I hurried away, and it was long before I could
efface the impression made upon my mind by this hideous spectacle.
In the case of rich people, the burning of the body sometimes costs
more than a thousand rupees; the most costly wood, such as rose and
sandal wood, being employed for that purpose. Besides this, a
Brahmin, music, and female mourners, are necessary parts of the
After the body has been burnt, the bones are collected, laid in a
vase, and thrown into the Ganges, or some other holy river. The
nearest relation is obliged to set fire to the pile.
There are naturally none of these ceremonies among poor people.
They simply burn their dead on common wood or cow-dung; and if they
cannot even buy these materials, they fasten a stone to the corpse
and throw it into the river.
I will here relate a short anecdote that I had from a very
trustworthy person. It may serve as an example of the atrocities
that are often committed from false ideas of religion.
Mr. N - - was once, during his travels, not far from the Ganges, and
was accompanied by several servants and a dog. Suddenly the latter
disappeared, and all the calling in the world would not bring him