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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. He 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, where materials for ten such sacrifices were brought to him. Not one ingredient was missing; all were perfectly complete. Brahmá then offered the ten sacrifices; and at each of them, a horse was consumed. The spot on which the ten sacrifices were offered Brahmá called Daśáśwamedha Ghát, or ghat of the ten horse-sacrifices,—from dasa, ten; aswa, a horse; and medha, sacrifice, — which became, thenceforward, in Hindu estimation, a place of eminent sanctity, and endued with the power of conferring a multitude of blessings on all who sacrificed and bathed there.
Brahmá constituted Daśáśamedh the prince of places of pilgrimage, equal to Prayag (Allahabad). Should a Hindu, therefore, wishing to proceed to Prayag, at the time of the melá or religious festival there, not be able to undertake the journey, he may, at this ghát, obtain all the merit which he would have acquired, had he actually completed the pilgrimage to Prayag, and bathed at the sacred junction of the Ganges and the Jumna. Brahmá also dedicated two images in honour of Siva, one of which he called Dasáśwamedheśwar, and the other, Brahmeswar. The former is a plain black stone, of enormous dimensions, being not less than five or six feet in girth, and three or four in height, in front of which is a bull, also of large proportions. The other image is much smaller. Whoever worships Dasáśwamedheswar will, it is supposed, escape all futuro transmigration; and his soul, instead of passing into a man, a mouse, or a frog, will go straight to paradise, --that is, the heaven of Siva In like manner, he who worships Brahmeswar will, it is said, at death, fly at once into Brahmaloka, or the sphere of Brahmá. In the temple which contains these idols, there is a great assemblage of other images, consisting, for the most part, of lingas, representing Siva, which are chiefly arranged by the wall, and form, what the natives term, a kachahri or court of gods. In the latter half of the month of Jeth, a great many persons bathe at this ghát, and, also, in a small tank, near by, called Rudrasar, which shares in the sanctity of the neighbourhood. For fifteen days the bathing and practice of religious ceremonies continue, the virtue of each day increasing in an arithmetical series; so that the virtue acquired on the fifteenth day is fifteen times as great as that acquired on the first; and the aggregate virtue amassed during the entire fifteen days, consequently, amounts to the virtue of one hundred and twenty days.
After terminating the ten sacrifices, it occurred to Brahmá, that he had not effected his object with Raja Divodás, in inducing him to commit sin. How could he, therefore, return to Siva ? And, enamoured with all he saw around him, and flattered by Divodás, who built for him a house of great beauty, he settled the difficulty by determining to remain where he
until Siva came to him.
In the Siddheswarí Mahalla are two temples, held by devout Hindus in great repute. One is the Siddheswari temple itself, to which is attached the ancient well known as Chandra-kúp; the other is the temple of Sankațá Deví. The former consists of two small quadrangles, in the first of which, in the centre of the open space, is Chandra-kúp, or the well dedicated to the moon,—from chandra, the moon, and kúpa, a well. In the month of Chait, on the day of the full moon,
this spot is visited by pilgrims, who cast their offerings into the well, in honour of the lunar deity. They also resort thither whenever a new moon occurs on a Monday; as that day is sacred to this luminary. In the sacred quadrangle a figure of the goddess Durga is seen in a niche at the base of the wall, on the right-hand side as you enter. With one hand she grasps a lotos, and, with another a sword; the third hand rests upon a lion, and the fourth, upon a buffalo. A verandah extends along two sides of this enclosure, supported on pillars, the walls of which are decorated with paintings in vivid colours, several of which represent incarnations of the god Gaņeś. Behind the verandah is the shrine of Siddheśwarí, the goddess who contributes perfection. Oppressed with the ills and trials of life, the Hindu approaches the goddess, and presents to her newly-gathered flowers, and water from the Ganges, hoping to obtain the promised blessing. He retires, believing in the virtue of his sacrifice, yet sick at heart, with his sorrows unrelieved and his sins unforgiven.
Sankatá Deví is another goddess who is thought to bestow similar favours on her votaries. Her shrine is situated on one side of a spacious quadrangle, in the middle of which, raised upon a platform, is an assemblage of temples and idols; and, on the western side of the platform, a bell hangs, suspended from the stone scaffolding. A portion of the quadrangle is