« ZurückWeiter »
thongland and rough the
“With the camels was old toiled painfully in rear through Ismal, a local hunter come to this nightmare land. offer his services as ghillie. "A gale was blowing as we He was a Brahai by tribe- & landed. Afterwards I came to Mahammadan of course. A associate Makran with constant pioturesque old boy was Ismal, gales,-gales that blew down old and shrunken, with flowing my tent at night and blew white beard and olean-out away my bedding; gales that Semitio features. His most made it impossible at the oherished possession was his oritioal moment to hold the prehistorio matoblock jezail - rifle steady for a shot; gales & weapon of dread, and his that filled mouth and eyes and body was slung round with a nose with dust and grit. In perfeot armoury of powder- the shadowless glare of noon. horns, cartridge-belts, and day the hills loomed flat ourved daggers. But, old and unreal through the drivthough he was, I never could ing sand and dust-haze-ag see the way he went — up though fashioned from card& hill.
board. "While the oamels were being “On the beach close by was loaded, I took a look round. a oluster of matting hats ten. The view did not impress me. anted by long-haired fisherIn the foreground stretched folk. And it was not diffioult sand and still more sand; in to pioture these hovels as still the baokground rose cruel harbouring Arrian's Iohthyonaked hills of pale-grey olay phagoi — barbarians clothed and marl and limestone. It in skins of fish or animals, was the bare walls of a coun- covered with long hair and try in the building, to which asing their nails as we use the paperers and painters have fish-knives . . , fighting more still to come to add the grass like monkeys than men. For and trees.
suoh, he tells us, were the “Yet there was vegetation of forefathers of these fishermen; a sort - grey ghosts of un- the men who opposed Nearkos friendly vegetation perished of on that very spot when he thirst. For here and there a touohed at the Hingol to draw squat aborted growth of oamel- fresh water and to land thorn and soacia, dwarf-palm supplies. and oaotus, and suchlike “On the sandy plain between priokly shrubs, eked out a shore and mountains a queer miserable existence on rook oonioal white hill gleamed in and sand. Oooasional olamps the sunshine. From his deof tamarisk in the river bed soriptions I reoognised old lent the sole touob of green to Chandragup-to give him the the landscape. And one oalled namo by whioh the Hindu to mind those Phænioian oamp- pilgrims know him. He is one followers of Alexander's army of the largest mud-voloanoes who had paused to gather the in the world. So I sent my myrrh on the tamarisk, as they camels on to camp wbile Ismal
and I made a detour to pay tered old Chandragup, in sullen our respeots to Chandragup. lament over the sorry offerings
“It was a long hot walk to of a decadent age. I was to his foot. To reach his orater meet Chandragup again; bat I olimbed laboriously to the even then I felt that there top of the cone of dried mud was something inexpressibly that rises a good three sinister about his black torhundred foot above the plain. tared surface, as though some This orater of his, by the way, evil spirit were troubling the is anlike that of an ordinary pool. voloano, in that its contents “That evening we oamped are flash with the top; in fact, where the Hingol leaves the the blaok visoous mud bulges bills. Next day our camp apwards above the rim like moved a little farther up the the surface of a brim-fall oup of gorge, while Ismal and I went tea. Ever and anon there is a to look for ibex, I shot dig. mighty heaping in his bowels, gracefully, I remember, and and the liquid mud is thrust missed a sitting ohanoe at a ap to an accompaniment of grand old oream-coloured patri. sullen gulping8—to sink again aroh, with great ourving horns as soon as the paroxysm is and a dark chocolate saddlepast. Round the crater's rim mark on his wither. The there runs a narrow slippery olimbing was poisonous, and path over which the con- I got baok to oamp thorougbly tents are ever spilling during tired and disgusted. these eruptions — to triokle “I found my tent pitohed in down the outside of the oone the narrow Hinglaj gorge, just and dry in a orust of glistening below the shrine of Kali. Now brine.
this shrine was one of the "These bills be Darya things that had brought me Cham,'' romarked old Ismal. to Makran, for it is a place 'If you take but one little with a very queer history. step beyond that path-edge, To-day it is held sacred by the blaok mud will gulp you both Mussulmans and Hindus, down for ever.' Then, spitting though more particularly by contemptuously into the orater, the latter; but that is by no he added, The Hindu pil- means the beginning of the grims think that a goddess story. For the shrine lies lives beneath the mud, and, under the hill of Nani Mai, in my father's day, thoss song- or Mother Nani, and men of-burnt-sires would throw in worshipped at the foot of live boys and girls to make Mother Nani long ages before the goddess speak; but now the Prophet fled from Mecos; human saorifice is forbidden, aye, and even before the Indoso they have to offer ooooanuts Aryans first sang their Vedio and snohlike trash instead.' hymns on their southwards
"Goop! Goop! Goopl'mut- march to Hindostan. Nani
1 The Eyes of the Sea,
Mai is none other than Nana 80 I looked out to see what The Earth, wife of Anu Hea. was the matter. Outside I ven, first of the Twelve Great found the gorge in inky blackGods of the Assyrians. And nons, save for its very topmost she is older even than Assyria; rim silvered by the lovel rays for we know that Nana was of & Betting moon, while overworshipped by the Acoadians head, inoredibly remote, was in Chaldea & thousand years a narrow strip of starry sky. before the birth of Abraham. From the direction of the shrine
“But Mother Nani has fallen above, & wild music of obanton evil times. For to-day hering and the blaring of a conch main supporters belong to the came pealing down the gorge: Hindu soot of the left- the devotees of Kali were handed' Saktas. Obscene greeting the goddess before worshippers of Kali these; the beginning of another day. their bible is the Tantra and It was a soene for the penoil their fieroe licentious worship of a Doré; and I thought that is based on unbridled indulgence it would be hard to find a in the Five Makaras'-to more appropriate setting for wit, wine, flesh, fish, mystio the shrine of the deity whose gestioulations and sexual inter- worshippers pioture her as a course. Human sacrifice once black fury dripping with formed a oommon part of their blood and hung about with ritual; and the prosaio 00004- enakes and human skulle—the nut that the pilgrim still pre- helpmeet of Siva the Destroyer. sents at the shrine is sym- “Bands of Hindu pilgrims bolical of the human head from all over India colleot deoked with flowers-once the periodically to tramp togethor favourite offering of the god. to the shrine,—& weary tramp dess. To this day, too, you from Karaobi of nearly two may see shrines where the hundred miles by desert and blood of humbler viotims is mountain. And from the never allowed to dry upon the shrine they make an exoursion sacrificial stone.
to Chandragup. For, as lomal "Ismal had assured me that told me, they throw offerings I should find the shrine-gorge into his orater, and hold his a very paradise of verdure. answering burblings to be the But to my eyes, still unattuned divine voice of Kali. But to desert unatterable, it seemed between the visits of these a gloomy anhallowed spot. bands, Nani Mai is deserted There were pools of water by all gave a few hermits lying amongst the boulders, who stay as guardians of the it's true; but the sheer walls shrine, and it was the chanting of rook towered frowning on of those guardians that had either hand to a good thousand disturbed us. feet.
“Next morning, after break. "Just before dawn that night fast, I strolled up to have a I was awakened by the bark- ohat with them and to see the ing of my ball-terrier, Jook,' shrine, taking care to bring a
bottle of whisky with me-to course, are mere religious im. pave the way to amioable postors and obarlatans,-men relations.
of the same kidney as the “The shrine itself turned out rasoally dervish in "Hajji to be a disappointing sort of Baba.'' Bat they are good place, for it was merely an value oven so. And I have no open oavity in the rock, false pride. Before now I've about ton feet above the level fraternised with a gentleman of the stream. It was faoed olad in little beyond & coat of with a low mad wall, and ashes, and found him extraoontained nothing but a few ordinarily entertaining. tawdry decorations of feathers “But this time I let myself and & heap of vermilion. in for a rebuff, for, much to smeared stones, representing my surprise, the two Yogis the female oounterpart of the would have no truok with Lingam.
me whatever. The Speechless “But by the oave-mouth two Mystio, it's true, seemed lost Yogis 1 were seated in the to all mundane affairg—a stato shadow. They presented & perhaps partly accounting for marked contrast to one his lack of cordiality. But, as another. The one was a slim forhis shook-headedoompanion, fair-complexioned man, with Strewal Peter, he was aotively finely-modelled features and offensive. For be glared at me slightly ooooanat-shaped head, with insolent bloodshot eyes, - typioal Brahman olad in contemptuously waved aside spotless white. His body my offering of Best Old Sootoh, soomed wasted by his vigils, and spat loudly as I turned and his eyes were sunken like to go. A most unpleasant those of a corpse; it was a fellow altogether, I thought. & marvel to me how he had “Wo had decided to stay for ever orawled as far as Nani some days in our oamp below Mai. I put him down as one the shrine, for I wanted another of those speechless mystics shot at that big ibex. A few who, by long suppression of evenings later, as we were their breath, think to pass coming down from shooting, into unearthly anion with the our way took as past the shrine. godhead Siva. But the other One of the periodioal parties was a very different sort of of pilgrims had turned ap that fellow; a bullet-headed beetle- day; but the enthusiasm of my browed ruffian, with an un- weloome was distinotly damped kempt shook of briok-red hair by the faot that they were now and naked body smeared with busy washing away their sins ashes.
in my water-supply, while the "Now these ascetios and stream ran red with the blood yogis fasoinate me intensely. A of saorificial goats. large percentage of them, of “They were a queer mixture,
| Professional saints and mystics. There are thirteen different brands that worship Siva.
these pilgrims. Among them ligious eostasy; when we have were sleek money-lenders from mentioned him we have togobed the bazaars of Indian oities, the bed-rook of bestiality, for who had trudged the weary he was an Aghori — & demiles of sand to acquire the vourer of oarrion and human merit needful to balance their corpses. many extortions, and aristo- "Strewal Peter seemed to be oratio Brabmans from Holy holding some sort of indignaKashil on the distant Gangos, tion meeting as I passed, for holding aloof from the vulgar he was standing at the caveorowd; barren wives in quest month with a orowd oolleoted of heirs, and mothers more beneath him in the stream-bed. 800008sful giving thanks for He was too far off for me to the fruits of a previous pilgrim- hear what he said, bat he ago; virgins brought by doting pointed and shouted some obparents, and everyday oitizens viously insulting remark. The by the soore.
orowd turned to stare, and “Bat these were the respeot. one or two of them waved able elements. There must have their pilgrim staves threatenbeon olose on a thousand pil. ingly; so I hurried on to avoid grims altogether; and it was a scene. the Yogis who caught one's “This incident gave me to eye-by their pioturesque dross think quite a lot. For the or laok of it. For I notioed orowd was unmistakably hog. naked figures emeared with tile; but I couldn't for the ashes from the faneral pile and life of me think why, though trioked out in neoklaces of I felt sure that Strewal Peter human skulls, and mystios was at the root of the trouble. wrapped in meditation olasp- Iemal didn't like the look of ing their gourds and begging. things a bit either, and was bowls; jugglers with perform- all for onr moving oamp. But ing goats, and other saints I wasn't going to give ap whose stook-in - trade was & that ibex to please any naked miniature merry-go-round of gentleman in need of a hairrope and pole, about whioh they ont. So we stayed on where would whirl skewered through we were, taking caro to avoid the musoles of their shoulders; the neighbourhood of the penitents who took their ease shrine. Still, the men were apon a bed of nails, and all pretty jampy, and I think the miscellaneous rasoals of a we all had & feeling of imreligious fair.
pending trouble. "And one there was, too, his “This feeling was heightened naked body seamed with soars two days later. A camel had of self - inflioted wounds,-& strayed ap the gorge, and one ghoulish figare brandishing & of the camelmen went to fetch obain with which to flagellate it. But he was set apon and himself in the frenzy of re- stoned by a party of pilgrims,