Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/105

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

TWOFOLD ASPECTS OF SIVA- WORSHIP. 101 double nature. The Brahmanical conception of Siva is repre- sented by his attitude as a fair-skinned man, seated in profound thought, the symbol of the fertilizing Ganges above his head, and the bull (emblem alike of procreation and of Aryan plough- tillage) near at hand. The wilder non-Aryan aspects of his character are signified by his necklace of skulls, his collar of twining serpents, his tiger-skin, and his club with a human head at the end. Siva has five faces and four arms. His wife Devi', in like manner, appears in her Aryan or Brahmanical form as Uma, ' Light,' a gentle goddess and the type of high-born love- liness ; in her composite character as Durga, a golden-coloured woman, beautiful but menacing, riding on a tiger ; and in her terrible non-Aryan aspects as Kalf, a black fury, of a hideous countenance, dripping with blood, crowned with snakes, and hung round with skulls. Twofold Aspects of Siva-worship. — The ritual of Siva- worship preserves, in an even more striking way, the traces of its double origin. The higher minds still adore the godhead by silent contemplation, as prescribed by Sankara, without the aid of external rites. The ordinary Brahman hangs a wreath of flowers around the phallic linga, or places before it harmless offerings of rice. But the low-castes pour out the lives of countless goats at the feet of the terrible Kalf, the wife of Siva ; and until lately, in time of pestilence and famine, tried in their despair to appease that relentless goddess by human blood. During the famine of 1866, in a temple of Kalf, a boy was found with his neck cut, the eyes staring open, and the stiff clotted tongue thrust out between the teeth. In another temple at Huglf (a railway station only twenty- four miles from Calcutta), a head was left before the idol, decked with flowers. Such cases are true survivals of the regular system of human sacrifices which we have seen among the non-Aryan tribes. They have nothing to do with the old mystic purusha-medha, or man- offering, whether real or symbolical, of the ancient Aryan faith, but form a part of the non-Aryan religion of terror, which demands that the greater the need, the greater shall be the propitiation. The Thirtoen Sivaite Sects. — The thirteen chief sects of