Hinduism or Hindu Religion
Hinduism or Hindu religion the name of the variety of creeds derived from Brahmanic sources. It is the religion of the East, professed, in some form or another, by nearly half of the human race (see Max Müller, Chips from a German Workshop, 1, 23), especially if Buddhism (q.v.) is included, or considered as a development of it. The different sects into which the Hindus (on the origin of the Hindus, and their gradual occupation of India, see Lassen, Ind. Aterth. 1, 511 sq.; Muller, Science of Language, p. 240 sq.; Donaldson, New Cratylus, p. 118,119, 2nd ed.; Hardwick, Christ and other Masters, 1, 171, 172, 2nd ed.) are divided at present are of modern origin, and the system of theology taught by them differs very much from the religion of their forefathers.
I. History. — For brevity's sake, we will divide Hinduism into three great periods, the Vedic, Epic, and Puranic. Our knowledge of the first is derived from the sacred books of the Hindus, the Veda (q.v.); that of the second from the epic poem Ramayana, and the great epos Mahabharata; and that of the third chiefly from the mythological works, the Puranas and Tantras.
1. The Vedic Period. — According to the hymns of the Veda, the Hindus of that period regarded the elements of nature as heavenly beings, and worshipped and revered them as such. Among these were first in order Agni, the fire of the sun and lightning; Indra, the bright, cloudless firmament; the Maruts, or winds; Sûrya, the sun; Ushas, the dawn; and various kindred manifestations of the luminous bodies, and nature in general. "They are supplicated to confer temporal blessings upon the worshipper, riches, life, posterity the shortsighted vanities of human desire, which constituted the sum of heathen prayer in all heathen countries" (Wilson, Lectures, p. 9, 10). The great contrast in this particular between heathen and Christian worshippers has been well commented upon by Stuhr (Religions-Systeme d. heidnischen Volker d. Orients, Einleit. p. xii). Indeed, it is a fact worthy the notice of philosophers and of scholars in comparative science of religion that only a very small fraction of heathen prayers are offered for spiritual or moral benefits (compare Creuzer, Symbolik, 4, 162; Hardwick, Christ and other Masters, 1, 181, 182). "We proclaim eagerly, Maruts, your ancient greatness, for the sake of inducing your prompt appearance, as the indication of (the approach of) the showerer of benefits;" or, "Offer your nutritious viands to the great hero (Indra), who is pleased by praise, and to Vishnu (one of the forms of the sun), the two invincible deities who ride upon the radiant summit of the clouds as upon a well-trained steed. Indra and Vishnu, the devout worshipper glorifies the radiant approach of you two who are the granters of desires, and who bestow upon the mortal who worships you an immediately receivable (reward), through the distribution of that fire which is the scatterer (of desired blessings)." Such is the strain in which the Hindu of that period addressed his gods. Ethical considerations are foreign to these religious outbursts of the mind. Sin and evil, indeed, are often adverted to, and the gods are praised because they destroy sinners and evildoers; but one would err in associating with these words our notions of sin or wrong. A sinner, in these hymns, is a man who does not address praises to those elementary deities, or who does not gratify them with the oblations they receive at the hands of the believer. He is the foe, the robber, the daemon-in short, the borderer infesting the territory of the "pious" man, who, in his turn, injures and kills, but, in adoring Agni, Indra, and their kin, is satisfied that he can commit no evil act.
Neither did the Hindu in that early period so frequently evince his consciousness of imperfection by a display of animal sacrifices. The Veda contains not a single example of human victims for sacrifice. It informs us that by far the most common offering was the fermenting juice of the soma (q.v.) or moon plant, which, expressed and fermented, made an exhilarating and inebriating beverage, and for this reason, most probably, was offered to the gods to increase their beneficial potency. In this the Hindu afterwards beheld a vital sap whereby the universe itself is made productive; but in bringing such an oblation, it is more likely that he was actuated by the hope of gratifying the animal wants of his divinity rather than by the idea of deepening his own sense of guilt, or by a desire to compensate for his own demerit (compare Hardwick, 1, 183). Besides this, another oblation, mentioned as agreeable to the gods, and likely to belong to this early period of Veda worship, was clarified butter, poured upon the fire. There is, however, a class of hymns in the Veda in which "this distinctive utterance of feeling makes room for the language of speculation," in which "the allegories of poetry yield to the mysticism of the reflecting mind, and the mysteries of nature becoming more keenly felt, the circle of beings which overawe the popular mind becomes enlarged" (Chambers, Encyclopedia, 1, 541). The objects by which Indra, Agni, and the other deities are propitiated now become gods. Thus, for example, one whole section of the Rig-Veda, the principal part of the Veda (q.v.), is addressed to Soma (see above). Still more prominent is the deification of Soma in the Sama-Veda (comp. Hardwick, Christ, 1, 178, 179; — Auller, Chips, 1, 176).
But in the worship of these powers of nature there is an inclination, at least, if not a real desire, to pay homage to one higher being that should prove the Creator of all perishable and changeable beings. There ensued, so to speak, a struggle to reconcile the worship of the elementary powers with the idea of one supreme being, or to emancipate the inquiry into the principle of creation from the elementary religion as found in the oldest portion of Vedic poetry. The former of these efforts is apparent in the Brahmana of the Veda, the latter in the Upanishad (q.v.). In the Brahmanas a second and later class of Vedic hymns we see the simple and primitive worship become complex and artificial. A special feature is "the tendency to determining the rank of the gods, and, as a consequence, to giving prominence to one special god amongst the rest; whereas in the old Vedic poetry, though we may discover a predilection of the poets to bestow more praise, for instance, on Indra and Agni than on other gods, yet we find no intention on their part to raise any of them to a supreme rank. Thus, in some Brahmanas, Indra, the god of the firmament, is endowed with the dignity of a ruler of the gods; in others, the sun receives the attributes of superiority. This is no real solution of the momentous problem hinted at in some Vedic hymns, but it is a semblance of it. There the poet asks 'whence this varied world arose here the priest answers that 'one god is more elevated than the rest;' and he is satisfied with regulating the detail of the Soma and animal sacrifice according to the rank which he assigns to his deities. A real answer to this great question the theologians attempt who explain the 'mysterious doctrine' held in the utmost reverence by all Hindus, and laid down in the writings known under the name of Upanishads, which relate not only to the process of creation, but to the nature of a supreme being, and its relation to the human soul. In the Upanishads, Agni, Indra, Vayu, and the other deities of the Vedic hymns, become symbols to assist the mind in its attempt to understand the true nature of one absolute being, and the manner in which it manifests itself in its worldly form. The human soul itself is of the same nature as this supreme or great soul: its ultimate destination is that of becoming reunited with the supreme soul, and the means of attaining that end is not the performance of sacrificial rites, but the comprehension of its own self and of the great soul. The doctrine which at a later period became the foundation of the creed of the educated-the doctrine that the supreme soul, or Brahm, is the only reality, and that the world has a claim to notice only in so far as it emanated from this being, is already clearly laid down in these Upanishads, though the language in which it is expressed still adapts itself to the legendary and allegorical style that characterizes the Brahmanic portion of the Vedas. The Upanishads became thus the basis of the enlightened faith of India. They are not a system of philosophy, but they contain all the germs whence the three great systems of Hindu philosophy arose; and like the latter, while revealing the struggle of the Hindu mind to reach the comprehension of one supreme being, they advance sufficiently far to express their belief in such a being, but at the same time acknowledge the inability of the human mind to comprehend its essence" (Chambers, Encyclopedia). SEE UPANISHAD.
The Veda also teaches the two ideas so contradictory to the human understanding, and yet so easily reconciled in every human heart: God has established the eternal laws of right and wrong; he punishes sin and rewards virtue; and yet the same God is willing to forgive; just, yet merciful; a judge, and yet a father (Müller, 1, 38). But there is no trace, at least not in the Veda, of metempsychosis, which has generally been supposed to be a distinguishing feature of the Indian religion, especially of the Vedic period. "Instead of this, we find what is really the sine qua non of all real religion, a belief in immortality, and in personal immortality. passages wherein immortality of the soul personal immortality, and personal responsibility after death are clearly proclaimed" (Miller, 1, 45). Professor Roth (Journal of the German Oriental Society, 4, 427) says that we find in the Veda "beautiful conceptions of an immortality expressed in unadorned language with childlike conviction. If it were necessary, we might find here the most powerful weapons against the view which has lately been revived and proclaimed as new, that Persia was the only birthplace of the idea of immortality, and that even the nations of Europe had derived it from that quarter as if the religious spirit of every gifted race was not able to arrive at it by its own strength." We find also in the Veda vague allusions to a place of punishment for the wicked. "In one verse it is said that the dead are rewarded for their good deeds; that they leave or cast off all evil, and, glorified, take their new bodies… A pit is mentioned into which the lawless are said to be hurled down, and into which Indra casts those who offer no sacrifices.... In one passage we read that 'those who break the commandments of Varuna, and who speak lies, are born for that deep place"'(Muller, 1, 47; comp. Dr. Muir, Yama, in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, p. 10).
2. "The Epic period of Hinduism is marked by a similar development of the same creeds, the general features of which we have traced in the Vedic writings. The popular creed strives to find a center round which to group its imaginary gods, whereas the philosophical creed finds its expression in the ground works of the Sânkhya, Nyâya, and Vedânta systems of philosophy. In the former, we find two gods in particular who are rising to the highest rank, Vishnu and Siva; for as to Brahman (the masculine form of Brahm), though he was looked upon now and then as superior to both, he gradually disappears, and becomes merged into the philosophical Brahma (the neuter form of the same word), which is a further evolution of the great soul of the Upanishads. In the Râmâyana, the superiority of Vishnu is admitted without dispute; in the great epos, the Mahâbhârata, however, which, unlike the former epos, is the product of successive ages, there is an apparent rivalry between the claims of Vishnu and Siva to occupy the highest rank in the pantheon; but Sanskrit philology will first have to unravel the chronological position of the various portions of this work, to lay bare its groundwork, and to show the gradual additions it received, before it will be able to' determine the successive formation of the legends which are the basis of classical Hindu mythology. Yet so much seems to be clear even already, that there is a predilection during this Epic period for the supremacy of Vishnu, and that the policy of incorporating rather than combating antagonistic creeds led more to a quiet admission than to a warm support of Siva's claims to the highest rank." For the character of these gods, and their relation to the Vedic and the Epic period, see below. "We will point, however, to one remarkable myth, as it will illustrate the altered position of the gods during the Epic period. In the Vedic hymns, the immortality of the gods is never matter of doubt; most of the elementary beings are invoked and described as everlastingness liable neither to decay nor death. The offerings they receive may add to their comfort and strength; they may invigorate them, but it is nowhere stated that they are indispensable for their existence. It is, on the contrary, the pious sacrificer himself who, through his offerings, secures to himself long life, and, as it is some-times hyperbolically called, immortality. The same notion also prevails throughout the oldest Brahmanas. It is only in the latest work of this class, the Satapatha Brahmana, and more especially in the Epic poems, that we find the inferior gods as mortal in the beginning, and as becoming immortal through exterior agency. In the Satapatha- Brahmana, the juice of the soma plant, offered by the worshipper, or at another time clarified butter. or even animal sacrifices, impart to them this immortality. At the Epic period, Vishnu teaches them how to obtain the Amnrita, or beverage of immortality, without which they would go to destruction; and this epic Anrita itself is merely a compound, increased by imagination, of the various substances which in the Vedic writings are called or likened to Amnrita, i.e. a 'substance that frees from death.' It is obvious, therefore, that gods like these could not strike root in the religious mind of the nation. We must look upon them more as the gods of poetry than of real life; nor do we find that they enjoyed any of the worship which was allotted to the two principal gods, Vishnu and Siva." "The philosophical creed of this period adds little to the fundamental notions contained in the Upanishads, but it frees itself from the legendary dross which still imparts to those works a deep tinge of mysticism. On the other hand, it conceives and develops the notion that the union of the individual soul with the supreme spirit may be aided by penances, such as peculiar modes of breathing, particular postures, protracted fasting, and the like; in short, by those practices which are systematized by the Yoga doctrine. The most remarkable Epic work which inculcates this doctrine is the celebrated poem Bhagavadgitâ, which has been wrongly considered by European writers as a pure Sânkhya work, whereas Saminkara, the great Hindu theologian, who commented on it, and other native commentators after him, have proved that it is founded on the Yoga belief. The doctrine of the reunion of the individual soul with the supreme soul was necessarily founded on the assumption that the former must have become free from all guilt affecting its purity before it can be remerged into the source whence it proceeded; and since one human life is apparently too short for enabling the soul to attain its accomplishment, the Hindu mind concluded that the soul, after the death of its temporary owner, had to be born again, in order to complete the work it had left undone in its previous existence, and that it must submit to the same fate until its task is fulfilled. This is the doctrine of metempsychosis, which, in the absence of a belief in grace, is a logical consequence of a system that holds the human soul to be of the same nature as that of an absolute God." This doctrine, as we have already stated, is foreign to the Vedic period. It is found in some of the Upanishads, but its fantastical development belongs decidedly to the Epic time, where it pervades the legends, and affects the social life of the nation. SEE METEMPSYCHOSIS; SEE CABALA, III, 3.
3. "The Pâranic period of Hinduism is the period of its decline, so far as the popular creed is concerned. Its pantheon is nominally the same as that of the Epic period. The triads of principal Hindu gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, remain still at the head of its imaginary gods; but whereas the Epic time is generally characterized by a friendly harmony between the highest occupants of the divine spheres, the Pâranic period shows discord and destruction. The popular adoration has turned away from Brahma to Vishnu and Siva who alone remain to contend with each other for the highest rank in the minds of their worshippers. The elementary principle which originally inhered in these deities is thus completely lost sight of by the followers of the Purânas. The legends of the Epic poems relating to these gods become amplified and distorted, according to the sectarian tendencies of the masses; and the divine element which still distinguishes these gods in the Ramayana and Mahabharata is now more and more mixed up with worldly concerns and intersected by historical events, disfigured in their turn to suit individual interests. Of the ideas implied by the Vedic rites, scarcely a trace is visible in the Purânas and Tantras, which are the textbooks of this creed. In short, the unbridled imagination which pervades these works is neither pleasing from a poetical, nor elevating from a philosophical point of view. Some Purânas, it is true — for instance, the Bhagavata-form in some sense an exception to this aberration of original Hinduism; but they are a compromise between the popular and the Vedanta creed, which is henceforward chiefly the creed of the educated and intelligent. They do not affect the worship of the masses as practiced by the various sects; and this worship itself, whether harmless, as with the worshippers of Vishnu, or offensive, as with the adorers of Siva and his wife Durga, is but an empty ceremonial, which, here and there, may remind one of the symbolical worship of the Vedic Hindu, but, as a whole, has no connection whatever with the Vedic scriptures, on which it affects to rest. It is this creed which, with further deteriorations, caused by the lapse of centuries, is still the main religion of the masses in India. The opinion these entertain, that it is countenanced by the ritual, as well as by the theological portion of the Veda, is the redeeming feature of their belief; for, as nothing is easier than to disabuse their mind on this score by reviving the study of their ancient and sacred language, and by enabling them to read again their oldest and most sacred books, it may be hoped that a proper education of the people in this respect, by learned and enlightened natives, will remove many of the existing errors, which,:if they continued, must inevitably lead to a further, and, ultimately, total degeneration of the Hindu race.
"The philosophical creed of this period, and the creed which is still preserved by the educated classes, is that derived from the tenets of the Vedanta philosophy. It is based on the belief of one supreme being, which imagination and speculation endeavor to invest with all the perfections conceivable by the human mind, but the true nature of which is nevertheless declared to be beyond the reach of thought, and which, on this ground, is defined as not possessing any of the qualities by which the human mind is able to comprehend intellectual or material entity" (Chambers). SEE VEDANTA.
II. Deities. — It has been stated above that the original worship of the Hindus appears to have been addressed to the elements. The heavens, the sun, the moon, fire, the air, the earth, and spirits are the objects most frequently addressed. In fact, the deities invoked appear to be as numerous as the prayers addressed to them.
"It would be impossible to give any account of the numerous inferior deities, whose number is said to amount to 330,000,000. The most important are the Lokapalas, that is, 'guardians of the world,' who are the eight gods next in rank to the Triad:
1. Indra, the god of the heavens; 2. Agni, the god of fire; 3. Yama, the god of hell; 4. Surya, the god of the sun: 5. Varunr., the god of water; 6. Purâna, the god of the wind; 7. Kuvera, the god of wealth; 8. Soma, or Chandra, the god of the moon.
Many other deities were afterwards intruded in the list;" among them, Ganesa, god of wisdom and science; Kamas, god of love; Ganga, goddess of the river Ganges; Naradas, messenger of the gods, etc. Each of the gods besides has his legal spouse. The most important among these goddesses are Sarasiwati, wife of Brahma, goddess of eloquence, the protect-or of arts and sciences, and particularly of music, wherefore the vina, or lute, is her attribute; Sri, Laksehni, etc., wife of Vishnu, dispenser of blessings. But the most important of all is Siva's female partner, Durga, Kali, or Calee, goddess of evil and destruction, whose worship is by far the most extensive. Aside from these, there is yet a multitude of inferior gods, demigods etc., the principal of which are the seven or ten Brahmadikas or Rishis (seers), the most important of whom is Dakshas, with Diti and Aditi for wives; from Diti come the Daityas or Asuras, the daemons (of destruction), but from Aditi the Suras or Devas (i.e. gods). The Gandharvas are the musicians and dancers of heaven; the Apsarasas, the heavenly nymphs; the Yakshas, the keepers of treasures in the mountains;
the Rakshasas, the enemies of mankind and of all good. The earth is, besides, inhabited by a multitude of evil spirits. The existence of the three worlds (of the gods, the earth, and the lower world) is not considered eternal; it is to be destroyed by Kala, the god of time, who, in regard to this act, is called Mahapralaya, or the great end. Some animals also are the objects of religious adoration or fear, particularly the bull; also the snakes, whose connection with the demigods brought forth the monkeys, which are the objects of superstitious dread. Among the birds the Ganada is the most honored, and the Banian among trees.
III. Later Sects. — The worship of these gods, as well as of numerous others, which was once very popular in Hindustan, has almost disappeared in consequence of the exclusive worship which is paid to Vishnu, Siva, Kali, or Sakti, and a few other deities, by the religious sects of the present day. Each sect maintains that the god it worships unites in his person all the attributes of the deity. Few Brahmins of learning, however, will acknowledge themselves to belong to any of the popular divisions of the Hindu faith; they acknowledge the Vedas, Purânas, and Tantras as the only orthodox ritual, and regard all practices not derived from these sources as irregular and profane. The following is a list of the principal sects:
(1.) Vaishnavas, who worship Vishnu, or, rather, Rana, Krishna, and other heroes connected with the incarnation of that deity. This sect is distinguished generally by an abstinence from animal food, and by a worship less cruel than that of the Saivas (2). They are divided into numerous sects, which often agree only in maintaining that Vishnu is Brahma, that is, Deity. One of the most important of the Vaishnava sects is the Kabir Panthis, founded by Kabir in the 15th century. Kabir assailed the whole system of idolatrous worship, and ridiculed the learning of the Pundits and the doctrines of the Shastra. His doctrines have had great influence. His followers are included among the Vaishnavas because they pay more respect to Vishnu than to any other deity; but it is no part of their faith to worship any Hindu deity, or to observe any of the rites of the Hindu religion.
(2.) Saivas, who worship Siva, and are more numerous than any other sect. The mark by which they are distinguished is three horizontal lines on the forehead, drawn in ashes, obtained from the hearth on which a sacred fire is kept; while that of the Vaishnavas consists in perpendicular lines, of which the number differs according to the sect to which the individual belongs. "Sivaism recalls the ancient religion of nature, and the gross dualism of Phoenicia" (Pressense, Religions before Christ, p. 58).
(3.) Saktas. The Hindu mythology has personified the abstract and active powers of the divinity, and has ascribed sexes to these personages. The Sakti, or active power of God, is female, and is considered the consort of the abstract attribute. The Saktas, who may perhaps be regarded as only a subdivision of the Saivas, worship the Sakti of Siva, and are not very numerous.
(4.) Sauras, the worshippers of Surya, the sun.
(5.) Ganapatyas, the worshippers of Ganesa, the god of wisdom.
The Sauras and Ganapatvas are not very numerous. The religious sects of India are divided into two classes, which may be called clerical and lay. The priests may also be divided into two classes, the monastic and secular clergy, the majority belonging to the monastic order, since the preference is usually given by laymen to teachers who lead an ascetic life.
The sects which have already been enumerated profess to follow the authority of the Veda, but there are other sects which disavow its authority, and are therefore regarded as forming no part of the Hindu Church. The most important of these are the Buddhists, the Jainas (q.v.), and the Sikhs. The Buddhists have long since been expelled from Hindustan, but it is evident that they were once very numerous in all parts of the country. SEE BUDDHISM. The sect of the Sikhs was founded by Nanak Shah about A.D. 1500. Their present faith is a creed of pure deism, grounded on the most sublime general truths; blended with the belief of all the absurdities of Hindu mythology and the fables of Mohammedanism (Malcolm). They despise the Hindus and hate the Mussulman, and do not recognize the distinction of caste. They also reject the authority of the Veda, the Purânas, and all other religious books of the Hindus; eat all kinds of flesh except that of cows; willingly admit proselytes from every caste; and consider the profession of arms the religious duty of every individual. An interesting account of this sect is given in Malcolm's Sketch of the Sikhs. — Asiatic Researches, 11, 197-292; Cunningham, Sikhs. For the distinctions of caste, SEE INDIA.
IV. Doctrines acid Worship. — As already intimated, a broad distinction exists between the religion of the people and that of the learned. The popular religion is a debased polytheism, without unity of belief or worship. The people believe that the performance of certain forms is the only and sure means of salvation, and that those who observe these things will, at a fixed time after death, be admitted into the joys of paradise. The religion of the learned class, on the other hand, professes to rest upon pure contemplation; its theory of the universe is pantheistic; and religious observances, apart from absorption of mind in the universal mind, are of no value. The daily duties of the Brahmin consist of five religious occupations, considered as five sacraments: the study of the Veda (brahma-jagnas, or ahuta, i.e. not offered); offering for the progress of the honor of the gods (huta, i.e. offered); entertaining the fire of the dead (sradda) in honor of the manes (prasita); offering of the Bali in honor of the spirits (prahuta), and of hospitality, in honor of mankind (brahma-huta). Offerings and prayers for all possible objects follow each other from morning till night. Prayer is recommended by the Veda for every occasion. The number of ablutions the Hindus consider as obligatory is immense; near every temple a pond is provided for that purpose; but the most sanctifying ablutions are those performed in the Ganges, particularly at the five points where it unites with other streams. The holiest of all, according to the popular belief of the Hindus, is Allahabad, where, besides the Jumna, the Sarasvati also unites with the Ganges. The most important act of worship consists partly of bloody sacrifices. The principal among these is that of Asamedha, or sacrifice of horses. Bloody sacrifices are mostly made to Siva and Kali, whilst the offerings to Vishnu are generally of water, oil, butter, fruit, flowers, etc. All sins of commission or of omission can be effaced by penances described in the laws, and provided for every caste and every case; a thorough fast of twelve days' duration (Pavaka) cancels all sins. The prescribed penances must be observed if the sinner desires to avoid the penalty of his sin in a new form of existence. There are therefore a great number of penitents and hermits in India, who seek merit by the renunciation of all enjoyment, and the mortification of the flesh. In fact. Eastern monachism is, in many respects, the type of that of the Romish Church. SEE MONACHISM.
The gnosis of the learned Hindus consists in regarding union (Yoga) with God as the highest aim of man, this doctrine is further developed in the philosophy of the Veda. The liberation following death is twofold. Such souls as have arrived at high perfection are admitted into the Brahmic heavens (Svarga), where they enjoy much higher happiness than in the paradise of the Indra, but after a time they are sent back again to undergo another period of probation. But when man has by contemplation identified himself with the divinity, or Nirvana, his soul enters into, and becomes part of the: immense soul (Atma), and enjoys everlasting felicity,. not having to assume any new form of existence. Those who aim at reaching this unity with the divinity are called Yogi. An essential means of arriving at this result is found in the penances or Tapas. On certain occasions (feasts) all the practices of the religion are united, sacrifices, offerings, prayers, etc. There are eighteen such feasts considered obligatory. The feast of Hali, or Holaka, is the oldest and most important. The Vais-vadera is the offering to all gods. It consists, as has already been stated in our treatment of the Vedic period, in throwing melted butter (ghee) on the flame of the sacred fire, which must be carefully kept burning. The Brahmins must offer it every morning and evening,. first to the god of fire and the moon, then to all the other gods and goddesses. Each particular feast presents some peculiarities, and they are differently observed in the various localities. Aside from these general feasts, each important pagoda has some special ones. The most important are those of Jaggemaut, Benares, Guja, Allahabad, Tripety, Dvaraka, Somnauth. Ramisseran, the sea Manasarovara, Gangotri, Omerkuntuk, Trimbuck-Nasser, Pervuttum, Parkur, Mathura, and Bindrabund.
V. Images, Temples, etc. — The Hindus have images of their gods, but they are of a grotesque or fantastic kind; some are represented with heads of animals (as Ganesa), others with superabundant limbs (as Brahma, with four arms), or disfigured, etc. Antiquity was more sparing in this life, but afterwards the arts of India were applied to the production of innumerable monstrosities. The lower orders of divinities are often represented under the form of animals (thus Hanuman is represented as an ape, Mundi as a bull, etc.), and are generally considered as the steeds of the higher deities. These images of the gods are placed in the temples, which originally were grottoes; they now are pagodas, built in the shape: of a pyramid, ornamented with columns, statues, and symbolic figures; they are divided into courts by means of colonnades, surrounded by high walls, and by the habitations of the priests. In the vestibule there is always. an image of some inferior deity confronting the worshipper as he enters. Admission into these courts is only granted to the Kshattriyas and the Vaisyas; the interior of the pagoda is reserved for the Brahmins or priests, which, in each pagoda, are under the command of a head-Brahmin, who admits as many assistants as the income of the pagoda will permit. In some of the temples there are as many as 3000 Brahmins. Their priestly duties consist in offering sacrifices and reading the Veda. The worship is accompanied by songs and dances from the two higher classes of dancing girls, the Devadasis and the Natakas.
VI. Literature. — See Moor, Hindu Pantheon (London,. 1810); Coleman, Mythol. of Hindus (1832); Rhode, Ueberrelig. Bildung, der Hindu (Lpz. 1827, 2 vols.); Wilson, Relig. Sects of the Hindoos (As. Res. 16 and 17); Ess. and a Lect. on the Relig. of the Hind. (2 vols. 8vo); Vishnu Purâna, or Syst. of Hin. Mythol. (4 vols. 8vo); Colebrooke,. Miscell. Essays (Lond. 1837, 2 vols.); Relig. and Philos. of the Hindoos (Lond. 1858, 8vo); Small, Hdbk. of Sanskrit Lit. (Lond. 1869, 12mo); Wheeler, History of India (vol. 1, Vedic period and the Mahabharata; vol. 2, the Ramyana, the Brahm. period, Lond. 1869, 8vo); Wuttkei Gesch. d. Ieidenthums (2nd ed. Berl. 1855, 2 vols.); Weber, Akadem. Vorles. U. Ind. Literaturgesch. (Berl. 1852). Ind. Stud. (Berl. 1849-58,1-4 vols.); Ind. Skizzen (Berl. 1857); Muller, On the Li' cat. of the Verdas (Lond. 1859 2 vol.); Chips from a German Workshop (N. Y. 1870, 2 yols. 12mo); Hardwick, Christ and other Masters (2nd ed. Lond. 1863, 2 vols. 12mo); Scholten, Gesch. d. Religion u. Philos. (Elberf. 1868, 8vo); Wrightson, Introd. Treatise on Sanskrit Hagiograha, or the Sacred Literat. of the Hindus (2 parts, 12mo); Corkman's Pressense, Religions before Christ, p. 44 sq.; Barlow, Ess. on Symbolism (Lond. 12mo), ch. 4 and 8; Williams, Ind. Epic Poet. (Lond. — 8vo); Pierer, Univ. — Lex. 8; Chambers, Cyclop. 5, 540 — sq.; Revue d. deux Mondes, Jan. 1858; N. Am. Rev. April, 3858, p. 435. A clear and concise statement of the religion of India is given by Arthur, Mission to the Mysore, ch. 9 (Lond. 1847.12mo). For India as a Missionfield (by the Rev. T. J. Scott), see Methodist Quart. Rev. Jan. 1869, p. 30; Biblioth. Sacra, Apr. 1852, art. 1. SEE BUDDHISM; SEE BRAHMA; SEE INDIA. (J. H.W.)