The Trimurti or three-headed deity in the caves of Elephanta.
This is a sculpture of the most remote antiquity, but the dress, the beads, the sacred cord and other religious symbols declare it to be the work of Hindoos. In anthropomorphising the Deity, men always adopt their own typical countenance for that of their God. Hence their idols betray the national features. Now, observe the profiles of Vishnu and Siva in this Trimurti.
A True Anecdote.
A traveller, who was making a tour in India some years back, tells us that in his wanderings he arrived at a village on the north border of the British dominions; near this stood a granary, in which was stored a large quantity of rice. The people of the place described to him how the granary had been attacked by a party of elephants which had somehow found out that this granary was full of rice.
Early in the morning an elephant appeared at the granary, acting evidently as a scout or spy. When he found that the place was unprotected, he returned to the herd, which was waiting no great distance off. Two men happened to be close by, and they watched the herd approach in almost military order. Getting near the granary, the elephants stopped to examine it.
Its walls were of solid brickwork; the entry was in the centre of the terraced roof, which could only be mounted by a ladder. To climb this was not possible, so they stood to consider. The alarmed spectators speedily climbed a banyan-tree, hiding themselves among its leafy branches, thus being out of view while they could watch the doings of the elephants. These animals surveyed the building all round; its thick walls were formidable, but the strength and sagacity of the elephants defied the obstacles. One of the largest of the herd took up a position at a corner of the granary, and pounded upon the wall with his tusks. When he began to feel tired, another took turn at the work, then another, till several of the bricks gave way.
An opening once made was soon enlarged. Space being made for an elephant to enter, the herd divided into parties of three or four, since only a few could find room inside. When one party had eaten all they could, their place was taken by another. One of the elephants stood at a distance as sentinel. After all had eaten enough, by a shrill noise he gave the signal to retire, and the herd, flourishing their trunks, rushed off to the jungle.
A female elephant belonging to a gentleman at Calcutta broke loose from her keeper, and was lost in the woods. The excuses which the keeper made were not admitted. It was supposed that he had sold the elephant; his wife and family therefore were sold for slaves, and he was himself condemned to work upon the roads. About twelve years after, this man was ordered into the country to assist in catching wild elephants. The keeper fancied he saw his long-lost elephant in a group that was before them. He was determined to go up to it; nor could the strongest representations of the danger dissuade him from his purpose. When he approached the creature, she knew him, and giving him three salutes, by waving her trunk in the air, knelt down and received him on her back. She afterwards assisted in securing the other elephants, and likewise brought her three young ones. The keeper recovered his character; and, as a recompense for his sufferings and intrepidity, had an annuity settled on him for life. This elephant was afterwards in the possession of Governor Hastings.
An elephant, from some motive of revenge, killed his cornack, or conductor. The man’s wife, who beheld the dreadful scene, took her two children, and threw them at the feet of the enraged animal, saying, “Since you have slain my husband, take my life also, as well as that of my children.” The elephant instantly stopped, relented, and as if stung with remorse, took up the eldest boy with his trunk, placed him on its neck, adopted him for his cornack, and would never afterwards allow any other person to mount it.
Almost as wonderful as these juggler’s tricks are the performances of the snake charmers. They carry the dreaded, poisonous cobras around in baskets and handle them, playing at the same time on their little flutes, quite as if the creatures were entirely harmless.
The Hindus love amusements. They are fond of music and have many curious instruments. Dancing girls dance for the amusement of guests at feasts given in the homes of the wealthy. They usually take their own musicians with them; one of these plays upon a little drum, the other on a kind of guitar. Street exhibitions are frequent.
In the “hill country” of India live many curious brown peoples whose languages are different from the Aryan tongue of the Hindus. These peoples, called Dravidians, are considered the earliest occupiers of India. Among them no tribe is more curious than the Todas. In some ways they are like the Ainu. Though brown, they are probably really white or Caucasic. They have the features, strong beards, and hairy bodies of whites, and in these respects are like the Ainu.
The Todas live on a tableland whose surface is covered with hills and rolling prairies. The hills are clad with coarse grass, and in some of the valleys are deep forests. The sunshine is bright and warm, and the dry season is long.
The Todas think only of their cattle. They 108do not hunt—in fact, they have no weapons; they do not cultivate any fields, getting what plant food they use from the Badagas and other neighboring tribes. But they do raise cattle—buffalo. Their villages are located in the midst of pasture land. No village is occupied for a whole year, but the people have always at least two villages and live first in one, then in the other. This is to have fresh pasture for their cattle and to be secure in the wet season.
The vina is undoubtedly of high antiquity. It has seven wire strings, and movable frets which are generally fastened with wax. Two hollowed gourds, often tastefully ornamented, are affixed to it for the purpose of increasing the sonorousness. There are several kinds of the vina in different districts; but that represented in the illustration is regarded as the oldest. The performer shown is Jeewan Shah, a celebrated virtuoso on the vina, who lived about a hundred years ago. The Hindus divided their musical scale into several intervals smaller than our modern semitones. They adopted twenty-two intervals called sruti in the compass of an octave, which may therefore be compared to our chromatic intervals. As the frets of the vina are movable the performer can easily regulate them according to the scale, or mode, which he requires for his music.
Bull and man
Birds in a tree
There must be water here
The woodsman and the soldier
The Merchant with the golden bowl
The Merchant throws the bowl on the ground
The King and the turtle
The Geese and the turtle
The animals runing
Men with swords
Men and deer
Men against elephant
He Ran away from the crowd
Going to the king
Feeding the pig
Feeding the pig to the people
Elephant with sore foot
Elephant pulling out a tree
Elephant playing with children
Elephant chained up
Elephant and man
Elephant and children
Crane with crab on its back
Crane catching a fish
Children looking up in the air
Catching quail in the net
Female playing on the Tumboora
The Nautch Girls are the singing and dancing girls of the East. They are gorgeously attired in robes of embroidered silk and muslin, and covered with jewels. They attend the public and private festivals and entertain the company bu their soft and voluptuous songs, and graceful attitudes.
The dances of the Nautch Girls consist in sudden transitions. The movement is sometimes slow and graceful; then by a change of the music it becomes all life, and exhibits the most rapid succession of violent actions, the performers twirling round with the velocity of a spinning top, and for such a length of time that it almost makes a person giddy to look at them.
The Nautch girl in the picture was considered one of the most celebrated singers in Bengal. Her voice was extremely sweet, but sung in so low a tone, that it would have been impossible to hear a note unless within a few yards of her; but a powerful voice is not esteemed an excellence in an Indian singer.
Each Nautch Girl is attended by her own musicians, who form themselves in a circle behind her, accompanying her voice with their instruments.