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Chapter 14: The Worship of the Sun in Modern India

§ 1. The Worship of the Sun among the Hindoos

The Sun worshipped both by Aryans and aborigines in India from antiquity to the present day.

THE worship of the sun has prevailed in India from the most ancient times of which we have record down to the present day. It has not been confined to immigrants of the Aryan stock, but has been shared by the Dravidian aborigines. We have seen that the Aryans of the Vedic age worshipped the Sun under the two names of Surya and Savitri or Savitar.1 But “ever since Vedic times the Sun has not ceased to figure prominently in the pantheon as well as in the poetic and religious literature of India. A great part of the Bhavishya Purâna is specially consecrated to him. Traces of his worship are found on the coins of the satrap kings who ruled over Gujarat towards the Christian era, as well as on those of the Indo-Scythian princes. At a later date, in the same region, one at least of the kings of Valabhi is designated in the inscriptions, Adityabhakta, worshipper of the Sun. A little more towards the north, at Multan, in the Punjab, a temple was erected to this god, the most celebrated in India, the splendours of which have been described by Hiouen-Thsang and the Mussulman writers, and which was finally destroyed only under Aurangzeb. There were other sanctuaries at Gwalior in Râjastan, in Kashmir, and in Orissa. Perhaps Iranian influences had something to do with the organisation of this worship during the middle age; at any rate, a great array of Indian proper names would by itself show how much this cultus was in vogue throughout India. In fine, the Sun has always been in a way the professional and family god of astronomers and astrologers, who rarely fail to invoke him at the commencement of their writings.”2

Sun-worship in India during the Middle Ages.

The worship of the Sun appears to have flourished in India during the middle ages; for in the time of the famous philosopher and commentator Sankara, who was born in 788 A.D., there were no less than six distinct sects of Sun-worshippers. One sect worshipped the rising Sun, which they identified with Brahma; a second sect worshipped the noonday Sun, which they identified with Siva; a third sect worshipped the setting Sun, which they identified with Vishnu; a fourth sect worshipped the Sun in all three of these phases, identifying it with the Trimurti or triad of forms; a fifth sect worshipped the Sun in the form of a man with golden hair and a golden beard, and zealous members of this sect refused to eat anything in the morning till they had seen the Sun rise; and a sixth sect worshipped an image of the Sun formed in the mind. Members of this last sect spent all their time in meditating on the Sun, and were in the habit of branding circular representations of his disk on their foreheads, arms, and breasts.3

Sun-worship favoured by the Moghul emperors.

Akbar the Great, who founded the Moghul empire in India and reigned from 1556 to 1605 A.D., aimed at establishing a religion which should reconcile the Mohammedan with the Hindoo faith.4 In pursuit of this statesmanlike policy he endeavored to introduce a special form of Sun-worship. He commanded that the Sun should be adored four times a day, namely at morning and evening, at noon and midnight. He collected a thousand and one Sanskrit titles of the solar deity, and he read them daily, facing devoutly towards the sun. Then he would lay hold of both his ears, and, turning quickly round, would strike the lower ends of his ears with his fists. He ordered his band to play at midnight, and used to be weighed against gold at his solar anniversary.5 His son Jahangir was also a worshipper of the Sun; and if further evidence of his devotion were needed, it would be furnished by the Mithraic symbolism on his tomb at Lahore as well as by the accounts of contemporary historians and Portuguese missionaries, who all notice the assiduous worship paid to the Sun by the early Moghul emperors.6

Temples of the Sun in India.

Of the Sun-god's temples in India that of Kanarak in Orissa, near the temple of Juggernaut, was built about the beginning of the thirteenth century of our era. It is described as one of the most exquisite memorials of Sun-worship in existence; its luscious ornamentation is at once the glory and the disgrace of Orissan art7 Yet the temple is now deserted and in ruins.8 Ruinous, too, is another famous temple of the Sun at Martand, in Kashmir, about three miles east of Islamabad, the old capital. It was built in the eighth century of our era and has long been roofless. The pillars and pilasters resemble some of the later forms of Roman Doric. Round about the temple are the ruins of about eighty small cells.9 The situation is appropriate, for it is very sunny and commands magnificent prospects over the beautiful Vale of Kashmir, the paradise of the East, with its sacred streams and glens, its orchards and green fields, surrounded on all sides by lofty snow-clad mountains.10 But the glory of the Sun-god has departed. He is no longer looked oh as a great god, but only as a godling, or even as a hero who once lived and reigned on earth.11 At the present day there are few temples dedicated to him in Northern India, including two or three in Bengal. There is a small shrine in his honour close to the Annapûrna temple in Benares, where the god is represented sitting in a chariot drawn by seven horses; he is worshipped with the fire-sacrifice in a building detached from the temple. In other temples the god is represented by an equestrian image or merely by a circle painted red. But images of him, whether under his title of Surya or Aditya, are comparatively rare in modern times. His worship has been largely taken over by Vishnu, and wherever the cult of Siva is predominant, that of the Sun falls into neglect.12

Sects of Sun-worshippers.

The Saura sect worship the Sun as their special god under the name of Suryapati. They wear a crystal necklace in his honour, and abstain from eating salt on Sundays, and on the days when the sun enters a sign of the zodiac. They make a red mark on their forehead. Their headquarters are now in Oudh.13 They never eat until they have seen the sun. Nowadays they are few in number, but formerly they were more numerous.14 Another sect called Nimbarak worship the sun in a modified form. Their name means “the sun in a nim tree” (Azidirachta Indica), and to explain it they tell how at the prayer of their founder, who had invited a friend to dinner after sunset, the Sun-god obligingly descended on a nim tree and continued to shine there till the dinner was over.15

The popular modern name for the Sun-god or Sun-godling is Sûraj Nârâyan. “He is thus regarded as Nârâyan or Vishnu occupying the sun. A curiously primitive legend represents his father-in-law, Viswakarma, as placing the deity on his lathe and trimming away one-eighth of his effulgence, leaving only his feet. Out of the blazing fragments he welded the weapons of the gods.”16

Sun-worship in the Punjab.

In the Punjab, particularly in the eastern part of it comprised within the Karnal District, the Sun-god ranks first among the pure and benevolent deities adored by the peasants. Any villager, on being asked what divinity he reveres most, will mention the Sun-godling, Suraj Devata; for the worship of the Sun has in great measure dropped out of the higher Hindooism, and the peasant calls the solar deity, not Deva but Devata, a godling, not a god. No shrine is built for him, but on Sunday, his holy day, the people abstain from salt, and do not set milk as usual to make butter, but convert it into rice-milk and give a portion of it to Brahmans. A lamp, too, is always burned in honour of the Sun on Sundays. Every now and then Brahmans are fed in the name of the Sun on Sunday, especially on the first Sunday after the fifteenth day of the month Sárh, when the harvest has been got in, and the agricultural year is over. Before a Hindoo takes his daily bath, he throws water towards the Sun.17 Moreover, the pious householder bows to the Sun as he leaves his house in the morning. His more learned brethren repeat the Gâyatrî, that ancient Aryan prayer, saying, “May we receive the glorious brightness of this, the generator, the God who shall prosper our works!”18 In the chilly mornings of the cold weather, when the sleepy coolies awake with a yawn, you may hear them muttering, “Sûraj Nârâyan” in salutation to the Sun, while the yellow light of dawn spreads over the eastern sky.19

Sun-worship among the Rajputs.

In the mythology of the Rajputs, of which a better idea may be obtained from their heroic poetry than from the legends of the Brahmans, the Sun-god is the deity whom they are most anxious to propitiate, and in his honour they fearlessly shed their blood in battle, hoping to be received into his bright abode. Their highest heaven is accordingly the Bhanuthan or Bhanuloka, that is, “the region of the Sun”; and, like the Massagetae of old, the Rajput warrior of the early ages sacrificed the horse in honour of the Sun and dedicated to him the first day of the week, called Adityawar, contracted to Itwar.20 At Udaipur, the capital of Mewar in Rajputana, the Sun has universal precedence; his portal (Suryapol) is the chief entrance to the city; his name gives dignity to the chief apartment or hall (Suryama-hall) of the palace; and from the balcony of the Sun (Suryagokhra) the prince of Mewar, who claims to be a descendant of Rama, shows himself as the Sun's representative in the dark monsoon. A huge painted sun formed of gypsum in high relief, with gilded rays, adorns the hall of audience, and in front of it stands the throne. The sacred standard bears the image of the Sun; and a disk of black felt or ostrich feather, carried on a pole, displays in its centre a plate of gold to represent the solar orb. The royal parasol is called kirania, in allusion to its shape, like a ray (kiran) of the Sun.21

Sun-worship among the Hindoos of the Bombay Presidency.

The worship of the Sun is prevalent among the Hindoos of the Bombay Presidency.22 In the Konkan, Deccan, and Karnatak it is deemed very meritorious to adore the Sun, and the Brahmans regard the Sun as their chief deity. Persons desirous of ensuring health, wealth, and prosperity propitiate the Sun-god by prayers and ceremonies. For this purpose they make weekly vows in his honour, and the day on which the vow is to be kept is Sunday. In the Deccan, on every Sunday in the month of Shravan (July-August), a picture of the Sun and of his mother Ranubai is drawn on a low wooden stool in quartz powder and worshipped; in this picture the Sun is represented by twelve concentric circles, and his mother is accompanied by the figure of a swastika and a mace. The seventh day of the month of Magh (January-February) is believed to be the principal day for worship and festivities in honour of the Sun-god; the day bears the special name of Ratha saptami. In the Deccan people think that up to that day the Sun's chariot is drawn by a deer, but that after that day it is drawn by horses, which clearly explains why from that time onward the days lengthen; for naturally a deer could not be expected to draw the car so many hours daily as horses. Accordingly, on the day in question a figure of the Sun is drawn in red sandal paste on a low wooden stool; he is represented in human shape sitting in a chariot drawn by seven horses, or by a horse with seven faces. This figure is then placed in the sunshine, and the devotee worships it by offering it spoonfuls of water, red powder, red flowers mixed with red sandal paste, camphor, incense and fruits. Some people kneel down when they make these offerings to the Sun.23 The Sun-god is also worshipped by Hindoos of the Bombay Presidency on various special occasions, as at solar eclipses. On these occasions corn is not ground, the hair is not combed, and cotton-seed may not be ginned.24

The Sun worshipped daily by Brahmans.

After performing his toilet a high-caste Hindoo should take a bath and offer morning prayers and oblations, called arghyas, to the Sun. These oblations consist of water and some of the following ingredients, namely rice, sandal oil, sesamum seed, white flowers, and Durva grass (Cynodon dactylon). In making the oblation the Brahman holds the spoon to his forehead and empties it towards the Sun, after reciting the ancient Vedic prayer known as the Gâyatrî. This prayer he ought to recite one hundred and eight times. If water is not available for the oblation, sand may be used instead. But on no account may the Sun be deprived of his oblations. As for the Gâyatrî prayer, a strict Brahman is bound to recite it thrice one hundred and eight times, making a total of three hundred and twenty-four times, every day of his life; if he does not, he commits as heinous a sin as if he were to slaughter a cow, a contingency at which the brain reels. To obviate the accidental occurrence of this fearful, calamity, he uses a rosary with one hundred and eight beads, one of which he ticks off at every prayer; when he has thus counted the rosary thrice over, with the accompanying prayer, he has so far discharged his duty to the Sun for the day. The right to repeat the Gâyatrî prayer belongs exclusively to the twice-born; nobody else is authorized to recite it or even to hear a word of it. Women and Sudras in particular ought not to catch so much as an echo of a single syllabic of it.25

Why the Sun receives daily offerings.

The reason why the Sun should not on any account be deprived of his oblations (arghyas) is this. The Sun is overjoyed at the birth of a Brahman, and, carried away by the warmth of his feelings, he gives no less than a million cows in charity, counting on the new-born Brahman to make up to him by his oblations for this profuse liberality, since every drop of the oblation wipes out a thousand of the Sun's enemies. Thus every Brahman at birth incurs a debt of a million cows to the Sun, but he discharges the debt by reciting the Gâyatrî prayer at least one hundred and eight times a day.26

The Sun worshipped by women for the sake of offspring.

Women believe that a vow made to the Sun is a sure means of attaining their desires. The aim of their vows is generally to ensure the birth of a male child. If her prayer is granted, a mother will testify her gratitude to the Sun by naming the child after him; hence such names as Suraj-Ram, Bhanu-Shankar, Ravi-Shankar, and Adit-Ram. Further, she may dedicate a toy-cradle to the Sun in his temple as a record of the fulfilment of her vow. There is a temple of the Sun at Mandavraj, in Kathiawar, where many such votive cradles may be seen. Rich women have these cradles made of precious metal. In this temple Parmar Rajputs, with their brides, bow to the image of the Sun on their wedding day. And when a Rajput's wife has borne him a son, the boy's hair is shaved for the first time in the presence of the Sun-god at his temple, and a suit of rich clothes is presented to the image by the child's maternal uncle.27 In the Karnatak, when a girl attains to puberty, she takes a bath and is made to stand in the sun in order to conceive offspring. A barren woman attempts to satisfy her maternal longing by being exposed to the sun's rays.28 Thus a physical power of impregnating women is apparently attributed to sunlight. Among the Chamars, a caste of curriers, tanners, and day-labourers found throughout Upper India, childless persons fast and worship the Sun-godling, Sûraj Nârâyan, in the hope of thereby procuring offspring.29

The Sun thought to facilitate delivery.

Pregnant women secluded from sunlight.

Some people think that the rays both of the sun and of the moon facilitate and expedite a woman's delivery in childbed. Hence, before she is brought to bed, a woman is made to walk about in the sunlight and the moonlight; and after her delivery the mother should glance at the sun with her hands clasped and offer him rice and red flowers. However, in the Deccan it is more commonly believed that the sun's rays are injurious to a pregnant woman, and in order to preserve her offspring she is obliged to take her meals in the dark or in the moonlight. In some places a woman is secluded in a dark room at the time of childbirth, and is not allowed to see sunlight until she presents her child to the Sun with certain ceremonies either on the fourth or the sixth day after her delivery. Exactly a month and a quarter after the birth the mother is taken to a neighbouring stream, there to pray to the Sun and to fetch water thence in an earthen vessel. This ceremony is known as Zarmazaryan. Seven small betel-nuts are used in it. The mother carries them and distributes them to barren women, who believe that by eating them from her hand they are likely to conceive.30 What indeed is more natural than that conception should be effected by the combined influence of the Sun and of a fruitful woman?

Warlike races descended from the Sun and Moon.

Rajputs, Marathas, and other warlike races love to trace their descent from the Sun and Moon. The descendants of the two luminaries are known respectively as the Sun-family (Suryavaushi) and the Moon-family (Somavanshi). Rulers who claim to be of the solar race always worship the rising Sun. They also keep a golden image of the Sun in their palaces, and engage learned Brahmans to recite verses in his honour. On Sundays they take only one meal, and that of simple rice, for white food is deemed most acceptable to the Sun.31

The Sun attested in documents and oaths.

The Sun heals diseases of the eyes.

The Sun and the swastika.

It is believed that nothing can escape the gaze of the Sun in the sky. Hence he receives the names of Survasakshi, that is, “Observer of all Things”, and Jagatchakshu, that is, “the Eye of the World”. In accordance with this conception of his nature as the universal witness, documents are attested in his name as Surya-Narayana-Sakshi, and such an attestation is supposed to furnish ample security for the sincerity and good faith of the contracting parties. An oath by the Sun is thought to pledge the person who takes it to the strictest veracity.32 From the matchless power of vision possessed by the Sun it follows as an obvious corollary that vows in his honour are highly efficacious in healing diseases of the eyes and strengthening the eyesight33 For much the same reason the sun-face (surya-mukh) is looked upon as one of the very best talismans to protect the worshipper against evil; as such it is carved on temples and worked on banners, which are carried in procession.34 Hindoos of the Bombay Presidency are in the habit of drawing designs in powder, red or white, as seats for the deities, whenever these mighty beings are to be installed and invoked. For one deity the design is a triangle, for another a square, for another a circle, and so forth. The seat for the Sun-god is the swastika; hence the general belief that the swastika represents the sun.35 In the Konkan some people think that the swastika is the central point of the Sun's helmet, and they will sometimes make a vow called the swastika in its honour. A woman who observes this vow draws a figure of the swastika and worships it daily during the four months of the rainy season, and at the end of it she gives to a Brahman a gold or silver plate bearing the sign of the swastika graven upon it. But other people in the Konkan are of opinion that the swastika is the foundation-stone of the universe, or that it is the symbol of the god Siva, and not of the sun. Generally, throughout the Bombay Presidency, the swastika is held to be an emblem of peace and prosperity, and for that reason Brahman women draw a figure of the swastika in front of their houses.36

Vows of abstinence when the Sun is invisible.

During the rainy season of the monsoons, which lasts four months, many Hindoos in the Bombay Presidency, and particularly in Kathiawar, take a vow called chaturmas, which obliges them to abstain from eating on days when the sun is invisible. Even if the luminary happens to be hidden by clouds for days together, the devout votary observes his fast till the bright deity shines out once more.37

Sun-worship among the Hindoos of Bengal.

Daily worship.

Great annual festival.

The worship of the Sun prevails also to a certain extent among the Hindoos of Bengal. On this subject we are informed by Sir Edward Gait that “amongst the godlings of Nature the Sun, Surjya or Graharáj (king of the planets), takes the first place. The Sun-god was one of the great deities in Vedic times, but he has now fallen to the rank of a godling. At the same time he is still widely worshipped, especially in Bihar and amongst some of the Dravidian tribes of Chota Nagpur. There are temples in his honour at various places, notably at Kanárk near Puri and at Gaya.38 Amongst his smaller temples may be mentioned one at Amarkund, near Berhampore, in the Murshidabad district, where he is worshipped as Gangáditya, and is represented by an equestrian image made of stone. In Cuttack the visible representation is a circle painted red. In Mymensingh he is represented as a being with two hands of a dark red colour mounted in a chariot drawn by seven horses. The higher castes worship him daily while bathing, and a libation of water (arghya is made in his honour before other gods and goddesses are worshipped. The Gâyatrî or sacred verse, which each Brahman must recite daily, is dedicated to him. Sunday is sacred to him, and on that day many abstain from eating fish or flesh; in some districts salt also is abstained from. The Sundays in the month of Kártik are specially set aside for his worship in Bihar and parts of Bengal. The great festival in his honour, known as the Chhat Pujá, is held on the sixth day of the light half of Kártik,39 when the people gather at a river or pool and offer libations to the setting sun, and repeat the ceremony on the following morning. They also make offerings of white flowers, sandal paste, betel-nut, rice, milk, plantains, etc. Brahman priests are not employed, but an elderly member of the family, usually a female, conducts the worship. Even Muhammadans join in the Chhat Pujá, In Eastern Bengal the Sundays of Baisákh (occasionally Mágh) are held sacred, and low-caste women spend the whole day wandering about in the sun carrying on the head a basket containing plantains, sugar, and their offerings. On the last Sunday of Baisákh the pujá [worship] is performed, and a Brahman priest officiates. In Noakhali widows stand on one leg facing the sun the whole day. In Mymensingh unmarried girls worship the Sun in Magh, in the hopes of obtaining a good husband and, so it is said, a satisfactory mother-in-law. In Puri, Hindu women desirous of obtaining male offspring worship him on the second day after the new moon in Asin. The Sun is often credited with healing powers in all sorts of disease, such as asthma, consumption, skin diseases, white leprosy and severe headaches.

Female counterpart of the Sun-god.

“The Sun is a male deity, but in Rajshahi he has a female counterpart called Chhatamátá, who is worshipped, chiefly by females, on the sixth day of Kártik and Chaitra. On the previous day the devotee takes only rice or wheat cooked in milk without salt, and on the day of the ceremony she fasts till evening, when she goes to a tank with plantains and cakes, and bathes facing the setting sun. She then returns home, keeps vigil throughout the night and repeats the ceremony in the morning. The offerings are then eaten by the worshipper and her friends.”40

§ 2. The Worship of the Sun among non-Aryan peoples of modern India

Sun-worship among the aborigines of India, especially the Dravidians.

In modern India the worship of the Sun is practised by many aboriginal tribes, especially of the Dravidian stock, and there seems to be good reason to believe that they have not borrowed it from the Aryan immigrants, now represented by the Hindoos, but that they have inherited it from their remote ancestors, who may well have been addicted to it long before the Aryans made their way into the peninsula. Of such tribes many are found in the Central Provinces of India, where in their wild mountains and forests they still adhere to their ancient religion and customs despite the gradual spread of Hindooism and Islam in the more open and level regions around them.

Sun-worship among the Baigas.

Sacrifice of Pigs.

Pigs sacrificed to the Sun by the Gonds.

Thus the Baigas, a primitive Dravidian tribe of the Central Provinces, while they retain the worship of their old native deities, also acknowledge certain Hindoo divinities and do them reverence, but not in the orthodox manner. Amongst these divinities is Narayan Deo, the Sun-god. To him the Baigas sacrifice the most unclean of animals, the pig, but were a Hindoo to do so it would be a sacrilege. The Baiga mode of sacrificing the animal is peculiar. The pig chosen for sacrifice is allowed to wander loose for two or three years, and is then killed in a cruel manner. It is laid on its back athwart the threshold of a doorway and a stout plank is placed across its stomach. Half a dozen men sit or stand on the two ends of the plank, while the fore and hind feet of the pig are pulled backwards and forwards alternately over the plank till the wretched creature is crushed to death, while all the men sing or shout a sacrificial hymn. The head and feet are then cut off and presented to the solar deity: the carcase is eaten.41 Pigs are sacrificed in similar fashion to the Sun-god by the Gonds, who are the principal tribe of the Dravidian family and perhaps the most important of the non-Aryan or forest tribes in India. In 1911 they numbered three millions and were increasing rapidly.42 With them the Sun-god, Narayan Deo, is a household deity. He has a little platform inside the threshold of the house. He may be worshipped every two or three years, but should a snake appear in the house or somebody fall ill, they think that the Sun-god is growing impatient at the delay in propitiating him, so they hasten to appease him by sacrifice. A young pig is offered to him and is sometimes fattened up beforehand by being fed on rice. When the time of sacrifice is come, the pig is laid on its back over the threshold of the door, and a number of men squeeze it to death by pressing down a heavy beam of wood laid across its body. Then they cut off the tail and testicles and bury them near the threshold. The carcase is washed in a hole dug in the yard, after which it is cooked and eaten. They sing to the god, “Eat, Narayan Deo, eat this rice and meat, and protect us from all tigers, snakes, and bears in our houses; protect us from all illnesses and troubles”. Next day the bones and any other remains of the pig are buried in the hole in the yard, and the earth is well stamped down over them.43

The Sun-clan of the Bhainas mourns at a solar eclipse.

The Bhainas are a primitive tribe akin to the Baigas and found only in the Central Provinces. Their home is a wild tract of forest country.44 They are divided into totemic clans named after the animals or plants which are their totems. Among their totems are the cobra, the tiger, the leopard, the wild dog, the monkey, the vulture, the hawk, the quail, and the black ant Members of a clan will not injure the totemic animal whose name they bear, and if they see the dead body of the animal or only hear of its death, they throw away an earthen cooking-pot and bathe and shave themselves, just as they would do for the death of one of their family. At marriage images of the totemic animals or birds of the bride and bridegroom are made and worshipped by them. Similar marks of respect are paid to the inanimate objects after which some of the clans are named. Thus the Cowdung clan will not burn cakes of cowdung as fuel, and the clan which takes its name from chillies will not use these peppers. One clan is named after the sun, and when the sun is eclipsed, members of the Sun-clan perform the same formal rites of mourning which the members of other clans perform for the death of their totemic animals.45 In such rites we may see an incipient worship of the Sun; totems appear to be in the act of blossoming into gods.

Sun-worship among the Bhunjias.

The Bhunjias are a small Dravidian tribe in the Central Provinces. They bow daily to the Sun with folded hands, and believe that he is of special assistance to them in the discharge of their debts, which they consider a primary obligation. When they have succeeded in paying off a debt, these honest debtors offer a coco-nut to the Sun as a mark of their gratitude to him for his assistance.46

Sun-worship among the Gadbas and the Kawars.

The Gadbas, a primitive tribe of the Central Provinces who are classed as Mundari or Kolarian on the ground of their language, offer a white cock to the Sun and a red one to the Moon.47 The Kawars, another primitive tribe of the Central Provinces, are thought to be Dravidians, though they have lost the Dravidian language.48 They have a vague idea of a supreme deity whom they call Bhagwan and identify with the sun. They bow to him in reverence, but pay him no other attention because he docs not interfere with men's concerns.49

The Kols, Mundas, or Hos.

The Kols, Mundas, or Hos (for the tribes described by these names appear to belong to the same stock) are a great people of Chota Nagpur, who have given their name to the Kolarian or Mundari family of tribes and languages. They are distributed all over Chota Nagpur and have spread to the United Provinces, the Central Provinces, and Central India. The Santals are a branch of the Kols, and so, too, probably are the Bhumij, the Kharias, the Korwas, and the Korkus. The disintegrating causes which have split up what was originally one people into a number of distinct tribes are in all likelihood no more than distance and settlement in different parts of the country, with consequent cessation of intermarriage and social intercourse. Hence the separate tribes came to acquire different names or to receive separate territorial or occupational designations at the hands of the Hindoos, and their former identity has gradually been forgotten. At the present time the whole group of allied tribes appears to number not less than six millions.50 The Munda languages are quite distinct from the Dravidian and belong to the same family of speech as the Mon-Khmer of Indo-China, the Nicobarese, and the dialects of certain wild tribes of Malacca and Australonesia. In the south of India, where the Dravidian tongues prevail, there are no traces of Munda languages, and it seems therefore necessary to conclude that the Mundas of the Central Provinces and Chota Nagpur did not come to their present home from Southern India, but that they arrived either by way of Assam and Bengal or by sea through Orissa, unless indeed India was their cradleland and from it spread the various peoples who now speak cognate languages in Indo-China, the Malay Peninsula, and the islands of the Indian Archipelago. None of the Munda languages have any proper written character or any literature.51

Sing-bonga the head of the Munda pantheon, identified with the Sun.

Sing-bonga as Creator.

At the head of the Munda pantheon stands Sing-bonga, the Sun, a beneficent but somewhat inactive deity, who concerns himself but little with human affairs and leaves the details of government to the departmental gods of nature. Nevertheless, although Sing-bonga does not himself send sickness or calamity to men, he may be invoked to avert such disasters, and for this purpose people sacrifice to him white goats or white cocks by way of appeal from the unjust punishments which are believed to have been inflicted on suffering humanity by his subordinates.52 In August, when the highland rice is reaped, the first-fruits of the harvest are presented to Sing-bonga, and a white cock is sacrificed to him. Until this has been done, it would be an act of impiety to eat the new rice.53 Sing-bonga, the Sun, is said to have married Chando Omol, that is, the Moon, but she deceived him on one occasion, and in his wrath he cut her in two; however, he repented of his rash deed and now he permits her at times to shine forth in all her beauty. The stars are her daughters.54 Sing-bonga also figures as the creator in Munda cosmogony. In the beginning of time, we are told, the earth was covered with water; but Sing-bonga, the Sun-god, brooded over the face of the water, and the first beings to be born were a tortoise, a crab, and a leech. Sing-bonga commanded these first-born of all animals to bring him a lump of clay from out the depths of the primeval ocean. The tortoise and the crab by turns tried their skill, but in vain. However, the persevering leech succeeded in fishing a lump of clay from out the watery abyss, and out of that clay Sing-bonga moulded this beautiful earth of ours. At his command, too, the earth brought forth trees and plants, herbs and creepers of all sorts. Next Sing-bonga filled the earth with birds and beasts of many kinds and sizes. Last of all the swan laid an egg and out of the egg came forth a boy and a girl, the first of human beings. These were the first parents of the Horo Honko, the sons of men, as the Mundas still call themselves. But this first human pair, Tota Haram, the man, and Tota Buri, the woman, were innocent; they knew not the relations of the sexes until Sing-bonga taught them how to make rice-beer; then they drank of it and their eyes were opened, and in due time three sons or, according to another account, twelve sons and twelve daughters, were born to them, and these wandered over the face of the earth and became the ancestors of mankind.55

Sun and Moon worshipped by the Korkus.

Sun-worship among the Nahals and Saws.

The Korkus are a Munda or Kolarian tribe in the Central Provinces and Berar. They have a language of their own, which resembles that of the Kols of Chota Nagpur.56 Their principal deities are the Sun and Moon, both of whom in their language they call Gomaj, which is also the general word for a god. The Korkus claim to be descended from the Sun and Moon, and they invoke these deities at marriage. The head of each family offers a white she-goat and a white fowl to the Sun every third year; and when they begin to sow, the Korkus stand with the face to the sun; they also face the east at the performance of other rites. However, the Sun and Moon are scarcely expected to interest themselves in the common affairs of daily life; these are regulated rather by the local godlings, to whom accordingly the Korku appeals with more fervour than to the great luminaries that are so far away.57 The Nahals, a forest tribe of the Central Provinces, seem to be a cross between Korkus and Bhils. They are divided into a number of totemic clans, among which the Surja clan worships Surya, the Sun, by offering him a fowl in the month of Pus (December-January); some members of the clan further keep a fast every Sunday. And while the dead of all the other clans are buried, the dead of the Sun-clan are burnt.58 The Savars, another primitive tribe of the Central Provinces, are likewise divided into totemic clans, one of which, Suriya Bansia, takes its name from the sun. On the occasion of a solar eclipse members of the Sun-clan feed their caste fellows and throw away their earthen pots.59

Sun-worship Among the Bhuiyas and Kisans.

Sun-worship among the Bhumij and Juangs.

The Bhuiyas are a non-Aryan tribe of Bengal, who have partially adopted the Hindoo customs and religion. It is thought that they belong rather to the Dravidian than to the Munda or Kolarian stock.60 They worship the Sun under the titles of Boram or Dharm Deota, and they dedicate sacred groves to him, but make no image or other visible representation of the deity. As the creator and the first and greatest of the gods, Boram is invoked by them at the sowing season, when they offer him a white cock.61 The Kisans, another primitive tribe of Bengal, short of stature, with broad truncated noses, protruding jaws, and a dusky complexion varying from dark brown to black, similarly adore the Sun and sacrifice white cocks to him.62 The Bhumij, a tribe of Bengal who are allied to, if not identical with, the Mundas, revere the Sun, under the names of Sing-bonga and Dharm, as the giver of harvests to men and the cause of all those changes of the seasons which affect and control their agricultural fortunes.63 The Juangs are an aboriginal tribe of Orissa. They claim to be the autochthones of the country, their ancestors having sprung from the ground on the banks of the Baitarni river, which they maintain to be older than the Ganges. Their stature is very short, the males averaging less than five feet in height. The forehead is low, the chin receding, the nasal bone very depressed, the mouth large, the lips very thick, the complexion a reddish brown, the hair coarse and frizzly. By their language they seem to be akin to the Mundas or Hos, though they repudiate all connexion with that tribe. They practise an extremely rude form of agriculture, and down to recent times wore nothing but leaves and beads. Colonel Dalton, who had seen many primitive tribes, regarded the Juangs as the most primitive he had ever met or read of.64 He could find no word for god in their language and no idea of a future state in their minds. The even tenour of their lives, we are told, is not broken by any obligatory religious ceremonies. Yet when they are in distress they offer fowls to the Sun, and they sacrifice fowls to the Earth that she may yield them her fruits in due season. On these occasions an old man officiates as priest; he bears the title of Nagam.65

The Kharias of Chota Nagpur.

Legend of their origin.

Their totemic system.

Sun-worship among the Kharias.

Sun-worship among the Korwas.

Closely related to the Juangs by language are the Kharias, one of the most backward tribes of the Munda or Kolarian stock. Their home is in Chota Nagpur, but a few of them are to be found in the Central Provinces. Their speech belongs to the Munda family, and they resemble the Mundas physically, though their features are somewhat coarser and their figures less well proportioned.66 The legend which they tell of their origin tends to show that they are an elder branch of the Munda tribe. In this legend there occurs an incident like that of the caskets in The Merchant of Venice. They say that in days of old two brothers came to Chota Nagpur, and the younger of the two became king of the country. But the elder brother asked for a share of the inheritance. So the people put two caskets before him, and invited him to choose one. Now the one casket contained silver and the other only some earth. The elder brother chose the casket that contained the earth; hence he was informed that he and his descendants were fated to till the soil. The Kharias say that they are descended from the elder brother, while the younger brother became the ancestor of the Nagvansi Rajahs of Chota Nagpur.67 Some of the Kharias are settled and are fair cultivators, but the wild Kharias, who frequent the crests of the forest-clad hills and mountains, are acquainted with no mode of agriculture except the barbarous system of burning down a patch of jungle and sowing the seed in the ashes between the stumps of the trees. These wandering savages are believed to be now rapidly dying out, and few Europeans have had an opportunity of seeing them in their homes. They have the reputation of being great wizards.68 Like many other aboriginal tribes of India, they are divided into totemic and exogamous clans, the members of which pay reverence to their totems. Thus men who have the tortoise, the tiger, the leopard, the cobra, or the crocodile for their totem will not kill these animals; and though men who have rice or salt for their totems cannot help eating these articles, they compromise by observing certain abstinences. Thus men of the Rice clan will not eat the scum that gathers over rice when it is boiling in a pot; and men of the Salt clan will not take up salt on one finger, though they are free to use two or more fingers for the purpose. Members of the Stone clan will not make ovens with stones, but only with clods of earth.69 The Kharias worship various deities and among others the Sun, whom they call Bero or, according to another account, Giring Dubo. Every head of a family should in his lifetime make not less than five sacrifices to the Sun-god, the first of fowls, the second of a pig, the third of a white goat, the fourth of a ram, and the fifth of a buffalo. They think that this ought to content the deity for that generation, and they deem him ungrateful if, after accepting all these sacrifices, he does not behave handsomely to his votary. In praying to the Sun-god they address him as Parmeswar, a Hindoo word for deity. The sacrifices are always made in front of an ant-hill, which is used as an altar. This peculiar mode of sacrificing has fallen into desuetude among their kinsfolk the Mundas and Hos, but Colonel Dalton learned from some old men of these tribes that it was orthodox, though not now generally practised. In the worship of Bero, the Sun-god, it is the head of the family who acts as priest.70 The Korwas are a small tribe of the Munda or Kolarian family, who lead a savage and almost nomadic life among the highlands of Chota Nagpur. A branch of them called the Saonts worship the Sun under the name of Bhagawan, and, like the Kharias, they sacrifice to him in an open place with an ant-hill for an altar.71

The Birhors of Chota Nagpur.

Their totemic system.

The Birhors are a small and very primitive tribe of nomadic hunters, who roam the highlands and forests of Chota Nagpur; their principal haunts are the hills and jungles which fringe that province on the east and north-east. The country occupied by the Birhors is a long succession of wooded hills, range beyond range, separated by open valleys. These valleys are alone fit for cultivation, and are sparsely inhabited by agricultural tribes on a higher level of culture than the Birhors. The Birhors generally select for their more or less temporary settlements (tandas) open glades on the tops or slopes of the wooded hills or the edges of the jungle. They wander about or settle down for a time in small groups of from three or four to about ten families, earning a precarious subsistence by hunting deer and other animals, snaring monkeys, which they eat, collecting bees’ wax and honey, and gathering creepers, which they make into ropes for barter or sale in the neighboring villages. But they also rear scanty crops of maize or beans by burning a patch of jungle, scratching the soil, and sowing seed in the ashes, in person they are small and very black, with sharp attenuated features and long matted hair. Their general appearance is very squalid. They live in little rude hovels made of bamboos and leaves.72 Ethnically the Birhors belong to the same short, dark, long-headed, broad-nosed, and wavy-haired race as the Mundas, Hos, Santals, and Bhumij, and like these people they speak a language which is now classed in the Austro-Asiatic sub-family of the Austric speech, which extends throughout Indonesia and Melanesia.73 They are divided into a series of totemic and exogamous clans with descent in the male line. To cat, kill, or destroy a man's own totemic animal is regarded by the Birhors as equivalent to killing a human member of the clan; and were a woman to kill her husband's totemic animal or destroy his totemic plant, she would be thought to have killed her husband himself. Men are supposed to resemble their totemic animal or plant in character or appearance. Thus members of the Vulture clan are said, like vultures, to have usually little hair on the crown of the head; members of the Wild Cat clan have bald foreheads; members of the Myrobolan (lupung) clan are generally short and plump like the fruit of that plant, and so on.74

Sing-bonga, the head of the Bihor pantheon, identified with the Sun.

White victims sacrificed to Sing-bonga.

The Birhors, like their kinsfolk the Mundas, believe in a Supreme God whom they call Sing-bonga and identify with the Sun. In their language the word for sun is singi. The Hindoo name Bhagawan is also applied to him. He is believed to stand at the head of the pantheon but to take for the most part no active interest in human affairs, which are supposed to be controlled by the lesser spiritual beings or impersonal forces with which the fancy of the Birhor peoples the universe. Yet though Sing-bonga does not ordinarily cause harm to men, he may occasionally protect them from evil. To avert particular dangers the head of a family, with his face to the east, sacrifices to Sing-bonga a white goat or a white fowl, for the white colour symbolizes the white rays of the sun. Again, at the annual ceremony for the protection of the settlement (tanda) from harm, the headman offers Sing-bonga a white fowl. The Birhors also appeal to Sing-bonga for help on various other occasions. Thus when a man goes out to hunt or collect honey, he will sometimes invoke the aid of Sing-bonga in his search for game or honey.75 On the day after a baby has been born, the father takes a jug of water in his hands, and, standing with his face to the east, slowly pours out the water, saying, “O Sing-bonga, I am making this libation of water to thee. May milk flow from the mother's breast like this water. I vow to offer thee ‘milk flower’76 when my desire is fulfilled.”77

Sacrifices to Sing-bonga to ensure good crops.

Again, in order to ensure a good crop of maize or rice, the head of a Birhor family vows to sacrifice a white fowl to Sing-bonga at threshing, if the harvest should turn out well. In making this vow he sits with his face to the east before a low stool on which the seed is placed in a wooden vessel. The votive fowl is beside him, and he prays, saying, “I make this vow to thee, O Sing-bonga. May grains grow in abundance, and I shall sacrifice this white fowl to thee at the time of the threshing.” Meantime he releases the white fowl and sacrifices a black one in the name of all the neighbouring villages, so that the evil eye of any dweller in these villages may not fall on the crops. Then he sprinkles a few drops of blood of the sacrificed fowl on the seed, which is thereupon carried to the field and sown. This ceremony is observed at full moon in the month of Baisakh (April-May). A curious feature of the ritual is that on the eve of the ceremony a small fish is caught in a neighbouring stream or pool, taken home and kept in a jug of water until next day, when, after the seed has been sown, the fish is carried back to the stream or pool. It is believed that as the little fish grows in the water, so will the maize or rice grow in the field.78 Again, after harvest, at the ceremony of eating the new rice, the owner of the fields drops milk from a jug on the new rice, and as he drops it he prays, saying, “Thou Sing-bonga in heaven, to-day I am giving thee milk. Drink it. From to-day may there be no sickness in stomach or head.” A little of the new rice is then offered to the ancestral spirits, and afterwards all the family eat the new rice and drink rice beer.79 It is a rule with the Birhors that women should not comb their hair at sunset. The reason is that Sing-bonga takes his supper at that hour after his day's work is over, and if women were so thoughtless as to comb their tresses at that time, some of the loose hair might fall into the god's rice, which he would naturally resent.80

Birhor theory of eclipses.

The Birhors have discovered a cause of solar and lunar eclipses which has escaped the notice of European astronomers. The truth is, according to them, that these luminaries have generously stood security for the debts of poor men, and when the creditors are tired of waiting for the repayment of their dues they send in bailiffs to take the Sun and Moon into custody. In the discharge of their painful duty the bailiffs meet with resistance; a struggle ensues, which the ignorant call an eclipse; finally the bailiffs are forcibly ejected, and the Sun and Moon go on their way rejoicing until the next occasion when they are brought into personal conflict with the minions of the law. During a lunar eclipse the Birhors clash iron implements together, seemingly in order to assist the Moon in the tussle by scaring the bailiffs away.81

Birhor story of the creation of the earth and of man out of clay.

The Birhors look upon Sing-bonga as the creator and tell a story of the creation of the earth which closely resembles the one told by their kinsfolk the Mundas.82 They say that in the beginning all was water, but a lotus plant lifted its head above the surface of the flood. Sing-bonga was at first in the nether regions, but he came up through the hollow stem of the lotus and seated himself on the flower of the plant. There he commanded first the tortoise and afterwards the crab to bring up some clay from under the water. The two creatures dived, one after the other, into the depths, but failed to bring the clay to the surface. Then Sing-bonga summoned the leech, who dived to the bottom, swallowed the clay, and emerging from the water disgorged it into the hand of Sing-bonga. The deity moulded the clay into the earth as we see it, flattening some parts of it with an iron leveller and scattering seeds of all sorts, which sprang up and became trees.83 After that Sing-bonga created first a winged horse and next mankind. He made a clay figure of a man by day and left it to dry. But at night the horse came and trampled the clay figure and spoiled it, for he feared that, were man created, he would subjugate the horse and ride on his back. So next morning Sing-bonga found his clay man damaged. He then made a fresh man of clay and a dog also of clay, and laid them both out to dry. By evening the clay dog had dried up, and the wind blew into its nostrils, and it became a living dog. So Sing-bonga set the dog to guard the clay man, who was still damp. At night the horse came back and would have again attacked the clay man and trampled him into dust, but the dog barked and kept him off. And when the clay man dried up, Sing-bonga endowed him with life. Such is the origin of the human species.84

Birhor story of the first smelters of iron.

The Birhors say that at first men employed only sticks and stones as their tools and weapons, and that the Asurs were the first to smelt iron on this earth. But the thick smoke which issued from their furnaces began to incommode Sing-bonga up above. He sent messenger after messenger to dissuade the Asurs from smelting iron, but the Asurs refused to desist from their favourite occupation; and more than that they mutilated and drove away Sing-bonga's bird-messengers. So the messengers returned to Sing-bonga and reported to him what they had suffered at the hands of the Asurs. Then Sing-bonga himself in his wrath came down to earth, and in the shape of a boy afflicted with sores contrived to lure the male Asurs into a furnace and burn them alive. Finally, he hurled the female Asurs in different directions; and their spirits still haunt the rocks and woods, the pools and streams and springs on which they fell. Such was the origin of some of the elemental spirits.85

Similar story of the first smelters of iron told by the Mundas.

A similar story is told by the Mundas, the kinsfolk of the Birhors. They say that formerly there were people who served Sing-bonga in heaven. But seeing their faces reflected in a mirror they found that they were in the image of God and were therefore his equals. So they worked no more for God, and in his wrath the deity kicked them out of heaven. They fell on a place where iron-ore existed in abundance, and they immediately made seven furnaces and began to smelt the iron in them. But the fire of the furnaces burned the trees and the grass, and the smoke and the sparks ascended to heaven. This disturbed Sing-bonga up aloft, and he sent them word that they must work either by day or by night, but not both day and night. However, they would not obey him. Then Sing-bonga sent two king crows and an owl to warn them; but, far from paying heed to the warning, the smelters tried to catch the birds with their fire-tongs and spoil their long tails. Next Sing-bonga sent a crow and a lark on the same errand, but with no better result. For whereas crows had formerly been white, the smelters caught the messenger crow and smoked it black, which has been the colour of crows ever since; and they caught the lark and reddened it and flattened its head; but the orders of the deity were not executed. After that Sing-bonga sent other messengers, but all in vain. At last he resolved to go himself. So down to earth he came and stopped at the house of an old couple of charcoal-burners, named Lutkum Haram and Lutkum Buri. For a time he served them incognito and amused himself by playing with the children of the smelters. The children played with balls of iron and he with eggs, but his eggs smashed their iron balls. When the old man and his wife went to the woods to make charcoal, they left Sing-bonga in charge of the hut and told him to watch the rice that was laid out to dry. But he played all the time, and the fowls ate up the rice, all but a few grains. When the old couple returned they mourned for the loss of their dinner; but Sing-bonga consoled them, and taking the few grains that were left he filled all the pots with them.

The smellers smelters in their own furnace.

By this time the furnaces of the smelters were all falling in, and the smelters sought a diviner to ascertain the cause. They placed rice on a winnowing-fan, and it led them to Sing-bonga, and they asked him what they should do. He answered, “You must offer a human sacrifice”. But they could not find a man to sacrifice and so returned to Sing-bonga. On that the god said that he himself would be the sacrifice. Under his direction the smelters made a new furnace, and instead of iron-ore they put Sing-bonga himself into it and blew the bellows, and when the furnace was very hot they sprinkled water on the fire, as they had been directed, and lo! Sing-bonga came forth from the fire unhurt, and from the furnace flowed streams of gold and silver and precious stones, shining like the sun. Then said Sing-bonga, “See what one person has done; if you all pass through the furnace, what a heap of wealth you will have!” They agreed to be smelted; so they entered the fiery furnace, and the door was shut on them, and Sing-bonga ordered their wives to blow the bellows. In the furnace the smelters shrieked and yelled, which frightened their wives, who would have stopped plying the bellows; but Sing-bonga reassured them, saying, “Blow away! They are only quarrelling over the division of the spoil”. Thus these wicked beings were all destroyed, because they had not obeyed the word of Sing-bonga. Then the women said, “You have killed our husbands, what are we to do?” So Sing-bonga had compassion on them and assigned to each of them her abode; and they became the spirits (bhuts), both male and female, of the hills and rocks and groves, of the pools and rivers.86

Similar story of the first smellers of iron told by the Oraons.

The same story is told at full length, with minor variations of detail, by the Oraons to account for the origin of the evil spirits (bhuts) which play a large part in the mythology and religion of these people. In the Oraon version of the legend the deity is named not Sing-bonga but Bhagwan. The beings who persisted in smelting iron and kept their furnaces ablaze day and night are called the twelve brothers Asurs and the thirteen brothers Lodhas. The smoke of the furnaces was so thick and suffocating that God's horse fell sick and could not eat his corn. So, by the mouth of his messengers, the king crow and another bird resembling a hedge sparrow, God commanded the brothers to stop the nuisance. But the brothers paid no heed to his commands and even mauled and disfigured one of his messengers, the birds. So God himself descended to earth, and, taking the likeness of a man covered with purulent sores, he lodged with a kind old widow, who washed his sores and anointed him with oil. In return for her hospitality the deity miraculously increased her store of rice, to the astonishment of the widow. Being consulted by the iron-smelters as to the best mode of repairing their furnaces, which were falling into ruins, the disguised deity contrived, by the same trick as in the Munda version of the story, to decoy them into a furnace and shut them in, so that, when the furnace was opened again, nothing but charred bones was found in it. At that moment the deity jumped on his horse and was preparing to make a bolt for it, when the Asur widows came up, caught the steed by the bridle, and shouted, “We won't let you go. Now that our husbands are all dead, who is going to feed us?” In reply God pleaded the disobedience of their deceased husbands as a justification of the punishment he had inflicted upon them; but he wound up his admonition by saying, “Now I will give you the means to live. Become evil spirits (bhuts) and your name will be Dehdebi and Dahadebi; go and live among the Oraons, who will offer sacrifices to you.”87 Such was the origin of the evil spirits.

Tradition of the first smelting of iron.

In these stories we seem to detect a dim reminiscence of the time when men discovered the art of smelting iron and began to substitute iron implements for the ancient tools of stone and wood. The wrath of the deity at the discoverers perhaps reflects the resentment felt by conservative members of the primitive community at the momentous innovation.

Birhor story of the separation of sky and earth.

The Birhors tell a story to explain why the sky is now so very far away. They say that in ancient times the sky was so low as almost to touch men's heads. Once, while an old woman was husking rice with a pestle and mortar, her pestle knocked against the sky with such force that the sky was pushed up and has remained ever since hung high aloft.88 The Gonds give a like explanation of the separation of heaven and earth. According to them, the sky of old lay close down on the earth. One day an old woman was weeping, and when she stood up she knocked her head against the sky. In a rage she put up her broom and shoved the sky away; so it rose up above the earth and has stayed there ever since.89 Similar myths of the severance of sky and earth have met us in West Africa.90

Sun-worship among the Malés.

The Malés are a Dravidian tribe of the Rajmahal hills. They are closely akin to the Oraons and physically represent the extreme Dravidian type as it is found in Bengal. Their stature is low, their complexion swarthy, and their figure sturdy. Their country is rocky and wooded, and by its help they were able to maintain a virtual independence during the period of Mussulman ascendancy in Bengal.91 At the head of their religious system stands the Sun, whom they call Dharmer Gosain. He is represented by a roughly hewn post set up in front of each house. The Malés worship him with offerings of fowls, goats, and oil at the beginning of each harvest and at other times when any misfortune befalls the family. When people are gathered together for this purpose, the village headman, who acts as priest, goes round the congregation with an egg in his hand, and recites the names of certain spirits. Then he throws the egg away, apparently as a propitiatory offering, and enjoins the spirits to hold aloof and abstain from troubling the sacrifice.92

Sun worship among the Mal Paharias.

The Mal Paharias are a Dravidian tribe who inhabit the Ramgarh hills in the Santal Parganas. Their tribal affinities are obscure. Down to recent times they lived by hunting and by the rude method of cultivation known as jhum, which consists in burning patches of the jungle and sowing seed in the clearings.93 Their chief divinity is the Sun, to whom they pay reverential obeisance both morning and evening. Occasionally on Sundays the head of a family testifies his respect for the Sun by a special service. For this sacred duty he must prepare himself by eating no salt on the previous Friday and fasting all Saturday, except for a light meal of molasses and milk at sunset Before sunrise on Sunday morning a new earthen vessel, a new basket, some rice, oil, areca nuts, and vermilion are laid out on a clean space of ground in front of the house. The worshipper shows these offerings to the rising sun, and, addressing the luminary as Gosain, prays that he and his family may be guarded from any peril or trouble that might threaten them. The rice is then given to a goat, and while the animal is eating it, its head is cut off by a single blow from behind. The body of the goat is thereupon cooked and served up to the neighbours at a feast; the head alone, which is deemed sacred, is carefully reserved for the members of the family. Next in honour to the Sun is Dharti Mai, that is, Mother Earth.94

The Oraons, a Dravidian people of Chota Nagpur.

The Oraons are an important Dravidian tribe of the Chota Nagpur tableland. They number altogether about 750,000 persons, of whom 85,000 now belong to the Central Provinces, where they are commonly known as Dhangars, which means farm-servants. The name Oraon has been applied to them by other people; their own name for themselves is Kurukh or Kurunkh. The meaning of both names is obscure.95 Physically the people are small but well-proportioned; their complexion is of the darkest brown, approaching to black; their hair is jet black, coarse, and inclined to be frizzy. Protruding jaws and teeth, thick lips, low narrow foreheads, and broad flat noses characterize their faces; their eyes are often bright and full; no obliquity is observable in the opening of the eyelids. The countenances of the Oraon youths beam with animation and good-humour. Their supple, lithe figures are often models of symmetry; they have not the squat appearance or muscular development of the dumpy Himalayan tribes. There are about the young Oraon a jaunty air and a mirthful expression that distinguish him from the Munda or Ho, who has more of the dignified gravity that is said to characterize the North American Indian. He is a dandy, but only so long as he remains unmarried. In his roll of hair gleams a small mirror set in brass; from his ears dangle bright brass chains with spiky pendants, and as he trips along with the springy elastic step of youth and tosses his head like a high-mettled steed in the buoyancy of his animal spirits, he sets all his glittering ornaments dancing and jingling, and his laughing mouth displays a row of ivory teeth, sound, white, and regular, that give light and animation to his dusky features. In point of character and temperament the Oraons are said to be, if not the most virtuous, perhaps the most cheerful of the human race.96

The country of the Oraons

Essentially an agricultural people, they would seem to have chosen their present home on account of its adaptation to their favourite pursuits.97 Their country is the most gently undulating portion of the Chota Nagpur tableland. At the present day it presents to view vast areas of terraced ricefields, divided by swelling uplands, some of them well-wooded with groves of mango, tamarind, and other useful and ornamental trees, others bearing stately remnants of the ancient forests, which still linger on these heights, the haunts of sylvan sprites who took refuge there in days long ago when the woodman's axe was first heard in the verdurous solitudes of the valleys. The landscape is diversified by deep ravines, sounding cataracts, and masses of rocks piled fantastically upon each other or soaring in pinnacles hundreds of feet high, like the domes of sunken temples in some ruined and buried city. In many places the rock shows for acres together just flush with the surface of the ground, as if the crust of the earth had there been stripped bare. Such spots the Oraons choose above all others as sites for their villages. The flat or gently undulating rock affords them threshing floors, hard surfaces on which to spread out their grain to dry, holes which they can use as mortars for pounding their rice, and open spaces where they can trip it in the dances that they love. In the distance this Indian Arcadia is generally bounded on one or more sides by ranges of low hills.98

Dharmesh, the Supreme God of the Oraons, manifested in the sun.

The Oraons acknowledge a Supreme God, whom they call Dharmesh or Dharmes, the Holy One, who is manifest in the sun. They regard him as a perfectly pure and beneficent being, who created us and would in his mercy preserve us, were it not that his benevolent designs are thwarted by malignant spirits or minor deities, to whom Dharmesh has left the management of the world. These evil spirits (bhuts) men are obliged to propitiate, since Dharmesh in general cannot or will not interfere, when once the fiends have fastened upon us. It is therefore of little or no use to pray or sacrifice to him; hence, though he is acknowledged and reverenced, he is nevertheless neglected, while the evil spirits are adored.99 Yet we are told that in their greatest difficulties, when neither the village priest nor the magician has availed to help them, the Oraons will turn to Dharmesh as a last resource and say, “Now we have tried everything, but we have still you to help us”. Then they sacrifice a white cock to him. They wash the feet of the bird, and cut its throat with a knife, and pray, saying, “God, thou art our creator, have mercy on us”. This sacrifice of a white cock is offered to Dharmesh at all the feasts, and also when the magician drives away the evil spirits.100

Marriage of Sun and Earth among the Oraons.

We have seen that the Oraons celebrate the marriage of the Sun-god with Mother Earth at a festival in spring, when the parts of the two deities are played by the village priest and his wife, and that until the mystic union of the god and goddess has been thus consummated, the Oraons may not use nor even gather the new roots, fruits, and flowers of the season.101

The Santals, a Dravidian tribe of Bengal.

Their shifting cultivation.

The Santals are a large Dravidian tribe of Bengal, who on the ground of their language are classed with the Kols or Mundas. They occupy a strip of country some four hundred miles long by a hundred miles broad, which stretches along the whole western frontier of Lower Bengal from within a few miles of the sea to the hills of Bhagulpore. The nucleus of the tribe is to be found in the Santal Parganas or Santalia, which in the second half of the nineteenth century was said to contain upwards of two hundred thousand of them. At the same time their total numbers were estimated at nearly two millions. In appearance the Santals may be regarded as typical examples of the pure Dravidian stock. Their complexion varies from a very dark brown to almost charcoal black: the bridge of the nose is depressed: the mouth is large, the lips thick and protruding: the hair is coarse, black, and occasionally curly. The proportions of the skull, which approach the long-headed type, refute the hypothesis of their Mongolian descent. Their faces are round and blubbery; by some observers the cast of countenance is thought to approach the negro type. Their stature is about that of the ordinary Hindoo or a little less.102 They delight in hunting and are very expert with bows and arrows, their constant weapons in the chase. Every year, in the hot season, when the game can least find cover, they have a great hunting expedition in which thousands take part. But the Santal also practises a form of husbandry for which he is in no way indebted to the superior races who have ousted him from the valleys, and before whom he retreats into the depths of the forest, where he feels most at home. There he clears patches of the jungle for cultivation; there his harmonious flutes sound sweeter, his drums find deeper echoes, and his bows and arrows freer exercise. For him a country denuded of the primeval forest has no attractions. The jungle is his unfailing friend. It supplies all his simple wants, yielding him everything that the lowlander lacks—noble timber, brilliant dyes, gums, bees’ wax, vegetable drugs, charms, charcoal, and the skins of wild beasts—a little world of barbaric wealth to be had for the taking. There, in some sequestered spot among the woods and hills, he makes his home; and there now and then a wandering sportsman is surprised to stumble on a Santal village. There the Santal dwells secluded from the Hindoos, from whose contact he shrinks. The only Hindoo whom the sylvan folk tolerate is the blacksmith, who is attached to the village and does all the working in iron for the hamlet, fashioning among other things the armlets and rude jewellery in which the Santal matron delights.103

Sun-worship among the Santals.

They call the Sun Sing-bonga and sacrifice goats to him.

Santal worship of Marang Buru, the Great Mountain.

Traces of a Supreme Being called Thakur, identified with the Sun, among the Santals.

Like many other Dravidian tribes of India, the Santals worship the Sun, but as to the exact place which he holds in their pantheon the accounts of our authorities are somewhat conflicting. According to Colonel Dalton, who has given us a valuable account of the people, among the Santals of Chota Nagpur the Sun is the supreme god; they call him Sing-bonga, and look upon him as their creator and preserver. Every third year in most houses, but in some every fourth or fifth year, the head of the family offers a goat to the Sun-god, Sing-bonga, for the prosperity of the family, especially of the children, “that they may not be cut off by disease, or fall into sin”. The sacrifice is offered at sunrise on any open space cleaned and purified for the occasion. “A very important distinction is observed by all the Kolarians in the motive of the sacrifices to the supreme deity and those by which the minor gods are propitiated. To Sing-Bonga the sacrifice is to secure a continuance of his mercies and for preservation. The other deities are resorted to when disease or misfortune visits the family, the sacrifice being to propitiate the spirit who is supposed to be afflicting or punishing them.”104 But according to Sir William Hunter and Sir Herbert Risley, the national god of the Santals and the head of their pantheon is not the Sun-god Sing-bonga but “Marang Buru, the Great Mountain, who appears in their legends as the guardian and sponsor of their race; the divinity who watched over their birth, provided for their earliest wants, and brought their first parents together in marriage. In private and in public, in time of tribulation and in time of wealth, in health and in sickness, on the natal bed and by the death-bed, the Great Mountain is invoked with bloody offerings.”105 However, Sir William Hunter so far agrees with Colonel Dalton as to admit that the Sun-god, whom he calls Chando, is theoretically acknowledged as supreme in the religious system of the Santals, although he seldom receives sacrifice. “Sometimes they adore him as the Sim-bonga, the god who eats chickens, and once in four or five years a feast in his honour is held. The Santal religion, in fact, seems to consist of a mythology constructed upon the family basis, but rooted in a still more primitive system of nature-worship.”106 According to Sir Herbert Risley, every Santal ought to sacrifice two goats, or a goat and a sheep, to the Sun at least once in his life;107 and he tells us that “according to Mr. Skrefsrud traces may be discerned in the background of the Santal religion of a faineant Supreme Being called Thakur, whom the Santals have long ceased to worship for the sufficient reason that he is too good to trouble himself about anybody and does neither good nor ill to mankind. Some identify him with the Sun, whom the Santals regard as a good god and worship every fifth or tenth year with sacrifices of slain goats. But this point is uncertain, and I am myself inclined to doubt whether a god bearing the Hindu name Thakur, and exercising supreme powers which mark a comparatively late stage of theological development, can really have formed part of the original system of the Santals.”108

Worship of the Sun and the heavenly bodies not developed among the hill-tribes of Assam.

Approach to Sun-worship among the Aos of Assam.

Among the Mongoloid hill-tribes of Assam, who differ radically both in race and language from the Dravidians of India, the worship of the heavenly bodies, including the sun and moon, appears to be either absent or very little developed. Thus of the Lushais we are told that they “do not worship the sun or moon or any of the forces of nature, though when wishing to emphasize a statement they frequently say, ‘If what I say is not true, may the sun and moon desert me’. But they believe the hills, streams, and trees are inhabited by various demons.”109 Similarly of the Sema Nagas we read that “the forces and phenomena of nature, though not definitely deified by the Semas, are often regarded as the manifestations or abodes of spirits. In the case of the sun and moon they are not worshipped or deified, and no clear conception at all is entertained of their nature. They are regarded as phenomena, and their existence is taken as a matter of course, but they are called upon to witness oaths and asseverations, and cannot be falsely invoked with impunity.”110 In all oaths it is deemed essential by the Semas that the swearing should take place between sunrise and sunset, “that the sun may see the oath”.111 The implication seems to be that the sun is a conscious and powerful being who can punish perjury. A being so conceived is on the highroad to divinity. The Angami Nagas so far personify the Sun that they regard him as female, the wife of the Moon, whom they look on as a male. Being a woman, she is afraid to go about in the dark and only shows herself by day; whereas her husband the Moon, being a man, moves fearlessly about in the gloom of night.112 The Lhota Nagas think that the sun is a flaming plate of hard metal, as big as a piece of ground on which one basket of seed rice is sown; by day it travels along its path in the sky, and at night it returns back under the earth and lights up the Land of the Dead; and the moon is just such another plate of flaming metal.113 Conceived in this materialistic way, the luminaries are far indeed from being deified. The Mikirs, one of the most numerous and homogeneous of the many Tibeto-Burman tribes inhabiting Assam, regard the sun and moon as divine, but do not specially propitiate them.114 However, among the hill-tribes of Assam the one which seems to have approached most nearly to a worship of the Sun is the Ao. Of this tribe we are told that “among the Aos, although there is no distinctive nature worship, there is something which closely approaches it. In a way there is a sun worship, but it would be more accurate to say that they worshipped the deity who controls it and its beneficent rays. When the weather is inclement for several days, the priests collect a number of eggs, and, going to a particular spot, break them and eat them raw, hanging up the shells for the deity. Then they implore the sun deity to grant favourable weather; otherwise the villagers must suffer from lack of food. This is followed by a rest day, when the priests go from house to house, drinking rice beer and singing praises to the sun. At times they sacrifice cows and pigs to the ruling spirits of the sun and moon. According to the Aos this has been a customary practice from the beginning of time, and should it not be kept up, the pigs and cattle would die and the crops fail. At some of the other festivals they appeal to the deities of heaven and earth, of the sun and of the moon, to be favourable unto them.”115

Traces of Sun-worship among the Mongoloid tribes of Burma, the Kachins or Singphos and the Palaungs.

Among the Mongoloid tribes of Burma, immediately to the east of Assam, a few traces of Sun-worship have been recorded. Thus among the Kachins or Singphos (Ching-paws), a large tribe of Upper Burma, the spirits (nats) of the Sun and Moon are worshipped once each year, but only by the chief, who jealously guards the privilege. The ceremony takes place in the cold season. No living thing is sacrificed, but food and drink are offered, and the chief begs the spirits of the two great luminaries to protect the whole village.116 The Palaungs, a tribe inhabiting some of the hills in the Shan States of Burma, profess Buddhism, but like many Buddhists they retain numerous beliefs and practices which have survived from an older worship of nature.117 Thus, they regard the Sun and Moon as brother spirits so powerful that they are almost ranked as gods. It is believed that if these mighty beings are offended, they can send sickness, sunstroke, violent headaches, or fever as a punishment. If a wise man, on being consulted, decides that sickness is caused by one of these great lights, he advises the patient to take a freshly cut bamboo, split one end of it, and insert two streamers in the split, one red to represent the Sun, and one white to represent the Moon. Further, to the top of the bamboo pole he must fasten two pieces of paper, one of them round or white, with a peacock drawn on it, the other crescent-shaped, with a hare drawn on it; the round white paper stands for the Sun, and the crescent-shaped paper stands for the Moon; and the drawings are obviously appropriate to the luminaries which they represent, because, as everybody knows, a peacock lives in the Sun and a hare resides in the Moon. Having decorated the pole with these symbols, the sufferer plants it firmly in the ground. Then beside it he sets up a shorter stalk of green bamboo, which supports a rough basket. In this basket he places yellow rice and yellow or red flowers for the Sun, and white rice and white flowers for the Moon, with two curries, one sweet and one sour, on the top of the rice. But before he sets up this basket of offerings, the sick man holds it as high as he can above his head and prays, saying, “To-day I am ill; I fear that I may have offended thee, O Sun! thee, O Moon! pity me, please. I offer this rice and curry and these flowers to you both. Grant that I may overcome this illness, O Sun! O Moon!” It is best to offer this prayer at dawn.118

Sun-worship among the Todas of the Neilgherry Hills.

The Todas, who inhabit the lofty tableland of the Neilgherry Hills in Southern India, are a small tribe isolated from their neighbours alike by natural surroundings, race, temperament, and occupation. Their racial affinities are unknown; there is no reason to connect them with the Dravidians, the prevailing people of Southern India, from whom they differ totally in physical type. They occupy themselves exclusively with the care of their cattle: their religion centres round their sacred buffaloes: the dairies are their temples, and the dairymen their priests: the chief dairyman (palol) is a very sacred personage, a sort of high-priest.119 But there is no doubt that the Sun is also an object of reverence to the Todas. It is the duty of every man, when first he leaves his hut in the morning, to salute the Sun by raising his hand to his face; and when the sacred dairy-man (palol) comes out of his dairy to milk the buffaloes, he salutes the Sun by raising his milking-pail and churn to his forehead. All Dr. Rivers’ Toda informants were unanimous in saying that the salutation of the sacred dairyman was offered both to the buffaloes and the Sun. The doors of the great majority of the dairies face more or less in an easterly direction, so that the dairyman, in coming out of his dairy in the morning, can see the sun; and where the dairy faces in a different direction he has to turn so as to salute with his face to the east. In the afternoon he salutes in the same direction as in the morning, so that, so far as the salutation is performed to the Sun, it would seem that reverence is paid rather to the place of sunrise than to the Sun itself.120 According to Colonel W. E. Marshall, the Todas salaam to the rising and setting Sun (bîrsh) and to the Moon (tiggalu) at night, reciting the one form of prayer which they use on all devout occasions: it runs thus, “May it be well with the male children, the men, the cows, the female calves, and every one”.121

  • 1.

    Above, pp. 443 sqq.

  • 2.

    A. Barth, The Religions of India (London, 1882), pp. 257 sq. The Purānas are a class of epic works, didactic in character and sectarian in purpose, which are on the whole later than the great Sanscrit epic, the Mahābhārata. The oldest of them, the Vāyu Purana, dates from about 320 A.D. See The Imperial Gazetteer of India, The Indian Empire (Oxford, 1909), ii. 336. Aditya, meaning son of Aditi, is a name of the Sun. It is not often applied to him in Vedic literature, but it is a common name for the Sun in the Brāhmaṇas and later books. See A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology (Strassburg, 1897), pp. 30, 44. Hiouen-Thsang (Hiuen-tsiang) was a famous Chinese pilgrim who, as a Buddhist, travelled through practically the whole of India between 629 and 645 A.D. and recorded his travels in works which are still extant. See The Imperial Gazetteer of India, The Indian Empire, ii. 79 sqq. Aurangzeb was the sixth Moghul emperor of India. He reigned from 1658 to 1707 A.D. See The Imperial Gazetteer of India, The Indian Empire, ii. 401 sqq.

  • 3.

    Monier Williams, Religious Thought and Life in India (London, 1883), p. 342; W. Crooke, The Popular Religion and Folk-lore of Northern India (Westminster, 1896), i. 7, who gives Sankara's date as 1000 A.D. As to Sankara's birth, I follow Professor A. A. Macdonell, in The Imperial Gazetteer of India, The Indian Empire, ii. 254.

  • 4.

    The Imperial Gazetteer of India, The Indian Empire, ii. 397, 398.

  • 5.

    W. Crooke, Popular Religion and Folk-lore of Northern India, i. 7.

  • 6.

    W. Crooke, Things Indian (London, 1906), p. 445.

  • 7.

    W. Crooke, Popular Religion and Folk-lore of Northern India, i. 6; id., Things Indian, p. 445.

  • 8.

    Monier Williams, Religious Thought and Life in India, p. 343.

  • 9.

    The Imperial Gazetteer of India, The Indian Empire, ii. 169.

  • 10.

    W. Crooke, Things Indian, pp. 445 sq.

  • 11.

    W. Crooke, Popular Religion and Folk-lore of Northern India, i. 5.

  • 12.

    W. Crooke, Things Indian, pp. 445, 446; id., Popular Religion and Folk-lore of Northern India, i. 5 sq. The author's statements in these two passages as to the number of temples of the Sun appear discrepant. In the former passage Mr. Crooke says that “in North India few temples are dedicated to the Sun”; in the latter, he says that “there are many noted temples dedicated to him”, and he enumerates more than nine such temples.

  • 13.

    W. Crooke, Popular Religion and folk-lore of Northern India, i. 6.

  • 14.

    W. J. Wilkins, Modern Hinduism, Second Edition (Calcutta and Simla), p. 345.

  • 15.

    W. Crooke, Popular Religion and Folk-lore of Northern India, i. 6 sq.

  • 16.

    W. Crooke, Popular Religion and Folk-lore of Northern India, i. 5.

  • 17.

    (Sir) Denzil C. J. Ibbetson, Report on the Revision of Settlement of the Panipat Tahsil and Karnal Parganah of the Karnal District (Allahabad, 1883), p. 147; id., Outlines of Punjab Ethnography (Calcutta, 1883), p. 114.

  • 18.

    (Sir) Denzil C. J. Ibbetson, Report on the Revision of Settlement, etc., p. 147; W. Crooke, Popular Religion and Folk-lore of Northern India, i. 8. The Gâyatrî prayer is from the Rigveda, iii. 62. 10. See The Hymns of the Rigveda, translated by R. T. H. Griffith, vol. i. p. 87, who translates the stanza: “May we attain that excellent glory of Savitar the god; so may he stimulate our prayers”. Savitar is a Vedic name of the Sun-god. See above, p. 448.

  • 19.

    W. Crooke, Popular Religion and Folk-lore of Northern India, i. 8.

  • 20.

    Lieut.-Col. James Tod, Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, edited by W. Crooke (Oxford, 1920), ii. 658. As to the horse-sacrifice offered to the Sun by the Massagetae, see above, p. 458.

  • 21.

    Lieut.-Col. James Tod, Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, ed. W. Crooke, ii. 659 sq.

  • 22.

    R. E. Enthoven, The Folklore of Bombay (Oxford, 1924), pp. 29-40.

  • 23.

    R. E. Enthoven, The Folklore of Bombay, pp. 32, 38 sq.

  • 24.

    R. E. Enthoven, The Folklore of Bombay, p. 40.

  • 25.

    R. E. Enthoven, The Folklore of Bombay, pp. 31 sq. In the Central Provinces and Berar devout Hindoos, on rising from bed in the morning, bow to the Sun with folded hands and one leg raised from the ground. See Census of India, 1911, vol. x. Central Provinces and Berar, Part I. Report, by J. T. Marten (Calcutta, 1912), p. 81.

  • 26.

    R. E. Enthoven, The Folklore of Bombay, p. 40.

  • 27.

    R. E. Enthoven, The Folklore of Bombay, p. 30.

  • 28.

    R. E. Enthoven, The Folklore of Bombay, pp. 30 sq.

  • 29.

    W. Crooke, Tribes and Castes of the North-western Provinces and Oudh (Calcutta, 1896), ii. 185.

  • 30.

    R. E. Enthoven, The Folklore of Bombay, pp. 36-38.

  • 31.

    R. E. Enthoven, The Folklore of Bombay, p. 36.

  • 32.

    R. E. Enthoven, The Folklore of Bombay, p. 30.

  • 33.

    R. E. Enthoven, The Folklore of Bombay, pp. 29 sq.

  • 34.

    R. E. Enthoven, The Folklore of Bombay, p. 38.

  • 35.

    R. E. Enthoven, The Folklore of Bombay, p. 41.

  • 36.

    R. E. Enthoven, The Folklore of Bombay, p. 45.

  • 37.

    R. E. Enthoven, The Folklore of Bombay, p. 35. Compare Census of India, 1901, vol. xviii. Baroda, Part I. Report, by J. A. Dalai (Bombay, 1902), p. 124.

  • 38.

    “The most celebrated temple is at Ajodhya in the United Provinces.”

  • 39.

    This festival falls early in November. See (Sir) George A. Grierson, Bihar Peasant Life (Calcutta, 1885), p. 399.

  • 40.

    Census of India, 1901, vol. vi. Bengal, Part I. Report, by (Sir) E. A. Gait (Calcutta, 1902), p. 188.

  • 41.

    R. V. Russell, Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India (London, 1916), ii. 85 sq.

  • 42.

    R. V. Russell, op. cit. iii. 41.

  • 43.

    R. V. Russell, op. cit. iii. 101 sq.

  • 44.

    R. V. Russell, op. cit. ii. 225.

  • 45.

    R. V. Russell, op. cit. ii. 228 sq.

  • 46.

    R. V. Russell, op. cit. ii. 327.

  • 47.

    R. V. Russell, op. cit. iii. 11.

  • 48.

    R. V. Russell, op. cit. iii. 389 sq.

  • 49.

    R. V. Russell, op. cit. iii. 399.

  • 50.

    R. V. Russell, Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India, iii. 500 sq. As to the Kols, Mundas, or Hos, see further E. T. Dalton, Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal (Calcutta, 1872), pp. 151 sqq.; (Sir) H. H. Risley, Tribes and Castes of Bengal (Calcutta, 1891–1892), ii. 101 sqq.; Sarat Chandra Roy, The Mundas and their Country (Calcutta, 1912).

  • 51.

    R. V. Russell, op. cit. iii. 503 sq.; (Sir) George A. Grierson, in The Imperial Gazetteer of India, The Indian Empire, i. 382-384.

  • 52.

    (Sir) H. H. Risley, Tribes and Castes of Bengal, ii. 103; E. T. Dalton, Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, p. 186; R. V. Russell, Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India, iii. 512.

  • 53.

    E. T. Dalton, Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, p. 198; (Sir) H. H. Risley, Tribes and Castes of Bengal, ii. 104.

  • 54.

    E. T. Dalton, Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, p. 186.

  • 55.

    Sarat Chandra Roy, The Mundas and their Country, Appendix I. pp. v. vii. Compare E. T. Dalton, Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, p. 185; R. V. Russell, Tribes aud Castes of the Central Provinces of India, iii. 508.

  • 56.

    R. V. Russell, op. cit. iii. 550.

  • 57.

    R. V. Russell, op. cit. iii. 557, 559; J. Forsyth, The Highlands of Central India (London, 1871), p. 146.

  • 58.

    R. V. Russell, op. cit. iv. 259, 260, 261.

  • 59.

    R. V. Russell, op. cit. iv. 505.

  • 60.

    E. T. Dallon, Descriptive Ethnology Bengal, p. 139.

  • 61.

    E. T. Dalton, Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, p. 141. Compare id. p. 147.

  • 62.

    E. T. Dalton, Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, p. 132 sq.

  • 63.

    (Sir) H. H. Risley, Tribes and Castes of Bengal, i. 124.

  • 64.

    E. T. Dalton, Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, pp. 152 sq., 154, 157; (Sir) H. H. Risley, Tribes and Castes of Bengal, i. 350 sq.

  • 65.

    E. T. Dalton, Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, p. 157; (Sir) H. H. Risley, Tribes and Castes of Bengal, i. 353. The inquiries of the latter writer led him to doubt the accuracy of Colonel Dalton's account of Juang religion or absence of religion. He found that the Juangs of Keunjhar worship a forest deity called Baram, who stands at the head of their religious system and is regarded with great veneration. Besides him they revere other deities, including Basumati or Mother Earth. Sacrifices of animals, milk, and sugar are offered to all these deities at seed-time and harvest, and the forest gods are carefully propitiated when a plot of land is cleared of jungle and prepared for the plough.

  • 66.

    E. T. Dalton, Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, pp. 158 sq., 160 sq.; (Sir) H. H. Risley, Tribes and Castes of Bengal, i. 466; R. V. Russell, Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India, iii. 445, 453.

  • 67.

    R. V. Russell, op. cit. iii. 445 sq.

  • 68.

    E. T. Dalton, Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, pp. 158, 160; (Sir) H. H. Risley, Tribes and Castes of Bengal, i. 469, 470.

  • 69.

    R. V. Russell, Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India, iii. 447.

  • 70.

    E. T. Dalton, Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, p. 159; (Sir) H. H. Risley, Tribes and Castes of Bengal, i. 468.

  • 71.

    E. T. Dalton, Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, pp. 221, 222, 223.

  • 72.

    Sarat Chandra Roy, The Birhors (Ranchi, 1925), pp. 8-10, 15 sq., 24-26, 36, 39-41, 43-46. This valuable monograph embodies and supersedes the former very imperfect accounts of this interesting and hitherto little known tribe. It is based on the writer's personal observations and inquiries extending over many years. For some previous notices of the Birhors, see E. T. Dalton, Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, pp. 158, 218-221.

  • 73.

    Sarat Chandra Roy, The Birhors, p. 59.

  • 74.

    Sarat Chandra Roy, The Birhors, pp. 89 sqq., 97 sq., 99-101.

  • 75.

    Sarat Chandra Roy, The Birhors, pp. 288, 297 sq., 333, 553 sq.

  • 76.

    This is an euphemism for “cow's milk”.

  • 77.

    Sarat Chandra Roy, The Birhors, pp. 225 sq.

  • 78.

    Sarat Chandra Roy, The Birhors, pp. 373-375.

  • 79.

    Sarat Chandra Roy, The Birhors, pp. 356 sq.

  • 80.

    Sarat Chandra Roy, The Birhors, p. 376.

  • 81.

    Sarat Chandra Roy, The Birhors, p. 495.

  • 82.

    See above, p. 615.

  • 83.

    Sarat Chandra Roy, The Birhors, pp. 398-400.

  • 84.

    Sarat Chandra Roy, The Birhors, pp. 400-402. A similar story of the creation of mankind is told by the Mundas, but in their version a spider is substituted for a dog. See Sarat Chandra Roy, “The Divine Myths of the Mundas”, Journal of the Bihar and Orissa Research Society, ii. (Bankipore, 1916) pp. 201 sq. For other Indian versions of the same story, see Folk-lore in the Old Testament, i. 17-19.

  • 85.

    Sarat Chandra Roy, The Birhors, pp. 402 sq.

  • 86.

    E. T. Dalton, Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, pp. 186 sq.

  • 87.

    Rev. P. Dehon, S. J., “Religion and Customs of the Uraons”, Memoirs of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. i. No. 9 (Calcutta, 1906), pp. 128-131.

  • 88.

    Sarat Chandra Roy, The Birhors, p. 436.

  • 89.

    Census of India, 1901, vol. xiii. Central Provinces, Part I. Report, by R. V. Russell (Nagpur, 1902), p. 94.

  • 90.

    See above, pp. 96, 109.

  • 91.

    (Sir) H. H. Risley, Tribes and Castes of Bengal, ii. 51.

  • 92.

    (Sir) H. H. Risley, Tribes and Castes of Bengal, ii. 57.

  • 93.

    (Sir) H. H. Risley, Tribes and Castes of Bengal, ii. 66.

  • 94.

    (Sir) H. H. Risley, Tribes and Castes of Bengal, ii. 70. Compare E. T. Dalton, Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, p. 275, “I have no information regarding the religion of this tribe, except that they worship the earth and sun”.

  • 95.

    R. V. Russell, Tribes and Castes of the Central Promotes of India, iv. 299 sq.; E. T. Dalton, Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, p. 245.

  • 96.

    E. T. Dalton, Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, pp. 249, 250 sq., 262; (Sir) H. H. Risley, Tribes and Castes of Bengal, ii. 139; Sarat Chandra Roy, The Oraons of Chota Nagpur (Ranchi, 1915), pp. 80 sq.; R. V. Russell, Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India, iv. 315 sq.

  • 97.

    Sarat Chandra Roy, The Oraons of Chota Nagpur, p. 105.

  • 98.

    E. T. Dalton, Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, p. 246; Sarat Chandra Roy, The Oraons of Chota Nagpur, pp. 52 sq.

  • 99.

    E. T. Dalton, Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, p. 256; Rev. P. Dehon, S. J., “Religion and Customs of the Uraons”, Memoirs of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. i. No. 9 (Calcutta, 1906), p. 125.

  • 100.

    Rev. P. Dehon, S. J., “Religion and Customs of the Uraons,” Memoirs of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. i. No. 9 (Calcutta, 1906), p. 135; R. V. Russell, Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India, iv. 310.

  • 101.

    See above, pp. 380 sq.

  • 102.

    (Sir) W. W. Hunter, Annals of Rural Bengal5 (London, 1872), pp. 145 sq.; E. T. Dalton, Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, pp. 207, 212; (Sir) H. H. Risley, Tribes and Castes of Bengal, ii. 224 sq.

  • 103.

    (Sir) W. W. Hunter, Annals of Rural Bengal5, pp. 210-215, 218; E. T. Dalton, Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, pp. 208 sq., 216.

  • 104.

    E. T. Dalton, Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, pp. 213, 314.

  • 105.

    (Sir) W. W. Hunter, Annals of Rural Bengal5, p. 186. Compare (Sir) H. H. Risley, Tribes and Castes of Bengal, ii. 232.

  • 106.

    (Sir) W. W. Hunter, Annals of Rural Bengal5, p. 184. According to Dalton, the Santals worship Chando Bonga as the Moon-god, not the Sun-god (Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, p. 214).

  • 107.

    (Sir) H. H. Risley, Tribes and Castes of Bengal, ii. 234.

  • 108.

    (Sir) H. H. Risley, Tribes and Castes of Bengal, ii. 232.

  • 109.

    J. Shakespear, The Lushei Kuki Clans (London, 1912), p. 65.

  • 110.

    J. H. Hutton, The Sema Nagas (London, 1921), pp. 249 sq. Else-where, speaking of the hill tribes of Assam, Mr. Hutton observes that “there seems to be no worship of the sun or moon at all, though they are called on to witness oaths, ‘since they see all that takes place’, as a Naga put it to me”. See J. H. Hutton, “Some Astronomical Beliefs in Assam,” Folk-lore, xxxvi. (1925) p. 116.

  • 111.

    J. H. Hutton, The Sema Nagas, p. 166.

  • 112.

    J. H. Hutton, The Angami Nagas (London, (921), pp. 410 sq. One of Mr. Hutton's informants reversed the sexes of the luminaries, but in doing so he contradicted the normal Angami version (op. cit. p. 259). The Khasis also represent the sun as female and the moon as male. See P. R. T. Gurdon, The Khasis2 (London, 1914), pp. 172 sq.

  • 113.

    J. P. Mills, The Lhota Nagas (London, 1922), p. 172.

  • 114.

    E. Stack, The Mikirs (London, 1908), pp. 1, 33.

  • 115.

    W. C. Smith, The Ao Naga Tribe of Assam (London, 1925), pp. 87 sq.

  • 116.

    (Sir) J. George Scott and J. P. Hardiman, Gazetteer of Upper Burma and the Shan States, Part I. vol. i. (Rangoon, 1900) p. 435.

  • 117.

    Mrs. Leslie Milne, The Home of an Eastern Clan (Oxford, 1924), p. 312.

  • 118.

    Mrs. Leslie Milne, The Home of an Eastern Clan (Oxford, 1924), pp. 256 sq.

  • 119.

    W. H. R. Rivers, The Todas (London, 1906), pp. 38, 42, 98-105, 448 sq., 680 sq.

  • 120.

    W. H. R. Rivers, The Todas, pp. 94, 126, 128, 436.

  • 121.

    Lieut.-Colonel W. E. Marshall, Travels amongst the Todas (London, 1873), pp. 71, 123.

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