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Omens and Superstitions of Southern India

[Contents]

XII

Rain-Making Ceremonies

Among the Kalyāna Singapu Kondhs of Vizagapatam, a rain-making ceremony called barmarākshasi is performed, which consists in making life-size mud images of women seated on the ground, holding grindstones between their knees, and offering sacrifices to them.1

In times of drought, the Koyis of the Godāvari district hold a festival to Bhīma, one of the Pāndava brothers from whom they claim descent, and, when rain falls, sacrifice a cow or a pig to him. It is said2 to be considered very efficacious if the Brāhmans take in procession round the village an image of Varuna (the god of rain) made of mud from the bed of a river or tank. Another method is to pour a thousand pots of water over the lingam in the Siva temple. Mālas (Telugu Pariahs) tie a live frog to a mortar, and put on the top thereof a mud figure representing the deity Gontiyālamma. They then take these objects in procession, singing “Mother frog, playing in water, pour rain by potsfull.” The villagers of other castes then come and pour water over the Mālas.

The Rev. S. Nicholson informs me that, to produce rain in the Telugu country, two boys capture a frog, [306]and put it into a basket with some nīm (margosa, Melia Azadirachta) leaves. They tie the basket to the middle of a stick, which they support on their shoulders. In this manner, they make a circuit of the village, visiting every house, singing the praises of the god of rain. The greater the noise the captive animal makes, the better the omen, and the more gain for the boys, for at every house they receive something in recognition of their endeavours to bring rain upon the village fields.

“In the Bellary district when the rain fails, the Kāpu (Telugu cultivator) females catch a frog, and tie it alive to a new winnowing fan made of bamboo. On this fan, leaving the frog visible, they spread a few margosa leaves, and go singing from door to door, ‘Lady frog must have her bath; oh! rain god, give at least a little water for her.’ This means that the drought has reached such a stage that there is not even a drop of water for the frogs. When the Kāpu female sings this song, the woman of the house brings a little water in a vessel, pours it over the frog, which is left on the fan outside the door sill, and gives some alms. She is satisfied that such an action will bring down rain in torrents. On the first full-moon day in the month of Bhadrapada (September), the agricultural population in the Bellary district celebrate a festival called Jokumara, to appease the rain-god. The Barike women (said to belong to the Gaurimakkalu section of the Kabbēra caste) go round the village in which they live, with a basket on their heads containing margosa leaves, flowers of various kinds, and sacred ashes. They beg for alms, especially from the cultivating classes, and, in return for the alms bestowed (usually grain or food), they give some of the leaves, flowers, and ashes. The cultivators take these to their fields, prepare cholam (Sorghum) kanji or gruel, mix them with it, and sprinkle the kanji over their fields. After this the cultivator proceeds to the [307]potter’s kiln in the village, and fetches ashes from it, with which he makes the figure of a human being. This figure is placed in a field, and called Jokumara or rain-god, and is supposed to have the power of bringing down the rain in due season. A second kind of Jokumara worship is called muddam, or the outlining of rude representations of human figures with powdered charcoal. These are made in the early morning, before the bustle of the day commences, on the ground at cross-roads, and along thoroughfares. The Barikes, who draw these figures, are paid a small remuneration in money or kind. The figures represent Jokumara, who will bring down rain, when insulted by people treading on him. Yet another kind of Jokumara worship prevails in the Bellary district. When rain fails, the Kāpu females model a small figure of a naked human being, which they place in a miniature palanquin, and go from door to door, singing indecent songs, and collecting alms. They continue this procession for three or four days, and then abandon the figure in a field adjacent to the village. The Mālas take possession of the abandoned Jokumara, and, in their turn, go about singing indecent songs, and collecting alms for three or four days, and then throw the figure away in some jungle. This form of Jokumara worship is also believed to bring down plenty of rain. In the Bellary district, the agriculturists have a curious superstition about prophesying the state of the coming season. The village of Mailar contains a Siva temple, which is famous throughout the district for an annual festival held there in the month of February. This festival has now dwindled into more or less a cattle fair. But the fame of the temple continues as regards the Karanika, which is a cryptic sentence uttered by the priest, containing a prophecy of the prospects of the agricultural season. The pujāri (priest) of the temple is a Kuruba (cultivating caste). The feast at the temple lasts for ten days. On the last day, the god Siva is represented as returning victorious from the battlefield, after having slain the [308]demon Malla (Mallāsura) with a huge bow. He is met half-way from the field of battle by the goddess. The wooden bow is placed on end before the god. The Kuruba priest climbs up it, as it is held by two assistants, and then gets on their shoulders. In this posture he stands rapt in silence for a few minutes, looking in several directions. He then begins to quake and quiver from head to foot. This is the sign of the spirit of the god Siva possessing him. A solemn silence holds the assembly, for the time of the Karanika has arrived. The shivering Kuruba utters a cryptic sentence, such as ‘Thunder struck the sky.’ This is at once copied down, and interpreted as a prophecy that there will be much rain in the year to come.”3

It is said that, in the year before the Mutiny, the prophecy was “They have risen against the white-ants.”

The villagers at Kanuparti in the Guntur district of the Telugu country objected, in 1906, to the removal of certain figures of the sacred bull Nandi and lingams, which were scattered about the fields, on the ground that the rainfall would cease, if these sacred objects were taken away.

To bring down rain, Brāhmans, and those non-Brāhmans who copy their ceremonial rites, have their Varuna japam, or prayers to Varuna, the rain-god. Some of the lower classes, instead of addressing their prayers to Varuna, try to induce a spirit or dēvata named Kodumpāvi (wicked one) to send her paramour Sukra to the affected area. The belief seems to be that Sukra goes away to his concubinage for about six months, and, if he does not then return, drought ensues. The ceremony consists in making a huge figure of Kodumpāvi in clay, which is placed on a cart, and dragged through the streets [309]for seven to ten days. On the last day, the final death ceremonies of the figure are celebrated. It is disfigured, especially in those parts which are usually concealed. Vettiyans (Paraiyan grave-diggers), who have been shaved, accompany the figure, and perform the funeral ceremonies. This procedure is believed to put Kodumpāvi to shame, and to get her to induce Sukra to return, and stay the drought. According to Mr W. Francis,4 the figure, which is made of clay or straw, is dragged feet first through the village by the Paraiyans, who accompany it, wailing as though they were at a funeral, and beating drums in funeral time.

I am informed by Mr F. R. Hemingway that, when rain is wanted in the Trichinopoly district, an effigy called Komān (the king) is dragged round the streets, and its funeral performed with great attention to details. Or an effigy of Kodumpāvi is treated with contumely. In some places, the women collect kanji (rice gruel) from door to door, and drink it, or throw it away on a tank bund (embankment), wailing the while as they do at funerals. People of the higher castes repeat prayers to Varuna, and read portions of the Virāta Parvam in the Mahābhārata, in the hope that the land will be as fertile as the country of the Virāts, where the Pāndavas lived. When the tanks and rivers threaten to breach their banks, men stand naked on the bund, and beat drums; and, if too much rain falls, naked men point firebrands at the sky. Their nudity is supposed to shock the powers that bring the rain, and arrest their further progress. According to Mr Francis,5 when too much rain falls, the way to stop it is to send the eldest son to stand in it stark naked, with a torch in his hand. [310]

A Native of Coimbatore wrote a few years ago that we have done all things possible to please the gods. We spent about two hundred rupees in performing Varuna japam on a grand scale in a strictly orthodox fashion. For a few days there were cold winds, and some lightning. But, alas, the japam was over, and with that disappeared all signs of getting any showers in the near future. It is noted by Haddon6 that, in the Torres Straits, as elsewhere, the impossible is never attempted, and a rain charm would not be made when there was no expectation of rain coming, or during the wrong season.

There is, in some parts of the country, a belief that, if lepers are buried when they die, rain will not visit the locality where their corpses have been deposited. So they disinter the bodies, and throw the remains thereof into the river, or burn them. Some years ago, a man who was supposed to be a leper died, and was buried. His skeleton was disinterred, put into a basket, and hung to a tree with a garland of flowers round its neck. The Superintendent of Police, coming across it, ordered it to be disposed of.

The following quaint superstitions relating to the origin of rain are recorded by Mr Gopal Panikkar.7

“In the regions above the earth, there are supposed to exist large monsters called Kalameghathanmar, to whom is assigned the responsibility of supplying the earth with water. These monsters are under the direction and control of Indra,8 and are possessed of enormous physical strength. They have two huge horns projecting upwards from the sides of the crown of the head, large flashing eyes, and other remarkable features. All the [311]summer they are engaged in drawing up water from the earth through their mouths, which they spit out to produce rain in the rainy season. A still ruder imagination ascribes rain to the periodical discharge of urine by these monsters. Hence, in some quarters, there exists a peculiar aversion to the use of rain-water for human consumption.”

[312]


1 “Gazetteer of the Vizagapatam District,” 1907, i. 73.

2 “Gazetteer of the Godāvari District,” 1907, i. 47.

3 Madras Mail, 4th November, 1905.

4 “Gazetteer of the South Arcot District,” 1906, i. 94.

5 Ibid.

6 “Magic and Fetishism” (Religions ancient and modern), 1906, 62.

7 “Malabar and its Folk,” Madras, 2nd ed., 63–4.

8 Indra presides over the seasons and crops, and is therefore worshipped at times of sowing and reaping.

[Contents]

Index

Abkāri (liquor) license, used as medicine, 187

Adultery, 51, 254

Agricultural ceremonies, 60, 279, 289–304

Aiyanar, 56, 154, 166–7

Alagarswāmi, 169 Alangium Lamarckii, magic oil, 228

Albino crow, 69 Alstonia scholaris, sorcery figure, 249

Amputation of finger, 241

Ancestor, 51, 56, 68, 290, 291, 302, 303

Animal sacrifice, 14, 15, 22, 33, 37, 38, 41, 55, 57, 65, 68, 69, 75, 82, 92, 119, 136, 137, 146, 148, 149, 150, 152, 156, 165, 171, 175, 177, 183, 187, 201, 205–7, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 217, 245, 246, 248, 249, 252, 253, 263, 267, 279, 282, 284, 287, 295, 296, 302, 303

Animals, form assumed by human beings, 226, 228, 260–2

Ant, 93, 105, 308

Ant-hill, 36, 129, 132, 133–6, 156, 187, 253

Antelope (black-buck), 82

Araikāsu Nāchiyar, 170

Aranai (lizard) 99

Aravān or Kūttāndar, festival, 152–3

Areca nut, 20–1, 31, 49, 68, 283, 286

—— palm (Areca Catechu), 130, 177

Arjuna, 19, 126, 152

Arka (Calotropis gigantea), 51–2, 53, 68, 186, 195; marriage, 51

Arrack, 236, 242, 245, 251, 253, 295

—— vendors, superstition, 32

Ashes, ceremonial use, 21, 45, 115, 138, 186, 220, 229, 293, 296;
effigies, 44, 307;
from burial ground, 242;
of meriah victim, 204; omens, 16, 18;
sacred, 103, 182, 212, 270–1, 294, 306

Astrologer, 45, 127; Kaniyan, 273–7

Āvaram (Cassia auriculata), clothing tied to, 156

Ayilyam festival, 125

Ayudha pūja (worship of tools and implements), 174–5

Bābūl (Acacia arabica), 153, 155

Badaga, 14, 35, 49, 85, 116, 141, 232–4, 300

Bael or bilva (Ægle Marmelos), 33, 184, 277

Bairāgi, 235, 258–9

Bakuda, 81 Balanites Roxburghii, in lying-in chamber, 53

Balija, 118, 159

Bamboo, 113, 114, 148, 192, 212, 229, 260, 265, 293

Bangle insect, 107–8

—— offered to cholera god, 176;
to village goddess, 155;
worn as vow, 161

Banyan (Ficus bengalensis), 177, 219, 288

Barike, 306, 307

Basavi, 47, 142–3

Bathing, ceremonial, 29, 31, 43, 51, 55, 67, 72, 81, 104, 117, 130, 135, 150, 185, 229, 252, 285, 286, 294, 301, 303

Bats, 83 Bauhinia variegata, 118, 229

Bauri or Bāwariya, 41

Bead necklets offered to cholera god, 176

Beads worn as vow, 138

Bear, 78, 189

Bēdar, 68, 136, 142, 171, 193

Bejjo sorcerer, 32

Bēju sorceress, 263

Bells tied on trees, 154

Bēpāri, 74

Bestha, 98, 102

Betel, 20–1, 31, 32, 39, 40, 47, 49, 68, 117, 118, 147, 177, 188, 244, 249, 270, 277, 283, 298, 301

—— insect (vettila poochi), 106–7

Bhadrakāli, 114, 185

Bhagavati, 128, 250, 278, 292, 296

Bhairava, the dog-god, 196

Bhūthas, 162, 242

Bilimagga, 118

Billaikāvus (cat-eaters), 77

Bird excrement, fouling by, 34, 67, 87

—— superstitions, 86–9 [313]

Birds, omens, 15, 16, 21, 23, 34, 36, 37, 50, 56, 65–70, 280

Birth, symbolical, from cow, 79–80

Bison, 81–2

Black buffalo, 45;
cloth, 31, 112;
face painted, 116;
fowl, 284;
goat, 45, 267, 284;
pig, 284;
rope, 111;
sheep, 52, 191;
thread, 220;
wool, 191

Blood, human, a cure for fever, 239;
offered to idol, 221;
sacrificed victim, 201, 202, 207, 221;
sprinkling with, 145;
sucked by witch, 261, 262

—— of bullock, 80;
devil-dancer, 212;
fish, 102;
monkey, 73

—— of sacrificed animals, 22, 33, 37, 38, 65, 68, 69, 119, 175, 183, 187, 189, 212, 245, 246, 252, 255, 263, 282, 284, 295, 302

Blood-sucker (lizard), 99–100

Boar, wild, 189

Boddu-rāyi (navel-stone), 60, 211

Bones burnt in lying-in chamber, 53;
from burial-ground in sorcery, 242;
omens, 56, 57;
used by toddy-drawers, 76, 82

Bottling evil spirits, 250

Boundary ceremony, 60, 175;
dispute, 38;
flesh of victim interred, 201;
goddess, 37–8, 184;
oath, 36;
sacrifice, 211, 263

—— stone, birth ceremony, 176–7;
reverence, 184;
sacrifice, 37

Bow and arrow in magic, 33, 100, 192, 226, 244, 263

—— in rain-making ceremony, 308

Bōya, 22, 50, 135

Brāhman, 15, 17, 22, 26, 27, 28, 31, 43, 45, 50, 51, 52, 58, 59, 66, 67, 68, 79–80, 90, 102, 119, 122, 123, 124, 125, 133, 135, 139, 140, 148, 157, 170, 174, 239, 288, 297

——, Konkani, 172

——, Nambutiri, 85, 192, 193, 239, 292

——, Shivalli, 136

Brāhmani bull, 63; mock marriage, 165–6

—— kite, 65, 86

—— lizard (aranai), 99

Branding of body, 146

Brinjal (Solarium melongena), 295

Broom, 16, 40, 115, 244, 296

Budubudukala, 280–2

Buffalo, 45, 76, 81, 202, 263;
sacrifice, 22, 38, 137, 148, 201, 205, 206–7, 217

—— races, 114, 298

Bug, 105

Bull, omen, 21

Burial jars, prehistoric, supposed to contain sacrificed virgins, 216

——, mock, 211–3

—— of charm, 181, 186, 187, 229, 246, 252;
of fowl with corpse, 69;
of placenta, 55;
of sorcery figure, 247, 249 Butea frondosa, leaf-cup, 33

Butter, 79, 116, 185, 213. See Ghī

Cakes at village festival, 282;
in pregnancy ceremony, 54;
waved against evil eye, 116–7

Camphor, 50, 115, 117, 177, 184, 229, 244, 245, 249, 260, 278, 284, 285, 287, 293 Canthium parviflorum, thorn, 252 Cassia Fistula, 18, 289

Castor-oil, 97, 105, 116, 185, 258

Cat, 17, 57, 77, 260, 261

Cattle, 44, 60, 62–5, 79, 139–40, 210, 211, 291, 296;
sickness, 77, 154, 165, 183, 184, 209

Caves as shrines, 178

Chamæleon, 99, 240

Charcoal, 22, 119, 176, 185, 244, 286, 307

Charm cylinder, 113, 185, 187, 188, 189, 192–5, 219

Charms used by servants of Europeans, 197

Chauri (yak-tail fan), 297

Chedipe sorceress, 261–2

Chenchu, 194

Cheruman, 121, 290, 291, 295, 296

Childbirth, 53, 54, 77, 79, 176–7, 186, 189, 191, 193, 196

Chillies, 22, 115, 116, 119, 243, 253

Cholam (Sorghum), 60, 302, 306

Cholera, 36, 83, 98, 119, 148, 166, 175, 176, 183, 184, 236, 259, 263, 279

Chunam, 21, 22, 31, 44, 106, 113, 114, 117, 170, 212, 244, 246, 295

Clay bangles offered to deity, 176;
effigies, 148, 247, 308–9;
figures, offerings, 14, 162, 166–8

Cobra, 20, 25, 86, 91, 93, 95, 98, 99, 123, 133, 134. I3S Cochlospermum Gossypium (silk-cotton), 36

Cock-fighting, 299

Cocoanut, 18, 33, 39, 50, 55, 78, 83, 96, 97, 105, 117, 119, 122, 124, 125, 130, 131, 125, 136, 139, 146, 150, 160, 176, 177, 178, 183, 184, 185, 212, 215, 227, 229, 242, 244, 245, 248, 249, 253, 284, 287, 291, 294, 300, 301

Coffer-fish (Ostracion), 80 [314]

Coins, medicine, 196;
offerings, 104, 168–71, 176, 178, 179, 244;
omen, 46;
on magic square, 33;
on navel, 55;
put in sacred fire, 185;
representing deity, 170;
tied to marriage cloth, 49;
to ward off evil eye, 114;
waved round patient, 119;
worn as charm, 192, 195–6,
as vow, 171

Coloured water (ārati), waving, 117, 118

Comet, 44, 91

Conch, musical instrument, 294;
on cow’s horns, 111

Concubines kept by demons, 239

Constellations as omens, 55

Coorg, human sacrifice, 213–4

Coral charm, 193

Corpse used in sorcery, 236, 247

Cotton seed, 53, 97, 116, 243

Cow, 17, 58, 59, 79, 80, 88, 111, 150, 156, 176, 202, 301, 305

Cow-dung, 36, 53, 59, 79, 120, 208, 209, 228, 271, 283, 288, 289, 292, 293, 296, 303

Cowry shells in divination and fortune-telling, 276, 277, 283

Crab, 72, 83, 253

Cremation ground, goddess, 236;
sorcery ceremony, 229

Crocodile, 100, 192

Cromlech, 14

Cross-roads, 114, 184, 243, 244, 252, 267, 307

Crow, 67–9, 86–7

Crow-pheasant, 87, 111

Curds, 79, 115, 124, 244

Curls as omens, 52–3

Cutch making, vow, 177 Cynedon Dactylon, 45, 292

Dacoity and housebreaking, omens, 21–2, 40, 41–2, 55, 120

Dakni, 49

Dandāsi, 136

Dasara festival, 29, 82, 174, 280, 282

Dāsari, 75–6, 142, 146, 147–8, 258

Date-palm, knots in leaves as vow, 158–9

Datura, love charm, 239

Days, lucky and unlucky, 17, 20, 21–2, 24, 29, 30, 35, 44, 45, 46, 65, 67, 69, 104, 105, 133, 134, 186, 218, 240, 242, 284, 286–7, 299, 300, 301

Death, omens, 15, 19, 20, 31, 54, 57, 62, 65, 66, 67, 69, 70

Debts settled by goddess, 172

Deer, bone and horn, 82; skin, 280

Dēva-dāsi (dancing-girl), 46–7

Dēvānga, 47, 194

Devil dance, 245

Devil-dancer, 114, 212–3, 246

Dharba grass, 52

Dipāvali festival, 135

Dirgāyus, 25

Dog, 25, 53, 57, 58, 196, 260

——, wild, 79 Dolichos Lablab eaten at agricultural festival, 300

Dōmb, 33, 145, 146, 170, 243

Dommara, 94, 98

Donga Dāsari, 41

Donkey, 51, 242

Dreams, lucky and unlucky, 19–20

Drowned persons, spirits, 193, 254, 256

Dugong, 85, 240

Dung beetle, 106

Durga pūja, 280

Ears and tail of dog cut off, 57

Earth, annointing body, 45;
against evil eye, 115, 116;
balls on corpse, 51;
carried by immoral women, 52;
effigies, 114, 120, 219, 249, 254, 287, 305;
from grave as charm, 194;
in boundary dispute, 38;
pelting with, 206, 303;
rolling in, 145, 146, 150;
trodden on against evil eye, 115,
by elephant, 83;
urine of enemy, 187, 248

——, See Ant-hill

—— god, 59

—— goddess, 36, 39, 199, 303

——, menstruation, 296

—— spirit, 214, 215

Earth-eating, 38–9

—— snake, 96, 97

Eclipse, 42–4, 193, 195, 225

Effigy, 244, 250–1;
ant earth, 36;
ashes, 44, 307;
bamboo, 114;
brick, 113, 287;
charcoal, 307;
clay, 148, 247, 308–9;
coloured powder, 114, 244;
earth, 114, 120, 219, 249, 254, 287, 305;
lead, 251–2;
rice, 114, 245;
straw, 96, 112;
wax, 248;
wood, 112, 164, 249–50

Eggs, 21, 34, 37, 70, 121, 132, 133, 187, 249

Ejjugadu sorcerer, 244

Elephant, 83, 191, 192, 203, 297

—— post for meriah sacrifice, 202–3 Erythrina indica, milk-post, 49

European casts out devils, 181–2

——, spirit propitiated, 178

Evil eye, 109–20, 187, 193

—— tongue, 120

Excommunication, 52, 68, 110

Fasting, 35, 135, 138, 303

Female, unlucky omen, 21 [315]

Ficus hispida, 293

Finger, amputation, 240–1

Fire by friction, 14, 35

——, sacred (hōmam), 51, 185, 186, 212, 213

Fire-walking, offering of hair to deity, 141;
omens, 35;
priest sits on thorns, 145

First-born child, amputation of finger, 240–1;
buried where jackals can devour it, 58;
used in magic, 224–5, 277, 240–1

Fish, sacred, 100–1

Fishermen’s gods, Ganjam, 164–5

Fishes, superstitions, 100–2

Fishing-net and trap to catch spirit, 243

Flowers, omens, 35, 41–2, 47–8, 56

Fœtus extracted for magic, 223–6, 229

Forefinger unlucky, 30

Fortune-teller, initiation, 284;
Irula, 284;
Yerukala, 75

Four-legged objects, objection to carrying, 81

Fowl, 36, 70, 98, 105, 150, 154, 171, 246, 295, 304;
sacrifice, 15, 37, 41, 55, 68, 69, 88, 120, 133, 137, 148, 149, 152, 156, 175, 176, 177, 178, 187, 210, 214, 245, 248, 252, 253, 255, 284, 296, 302, 303

Fox, 191

Frenzy during divination or possession, 142, 144, 145, 147, 254, 255–6, 278, 279, 284–5, 287

Frog, 252, 253, 280, 305, 306;
toad, 100

Gadaba, 82, 175

Gamalla, 53, 135

Ganēsa, Ganapathi, or Vigneswara, 75, 103, 130, 156, 178, 180, 185, 276, 289, 291, 294

Ganga, 118, 141, 148, 214

Gangajātra festival, 148

Ganja (Indian hemp), 250, 270

Gaping, omen, 26

Gavara, 142

Gazelle (chinkāra), 82

Geometric patterns to cure disease, 184–5, 243

Ghī, 78, 86, 124, 132, 133, 147, 185.
See Butter

Gingelly (Sesamum), 46, 50, 76, 127, 192 Givotia rottleriformis, charm, 194

Goat, 105, 154, 176, 202;
sacrifice, 14, 37, 57, 69. 82, 119, 137, 146, 148, 149, 150, 175, 205, 210, 214, 217, 244–5, 255, 267, 282, 284, 295

Go-cart on wheels as vehicle of god, 175

Gourd (Lagenaria) used in sorcery, 227;
to ward off evil eye, 114

Grain, omens, 21, 36, 49, 136;
in fortune-telling, 283;
mixed with meriah ashes, 204;
representing goddess, 61;
to appease evil spirit, 245

—— crop, omens from cattle, 60

Grāma dēvata (village deities), 14, 22, 27, 145, 151, 283;
Amba Bhavani, 281–2;
Ankalamma, 22, 65;
Ankamma, 285;
Chaudēswari, 39;
Chenchu Dēvudu, 286;
Durgamma, 143, 151;
Ellamma, 41, 137;
Gangamma, 38, 144, 156, 219;
Gurumurthi, 254;
Guttalamma, 155;
Huligavva, 41;
Karuppan, 153;
Kodalamma, 36, 304;
Kolapuriamma, 283;
Kolaramma, 103;
Kulanthal Amman, 172–3;
Māgāli, 279;
Māriamma, 37, 144, 146, 148, 151, 176, 214;
Mashani Chendi, 236;
Nukalamma, 15;
Pīda, 175;
Pōleramma, 35, 283, 285;
Saptha Kannimar, 166, 284, 285;
Sattāndi Amman, 103;
Siddēdēvaru, 177;
Yerakamma, 75

Grindstone in rain ceremony, 305

Gudigāra, 48, 164

Guest, arrival, omens, 20, 67

Gul bel (Tinospora cordifolia), 94

Gun fired off to accelerate childbirth, 54

Haddi, 83, 106

Hair, burning, 53, 115;
offered to deity, 137, 138, 140–1;
to snakes, 135;
shaving, 22, 29, 45, 309;
singeing as omen, 35;
use in magic, 220, 248, 250, 253–5;
worn as charm, 193

Hair-balls vomited by cows, 61

——-marks (suli) in horses and cattle, 61–5

Hamstringing of murderer’s corpse, 257

Hand, imprint against evil eye, 119–20

Hanged person, bark of tree as charm, 194

Hanumān, 41, 186, 194, 195, 304

Hare, 24, 85

Holeya, 28, 38, 297, 299

Homicide, 199–236;
as thank-offering for recovery from illness, 208;
for discovering treasure, 215–21;
to appease the earth spirit, 214, 215;
to cure possession by devil, 221;
to ensure good crops, 199–207;
to get rid of concubine, 231;
to get rid of sorcerer, 232–4, 236;
to increase fertility of the soil, 208–9;
to insure cattle against disease, 209;
to propitiate [316]village deities, 214;
to secure fœtus for sorcery, 224–30;
to stay epidemic, 235–6

Hoofs burnt in lying-in chamber, 53

Hook-swinging, omens, 71

Horn burnt during eclipse, 44;
in lying-in chamber, 53

Horoscope, 80, 274, 275

Horse, 29, 62, 64, 82, 166, 186–7

——, images set up in fields, and at Aiyanar shrines, 166–7

House occupation, omen, 44, 59

House-building, omens, 33, 39–40, 70

Human (meriah) sacrifice, 199–206

—— sacrifice, substituted ceremony, 205–7, 212

Husband’s name, pronouncing unlucky, 20

Hyæna, 76, 77, 191

Idaiyan, 15, 47

“Iguana” (Varanus), 16, 71, 100, 132, 220

Image reflected in oil, 45, 55;
cf. 127, 248

Incense, 14, 53, 102, 118, 130, 176, 177, 194, 200, 229, 260, 261, 284, 285, 286

Indra, 149, 310

Infanticide, Toda, 210

Insect in death ceremony, 106

Insects as omens, 72

Iron against evil eye, 117;
at puberty, marriage, death, etc., 69, 256;
chains dedicated to deity, 153–4;
hung on trees, 156;
worn by Saniyāsi, 184;
cure for scorpion sting, 105;
hooks in back, 140;
nails in magic, 148, 222, 247–50, 253–6;
omen, 17;
swinging on, 145;
ordeal, 52, 154;
piercing body, 144

Irula, 178, 234, 284

Ivory beads worn as charm, 193

Jackal, 58, 78, 191;
spurious horns, 189–91

Jagganātha temple, Puri, 142

Jaggery, 78, 133, 147, 287

—— season, religious ceremony, 173–4

Jak (Artocarpus integrifolia), 46, 212, 213, 229, 293

Janappan, 48, 102

Jasmine, 35, 197, 285

Jōgi, 77, 85, 271–2

Jokumara rain-making ceremony, 306, 307

Journey, omens, 23–5

Jupiter, planet, 276

Kādir, 83, 232

Kaikōlan, 144

Kakkalan, 129

Kāli or Durga, festival, 282

Kalla Alagar, 42

Kallan, 42, 133, 169, 244, 286

Kamma, 50, 256

Kammālan, 42, 174

Kaniyan, 213, 273–7, 290

Kāppiliyan, 57, 139

Kāpu, 53, 87–8, 118, 266, 306, 307

Karamadai festival, 147–8

Kāvadi, fish, 138; milk, 137–40

Kēvuto, 82

Khatri, 118

Kodumpāvi, 308, 309

Kōliyan, 117

Konda Dora, 265

Kondh, 21, 56, 66, 76, 83, 86, 87, 111, 199–207, 236, 260, 305

Konga Vellāla, 52

Koraga, 26, 67, 81, 151, 299

Korama, 58

Korava or Yerukala, 14, 21, 30, 34–5, 40, 55, 68, 75, 120, 208, 282, 283

Kota, 234, 279, 301

Koyi, 21, 36, 56, 79, 87, 88, 90, 175, 207, 243, 262, 264, 265, 302, 303

Kudubi, 177

Kudumi (caste), 26, 94

—— (hair knot), 31, 162

Kumbāra, 26

Kunkumam (red powder), 40, 144, 166, 176, 192, 269

Kuruba, 26, 52, 194, 307, 308

Kurumba, 14, 232–4, 277, 299, 300

Kuruvikkāran, 39, 52, 282

Kusavan potter, 166–7

Kuttichāttan, 237–8

Lakshmi or Lutchmi, 61, 195

Lambādi or Brinjāri, 101, 136, 154, 155, 181, 209, 210

Lamp and wick, 18, 32, 39, 50, 97, 106, 116, 117, 118, 121, 130, 136, 143, 149, 178, 184, 209, 212, 229, 243, 244, 251, 261, 268, 270, 278, 290, 294

Leaf garments, 149–52

Leaf-cup, 33, 46, 290

Leather, beating with, 146–7;
burnt in lying-in chamber, 53;
refusal to touch, 81

Leaves, devil ceremony, 246;
omen, 40

Leopard, 76, 78, 280

Leprosy, 97, 98, 108, 310

Lime fruit, 22, 39, 50, 160, 244, 245, 249, 269

Lingadar bottles evil spirits, 250

Lingam, 91, 144–5, 183, 304, 305, 308 [317]

Lingāyat, 135, 144, 239, 256

Lizard, 48–9, 70–1, 98–9, 105, 162, 253

Looking-glass (mirror), 17, 18, 20, 293

Loris, eye used as love charm, 240

Love philtre, 239, 240, 241

Mādiga, 27, 77, 119, 151

Magicians pretend to cure disease, 264–5, 267–8;
to discover treasure, 268;
to drive out devils, 268–70;
to make stone bull eat, 272

Magnesite, legend, 88

Mahseer, 101

Māla, 194, 216, 259

Malaiāli, 48, 146

Malai Vellāla, 83

Malayan, 211, 212, 237, 245

Mammals, superstitions, 73–85

Mandula, 94, 193

Mango, 60, 187, 285, 293

Mannarsala, snake worship, 125–6

Mantram, 37, 92, 93, 133, 135, 163, 166, 180, 181, 182, 186, 187, 213, 225, 227, 242, 244, 247, 248, 250, 258, 261, 267, 269, 270, 276, 277

Mantrasara, 180–1

Māppilla, 87, 111, 128, 129, 187, 188, 193

Maravan, 53, 117

Markandēya, 25

Marks, unlucky, in girls, 52, 180

Marriage of bachelor after death, 51;
of boys and girls to dolls, 159;
of idol to Paraiyan, 297;
omens, 14, 43–4, 47–50, 52, 55, 58, 63, 64;
wave offerings, 117–8

Marriage pots, sacrifice to, 119

Mātangi, 27

Meals, omens, 20, 26

Mēlkote temple, 297

Menstruation, 21, 26, 46, 132, 185–6.
See Puberty

Mercury cups, 196

Meriah sacrifice, 199–207

Metal bowls, blessed at Mecca, 188

Metal votive, and other offerings, 160–4

Milk, 21, 35, 79, 82, 111, 118, 121, 124, 131, 133, 134, 135, 136, 138, 139, 140, 285, 287, 300, 301, 304

——, human, for scorpion sting, 105

Milk-hedge (Euphorbia Tirucalli), 105, 259

—— post, 49, 50, 256 Mimusops hexandra, milk-post, 49

Minige (Argyreia) in Badaga ceremony, 301

Mohwa or ippa (Bassia), 56, 302

Mondi mendicant, 145

Monkey, 17, 73, 205, 207, 240

Monster, birth, 53;
regarded as a devil, 230

Months, lucky and unlucky, 45, 46

Moon, 17, 22, 43, 55, 104, 105, 190, 191, 220, 229, 239, 299, 302, 306

Moon-shaped amulets, 195

Morning, omen on waking, 19

Mosquito, 82, 105

Mouse, 240

Mouth-lock, 139

Muduvar, 73, 76

Muhammadan, 29, 30, 31, 98, 119, 120, 163, 164, 170, 171, 187, 188, 195, 230, 249, 266, 269, 297

Mungoose, 98

Muni or Munisvara, 177, 209, 258, 295

Munro, Sir Thomas, 34

Murrel (Ophiocephalus), 102

Museum, visit unlucky, 54

Musk in agricultural ceremony, 293

Mustard in evil eye ceremony, 119

Nāgarapanchami, 123, 124, 135

Nail-cuttings burnt against evil eye, 115;
in lying-in chamber, 53

Nalke devil-dancer, 237

Nambiathy priest at snake shrine, 125–6

Names, lucky and unlucky, 20, 34, 55, 56, 133–4, 143

—— of holy persons drunk as charm, 187

Nandi (sacred bull), 154, 304, 308

Nāttukōttai Chetti, 117

Nayādi, curse, 119

Nāyar, 16, 17, 18, 111, 118, 128–9, 138, 161, 193, 256

Nētra mangalya, 167

Nīm or margosa (Melia Azadirachta), 36, 53, 55, 94, 105, 115, 133, 144, 149, 150, 151, 156, 214, 254, 285, 304, 306

Nobili, Dr, and magician, 271–2

Nudity, 37, 104, 151, 224–5, 227, 309

Numbers, lucky and unlucky, 23, 26, 30, 31, 33, 34, 49, 52, 56, 68, 75, 117, 133, 135, 136, 184, 186, 194, 228, 229, 248, 249, 251–2, 253, 299, 309

Oddē, 68, 70, 93, 109, 256

Odi cult, 226–30 Odina Wodier, abode of devils, 286;
milk-post, 49

Odiyan, 226

Offspring, desire for, 218;
cocoanut broken on head, 146;
diet of monkey flesh, 73;
ear-boring ceremony on doll, 159;
eating cakes, 54;
offerings and vows, 40, 72, 124, 132, 133, 141, 142, 143, 147–8, 150, 151, 155, 158–9, 164, 166, 185;
snake songs, 128 [318]

Oil, ceremonial use, 18, 29, 40, 45, 50, 119, 178, 201, 243, 282, 292;
magic oil, 96, 97, 226–9;
marks on door, 119;
omen, 40;
reflection of image, 45, 55

Oleander (Nerium), used in anointing body, 45

Omens, good and bad, 15–7

Ordeal, charcoal, 286;
fire, 146;
iron, 52, 154;
oil, 146, 197, 264, 282;
rice, 285, 288;
sieve, 288;
snake-bite, 123

Ordure, omen, 59;
pelting with, 303;
thrown into houses, 145

Owl, 65–7

Paliyan, 69, 78, 81, 94

Pallan, 117, 133

Palli, 49–50, 52, 117, 133, 152, 153, 216

Palm-leaf book (graāndha), 18, 225, 253, 275, 293;
charm, 43, 189, 246, 253;
scroll, 172

Palmyra palm, climbing, 84;
fruits to ward off evil eye, 113;
leaf charm, 187;
many-branched tree worshipped, 177–8

Palni shrine, 137–8, 143, 157

Pāampanmekkat (snake guardian), Nambutiri, 126–8

Pāanan, 211, 228, 237

Pāanchagavyam, 79

Panchamritham, 78 Pandanus fascicularis, believed to harbour snake, 96

Pāndavas, 79, 85, 152, 265, 305, 309

Pāndu kuli supposed to contain treasure, 215–6

Paniyan, 68, 83, 231, 260

Pāno, 221

Paraiyan (Pariah) Malayaālam, 83, 225, 227–8, 232, 246, 255

Paraiyan, Tamil, 17, 27, 51, 57, 84, 117, 118, 133, 148, 158, 194, 197, 240, 244, 297, 309

Parasurāama, 122, 150

Parava devil-dancer, 237

Parivaram, 254

Partridge, 88

Pavai (sorcery effigy), 247

Peacock, 36, 41, 88, 200, 201

Pepper in magic ceremony, 253

Periyapālayam, leaf festival, 148–51 Phaseolus Mungo, thrown into ant-hill, 136

Pig, 83;
sacrifice, 56, 65, 165, 189, 201, 211, 284, 305

Pigeon, 70, 176, 228

Pipal (Ficus religiosa), 118, 133, 138, 288

Placenta, burial, 55; tied to tree, 81

Plague, 171, 266–7

Plantain, 65, 78, 117, 121, 131, 147, 160, 185, 202, 212, 251, 252, 293, 294 Plumbago zeylanica, in magic, 228

Pollution and purification, 26–7, 28, 29, 34, 40, 43, 59, 67, 79, 81, 83, 110, 121, 123, 131–2, 159, 179, 200, 297, 298, 301

Pompada devil-dancer, 237

Pongal festival, 35, 133, 202

Porcupine, 85

Portuguese, spirits propitiated, 179

Possession of men by gods, 56, 142, 144, 147, 172, 213, 255, 267, 278, 279, 282, 284, 287, 301, 308

Pot broken at boundary, 37;
to cure disease, 243;
to scare away owls, 66;
offered to cholera god, 176;
to ward off evil eye, 112, 113, 114;
worn as charm, 194

Prayogasara, 181

Pregnancy 44, 53–4, 70, 85, 100, 246

Pregnant corpses exposed in jungle, 74–5

Prehistoric stone celts offered at shrines, 178

Priapi to ward off evil eye, 112, 113, 114

Prophecy, 272–7, 307–8

Puberty, 46, 57–8, 117, 255–6, 284

Pulaya, 17, 27, 255

Pulluvan, 42, 129–32

Pumpkin, 295, 302

Puri, car festival, 142

Quail, 88

Quivering of animals, 14–5, 295;
of human body, 13

Raāgi (Eleusine Coracana), 301

Rags tied to bushes and trees, 155–6;
to scare away owls, 66;
torches, 147

Raāhu, 43

Rain caused by monsters in the air, 310–1

Rāma, legends, 17, 24, 83–4, 87

Rāmānuja, 297

Rāma tanka, 235

Rat-snake (Zamenis), 25, 71, 98

Red sanders (Pterocarpus santalinus), wooden figures carved at Tirupati, 159

Reptiles, omens, 70–1;
superstitions, 89–100

Rice at agricultural ceremonies, 290, 291, 293, 294, 295, 300, 302, 304;
at Badaga festival, 116;
at Koyi festival, 303;
at meriah sacrifice, 201, 202;
at rain-making ceremony, 309;
at Vishu festival, 18, 289;
effigies, 130, 185, 244, 245;
in fortune-telling, 283;
in learning [319]alphabet, 30;
in parturition, 54;
offerings, 15, 68, 73, 125, 133, 134, 135, 147, 150, 156, 175, 221, 243, 287, 299;
omens, 20, 33, 34–5, 36, 37, 65;
ordeal, 146, 285, 288;
pot smeared with, 170;
poured over bullock, 166;
Russell’s viper stuffed with, 98;
thrown on corpse, 264;
tied to marriage cloth, 49

—— balls, 22, 26, 67, 86, 115, 117, 253, 262

——, boiled, 34, 37–8, 39, 284

——, charred, charm, 187

—— ears, food for sparrows, 87

—— flour, 32, 157–8, 212

—— unhusked (paddy), 27, 136, 169

Right and left hand factions, 222

Rings worn as amulets, 95, 191, 192, 193;
as vow, 161

Roller or blue jay, 88, 279–80

Russell’s viper, 98

Sahavāsi, 102

Sakti, 220

Sakuna Pakshi, 104, 279

Sālagrāma stone, 288

Saliva, 27, 98, 248

Salt, 28, 115, 116, 118, 146

Sandal (Santalum), 20, 41, 120, 123, 222, 251, 293

Sandals offered to deity, 157–8, 160

Sand-snake (Eryx), 97–8

Sanyāsi, 159, 219, 269

Sarasvati, 174, 276

Savara, 33, 73, 75, 155, 164, 165, 189, 262

Scorpion, 20, 82, 102–5, 192

Sēdan, 144

Sembadavan, 118

Servile classes, privileges, 27, 296–8 Setaria italica (tenai), 300

Seven, number, 26, 30, 31, 33, 34, 49, 52, 56, 68, 186, 228, 229, 253, 291, 299, 309

Shadow of European thrown on a feast, 109

Shānān, 84, 174, 178, 246

Shark-charmer, 198

Sheep, 14, 22, 52, 191;
sacrifice, 37, 38, 41, 119, 137, 148, 149, 150, 176, 183, 214, 249, 287, 302

Shoe-leather, omen, 57

Shoes in lying-in chamber, 53;
unlucky, 29

Sickle, unlucky for cutting crop, 59

Silence, 38, 287;
vow, 139

Sin, killing insects, 295;
omens, 40, 86

Siva, 24, 65, 71, 86, 101, 115, 162, 163, 184, 279, 297, 305, 307, 308

Skewer through cheeks and tongue, 138, 143, 144, 145

Skull, human, used in sorcery, 228, 241

—— of bull to ward off evil eye, 113

Sleep, omens, 19

Slippers, beating with, 28

Smallpox, 29, 36, 39, 59, 115, 166 175, 212, 235

Smasanākollai festival, 136

Snake, 20, 25, 43, 71, 89–91, 96, 98, 186, 260

——, cremation, 123

—— gods, propitiation by Pulluvans, 129–32

—— grove, 122–3, 126–7, 129, 131

—— mosque at Manarghāt, 129

—— shrine (nāga kovil), 92

—— songs, 128

—— stones, 120, 123–6, 131–3

Snake-bite, 92–6, 193

——-charmers, 92–6, 129

——-wood tree, 91

Snakes, images, 43, 124, 127, 160

—— inhabit white-ant hills, 129, 133–6

Sneezing, omen, 25, 26

Sonaga, 196

Sparrow, 70, 87–8

Spider, 105, 240

Spitting, 26, 27

Square, magic, 32, 36–7, 74, 78, 183, 184, 194, 215, 274, 276

Squirrel, 83–4

Srādh (anniversary ceremony for dead), 67–8, 83

Srāvana Belgola, colossal Jain figure, 135

Srinivāsa fish, 102

Sterility, umbilical cord a cure, 55

Stone, magic (yantram rāyi), 180, 183–5.

Stones piled up as vow, 158;
in honour of deity, 155–7;
throwing into house, 239;
water-worn in shrine, 14

Strangers, unlucky omen, 111 Strychnos Nux-vomica, 248, 251, 290

Sugar, 78, 86, 140, 147, 170, 171, 213.
See Jaggery

Sukra, 308, 309

Sun, 43, 51, 64, 204, 206, 276

—— god, 35

Suttee, 75

Sword balanced on pot, 39;
boundary ceremony, 36;
cutting body, 144, 145, 278;
in worship, 153, 177

Syphilis, 76, 243

Tāli, 46, 47, 48, 51, 143, 153, 158, 166, 195, 297 [320]

Tamarind, 119, 154

Teeth, extraction, 257–60

Telli, 81

Temple car, 53, 114, 144, 222–3, 297;
festival, 142 Terminalia tomentosa, 36, 304

Tēyyambādi, 128

Thanda Pulayan, 246 Thelyphonus (whip-scorpion), 105

Thorns fixed to door, 296;
lying and sitting on, 145;
stuck into effigies, 120, 251, 252, 254;
to catch earth spirit, 243

Thread, sacred, 194

—— (string), charm, 193;
for tying yantram, 220;
movement as omen, 15, 41;
wound round ant-hill, 135–6

Thulabhāram ceremony, 171–2

Thunder, 19

Tiger, 14, 57, 74–6, 189, 260, 261, 262, 280

Tīpu Sultan, 44–5, 101, 188

Tirupati (Tirumala), 55, 137, 141, 143, 148, 156–9, 161, 168–9

Tiyan, 46, 82, 128, 162–3, 246

Toad, 100

Tobacco, 20, 27, 178, 208, 250, 259

Toda, 141, 210, 233, 234, 279

Toddy, 186, 187, 200, 251, 252, 253, 262, 263, 287, 295, 299, 302

Torch, against evil eye, 115;
beating body, 146;
in death ceremony, 244;
rain ceremony, 309;
snake ceremony, 131;
rag torch tied to tree, 156

Tortoise, 71, 192

Tottiyan, 14, 28, 94, 260

Treading on charm, 185, 243, 247, 252, 307;
on name cut on road, 159;
water poured on footsteps, 51.
See Earth

Treasure, beliefs, 85, 90–1, 102, 221;
human sacrifice, 215–21

Tree of testimony as charm, 188

Tree-snake, Dendrophis, 96;
Dryophis, 96, 97

Trisula (Siva’s trident), 183–4

Tūd (Meliosma pungens) in Badaga ceremony, 300

Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), 53, 291

Turban, omen, 41

Turmeric, 36, 40, 77, 114, 117, 125, 130, 166, 170, 171, 175, 176, 177, 185, 190, 194, 199, 202, 206, 212, 227, 243, 246, 269, 278, 283, 284, 292, 293, 295

Twins, 54

Umbilical cord, 25, 54–5, 105

Umbrella, unlucky, 29, 63;
silver, offering, 160

Uncle, 55;
maternal, 54, 55, 70;
paternal, 55

Urāli, 48, 68

Urine of animals as omen, 15, 21, 58;
of enemy in magic, 187, 248;
of cattle, 58, 59, 79, 97;
of monkey, 73;
of monsters, 310–1;
of wild dogs, 79

Vada, 40–1

Valaiyan, 56, 133, 244, 286

Valluvan magician, 268

Valmīki, 135

Varuna, 122, 305

Varuna japam, prayer to the rain god, 308–10

Velama, 216

Velichchapād, 277–8

Vellālan, 133

Venus, planet, 44

Vettiyan grave-digger, 309

Vettuvan, 151 Vigna Catiang seeds as omens, 39

Vīramushti, 94, 144

Virgin and Child, picture works miracles, 161

——, catamenial blood in magic, 240;
corpse in sorcery, 242;
vows, 158

Vishnupād (feet of Vishnu), 193

Vishu festival, 17–9, 289

Vontigadu ceremony, 50–1

Vulture, sacred, 86

Washing of feet, ceremonial, 22, 31

Water, charm, 189;
drunk as charm, 187;
holy, 14, 123, 220;
poured over idol as vow, 147;
cf. 142

Water-snake, 96, 98

Wave offering, 114, 115, 117–9, 135, 171, 245

White-ant. See Ant

Whooping-cough caused by Bhairava, the dog-god, 196

Widow, 21, 30, 46, 51, 52

Winnowing basket, 292, 293;
fan, 26, 283, 306;
sieve, 20, 80, 117, 287;
tray, 68, 283

Wolf, 77

Woodpecker, 85

Wool of black sheep, charm, 191

Words, lucky and unlucky, 29, 30, 31

Yaānaādi, 82, 95, 285

Yantram, 182, 185–7, 196–7, 219, 227

Yantrasara, 181

Yerukala. See Korava

Yetah fish (Bagarius), used in magic, 253

Yōgi, 104

[Contents]

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Page Source Correction
N.A. Oastes Castes
52
61 Lakshi Lakshmi
69 fews few
69, 248 [Not in source] ,
69 sacrified sacrificed
70 cointing counting
112, 143 [Not in source]
124, 125 ghee ghī
128 Nambutri’s Nambūdri’s
133 instal install
139 Gazetter Gazetteer
140 diety deity
141 propitate propitiate
172, 264 , .
187 women woman
226 kicks kick
239 dhatura datura
242 [Not in source] .
248 similiar similar
294 Gundest Gundert
296 Uchāra Uchāral
314 . ,
320 sarced sacred

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