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arise from their seats, and show him reverence. “The sayings of the old are like ambrosia."
XXI. 13. — “And he shall take a wife in her virginity.” So the priests here marry virgins only. Should they have had two or three wives, it is of no consequence; the next must also be a virgin.
18.-"For whatever man he be that hath a blemish,
he shall not approach; a blind man, or a lame, or
he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous.” Even those of the seed of Aaron who had any personal defect were not allowed to take a part in the offerings of the Lord.
The priesthood amongst the Hindoos is hereditary, but a deformed person cannot perform a ceremony in the temple; he may, however, prepare the flowers, fruits, oils, and cakes for the offerings, and also sprinkle the premises with holy water.
The child of a priest being deformed at the birth will not be consecrated. A priest having lost an eye or a tooth, or being deficient in any member or organ, or who has not a wife, cannot perform the ceremony called Teevāsam, for the manes of departed friends. Neither will his incantations, or prayers, or magical ceremonies have any effect.*
XXIII. 14. — “Ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched
corn, nor green ears, until the self-same day that
have brought an offering unto your God.” Thus were the Israelites, before they enjoyed the fruits of the earth, to present a part of them to the Lord. Harvest,
By law, a crook-backed” person cannot sit in the council; and the son of a king, if deformed, would not be allowed to reign. All persons with deficient or superfluous members are believed to be suffering under the sins of a former birth.
in all ages, appears to have been a time of sacred or profane festivity.
The Hindoos look forward to the reaping time with great delight; and when the corn is ready for the sickle, a fortunate day is selected, and the farmer, with his priest and servants, joyfully go to commence the harvest. A favourite and often-tried corner of the field is pointed out as the place where the reapers are to commence their operations. The servants, knowing the place, previously take a cocoa-nut, plantains, areca-nuts, and beetle leaves to the spot; and one of the party brings a dish covered with white cloth, in which there is a cocoa-nut and some rice. An image of the god Pulliar is then made of cow-dung: and the fruits they have brought, with incense, are offered to the idol. The master then goes and reaps a little, and the servants spring forward to their work. The priest has all the offerings as a reward for the ceremonies; and after a certain quantity of the corn has been reaped, the farmer and his servants take it up, and proceed to the family residence. Within his gate is a vessel filled with water, on which are mango leaves and a cocoa-nut: around this he moves once from left to right, and the corn is given into the hands of the mistress, who deposits it in the assigned place.
The next time they go to the field a larger quantity is reaped and immediately thrashed, and a few parrahs are sent to the temple.
After these duties have been attended to, they make merry amongst themselves. In a fortunate hour, the new rice is boiled in a vessel, which has been rubbed with holy ashes, and when ready is placed before the master with large quantities of curries. He mixes altogether, and offers it to a lighted lamp, and after having tasted it three times, with two fingers and a thumb, he sits down, and prepares to distribute to his guests. They all sit in rows on the ground, and after having finished their repast, the fragments are buried in the garden. Before the visiters retire they each say some pleasant
thing to their host, as, “ My lord, may the gods ever keep you.”—“May we ever have the pleasure of eating from
22.—“When ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt
not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field
- neither shalt thou gather any gleaning.” Fields in the East, instead of hedges, have ridges. In the corners they cannot easily work with the plough, and therefore prepare that part with a man-vetty, i. e. an earth cutter, or large kind of hoe. The corn in these corners is seldom very productive, as the ridge for some time conceals it from the sun and other sources of nourishment, and the rice also, in the vicinity, soon springing up, injures it by the shade. Under these circumstances, the people think but little of the corners, and were a person to be very particular, he would have the name of a stingy fellow.
From this view, it appears probable, that the command was given, in order to induce the owner to leave the little which was produced in the corners for the poor.
No farmer will allow any of his family to glean in the fields, the pittance left is always considered the property of the poor. In carrying the sheaves all that falls is taken up by the gleaners. *
XXIV. 2.-" To cause the lamps to burn continually." The lamp kept before the idols is never allowed to go out.
XXVI. 31. " I will not smell the savour of
your sweet odours.” 1 Sam. xxvi. 19. “ Accept an offering;” the Hebrew has, for offering, “smell.” Gen. viii. 21. Amos v. 21. Eph. v. 2.
Should they be opposed, they curse their opposers, and say, “ May this rice soon be parched,” alluding to the custom of scattering parched rice in the funeral procession. They therefore pray that the rice may soon have to be parched for the funeral of the owner.
The Hindoos believe that odoriferous spices and drugs are most acceptable to the gods. Hence they are much used in all the services of the temples.
But offerings which are destitute of scent, also, are said to give a sweet smell to the gods; thus, of a man who has made large presents to the temple, it is said, the gods have had a fine smell from his offerings.
XXVII. 28. — “No devoted thing that a man shall de
vote unto the Lord, of all that he hath, both of man and beast, and of the fields of his possession, shall
be sold or redeemed." Whatever has been devoted to the gods can never be sold, redeemed, or applied to any other purpose.
In every village, there are chroniclers of strange events, of the visitations of the gods on men who did not act fairly and truly with their devoted things. There is a story generally received of “a deranged man, who in a lucid interval made a vow that he would give his gold beads to the temple of Siva, and he became quite well. After this he refused to perform his vow, and he died.” “ Another person, who was very ill of a fever, devoted a goat to the gods, and immediately became well; but some time after, he refused the gift, and his fever returned.”
When a child becomes sick, the parents forthwith enquire, “Have we given all the things we devoted to the gods?” The medical man also, (when the disease baffles his skill !) enquires, “ Have you given all the things you devoted to the
CHAP. V. verse 2. “ Whosoever is defiled by the
dead." All who attend a funeral procession, or ceremony, become unclean, and before they return to their houses must wash their persons and their clothes.*
Neither those in the sacred office, nor of any other caste, can, under these circumstances, attend to any religious ceremonies. They cannot marry, nor be present at any festivity, nor touch a sacred book. A person on hearing of the death of a son, or other relative, immediately becomes unclean. The Brahmins are unclean twelve days; those of the royal family, sixteen days; the merchants, twenty-two; and all other castes, thirty-two days.
17.- “ And the priest shall take holy water.” A woman who was accused of adultery was to drink the water, and to say Amen! to the curses which were pronounced by the priest. Thus, if she were guilty, the water gave effect to the curse. Verse 24.
The Hindoos in a court of justice, after having repeated the formulary, drink holy water, which is administered by the priest, to confirm their oath.t
21.-" Thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to swell.” The people often curse each other by saying, “ Ah, thy belly shall become large;" meaning they shall have the dropsy or some other complaint to cause the enlargement.
* Females never attend funeral processions in the East.
+ This water is brought from the Ganges, or made sacred by the priests.