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Extracts from Dr. Buchanan's Journal
JUGGERNAUT IN BENGAL. . TEST it should be supposed that the rites of Juggernaut
R are confined to the Temple in Orissa, or that the Hindoos there practise a more criminal superstition than they do in other places, it may be proper to notice the effects of the same idolatry in Bengal. The English nation will not expect to hear that the blood of Juggernaut is known at Calcutta: but alas, it is shed at the very doors of the English, almost under the eye of the supreme government. Moloch has many a tower in the province of Bengal: that fair and fertile province, which has been called “ The Garden of Nations.” Close to Ishera, a beautiful villa, on the river's side, about eight miles from Calcutta, once the residence of Governor Hastings, and within view of the present Governor-General's country house, there is a temple of this idol, which is often stained with human blood. At the festival of the Rut Jattra, in May 1807, the author visited it, on his return from the South of India, having heard that its rites were similar to those of Juggernaut. *
iut's Temple, near Ishera, on the Ganges: . : ;-.. Rut Jattra, May 1807. *THE tower here is drawu along, like that at Juggernaut, by cables. The number of worshippers at this festival is computed to be about a hundred thousand. The tower is covered with indecent emblems, which were freshly painted for the occasion, and were the objects of sensual gaze by both sexes. One of the victims of this year was a well-made young man, of healthy appearance, and comely aspect. He had a garland of flowers round his neck, and his long black hair was dishevelled. He danced for a
de, my attention oscenity. I neels, he shed by
wbile before the idol, singing in an enthusiastic strain, and then rushing suddenly to the wheels, he shed his blood un der the tower of obscenity. I was not at the spot at the time, my attention having been engaged by a more pleasing scenc.
On the other side, on a rising ground by the side of a Tank, stood the Christian Missionaries, and around them a crowd of people listening to their preaching. The town i of Serampore, where the Protestant Missionaries reside, is only about a mile and a half from this temple of Juggernaut. As I passed through the multitude, I met several persons having the printed papers of the Missionaries in their hands. Some of them were reading them very gravely; others were laughing with cach other at the contents, and saying, “ What do these words mean?"
. . ! "I sat down on an elevated spot to contemplate this scene,--the tower of blood and impurity on the one hand, and the Christian preachers on the other. I thought on the commandment of our Saviour, “Go ye, teach all na. tions.” I said to myself, “How great and glorious 2: ministry are these humble persons now exercising in the presence of God!” How is it applauded by the holy angels, who have joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth ; " and how far does it transcend the work of the warrior or statesman, in charity, utility, and lasting fame! And I could not help wishing that the representatives of the church of Christ in my own country had been present to witness this scene, that they might have seen how practi. cable it is to offer Christian instruction to our Hindoe sub jects.
- SUPPLEMENTARY NOTES. The following Extract from the 231 Number of the periodical ac. counts of the Baptist Missionary Society, recently published, will be found to confirm the statements of Dr. BUCHANAN,
« The worship of the idol JUGUNNATH seems to have been more numerously attended this season than usual. You would have been astonished to see the vast number of pilgrims crossing the river at Cuttack. As far as the eye could reach we could not see the end of the ranks; it put us in mind of an army going to battle. If they could not get a boat to cross the river, they would cross it in some other way, though in so doing they run the risk of losing their lives. They seemed to have no fear of being carried away by the rapidity of the stream. - You can easily conceive what a multitude of men, women, and children, must have been assembled at the temple, for 159, or thereabouts, to have been killed in the crowd! They trode one upon another in approaching the temple gate! Ten Sepoys per com. pany, from all the battalions from Barackpore to this station, had permission to visit the temple. A famine was produced in the country; and great numbers of the pilgrims died of hunger and thirst. We talked to some of them, but it was of no use. They said, . Whether we survive or not, we will see the temple of Jugunpath before our death.' Numbers killed themselves by falling under the wheels of the idol's car: they laid themselves flat on their backs fur the very purpose of being crushed to death by it. This is the way they take to obtain eternal life !"
The annexed statement of Dr. CAREY shews in glaring colours the lamentable effects of this monstrous superstition, in the deplora able waste it occasions of human life.
* Idolatry destroys more than the sword, yet in a way which is scarcely perceived. The numbers who die in their lor.g pilgrimages, either through want or fatigue, or from dysenteries and fevers, caught by lying out, and want of accommodation, is incredible. I only men. tion one idol, the famous Jugunnath in Orissa, to which twelve or thirteen pilgrimages are made every year. It is calculated that the number who go thither is, on some occasions, 600,000 persons, and scarcely ever less than 100,000. I suppose, at the lowest calcula. tion, that in the year 1,200,000 persons attend. Now, if only one in ten died, the mortality caused by this one idol would be 120,000 in a year; but some are of opinion that not many more than one in ten survive, and return home again. Besides these I calculate that 10,000 women annually burn with the bodies of their deceased hus. bands. The custom of half immersing persons supposed to be dying, undoubtedly occasions the premature death of many, and the multitudes destroyed in other methods would swell the catalogue to an extent almost exceeding credibility,
"How much should every friend of the Redeemer, and of men, de. sire the universal spread of that Gospel, which secures glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth."
CRUEL SPORTS. “How will man, that sanguinary tyrant,” says Sir WILLIAM JONES in his. Asiatic Researches, “ be able to excuse himself from the charge of those innumerable cruelties inflicted on his unoffending subjects, committed. to his care, formed for his benefit, and placed under his authority, by their common father? No small part of mankind derive their chief amusements from the deaths and sufferings of inferior animals; a much greater con, sider them only as engines of wood or iron, useful in: their several occupations. If there are some few who, formed in a softer mould, view with pity the sufferings of these defenceless creatures, there is scarce one who entertains the least idea, that justïce or gratitude can be due to their merits or their services. The social and friendly dog is hanged without remorse, if, by barking in defence of his master's person and property, he happens, unknowingly, to disturb his rest; the generous herse, who has carried his ungrateful master for many years with ease and safety, worn-out with age and infirmities contracted in his service, is by him condemned to end his miserable days in a dusta cart, where the more he exerts his little remains of spirit, the more he is whipped to save his stupid driver the trouble of whipping some other less obedient to the lash. The sluggish bear, in contradiction to his nature, is taught to dance, for the diversion of a malignant mob, by placing red-hot irons under his feet; and the majestic bull is tortured by every mode which malice can invent-for no offence but that he is gentle, and unwilling to assail his diabolical tormentors.
“The common people of all countries are delighted with nothing so much as horse-races, bull-baitings, prize-fight
ings, executions, and all spectacles of cruelty and horror. They arm cocks with artificial weapons, which nature had kindly denied to their malevolence, and, with shouts of applause and triumph, see them plunge them into each other's hearts."
The conceit that a cat has nine lives," the GUARDIAN remarks, “ has cost at least nine lives in ten of the whole race of them;" and to this perhaps may be imputed the cruel pastime of suspending this useful domestic animal in a barrel, that her supposed tenacity of the vital powers fits her. the better to stand out against the reiterated assaults of her grateful lords, and serves to protract the savage diversion.
Reflecting upon such amusements as those, the humane Author of GLEANINGS IN ENGLAND, observes “ there can be no rational doubt that some of those who now take dehight in the wanton destruction of innocent animals, would, in case there were no law which rendered it a capital felony to kill a man, shoot poor people for their pleasure without compunction. Go To oppose the Bosgesmans, a savage tribe of Hottentots, the Dutch farmers at the Cape of Good Hope, generally cross the desert in parties and strongly armed. A Boor, from Graaf-Reynet, being asked in the secretary's office, if the savages were numerous and troublesome on the voad, replied, he had only killed four, with as much composure and indifference as if he had been speaking of four partridges. Such is the effect of custom !!!
JOSEPH ADDISON. OF this amiable person who contributed so largely to the , SPECTATOR, and other periodical publications of his day, and whose writings have been so useful in the cause of re