chapter  XXVII
21 Pages

AMULETS AND CHARMS

Magic squares of these varieties are used as love charms, to create enmity, to cause men to be silent regarding another, to prevent dreaming, and to cast out devils. In northern India they are used to cure various diseases, to cause butter to increase in the churn, or milk in a woman or in a cow, to remove cattle disease, to make fruit-trees give their fruit, to make a husband obey his wife. 1 In soutl1ern India, when used as love charms they are written about the time of the new moon, the best days being Fridays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and the best hours those during which Jupiter, Mercury, and Venus are dominant. For all purposes magic squares are written on a porcelain plate or on paper, the inscription being washed off and drunk. Among the Memans of Gujarat, in a case of spirit possession, the Sayyid asks the patient to send him daily a white china plate, on which he writes with saffron magic squares, figures, or chapter 113 of the Koran, the writing being dissolved in water and drunk. 2 Or they are worn about the person or burnt, and the patient is fumigated with the smoke, or they are bound up in cotton soaked in perfumed oil and burnt in a lamp, or they are engraved on rings which are worn on the fingers. Some people write the charm on birch bark (bhojpattar, betula utilis), or have it engraved on a thin metallic plate covered with wax, protected by brocade, and worn as an amulet, or it is sealed up in a hollow metal case, 3 hung on the neck, worn on the upper arm, on the loins, or in the turban, or tied in the corner of a handkerchief.