Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official eBook

William Henry Sleeman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,051 pages of information about Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official.

4.  The Tulasi plant, or basil, Ocymum sanctum, is ’not merely sacred to Vishnu or to his wife Lakshmi; it is pervaded by the essence of these deities, and itself worshipped as a deity and prayed to accordingly. . . .  The Tulasi is the object of more adoration than any other plant at present worshipped in India. . . .It is to be found in almost every respectable household throughout India.  It is a small shrub, not too big to be cultivated in a good-sized flower-pot, and often placed in rooms.  Generally, however, it is planted in the courtyard of a well-to-do man’s house, with a space round it for reverential circumambulation.  In real fact the Tulasi is par excellence a domestic divinity, or rather, perhaps, a woman’s divinity’ (M.  Williams, Religious Thought and Life in India, p. 333).

5.  The fossil ammonites found in India include at least fifteen species.  They occur between Trichinopoly and Pondicherry as well as in the Himalayan rocks.  They are particularly abundant in the river Gandak, which rises near Dhaulagiri in Nepal, and falls into the Ganges near Patna.  The upper course of this river is consequently called Salagrami.  Various forms of the fossils are supposed to represent various avatars of Vishnu (Balfour, Cyclopaedia, 3rd ed., s.v.  ‘Ammonite’, ‘Gandak’, ‘Salagrama’; M. Williams, Religious Thought and Life in India, pp. 69, 349).  A good account of the reverence paid to both salagrams and the tulasi plant will be found in Dubois, Hindu Manners, &c., 3rd ed. (1906), pp. 648-51.

6.  The author writes ‘Himmalah’.  The current spelling Himalaya is correct, but the word should be pronounced Himalaya.  It means ’abode of snow’.

7.  The north-eastern corner of the Punjab, an elevated valley along the course of the Spiti or the Li river, a tributary of the Satlaj.

8.  Fossils of the genus Belemnites and related genera are common, like the ammonites, near Trichinopoly, as well as in the Himalaya.

9.  This statement is not quite correct.  The pebbles representing the Linga of Siva, called Bana-linga, or Vana-linga, and apparently of white quartz, which are found in the Nerbudda river, enjoy the same distinction.  ’Both are held to be of their own nature pervaded by the special presence of the deity, and need no consecration.  Offerings made to these pebbles—­such, for instance, as Bilwa leaves laid on the white stone of Vishnu—­are believed to confer extraordinary merit’ (M.  Williams, Religious Thought and Life in India, p. 69).

10.  In 1814-16.

11.  ‘Sadora’ in author’s text, which seems to be a misprint for Ludora or Ludhaura.

12.  The Tulasi shrub is sometimes married to an image of Krishna, instead of to the salagrama, in Western India (M.  Williams, Religious Thought and Life in India, p. 334).  Compare the account of the marriage between the mango-tree and the jasmine, ante, Chapter 5, Note [3].

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