Viewing page 121 of 166

JUMNA DRESSED AS THE GOD KRISHNA.
(159)

Jumna is a native of the Boolundshahur district, about twelve years of age. He is here represented as dressed, during the annual fair at Hurdwar, to represent Kuniya, or Krishna, a Hindoo incarnation of "Vishnu," one of the gods of the Hindoo trinity. He is seated upon a wooden platform on the "Hurka Pairee," or sacred steps leading down to the Ganges, with a brass dish (called a thalie) placed before him, and begs charity from the visitors at the fair. He is by caste a Brahmin and a vegetarian. On his head he wears a cap surmounted by a circular fan of peacock's feathers. He is richly dressed in silk, with a heavy gold embroidered shawl cast over him; under him is a cotton carpet, which covers the platform. 
Such representations of the most popular divinity among Hindoos are generally personated by fair good-looking boys, ordinarily sons of Brahmins, though not of the highest rank. They are accompanied by adults, who may be relatives, and who chant portions of the Bhugwut Pooran, the Mahabharat, or other works which contain details of the life, acts, and doctrines of Krishna, many parts of which are extremely indecent. The most popular portions of these works are the warlike actions of the god in aid of the Pandoos or Panduvas during the memorable war between them and the Kooroos or Kauravas, a rival family, for supremacy at Hastinapoor, near Delhi, then the capital of the Aryan Hindoo races of India; and his amorous transactions with Radha, his mistress, and the sixteen thousand shepherdesses and milkmaids with whom he played in the wilderness of Vrindu, near Muttra. Very frequently other boys are dressed up to represent Radha and the milkmaids, who dance, sing ballads in the local vernacular, or make recitations, which are liberally rewarded. Most of these, however, are of a lascivious character: and hence perhaps their popularity among the lower and most ignorant classes of Hindoos, to whom, indeed, they are uniformly addressed. Many of the dialogues, metaphysical and philosophical, interspersed with others of a more popular character, are of great length and difficulty: and it is surprising to see boys of comparatively tender age recite them without hesitation, whether in Sanscrit or the vernacular, during very lengthened performances. 
The origin of Krishna, like that of all other deities worshipped by Hindoos, is involved in mythological legends. He was born at Muttra, near Delhi, a mortal, though assumed to be an incarnation of Vishnu, sent to deliver men from giants 
Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact transcribe@si.edu.