Page images

that were regarded by Bullubha to disgrace the purity of his religion. Libraries of comment have been written to explain the text of the Bhagbut, and sects have branched off according as a master-mind has interpreted that work. But the true meaning has yet to be found by resolving the various legends to their real signification and then would our nation possess something like a true biography of Krishna.

Of Goverdhun, the especial holiness is owing to its being the first scene of Krishna's apotheosis. It was upon this mount that the first image had been raised to his worship under the name of Goverdhun-nauth. The idol had to be secreted in a cave from falling into the hands of Mahmud, and lay forgotten for many centuries, till discovered and re-instated by Bullubha. Hence, his lineal descendant forms the high-priest of Kaniya. The great annual mela of Anna-coot at Goverdhun, first instituted by Bullublia, generally takes place in this month of Karteeck. Formerly, the seven principal gods of Vrij used to meet on this occasion in rendezrous at Goverdhun, till they were obliged by Aurungzebe to disperse themselves in various directions, and to various distances. To this day, not less than a hundred thousand people assemble on the occasion of the festival. It celebrates a pastoral incident in the life of Krishna, and throughout all Vrij the horns of the cattle are painted red with vermillion-in one instance we saw those of a cow bedizened with silver-leaf.

In the midst of the town is 'the handsome tomb of Runjeet Sing, who defended Bhurtpore so bravely

against Lord Lake's army. The tomb has, on one side, a tank filled with water; and on the other another, much deeper than the first, but without any water at all. The cause assigned for this is, that Krishna one hot day, after skying with the milkmaids, had drunk it all dry; and that no water would ever stay in it, lest it might be quaffed by less noble lips. Inside the dome of Runjeet Sing's tomb, the siege of Bhurtpore is represented. Lord Lake is dismounted, and standing before his white horse giving orders to his soldiers. On the opposite side of the dome, Runjeet Sing, in a plain white dress, is standing erect before his idol, at his devotions, with his ministers behind him. On the other two sides he is at his favourite field sports.'

The tomb of Suraje Mull, the great founder of the Jaut power at Bhurtpore, stands on the north-east extremity of this belt of rocks, about two miles from the town, and is an extremely handsome building, conceived in the very best taste, and executed in the

very best style. With its appendages of temples and smaller tombs, it occupies the whole of one side of a magnificent tank full of clear water; and on the other side it looks into a large and beautiful garden. All the buildings and pavements are formed of the fine white sandstone of Roop Bass, scarcely inferior either in quality or appearance to wbite marble. The stone is carved in relief, with flowers in good taste. In the centre of the tomb is the small marble slab covering the grave, with the two feet of Krishna carved in the centre, and around them the emblems of the god, the discus, the skull, the sword, the rosary. These emblems of the god are put on, that people may have something godly to fix their thoughts upon. It is by degrees, and with a little “fear and trembling,” that the Hindoos imitate the Mahomedans in the magnificence of their tombs. The object is ostensibly to keep the ground on which the bodies have been burned from being defiled ; and generally Hindoos have been content to raise small open terraces of brick and stucco work over the spot, with some image or emblem of the god upon it. The Jauts here, like the princes and Gossains in Bundelcund, have gone a stage beyond this, and raised tombs, equal in costliness and beauty to those over Mahomedans of the highest rank; still they will not venture to leave it without a divine image or emblem, lest the gods might become jealous, and revenge themselves upon the souls of the deceased, and the bodies of the living. On one side of Suraje Vull's tomb is that of his wife, or some other female member of his family ; and upon the slab over her grave, that is, over the precise spot where she was burned, are the same emblems; except the sword, for which a necklace is substituted. At each end of this range of tombs stands a temple dedicated to Buldeo, the cousin of Krishna. The inside is covered with beautiful snow-white stucco work, that resembles the finest marble ; but this is disfigured by wretched paintings, representing, on one side of the dome, Suraje Vull, in Durbar, smoking his hookah, and giving orders to his ministers; on another he is at his devotions; on the third, at his sports, shooting hogs

[blocks in formation]

and deer; and on the fourth, at war, with some French officers of distinction figuring before him. He is distinguished by his portly person in all, and by his favourite light-brown dress in three places. At his devotions he is standing all in white, before the tutelary god of his house, Hurdco. In various parts, Krishna is represented at his sports with the milkmaids. The colours are gaudy, and apparently as fresh as when put on a hundred and eight years ago; but the paintings are all in the worst possible taste and style.'

Nothing less than that it is the personification of Krishna himself, is the opinion in which Goverdhun is held by his followers. There are devout votarists, who perform the circuit of the mount, by going round its base, prostrating themselves at each step on the way, and marking the space covered by their bodies. This is a row, or penance, which is not completed but in several and we have heard of one who has been able to go round but half the mount in seven years. Nobody dares to bring home any stone from Goverdhun-it is said to be endued with life. People who choose to do so are overtaken by calamities, and obliged to send back the stone to the mount. The creeper-mango is a plant which deserves to be mentioned in the botany of Goverdhun.

In Judea, they show a stony field in which the beans have been changed into stones by a curse of the Virgin. In Churun-paharee, they show the prints of the footsteps of Krishna,--and of the hoofs of his cows and buffaloes pastured on the cliff. The holy petrifactions were caused

years ;

by the obdurate rock having melted at the music of his flute, and thence taken an impress of the feet and hoofs. It seems the wild suggestion of a dream to imagine that Krishna had stood on the very same steps,—but there are facile-minded happy mortals who question not that they have existed from the date assigned to them. The Luka-Luki, or Hide-and-Seek tank, near this cliff, speaks of the early age of that game among the Hindoos, played by Krishna with the Gopinees.

Kammya-bun, the famous scene of the incidents of the Vana Purva of the Mahabarat, is really a classic spot for the reminiscences of the Pandava brothers. During the period of their exile and wanderings, brought on by the loss of their patrimony sustained at the gaming table, they chose to take up their quarters in this spot, then a very secluded and romantic wilderness. Here they were visited by their great friend Krishna, and beguiled by holy sages with the consolations of their philosophy. The remains of sixty-four stone pillars—to all appearance ancient, but very doubtfulare shown as a part of the building in which they used to perform their Yugyas. The ashes of those ceremonies are still remaining in a large heap. Five wooden images of the pandoo, or pale colour, are observed here to stand for the five brothers. But the puny size of the images belies the great heroes of the Mahabarat. None of its ancient features is retained by the place; but while its name lives in the rerse of the poet, will the pilgrim bend his steps to Kammya-bun.

The cliff of Burshana was the abode of Rajah Bir

« PreviousContinue »