Trial by ordeal of the Hindoos in the East
(By Ali Ibrahim Khan, and communicated by Warren Hastings, Esq. late Governor General of Bengal)
THIS kind of trial, described at large in the Comment on the Dhetma Sastra, consists of nine forms:
The Balance, in which the accused party, after fasting a day, is weighed twice in six minutes; and if he weighs more, or the balance breaks down, is pronounced guilty; if less, innocent; if exactly the same, he must be weighed a third time,
By fire, walking through a hole under ground, filled with burning wood.
By water, in which the party stands up to the navel, and diving, remains under it, holding the foot of a Bramin, till two arrows, shot to the greatest distance, can be gathered up.
By swallowing poison, or by taking a ring out of a pot, in which is the hooded snake called Nago.
By drinking Cosha, a water in which the images of the gods have been washed, and remaining unaffected with sickness fourteen days.
By chewing dry rice, and spitting it out dry, or stained with blood, both which are signs of guilt.
By thrusting the hand into hot oil, or handling hot iron.
By dipping into a pot for the figure of Justice in silver or clay, and bringing out either. Then follow crimes or cases requiring these ordeals. The author of this memoir saw a man tried at Benares, by the hot iron, unhurt; but another man, tried by the hot oil, was burned and mulcted.