Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official eBook

William Henry Sleeman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 897 pages of information about Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official.

‘Very ill, sir; hardly able to stand without assistance.’

‘What was the matter with him?’

‘It was what we call a drying-up, or withering of the System.’

‘What were the symptoms?’

‘Dysentery.’

‘Good; and what cured him, as he now seems quite well?’

’Our mother and father vowed five pair of baskets of Ganges water to Gajadhar, an incarnation of the god Siva, at the temple of Baijnath, and a visit to the temple of Jagannath.’

‘And having fulfilled these vows, your brother recovered?’

’He had quite recovered, sir, before we had set out on our return from Jagannath.’

‘And who carried the baskets?’

’My mother, wife, cousin, myself, and little brother, all carried one pair each.’

’This little boy could not surely carry a pair of baskets all the way?’

’No, sir, we had a pair of small baskets made especially for him; and when within about three miles of the temple he got down from his little pony, took up his baskets, and carried them to the god.  Up to within three miles of the temple the baskets were carried by a Brahman servant, whom we had taken with us to cook our food.  We had with us another Brahman, to whom we had to pay only a trifle, as his principal wages were made up of fees from families in the town of Jubbulpore, who had made similar vows, and gave him so much a bottle for the water he carried in their several names to the god.’

’Did you give all your water to the Baijnath temple, or carry some with you to Jagannath?’

’No water is ever offered to Jagannath, sir; he is an incarnation of Vishnu.’[4]

‘And does Vishnu never drink?’

’He drinks, sir, no doubt; but he gets nothing but offerings of food and money.’

’From this to Bindachal on the Ganges, two hundred and thirty miles; thence to Baijnath, a hundred and fifty miles; and thence to Jagannath, some four or five hundred miles more.’[5]

‘And your mother and wife walked all the way with their baskets?’

’All the way, sir, except when either of them got sick, when she mounted the pony with my little brother till she felt well again.’

Here were four members of a respectable family walking a pilgrimage of between twelve and fourteen hundred miles, going and coming, and carrying burthens on their shoulders for the recovery of the poor sick boy; and millions of families are every year doing the same from all parts of India.  The change of air, and exercise, cured the boy, and no doubt did them all a great deal of good; but no physician in the world but a religions one could have persuaded them to undertake such a journey for the same purpose.

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Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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