Professor of Semitic Languages in the University of Pennsylvania









"This holy mystery I declare unto you: There is nothing nobler than humanity."




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The growing interest both in this country and abroad in the historical study of religions is one of the noticeable features in the intellectual phases of the past decades. The more general indications of this interest may be seen in such foundations as the Hibbert and Gifford Lectureships in England, and the recent organization of an American committee to arrange in various cities for lectures on the history of religions, in the establishment of a special department for the subject at the University of Paris, in the organization of the Musée Guimet at Paris, in the publication of a journal—the Revue de l'Histoire des Religions—under the auspices of this Museum, and in the creation of chairs at the Collège de France, at the Universities of Holland, and in this country at Cornell University and the University of Chicago,[1] with the prospect of others to follow in the near future. For the more special indications we must turn to the splendid labors of a large array of scholars toiling in the various departments of ancient culture—India, Babylonia, Assyria, Egypt, Palestine, Arabia, Phoenicia, China, Greece, and Rome—with the result of securing a firm basis for the study of the religions flourishing in those countries—a result due mainly to the discovery of fresh sources and to the increase of the latter brought about by exploration and incessant research. The detailed study of the facts of religion everywhere, both in primitive society and in advancing civilization, and the emphasis laid upon gathering and understanding these facts prior to making one's deductions, has succeeded in setting aside the speculations and generalizations that until the beginning of this century paraded under the name of "Philosophy of Religion."

Such has been the scholarly activity displayed and the fertility resulting, that it seems both desirable and timely to focus, as it were, the array of facts connected with the religions of the ancient world in such a manner that the summary resulting may serve as the point of departure for further investigations.

This has been the leading thought which has suggested the series of Handbooks on the History of Religions. The treatment of the religions included in the series differs from previous attempts in the aim to bring together the ascertained results of scholarship rather than to make an additional contribution, though the character of the scholars whose coöperation has beep secured justifies the hope that their productions will also mark an advance in the interpretation of the subject assigned to each. In accord with this general aim, mere discussion has been limited to a minimum, while the chief stress has been laid upon the clear and full presentation of the data connected with each religion.

A uniform plan has been drawn up by the editor for the order of treatment in the various volumes, by following which it is hoped that the continuous character of the series will be secured.

In this plan the needs of the general reader, as well as those of the student, for whom, in the first place, the series is designed, have been kept in view. After the introduction, which in the case of each volume is to be devoted to a setting forth of the sources and the method of study, a chapter follows on the land and the people, presenting those ethnographical and geographical considerations, together with a brief historical sketch of the people in question, so essential to an understanding of intellectual and religious life everywhere.

In the third section, which may be denominated the kernel of the book, the subdivisions and order of presentation necessarily vary, the division into periods being best adapted to one religion, the geographical order for another, the grouping of themes in a logical sequence for a third; but in every case, the range covered will be the same, namely, the beliefs, including the pantheon, the relation to the gods, views of life and death, the rites—both the official ones and the popular customs—the religious literature and architecture. A fourth section will furnish a general estimate of the religion, its history, and the relation it bears to others. Each volume will conclude with a full bibliography, index, and necessary maps, with illustrations introduced into the text as called for. The Editor has been fortunate in securing the services of distinguished specialists whose past labors and thorough understanding of the plan and purpose of the series furnish a guarantee for the successful execution of their task.

It is the hope of the Editor to produce in this way a series of manuals that may serve as text-books for the historical study of religions in our universities and seminaries. In addition to supplying this want, the arrangement of the manuals will, it is expected, meet the requirements of reliable reference-books for ascertaining the present status of our knowledge of the religions of antiquity, while the popular manner of presentation, which it will be the aim of the writers to carry out, justifies the hope that the general reader will find the volumes no less attractive and interesting.


* * * * *


[Footnote 1: In an article by the writer published in the Biblical World (University of Chicago Press) for January, 1893, there will be found an account of the present status of the Historical Study of Religions in this country.]

* * * * *




India always has been a land of religions. In the earliest Vedic literature are found not only hymns in praise of the accepted gods, but also doubts in regard to the worth of these gods; the beginnings of a new religion incorporated into the earliest records of the old. And later, when, about 300 B.C, Megasthenes was in India, the descendants of those first theosophists are still discussing, albeit in more modern fashion, the questions that lie at the root of all religion. "Of the philosophers, those that are most estimable he terms Brahmans ([Greek: brachmanas]). These discuss with many words concerning death. For they regard death as being, for the wise, a birth into real life—into the happy life. And in many things they hold the same opinions with the Greeks: saying that the universe was begotten and will be destroyed, and that the world is a sphere, which the god who made and owns it pervades throughout; that there are different beginnings of all things, but water is the beginning of world-making, while, in addition to the four elements, there is, as fifth, a kind of nature, whence came the sky and the stars…. And concerning the seed of things and the soul they have much to say also, whereby they weave in myths, just as does Plato, in regard to the soul's immortality, judgment in hell, and such things."[1]

And as India conspicuously is a country of creeds, so is its literature preëminently priestly and religious. From the first Veda to the last Pur[=a]na, religion forms either the subject-matter of the most important works, or, as in the case of the epics,[2] the basis of didactic excursions and sectarian interpolations, which impart to worldly themes a tone peculiarly theological. History and oratory are unknown in Indian literature. The early poetry consists of hymns and religious poems; the early prose, of liturgies, linguistics, "law," theology, sacred legends and other works, all of which are intended to supplement the knowledge of the Veda, to explain ceremonies, or to inculcate religious principles. At a later date, formal grammar and systems of philosophy, fables and commentaries are added to the prose; epics, secular lyric, drama, the Pur[=a]nas and such writings to the poetry. But in all this great mass, till that time which Müller has called the Renaissance—that is to say, till after the Hindus were come into close contact with foreign nations, notably the Greek, from which has been borrowed, perhaps, the classical Hindu drama,[3]—there is no real literature that was not religious originally, or, at least, so apt for priestly use as to become chiefly moral and theosophic; while the most popular works of modern times are sectarian tracts, Pur[=]nas, Tantras and remodelled worldly poetry. The sources, then, from which is to be drawn the knowledge of Hindu religions are the best possible—the original texts. The information furnished by foreigners, from the times of Ktesias and Megasthenes to that of Mandelslo, is considerable; but one is warranted in assuming that what little in it is novel is inaccurate, since otherwise the information would have been furnished by the Hindus themselves; and that, conversely, an outsider's statements, although presumably correct, often may give an inexact impression through lack of completeness; as when—to take an example that one can control—Ktesias tells half the truth in regard to ordeals. His account is true, but he gives no notion of the number or elaborate character of these interesting ceremonies.

The sources to which we shall have occasion to refer will be, then, the two most important collections of Vedic hymns—the Rig Veda and the Atharva Veda; the Brahmanic literature, with the supplementary Upanishads, and the S[=u]tras or mnemonic abridgments of religious and ceremonial rules; the legal texts, and the religious and theological portions of the epic; and the later sectarian writings, called Pur[=a]nas. The great heresies, again, have their own special writings. Thus far we shall draw on the native literature. Only for some of the modern sects, and for the religions of the wild tribes which have no literature, shall we have to depend on the accounts of European writers.


For none of the native religious works has one a certain date. Nor is there for any one of the earlier compositions the certainty that it belongs, as a whole, to any one time. The Rig Veda was composed by successive generations; the Atharvan represents different ages; each Br[=a]hmana appears to belong in part to one era, in part to another; the earliest S[=u]tras (manuals of law, etc.) have been interpolated; the earliest metrical code is a composite; the great epic is the work of centuries; and not only do the Upanishads and Pur[=a]nas represent collectively many different periods, but exactly to which period each individually is to be assigned remains always doubtful. Only in the case of the Buddhistic writings is there a satisfactorily approximate terminus a quo, and even here approximate means merely within the limit of centuries.

Nevertheless, criteria fortunately are not lacking to enable one to assign the general bulk of any one work to a certain period in the literary development; and as these periods are, if not sharply, yet plainly distinguishable, one is not in so desperate a case as he might have expected to be, considering that it is impossible to date with certainty any Hindu book or writer before the Christian era. For, first, there exists a difference in language, demarcating the most important periods; and, secondly, the development of the literature has been upon such lines that it is easy to say, from content and method of treatment, whether a given class of writings is a product of the Vedic, early Brahmanic, or late Brahmanic epochs. Usually, indeed, one is unable to tell whether a later Upanishad was made first in the early or late Brahmanic period, but it is known that the Upanishads, as a whole, i.e., the literary form and philosophical material which characterize Upanishads, were earlier than the latest Brahmanic period and subsequent to the early Brahmanic period; that they arose at the close of the latter and before the rise of the former. So the Br[=a]hmanas, as a whole, are subsequent to the Vedic age, although some of the Vedic hymns appear to have been made up in the same period with that of the early Br[=a]hmanas. Again, the Pur[=a]nas can be placed with safety after the late Brahmanic age; and, consequently, subsequent to the Upanishads, although it is probable that many Upanishads were written after the first Pur[=a]nas. The general compass of this enormous literature is from an indefinite antiquity to about 1500 A.D. A liberal margin of possible error must be allowed in the assumption of any specific dates. The received opinion is that the Rig Veda goes back to about 2000 B.C., yet are some scholars inclined rather to accept 3000 B.C. as the time that represents this era. Weber, in his Lectures on Sanskrit Literature (p. 7), rightly says that to seek for an exact date is fruitless labor; while Whitney compares Hindu dates to ninepins—set up only to be bowled down again. Schroeder, in his Indiens Literatur und Cultur, suggests that the prior limit may be "a few centuries earlier than 1500," agreeing with Weber's preferred reckoning; but Whitney, Grassmann, and Benfey provisionally assume 2000 B.C. as the starting point of Hindu literature. The lowest possible limit for this event Müller now places at about 1500, which is recognized as a very cautious view; most scholars thinking that Müller's estimate gives too little time for the development of the literary periods, which, in their opinion, require, linguistically and otherwise, a greater number of years. Brunnhofer more recently has suggested 2800 B.C. as the terminus; while the last writers on the subject (Tilak and Jacobi) claim to have discovered that the period from 3500 to 2500 represents the Vedic age. Their conclusions, however, are not very convincing, and have been disputed vigorously.[4] Without the hope of persuading such scholars as are wedded to a terminus of three or four thousand years ago that we are right, we add, in all deference to others, our own opinion on this vexed question. Buddhism gives the first semblance of a date in Hindu literature. Buddha lived in the sixth century, and died probably about 480, possibly (Westergaard's extreme opinion) as late as 368.[5] Before this time arise the S[=u]tras, back of which lie the earliest Upanishads, the bulk of the Br[=a]hmanas, and all the Vedic poems. Now it is probable that the Brahmanic literature itself extends to the time of Buddha and perhaps beyond it. For the rest of pre-Buddhistic literature it seems to us incredible that it is necessary to require, either from the point of view of linguistic or of social and religious development, the enormous period of two thousand years. There are no other grounds on which to base a reckoning except those of Jacobi and his Hindu rival, who build on Vedic data results that hardly support the superstructure they have erected. Jacobi's starting-point is from a mock-serious hymn, which appears to be late and does not establish, to whatever date it be assigned, the point of departure from which proceeds his whole argument, as Whitney has shown very well. One is driven back to the needs of a literature in respect of time sufficient for it to mature. What changes take place in language, even with a written literature, in the space of a few centuries, may be seen in Persian, Greek, Latin, and German. No two thousand years are required to bridge the linguistic extremes of the Vedic and classical Sanskrit language.[6] But in content it will be seen that the flower of the later literature is budding already in the Vedic age. We are unable to admit that either in language or social development, or in literary or religious growth, more than a few centuries are necessary to account for the whole development of Hindu literature (meaning thereby compositions, whether written or not) up to the time of Buddha. Moreover, if one compare the period at which arise the earliest forms of literature among other Aryan peoples, it will seem very strange that, whereas in the case of the Romans, Greeks, and Persians, one thousand years B.C. is the extreme limit of such literary activity as has produced durable works, the Hindus two or three thousand years B.C. were creating poetry so finished, so refined, and, from a metaphysical point of view, so advanced as is that of the Rig Veda. If, as is generally assumed, the (prospective) Hindus and Persians were last to leave the common Aryan habitat, and came together to the south-east, the difficulty is increased; especially in the light of modern opinion in regard to the fictitious antiquity of Persian (Iranian) literature. For if Darmesteter be correct in holding the time of the latter to be at most a century before our era, the incongruity between that oldest date of Persian literature and the "two or three thousand years before Christ," which are claimed in the case of the Rig Veda, becomes so great as to make the latter assumption more dubious than ever.

We think in a word, without wishing to be dogmatic, that the date of the Rig Veda is about on a par, historically, with that of 'Homer,' that is to say, the Collection[7] represents a long period, which was completed perhaps two hundred years after 1000 B.C, while again its earliest beginnings precede that date possibly by five centuries; but we would assign the bulk of the Rig Veda to about 1000 B.C. With conscious imitation of older speech a good deal of archaic linguistic effect doubtless was produced by the latest poets, who really belong to the Brahmanic age. The Brahmanic age in turn ends, as we opine, about 500 B.C., overlapping the S[=u]tra period as well as that of the first Upanishads. The former class of writings (after 500 B.C. one may talk of writings) is represented by dates that reach from circa 600-500 B.C. nearly to our era. Buddhism's floruit is from 500 B.C. to 500 A.D., and epic Hinduism covers nearly the same centuries. From 500 to 1000 Buddhism is in a state of decadence; and through this time extend the dramatic and older Puranic writings; while other Pur[=a]nas are as late as 1500, at which time arises the great modern reforming sect of the Sikhs. In the matter of the earlier termini a century may be added or subtracted here and there, but these convenient divisions of five hundreds will be found on the whole to be sufficiently accurate.[8]


At the outset of his undertaking a double problem presents itself to one that would give, even in compact form, a view of Hindu religions. This problem consists in explaining, and, in so far as is possible, reconciling opposed opinions in regard not only to the nature of these religions but also to the method of interpreting the Vedic hymns.

That the Vedic religion was naturalistic and mytho-poetic is doubted by few. The Vedic hymns laud the powers of nature and natural phenomena as personified gods, or even as impersonal phenomena. They praise also as distinct powers the departed fathers. In the Rig Veda I. 168, occur some verses in honor of the storm-gods called Maruts: "Self-yoked are they come lightly from the sky. The immortals urge themselves on with the goad. Dustless, born of power, with shining spears the Maruts overthrow the strongholds. Who is it, O Maruts, ye that have lightning-spears, that impels you within? … The streams roar from the tires, when they send out their cloud-voices," etc. Nothing would seem more justifiable, in view of this hymn and of many like it, than to assume with Müller and other Indologians, that the Marut-gods are personifications of natural phenomena. As clearly do Indra and the Dawn appear to be natural phenomena. But no less an authority than Herbert Spencer has attacked this view: "Facts imply that the conception of the dawn as a person results from the giving of dawn as a birth-name."[9] And again: "If, then, Dawn [in New Zealand and elsewhere] is an actual name for a person, if where there prevails this mode of distinguishing children, it has probably often been given to those born early in the morning; the traditions concerning one of such who became noted, would, in the mind of the uncritical savage … lead to identification with the dawn."[10] In another passage: "The primitive god is the superior man … propitiated during his life and still more after his death."[11] Summing up, Spencer thus concludes: "Instead of seeing in the common character of so-called myths, that they describe combats of beings using weapons, evidence that they arose out of human transactions; mythologists assume that the order of Nature presents itself to the undeveloped mind in terms of victories and defeats."[12] Moreover (a posteriori), "It is not true that the primitive man looks at the powers of Nature with awe. It is not true that he speculates about their characters and causes."[13] If Spencer had not included in his criticism the mythologists that have written on Vedic religion, there would be no occasion to take his opinion into consideration. But since he claims by the light of his comparative studies to have shown that in the Rig Veda the "so-called nature gods,"[14] were not the oldest, and explains Dawn here exactly as he does in New Zealand, it becomes necessary to point out, that apart from the question of the origin of religions in general, Spencer has made a fatal error in assuming that he is dealing in the Rig Veda with primitive religion, uncritical savages, and undeveloped minds. And furthermore, as the poet of the Rig Veda is not primitive, or savage, or undeveloped, so when he worships Dyaus pitar [Greek: Zeùs patáer] as the 'sky-father,' he not only makes it evident to every reader that he really is worshipping the visible sky above; but in his descriptions of gods such as Indra, the Dawn, and some other new gods he invents from time to time, long after he has passed the savage, primitive, and undeveloped state, he makes it no less clear that he worships phenomena as they stand before him (rain, cloud, lightning, etc.), so that by analogy with what is apparent in the case of later divinities, one is led inevitably to predicate the same origin as theirs in the case of the older gods.

But it is unnecessary to spend time on this point. It is impossible for any sober scholar to read the Rig Veda and believe that the Vedic poets are not worshipping natural phenomena; or that the phenomena so worshipped were not the original forms of these gods. Whether at a more remote time there was ever a period when the pre-historic Hindu, or his pre-Indic ancestor, worshipped the Manes exclusively is another question, and one with which at present we have nothing to do. The history of Hindu religions begins with the Rig Veda, and in this period the worship of Manes and that of natural phenomena were distinct, nor are there any indications that the latter was ever developed from the former. It is not denied that the Hindus made gods of departed men. They did this long after the Vedic period. But there is no proof that all the Vedic gods, as claims Spencer, were the worshipped souls of the dead. No argumentum a fero can show in a Vedic dawn-hymn anything other than a hymn to personified Dawn, or make it probable that this dawn was ever a mortal's name.

In respect of that which precedes all tradition we, whose task is not to speculate in regard to primitive religious conceptions, but to give the history of one people's religious progress, may be pardoned for expressing no opinion. But without abandoning history (i.e., tradition) we would revert for a moment to the pre-Indian period and point out that Zarathustra's rejection of the daevas which must be the same devas that are worshipped in India, proves that deva-worship is the immediate predecessor of the Hindu religion. As far back as one can scrutinize the Aryan past he finds, as the earliest known objects of reverence, 'sun' and 'sky,' besides and beside the blessed Manes. A word here regarding the priority of monotheism or of polytheism. The tradition is in favor of the latter, while on a priori grounds whoever thinks that the more primitive the race the more apt it is for monotheism will postulate, with some of the older scholars, an assumed monotheism as the pre-historic religion of the Hindus; while whosoever opines that man has gradually risen from a less intellectual stage will see in the early gods of the Hindus only another illustration of one universal fact, and posit even Aryan polytheism as an advance on the religion which it is probable that the remoter ancestors of the Aryans once acknowledged.

A word perhaps should be said, also, in order to a better understanding between the ethnologists as represented by Andrew Lang, and the unfortunate philologists whom it delights him to pommel. Lang's clever attacks on the myth-makers, whom he persistently describes as the philologists—and they do indeed form part of that camp—have had the effect of bringing 'philological theories' into sad disrepute with sciolists and 'common-sense' people. But the sun-myths and dawn-myths that the myth-makers discover in Cinderella and Red Riding Hood, ought not to be fathered upon all philologists. On the other hand, who will deny that in India certain mythological figures are eoian or solar in origin? Can any one question that Vivasvant the 'wide gleaming' is sun or bright sky, as he is represented in the Avesta and Rig Veda? Yet is a very anthropomorphic, nay, earthly figure, made out of this god. Or is Mr. Lang ignorant that the god Yima became Jemshid, and that Feridun is only the god Trita? It undoubtedly is correct to illuminate the past with other light than that of sun or dawn, yet that these lights have shone and have been quenched in certain personalities may be granted without doing violence to scientific principles. All purely etymological mythology is precarious, but one may recognize sun-myths without building a system on the basis of a Dawn-Helen, and without referring Ilium to the Vedic bila. Again, myths about gods, heroes, and fairies are to be segregated. Even in India, which teems with it, there is little, if any, folklore that can be traced to solar or dawn-born myths. Mr. Lang represents a healthy reaction against too much sun-myth, but we think that there are sun-myths still, and that despite his protests all religion is not grown from one seed.

There remains the consideration of the second part of the double problem which was formulated above—the method of interpretation. The native method is to believe the scholiasts' explanations, which often are fanciful and, in all important points, totally unreliable; since the Hindu commentators lived so long after the period of the literature they expound that the tradition they follow is useful only in petty details. From a modern point of view the question of interpretation depends mainly on whether one regard the Rig Veda as but an Indic growth, the product of the Hindu mind alone, or as a work that still retains from an older age ideas which, having once been common to Hindu and Iranian, should be compared with those in the Persian Avesta and be illustrated by them. Again, if this latter hypothesis be correct, how is one to interpret an apparent likeness, here and there, between Indic and foreign notions,—is it possible that the hymns were composed, in part, before the advent of the authors into India, and is it for this reason that in the Rig Veda are contained certain names, ideas, and legends, which do not seem to be native to India? On the other hand, if one adopt the theory that the Rig Veda is wholly a native work, in how far is he to suppose that it is separable from Brahmanic formalism? Were the hymns made independently of any ritual, as their own excuse for being, or were they composed expressly for the sacrifice, as part of a formal cult?

Here are views diverse enough, but each has its advocate or advocates. According to the earlier European writers the Vedic poets are fountains of primitive thought, streams unsullied by any tributaries, and in reading them one quaffs a fresh draught, the gush of unsophisticated herdsmen, in whose religion there is to be seen a childlike belief in natural phenomena as divine forces, over which forces stands the Heaven-god as the highest power. So in 1869 Pfleiderer speaks of the "primeval childlike naïve prayer" of Rig Veda vi. 51. 5 ("Father sky, mother earth," etc.);[15] while Pictet, in his work Les Origines Indo-Européennes, maintains that the Aryans had a primitive monotheism, although it was vague and rudimentary; for he regards both Iranian dualism and Hindu polytheism as being developments of one earlier monism (claiming that Iranian dualism is really monotheistic). Pictet's argument is that the human mind must have advanced from the simple to the complex! Even Roth believes in an originally "supreme deity" of the Aryans.[16] Opposed to this, the 'naïve' school of such older scholars as Roth, Müller,[17] and Grassmann, who see in the Rig Veda an ingenuous expression of 'primitive' ideas, stand the theories of Bergaigne, who interprets everything allegorically; and of Pischel and Geldner, realists, whose general opinions may thus be formulated: The poets of the Rig Veda are not childlike and naïve; they represent a comparatively late period of culture, a society not only civilized, but even sophisticated; a mode of thought philosophical and sceptical a religion not only ceremonious but absolutely stereotyped. In regard to the Aryanhood of the hymns, the stand taken by these latter critics, who renounce even Bergaigne's slight hold on mythology, is that the Rig Veda is thoroughly Indic. It is to be explained by the light of the formal Hindu ritualism, and even by epic worldliness, its fresh factors being lewd gods, harlots, and race-horses. Bloomfield, who does not go so far as this, claims that the 'Vedic' age really is a Brahmanic age; that Vedic religion is saturated with Brahmanic ideas and Brahmanic formalism, so that the Rig Veda ought to be looked upon as made for the ritual, not the ritual regarded as ancillary to the Rig Veda[18]. This scholar maintains that there is scarcely any chronological distinction between the hymns of the Rig Veda and the Br[=a]hmana, both forms having probably existed together "from earliest times"; and that not a single Vedic hymn "was ever composed without reference to ritual application"; nay, all the hymns were "liturgical from the very start"[19]. This is a plain advance even on Bergaigne's opinion, who finally regarded all the family-books of the Rig Veda as composed to subserve the soma-cult.[20]

In the Rig Veda occur hymns of an entirely worldly character, the lament of a gambler, a humorous description of frogs croaking like priests, a funny picture of contemporary morals [describing how every one lusts after wealth], and so forth. From these alone it becomes evident that the ritualistic view must be regarded as one somewhat exaggerated. But if the liturgical extremist appears to have stepped a little beyond the boundary of probability, he yet in daring remains far behind Bergaigne's disciple Regnaud, who has a mystical 'system,' which is, indeed, the outcome of Bergaigne's great work, though it is very improbable that the latter would have looked with favor upon his follower's results. In Le Rig Veda [Paris, 1892] Paul Regnaud, emphasizing again the connection between the liturgy and the hymns, refers every word of the Rig Veda to the sacrifice in its simplest form, the oblation. According to this author the Hindus had forgotten the meaning of their commonest words, or consistently employed them in their hymns in a meaning different to that in ordinary use. The very word for god, deva [deus], no longer means the 'shining one' [the god], but the 'burning oblation'; the common word for mountain, giri also means oblation, and so on. This is Bergaigne's allegorical mysticism run mad.

At such perversion of reasonable criticism is the exegesis of the Veda arrived in one direction. But in another it is gone astray no less, as misdirected by its clever German leader. In three volumes[21] Brunnhofer has endeavored to prove that far from being a Brahmanic product, the Rig Veda is not even the work of Hindus; that it was composed near the Caspian Sea long before the Aryans descended into India. Brunnhofer's books are a mine of ingenious conjectures, as suggestive in detail as on the whole they are unconvincing. His fundamental error is the fancy that names and ideas which might be Iranian or Turanian would prove, if such they really could be shown to be, that the work in which they are contained must be Iranian or Turanian. He relies in great measure on passages that always have been thought to be late, either whole late hymns or tags added to old hymns, and on the most daring changes in the text, changes which he makes in order to prove his hypothesis, although there is no necessity for making them. The truth that underlies Brunnhofer's extravagance is that there are foreign names in the Rig Veda, and this is all that he has proved thus far.

In regard to the relation between the Veda and the Avesta the difference of views is too individual to have formed systems of interpretation on that basis alone. Every competent scholar recognizes a close affinity between the Iranian Yima and the Hindu Yama, between the soma-cult and the haoma-cult, but in how far the thoughts and forms that have clustered about one development are to be compared with those of the other there is no general agreement and there can be none. The usual practice, however, is to call the Iranian Yima, haoma, etc., to one's aid if they subserve one's own view of Yama, soma, and other Hindu parallels, and to discard analogous features as an independent growth if they do not. This procedure is based as well on the conditions of the problem as on the conditions of human judgment, and must not be criticized too severely; for in fact the two religions here and there touch each other so nearly that to deny a relation between them is impossible, while in detail they diverge so widely that it is always questionable whether a coincidence of ritual or belief be accidental or imply historical connection.

It is scarcely advisable in a concise review of several religions to enter upon detailed criticism of the methods of interpretation that affect for the most part only the earliest of them. But on one point, the reciprocal relations between the Vedic and Brahmanic periods, it is necessary to say a few words. Why is it that well-informed Vedic scholars differ so widely in regard to the ritualistic share in the making of the Veda? Because the extremists on either side in formulating the principles of their system forget a fact that probably no one of them if questioned would fail to acknowledge. The Rig Veda is not a homogeneous whole. It is a work which successive generations have produced, and in which are represented different views, of local or sectarian origin; while the hymns from a literary point of view are of varying value. The latter is a fact which has been ignored frequently, but it is more important than any other. For one has almost no criteria, with which to discover whether the hymns precede or follow the ritual, other than the linguistic posteriority of the ritualistic literature, and the knowledge that there were priests with a ritual when some of the hymns were composed. The bare fact that hymns are found rubricated in the later literature is surely no reason for believing that such hymns were made for the ritual. Now while it can be shown that a large number of hymns are formal, conventional, and mechanical in expression, and while it may be argued with plausibility that these were composed to serve the purpose of an established cult, this is very far from being the case with many which, on other grounds, may be supposed to belong severally to the older and later part of the Rig Veda. Yet does the new school, in estimating the hymns, never admit this. The poems always are spoken of as 'sacerdotal', ritualistic, without the slightest attempt to see whether this be true of all or of some alone. We claim that it is not historical, it is not judicious from a literary point of view, to fling indiscriminately together the hymns that are evidently ritualistic and those of other value; for, finally, it is a sober literary judgment that is the court of appeals in regard to whether poetry be poetry or not. Now let one take a hymn containing, to make it an unexceptionable example, nothing very profound or very beautiful. It is this well-known

HYMN TO THE SUN (Rig Veda, I. 50).

Aloft this all-wise[22] shining god
His beams of light are bearing now,
That every one the sun may see.

Apart, as were they thieves, yon stars,
Together with the night[23], withdraw
Before the sun, who seeth all.

His beams of light have been beheld
Afar, among [all] creatures; rays
Splendid as were they [blazing] fires,

Impetuous-swift, beheld of all,
Of light the maker, thou, O Sun,
Thou all the gleaming [sky] illum'st.

Before the folk of shining gods
Thou risest up, and men before,
'Fore all—to be as light beheld;

[To be] thine eye, O pure bright Heaven,
Wherewith amid [all] creatures born
Thou gazest down on busy [man].

Thou goest across the sky's broad place,
Meting with rays, O Sun, the days,
And watching generations pass.

The steeds are seven that at thy car
Bear up the god whose hair is flame
O shining god, O Sun far-seen!

Yoked hath he now his seven fair steeds,
The daughters of the sun-god's car,
Yoked but by him[24]; with these he comes.

For some thousands of years these verses have been the daily prayer of the Hindu. They have been incorporated into the ritual in this form. They are rubricated, and the nine stanzas form part of a prescribed service. But, surely, it were a literary hysteron-proteron to conclude for this reason that they were made only to fill a part in an established ceremony.

The praise is neither perfunctory nor lacking in a really religious tone. It has a directness and a simplicity, without affectation, which would incline one to believe that it was not made mechanically, but composed with a devotional spirit that gave voice to genuine feeling.

We will now translate another poem (carefully preserving all the tautological phraseology), a hymn

To DAWN (Rig Veda VI. 64).

Aloft the lights of Dawn, for beauty gleaming,
Have risen resplendent, like to waves of water;
She makes fair paths, (makes) all accessible;
And good is she, munificent and kindly.

Thou lovely lookest, through wide spaces shin'st thou,
Up fly thy fiery shining beams to heaven;
Thy bosom thou reveals't, thyself adorning,
Aurora, goddess gleaming bright in greatness.

The ruddy kine (the clouds) resplendent bear her,
The blessed One, who far and wide extendeth.
As routs his foes a hero armed with arrows,
As driver swift, so she compels the darkness.

Thy ways are fair; thy paths, upon the mountains;
In calm, self-shining one, thou cross'st the waters.
O thou whose paths are wide, to us, thou lofty
Daughter of Heaven, bring wealth for our subsistence.

Bring (wealth), thou Dawn, who, with the kine, untroubled
Dost bring us good commensurate with pleasure,
Daughter of Heaven, who, though thou art a goddess,
Didst aye at morning-call come bright and early.

Aloft the birds fly ever from their dwelling,
And men, who seek for food, at thy clear dawning.
E'en though a mortal stay at home and serve thee,
Much joy to him, Dawn, goddess (bright), thou bringest.

The "morning call" might, indeed, suggest the ritual, but it proves only a morning prayer or offering. Is this poem of a "singularly refined character," or "preëminently sacerdotal" in appearance? One other example (in still a different metre) may be examined, to see if it bear on its face evidence of having been made with "reference to ritual application," or of being "liturgical from the very start."

To INDRA (Rig Veda, I.11).

'Tis Indra all (our) songs extol,
Him huge as ocean in extent;
Of warriors chiefest warrior he,
Lord, truest lord for booty's gain.

In friendship, Indra, strong as thine
Naught will we fear, O lord of strength;
To thee we our laudations sing,
The conqueror unconquered.[25]

The gifts of Indra many are,
And inexhaustible his help
Whene'er to them that praise he gives
The gift of booty rich in kine.

A fortress-render, youthful, wise,
Immeasurably strong was born
Indra, the doer of every deed,
The lightning-holder, far renowned.

'Twas thou, Bolt-holder, rent'st the cave
Of Val, who held the (heavenly) kine;[26]
Thee helped the (shining) gods, when roused
(To courage) by the fearless one.[27]

Indra, who lords it by his strength,
Our praises now have loud proclaimed;
His generous gifts a thousand are,
Aye, even more than this are they.

This is poetry. Not great poetry perhaps, but certainly not ground out to order, as some of the hymns appear to have been. Yet, it may be said, why could not a poetic hymn have been written in a ritualistic environment? But it is on the hymns themselves that one is forced to depend for the belief in the existence of ritualism, and we claim that such hymns as these, which we have translated as literally as possible, show rather that they were composed without reference to ritual application. It must not be forgotten that the ritual, as it is known in the Br[=a]hmanas, without the slightest doubt, from the point of view of language, social conditions, and theology, represents an age that is very different to that illustrated by the mass of the hymns. Such hymns, therefore, and only such as can be proved to have a ritualistic setting can be referred to a ritualistic age. There is no convincing reason why one should not take the fully justified view that some of the hymns represent a freer and more natural (less priest-bound) age, as they represent a spirit freer and less mechanical than that of other hymns. As to the question which hymns, early or late, be due to poetic feeling, and which to ritualistic mechanism or servile imitation, this can indeed be decided by a judgment based only on the literary quality, never on the accident of subsequent rubrication.

We hold, therefore, in this regard, that the new school, valuable and suggestive as its work has been, is gone already farther than is judicious. The Rig Veda in part is synchronous with an advanced ritualism, subjected to it, and in some cases derived from it; but in part the hymns are "made for their own sake and not for the sake of any sacrificial performance," as said Muller of the whole; going in this too far, but not into greater error than are gone they that confuse the natural with the artificial, the poetical with the mechanical, gold with dross. It may be true that the books of the Rig Veda are chiefly family-books for the soma-cult, but even were it true it would in no wise impugn the poetic character of some of the hymns contained in these books. The drag-net has scooped up old and new, good and bad, together. The Rig Veda is not of one period or of one sort. It is a 'Collection,' as says its name. It is essentially impossible that any sweeping statement in regard to its character should be true if that character be regarded as uniform. To say that the Rig Veda represents an age of childlike thought, a period before the priestly ritual began its spiritual blight, is incorrect. But no less incorrect is it to assert that the Rig Veda represents a period when hymns are made only for rubrication by priests that sing only for baksheesh. Scholars are too prone to-day to speak of the Rig Veda in the same way as the Greeks spoke of Homer. It is to be hoped that the time may soon come when critics will no longer talk about the Collection as if it were all made in the same circumstances and at the same time; above all is it desirable that the literary quality of the hymns may receive due attention, and that there may be less of those universal asseverations which treat the productions of generations of poets as if they were the work of a single author.

In respect of the method of reading into the Rig Veda what is found in parallel passages in the Atharva Veda and Br[=a]hmanas, a practice much favored by Ludwig and others, the results of its application have been singularly futile in passages of importance. Often a varied reading will make clearer a doubtful verse, but it by no means follows that the better reading is the truer. There always remains the lurking suspicion that the reason the variant is more intelligible is that its inventor did not understand the original. As to real elucidation of other sort by the later texts, in the minutiae of the outer world, in details of priestcraft, one may trust early tradition tentatively, just as one does late commentators, but in respect of ideas tradition is as apt to mislead as to lead well. The cleft between the theology of the Rig Veda and that of the Br[=a]hmanas, even from the point of view of the mass of hymns that comprise the former, is too great to allow us with any content to explain the conceptions of the one by those of the other. A tradition always is useful when nothing else offers itself, but traditional beliefs are so apt to take the color of new eras that they should be employed only in the last emergency, and then with the understanding that they are of very hypothetical value.

In conclusion a practical question remains to be answered. In the few cases where the physical basis of a Rig Vedic deity is matter of doubt, it is advisable to present such a deity in the form in which he stands in the text or to endeavor historically to elucidate the figure by searching for his physical prototype? We have chosen the former alternative, partly because we think the latter method unsuitable to a handbook, since it involves many critical discussions of theories of doubtful value. But this is not the chief reason. Granted that the object of study is simply to know the Rig Veda, rightly to grasp the views held by the poets, and so to place oneself upon their plane of thought, it becomes obvious that the farther the student gets from their point of view the less he understands them. Nay, more, every bit of information, real as well as fancied, which in regard to the poets' own divinities furnishes one with more than the poets themselves knew or imagined, is prejudicial to a true knowledge of Vedic beliefs. Here if anywhere is applicable that test of desirable knowledge formulated as das Erkennen des Erkannten. To set oneself in the mental sphere of the Vedic seers, as far as possible to think their thoughts, to love, fear, and admire with them—this is the necessary beginning of intimacy, which precedes the appreciation that gives understanding.


After the next chapter, which deals with the people and land, we shall begin the examination of Hindu religions with the study of the beliefs and religious notions to be found in the Rig Veda. Next to the Rig Veda in time stands the Atharva Veda, which represents a growing demonology in contrast with soma-worship and theology; sufficiently so at least to deserve a special chapter. These two Vedic Collections naturally form the first period of Hindu religion.

The Vedic period is followed by what is usually termed Brahmanism, the religion that is inculcated in the rituals called Br[=a]hmana and its later development in the Upanishads. These two classes of works, together with the Yajur Veda, will make the next divisions of the whole subject. The formal religion of Brahmanism, as laid down for popular use and instruction in the law-books, is a side of Brahmanic religion that scarcely has been noticed, but it seems to deserve all the space allotted to it in the chapter on 'The Popular Brahmanic Faith.' We shall then review Jainism and Buddhism, the two chief heresies. Brahmanism penetrates the great epic poem which, however, in its present form is sectarian in tendency, and should be separated as a growth of Hinduism from the literature of pure Brahmanism. Nevertheless, so intricate and perplexing would be the task of unraveling the theologic threads that together make the yarn of the epic, and in many cases it would be so doubtful whether any one thread led to Brahmanism or to the wider and more catholic religion called Hinduism, that we should have preferred to give up the latter name altogether, as one that was for the most part idle, and in some degree misleading. Feeling, however, that a mere manual should not take the initiative in coining titles, we have admitted this unsatisfactory word 'Hinduism' as the title of a chapter which undertakes to give a comprehensive view of the religions endorsed by the many-centuried epic, and to explain their mutual relations. As in the case of the 'Popular Faith,' we have had here no models to go upon, and the mass of matter which it was necessary to handle—the great epic is about eight times as long as the Iliad and Odyssey put together—must be our excuse for many imperfections of treatment in this part of the work. The reader will gain at least a view of the religious development as it is exhibited in the literature, and therefore, as, far as possible, in chronological order. The modern sects and the religions of the hill tribes of India form almost a necessary supplement to these nobler religions of the classical literature; the former because they are the logical as well as historical continuation of the great Hindu sectarian schisms, the latter because they give the solution of some problems connected with Çivaism, and, on the other hand, offer useful un-Aryan parallels to a few traits which have been preserved in the earliest period of the Aryans.[28]

* * * * *


[Footnote 1: Megasthenes, Fr. XLI, ed. Schwanbeck.]

[Footnote 2: Epic literature springs from lower castes than that of the priest, but it has been worked over by sacerdotal revisers till there is more theology than epic poetry in it.]

[Footnote 3: See Weber, Sanskrit Literature, p. 224; Windisch, Greek Influence on Indian Drama; and Lévi, Le théâtre indien. The date of the Renaissance is given as "from the first century B.C. to at least the third century A.D." (India, p. 281). Extant Hindu drama dates only from the fifth century A.D. We exclude, of course, from "real literature" all technical hand-books and commentaries.]

[Footnote 4: Jacobi, in Roth's Festgruss, pp. 72, 73 (1893); Whitney, Proceed. A.O.S., 1894, p. lxxii; Perry, P[=u]shan, in the Drisler Memorial; Weber, Vedische Beiträge.]

[Footnote 5: Westergaard, Ueber Buddha's Todesjahr. The prevalent opinion is that Buddha died in 477 or 480 B.C.]

[Footnote 6: It must not be forgotten in estimating the broad mass of Br[=a]hmanas and S[=u]tras that each as a school represents almost the whole length of its period, and hence one school alone should measure the time from end to end, which reduces to very moderate dimensions the literature to be accounted for in time.]

[Footnote 7: 'Rig Veda Collection' is the native name for that which in the Occident is called Rig Veda, the latter term embracing, to the Hindu, all the works (Br[=a]hmanas, S[=u]tras, etc.) that go to explain the 'Collection' (of hymns).]

[Footnote 8: Schroeder, Indiens Literatur und Cultur, p.291, gives: Rig-Veda, 2000-1000 B.C.; older Br[=a]hmanas, 1000-800; later Br[=a]hmanas and Upanishads, 800-600; S[=u]tras, 600-400 or 300.]

[Footnote 9: Principles of Sociology, I. P.448 (Appleton, 1882).]

[Footnote 10: Ib. p. 398.]

[Footnote 11: Ib. p. 427.]

[Footnote 12: Ib. p. 824.]

[Footnote 13: Ib.]

[Footnote 14: Ib. p. 821.]

[Footnote 15: Compare Muir, Original Sanskrit Texts, V. p.
412 ff., where are given the opinions of Pfleiderer, Pictet,
Roth, Scherer, and others.]

[Footnote 16: ZDMG., vi. 77: "Ein alter gemeinsam arischer
[indo-iranic], ja vielleicht gemeinsam indo-germanischer
oberster Gott, Varuna-Ormuzd-Uranos."]

[Footnote 17: In his Science of Language, Müller speaks of
the early poets who "strove in their childish way to pierce
beyond the limits of this finite world." Approvingly cited,
SBE. xxxii. p. 243 (1891).]

[Footnote 18: The over view may be seen in Müller's Lecture
on the Vedas
(Chips, I. p. 9): "A collection made for its
own sake, and not for the sake of any sacrificial
performance." For Pischel's view compare Vedische Studien,
I. Preface.]

[Footnote 19: Bloomfield, JAOS xv. p. 144.]

[Footnote 20: Compare Barth (Preface): "A literature preeminently sacerdotal…. The poetry … of a singularly refined character, … full of … pretensions to mysticism," etc.]

[Footnote 21: Iran und Turan, 1889; Vom Pontus bis zum
, 1890; Vom Aral bis zur Gang[=a] 1892.]

[Footnote 22: Or "all-possessing" [Whitney]. The metre of
the translation retains the number of feet in the original.
Four [later added] stanzas are here omitted.]

[Footnote 23: So P.W. possibly "by reason of [the sun's]
rays"; i.e., the stars fear the sun as thieves fear light.
For 'Heaven,' here and below, see the third chapter.]

[Footnote 24: Yoked only by him; literally "self-yoked."
Seven is used in the Rig Veda in the general sense of
"many," as in Shakespeare's "a vile thief this seven

[Footnote 25: jet[=a]ram [=a]par[=a]jitam.]

[Footnote 26: The rain, see next note.]

[Footnote 27: After this stanza two interpolated stanzas are here omitted. Grassman and Ludwig give the epithet "fearless" to the gods and to Vala, respectively. But compare I.6.7, where the same word is used of Indra. For the oft-mentioned act of cleaving the cave, where the dragon Val or Vritra (the restrainer or envelopper) had coralled the kine(i.e. without metaphor, for the act of freeing the clouds and letting loose the rain), compare I.32.2, where of Indra it is said: "He slew the snake that lay upon the mountains … like bellowing kine the waters, swiftly flowing, descended to the sea"; and verse 11: "Watched by the snake the waters stood … the waters' covered cave he opened wide, what time he Vritra slew."]

[Footnote 28: Aryan, Sanskrit aryà, árya, Avestan airya, appears to mean the loyal or the good, and may be the original national designation, just as the Medes were long called [Greek: Arioi]. In late Sanskrit [=a]rya is simply 'noble.' The word survives, perhaps, in [Greek: aristos], and is found in proper names, Persian Ariobarzanes, Teutonic Ariovistus; as well as in the names of people and countries, Vedic [=A]ryas, [=I]ran, Iranian; (doubtful) Airem, Erin, Ireland. Compare Zimmer, BB. iii. p. 137; Kaegi, Der Rig Veda, p. 144 (Arrowsmith's translation, p. 109). In the Rig Veda there is a god Aryaman, 'the true,' who forms with Mitra and Varuna a triad (see below). Windisch questions the propriety of identifying [=I]ran with Erin, and Schrader (p. 584^2) doubts whether the Indo-Europeans as a body ever called themselves Aryans. We employ the latter name because it is short.]

* * * * *



The Aryan Hindus, whose religions we describe in this volume[1], formed one of the Aryan or so-called Indo-European peoples. To the other peoples of this stock, Persians, Armenians, Greeks, Italians, Kelts, Teutons, Slavs, the Hindus were related closely by language, but very remotely from the point of view of their primitive religion. Into India the Aryans brought little that was retained in their religious systems. A few waning gods, the worship of ancestors, and some simple rites are common to them and their western relations; but with the exception of the Iranians (Persians), their religious connection with cis-Indic peoples is of the slightest. With the Iranians, the Hindus (that were to be) appear to have lived longest in common after the other members of the Aryan host were dispersed to west and south[2]. They stand in closer religious touch with these, their nearest neighbors, and in the time of the Rig Veda (the Hindus' earliest literature) there are traces of a connection comparatively recent between the pantheons of the two nations.

According to their own, rather uncertain, testimony, the Aryans of the Rig Veda appear to have consisted of five tribal groups[3]. These groups, janas, Latin gens, are subdivided into viças, Latin vicus, and these, again, into gr[=a]mas. The names, however, are not employed with strictness, and jana, etymologically gens but politically tribus, sometimes is used as a synonym of gr[=a]ma.[4] Of the ten books of the Rig-Veda seven are ascribed to various priestly families. In the main, these books are rituals of song as inculcated for the same rites by different family priests and their descendants. Besides these there are books which are ascribed to no family, and consist, in part, of more general material. The distinction of priestly family-books was one, possibly, coextensive with political demarcation. Each of the family-books represents a priestly family, but it may represent, also, a political family. In at least one case it represents a political body.[5]

These great political groups, which, perhaps, are represented by family rituals, were essentially alike in language, custom and religion (although minor ritualistic differences probably obtained, as well as tribal preference for particular cults); while in all these respects, as well as in color and other racial peculiarities, the Aryans were distinguished from the dark-skinned aborigines, with whom, until the end of the Rig Vedic period, they were perpetually at war. At the close of this period the immigrant Aryans had reduced to slavery many of their unbelieving and barbarian enemies, and formally incorporated them into the state organization, where, as captives, slaves, or sons of slaves, the latter formed the "fourth caste." But while admitting these slaves into the body politic, the priestly Aryans debarred them from the religious congregation. Between the Aryans themselves there is in this period a loosely defined distinction of classes, but no system of caste is known before the close of the first Vedic Collection. Nevertheless, the emphasis in this statement lies strongly upon system, and it may not be quite idle to say at the outset that the general caste-distinctions not only are as old as the Indo-Iranian unity (among the Persians the same division of priest, warrior and husbandman obtains), but, in all probability, they are much older. For so long as there is a cult, even if it be of spirits and devils, there are priests; and if there are chieftains there is a nobility, such as one finds among the Teutons, nay, even among the American Indians, where also is known the inevitable division into priests, chiefs and commons, sometimes hereditary, sometimes not. There must have been, then, from the beginning of kingship and religious service, a division among the Aryans into royalty, priests, and people, i.e., whoever were not acting as priests or chieftains. When the people becomes agricultural, the difference tends to become permanent, and a caste system begins. Now, the Vedic Aryans appear in history at just the period when they are on the move southwards into India; but they are no irrupting host. The battles led the warriors on, but the folk, as a folk, moved slowly, not all abandoning the country which they had gained, but settling there, and sending onwards only a part of the people. There was no fixed line of demarcation between the classes. The king or another might act as his own priest—yet were there priestly families. The cow-boys might fight—yet were there those of the people that were especially 'kingsmen,' r[=a]janyas, and these were, already, practically a class, if not a caste[6]. These natural and necessary social divisions, which in early times were anything but rigid, soon formed inviolable groups, and then the caste system was complete. In the perfected legal scheme what was usage becomes duty. The warrior may not be a public priest; the priest may not serve as warrior or husbandman. The farmer 'people' were the result of eliminating first the priestly, and then the fighting factors from the whole body politic. But these castes were all Aryans, and as such distinguished most sharply, from a religious point of view, from the "fourth caste"; whereas among themselves they were, in religion, equals. But they were practically divided by interests that strongly affected the development of their original litanies. For both priest and warrior looked down on the 'people,' but priest and warrior feared and respected each other. To these the third estate was necessary as a base of supplies, and together they guarded it from foes divine and mortal. But to each other they were necessary for wealth and glory, respectively. So it was that even in the earliest period the religious litany, to a great extent, is the book of worship of a warrior-class as prepared for it by the priest. Priest and king—these are the main factors in the making of the hymns of the Rig Veda, and the gods lauded are chiefly the gods patronized by these classes. The third estate had its favorite gods, but these were little regarded, and were in a state of decadence. The slaves, too, may have had their own gods, but of these nothing is known, and one can only surmise that here and there in certain traits, which seem to be un-Aryan, may lie an unacknowledged loan from the aborigines.

Between the Rig Veda and the formation or completion of the next Veda, called the Atharvan, the interval appears to have been considerable, and the inherent value of the religion inculcated in the latter can be estimated aright only when this is weighed together with the fact, that, as is learned from the Atharvan's own statements, the Aryans were now advanced further southwards and eastwards, had discovered a new land, made new gods, and were now more permanently established, the last a factor of some moment in the religious development. Indications of the difference in time may be seen in the geographical and physical limitations of the older period as compared with those of the later Atharvan. When first the Aryans are found in India, at the time of the Rig Veda, they are located, for the most part, near the Upper Indus (Sindhu). The Ganges, mentioned but twice, is barely known. On the west the Aryans lingered in East Kabulistan (possibly in Kashmeer in the north); and even Kandahar appears, at least, to be known as Aryan. That is to say, the 'Hindus' were still in Afghanistan, although the greater mass of the people had already crossed the Indus and were progressed some distance to the east of the Punj[=a]b. That the race was still migrating may be seen from the hymns of the Rig Veda itself.[7] Their journey was to the south-east, and both before and after they reached the Indus they left settlements, chiefly about the Indus and in the Punj[=a]b (a post-Vedic group), not in the southern but in the northern part of this district.[8]

The Vedic Aryans of this first period were acquainted with the Indus, Sutlej (Çutudri), Beas (Vip[=a]ç, [Greek: Yphtsis]), Ravi (Parushni or Ir[=a]vat[=i]); the pair of rivers that unite and flow into the Indus, viz.: Jhelum (Vitast[=a], Behat), and Chin[=a]b (Asikni,[9] Akesines); and knew the remoter Kubh[=a] ([Greek: Kôphhên], Kabul) and the northern Suv[=a]stu (Swat); while they appear to have had a legendary remembrance of the Ras[=a], Avestan Ra[.n]ha (Rangha), supposed by some to be identical with the Araxes or Yaxartes, but probably (see below) only a vague 'stream,' the old name travelling with them on their wanderings; for one would err if he regarded similarity or even identity of appellation as a proof of real identity.[10] West of the Indus the Kurum and Gomal appear to be known also. Many rivers are mentioned of which the names are given, but their location is not established. It is from the district west of the Indus that the most famous Sanskrit grammarian comes, and long after the Vedas an Indic people are known in the Kandahar district, while Kashmeer was a late home of culture. The Sarasvati river, the name of which is transferred at least once in historical times, may have been originally one with the Arghand[=a]b (on which is Kandahar), for the Persian name of this river (s becomes h) is Harahvati (Arachotos, Arachosia), and it is possible that it was really this river, and not the Indus which was first lauded as the Sarasvat[=i]. In that case there would be a perfect parallel to what has probably happened in the case of the Ras[=a], the name—in both cases meaning only 'the stream' (like Rhine, Arno, etc.)—being transferred to a new river. But since the Iranian Harahvati fixes the first river of this name, there is here a stronger proof of Indo-Iranian community than is furnished by other examples.[11]

These facts or suggestive parallels of names are of exceeding importance. They indicate between the Vedic Aryans and the Iranians a connection much closer than usually has been assumed. The bearings of such a connection on the religious ideas of the two peoples are self-evident, and will often have to be touched upon in the course of this history. It is of less importance, from the present point of view, to say how the Aryans entered India, but since this question is also connected with that of the religious environment of the first Hindu poets, it will be well to state that, although, as some scholars maintain, and as we believe, the Hindus may have come with the Iranians through the open pass of Herat (Haraiva, Haroyu), it is possible that they parted from the latter south of the Hindukush[12] (descending through the Kohistan passes from the north), and that the two peoples thence diverged south-east and south-west respectively. Neither assumption would prevent the country lying between the Harahvati and Vitast[=a][13] from being, for generations, a common camping-ground for both peoples, who were united still, but gradually diverging. This seems, at least, to be the most reasonable explanation of the fact that these two rivers are to each people their farthest known western and eastern limits respectively. With the exception of the vague and uncertain Ras[=a], the Vedic Hindu's geographical knowledge is limited by Kandahar in the west, as is the Iranian's in the east by the Vitast[=a].[14] North of the Vitast[=a] Mount Tricota (Trikakud, 'three peaks') is venerated, and this together with a Mount M[=u]javat, of which the situation is probably in the north, is the extent of modern knowledge in respect of the natural boundaries of the Vedic people. One hears, to be sure, at a later time, of 'northern Kurus,' whose felicity is proverbial; and it is very tempting to find in this name a connection with the Iranian Kur, but the Kurus, like the Ras[=a] and Sarasvat[=i], are re-located once (near Delhi), and no similarity of name can assure one of a true connection. If not coincidences, such likenesses are too vague to be valuable historically.[15]

Another much disputed point must be spoken of in connection with this subject. In the Veda and in the Avesta there is mentioned the land of the 'seven rivers.' Now seven rivers are often spoken of in the Rig Veda, but only once does this term mean the country, while in the 'Hymn to the Rivers' no less than twenty-one streams are enumerated (RV. X. 75). In order to make out the 'seven rivers' scholars have made different combinations, that most in favor being Müller's, the five rivers of the Punj[=a]b together with the Kabul and (Swat or) Sarasvat[=i]. But in point of fact 'seven' quite as often means many, as it does an exact number, and this, the older use, may well be applied here. It is quite impossible to identify the seven, and it is probable that no Vedic poet ever imagined them to be a group of this precise number. It would be far easier to select a group of seven conspicuous rivers, if anywhere, on the west of the Indus. A very natural group from the Iranian side would be the Her[=i]r[=u]d, Hilmund, Arghand[=a]b, Kurum, Kabul, Indus, and Vitast[=a]. Against this, however, can be urged that the term 'seven rivers' may be Bactrian, older than the Vedic period; and that, in particular, the Avesta distinguishes Vaikerta, Urva, and other districts from the 'seven rivers.' It is best to remain uncertain in so doubtful a matter, bearing in mind that even Kurukshetra, the 'holy land,' is said to-day to be watered by 'seven streams,' although some say nine; apropos of which fact Cunningham remarks, giving modern examples, that "the Hindus invariably assign seven branches to all their rivers."[16]

Within the Punj[=a]b, the Vedic Aryans, now at last really 'Hindus,' having extended themselves to the Çutudri (Çatadru, Sutlej), a formidable barrier, and eventually having crossed even this, the last tributary's of the Indus, descended to the jumna (Yamun[=a]), over the little stream called 'the Rocky' (Drishadvat[=i]) and the lesser Sarasvat[=i], southeast from Lahore and near Delhi, in the region Kurukshetra, afterwards famed as the seat of the great epic war, and always regarded as holy in the highest degree.

Not till the time of the Atharva Veda do the Aryans appear as far east as Benares (V[=a]r[=a]nas[=i], on the 'Varan[=a]vat[=i]'), though the Sarayu is mentioned in the Rik. But this scarcely is the tributary of the Ganges, Gogra, for the name seems to refer to a more western stream, since it is associated with the Gomat[=i] (Gomal). One may surmise that in the time of the Rig Veda the Aryans knew only by name the country east of Lucknow. It is in the Punj[=a]b and a little to the west and east of it (how far it is impossible to state with accuracy) where lies the real theatre of activity of the Rig Vedic people.

Some scholars believe that this people had already heard of the two oceans. This point again is doubtful in the extreme. No descriptions imply a knowledge of ocean, and the word for ocean means merely a 'confluence' of waters, or in general a great oceanic body of water like the air. As the Indus is too wide to be seen across, the name may apply in most cases to this river. An allusion to 'eastern and western floods,'[17] which is held by some to be conclusive evidence for a knowledge of the two seas, is taken by others to apply to the air-oceans. The expression may apply simply to rivers, for it is said that the Vip[=a]ç and Çutudr[=i] empty into the 'ocean', i.e., the Indus or the Çutudr[=i]'s continuation.[18] One late verse alone speaks of the Sarasvat[=i] pouring into the ocean, and this would indicate the Arabian Sea.[19] Whether the Bay of Bengal was known, even by hearsay and in the latest time of this period, remains uncertain. As a body the Aryans of the Rig Veda were certainly not acquainted with either ocean. Some straggling adventurers probably pushed down the Indus, but Zimmer doubtless is correct in asserting that the popular emigration did not extend further south than the junction of the Indus and the Pa[=n]canada (the united five rivers).[20] The extreme south-eastern geographical limit of the Rig Vedic people may be reckoned (not, however, in Oldenberg's opinion, with any great certainty) as being in Northern Beh[=a]r (M[=a]gadha). The great desert, Marusthala, formed an impassable southern obstacle for the first immigrants.[21]

On the other hand, the two oceans are well known to the Atharva Veda, while the geographical (and hence chronological) difference between the Rik and the Atharvan is furthermore illustrated by the following facts: in the Rig Veda wolf and lion are the most formidable beasts; the tiger is unknown and the elephant seldom alluded to; while in the Atharvan the tiger has taken the lion's place and the elephant is a more familiar figure. Now the tiger has his domicile in the swampy land about Benares, to which point is come the Atharvan Aryan, but not the Rig Vedic people. Here too, in the Atharvan, the panther is first mentioned, and for the first time silver and iron are certainly referred to. In the Rig Veda the metals are bronze and gold, silver and iron being unknown.[22] Not less significant are the trees. The ficus religiosa, the tree later called the 'tree of the gods' (deva-sadana, açvattha), under which are fabled to sit the divinities in heaven, is scarcely known in the Rig Veda, but is well known in the Atharvan; while India's grandest tree, the nyagrodha, ficus indica, is known to the Atharvan and Brahmanic period, but is utterly foreign to the Rig Veda. Zimmer deems it no less significant that fishes are spoken of in the Atharvan and are mentioned only once in the Rig Veda, but this may indicate a geographical difference less than one of custom. In only one doubtful passage is the north-east monsoon alluded to. The storm so vividly described in the Rig Veda is the south-west monsoon which is felt in the northern Punj[=a]b. The north-east monsoon is felt to the southeast of the Punj[=a]b, possibly another indication of geographical extension, withal within the limits of the Rig Veda itself.

The seat of culture shifts in the Brahmanic period, which follows that of the Vedic poems, and is found partly in the 'holy land' of the west, and partly in the east (Beh[=a]r, Tirhut).[23] The literature of this period comes from Aryans that have passed out of the Punj[=a]b. Probably, as we have said, settlements were left all along the line of progress. Even before the wider knowledge of the post-Alexandrine imperial age (at which time there was a north-western military retrogression), and, from the Vedic point of view, as late as the end of the Brahmanic period, in the time of the Upanishads, the northwest seems still to have been familiarly known.[24]

* * * * *


[Footnote 1: We take this opportunity of stating that by the religions of the Aryan Hindus we mean the religions of a people who, undoubtedly, were full-blooded Aryans at first, however much their blood may have been diluted later by un-Aryan admixture. Till the time of Buddhism the religious literature is fairly Aryan. In the period of "Hinduism" neither people nor religion can claim to be quite Aryan.]

[Footnote 2: If, as thinks Schrader, the Aryans' original seat was on the Volga, then one must imagine the Indo-Iranians to have kept together in a south-eastern emigration.]

[Footnote 3: That is to say, frequent reference is made to
'five tribes.' Some scholars deny that the tribes are Aryan
alone, and claim that 'five,' like seven, means 'many.']

[Footnote 4: RV. III. 33. 11; 53. 12. Zimmer, Altindisches
, p. 160, incorrectly identifies viç with tribus
(Leist, Rechtsgeschichte, p. 105).]

[Footnote 5: Viçv[=a]mitra. A few of the hymns are not
ascribed to priests at all (some were made by women; some by
'royal-seers,' i.e. kings, or, at least, not priests).]

[Footnote 6: Caste, at first, means 'pure,' and signifies that there is a moral barrier between the caste and outcast. The word now practically means class, even impure class. The native word means 'color,' and the first formal distinction was national, (white) Aryan and 'black-man.' The precedent class-distinctions among the Aryans themselves became fixed in course of time, and the lines between Aryans, in some regards, were drawn almost as sharply as between Aryan and slave.]

[Footnote 7: Compare RV. iii. 33, and in I. 131. 5, the words: 'God Indra, thou didst help thy suppliants; one river after another they gained who pursued glory.']

[Footnote 8: Thomas, Rivers of the Vedas (JRAS. xv. 357
ff.; Zimmer, loc. cit. cap. 1).]

[Footnote 9: Later called the Candrabh[=a]ga. For the Jumna
and Sarayu see below.]

[Footnote 10: This is the error into which falls Brunnhofer,
whose theory that the Vedic Aryans were still settled near
the Caspian has been criticised above (p. 15).]

[Footnote 11: Compare Geiger, Ostiranische Cultur, p. 81.
See also Muir, OST. ii. p. 355.]

[Footnote 12: Lassen, I. p. 616, decided in favor of the
western passes of the Hindukush.]

[Footnote 13: From Kandahar in Afghanistan to a point a
little west of Lahore. In the former district, according to
the Avesta, the dead are buried (an early Indian custom, not

[Footnote 14: Geiger identifies the Vita[=g]uhaiti or Vitanghvati with the Oxus, but this is improbable. It lies in the extreme east and forms the boundary between the true believers and the 'demon-worshippers' (Yasht, 5, 77; Geiger, loc. cit. p. 131, note 5). The Persian name is the same with Vitast[=a], which is located in the Punj[=a]b.]

[Footnote 15: On the Kurus compare Zimmer (loc. cit.), who thinks Kashmeer is meant, and Geiger, loc. cit. p. 39. Other geographical reminiscences may lie in Vedic and Brahmanic allusions to Bactria, Balkh (AV.); to the Derbiker (around Meru? RV.), and to Manu's mountain, whence he descended after the flood (Naubandhana): Çatapatha Br[=a]hmana, I. 8. 1, 6, 'Manu's descent'.]

[Footnote 16: Arch. Survey, xiv. p. 89; Thomas, loc. cit. p. 363.]

[Footnote 17: RV. x. 136. 5.]

[Footnote 18: RV. iii. 33. 2.]

[Footnote 19: RV. vii. 95. 2. Here the Sarasvat[=i] can be
only the Indus.]

[Footnote 20: Pa[=n]ca-nada, Punjnud, Persian 'Punj[=a]b,'
the five streams, Vitas[=a], Asikn[=i], Ir[=a]vat[=i],
Vip[=a]ç, Çutudr[=i]. The Punjnud point is slowly moving up
stream; Vyse, JRAS. x. 323. The Sarayu may be the
Her[=i]r[=u]d, Geiger, loc. cit. p. 72.]

[Footnote 21: Muir, OST. ii. 351; Zimmer, loc. cit. p. 51
identifies the K[=i]katas of RV. iii. 53. 14 with the
inhabitants of Northern Beh[=a]r. Marusthala is called
simply 'the desert.']

[Footnote 22: The earlier áyas, Latin aes, means bronze
not iron, as Zimmer has shown, loc. cit. p. 51. Pischel,
Vedische Studien, I, shows that elephants are mentioned
more often than was supposed (but rarely in family-books).]

[Footnote 23: Weber, Indische Studien, I. p. 228;
Oldenberg, Buddha, pp. 399 ff., 410.]

[Footnote 24: Very lately (1893) Franke has sought to show that the P[=a]li dialect of India is in part referable to the western districts (Kandahar), and has made out an interesting case for his novel theory (ZDMG. xlvii. p. 595).]

* * * * *



The hymns of the Rig Veda may be divided into three classes, those in which are especially lauded the older divinities, those in which appear as most prominent the sacrificial gods, and those in which a long-weakened polytheism is giving place to the light of a clearer pantheism. In each category there are hymns of different age and quality, for neither did the more ancient with the growth of new divinities cease to be revered, nor did pantheism inhibit the formal acknowledgment of the primitive pantheon. The cult once established persisted, and even when, at a later time, all the gods had been reduced to nominal fractions of the All-god, their ritualistic individuality still was preserved. The chief reason for this lies in the nature of these gods and in the attitude of the worshipper. No matter how much the cult of later gods might prevail, the other gods, who represented the daily phenomena of nature, were still visible, awe-inspiring, divine. The firmest pantheist questioned not the advisability of propitiating the sun-god, however much he might regard this god as but a part of one that was greater. Belief in India was never so philosophical that the believer did not dread the lightning, and seek to avert it by praying to the special god that wielded it. But active veneration in later times was extended in fact only to the strong Powers, while the more passive divinities, although they were kept as a matter of form in the ceremonial, yet had in reality only tongue-worshippers.

With some few exceptions, however, it will be found impossible to say whether any one deity belonged to the first pantheon.

The best one can do is to separate the mass of gods from those that become the popular gods, and endeavor to learn what was the character of each, and what were the conceptions of the poets in regard both to his nature, and to his relations with man. A different grouping of the gods (that indicated below) will be followed, therefore, in our exposition.

After what has been said in the introductory chapter concerning the necessity of distinguishing between good and bad poetry, it may be regarded as incumbent upon us to seek to make such a division of the hymns as shall illustrate our words. But we shall not attempt to do this here, because the distinction between late mechanical and poetic hymns is either very evident, and it would be superfluous to burden the pages with the trash contained in the former,[1] or the distinction is one liable to reversion at the hands of those critics whose judgment differs from ours, for there are of course some hymns that to one may seem poetical and to another, artificial. Moreover, we admit that hymns of true feeling may be composed late as well as early, while as to beauty of style the chances are that the best literary production will be found among the latest rather than among the earliest hymns.

It would, indeed, be admissible, if one had any certainty in regard to the age of the different parts of the Rig Veda, simply to divide the hymns into early, middle, and late, as they are sometimes divided in philological works, but here one rests on the weakest of all supports for historical judgment, a linguistic and metrical basis, when one is ignorant alike of what may have been accomplished by imitation, and of the work of those later priests who remade the poems of their ancestors.

Best then, because least hazardous, appears to be the method which we have followed, namely, to take up group by group the most important deities arranged in the order of their relative importance, and by studying each to arrive at a fair understanding of the pantheon as a whole. The Hindus themselves divided their gods into highest, middle, and lowest, or those of the upper sky, the atmosphere, and the earth. This division, from the point of view of one who would enter into the spirit of the seers and at the same time keep in mind the changes to which that spirit gradually was subjected, is an excellent one. For, as will be seen, although the earlier order of regard may have been from below upwards, this order does not apply to the literary monuments. These show on the contrary a worship which steadily tends from above earthwards; and the three periods into which may be divided all Vedic theology are first that of the special worship of sky-gods, when less attention is paid to others; then that of the atmospheric and meteorological divinities; and finally that of terrestrial powers, each later group absorbing, so to speak, the earlier, and therewith preparing the developing Hindu intelligence for the reception of the universal god with whom closes the series.

Other factors than those of an inward development undoubtedly were at work in the formation of this growth. Especially prominent is the amalgamation of the gods of the lower classes with those of the priest-hood. Climatic environment, too, conditioned theological evolution, if not spiritual advance. The cult of the mid-sphere god, Indra, was partly the result of the changing atmospheric surroundings of the Hindus as they advanced into India. The storms and the sun were not those of old. The tempests were more terrific, the display of divine power was more concentrated in the rage of the elements; while appreciation of the goodness of the sun became tinged with apprehension of evil, and he became a deadly power as well as one beneficent. Then the relief of rain after drought gave to Indra the character of a benign god as well as of a fearful one. Nor were lacking in the social condition certain alterations which worked together with climatic changes. The segregated mass of the original people, the braves that hung about the king, a warrior-class rapidly becoming a caste, and politically the most important caste, took the god of thunder and lightning for their god of battle. The fighting race naturally exalted to the highest the fighting god. Then came into prominence the priestly caste, which gradually taught the warrior that mind was stronger than muscle. But this caste was one of thinkers. Their divinity was the product of reflection. Indra remained, but yielded to a higher power, and the god thought out by the priests became God. Yet it must not be supposed that the cogitative energy of the Brahman descended upon the people's gods and suddenly produced a religious revolution. In India no intellectual advance is made suddenly. The older divinities show one by one the transformation that they suffered at the hands of theosophic thinkers. Before the establishment of a general Father-god, and long before that of the pantheistic All-god, the philosophical leaven was actively at work. It will be seen operative at once in the case of the sun-god, and, indeed, there were few of the older divinities that were untouched by it. It worked silently and at first esoterically. One reads of the gods' 'secret names,' of secrets in theology, which 'are not to be revealed,' till at last the disguise is withdrawn, and it is discovered that all the mystery of former generations has been leading up to the declaration now made public: 'all these gods are but names of the One.'


The hymn which was translated in the first chapter gives an epitome of the simpler conceptions voiced in the few whole hymns to the sun. But there is a lower and a higher view of this god. He is the shining god par excellence, the deva, s[=u]rya,[2] the red ball in the sky. But he is also an active force, the power that wakens, rouses, enlivens, and as such it is he that gives all good things to mortals and to gods. As the god that gives life he (with others)[3] is the author of birth, and is prayed to for children. From above he looks down upon earth, and as with his one or many steeds he drives over the firmament he observes all that is passing below. He has these, the physical side and the spiritual side, under two names, the glowing one, S[=u]rya, and the enlivener, Savitar;[4] but he is also the good god who bestows benefits, and as such he was known, probably locally, by the name of Bhaga. Again, as a herdsman's god, possibly at first also a local deity, he is P[=u]shan (the meaning is almost the same with that of Savitar). As the 'mighty one' he is Vishnu, who measures heaven in three strides. In general, the conception of the sun as a physical phenomenon will be found voiced chiefly in the family-books: "The sightly form rises on the slope of the sky as the swift-going steed carries him … seven sister steeds carry him."[5] This is the prevailing utterance. Sometimes the sun is depicted under a medley of metaphors: "A bull, a flood, a red bird, he has entered his father's place; a variegated stone he is set in the midst of the sky; he has advanced and guards the two ends of space."[6] One after the other the god appears to the poets as a bull, a bird,[7] a steed, a stone, a jewel, a flood, a torch-holder,[8] or as a gleaming car set in heaven. Nor is the sun independent. As in the last image of a chariot,[9] so, without symbolism, the poet speaks of the sun as made to rise by Varuna and Mitra: "On their wonted path go Varuna and Mitra when in the sky they cause to rise Surya, whom they made to avert darkness"; where, also, the sun, under another image, is the "support of the sky."[10] Nay, in this simpler view, the sun is no more than the "eye of Mitra Varuna,"[11] a conception formally retained even when the sun in the same breath is spoken of as pursuing Dawn like a lover, and as being the 'soul of the universe' (I. 115. 1-2). In the older passages the later moral element is almost lacking, nor is there maintained the same physical relation between Sun and Dawn. In the earlier hymns the Dawn is the Sun's mother, from whom he proceeds.[12] It is the "Dawns produced the Sun," in still more natural language;[13] whereas, the idea of the lover-Sun following the Dawn scarcely occurs in the family-books.[14] Distinctly late, also, is the identification of the sun with the all-spirit ([=a]tm[=a], I. 115. 1), and the following prayer: "Remove, O sun, all weakness, illness, and bad dreams." In this hymn, X. 37. 14, S[=u]rya is the son of the sky, but he is evidently one with Savitar, who in V. 82. 4, removes bad dreams, as in X. 100. 8, he removes sickness. Men are rendered 'sinless' by the sun (IV. 54. 3; X. 37. 9) exactly as they are by the other gods, Indra, Varuna, etc. In a passage that refers to the important triad of sun, wind and fire, X. 158. I ff., the sun is invoked to 'save from the sky,' i.e. from all evils that may come from the upper regions; while in the same book the sun, like Indra, is represented as the slayer of demons (asuras) and dragons; as the slayer, also, of the poet's rivals; as giving long life to the worshipper, and as himself drinking sweet soma. This is one of the poems that seem to be at once late and of a forced and artificial character (X. 170).

Although S[=u]rya is differentiated explicitly from Savitar (V. 81. 4, "Savitar, thou joyest in S[=u]a's rays"), yet do many of the hymns make no distinction between them. The Enlivener is naturally extolled in fitting phrase, to tally with his title: "The shining-god, the Enlivener, is ascended to enliven the world"; "He gives protection, wealth and children" (II. 38.1; IV. 53. 6-7). The later hymns seem, as one might expect, to show greater confusion between the attributes of the physical and spiritual sun. But what higher power under either name is ascribed to the sun in the later hymns is not due to a higher or more developed homage of the sun as such. On the contrary, as with many other deities, the more the praise the less the individual worship. It is as something more than the sun that the god later receives more fulsome devotion. And, in fact, paradoxical as it seems, it is a decline in sun-worship proper that is here registered. The altar-fire becomes more important, and is revered in the sun, whose hymns, at most, are few, and in part mechanical.

Bergaigne in his great work, La Religion Védique, has laid much stress on sexual antithesis as an element in Vedic worship. It seems to us that this has been much exaggerated. The sun is masculine; the dawn, feminine. But there is no indication of a primitive antithesis of male and female in their relations. What occurs appears to be of adventitious character. For though sun and dawn are often connected, the latter is represented first as his mother and afterwards as his 'wife' or mistress. Even in the later hymns, where the marital relation is recognized, it is not insisted upon. But Bergaigne[15] is right in saying that in the Rig Veda the sun does not play the part of an evil power, and it is a good illustration of the difference between Rik and Atharvan, when Ehni cites, to prove that the sun is like death, only passages from the Atharvan and the later Brahmanic literature.[16]

When, later, the Hindus got into a region where the sun was deadly, they said, "Yon burning sun-god is death," but in the Rig Veda' they said, "Yon sun is the source of life,"[17] and no other conception of the sun is to be found in the Rig Veda.

There are about a dozen hymns to S[=u]rya, and as many to Savitar, in the Rig Veda.[18] It is noteworthy that in the family-books the hymns to Savitar largely prevail, while those to S[=u]rya are chiefly late in position or content. Thus, in the family-books, where are found eight or nine of the dozen hymns to Savitar, there are to S[=u]rya but three or four, and of these the first is really to Savitar and the Açvins; the second is an imitation of the first; the third appears to be late; and the fourth is a fragment of somewhat doubtful antiquity. The first runs as follows: "The altar-fire has seen well-pleased the dawns' beginning and the offering to the gleaming ones; come, O ye horsemen (Açvins), to the house of the pious man; the sun (S[=u]rya), the shining-god, rises with light. The shining-god Savitar has elevated his beams, swinging his banner like a good (hero) raiding for cattle. According to rule go Varuna and Mitra when they make rise in the sky the sun (S[=u]rya) whom they have created to dissipate darkness, being (gods) sure of their habitation and unswerving in intent. Seven yellow swift-steeds bear this S[=u]rya, the seer of all that moves. Thou comest with swiftest steeds unspinning the web, separating, O shining-god, the black robe. The rays of S[=u]rya swinging (his banner) have laid darkness like a skin in the waters. Unconnected, unsupported, downward extending, why does not this (god) fall down? With what nature goes he, who knows (literally, 'who has seen')? As a support he touches and guards the vault of the sky" (IV. 13).

There is here, no more than in the early hymn from the first book, translated in the first chapter, any worship of material phenomena. S[=u]rya is worshipped as Savitar, either expressly so called, or with all the attributes of the spiritual. The hymn that follows this[19] is a bald imitation. In V. 47 there are more or less certain signs of lateness, e.g., in the fourth stanza ("four carry him, … and ten give the child to drink that he may go," etc.) there is the juggling with unexplained numbers, which is the delight of the later priesthood. Moreover, this hymn is addressed formally to Mitra-Varuna and Agni, and not to the sun-god, who is mentioned only in metaphor; while the final words námo divé, 'obeisance to heaven,' show that the sun is only indirectly addressed. One cannot regard hymns addressed to Mitra-Varuna and S[=u]rya (with other gods) as primarily intended for S[=u]rya, who in these hymns is looked upon as the subject of Mitra and Varuna, as in VII. 62; or as the "eye" of the two other gods, and 'like Savitar' in VII. 63. So in VII. 66. 14-16, a mere fragment of a hymn is devoted exclusively to S[=u]rya as "lord of all that stands and goes." But in these hymns there are some very interesting touches. Thus in VII. 60. 1, the sun does not make sinless, but he announces to Mitra and Varuna that the mortal is sinless. There are no other hymns than these addressed to S[=u]rya, save those in the first and tenth books, of which nine stanzas of I. 50 (see above) may be reckoned early, while I. 115, where the sun is the soul of the universe, and at the same time the eye of Mitra-Varuna, is probably late; and I. 163 is certainly so, wherein the sun is identified with Yama, Trita, etc.; is 'like Varuna'; and is himself a steed, described as having three connections in the sky, three in the waters, three in the sea. In one of the hymns in the tenth book, also a mystical song, the sun is the 'bird' of the sky, a metaphor which soon gives another figure to the pantheon in the form of Garutman, the sun-bird, of whose exploits are told strange tales in the epic, where he survives as Garuda. In other hymns S[=u]rya averts carelessness at the sacrifice, guards the worshipper, and slays demons. A mechanical little hymn describes him as measuring the 'thirty stations.' Not one of these hymns has literary freshness or beauty of any kind. They all belong to the class of stereotyped productions, which differ in origin and content from the hymns first mentioned.[20]


Turning to Savitar one finds, of course, many of the same descriptive traits as in the praise of S[=u]rya, his more material self. But with the increased spirituality come new features. Savitar is not alone the sun that rises; he is also the sun that sets; and is extolled as such. There are other indications that most of the hymns composed for him are to accompany the sacrifice, either of the morning or of the evening. In II. 38, an evening song to Savitar, there are inner signs that the hymn was made for rubrication, but here some fine verses occur: "The god extends his vast hand, his arms above there—and all here obeys him; to his command the waters move, and even the winds' blowing ceases on all sides." Again: "Neither Indra, Varuna, Mitra, Aryaman, Rudra, nor the demons, impair his law" We call attention here to the fact that the Rig Veda contains a strong(stong in the original) current of demonology, much stronger than has been pointed out by scholars intent on proving the primitive loftiness of the Vedic religion.

In III. 62. 7-9 there are some verses to P[=u]shan, following which is the most holy couplet of the Rig Veda, to repeat which is essentially to repeat the Veda. It is the famous G[=a]yatr[=i] or S[=a]vitr[=i] hymnlet (10-12):

Of Savitar, the heavenly, that longed-for glory may we win,
And may himself inspire our prayers.[21]

Whitney (loc. cit.) says of this hymn that it is not remarkable in any way and that no good reason has ever been given for its fame. The good reason for this fame, in our opinion, is that the longed-for glory was interpreted later as a revealed indication of primitive pantheism, and the verses were understood to express the desire of absorption into the sun, which, as will be seen, was one of the first divine bodies to be accepted as the type of the All-god. This is also the intent of the stanzas added to I. 50 (above, p. 17), where S[=u]rya is "the highest light, the god among gods," mystic words, taken by later philosophers, and quite rightly, to be an expression of pantheism. The esoteric meaning of the G[=a]yatr[=i] presumably made it popular among the enlightened. Exoterically the sun was only the goal of the soul, or, in pure pantheism, of the sight. In the following[22] the sin-forgiving side of Savitar is developed, whereby he comes into connection with Varuna:

God Savitar deserveth now a song from us;
To-day, with guiding word, let men direct him here.
He who distributes gifts unto the sons of men,
Shall here on us bestow whatever thing is best;
For thou, O Savitar, dost first upon the gods
Who sacrifice deserve, lay immortality,
The highest gift, and then to mortals dost extend
As their apportionment a long enduring life.
Whatever thoughtless thing against the
race of gods We do in foolishness and human insolence,
Do thou from that, O Savitar, mid gods and men
Make us here sinless, etc.

But if this song smacks of the sacrifice, still more so does V. 81, where Savitar is the 'priest's priest,' the 'arranger of sacrifice,' and is one with P[=u]shan. He is here the swift horse (see above) and more famous as the divider of time than anything else. In fact this was the first ritualistic glory of Savitar, that he divides the time for sacrifice. But he receives more in the light of being the type of other luminous divinities. In the next hymn, another late effort (V. 82; see the dream in vs. 4), there may be an imitation of the G[=a]yatr[=i]. Savitar is here the All-god and true lord, and frees from sin. There is nothing new or striking in the hymns VI. 71; VII. 38 and 45. The same golden hands, and references to the sacrifice occur here. Allusions to the Dragon of the Deep, who is called upon with Savitar (VII. 38. 5), and the identification of Savitar with Bhaga (ib. 6) are the most important items to be gleaned from these rather stupid hymns. In other hymns not in the family-books (II.-VIII.), there is a fragment, X. 139. 1-3, and another, I. 22. 5-8. In the latter, Agni's (Fire's) title, 'son of waters,' is given to Savitar, who is virtually identified with Agni in the last part of the Rig Veda; and in the former hymn there is an interesting discrimination made between Savitar and P[=u]shan, who obeys him. The last hymn in the collection to Savitar, X. 149, although late and plainly intended for the sacrifice (vs. 5), is interesting as showing how the philosophical speculation worked about Savitar as a centre. 'He alone, he the son of the waters, knows the origin of water, whence arose the world.' This is one of the early speculations which recur so frequently in the Brahmanic period, wherein the origin of 'all this' (the universe) is referred to water. A hymn to Savitar in the first book contains as excellent a song as is given to the sun under this name. It is neither a morning nor an evening song in its original state, but mentions all the god's functions, without the later moral traits so prominent elsewhere, and with the old threefold division instead of thrice-three heavens.


I call on Agni first (the god of fire) for weal;
I call on Mitra-Varuna to aid me here;
I call upon the Night, who quiets all that moves;
On Savitar, the shining god, I call for help.

After this introductory invocation begins the real song in a different metre.

Through space of darkness wending comes he hither,
Who puts to rest th' immortal and the mortal,
On golden car existent things beholding,
The god that rouses, Savitar, the shining;
Comes he, the shining one, comes forward, upward,
Comes with two yellow steeds, the god revered,
Comes shining Savitar from out the distance,
All difficulties far away compelling.
His pearl-adorned, high, variegated chariot,
Of which the pole is golden, he, revered,
Hath mounted, Savitar, whose beams are brilliant,
Against the darksome spaces strength assuming.
Among the people gaze the brown white-footed
(Steeds) that the chariot drag whose pole is golden.
All peoples stand, and all things made, forever,
Within the lap of Savitar, the heavenly.

[There are three heavens of Savitar, two low ones,[23]
One, men-restraining, in the realm of Yama.
As on (his) chariot-pole[24] stand all immortals,
Let him declare it who has understood it!]

Across air-spaces gazes he, the eagle,
Who moves in secret, th' Asura,[25] well-guiding,
Where is (bright) S[=u]rya now? who understands it?
And through which sky is now his ray extending?

He looks across the earth's eight elevations,[26]
The desert stations three, and the seven rivers,
The gold-eyed shining god is come, th' Arouser,
To him that worships giving wealth and blessings.

The golden-handed Savitar, the active one,
Goes earth and heaven between, compels demoniac powers,
To S[=u]rya gives assistance, and through darksome space
Extends to heaven, etc.[27]


With P[=u]shan, the 'bestower of prosperity,' appears an ancient side of sun-worship. While under his other names the sun has lost, to a great extent, the attributes of a bucolic solar deity, in the case of P[=u]shan he appears still as a god whose characteristics are bucolic, war-like, and priestly, that is to say, even as he is venerated by the three masses of the folk. It will not do, of course, to distinguish too sharply between the first two divisions, but one can very well compare P[=u]shan in these rôles with Helios guiding his herds, and Apollo swaying armed hosts. It is customary to regard P[=u]shan as too bucolic a deity, but this is only one side of him. He apparently is the sun, as herdsmen look upon him, and in this figure is the object of ridicule with the warrior-class who, especially in one family or tribe, take a more exalted view of him. Consequently, as in the case of Varuna, one need not read into the hymns more than they offer to see that, not to speak of the priestly view, there are at least two P[=u]shans, in the Rig Veda itself.[28]

As the god 'with braided hair,' and as the 'guardian of cattle,'
P[=u]shan offers, perhaps, in these particulars, the original of
Rudra's characteristics, who, in the Vedic period, and later as
Rudra-Çiva, is also a 'guardian of cattle' and has the 'braided hair.'

Bergaigne identifies P[=u]shan with Soma, with whom the poets were apt to identify many other deities, but there seems to be little similarity originally.[29] It is only in the wider circles of each god's activity that the two approach each other. Both gods, it is true, wed S[=u]rya (the female sun-power), and Soma, like P[=u]shan, finds lost cattle. But it must be recognized once for all that identical attributes are not enough to identify Vedic gods. Who gives wealth? Indra, Soma, Agni, Heaven and Earth, Wind, Sun, the Maruts, etc. Who forgives sins? Agni, Varuna, Indra, the Sun, etc. Who helps in war? Agni, P[=u]shan, Indra, Soma, etc. Who sends rain? Indra, Parjanya, Soma, the Maruts, P[=u]shan, etc. Who weds Dawn? The Açvins, the Sun, etc. The attributes must be functional or the identification is left incomplete.

The great disparity in descriptions of P[=u]shan may be illustrated by setting VI. 48. 19 beside X. 92. 13. The former passage merely declares that P[=u]shan is a war-leader "over mortals, and like the gods in glory"; the latter, that he is "distinguished by all divine attributes"; that is to say, what has happened in the case of Savitar has happened here also. The individuality of P[=u]shan dies out, but the vaguer he becomes the more grandiloquently is he praised and associated with other powers; while for lack of definite laudation general glory is ascribed to him. The true position of P[=u]shan in the eyes of the warrior is given unintentionally by one who says,[30] "I do not scorn thee, O P[=u]shan," i.e., as do most people, on account of thy ridiculous attributes. For P[=u]shan does not drink soma like Indra, but eats mush. So another devout believer says: "P[=u]shan is not described by them that call him an eater of mush."[31] The fact that he was so called speaks louder than the pious protest. Again, P[=u]shan is simply bucolic. He uses the goad, which, however, according to Bergaigne, is the thunderbolt! So, too, the cows that P[=u]shan is described as guiding have been interpreted as clouds or 'dawns.' But they may be taken without 'interpretation' as real cows.[32] P[=u]shan drives the cows, he is armed with a goad, and eats mush; bucolic throughout, yet a sun-god. It is on these lines that his finding-qualities are to be interpreted. He finds lost cattle,[33] a proper business for such a god; but Bergaigne will see in this a transfer from P[=u]shan's finding of rain and of soma.[34] P[=u]shan, too, directs the furrow[35]

Together with Vishnu and Bhaga this god is invoked at sacrifices, (a fact that says little against or for his original sun-ship),[36] and he is intimately connected with Indra. His sister is his mistress, and his mother is his wife (Dawn and Night?) according to the meagre accounts given in VI. 55. 4-5.[37] As a god of increase he is invoked in the marriage-rite, X. 85. 37.

As Savitar and all sun-gods are at once luminous and dark, so P[=u]shan has a clear and again a revered (terrible) appearance; he is like day and night, like Dyaus (the sky); at one time bright, at another, plunged in darkness, VI. 58. 1. Quite like Savitar he is the shining god who "looks upon all beings and sees them all together"; he is the "lord of the path," the god of travellers; he is invoked to drive away evil spirits, thieves, footpads, and all workers of evil; he makes paths for the winning of wealth; he herds the stars and directs all with soma. He carries a golden axe or sword, and is borne through air and water on golden ships; and it is he that lets down the sun's golden wheel. These simpler attributes appear for the most part in the early hymns. In what seem to be later hymns, he is the mighty one who "carries the thoughts of all"; he is like soma (the drink), and attends to the filter; he is "lord of the pure"; the "one born of old," and is especially called upon to help the poets' hymns.[38] It is here, in the last part of the Rig Veda, that he appears as [Greek: psuchopompós], who "goes and returns," escorting the souls of the dead to heaven. He is the sun's messenger, and is differentiated from Savitar in X. 139. 1.[39] Apparently he was a god affected most by the Bharadv[=a]ja family (to which is ascribed the sixth book of the Rig Veda) where his worship was extended more broadly. He seems to have become the special war-god of this family, and is consequently invoked with Indra and the Maruts (though this may have been merely in his rôte as sun). The goats, his steeds, are also an attribute of the Scandinavian war-god Thor (Kaegi, Rig Veda, note 210), so that his bucolic character rests more in his goad, food, and plough.

Bhaga is recognized as an [=A]ditya (luminous deity) and was perhaps a sun-god of some class, possibly of all, as the name in Slavic is still kept in the meaning 'god,' literally 'giver.' In the Rig Veda the word means, also, simply god, as in bhágabhakta, 'given by gods'; but as a name it is well known, and when thus called Bhaga is still the giver, 'the bestower' (vidhart[=á]). As bhaga is also an epithet of Savitar, the name may not stand for an originally distinct personality. Bhaga has but one hymn.[40] There is in fact no reason why Bhaga should be regarded as a sun-god, except for the formal identification of him as an [=A]dityà, that is as the son of Aditi (Boundlessness, see below); but neither S[=u]rya nor Savitar is originally an [=A]dityà, and in Iranic bagha is only an epithet of Ormuzd.


To P[=U]SHAN (vi. 56).

The man who P[=u]shan designates
With words like these, 'mush-eater he,'
By him the god is not described.

With P[=u]shan joined in unison
That best of warriors, truest lord,
Indra, the evil demons slays.

'T is he, the best of warriors, drives
The golden chariot of the sun
Among the speckled kine (the clouds).

Whate'er we ask of thee to-day,
O wonder-worker, praised and wise,
Accomplish thou for us that prayer.

And this our band, which hunts for kine,[41]
Successful make for booty's gain;
Afar, O P[=u]shan, art thou praised.

We seek of thee success, which far
From ill, and near to wealth shall be;
For full prosperity to-day;
And full prosperity the morn.[42]

To BHAGA (vii. 41).

Early on Agni call we, early Indra call;
Early call Mitra, Varuna, the Horsemen twain;
Early, too, Bhaga, P[=u]shan, and the Lord of Strength;
And early Soma will we call, and Rudra too.

This stanza has been prefixed to the hymn by virtue of the catch-word 'early' (in the morning), with which really begins this prosaic poem (in different metre):

The early-conquering mighty Bhaga call we,
The son of Boundlessness, the gift-bestower,[43]
Whom weak and strong, and e'en the king, regarding,
Cry bhágam bhakshi, 'give to me the giver.'[44]

O Bhaga, leader Bhaga, true bestower,
O Bhaga, help this prayer, to us give (riches),
O Bhaga, make us grow in kine and horses,
O Bhaga, eke in men, men-wealthy be we!

And now may we be rich, be bhaga-holders,[45]
Both at the (day's) approach, and eke at midday,
And at the sun's departure, generous giver.
The favor of the gods may we abide in.

O gods, (to us) be Bhaga really bhaga,[46]
By means of him may we be bhaga-holders.
As such an one do all, O Bhaga, call thee,
As such, O Bhaga, be to-day our leader.

May dawns approach the sacrifice, the holy
Place, like to Dadhikr[=a],[47] like horses active,
Which bring a chariot near; so, leading Bhaga,
Who finds good things, may they approach, and bring him.

As this is the only hymn addressed to Bhaga, and as it proves itself to have been made for altar service (in style as well as in special mention of the ceremony), it is evident that Bhaga, although called Aditi's son, is but a god of wealth and (like Ança, the Apportioner) very remotely connected with physical functions. But the hymn appears to be so late that it cannot throw much light on the original conception of the deity. We rather incline to doubt whether Bhaga was ever, strictly speaking, a sun-god, and think that he was made so merely because the sun (Savitar) was called bhaga. A (Greek: Zehys) Bagaios was worshipped by the Phrygians, while in the Avesta and as a Slavic god Bhaga has no especial connection with the sun. It must be acknowledged, however, that every form of the sun-god is especially lauded for generosity.


In the person of Vishnu the sun is extolled under another name, which in the period of the Rig Veda was still in the dawn of its glory. The hymns to Vishnu are few; his fame rests chiefly on the three strides with which he crosses heaven, on his making fast the earth, and on his munificence.[48] He, too, leads in battle and is revered under the title Çipivishta,[49] of unknown significance, but meaning literally 'bald.' Like Savitar he has three spaces, two called earthly, and one, the highest, known only to himself. His greatness is inconceivable, and he is especially praised with Indra, the two being looked upon as masters of the world.[50] His highest place is the realm of the departed spirits.[51] The hymns to him appear to be late (thus I. 155. 6, where, as the year, he has four seasons of ninety days each). Like P[=u]shan (his neighbor in many lauds) he is associated in a late hymn with the Maruts (V. 87). His later popularity lies in the importance of his 'highest place' (or step) being the home of the departed spirits, where he himself dwells, inscrutable. This led to the spirit's union with the sun, which, as we have said, is one of the first phases of the pantheistic doctrine. In the family-books Vishnu gets but two hymns, both in the same collection, and shares one more with Indra (VII. 99-100; VI. 69). In some of the family-collections, notably in that of the Visvamitras, he is, if not unknown, almost ignored. As Indra's friend he is most popular with the Kanva family, but even here he has no special hymn.

None born, God Vishnu, and none born hereafter
E'er reaches to the limit of thy greatness;
Twas thou establish'st yon high vault of heaven,
Thou madest fast the earth's extremest mountain. (VII. 99. 2.)

Three steps he made, the herdsman sure,
Vishnu, and stepped across (the world). (I. 22. i8.)

The mighty deeds will I proclaim of Vishnu,
Who measured out the earth's extremest spaces,
And fastened firm the highest habitation,
Thrice stepping out with step all-powerful.

O would that I might reach his path beloved,
Where joy the men who hold the gods in honor. (I. 154. 1, 5.)

Under all these names and images the sun is worshipped. And it is necessary to review them all to see how deeply the worship is ingrained. The sun is one of the most venerable as he is the most enduring of India's nature-gods.[52] In no early passage is the sun a malignant god. He comes "as kine to the village, as a hero to his steed, as a calf to the cow, as a husband to his wife."[53] He is the 'giver,' the 'generous one,' and as such he is Mitra, 'the friend,' who with Varuna, the encompassing heaven, is, indeed, in the Rig Veda, a personality subordinated to his greater comrade; yet is this, perhaps, the sun's oldest name of those that are not descriptive of purely physical characteristics. For Mithra in Persian keeps the proof that this title was given to the Indo-Iranic god before the separation of the two peoples. It is therefore (perhaps with Bhaga?) one of the most ancient personal designations of the sun,—one, perhaps, developed from a mere name into a separate deity.


Not only as identical with the chief god of the Greeks, but also from a native Indic point of view, it might have been expected that Dyaus (Zeus), the 'shining sky,' would play an important rôle in the Hindu pantheon. But such is not the case. There is not a single hymn addressed independently to Dyaus, nor is there any hint of especial preeminence of Dyaus in the half-dozen hymns that are sung to Heaven and Earth together. The word dyaus is used hundreds of times, but generally in the meaning sky (without personification). There is, to be sure, a formal acknowledgment of the fatherhood of Dyaus (among gods he is father particularly of Dawn, the Açvins, and Indra), as there is of the motherhood of Earth, but there is no further exaltation. No exaggeration—the sign of Hindu enthusiasm—is displayed in the laudation, and the epithet 'father' is given to half a dozen Vedic gods, as in Rome Ma(r)spiter stands beside Jup(p)iter. Certain functions are ascribed to Heaven and Earth, but they are of secondary origin. Thus they bring to the god he sacrifice,[54] as does Agni, and one whole hymn may thus be epitomized: 'By the ordinance of Varuna made firm, O Heaven and Earth, give us blessings. Blest with children and wealth is he that adores you twain. Give us sweet food, glory and strength of heroes, ye who are our father and mother.'[55]

The praise is vague and the benevolence is the usual 'bestowal of blessings' expected of all the gods in return for praise. Other hymns add to this something, from which one sees that these deities are not regarded as self-created; for the seers of old, or, according to one poet some wonderful divine artisan, "most wondrous worker of the wonder-working gods," created them. Their chief office is to exercise benign protection and bestow wealth. Once they are invited to come to the sacrifice "with the gods," but this, of course, is not meant to exclude them from the list of gods[56].

The antithesis of male and female, to Bergaigne's insistence on which reference was made above (p. 43), even here in this most obvious of forms, common to so many religions, shows itself so faintly that it fails utterly to support that basis of sexual dualism on which the French scholar lays so much stress. Dyaus does, indeed, occasionally take the place of Indra, and as a bellowing bull impregnate earth, but this is wholly incidental and not found at all in the hymns directly lauding Heaven and Earth. Moreover, instead of "father and mother" Heaven and Earth often are spoken of as "the two mothers," the significance of which cannot be nullified by the explanation that to the Hindu 'two mothers' meant two parents, and of two parents one must be male,—Bergaigne's explanation. For not only is Dyaus one of the 'two mothers,' but when independently used the word Dyaus is male or female indifferently. Thus in X. 93. I: "O Heaven and Earth be wide outstretched for us, (be) like two young women." The position of Heaven and Earth in relation to other divinities varies with the fancy of the poet that extols them. They are either created, or they create gods, as well as create men. In accordance with the physical reach of these deities they are exhorted to give strength whereby the worshipper shall "over-reach all peoples"; and, as parents, to be the "nearest of the gods," to be "like father and mother in kindness." (I. 159; 160. 2, 5.)

One more attribute remains to be noticed, which connects Dyaus morally as well as physically with Savitar and Varuna. The verse in which this attribute is spoken of is also not without interest from a sociological point of view: "Whatsoever sin we have committed against the gods, or against a friend, or against the chief of the clan (family)[57] may this hymn to Heaven and Earth avert it." It was shown above that Savitar removes sin. Here, as in later times, it is the hymn that does this. The mystery of these gods' origin puzzles the seer: "Which was first and which came later, how were they begotten, who knows, O ye wise seers? Whatever exists, that they carry."[58] But all that they do they do under the command of Mitra.[59]

The most significant fact in connection with the hymns to Heaven and Earth is that most of them are expressly for sacrificial intent. "With sacrifices I praise Heaven and Earth" (I. 159. 1); "For the sake of the sacrifice are ye come down (to us)" (IV. 56. 7). In VI. 70 they are addressed in sacrificial metaphors; in VII. 53. 1 the poet says: "I invoke Heaven and Earth with sacrifices," etc. The passivity of the two gods makes them yield in importance to their son, the active Savitar, who goes between the two parents. None of these hymns bears the impress of active religious feeling or has poetic value. They all seem to be reflective, studied, more or less mechanical, and to belong to a period of theological philosophy. To Earth alone without Heaven are addressed one uninspired hymn and a fragment of the same character: "O Earth be kindly to us, full of dwellings and painless, and give us protection."[60] In the burial service the dead are exhorted to "go into kindly mother earth" who will be "wool-soft, like a maiden."[61] The one hymn to Earth should perhaps be placed parallel with similar meditative and perfunctory laudations in the Homeric hymns:

To EARTH (V. 84).

In truth, O broad extended earth,
Thou bear'st the render of the hills,[62]
Thou who, O mighty mountainous one,
Quickenest created things with might.
Thee praise, O thou that wander'st far,
The hymns which light accompany,
Thee who, O shining one, dost send
Like eager steeds the gushing rain.
Thou mighty art, who holdest up
With strength on earth the forest trees,
When rain the rains that from thy clouds
And Dyaus' far-gleaming lightning come.[62]

On the bearing of these facts, especially in regard to the secondary greatness of Dyaus, we shall touch below. He is a god exalted more by modern writers than by the Hindus!


Varuna has been referred already in connection with the sun-god and with Heaven and Earth. It is by Varuna's power that they stand firm. He has established the sun 'like a tree,' i.e., like a support, and 'made a path for it.'[63] He has a thousand remedies for ills; to his realm not even the birds can ascend, nor wind or swift waters attain. It is in accordance with the changeless order[64] of Varuna that the stars and the moon go their regular course; he gives long life and releases from harm, from wrong, and from sin.[65]

Varuna is the most exalted of those gods whose origin is physical. His realm is all above us; the sun and stars are his eyes; he sits above upon his golden throne and sees all that passes below, even the thoughts of men. He is, above all, the moral controller of the universe.

To VARUNA (i. 25).

Howe'er we, who thy people are,
O Varuna, thou shining god,
Thy order injure, day by day,
Yet give us over nor to death,
Nor to the blow of angry (foe),
Nor to the wrath of (foe) incensed.[66]
Thy mind for mercy we release—
As charioteer, a fast-bound steed—
By means of song, O Varuna.

* * * * *

('Tis Varuna) who knows the track
Of birds that fly within the air,
And knows the ships upon the flood;[67]
Knows, too, the (god) of order firm,
The twelve months with their progeny,
And e'en which month is later born;[68]
Knows, too, the pathway of the wind,
The wide, the high, the mighty (wind),
And knows who sit above (the wind).

(God) of firm order, Varuna
His place hath ta'en within (his) home
For lordship, he, the very strong.[69]
Thence all the things that are concealed
He looks upon, considering
Whate'er is done and to be done.
May he, the Son of Boundlessness,
The very strong, through every day
Make good our paths, prolong our life.

Bearing a garment all of gold,
In jewels clothed, is Varuna,
And round about him sit his spies;
A god whom injurers injure not,
Nor cheaters cheat among the folk,
Nor any plotters plot against;
Who for himself 'mid (other) men
Glory unequalled gained, and gains
(Such glory) also 'mid ourselves.

Far go my thoughts (to him), as go
The eager cows that meadows seek,
Desiring (him), the wide-eyed (god).
Together let us talk again,
Since now the offering sweet I bring,
By thee beloved, and like a priest
Thou eat'st.

I see the wide-eyed (god):
I see his chariot on the earth,
My song with joy hath he received.

Hear this my call, O Varuna,
Be merciful to me today,
For thee, desiring help, I yearn.

Thou, wise one, art of everything,
The sky and earth alike, the king;
As such upon thy way give ear,
And loose from us the (threefold) bond;
The upper bond, the middle, break,
The lower, too, that we may live.

In the portrait of such a god as this one comes very near to monotheism. The conception of an almost solitary deity, recognized as watcher of wrong, guardian of right, and primitive creator, approaches more closely to unitarianism than does the idea of any physical power in the Rig Veda.

To the poet of the Rig Veda Varuna is the enveloping heaven;[70] that is, in distinction from Dyaus, from whom he differs toto caelo, so to speak, the invisible world, which embraces the visible sky. His home is there where lives the Unborn, whose place is unique, above the highest heaven.[71]

But it is exactly this loftiness of character that should make one shy of interpreting Varuna as being originally the god that is presented here. Can this god, 'most august of Vedic deities,' as Bergaigne and others have called him, have belonged as such to the earliest stratum of Aryan belief?

There are some twelve hymns in the Rig Veda in Varuna's honor. Of these, one in the tenth book celebrates Indra as opposed to Varuna, and generally it is considered late, in virtue of its content. Of the hymns in the eighth book the second appears to be a later imitation of the first, and the first appears, from several indications, to be of comparatively recent origin.[72] In the seventh book (vii. 86-89) the short final hymn contains a distinctly late trait in invoking Varuna to cure dropsy; the one preceding this is in majorem gloriam of the poet Vasistha, fitly following the one that appears to be as new, where not only the mysticism but the juggling with "thrice-seven," shows the character of the hymn to be recent.[73] In the first hymn of this book the late doctrine of inherited sin stands prominently forth (vii. 86. 5) as an indication of the time in which it was composed. The fourth and sixth books have no separate hymns to Varuna. In the fifth book the position of the one hymn to Varuna is one favorable to spurious additions, but the hymn is not otherwise obnoxious to the criticism of lateness. Of the two hymns in the second book, the first is addressed only indirectly to Varuna, nor is he here very prominent; the second (ii. 28) is the only song which stands on a par with the hymn already translated. There remain the hymns cited above from the first, not a family-book. It is, moreover, noteworthy that in ii. 28, apart from the ascription of general greatness, almost all that is said of Varuna is that he is a priest, that he causes rivers to flow, and loosens the bond of sin.[74] The finest hymn to Varuna, from a literary point of view, is the one translated above, and it is mainly on the basis of this hymn that the lofty character of Varuna has been interpreted by occidental writers. To our mind this hymn belongs to the close of the first epoch of the three which the hymns represent. That it cannot be very early is evident from the mention of the intercalated month, not to speak of the image of Varuna eating the sweet oblation 'like a priest.' Its elevated language is in sharp contrast to that of almost all the other Varuna hymns. As these are all the hymns where Varuna is praised alone by himself, it becomes of chief importance to study him here, and not where, as in iii. 62, iv. 41, vi. 51, 67, 68, and elsewhere, he is lauded as part of a combination of gods (Mitra or Indra united with Varuna). In the last book of the Rig Veda there is no hymn to Varuna,[75] a time when pantheistic monotheism was changing into pantheism, so that, in the last stage of the Rig Veda, Varuna is descended from the height. Thereafter he is god and husband of waters, and punisher of secret sin (as in ii. 28). Important in contrast to the hymn translated above is v. 85.


"I will sing forth unto the universal king a high deep prayer, dear to renowned Varuna, who, as a butcher a hide, has struck earth apart (from the sky) for the sun. Varuna has extended air in trees, strength in horses, milk in cows, and has laid wisdom in hearts; fire in water; the sun in the sky; soma in the stone. Varuna has inverted his water-barrel and let the two worlds with the space between flow (with rain). With this (heavenly water-barrel) he, the king of every created thing, wets the whole world, as a rain does a meadow. He wets the world, both earth and heaven, when he, Varuna, chooses to milk out (rain)—and then do the mountains clothe themselves with cloud, and even the strongest men grow weak. Yet another great and marvellous power of the renowned spirit (Asura) will I proclaim, this, that standing in mid-air he has measured earth with the sun, as if with a measuring rod. (It is due to) the marvellous power of the wisest god, which none ever resisted, that into the one confluence run the rivers, and pour into it, and fill it not. O Varuna, loosen whatever sin we have committed to bosom-friend, comrade, or brother; to our own house, or to the stranger; what (we) have sinned like gamblers at play, real (sin), or what we have not known. Make loose, as it were, all these things, O god Varuna, and may we be dear to thee hereafter."

In this hymn Varuna is a water-god, who stands in mid-air and directs the rain; who, after the rain, reinstates the sun; who releases from sin (as water does from dirt?). According to this conception it would seem that Varuna were the 'coverer' rather than the 'encompasser.' It might seem probable even that Varuna first stood to Dyaus as cloud and rain and night to shining day, and that his counterpart, (Greek: Hohyranhos), stood in the same relation to (Greek: Zehys); that were connecte(Greek: Hohyranhos)d with (Greek: hyrheô) and Varuna with vari, river, v[=a]ri, water.[76]

It is possible, but it is not provable. But no interpretation of Varuna that ignores his rainy side can be correct. And this is fully recognized by Hillebrandt. On account of his "thousand spies," i.e., eyes, he has been looked upon by some as exclusively a night-god. But this is too one-sided an interpretation, and passes over the all-important, fact that it is only in conjunction with the sun (Mitra), where there is a strong antithesis, that the night-side of the god is exclusively displayed. Wholly a day-god he cannot be, because he rules night and rain. He is par excellence the Asura, and, like Ahura Mazdao, has the sun for an eye, i.e., he is heaven. But there is no Varuna in Iranian worship and Ahura is a sectarian specialization. Without this name may one ascribe to India what is found in Iran?[77] It has been suggested by Bergaigne that Varuna and Vritra, the rain-holding demon, were developments from the same idea, one revered as a god, the other, a demon; and that the word means 'restrainer,' rather than 'encompasser.'

From all this it will be evident that to claim an original monotheism as still surviving in the person of Varuna, is impossible; and this is the one point we would make. Every one must admire the fine hymn in which he is praised, but what there is in it does not make it seem very old, and the intercalated month is decisive evidence, for here alone in the Rig Veda is mentioned this month, which implies the five-year cyclus, but this belongs to the Brahmanic period (Weber, Vedische Beiträge, p. 38). Every explanation of the original nature of Varuna must take into consideration that he is a rain-god, a day-god, and a night-god in turn, and that where he is praised in the most elevated language the rain-side disappears, although it was fundamental, as may be seen by comparing many passages, where Varuna is exhorted to give rain, where his title is 'lord of streams,' his position that of 'lord of waters.' The decrease of Varuna worship in favor of Indra results partly from the more peaceful god of rain appearing less admirable than the monsoon-god, who overpowers with storm and lightning, as well as 'wets the earth.'

The most valuable contribution to the study of Varuna is Hillebrandt's 'Varuna and Mitra.' This author has succeeded in completely overthrowing the old error that Varuna is exclusively a night-god.[78] Quite as definitively he proves that Varuna is not exclusively a day-god.

Bergaigne, on the other hand, claims an especially tenebrous character for Varuna.[79] Much has been written on luminous deities by scholars that fail to recognize the fact that the Hindus regard the night both as light and as dark. But to the Vedic poet the night, star-illumined, was bright. Even Hillebrandt speaks of "the bright heaven" of day as "opposed to the dark night-heaven in which Varuna also shows himself."[80]

In the Rig Veda, as it stands, with all the different views of Varuna side by side, Varuna is a universal encompasser, moral as well as physical. As such his physical side is almost gone. But the conception of him as a moral watcher and sole lord of the universe is in so sharp contrast to the figure of the rain-god, who, like Parjanya, stands in mid-air and upsets a water-barrel, that one must discriminate even between the Vedic views in regard to him.[81]

It is Varuna who lets rivers flow; with Indra he is besought not to let his weapons fall on the sinner; wind is his breath.[82]

On the other hand he is practically identified with the sun.[83] How ill this last agrees with the image of a god who 'lives by the spring of rivers,' 'covers earth as with a garment,' and 'rises like a secret sea (in fog) to heaven'![84] Even when invoked with the sun, Mitra, Varuna still gives rain: "To whomsoever ye two are kindly disposed comes sweet rain from heaven; we beseech you for rain … you, the thunderers who go through earth and heaven" (v. 63),—a strange prayer to be addressed to a monotheistic god of light: "Ye make the lightning flash, ye send the rain; ye hide the sky in cloud and rain" (ib.). In the hymn preceding we read: "Ye make firm heaven and earth, ye give growth to plants, milk to cows; O ye that give rain, pour down rain!" In the same group another short hymn declares: "They are universal kings, who have ghee (rain) in their laps; they are lords of the rain" (v. 68). In the next hymn: "Your clouds (cows) give nourishment, your streams are sweet." Thus the twain keep the order of the seasons (i. 2. 7-8) and protect men by the regular return of the rainy season. Their weapons are always lightning (above, i. 152. 2, and elsewhere). A short invocation in a family-book gives this prayer: "O Mitra-Varuna, wet our meadows with ghee; wet all places with the sweet drink" (iii. 62. 16).

The interpretation given above of the office of Varuna as regards the sun's path, is supported by a verse where is made an allusion to the time "when they release the sun's horses," i.e., when after two or three months of rain the sun shines again (v. 62. 1). In another verse one reads: "Ye direct the waters, sustenance of earth and heaven, richly let come your rains" (viii. 25. 6).

Now there is nothing startling in this view. In opposition to the unsatisfactory attempts of modern scholars, it is the traditional interpretation of Mitra and Varuna that Mitra was god of day (i.e., the sun), and Varuna the god of night (i.e., covering),[85] while native belief regularly attributes to him the lordship of water[86]. The 'thousand eyes' of Varuna are the result of this view. The other light-side of Varuna as special lord of day (excluding the all-heaven idea with the sun as his 'eye') is elsewhere scarcely referred to, save in late hymns and VIII. 41.[87] In conjunction with the storm-god, Indra, the wrath-side of Varuna is further developed. The prayer for release is from 'long darkness,' i.e., from death; in other words, may the light of life be restored (II. 27. 14-15; II. 28. 7). Grassmann, who believes that in Varuna there is an early monotheistic deity, enumerates all his offices and omits the giving of rain from the list;[88] while Ludwig derives his name from var (= velle) and defines him as the lofty god who wills!

Varuna's highest development ushers in the middle period of the Rig Veda; before the rise of the later All-father, and even before the great elevation of Indra. But when S[=u]rya and Dawn were chief, then Varuna was chiefest. There is no monotheism in the worship of a god who is regularly associated as one of a pair with another god. Nor is there in Varuna any religious grandeur which, so far as it exceeds that of other divinities, is not evolved from his old physical side. One cannot personify heaven and write a descriptive poem about him without becoming elevated in style, as compared with the tone of one that praises a rain-cloud or even the more confined personality of the sun. There is a stylistic but not a metaphysical descent from this earlier period in the 'lords of the atmosphere,' for, as we shall show, the elevation of Indra and Agni denotes a philosophical conception yet more advanced than the almost monotheistic greatness attained by Varuna. But one must find the background to this earlier period; and in it Varuna is not monotheistic. He is the covering sky united with the sun, or he whose covering is rain and dew. Indra treats Varuna as Savitar treats Mitra, supplants him; and for the same reason, because each represents the same priestly philosophy.

In the one extant hymn to Mitra (who is Indo-Iranian) it is Mitra that 'watches men,' and 'bears earth and heaven.' He is here (iii. 59) the kindly sun, his name (Mitra, 'friend') being frequently punned upon.

The point of view taken by Barth deserves comment. He says:[89] "It has sometimes been maintained that the Varuna of the hymns is a god in a state of decadence. In this view we can by no means concur; … an appeal to these few hymns is enough to prove that in the consciousness of their authors the divinity of Varuna stood still intact." If, instead of 'still intact,' the author had said, 'on the increase, till undermined by still later philosophical speculation,' the true position, in our opinion, would have been given. But a distinction must be made between decadence of greatness and decadence of popularity. It has happened in the case of some of the Vedic inherited gods that exactly in proportion as their popularity decreased their greatness increased; that is to say, as they became more vague and less individual to the folk they were expanded into wider circles of relationship by the theosophist, and absorbed other gods' majesty.[89] Varuna is no longer a popular god in the Rig Veda. He is already a god of speculation, only the speculation did not go far enough to suit the later seers of Indra-Savitar-hood. Most certainly his worship, when compared in popularity with that of Agni and Indra, is unequal. But this is because he is too remote to be popular.

What made the popular gods was a union of near physical force to please the vulgar, with philosophical mysticism to please the priest, and Indra and Agni fulfilled the conditions, while awful, but distant, Varuna did not.

In stating that the great hymn to Varuna is not typical of the earliest stage of religious belief among the Vedic Aryans, we should add one word in explanation. Varuna's traits, as shown in other parts of the Rig Veda, are so persistent that they must be characteristic of his original function. It does not follow, however, that any one hymn in which he is lauded is necessarily older than the hymn cited from the first book. The earliest stage of religious development precedes the entrance into the Punj[=a]b. It may even be admitted that at the time when the Vedic Aryans became Hindus, that is, when they settled about the Indus, Varuna was the great god we see him in the great hymn to his honor. But while the relation of the [=A]dityas to the spirits of Ahura in Zoroaster's system points to this, yet it is absurd to assume this epoch as the starting point of Vedic belief. Back of this period lies one in which Varuna was by no means a monotheistic deity, nor even the greatest divinity among the gods. The fact, noticed by Hillebrandt, that the Vasishtha family are the chief praisers of Varuna, may also indicate that his special elevation was due to the theological conceptions of one clan, rather than of the whole people, since in the other family books he is worshipped more as one of a pair, Varuna and Mitra, heaven and sun.


The mother of Varuna and the luminous gods is the 'mother of kings,' Boundlessness (aditi)[90] a product of priestly theosophy. Aditi makes, perhaps, the first approach to formal pantheism in India, for all gods, men, and things are identified with her (i. 89. 10). Seven children of Aditi are mentioned, to whom is added an eighth (in one hymn).[91] The chief of these, who is, par excellence the [=A]ditya (son of Aditi), is Varuna. Most of the others are divinities of the sun (x. 72). With Varuna stands Mitra, and besides this pair are found 'the true friend' Aryaman, Savitar, Bhaga, and, later, Indra, as sun (?). Daksha and Ança are also reckoned as [=A]dityas, and S[=u]rya is enumerated among them as a divinity distinct from Savitar. But the word aditi, 'unbound,' is often a mere epithet, of Fire, Sky, etc. Moreover, in one passage, at least, aditi simply means 'freedom' (i. 24. 1), less boundlessness than 'un-bondage'; so, probably, in i. 185. 3, 'the gift of freedom.' Ança seems to have much the same meaning with Bhaga, viz., the sharer, giver. Daksha may, perhaps, be the 'clever,' 'strong' one ([Greek: dexios]), abstract Strength; as another name of the sun (?). Aditi herself (according to Müller, Infinity; according to Hillebrandt, Eternity) is an abstraction that is born later than her chief sons, Sun and Varuna.[92] Zarathustra (Zoroaster, not earlier than the close of the first Vedic period) took the seven [=A]dityas and reformed them into one monotheistic (dualistic) Spirit (Ahura), with a circle of six moral attendants, thereby dynamically destroying every physical conception of them.


We have devoted considerable space to Varuna because of the theological importance with which is invested his personality. If one admit that a monotheistic Varuna is the ur-Varuna, if one see in him a sign that the Hindus originally worshipped one universally great superior god, whose image effaced that of all the others,[93] then the attempt to trace any orderly development in Hindu theology may as well be renounced; and one must imagine that this peculiar people, starting with monotheism descended to polytheism, and then leapt again into the conception of that Father-god whose form, in the end of the Rig Vedic period, out-varunas Varuna as encompasser and lord of all. If, on the other hand, one see in Varuna a god who, from the 'covering,' heaven and cloud and rain, from earliest time has been associated with the sun as a pair, and recognize in Varuna's loftier form the product of that gradual elevation to which were liable all the gods at the hands of the Hindu priests; if one see in him at this stage the highest god which a theology, based on the worship of natural phenomena, was able to evolve; then, for the reception of those gods who overthrew him from his supremacy, because of their greater freedom from physical restraints, there is opened a logical and historical path—until that god comes who in turn follows these half-embodied ones, and stands as the first immaterial author of the universe—and so one may walk straight from the physical beginning of the Rig Vedic religion to its spiritual Brahmanic end.

We turn now to one or two phenomena-deities that were never much tampered with by priestly speculation; their forms being still as bright and clear as when the first Vedic worshipper, waiting to salute the rising sun, beheld in all her beauty, and thus praised


As comes a bride hath she approached us, gleaming;
All things that live she rouses now to action.
A fire is born that shines for human beings;
Light hath she made, and driven away the darkness.

Wide-reaching hath she risen, to all approaching,
And shone forth clothed in garments white and glistening,
Of gold her color, fair to see her look is,
Mother of kine,[95] leader of days she gleameth.

Bearing the gods' eye, she, the gracious maiden,
—Leading along the white and sightly charger[96]
—Aurora, now is seen, revealed in glory,
With shining guerdons unto all appearing.

O near and dear one, light far off our foes, and
Make safe to us our kines' wide pasture-places.
Keep from us hatred; what is good, that bring us,
And send the singer wealth, O generous maiden.

With thy best beams for us do thou beam widely,
Aurora, goddess bright, our life extending;
And food bestow, O thou all goods possessing,
Wealth, too, bestowing, kine and steeds and war-cars

Thou whom Vasistha's[97] sons extol with praises,
Fair-born Aurora, daughter of Dyaus, the bright one,
On us bestow thou riches high and mighty,
—O all ye gods with weal forever guard us.

In the laudation of Varuna the fancy of the poet exhausts itself in lofty imagery, and reaches the topmost height of Vedic religious lyric. In the praise of Dawn it descends not lower than to interweave beauty with dignity of utterance. Nothing in religious poetry more graceful or delicate than the Vedic Dawn-hymns has ever been written. In the daily vision of Dawn following her sister Night the poet sees his fairest goddess, and in his worship of her there is love and admiration, such as is evoked by the sight of no other deity. "She comes like a fair young maiden, awakening all to labor, with an hundred chariots comes she, and brings the shining light; gleam forth, O Dawn, and give us thy blessing this day; for in thee is the life of every living creature. Even as thou hast rewarded the singers of old, so now reward our song" (I. 48).

The kine of Dawn are the bright clouds that, like red cattle, wander in droves upon the horizon. Sometimes the rays of light, which stretch across the heaven, are intended by this image, for the cattle-herding poets employed their flocks as figures for various ends.

The inevitable selfish pessimism of unripe reflection is also woven into the later Dawn-hymns: "How long will it be ere this Dawn, too, shall join the Dawns departed? Vanished are now the men that saw the Dawns of old; we here see her now; there will follow others who will see her hereafter; but, O Dawn, beam here thy fairest; rich in blessings, true art thou to friend and right. Bring hither (to the morning sacrifice) the gods" (I. 113).

Since the metre (here ignored) of the following hymn is not all of one model, it is probable that after the fourth verse a new hymn began, which was distinct from the first; but the argument from metre is unconvincing, and in any event both songs are worth citing, since they show how varied were the images and fancies of the poets: "The Dawns are like heroes with golden weapons; like red kine of the morning on the field of heaven; shining they weave their webs of light, like women active at work; food they bring to the pious worshipper. Like a dancing girl is the Dawn adorned, and opens freely her bosom; as a cow gives milk, as a cow comes forth from its stall, so opens she her breast, so comes she out of the darkness (verses 1-4) …She is the ever new, born again and again, adorned always with the same color. As a player conceals the dice, so keeps she concealed the days of a man; daughter of Heaven she wakes and drives away her sister (Night). Like kine, like the waves of a flood, with sunbeams she appears. O rich Dawn, bring us wealth; harness thy red horses, and bring to us success" (I. 92). The homage to Dawn is naturally divided at times with that to the sun: "Fair shines the light of morning; the sun awakens us to toil; along the path of order goes Dawn arrayed in light. She extendeth herself in the east, and gleameth till she fills the sky and earth"; and again: "Dawn is the great work of Varuna and Mitra; through the sun is she awakened" (I. 124; III. 61. 6-7). In the ritualistic period Dawn is still mechanically lauded, and her beams "rise in the east like pillars of sacrifice" (IV. 51. 2); but otherwise the imagery of the selections given above is that which is usually employed. The 'three dawns' occasionally referred to are, as we have shown elsewhere,[98] the three dawn-lights, white, red, and yellow, as they are seen by both the Vedic poet and the Florentine.

Dawn becomes common and trite after awhile, as do all the gods, and is invoked more to give than to please. 'Wake us,' cries a later poet, 'Wake us to wealth, O Dawn; give to us, give to us; wake up, lest the sun burn thee with his light'—a passage (V. 79) which has caused much learned nonsense to be written on the inimical relations of Sun and Dawn as portrayed here. The dull idea is that Dawn is lazy, and had better get up before S[=u]rya catches her asleep. The poet is not in the least worried because his image does not express a suitable relationship between the dawn and the sun, nor need others be disturbed at it. The hymn is late, and only important in showing the new carelessness as regards the old gods.[99] Some other traits appear in VII. 75. 1 ff., where Dawn is 'queen of the world,' and banishes the druhs, or evil spirit. She here is daughter of Heaven, and wife of the sun (4, 5); ib. 76. 1, she is the eye of the world; and ib 81. 4, she is invoked as 'mother.'

There is, at times, so close a resemblance between Dawn-hymns and Sun-hymns that the imagery employed in one is used in the other. Thus the hymn VI. 64 begins: "The beams of Dawn have arisen, shining as shine the waters' gleaming waves. She makes good paths, … she banishes darkness as a warrior drives away a foe (so of the sun, IV. 13. 2; X. 37. 4; 170. 2). Beautiful are thy paths upon the mountains, and across the waters thou shinest, self-gleaming" (also of the sun). With the last expression may be compared that in VI. 65. 5: "Dawn, whose seat is upon the hills."

Dawn is intimately connected not only with Agni but with the Twin Horsemen, the Açvins (equites)—if not so intimately connected as is Helen with the Dioskouroi, who, pace Pischel, are the Açvins of Hellas. This relationship is more emphasized in the hymns to the latter gods, but occasionally occurs in Dawn-hymns, of which another is here translated in full.

TO DAWN (IV. 52).

The Daughter of Heaven, this beauteous maid,
Resplendent leaves her sister (Night),
And now before (our sight) appears.

Red glows she like a shining mare,
Mother of kine, who timely comes—
The Horsemen's friend Aurora is.

Both friend art thou of the Horsemen twain,
And mother art thou of the kine,
And thou, Aurora, rulest wealth.

We wake thee with our praise as one
Who foes removes; such thought is ours,
O thou that art possesst of joy.

Thy radiant beams beneficent
Like herds of cattle now appear;
Aurora fills the wide expanse.

With light hast thou the dark removed,
Filling (the world), O brilliant one.
Aurora, help us as thou us'st.

With rays thou stretchest through the heaven
And through the fair wide space between,
O Dawn, with thy refulgent light.

It was seen that Savitar (P[=u]shan) is the rising and setting sun. So, antithetic to Dawn, stands the Abendroth with her sister, Night. This last, generally, as in the hymn just translated, is lauded only in connection with Dawn, and for herself alone gets but one hymn, and that is not in a family-book. She is to be regarded, therefore, less as a goddess of the pantheon than as a quasi-goddess, the result of a poet's meditative imagination, rather than one of the folk's primitive objects of adoration; somewhat as the English poets personify "Ye clouds, that far above me float and pause, ye ocean-waves … ye woods, that listen to the night-bird's singing, O ye loud waves, and O ye forests high, and O ye clouds that far above me soared; thou rising sun, thou blue rejoicing sky!"—and as in Greek poetry, that which before has been conceived of vaguely as divine suddenly is invested with a divine personality. The later poet exalts these aspects of nature, and endows those that were before only half recognized with a little special praise. So, whereas Night was divine at first merely as the sister of divine Dawn, in the tenth book one poet thus gives her praise:


Night, shining goddess, comes, who now
Looks out afar with many eyes,
And putteth all her beauties on.

Immortal shining goddess, she
The depths and heights alike hath filled,
And drives with light the dark away.

To me she comes, adorned well,
A darkness black now sightly made;
Pay then thy debt, O Dawn, and go.[100]

The bright one coming put aside
Her sister Dawn (the sunset light),
And lo! the darkness hastes away.

So (kind art thou) to us; at whose
Appearing we retire to rest,
As birds fly homeward to the tree.

To rest are come the throngs of men;
To rest, the beasts; to rest, the birds;
And e'en the greedy eagles rest.

Keep off the she-wolf and the wolf,
Keep off the thief, O billowy Night,
Be thou to us a saviour now.

To thee, O Night, as 'twere an herd,
To a conqueror (brought), bring I an hymn
Daughter of Heaven, accept (the gift).[101]


The Açvins who are, as was said above, the 'Horsemen,' parallel to the Greek Dioskouroi, are twins, sons of Dyaus, husbands, perhaps brothers of the Dawn. They have been variously 'interpreted,' yet in point of fact one knows no more now what was the original conception of the twain than was known before Occidental scholars began to study them.[102] Even the ancients made mere guesses: the Açvins came before the Dawn, and are so-called because they ride on horses (açva, equos) they represent either Heaven and Earth, or Day and Night, or Sun and Moon, or two earthly kings—such is the unsatisfactory information given by the Hindus themselves.[103]

Much the same language with that in the Dawn-hymns is naturally employed in praising the Twin Brothers. They, like the Dioskouroi, are said to have been incorporated gradually into the pantheon, on an equality with the other gods,[104] not because they were at first human beings, but because they, like Night, were adjuncts of Dawn, and got their divinity through her as leader.[105] In the last book of the Rig Veda they are the sons of Sarany[=u] and Vivasvant, but it is not certain whether Sarany[=u] means dawn or not; in the first book they are born of the flood (in the sky).[106] They are sons of Dyaus, but this, too, only in the last and first books, while in the latter they are separated once, so that only one is called the Son of the Sky.[107] They follow Dawn 'like men' (VIII. 5. 2) and are in Brahmanic literature the 'youngest of the gods.'[108]

The twin gods are the physicians of heaven, while to men they bring all medicines and help in times of danger. They were apparently at first only 'wonder-workers,' for the original legends seem to have been few. Yet the striking similarity in these aspects with the brothers of Helen must offset the fact that so much in connection with them seems to have been added in books one and ten. They restore the blind and decrepit, impart strength and speed, and give the power and seed of life; even causing waters to flow, fire to burn, and trees to grow. As such they assist lovers and aid in producing offspring.

The Açvins are brilliantly described, Their bird-drawn chariot and all its appurtenances are of gold; they are swift as thought, agile, young, and beautiful. Thrice they come to the sacrifice, morning, noon, and eve; at the yoking of their car, the dawn is born. When the 'banner before dawn' appears, the invocation to the Açvins begins; they 'accompany dawn.' Some variation of fancy is naturally to be looked for. Thus, though, as said above, Dawn is born at the Açvins yoking, yet Dawn is herself invoked to wake the Açvins; while again the sun starts their chariot before Dawn; and as sons of Zeus they are invoked "when darkness still stands among the shining clouds (cows)."[109]

Husbands or brothers or children of Dawn, the Horsemen are also S[=u]ry[=a]'s husbands, and she is the sun's daughter (Dawn?) or the sun as female. But this myth is not without contradictions, for S[=u]ry[=a] elsewhere weds Soma, and the Açvins are the bridegroom's friends; whom P[=u]shan chose on this occasion as his parents; he who (unless one with Soma) was the prior bridegroom of the same much-married damsel.[110]

The current explanation of the Açvins is that they represent two periods between darkness and dawn, the darker period being nearer night, the other nearer day. But they probably, as inseparable twins, are the twinlights or twilight, before dawn, half dark and half bright. In this light it may well be said of them that one alone is the son of bright Dyaus, that both wed Dawn, or are her brothers. They always come together. Their duality represents, then, not successive stages but one stage in day's approach, when light is dark and dark is light. In comparing the Açvins to other pairs[111] this dual nature is frequently referred to; but no less is there a triality in connection with them which often in describing them has been ignored. This is that threefold light which opens day; and, as in many cases they join with Dawn, so their color is inseparable. Strictly speaking, the break of red is the dawn and the white and yellow lights precede this[112]. Thus in V. 73. 5: "Red birds flew round you as S[=u]ry[=a] stepped upon your chariot"; so that it is quite impossible, in accordance with the poets themselves, to limit the Açvins to the twilight. They are a variegated growth from a black and white seed. The chief function of the Açvins, as originally conceived, was the finding and restoring of vanished light. Hence they are invoked as finders and aid-gods in general (the myths are given in Myriantheus).

Some very amusing and some silly legends have been collected and told by the Vedic poets in regard to the preservation and resuscitating power of the Açvins—how an old man was rejuvenated by them (this is also done by the three Ribhus, master-workmen of the gods); how brides are provided by them; how they rescued Bhujyu and others from the dangers of the deep (as in the classical legends); how they replaced a woman's leg with an iron one; restored a saint's eye-sight; drew a seer out of a well, etc, etc. Many scholars follow Bergaigne in imagining all these miracles to be anthropomorphized forms of solar phenomena, the healing of the blind representing the bringing out of the sun from darkness, etc. To us such interpretation often seems fatuous. No less unconvincing is the claim that one of the Açvins represents the fire of heaven and the other the fire of the altar. The Twins are called n[=a]saty[=a], the 'savers' (or 'not untrue ones[113]'); explained by some as meaning 'gods with good noses[114].'


Whether ye rest on far-extended earth, or on the sea in house upon it made, 'come hither thence, O ye that ride the steeds. If ever for man ye mix the sacrifice, then notice now the Kanva [poet who sings]. I call upon the gods [Indra, Vishnu[115]] and the swift-going Horsemen[116]. These Horsemen I call now that they work wonders, to seize the works (of sacrifice), whose friendship is preëminently ours, and relationship among all the gods; in reference to whom arise sacrifices … If, to-day, O Horsemen, West or East ye stand, ye of good steeds, whether at Druhyu's, Anu's, Turvaça's, or Yadu's, I call ye; come to me. If ye fly in the air, O givers of great joy; or if through the two worlds; or if, according to your pleasure, ye mount the car,—thence come hither, O Horsemen.

From the hymn preceding this, the following verses[117]:

Whatever manliness is in the aether, in the sky, and among the five peoples, grant us that, O Horsemen … this hot soma-drink of yours with laudation is poured out; this soma sweet through which ye discovered Vritra … Ascend the swift-rolling chariot, O Horsemen; hither let these my praises bring ye, like a cloud … Come as guardians of homes; guardians of our bodies. Come to the house for (to give) children and offspring. Whether ye ride on the same car with Indra, or be in the same house with the Wind; whether united with the Sons of Boundlessness or the Ribhus, or stand on Vishnu's wide steps (come to us). This is the best help of the horsemen, if to-day I should entice them to get booty, or call them as my strength to conquer in battle…. Whatever medicine (ye have) far or near, with this now, O wise ones, grant protection…. Awake, O Dawn, the Horsemen, goddess, kind and great…. When, O Dawn, thou goest in light and shinest with the Sun, then hither comes the Horsemen's chariot, to the house men have to protect. When the swollen soma-stalks are milked like cows with udders, and when the choric songs are sung, then they that adore the Horsemen are preëminent….

Here the Açvins are associated with Indra, and even find the evil demon; but, probably, at this stage Indra is more than god of storms.

Some of the expanded myths and legends of the Açvins may be found in i. 118, 119, 158; x. 40. Here follows one with legends in moderate number (vii. 71):

Before the Dawn her sister, Night, withdraweth;
The black one leaves the ruddy one a pathway.
Ye that have kine and horses, you invoke we;
By day, at night, keep far from us your arrow.

Come hither, now, and meet the pious mortal,
And on your car, O Horsemen, bring him good things;
Keep off from us the dry destroying sickness,
By day, at night, O sweetest pair, protect us.

Your chariot may the joy-desiring chargers,
The virile stallions, bring at Dawn's first coming;
That car whose reins are rays, and wealth upon it;
Come with the steeds that keep the season's order.

Upon the car, three-seated, full of riches,
The helping car, that has a path all golden,
On this approach, O lords of heroes, true ones,
Let this food-bringing car of yours approach us.

Ye freed from his old age the man Cyav[=a]na;
Ye brought and gave the charger swift to Pedu;
Ye two from darkness' anguish rescued Atri;
Ye set J[a=]husha down, released from fetters.[118]

This prayer, O Horsemen, and this song is uttered;
Accept the skilful[sic] poem, manly heroes.
These prayers, to you belonging, have ascended,
O all ye gods protect us aye with blessings![119]

The sweets which the Açvins bring are either on their chariot, or, as is often related, in a bag; or they burst forth from the hoof of their steed. Pegasus' spring in Helicon has been compared with this. Their vehicles are variously pictured as birds, horses, ships, etc. It is to be noticed that in no one of their attributes are the Açvins unique. Other gods bring sweets, help, protect, give offspring, give healing medicines, and, in short, do all that the Açvins do. But, as Bergaigne points out, they do all this pacifically, while Indra, who performs some of their wonders, does so by storm. He protects by not injuring, and helps by destroying foes. Yet is this again true only in general, and the lines between warlike, peaceful, and 'sovereign' gods are often crossed.

* * * * *


[Footnote 1: Such for instance as the hymn to the Açvins, RV. ii. 39. Compare verses 3-4: 'Come (ye pair of Açvins) like two horns; like two hoofs; like two geese; like two wheels; like two ships; like two spans'; etc. This is the content of the whole hymn.]

[Footnote 2: Deva is 'shining' (deus), and S[=u]rya (sol, [Greek: áelios]) means the same.]

[Footnote 3: Let the reader note at the outset that there is scarcely an activity considered as divine which does not belong to several gods (see below).]

[Footnote 4: From su, sav, enliven, beget, etc. In RV. iv.
53.6 and vii, 63.2, pra-savitar.]

[Footnote 5: RV. VII. 66. 14-15; compare X. 178. 1. In the
notes immediately following the numbers all refer to the Rig

[Footnote 6: V. 47, 3; compare vs. 7, and X. 189. 1-2.]

[Footnote 7: Compare X. 177. 1.]

[Footnote 8: X. 37. 9.]

[Footnote 9: V. 63. 7. Varuna and Mitra set the sun's car in

[Footnote 10: 1 IV. 13. 2-5; X. 37, 4; 85, 1. But ib. 149.
1. Savitar holds the sky 'without support.']

[Footnote 11: VII 63.1; I. 115.11; X. 37. 1.]

[Footnote 12: III. 61.4; VII. 63. 3.]

[Footnote 13: VII 78.3.]

[Footnote 14: I. 56,4; IX. 84. 2; Compare I. 92. 11; 115, 2; 123. 10-12. V. 44. 7, and perhaps 47.6, are late. VII. 75. 5, is an exception (or late).]

[Footnote 15: La Religion Védique, I.6; II. 2.]

[Footnote 16: Ehni, Yama, p. 134.]

[Footnote 17: RV., IV. 54. 2. Here the sun gives life even
to the gods.]

[Footnote 18: Ten hundred and twenty-eight hymns are
contained in the 'Rig Veda Collection.']

[Footnote 19: IV. 14.]

[Footnote 20: X. 37; 158; 170; 177; 189. Each has its own mark of lateness. In 37, the dream; in 158, the triad; in 170, the sun as asurah[=a]; in 177, the mystic tone and the bird-sun (compare Garutman, I. 164; X. 149); in 189, the thirty stations.]

[Footnote 21: See Whitney in Colebrooke's Essays, revised edition, ii. p. 111.]

[Footnote 22: iv. 54]

[Footnote 23: Two 'laps' below, besides that above, the word meaning 'middle' but also 'under-place.' The explanation of this much-disputed passage will be found by comparing I. 154. 5 and VII. 99. 1. The sun's three places are where he appears on both horizons and in the zenith. The last is the abode of the dead where Yama reigns. Compare IV. 53. The bracketed verses are probably a late puzzle attached to the word 'lap' of the preceding verse.]

[Footnote 24: Doubtful.]

[Footnote 25: The Spirit, later of evil spirits, demons (as
above, the asurah[=á]). Compare Ahura.]

[Footnote 26: A numerical conception not paralleled in the
Rig Veda, though mountains are called protuberances
('elevations') in other places.]

[Footnote 27: The last stanza is in the metre of the first;
two more follow without significant additions.]

[Footnote 28: The texts are translated by Muir, OST, V. p.
171 ff.]

[Footnote 29: La Religion Védique, II. p. 428. Compare
Hillebrandt, Soma p. 456.]

[Footnote 30: I. 138. 4.]

[Footnote 31: VI. 56. 1.]

[Footnote 32: In I. 23. 13-15 P[=u]shan is said to bring king (soma), "whom he found like a lost herd of cattle." The fragment is late if, as is probable, the 'six' of vs. 15 are the six seasons. Compare VI. 54. 5, "may P[=u]shan go after our kine."]

[Footnote 33: Compare VI. 54.]

[Footnote 34: He is the 'son of freeing,' from darkness? VI. 55. 1.]

[Footnote 35: IV. 57. 7.]

[Footnote 36: VI. 17. 11; 48. 11 ff.; IV. 30. 24 ff. He is
called like a war-god with the Maruts in VI. 48.]

[Footnote 37: So, too, Bhaga is Dawn's brother, I. 123. 5.
P[=u]shan is Indra's brother in VI. 55. 5. Gubernatis
interprets P[=u]shan as 'the setting sun.']

[Footnote 38: Contrast I. 42, and X. 26 (with 1. 138. 1). In
the first hymn P[=u]shan leads the way and drives away
danger, wolves, thieves, and helps to booty and pasturage.
In the last he is a war-god, who helps in battle, a
'far-ruler,' embracing the thoughts of all (as in III. 62.

[Footnote 39: For the traits just cited compare IV. 57. 7;
VI. 17. 11; 48. 15; 53; 55; 56. I-3; 57. 3-4; 58. 2-4; II.
40; X. 17. 3 ff.; 26. 3-8; I. 23. 14; all of I. 42, and 138;
VIII. 4. 15-18; III. 57. 2. In X. 17. 4, Savitar, too,
guides the souls of the dead.]

[Footnote 40: That is to say, one hymn is addressed to Bhaga
with various other gods, VII. 41. Here he seems to be
personified good-luck ("of whom even the king says,' I would
have thee,'" vs. 2). In Ihe Br[=a]hmanas 'Bhaga is blind,'
which applies better to Fortune than to the Sun.]

[Footnote 41: The hymn is sung before setting out on a forray for cattle. Let one observe how unsupported is the assumption of the ritualists as applied to this hymn, that it must have been "composed for rubrication."]

[Footnote 42: After Muir, V. p. 178. The clouds and cattle are both called gàs 'wanderers,' which helped in the poetic identification of the two.]

[Footnote 43: Compare IX. 97. 55, "Thou art Bhaga, giver of gifts."]

[Footnote 44: Bhágam bhakshi! Compare baksheesh. The word as 'god' is both Avestan, bagha, and Slavic, bogu (also meaning 'rich'). It may be an epithet of other gods also, and here it means only luck.]

[Footnote 45: Literally 'possessed of bhaga,' i.e., wealth.]

[Footnote 46: May Bhaga be bhágav[=a]n, i.e., a true
bhaga-holder. Here and below a pun on the name (as

[Footnote 47: Mythical being, possibly the sun-horse.
According to Pischel a real earthly racer.]

[Footnote 48: I.22.17, etc; 154 ff.; VII. too.]

[Footnote 49: VII. 100. 5-6. Vishnu (may be the epithet of
Indra in I.61.7) means winner (?),]

[Footnote 50: VI. 69; VII. 99. But Vishnu is ordered about
by Indra (IV. 18. 11; VIII. 89. 12).]

[Footnote 51: I.154. 5. In II. 1. 3, Vishnu is one with Fire

[Footnote 52: Thus, for example, Vishnu in the Hindu
trinity, the separate worship of the sun in modern sects,
and in the cult of the hill-men.]

[Footnote 53: X. 149.]

[Footnote 54: II.41.20.]

[Footnote 55: vi.70.]

[Footnote 56: I.160.4; IV. 56.1-3; VII. 53. 2.]

[Footnote 57: I. 185. 8. (J[=a]spati). The expiatory power of the hymn occurs again in I. 159.]

[Footnote 58: I. 185. 1.]

[Footnote 59: IV. 56. 7.]

[Footnote 60: I. 22. 15.]

[Footnote 61: X. 18. 10 (or: "like a wool-soft maiden").]

[Footnote 62: The lightning. In I. 31. 4, 10 "(Father) Fire makes Dyaus bellow" like "a bull" (v. 36. 5). Dyaus "roars" in vi. 72. 3. Nowhere else is he a thunderer.]

[Footnote 63: 1. 24. 7-8. The change in metaphor is not

[Footnote 64: This word means either order or orders (law);
literally the 'way' or 'course.']

[Footnote 65: 1. 24 (epitomized).]

[Footnote 66: Perhaps better with Ludwig "of (thee) in
anger, of (thee) incensed."]

[Footnote 67: Or: "Being (himself) in the (heavenly) flood
he knows the ships." (Ludwig.)]

[Footnote 68: An intercalated month is meant (not the
primitive 'twelve days').]

[Footnote 69: Or 'very wise,' of mental strength.]

[Footnote 70: VIII. 41. 7; VII. 82. 6 (Bergaigne); X. 132.

[Footnote 71: Compare Bergaigne, La Religion Védique, iii.
pp. 116-118.]

[Footnote 72: The insistence on the holy seven, the 'secret
names' of dawn, the confusion of Varuna with Trita. Compare,
also, the refrain, viii. 39-42. For X. 124, see below.]

[Footnote 73: Compare Hillebrandt's Varuna and Mitra, p. 5;
and see our essay on the Holy Numbers of the Rig Veda (in
the Oriental Studies).]

[Footnote 74: Varuna's forgiving of sins may be explained as a washing out of sin, just as fire burns it out, and so loosens therewith the imagined bond, V. 2. 7. Thus, quite apart from Varuna in a hymn addressed to the 'Waters,' is found the prayer, "O waters, carry off whatever sin is in me … and untruth," I. 23. 22.]

[Footnote 75: But as in iv. 42, so in x. 124 he shares glory with Indra.]

[Footnote 76: Later, Varuna's water-office is his only physical side. Compare [=A]it. [=A]r. II. I. 7. 7, 'water and Varuna, children of mind.' Compare with v[=a]ri, oùrá = v[=a]ra, and var[=i], an old word for rivers, var[s.] (= var + s), 'rain.' The etymology is very doubtful on account of the number of var-roots. Perhaps dew (ersa) and rain first as 'coverer.' Even var = vas 'shine,' has been suggested (ZDMG. XXII. 603).]

[Footnote 77: The old comparison of Varena cathrugaosha turns out to be "the town of Varna with four gates"!]

[Footnote 78: In India: What Can it Teach us, pp. 197, 200, Müller tacitly recognizes in the physical Varuna only the 'starry' night-side.]

[Footnote 79: Loc. cit., III. 119. Bergaigne admits Varuna as god of waters, but sees in him identity with Vritra a 'restrainer of waters.' He thinks the 'luminous side' of Varuna to be antique also (III. 117-119). Varuna's cord, according to Bergaigne, comes from 'tying up' the waters; 'night's fetters,' according to Hillebrandt.]

[Footnote 80: Loc. cit., p. 13.]

[Footnote 81: One of the chief objections to Bergaigne's conception of Varuna as restrainer is that it does not explain the antique union with Mitra.]

[Footnote 82: II. 28. 4, 7; VII. 82. 1, 2; 87.2]

[Footnote 83: vii. 87. 6; 88. 2.]

[Footnote 84: viii. 41. 2, 7, 8. So Varuna gives soma, rain. As a rain-god he surpasses Dyaus, who, ultimately, is also a rain-god (above), as in Greece.]

[Footnote 85: Compare Çat. Br. V. 2.5.17, "whatever is dark
is Varuna's."]

[Footnote 86: In II. 38. 8 varuna means 'fish,' and 'water
in I.184. 3.]

[Footnote 87: V. 62. I, 8; 64.7; 61. 5; 65. 2; 67. 2; 69.1;
VI. 51.1; 67. 5. In VIII. 47.11 the [=A]dityas are
themselves spies.]

[Footnote 88: Introduction to Grassmann, II. 27; VI. 42.
Lex. s. v.]

[Footnote 89: Religions of India, p. 17.]

[Footnote 90: The Rik knows, also, a Diti, but merely as antithesls to Aditi—the 'confined and unconfined.' Aditi is prayed to (for protection and to remove sin) in sporadic verses of several hymns addressed to other gods, but she has no hymn.]

[Footnote 91: Müller (loc. cit., below) thinks that the
'sons of Aditi' were first eight and were then reduced to
seven, in which opinion as in his whole interpretation of
Aditi as a primitive dawn-infinity we regret that we cannot
agree with him.]

[Footnote 92: See Hillebrandt, Die Göttin Aditi; and
Müller, SBE, xxxii., p. 241, 252.]

[Footnote 93: That is to say, if one believe that the 'primitive Aryans' were inoculated with Zoroaster's teaching. This is the sort of Varuna that Koth believes to have existed among the aboriginal Aryan tribes (above, p. 13, note 2).]

[Footnote 94: VII. 77.]

[Footnote 95: Clouds.]

[Footnote 96: The sun.]

[Footnote 97: The priest to whom, and to whose family, is ascribed the seventh book.]

[Footnote 98: JAOS., XV. 270.]

[Footnote 99: Much theosophy, and even history (!), has been read into II. 15, and IV. 30, where poets speak of Indra slaying Dawn; but there is nothing remarkable in these passages. Poetry is not creed. The monsoon (here Indra) does away with dawns for a time, and that is what the poet says in his own way.]

[Footnote 100: Transferred by Roth from the penultimate position where it stands in the original. Dawn here pays Night for the latter's malutinal withdrawing by withdrawing herself. Strictly speaking, the Dawn is, of course, the sunset light conceived of as identical with that preceding the sunrise ([Greek: usas, hêôs], 'east' as 'glow').]

[Footnote 101: Late as seems this hymn to be, it is
interesting in revealing the fact that wolves (not tigers or
panthers) are the poet's most dreaded foes of night. It
must, therefore have been composed in the northlands, where
wolves are the herdsman's worst enemies.]

[Footnote 102: Myriantheus, Die Açvins; Muir, OST. v.
p.234; Bergaigne, Religion Védique, II. p. 431; Müller,
Lectures, 2d series, p. 508; Weber, Ind. St. v. p. 234.
S[=a]yana on I. 180. 2, interprets the 'sister of the
Açvins' as Dawn.]

[Footnote 103: Muir, loc. cit. Weber regards them as the
(stars) Gemini.]

[Footnote 104: Weber, however, thinks that Dawn and Açvins
are equally old divinities, the oldest Hindu divinities in
his estimation.]

[Footnote 105: In the Epic (see below) they are called the
lowest caste of gods (Ç[=u]dras).]

[Footnote 106: X. 17. 2; I. 46. 2.]

[Footnote 107: I. 181. 4 (Roth, ZDMG. IV. 425).]

[Footnote 108: T[=a]itt. S. VII. 2. 7. 2; Muir, loc. cit. p. 235.]

[Footnote 109: vii. 67. 2; viii. 5. 2; x. 39. 12; viii. 9. 17; i. 34. 10; x. 61. 4. Muir, loc. cit. 238-9. Compare ib. 234, 256.]

[Footnote 110: Muir, loc. cit. p. 237. RV. vi. 58. 4; x.
85. 9ff.]

[Footnote 111: They are compared to two ships, two birds,

[Footnote 112: In Çat. Br. V. 5. 4. it to the Açvins a
red-white goat is sacrificed, because 'Açvins are

[Footnote 113: Perhaps best with Brannhofer, 'the savers'
from nas as in nasjan (AG. p. 99).]

[Footnote 114: La Religion Védique, II. p. 434. That
n[=a]snya means 'with good noses' is an epic notion,
n[=a]satyadasr[=a]u sunas[=a]u, Mbh[=a]. I. 3. 58, and for
this reason, if for no other (though idea is older), the
etymology is probably false! The epithet is also Iranian.
Twinned and especially paired gods are characteristic of the
Rig Veda. Thus Yama and Yam[=i] are twins; and of pairs
Indra-Agni, Indra-V[=a]yu, besides the older Mitra-Varuna,
Heaven-Earth, are common.]

[Footnote 115: Perhaps to be omitted.]

[Footnote 116: Pischel, Ved. St. I. p. 48. As swift-going gods they are called 'Indra-like.']

[Footnote 117: VIII. 9 and 10.]

[Footnote 118: Doubtful]

[Footnote 119: The last verse is not peculiar to this hymn, but is the sign of the book (family) in which it was composed.]

* * * * *



Only one of the great atmospheric deities, the gods that preëminently govern the middle sphere between sky and earth, can claim an Aryan lineage. One of the minor gods of the same sphere, the ancient rain-god, also has this antique dignity, but in his case the dignity already is impaired by the strength of a new and greater rival. In the case of the wind-god, on the other hand, there is preserved a deity who was one of the primitive pantheon, belonging, perhaps, not only to the Iranians, but to the Teutons, for V[=a]ta, Wind, may be the Scandinavian Woden. The later mythologists on Indian soil make a distinction between V[=a]ta, wind, and V[=a]yu (from the same root; as in German wehen) and in this distinction one discovers that the old V[=a]ta, who must have been once the wind-god, is now reduced to physical (though sentient) wind, while the newer name represents the higher side of wind as a power lying back of phenomena; and it is this latter conception alone that is utilized in the formation of the Vedic triad of wind, fire, and sun. In short, in the use and application of the two names, there is an exact parallel to the double terminology employed to designate the sun as S[=u]rya and Savitar. Just as S[=u]rya is the older [Greek: hêlios] and sol (acknowledged as a god, yet palpably the physical red body in the sky) contrasted with the interpretation which, by a newer name (Savitar), seeks to differentiate the (sentient) physical from the spiritual, so is V[=a]ta, Woden, replaced and lowered by the loftier conception of V[=a]yu. But, again, just as, when the conception of Savitar is formed, the spiritualizing tendency reverts to S[=u]rya, and makes of him, too, a figure reclothed in the more modern garb of speech, which is invented for Savitar alone; so the retroactive theosophic fancy, after creating V[=a]yu as a divine power underlying phenomenal V[=a]ta, reinvests V[=a]ta also with the garments of V[=a]yu. Thus, finally, the two, who are the result of intellectual differentiation, are again united from a new point of view, and S[=u]rya or Savitar, V[=a]yu or V[=a]ta, are indifferently used to express respectively the whole completed interpretation of the divinity, which is now visible and invisible, sun and sun-god, wind and wind-god. In these pairs there is, as it were, a perspective of Hindu theosophy, and one can trace the god, as a spiritual entity including the physical, back to the physical prototype that once was worshipped as such alone.

In the Rig Veda there are three complete hymns to Wind, none of these being in the family books. In x. 186, the poet calls on Wind to bring health to the worshipper, and to prolong his life. He addresses Wind as 'father and brother and friend,' asking the power that blows to bring him ambrosia, of which Wind has a store. These are rather pretty verses without special theological intent, addressed more to Wind as such than to a spiritual power. The other hymn from the same book is directed to V[=a]ta also, not to V[=a]yu, and though it is loftier in tone and even speaks of V[=a]ta as the soul of the gods, yet is it evident that no consistent mythology has worked upon the purely poetic phraseology, which is occupied merely with describing the rushing of a mighty wind (x. 168). Nevertheless, V[=a]ta is worshipped, as is V[=a]yu, with oblations.

HYMN TO WIND (V[=a]ta).

Now V[=a]ta's chariot's greatness! Breaking goes it,
And thundering is its noise; to heaven it touches,
Goes o'er the earth, cloud[1] making, dust up-rearing;
Then rush together all the forms of V[=a]ta;
To him they come as women to a meeting.
With them conjoint, on the same chariot going,
Is born the god, the king of all creation.
Ne'er sleepeth he when, on his pathway wandering,
He goes through air. The friend is he of waters;
First-born and holy,—where was he created,
And whence arose he? Spirit of gods is V[=a]ta,
Source of creation, goeth where he listeth;
Whose sound is heard, but not his form. This V[=a]ta
Let us with our oblations duly honor.

In times later than the Rig Veda, V[=a]yu interchanges with Indra as representative of the middle sphere; and in the Rig Veda all the hymns of the family books associate him with Indra (vii. 90-92; iv. 47-48). In the first book he is associated thus in the second hymn; while, ib. 134, he has the only remaining complete hymn, though fragments of songs occasionally are found. All of these hymns except the first two simply invite V[=a]yu to come with Indra to the sacrifice, It is V[=a]yu who with Indra obtains the first drink of soma (i. 134. 6). He is spoken of as the artificer's, Tvashtar's, son-in-law, but the allusion is unexplained (viii. 26. 22); he in turn begets the storm-gods (i. 134. 4).

With V[=a]yu is joined Indra, one of the popular gods. These divinities, which are partly of the middle and partly of the lower sphere, may be called the popular gods, yet were the title 'new gods' neither wholly amiss nor quite correct. For, though the popular deities in general, when compared with many for whom a greater antiquity may be claimed, such as the Sun, Varuna, Dyaus, etc., are of more recent growth in dignity, yet there remains a considerable number of divinities, the hymns in whose honor, dating from the latest period, seem to show that the power they celebrate had been but lately admitted into the category of those gods that deserved special worship. Consequently new gods would be a misleading term, as it should be applied to the plainer products of theological speculation and abstraction rather than to Indra and his peers, not to speak of those newest pantheistic gods, as yet unknown. The designation popular must be understood, then, to apply to the gods most frequently, most enthusiastically revered (for in a stricter sense the sun was also a popular god); and reference is had in using this word to the greater power and influence of these gods, which is indicated by the fact that the hymns to Agni and Indra precede all others in the family books, while the Soma-hymns are collected for the most part into one whole book by themselves.

But there is another factor that necessitates a division between the divinities of sun and heaven and the atmospheric and earthly gods which are honored so greatly; and this factor is explanatory of the popularity of these gods. In the case of the older divinities it is the spiritualization of a sole material appearance that is revered; in the case of the popular gods, the material phenomenon is reduced to a minimum, the spirituality behind the phenomenon is exalted, and that spirituality stands not in and for itself, but as a part of a union of spiritualities. Applying this test to the earlier gods the union will be found to be lacking. The sun's spiritual power is united with Indra's, but the sun is as much a physical phenomenon as a spirituality, and always remains so. On the other hand, the equation of Varunic power with Indraic never amalgamated the two; and these are the best instances that can be chosen of the older gods. For in the case of others it is self-evident. Dyaus and Dawn are but material phenomena, slightly spiritualized, but not joined with the spirit-power of others.

Many have been the vain attempts to go behind the returns of Vedic hymnology and reduce Indra, Agni, and Soma to terms of a purely naturalistic religion. It cannot be done. Indra is neither sun, lightning, nor storm; Agni is neither hearth-fire nor celestial fire; Soma is neither planet nor moon.

Each is the transient manifestation of a spirituality lying behind and extending beyond this manifestation. Here alone is the latch-key of the newer, more popular religion. Not merely because Indra was a 'warrior god,' but because Indra and Fire were one; because of the mystery, not because of the appearance, was he made great at the hands of the priests. It is true, as has been said above, that the idol of the warriors was magnified because he was such; but the true cause of the greatness ascribed to him in the hymns lay in the secret of his nature, as it was lauded by the priest, not in his form, as it was seen by the multitude. Neither came first, both worked together; but had it not been for the esoteric wisdom held by the priests in connection with his nature, Indra would have gone the way of other meteorological gods; whereas he became chiefest of the gods, and, as lord of strength, for a time came nearest to the supreme power.


Indra has been identified with 'storm,' with the 'sky,' with the 'year'; also with 'sun' and with 'fire' in general.[2] But if he be taken as he is found in the hymns, it will be noticed at once that he is too stormy to be the sun; too luminous to be the storm; too near to the phenomena of the monsoon to be the year or the sky; too rainy to be fire; too alien from every one thing to be any one thing. He is too celestial to be wholly atmospheric; too atmospheric to be celestial; too earthly to be either. A most tempting solution is that offered by Bergaigne, who sees in Indra sun or lightning. Yet does this explanation not explain all, and it is more satisfactory than others only because it is broader; while it is not yet broad enough. Indra, in Bergaigne's opinion, stands, however, nearer to fire than to sun.[3] But the savant does not rest content with his own explanation: "Indra est peut-être, de tous les dieux védiques, celui qui résiste le plus longtemps à un genre d'analyse qui, appliqué à la plupart des autres, les résout plus ou moins vite en des personnifications des éléments, soit des phénomènes naturels, soit du culte" (ibid. p. 167).

Dyaus' son, Indra, who rides upon the storm and hurls the lightnings with his hands; who 'crashes down from heaven' and 'destroys the strongholds' of heaven and earth; whose greatness 'fills heaven and earth'; whose 'steeds are of red and gold'; who 'speaks in thunder,' and 'is born of waters and cloud'; behind whom ride the storm-gods; with whom Agni (fire) is inseparably connected; who 'frees the waters of heaven from the demon,' and 'gives rain-blessings and wealth' to man—such a god, granted the necessity of a naturalistic interpretation, may well be thought to have been lightning itself originally, which the hymns now represent the god as carrying. But in identifying Indra with the sun there is more difficulty. In none of the early hymns is this suggested, and the texts on which Bergaigne relies besides being late are not always conclusive. "Indra clothes himself with the glory of the sun"; he "sees with the eye of the sun"—such texts prove little when one remembers that the sun is the eye of all the gods, and that to clothe ones' self with solar glory is far from being one with the sun. In one other, albeit a late verse, the expression 'Indra, a sun,' is used; and, relying on such texts, Bergaigne claims that Indra is the sun. But it is evident that this is but one of many passages where Indra by implication is compared to the sun; and comparisons do not indicate allotropy. So, in ii. II. 20, which Bergaigne gives as a parallel, the words say expressly "Indra [did so and so] like a sun."[4] To rest a building so important on a basis so frail is fortunately rare with Bergaigne. It happens here because he is arguing from the assumption that Indra primitively was a general luminary. Hence, instead of building up Indra from early texts, he claims a few late phrases as precious confirmation of his theory.[5] What was Indra may be seen by comparing a few citations such as might easily be amplified from every book in the Rig Veda.

According to the varying fancies of the poets, Indra is armed with stones, clubs, arrows, or the thunderbolt (made for him by the artificer, Tvashtar), of brass or of gold, with many edges and points. Upon a golden chariot he rides to battle, driving two or many red or yellow steeds; he is like the sun in brilliancy, and like the dawn in beauty; he is multiform, and cannot really be described; his divine name is secret; in appearance he is vigorous, huge; he is wise and true and kind; all treasures are his, and he is a wealth-holder, vast as four seas; neither his greatness nor his generosity can be comprehended; mightiest of gods is he, filling the universe; the heavens rest upon his head; earth cannot hold him; earth and heaven tremble at his breath; he is king of all; the mountains are to him as valleys; he goes forth a bull, raging, and rushes through the air, whirling up the dust; he breaks open the rain-containing clouds, and lets the rain pour down; as the Açvins restore the light, so he restores the rain; he is (like) fire born in three places; as the giver of rain which feeds, he creates the plants; he restores or begets Sun and Dawn (after the storm has passed);[6] he creates (in the same way) all things, even heaven and earth; he is associated with Vishnu and P[=u]shan (the sun-gods), with the Açvins, with the Maruts (storm-gods) as his especial followers, and with the artisan Ribhus. With Varuna he is an Adityá, but he is also associated with another group of gods, the Vasus (x. 66. 3), as Vasupati, or 'lord of the Vasus.' He goes with many forms (vi. 47. 18).[7]

The luminous character[8] of Indra, which has caused him to be identified with light-gods, can be understood only when one remembers that in India the rainy season is ushered in by such displays of lightning that the heavens are often illuminated in every direction at once; and not with a succession of flashes, but with contemporaneous ubiquitous sheets of light, so that it appears as if on all sides of the sky there was one lining of united dazzling flame. When it is said that Indra 'placed light in light,' one is not to understand, with Bergaigne, that Indra is identical with the sun, but that in day (light) Indra puts lightning (x. 54. 6; Bergaigne ii. p. 187).

Since Indra's lightning[9] is a form of fire, there is found in this union the first mystic dualism of two distinct gods as one. This comes out more in Agni-worship than in Indra-worship, and will be treated below. The snake or dragon killed by Indra is Vritra, the restrainer, who catches and keeps in the clouds the rain that is falling to earth. He often is called simply the snake, and as the Budhnya Snake, or snake of the cloud-depths, is possibly the Python (=Budh-nya).[10] There is here a touch of primitive belief in an old enemy of man—the serpent! But the Budhnya Snake has been developed in opposite ways, and has contradictory functions.[11]

Indra, however, is no more the lightning than he is the sun. One poet says that he is like the sun;[12] another, that he is like the lightning (viii. 93. 9), which he carries in his arms (viii. 12. 7); another, that he is like the light of dawn (x. 89. 12). So various are the activities, so many the phenomena, that with him first the seer is obliged to look back of all these phenomena and find in them one person; and thus he is the most anthropomorphized of the Vedic gods. He is born of heaven or born of clouds (iv. 18), but that his mother is Aditi is not certain. As the most powerful god Indra is again regarded as the All-god (viii. 98. 1-2). With this final supremacy, that distinction between battle-gods and gods sovereign, which Bergaigne insists upon—the sovereign gods belonging to une conception unitaire de l'ordre du monde (iii. p. 3; ii. p. 167)—fades away. As Varuna became gradually greatest, so did Indra in turn. But Varuna was a philosopher's god, not a warrior's; and Varuna was not double and mystical. So even the priest (Agni) leaves Varuna, and with the warrior takes more pleasure in his twin Indra; of him making an All-god, a greatest god. Varuna is passive; Indra is energetic; but Indra does not struggle for his lordship. Inspired by soma, he smites, triumphs, punishes. Victor already, he descends upon his enemies and with a blow destroys them. It is rarely that he feels the effect of battle; he never doubts its issue.

There is evidence that this supremacy was not gained without contradiction, and the novelty of the last extravagant Indra-worship may be deduced, perhaps, from such passages as viii. 96. 15; and 100. 3, where are expressed doubts in regard to the existence of a real Indra. How late is the worship of the popular Indra, and that it is not originality that causes his hymns to be placed early in each collection, may be judged from the fact that only of Indra (and Agni?) are there idols: viii. 1. 5; iv. 24. 10: "Who gives ten cows for my Indra? When he has slain his foe let (the purchaser) give him to me again."[13] Thus it happens that one rarely finds such poems to Indra as to Dawn and to other earlier deities, but almost always stereotyped descriptions of prowess, and mechanical invitations to come to the altar and reward the hymn-maker. There are few of Indra's many hymns that do not smack of soma and sacrifice. He is a warrior's god exploited by priests; as popularly conceived, a sensual giant, friend, brother, helper of man. One example of poetry, instead of ritualistic verse-making to Indra, has been translated in the introductory chapter. Another, which, if not very inspiring, is at least free from obvious soma-worship—which results in Indra being invoked chiefly to come and drink—is as follows (vi. 30):

Great hath he grown, Indra, for deeds heroic;
Ageless is he alone, alone gives riches;
Beyond the heaven and earth hath Indra stretched him,
The half of him against both worlds together!
So high and great I deem his godly nature;
What he hath stablished there is none impairs it.
Day after day a sun is he conspicuous,
And, wisely strong, divides the wide dominions.
To-day and now (thou makest) the work of rivers,
In that, O Indra, thou hast hewn them pathway.
The hills have bowed them down as were they comrades;
By thee, O wisely strong, are spaces fastened.
'Tis true, like thee, O Indra, is no other,
Nor god nor mortal is more venerable.
Thou slew'st the dragon that the flood encompassed,
Thou didst let out the waters to the ocean.
Thou didst the waters free, the doors wide opening,
Thou, Indra, brak'st the stronghold of the mountains,
Becamest king of all that goes and moveth,
Begetting sun and heaven and dawn together.


These gods, the constant followers of Indra, from the present point of view are not of great importance, except as showing an unadulterated type of nature-gods, worshipped without much esoteric wisdom (although there is a certain amount of mystery in connection with their birth). There is something of the same pleasure in singing to them as is discernible in the hymns to Dawn. They are the real storm-gods, following Rudra, their father, and accompanying the great storm-bringer, Indra. Their mother is the variegated cow Priçni, the mother cloud. Their name means the shining, gleaming ones.

HYMN TO THE MARUTS (vii. 56. 1-10).

Who, sooth, are the gleaming related heroes,
the glory of Rudra, on beauteous chargers?
For of them the birthplace no man hath witnessed;
they only know it, their mutual birthplace.
With wings expanded they sweep each other,[14]
and strive together, the wind-loud falcons.
Wise he that knoweth this secret knowledge,
that Priçni the great one to them was mother.[15]
This folk the Maruts shall make heroic,
victorious ever, increased in manhood;
In speed the swiftest, in light the lightest,
with grace united and fierce in power—
Your power fierce is; your strength, enduring;
and hence with the Maruts this folk is mighty.
Your fury fair is, your hearts are wrothful,
like maniacs wild is your band courageous.
From us keep wholly the gleaming lightning;
let not your anger come here to meet us.
Your names of strong ones endeared invoke I,
that these delighted may joy, O Maruts.

What little reflection or moral significance is in the Marut hymns is illustrated by i. 38. 1-9, thus translated by Müller:

What then now? When will ye take us as a dear father takes his son by both hands, O ye gods, for whom the sacred grass has been trimmed?

Where now? On what errand of yours are you going, in heaven, not on earth? Where are your cows sporting? Where are your newest favors, O Maruts? Where are blessings? Where all delights? If you, sons of Priçni, were mortals and your praiser an immortal, then never should your praiser be unwelcome, like a deer in pasture grass, nor should he go on the path of Yama.[16] Let not one sin after another, difficult to be conquered, overcome us; may it depart, together with greed. Truly they are terrible and powerful; even to the desert the Rudriyas bring rain that is never dried up. The lightning lows like a cow, it follows as a mother follows after her young, when the shower has been let loose. Even by day the Maruts create darkness with the water-bearing cloud, when they drench the earth, etc.

The number of the Maruts was originally seven, afterwards raised to thrice seven, and then given variously,[17] sometimes as high as thrice sixty. They are the servants, the bulls of Dyaus, the glory of Rudra (or perhaps the 'boys of Rudra'), divine, bright as suns, blameless and pure. They cover themselves with shining adornment, chains of gold, gems, and turbans. On their heads are helmets of gold, and in their hands gleam arrows and daggers. Like heroes rushing to battle, they stream onward. They are fair as deer; their roar is like that of lions. The mountains bow before them, thinking themselves to be valleys, and the hills bow down. Good warriors and good steeds are their gifts. They smite, they kill, they rend the rocks, they strip the trees like caterpillars; they rise together, and, like spokes in a wheel, are united in strength. Their female companion is Rodas[=i] (lightning, from the same root as rudra, the 'red'). They are like wild boars, and (like the sun) they have metallic jaws. On their chariots are speckled hides; like birds they spread their wings; they strive in flight with each other. Before them the earth sways like a ship. They dance upon their path. Upon their chests for beauty's sake they bind gold armor. From the heavenly udder they milk down rain. "Through whose wisdom, through whose design do they come?" cries the poet. They have no real adversary. The kings of the forest they tear asunder, and make tremble even the rocks. Their music is heard on every side.[18]


The father of the Maruts, Rudra, is 'the ruddy one,' par excellence and so to him is ascribed paternity of the 'ruddy ones.' But while Indra has a plurality of hymns, Rudra has but few, and these it is not of special importance to cite. The features in each case are the same. The Maruts remain as gods whose function causes them to be invoked chiefly that they may spare from the fury of the tempest. This idea is in Rudra's case carried out further, and he is specially called on to avert (not only 'cow-slaying' and 'man-slaying' by lightning,[19] but also) disease, pestilence, etc. Hence is he preeminently, on the one hand, the kindly god who averts disease, and, on the other, of destruction in every form. From him Father Manu got wealth and health, and he is the fairest of beings, but, more, he is the strongest god (ii. 33. 3, 10). From such a prototype comes the later god of healing and woe—Rudra, who becomes Çiva.[20]


There is one rather mechanical hymn directed to the Waters themselves as goddesses, where Indra is the god who gives them passage. But in the unique hymn to the Rivers it is Varuna who, as general god of water, is represented as their patron. In the first hymn the rain-water is meant.[21] A description in somewhat jovial vein of the joy produced by the rain after long drought forms the subject matter of another lyric (less an hymn than a poem), which serves to illustrate the position of the priests at the end of this Vedic collection. The frogs are jocosely compared to priests that have fulfilled their vow of silence; and their quacking is likened to the noise of students learning the Veda. Parjanya is the god that, in distinction from Indra as the first cause, actually pours down the rain-drops.


As priests that have their vows fulfilled,
Reposing for a year complete,
The frogs have now begun to talk,—
Parjanya has their voice aroused.

When down the heavenly waters come upon him,
Who like a dry bag lay within the river,
Then, like the cows' loud lowing (cows that calves have),
The vocal sound of frogs comes all together.

When on the longing, thirsty ones it raineth,
(The rainy season having come upon them),
Then akkala![23] they cry; and one the other
Greets with his speech, as sons address a father.

The one the other welcomes, and together
They both rejoice at falling of the waters;
The spotted frog hops when the rain has wet him,
And with his yellow comrade joins his utterance.

When one of these the other's voice repeateth,
Just as a student imitates his teacher,
Then like united members with fair voices,
They all together sing among the waters.

One like an ox doth bellow, goat-like one bleats;
Spotted is one, and one of them is yellow;
Alike in name, but in appearance different,
In many ways the voice they, speaking, vary.

As priests about th' intoxicating[24] soma
Talk as they stand before the well-filled vessel,
So stand ye round about this day once yearly,
On which, O frogs, the time of rain approaches.

(Like) priests who soma have, they raise their voices,
And pray the prayer that once a year is uttered;
(Like) heated priests who sweat at sacrifices,
They all come out, concealed of them is no one.

The sacred order of the (year) twelve-membered,
These heroes guard, and never do neglect it;
When every year, the rainy season coming,
The burning heat receiveth its dismission.[25]

In one hymn no less than four gods are especially invoked for rain—Agni, Brihaspati, Indra, and Parjanya. The two first are sacrificially potent; Brihaspati, especially, gives to the priest the song that has power to bring rain; he comes either 'as Mitra-Varuna or P[=u]shan,' and 'lets Parjanya rain'; while in the same breath Indra is exhorted to send a flood of rain,—rains which are here kept back by the gods,[26]—and Agni is immediately afterwards asked to perform the same favor, apparently as an analogue to the streams of oblation which the priest pours on the fire. Of these gods, the pluvius is Parjanya:

Parjanya loud extol in song,
The fructifying son of heaven;
May he provide us pasturage!
He who the fruitful seed of plants,
Of cows and mares and women forms,
He is the god Parjanya.
For him the melted butter pour
In (Agni's) mouth,—a honeyed sweet,—
And may he constant food bestow![27]

This god is the rain-cloud personified,[28] but he is scarcely to be distinguished, in other places, from Indra; although the latter, as the greater, newer god, is represented rather as causing the rain to flow, while Parjanya pours it down. Like Varuna, Parjanya also upsets a water-barrel, and wets the earth. He is identical with the Slavic Perkuna.

For natural expression, vividness, energy, and beauty, the following hymn is unsurpassed. As a god unjustly driven out of the pantheon, it is, perhaps, only just that he should be exhibited, in contrast to the tone of the sacrificial hymnlet above, in his true light. Occasionally he is paired with Wind; and in the curious tendency of the poets to dualize their divinities, the two become a compound, Parjanyav[=a]t[=a] ("Parjanya and V[=a]ta"). There is, also, vii. 101, one mystic hymn to Parjanya. The following, v. 83, breathes quite a different spirit:[29]

Greet him, the mighty one, with these laudations,
Parjanya praise, and call him humbly hither;
With roar and rattle pours the bull his waters,
And lays his seed in all the plants, a foetus.

He smites the trees, and smites the evil demons, too;
While every creature fears before his mighty blow,
E'en he that hath not sinned, from this strong god retreats,
When smites Parjanya, thundering, those that evil do.
As when a charioteer with whip his horses strikes,
So drives he to the fore his messengers of rain;
Afar a lion's roar is raised abroad, whene'er
Parjanya doth create the rain-containing cloud.
Now forward rush the winds, now gleaming lightnings fall;
Up spring the plants, and thick becomes the shining sky.
For every living thing refreshment is begot,
Whene'er Parjanya's seed makes quick the womb of earth.

Beneath whose course the earth hath bent and bowed her,
Beneath whose course the (kine) behoofed bestir them,
Beneath whose course the plants stand multifarious,
He—thou, Parjanya—grant us great protection!
Bestow Dyaus' rain upon us, O ye Maruts!
Make thick the stream that comes from that strong stallion!
With this thy thunder come thou onward, hither,
Thy waters pouring, a spirit and our father.[30]
Roar forth and thunder! Give the seed of increase!
Drive with thy chariot full of water round us;
The water-bag drag forward, loosed, turned downward;
Let hills and valleys equal be before thee!
Up with the mighty keg! then pour it under!
Let all the loosened streams flow swiftly forward;
Wet heaven and earth with this thy holy fluid;[31]
And fair drink may it be for all our cattle!

When thou with rattle and with roar,
Parjanya, thundering, sinners slayest,
Then all before thee do rejoice,
Whatever creatures live on earth.

Rain hast thou rained, and now do thou restrain it;
The desert, too, hast thou made fit for travel;
The plants hast thou begotten for enjoyment;
And wisdom hast thou found for thy descendants.

The different meters may point to a collection of small hymns. It is to be observed that Parjanya is here the fathergod (of men); he is the Asura, the Spirit; and rain comes from the Shining Sky (Dyaus). How like Varuna!

The rain, to the poet, descends from the sky, and is liable to be caught by the demon, Vritra, whose rain-swollen belly Indra opens with a stroke, and lets fall the rain; or, in the older view just presented, Parjanya makes the cloud that gives the rain—a view united with the descent of rain from the sky (Dyaus). With Parjanya as an Aryan rain-god may be mentioned Trita, who, apparently, was a water-god, [=A]ptya, in general; and some of whose functions Indra has taken. He appears to be the same with the Persian Thraetaona [=A]thwya; but in the Rig Veda he is interesting mainly as a dim survival of the past.[32] The washing out of sins, which appears to be the original conception of Varuna's sin-forgiving,[33] finds an analogue in the fact that sins are cast off upon the innocent waters and upon Trita—also a water-god, and once identified with Varuna (viii. 41. 6). But this notion is so unique and late (only in viii. 47) that Bloomfield is perhaps right in imputing it to the [later] moralizing age of the Br[=a]hmanas, with which the third period of the Rig Veda is quite in touch.

* * * * *


[Footnote 1: Compare I. 134. 3.]

[Footnote 2: For the different views, see Perry, JAOS. xi.
p. 119; Muir, OST. v. p. 77.]

[Footnote 3: La Religion Védique, ii. pp. 159, 161, 166,

[Footnote 4: The chief texts are ii. 30. 1; iv. 26. 1; vii.
98. 6; viii. 93. 1, 4; x. 89. 2; x. 112. 3.]

[Footnote 5: Other citations given by Bergaigne in
connection with this point are all of the simile class. Only
as All-god is Indra the sun.]

[Footnote 6: i. 51. 4: "After slaying Vritra, thou did'st
make the sun climb in the sky."]

[Footnote 7: [=A]dityá, only vii. 85. 4; V[=a]l. 4. 7. For
other references, see Perry (loc. cit.).]

[Footnote 8: Bergaigne, ii. 160. 187.]

[Footnote 9: Indra finds and begets Agni, iii. 31. 25.]

[Footnote 10: Unless the Python be, rather, the Demon of
Putrefaction, as in Iranian belief.]

[Footnote 11: Demons of every sort oppose Indra; Vala,
Vritra, the 'holding' snake (áhi=[Greek: echis]), Çushna
('drought'), etc.]

[Footnote 12: So he finds and directs the sun and causes it to shine, as explained above (viii. 3. 6; iii. 44. 4; i. 56. 4; iii. 30. 12). He is praised with Vishnu (vi.69) in one hymn, as distinct from him.]

[Footnote 13: Bollensen would see an allusion to idols in i. 145. 4-5 (to Agni), but this is very doubtful (ZDMG. xlvii. p. 586). Agni, however, is on a par with Indra, so that the exception would have no significance. See Kaegi, Rig Veda, note 79a.]

[Footnote 14: Or 'pluck with beaks,' as Müller translates,
SBE. xxxii. p. 373.]

[Footnote 15: "Bore them" (gave an udder). In v. 52. 16
Rudra is father and Priçni, mother. Compare viii. 94. 1:
"The cow … the mother of the Maruts, sends milk (rain)."
In x. 78. 6 the Maruts are sons of Sindhu (Indus).]

[Footnote 16: I.e., die.]

[Footnote 17: The number is not twenty-seven, as Muir accidentally states, OST. v. p. 147.]

[Footnote 18: v. 58. 4, 5; I. 88. 1; 88. 5; v. 54. 11; viii. 7. 25; i. 166. 10; i. 39. 1; 64. 2-8; v. 54. 6; i. 85. 8; viii. 7. 34; v. 59. 2.]

[Footnote 19: He carries lightnings and medicines together
in vii. 46. 3.]

[Footnote 20: Çiva is later identified with Rudra. For the
latter in RV. compare i. 43; 114, 1-5, 10; ii. 33. 2-13.]

[Footnote 21: vii. 47, and x. 75.]

[Footnote 22: vii. 103.]

[Footnote 23: Akhkhala is like Latin eccere shout of joy
and wonder(Am.J. Phil. XIV. p. 11).]

[Footnote 24: Literally, 'that has stood over-night,' i.e.,

[Footnote 25: To this hymn is added, in imitation of the laudations of generous benefactors, which are sometimes suffixed to an older hymn, words ascribing gifts to the frogs. Bergaigne regards the frogs as meteorological phenomena! It is from this hymn as a starting-point proceed the latter-day arguments of Jacobi, who would prove the 'period of the Rig Veda' to have begun about 3500 B.C. One might as well date Homer by an appeal to the Batrachomyomachia.]

[Footnote 26: x. 98. 6.]

[Footnote 27: vii. 102.]

[Footnote 28: Compare Bühler, Orient and Occident, I. p. 222.]

[Footnote 29: This hymn is another of those that contradict the first assumption of the ritualists. From internal evidence it is not likely that it was made for baksheesh.]

[Footnote 30: [A]suras, pit[=a] nas.]

[Footnote 31: Literally, 'with ghee'; the rain is like the
ghee, or sacrificial oil (melted butter).]

[Footnote 32: Some suppose even Indra to be one with the
Avestan A[.n]dra, a demon, which is possible.]

[Footnote 33: Otherwise it is the 'bonds of sin' which are broken or loosed, as in the last verse of the first Varuna hymn, translated above. But the two views may be of equal antiquity (above, p. 69, note). On Trita compare JRAS. 1893, p. 419; PAOS. 1894 (Bloomfield).]

* * * * *



Great are the heavenly gods, but greater is Indra, god of the atmosphere. Greatest are Agni and Soma, the gods of earth.

Agni is the altar-fire. Originally fire, Agni, in distinction from sun and lightning, is the fire of sacrifice; and as such is he great. One reads in v. 3. 1-2, that this Agni is Varuna, Indra; that in him are all the gods. This is, indeed, formally a late view, and can be paralleled only by a few passages of a comparatively recent period. Thus, in the late hymn i. 164. 46: "Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni, they say; he is the sun (the bird in the sky); that which is but one they call variously," etc. So x. 114. 5 and the late passage iii. 38. 7, have reference to various forms of Agni.

Indra had a twofold nature in producing the union of lightning and Agni; and this made him mysteriously great. But in Agni is found the first triality, which, philosophically, is interpreted as a trinity. The fire of the altar is one with the lightning, and, again, one with the sun. This is Agni's threefold birth; and all the holy character of three is exhausted in application where he is concerned. It is the highest mystery until the very end of the Vedic age. This Agni it is that is the real Agni of the Rig Veda—the new Agni; for there was probably an Agni cult (as simple fire) long before the soma cult. Indra and Agni are one, and both are called the slayers of the demons[1]. They are both united as an indissoluble pair (iii. 12, etc.). Agni, with, perhaps, the exception of Soma, is the most important god in the Rig Veda; and it is no chance that gives him the first place in each family hymn-book; for in him are found, only in more fortunate circumstances, exactly the same conditions as obtain in the case of Indra. He appealed to man as the best friend among divine beings; he was not far off, to be wondered at; if terrible, to be propitiated. He was near and kind to friends. And as he seemed to the vulgar so he appealed to the theosophy which permeates the spirit of the poets; for he is mysterious; a mediator between god and man (in carrying to heaven the offerings); a threefold unity, typical of earth, atmosphere, and heaven. From this point of view, as in the case of Indra, so in the case of Agni, only to a greater extent, it becomes impossible to interpret Agni as one element, one phenomenon. There is, when a distinction is made, an agni which is single, the altar-fire, separate from other fires; but it is seldom that Agni is not felt as the threefold one.

And now for the interpretation of the modern ritualists. The Hindu ritual had 'the three fires,' which every orthodox believer was taught to keep up. The later literature of the Hindus themselves very correctly took these three fires as types of the three forms of Agni known in the Rig Veda. But to the ritualists the historical precedence is inverted, and they would show that the whole Vedic mythological view of an Agni triad is the result of identifying Agni with the three fires of the ritual. From this crass method of interpretation it would result that all Vedic mythology was the child of the liturgy[2].

As earthly fire Agni is first ignis:[3] "Driven by the wind, he hastens through the forest with roaring tongues…. black is thy path, O bright immortal!" "He mows down, as no herd can do, the green fields; bright his tooth, and golden his beard." "He devours like a steer that one has tied up." This is common fire, divine, but not of the altar. The latter Agni is of every hymn. For instance, the first stanza of the Rig Veda: "Agni, the family priest, I worship; the divine priest of sacrifice; the oblation priest, who bestows riches," where he is invoked under the names of different priests. But Agni is even more than this; he is the fire (heat) that causes production and reproduction, visibly manifest in the sun. This dual Agni, it is to be noticed, is at times the only Agni recognized. The third form is then added, lightning, and therewith Agni is begotten of Indra, and is, therefore, one with Indra: "There is only one fire lighted in many places" (V[=a]l. 10. 2). As a poetical expression, Agni in the last form is the 'Son of Waters,' an epithet not without significance in philosophical speculation; for water, through all periods, was regarded as the material origin of the universe.

Agni is one with the sun, with lightning (and thunder), and descends into the plants.[4] To man he is house-priest and friend. It is he that has "grouped men in dwelling-places" (iii. 1. 17) like Prometheus, in whose dialectic name, Promantheus, lingers still the fire-creator, the twirling (math) sticks which make fire in the wood. He is man's guest and best friend (Mitra, iv. 1. 9; above).

An hymn or two entire will show what was Agni to the Vedic poet. In the following, the Rig Veda's first hymn, he is addressed, in the opening stanza, under the names of house-priest, the chief sacrificial priest, and the priest that pours oblations. In the second stanza he is extolled as the messenger who brings the gods to the sacrifice, himself rising up in sacrificial flames, and forming a link between earth and heaven. In a later stanza he is called the Messenger (Angiras =[Greek: aggelos]),—one of his ordinary titles:

To AGNI (i. 1).

I worship Agni; house-priest, he,
And priest divine of sacrifice,
Th' oblation priest, who giveth wealth.

Agni, by seers of old adored,
To be adored by those to-day—
May he the gods bring here to us.

Through Agni can one wealth acquire,
Prosperity from day to day,
And fame of heroes excellent.

O, Agni! whatsoe'er the rite
That thou surround'st on every side,
That sacrifice attains the gods.

May Agni, who oblation gives—
The wisest, true, most famous priest—
This god with (all) the gods approach I

Thou doest good to every man
That serves thee, Agni; even this
Is thy true virtue, Angiras.

To thee, O Agni, day by day,
Do we with prayer at eve and dawn,
Come, bringing lowly reverence;

To thee, the lord of sacrifice,
And shining guardian of the rite,[5]
In thine own dwelling magnified.

As if a father to his son,
Be easy of access to us,
And lead us onward to our weal.

This is mechanical enough to have been made for an established ritual, as doubtless it was. But it is significant that the ritualistic gods are such that to give their true character hymns of this sort must be cited. Such is not the case with the older gods of the pantheon. Ritualistic as it is, however, it is simple. Over against it may be set the following (vi. 8): "Now will I praise the strength of the variegated red bull (Agni), the feasts of the Knower-of-beings[6] (Agni); to Agni, the friend of all men, is poured out a new song, sweet to him as clear soma. As soon as he was born in highest heaven, Agni began to protect laws, for he is a guardian of law (or order). Great in strength, he, the friend of all men, measured out the space between heaven and earth, and in greatness touched the zenith; he, the marvellous friend, placed apart heaven and earth; with light removed darkness; separated the two worlds like skins. Friend of all men, he took all might to himself…. In the waters' lap the mighty ones (gods) took him, and people established him king. M[=a]tariçvan, messenger of the all-shining one, bore him from afar, friend of all men. Age by age, O Agni, give to poets new glorious wealth for feasts. O ever-youthful king, as if with a ploughshare, rend the sinner; destroy him with thy flame, like a tree! But among our lords bring, O Agni, power unbent, endless strength of heroes; and may we, through thy assistance, conquer wealth an hundredfold, a thousandfold, O Agni, thou friend of all; with thy sure protection protect our royal lords, O helper, thou who hast three habitations; guard for us the host of them that have been generous, and let them live on, friend of all, now that thou art lauded."

Aryan, as Kuhn[7] has shown, is at least the conception if not the particular form of the legend alluded to in this hymn, of fire brought from the sky to earth, which Promethean act is attributed elsewhere to the fire-priest.[8] Agni is here Mitra, the friend, as sun-god, and as such takes all the celestials' activities on himself. Like Indra he also gives personal strength: "Fair is thy face, O Agni, to the mortal that desires strength;—they whom thou dost assist overcome their enemies all their lives" (vi. 16. 25, 27). Agni is drawn down to earth by means of the twirling-sticks, one the father, one the mother[9]. "The bountiful wood bore the fair variegated son of waters and plants;[10] the gods united in mind, and payed homage to the glorious mighty child when he was born" (iii. 1. 13). As the son of waters, Agni loves wood but retreats to water, and he is so identified with Indra that he 'thunders' and 'gives rain' (as lightning; ii. 6. 5; iii. 9. 2).

The deeper significance of Agni-worship is found not alone in the fact that he is the god in whom are the other gods, nor in that he is the sun alone, but that "I am Agni, immortality is in my mouth; threefold my light, eternal fire, my name the oblation (fire)," iii. 26. 7. He is felt as a mysterious trinity. As a sun he lights earth; and gives life, sustenance, children, and wealth (iii. 3. 7); as lightning he destroys, as fire he befriends; like Indra he gives victory (iii. 16. 1); like Varuna he releases the bonds of sin; he is Varuna's brother (v. 2. 7; vi. 3. 1; iv. 1. 2); his 'many names' are often alluded to (iii. 20. 3, and above). The ritualistic interpretation of the priest is that the sun is only a sacrificial fire above lighted by the gods as soon as the corresponding fire is lighted on earth by men (vi. 2. 3). He is all threefold; three his tongues, his births, his places; thrice led about the sacrifice given thrice a day (iii. 2. 9; 17. 1; 20. 2; iv, 15. 2; 1. 7; 12. 1). He is the upholder of the religious order, the guest of mortals, found by the gods in the heavenly waters; he is near and dear; but he also becomes dreadful to the foe (iii. 1. 3-6; 6. 5; vi. 7. 1; 8. 2; iii. 1. 23; 22. 5; vi. 3. 7; iii. 18. 1; iv. 4. 4; 1. 6).

It is easy to see that in such a conception of a triune god, who is fearful yet kind, whose real name is unknown, while his visible manifestations are in earth, air, and heaven, whose being contains all the gods, there is an idea destined to overthrow, as it surpasses, the simpler conceptions of the naturalism that precedes it. Agni as the one divine power of creation is in fact the origin of the human race: "From thee come singers and heroes" (vi. 7. 3). The less weight is, therefore, to be laid on Bergaigne's 'fire origin of man'; it is not as simple fire, but as universal creator that Agni creates man; it is not the 'fire-principle'[11] philosophically elicited from connection of fire and water, but as god-principle, all-creative, that Agni gets this praise.

Several hymns are dedicated to Indr[=a]gni, Indra united with Agni; and the latter even is identified with Dyaus (iv. 1. 10), this obsolescent god reviving merely to be absorbed into Agni. As water purifies from dirt and sin (Varuna), so fire purifies (iv. 12. 4). It has been suggested on account of v. 12. 5: 'Those that were yours have spoken lies and left thee,' that there is a decrease in Agni worship. As this never really happened, and as the words are merely those of a penitent who has lied and seeks forgiveness at the hands of the god of truth, the suggestion is not very acceptable. Agni comprehends not only all naturalistic gods, but such later femininities as Reverence, Mercy, and other abstractions, including Boundlessness.

Of how great importance was the triune god Agni may be seen by comparing his three lights with the later sectarian trinity, where Vishnu, originally the sun, and (Rudra) Çiva, the lightning, are the preserver and destroyer.

We fear the reader may have thought that we were developing rather a system of mythology than a history of religion. With the close of the Vedic period we shall have less to say from a mythological point of view, but we think that it will have become patent now for what purpose was intended the mythological basis of our study. Without this it would have been impossible to trace the gradual growth in the higher metaphysical interpretation of nature which goes hand in hand with the deeper religious sense. With this object we have proceeded from the simpler to the more complex divinities. We have now to take up a side of religion which lies more apart from speculation, but it is concerned very closely with man's religious instincts—the worship of Bacchic character, the reverence for and fear of the death-god, and the eschatological fancies of the poets, together with those first attempts at creating a new theosophy which close the period of the Rig Veda.


Inseparably connected with the worship of Indra and Agni is that of the 'moon-plant,' soma, the intoxicating personified drink to whose deification must be assigned a date earlier than that of the Vedas themselves. For the soma of the Hindus is etymologically identified with the haoma of the Persians (the [Greek: omomi] of Plutarch[12]), and the cultus at least was begun before the separation of the two nations, since in each the plant is regarded as a god. The inspiring effect of intoxication seemed to be due to the inherent divinity of the plant that produced it; the plant was, therefore, regarded as divine, and the preparation of the draught was looked upon as a sacred ceremony[13].

This offering of the juice of the soma-plant in India was performed thrice daily. It is said in the Rig Veda that soma grows upon the mountain M[=u]javat, that its or his father is Parjanya, the rain-god, and that the waters are his sisters[14]. From this mountain, or from the sky, accounts differ, soma was brought by a hawk[15]. He is himself represented in other places as a bird; and as a divinity he shares in the praise given to Indra, "who helped Indra to slay Vritra," the demon that keeps back the rain. Indra, intoxicated by soma, does his great deeds, and indeed all the gods depend on soma for immortality. Divine, a weapon-bearing god, he often simply takes the place of Indra and other gods in Vedic eulogy. It is the god Soma himself who slays Vritra, Soma who overthrows cities, Soma who begets the gods, creates the sun, upholds the sky, prolongs life, sees all things, and is the one best friend of god and man, the divine drop (índu), the friend of Indra[16].

As a god he is associated not only with Indra, but also with Agni, Rudra, and P[=u]shan. A few passages in the later portion of the Rig Veda show that soma already was identified with the moon before the end of this period. After this the lunar yellow god regularly was regarded as the visible and divine Soma of heaven, represented on earth by the plant[17].

From the fact that Soma is the moon in later literature, and undoubtedly is recognized as such in a small number of the latest passages of the Rig Veda, the not unnatural inference has been drawn by some Vedic scholars that Soma, in hymns still earlier, means the moon; wherever, in fact, epithets hitherto supposed to refer to the plant may be looked upon as not incompatible with a description of the moon, there these epithets are to be referred directly to Soma as the moon-god, not to soma, the mere plant. Thus, with Rig Veda, X. 85 (a late hymn, which speaks of Soma as the moon "in the lap of the stars," and as "the days' banner") is to be compared VI. 39. 3, where it is said that the drop (soma) lights up the dark nights, and is the day's banner. Although this expression, at first view, would seem to refer to the moon alone, yet it may possibly be regarded as on a par with the extravagant praise given elsewhere to the soma-plant, and not be so significant of the moon as it appears to be. Thus, in another passage of the same book, the soma, in similar language, is said to "lay light in the sun," a phrase scarcely compatible with the moon's sphere of activity[18].

The decision in regard to this question of interpretation is not to be reached so easily as one might suppose, considering that a whole book, the ninth, of the Rig Veda is dedicated to Soma, and that in addition to this there are many hymns addressed to him in the other books. For in the greater number of passages which may be cited for and against this theory the objector may argue that the generally extravagant praise bestowed upon Soma through the Veda is in any one case merely particularized, and that it is not incongruous to say of the divine soma-plant, "he lights the dark nights," when one reads in general that he creates all things, including the gods. On the other hand, the advocate of the theory may reply that everything which does not apply to the moon-god Soma may be used metaphorically of him. Thus, where it is said, "Soma goes through the purifying sieve," by analogy with the drink of the plant soma passing through the sieve the poet may be supposed to imagine the moon passing through the sieve-like clouds; and even when this sieve is expressly called the 'sheep's-tail sieve' and 'wool-sieve,' this may still be, metaphorically, the cloud-sieve (as, without the analogy, one speaks to-day of woolly clouds and the 'mare's tail').

So it happens that, with an hundred hymns addressed to Soma, it remains still a matter of discussion whether the soma addressed be the plant or the moon. Alfred Hillebrandt, to whom is due the problem in its present form, declares that everywhere[19] in the Rig Veda Soma means the moon. No better hymn can be found to illustrate the difficulty under which labors the soma-exegete than IX. 15, from which Hillebrandt takes the fourth verse as conclusive evidence that by soma only the moon is meant. In that case, as will be seen from the 'pails,' it must be supposed that the poet leaps from Soma to soma without warning. Hillebrandt does not include the mention of the pails in his citation; but in this, as in other doubtful cases, it seems to us better to give a whole passage than to argue on one or two verses torn from their proper position:


QUERY: Is the hymn addressed to the plant as it is pressed out into the pails, or to the moon?

1. This one, by means of prayer (or intelligence), comes through the fine (sieve), the hero, with swift car, going to the meeting with Indra.

2. This one thinks much for the sublime assembly of gods, where sit immortals.

3. This one is despatched and led upon a shining path, when
the active ones urge (him).[20]

4. This one, shaking his horns, sharpens (them), the bull of
the herd, doing heroic deeds forcibly.

5. This one hastens, the strong steed, with bright golden
beams, becoming of streams the lord.

6. This one, pressing surely through the knotty (sieve?) to
good things, comes down into the vessels.

7. This one, fit to be prepared, the active ones prepare in the pails, as he creates great food.

8. Him, this one, who has good weapons, who is most intoxicating, ten fingers and seven (or many) prayers prepare.

Here, as in IX. 70, Hillebrandt assumes that the poet turns suddenly from the moon to the plant. Against this might be urged the use of the same pronoun throughout the hymn. It must be confessed that at first sight it is almost as difficult to have the plant, undoubtedly meant in verses 7 and 8, represented by the moon in the preceding verses, as it is not to see the moon in the expression 'shaking his horns.' This phrase occurs in another hymn, where Hillebrandt, with the same certainty as he does here, claims it for the moon, though the first part of this hymn as plainly refers to the plant, IX. 70. 1, 4. Here the plant is a steer roaring like the noise of the Maruts (5-6), and then (as above, after the term steer is applied to the plant), it is said that he 'sharpens his horns,' and is 'sightly,' and further, 'he sits down in the fair place … on the wooly back,' etc., which bring one to still another hymn where are to be found like expressions, used, evidently, not of the moon, but of the plant, viz. to IX. 37, a hymn not cited by Hillebrandt:

This strong (virile) soma, pressed for drink, flows into the purifying vessel; this sightly (as above, where Hillebrandt says it is epithet of the moon), yellow, fiery one, is flowing into the purifying vessel; roaring into its own place (as above). This strong one, clear, shining (or purifying itself), runs through the shining places of the sky, slaying evil demons, through the sheep-hair-sieve. On the back of Trita this one shining (or purifying itself) made bright the sun with (his) sisters.[21] This one, slaying Vritra, strong, pressed out, finding good things (as above), uninjured, soma, went as if for booty. This god, sent forth by seers, runs into the vessels, the drop (indu) for Indra, quickly (or willingly).

So far as we can judge, after comparing these and the other passages that are cited by Hillebrandt as decisive for a lunar interpretation of soma, it seems quite as probable that the epithets and expressions used are employed of the plant metaphorically as that the poet leaps thus lightly from plant to moon. And there is a number of cases which plainly enough are indicative of the plant alone to make it improbable that Hillebrandt is correct in taking Soma as the moon 'everywhere in the Rig Veda.' It may be that the moon-cult is somewhat older than has been supposed, and that the language is consciously veiled in the ninth book to cover the worship of a deity as yet only partly acknowledged as such. But it is almost inconceivable that an hundred hymns should praise the moon; and all the native commentators, bred as they were in the belief of their day that soma and the moon were one, should not know that soma in the Rig Veda (as well as later) means the lunar deity. It seems, therefore, safer to abide by the belief that soma usually means what it was understood to mean, and what the general descriptions in the soma-hymns more or less clearly indicate, viz., the intoxicating plant, conceived of as itself divine, stimulating Indra, and, therefore, the causa movens of the demon's death, Indra being the causa efficiens. Even the allusions to soma being in the sky is not incompatible with this. For he is carried thence from the place of sacrifice. Thus too in 83. 1-2: "O lord of prayer[22], thy purifier (the sieve) is extended. Prevailing thou enterest its limbs on all sides. Raw (soma), that has not been cooked (with milk) does not enter into it. Only the cooked (soma), going through, enters it. The sieve of the hot drink is extended in the place of the sky. Its gleaming threads extend on all sides. This (soma's) swift (streams) preserve the man that purifies them, and wisely ascend to the back of the sky." In this, as in many hymns, the drink soma is clearly addressed; yet expressions are used which, if detached, easily might be thought to imply the moon (or the sun, as with Bergaigne)—a fact that should make one employ other expressions of the same sort with great circumspection.

Or, let one compare, with the preparation by the ten fingers, 85. 7: "Ten fingers rub clean (prepare) the steed in the vessels; uprise the songs of the priests. The intoxicating drops, as they purify themselves, meet the song of praise and enter Indra." Exactly the same images as are found above may be noted in IX. 87, where not the moon, but the plant, is conspicuously the subject of the hymn: "Run into the pail, purified by men go unto booty. They lead thee like a swift horse with reins to the sacrificial straw, preparing (or rubbing) thee. With good weapons shines the divine (shining) drop (Indu), slaying evil-doers, guarding the assembly; the father of the gods, the clever begetter, the support of the sky, the holder of earth…. This one, the soma (plant) on being pressed out, ran swiftly into the purifier like a stream let out, sharpening his two sharp horns like a buffalo; like a true hero hunting for cows; he is come from the highest press-stone," etc. It is the noise of soma dropping that is compared with 'roaring.' The strength given by (him) the drink, makes him appear as the 'virile one,' of which force is the activity, and the bull the type. Given, therefore, the image of the bull, the rest follows easily to elaborate the metaphor. If one add that soma is luminous (yellow), and that all luminous divinities are 'horned bulls[23],' then it will be unnecessary to see the crescent moon in soma. Moreover, if soma be the same with Brihaspati, as thinks Hillebrandt, why are there three horns in V. 43. 13? Again, that the expression 'sharpening his horns' does not refer necessarily to the moon may be concluded from x. 86. 15, where it is stated expressly that the drink is a sharp-horned steer: "Like a sharp-horned steer is thy brewed drink, O Indra," probably referring to the taste. The sun, Agni, and Indra are all, to the Vedic poet, 'sharp-horned steers[24],' and the soma plant, being luminous and strong (bull-like), gets the same epithet.

The identity is rather with Indra than with the moon, if one be content to give up brilliant theorizing, and simply follow the poets: "The one that purifies himself yoked the sun's swift steed over man that he might go through the atmosphere, and these ten steeds of the sun he yoked to go, saying Indra is the drop (Indu)." When had ever the moon the power to start the sun? What part in the pantheon is played by the moon when it is called by its natural name (not by the priestly name, soma)? Is m[=a]s or candramas (moon) a power of strength, a great god? The words scarcely occur, except in late hymns, and the moon, by his own folk-name, is hardly praised except in mechanical conjunction with the sun. The floods of which soma is lord are explained in IX. 86. 24-25: "The hawk (or eagle) brought thee from the sky, O drop (Indu[25]), … seven milk-streams sing to the yellow one as he purifies himself with the wave in the sieve of sheep's wool. The active strong ones have sent forth the wise seer in the lap of the waters." If one wishes to clear his mind in respect of what the Hindu attributes to the divine drink (expressly drink, and not moon), let him read IX. 104, where he will find that "the twice powerful god-rejoicing intoxicating drink" finds goods, finds a path for his friends, puts away every harmful spirit and every devouring spirit, averts the false godless one and all oppression; and read also ix. 21. I-4: "These soma-drops for Indra flow rejoicing, maddening, light-(or heaven-) finding, averting attackers, finding desirable things for the presser, making life for the singer. Like waves the drops flow into one vessel, playing as they will. These soma-drops, let out like steeds (attached) to a car, as they purify themselves, attain all desirable things." According to IX. 97. 41^2 and ib. 37. 4 (and other like passages, too lightly explained, p. 387, by Hillebrandt), it is soma that "produced the light in the sun" and "makes the sun rise," statements incompatible with the (lunar) Soma's functions, but quite in accordance with the magic power which the poets attribute to the divine drink. Soma is 'king over treasure.' Soma is brought by the eagle that all may "see light" (IX. 48. 3-4). He traverses the sky, and guards order—but not necessarily is he here the moon, for soma, the drink, as a "galloping steed," "a brilliant steer," a "stream of pressed soma," "a dear sweet," "a helper of gods," is here poured forth; after him "flow great water-floods"; and he "purifies himself in the sieve, he the supporter, holder of the sky"; he "shines with the sun," "roars," and "looks like Mitra"; being here both "the intoxicating draught," and at the same time "the giver of kine, giver of men, giver of horses, giver of strength, the soul of sacrifice" (IX. 2).

Soma is even older than the Vedic Indra as slayer of Vritra and snakes. Several Indo-Iranian epithets survive (of soma and haoma, respectively), and among those of Iran is the title 'Vritra-slayer,' applied to haoma, the others being 'strong' and 'heaven-winning,' just as in the Veda[26]. All three of them are contained in one of the most lunar-like of the hymns to Soma, which, for this reason, and because it is one of the few to this deity that seem to be not entirely mechanical, is given here nearly in full, with the original shift of metre in the middle of the hymn (which may possibly indicate that two hymns have been united).

To SOMA (I. 91).

Thou, Soma, wisest art in understanding;
Thou guidest (us) along the straightest pathway;
'Tis through thy guidance that our pious[27] fathers
Among the gods got happiness, O Indu.

Thou, Soma, didst become in wisdom wisest;
In skill[28] most skilful, thou, obtaining all things.
A bull in virile strength, thou, and in greatness;
In splendor wast thou splendid, man-beholder.

Thine, now, the laws of kingly Varuna[29];
Both high and deep the place of thee, O Soma.
Thou brilliant art as Mitra, the belovèd[30],
Like Aryaman, deserving service, art thou.

Whate'er thy places be in earth or heaven,
Whate'er in mountains, or in plants and waters,
In all of these, well-minded, not injurious,
King Soma, our oblations meeting, take thou.

Thou, Soma, art the real lord,
Thou king and Vritra-slayer, too;
Thou art the strength that gives success.

And, Soma, let it be thy will
For us to live, nor let us die[31];
Thou lord of plants[32], who lovest praise.

Thou, Soma, bliss upon the old,
And on the young and pious man
Ability to live, bestowest.

Do thou, O Soma, on all sides
Protect us, king, from him that sins,
No harm touch friend of such as thou.

Whatever the enjoyments be
Thou hast, to help thy worshipper,
With these our benefactor be.

This sacrifice, this song, do thou,
Well-pleased, accept; come unto us;
Make for our weal, O Soma, thou.

In songs we, conversant with words,
O Soma, thee do magnify;
Be merciful and come to us.

* * *[33]

All saps unite in thee and all strong powers,
All virile force that overcomes detraction;
Filled full, for immortality, O Soma,
Take to thyself the highest praise in heaven.
The sacrifice shall all embrace—whatever
Places thou hast, revered with poured oblations.
Home-aider, Soma, furtherer with good heroes,
Not hurting heroes, to our houses come thou.
Soma the cow gives; Soma, the swift charger;
Soma, the hero that can much accomplish
(Useful at home, in feast, and in assembly
His father's glory)—gives, to him that worships.

In war unharmed; in battle still a saviour;
Winner of heaven and waters, town-defender,
Born mid loud joy, and fair of home and glory,
A conqueror, thou; in thee may we be happy.
Thou hast, O Soma, every plant begotten;
The waters, thou; and thou, the cows; and thou hast
Woven the wide space 'twixt the earth and heaven;
Thou hast with light put far away the darkness.
With mind divine, O Soma, thou divine[34] one,
A share of riches win for us, O hero;
Let none restrain thee, thou art lord of valor;
Show thyself foremost to both sides in battle[35].

Of more popular songs, Hillebrandt cites as sung to Soma (!) VIII. 69. 8-10:

Sing loud to him, sing loud to him;
Priyamedhas, oh, sing to him,
And sing to him the children, too;
Extol him as a sure defence….
To Indra is the prayer up-raised.

The three daily soma-oblations are made chiefly to Indra and V[=a]yu; to Indra at mid-day; to the Ribhus, artisans of the gods, at evening; and to Agni in the morning.

Unmistakable references to Soma as the moon, as, for instance, in X. 85. 3: "No one eats of that soma which the priests know," seem rather to indicate that the identification of moon and Soma was something esoteric and new rather than the received belief of pre-Vedic times, as will Hillebrandt. This moon-soma is distinguished from the "soma-plant which they crush."

The floods of soma are likened to, or, rather, identified with, the rain-floods which the lightning frees, and, as it were, brings to earth with him. A whole series of myths depending on this natural phenomenon has been evolved, wherein the lightning-fire as an eagle brings down soma to man, that is, the heavenly drink. Since Agni is threefold and the G[=a]yatri metre is threefold, they interchange, and in the legends it is again the metre which brings the soma, or an archer, as is stated in one doubtful passage[36].

What stands out most clearly in soma-laudations is that the soma-hymns are not only quite mechanical, but that they presuppose a very complete and elaborate ritual, with the employment of a number of priests, of whom the hotars (one of the various sets of priests) alone number five in the early and seven in the late books; with a complicated service; with certain divinities honored at certain hours; and other paraphernalia of sacerdotal ceremony; while Indra, most honored with Soma, and Agni, most closely connected with the execution of sacrifice, not only receive the most hymns, but these hymns are, for the most part, palpably made for ritualistic purposes. It is this truth that the ritualists have seized upon and too sweepingly applied. For in every family book, besides this baksheesh verse, occur the older, purer hymns that have been retained after the worship for which they were composed had become changed into a trite making of phrases.

Hillebrandt has failed to show that the Iranian haoma is the moon, so that as a starting-point there still is plant and drink-worship, not moon-worship. At what precise time, therefore, the soma was referred to the moon is not so important. Since drink-worship stands at one end of the series, and moon-worship at the other, it is antecedently probable that here and there there may be a doubt as to which of the two was intended. Some of the examples cited by Hillebrandt may indeed be referable to the latter end of the series rather than to the former; but that the author, despite the learning and ingenuity of his work, has proved his point definitively, we are far from believing. It is just like the later Hindu speculation to think out a subtle connection between moon and soma-plant because each was yellow, and swelled, and went through a sieve (cloud), etc. But there is a further connecting link in that the divinity ascribed to the intoxicant led to a supposition that it was brought from the sky, the home of the gods; above all, of the luminous gods, which the yellow soma resembled. Such was the Hindu belief, and from this as a starting-point appears to have come the gradual identification of soma with the moon, now called Soma. For the moon, even under the name of Gandharva, is not the object of especial worship.

The question so ably discussed by Hillebrandt is, however, one of considerable importance from the point of view of the religious development. If soma from the beginning was the moon, then there is only one more god of nature to add to the pantheon. But if, as we believe in the light of the Avesta and Veda itself, soma like haoma, was originally the drink-plant (the root su press, from which comes soma, implies the plant), then two important facts follow. First, in the identification of yellow soma-plant with yellow moon in the latter stage of the Rig Veda (which coincides with the beginning of the Brahmanic period) there is a striking illustration of the gradual mystical elevation of religion at the hands of the priests, to whom it appeared indecent that mere drink should be exalted thus; and secondly, there is the significant fact that in the Indic and Iranian cult there was a direct worship of deified liquor, analogous to Dionysiac rites, a worship which is not unparalleled in other communities. Again, the surprising identity of worship in Avesta and Veda, and the fact that hymns to the earlier deities, Dawn, Parjanya, etc, are frequently devoid of any relation to the soma-cult not only show that Bergaigne's opinion that the whole Rig Veda is but a collection of hymns for soma-worship as handed down in different families must be modified; but also that, as we have explained apropos of Varuna, the Iranian cult must have branched off from the Vedic cult (whether, as Haug thought, on account of a religious schism or not); that the hymns to the less popular deities (as we have defined the word) make the first period of Vedic cult; and that the special liquor-cult, common to Iran and India, arose after the first period of Vedic worship, when, for example, Wind, Parjanya, and Varuna were at their height, and before the priests had exalted mystically Agni or Soma, and even Indra was as yet undeveloped.

* * * * *


[Footnote 1: viii. 38. 4; i. 108. 3; Bergaigne, ii. 293.]

[Footnote 2: On this point Bergaigne deprecates the application of the ritualistic method, and says in words that cannot be too emphasized: "Mais qui ne voit que de telles exptications n'expliquent rien, ou plutôt que le détail du rituel ne peut trouver son explication que dans le mythe, bien loin de pouvoir servir lui-mêmes à expliquer le mythe?… Ni le ciel seul ni la terre seule, mais la terre et le ciel étroitement unis et presque confondus, voilà le vrai domaine de la mythologie védique, mythologie dont le rituel n'est que la reproduction" (i. p. 24).]

[Footnote 3: i. 58. 4; v. 7. 7; vi. 3. 4.]

[Footnote 4: iii. 14. 4; i. 71. 9; vi. 3. 7; 6. 2; iv. 1. 9.]

[Footnote 5: Or of time or order.]

[Footnote 6: Or 'Finder-of-beings.']

[Footnote 7: Herabkunft des Feuers und des Göttertrankes.]

[Footnote 8: RV. vi. 16. 13: "Thee, Agni, from out the sky
Atharvan twirled," nir amanthata (cf. Promantheus). In x.
462 the Bhrigus, [Greek: phleghyai], discover fire.]

[Footnote 9: Compare v. 2. 1. Sometimes Agni is "born with
the fingers," which twirl the sticks (iii. 26. 3; iv. 6.

[Footnote 10: Compare ii. 1: "born in flame from water,
cloud, and plants … thou art the creator."]

[Footnote 11: Bergaigne, i. p. 32 ff. The question of priestly names (loc. cit. pp. 47-50), should start with Bharata as [Greek: purphoros], a common title of Agni (ii. 7; vi. 16. 19-21). So Bhrigu is the 'shining' one; and Vasishtha is the 'most shining' (compare Vasus, not good but shining gods). The priests got their names from their god, like Jesuits. Compare Gritsamada in the Bhrigu family (book ii.); Viçv[=a]-mitra, 'friend of all,' in the Bharata family (book iii.); Gautama V[=a]madeva belonging to Angirasas (book iv.); Atri 'Eater,' epithet of Agni in RV. (book v.); Bharadv[=a]ja 'bearing food' (book vi.); Vasishtha (book vii.); and besides these Jamadagni and Kaçyapa, black-toothed (Agni).']

[Footnote 12: De Isid. et Osir. 46. Compare Windischmann,
Ueber den Somacultus der Arier (1846), and Muir, Original
Sanskrit Texts
, vol. ii. p. 471. Hillebrandt, Vedische
, i. p. 450, believes haoma to mean the moon,
as does soma in some hymns of the Rig Veda (see below).]

[Footnote 13: Compare Kuhn, Herabkunft des Feuers und des Göttertrankes (1859); Bergaigne, La Religion Védique, i. 148 ff.; Haug's [=A]itareya Br[=a]hmana, Introduction, p. 62; Whitney in Jour. Am. Or. Soc. III. 299; Muir, Original Sanskrit Texts, vol. V. p. 258 ff., where other literature is cited.]

[Footnote 14: RV. X. 34. 1; IX. 98. 9; 82.3. The Vedic plant
is unknown (not the sarcostemma viminale).]

[Footnote 15: RV. III. 43. 7; IV. 26.6 (other references in
Muir, loc. cit. p. 262.) Perhaps rain as soma released by
lightning as a hawk (Bloomfield).]

[Footnote 16: See the passages cited in Muir, loc. cit.]

[Footnote 17: A complete account of soma was given by the
Vedic texts will be found in Hillebrandt's Vedische
, vol. I., where are described the different ways
of fermenting the juice of the plant.]

[Footnote 18: Although so interpreted by Hillebrandt, loc.
p. 312. The passage is found in RV. VI. 44. 23.]

[Footnote 19: Loc. cit. pp. 340, 450.]

[Footnote 20: Compare IX. 79. 5, where the same verb is used of striking, urging out the soma-juice, r[=a]sa.]

[Footnote 21: Compare IX. 32. 2, where "Trita's maidens urge
on the golden steed with the press-stones, índu as a drink
for Indra."]

[Footnote 22: On account of the position and content of this
hymn, Hillebrandt regards it as addressed to

[Footnote 23: So the sun in I. 163. 9, II. 'Sharpening his
horns' is used of fire in i. 140. 6; v. 2. 9.]

[Footnote 24: VI. 16. 39; vii. 19. I; VIII. 60. 13.]

[Footnote 25 3: IX. 63. 8-9; 5. 9. Soma is identified with lightning in ix. 47. 3.]

[Footnote 26: Hukhratus, verethrajao, hvaresa.]

[Footnote 27: Or: wise.]

[Footnote 28 3: Or: strength. Above, 'shared riches,'
perhaps, for 'got happiness.']

[Footnote 29: Or: thine, indeed, are the laws of King

[Footnote 30: Or: brilliant and beloved as Mitra (Mitra
means friend); Aryaman is translated 'bosom-friend'—both
are [=A]dityas.]

[Footnote 31: Or: an thou willest for us to live we shall
not die.]

[Footnote 32: Or: lordly plant, but not the moon.]

[Footnote 33: Some unessential verses in the above metre are here omitted.]

[Footnote 34: Or: shining.]

[Footnote 35: The same ideas are prominent in viii. 48, where Soma is invoked as 'soma that has been drunk,' i.e., the juice of the ('three days fermented') plant.]

[Footnote 36: In the fourth book, iv. 27. 3. On this myth, with its reasonable explanation as deduced from the ritual, see Bloomfield, JAOS. xvi. I ff. Compare also Muir and Hillebrandt, loc. cit.]

* * * * *



In the last chapter we have traced the character of two great gods of earth, the altar-fire and the personified kind of beer which was the Vedic poets' chief drink till the end of this period. With the discovery of sur[=a], humor ex hordeo (oryzaque; Weber, V[=a]japeya, p. 19), and the difficulty of obtaining the original soma-plant (for the plant used later for soma, the asclepias acida, or sarcostemma viminale, does not grow in the Punj[=a]b region, and cannot have been the original soma), the status of soma became changed. While sur[=a] became the drink of the people, soma, despite the fact that it was not now so agreeable a liquor, became reserved, from its old associations, as the priests' (gods') drink, a sacrosanct beverage, not for the vulgar, and not esteemed by the priest, except as it kept up the rite.

It has been shown that these gods, earthly in habitation, absorbed the powers of the older and physically higher divinities. The ideas that clustered about the latter were transferred to the former. The altar-fire, Agni, is at once earth-fire, lightning, and sun. The drink soma is identified with the heavenly drink that refreshes the earth, and from its color is taken at last to be the terrestrial form of its aqueous prototype, the moon, which is not only yellow, but even goes through cloud-meshes just as soma goes through the sieve, with all the other points of comparison that priestly ingenuity can devise.

Of different sort altogether from these gods is the ancient Indo-Iranian figure that now claims attention. The older religion had at least one object of devotion very difficult to reduce to terms of a nature-religion.


Exactly as the Hindu had a half-divine ancestor, Manu, who by the later priests is regarded as of solar origin, while more probably he is only the abstract Adam (man), the progenitor of the race; so in Yama the Hindu saw the primitive "first of mortals." While, however, Mitra, Dyaus, and other older nature-gods, pass into a state of negative or almost forgotten activity, Yama, even in the later epic period, still remains a potent sovereign—the king of the dead.

In the Avesta Yima is the son of the 'wide-gleaming' Vivanghvant, the sun, and here it is the sun that first prepares the soma (haoma) for man. And so, too, in the Rig Veda it is Yama the son of Vivasvant (X. 58. 1; 60. 10) who first "extends the web" of (soma) sacrifice (VII. 33. 9, 12). The Vedic poet, not influenced by later methods of interpretation, saw in Yama neither sun nor moon, nor any other natural phenomenon, for thus he sings, differentiating Yama from them all: "I praise with a song Agni, P[=u]shan, Sun and Moon, Yama in heaven, Trita, Wind, Dawn, the Ray of Light, the Twin Horsemen" (X. 64. 3); and again: "Deserving of laudation are Heaven and Earth, the four-limbed Agni, Yama, Aditi," etc. (X. 92. 11).

Yama is regarded as a god, although in the Rig Veda he is called only 'king' (X. 14. 1, 11); but later he is expressly a god, and this is implied, as Ehni shows, even in the Rig Veda: 'a god found Agni' and 'Yama found Agni' (X. 51. 1 ff.). His primitive nature was that of the 'first mortal that died,' in the words of the Atharva Veda. It is true, indeed, that at a later period even gods are spoken of as originally 'mortal,'[1] but this is a conception alien from the early notions of the Veda, where 'mortal' signifies no more than 'man.' Yama was the first mortal, and he lives in the sky, in the home that "holds heroes," i.e., his abode is where dead heroes congregate (I. 35. 6; X. 64. 3)[2]. The fathers that died of old are cared for by him as he sits drinking with the gods beneath a fair tree (X. 135. 1-7). The fire that devours the corpse is invoked to depart thither (X. 16. 9). This place is not very definitely located, but since, according to one prevalent view, the saints guard the sun, and since Yama's abode in the sky is comparable with the sun in one or two passages, it is probable that the general idea was that the departed entered the sun and there Yama received him (I. 105. 9, 'my home is there where are the sun's rays'; X. 154. 4-5, 'the dead shall go, O Yama, to the fathers, the seers that guard the sun'). 'Yama's abode' is the same with 'sky' (X. 123. 6); and when it is said, 'may the fathers hold up the pillar (in the grave), and may Yama build a seat for thee there' (X. 18. 13), this refers, not to the grave, but to heaven. And it is said that 'Yama's seat is what is called the gods' home' (X. 135. 7)[3]. But Yama does not remain in the sky. He comes, as do other Powers, to the sacrifice, and is invited to seat himself 'with Angirasas and the fathers' at the feast, where he rejoices with them (X. 14. 3-4; 15. 8). And either because Agni devours corpses for Yama, or because of Agni's part in the sacrifice which Yama so joyfully attends, therefore Agni is especially mentioned as Yama's friend (X. 21. 5), or even his priest (ib. 52. 3). Yama stands in his relation to the dead so near to death that 'to go on Yama's path' is to go on the path of death; and battle is called 'Yama's strife.' It is even possible that in one passage Yama is directly identified with death (X. 165. 4, 'to Yama be reverence, to death'; I. 38. 5; ib. 116. 2)[4]. There is always a close connection between Varuna and Yama, and perhaps it is owing to this that parallel to 'Varuna's fetters' is found also 'Yama's fetter,' i.e., death (x. 97. 16).

As Yama was the first to die, so was he the first to teach man the road to immortality, which lies through sacrifice, whereby man attains to heaven and to immortality. Hence the poet says, 'we revere the immortality born of Yama' (i. 83. 5). This, too, is the meaning of the mystic verse which speaks of the sun as the heavenly courser 'given by Yama,' for, in giving the way to immortality, Yama gives also the sun-abode to them that become immortal. In the same hymn the sun is identified with Yama as he is with Trita (i. 163. 3). This particular identification is due, however, rather to the developed pantheistic idea which obtains in the later hymns. A parallel is found in the next hymn: "They speak of Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni … that which is one, the priests speak of in many ways, and call him Agni, Yama, Fire" (or Wind, i. 164. 46).

Despite the fact that one Vedic poet speaks of Yama's name as 'easy to understand' (x. 12. 6), no little ingenuity has been spent on it, as well as on the primitive conception underlying his personality. Etymologically, his name means Twin, and this is probably the real meaning, for his twin sister Yami is also a Vedic personage. The later age, regarding Yama as a restrainer and punisher of the wicked, derived the name from yam the restrainer or punisher, but such an idea is quite out of place in the province of Vedic thought. The Iranian Yima also has a sister of like name, although she does not appear till late in the literature.

That Yama's father is the sun, Vivasvant (Savitar, 'the artificer,' Tvashtar, x. 10. 4-5),[5] is clearly enough stated in the Rik; and that he was the first mortal, in the Atharvan. Men come from Yama, and Yama comes from the sun as 'creator,' just as men elsewhere come from Adam and Adam comes from the Creator. But instead of an Hebraic Adam and Eve there are in India a Yama and Yam[=i], brother and sister (wife), who, in the one hymn in which the latter is introduced (loc. cit.), indulge in a moral conversation on the propriety of wedlock between brother and sister. This hymn is evidently a protest against a union that was unobjectionable to an older generation. In the Yajur Veda Yami is wife and sister both. But sometimes, in the varying fancies of the Vedic poets, the artificer Tvashtar is differentiated from Vivasvant, the sun; as he is in another passage, where Tvashtar gives to Vivasvant his daughter, and she is the mother of Yama[6].

That men are the children of Yama is seen in X. 13. 4, where it is said, 'Yama averted death for the gods; he did not avert death for (his) posterity.' In the Brahmanic tradition men derive from the sun (T[=a]itt. S. VI. 5. 6. 2[7]) So, in the Iranian belief, Yima is looked upon, according to some scholars, as the first man. The funeral hymn to Yama is as follows:

Him who once went over the great mountains[8] and spied out a path for many, the son of Vivasvant, who collects men, King Yama, revere ye with oblations. Yama the first found us a way … There where our old fathers are departed…. Yama is magnified with the Angirasas…. Sit here, O Yama, with the Angirasas and with the fathers…. Rejoice, O king, in this oblation. Come, O Yama, with the venerable Angirasas. I call thy father, Vivasvant, sit down at this sacrifice.

And then, turning to the departed soul:

Go forth, go forth on the old paths where are gone our old fathers; thou shalt see both joyous kings, Yama and God Varuna. Unite with the fathers, with Yama, with the satisfaction of desires, in highest heaven…. Yama will give a resting place to this spirit. Run past, on a good path, the two dogs of Saram[=a], the four-eyed, spotted ones; go unto the fathers who rejoice with Yama.

Several things are here noteworthy. In the first place, the Atharva Veda reads, "who first of mortals died[9]," and this is the meaning of the Rig Veda version, although, as was said above, the mere fact that Varuna is called a god and Yama a king proves nothing[10]. But it is clearly implied here that he who crossed the mountains and 'collected men,' as does Yima in the Iranian legend, is an ancient king, as it is also implied that he led the way to heaven. The dogs of Yama are described in such a way as to remind one of the dogs that guard the path the dead have to pass in the Iranian legend, and of Kerberus, with whose very name the adjective 'spotted' has been compared[11]. The dogs are elsewhere described as white and brown and as barking (VII. 55. 2), and in further verses of the hymn just quoted (X. 14) they are called "thy guardian dogs, O Yama, the four-eyed ones who guard the path, who look on men … broad-nosed, dark messengers of Yama, who run among the people."

These dogs are due to the same fantasy that creates a Kerberus, the Iranian dogs[12], or other guardians of the road that leads to heaven. The description is too minute to make it probable that the Vedic poet understood them to be 'sun and moon,' as the later Brahmanical ingenuity explains them, and as they have been explained by modern scholarship. It is not possible that the poet, had he had in mind any connection between the dogs and the sun and moon (or 'night and day'), would have described them as 'barking' or as 'broad-nosed and dark'; and all interpretation of Yama's dogs must rest on the interpretation of Yama himself[13].

Yama is not mentioned elsewhere[14] in the Rig Veda, except in the statement that 'metres rest on Yama,' and in the closing verses of the burial hymn: "For Yama press the soma, for Yama pour oblation; the sacrifice goes to Yama; he shall extend for us a long life among the gods," where the pun on Yama (yamad á), in the sense of 'stretch out,' shows that as yet no thought of 'restrainer' was in the poet's mind, although the sense of 'twin' is lost from the name.

In recent years Hillebrandt argues that because the Manes are connected with Soma (as the moon), and because Yama was the first to die, therefore Yama was the moon. Ehni, on the other hand, together with Bergaigne and some other scholars, takes Yama to be the sun. Müller calls him the 'setting-sun[15].' The argument from the Manes applies better to the sun than to the moon, but it is not conclusive. The Hindus in the Vedic age, as later, thought of the Manes living in stars, moon, sun, and air; and, if they were not good Manes but dead sinners, in the outer edge of the universe or under ground. In short, they are located in every conceivable place[17].

The Yama, 'who collects people,' has been rightly compared with the Yima, who 'made a gathering of the people,' but it is doubtful whether one should see in this an Aryan trait; for [Greek: Aidaes Agaesilaos] is not early and popular, but late (Aeschylean), and the expression may easily have arisen independently in the mind of the Greek poet. From a comparative point of view, in the reconstruction of Yama there is no conclusive evidence which will permit one to identify his original character either with sun or moon. Much rather he appears to be as he is in the Rig Veda, a primitive king, not historically so, but poetically, the first man, fathered of the sun, to whom he returns, and in whose abode he collects his offspring after their inevitable death on earth. In fact, in Yama there is the ideal side of ancestor-worship. He is a poetic image, the first of all fathers, and hence their type and king. Yama's name is unknown outside of the Indo-Iranian circle, and though Ehni seeks to find traces of him in Greece and elsewhere,[18] this scholar's identifications fail, because he fails to note that similar ideas in myths are no proof of their common origin.

It has been suggested that in the paradise of Yama over the mountains there is a companion-piece to the hyperboreans, whose felicity is described by Pindar. The nations that came from the north still kept in legend a recollection of the land from whence they came. This suggestion cannot, of course, be proved, but it is the most probable explanation yet given of the first paradise to which the dead revert. In the late Vedic period, when the souls of the dead were not supposed to linger on earth with such pleasure as in the sky, Yama's abode is raised to heaven. Later still, when to the Hindu the south was the land of death, Yama's hall of judgment is again brought down to earth and transferred to the 'southern district.'

The careful investigation of Scherman[19] leads essentially to the same conception of Yama as that we have advocated. Scherman believes that Yama was first a human figure, and was then elevated to, if not identified with, the sun. Scherman's only error is in disputing the generally-received opinion, one that is on the whole correct, that Yama in the early period is a kindly sovereign, and in later times becomes the dread king of horrible hells. Despite some testimony to the contrary, part of which is late interpolation in the epic, this is the antithesis which exists in the works of the respective periods.

The most important gods of the era of the Rig Veda we now have reviewed. But before passing on to the next period it should be noticed that no small number of beings remains who are of the air, devilish, or of the earth, earthy. Like the demons that injure man by restraining the rain in the clouds, so there are bh[=u]ts, ghosts, spooks, and other lower powers, some malevolent, some good-natured, who inhabit earth; whence demonology. There is, furthermore, a certain chrematheism, as we have elsewhere[20] ventured to call it, which pervades the Rig Veda, the worship of more or less personified things, differing from pantheism in this,[21] that whereas pantheism assumes a like divinity in all things, this kind of theism assumes that everything (or anything) has a separate divinity, usually that which is useful to the worshipper, as, the plough, the furrow, etc. In later hymns these objects are generally of sacrificial nature, and the stones with which soma is pressed are divine like the plant. Yet often there is no sacrificial observance to cause this veneration. Hymns are addressed to weapons, to the war-car, as to divine beings. Sorcery and incantation is not looked upon favorably, but nevertheless it is found.

Another class of divinities includes abstractions, generally female, such as Infinity, Piety, Abundance, with the barely-mentioned Gung[=u], R[=a]k[=a], etc. (which may be moon-phases). The most important of these abstractions[22] is 'the lord of strength,' a priestly interpretation of Indra, interpreted as religious strength or prayer, to whom are accredited all of Indra's special acts. Hillebrandt interprets this god, Brahmanaspati or Brihaspati, as the moon; Müller, somewhat doubtfully, as fire; while Roth will not allow that Brihaspati has anything to do with natural phenomena, but considers him to have been from the beginning 'lord of prayer.' With this view we partly concur, but we would make the important modification that the god was lord of prayer only as priestly abstraction Indra in his higher development. It is from this god is come probably the head of the later trinity, Brahm[=a], through personified brahma, power; prayer, with its philosophical development into the Absolute. Noteworthy is the fact that some of the Vedic Aryans, despite his high pretensions, do not quite like Brihaspati, and look on him as a suspicious novelty. If one study Brihaspati in the hymns, it will be difficult not to see in him simply a sacerdotal Indra. He breaks the demon's power; crushes the foes of man; consumes the demons with a sharp bolt; disperses darkness; drives forth the 'cows'; gives offspring and riches; helps in battle; discovers Dawn and Agni; has a band (like Maruts) singing about him; he is red and golden, and is identified with fire. Although 'father of gods,' he is begotten of Tvashtar, the artificer.[23]

Weber has suggested (V[=a]japeya Sacrifice, p. 15), that Brihaspati takes Indra's place, and this seems to be the true solution, Indra as interpreted mystically by priests. In RV. i. 190, Brihaspati is looked upon by 'sinners' as a new god of little value. Other minor deities can be mentioned only briefly, chiefly that the extent of the pantheon may be seen. For the history of religion they are of only collective importance. The All-gods play an important part in the sacrifice, a group of 'all the gods,' a priestly manufacture to the end that no god may be omitted in laudations that would embrace all the gods. The later priests attempt to identify these gods with the clans, 'the All-gods are the clans' (Çat. Br. v. 5. 1.10), on the basis of a theological pun, the clans, viças, being equated with the word for all, viçve. Some modern scholars follow these later priests, but without reason. Had these been special clan-gods, they would have had special names, and would not have appeared in a group alone.

The later epic has a good deal to say about some lovely nymphs called the Apsarasas, of whom it mentions six as chief (Urvaç[=i], Menak[=a], etc.).[24] They fall somewhat in the epic from their Vedic estate, but they are never more than secondary figures, love-goddesses, beloved of the Gandharvas who later are the singing guardians of the moon, and, like the lunar stations, twenty-seven in number. The Rik knows at first but one Gandharva (an inferior genius, mentioned in but one family-book), who guards Soma's path, and, when Soma becomes the moon, is identified with him, ix. 86. 36. As in the Avesta, Gandharva is (the moon as) an evil spirit also; but always as a second-rate power, to whom are ascribed magic (and madness, later). He has virtually no cult except in soma-hymns, and shows clearly the first Aryan conception of the moon as a demoniac power, potent over women, and associated with waters.

Mountains, and especially rivers, are holy, and of course are deified. Primitive belief generally deifies rivers. But in the great river-hymn in the Rig Veda there is probably as much pure poetry as prayer. The Vedic poet half believed in the rivers' divinity, and sings how they 'rush forth like armies,' but it will not do to inquire too strictly in regard to his belief.

He was a poet, and did not expect to be catechized. Of female divinities there are several of which the nature is doubtful. As Dawn or Storm have been interpreted Saram[=a] and Sarany[=u], both meaning 'runner.' The former is Indra's dog, and her litter is the dogs of Yama. One little poem, rather than hymn, celebrates the 'wood-goddess' in pretty verses of playful and descriptive character.

Long before there was any formal recognition of the dogma that all gods are one, various gods had been identified by the Vedic poets. Especially, as most naturally, was this the case when diverse gods having different names were similar in any way, such as Indra and Agni, whose glory is fire; or Varuna and Mitra, whose seat is the sky. From this casual union of like pairs comes the peculiar custom of invoking two gods as one. But even in the case of gods not so radically connected, if their functions were mutually approximate, each in turn became credited with his neighbor's acts. If the traits were similar which characterized each, if the circles of activity overlapped at all, then those divinities that originally were tangent to each other gradually became concentric, and eventually were united. And so the lines between the gods were wiped out, as it were, by their conceptions crowding upon one another. There was another factor, however, in the development of this unconscious, or, at least, unacknowledged, pantheism. Aided by the likeness or identity of attributes in Indra, Savitar, Agni, Mitra, and other gods, many of which were virtually the same under a different designation, the priests, ever prone to extravagance of word, soon began to attribute, regardless of strict propriety, every power to every god. With the exception of some of the older divinities, whose forms, as they are less complex, retain throughout the simplicity of their primitive character, few gods escaped this adoration, which tended to make them all universally supreme, each being endowed with all the attributes of godhead. One might think that no better fate could happen to a god than thus to be magnified. But when each god in the pantheon was equally glorified, the effect on the whole was disastrous. In fact, it was the death of the gods whom it was the intention of the seers to exalt. And the reason is plain. From this universal praise it resulted that the individuality of each god became less distinct; every god was become, so to speak, any god, so far as his peculiar attributes made him a god at all, so that out of the very praise that was given to him and his confreres alike there arose the idea of the abstract godhead, the god who was all the gods, the one god. As a pure abstraction one finds thus Aditi, as equivalent to 'all the gods,'[25] and then the more personal idea of the god that is father of all, which soon becomes the purely personal All-god. It is at this stage where begins conscious premeditated pantheism, which in its first beginnings is more like monotheism, although in India there is no monotheism which does not include devout polytheism, as will be seen in the review of the formal philosophical systems of religion.

It is thus that we have attempted elsewhere[26] to explain that phase of Hindu religion which Müller calls henotheism.

Müller, indeed, would make of henotheism a new religion, but this, the worshipping of each divinity in turn as if it were the greatest and even the only god recognized, is rather the result of the general tendency to exaltation, united with pantheistic beginnings. Granting that pure polytheism is found in a few hymns, one may yet say that this polytheism, with an accompaniment of half-acknowledged chrematheism, passed soon into the belief that several divinities were ultimately and essentially but one, which may be described as homoiotheism; and that the poets of the Rig Veda were unquestionably esoterically unitarians to a much greater extent and in an earlier period than has generally been acknowledged. Most of the hymns of the Rig Veda were composed under the influence of that unification of deities and tendency to a quasi-monotheism, which eventually results both in philosophical pantheism, and in the recognition at the same time of a personal first cause. To express the difference between Hellenic polytheism and the polytheism of the Rig Veda the latter should be called, if by any new term, rather by a name like pantheistic polytheism, than by the somewhat misleading word henotheism. What is novel in it is that it represents the fading of pure polytheism and the engrafting, upon a polytheistic stock, of a speculative homoiousian tendency soon to bud out as philosophic pantheism.

The admission that other gods exist does not nullify the attitude of tentative monotheism. "Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods?" asks Moses, and his father-in-law, when converted to the new belief, says: "Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods."[27] But this is not the quasi-monotheism of the Hindu, to whom the other gods were real and potent factors, individually distinct from the one supreme god, who represents the All-god, but is at once abstract and concrete.

Pantheism in the Rig Veda comes out clearly only in one or two passages: "The priests represent in many ways the (sun) bird that is one"; and (cited above) "They speak of him as Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni, … that which is but one they call variously." So, too, in the Atharvan it is said that Varuna (here a pantheistic god) is "in the little drop of water,"[28] as in the Rik the spark of material fire is identified with the sun.

The new belief is voiced chiefly in that portion of the Rig Veda which appears to be latest and most Brahmanic in tone.

Here a supreme god is described under the name of "Lord of Beings," the "All-maker," "The Golden Germ," the "God over gods, the spirit of their being" (x. 121). The last, a famous hymn, Müller entitles "To the Unknown God." It may have been intended, as has been suggested, for a theological puzzle,[29] but its language evinces that in whatever form it is couched—each verse ends with the refrain, 'To what god shall we offer sacrifice?' till the last verse answers the question, saying, 'the Lord of beings'—it is meant to raise the question of a supreme deity and leave it unanswered in terms of a nature-religion, though the germ is at bottom fire: "In the beginning arose the Golden Germ; as soon as born he became the Lord of All. He established earth and heaven—to what god shall we offer sacrifice? He who gives breath, strength, whose command the shining gods obey; whose shadow is life and death…. When the great waters went everywhere holding the germ and generating light, then arose from them the one spirit (breath) of the gods…. May he not hurt us, he the begetter of earth, the holy one who begot heaven … Lord of beings, thou alone embracest all things …"

In this closing period of the Rig Veda—a period which in many ways, the sudden completeness of caste, the recognition of several Vedas, etc., is much farther removed from the beginning of the work than it is from the period of Brahmanic speculation—philosophy is hard at work upon the problems of the origin of gods and of being. As in the last hymn, water is the origin of all things; out of this springs fire, and the wind which is the breath of god. So in the great hymn of creation: "There was then neither not-being nor being; there was no atmosphere, no sky. What hid (it)? Where and in the protection of what? Was it water, deep darkness? There was no death nor immortality. There was no difference between night and day. That One breathed … nothing other than this or above it existed. Darkness was concealed in darkness in the beginning. Undifferentiated water was all this (universe)." Creation is then declared to have arisen by virtue of desire, which, in the beginning was the origin of mind;[30] and "the gods," it is said further, "were created after this." Whether entity springs from non-entity or vice versa is discussed in another hymn of the same book.[31] The most celebrated of the pantheistic hymns is that in which the universe is regarded as portions of the deity conceived as the primal Person: "Purusha (the Male Person) is this all, what has been and will be … all created things are a fourth of him; that which is immortal in the sky is three-fourths of him." The hymn is too well known to be quoted entire. All the castes, all gods, all animals, and the three (or four) Vedas are parts of him.[32]

Such is the mental height to which the seers have raised themselves before the end of the Rig Veda. The figure of the Father-god, Praj[=a]pati, 'lord of beings,' begins here; at first an epithet of Savitar, and finally the type of the head of a pantheon, such as one finds him to be in the Br[=a]hmanas. In one hymn only (x. 121) is Praj[=a]pati found as the personal Father-god and All-god. At a time when philosophy created the one Universal Male Person, the popular religion, keeping pace, as far as it could, with philosophy, invented the more anthropomorphized, more human, Father-god—whose name is ultimately interpreted as an interrogation, God Who? This trait lasts from now on through all speculation. The philosopher conceived of a first source. The vulgar made it a personal god.

One of the most remarkable hymns of this epoch is that on V[=a]c,
Speech, or The Word. Weber has sought in this the prototype of the
Logos doctrine (below). The Word, V[=a]c (feminine) is introduced as
speaking (x. 125):

I wander with the Rudras, with the Vasus,[33] with the
[=A]dityas, and with all the gods; I support Mitra,
Va['r]una, Indra-Agni, and the twin Açvins … I give wealth
to him that gives sacrifice, to him that presses the soma.
I am the queen, the best of those worthy of sacrifice …
The gods have put me in many places … I am that through
which one eats, breathes, sees, and hears … Him that I
love I make strong, to be a priest, a seer, a wise man. 'Tis
I bend Rudra's bow to hit the unbeliever; I prepare war for
the people; I am entered into heaven and earth. I beget the
father of this (all) on the height; my place is in the
waters, the sea; thence I extend myself among all creatures
and touch heaven with my crown. Even I blow like the wind,
encompassing all creatures. Above heaven and above earth, so
great am I grown in majesty.

This is almost Vedantic pantheism with the Vishnuite doctrine of 'special grace' included.

The moral tone of this period—if period it may be called—may best be examined after one has studied the idea which the Vedic Hindu has formed of the life hereafter. The happiness of heaven will be typical of what he regards as best here. Bliss beyond the grave depends in turn upon the existence of the spirit after death, and, that the reader may understand this, we must say a few words in regard to the Manes, or fathers dead. "Father Manu," as he is called,[34] was the first 'Man.' Subsequently he is the secondary parent as a kind of Noah; but Yama, in later tradition his brother, has taken his place as norm of the departed fathers, Pitaras.

These Fathers (Manes), although of different sort than the gods, are yet divine and have many godly powers, granting prayers and lending aid, as may be seen from this invocation: "O Fathers, may the sky-people grant us life; may we follow the course of the living" (x. 57. 5). One whole hymn is addressed to these quasi-divinities (x. 15):

Arise may the lowest, the highest, the middlemost Fathers, those worthy of the soma, who without harm have entered into the spirit (-world); may these Fathers, knowing the seasons, aid us at our call. This reverence be to-day to the Fathers, who of old and afterwards departed; those who have settled in an earthly sphere,[35] or among peoples living in fair places (the gods?). I have found the gracious Fathers, the descendant(s) and the wide-step[36] of Vishnu; those who, sitting on the sacrificial straw, willingly partake of the pressed drink, these are most apt to come hither…. Come hither with blessings, O Fathers; may they come hither, hear us, address and bless us…. May ye not injure us for whatever impiety we have as men committed…. With those who are our former Fathers, those worthy of soma, who are come to the soma drink, the best (fathers), may Yama rejoicing, willingly with them that are willing, eat the oblations as much as is agreeable (to them). Come running, O Agni, with these (fathers), who thirsted among the gods and hastened hither, finding oblations and praised with songs. These gracious ones, the real poets, the Fathers that seat themselves at the sacrificial heat; who are real eaters of oblation; drinkers of oblation; and are set together on one chariot with Indra and the gods. Come, O Agni, with these, a thousand, honored like gods, the ancient, the original Fathers who seat themselves at the sacrificial heat…. Thou, Agni, didst give the oblations to the Fathers, that eat according to their custom; do thou (too) eat, O god, the oblation offered (to thee). Thou knowest, O thou knower (or finder) of beings, how many are the Fathers—those who are here, and who are not here, of whom we know, and of whom we know not. According to custom eat thou the well-made sacrifice. With those who, burned in fire or not burned, (now) enjoy themselves according to custom in the middle of the sky, do thou, being the lord, form (for us) a spirit life, a body according to (our) wishes.[37]

Often the Fathers are invoked in similar language in the hymn to the "All-gods" mentioned above, and occasionally no distinction is to be noticed between the powers and attributes of the Fathers and those of the gods. The Fathers, like the luminous gods, "give light" (x. 107. 1). Exactly like the gods, they are called upon to aid the living, and even 'not to harm' (iii. 55. 2; x. 15. 6). According to one verse, the Fathers have not attained the greatness of the gods, who impart strength only to the gods.[38]

The Fathers are kept distinct from the gods. When the laudations bestowed upon the former are of unequivocal character there is no confusion between the two.[39]

The good dead, to get to the paradise awaiting them, pass over water (X. 63. 10), and a bridge (ix. 41. 2). Here, by the gift of the gods, not by inherent capacity, they obtain immortality. He that believes on Agni, sings: "Thou puttest the mortal in highest immortality, O Agni"; and, accordingly, there is no suggestion that heavenly joys may cease; nor is there in this age any notion of a Götterdämmerung. Immortality is described as "continuing life in the highest sky," another proof that when formulated the doctrine was that the soul of the dead lives in heaven or in the sun.[40]

Other cases of immortality granted by different gods are recorded by Muir and Zimmer. Yet in one passage the words, "two paths I have heard of the Fathers (exist), of the gods and of mortals," may mean that the Fathers go the way of mortals or that of gods, rather than, as is the usual interpretation, that mortals have two paths, one of the Fathers and one of the gods,[41] for the dead may live on earth or in the air as well as in heaven. When a good man dies his breath, it is said, goes to the wind, his eye to the sun, etc.[42]—each part to its appropriate prototype—while the "unborn part" is carried "to the world of the righteous," after having been burned and heated by the funeral fire. All these parts are restored to the soul, however, and Agni and Soma return to it what has been injured. With this Muir compares a passage in the Atharva Veda where it is said that the Manes in heaven rejoice with all their limbs.[43] We dissent, therefore, wholly from Barth, who declares that the dead are conceived of as "resting forever in the tomb, the narrow house of clay." The only passage cited to prove this is X. 18. 10-13, where are the words (addressed to the dead man at the burial): "Go now to mother earth … she shall guard thee from destruction's lap … Open wide, O earth, be easy of access; as a mother her son cover this man, O earth," etc. Ending with the verse quoted above: "May the Fathers hold the pillar and Yama there build thee a seat."[44] The following is also found in the Rig Veda bearing on this point: the prayer that one may meet his parents after death; the statement that a generous man goes to the gods; and a suggestion of the later belief that one wins immortality by means of a son.[45]

The joys of paradise are those of earth; and heaven is thus described, albeit in a late hymn:[46] "Where is light inexhaustible; in the world where is placed the shining sky; set me in this immortal, unending world, O thou that purifiest thyself (Soma); where is king (Yama), the son of Vivasvant, and the paradise of the sky;[47] where are the flowing waters; there make me immortal. Where one can go as he will; in the third heaven, the third vault of the sky; where are worlds full of light, there make me immortal; where are wishes and desires and the red (sun)'s highest place; where one can follow his own habits [48] and have satisfaction; there make me immortal; where exist delight, joy, rejoicing, and joyance; where wishes are obtained, there make me immortal."[49] Here, as above, the saints join the Fathers, 'who guard the sun.'

There is a 'bottomless darkness' occasionally referred to as a place where evil spirits are to be sent by the gods; and a 'deep place' is mentioned as the portion of 'evil, false, untruthful men'; while Soma casts into 'a hole' (abyss) those that are irreligious.[50]

As darkness is hell to the Hindu, and as in all later time the demons are spirits of darkness, it is rather forced not to see in these allusions a misty hell, without torture indeed, but a place for the bad either 'far away,' as it is sometimes said (par[=a]váti), or 'deep down,' 'under three earths,' exactly as the Greek has a hell below and one on the edge of the earth. Ordinarily, however, the gods are requested simply to annihilate offenders. It is plain, as Zimmer says, from the office of Yama's dogs, that they kept out of paradise unworthy souls; so that the annihilation cannot have been imagined to be purely corporeal. But heaven is not often described, and hell never, in this period. Yet, when the paradise desired is described, it is a place where earthly joys are prolonged and intensified. Zimmer argues that a race which believes in good for the good hereafter must logically believe in punishment for the wicked, and Scherman, strangely enough, agrees with this pedantic opinion.[51] If either of these scholars had looked away from India to the western Indians he would have seen that, whereas almost all American Indians believe in a happy hereafter for good warriors, only a very few tribes have any belief in punishment for the bad. At most a Niflheim awaits the coward. Weber thinks the Aryans already believed in a personal immortality, and we agree with him. Whitney's belief that hell was not known before the Upanishad period (in his translations of the Katha Upanishad) is correct only if by hell torture is meant, and if the Atharvan is later than this Upanishad, which is improbable.

The good dead in the Rig Veda return with Yama to the sacrifice to enjoy the soma and viands prepared for them by their descendants. Hence the whole belief in the necessity of a son in order to the obtaining of a joyful hereafter. What the rite of burial was to the Greek, a son was to the Hindu, a means of bliss in heaven. Roth apparently thinks that the Rig Veda's heaven is one that can best be described in Dr. Watt's hymn:

There is a land of pure delight
Where saints immortal reign,
Eternal day excludes the night,
And pleasures banish pain;

and that especial stress should be laid on the word 'pure.' But there is very little teaching of personal purity in the Veda, and the poet who hopes for a heaven where he is to find 'longing women,' 'desire and its fulfillment' has in mind, in all probability, purely impure delights. It is not to be assumed that the earlier morality surpassed that of the later day, when, even in the epic, the hero's really desired heaven is one of drunkenness and women ad libitum. Of the 'good man' in the Rig Veda are demanded piety toward gods and manes and liberality to priests; truthfulness and courage; and in the end of the work there is a suggestion of ascetic 'goodness' by means of tapas, austerity.[52] Grassman cites one hymn as dedicated to

'Mercy.' It is really (not a hymn and) not on mercy, but a poem praising generosity. This generosity, however (and in general this is true of the whole people), is not general generosity, but liberality to the priests.[53] The blessings asked for are wealth (cattle, horses, gold, etc.), virile power, male children ('heroic offspring') and immortality, with its accompanying joys. Once there is a tirade against the friend that is false to his friend (truth in act as well as in word);[54] once only, a poem on concord, which seems to partake of the nature of an incantation.

Incantations are rare in the Rig Veda, and appear to be looked upon as objectionable. So in VII. 104 the charge of a 'magician' is furiously repudiated; yet do an incantation against a rival wife, a mocking hymn of exultation after subduing rivals, and a few other hymns of like sort show that magical practices were well known.[55]

The sacrifice occupies a high place in the religion of the Rig Veda, but it is not all-important, as it is later. Nevertheless, the same presumptuous assumption that the gods depend on earthly sacrifice is often made; the result of which, even before the collection was complete (IV. 50), was to teach that gods and men depended on the will of the wise men who knew how properly to conduct a sacrifice, the key-note of religious pride in the Brahmanic period.

Indra depends on the sacrificial soma to accomplish his great works. The gods first got power through the sacrificial fire and soma.[56] That images of the gods were supposed to be powerful may be inferred from the late verses, "who buys this Indra," etc. (above), but allusions to idolatry are elsewhere extremely doubtful.[57]

* * * * *


[Footnote 1: Compare T[=a]itt. S. VII. 4.2.1. The gods win immortality by means of 'sacrifice' in this later priest-ridden period.]

[Footnote 2: Ludwig (IV. p. 134) wrongly understands a hell

[Footnote 3: 'Yama's seat' is here what it is in the epic,
not a chapel (Pischel), but a home.]

[Footnote 4: This may mean 'to Yama (and) to death.' In the
Atharva Veda, V. 24. 13-14, it is said that Death is the
lord of men; Yama, of the Manes.]

[Footnote 5: It is here said, also, that the 'Gandharva in the waters and the water-woman' are the ties of consanguinity between Yama and Yam[=i], which means, apparently, that their parents were Moon and Water; a late idea, as in viii. 48. 13 (unique).]

[Footnote 6: The passage, X. 17, 1-2, is perhaps meant as a riddle, as Bloomfield suggests (JAOS. XV. p. 172). At any rate, it is still a dubious passage. Compare Hillebrandt, Vedische Mythologie, I. p. 503.]

[Footnote 7: Cited by Scherman, Visionslitteratur, p. 147.]

[Footnote 8: Possibly, 'streams.']

[Footnote 9: AV. XVIII. 3. 13.]

[Footnote 10: Compare AV. VI. 88. 2: "King Varuna and God
Brihaspati," where both are gods.]

[Footnote 11: [Greek: Kerberos](=Çabala)=Ç[=a]rvara.
Saram[=a] is storm or dawn, or something else that means

[Footnote 12: Here the fiend is expelled by a four-eyed dog
or a white one which has yellow ears. See the Sacred Books
of the East
, IV. p. IXXXVII.]

[Footnote 13: Scherman proposes an easy solution, namely to
cut the description in two, and make only part of it refer
to the dogs! (loc. cit. p. 130).]

[Footnote 14: The dogs may be meant in I. 29. 3, but compare
II. 31. 5. Doubtful is I. 66. 8, according to Bergaigne,
applied to Yama as fire.]

[Footnote 15: India, p. 224.]

[Footnote 17: Barth, p. 23, cites I. 123. 6; X. 107. 2; 82. 2, to prove that stars are souls of dead men. These passages do not prove the point, but it may be inferred from X. 68. 11. Later on it is a received belief. A moon-heaven is found only in VIII. 48.]

[Footnote 18: Especially with Ymir in Scandinavian mythology.]

[Footnote 19: Visionslitteratur, 1892.]

[Footnote 20: Henotheism in the Rig Veda, p. 81.]

[Footnote 21: This religious phase is often confounded loosely with pantheism, but the distinction should be observed. Parkman speaks of (American) Indian 'pantheism'; and Barth speaks of ritualistic 'pantheism,' meaning thereby the deification of different objects used in sacrifice (p. 37, note). But chrematheism is as distinct from pantheism as it is from fetishism.]

[Footnote 22: Some seem to be old; thus Aramati, piety, has an Iranian representative, [=A]rma[=i]t[=i]. As masculine abstractions are to be added Anger, Death, etc.]

[Footnote 23: Compare iv. 50; ii. 23 and 24; v. 43. 12; x. 68. 9; ii. 26. 3; 23. 17; x. 97. 15. For interpretation compare Hillebrandt, Ved. Myth. i. 409-420; Bergaigne, La Rel, Vèd. i. 304; Muir, OST, v. 272 ff. (with previous literature).]

[Footnote 24: Mbh[=a].i. 74. 68. Compare Holtzmann, ZDMG.
xxxiii. 631 ff.]

[Footnote 25: i. 89. 10: "Aditi is all the gods and men;
Aditi is whatever has been born; Aditi is whatever will be

[Footnote 26: Henotheism in the Rig Veda (Drisler

[Footnote 27: Ex. xv. 11; xviii. 11.]

[Footnote 28: RV. x. 114. 5; i. 164. 46; AV. iv. 16. 3.]

[Footnote 29: Bloomfield, JAOS. xv. 184.]

[Footnote 30: "Desire, the primal seed of mind," x. 129. 4.]

[Footnote 31: x. 72 (contains also the origin of the gods
from Aditi).]

[Footnote 32: x. 90, Here chand[=a][.m]si, carmina, is
probably the Atharvan.]

[Footnote 33: Rudras, Vasus, and [=A]dityas, the three
famous groups of gods. The Vasus are in Indra's train, the
'shining,' or, perhaps, 'good' gods.]

[Footnote 34: ii. 33. 13; x. 100. 5, etc. If the idea of
manus=bonus be rejected, the Latin manes may be referred
to m[=a]navas, the children of Manu.]

[Footnote 35: Or: "in an earthly place, in the atmosphere,
or," etc.]

[Footnote 36: That is where the Fathers live. This is the only place where the Fathers are said to be náp[=a]t (descendants) of Vishnu, and here the sense may be "I have discovered Náp[=a]t (fire?)" But in i. 154. 5 Vishnu's worshippers rejoice in his home.]

[Footnote 37: Or: "form as thou wilt this body (of a corpse) to spirit life."]

[Footnote 38: x. 56. 4; otherwise, Grassmann.]

[Footnote 39: vi. 73. 9 refers to ancestors on earth, not in heaven.]

[Footnote 40: Compare Muir, OST. v. 285, where i. 125. 5 is compared with x. 107. 2: "The gift-giver becomes immortal; the gift-giver lives in the sky; he that gives horses lives in the sun." Compare Zimmer, Altind. Leben p. 409; Geiger, Ostiran. Cultur, p. 290.]

[Footnote 41: x. 88. 15, word for word: "two paths heard of
the Fathers I, of the gods and of mortals." Cited as a
mystery, Brih. [=A]ran. Up. vi. 2. 2.]

[Footnote 42: x. 16. 3: "if thou wilt go to the waters or to
the plants," is added after this (in addressing the soul of
the dead man). Plant-souls occur again in x. 58. 7.]

[Footnote 43: A V. XVIII.4.64; Muir, Av. loc. cit. p. 298.
A passage of the Atharvan suggests that the dead may have
been exposed as in Iran, but there is no trace of this in
the Rig Veda (Zimmer, loc. cit. p. 402).]

[Footnote 44: Barth, Vedic Religions, p. 23; ib., the
narrow 'house of clay,' RV. VII. 89. 1.]

[Footnote 45: I. 24. 1; I. 125.6; VII. 56.24; cited by
Müller, Chips, I. p. 45.]

[Footnote 46: IX. 113. 7 ff.]

[Footnote 47: Avar[=o]dhana[.m] divás, 'enclosure of the

[Footnote 48: Literally, 'where custom' (obtains), i.e.,
where the old usages still hold.]

[Footnote 49: The last words are to be understood as of
sensual pleasures (Muir, loc. cit. p. 307, notes 462,

[Footnote 50: RV. II. 29. 6; VII. 104. 3, 17; IV. 5. 5; IX. 73. 8. Compare Mulr, loc. cit. pp. 311-312; and Zimmer, loc. cit. pp. 408, 418. Yama's 'hero-holding abode' is not a hell, as Ludwig thinks, but, as usual, the top vault of heaven.]

[Footnote 51: loc. cit. p. 123.]

[Footnote 52: X. 154. 2; 107. 2. Compare the mad ascetic, múni, VIII. 17. 14.]

[Footnote 53: X. 117. This is clearly seen in the seventh verse, where is praised the 'Brahman who talks,' i.e., can speak in behalf of the giver to the gods (compare verse three).]

[Footnote 54: X. 71. 6.]

[Footnote 55: Compare X. 145; 159. In X. 184 there is a
prayer addressed to the goddesses Sin[=i]v[=a]l[=i] and
Sarasvat[=i] (in conjunction with Vishnu, Tvashtar, the
Creator, Praj[=a]pati, and the Horsemen) to make a woman

[Footnote 56: II. 15. 2; X. 6. 7 (Barth, loc. cit. p. 36).
The sacrifice of animals, cattle, horses, goats, is
customary; that of man, legendary; but it is implied in X.
18.8 (Hillebrandt, ZDMG. Xl p. 708), and is ritualized in
the next period (below).]

[Footnote 57: Phallic worship may be alluded to in that of the 'tail-gods,' as Garbe thinks, but it is deprecated. One verse, however, which seems to have crept in by mistake, is apparently due to phallic influence (VIII. 1. 34), though such a cult was not openly acknowledged till Çiva-worship began, and is no part of Brahmanism.]

* * * * *



The hymns of the Rig Veda inextricably confused; the deities of an earlier era confounded, and again merged together in a pantheism now complete; the introduction of strange gods; recognition of a hell of torture; instead of many divinities the One that represents all the gods, and nature as well; incantations for evil purposes and charms for a worthy purpose; formulae of malediction to be directed against 'those whom I hate and who hate me'; magical verses to obtain children, to prolong life, to dispel 'evil magic,' to guard against poison and other ills; the paralyzing extreme of ritualistic reverence indicated by the exaltation to godhead of the 'remnant' of sacrifice; hymns to snakes, to diseases, to sleep, time, and the stars; curses on the 'priest-plaguer'—such, in general outline, is the impression produced by a perusal of the Atharvan after that of the Rig Veda. How much of this is new?

The Rig Veda is not lacking in incantations, in witchcraft practices, in hymns to inanimate things, in indications of pantheism. But the general impression is produced, both by the tone of such hymns as these and by their place in the collection, that they are an addition to the original work. On the other hand, in reading the Atharvan hymns the collective impression is decidedly this, that what to the Rig is adventitious is essential to the Atharvan.

It has often been pointed out, however, that not only the practices involved, but the hymns themselves, in the Atharvan, may have existed long before they were collected, and that, while the Atharvan collection, as a whole, takes historical place after the Rig Veda, there yet may be comprised in the former much which is as old as any part of the latter work. It is also customary to assume that such hymns as betoken a lower worship (incantations, magical formulae, etc.) were omitted purposely from the Rig Veda to be collected in the Atharvan. That which eventually can neither be proved nor disproved is, perhaps, best left undiscussed, and it is vain to seek scientific proof where only historic probabilities are obtainable. Yet, if a closer approach to truth be attractive, even a greater probability will be a gain, and it becomes worth while to consider the problem a little with only this hope in view.

Those portions of the Rig Veda which seem to be Atharvan-like are, in general, to be found in the later books (or places) of the collection. But it would be presumptuous to conclude that a work, although almost entirely given up to what in the Rig Veda appears to be late, should itself be late in origin. By analogy, in a nature-religion such as was that of India, the practice of demonology, witchcraft, etc., must have been an early factor. But, while this is true, it is clearly impossible to postulate therefrom that the hymns recording all this array of cursing, deviltry, and witchcraft are themselves early. The further forward one advances into the labyrinth of Hindu religions the more superstitions, the more devils, demons, magic, witchcraft, and uncanny things generally, does he find. Hence, while any one superstitious practice may be antique, there is small probability for assuming a contemporaneous origin of the hymns of the two collections. The many verses cited, apparently pell-mell, from the Rig Veda, might, it is true, revert to a version older than that in which they are found in the Rig Veda, but there is nothing to show that they were not taken from the Rig Veda, and re-dressed in a form that rendered them in many cases more intelligible; so that often what is respectfully spoken of as a 'better varied reading' of the Atharvan may be better, as we have said in the introductory chapter, only in lucidity; and the lucidity be due to tampering with a text old and unintelligible. Classical examples abound in illustrations.

Nevertheless, although an antiquity equal to that of the whole Rig Veda can by no means be claimed for the Atharvan collection (which, at least in its tone, belongs to the Brahmanic period), yet is the mass represented by the latter, if not contemporaneous, at any rate so venerable, that it safely may be assigned to a period as old as that in which were composed the later hymns of the Rik itself. But in distinction from the hymns themselves the weird religion they represent is doubtless as old, if not older, than that of the Rig Veda. For, while the Rig Vedic _soma-_cult is Indo-Iranian, the original Atharvan (fire) cult is even more primitive, and the basis of the work, from this point of view, may have preceded the composition of Rik hymns. This Atharvan religion—if it may be called so—is, therefore, of exceeding importance. It opens wide the door which the Rik puts ajar, and shows a world of religious and mystical ideas which without it could scarcely have been suspected. Here magic eclipses Soma and reigns supreme. The wizard is greater than the gods; his herbs and amulets are sovereign remedies. Religion is seen on its lowest side. It is true that there is 'bad magic' and 'good magic' (the existence of the former is substantiated by the maledictions against it), but what has been received into the collection is apparently the best. To heal the sick and procure desirable things is the object of most of the charms and incantations—but some of the desirable things are disease and death of one's foes. On the higher side of religion, from a metaphysical point of view, the Atharvan is pantheistic. It knows also the importance of the 'breaths,'[1] the vital forces; it puts side by side the different gods and says that each 'is lord.' It does not lack philosophical speculation which, although most of it is puerile, sometimes raises questions of wider scope, as when the sage inquires who made the body with its wonderful parts—implying, but not stating the argument, from design, in its oldest form.[2]

Of magical verses there are many, but the content is seldom more than "do thou, O plant, preserve from harm," etc. Harmless enough, if somewhat weak, are also many other hymns calculated to procure blessings:

Blessings blow to us the wind,
Blessings glow to us the sun,
Blessings be to us the day,
Blest to us the night appear,
Blest to us the dawn shall shine,

is a fair specimen of this innocuous sort of verse.[3] Another example may be seen in this hymn to a king: "Firm is the sky; firm is the earth; firm, all creation; firm, these hills; firm the king of the people (shall be)," etc.[4] In another hymn there is an incantation to release from possible ill coming from a foe and from inherited ill or sin.[5] A free spirit of doubt and atheism, already foreshadowed in the Rig Veda, is implied in the prayer that the god will be merciful to the cattle of that man "whose creed is 'Gods exist.'"[6] Serpent-worship is not only known, but prevalent.[7] The old gods still hold, as always, their nominal places, albeit the system is pantheistic, so that Varuna is god of waters; and Mitra with Varuna, gods of rain.[8] As a starting-point of philosophy the dictum of the Rig Veda is repeated: 'Desire is the seed of mind,' and 'love, i.e., desire, was born first.' Here Aditi is defined anew as the one in whose lap is the wide atmosphere— she is parent and child, gods and men, all in all—'may she extend to us a triple shelter.' As an example of curse against curse may be compared II. 7:

The sin-hated, god-born plant, that frees from the curse as waters (wash out) the spot, has washed away all curses, the curse of my rival and of my sister; (that) which the Brahman in anger cursed, all this lies under my feet … With this plant protect this (wife), protect my child, protect our property … May the curse return to the curser … We smite even the ribs of the foe with the evil (mantra) eye.

A love-charm in the same book (II. 30) will remind the classical student of Theocritus' second idyl: 'As the wind twirls around grass upon the ground, so I twirl thy mind about, that thou mayst become loving, that thou mayst not depart from me,' etc. In the following verses the Horsemen gods are invoked to unite the lovers. Characteristic among bucolic passages is the cow-song in II. 26, the whole intent of which is to ensure a safe return to the cows on their wanderings: 'Hither may they come, the cattle that have wandered far away,' etc.

The view that there are different conditions of Manes is clearly taught in XVIII. 2. 48-49, where it is said that there are three heavens, in the highest of which reside the Manes; while a distinction is made at the same time between 'fathers' and 'grandfathers,' the fathers' fathers, 'who have entered air, who inhabit earth and heaven.' Here appears nascent the doctrine of 'elevating the Fathers,' which is expressly taught in the next era. The performance of rites in honor of the Manes causes them to ascend from a low state to a higher one. In fact, if the offerings are not given at all, the spirits do not go to heaven. In general the older generations of Manes go up highest and are happiest. The personal offering is only to the immediate fathers.

If, as was shown in the introductory chapter, the Atharvan represents a geographical advance on the part of the Vedic Aryans, this fact cannot be ignored in estimating the primitiveness of the collection. Geographical advance, acquaintance with other flora and fauna than those of the Rig Veda, means—although the argument of silence must not be exaggerated—a temporal advance also. And not less significant are the points of view to which one is led in the useful little work of Scherman on the philosophical hymns of the Atharvan. Scherman wishes to show the connection between the Upanishads and Vedas. But the bearing of his collection is toward a closer union of the two bodies of works, and especially of the Atharvan, not to the greater gain in age of the Upanishads so much as to the depreciation in venerableness of the former. If the Atharvan has much more in common with the Br[=a]hmanas and Upanishads than has the Rig Veda, it is because the Atharvan stands, in many respects, midway in time between the era of Vedic hymnology and the thought of the philosophical period. The terminology is that of the Br[=a]hmanas, rather than that of the Rig Veda. The latter knows the great person; the Atharvan, and the former know the original great person, i.e.., the tausa movens under the causa efficiens, etc. In the Atharvan appears first the worship of Time, Love, 'Support' (Skambha), and the 'highest brahma. The cult of the holy cow is fully recognized (XII. 4 and 5). The late ritualistic terms, as well as linguistic evidence, confirm the fact indicated by the geographical advance. The country is known from western Balkh to eastern Beh[=a]r, the latter familiarly.[9] In a word, one may conclude that on its higher side the Atharvan is later than the Rig Veda, while on its lower side of demonology one may recognize the religion of the lower classes as compared with that of the two upper classes—for the latter the Rig Veda, for the superstitious people at large the Atharvan, a collection of which the origin agrees with its application. For, if it at first was devoted to the unholy side of fire-cult, and if the fire-cult is older than the soma-cult, then this is the cult that one would expect to see most affected by the conservative vulgar, who in India hold fast to what the cultured have long dropped as superstition, or, at least, pretended to drop; though the house-ritual keeps some magic in its fire-cult.

In that case, it may be asked, why not begin the history of Hindu religion with the Atharvan, rather than with the Rig Veda? Because the Atharvan, as a whole, in its language, social conditions, geography, 'remnant' worship, etc., shows that this literary collection is posterior to the Rik collection. As to individual hymns, especially those imbued with the tone of fetishism and witchcraft, any one of them, either in its present or original form, may outrank the whole Rik in antiquity, as do its superstitions the religion of the Rik—if it is right to make a distinction between superstition and religion, meaning by the former a lower, and by the latter a more elevated form of belief in the supernatural.

The difference between the Rik-worshipper and Atharvan-worshipper is somewhat like that which existed at a later age between the philosophical Çivaite and Durg[=a]ite. The former revered Çiva, but did not deny the power of a host of lesser mights, whom he was ashamed to worship too much; the latter granted the all-god-head of Çiva, but paid attention almost exclusively to some demoniac divinity. Superstition, perhaps, always precedes theology; but as surely does superstition outlive any one form of its protean rival. And the simple reason is that a theology is the real belief of few, and varies with their changing intellectual point of view; while superstition is the belief unacknowledged of the few and acknowledged of the many, nor does it materially change from age to age. The rites employed among the clam-diggers on the New York coast, the witch-charms they use, the incantations, cutting of flesh, fire-oblations, meaningless formulae, united with sacrosanct expressions of the church, are all on a par with the religion of the lower classes as depicted in Theocritus and the Atharvan. If these mummeries and this hocus-pocus were collected into a volume, and set out with elegant extracts from the Bible, there would be a nineteenth century Atharva Veda. What are the necessary equipment of a Long Island witch? First, "a good hot fire," and then formulae such as this:[10]

"If a man is attacked by wicked people and how to banish them:

"Bedgoblin and all ye evil spirits, I, N.N., forbid you my bedstead, my couch; I, N.N., forbid you in the name of God my house and home; I forbid you in the name of the Holy Trinity my blood and flesh, my body and soul; I forbid you all the nail-holes in my house and home, till you have travelled over every hill, waded through every water, have counted all the leaves of every tree, and counted all the stars in the sky, until the day arrives when the mother of God shall bare her second son."

If this formula be repeated three times, with the baptismal name of the person, it will succeed!

"To make one's self invisible:

"Obtain the ear of a black cat, boil it in the milk of a black cow, wear it on the thumb, and no one will see you."

This is the Atharvan, or fire-and witch-craft of to-day—not differing much from the ancient. It is the unchanging foundation of the many lofty buildings of faith that are erected, removed, and rebuilt upon it—the belief in the supernatural at its lowest, a belief which, in its higher stages, is always level with the general intellect of those that abide in it.

The latest book of the Atharvan is especially for the warrior-caste, but the mass of it is for the folk at large. It was long before it was recognized as a legitimate Veda. It never stands, in the older period of Brahmanism, on a par with the S[=a]man and Rik. In the epic period good and bad magic are carefully differentiated, and even to-day the Atharvan is repudiated by southern Br[=a]hmans. But there is no doubt that sub rosa, the silliest practices inculcated and formulated in the Atharvan were the stronghold of a certain class of priests, or that such priests were feared and employed by the laity, openly by the low classes, secretly by the intelligent.

In respect of the name the magical cult was referred, historically with justice, to the fire-priests, Atharvan and Angiras, though little application to fire, other than in soma-worship, is apparent. Yet was this undoubtedly the source of the cult (the fire-cult is still distinctly associated with the Atharva Veda in the epic), and the name is due neither to accident nor to a desire to invoke the names of great seers, as will Weber.[11] The other name of Brahmaveda may have connection with the 'false science of Brihaspati,' alluded to in a Upanishad.[12] This seer is not over-orthodox, and later he is the patron of the unorthodox C[=a]rv[=a]kas. It was seen above that the god Brihaspati is also a novelty not altogether relished by the Vedic Aryans.

From an Aryan point of view how much weight is to be placed on comparisons of the formulae in the Atharvan of India with those of other Aryan nations? Kuhn has compared[13] an old German magic formula of healing with one in the Atharvan, and because each says 'limb to limb' he thinks that they are of the same origin, particularly since the formula is found in Russian. The comparison is interesting, but it is far from convincing. Such formulae spring up independently all over the earth.

Finally, it is to be observed that in this Veda first occurs the implication of the story of the flood (xix. 39. 8), and the saving of Father Manu, who, however, is known by this title in the Rik. The supposition that the story of the flood is derived from Babylon, seems, therefore, to be an unnecessary (although a permissible) hypothesis, as the tale is old enough in India to warrant a belief in its indigenous origin.[14]

* * * * *


[Footnote 1: XV. 15.]

[Footnote 2: X. 2.]

[Footnote 3: VII. 69. Compare RV. VII. 35, and the epic (below).]

[Footnote 4: X. 173.]

[Footnote 5: V. 30.]

[Footnote 6: XI. 2. 28.]

[Footnote 7: XI. 9; VIII. 6 and 7, with tree-worship.]

[Footnote 8: V. 24. 4-5. On 'the one god' compare X. 8. 28; XIII. 4. 15. Indra as S[=u]rya, in VII. 11; cf. xiii. 4; XVII. 1. 24. Pantheism in X. 7. 14. 25. Of charms, compare ii. 9, to restore life; III. 6, a curse against 'whom I hate'; III. 23, to obtain offspring. On the stars and night, see hymn at XIX. 8 and 47. In V. 13, a guard against poison; ib. a hymn to a drum; ib. 31, a charm to dispel evil magic; VI. 133, magic to produce long life; V. 23, against worms, etc., etc. Aditi, VII. 6. 1-4 (partly Rik).]

[Footnote 9: Compare Muir, OST. II. 447 ff.]

[Footnote 10: This old charm is still used among the clam-diggers of Canarsie, N.Y.]

[Footnote 11: Ind. Lit^2 p. 164.]

[Footnote 12: M[=a]it. Up.. vii. 9. He is 'the gods'
Brahm[=a]' (Rik.)]

[Footnote 13: Indische und germanische Segenssprüche; KZ.
xiii. 49.]

[Footnote 14: One long hymn, xii. 1, of the Atharvan is to earth and fire (19-20). In the Rik, átharvan is fire-priest and bringer of fire from heaven; while once the word may mean fire itself (viii. 9, 7). The name Brahmaveda is perhaps best referred to brahma as fire (whence 'fervor,' 'prayer,' and again 'energy,' 'force'). In distinction from the great soma-sacrifices, the fire-cult always remains the chief thing in the domestic ritual. The present Atharvan formulae have for the most part no visible application to fire, but the name still shows the original connection.]

* * * * *



Nothing is more usual than to attempt a reconstruction of Aryan ideas in manners, customs, laws, and religious conceptions, by placing side by side similar traits of individual Aryan nations, and stating or insinuating that the result of the comparison shows that one is handling primitive characteristics of the whole Aryan body. It is of special importance, therefore, to see in how far the views and practices of peoples not Aryan may be found to be identical with those of Aryans. The division of the army into clans, as in the Iliad and the Veda; the love of gambling, as shown by Greeks, Teutons, and Hindus; the separation of captains and princes, as is illustrated by Teuton and Hindu; the belief in a flood, common to Iranian, Greek, and Hindu; in the place of departed spirits, with the journey over a river (Iranian, Hindu, Scandinavian, Greek); in the after-felicity of warriors who die on the field of battle (Scandinavian, Greek, and Hindu); in the reverence paid to the wind-god (Hindu, Iranian, and Teutonic, V[=a]ta-Wotan); these and many other traits at different times, by various writers, have been united and compared to illustrate primitive Aryan belief and religion.

The traits of the Five Nations of the Veda for this reason may be compared very advantageously with the traits of the Five Nations of the Iroquois Indians, the most united and intelligent of American native tribes. Their institutions are not yet extinct, and they have been described by missionaries of the 17th century and by some modern writers, to whom can be imputed no hankering after Aryan primitive ideas.[1] It is but a few years back since the last avat[=a]r of the Iroquois' incarnate god lived in Onondaga, N.Y.

First, as an illustration of the extraordinary development of memory among rhapsodes, Vedic students, and other Aryans; among the Iroquois "memory was tasked to the utmost, and developed to an extraordinary degree," says Parkman, who adds that they could repeat point by point with precision any address made to them.[2] Murder was compromised for by Wehrgeld, as among the Vedic, Iranic, and Teutonic peoples. The Iroquois, like all Indians, was a great gambler, staking all his property[3] (like the Teutons and Hindus). In religion "A mysterious and inexplicable power resides in inanimate things … Lakes, rivers, and waterfalls [as conspicuously in India] are sometimes the dwelling-place of spirits; but more frequently they are themselves living beings, to be propitiated by prayers and offerings."[4] The greatest spirit among the Algonquins is the descendant of the moon, and son of the west-wind (personified). After the deluge (thus the Hindus, etc.) this great spirit (Manabozho, mana is Manu?) restored the world; some asserting that he created the world out of water. But others say that the supreme spirit is the sun (Le Jeune, Relation, 1633). The Algonquins, besides a belief in a good spirit (manitou), had also a belief in a malignant manitou, in whom the missionaries recognized the devil (why not Ormuzd and Ahriman?). One tribe invokes the 'Maker of Heaven,' the 'god of waters,' and also the 'seven spirits of the wind' (so, too, seven is a holy number in the Veda, etc.).

The Iroquois, like the Hindu (later), believe that the earth rests on the back of a turtle or tortoise[5], and that this is ruled over by the sun and moon, the first being a good spirit; the second, malignant. The good spirit interposes between the malice of the moon and mankind, and it is he who makes rivers; for when the earth was parched, all the water being held back from earth under the armpit of a monster frog, he pierced the armpit and let out the water (exactly as Indra lets out the water held back by the demon). According to some, this great spirit created mankind, but in the third generation a deluge destroyed his posterity[6]. The good spirit among the Iroquois is the one that gives good luck (perhaps Bhaga). These Indians believe in the immortality of the soul. Skillful hunters, brave warriors, go, after death, to the happy hunting-grounds (as in India and Scandinavia); the cowardly and weak are doomed to live in dreary regions of mist and darkness (compare Niflheim and the Iranian eschatology?). To pass over other religious correspondences, the sacrifice of animals, use of amulets, love-charms, magic, and sorcery, which are all like those of Aryans (to compare, also, are the burying or exposing of the dead and the Hurons' funeral games), let one take this as a good illustration of the value of 'comparative Aryan mythology':

According to the Aryan belief the soul of the dead passes over a stream, across a bridge, past a dog or two, which guard the gate of paradise. The Hindu, Iranian, Greek, and Scandinavian, all have the dog, and much emphasis has been laid on the 'Aryan' character of this creed. The native Iroquois Indians believed that "the spirits on their journey (to heaven) were beset with difficulties and perils. There was a swift river to be crossed on a log that shook beneath the feet, while a ferocious dog opposed their passage[7]." Here is the Persians' narrow bridge, and even Kerberos himself!

It is also interesting to note that, as the Hindus identify with the sun so many of their great gods, so the Iroquois "sacrifices to some superior spirit, or to the sun, with which the superior spirits were constantly confounded by the primitive Indian[8]."

Weber holds that because Greek and Hindu gave the name 'bear' to a constellation, therefore this is the "primitive Indo-Germanic name of the star[9]." But the Massachusetts Indians "gave their own name for bear to the Ursa major" (Williams' 'Key,' cited Palfrey, I. p. 36; so Lafitau, further west).

Again, three, seven, and even 'thrice-seven,' are holy not only in
India but in America.

In this new world are found, to go further, the analogues of Varuna in the monotheistic god Viracocha of the Peruvians, to whom is addressed this prayer: "Cause of all things! ever present, helper, creator, ever near, ever fortunate one! Thou incorporeal one above the sun, infinite, and beneficent[10]"; of the Vedic Snake of the Deep, in the Mexican Cloud-serpent; of the Vedic Lightning-bird, who brings fire from heaven, in the Indian Thunder-bird, who brings fire from heaven[11]; of the preservation of one individual from a flood (in the epic, Manu's 'Seven Seers') in the same American myth, even including the holy mountain, which is still shown[12]; of the belief that the sun is the home of departed spirits, in the same belief all over America;[13] of the belief that stars are the souls of the dead, in the same belief held by the Pampas;[14] and even of the late Brahmanic custom of sacrificing the widow (suttee), in the practice of the Natchez Indians, and in Guatemala, of burning the widow on the pyre of the dead husband.[15] The storm wind (Odin) as highest god is found among the Choctaws; while 'Master of Breath' is the Creeks' name for this divinity. Huraka (hurricane, ouragon, ourage) is the chief god in Hayti.[16] An exact parallel to the vague idea of hell at the close of the Vedic period, with the gradual increase of the idea, alternating with a theory of reincarnation, may be found in the fact that, in general, there is no notion of punishment after death among the Indians of the New World; but that, while the good are assisted and cared for after death by the 'Master of Breath,' the Creeks believe that the liar, the coward, and the niggard (Vedic sinners par excellence!) are left to shift for themselves in darkness; whereas the Aztecs believed in a hell surrounded by the water called 'Nine Rivers,' guarded by a dog and a dragon; and the great Eastern American tribes believe that after the soul has been for a while in heaven it can, if it chooses, return to earth and be born again as a man, utilizing its old bones (which are, therefore, carefully preserved by the surviving members of the family) as a basis for a new body.[17]

To turn to another foreign religion, how tempting would it be to see in Nutar the 'abstract power' of the Egyptian, an analogue of brahma and the other 'power' abstractions of India; to recognize Brahm[=a] in El; and in Nu, sky, and expanse of waters, to see Varuna; especially when one compares the boat-journey of the Vedic seer with R[=a]'s boat in Egypt. Or, again, in the twin children of R[=a] to see the Açvins; and to associate the mundane egg of the Egyptians with that of the Brahmans.[18] Certainly, had the Egyptians been one of the Aryan families, all these conceptions had been referred long ago to the category of 'primitive Aryan ideas.' But how primitive is a certain religious idea will not be shown by simple comparison of Aryan parallels. It will appear more often that it is not 'primitive,' but, so to speak, per-primitive, aboriginal with no one race, but with the race of man. When we come to describe the religions of the wild tribes of India it will be seen that among them also are found traits common, on the one hand, to the Hindu, and on the other to the wild tribes of America. With this warning in mind one may inquire at last in how far a conservative judgment can find among the Aryans themselves an identity of original conception in the different forms of divinities and religious rites. Foremost stand the universal chrematheism, worship of inanimate objects regarded as usefully divine, and the cult of the departed dead. This latter is almost universal, perhaps pan-Aryan, and Weber is probably right in assuming that the primitive Aryans believed in a future life. But Benfey's identification of Tartaras with the Sanskrit Tal[=a]tala, the name of a special hell in very late systems of cosmogony, is decidedly without the bearing he would put upon it. The Sanskrit word may be taken directly from the Greek, but of an Aryan source for both there is not the remotest historical probability.

When, however, one comes to the Lord of the Dead he finds himself already in a narrower circle. Yama is the Persian Yima, and the name of Kerberos may have been once an adjective applied to the dog that guarded the path to paradise; but other particular conceptions that gather about each god point only to a period of Indo-Iranian unity.

Of the great nature-gods the sun is more than Aryan, but doubtless was Aryan, for S[=u]rya is Helios, but Savitar is a development especially Indian. Dy[=a]ús-pitar is Zeús-pater, Jupiter.[19] Trita, scarcely Triton, is the Persian Thraetaona who conquers Vritra, as does Indra in India. The last, on the other hand, is to be referred only hesitatingly to the demon A[=n]dra of the Avesta. Varuna, despite phonetic difficulties, probably is Ouranos; but Asura (Asen?) is a title of many gods in India's first period, while the corresponding Ahura is restricted to the good spirit, [Greek: kat hexochên]. The seven [=A]dityas are reflected in the Amesha Çpentas of Zoroastrian Puritanism, but these are mere imitations, spiritualized and moralized into abstractions. Bhaga is Slavic Bogu and Persian Bagha; Mitra is Persian Mithra. The Açvins are all but in name the Greek gods Dioskouroi, and correspond closely in detail (riding on horses, healing and helping, originally twins of twilight). Tacitus gives a parallel Teutonic pair (Germ. 43). Ushas, on the other hand, while etymologically corresponding to Aurora, Eos, is a specially Indian development, as Eos has no cult. V[=a]ta, Wind, is an aboriginal god, and may perhaps be Wotan, Odin.[20] Parjanya, the rain-god, as Bühler has shown, is one with Lithuanian Perkúna, and with the northern Fiögyu. The 'fashioner,' Tvashtar (sun) is only Indo-Iranian; Thw[=a]sha probably being the same word.

Of lesser mights, Angiras, name of fire, may be Persian angaros, 'fire-messenger' (compare [Greek: haggelos]), perhaps originally one with Sk. ang[=a]ra, 'coal.'[21] Hebe has been identified with yavy[=a], young woman, but this word is enough to show that Hebe has naught to do with the Indian pantheon. The Gandharva, moon, is certainly one with the Persian Gandarewa, but can hardly be identical with the Centaur. Saram[=a] seems to have, together with S[=a]rameya, a Grecian parallel development in Helena (a goddess in Sparta), Selene, Hermes; and Sarany[=u] may be the same with Erinnys, but these are not Aryan figures in the form of their respective developments, though they appear to be so in origin. It is scarcely possible that Earth is an Aryan deity with a cult, though different Aryan (and un-Aryan) nations regarded her as divine. The Maruts are especially Indian and have no primitive identity as gods with Mars, though the names may be radically connected. The fire-priests, Bhrigus, are supposed to be one with the [Greek: phlegixu]. The fact that the fate of each in later myth is to visit hell would presuppose, however, an Aryan notion of a torture-hell, of which the Rig Veda has no conception. The Aryan identity of the two myths is thereby made uncertain, if not implausible. The special development in India of the fire-priest that brings down fire from heaven, when compared with the personification of the 'twirler' (Promantheus) in Greece, shows that no detailed myth was current in primitive times.[22] The name of the fire-priest, brahman = fla(g)men(?), is an indication of the primitive fire-cult in antithesis to the soma-cult, which latter belongs to the narrower circle of the Hindus and Persians. Here, however, in the identity of names for sacrifice (yajna, yaçna) and of barhis, the sacrificial straw, of soma = haoma, together with many other liturgical similarities, as in the case of the metres, one must recognize a fully developed soma-cult prior to the separation of the Hindus and Iranians.

Of demigods of evil type the Y[=a]tus are both Hindu and Iranian, but the priest-names of the one religion are evil names in the other, as the devas, gods, of one are the daevas, demons, of the other.[23] There are no other identifications that seem at all certain in the strict province of religion, although in myth the form of Manus, who is the Hindu Noah, has been associated with Teutonic Mannus, and Greek Minos, noted in Thucydides for his sea-faring. He is to Yama (later regarded as his brother) as is Noah to Adam.

We do not lay stress on lack of equation in proper names, but, as
Schrader shows (p. 596 ff.), very few comparisons on this line have a
solid phonetic foundation. Minos, Manu; Ouranos, Varuna; Wotan,
V[=a]ta, are dubious; and some equate flamen with blôtan, sacrifice.

Other wider or narrower comparisons, such as Neptunus from náp[=a]t ap[=a]m, seem to us too daring to be believed. Apollo (sapary), Aphrodite (Apsaras), Artamis (non-existent [r.]tam[=a]l), P[=a]n (pavana), have been cleverly compared, but the identity of forms has scarcely been proved. Nor is it important for the comparative mythologist that Okeanus is 'lying around' ([=a]çáy[=a]na). More than that is necessary to connect Ocean mythologically with the demon that surrounds (swallows) the waters of the sky. The Vedic parallel is rather Ras[=a], the far-off great 'stream.' It is rarely that one finds Aryan equivalents in the land of fairies and fays. Yet are the Hindu clever artizan Ribhus[24] our 'elves,' who, even to this day, are distinct from fairies in their dexterity and cleverness, as every wise child knows.

But animism, as simple spiritism, fetishism, perhaps ancestor-worship, and polytheism, with the polydaemonism that may be called chrematheism, exists from the beginning of the religious history, undisturbed by the proximity of theism, pantheism, or atheism; exactly as to-day in the Occident, beside theism and atheism, exist spiritism and fetishism (with their inherent magic), and even ancestor-worship, as implied by the reputed after-effect of parental curses.

When the circle is narrowed to that of the Indo-Iranian connection the similarity in religion between the Veda and Avesta becomes much more striking than in any other group, as has been shown. It is here that the greatest discrepancy in opinion obtains among modern scholars. Some are inclined to refer all that smacks of Persia to a remote period of Indo-Iranian unity, and, in consequence, to connect all tokens of contact with the west with far-away regions out of India. It is scarcely possible that such can be the case. But, on the other hand, it is unhistorical to connect, as do some scholars, the worship of soma and Varuna with a remote period of unity, and then with a jump to admit a close connection between Veda and Avesta in the Vedic period. The Vedic Aryans appear to have lived, so to speak, hand in glove with the Iranians for a period long enough for the latter to share in that advance of Varuna-worship from polytheism to quasi-monotheism which is seen in the Rig Veda. This worship of Varuna as a superior god, with his former equals ranged under him in a group, chiefly obtains in that family (be it of priest or tribe, or be the two essentially one from a religious point of view) which has least to do with pure soma-worship, the inherited Indo-Iranian cult; and the Persian Ahura, with the six spiritualized equivalents of the old Vedic [=A]dityas, can have come into existence only as a direct transformation of the latter cult, which in turn is later than the cult that developed in one direction as chief of gods a Zeus; in another, a Bhaga; in a third, an Odin. On the other hand, in the gradual change in India of Iranic gods to devils, asuras, there is an exact counterpart to the Iranian change of meaning from deva to daeva. But if this be the connection, it is impossible to assume a long break between India and the west, and then such a sudden tie as is indicated by the allusions in the Rig Veda to the Persians and other western lands. The most reasonable view, therefore, appears to be that the Vedic and Iranian Aryans were for a long time in contact, that the contact began to cease as the two peoples separated to east and west, but that after the two peoples separated communication was sporadically kept up between them by individuals in the way of trade or otherwise. This explains the still surviving relationship as it is found in later hymns and in thank-offerings apparently involving Iranian personages.

They that believe in a monotheistic Varuna-cult preceding the Vedic polytheism must then ignore the following facts: The Slavic equivalent of Bhaga and the Teutonic equivalent of V[=a]ta are to these respective peoples their highest gods. They had no Varuna. Moreover, there is not the slightest proof that Ouranos in Greece[25] was ever a god worshipped as a great god before Zeus, nor is there any probability that to the Hindu Dyaus Pitar was ever a great god, in the sense that he ever had a special cult as supreme deity. He is physically great, and physically he is father, as is Earth mother, but he is religiously great only in the Hellenic-Italic circle, where exists no Uranos-cult[26]. Rather is it apparent that the Greek raised Zeus, as did the Slav Bhaga, to his first head of the pantheon. Now when one sees that in the Vedic period Varuna is the type of [=A]dityas, to which belong Bhaga and Mitra as distinctly less important personages, it is plain that this can mean only that Varuna has gradually been exalted to his position at the expense of the other gods. Nor is there perfect uniformity between Persian and Hindu conceptions. Asura in the Veda is not applied to Varuna alone. But in the Avesta, Ahura is the one great spirit, and his six spirits are plainly a protestant copy and modification of Varuna and his six underlings. This, then, can mean—which stands in concordance with the other parallels between the two religions—only that Zarathustra borrows the Ahura idea from the Vedic Aryans at a time when Varuna was become superior to the other gods, and when the Vedic cult is established in its second phase[27]. To this fact points also the evidence that shows how near together geographically were once the Hindus and Persians. Whether one puts the place of separation at the Kabul or further to the north-west is a matter of indifference. The Persians borrow the idea of Varuna Asura, whose eye is the sun. They spiritualize this, and create an Asura unknown to other nations.

Of von Bradke's attempt to prove an original Dyaus Asura we have said nothing, because the attempt has failed signally. He imagines that the epithet Asura was given to Dyaus in the Indo-Iranian period, and that from a Dyaus Pitar Asura the Iranians made an abstract Asura, while the Hindus raised the other gods and depressed Dyaus Pitar Asura; whereas it is quite certain that Varuna (Asura) grew up, out, and over the other Asuras, his former equals.

And yet it is almost a pity to spend time to demonstrate that Varuna-worship was not monotheistic originally. We gladly admit that, even if not a primitive monotheistic deity, Varuna yet is a god that belongs to a very old period of Hindu literature. And, for a worship so antique, how noble is the idea, how exalted is the completed conception of him! Truly, the Hindus and Persians alone of Aryans mount nearest to the high level of Hebraic thought. For Varuna beside the loftiest figure in the Hellenic pantheon stands like a god beside a man. The Greeks had, indeed, a surpassing aesthetic taste, but in grandeur of religious ideas even the daring of Aeschylus becomes but hesitating bravado when compared with the serene boldness of the Vedic seers, who, first of their race, out of many gods imagined God.

In regard to eschatology, as in regard to myths, it has been shown that the utmost caution in identification is called for. It may be surmised that such or such a belief or legend is in origin one with a like faith or tale of other peoples. But the question whether it be one in historical origin or in universal mythopoetic fancy, and this latter be the only common origin, must remain in almost every case unanswered[28]. This is by far not so entertaining, nor so picturesque a solution as is the explanation of a common historical basis for any two legends, with its inspiring 'open sesame' to the door of the locked past. But which is truer? Which accords more with the facts as they are collected from a wider field? As man in the process of development, in whatever quarter of earth he be located, makes for himself independently clothes, language, and gods, so he makes myths that are more or less like those of other peoples, and it is only when names coincide and traits that are unknown elsewhere are strikingly similar in any two mythologies that one has a right to argue a probable community of origin.

But even if the legend of the flood were Babylonian, and the Asuras as devils were due to Iranian influence—which can neither be proved nor disproved—the fact remains that the Indian religion in its main features is of a purely native character.

As the most prominent features of the Vedic religion must be regarded the worship of soma of nature-gods that are in part already more than this, of spirits, and of the Manes; the acknowledgment of a moral law and a belief in a life hereafter. There is also a vaguer nascent belief in a creator apart from any natural phenomenon, but the creed for the most part is poetically, indefinitely, stated: 'Most wonder-working of the wonder-working gods, who made heaven and earth'(as above). The corresponding Power is Cerus in Cerus-Creator (Kronos?), although when a name is given, the Maker, Dh[=a]tar, is employed; while Tvashtar, the artificer, is more an epithet of the sun than of the unknown creator. The personification of Dh[=a]tar as creator of the sun, etc., belongs to later Vedic times, and foreruns the Father-god of the last Vedic period. Not till the classical age (below) is found a formal identification of the Vedic nature-gods with the departed Fathers (Manes). Indra, for example, is invoked in the Rig Veda to 'be a friend, be a father, be more fatherly than the fathers';[29] but this implies no patristic side in Indra, who is called in the same hymn (vs. 4) the son of Dyaus (his father); and Dyaus Pitar no more implies, as say some sciolists, that Dyaus was regarded as a human ancestor than does 'Mother Earth' imply a belief that Earth is the ghost of a dead woman.

In the Veda there is a nature-religion and an ancestor-religion. These approach, but do not unite; they are felt as sundered beliefs. Sun-myths, though by some denied in toto, appear plainly in the Vedic hymns. Dead heroes may be gods, but gods, too, are natural phenomena, and, again, they are abstractions. He that denies any one of these sources of godhead is ignorant of India.

Müller, in his Ancient Sanskrit Literature, has divided Vedic literature into four periods, that of chandas, songs; mantras, texts; br[=a]hmanas; and s[=u]tras. The mantras are in distinction from chandas, the later hymns to the earlier gods.[30] The latter distinction can, however, be established only on subjective grounds, and, though generally unimpeachable, is sometimes liable to reversion. Thus, Müller looks upon RV. VIII. 30 as 'simple and primitive,' while others see in this hymn a late mantra. Between the Rig Veda and the Br[=a]hmanas, which are in prose, lies a period filled out in part by the present form of the Atharva Veda, which, as has been shown, is a Veda of the low cult that is almost ignored by the Rig Veda, while it contains at the same time much that is later than the Rig Veda, and consists of old and new together in a manner entirely conformable to the state of every other Hindu work of early times. After this epoch there is found in the liturgical period, into which extend the later portions of the Rig Veda (noticeably parts of the first, fourth, eighth, and tenth books), a religion which, in spiritual tone, in metaphysical speculation, and even in the interpretation of some of the natural divinities, differs not more from the bulk of the Rig Veda than does the social status of the time from that of the earlier text. Religion has become, in so far as the gods are concerned, a ritual. But, except in the building up of a Father-god, theology is at bottom not much altered, and the eschatological conceptions remain about as they were, despite a preliminary sign of the doctrine of metempsychosis. In the Atharva Veda, for the first time, hell is known by its later name (xii. 4. 36), and perhaps its tortures; but the idea of future punishment appears plainly first in the Brahmanic period. Both the doctrine of re-birth and that of hell appear in the earliest S[=u]tras, and consequently the assumption that these dogmas come from Buddhism does not appear to be well founded; for it is to be presumed whatever religious belief is established in legal literature will have preceded that literature by a considerable period, certainly by a greater length of time than that which divides the first Brahmanic law from Buddhism.

* * * * *


[Footnote 1: Compare the accounts of Lafitau; of the native
Iroquois, baptized as Morgan; and the works of Schoolcraft
and Parkman.]

[Footnote 2: Jesuits in North America, Introduction, p.

[Footnote 3: "Like other Indians, the Hurons were desperate
gamblers, staking their all,—ornaments, clothing, canoes,
pipes, weapons, and wives," loc. cit. p. xxxvi. Compare
Palfrey, of Massachusetts Indians. The same is true of all

[Footnote 4: Ib. p. lxvii.]

[Footnote 5: Compare Çat. Br. VI. 1. 1, 12; VII. 5. 1, 2 sq., for the Hindu tortoise in its first form. The totem-form of the tortoise is well known in America. (Brinton, Myths of the New World, p. 85.)]

[Footnote 6: Charlevoix ap. Parkman.]

[Footnote 7: Parkman, loc. cit. p. LXXII; Brinton, Myths of the New World, p. 248. A good instance of bad comparison in eschatology will be found in Geiger, Ostir. Cult. pp. 274-275.]

[Footnote 8: Parkman, loc. cit. p. LXXXVI.]

[Footnote 9: Sits. Berl. Akad. 1891, p. 15.]

[Footnote 10: Brinton, American Hero Myths, p. 174. The first worship was Sun-worship, then Viracocha-worship arose, which kept Sun-worship while it predicated a 'power beyond.]

[Footnote 11: Brinton, Myths of the New World, pp. 85, 203.]

[Footnote 12: Ib. pp. 86, 202.]

[Footnote 13: Brinton, Myths of the New World, p. 243. The
American Indians "uniformly regard the sun as heaven, the
soul goes to the sun."]

[Footnote 14: Ib. p. 245.]

[Footnote 15: Ib. p. 239-40.]

[Footnote 16: Ib. p. 50, 51.]

[Footnote 17: Ib. pp. 242, 248, 255; Schoolcraft, III.

[Footnote 18: Renouf, Religion of Ancient Egypt; pp. 103,
113 ff.]

[Footnote 19: Teutonic Tuisco is doubtful, as the identity
with Dyaus has lately been contested on phonetic grounds.]

[Footnote 20: V[=a]ta, ventus, does not agree very well with

[Footnote 21: [=A]it. Br. III, 34. [Greek: haggaron pur]
is really tautological, but beacon fires gave way to
couriers and [Greek: haggaros] lost the sense of fire, as
did [Greek: haggelos].]

[Footnote 22: But the general belief that fire (Agni, Ignis,
Slavic ogni) was first brought to earth from heaven by a
half-divine personality is (at least) Aryan, as Kuhn has

[Footnote 23: Compare the kavis and ugijs (poets and
priests) of the Veda with the evil spirits of the same names
in the Avesta, like daeva = deva. Compare, besides, the
Indo-Iranian feasts, medha, that accompany this
Bacchanalian liquor-worship.]

[Footnote 24: Ludwig interprets the three Ribhus as the
three seasons personified. Etymologically connected is
Orpheus, perhaps.]

[Footnote 25: [Greek: o de chalkeos asphales aien edos menei
ouranos], Pind. N. vi. 5; compare Preller[4], p.40.]

[Footnote 26: Wahrscheinlich sind Uranos und Kronos erst aus
dem Culte des Zeus abstrahirt worden. Preller[4], p. 43.]

[Footnote 27: When Aryan deities are decadent, Trita, Mitra,

[Footnote 28: Spiegel holds that the whole idea of future punishment is derived from Persia (Eranische Altherthumskunde, I. p. 458), but his point of view is naturally prejudiced. The allusion to the supposed Babylonian coin, man[=a], in RV. VIII. 78. 2, would indicate that the relation with Babylon is one of trade, as with Aegypt. The account of the flood may be drawn thence, so may the story of Deucalion, but both Hindu and Hellenic versions may be as native as is that of the American redskins.]

[Footnote 29: IV. 17. 17.]

[Footnote 30: loc. cit. pp. 70, 480.]

* * * * *



Besides the Rig Veda and the Atharva Veda there are two others, called respectively the S[=a]ma Veda and the Yajur Veda.[1] The former consists of a small collection of verses, which are taken chiefly from the eighth and ninth books of the Rig Veda, and are arranged for singing. It has a few more verses than are contained in the corresponding parts of the Rik, but the whole is of no added importance from the present point of view. It is of course made entirely for the ritual. Also made for the ritual is the Yajur Veda, the Veda of sacrificial formulae. But this Veda is far more important. With it one is brought into a new land, and into a world of ideas that are strange to the Rik. The period represented by it is a sort of bridge between the Rik and the Br[=a]hmanas. The Yajus is later than Rik or Atharvan, belonging in its entirety more to the age of the liturgy than to the older Vedic era. With the Br[=a]hmanas not only is the tone changed from that of the Rig Veda; the whole moral atmosphere is now surcharged with hocus-pocus, mysticism, religiosity, instead of the cheerful, real religion which, however formal, is the soul of the Rik. In the Br[=a]hmanas there is no freshness, no poetry. There is in some regards a more scrupulous outward morality, but for the rest there is only cynicism, bigotry, and dullness. It is true that each of these traits may be found in certain parts of the Rig Veda, but it is not true that they represent there the spirit of the age, as they do in the Brahmanic period. Of this Brahmanic stoa, to which we now turn, the Yajur Veda forms the fitting entrance. Here the priest is as much lord as he is in the Br[=a]hmanas. Here the sacrifice is only the act, the sacrificial forms (yajus), without the spirit.

In distinction from the verse-Veda (the Rik), the Yajur Veda contains the special formulae which the priest that attends to the erection of the altar has to speak, with explanatory remarks added thereto. This of course stamps the collection as mechanical; but the wonder is that this collection, with the similar Br[=a]hmana scriptures that follow it, should be the only new literature which centuries have to show.[2] As explanatory of the sacrifice there is found, indeed, a good deal of legendary stuff, which sometimes has a literary character. But nothing is for itself; everything is for the correct performance of the sacrifice.[3]

The geographical centre is now changed, and instead of the Punj[=a]b, the 'middle district' becomes the seat of culture. Nor is there much difference between the district to which can be referred the rise of the Yajur Veda and that of the Br[=a]hmanas. No less altered is the religion. All is now symbolical, and the gods, though in general they are the gods of the Rig Veda, are not the same as of old. The priests have become gods. The old appellation of 'spirit,' asura, is confined to evil spirits. There is no longer any such 'henotheism' as that of the Rig Veda. The Father-god, 'lord of beings,' or simply 'the father,' is the chief god. The last thought of the Rig Veda is the first thought of the Yajur Veda. Other changes have taken place. The demigods of the older period, the water-nymphs of the Rik, here become seductive goddesses, whose increase of power in this art agrees with the decline of the warrior spirit that is shown too in the whole mode of thinking. Most important is the gradual rise of Vishnu and the first appearance of Çiva. Here brahma, which in the Rik has the meaning 'prayer' alone, is no longer mere prayer, but, as in later literature, holiness. In short, before the Br[=a]hmanas are reached they are perceptible in the near distance, in the Veda of Formulae, the Yajus;[4] for between the Yajur Veda and the Br[=a]hmanas there is no essential difference. The latter consist of explanations of the sacrificial liturgy, interspersed with legends, bits of history, philosophical explanations, and other matter more or less related to the subject. They are completed by the Forest Books, [=A]ranyakas, which contain the speculations of the later theosophy, the Upanishads (below). It is with the Yajur Veda and its nearly related literature, the Br[=a]hmanas, that Brahmanism really begins. Of these latter the most important in age and content are the Br[=a]hmanas (of the Rig Veda and Yajur Veda), called [=A]itareya and Çata-patha, the former representing the western district, the latter, in great part, a more eastern region.

Although the 'Northerners' are still respectfully referred to, yet, as we have just said, the people among whom arose the Br[=a]hmanas are not settled in the Punj[=a]b, but in the country called the 'middle district,' round about the modern Delhi. For the most part the Punj[=a]b is abandoned; or rather, the literature of this period does not emanate from the Aryans that remained in the Punj[=a]b, but from the still emigrating descendants of the old Vedic people that used to live there. Some stay behind and keep the older practices, not in all regards looked upon as orthodox by their more advanced brethren, who have pushed east and now live in the country called the land of the Kurus and Pa[.n]c[=a]las.[5] They are spread farther east, along the banks of the Jumna and Ganges, south of Nep[=a]l; while some are still about and south of the holy Kurukshetra or 'plain of Kurus.' East of the middle district the Kosalas and Videhas form, in opposition to the Kurus and Pa[.n]c[=a]las, the second great tribe (Tirh[=u]t). There are now two sets of 'Seven Rivers,' and the holiness of the western group is perceptibly lessened. Here for the first time are found the Vr[=a]tya-hymns, intended to initiate into the Brahmanic order Aryans who have not conformed to it, and speak a dialectic language.[6] From the point of view of language and geography, no less than from that of the social and spiritual conditions, it is evident that quite a period has elapsed since the body of the Rig Veda was composed. The revealed texts are now ancient storehouses of wisdom. Religion has apparently become a form; in some regards it is a farce.

"There are two kinds of gods; for the gods are gods, and priests that are learned in the Veda and teach it are human gods." This sentence, from one of the most important Hindu prose works,[7] is the key to the religion of the period which it represents; and it is fitly followed by the further statement, that like sacrifice to the gods are the fees paid to the human gods the priests.[8] Yet with this dictum, so important for the understanding of the religion of the age, must be joined another, if one would do that age full justice: 'The sacrifice is like a ship sailing heavenward; if there be a sinful priest in it, that one priest would make it sink' (Çat. Br. IV. 2. 5. 10). For although the time is one in which ritualism had, indeed, become more important than religion, and the priest more important than the gods, yet is there no lack of reverential feeling, nor is morality regarded as unimportant. The first impression, however, which is gained from the literature of this period is that the sacrifice is all in all; that the endless details of its course, and the petty questions in regard to its arrangement, are not only the principal objects of care and of chief moment, but even of so cardinal importance that the whole religious spirit swings upon them. But such is not altogether the case. It is the truth, yet is it not the whole truth, that in these Br[=a]hmanas religion is an appearance, not a reality. The sacrifice is indeed represented to be the only door to prosperity on earth and to future bliss; but there is a quiet yet persistent belief that at bottom a moral and religious life is quite as essential as are the ritualistic observances with which worship is accompanied.

To describe Brahmanism as implying a religion that is purely one of ceremonies, one composed entirely of observances, is therefore not altogether correct. In reading a liturgical work it must not be forgotten for what the work was intended. If its object be simply to inculcate a special rite, one cannot demand that it should show breadth of view or elevation of sentiment. Composed of observances every work must be of which the aim is to explain observances. In point of fact, religion (faith and moral behavior) is here assumed, and so entirely is it taken for granted that a statement emphasizing the necessity of godliness is seldom found.

Nevertheless, having called attention to the religious spirit that lies latent in the pedantic Br[=a]hmanas, we are willing to admit that the age is overcast, not only with a thick cloud of ritualism, but also with an unpleasant mask of phariseeism. There cannot have been quite so much attention paid to the outside of the platter without neglect of the inside. And it is true that the priests of this period strive more for the completion of their rites than for the perfection of themselves. It is true, also, that occasionally there is a revolting contempt for those people who are not of especial service to the priest. There are now two godlike aristocrats, the priest and the noble. The 'people' are regarded as only fit to be the "food of the nobility." In the symbolical language of the time the bricks of the altar, which are consecrated, are the warrior caste; the fillings, in the space between the bricks, are not consecrated; and these "fillers of space" are "the people" (Çat. Br. VI. 1. 2. 25). Yet is religion in these books not dead, but sleeping; to wake again in the Upanishads with a fuller spiritual life than is found in any other pre-Christian system. Although the subject matter of the Br[=a]hmanas is the cult, yet are there found in them numerous legends, moral teachings, philosophical fancies, historical items, etymologies and other adventitious matter, all of which are helpful in giving a better understanding of the intelligence of the people to whom is due all the extant literature of the period. Long citations from these ritualistic productions would have a certain value, in showing in native form the character of the works, but they would make unendurable reading; and we have thought it better to arrange the multifarious contents of the chief Br[=a]hmanas in a sort of order, although it is difficult always to decide where theology ends and moral teachings begin, the two are here so interwoven.


While in general the pantheon of the Rig Veda and Atharva Veda is that of the Br[=a]hmanas, some of the older gods are now reduced in importance, and, on the other hand, as in the Yajur Veda, some gods are seen to be growing in importance. 'Time,' deified in the Atharvan, is a great god, but beside him still stand the old rustic divinities; and chrematheism, which antedates even the Rig Veda, is still recognized. To the 'ploughshare' and the 'plough' the Rig Veda has an hymn (IV. 57. 5-8), and so the ritual gives them a cake at the sacrifice (Çun[=a]ç[=i]rya, Çat. Br. II. 6. 3. 5). The number of the gods, in the Rig Veda estimated as thirty-three, or, at the end of this period, as thousands, remains as doubtful as ever; but, in general, all groups of deities become greater in number. Thus, in TS. I. 4. 11. 1, the Rudras alone are counted as thirty-three instead of eleven; and, ib. V. 5. 2. 5, the eight Vasus become three hundred and thirty-three; but it is elsewhere hinted that the number of the gods stands in the same relation to that of men as that in which men stand to the beasts; that is, there are not quite so many gods as men (Çat. Br. II. 3. 2. 18).

Of more importance than the addition of new deities is the subdivision of the old. As one finds in Greece a [Greek: Zeus katachthonios] beside a [Greek: Zeus xenios], so in the Yajur Veda and Br[=a]hmanas are found (an extreme instance) hail 'to K[=a]ya,' and hail 'to Kasm[=a]i,' that is, the god Ka is differentiated into two divinities, according as he is declined as a noun or as a pronoun; for this is the god "Who?" as the dull Br[=a]hmanas interpreted that verse of the Rig Veda which asks 'to whom (which, as) god shall we offer sacrifice?' (M[=a]it. S. III. 12. 5.) But ordinarily one divinity like Agni is subdivided, according to his functions, as 'lord of food,' 'lord of prayer,' etc.[9]

In the Br[=a]hmanas different names are given to the chief god, but he is most often called the Father-god (Praj[=a]pati, 'lord of creatures,' or the Father, pit[=a]). His earlier Vedic type is Brihaspati, the lord of strength, and, from another point of view, the All-god.[10] The other gods fall into various groups, the most significant being the triad of Fire, Wind, and Sun.[11] Not much weight is to be laid on the theological speculations of the time as indicative of primitive conceptions, although they may occasionally hit true. For out of the number of inane fancies it is reasonable to suppose that some might coincide with historic facts. Thus the All-gods of the Rig Veda, by implication, are of later origin than the other gods, and this, very likely, was the case; but it is a mere guess on the part of the priest. The Çatapatha, III. 6. 1. 28, speaks of the All-gods as gods that gained immortality on a certain occasion, i.e., became immortal like other gods. So the [=A]dityas go to heaven before the Angirasas ([=A][=i]t. Br. IV. 17), but this has no such historical importance as some scholars are inclined to think. The lesser gods are in part carefully grouped and numbered, in a manner somewhat contradictory to what must have been the earlier belief. Thus the 'three kinds of gods' are now Vasus, of earth, Rudras, of air, and [=A]dityas, of sky, and the daily offerings are divided between them; the morning offering belonging only to the Vasus, the mid-day one only to (Indra and) the Rudras, the third to the [=A]dityas with the Vasus and Rudras together.[12] Again, the morning and mid-day pressing belong to the gods alone, and strict rule is observed in distinguishing their portion from that of the Manes (Çat. Br. IV. 4. 22). The difference of sex is quite ignored, so that the 'universal Agni' is identified with (mother) earth; as is also, once or twice, P[=u]shan (ib. III. 8. 5. 4; 2. 4. 19; II. 5. 4. 7). As the 'progenitor,' Agni facilitates connubial union, and is called "the head god, the progenitor among gods, the lord of beings" (ib. III. 4. 3. 4; III. 9. 1. 6). P[=u]shan is interpreted to mean cattle, and Brihaspati is the priestly caste (ib. III. 9. 1. 10 ff.). The base of comparison is usually easy to find. 'The earth nourishes,' and 'P[=u]shan nourishes,' hence Pushan is the earth; or 'the earth belongs to all' and Agni is called 'belonging to all' (universal), hence the two are identified. The All-gods, merely on account of their name, are now the All; Aditi is the 'unbounded' earth (ib. III. 9. 1. 13; IV. 1. 1. 23; i. 1. 4. 5; III. 2. 3. 6). Agni represents all the gods, and he is the dearest, the closest, and the surest of all the gods (ib. I. 6. 2. 8 ff.). It is said that man on earth fathers the fire (that is, protects it), and when he dies the fire that he has made his son on earth becomes his father, causing him to be reborn in heaven (ib. II. 3. 3. 3-5; VI. 1. 2. 26).

The wives of the gods (dev[=a]n[=a]m patn[=i]r yajati), occasionally mentioned in the Rig Veda, have now an established place and cult apart from that of the gods (ib. I. 9. 2. 11). The fire on the hearth is god Agni in person, and is not a divine or mystic type; but he is prayed to as a heavenly friend. Some of these traits are old, but they are exaggerated as compared with the more ancient theology. When one goes on a journey or returns from one, 'even if a king were in his house' he should not greet him till he makes homage to his hearth-fires, either with spoken words or with silent obeisance. For Agni and Praj[=a]pati are one, they are son and father (ib. II. 4. 1. 3, 10; VI. 1. 2. 26). The gods have mystic names, and these 'who will dare to speak?' Thus, Indra's mystic name is Arjuna (ib. II. 1. 2. 11). In the early period of the Rig Veda the priest dares to speak. The pantheism of the end of the Rig Veda is here decided and plain-spoken, as it is in the Atharvan. As it burns brightly or not the fire is in turn identified with different gods, Rudra, Varuna, Indra, and Mitra (ib. II. 3. 2. 9 ff.). Agni is all the gods and the gods are in men (ib. III. 1. 3. 1; 4. 1. 19; II. 3. 2. 1: Indra and King Yama dwell in men). And, again, the Father (Praj[=a]pati) is the All; he is the year of twelve months and five seasons(ib. I. 3. 5. 10). Then follows a characteristic bit. Seventeen verses are to be recited to correspond to the 'seventeenfold' Praj[=a]pati. But 'some say' twenty-one verses; and he may recite twenty-one, for if 'the three worlds' are added to the above seventeen one gets twenty, and the sun (ya esa tapati) makes the twenty-first! As to the number of worlds, it is said (ib. I. 2. 4. 11, 20-21) that there are three worlds, and possibly a fourth.

Soma is now the moon, but as being one half of Vritra, the evil demon. The other half became the belly of creatures (ib. I. 6. 3. 17). Slightly different is the statement that Soma was Vritra, IV. 2. 5. 15. In [=A]it. Br. I. 27, King Soma is bought of the Gandharvas by V[=a]c, 'speech,' as a cow.[13] With phases of the moon Indra and Agni are identified. One is the deity of the new; the other, of the full moon; while Mitra is the waning, and Varuna the waxing moon (Çat. Br. II. 4. 4. 17-18). This opposition of deities is more fully expressed in the attempt to make antithetic the relations of the gods and the Manes, thus: 'The gods are represented by spring, summer, and rains; the Fathers, by autumn, winter, and the dewy season; the gods, by the waxing; the Fathers, by the waning moon; the gods, by day; the Fathers, by night; the gods, by morning; the Fathers, by afternoon' (Çat. Br. II. 1.-31; ib. II. 4. 2. 1. ff.: 'The sun is the light of the gods; the moon, of the Fathers; fire, of men'). Between morning and afternoon, as representative of gods and Manes respectively, stands midday, which, according to the same authority (II. 4. 2. 8), represents men. The passage first cited continues thus: 'The seasons are gods and Fathers; gods are immortal; the Fathers are mortal.' In regard to the relation between spring and the other seasons, the fifth section of this passage may be compared: 'Spring is the priesthood; summer, the warrior-caste; the rains are the (viç) people.'[14]

Among the conspicuous divine forms of this period is the Queen of Serpents, whose verses are chanted over fire; but she is the earth, according to some passages ([=A]it. Br.. V. 23; Çat. Br. II. 1. 4. 30; IV. 6. 9. 17). In their divine origin there is, indeed, according to the theology now current, no difference between the powers of light and of darkness, between the gods and the 'spirits,' asuras, i.e., evil spirits. Many tales begin with the formula: 'The gods and evil spirits, both born of the Father-god' (Çat. Br. I. 2. 4. 8). Weber thinks that this implies close acquaintance with Persian worship, a sort of tit-for-tat; for the Hindu would in that case call the holy spirit, ahura, of the Persian a devil, just as the Persian makes an evil spirit, daeva, out of the Hindu god, deva. But the relations between Hindu and Persian in this period are still very uncertain. It is interesting to follow out some of the Brahmanic legends, if only to see what was the conception of the evil spirits. In one such theological legend the gods and the (evil) spirits, both being sons of the Father-god, inherited from him, respectively, mind and speech; hence the gods got the sacrifice and heaven, while the evil spirits got this earth. Again, the two entered on the inheritance of their father in time, and so the gods have the waxing moon, and the evil spirits, the waning moon (ib. III 2. 1. 18; I. 7. 2. 22).

But what these Asuras or (evil) spirits really are may be read easily from the texts. The gods are the spirits of light; the Asuras are the spirits of darkness. Therewith is indissolubly connected the idea that sin and darkness are of the same nature. So one reads that when the sun rises it frees itself 'from darkness, from sin,' as a snake from its slough (ib. II. 3. I. 6). And in another passage it is said that darkness and illusion were given to the Asuras as their portion by the Father-god (ib. II. 4. 2. 5). With this may be compared also the frequent grouping of The Asuras or Rakshas with darkness (e.g., ib. III. 8. 2. 15; IV. 3. 4. 21). As to the nature of the gods the evidence is contradictóry. Both gods and evil spirits were originally soulless and mortal. Agni (Fire) alone was immortal, and it was only through him that the others continued to live. They became immortal by putting in their inmost being the holy (immortal) fire (ib. II. 2. 2. 8). On the other hand, it is said that Agni was originally without brightness; and Indra, identified with the sun, was originally dark (ib. IV. 5.4.3; III. 4. 2. 15). The belief in an originally human condition of the gods (even the Father-god was originally mortal) is exemplified in a further passage, where it is said that the gods used to live on earth, but they grew tired of man's endless petitions and fled; also in another place, where it is stated that the gods used to drink together with men visibly, but now they do so invisibly (ib. II. 3. 4. 4; III. 6. 2. 26). How did such gods obtain their supremacy? The answer is simple, 'by sacrifice' (Çat. Br. III. 1. 4. 3; [=A]it. Br. II. I. I). So now they live by sacrifice: 'The sun would not rise if the priest did not make sacrifice' (Çat. Br. II. 3. 1. 5). Even the order of things would change if the order of ceremonial were varied: Night would be eternal if the priests did so and so; the months would not pass, one following the other, if the priests walked out or entered together, etc. (ib. IV. 3. 1. 9-10). It is by a knowledge of the Vedas that one conquers all things, and the sacrifice is part and application of this knowledge, which in one passage is thus reconditely subdivided: 'Threefold is knowledge, the Rig Veda, the Yajur Veda, and the S[=a]ma Veda.[15] The Rig Veda, i.e., the verses sung, are the earth; the Yajus is air; the S[=a]man is the sky. He conquers earth, air, and sky respectively by these three Vedas. The Rik and S[=a]man are Indra and are speech; the Yajus is Vishnu and mind' (ib. IV. 6. 7. 1 ff.). An item follows that touches on a modern philosophical question. Apropos of speech and mind: 'Where speech (alone) existed everything was accomplished and known; but where mind (alone) existed nothing was accomplished or known' (ib. I. 4. 4. 3-4, 7). Mind and speech are male and female, and as yoke-fellows bear sacrificed to the gods; to be compared is the interesting dispute between mind and speech (ib. 5. 8). As dependent as is man on what is given by the gods, so dependent are the gods on what is offered to them by men (T[=a]itt. Br. II. 2. 7. 3; Çat. Br. I. 2. 5. 24). Even the gods are now not native to heaven. They win heaven by sacrifice, by metres, etc. (Çat. Br. IV. 3. 2. 5).

What, then, is the sacrifice? A means to enter into the godhead of the gods, and even to control the gods; a ceremony where every word was pregnant with consequences;[16] every movement momentous. There are indications, however, that the priests themselves understood that much in the ceremonial was pure hocus-pocus, and not of such importance as it was reputed to be. But such faint traces as survive of a freer spirit objecting to ceremonial absurdities only mark more clearly the level plain of unintelligent superstition which was the feeding-ground of the ordinary priests.

Some of the cases of revolted common-sense are worth citing. Conspicuous as an authority on the sacrifice, and at the same time as a somewhat recalcitrant priest, is Y[=a]j[.n]avalkya, author and critic, one of the greatest names in Hindu ecclesiastical history. It was he who, apropos of the new rule in ethics, so strongly insisted upon after the Vedic age and already beginning to obtain, the rule that no one should eat the flesh of the (sacred) cow ('Let no one eat beef…. Whoever eats it would be reborn (on earth) as a man of ill fame') said bluntly: 'As for me I eat (beef) if it is good (firm).[17] It certainly required courage to say this, with the especial warning against beef, the meat of an animal peculiarly holy (Çat. Br. III. I. 2. 21). It was, again, Y[=a]jñavalkya (Çat. Br., I. 3. I. 26), who protested against the priests' new demand that the benefit of the sacrifice should accrue in part to the priest; whereas it had previously been understood that not the sacrificial priest but the sacrificer (the worshipper, the man who hired the priest and paid the expenses) got all the benefit of the ceremony. Against the priests' novel and unjustifiable claim Y[=a]jñavalkya exclaims: 'How can people have faith in this? Whatever be the blessing for which the priests pray, this blessing is for the worshipper (sacrificer) alone.[18] It was Y[=a]jñavalkya, too, who rebutted some new superstition involving the sacrificer's wife, with the sneer, 'who cares whether the wife,' etc. (kas tad [=a]driyeta, ib. 21). These protestations are naïvely recorded, though it is once suggested that in some of his utterances Y[=a]jñavalkya was not in earnest (ib. IV. 2. 1. 7). The high mind of this great priest is contrasted with the mundane views of his contemporaries in the prayers of himself and of another priest; for it is recorded that whereas Y[=a]jñavalkya's prayer to the Sun was 'give me light' (or 'glory,' varco me dehi), that of [=A]upoditeya was 'give me cows' (ib. I. 9. 3. 16). The chronicler adds, after citing these prayers, that one obtains whatever he prays for, either illumination or wealth.[19] Y[=a]jñavalkya, however, is not the only protestant. In another passage, ib. ii. 6. 3. 14-17, the sacrificer is told to shave his head all around, so as to be like the sun; this will ensure his being able to 'consume (his foes) on all sides like the sun,' and it is added: But [=A]suri said, 'What on earth has it to do with his head? Let him not shave.'[20]

'Eternal holiness' is won by him that offers the sacrifice of the seasons. Characteristic is the explanation, 'for such an one wins the year, and a year is a complete whole, and a complete whole is indestructible (eternal); hence his holiness is indestructible, and he thereby becomes a part of a year and goes to the gods; but as there is no destruction in the gods, his holiness is therefore indestructible' (ib. ii. 6. 3. 1).

Not only a man's self but also his Manes are benefited by means of sacrifice.[21] He gives the Manes pleasure with his offering, but he also raises their estate, and sends them up to live in a higher world.[22] The cosmological position of the Manes are the av[=a]ntaradiças, that is, between the four quarters; though, according to some, there are three kinds of them, soma-Manes, sacrifice-Manes (Manes of the sacrificial straw), and the burnt, i.e., the spirits of those that have been consumed in fire. They are, again, identified with the seasons, and are expressly mentioned as the guardians of houses, so that the Brahmanic Manes are at once Penates, Lares, and Manes.[23]

The sacrifice is by no means meant as an aid to the acquirement of heavenly bliss alone. Many of the great sacrifices are for the gaining of good things on earth. In one passage there is described a ceremony, the result of which is to be that the warrior, who is the sacrificer, may say to a man of the people "fetch out and give me your store" (ib. i. 3. 2. 15; iv. 3. 3. 10). Everybody sacrifices, even the beasts erect altars and fires![24] That one should sacrifice without the ulterior motive of gain is unknown. Brahmanic India knows no thank-offering. Ordinarily the gain is represented as a compensating gift from the divinity, whom the sacrificer pleases with his sacrifice. Very plainly is this expressed. "He offers the sacrifice to the god with this text: 'Do thou give to me (and) I (will) give to thee; do thou bestow on me (and) I (will) bestow on thee'" (V[=a]j. S. iii. 50; Çat. Br. ii. 5. 3. 19). But other ends are accomplished. By the sacrifice he may injure his enemy, but in offering it, if he leaves too much over, that part accrues to the good of his foe (Çat. Br. i. 2. 1.7; 9. 1. 18).

The sacrifice is throughout symbolical. The sacrificial straw represents the world; the metre used represents all living creatures, etc.,—a symbolism frequently suggested by a mere pun, but often as ridiculously expounded without such aid. The altar's measure is the measure of metres. The cord of regeneration (badge of the twice-born, the holy cord of the high castes) is triple, because food is threefold, or because the father and mother with the child make three (Çat. Br. iii. 5. 1. 7 ff.; 2. 1. 12); the jagati metre contains the living world, because this is called jagat (ib. i. 8. 2. 11).

Out of the varied mass of rules, speculations, and fancies, a few of general character may find place here, that the reader may gain a collective impression of the religious literature of the time.

The fee for the sacrifice is mentioned in one place as one thousand cows. These must be presented in groups of three hundred and thirty-three each, three times, with an odd one of three colors. This is on account of the holy character of the numeral three. 'But [=A]suri (apparently fearful that this rule would limit the fee) said "he may give more"' (Çat. Br. iv. 5. 8. 14). As to the fee, the rules are precise and their propounders are unblushing. The priest performs the sacrifice for the fee alone, and it must consist of valuable garments, kine, horses,[25] or gold—when each is to be given is carefully stated. Gold is coveted most, for this is 'immortality,' 'the seed of Agni,' and therefore peculiarly agreeable to the pious priest.[26] For his greed, which goes so far that he proclaims that he who gives a thousand kine obtains all things of heaven (ib. iv. 5. 1. 11), the priest has good precept to cite, for the gods of heaven, in all the tales told of them, ever demand a reward from each other when they help their neighbor-gods. Nay, even the gods require a witness and a vow, lest they injure each other. Discord arose among them when once they performed the guest-offering; they divided into different parties, Agni with the Vasus, Soma with the Rudras, Varuna with the [=A]dityas, and Indra with the Maruts. But with discord came weakness, and the evil spirits got the better of them. So they made a covenant with each other, and took Wind as witness that they would not deceive each other. This famous covenant of the gods is the prototype of that significant covenant made by the priest, that he would not, while pretending to beseech } good for the sacrificer,[27] secretly do him harm (as he could by altering the ceremonial).[28] The theory of the fee, in so far as it affects the sacrifices, is that the gods, the Manes, and men all exist by what is sacrificed. Even the gods seek rewards; hence the priests do the same.[29] The sacrificer sacrifices to get a place in devaloka (the world of the gods). The sacrifice goes up to the world of gods, and after it goes the fee which the sacrificer (the patron) gives; the sacrificer follows by catching hold of the fee given to the priests (ib.. i. 9. 3. 1). It is to be noted, moreover, that sacrificing for a fee is recognized as a profession. The work (sacrifice is work, 'work is sacrifice,' it is somewhere said) is regarded as a matter of business. There are three means of livelihood occasionally referred to, telling stories, singing songs, and reciting the Veda at a sacrifice (Çat. Br. iii. 2. 4. 16).

As an example of the absurdities given as 'the ways of knowledge' (absurdities which are necessary to know in order to a full understanding of the mental state under consideration) may be cited Çat. Br. iv. 5. 8. 11, where it is said that if the sacrificial cow goes east the sacrificer wins a good world hereafter; if north, he becomes more glorious on earth; if west, rich in people and crops; if south, he dies; 'such are the ways of knowledge.' In the same spirit it is said that the sun rises east because the priest repeats certain verses ([=A]it. Br. i. 7. 4). No little stress is laid on geographical position. The east is the quarter of the gods; the north, of men; the south, of the dead (Manes; Çat. Br. i. 2. 5. 17); while the west is the region of snakes, according to ib. iii. 1. 1. 7. On account of the godly nature of the east ("from the east came the gods westward to men," ib. ii. 6. 1. 11) the sacrificial building, like occidental churches, is built east and west, not north and south. The cardinal points are elsewhere given to certain gods; thus the north is Rudra's.[30]

It has been said that the theological ideas are not clear. This was inevitable, owing to the tendency to identify various divinities. Especially noticeable is the identification of new or local gods with others better accredited, Rudra and Agni, etc. Rudra is the god of cattle, and when the other gods went to heaven by means of sacrifice he remained on earth; his local names are Çarva, Bhava, 'Beast-lord,' Rudra, Agni (Çat. Br. i. 7. 3. 8; M[=a]it. S. i. 6. 6). Indra is the Vasu of the gods. The gods are occasionally thirty-four in number, eight Vasus, eleven Rudras, twelve [=A]dityas, heaven and earth, and Praj[=a]pati as the thirty-fourth; but this Praj[=a]pati is the All and Everything (Çat. Br. i. 6. 4. 2; iv. 5. 7. 2 ff.). Of these gods, who at first were all alike and good, three became superior, Agni, Indra, and S[=u]rya. But, again, the Sun is death, and Agni is head of all the gods. Moreover, the Sun is now Indra; the Manes are the seasons, and Varuna, too, is the seasons, as being the year (Çat. Br. iv. 5. 4. 1; i. 6. 4. 18; iv. 4. 5. 18). Aditi, as we have said, is the Earth; the fee for an offering to her is a cow. Why? Because Earth is a cow and Aditi is Earth; Earth is a mother and a cow is a mother. Hence the fee is a cow.[31]

The tales of the gods, for the most part, are foolish. But they show well what conception the priests had of their divinities.

Man's original skin was put by the gods upon the cow; hence a cow runs away from a man because she thinks he is trying to get back his skin. The gods cluster about at an oblation, each crying out 'My name,' i.e., each is anxious to get it. The gods, with the evil spirits—'both sons of the Father'—attract to themselves the plants; Varuna gets the barley by a pun. They build castles to defend themselves from the evil spirits. Five gods are picked out as worthy of offerings: Aditi, Speech, Agni, Soma, the Sun (five, because the seasons are five and the regions are five). Indra and Wind have a dispute of possession; Praj[=a]pati, the Father, decides it. The heavenly singers, called the Gandharvas, recited the Veda to entice (the divine female) Speech to come to them; while the gods, for the same purpose, created the lute, and sang and played to her. She came to the gods; hence the weakness of women in regard to such things. Indra is the god of sacrifice; the stake of the sacrifice is Vishnu's; V[=a]yu (Wind) is the leader of beasts; Bhaga is blind;[32] P[=u]shan (because he eats mush) is toothless. The gods run a race to see who shall get first to the sacrifice, and Indra and Agni win; they are the warrior-caste among the gods, and the All-gods are the people (viçve, viç.). Yet, again, the Maruts are the people, and Varuna is the warrior-caste; and, again, Soma is the warrior-caste. The Father-god first created birds, then reptiles and snakes. As these all died he created mammalia; these survived because they had food in themselves; hence the Vedic poet says 'three generations have passed away.'[33]

Varuna is now quite the god of night and god of purification, as a water-god. Water is the 'essence (sap) of immortality,' and the bath of purification at the end of the sacrifice (avabh[r.]tha) stands in direct relation to Varuna. The formula to be repeated is: "With the gods' help may I wash out sin against the gods; with the help of men the sin against men" (Çat. Br. iv. 4. 3. 15; ii. 5. 2. 47). Mitra and Varuna are, respectively, intelligence and will, priest and warrior; and while the former may exist without the latter, the latter cannot live without the former, 'but they are perfect only when they coöperate' (ib. iv. 1. 4. 1).

Of the divine legends some are old, some new. One speaks of the sacrifice as having been at first human, subsequently changing to beast sacrifice, eventually to a rice offering, which last now represents the original sacrificial animal, man.[34] Famous, too, is the legend of the flood and Father Manu's escape from it (Çat. Br. i. 8. 1. 1 ff.). Again, the Vedic myth is retold, recounting the rape of soma by the metrical equivalent of fire (T[=a]itt. Br. i. 1. 3. 10; Çat. Br. i. 8. 2. 10). Another tale takes up anew the old story of Cupid and Psyche (Pur[=u]ravas and Urvaç[=i]); and another that of the Hindu Prometheus story, wherein M[=a]tariçvan fetches fire from heaven, and gives it to mortals (T[=a]itt. Br. iii. 2. 3. 2; Çat. Br. xi. 5. 1. 1; i. 7. 1. 11).[35]

Interesting, also, is the tale of Vishnu having been a dwarf, and the tortoise avatar, not of Vishnu, but of Praj[=a]pati; also the attempt of the evil spirits to climb to heaven, and the trick with which Indra outwitted them.[36] For it is noticeable that the evil spirits are as strong by nature as are the gods, and it is only by craft that the latter prevail.[37]

Seldom are the tales of the gods indecent. The story of Praj[=a]pati's incest with his daughter is a remnant of nature worship which survives, in more or less anthropomorphic form, from the time of the Rig Veda (x. 61.) to that of mediaeval literature,[38] and is found in full in the epic, as in the Brahmanic period; but the story always ends with the horror of the gods at the act.[39]

Old legends are varied. The victory over Vritra is now expounded thus: Indra, who slays Vritra, is the sun. Vritra is the moon, who swims into the sun's mouth on the night of the new moon. The sun rises after swallowing him, and the moon is invisible because he is swallowed ("he who knows this swallows his foes"). The sun vomits out the moon, and the latter is then seen in the west, and increases again, to serve the sun as food. In another passage it is said that when the moon is invisible he is hiding in plants and waters (Çat. Br. i. 6. 3. 17; 4. 18-20).


When the sacrifice is completed the priest returns, as it were, to earth, and becomes human. He formally puts off his sacrificial vow, and rehabilitates himself with humanity, saying, "I am even he that I am."[40] As such a man, through service to the gods become a divine offering, and no longer human, was doubtless considered the creature that first served as the sacrificial animal. Despite protestant legends such as that just recorded, despite formal disclaimers, human sacrifice existed long after the period of the Rig Veda, where it is alluded to; a period when even old men are exposed to die.[41] The anaddh[=a]purusha is not a fiction; for that, on certain occasions, instead of this 'man of straw' a real victim was offered, is shown by the ritual manuals and by Brahmanic texts.[42] Thus, in Çat. Br. vi. 2. 1. 18: "He kills a man first…. The cord that holds the man is the longest." It is noteworthy that also among the American Indians the death of a human victim by fire was regarded as a religious ceremony, and that, just as in India the man to be sacrificed was allowed almost all his desires for a year, so the victim of the Indian was first greeted as brother and presented with gifts, even with a wife.[43]

But this, the terrible barbaric side of religious worship, is now distinctly yielding to a more humane religion. The 'barley ewe'[44] is taking the place of a bloodier offering. It has been urged that the humanity[45] and the accompanying silliness of the Brahmanic period as compared with the more robust character of the earlier age are due to the weakening and softening effects of the climate. But we doubt whether the climate of the Punj[=a]b differs as much from that of Delhi and Patna as does the character of the Rig Veda from that of the Br[=a]hmanas. We shall protest again when we come to the subject of Buddhism against the too great influence which has been claimed for climate. Politics and society, in our opinion, had more to do with altering the religions of India than had a higher temperature and miasma. As a result of ease and sloth—for the Brahmans are now the divine pampered servants of established kings, not the energetic peers of a changing population of warriors—the priests had lost the inspiration that came from action; they now made no new hymns; they only formulated new rules of sacrifice. They became intellectually debauched and altogether weakened in character. Synchronous with this universal degradation and lack of fibre, is found the occasional substitution of barley and rice sacrifices for those of blood; and it may be that a sort of selfish charity was at work here, and the priest saved the beast to spare himself. But there is no very early evidence of a humane view of sacrifice influencing the priests.

The Brahman is no Jain. One must read far to hear a note of the approaching ahims[=a] doctrine of 'non-injury.' At most one finds a contemptuous allusion, as in a pitying strain, to the poor plants and animals that follow after man in reaping some sacrificial benefit from a ceremony.[46] It does not seem to us that a recognized respect for animal life or kindness to dumb creatures lies at the root of proxy sacrifice, though it doubtless came in play. But still less does it appear probable that, as is often said, aversion to beast-sacrifice is due to the doctrine of karma, and re-birth in animal form. The karma notion begins to appear in the Brahmanas, but not in the sams[=a]ra shape of transmigration. It was surely not because the Hindu was afraid of eating his deceased grandmother that he first abstained from meat. For, long after the doctrine of karma and sams[=a]ra[47] is established, animal sacrifices are not only permitted but enjoined; and the epic characters shoot deer and even eat cows. We think, in short, that the change began as a sumptuary measure only. In the case of human sacrifice there is doubtless a civilized repugnance to the act, which is clearly seen in many passages where the slaughter of man is made purely symbolical. The only wonder is that it should have obtained so long after the age of the Rig Veda. But like the stone knife of sacrifice among the Romans it is received custom, and hard to do away with, for priests are conservative. Human sacrifice must have been peculiarly horrible from the fact that the sacrificer not only had to kill the man but to eat him, as is attested by the formal statement of the liturgical works.[48] But in the case of other animals (there are five sacrificial animals, of which man is first) we think it was a question of expense on the part of the laity. When the soma became rare and expensive, substitutes were permitted and enjoined. So with the great sacrifices. The priests had built up a great complex of forms, where at every turn fees were demanded. The whole expense, falling on the one individual to whose benefit accrued the sacrifice, must have been enormous; in the case of ordinary people impossible. But the priests then permitted the sacrifice of substitutes, for their fees still remained; and even in the case of human sacrifice some such caution may have worked, for ordinarily it cost 'one thousand cattle' to buy a man to be sacrificed. A proof of this lies in the fact that animal sacrifices were not forbidden at any time, only smaller (cheaper) animals took the place of cattle. In the completed Brahmanic code the rule is that animals ought not to be killed except at sacrifice, and practically the smaller creatures were substituted for cattle, just as the latter had gradually taken the place of the old horse (and man) sacrifice.

If advancing civilization results in an agreeable change of morality in many regards, it is yet accompanied with wretched traits in others. The whole silliness of superstition exceeds belief. Because Bh[=a]llabheya once broke his arm on changing the metre of certain formulae, it is evident to the priest that it is wrong to trifle with received metres, and hence "let no one do this hereafter." There is a compensation on reading such trash in the thought that all this superstition has kept for us a carefully preserved text, but that is an accident of priestly foolishness, and the priest can be credited only with the folly. Why is 'horse-grass' used in the sacrifice? Because the sacrifice once ran away and "became a horse." Again one is thankful for the historical side-light on the horse-sacrifice; but the witlessness of the unconscious historian can but bring him into contempt.[49] Charms that are said against one are of course cast out by other charms. If one is not prosperous with one name he takes another. If the cart creaks at the sacrifice it is the voice of evil spirits; and a formula must avert the omen. Soma-husks are liable to turn into snakes; a formula must avert this catastrophe. Everything done at the sacrifice is godly; ergo, everything human is to be done in an inhuman manner, and, since in human practice one cuts his left finger-nails first and combs the left side of the beard first, at the sacrifice he must cut nails and beard first on the other side, for "whatever is human at a sacrifice is useless" (vy[r.]ddhain v[=a]i tad yajñasya yad m[=a]nu[s.]am). Of religious puns we have given instances already. Agni says: "prop me on the propper for that is proper" (hita), etc, etc.[50] One of these examples of depraved superstition is of a more dangerous nature. The effect of the sacrifice is covert as well as overt.

The word is as potent as the act. Consequently if the sacrificer during the sacrifice merely mutter the words "let such an one die," he must die; for the sacrifice is holy, godly; the words are divine, and cannot be frustrated (Çat. Br. iii. 1. 4. 1; iv. 1. 1. 26).

All this superstition would be pardonable if it were primitive. But that it comes long after the Vedic poets have sung reveals a continuance of stupidity which is marvellous. Doubtless those same poets were just as superstitious, but one would think that with all the great literature behind them, and the thoughts of the philosophers just rising among them, these later priests might show a higher level of intelligence. But in this regard they are to India what were the monks of mediaeval times to Europe.

We turn now to the ethical side of religion. But, before leaving the sacrifice, one point should be explained clearly. The Hindu sacrifice can be performed only by the priest, and he must be of the highest caste. No other might or could perform it. For he alone understood the ancient texts, which to the laity were already only half intelligible. Again, as Barth has pointed out, the Hindu sacrifice is performed only for one individual or his family. It was an expensive rite (for the gaining of one object), addressed to many gods for the benefit of one man. To offset this, however, one must remember that there were popular fêtes and sacrifices of a more general nature, to which many were invited and in which even the lower castes took part; and these were also of remote antiquity.

Already current in the Br[=a]hmanas is the phrase 'man's debts.' Either three or four of such moral obligations were recognized, debts to the gods, to the seers, to the Manes, and to men. Whoever pays these debts, it is said, has discharged all his duties, and by him all is obtained, all is won. And what are these duties? To the gods he owes sacrifices; to the seers, study of the Vedas; to the Manes, offspring; to man, hospitality (Çat. Br. i. 7. 2. 1 ff.; in T[=a]itt. Br. vi. 3. 10. 5, the last fails). Translated into modern equivalents this means that man must have faith and good works. But more really is demanded than is stated here. First and foremost is the duty of truthfulness. Agni is the lord of vows among the gods (RV. viii. 11. 1; Çat. Br. iii. 2. 2. 24), and speech is a divinity (Sarasvat[=i] is personified speech, Çat. Br. iii. 1. 4. 9, etc). Truth is a religious as well as moral duty. "This (All) is two-fold, there is no third; all is either truth or untruth; now truth alone is the gods (satyam eva dev[=a]s) and untruth is man."[51] Moreover, "one law the gods observe, truth" (Çat. Br. i. 1.1. 4; iii. 3. 2. 2; 4. 2. 8). There is another passage upon this subject: "To serve the sacred fire means truth; he who speaks truth feeds the fire; he who speaks lies pours water on it; in the one case he strengthens his vital (spiritual) energy, and becomes better; in the other he weakens it and becomes worse" (ib. ii. 2. 2. 19). The second sin, expressly named and reprobated as such, is adultery. This is a sin against Varuna.[52] In connection with this there is an interesting passage implying a priestly confessional. At the sacrifice the sacrificer's wife is formally asked by the priest whether she is faithful to her husband. She is asked this that she may not sacrifice with guilt on her soul, for "when confessed the guilt becomes less."[53] If it is asked what other moral virtues are especially inculcated besides truth and purity the answer is that the acts commonly cited as self-evidently sins are murder, theft, and abortion; incidentally, gluttony, anger, and procrastination.[54]

As to the moral virtue of observing days, certain times are allowed and certain times are not allowed for worldly acts. But every day is in part a holy-day to the Hindu. The list of virtues is about the same, therefore, as that of the decalogue—the worship of the right divinity; the observance of certain seasons for prayer and sacrifice; honor to the parents; abstinence from theft, murder, adultery. Envy alone is omitted.[55]

What eschatological conceptions are strewn through the literature of this era are vague and often contradictory. The souls of the departed are at one time spoken of as the stars (T[=a]itt. S. v. 4. 1. 3.); at another, as uniting with gods and living in the world of the gods (Çal. Br.. ii. 6. 4. 8).

The principle of karma if not the theory, is already known, but the very thing that the completed philosopher abhors is looked upon as a blessing, viz., rebirth, body and all, even on earth.[56] Thus in one passage, as a reward for knowing some divine mystery (as often happens, this mystery is of little importance, only that 'spring is born again out of winter'), the savant is to be 'born again in this world' (punar ha v[=a] 'asmin loke bhavati, Çat. Br. i. 5. 3. 14). The esoteric wisdom is here the transfer of the doctrine of metempsychosis to spring. Man has no hope of immortal life (on earth);[57] but, by establishing the holy fires, and especially by establishing in his inmost soul the immortal element of fire, he lives the full desirable length of life (ib. ii. 2. 2. 14. To the later sage, length of life is undesirable). But in yonder world, where the sun itself is death, the soul dies again and again. All those on the other side of the sun, the gods, are immortal; but all those on this side are exposed to this death. When the sun wishes, he draws out the vitality of any one, and then that one dies; not once, but, being drawn up by the sun, which is death, into the very realm of death (how different to the conception of the sun in the Rig Veda!) he dies over and over again.[58] But in another passage it is said that when the sacrificer is consecrated he 'becomes one of the deities'; and one even finds the doctrine that one obtains 'union with Brahm[=a],' which is quite in the strain of the Upanishads; but here such a saying can refer only to the upper castes, for "the gods talk only to the upper castes" (Çal. Br.. xi. 4. 4. 1; iii. 1. 1. 8-10). The dead man is elsewhere represented as going to heaven 'with his whole body,' and, according to one passage, when he gets to the next world his good and evil are weighed in a balance. There are, then, quite diverse views in regard to the fate of a man after death, and not less various are the opinions in regard to his reward and punishment. According to the common belief the dead, on leaving this world, pass between two fires, agniçikhe raging on either side of his path. These fires burn the one that ought to be burned (the wicked), and let the good pass by. Then the spirit (or the man himself in body) is represented as going up on one of two paths. Either he goes to the Manes on a path which, according to later teaching, passes southeast through the moon, or he goes northeast (the gods' direction) to the sun, which is his 'course and stay.' In the same chapter one is informed that the rays of the sun are the good (dead), and that every brightest light is the Father-god. The general conception here is that the sun or the stars are the destination of the pious. On the other hand it is said that one will enjoy the fruit of his acts here on earth, in a new birth; or that he will 'go to the next world'; or that he will suffer for his sins in hell. The last is told in legendary form, and appears to us to be not an early view retained in folk-lore, but a late modification of an old legend. Varuna sends his son Bhrigu to hell to find out what happens after death, and he finds people suffering torture, and, again, avenging themselves on those that have wronged them. But, despite the resemblance between this and Grecian myth, the fact that in the whole compass of the Rik (in the Atharvan perhaps in v. 19) there is not the slightest allusion to torture in hell, precludes, to our mind, the possibility of this phase having been an ancient inherited belief.[59]

Annihilation or a life in under darkness is the first (Rik) hell. The general antithesis of light (as good) and darkness (as bad) is here plainly revealed again. Sometimes a little variation occurs. Thus, according to Çat. Br. vi. 5. 4. 8, the stars are women-souls, perhaps, as elsewhere, men also. The converse notion that darkness is the abode of evil appears at a very early date: "Indra brought down the heathen, dasyus, into the lowest darkness," it is said in the Atharva Veda (ix. 2. 17).[60]

In the later part of the great 'Br[=a]hmana of the hundred paths' there seems to be a more modern view inculcated in regard to the fate of the dead. Thus, in vi. 1. 2. 36, the opinion of 'some,' that the fire on the altar is to bear the worshipper to the sky, is objected to, and it is explained that he becomes immortal; which antithesis is in purely Upanishadic style, as will be seen below.


In Vedic polytheism, with its strain of pantheism, the act of creating the world[61] is variously attributed to different gods. At the end of this period theosophy invented the god of the golden germ, the great Person (known also by other titles), who is the one (pantheistic) god, in whom all things are contained, and who himself is contain in even the smallest thing. The Atharvan transfers the same idea in its delineation of the pantheistic image to Varuna, that Varuna who is the seas and yet is contained "in the drop of water" (iv. 16), a Varuna as different to the Varuna of the Rik as is the Atharvan Indra to his older prototype. Philosophically the Rik, at its close, declares that "desire is the seed of mind," and that "being arises from not-being."

In the Br[=a]hmanas the creator is the All-god in more anthropomorphic form. The Father-god, Praj[=a]pati, or Brahm[=a] (personal equivalent of brahma) is not only the father of gods, men, and devils, but he is the All. This Father-god of universal sovereignty, Brahm[=a], remains to the end the personal creator. It is he who will serve as creator for the Puranic S[=a]nkhya philosophy, and even after the rise of the Hindu sects he will still be regarded in this light, although his activity will be conditioned by the will of Vishnu or Çiva. In pure philosophy there will be an abstract First Cause; but as there is no religion in the acknowledgment of a First Cause, this too will soon be anthropomorphized.

The Br[=a]hmanas themselves present no clear picture of creation. All the accounts of a personal creator are based merely on anthropomorphized versions of the text 'desire is the seed.' Praj[=a]pati wishes offspring, and creates. There is, on the other hand, a philosophy of creation which reverts to the tale of the 'golden germ.'[62] The world was at first water; thereon floated a cosmic golden egg (the principle of fire). Out of this came Spirit that desired; and by desire he begat the worlds and all things. It is improbable that in this somewhat Orphic mystery there lies any pre-Vedic myth. The notion comes up first in the golden germ and egg-born bird (sun) of the Rik. It is not specially Aryan, and is found even among the American Indians.[63] It is this Spirit with which the Father-god is identified. But guess-work philosophy then asks what upheld this god, and answers that a support upheld all things. So Support becomes a god in his turn, and, since he must reach through time and space, this Support, Skambha, becomes the All-god also; and to him as to a great divinity the Atharvan sings some of its wildest strains. When once speculation is set going in the Br[=a]hmanas, the result of its travel is to land its followers in intellectual chaos.[64] The gods create the Father-god in one passage, and in another the Father-god creates the gods. The Father creates the waters, whence rises the golden egg. But, again, the waters create the egg, and out of the egg is born the Father. A farrago of contradictions is all that these tales amount to, nor are they redeemed even by a poetical garb.[65]

In the period immediately following the Br[=a]hmanas, or toward the end of the Brahmanic period, as one will, there is a famous distinction made between the gods. Some gods, it is said, are spirit-gods; some are work-gods. They are born of spirit and of works, respectively. The difference, however, is not essential, but functional; so that one may conclude from this authority, the Nirukta (a grammatical and epexigetical work), that all the gods have a like nature; and that the spirit-gods, who are the older, differ only in lack of specific functions from the work-gods. A not uninteresting debate follows this passage in regard to the true nature of the gods. Some people say they are anthropomorphic; others deny this. "And certainly what is seen of the gods is not anthropomorphic; for example, the sun, the earth, etc."[66] In such a period of theological advance it is matter of indifference to which of a group of gods, all essentially one, is laid the task of creation. And, indeed, from the Vedic period until the completed systems of philosophy, all creation to the philosopher is but emanation; and stories of specific acts of creation are not regarded by him as detracting from the creative faculty of the First Cause. The actual creator is for him the factor and agent of the real god. On the other hand, the vulgar worshipper of every era believed only in reproduction on the part of an anthropomorphic god; and that god's own origin he satisfactorily explained by the myth of the golden egg. The view depended in each case not on the age but on the man.

If in these many pages devoted to the Br[=a]hmanas we have produced the impression that the religious literature of this period is a confused jumble, where unite descriptions of ceremonies, formulae, mysticism, superstitions, and all the output of active bigotry; an olla podrida which contains, indeed, odds and ends of sound morality, while it presents, on the whole, a sad view of the latter-day saints, who devoted their lives to making it what it is; we have offered a fairly correct view of the age and its priests, and the rather dreary series of illustrations will not have been collected in vain. We have given, however, no notion at all of the chief object of this class of writings, the liturgical details of the sacrifices themselves. Even a résumé of one comparatively short ceremony would be so long and tedious that the explication of the intricate formalities would scarcely be a sufficient reward. With Hillebrandt's patient analysis of the New-and Full-Moon sacrifice,[67] of which a sketch is given by von Schroeder in his Literatur und Cultur, the curious reader will be able to satisfy himself that a minute description of these ceremonies would do little to further his knowledge of the religion, when once he grasps the fact that the sacrifice is but show. Symbolism without folk-lore, only with the imbecile imaginings of a daft mysticism, is the soul of it; and its outer form is a certain number of formulae, mechanical movements, oblations, and slaughterings.

But we ought not to close the account of the era without giving counter-illustrations of the legendary aspect of this religion; for which purpose we select two of the best-known tales, one from the end of the Br[=a]hmana that is called the [=A]itareya; the other from the beginning of the Çatapatha; the former in abstract, the latter in full.

THE SACRIFICE OF DOGSTAIL ([=A]it. Br. vii. 13).

Hariçcandra, a king born in the great race of Ikshv[=a]ku, had no son. A sage told him what blessings are his who has a son: 'He that has no son has no place in the world; in the person of a son a man is reborn, a second self is begotten.' Then the king desired a son, and the sage instructed him to pray to Varuna for one, and to offer to sacrifice him to the god. This he did, and a son, Rohita, at last was born to him. God Varuna demanded the sacrifice. But the king said: 'He is not fit to be sacrificed, so young as he is; wait till he is ten days old.' The god waited ten days, and demanded the sacrifice. But the king said: 'Wait till his teeth come.' The god waited, and then demanded the sacrifice. But the king said: 'Wait till his teeth fall out'; and when the god had waited, and again demanded the sacrifice, the father said: 'Wait till his new teeth come.' But, when his teeth were come and he was demanded, the father said: 'A warrior is not fit to be sacrificed till he has received his armor' (i.e., until he is knighted). So the god waited till the boy had received his armor, and then he demanded the sacrifice. Thereupon, the king called his son, and said unto him: 'I will sacrifice thee to the god who gave thee to me.' But the son said, 'No, no,' and took his bow and fled into the desert. Then Varuna caused the king to be afflicted with dropsy.[68] When Rohita heard of this he was about to return, but Indra, disguised as a priest, met him, and said: 'Wander on, for the foot of a wanderer is like a flower; his spirit grows, and reaps fruit, and all his sins are forgiven in the fatigue of wandering.'[69] So Rohita, thinking that a priest had commanded him, wandered; and every year, as he would return, Indra met him, and told him still to wander. On one of these occasions Indra inspires him to continue on his journey by telling him that the krita was now auspicious; using the names of dice afterwards applied to the four ages.[70] Finally, after six years, Rohita resolved to purchase a substitute for sacrifice. He meets a starving seer, and offers to buy one of his sons (to serve as sacrifice), the price to be one hundred cows. The seer has three sons, and agrees to the bargain; but "the father said, 'Do not take the oldest,' and the mother said, 'Do not take the youngest,' so Rohita took the middle son, Dogstail." Varuna immediately agrees to this substitution of Dogstail for Rohita, "since a priest is of more value than a warrior."

The sacrifice is made ready, and Viçv[=a]mitra (the Vedic seer) is the officiating priest. But no one would bind the boy to the post. 'If thou wilt give me another hundred cows I will bind him,' says the father of Dogstail. But then no one would kill the boy. 'If thou wilt give me another hundred cows I will kill him,' says the father. The [=A]pri verses[71] are said, and the fire is carried around the boy. He is about to be slain. Then Dogstail prays to 'the first of gods,' the Father-god, for protection. But the Father-god tells him to pray to Agni, 'the nearest of the gods.' Agni sends him to another, and he to another, till at last, when the boy has prayed to all the gods, including the All-gods, his fetters drop off; Hariçcandra's dropsy ceases, and all ends well.[72] Only, when the avaricious father demands his son back, he is refused, and Viçv[=a]mitra adopts the boy, even dispossessing his own protesting sons. For fifty of the latter agree to the exaltation of Dogstail; but fifty revolt, and are cursed by Viçv[=a]mitra, that their sons' sons should become barbarians, the Andhras, Pundras, Çabaras, Pulindas, and M[=u]tibas, savage races (of this time), one of which can be located on the southeast coast. The conclusion, and the matter that follows close on this tale, is significant of the time, and of the priest's authority. For it is said that 'if a king hears this story he is made free of sin,' but he can hear it only from a priest, who is to be rewarded for telling it by a gift of one thousand cows, and other rich goods.

The matter following, to which we have alluded, is the use of sacrificial formulae to defeat the king's foes, the description of a royal inauguration, and, at this ceremony, the oath which the king has to swear ere the priest will anoint him (he is anointed with milk, honey, butter, and water, 'for water is immortality'): "I swear that thou mayst take from me whatever good works I do to the day of my death, together with my life and children, if ever I should do thee harm."[73]

When the priest is secretly told how he may ruin the king by a false invocation at the sacrifice, and the king is made to swear that if ever he hurts the priest the latter may rob him of earthly and heavenly felicity, the respective positions of the two, and the contrast between this era and that of the early hymns, become strikingly evident. It is not from such an age as this that one can explain the spirit of the Rig Veda.

The next selection is the famous story of the flood, which we translate literally in its older form.[74] The object of the legend in the Br[=a]hmana is to explain the importance of the Id[=a] (or Il[=a]) ceremony, which is identified with Id[=a], Manu's daughter.

"In the morning they brought water to Manu to wash with, even as they bring it to-day to wash hands with. While he was washing a fish came into his hands. The fish said, 'Keep me, and I will save thee.' 'What wilt thou save me from?' 'A flood will sweep away all creatures on earth. I will save thee from that.' 'How am I to keep thee?' 'As long as we are small,' said he (the fish), 'we are subject to much destruction; fish eats fish. Thou shalt keep me first in a jar. When I outgrow that, thou shalt dig a hole, and keep me in it. When I outgrow that, thou shalt take me down to the sea, for there I shall be beyond destruction.'

"It soon became a (great horned fish called a) jhasha, for this grows the largest, and then it said: 'The flood will come this summer (or in such a year). Look out for (or worship) me, and build a ship. When the flood rises, enter into the ship, and I will save thee.' After he had kept it he took it down to the sea. And the same summer (year) as the fish had told him he looked out for (or worshipped) the fish; and built a ship. And when the flood rose he entered into the ship. Then up swam the fish, and Manu tied the ship's rope to the horn of the fish; and thus he sailed swiftly up toward the mountain of the north. 'I have saved thee' said he (the fish). 'Fasten the ship to a tree. But let not the water leave thee stranded while thou art on the mountain (top). Descend slowly as the water goes down.' So he descended slowly, and that descent of the mountain of the north is called the 'Descent of Manu.' The flood then swept off all the creatures of the earth, and Manu here remained alone. Desirous of posterity, he worshipped and performed austerities. While he was performing a sacrifice, he offered up in the waters clarified butter, sour milk, whey and curds. Out of these in a year was produced a woman. She arose when she was solid, and clarified butter collected where she trod. Mitra and Varuna met her, and said: 'Who art thou?' 'Manu's daughter,' said she. 'Say ours,' said they. 'No,' said she; 'I am my father's.' They wanted part in her. She agreed to this, and she did not agree; but she went by them and came to Manu. Said Manu: 'Who art thou?' 'Thy daughter,' said she. 'How my daughter, glorious woman?' She said: 'Thou hast begotten me of the offering, which thou madest in the water, clarified butter, sour milk, whey, and curds. I am a blessing; use me at the sacrifice. If thou usest me at the sacrifice, thou shalt become rich in children and cattle. Whatever blessing thou invokest through me, all shall be granted to thee.' So he used her as the blessing in the middle of the sacrifice. For what is between the introductory and final offerings is the middle of the sacrifice. With her he went on worshipping and performing austerities, wishing for offspring. Through her he begot the race of men on earth, the race of Manu; and whatever the blessing he invoked through her, all was granted unto him.

"Now she is the same with the Id[=a] ceremony; and whoever, knowing this, performs sacrifice with the Id[=a], he begets the race that Manu generated; and whatever blessing he invokes through her, all is granted unto him."

There is one of the earliest avatar stories in this tale. Later writers, of course, identify the fish with Brahm[=a] and with Vishnu. In other early Br[=a]hmanas the avatars of a god as a tortoise and a boar were known long before they were appropriated by the Vishnuites.

* * * * *


[Footnote 1: In [=A]it. Br. I. 22, there is an unexplained antithesis of Rik, Yajus, S[=a]man, Veda, and Brahma; where the commentator takes Veda to be Atharva Veda. The priests, belonging respectively to the first three Vedas, are for the Rig Veda, the Hotar priest, who recites; for the S[=a]man, the Udg[=a]tar, 'the singer'; for the Y[=a]jus, the Adhvaryu, who attends to the erection of the altar, etc. Compare Müller, ASL. p. 468.]

[Footnote 2: It is the only literature of its time except (an important exception) those fore-runners of later S[=u]tra and epic which one may suppose to be in process of formation long before they come to the front.]

[Footnote 3: There are several schools of this Veda, of which the chief are the V[=a]jasaneyi, or 'White Yajus,' collection; the T[=a]ittir[=i]ya collection; and the M[=a]itr[=a]yan[=i] collection; the first named being the latest though the most popular, the last two being the foremost representatives of the 'Black Yajus.']

[Footnote 4: The different traits here recorded are given with many illustrative examples by Schroeder, in his Literatur und Cultur, p. 90 ff.]

[Footnote 5: Compare Weber, Ind. Streifen, II. 197.]

[Footnote 6: Weber, Lit. p. 73.]

[Footnote 7: The Çata-patha Br[=a]hmana (or "Br[=a]mana of the hundred paths") II. 2. 2. 6; 4.3.14.]

[Footnote 8: The chief family priest, it is said in the Çat. Br. II. 4. 4. 5, is a man of great influence. Sometimes one priest becomes religious head of two clans (an extraordinary event, however; only one name is reported) and then how exalted is his position. Probably, as in the later age of the drama, the chief priest often at the same time practically prime minister. It is said in another part of the same book that although the whole earth is divine, yet it is the priest that makes holy the place of sacrifice (III. 1. 1. 4). In this period murder is defined as killing a priest; other cases are not called murder. Weber, IS. X. 66.]

[Footnote 9: Barth, loc. cit. p. 42.]

[Footnote 10: He has analogy with Agni in being made of
'seven persons (males),' Çat. Br. X. 2. 2. 1.]

[Footnote 11: Compare M[=a]it. S. IV. 2. 12, 'sons of
Praj[=a]pati, Agni, V[=a]yu, S[=u]rya.']

[Footnote 12: Çat. Br. I. 3. 4. 12; IV. 3. 5. 1.]

[Footnote 13: Interesting is the fact that only priests may eat sacrificial food and drink soma at this period. When even the king should drink soma, he is made to drink some transubstantiated liquor which, the priests inform him, has been 'made into soma' for him by magic, for the latter is too holy for any warrior really to drink (VII. 19; VIII. 20). But in the more popular feasts there are indications that this rule is often broken. Compare Weber, R[=a]jas[=u]ya p. 98.]

[Footnote 14: For the relations of the different castes at
this period, see Weber, in the tenth volume of the Indische

[Footnote 15: The Atharvan is not yet recognized as a Veda.]

[Footnote 16: And even the pronunciation of a word or the accent is fateful. The famous godly example of this is where Tvashtar, the artificer, in anger mispronounced indra-çátru as indraçatru, whereby the meaning was changed from 'conqueror of Indra' to 'Indra-conquered,' with unexpected result (Çat. Br. I. 6. 3. 8; T[=a]itt. S. II. 4. 12. 1).]

[Footnote 17: The word is a[.m]sala, strong, or 'from the shoulder' (?). In III. 4. 1. 2 one cooks an ox or a goat for a very distinguished guest, as a sort of guest-sacrifice. So the guest is called 'cow-killer' (Weber, Ved. Beiträge, p. 36).]

[Footnote 18: Compare ib. I. 9. 1. 21, "let the priest not say 'guard me (or us),' but 'guard this worshipper (sacrificer),' for if he says 'me' he induces no blessing at all; the blessing is not for the priest, but for the sacrificer." In both passages, most emphatically, yajam[=a]nasy[=a]iva, 'for the sacrificer alone.']

[Footnote 19: Ya[.m] k[=a]ma[.m] k[=a]mayate so 'sm[=a]i k[=a]ma[h.] sam[r.]dhyate.]

[Footnote 20: [=A]suri's name as a theologian is important, since the S[=a]nkhya philosophy is intimately connected with him; if this [=A]suri be not another man with the same name (compare Weber, Lit. p. 152).]

[Footnote 21: The regular sacrifices to the Manes are daily and monthly; funerals and 'faith-feasts,' çr[=a]ddha, are occasional additions.]

[Footnote 22: Each generation of Manes rises to a better (higher) state if the offerings continue. As a matter of ceremonial this means that the remoter generations of fathers are put indefinitely far off, while the immediate predecessors of a man are the real beneficiaries; they climb up to the sky on the offering.]

[Footnote 23: Compare Çat. Br. i. 8. 1. 40; ii. 6. 1. 3, 7, 10, 42; ii. 4. 2. 24; v. 5. 4. 28.]

[Footnote 24: This passage (ib. ii. 1. 2. 7) is preceded
by a typical argument for setting up the fires under the
Pleiades, the wives of the Great Bear stars. He may do or he
may not do so—the reasons contradict each other, and all of
them are incredibly silly.]

[Footnote 25: This last fee is not so common. For an oblation to S[=u]rya the fee is a white horse or a white bull; either of them representing the proper form of the sun (Çat. Br. ii. 6. 3. 9); but another authority specifies twelve oxen and a plough (T[=a]itt. S. i. 8. 7).]

[Footnote 26: Çat. Br. ii. 1. 1. 3; 2. 3. 28; iv. 3. 4. 14; 5. 1. 15; four kinds of fees, ib. iv. 3. 4. 6, 7, 24 ff. (Milk is also 'Agni's seed,' ib. ii. 2. 4. 15).]

[Footnote 27: Yet in [=A]it. Br. iii. 19, the priest is coolly informed how he may be able to slay his patron by making a little change in the invocations. Elsewhere such conduct is reprobated.]

[Footnote 28: For other covenants, see the epic (chapter on

[Footnote 29: Çat. Br. iii. 4. 2. 1 ff.; iii. 6. 2. 25;
iv. 3. 3. 3; iv. 4.1.17; 6. 6. 3; 7. 6, etc.; iii. 8. 2. 27;
3. 26; [=A]it. Br.. i. 24.]

[Footnote 30: ib. ii. 6. 2. 5. Here Rudra (compare Çiva and Hekate of the cross-roads) is said to go upon 'cross-roads'; so that his sacrifice is on cross-roads—one of the new teachings since the time of the Rig Veda. Rudra's sister, Ambik[=a], ib. 9, is another new creation, the genius of autumnal sickness.]

[Footnote 31: Çat. Br. ii. 2. 1. 21. How much non-serious fancy there may be here it is difficult to determine. It seems impossible that such as follows can have been meant in earnest: "The sacrifice, pray[=a]ja, is victory, jaya, because yaja = jaya. With this knowledge one gets the victory over his rivals" (ib. i. 5. 3. 3, 10).]

[Footnote 32: Although Bhaga is here (Çat. Br. i. 7. 4. 6-7, endho bhagas) interpreted as the Sun, he is evidently the same with Good Luck [Greek: typhlhos ghar ho Êlohhytos] or wealth.]

[Footnote 33: Çat. Br. iii. 1. 2. 13 ff.; l. 1. 2. 18; iii. 6. 1. 8 ff.; ii. 5. 2. 1; iv. 2. 1. 11; iii. 4.4. 3 ff.; 2. 3. 6-12, 13-14; iv. 5. 5. 12; 1.3. 13 ff.; iii. 2. 4. 5-6; 3. 2. 8; 7. 1. 17; iv. 2. 5. 17; 4. 1. 15; i. 7. 4. 6-7; ii. 4. 3. 4 ff.; li. 5.2.34; 5. 1. 12; 5. 1. 1 ff.; RV. viii. 104. 14. The reader must distinguish, in the name of Brahm[=a], the god from the priest, and this from brahm[=a], prayer. The first step is brahma—force, power, prayer; then this is, as a masculine Brahm[=a], the one who prays, that is, prayer, the Brahman priest, as, in the Rig Veda, x. 141. 3. Brihaspati is the 'Brahm[=a] of gods.' The next (Brahmanic) step is deified brahma, the personal Brahm[=a] as god, called also Father-god (Praj[=a]pati) or simply The Father (pit[=a]).]

[Footnote 33: Çat. Br. iii. 1. 2. 13 ff.; l. 1. 2. 18; iii. 6. 1. 8 ff.; ii. 5. 2. 1; iv. 2. 1. 11; iii. 4.4. 3 ff.; 2. 3. 6-12, 13-14; iv. 5. 5. 12; 1.3. 13 ff.; iii. 2. 4. 5-6; 3. 2. 8; 7. 1. 17; iv. 2. 5. 17; 4. 1. 15; i. 7. 4. 6-7; ii. 4. 3. 4 ff.; li. 5.2.34; 5. 1. 12; 5. 1. 1 ff.; RV. viii. 104. 14. The reader must distinguish, in the name of Brahm[=a], the god from the priest, and this from brahm[=a], prayer. The first step is brahma—force, power, prayer; then this is, as a masculine Brahm[=a], the one who prays, that is, prayer, the Brahman priest, as, in the Rig Veda, x. 141. 3. Brihaspati is the 'Brahm[=a] of gods.' The next (Brahmanic) step is deified brahma, the personal Brahm[=a] as god, called also Father-god (Praj[=a]pati) or simply The Father (pit[=a]).]

[Footnote 34: Compare M[=a]it. S iii. 10. 2; [=A]it. Br. ii. 8; Çat. Br. i. 2. 3. 5; vi. 2. 1. 39; 3. 1. 24; ii. 5. 2. 16, a ram and ewe 'made of barley.' On human sacrifices, compare Müller, ASL. p. 419; Weber. ZDMG. xviii. 262 (see the Bibliography); Streifen, i.54.]

[Footnote 35: Weber has translated some of these legends.
Ind. Streifen, i. 9 ff.]

[Footnote 36: T[=a]itt. Br. iii. 2. 9. 7; Çat. Br. i. 2.
5. 5; ii. 1. 2. 13 ff.; vii. 5. 1. 6.]

[Footnote 37: Compare M[=a]it. S. i. 9. 8; Çat. Br. i. 6. 1. 1 ff. The seasons desert the gods, and the demons thrive. In Çat. Br. i. 5. 4. 6-11, the Asuras and Indra contend with numbers.]

[Footnote 38: Müller, ASL. p. 529.]

[Footnote 39: M[=a]it. S. iv. 2. 12; Çat. Br. i. 7. 4. 1; ii. 1. 2. 9; vi. 1. 3. 8; [=A]it. Br. iii. 33. Compare Muir, OST. iv. p. 45. At a later period there are frequently found indecent tales of the gods, and the Br[=a]hmanas themselves are vulgar enough, but they exhibit no special lubricity on the part of the priests.]

[Footnote 40: Idam aham ya èv[=a] smi so asmi, Çat. Br. i. 1. 1. 6; 9. 3. 23.]

[Footnote 41: RV. viii. 51. 2; Zimmer, loc. cit. p. 328.]

[Footnote 42: Compare Weber, Episch. in Vedisch. Ritual, p. 777 (and above). The man who is slaughtered must be neither a priest nor a slave, but a warrior or a man of the third caste (Weber, loc. cit. above).]

[Footnote 43: Le Mercier, 1637, ap. Parkman, loc. cit. p. 80. The current notion that the American Indian burns his victims at the stake merely for pleasure is not incorrect. He frequently did so, as he does so to-day, but in the seventeenth century this act often is part of a religious ceremony. He probably would have burned his captive, anyway, but he gladly utilized his pleasure as a means of propitiating his gods. In India it was just the other way.]

[Footnote 44: Substitutes of metal or of earthen victims are also mentioned.]

[Footnote 45: That the Vedic rite of killing the sacrificial beast (by beating and smothering) was very cruel may be seen in the description, [=A]it. Br. ii. 6.]

[Footnote 46: Çat. Br. i. 5. 2. 4.]

[Footnote 47: Sams[=a]ra is transmigration; karma, 'act,' implies that the change of abode is conditioned by the acts of a former life. Each may exclude the other; but in common parlance each implies the other.]

[Footnote 48: Weber, Indischt Streifen, i. p. 72.]

[Footnote 49: Çat. Br. i. 7. 3. 19: iii. 4. 1. 17.]

[Footnote 50: Çaf. Br. iii. 5. 4. 10; 6. 2. 24; 5. 3. 17 (compare 6. 4. 23-24; 3. 4. 11; 2. 1. 12); iii. 1. 2. 4; 3. 14; i. 7. 2. 9; vi. 1. 2. 14. The change of name is interesting. There is a remark in another part of the same work to the effect that when a man prospers in life they give his name also to his son, grandson, and to his father and grandfather (vi. 1. 2. 13). On the other hand, it was the custom of the Indian kings in later ages to assume the names of their prosperous grandfathers (JRAS. iv. 85).]

[Footnote 51: Were it not for the first clause it would be more natural to render the original 'The gods are truth alone, and men are untruth.']

[Footnote 52: In Çat. Br. ii. 4. 2. 5-6 it is said that the Father-god gives certain rules of eating to gods, Manes, men, and beasts: "Neither gods, Manes, nor beasts transgress the Father's law, only some men do."]

[Footnote 53: Çat. Br. ii. 5. 2. 20. Varuna seizes on her
paramour, when she confesses. T[.a]itt. Br. i. 6. 5. 2.
The guilt confessed becomes less "because it thereby becomes
truth" (right).]

[Footnote 54: See Çat. Br.. ii. 4. 2. 6; 4. 1. 14; 1. 3.
9; 3. 1. 28: "Who knows man's morrow? Then let one not
procrastinate." "Today is self, this alone is certain,
uncertain is the morrow."]

[Footnote 55: Some little rules are interesting. The
Pythagorean abstinence from m[=a][s.][=a]s, beans, for
instance, is enjoined; though this rule is opposed by Barku
V[=a]rshna, Çat. Br. i. 1. 1. 10, on the ground that no
offering to the gods is made of beans; "hence he said 'cook
beans for me.'"]

[Footnote 56: Animals may represent gods. "The bull is a form of Indra," and so if the bull can be made to roar (Çat. Br. ii. 5. 3. 18), then one may know that Indra is come to the sacrifice. "Man is born into (whatever) world is made (by his acts in a previous existence)," is a short formula (Çat. Br.. vi. 2. 2. 27), which represents the karma doctrine in its essential principle, though the 'world' is here not this world, but the next. Compare Weber, ZDMG. ix. 237 ff.; Muir, OST. v. 314 ff.]

[Footnote 57: Though youth may be restored to him by the
Açvins, Çat. Br.. iv. i. 5. 1 ff. Here the Horsemen are
identified with Heaven and Earth (16).]

[Footnote 58: Cal. Br. ii. 3. 3. 7. Apropos of the Brahmanic sun it may be mentioned that, according to Ait. Br. iii. 44, the sun never really sets. "People think that he sets, but in truth he only turns round after reaching the end of the day, and makes night below, day above; and when they think he rises in the morning, he having come to the end of the night, turns round, and makes day below, night above. He never really sets. Whoever knows this of him, that he never sets, obtains union and likeness of form with the sun, and the same abode as the sun's." Compare Muir, OST. v. 521. This may be the real reason why the Rig Veda speaks of a dark and light sun.]

[Footnote 59: Çat. Br.. i. 4. 3. 11-22 ('The sinner shall suffer and go quickly to yonder world'); xi. 6. 1 (compare Weber, loc. cit. p. 20 ff.; ZDMG. ix. 237), the Bhrigu story, of which a more modern form is found in the Upanishad period. For the course of the sun, the fires on either side of the way, the departure to heaven 'with the whole body,' compare Çat. Br. i. 9. 3. 2-15; iv. 5. 1. 1; vi. 6. 2. 4; xi. 2. 7. 33; Weber, loc. cit.: Muir, loc. cit. v. p. 314. Not to have all one's bones in the next world is a disgrace, as Muir says, and for that reason they are collected at burial. Compare the custom as described by the French missionaries here. The American Indian has to have all his bones for future use, and the burying of the skeleton is an annual religious ceremony.]

[Footnote 60: Compare RV. iv. 28. 4: 'Thou Indra madest lowest the heathen.' Weber has shown, loc. cit., that the general notion of the Br[=a]hmanas is that all are born again in the next world, where they are rewarded or punished according as they are good or bad; whereas in the Rig Veda the good rejoice in heaven, and the bad are annihilated. This general view is to be modified, however, by such side-theories as those just mentioned, that the good (or wise) may be reborn on earth, or be united with gods, or become sunlight or stars (the latter are 'watery' to the Hindu, and this may explain the statement that the soul is 'in the midst of waters').]

[Footnote 61: There is in this age no notion of the repeated creations found in later literature. On the contrary, it is expressly said in the Rig Veda, vi. 48. 22, that heaven and earth are created but once: "Only once was heaven created, only once was earth created," Zimmer, AIL. 408.]

[Footnote 62: When the principle of life is explained it is in terms of sun or fire. Thus Praj[=a]pati, Lord of beings, or Father-god, is first an epithet of Savitar, RV. iv. 53. 2; and the golden germ must be fire.]

[Footnote 63: Schoolcraft, Historical and Statistical
, i. 32. As examples of the many passages where
'water is the beginning' may be cited Çat. Br. vi. 7. 1.
17; xi. 1. 6. 1. The sun, born as Aditi's eighth son, is the
bird, 'egg-born,' RV. x. 72. 8.]

[Footnote 64: Among the new curators of Atharvan origin are,
for instance, the sun under the name of Rohita, Desire
(Love), etc., etc.]

[Footnote 65: Illustrations of these contradictions may be
found in plenty apud Muir iv. p. 20 ff.]

[Footnote 66: Nirukta, vii. 4; Muir, loc. cit. p. 131 and
v. 17.]

[Footnote 67: Neu-und Vollmonds Opfer, 1880. The
D[=i]ksh[=a], or initiation, has been described by
Lindner; the R[=a]jas[=u]ya and Vajapeya, by Weber.]

[Footnote 68: The water-sickness already imputed to this god in the Rig Veda. This tale and that of Bhrigu (referred to above) show an ancient trait in the position of Varuna, as chief god.]

[Footnote 69: This is the germ of the pilgrimage doctrine
(see below).]

[Footnote 70: Perhaps (M. ix. 301) interpolated; or the
first allusion to the Four Ages.]

[Footnote 71: These (compare afri, 'blessing,' in the
Avesta) are verses in the Rig Veda introducing the
sacrifice. They are meant as propitiations, and appear to be
an ancient part of the ritual.]

[Footnote 72: A group of hymns in the first book of the Rig
Veda are attributed to Dogstail. At any rate, they do allude
to him, and so prove a moderate antiquity (probably the
middle period of the Rik) for the tale. The name, in
Sanskrit Çunasçepa, has been ingeniously starred by Weber as
Cynosoura; the last part of each compound having the same
meaning, and the first part being even phonetically the same
çunas, [Greek: kunhos].]

[Footnote 73: Ait. Br. viii. 10, 15, 20.]

[Footnote 74: The epic has a later version. This earlier form is found in Çat. Br. i. 8. 1. For the story of the flood among the American Indians compare Schoolcraft (Historical and Statistical Information), i. 17.]

* * * * *



In the Vedic hymns man fears the gods, and imagines God. In the Br[=a]hmanas man subdues the gods, and fears God. In the Upanishads man ignores the gods, and becomes God.[1]

Such in a word is the theosophic relations between the three periods represented by the first Vedic Collection, the ritualistic Br[=a]hmanas, and the philosophical treatises called Upanishads. Yet if one took these three strata of thought to be quite independent of each other he would go amiss. Rather is it true that the Br[=a]hmanas logically continue what the hymns begin; that the Upanishads logically carry on the thought of the Br[=a]hmanas. And more, for in the oldest Upanishads are traits that connect this class of writings (if they were written) directly, and even closely with the Vedic hymns themselves; so that one may safely assume that the time of the first Upanishads is not much posterior to that of the latest additions made to the Vedic collections, though this indicates only that these additions were composed at a much later period than is generally supposed.[2] In India no literary period subsides with the rise of its eventually 'succeeding' period. All the works overlap. Parts of the Br[=a]hmanas succeed, sometimes with the addition of whole books, their proper literary successors, the Upanishads. Vedic hymns are composed in the Brahmanic period.[3] The prose S[=u]tras, which, in general, are earlier, sometimes post-date metrical Ç[=a]stra-rules. Thus it is highly probable that, whereas the Upanishads began before the time of Buddha, the Çatapatha Br[=a]hmana (if not others of this class) continued to within two or three centuries of our era; that the legal S[=u]tras were, therefore, contemporary with part of the Br[=a]hmanic period;[4] and that, in short, the end of the Vedic period is so knit with the beginning of the Br[=a]hmanic, while the Br[=a]hmanic period is so knit with the rise of the Upanishads, S[=u]tras, epics, and Buddhism, that one cannot say of any one: 'this is later,' 'this is earlier'; but each must be taken only for a phase of indefinitely dated thought, exhibited on certain lines. It must also be remembered that by the same class of works a wide geographical area may be represented; by the Br[=a]hmanas, west and east; by the S[=u]tras, north and south; by the Vedic poems, northwest and east to Benares (AV.); by the epics, all India, centred about the holy middle land near Delhi.

The meaning of Upanishad as used in the compositions themselves, is either, as it is used to-day, the title of a philosophical work; that of knowledge derived from esoteric teaching; or the esoteric teaching itself. Thus brahma upanishad is the secret doctrine of brahma, and 'whoever follows this upanishad' means whoever follows this doctrine. This seems, however, to be a meaning derived from the nature of the Upanishads themselves, and we are almost inclined to think that the true significance of the word was originally that in which alone occurs, in the early period, the combination upa-ni-[s.]ad, and this is purely external: "he makes the common people upa-ni-s[=a]din," i.e., 'sitting below' or 'subject,' it is said in Çat. Br. ix. 4. 3. 3 (from the literal meaning of 'sitting below').[5] Instead, therefore, of seeing in upan[=i]sad, Upanishad, the idea of a session, of pupils sitting down to hear instruction (the prepositions and verb are never used in this sense), it may be that the Upanishads were at first subsidiary works of the ritualistic Br[=a]hmanas contained in the [=A]ranyakas or Forest Books, that is, appendices to the Br[=a]hmana, ostensibly intended for the use of pious forest-hermits (who had passed beyond the need of sacrifice); and this, in point of fact, is just what they were; till their growth resulted in their becoming an independent branch of literature. The usual explanation of 'Upanishad,' however, is that it represents the instruction given to the pupil 'sitting under' the teacher.

Although at present between two and three hundred Upanishads are known, at least by name, to exist, yet scarcely a dozen appear to be of great antiquity. Some of these are integral parts of Br[=a]hmanas, and apparently were added to the ritualistic works at an early period.[6]

While man's chief effort in the Brahmanic period seems to be by sacrifice and penance to attain happiness hereafter, and to get the upper hand of divine powers; while he recognizes a God, who, though supreme, has yet, like the priest himself, attained his supremacy by sacrifice and penance; while he dreams of a life hereafter in heavenly worlds, in the realm of light, though hardly seeking to avoid a continuation of earthly re-births; nevertheless he frees himself at times from ritualistic observances sufficiently to continue the questioning asked by his Vedic ancestors, and to wonder whither his immortal part is definitively going, and whether that spirit of his will live independently, or be united with some higher power, such as the sun or Brahm[=a].

The philosophical writings called Upanishads[7] take up this question in earnest, but the answer is already assured, and the philosophers, or poets, of this period seek less to prove the truth than to expound it. The soul of man will not only join a heavenly Power. It is part of that Power. Man's spirit (self) is the world-spirit. And what is this? While all the Upanishads are at one in answering the first question, they are not at one in the method by which they arrive at the same result. There is no systematic philosophy; but a tentative, and more or less dogmatic, logic. In regard to the second question they are still less at one; but in general their answer is that the world-spirit is All, and everything is a part of It or Him. Yet, whether that All is personal or impersonal, and what is the relation between spirit and matter, this is still an unsettled point.

The methods and results of this half-philosophical literature will most easily be understood by a few examples. But, before these are given, it will be necessary to emphasize the colloquial and scrappy nature of the teaching. Legend, parable, ritualistic absurdities, belief in gods, denial of gods, belief in heaven, denial of heaven, are all mingled, and for a purpose. For some men are able, and some are unable, to receive the true light of knowledge. But man's fate depends on his knowledge. The wise man becomes hereafter what his knowledge has prepared him to be. Not every spirit is fitted for immortality, but only the spirit of them that have wisely desired it, or, rather, not desired it; for every desire must have been extinguished before one is fitted for this end. Hence, with advancing belief in absorption and pantheism, there still lingers, and not as a mere superfluity, the use of sacrifice and penance. Rites and the paraphernalia of religion are essential till one learns that they are unessential. Desire will be gratified till one learns that the most desirable thing is lack of desire. But so long as one desires even the lack of desire he is still in the fetters of desire. The way is long to the extinction of emotion, but its attainment results in happiness that is greater than delight; in peace that surpasses joy.

In the exposition of this doctrine the old gods are retained as figures. They are not real gods. But they are existent forms of God. They are portions of the absolute, a form of the Eternal, even as man is a form of the same. Absolute being, again, is described as anthropomorphic. 'This is that' under a certain form. Incessantly made is the attempt to explain the identity of the absolute with phenomena. The power brahma, which is originally applied to prayer, is now taken as absolute being, and this, again, must be equated with the personal spirit (ego, self, [=a]tm[=a]). One finds himself back in the age of Vedic speculation when he reads of prayer (or penance) and power as one. For, as was shown above, the Rig Veda already recognizes that prayer is power. There the word for power, brahma, is used only as equivalent of prayer, and Brihaspati or Brahmanaspati is literally the 'god of power,' as he is interpreted by the priests. The significance of the other great word of this period, namely [=a]tm[=a], is not at all uncertain, but to translate it is difficult. It is breath, spirit, self, soul. Yet, since in its original sense it corresponds to spiritus (comparable to athmen), the word spirit, which also signifies the real person, perhaps represents it best. We shall then render brahma and [=a]tm[=a] by the absolute and the ego or spirit, respectively; or leave them, which is perhaps the best way, in their native form. The physical breath, pr[=a]na, is occasionally used just like [=a]tm[=a]. Thus it is said that all the gods are one god, and this is pr[=a]na, identical with brahma (Brihad [=A]ranyaka Upanishad, 3.9.9); or pr[=a]na is so used as to be the same with spirit, though, on the other hand, 'breath is born of spirit' (Praçna Up. 3.3), just as in the Rig Veda (above) it is said that all comes from the breath of God.

One of the most instructive of the older Upanishads is the
Ch[=a]ndogya. A sketch of its doctrines will give a clearer idea of
Upanishad philosophy than a chapter of disconnected excerpts:

All this (universe) is brahma. Man has intelligent force (or will). He, after death, will exist in accordance with his will in life. This spirit in (my) heart is that mind-making, breath-bodied, light-formed, truth-thoughted, ether-spirited One, of whom are all works, all desires, all smells, and all tastes; who comprehends the universe, who speaks not and is not moved; smaller than a rice-corn, smaller than a mustard-seed, … greater than earth, greater than heaven. This (universal being) is my ego, spirit, and is brahma, force (absolute being). After death I shall enter into him (3.14).[8] This all is breath (==spirit in 3.15.4).

After this epitome of pantheism follows a ritualistic bit:

Man is sacrifice. Four and twenty years are the morning libation; the next four and forty, the mid-day libation; the next eight and forty, the evening libation. The son of Itar[=a], knowing this, lived one hundred and sixteen years. He who knows this lives one hundred and sixteen years (3.16).

Then, for the abolition of all sacrifice, follows a chapter which explains that man may sacrifice symbolically, so that, for example, gifts to the priests (a necessary adjunct of a real sacrifice) here become penance, liberality, rectitude, non-injury, truth-speaking (ib. 17. 4). There follows then the identification of brahma with mind, sun, breath, cardinal points, ether, etc, even puns being brought into requisition, Ka is Kha and Kha is Ka (4. 10. 5);[9] earth, fire, food, sun, water, stars, man, are brahma, and brahma is the man seen in the moon (4. 12. I). And now comes the identity of the impersonal brahma with the personal spirit. The man seen in the eye is the spirit; this is the immortal, unfearing brahma (4. 15. I = 8. 7. 4). He that knows this goes after death to light, thence to day, thence to the light moon, thence to the season, thence to the year, thence to the sun, thence to the moon, thence to lightning; thus he becomes divine, and enters brahma. They that go on this path of the gods that conducts to brahma do not return to human conditions (ib. 15. 6).

But the Father-god of the Br[=a]hmanas is still a temporary creator, and thus he appears now (ib. 17): The Father-god brooded over[10] the worlds, and from them extracted essences, fire from earth, wind from air, sun from sky. These three divinities (the triad, fire, wind, and sun) he brooded over, and from them extracted essences, the Rig Veda from fire, the Yajur Veda from wind, the S[=a]ma Veda from sun. In the preceding the northern path of them that know the absolute (brahma) has been described, and it was said that they return no more to earth. Now follows the southern path of them that only partly know brahma:

"He that knows the oldest, jye[s.]tham and the best, çre[s]tham, becomes the oldest and the best. Now breath is oldest and best" (then follows the famous parable of the senses and breath, 5. 1. I). This (found elsewhere) is evidently regarded as a new doctrine, for, after the deduction has been made that, because a creature can live without senses, and even without mind, but cannot live without breath, therefore the breath is the 'oldest and best,' the text continues, 'if one told this to a dry stick, branches would be produced and leaves put forth' (5. 2. 3).[11]] The path of him that partly knows the brahma which is expressed in breath, etc, is as follows: He goes to the moon, and, when his good works are used up, he (ultimately mist) rains down, becoming seed, and begins life over again on earth, to become like the people who eat him (5. 10. 6); they that are good become priests, warriors, or members of the third estate; while the bad become dogs, hogs, or members of the low castes.[12] A story is now told, instructive as illustrating the time. Five great doctors of the law came together to discuss what is Spirit, what is brahma. In the end they are taught by a king that the universal Spirit is one's own spirit (5. 18. 1).

It is interesting to see that, although the Rig Veda distinctly says that 'being was born of not-being' (ásatas sád aj[=a]yata, X. 72. 3),[13] yet not-being is here derived quite as emphatically from being. For in the philosophical explanation of the universe given in 6. 2. 1 ff. one reads: "Being alone existed in the beginning, one, and without a second. Others say 'not-being alone' … but how could being be born of not-being? Being alone existed in the beginning."[14] This being is then represented as sentient. "It saw (and desired), 'may I be many,' and sent forth fire (or heat); fire (or heat) desired and produced water; water, food (earth); with the living spirit the divinity entered fire, water, and earth" (6. 3). As mind comes from food, breath from water, and speech from fire, all that makes a man is thus derived from the (true) being (6. 7. 6); and when one dies his speech is absorbed into mind, his mind into breath, his breath into fire (heat), and heat into the highest godhead (6. 8. 7). This is the subtle spirit, that is the Spirit, that is the True, and this is the spirit of man. Now comes the grand conclusion of the Ch[=a]ndogya. He who knows the ego escapes grief. What is the ego? The Vedas are names, and he that sees brahma in the Vedas is indeed (partly) wise; but speech is better than a name; mind is better than speech; will is better than mind; meditation, better than will; reflection, than meditation; understanding, than reflection; power, than understanding; food, than power; water, than food; heat (fire), than water; ether, than heat; memory, than ether; hope, than memory; breath (=spirit), than hope. In each let one see brahma; ego in All. Who knows this is supreme in knowledge; but more supreme in knowledge is he that knows that in true (being) is the highest being. True being is happiness; true being is ego; ego is all; ego is the absolute.[15]

The relativity o£ divinity is the discovery of the Upanishads. And the relativity of happiness hereafter is the key-note of their religious philosophy. Pious men are of three classes, according to the completed system. Some are good men, but they do not know enough to appreciate, intellectually or spiritually, the highest. Let this class meditate on the Vedas. They desire wealth, not freedom. The second class wish, indeed, to emancipate themselves; but to do so step by step; not to reach absolute brahma, but to live in bliss hereafter. Let these worship the Spirit as physical life. They will attain to the bliss of the realm of light, the realm of the personal creator. But the highest class, they that wish to emancipate themselves at once, know that physical life is but a form of spiritual life; that the personal creator is but a form of the Spirit; that the Spirit is absolute brahma; and that in reaching this they attain to immortality. These, then, are to meditate on spirit as the highest Spirit, that is, the absolute. To fear heaven as much as hell, to know that knowledge is, after all, the key to brahma; that brahma is knowledge; this is the way to emancipation. The gods are; but they are forms of the ego, and their heaven is mortal. It is false to deny the gods. Indra and the Father-god exist, just as men exist, as transient forms of brahma. Therefore, according to the weakness or strength of a man's mind and heart (desire) is he fitted to ignore gods and sacrifice. To obtain brahma his desires must be weak, his knowledge strong; but sacrifice is not to be put away as useless. The disciplinary teaching of the sacrifice is a necessary preparation for highest wisdom. It is here that the Upanishads, which otherwise are to a great extent on the highway to Buddhism, practically contrast with it. Buddhism ignores the sacrifice and the stadia in a priest's life. The Upanishads retain them, but only to throw them over at the end when one has learned not to need them. Philosophically there is no place for the ritual in the Upanishad doctrine; but their teachers stood too much under the dominion of the Br[=a]hmanas to ignore the ritual. They kept it as a means of perfecting the knowledge of what was essential.

So 'by wisdom' it is said 'one gets immortality.' The Spirit develops gradually in man; by means of the mortal he desires the immortal; whereas other animals have only hunger and thirst as a kind of understanding, and they are reborn according to their knowledge as beasts again. Such is the teaching of another of the Upanishads, the [=A]itareya [=A]ranyaka.

This Upanishad contains some rather striking passages: "Whatever man attains, he desires to go beyond it; if he should reach heaven itself he would desire to go beyond it" (2. 3. 3. 1). "Brahma is the A, thither goes the ego" (2. 3. 8. 7). "A is the whole of Speech, and Speech is Truth, and Truth is Spirit" (2. 3. 6. 5-14).[16] "The Spirit brooded over the water, and form (matter) was born" (2. 4. 3. 1 ff.); so physically water is the origin of all things" (2. 1. 8. 1).[17] "Whatever belongs to the father belongs to the son, whatever belongs to the son belongs to the father" (ib.). "Man has three births: he is born of his mother, reborn in the person of his son, and finds his highest birth in death" (2. 5).

In the exposition of these two Upanishads one gets at once the sum of them all. The methods, the illustrations, even the doctrines, differ in detail; but in the chief end and object of the Upanishads, and in the principle of knowledge as a means of attaining brahma, they are united. This it is that causes the refutation of the Vedic 'being from not-being.' It is even said in the [=A]itareya that the gods worshipped breath (the spirit) as being and so became gods (great); while devils worshipped spirit as not-being, and hence became (inferior) devils (2. 1. 8. 6).

It was noticed above that a king instructed priests. This interchange of the rôles of the two castes is not unique. In the K[=a]ush[=i]taki Upanishad (4. 19), occurs another instance of a warrior teaching a Brahman. This, with the familiar illustration of a Gandh[=a]ra (Kandahar) man, the song of the Kurus, and the absence of Brahmanic literature as such in the list of works, cited vii. 1, would indicate that the Ch[=a]ndogya was at least as old as the Br[=a]hmana literature.[18]

In their present form several differences remain to be pointed out between the Vedic period and that of the Upanishads. The goal of the soul, the two paths of gods and of brahma, have been indicated. As already explained, the road to the absolute brahma lies beyond the path to the conditioned brahma. Opposed to this is the path that leads to the world of heaven, whence, when good works have been exhausted, the spirit descends to a new birth on earth. The course of this second path is conceived to be the dark half of the moon, and so back to man. Both roads lead first to the moon, then one goes on to brahma, the other returns to earth. It will be seen that good works are regarded as buoying a man up for a time, till, like gas in a balloon, they lose their force, and he sinks down again. What then becomes of the virtue of a man who enters the absolute brahma, and descends no more? He himself goes to the world where there is "no sorrow and no snow," where he lives forever (Brihad [=A]ran. 5. 10); but "his beloved relations get his virtue, and the relations he does not love get his evil" (K[=a]ush[=i]t. Up. 1. 4). In this Upanishad fire, sun, moon, and lightning die out, and reappear as brahma. This is the doctrine of the Götterdämmerung, and succession of aeons with their divinities (2. 12). Here again is it distinctly stated that pr[=a]na, breath, is brahma; that is, spirit is the absolute (2. 13).

What becomes of them that die ignorant of the ego? They go either to the worlds of evil spirits, which are covered with darkness—the same antithesis of light and darkness, as good and evil, that was seen in the Br[=a]hmanas—or are reborn on earth again like the wicked ([=I]ç[=a], 3).

It is to be noted that at times all the parts of a man are said to become immortal. For just as different rivers enter the ocean and their names and forms are lost in it, so the sixteen parts of a man sink into the godhead and he becomes without parts and immortal (Praçna Up. 6. 5); a purely pantheistic view of absorption, in distinction from the Vedic view of heaven, which latter, in the form of immortal joy hereafter, still lingers in the earlier Upanishads.

It is further to be observed as the crowning point of these speculations that, just as the bliss of emancipation must not be desired, although it is desirable, so too, though knowledge is the fundamental condition of emancipation, yet is delight in the true a fatal error: "They that revere what is not knowledge enter into blind darkness; they that delight in knowledge come as it were into still greater darkness" (Iç[=a], 9). Here, what is not real knowledge means good works, sacrifice, etc. But the sacrifice is not discarded. To those people capable only of attaining to rectitude, sacrifices, and belief in gods there is given some bliss hereafter; but to him that is risen above this, who knows the ego (Spirit) and real being, such bliss is no bliss. His bliss is union with the Spirit.

This is the completion of Upanishad philosophy. Before it is a stage where bliss alone, not absorption, is taught.[19] But what is the ego, spirit or self ([=a]tm[=a])? First of all it is conscious; next it is not the Person, for the Person is produced by the [=a]tm[=a]. Since this Person is the type of the personal god, it is evident that the ego is regarded as lying back of personality. Nevertheless, the teachers sometimes stop with the latter. The developed view is that the immortality of the personal creator is commensurate only with that of the world which he creates. It is for this reason that in the Mundaka (1. 2. 10) it is said that fools regard fulfillment of desire in heavenly happiness as the best thing; for although they have their 'reward in the top of heaven, yet, when the elevation caused by their good works ends, as it will end, when the buoyant power of good works is exhausted, then they drop down to earth again. Hence, to worship the creator as the [=a]tm[=a] is indeed productive of temporary pleasure, but no more. "If a man worship another divinity, devat[=a], with the idea that he and the god are different, he does not know" (Brihad [=A]ran. Up. 1. 4. 10). "Without passion and without parts" is the brahma (Mund. 2. 2. 9). The further doctrine, therefore, that all except brahma is delusion is implied here, and the "extinction of gods in brahma" is once or twice formulated.[20] The fatal error of judgment is to imagine that there is in absolute being anything separate from man's being. When personified, this being appears as the supreme Person, identical with the ego, who is lord of what has been and what will be. By perceiving this controlling spirit in one's own spirit (or self) one obtains eternal bliss; "when desires cease, the mortal becomes immortal; he attains brahma here" in life (Katha Up. 2. 5. 12; 6. 14; Br. [=A]ran. Up. 4. 4. 7).

How inconsistent are the teachings of the Upanishads in regard to cosmogonic and eschatological matters will be evident if one contrast the statements of the different tracts not only with those of other writings of the same sort, but even with other statements in the same Upanishads. Thus the Mundaka teaches first that Brahm[=a], the personal creator, made the world and explained brahma (1. 1. 1). It then defines brahma as the Imperishable, which, like a spider, sends out a web of being and draws it in again (ib. 6, 7). It states with all distinctness that the (neuter) brahma comes from The (masculine)

One who is all-wise, all-knowing (ib. 9). This heavenly Person is the imperishable ego; it is without form; higher than the imperishable (1. 2. 10 ff.; 2. 1. 2); greater than the great (3. 2. 8). Against this is then set (2. 2. 9) the great being brahma, without passions or parts, i. e., without intelligence such as was predicated of the [=a]tm[=a]; and (3. 1. 3) then follows the doctrine of the personal 'Lord, who is the maker, the Person, who has his birth in brahma' (purusho brahmayonis). That this Upanishad is pantheistic is plain from 3. 2. 6, where Ved[=a]nta and Yoga are named. According to this tract the wise go to brahma or to ego (3. 2. 9 and 1. 2. 11), while fools go to heaven and return again.

On the same plane stands the [=I]ç[=a], where [=a]tm[=a], ego, Spirit, is the True, the Lord, and is in the sun. Opposed to each other here are 'darkness' and 'immortality,' as fruit, respectively, of ignorance and wisdom.

In the K[=a]ush[=i]taki Upanishad, taken with the meaning put into it by the commentators, the wise man goes to a very different sort of brahma—one where he is met by nymphs, and rejoices in a kind of heaven. This brahma is of two sorts, absolute and conditioned; but it is ultimately defined as 'breath.' Whenever it is convenient, 'breath' is regarded by the commentators as ego, 'spirit'; but one can scarcely escape the conviction that in many passages 'breath' was meant by the speaker to be taken at its face value. It is the vital power. With this vital power (breath or spirit) one in dreamless sleep unites. Indra has nothing higher to say than that he is breath (spirit), conscious and immortal. Eventually the soul after death comes to Indra, or gains the bright heaven. But here too the doctrine of the dying out of the gods is known (as in T[=a]tt. 3. 10. 4). Cosmogonically all here springs from water (1. 4, 6, 7; 2. 1, 12; 3. 1, 2; 4. 20).

Most striking are the contradictions in the Brihad [=A]ranyaka: "In the beginning there was only nothing; this (world) was covered with death, that is hunger;[21] he desired," etc. (1. 2. 1). "In the beginning there was only ego ([=a]tm[=a])." [=A]tm[=a] articulated "I am," and (finding himself lonely and unhappy) divided himself into male and female,[22] whence arose men, etc. (1. 4. 1). Again: "In the beginning there was only brahma; this (neuter) knew [=a]tm[=a] … brahma was the one and only … it created" (1. 4. 10-11); followed immediately by "he created" (12). And after this, in 17, one is brought back to "in the beginning there was only [=a]tm[=a]; he desired 'let me have a wife.'"

In 2. 3. 1 ff. the explicitness of the differences in brahma makes the account of unusual value. It appears that there are two forms of brahma, one is mortal, with form; the other is immortal, without form. Whatever is other than air and the space between (heaven and earth) is mortal and with form. This is being, its essence is in the sun. On the other hand, the essence of the immortal is the person in the circle (of the sun). In man's body breath and ether are the immortal, the essence of which is the person in the eye. There is a visible and invisible brahma ([=a]tm[=a]); the real brahma is incomprehensible and is described only by negations (3. 4. 1; 9. 26). The highest is the Imperishable (neuter), but this sees, hears, and knows. It is in this that ether (as above) is woven (3. 8. 11). After death the wise man goes to the world of the gods (1. 5. 16); he becomes the [=a]tm[=a] of all beings, just like that deity (1. 5. 20); he becomes identical ('how can one know the knower?' vijñ[=a]tar) in 2. 4. 12-13; and according to 3. 2. 13, the doctrine of sams[=a]ra is extolled ("they talked of karma, extolled karma secretly"), as something too secret to be divulged easily, even to priests.

That different views are recognized is evident from Taitt. 2. 6: "If one knows brahma as asat he becomes only asat (non-existence); if he knows that 'brahma is' (i.e., a sad brahma), people know him as thence existing." Personal [=a]tm[=a] is here insisted on ("He wished 'may I be many'"); and from [=a]tm[=a], the conscious brahma, in highest heaven, came the ether (2. 1, 6). Yet, immediately afterwards: "In the beginning was the non-existent; thence arose the existent; and That made for himself an ego (spirit, conscious life, [=a]tm[=a]; tad [=a]tm[=a]nain svayam akuruta, 2. 7). In man brahma is the sun-brahma. Here too one finds the brahma[n.]a[h.] parimaras (3. 10. 4 = K[=a]ush[=i]t. 2. 12, d[=a]iva), or extinction of gods in brahma. But what that brahma is, except that it is bliss, and that man after death reaches 'the bliss-making [=a]tm[=a],' it is impossible to say (3. 6; 2. 8). Especially as the departed soul 'eats and sits down singing' in heaven (3. 10. 5).

The greatest discrepancies in eschatology occur perhaps in the [=A]itareya [=A]ranyaka. After death one either "gets brahma" (i. 3. 1. 2), "comes near to the immortal spirit" (1. 3. 8. 14), or goes to the "heavenly world." Knowledge here expressly conditions the hereafter; so much so that it is represented not (as above) that fools go to heaven and return, but that all, save the very highest, are to recognize a personal creator (Praj[=a]pati) in breath (=ego=brahma), and then they will "go to the heavenly world" (2. 3. 8. 5), "become the sun" (2. 1. 8. 14), or "go to gods" (2. 2. 4. 6). Moreover after the highest wisdom has been revealed, and the second class of men has been disposed of, the author still returns to the 'shining sky,' svarga, as the best promise (3). Sinners are born again (2. 1. 1. 5) on earth, although hell is mentioned (2. 3. 2. 5). The origin of world is water, as usual (2. 1. 8. 1). The highest teaching is that all was [=a]tm[=a], who sent forth worlds (lok[=a]n as[r.]jata), and formed the Person (as guardian of worlds), taking him from waters. Hence [=a]tm[=a], Praj[=a]pati (of the second-class thinkers), and brahma are the same. Knowledge is brahma (2. 4. 1. 1; 6. 1. 5-7).

In the Kena, where the best that can be said in regard to brahma is that he is tadvana, the one that 'likes this' (or, perhaps, is 'like this'), there is no absorption into a world-spirit. The wise 'become immortal'; 'by knowledge one gets immortality'; 'who knows this stands in heaven' (1. 2; 2. 4; 4. 9). The general results are about those formulated by Whitney in regard to the Katha: knowledge gives continuation of happiness in heaven; the punishment of the unworthy is to continue sams[=a]ra, the round of rebirths. Hell is not mentioned in the [=A]itareya Upanishad itself but in the [=A]ranyaka[23] (2. 3. 2. 5). That, however, a union with the universal [=a]tm[=a] (as well as heaven) is desired, would seem to be the case from several of the passages cited above, notably Brihad [=A]ran., i. 5. 20 (sa eva[.m]vit sarve[s.][=a]m bh[=u]t[=a]n[=a]m [=a]tm[=a] bhavati, Yath[=a] i[s.][=a] devat[=a]ivam sa); 'he that knows this becomes the [=a]tm[=a] of all creatures, as is that divinity so is he'; though this is doubtless the [=a]nandamaya [=a]tm[=a], or joy-making Spirit (T[=a]itt. 2. 8).

Again two forms of brahma are explained (M[=a]it. Up. 6. 15 ff.): There are two forms of brahma, time and not-time. That which was before the sun is not-time and has no parts. Time and parts begin with the sun. Time is the Father-god, the Spirit. Time makes and dissolves all in the Spirit. He knows the Veda who knows into what Time itself is dissolved. This manifest time is the ocean of creatures. But brahma exists before and after time.[24]

As an example of the best style of the Upanishads we will cite a favorite passage (given no less than four times in various versions) where the doctrine of absorption is most distinctly taught under the form of a tale. It is the famous


Y[=a]jñavalkya had two wives, M[=a]itrey[=i] and K[=a]ty[=a]yani. Now M[=a]itrey[=i] was versed in holy knowledge (brahma), but K[=a]ty[=a]yani had only such knowledge as women have. But when Y[=a]jñavalkya was about to go away into the forest (to become a hermit), he said: 'M[=a]itrey[=i], I am going away from this place. Behold, I will make a settlement between thee and that K[=a]ty[=a]yani.' Then said M[=a]itrey[=i]: 'Lord, if this whole earth filled with wealth were mine, how then? should I be immortal by reason of this wealth?' 'Nay,' said Y[=a]jñavalkya. 'Even as is the life of the rich would be thy life; by reason of wealth one has no hope of immortality.' Then said M[=a]itrey[=i]: 'With what I cannot be immortal, what can I do with that? whatever my Lord knows even that tell me.' And Y[=a]jñavalkya said: 'Dear to me thou art, indeed, and fondly speakest. Therefore I will explain to thee and do thou regard me as I explain.' And he said: 'Not for the husband's sake is a husband dear, but for the ego's sake is the husband dear. Not for the wife's sake is a wife dear; but for the ego's sake is a wife dear; not for the son's sake are sons dear, but for the ego's sake are sons dear; not for wealth's sake is wealth dear, but for the ego's sake is wealth dear; not for the sake of the Brahman caste is the Brahman caste dear, but for the sake of the ego is the Brahman caste dear; not for the sake of the Warrior caste is the Warrior caste dear, but for love of the ego is the Warrior caste dear; not for the sake of the worlds are worlds dear, but for the sake of the ego are worlds dear; not for the sake of gods are gods dear, but for the ego's sake are gods dear; not for the sake of bh[=u]ts (spirits) are bh[=u]ts dear, but for the ego's sake are bhuts dear; not for the sake of anything is anything dear, but for love of one's self (ego) is anything (everything) dear; the ego (self) must be seen, heard, apprehended, regarded, M[=a]itrey[=i], for with the seeing, hearing, apprehending, and regarding of the ego the All is known…. Even as smoke pours out of a fire lighted with damp kindling wood, even so out of the Great Being is blown out all that which is, Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, S[=a]ma Veda, Atharva (Angiras) Veda, Stories, Tales, Sciences, Upanishads, food, drink, sacrifices; all creatures that exist are blown (breathed) out of this one (Great Spirit) alone. As in the ocean all the waters have their meeting-place; as the skin is the meeting-place of all touches; the tongue, of all tastes; the nose, of all smells; the mind, of all precepts; the heart, of all knowledges; … as salt cast into water is dissolved so that one cannot seize it, but wherever one tastes it is salty, so this Great Being, endless, limitless, is a mass of knowledge. It arises out of the elements and then disappears in them. After death there is no more consciousness.[26] I have spoken.' Thus said Y[=a]jñavalkya. Then said M[=a]itrey[=i]: 'Truly my Lord has bewildered me in saying that after death there is no more consciousness.' And Y[=a]jñavalkya said: 'I say nothing bewildering, but what suffices for understanding. For where there is as it were duality (dv[=a]itam), there one sees, smells, hears, addresses, notices, knows another; but when all the universe has become mere ego, with what should one smell, see, hear, address, notice, know any one (else)? How can one know him through whom he knows this all, how can he know the knower (as something different)? The ego is to be described by negations alone, the incomprehensible, imperishable, unattached, unfettered; the ego neither suffers nor fails. Thus, M[=a]itrey[=i], hast thou been instructed. So much for immortality.' And having spoken thus Y[=a]jñavalkya went away (into the forest).

Returning to the Upanishad, of which an outline was given in the beginning of this chapter, one finds a state of things which, in general, may be said to be characteristic of the whole Upanishad period. The same vague views in regard to cosmogony and eschatology obtain in all save the outspoken sectarian tracts, and the same uncertainty in regard to man's future fate prevails in this whole cycle.[27] A few extracts will show this. According to the Ch[=a]ndogya (4. 17. 1), a personal creator, the old Father-god of the Br[=a]hmanas, Praj[=a]pati, made the elements proceed from the worlds he had 'brooded' over (or had done penance over, abhyatapat). In 3. 19. 1, not-being was first; this became being (with the mundane egg, etc.). In sharp contradiction (6. 2. 1): 'being was the first thing, it willed,' etc., a conscious divinity, as is seen in ib. 3. 2, where it is a 'deity,' producing elements as 'deities' (ib. 8. 6) which it enters 'with the living [=a]tm[=a],' and so develops names and forms (so T[=a]itt. 2. 7). The latter is the prevailing view of the Upanishad. In 1. 7. 5 ff. the [=a]tm[=a] is the same with the universal [=a]tm[=a]; in 3. 12. 7, the brahma is the same with ether without and within, unchanging; in 3. 13. 7, the 'light above heaven' is identical with the light in man; in 3. 14. 1, all is brahma (neuter), and this is an intelligent universal spirit. Like the ether is the [=a]tm[=a] in the heart, this is brahma (ib. 2 ff.); in 4. 3. air and breath are the two ends (so in the argument above, these are immortal as distinguished from all else); in 4. 10. 5 yad v[=a]v[=a] ka[.m] tad eva kham (brahma is ether); in 4. 15. 1, the ego is brahma; in 5. 18. 1 the universal ego is identified with the particular ego ([=a]tm[=a]); in 6. 8 the ego is the True, with which one unites in dreamless sleep; in 6. 15. 1, into par[=a] devat[=a] or 'highest divinity' enters man's spirit, like salt in water (ib. 13). In 7. 15-26, a view but half correct is stated to be that 'breath' is all, but it is better to know that yo bh[=u]m[=a] tad am[r.]tam, the immortal (all) is infinity, which rests in its own greatness, with a corrective 'but perhaps it doesn't' (yadi v[=a] na). This infinity is ego and [=a]tm[=a].[28]

What is the reward for knowing this? One obtains worlds, unchanging happiness, brahma; or, with some circumnavigation, one goes to the moon, and eventually reaches brahma or obtains the worlds of the blessed (5. 10. 10). The round of existence, sams[=a]ra, is indicated at 6. 16, and expressly stated in 5. 10. 7 (insects have here a third path). Immortality is forcibly claimed: 'The living one dies not' (6. 11. 3). He who knows the sections 7. 15 to 26 becomes [=a]tm[=a]nanda and "lord of all worlds"; whereas an incorrect view gives perishable worlds. In one Upanishad there is a verse (Çvet. 4. 5) which would indicate a formal duality like that of the S[=a]nkhyas;[29] but in general one may say that the Upanishads are simply pantheistic, only the absorption into a world-soul is as yet scarcely formulated. On the other hand, some of the older Upanishads show traces of an atheistic and materialistic (asad) philosophy, which is swallowed up in the growing inclination to personify the creative principle, and ultimately is lost in the erection of a personal Lord, as in the latest Upanishads. This tendency to personify, with the increase of special sectarian gods, will lead again, after centuries, to the rehabilitation of a triad of gods, the trim[=u]rti, where unite Vishnu, Çiva, and, with these, who are more powerful, Brahm[=a], the Praj[=a]pati of the Veda, as the All-god of purely pantheistic systems. In the purer, older form recorded above, the purusha (Person) is sprung from the [=a]tm[=a]. There is no distinction between matter and spirit. Conscious being (sat) wills, and so produces all. Or [=a]tm[=a] comes first; and this is conscious sat and the cause of the worlds; which [=a]tm[=a] eventually becomes the Lord. The [=a]tm[=a] in man, owing to his environment, cannot see whole, and needs the Yoga discipline of asceticism to enable him to do so. But he is the same ego which is the All.

The relation between the absolute and the ego is through will. "This (neuter) brahma willed, 'May I be many,' and created" (Ch[=a]nd., above). Sometimes the impersonal, and sometimes the personal "spirit willed" (T[=a]iit. 2. 6). And when it is said, in Brihad [=A]ran. 1. 4. 1, that "In the beginning ego, spirit, [=a]tm[=a], alone existed," one finds this spirit (self) to be a form of brahma (ib. 10-11). Personified in a sectarian sense, this spirit becomes the divinity Rudra Çiva, the Blessed One (Çvet[=a]çvatara, 3. 5. 11).[30]

In short, the teachers of the Upanishads not only do not declare clearly what they believed in regard to cosmogonic and eschatological matters, but many of them probably did not know clearly what they believed. Their great discovery was that man's spirit was not particular and mortal, but part of the immortal universal. Whether this universal was a being alive and a personal [=a]tm[=a], or whether this personal being was but a transient form of impersonal, imperishable being;[31] and whether the union with being, brahma, would result in a survival of individual consciousness,—these are evidently points they were not agreed upon, and, in all probability, no one of the sages was certain in regard to them. Crass identifications of the vital principle with breath, as one with ether, which is twice emphasized as one of the two immortal things, were provisionally accepted. Then breath and immortal spirit were made one. Matter had energy from the beginning, brahma; or was chaos, asat, without being. But when asat becomes sat, that sat becomes brahma, energized being, and to asat there is no return. In eschatology the real (spirit, or self) part of man (ego) either rejoices forever as a conscious part of the conscious world-self, or exists immortal in brahma—imperishable being, conceived as more or less conscious.[32]

The teachers recognize the limitations of understanding: "The gods are in Indra, Indra is in the Father-god, the Father-god (the Spirit) is in brahma"—"But in what is brahma?" And the answer is, "Ask not too much" (Brihad. [=A]ran. Up. 3. 6).

These problems will be those of the future formal philosophy. Even the Upanishads do not furnish a philosophy altogether new. Their doctrine of karma their identification of particular ego and universal ego, is not original. The 'breaths,' the 'nine doors,' the 'three qualities,' the purusha as identical with ego, are older even than the Br[=a]hmanas (Scherman, loc. cit. p. 62).

It is not a new philosophy, it is a new religion that the Upanishads offer.[33] This is no religion of rites and ceremonies, although the cult is retained as helpful in disciplining and teaching; it is a religion for sorrowing humanity. It is a religion that comforts the afflicted, and gives to the soul 'that peace which the world cannot give.' In the sectarian Upanishads this bliss of religion is ever present. "Through knowing Him who is more subtile than subtile, who is creator of everything, who has many forms, who embraces everything, the Blessed Lord—one attains to peace without end" (Çvet. 4. 14-15). These teachers, who enjoin the highest morality ('self-restraint, generosity, and mercy' are God's commandments in Brihad [=A]ran. 5. 2) refuse to be satisfied with virtue's reward, and, being able to obtain heaven, 'seek for something beyond.' And this they do not from mere pessimism, but from a conviction that they will find a joy greater than that of heaven, and more enduring, in that world where is "the light beyond the darkness" (Çvet. 3. 8); "where shines neither sun, moon, stars, lightning, nor fire, but all shines after Him that shines alone, and through His light the universe is lighted" (Mund. 2. 2. 10). This, moreover, is not a future joy. It is one that frees from perturbation in this life, and gives relief from sorrow. In the Ch[=a]ndogya (7. 1. 3) a man in grief comes seeking this new knowledge of the universal Spirit; "For," says he, "I have heard it said that he who knows the Spirit passes beyond grief." So in the [=I]ç[=a], though this is a late sectarian work, it is asked, "What sorrow can there be for him to whom Spirit alone has become all things?' (7). Again, "He that knows the joy of brahma, whence speech with mind turns away without apprehending it, fears not" (T[=a]itt. 2. 4); for "fear comes only from a second" (Brihad [=A]ran. Up. 1. 4. 2), and when one recognizes that all is one he no longer fears death (ib. 4. 4. 15).

Such is the religion of these teachers. In the quiet assumption that life is not worth living, they are as pessimistic as was Buddha. But if, as seems to be the case, the Buddhist believed in the eventual extinction of his individuality, their pessimism is of a different sort. For the teacher of the Upanishads believes that he will attain to unending joy; not the rude happiness of 'heaven-seekers,' but the unchanging bliss of immortal peace. For him that wished it, there was heaven and the gods. These were not denied; they were as real as the "fool" that desired them. But for him that conquered passion, and knew the truth, there was existence without the pain of desire, life without end, freedom from rebirth. The spirit of the sage becomes one with the Eternal; man becomes God.

* * * * *


[Footnote 1: Compare Çal. Br. ii. 4. 2. 1-6, where the Father-god gives laws of conduct; and Kaush[=i]taki Brahmana Upanishad, 3. 8: "This spirit (breath) is guardian of the world, the lord of the world; he is my spirit" (or, myself), sa ma [=a]tm[=a]. The Brahmanic priest teaches that he is a god like other gods, and goes so far as to say that he may be united with a god after death. The Upanishad philosopher says 'I am God.']

[Footnote 2: Compare Scherman, Philosophische Hymnen, p.
93; above, p. 156.]

[Footnote 3: Or, in other words, the thought of the
Brahmanic period (not necessarily of extant Br[=a]hmanas) is
synchronous with part of the Vedic collection.]

[Footnote 4: The last additions to this class of literature would, of course, conform in language to their models, just as the late Vedic Mantras conform as well as their composers can make them to the older song or chandas style.]

[Footnote 5: Cited by Müller in SBE. i. Introd. p.

[Footnote 6: Compare Weber, Ind. Lit. p. 171; Müller,
loc. cit. p. lxviii.]

[Footnote 7: The relation between the Br[=a]hmanas (ritual works discussed in the last chapter) and the early Upanishads will be seen better with the help of a concrete example. As has been explained before, Rig Veda means to the Hindu not only the 'Collection' of hymns, but all the library connected with this collection; for instance, the two Br[=a]hmanas (of the Rig Veda), namely, the Aitareya and the K[=a]ush[=i]taki (or Ç[=a]nkh[=a]yana). Now, each of these Br[=a]hmanas concludes with an [=A]ranyaka, that is, a Forest-Book (ara[n.]ya, forest, solitude); and in each Forest Book is an Upanishad. For example, the third book of the K[=a]ush[=i]taki [=A]ranyaka is the K[=a]ush[=i]taki Upanishad. So the Ch[=a]ndogya and Brihad [=A]ranyaka belong respectively to the S[=a]man and Yajus.]

[Footnote 8: This teaching is ascribed to Ç[=a]ndilya, to whose heresy, as opposed to the pure Vedantic doctrinc of Çankara, we shall have to revert in a later chapter. The heresy consists, in a word, in regarding the individual spirit as at any time distinct from the Supreme Spirit, though Ç[=a]ndilya teaches that it is ultimately absorbed into the latter.]

[Footnote 9: "God' Who' is air, air (space) is God 'Who'," as if one said 'either is aether.']

[Footnote 10: 'Did penance over,' as one doing penance remains in meditation. 'Brooded' is Müller's apt word for this abhi-tap.]

[Footnote 11: Compare Brihad [=A]ran. Up. 6. 3. 7.]

[Footnote 12: This is the karma or sams[=a]ra doctrine.]

[Footnote 13: In J.U.B. alone have we noticed the formula asserting that 'both being and not-being existed in the beginning' (1. 53. 1; JAOS. XVI. 130).]

[Footnote 14: Opposed is 3. 19. 1 and T[=a]itt. Up. 2. 7. 1 (Br. II. 2. 9. 1, 10): "Not-being was here in the beginning. From it arose being." And so Çat. Br. VI. 1. 1. 1 (though in word only, for here not-being is the seven spirits of God!)]

[Footnote 15: As the Vedic notion of not-being existing
before being is refuted, so the Atharvan homage to Time as
Lord is also derided (Çvet. 6) in the Upanishads. The
supreme being is above time, as he is without parts (ib.).
In this later Upanishad wisdom, penance, and the grace of
God are requisite to know brahma.]

[Footnote 16: This Vedic [Greek: Adgos] doctrine is
conspicuous in the Br[=a]hmana. Compare Çat. Br. VII. 5.
2. 21: "V[=a]c ([Greek: Adgos]) is the Unborn one; from
V[=a]c the all-maker made creatures." See Weber, Ind.
. IX. 477 ff.]

[Footnote 17: Compare J.U.B. i. 56. 1, 'Water (alone)
existed in the beginning.' This is the oldest and latest
Hindu explanation of the matter of the physical universe.
From the time of the Vedas to mediaeval times, as is
recorded by the Greek travellers, water is regarded as the
original element.]

[Footnote 18: The Gandh[=a]ra might indicate a late
geographical expansion as well as an early heritage, so that
this is not conclusive.]

[Footnote 19: Gough, Philosophy of the Upanishads, has sought to show that the pure Vedantism of Çankara is the only belief taught in the Upanishads, ignoring the weight of those passages that oppose his (in our view) too sweeping assertion.]

[Footnote 20: See the Parimara described, [=A]it. Br. VIII. 28. Here brahma is wind, around which die five divinities—lightning in rain, rain in moon, moon in sun, sun in fire, fire in wind—and they are reborn in reverse order. The 'dying' is used as a curse. The king shall say, 'When fire dies in wind then may my foe die,' and he will die; so when any of the other gods dies around brahma.]

[Footnote 21: Compare sterben, starve.]

[Footnote 22: The androgynous creator of the Br[=a]hmanas.]

[Footnote 23: We cannot, however, quite agree with Whitney
who, loc. cit. p. 92, and Journal, xiii, p. ciii ff.,
implies that belief in hell comes later than this period.
This is not so late a teaching. Hell is Vedic and

[Footnote 24: This, in pantheistic style, is expressed thus
(Çvet. 4): "When the light has arisen there is no day no
night, neither being nor not-being; the Blessed One alone
exists there. There is no likeness of him whose name is
Great Glory."]

[Footnote 25: Brihad [=A]ranyaka Upanishad, 2.4; 4. 5.]

[Footnote 26: Na pretya sa[.m]jñ[=a] 'sti.]

[Footnote 27: Some of the Upanishads have been tampered with, so that all of the contradictions may not be due to the composers. Nevertheless, as the uncertainty of opinion in regard to cosmogony is quite as great as that in respect of absorption, all the vagueness cannot properly be attributed to the efforts of later systematizers to bring the Upanishads into their more or less orthodox Vedantism.]

[Footnote 28: In 4. 10. 5 kam is pleasure, one with ether as brahma, not as wrongly above, p. 222, the god Ka.]

[Footnote 29: This Upanishad appears to be sectarian, perhaps an early Çivaite tract (dualistic), if the allusion to Rudra Çiva, below, be accepted as original.]

[Footnote 30: As is foreshadowed in the doctrine of grace by V[=a]c in the Rig Veda, in the Çvet, the Katha, and the Mund. Upanishads (K. 2. 23; M. 3. 2. 3), but nowhere else, there enters, with the sectarian phase, that radical subversion of the Upanishad doctrine which becomes so powerful at a later date, the teaching that salvation is a gift of God. "This Spirit is not got by wisdom; the Spirit chooses as his own the body of that man whom He chooses."]

[Footnote 31: See above. As descriptive of the immortal conscious Spirit, there is the famous verse: "If the slayer thinks to slay, if the slain thinks he is slain; they both understand not; this one (the Spirit) slays not, and is not slain" (Katha, 2. 19); loosely rendered by Emerson, 'If the red slayer think he slays,' etc.]

[Footnote 32: The fact remarked by Thibaut that radically different systems of philosophy are built upon the Upanishads is enough to show how ambiguous are the declarations of the latter.]

[Footnote 33: Compare Barth, Religions, p. 76.]

* * * * *



For a long time after the Vedic age there is little that gives one an insight into the views of the people. It may be presumed, since the orthodox systems never dispensed with the established cult, that the form of the old Vedic creed was kept intact. Yet, since the real belief changed, and the cult became more and more the practice of a formality, it becomes necessary to seek, apart from the inherited ritual, the faith which formed the actual religion of the people. Inasmuch as this phase of Hindu belief has scarcely been touched upon elsewhere, it may be well to state more fully the object of the present chapter.

We have shown above that the theology of the Vedic period had resulted, before its close, in a form of pantheism, which was accompanied, as is attested by the Atharva Veda, with a demonology and witch-craft religion, the latter presumably of high antiquity. Immediately after this come the esoteric Br[=a]hmanas, in which the gods are, more or less, figures in the eyes of the priests, and the form of a Father-god rises into chief prominence, being sometimes regarded as the creative force, but at all times as the moral authority in the world. At the end of this period, however, and probably even before this period ended, there is for the first time, in the Upanishads, a new religion, that, in some regards, is esoteric. Hitherto the secrets of religious mysteries had been treated as hidden priestly wisdom, not to be revealed. But, for the most part, this wisdom is really nonsense; and when it is said in the Br[=a]hmanas, at the end of a bit of theological mystery, that it is a secret, or that 'the gods love that which is secret,' one is not persuaded by the examples given that this esoteric knowledge is intellectually valuable. But with the Upanishads there comes the antithesis of inherited belief and right belief. The latter is public property, though it is not taught carelessly. The student is not initiated into the higher wisdom till he is drilled in the lower. The most unexpected characters appear in the rôle of instructors of priests, namely, women, kings, and members of the third caste, whose deeper wisdom is promulgated oftentimes as something quite new, and sometimes is whispered in secret. Pantheism, sams[=a]ra,[1] and the eternal bliss of the individual spirit when eventually it is freed from further transmigration,—these three fundamental traits of the new religion are discussed in such a way as to show that they had no hold upon the general public, but they were the intellectual wealth of a few. Some of the Upanishads hide behind a veil of mystery; yet many of them, as Windisch has said, are, in a way, popular; that is, they are intended for a general public, not for priests alone. This is especially the case with the pantheistic Upanishads in their more pronounced form. But still it is only the very wise that can accept the teaching. It is not the faith of the people.

Epic literature, which is the next living literature of the Brahmans, after the Upanishads, takes one, in a trice, from the beginnings of a formal pantheism, to a pantheism already disintegrated by the newer worship of sectaries. Here the impersonal [=a]tm[=a], or nameless Lord, is not only an anthropomorphic Çiva, as in the late Upanishads, where the philosophic brahma is equated with a long recognized type of divinity, but [=a]tm[=a] is identified with the figure of a theomorphic man.

Is there, then, nothing with which to bridge this gulf?

In our opinion the religion of the law-books, as a legitimate phase of Hindu religion, has been too much ignored. The religion of Upanishad and Ved[=a]nta, with its attractive analogies with modern speculation, has been taken as illustrative of the religion of a vast period, to the discrediting of the belief represented in the manuals of law. To these certainly the name of literature can scarcely be applied, but in their rapport with ordinary life they will be found more apt than are the profounder speculations of the philosophers to reflect the religious belief taught to the masses and accepted by them.

The study of these books casts a broad light upon that interval between the Vedic and epic periods wherein it is customary to imagine religion as being, in the main, cult or philosophy. Nor does the interest cease with the yield of necessarily scanty yet very significant facts in regard to eschatological and cosmogonic views. The gods themselves are not what they are in the rites of the cunning priests or in the dogmas of the sages. In the Hindu law there is a reversion to Vedic belief; or rather not a reversion, but here one sees again, through the froth of rites and the murk of philosophy, the under-stream of faith that still flows from the old fount, if somewhat discolored, and waters the heart of the people.

At just what time was elaborated the stupendous system of rites, which are already traditional in the Br[=a]hmanas, can never be known. Some of these rites have to do with special ceremonies, such as the royal inauguration, some are stated soma-sacrifices.[2] Opposed to these soma-feasts is the simpler and older fire-cult, which persists in the house-rituals. All of these together make up a sightly array of sacrifices.[3] The soma-ritual is developed in the Br[=a]hmanas. But with this class of works there must have been from ancient times another which treated of the fire-ritual, and of which the more modern representatives are the extant S[=u]tras. It is with S[=u]tras that legal literature begins, but these differ from the ritualistic S[=u]tras. Yet both are full of religious meat. In these collections, even in the more special, there is no arrangement that corresponds to western ideas of order. In a completed code, for example, there is a rough distribution of subjects under different heads, but the attempt is only tentative, and each work presents the appearance of a heterogeneous mass of regulations and laws, from which one must pick out the law for which he is seeking. The earlier legal works were in prose; the later evolved codes, of which there is a large number, in metre. It is in these two classes of house-ritual and law-ritual, which together constitute what is called Smriti, tradition-ritual (in distinction from the so-called Çruti, revelation-ritual), that one may expect to find the religion of the time; not as inculcated by the promoters of mystery, nor yet as disclosed by the philosopher, but as taught (through the priest) to the people, and as accepted by them for their daily guidance in matters of every-day observance. We glance first at the religious observances, for here, as in the case of the great sacrifices, a detailed examination would be of no more value than a collective impression; unless, indeed, one were hunting for folk-lore superstitions, of which we can treat now only in the mass. It is sufficient to understand that, according to the house-ritual (g[r.]hya-s[=u]tra) and the law-ritual (dharma-s[=u]tra, and dharma-ç[=a]stra),[4] for every change in life there was an appropriate ceremony and a religious observance; for every day, oblations (three at least); for every fortnight and season, a sacrifice. Religious formulae were said over the child yet unborn. From the moment of birth he was surrounded with observances.[5] At such and such a time the child's head was shaved; he was taken out to look at the sun; made to eat from a golden spoon; invested with the sacred cord, etc, etc. When grown up, a certain number of years were passed with a Guru, or tutor, who taught the boy his Veda; and to whom he acted as body-servant (a study and office often cut short in the case of Aryans who were not priests). Of the sacraments alone, such as the observances to which we have just alluded, there are no less than forty according to Gautama's laws (the name-rite, eating-rite, etc.). The pious householder who had once set up his own fire, that is, got married, must have spent most of his time, if he followed directions, in attending to some religious ceremony. He had several little rites to attend to even before he might say his prayers in the morning; and since even to-day most of these personal regulations are dutifully observed, one may assume that in the full power of Brahmanhood they were very straitly enforced.[6]

It is, therefore, important to know what these works, so closely in touch with the general public, have to say in regard to religion. What they inculcate will be the popular theology of completed Brahmanism. For these books are intended to give instruction to all the Aryan castes, and, though this instruction filtrates through the hands of the priest, one may be sure that the understanding between king and priest was such as to make the code the real norm of justice and arbiter of religious opinions. For instance, when one reads that the king is a prime divinity, and that, quid pro quo, the priest may be banished, but never may be punished corporally by the king, because the former is a still greater divinity, it may be taken for granted that such was received opinion. When we come to take up the Hinduism of the epic we shall point out that that work contains a religion more popular even than that of the legal literature, for one knows that this latter phase of religion was at first not taught at all, but grew up in the face of opposition. But for the present, before the rise of epic 'Hinduism,' and before taking up the heretical writings, it is a great gain to be able to scan a side of religion that may be called popular in so far as it evidently is the faith which not only was taught to the masses, but which, as is universally assumed in the law, the masses accept; whereas philosophers alone accept the [=a]tm[=a] religion of the Upanishads, and the Br[=a]hmanas are not intended for the public at all, but only for initiated priests.

What, then, is the religious belief and the moral position of the Hindu law-books? In how far has philosophy affected public religion, and in what way has a reconciliation been affected between the contradictory beliefs in regard to the gods; in regard to the value of works on the one hand, and of knowledge on the other; in regard to hell as a means of punishment for sin on the one hand, and reincarnation (sams[=a]ra) on the other; in regard to heaven as a reward of good deeds on the one hand, and absorption into God on the other; in regard to a personal creator on the one hand, and a First Cause without personal attributes on the other?

For the philosophical treatises are known and referred to in the early
codes; so that, although the completed systems post-dated the
S[=u]tras, the cosmical and theological speculations of the earlier
Upanishads were familiar to the authors of the legal systems.

The first general impression produced by a perusal of the law-books is that the popular religion has remained unaffected by philosophy. And this is correct in so far as that it must be put first in describing the codes, which, in the main, in keeping the ancient observances, reflect the inherited faith. When, therefore, one says that pantheism[7] succeeded polytheism in India, he must qualify the assertion. The philosophers are pantheists, but what of the vulgar? Do they give up polytheism; are they inclined to do so, or are they taught to do so? No. For there is no formal abatement in the rigor of the older creed. Whatever the wise man thought, and whatever in his philosophy was the instruction which he imparted to his peers, when he dealt with the world about him he taught his intellectual inferiors a scarcely modified form of the creed of their fathers. How in his own mind this wise man reconciled the two sets of opinion has been shown above. The works of sacrifice, with all the inherited belief implied by them, were for him preparatory studies. The elasticity of his philosophy admitted the whole world of gods, as a temporary reality, into his pantheistic scheme. It was, therefore, neither the hypocrisy of the Roman augur, nor the fear of results that in his teaching held him to the inheritance he had received. Gods, ghosts, demons, and consequently sacrifices, rites, ordeals, and formulae were not incongruous with his philosophical opinions. He himself believed in these spiritual powers and in the usefulness of serving them. It is true that he believed in their eventual doom, but so far as man was concerned they were practically real. There was, therefore, not only no reason why the sage should not inculcate the old rites, but there was every reason why he should. Especially in the case of pious but ignorant people, whose wisdom was not yet developed to a full appreciation of divine relativity, was it incumbent on him to keep them, the lower castes, to the one religion that they could comprehend.

It is thus that the apparent inconsistency in exoteric and esoteric beliefs explains itself. For the two are not contradictory. They do not exclude each other. Hindu pantheism includes polytheism with its attendant patrolatry, demonology, and consequent ritualism.[8]

With rare exceptions it was only the grosser religion that the vulgar could understand; it was only this that they were taught and believed.

Thus the old Vedic gods are revered and worshipped by name. The Sun, Indra, and all the divinities embalmed in ritual, are placated and 'satiated' with offerings, just as they had been satiated from time immemorial. But no hint is given that this is a form; or that the Vedic gods are of less account than they had been. Moreover, it is not in the inherited formulae of the ritual alone that this view is upheld. To be sure, when philosophical speculation is introduced, the Father-god comes to the fore; Brahm[=a][9] sits aloft, indulgently advising his children, as he does in the intermediate stage of the Br[=a]hmanas; and [=a]tm[=a] (brahma) too is recognized to be the real being of Brahm[=a], as in the Upanishads.[10] But none of this touches the practice of the common law, where the ordinary man is admonished to fear Yama's hell and Varuna's bonds, as he would have been admonished before the philosopher grew wiser than the Vedic seers. Only personified Right, Dharma, takes his seat with shadowy Brahm[=a] among the other gods.[11]

What is the speech which the judge on the bench is ordered to repeat to the witnesses? Thus says the law-giver Manu: "When the witnesses are collected together in the court, in the presence of the plaintiff and defendant, the (Brahman) judge should call upon them to speak, kindly addressing them in the following manner: 'Whatever you know has been done in this affair … declare it all. A witness who in testifying speaks the truth reaches the worlds where all is plenty … such testimony is honored by Brahm[=a]. One who in testifying speaks an untruth is, all unwilling, bound fast by the cords of Varuna,[12] till an hundred births are passed.' … (Then, speaking to one witness): 'Spirit (soul) is the witness for the Spirit, and the Spirit is likewise the refuge of the Spirit. Despise not, therefore, thine own spirit (or soul), the highest witness of man. Verily, the wicked think 'no one sees us,' but the gods are looking at them, and also the person within (conscience). Dyaus, Earth, the Waters, (the person in the) heart, Moon, Sun, Fire, Yama, Wind, Night, the twin Twilights, and Dharma know the conduct of all corporeal beings…. Although, O good man, thou regardest thyself, thinking, 'I am alone,' yet the holy one (saint) who sees the evil and the good, stands ever in thy heart. It is in truth god Yama, the son of Vivasvant, who resideth in thy heart; if thou beest not at variance with him (thou needest) not (to) go to the Ganges and to the (holy land of) the Kurus (to be purified).'"

Here there is no abatement in Vedic polytheism, although it is circled round with a thin mist from later teachings. In the same way the ordinary man is taught that at death his spirit (soul) will pass as a manikin out of his body and go to Yama to be judged; while the feasts to the Manes, of course, imply always the belief in the individual activity of dead ancestors. Such expressions as 'The seven daughters of Varuna' (sapta v[=a]ru[n.][=i]r im[=a]s, [=A]çv. Grih. S. 2. 3. 3) show that even in detail the old views are still retained. There is no advance, except in superstitions,[13] on the main features of the old religion. So the same old fear of words is found, resulting in new euphemisms. One must not say 'scull,' kap[=a]la, but call it bhag[=a]la, 'lucky' (Gaut. 9. 21); a factor in the making of African languages also, according to modern travellers. Images of the gods are now over-recognized by the priest, for they must be revered like the gods themselves (ib. 12; P[=a]r. Grih. S. 3. 14. 8. etc.). Among the developed objects of the cult serpents now occupy a prominent place. They are mentioned as worshipful in the Br[=a]hmanas. In the S[=u]tra period offerings are made to snakes of earth, air, and heaven; the serpents are 'satiated' along with gods, plants, demons, etc. (Ç[=a][.n]kh. 4. 9. 3; 15. 4; [=A]çv. 2. 1. 9; 3. 4. 1; P[=a]rask. 2. 14. 9) and blood is poured out to them ([=A]çv. 4. 8. 27.).[14] But other later divinities than those of the earliest Veda, such as Wealth (Kubera), and Dharma, have crept into the ritual. With the Vedic gods appears as a divinity in Kh[=a]d. 1. 5. 31 the love-god K[=a]ma, of the Atharvan; while on the other hand Rudra the beast-lord (Paçupati, Lord of Cattle), the 'kindly' Çiva, appears as 'great god,' whose names are Çankara, Prish[=a]taka, Bhava, Çarva, Ugra, Iç[=a]na (Lord); who has all names and greatness, while he yet is described in the words of the older text as 'the god that desires to kill' ([=A]çv. 2. 2. 2; 4. 8. 9, 19,[15] 29, 32; [=A]it. Br. 3. 34). On the other hand Vishnu is also adored, and that in connection with the [Greek: logos], or V[=a]c (ib. 3. 3. 4). Quite in Upanishad manner—for it is necessary to show that these were then really known—is the formula 'thou art a student of pr[=a][n.]a (Breath,) and art given over to Ka' (ib. 1. 20. 8.), or 'whom?' In [=A]çval[=a]yana no Upanishads are given in the list of literature, which includes the 'Eulogies of men,' Itih[=a]sas, Pur[=a]nas, and even the Mah[=a]bh[=a]rata (3. 3. 1; 4. 4). But in 1. 13. 1, Upanishad-rites (and that of a very domestic nature) are recognized, which would corroborate the explanation of Upanishad given above, as being at first a subsidiary work, dealing with minor points.[16] Something of the sciolism of the Upanishads seems to lie in the prayer that of the four paths on which walk the gods the mortal may be led in that which bestows 'freedom from death' (P[=a]r. 3. 1. 2); and many of the teachers famous in the Upanishads are now revered by name like gods ([=A]çv. 3. 4. 4, etc.).

On turning from these domestic S[=u]tras to the legal S[=u]tras it becomes evident that the pantheistic doctrine of the Upanishads, and in part the Upanishads themselves, were already familiar to the law-makers, and that they influenced, in some degree, the doctrines of the law, despite the retention of the older forms. Not only is sams[=a]ra the accepted doctrine, but the [=a]tm[=a], as if in a veritable Upanishad, is the object of religious devotion. Here, however, this quest is permitted only to the ascetic, who presumably has performed all ritualistic duties and passed through the stadia that legally precede his own.

Of all the legal S[=u]tra-writers Gautama is oldest, and perhaps is pre-buddhistic. Turning to his work one notices first that the M[=i]m[=a]msist is omitted in the list of learned men (28. 49);[17] but since the Upanishads and Ved[=a]nta are expressly mentioned, it is evident that the author of even the oldest S[=u]tra was acquainted with whatever then corresponded to these works.[18] The opposed teaching of hell versus sams[=a]ra is found in Gautama. But there is rather an interesting attempt to unite them. Ordinarily it is to hell and heaven that reference is made, e.g., 'the one that knows the law obtains the heavenly world' (28. 52); 'if one speak untruth to a teacher, even in thought, even in respect to little things, he slays seven men after and before him' (seven descendants and seven ancestors, 23. 31). So in the case of witnesses: 'heaven (is the fruit) for speaking the truth; otherwise hell' (13. 7); 'for stealing (land) hell' (is the punishment, ib. 17). Now and then comes the philosophical doctrine: 'one does not fall from the world of Brahm[=a]' (9. 74); 'one enters into union and into the same world with Brahm[=a]' (8. 25).

But in 21. 4-6 there occurs the following statement: 'To be an outcast is to be deprived of the works of the twice-born, and hereafter to be deprived of happiness; this some (call) hell.' It is evident here that the expression asiddhis (deprivation of success or happiness) is placed optionally beside naraka (hell) as the view of one set of theologians compared with that of another; 'lack of obtaining success, i.e., reward' stands parallel to 'hell.' In the same chapter, where Manu says that he who assaults a Brahman "obtains hell for one hundred years" (M. xi. 207), Gautama (21. 20) says "for one hundred years, lack of heaven" (asvargyam), which may mean hell or the deprivation of the result of merit, i.e., one hundred years will be deducted from his heavenly life. In this case not a new and better birth but heaven is assumed to be the reward of good acts. Now if one turns to 11. 29-30 he finds both views combined. In the parallel passage in [=A]pastamba only better or worse re-births are promised as a reward for good or evil (2. 5. 11. 10-11); but here it is said: "The castes and orders that remain by their duty, having died, having enjoyed the fruits of their acts, with the remnant of their (merit) obtain re-birth, having an excellent country, caste, and family; having long life, learning, good conduct, wealth, happiness, and wisdom. They of different sort are destroyed in various ways." Here, heavenly joys (such as are implied by ni[h.]çreyasam in 26) are to be enjoyed first, and a good birth afterwards, and by implication one probably has to interpret the next sentence to mean 'they are sent to hell and then re-born in various low births.' This, too, is Manu's rule (below). At this time the sacred places which purify are in great vogue, and in Gautama a list of them is given (19. 14), viz.: "all mountains, all rivers, holy pools, places of pilgrimage (i.e., river-fords, tirth[=a]ni), homes of saints, cow-pens, and altars." Of these the tirthas are particularly interesting, as they later become of great importance, thousands of verses in the epic being devoted to their enumeration and praise.

Gautama says also that ascetics, according to some teachers, need not be householders first (3. 1), and that the Brahman ascetic stays at home during the rainy season, like the heretic monks (ib. 13). If one examine the relative importance of the forms and spirit of religion as taught in this, the oldest dharma-s[=u]tra,[19] he will be impressed at first with the tremendous weight laid on the former as compared with the latter. But, as was said apropos of the Brahmanic literature, one errs who fails to appreciate the fact that these works are intended not to give a summary of religious conduct, but to inculcate ceremonial rules. Of the more importance, therefore, is the occasional pause which is made to insist, beyond peradventure, on the superiority of moral rules. A very good instance of this is found in Gautama. He has a list of venial sins. Since lying is one of the most heinous offences to a Hindu lawgiver, and the penances are severe, all the treatises state formally that an untruth uttered in fun, or when one is in danger, or an oath of the sort implied by Plato: [Greek: aphrodision orkon ou phasin einai],—all these are venial, and so are lies told to benefit a (holy) cow, or to aid a priest; or told from religious motives of any sort without self-interest. This is almost the only example of looseness in morals as taught in the law. But the following case shows most plainly the importance of morality as opposed to formal righteousness. After all the forty sacraments (to which allusion was made above), have been recounted, there are given 'eight good qualities of the soul,' viz., mercy, forbearance, freedom from envy, purity, calmness, correct behavior, freedom from greed and from covetousness. Then follows: "He that has (performed) the forty sacraments but has not the eight good qualities enters not into union with Brahm[=a], nor into the heaven of Brahm[=a].[20] But he that has (performed) only a part of the forty sacraments and has the eight good qualities enters into union with Brahm[=a], and into the heaven of Brahm[=a]." This is as near to heresy as pre-buddhistic Brahmanism permitted itself to come.

In the later legal S[=u]tra of the northern Vasistha[21] occurs a rule which, while it distinctly explains what is meant by liberality, viz., gifts to a priest, also recognizes the 'heavenly reward': "If gifts are given to a man that does not know the Veda the divinities are not satisfied" (3. 8). In the same work (6. 1) 'destruction' is the fate of the sinner that lives without observance of good custom; yet is it said in the same chapter (27): "If a twice-born man dies with the food of a Ç[=u]dra (lowest caste) in his belly, he would become a village pig, or he is born again in that (Ç[=u]dra's) family"; and, in respect to sons begotten when he has in him such food: "Of whom the food, of him are these sons; and he himself would not mount to heaven … he does not find the upward path" (29, 28). In ib. 8. 17 the Brahman that observes all the rules 'does not fall from brahmaloka,' i.e., the locality of Brahm[=a]. Further, in 10. 4: "Let (an ascetic) do away with all (sacrificial) works; but let him not do away with one thing, the Veda; for from doing away with the Veda (one becomes) a Ç[=u]dra." But, in the same chapter: "Let (the ascetic) live at the end of a village, in a temple ('god's house'), in a deserted house, or at the root of a tree; there in his mind studying the knowledge (of the [=a]tm[=a]) … so they cite (verses): 'Sure is the freedom from re-birth in the case of one that lives in the wood with passions subdued … and meditates on the supreme spirit' … Let him not be confined to any custom … and in regard to this (freedom from worldly pursuits) they cite these verses: 'There is no salvation (literally 'release') for a philologist (na çabdaç[=a]str[=a]bhiratasya mokshas), nor for one that delights in catching (men) in the world, nor for one addicted to food and dress, nor for one pleased with a fine house. By means of prodigies, omens, astrology, palmistry, teaching, and talking let him not seek alms … he best knows salvation who (cares for naught)' … (such are the verses). Let him neither harm nor do good to anything…. Avoidance of disagreeable conduct, jealousy, presumption, selfishness, lack of belief, lack of uprightness, self-praise, blame of others, harm, greed, distraction, wrath, and envy, is a rule that applies to all the stadia of life. The Brahman that is pure, and wears the girdle, and carries the gourd in his hand, and avoids the food of low castes fails not of obtaining the world of Brahm[=a]" (ib. 10. 18 ff.). Yama, the Manes, and evil spirits (asuras) are referred to in the following chapter (20, 25); and hell in the same chapter is declared to be the portion of such ascetics as will not eat meat when requested to do so at a feast to the Manes or gods (11. 34),—rather an interesting verse, for in Manu's code the corresponding threat is that, instead of going to hell 'for as long, i.e., as many years, as the beast has hairs,' as here, one shall experience 'twenty-one rebirths,' i.e., the hell-doctrine in terms of sams[=a]ra; while the same image occurs in Manu in the form 'he that slaughters beasts unlawfully obtains as many rebirths as there are hairs on the beast' (v. 35. 38). The passive attitude sometimes ascribed to the Manes is denied; they rejoice over a virtuous descendant (11. 41); a bad one deprives them of the heaven they stand in (16. 36). The authorities on morals are here, as elsewhere, Manu and other seers, the Vedas, and the Father-god, who with Yama gives directions to man in regard to lawful food, etc. (14. 30). The moral side of the code, apart from ritual impurities, is given, as usual, by a list of good and bad qualities (above), while formal laws in regard to theft, murder (especially of a priest), adultery and drunkenness (20. 44; i. 20), with violation of caste-regulations by intercourse with outcasts, are 'great crimes.' Though older than [=A]pastamba, who mentions the P[=u]rva-m[=i]m[=a]ms[=a], Vasistha, too, knows the Ved[=a]nta (3. 17), and the M[=i]m[=a]ms[=a] (vikalpin—tarkin, 3. 20, M. XII. 111).

From the S[=u]tras of B[=a]udh[=a]yana's probably southern school something of additional interest is to be gained. Here 'darkness' takes the place of hell (2. 3. 5. 9), which, however, by a citation is explained (in 2. 2. 3. 34) as 'Yama's hall.' A verse is cited to show that the greatest sin is lack of faith (1. 5. 10. 6) and not going to heaven is the reward of folly (ib. 7); while the reward of virtue is to live in heaven for long (4. 8. 7). The same freedom in regard to ascetics as occurs in other S[=u]tra works is to be found in this author, not in the more suspicious final chapters, but in that part of the work which is accepted as oldest,[22] and agrees with the data found in the Br[=a]hmanas, where the pre-buddhistic monk is called Bhikshu, 'beggar/or Sanny[=a]sin 'he that renounces,' just as these terms are employed in the heretical writings. As among the Jains (and Buddhists), the Brahmanic ascetic carries a few simple utensils, and wanders about from house to house and village to village, begging food. Some authorities (among the Brahmans) say that one may become an ascetic as soon as he has completed his study, though ordinarily this may be done only after passing through the householder stadium. On becoming an ascetic the beggar takes the vow not to injure any living thing (B[=a]udh. II.10.17.2. 11, 29), exactly as the Jain ascetic takes the vow of non-injury. More than this, as will be seen below, the details of the Brahman ascetic's vows are almost identical with those of the Jain ascetic. He vows not to injure living beings, not to lie, not to steal, to be continent, to be liberal; with the five minor vows, not to get angry, to obey the Teacher, not to be rash, to be cleanly and pure in eating.[23] To this ascetic order in the Brahman priesthood may be traced the origin of the heretical monks. Even in the Br[=a]hmanas occur the termini technici of the Buddhist priesthood, notably the Çramana or ascetic monk, and the word buddha, 'awakened' (pratibudh). The 'four orders' are those enumerated as the householder, student, ascetic, and forest-hermit. If one live in all four orders according to rule, and be serene, he will come to peace, that is, salvation ([=A]pastamba, 2. 9. 21. I, 2).

According to this later legal writer, who belongs to Southern India,[24] it is only after one has passed through all the preceding stadia that he may give up works (sacrifice, etc.) and devote himself to seeking the [=a]tm[=a],'wandering about, without caring for earth or heaven, renouncing truth and falsehood, pleasure and pain' (ib. 10, 13). There follows this passage one significant of the opposition between purely Upanishad-ideas and those of the law-givers: 'Acquirement of peace (salvation) depends, it is said, on knowledge; this is opposed by the codes. If on knowledge (depended) acquirement of peace, even here (in this world) one would escape grief' (ib. 14-16). Further, in describing the forest-hermit's austerities (ib. 23. 4 ff.), verses from a Pur[=a]na are cited which are virtually Upanishadic: 'The eight and eighty thousand seers who desired offspring (went) south on Aryaman's path, and obtained (as their reward) graves; (but) the eight and eighty thousand who did not desire offspring (went) north on Aryaman's path and make for themselves immortality,' that is to say 'abandon desire for offspring; and of the two paths (which, as the commentator observes, are mentioned in the Ch[=a]ndogya Upanishad), that which gives immortality instead of death (graves) will be yours.' It is admitted that such ascetics have miraculous powers; but the law-maker emphatically protests in the following S[=u]tra against the supposition that a rule which stands opposed to the received rites (marriage, sacrifice, etc.) is of any power, and asserts that for the future life an endless reward ('fruit'), called in revelation 'heavenly,' is appointed (ib. 8-11). The next chapter, however, limits, as it were, this dogma, for it is stated that immortality is the re-birth of one's self in the body of one's son, and a verse is cited: 'Thou procreatest progeny, and that's thy immortality, O mortal,' with other verses, which teach that sons that attend to the Vedic rites magnify the fame and heaven of their ancestors, who 'live in heaven until the destruction of creation' ([=a] bh[=u]tasamptav[=a]t, 2. 9. 24. 5), But 'according to the Bhavishyat-Pur[=a]na' after this destruction of creation 'they exist again in heaven as the cause of seed' (ib.) 6. And then follows a quotation from the Father-god: 'We live with those people who do these (following) things: (attend to) the three Vedas, live as students, create children, sacrifice to the Manes, do penance, make sacrifice to the gods, practice liberality; he that extols anything else becomes air (or dust) and perishes' (ib.) 8; and further: 'only they that commit sin perish' (not their ancestors).

The animus of this whole passage is apparent. The law-maker has to contend with them that would reject the necessity of following in order the traditional stadia of a priest's life; that imagine that by becoming ascetics without first having passed through the preliminary stadia they can by knowledge alone attain the bliss that is obtained by union with brahma (or Brahm[=a]). In other words the jurist has to contend with a trait eminently anti-Brahmanistic, even Buddhistic. He denies this value of knowledge, and therewith shows that what he wishes to have inculcated is a belief in the temporary personal existence of the Manes; in heaven till the end of the world-order; and the annihilation of the wicked; while he has a confused or mixed opinion in regard to one's own personal immortality, believing on the one hand that there is a future existence in heaven with the gods, and on the other (rather a materialistic view) that immortality is nothing but continued existence in the person of one's descendants, who are virtually one's self in another body: dehatvam ev[=a]'nyat, "only the body is different" (ib) 2. As to cosmogony it is stated to be (not the emanation of an [=a]tm[=a]) but the "emission (creation) of the Father-god and of the seers" (the latter being visible as stars, ib. 13, 14). In this there is plainly a received popular opinion, which reflects the Vedic and Brahmanic stage, and is opposed to the philosophical views of the Upanishads, in other words of the first Vedantic philosophy; while it is mixed up with the late doctrine of the cataclysms, which ruin each succeeding^ creation. The equal annihilation of the wicked (dhvamsanti) and unorthodox (dhvamsate) is to be noticed. They are here subject neither to hell nor to rebirth, but they "become dust and perish" (ib. 8. 9).

Throughout the whole legal literature one will find this same antithesis of views in regard to the fate of good and bad, although it is seldom that annihilation is predicated of the latter. Usually hell or rebirth are their fate—two views, which no one can really reconcile. They are put side by side; exactly as in priestly discussion in India and Europe it still remains an unsettled question as to when the soul becomes immortal.[25] Occidental experience teaches how easy it is for such views to stand together unattacked, although they are the object of speculation. This passage is perhaps, historically, the most satisfactory (as it is philosophically unsatisfactory) that can be cited in answer to the questions that were posed above. But from other parts of legal literature a few more statements may be culled, to illustrate still further the lack of uniformity not only in popular belief, but in the teaching provided for the public. First from the same work of [=A]pastamba, in 2. 11. 29. 9-10 it is said that if a witness in court perjure himself he shall be punished by the king, "and further, in passing to the next world, hell" (is his portion); whereas "(the reward) for truth is heaven, and praise on the part of all creatures." Now, let one compare first ib. 2. 5. 11. 10-11: "Men of low castes are reborn in higher castes in successive births, and men of high castes in low castes, if they respectively perform and neglect their duties." And then this Vedantic passage of the same author (1. 8. 22 ff.): "Let one (as penance for sin) devote himself to the Yoga (mental discipline) which has to do with the highest [=a]tm[=a] … Nothing is known higher than the acquisition of [=a]tm[=a]. We shall (now) cite some [=a]tm[=a]-acquisition-verses, viz.: All living creatures (are) the citadel of him that rests in secret, the indestructible one, the immaculate one. Immortal they that devote themselves to the moveless one who has a movable dwelling … the great one whose body is light, universal, free … the eternal (part) in all creatures, the wise, immortal, unchanging one, limbless, voiceless, formless, touchless, purest, the highest goal. He that everywhere devotes himself to Him ([=a]tm[=a] as Lord), and always lives accordingly; that by virtue of Yoga recognizes Him, the subtile one, shall rejoice in the top of heaven … He, [=a]tm[=a], comprehends all, embraces all, more subtile than a lotus-thread and huger than the earth … From him are created all bodies; he is the root, he the Everlasting, the Eternal One."

This discipline it will be observed is enjoined as penance and to get rid of faults, that is, to subdue the passions. As the same chapter contains a list of the faults which are to be overcome before one "arrives at peace" (salvation) they may be cited here: "Anger, joy, wrath, greed, distraction, injury, threats, lying, over-eating, calumny, envy, sexual desire, and hate, lack of studying [=a]tm[=a], lack of Yoga—the destruction of these (faults) is based on Yoga" (mental concentration). On the other hand: "He that devotes himself, in accordance with the law, to avoiding anger, joy, wrath, greed, distraction, injury, threats, lies, over-eating, calumny and envy; and practices liberality, renunciation, uprightness, kindness, subduing (of the passions), self-control; and is at peace with all creatures; and practices Yoga; and acts in an [=A]ryan (noble) way; and does not hurt anything; and has contentment—qualities which, it is agreed, appertain to all the (four) stadia—he becomes s[=a]rvag[=a]min" (ib. 23.6), that is 'one belonging to the all-pervading' (All-soul). There appears to be a contradiction between the former passage, where Yoga is enjoined on ascetics alone; and this, where Yoga is part of the discipline of all four stadia. But what was in the author's mind was probably that all these vices and moral virtues are enumerated as such for all; and he slips in mental concentration as a virtue for the ascetic, meaning to include all the virtues he knows.

A few further illustrations from that special code which has won for itself a preeminent name, 'the law-book of Manu,'[26] will give in epitome the popular religion as taught to the masses; withal even better than this is taught in the S[=u]tras. For Father Manu's law-book, as the Hindus call it, is a popular Ç[=a]stra or metrical[27] composite of law and religion, which reflects the opinion of Brahmanism in its geographical stronghold, whereas the S[=u]tras emanate from various localities, north and south. To Manu there is but one Holy Land, the Kurus' plain and the region round-about it (near Delhi).

The work takes us forward in time beyond even the latest S[=u]tras, but the content is such as to show that formal Brahmanism in this latest stage still keeps to its old norm and to Brahmanic models.

It deserves therefore to be examined with care from several points of view if one would escape from the belief of the philosopher to the more general teaching. In this popular religion all morality is conditioned by the castes,[28] which is true also to a certain degree of the earlier Sutras, but the evil fruit of this plant is not there quite so ripe as it is in the later code. The enormity of all crimes depends on who commits them, and against whom they are committed. The three upper castes alone have religious privileges. The lowest caste, outcasts, women, and diseased persons are not allowed to hear the holy texts or take part in ceremonies.[29] As to the rites, they are the inherited ones, sacrifices to gods, offerings to Manes and spirits, and all the ceremonies of house and individual, as explained above; with especial and very minute rules of observance for each of the four stadia of a priest's life.[30] There is no hint in any of this of the importance of the knowledge of the [=a]tm[=a]. But in their proper place the rules of morality and the higher philosophical views are taught. The doctrine of re-birth is formally stated, and the attainment of the world of Brahm[=a] (brahma) by union of ceremonies and knowledge is inculcated. The ascetic should seek, by meditation, to go to Brahm[=a] (or brahma) for when he is utterly indifferent, then, both here and after death, he gains everlasting happiness. Therefore he should study the Vedas, but especially the teachings in regard to the Supreme Spirit, and the Upanishads; studying the Ved[=a]nta is a regular part of his final discipline (VI, 74-94). In another part of the work the distinction made in the Upanishads is upheld, that religious acts are of two sorts, one designed to procure bliss, and cause a good man to reach equality with the gods; the other performed without selfish motive; by which latter "even the five elements are overcome," that is, the absorption into brahma is effected. For "among all virtuous acts the knowledge of the spirit, [=a]tm[=a], is highest; through this is obtained even immortality. One that sees spirit in all things and all things in spirit sacrifices to spirit and enters Brahm[=a] (or brahma)" "The spirit (or self) is all divinities; the All is based on spirit." And in Upanishadic vein the Person is then proclaimed as lord of gods, whom "some call fire, some call Manu, some call Indra, some call air, and some call eternal brahma." But though this be the view of the closing verses, yet in the beginning of the work is this Person represented as being produced from a First Cause. It would be out of place here to analyse the conflicting philosophical views of the Manu code. Even his commentators are uncertain whether he belonged to the pantheistic Ved[=a]nta or dualistic S[=a]nkhya school. For them that believe in no Manu the solution is simpler. Although Manu is usually called a Puranic Sankhyan, yet are both schools represented, and that without regard to incongruous teaching. Manu is no more Sankhyan than Vedantic. Indeed in the main part of the work the teaching is clearly more Vedantic. But it suffices here to point out that the [=a]tm[=a]-philosophy and religion is not ignored; it is taught as essential. Nevertheless, it is not taught in such a way as to indicate that it is requisite for the vulgar. On the contrary, it is only when one becomes an ascetic that he is told to devote himself to the pursuit of the knowledge of [=a]tm[=a]. In one passage there is evidence that two replies were given to this fundamental question in regard to works and knowledge. For after enumerating a list of good acts, among which are knowledge and Vedic ceremonies, it is asked which among them most tends to deliverance. The answer is vital. Or it should be, but it is given in an ambiguous form (xii. 85-6): "Amid all these acts the knowledge of self, [=a]tm[=a], is the highest, for it produces immortality. Amid all these acts the one most productive of happiness, both after death and in this life, is the Vedic ceremony."

Knowledge gives real immortality; rites give temporary bliss. The Upanishads teach that the latter is lower than the former, but each answers the question. There were two answers, and Manu gives both. That is the secret of many discrepancies in Hindu rules. The law-giver cannot admit absolutely and once for all that the Vedic ceremony is of no abiding use, as it can be of no use to one that accepts the higher teaching. He keeps it as a training and allows only the ascetic to be a philosopher indeed. But at the same time he gives as a sort of peroration to his treatise some 'elegant extracts' from philosophical works, which he believes theoretically, although practically he will not allow them to influence his ritualism. He is a true Brahman priest.

It is this that is always so annoying in Brahmanic philosophy. For the slavery of tradition is everywhere. Not only does the ritualist, while admitting the force of the philosopher's reasons, remain by Vedic tradition, and in consequence refuse to supplant 'revelation' with the higher wisdom and better religion, which he sees while he will not follow it; but even the philosopher must needs be 'orthodox,' and, since the scriptures themselves are self-contradictory, he is obliged to use his energies not in discovering truth, but in reconciling his ancestors' dogmas, in order to the creation of a philosophical system which shall agree with everything that has been said in the Vedas and Upanishads. When one sees what subtlety and logical acumen these philosophers possessed, he is moved to wonder what might have been the outcome had their minds been as free as those of more liberal Hellas. But unfortunately they were bound to argue within limits, and were as much handicapped in the race of thought as were they that had to conform to the teachings of Rome. For though India had no church, it had an inquisitorial priestly caste, and the unbeliever was an outcast. What is said of custom is true of faith: "Let one walk in the path of good men, the path in which his father walked, in which his grandfathers walked; walking in that path one does no wrong" (Manu iv. 178). Real philosophy, unhampered by tradition, is found only among the heretics and in the sects of a later time.

The gods of old are accepted by the orthodox as a matter of course, although theoretically they are born of the All-god, who is without the need of ceremonial rites. To the other castes the active and most terrible deity is represented as being the priest himself. He not only symbolizes the fire-god, to whom is offered the sacrifice, but he actually is the divinity in person. Hence there is no greater merit than in giving gifts to priests. As to eschatology, opinions are not contrasted any more. They are put side by side. In morality truth, purity, and harmlessness are chiefly inculcated. But the last (ascribed by some scholars to Buddhistic influence) is not permitted to interfere with animal sacrifices.

Some of the rules for the life of a householder will show in brief the moral excellence and theoretical uncertainty of Manu's law-code. The following extracts are from the fourth, the Ten Commandments from the sixth, and the description of the hells (twenty-two in all)[31] from the fourth and twelfth books of Manu's code. These rules may be accepted as a true reflexion of what was taught to the people by stringent Brahmanism as yet holding aloof from Hinduism.

A householder must live without giving any pain (to living creatures). He must perform daily the ceremonies ordained in the Veda. In this way he obtains heaven. Let him never neglect the offerings to seers, gods, spirits (sprites), men, and Manes. Some offer sacrifice only in their organs of sense (not in external offerings); some by knowledge alone. Let him not explain law and rites to the Ç[=u]dra (slave) caste; if he does so, he sinks into the hell Boundless. Let him not take presents from an avaricious king who disobeys the law-codes; if he does so, he goes to twenty-one hells (called Darkness, Dense-darkness, Frightful, Hell, Thread of Death, Great Hell, Burning, Place of Spikes, Frying-pan, River of Hell, etc., etc., etc.). Let him never despise a warrior, a snake, or a priest. Let him never despise himself. Let him say what is true and what is agreeable, but not disagreeable truth or agreeable false-hood. Let him not dispute with anybody, but let him say 'very well.' Let him not insult anybody. Remembering his former births, and studying the Veda again and again, he gets endless happiness. Let him avoid unbelief and censure of the Vedas, reviling of gods, hatred, pride, anger, and cruelty. He that even threatens a priest will go to the hell Darkness for one hundred years; if he strikes him he will be born in twenty-one sinful rebirths (according to another passage in the eleventh book he goes to hell for a thousand years for the latter offence). Priests rule the world of gods. But deceitful, hypocritical priests go to hell. Let the householder give gifts, and he will be rewarded. One that gives a garment gets a place in the moon; a giver of grain gets eternal happiness; a giver of the Veda gets union with Brahm[=a] (brahma; these gifts, of course, are all to priests). He that gives respectfully and he that receives respectfully go to heaven; otherwise both go to hell. Let him, without giving pain to any creature, slowly pile up virtue, as does an ant its house, that he may have a companion in the next world. For after death neither father, nor mother, nor son, nor wife, nor relations are his companions; his virtue alone remains with him. The relations leave the dead body, but its virtue follows the spirit: with his virtue as his companion he will traverse the darkness that is hard to cross; and virtue will lead him to the other world with a luminous form and ethereal body. A priest that makes low connections is reborn as a slave. The Father-god permits a priest to accept alms even from a bad man. For fifteen years the Manes refuse to accept food from one that despises a free gift. A priest that sins should be punished (that is, mulcted, a priest may not be punished corporally), more than an ordinary man, for the greater the wisdom the greater the offence. They that commit the Five Great Sins live many years in hells, and afterwards obtain vile births; the slayer of a priest becomes in turn a dog, a pig, an ass, a camel, a cow, a goat, a sheep, etc, etc. A priest that drinks intoxicating liquor becomes various insects, one after another. A priest that steals becomes a spider, snake, etc, etc. By repeating sinful acts men are reborn in painful and base births, and are hurled about in hells; where are sword-leaved trees, etc, and where they are eaten, burned, spitted, and boiled; and they receive births in despicable wombs; rebirth to age, sorrow, and unquenchable death. But to secure supreme bliss a priest must study the Veda, practice austerity, seek knowledge, subdue the senses, abstain from injury, and serve his Teacher. Which of these gives highest bliss? The knowledge of the spirit is the highest and foremost, for it gives immortality. The performance of Vedic ceremonies is the most productive of happiness here and hereafter. The Ten Commandments for the twice-born are: Contentment, patience, self-control, not to steal, purity, control of passions, devotion (or wisdom), knowledge, truthfulness, and freedom from anger. These are concisely summarized again in the following: 'Manu declared the condensed rule of duty for (all) the four castes to be: not to injure a living thing; to speak the truth; not to steal; to be pure; to control the passions' (VI. 92; X. 63). The 'non-injury' rule does not apply, of course, to sacrifice (ib. III. 268). In the epic the commandments are given sometimes as ten, sometimes as eight.

In order to give a completed exposition of Brahmanism we have passed beyond the period of the great heresies, to which we must soon revert. But, before leaving the present division of the subject, we select from the mass of Brahmanic domestic rites, the details of which offer in general little that is worth noting, two or three ceremonies which possess a more human interest, the marriage rite, the funeral rite, and those strange trials, known among so many other peoples, the ordeals. We sketch these briefly, wishing merely to illustrate the religious side of each ceremony, as it appears in one or more of its features.


Traces of exogamy may be suspected in the bridegroom's driving off with his bride, but no such custom, of course, is recognized in the law. On the contrary, the groom is supposed to belong to the same village, and special rites are enjoined 'if he be from another village.' But again, in the early rule there is no trace of that taint of family which the totem-scholars of to-day cite so loosely from Hindu law. The girl is not precluded because she belongs to the same family within certain degrees. The only restriction in the House-rituals is that she shall have had "on the mother's and father's side" wise, pious, and honorable ancestors for ten generations ([=A]çvl. I. 5). Then comes the legal restriction, which some scholars call 'primitive,' that the wife must not be too nearly related. The girl has her own ordeal (not generally mentioned among ordeals!): The wooer that thus selects his bride (this he does if one has not been found already either by his parents or by his own inclination) makes eight balls of earth and calls on the girl to choose one ('may she get that to which she is born'). If she select a ball made from the earth of a field that bears two crops, she (or her child) will be rich in grain; if from the cow-stall, rich in cattle; if from the place of sacrifice, godly; if from a pool that does not dry, gifted; if from the gambler's court, devoted to gambling; if from cross-roads, unfaithful; if from a barren field, poor in grain; if from the burying-ground, destructful of her husband. There are several forms of making a choice, but we confine ourselves to the marriage.[32] In village-life the bridegroom is escorted to the girl's house by young women who tease him. The bridegroom presents presents to the bride, and receives a cow. The bridegroom takes the bride's hand, saying 'I take thy hand for weal' (Rig Veda, X. 85. 36), and leads her to a certain stone, on which she steps first with the right foot (toe). Then three times they circumambulate the fire, keeping it to the right, an old Aryan custom for many rites, as in the deisel of the Kelts; the bride herself offering grain in the fire, and the groom repeating more Vedic verses. They then take together the seven solemn steps (with verses),[33] and so they are married. The groom, if of another village, now drives away with the bride, and has ready Vedic verses for every stage of the journey. After sun-down the groom points out the north star, and admonishes the bride to be no less constant and faithful. Three or twelve days they remain chaste, some say one night; others say, only if he be from another village. The new husband must now see to the house-fire, which he keeps ever burning, the sign of his being a householder.


Roth has an article in the Journal of the German Oriental Society (VIII. 467) which is at once a description of one of the funeral hymns o£ the Rig Veda (X. 18) with the later ritual, and a criticism of the bearing of the latter on the former.[34] He shows here that the ritual, so far from having induced the hymn, totally changes it. The hymn was written for a burial ceremony. The later ritual knows only cremation. The ritual, therefore, forces the hymn into its service, and makes it a cremation-hymn. This is a very good (though very extreme) example of the difference in age between the early hymns of the Rig Veda and the more modern ritual. Müller, ib. IX. p. I (sic), has given a thorough account of the later ritual and ritualistic paraphernalia. We confine ourselves here to the older ceremony.

The scene of the Vedic hymn is as follows: The friends and relatives stand about the corpse of a married man. By the side of the corpse sits the widow. The hymn begins: "Depart, O Death, upon some other pathway, upon thy path, which differs from the path of gods … harm not our children, nor our heroes…. These living ones are separated from the dead; successful today was our call to the gods. (This man is dead, but) we go back to dancing and to laughter, extending further our still lengthened lives." Then the priest puts a stone between the dead and living: "I set up a wall for the living, may no one of these come to this goal; may they live an hundred full harvests, and hide death with this stone…."

The matrons assembled are now bid to advance without tears, and make their offerings to the fire, while the widow is separated from the corpse of her husband and told to enter again into the world of the living. The priest removes the dead warrior's bow from his hand: "Let the women, not widows, advance with the ointment and holy butter; and without tears, happy, adorned, let them, to begin with, mount to the altar (verse 7, p. 274, below). Raise thyself, woman, to the world of the living; his breath is gone by whom thou liest; come hither; of the taker of thy hand (in marriage), of thy wooer thou art become the wife[35] (verse 8). I take the bow from the hand of the dead for our (own) lordship, glory, and strength." Then he addresses the dead: "Thou art there, and we are here; we will slay every foe and every attacker (with the power got from thee). Go thou now to Mother Earth, who is wide opened, favorable, a wool-soft maiden to the good man; may she guard thee from the lap of destruction. Open, O earth, be not oppressive to him; let him enter easily; may he fasten close to thee. Cover him like a mother, who wraps her child in her garment. Roomy and firm be the earth, supported by a thousand pillars; from this time on thou (man) hast thy home and happiness yonder; may a sure place remain to him forever. I make firm the earth about thee; may I not be harmed in laying the clod here; may the fathers hold this pillar for thee, and Yama make thee a home yonder."

In the Atharva Veda mention is made of a coffin, but none is noticed here.

Hillebrandt (loc. cit. xl. 711) has made it probable that the eighth verse belongs to a still older ritual, according to which this verse is one for human sacrifice, which is here ignored, though the text is kept.[36] 'Just so the later ritual keeps all this text, but twists it into a crematory rite. For in the later period only young children are buried. Of burial there was nothing for adults but the collection of bones and ashes. At this time too the ritual consists of three parts, cremation, collection of ashes, expiation. How are these to be reconciled with this hymn? Very simply. The rite is described and verses from the hymn are injected into it without the slightest logical connection. That is the essence of all the Brahmanic ritualism. The later rite is as follows: Three altars are erected, northwest, southwest, and southeast of a mound of earth. In the fourth corner is the corpse; at whose feet, the widow. The brother of the dead man, or an old servant, takes the widow's hand and causes her to rise while the priest says "Raise thyself, woman, to the world of the living." Then follows the removal of the bow; or the breaking of it, in the case of a slave. The body is now burned, while the priest says "These living ones are separated from the dead"; and the mourners depart without looking around, and must at once perform their ablutions of lustration. After a time the collection of bones is made with the verse "Go thou now to Mother Earth" and "Open, O earth." Dust is flung on the bones with the words "Roomy and firm be the earth"; and the skull is laid on top with the verse "I make firm the earth about thee." In other words the original hymn is fitted to the ritual only by displacement of verses from their proper order and by a forced application of the words. After all this comes the ceremony of expiation with the use of the verse "I set up a wall" without application of any sort. Further ceremonies, with further senseless use of other verses, follow in course of time. These are all explained minutely in the essay of Roth, whose clear demonstration of the modernness of the ritual, as compared with the antiquity of the hymn should be read complete.

The seventh verse (above) has a special literature of its own, since the words "let them, to begin with, mount the altar," have been changed by the advocates of suttee, widow-burning, to mean 'to the place of fire'; which change, however, is quite recent. The burning of widows begins rather late in India, and probably was confined at first to the pet wife of royal persons. It was then claimed as an honor by the first wife, and eventually without real authority, and in fact against early law, became the rule and sign of a devoted wife. The practice was abolished by the English in 1829; but, considering the widow's present horrible existence, it is questionable whether it would not be a mercy to her and to her family to restore the right of dying and the hope of heaven, in the place of the living death and actual hell on earth in which she is entombed to-day.


Fire and water are the means employed in India to test guilt in the earlier period. Then comes the oath with judgment indicated by subsequent misfortune. All other forms of ordeals are first recognized in late law-books. We speak first of the ordeals that have been thought to be primitive Aryan. The Fire-ordeal: (1) Seven fig-leaves are tied seven times upon the hands after rice has been rubbed upon the palms; and the judge then lays a red-hot ball upon them; the accused, or the judge himself, invoking the god (Fire) to indicate the innocence or the guilt of the accused. The latter then walks a certain distance, 'slowly through seven circles, each circle sixteen fingers broad, and the space between the circles being of the same extent,' according to some jurists; but other dimensions, and eight or nine circles are given by other authorities. If the accused drop the ball he must repeat the test. The burning of the hands indicates guilt. The Teutonic laws give a different measurement, and state that the hand is to be sealed for three days (manus sub sigillo triduum tegatur) before inspection. This sealing for three days is paralleled by modern Indic practice, but not by ancient law. In Greece there is the simple [Greek: mudrous airein cheroin] (Ant. 264) to be compared. The German sealing of the hand is not reported till the ninth century.[38]

(2) Walking on Fire: There is no ordeal in India to correspond to the Teutonic walking over six, nine, or twelve hot ploughshares. To lick a hot ploughshare, to sit on or handle hot iron, and to take a short walk over coals is late Indic. The German practice also according to Schlagintweit "war erst in späterer Zeit aufgekommen."[39]

(3) Walking through Fire: This is a Teutonic ordeal, and (like the conflict-ordeal) an Indic custom not formally legalized. The accused walks directly into the fire. So [Greek: pur dierpein] (loc. cit.).

Water-ordeals: (1) May better be reckoned to fire-ordeals. The innocent plunges his hand into boiling water and fetches out a stone (Anglo-Saxon law) or a coin (Indic law) without injury to his hand. Sometimes (in both practices) the plunge alone is demanded. The depth to which the hand must be inserted is defined by Hindu jurists.

(2) The Floating-ordeal. The victim is cast into water. If he floats he is guilty; if he drowns he is innocent. According to some Indic authorities an arrow is shot off at the moment the accused is dropped into the water, and a 'swift runner' goes after and fetches it back. "If at his return he find the body of the accused still under water, the latter shall be declared to be innocent."[40] According to Kaegi this ordeal would appear to be unknown in Europe before the ninth century. In both countries Water (in India, Varuna) is invoked not to keep the body of a guilty man but to reject it (make it float).

Food-ordeal: Some Hindu law-books prescribe that in the case of suspected theft the accused shall eat consecrated rice. If the gums be not hurt, no blood appear on spitting, and the man do not tremble, he will be innocent. This is also a Teutonic test, but it is to be observed that the older laws in India do not mention it.

On the basis of these examples (not chosen in historical sequence) Kaegi has concluded, while admitting that ordeals with a general similarity to these have arisen quite apart from Aryan influence, that there is here a bit of primitive Aryan law; and that even the minutiae of the various trials described above are un-Aryan. This we do not believe. But before stating our objections we must mention another ordeal.

The Oath: While fire and water are the usual means of testing crime in India, a simple oath is also permitted, which may involve either the accused alone or his whole family. If misfortune, within a certain time (at once, in seven days, in a fortnight, or even half a year) happen to the one that has sworn, he will be guilty. This oath-test is also employed in the case of witnesses at court, perjury being indicated by the subsequent misfortune (Manu, viii. 108).[41]

Our objections to seeing primitive Aryan law in the minutiae of ordeals is based on the gradual evolution of these ordeals and of their minutiae in India itself. The earlier law of the S[=u]tras barely mentions ordeals; the first 'tradition law' of Manu has only fire, water, and the oath. All others, and all special descriptions and restrictions, are mentioned in later books alone. Moreover, the earliest (pre-legal) notice of ordeals in India describes the carrying of hot iron (in the test of theft) as simply "bearing a hot axe," while still earlier there is only walking through fire.[42]

To the tests by oath, fire, and water of the code of Manu are soon added in later law those of consecrated water, poison, and the balance. Restrictions increase and new trials are described as one descends the series of law-books (the consecrated food, the hot-water test, the licking of the ploughshare, and the lot), Some of these later forms have already been described. The further later tests we will now sketch briefly.

Poison: The earliest poison-test, in the code of Y[=a]jñavalkya (the next after Manu), is an application of aconite-root, and as the poison is very deadly, the accused is pretty sure to die. Other laws give other poisons and very minute restrictions, tending to ease the severity of the trial.

The Balance-test: This is the opposite of the floating-test. The man[43] stands in one scale and is placed in equilibrium with a weight of stone in the other scale. He then gets out and prays, and gets in again. If the balance sinks, he is guilty; if it rises, he is innocent.

The Lot-ordeal: This consists in drawing out of a vessel one of two lots, equivalent respectively to dharma and adharma, right and wrong. Although Tacitus mentions the same ordeal among the Germans, it is not early Indic law, not being known to any of the ancient legal codes.

One may claim without proof or disproof that these are all 'primitive Aryan'; but to us it appears most probable that only the idea of the ordeal, or at most its application in the simplest forms of water and fire (and perhaps oath) is primitive Aryan, and that all else (including ordeal by conflict) is of secondary growth among the different nations.

As an offset to the later Indic tendency to lighten the severity of the ordeal may be mentioned the description of the floating-test as seen by a Chinese traveller in India in the seventh century A.D.:[44] "The accused is put into a sack and a stone is put into another sack. The two sacks are connected by a cord and flung into deep water. If the sack with the man sinks and the sack with the stone floats the accused is declared to be innocent."

* * * * *


[Footnote 1: Literally, transmigration, the doctrine of metempsychosis, successive births; first, as in Plato: [Greek: metabolê tis tugchanei ousa kai metoikêois tê psuchê ton topon tou enthende eis allon tochon], then metabole, from 'the other place,' back to earth; then, with advancing speculation, fresh metabole again, and so on; a theory more or less clumsily united with the bell-doctrine.]

[Footnote 2: Weber has lately published two monographs on the sacrifices, the R[=a]jas[=u]ya and the V[=a]japeya rites, both full of interesting details and popular features.]

[Footnote 3: The traditional sacrifices are twenty-one in number, divided into three classes of seven each. The formal divisions are (1) oblations of butter, milk, corn, etc.; (2) soma sacrifices; (3) animal sacrifices, regarded as part of the first two. The sacrifice of the new and full moon is to be repeated on each occasion for thirty years. A sattra, session, is a long sacrifice which may last a year or more.]

[Footnote 4: The latter are the metrical codes, a part of
Smriti (sm[r.]ti).]

[Footnote 5: The Five Paramount Sacrifices (Observances)
are, according to Manu III. 70, study of the Veda (or
teaching it); sacrifice to the Manes and to the gods;
offerings of foods to ghosts (or spirits); and hospitality.]

[Footnote 6: In the report of the Or. Congress for 1880, p.
158 ff., Williams has a very interesting account of the
daily rites of the modern orthodox Hindu ('Rig Veda in
Religious Service

[Footnote 7: We ignore here the later distinction between
the Ved[=a]nta and S[=a]nkhya systems. Properly speaking,
the latter is dualistic.]

[Footnote 8: At a later date Buddha himself is admitted into
the Brahmanic pantheon as an avatar of the All-god!]

[Footnote 9: Sometimes regarded as one with Praj[=a]pati,
and sometimes treated as distinct from him.]

[Footnote 10: Thus (for the priestly ascetic alone) in M.
vi. 79: 'Leaving his good deeds to his loved ones and his
evil deeds to his enemies, by force of meditation he goes to
the eternal brahma.' Here brahma; but in Gautama perhaps

[Footnote 11: That is, when the latter are grouped as in the following list. Our point is that, despite new faith and new gods, Vedic polytheism is taught not as a form but as a reality, and that in this period the people still believe as of old in the old gods, though they also acknowledge new ones (below).]

[Footnote 12: Compare Manu, ix. 245: "Varuna is the lord of punishment and holdeth a sceptre (punishment) even over kings."]

[Footnote 13: In new rites, for instance. Thus in P[=a]rask. Grih. S. 3. 7 a silly and dirty rite 'prevents a slave from running away'; and there is an ordeal for girls before becoming engaged (below).]

[Footnote 14: Blood is poured out to the demons in order
that they may take this and no other part of the sacrifice,
[=A]it. Br. ii. 7. 1.]

[Footnote 15: Here. 4. 8. 19, Çiva's names are Hara, Mrida,
Çarva, Çiva, Bhava, Mah[=a]deva, Ugra, Bhima, Paçupati,
Rudra, Çankara, Içana.]

[Footnote 16: These rites are described in 6. 4. 24 of the
Brihad [=A]ranyaka Upanishad which consists both of
metaphysics and of ceremonial rules.]

[Footnote 17: Especially mentioned in the later Vasistha
(see below); on m[=i]m[=a]ms[=a] a branch of the
Ved[=a]nta system see below.]

[Footnote 18: The commentator here (19. 12, cited by Bühler) defines Ved[=a]nta as the part of the [=A]ranyakas which are not Upanishads, that is, apparently as a local 'Veda-end' (veda-anta), though this meaning is not admitted by some scholars, who will see in anta only the meaning 'goal, aim.']

[Footnote 19: The Rudra (Çiva) invocation at 26. 12 ff. is interpolated, according to Bühler.]

[Footnote 20: Here there is plainly an allusion to the two states of felicity of the Upanishads. Whether the law-giver believes that the spirit will be united with Brahm[=a] or simply live in his heaven he does not say.]

[Footnote 21: Gautama, too, is probably a Northerner. The S[=u]tra, it should be observed, are not so individual as would be implied by the name of the teachers to whom they are credited. They were each texts of a school, carana, but they are attributed uniformly to a special teacher, who represents the cara[n.]a, as has been shown by Müller. For what is known in regard to the early 'S[=u]tra-makers' see Bühler's introductions to volumes ii. and xiv. of the Sacred Books.]

[Footnote 22: Compare Bühler's Introduction, p. XXXV, SBE.
vol. XIV.]

[Footnote 23: B[=a]udh. II. 18. 2-3. Compare Jacobi's
Introduction, p. XXIII ff. of SBE. vol. XXII.]

[Footnote 24: Bühler (Introduction, p. XXXI) gives as the
district of the [=A]pastamb[=i]ya school parts of the Bombay
Presidency, the greater parts of the Niz[=a]m's possessions,
and parts of the Madras Presidency. Apastamba himself refers
to Northerners as if they were foreigners (loc. cit.).]

[Footnote 25: In India the latter question is: does the soul
immediately at death unite with the [=a]tm[=a] or does it
travel to it. In Europe: does the soul wait for the Last
Day, or get to heaven immediately? Compare Maine, Early Law
and Custom
, p. 71.]

[Footnote 26: Thought by some scholars to have been
developed out of the code of The M[=a]navas; but ascribed by
the Hindus to Father Manu, as are many other verses of legal
character contained in the epic and elsewhere.]

[Footnote 27: Although S[=u]tras may be metrical too in part, yet is the complete metrical form, as in the case of still later Ç[=a]stra, evidence that the work is intended for the general public.]

[Footnote 28: The priest alone, in the post-Vedic age, has the right to teach the sacred texts; he has immunity from bodily punishment; the right to receive gifts, and other special privileges. The three upper castes have each the right and duty of studying the sacred texts for a number of years.]

[Footnote 29: Weber has shown, loc. cit., that the
Ç[=u]dras did attend some of the more popular ceremonies,
and at first apparently even took a part in them.]

[Footnote 30: The 'four orders' or stadia of a priest's life, student, householder, hermit, ascetic, must not be confused with the 'four (political) orders' (castes), priest, warrior, farmer, slave—to which, from time to time, were added many 'mixed castes,' as well as 'outcasts,' and natural pariahs. At the time of Manu's code there were already many of these half-assimilated groups.]

[Footnote 31: Theoretically, twenty-one; but an extra one has slipped in by mistake.]

[Footnote 32: The girl is given or bought, or may make her own choice among different suitors. Buying a wife is reprehended by the early law-givers (therefore, customary). The rite of marriage presupposes a grown girl, but child-marriages also were known to the early law.]

[Footnote 33: The groom 'releases her from Varuna's fetter,' by symbolically loosening the hair. They step northeast, and he says: 'One step for sap; two for strength; three for riches; four for luck; five for children; six for the seasons; seven for friendship. Be true to me—may we have many long-lived sons.']

[Footnote 34: There is another funeral hymn, X. 16, in which the Fire is invoked to burn the dead, and bear him to the fathers; his corporeal parts being distributed 'eye to the sun, breath to the wind,' etc.]

[Footnote 35: See below.]

[Footnote 36: Compare Weber, Streifen, I. 66; The king's first wife lies with a dead victim, and is bid to come back again to life. Levirate marriage is known to all the codes, but it is reprehended by the same code that enjoins it. (M. ix. 65.)]

[Footnote 37: The ordeal is called divyam (pram[=a][n.]am) 'Gottesurtheil.' This means of information is employed especially in a disputed debt and deposit, and according to the formal code is to be applied only in the absence of witnesses. The code also restricts the use of fire, water, and poison to the slaves (Y[=a]j. ii. 98).]

[Footnote 38: Kaegi. Alter und Herkunft des Germanischen
, p. 50. We call especial attention to the
fact that the most striking coincidences in details of
practice are not early either in India or Germany.]

[Footnote 39: Schlagintweit, Die Gattesurtheile der
, p. 24.]

[Footnote 40: This is the earliest formula. Later law-books describe the length and strength of the bow, and some even give the measure of distance to which the arrow must be shot. Two runners, one to go and one to return, are sometimes allowed. There is another water-ordeal "for religious men." The accused is to drink consecrated water. If in fourteen (or more or less) days no calamity happen to him he will be innocent. The same test is made in the case of the oath and of poison (below).]

[Footnote 41: In the case of witnesses Manu gives seven days as the limit. When one adopts the oath as an ordeal the misfortune of the guilty is supposed to come 'quickly.' As an ordeal this is not found in the later law. It is one of the Greek tests (loc. cit.). When swearing the Hindu holds water or holy-grass.]

[Footnote 42: AV. ii. 12 is not a certain case of this, but
it is at least Brahmanic. The carrying of the axe is alluded
to in the Ch[=a]ndogya Upanishad (Schlagintweit, Die
Gattesurtheile der Indier
, p. 6).]

[Footnote 43: Y[=a]jñavalkya (loc. cit.) restricts this
test to women, children, priests, the old, blind, lame, and
sick. On ph[=a]la for agni, ib. ii. 99, see ZDMG. ix.

[Footnote 44: Schlagintweit, loc. cit. p. 26 (Hiouen

* * * * *



One cannot read the Upanishads without feeling that he is already facing an intellectual revolt. Not only in the later tracts, which are inspired with devotion to a supreme and universal Lord, but even in the oldest of these works the atmosphere, as compared with that of the earlier Brahmanic period, is essentially different. The close and stifling air of ritualism has been charged with an electrical current of thought that must soon produce a storm.

That storm reached a head in Buddhism, but its premonitory signs appear in the Upanishads, and its first outbreak preceded the advent of Gautama. Were it possible to draw a line of demarcation between the Upanishads that come before and after Buddhism, it would be historically more correct to review the two great schisms, Jainism and Buddhism, before referring to the sectarian Upanishads. For these latter in their present form are posterior to the rise of the two great heresies. But, since such a division is practically uncertain in its application, we have thought it better in our sketch of the Upanishads and legal literature to follow to the end the course of that agitated thought, which, starting with the great identification of jiva, the individual spirit, and [=a]tm[=a], the world-spirit, the All, continues till it loses itself in a multiplication of sectarian dogmas, where the All becomes the god that has been elected by one communion of devotees.[2]

The external characteristics of Upanishad thought are those of a religion that has replaced formal acts by formal introspection. The Yogin devotee, who by mystic communion desires absorption into the world-spirit, replaces the Sanny[=a]sin and Yati ascetics, who would accomplish the same end by renunciation and severe self-mortification. This is a fresh figure on the stage of thought, where before were mad Munis, beggars, and miracle-mongers. On this stage stands beside the ascetic the theoretical theosophist who has succeeded in identifying himself, soberly, not in frenzy, with God.[3] What were the practical results of this teaching has been indicated in part already. The futility of the stereotyped religious offices was recognized. But these offices could not be discarded by the orthodox. With the lame and illogical excuse that they were useful as discipline, though unessential in reality, they were retained by the Brahman priest. Not so by the Jain; still less so by the Buddhist.

In the era in which arose the public revolt against the dogmatic teaching of the Brahman there were more sects than one that have now passed away forgotten. The eastern part of India, to which appertain the later part of the Çatapatha Br[=a]hmana and the schismatic heresies, was full of religious and philosophical controversy. The great heretics were not innovators in heresy. The Brahmans permitted, encouraged, and shared in theoretical controversy. There was nothing in the tenets of Jainism or of Buddhism that from a philosophical point of view need have caused a rupture with the Brahmans.

But the heresies, nevertheless, do not represent the priestly caste, so much as the caste most apt to rival and to disregard the claim of the Brahman, viz., the warrior-caste. They were supported by kings, who gladly stood against priests. To a great extent both Jainism and Buddhism owed their success (amid other rival heresies with no less claim to good protestantism) to the politics of the day. The kings of the East were impatient of the Western church; they were pleased to throw it over. The leaders in the 'reformation' were the younger sons of noble blood. The church received many of these younger sons as priests. Both Buddha and Mah[=a]v[=i]ra were, in fact, revolting adherents of the Brahmanic faith, but they were princes and had royalty to back them.

Nor in the Brahmanhood of Benares was Brahmanhood at its strongest. The seat of the Vedic cult lay to the westward, where it arose, in the 'holy land,' which received the Vedic Aryans after they had crossed out of the Punj[=a]b. With the eastward course of conquest the character of the people and the very orthodoxy of the priests were relaxed. The country that gave rise to the first heresies was one not consecrated to the ancient rites. Very slowly had these rites marched thither, and they were, so to speak, far from their religious base of supplies. The West was more conservative than the East. It was the home of the rites it favored. The East was but a foster-father. New tribes, new land, new growth, socially and intellectually,—all these contributed in the new seat of Brahmanhood to weaken the hold of the priests upon their speculative and now recalcitrant laity. So before Buddha there were heretics and even Buddhas, for the title was Buddha's only by adoption. But of most of these earlier sects one knows little. Three or four names of reformers have been handed down; half a dozen opponents or rivals of Buddha existed and vied with him. Most important of these, both on account of his probable priority and because of the lasting character of his school, was the founder or reformer of Jainism, Mah[=a]v[=i]ra Jñ[=a]triputra,[4] who with his eleven chief disciples may be regarded as the first open seceders from Brahmanism, unless one assign the same date to the revolt of Buddha. The two schisms have so much in common, especially in outward features, that for long it was thought that Jainism was a sub-sect of Buddhism. In their legends, in the localities in which they flourished, and in many minutiae of observances they are alike. Nevertheless, their differences are as great as the resemblance between them, and what Jainism at first appeared to have got of Buddhism seems now to be rather the common loan made by each sect from Brahmanism. It is safest, perhaps, to rest in the assurance that the two heresies were contemporaries of the sixth century B.C, and leave unanswered the question which Master preceded the other, though we incline to the opinion that the founder of Jainism, be he Mah[=a]v[=i]ra or his own reputed master, P[=a]rçvan[=a]tha, had founded his sect before Gautama became Buddha. But there is one good reason for treating of Jainism before Buddhism,[5] and that is, that the former represents a theological mean between Brahmanism and Buddhism.

Mah[=a]v[=i]ra, the reputed founder of his sect, was, like Buddha and perhaps his other rivals, of aristocratic birth. His father is called king, but he was probably hereditary chief of a district incorporated as a suburb of the capital city of Videha, while by marriage he was related to the king of Videha, and to the ruling house of M[=a]gadha. His family name was Jñ[=a]triputra, or, in his own Prakrit (Ardham[=a]gadh[=i]) dialect, N[=a]taputta; but by his sect he was entitled the Great Hero, Mah[=a]v[=i]ra; the Conqueror, Jina; the Great One, Vardham[=a]na (Vardahmana in the original), etc. His sect was that of the Nirgranthas (Nigganthas), i.e., 'without bonds,' perhaps the oldest name of the whole body. Later there are found no less than seven sub-sects, to which come as eighth the Digambaras, in contradistinction to all the seven Çvet[=a]mbara sects. These two names represent the two present bodies of the church, one body being the Çvet[=a]mbaras, or 'white-attire' faction, who are in the north and west; the other, the Digambaras, or 'sky-attire,' i.e., naked devotees of the south. The latter split off from the main body about two hundred years after Mah[=a]v[=i]ra's death; as has been thought by some, because the Çvet[=a]mbaras refused to follow the Digambaras in insisting upon nakedness as the rule for ascetics.[6] The earlier writings show that nakedness was recommended, but was not compulsory.[7] Other designations of the main sects, as of the sub-sects, are found. Thus, from the practice of pulling out the hairs of their body, the Jains were derisively termed Luñcitakeças, or 'hair-pluckers.' The naked devotees of this school are probably the gymnosophists of the Greek historians, although this general term may have been used in describing other sects, as the practice of dispensing with attire is common even to-day with many Hindu devotees.[8]

An account of the Jain absurdities in the way of speculation would indeed give some idea of their intellectual frailty, but, as in the case of the Buddhists, such an account has but little to do with their religion. It will suffice to state that the 'ages' of the Brahmans from whom Jain and Buddhist derived their general conceptions of the ages, are here reckoned quite differently; and that the first Jina of the long series of pre-historic prophets lived more than eight million years and was five hundred bow-lengths in height. Monks and laymen now appear at large in India, a division which originated neither with Jain nor Buddhist,[9] though these orders are more clearly divided among the heretics, from whom, again, was borrowed by the Hindu sects, the monastic institution, in the ninth century (A.D.), in all the older heretical completeness. Although atheistic the Jain worshipped the Teacher, and paid some regard to the Brahmanical divinities, just as he worships the Hindu gods to-day, for the atheistical systems admitted gods as demi-gods or dummy gods, and in point of fact became very superstitious. Yet are both founder-worship and superstition rather the growth of later generations than the original practice. The atheism of the Jain means denial of a divine creative Spirit.[10]

Though at times in conflict with the Brahmans the Jains never departed from India as did the Buddhists, and even Brahmanic priests in some parts of India serve today in Jain temples.

In metaphysics as in religion the Jain differs radically from the Buddhist. He believes in a dualism not unlike that of the S[=a]nkhyas, whereas Buddhistic philosophy has no close connection with this Brahmanic system. To the Jain eternal matter stands opposed to eternal spirits, for (opposed to pantheism) every material entity (even water) has its own individual spirit. The Jain's Nirv[=a]na, as Barth has said, is escape from the body, not escape from existence.[11] Like the Buddhist the Jain believes in reincarnation, eight births, after one has started on the right road, being necessary to the completion of perfection. Both sects, with the Brahmans, insist on the non-injury doctrine, but in this regard the Jain exceeds his Brahmanical teacher's practice. Both heretical sects claim that their reputed founders were the last of twenty-four or twenty-five prophets who preceded the real founder, each successively having become less monstrous (more human) in form.

The Jain literature left to us is quite large[12] and enough has been published already to make it necessary to revise the old belief in regard to the relation between Jainism and Buddhism.

We have said that Jainism stands nearer to Brahmanism (with which, however, it frequently had quarrels) than does Buddhism.[13] The most striking outward sign of this is the weight laid on asceticism, which is common to Brahmanism and Jainism but is repudiated by Buddhism. Twelve years of asceticism are necessary to salvation, as thinks the Jain, and this self-mortification is of the most stringent sort. But it is not in their different conception of a Nirv[=a]na release rather than of annihilation, nor in the S[=a]nkhya-like[14] duality they affect, nor yet in the prominence given to self-mortification that the Jains differ most from the Buddhists. The contrast will appear more clearly when we come to deal with the latter sect. At present we take up the Jain doctrine for itself.

The 'three gems' which, according to the Jains,[15] result in the spirit's attainment of deliverance are knowledge, faith, and virtue, or literally 'right knowledge, right intuition, and right practices.' Right knowledge is a true knowledge of the relation of spirit and not-spirit (the world consists of two classes, spirit and non-spirit), the latter being immortal like the former. Right intuition is absolute faith in the word of the Master and the declarations of the [=A]gamas, or sacred texts. Right practices or virtue consists, according to the Yogaç[=a]stra, in the correct fivefold conduct of one that has knowledge and faith: (1) Non-injury, (2) kindness and speaking which is true (in so far as the truth is pleasant to the hearer),[16] (3) honorable conduct, typified by 'not stealing,' (4) chastity in word, thought, and deed, (5) renunciation of earthly interests.

The doctrine of non-injury found but modified approval among the Brahmans. They limited its application in the case of sacrifice, and for this reason were bitterly taunted by the Jains as 'murderers.' "Viler than unbelievers," says the Yogaç[=a]stra, quoting a law of Manu to the effect that animals may be slain for sacrifice, "all those cruel ones who make the law that teaches killing."[17] For this reason the Jain is far more particular in his respect for life than is the Buddhist. Lest animate things, even plants and animalculae, be destroyed, he sweeps the ground before him as he goes, walks veiled lest he inhale a living organism, strains water, and rejects not only meat but even honey, together with various fruits that are supposed to contain worms; not because of his distaste for worms but because of his regard for life. Other arguments which, logically, should not be allowed to influence him are admitted, however, in order to terrify the hearer. Thus the first argument against the use of honey is that it destroys life; then follows the argument that honey is 'spit out by bees' and therefore it is nasty.[18]

The Jain differs from the Buddhist still more in ascetic practices. He is a forerunner, in fact, of the horrible modern devotee whose practices we shall describe below. The older view of seven hells in opposition to the legal Brahmanic number of thrice seven is found (as it is in the M[=a]rkandeya Pur[=a]na), but whether this be the rule we cannot say.[19] It is interesting to see that hell is prescribed with metempsychosis exactly as it is among the Brahmans.[20] Reincarnation onearth and punishment in hells between reincarnation seems to be the usual belief. The salvation which is attained by the practice of knowledge, faith, and five-fold virtue, is not immediate, but it will come after successive reincarnations; and this salvation is the freeing of the eternal spirit from the bonds of eternal matter; in other words, it is much more like the 'release' of the Brahman than it is like the Buddhistic Nirv[=a]na, though, of course, there is no 'absorption,' each spirit remaining single. In the order of the Ratnatraya or 'three gems' Çankara appears to lay the greatest weight on faith, but in Hemacandra's schedule knowledge[21] holds the first place. This is part of that Yoga, asceticism, which is the most important element in attaining salvation.[22]

Another division of right practices is cited by the Yogaç[=a]stra (I. 33 ff.): Some saints say that virtue is divided into five kinds of care and three kinds of control, to wit, proper care in walking, talking, begging for food, sitting, and performing natural functions of the body—these constitute the five kinds of care, and the kinds of control are those of thought, speech, and act. This teaching it is stated, is for the monks. The practice of the laity is to accord with the custom of their country.

The chief general rules for the laity consist in vows of obedience to the true god, to the law, and to the (present) Teacher; which are somewhat like the vows of the Buddhist. God here is the Arhat, the 'venerable' founder of the sect. The laic has also five lesser vows: not to kill, not to lie, not to steal, not to commit adultery or fornication, to be content with little.

According to the Ç[=a]stra already cited the laic must rise early in the morning, worship the god's idol at home, go to the temple and circumambulate the Jina idol three times, strewing flowers, and singing hymnsand then read the Praty[=a]khy[=a]na (an old P[=u]rva, gospel).[23] Further rules of prayer and practice guide him through his day. And by following this rule he expects to obtain spiritual 'freedom' hereafter; but for his life on earth he is "without praise or blame for this world or the next, for life or for death, having meditation as his one pure wife" (iii. 150). He will become a god in heaven, be reborn again on earth, and so, after eight successive existences (the Buddhistic number), at last obtain salvation, release (from bodies) for his eternal soul (153).

As in the Upanishads, the gods, like men, are a part of the system of the universe. The wise man goes to them (becomes a god) only to return to earth again. All systems thus unite hell and heaven with the karma doctrine. But in this Jain work, as in so many of the orthodox writings, the weight is laid more on hell as a punishment than on rebirth. Probably the first Jains did not acknowledge gods at all, for it is an early rule with them not to say 'God rains,' or use any such expression, but to say 'the cloud rains'; and in other ways they avoid to employ a terminology which admits even implicitly the existence of divinities. Yet do they use a god not infrequently as an agent of glorification of Mah[=a]v[=i]ra, saying in later writings that Indra transformed himself, to do the Teacher honor; and often they speak of the gods and goddesses as if these were regarded as spirits. Demons and inferior beings are also utilized in the same way, as when it is said that at the Teacher's birth the demons (spirits) showered gold upon the town.

The religious orders of the Çvet[=a]mbara sect contained nuns as well as monks, although, as we have said, women are not esteemed very favorably: "The world is greatly troubled by women. People say that women are vessels of pleasure. But this leads them to pain, to delusion, to death, to hell, to birth as hell-beings or brute-beasts." Such is the decision in the [=A]e[=a]r[=a]nga S[=u]tra, or book of usages for the Jain monk and nun. From the same work we extract a few rules to illustrate the practices of the Jains. This literature is the most tedious in the world, and to give the gist of the heretic law-maker's manual will suffice.

Asceticism should be practiced by monk and nun, if possible. But if one finds that he cannot resist his passions, or is disabled and cannot endure austerities, he may commit suicide; although this release is sometimes reprehended, and is not allowable till one has striven against yielding to such a means. But when the twelve years of asceticism are passed one has assurance of reaching Nirv[=a]na, and so may kill himself. Of Nirv[=a]na there is no description. It is release, salvation, but it is of such sort that in regard to it 'speculation has no place,' and 'the mind cannot conceive of it' (copied from the Upanishads). In other regards, in contrast to the nihilistic Buddhist, the Jain assumes a doubtful attitude, so that he is termed the 'may-be philosopher,' sy[=a]dv[=a]din,[24] in opposition to the Buddhist, the philosopher of 'the void.'

But if the Jain may kill himself, he may not kill or injure anything else. Not even food prepared over a fire is acceptable, lest he hurt the 'fire-beings,' for as he believes in water-beings, so he believes in fire-beings, wind-beings, etc. Every plant and seed is holy with the sacredness of life. He may not hurt or drive away the insects that torment his naked flesh. 'Patience is the highest good,' he declares, and the rules for sitting and lying conclude with the statement that not to move at all, not to stir, is the best rule. To lie naked, bitten by vermin, and not to disturb them, is religion. Like a true Puritan, the Jain regards pleasure in itself as sinful. "What is discontent, and what is pleasure? One should live subject to neither. Giving up all gaiety, circumspect, restrained, one should lead a religious life. Man! Thou art thine own friend; why longest thou for a friend beyond thyself?… First troubles, then pleasures; first pleasures, then troubles. These are the cause of quarrels." And again, "Let one think, 'I am I.'" i.e., let one be dependent on himself alone. When a Jain monk or nun hears that there is to be a festival (perhaps to the gods, to Indra, Skahda, Rudra, Vishnu,[25] or the demons, as in [=A]c[=a]r[=a]nga S[=u]tra, ii. 1. 2) he must not go thither; he must keep himself from all frivolities and entertainments. During the four months of the rainy season he is to remain in one place,[26] but at other times, either naked or attired in a few garments, he is to wander about begging. In going on his begging tour he is not to answer questions, nor to retort if reviled. He is to speak politely (the formulae for polite address and rude address are given), beg modestly, and not render himself liable to suspicion on account of his behavior when in the house of one of the faithful. Whatever be the quality of the food he must eat it, if it be not a wrong sort. Rice and beans are especially recommended to him. The great Teacher Jñ[=a]triputra (Mah[=a]v[=i]ra), it is said, never went to shows, pantomines, boxing-matches, and the like; but, remaining in his parents' house till their death, that he might not grieve his mother, at the age of twenty-eight renounced the world with the consent of the government, and betook himself to asceticism; travelling naked (after a year of clothes) into barbarous lands, but always converting and enduring the reproach of the wicked. He was beaten and set upon by sinful men, yet was he never moved to anger. Thus it was that he became the Arhat, the Jina, the Kevalin (perfect sage).[27] It is sad to have to add, however, that Mah[=a]v[=i]ra is traditionally said to have died in a fit of apoplectic rage.

The equipment of a monk are his clothes (or, better, none), his alms-bowl, broom, and veil. He is 'unfettered,' in being without desires and without injury to others. 'Some say that all sorts of living beings may be slain, or abused, or tormented, or driven away—the doctrine of the unworthy. The righteous man does not kill nor cause others to kill. He should not cause the same punishment for himself.'

The last clause is significant. What he does to another living being will be done to him. He will suffer as he has caused others to suffer. The chain from emotion to hell—the avoidance of the former is on account of the fear of the latter—is thus connected: He who knows wrath knows pride; he who knows pride knows deceit; he who knows deceit knows greed (and so on; thus one advances) from greed to love, from love to hate, from hate to delusion, from delusion to conception, from conception to birth, from birth to death, from death to hell, from hell to animal existence, 'and he who knows animal existence knows pain.'

The five great vows, which have been thought by some scholars to be copies of the Buddhistic rules, whereas they are really modifications of the old Brahmanic rules for ascetics as explained in pre-Buddhistic literature, are in detail as follows:[28]

The First vow: I renounce all killing of living beings, whether subtile or gross, whether movable or immovable. Nor shall I myself kill living beings nor cause others to do it, nor consent to it. As long as I live I confess and blame, repent and exempt myself of these sins in the thrice threefold way,[29] in mind, speech, and body.

The five 'clauses' that explain this vow are: (1) the Niggantha (Jain) is careful in walking; (2) he does not allow his mind to act in a way to suggest injury of living beings; (3) he does not allow his speech to incite to injury; (4) he is careful in laying down his utensils; (5) he inspects his food and drink lest he hurt living beings.

The Second Vow: I renounce all vices of lying speech arising from anger, or greed, or fear, or mirth. I confess (etc, as in the first vow).

The five clauses here explain that the Niggantha speaks only after deliberation; does not get angry; renounces greed; renounces fear; renounces mirth—lest through any of these he be moved to lie.

The Third Vow: I renounce all taking of anything not given, either in a village, or a town, or a wood, either of little or much, or small or great, of living or lifeless things. I shall neither take myself what is not given nor cause others to take it, nor consent to their taking it. As long as I live I confess (etc., as in the first vow).

The clauses here explain that the Niggantha must avoid different possibilities of stealing, such as taking food without permission of his superior. One clause states that he may take only a limited ground for a limited time, i.e., he may not settle down indefinitely on a wide area, for he may not hold land absolutely. Another clause insists on his having his grant to the land renewed frequently.

The Fourth Vow: I renounce all sexual pleasures, either with gods, or men, or animals. I shall not give way to sensuality (etc).

The clauses here forbid the Niggantha to discuss topics relating to women, to contemplate the forms of women, to recall the pleasures and amusements he used to have with women, to eat and drink too highly seasoned viands, to lie near women.

The Fifth Vow: I renounce all attachments, whether little or much, small or great, living or lifeless; neither shall I myself form such attachments, nor cause others to do so, nor consent to their doing so (etc.).

The five clauses particularize the dangerous attachments formed by ears, eyes, smell, taste, touch.

It has been shown above (following Jacobi's telling comparison of the heretical vows with those of the early Brahman ascetic) that these vows are taken not from Buddhism but from Brahmanism. Jacobi opines that the Jains took the four first and that the reformer Mah[=a]v[=i]ra added the fifth as an offset to the Brahmanical vow of liberality.[30] The same writer shows that certain minor rules of the Jain sect are derived from the same Brahmanical source.

The main differences between the two Jain sects have been catalogued in an interesting sketch by Williams,[31] who mentions as the chief Jain stations of the north Delhi (where there is an annual gathering), Jeypur, and [=A]jm[=i]r. To these Mathur[=a] on the Jumna should be added.[32] The Çvet[=a]mbaras had forty-five or forty-six [=A]gamas, eleven or twelve Angas, twelve Up[=a]ngas, and other scriptures of the third or fourth century B.C., as they claim. They do not go naked (even their idols are clothed), and they admit women into the order. The Digambaras do not admit women, go naked, and have for sacred texts later works of the fifth century A.D. The latter of course assert that the scriptures of the former sect are spurious.[33]

In distinction from the Buddhists the Jains of to-day keep up caste. Some of them are Brahmans. They have, of course, a different prayer-formula, and have no St[=u]pas or D[=a]gobas (to hold relics); and, besides the metaphysical difference spoken of above, they differ from the Buddhists in assuming that metempsychosis does not stop at animal existence, but includes inanimate things (as these are regarded by others). According to one of their own sect of to-day, ahi[.m]s[=a] paramo dharmas, 'the highest law of duty is not to hurt a living creature.'[34]

The most striking absurdity of the Jain reverence for life has frequently been commented upon. Almost every city of western India, where they are found, has its beast-hospital, where animals are kept and fed. An amusing account of such an hospital, called Pi[=n]jra Pol, at Saurar[=a]shtra, Surat, is given in the first number of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society.[35] Five thousand rats were supported in such a temple-hospital in Kutch.[36]

Of all the great religious sects of India that of N[=a]taputta is perhaps the least interesting, and has apparently the least excuse for being.[37] The Jains offered to the world but one great moral truth, withal a negative truth, 'not to harm,' nor was this verity invented by them. Indeed, what to the Jain is the great truth is only a grotesque exaggeration of what other sects recognized in a reasonable form. Of all the sects the Jains are the most colorless, the most insipid. They have no literature worthy of the name. They were not original enough to give up many orthodox features, so that they seem like a weakened rill of Brahmanism, cut off from the source, yet devoid of all independent character. A religion in which the chief points insisted upon are that one should deny God, worship man, and nourish vermin, has indeed no right to exist; nor has it had as a system much influence on the history of thought. As in the case of Buddhism, the refined Jain metaphysics are probably a late growth. Historically these sectaries served a purpose as early protestants against ritualistic and polytheistic Brahmanism; but their real affinity with the latter faith is so great that at heart they soon became Brahmanic again. Their position geographically would make it seem probable that they, and not the Buddhists, had a hand in the making of the ethics of the later epic.

* * * * *


[Footnote 1: We retain here and in Buddhism the usual terminology. Strictly speaking, Jainism is to Jina (the reformer's title) as is Bauddhism to Buddha, so that one should say Jinism, Buddhism, or Jainism, Bauddhism. Both titles, Jina and Buddha ('victor' and 'awakened'), were given to each leader; as in general many other mutual titles of honor were applied by each sect to its own head, Jina, Arhat ('venerable'), Mah[=a]v[=i]ra ('great hero'), Buddha, etc. One of these titles was used, however, as a title of honor by the Jains, but to designate heretics by the Buddhists, viz., T[=i]rthankara (T[=i]rthakara in the original), 'prophet' (see Jacobi, SBE. xxii. Introd. p. xx).]

[Footnote 2: It is possible, however, on the other hand, that both Vishnuite and Çivaite sects (or, less anglicized, Vaishnavas, Çaivas, if one will also say Vaidic for Vedic), were formed before the end of the sixth century B.C. Not long after this the divinities Çiva and Vishnu receive especial honor.]

[Footnote 3: The Beggar (Çramana, Bhikshu), the Renunciator
(Sanny[=a]s[=i]n), the Ascetic (Yati), are Brahmanic terms
as well as sectarian.]

[Footnote 4: The three great reformers of this period are Mah[=a]v[=i]ra, Buddha, and Gos[=a]la. The last was first a pupil and then a rival of Mah[=a]v[=i]ra. The latter's nephew, Jam[=a]li, also founded a distinct sect and became his uncle's opponent, the speculative sectarian tendency being as pronounced as it was about the same time in Hellas. Gos[=a]la appears to have had quite a following, and his sect existed for a long time, but now it is utterly perished. An account of this reformer and of Jam[=a]li will be found in Leumann's essay, Indische Studien, xvii. p. 98 ff. and in the appendix to Rockhill's Life of Buddha.]

[Footnote 5: The Nirgranthas (Jains) are never referred to
by the Buddhists as being a new sect, nor is their reputed
founder, N[=a]taputta, spoken of as their founder; whence
Jacobi plausibly argues that their real founder was older
than Mah[=a]v[=i]ra, and that the sect preceded that of
Buddha. Lassen and Weber have claimed, on the contrary, that
Jainism is a revolt against Buddhism. The identification of
N[=a]taputta (Jñ[=a]triputra) with Mah[=a]v[=i]ra is due to
Bühler and Jacobi (Kalpas[=u]tra, Introd. p.6).]

[Footnote 6: According to Jacobi, ZDMG. xxxviii. 17, the split in the party arose in this way. About 350 B.C. some Jain monks under the leadership of Bhadrab[=a]hu went south, and they followed stricter rules of asceticism than did their fellows in the north. Both sects are modifications of the original type, and their differences did not result in sectarian separation till about the time of our era, at which epoch arose the differentiating titles of sects that had not previously separated into formal divisions, but had drifted apart geographically.]

[Footnote 7: Compare Jacobi, loc. cit. and Leumann's account of the seven sects of the Çvet[=a]mbaras in the essay in the Indische Studien referred to above. At the present day the Jains are found to the number of about a million in the northwest (Çvet[=a]mbaras), and south (Digambaras) of India. The original seat of the whole body in its first form was, as we have said, near Benares, where also arose and flourished Buddhism.]

[Footnote 8: Hemacandra's Yogaç[=a]stra, edited by Windisch,
ZDMG. xxviii. 185 ff. (iii. 133). The Jain's hate of women
did not prevent his worshipping goddesses as the female
energy like the later Hindu sects. The Jains are divided in
regard to the possibility of woman's salvation. The
Yogaç[=a]stra alludes to women as 'the lamps that burn on
the road that leads to the gate of hell,' ii. 87. The
Digambaras do not admit women into the order, as do the

[Footnote 9: Die Bharata-sage, Leumann, ZDMG. xlviii.
p.65. See also above in the S[=u]tras. With the Jains there
is less of the monastic side of religion than with the

[Footnote 10: Jains are sometimes called Arhats on account of their veneration for the Arhat or chief Jina (whence Jain). Their only real gods are their chiefs or Teachers, whose idols are worshipped in the temples. Thus, like the Buddhist and some Hindu sects of modern times, they have given up God to worship man. Rather have they adopted an idolatry of man and worship of womanhood, for they also revere the female energy. Positivism has ancient models!]

[Footnote 11: The Jain sub-sects did not differ much among themselves in philosophical speculation. Their differences were rather of a practical sort.]

[Footnote 12: See the list of the Bertin MSS.; Weber, Berlin MSS. vol. ii. 1892; and the thirty-third volume of the German Oriental Journal, pp. 178, 693. For an account of the literature see also Jacobi's introduction to the SBE. vol. xxii; and Weber, Ueber die heiligen Schriften der Jaina in vols. xvi, xvii of the Indische Studien (translated by Smyth in the Indian Antiquary); and the Bibliography (below).]

[Footnote 13: A case of connection in legends between
Buddhist and Jain is mentioned below. Another is the history
of king Paêsi, elaborated in Buddhistic literature
(Tripitaka) and in the second Jain Up[=a]nga alike, as has
been shown by Leumann.]

[Footnote 14: The Jain's spirit, however, is not a world-spirit. He does not believe in an All-Spirit, but in a plurality of eternal spirits, fire-spirits, wind-spirits, plant-spirits, etc.]

[Footnote 15: Compare Colebrooke's Essays, vol. II. pp.
404, 444, and the Yogaç[=a]stra cited above.]

[Footnote 16: This is not in the earlier form of the vow
(see below).]

[Footnote 17: II. 37 and 41. Although the Brahman ascetic took the vow not to kill, yet is he permitted to do so for sacrifice, and he may eat flesh of animals killed by other animals (Gautama, 3. 31).]

[Footnote 18: Loc. cit. III. 37-38. The evening and night are not times to eat, and for the same reason "The Gods eat in the morning, the Seers at noon, the Fathers in the afternoon, the devils at twilight and night" (ib. 58). For at night one might eat a a living thing by mistake.]

[Footnote 19: Loc. cit. II. 27.]

[Footnote 20: The pun m[=a][.m]sa, "Me eat will be hereafter whose meat I eat in this life" (Lanman), shows that Jain and Brahman believed in a hell where the injured avenged themselves (Manu, V. 55; HYÇ. III. 26), just as is related in the Bhrigu story (above).]

[Footnote 21: By intuition or instruction.]

[Footnote 22: Loc. cit. I. 15 ff.]

[Footnote 23: Loc. cit. 121 ff. Wilson, Essays, I. 319, gives a description of the simple Jain ritual.]

[Footnote 24: Who says "may be."]

[Footnote 25: Mukunda.]

[Footnote 26: This 'keeping vasso' is also a Brahmanic custom, as Bühler has pointed out. But it is said somewhere that at that season the roads are impossible, so that there is not so much a conscious copying as a physical necessity in keeping vasso; perhaps also a moral touch, owing to the increase of life and danger of killing.]

[Footnote 27: In the lives of the Jinas it is said that Jñ[=a]triputra's (N[=a]taputta's) parents worshipped the 'people's favorite,' P[=a]rçva, and were followers of the Çramanas (ascetics). In the same work (which contains nothing further for our purpose) it is said that Arhats, Cakravarts, Baladevas, and Vasudevas, present, past, and future, are aristocrats, born in noble families. The heresies and sectaries certainly claim as much.]

[Footnote 28: [=A]c[=a]r[=a]nga S. ii. 15. We give Jacobi's
translation, as in the verses already cited from this work.]

[Footnote 29: Acting, commanding, consenting, past, present,
or future (Jacobi).]

[Footnote 30: SBE. xxii. Introd. p. xxiv.]

[Footnote 31: JRAS. xx. 279.]

[Footnote 32: See Bühler, the last volume of the Epigraphica Indica, and his other articles in the WZKM. v. 59, 175. Jeypur, according to Williams, is the stronghold of the Digambara Jains. Compare Thomas, JRAS. ix. 155, Early Faith of Açoka.]

[Footnote 33: The redaction of the Jain canon took place, according to tradition, in 454 or 467 A.D. (possibly 527). "The origin of the extant Jaina literature cannot be placed earlier than about 300 B.C." (Jacobi, Introduction to Jain S[=u]tras, pp. xxxvii, xliii). The present Angas ('divisions') were preceded by P[=u]rvas, of which there are said to have been at first fourteen. On the number of the scriptures see Weber, loc. cit.]

[Footnote 34: Williams, loc. cit. The prayer-formula is:
'Reverence to Arhats, saints, teachers, subteachers, and all
good men.']

[Footnote 35: 'A place which is appropriated for the reception of old, worn-out, lame, or disabled animals. At that time (1823) they chiefly consisted of buffaloes and cows, but there were also goats and sheep, and even cocks and hens,' and also 'hosts of vermin.']

[Footnote 36: JRAS. 1834, p. 96. The town was taxed to provide the food for the rats.]

[Footnote 37: Because the Jains have reverted to idolatry, demonology, and man-worship. But at the outset they appear to have had two great principles, one, that there is no divine power higher than man; the other, that all life is sacred. One of these is now practically given up, and the other was always taken too seriously.]

* * * * *



While the pantheistic believer proceeded to anthropomorphize in a still greater degree the [=a]tm[=a] of his fathers, and eventually landed in heretical sectarianism; while the orthodox Brahman simply added to his pantheon (in Manu and other law-codes) the Brahmanic figure of the Creator, Brahm[=a]; the truth-seeker that followed the lines of the earlier philosophical thought arrived at atheism, and in consequence became either stoic or hedonist. The latter school, the C[=a]rv[=a]kas, the so-called disciples of Brihaspati, have, indeed, a philosophy without religion. They simply say that the gods do not exist, the priests are hypocrites; the Vedas, humbug; and the only thing worth living for, in view of the fact that there are no gods, no heaven, and no soul, is pleasure: 'While life remains let a man live happily; let him not go without butter (literally ghee) even though he run into debt,' etc.[1] Of sterner stuff was the man who invented a new religion as a solace for sorrow and a refuge from the nihilism in which he believed.

Whether Jainism or Buddhism be the older heresy, and it is not probable that any definitive answer to this question will ever be given, one thing has become clear in the light of recent studies, namely, the fact already shown, that to Brahmanism are due some of the most marked traits of both the heretical sects. The founder of Buddhism did not strike out a new system of morals; he was not a democrat; he did not originate a plot to overthrow the Brahmanic priesthood; he did not invent the order of monks.[2] There is, perhaps, no person in history in regard to whom have arisen so many opinions that are either wholly false or half false.[3]

We shall not canvass in detail views that would be mentioned only to be rejected. Even the brilliant study of Senart,[4] in which the figure of Buddha is resolved into a solar type and the history of the reformer becomes a sun-myth, deserves only to be mentioned and laid aside. Since the publication of the canonical books of the southern Buddhists there is no longer any question in regard to the human reality of the great knight who illumined, albeit with anything but heavenly light, the darkness of Brahmanical belief. Oldenberg[5] has taken Senart seriously, and seriously answered him. But Napoleon and Max Müller have each been treated as sun-myths, and Senart's essay is as convincing as either jeu d'esprit.

In Nep[=a]l, far from the site of Vedic culture, and generations after the period of the Vedic hymns, was born a son to the noble family of the Ç[=a]kyas. A warrior prince, he made at last exclusively his own the lofty title that was craved by many of his peers, Buddha, the truly wise, the 'Awakened.'

The Ç[=a]kyas' land extended along the southern border of Nep[=a]l and the northeast part of Oude (Oudh), between the Ir[=a]vat[=i] (Rapti) river on the west and south, and the Rohini on the east; the district which lies around the present Gorakhpur, about one hundred miles north-northeast of Benares. The personal history of the later Buddha is interwoven with legend from which it is not always easy to disentangle the threads of truth. In the accounts preserved in regard to the Master, one has first to distinguish the P[=a]li records of the Southern Buddhists from the Sanskrit tales of the Northerners; and again, it is necessary to discriminate between the earlier and later traditions of the Southerners, who have kept in general the older history as compared with the extravagant tradition preserved in the Lalita Vistara, the Lotus of the Law, and the other works of the North. What little seems to be authentic history is easily told; nor are, for our present purpose, of much value the legends, which mangonize the life of Buddha. They will be found in every book that treats of the subject, and some of the more famous are translated in the article on Buddha in the Encyclopædia Brittanica. We content ourselves with the simplest and oldest account, giving such facts as help to explain the religious significance of Buddha's life and work among his countrymen. Several of these facts, Buddha's place in society, and the geographical centre of Buddhistic activity, are essential to a true understanding of the relations between Buddhism and Brahmanism.

Whether Buddha's father was king or no has rightly been questioned. The oldest texts do not refer to him as a king's son, and this indicates that his father, who governed the Ç[=a]kya-land, of which the limits have just been specified,[6] was rather a feudal baron or head of a small clan, than an actual king. The Ç[=a]kya power was overthrown and absorbed into that of the king of Oude (Kosala) either in Buddha's own life-time or immediately afterwards. It is only the newer tradition that extols the power and wealth which the Master gave up on renouncing worldly ties, a trait characteristic of all the later accounts, on the principle that the greater was the sacrifice the greater was the glory. Whether kings or mere chieftains, the Ç[=a]kyas were noted as a family that cared little to honor the Brahmanic priests. They themselves claimed descent from Ikshv[=a]ku, the ancient seer-king, son of Manu, and traditionally first king of Ayodh[=a] (Oude). They assumed the name of Gautama, one of the Vedic seers, and it was by the name of 'the Ascetic Gautama' that Buddha was known to his contemporaries; but his personal name was Siddh[=a]rtha 'he that succeeds in his aim,' prophetic of his life! His mother's name M[=a]y[=a] (illusion) has furnished Senart with material for his sun-theory of Buddha; but the same name is handed down as that of a city, and perhaps means in this sense 'the wonderful.' She is said to have died when her son was still a boy. The boy Siddh[=a]rtha, then, was a warrior r[=a]jput by birth, and possibly had a very indifferent training in Vedic literature, since he is never spoken of as Veda-wise.[7] The future Buddha was twenty-nine when he resolved to renounce the world. He was already married and had a son (R[=a]hula, according to later tradition). The legends of later growth here begin to thicken, telling how, when the future Buddha heard of the birth of his son, he simply said 'a new bond has been forged to hold me to the world'; and how his mind was first awakened to appreciation of sorrow by seeing loathy examples of age, sickness, and death presented to him as he drove abroad. Despite his father's tears and protests Siddh[=a]rtha, or as one may call him now by his patronymic, the man Gautama, left his home and family, gave up all possessions, and devoted himself to self-mortification and Yoga discipline of concentration of thought, following in this the model set by all previous ascetics. He says himself, according to tradition, that it was a practical pessimism which drove him to take this step. He was not pleased with life, and the pleasures of society had no charm for him. When he saw the old man, the sick man, the dead man, he became disgusted to think that he too would be subject to age, sickness, and death: "I felt disgust at old age; all pleasure then forsook me." In becoming an ascetic Gautama simply endeavored to discover some means by which he might avoid a recurrence of life, of which the disagreeable side in his estimation outweighed the joy. He too had already answered negatively the question Is life worth living?

We must pause here to point out that this oldest and simplest account of Gautama's resolve shows two things. It makes clear that Gautama at first had no plan for the universal salvation of his race. He was alert to 'save his own soul,' nothing more. We shall show presently that this is confirmed by subsequent events in his career. The next point is that this narration in itself is a complete refutation of the opinion of those scholars who believe that the doctrine of karma and reincarnation arose first in Buddhism, and that the Upanishads that preach this doctrine are not of the pre-Buddhistic period. The last part of this statement of opinion is, of course, not touched by the story of Gautama's renunciation, but the first assumption wrecks on it. Why should Gautama have so given himself to Yoga discipline? Did he expect to escape age, sickness, death, in this life by that means? No. The assumption from the beginning is the belief in the doctrine of reincarnation. It was in order to free himself from future returns of these ills that Gautama renounced his home. But nothing whatever is said of his discovering or inventing the doctrine of reincarnation. Both hell and karma are taken for granted throughout the whole early Buddhistic literature. Buddha discovered neither of them, any more than he discovered a new system of morality, or a new system of religious life; although more credit accrues to him in regard to the last because his order was opposed to that then prevalent; yet even here he had antique authority for his discipline.

To return to Gautama's[8] life. Legend tells how he fled away on his horse Kanthaka, in search of solitude and the means of salvation, far from his home to the abode of ascetics, for he thought: "Whence comes peace? When the fire of desire is extinguished, when the fire of hate is extinguished, when the fire of illusion is extinguished, when all sins and all sorrows are extinguished, then comes peace." And the only means to this end was the renunciation of desire, the discipline of Yoga concentration, where the mind fixed on one point loses all else from its horizon, and feels no drawing aside to worldly things.

What then has Gautama done from the point of view of the Brahman? He has given up his home to become an ascetic. But this was permitted by usage, for, although the strict western code allowed it only to the priest, yet it was customary among the other twice-born castes at an earlier day, and in this part of India it awakened no surprise that one of the military caste should take up the life of a philosopher. For the historian of Indic religions this fact is of great significance, since such practice is the entering wedge which was to split the castes. One step more and not only the military caste but the lower, nay the lowest castes, might become ascetics. But, again, all ascetics were looked upon, in that religious society, as equal to the priests. In fact, where Gautama lived there was rather more respect paid to the ascetic than to the priest as a member of the caste. Gautama was most fortunate in his birth and birth-place. An aristocrat, he became an ascetic in a land where the priests were particularly disregarded. He had no public opinion to contend against when later he declared that Brahman birth and Brahman wisdom had no value. On the contrary, he spoke to glad hearers, who heard repeated loudly now as a religious truth what often they had said to themselves despitefully in private.

Gautama journeyed as a muni, or silent ascetic sage, till after seven years he abandoned his teachers (for he had become a disciple of professed masters), and discontentedly wandered about in M[=a]gadha (Beh[=a]r), 'the cradle of Buddhism,' till he came to Uruvel[=a], Bodhi Gay[=a].[9] Here, having found that concentration of mind, Yoga-discipline, availed nothing, he undertook another method of asceticism, self-torture. This he practiced for some time. But it succeeded as poorly as his first plan, and he had nearly starved himself to death when it occurred to him that he was no wiser than before. Thereupon he gave up starvation as a means of wisdom and began to eat. Five other ascetics, who had been much impressed by his endurance and were quite ready to declare themselves his disciples, now deserted him, thinking that as he had relaxed his discipline he must be weaker than themselves. But Gautama sat beneath the sacred fig-tree[10] and lo! he became illumined. In a moment he saw the Great Truths. He was now the Awakened. He became Buddha.

The later tradition here records how he was tempted of Satan. For M[=a]ra (Death), 'the Evil One' as he is called by the Buddhists, knowing that Buddha had found the way of salvation, tempted him to enter into Nirv[=a]na at once, lest by converting others Buddha should rob M[=a]ra of his power and dominion. This and the legend of storms attacking him and his being protected by the king of snakes, Mucalinda, is lacking in the earlier tradition.

Buddha remains under the bo-tree fasting, for four times seven days, or seven times seven, as says the later report. At first he resolves to be a 'Buddha for himself.'[11] that is to save only himself, not to be 'the universal Buddha,' who converts and saves the world. But the God Brahm[=a] comes down from heaven and persuades him out of pity for the world to preach salvation. In this legend stands out clearly the same fact we have animadverted upon already. Buddha had at first no intention of helping his fellows. He found his own road to salvation. That sufficed. But eventually he was moved through pity for his kind to give others the same knowledge with which he had been enlightened.[12]

Here is to be noticed with what suddenness Gautama becomes Buddha. It is an early case of the same absence of study or intellectual preparation for belief that is rampant in the idea of ictic conversion. In a moment Gautama's eyes are opened. In ecstacy he becomes illuminated with the light of knowledge. This idea is totally foreign to Brahmanism. It is not so strange at an earlier stage, for the Vedic poet often 'sees' his hymn,[13] that is, he is inspired or illumined. But no Brahman priest was ever 'enlightened' with sudden wisdom, for his knowledge was his wisdom, and this consisted in learning interminable trifles. But the wisdom of Buddha was this:

I. Birth is sorrow, age is sorrow, sickness is sorrow, death
is sorrow, clinging to earthly things is sorrow.

II. Birth and re-birth, the chain of reincarnations, result
from the thirst for life together with passion and desire.

III. The only escape from this thirst is the annihilation of

IV. The only way of escape from this thirst is by following
the Eightfold Path: Right belief, right resolve, right word,
right act, right life, right effort, right thinking, right

But Buddha is said to have seen more than these, the Four Great Truths, and the Eightfold Path, for he was enlightened at the same time (after several days of fasting) in regard to the whole chain of causality which is elaborated in the later tradition.

The general result of this teaching may be formulated thus, that most people are foolishly optimistic and that the great awakening is to become a pessimist. One must believe not only that pain is inseparable from existence, but that the pleasures of life are only a part of its pain. When one has got so far along the path of knowledge he traverses the next stage and gets rid of desire, which is the root of life,—this is a Vedic utterance,—till by casting off desire, ignorance, doubt, and heresy, as add some of the texts,[15] one has removed far away all unkindness and vexation of soul, feeling good-will to all.

Not only in this scheme but also in other less formal declarations of Buddha does one find the key-note of that which makes his method of salvation different alike to that of Jain or Brahman. Knowledge is wisdom to the Brahman; asceticism is wisdom to the Jain; purity and love is the first wisdom to the Buddhist. We do not mean that the Brahman does not reach theoretically a plane that puts him on the same level with Buddhism. We have pointed out above a passage in the work of the old law-giver Gautama which might almost have been uttered by Gautama Buddha: "He that has performed all the forty sacraments and has not the eight good qualities enters not into union with Brahm[=a] nor into the heaven of Brahm[=a]; but he that has performed only a part of the forty sacraments and has the eight good qualities, enters into union with Brahm[=a] and into the heaven of Brahm[=a]"; and these eight good qualities are mercy, forbearance, freedom from envy, purity, calmness, correct behavior, freedom from greed and from covetousness. Nevertheless with the Brahman this is adventitious, with the Buddhist it is essential.

These Four Great Truths are given to the world first at Benares, whither Buddha went in order to preach to the five ascetics that had deserted him. His conversation with them shows us another side of Buddhistic ethics. The five monks, when they saw Buddha approaching, jeered, and said: "Here is the one that failed in his austerities." Buddha tells them to acknowledge him as their master, and that he is the Enlightened One. "How," they ask, "if you could not succeed in becoming a Buddha by asceticism, can we suppose that you become one by indulgence?" Buddha tells them that neither voluptuousness nor asceticism is the road that leads to Nirv[=a]na; that he, Buddha, has found the middle path between the two extremes, the note is struck that is neither too high nor too low. The five monks are converted when they hear the Four Great Truths and the Eightfold Path, and there are now six holy ones on earth, Buddha and his five disciples.

Significant also is the social status of Buddha's first conversion. It is 'the rich youth' of Benares that flock about him,[16] of whom sixty soon are counted, and these are sent out into all the lands to preach the gospel, each to speak in his own tongue, for religion was from this time on no longer to be hid behind the veil of an unintelligible language. And it is not only the aristocracy of wealth that attaches itself to the new teacher and embraces his doctrines with enthusiasm. The next converts are a thousand Brahman priests, who constituted a religious body under the leadership of three ascetic Brahmans. It is described in the old writings how these priests were still performing their Vedic rites when Buddha came again to Bodhi Gay[=a] and found them there. They were overcome with astonishment as they saw his power over the King of Snakes that lived among them. The gods—for Buddhism, if not Buddha, has much to do with the gods—descend from heaven to hear him, and other marvels take place. The Brahmans are all converted. The miracles and the numbers may be stripped off, but thus denuded the truth still remains as important as it is plain. Priests of Brahman caste were among the first to adopt Buddhism. The popular effect of the teaching must have been great, for one reads how, when Buddha, after this great conversion, begins his victorious wanderings in Beh[=a]r (M[=a]gadha), he converted so many of the young nobles that—since conversion led to the immediate result of renunciation—the people murmured, saying that Gautama (Gotama) was robbing them of their youth.[17]

From this time on Buddha's life was spent in wandering about and preaching the new creed mainly to the people of Beh[=a]r and Oude (K[=a]çi-Kosala, the realm of Benares-Oude), his course extending from the (Ir[=a]vati) Rapti river in the north to R[=a]jagriha (gaha, now Rajgir) south of Beh[=a]r, while he spent the vasso or rainy season in one of the parks, many of which were donated to him by wealthy members of the fraternity.[18]

Wherever he went he was accompanied with a considerable number of followers, and one reads of pilgrims from distant places coming to see and converse with him. The number of his followers appears to have been somewhat exaggerated by the later writers, since Buddha himself, when prophesying of the next Buddha, the "Buddha of love" (Maitreya) says that, whereas he himself has hundreds of followers, the next Buddha will lead hundreds of thousands.

Although, theoretically, all the castes give up their name, and, when united in the Buddhistic brotherhood, become "like rivers that give up their identity and unite in the one ocean," yet were most of the early recruits, as has been said, from influential and powerful families; and it is a tenet of Buddhism in regard to the numerous Buddhas, which have been born[19] and are still to be born on earth, that no Buddha can be born in a low caste.

The reason for this lies as much as anything in the nature of the Buddhistic system which is expressly declared to be "for the wise, not for the foolish." It was not a system based as such on love or on any democratic sentiment. It was a philosophical exposition of the causal nexus of birth and freedom from re-birth. The common man, untrained in logic, might adopt the teaching, but he could not understand it. The "Congregation of the son of the Ç[=a]kyas"—such was the earliest name for the Buddhistic brotherhood—were required only to renounce their family, put on the yellow robe, assume the tonsure and other outward signs, and be chaste and high-minded. But the teachers were instructed in the subtleties of the 'Path,' and it needed no little training to follow the leader's thought to its logical conclusion.

Of Buddha's life, besides the circumstances already narrated little is known. Of his disciples the best beloved was [=A]nanda, his own cousin, whose brother was the Judas of Buddhism. The latter, Devadatta by name, conspired to kill Buddha in order that he himself might get the post of honor. But hell opened and swallowed him up. He appears to have had convictions of Jain tendency, for before his intrigue he preached against Buddha, and formulated reactionary propositions which inculcated a stricter asceticism than that taught by the Master.[20]

It has been denied that the early church contained lay members as well as monks, but Oldenberg appears to have set the matter right (p. 165) in showing that the laity, from the beginning, were a recognized part of the general church. The monk (bhikshu, bhikku) was formally enrolled as a disciple, wore the gown and tonsure, etc. The lay brother, 'reverer' (up[=a]saka) was one that assented to the doctrine and treated the monks kindly. There were, at first, only men in the congregation, for Buddhism took a view as unfavorable to woman as did Jainism. But at his foster-mother's request Buddha finally admitted nuns as well as monks into his fold. When [=A]nanda asks how a monk should act in presence of a woman Buddha says 'avoid to look at her'; but if it be necessary to look, 'do not speak to her'; but if it be necessary to speak, 'then keep wide awake, [=A]nanda.'[21]

Buddha died in the fifth century. Rhys Davids, who puts the date later than most scholars, gives, as the time of the great Nirv[=a]na, the second decade from the end of the fourth century. On the other hand, Bühler and Müller reckon the year as 477, while Oldenberg says 'about 480.'[22] From Buddha's own words, as reported by tradition, he was eighty years old at the time of his death, and if one allots him thirty-six years as his age when he became independent of masters, his active life would be one of forty-four years. It was probably less than this, however, for some years must be added to the first seven of ascetic practices before he took the field as a preacher.

The story of Buddha's death is told simply and clearly. He crossed the Ganges, where at that time was building the town of Patna (P[=a]taliputta, 'Palibothra'), and prophesied its future greatness (it was the chief city of India for centuries after); then, going north from R[=a]jagriha, in Beh[=a]r, and V[=a]iç[=a]l[=i], he proceeded to a point east of Gorukhpur (Kasia). Tradition thus makes him wander over the most familiar places till he comes back almost to his own country. There, in the region known to him as a youth, weighed down with years and ill-health, but surrounded by his most faithful disciples, he died. Not unaffecting is the final scene.[23]

'Now the venerable [=A]nanda (Buddha's beloved disciple) went into the cloister-building, and stood leaning against the lintel of the door and weeping at the thought: "Alas! I remain still but a learner, one who has yet to work out his own perfection. And the Master is about to pass away from me—he who is so kind." Then the Blessed One called the brethren and said: "Where then, brethren, is [=A]nanda?" "The venerable [=A]nanda (they replied) has gone into the cloister-building and stands leaning against the lintel of the door, weeping." … And the Blessed One called a certain brother, and said "Go now, brother, and call [=A]nanda in my name and say, 'Brother [=A]nanda, thy Master calls for thee.'" "Even so, Lord," said that brother, and he went up to where [=A]nanda was, and said to the venerable [=A]nanda: "Brother [=A]nanda, thy Master calls for thee." "It is well, brother," said the venerable [=A]nanda, and he went to the place where Buddha was. And when he was come thither he bowed down before the Blessed One, and took his seat on one side. Then the Blessed One said to the venerable [=A]nanda, as he sat there by his side: "Enough, [=A]nanda, let not thyself be troubled; weep not. Have I not told thee already that we must divide ourselves from all that is nearest and dearest? How can it be possible that a being born to die should not die? For a long time, [=A]nanda, hast thou been very near to me by acts of love that is kind and good and never varies, and is beyond all measure. (This Buddha repeats three times.) Thou hast done well. Be earnest in effort. Thou, too, shalt soon be free." … When he had thus spoken, the venerable [=A]nanda said to the Blessed One: "Let not the Blessed One die in this little wattle and daub town, a town in the midst of the jungle, in this branch township. For, Lord, there are other great cities such as Benares (and others). Let the Blessed One die in one of them."'

This request is refused by Buddha. [=A]nanda then goes to the town and tells the citizens that Buddha is dying. 'Now, when they had heard this saying, they, With their young men and maidens and wives were grieved, and sad, and afflicted at heart. And some of them wept, dishevelling their hair, and stretched forth their arms, and wept, fell prostrate on the ground and rolled to and fro, in anguish at the thought "Too soon will the Blessed One die! Too soon will the Happy One pass away! Full soon will the Light of the world vanish away!"' … When Buddha is alone again with his disciples, 'then the Blessed One addressed the brethren and said "It may be, brethren, that there may be doubt or misgiving in the mind of some brother as to the Buddha, the truth, the path or the way. Inquire, brethren, freely. Do not have to reproach yourselves afterwards with this thought: 'Our Teacher was face to face with us, and we could not bring ourselves to inquire of the Blessed One when we were face to face with him.'" And when he had thus spoken they sat silent. Then (after repeating these words and receiving no reply) the Blessed One addressed the brethren and said, "It may be that you put no questions out of reverence for the Teacher. Let one friend communicate with another." And when he had thus spoken the brethren sat silent. And the venerable [=A]nanda said: "How wonderful a thing, Lord, and how marvellous. Verily, in this whole assembly, there is not one brother who has doubt or misgiving as to Buddha, the truth, the path or the way." Then Buddha said: "It is out of the fullness of thy faith that thou hast spoken, [=A]nanda. But I know it for certain." … Then the Blessed One addressed the brethren saying: "Behold, brethren, I exhort you saying, transitory are all component things; toil without ceasing." And these were the last words of Buddha.'

It is necessary here to make pause for a moment and survey the temporal and geographical circumstances of Buddha's life. His lifetime covered the period of greatest intellectual growth in Athens. If, as some think, the great book of doubt[24] was written by the Hebrew in 450, there would be in three lands, at least, about the same time the same earnestly scornful skepticism in regard to the worn-out teachings of the fathers. But at a time when, in Greece, the greatest minds were still veiling infidelity as best they could, in India atheism was already formulated.

It has been questioned, and the question has been answered both affirmatively and negatively, whether the climatic conditions of Buddha's home were in part responsible for the pessimistic tone of his philosophy. If one compare the geographical relation of Buddhism to Brahmanism and to Vedism respectively with a more familiar geography nearer home, he will be better able to judge in how far these conditions may have influenced the mental and religious tone. Taking Kabul and Kashmeer as the northern limit of the period of the Rig Veda, there are three geographical centres. The latitude of the Vedic poets corresponds to about the southern boundary of Tennessee and North Carolina. The entire tract covered by the southern migration to the time of Buddhism, extending from Kabul to a point that corresponds to Benares (35° is a little north of Kabul and 25° is a little south of Beh[=a]r), would be represented loosely in the United States by the difference between the northern line of Mississippi and Key West. The extent of Georgia about represents in latitude the Vedic province (35° to 30°), while Florida (30° to 25°) roughly shows the southern progress from the seat of old Brahmanism to the cradle of young Buddhism. These are the extreme limits of Vedism, Brahmanism and proto-Buddhism. South of this the country was known to Brahmanism only to be called savage, and not before the late S[=u]tras (c. 300 B.C.) is one brought as far south as Bombay in the West. The [=A]itareya Br[=a]hmana, which represents the old centre of Brahmanism around Delhi, knows of the [=A]ndhras, south of the God[=a]var[=i] river in the southeast (about the latitude of Bombay and Hayti), only as outer 'Barbarians.' It is quite conceivable that a race of hardy mountaineers, in shifting their home through generations from the hills of Georgia and Tennessee to the sub-tropical region of Key West (to Cuba), in the course of many centuries might become morally affected. But it seems to us, although the miasmatic plains of Bengal may perhaps present even a sharper contrast to the Vedic region than do Key West and Cuba to Georgia, that the climate in effecting a moral degradation (if pessimism be immoral) must have produced also the effect of mental debility. Now to our mind there is not the slightest proof for the asseveration, which has been repeated so often that it is accepted by many nowadays as a truism, that Buddhism or even post-Buddhistic literature shows any trace of mental decay.[25] There certainly is mental weakness in the Br[=a]hmanas, but these cannot all be accredited to the miasms of Bengal. They are the bones of a religion already dead, kept for instruction in a cabinet; dry, dusty, lifeless, but awful to the beholder and useful to the owner. Again, does Buddhism lose in the comparison from an intellectual point of view when set beside the mazy gropings of the Upanishads? We have shown that dogma was the base of primal pantheism; of real logic there is not a whit. We admire the spirit of the teachers in the Upanishads, but we have very little respect for the logical ability of any early Hindu teachers; that is to say, there is very little of it to admire. The doctors of the Upanishad philosophy were poets, not dialecticians. Poetry indeed waned in the extreme south, and no spirited or powerful literature ever was produced there, unless it was due to foreign influence, such as the religious poetry of Ramaism and the Tamil Sittars. But in secondary subtlety and in the marking of distinctions, in classifying and analyzing on dogmatic premises, as well as in the acceptance of hearsay truths as ultimate verities—we do not see any fundamental disparity in these regards between the mind of the Northwest and that of the Southeast; and what superficial difference exists goes to the credit of Buddhism. For if one must have dogma it is something to have system, and while precedent theosophy was based on the former it knew nothing of the latter. Moreover, in Buddhism there is a greater intellectual vigor than in any phase of Brahmanism (as distinct from Vedism). To cast off not only gods but soul, and more, to deny the moral efficacy of asceticism this was a leap into the void, to appreciate the daring of which one has but to read himself into the priestly literature of Buddha's rivals, both heterodox and orthodox. We see then in Buddhism neither a debauched moral type, nor a weakened intellectuality. The pessimism of Buddhism, so far as it concerns earth, is not only the same pessimism that underlies the religious motive of Brahmanic pantheism, but it is the same pessimism that pervades Christianity and even Hebraism. This world is a sorry place, living is suffering; do thou escape from it. The pleasures of life are vanity; do thou renounce them. "To die is gain," says the apostle; and the Preacher: "I have seen all the works that are done under the sun and behold all is vanity and vexation of spirit. He that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow. For what hath man of all his labor and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun? For all his days are sorrows and his travail grief. That which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man whether it goeth upward? I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive. The dead know not anything, their love and their hatred and their envy is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun. The wandering of the desire, this also is vanity."

The Preacher is a fairly good Buddhist.

If pessimism be the conviction that life on earth is not worth living, this view is shared alike by the greatest of earth's religions. If pessimism be the view that all beauty ends with life and that beyond it there is nothing for which it is worth while to live, then India has no parallel to this Homeric belief. If, however, pessimism mean that to have done with existence on earth is the best that can happen to a man, but that there is bliss beyond, then this is the opinion of Brahmanism, Jainism, and Christianity. Buddhism alone teaches that to live on earth is weariness, that there is no bliss beyond, and that one should yet be calm, pure, loving, and wise.

How could such a religion inspire enthusiasm? How could it send forth jubilant disciples to preach the gospel of joy? Yet did Buddhism do even this. Not less happy and blissful than were they that received the first comfort of pantheism were the apostles of Buddha. His progress was a triumph of gladness. They that believed in him rejoiced and hastened to their fellows with the good tidings. Was it then a new morality, a new ethical code, that thus inspired them? Let one but look at the vows and commandments respectively taken by and given to the Buddhist monk, and he will see that in Buddhism there is no new morality.

The Ten Vows are as follows:

I take the vow not to kill; not to steal; to abstain from impurity; not to lie; to abstain from intoxicating drinks which hinder progress and virtue; not to eat at forbidden times; to abstain from dancing, singing, music and stage plays; not to use garlands, scents, unguents, or ornaments; not to use a high or broad bed; not to receive gold or silver.

The Eight Commandments are as follows:

Do not kill; do not steal; do not lie; do not drink intoxicating drinks; do not commit fornication or adultery; do not eat unseasonable food at night; do not wear garlands or use perfumes; sleep on a mat spread on the ground.

The first five of these commands are given to every Buddhist, monk, or layman; the last three are binding only on the monk.[26]

These laws and rules were, however, as we have indicated in the chapter on Jainism, the common property, with some unimportant variations and exceptions, of the Brahman ascetic, the Jain, and the Buddhist. There was surely nothing here to rouse especial interest. No. But there was one side of Buddhism that was new, not absolutely new, for it formed part of the moral possession of that early band which we may call the congregation of the Spirit. The Brahman theoretically had done away with penance and with prayer, with the Vedic gods and with the Vedic rites. Yet was it impossible for him practically to absolve the folk of these. The priest might admit that he knew a better way to salvation, but he still led the people over the hard old road, and he himself went that way also, because it was the way of the fathers, because it was the only way for them that were unwise, and perhaps, too, because it was the only way in which the priest could keep his place as guide and leader of the people.

Jainism smote down some of the obstacles that the Brahman had built and kept. Mah[=a]v[=i]ra made the way to salvation shorter, but he did not make it easier for the masses. Asceticism, self-mortification, starvation, torture,—this was his means of gaining happiness hereafter.

But Buddha cut down all obstacles. He made the lowest equal with the highest. It is true that he was no democrat. It is true that his success depended, in great part, on political influence, on the conversion of kings and nobles, men of his own class. It is true also that Buddha at first, like every other Hindu theosophist, sought no salvation for the world around him, but only for himself. But he was moved with pity for the multitude. And why? The sages among them knew no path to happiness save through life-long torture; the common people knew only a religion of rites in which they took no interest, the very words of which were unintelligible; and its priests in their eyes, if not contemptible, at least were unsympathetic. And at the same time the old caste-system oppressed and insulted them. It is evident that the times were ripe for a more humane religion and a new distribution of social privileges. Then Buddha arose and said: "He that is pure in heart is the true priest, not he that knows the Veda. Like unto one that standeth where a king hath stood and spoken, and standing and speaking there deems himself for this a king, seems to me the man that repeateth the hymns, which the wise men of old have spoken, and standing in their place and speaking, deems himself for this a sage. The Vedas are nothing, the priests are of no account, save as they be morally of repute. Again, what use to mortify the flesh? Asceticism is of no value. Be pure, be good; this is the foundation of wisdom—to restrain desire, to be satisfied with little. He is a holy man who doeth this. Knowledge follows this."

Here is the essence of Buddhism, here is its power; and when one reflects that Buddha added: "Go into all lands and preach this gospel; tell them that the poor and lowly, the rich and high, are all one, and that all castes unite in this religion, as unite the rivers in the sea"—he will understand what key was used to open the hearts of Buddha's kinsmen and people.

But, it will be said, there is nothing in this of that extreme pessimism, of which mention has just been made. True. And this, again, is an important point to bear in mind, that whereas the logic of his own system led Buddha into a formal and complete pessimism, which denies an after-life to the man that finds no happiness in this, he yet never insists upon this. He not only does not insist, but in his talks with his questioners and disciples he uses all means to evade direct inquiry in regard to the fate of man after death. He believed that Nirv[=a]na (extinction of lust) led to cessation of being; he did not believe in an immortal soul. But he urged no such negative doctrine as this. What he urged repeatedly was that every one accepting the undisputed doctrine of karma or re-birth in its full extent (i.e., that for every sin here, punishment followed in the next existence), should endeavor to escape, if possible, from such an endless course of painful re-births, and that to accomplish this it was necessary first to be sober and good, then to be learned, but not to be an ascetic. On the other hand the doctrine, in its logical fullness, was a teaching only for the wise, not for fools. He imparted it only to the wise. What is one to understand from this? Clearly, that Buddha regarded the mass of his disciples as standing in need merely of the Four Great Truths, the confession of which was the sign of becoming a disciple; while to the strong and wise he reserved the logical pessimism, which resulted from his first denials and the premises of causality on which was created his complicated system. Only thus can one comprehend the importance of Buddhism to his own time and people, only in this light reconcile the discrepancy between the accounts of a religion which roused multitudes to enthusiasm and joy, while on the other hand it stood on the cold basis of complete nihilism. Formally there was not an esoteric[27] and exoteric Buddhism, but practically what the apostles taught, what Buddha himself taught to the mass of his hearers was a release from the bondage of the law and the freedom of a high moral code as the one thing needful. But he never taught that sacrifice was a bad thing; he never either took the priest's place himself or cast scorn upon the Brahman caste: "Better even than a harmless[28] sacrifice is liberality" he says, "better than liberality is faith and kindness (non-injury) and truth, better than faith, kindness, and truth is renunciation of the world and the search for peace; best of all, the highest sacrifice and greatest good, is when one enters Nirv[=a]na, saying "I shall not return again to earth." This is to be an Arhat (Perfect Sage).

These are Buddha's own words as he spoke with a Brahman priest,[29] who was converted thereby and replied at once with the Buddhist's confession of faith: "I take refuge in Buddha, in the doctrine, in the church."

A significant conversation! In many ways these words should be corrective of much that is hazarded today in regard to Buddhism. There is here no elaborate system of metaphysics. Wisdom consists in the truth as it is in Buddha; and before truth stand, as antecedently essential, faith and kindness; for so may one render the passive non-injury of the Brahman as taught by the Buddhist. To have faith and good works, to renounce the pomps and vanities of life, to show kindness to every living thing, to seek for salvation, to understand, and so finally to leave no second self behind to suffer again, this is Buddha's doctrine.

We have avoided thus far to define Nirv[=a]na. It has three distinct meanings, eternal blissful repose (such was the Nirv[=a]na of the Jains and in part of Buddhism), extinction and absolute annihilation (such was the Nirv[=a]na of some Buddhists), and the Nirv[=a]na of Buddha himself. Nirv[=a]na meant to Buddha the extinction of lust, anger, and ignorance. He adopted the term, he did not invent it. He was often questioned, but persistently refused to say whether he believed that Nirv[=a]na implied extinction of being or not. We believe that in this refusal to speak on so vital a point lies the evidence that he himself regarded the 'extinction' or 'blowing out' (this is what the word means literally) as resulting in annihilation. Had he believed otherwise we think he would not have hesitated to say so, for it would have strengthened his influence among them to whom annihilation was not a pleasing thought.

But one has no right to 'go behind the returns' as these are given by Buddha. The later church says distinctly that Buddha himself did not teach whether he himself, his ego, was to live after death or not; or whether a permanent ego exists. It is useless, therefore, to inquire whether Buddha's Nirv[=a]na be a completion, as Müller defines it, or annihilation. To one Buddhistic party it was the one; to the other, the other; to Buddha himself it was what may be inferred from his refusal to make any declaration in regard to it.

The second point of interest is not more easily disposed of. What to the Buddhist is the spirit, the soul of man? It certainly is not an eternal spirit, such as was the spirit of Brahmanic philosophy, or that of the Jain. But, on the other hand, it is clear that something survived after death till one was reborn for the last time, and then entered Nirv[=a]na. The part that animates the material complex is to the Buddhist an individuality which depends on the nature of its former complex, home, and is destined to project itself upon futurity till the house which it has built ceases to exist, a home rebuilt no more to be its tabernacle. When a man dies the component parts of his material personality fall apart, and a new complex is formed, of which the individuality is the effect of the karma of the preceding complex. The new person is one's karmic self, but it is not one's identical ego. There appears, therefore, even in the doctrine of Nirv[=a]na, to lie something of that altruism so conspicuous in the insistence on kindness and conversion of others. It is to save from sorrow this son of one's acts that one should seek to find the end. But there is no soul to save.

We cannot insist too often on the fact that the religion of Buddha was not less practical than human. He practiced, as he taught, that the more one worked for others, was devoted to others, the less he cared for himself, the less was he the victim of desire. Hence he says that a true Nirv[=a]na may come even in one's own lifetime—the utter surrender of one's self is Nirv[=a]na,[30] while the act of dying only draws the curtain after the tragedy has ended. "Except," Buddha says, "for birth, age, and death, there would be no need of Buddha."

A review of Buddha's system of metaphysics is, therefore, doubly unnecessary for our present purpose.[31] In the first place we believe that most of the categories and metaphysical niceties of Buddhism, as handed down, are of secondary origin; and, were this not so, it is still evident that they were but the unimportant, intellectual appendage of a religion that was based on anything but metaphysical subtleties. Buddha, like every other teacher of his time, had to have a 'system,' though whether the system handed down as his reverts to him it is impossible to say. But Buddha's recondite doctrine was only for the wise. "It is hard to learn for an ordinary person," says Buddha himself. But it was the ordinary person that Buddhism took to its bosom. The reason can be only the one we have given. For the last stage before Arhat-ship Buddha had ready a complicate system. But he did not inflict it on the ordinary person.[32] It was not an essential but the completing of his teaching; in his own eyes truth as represented by the Four Great Truths was the real doctrine.

The religion of Buddha, for the mass of people, lies in the Four Great Truths and their practical application to others, which implies kindness and love of humanity. For Buddha, whatever may have been the reluctance with which he began to preach, shows in all his teachings and dealings with men an enduring patience under their rebuffs, a brotherly sympathy with their weakness, and a divine pity for their sorrows. Something, too, of divine anger with the pettiness and meanness of the unworthy ones among his followers, as when, after preaching with parable and exhortation to the wrangling brothers of the monastery of Kosamb[=i], he left them, saying, "'Truly these fools are infatuate; it is no easy task to administer instruction to them,' and," it is added simply, "he rose from his seat and went away."[33]

The significance of the church organization in the development of Buddhism should not be under-estimated. Contrasted with the lack of an organized ecclesiastical corporation among the Brahmans the Buddhistic synod, or congregation, Sangha, exerted a great influence. In different places there would be a park set apart for the Buddhist monks. Here they had their monastery buildings, here they lived during the rainy season, from this place out as a centre the monks radiated through the country, not as lone mendicants, but as members of a powerful fraternity. To this monastery came gifts, receipts of all kinds that never would have been bestowed upon individuals. Undoubtedly organization did much for the spread of Buddhism. Yet we think its influence has been emphasized almost too much by some scholars, or rather the effect has been represented as too radical. For the monasteries, as represented by tradition, with their immense wealth and political importance as allies of the heretical kings of the East, are plainly of secondary growth. If one limit their national and political importance to a period one or two hundred years after the Master's time, he will not err in attributing to this cause, as does Barth, the reason for the rapid rise and supremacy of Buddhism over India. But the first beginnings of the institution were small, and what is to be sought in the beginning of Buddhism is rather the reason why the monasteries became popular, and what was the hold which Buddha had upon the masses, and which induced the formation of this great engine of religious war. And when this first question is raised the answer must still be that the banding together of the monks was not the cause but the effect of the popularity of Buddhism. The first monasteries, as Barth well says, were only assemblies of pious men who formed a spiritual band of religious thinkers, of men who united themselves into one body to the end that they might study righteousness, learning together how to imitate the Master in holiness of living. But the members converted soon became so many that formal assemblies became a necessity to settle the practical disputes and theoretical questions which were raised by the new multitude of believers, some of whom were more factious than devout. Brahmanism had no need of this. The Brahman priest had his law in tradition; his life and conduct were regulated by immemorial law. The corporations of these priests were but temporary organizations for specific purposes. They made no attempt to proselytize. Their members never exceeded the bounds of the caste. The cause, then, of the rapid spread of Buddhism at the beginning of its career lies only in the conditions of its teaching and the influential backing of its founder. It was the individual Buddha that captivated men; it was the teaching that emanated from him that fired enthusiasm; it was his position as an aristocrat that made him acceptable to the aristocracy, his magnetism that made him the idol of the people. From every page stands out the strong, attractive personality of this teacher and winner of hearts. No man ever lived so godless yet so godlike. Arrogating to himself no divinity, despairing of future bliss, but without fear as without hope, leader of thought but despising lovingly the folly of the world, exalted but adored, the universal brother, he wandered among men, simply, serenely; with gentle irony subduing them that opposed him, to congregation after congregation speaking with majestic sweetness, the master to each, the friend of all. His voice was singularly vibrant and eloquent;[34] his very tones convinced the hearer, his looks inspired awe. From the tradition it appears that he must have been one of those whose personality alone suffices to make a man not only a leader but a god to the hearts of his fellows. When such an one speaks he obtains hearers. It matters little what he says, for he influences the emotions, and bends whoever listens to his will. But if added to this personality, if encompassing it, there be the feeling in the minds of others that what this man teaches is not only a verity, but the very hope of their salvation; if for the first time they recognize in his words the truth that makes of slaves free men, of classes a brotherhood, then it is not difficult to see wherein lies the lightning-like speed with which the electric current passes from heart to heart. Such a man was Buddha, such was the essential of his teaching; and such was the inevitable rapidity of Buddhistic expansion, and the profound influence of the shock that was produced by the new faith upon the moral consciousness of Buddha's people.

The literature of early Buddhism consists of a number of historical works embodying the life and teaching of the master, some of more didactic and epigrammatic intent, and, in the writings of the Northern Buddhists, some that have given up the verbose simplicity of the first tracts in favor of tasteless and extravagant recitals more stagey than impressive. The final collection of the sacred books (earlier is the Suttanta division into Nik[=a]yas) is called Tripitaka, 'the three baskets,' one containing the tracts on discipline; one, the talks of Buddha; and one, partly metaphysical; called respectively Vinaya, Sutta, and Abhidhamma. The Southern[35] P[=a]li redaction—for the writings of the Northern[36] Buddhists are in Sanskrit—was commented upon in the fifth century of this era by Buddha-gosha ('Buddha's glory'), and appears to be older than the Sanskrit version of Nep[=a]l. Some of the writings go back as far as the Second Council, and their content, so far as it concerns Buddha's own words, in many cases is doubtless a tradition that one should accept as authoritative. The works on discipline, instead of being as dull as one might reasonably expect of books that deal with the petty details of a monastery, are of exceeding interest (although whole chapters conform to the reasonable expectation), for they contain fragments of the work and words of Buddha which give a clearer idea of his personality and teaching than do his more extended, and perhaps less original discourses. They throw a strong light also on the early church, its recalcitrant as well as its obedient members, the quarrels and schisms that appear to have arisen even before Buddha's death. Thus in the Mah[=a]vagga (ch. X) there is found an account of the schism caused by the expulsion of some unworthy members. The brethren are not only schismatic, some taking the side of those expelled, but they are even insolent to Buddha; and when he entreats them for the sake of the effect on the outer world to heal their differences,[37] they tell him to his face that they will take the responsibility, and that he need not concern himself with the matter. It is on this occasion that Buddha says, "Truly, these fools are infatuate," leaves them, and goes into solitude, rejoicing to be free from souls so quarrelsome and contentious. Again these tracts give a picture of how they should live that are truly Buddha's disciples. Buddha finds three disciples living in perfect harmony, and asks them how they live together so peaceably and lovingly. In quaint and yet dignified language they reply, and tell him that they serve each other. He that rises first prepares the meal, he that returns last at night puts the room in order, etc. (ib. 4). Occasionally in the account of unruly brothers it is evident that tradition must be anticipating, or that many joined the Buddhist fraternity as an excuse from restraint. The Cullavagga opens with the story of two notorious renegades, 'makers of strife, quarrelsome, makers of dispute, given to idle talk, and raisers of legal questions in the congregation.' Such were the infamous followers of Panduka and Lohitaka. Of a different sort, Epicurean or rather frivolous, were the adherents of Assaji and Punabbasu, who, according to another chapter of the Cullavagga (I. 13), 'cut flowers, planted cuttings of flowers, used ointment and scents, danced, wore garlands, and revelled wickedly.' A list of the amusements in which indulged these flighty monks includes 'games played with six and ten pieces, tossing up, hopping over diagrams, dice, jackstraws,[38] ball, sketching, racing, marbles, wrestling,' etc; to which a like list (Tevijja, II) adds chess or checkers ('playing with a board of sixty-four squares or one hundred squares'), ghost stories, and unseemly wrangling in regard to belief ("I am orthodox, you are heterodox"), earning a living by prognostication, by taking omens 'from a mirror' or otherwise, by quack medicines, and by 'pretending to understand the language of beasts.' It is gratifying to learn that the scented offenders described in the first-mentioned work were banished from the order. According to the regular procedure, they were first warned, then reminded, then charged; then the matter was laid before the congregation, and they were obliged to leave the order. Even the detail of Subhadda's insolence is not wanting in these records (Cull. XI. 1. and elsewhere). No sooner was Buddha dead than the traitor Subhadda cries out: "We are well rid of him; he gave us too many rules. Now we may do as we like." On which the assembly proceeded to declare in force all the rules that Buddha had given, although he had left it to them to discard them when they would. The Confessional (P[=a]timokkha), out of which have been evolved in narrative form the Vinaya texts that contain it, concerns graded offences, matters of expiation, rules regarding decency, directions concerning robes, rugs, bowls, and other rather uninteresting topics, all discussed in the form of a confession.[39] The church-reader goes over the rules in the presence of the congregation, and asks at the end of each section whether any one is guilty of having broken this rule. If at the third repetition no one responds, he says, 'They are declared innocent by their silence.' This was the first public confessional, although, as we have shown above, the idea of a partial remission of sin by means of confession to the priest is found in Brahmanic literature.[40] The confession extends to very small matters, but one sees from other texts that the early congregation laid a great deal of weight on details, such as dress, as the sign of a sober life. Thus in Mah[=a]vagga, V. 2 ff., certain Buddhists dress in a worldly way. At one time one is informed of the color of their heretical slippers, at another of the make of their wicked gowns. All this is monastic, even in the discipline which 'sets back' a badly behaved monk, gives him probation, forces him to be subordinate. In Cullavagga, I. 9, there is an account of stupid Seyyasaka, who was dull and indiscreet, and was always getting 'set back' by the brethren. Finally they grow weary of probating him and carry out the nissaya against him, obliging him to remain under the superintendence of others. For, according to Buddha's rule, a wise novice was kept under surveillance, or rather under the authority of others, for five years; a stupid uninformed monk, forever. Buddha's relations with society are plainly set forth. One reads how his devoted friend, King Seniya Bimbis[=a]ra, four years younger than Buddha, and his protector (for he was King of M[=a]gadha), gives him a park, perhaps the first donation of this sort, the origin of all the monastic foundations: "The King of M[=a]gadha, Bimbis[=a]ra, thought 'here is this bamboo forest Venuvana, my pleasure-garden, which is neither too near to the town nor too far from it…. What if I were to give it to the fraternity?' … And he took a golden vessel (of water) and dedicated the garden to Buddha, saying, 'I give up the park to the fraternity with Buddha at its head.' And the Blessed One accepted the park" (Mah[=a]vagga, i. 22).[41] Another such park Buddha accepts from the courtezan, Ambap[=a]li, whose conversation with Buddha and dinner-party to him forms a favorite story with the monks (Mah[=a]v. v. 30; Cull. ii). The protection offered by Bimbis[=a]ra made the order a fine retreat for rogues. In Mah[=a]v. 1. 41 ff. one reads that King Seniya Bimbis[=a]ra made a decree: "No one is to do any harm to those ordained among the Ç[=a]kya-son's monks.[42] Well taught is their doctrine. Let them lead a holy life for the sake of complete extinction of suffering." But robbers and runaway slaves immediately took advantage of this decree, and by joining the order put the police at defiance. Even debtors escaped, became monks, and mocked their creditors. Buddha, therefore, made it a rule that no robber, runaway slave, or other person liable to arrest should be admitted into the order. He ordained further that no son might join the order without his parents' consent (ib. 54). Still another motive of false disciples had to be combated. The parents of Up[=a]li thought to themselves: "What shalt we teach Up[=a]li that he may earn his living? If we teach him writing his fingers will be sore; if we teach him arithmetic his mind will be sore; if we teach him money-changing his eyes will be sore. There are those Buddhist monks; they live an easy life; they have enough to eat and shelter from the rain; we will make him a monk." Buddha, hearing of this, ordained that no one should be admitted into the order under twenty (with some exceptions).

The monks' lives were simple. They went out by day to beg, were locked in their cells at night (Mah[=a]v. i. 53), were probated for light offences, and expelled for very severe ones.[43] The people are represented as murmuring against the practices of the monks at first, till the latter were brought to more modest behavior. It is perhaps only Buddhist animosity that makes the narrator say: "They did not behave modestly at table…. Then the people murmured and said, 'These Buddhist monks make a riot at their meals, they act just like the Brahman priests.'" (Mah[=a]v. i. 25; cf. i. 70.)

We turn from the Discipline to the Sermons. Here one finds everything, from moral exhortations to a book of Revelations.[44] Buddha sometimes is represented as entering upon a dramatic dialogue with those whom he wishes to reform, and the talk is narrated. With what soft irony he questions, with what apparent simplicity he argues! In the Tevijja[45] the scene opens with a young Brahman. He is a pious and religious youth, and tells Buddha that although he yearns for 'union with Brahm[=a],'[46] he does not know which of the different paths proposed by Brahman priests lead to Brahm[=a]. Do they all lead to union with Brahm[=a]? Buddha answers: 'Let us see; has any one of these Brahmans ever seen Brahm[=a]?' 'No, indeed, Gautama.' 'Or did any one of their ancestors ever see Brahm[=a]?' 'No, Gautama.' 'Well, did the most ancient seers ever say that they knew where is Brahm[=a]?' 'No, Gautama.' 'Then if neither the present Brahmans know, nor the old Brahmans knew where is Brahm[=a], the present Brahmans say in point of fact, "We can show the way to union with what we know not and have never seen; this is the straight path, this is the direct way which leads to Brahm[=a]"—and is this foolish talk?' 'It is foolish talk.' 'Then, as to yearning for union with Brahm[=a], suppose a man should say, "How I long for, how I love the most beautiful woman in this land," and the people should ask, "Do you know whether that beautiful woman is a noble lady, or a Brahman woman, or of the trader class, or a slave?" and he should say, "No"; and the people should say, "What is her name, is she tall or short, in what place does she live?" and he should say, "I know not," and the people should say, "Whom you know not, neither have seen, her you love and long for?" and he should say, "Yes,"—would not that be foolish? Then, after this is assented to, Buddha suggests another parallel. 'A man builds a staircase, and the people ask, "Do you know where is the mansion to which this staircase leads?" "I do not know." "Are you making a staircase to lead to something, taking it for a mansion, which you know not and have never seen?" "Yes." Would not this be foolish talk?… Now what think you, is Brahm[=a] in possession of wives and wealth?' 'He is not.'

'Is his mind full of anger or free from anger? Is his mind full of malice or free from malice?' 'Free from anger and malice.' 'Is his mind depraved or pure?' 'Pure.' 'Has he self-mastery?' 'Yes.' 'Now what think you, are the Brahmans in possession of wives and wealth, do they have anger in their hearts, do they bear malice, are they impure in heart, are they without self-mastery?' 'Yes.' 'Can there then be likeness between the Brahmans and Brahm[=a]?' 'No.' 'Will they then after death become united to Brahm[=a] who is not at all like them?' Then Buddha points out the path of purity and love. Here is no negative 'non-injury,' but something very different to anything that had been preached before in India. When the novice puts away hate, passion, wrong-doing, sinfulness of every kind, then: 'He lets his mind pervade the whole wide world, above, below, around and everywhere, with a heart of love, far-reaching, grown great, and beyond measure. And he lets his mind pervade the whole world with a heart of pity, sympathy, and equanimity, far-reaching, grown great, and beyond measure.' Buddha concludes (adopting for effect the Brahm[=a] of his convert): 'That the monk who is free from anger, free from malice, pure in mind, and master of himself should after death, when the body is dissolved, become united to Brahm[=a] who is the same—such a condition of things is quite possible' Here is no metaphysics, only a new religion based on morality and intense humanity, yet is the young man moved to say, speaking for himself and the friend with him: 'Lord, excellent are the words of thy mouth. As if one were to bring a lamp into the darkness, just so, Lord, has the truth been made known to us in many a figure by the Blessed One. And we come to Buddha as our refuge, to the doctrine and to the church. May the Blessed One accept us as disciples, as true believers, from this day forth, as long as life endures.'

The god Brahm[=a] of this dialoge is for the time being playfully accepted by Buddha as the All-god. To the Buddhist himself Brahm[=a] and all the Vedic gods are not exactly non-existent, but they are dim figures that are more like demi-gods, fairies, or as some English scholars call them, 'angels.' Whether Buddha himself really believed in them, cannot be asserted or denied. This belief is attributed to him, and his church is very superstitious. Probably Buddha did not think it worth while to discuss the question. He neither knew nor cared whether cloud-beings existed. It was enough to deny a Creator, or to leave no place for him. Thaumaturgical powers are indeed credited to the earliest belief, but there certainly is nothing in harmony with Buddha's usual attitude in the extraordinary discourse called [=A]kankheyya, wherein Buddha is represented as ascribing to monks miraculous powers only hinted at in a vague 'shaking of the earth' in more sober speech.[47] From the following let the 'Esoteric Buddhists' of to-day take comfort, for it shows at least that they share an ancient folly, although Buddha can scarcely be held responsible for it: "If a monk should desire to become multiform, to become visible or invisible, to go through a wall, a fence, or a mountain as if through air; to penetrate up or down through solid ground as if through water … to traverse the sky, to touch the moon … let him fulfil all righteousness, let him be devoted to that quietude of heart which springs from within … let him look through things, let him be much alone." That is to say, let him aim for the very tricks of the Yogis, which Buddha had discarded. Is there not here perhaps a little irony? Buddha does not say that the monk will be able to do this—he says if the monk wishes to do this, let him be quiet and meditate and learn righteousness, then perhaps—but he will at least have learned righteousness!

The little tract called Cetokhila contains a sermon which has not lost entirely its usefulness or application, and it is characteristic of the way in which Buddha treated eschatological conundrums: 'If a brother has adopted the religious life in the hope of belonging to some one of the angel (divine) hosts, thinking to himself, "by this morality or by this observance or by this austerity or by this religious life I shall become an angel," his mind does not incline to zeal, exertion, perseverance and struggle, and he has not succeeded in his religious life' (has not broken through the bonds). And, continuing, Buddha says that just as a hen might sit carefully brooding over her well-watched eggs, and might content herself with the wish, 'O that this egg would let out the chick,' but all the time there is no need of this torment, for the chicks will hatch if she keeps watch and ward over them, so a man, if he does not think what is to be, but keeps watch and ward of his words, thoughts, and acts, will 'come forth into the light.'[48]

The questions in regard to Buddha's view of soul, immortality, and religion are answered to our mind as clearly in the following passages as Buddha desired they should be. 'Unwisely does one consider: "Have I existed in ages past … shall I exist in ages yet to be, do I exist at all, am I, how am I? This is a being, whence is it come, whither will it go?" Consideration such as this is walking in the jungle of delusion. These are the things one should consider: "This is suffering, this is the origin of suffering, this is the cessation of suffering, this is the way that leads to the cessation of suffering." From him that considers thus his fetters fall away' (Sabb[=a]sava). In the Vang[=i]sa-sutta Buddha is asked directly: "Has this good man's life been vain to him, has he been extinguished, or is he still left with some elements of existence; and how was he liberated?" and he replies: "He has cut off desire for name and form in this world. He has crossed completely the stream of birth and death." In the Salla-sutta it is said: "Without cause and unknown is the life of mortals in this world, troubled, brief, combined with pain…. As earthen vessels made by the potter end in being broken, so is the life of mortals." One should compare the still stronger image, which gives the very name of nir-v[=a]na ('blowing out') in the Upas[=i]vam[=a]navapucch[=a]: "As a flame blown about by wind goes out and cannot be reckoned as existing, so a sage delivered from name and body disappears, and cannot be reckoned as existing." To this Upas[=i]va replies: "But has he only disappeared, or does he not exist, or is he only free from sickness?" To which Buddha: "For him there is no form, and that by which they say he is exists for him no longer." One would think that this were plain enough.

Yet must one always remember that this is the Arhat's death, the death of him that has perfected himself.[49] Buddha, like the Brahmans, taught hell for the bad, and re-birth for them that were not perfected. So in the Kok[=a]liya-sutta a list of hells is given, and an estimate is made of the duration of the sinner's suffering in them. Here, as if in a Brahman code, is it taught that 'he who lies goes to hell,' etc. Even the names of the Brahmanic hells are taken over into the Buddhist system, and several of those in Manu's list of hells are found here.

On the other hand, Buddha teaches, if one may trust tradition, that a good man may go to heaven. 'On the dissolution of the body after death the well-doer is re-born in some happy state in heaven' (Mah[=a]parinibb[=a]na, i. 24).[50] This, like hell, is a temporary state, of course, before re-birth begins again on earth. In fact, Buddhist and Brahmanic pantheists agree in their attitude toward the respective questions of hell, heaven, and karma. It is only the emancipated Arhat that goes to Nirv[=a]na.[51]

When it is said that Buddha preaches to a new convert 'in due course,' it means always that he gave him first a lecture on morality and religion, and then possibly, but not necessarily, on the 'system.' And Buddha has no narrow-minded aversion to Brahmans; he accepts 'Brahman' as he accepts 'Brahm[=a],' only he wants it to be understood what is a real Brahman: 'A certain Brahman once asked Buddha how one becomes a Brahman,—what are the characteristics that make a man a Brahman. And the Blessed One said: "The Brahman who has removed all sinfulness, who is free from haughtiness, free from impurity, self-restrained, who is an accomplished master of knowledge, who has fulfilled the duties of holiness,—such a Brahman justly calls himself a Brahman."'[52] "The Mah[=a]vagga, from which this is taken, is full of such sentiments. As here, in i. 2, so in i. 7: "The Blessed One preached to Yasa, the noble youth, 'in due course,'" that is to say, "he talked about the merit obtained by alms-giving, the duties of morality, about heaven, about the evils of vanity and sinfulness of desire," and when the Blessed One saw that the mind of Yasa, the noble youth, was prepared, "then he preached the principal doctrine of the Buddhists, namely, suffering, and cause of suffering, the cessation of suffering, the Path;" and "just as a clean cloth takes the dye, thus Yasa, the noble youth, even while sitting there, obtained the knowledge that whatsoever is subject to birth is also subject to death."[53]

The "spirit and not the letter of the law" is expressed in the formula (Mah[=a]vagga, i. 23): "Of all conditions that proceed from a cause, Buddha has explained the cause, and he has explained their cessation." This is the Buddhist's credo.

In several of the sermons the whole gist is comprised in the admonition not to meddle with philosophy, nor to have any 'views,' for "philosophy purifies no one; peace alone purifies."[54]

Buddha does not ignore the fact that fools will not desire salvation as explained by him: "What fools call pleasure the noble say is pain; this is a thing difficult to understand; the cessation of the existing body is regarded as pleasure by the noble, but those wise in this world hold the opposite opinion" (Dvayat[=a]nup. sutta, 38).[55] But to him the truly wise is the truly pure: "Not by birth is one a Brahman, not by birth is one an outcast; by deeds is one a Brahman, by deeds is one an outcast" (Vasala-sutta); and not alone in virtue of karma of old, for: "The man who knows in this world the destruction of pain, who lays aside the burden and is liberated, him I call a Brahman; whosoever in this world has overcome good and evil, both ties, who is free from grief and defilement, and is pure,—him I call a Brahman; the ignorant say that one is a Brahman by birth, but one is a Brahman by penance, by religious life, by self-restraint, and by temperance" (V[=a]settha-sutta).

The penance here alluded to is not the vague penance of austerities, but submission to the discipline of the monastery when exercised for a specific fault.

Later Buddhism made of Buddha a god. Even less exaltation than this is met by Buddha thus: S[=a]riputta says to him, "Such faith have I, Lord, that methinks there never was and never will be either monk or Brahman who is greater and wiser than thou," and Buddha responds: "Grand and bold are the words of thy mouth; behold, thou hast burst forth into ecstatic song. Come, hast thou, then, known all the Buddhas that were?" "No, Lord." "Hast thou known all the Buddhas that will be?" "No, Lord." "But, at least, thou knowest me, my conduct, my mind, my wisdom, my life, my salvation (i.e., thou knowest me as well as I know myself)?" "No, Lord." "Thou seest that thou knowest not the venerable Buddhas of the past and of the future; why, then, are thy words so grand and bold?" (Mah[=a]parinibb[=a]na.)

Metaphysically the human ego to the Buddhist is only a collection of five skandhas (form, sensations, ideas, faculties of mind, and reason) that vanishes when the collection is dispersed, but the factors of the collection re-form again, and the new ego is the result of their re-formation. The Northern Buddhists, who turn Buddha into a god, make of this an immortal soul, but this is Buddhism in one phase, not Buddha's own belief. The strength of Northern Buddhism lies not, as some say, in its greater religious zeal, but in its grosser animism, the delight of the vulgar.

It will not be necessary, interesting as would be the comparison, to study the Buddhism of the North after this review of the older and simpler chronicles. In Hardy's Manual of Buddhism (p. 138 ff.) and Rockhill's Life of Buddha will be found the weird and silly legends of Northern Buddhism, together with a full sketch of Buddhistic ethics and ontology (Hardy, pp. 460, 387). The most famous of the Northern books, the Lotus of the Law and the Lalita Vistara, give a good idea of the extravagance and supernaturalism that already have begun to disfigure the purer faith. According to Kern, who has translated the former work again (after Burnouf), the whole intent of the Lotus is to represent Buddha as the supreme, eternal God. The works, treating of piety, philosophy, and philanthropy, contain ancient elements, but in general are of later form. To this age belongs also the whole collection of J[=a]takas, or 'birth-stories,' of the Buddhas that were before Gautama, some of the tales of which are historically important, as they have given rise to Western fables.[56] These birth-stories represent Buddha (often as Indra) as some god or mortal, and tell what he did in such or such a form. It is in a future form that, like Vishnu, who is to come in the avatar of Kalki, the next Buddha will appear as Maitreya, or the 'Buddha of love.'[57] Some of the stories are very silly; some, again, are beautiful at heart, but ugly in their bizarre appearance. They are all, perhaps, later than our era.[58]

The history of Buddhism after the Master's death has a certain analogy with that of Mohammedanism. That is to say it was largely a political growth. Further than this, of course, the comparison fails. The religion was affected by heretical kings, and by nouveaux riches, for it admitted them all into its community on equal terms—no slight privilege to the haughty nabob or proud king who, if a believer and follower of Brahman orthodoxy, would have been obliged to bend the head, yield the path, and fear the slightest frown of any beggar priest that came in his way.

The M[=a]ruya monarch Açoka adopted Buddhism as a state religion in the third century B.C., and taught it unto all his people, so that, according to his own account, he changed the creed of the country from Brahmanism to Buddhism.[59] He was king over all northern India, from Kabul to the eastern ocean, from the northern limit of Brahmanic civilization to its southern boundary. Buddhist missionaries were now spread over India and beyond it. And here again, even in this later age, one sees how little had the people to do with Buddha's metaphysical system. Like the simple confession 'I take refuge in Buddha, in the doctrine, and in the church' was the only credo demanded, that cited above: "Buddha has explained the cause of whatever conditions proceed from a cause, and he has declared their cessation." In this credo, which is en-graved all over India, everything is left in confidence to Buddha. However he explained the reason, that creed is to be accepted without inquiry. The convert took the patent facts of life, believing that Buddha had explained all, and based his own belief not on understanding but on faith.

With the council of Patna, 242 B.C, begins at thousands of the missionaries the geographical separation of the church, which results in Southern and Northern Buddhism.[60]

It is at this period that the monastic bodies become influential. The original Sangha, congregation, is defined as consisting of three or more brethren. The later monastery is a business corporation as well as a religious body. The great emperors that now ruled India (not the petty clan-kings of the centuries before) were no longer of pure birth, and some heresy was the only religion that would receive them with due honor. They affected Buddhism, endowed the monasteries, in every was enriched the church, built for it great temples, and in turn were upheld by their thankful co-religionists. Among the six[61] rival heresies that of Buddha was predominant, and chiefly because of royal influence. The Buddhist head of the Ceylon church was Açoka's own son. Still more important for Buddhism was its adoption by the migratory Turanians in the centuries following. Tibet and China were opened up to it through the influence of these foreign kings, who at least pretended to adopt the faith of Buddha.[62] But as it was adopted by them, and as it extended beyond the limits of India, just so much weaker it became at home, where its strongest antagonists were the sectarian pantheistic parties not so heterodox as itself.

Buddhism lingered in India till the twelfth or thirteenth century, although in the seventh it was already decadent, as appears from the account of Hiouen-Thsang, the Chinese pilgrim. It is found to-day in Tibet, Ceylon, China, Japan, and other outlying regions, but it is quite vanished from its old home. The cause of its extinction is obvious. The Buddhist victorious was not the modest and devout mendicant of the early church. The fire of hate, lighted if at all by Buddhism,[63] smouldered till Brahmanism, in the form of Hinduism, had begotten a religion as popular as Buddhism, or rather far more popular, and for two reasons. Buddhism had no such picturesque tales as those that enveloped with poetry the history of the man-god Krishna, Again, Buddhism in its monastic development had separated itself more and more from the people. Not mendicant monks, urging to a pure life, but opulent churches with fat priests; not simple discourses calculated to awaken the moral and religious consciousness, but subtle arguments on discipline and metaphysics were now what Buddhism represented. This religion was become, indeed, as much a skeleton as was the Brahmanism of the sixth century. As the Brahmanic belief had decomposed into spiritless rites, so Buddhism, changed into dialectic and idolatry (for in lieu of a god the later church worshipped Buddha), had lost now all hold upon the people. The love of man, the spirit of Buddhism, was dead, and Buddhism crumbled into the dust. Vital and energetic was the sectarian 'love of God' alone (Hinduism), and this now became triumphant. Where Buddhism has succeeded is not where the man-gods, objects of love and fear, have entered; but where, without rivalry from more sympathetic beliefs, it has itself evolved a system of idolatry and superstition; where all that was scorned by the Master is regarded as holiest, and all that he insisted upon as vital is disregarded.[64] One speaks of the millions of Buddhists in the world as one speaks of the millions of Christians; but while there are some Christians that have renounced the bigotry and idolatry of the church, and hold to the truth as it is in the words of Christ, there are still fewer Buddhists who know that their Buddhism would have been rebuked scornfully by its founder.

The geographical growth of formal Buddhism is easily sketched. After the first entrance into Kashmeer and Ceylon, in the third century B.C., the progress of the cult, as it now may be called, was steadily away from India proper. In the fifth century A.D., it was adopted in Burmah,[65] and in the seventh in Siam. The Northern school kept in general to the 'void' doctrine of N[=a]g[=a]rjuna, whose chief texts are the Lotus and the Lalita Vistara, standard works of the Great Vehicle.[66] In Tibet Lamaism is the last result of this hierarchical state-church.[67] We have thought it much more important to give a fuller account of early Buddhism, that of Buddha, than a full account of a later growth in regions that, for the most part, are not Indic, in the belief that the P[=a]li books of Ceylon give a truer picture of the early church than do those of Kashmeer and Nep[=a]l, with their Çivaite and Brahmanic admixture. For in truth the Buddhism of China and Tibet has no place in the history of Indic religions. It may have been introduced by Hindu missionaries, but it has been re-made to suit a foreign people. This does not apply, of course, to the canonical books, the Great Vehicle, of the North, which is essentially native, if not Buddhistic. Yet of the simple narrative and the adulterated mystery-play, if one has to choose, the former must take precedence. From the point of view of history, Northern Buddhism, however old its elements, can be regarded only as an admixture of Buddhistic and Brahmanic ideas. For this reason we take a little more space, not to cite from the Lotus or the grotesque Lalita Vistara,[68] but to illustrate Buddhism at its best. Fausböll, who has translated the dialogue that follows, thinks that in the Suttas of the Sutta-nip[=a]ta there is a reminiscence of a stage of Buddhism before the institution of monasteries, while as yet the disciples lived as hermits. The collection is at least very primitive, although we doubt whether the Buddhist disciples ever lived formally as individual hermits. All the Samanas are in groups, little 'congregations,' which afterwards grew into monasteries.

This is a poetical (amoebic) contest between the herdsman Dhaniya and Buddha, with which Fausböll[69] compares St. Luke, xii. 16, but which, on the other hand reminds one of a spiritualized Theocritus, with whom its author was, perhaps, contemporary.

I have boiled the rice, I have milked the kine—so said the
herdsman Dhaniya—I am living with my comrades near the
banks of the (great) Mah[=i] river; the house is roofed, the
fire is lit—then rain if thou wilt, O sky!

I am free from anger, free from stubbornness—so said the
Blessed One—I am abiding for one night near the banks of
the (great) Mah[=i] river; my house has no cover, the fire
(of passion) is extinguished—then rain if thou wilt, O sky!

Here are no gad-files—so said the herdsman Dhaniya—The
cows are roaming in meadows full of grass, and they can
endure the rain—then rain if thou wilt, O sky!

1 have made a well-built raft—so said the Blessed One—I have crossed over, I have reached the further bank, I have overcome the torrent (of passions); I need the raft no more—then rain if thou wilt, O sky!

My wife is obedient, she is not wanton—so said the herdsman
Dhaniya—she has lived with me long and is winning; no
wickedless have I heard of her—then rain if thou wilt, O

My mind is obedient, delivered (from evil)—so said the
Blessed One—it has been cultivated long and is
well-subdued; there is no longer anything wicked in me—then
rain if thou wilt, O sky!

I support myself by my own earnings—so said the herdsman
Dhaniya—and my children are around me and healthy; I hear
no wickedness of them—then rain if thou wilt, O sky!

I am the servant of none—so said the Blessed One—with what
I have gained I wander about in all the world; I have no
need to serve—then rain if thou wilt, O sky!

I have cows, I have calves—so said the herdsman
Dhaniya—cows in calf and heifers also; and I have a bull as
lord over the cows—then rain if thou wilt, O sky!

I have no cows, I have no calves—so said the Blessed
One—no cows in calf, and no heifers; and I have no bull as
a lord over the cows—then rain if thou wilt, O sky!

The stakes are driven in and cannot be shaken—so said the
herdsman Dhaniya—the ropes are made of holy-grass, new and
well-made; the cows will not be able to break them—then
rain if thou wilt, O sky!

Like a bull I have rent the bonds—so said the Blessed
One—like an elephant I have broken through the ropes, I
shall not be born again—then rain if thou wilt, O sky!

Then the rain poured down and filled both sea and land. And hearing the sky raining, Dhaniya said: Not small to us the gain in that we have seen the Blessed Lord; in thee we take refuge, thou endowed with (wisdom's) eye; be thou our master, O great sage! My wife and myself are obedient to thee. If we lead a pure life we shall overcome birth and death, and put an end to pain.

He that has sons has delight in sons—so said the Evil
One—he that has cows has delight in cows, for substance is
the delight of man, but he that has no substance has no

He that has sons has care with his sons—so said the Blessed
One—he that has cows has likewise care with his cows, for
substance is (the cause of) care, but he that has no
substance has no care.

From Buddha's sermons choice extracts were gathered at an early date, which, as well as the few longer discourses, that have been preserved in their entirety, do more to tell us what was the original Buddha, before he was enwrapped in the scholastic mysticism of a later age, than pages of general critique.

Thus in the Mah[=a]parinibb[=a]na casual allusion is made to assemblies of men and of angels (divine beings), of the great thirty-three gods, Death the Evil One and Brahm[=a] (iii. 21). Buddha, as we have said, does not deny the existence of spiritual beings; he denies only their power to affect the perfect man and their controlling part in the universe. In the same sermon the refuge of the disciple is declared to be truth and himself (ii. 33): "Be ye lamps unto yourselves. Betake yourselves to no external refuge. Hold fast to the truth as to a lamp."

And from the famous 'Path of Duty' or 'Collection of truths':[70]

All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts; it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought pain follows him as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage, (but) if a man speaks or acts with a pure thought happiness follows him like a shadow that never leaves him.

Earnestness is the path that leads to escape from death,
thoughtlessness is the path that leads to death. Those who
are in earnest do not die;[71]

those who are thoughtless are as if dead already. Long is
the night to him who is awake; long is a mile to him who is
tired; long is life to the foolish.

There is no suffering for him who has finished his journey
and abandoned grief, who has freed himself on all sides and
thrown off the fetters.

Some people are born again; evil-doers go to hell; righteous
people go to heaven; those who are free from all worldly
desires attain Nirv[=a]na.

He who, seeking his own happiness, punishes or kills beings
that also long for happiness, will not find happiness after

Looking for the maker of this tabernacle I shall have to run through a course of many births, so long as I do not find; and painful is birth again and again. But now, maker of the tabernacle, thou hast been seen; thou shalt not make up this tabernacle again. All thy rafters are broken, thy ridge-pole is sundered; thy mind, approaching Nirv[=a]na, has attained to extinction of all desires.[72]

Better than going to heaven, better than lordship over all
worlds, is the reward of entering the stream of holiness.

Not to commit any sin, to do good, and to purify one's mind,
that is the teaching of the Buddhas.

Let us live happily, not hating them that hate us. Let us
live happily, though we call nothing our own. We shall be
like bright gods, feeding on happiness.

From lust comes grief, from lust comes fear; he that is free
from lust knows neither grief nor fear.

The best of ways is the eightfold (path); this is the way, there is no other that leads to the purifying of intelligence. Go on this way! Everything else is the deceit of Death. You yourself must make the effort. Buddhas are only preachers. The thoughtful who enter the way are freed from the bondage of Death.[73]

* * * * *


[Footnote 1: Compare Colebrooke's Essays, vol. ii. 460; and Muir, OST. iv. 296]

[Footnote 2: Compare Oldenberg. Buddha, p. 155.]

[Footnote 3: Especially Köppen views Buddha as a democratic
reformer and liberator.]

[Footnote 4: Emile Senart, Essai sur la légende du Buddha.

[Footnote 5: Buddha (1881), p.73 ff.]

[Footnote 6: The exact position of Kapilavastu, the capital
of the Ç[=a]kyas, is not known, although it must have been
near to the position assigned to it on Kiepert's map of
India (just north of Gorakhpur). The town is unknown in
Brahmanic literature.]

[Footnote 7: This is Oldenberg's opinion, for the reason
here stated. On the other hand it may be questioned whether
this negative evidence be conclusive, and whether it be not
more probable that a young nobleman would have been well

[Footnote 8: Siddhartha, the boy, Gautama by his family cognomen, the Ç[=a]kya-son by his clan-name, was known also as the Ç[=a]kya-sage, the hermit, Samana (Çrama[n.]a); the venerable, Arhat (a general title of perfected saints); Tath[=a]gata 'who is arrived like' (the preceding Buddhas, at perfection); and also by many other names common to other sects, Buddha, Jina, The Blessed One (Bhagavat), The Great Hero, etc. The Buddhist disciple may be a layman, çravaka; a monk, bhikshu; a perfected saint, arhat; a saintly doctor of the law, bodhisattva; etc.]

[Footnote 9: South of the present Patna. Less correct is the Buddha Gay[=a] form.]

[Footnote 10: The famous bo or Bodhi-tree, ficus religiosa, pippala, at Bodhi Gay[=a], said to be the most venerable and certainly the most venerated tree in the world.]

[Footnote 11: A pacceka Buddha (Oldenberg. Buddha, p.122).]

[Footnote 12:

"Then be the door of salvation opened!
He that hath ears to hear let him hear.
I thought of my own sorrow only, and, therefore,
Have not revealed the Word to the world."]

[Footnote 13: He sometimes, however, quite prosaically
'makes' or 'manufactures' it.]

[Footnote 14: Dhammacakkappavattana. Rhys Davids in his introduction to this sutta gives and explains the eight as follows (SBE. XI. p.144): 1, Right views; freedom from superstition or delusion. 2, Right aims, high and worthy of the intelligent, earnest man. 3, Right speech, kindly, open, truthful. 4, Right conduct, peaceful, honest, pure. 5, Right livelihood, bringing hurt to no living thing. 6, Right effort in self-training and in self-control. 7, Right mindfulness, the active watchful mind. 8, Right contemplation, earnest thought on the deep mysteries of life.]

[Footnote 15: Hardy, Manual,, p.496.]

[Footnote 16: "A decided predilection for the aristocracy
appears to have lingered as an heirloom of the past in the
older Buddhism," Oldenberg, Buddha, p.157.]

[Footnote 17: Mah[=a]vagga, 1.24. On the name (Gautama)
Gotama, see Weber, IS. L 180.]

[Footnote 18: The parks of Venuvana and Jetavana were
especially affected by Buddha. Compare Oldenberg, Buddha,

[Footnote 19: Like the Jains the Buddhists postulate
twenty-four (five) precedent Buddhas.]

[Footnote 20: Buddha's general discipline as compared with that of the Jains was much more lax, for instance, in the eating of meat. Buddha himself died of dysentery brought on by eating pork. The later Buddhism interprets much more strictly the rule of 'non-injury'; and as we have shown, Buddha entirely renounced austerities, choosing the mean between laxity and asceticism.]

[Footnote 21: Or 'take care of yourself'; Mah[=a]parinibb[=a]na, v. 23.]

[Footnote 22: The chief Buddhistic dates are given by Müller (introduction to Dhammapada, SBE. vol. X.) as follows: 557, Buddha's birth; 477, Buddha's death and the First Council at R[=a]jagriha; 377, the Second Council at V[=a]iç[=a]l[=i]; 259, Açoka's coronation; 242, Third Council at P[=a]taliputta; 222, Açoka's death. These dates are only tentative, but they give the time nearly enough to serve as a guide. From the Buddhists (Ceylon account) it is known that the Council at V[=a]iç[=a]li was held one hundred years after Buddha's death (one hundred and eighteen years before the coronation of Açoka, whose grandfather, Candragupta, was Alexander's contemporary). The interval between Nirvana and Açoka, two hundred and eighteen years, is the only certain date according to Köppen, p.208, and despite much argument since he wrote, the remark still holds.]

[Footnote 23: Englished by Rhys Davids, Mah[=a]parinibb[=a]na-sutta (SBE. XI. 95 ff.).]

[Footnote 24: Ecclesiastes.]

[Footnote 25: The common view is thus expressed by
Oldenberg: "In dem schwülen, feuchten, von der Natur mit
Reichthümern üppig gesegneten Tropenlande des Ganges hat das
Volk, das in frischer Jugendkraft steht, als es vom Norden
her eindringt, bald aufgehört jung und stark zu sein.
Menschen und Völker reifen in jenem Lande … schnell heran,
um ebenso schnell an Leib und Seele zu erschlaffen" (loc.
. p. 11).]

[Footnote 26: Rhys Davids, Buddhism, pp. 160,139.]

[Footnote 27: Buddha taught, of course, nothing related to
the thaumaturgy of that folly which calls itself today
'Esoteric Buddhism.']

[Footnote 28: That is a sacrifice where no cattle are slain,
and no injury is done to living beings.]

[Footnote 29: K[=u]tadanta-sutta Oldenberg, Buddha, p.

[Footnote 30: Sometimes distinguished from
pari-nirv[=a][n.]a as absolute annihilation.]

[Footnote 31: Some scholars think that the doctrine of Buddha resembles closely that of the S[=a]nkhya philosophy (so Barth, p. 116), but Müller, Oldenberg, and others, appear to be right in denying this. The Sankhyan 'spirit' has, for instance, nothing corresponding to it in Buddha's system.]

[Footnote 32: The twelve Nid[=a]nas are dogmatic, and withal not very logical. "From ignorance arise forms, from forms arises consciousness, from consciousness arise name and bodiness; from name and bodiness arise the six senses (including understanding as the sixth) and their objects; from these arises contact; from this, feeling; from this, thirst; from this, clinging; from clinging arises becoming; from becoming arises birth; from birth arise age and sorrow." One must gradually free himself from the ten fetters that bind to life, and so do away with the first of these twelve Nid[=a]nas, ignorance.]

[Footnote 33: Mah[=a]vagga, X. 3 (SBE. XVII. 306).]

[Footnote 34 36 1: Compare Kern, the Lotus, III. 21, and
Fausböll, P[=a]r[=a]yana-sutta, 9 (1131), the "deep and
lovely voice of Buddha." (SBE. XXI. 64, and X. 210.)]

[Footnote 35: As Southern Buddhists are reckoned those of
Ceylon, Burmah, Siam, etc.]

[Footnote 36: As Northern Buddhists are reckoned those of
Nep[=a]l, Tibet, China, Corea, Japan, Java, Sumatra, Annam,
and Cambodia.]

[Footnote 37: "Let your light so shine before the world,
that you, having embraced the religious life according to so
well-taught a doctrine and discipline, may be seen to be
forbearing and mild." (SBE. XVII. 305, David's and
Oldenberg's translation.)]

[Footnote 38: 'Removing pieces from a pile without moving
the remainder' must, we presume, be jackstraws.]

[Footnote 39: For instance, rules for eating, drinking
(liquor), and for bathing. The Buddhist monk, except in
summer, bathed once a fortnight only.]

[Footnote 40: No one is so holy that sin does not hurt him, according to Buddhistic belief. The Brahman, on the contrary, was liable to become so holy that he could commit any sin and it did not affect his virtue, which he stored up in a heap by cumulative asceticism.]

[Footnote 41: The offering and reception of gifts is always accompanied with water, both in Buddhistic and Brahmanic circles. Whether this was a religious act or a legal sign of surrender we have not been able to discover. Perhaps it arose simply from water always being offered as refreshment to a guest (with fruit), as a sign of guest-friendship.]

[Footnote 42: Sakyaputtiya Samanas, i.e., Buddhists.]

[Footnote 43: In the case of a monk having carnal connection with a nun the penalty was instant expulsion(ib. 60). The nuns were subject to the monks and kept strictly in hand, obliged always to greet the monks first, to go to lessons once a fortnight, and so forth.]

[Footnote 44: Mah[=a]sudassana, the great King of Glory whose city is described with its four gates, one of gold, one of silver, one of Jade and one of crystal, etc. The earlier Buddha had as 'king of glory' 84,000 wives and other comforts quite as remarkable.]

[Footnote 45: Translated by Davids, Buddhist Suttas and
Hibbert Lectures.]

[Footnote 46: What we have several times had to call
attention to is shown again by the side light of Buddhism to
be the case in Brahmanic circles, namely, that even in
Buddha's day while Brahm[=a] is the god of the thinkers
Indra is the god of the people (together with Vishnu and
Çiva, if the texts are as old as they pretend to be).]

[Footnote 47: Mah[=a]parinibb[=a]na iii, to which Rhys
Davids refers, is scarcely a fair parallel.]

[Footnote 48: The imitation of the original play on words is
Rhys Davids', who has translated these Suttas in SBE. vol.
XI. For the following see Fausböll, ib. vol. X.]

[Footnote 49: After one enters on the stream of holiness there are only seven more possible births on earth, with one in heaven; then he becomes arhat, venerable, perfected, and enters Nirv[=a]na.]

[Footnote 50: Compare the fairies and spirits in ib. v. 10; and in i. 31, 'give gifts to the gods.']

[Footnote 51: We agree with Rhys Davids, Buddhism, pp. 111, 207, that Buddha himself was an atheist; but to the statement that Nirv[=a]na was the "extinction of that sinful, grasping condition of mind and heart which would otherwise be the cause of renewed individual existences" should in our opinion be added "and therewith the extinction of individuality." Compare Rhys Davids' Hibbert Lectures, p. 253.]

[Footnote 52: Compare the definition of an 'outcast' in the Vasala-sutta: "He that gets angry and feels hatred, a wicked man, a hypocrite, he that embraces wrong views and is deceitful, such an one is an outcast, and he that has no compassion for living things."]

[Footnote 53: Compare ib. 5. 36: "In due course he spoke,
of charity, morality, heaven, pleasure, and the advantage of

[Footnote 54: See especially the Nandaman., Paramatthaka,
, and Suddhatthaka Suttas, translated by
Fausböll, SBE. vol. X.]

[Footnote 55: Fausböll, in SBE. vol. X, Suttanip[=a]ta.]

[Footnote 56: The distinction between the Northern and
Southern doctrine is indicated by the terms 'Great Vehicle'
and 'Little Vehicle' respectively, the former the works of
N[=a]g[=a]rjuna's school (see below).]

[Footnote 57: As M[=a]itrakanyaka Buddha came once to earth
"to redeem the sins of men."]

[Footnote 58: Of historic interest is the rapport between
Brahmanic, Jain. and Buddhist tales. A case of this sort has
been carefully worked out by Leumann, Die Legende von Citta
und Sambh[=u]ta
, WZKM. v. III; vi. 1.]

[Footnote 59: "The gods who were worshipped as true divinities in India have been rendered false … by my zeal"; inscription cited by Barth, p. 135. But Açoka was a very tolerant prince. Barth's notion of Buddhistic persecution can hardly be correct.]

[Footnote 60: Köppen, Die Religion des Buddha, p. 198.]

[Footnote 61: Not to be confused with the seventeen heresies and sixty-three different philosophical systems in the church itself.]

[Footnote 62: For more details see Barth, loc. cit., p. 130 ff. According to tradition Buddhism was introduced into Tibet in the fourth century, A.D., the first missionaries coming from Nep[=a]l (Rockhill, p. 210).]

[Footnote 63: Barth justly discredits the tale of Buddhism having been persecuted out of India. In this sketch of later Buddhism we can but follow this author's admirable summary of the causes of Buddhistic decline, especially agreeing with him in assigning the first place to the torpidity of the later church in matters of religion. It was become a great machine, its spiritual enthusiasm had been exhausted; it had nothing poetical or beautiful save the legend of Buddha, and this had lost its freshness; for Buddha was now, in fact, only a grinning idol.]

[Footnote 64: Here are developed fully the stories of hells, angels, and all supernatural paraphernalia, together with theism, idolatry, and the completed monastic system; magic, fable, absurd calculations in regard to nothings, and spiritual emptiness.]

[Footnote 65: At the same time the Ceylon canon was fixed by the commentary of Buddhaghosha.]

[Footnote 66: Later it follows the mystical school. Both schools have been affected by Brahmanism. The Great Vehicle, founded by N[=a]g[=a]rjuna, was recognized at a fourth council in Kashmeer about the time of the Christian era. Compare Köppen, p. 199.]

[Footnote 67: On the Lamaistic hierarchy and system of succession see Mayers, JRAS. IV. 284.]

[Footnote 68: For the same reason we do not enter upon the outer form of Buddhism as expressed in demonology, snake-worship (JRAS. xii. 286) and symbolism (ib. OS. xiii. 71, 114).]

[Footnote 69: SBE. vol. x, part ii, p. 3.]

[Footnote 70: Dhammapada (Franke, ZDMG. xlvi, 731). In Sanskrit one has dharmapatha with the same sense. The text in the main is as translated by Müller, separately, 1872, and in SBE., voL x. It was translated by Weber, Streifen. i. 112, in 1860.]

[Footnote 71: That is, they die no more; they are free from the chain; they enter Nirv[=a]na.]

[Footnote 72: Buddha's words on becoming Buddha.]

[Footnote 73: It is to be observed that transmigration into animal forms is scarcely recognized by Buddha. He assumes only men and superior beings as subjects of Karma. Compare Rhys Davids' Lectures, pp. 105,107. To the same scholar is due the statement that he was the first to recognize the true meaning of Nirv[=a]na, 'extinction (not of soul but) of lust, anger, and ignorance.' For divisions of Buddhist literature other than the Tripitaka the same author's Hibbert Lectures may be consulted (see also Müller, SBE. X, Introduction, p. i).]

* * * * *



While the great heresies that we have been describing were agitating the eastern part of India,[1] the old home of Brahmanism in the West remained true, in name if not in fact, to the ancient faith. But in reality changes almost as great as those of the formal heresies were taking place at the core of Brahmanism itself, which, no longer able to be the religion of a few clans, was now engaged in the gigantic task of remodelling and assimilating the indigenous beliefs and religious practices of its new environment. This was not a conscious act on the part of Brahmanism. At first it was undertaken almost unwittingly, and it was accomplished later not without repugnance. But to perform this task was the condition of continued existence. Brahmanism had to expand, or shrink, wither, and die.

For a thousand years almost the only source of information in regard to this new growth is contained in the epic poetry of the time, with the help of a few additional facts from the law, and some side light from inscriptions. It is here that Vishnuism and Çivaism are found as fully developed sectarian beliefs, accepted by Brahmanism with more or less distrust, and in more or less fulness of faith. It is to the epic that one must turn to study the budding and gradual flowering of the modern religions, which have cast strict orthodoxy into the shade.

Of the two epics, one, the R[=a]m[=a]yana,[2] has become the Old Testament of the Ramaite Vishnuites of the present day. The Bh[=a]rata,[3] on the other hand, is scriptural for all sects, because it is more universal. The former epic, in its present form, is what the Hindus call an 'art-poem,' and in its finish, its exclusively romantic style, and its total lack of nervous dramatic power, it is probably, as the Hindus claim, the work of one man, V[=a]lm[=i]ki, who took the ancient legends of Eastern India and moulded them into a stupid sectarian poem. On the other hand, the Bh[=a]rata is of no one hand, either in origin or in final redaction; nor is it of one sect; nor has it apparently been thoroughly affected, as has the R[=a]m[=a]yana, by Buddhistic influences. Moreover, in the huge conglomeration of stirring adventure, legend, myth, history, and superstition which goes to make up the great epic there is contained a far truer picture of the vulgar custom, belief, and religion of the time than the too polished composition of V[=a]lm[=i]ki is able to afford, despite the fact that the latter also has many popular elements welded into it. There are, in fact, only two national works in India, only two works which, withal, not in their entirety, but in their nucleus, after one has stripped each of its priestly toggery, reflect dimly the heart of the people, not the cleverness of one man, or the pedantry of schools. For a few Vedic hymns and a few Bh[=a]rata scenes make all the literature, with perhaps the exception of some fables, that is not markedly dogmatic, pedantic, or 'artificial.'[4] So true is this that even in the case of the R[=a]m[=a]yana one never feels that he is getting from it the genuine belief of the people, but only that form of popular belief which V[=a]lm[=i]ki has chosen to let stand in his version of the old tale. The great epic is heroic, V[=a]lm[=i]ki's poem is romantic; the former is real, the latter is artificial; and the religious gleaning from each corresponds to this distinction.[5]

Ths Bh[=a]rata, like other Hindu works, is of uncertain date, but it was completed as a 'Great Bh[=a]rata' by the end of the sixth century A.D., and the characters of the story are mentioned, as well known, by P[=a]nini, whose work probably belongs to the fourth century B.C. Furthermore, Dio Chrysostomos, probably citing from Megasthenes, refers to it; and the latter authority describes the worship of the chief gods of the epic; while the work is named in one of the domestic S[=u]tras, and a verse is cited from it in the legal Sutra of B[=a]udh[=a]yana.[6] On the other hand, in its latest growth it is on a par with the earlier Pur[=a]nas, but it is not quite so advanced in sectarianism as even the oldest of these writings. It may, then, be reckoned as tolerably certain that the beginnings of the epic date from the fourth or fifth century before the Christian era, and that it was quite a respectable work by the time that era began; after which it continued to grow for five centuries more.[7] Its religious importance can scarcely be overestimated. In 600 A.D., far away from its native home, in Cambodia, it was encircled with a temple, and an endowment was made by the king providing for the daily recitation of the poem. Its legal verses are authoritative; its religion is to-day that of India as a whole. The latest large additions to it were, as we think, the Book of Laws, the Book of Peace, and the genealogy of Vishnu, which together form a sort of pseudo-epic. But portions of other books, notably the first, fourth, and seventh, are probably almost as recent as are the more palpable interpolations.

The Bh[=a]rata (or the epic [Greek: kat exochên] gives us our first view of Hinduism in its sectarian developments. But no less does it show us a changing Brahmanism. The most typical change in the Brahmanism of this period, which covers all that time called by Müller the era of the Renaissance, and ends with the pedantically piquant literature of the drama,[8] is the abnormal growth of the ascetic religious exercise. Older Brahmanism, like the sects, admitted Yogis and ascetics of various kinds, but their aim was to attain oneness with God; and 'union' (with God) is the yoga (Latin jugum has the same origin) which they sought. But it was not long before the starved ascetic, with his wild appearance and great reputation for sanctity, inspired an awe which, in the unscrupulous, was easily turned to advantage. The Yogi became more or less of a charlatan, more or less of a juggler. Nor was this all. Yoga-practices began to take precedence before other religious practices. In the Br[=a]hmanas it is the sacrifice that is god-compelling; but in the epic, although sacrifice has its place, yet when miraculous power is exerted, it is due chiefly to Yoga concentration, or to the equally general use of formulae; not formulae as part of a sacrifice, but as in themselves potent; and mysterious mantras, used by priest and warrior alike, serve every end of magic.[9] Apart from acquisition of power, this Yoga-training is, moreover, all that is needful from the point of view of righteousness. Physical prowess here is the one thing admirable. To stand for years on one leg, to be eaten by ants, to be in every way an ascetic of the most stoical sort, is the truest religion. Such an ascetic has no ordinary rules of morality. In fact, his practices are most peculiar, for to seduce young women is one of his commonest occupations; and in his anger to cause an injury to his foes is one of the ends for which he toils. The gods are nothing to him. They are puppets whom he makes shake and tremble at will. As portrayed in the epic, in terms of common sense, the Muni (silent saint) is a morose[10] and very vulgar-minded old man, who seeks to intimidate others by a show of miraculous power. In the matter of penances those of the law are extended beyond all bounds. The caste-restrictions are of the closest, and the most heinous crime is to commit an offence against caste-order. On the other hand, the greatest merit is to give gifts to priests. This had already proceeded far enough, as was indicated by a passage cited above from Manu. But in the epic the greed and capacity of the priest exceeds all imaginable limits. He takes whatever he can get and asks for more. He has, by his own showing, scarcely one estimable trait. Avarice, cupidity, sensuality, gluttony, love of finery, effeminacy, meanness, and pride—everything charged against him by the Buddhist—are his most marked characteristics. He appears, however, to be worse than he always was. For nothing is plainer, from this very epic, than that the priests, although united as a caste, were sharply distinguished in their lives. The ascetic described above represents the fourth period of the priestly life. Below these stood (apart from students)[11] hermits and householders. The householders, or such of them as the epic unfortunately is busied with, the royal priests, seem to be those that are in reality priests only in name. In the king's palace, his constant advisors, his most unscrupulous upholders in wickedness, they gave themselves up to quest of wealth and power. But one would err if he thus dismissed them all. There were others that had no preferment, who lived in quiet content in their own houses, and deserved none of the opprobrium rightly bestowed upon their hypocritical brothers. The hermits, too, appear to have been a mild and inoffensive race, not presuming too much on their caste-privileges.

To offset rapaciousness there are tomes of morality of the purest sort. Even in the later additions to the epic one reads: "Away with gifts; receiving gifts is sinful. The silkworm dies of its wealth" (xii. 330. 29). One should compare, again, the exalted verse (Buddhistic in tone) of ib. 321. 47: "The red garment, the vow of silence, the three-fold staff, the water-pot—these only lead astray; they do not make for salvation." There were doubtless good and bad priests, but the peculiarity of the epic priest, rapacious and lustful, is that he glories in his sins.

The chief objects of worship (except for the influence of the sectarian religions) were priests, Manes, and, for form's sake, the Vedic gods. These gods, with the addition of the Hindu Plutus (Kubera, the god of riches), are now called the eight 'world-guardians,' viz., Indra, Yama, Varuna, Kubera, Agni, S[=u]rya, V[=a]yu, Soma, and are usually simple and shadowy subordinates of the greater new gods.

In the shifting of religious opinion and in the development of theological conceptions what difference can be traced between the same gods as worshipped in the Veda and as worshipped in the epic? Although the Vedic divinities have been twice superseded, once by the Father-god and again by the [=a]tm[=a], Lord, they still remain adorable and adored, active in many ways, though passive before the great All-god. It is, indeed, extremely difficult, owing to the superstruction of sectarian belief, to get down to the foundation-religion of the epic. The best one can do is to see in what way the old gods differ, as represented in the poem, from their older selves of the Rig Veda. From this point of view alone, and entirely irrespective of the sects, manifold changes will be seen to have taken place. Great Soma is no more. Soma is there, the moon, but the glory of the Vedic Soma has departed. His lunar representative is of little importance. Agni, too, is changed. As Fire in the Rig Veda is not only the altar-fire, but also common, every-day fire, so, too, in the epic this god is the material flame, and as such even performs his greatest deeds for his worshippers. He takes on every form, even becoming a priest, and a dove. He remains the priest of the gods, but his day of action in war is over. He no longer wins battles. But he burns down a forest to aid his party. For the Vedic gods are now but weak partizans of the combatants. In the sectarian parts of the epic Agni is only a puppet. His new representative, Skanda, is the chief battle-god, a name almost unknown before. He himself is either the son of Vishnu or a form of Çiva. He is the All-god, the [=a]tm[=a]. It is he who burns the world when the time shall have come for the general destruction.

The high and mighty Varuna of the Rig Veda is no longer great. He is no longer serene. He descends and fights on earth. Indra, too, battles with Vritra as of old, but he is quite anthropomorphic, and of no marked value in the contest of heroes. Not only this, but all the gods together are represented as weaker than a good hero, not to speak of a priestly ascetic. In a word, the gods are believed in, but with what a belief! They no longer, as natural powers, inspire special respect. Their nature-origin is for the most part lost. They are thoroughly anthropomorphic. Even S[=u]rya, the sun, in action if not in laudation, is often more man than god. This gives a strange effect to the epic battle-scenes as compared with those of Homer. Unless Vishnu is active on the field the action is essentially human. No great god or goddess stands ready to save the fainting warrior. He fights and falls alone. Save for the caresses and plaudits of the half-gods, the most that the Vedic gods can do is to wipe away the sweat from the hero's brow.[12] The All-god does not take the place of the band of watchful and helpful gods pictured by Homer. Vishnu fights on the field; he saves only his protégés, and much as a mortal warrior would do it. But the Vedic gods hang like a mist upon the edge of battle, and are all but idle spectators of the scene. Abstractions, as well as the All-god, have routed them, and Dharma or Duty is a greater god than Indra. But there is an older side to this, as we shall presently show. On the moral side the heroes of the epic profess great belief in the power and awfulness of this god Duty. And so far as go rules of chivalry, they are theoretically moral. Practically they are savage, and their religion does not interfere with their brutal barbarity. The tendency to cite divine instances of sin as excuse for committing it is, however, rebuked: "One should neither practice nor blame the (wrong) acts of gods and seers," xii. 292. 17-18.

From an eschatological point of view it is most difficult to get back of the statements made by the priestly composers,[13] who, in their various reëditings of the epic, uniformly have given the pantheistic goal as that in which the characters believe. But it is evident that the warriors were not much affected by this doctrine. To them there was one law of righteousness exceeding all others—to die on the field of battle. And for such as did so, over and over again is the assurance given that 'happiness in Indra's heaven' is their reward. And probably a true note is struck in this reiterated promise. To the mass of the vulgar, union with brahma would have been no attractive end.

It is interesting to see the remains of the older belief still flourishing in midst of epic pantheism. Although Indra has no such hymn as has S[=u]rya, yet is he still lauded, and he is a very real person to the knight who seeks his heaven.[14] In fact, so long as natural phenomena were regarded as divine, so long as thunder was godly, it was but a secondary question which name the god bore; whether he was the 'chief and king of gods,' or Vishnu manifesting himself in a special form. This form, at any rate, was to endure as such till the end of the cycle. There are other Indras. Each cycle has its own (i. 197. 29). But sufficient unto the age is the god thereof. If, relinquishing the higher bliss of absorption, the knight sought only Indra's heaven, and believed he was to find it, then his belief practically does not differ much from that of his ancestor, who accepts Indra as an ultimate, natural power. The question arises whether, after all, the Indra-worship of the epic is not rather popular than merely old and preserved. Certainly the reality of the belief seems quite as strong as that of the ever-newly converted sectary. It may be doubted whether the distribution of theological belief is very different in the epic and Vedic ages. Philosophical pantheism is very old in India. The priest believes one thing; the vulgar, another. The priest of the Vedic age, like the philosopher of the next age, and like the later sectarian, has a belief which runs ahead of the popular religion. But the popular religion in its salient features still remains about the same. Arjuna, the epic hero, the pet of Krishna, visits Indra's heaven and stays there five years. It is the old Vedic gods to whom he turns for weapons, till the Çivaite makes Indra send the knight further, to Çiva himself. The old name, king of the Vasus, is still retained for Indra; and though the 'divine weapons,' which are winged with sacred formulae, are said to be more than a match for the gods; though in many a passage the knight and the saint make Indra tremble, yet still appear, through the mists of ascetic and sectarian novelties, Indra's heaven and his grandeur, shining with something of their old glory. Vishnu still shows his solar origin. Of him and of the sun is it said in identical words: "The sun protects and devours all," and " Vishnu protects and devours " (of Vishnu, passim; of the sun, iii. 33. 71). A good deal of old stuff is left in the Forest Book amongst the absurd tales of holy watering places. One finds repeated several times the Vedic account of Indra's fight with Vritra, the former's thunderbolt, however, being now made of a saint's bones (ii. ch. 100-105). Agni is lauded (ib. ch. 123). To the Açvins[15] there is one old hymn which contains Vedic forms (i. 3). Varuna is still lord of the West, and goes accompanied with the rivers, 'male and female,' with snakes, and demons, and half-gods (d[=a]ityas, s[=a]dhyas, d[=a]ivatas). Later, but earlier than the pseudo-epic, there stands with these gods Kubera, the god of wealth, the 'jewel-giver,' who is the guardian of travellers, the king of those demons called Yakshas, which the later sect makes servants of Çiva. He is variously named;[16] he is a dwarf; he dwells in the North, in Mt. K[=a]il[=a]sa, and has a demoniac gate-keeper, Macakruka. Another newer god is the one already referred to, Dharma V[=a]ivasvata, or Justice (Virtue, Right), the son of the sun, a title of Yama older than the Vedas. He is also the father of the new love-god, K[=a]ma. It is necessary to indicate the names of the gods and their functions, lest one imagine that with pantheism the Vedic religion expired. Even that old, impious Brahmanic fable crops out again: "The devils were the older brothers of the gods, and were conquered by the gods only with trickery" (in. 33. 60), an interesting reminiscence of the fact that the later name for evil spirit was originally the one applied to the great and good spirit (Asura the same with Ahura).[17] According to a rather late chapter in the second book each of the great Vedic gods has a special paradise of his own, the most remarkable feature of the account being that Indra's heaven is filled with saints, having only one king in it—a view quite foreign to the teaching that is current elsewhere in the epic. Where the sectarian doctrine would oppose the old belief it set above Indra's heaven another, of Brahm[=a], and above that a third, of Vishnu (i. 89. 16 ff.). According to one passage Mt. Mandara[18] is a sort of Indian Olympus. Another account speaks of the Him[=a]layas, Himavat, as 'the divine mountain, beloved of the gods,' though the knight goes thence to Gandham[=a]dana, and thence to Indrak[=i]la, to find the gods' habitat (III. 37. 41). Personified powers lie all around the religious Hindu. And this is especially true of the epic character. He prays to Mt. Mandara, and to rivers, above all to the Ganges. Mt. Kol[=a]hala is divine, and begets divine offspring on a river (I. 63). The Vindhya range of mountains rivals the fabled Meru (around which course the sun and all the heavenly bodies), and this, too, is the object of devotion and prayer.[19] In one passage it is said that in Beh[=a]r (M[=a]gadha) there was a peak which was continuously 'worshipped with offerings of flowers and perfumes,' exactly as if it were a god. The reason why flowers are given and worn is that they bring good luck, it is said in the same chapter (II. 21. 15, 20, 51).

What is, perhaps, the most striking feature of Hindu religious thought, as a whole, is the steadfastness with which survive, even in the epic and in Buddhism, the forms and formulae of the older faith. At a time when pantheism or nihilism is the avowed creed the ancient gods still exist, weak, indeed, yet infused with a true immortality. This is noticeable even more in unnoticeable ways, in the turns of speech, in little comparisons, in the hymns, in short, in the by-play of the epic. 'Withered are the garlands of the gods, and their glory is departed,'[20] but they still receive homage in time of need. And in that homage is to be seen, and from the same cause, the revived or surviving worship of the Veda. Each god in turn is mighty, though Agni is the mightiest of the old divinities. In an epic hymn to him it is said: "Thou art the mouth of the worlds; the poets declare thee to be one and three-fold; as carrier of the sacrifice they arrange thee eight-fold. By thee was all created, say the highest seers. Priests that have made reverence to thee attain the eternal course their acts have won, together with their wives and sons. They call thee the water-giver in the air, together with lightning. On thee first depends water. Thou art the creator and Brihaspati, thou art the two Horsemen, the two Yamas, Mitra, Soma, Wind" (i. 229. 23 ff.).[21] And yet this is in a pantheistic environment! The Rig Veda is directly invoked, though, of course, not directly cited, in the old hymn to the Horsemen, who are, however, elsewhere put with low animals and Guhyakas, demons (i. 66).[22] They are the "physicians of the gods," the "first-born" the golden birds which weave the white and black of time, create the wheel of time with all its seasons, and make the sun and sky (i. 3. 55 ff., "v[=a]gbhir [r.]gbhis"). Indra himself is extolled in Kadr[=u]'s hymn; he is the slayer of Namuci, the lord of Çac[=i]; he is the great cloud, cloud and its thunder, creator and destroyer; he is Vishnu, 'Soma, greatly praised,' as well as fire, air, time in all its divisions, earth and ocean; when lauded he drinks the soma, and he is sung in the Ved[=a]ngas (i. 25. 7 ff.). Praised with this hymn in time of need of rain, Indra "commanded the clouds, saying, 'rain down the ambrosia'" (26. 2); where there is still the rain as synonymous with ambrosia, and Indra not very differently conceived from his Vedic self. Thus in comparisons: "As Indra standing in heaven brings bliss to the world of the living, so Vidura ever brought bliss to the Pandus" (i. 61. 15). But at the same time what changes! The gods assemble and sing a hymn to Garuda, the epic form of Garutman, the heavenly bird, who here steals the soma vainly guarded by the gods. Garuda, too, is Praj[=a]pati, Indra, and so forth.[23] The gods are no longer divinities distinct from the dead Fathers, for they are "identical in being." So Agni says when the latter is cursed by Bhrigu: "The divinities and the Manes are satisfied by the oblation in fire. The hosts of gods are waters, so, too, are the Manes. The feasts of the new and full moon belong to the gods with the Manes; hence the Manes are divinities and the divinities are Manes. They are of one being (ek[i]bh[=u]t[=a]s). I (Fire) am the mouth of both, for both eat the oblation poured upon me. The Manes at the new moon, the gods at the full, are fed by my mouth" (i. 7. 7 ff.).[24] Such gods the epic hero fears not (i. 227. 38 ff.). Hymns to them are paralleled by hymns to snakes, as in i. 3. 134 ff., against whom is made the "sarpasattram (snake sacrifice) of the Pur[=a]nas" (i. 51. 6). Divinity is universal. Knights are as divine as the divinest god, the All-god. Arjuna, the god-born man, to whom Krishna reveals the Divine Song, is himself god.[25] In this case whether god becomes human, or vice versa, no one knows.

Under the all embracing cloak of pantheism the heart of the epic conceals many an ancient rite and superstition. Here is the covenant of blood, the covenant of death (represented by the modern 'sitting'[26]), and the covenant of water, which symbolizes both friendship and the solemnity of the curse. The former are illustrated by Bhima's drinking blood as a sign that he will fulfil his vow,[27] and by R[=a]ma lying by Ocean to die unless Ocean grants his wish. Of the water-rite that of offering water in hospitality and as a form in reception of gifts is general; that of cursing by 'touching water' (v[=a]ry upasp[r.]çya), occurs in iii. 10. 32. For this purpose holy-grass and other symbols are known also,[28] and formulae yield only in potency to love-philters and magic drugs. Another covenant besides those just noticed seems to lie concealed in the avoidance of the door when injury is intended. If one goes in by the door he is a guest who has anticipated hospitality, and then he dares not refuse the respect and offering of water, etc, which makes the formal pact of friendship. If, on the contrary, he does not go in by the door he is not obliged to receive the offering, and may remain as a foe in the house (or in the city) of his enemy, with intent to kill, but without moral wrong. This may be implied in the end of the epic, where Açvatth[=a]man, intent on secret murder of his foe, is prevented by god Çiva from entering in at the gate, but going in by stealth, and 'not by the door' of the camp, gets to his foe, who lies asleep, and kills him (x. 8. 10). This might be thought, indeed, to be merely strategic, but it is in accordance with the strict law of all the law-books that one, in ordinary circumstances, shall avoid to enter a town or a house in any other way than through the door (Manu, iv. 73; Gaut. 9. 32, etc.), and we think it has a moral significance, for this a-dv[=a]ra (non-door) rule occurs again in the epic in just the circumstances we have described. The heroes in this case are not afraid of their foe, who is in his town. They insult every one as they approach, but they find some other way of getting in than by passing through the gate, for the express purpose of being morally able to make the king fight with them after they have entered his city. And they cite the rule 'according to law,' which is that one may enter his foe's house by a-dv[=a]ra, 'not by door,' but his friend's house only 'by door.' As they have not entered 'by door' they say they may refuse the hospitality which the king urges them to accept, and so they kill him (ii. 21. 14, 53). Stepping in through the door seems, therefore, to be a tacit agreement that one will not injure the resident.[29]

In the epic, again, fetishism is found. The student of the 'science of war,' in order to obtain his teacher's knowledge when the latter is away, makes a clay image of the preceptor and worships this clay idol, practicing arms before it (i. 132. 33). Here too is embalmed the belief that man's life may be bound up with that of some inanimate thing, and the man perishes with the destruction of his psychic prototype (iii. 135). The old ordeals of fire and water are recognized. "Fire does not burn the house of good men." "If (as this man asserts) he is Varuna's son, then let him enter water and let us see if he will drown" (iii. 134. 27 ff.). A human sacrifice is performed (iii. 127); although the priest who performs it is cast into hell (ib. 128).[30] The teaching in regard to hells is about the same with that already explained in connection with the law-books, but the more definite physical interpretation of hell as a hole in the ground (garta, just as in the Rig Veda) is retained. Agastya sees his ancestors 'in a hole,' which they call 'a hell' (n[=i]ray[=a]). This is evidently the hell known to the law-punsters and epic (i. 74. 39) as puttra, 'the put hell' from which the son (putra) delivers (tra). For these ancestors are in the 'hole' because Agastya, their descendant, has not done his duty and begotten sons (i. 45. 13; iii. 96. 15); one son being 'no son' according to law and epic (i. 100. 68), and all the merit of sacrifice being equal to only one-sixteenth of that obtained by having a son. The teaching, again, in regard to the Fathers themselves (the Manes), while not differing materially from the older view, offers novelties which show how little the absorption-theory had taken hold of the religious consciousness. The very fact that the son is still considered to be as necessary as ever (that he may offer food to his ancestors) shows that the believer, whatever his professed faith, expects to depend for bliss hereafter upon his post mortem meals, as much as did his fathers upon theirs. In the matter of the burial of the dead, one finds, what is antique, that although according to the formal law only infants are buried, and adults are burned, yet was burial known, as in the Vedic age. And the still older exposure of the body, after the Iranian fashion, is not only hinted at as occurring here and there even before the epic, but in the epic these forms are all recognized as equally approved: "When a man dies he is burned or buried or exposed" (nik[r.][s.]yate)[31] it is said in i. 90. 17; and the narrator goes on to explain that the "hell on earth," of which the auditor "has never heard" (vs. 6) is re-birth in low bodies, speaking of it as a new doctrine. "As if in a dream remaining conscious the spirit enters another form"; the bad becoming insects and worms; the good going to heaven by means of the "seven gates," viz., penance, liberality, quietism, self-control, modesty, rectitude, and mercy. This is a union of two views, and it is evidently the popular view, that, namely, the good go to heaven while the bad go to new existence in a low form, as opposed to the more logical conception that both alike enter new forms, one good, the other bad. Then the established stadia, the pupil, the old teaching (upanishad) of the householders, and the wood-dwellers are described, with the remark that there is no uniformity of opinion in regard to them; but the ancient view crops out again in the statement that one who dies as a forest-hermit "establishes in bliss" ten ancestors and ten descendants. In this part of the epic the Punj[=a]b is still near the theatre of events, the 'centre region' being between the Ganges and Jumna (I. 87. 5); although the later additions to the poems show acquaintance with all countries, known and unknown, and with peoples from all the world. Significant in xii. 61. 1, 2 is the name of the third order bh[=a]ikshyacaryam 'beggarhood' (before the forest-hermit and after the householder).

It was said above that the departed Fathers could assume a mortal form. In the formal classification of these demigods seven kinds of Manes are enumerated, the title of one subdivision being 'those embodied.' Brahm[=a] is identified with the Father-god in connection with the Manes: "All the Manes worship Praj[=a]pati Brahm[=a]," in the paradise of Praj[=a]pati, where, by the way, are Çiva and Vishnu (II. 11. 45, 50, 52; 8. 30). According to this description 'kings and sinners,' together with the Manes, are found in Yama's home, as well as "those that die at the solstice" (II. 7 ff.; 8. 31). Constantly the reader is impressed with the fact that the characters of the epic are acting and thinking in a way not conformable to the idea one might form of the Hindu from the law. We have animadverted upon this point elsewhere in connection with another matter. It is this factor that makes the study of the epic so invaluable as an offset to the verisimilitude of belief, even as belief is taught (not practiced) in the law. There is a very old rule, for instance, against slaughtering animals and eating meat; while to eat beef is a monstrous crime. Yet is it plain from the epic that meat-eating was customary, and Vedic texts are cited ( iti çrutis) to prove that this is permissible; while a king is extolled for slaughtering cattle (III. 208. 6-11). It is said out and out in iii. 313. 86 that 'beef is food,' g[=a]ur annam. Deer are constantly eaten. There is an amusing protest against this practice, which was felt to be irreconcilable with the ahims[=a] (non-injury) doctrine, in III. 258, where the remnant of deer left in the forest come in a vision and beg to be spared. A dispute between gods and seers over vegetable sacrifices is recorded, XII. 338. Again, asceticism is not the duty of a warrior, but the epic hero practices asceticism exactly as if he were a priest, or a Jain, although the warning is given that a warrior 'obtains a better lot' (loka) by dying in battle than by asceticism. The asceticism is, of course, exaggerated, but an instance or two of what the Hindu expects in this regard may not be without interest. The warrior who becomes an ascetic eats leaves, and is clothed in grass. For one month he eats fruits every third day (night); for another month every sixth day; for another month every fortnight; and for the fourth month he lives on air, standing on tiptoe with arms stretched up. Another account says that the knight eats fruit for one month; water for one month; and for the third month, nothing (III. 33. 73; 38. 22-26; 167). One may compare with these ascetic practices, which are not so exaggerated, in fact, as might be supposed,[32] the 'one-leg' practice of virtue, consisting in standing on one leg, ekap[=a]dena, for six months or longer, as one is able (I. 170. 46; III. 12. 13-16). Since learning the Vedas is a tiresome task, and ascetic practice makes it possible to acquire anything, one is not surprised to find that a devotee undertakes penance with this in view, and is only surprised when Indra, who, to be sure has a personal interest in the Vedas, breaks in on the scene and rebukes the ascetic with the words: "Asceticism cannot teach the Vedas; go and be tutored by a teacher" (III. 135. 22).

One finds in the epic the old belief that the stars are the souls of the departed,[33] and this occurs so often that it is another sign of the comparative newness of the pantheistic doctrine. When the hero, Arjuna, goes to heaven he approaches the stars, "which seen from earth look small on account of their distance," and finds them to be self-luminous refulgent saints, royal seers, and heroes slain in battle, some of them also being nymphs and celestial singers. All of this is in contradiction both to the older and to the newer systems of eschatology; but it is an ancient belief, and therefore it is preserved. Indra's heaven,[34] Amar[=a]vati, lies above these stars[35]] No less than five distinct beliefs are thus enunciated in regard to the fate of 'good men after death. If they believe in the All-god they unite with him at once. Or they have a higher course, becoming gradually more elevated, as gods, etc, and ultimately 'enter' the All-god. Again they go to the world of Brahm[=a]. Again they go to Indra's heaven. Again they become stars. The two last beliefs are the oldest, the brahmaloka belief is the next in order of time, and the first-mentioned are the latest to be adopted. The hero of the epic just walks up to heaven, but his case is exceptional.

While angels and spirits swarm about the world in every shape from mischievous or helpful fairies to R[=a]hu, whose head still swallows the sun, causing eclipses (I. 19. 9), there are a few that are especially conspicuous. Chief of the good spirits, attendants of Indra, are the Siddhas[36] 'saints,' who occasionally appear to bless a hero in conjunction with 'beings invisible' (III. 37. 21). Their name means literally 'blessed' or 'successful,' and probably, like the seers, Rishis, they are the departed fathers in spiritual form. These latter form various classes. There are not only the 'great seers,' and the still greater 'brahma-seers,' and the 'god-seers,' but there are even 'devil-seers,' and 'king-seers,' these being spirits of priests of royal lineages.[37] The evil spirits, like the gods, are sometimes grouped in threes. In a blessing one cries out: "Farewell (svasti gacchahy an[=a]mayam); I entreat the Vasus, Rudras, [=A]dityas, Marut-hosts and the All-gods to protect thee, together with the S[=a]dhyas; safety be to thee from all the evil beings that live in air, earth, and heaven, and from all others that dog thy path."[38] In XII. 166. 61 ff. the devils fall to earth, mountains, water, and other places. According to I. 19. 29. it is not long since the Asuras were driven to take refuge in earth and salt water.[39]

These creatures have every kind of miraculous power, whether they be good or bad. Hanuman, famed in both epics, the divine monkey, with whom is associated the divine 'king of bears' J[=a]mbavan (III. 280. 23), can grow greater than mortal eye can see (III. 150. 9). He is still worshipped as a great god in South India. As an illustration of epic spiritism the case of Ilvala may be taken. This devil, d[=a]iteya, had a trick of cooking his embodied younger brother, and giving him to saints to eat. One saint, supposing the flesh to be mutton (here is saintly meat-eating!), devours the dainty viand; upon which the devil 'calls' his brother, who is obliged to come, whether eaten or not, and in coming bursts the saint that has eaten him (iii. 96). This is folk-lore; but what religion does not folk-lore contain! So, personified Fate holds its own as an inscrutable power, mightier than others.[40] There is another touch of primitive religious feeling which reminds one of the usage in Iceland, where, if a stranger knocks at the door and the one within asks 'who is there?' the guest answers, 'God.' So in the epic it is said that 'every guest is god Indra' (Parjanyo nn[=a]nusa[.m]caran, iii. 200. 123. In the epic Parjanya, the rain-god, and Indra are the same). Of popular old tales of religious bearing may be mentioned the retention and elaboration of the Brahmanic deluge-story, with Manu as Noah (iii. 187); the Açvins' feats in rejuvenating (iii. 123); the combats of the gods with the demons (Namuci, Çambara, Vala, Vritra, Prahl[=a]da, Naraka), etc. (iii. 168).

Turning now to some of the newer traits in the epic, one notices first that, while the old sacrifices still obtain, especially the horse-sacrifice, the r[=a]jas[=u]ya and the less meritorious v[=a]japeya, together with the monthly and seasonal sacrifices, there is in practice a leaning rather to new sacrifices, and a new cult. The soma is scarce, and the p[=u]tika plant is accepted as its substitute (iii. 35. 33) in a matter-of-course way, as if this substitution, permitted of old by law, were now common. The sacrifice of the widow is recognized, in the case of the wives of kings, as a means of obtaining bliss for a woman,[41] for the religion of the epic is not entirely careless of woman. Somewhat new, however, is the self-immolation of a man upon the pyre of his son. Such a case is recorded in iii. 137. 19. where a father burns his son's body, and then himself enters the fire. New also, of course, are the sectarian festivals and sacrifices; and pronounced is the gain in the godhead of priests, king, parents, elder brother, and husband. The priest has long been regarded as a god, but in the epic he is god of gods, although one can trace even here a growth in adulation.[42] The king, too, has been identified before this period with the gods. But in the epic he is to his people an absolute divinity,[43] and so are the parents to the son;[44] while, since the elder brother is the same with a father, when the father is dead the younger brother worships the elder. So also the wife's god is her husband; for higher even than that of the priest is the husband's divinity (III. 206). The wife's religious service is not concerned with feasts to the Manes, with sacrifice to the gods, nor with studying the Veda. In all these she has no part. Her religion is to serve her husband (III. 205. 23), and to die, if worthy of the honor, on his funeral pyre. Otherwise the epic woman has religious practices only in visiting the holy watering-places, which now abound, and in reading the epic itself. For it is said of both practices: "Whether man or woman read this book (or 'visit this holy pool') he or she is freed from sin" (so in III. 82. 33: "Every sin committed since birth by man or woman is absolved by bathing in 'holy Pushkara"). It may be remarked that as a general thing the deities invoked by women are, by predilection, female divinities, some of them being mere abstractions, while 'the Creator' is often the only god in the woman's list, except, of course, the priests: "Reverence to priests, and to the Creator … May Hr[=i], Çr[=i] (Modesty and Beauty), Fame, Glory, Prosperity, Um[=a] (Çiva's wife), Lakshmi (Vishnu's wife), and also Sarasvat[=i], (may all these female divinities) guard thy path, because thou reverest thy elder brother," is a woman's prayer (III. 37. 26-33).[45]

Of the sectarian cults just mentioned the brahmamaha, I. 164. 20, elsewhere referred to, is the all-caste[46] feast in honor of Brahm[=a] (or of the Brahmans); as ib. 143. 3 one finds a sam[=a]ja in honor of Çiva; and distinctly in honor of the same god of horror is the sacrifice, i.e., immolation, of one hundred kings, who are collected "in the temple of Çiva," to be slaughtered like cattle in M[=a]gadha (II. 15. 23); an act which the heroes of the epic prevent, and look upon with scorn.[47] As a substitute for the r[=a]jas[=u]ya, which may be connected with the human sacrifice (Ind. Streifen, I. 61), but is the best sacrifice because it has the best largesse (III. 255. 12), the Vaishnava is suggested to Duryodhana. It is a great sattram or long sacrifice to Vishnu (ib. 15 and 19); longer than a Vishnuprabodha (26 Oct.). There is a Smriti rite described in III. 198. 13 as a svastiv[=a]canam, a ceremony to obtain a heavenly chariot which brings prosperity, the priests being invoked for blessings (svasti). Quite modern, comparatively speaking, is the cult of holy pools; but it is to be observed that the blessings expected are rarely more than the acquirement of brahma-worlds, so that the institution seems to be at least older than the sectarian religions, although naturally among the holy pools is intruded a Vishnu-pool. This religious rite cannot be passed over in silence. The custom is late Brahmanic (as above), and still survives. It has been an aspect of Hindu religion for centuries, not only in the view taken of the pools, but even occasionally in the place itself. Thus the Ganges, Gay[=a], Pray[=a]ga, and Kuru-Plain are to-day most holy, and they are mentioned as among the holiest in the epic catalogue.[48] Soma is now revamped by a bath in a holy pool (IX. 35. 75). As in every antithesis of act and thought there are not lacking passages in the epic which decry the pools in comparison with holy life as a means of salvation. Thus in III. 82. 9 ff., the poet says: "The fruit of pilgrimage (to holy pools)—he whose hands, feet, and mind are controlled;[49] he who has knowledge, asceticism, and fame, he gets all the fruit that holy pools can give. If one is averse from receiving gifts, content, freed from egoism, if one injures not, and acts disinterestedly, if one is not gluttonous, or carnal-minded, he is freed from sin. Let one (not bathe in pools but) be without wrath, truthful, firm in his vows, seeing his self in all beings." This is, however, a protest little heeded.[50] Pilgrimage is made to pool and plain, to mountain, tree, and river. Even then, as now, of all pilgrimages that to Ganges was most esteemed: "Originally all were holy; in the second age Pushkara[51] was holy; in the third age the Plain of the Kurus was holy; and in this age Ganges is holy" (III. 85. 90).[52] Besides Ganges, the Plain of the Kurus and Pray[=a]ga, the junction of Ganges and Jumna, get the highest laudation. Other rivers, such as the Gomal and Sarasvat[=i], are also extolled, and the list is very long of places which to see or to bathe in releases from sin. "He who bathes in Ganges purifies seven descendants.[53] As long as the bones of a man touch Ganges-water so long that man is magnified in heaven." Again: "No place of pilgrimage is better than Ganges; no god is better than Vishnu; nothing is better than brahma—so said the sire of the gods" (iii. 85. 94-96). The very dust of Kuru-Plain makes one holy, the sight of it purifies; he that lives south of the Sarasvat[=i], north of the Drishadvat[=i] (i.e., in Kuru-Plain), he lives in the third heaven (iii. 83. 1-3=203-205[54]). This sort of expiation for sin is implied in a more general way by the remark that there are three kinds of purity, one of speech, one of act, and one of water (iii. 200. 82). But in the epic there is still another means of expiating sin, one that is indicated in the Brahmanic rule that if a woman is an adulteress she destroys half her sin by confessing it (as above), where, however, repentance is rather implied than commanded. But in the epic Pur[=a]na it is distinctly stated as a Çruti, or trite saying, that if one repents he is freed from his sin; na tat kury[=a]m punar is the formula he must use, 'I will not do so again,' and then he is released from even the sin that he is going to commit a second time, as if by a ceremony—so is the Çruti in the laws, dharmas (iii. 207. 51, 52).[55] Confession to the family priest is enjoined, in xii. 268. 14, to escape punishment.

Two other religious practices in the epic are noteworthy. The first is the extension of idolatry in pictures. The amiable 'goddess of the house' is represented, to be sure, as a R[=a]kshas[=i], or demoniac power, whose name is Jar[=a]. But she was created by the Self-existent, and is really very friendly, under certain conditions: "Whoever delineates me with faith in his house, he increases in children; otherwise he would be destroyed." She is worshipped, i.e., her painted image is worshipped, with perfumes, flowers, incense, food, and other enjoyable things (II. 18).[56] Another practice that is very common is the worship of holy trees. One may compare the banyan at Bodhi Gay[=a] with the 'worshipful' village-tree of II. 24. 23. Seldom and late is the use of a rosary mentioned (e.g., III. 112. 5, aksham[=a]l[=a], elsewhere aksha), although the word is employed to make an epithet of Çiva, Aksham[=a]lin.[57]

As has been said already, an extraordinary power is ascribed to the mere repetition of a holy text, mantra. These are applied on all occasions without the slightest reference to the subject. By means of mantra one exorcises; recovers weapons; calls gods and demons, etc.[58] When misfortune or disease arrives it is invariably ascribed to the malignant action of a devil, although the karma teaching should suggest that it was the result of a former misdeed on the victim's part. But the very iteration, the insistence on new explanations of this doctrine, show that the popular mind still clung to the old idea of demoniac interference. Occasionally the naïveté with which the effect of a mantra is narrated is somewhat amusing, as, for instance, when the heroine Krishn[=a] faints, and the by-standers "slowly" revive her "by the use of demon-dispelling mantras, rubbing, water, and fanning" (iii. 144. 17). All the weapons of the heroes are inspired with and impelled by mantras.

Sufficient insight into the formal rules of morality has been given in the extracts above, nor does the epic in this regard differ much from the law-books. Every man's first duty is to act; inactivity is sinful. The man that fails to win a good reputation by his acts, a warrior, for example, that is devoid of fame, a 'man of no account,' is a bh[=u]mivardhana, [Greek: achthos arourês] a cumberer of earth (iii. 35. 7). A proverb says that man should seek virtue, gain, and pleasure; "virtue in the morning; gain at noon; pleasure at night," or, according to another version, "pleasure when young, gain in middle-age, and virtue in the end of life" (iii. 33. 40, 41). "Virtue is better than immortality and life. Kingdom, sons, glory, wealth, all this does not equal one-sixteenth part of the value of truth" (ib. 34. 22).[59] One very strong summing up of a discourse on virtuous behavior ends thus: "Truth, self-control, asceticism, generosity, non-injury, constancy in virtue—these are the means of success, not caste nor family" (j[=a]ti, kula, iii. 181. 42).

A doctrine practiced, if not preached, is that of blood-revenge. "The unavenged shed tears, which are wiped away by the avenger" (iii. 11. 66); and in accordance with this feeling is the statement: "I shall satiate my brother with his murderer's blood, and thus, becoming free of debt in respect of my brother, I shall win the highest place in heaven" (ib. 34, 35).

As of old, despite the new faith, as a matter of priestly, formal belief, all depends on the sacrifice: "Law comes from usage; in law are the Vedas established; by means of the Vedas arise sacrifices; by sacrifice are the gods established; according to the rule of Vedas, and usage, sacrifices being performed support the divinities, just as the rules of Brihaspati and Uçanas support men" (iii. 150. 28, 29). The pernicious doctrine of atonement for sin follows as a matter of course: "Whatever sin a king commits in conquering the earth is atoned for by sacrifices, if they are accompanied with large gifts to priests, such as cows and villages." Even gifts to a sacred bull have the same effect (iii. 33. 78, 79; ib. 35. 34; iii. 2. 57), the occasion in hand being a king's violation of his oath.[60] Of these sacrifices a great snake-sacrifice forms the occasion for narrating the whole epic, the plot of which turns on the national vice of gambling.[61] For divine snakes are now even grouped with other celestial powers, disputing the victory of earthly combatants as do Indra and S[=u]rya: "The great snakes were on Arjuna's side; the little snakes were for Karna" (viii. 87. 44, 45).[62] They were (perhaps) the local gods of the Nagas (Snakes), a tribe living between the Ganges and Jumna.

The religion of the epic is multiform. But it stands, in a certain sense, as one religion, and from two points of view it is worthy of special regard. One may look upon it either as the summing up of Brahmanism in the new Hinduism, as the final expression of a religion which forgets nothing and absorbs everything; or one may study it as a belief composed of historical strata, endeavoring to divide it into its different layers, as they have been super-imposed one upon another in the course of ages. From the latter point of view the Vedic divinities claim the attention first. There are still traces of the original power of Agni and S[=u]rya, as we have shown, and Wind still makes with these two a notable triad,[63] whereas Indra, impotent as he is, hymnless as he is,—save in the oldest portions of the work,—still leads the gods, now godkins, of the ancient pantheon, and still, in theory, at least, off a paradise to the knight that dies nobly on the field.[64] But one sees at once that the preservation of the dignity of these deities is due to different causes. Indra cannot even save a snake that grasps his hand for safety; he wages war against the demons' 'triple town,' and signally fails of his purpose, for the demons are as strong as the gods, and there are D[=a]navendras as well as D[=a]navarshis.[65] But Indra is the figure-head of the whole ancient pantheon, and for this reason he plays so constant, if so weak, a rôle, in the epic. The only important thing in connection with him is his heaven. As an individual deity Indra lives, on the whole, only in the tales of old, for example, in that of his cheating Namuci (ix. 43. 32 ff.). Nothing new and clever is told of him which would indicate power, only a new trick or two, as when he steals from Karna. It is quite otherwise with Agni and S[=u]rya. They are not so vaguely identified with the one god as is 'Indra and the other Vasus.' It is merely because these gods are prominently forms of Vishnu that they are honored with hymns in the epic. This is seen from the nature of the hymns, and also from the fact that it is either as fire or as sun that Vishnu destroys at the end of the aeons. For it is, perhaps, somewhat daring to say, and yet it seems to be the fact, that the solar origin of Vishnu is not lost sight of.

The pantheistic Vishnu is the [=a]tm[=a], and Vishnu, after all, is but a form of fire. Therefore is it that the epic Vishnu is perpetually lapsing into fire; while fire and sun are doubly honored as special forms of the highest. It is, then, not so much on account of a survival of ancient dignity[66] that sun and fire stand so high, but rather because they are the nearest approach to the effulgence of the Supreme. Thus while in one place one is told that after seven suns have appeared the supreme gods become the fire of destruction and complete the ruin, in another he reads that it is the sun alone which, becoming twelvefold, does all the work of the Supreme.[67]

Indra has hymns and sacrifices, but although he has no so exalted hymn as comes to his 'friend Agni,' yet (in an isolated passage) he has a new feast and celebration, the account of which apparently belongs to the first period of the epic, when the worship of Indra still had significance. In i. 63, an Indramaha, or 'glorification of Indra,' is described a festivity extending over two days, and marked by the erection of a pole in honor of the god—a ceremony which 'even to-day,' it is said, is practiced.[68] The old tales of the fire-cult are retold, and new rites are known.[69] Thus in iii. 251. 20 ff., Prince Duryodhana resolves to starve to death (oblivious of the rule that 'a suicide goes to hell'), and since this is a religious ceremony, he clothes himself in old clothes and holy-grass, 'touches water,' and devotes himself with intense application to heaven. Then the devils of Rudra called D[=a]iteyas and D[=a]navas, who live underground ever since they were conquered by the gods, aided by priests, make a fire-rite, and with mantras "declared by Brihaspati and Uçanas, and proclaimed in the Atharva-Veda," raise a ghost or spirit, who is ordered to fetch Duryodhana to hell, which she immediately does.[70] The frequent connection of Brihaspati with the Atharva-Veda is of interest (above, p. 159). He is quite a venerable, if not wholly orthodox, author in the epic, and his 'rules' are often cited.[71]

That Vedic deity who, alone of pre-Vedic powers, still holds his proud place, Yama, the king of departed spirits, varies in the epic according to the period represented. In old tales he is still quite Vedic in character; he takes the dead man's soul off to his own realm. But, of course, as pantheism prevails, and eschatology becomes confused, Yama passes into a shadow, and at most is a bugbear for the wicked. Even his companions are stolen from another realm, and one hears now of "King Yama with his Rudras" (III. 237. 11),[72] while it is only the bad[73] that go to Yama (III. 200. 24), in popular belief, although this view, itself old, relapses occasionally into one still older, in accordance with which (ib. 49) all the world is hounded on by Yama's messengers, and comes to his abode. His home[74] in the south is now located as being at a distance of 86,000 leagues over a terrible road, on which passes a procession of wretched or happy mortals, even as they have behaved during life; for example, if one has generously given an umbrella during life he will have an umbrella on this journey, etc. The river in Yama's abode is called Pushpodaka, and what each drinks out of it is according to what he deserves to drink, cool water or filth (ib. 46, 58).[75] In the various descriptions it is not strange to find discordant views even in portions belonging approximately to the same period. Thus in contradistinction to the prevailing view one reads of Indra himself that he is Yamasya net[=a] Namuceçca hant[=a] 'Yama's leader, Namuci's slayer' (iii. 25. 10.), i.e., those that die in battle go to Yama.

On the other hand, in the later speculative portions, Yama is not death. "Yama is not death, as some think; he is one that gives bliss to the good, and woe to the bad."[76] Death and life are foolishness and lack of folly, respectively (literally, 'non-folly is non-mortality'), while folly and mortality are counter opposites. In pantheistic teaching there is, of course, no real death, only change. But death is a female power, personified, and sharply distinguished from Yama. Death as a means of change thus remains, while Yama is relegated to the guardianship of hell. The difference in regard to the latter subject, between earlier and later views, has been noted above. One comparatively early passage attempts to arrange the incongruous beliefs in regard to sams[=a]ra (re-birth) and hell on a sort of sliding scale, thus: "One that does good gets in the next life a good birth; one that does ill gets an ill birth"; more particularly: "By good acts one attains to the state of gods; by 'mixed' acts, to the state of man; by acts due to confusion of mind, to the state of animals and plants (viyon[=i][s.]u); by sinful acts one goes to hell" (adhog[=a]mi, iii. 209. 29-32).[77] Virtue must have been, as the epic often declares it to be, a 'subtile matter,' for often a tale is told to illustrate the fact that one goes to hell for doing what he thinks (mistakenly) to be right. Thus K[=a]uçika is sent to hell for speaking the truth, whereas he ought to have lied to save life (viii. 69. 53), for he was "ignorant of virtue's subtilty."[78] A passage (i. 74. 27 ff.) that is reflected in Manu (viii. 85-86) says that Yama V[=a]ivasvata takes away the sin of him with whom is satisfied "the one that witnesses the act, that stands in the heart, that knows the ground"; but Yama tortures him with whom this one (personified conscience) is dissatisfied. For "truth is equal to a thousand horse-sacrifices; truth is highest brahma" (ib. 103, 106).

Following downward the course of religious development, as reflected in the epic, one next finds traces of Brahmanic theology not only in the few passages where (Brahm[=a]) Praj[=a]pati remains untouched by sectarianism, but also in the harking back to old formulae. Thus the insistence on the Brahmanical sacredness of the number seventeen is preserved (xii. 269. 26; iii. 210. 20, etc); and Upanishadic is the "food is Praj[=a]pati" of iii. 200. 38 (Yama in 40). There is an interesting rehabilitation of the primitive idea of the Açvins in the new ascription of formal divinity to the (personified) Twilights (Sandhy[=a]) in iii. 200. 83, although this whole passage is more Puranic than epic. From the same source is the doctrine that the fruit of action expires at the end of one hundred thousand kalpas (ib. vs. 121). One of the oddest religious freaks in the epic is the sudden exaltation of the Ribhus, the Vedic (season-gods) artisans, to the position of highest gods. In that heaven of Brahm[=a], which is above the Vedic gods' heaven, there are the holy seers and the Ribhus, 'the divinities of the gods'; who do not change with the change of kalpas (as do other Vedic gods), III. 261. 19-23. One might almost imagine that their threefoldness was causative of a trinitarian identification with a supreme triad; but no, for still higher is the 'heaven of Vishnu' (vs. 37). The contrast is marked between this and [=A]it. Br. III. 30, where the Ribhus with some difficulty obtain the right to drink soma.

There is an aspect of the epic religion upon which it is necessary to touch before treating of the sectarian development. In the early philosophical period wise priests meet together to discuss theological and philosophical questions, often aided, and often brought to grief, by the wit of women disputants, who are freely admitted to hear and share in the discussion. When, however, pantheism, nay, even Vishnuism, or still more, Krishnaism, was an accepted fact upon what, then, was the wisdom of the priest expended? Apart from the epic, the best intellects of the day were occupied in researches, codifying laws, and solving, in rather dogmatic fashion, philosophical (theological) problems. The epic presents pictures of scenes which seem to be a reflection from an earlier day. But one sees often that the wisdom is commonplace, or even silly. In dialectics a sophistical subtlety is shown; in codifying moral rules, a tedious triteness; in amoebic passes of wit there are astounding exhibitions, in which the good scholiast sees treasures of wisdom, where a modern is obliged to take them in their literal dulness. Thus in III. 132. 18, a boy of twelve or ten (133. 16), who is divinely precocious, defeats the wise men in disputation at a sacrifice, and in the following section (134. 7 ff.) silences a disputant who is regarded as one of the cleverest priests. The conversation is recorded in full. In what does it consist? The opponent mentions a number of things which are one; the boy replies with a verse that gives pairs of things; the other mentions triads; the child cites groups of fours, etc., until the opponent, having cited only one half-verse of thirteens, can remember no more and stops, on which the child completes the verse, and is declared winner. The conundrums which precede must have been considered very witty, for they are repeated elsewhere: What is that wheel which has twelve parts and three hundred and sixty spokes, etc.? Year. What does not close its eye when asleep, what does not move when it is born, what has no heart, what increases by moving? These questions form one-half verse. The next half-verse gives the answers in order: fish, egg, stone, river. This wisdom in the form of puzzles and answers, brahmodya, is very old, and goes back to the Vedic period. Another good case in the epic is the demon Yaksha and the captured king, who is not freed till he answers certain questions correctly.[79] But although a certain amount of theologic lore may be gleaned from these questions, yet is it of greater interest to see how the priests discussed when left quietly to their own devices. And a very natural description of such a scene is extant. The priests "having some leisure"[80] or vacation from their labors in the king's house, sit down to argue, and the poet calls their discussion vita[n.][d.][=a], i.e., tricky sophistical argumentation, the description bearing out the justness of the phrase: "One cried, 'that is so,' and the other, 'it is not so'; one cried, 'and that is so,' and the other, 'it must be so'; and some by arguments made weak arguments strong, and strong weak; while some wise ones were always swooping down on their opponent's arguments, like hawks on meat."[81] In III. 2. 15, the type of clever priest is 'skilled in Yoga and S[=a][.n]khya,' who inculcates renunciation. This sage teaches that mental diseases are cured by Yoga; bodily, by medicine; and that desire is the root of ill.

But by far the most interesting theological discussion in the epic, if one except the Divine Song, is the conversation of the hero and heroine in regard to the cause of earthly happiness. This discussion is an old passage of the epic. The very fact that a woman is the disputant gives an archaic effect to the narration, and reminds one of the scenes in the Upanishads, where learned women cope successfully with men in displays of theological acumen. Furthermore, the theological position taken, the absence of Vishnuism, the appeal to the 'Creator' as the highest Power, take one back to a former age. The doctrine of special grace, which crops out in the Upanishads,[82] here receives its exposure by a sudden claim that the converse of the theory must also be true, viz., that to those not saved by grace and election God is as cruel as He is kind to the elect. The situation is as follows: The king and queen have been basely robbed of their kingdom, and are in exile. The queen urges the king to break the vow of exile that has been forced from him, and to take vengeance on their oppressors. The king, in reply, sings a song of forgiveness: "Forgiveness is virtue, sacrifice, Veda; forgiveness is holiness and truth; in the world of Brahm[=a] are the mansions of them that forgive." This song (III. 29. 36 ff.) only irritates the queen, who at once launches into the following interesting tirade (30. 1 ff.): "Reverence to the Creator and Disposer[83] who have confused thy mind! Hast thou not worshipped with salutation and honored the priests, gods, and manes? Hast thou not made horse-sacrifices, the r[=a]jas[=u]ya-sacrifice, sacrifices of every sort (pu[n.][d.]arika,[84] gosava)? Yet art thou in this miserable plight! Verily is it an old story (itih[=a]sa) that 'the worlds stand under the Lord's will.' Following the seed God gives good or ill in the case of all beings. Men are all moved by the divinity. Like a wooden doll, moving its limbs in the hands of a man, so do all creatures move in the Creator's hands. Man is like a bird on a string, like a bead on a cord. As a bull is led by the nose, so man follows the will of the Creator; he never is a creature of free will ([=a]tm[=a]dhina). Every man goes to heaven or to hell, as he is sent by the Lord's will. God himself, occupied with noble or with wicked acts, moves about among all created things, an unknown power (not known as 'this one'). The blessed God, who is self-created, the great forefather (prapit[=a]maha), plays with his creatures just as a boy plays with toys, putting them together and destroying them as he chooses. Not like a father is God to His creatures; He acts in anger. When I see the good distressed, the ignoble happy, I blame the Creator who permits this inequality. What reward does God get that he sends happiness to this sinful man (thy oppressor)? If it be true that only the individual that does the act is pursued by the fruit of that act (karma doctrine) then the Lord who has done this act is defiled by this base act of His. If, on the other hand, the act that one has done does not pursue and overtake the one that has done it, then the only agency on earth is brute force (this is the only power to be respected)—and I grieve for them that are without it!"

To this plea, which in its acknowledgment of the Creator as the highest god, no less than in its doubtful admission of the karma doctrine, is of peculiar interest, the king replies with a refutation no less worthy of regard: "Thy argument is good, clear and smooth, but it is heterodox (n[=a]stikyam). I have sacrificed and practiced virtue not for the sake of reward, but because it was right. I give what I ought to give, and sacrifice as I should. That is my only idea in connection with religious observances. There is no virtue in trying to milk virtue. Do not doubt. Do not be suspicious of virtue. He that doubts God or duty goes to hell (confusion), but he that does his duty and is free from doubt goes to heaven (becomes immortal). Doubt not scriptural authority. Duty is the saving ship. No other gets to heaven. Blame not the Lord Creator, who is the highest god. Through His grace the faithful gets immortality. If religious observances were without fruit the universe would go to destruction. People would not have been good for so many ages if there had been no reward for it. This is a mystery of the gods. The gods are full of mystery and illusion."

The queen, for all the world like that wise woman in the Upanishads, whose argument, as we showed in a preceding chapter, is cut short not by counter-argument, but by the threat that if she ask too much her head will fall off, recants her errors at this rebuke, and in the following section, which evidently is a later addition, takes back what she has said. Her new expression of belief she cites as the opinion of Brihaspati (32. 61, 62); but this is applicable rather to her first creed of doubt. Perhaps in the original version this authority was cited at the end of the first speech, and with the interpolation the reference is made to apply to this seer. Something like the queen's remarks is the doubtful saying of the king himself, as quoted elsewhere (III. 273. 6): "Time and fate, and what will be, this is the only Lord. How else could this distress have come upon my wife? For she has been virtuous always."

We turn now to the great sectarian gods, who eventually unite with Brahm[=a] to form a pantheistic trinity, a conception which, as we shall show, is not older than the fifth or sixth century after Christ.

* * * * *


[Footnote 1: The rival heresies seem also to belong to the East. There were thus more than half a dozen heretical bodies of importance agitating the region about Benares at the same time. Subsequently the Jains, who, as we have shown, were less estranged from Brahmanism, drifted westward, while the Buddhist stronghold remained in the East (both, of course, being represented in the South as well), and so, whereas Buddhism eventually retreated to Nep[=a]l and Tibet, the Jains are found in the very centres of old and new (sectarian) Brahmanism, Delhi, Mathur[=a], Jeypur, [=A]jm[=i]r.]

[Footnote 2: 'The wandering of R[=a]ma,' who is the sectarian representative of Vishnu.]

[Footnote 3: The 'Bh[=a]rata (tale)', sometimes called Mah[=a]-Bh[=a]rata, or Great Bh[=a]rata. The Vishnuite sectarianism here advocated is that of Krishna. But there is as much Çivaism in the poem as there is Vishnuism.]

[Footnote 4: Dramatic and lyric poetry is artificial even in

[Footnote 5: Schroeder, p. 453, compares the mutual relation
of the Mah[=a]bh[=a]rata and R[=a]m[=a]yana to that of the
Nibelungenlied and the Parzival of Wolfram von Eschenbach.
Jacobi, in his 'R[=a]m[=a]yana,' has lately claimed a
considerable antiquity for the foundation legends of the
R[=a]m[=a]yana, but he does not disprove the late completed

[Footnote 6: i. 78. 10; see Bühler's Introduction.]

[Footnote 7: Jacobi seeks to put the completed nucleus at the time of the Christian era, but it must have been quite a large nucleus in view of the allusions to it in precedent literature. Holtztmann puts the completion at about 1000 A.D.; but in 700 A.D., it was complete, and most scholars will agree with Bühler that the present Mah[=a]-Bh[=a]rata was completed by the sixth or seventh century. In 533 A.D. it contained 100,000 distichs, that is, it was about the size it is now.]

[Footnote 8: By the time the drama began the epic was become a religious storehouse, and the actual epic story represented not a fifth of the whole work, so that, with its simple language, it must have seemed, as a literary production, very wearisome to the minds that delighted in the artificial compounds and romantic episodes of the drama and lyric. But even to-day it is recited at great fêtes, and listened to with rapt attention, as the rhapsodes with more or less dramatic power recite its holy verses.]

[Footnote 9: The later law-books say expressly that women and slaves have a right to use mantra, mantr[=a]dhik[=a]ri[n.]as. But the later legal Smritis are no more than disguised sectarian Pur[=a]nas.]

[Footnote 10: Compare the visit of the old Muni on the prince in iii. 262. 8. He is paramakopana, 'extremely irritable'; calls for food only to reject it; growls at the service, etc. Everything must be done 'quickly' for him. "I am hungry, give me food, quick," is his way of speaking, etc. (12). The adjective is one applied to the All-gods, paramakrodhinas.]

[Footnote 11: Each spiritual teacher instructed high-caste boys, in classes of four or five at most. In xii. 328. 41 the four students of a priest go on a strike because the latter wants to take another pupil besides themselves and his own son.]

[Footnote 12: The saints in the sky praise the combatants
(vii. 188. 41; viii. 15. 27); and the gods roar approval of
prowess "with roars like a lion's" (viii. 15. 33). Indra and
S[=u]rya and the Apsarasas cool off the heroes with heavenly
fans (ib. 90. 18). For the last divinities, see
Holtzmann's essays, ZDMG. xxxii. 290; xxxiii. 631.]

[Footnote 13: The original author of the Mah[=a]bh[=a]rata is reputed to be of low caste, but the writers of the text as it is to-day were sectarian priests. It was written down, it is said, by Ganeça, 'lord of the troops' of Çiva, i. 1. 79, and some historic truth lies in the tale. The priests of Çiva were the last to retouch the poem, as we think.]

[Footnote 14: Agni-worship is partly affected by the doctrine that the Samvartaka fire (which destroys the world at the cycle's end) is a form of Vishnu. In Stambamitra's hymn it is said: "Thou, O Agni, art the all, in thee rests the universe … Sages know thee as single yet manifold. At the expiration of time thou burnest up the three worlds, after having created them. Thou art the originator and support of all beings" (i. 232. 12). Elsewhere more Vedic epithets are given, such as 'mouth of the gods' (ii. 31. 42), though here 'the Vedas are produced for Agni's sake.' In this same prayer one reads, 'may Agni give me energy; wind, give me breath; earth, give me strength; and water, give me health' (45). Agni, as well as Çiva, is the father of Kum[=a]ra K[=a]rtikeya, i.e., Skanda (ib. 44).]

[Footnote 15: But the Açvins are Ç[=u]dras In the 'cast-hood of gods' (the caste-order being Angirasas, [=A]dityas, Maruts and AÇvins), xii. 208. 23-25; and Indra in one passage refuses to associate with them, xiii. 157. 17 (cited by Holtzmann, ZDMG. xxxii. 321).]

[Footnote 16: Manibhadra, in iii. 64, is king of Yaksash; he
is the same with Kubera, ib. ch. 41 (V[=a]içinavana).]

[Footnote 17: In the Cosmogony the gods are the sons of the
Manes, xii. 312. 9.]

[Footnote 18: When the gods churn the ocean to get ambrosia,
an ancient tale of the epic, Mandara is the twirling-stick.
It is situated in modern Beh[=a]r, near Bhagalpur.]

[Footnote 19: III. 42; 139. 14, where the Ganges and Jumna are invoked together with the Vedic gods. So in III. 104 (Vindhya); and Damayanti prays to mountains. Mt. Meru is described in III. 163. 14 (compare I. 17. 5 ff.). In I. 18. 1 ff., is related the churning of the ocean, where Indra (vs. 12) places Mt. Mandara on Vishnu, the tortoise.]

[Footnote 20: Mbh. I. 30. 37, mamlur m[=a]ly[=a]ni dev[=a]n[=a]m, etc. The older belief was that the gods' garlands never withered; for the gods show no mortal signs, cast no shadows, etc.]

[Footnote 21: Compare the four hymnlets to Agni in i. 232. 7 ff.]

[Footnote 22: After the mention of the thirty-three gods, and Vishnu 'born after them,' it is said that the Açvins, plants, and animals, are Guhyakas (vs. 40), though in vs. 35: "Tvashtar's daughter, the wife of Savitar, as a mare (va[d.]av[=a]) bore in air the two Açvins" (see above), in Vedic style. For Çruti compare iii. 207. 47; 208. 6, 11.]

[Footnote 23: i. 23. 15 ff. His name is explained fancifully
in 30. 7.]

[Footnote 24: It is at the funeral feasts to the Manes that
the Mah[=a]bh[=a]rata is to be recited (i. 62. 37).]

[Footnote 25: Arjuna is an old name of Indra, and in the
epic Arjuna is Indra's son.]

[Footnote 26: The legal dharma or sitting at a debtor's
door, which still obtains in India, is, so far as we know,
not a very ancient practice. But its application in the case
of heralds (who become responsible) is epic.]

[Footnote 27: This is the covenant (with friends) of revenge; the covenant of mutual protection in the sacrifice is indicated by the 'protection covenant' of the gods (see the chapter on Brahmanism above, p. 192).]

[Footnote 28: See an essay on the Ruling Caste in the epic, in JAOS. xiii. 232 ff.]

[Footnote 29: Reverend Doctor H.C. Trumbull has kindly called our attention to Robert's Oriental Illustrations, p. 148 ff., where it is said that in India today the threshold is sacred. In reference to threshold offerings, common in the law, Dr. Trumbull's own forthcoming book on Covenants may be compared.]

[Footnote 30: But these are by no means the last examples of human sacrifices. Several of the modern Hindu sects have caused to be performed such sacrifices, even in this century.]

[Footnote 31: This can hardly mean 'put out on the river' as has been suggested as an explanation of the corpse 'thrown aside' in accordance with the earlier text, AV. xviii. 2. 34 (paropta), where the dead are 'buried, thrown aside, burned, or set out.']

[Footnote 32: It is assumed in XII. 364. 2 that "leaves and air" are food enough for a great saint. Compare below the actual asceticism of modern devotees.]

[Footnote 33: III. 25. 14: saptar[s.]ayas … divi viprabh[=a]nti. Compare ib. 261. 13, and the apocalypse in VII. 192. 52 ff., where Drona's soul ascends to heaven, a burning fire like a sun; In sharp contrast to the older 'thumbkin' soul which Yama receives and carries off in the tale of Satyavant. Compare also Arundhati in I. 233. 29.]

[Footnote 34: Described, as above, as a place of singers and dancers, where are the Vedic gods and sages, but no sinners or cowards (III. 42. 34 ff.).]

[Footnote 35: From another point of view the stars are of interest. They are favorable or unfavorable, sentient, kind, or cruel; influential in man's fate. Compare III. 200. 84, 85, where the sun is included with the grahas (planets) which influence men, and ib. 209. 21, tulyanak[.s]atrama[.n]gala.]

[Footnote 36: Other of Indra's spirits are the singers,
Gandharvas and Apsarasas; also the horse-headed Kinnaras and
C[=a]ranas, who, too, are singers; while later the
Vidy[=a]dharas belong both to Indra and to Çiva. In modern
times the South Indian Sittars, 'saints,' take their name
from the Siddhas.]

[Footnote 37: In d[=a]nnavar[s.]i there is apparently the same sort of compound as in devar[s.]i and brahmar[s.]i, all associated with the siddhas in III. 169. 23. But possibly 'demons and seers' may be meant.]

[Footnote 38: III. 37. 32-35 (prapadye viçvedev[=a]n!).]

[Footnote 39: Weber finds in the Asuras' artisan, Asura
Maya, a reminiscence of Ptolemaios. He is celebrated in I.
228. 39, and II. 1, and is the generai leader of the
d[=a]navas, demons, perhaps originally a folk-name of

[Footnote 40: See below. The formal division is, d[=a]iva,
hatha, karma, i.e.
, man's fate depends on gods, Fate, and
his own acts; although hatha, Fate, is often implied in
d[=a]iva, 'the divine power.' But they are separated, for
example, in iii. 183. 86.]

[Footnote 41: Compare the tales and xii. 148. 9, sat[=i] (suttee). In regard to the horse-sacrifice, compare Yama's law as expounded to Gautama: "The acts by which one gains bliss hereafter are austerities, purity, truth, worship of parents, and the horse-sacrifice." xii 129. 9, 10.]

[Footnote 42: Compare III. 200. 88, even pr[=a]k[r.]ta priests are divine and terrible (much more in later books). Here pr[=a]k[r.]ta, vulgar, is opposed to samsk[r.]ta, refined, priests.]

[Footnote 43: III. 185. 26-31.]

[Footnote 44: "My father and mother are my highest idol; I do for them what I do for Idols. As the three and thirty gods, with Indra foremost, are revered of all the world, so are my parents revered by me" (III. 214. 19, 20). The speaker further calls them paramam brahma, absolute godhead, and explains his first remark by saying that he offers fruits and flowers to his parents as if they were idols. In IV. 68. 57 a man salutes (abhivadya) his father's feet on entering into his presence. For the worship of parents compare XII. 108. 3; 128. 9, 10; 267. 31, XIII. 75. 26: "heroes in obedience to the mother."]

[Footnote 45: The marked Brahm[=a] Creator-worship is a bit
of feminine religious conservatism (see below).]

[Footnote 46: Weber has shown that men of low caste took a
subordinate part even in the r[=a]jas[=u]ya sacrifice.]

[Footnote 47: In II. 18. there is a brand-new festival
appointed in honor of a female fiend, etc.]

[Footnote 48: III. 84. 83 (87. 11). We see the first idea in
the injunction of Indra to 'wander,' as told in the tale of
Dogstail in the Brahmana (see above).]

[Footnote 49: The usual formula (also Avestan) is 'pure in
thought, speech, and act.' The comparison of the six senses
to unrestrained wild horses is familiar (III. 211. 24).]

[Footnote 50: There is, further, no unanimity in regard to
the comparative value of holy places. In XII. 152. 11,
Sarasvat[=i] is holier than Kurukshetra, etc.]

[Footnote 51: At Pushkara is Brahm[=a]'s only (?)
shrine—the account is legendary, but half historical. The
modern shrine at Ajm[=i]r seems to be meant.]

[Footnote 52: Ganges, according to epic legend, was a goddess who sacrificed herself for men when the earth was parched and men perished. Then Ganges alone of immortals took pity on men, and flinging herself from heaven became the stream divine. Her name among the gods is Alakanand[=a], the 'Blessed Damosel.']

[Footnote 53: In iii. 87.10, "ten descendants and ten ancestors." The epic, i. 170. 19, regards the Sarasvat[=i] and Jumna as parts of the sevenfold Ganges, which descends from the heavens as these three, and also as the Vitasth[=a] (Rathasth[=a]), Saray[=u], Gomat[=i], and Gan[d.]ak[=i]; being itself 'V[=a]itara[n.][=i] among the Manes.' So xii. 322. 32.]

[Footnote 54: According to the commentator the "(northern altar of the Father-god) Kurukshetra-Samantapañcakam, between Tarantuka, Arantuka, R[=a]mahrada, and Macakruka," mentioned in iii. 83. 208, lies in Benares; but this must be a late addition, as Kurukshetra's position is without doubt. Compare i. 2. i ff.; ix. 53. i, 23-25.]

[Footnote 55:
In ib. 47, mah[=a] d[r.]tiriv[=a]dhm[=a]ta[h.]
, there is an interesting
reminiscence of Rig Veda, vii. 89. 2. The rules of virtue
are contained in Vedas and law-books, and the practice of
instructed men, ib. 83 (the 'threefold sign of
righteousness'). A Çruti cited from dharmas is not
uncommon, but the latter word is not properly used in so
wide a sense. See note below, p. 378.]

[Footnote 56: Some scholars see in the use of the verb, piç, a Vedic picturing of gods; but in all instances where this occurs it may be only the poet's mind-picture of the god 'adorned' with various glories.]

[Footnote 57: In VII. 201. 69, Çiva wears an aksham[=a]l[=a]. In XII. 38. 23, the C[=a]rv[=a]ka wears an aksha, for he is disguised as a bhikshu, beggar.]

[Footnote 58: It must be remembered that the person using the mantra probably did not understand what the words meant. The epic says, in fact, that the Vedas are unintelligible: brahma pracuracchalam, XII. 329. 6. But an older generation thought the same. In Nirukta, I. 15, K[=a]utsa is cited as saying that the mantras are meaningless.]

[Footnote 59: Compare xii. 174. 46: "The joy of earth and heaven obtained by the satisfaction of desire is not worth one-sixteenth of the bliss of dead desire."]

[Footnote 60: By generosity the Hindu poet means 'to priests.' In III. 200, where this is elaborated, sixteen persons are mentioned (vs. 4) to whom to give is not meritorious.]

[Footnote 61: Little is known in regard to the play. The dice are thrown on a board, 'odd and even' determine the contest here (III. 34. 5) ayuja and yuja. At times speed in counting is the way to win (Nala). Dicing is a regular part of the r[=a]jas[=u]ya sacrifice (Weber, p. 67), but not, apparently, an ancient trait.]

[Footnote 62: The snakes belong to Varuna and his region, as described in v. 98. It is on the head of the earth-upholding snake Çesha that Vishnu muses, III. 203.12. The reverence paid to serpents begins to be ritual in the Atharva Veda. Even in the Rig Veda there is the deification of the cloud-snake. In later times they answered to the Nymphs, being tutelary guardians of streams and rivers (Buhler). In i. 36, Çesha Ananta supports earth, and it is told why he does so.]

[Footnote 63: These three are the witnesses for the soul at the judgment, xii. 322. 55. V[=a]yu, Wind, is said to be even mightier than Indra, Yama, Indra and Varuna, ib. 155. 9, 10.]

[Footnote 64: But (in a later account) not if he dies ignobly; for if one is slain by a man of low caste he goes to hell, xii. 298. 7.]

[Footnote 65: Demoniac Indras (i.e., demon-leaders) and seers, xii. 166. 26.]

[Footnote 66: 'The god of gods,' who rains blood in i. 30. 36, is declared by the commentator to be—Parjanya! The gods are here defending Soma from the heavenly bird, Garuda, and nearly die of fright.]

[Footnote 67: xii. 313. 1-7, with the same watery finale as is usual.]

[Footnote 68: The morning prayer, etc, to the sun is, of course, still observed, e.g., vii. 186. 4. Indra is thanked for victory and invoked for rain (iii. 117. 11; i. 25. 7; Holtzmann, loc. cit. p. 326) in an hymn that is less fulsome than those to Agni and S[=u]rya.]

[Footnote 69: 111. 222, Atharvan's rediscovery of fire. As to Çrutis they are probably no more valuable than Smritis. The one given in iii. 208. 11, agnayo in[=a]i[.n]sak[=a]m[=a]s, seems to be adapted (cf. [=A]çv. Gs. iv. 1; the adjective, by the way, is still starred in Pw.). So [=A]çv. Gs. i. 15. 9, is repeated Mbh[=a]; i. 74. 63, as a "Vedic mantragr[=a]ma " (ang[=a]d ang[=a]t sambhavasi, etc.).]

[Footnote 70: The devils are on the Prince's side, and wish to keep him from death. The proverb is found ib. 252. 2; [=a]tmaty[=a]g[=i] hy adho y[=a]ti. The holy-grass is used in much the same way when R[=a]ma lies down by Ocean, resolved to die or persuade Ocean to aid him. The rites (vs. 24) are "in the Upanishad."]

[Footnote 71: According to XII. 59. 80-84, the 'treatise of
Brihaspati' comes from Çiva through Brahm[=a] and Indra.]

[Footnote 72: In Buddhism Yama's messengers are Yakkhas.
Scherman, loc. cit. p. 57.]

[Footnote 73: Compare II. 22. 26: gaccha yamak[s.]ayam,
'go to Yama's destruction'; whereas of a good man it is
said, 'I will send Indra a guest' (VII, 27.8).]

[Footnote 74: Yamasya sadana. III. 11. 66. He now has hells, and he it is who will destroy the world. He is called 'the beautiful' (III. 41. 9), so that he must, if one take this Rudrian epithet with the citation above, be loosely (popularly) identified with Çiva, as god of death. See the second note below.]

[Footnote 75: The old story of a mortal's visit to Yama to learn about life hereafter (Çat. Br. xi. 6.1; Katha Up., of N[=a]ciketas) is repeated in xiii. 71.]

[Footnote 76: v. 42. 6: Çiva[h.] çiv[=a]n[=a]m açivo 'çiv[=a]n[=a]m (compare xii 187. 27: 'only fools say that the man is dead'). Dharma (Justice) seems at times to be the same with Yama. M[=a]ndavya goes to Dharma's sadana, home (compare Yama's sadana), just as one goes to Yama's, and interviews him on the justice of his judgments. As result of the angry interview the god is reborn on earth as a man of low caste, and the law is established that a child is not morally responsible for his acts till the twelfth year of his age (i.108. 8 ff.). When Kuru agrees to give half his life in order to the restoration of Pramadvar[=a], his wife, they go not to Yama but to Dharma to see if the exchange may be made, and he agrees (i. 9. 11 ff., a masculine S[=a]vitr[=i]i).]

[Footnote 77: The hells are described in xii. 322. 29 ff.
The sight of 'golden trees' presages death (ib. 44).]

[Footnote 78: The ordinary rule is that "no sin is greater
than untruth," xii. 162. 24, modified by "save in love and
danger of life" (Laws, passim).]

[Footnote 79: The same scenes occur in Buddhistic writings, where Yakkhas ask conundrums. For example, in the Hemavatasutta and [=A]tavakasutta the Yakkha asks what is the best possession, what brings bliss, and what is swettest, to which the answer is: faith, law, and truth, respectively.]

[Footnote 80: Karm[=a]ntaram up[=a]santas, i.e., vir[=a]mak[=a]lam upagacchantas.]

[Footnote 81: II. 36. 3 ff. The phraseology of vs. 5 is exactly that of [Greek: ton êttô ldgon kreittô poithnsi], but the Pundit's arguments are 'based on the law.']

[Footnote 82: See above. In a later period (see below) the question arises in regard to the part played by Creator and individual in the workings of grace, some claiming that man was passive; some, that he had to strive for grace.]

[Footnote 83: Perhaps ironical. In V. 175. 32, a woman cries
out: "Fie on the Creator for this bad luck," conservative in
belief, and outspoken in word.]

[Footnote 84: III. 30. 17. The gosava is a
'cow-sacrifice.' The pu[n.][d.]ar[=i]ka is not explained
(perhaps 'elephant-sacrifice').]

* * * * *



In the epic the later union of the sectarian gods is still a novelty. The two characters remain distinct enough. Vishnu and Çiva are different gods. But each in turn represents the All-god, and consequently each represents the other. The Vishnu-worship which grew about Krish[n.]a, originally a friend of one of the epic characters, was probably at first an attempt to foist upon Vedic believers a sectarian god, by identifying the latter with a Vedic divinity. But, whatever the origin, Krishna as Vishnu is revered as the All-god in the epic. And, on the other hand, Çiva of many names has kept the marks of Rudra. Sometimes one, sometimes another, is taken as the All-god. At times they are compared, and then each sect reduces the god of the other to an inferior position. Again they are united and regarded as one. The Vishnu side has left the best literary representation of this religion, which has permeated the epic. It is pantheism, but not an impersonal pantheism. The Blessed Lord is the All. This is the simple base and crown of its speculation. It is like the personal development of Vedantic philosophy, only it is here degraded by the personality of the man-god, who is made the incarnate All-god. The Krishna of the epic as a man is a sly, unscrupulous fellow, continually suggesting and executing acts that are at variance with the knightly code of honor. He is king of Dv[=a]rak[=a] and ally of the epic heroes. But again, he is divine, the highest divinity, the avatar of the All-god Vishnu. The sectaries that see in Çiva rather than in Vishnu the one and only god, have no such representative to which to refer. For Çiva, as the historical descendant of the Vedic Rudra,—although even in his case there is an intrusion of local worship upon an older Vedic belief,—represents a terror-god, either the lightning, the fairest of the gods, or, when he appears on earth, a divine horror, or, again, "a very handsome young man."[1] These two religions, of Vishnu as Krishna and of Çiva alone, are not so much united in the epic as they are super-imposed upon the older worship of Brahm[=a], and indeed, in such a way that Çiva-worship, in a pantheistic sense, appears to be the latest of the three beliefs that have influenced the story.[2]

The personal pantheism of the older Vishnuism has in its form and teachings so close a resemblance to the Christian religion that it has always had a great attraction for occidental readers; while the real power of its "Divine Song" gives the latter a charm possessed by few of the scriptures of India. This Divine Song (or Song of the Blessed One) is at present a Krishnaite version of an older Vishnuite poem, and this in turn was at first an unsectarian work, perhaps a late Upanishad. It is accepted by Vishnuites as a kind of New Testament; and with the New Testament it has in truth much in common. It must be pointed out at the outset that there is here the closest connection with the later Upanishads. The verse, like that of the Katha Upanishad (quoted above), which stands almost at the beginning of the Song, is typical of the relation of the Song to the Upanishad. It will be noticed how the impersonal 'That,' i.e., absolute being, brahma, changes almost at once to the personal He ([=a]tm[=a] as Lord). As shows the whole Song, brahma throughout is understood to be personal.[3] The caste-position of the priest in the Git[=a] is owing to the religious exaltation of the poem; and the precedence of S[=a]man is not unusual in the latest portions of the epic (see below).]

To understand the religion which reaches its culmination in the epic no better course could be pursued than to study the whole of the Divine Song. It is, however, too long a production to be introduced here in its entirety; but the following extracts give the chief features of the work, than which nothing in Hindu literature is more characteristic, in its sublimity as in its puerilities, in its logic as in its want of it. It has shared the fate of most Hindu works in being interpolated injudiciously, so that many of the puzzling anomalies, which astound no less the reader than the hero to whom it was revealed, are probably later additions. It is a medley of beliefs as to the relation of spirit and matter, and other secondary matters; it is uncertain in its tone in regard to the comparative efficacy of action and inaction, and in regard to the practical man's means of salvation; but it is at one with itself in its fundamental thesis, that all things are each a part of One Lord, that men and gods are but manifestations of the One Divine Spirit, which, or rather whom, the Vishnuite re-writer identifies with Krishna, as Vishnu's present form.

The Divine Song, as it is revealed in the epic by Vishnu (-Krishna) to his favorite knight, Arjuna, begins thus: "Know that the 'That' in which is comprised the 'This' is indestructible. These bodies of the indestructible Eternal One have an end: but whoso knows Him as slayer, and whoso thinks Him to be slain, these two have not true wisdom. He slays not and is not slain. He is not born, he does not die at any time; nor will He, having been born, cease to be. Unborn, everlasting, eternal, He, the Ancient One, is not slain when the body is slain. As one puts away an old garment and puts on another that is new, so He, the embodied (Spirit), puts away the old body and assumes one that is new. Everlasting, omnipresent, firm, unchanging is He, the Eternal; indiscernible is He called, inconceivable, unchangeable."[4]

The Song now turns into a plea that the warrior who is hearing it should, as one born to be a soldier, be brave and fight, lest his sorrow for the slain be taken for fear; since "nothing is better for a warrior than a just fight," and "loss of fame is worse than death." Then follows (with the usual inconsequential 'heaven') "If thou art slain thou wilt obtain heaven, and if thou art victorious thou shalt enjoy earth; therefore, careless of pleasure and pain, get ready for the fight, and so thou wilt not incur sin. This is the knowledge declared in the S[=a]nkhya; hear now that of the Yoga," and the Divine Lord proceeds:

"Some are pleased with Vedic words and think that there is nothing else; their souls are full of desires; and they think that going to heaven is the chief thing. Yet have the Vedas reference only to the three qualities (of which all things partake). Be free from the three qualities (do not care for rewards). In action, not in fruit, is the chief thing. Do thy work, abiding by serene devotion (Yoga), rejecting every tie; be indifferent to success and failure. Serene devotion is called indifference (to such things). Action is lower than devotion of mind. Devotion is happiness. Do thou, wise in devotion, abandon the fruit that is sprung from action, and, freed from the bonds of birth, attain a perfect state."

S[=a]nkhya here means the philosophy of religion; Yoga is the philosophical state of mind, serene indifference, religious sang-froid the practical result of a belief in the S[=a]nkhya doctrine of the indestructibility of the spirit. In the following there is Vedantic teaching, as well as Sankhyan in the stricter sense.

On the warrior's asking for an explanation of this state of equipoise, the Deity gives illustrations of the balanced mind that is free from all attachments, serene, emancipated from desires, self-controlled, and perfectly tranquil. As the knight is astonished and confused at the contradiction, action and inactivity both being urged upon him, the Deity replies that there is a twofold law, that of S[=a]nkhyas consisting in knowledge-devotion, and that of Yogis in action-devotion. Idleness is not freedom from action. Freedom from attachment must be united with the accomplishment of such acts as should be performed. The deluded think that they themselves perform acts, but acts are not done by the spirit (self); they are done only by nature's qualities (this is S[=a]nkhya doctrine). "One should know the relation between the individual and Supreme Spirit, and with tranquil mind perform good acts. Let the deluded ones be, who are erroneously attached to action. The wise man should not cause those of imperfect knowledge to be unsettled in their faith, but he should himself not be attached to action. Each man should perform his own (caste) duties. One's own duty ill done is better than doing well another man's work."

The knight now asks what causes one to sin. The Deity answers: "Love and hate; for from love is born hate; and from anger, ignorance in regard to right and wrong; whence comes lack of reason, and consequently destruction. The knowledge of a man is enwrapped with desire as is fire with smoke. Great are the senses; greater, the mind; greater still, the understanding; greatest of all is 'That'" (brahma; as above in the Ch[=a]ndogya). The Deity begins again:[5] "This system of devotion I declared to Vivasvant (the sun); Vivasvant declared it to Manu, and Manu to kingly seers." (The same origin is claimed for itself in Manu's lawbook.) The knight objects, not yet knowing that Krishna is the All-god: "How did'st thou declare it first? thy birth is later than the sun's." To whom the Deity: "Many are my births, and I know them all; many too are thine, but thou knowest them not; unborn and Lord of all creatures I assume phenomena, and am born by the illusion of the spirit. Whenever there is lack of righteousness, and wrong arises, then I emit (create) myself.[6] I am born age after age for the protection of the good, for the destruction of the wicked, and for the sake of establishing righteousness. Whoso really believes in this my divine birth and work, he, when he has abandoned his body, enters no second birth, but enters Me. Many there are who, from Me arising, on Me relying, purified by the penance of knowledge, with all affections, fear, and anger gone, enter into my being. As they approach Me so I serve them.[7] Men in all ways follow after my path. Some desire the success that is of action, and worship gods; for success that is born of action is speedy in the world of men. Know Me as the maker of the four castes, know Me as the unending one and not the maker. Action stains Me not, for in the fruit of action I have no desire. He that thus knows Me is not bound by acts.[8] So he that has no attachment is not bound by acts. His acts become naught. Brahma is the oblation, and with brahma is it offered; brahma is in the fire, and by brahma is the oblation made. Sacrifices are of many kinds, but he that sacrifices with knowledge offers the best sacrifice. He that has faith has knowledge; he that has knowledge obtains peace. He that has no knowledge and no faith, whose soul is one of doubt, is destroyed. Action does not destroy him that has renounced action by means of indifference. Of the two, renunciation of action and indifference, though both give bliss, indifference in action is better than renunciation of action. Children, not Pundits, proclaim S[=a]nkhya and Yoga to be distinct. He that is devoted to either alone finds the reward of both. Renunciation without Yoga is a thing hard to get; united with Yoga the seer enters brahma. … He is the renouncer and the devotee who does the acts that ought to be done without relying on the reward of action, not he that performs no acts and builds no sacrificial fires. Through his self (spirit) let one raise one's self. Conquer self by self (spirit). He is the best man who is indifferent to external things, who with equal mind sees (his spirit) self in everything and everything in self (God as the Spirit). Such an one obtains the highest bliss, brahma. Whoso sees Me in all and all in Me I am not destroyed for him, and he is not destroyed for Me."

The knight now asks how it fares with a good man who is not equal to the discipline of Yoga, and cannot free himself entirely from attachment. Does he go to destruction like a cloud that is rent, failing on the path that leads to brahma? The Deity replies: "Neither in this world nor in the beyond is he destroyed. He that acts virtuously does not enter an evil state. He obtains the heaven that belongs to the doers of good, and after living there countless summers is reborn on earth in the family of pure and renowned men, or of pious devotees. There he receives the knowledge he had in a former body, and then strives further for perfection. After many births he reaches perfection and the highest course (union with brahma). There are but few that strive for perfection, and of them only one here and there truly knows Me. Earth, water, fire, air, space, mind, understanding, and egoism (self-consciousness)—so is my nature divided into eight parts.[9] But learn now my higher nature, for this is my lower one. My higher nature is alive, and by it this world is supported. I am the creator and destroyer of all the world. Higher than I is nothing. On Me the universe is woven like pearls upon a thread. Taste am I, light am I of moon and sun, the mystic syllable [=O]m ([)a][)u]m), sound in space, manliness in men; I am smell and radiance; I am life and heat. Know Me as the eternal seed of all beings. I am the understanding of them that have understanding, the radiance of the radiant ones. Of the strong I am the force, devoid of love and passion; and I am love, not opposed to virtue. Know all beings to be from Me alone, whether they have the quality of goodness, of passion, or of darkness (the three 'qualities' or conditions of all things). I am not in them; but they are in Me. Me, the inexhaustible, beyond them, the world knows not, for it is confused by these three qualities (conditions); and hard to overcome is the divine illusion which envelops Me, while it arises from the qualities. Only they pass through this illusion who come to Me alone. Wicked men, whose knowledge is taken away by illusion, relying on a devilish (demoniac) condition, do not come to Me. They that have not the highest knowledge worship various divinities; but whatever be the form that any one worships with faith I make his faith steady. He obtains his desires in worshipping that divinity, although they are really bestowed upon him by Me.[10] But the fruit of these men, in that they have little wisdom, has its end. He that sacrifices to (lesser) gods goes to those gods; but they that worship Me come to Me. I know the things that were, that are, and are to be; but Me no one knoweth, for I am enveloped in illusion. I am the supreme being, the supreme godhead, the supreme sacrifice, the Supreme Spirit, brahma."

The knight asks "What is brahma, the Supreme Spirit, the supreme being, the supreme sacrifice?" The Deity: "The supreme, the indestructible, is called brahma. Its personal existence is Supreme Spirit (self). Destructible existence is supreme being (all except [=a]tm[=a]). The Person is the supreme godhead. I myself am the supreme sacrifice in this body."

Then follow statements like those in the Upanishads and in Manu, describing a day of brahma as a thousand ages; worlds are renewed; they that go to the gods find an end of their happiness with the end of their world; but they that go to the indestructible brahma, the Deity, the entity that is not destroyed when all else is destroyed, never again return. There are two roads (as in the Upanishads above), one, the northern road leading to brahma; one, the southern road to the moon, leading back to earth. At the end of a period of time all beings reënter the divine nature (Prakriti[11]), and at the beginning of the next period the Deity emits them again and again (they being without volition) by the volition of his nature. "Through Me, who am the superintendent, nature gives birth to all things, and for that cause the world turns about. They of demoniac nature recognize me not; they of god-like nature, knowing Me as the inexhaustible source, worship Me. I am the universal Father, the Vedas, the goal, the upholder, the Lord, the superintendent, the home, the asylum, the friend. I am the inexhaustible seed. I am immortality and death. I am being and not-being. I am the sacrifice and he that offers it. Even they that, with faith, sacrifice to other gods, even they (really) sacrifice to Me. To them that ever are devout and worship Me with love (faith), I give the attainment of the knowledge by which they come to Me" (again the doctrine of special grace). "I am the beginning, the middle, and the end of all created things. I am Vishnu among sun-gods; the moon among the stars; Indra among the (Vedic) gods; the S[=a]man among the Vedas; among the senses, mind; among created beings, consciousness; among the Rudras I am Çiva (Çankara); among army-leaders I am Skanda; among the great sages I am Bhrigu (who reveals Manu's code); among the Siddhas[12] I am Kapila the Muni…. I am the love that begets; I am the chief (V[=a]suki and Ananta) among the serpents; and among them that live in water I am Varuna; among the Manes I am Aryaman; and I am Yama among controllers;[13] among demons I am Prahl[=a]da …; I am R[=a]ma; I am the Ganges. I am among all sciences the highest science (that in regard to the Supreme Spirit); I am the word of the speakers; I am the letter A among the letters, and the compound of union among the compounds.[14] I am indestructible time and I am the Creator. I am the death that seizes all and I am the origin of things to be. I am glory, fortune, speech, memory, wisdom, constancy, and mercy…. I am the punishment of the punisher and the polity of them that would win victory. I am silence. I am knowledge. There is no end of my divine manifestations."

The knight now asks to see the real form of the deity, which was revealed to him. "If in heaven the glory of a thousand suns should appear at once, such would be his glory."

After this comes the real animus of the Divine Song in its present shape. The believer that has faith in this Vishnu is even better than the devotee who finds brahma by knowledge.

The philosophy of knowledge (which here is anything but Vedantic) is now communicated to the knight, in the course of which the distinction between nature and spirit is explained: "Nature, Prakriti, and spirit, Purusha (person), are both without beginning. All changes and qualities spring from nature. Nature is said to be the cause of the body's and the senses' activity. Spirit is the cause of enjoyment (appreciation) of pleasure and pain; for the Spirit, standing in nature, appreciates the nature-born qualities. The cause of the Spirit's re-birth is its connection with the qualities, (This is S[=a]nkhya doctrine, and the same with that propounded above in regard to activity.) The Supreme Spirit is the Support and great Lord of all, the [=a]tm[=a], while brahma (=prakriti) is the womb in which I place My seed, and from that is the origin of all things. The great brahma is the womb, and I am the seed-giving father of all the forms which come into being. The three 'qualities' (conditions, attributes), goodness, passion, and darkness, are born of nature and bind the inexhaustible incorporate (Spirit) in the body. The quality (or attribute) of goodness binds the soul with pleasure and knowledge; that of passion (activity), with desire and action; that of darkness (dulness), with ignorance. One that has the attribute of goodness chiefly goes after death to the highest heaven; one that has chiefly passion is born again among men of action; one that has chiefly darkness is born among the ignorant. One that sees that these attributes are the only agents, one that knows what is higher than the attributes, enters into my being. The incorporate spirit that has passed above the three attributes (the origin of bodies), being released from birth, death, age, and pain, obtains immortality. To pass above these attributes one must become indifferent to all change, be undisturbed by anything, and worship Me with devotion…. I am to be learned from all the Vedas; I made the Ved[=a]nta; I alone know the Vedas. There are two persons in the world, one destructible and one indestructible; the destructible one is all created things; the indestructible one is called the Unchanging one. But there is still a third highest person, called the Supreme Spirit, who, pervading the three worlds, supports them, the inexhaustible Lord. Inasmuch as I surpass the destructible and am higher than the indestructible, therefore am I known in the world and in the Veda as the Highest Person."

The references to the S[=a]nkhyas, or S[=a]nkhya-Yogas, are not yet exhausted. There is another in a following chapter (vi. 18. 13) which some scholiasts say refers to the Ved[=a]nta-system, though this is in direct contradiction to the text. But the extracts already given suffice to show how vague and uncertain are, on the whole, the philosophical views on which depends the Divine Song. Until the end of these citations one hears only of nature and spirit, the two that have no beginning, but here one finds the Supreme Spirit, which is as distinct from the indestructible one as from the destructible. Moreover, 'nature' is in one place represented as from the beginning distinct from spirit and entirely apart from it, and in another it is only a transient phase. The delusion (illusion) which in one passage is all that exists apart from the Supreme Spirit is itself given up in favor of the S[=a]nkhya Prakriti, with which one must imagine it to be identified, although from the text itself it cannot be identical. In a word, exactly as in Manu, there are different philosophical conceptions, united without any logical basis for their union. The 'system' is in general that of the S[=a]nkhya-Yogas, but there is much which is purely Ved[=a]nta. The S[=a]nkhya system is taught elsewhere as a means of salvation, perhaps always as the deistic Yoga (i. 75. 7: "He taught them the Sankhya-knowledge as salvation"). It is further noticeable that although Krishna (Vishnu) is the ostensible speaker, there is scarcely anything to indicate that the poem was originally composed even for Vishnu. The Divine Song was probably, as we have said, a late Upanishad, which afterwards was expanded and put into Vishnu's mouth. The S[=a]nkhya portions have been redressed as far as possible and to the illusion doctrine is given the chief place. But the Song remains, like the Upanishads themselves, and like Manu, an ill-assorted cabinet of primitive philosophical opinions. On the religious side it is a matter of comparative indifference whether that which is not the spirit is a delusive output of the spirit or indestructible matter. In either case the Spirit is the goal of the spirit. In this personal pantheism absorption is taught but not death. Immortality is still the reward that is offered to the believer that is wise, to the wise that believes. Knowledge and faith are the means of obtaining this immortality; but, whereas in the older Upanishads only wisdom is necessary (wisdom that implies morality), here as much stress, if not more, is laid upon faith, the natural mark of all sectarian pantheism.

Despite its occasional power and mystic exaltation, the Divine Song in its present state as a poetical production is unsatisfactory. The same thing is said over and over again, and the contradictions in phraseology and in meaning are as numerous as the repetitions, so that one is not surprised to find it described as "the wonderful song, which causes the hair to stand on end." The different meanings given to the same words are indicative of its patchwork origin, which again would help to explain its philosophical inconsistencies. It was probably composed, as it stands, before there was any formal Ved[=a]nta system; and in its original shape without doubt it precedes the formal S[=a]nkhya; though both philosophies existed long before they were systematized or reduced to Sutra form. One has not to imagine them as systems originally distinct and opposed. They rather grew out of a gradual intensification of the opposition involved in the conception of Prakriti (nature) and M[=a]y[=a] (illusion), some regarding these as identical, others insisting that the latter was not sufficient to explain nature. The first philosophy (and philosophical religion) concerned itself less with the relation of matter to mind (in modern parlance) than with the relation of the individual self (spirit) to the Supreme Spirit. Different explanations of the relation of matter to this Supreme Spirit were long held tentatively by philosophers, who would probably have said that either the S[=a]nkhya or Ved[=a]nta might be true, but that this was not the chief question. Later came the differentiation of the schools, based mainly on a question that was at first one of secondary importance. In another part of the epic Krishna himself is represented as the victim of 'illusion' (iii. 21. 30) on the field of battle.

The doctrine of the Bhagavad G[=i]t[=a], the Divine Song, is by no means isolated. It is found in many other passages of the epic, besides being imitated in the Anug[=i]t[=a] of the pseudo-epic. To one of these passages it is worth while to turn, because of the form in which this wisdom is enunciated. The passage immediately following this teaching is also of great interest. Of the few Vedic deities that receive hymnal homage chief is the sun, or, in his other form, Agni. The special form of Agni has been spoken of above. He is identified with the All in some late passages, and gives aid to his followers, although not in battle. It will have been noticed in the Divine Song that Vishnu asserts that the Song was proclaimed to the sun, who in turn delivers it through Manu to the king-seers, the sun being especially the kingly god.[15] In the third book there is an hymn to the sun, in which this god is addressed almost in the terms of the Divine Song, and immediately preceding is the doctrine just alluded to. After the explanation is given that re-birth affects creatures and causes them to be born in earth, air, or water, the changes of metempsychosis here including the vegetable world as well as the animal and divine worlds,[16] the very essence of the Divine Song is given as "Vedic word," viz., kuru karma tyajeti ca, "Perform and quit acts," i.e., do what you ought to do, but without regard to the reward of action (iii. 2. 72, 74). There is an eightfold path of duty, as in Buddhism, but here it consists in sacrifice, study, liberality, and penance; truth, mercy, self-control, and lack of greed. As the result of practicing the first four, one goes on the course that leads to the Manes; as the result of practicing the last four, one goes on the course that leads to the gods. But in practicing any virtues one should practice them without expectation of reward (abhim[=a]na, arrière pensée). The Yogi, the devotee, who renounces the fruit of everything, is the greatest man; his powers are miraculous.

There follows (with the same light inconsistency to be found in the Divine Song) the appeal for action and the exhortation to pray to the sun for success in what is desired. For it is explained that the sun is the father of all creation. The sun draws up clouds with his heat, and his energy, being transmuted into water, with the help of the moon, is distilled into plants as rain, and in this way the food that man eats is full of solar energy, and man and all that live by food must regard the sun as their father. Preliminary to the hymn to the sun is given a list of his hundred and eight names,[17] among which are to be noticed: Aryaman, Soma, Indra, Yama, Brahm[=a], Vishnu, Çiva, Death, Time, Creator, the Endless One, Kapila, the Unborn One, the Person (Purusha; with which are to be compared the names of Vishnu in the Divine Song), the All-maker, Varuna, the Grandfather, the Door of Heaven, etc. And then the Hymn to the Sun (iii. 3. 36 ff.):[18] "Thou, O Sun, of creatures art the eye; the spirit of all that have embodied form; thou art the source of all created things; thou art the custom of them that make sacrifice; thou art the goal of the S[=a]nkhyas and the hope of the Yogis; the course of all that seek deliverance … Thou art worshipped by all; the three and thirty gods(!) worship thee, etc…. I think that in all the seven worlds[19] and all the brahma-worlds there is nothing which is superior to the sun. Other beings there are, both powerful and great, but they have no such glory as the sun's. Father of light, all beings rest in thee; O Lord of light, all things, all elements are in thee. The disc of Vishnu was fashioned by the All-maker (one of the sun's names!) with thy glory. Over all the earth, with its thirteen islands, thou shinest with thy kine (rays)….[20] Thou art the beginning and the end of a day of Brahm[=a]…. They call thee Indra; thou art Rudra, Vishnu, the Father-god, Fire, the subtile mind; thou art the Lord, and thou, eternal brahma."

There is here also a very significant admixture of Vedic and
Upanishadic religion.

In Krishna, who in the Upanishads is known already by his own and his mother's name, pantheism is made personal according to the teaching of one sect. But while the whole epic is in evidence for the spuriousness of the claim of Krishna to be regarded as incarnate Vishnu (God), there is scarcely a trace in the original epic of the older view in regard to Vishnu himself. Thus in one passage he is called "the younger brother of Indra" (iii. 12. 25). But, since Indra is at no time the chief god of the epic, and the chapter in which occurs this expression is devoted to extolling Krishna-Vishnu as the All-god, the words appear to be intended rather to identify Krishna with Vishnu, who in the Rig Veda is inferior to Indra, than to detract from Vishnu's glory. The passage is cited below.

What now is the relation of Vishnu-Krishna to the other divinities? Vishnuite and Çivaite, each cries out that his god includes the other, but there is no current identity of Brahm[=a], Vishnu, Çiva as three co-equal representations of one God. For example, in iii. 189. 5, one reads: "I am Vishnu, I am Brahm[=a], and I am Çiva," but one cannot read into this any trinitarian doctrine whatever, for in context the passage reads as a whole: "I am N[=a]r[=a]yana, I am Creator and Destroyer,

I am Vishnu, I am Brahm[=a], I am Indra, the master-god, I am king Kubera, Yama, Çiva, Soma, Kaçyapa, and also the Father-god." Again, Vishnu says that the Father-god, or grandparent of the gods, is 'one-half of my body," and does not mention Çiva (iii. 189. 39). Thus, also, the hymn to Çiva in iii. 39. 76 ff. is addressed "to Çiva having the form of Vishnu, to Vishnu having the form of Çiva, to the three-eyed god, to Çarva, the trident-holder, the sun, Ganeça," but with no mention of Brahm[=a]. The three gods, Brahm[=a], Vishnu, Çiva, however, are sometimes grouped together (but not as a trinity) in late passages, in contrast to Indra, e.g., ix. 53. 26. There are many hymns to Vishnu and Çiva, where each is without beginning, the God, the uncreated Creator. It is only when the later period, looking back on the respective claims of the sects, identifies each god with the other, and both with their predecessor, that one gets even the notion of a trinity. Even for this later view of the pseudo-epic only one passage will be found (cited below).

The part of Brahm[=a] in the epic is most distinctly in process of subordination to the sectarian gods. He is holy and eternal, but not omniscient, though wise. As was shown above, he works at the will of Vishnu. He is one with Vishnu only in the sense that all is one with the All-god. When Vishnu 'raises the earth' as a boar, Brahm[=a] tells the gods to go to him.[21] He councils the gods. His heaven is above Indra's, but he is really only an intermediary divinity, a passive activity, if the paradox may be allowed. Not like Indra (to whom he is superior) does he fight with All-gods, or do any great act of his own will. He is a shadowy, fatherly, beneficent advisor to the gods, his children; but all his activity is due to Vishnu. This, of course, is from the point of view of the Vishnuite.

But there is no Brahm[=a]ite to modify the impression. There existed no strong Brahm[=a] sect as there were Vishnu and Çiva sects. Brahm[=a] is in his place merely because to the preceding age he was the highest god; for the epic regards Creator, Praj[=a]pati, Pit[=a]maha, Brahm[=a] as synonymous.[22] The abstract brahma, which in the Upanishads is the same with the Supreme Spirit, was called personally Brahm[=a], and this Brahm[=a] is now the Brahmanic Father-god. The sects could never get rid of a god whose being was rooted alike in the preceding philosophy and in the popular conception of a Father-god. Each age of thought takes the most advanced views of the preceding age as its axioms. The Veda taught gods; the Br[=a]hmanas taught a Father-god above the gods; the Upanishads taught a Supreme Godhead of which this Father-god was the active manifestation. The sects taught that their heroes were incarnations of this Supreme, but they carried with them the older pantheon as well, and, with the pantheon, its earlier and later heads, Indra and Brahm[=a]. Consequently each sect admits that Brahm[=a] is greater than the older Vedic gods, but, while naturally it identifies its special incarnation first with its most powerful opponent, and thus, so to speak, absorbs its rival, it identifies this incarnation with Brahm[=a] only as being chief of lesser divinities, not as being a rival. One may represent the attitude of a Krishna-worshipper in the epic somewhat in this way: "Krishna is a modern incarnation of Vishnu, the form which is taken in this age by the Supreme Lord. You who worship Çiva should know that your Çiva is really my Krishna, and the chief point is to recognize my Krishna as the Supreme Lord. The man Krishna is the Supreme Lord in human form. Of course, as such, being the One God in whom are all things and beings, he is also all the gods known by names which designate his special functions. Thus he is the head of the gods, the Father-god, as our ancestors called him, Brahm[=a]; and he is all the gods known by still older names, who are the children of the secondary creator, Brahm[=a], viz., Agni, Indra, S[=u]rya, etc. All gods are active manifestations of the Supreme God called Vishnu, who is born on earth to-day as Krishna." And the Çivaite says: "Çiva is the manifestation of the All-god," and repeats what the Vishnuite says, substituting Çiva for Vishnu,[23] but with the difference already explained, namely, that the Çiva-sect has no incarnation to which to point, as has the Vishnuite. Çiva is modified Rudra, and both are old god-names. Later, however, the Çivaite has also his incarnate god. As an example of later Çiva-worship may be taken Vishnu's own hymn to this god in vii. 80. 54 ff.: "Reverence to Bhava, Çarva, Rudra (Çiva), the bestower of gifts, the lord of cattle, the terrible, great, fearful, god of three wives;[24] to him who is peace, the Lord, the slayer of sacrifices (makhaghna)[25] … to the blue-necked god; to the inventor (or author) … to truth; to the red god, to the snake, to the unconquerable one, to the blue-haired one, to the trident-holder; … to the inconceivable one … to him whose sign is the bull; … to the creator of all, who pervades all, who is worshipped by all, Lord of all, Çarva, Çankara, Çiva, … who has a thousand heads a thousand arms, and death, a thousand eyes and legs, whose acts are innumerable." In vii. 201. 71, Çiva is the unborn Lord, inconceivable, the soul of action, the unmoved one; and he that knows Çiva as the self of self, as the unknowable one, goes to brahma-bliss. This also is late Çivaism in pantheistic form. In other words, everything said of Vishnu must be repeated for Çiva.[26]

As an example of the position of the lowest member of the later trinity and his very subordinate place, may be cited a passage from the preceding book of the epic. According to the story in vi. 65. 42 ff., the seers were all engaged in worshipping Brahm[=a], as the highest divinity they knew, when he suddenly began to worship "the Person (Spirit), the highest Lord"; and Brahm[=a] then lauds Vishnu as such: "Thou art the god of the universe, the All-god, V[=a]sudeva (Krishna). Therefore I worship thee as the divinity; thou, whose soul is devotion. Victory to thee, great god of all; thou takest satisfaction in that which benefits the world…. Lord of lords of all, thou out of whose navel springs the lotus, and whose eyes are large; Lord of the things that were, that are, that are to be; O dear one, self-born of the self-born … O great snake, O boar,[27] O thou the first one, thou who dwellest in all, endless one, known as brahma, everlasting origin of all beings … destroyer of the worlds! Thy feet are the earth … heaven is thy head … I, Brahm[=a], am thy form … Sun and moon are thy eyes … Gods and all beings were by me created on earth, but they owe their origin to thy goodness." Then the creation of Vishnu through Pradyumna as a form of the deity is described, "and Vishnu (Aniruddha) created me, Brahm[=a], the upholder of the worlds; so am I made of Vishnu; I am caused only by thee."

While Brahm[=a] is represented here as identical with Vishnu he is at the same time a distinctly inferior personality, created by Vishnu for the purpose of creating worlds, a factor of inferior godliness to that of the World-Spirit, Krishna-Vishnu.

It had been stated by Holtzmann[28] that Brahm[=a] sometimes appears in the epic as a god superior to Vishnu, and on the strength of this L. von Schroeder has put the date of the early epic between the seventh and fourth centuries B.C, because at that time Brahm[=a] was the chief god.[29] von Schroeder rather exaggerates Holtzmann's results, and asserts that "in the original form of the poem Brahm[=a] appears throughout as the highest and most revered god, while the worship of Vishnu and Çiva as great gods is apparently a later intrusion" (loc. cit.). This asseveration will have to be taken cum grano. Had von Schroeder said 'pantheistic gods' he would have been correct in this regard, but we think that both Vishnu and Çiva were great gods, equal, if not superior to Brahm[=a], when the epic proper began. And, moreover, when one speaks of the original form of the poem he cannot mean the pseudo-epic or the ancient legends which have been woven into the epic, themselves of earlier date. No one means by the 'early epic' the tales of Agastya, of the creation of Death, of the making of ambrosia, but the story of the war in its earliest shape; for the epic poem must have begun with its own subject-matter. Now it is not true that Brahm[=a] is regarded 'throughout' the early poem as a chief god at all. If one investigate the cases where Vishnu or Çiva appears 'below' Brahm[=a] he will see, in almost every case that Holtzmann has registered, that this condition of affairs is recorded not in the epic proper but in the Brahmanic portions of the pseudo-epic, or in ancient legends alone. Thus in the story of the winning of ambrosia, of Agastya drinking ocean, and of R[=a]ma, Brahm[=a] appears to be above Vishnu, and also in some extracts from the pseudo-epic. For the real epic we know of but two cases that can be put into this category, and neither is sufficient to support the hypothesis built upon it.

For Krishna, when he ingeniously plots to have Bh[=i]ma slay Jar[=a]sandha, is said to have renounced killing Jar[=a]sandha himself, 'putting Brahm[=a]'s injunction before him' (ii. 22. 36), i.e. recalling Brahm[=a]'s admonition that only Bh[=i]ima was fated to slay the foe. And when Krishna and S[=a]tyaki salute Krishna's elder brother they do so (for being an elder brother Baladeva is Krishna's Guru) respectfully, 'just as Indra and Upendra salute Brahm[=a] the lord of devas' (ix. 34. 18). Upendra is Indra's younger brother, i.e., Vishnu (above). But these passages are scanty proof for the statement that Brahm[=a] appears throughout the early epic as the highest god;[30] nor is there even so much evidence as this in the case of Çiva. Here, too, it is in the tale of the churning of ocean, of Sunda and Upasunda, of the creation of the death-power, and in late didactic (Brahmanic) passages, where Brahm[=a] makes Çiva to destroy earth and Çiva is born of Brahm[=a], and only in such tales, or extracts from the Book of Peace, etc, that Brahm[=a] appears as superior. In all other cases, in the real action of the epic, he is subordinate to Vishnu and Çiva whenever he is compared with them. When he is not compared he appears, of course, as the great old Father-god who creates and foresees, but even here he is not untouched by passion, he is not all-knowing, and his rôle as Creator is one that, with the allotment of duties among the gods, does not make him the highest god. All the old gods are great till greater appear on the scene. There is scarcely a supreme Brahm[=a] in the epic itself, but there is a great Brahm[=a], and a greater (older) than the sectarian gods in the old Brahmanic legends, while the old Brahmanhood reasserts itself sporadically in the Ç[=a]nti, etc, and tells how the sectarian gods became supreme, how they quarrelled and laid the strife.

Since the adjustment of the relations between the persons of the later trinity is one of the most important questions in the theology of the completed epic, it will be necessary to go a little further afield and see what the latest books, which hitherto we have refrained as much as possible from citing, have to say on the subject. As it seems to be true that it was felt necessary by the Çivaite to offset the laud of Vishnu by antithetic laud of Çiva,[31] so after the completion of the Book of Peace, itself a late addition to the epic, and one that is markedly Vishnuitic, there was, before the Genealogy of Vishnu, an antithetic Book of Law, which is as markedly Çivaitic. In these books one finds the climax of sectarianism, in so far as it is represented by the epic; although in earlier books isolated passages of late addition are sporadically to be found which have much the same nature. Everywhere in these last additions Brahm[=a] is on a plane which is as much lower than that of the Supreme God as it is higher than that of Indra. Thus in viii. 33. 45, Indra takes refuge with Brahm[=a], but Brahm[=a] turns for help to Çiva (Bhava, Sth[=a]nu, Jishnu, etc.) with a hymn sung by the gods and seers. Then comes a description of Çankara's[32] (Çiva's) war-car, with its metaphorical arms, where Vishnu is the point of Civa's arrow (which consists of Vishnu, Soma, Agni), and of this war-car Brahm[=a] himself is the charioteer (ib. 34. 76). With customary inconsistency, however, when Çiva wishes his son to be exalted he prostrates himself before Brahm[=a], who then gives this youth (kum[=a]ra), called K[=a]rtikeya, the 'generalship' over all beings (s[=a]in[=a]patyam, ix. 44. 43-49). There is even a 'celebration of Brahm[=a],' a sort of harvest festival, shared, as the text tells, by all the castes; and it must have been something like the religious games of the Greeks, for it was celebrated by athletic contests.[33] Brahm[=a], as the old independent creator, sometimes keeps his place, transmitting posterity through his 'seven mind-born sons,' the great seers (iii. 133; xii. 166. 11 ff.). But Brahm[=a] himself is born either in the golden egg, as a secondary growth (as in xii. 312. 1-7), or, as is usually the case, he is born in the lotus which springs from the navel of musing[34] Vishnu (iii. 203. 14). In this passage Brahm[=a] has four faces (Vedas) and four forms, caturm[=u]rtis (15), and this epithet in other sections is transferred to Vishnu. Thus in vii. 29. 26, Vishnu(Vishu in the original) says caturm[=u]rtir aham, "I have four forms," but he never says trim[=u]rtir aham ('I have three forms'). There is one passage, however, that makes for a belief in a trinity. It stands in contrast to the various Vishnuite hymns, one of which may well be reviewed as an example of the regular Vishnuite laudation affected by the Krishna sect (iii. 12. 21 ff.): "Krishna is Vishnu, Brahm[=a], Soma, the Sun, Right, the Creator ('founder'), Yama, Fire, Wind, Çiva, Time, Space, Earth, and the cardinal points. Thou, Krishna, art the Creator ('emitter'); thou, chief of gods, didst worship the highest; thou, Vishnu called, becamest Indra's younger brother, entering into sonship with Aditi; as a child with three steps thou didst fill the sky, space, and earth, and pass in glory…. At the end of the age thou returnest all things into thyself. At the beginning of the age Brahm[=a] was born from thy lotus-navel as the venerable preceptor of all things (the same epithet is in vs. 22 applied to Vishnu himself); and Çiva sprang from thy angry forehead when the demons would kill him (Brahm[=a]); both are born of thee, in whom is the universe." The following verses (45 ff.) are like those of the Divine Song: "Thou, Knight Arjuna, art the soul of Krishna; thou art mine alone and thine alone am I; they that are mine are thine; he that hates thee hates Me, and he that is for thee, is for Me; thou art Nara ('man') and I am N[=a]r[=a]yana ('whose home is on the waters,' god);[35] we are the same, there is no difference between us." Again, like the Divine Song in the following verses (51-54) is the expression 'the sacrifice and he that sacrifices,' etc, together with the statement that Vishnu plays 'like a boy with playthings,' with the crowds of gods, Brahm[=a], Çiva, Indra, etc. The passage opposed to this, and to other identifications of Vishnu with many gods, is one of the most flagrant interpolations in the epic. If there be anything that the Supreme God in Çivaite or Vishnuite form does not do it is to extol at length, without obvious reason, his rivals' acts and incarnations, Yet in this clumsy passage just such an extended laudation of Vishnu is put into the mouth of Çiva. In fact, iii. 272, from 30 to 76, is an interpretation of the most naïve sort, and it is here that we find the approach to the later trim[=u]rti (trinity): "Having the form of Brahm[=a] he creates; having a human body (as Krishna) he protects, in the nature of Çiva he would destroy—these are the three appearances or conditions (avasth[=a]s) of the Father-god". (Praj[=a]pati).[36] This comes after an account of the four-faced lotus-born Brahm[=a], who, seeing the world a void, emitted his sons, the seers, mind-born, like to himself (now nine in number), who in turn begot all beings, including men (vss. 44-47). If, on the other hand, one take the later sectarian account of Vishnu (for the above is more in honor of Krishna the man-god than of Vishnu, the form of the Supreme God), he will see that even in the pseudo-epic the summit of the theological conceptions is the emphasis not of trinity or of multifariousness but of unity. According to the text the P[=a]ñcak[=a]lajñas are the same with the Vishnuite sect called P[=a]ñcar[=a]tras, and these are most emphatically ek[=a]ntinas, i.e., Unitarians (xii. 336; 337. 46; 339. 66-67).[37] In this same passage 341. 106, Vishnu is again caturm[=u]rtidh[r.]t, 'the bearer of four forms,' an entirely different conception of him (below). So that even in this most advanced sectarian literature there is no real threefoldness of the Supreme as one in three. In the following chapter (xii. 335. 1 ff.) there is a passage like the great Ka hymn of the Rig Veda, 'whom as god shall one worship?' The sages say to Vishnu: "All men worship thee; to whom dost thou offer worship?" and he says, 'to the Eternal Spirit.' The conception of the functions of Brahm[=a] and Çiva in relation to Vishnu is plainly shown in xii. 342. 19: "Brahm[=a] and Çiva create and destroy at the will of Vishnu; they are born of his grace and his anger." In regard to Çiva himself, his nature and place in Vishnuism have been sufficiently explained. The worship of this god is referred to 'Vedic texts' (the çata-rudriyam, vii. 202. 120);[38] Vishnu is made to adore the terrible god (ib. 201. 69) who appears as a mad ascetic, a wild rover, a monster, a satire on man and gods, though he piously carries a rosary, and has other late traits in his personal appearance.[39] The strength of Çivaism lay in the eumenidean (Çiva is 'prospering,' 'kindly') euphemism and fear alike, which shrank in speech and mind from the object of fear. But this religion in the epic had a firmer hold than that of fear. It was essentially phallic in its outward form (VII. 201. 93-96), and as such was deeply rooted in the religious conscience of a people to whom one may venture perhaps to ascribe such a form of worship even in the time of the Rig Veda, although the signs thereof in great part have been suppressed. This may be doubted,[40] indeed, for the earlier age; but there is no question that epic Çivaism, like Çivaism to-day, is dependent wholly on phallic worship (XIII. 14. 230 ff.). It is the parallel of Bacchic rites and orgies, as well as of the worship of the demons in distinction from that of good powers. Çiva represents the ascetic, dark, awful, bloody side of religion: Vishnu, the gracious, calm, hopeful, loving side; the former is fearful, mysterious, demoniac; the latter is joyful, erotic, divine. In their later developments it is not surprising to see that Vishnuism, in the form of Krishnaism, becomes more and more erotic, while Çivaism becomes more and more ghastly and ghoulish. Wild and varied as are the beliefs of the epic, there is space but to show a few more characteristic sides of its theology—a phase that may seem questionable, yet, since the devout Hindu believes the teachings of the epic, they must all to him constitute one theology, although it was gradually amalgamated out of different creeds.

In connection with Çiva stands, closely united, his son, Ganeça, "leader of troops," still worshipped as one of the popular gods, and the battle-god, Skanda, the son first of Agni then of Çiva, the conqueror of the demons, d[=a]navas, and later representative of Indra, with whom the epic identifies him. For it is Skanda that is the real battle-god of the later epic; though in its original form Indra was still the warrior's refuge, as attests the stereotyped phraseology. In III. 225-232 honor and praise are ascribed to Skanda in much the same language with that used to portray his father, Çiva. "The god of a thousand arms, the Lord of all, the creator of gods and demons" are phrases used in his eulogy. He too has a list of names; his nurse is the "maiden of the red (bloody) sea," called Loh[=i]t[=a]yan[=i]. His terrible appearance and fearful acts make him the equal of Çiva.[41] His sign is a kukku[t.]a, cock; ib. 229. 33.

Associated, again, with Skanda are the spirits or 'mothers,' which afflict people. The belief in mother-gods is old, but its epic form is new. The exactness and detail in regard to these beautiful monsters show at least a real belief, which, as one on a lower plane besides the higher religion, cannot be passed over without notice. As in other lands, people are 'possessed' by evil spirits, called possessors or seizers (grahas). These are Skanda's demons,[42] and are both male and female. Until one reaches the age of sixteen he is liable to be possessed by one group of 'seizers,' who must be worshipped in proper form that their wrath may be averted. Others menace mortals from the age of sixteen to seventy. After that only the fever-demon is to be feared. Imps of this sort are of three kinds. One kind indulge only in mischievous sport: another kind lead one to gluttony; the third kind are devoted to lust. They are known as Piç[=a]cas, Yakshas, etc., and when they seize a person he goes mad. They are to be kept at bay by self-restraint and moderation (III. 230. 43-56). In IX. 46 and III. 226 the 'mothers' are described. They are witches, and live in cross-roads, cemeteries, and mountains. They may be of Dravidian origin, and in their epic form, at any rate, are a late intrusion.[43]

Just before the Divine Song begins, the knight who is about to become, illuminated or 'disillusioned' offers a prayer to the terrible goddess Durg[=a], also one of the new, popular, and horrible forms of divine manifestation. In this hymn, VI. 23, Durg[=a] (Um[=a], P[=a]rvat[=i], K[=a]li, etc.) is addressed as "leader of the armies of the blessed, the dweller in Mandara, the youthful woman, K[=a]li, wife of Çiva, she who is red, black, variegated; the savior, the giver of gifts, K[=a]ty[=a]yan[=i], the great benefactress, the terrible one, the victorious one, victory itself … Um[=a], the slayer of demons,"[44] and the usual identification and theft of epithets then follows: "O thou who art the Vedas, who art Revelation, who art virtue, J[=a]tavedasi, … thou art brahma among the sciences, thou art the sleep of incorporate beings, the mother of Skanda, the blessed one, Durg[=a] … thou art the mother of the Vedas and Ved[=a]nta … thou art sleep, illusion, modesty, happiness … thou art satisfaction, growth, contentment, light, the increaser of moon and sun."

Turning from these later parasites,[45] which live on their parent gods and yet tend to reduce them, we now revert to that happiness hereafter to which looks forward the epic knight that has not been tempted to 'renounce' desire. In pantheistic passages he is what the later remodeller makes him. But enough of old belief remains to show that the warrior really cared a great deal more for heaven than he did for absorption. As to the cause of events, as was said above, it is Fate. Repeatedly is heard the lament, "Fate (impersonal) is the highest thing, fie on vain human effort." The knight confesses with his lips to a belief in the new doctrine of absorption, but at heart he is a fatalist. And his aim is to die on the field of battle, that he may go thence directly to the heaven that awaits the good and the brave.[46] Out of a long description of this heaven a few extracts here selected will show what the good knight anticipates:

"Upward goes the path that leads to gods; it is inhabited by them that have sacrificed and have done penance. Unbelieving persons and untruthful persons do not enter there; only they that have duteous souls, that have conquered self, and heroes that bear the marks of battle. There sit the seers and gods, there are shining, self-illumined worlds, made of light, resplendent. And in this heaven there is neither hunger, nor thirst, nor weariness, nor cold, nor heat, nor fear; nothing that is terrible is there, nothing unclean; but pleasing sights, and sounds, and smells. There is no care there, nor age, nor work, nor sorrow. Such is the heaven that is the reward of good acts. Above this is Brahm[=a]'s world, where sit the seers and the three and thirty gods," etc.

Over against this array of advantages stands the one great "fault of heaven," which is stated almost in the words of "nessun maggior dolore," "the thought (when one lives again on the lower plane) of former happiness in the higher life is terrible grief" (vs. 30), i.e., this heaven will pass away at the end of the world-period, when the Eternal draws all in to himself again (iii. 261); and the thought that one has been in heaven, while now he is (re-born) on earth, is a sorrow greater than the joy given by heaven.[47] One is reminded by the epic description of heaven of that poet of the Upanishads who describes his heavenly bliss as consisting in the fact that in that world "there is neither snow nor sorrow." The later version is only an amplification. Even with the assurance that the "fault of heaven" is the disappointment of being dropped to earth again in a new birth, the ordinary mortal is more averse from the bliss of absorption than from the pleasure of heaven. And in truth, except to one very weary of his lot in life, it must be confessed that the religion here shown in all its bearings is one eminently pleasant to believe. Its gist, in a word, is this: "If you feel able to endure it, the best thing to do is to study the plan of the universe, and then conform to it. By severe mental discipline you can attain to this knowledge, and for reward you will be immortally united with God." To this the sectarian adds: "Or believe in my god and the result will be the same." But both philosopher and sectarian continue: "If, however, you do not want to be united with the Supreme Spirit so soon as this, then be virtuous and devout, or simply be brave if you are a warrior; do whatever the rules of morality and caste-custom bid you do, and you will go to heaven for thousands of ages; at the end of which time you will be re-born in a fine family on earth, and may again decide whether to repeat the process of gaining heaven or to join God and become absorbed into the World-Spirit at once." There were probably many that chose rather to repeat their agreeable earthly experience, with an interlude of heaven after each death, than to make the renunciation of earth and heaven, and be absorbed once for all into the All-god.

The doctrine of 'the ages'[48] is so necessary to a true understanding of the rotative immortality offered as a substitute for the higher bliss of absorption (that is, genuine immortality), that an account of the teaching in this regard will not be out of place. The somewhat puzzling distinction between the happy life of them that fail to desire absorption, and yet are religious men, and the blissful life of those people that do attain absorption, is at once explained by a clear understanding of the duration of the time of the gods' own life and of the divine heaven. Whereas the Greek notion of four ages includes within the four all time, all the four ages of the Hindu are only a fraction of time. Starting at any one point of eternity, there is, according to the Hindu belief, a preliminary 'dawn' of a new cycle of ages. This dawn lasts four hundred years, and is then followed by the real age (the first of four), which lasts four thousand years, and has again a twilight ending of four hundred years in addition. This first is the Krita age, corresponding to the classical Golden Age. Its characteristics are, that in it everything is perfect; right eternal now exists in full power. In this age there are neither gods nor demons (D[=a]navas, Gandharvas, Yakshas, R[=a]kshas, Serpents), neither buying nor selling. By a lucus a non the derivation of the name Krita is k[r.]tam eva na kartavyam, i.e., with a pun, it is called the 'sacred age' because there are no sacrifices in that age. No S[=a]ma Veda, Rig Yeda, or Yajur Veda exist as distinct Vedas.[49] There is no mortal work. Fruit comes by meditation; the only duty is renunciation. Disease, lack of mental power, moral defects (such as pride and hate) do not exist; the highest course of the ascetic Yogis is universally brahma (paramakam). In this age come into existence the Brahman, Kshatriya, V[=a]içya, Ç[=u]dra, i.e., the distinct castes of priest, warrior, husbandman, and slave; all with their special marks, and all delighted with their proper occupations. Yet have all the castes like occupations, like refuge, practice, and knowledge. They are joined to the one god (eka deva), and have but one mantra in their religious rites. Their duties are distinct, but they follow only one Veda and one rule. The four orders (of the time of life) are duly observed; men do not desire the fruit of their action, and so they obtain the highest course, i.e., salvation by absorption into brahma. In this age the 'three attributes' (or qualities) are unknown. After this age follows the dawn of the second age, called Tret[=a], lasting three hundred years, then the real age of Tret[=a], three thousand years, followed by the twilight of three hundred years. The characteristics of this age are, that men are devout; that great sacrifices begin (sattram pravartate); that Virtue decreases by one quarter; that all the various rites are produced, together with the attainment of salvation through working for that end, by means of sacrifice and generosity; that every one does his duty and performs asceticism. The next age, Dv[=a]para, is introduced by a dawn of two hundred years, being itself two thousand years in duration, and it closes with a twilight of two hundred years. Half of Virtue fails to appear in this age, that is, the general virtue of the world is diminished by a half ('the Bull of Justice stands on two legs'). The Veda is now subdivided into four. Instead of every one having one Veda, four Vedas exist, but some people know only three, or two, or one, or are even Veda-less (an[r.]cas). Ceremonies become manifold, because the treatises on duty are subdivided(!). The attribute of passion influences people, and it is with this that they perform asceticism and are generous (not with disinterestedness). Few (kaçcit) are settled in truth; ignorance of the one Veda causes a multiplication of Vedas (i.e., as Veda means 'knowledge,' the Vedas result from ignorance of the essential knowledge). Disease and sin make penance necessary. People sacrifice only to gain heaven. After this age and its twilight are past begins the Kali, last of the four ages, with a dawn of one hundred, a course of one thousand, and a subsequent twilight of one hundred years. This is the present sinful age, when there is no real religion, when the Vedas are ignored, and the castes are confused, when itis (distresses of every form) are rife; when Virtue has only one leg left to stand upon. The believer in Krishna as Vishnu, besides this universal description, says that the Supreme Lord in the Krita age is 'white' (pure); in the Tret[=a] age, 'red'; in the Dv[=a]para age, 'yellow'; in the Kali age, 'black, i.e., Vishnu is Krishna, which means 'black.'[50] This cycle of ages always repeats itself anew. Now, since the twelve thousand years of these ages, with their dawns and twilights, are but one of countless cycles, when the Kali age and its twilight have brought all things into a miserable state, the universe is re-absorbed into the Supreme Spirit. There is then a universal (apparent) destruction, pralaya, of everything, first by fire and then by a general flood. Seven suns appear in heaven, and what they fail to burn is consumed by the great fire called Samvartaka (really a manifestation of Vishnu), which sweeps the world and leaves only ashes; then follows a flood which completes the annihilation. Thereafter follows a period equal to one thousand cycles (of twelve thousand years each), which is called 'Brahm[=a]'s night,' for during these twelve million years Brahm[=a] sleeps; and the new Krita age begins again "when Brahm[=a] wakes up" (iii. 188. 29, 69; 189. 42).[51] All the gods are destroyed in the universal destruction, that is, re-absorbed into the All-god, for there is no such thing as annihilation, either of spirit or of matter (which is illusion). Consequently the gods' heaven and the spirits of good men in that heaven are also re-absorbed into that Supreme, to be re-born in the new age. This is what is meant by the constant harping on quasi-immortality. Righteousness, sacrifice, bravery, will bring man to heaven, but, though he joins the gods, with them he is destroyed. They and he, after millions of years, will be re-born in the new heaven and the new earth. To escape this eventual re-birth one must desire absorption into the Supreme, not annihilation, but unity with God, so that one remains untouched by the new order at the end of Brahm[=a]'s 'day.' There are, of course, not lacking views of them that, taking the precept grossly, give a less dignified appearance to the teaching, and, in fact, upset its real intent. Thus, in the very same Puranic passage from which is taken the description above (III. 188), it is said that a seer, who miraculously outlived the universal destruction of one cycle, was kindly swallowed by Vishnu, and that, on entering his stomach (the absorption idea in Puranic coarseness), he saw everything which had been destroyed, mountains, rivers, cities, the four castes engaged in their duties, etc. In other words, only transference of locality has taken place. But this account reads almost like a satire.

One of the most striking features of the Hindu religions, as they have been traced thus far, is the identification of right with light, and wrong with darkness. We have referred to it several times already. In the Vedic age the deities are luminous, while the demons and the abode of the wicked generally are of darkness. This view, usually considered Iranian and Zoroastrian, is as radically, if not so emphatically, Indic. It might be said, indeed, that it is more deeply implanted in the worship of the Hindus than in that of the Iranians, inasmuch as the latter religion enunciates and promulgates the doctrine, while the former assumes it. All deeds of sin are deeds of darkness, tamas. The devils live underground in darkness; the hells are below earth and are gloom lighted only by torture-flames.

The development of devil-worship (the side-scenes in the theatre of Çivaism) introduces devils of another sort, but the general effect remains. The fire-priest Bhrigu says: "Untruth is a form of darkness, and by darkness one is brought to hell (downwards); veiled in darkness one sees not the light. Light is heaven, they say, and darkness is hell," xii. 190. 2-3. This antithesis of evil as darkness, good as light, is too native to India to admit of the suggestion that it might have been borrowed. But an isolated and curious Puranic chapter of the epic appears to have direct reference to the Persian religion. All Hindu gods have sacrifices, even Çiva the 'destroyer of sacrifice.' Now in iii. 220, after a preliminary account of the p[a]ñcajanya fire (vs. 5 ff.) there is given a list of 'gods that destroy sacrifice,' dev[=a]s yajñamu[s.]as, fifteen in number, who 'stand here' on earth and 'steal' the sacrifice. They extend over the five peoples in three divisions of five each. The first and third group contain names compounded with Bh[=i]ma and S[=u]ra respectively; while the third group is that of Sumitra, Mitravan, Mitrajña, Mitravardhana, Mitradharman. There are others without the mitra (vs. 10). The appellation dev[=a]s seems to take them out of connection with Çiva's demoniac troops, and the persistency of mitra would look as if these 'gods' were of Iranian origin. There may have been (as are possibly the modern S[=a]uras) believers in the Persian religion already long established among the Hindus.

The question will naturally present itself whether in the religious olla podrida known as the Mah[=a]bh[=a]rata there are distinct allusions to Buddhism, and, if so, in how far the doctrines of this sect may have influenced the orthodox religion. Buddhism does not appear to have attacked or to have attracted the 'holy land,' whence, indeed, according to law, heretics are 'banished.' But its influence of course must have embraced this country, and it is only a question of in how far epic Brahmanism has accepted it. At a later period Hinduism, as has been observed, calmly accepts Buddha as an avatar of Vishnu. Holtzmann, who is inclined to attribute a good deal to Buddhism, sees signs of it even in the personal characteristics of the epic heroes, and believes the whole poem to have been more or less affected by anti-Buddhistic feeling. If this were so one would have to give over to Buddhism much also of the humanitarianism to be found in the moral precepts that are so thickly strewn through the various books. In our opinion these signs-manual of Buddhism are not sufficiently evident to support Holtzmann's opinion for the whole poem, and it is to be noted that the most taking evidence is drawn from the latest parts of the work. It is just here that we think it necessary to draw the line, for while much of late date has been added in earlier books, yet in the books which one may call wholly late additions appear the strongest indications of Buddhistic influence.[52] A great deal of the Book of Peace is Puranic, the book as a whole is a Vishnuite addition further enlarged by Çivaite interpolation. The following book is, again, an offset to the Book of Peace, and is as distinctly Çivaite in its conception as is the Book of Peace Vishnuite.[53] It is here, in these latest additions, which scarcely deserve to be ranked with the real epic, that are found the most palpable touches of Buddhism. They stand to the epic proper as stands to them the Genealogy of Vishnu, a further addition which has almost as much claim to be called 'part of the epic' as have the books just mentioned, only that it is more evidently the product of a later age, and represents the Krishna-Vishnu sect in its glory after the epic was completed. Nevertheless, even in these books much that is suspected of being Buddhistic may be Brahmanic; and in any concrete case a decision, one way or the other, is scarcely to be made on objective grounds. Still more is this the case in earlier books. Thus, for instance, Holtzmann is sure that a conversation of a slave and a priest in the third book is Buddhistic because the man of low caste would not venture to instruct a Brahman.[54] But it is a command emphasized throughout the later Brahmanism that one must take refuge in the ship that saves; and in passages not suspected of Buddhistic tendency Bh[=i]shma takes up this point, and lays down the rule that, no matter to which caste a man belongs, his teaching if salutary is to be accepted. It is even said in one passage of the Book of Peace that one ought to learn of a slave, and in another that all the four castes ought to hear the Veda read:[55] "Let him get instruction even from a Ç[=u]dra if he can thereby attain to salvation"; and again: "Putting the Brahman first, let the four castes hear (the Veda); for this (giving first place to the priest) is (the rule in) reading the Veda."[56] And in many places are found instructions given by low-caste men. It may be claimed that every case which resembles Buddhistic teaching is drawn from Buddhism, but this would be to claim more than could be established. Moreover, just as the non-injury doctrine is prior to Buddhism and yet is a mark of Buddhistic teaching, so between the two religions there are many points of similarity which may be admitted without compromising the genuineness of the Brahmanic teaching. For Buddhism in its morality is anything but original.[57]

Another bit of instruction from the Book of Peace illustrates the attitude of the slave just referred to. In sharp contrast to what one would expect from a Buddhist, this slave, who is a hunter, claims that he is justified in keeping on with his murderous occupation because it is his caste-occupation; whereas, as a Buddhist he ought to have renounced it if he thought it sinful, without regard to the caste-rule. The Book of Peace lays it down as a rule that the giving up of caste-occupation is meritorious if the occupation in itself is iniquitous, but it hedges on the question to the extent of saying that, no matter whether the occupation be sinful or not, if it is an inherited occupation a man does not do wrong to adhere to it. This is liberal Brahmanism. The rule reads as follows: "Actors, liquor-dealers, butchers, and other such sinners are not justified in following such occupations, if they are not born to the profession (i.e., if they are born to it they are justified in following their inherited occupation). Yet if one has inherited such a profession it is a noble thing to renounce it."[58]

The marks of Buddhistic influence on which we would lay greater stress are found not in the fact that Mudgala refuses heaven (iii. 261. 43), or other incidents that may be due as well to Brahmanism as to Buddhism, but in such passages of the pseudo-epical Book of Peace as for example the dharmyas panth[=a]s of xii. 322. 10-13; the conversation of the female beggar, bhikshuk[=i], with the king in 321. 7, 168; the buddha of 289. 45; the Buddhistic phraseology of 167. 46; the remark of the harlot Pingal[=a] in 174. 60: pratibuddh[=a] 'smi j[=a]g[r.]mi (I am 'awakened' to a sense of sin and knowledge of holiness), and the like phrase in 177. 22: pratibuddho 'smi.[59] Of especial importance is the shibboleth Nirv[=a]na which is often used in the epic. There seems, indeed, to be a subtile connection between Çivaism and Buddhism. Buddhism rejects pantheism, Çivaism is essentially monotheism. Both were really religions of the lower classes. It is true that the latter was affected and practiced by those of high rank, but its strength lay with the masses. Thus while Vishnuism appealed to the contemplative and philosophical (R[=a]maism), as well as to the easy-going middle classes (Krishinaism), Çivaism with its dirty asceticism, its orgies and Bacchanalian revels, its devils and horrors generally, although combined with a more ancient philosophy, appealed chiefly to the magic-monger and the vulgar. So it is that one finds, as one of his titles in the thirteenth book, that Çiva is 'the giver of Nirv[=a]na,' (xiii. 16. 15). But if one examines the use of this word in other parts of the epic he will see that it has not the true Buddhistic sense except in its literal physical application as when the nirv[=a][n.]a (extinguishing) of a lamp, iv. 22. 22, is spoken of; or the nirv[=a][n.]a of duties (in the Pañcar[=a]tra 'Upanishad,' xii. 340. 67). On the other hand, in sections where the context shows that this must be the case, Nirv[=a]na is the equivalent of 'highest bliss' or 'highest brahma,' the same with the felicity thus named in older works. This, for instance, is the case in xii. 21. 17; 26. 16, where Nirv[=a]na cannot mean extinction but absorption, i.e., the 'blowing out' of the individual flame (spirit) of life, only that it may become one with the universal spirit. In another passage it is directly equated with sukham brahma in the same way (ib. 189. 17). If now one turn to the employment of this word in the third book he will find the case to be the same. When the king reproaches his queen for her atheistic opinions in iii. 31. 26 he says that if there were no reward for good deeds hereafter "people would not seek Nirv[=a]na," just as he speaks of heaven ('immortality') and hell, ib. 20 and 19, not meaning thereby extinction but absorption. So after a description of that third heaven wherein is Vishnu, when one reads that Mudgala "attained that highest eternal bliss the sign of which is Nirv[=a]na" (iii. 261. 47), he can only suppose that the word means here absorption into brahma or union with Vishnu. In fact Nirv[=a]na is already a word of which the sense has been subjected to attrition enough to make it synonymous with 'bliss.' Thus "the gods attained Nirv[=a]na by means of Vishnu's greatness" (iii. 201. 22); and a thirsty man "after drinking water attained Nirv[=a]na," i.e., the drink made him happy (ib. 126. 16). One may best compare the Jain Nirv[=a]na of happiness.

While, therefore, Buddhism seems to have left many manifest traces[60] in the later epic the weight of its influence on the early epic may well be questioned. The moral harangues of the earlier books show nothing more than is consistent with that Brahmanism which has made its way unaided through the greater humanitarianism of the earlier Upanishads. At the same time it is right to say that since the poem is composed after Buddha's time there is no historical certainty in regard to the inner connection of belief and morality (as expounded in the epic) with Buddhism. Buddhism, though at a distance, environed epic Brahmanism, and may well have influenced it. The objective proofs for or against this are not, however, decisive.

Whether Christianity has affected the epic is another question that can be answered (and then doubtfully) only by drawing a line between epic and pseudo-epic. And in this regard the Harivança legends of Krishna are to be grouped with the pseudo-epic, of which they are the legitimate if late continuation. Again one must separate teaching from legend. To the Divine Song belong sentiments and phrases that have been ascribed to Christian influence. Definitive assurance in this regard is an impossibility. When Vishnu says (as is said also in the Upanishads) "I am the letter A," one may, and probably will, decide that this is or is not an imitation of "I am alpha," strictly in accordance with his preconceived opinions. There are absolutely no historical data to go upon. One may say with tolerable certainty that the Divine Song as a whole is antique, prior to Christianity. But it is as unmistakably interpolated and altered. The doctrine of bhakti, faithful love as a means of salvation, cannot be much older than the Song, for it is found only in the latest Upanishads (as shown by comparing them with those undoubtedly old). But on the other hand the pras[=a]da doctrine (of special grace) belongs to a much earlier literature, and there is no reason why the whole theory with its startling resemblance to the doctrine of grace, and its insistence on personal affection for the Lord should not have been self-evolved. The old omnipotence of inherited knowledge stops with the Upanishads, To their authors the Vedas are but a means. They desired wisdom, not knowledge. They postulated the desire for the Supreme Spirit as the true wisdom. From this it is but a step to yearning and love for the Supreme. That step is made in the Divine Song. It is recognized by early Buddhism as a Brahmanic trait. Is it necessarily imported from Christianity? The proof is certainly lacking. Nor, to one accustomed to the middle literature of Hindu religion, is the phraseology so strikingly unique as would appear to be the case. Taken all in all, the teaching of Christianity certainly may be suspected, but it cannot be shown to exist in the Divine Song.

Quite different is the case with the miraculous matter that grew up about the infant Krishna. But here one is out of the epic and dealing with the latest literature in regard to the man-god. This distinction cannot be too much insisted upon, for to point first to the teaching of the Divine Song and then to the Krishna legends as equally reflecting Christianity is to mix up two periods as distinct as periods can be established in Hindu literature. And the result of the whole investigation shows that the proofs of borrowing are as different as these periods. The inner Christianity thought to be copied by the re-writer of the Divine Song is doubtful in the last degree. The outer Christianity reflected in the Puranic legends of Krishna is as palpable as it is shocking. Shocking, for here not only are miracles treated grotesquely, but everything that is meant spiritually in the Occident is interpreted physically and carnally. The love of the Bridegroom is sensual; the brides of God are drunken dancing girls.

The 'coincidences,' as some scholars marvellously regard them, between the legends of Christ and Krishna are too extraordinary to be accepted as such. They are direct importations, not accidental coincidences. Whatever is most marvellous in the accounts of Christianity finds itself here reproduced in Krishnaism. It is not in the doctrine of avatars, which resembles the doctrine of the Incarnation,[61] it is in the totality of legends connected with Krishna that one is forced to see Christian influence. The scenes of the nativity, the adoration of the magi, the miracles during the Saviour's childhood, the transfiguration, and other stories of Christ are reproduced with astonishing similarity. One may add to this the Christmas festival, where Krishna is born in a stable, and the use of certain church-utensils in the temple-service. Weber has proved by collecting and explaining these 'coincidences,'[62] that there must be identity of origin. It remains only to ask from which side is the borrowing? Considering how late are these Krishna legends in India[63] there can be no doubt that the Hindu borrowed the tales, but not the name; for the last assumption is quite improbable because Krishna (=Christ?) is native enough, and Vishnu is as old as the Rig Veda. That these tales are of secondary importance, as they are of late origin, is a matter of course. They are excrescences upon real Vishnuism (Krishnaism) and the result of anthropomorphizing in its fullest extent the image of the man-god, who is represented in the epic as the incarnation of the Supreme Spirit. The doctrine of the incarnation is thoroughly Indic. It is Buddhistic as well as Brahmanic, and precedes Vishnuism as it does Christianity. The legends are another matter. Here one has to assume direct contact with the Occident.[64] But while agreeing with Weber and disagreeing with Barth in the determination of the relation of this secondary matter, we are unable to agree with Weber in his conclusions in regard to the one passage in the pseudo-epic that is supposed by him[65] to refer to a visit to a Christian church in Alexandria. This is the famous episode of the White Island, which, to be sure, occurs in so late a portion of the Book of Peace (xii. 337. 20 ff) that it might well be what Weber describes it as being. But to us it appears to contain no allusion at all to Christianity. The account in brief is as follows: Three priests with the insignificant names "First, Second, Third,"[66] go to the far North (diç uttar[=a]) where, in the "Sea of Milk," they find an Albion called 'White Island,' perhaps regarded as one of the seven or thirteen 'islands,' of which earth consists; and there Vishnu is worshipped as the one god by white men of extraordinary physical characteristics.

The fact that the 'one god' is already a hackneyed phrase of philosophy; that there is no resemblance to a trinitarian god; that the hymn sung to this one god contains no trace of Christian influence, but is on the other hand thoroughly native in tone and phraseology, being as follows: "Victory to thee, thou god with lotus-eyes; Reverence to thee, thou creator of all things; Reverence be to thee, O Vishnu;[67] thou Great Person; first-born one"; all these facts indicate that if the White-islanders are indeed to be regarded as foreigners worshipping a strange god, that god is strictly monotheistic and not trinitarian. Weber lays stress on the expression 'first-born,' which he thinks refers to Christ; but the epithet is old (Vedic), and is common, and means no more than 'primal deity.'

There is much that appears to be foreign in the epic. This passage seems rather to be a recollection of some shrine where monotheism without Christianity was acknowledged. On the other hand, even in the pseudo-epic, there is much apparently borrowed which yet is altogether native to Brahmanic land and sect. It is not in any passage which is proved to be of foreign origin that one reads of the boy of twelve years who entered among the wise men and confuted their reasoning (above, p. 382). It is not of course due to Christian influence that the great 'saint of the stake' is taken by the 'king's men,' is crucified (or literally impaled) among thieves, and lives so long that the guard go and tell the king of the miracle;[68] nor is it necessary to assume that everything elevated is borrowed. "When I revile, I revile not again," sounds indeed like an echo of Christian teaching, but how thoroughly Hindu is the reason. "For I know that self-control is the door of immortality." And in the same breath, with a connection of meaning patent only when one regards the whole not as borrowed but as native, follow the words that we have ventured to put upon the title-page of this volume, as the highest and at the same time the truest expression of a religion that in bringing the gods to men raised man to equally with God—"This is a holy mystery which I declare unto you: There is nothing nobler than humanity."[69]

* * * * *


[Footnote 1: He appears in different complete manifestations, while Vishnu appears only in part, as a 'descent,' avatar, i.e., Vishnu is incarnate, Çiva appears whole.]

[Footnote 2: The original story perhaps antedates the
Brahmanic Brahm[=a]. But, for all one knows, when the poem
was first written Brahm[=a] was already decadent as chief
god. In that case two strata of religious belief have been
formally super-imposed, Vishnuism and Çivaism.]

[Footnote 3: While agreeing with Telang that the original
G[=i]t[=a] is an old poem, we cannot subscribe to his
argument (SBE. VIII. p. 19) that the priority of the
S[=a]man over the Rig Veda is evidence of antiquity; still
less to the argument, p. 21, from the castes.]

[Footnote 4: Compare Manu, i. 7: "He the subtile,
indiscernible, eternal, inconceivable One, who makes all

[Footnote 5: Possibly the original opening of another poem.]

[Footnote 6: The avatars of Vishnu are meant. The very knight to whom he speaks is later regarded (in South India) as incarnate god, and today is worshipped as an avatar of Vishnu. The idea of the 'birth-stories' of the Buddhists is thought by some scholars to have been connected historically with the avatars of Vishnu.]

[Footnote 7: This is one of the notes struck in the later
Upanishads, the doctrine of 'special grace,' originating
perhaps still earlier in the V[=a]c hymn (see above).]

[Footnote 8: That is, one that also has no desires may act
(without desiring the fruit of action.)]

[Footnote 9: This is a S[=a]nkhya division.]

[Footnote 10: This cleverly contrived or profound universality of Vishnuism is one of the greatest obstacles to missionary effort. The Vishnuite will accept Christ, but as a form of Vishnu, as here explained. Compare below: "Even they that sacrifice to other gods really sacrifice to Me."]

[Footnote 11: Prakriti (prak[r.]t[=i]), nature; the term belongs to the S[=a]nkhya philosophy, which recognizes nature as distinct from spirit, a duality, opposed to adv[=a]ita, the non-duality of the Ved[=a]nta system, where the S[=a]nkhya 'nature' is represented by m[=a]y[=a], 'illusion.' Otherwise the word Prakrit is the 'natural,' vulgar dialect, opposed to Sanskrit, the refined, 'put-together' language.]

[Footnote 12: Saints, literally 'the successful ones.']

[Footnote 13: Alluding to the later derivation of Yama from
yam, control.]

[Footnote 14: "The letter A," as in the Upanishads (see
above, p. 226).]

[Footnote 15: Compare a parallel list of diadochoi in xii.
349. 51.]

[Footnote 16: One of the Jaina traits of the epic, brahm[=a]di[s.]u t[r.]u[=a]nte[s.]u bh[=u]te[s.]u parivartate, in distinction from the Buddhistic metempsychosis, which stops short of plants. But perhaps it is rather borrowed from the B[.r]ahman by the Jain, for there is a formal acknowledgment that sth[=a]var[=a]s 'stationary things,' have part in metempsychosis, Manu, xii. 42, although in the distribution that follows this is almost ignored (vs. 58).]

[Footnote 17: It is rather difficult to compress the list into this number. Some of the names are perhaps later additions.]

[Footnote 18: In contrast one may note the frequent boast
that a king 'fears not even the gods,' e.g., i. 199. 1.]

[Footnote 19: Later there are twenty-one worlds analogous lo
the twenty-one hells.]

[Footnote 20: Elsewhere, oh the other hand, the islands are
four or seven, the earlier view.]

[Footnote 21: iii. 142. The boar-shape of Vishnu is a favorite one, as is the dwarf-incarnation. Compare V[=a]mana, V[=a]manaka, Vishnupada, in the list of holy watering-places (iii. 83). Many of Vishnu's acts are simply transferred from Brahm[=a], to whom they belonged in older tales. Compare above, p.215.]

[Footnote 22: In i. 197, Praj[=a]pati the Father-god, is the highest god, to whom Indra, as usual, runs for help. Çiva appears as a higher god, and drives Indra into a hole, where he sees five former Indras; and finally Vishnu comes on to the stage as the highest of all, "the infinite, inconceivable, eternal, the All in endless forms." Brahm[=a] is invoked now and then in a perfunctory way, but no one really expects him to do anything. He has done his work, made the castes, the sacrifice, and (occasionally) everything. And he will do this again when the new aeon begins. But for this aeon his work is accomplished.]

[Footnote 23: Thus in XII. 785. 165: "Neither Brahm[=a] nor
Vishnu is capable of understanding the greatness of Çiva."]

[Footnote 24: Or "three eyes."]

[Footnote 25: Compare III. 39. 77: "The destroyer of
Daksha's sacrifice." Compare the same epithet in the hymn to
Çiva, X. 7. 3, after which appear the devils who serve Çiva.
Such devils, in the following, feast on the dead upon the
field of battle, though, when left to themselves, 'midnight
is the hour when the demons swarm,' III. 11. 4 and 33. In X.
18 and XIII. 161 Çiva's act is described in full.]

[Footnote 26: Çiva, called Bhava, Çarva, the trident-holder, the Lord ([=I]ç[=a]na), Çankara, the Great God, etc., generally appears at his best where the epic is at its worst, the interpolations being more flagrant than in the case of Vishnuite eulogies. The most devout worshipper of Vishnu is represented as an adherent of Çiva, as invoking him for help after fighting with him. He is "invincible before the three worlds." He is the sun; his blood is ashes. All the gods, with Brahm[=a] at their head, revere him. He has three heads, three faces, six arms (compare iii. 39. 74 ff.; 83. 125); though other passages give him more.]

[Footnote 27: Çiva has as sign the bull: Vishnu, the boar.]

[Footnote 28: ZDMG. xxxviii. pp. 197, 200.]

[Footnote 29: Lit. u. Cultur, p. 461.]

[Footnote 30: Holtzmann now says (in Neunzehn Bücher, p.
198) that the whole episode which terminates with Baladeva's
visit an addition to the original. Holtzmann's monograph on
Brahm[=a] is in ZDMG. xxxviii. 167.]

[Footnote 31: A good example is that of the two visions of
Arjuna, first the vision of Vishnu, then another vision of
Çiva, whom Arjuna and Vishnu visit (vii. 80).]

[Footnote 32: Çankara and Çiva mean almost the same; 'giver
of blessings' and 'prospering' (or 'kindly'), respectively.]

[Footnote 33: Brahma[n.]as sumahotsavas (compare the commentator). The sam[=a]ja of Brahm[=a] may be explained by that of Çiva mentioned in the same place and described elsewhere (iv. 13. 14 ff.; i. 164. 20).]

[Footnote 34: Not sleeping, Vishnu, despite svapimi, does not slumber; he only muses.]

[Footnote 35: Man (divine) and god human, but N[=a]r[=a]yana is a new name of Vishnu, and the two are reckoned as two inseparable seers (divinities).]

[Footnote 36: This is the only really trinitarian passage in the epic. In i. 1. 32; xiii. 16. 15, the belief may be indicated, but not certainly, as it is in Hariv. 10,662. See on this point Holtzroann, ZDMG. xxxviii. p. 204. In xiv. 54. 14 the form is V[=i]shnu, Brahm[=a], Indra.]

[Footnote 37: Compare 339. 114, "thou art pañcamah[=a]kalpa." The commentator gives the names of five sects, S[=a]ura, Ç[=a]kta, G[=a]neça, Ç[=a]iva, Vaishnava. The 'five times,' implied in Pañcak[=a]ta, he says are day, night, month, seasons, and year (ib. 66). In 340. 117 (which chapter is Pancar[=a]tric), Brahm[=a] "knows that Vishnu is superior."]

[Footnote 38: V[=a]j. S. xvi. 1-66; T[=a]itt. S. iv. 5. 1-11.]

[Footnote 39: Çiva has no ordinary sacrifice: he is (as above) in general a destroyer of sacrifice, i.e., of Vedic sacrifice; but as Paçupati, "Lord of beasts," he claims the bloody sacrifice of the first beast, man.]

[Footnote 40: The usual opinion is that phallic worship was
a trait of southern tribes foisted upon northern Çivaism.
Philosophically Çivaism is first monotheistic and then
pantheistic, To-day it is nominally pantheistic but really
it is dualistic.]

[Footnote 41: There are indications in this passage of some sectarian feeling, and the fear of partisan warfare (229); in regard to which we add from Muir and Holtzmann the passage XII. 343. 121, where is symbolized a peaceful issue of war between Vishnuism and Çivaism.]

[Footnote 42: Grahas are also planets, but in this cult they are not astrological, as show their names.]

[Footnote 43: They are possibly old, as Weber thinks, but they seem to have nothing in common with the ancient female divinities.]

[Footnote 44: Compare another hymn to Durg[=a] in IV. 6. 5 ff. (late). Durgi was probably an independent local deity, subsequently regarded as Çiva's female side. She plays a great rôle, under various names, in the 'revived' literature, as do the love-god and Ganeça. In both hymns she is 'Vishnu's sister,' and in IV. 6 a 'pure virgin.']

[Footnote 45: One comparatively new god deserves a passing mention, Dharma's son, K[=a]ma, the (Grecian?) love-god, 'the mind-shaker,' 'the limbless one,' whose arrows are like those of Cupid (I. 66. 32; 171. 34; III. 46. 2). He is an adventitious addition to the epic. His later name of Ananga occurs in XII. 59. 91. In I. 71. 41 and 171. 40 he is Manmatha. The Atharvan god also has darts, III. 25, a mark of this latest Veda.]

[Footnote 46: Compare ii. 22. 18: "Great holiness, great glory, penance, death in battle, these are each respectively productive of heaven; the last alone is a sure cause."]

[Footnote 47: This description and the sentiments are quite late. The same sort of heaven (without the philosophical bitterness, with which compare above, p. 229) is, however, found in other passages, somewhat augmented with nymphs and facile goddesses.]

[Footnote 48: This doctrine is supposed by some scholars to be due to outside influence, but the doubt is not substantiated, and even in the Rig Veda one passage appears to refer to it. Doubtless, however, the later expanded view, with its complicated reckonings, may have been touched by foreign influence.]

[Footnote 49: Na [=a]san s[=a]ma-[r.]g-yajur-varn[=a]s. In xii. 342. 8 the order is Rik-Yajus-Atharvan-S[=a]man. The habit of putting S[=a]man instead of Rik at the head of the Vedas is still kept in the late litany to Çiva, who is "the S[=a]man among the Vedas" meaning, of course, the first and best. In the same place, "Çiva is the Itih[=a]sa" epic (xiii. 14. 323; and ib. 17. 78, 91), for the epic outweighs all the Vedas in its own estimation.]

[Footnote 50: iii. 149. 14; 188. 22; 189. 32; probably with a recollection of the colors of the four castes, white, red, yellow, black. According to xii. 233. 32, there is no sacrifice in the Krita age, but, beginning with the Tret[=a] age, there is a general diffusion of sacrifice in the Dv[=a]para age. In another passage of the same book it is said that marriage laws arose in the Dv[=a]para age (207. 38 ff.).]

[Footnote 51: The teaching varies somewhat in the allotment of years. See Manu, I. 67.]

[Footnote 52: Weber thinks, on the other hand, that the parties represent respectively, Çiva and Vishuu worship, Ind. St. i. 206.]

[Footnote 53: This book also is closely in touch with the later Pur[=a]nas. For instance, Citragupta, Yama's secretary, is known only to the books of the pseudo-epic, the Vishnu Pur[=a]na, the Padma Pur[=a]na, etc.]

[Footnote 54: Neunzehn Bücher, p. 86.]

[Footnote 55: The epic does not care much for castes in some passages. In one such it is said that members of all castes become priests when they go across the Gomal, iii. 84. 48.]

[Footnote 56: xii. 319. 87 ff. (pr[=a]pya j[=n][=a]namç[=u]dr[=a]d api); xii. 328. 49 (çr[=a]vayee caturo var[n.][=a]n). The epic regards itself as more than equivalent (adhikam) to the four Vedas, i. 1. 272.]

[Footnote 57: Some ascribe the sams[=a]ra doctrine to
Buddhistic influence—a thesis supported only by the fact
that this occurs in late Brahmanic passages and Upanishads.
But the assumption that Upanishads do not precede Buddha is
scarcely tenable. The Katha, according to Weber (Sits.
Berl. Ak.
1890, p. 930), is late (Christian!): according to
Oldenberg and Whitney, early (Buddha, p. 56; Proc. AOS.
May, 1886).]

[Footnote 58: xii. 295. 5-6.]

[Footnote 59: Noteworthy is the fact that parts of the
Çivaite thirteenth book seem to be most Buddhistic (ch. i.;
143. 48, etc.), and monotheistic (16. 12 ff.): though the
White Islanders are made Vishnuite in the twelfth. Compare
Holtzmann, ad. loc.]

[Footnote 60: Nirv[=a]na, loosely used; termini technici;
possibly the evils of the fourth age; the mention of
(Buddhist) temples, etc.]

[Footnote 61: On this point we agree neither with Weber, who regards the avatars as an imitation of the Incarnation (Ind. St. ii. p. 169), nor with Schroeder, who (Literatur und Cultur, p. 330) would derive the notion from the birth-stories of Buddha. In our opinion the avatar-theory is older than either and is often only an assimilation of outlying totem-gods to the Brahman's god, or as in the case of the flood-story the necessary belief that the 'fish' must have been the god of the race. Some of these avatars are Brahmanic, presumably pre-Buddhistic.]

[Footnote 62: Krishna's Geburtsfest (janm[=a][s.]tam[=i]), 1867.]

[Footnote 63: Since they do not appear till after the real epic we date them tentatively as arising after 600 A.D. Most of them are in still later Pur[=a]nas.]

[Footnote 64: Incidental rapport with the Greeks has been pointed out in other instances; the surang[=a], a mine, of the late tale in i. 148. 12, etc (Ind. St. ii. p. 395), has been equated with syrinx; Skanda with Alexander, etc. It is needless to say that each of these is only a guess in etymology. But Greek influence is perceptible in the Greek soldiers and names of (Greek) kings that are found in the epic.]

[Footnote 65: Ind. St. i. 423; ii. 169. Weber believes that little is native to India which resembles Christianity in the way of theology; lore of God, special grace, monotheism, all to him are stolen. We regret that we must disagree with him in these instances.]

[Footnote 66: Ekata, Dvita, Trita. A Dvita appears as early as the Rig Veda. Ekata is an analogous formation and is old also.]

[Footnote 67: Hrish[=i]keça is 'lord of senses,' a common epithet of Vishnu (Krishna).]

[Footnote 68: i. 107. 1 ff. The spirits of the dead come to him and comfort him in the shape of birds—an old trait, compare B[=a]udh. Dh. Ç[=a]st. ii. 8. 14. 10; Çat. Br. vi. 1. 1. 2.]

[Footnote 69: xii. 300. 20.]

* * * * *



Archaeologia, 'ancient lore,' is the meaning of Pur[=a]na (pur[=a]na, 'old'). The religious period represented by the extant writings of this class is that which immediately follows the completion of the epic.[1] These works, although they contain no real history, yet reflect history very plainly, and since the advent and initial progress of Puranic Hinduism, with its various cults, is contemporary with important political changes, it will be necessary briefly to consider the circumstances in which arose these new creeds, for they were destined to become in the future the controlling force in the development of Hindu religion.

In speaking of the extension of Buddhism we showed that its growth was influenced in no small degree by the fact that this caste-less and, therefore, democratic religion was adopted by post-Alexandrine rulers in the Graeco-Bactrian period. At this time the Aryans were surrounded with foreigners and pagans. To North and South spread savage or half Hinduized native tribes, while soldiers of Greece and Bactria encamped in the valley of the Ganges. Barbarians had long been active in the North, and some scholars have even claimed that Buddha's own family was of Turanian origin. The Brahmans then as now retained their prestige only as being repositories of ancient wisdom; and outside of their own 'holy land' their influence was reduced to a minimum by the social and political tendencies that accompanied the growth of Buddhism. After the fourth century B.C. the heart of India, the 'middle district,' between the Him[=a]laya and Vindhya mountains from Delhi to Benares,[2] was trampled upon by one Graeco-Bactrian horde after another. The principal effect of this rude dominion was eventually to give political equality to the two great rival religions. The Buddhist and the Brahman lived at last if not harmoniously, at least pacifically, side by side. Members of the same reigning family would profess Buddhism or Brahmanism indifferently. One king would sometimes patronize both religions. And this continued to be the case till Buddhism faded out, replaced by that Hinduism which owed its origin partly to native un-Aryan influence (paganism), partly to this century-long fusion of the two state religions.

To review these events: In the first decades of the fourth century (320 or 315-291 B.C.) Candragupta, Sandrocottos, had built up a monarchy in Beh[=a]r[3] on the ruins left by the Greek invasion, sharing his power with Seleucus in the Northwest, and had thus prepared the way for his grandson, Açoka, the great patron of Buddhism (264 or 259). This native power fell before the hosts of Northern barbarians, which, after irruptions into India in the second century, got a permanent foothold there in the first century B.C. These Northern barbarians (their nationality is uncertain), whose greatest king was Kanishka, 78 A.D., ruled for centuries the land they had seized; but they were vanquished at last in the sixth century, probably by Vikram[=a]ditya,[4] and were driven out. The breathing-space between Northern barbarian and Mohammedan was nominally not a long one, but since the first Moslem conquests had no definitive result the new invaders did not quite overthrow Hindu rule till the end of the tenth century. During this period the native un-Aryan tribes, with their Hinduizing effect, were more destructive as regards the maintenance of the old Brahmanic cult than were outsiders.[5]

When Tamerlane invaded India his was the fourth invasion after the conquest of the Punj[=a]b by the Moslem in 664.[6] In 1525 the fifth conqueror, Baber, fifth too in descent from Tamerlane, founded the Mogul empire that lasted till the fall of this dynasty (nominally till 1857). But it must be remembered that each new conqueror from 997 till 1525 merely conquered old Mohammedan dynasties with new invasions. It was all one to the Hindu. He had the Mohammedan with him all this time only each new rival's success made his lot the harder, But Baber's grandson, the Great Mogul, Akbar (who reigned from 1556 to 1605), gave the land not only peace but kindness; and under him Jew, Christian, Hindu, and Mohammedan at last forgot to fear or fight. After this there is only the overthrow of the Mohammedan power to record; and the rise of the Mahratta native kingdoms. A new faith resulted from the amalgamation of Hinduism with Mohammedism (after 1500), as will be shown hereafter. [8] In the pauses before the first Mohammedan invasion, and between the first defeat of the Mohammedans and their successful second conquest, the barbarians being now expelled and Buddhism being decadent, Brahmanism rallied. In the sixth century there was toleration for all faiths. In the seventh century Kum[=a]rila renewed the strength of Brahmanism on the ritualistic side with attacks on Buddhism, and in the ninth century Çankara placed the philosophy of unsectarian pantheism on a firm basis by his commentary on the Ved[=a]nta S[=u]tra.[7] These two men are the re-makers of ancient Brahmanism, which from this time on continued in its stereotyped form, adopting Hindu gods very coyly, and only as spirits of small importance, while relying on the laws as well as the gods of old, on holy [=a]c[=a]ra or 'custom,' and the now systematized exposition of its old (Upanishad) philosophy.[8] Its creative force was already spent. Buddhism, on the other hand, was dying a natural death. The time was ripe for Hinduism, which had been gathering strength for centuries. After the sixth century, and perhaps even as late as 1500, or later, were written the modern Pur[=a]nas, which embody the new belief.[9] They cannot, on account of the distinct advance in their cult, have appeared before the end of the epic age. The breathing spell (between barbarian and complete Mohammedan conquest) which gave opportunity to Kum[=a]rila to take a high hand with Buddhism, was an opportunity also for the codification of the new creeds. It is, therefore, to this era that one has probably to refer the first of the modern sectarian Pur[=a]nas, though the ritualistic Tantras and [=A]gamas of the lower Çivaite sects doubtless belong rather to the end than to the beginning of the period. We are strengthened in this belief by the fact that the oldest of these works do not pretend to antedate Kum[=a]rila's century, though the sects mentioned in the epic are known in the first centuries of the Christian era. The time from the first to the seventh centuries one may accordingly suppose to have been the era during which was developing the Brahmanized form of the early Hindu sects, the literature of these and subsequent sects being composed in the centuries succeeding the latter term. These sects again divide into many subdivisions, of which we shall speak below. At present we take up the character of the Pur[=a]nas and their most important points of difference as compared with the sectarian parts of the earlier pseudo-epic, examining especially the trinitarian doctrine, which they inculcate, and its history.

Save in details, even the special 'faith-scriptures' called Tantras go no further than go the Pur[=a]nas in advocating the cult of their particular divinities. And to this advocacy of special gods all else in this class of writings is subordinated. The ideal Pur[=a]na is divided into five parts, cosmogony, new creations, genealogies of gods and heroes, manvantaras (descriptions of periodic 'ages,' past and future), and dynasties of kings. But no extant Pur[=a]na is divided thus. In the epic the doctrine of trinitarianism is barely formulated. Even in the Harivança, or Genealogy, va[.n]ça, of Vishnu, there is no more than an inverted triunity, 'one form, three gods,' where, in reality, all that is insisted upon is the identity of Vishnu and Çiva, Brahm[=a] being, as it were, perfunctorily added.[10] In the Pur[=a]nas, on the other hand, while the trinity is acknowledged, religion is resolved again into a sort of sectarian monotheism, where the devotee seems to be in the midst of a squabbling horde of temple-priests, each fighting for his own idol. In the calmer aspects of religion, apart from sectarian schism, these writings offer, indeed, much that is of second-rate interest, but little that is of real value. The idle speculations in regard to former divinities are here made cobweb thin. The philosophy is not new, nor is the spirit of religion raised, even in the most inspired passages, to the level which it has reached in the Divine Song. Some of these Pur[=a]nas, of which eighteen chief are cited, but with an unknown number of subordinate works,[11] may claim a respectable age; many of them are the most wretched stuff imaginable, bearing about the same literary and historical relation to earlier models as do the later legal Smritis. In fact, save for their religious (sectarian) purport, the Pur[=a]nas for sections together do not differ much in content from legal Smritis, out of which some may have been evolved, though, probably, they were from their inception legendary rather than didactic. It is more probable, therefore, that they appropriated Smriti material just as they did epic material; and though it is now received opinion that legal Smritis are evolved out of S[=u]tras, this yet can be the case only with the oldest, even if the statement then can be accepted in an unqualified form. In our own opinion it is highly probable that Pur[=a]nas and later legal Smritis are divergent developments from the same source.[12] One gives an account of creation, and proceeds to tell about the social side; the other sticks to the accounts of creation, goes on to theology, takes up tales of heroes, introduces speculation, is finally wrenched over to and amplified by sectarian writers, and so presents a composite that resembles epic and law, and yet is generally religious and speculative.

A striking instance of this may be seen in the law-book of 'Vishnu.' Here there is an old base of legal lore, S[=u]tra, interlarded with Puranic material, and built up with sectarianism. The writer is a Vishnuite, and while recognizing the trinity, does not hesitate to make his law command offerings to Krishna V[=a]sudeva, and his family (Pradyumna, Aniruddha), along with the regular Brahmanic oblations to older spirits.[13] Brahmanism recognized Hindu deities as subordinate powers at an early date, at least as early as the end of the S[=u]tra period; while Manu not only recognizes Vishnu and Çiva (Hara), but recommends an oblation to Çr[=i] and K[=a]l[=i] (Bhadrak[=a]li, here, as elsewhere, is Durg[=a]).[14]

In their original form the Pur[=a]nas were probably Hesiodic in a great extent, and doubtless contained much that was afterwards specially developed in more prolix form in the epic itself. But the works that are come down as Pur[=a]nas are in general of later sectarian character, and the epic language, phraseology, and descriptions of battles are more likely taken straight from the epic than preserved from ante-epic times. Properly speaking one ought to give first place to the Pur[=a]nas that are incorporated into the epic. The epic M[=a]rkandeya Pur[=a]na, for instance, is probably a good type of one of the earlier works that went by this name. That the present Pur[=a]nas are imitations of the epic, in so far as they treat of epic topics, may be presumed from the fact that although they often have the formulae intact of the battlefield,[15] yet do they not remain by epic descriptions but add weapons, etc., of more modern date than are employed in the original.[16]

The sectarian monotheism of the Pur[=a]nas never resulted in dispensing with the pantheon. The Hindu monotheist is a pantheist, and whether sectarian or philosophical, he kept and added to his pantheon.[17] Indra is still for warriors, Maruts for husbandmen, although old views shift somewhat. So for example, in the K[=u]rma Pur[=a]na the Gandharvas are added for the Ç[=u]dras.[18] The fourfoldness, which we have shown in the epic to be characteristic of Vishnu, is now represented by the military epithet caturvy[=u]has (agmen quadratum), in that the god represents peace, wisdom, support, and renunciation; though, as a matter of fact, he is avy[=u]ha, i.e., without any of these.[19] Starting with the physical 'god of the four quarters,' one gets even in the epic the 'controller of four,' or perfect person, conceived like [Greek: anêr tetragônos]. Tennyson's 'four-square to all the winds that blow' is a good connecting link in the thought. The Pur[=a]nas are a mine of legend, although most of the stories seem to be but epic tales, more or less distorted. Nala 'the great-great-grandson of R[=a]ma' is described after the history of R[=a]ma himself; the installation of P[=u]ru, when his father had passed over his eldest son, and such reminiscences of the epic are the stock in trade of the legendary writers.[20]

The origin of the four castes;[21] the descriptions of hell, somewhat embellished,[22] where the 'sinful are cooked in fire';[23] the exaltation of Vishnu as Krishna or K[=a]ma in one, and that of Çiva in another—these and similar aspects are reflections of epic matter, spirit, tone, and language, only the faith is still fiercer in religious matters, and the stories are fainter in historical references. According to the Pur[=a]na last cited: "There is no expiation for one that bows to a phallic emblem," i.e., Çivaite, and "all the B[=a]uddhas are heretics";[24] and according to the K[=u]rma Pur[=a]na: "Vishnu is the divinity of the gods; Çiva, of the devils," although the preceding verses teach, in the spirit of the Divine Song, that each man's divinity is that which he conceives to be the divinity. Such is the concluding remark made by Vasistha in adjudicating the strife between the Vishnuite and Çivaite sectaries of the epic heroes.[25] The relation that the Puranic literature bears to religion in the minds of its authors is illustrated by the remark of the N[=a]rad[=i]ya to the effect that the god is to be honored "by song, by music, by dance, and by recounting the Pur[=a]nas" (xvii. 9).

Some of the epic religious ceremonies which there are barely alluded to are here described with almost the detail of a technical handbook. So the N[=a]nd[=i]ya (xix.) gives an elaborate account of the raising of a dhvaja or standard as a religious ceremony.[26] The legal rules affecting morality and especially caste-intercourse[27] show a laxity in regard to the rules as formerly preached. Even the old Puranic form of the epic is reproduced, as when M[=a]rkandeya converses again with Yudhistris, exactly as he does in the epic.[28] The duration of the ages; the fruit of sacrifices, among which are still mentioned the r[=a]jas[=u]ya, açvamedha, and other ancient rites;[29] the virtue of holy-places;[30] the admixture of pure pantheism with the idea of a personal creation[31]—these traits are again just those which have been seen already in the epic, nor is the addition of sections on temple-service, or other more minute details of the cult, of particular importance in a history of religious ideas.

The Pur[=a]nas for our present purpose may all be grouped with the remark that what is ancient in them is a more or less fugitive resemblance to the epic style and matter;[32] what is new is the more pronounced sectarianism with its adventitious growth of subordinate spiritualities and exaggerated miracles. Thus for instance in the Var[=a]ha Pur[=a]na there are eleven, in the Bh[=a]gavat Pur[=a]na twenty (instead of the older ten) avatars of Vishnu. So too the god of love—although K[=a]ma and his dart are recognized in the late Atharvan—as a petty spirit receives homage only in the latest S[=u]tra (as Cupid, [=A]pastamba, ii, 2. 4. 1), and in late additions to the epic he is a little god; whereas in the drama he is prominent, and in the Pur[=a]nas his cult is described at length (though to-day he has no temple). The 'mother'-fiend P[=u]tan[=a], who suckles babes to slay them, is scarcely known to the early epic, but she is a very real personality in the late epic and Pur[=a]nas.

The addition to the trinity of the peculiar inferior godhead that is advocated in any one Pur[=a]na, virtually making four divinities, is characteristic of the period.

In proportion as sectarian ardor is heightened religious tone is lowered. The Puranic votary clinging to his one idea of god curses all them that believe in other aspects of the divinity. Blind bigotry fills the worshipper's soul. Religion becomes mere fanaticism. But there is also tolerance. Sometimes in one and the same Pur[=a]na rival forms are honored. The modern Hindu sects are in part the direct development of Puranic doctrine. But most of the sects of to-day are of very recent date, though their principles are often of respectable antiquity, as are too their sectarian signs, as well as the animals of their gods, some of which appear to be totems of the wild tribes, while others are merely objects of reverence among certain tribes. Thus the ram and the elephant are respectively the ancient beasts of Agni and Indra. Çiva has the bull; his spouse, the tiger. Earth and Skanda have appropriated the peacock, Skanda having the cock also. Yama has the buffalo (compare the Khond, wild-tribe, substitution of a buffalo for a man in sacrifice). Love has the parrot, etc; while the boar and all Vishnu's animals in avatars are holy, being his chosen beasts.[33]


A classification of older sects (the unorthodox) than those of the present remains to us from the works of Çankara's reputed disciple, [=A]nanda Giri, and of M[=a]dhava [=A]c[=a]rya, the former a writer of the ninth, the latter of the fourteenth century. According to the statements made by these writers there were a great number of sects, regarded as partly heterodox or wholly so, and it is interesting in examining the list of these to see that some of the epic sects (their names at least) are still in full force, while on the other hand the most important factions of to-day are not known at all; and that many sects then existed which must have been at that time of great antiquity, although now they have wholly passed away.[34] These last are indeed to the author of the critique of the sects not wholly heterodox. They are only too emphatic, in worshipping their peculiar divinity, to suit the more modern conceptions of the Hindu reviewer. But such sects are of the highest importance, for they show that despite all the bizarre bigotry of the Pur[=a]nas the old Vedic gods (as in the epic) still continue to hold their own, and had their own idols and temples apart from other newer gods. The Vedic divinities, the later additions in the shape of the god of love, the god of wealth, Kubera,[35] the heavenly bird, Garuda, the world-snake, Çesha, together with countless genii, spirits, ghosts, the Manes, the heavenly bodies, stars, etc., all these were revered, though of less importance than the gods of Vishnuite and Çivaite sects. Among these latter the Çivaite sects are decidedly of less interest than the corresponding Vishnuite heresies, while the votaries of Brahm[=a] (exclusively) are indeed mentioned, but they cannot be compared with those of the other two great gods.[36] To-day there is scarcely any homage paid to Brahm[=a], and it is not probable that there ever was the same devotion or like popularity in his case as in the case of his rivals. Other interesting sects of this period are the Sun-worshippers, who still exist but in no such numbers as when [=A]nand[=a] Giri counted six formal divisions of them. The votaries of these sub-sects worshipped some, the rising sun, some, the setting sun, while some again worshipped the noonday sun, and others, all three as a tri-m[=u]rti. Another division worshipped the sun in anthropomorphic shape, while the last awakens the wrath of the orthodox narrator by branding themselves with hot irons.[37]

Ganeça,[38] the lord of Çiva's hosts, had also six classes of worshippers; but he has not now as he then had a special and peculiar cult, though he has many temples in Benares and elsewhere. Of the declared Çivaite sects of that day, six are mentioned, but of these only one survives, the 'wandering' Jangamas of South India, the Çivaite R[=a]udras, Ugras, Bh[=a]ktas, and P[=a]çupatis having yielded to more modern sectaries.

Some at least among the six sects of the Vishnuite sects, which are described by the old writers, appear to have been more ancient. Here too one finds Bh[=a]ktas, and with them the Bh[=a]gavatas, the old P[=a]ñcar[=a]tras, the 'hermit' V[=a]ikh[=a]nasas, and Karmah[=i]nas, the latter "having no rites." Concerning these sects one gets scanty but direct information. They all worshipped Vishnu under one form or another, the Bh[=a]ktas as V[=a]sudeva, the Bh[=a]gavatas[39] as Bhagavat. The latter resembled the modern disciples of R[=a]m[=a]nuja and revered the holy-stone, appealing for authority to the Upanishads and to the Bhagavad Git[=a], the Divine Song. Some too worshipped Vishnu exclusively as N[=a]r[=a]yana, and believed in a heaven of sensual delights. The other sects, now extinct, offer no special forms of worship. What is historically most important is that in this list of sects are found none that particularly worship the popular divinities of to-day, no peculiar cult of Krishna as an infant and no monkey-service.

Infidel sects are numerous in this period, of which sects the worst in the old writers' opinion is the sensual C[=a]rv[=a]ka. Then follow the (Buddhist) Ç[=u]nyav[=a]ds, who believe in 'void,' and S[=a]ugatas, who believe that religion consists only in kindness, the Kshapanakas, and the Jains. The infamous 'left-hand' sectaries are also well known.

To one side of the Puranic religions, from the earlier time of which comes this account of heresies, reference has been made above: the development of the fables in regard to the infant Krishna. That the cult is well known in the later Pur[=a]nas and is not mentioned in this list of wrong beliefs seems to show that the whole cult is of modern growth, even if one does not follow Weber in all his signs of modification of the older practice.


For the history of the cult there is in these works much to interest one in the description and determination of popular festivals in honor of the great sectarian gods. Further details of more specific nature are given in other works which need not here be regarded. By far the most important of these festivals are those that seem to have been absorbed by the sectarian cults, although they were originally more popular. Weber in the paper on the r[=a]jas[=u]ya, to which we have had occasion several times to refer, has shown that a popular element abided long in the formal celebrations of the Brahmanic ritual.[40] is soundly beaten; that gaming creeps into the ceremony as a popular aspect; that there was a special ceremony to care katsenjammer caused by over-drinking; and that the whole ceremony was a popular spring festival, such as is found to-day (but without the royal part in the play).

Undoubtedly the original celebration was a popular one. Today the most interesting of these popular fêtes is in all respects the New Year's Festival and the Spring Festival. The latter has been cut up into several parts, and to show the whole intent of the original ceremonial it is necessary to take up the disjecta membra and place them side by side, as has been done by Wilson, whose sketch of these two festivals, together with that by Gover of the New Year's Feast called Pongol, we give in abstract, premising that, however close be the comparison with European festivals of like nature, we doubt whether there is any historical connection between them and the Hindu celebrations.

We begin with the more popular New Year's, the Pongol:[41] The interesting feature of this South India festival is that the Hindus have done their best to alter its divinities and failed. They have, indeed, for Indra and Agni got Krishna formally accepted as the god in whose honor it is supposed to be held, but the feast remains a native festival, and no one really thinks of the Puranic gods in connection with it. Europe also has seen such dynamic alterations of divinities in cases where feasts would insist till patrons of an orthodox kind were foisted upon them to give an air of propriety to that which remained heathenish.[42] The Pongol is a New Year's festival lasting for three days. The first day is for Indra; the second, for (Agni) S[=u]rya;[43] the third (to which is added, as a wind-up, a fourth day), for cattle. The whole feast is a harvest-home and celebration of cattle. The chief ceremony is the cooking of rice, which is put to boil with great solemnity, and luck for the next year is argued from its boiling well. If it does so a universal shout arises,[44] all rush about, congratulate, and give presents to each other, and merry-making follows. On the cattle-days the beasts are led about with painted horns and decorated with ribbons, and are then chased and robbed by the boys. The image of Ganeça is the only one seen, and his worship is rather perfunctory. On the evening of the last day the women have a party, paying obeisance to a peacock, and indulging in a family reunion of very simple character. On this occasion the girl-wife may return for a few hours to her mother. It is the only general fête for women during the year.

Not unlike this festival of the extreme south is the New Year's celebration at the mouth of the Ganges. Here there is a grand fair and jewels are cast into the river as propitiation to the river-goddess. Not long ago it was quite customary to fling children also into the river, but this usage has now been abolished.[45] Offerings are made to the Manes, general and particular, and to the All-gods. As with the Pongol, the feast is one of good-fellowship where presents are distributed, and its limit is the end of the third day. After this the festivities have no religious character. Thousands of pilgrims assemble for this fête. Wilson, who gives an account of this celebration, compares the ancient Roman New Year's, with the mutui amoris pignora which were sent at that season. The gifts in India are sweetmeats and other delicacies, ominous of good for the next year.[46]

On the 2d of February occurs a feast to Çr[=i], or Lakshm[=i], Vishnu's bride, patroness of all prosperity to her worshippers. At present it is a literary festival on which all books, inkstands, pens, etc., are cleaned and worshipped, as adjuncts to Sarasvat[=i], the goddess of learning. This is rather significant, for Sarasvat[=i] is properly the wife of Brahm[=a], but the Vishnuites of Bengal have made her the wife of Vishnu, and identified her with Çr[=i]. It is to be noticed that in this sole celebration of abstract learning and literature there is no recognition of Çiva, but rather of his rival. Çiva and Ganeça are revered because they might impede, not because, as does Sarasvat[=i], they further literary accomplishment. Sarasvat[=i] is almost the only fair goddess. She is represented not as a horror, but as a beautiful woman sitting on a lotus, graceful in shape, a crescent on her brow.[47] The boys, too, celebrate the day with games, bat and ball, prisoner's base, and others "of a very European character." The admixture of sectarian cults is shown by the transference to this Vishnuite feast of the Çivaite (Durg[=a]) practice of casting into the river the images of the goddess.[48] When applied distinctly to Sarasvat[=i] the feast is observed in August-September; when to Lakshm[=i], in October-November, or in February. There is, however, another feast, celebrated in the North and South, which comes on the exact date fixed by the Romans for the beginning of spring, and as an ending to this there is a feast to K[=a]ma, Cupid, and his bride Rati ('Enjoyment'). This is the Vasanta, or spring festival of prosperity and love, which probably was the first form of the Lakshm[=i]-Sarasvat[=i] feast.

Another traditional feast of this month is the 10th[49] (the eleventh lunar day of the light half of M[=a]gha). The eleventh lunar day is particularly holy with the Vishnuites, as is said in the Brahma Pur[=a]na, and this is a Vishnuite festival. It is a day of fasting and prayer, with presents to priests.[50] It appears to be a mixture of Vedic prayers and domestic Vishnu-worship. On the 11th of February the fast is continued, and in both the object is expiation of sin. The latter is called the feast of 'six sesamum acts,' for sesamum is a holy plant, and in each act of this rite it plays a part. Other rites of this month are to the Manes on the 14th, 22d, and 24th of February. Bathing and oblation are requisite, and all are of a lustral and expiatory nature. Wilson remarks on the fact that it is the same time of year in which the Romans gave oblations to the Manes, and that Februus is the god of purification. "There can be no reasonable doubt that the Feralia of the Romans and the Çr[=a]ddha (feast to the Manes) of the Hindus, the worship of the Pitris and of the Manes, have a common character, and had a common origin."[51]

The 27th of February is the greatest Çivaite day in the year. It celebrates Çiva's first manifestation of himself in phallic form. To keep this day holy expiates from all sin, and secures bliss hereafter. The worshipper must fast and revere the Linga. Offerings are made to the Linga. It is, of course, a celebration formed of unmeaning repetitions of syllables and the invocation of female Çaktis, snapping the fingers, gesticulating, and performing all the humbug called for by Çivaite worship. The Linga is bathed in milk, decorated, wrapped in bilva leaves, and prayed to; which ceremony is repeated at intervals with slight changes. All castes, even the lowest, join in the exercises. Even women may use the mantras.[52] Vigil and fasting are the essentials of this worship.[53]

The next festival closes these great spring celebrations. It bears two names, and originally was a double feast, the first part being the Dol[=a] Y[=a]tr[=a], or 'Swing-procession,' the second part being the execrable Holi. They are still kept distinct in some places, and when this occurs the Dolotsava, or Dol[=a] Y[=a]tr[=a], follows the Holi. They are both spring festivals, and answer roughly to May-day, though in India they come at the full moon of March. We have followed Wilson's enumeration of all the minor spring feasts, that they may be seen in their entirety. But in ancient times there was probably one long Vasantotsava (spring-festival), which lasted for weeks, beginning with a joyous celebration (2d of February) and continuing with lustral ceremonies, as indicated by the now detached feast days already referred to. The original cult, in Wilson's opinion, has been changed, and the Dol[=a] Y[=a]tr[=a] is now given over to the Krishna-cult, while the Hol[=i] divinity is a hobgoblin. The Dol[=a] Yatr[=a] begins with fasting and ends (as Hol[=i]) with fire-worship. An image of Krishna is sprinkled with red powder (ab[=i]r), and after this (religious) ceremony a bonfire[54] is made, and an effigy, Holik[=a], is put upon it and burned. The figure is carried to the fire in a religious procession headed by Vishnuite or Brahman priests, of course accompanied with music and song. After seven circumambulations of the fire the figure is burned. This is the united observance of the first day. At dawn on the morning of the second day the image of Krishna is placed in a swing, dol[=a], and swung back and forth a few times, which ceremony is repeated at noon and at sunset. During the day, wherever a swing is put up, and in the vicinity, it is the common privilege to sprinkle one's friend with the red powder or red rose-water. Boys and common people run about the streets sprinkling red water or red powder over all passengers, and using abusive (obscene) language. The cow-herd caste is conspicuous at this ceremony. The cow-boys, collecting in parties under a koryphaios, hold, as it were, a komos, leaping, singing, and dancing[55] through the streets, striking together the wands which they carry. These cow-boys not only dress (as do others) in new clothes on this occasion,[56] but they give their cattle new equipments, and regard the whole frolic as part of a religious rite in honor of Krishna, the cow-herd. But all sects take part in the performance (that is to say, in the Hol[=i] portion), both Çivaites and Vishnuites. When the moon is full the celebration is at its height. Hol[=i] songs are sung, the crowd throws ab[=i]r the chiefs feast, and an all-night orgy ends the long carousal.[57] In the south the Dol[=a] takes place later, and is distinct from the Hol[=i]. The burning here is of K[=a]ma, commemorating the love-god's death by the fire of Çiva's eye, when the former pierced the latter's heart, and inflamed him with love. For this reason the bonfire is made before a temple of Çiva. K[=a]ma is gone from the northern cult, and in upper India only a hobgoblin, Hol[=i], a foul she-devil, is associated with the rite. The whole performance is described and prescribed in one of the late Pur[=a]nas.[58] In some parts of the country the bonfire of the Hol[=i] is made about a tree, to which offerings are made, and afterwards the whole is set on fire. For a luminous account of the Hol[=i], which is perhaps the worst open rite of Hinduism, participated in by all sects and classes, we may cite the words of the author of Ante-Brahmanical Religions: "It has been termed the Saturnalia or Carnival of the Hindus. Verses the most obscene imaginable are ordered to be read on the occasion. Figures of men and women, in the most indecent and disgusting attitudes, are in many places openly paraded through the streets; the most filthy words are uttered by persons who, on other occasions, would think themselves disgraced by the use of them; bands of men parade the street with their clothes all bespattered with a reddish dye; dirt and filth are thrown upon all that are seen passing along the road; all business is at a stand, all gives way to license and riot."[59]

Besides these the most brilliant festivals are the R[=a]s Y[=a]tr[=a] in Bengal (September-October), commemorating the dance of Krishna with the gop[=i]s or milk-maids, and the 'Lamp-festival' (D[=i]p[=a]l[=a]), also an autumnal celebration.

The festivals that we have reviewed cover but a part of the year, but they will suffice to show the nature of such fêtes as are enjoined in the Pur[=a]nas. There are others, such as the eightfold[60] temple-worship of Krishna as a child, in July or August; the marriage of Krishna's idol to the Tulasi plant; the Awakening of Vishnu, in October, and so forth. But no others compare in importance with the New Year's and Spring festivals, except the Bengal idol-display of Jagann[=a]th, the Rath Y[=a]tr[=a] of 'Juggernaut'; and some others of local celebrity, such as the D[=u]rg[=a]-p[=u]j[=a].[61] The temples, to which reference has often been made, have this in common with the great Çivaite festivals, that to describe them in detail would be but to translate into words images and wall-paintings, the obscenity of which is better left undescribed. This, of course, is particularly true of the Çiva temples, where the actual Linga is perhaps, as Barth has said, the least objectionable of the sights presented to the eye of the devout worshipper. But the Vishnu temples are as bad. Architecturally admirable, and even wonderful, the interior is but a display of sensual immorality.[62]


In closing the Puranic period (which name we employ loosely to cover such sects as are not clearly modern) we pause for a moment to cast a glance backwards over the long development of the trinity, to the units of which are devoted the individual Pur[=a]nas. We have shown that the childhood-tales of Krishna are of late (Puranic) origin, and that most of the cow-boy exploits are post-epic. Some are referred to in the story of Çiçup[=a]la in the second book of the Mah[=a]bh[=a]rata, but this scene has been touched up by a late hand. The Vishnu Pur[=a]na, typical of the best of the Pur[=a]nas, as in many respects it is the most important and interesting, represents Krishnaite Vishnuism as its height. Here is described the birth of the man-god as a black, k[r.][s.][n.]a, baby, son of Nanda, and his real title is here Govinda, the cow-boy.[63] 'Cow-boy' corresponds to the more poetical, religious shepherd; and the milk-maids, gopis with whom Govinda dallies as he grows up, may, perhaps, better be rendered shepherdesses for the same reason. The idyllic effect is what is aimed at in these descriptions. Here Krishna plays his rude and rustic tricks, upsetting wagons, overthrowing trees and washermen, occasionally killing them he dislikes, and acting altogether much like a cow-boy of another sort. Here he puts a stop to Indra-worship, over-powers Çiva, rescues Aniruddha, marries sixteen thousand princesses, burns Benares, and finally is killed himself, he the one born of a hair of Vishnu, he that is Vishnu himself, who in 'goodness' creates, in 'darkness' destroys,[64] under the forms of Brahm[=a] and Çiva.[65]

In Vishnu, as a development of the Vedic Vishnu; in Çiva, as affiliated to Rudra; in Brahm[=a], as the Brahmanic third to these sectarian developments, the trinity has a real if remote connection with the triune fire of the Rig Veda, a two-thirds connection, filled out with the addition of the later Brahmanic head of the gods.

To ignore the fact that Vishnu and Rudra-Çiva developed inside the Brahmanic circle and increased in glory before the rise of sectaries, and to asseverate, as have some, that the two chief characters of the later trinity are an unmeaning revival of decadent gods, whose names are used craftily to veil the modernness of Krishnaism and Çivaism,—this is to miscalculate the waxing dignity of these gods in earlier Brahmanic literature. To say with Burnouf that the Vishnu of the Veda is not at all the Vishnu of the mythologists, is a statement far too sweeping. The Vishnu of the Veda is not only the same god with the Vishnu of the next era, but in that next era he has become greatly magnified. The Puranic All-god Vishnu stands in as close a relation to his Vedic prototype as does Milton's Satan to the snaky slanderer of an age more primitive.

Çiva-worship appears to have been adapted from a local cult in the mountainous West, and at an early date to have been amalgamated with that of his next resemblance, the Vedic Rudra; while Krishna-worship flourished along the Ganges. These are those Dionysos and Herakles of whom speak the old Greek authorities. One cult is possibly as venerable as the other, but while Çivaism became Brahmanized early, Krishnaism was adopted much later, and it is for this reason, amongst others, that despite its modern iniquities Çiva has appealed more to the Brahman than has Krishna.

Megasthenes tells us a good deal about these Hindu representatives of Herakles and Dionysos. According to him there were Dionysiac festivals in honor of the latter god (Çiva),[66] who belongs where flourishes the wine, in the Açvaka district, north of the Kabul river. From this place Çiva's worship extended into the East, M[=a]gadha (Beh[=a]r), around Gokarna in the West, and even to the Kalinga country in the extreme Southeast. But it was especially native to the mountainous Northwest, about the 'Gate of Ganges' (north of Delhi, near Saharampur), and still further north in Kashmeer. In the epic, Çiva has his throne on K[=a]il[=a]sa,[67] the Northern mountain, in the Him[=a]layas, and Ganges descend from the sky upon his head.

On the other hand, Herakles, of the Ganges land, where grows no wine, is plainly Krishna, who carries club, discus, and conch. The Greek cities Methora and Kleisobora are Mathur[=a] and Krishna-pur, 'Krishna-town'; the latter on the Jumna, the former near it on the same river, capital of the clan which venerated Krishna as its chief hero and god, the Y[=a]davas. Megasthenes says, also, that Herakles' daughter is Pandaie, and this agrees with the P[=a]ndya, a southern development of the epic Gangetic P[=a]ndavas, who especially worship Krishna in conjunction with the Y[=a]davas. Their South-Indic town, Mathur[=a], still attests their origin.

In speaking of the relative antiquity of Vishnuism and Çivaism one must distinguish the pantheistic form of these gods from the single forms. While Çivaism,per se, that is, the worship of Çiva as a great and terrible god, preceded the same exaltation of Krishna, as is shown by their respective literary appearance, and even by Megasthenes' remark that the worship of Dionysos preceded that of Herakles by fifteen generations, yet did Krishnaism, as a popular pantheism, come before Çivaism as such. Although in the late Çvet[=a]çvatara Upanishad Çiva is pantheistic, yet is he not so in the epic till some of the latest passages make him the All, in imitation of Krishna as All-god. Probably Çivaism remained by the first philosophy, Sankhyan dualism, and was forced into Krishna's Vedantic pantheism, as this became popular. At first neither was more than a single great god without any philosophy.[68]

In one of the early exegetical works, which is occupied somewhat with philosophical matter, there is evidence that a triad existed between the Vedic triad of fires and the Puranic triad. Fire, Wind (or Indra), and the Sun (S[=u]rya), are stated in a famous passage to be the only real gods, all the others being but names of these. But, although in form this triad (Nirukta, vii. 4, 5) is like the Vedic triad,[69] it is essentially a triad in a pantheistic system like that of the epic and Pur[=a]nas, for it is added that "all the gods are parts of one soul." In explanation it is said: "Fire is the earth-god, Wind, or Indra, is the god of the atmosphere, and the sun is the god of the sky." Now in the Rig Veda Indra is closely united not only with Agni but with Vishnu, albeit in this period Vishnu is his subordinate. The nearest approach of this Vishnu to his classical descendant is in one of the latest hymns of the Rig Veda, where it is said that the seven seeds of creation are Vishnu's, as in later times he comprises seven males. In the philosophy of the T[=a]ittir[=i]ya Samhit[=a] the three places of Vishnu are not, as in the Rig Veda, the two points of the horizon (where the sun sets) and the zenith, but 'earth, air, and sky.'[70] That is to say, in the Brahmanic period Vishnu is already a greater god than he had been. Nay, more, he is explicitly declared to be "the best of the gods."[71] That best means greatest may be shown from the same work, where in savage fable it is recited that all the gods, including Indra, ran up to him to get his strength.[72] But especially in the Upanishads is Vishnu the one great god left from the Rig Veda. And it is with the philosophical (not with the ritualistic) Vishnu that Krishna is equated.

Of Çiva, on the other hand, the prototype is Rudra ('red'), his constant sobriquet. In the Rig Veda he is the god of red lightning, who is the father of the Maruts, the storm-gods. His attributes of a fulgurant god are never lost. Even as Çiva the All-god he is still the god of the blue neck, whose three-forked trident and home among the mountains remind us of his physical origin. He is always the fairest of the gods, and both early and late he is terrible, to be averted by prayer, even where his magic 'medicines' are asked for. To him are addressed the most suppliant cries: "O Rudra, spare us, strike not the men, slay not the kine." In the Atharva Veda at every step one finds characteristics which on the one hand are but exaggerations of the type formulated in the Rig Veda, and on the other precursors of the signs of the later god. In Çivaism, in contradistinction to Vishnuism, there is not a trace of the euhemerism which has been suspected in the Krishna-Vishnu cult. The Rudra of the Rig Veda already begins to be identified with the triune fire, for he bears the standing epithet of fire, "he of three mothers."[73] And this name he keeps, whether as Rudra, who is "brilliant as the sun" (RV. i. 43. 5), whose weapon is "the shining one that is emitted from the sky and passes along the earth" (ib. vii. 46. 3); or again, as the "red boar of the sky," the "holder of the bolt" (ib. ii. 33. 3), and, above all gods, "the terrible" (x. 126. 5).

Coming to the Brahmanic period one finds him a dweller in the mountain tops, of a red color, with a blue neck, the especial lord of the mountains, and so of robbers; while he is also the 'incantation-god,' the 'god of low people.' Some of these are Rudra's attributes; but here his name is already Çiva, so that one may trace the changes down the centuries till he finds again in the epic that Çiva is the lord of mountains, the patron of thieves (Hara, robber?), and endowed with the trident, the blue neck,[74] and the three mothers of old. In the middle period he has so many titles that one probably has to accept in the subsequent Çiva not only the lineal descendant of the Vedic Rudra, but also a combination of other local cults, where clan gods, originally diverse, were worshipped as one in consequence of their mutual likeness. One of the god's especial names is here Bhava, while in the earlier period Bhava and Rudra are distinct, but they are invoked as a pair (AV).[75] What gives Çiva his later tremendous popularity, however, is the feature to which we have alluded in the chapter on the epic. In the epic, all the strength of Çiva lies in the Linga.[76] Both Bhava and Rudra, as Çarva, the archer—his local eastern name—are represented as hurling the lightning, and it is simply from identity of attributes that they have become identified in person (AV. x. i. 23). Rudra's title of Paçupati, or 'lord of cattle'[77] goes back to the Vedic age: "Be kind to the kine of him who believes in the gods" is a prayer of the Atharva Veda (xi. 2. 28). Agni and Rudra, in the Rig-Veda, are both called 'cattle-guarding,' but not for the same reason. Agni represents a fire-stockade, while Rudra in kindness does not strike with his lightning-bolt. The two ideas, with the identification of Rudra and Agni, may have merged together. Then too, Rudra has healing medicines (his magical side), and Agni is kindest to men. All Agni's names are handed over in the Br[=a]hmanas to Rudra-Çiva, just as Rudra previously had taken the epithets of P[=u]shan (above), true to his robber-name. To ignore the height to which at this period is raised the form of Rudra-Çiva is surely unhistorical; so much so that we deem it doubtful whether Çiva-invocations elsewhere, as in the S[=u]tra referred to above, should be looked upon as interpolations. In the M[=a]itr[=a]yan[=i] Collection, the Rudrajapas, the invocations to Rudra as the greatest god, the highest spirit, the lord of beings (Bhava), are expressly to Çiva Giriça, the mountain-lord (2. 9; Schroeder, p. 346). In the [=A]itareya Br[=a]hmana it evidently is Rudra-Çiva, the god of ghastly forms (made by the gods, it is said, as a composite of all the 'most horrible parts' of all the gods), who is deputed to slay the Father-god (when the latter, as a beast, commits incest with his daughter), and chooses as his reward for the act the office of 'lord of cattle.'[78] This is shown clearly by the fact that the fearsome Rudra is changed to the innocuous Rudriya in the next paragraph. As an example of how in the Br[=a]hmanas Rudra-Çiva has taken to himself already the powers of Agni, the great god of the purely sacrificial period, may be cited Çat. Br. vi. 1. 3. 10 and 2. 1. 12. Here Agni is Kum[=a]ra, Rudra, Çarva (Sarva)[79], Paçupati (lord of beasts), Bh[=a]irava (terrible), Açani (lightning), Bhava (lord of beings), Mah[=a]deva (great god), the Lord—his 'thrice three names.' But where the Br[=a]hmana assumes that these are names of Agni it is plain that one has Rudra-Çiva in process of absorbing Agni's honors.

The third element in the Pur[=a]nic trinity,[80] identified with the Father-god, genealogically deserves his lower position. His rivals are of older lineage. The reason for his inferior position is, practically, that he has little to do with man. Being already created, man takes more interest in the gods that preserve and destroy.[81] Even Brahm[=a]'s old exploits are, as we have shown, stolen from him and given over to Vishnu. The famous (totemistic) tortoise legend was originally Brahm[=a]'s, and so with others of the ten 'forms' of Vishnu, for instance the boar-shape, in which Vishnu manifests himself, and the fish-shape of Brahm[=a] (epic) in the flood-story. The formal trim[=u]rti or tr[=a]ipurusha ('three persons') is a late figure. It would seem that a Harihara (Vishnu and Çiva as one) preceded the trinity, though the dual name is not found till quite late.[82] But, as we showed above, the epic practically identifies Vishnu and Çiva as equals, before it unites with these Brahm[=a] as an equal third.

There arises now the further question whether sectarian Vishnuism be the foisting of Krishnaism upon a dummy Vishnu. We think that, stated in this way, such scarcely can have been the case. Neither of the great sects is professedly of priestly origin, but each, like other sects, claims Vedic authority, and finds Brahmanical support. We have said that Vishnu is raised to his position without ictic suddenness. He is always a god of mystic character, in short, a god for philosophy to work upon. He is recognized as the highest god in one of the oldest Upanishads. And it is with the philosopher's Vishnu that Krishna is identified. Krishna, the real V[=a]sudeva (for a false V[=a]sudeva is known also in the epic), is the god of a local cult. How did he originate? The king of serpents is called Krishna, 'the black,' and Vishnu reposes upon Çesha Ananta, the world-snake; but a more historical character than this can be claimed for Krishna. This god-man must be the same with the character mentioned in the Ch[=a]ndogya Upanishad, 3. 17. 6. One may notice the similarities between this Krishna and him of the epic cult. Krishna, son of Devak[=i], was taught by his teacher, Ghora [=A]ngirasa, that sacrifice may be performed without objective means; that generosity, kindness, and other moral traits are the real signs of sacrifice; and it is then said: "The priest Ghora [=A]ngirasa having said this to Krishna, the son of Devak[=i]—and the latter was thereby freed from (thirst) desire—said: "When a man is about to die let him resort to this triad: 'the imperishable art thou,' 'the unmoved art thou,' 'breath's firmness art thou'; in regard to which are these two verses in the Rig-Veda:[83] 'till they see the light of the old seed which is kindled in the sky,' and 'perceiving above the darkness the higher light, the sun, god among gods, we come to the highest light.'" Krishna thus learned the abolition of sacrifice, and the worship of the sun, the highest light (Vishnu), as true being—for this is the meaning of the philosophical passage taken with its context. Kings and priests discuss philosophy together in this period,[84] and it would conform to later tradition to see in the pupil the son of a king. It is, moreover, significant that the priest, Ghora [=A]ngirasà, is named specially as priest of the sun-god elsewhere (K[=a]ush. Br. 30. 6), as well as that Krishna [=A]ngirasa is also the name of a teacher. It is said in this same Upanishad (3. 1. 1) that the sun is the honey, delight, of the gods; and this chapter is a meditation on the sun,[85] of which the dark (k[r.][s.][n.]a) form is that which comes from the Itih[=a]sas and Pur[=a]nas, the fore-runners of the epic (3. 4. 3). This is taught as a brahma-upanishad, a teaching of the absolute, and it is interesting to see that it is handed down through Brahm[=a], Praj[=a]pati, and Manu, exactly as Krishna says in the Divine Song that his own doctrine has been promulgated; while (it is said further) for him that knows the doctrine 'there is day,' his sun never sets (3. 11. 3-4). It is a doctrine to be communicated only to the eldest son or a good student, and to no one else (ib. 5), i.e., it was new, esoteric, and of vital importance. Here, too, one finds Sanatkum[=a]ra, the 'ever young,' as Skanda,[86] yet as an earthly student also (7. 1; 26. 2), just like Krishna.

It cannot be imagined, however, that the cult of the Gangetic Krishna originated with that vague personage whose pupilage is described in the Upanishad. But this account may still be connected with the epic Krishna. The epic describes the overthrow of an old Brahmanic Aryan race at the hands of the P[=a]ndavas, an unknown folk, whose king's polyandrous marriage (his wife is the spouse of his four brothers as well as of himself) is an historical trait, connecting the tribe closely with the polyandrous wild tribes located north of the Ganges. This tribe attacked the stronghold of Brahmanism in the holy land about the present Delhi; and their patron god is the Gangetic Krishna. In the course of the narrative a very few tales are told of Krishna's early life, but the simple original view of Krishna is that he is a god, the son of Devak[=i]. The few other tales are late and adventitious additions, but this is a consistent trait. Modern writers are fain to see in the antithesis presented by the god Krishna and by the human hero Krishna, late and early phases. They forget that the lower side of Krishna is one especially Puranic. In short, they read history backwards, for theirs is not the Indic way of dealing with gods. In Krishna's case the tricky, vulgar, human side is a later aspect, which comes to light most prominently in the Genealogy of Vishnu and in the Vishnu Pur[=a]na, modern works which in this regard contrast strongly with the older epic, where Krishna, however he tricks, is always first the god. It is not till he becomes a very great, if not the greatest, god that tales about his youthful performances, when he condescended to be born in low life, begin to rise. An exact parallel may be seen in the case of Çiva, who at first is a divine character, assuming a more or less grotesque likeness to a man; but subsequently he becomes anthropomorphized, and is fitted out with a sheaf of legends which describe his earthly acts.[87] And so with Krishna. As the chief god, identified with the All-god, he is later made the object of encomiums which degrade while they are meant to exalt him. He becomes a cow-boy and acts like one, a god in a mask. But in the epic he is the invading tribe's chief god, in process of becoming identified with that god in the Brahmanic pantheon who most resembles him. For this tribe, the (Yadavas) P[=a]ndavas, succeeded in overthrowing the Brahmanic stronghold and became absorbed into the Brahmanic circle. Their god, who, like most of the supreme gods of this region among the wild tribes, was the tribal hero as sun-god, became recognized by the priests as one with Vishnu. In the Upanishad the priest-philosopher identifies Krishna with the sun as the 'dark side' (k[r.][s.][n.]a, 'dark') of Vishnu, the native name probably being near enough to the Sanskrit word to be represented by it. The statement that this clan-god Krishna once learned the great truth that the sun is the All-god, at the mouth of a Br