Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/55

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ail Autuviu Festival of the Hindus. 45

Besides the efficacy of sacrifice as a mode of propitiating gods or demons, blood, as the source of life, is naturally a protective against spirit influence. Among the hill tribes of Rajmahal, if two men quarrel and blood be shed, the ofiender is fined a hog or a fowl, the blood of which is sprinkled over the wounded man "to purify him, and to prevent his being possessed by a devil"; the same pro- cedure is employed in purifying the singers of a sacred song, if one of them chances to make a mistake in his part, and thus incurs the anger of the deity who is being addressed ; the same mode of purification is used for both parties in the case of sexual offences. '^o In Car Nicobar a man possessed by devils is purified by being rubbed all over with pig's blood and beaten with leaves, which, carrying the devils thus transferred to them, are thrown into the sea before daybreak.'*^

Another method of purification used at the Durga Puja is that of fumigation. The ladies of the household, after offering flowers to the goddess, seat themselves in the courtyard facing her image and burn frankincense on their hands and heads ; the priests throw aromatic resins into fire lighted in earthen pans which are held near the women.^2 Among the tribes of the Hindu-Kush the wood of the deodar cedar {pimis deodara) is commonly used for

mystical interpretations have been suggested, is a term of solemn invocation, affirmation, benediction, and consent, so sacred that no one may listen when it is being uttered. It is the prelude of all prayers and rites, and is written at the beginning of books, as a sign of good luck, to repel the evil eye and evil spirits.

^^ Asiatic Researches, vol. iv. (1798), pp. 87. 50, 63. 68; of. W. Robertson Smith, The Religion of the Semites, 2nd ed. (1894), pp. 344, 351, 381, note 2.

^^ Journal Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. xxxii. (1902), p. 227 ; of. W. Crooke, Popular Religion and Folklore of Northern India, 2nd ed. (1896), vol, ii. p. 19 S(jq. ; Sir J. G. Frazer, The Golden Bough, 3rd ed. part iv. vol. i. p. 299, note 2. For the use of the pig in purification, see J- E. Harrison, cp. cit. p. 152 sg.

■*- Pratapachandra Ghosha, op. cit. p. ^d sq. On purification by means of fumigation, see The Golden Bcugh, 3rd ed. part ii. 155, 177.