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Sulaimâni,' a local saint whose opinions were so displeasing to Akbar that he imprisoned him here till his death in 1614 A.D. His cap and turban are still shown at his tomb, and these, when gently rubbed by one of his disciples, pour out a divine influence through the assembled multitude of votaries, many of whom are Hindus. This holy influence extends even to the animal kingdom. Thus the tomb of the saint Nirgan Shâh at Sarauli in the Bareilly District abounds in scorpions, which bite no one through the virtue of the saint.
Hindu saints of the same class are so directly imbued with the divine afflatus that they need not the purifying influence of fire, and are buried, not cremated. Their Samadhi or final resting-place is usually represented by a pile of earth, or a tomb or tumulus of a conical or circular form. Others, again, like some of the Gusâîns, are after death enclosed in a box of stone and consigned to the waters of the Ganges. These shrines are generally occupied by a disciple or actual descendant of the saint, and there vows and prayers are made and offerings presented.
The next link between ancestor-worship and that of special deceased worthies is seen in the Satî, or "faithful wife," who, before the practice was prohibited by our Government, was bound to bear her deceased lord company to the world of spirits for his consolation and service. The rite seems to have at one time prevailed throughout the Aryan world.? It undoubtedly prevailed in Slavonic lands, and there are even traces of it in Greece. Evadne is said to have burnt herself with the body of her husband, Capaneus, and Oenone, according to one account, leaped into the pyre on which the body of Paris was being cremated. There are indications that
1 For an account of this worthy see “North Indian Notes and Queries," i. 163.
2 Spencer, “ Principles of Sociology," i. 187; Lubbock, “ Origin of Civilization," 284 ; Tylor, “Primitive Culture,” i. 458 sq.
3 Ralston, “ Songs of the Russian People," 327,
the rite prevailed among the Drávidian races, and it has been suggested that the Hindus may have adopted it from them. Even to the present day among some of the Bhil tribes the wife of the dead man is carried along with him on the bier to the burning ground, where she is laid down. There she breaks her marriage necklace, and her ornaments are consumed with the corpse of her husband, obviously a survival of the time when she was actually burnt with him." It is unnecessary here to enter into the controversy whether or not the rite was based on a misinterpretation or perversion of one of the sacred texts. That in old times the Sati was treated with exceptional honour is certain. In some places she went to the burning ground richly dressed, scattering money and flowers, and calling out the names of the deities, with music sounding and drums beating. In Some places she used to mark with her hands the gateways and walls of the chief temple, and she sometimes marked in the same way a stone for her descendants to worship, a practice to which reference will be made later on. On such stones it was the custom to carve a representation of her, and in many places a Chhatri, or ornamental cenotaph pavilion, was erected in her honour. The small shrines in honour of the village Sati are found often in considerable numbers on the banks of tanks all over Upper India. They are visited by women at marriages and other festivals, and are periodically repaired and kept in order. According to Mr. Ibbetson,” in the Delhi territory, these shrines take the place of those dedicated to the Pitri, or sainted dead. They often contain a representation in stone of the lord and his faithful spouse, and one of his arms rests affectionately on her neck. Sometimes, if he died in battle, he is mounted on his war steed and she walks beside him; but her worshippers are not always careful in identifying her shrine, and I have seen at least one undoubted Revenue Survey pillar doing duty as a monument to some unnamed local divinity of this class. Among the warrior tribes of Rājputána, the Sati shrine
usually takes the form of a monument, on which is carved the warrior on his charger, with his wife standing beside him, and the images of the sun and the moon on either side, emblematical of never-dying fame. Such places are the scene of many a ghostly legend. As Col. Tod writes in his sentimental way _“ Among the altars on which have burnt the beautiful and brave, the harpy or Dâkinî takes up her abode, and stalks forth to devour the heart of her victims." The Rajput never enters these places of silence, but to perform stated rites or anniversary offerings of flowers and water to the manes of his ancestors. There is a peculiarly beautiful Satî necropolis at Udaypur, and the Satî Burj, or tower at Mathura, erected in honour of the queen of Raja Bihậr Mal of Jaypur in 1570 A.D., is one of the chief ornaments of the city."
THE SATÎ AND THE PITRI.
The connection between the special worship of the Satî and that of the Pitri or sainted dead will have been remarked. In many places the Satî represents the company of the venerated ancestors and is regarded as the guardian mother of the village, and in many of the rustic shrines of this class the same connection with the Pitri is shown in another interesting way. The snake is, as we shall see, regarded as a type of the household deity, which is often one of the deified ancestors, and so, in the Satî shrine we often see a snake delineated in the act of rising out of the masonry, as if it were the guardian mother snake arising to receive the devotion of her descendants.
The Satî having thus secured the honour of deification by her sacrifice, is able to protect her worshippers and gratify their desires. Some are even the subject of special honour, such as Sakhû Bâî, who is worshipped at Akola. Even the Dravidian Kaurs of Sarguja worship a deified Satî, another
Annals," i. 79.
Ferguson, “History of Indian Architecture,” 470; Rajputâna Gazetteer,” iii. 46; Growse, Mathura," 138.
: " Berâr Gazetteer,” 191.