Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/264

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Sorcery: Melting Wax Images of Intended Victims.—A more elaborate form of this widespread practice seems to be found in the Mahábhárata Book IX, "Calya Parva", sect. 41, pp. 161-3 of the English translation, by Chandra Roy, in the course of periodical publication at Calcutta.

An ascetic named Dálvya-vaka, who by his austere penances had acquired great supernatural powers, having given away all his calves to some rishis, to enable them to complete a sacrifice, he went to the king and requested some animals of him. Just then a number of the king's cattle had died, without any apparent cause, and the king told the ascetic that he might have the carcases. Enraged at having been thus insulted before the king's courtiers, the ascetic resolves upon the monarch's destruction, and accepts the carcases.

"Cutting the flesh from off the dead animals, that best of sages, having ignited a (sacrificial) fire on the tirtha of the Saraswati, poured those pieces as libations for the destruction of Dhritárishtra's kingdom. Observant of rigid vows, the great Dálvya-vaka poured Dhritaráshtra's kingdom as a libation on the fire with the aid of those pieces of meat. [The translator explains that 'pouring a kingdom on the fire means pouring libations on the fire, for the purpose of destroying a kingdom.'] Upon the commencement of that fierce sacrifice, according to due rites, the kingdom of Dhritaráshtra began to waste away, even as a large forest begins to disappear when men proceed to cut it down."

The king's counsellors advise him to propitiate the ascetic: so he goes and confesses his fault to him, and Vaka, feeling compassion, freed his kingdom by again pouring libations on the fire, and the king presented Vaka with many animals.


Smelling the Head in Token of Affection.—In the Mahábhárata, Book IX, "Calya Parva", sect. 51, a rishi, having obtained a child by a celestial damsel, "through affection, that foremost of Bráhmanas then smelt the head of his son, and held him in close embrace for some time." So, too, in the Hindú drama of Málati and Madhava, opening of Act iv, Kámandaki smells the heads of the hero and heroine as they return to consciousness. Dr. H. H. Wilson, in a note on this incident