Page images
[ocr errors][graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

from the meridian, and the declination of any planet or star, and the sun, and also the right ascension of a star, may be known. There is, also, here a double Mural Quadrant, and, to the east, an Equinoctial Circle made of stone. There is, likewise, another Yantrasamráț, of small dimensions.

Hard by is the Chakrayantra, between two walls, an instrument used for finding the declination of a planet or star; but it is now out of order. In this immediate neighbourhood is a gigantic instrument, called Digansayantra, constructed to find the degrees of azimuth of a planet or star. It consists of a pillar four feet two inches high, and three feet seven and a half inches thick, surrounded by a wall of exactly its own height, at a distance of seven feet three and a quarter inches, which is again surrounded by another wall, double its height, and distant from it three feet two and a half inches. The upper surfaces of both walls are divided into three hundred and sixty degrees, and are marked with the points of the compass. On the south side of this instrument there is another Equinoctial Circle ; but the marks and divisions upon it are totally effaced.

I am indebted to the interesting paper of Pandit Bápú Deva Sástrí, - Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy in the Government College, Benares, which he contributed to the Benares Institute, for this information respecting the instruments found in the Mán-Mandil Observatory.

The Nepalese Temple, rising from the banks of the Ganges, at no very great distance from the Man-Mandil Ghát, is a strikingly picturesque object, and does not fail to arrest the attention of every visitor to this quarter of the city. In its external appearance, it is altogether unlike the shrines erected by the Hindus for the practice of their religion.

[ocr errors]

him to proceed to Benares, and, when there, to devise some plan for the expulsion of Raja Divodás from the government of the city. Brahmá was quite ready to do what he could towards assisting his friend, and so took his departure for Benares, mounted on a goose. On reaching the holy city, he was enraptured with its appearance.

le went all about it, and visited its temples, bazars, and gháts, with ever-increasing delight, and, at last, selected a spot for his own residence, and transformed himself into the form of an aged Brahman. After a time he sought an interview with the Raja, and was received by him with much respect. The Raja begged he would ask of him whatever he wished to have. Brahmá replied to this kind solicitation, that he would take nothing from him, but that he had come to Benares for the performance of ascetic rites. While conversing together, it struck Brahmá, that, if he could cause the Raja to commit a sin, no matter how small, he would be obliged to lay down his authority over the sacred place, and to quit the kingdom. He, therefore, requested the Raja to give him all the essential materials for a special sacrifice, hoping that some little mistake would be made in the number or quality of them. These materials consisted of water taken from twenty-seven wells, leaves plucked from twenty-seven trees, and a multitude of other ingredients, twenty-seven times told, and derived from twenty-seven different sources. The Raja, in reply, said, “Good, take materials, not for one sacrifice merely, but for ten.” Presently, Brahmá left the Raja, and went and sat down upon the banks of the Ganges, the deities peculiar to them. He has thus traversed the city from south to north, having kept upon the bank of the river throughout the whole distance, and passed over every ghát. This pilgrimage is called the Panch-tirth, to perform which is considered a very meritorious act.

The legend connected with the Dasáśamedh temple and ghát, as the foundation of the sanctity of both, and on account of which the Hindus regard them as the very gateway to heaven, must not be omitted here. It is another of the legends connected with the famous Divodás. It is said that Siva and Gauri (his wife) were sitting together, one day, on the Mandaráchal mountain, when the former exhibited great distress of mind at not having received any intelligence from Benares for some time. The city was then in the hands of Raja Divodás, who, as already narrated, on accepting its sovereignty, had expelled from it all the gods, and Siva, the head of them all, amongst the number. Although Siva had sent several persons, successively, to inquire into the state of the city, yet none of them had returned; inasmuch as, on reaching it, every one had been so captivated with its tranquillity and blessed. ness, as to have been powerless to quit so happy a region. In his anxiety, Siva thought to himself, that, should I send Brahmá (the first god of the Hindu triad), who is a dear friend of mine, he will, without fail, bring me word again about its condition. IIe then fixed his thoughts on Brahmá, who, in obedience to the secret summons, was immediately at his side. On arriving, Siva unburthened his mind to him, and wished

« PreviousContinue »