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II.-Further Note on the Use of the Swal. low-worts in the Rituals of the Hindus.
In my previous paper entitled “On the T'se of the Swallowworts in the Ritual, Sorcery and Leechcroft of the Hindus and Pre-Islamitic Arabs" which has been published in The Journal of the Bihar and Orissa Research Society for June 1918, I have discussed the uses to which the swallow-worts (Calotropis gigantea and C. procera) are put in the rain-compelling ceremonies of the Hindus and the Pagan Arabs, as also in the wedding and agrioultural ceremonies of the former. I have also shown that this plant was largely used by the Hindus in nefarious sorcery and in the concoction of various nostrums or folk-medicines for the cure of scorpion-stings, dog-bites, earache, toothache, elephantiasis and white leprosy. I have also given the Sanskrit texts and the English translations of ten incantations or charms used by them in black magio, and of eight recipes or prescriptions for the concoction of nostrums for the cure of the aforementioned ills that the human flesh is heir to. Incidentally, I have also discussed the supposed characteristics or influences of the 27 lunar asterisms as are set forth in Hindu astrology :
1.-The Use of the Flowers of the Swallow-worts in the Worship
of the Sun-deity. In the present paper, I shall deal with the deities of the Hindu Pantheon in whose worship the swallow-wort (Calotropis) is used. I have already stated in my previous paper that Dr. Dymock says, though without anthority, that, in the Vedic Period, the leaves of the swallow-wort were used in the worship of the Sun. But the following text in Sanskrit shows that the flowers of the arka (Calotropis) were and are still employed in the worship of the Sun-deity :
मल्लिका मालती चैव दूर्बाशोकातिमुक्तकम् ।
Translation. The Sun-deity should be worshipped with (the offerings of the undernoted flowers, namely,) mallika [Arabian jasmine (Jasminum sambac)], mālati (Echites caryophyllata), (the grass) dūrvā (Cynodon dactylon), (the flowers of the) asoka (Jonesia asoka), atimuktaka or mādhavī-lată [the Creeping Chestnut (Hiptage madablota)], pāțală (Bignonia suaveolens), karavīra or the oleander (Nerium odorum), jayā or jayanti (Sesbania aculeata), pāvanti or pāribhā lraka or pārijāta, kūtaja or girimallikā, tagara or the East Indian Rose-bay (Tabernæmone tana coronari i), karņikära, kuruņtaka (Barleria spp.), champaka (Michelia champaka), bakula (Mimusop: elenge), kunda (Jasminum pubescens), śāla (Shorea robusta), barbara mallikā (a kind of jasmine), asoka (it may be another kind of Aower), tilaka (Clerodendron phlomoides), lodhra (Symplocos racemosa), atarushaka or vāsaka (? Adhatoda vasica), padma
(? ) (the lotus), vaka (Agati grandiflora), arka or äkanda, agastya and palās (Butea frondosa). Offerings of the leaves of the bael tree (Ægle marmelos), samī tree (? Prosopis juliflora), bhringaa räja tree, tu a si or the sacred basil (Ocymum sanctum), kilalulasī or the black basil and red sandalwood-paste should also be made to the Sun-deity.
II.--The Use of the Flowers of the Swallow-worts in the
Worship of the Deity Siva. In the Bhavishya Purana, the following passage occurs which shows that the flowers of the arka or akanda (Calotropis gigantea) were and are still used in the worship of the deity Mahādeva or Siva :
१. अकंपुष्यसहस्रन्यः करवीरं प्रशस्यते ।
Translation. 1. [In the worship of (the deity) Śiva], ono karavīra (Nerium odorun) flower is (considered) more valuable than one thousand flowers of the arka or akanda plant (Calotropis gigantea). (In other words, much more merit is acquired by worshipping Śiva with the offering of only one kara vīra or oleander-flower than is done by worshipping the same deity with the offering of one thousand a kanda or Calotropis flowers).
2. (The offering of the leaves of the bael tree (Ægle mar. melos) is productive of greater merit than (the offering of) one thousand karavīra or oleander-flowers.
3. (In the worship of Śiva, the offerings of the flowers of the jātī (Jasminum grandiflorum), bakula (Mimusop: elenge) and pātala (Bignonia suareolens) produce the same amount of merit (as that of) kar vīra flowers.
4. (The offerings of) the flowers of the sveta mandāra (Erythrina alba), and of the white lotus (Nelumbium speciosum) (also) proda ce the same kind of merit.
5. (In the worship of Śiva, the offerings. of) the flowers of the nāgachampaka (Mesua ferrea), punnāga or pulina (Calophyl lum inophyllum), the dhūturā or thorn-apple (Datura stramonium and äkanda (Calotropis gigantea) bring (to the worshipper) the same amount of merit.
Another long passage is to be found in the Bhavishya Purana, wherein the deity Śiva enumerates to his spouse Pärvati the names of the flowers which are his favourites, as also of those which are not acceptable to his deityship. From this lengthy passage, I give below the following extracts which will show that, among others, the flowers of the arka or ākānda (Calotropis gigantea) are very acceptable to Siva:
१. पुष्पाणि कथयाम्यद्य इहान्यनिष्टानि सुन्दरि।
३. भावेनहं प्रदत्तानि सर्वाणि कुसुमानि च।
Translation. 1. (Śiva says) :“O beautiful (lady Párvati) ! I shall to-day enumerate (to you) the names of my favourite flowers, as also of those which are not acceptable to me."
2. “ Karavīra or oleander (Nerium odorum), vaka (Agati grandiflora), arka or ākanda (Calotropis gigantea), unmatlaka or dhütură (Datura stramonium) and others (of which the names are given in the omitted lines of the passage).
3 & 4. "0 beautiful (lady Parvati) ! if all the (aforementioned) flowers are offered to me (in worship) with feelings of devotion, I accept them with my head bowed down."
Then, in the following passage of the same Purāņa, the special merits acquired by worshipping the deity Śiva with offerings of special flowers [among which are the flowers of the arka (Calotropis)] are enumerated :
१. वृहतीकुसमभक्त्या सकृदेव लिङ्गमञ्चयेत् ।
५. पुष्य रैतेर्यथालाभैर्योनरः पूजयेदिह ।
Translation. 1 & 2. That man, who worships Śiva's phallus only once, and with feelings of devotion, with an offering of the brihati flower or the flower of the small variety of brinjal (Solanum melongena), acquires the merit of making a gift of ten thousand kine and goes to heaven.
3, 4, 5 & 6. Hear attentively the following account of the merits acquired by that man who worships (Śiva) with any one of the following flowers, namely, asoka (Jonesia asoka), svetamandāra (Erythrina alba), karņikāre (Thevetia ner ifulia), vaka (Agati grandifloru), karavīra (Nerium odorum), arka (Calotropis gigantea), mandāra (Erythrina sp), samé (Prosopis juliflora), tagara (Tabernemontana coronaria) and ke sara.
7 & 8. Driving in a chariot which glitters with the splendour of one kror of suns and which fulfils all the desires (of one's heart), and fanned (on both sides) with fly-flappers (made of the yaks' tails), he (worshipper of Śiva) goes to the world of Śiva.
In the Skanda Purāņa also, the virtues acquired by worshipping the deity Śiva with the flowers of the a ka or swallow-wort (Calotropis gigantea) are set forth as follows :
१. चतुणी पुष्पजातीनां गन्धमाघाति शङ्करः ।
Translation. 1 & 2. (The deity) Śankara or Śiva smells the scents of only four kinds of flowers, namely, the arka or swallow-wort (Oalotropis gigantea), karavíra (Nerium odorum), the bael (Ægle marmelos) anl the vaka (Agati grandiflora).