AS to what concerns the Religion in these Parts, the Natives are of two sorts, viz. Pagans, and Mahumetans.
*In India is a general Toleration, each man be∣ing free to change his Religion, and use what form he pleases, without fear of the Great Mogol's Magistrates, which are Mahumetans.
That which we will here declare of the Indians Religion, is drawn from the Vedam, or Book of their Law,* which comprehends both their Cre∣denda, and Agenda; what they are to believe, and what Ceremonies they are to perform. This Book being written in Rhyme in the Samscortam Tongue, is divided into four Parts: The first call'd Roggowedam; the second, Issourewedam; the third, Samawedam; and the fourth, Adderawa∣nawedam.
The first part treats of the Original of things; as also of Angels and Souls; of the Reward for good, and Punishment of bad Angels; of Gene∣ration and Corruption; what Sin is; how it can be forgiven; who can do it, and wherefore.
The second gives account of the Governors to whom they ascribe the Dominion of all things.
The third instructs them in Morality, perswades them to be vertuous, and to abhor all manner of Vice.
The fourth describes the Ceremonies which are to be us'd in their Pagodes, Offerings, and Feasts. But this Part hath a long time since been lost, by which means the Brahmans have lost much of their Power and Respect, which per∣haps was not long before the Birth of our Savior; for it is apparent, that the Vedam at that time was very much altered, it sufficiently appearing there∣in, that the Writers thereof were not altogether Strangers to the knowledge of our Saviour, not∣withstanding they kept the same secret, according to the Custom and Manner of the Heathens.
The Brahmans judge themselves bound and oblig'd to observe the Vedam, without any con∣tradiction or exception, when any Text is taken out of the same: But about the sence it self (which is to be observ'd) there arise many diffe∣rences amongst them; for some explain it after one manner, and others after another; though for the clearing or deciding of these Disputations, they have made a Jestra, which is a Comment or Explanation thereof.
Moreover, the Indians on the Coasts of Corman∣del,Page 144and several other places in India, acknow∣ledge not onely one God, but also one onely su∣pream Deity, though perhaps in several places they differ in the Name: for the Wistnowa's, other∣wise Benjans, account Wistnow, by some call'd Ma∣hadeu, for the supream; but the Seivia's make Eswara the chief, which they call by many other Names, and also make him to be of two different Sects; yet nevertheless they adore him not, but make choise of other lesser Deities, which they worship.
*The Brahmans judge generally of God, as of a Man, and that that which is pleasing and accepta∣ble to Men, should likewise be so to God; like∣wise that all things which recreate Men, delight God also; wherefore the Wistnowa's allow their prime God Wistnow a most beautiful Woman, call'd Laetsemi, which was thrown up out of the Sea, when it was disturb'd by the Mountain Me∣rowa, as is before related. The Seivia's or Brah∣mans who account Eswara for the supream God, allow him another Wife, whom they call Parvati, Isweri, or Parma Isweri, and also by many other Names.
*Amongst the chief of their lesser Deities, which are erected in the great Temple built by the Wist∣nowa's in honor of Wistnow, stand the Images of Garrouda and Annemonta, who are both accounted very faithful Servants to Wistnow, being ready on all occasions to perform his pleasure: Their Ex∣tract they relate fictitiously, viz. that of Garrouda sprung out of an Egge after a pullulation of five hundred years, with other ridiculous Circum∣stances; and the other of Annemonta, who was in the form of an Ape, to be preternatural without Coition of his Parent-Apes. This Annemonta, which (as the Brahmans affirm) properly signifies the Wind, was ever since his Birth a faithful Ser∣vant to Wistnow, when he frequented the Earth under the Name of Ramma, wherefore he hath a place set apart for his particular Service in Wist∣now's Temple or Pagode; and as Garrouda serves Wistnow in Heaven, so Annemonta executes his Commands on Earth, which he also will desert at last, and ascend up to Heaven.
The Kings of India, Cambaya and Bengala, all observe the Moorish or Mahumetan Religion, be∣cause the Moors which are brought Slaves into India, have by degrees made themselves Masters, and subduing many of the Pagans, have forc'd them to embrace their Religion.
Della Valle tells us, that the Indians have many Gods, which they worship as their Protectors, and consecrate Pagodes to them. These their Deities were formerly Kings of the Countrey, or famous Heroes, who for their heroick Exploits were very highly reverenc'd amongst them, honoring them as the Greeks and Romans did Jupiter and Mars.
*These divine Heroes are not all one and the same, but very different: for those on the main Land of India, which is under the Great Mogol's Jurisdiction, are quite contrary to those in the Kingdom of Coutzyn, and in the Countreys lying near the Sea, as also others in Pegu, Siam, China, and Japan. This is to be concluded from the se∣veral Names, that differ exceedingly, which pos∣sibly may arise from the several Languages us'd in the various Countreys where they are worship∣ped; yet nevertheless these Demi-gods are but the same, as he who anciently by the Egyptians was worshipp'd by the Name of Osyris, was by the Greeks reverenc'd under the Name of Bacchus.
*The number of these ancient Heroes amongst the Indians is almost infinite; amongst others one nam'd Crusen, is highly esteem'd by them; but the chiefest of all is Ramo, or Ram, or Ramna, which Name is in such veneration amongst them, that they use the same in their Salutations, and in stead of bidding one another Farewel at their de∣parture, they say Ramo, Ramo.
This Idol is very eminent amongst the Japan∣ners, and known by several Names, as Sotoqui, Siacka, Amida, and Saka; amongst the Chineses, by that of Sekia or Saka; amongst the Tungkindans, by that of Tecka. What this Ramo did during his stay on Earth, we have already related.
*Besides Ram, and many other Gods, they make another every New-years-day of some Creature or other, every one selecting that which prov'd suc∣cessful to him on the first day of the new Year. They also carefully preserve that thing which they have elected for their Idol in their House, and worship it as the Romans their Dii Penates, or domestick Gods, committing all their Concerns to their discretion.
About the latter part of the year they repair to the River Ganges, to throw their old Idols into it, that they may chuse new ones, as they had done the year before.
*In many places of India are also Idols, which by the delusion and instigation of the Devil are like Oracles, resolving Questions after the same manner as in the time of the Greeks and Romans. They make their Demands, and speak to them after this manner, viz. the Implorer having said several Prayers, puts a Flower, or any such like thing into the Hands or Bosom of the Idol, which they desire either to throw to the right Hand, if their Business shall be successful, but if not, to the left; whereupon (as they say) the Idol immediately casts the Flower to the one or other side, according to the intended good or bad suc∣cess of the Business; but if the Idol chance to keep the Flower some time before he throws it away, then they desire him not to delay, and judge also, that the longer he keeps it, the more difficult it will be to accomplish their Designs.
*The Brahmans also worship the Sun when it rises and sets, building Pagodes in honor of it, wherein they shew Reverence to its Image. Good Angels they call Dewetaes; and evil Spirits, Raets∣jasjaes, which they believe were begotten by a Man, viz. the Brahman Cassiopa, who was Father to both his Wives, the one call'd Deti, Mother of the Dewetaes, and the other Aditi, or Caddrowa∣wiuneta, Mother of the Raetsjasjaes. Moreover, the Cassiopa before mention'd, some suppose to be Adam, and Aditi to be Eve: for they maintain that Cassiopa was the first Brahman, who had a Son by Bramma: And (as we have already mention'd) they do not make God to be the Creator of Man∣kind, but one Bramma, whom they affirm to have created nine in the beginning, and out of these nine, and those which he begot by his Wife Saras∣wati, the whole Generation of Mankind pro∣ceeded.
*All the Brahmans, except some few of them) firmly believe the Immortality of the Soul, but are of divers opinions concerning its original: for some suppose that the Soul had no beginning, but was comprehended in God and his Being; but ac∣cording to others, it lay asleep before the Crea∣tion of the World. Others again maintain, that the Soul was not without beginning, but that God Page 145
Outward zeal in Religion they judge very ne∣cessary, as appears by their following the Com∣mandments written by Bramma, wherein consisted (according to his testimony) the Service of Wist∣now and Eswara, who require as well the outward Worship as inward Devotion, and to that purpose they have these Commandments, viz.
*I. A Man must not be proud, but wholly give his Thoughts and Soul to God.
II. He must remain God's Servant.
III. He must always be a great Friend to God.
IV. He must think on his Might and Omni∣potence.
Those which concern their outward Worship are these:
I. A Man must always be ready to hear any Discourse of God.
II. He must often call on his Name, and speak of his Glory.
III. He must make use of, and perform his Laws according to the Explanation of the Brah∣mans.
IV. Their Images they must adorn and beau∣tifie with Ornaments.
V. Lastly, they must worship their Images.
The Brahmans affirm, that those who for a cer∣tain time faithfully perform and obey the fore∣mention'd Commandments, shall attain to great knowledge, nay, to that perfection, that they shall never need more to observe the outward Ceremonies, but do God great Service by onely thinking on him, and thereby merit Heaven.
As to what concerns their outward Worship, they first (according to the Contents of these Rules) build Temples in honor of Wistnow and Eswara, which are not onely bigger than those erected for lesser Deities, but have also indifferent high Steeples, which the other have not. And because the Disciples of Wistnow and Eswara are scatter'd through the whole Countrey, therefore there is a Pagode in every Town, dedicated to these two Deities.
*In the Realm of Carnatica, the most noted Pa∣godes are these following, which are all dedicated to Wistnow and Eswara.
- In Madure, the Pagode Jockenata, which is very large and magnificent.
- In Trisinapoli, the Pagode Sriringam.
- In Wistow Canje, the Pagode Warderason.
- In Trivelour, the Pagode Wireragna.
- In Seva Canje, the Pagode Ecaubranata, in honor of Eswara, for Prettevi, or the Earth.
- In Triwanacawere, the Pagode Jembounateswara, consecrated to Eswara, for Apou, or the Water.
- In Trinamula, the Pagode Aranajaleswara, in ho∣nor of Eswara, for Tseejem, or the Fire.
- In Calist, the Pagode Calist Eswara, in honor of Eswara, for Waijou, or the Wind.
- In Settamberam, the Pagode Settamberam Eswa∣ra, in honor of the same, for Acasjem, or the Air.
- In Tripeti, the Pagode Winket Eswara, besides more in several places of India.
*To make these Pagodes esteem'd and reveren∣ced, the Brahmans relate strange things of them, (which make such an impression upon the Minds of the ignorant People, that they are thereby mov'd to bestow rich Gifts thereon towards their Maintenance) viz. either in honor and praise of the Idol which is erected in the Pagode, or else some wonderful or remarkable thing which either hath, or is to happen there.
At Jembrenata they affirm, that a Fruit call'd Nerou Pandou, should appear constantly every day at Noon at the Feet or the Idol.
That at Sirateni, about the foremention'd time, there grows daily a Flower out of a Stone lying in a Trough full of Water before the Idol Eswara.
In Great Canje they say happens yearly on a Fe∣stival Page 146
The Pagode at Trisinapoli is become famous by means of an Image, standing in the same, which is said to have worshipp'd Bramma in Person as we have already related at large.
Though the Pagodes of Wistnow and Eswara are of a considerable bigness, being much larger than those of the lesser Numens, yet are they not comparable to the Churches of Europe, being very low and flat; yet some of them have high Stee∣ples, as amongst others the Pagode near Tegnepa∣tram, commonly call'd The White Pagode.
In many places the Pagodes are built in the Fields, and are without Windows or Holes, so that no Light comes into them but through the Doors, so that they are generally very dark; they are commonly divided into three Walks, the first being a Vault resting on Stone Columns, into which any one may come, it being always open: In it are several Statues of Elephants, Oxen, Hor∣ses, &c. which are us'd in the Service of the Idol, who is often drawn upon them through the Streets of the Cities. The second having a strong Gate, is open onely in the day-time; but the Brahmans, who inhabit the same, suffer none to come in thi∣ther, which is generally furnish'd with Images of horrid Shapes as Men with many Heads and Arms. In the third Isle, which is lock'd up with a strong Door, stand the Images of Wistnow and Eswara.
They represent their God Wistnow or Mahadeu (according to Della Valle) in the likeness of a small Stone Column, which grows less and less from the bottom upwards. The Name Mahadeu a∣mongst the Indians signifies properly Great God, whose Vertues they highly extol, believing him to be very wonderful, adding moreover, that whil'st he liv'd on Earth, he daily grew bigger and bigger, nay, that his Image still grows greater as it stands in their Temples.
They also represent Mahadeu in another Shape, of Crystal, and make Offerings at his Fet, which consist in Milk, Oyl, Rice, and the like. They al∣so represent him like a Man, but having sixteen Arms on each side.
Round about the Pagodes is a large inclos'd Plain full of smaller Buildings, serving for their lesser Deities.
In the Pagode of Wistnow, Laetsemi, Consort to Wistnow, hath a Chappel; as also Garrouda and Annemonta, both faithful Servants of Wistnow. The Image Garronda is represented like a Man, with Wings; that of Annemonta or Hanneman, with a Face like an Ape.
On the foremention'd Plains stand Cisterns, in which grows the Herb Toleje, which with its use is mention'd before. They never go on these Plains about the Pagodes, but always with their right Side towards the Temple.
The Brahmans account their Pagodes to be the Houses and Residences of their Gods, and there∣fore enter into them with great Reverence. Part of the Customs for Goods sold and bought, are bestow'd on them; as also part of the Sandal Wood, Benjamin, and long Pepper, and likewise of all Monies that are Coin'd. They also go in Pilgrimage to the Pagodes, and upon certain Feast-days make great Presents and Offerings to them.
The Pagode Winket Eswara in the City Tripeti, hath yearly three Feafts; one in September, at which time great numbers of People flock thither from all parts of the Countrey, especially the Soudra's, who commonly carry many Presents with Page 147
By means of the great concourse to this Pagode it hath great advantages, amounting to a vast: Re∣venue, which arises wholly from the Presents brought thither, none of the Heathens going with empty Hands, but discharging their Promises and Vows there, which they make for the obtaining of Health, or accomplishing any Business.
*They seldom have any publick Meetings in their Pagodes, nor any set-day for Worship, but frequenly carry die Image of Wistnow and Eswara on their Shoulders through the Streets of the City, viz. they carry Eswara's about every Month on the Amawasi, or first day; and on the ninth day after the new Moon, that of Wistnow. They are car∣ry'd after this manner: The Image is plac'd on a woodden Horse, with his fore Feet rais'd, and his hinder Legs standing on a Plank, and so carry'd on the Shoulders of several Men; before the Horse they bear lighted Torches, and Umbrella's over its Head; near the Horse stands one who constantly fans the Image, to keep the Flies from it; and when they have done, they return it to the old place in the Pagode again, where some ap∣pointed for that purpose, Dance before the Image, whil'st others Sing Anthems in praise of the Idol, playing on Cymbals, and beating on Drums.
It is also a Custom in this Countrey, to devote young Virgins to the Pagodes, after which they are bound never to Marry, but spend their Lives onely in Dancing before their Gods, to whom (as they say) it is so acceptable, that they shall merit Heaven by it.
Each Person also according to his Sect, by virtue of their eighth Commandment of internal Religion, studies to do honor to his Idol, bestow∣ing on it all manner of Service which he supposes to be best pleasing to it.
The Wistnowa's strew their Images erected in ho∣nor of Wistnow, with Flowers, put rich Clothes on it, adorn'd with Diamonds, Rubies, and other Pre∣cious Stones, thereby to make him appear glori∣ous In the Eyes of all Men. But their God Eswara, they affirm, delights in something else, viz. to be wash'd constantly with sweet Waters, which his Worshippers are no way negligent in performing, but continually wash the aforesaid Deity with all sorts of perfum'd Waters.
They also carry these Images every year on their Festival days through the most eminent Streets of their Cities, in a Wagon as high and large as an ordinary House; those which draw it are Fishermen, and the like mean People, accom∣pany'd by a a great number of divers Tribes, which is a Custom observ'd through the whole Coun∣trey. The Image of Wistnow every year on the tenth of January in the afternoon, they carry out of the City into the Fields on a woodden Horse, where they let loose a Ram, which they endeavor to kill as he runs; as also a Fox, which they strive to destroy with their Clubs, but he commonly escapes them. Towards the Evening they carry the Image home again through the Streets, ac∣company'd with abundance of People carrying lighted Torches, and at last set it in the old place. The following day they shew honor to the God Eswara, by carrying of his Image into the Fields after the same manner, as also on the twelfth, though not on Horseback, but onely on Mens Shoulders.
Della Valle tells us, that the greatest part of the Service which the Indians perform to their Gods, consists onely in Singing, Dancing, playing on Musical Instruments, serving them with Meat, Bathing, Washing, Perfuming them, and the like. Few of them spend their time in Praying or Read∣ing, which as some believe, are onely to bring them to the perfect knowledge of God, to which when they have attain'd, the Books become alto∣gether useless. Some Priests Dance stark naked, before their Idol, excepting a Cloth about their Middle, to cover their Privities, whil'st others Page 148
*On the eighth of January all the Marry'd Wo∣men of the Brahmans keep a Feast call'd Gawri Dewi, and by the Seiva's, Maha Secti, in honor of Parvati, to obtain long Life for their Husbands, and that they may never be Widows. This Feast lasts ten days, and is kept after this manner; viz. The Women make an Image of Meal, Rice, and a sort of red Grain, for Parvati, which they strew and adorn with all manner of Flowers, and pla∣cing it in a Sedan, carry it on the tenth day out of the City, accompany'd with a great Train of People, who casting the Image into a Pool of Water, return home.
*On the eighth of February the Seiva's and Smarta's, but not the Wistnowa's, keep a Feast call'd Tseweratre, on which they fast a whole day and a night; but the Soudra's spend the night in Dancing, so to keep themselves from sleeping. This Feast is kept in commemoration of what Eswara did when the Callecote Wissiam, or venom∣ous Poyson before mention'd was found in the World.
*On the fourteenth day after the new Moon in August, not onely the Brahmans, but also the Sou∣dra's, both Men and Women, keep a Feast com∣monly call'd Ananta Padmanaba Uratam, that they may enjoy Health in this Life, and merit Heaven hereafter. They keep this Feast commonly near a River, or else in their Houses or Pagodes, with many Ceremonies, and tie a red String with four∣teen Knots about their Arms, the Knots being the Marks of Ananta, Padmanaba. They keep this Feast once every year; but those which have kept it for fourteen years together, arc not oblig'd to keep it any more, but onely to make a Treat for the Brahmans; who to make this Feast esteem'd amongst the People, relate several ridiculous Fa∣bles, which we will here omit.
On the full Moon in August, the Brahmans and Wistnowa's keep the Feast Tsrawanala Pondema; as also the Soudra's on the eighth day after the full Moon,* a Feast call'd Gokoulastemi, in honor and commemoration of Wistnow, who about that time at Midnight at the rising of the Moon, was born by the Name of Cristna or Kisna, in Madura, and at the same instant carry'd to a Shepherds House call'd Nanta. Some Deweta's (as they affirm,) as also some of their Saints, certainly knowing that he should be born at that time, expected him Fast∣ing; and because the Night wherein he was born was no convenient time to keep the Feast, they and be merry, many Clothing themselves in rich Apparel, and entertaining one another with thick∣ned Milk, Coco-nuts, and all other Fruits that were to be had amongst the Shepherds and Herdsmen. On the Feast-day the Streets of the Towns where it is kept, are strew'd with green Herbs.
Many other Feasts, too tedious to relate, are kept by the Brahmans, Soudra's, and other Tribes or Sects, in honor of their supream Deities, Wist∣now and Eswara; besides which they also keep se∣veral in honor of their Deities, as amongst others, the Feast Pongol, in honor of the Sun, on the ninth of January; which day the Brahmans hold to be Sancramanam, which signifies a Good day. This Feast is kept after the following manner; viz. They boyl Rice with Milk or Water in the open Air, that the Sun may shine upon it; they put not the Rice into the Milk or Water before it boyls, which they so order, that it is just Noon when it is put in; when boyling up it begins to run over, they cry aloud, Pongol, Pongol, Pongol, Pongol. The reason why they boyl the Rice in Milk, is because it comes from the Cow Amortam. The Water wherein it is boyl'd is not thrown away, as at other times, but left standing so long till the Rice hath soak'd it up. Rice thus boyl'd is accounted very wholsom for the Body, and is kept as long as possibly can be.
Some keep this Feast every Sunday, because it is the Day of the Sun, which they call Suriawanam,Page 149
*The Brahmans shew Reverence to others which they account lesser Gods, and build Pagodes in honor of them, and amongst others worship Garrouda, Annemonta, Vigneswara, and Vierrepa∣dra; of a all which they chiefly respect Vigneswara, Son of Eswara, whose Image most Indians keep∣ing in their Houses, worship it for their domestick God. They also worship and make Offerings to Dewendre, and other Princes of the lower Region, as Achni, Wayouvia, Warrouvo, Isan-ja, and se∣veral others, but erect no Temple to them; viz. They Offer Jagam to Indre, that thereby they may obtain plenty of Meat, Clothes, and Wo∣men. Achni they reverence, to procure Fame and Honor; Warrouva, that they may have strength and power of Body. From Cubera they implore Riches. And from Isan-ja they crave Power and Dominion.
The Brahmans affirm, that their worshipping of the inferior Deities is onely advantageous to them in this World; but by the Service perform'd to their supream Gods they merit Heaven; they therefore account it no sin to worship the lesser Deities, provided they adore them not with that zeal as they do their supream, which if they should, they would be guilty of mortal sin.
Some affirm, that there are no Pagodes built in honor of Bramma, neither is he worshipp'd, not∣withstanding he hath so great a Command a∣mongst them; the reasons thereof the say is this, viz. That anciently a Saint commanded that they should erect no Temples of Bramma; but others suppose this to be onely a pretence of the Brah∣mans; that they themselves may be better and more esteem'd of amongst the People, and have some advantage from them: Yet Della Valle tells us, that there is a Pagode built in honor of Bramma, in a Village call'd Agra, not far from the City Cambaya, wherein are erected divers white Marble Images, and in the midst of the Pagode the Image of Bramma naked, with many Arms, three Faces, and a long picked Beard, but roughly Carv'd; at his Feet stand two other Images of his Children, the one call'd Savetri, and the other Garetri; and in another corner of the Temple, on the left Hand of Bramma, stand two Images more, being the Representations of two of Bramma's Disciples, one call'd Cheskuer, and the other Ciavan.
The Indians are very zealous in serving their Idols, daily perfuming, washing, and setting Meat before them.
*According to a Custom us'd anciently by most People, they also worship and make Offerings to evil Spirits, of which the chiefest in esteem are Ganga and Gournatha. The Image of Ganga hath one Head and four Arms; in one of the left Hands it holds a Cup, and in one of the right a Trident. In most parts of the Countrey are Pagodes built in honor of this Demon, but none for Gournatha, though he is above Ganga, and the Son of Eswara, notwithstanding the Wistnowa's account him a De∣mon; yet nevertheless, though it be not customary, there is a Pagode built in honor of him at Carmellon, a Place not far from Paliacatta; but in the Fields they erect several Images in honor of him, but commonly they worship him under a Tree, where they pretend to have seen him.
The Soudra's keep a yearly Feast in commemo∣ration of Ganga, though at no set-time: The Rice which they Offer to his Image, is boyl'd either in or near the Pagode in the forenoon: In the after∣noon the Idol is put into a high Charriot, and con∣ducted through the Streets of the City, where both Page 150
In ancient times, as these Heathens make men∣tion, they offer'd yearly a Man to Ganga, but they say he hath of late been satisfi'd with a Buffalo; but no such bloody Offerings are made to Wistnow or Eswara: and though this kind of diabolical Worship be very common amogst the Soudra's, yet it is not allow'd by the Brahmans.
*The Brahmans believe, that each Man hath had a Life before this present, and that that which he meets withal in this, whither good or bad, is either a reward or punishment for his works in the for∣mer, so likewise they maintain, that no Man meets with any reward for his good works in this Life, but is to undergo the punishments inflicted upon him for his sins in his former Life, and that those which do good in this Life, shall meet with a reward proportionable in that to come. And notwithstanding few see any probability by their good works to attain to, or merit Wemcontam, that is, Heaven, or a place of everlasting happiness, be∣cause that is onely appointed for the faithfullest Servants of Wistnow and Eswara, and find them∣selves destitute of these Perfections requir'd there∣to, yet they speak much of the forgiveness of sins, and in order thereunto have invented several means whereby they alledge the remission or for∣giveness of sins may be obtain'd; nay, some of them are so superstitiously zealous, that they un∣dertake to do more than their Vedam requires of them, meerly out of an ambition to live a more perfect Life, in hopes that thereby they may ob∣tain an extraordinary place in Heaven, and there∣fore many undergo great hardships, torture and punish themselves divers ways; some wearing Iron Collars about their Necks of twenty four pound weight, in form of a Grate four Foot square. Others have Iron Chains made fast about their Legs at one end, carrying the other on their Shoul∣ders. Some also go on woodden Clogs full of Iron Pins, which are so sharp, that it is a wonder how they can go upon them. Many others there are, who chain themselves by the Legs to a Tree, resolving there to end their Lives. Some also Page 151lock themselves up in little square Houses, or ra∣ther Cages, built on two Images of the Idol Ma∣hadeu, with intentions never to come out of them, notwithstanding they endure great hardship, part∣ly by the heat and smoak of the many Lamps which they burn therein, and partly for the incon∣venience of the Rooms, which are so little, that they can but just sit in them, with their Legs across under them on the Floor. Others hang a conside∣rable time on a cross piece of Timber, by an Iron Hook driven into their Sides, notwithstanding the pain and effusion of Blood, whilst with a Shield and Sword which they hold in their Hands, they Fence in the Air, and Sing Songs in honor of their God. Others wound and kill themselves before the Idols. There are likewise some, who being desirous to go to Paradise, leap into the River Ganges, across which they swim several times, in hopes to be devour'd by the Crocodiles. All those People that torture themselves after this manner, are call'd Fakyrs, or begging Monks, of which some that go stark naked, neither set nor lay them∣selves down to sleep at no time, but when they will rest themselves or sleep, they tie a Rope to a House or Tree, with a piece of Wood at one end, on which only leaning with their Arms and Head, they sleep.
*Besides these means, the Brahmans have in∣vented several others for remission of their sins, and to purifie themselves, viz. to visit such holy Places as are highly esteem'd amongst them, the chiefest and holiest whereof are six, viz. Ayot-ja, Matura, Casi, Canje, Awentecapouri, and Dwaraweti.
Many things they relate of these Places, viz. That all those which die in the Casi, shall imme∣diately ascend to Heaven, whether Man or Beast, but those that die in any other of the forementi∣on'd Places, shall go to Bramma, and there having stay'd a considerable time, shall return into the World again, to be transmigrated into one or other Body; but if they have liv'd out their time, and have dy'd twice, then they shall go directly to Heaven, and not return again into this World.
They affirm, that it is sufficient for the Vulgar to die onely in the holy Places, from whence they undoubtedly go to Heaven.
These Places have each their Limits, but are not of an equal bigness: for that of Casi is but a Mile; that of Ayot-ja, twelve Leagues; and not∣withstanding they account it a happiness to die in one of them, yet none are allow'd, out of a long∣ing desire of Salvation, to bereave themselves of life there, except at Preyaga, of which more here∣after. As to what concerns these Places in parti∣cular, they are describ'd after this manner:
Ayot-ja, lying twelve Leagues Northward from Casi, was the Birth-place of Wistnow under the Name of Ram.
In Matura near Agra, the Great Mogol's Court, Wistnow came into the World by the Name of Cristna.
Casi, otherwise call'd Waranasi, lying in Bengala near the Kiver Ganges, twelve Leagues from Ayot-ja, and twelve from Preyaga, is situate twelve Leagues higher up the Ganges then Casi, and nearer to the City Agra, where three Branches of the Ganges uniting, are accounted so holy, that the Heathens believe those which die in this Water to be certainly purg'd from their sins; and therefore this Place is very famous amongst them, which in∣deed is no wonder, because (as they say) all those which die there are happy.
The City Canje, or Cansjewaram, a great and well known City in the Kingdom of Carnatica, hath many Pagodes, and is therefore accounted very holy.
Awentecapouri, or Awenteutica, is a City lying Northward from Agra.
Dwaraka or Dwaraweti, formerly lay near Zur∣ratte, but is said to have been wash'd away by the Sea. In this Place they relate that Cristna dy'd, and that his Body when (according to the Custom of the Countrey) it was going to be burnt, was al∣so wash'd away by the Sea, and driven to Sjanger∣nata or Prousotamai, a Place near Bengala; where∣fore they account the Pagode Sjangernata to be very holy.
The visiting of these holy Places extends not onely to the forgiveness of sins, but they also ascribe so great a power thereto, that by the na∣ming of them onely they believe they shall obtain pardon; wherefore Persons of Quality that are religious read over the Names of them every Morning; therefore those that cannot go to Casi and other holy Places, content themselves onely with the bare naming of them.
They hold that the keeping of their Feasts, and washing their Bodies with salt Water, also merits remission of sins; also they go in Pilgrimage to the Pagode Rammeswara, by the Malabars call'd Rammanatakovil, partly for the great Sanctity of the Place, and partly because the Sea-water that flows by this Pagode, is always clear, and fit to wash in.
The like opinion they have of the Ganges, and therefore the Inhabitants of Bengala which dwell about it, have a Custom to bring all dying Per∣sons thither, and put one half of their Bodies into it to wash away their sins. But all Persons are not permitted to wash themselves therein without paying Tribute to those Kings through whose Countreys the River runs.
The Brahmans derive the Sanctity of this River from Heaven, and confirm their Fancy with many ridiculous Fables, yet they firmly believe the same, because their Vedam or Law-book doth con∣firm it.
All the foremention'd ways the Heathens pra∣ctise to obtain remission of their sins; and if any chance not to have endeavor'd the same, yet they believe, that their Friends or Relations which sur∣vive may do something for their benefit after Death; particularly, they carry and throw the Bones of the Deceased into the holy River Gan∣ges, which they firmly believe will turn much to the Deceased's advantage, who for every year that their Bones lie in the said River, they shall enjoy a thousand years of pleasure in Dewendre.
Thirty Leagues Southward from Casi lies a City call'd Goya, where it is said, that God setting his Foot on a great Stone, left the print thereof be∣hind him, which is yet to be seen. Round about this City is a Fort for the preservation of the foremention'd Relick.
Those that go in Pilgrimage to Preyaga, com∣monly spend a whole month there, and wash themselves daily before the Sun rises in the River Ganges; after the expiration of which they go from thence to Casi, where also they spend a considera∣ble time, they come again to Gaga, where ma∣king a Paste of fine Flour, they lay several pieces thereof on the foremention'd Stone, naming at the laying down of each piece one of their deceased Friends, who (as their Vedam or Law-book affirms) Page 152are deliver'd out of Jamma Locon, or Hell, and con∣vey'd to the place of Dewendre.
They maintain that the Wicked shall meet with more or less punishment after this Life, ac∣cording to their deserts, and that some after Death are punish'd in this World, and others in some other place.
They also believe, that the Souls of some when they die, transmigrate into other Bodies. Amongst those whose Souls are transmigrated in∣to the Bodies of Beasts, they account those which enter into a Cow the most happy, because of all Beasts that is most acceptable to their God.
Some they believe are for their sins, condemn'd to be evil Spirits, flying up and down in the Air, till the time of their punishment be expir'd.
Those that are not punish'd in the World, are tortur'd in Jamma, or Hell, though some are re∣leas'd after the expiration of many years, and co∣ming again into this World, enter into one or other Body; yet some never return from thence, but are for ever punish'd there, viz. those that are put into the Antam Tappes, that is, The Pit of Dark∣ness, out of which none can come, but must remain there for ever, and undergo perpetual torments, the place being full of Thistles and Thorns, Crows with Iron Bills, devouring Dogs, stinging Worms, and all things else to make them miserable.
Moreover they affirm, that there are five deadly Sins never to be forgiven, viz. 1. To commit Incest with their Mother, (by the word Mother they not onely understand their natural Mother, but also their Mother-in-law, and the Wife of their Masters or Tutors.) 2. To kill a Brahman. 3. To steal Gold. 4. To be a Drunkard; and 5. To converse with them.
As to what concerns the condition of those that are esteem'd happy after Death, they give this Account: That some of them return again to the World, after the expiration of a certain limited time; though others attain a perpetual and ever∣lasting happiness at the first; That such as are or∣dain'd to come a second time into the World, have seven places appointed for them, viz. Indre-Locon or Dewendre-Lokon, Agni-Locon, Niruti-Locon, Wajoiva-Locon, Cubera-Locon, Isanja-Locon, and Wasrouna-Locon, all of them so call'd from the Per∣sons which Govern them. Those which come in∣to these Places, enjoy so much happiness in them, that they wish for no greater, and every one ac∣counts his own Place the best. But besides these seven, which are call'd by the general Name of Dewendre-Locon or Surgam, there is another call'd Bramma-Locon, the place where Bramma resides, and is the nearest Heaven: Those which go thither after Death, must after the expiration of some years return again into the World, where having stay'd their appointed time, they certainly go to Heaven, for ever to enjoy all manner of Delights and Pleasures.
Those that inhabit the Surgam they name De∣weta's, which are of two sorts; some staying there onely for a time, return again into the World, af∣ter which they enjoy all manner of Pleasures.
Other Deweta's stay for ever in the Surgam, as also the Sun, Moon, Stars, &c. They also beget Children in the Surgam, where they affirm no sins are committed, because God himself appearing therein, instructs them. Moreover, the happiest that depart from hence, are those which attain to the Weicontam, which is Heaven it self: But the Brahmans make mention of two Weicontams, a Lila-Weicontam, that is, The Delightful Heaven, and a Singel-Weicontam, where God himself hath his Re∣sidence.
Thus far of the Religion of the Brahmans and other Heathen Idolaters.