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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/366

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33^ The Binding of a God.

a mirror before the image and offering to it the shadow of various dainties, which are then waved round the image on a leaf of the sacred Pipal tree, and given to an officiant to place at the cross roads as an offering to the evil spirits which habitually haunt such places. Another offering is placed in a hollow bamboo for Siva, who is lord of demons.

The next step is to make the image the common abiding- place of all the great guardian deities, who are each invoked with their appropriate Mantras or spells, and with each verse the officiant touches in order the hands, knees, waist, chest, navel, eyes, and head of the image in which the deities are thus invited to take up their abode. The image being thus occupied by the divine pantheon, is laid to rest.

All this is preliminary to the installation in the image of the special deity in whose honour it has been erected. This is done next morning in much the same way by the recital of mystic verses and formulae of ritual. As the officiant touches each member of the image, he touches his own person in the same way, thus implying that he too is pos- sessed of the god, which from him is transferred to the image. Lastly, putting his thumb on the chest of the image, he says: "Let the divine spirit or life come into this image: let the divine essence enter into it." He then repeats the Gayatri, the most sacred of all spells, into the right ear of the image, and with the recital of other appropriate texts he touches the feet, navel, and head of the image. When all this is done, supposing that the god has now taken up his abode therein, he bows and says: "O god of gods! Thou art welcome! Thou hast come here through my good fortuneĀ ! Therefore out of kindness to thy devotee thou shouldest abide in this image as long as the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth are in existence."

Now it is obvious that we have here reached a very advanced stage of ritual observance. But something much more primitive, which may be the basis of the rites which