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II

THE PASSOVER

363

Passover.

M. Reinach points out that the Passover of the Israelites 18. The was in its origin a similar sacrifice. A lamb or kid, the first-fruit of the flocks, was eaten entire without the bones being broken, the blood smeared on the doorway being an offering to the god. The story connecting this sacrifice with the death of the first-born in Egypt was of later origin, devised to account for it when the real meaning had been forgotten. The name Rachel ? means a ewe, and it would appear that the children of Israel in the pastoral stage had the sheep for their totem deity and supposed themselves to be descended from it, as the Jāts consider themselves to be descended from Siva, probably in his form of Mahādeo, the deified bull. As held in Canaan, the festival may have been a relic of the former migratory life of the Israelites when they tended flocks and regarded the sheep, or goat, as their most important domestic animal. It may have been in memory of this wandering life that the festival was accompanied by the eating of unleavened bread, and the sacrifice was consumed with loins girded up and staffs in their hands, as if in readiness for a journey. The Banjāras retain in their marriage and other customs various reminiscences of their former migratory life, as shown in the article on that caste. The Gadarias of the Central Provinces worship a goddess called Dishai Devi, who is represented by a stone platform just outside the sheep-pen. She has thus probably developed from the deified sheep or goat, which itself was formerly worshipped. On the eighth day of the fasts in Chait and Kunwār the Gadarias offer the goddess a virgin she-goat. They wash the goat's feet in water and rub turmeric on its feet and head. It is given rice to eat and brought before the goddess, and water is poured over its body; when the goat begins to shiver they think that the goddess has accepted the offering, and cut its throat with a sickle or knife. Then the animal is roasted whole and eaten in the veranda of the house, nothing being thrown away but the bones. Only men may join in this sacrifice, and not women.

1 In following the explanation of the lamb was a substitute for the previous Passover given by Professor Robertson sacrifice by the Israelites of their firstSmith and M. Reinach, it is necessary

born sons. with great diffidence to dissent from the 2 Orphéus, p. 272; Religion of the hypothesis of Sir J. G. Frazer that the Semites, p. 311.

19. Sanctity of domestic animals.

Thus it was a more or less general rule among several races that the domestic animals were deified and held sacred, and were slain only at a sacrifice. It followed that it was sinful to kill these animals on any other occasion. It has already been seen that the Arabs forbore to kill their worn-out camels for food except when driven to it by hunger as a last resort. “ That it was once a capital offence to kill an ox, both in Attica and the Peloponnesus, is attested by Varro. So far as Athens is concerned, this statement seems to be drawn from the legend that was told in connection with the annual sacrifice at the Diipolia, where the victim was a bull and its death was followed by a solemn inquiry as to who was responsible for the act.

In this trial everyone who had anything to do with the slaughter was called as a party ; the maidens who drew water to sharpen the axe and knife threw the blame on the sharpeners, they put it on the man who handed the axe, he on the man who struck down the victim, and he again on the one who cut its throat, who finally fixed the responsibility on the knife, which was accordingly found guilty of murder and cast into the sea.” 1 " At Tenedos the priest who offered a bull-calf to Dionysus anthroporraistes was attacked with stones and had to flee for his life ; and at Corinth, in the annual sacrifice of a goat to Hera Acraea, care was taken to shift the responsibility of the death off the shoulders of the community by employing hirelings as ministers. Even they did no more than hide the knife in such a way that the goat, scraping with its feet, procured its own death.” ? “Agatharchides, describing the Troglodytes of East Africa, a primitive pastoral people in the polyandrous state of society, tells us that their whole sustenance was derived from their flocks and herds. When pasture abounded, after the rainy season, they lived on milk mingled with blood (drawn apparently, as in Arabia, from the living animal), and in the dry season they had recourse to the flesh of aged or weakly beasts. Further, ‘they gave the name of parent to no human being, but only to the ox and cow, the ram and ewe, from whom they had their nourishment.' Among the Caffres the cattle kraal is sacred; women may not enter it, and to defile it is a

1 Religion of the Semites, p. 304. 2 Ibidem, pp. 305, 306.

II

SACRIFICIAL SLAUGHTER FOR FOOD

365

ficial

capital offence.” 1

Among the Egyptians also cows were never killed.?

Gradually, however, as the reverence for animals declined 20. Sacriand the true level of their intelligence compared to that of

slaughter man came to be better appreciated, the sanctity attaching to for food. their lives no doubt grew weaker. Then it would become permissible to kill a domestic animal privately and otherwise than by a joint sacrifice of the clan; but the old custom of justifying the slaughter by offering it to the god would still remain. “At this stage, at least among the Hebrews, the original sanctity of the life of domestic animals is still recognised in a modified form, inasmuch as it is held unlawful to use their flesh for food except in a sacrificial meal. But this rule is not strict enough to prevent flesh from becoming a familiar luxury. Sacrifices are multiplied on trivial occasions of religious gladness or social festivity, and the rite of eating at the sanctuary loses the character of an exceptional sacrament, and means no more than that men are invited to feast and be merry at the table of their god, or that no feast is complete in which the god has not his share.” 4 This is the stage reached by the Hebrews in the time of Samuel, as described by Professor Robertson Smith, and it bears much resemblance to that of the lower Hindu castes and the Gonds at the present time. They too, when they can afford to kill a goat or a pig, cows being prohibited in deference to Hindu susceptibility, take it to the shrine of some village deity and offer it there prior to feasting on it with their friends. At intervals of a year or more many of the lower castes sacrifice a goat to Dūlha Deo, the bridegroom-god, and Thākur Deo, the corn-god, and eat the body as a sacrificial meal within the house, burying the bones and other remnants beneath the floor of the house. Among the Kāfirs of the Hindu Kush, when a man wishes to become a Jast, apparently a revered elder or senator, he must give a series of feasts to the whole community, so expensive that many men utterly ruin themselves in becoming Jast. The initiatory proceedings are sacrifices of bulls and male goats to Gīsh, the

1 Religion of the Semites, pp. 296, 3 When the blood of the animal was 297.

poured out before the god as his share.

4 Religion of the Semites, p. 246. 2 Golden Bough, ii. p. 313.

5 Vide article on Dhanwār.

21. Animal fights.

war-god, at the village shrine. The animals are examined with jealous eyes by the spectators, to see that they come up to the prescribed standard of excellence. After the sacrifice the meat is divided among the people, who carry it to their homes. These special sacrifices at the shrine recur at intervals; but the great slaughterings are at the feast-giver's own house, where he entertains sometimes the Jast exclusively and sometimes the whole tribe, as already mentioned. Even in the latter case, however, after a big distribution at the giver's house one or two goats are offered to the war-god at his shrine ; and while the animals are being killed at the house offerings are made on a sacrificial fire, and as each goat is slain a handful of its blood is taken and thrown on the fire. The Kāfirs would therefore appear to be in the stage when it is still usual to kill domestic animals as a sacrifice to the god, but no longer obligatory.

Finally animals are recognised for what they are, all sanctity ceases to attach to them, and they are killed for food in an ordinary manner. Possibly, however, such customs as roasting an ox whole, and the sports of bull-baiting and bullfighting, may be relics of the ancient sacrifice. Formerly the buffaloes sacrificed at the shrine of the goddess Rankini or Kāli in Dalbhüm zamīndāri of Chota Nāgpur were made to fight. “Two male buffaloes are driven into a small enclosure and on a raised stage adjoining and overlooking it the Rāja and his suite take up their position.

After some ceremonies the Rāja and his family priest discharge arrows at the buffaloes, others follow their example, and the tormented and enraged beasts fall to and gore each other whilst arrow after arrow is discharged. When the animals are past doing very much mischief, the people rush in and hack at them with battle-axes till they are dead.” 3

Muhammadans however cannot eat the flesh of an animal unless its throat is cut and the blood allowed to flow before it dies. At the time of cutting the throat a sacred text or invocation must be repeated. It has been seen that in former times the blood of the animal was offered to the god and scattered on the altar or collected in a pit at its

22. The

sacrificial method of killing.

1 Sir G. Robertson, Kāfirs of the Hindu Kush, pp. 450, 451.

2 Ibidem, p. 460.
3 Dalton, Ethnology of Bengal, p. 176.

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THE SACRIFICIAL METHOD OF KILLING

367

foot. It may be suggested that the method of killing which still survives was that formerly practised in offering the sacrifice, and that the necessity of allowing the blood to flow is a relic of the blood offering. When it no longer became necessary to sacrifice every animal at a shrine the sacrificial method of slaughter and the invocation to the god might be retained as removing the impiety of the act. At present it is said that unless an animal's blood flows it is a murda or corpse, and hence not suitable for food.

But this idea may have grown up to account for the custom when its original meaning had been forgotten. The Gonds, when sacrificing a fowl, hold it over the sacred post or stone, which represents the god, and let the blood drop upon it. And when sacrificing a pig they first cut its tongue and let the blood fall upon the symbol of the god. In Chhattisgarh, when a Hindu is ill he makes a vow of the affected limb to the god; then on recovering he goes to the temple, and cutting this limb, lets the blood fall on to the symbol of the god as an offering. Similarly the Sikhs are forbidden to eat flesh unless the animal has been killed by jatka or cutting off the head with one stroke, and the same rule is observed by some of the lower Hindu castes. In Hindu sacrifices it is often customary that the head of the animal should be made over to the officiating priest as his share, and so in killing the animal he would naturally cut off its head. The above rule may therefore be of the same character as the rite of halâl among the Muhammadans, and here also the sacrificial method of killing an animal may be retained to legalise its slaughter after the sacrifice itself has fallen into desuetude. In Berār some time ago the Mullah or Muhammadan priest was a village servant and the Hindus paid him dues. In return he was accustomed to kill the goats and sheep which they wished to sacrifice at temples, or in their fields to propitiate the deities presiding over them. He also killed animals for the Khatīk or mutton-butcher and the latter exposed them for sale. The Mullah was entitled to the heart of the animal killed as his perquisite and a fee of two pice. Some of the Marāthas were unmindful of the ceremony, but in general they professed not to eat flesh unless the sacred verse had been pronounced either by the Mullah or some Muhammadan

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