine, and a good harvest.' A
cocoanut is then cut on the ploughshare, and from the cut portions
several deductions are made. If the hinder portion is larger than the
front one, it augurs an excellent harvest. If the nut is cut into two
equal portions, the harvest will be moderate. If the cut passes through
the eyes of the nut, or if no water is left in the cut portions,
certain misfortune is foreboded. The cut fragments are then taken
with a little water inside them, and a leaf of the tulsi plant [358]
(sacred basil, Ocimum sanctum) dropped in. If the leaf turns
to the right, a propitious harvest is assured, whereas, if it
turns to the left, certain calamity will follow. This ceremonial
concluded, there is much shouting, and the names of all the gods
are called out in a confused prayer. The party then breaks up,
and the unused seeds are divided among the workmen. The actual
sowing of the seed takes place towards the middle of May. The
local deity who is responsible for good crops is Cherukunnath
Bhagavathi, who is also called Annapurana, and is worshipped in
the Chirakkal taluk. Before the seed is sown, a small quantity
is set apart as an offering to the goddess Annapurna Iswari. By
July the crops should be ready for harvesting, and the previous
year's stock is running low. Accordingly, several ceremonies are
crowded into the month Karkitakam (July-August). When the sun
passes from the sign of Gemini to Cancer, i.e., on the last day of
Mithuna (June-July), a ceremony called the driving away of Potti
(evil spirit) is performed in the evening. The house is cleaned,
and the rubbish collected in an old winnowing basket. A woman
rubs oil on her head, and, taking the basket, goes three times
round the house, while children run after her, calling out,
'Potti, phoo' (run away, evil spirit). On the following morning
the good spirit is invoked, and asked to bless every householder,
and give a good harvest. Before dawn a handful of veli, a wild yam
(Caladium nymphoeiflorum), and turmeric, together with ten herbs
called dasapushpam (ten flowers), such as are worn in the head
by Nambutiri Brahman ladies after the morning bath, are brought
in. They are:--


        Thiruthali (Ipomoea sepiaria).
        Nilappana (Curculigo orchioides).
        Karuka (Cynodon Dactylon).
        Cherupoola (Ærua lanata).
        Muyalchevi (Emelia sonchifolia).
        Puvamkurunthala (Vernonia cinerea).
        Ulinna (Cardiospermum Halicacabum).
        Mukutti (Biophytum sensitivum).
        Kannunni (Eclipta alba).
        Krishnakananthi (Evolvulus alsinoides).


"Each of the above is believed to be the special favourite of some
deity, e.g., Nilappana of the god of riches, Thiruthali of the
wife of Kama, the god of love, etc. They are stuck in the front
eaves of every house with some cow-dung. Then, before daybreak, Sri
Bhagavathi is formally installed, and her symbolical presence is
continued daily till the end of the month Karkitakam. A plank, such
as is used by Malayalis when they sit at meals, is well washed,
and smeared with ashes. On it are placed a mirror, a potful of
ointment made of sandal, camphor, musk, and saffron (turmeric), a
small round box containing red paint, a goblet full of water, and
a grandham (sacred book made of cadjan), usually Devi-Mahathmyam,
i.e., song in praise of Bhagavathi. By its side the ten flowers are
set. On the first day of Karkitakam, in some places, an attempt is
made to convert the malignant Kali into a benificent deity. From
Calicut northward, this ceremonial is celebrated, for the most
part by children, on a grand scale. From early morning they may
be seen collecting ribs of plantain (banana) leaves, with which
they make representations of a ladder, cattle-shed, plough, and
yoke. Representations of cattle are made from the leaves of the
jak tree (Artocarpus integrifolia). These are placed in an old
winnowing basket. The materials for a feast are placed in a pot,
and the toy agricultural articles and the pot are carried round
each house three times, while the children call out 'Kalia, Kalia,
monster, monster, receive our offering, and give us plenty of seed
and wages, protect our cattle, and support our fences.' The various
articles are then placed under a jak tree, on the eastern side of
the house if possible. The next important ceremony is called the
Nira, or bringing in of the first-fruits. It is celebrated about
the middle of Karkitakam. The house is cleaned, and the doors
and windows are cleansed with the rough leaves of a tree called
parakam (Ficus hispida), and decorated with white rice paint. The
walls are whitewashed, and the yard is smeared with cow-dung. The
ten flowers (dasapushpam) are brought to the gate of the house,
together with leaves of the following:--


        Athi (Ficus glomerata).
        Ithi (Ficus infectoria).
        Arayal (Ficus religiosa).
        Peral (Ficus bengalensis).
        Illi (tender leaves of bamboo).
        Nelli (Phyllanthus Emblica).
        Jak (Artocarpus integrifolia).
        Mango (Mangifera indica).


"On the morning of the ceremony, the priest of the local temple
comes out therefrom, preceded by a man blowing a conch (Turbinella
rapa) shell. [359] This is a signal for the whole village,
and every household sends out a male member, duly purified by
a bath and copiously smeared with sacred ashes, to the fields,
to gather some ears of paddy. Sometimes the paddy is brought
from the temple, instead of the field. It is not necessary to
pluck the paddy from one's own fields. Free permission is given
to pluck it from any field in which it may be ripe. When the
paddy is brought near the house, the above said leaves are taken
out from the gate-house, where they had been kept over night,
and the ears of paddy are laid thereon. The bearer is met at
the gate by a woman of the house with a lighted lamp. The new
paddy is then carried to the house in procession, those assembled
crying out 'Fill, fill; increase, increase; fill the house; fill
the baskets; fill the stomachs of the children.' In a portion of
the verandah, which is decorated with rice paint, a small plank,
with a plantain leaf on it, is set. Round this the man who bears
the paddy goes three times, and, turning due east, places it on
the leaf. On the right is set the lighted lamp. An offering of
cocoanuts and sweets is made to Ganapathi, and the leaves and
ears of paddy are attached to various parts of the house, the
agricultural implements, and even to trees. A sumptuous repast
brings the ceremony to a close. At Palghat, when the new paddy is
carried in procession, the people say 'Fill like the Kottaram in
Kozhalmannam; fill like the expansive sands of the Perar.' This
Kottaram is eight miles west of Palghat. According to Dr Gundert,
the word means a store-house, or place where temple affairs are
managed. It is a ruined building with crumbling walls, lined
inside with laterite, and outside with slabs of granite. It was
the granary of the Maruthur temple adjoining it, and, the story
goes that the supply in this granary was inexhaustible.

"The next ceremony of importance is called Puthari (meal of new
rice). In some places it takes place on Nira day, but, as a rule,
it is an independent festival, which takes place during the great
national festival Onam in August. When the new rice crop has been
threshed, a day is fixed for the ceremony. Those who have no land
under cultivation simply add some grains of the new rice to their
meal. An indispensable curry on this day is made of the leaves
of Cassia Tora, peas, the fruit of puthari chundanga (Swertia
Chirata), brinjals (Solanum Melongena), and green pumpkins.
The first crop is now harvested. There are no special ceremonies
connected with the cultivation of the second crop, except the one
called Chettotakam in the month of Thulam (November), which is
observed in the Palghat taluk. It is an offering made to the gods,
when the transplantation is completed; to wipe out the sin the
labourers may have committed by unwittingly killing the insects
and reptiles concealed in the earth. The god, whose protection
is invoked on this occasion, is called Muni. No barn is complete
without its own Muni, who is generally represented by a block of
granite beneath a tree. He is the protector of cattle and field
labourers, and arrack (liquor), toddy, and blood, form necessary
ingredients for his worship.

"In well-to-do families, a goat is sacrificed to him, but
the poorer classes satisfy him with the blood of a fowl. The
officiating priest is generally the cultivation agent, who is a
Nayar, or sometimes a Cheruman. The goat or fowl is brought before
the god, and a mixture of turmeric and chunam (lime) sprinkled
over it. If the animal shakes, it is a sign that the god is
satisfied. If it does not, the difficulty is got over by a very
liberal interpretation of the smallest movement of the animal,
and a further application of the mixture. The god who ensures
sunshine and good weather is Mullan. He is a rural deity, and is
set up on the borders and ridges of the rice-fields. Like Muni,
he is propitiated by the sacrifice of a fowl. The second crop
is harvested in Makaram (end of January), and a festival called
Ucharal is observed from the twenty-eighth to the thirtieth in
honour of the menstruation of mother earth, which is believed to
take place on those days, which are observed as days of abstinence
from all work, except hunting. A complete holiday is given to the
Cherumans. The first day is called the closing of ucharal. Towards
evening some thorns, five or six broomsticks, and ashes, are taken
to the room in which the grain is stored. The door is closed, and
the thorns and sticks are placed against it, or fixed to it with
cow-dung. The ashes are spread before it, and, during that and
the following day, no one will open the door. On the second day,
cessation from work is scrupulously observed. The house may not
be cleaned, and the daily smearing of the floor with cow-dung is
avoided. Even gardens may not be watered. On the fourth day the
ucharal is opened, and a basketful of dry leaves is taken to the
fields, and burnt with a little manure. The Ucharal days are the
quarter days of Malabar, and demands for surrender of property
may be made only on the day following the festival, when all
agricultural leases expire. By the burning of leaves and manure
on his estate, the cultivator, it seems to me, proclaims that
he remains in possession of the property. In support of this,
we have the practice of a new lessee asking the lessor whether
any other person has burnt dry leaves in the field. The Ucharal
festival is also held at Cherupulcherri, and at Kanayam near
Shoranur. Large crowds assemble with representations of cattle in
straw, which are taken in procession to the temple of Bhagavathi
with beating of drums and the shouting of the crowd."


The fact that the Cherumans, who are agrestic serfs, play a leading
part in some of the festivals which have just been described, is
significant. In an interesting note on the privileges of the servile
classes, Mr M. J. Walhouse writes [360] that "it is well known that
the servile castes in Southern India once held far higher positions,
and were indeed masters of the land on the arrival of the Brahmanical
race. Many curious vestiges of their ancient power still survive
in the shape of certain privileges, which are jealously cherished,
and, their origin being forgotten, are much misunderstood. These
privileges are remarkable instances of survivals from an extinct state
of society--shadows of long-departed supremacy, bearing witness to
a period when the present haughty high-caste races were suppliants
before the ancestors of degraded classes, whose touch is now regarded
as pollution. In the great festival of Siva at Trivalur in Tanjore,
the headman of the Pareyans is mounted on the elephant with the god,
and carries his chauri (yak-tail fly fan). In Madras, at the annual
festival of the goddess of the Black Town (now George Town [361]),
when a tali (marriage badge) is tied round the neck of the idol in
the name of the entire community, a Pareyan is chosen to represent the
bridegroom. At Melkote in Mysore, the chief seat of the followers of
Ramanuja Acharya, and at the Brahman temple at Belur, the Holeyas or
Pareyans have the right of entering the temple on three days in the
year, specially set apart for them."

The privilege is said to have been conferred on the Holeyas, in
return for their helping Ramanuja to recover the image of Krishna,
which was carried off to Delhi by the Muhammadans. Paraiyans are
allowed to take part in pulling the cars of the idols in the great
festivals at Conjeeveram, Kumbakonam, and Srivilliputtur. Their touch
is not reckoned to defile the ropes used, so that other Hindus will
pull with them. It was noted by Mr F. H. Ellis, who was Collector of
the Madras district in 1812, that "a custom prevails among the slave
castes in Tondeimandalam, especially in the neighbourhood of Madras,
which may be considered as a periodical assertion of independence at
the close of the Tamil month Auni, with which the revenue year ends,
and the cultivation of the ensuing year ought to commence. The whole
of the slaves strike work, collect in bodies outside of the villages,
and so remain until their masters, by promising to continue their
privileges, by solicitations, presents of betel, and other gentle
means, induce them to return. The slaves on these occasions, however
well treated they may have been, complain of various grievances,
real and imaginary, and threaten a general desertion. This threat,
however, they never carry into execution, but, after the usual time,
everything having been conducted according to mamul (custom), return
quietly to their labours."

Coming to more recent times, it is recorded by Mr Walhouse [362]
that "at particular seasons there is a festival much resembling the
classic Saturnalia, in which, for the time, the relation of slaves and
masters is inverted, and the former attack the latter with unstinted
satire and abuse, and threaten to strike work unless confirmed in
their privileges, and humbly solicit to return to labour."

In villages in South Canara there are certain rakshasas (demons),
called Kambla Asura, who preside over the fields. To propitiate them,
buffalo races, [363] which are an exciting form of sport, are held,
usually in October and November, before the second or sugge crop is
sown. It is believed that, if the races are omitted, there will be a
failure of the crop. The Koragas (field labourers) sit up through the
night before the Kambla day, performing a ceremony called panikkuluni,
or sitting under the dew. They sing songs to the accompaniment of
a band about their devil Nicha, and offer toddy and a rice pudding
boiled in a large earthen pot, which is broken so that the pudding
remains as a solid mass. This pudding is called kandel adde, or pot
pudding. On the morning of the races, the Holeyas (agrestic serfs)
scatter manure over the field, in which the races are to take place,
and plough it. On the following day, the seedlings are planted. To
propitiate various demons, the days following the races are devoted
to cock-fighting, in which hundreds of birds may take part.

Important agricultural ceremonies are performed by the Badagas of
the Nilgiris, who carry out most of the cultivation on these hills,
at the time of sowing and harvesting the crop. The seed-sowing ceremony
takes place in March, and, in some places, a Kurumba (jungle tribesman)
plays an important part in it. On an auspicious day--a Tuesday before
the crescent moon--a priest of the Devve temple sets out several
hours before dawn with five or seven kinds of grain in a basket and a
sickle, accompanied by a Kurumba, and leading a pair of bullocks with
a plough. On reaching the field selected, the priest pours the grain
into the cloth of the Kurumba, and, yoking the animals to the plough,
makes three furrows in the soil. The Kurumba, stopping the bullocks,
kneels on the ground between the furrows, facing east. Removing his
turban, he places it on the ground, and, closing his ears with his
palms, bawls out "Dho, Dho" thrice. He then rises, and scatters the
grain thrice on the soil. The priest and Kurumba then return to the
village, and the former deposits what remains of the grain in the
store-room. A new pot, full of water, is placed in the milk-house,
and the priest dips his right hand therein, saying "Nerathubitta"
(it is full). This ceremony is an important one, as, until it has
been performed, sowing may not commence. It is a day of feasting,
and, in addition to rice, Dolichos Lablab is cooked.

Another agricultural ceremony of the Badagas is called Devva habba or
tenai (Setaria italica), and is usually celebrated in June or July,
always on a Monday. It is apparently performed in honour of the gods
Mahalingaswami and Hiriya Udaya, to whom a group of villages will have
temples dedicated. The festival is celebrated at one place, whither
the Badagas from other villages proceed, to take part in it. About
midday, some Badagas and the temple priest go from the temple of
Hiriya Udaya to that of Mahalingaswami. The procession is usually
headed by a Kurumba, who scatters fragments of tud (Meliosma pungens)
bark and wood as he goes on his way. The priest takes with him the
materials necessary for performing worship, and, after worshipping
Mahalingaswami, the party return to the Hiriya Udaya temple, where
milk and cooked rice are offered to the various gods within the
temple precincts. On the following day, all assemble at the temple,
and a Kurumba brings a few sheaves of Setaria italica, and ties them
to a stone set up at the main entrance. After this, worship is done,
and the people offer cocoanuts to the god. Later on, all the women of
the Madhave sept, who have given birth to a first-born child, come,
dressed up in holiday attire, with their babies, to the temple. On this
day they wear a special nose ornament called elemukkuththi, which is
only worn on one other occasion, at the funeral of a husband. The women
worship Hiriya Udaya, and the priest gives them a small quantity of
rice on minige (Argyreia) leaves. After eating this, they wash their
hands with water given to them by the priest, and leave the temple
in a line. As soon as the Devve festival is concluded, the reaping
of the crop commences, and a measure or two of grain gathered on the
first day is set apart for the Mahalingaswami temple.

By the Kotas (artisans and cultivators) of the Nilgiris, a seed-sowing
ceremony is celebrated in the month of Kumbam (February-March) on a
Tuesday or Friday. For eight days the officiating priest abstains from
meat, and lives on vegetable diet, and may not communicate directly
with his wife for fear of pollution, a boy acting as spokesman. On the
Sunday before the ceremony, a number of cows are penned in a kraal,
and milked by the priest. The milk is preserved, and, if the omens are
favourable, is said not to turn sour. If it does, this is attributed
to the priest being under pollution from some cause or other. On the
day of the ceremony, the priest bathes in a stream, and proceeds,
accompanied by a boy, to a field or the forest. After worshipping
the gods, he makes a small seed-pan in the ground, and sows therein
a small quantity of ragi (Eleusine Coracana). Meanwhile, the Kotas of
the village go to the temple, and clean it. Thither the priest and the
boy proceed, and the deity is worshipped with offerings of cocoanuts;
betel, flowers, etc. Sometimes a Terkaran (priest) becomes inspired,
and gives expression to oracular utterances. From the temple all go
to the house of the priest, who gives them a small quantity of milk
and food. Three months later, on an auspicious day, the reaping of
the crop is commenced with a very similar ceremonial.

Writing in 1832, Mr Harkness states [364] that, during the seed-sowing
ceremony, "offerings are made at the temples, and, on the day of the
full-moon, after the whole have partaken of a feast, the blacksmith,
and the gold and silversmith, constructing separately a forge and
furnace within the temple, each makes something in the way of his
vocation, the blacksmith a chopper or axe, the silversmith a ring or
other kind of ornament."

In connection with the ceremonial observances of the Koyis of the
Godavari district, the Rev. J. Cain writes [365] that "at present
the Koyis around Dummagudem have very few festivals, except one at
the harvest of the zonna (Sorghum vulgare). Formerly they had one
not only for every grain crop, but one when the ippa [366] (Bassia)
flowers were ready to be gathered, another when the pumpkins were
ripe, at the first tapping of the palm-tree for toddy, etc. Now, at
the time the zonna crop is ripe and ready to be cut, they take a fowl
into the field, kill it, and sprinkle its blood on any ordinary stone
put up for the occasion, after which they are at liberty to partake
of the new crop. In many villages they would refuse to eat with any
Koi who has neglected this ceremony, to which they give the name
Kottalu, which word is evidently derived from the Telugu word kotta
(new). Rice-straw cords are hung on trees, to show that the feast has
been observed. [In some places, Mr Hemingway tells me, the victim
is a sheep, and the first-fruits are offered to the local gods and
the ancestors.] Another singular feast occurs soon after the cholam
(zonna) crop has been harvested. Early on the morning of that day,
all the men of each village have to turn out into the forest to hunt,
and woe betide the unlucky individual who does not bring home some
game, be it only a bird or a mouse. All the women rush after him with
cow-dung, mud, or dirt, and pelt him out of their village, and he
does not appear again in that village till next morning. The hunter
who has been most successful then parades the village with his game,
and receives presents of paddy (rice) from every house. Mr Vanstavern,
whilst boring for coal at Beddanolu, was visited by all the Koi women
of the village, dressed up in their lord's clothes, and they told
him that they had that morning driven their husbands to the forest,
to bring home game of some kind or other."

Mr N. E. Marjoribanks once witnessed a grossly indecent pantomime,
held in connection with this festival, which is called Bhudevi Panduga,
or festival of the earth goddess. The performers were women, of whom
the drummers and sword-bearers were dressed up as men. In a note on
this festival, Mr F. R. Hemingway writes that "when the samalu crop
is ripe, the Kois summon the pujari on a previously appointed day,
and collect from every house in the village a fowl and a handful of
grain. The pujari has to fast all that night, and bathe early the
next morning. After bathing, he kills the fowls gathered the previous
evening in the names of the favourite gods, and fastens an ear of
samalu to each house, and then a feast follows. In the evening they
cook some of the new grain, and kill fresh fowls, which have not to
be curried but roasted, and the heart, liver, and lights of which are
set apart as the especial food of their ancestral spirits, and eaten
by every member of each household in their name. The bean feast is
an important one, as, until it is held, no one is allowed to gather
any beans. On the second day before the feast, the village pujari must
eat only bread. The day before, he must fast for the whole twenty-four
hours, and, on the day of the feast, he must eat only rice cooked in
milk, with the bird offered in sacrifice. All the men of the village
accompany the pujari to a neighbouring tree, which must be a Terminalia
tomentosa, and set up a stone, which they thus dedicate to the goddess
Kodalamma. Every one is bound to bring for the pujari a good hen and
a seer of rice, and for himself a cock and half a seer of rice. The
pujari also demands from them two annas as his sacrificing fee."

Seed-drills used by agriculturists in the Bellary district are
ornamented with carved representations of the sacred bull Nandi,
the monkey-god Hanuman, and the lingam, and decorated with margosa
(Melia Azadirachta) leaves, to bring good luck.



XII

RAIN-MAKING CEREMONIES


Among the Kalyana Singapu Kondhs of Vizagapatam, a rain-making ceremony
called barmarakshasi is performed, which consists in making life-size
mud images of women seated on the ground, holding grindstones between
their knees, and offering sacrifices to them. [367]

In times of drought, the Koyis of the Godavari district hold a festival
to Bhima, one of the Pandava brothers from whom they claim descent,
and, when rain falls, sacrifice a cow or a pig to him. It is said
[368] to be considered very efficacious if the Brahmans take in
procession round the village an image of Varuna (the god of rain)
made of mud from the bed of a river or tank. Another method is to pour
a thousand pots of water over the lingam in the Siva temple. Malas
(Telugu Pariahs) tie a live frog to a mortar, and put on the top
thereof a mud figure representing the deity Gontiyalamma. They then
take these objects in procession, singing "Mother frog, playing in
water, pour rain by potsfull." The villagers of other castes then
come and pour water over the Malas.

The Rev. S. Nicholson informs me that, to produce rain in the Telugu
country, two boys capture a frog, and put it into a basket with some
nim (margosa, Melia Azadirachta) leaves. They tie the basket to the
middle of a stick, which they support on their shoulders. In this
manner, they make a circuit of the village, visiting every house,
singing the praises of the god of rain. The greater the noise the
captive animal makes, the better the omen, and the more gain for the
boys, for at every house they receive something in recognition of
their endeavours to bring rain upon the village fields.


    "In the Bellary district when the rain fails, the Kapu (Telugu
    cultivator) females catch a frog, and tie it alive to a new
    winnowing fan made of bamboo. On this fan, leaving the frog
    visible, they spread a few margosa leaves, and go singing from
    door to door, 'Lady frog must have her bath; oh! rain god, give
    at least a little water for her.' This means that the drought has
    reached such a stage that there is not even a drop of water for
    the frogs. When the Kapu female sings this song, the woman of the
    house brings a little water in a vessel, pours it over the frog,
    which is left on the fan outside the door sill, and gives some
    alms. She is satisfied that such an action will bring down rain in
    torrents. On the first full-moon day in the month of Bhadrapada
    (September), the agricultural population in the Bellary district
    celebrate a festival called Jokumara, to appease the rain-god. The
    Barike women (said to belong to the Gaurimakkalu section of the
    Kabbera caste) go round the village in which they live, with
    a basket on their heads containing margosa leaves, flowers of
    various kinds, and sacred ashes. They beg for alms, especially
    from the cultivating classes, and, in return for the alms bestowed
    (usually grain or food), they give some of the leaves, flowers,
    and ashes. The cultivators take these to their fields, prepare
    cholam (Sorghum) kanji or gruel, mix them with it, and sprinkle
    the kanji over their fields. After this the cultivator proceeds
    to the potter's kiln in the village, and fetches ashes from it,
    with which he makes the figure of a human being. This figure is
    placed in a field, and called Jokumara or rain-god, and is supposed
    to have the power of bringing down the rain in due season. A second
    kind of Jokumara worship is called muddam, or the outlining of rude
    representations of human figures with powdered charcoal. These are
    made in the early morning, before the bustle of the day commences,
    on the ground at cross-roads, and along thoroughfares. The Barikes,
    who draw these figures, are paid a small remuneration in money or
    kind. The figures represent Jokumara, who will bring down rain,
    when insulted by people treading on him. Yet another kind of
    Jokumara worship prevails in the Bellary district. When rain fails,
    the Kapu females model a small figure of a naked human being, which
    they place in a miniature palanquin, and go from door to door,
    singing indecent songs, and collecting alms. They continue this
    procession for three or four days, and then abandon the figure in
    a field adjacent to the village. The Malas take possession of the
    abandoned Jokumara, and, in their turn, go about singing indecent
    songs, and collecting alms for three or four days, and then throw
    the figure away in some jungle. This form of Jokumara worship
    is also believed to bring down plenty of rain. In the Bellary
    district, the agriculturists have a curious superstition about
    prophesying the state of the coming season. The village of Mailar
    contains a Siva temple, which is famous throughout the district
    for an annual festival held there in the month of February. This
    festival has now dwindled into more or less a cattle fair. But the
    fame of the temple continues as regards the Karanika, which is a
    cryptic sentence uttered by the priest, containing a prophecy of
    the prospects of the agricultural season. The pujari (priest)
    of the temple is a Kuruba (cultivating caste). The feast at
    the temple lasts for ten days. On the last day, the god Siva is
    represented as returning victorious from the battlefield, after
    having slain the demon Malla (Mallasura) with a huge bow. He is
    met half-way from the field of battle by the goddess. The wooden
    bow is placed on end before the god. The Kuruba priest climbs
    up it, as it is held by two assistants, and then gets on their
    shoulders. In this posture he stands rapt in silence for a few
    minutes, looking in several directions. He then begins to quake
    and quiver from head to foot. This is the sign of the spirit of
    the god Siva possessing him. A solemn silence holds the assembly,
    for the time of the Karanika has arrived. The shivering Kuruba
    utters a cryptic sentence, such as 'Thunder struck the sky.' This
    is at once copied down, and interpreted as a prophecy that there
    will be much rain in the year to come." [369]


It is said that, in the year before the Mutiny, the prophecy was
"They have risen against the white-ants."

The villagers at Kanuparti in the Guntur district of the Telugu country
objected, in 1906, to the removal of certain figures of the sacred bull
Nandi and lingams, which were scattered about the fields, on the ground
that the rainfall would cease, if these sacred objects were taken away.

To bring down rain, Brahmans, and those non-Brahmans who copy their
ceremonial rites, have their Varuna japam, or prayers to Varuna,
the rain-god. Some of the lower classes, instead of addressing their
prayers to Varuna, try to induce a spirit or devata named Kodumpavi
(wicked one) to send her paramour Sukra to the affected area. The
belief seems to be that Sukra goes away to his concubinage for about
six months, and, if he does not then return, drought ensues. The
ceremony consists in making a huge figure of Kodumpavi in clay,
which is placed on a cart, and dragged through the streets for seven
to ten days. On the last day, the final death ceremonies of the
figure are celebrated. It is disfigured, especially in those parts
which are usually concealed. Vettiyans (Paraiyan grave-diggers),
who have been shaved, accompany the figure, and perform the funeral
ceremonies. This procedure is believed to put Kodumpavi to shame, and
to get her to induce Sukra to return, and stay the drought. According
to Mr W. Francis, [370] the figure, which is made of clay or straw,
is dragged feet first through the village by the Paraiyans, who
accompany it, wailing as though they were at a funeral, and beating
drums in funeral time.

I am informed by Mr F. R. Hemingway that, when rain is wanted in the
Trichinopoly district, an effigy called Koman (the king) is dragged
round the streets, and its funeral performed with great attention
to details. Or an effigy of Kodumpavi is treated with contumely. In
some places, the women collect kanji (rice gruel) from door to door,
and drink it, or throw it away on a tank bund (embankment), wailing
the while as they do at funerals. People of the higher castes repeat
prayers to Varuna, and read portions of the Virata Parvam in the
Mahabharata, in the hope that the land will be as fertile as the
country of the Virats, where the Pandavas lived. When the tanks and
rivers threaten to breach their banks, men stand naked on the bund,
and beat drums; and, if too much rain falls, naked men point firebrands
at the sky. Their nudity is supposed to shock the powers that bring
the rain, and arrest their further progress. According to Mr Francis,
[371] when too much rain falls, the way to stop it is to send the
eldest son to stand in it stark naked, with a torch in his hand.

A Native of Coimbatore wrote a few years ago that we have done all
things possible to please the gods. We spent about two hundred rupees
in performing Varuna japam on a grand scale in a strictly orthodox
fashion. For a few days there were cold winds, and some lightning. But,
alas, the japam was over, and with that disappeared all signs of
getting any showers in the near future. It is noted by Haddon [372]
that, in the Torres Straits, as elsewhere, the impossible is never
attempted, and a rain charm would not be made when there was no
expectation of rain coming, or during the wrong season.

There is, in some parts of the country, a belief that, if lepers
are buried when they die, rain will not visit the locality where
their corpses have been deposited. So they disinter the bodies, and
throw the remains thereof into the river, or burn them. Some years
ago, a man who was supposed to be a leper died, and was buried. His
skeleton was disinterred, put into a basket, and hung to a tree with
a garland of flowers round its neck. The Superintendent of Police,
coming across it, ordered it to be disposed of.

The following quaint superstitions relating to the origin of rain
are recorded by Mr Gopal Panikkar. [373]


    "In the regions above the earth, there are supposed to exist
    large monsters called Kalameghathanmar, to whom is assigned
    the responsibility of supplying the earth with water. These
    monsters are under the direction and control of Indra, [374] and
    are possessed of enormous physical strength. They have two huge
    horns projecting upwards from the sides of the crown of the head,
    large flashing eyes, and other remarkable features.  All the summer
    they are engaged in drawing up water from the earth through their
    mouths, which they spit out to produce rain in the rainy season. A
    still ruder imagination ascribes rain to the periodical discharge
    of urine by these monsters. Hence, in some quarters, there exists a
    peculiar aversion to the use of rain-water for human consumption."



NOTES


[1] "Gazetteer of the Nilgiris," 1908, i. 338.

[2] Bishop Whitehead, Madras Museum Bull., 1907, No. 3, v. 134.

[3] Madras Museum Bull., 1907, No. 3, v. 139-40.

[4] Malabar, 1887, i. 177-8.

[5] Used as a fly-flapper (chamara).

[6] "Malabar and its Folk," Madras, 2nd edition, 99-100.

[7] N. Sunkuni Wariar, "Ind. Ant.," 1892, xxi. 96.

[8] K. Srikantaliar, "Ind. Ant.," 1892, xxi. 193.

[9] M. N. Venkataswami, "Ind. Ant.," 1905, xxxiv. 176.

[10] "Gazetteer of the Godavari District," 1907, i. 66.

[11] "Note on the Koravas," 1908.

[12] M. J. Walhouse, "Ind. Ant.," 1881, x. 366.

[13] "Manual of the Cuddapah District," 1875, 293.

[14] "Gazetteer of the Godavari District," 1907, i. 47.

[15] M. J. Walhouse, "Ind. Ant.," 1876, v. 21.

[16] India, Trübner, Oriental Series, 1888, i. 182.

[17] Rev. S. Mateer, "Native Life in Travancore," 1883, 330-52.

[18] M. J. Walhouse, Journ. Anthrop. Inst., 1874, iv. 373.

[19] Voyage to the East Indies, 1777 and 1781.

[20] Rev. J. A. Sharrock, "South Indian Missions," 1910, 9.

[21] See Emma Rosenbusch (Mrs Clough), "While sewing Sandals, or
Tales of a Telugu Pariah Tribe."

[22] L. K. Anantha Krishna Iyer, "The Cochin Tribes and Castes,"
1909, i. 114.

[23] "Ind. Ant.," 1873, ii. 65.

[24] F. Fawcett, "Note on the Koravas," 1908.

[25] S. P. Rice, "Occasional Essays on Native South Indian Life,"
1901, 95-6.

[26] Jeypore, Breklum, 1901.

[27] F. Fawcett, "Note on the Koravas," 1908.

[28] Fire-walking, see Thurston, "Ethnographic Notes in Southern
India," 1907, 471-86.

[29] Udaya is one of the divisions of the Badagas, which ranks as
superior to the other divisions.

[30] Koyis, see Cain, Madras Christian College Magazine (old series),
v. 352-9, and vi. 274-80; also "Ind. Ant.," v., 1876, and viii., 1879.

[31] "Gazetteer of the South Arcot District," 1906, i. 98.

[32] Madras Museum Bull., 1907, No. 3, v. 166.

[33] "Manual of the Cuddapah District," 1875, 291.

[34] The Holeyas were formerly agrestic serfs.

[35] "Ind. Ant.," 1873, ii. 66.

[36] Earth-eating (geophagy), see my "Ethnographic Notes in Southern
India," 1907, 552-4.

[37] Letters from Malabar, Translation, Madras, 1862.

[38] F. Fawcett, "Note on the Koravas," 1908.

[39] "Manual of the Cuddapah District," 1875, 288.

[40] Ibid., 285.

[41] M. Paupa Rao Naidu, "The Criminal Tribes of India," Madras,
1907, No. 3.

[42] T. M. Natesa Sastri, Calcutta Review, 1905, cxxi. 501.

[43] "Notes on the Criminal Classes of the Madras Presidency,"
1892, 90.

[44] "Malabar and its Folk," Madras, 2nd. ed., 58-9.

[45] Letters from Madras, 1843.

[46] "Hindu Feasts, Fasts, and Ceremonies," Madras, 1903, 32-3.

[47] Madras Weekly Mail, 15th October, 1908.

[48] Rev. E. W. Thompson, "The Last Siege of Seringapatam," 1907.

[49] "An Indian Olio," 98.

[50] "Manual of the North Arcot District" 1895, i. 223-4.

[51] S. M. Natesa Sastri, "Ind. Ant.," 1889, xviii. 287.

[52] Rev. J. Cain, "Ind. Ant.," 1875, iv. 198.

[53] F. Fawcett, "Note on the Koravas," 1908.

[54] "Ind. Ant.," 1876, v. 358.

[55] "Manual of the Ganjam District," 1882, 71-2.

[56] "Gazetteer of the Bellary District," 1904, i. 61.

[57] Madras Agricult. Bull., 1900, ii. No. 42.

[58] Madras Dioc. Mag., 1908.

[59] Madras Weekly Mail, 7th October 1909.

[60] Loc. cit.

[61] Madras Museum Bull., 1907, v., No. 3, 173.

[62] Many of the bird superstitions here recorded were published in
an article in the Madras Mail.

[63] "Manual of the Cuddapah District," 1875, 293.

[64] "Gazetteer of the Bellary District," 1904, i. 61.

[65] "Manual of the Cuddapah District," 1875, 293.

[66] See Thurston, "Ethnographic Notes in Southern India," 1907, 44-7.

[67] J. S. F. Mackenzie, "Ind. Ant.," 1873, ii., 68.

[68] Rev. F. Dahmen, "Anthropos," 1908, iii. 28.

[69] Rev. M. Phillips, "Evolution of Hinduism," 1903, 123.

[70] "Manual of the Cuddapah District," 1875, 292.

[71] "Manual of the Cuddapah District," 1875, 288.

[72] "Gazetteer of the Tanjore District," 1906, i. 66.

[73] "Manual of the Kurnool District," 1886, 114.

[74] Journ. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc., 1902, xiv., No. 2, 388-91.

[75] "Gazetteer of the Nilgiris," 1908, i. 328.

[76] Journ. Anthrop. Soc., Bombay, i. 241-2.

[77] "Report on the Sea Fisheries of India and Burma," 1873, lxxvi.

[78] "Manual of the Kurnool District," 1886, 115.

[79] M. J. Walhouse, "Ind. Ant.," 1876, v. 23.

[80] Rev. F. Dahmen, "Anthropos," 1908, iii. 30.

[81] "Ind. Ant.," 1876, v. 359.

[82] H. J. Stokes, "Ind. Ant.," 1874, iii. 90.

[83] J. S. Chandler, Calcutta Review, July, 1903, cxvii. 28.

[84] "Totemism," 1887, 33.

[85] M. J. Walhouse, Journal Anthrop. Inst., 1874, iv. 376.

[86] H. D. Taylor, "Madras Census Report," 1891.

[87] Madras Mail, 26th January, 1906.

[88] L. K. Anantha Krishna Iyer, "Cochin Tribes and Castes," 1909,
i. 22.

[89] Madras Mail, 26th January, 1906.

[90] S. P. Rice, "Occasional Essays on Native South Indian Life,"
1901, 211.

[91] Journ. Roy. Asiat. Soc., 1884, xvi. 181.

[92] Report, Govt. Botanical Gardens, Nilgiris, 1903.

[93] "Gazetteer of Malabar," 1908, i. 163.

[94] Letters from Malabar, Translation, Madras, 1862.

[95] 1862, iii. 464.

[96] "Malabar and its Folk," Madras, 2nd ed., 59.

[97] C. Karunakara Menon, Calcutta Review, July, 1901.

[98] C. Karunakara Menon, Calcutta Review, July, 1901.

[99] Madras Mail, 22nd July, 1905.

[100] Vide, Yule and Burnell, "Hobson-Jobson," ed. 1903, 874-9.

[101] Asiatic Journal, ii. 381.

[102] Bishop Whitehead, Madras Diocesan Magazine, July, 1906.

[103] Rev. F. Dahmen, "Anthropos," 1908, iii. 22.

[104] Madras Mail, 26th January, 1906.

[105] Madras Mail, 26th January, 1906.

[106] M. Upendra Pai, Madras Christian Coll. Mag., 1895., xiii.,
No. 1, 29.

[107] Mem. Asiat. Soc., Bengal, 1906, i., No. 10.

[108] T. K. Gopal Panikkar, "Madras and its Folk," Madras, 2nd ed.,
65-6.

[109] "Manual of the Cuddapah District," 1875, 293-4.

[110] Madras Mail, 26th January, 1906.

[111] "Gazetteer of the Vizagapatam District," 1907, i. 286.

[112] "Manual of the South Canara District," 1895, ii. 242.

[113] "Mysore Census Report," 1891, part i. 235.

[114] S. K. Sundara Charlu, Indian Review, 1905, vi., No. 6, 421.

[115] "Gazetteer of the Trichinopoly District," 1907, i. 283.

[116] "Manual of the Cuddapah District," 1875, 288.

[117] "Plagues and Pleasures of Life in Bengal," 1907, 196-8.

[118] Madras Mail, 26th January, 1906.

[119] "Malayalam Dictionary," 1872, 983.

[120] Kerala Chintamani.

[121] Nature, 18th October, 1906.

[122] Grant Duff, "Notes from an Indian Diary, 1881-1886."

[123] L. K. Anantha Krishna Iyer, "The Cochin Tribes and Castes,"
1909, i. 166.

[124] F. Fawcett, Madras Museum Bull., 1901, iii., No 3, 309.

[125] Malabar, 1887, i. 175.

[126] D'Alviella, "The Migration of Symbols," 1894, introduction;
and Times (London), 3rd September, 1891.

[127] Madras Museum Bull., 1906, v., No. 2, 86-7.

[128] Madras Mail, 26th January, 1906.

[129] Leviticus, viii. 29.

[130] The Nayadis are a polluting class, whose approach within 300
feet is said to contaminate a Brahman.

[131] L. K. Anantha Krishna Iyer, "The Cochin Tribes and Castes,"
1909, i. 55-6.

[132] M. J. Walhouse, Journ. Anthrop. Inst., 1890, xix. 56.

[133] "Gazetteer of the Tanjore District," 1906, i. 89.

[134] "Note on the Koravas," 1908.

[135] Madras Standard, 2nd June, 1903.

[136] A tarawad means a family, consisting of all the descendants in
the female line of one common female ancestor.

[137] The senior male in a tarawad or tarwad.

[138] See Calcutta Review, July, 1901, cxiii. 21-5.

[139] Laterite is a reddish geological formation, found all over
Southern India.

[140] Madras Christian Coll. Mag., 1895, xiii., No. 1, 24-5.

[141] The pipal or aswatha (Ficus religiosa). Many villages have such
a tree with a platform erected round it, on which are carved figures
of the elephant god Ganesa, and cobras. Village panchayats (councils)
are often held on this platform.

[142] Indian Patriot, 13th January, 1908.

[143] Elayads, Ilayatus, or Nambiyatiris, are priests at most of the
snake groves on the west coast.

[144] Calcutta Review, July, 1901, cxiii. 21.

[145] "Malabar and its Folk," Madras, 2nd ed., 150.

[146] Madras Standard, 2nd June, 1903.

[147] "Gazetteer of Malabar," 1908, i. 112.

[148] See "Men and Women of India," February, 1906.

[149] "The Cochin Tribes and Castes," 1909, i. 153-4.

[150] "Malabar and its Folk," Madras, 2nd ed., 147-8.

[151] Vol. i. 105.

[152] "Gazetteer of the South Arcot District," 1906, i. 102.

[153] "Gazetteer of the Tanjore District," 1906, i. 70.

[154] Sesha or Adisesha is the serpent, on which Vishnu is often
represented as reclining.

[155] "Ind. Ant.," 1876, v. 188.

[156] See the Skanda Purana.

[157] Other colossal statues of Gummatta are at Karkal and Venur or
Yenur in South Canara.

[158] The feast of lights (dipa, lights, avali, a row).

[159] See Bishop Whitehead, "The Village Deities of Southern India,"
Madras Museum Bull., 1907, v. No. 3.

[160] Ibid., 1901, iii. No. 3, 270-1.

[161] "Gazetteer of the Tanjore District," 1906, i. 219.

[162] Madras Dioc. Mag., November, 1910.

[163] See Fawcett, Note on the Mouth-lock Vow, Journ. Anthrop. Soc.,
Bombay, i. 97-102.

[164] "Gazetteer of the Trichinopoly District," 1907, i. 289.

[165] Scottish Standard Bearer, November 1907.

[166] The Patnulkarans claim to be Saurashtra Brahmans.

[167] "Gazetteer of the Tanjore District," 1906, i. 71.

[168] "Gazetteer of the Madura District," i. 86.

[169] "Primitive Tribes of the Nilagiris," 1873, 17.

[170] Sudra is the fourth traditional caste of Manu.

[171] "Manual of the North Arcot District," 1895, i. 242.

[172] Mysore Census Report, 1901, part i. 519.

[173] Basavi, see article "Deva-dasi" in my "Castes and Tribes of
Southern India," 1909, ii. 125-53.

[174] "Manual of the Cuddapah District", 1875, 283.

[175] Madras Museum Bull., 1907, v. No. 3, 149.

[176] "Gazetteer of the Trichinopoly District," 1907, i. 289.

[177] Jeypore, Breklum, 1901.

[178] "Gazetteer of the Tanjore District," 1906, 1. 72.

[179] "Gazetteer of the Madura District," 1906, i. 86-7.

[180] Ibid., 86.

[181] Madras Museum Bull., 1906, v., No. 2, 78-9.

[182] Madras Museum Bull., 1907, v., No. 3, 149.

[183] "Ind. Ant.," 1881, x. 364.

[184] The Pallis claim to be descendants of the fire race (Agnikula)
of the Kshatriyas, and that, as they and the Pandava brothers were
born of fire, they are related.

[185] "Gazetteer of the South Arcot District," 1906, i. 375-6.

[186] "Gazetteer of the Madura District," 1906, i. 85.

[187] "Narrative of Little's Detachment," 1794, 212-3.

[188] Lambadis or Brinjaris, who formerly acted as carriers of supplies
and baggage in times of war in the Deccan.

[189] Journ. Anthrop. Soc., Bombay, i. 253-4.

[190] "Ind. Ant.," 1879, viii. 219.

[191] Ibid., 1880, ix. 150.

[192] Journ. Anthrop. Soc., Bombay, ii. 272.

[193] "Gazetteer of the Madura District," 1906, i. 86.

[194] "Gazetteer of the South Arcot District," 1906, i. 102.

[195] "Hindu Manners, Customs, and Ceremonies" translation by
H. K. Beauchamp, 1897, ii. 610.

[196] "Ind. Ant.," 1880, ix. 152.

[197] "Mysore," 1897, ii. 350.

[198] Madras Museum Bull., 1901, iii., No. 3, 266.

[199] The making of a shrine, Calcutta Review, 1899, cviii. 173-5.

[200] Bhutha, or demon worship, prevails in South Canara, where the
villages have their bhutha sthanam or demon shrine.

[201] "Cochin Census Report," 1901, part i. 25.

[202] "Gazetteer of the Vizagapatam District," 1907, i. 329.

[203] "Gazetteer of the Anantapur District," 1905, i. 164.

[204] "Native Life in Travancore," 1883.

[205] "Gazetteer of the Madura District," 1906, i. 102.

[206] "Mediæval Sinhalese Art," 1908, 70-75.

[207] Philalethes, "History of Ceylon," 1817, 163.

[208] M. Bapu Rao, Madras Christian Coll. Mag., April 1894, xi.

[209] "Gazetteer of the Madura District," 1906, i. 286.

[210] "Gazetteer of the South Arcot District," 1906, i. 278.

[211] F. Fawcett, Man, 1901, i., No. 29, p. 37.

[212] "Madras Census Report," 1901, part i. 134.

[213] "Malabar and its Folk," Madras, 2nd ed., 133.

[214] Thula (scales), purusha (man), danam (gift).

[215] See Shungoony Menon, "History of Travancore," 1878, 58-72.

[216] Madras Diocesan Record, October, 1905.

[217] "Christianity and Caste," 1893.

[218] Rev. J. Cain, Madras Christian Coll. Mag., 1887-8, v. 358.

[219] In Southern India, turmeric (Curcuma) is commonly called saffron
(Crocus).

[220] "Gazetteer of the Vizagapatam District," 1907, i. 75.

[221] Madras Museum Bull., 1907, v., No. 3, 134.

[222] Ibid., 171.

[223] "An Indian Olio," 79-80.

[224] "Gazetteer of the Nilgiris," 1908, i. 340.

[225] "The Tinnevelly Shanars," 1849.

[226] Madras Dioc. Mag., March, 1903.

[227] Rev. J. Cain, "Ind. Ant.," 1879, viii. 219.

[228] "Hindu Manners, Customs, and Ceremonies,' translation by
H. K. Beauchamp, 1897, i. 143.

[229] "Gazetteer of the Anantapur District," 1905, i. 198.

[230] "Gazetteer of the South Arcot District," 1906, i. 93.

[231] "Gazetteer of the South Arcot District," 1906, i. 92-3.

[232] "Goa and the Blue Mountains," 1851, 339.

[233] "Gazetteer of the Bellary District," 1904, i. 60.

[234] F. Fawcett, Madras Museum Bull., 1901, iii., No. 3, 307.

[235] "Malabar," 1887, i. 175.

[236] "Malabar," 1887, i. 175.

[237] M. J. Walhouse, "Ind. Ant.," 1876, v. 23.

[238] F. Fawcett, Journ. Anthrop. Soc., Bombay, i. 260.

[239] "Manual of the Kurnool District," 1886, 116.

[240] Tennent, "Ceylon," 1860, i. 145.

[241] "Manual of the Cuddapah District," 1875, 292.

[242] Madras Mail, 26th January, 1906.

[243] Madras Museum Bull., 1900, iii., No. 1, 41.

[244] Madras Museum Bull., 1901, iii., No. 3, 195-6.

[245] Madras Dioc. Mag., July, 1905.

[246] Rev. A. C. Clayton, Madras Museum Bull., 1906, v., No. 2, 86.

[247] Journ. Anthrop. Inst., 1890, xix., 56.

[248] Madras Christian Coll. Mag., January, 1907, vi. No. 7.

[249] Rev. A. C. Clayton, Madras Museum Bull., 1906, v., No. 2, 66.

[250] "The Book of Ser Marco Polo, the Venetian," translation, 3rd ed.,
1903, ii. 332.

[251] The pearl fisheries are conducted from Tuticorin in the
Tinnevelly district.

[252] "Ceylon," 1860, ii. 564-5.

[253] "The Golden Bough," 1900, ii. 241 et seq. Bibliography of
human sacrifice among the Kondhs, see Thurston, "Castes and Tribes
of Southern India," 1909, iii. 412-5.

[254] "Selections from the Records of the Government of India,"
No. v., Suppression of human sacrifice and infanticide, 1854. The
subject of Meriah sacrifice is also dealt with by F. E. Penny, in
her novel entitled "Sacrifice," 1910.

[255] "Personal Narrative of Service among the Wild Tribes of
Khondistan," 1864.

[256] "The People of India," 1908, 62.

[257] "Gazetteer of the Vizagapatam District," 1907, i. 202.

[258] "Gazetteer of the Vizagapatam District," 1907, i. 262-3.

[259] Madras Weekly Mail, 6th June, 1894.

[260] "Ind. Ant.," 1876, v. 359.

[261] Madras Christian Coll. Mag., 1887-88, v. 357.

[262] "Gazetteer of the Vizagapatam District," 1907, i. 202.

[263] "Hindu Manners, Customs, and Ceremonies," translation by
H. K. Beauchamp, 1897, i. 70-1.

[264] "Ind. Ant.," 1879, viii. 219.

[265] Infanticide, see Thurston, "Ethnographic Notes in Southern
India," 1907, 502-9.

[266] Marshall, "A Phrenologist amongst the Todas," 1873, 195.

[267] Ellis, "History of Madagascar."

[268] "The Village Deities of Southern India," Madras Museum Bull.,
1907, v. 3, 137, 186.

[269] "Gazetteer of Malabar," 1908, i. 132.

[270] "Mysore and Coorg Manual," 1878, iii. 265.

[271] The Kaniyans of the west coast are exorcisers.

[272] "Mysore and Coorg Manual," 1878, iii. 264-5.

[273] "Ind. Ant.," 1881, x. 366.

[274] Ibid., 1876, v. 22.

[275] "Ind. Ant.," 1878, vii. 177.

[276] "Gazetteer of the Anantapur District," 1905, i. 179.

[277] "Manual of the Cuddapah District," 1875, 284.

[278] Lieutenant-General F. F. Burton, "An Indian Olio," 307.

[279] "Occasional Essays on Native South Indian Life," 1901, 72-3.

[280] "Manual of Medical Jurisprudence in India," 1870.

[281] Indian Review, May, 1900.

[282] "The Cochin Tribes and Castes," Madras, 1909, i. 77-81.

[283] "The Cochin Tribes and Castes," Madras, i. 176-7.

[284] "Malabar," 1887, i. 174.

[285] "Description of a Singular Aboriginal Race inhabiting the summit
of the Neilgherry Hills," 1832, 83-4.

[286] "Madras Police Administration Report," 1900.

[287] "Manual of the Niligiri District," 1880, 212.

[288] "Madras Police Administration Report," 1904.

[289] Ibid., 1905-6.

[290] A. C. Haddon, "Magic and Fetishism" (Religions, ancient and
modern), 1906, 51.

[291] See the articles devoted to these castes in my "Castes and
Tribes of Southern India," 1909.

[292] B. Govinda Nambiar, Indian Review, May, 1900.

[293] M. J. Walhouse, "Ind. Ant.," 1876, v. 22.

[294] "Report of the Chemical Examiner, Madras," 1908, 5.

[295] Journ. and Proc. Asiat. Soc., Bengal, 1905, i. No. 9.

[296] Rev. A. C. Clayton, Madras Museum Bull., 1906, v., No. 2, 82.

[297] Cf. odi cult, 228-9.

[298] "Ind. Ant.," 1876, v. 22.

[299] Gloyer, Jeypore, Breklum, 1901.

[300] "Gazetteer of the Bellary District," 1904, i. 60.

[301] "Gazetteer of the South Arcot District," 1906, i. 93.

[302] "Gazetteer of the Tanjore District," 1906, i. 76.

[303] Journ. Anthrop. Soc., Bombay, ii. 1890, 282-5.

[304] Indian Review, May, 1900.

[305] Journ. Royal Asiat. Soc., 1884, xvi. 185-6.

[306] For a detailed account of demonolatry among the Shanans, I
would refer the reader to the Rev. R. (afterwards Bishop) Caldwell's
now scarce "Tinnevelly Shanans," 1849.

[307] Madras Museum Bull., 1900, iii., No. 1, 51.

[308] Madras Mail, 18th November, 1905.

[309] An example of so-called homoeopathic magic. See Haddon, "Magic
and Fetishism" (Religions ancient and modern), 1906, 19-22.

[310] "Ind. Ant.," 1876, v. 22.

[311] Laccadiveans come to the Malabar coast in sailing-boats.

[312] Nature, 18th October, 1906.

[313] Madras Mail, 18th November, 1905.

[314] F. Fawcett, Madras Museum Bull., 1901, iii., No. 3, 317.

[315] Madras Mail, 19th November, 1897.

[316] In like manner, the chief mourner at the funeral among many
castes, after breaking a water-pot at the graveside, retires without
looking back.

[317] F. Fawcett, Madras Museum Bull., 1900, iii., No. 1, 51.

[318] "Gazetteer of the Madura District," 1906, i. 103.

[319] F. Fawcett, Journ. Anthrop. Soc., Bombay, i. 533-5.

[320] "Gazetteer of the Madura District," 1906, i. 87.

[321] "Gazetteer of the Vizagapatam District," 1907, i. 73.

[322] L. K. Anantha Krishna Iyer, "The Cochin Tribes and Castes,"
1909, i. 99.

[323] F. Fawcett, Madras Museum Bull., 1901, iii., No. 3, 247.

[324] M. J. Walhouse, "Ind. Ant." 1881, x. 364.

[325] "Occasional Essays on Native South Indian Life," 1901, 70-1.

[326] "Gazetteer of the Vizagapatam District," 1907, i. 205.

[327] H. J. Stokes, "Ind. Ant.," 1876, v. 355-6.

[328] L. K. Anantha Krishna Iyer, "The Cochin Tribes and Castes,"
1909, i. 167.

[329] "Gazetteer of the Vizagapatam District," 1907, i. 73.

[330] "Ind. Ant.," 1876, v. 358.

[331] Trial by Ordeal, see my "Ethnographic Notes in Southern India,"
1907, 407-32.

[332] "Gazetteer of the Godavari District," 1907, i. 64.

[333] Madras Christ. Coll. Mag., 1887-8, v. 355.

[334] At times of census, the Konda Doras have returned themselves
as Pandava kulam, or Pandava caste.

[335] "Manual of the Cuddapah District," 1875, 290-1.

[336] Some Pandarams are managers of Siva temples.

[337] "A Madura Missionary, John Eddy Chandler: a Sketch of his
Life," Boston.

[338] A. C. Haddon, "Magic and Fetishism" (Religions ancient and
modern), 1906, 40.

[339] For much of the note on Kaniyans I am indebted to Mr N. Subramani
Iyer.

[340] "Description of the Coasts of East Africa and Malabar,"
translation, Hakluyt Society, 1866, 139.

[341] "Journey through Mysore Canara, and Malabar," 1807, ii. 528.

[342] "Malabar," 1887, i. 140-1.

[343] The Kaniyan, when wanted in his professional capacity, presents
himself with triple ash marks of Siva on his chest, arms, and forehead.

[344] "Gazetteer of Malabar," 1908, i. 130.

[345] C. Gopalan Nair, Malabar Series, "Wynad, its People and
Traditions," 1911, 70-1.

[346] Madras Museum Bull., 1901, iii., No. 3, 273-4.

[347] "Birds of India," 1877, i. 216-7.

[348] The Dusserah or Dasara is also known as Sarasvati puja or Ayudha
puja (worship of weapons or tools). See p. 174.

[349] Madras Weekly Mail, 8th August, 1907.

[350] "History of Railway Thieves," 1904.

[351] The Koravas are professional burglars.

[352] "Madras Census Report," 1901, part i. 164.

[353] "Gazetteer of the Tanjore District," 1906, i. 69.

[354] "Our Tour in Southern India," 1883, 162-3.

[355] "Sketches of Field Sports Followed by the Natives of India,"
1822.

[356] The note was originally published in Madras Museum Bull., 1906,
v., No. 2, 98-105.

[357] The Cherumars are field labourers, who were formerly agrestic
slaves, and, like other servile classes, possess special privileges
on special occasions.

[358] The tulsi plant is the most sacred plant of the Hindus, by whom
it is grown in pots, or in brick or earthen pillars (brindavanam)
hollowed out at the top, in which earth is deposited. It is watered
and worshipped daily.

[359] The sacred conch or chank shell is used as a musical instrument
in processions, and during religious services at Hindu temples.

[360] "Ind. Ant," 1873, iii. 191.

[361] The name Black Town was changed to George Town, to commemorate
the visit of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales to Madras in 1906.

[362] Journ. Anthrop. Inst., 1874, iv. 371.

[363] Buffalo races, see my "Castes and Tribes of Southern India,"
1909, i. 157-62.

[364] "A Singular Aboriginal Race of the Nilagiris," 1832, 76.

[365] "Ind. Ant." 1879, viii. 34.

[366] Liquor is distilled from ippa flowers.

[367] "Gazetteer of the Vizagapatam District," 1907, i. 73.

[368] "Gazetteer of the Godavari District," 1907, i. 47.

[369] Madras Mail, 4th November, 1905.

[370] "Gazetteer of the South Arcot District," 1906, i. 94.

[371] Ibid.

[372] "Magic and Fetishism" (Religions ancient and modern), 1906, 62.

[373] "Malabar and its Folk," Madras, 2nd ed., 63-4.

[374] Indra presides over the seasons and crops, and is therefore
worshipped at times of sowing and reaping.





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