Page images

17. The

strokes to indicate the number of the pahar. This custom is still preserved in the method by which the police-guards of the public offices announce the hours on a gong and subsequently strike four, eight and twelve strokes to proclaim these hours of the day and night by our clock. Only rich men could afford to maintain a ghariāl, as four persons were required to attend to it during the day and four at night.

The Joshi calculates auspicious ? seasons by a consideraJoshi's cal- tion of the sun's zodiacal sign, the moon's nakshatra or culations.

daily mansion, and other rules. From the monthly zodiacal signs and daily nakshatras in which children are born, as recorded in their horoscopes, he calculates whether their marriage will be auspicious. Thus the zodiacal signs are supposed to be divided among the four castes, Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio belonging to the Brāhman ; Aries, Leo and Sagittarius to the Kshatriya ; Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn to the Vaishya ; and Gemini, Libra and Aquarius to the Sūdra. If the boy and girl were born under any of the three signs of the same caste it is a happy conjunction. If the boy's sign was of a caste superior to the girl's, it is suitable, but if the girl's sign is of a superior caste to the boy's it is an omen that she will rule the household ; and though the marriage may take place, certain ceremonies should be performed to obviate this effect. There is also a division of the zodiacal signs according to their nature. Thus Virgo, Libra, Gemini, Aquarius and half of Sagittarius are considered to be of the nature of man, or formed by him ; Aries, Taurus, half of Sagittarius and half of Capricorn are of the nature of animals; Cancer, Pisces and half of Capricorn are of a watery nature ; Leo is of the desert or wild nature; and Scorpio is of the nature of insects. If the boy and girl were both born under signs of the same nature their marriage will be auspicious, but if they were born under signs of different

1 The above particulars regarding the gharis may have varied in different the measurement of time by the ghariál localities. are taken from "An Account of the 2 The information contained in this Hindustāni Horometry' in Asiatic paragraph is taken from Captain Researches, vol. v. p. 81, by John Mackintosh's Report on the Rāmosis, Gilchrist, Esq. The account appears chap. iii. (India Office Library Tracts), to be to some extent controversial, and in which a large variety of rules are it is possible that the arrangement of given.




natures, they will share only half the blessings and comforts of the marriage state, and may be visited by strife, enmity, misery or distress. As Leo and Scorpio are looked upon as being enemies, evil consequences are much dreaded from the marriage of a couple born under these signs. There are also numerous rules regarding the nakshatras or mansions of the moon and days of the week under which the boy and girl were born, but these need not be reproduced. If on the day of the wedding the sun or any of the planets passes from one zodiacal sign to another, the wedding must be delayed for a certain number of gharis or periods of twentyfour minutes, the number varying for each planet. The hours of the day are severally appointed to the seven planets and the twelve zodiacal signs, and the period of ascendancy of a sign is known as lagan ; this name is also given to the paper specifying the day and hour which have been calculated as auspicious for the wedding. It is stated that no weddings should be celebrated during the period of occultation of the planets Jupiter and Venus, nor on the day before new moon, nor the Sankrānt or day on which the sun passes from one zodiacal sign to another, nor in the Singhast year, when the planet Jupiter is in the constellation Leo.

This takes place once in twelve years. Marriages are usually prohibited during the four months of the rainy season, and sometimes also in Pūs, Jeth or other months.

The Joshi names children according to the moon's daily 18. Pernakshatra under which they were born, each nakshatra sonal having a letter or certain syllables allotted to it with which the name must begin. Thus Magha has the syllables Ma, Mi, Mu and Me, with which the name should begin, as Mansāram, Mithu Lāl, Mukund Singh, Meghnāth ; Purwa Phālguni has Mo and Te, as Moji Lāl and Tegi Lāl; Punarvasu has Ke, Ko, Ha and Hi, as Kesho Rao, Koshal Prasād, Hardyāl and Hīra Lāl, and so on. The primitive idea connecting a name with the thing or person to which it belongs is that the name is actually a concrete part of the person or object, containing part of his life, just as the hair, nails and all the body are believed to contain part of the life, which is not at first localised in any part of the body nor conceived of as separate from it. The primitive mind could conceive no abstract VOL. III



idea, that is nothing that could not be seen or heard, and it could not think of a name as an abstract appellation. The name was thought of as part of that to which it was applied. Thus, if one knew a man's name, it was thought that one could use it to injure him, just as if one had a piece of his hair or nails he could be injured through them because they all contained part of his life ; and if a part of the life was injured or destroyed the remainder would also suffer injury, just as the whole body might perish if a limb was cut off. For this reason savages often conceal their real names, so as to prevent an enemy from obtaining power to injure them through its knowledge. By a development of the same belief it was thought that the names of gods and saints contained part of the divine life and potency of the god or saint to whom they were applied. And even separated from the original owner the name retained that virtue which it had acquired in association ; hence the power assigned to the names of gods and superhuman beings when used in spells and incantations. Similarly, if the name of a god or saint was given to a child it was thought that some part of the nature and virtue of the god might be conferred on the child. Thus Hindu children are most commonly named after gods and goddesses under the influence of this idea ; and though the belief may now have decayed the practice continues. Similarly the common Muhammadan names are epithets of Allah or god or of the Prophet and his relations. Jewish children are named after the Jewish patriarchs. In European countries the most common male names are those of the Apostles, as John, Peter, James, Paul, Simon, Andrew and Thomas; and the names of the Evangelists were, until recently, also given. The most common girl's name in several European countries is Mary, and a generation or two ago other Biblical names, as Sarah, Hannah, Ruth, Rachel, and so on, were very usually given to girls. In England the names next in favour for boys and girls are those of kings and queens, and the same idea perhaps originally underlay the application of these names. The following are some of the best-known Hindu names, taken from those of gods :




Names of Vishnu.
Nārāyan. Probably The abode of mortals,' or else

"He who dwelt on the waters (before creation)'; now

applied to the sun.
Wāman. The dwarf, one of Vishnu's incarnations.
Janārdan. Said to mean protector of the people.
Narsingh. The man-lion, one of Vishnu's incarnations.
Hari. Yellow or gold-colour or green. Perhaps applied

to the sun.
Parashrām. From Parasurāma or Rāma with the axe,

one of the incarnations of Vishnu.
Gadadhar. Wielder of the club or gada.
Jagannāth. Lord of the world.
Dīnkar. The sun, or he who makes the days (din karna).
Bhagwān. The fortunate or illustrious.
Anant. The infinite or eternal.
Madhosūdan. Destroyer of the demon Madho (Madho

means honey or wine).
Pāndurang. Yellow-coloured.

Names of Rāma, or Vishnu's Great Incarnation as King

Rāma of Ayodhia.
Rāmchandra, the moon of Rāma, and Rāmbaksh, the

gift of Rāma, are the commonest Hindu male names.
Atmārām. Soul of Rāma.
Sitārām. Rāma and Sita his wife.
Rāmcharan. The footprint of Rāma.
Sakhārām. The friend of Rāma.
Sewārām. Servant of Rāma.

Names of Krishna.
Krishna and its diminutive Kishen are very common

Kanhaiya. A synonym for Krishna.
Dāmodar. Because his mother tied him with a rope

to a large tree to keep him quiet and he pulled up the

tree, roots and all.
Bālkishen. The boy Krishna.

Ghansiām. The dark-coloured or black one (like dark

clouds) ; probably referring to the belief that Krishna

belonged to the non-Aryan races. Madan Mohan. The enchanter of love. Manohar. The heart-stealer. Yeshwant. The glorious. Kesho. Having long, fine hair. A name of Krishna.

Also the destroyer of the demon Keshi, who was covered with hair. It would appear that the epithet was first applied to Krishna himself and afterwards to

a demon whom he was supposed to have destroyed. Balwant. Strong An epithet of Krishna, used in

conjunction with other names. Madhava. Honey-sweet or belonging to the spring,

vernal. Girdhāri. He who held up the mountain. Krishna

held up the mountain Govardhan, balancing the peak on his finger to protect the people from the destruc

tive rains sent by Indra. Shiāmsundar. The dark and beautiful one. Nandkishore, Nandkumār. Child of Nand the cowherd,

Krishna's foster-father.

Names of Siva.

Sadāsheo. Siva the everlasting.
Mahādeo. The great god.
Trimbak. The three-eyed one (?).
Gangādhar. The holder of the Ganges, because it flows

from Siva's hair. Kāshināth. The lord of Benāres. Kedārnāth. The lord of cedars (referring to the pine

forests of the Himalayas). Nilkanth. The blue-jay sacred to Siva. Name of Siva

because his throat is bluish-black either from swallowing poison at the time of the churning of the ocean or

from drinking large quantities of bhāng.
Shankar. He who gives happiness.
Vishwanāth. Lord of the universe.
Sheo Prasād. Gift of Siva.

« PreviousContinue »