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11. Met imorphosis into stones.


Finally, it may not be out of place to refer to a class of playful, erotic myths by which the Mundis seek to explain the existence in their country of ancient stone sculptures as also of certain rocks imagined to resemble in shape human beings or beasts. To take one instance;-near village Khijri, about six miles from Khūnti, there stands a rudely sculptured stone figure of what is supposed to be a female deity locally known as Nakti Rāni. Not far from it to the north is a rock known as Bar Pahāri at village Dumri ; and about five miles to its south is another hill named Bin-buru. Now the myth goes that Nākti who was the wife of the spirit of Bar Pāhāri was eloping with the spirit of Bin-būrū, and when the lovers had gone halfwiy, Bar Pähāri discovered the elopement and began to shoot his stone arrows at them. The Bin-būru spirit managed to escape to his seat, but Nākti who sought to slink back to her husband got petrified through fear at the spot. A few small stone columns between villages Khunti and Birhū are still pointed out as the stone arrows shot at them.

These erotic myths --which are not numerons - are now repeated by their Hindu neighbours as well, and it may be supposed that myths of this type were suggested by Hindu fancy. But it must be noticed that the belief in the metamorphosis of men and things into stones appears to be quite natural to the Mundlá mind. Thus, the existence of stone figures supposed to resemble drums, cymbals, etc., lying on the boundary of village Pānsākām not far from the Dasom water-falls are explained by the myth that a great musician of the name of Chailā Sándu who could play upon a nágerā, a māndal, and a jhanj, all at the same time, was crossing the stream, with all the three instruments about him, his feet with which he used to play upon the jhānj slipped and he tumbled into the water. The instruments were turned into stones and may still be seen. Similar stone figures at Dülmi (police station, Tāmār) and elsewhere are accounted for br similar myths of metamorphosis into stones,

the Cure of Ailments.

By Sarat Chandra Mitra,M. A, B.L.

PRIMITIVE man thinks that the ailments, which afflict him and which are caused by some mysterious agency invisible to him, must be the outcome of the action of some malevolent spirit or being. He, therefore, betakes himself to a wise man among his people, who, he believes, can, by his superior knowledge, counteract the disease-demon's baleful influence. These modes of thought and action are prevalent among all races of people now existing in a low plane of culture. A research, therefore, made in the obscure fields of primitive leechcraft, or, as it has been aptly termed by Mr. W. G. Black, folk-medicine, may throw a good deal of light on the mental attitude of primitive man and, thereby, afford much assistance in the study of the evolution of human culture.

I have already published two papers on this subject. In my paper entitled “ North Indian Folk-Medicine for Hydrophobia and Scorpion-stings,"['] I have published three charms, which are in vogue in Bibār, for the cure of these ills. In my second paper,

, I have published a cure-charm for the bite of the Bodā-snake.[?] I have already said that the language of these charms or incantations is Bengali, as they have been borrowed from the ojhas or medicine-men of Bengal. But as they are intended for use in Bibār, the instructions for using them are in Hindi. [R]

In this paper, I intend to publish the texts, with translations and remarks, of five charms or incantations which are current in

(^) Vide the Journal and Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. XI (N. 8.), pages 217—230.

[') Pide the Journal of the Anthropological Society of Bombay, Vol. X, pages 393399.

[] Op.cit., page 393.

Bibār for the cure of certain ailments. The first two of these, which are for curing stomach-complaints, namely, diarrhea and dysentery, are as follows:


Alisar wo dast band karne ka mantra.

1. Ganga Jamunā tirther pāni.
2. Eah kahini kāhini.
3. Se khāilo pāni.
4. Aj haite dur hailo (amuker) bandāyā tulāni.[*]
5. Siddha guru Sri Rāmer äjnāya.

TARIKA. Jo mantra padhai wahi jal padhe hue pāni ko pīye. Jahan par

" amuksabda likha gayā hai, wahānpar rogikā nām lenă chāhiye. TRANSLATION OF CURE-CHARM No. I FOR DIARRHEA AND

DYSENTERY. Incantation for stopping Diarrhæa anıl Dysentery. 1. The water of the sacred rivers Ganges and Jumna. 2. [This is the traditional practice (literally, story)]. 3. He drank that water. 4. From this day went off (so-and-so’s) ailment.

5. At the bidding of the preceptor Sri Rāma who is well versed in sorcery.

DIRECTION. He, who recites this incantation, should quaff the charmed water. While reciting it, the reciter should mention the patient's name where the word amuker occurs,

This incantation is a remarkable example of that class of curecharms which are characterized by the London Folklore Society as “the simple narration of an event, with a sequel similar to what the charm-reciter now desires.” It bears a striking resemblance to the following charm which is in vogue in Cornwall, and,

["] The words Bandaya tulani are obscure, and I have not been able to make out the meaning thereof. But the sen de thereof appears to be "ailment cr disease.”



in a more or less modified form, in Kerry, Saxony and many of the English counties :

"Peter sat at the gate of Jerusalem. Jesus cometh to him and saith, Peter, what aileth thee?' He saith, 'Lord, I am

‘ grievously tormented with the toothache!' He saith, 'Arise, Peter, and follow me.' He did so, and immediately the toothache left him; and he followed Him in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” [6]

In the North Indian care-charm mentioned above, the sufferer from diarrhea is represented as having drunk the water of the sacred rivers Ganges and Jumna ; and thereupon the disease is stated to have left him from that very day at Sri Rāma's bidding.

The second incantation for the cure of dysentery is as follows

Pet se āņwa khun nikālnā band karnekā mantra.[6]
1. Sāgarer küle upajila süla.
2. Arē piyo or pāni.
3. (Amuker) sūchinām kari.
4. Raktasūla chhādāni dharmer äināya.



Eah mantra padhkar jal piyai. Aņwa khunke daston anā band hojāyāgā.


Incantation for stopping the passing of mucus and blood from the stomach.

1. The belly-ache grew on the shore of the sea.
2. O! Drink the water of the sea.
3. So-and-so’s sacred name (I mention).

[•] The Handbook of Folklore, By G. L. Gomme. London : David Natt. 1890, pages 51-52.

[R] I have slightly revised the text of this incantation, so that some sense may bo made of the same. I have given the corrupt text of this mantra at the end

of this paper.

4. It is the order of the deity (dharma) which drives off dysentery.

DIRECTION, Having recited this incantation, quaff the charmed water. (This being done), the passing of stools composed of mucus and blood will be stopped.

It would appear that the essential feature of the two aforementioned “cures" is the charming of water with the recital of the two foregoing incantations, and the drinking by the patient of the charmed water. The practice of administering charmed water by way of remedy is also prevalent in Bengal, for instance, in the district of Murshidabad, where sick children are treated by ojhas in this way. These medicine-men, who are credited with the possession of hypnotic powers, pass their hands over the patient, to the accompaniment of the recital of mantras or incantations, or he may gently brush the patient's body with a bundle of twigs. Then mantras are recited over water ; and the child is made to drink it.[?] The mantras are supposed to endow the water with magic efficacy.

This method of curing dysentery and diarrhæa by the administration of charmed water is but another modification of that wide-spread practice according to which patients are made to gulp down papers inscribed with charms, or to drink water in which slates or other articles, on which passages from the Koran or other charms have been written, are washed. Among the Muhammadans, the practice is in vogue of making the patient swallow slips of paper on which extracts from the Koran have been written. For an illustration of this practice, see page 573 of Sven Hedin’s Central Asia and Tibet, Vol. I. (1903). Similarly in Japan, when a person falls ill, he swallows, with hot water, a small picture of Buddha on a piece of tissue paper as big as a postage stamp. If this remedy fails to cure the patient, the native Japanese physician—the Issha San-is sent for.[8]

[') A History of Murshidabad District (Bengal). By Major J. H. Tull Walsh, London : Jarrold & Sons. 1902, pages 86-87.

[•] Seas and Lands. (Colonial Library Series.) By Sir Edwin Arnold. London: Longmans, Green & Co. 1895, pages 409-410 ; 463 ; 543.

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