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The following legend accounts for the institution of human sacrifice among them :
“Many ages ago," they say, “when our
ence of Kali, Parvati, and other Hindu deities. Their principal deity, the earth-god, is an abstraction of all that is terrible. He is said to manifest himself occasionally in the form of a tiger, when he issues forth from chinks in the earth." .
“Revelations have prescribed the worship, and ordained the ministers of each divinity. And expressive symbols are sometimes used, protected by rude temples. Sandi Pennoo, the god of limits, has many altars (rude stones smeared with turmeric) on the highways, and each requires an annual sacrifice, a goat, a buffalo, or human victim. Loha Pennoo, or the god of arms, has, in each Kond village, a grove dedicated to him, sacred from the axe, in the centre of which his symbol, a piece of iron, is buried : and he is invoked whenever arms are taken up. The Gram Pennoo, or village god; Peetabuldee, the great father god; and various others, have all their respective symbols and offerings. Dhoongwori Pennoo, or the conservative principle, is also worshipped." * * * *
“The earth-god, Bera Pennoo, is regarded, first as the supreme power of the universe, and secondly, as the deity, who presides over the productive ener
fathers first settled in these mountains, they were led by a queen called Attah, (grandmother.) At that time the earth was unstable, and
gies of nature. The Konds consider that he sends periodical rains ; rules the order of the seasons ; and promotes, or retards the fecundity of the soil, the growth of all rural produce; and that he has the health of the population, and the safety of their flocks and herds in his keeping." * * * *
“ The public sacrifices may be described as cereal offerings, health offerings, and offerings on account of the patriarchal families.”
It required no great discernment, one would suppose, to' perceive that this description accorded but little with an utterly barbarous state of society; and an acquaintance with Eastern dialects would have confirmed the idea of its author having written about a people with whom he had made a very slight acquaintance. It is remarkable that most of the names given to the deities in the extract above, belong to other languages than that which the savages speak. Sandi is a Telinga, not a Kond, word, signifying boundary. Loha is a Hindoostanee, not a Kond, word, signifying iron. Gram is a Telinga word, signifying a village held under peculiar tenure. Bera is very much like a Hindoostanee word, signifying great. These are incidents likely to escape sank under our feet, and was unsuited for the habitation of man. All things were then without order. But Attah, whether by accident or design is not known, cut her finger, and the
notice in England; but a moment's consideration might have discovered that the rude and unlettered ignorance of savage life was not consistent with an intricate and systematic arrangement of powers and attributes, like that of the Hindoo mythology. That portions of the latter have been transferred to the superstition of the Konds, or that there is any assimilation between the two, is denied; though it is not improbable, that on the confines of their territory the simple savages may hold in reverence any gods whom they see their neighbours worship. The precise distribution of offices, and classification of offerings, it is very difficult to attribute to rude capacities ; and in many districts they have neither temples, nor places permanently set apart for religious rites ; nor a regular order of priesthood. The functions of the Janis, or officiating priests, seem to be in a great measure self-assumed, under the impulse of enthusiasm, or fancied inspiration.
In recent periodicals of the East, the accuracy of the writer is strongly impugned, from whose description of the Konds the extract above has been made.
blood falling on the ground, the latter became firm and fruitful, and durable as a place to dwell in. She saw the efficacy of human blood, and insisted upon being sacrificed herself. Hence we attach such value to human sacrifice, the blood of which falling on the earth produces such benefits. Some time after her death Attah appeared to some of the people, and complained of being alone in the other world, and requested that a man might be sent her for company. Hereupon several human sacrifices were offered: and the practice has continued ever since.”
The victims may be of any caste, sex or age. A Kond would not be sacrificed by his own tribe; but would hardly be refused by one at a distance. An adult man is most valuable, and therefore most acceptable: young children can be most easily procured. But whether it is man, or woman, or child, that is destined to appease the demons of their devotions, the offering must be bought at a price. This it is
1 It is curious to discover among these savages a rule for sacrifice so much resembling what is expressed by David, 2 Sam. xxiv. 24, “And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee
that constitutes its efficacy : and in coincidence
The time of sacrifice is determined by the
at a price: neither will I offer burnt-offerings unto