Hindu Feasts, Fasts and Ceremonies

Hindu Feasts, Fasts and Ceremonies  (1903) 
by Natesa Sastri

HINDU FEASTS
FASTS AND CEREMONIES

Pt. S. M. NATESA SASTRI

HINDU FEASTS
FASTS AND CEREMONIES

Natesa Sastry.jpg

HINDU FEASTS

FASTS AND CEREMONIES


Pt. S. M. NATESA SASTRI


WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY

HENRY K. BEAUCHAMP




ASIAN EDUCATIONAL SERVICES

NEW DELHI ★ CHENNAI ★ 2003

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Price
First Published: 1903
AES First Reprint: New Delhi, 1988
AES Second Reprint: New Delhi, 2003
ISBN: 81-206-0402-4


Published by J. Jetley
for ASIAN EDUCATIONAL SERVICES
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Processed by Gautam Jetley
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INTRODUCTION

THE work which Pandit Natesa Sastri has been engaged in for so many years, and of which this volume is only one small exemplar, deserves every welcome and support, as much from his own countrymen as from foreign dwellers in the land. The folklore of a country is never so well known even by the folk of the country itself, that popular literature concerning it is not to be heartily welcomed. Moreover there is always a young generation growing up which is waiting to be instructed in it by the easiest and widest possible means.

The simpler tenets of religion and the more popular tales and legends are learned from the lips of parents and teachers: but there is much that can only be learned from books. Further, in these days of hurry and stress, by which even India is being more or less affected, the old leisurely, yet possibly more thorough, methods of oral tradition and teaching are no longer possible, and we must trust more and more to written and printed records. Pandit Natesa Sastri is doing most excellent work in collecting, arranging and recording in concise and easily assimilable form some of the more noticeable tales, traditions, customs, beliefs, and ceremonies of the Hindus. And itis to be hoped that many others of his educated fellow-countrymen will follow his good example. For there are mines of wealth to be exploited in this manner, and there is work for many scores of writers, compilers and translators.

There is no country in the world, moreover, where such studies are of more importance than in India, for with the Hindu, customs and traditions explain almost every act of his everyday life. As a learned writer on the Hindus has well said:—"With the Hindu, religion is not a thing for times and seasons only, but professes to regulate his life in its many relations. It orders ceremonies to be performed on his behalf before he is born, and others after his death. It ordains those attendant on his birth, his early training, his food, his style of dress and its manufacture, his employment, marriage, amusements. It seeks to regulate not only his private life, but also his domestic and national. To treat of the ordinary life of the Hindu is to describe his religion."

It follows from this that for Hindus to know themselves, or for others to know them, a study of such matters as Pandit Natesa Sastri sets forth in this little book, as in others of his writings, is essential.

At the same time there is one point that must ever be kept in mind, namely the danger of generalising with regard to Hindu manners, customs, ceremonies and traditions. As the writer above quoted remarks:—"It should be remembered that descriptions true of certain classes or of certain districts may not be correct cf other classes or other districts; and that frequently the residents of one district are totally ignorant of what prevails in others. This can scarcely be wondered at when we consider the number of books which are accepted by the people as divinely given for authorities concerning the gods and the religious life. The people of one district are familiar with only a small part of one book, whilst those of other districts found their faiths on other books or different parts of the same. In addition to this it must not be forgotten that a century ago there was no prose literature, no newspapers, magazines, or novels; whilst the theatrical representations were almost entirely confined to mythological subjects. It is no uncommon thing to find a custom in the home, or a ceremony in worship, supported by quite different authorities by different people."

It is one of the excellent characteristics of Pandit Natesa Sastri that he particularises where necessary and generalises only where it is safe to do so.

It seems hardly necessary to point out or emphasise how specially valuable to foreign students are Pandit Natesa Sastri’s works, and others similar to them. The bounden duty laid upon all Europeans living in this country and earning their livelihood in it, of striving to understand and appreciate the people among whom they dwell, needs no argument or demonstration. Such knowledge and appreciation cannot be acquired without careful study and observation. But now-a-days, at any rate, he who runs may read many excellent treatises both by natives of India and by Europeans on various aspects and characteristies of Hinduism and the Hindus ; and for a general work-a-day knowledge of the Hindus there is no more useful, and at the same time more interesting, study than that of current beliefs and practices such as are described by Pandit Natesa Sastri in this little volume.

Henry Beauchamp.

Madras,
9th December, 1902.

CONTENTS

  1. ChapterPage
  2. I.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    1
  3. II.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    8
  4. III.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    15
  5. IV.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    18
  6. V.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    23
  7. VI.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    31
  8. VII.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    34
  9. VIII.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    42
  10. IX.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    50
  11. X.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    56
  12. XI.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    62
  13. XII.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    68
  14. XIII.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    78
  15. XIV.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    84
  16. XV.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    89
  17. XVI.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    97
  18. XVII.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    103
  19. XVIII.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    107
  20. XIX.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    115
  21. XX.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    118
  22. APPENDIX A.The Kaliyuga
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    127
  23. APPENDIX B.Glossary.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    148


This work was published before January 1, 1927, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.