Monday, July 19, 2010

A Forgotten Empire: Vijayanagar -part 9


Of the manner of attendance on these kings, which is as follows.

[What follows concerns the reign of Achyuta Raya.]

All the service of this house, with the things which they make use of,
is of silver and gold, that is to say basins and bowls, stools, ewers,
and other vessels of that sort. The bedsteads[595] in which his wives
sleep are covered and adorned with silver plates. Every wife has her
bed in which she sleeps, and that of the King is plated and lined and
has all its legs of gold, its mattress of silk, and its round bolster
worked round the ends with large seed pearls. It has four pillows of
the same pattern for the feet, and has no other sheet than a silk
cloth on top. He always carries with him a mosquito curtain with a
frame of silver,[596] and he has a house made of pieces of iron in
which is contained a very large bed, which is intended for such time
as he takes the field.

He has five hundred wives and as many less or more as he wants, with
whom he sleeps; and all of these burn themselves at his death. When
he journeys to any place he takes twenty-five or thirty of his most
favourite wives, who go with him, each one in her palanqueen with
poles. The palanqueen of the principal wife is an covered with scarlet
cloth tasselled with large and heavy work in seed-pearls and pearls,
and the pole itself is ornamented with gold. The palanqueens of the
other wives are ornamented only with silver, but another palanqueen,
which is for his own person, always goes on the right side, and is in
the same way decorated with gold. For a son or a daughter, if such an
one goes with him, he takes another bedstead of ivory inlaid with gold;
and when he takes the field, wherever he pitches his camp there they
make for him houses of stone and clay, for he does not stay in a tent,
and he always has these decorated with cloths.[597]

In his palace within the gates he is served by women and eunuchs
and servants numbering fully five or six hundred; and these wives
of the King all have their own officials for their service, each
for herself, just as the King has within the gates, but these are
all women. The palaces of the King are large and with large rooms;
they have cloisters like monasteries, with cells, and in each one is
one of his wives, and with each of these ladies is her maid-servant;
and when the King retires to rest he passes through these cloisters,
and his wives stand at the doors and call him in; but these are not
the principal wives, they are the daughters of captains and nobles
of the country. Inside the gates of the palace they say that there
are over two hundred milch-cows, from the milk of which they make
butter for these ladies to eat.

The King has no expense in connection with his food, because the nobles
send it to him every day to his house, namely rice and wheat and meat
and fowls with all other necessary things. In the kitchen there are
some two hundred inferior guards, and four over it, and two chief
officers of the guard; and those who are now captains of the guard
of this king are called, one Pedanayque and the other Ajanaique,
they are also captains of soldiers; these porters do not go further
inside than through four or five doors, because inside of these are
none but eunuchs and women.

When the King rides out there go with him usually two hundred
horsemen of his guard whom he pays, and a hundred elephants, and
this in addition to the captains, forty or fifty in number, who
are always in attendance with their soldiers. He takes with him two
thousand men with shields, all men of good position, ranged in order
on the flanks, and in front goes the chief ALCAID with about thirty
horsemen having canes in their hands like porters; the chief ALCAID
bears a different wand; he who is now the chief ALCAID of this King
is called Chinapanaique. Behind with the rearguard goes the Master
of the Horse with two hundred horsemen, and behind the cavalry go
a hundred elephants, and on their backs ride men of high estate. He
has in front of him twelve destriers, saddled, and in front of these
horses go five elephants, specially for the King's person, and in front
of these elephants go about five-and-twenty horsemen with banners
in their hands, and with drums and trumpets and other music playing
so loudly that you can hear nothing. Before these goes a great drum
carried by men at the sides, and they go now and then striking it; the
sound of this is heard a long distance off; and this drum they call
PICHA. After the King has mounted he counts the two hundred horsemen
and the hundred elephants and the shield-bearers of the guard, and
whoever is missing is severely punished and his property confiscated.


Of the manner in which obeisance is done to the King, &c.

The manner of the salaam which the nobles make to the King every day is
this: -- In the morning the nobles go to the palace at ten or eleven
o'clock, at which hour the King comes out from within where his wives
are, and after he has taken his seat they open to the nobles, and each
one comes by himself and bows his head and raises his hands. This is
what they call the "salaam" (SALEMA). With the king are about ten
or twelve men who have the duty, on the entrance of each captain,
of saying to the King: "See, your Highness, your captain so-and-so,
who makes salaam to you."

The Kings of Bisnaga have always liked, for show, to have many horses
in their stables, and they always had eight or nine hundred horses
and four or five hundred elephants, on account of which, and on
account of the people that looked after them, they were put to great
expense; and this King that now is (Achyuta Raya) has in his stable
seven hundred and odd horses and four hundred elephants. He spends
on account of them and for their attendants, to whom he gives food,
two thousand gold PARDAOS per day. And of horsemen whom the King pays
he has six thousand, and all of them are on the stables establishment
(?) (COMEM DA ESTREBARYA); and those who serve them are paid each
year, some a thousand PARDAOS, some five hundred, some three hundred,
and those who have less pay receive not less than a hundred. Of these
six thousand, two hundred are obliged to ride with the King.

The kings of this country are able to assemble as many soldiers as
they want, as they have them there in their kingdom and have much
wealth wherewith to pay them. This King Chitarao has foot-soldiers
paid by his nobles, and they are obliged to maintain six[598] LAKHS
of soldiers, that is six hundred thousand men, and twenty-four
thousand horse, which the same nobles are obliged to have. These
nobles are like renters who hold all the land from the King, and
besides keeping all these people they have to pay their cost; they
also pay to him every year sixty LAKHS of rents as royal dues. The
lands, they say, yield a hundred and twenty LAKHS of which they must
pay sixty to the King, and the rest they retain for the pay of the
soldiers and the expenses of the elephants which they are obliged to
maintain. For this reason the common people suffer much hardship,
those who hold the lands being so tyrannical. Of these sixty LAKHS
that the king has of revenue every year he does not enjoy a larger
sum than twenty-five LAKHS, for the rest is spent on his horses,
and elephants, and foot-soldiers, and cavalry, whose cost he defrays.

During his feasts and the almsgiving to his temples all these captains,
who are thus like renters, must always attend the court, and of those
whom this King always has about him and by whom he is accompanied in
his court there are more than two hundred. These are obliged always
to be present with the King, and must always maintain the full number
of soldiers according to their obligations, for if he finds that
they have a less number they are severely punished and their estates
confiscated. These nobles are never suffered to settle themselves in
cities or towns because they would there be beyond reach of his hand;
they only go thither sometimes. But a concession is granted to the
kings that are subject to him, namely they do not go to court unless
they are summoned, and from their own cities they send to him their
rents or tributes; yet the King of Bengapor is obliged to be always
in camp, and he goes to court twice in the year.

The kings who are subject are these, besides this King of Bengapor,
namely the King of Gasopa and the King of Bacanor and the King of
Calecu and he of Batecala,[599] and these when they come to the Court
of Bisnaga are not held in higher esteem than any other captains,
either by the King or by the other nobles.

The captains and lords of this kingdom of Bisnaga, as well those
who are at Court as those who are away from it, have each one his
secretary who goes to the palace in order to write to him and let him
know what the King is doing; and they manage so that nothing takes
place of which they do not soon know, and day and night they are
always in the palace. And the King also, when he leaves the palace,
takes with him on his own account secretaries, who write what the
King says, and the favours he bestows, and with whom he spoke, and
upon what subject, and what his determination was; and to these men is
given a credit equal to that of the Evangelists, because they say that
whenever the King speaks there must be something worthy to be recorded,
and also that such a record is necessary for their remembrance. Thus
no written orders are ever issued, nor any charters granted, for the
favours he bestows or the commands he gives; but when he confers
a favour on any one it remains written in the registers of these
secretaries. The King however gives to the recipient of the favour a
seal impressed in wax from one of his rings, which his minister keeps,
and these seals serve for letters patent.

These Kings of Bisnaga eat all sorts of things, but not the flesh of
oxen or cows, which they never kill in all the country of the heathen
because they worship them. They eat mutton, pork, venison, partridges,
hares, doves, quail, and all kinds of birds; even sparrows, and rats,
and cats, and lizards, all of which are sold in the market of the
city of Bisnaga.

Everything has to be sold alive so that each one may know what he
buys -- this[600] at least so far as concerns game -- and there are
fish from the rivers in large quantities. The markets are always
overflowing with abundance of fruits, grapes, oranges, limes,
pomegranates, jack-fruit, and mangoes, and all very cheap. It is
said that in the markets they give twelve live sheep for a PARDAO,
and in the hills they give fourteen or fifteen for A PARDAO. The King
drinks water which they bring from a spring, which is kept enclosed
under the hand of a man in whom the King has great confidence; and
the vessels in which they draw the water come covered and sealed. Thus
they deliver it to the women who wait on him, and they take it inside
to the other women, the King's wives.

The greatest mark of honour that this King of Bisnaga confers on a
noble consists of two fans ornamented with gold and precious stones,
made of the white tails of certain cows;[601] he gives them bracelets
also. Everything which the noble receives is placed on the ground. The
King confers very high honour, too, if he permits a certain one
to kiss his feet, for he never gives his hands to be kissed by any
one. When he wishes to please his captains, or persons from whom he
has received or wishes to receive good service, he gives them scarves
of honour[602] for their personal use, which is a great honour; and
this he does each year to the captains at the time that they pay him
their land-rents. This takes place in the month of September[603]
when for nine days they make great feasts. Some say that they do
this in honour of the nine months during which Our Lady bore her Son
in the womb; others say that it is only done because at this time
the captains come to pay their rents to the King. Which feasts are
conducted in the following manner.

The first day they put nine castles in a piece of ground which is
in front of the palace, which castles are made by the nine principal
captains in the kingdom. They are very lofty and are hung with rich
cloths, and in them are many dancing-girls and also many kinds of
contrivances. Besides these nine every captain is obliged to make
each one his castle, and they come to show these to the King. Each
one has his separate device, and they all come like this during the
nine days of the feast. The officers of the city are bound to come
with their devices each day at night, just as in our festivals, and in
these nine days they slaughter animals and make sacrifice. The first
day they kill nine male buffaloes and nine sheep and nine goats, and
thenceforward they kill each day more, always doubling the number; and
when they have finished slaying these beasts, there come nine horses
and nine elephants of the King and these come before the king covered
with flowers -- roses -- and with rich trappings. Before them goes the
chief Master of the Horse with many attendants, and they make salaam to
the King. And when these have finished making their salaam there come
from within priests, and they bring rice and other cooked edibles, and
water, and fire, and many kinds of scents, and they offer prayers and
throw the water over the horses and elephants, just (as our priests
do with) holy water; and they put chaplets of roses on them. This
is done in the presence of the King, who remains seated on a throne
of gold and precious stones; he never sits on this except only this
once in the year. And this King that now reigns does not sit on it,
for they say that whoever sits on it must be a very truthful man,
one who speaks the whole truth, and this King never does so. Whilst
this is going on there pass by the King fully a thousand women,
dancing and posturing before him. After all the devices that have
been prepared have been witnessed all the horses of the King pass by,
covered with their silken trappings,[604] and with much adornment of
gold and precious stones on their heads, and then all the elephants
and yokes of oxen[605] in the middle of the arena[606] in front of
the palace. After these have been seen there come thirty-six of the
most beautiful of the King's wives covered with gold and pearls,
and much work of seed-pearls, and in the hands of each a vessel of
gold with a lamp of oil burning in it; and with these women come all
the female servants and the other wives of the King, with canes in
their hands tipped with gold and with torches burning; and these then
retire inside with the King. These women are so richly bedecked with
gold and precious stones that they are hardly able to move.

In this way during these nine days they are compelled to search for
all things which will give pleasure to the King.

The King has a thousand wrestlers for these feasts who wrestle before
the King, but not in our manner, for they strike and wound each other
with two circlets with points[607] which they carry in their hands
to strike with, and the one most wounded goes and takes his reward
in the shape of a silk cloth,[608] such as the King gives to these
wrestlers. They have a captain over them, and they do not perform
any other service in the kingdom.

And after these nine days are finished the Rao[609] rides out and goes
to hold a review of the troops of his captains, and he goes a length of
two leagues between the armed men. At the end he dismounts and takes a
bow in his hand and shoots three arrows, namely one for the Ydallcao,
and another for the King of Cotamuloco,[610] and yet another for the
Portuguese; it was his custom to make war on the kingdom lying in
the direction where the arrow reached furthest. After this is done
the King returns home, and on that day he fasts and with him all
the people of the land; and on the next day he goes to the river to
bathe with all his people. Within these nine days the King is paid
all the rents that he receives from his kingdom; for, as already said,
all the land belongs to the King, and from his hand the captains hold
it. They make it over to the husbandmen who pay nine-tenths to their
lord; and they have no land of their own, for the kingdom belongs
entirely to the King;[611] only the captains are put to charges
on account of the troops for whom the King makes them responsible,
and whom they are obliged to provide in the way of service. Every
Saturday the dancing-girls are obliged to go to the palace to dance
and posture before the King's idol, which is in the interior of his
palace. The people of this country always fast on Saturdays and do
not eat all day nor even at night, nor do they drink water, only
they may chew a few cloves to sweeten the breath. The King always
gives large sums in charity; in the palace there are always two or
three thousand Brahmans who are his priests, and to whom the King
commands to give alms. These Brahman priests are very despicable men;
they always have much money, and are so insolent that even by using
blows the guards of the door cannot hold them in check.

The captains and principal people use[612] at night torches of oil,
from four to twelve torches (according to rank), those of highest rank
having twelve at most. The King, however, must have a hundred or a
hundred and fifty torches. There is much wax in the country, but they
do not know how to work it. Every merchant who brings merchandise in
horses and other things which he may have brought to sell to the King,
if he desires an audience, has to offer him a present of a piece of
goods or a horse of the best that he has brought, in order that he
may obtain an audience and transact his business. And this not only
to the King. You must perforce pay bribes to all the several officers
with whom you have to deal. They will do nothing without some profit
to themselves

When any one suffers wrong and wishes to represent his case to the
King he shows how great is his suffering by lying flat on his face
on the ground till they ask him what it is he wants. If, perchance,
he wishes to speak to the King while he is riding, he takes the
shaft of a spear and ties a branch to it and thus goes along calling
out. Then they make room for him, and he makes his complaint to the
King; and it is there and then settled without more ado, and the King
orders a captain, one of those who go with him, to do at once what the
supplicant asks. If he complains that he was robbed in such and such
a province and in such and such a road, the King sends immediately
for the captain of that province, even though he be at court, and
the captain may be seized and his property taken if he does not catch
the thief. In the same way the chief bailiff[613] is obliged to give
an account of the robberies in the capital, and in consequence very
few thefts take place; and even if some are committed, you give some
little present and a description of the man who stole from you, and
they will soon know by the agency of the wizards whether the thief
be in the city or not; for there are very powerful wizards in this
country. Thus there are very few thieves in the land.

This King has continually fifty thousand paid soldiers, amongst
whom are six thousand horsemen who belong to the palace guard, to
which six thousand belong the two hundred who are obliged to ride
with him. He has also twenty thousand spearmen and shield-bearers,
and three thousand men to look after the elephants in the stables;
he has sixteen hundred grooms[614] who attend to the horses, and has
also three hundred horse trainers[615] and two thousand artificers,
namely blacksmiths, masons, and carpenters, and washermen who wash
clothes. These are the people he has and pays every day; he gives
them their allowance at the gate of the palace. To the six thousand
horsemen the King gives horses free and gives provision for them
every month, and all these horses are marked with the King's mark;
when they die they are obliged to take the piece of skin containing
the mark to Madanarque, the chief master of the horse, so that he
may give them another, and these horses which he gives are mostly
country-breds which the King buys, twelve or fifteen for a thousand
PARDAOS.[616] The King every year buys thirteen thousand horses of
Ormuz, and country-breds, of which he chooses the best for his own
stables, and he gives the rest to his captains, and gains much money
by them; because after taking out the good Persian horses, he sells
those which are country-bred, and gives five for a thousand PARDAOS,
and they are obliged to pay him the money for them within the month
of September; and with the money so obtained he pays for the Arabs
that he buys of the Portuguese, in such a way that his captains pay
the cost of the whole without anything going out of the Treasury.

This King has also within his gates more than four thousand women,
all of whom live in the palace; some are dancing-girls, and others
are bearers[617] who carry the King's wives on their shoulders,
and the King also in the interior of the palace, for the king's
houses are large and there are great intervals between one house
and another. He has also women who wrestle, and others who are
astrologers and soothsayers; and he has women who write all the
accounts of expenses that are incurred inside the gates, and others
whose duty it is to write all the affairs of the kingdom and compare
their books with those of the writers outside; he has women also for
music, who play instruments and sing. Even the wives of the King are
well versed in music.

The King has other women besides. He has ten cooks for his personal
service, and has others kept for times when he gives banquets; and
these ten prepare the food for no one save for the King alone. He has
a eunuch for guard at the gate of the kitchen, who never allows any one
to enter for fear of poison. When the King wishes to eat, every person
withdraws, and then come some of the women whose duty it is and they
prepare the table for him; they place for him a three-footed stool,
round, made of gold, and on it put the messes. These are brought in
large vessels of gold, and the smaller messes in basins of gold, some
of which are adorned with precious stones. There is no cloth on the
table, but one is brought when the King has finished eating, and he
washes his hands and mouth. Women and eunuchs serve him at table. The
wives of the King remain each in her own chamber and are waited on
by maid-servants. It is said that he has judges, as well as bailiffs
and watchmen who every night guard the palace, and all these are women.

The King never puts on any garment more than once, and when he takes
it off he at once delivers it to certain officers who have charge of
this duty, and they render an account; and these garments are never
given to any one. This is considered to show great state. His clothes
are silk cloths (PACHOIIS)[618] of very fine material and worked
with gold, which are worth each one ten PARDAOS; and they wear at
times BAJURIS of the same sort, which are like shirts with a skirt;
and on the head they wear caps of brocade which they call CULAES,[619]
and one of these is worth some twenty cruzados. When he lifts it from
his head he never again puts it on.

The punishments that they inflict in this kingdom are these: for
a thief, whatever theft he commits, howsoever little it be, they
forthwith cut off a foot and a hand, and if his theft be a great
one he is hanged with a hook under his chin. If a man outrages a
respectable woman or a virgin he has the same punishment, and if he
does any other such violence his punishment is of a like kind. Nobles
who become traitors are sent to be impaled alive on a wooden stake
thrust through the belly, and people of the lower orders, for whatever
crime they commit, he forthwith commands to cut off their heads in
the market-place, and the same for a murder unless the death was
the result of a duel. For great honour is done to those who fight
in a duel, and they give the estate of the dead man to the survivor;
but no one fights a duel without first asking leave of the minister,
who forthwith grants it. These are the common kinds of punishments,
but they have others more fanciful; for when the King so desires,
he commands a man to be thrown to the elephants, and they tear him
in pieces. The people are so subject to him that if you told a man
on the part of the King that he must stand still in a street holding
a stone on his back all day till you released him, he would do it.

The officers of the King who go about the kingdom are these: -- First
the minister (REGEDOR) of the kingdom, who is the second person in it,
then the treasurer, with the scribes of the King's own lands,[620]
the chief treasurer, and the commander of the palace guards (O
PORTEIRO MOOR), the treasurer of the jewels, the chief master of the
horse. The King has no controller of the revenues nor other officers,
nor officers of his house, but only the captains of his kingdom;
of whom I will here mention some, and the revenues they hold, and of
what territory they are lords,

Firstly Salvanayque, the present minister; he has a revenue of a
million and a hundred thousand gold PARDAOS. He is lord of Charamaodel
and of Nagapatao, and Tamgor, and Bomgarin, and Dapatao, and Truguel,
and Caullim, and all these are cities; their territories are all very
large, and they border on Ceylon.[621] Of this money he is obliged
to give a third to the King, and two-thirds remain for him for the
expenses of his LASCARIS and horses, which he is obliged to maintain
for the King, viz.: thirty thousand foot and three thousand horse and
thirty elephants; so that he only gets the balance after deducting
the expenses of this force. But in this way he acquires much wealth
because he never maintains the whole force. And the King, whenever
he wishes, takes away property of these nobles.

Another captain, Ajaparcatimapa,[622] who was minister of Crisnarao,
has a revenue of eight hundred thousand PARDAOS of gold, and is lord
of the city of Hudogary,[623] and of the city of Condovim,[624] and of
the city of Penagundim,[625] and of Codegaral[626] of Cidaota.[627] All
these large cities border on the kingdom of Oria, and some of them with
Cape Comorin (CABO DE COMARY). These lands Crisnarao gave him when he
made him minister and put out the eyes of Salvatinica, his minister,
who was captain of them. He is obliged to serve with twenty-five
thousand[628] foot, fifteen hundred horse, and forty elephants,
and pays each year to the King three hundred thousand PARDAOS.

Another captain, who is called Gapanayque, is lord of these lands,
namely of Rosyl,[629] and of Tipar, and of Ticalo, and of Bigolom.[630]
These lands march with the territory of the Ydallcao, and in all these
there is much wheat and grains and cattle and goats and gingely and
cotton; and very fine cloth made of the last, for all the cloth that
is manufactured is made of it. He has a revenue from these territories
of six hundred thousand PARDAOS, and is obliged to furnish two thousand
five hundred horse, and twenty thousand foot, and twenty elephants, and
he pays every year to the King a hundred and fifty thousand PARDAOS.

Another captain called Lepapayque, who is lord of Vimgapor,[631] a
land very rich in seed-plots and cattle-breeding farms, has a revenue
of three hundred thousand PARDAOS; and is obliged to furnish twelve
hundred horse and twenty thousand foot and twenty-eight elephants,
and he pays to the King every year eighty thousand PARDAOS.

The treasurer of the jewels, who is called Narvara is captain of the
new city which is called Ondegema,[632] and is lord of the city of
Diguoty and of Darguem and of Entarem,[633] and of the other lands
bordering on the lands of Bisnaga; they are all fields. They yield
him every year four hundred thousand PARDAOS, of which he gives the
King two hundred thousand, and the rest he spends on twelve thousand
foot and six hundred horse and twenty elephants.

Another captain called Chinapanayque, the King's marshal, is lord of
the land of Calaly[634] in the direction of Cochim in the interior, and
of many other lands that yield him three hundred thousand PARDAOS; and
he is obliged to pay the King every year one hundred thousand PARDAOS,
and serves with eight hundred horse and ten thousand foot (PRACOS).

Crisnapanayque is lord of Aosel,[635] which is a large city, and of
other villages that I do not here mention as they have very difficult
names. These lands yield him every year twenty thousand PARDAOS of
gold, and he pays an annual revenue to the King of seven thousand
PARDAOS, and serves with five hundred horse and seven hundred foot

Also Bajapanarque, who is captain of the country of Bodial,[636]
which borders on Mamgalor[637] by the sea-coast. He is lord too of
Guiana.[638] In this country there is much pepper and sugar-cane
and cloth (of flax)[639] and much rice; but there is no wheat, nor
other cloth, and it is a land of wax. It yields him three hundred
thousand PARDAOS a year, and he serves with eight hundred horsemen
and ten thousand foot and fifteen elephants. He pays the King ten
thousand PARDAOS.

Mallpanarque, who was chief master of the horse to King Crisnarao,
is lord of the country of Avaly,[640] which is in the interior of
Calecu.[641] This land has much iron and much cotton, rice, goats,
sheep, cows and buffaloes. He has a revenue of fifteen thousand
PARDAOS, and is obliged to serve with four hundred horse and six
thousand foot, and pays the King every year five thousand PARDAOS.

Another captain, called Adapanayque, who is the chief counsellor of the
King, is lord of the country of Gate,[642] whence come the diamonds,
and of many other territories which yield him three hundred thousand
gold PARDAOS, excluding the precious stones which form a revenue by
themselves. He pays to the King every year forty thousand PARDAOS,
with the condition that all diamonds which exceed twenty MANGELINS[643]
in weight shall be given to the King for his Treasury. He serves with
eight thousand foot and eight hundred horse and thirty elephants,
and pays the King every year one hundred thousand PARDAOS.

Another Bajapanayque is captain of Mumdoguel,[644] which was a
fortress of the Ydalcao, and was taken from him by Crisnarao when
he took Rachol,[645] which was a boundary of it. This fortress of
Mumdoguel with other territories yields him four hundred thousand
PARDAOS, and he serves with a thousand cavalry and ten thousand foot
and fifty elephants, and pays the King every year one hundred and
fifty thousand PARDAOS.

In this way the kingdom of Bisnaga is divided between more than two
hundred captains who are all heathen,[646] and according to the lands
and revenues that they have so the King settles for them the forces
that they are compelled to keep up, and how much revenue they have
to pay him every month during the first nine days of the month of
September. He never gives any receipts to them, only, if they do
not pay they are well punished, and are ruined and their property
taken away. All the captains of this kingdom make use of litters
and palanqueens. These are like biers and men carry them on their
shoulders, but people are not allowed to make use of litters unless
they are cavaliers of the highest rank, and the captains and principal
persons use palanqueens. There are always at the court where the King
is twenty thousand litters and palanqueens.

These matters concerning (I.E. the power and greatness of) the kingdom
of Bisnaga, though it may seem to you that I have exaggerated, yet the
people of this country assert them to have been even more notable[647]
in times past, and greater than they now are.

And in this kingdom of Bisnaga there is a class of men, natives of
the country, namely Brahmans, who the most part of them never kill
or eat any live thing, and these are the best that there are amongst
them. They are honest men, given to merchandise, very acute and of
much talent, very good at accounts, lean men and well-formed, but
little fit for hard work. By these and by the duties they undertake
the kingdom is carried on. They believe that there are Three Persons
and only One God, and they call the Persons of the Most Holy Trinity
"TRICEBEMCA." There is another class who are Canarese who have pagodas
in which are (images of?) monkeys, and cows, and buffaloes, and devils,
to whom they pay much honour, and these idols and monkeys which they
adore they say that in former times this land belonged all to the
monkeys, and that in those days they could speak. They have books full
of fine stories of chivalry, and many foolish tales about their idols,
such as it is out of reason for men to believe. But because of this,
neither in the kingdom of Bisnaga nor in all the land of the heathen
are any monkeys killed, and there are so many in this country that
they cover the mountains. There is another class of men called
Telumgalle;[648] when these die their wives are buried alive with them.

The King of Bisnaga is a Brahman;[649] every day he hears the preaching
of a learned Brahman, who never married nor ever touched a woman. He
urges in his preaching (obedience to) the commandments of God,
that is to say, that one must not kill any living thing, nor take
anything belonging to another, and as with these so with the rest of
the commandments. These people have such devotion to cows that they
kiss them every day, some they say even on the rump -- a thing I do
not assert for their honour -- and with the droppings of these cows
they absolve themselves from their sins as if with holy water. They
have for a commandment to confess their sins to the Brahman priests,
but they do not do it, except only those who are very religious
(AMIGUOS DE DIOS). They give in excuse that they feel a shame to
confess themselves to another man, and say that it is sufficient
to confess themselves alone after approaching God, for he who does
not do so does not acquire grace; thus they fulfil the command in
one way or another. But they do it so seldom (in reality) that they
(may be said to) neglect this command to confess.

This kingdom of Bisnaga is all heathen. The women have the custom of
burning themselves when their husbands die, and hold it an honour
to do so. When therefore their husbands die they mourn with their
relations and those of their husbands, but they hold that the wife
who weeps beyond measure has no desire to go in search of her husband;
and the mourning finished their relations speak to them, advising them
to burn themselves and not to dishonour their generation. After that,
it is said, they place the dead man on a bed with a canopy of branches
and covered with flowers, and they put the woman on the back of a
worthless horse, and she goes after them with many jewels on her,
and covered with roses; she carries a mirror in her hand and in the
other a branch of flowers, and (she goes accompanied by) many kinds
of music, and his relations (go with her) with much pleasure. A man
goes also playing on a small drum, and he sings songs to her telling
her that she is going to join her husband, and she answers also in
singing that so she will do. As soon as she arrives at the place where
they are always burned she waits with the musicians till her husband
is burned, whose body they place in a very large pit that has been
made ready for it, covered with much firewood. Before they light the
fire his mother or his nearest relative takes a vessel of water on the
head and a firebrand in the hand, and goes three times round the pit,
and at each round makes a hole in the pot; and when these three rounds
are done breaks the pot, which is small, and throws the torch into
the pit. Then they apply the fire, and when the body is burned comes
the wife with all the feasters and washes her feet, and then a Brahman
performs over her certain ceremonies according to their law; and when
he has finished doing this, she draws off with her own hand all the
jewels that she wears, and divides them among her female relatives, and
if she has sons she commends them to her most honoured relatives. When
they have taken off all she has on, even her good clothes, they put
on her some common yellow cloths, and her relatives take her hand and
she takes a branch in the other, and goes singing and running to the
pit where the fire is, and then mounts on some steps which are made
high up by the pit. Before they do this they go three times round the
fire, and then she mounts the steps and holds in front of her a mat
that prevents her from seeing the fire. They throw into the fire a
cloth containing rice, and another in which they carry betel leaves,
and her comb and mirror with which she adorned herself, saying that
all these are needed to adorn herself by her husband's side. Finally
she takes leave of all, and puts a pot of oil on her head, and casts
herself into the fire with such courage that it is a thing of wonder;
and as soon as she throws herself in, the relatives are ready with
firewood and quickly cover her with it, and after this is done they
all raise loud lamentations. When a captain dies, however many wives
he has they all burn themselves, and when the King dies they do the
same. This is the custom throughout all the country of the heathen,
except with that caste of people called Telugas, amongst whom the
wives are buried alive with their husbands when they die. These go
with much pleasure to the pit, inside of which are made two seats of
earth, one for him and one for her, and they place each one on his
own seat and cover them in little by little till they are covered up;
and so the wife dies with the husband.


Of the ceremonies practised at the death of Brahmans.

When a Brahman is sick, before he dies, they send to call the learned
Brahmans who are his priests, so that they should come to pray, and
console the sick man; and they talk to him of the affairs of his soul,
and what he must do to save it, bidding him spend money in alms. After
this ceremony is over they make the Brahman priests shave the sick
man's head, and after the shaving they bid them wash it, and after
the washing it is their custom to bring into their houses a cow
with a calf, -- there are very few Brahmans, however poor they be,
who do not have one to live in their house, -- which cow, when they
have finished washing the man's head, they take a turban and tie it to
its neck and put the end of the turban into the hand of the sick man,
and he gives it and the calf in alms for his soul to those priests who
perform these ceremonies. On that day he gives alms according to his
position, and gives to eat to some Brahmans who are invited and who
come there for the purpose. They believe that when these ceremonies
are made for the sick man, if he is to live he is soon cured of his
infirmity, and if not that he soon dies.

After the death of the sick man they have the ground washed upon which
he lay, and after the washing they take cow-dung and spread it over
the ground, and place the body on the top of this dung. They hold that
a sick man who dies on a cot, or on anything so-ever except only on
the ground, commits a mortal sin. As soon as the body is laid on the
ground they make for it a bier covered with boughs of the fig-tree,
and before they place the body on the bier they wash it well with
pure water, and anoint it with sandal-wood (oil); and they place by
the body branches of sweet basil and cover it with a new cloth, and
so place it in the bier. Then one of his relatives takes the bier on
one side, and they call three other Brahmans whosoever they may be
to aid them to lift it; and so they carry it to the place where they
are to burn it, accompanied by many Brahmans who go singing in front
of the corpse. In front of all goes his son, if he has one, or next
younger brother or nearest relative, with fire in the hand for the
burning. As soon as they arrive at the place where they have to burn
the body, they scatter money according to their ability, and then put
the fire to it; and they wait there till the whole body is consumed,
and then all go and wash their bodies in a tank and afterwards return
each one to his house. The son or brother or relation who put the fire
is obliged to sleep on the ground where the man died for nine nights,
and after the lapse of nine days from the death come the priests and
learned men and they command to shave the head of this man. During
these nine days, they feed the poor and they give them the dead man's
clothes, and they give the cot with its bed in alms to the priests,
with some money in addition; if he is a rich man they give gardens and
other things in alms to many Brahmans. When ten days are finished,
and the son has been shaved, he goes to the place where they burned
his father or his brother, and they perform many ceremonies over the
ashes and bones that remain unburned; then they put them in a small
vessel and make a pit in the ground and bury them in it, and keep
them thus guarded and buried in order (afterwards) to send the bones
to be thrown into a sacred river, which is distant from Goa over one
thousand leagues.[650] There is a very large temple there, the object
of many pilgrimages, and they hold that every pilgrim who dies there
is saved, and goes to Paradise, and also every dead man whose bones
are thrown into that river. In spite of this they in reality take
very few people there. The heir or the father or son of the dead man
is obliged, from the day of the death, for eleven days to give food
to twenty-seven Brahmans, and until twenty-one days to three others;
until twelve days again he feeds seven Brahmans, and until twenty-seven
days gives to eat to the three; on the last day of the month he gives
food to three others, and thenceforward, until one year is finished,
he gives meals once a month to three Brahmans. They do this in honour
of the Trinity for the soul of the deceased. When this year is over
he gives no more alms, except that each year, on the day on which the
death happened, he feeds six Brahmans, -- namely, three in honour of
the Trinity, and three for the persons of his father, grandfather,
and great-grandfather; who thus seemingly eat together. Thus he obtains
favour with God, and for these expenses they beg alms of the Brahmans
if they are poor. These give him all help for it. Before they dine
they wash the feet of all six, and during the meal some ceremonies
are performed by Brahman priests who come there for that purpose.

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