Chapter III

Representations of Siva—Siva’s quarrel with his father-in-law—Quarrel between Brahma and Vishnu—Misconduct of Siva—Bengal temples of Siva—Ancient linga idols—Siege of Somnath—Ferishtah’s history—The twelve great lingams—Account of the Viri-Saivas—The Jangamas—Legend of Ravunu.

Siva, has the second place among the Hindoo deities, though in general, in allusion to their offices, the principal gods are classed thus: Brahma, Vishnu, Siva. Siva, personifies destruction or reproduction, for Hindu philosophy excludes, while time shall exist, the idea of complete annihilation: to destroy is, therefore, but to change, or recreate, or reproduce.

This god is represented in various ways. In the dhyanu he appears as a white or silver coloured man with five faces; an additional eye (one of his names is Trilochunu, the three eyed), and a half-moon on each forehead; four arms; in the first a purushao; in the second a deer; with the third giving a blessing, and with the fourth forbidding fear; sitting on a water-lily, and wearing a tiger’s skin. He is worshipped in the daily puja of the brahmins, who silently meditate upon him in this form.

At other times Siva is represented with one head, three eyes, and two arms, riding on a bull, covered with ashes, naked, his eyes inflamed with intoxicating herbs, having in one hand a horn, and in the other a musical instrument called a dumbooru.

Another of his images is the linga, a smooth black stone very much like a sugar-loaf in shape, with a projection of a spoon shape.

There are three different stories respecting the origin of this image. The Purana called Doorga-bhagavata gives the following account: King Dukshu, having had a quarrel with Siva, refused to invite him to a sacrifice which he was performing. Siva had married Sutee, the daughter of Dukshu. She resolved, uninvited, to attend at this sacrifice; but while there, she was so overcome by the abuse which Dukshu poured upon her husband, that she died.

The ground of the quarrel between Siva and his father-in-law was this: It was the custom for the junior branches of a family, as they arrived at an assembly, to bow to their older relation. On a certain occasion Siva neglected, or refused, to bow to his father-in-law, who began to abuse him in such a manner that a dreadful enmity was raised which ended in the destruction of Dukshu.

On hearing the news of the fate of his beloved wife, Siva, in vexation, renounced a secular life, and assumed the profession of a religious mendicant called a sunyasee. As a naked sunyasee he wandered from forest to forest, in the bitterness of grief. At length he arrived in a certain wilderness where many moonees were performing religious austerities, by the side of the river at a distance from their homes. The wives of these moonees, on beholding this naked, dirty, and withered sunyasee, asked him who he was, and why he was wandering up and down in this state? He related to them the cause of his sorrow, viz., that he had been deprived of his wife, and was overwhelmed with distress on her account. The women laughed at him, and pretended to doubt his relation, declaring that his body was so withered, that all desires must have been extinguished. In this manner they provoked Siva, till at length he seized the wife of one of the moonees and deflowered her. The moonee on hearing this relation, pronounced a curse on Siva, and he became an hermaphrodite. As soon as the curse had taken effect, the linga sunk into patalŭ, the world of serpents, and ascended into the boundless space.

Before this period, a fierce quarrel had taken place betwixt Brahma and Vishnu, as to which of them was the greatest, the former as the creator, or the latter as the preserver or cherisher, of all. They appealed to Siva, who left it to be determined by a trial of strength at some future time, when he should have leisure.

Siva at length proposed to the two gods to settle their quarrel in this way: one of them should ascend, and endeavour to ascertain the height of the linga, and the other descend, and bring up word of its depth. Brahma ascended, and Vishnu plunged into patalŭ. In this way both the gods tried their utmost efforts, but could not find either the height or the depth of the linga. As Brahma ascended, he met a flower which had fallen from the top of the linga, and asked how far it was to the top. The flower told him that it had been falling from the head of the linga so many kŭlpŭs (one kŭlpŭ is four hundred and thirty-two millions of years of mortals) and had not reached the earth yet; what hope was there then of his reaching the top? Brahma related the account of the difference betwixt him and Vishnu, and that upon this trial of their powers the point of pre-eminence was to be decided. The flower advised Brahma to tell the assembled gods, that he had gone to the top, and if they doubted the fact, he might call him to confirm it.

Brahma descended, and Vishnu came up disappointed in his attempt to get to the bottom of the linga. When the two gods arrived in the assembly, Brahma declared that he had been to the top, and brought the flower to prove it. Vishnu confessed his disappointment, and charged the flower with witnessing a falsehood. To this all the gods assented, and Vishnu pronounced a curse upon the flower, that it should never be received among the offerings presented to Siva.

After the matter was thus disposed of, the gods resolved that the worship of the linga should have the precedency of every other worship; that the benefits attending its worship should be boundless, and that the heaviest curses should fall on those who neglected to worship this image. So much for the account in the Doorga-bhagavata: in the Kaduru-khundu the origin of the worship is thus mentioned:

When the gods resolved to churn the sea, in order to obtain the water of life, become immortal, and overcome the usoorus, they were greatly afraid lest the usoorus should seize the water of life, and become immortal also. When the water of life came up, they contrived to send the usoorus to bathe; but after bathing, they arrived before the gods had drank the life-giving beverage. To draw off their attention, Vishnu assumed the form of a most beautiful female. This contrivance was successful.

The god Siva hearing that Vishnu had assumed this form, went to the spot, and was so overcome by the charms of Mohinee, that he was about to seize her by force: she fled, and Siva followed her; mad with lust, he pursued her till she could run no longer, when she turned, and pronouncing a curse upon him by which he became a hermaphrodite, she immediately assumed her original form, viz., that of Vishnu. Siva was so enraged, that all the gods, full of fear, arrived to soften him by praise. He at length consented to dismiss his anger on condition that the linga should become an object of universal worship.

Another account of the origin of this worship is contained in some of the other puranas: At the time of a universal destruction of the world all the gods are absorbed in what is called akashu; the linga alone remains. The puranas, therefore, say that as all the gods except the linga are absorbed in the akashu, he who worships the linga, obtains the unbounded merit of embracing all the deities at once. From these stories, temples innumerable have arisen in India, and a Siva linga placed in each of them, and worshipped as a god.

The worship of Siva under the type of the Linga, is almost the only form in which that deity is reverenced. Its prevalence throughout the whole tract of the Ganges, as far as Benares, is sufficiently conspicuous. In Bengal the temples are commonly erected in a range of six, eight, or twelve, on each side of a Ghat, leading to the river. At Kalna is a circular group of one hundred and eight temples, erected by the Rajah of Bardwan. Each of the temples in Bengal consists of a single chamber, of a square form, surmounted by a pyramidal centre; the area of each is very small, the Linga, of black or white marble, occupies the centre; the offerings are presented at the threshold. Benares, however, is the peculiar seat of this form of worship: the principal deity, Visweswara, is a Linga, and most of the chief objects of the pilgrimage are similar blocks of stone. Particular divisions of the pilgrimage direct visiting forty-seven Lingas, all of pre-eminent sanctity; but there are hundreds of inferior note still worshipped, and thousands whose fame and fashion have died away. If we may believe Siva, indeed, he counted a hundred Pararrdhyas in the Kasi, of which, at the time he is supposed to tell this to Devi, he adds sixty crore, or six hundred millions were covered by the waters of the Ganges. A Pararrdhya is said, by the commentator on the Kasi-Khanda, in which this dialogue occurs, to contain as many years of mortals as are equal to fifty of Brahma’s years.

This worship of Siva, under the type of the Linga, is also, perhaps, the most ancient object of homage adopted in India, subsequently to the ritual of the Vedas, which was chiefly, if not wholly, addressed to the elements, and particularly to Fire. How far the worship of the Linga is authorised by the Vedas, is doubtful, but it is the main purport of several of the Puranas—such as the Skanda-Purana, the Siva, Brahmanda, and Linga Puranas. There can be no doubt of its universality at the period of the Mohammedan invasion of India. The idol destroyed by Mahmud of Ghizni, was nothing more than a Linga, being, according to Mirkhond, a block of stone of four or five cubits long, and of proportionate thickness. The passage from the Rozet as Sefa (cited in the Asiatic Researches, vol. 17), runs thus:—“The temple in which the idol of Somnath stood, was of considerable extent, both in length and breath, and the roof was supported by fifty-six pillars in rows. The idol was of polished stone, its height was about five cubits, and its thickness in proportion: two cubits were below ground. Mahmud having entered the temple, broke the stone Somnath with a heavy mace; some of the fragments he ordered to be conveyed to Ghizni, and they were placed at the threshold of the great Mosque.”

Another authority, the Tebkat Akbeeri, a history of Akber’s reign, with a preliminary Sketch of Indian History, has the following: “In the year 415 (Hijera) Mahmud determined to lead an army against Somnath, a city of the seashore, with a temple appertaining to the followers of Brahma; the temple contained many idols, the principal of which was named Somnath. It is related in some histories that this idol was carried from the Kaaba, upon the coming of the Prophet, and transported to India. The Brahminical records, however, refer it to the times of Krishna, or an antiquity of 4000 years. Krishna, himself, is said to have disappeared at this place.

“When the Sultan arrived at Neherwaleh (the capital of Guzerat) he found the city deserted, and carrying off such provisions as could be procured, he advanced to Somnath: the inhabitants of this place shut their gates against him, but it was soon carried by the irresistable valour of his troops, and a terrible slaughter of its defenders ensued. The temple was levelled with the ground: the idol Somnath, which was of stone, was broken to pieces, and in commemoration of the victory, a fragment was sent to Ghizni, where it was laid at the threshold of the principal mosque, and was there many years.”

Ferishtah, the historian, supplies a much more graphic, if not reliable account. He says: “When the garrison of Sumnat beheld their defeat, they were struck with confusion and fear. They withdrew their hands from the sight, and issuing out at a gate towards the sea, to the number of four thousand embarked in boats, intending to proceed to the island of Sirindiep. But they did not escape the eyes of the king. He seized upon boats which were left in a neighbouring creek, and manning them with rowers and some of his best troops, pursued the enemy, taking and sinking some of their boats while others escaped. Having then placed guards round the walls and at the gates, he entered Sumnat, with his son and a few of his nobles and principal attendants. When they advanced to the temple, they saw a great and antique structure, built of stone, within a spacious court. They immediately entered it, and discovered a great square hall, having its lofty roof supported by fifty-six pillars, curiously turned and set with precious stones. In the centre of the hall stood Sumnat, an idol of stone, five yards in height, two of which were sunk in the ground.

“The king was enraged when he saw this idol, and raising his mace, struck off the nose from the face. He then ordered that two pieces of the image should be broken off, to be sent to Ghizni, there to be thrown at the threshold of the public mosque, and in the court of his palace. Two more fragments he reserved to be sent to Mecca and Medina. When Mahmood was thus employed in breaking up Sumnat, a crowd of Brahmins petitioned his attendants, and offered some crores (ten millions) in gold, if the king should be pleased to proceed no further. The Omrahs endeavoured to persuade Mahmood to accept the money; for they said that breaking up the idol could not remove idolatry from the walls of Sumnat, that therefore it would serve no purpose to destroy the image, but that such a sum of money given in charity, among believers, would be a very meritorious action. The king acknowledged that what they said was, in some measure, true; but should he consent to that bargain, he might justly be called a seller of idols; and that he looked upon a breaker of them as a more honourable title. He therefore ordered them to proceed. The next blow having broken up the belly of Sumnat, which had been made hollow, they discovered that it was full of diamonds, rubies, and pearls, of a much greater value than the amount of what the Brahmins had offered, so that a zeal for religion was not the sole cause of their application to Mahmood.”

It is said, by some writers, that the name of this idol is a compound word of Sum and Nat; Sum being the name of the prince who erected it, and Nat the true name of the god; which in the language of the Brahmins, signifies Creator. In the time of eclipses we are told that there used to be forty or fifty thousand worshippers at this temple; and that the different princes of Hindostan had bestowed, in all, two thousand villages, with their territories, for the maintenance of its priests; besides the innumerable presents received from all parts of the empire. It was a custom among these idolaters, to wash Sumnat, every morning and evening, with fresh water from the Ganges, though that river is above one thousand miles distant.

Among the spoils of this temple was a chain of gold, weighing forty maunds, which hung from the top of the building by a ring. It supported a great bell, which warned the people to the worship of the god. Besides two thousands Brahmins, who officiated as priests, there belonged to the temple five hundred dancing-girls, three hundred musicians, and three hundred barbers, to shave the devotees before they were admitted to the presence of Sumnat. The dancing-girls were either remarkable for their beauty or their quality, the Rajas thinking it a honour to have their daughters admitted. The king of Ghizni found in this temple, a greater quantity of jewels and gold, than, it is thought, any royal treasury contained before. In the history of Eben Assur, it is related that there was no light in the temple, but one pendant lamp, which being reflected from the jewels, spread a strong and refulgent light over the whole place. Besides the great idol above mentioned, there were in the temple some thousands of small images, in gold and silver, of various shapes and dimensions.

The idol destroyed by Mahmood was, in fact, one of the twelve great Lingas, then set up in various parts of India, several of which besides Somesware, or Somanath, which was the name of the Siva demolished by Mahmood, were destroyed by the early Mahommedan conquerors.

In the Kedara Kalpa, Siva says: “I am omnipresent, but I am especially in twelve forms and places.

“(1) Somanatha, in Saurashtra. (2) Mallikarjuna, or Sri Saila. (3) Mahakala, in Ougein. (4) Omkara, said to have been in Ujayin. (5) Amareswara, also placed in Ujayin. (6) Vaidyanath, at Deogerh in Bengal. (7) Ramesa, at Setubandha. (8) Bhimasankara, in Dakini. (The 9th is missing from the list enumerated by Mr. Wilson in the Asiatic Researches, said to be unknown). (10) Tryambaka, on the banks of the Gomati. (11) Gautamesa, site unknown. (12) Kedaresa, or Kedaranath, in the Himalaya.”

One of the forms in which the Linga worship appears, is that of the Lingayets, Lingawauts, or Jangamas. These are the anti-braminical worshippers of Siva, who are distinguished by their wearing a small idol, either hung on the breast, round the neck or arm, or placed in the turban; the idol is of silver or copper. In common with the Saivas, generally the Jangamas smear their foreheads with Vibhuti or ashes, and wear necklaces and rosaries of the Rudraksha seed. The priests stain their garments with red ochre. They have never been very numerous in the north of India, being rarely met with except as beggars, leading about a bull, the living type of Nandi, the bull of Siva, decorated with housings of various colours and strings of Cowri shells: the conductor carries a bell in his hand, and thus accompanied goes about from place to place, subsisting upon alms. These are the disciples of Basava, whom they regard as a form of the god Siva. They are numerous in the South of India, among the Canarese, the Telugus, and the Tamils, the officiating priests of the Saiva shrines are generally of this sect, when they bear the designations of Aradyha, and Pandaram. The sect is also known by the name of Vira Saiva.

Many years ago, Professor Wilson supplied certain information relative to this sect in his paper in the 17th volume of the Asiatic Researches. That information was sufficiently interesting to create a desire for further particulars. Additional researches were accordingly entered upon and we are now able to supply a much fuller account than had hitherto been possible.

Among Brahmins the Smartas (followers of Sancar Achari) are generally called saivites, but are in fact freethinkers, equally willing to adore Siva and Vishnu. Their creed may be found in the Mahabharat, the Bhagavat, and the Ramayan, all of which are entirely rejected by the disciples of Basava. There are indeed some few Siva Brahmins who officiate as priests in the Siva temples, and though but little is known of their peculiarities they certainly are different from the Smartas, who refuse to receive the holy water and rice.

The Vira-Saivas are divided into two sects: one is semi-braminical, called Aradhyas; the other is anti-braminical, and is called Jangam. The Aradhyas claim to be descendants of saivite brahmins, and between them and the Smartas there is a certain degree of reluctant intercourse: founded upon the rites of initiation which both parties use. Their history, when divested of fabulous decoration seems to be that, their creed was founded by Basava, whom they adore as their one deity; looking upon him as an avatar or incarnation of Siva, the god of this creed.

Basava was the son of a Saivite brahmin, named Madenga Madamantri, at Hinguleswaram, a village near Bagwari in Belgaum, in the southern Mahratta country. When he was a boy he refused (they allege) to wear the braminical thread, because the rites that confer this mark of initiation require the adoration of the sun in the manner prescribed in the Vedas. Perhaps in truth he did assume it, but if so, he subsequently renounced it. Shortly after this time he escaped from his parents, and accompanied by his sister Acca Nagamma, he fled to Calianum, the capital of the Carnataca country, where the reigning prince was Bizzala or Vijala, a Jaina by religion, whose minister, a brahmin, was Basava’s maternal uncle: he bestowed employment on Basava, and ultimately gave him his daughter in marriage. (“This proves,” says a writer in the Madras Journal, “in my opinion, though opposed to that of his followers, that he did not lay aside the braminical thread in childhood, for had he done so no brahmin could have given him his daughter in marriage.”) At his death Basava succeeded to his office, and gradually usurped great power.

It would seem that at this time he began to compare the opposed statements of Jainas and Brahmins, and perceived that both creeds were idolatrous. In the end he determined on getting rid of the braminical priestcraft, and accordingly refused to worship any deity but Siva, whose image, the lingam, is the most ancient idol known among the Hindus.

A writer on the subject says:—“This symbol is as separate from indecency in the Hindu mind as circumcision is to the Mahomedan mind. The Brahmins with their usual love of filth have connected a variety of obscenities with the linga worship, but these are wholly unknown to the Jangams, who look upon this idol just as the catholics do upon a reliquary, with deep veneration

‘Hanging a golden stamp about their necks
Put on with holy prayers.’

“The image erected in the Saiva temples being denominated Sthavara Linga, or the stable image, he denominated this reliquary the Jangama Lingam or Locomotive image: a phrase borrowed from the Vedas, where it is used for living being. Hence he and his followers are denominated Jangams, or living images of the deity.”

Basava’s determined opposition to the Saivite Brahmins and to the Jainas raised him many enemies; while his bounty to the poor gained him friends equally numerous. At last the prince’s jealousy was roused, and a civil war ensued, wherein Bizzala was slain, and this event was soon succeeded by the death of Basava, who, according to his followers was “absorbed into the image,” or vanished; while the Jaina account declares that he fled to Capila Sangam, where the Malparba and Krishna rivers meet, about one hundred and four miles west of Bellary.

The name Basava is a very common one among Hindus: the Jangams have taken occasion from their teacher having borne it to feign that he was an incarnation of Nandi or Bassava (the Apis or bull appertaining to Siva or Osiris), and this has been the source of numerous idle legends in the subject.

The Basava Purana after recording the events just alluded to, enumerates various marvellous actions, performed by Basava and several of his disciples, such as converting grains of corn to pearls, discovering hidden treasures, feeding multitudes, healing the sick, and restoring the dead to life, and then gives various anecdotes from which we make a selection.

Basava having made himself remarkable for the profuse bounties he bestowed upon the Jangamas, helping himself from the royal treasury for that purpose, the other ministers reported his conduct to Bijala, who called upon him to account for the money in his charge. Basava smiled, and giving the keys of the treasury to the king, requested him to examine it, which being done, the amount was found wholly undiminished. Bijala thereupon caused it to be proclaimed, that whoever calumniated Basava, should have his tongue cut out.

A Jangama, who cohabited with a dancing-girl, sent a slave for his allowance of rice to the house of Basava, where the messenger saw the wife of the latter, and on his return reported to the dancing-girl the magnificence of her attire. The mistress of the Jangama was filled with a longing for a similar dress, and the Jangama having no other means of gratifying her, repaired to Basava, to beg of him his wife’s garment. Basava immediately stripped Gangamba, his wife, and other dresses springing from her body, he gave them all to the Jangama.

A person of the name of Kanapa, who regularly worshipped the image of Ckamreswara, imagining the eyes of the deity were affected, plucked out his own, and placed them in the sockets of the figure. Siva, pleased with his devotion, restored his worshipper his eyes.

A devout Saiva named Mahadevala Machaya, who engaged to wash for all the Jangamas, having killed a child, the Raja ordered Basava to have him secured and punished; but Basava declined undertaking the duty, as it would be unavailing to offer any harm to the worshippers of Siva. Bijala persisting, sent his servants to seize and tie him to the legs of an elephant, but Machaya caught the elephant by the trunk, and dashed him and his attendant to pieces. He then proceeded to attack the Raja, who being alarmed, applied to Basava, and by his advice, humbled himself before the offended Jangama. Basava also deprecated his wrath, and Machaya being appeased, forgave the king, and restored the elephant and the guards to life.

A poor Jangam having solicited alms of Kinnaraya, one of Basava’s chief disciples, the latter touched the stones about them with his staff, and converting them into gold, told the Jangam to help himself.

The work is also in many places addressed to the Jainas, in the shape of a dialogue between some of the Jangama saints and the members of that faith, in which the former narrate to the latter instances of the superiority of the Saiva religion, and the falsehood of the Jain faith, which appears to have been that of Bijala Raza, and the great part of the population of Kalyana. In order to convert them Ckanta Ramaya, one of Basava’s disciples, cut off his head in their presence, and then marched five days in solemn procession through and round the city, and on the fifth day replaced his head upon his shoulders. The Jain Pagodas were thereupon, it is said, destroyed by the Jangamas. It does not appear, however, that the king was made a convert, or that he approved of the principles and conduct of his minister. He seems, on the contrary, to have incurred his death by attempting to repress the extension of the Vira Saiva belief. Different authorities, although they disagree as to the manner in which Bijala was destroyed, concur in stating the fact.

In the city of Kalyana were two devout worshippers of Siva, named Allaya and Madhuvaya. They fixed their faith firmly on the divinity they adored, and assiduously reverenced their spiritual preceptor, attending upon Basava whithersoever he went. The king, Bijala, well knew their merits, but closed his eyes to their superiority, and listening to the calumnious accusations of their enemies, commanded the eyes of Allaya and Madhuvaya to be plucked out. The disciples of Basava, as well as himself, were highly indignant at the cruel treatment of these holy men, and leaving to Jagaddeva, the task of putting Bijala to death, and denouncing imprecations upon the city, they departed from Kalyana—Basava fixed his residence at Sangameswara.

Machaya, Bommidevaya, Kinnara, Kannatha, Kakaya, Masayana, Kolakila, Bommadeva, Kesirajaya, Mathirajaya, and others, announced to the people, that the fortunes of Bijala had passed away, as indicated by portentous signs; and accordingly the crows crowed in the night, jackals howled by day; the sun was eclipsed, storms of wind and rain came on, the earth shook, and darkness overspread the heavens. The inhabitants of Kalyana were filled with terror.

When Jagaddeva repaired home, his mother met him, and told him when any injury had been done to a disciple of the Saiva faith, his fellow should avenge him or die. When Daksha treated Siva with contumely, Parvati threw herself into the flames, and so, under the wrong offered to the saints, he should not sit down contented: thus saying, she gave him food at the door of his mansion. Thither also came Mallaya and Bommaya, two others of the saints, and they partook of Jagaddeva’s meal. Then smearing their bodies with holy ashes, they took up the spear, and sword, and shield, and marched together against Bijala. On their way a bull appeared, whom they knew to be a form of Basava come to their aid, and the bull went first, even to the court of the king, goring any one that came in their way, and opening a clear path for them. Thus they reached the court, and put Bijala to death in the midst of all his courtiers, and then they danced, and proclaimed the cause why they had put the king to death. Jugaddeva on his way back recalling the words of his mother, stabbed himself. Then arose dissension in the city, and the people fought amongst themselves, and horses with horses, and elephants with elephants, until, agreeably to the curse denounced upon it by Basava and his disciples, Kalyana was utterly destroyed.

Basava continued to reside at Sangameswara, conversing with his disciples, and communing with the divine Essence, and he expostulated with Siva, saying, ‘By thy command have I, and thy attendant train, come upon earth, and thou hast promised to recall us to thy presence when our task was accomplished.’ Then Siva and Parvati came forth from the Sangameswara Lingam, and were visible to Basava, who fell on the ground before them. They raised him, and led him to the sanctuary, and all three disappeared in the presence of the disciples, and they praised their master, and flowers fell from the sky, and then the disciples spread themselves abroad, and made known the absorption of Basava into the emblem of Siva.1)

A writer in the Madras Literary Journal, upwards of fifty years ago, said that by perusing the books and observing the customs of the Jangams, we might plainly see the grounds of that hatred in which Brahmins held the Jangams. Their leader was the resolute opponent of every braminical principle. The Brahmins inculcated the adoration of many gods. He declared that there was only one sole deity. They venerated goddesses and subordinate beings; they reverenced cows, hawks, monkeys, rats and snakes; they used fasts and feasts, penance and pilgrimage, rosaries and holy water. All these he renounced; he set aside the Vedas which they venerated. They declared Brahmins to be literally gods upon earth, women to be vastly inferior to men in all things, and parias to be utterly abominable. Basava abolished these distinctions. He taught that all men are holy in proportion as they are temples of the great spirit; that by birth all are equal; and amongst those whom the Jangam books describe as saints, we find not a single Brahmin, but many parias and many women. In the braminical writings, women are usually treated in a manner abhorrent to European feelings, but in the Jangama books we find a very different temper.

The three words Guru, Linga, Jangam, are said to comprise the creed of the sect, and were evidently intended to disavow every part of the braminical priestly tyranny. This mystic phrase is thus expounded. The image (lingam) is the deity: the Jangam is the wearer or fellow worshipper: and he who breathes the sacred spell in the ear is the Guru. Thus he supplies the link between the god and the worshipper, and ever after is looked upon with affection as the true parent: even more respected than the father according to the flesh. For, says the Jangam, I am one with the deity, and he alone is my father who conferred this unity on me.

“Brahmins frequently allege that the Jangams are a depraved sect, who are guided by the Tantras or heretical books,” says Mr. Brown, “but we should not incautiously believe this. The Jangams are in all respects opposed to licentiousness, which is the main-spring of the Tantras. The Jangams came from the west, the Tantricas from the north. The Jangams adore the Linga, and abhor Maia the goddess of delusion (Venus or Cali, as Devi), who is expressly the goddess (Yoni, or Bhaga Malini) of the Tantricas. The Tantricas take no notice of the Lingam; they adore Betala (the devil), and other malevolent powers. The Jangams honour Siva as Daxina Murti, or the beneficent and loving deity. The Tantricas say they aim at a perfect release from fleshly lusts. The Jangams do the same. But the former being hypocrites pretend to yield to their passions as the path to freedom. Whereas the Vira Saivas call on their votaries to deny themselves in all respects. They attend especially to the rules concerning funerals, marriage; and placing infants in the creed. On all these points the Tantras are silent. The Tantras inculcate the use of flesh, wine, magic and debauchery, the Jangam creed abhors these. The Jangams are an avowed sect; the Tantricas assume the guise of Smartas. The Jangams train up their children in their creed; the Tantricas merely admit proselytes. The Jangams are sober, devout and humble; the Tantricas are debauched, atheistical and proud. The Jangams are rigid puritans: the Tantricas are licentious atheists. Herein their depravity resembles that of the worshippers of Isis in Rome, the St. Simonians in France, the Illuminati, and other philosophers of Germany, the followers of Cagliostro in Italy, and the Nessereahs at Kerrund in Persia.”

With a few touches of his felicitous pencil, Shakespeare has given a view of their system, or philosophy which is the Sacti Puja or Worship of Power.

“Thus everything includes itself in Power:
Power into will: will into Appetite:
And Appetite, an universal wolf,
So doubly seconded with Will and Power
Must make perforce an universal prey,
And, last, eat up himself.”
Troilus I.

Again (Antony and Cleopatra, II., 1.)—

“Let witchcraft join with beauty, lust with both:
Tie up the libertine in a field of sweets
Keep his brain fuming,” &c.

Indeed, the sottish aspirations of Gonzalo (Tempest, Act II, Scene 1), give a summary of the bacchanalian rites taught in the Tantras. And if the reader has any curiosity regarding their system of magic, he will find it in Dr. Herklot’s English translation of the Canom-e-Islam, or customs of the Moosulmans of India.

Knowing the deserved odium that attaches to the Tantras, Brahmins assert that these constitute the Jangam system. But were this the case how does it happen that the Tantra volumes are found only in the possession of Brahmins? The fact is that both parties read the Tantras from motives of curiosity, just as a Protestant might read the Koran without in any point adopting the Mahommedan faith. The Jangams honestly avow, and vindicate all they do, they have no motive for concealment. The Brahmin acts on an opposite principle and assures us that the Jangams are a depraved and senseless set of heretics, who obey the levelling principles of the Tantras, and pay honour to the vilest castes.

It is to be observed that no instance is known of a Vira Saiva acting on the principles laid down in the Tantras. To excuse their aptness to read these abominations they allege that the Tantras belong to their creed because they describe Siva as the great deity, and countenance, as Basava does, the abolition of caste. These are but slender apologies, for such an imitation of the evil example set them by the Brahmins.

The Minda Jangamas or Bachelors are spoken of in various passages of the Lingadhari poems. They are confessed to be libertines, but are devout. They have interviews with (Vesias) courtezans who are likewise devout!!

The following is the received opinion. The Jangams are entirely forbidden to have intercourse with prostitutes: but among the earliest proselytes were some unmarried men, who were permitted by Basava to have intercourse with courtezans who belonged to the sect. These men were called Minda Jangams or libertines, and in the present age there are none; for all are bound either to marriage or to virtuous celibacy.

In the western districts there are prostitutes who are called Basvinis, and are said to be thus devoted by their parents, on their lives being in danger through illness in infancy. Some of these are daughters of Jangams: but all are not so, being children of Hindus of other castes. I have heard of some Jangams in similar cases attempting to remove a child’s illness by giving it a braminical name, with a view to appease some god or goddess, whose displeasure is imagined to have caused disease. These statements certainly shew the purity of the creed not to be so complete as its devotees assert.

The Vira Saivas illustrate their creed by a comparison quite in the Hindu style. They say, the guru is the cow: whose mouth is the Jangam or brother in the faith; and the lingam or image is the udder. The cow benefits its owner by means of the udder: but what fills the udder? the mouth. And what connects the mouth and the udder? the body. Accordingly if a Vira Saiva wishes the image to benefit him (that is, if he desires to obtain the favour of the deity), he must feed the mouth—that is sustain and comfort his brethren. And then the blessing will be conveyed to him by means of the teacher. Accordingly the Jangams blame the Aradhyas for neglecting this command, and ask how they can expect the image to nourish them if they neglect to sustain brethren and fellows in the faith, for the Aradhya refuses to look upon any but Aradhyas as brethren.

The strangest part of their legends regarding Siva is that wherein he is represented in the most contemptible light as completely the servant of various worthies or saints. Such stories abound in the Basava Puran but are excluded from the Lila. In these, some personages are represented under most degraded circumstances, as obeying or waiting upon the saint whom the legend extols. Thus in the fourth book of the Basava Puran is a story of a certain “worthy” named Nambi, who by force of faith got Siva so completely into his hands that he employed the god as a mere slave. In another story one of the “worthies” scolded Siva, who was so much alarmed that he slunk round the other side of the image, and ran away into the jungle. Other stories represent this paltry demi-god acting either as a thief or as a receiver of stolen goods, to protect his adorers; and they frequently represent him as acting the part of a pander, at the bidding of one of the worthies.

In apology for these stories Jangams allege that they all establish the necessity of faith as the great means of attaining happiness and miraculous power. “As the Brahmins,” say they, “call themselves gods upon earth, we will shew that our worthies are quite a match for them.” Accordingly there are many legends to prove that food or the leavings of food blessed by a worthy, can perform all sorts of miracles. For instance, a Brahmin, who, by a curse, had become a swine, ate what a Jangam had spit out and hereby resumed the human form. Elsewhere a Jangam’s shoe works miracles.

Ravŭnŭ was once carrying an ŭnadee-lingu from Himalŭyŭ to Lŭnka, in order that he might accomplish all his ambitious schemes against the gods, for it was the property of this stone, also called Kamŭ-lingŭ, to grant the worshipper all his desires, whatever they might be. Shinŭ, however, in permitting him to remove this, his image to Lŭnka, made Ravŭnŭ promise that wherever he let it touch the ground, there it should be set up.

When the gods saw that Ravŭnŭ was carrying this stone to Lŭnka, all their heavens were in an uproar, for they knew that if Ravŭnŭ could do what he pleased, neither Indrŭ nor any other god would be able to sit on his throne. Council after council was held, and appeals to this and to that god made, in vain. At last it was resolved that Vŭrvonŭ should be sent, to cause the sea to enter the belly of Ravŭnŭ, who would thereby be compelled to set the stone down while he discharged his water. (Ravŭnŭ could not continue to hold the lingŭ while in this act, as a person becomes unclean at this time until he has bathed). Vŭrvonŭ accordingly set off, and entered the belly of Ravŭnŭ, as he was carrying the lingŭ on his head, and the latter soon began to feel the effect of his visit. His belly swelled prodigiously, but he went on till he could hold his water no longer. At this moment Indrŭ, in the form of an old Bramhŭn, met him. Ravŭnŭ asked him who he was, and where he was going? The latter told him he was an old Bramhŭn going home. Ravŭnŭ entreated him to take hold of the lingŭ for a short time, and he would bestow upon him the greatest favours. At length the Bramhŭn consented, and Ravŭnŭ, setting the lingŭ on his head, squat on his hams to ease himself. The Bramhŭn agreed to hold the stone an hour but no longer. Ravŭnŭ told him he should not keep him half that time. After Ravŭnŭ had thus sat for four hours, the Bramhŭn complained he could hold the stone no longer, and he threw it down,—when the bottom part sunk into patŭlŭ, and the top part remains to this day in a place in the zillah of Beerbhoom, called Voidyŭnathu, which is also the name of this lingŭ, and the river at that place called Khŭrsoo is said to have arisen from the water of Ravŭnŭ. Ravŭnŭ when he arose, seeing what had taken place, full of rage and disappointment, went home: some accounts say, having discovered that the gods had played him this trick, he went and fought with them in the most furious manner.

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See the Mackenzie Collection, vol. 2, Halakanara MSS.