12. In Sparta, the Ephoroi, once every nine years, watched the sky during a whole cloudless, moonless night, in profound silence; and, if they saw a shooting star, it was understood to indicate that the kings of Sparta had disobeyed the gods, and their authority was, in consequence, suspended till they had been purified by an oracle from Delphi or Olympia. [W. H. S.] This statement rests on the authority of Plutarch, Agis, 11.
13. Mishkat. Part iii of same chapter; vol. ii, p. 386.
14. Ibid. p. 386.
15. But the prying character of these devils is described in the Koran itself. According to Muhammadans, they had access to all the seven heavens till the time of Moses, who got them excluded from three. Christ got them excluded from three more; and Muhammad managed to get them excluded from the seventh and last. ’We have placed the twelve signs in the heavens, and have set them out in various figures for the observation of spectators, and we guard them from every devil driven away with stones; except him who listeneth by stealth, at whom a visible flame is darted’ (Chapter 15).
’We have adorned the lower heaven with the ornament of stars, and we have placed therein a guard against every rebellious devil, that they may not listen to the discourse of exalted princes, for they are darted at from every side, to repel them, and a lasting torment is prepared for them; except him who catcheth a word by stealth, and is pursued by a shining flame’ (Chapter 37). [W. H. 8.] Passages of this kind should he remembered by persons who expect orthodox Muhammadans to accept the results of modern science.
Certain it is that no Hindoo will have a marriage in his family during the four months of the rainy season; for among eighty millions of souls not one doubts that the Great Preserver of the universe is, during these four months, down on a visit to Raja Bali, and, consequently, unable to bless the contract with his presence.
Marriage is a sacred duty among Hindoos, a duty which every parent must perform for his children, otherwise they owe him no reverence. A family with a daughter unmarried after the age of puberty is considered to labour under the displeasure of the gods; and no member of the other sex considers himself respectable after the age of puberty till he is married. It is the duty of his parent or elder brothers to have him suitably married; and, if they do not do so, he reproaches them with his degraded condition. The same feeling, in a degree, pervades all the Muhammadan community; and nothing appears so strange to them as the apparent indifference of old bachelors among us to their sad condition.