chap, ix FINES ON THE DEATH OF COWS 169
any of the idolaters of the Coromandel country are on the point of
death, their friends do not act like those elsewhere, who carry them to
die at the margin of a river or tank, so that their souls when leaving
the body may be cleansed of their impurity. They simply carry them into
the vicinity of the fattest cow which they are able to find.1
a cow happens to be sick the owner must lead it to the margin of a tank
or river, for should it die in his house the Brahmans inflict a fine
Remarkable histories of several women who have been burnt after the death of their husbands.
examples of this more than barbarous custom of the women of the
idolaters of India of burning themselves with the corpses of their
husbands, I will relate three remarkable of two of which I was a witness.
A Thousand Nights and a Night, ed.
1893, iv. 381 ff.). Numerous other writers also refer to the custom. As
is the case with SatI, this practice is now extinct, but were the
restraint removed it is most probable that there would be reversion to
both in some parts of India. For this form of Sati by burning in a pit
see Fra Paolino da San Bartolomeo, A Voyage to the East Indies, trans. W. Johnston, 1800, p. 91 f.; Sleeman, Rambles, 19 ; Caesar Fredericke, in Hakluyt, Principal Navigations, Everyman's Library, iii. 214.
The remainder of this passage has been omitted, as the ceremony
described is too disgusting for reproduction. This refers to the common
use of the Panchagavya, the five sacred products of the cow—milk,
curds, butter, urine, dung (Dubois, Hindu Manners, 42 f., 152 ft.).
These fines, as described by Ward, were very heavy, sufficient in some
cases to cripple a man's resources for the remainder of his life. If
one of the Tiyar caste in the Central Provinces kills a cow, he must
live in the cowshed for 21 days, lying down when the cows lie down,
standing up when they stand up; then he must make a pilgrimage, partake
of the five products of a cow, and give a feast to the caste (Russell, Tribes and Castes, i.
415). Among the Tellis of Madras, if a cow dies with a rope round its
neck, or on the spot where it is tethered, the family must get rid of
the pollution by a pilgrimage, or by bathing in a sacred river
(Thurston, Castes and Tribes of Southern India, vii. 16). See also Fra Paolino da San Bartolomeo, A Voyage to the East Indies, 299 ; F. Buchanan, in Martin, Eastern India, ii. 140.