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doubtless become well acquainted. And after all, it exercises comparatively little influence over the great bulk of the people in the south.

There are four principal systems which demand the attention of the missionary to the East, and which are very frequently, and of course very improperly, included under the common name of Hinduism. These are the Vedaic, or primitive system; the Mythologic, or Puranic; the Philosophic; and the Demonolatrous. The Vedaic, or system of the Vedas, is very obscure. It seems to be a system of simple elemental worship. The Védas, though much talked of, and often referred to, are practically unknown in India. The religions of India are in entire opposition to them. Of course, they all profess to be derived from the Védas; but if they are developments of the doctrines taught in the Védas, they are in most cases rich specimens of what Dr. Butler called “ Irish developments,” i.e. developments of a thing into its contradictory. The mythologic system is founded on the Puranas. According to it, almost everything in nature has its own peculiar divinity; heaven, earth, and the abyss are full of beings who are to be worshipped. The principal deities have separate heavens, in which they dwell with their wives, children, and attendants. The most popular deities are the children of Siva, and the incarnations of Vishnú. With this mythological system a multitude of extraneous and inconsistent elements are mingled ; more especially the worship of heroes and demons. The philosophical systems are six in number, but in Tinnevelly these are almost entirely unknown. The system that mostly prevails there is one of avowed demonolatry; modified, however, in some respects, by ideas and practices derived from the mythological and philosophical systems which obtain in the north. There are ideas, however, that seem in some degree common to all the Hindús of


sect. Such are the doctrine of an all-determining and irresistible fate, the doctrine of the metempsychosis, and the doctrine of absorption into the divine essence. These are more or less implicitly received by almost all the people of India. Fatalism is, in fact, quite universal. If you speak to a Hindú about Christianity, the almost invariable answer is, “What you say may be very true, but fate has not designed us to be of the same religion with you. We may be very ignorant, very wicked, very mise

. rable; but, if so, it is fate that has made us thus.” If a Hindú be overtaken by any calamity, he ascribes it to this fate; “ It is my time,” he exclaims. If he has committed some great offence, and is detected, he simply says, “ 'Tis true that I did so; but I

I was then subjected to the delusion which my fate necessitated.” So the demon-worshipper tells you that there may be a wise,

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and holy, and omnipotent Creator and Governor of all things, but that fate has subjected him to the power and influence of malicious demons, whom he is compelled to propitiate with frequent offerings, in whose honour he smears himself with ashes, and whose name he himself bears, and imposes upon his offspring. The doctrine of the metempsychosis, too, though not a part of the system (if system it can be called) of demonolatry, is yet a very favourite speculation. A Hindú might illustrate

. his belief in this and the kindred doctrine of absorption, by leading you to the margin of one of their sacred streams, and taking up a little of the water in the hollow of his hand, and from thence pouring it into a vessel of gold, and from thence into a vessel of silver, and then into one of brass, and then into one of earth, and then pouring it out upon the earth. “ See,” he would say,

“how that water, taken from the stream, was passed from one receptacle to another, until at length it was poured out upon the earth, through which it will find its way back again to the stream from which it was taken. So the spirit of man, derived from the all-pervading essence, dwells in successive habitations, but assimilates with none, until at length, when its fate is accomplished, it is set free and absorbed into the divinity from which it was taken, and of which it is a part.”

They have no hope of an individual existence for ever. Thus " the hope of immortality” is altogether taken away from the Hindú of every class and sect. I shall not now enter into any extended remarks upon

the Brahmanical system, and the various sects wbich profess to follow it; for practically in my work I have had, for some years past, little or nothing to do with the votaries of that system, and I am desirous in these papers to confine myself, as far as possible, to an account of things that have come under observation, or have been connected with my own missionary work. Doubtless, the Brahmanical religions have indirectly exercised a great influence over the habits and opinions of all castes and classes; but the great majority of the Shánárs and others in Tinnevelly do not worship the Hindú deities, but are avowed devil-worshippers. In my own district, if you were to enter any village, you would see at the top of the principal streets, and in the market-place, little mud buildings with a wooden grating in front, and often a lofty kind of scaffold by the side of it. If you looked into it, you would see, most probably, a few pillars of palmyra-wood, with ornamented capitals of margosa-wood, supporting the roof; and in a little inner temple, frequently one or two hideous images either of clay or of wood, or even of stone. Perhaps you would inquire of a passer-by the nature and uses of the building; the answer would be, "It is

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a Pey-covil” (i.e. devil-temple). “ And do you really worship the Pey—the devil ?” “Why should I not, when my ancestors always did so ?” “ But why do you do so ?” “Oh, a devil resides here, and if he were not propitiated by offerings and sacrifices, he would plague and destroy the village: the cattle would die, the children in the village would languish, the palmyra-climber would fall from the trees and be killed, we should be visited by strange diseases: terrible is the anger of the Pey. “But have you never heard of holy and beneficent beings that protect the sons of men, and deliver them from the power of demons ?” “Yes, we know they are worshipped by many, but

” these have nothing to do with us; what do we know of them? We know that the Brahmans and others worship their gods, and the Europeans worship theirs. Doubtless he is the strongest, for has he not given to those that worship him great power, and dominion, and wisdom? You and your people may safely neglect and despise these devils, for over you they have no power; but we are theirs, and fearful indeed would be our sufferings if we were to fail to present to them our accustomed offerings.

But perhaps you may see in the neighbourhood of the temple an individual rather more filthy and disreputable in appearance than the other inhabitants of the village. If you ask who he is, the probable answer will be that he is a Pey-ásári (devil-priest), or Pey-ádi (devil-dancer). If of him you inquire the particulars of the worship, he will tell you that there are multitudes of these demons, of various classes, which are worshipped with various rites. Some of these seem to have had a Brahmanical origin, as, for instance, one whose name, if translated into English, would be “the mighty one who dances around the burning field;” and another whose name is “the bullock of the burning fields.” It seems probable that the histories of Daksha given in the Vishnu-Puránum, and of Virábahadra, and other beings of a similar nature, are the foundation of the worship of these the higher order of demons.

Others of these demons are nothing more than men notorious or dreaded in their day, and now worshipped by the people among whom their fame still lingers. Their restless spirits are supposed to haunt the lands where they dwelt, and wander around the scenes of the commission of their acts of violence. Several Maráver-robbers-have thus been elevated to the rank of demons, and are worshipped by thousands in Tinnevelly and Travancore, and, I imagine, in other parts of India too. Certainly, this worship prevails extensively in Ceylon. This worship is found among them in all stages. Around a wide-spreading tree you see a circle of stones or bushes, within which are a few smaller stones forming a kind of rude fire-place, and perhaps an iron hook suspended from a branch of the tree, with a few withered garlands of flowers. Well, that is a devil-temple. In that tree he dwells, and many an one has seen his fiery eyes gleaming among the foliage in the darkness of the night; and there he sits perched at the very extremity of a bough, waiting to leap down on the unwary passer-by. Many a rash maiden, who has passed that tree after nightfall, has been seized with strange tremblings and convulsive fits, and afterwards dreamed wild dreams of demons visiting her in the silence of the midnight, from which starting up affrighted, she arouses her relatives to perform ceremonies and present gifts to propitiate the demon. And then rice is boiled under the shade of the tree, and the sheep or fowl slain, and after his blood has been poured out, hung up on the hook, an offering to the demon, and then cooked and eaten--a feast in his honour, in which he joins and is appeased.

A little further on you see by the road-side a rude pyramid of sun-burnt bricks, or stone and lime, and generally whitewashed, though sometimes, in imitation of the Vishnú-worshippers, it is smeared with alternate stripes of whitewash and red-ochre. This, the native will tell you, is the demon: he has so taken up his abode in and around it, that it must be revered as the Pey himself.

A little further on, you come to an enclosure, resembling a burial-ground, surrounded by a low mud wall, full of these pyramids, of all sizes from six feet to two in height. This is a pandemonium: here all the demons meet, and the inhabitants of the village hard-by either worship all the demons together in this place, or each individual offers his worship to his own peculiar favourite.

In a village consisting of twenty-five houses, I have seen eight devil-temples, with walls of sun-burnt brick, and roof of palmyra-wood, covered with leaves. It is a common thing for a man, when he or any of his family fall sick, or any calamity impends, to summon a devil-dancer to ascertain from the demon the cause of the infliction. The answer generally is, “ Such and such a demon is angry with you, because you have failed for some time to offer anything at his shrine, or you have slighted him in some way, and he will not be appeased without your bestowing on me so many rupees for ceremonies to be performed in his honour, and erecting a temple to him at the expense of so many rupees." In these cases, very large sums are often expended in satisfying the angry spirit.

I shall not attempt to describe to you the scenes enacted at a devil-dance. At intervals you hear the shrill shout which indicates the commencement of the horrid rites, mingled with


the shrieks of the rude wind-instruments, the clangour of the cymbals, and, in the houses, the harsh braying of the native trumpet.

Looking in the direction of the sound, you will see a glare among the trees, as if the whole jungle were on fire. If you were to approach, you would see the priests arrayed in their sacrificial garments, like mountebanks at a fair. One of these garments, worn on such occasions for many years by one who is now a consistent Christian, is in my possession. It is a long cloth of Tinnevelly cotton, woven and printed in the district. On it there are the representations of various demons, male and female, and groups of worshippers decking their altars, presenting sacrifices, and performing acts of worship. One of these female demons is represented with four arms: one of these grasps a child, which she is in the act of devouring; another hand holds a spear, on which an infant is transfixed; in each of her other hands she holds a victim: under each foot is a child, which she is crushing to death; and around her girdle are slung four other children, to be afterwards devoured. Such is the being whom thousands of our fellow-men picture to themselves as controlling their destinies, and lurking around their dwellings, eager to torment and destroy their offspring.

You would hear the demons invoked, in low, monotonous strains; you would see, perchance, the priest writhing in the sand, foaming at the mouth, quivering in every limb, and, as the native would whisper to you, possessed by the demon. You would see the sacrifice presented to this representative, or supposed incarnation, of the evil one; you would see him worshipped by crowds of men, women, and children, wrought up to a perfect frenzy of excitement by the scene. But enough of this.

And shall it be said that with these things we, as a Christian people, have nothing to do? Shall our efforts for the overthrow of such a system be regarded by Christian men with cold indifference, or even opposed on the ground of political inexpediency? No! Individual missionaries may have been rash, and some of the advocates of missions may have been too sanguine and enthusiastic, but this is a work which no Christian, no Englishman, no philanthropist, would willingly see abandoned.

Numberless particulars throng upon my recollection, but


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According to Ovid, the first glimpse of European religion which the Hindus obtained was not very different from this :

“ Bacche

Cum timuit thyrsos India victa tuos.”
Poor India ! Always “victa," always “timens," always at the mercy of Europe !
And, indeed, the seventeenth century did not give the Hindús any very favourable
ideas of the religion of any of our European nations.

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