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marble, in a niche in the wall on the left; and near it a painting, representing Nának Shah, the Guru or spiritual guide of the Sikh race. As the Sikh religion is regarded, by the Hindus, in the light of a heresy, it is strange that they permit such a picture to decorate the walls of one of their principal shrines. In a niche on the right are two black figures of Náráyaņa or Vishņu, and his wife Lakshmí.
Here is, likewise, a remarkable painting, representing the divine vengeance executed on sinners in hell. In the foreground is the River of Death, through which persons are seen endeavouring to make their way to the other side. Some are left alone to buffet with the waves in their own strength; while others, who, when living in this world, supported Brahmans, are helped across by the sacred cow, who swims before, and drags them along by her tail, which they grasp fast hold of with their hands. This explanation was given by the priests; for, really, no cow was visible as the attendant on any one. As soon as they are landed on the opposite shore, the new arrivals are represented as immediately led away: and the remainder of the picture consists in a delineation of the punishment of the wicked. The priests stated that the poor wretches are first judged, and then punished according to their deeds. In one place, a consciencestricken sinner, who has recently emerged from the stream, is seen strongly resisting the hand of the executioner, who is dragging him away by the leg. In another is an enormous vessel, full of boiling ghee or clarified butter, into which the wicked are plunged.
Here and there, executioners are standing, armed with prodigious clubs, with which they cruelly belabour their helpless and despairing victims. One conspicuous object in the picture is a pillar of red-hot iron, on the top of which lies a writhing and agonizing mass of humanity. This punishment is reserved exclusively for those who have been guilty of adultery and uncleanness.
The interior of the temple is very simple, and is exceedingly dirty and foul. A brazen cistern, with knobs at each corner, is let into the floor; and, in the middle of it, stands the emblem of S'iva, who is here called Lingeswar; and near it is S'iva's wife, Párvatí. A small oil lamp is kept constantly burning not far from the idol, whose daily supply of water and flowers,—the offerings of his worshippers,—would be enough, did he possess the flesh and blood of a human creature, to suffocate and drown him.
Quitting this spot, and proceeding to Trilochan Ghát, we pass a beautiful little temple, situated at the corner of two streets, lately built by Kunú Sáhu. Its porch is supported on pillars, the elegant carving of which displays much taste and skill. Immediately opposite this is a large temple, in a quadrangle, also new. Above the ghát is a small shrine, containing a number of old images; and, a short distance down the stairs, are two more, in the walls of which idols of great age are inserted. I may here remark, that the neighbourhood of the Trilochan temple abounds with shrines.
The Trilochan Ghát is called, also, the Pilpilla Tírth, or place of pilgrimage. After bathing in the Ganges, at this ghát, the pilgrim, in order to perform this peculiar
pilgrimage, proceeds to the Panchgangá Ghát, and bathes again in the river; and then, finally tracing his steps to the Manikarniká Well, washes in its loathsome waters. These ablutions being terminated, the poor deluded man is taught to believe that his sins have all been forgiven. There are two low turrets at the Pilpilla Ghát, between which the pilgrim must bathe, as the water beyond has no special sanctity.
This ghát is the last of the stairs, leading down from the city to the river, made entirely of strong masonry. The gháts to the north are constructed, in part, of a less durable substance, that is, from below towards the river; although, in the upper portions of these even, the stairs are solid, like the others. A short distance higher up the stream is Gáe Ghát, jutting out a little beyond the bank.
Two other temples in this neighbourhood are, possibly, of the same era as the Trilochan fane. The first is the temple of Nirbuddheswar, situated only a few steps to the south-east of this structure. It is an exceedingly plain edifice, without ornament or embellishment, and is, evidently, not much visited, except by pilgrims, and on festival days. The other is the temple of Ad-Mahádeva, at the entrance of which is a tiny shrine, faced with an iron grating. A priest from Trilochan was leading the way into the enclosure, when I felt myself irresistibly detained by the curiosities in this shrine. I observed several small pillars covered with silver tinsel, and, also, a figure of Hanumán gaudily painted in red, yellow, white, and black colours; while, on the floor, other idols were lying. In this cage-like place
sat an old man, squatting down beside these miserable divinities, his body occupying a large portion of the shrine. Presently he folded his hands together, apparently in deep devotion, and did homage to one or more of the images before him. He then rang a little bell, and quietly left the place. This man was the proprietor of the shrine, and had erected and dedicated it, and probably had purchased in the bazar the very
idols which I saw him worship.
The temple of Ad-Mahadeva, like the temple of Nirbuddheswar, is unadorned and plain. In the porch is a very old chair, in which, in former days, a Vyás, or public reader of the sacred books, used to sit and read in the presence of a congregation gathered to hear him. This ancient custom has lost ground even in Benares, which professes to be the very citadel and defence of Hinduism. In front of the porch, to the east, is a peepul tree, with a platform attached to its base, upon which is a small shrine, containing a collection of idols; while opposite to it is a stone figure of the goddess Párvatyeśwarí in bass-relief. This divinity was formerly one of considerable repute, but, from some unknown circumstance, was destroyed, together with her shrine; so that no remains of the one or of the other can be discovered. The goddess, however, I am sorry to say, has been resuscitated by a Gujarati Brahman, residing in Benares, named Gor Jí, who manufactured the present idol, and placed it in this position, as representative of Párvatyeśwarí ; and it is now honoured, by the Hindus, with pilgrimages and offerings, like its predecessor. Gor Jí is a remarkable man, and has done
more to revive Hinduism, in this city, of late years, than, perhaps, any other person. Having diligently read the Kásí-khanda, he has searched about for the temples and idols referred to in that book; and, whereever he has found old temples in decay, or abandoned, or has discovered sacred sites now neglected and generally unknown, he has endeavoured to restore them to honour and popularity. One favourite method which he adopts is to inscribe an extract from the Káśíkhanda, respecting a particular forsaken temple or site, on stone, and to set it up there, for the enlightenment of passers-by. In some cases, he merely writes the extract on a wall or other suitable place. This man feels, like many other rigid Hindus of the old school, that the ancient religion is falling into decay; that some of its old temples, formerly frequented by crowds, are now rarely trodden; and that many a hallowed spot, or niche, or grove, or fane, has been abandoned and forgotten.
Behind the peepul tree is a temple dedicated to Gaņeś, the God of Wisdom, an elephant-headed, largebellied, and very red deity, who has associated with himself a variety of deities, one of whom is a stone on which two snakes are carved in bass-relief; but the stone is broken, and the two parts are placed, side by side, against the wall.