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The  religions  <?*„„'n'|i3 ,/ 

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Professor  of  Semitic  Languages  in  the  University  of  Pen?isylva7iia 

Volume    I 

Ibanaboofts  on  tbe  Ibietors  ot  IReligions 


Religions  of  India 


Ph.D.  fLEipsic)         ~- 


"  This  holy  mystery  /  declare  unto  you  : 
There  is  nothing  nobler  than  huinanityP 

The  Mahabharata. 

Boston,  U.S.A.,  and  London  ' 

189s  •     ' 

Copyright,  189s,  by 


TO    THE    MEMORY    OF 

muilam  Bwigbt  Wbitnes 







Henrg  W.  Sage 


.A.../A3.A^.d //.k/.f4... 



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  gen- 
eral 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  Musee  Gui- 
met  at  Paris,  in  the  publication  of  a  journal  —  the  Revue  de 
VHistoire  des  Religions  —  under  the  auspices  of  this  Museum, 
and  in  the  creation  of  chairs  at  the  College  de  France,  at  the 
Universities  of  Holland,  and  in  this  country  at  Cornell  Univer- 
sity and  the  University  of  Chicago,'  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  — 

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. 


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  every- 
where, 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  set- 
ting aside  the  speculations  and  generalizations  that  until  the 
beginning  of  this  century  paraded  under  th^  name  of  "Philos- 
ophy of  Religion." 

Such  has  been  the  scholarly  activity  displayed  and  the  fer- 
tility 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  treat- 
ment of  the  religions  included  in  the  series  differs  from  pre- 
vious attempts  in  the  aim  to  bring  together  the  ascertained 
results  of  scholarship  rather  than  to  make  an  additional  con- 
tribution, though  the  character  of  the  scholars  whose  coopera- 
tion has  been  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  dis- 
cussion 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  se- 


cured.  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  histori- 
cal sketch  of  the  people  in  question,  so  essential  to  an  under- 
standing 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  reli- 
gion, 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  reli- 
gious 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  bib- 
liography, index,  and  necessary  rnaps,  with  illustrations  intro- 
duced into  the  text  as  called  for.  The  Editor  has  been  fortu- 
nate in  securing  the  services  of  distinguished  specialists  whose 
past  labors  and  thorough  understanding  of  the  plan  and  pur- 
pose 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  ad- 


dition  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  knowledgejaf 
the  religions  of  antiquity,  while  the  popular  manner  of  presenta- 
tion, which  it  will  be  the  aim  of  the  writers  to  carry  out,  justi- 
fies the  hope  that  the  general  reader  will  find  the  volumes  no 
less  attractive  and  interesting. 

University  of  Pennsylvania. 


IT  has  been  said  somewhere  by  Lowell  that  "  an  illustration 
is  worth  more  than  any  amount  of  discourse,"  and,  if  We 
were  asked  to  specify  in  which  fegard  we  thought  that  this 
manual,  when  compared  with  the  only  other  book  that  covers 
the  same  ground,  was  likely  to  be  useful,  we  should  reply 
that,  whereas  Barth  in  his  admirable  handbook  (the  out- 
growth of  an  article  in  the  Encydop'edie  des  Sciences  Religieuses) 
aimed  at  making  his  reader  know  all  about  the  religions  of 
India,  we  have  sought  to  make  our  reader  know  those  religions. 
We  have  tried  to  show  the  lines  on  which  developed  the  various 
theological  and  moral  conceptions  of  the  Hindus,  not  only  by 
furnishing,  from  the  point  of  view  of  a  foreign  critic,  an  anno- 
tated narrative  of  the  growth  of  these  conceptions,  but  also  and 
chiefly  by  taking  the  reader  step  by  step  through  the  literature 
that  contains  the  records  of  India's  dogmas.  The  scheme  of 
Earth's  Religions  excludes  all  illustrative  matter.  His  reader 
must  take  as  authoritative  the  word  of  some  modern  scholar, 
or  he  must  look  up  for  himself  the  texts  to  which  occasional 
reference  is  made.  By  omitting  all  quotations  the  author  was 
enabled,  in  the  compass  of  a  small  volume,  to  give  an  account, 
extraordinarily  compact  and  complete,  of  every  ramification  of 
Hindu  belief,  and  his  book  deserves  all  the  praise  that  it 
has  won.  It  is  invaluable  as  exegesis.  But  it  presents  the 
religions  of  India  as  Bernhardy  exhibits  the  literature  of 
Greece,  or  as  the  daylight  lecturer  describes  invisible  stars. 
If  one  desire  to  orient  himself  in  respect  of  any  point  of  the 
Hindu  creeds,  if  he  v/ish  a  reliable  sketch  of  those  creeds,  he 

xii  PREFACE. 

will  obtain  from  Earth  the  information  he  is  seeking,  and  find 
a  survey  not  only  traced  in  detail,  but  at  the  same  time  dis- 
cussed in  so  masterly  a  way  as  to  make  superfluous  for  long 
any  new  rtsume  of  the  sort,  withal  despite  the  fact  that  in 
some  regards  Earth's  views  have  become  obnoxious  to  later 
criticism.  But  it  is  not  to  criticise  Earth  that  this  book  was 
written.  It  is  to  reveal  the  religions  of  India  by  causing  them 
to  reveal  themselves,  and  to  elucidate  them  by  commenting  on 
them  as  they  appear  before  the  reader,  traverse  his  field  of 
vision,  and  finally  leave  his  sight.  We  admit  that  it  behooves 
whoever  writes  under  the  same  title  with  that  of  the  French 
savant,  to  show  cause  why  he  does  so ;  but  we  think  that  to 
open  up  the  religions  of  India  from  within,  and  in  orderly  suc- 
cession to  explain  them  as  they  display  themselves,  will  not  be 
otiose  if  there  be  any  students  ignorant  of  Sanskrit  who  yet 
desire  independently  to  examine  and  to  make  their  own  the 
very  words  of  the  Hindu  sages. 

In  accordance  with  this  plan  of  teaching  Hindu  religions  we 
have  been  more  prone  to  ignore  than  to  collect  such  results 
of  modern  scholarship  as  tend  to  blur  the  picture  we  would 
show.  For  a  first  view  of  Greek  theology  Homer  is  more  use- 
ful than  Preller,  and  the  same  is  true  elsewhere.  Above  all, 
as  we  have  said  in  the  Introduction,  in  regard  to  many  a  recent 
'  interpretation '  of  Hindu  deities,  we  are  content  to  be  con- 
servative. We  doubt  the  historical  value  of  most  of  these 
expositions,  and,  since  we  are  not  of  those  scholars  that  try 
to  keep  abreast  of  the  times  by  swallowing  every  new  idea, 
we  have  not  been  inclined  to  broach  unsatisfactory  theories 
without  a  good  deal  of  provocation,  which  existed  for  us  only 
in  the  case  of  one  or  two  Vedic  divinities,  where  the  religious 
•significance  of  new  interpretations  compelled  attention. 

In  regard  to  the  great  length  at  which  we  have  reviewed  the 
gods  of  the  earlier  period,  we  have  not  forgotten  what  differ- 
ence exists  between   mythology  and  religion,  but  we  believe 

PREFACE.  xiii 

that. the  reader  will  see,  before  he  gets  to  the  end  of  the 
book,  that  such  amplitude  of  treatment  as  we  have  permitted 
ourselves  was  not  alien  to  our  proper  subject-matter. 

We  scarcely  can  hope  that  the  professional  Indologian  will 
see  much  that  is  valuable  to  him  in  this  work,  which  is  in- 
tended only  for  students,  although  we  think  that  our  view  of 
the  relation  of  Vedic  belief  to  that  of  the  'primitive  Aryans.' 
is  one  that  some  scholars  of  the  day  might  substitute  with 
advantage  for  their  own.  But  our  more  especial  field  of  inves- 
tigation has  lain  along  the  lines  marked  by  the  two  chapters 
on  Hinduism,  and  these  such  Sanskrit  scholars  as  have  not 
made  particular  study  of  the  Hindu  epic  perhaps  may  find  to 
be  readable. 

Although  we  have  quoted  Hindu  works  more  often  than  we 
have  referred  to  those  of  European  scholars,  yet  have  we 
endeavored  to  make  the  notes  sufificiently  copious  to  put  the 
reader  an  courant  with  the  most  important  studies  of  the 
present  time. 

As  to  the  method  of  writing  Sanskrit  words)  being  unable  to 
adopt  the  unpleasant  characters  of  the  Sacred  Books,  and 
knowing  no  other  system  that  is  satisfactory  both  to  English 
eye  and  to  linguistic  sense,  we  have  employed  the  simplest 
transcription,  ignoring,  in  fact,  all  Unguals  save  the  sibilant, 
which  alone  can  be  rendered  by  English  letters,  and  which 
usage  has  long  made  familiar. 

E.  W.  H. 

Bryn  Mawr,  Penna.,  July,  iSg^. 


Chapter  Page 

I.    Introduction i 

II.     People  and  Land 26 

III.  The  Rig  Veda.  —  The  Upper  Gods    ....  37 

IV.  The  Rig  Veda  (continued).  —  The  Middle  Gods  .         .  87 
V.     The  .Rig  Veda  (continued).  —  The  Lower  Gods         .  105 

VI.     The  Rig  Veda  (concluded).  —  Yama  and  Other  Gods, 

Vedic  Pantheism,  Eschatology        .        .        .        .127 

VII.    The  Religion  of  the  Atharva  Veda       ...  151 
VIII.     Early  Hindu   Divinities   Compared  with  Those  of 

Other  Aryans 161 

IX.     Brahmanism 176 

X.     Brahmanic  Pantheism.  —  The  Upanishads       .        .  216 

XI.    The  Popular  Brahmanic  Faij^h 242 

XII.     Jainism 280 

XIII.  Buddhism 298 

XIV.  Early  Hinduism 348 

XV.     Hinduism  (continued).  —  Vishnu  and  ^iva     .         .         .  388 

XVI.     The  Puranas.  —  Early  Sects,  Festivals,  the  Trinity  434 

XVII.     Modern  Hindu  Sects 472 

XVIII.    Religious  Traits  of  the  Wild  Tribes     .        .        .  524 

XIX.     India  and  the  West 542 

Addenda 572 

Bibliography 573 


AIL Zimmer's  Altindisches  Leben. 

AMG Annales  du  Mus6e  Guimet. 

AJP American  Journal  of  Philology. 

AR.  .     .  Asiatick  Researches. 

ASL.    .         .     .  MuUer's  Ancient  Sanskrit  Literature. 

BB.  .     .         .     .  Bezzenberger's  Beitrage. 

BOR Babylonian  and  Oriental  Record. 

lA Indian  Antiquary. 

IF.    .  .     .  Indogermanische  Forschungen. 

IS.    .  .     .  Weber's  Indische  Studien. 

JA.  ,  .  Journal  Asiatique. 

JAOS.  .  .  Journal  of  the  American  Oriental  Society. 

JRAS.      .         .  Journal  of  the  Royal  Asiatic  Society. 

KZ. .     .         .     .  Kuhn's  Zeitschrift  fUr  vergleichende  Sprachforschung. 

CLP.  Whitney's  Oriental  and  Linguistic  Studies. 

00.       .     .  Benfey's  Orient  und  Occident. 

OST Muir's  Original  Sanskrit  Texts. 

PAOS.      .     .     .  Proceedings  of  the  American  Oriental  Society. 

SBE Sacred  Books  of  the  East. 

WZKM.  .  Wiener  Zeitschrift  fiir  die  Kunde  des  Morgenlandes. 

VS.  .  .  Pischel's  and  Geldner's  Vedische  Studien. 

ZDA.    .     ,         ,  Ilaupt's  Zeitschrift  fiir  Deutsches  Alterthum. 

ZDMG.     .         .  Zeitschrift  der  Deutschen  Morgenlandischen  Gesellschaft. 





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  (ppa)(jji.ava?) .  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  concern- 
ing 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."^ 

And  as  India  conspicuously  is  a  country  of  creeds,  so  is  its 
literature  preeminently  priestly  and  religious.  From  the  first 
Veda  to  the  last  Purana,  religion  forms  either  the  subject-matter 
of  the  most  important  works,  or,  as  in  the  case  of  the  epics,^ 
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  sys- 
tems of  philosophy;  fables  and  commentaries  are  added  to 
the  prose;  epics,  secular  lyric,  drama,  the  Puranas  and  such 
writings  to  the  poetry.  But  in  all  this  great  mass,  till  that  time 
which  Miiller  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,^ — there  is  no  real  litera- 
ture that  was  not  religious  originally,  or,  at  least,  so  apt  for 
priestly  use  as  to  become  chieiiy  moral  and  theosophic ;  while 
the  most  popular  works  of  modern  times  are  sectarian  tracts, 
Puranas,  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  infor- 

■  1  Megasthenes,  Fr.  XLI,  ed.  Schwanbeck. 

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. 

3  See  Weber,  Sanskrit  Literature,  p.  224 ;  Windisch,  Greek  Influence  on  Indian 
Drama;  and  L6vi,  Le  thecttre  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. 

DA  TES.  3 

mation  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  inaccu- 
rate, 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  inter- 
esting 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  Sutras  or  mne- 
monic abridgments  of  religious  and  ceremonial  rules ;  'the 
legal  texts,  and  the  religious  and  theological  portions  of  the 
epic ;  and  the  later  sectarian  writings,  called  Puranas.  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  Brahman  a  appears  to 
belong  in  part  to  one  era,  in  part  to  another;  the  earliest 
Sutras  (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  Puranas 


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  disting'uishable,  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,  iirst,  there  exists  a  differ- 
ence in  langua,ge,  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.  Usu- 
ally, 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  Brah- 
manas,  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  Brahmanas.  Again,  the 
Puranas  can  be  placed  with  safety  after  the  late  Brahmanic 
age;  and,  consequently,  subsequent  to  the  Upanishads,  al- 
though it  is  probable  that  many  Upanishads  were  written  after 
the  first  Puranas.  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 

DA  TES.  S 

the  Rig  Veda  goes  back  to  about  2000  B.C.,  yet  are  some 
scholkrs  inclined  rather  to  accept  3000  B.C.  as  the  t]me  that 
represents  this  era.  Weber,  in  his  Lectures  on  Sanskrit  Litera- 
ture {^.  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  Lndiens 
Literatur  unci  Cultiir,  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  Miiller  now  places  at 
about  1500,  which  is  recognized  as  a  very  cautious  view; 
most  scholars  thinking  that  Miiller'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.  Brunnhofgr  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."^  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  centnjry,  and  died  probably  about  480,  possibly  (Wester- 
gaard's  extreme  opinion)  as  late  as  368.^  Before  this  time 
arise  the  Sutras,  back  of  which  lie  the  earliest  Upanishads,  the 
bulk  of  the  Brahmanas,  and  all  the  Vedic  poems.  Now  it  is 
probable  that  the  Brahmanic  literature  itself  extends  to  the 

1  Jacobi,  in  Roth's  Feslgruss,  pp.  72,  73  (1893);  Whitney,  Proceed.  A.  O.  S.,  1894, 
p.  Ixxxii ;  Perry,  Piis/ian,  in  the  Drisler  Memorial;  Weber,  Vedisclie  Beitrdge. 

2  Westergaard,    Ueber  Buddha's    Todesjahr.      The  prevalent  opinion   is  that 
Buddha  died  in  477  or  480  B.C. 


time  of  Buddha  and  perhaps  beyond  it.  For  the  rest  of  pre- 
Buddhistic  literature  it  seems  to  us  incredible  that  it  is  neces- 
sary to  require,  either  from  the  point  of  view  of  linguistic  or 
of  social  and  i-eligious  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.^  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  lan- 
guage 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  com- 
positions, 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  wofks,  the 
Hindus    two    or    three    thousand    years    B.C.    were    creating 

1  It  must  not  be  forgotten  in  estimating  the  broad  mass  of  Brahmanas  and  Sutras 
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  tinie. 

DATES.  7 

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  ficti- 
tious antiquity  of  Persian  (Iranian)  literature.  For  if  Darme- 
steter  be  correct  in  holding  the  time  of  the  latter  to  be 
at  niost  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  as- 
sumption 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'  represents  a 
long  period,  which  was  completed  perhaps  two  hundred  years 
after  looo  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  looo  B.C.  With  conscious  imitation 
of  older  speech  a  good  deal  of  archaic  linguistic  eKect  doubt- 
less 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  Sutra  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 
extepd  the  dramatic  and  older  Puranic  writings  ;   while  other 

1  *  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  (Brahmanas,  Sutras, 
etc.)  that  go  to  explain  the  'Collection  '  (of  hymns). 


Puranas  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.-' 


At  the  outset  of  his  undertaking  a  double  problem  pre'sents 
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  imper- 
sonal 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  them- 
selves 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  Miiller 
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 

1  Schroeder,  Indiens  Literatur  und  Cultur^  p.  291,  gives :  Rig-Veda  2000-1000 
B.C.;  older  Brahmanas,  1000-800;  later  Brahmanas  and  Upanishads,  800-600  • 
Siitras,  600-400  or  300. 


the  conception  of  the  dawn  as  a  person  results  from  the  giving 
of  dawn  as  a  birth-name."  ■"  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  morn- 
ing; the  traditions  concerning  one  of  such  who  became  noted, 
would,  in  the  mind  of  the  uncritical  savage  .  .  .  lead  to  identi- 
fication with  the  dawn."  ^  In  another  passage  :  "  The  primi- 
tive god  is  the  superior  man  .  .  .  propitiated  during  his  life 
and  still  more  after  his  death."  *  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."^ 
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."  ^  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,"  ^  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 
(Zev!  TiaT-fip)  as  the  'sky-father,'  he  not  only  makes  it  evident 

1  Principles  of  Sociology,  I.  p.  448  (Appleton,  1882). 

2  lb.  p.  398.  8  lb.  p.  427.  4  lb.  p.  824. 
5  lb.                                6  lb.  p.  821. 


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  im- 
possible 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  argnmentum  afero  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  con- 
ceptions, but  to  give  the  history  of  one  people's  religious  prog- 
ress, 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  re- 
jection of  the  daevas,  which  must  be  the  same  devas  that  are 


worshipped  in  India,  proves  that  i^CT'a-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 /rwr/ 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  uni- 
versal 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  de- 
lights 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  1 
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  personaHties  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,  folk- 
lore 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  Indie  • 
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  Indie  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  re- 
ligion 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  "  pri- 
meval childlike  naive  prayer"  of  Rig  Veda  vi.  51.  5  ("Father 
sky,  mother  earth,"  etc.);''  while  Pictet,  in  his  work  Lei  Ofi- 
gines  Indo-Europkennes,  maintains  that  the  Aryans  had  a  primi- 
tive 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.^  Opposed  to  this,  the  'naive'  school  of 
such  older  scholars  as  Roth,  Miiller,^  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  gen- 
eral opinions  may  thus  be  formulated  :  The  poets  of  the  Rig 
Veda  are  not  childlike  and  naive  ;  they  represent  a  compara- 
tively late  period  of  culture,  a  society  not  only  civilized,  but 
even  sophisticated ;  a  mode  of  thought  philosophical  and  scep- 

1  Compare  Muir,  Original  Sanskrit  Texts,  V.  p.  412  ff.,  where  are  given  the 
opinions  of  Pfleiderer,  Pictet,  Roth,  Scherer,  and  others. 

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

8  In  his  Science  of  Language,  Miiller  speaks  of  the  early  poets  who  "  strove  in 
their  childish  way  to  pierce  beyond  the  Umits  of  this  finite  world."  Approvingly 
cited,  SBE.  xxxii.  p.  243  (1891). 


tical;  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  Indie. 
It  is  to  be  explained  by  the  light  of  the  formal  Hindu  ritual- 
ism, and  even  by  epic  worldliness,  its  fresh  factors  being  lewd 
gods,  harlots,  and  race-horses.  Bloom^eld,  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.^  This  scholar  maintains  that 
there  is  scarcely  any  chronological  distinction  between  the 
hymns  of  the  Rig  Veda  and  the  Brahmana,  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."  ^  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 

In  the  Rig  Veda  occur  hymns  of  an  entirely  worldly  charac- 
ter, 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 

1  The  older  view  may  be  seen  in  Miiller's  Lecture  on  the  Vedas  (Chips,  I.  p.  9) : 
"  A  collection  made  for  its  own  sake,  and  not  for  the  sake  of  any  sacrificial  per- 
formance."    For  Pischel's  view,  compare  Vedische  Studien,  I.  Preface. 

2  Bloomfield,  JAOS.,  xv.  p.  144. 

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


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  connec- 
tion 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  mean- 
ing 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  '  shin- 
ing 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  ^  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.  Brunn- 
hofer's  books  are  a  mine  of  ingenious  conjectures,  as  sugges- 
tive 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  con- 
tained must  be  Iranian  or  Turanian.  He  relies  in  great  meas- 
ure 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  extrava- 

1  Iran  und  Turan^  1889 ;  Vom  Pontus  bis  zitm  Indus,  1890 ;  Vom  Aral  bis  zur- 
GangS,  1892. 


gance  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-oxXt  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  pro- 
cedure 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  connecfion. 

It  is  scarcely  advisable  in  a  concise  review  of  several  reli- 
gions to  enter  upon  detailed  criticism  of  the  methods  of  inter- 
pretation 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  prin- 
ciples 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  differ- 
ent 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  sup- 
posed 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  '  sacer- 
dotal,' '  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  1  shining  god 
His  beams  of  light  are  bearing  now, 
That  every  one  the  sun  may  see. 

1  Or  "all-possessing"  (Whitney).    The  metre  of  the  translation  retains  the  num- 
ber of  feet  in  the  original.    Four  (later  added)  stanzas  are  here  omitted. 


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

His  beams  of  light  have  been  beheld 
Afar,  among  (all)  creatures  ;  rays 
Splendid  as  were  they  (blazing)  files. 

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. 
Tore  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  ;  ^  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. 

1  So  P.W.  Possibly  "by  reason  of  (the  sun's)  rays";  z'.e,,  the  stars  fear  the  sun 
as  thieves  fear  light.     For  '  Heaven,'  here  and  below,  see  the  third  chapter. 

2  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  years." 


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  "preeminently  sacer- 
dotal "  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.  ii). 

'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.i 

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  ;  ^ 
Thee  helped  the  (shining)  gods,  when  roused 
(To  courage)  by  the  fearless  one.' 

1  Jetaram  dpardjitam.  2  The  rain,  see  next  note. 

3  After  this  stanza  two  interpolated  stanzas  are  here  omitted.  Grassman  and 
Ludwig  give  the  epithet  "  fearless  "  to  the  gods  and  to  Vala,  respectively.  But  com- 
pare 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  (?>.,  without  metaphor,  for  the  act  of  freeing  the  clouds  and  letting 
loose  the  rain),  compare  1.  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." 


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  Brahmanas,  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,  valu- 
able and  suggestive  as  its  work  has  been,  is  gone  already 
farther  than  is  judicious.  The  Rig  Veda  in  part  is  synchro- 
nous 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  perform- 
ance," as  said  Miiller  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-cViA,  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  sweep- 
ing 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  re- 
ceive 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  Brahmanas, 
a  practice  much  favored  by  Ludwig  and  others,  the  results  of 
its  application  have  been  singularly  futile  in  passages  of  im- 
portance. 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  be- 
tween the  theology  of  the  Rig  Veda  and  that  of  the  Brah- 
manas,  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,  is  it  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  tlie  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  con- 
trast with  j-OT«a-worship  and  theology  ;  sufificiently  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  Brahmana  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  un- 
satisfactory 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  theii 
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  Qivaism,  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.'' 

1  Aryan,  Sanskrit  aryh,  drya,  Avestan  airya,  appears  to  mean  the  loyal  or  the 
good,  and  may  be  the  original  national  designation,  just  as  the  Medes  were  long 
called  "Apwji.  In  late  Sanskrit  arya  is  simply  'noble.'  The  word  survives,  perhaps, 
in  &ptiTTOSt  and  is  found  in  proper  names,  Persian  Ariobarzanes,  Teutonic  Ariovistus; 
as  well  as  in  the  names  of  people  and  countries,  Vedic  Aryas,  Iran,  Iranian  ;  (doubt- 
ful) Airem,  Erin,  Ireland.  Compare  Zimmer,  BB.  ill.  p.  137  ;  Kaegi,  Ver  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  ques- 
tions the  propriety  of  identifying  Iran  with  Erin,  and  Schrader  (p.  584^)  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,^  formed  one  of  the  Aryan  or  so-called  Indo-European 
peoples.  To  the  other  peoples  of  this  stock,  Persians,  Ar- 
menians, 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.^  They  stand  in  closer 
rehgious  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.'     These  groups,  Janas,  Latin  gens,  are  subdivided  into 

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. 

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. 

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.' 


z/zy^j, 'Latin  vicus,  and  these,  again,  into  gramas.  The  names, 
however,  are  not  employed  with  strictness,  and  jana,  etymo- 
logically  gens  but  politically  tribus,  sometimes  is  used  as  a 
synonym  of  grama}  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  de- 
marcation. 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.^ 

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  incor- 
porated 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 

1  RV.  III.  33.  II ;  53.  12.  Zimmer,  AUindisches  Leben,  p.  160,  incorrectly  identi- 
fies viii  witli  tribus  (Leist,  Rechisgeschichte,  p.  105). 

2  Vi^vamitra.     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). 


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  inevita- 
ble division  into  priests,  chiefs  and  commons,  sometimes  heredi- 
tary, 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  south- 
wards 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,'  rajanyas, 
and  these  were,  already,  practically  a  class,  if  not  a  caste. ^ 
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 

1  Caste,  at  first,  means  '  pure,'  and  signifies  tliat  there  is  a  moral  barrier  between 
the  caste  and  outcast.  The  woTd  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  them- 
selves became  fixed  in  course  of  time,  and  the  lines  between  Aryans,  in  some  regards, 
were  drawn  almost  as  sharply  as  between  Aryan  and  slave. 

PEOPLE   AND   LAjYD.  29 

not  be  a  public  priest ;  the  priest  may  not  serve  as  warrior  or 
husbandman.  The  farmer  '  people  '  were  the  result  of  eliminat- 
ing 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  inter- 
ests 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  incul-, 
cated  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,  j  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  Kash- 
meer  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  Punjab.  That  the  race  was  still  migrating 
may  be  seen  from  the  hymns  of  the  Rig  Veda  itself.'  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  Punjab  (a  post-Vedic  group),  not  in  the  southern 
but  in  the  northern  part  of  this  district.^ 

The  Vedic  Aryans  of  this  first  period  were  acquainted  with 
the  Indus,  Sutlej  (Qutudri),  Beas  (Vipag,  "Y<^ao-ts),  Ravi  (Paru- 
shni  or  Iravati);'  the  pair  of  rivers  that  unite  and  flow  into  the 
Indus,  viz. :  Jhelum  (Vitasta,  Behat),  and  Chinab  (Asikni,^ 
Akesines) ;  and  knew  the  remoter  Kubha  (K-<o<t>ijv,  Kabul)  and 
the  northern  Suvastu  (Swat)  ;  while  they  appear  to  have  had  a 
legendary  remembrance  of  the  Rasa,  Avestan  Rahha  (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.*  West  of  the  Indus  the  Kurum  and  Gomal 
appear  to  be  known  also.     Many  rivers  are  mentioned  of  which 

1  Compare  RV.  hi.  33,  and  in  I.  131.  5,  the  words:  '  God  Indra,  thou  didst  help 
thy  suppUants ;  one  river  after  another  they  gained  who  pursued  glory.' 

2  Thomas,  J?!vers  of  the  Vedas  (JRAS.  xv.  357  ff. ;  Ziramer,  loc:  cit.  cap.  i). 
8  Later  called  the  Candrabhaga.     For  the  Jumna  and  Sarayu  see  below. 

4  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). 


the  names  are  given,  but  their  location  is  not  established.  It 
is  from  the  district  west  of  the  Indus  that  the  most  famous  San- 
skrit grammarian  comes,  and  long  after  the  Vedas  an  Indie 
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  Arghandab  (on  which  is  Kandahar), 
for  the  Persian  name  of  this  river  {s  becomes  K)  is  Harahvati 
(Arachotos,  Arachosia),  and  it  is  possible  that  it  was  really  this 
river,  and  not  the  Indus  which  was  first  lauded  as  the  Saras- 
vati. In  that  case  there  would  be  a  perfect  parallel  to  what 
has  probably  happened  in  the  case  of  the  Rasa,  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. "^ 

These  facts  or  suggestive  parallels  of  names  are  of  exceed- 
ing 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^  (descending  through  the  Kohistan  passes  from 
the  north),  and  that  the  two  peoples  thence  diverged  south-east 

1  Compare  Geiger,  Ostiranische  Cttliur^  p.  Si.     See  also  Muir,  OST.  ii.  p.  355. 

2  Lassen,  I.  p.  616,  decided  in  favor  of  the  western  passes  of  the  Hindukush. 


and  south-west  respectively.  Neither  assumption  would  pre- 
vent the  country  lying  between  the  Harahvati  and  Vitasta  ^  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  Rasa,  the  Vedic  Hindu's  geographical 
knowledge  is  limited  by  Kandahar  in  the  west,  as  is  the 
Iranian's  in  the  east  by  the  Vitasta.^  North  of  the  Vitasta 
Mount  Tricota  (Trikakud,  '  three  peaks ')  is  venerated,  and 
this  together  with  a  Mount  Mujavat,  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  Rasa 
and  Sarasvati,  are  re-located  once  (near  Delhi),  and  no  similar- 
ity of  name  can  assure  one  of  a  true  connection.  If  not  coinci- 
dences, such  likenesses  are  too  vague  to  be  valuable  historically.' 
Another  much  disputed  point  must  be  spoken  of  in  connec- 
tion 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 

1  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  Iranian). 

2  Geiger  identifies  the  Vitaguhaiti  or  Vitanghvati  with  the  Oxus,  but  this  is  im- 
probable. 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  Vitasta,  which  is  located  in  the  Punjab. 

8  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  Brah- 
manic  allusions  to  Bactria,  Balkh  (AV.) ;  to  the  Derbiker  (ar5und  Merv  ?  RV.),  and 
to  Manu's  mountain,  whence  he  descended  after  the  flood  (Naubandhana) :  Cata- 
patha  Brdhmana,  I.  3.  i,  6, '  Manu's  descent '). 


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  Miiller's,  the  five  rivers 
of  the  Punjab  together  with  the  Kabul  and  (Swat  or)  Saras- 
vati.  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  riyers,  if  anywhere,  on  the  west 
of  the  Indus.  A  very  natural  group  from  the  Iranian  side 
would  be  the  Herirud,  Hilmund,  Arghandab,  Kurum,  Kabul, 
Indus,  and  Vitasta.  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  Vai- 
kerta,  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 

Within  the  Punjab,  the  Vedic  Aryans,  now  at  last  really 
'  Hindus,'  having  extended  themselves  to  the  ^utudri  (Qatadru, 
Sutlej),  a  formidable  barrier,  and  eventually  having  crossed 
even  this,  the  last  tributary  of  the  Indus,  descended  to  the 
Jumna  (Yamuna),  over  the  little  stream  called  '  the  Rocky ' 
(Drishadvati)  and  the  lesser  Sarasvati,  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  (Varanasi,  on  the  'Varanavati'?),  though 

^  Arch.  Survey^  y.iv.  p.  89  ;  Thomas,  loc,  cit,  p.  363. 


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  Gomati 
(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  Punjab  and  a  little  to  the  west  ^nd  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,'  -^  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 
Vipag  and  Qutudri  empty  into  the  'ocean',  i.e.,  the  Indus  or 
the  Q^utudri's  continuation.^  One  late  verse  alone  speaks  of 
the  Sarasvati  pouring  into  the  ocean,  and  this  would  indicate 
the  Arabian  Sea.^  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  cer- 
tainly 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  Pancanada  (the  united  five  rivers).*  The  extreme 
south-eastern  geographical  limit  of  the  Rig  Vedic  people  may 

1  RV.  X.  136.  5.  2  RV.  iii.  33.  2. 

8  RV.  vii.  95.  2.     Here  the  Sarasvati  can  be  only  the  Indus. 

^  4  Panca-nada,  Punjnud,  Persian  '  Punjab,'  the  five  streams,  Vitasta,  Asiknl,  IravatI, 
Vipa;,  Cutudri.  The  Punjnud  point  is  slowly  moving  up  stream;  Vyse,  JRAS. 
X.  323.     The  Sarayu  may  be  the  HeririSd,  Geiger,  ioc.  cit.  p.  72. 


be  reckoned  (not,  however,  in  Oldenberg's  opinion,  with  any 
great  certainty)  as  being  in  Northern  Behar  (Magadha).  The 
great  desert,  Marusthala,  formed  an  impassable  southern  ob- 
stacle for  the  first  immigrants.^ 

On  the  other  hand,  tlie  two  oceans  are  well  known  to  the 
Atharva  Veda,  while  the  geographical  (and  hence  chronologi- 
cal) 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.^  Not  less  sig- 
nificant are  the  trees.  The  ficus  religiosa,  the  tree  later  called 
the  'tree  of  the  gods'  {cieva-sadana,  a(vattha),  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  Punjab.     The  north-east  monsoon  is  felt  to  the  south- 

lMuir,OST.  11.351;  Zimmer, /<jf.  «V.  p.  31  identifies  the  ^?^'«to  of  RV.  iii.  53. 14 
with  the  inhabitants  of  Northern  Behar.     Marusthala  is  called  simply  '  the  desert.' 

2  The  earUer  &yas,  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). 


east  of  the  Punjab,  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  (Behar,  Tirhut).i 
The  literature  of  this  period  comes  from  Aryans  that  have 
passed  out  of  the  Punjab.  Probably,  as  we  have  said,  settle- 
ments were  left  all  along  the  line  of  progress.  Even  before 
the  wider  knowledge  of  the  post-Alexandrine  imperial  age  (at 
which  time  there  wasi  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  north- 
west seems  still  to  have  been  familiarly  known. ^ 

1  Weber,  Indische  Siudien,  I.  p.  228  ;  Oldenberg,  Buddha,  pp.  399  ff.,  410. 

2  Very  lately  (1893)  Franke  has  sought  to  show  that  the  Pali  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  divini- 
ties, 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  con- 
cerning 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  distinc- 
tion 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,^  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 

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

THE  RIG   VEDA.      THE    UPPER   GODS.  39 

the  most  important  deities  arranged  in  the  order  of  their  rela- 
tive importance,  and  by  studying  each  to  arrive  at  a  fair  under- 
standing 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  wor- 
ship 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  there- 
with preparing  the  developing  Hindu  intelligence  for  the  recep- 
tion of  the  universal  god  with  whom  closes  the  series. 

Other  factors  than  those  of  an  inward  development  undoubt- 
edly were  at  work  in  the  formation  of  this  growth.  Espe- 
cially 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  ad- 
vanced into  India.  The  storms  and  the  sun  were  not  those  of 
old.  The  tempests  were  more  terrific,  the  displayofUlvine  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  divini- 
ties 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.  Itvwill 
be  seen  operative  at  once  in  the  case  of  the  sun-god,  and, 
indeed,  there  were  few  of  the  older  divinities  that  were  un- 
touched 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  with- 
drawn, and  it  is  discovered  that  all  the  mystery  of  former 
generations  has  been  leading  up  to  the  declaration  now  made 
pubHc :  '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  jun.  But  there  is  a  lower  and  a  higher  view  of 
this  god.     He  is  the  shining  god  par  excellence,  the  deva,  stirya^ 

1  Daia  is  '  shining'  (deus),  and  Surya  (sol,  ijXios)  means  the  same. 

THE  SUN-GOD.  41 

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)  -^  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, 
SCirya,  and  the  enlivener,  Savitar;^  but  he  is  also  the  good  god 
who  bestows  benefits,  and  as  such  he  was  known,  probably 
locally,  by  the  name  of  Bliaga.  Again,  as  a  herdsman's  god, 
possibly  at  first  also  a  local  deity,  he  is  Pushan  (the  meaning  is 
almost  the  same  with  that  of  Savitar).  As  the  '  mighty  one  ' 
he  is  Vishnu,  who  measures  heaven  in  three  strides.  In  gen- 
eral, 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."  "  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."  *  One  after  the  other  the  god  appears  to  the  poets  as 
a  bull,  a  bird,^  a  steed,  a  stone,  a  jewel,  a  flood,  a  torch-holder,° 
or  as  a  gleaming  car  set  in  heaven.  Nor  is  the  sun  indepen- 
dent. As  in  the  last  image  of  a  chariot,'  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 

1  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). 

2  From  su,  sav,  enliven,  beget,  etc.     In  RV.  iv.  53.  6  and  vii.  63.  2,  pra-sm  itar. 

3  RV.  VII.  66.  14-15  ;  compare  X.  17S.  1.    In  the  notes  immediately  following 
the  numbers  all  refer  to  the  Rig  Veda. 

^  V.  47.  3  ;  compare  vs.  7,  and  X.  189.  1-2. 

^  Compare  X.  177.  1.  ^  X.  37.  9. 

'  V.  63.  7.    Varuna  and  Mitra  set  the  sun's  car  in  heaven. 


the  sky  they  cause  to  rise  Surya,  whom  they  made  to  avert 
darkness";  where,  also,  the  sun,  under  another  image,  is  the 
"  support  of  tlie  sky."  ^  Nay,  in  this  simpler  view,  the  sun  is 
no  more  than  the  •"  eye  of  Mitra  Varuna,"  ^  a  conception  for- 
mally 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.^ 
It  is  the  "Dawns  produced  the  Sun,"  in  still  more  natural 
language  ;  '^  whereas,  the  idea  of  the  lover-Sun  following  the 
Dawn  scarcely  occurs  in  the  family-books.^  Distinctly  late, 
also,  is  the  identification  of  the  sun  with  the  all-spirit  (atrnd, 
I.  115.  i),  and  the  following  prayer:  "Remove,  O  sun,  all 
weakness,  illness,  and  bad  dreams."  In  this  hymn,  X.  37.  14, 
Surya  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  sovta.  This  is  one 
of  the  poems  that  seem  to  be  at  once  late  and  of  a  forced  and 
artificial  character  (X.  170). 

1  IV.  13.  2-5;  X.  37.  4;  85,  I.     But  ill.  149.  I   Savitar  holds  the  sky  'without 

2  VII.  63.  i;  I.  115.  i;  X.  37.  1. 

3  III.  61.4;  VII.  63.  3.  1  VII.  78.  3. 

51.56.4;  IX.  84.  2;  Compare  I.  92.  ji ;  115,2;  123.  10-12.     V.  44.  7,  and  per- 
haps 47.  6,  are  late.     VII.  75.  5,  is  an  exception  (or  late). 

THE  SUN-GOD.  43 

Although  Surya  is  differentiated  explicitly  from  Savitar 
(V.  8i.  4,  "Savitar,  thou  joyest  in  Surya'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.  i ; 
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  Vedique,  has  laid 
much  stress  on  sexual  antithesis  as  an  element  in  Vedic  wor- 
ship. 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  char- 
acter. 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  ^ 
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  Athar- 
van and  the  later  Brahmanic  literature.^ 

1  La  Religion  Vedique,  I.  6 ;  II.  .i.  ^  Ehni,  Yama,  p.  134. 


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,"  ^  and  no 
other  conception  of  the  sun  is  to  be  found  in  the  Rig  Veda. 

There  are  about  a  dozen  hymns  to  Surya,  and  as  many  to 
Savitar,  in  the  Rig  Veda.''  It  is  noteworthy  that  in  the  family- 
books  the  hymns  to  Savitar  largely  prevail,  while  those  to 
Surya  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  Surya  but  three  or  four,  and  of 
these  the  first  is  really  to  Savitar  and  the  Agvins  ;  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  (Agvins),  to  the  house  of  the  pious  man  ;  the 
sun  (Surya),  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  (Surya)  whom 
they  have  created  to  dissipate  darkness,  being  (gods)  sure  of 
their  habitation  and  unswerving  in  intent.  Seven  yellow  swift- 
steeds  bear  this  Surya,  the  seer  of  .all  that  moves.  Thou 
comest  with  swiftest  steeds  unspinning  the  web,  separating,  O 
shining-god,  the  black  robe.  The  rays  of  Surya  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 

1  RV.,  IV.  54.  2.     Here  the  sun  gives  life  even  to  tlie  gods. 
■2  Ten  liundred  and  twenty-eiglit  hymns  are  contained  in  the  '  Rig  Veda  Collection.' 

THE  SUN-GOD.  45 

phenomena.  Surya  is  worshipped  as  Savitar,  either  expressly 
so  called,  or  with  all  the  attributes  of  the  spiritual.  The  hymn 
that  follows  this  ^  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  ndtno  dive,  '  obeisance  to  heaven,'  show  that 
the  sun  is  only  indirectly  addressed.  One  cannot  regard 
hymns  addressed  to  Mitra-Varuna  and  Surya  (with  other  gods) 
as  primarily  intended  for  Surya,  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  Surya  as  "lord  of  all  that  stands  and  goes." 
But  in  these  hymns  there  are  some  very  interesting  touches. 
Thus  in  vii.  60.  i,  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  Surya,  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  mygtical  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  Surya  averts 

1  iv.  14. 


carelessness  at  the  sacrifice,  guards  tlie  worshipper,  and  slays 
demons.  A  mechanical  little  hymn  describes  him  as  measur- 
ing 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.''^ 


Turning  to  Savitar  one  finds,  of  course,  many  of  the  same 
descriptive  traits  as  in  the  praise  of  Surya,  his  more  material 
self.  But  with  the_Jncreased  spirituality  come  new  features. 
Savitar  is  not  alone  the  sun  that  rises  ;  he  is  also  the  sun  thaft  i 
sejs  ;  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  stong  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  Pushan,  following 
which  is  the  most  holy  couplet  of  the  Rig  Veda,  to  repeat 
which  is  essentially  to  repeat  the  Veda.  It  is  the  famous 
Gayatri  or  Savitri  hymnlet  (10-12): 

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

^  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  asuralia ;  in  177,  the  mystic  tone  and 
the  bird-sun  (compare  Garutnian,  I.  164  ;  X.  149) ;  in  189,  the  thirty  stations. 

2  See  Whitney  in  Colebrookc's  Essays,  revised  edition,  ii.  p.  iii. 

SA  VITAX.  47 

Whitney  (Joe.  cif.)  says  of  this  hymn  that  it  is  not  remarkable 
in  any  way  and  that  no  good  reason  lias  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  indica- 
tion 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  Surya  is  "the  highest 
light,  the  god  among  gods,"  mystic  words,  taken  by  later 
philosophers,  and  quite  rightly,  to  be  an  expression  of  pan- 
theism. The  esoteric  meaning  of  the  Gayatri  presumably  made 
it  popular  among  the  enlightened.  Exoterically  the  sun  was 
only  the  goal  of  the  soul,  or,  in  pure  pantheisrri,  of  the  sight. 
In  the  following  ■■■  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  Pushan.  He  is  here  the  swift  horse 
(see  above)  and  rnore  famous  as  the  divider  of  time  than  any- 
thing else.  In  fact  this  was  the  first  ritualistic  glory  of  Savitar, 
that  he  divides  the  time  for  sacrifice.     But  he  receives  more  in 

1  iv.  54. 


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  Gayatri.  Savitg.r  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  Pushan,  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  phil- 
osophical 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  morn- 
ing nor  an  evening  song  in  its  original  state,  but  mentions  all 
the  god's  functions,  without  the  later  moral  traits  so  prominent 
elsewhere,  arid  with  the  old  threefold  division  instead  of  thrice- 
three  heavens. 

TO   SAVITAR  (I.  35). 

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. 

SA  VITAR.  49 

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,^ 
One,  men-restraining,  in  the  realm  of  Yama. 
As  on  (his)  chariot-pole  ^  stand  all  immortals, 
Let  him  declare  it  who  has  understood  it !] 

Across  air-spaces  gazes  he,  the  eagle, 
Who  moves  in  secret,  th'  Asura,^  well-guiding. 
Where  is  (bright)  Siirya  now?  who  understands  it? 
And  through  which  sky  is  now  his  ray  extending.' 

He  looks  across  the  earth's  eight  elevations,* 
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. 

1  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.  i.  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.  2  Doubtful. 

3  The  Spirit,  later  of  evil  spirits,  demons  (as  above,  the  asuraha).  Compare 

■l  A  numerical  conception  not  paralleled  in  the  Rig  Veda,  though  mountains  are 
called  protuberances  ('elevations')  in  other  places. 


The  golden-handed  Savitar,  the  active  one, 
Goes  earth  and  heaven  between,  compels  demoniac  powers, 
To  Surya  gives  assistance,  and  through  darksome  space 
Extends  to  heaven,  etc.i 


With  Pushan,  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  Pushan  he  appears  still  as  a  god  whose  characteris- 
tics 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  Pushan  in  these  roles 
with  Helios  guiding  his  herds,  and  Apollo  swaying  armed  hosts. 
It  is  customary  to  regard  Pushan  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  Pushans,  in  the  Rig  Veda  itself.^ 

As  the  god  'with  braided  hair,'  and  as  the  'guardian  of 
cattle,'  Piishan  offers,  perhaps,  in  these  particulars,  the  original 
of  Rudra's  characteristics,  who,  in  the  "Vedic  period,  and  later 
as  Rudra-Qiva,  is  also  a  '  guardian  of  cattle '  and  has  the 
'  braided  hair.' 

Bergaigne  identifies  Pushan  with  Soma,  with  whom  the  poets 
were  apt  to  identify  many  other  deities,  but  there  seems  to  be 
little  similarity  originally.^     It  is  only  in  the  wider  circles  of 

1  The  last  stanza  is  in  the  metre  of  the  first ;  two  more  follow  without  significant 

2  The  texts  are  translated  by  Muir,  OST,  v.  p.  171  ff. 

3  La  Religion  Vhdiqtie,  ii.  p.  428.     Compare  Hillebrandt,  Soma,  p.  456. 


each  god's  activity  that  the  two  approach  each  other.  Both 
gods,  it  is  true,  wed  Surya  (the  female  sun-power),  and  Soma, 
like  Pushan,  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,  Win'd,  Sun,  the  Maruts,  etc.  Who  forgives  sins  ? 
Agni,  Varuna,  Indra,  the  Sun,  etc.  Who  helps  in  war?  Agni, 
Pushan,  Indra,  Soma,  etc.  Who  sends  rain  ?  Indra,  Parjanya, 
Soma,  the  Maruts,  Pushan,  etc.  Who  weds  Dawn  ?  The 
Agvins,  the  Sun,  etc.  The  attributes  must  be  functional  or 
the  identification  is  left  incomplete. 

The  great  disparity  in  descriptions  of  Pushan  may  be  illus- 
trated by  setting  vi.  48.  19  beside  x.  92.  13.  The  former 
passage  merely  declares  that  Pushan  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  Pushan  dies  out,  but  the  vaguer  he 
becomes  the  more  grandiloquently  is  he  praised  and  asso- 
ciated with  other  powers  ;  while  for  lack  of  definite  laudation 
general  glory  is  ascribed  to  him.  The  true' position  of  Pushan 
in  the  eyes  of  the  warrior  is  given  unintentionally  by  one  who 
says,^  "  I  do  not  scorn  thee,  O  Pushan,"  i.e.,  as  do  most  people, 
on  account  of  thy  ridiculous  attributes.  For  Pushan  does  not 
drink  soma  like  Indra,  but  eats  mush.  So  another  devout 
believer  says  :  "  Pushan  is  not  described  by  them  that  call 
him  an  eater  of  mush."  ^  The  fact  that  he  was  so  called 
speaks  louder  than  the  pious  protest.  Again,  Pushan  is  simply 
bucolic.  He  uses  the  goad,  which,  however,  according  to  Ber- 
gaigne,  is  the  thunderbolt  !  So,  too,  the  cows  that  Pushan 
is  described  as  guiding  have  been  interpreted  as  clouds  or 
'dawns.'     But  they  may  be  taken  without  'interpretation'  as 

1  i.  1 38.  4. 

2  vi.  56.  I. 


real  cows.*  Pushan  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,^  a  proper  business  for  such  a  god  ;  but 
Bergaigne  will  see  in  this  a  transfer  from  Pushan's  finding  of 
rain  and  of  soma?     Pushan,  too,  directs  the  furrow.^ 

Together  with  Vishnu  and  Bhaga  this  god  is  invoked  at 
sacrifices,  (a  fact  that  says  little  against  or  for  his  original  sun- 
ship),^  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."  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  Pushan  has  a  clear  and  again  a  revered  (terrible)  appear- 
ance ;  he  is  like  day  and  night,  like  Dyaus  (the  sky) ;  at  one 
time  bright,  at  another,  plunged  in  darkness,  vi.  58.  i.  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 
so}na.  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 

1  In  i.  23.  13-15  Pushan  is  said  to  bring  king  (soma),  "  wliom  lie  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  Pushan  go  after  our  kine." 

2  Compare  vi.  54. 

3  He  is  the' '  son  of  freeing,'  from  darkness  ?   vi.  55.  i. 

4  iv.  57.  7. 

■5  vi.  17.  11;  48,  II  ff.;  iv.  30.  24  S.  He  is  called  like  a  war-god  with  the 
Maruts  in  vi.  48. 

0  So,  too,  Bhaga  is  Dawn's  b.other,  I.  123.  5.  Pushan  is  Indra's  brother  in  vi. 
55.5.     Gubernatis  interprets  Pushan  as 'tlie  setting  sun.' 


like  soma  (the  drink),  and  attends  to  tlie  filter ;  he  is  "  lord  of 
the  pure  "  ;  the  "  one  born  of  old,"  and  is  especially  called 
upon  to  help  the  poets'  hymns.'  It  is  here,  in  the  last  part  of 
the  Rig  Veda,  that  he  appears  as  i/fv^oiro/xTro's,  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.  \?  Apparently  he  was  a  god  affected  most  by  the 
Bharadvaja  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  role  as  sun).  The 
goats,  his  steeds,  are  also  an  attribute  of  the  Scandinavian 
war-god  Thor  (Kaegi,  Rig  Veda,  note  2 1  o),  so  that  his  bucolic 
character  rests  more  in  his  goad,  food,  and  plough. 

Bhaga  is  recognized  as  an  Aditya  (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 
bhagabhakta,  '  given  by  gods ' ;  but  as  a  name  it  is  well  known, 
and  when  thus  called  Bhaga  is  still  the  giver,  '  the  bestower ' 
{vidharta).  As  bhaga  is  also  an  epithet  of  Savi'tar,  the  name 
may  not  stand  for  an  originally  distinct  personality.  Bhaga 
has  but  one  hymn.''  There  is  in  fact  no  reason  why  Bhaga 
should  be  regarded  as  a  sun-god,  except  for  the  formal  identifi- 

1  Contrast  I.  42,  and  X.  26  (with  i.  13S.  i).  In  the  first  hymn  Pushan  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.  9). 

2  For  the  traits  just  cited  compare  iv.  57.  7 ;  vi.  17.  11 ;  48.  15  ;  53  ;  55  ;  56.  1-3  ; 
57-  3-4;  58-  2-4;  II- 40;  X.  17.  3  if.;  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. 

s  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  the  Brahmanas  'Bhaga  is  blind,'  which  applies  better  to 
Fortune  than  to  the  Sun. 


cation  of  him  as  an  Aditya,  that  is  as  the  son  of  Aditi  (Bound- 
lessness, see  below) ;  but  neither  Surya  nor  Savitar  is  originally 
an  Aditya,  and  in  Iranic  hagha  is  only  an  epithet  of  Ormuzd. 

To  PuSHAN  (vi.  56). 

The  man  who  Pushan  designates 
With  words  like  these,  '  mush-eater  he,' 
By  him  the  god  is  not  described. 

With  Pushan  joined  in  unison 
Tliat  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,i 
Successful  make  for  booty's  gain  ; 
Afar,  O  Piishan,  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.^ 

To  Bhaga  (vii.  41). 

Early  on  Agni  call  we,  early  Indra  call ; 
Early  call  Mitra,  Varuna,  the  Horsemen  twain ; 
Early,  too,  Bhaga,  Pushan,  and  the  Lord  of  Strength ; 
And  early  Soma  will  we  call,  and  Rudra  too. 

1  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." 

2  After  Muir,  V.  p.  178.  The  clouds  and  cattleare  both  called  ^aj,  'wanderers,' 
which  helped  in  the  poetic  identification  of  the  two. 


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,i 
Whom  weak  and  strong,  and  e'en  the  king,  regarding, 
Cry  bAdgam  Shakshi,  'give  to  me  the  giver.' ^ 

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-\io\A.&x&? 
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,^ 
By  means  of  him  may  we  be  Mo^a-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  Dadhikra,^  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   Anga,   the   Apportioner)   very  remotely  connected  with 

1  Compare  ix.  97.  55,  "  Thou  art  Bhaga,  giver  of  gifts." 

2  Bh&gam  bhakshi!  Compare  baksheesh.  The  word  as  'god'  is  both  Avestan, 
bagha,  and  Slavic,  iogu  (also  meaning  '  rich ').  It  may  be  an  epithet  of  other  gods 
also,  and  here  it  means  only  luck. 

8  Literally  '  possessed  of  bhaga,'  i.e.,  wealth. 

•  May  Bhaga  be  bhagavdn,  i.e.,  a  true  bhaga-\io\&.tx.  Here  and  below  a  pun  on 
the  name  (as  above). 

5  Mythical  being,  possibly  the  sun-horse.  According  to  Pischel  a  real  earthly 


physical  functions.  But  the  hymn  appears  to  be  so  late  that 
it  cannot  throw  inuch  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  (Zeus) 
Bagaios  was  worshipped  by  the  Phrygians,  while  in  the  Avesta 
and  as  a  Slavic  god  Bhaga  has  no  especial  connettion  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.''  -  He, 
too,  leads  in  battle  and  is  reveled  under  the  title  Qipivishta,^ 
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  inconceiv- 
able, and  he  is  especially  praised  with  Indra,  the  two  being 
looked  upon  as  masters  of  the  world.  ^  His  highest  place  is 
the  realm  of  the  departed  spirits.*  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  Pushan  (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 

1  I.  22.  1 7,  etc. ;  1 54  ff. ;  vii.  1 00. 

2  vii.  100.  5-6.    Vislinu  (may  be  the  epithet  of  Indra  in  I.  6i.  7)  means  winner  (?). 
s  vi.  6g;  vii.  99.     But  Vishnu  is  ordered  about  by  Indra  (iv.  18.  11 ;  viii.  89.  12). 

»  I.  154.  5.    In  II.  1.  3,  Vishnu,  is  one  with  Fire  (Agni). 

VISHNU.  57 

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  Vi^va- 
mitras,  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.  18.) 

The  mighty  deeds  vi'ill  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.  i,  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.^  In  no 
early  passage  is  the  sun  a  malignant  god.  He  comes  "  as  kine 
tcTthe  vTilage,  as  a  hero  to  his  steed,  as  a  calf  to  the  cow,  as  a 
husband  to  his  wife."  ^  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 

1  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. 

2  X.  149. 


proof  that  this  title  was  given  to  the  Indo-Iranic  god  before 
the  separation  of  the  two  peoples.  It  is  therefore  (perliaps 
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  Indie  point  of  view,  it  might  have  been 
expected  that  Dyaus  (Zeus),  the  'shining  sky,' would  play  an 
important  role  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  gen- 
erally 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 
Agvins,  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  gods  the  sacrifice,^  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.'  ''■ 

The   praise    is    vague    and   the    benevolence    is    the    usual 
'  bestowal  of  blessings '  expected  of  all  the  gods  in  return  for 

1  II.  41.  20.  2  vi.  70. 


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  pro- 
tection 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."^ 

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  explana- 
tion. 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.) 

1  I.  160.  4;  iv.  56.  1-3  ;  vii.  53.  j.. 


One  more  attribute  remains  to  be  noticed,  whicii  connects 
Dyaus  morally  as  well  as  physically  with  Savitar  and  Varuna. 
The  verse  in  which  this  attribute  is  spoken  of  is  also  not  with- 
out 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)  ^  may  this  hymn  to 
Heaven  and  Earth  avert  it."  It  was  shown  above  that  Savi- 
tar 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  begot- 
ten, who  knows,  O  ye  wise  seers  ?  Whatever  exists,  that  they 
carry."  ^  But  all  that  they  do  they  do  under  the  command  of 

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.  i);  "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.  i  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."*  In  the  burial  service  the  dead  are  exhorted 
to  "go  into  kindly  mother  earth"  who  will  be  "wool-soft,  like 
a  maiden."  *    The  one  hymn  to  Earth  should  perhaps  be  placed 

1  I.  185.  8  (Jasfait).     The  expiatory  power  of  the  hymn  occurs  again  in  I.  159. 
^  I-  1S5.  1.  B  iv.  56.  7.  4  I.  22.  13. 

5  X.  18.  10  (or:  "like  a  wool-soft  maiden"). 

VARUNA.  61 

parallel  with  similar  meditative  and  perfunctory  laudations  in 
the  Homeric  hymns  : 

To  Earth  (v.  84). 

In  truth,  O  broad  extended  earthy 
Thou  bear'st  the  render  of  the  hills,l 
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 
Lilce  eager  steeds  the  gushing  rain. 
Thou  mighty  art,  who  boldest  up 
With  strength  on  earth  the  forest  trees. 
When  rain  the  rains  that  from  thy  clouds 
And  Dyaus'  far-gleaming  lightning  come.^ 

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  to  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.'  ^  He  has  a  thou- 
sand reme_dies  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  '  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.^ 

1  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. 

2  I.  24.  7-8.     The  change  in  metaphor  is  not  unusual. 

8  This  word  means  either  order  or  orders  (law) ;  literally  the  '  way  '  or  '  course.' 
4  I.  24  (epitomized). 


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.i 

Thy  mind  for  mercy  we  release  — 

As  charioteer,  a  fast-bound  steed  — 

By  means  of  song,  O  Varuna.  , 

('T  is  Varuna)  who  knows  the  track 
Of  birds  that  fly  within  the  air. 
And  knows  the  ships  upon  the  flood; '^ 
Knows,  too,  the  (god)  of  order  firm. 
The  twelve  months  with  their  progeny, 
And  e'en  which  month  is  later  born  ; ' 
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.* 
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. 

1  Perhaps  better  with  Ludwig  "  of  (thee)  in  anger,  of  (thee)  incensed." 

2  Or:  "  Being  (himself)  in  the  (heavenly)  flood  he  knows  the  ships."    (Ludwig.) 
B  An  intercalated  month  is  meant  (not  the  primitive  *  twelve  days '). 

4  Or  '  very  wise,'  of  mental  strength. 

VARUNA.  63 

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 
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  Jcing  ; 
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  primi- 
tive 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  ; '  that  is,  in  distinction  from  Dyaus,  from  whom  he 

1  viii.  4f.  7  ;  vii.  8z.  6  (Bergaigne) ;  X.  132.  4. 


differs  ioto  caelo,  so  to  speak,  the  invisible  world,  which  em- 
braces the  visible  sky.  His  home  is  there  where  lives  the 
Unborn,  whose  place  is  unique,  above  the  highest  heaven.' 

But  it  is  exactly  this  loftiness  of  character  thaFshould  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  be- 
longed 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 
o/igin.^  In  the  seventh  book  (vii.  86-89)  ^^^  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-sevsn,"  shows  the  character  of  the  hymn  to  be 
recent.^  In  the  first  hymn  of  this  book  the  late  doctrine  of 
inherited  sin  stands  prominently  forth  (vii.  86.  5)  as  an  indi- 
cation 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 

1  Compare  Bergaigne,  La  Religion  Vedique^  iii.  pp.  116-118. 

2  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. 

3  Compare  Hillebrandt's  Varuna  and  IWitra,  p.  5  ;  arid  see  our  essay  on  the  Holy 
Numbers  of  the  Rig  \'eda  (in  the  Oriental  Studies). 

V A  RUN  A.  65 

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.^  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  can- 
not be  very  early  is  evident  from  the  mention  of  the  inter- 
calated 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  Varum, ^  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. 

To  Varuna. 

"  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 

1  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. 

2  But  as  in  iv.  42,  so  in  x.  124  he  shares  glory  with  Indra. 


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, 
Oupavo's,  stood  in  the  same  relation  to  Zevs  ;  that  Oupavos  were 
connected  with  oipe'o)  and  Varuna  with  van,  river,  vari,  water.-' 

1  Later,  Varuna's  water-office  is  his  only  physical  side.  Compare  Ait.  Ar.  ii.  i.  7.  7, 
'  water  and  Varuna,  children  of  mind.'  Compare  with  vdri,  oipd  =  vara,  and  varl, 
an  old  word  for  rivers,  vars  {=  var  +  y),'rain.'  The  etymology  is  very  doubtful 
on  account  of  the  number  of  var-roots.  Perhaps  dew  (eptra)  and  rain  first  as 
'  coverer.'     Even  var  =  vas  ' shine,'  has  been  suggested  (ZDMG.  xxii.  603). 

VARUNA.  67 

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  Hillebraiidt.  On  account  of  his  "  thousand 
spies,"  i.e.,  eyes,  he  has  been  looked  upon  by  some  as  exclu- 
sively a  night-god.  But  this  is  too  one-sided  an  interpretation, 
and  passes  over  the  all-important  fact  that  it  is  only  in  con- 
junction 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.  With- 
out this  name  may  one  ascribe  to  India  what  is  found  in  Iran?'' 
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  im- 
possible ;  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  inter- 
calated 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  Beitrdge,  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  injurn,  and  that  where  he 
Ts^aised  in  the  most  elevated  language  the  rain-side  disap- 
pears, although  it  was  fundamental,  as  may  be  seen  by  compar- 
ing many  passages,  where  Varuna  is  exhorted  to  give  rain, 
where  his  title  is  '  lord  of  streams,'  his  position  that  of  '  lord 

1  The   old  comparison  of  Varena  cathrugaosha  turns  out  to  be  "  the  town  of 
Varna  with  four  gates  "  ! 


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  exclu- 
sively a  night-god.^  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.^  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."^ 

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.  K%  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.^ 

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.* 

1  In  India :  What  Can  it  Teach  us,  pp.  197,  200,  Miiller  tacitly  recognizes  in 
the  pliysical  Varuna  only  the  *  starry '  night-side. 

2  Loc.  cit.  III.  119.  Bergaigne  admits  Varuna  as  god  of  waters,  but  sees  in  him 
identity  with  Vritra  <i  '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. 

3  Loc.  cit.  p.  13. 

4  One  of  the  chief  objections  to  Bergaigne's  conception  of  Varuna  as  water- 
restrainer  is  that  it  does  not  explain  the  antique  union  with  Mitra. 

6  II.  28.  4,  7;  vii.  82.  I,  2;  87.  .;. 

VARUNA.  69 

On  the  other  hand  he  is  practically  identified  with  the  sun.i 
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'  l'^  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.  i).  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 

1  vii.  87.  6  ;  88.  2. 

2  viii.  41.  J.,  7,  8.  So  Varuna  gives  soma,  rain.  As  a  rain-god  lie  surpasses 
Dyaus,  who,  ultimately,  is  also  a  rain-god  (above),  as  in  Greece. 


traditional  interpretation  of  Mitra  and  Varuna  that  Mitra  is 
the  god  of  day  {i.e.,  the  sun),  and  Varuna  the  god  of  night  {i.e., 
covering),^  while  native  belief  regularly  attributes  to  him  the 
lordship  of  water.^  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.?  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 ;  ^  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  Siirya  and 
Dawn  were  chief,  then  Varuna  was  chiefest.  There  is  no 
monotheism  in  the  worship  of  a  god  who  is  regularly  asso- 
ciated 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 

1  Compare  Cat.  Br.  v.  2.  5.  17,  "  whatever  is  dark  is  Varuna's." 

2  In  ii.  38.  8  varuna  means  'fisli,'  and  'water'  in  i.  1S4.  3. 

s_v.  62.  i,  8 ;  64.  7 ;  64.  5  ;  65.  2  ;  67.  2  ;  69.  1 ;  vi.  51.  i ;  67.  5.  In  viii.  47.  1,1 
tlie  Adityas  are  tliemselves  spies. 

■*  Introduction  to  Grassmann,  ii.  27 ;  iv.  42.     Lex.  s.  v. 

VARUNA.  71 

-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  Earth  deserves  comment.  He 
says  •}  "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.  Varuna  is  no  longer  a 
popular  god  in  the  Rig  Veda.  He  is  already  a  god  of  specu- 
lation, 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. 

1  Religions  of  India,  p.  1 7. 


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  Punjab.  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  Adityas  to  the  spirits  of  Ahura  in  Zoroaster's  system 
points  to  this,  yet  it  is  absurd  to  assume  this  epoch  as  the  start- 
ing 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^^  a  product  of  priestly  theoso- 
phy.     Aditi  makes,  perhaps,  the  first  approach  to  formal  pan- 

1  The  Rik  knows,  also,  a  Diti,  but  merely  as  antithesis  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. 



theism  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).'  The  chief  of 
these,  who  \s  par  excelkHce  the  Aditya  (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  Anga  are  also  reckoned  as  Adityas,  and 
Surya  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.' 
An5a  seems  to  have  much  the  same  meaning  with  Bhaga,  viz., 
the  sharer,  giver.  Daksha  may,  perhaps,  be  the  'clever,' 
'strong'  one  (Se^ios),  abstract  Strength;  as  another  name  of 
the  sun  (.?).  Aditi  herself  (according  to  Miiller,  Infinity;  accord- 
ing to  Hillebrandt,  Eternity)  is  an  abstraction  that  is  born  later 
than  her  chief  sons.  Sun  and  Varuna.^  Zarathustra  (Zoroaster, 
not  earlier  than  the  close  of  the  first  Vedic  period)  took  the 
seven  Adityas  and  reformed  them  into  one  monotheistic  (dual- 
istic)  Spirit  (Ahura),  with  a  circle  of  six  moral  attendants, 
thereby  dynamically  destroying  every  physical  conception  of 


We  have  devoted  considerable  space  to  Varuna  because  of 
the  theological  importance  with  which  is  invested  his  personal- 
ity. If  one  admit  that  a  monotheistic  Varuna  is  the  z^r-Varuna, 
if  one  see  in  him  a  sign  that  the  Hindus  originally  worshipped 
one  universally  great  superior  god,  whose  image  effaced  that 

1  Miiller  iloc.  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. 

2  See  Hillebrandt,  Die  GoUin  Aditi  ;  and  Miiller,  SEE.,  xxxii.,  p.  241,  252. 


of  all  the  others/  then  the  attempt  to  trace  any  orderly  devel- 
opment in  Hindu  theology  may  as  well  be  renounced  ;  and  one 
must  imagine  that  this  peculiar  people,  starting  with  monothe- 
ism 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  over- 
threw him  from  his  supremacy,  because  of  their  greater  free- 
dom 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  wor- 
shipper, waiting  to  salute  the  rising  sun,  beheld  in  all  her 
beauty,  and  thus  praised 

The  Dawn.2 

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. 

1  That  is  to  say,  if  one  believe  that  the  '  primitive  Aryans '  were  innoculated  with 
Zoroaster's  teaching.  This  is  the  sort  of  Varuna  that  Roth  believes  to  have  existed 
among  the  aboriginal  Aryan  tribes  (above,  p.  13,  note  2).  2  vii.  77. 

DA  WN.  75 

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,l  leader  of  days  she  gleameth. 

Bearing  the  gods'  eye,  she,  the  gracious  maiden, 

—  Leading  along  the  white  and  sightly  charger  2  — 
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  ^  sons  extol  with  praise's. 
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  wrftten.  In  the  daily  vision  of 
Dawn  following  her  sister  Night  the  poet  sees  his  fairest  god- 
dess, 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  hun- 
dred 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). 

1  Clouds.  2  The  sun. 

s  The  priest  to  whom,  and  to  whose  family,  is  ascribed  the  seventh  book. 


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 
argurhent'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  natur-  , 
ally  divided  at  times  with  that  to  the  sun  :  "  Fair  shines  the 
light  of  morning ;  the  sun  awakens  us  to  toil ;  along  the  path 

DA  WN.  77 

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,^  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  Surya  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  import- 
ant in  showing  the  new  carelessness  as  regards  the  old  gods.^ 
Some  other  traits  appear  in  vii.  75.  i  £f.,  where  Dawn  is  'queen 
of  the  world,'  and  banishes -the  di-uhs,  or  evil  spirit.  She  here 
is  daughter  of  Heaven,  and  wife  of  the  sun  (4,  5);  ib.  76.  i, 
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 

1  JAOS.,  XV.  270. 

^  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  remarliable  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. 


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." 

Dawji  is  intimately  connected  not  only  with  Agni  but  with 
the  Twin  Horsemen,  the  Agvins  (equites)  —  if  not  so  intimately 
connected  as  is  Helen  with  the  Dioskouroi,  who,  pace  Pischel, 
are  the  Agvins  of  Hellas.  This  relationship  is  more  empha- 
sized 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  possess!  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. 

£>A  WN.  79 

It  was  seen  that  Savitar  (Pushan)  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  trans- " 
lated,  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  pan- 
theon 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  person- 
ality. 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  ; 

Hymn  to  Night  (x.  127). 

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.i 

1  Transferred  by  Roth  from  the  penultimate  position  where  it  stands  in  the 
original.  Dawn  here  pays  Night  for  the  latter's  matutinal  withdrawing  by  withdraw- 
ing herself.  Strictly  speaking,  the  Dawn  is,  of  course,  the  sunset  Ught  conceived  of 
as  identical  with  that  preceding  the  sunrise  {itsns,  i}c6s,  'east'  as  'glow'). 


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).i 


The  Agvins  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.^  Even 
the  ancients  made  mere  guesses :  the  A^vins  came  before  the 
Dawn,  and  are  so-called  because  they  ride  on  horses  (a(va, 
eguos);  they  represent  either  Heaven  and  Earth,  or  Day  and 

1  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 

2  Myriantheus,  Die  A^vins ;  Muir,  OST.  v.  p.  234  ;  Bergaigne,  Religion  Vedigue, 
ii.  p.  43T  ;  MUller,  Lectures,  2d  series,  p.  508 ;  Weber,  Md.  St.  v.  p.  234.  Sayana 
on  i.  180.  2,  interprets  the  *  sister  of  the  A5vins '  as  Dawn. 

THE   ACVINS.  81 

Night,  or  Sun  and  Moon,  or  two  earthly  kings  —  such  is  the 
unsatisfactory  information  given  by  the  Hindus  themselves/ 

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,^  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.'  In  the  last  book  of  the  Rig  Veda  they 
are  the  sons  of  Saranyu  and  Vivasvant,  but  it  is  not  certain 
whether  Saranyu  means  dawn  or  not ;  in  the  first  book  they 
are  born  of  the  flood  (in  the  sky).^  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.°  They  follow  Dawn  'like  men'  (viii.  5.  2) 
and  are  in  B'rahmanic  literature  the  'youngest  of  the  gods.'  ^ 

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 

The  A9vins  are  brilliantly  described.  Their  bird-drawn 
chariot  and  all  its  appurtenances  are  of  gold  ;  they  are  swift 

1  Muir,  loc.  cii.     Weber  regards  them  as  the  (stars)  Gemini. 

2  Weber,  however,  thinks  that  Dawn  and  A9vins  are  equally  old  divinities,  the 
oldest  Hindu  divinities  in  his  estimation. 

3  In  the  Epic  (see  below)  they  are  called  the  lowest  caste  of  gods  (Qudras). 

4  X.  17.  2  ;  i.  46.  2.  '"  i-  iSi.  4  (Roth,  ZDMG.  iv.  425). 
6  Taitt.  S.  vii.  2.  7.  2  ;  Muir,  loc.  cii.  p.  235. 


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  Agvins  begins;  they  'accom- 
pany dawn.'  Some  variation  of  fancy  is  naturally  to  be  looked 
for.  Thus,  though,  as  said  above.  Dawn  is  born  at  the 
A5vins  yoking,  yet  Dawn  is  herself  invoked  to  wake  the 
A^vins  ;  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)."  ^ 

Husbands  or  brothers  or  children  of  Dawn,  the  Horsemen 
are  also  Surya's  husbands,  and  she  is  the  sun's  daughter 
(Dawn  ?)  or  the  sun  as  female.  But  this  myth  is  not  without 
contradictions,  for  Surya  elsewhere  weds  Soma,  and  the  Agvins 
are  the  bridegroom's  friends  ;  whom  PCishan  chose  on  this 
occasion  as  his  parents  ;  he  who  (unless  one  with  Soma)  was 
the  prior  bridegroom  of  the  same  much-married  damsel.^ 

The  current  explanation  of  the  Agvins  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  to- 
gether. 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  Agvins  to  other  pairs'^  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 

1  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. 

2  Muir,  loc.  cit.  p.  237.     RV.  vi.  58.  4  ;  x.  85.  9  ff. 

3  They  are  compared  to  two  ships,  two  birds,  etc. 

THE   ACVINS.  83 

inseparable.  Strictly  speaking,  the  break  of  red  is  the  dawn 
and  the  white  and  yellow  lights  precede  this.^  Thus  in  v. 
73.  S  :  "  Red  birds  flew  round  you  as  Surya  stepped  upon  your 
chariot";  so  that  it  is  quite  impossible,  in  accordance  with  the 
poets  themselves,  to  limit  the  A^vins  to  the  twilight.  They 
are  a  variegated  growth  from  a  black  and  white  seed.  The 
chief  function  of  the  Agvins,  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  col- 
lected and  told  by  the  Vedic  poets  in  regard  to  the  preserva- 
tion and  resuscitating  power  of  the  A9vins  —  how  an  old  man 
was  rejuvenated  by  them  (this  is  also  done  by  the  three  Rib- 
hus,  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  Ber- 
gaigne  in  imagining  all  these  miracles  to  be  anthropomorphized 
forms  of  solar  phenomena,  the  healing  of  the  blind  represent- 
ing the  bringing  out  of  the  sun  from  darkness,  etc.  To  us 
such  interpretation  often  seems  fatuous.  No  less  unconvinc- 
ing is  the  claim  that  one  of  the  Agvins  represents  the  fire 
of  heaven  and  the  other  the  fire  of  the  altar.  The  Twins  are 
called  nasatyd,  the  '  savers  '  (or  'not  untrue  ones');  ^  explained 
by  some  as  meaning  'gods  with  good  noses.'  ^ 

1  In  Cat.  Br.  v.  5.  4.  j,  to  the  Agvins  a  red-white  goat  is  sacrificed,  because 
'  Agvins  are  red-white.' 

-  Perhaps  best  with  Brunnhofer,  'the  savers'  from  nas  as  in  nasjan  (AG.  p.  99). 

3  La  Religion  Vedique,  ii.  p.  434.  That  ndsaiya  means  '  with  good  noses '  is  an 
epic  notion,  nasatyadasrau  stinasSii,  Mbha.  i.  3.  5S,  and  for  this  reason,  if  for  no 
otlier  (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  YamI  are  twins ;  and  of  pairs  Indra-Agni,  Indra-Vayu,  besides  the 
older  Mitra-Varuna,  Heaven-Earth,  are  common. 


Hymn   to  the   Horsemen. 

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] '  and  the  swift-going  Horsemen.^  These  Horse- 
men I  call  now  that  they  work  wonders,  to  seize  the  works  (of  sacrifice), 
whose  friendship  is  preeminently  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,  Turvaya'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:^ 

Whatever  manliness  is  in  the  aether,  in  the  sky,  and  among  the  five 
peoples,  grant  us  that,  O  Horsemen  .  this  hot  soma-&nxik  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  Horse- 
men'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  preeminent.  .  .  . 

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

1  Perhaps  to  be  omitted. 

2  Pischel,  Ved.  St.  i.  p.  4S.     As  swift-going  gods  they  are  called  '  Indra-like.' 

3  viii.  9  and  10. 


Some  of  the  expanded  myths  and  legends  of  the  Agvins 
may  be  found  in  i.  ii8,  119,  158;  x.  40.  Here  follows  one 
with  legends  in  moderate  number  (vii.  71): 

Before  the  Dawn  her  sister,  Night,  withdraweth  j 
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  Cyavana  ; 
Ye  brought  and  gave  the  charger  swift  to  Pedu  ; 
Ye  two  from  darkness'  anguish  rescued  Atri; 
Ye  set  Jahusha  down,  released  from  fetters.^ 

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

The  sweets  which  the  Agvins  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 

1  Doubtful. 

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


as  birds,  horses,  ships,  etc.  It  is  to  be  noticed  that  in  no  one 
of  their  attributes  are  the  Agvins  unique.  Otlier  gods  bring 
sweets,  help,  protect,  give  oifspring,  give  healing  medicines, 
and,  in  short,  do  all  that  the  Agvins  do.  But,  as  Bergaigne 
points  out,  they  do  all  this  pacifically,  while  Indra,  who  per- 
forms 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. 



Only  one  of  the  great  atmospheric  deitjes,  the  gods  that 
preeminently  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  dig- 
nity, but  in  his  case  the  dignity  already  is  impaired  by  the 
strength  of  a  new  and  greater  rival.  In  the  case  of  thejwind- 
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  Vata,  Wind,  may  be  the  Scan- 
dinavian Woden.  The  later  mythologists  on  Indian  soil  make 
a  distinction  between  Vata,  wind,  and  Vayu  (from  the  same 
root ;  as  in  German  weheri),  and  in  this  distinction  one 
discovers  that  the  old  Vata,  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  con- 
ception alone  that  is  utilized  in  the  formation  of  the  Vedic 
triad  of  wind,  fire,  and  sun.  In  short,  in  the  use  and  appli- 
cation of  the  two  names,  there  is  an  exact  parallel  to  the 
double  terminology  employed  to  designate  the  sun  as  Surya 
and  Savitar.  Just  as  Surya  is  the  older  ijAtos  and  sol  (ac- 
knowledged 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  Vata,  Woden,  replaced  and  lowered 
by  the  loftier  conception  of  Vayu.  But,  again,  just  as,  when 
the  conception  of  Savitar  is  formed,  the  spiritualizing  ten- 
dency  reverts   to    Surya,   and   makes    of   him,    too,    a  figure 


reclothed  in  the  more  modern  garb  of  speech,  which  is  in- 
vented for  Savitar  alone  ;  so  the  retroactive  theosophic  fancy, 
after  creating  Vayu  as  a  divine  power  underlying  phenomenal 
Vata,  reinvests  Vata  also  with  the  garments  of  Vayu.  Thus, 
finally,  the  two,  who  are  the  result  of  intellectual  differentia- 
tion, are  again  united  from  a  new  point  of  view,  and'Surya 
or  Savitar,  Vayu  or  Vata,  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.  i86,  the  poet 
calls  on  Wind  to  bring  health  to  the  worshipper,  and  to  pro- 
long 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  Vata  also,  not  to  Vayu,  and  though 
it  is  loftier  in  tone  and  even  speaks  of  Vata  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.  i68).  Never- 
theless, Vata  is  worshipped,  as  is  Vayu,  with  oblations. 

Hymn  to  Wind  (Vata). 

Now  Vata's  chariot's  greatness  !     Breaking  goes  it, 
And  thundering  is  its  noise ;  to  heaven  it  touches, 
Goes  o'er  the  earth,  cloud i  making,  dust  up-rearing; 

1  Compare  i.  134.  3. 


Then  rush  together  all  the  forms  of  Vata ; 

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  hi  of  waters ; 

First-born  and  holy,  —  where  was  he  created, 

And  whence  arose  he  ?     Spirit  of  gods  is  Vata, 

Source  of  creation,  goeth  where  he  listeth  ; 

Whose  sound  is  heard,  but  not  his  form.     This  Vata 

Let  us  with  our  oblations  duly  honor. 

In  times  later  than  the  Rig  Veda,  Vayu  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  associ- 
ated thus  in  the  second  hymn;  while,  ib.  134,  he  has  the  only 
remaining  complete  hymn,  though  fragments  of  songs  occa- 
sionally are  found.  All  of  these  hymns  except  the  first  two 
simply  invite  Vayu  to  come  with  Indra  to  the  sacrifice.  It  is 
Vayu  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  Vayu  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  atmos- 
pheric 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  spiritu- 
ality 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  phenome- 
non 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  spiritual- 
ized, 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. 

>  INDRA.  91 

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  i 
'year';  also  with  'sun'  and  with  'fire'  in  general.'  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 

1  For  the  different  views,  see  Perry,  JAOS.  xi.  p.  119;  Muir,  OST.  ..  p.  77. 


to  fire  than  to  sun.'  But  the  savant  does  not  rest  content  with 
his  own  explanation :  "  Indira  est  peut-6tre,  de  tous  les  dieux 
v^diques,  celui  qui  resiste  le  plus  longtemps  \  un  genre 
d'analyse  qui,  appliqud  "k  la  plupart  des  autres,  les  rdsout  plus 
ou  moins  vite  en  des  personnifications  des  dldments,  soit  des 
phenomenes  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  ard  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 
alwkys  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.,  11.  20,  which  Bergaigne  gives  as  a 
parallel,  the  words  say  expressly  "  Indra  [did  so  and  so]  like  a 
sun."  ^     To  rest  a  building  so  important  on  a  basis  so  frail  is 

1  La  Religion  Vedique,  ii.  pp.  159,  161,  166,  187. 

2  The  chief  texts  are  ii.  30.  i ;  iv.  26.  i ;  vii.  98.  6  ;  viii.  93.  i,  4  ;  x.  89.  2  ;  x.  112.  3. 

INDRA.  93 

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  confir- 
mation of  his  theory.^  What  was  Indra  may  be  seen  by  com- 
paring 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  compre- 
hended ;  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. 
Agvins  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) ;  ^  he  creates  (in  the  same  way)  all  things, 
even  heaven  and  earth;  he  is  associated  with  Vishnu  and  Pushan 
(the  sun-gods),  with  the  A^vins,  with  the  Maruts  (storm-gods) 
as  his  especial  followers,  and  with  the  artisan  Ribhus.  With 
Varuna  he  is  an  Aditya,  but  he  is  also  associated  with  another 

1  Other  citations  given  by  Bergaigne  in  connection  witli  this  point  are  all  of  the 
simile  class.     Only  as  All-god  is  Indra  the  sun. 

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


group  of  gods,  the  Vasus  (x.  66.  3),  as  Vasupati,  or  'lord  of 
the  Vasus.'     He  goes  with  many  forms  (vi.  47.  18).' 

The  luminous  character  ^  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^  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).*  -  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.^ 

Indra,  however,  is  no  more  the  lightning  than  he  is  the  sun. 
One  poet  says  that  he  is  like  the  sun  ;  ^  another,  that  he  is 
like  the  lightning  (viii.  93.  9),  which  he  carries  in  his  arms 

1  Adity^,  only  vii.  85.  4  ;  Val.  4.  7.     For  other  references,  see  Perry  {foe.  cit.). 

2  Bergaigne,  ii.  160.  1S7. 

s  Indra  finds  and  begets  Agni,  iii.  31. 15. 

*  Unless  the  Python  be,  rather,  the  Demon  of  Putrefaction,  as  in  Iranian  belief. 

5  Demons  of  every  sort  oppose  Indra ;  Vala,  Vritra,  the  '  holding '  snake  {dhi  = 
€;^is),  ^ushna  ('drought '),  etc. 

c  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. 

INDRA.  95 

(viii.  12.  7)  ;  another,  that  he  is  like  the  Hght  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  re- 
garded as  the  All-god  (viii.  98.  1-2).  With  this  final  suprem- 
acy, that  distinction  between  battle-gods  and  gods  sovereign, 
which  Bergaigne  insists  upon  —  the  sovereign  gods  belonging 
to  U7ie  conception  unitaire  de  Vordre  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  with- 
out 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.  I.  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."  ^     Thus  it  happens  that  one  rarely  finds  such  poems 

1  BoUensen  would  see  an  alluiiion  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  79  a. 


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-'^ox^v^  —  which  results  in  Indra  being  in- 
voked 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. 

'T  is  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  witli  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  Prigni,  the  mother  cloud.  Their 
name  means  the  shining,  gleaming  ones. 

Hymn  to  the  Maruts  (vii.  56.  i-io). 

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,i 

and  strive  together,  the  wind-loud  falcons. 
Wise  he  that  knoweth  this  secret  knowledge, 

that  Prifni  the  great  one  to  them  was  mother.^ 
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  Miiller  : 

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  ? 

1  Or  'pluck  with  beaks,'  as  Miiller  translates,  SBE.  xxxii.  p.  373. 

2  "  Bore  them  "  (gave  an  udder).  In  v.  52. 16  Rudra  is  father  and  Pri5ni,  mother. 
Compare  viii.  94.  i :  "  The  cow  .  .  .  the  mother  of  the  Maruts,  sends  milk  (rain)." 
In  X.  78.  6  the  Maruts  are  sons  of  Sindhu  (Indus). 


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 
Pri9ni,  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.i  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,^  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  them- 
selves with  shining  adornment,  chains  of  gold,  gems,  and  tur- 
bans. 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  them- 
selves 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  Rodasi  (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 

1  /.I?.,  'die. 

2  The  number  is  not  twenty-seven,  as  Muir  accidentally  states,  OST.  v.  p.  147. 

RUBRA.  99 

they  milk  down  rain.  "  Tlirough  whose  wisdom,  through  whose 
design  do  they  come  ?  "  cries  the  poet.  They  have  no  real  ad- 
versary. The  kings  of  the  forest  they  tear  asunder,  and  make 
tremble  even  the  rocks.     Their  music  is  heard  on  every  side.^ 


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,^  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  coihes  the  later  god  of  healing  and  woe  —  Rudra, 
who  becomes  Qiva.^ 


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.*    A  descrip- 

1  V.  58.  4,  5;  i.  88.  i;  88.5;  V.  54.  11;  viii.  7.25;  i.  166.  10;  i.  39.  i;  64.  2-8; 
V.  54.  6  ;  i.  85.  8  ;  viii.  7.  34  ;  v.  59.  2. 

2  He  carries -lightnings  and  medicines  together  in  vii.  46.  3. 

3  Civa  is  later  identified  with  Rudra.  For  the  latter  in  RV.  compare  i.  43  ;  114, 
1-5, 10 ;  li.  33.  2-13.  *  vii.  47,  and  x.  75. 


tion  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  posi- 
tion 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  dis- 
tinction from  Indra  as  the  first  cause,  actually  pours  dov/n  the 

The  Frogs.i 

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 ! '^ Xhey  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. 

1  vii.  103. 

2  Akhkhala  is  like  Latin  eccere^  a  shout  of  joy  and  wonder  {^Atn,  J.  Phil.  XIV. 
p.  11). 

RAIN-GODS.  101 

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  i  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  ^\o  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.^ 

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  Pushan,'  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,'' —  and  Agni  is 
immediately  afterwards  asked  to  perform  the  same  favor,  appar- 
ently as  an  analogue  to  the  streams  of  oblation  which  the  priest 
pours  on  the  fire.     Of  these  gods,  the  pluvius  is  Parjanya: 

1  Literally, '  that  has  stood  over-night,'  i.e..  fermented. 

2  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. 

8  X.  98.  6. 


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 !  ^ 

This  god  is  the  rain-cloud  personified,^  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  divini- 
ties, the  two  become  a  compound,  Parjanyavcitd  ("  Parjanya 
and  Vata").  There  is,  also,  vii.  loi,  one  mystic  hymn  to 
Parjanya.  The  following,  v.  83,  breathes  quite  a  different 
spirit :  ^ 

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. 

1  vii.  102.  2  Compare  Biihler,  Orient  and  Occident,  i.  p.  222. 

3  This  hymn  is  another  of  those  that  contradict  the  first  assumption  of  the  ritual- 
ists.    From  internal  evidence  it  is  not  likely  that  it  was  made  for  baksheesh. 

RAIN-GODS.  103 

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  Par]  an ya'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  I 

Bestow  Dyaus'  rain  upon  us,  O  ye  Maruts  ! 

Make  thick  the  stream  that  comes  from  that  strong  stallion  I 

With  this  thy  thunder  come  thou  onward,  hither. 

Thy  waters  pouring,  a  spirit  and  our  father.^ 

Roar  forth  and  thunder  !     Give  the  seed  of  increase  I 

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  tlie  mighty  keg !  then  pour  it  under ! 

Let  all  the  loosened  streams  flow  swiftly  forward  ; 

Wet  heaven  and  earth  with  this  thy  holy  fluid ;" 

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  father- 

1  Asuras,pita  nas. 

2  Literally, '  with  ghee ' ;  the  rain  is  like  the  g/iee,  or  sacrificial  oil  (melted  butter), 


god  (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  men- 
tioned Trita,  who,  apparently,  was  a  water-god,  Aptya,  in  gen- 
eral ;  and  some  of  whose  functions  Indra  has  taken.  He  appears 
to  be  the  same  with  the  Persian  Thraetaona  Athwya ;  but 
in  the  Rig  Veda  he  is  interesting  mainly  as  a  dim  survival 
of  the  past.*  The  washing  out  of  sins,  which  appears  to  be 
the  original  conception  of  Varuna's  sin-forgiving,^  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  imput- 
ing it  to  the  [later]  moralizing  age  of  the  Brahmanas,  with 
which  the  third  period  of  the  Rig  Veda  is  quite  in  touch. 

1  Some  suppose  even  Indra  to  be  one  with  the  Avestan  Andra,  a  demon,  which  is 

2  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.  65,  note).  On  Trita  compare  JRAS.  1893,  P-  4'9i  PAOS.  1S94 




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  sflch  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  light- 
ning and  Agni ;  and  this  made  liim  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 
4gni  ;  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.^  They  are  both  united  as  an 
indissoluble   pair    (iii.    12,    etc.).      Agni,    with,    perhaps,    the 

1  viii.  38.  4 ;  i.  108.  3 ;  Bergaigne,  ii.  295. 


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  impos- 
sible 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 

1  On  this  point  Bergaigne  deprecates  tlie  application  of  the  ritualistic  method, 
and  says  in  words  that  cannot  be  too  emphasized :  "  Mais  qui  ne  voit  que  de  telles 
explications  n'expliquent  rien,  on  plutot  qiie  le  detail  du  ritucl  ne  pent  trouver  son 
explication  que  dans  le  mythe,  Men  loin  de  pouvoir  servir  lui-memes  ^  expliquer  le 
mythe  ?  .  .  .  Ni  le  ciel  seul  ni  la  terre  seule,  mais  la  terre  et  le  ciel  etroitement  unis 
et  presque  confondus,  voilk  le  vrai  domaine  de  la  mythologie  v^dique,  mythologie 
dont  le  rituel  n'est  que  la  reproduction"  (i.  p.  24). 

AGNI.  107 

As  earthly  fire  Agni  is  first  ignis  :^  "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  recog- 
nized. The  third  form  is  then  added,  lightning,  and  there- 
with Agni  is  begotten  of  Indra,  and  is,  therefore,  one  with 
Indra:  "There  is  only  one  fire  lighted  in  many  places"  (Val. 
lo.  2).  As  a  poetical  expression,  Agni  in  the  last  form  is  the 
'  Son  of  Waters,'  an  epithet  not  without  significance  in  philo- 
sophical speculation  ;  for  water,  through  all  periods,  was  re- 
garded as  the  material  origin  of  the  universe. 

Agni  is  one  with  the  sun,  with  lightning  (and  thunder),  and 
descends  into  the  plants.^  To  man  he  is  house-priest  and 
friend.  It  is  he  that  has  "  grouped  men  in  dwelling-places  " 
(iii.  I.  17)  like  Prometheus,  in  whose  dialectic  name,  Proman- 
theus,  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.  i.  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  obla- 
tions.    In  the  second  stanza  he  is  extolled  as  the  messenger 

li.  58.  4;  V.  7.  7;  vi.  3.  4. 

2  iii.  14.  4;  i.  71.  9;  vi.  3.  7;  6.  2;  iv.  1.9. 


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 
=  ayye\os?),  — one  of  his  ordinary  titles  : 

To  Agni  (i.  i). 

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  ! 

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,i 
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. 

1  Or  of  time  or  order. 

AGNI.  109 

This  is  mechanical  enough  to  have  been  made  for  an  estab- 
lished 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  ^  (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.  Matarigvan,  mes- 
senger 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  ^  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 

1  Or  '  Finder-of-beings.' 

2  Herabkimft  des  Feuers  und  des  Gottertrankcs. 


attributed  elsewhere  to  the  fire-priest.*  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  de- 
sires strength  ;  —  they  whom  thou  dost  assist  overcome  their 
enemies  all  their  lives"  (vi.  i6.  25,  27).  Agni  is  drawn  down - 
to  earth  by  means  of  the  twirling-sticks,  one  the  father,  one 
the  mother.^  "The  bountiful  wood  bore  the  fair  variegated 
son  of  waters  and  plants  ;  ^  the  gods  united  in  mind,  and  payed 
homage  to  the  glorious  mighty  child  when  he  was  born  "  (iii. 
I.  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,  immor- 
tality is  in  my  mouth  ;  threefold  my  light,  eternal  fire,  my 
name  fhe  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.  i)  ;  like 
Varuna  he  releases  the  bonds  of  sin  ;  he  is  Varuna's  brother 
(v.  2.  7  ;  vi.  3.  i;  iv.  i.  2);  his  'many  names'  are  often 
alluded  to  (iii.  20.  3,  and  above).  The  ritualistic  interpreta- 
tion 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  fhe  sacri- 
fice given   thrice  a  day  (iii.  2.9;    17.   i  ;   20.  2  ;   iv.   15.  2  ; 

1  RV.  vi.  16.  13  :  "  Thee,  Agni,  from  out  the  sky  Atharvan  twirled,"  nir  amanthata 
(cf.  Promantheus).     In  x.  462  the  Bhrigus,  0Xe7i)at,  discover  fire. 

2  Conipare  v.  2.  i.  Sometimes  Agni  is  "born  with  the  fingers,"  which  twirl  the 
sticks  (iii.  26.  3  ;  iv.  6.  8). 

3  Compare  ii.  i :  "born  in  flame  from  water,  cloud,  and  plants  .  .  .  thou  art  the 

AGNI.  Ill 

I.  7;  12.  i).  He  is  the  upholder  of  the  religious  order,  the 
guest  o£  mortals,  found  by  the  gods  in  the  heavenly  waters  ;  he 
is  near  and  dear  ;  but  he  also  becomes  dreadful  to  the  foe 
(iii.  I.  3-6  ;  6.  s  ;  vi.  7.  I  ;  8.  2  ;  iii.  1.  23  ;  22.  5  ;  vi.  3.  7;  iii. 
18.  i;   iv.  4.  4  ;    I.  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  over- 
throw, as  it  surpasses,  the  simpler  conceptions  of  the  natural- 
ism 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 ' '  philosophically  elicited  from  con- 
nection of  fire  and  water,  but  as  god-principle,  all-creative, 
that  Agni  gets  this  praise. 

Several  hymns  are  dedicated  to  Indragnl,  Indra  united  with 
Agni  ;  and  the  latter  even  is  identified  with  Dyaus  (iv.  i.  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 

1  Bergaigne,  i.  p.  32  ff.  The  question  of  priestly  names  {loc.  cit.  pp.  47-50),  should 
start  with  Bharata  as  TTvp^iSpos,  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.) ;  Visva-mitra,  'friend  of  all,'  in 
the  Bharata  family  (book  iii.) ;  Gautama  Vamadeva  belonging  to  Angirasas  (book  iv.); 
Atri  'Eater,'  epithet  of  Agni  in  RV.  (book  v.) ;  Bharadvaja  'bearing  food'  (book 
vi.) ;  Vasishtha  (book  vii.) ;  and  besides  these  Jamadagni  and  Kagyapa,  '  black- 
toothed  (Agni).' 


truth,  the  suggestion  is  not  very  acceptable.  Agni  comprehends 
not  only  all  naturalistic  gods,  but  such  later  femininities  as  Rever- 
ence, 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)  Qiva, 
the  lightning,  are  the  preserver  and  destroyer. 

We  fear  the  reader  may  have  thought  that  we  were  develop- 
ing 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 
myth'olog'ical  basis  of  our  study.  Without  this  it  would  have 
been  impossible  to  trace  the  gradual  growth  in  the  higher 
metaplrysical  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  eschato- 
logical  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 
o/i(i);u,t  of  Plutarch),^  and  the  cultus  at  least  was  begun  before 

1  De  Isid.  et  Osir.  46.  Compare  Windischmann,  Ucber  den  Samacultus  der 
Arier  (1846),  and  Muir,  Original  Sanskrit  Texts,  vol.  ii.  p.  471.  Hillebrandt, 
Vedische  Mylhologie,  i.  p.  450,  believes  haoma  to  mean  the  moon,  as  does  sotna  in 
some  hymns  of  the  Rig  Veda  (see  below). 

SOMA.  113 

ths  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  tlie  plant  that  produced 
it ;  the  plant  was,  therefore,  regarded  as  divine,  and  the 
preparation  of  the  draught  was  looked  upon  as  a  sacred 

This  offering  of  the  juice  of  the  soma-^\z.nt  in  India  was 
performed  thrice  daily.  It  is  said  in  the  Rig  Veda  that  soma 
grows  upon  the  mountain  Mujavat,  that  its  or  his  father  is 
Parjanya,  the  rain-god,  and  that  the  waters  are  his  sisters.^ 
From  this  mountain,  or  from  the  sky,  accounts  differ,  soma 
was  brought  by  a  hawk.'  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  over- 
throws cities.  Soma  who  begets  the  gods,  creates  the  sun,  up- 
holds the  sky,  prolongs  life,  sees  all  things,  and  is  the  one  best 
friend  of  god  and  man,  the  divine  drop  (jnclu),  the  friend  of 

As  a  god  he  is  associated  not  only  with  Indra,  but  also  with 
Agni,  Rudra,  and  Pushan.  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 

1  Compare  Kuhn,  Hcrabkunft  des  Feuers  und  des  GoUertrankes  (1S59) ;  Ber- 
gaigne,  La  Religion  Vedique,  i.  148  ff. ;  Haug's  Aitareya  Brdhmana,  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. 

2  RV.  X.  34. 1 ;  ix.  98.  9 ;  82.  3.  The  Vedic  plant  is  unknown  (not  the  sarcostemma 

3  RV.  iii.  43.  7  ;  iv.  26.  6  (other  references  in  Muir,  he.  cit.  p.  262.  Perhaps  rain 
as  soma  released  by  lightning  as  a  hawk  (Bloomfield). 

■1  See  the  passages  cited  in  Muir,  loc.  cit. 


god  regularly  was  regarded  as  the  visible  and  divine  Soma  of 
heaven,  represented  on  earth  by  the  plant.^ 

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  irjference 
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  S07na,  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--pla.nt,  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." 

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  num- 
ber 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 

1  A  complete  account  of  soma  as  given  by  the  Vedic  texts  will  be  found  in  Hille- 
brandt's  Vedische  Mythologie,  vol.  i.,  where  are  described  the  different  ways  of  fer- 
menting the  juice  of  the  plant. 

2  Although  so  interpreted  by  Hillebrandt,  loc.  cH.  p.  312.  The  passage  is  found  in 
RV.  vi.  44.  23. 

SOMA.  115 

merely  particularized,  and  that  it  is  not  incongruous  to  say  of 
the  divine  jwza-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  so?na  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,  meta- 
phorically, 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  ^  in  the  Rig  Veda  Soma  means  the  moon.  No 
better  hymn  can  be  found  to  illustrate  the  difficulty  under 
which  labors  the  than  ix.  15,  from  which  Hille- 
brandt 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  sojna  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 : 

Hymn  to  Soma  (ix.  15). 

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

I.    This  one,  by  means  of  prayer  (or  intelligence),  comes  through  the  fine 
(sieve),  the  hero,  with  swift  car,  going  to  the  meeting  with  Indra. 
1  Loc.  cit.  pp.  340,  450. 


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


3.  This  one  is  despatched  and  led  upon  a  shining  path,  when  the  active 

ones  urge  (him).i 

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,  repre- 
sented by  the  moon  in  the  preceding  verses,  as  i^  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. 
I,  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  an- 
other hymn  where  are  to  be  found  like  expressions,  used,  evi- 
dently, not  of  the  moon,  but  of  the  plant,  viz.,  to  ix.  37,  a 
hymn  not  cited  by  Hillebrandt : 

^  Compare  ix.  79.  5,  where  the  same  verb  is  used  of  striking,  urging  out  the  soma- 
juice,  rasa. 

SOMA.  117 

This  strong  "(virile)  soma^  pressed  for  drinli,  flows  into  tlie  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  (of 
purifying  itself)  made  bright  the  sun  with  (his)  sisters.^  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  (mdu)  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  meta- 
phorically as  that  tne  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  'every- 
where 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-hjmr\s 
more  or  less  clearly  indicate,  viz.,  the  intoxicating  plant,  con- 
ceived of  as  itself  divine,  stimulating  Indra,  and,  therefore, 
the  caiisa  movens  of  the  demon's  death,  Indra  being  the  causa 
efficiens.     Even  the  allusions  to  soma  being  in  the  sky  is  not 

1  Compare  ix.  32.  2,  where  "  Trita's  maidens  urge  on  the  golden  steed  with  the 
press-stones,  iiidu  as  a  drink  for  Indra." 


incompatible  with  this.  For  he  is  carried  thence  from  the 
place  of  sacrifice.  Thus  too  in  83.  1-2  :  "  O  lord  of  prayer,^  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  oi  soma  dropping  that  is  compared 
with  'roaring.'     The  strength  given  by  (him)  the  drink,  makes 

1  On  account  of  the  position  and  content  of  this  hymn,  Hillebrandt  regards  it  as 
addressed  to  Soma^  Briliaspati. 

SOM^.  119 

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,' ^  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  drini  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,'^ 
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  (tndii)."  ^  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  mas  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  floodg  of  which  so7na  is  lord 
are  explained  in  ix.  86.  24-25  :  "The  hawk  (or  eagle)  brought 
thee  from  the  sky,  O  drop  (indu),  .  .  .  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 

1  So  the  sun  in  i.  163.  9,  11.  '  Sharpening  his  horns'  is  used  of  fire  in  i.  140.  6 ; 
V  2.  9.      '  ^  ^''  '6'  39;  ™'  '9'  '  i  ™'-  ^°-  ^3' 

3  ix.  63.  8-g  ;  5.  g.     Soma  is  identified  with  lightning  in  ix.  47.  3. 


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-rejoic- 
ing 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.  1-4  :  "These  j-c/«a-drops  for  Indra  flow  rejoicing,  madden- 
ing, 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-dao^s,  let  out  like  steeds  (attached)  to  a 
car,  as  they  purify  themselves,  attain  all  desirable  things." 
According  to  ix.  97.  41^  and  ib.  37.  4  (and  other  like  passages, 
too  lightly  explained,  p.  387,  by  Hillebrandt),  it  is  sotna  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,'  appKed  to  haoma,  the  others  being  'strong'  and 

SOMA.  121 

'heaven-winning,'  just  as  in  the  Veda.'  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  ^  fathers 

Among  the  gods  got  happiness,  O  Indu. 

Thou,  Soma,  didst  become  in  wisdom  wisest; 

In  skill  s  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; ' 

Both  high  and  deep  the  place  of  thee,  O  Soma. 

Thou  brilliant  art  as  Mitra,  the  beloved,^ 
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,  3.rt  the  real  lord. 
Thou  'king  and  Vritra-slayer,  too  ; 
Thou  art  the  strength  that  gives  success. 

1  Hukhratus,  verethrajao,  hvaresn.  2  Or :  wise. 

3  Or:  strength.     Above,  'shared  riches,'  perhaps,  for  'got  happiness.' 
■1  Or :  thine,  indeed,  are  the  laws  of  King  Varuna. 

6  Or :  brilliant  .and  beloved  as  iflitra  (Mitra  means  friend) ;  Aryaman  is  translated 
'bosom-friend'  — both  are  Adityas. 


And,  Soma,  let  it  be  thy  will 

For  us  to  live,  nor  let  us  die ;  ^ 

Thou  lord  of  plants,^  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. 

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. 

1  Or :  an  thou  wiliest  for  us  to  live  we  ^hall  not  die. 

2  Or :  lordly  plant,  but  not  the  moon. 

3  Some  unessential  verses  in  the  above  metre  are  here  omitted. 

SOMA.  123 

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. 
Thoii  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  i  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.^ 

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-o\>\2X\ovi.s  are  made  chiefly  to  Indra  and 
Vayu;  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-plsLnt  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- 

1  Or:  shining. 

'■i  The  same  ideas  are  prominent  in  viii.  48,  where  Soma  is  invoked  as  '  soma  that 
has  been  drunk,' »'.«.,  the  juice  of  the  ('three  days  fermented')  plant. 


fire  as  an  eagle  brings  down  soma  to  man,  that  is,  the  heavenly- 
drink.  Since  Agni  is  threefold  and  the  Gayatri  metre  is  three- 
fold, they  interchange,  and  in  the  legends  it  is  again  the  metre 
which  brings  the  soma,  or  an  archer,  as  is  stated  in  one  doubt- 
ful passage.' 

What  stands  out  most  clearly  in  j-^^za-laudations  is  that  the 
jowza-hymns  are  not  only  quite  mechanical,  but  that  they  presup- 
pose 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  sacer- 
dotal 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,  there- 
fore, 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 

1  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. 

SOMA.  .  12S 

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,  sojna,  like  Aaoma,  was  originally  the  drink- 
plant  (the  root  su,  press,  from  which  comes  soma,  implies  the 
plant),  then  two  important  facts  follow.  First,  in  the  identifi- 
cation of  yellow  soma--pl3.nt  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 
Indie  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  iden- 
tity 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-c\i\t,  not  only  show  that 
Bergaigne's  opinion  that  the  whole  Rig  Veda  is  but  a  collec- 
tion of  hymns  for  soma-vforship  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  popu- 
lar 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. 



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  surd,  humor  ex  hordeo  (oryzaque  ; 
Weber,  Vdjapeya,  p.  19),  and  the  difficulty  of  obtaining  the 
original  j^^OT^-plant  (for  the  plant  used  later  for  soma,  the  asde- 
pias  acida,  or  sarcostemma  viminale,  does  not  grow  in  the  Punjab 
region,  and  cannot  have  been  the  original  soma),  the  status  of 
soma  became  changed.  While  surd  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  divini- 
ties. The  ideas  that  clustered  about  the  latter  were  transferred 
to  the  former.  The  altar-fire,  Agni,  is  at  once  earth-fire,  light- 
ning, 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 '  Vivangh- 
vant,  the  sun,  and  here  it  is  the  sun  that  first  prepares  the 
soma  (liaomd)  for  man.  And  so,  too,  in  the  Rig  Veda  it  is 
Yama  the  son  of  Vivasvant  (x.  58.  i  ;  60.  10)  who  first  "ex- 
tends 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  phe- 
nomenon, for  thus  he  sings,  differentiating  Yama  from  them 
all :  "  I  praise  with  a  song  Agni,  Pushan,  Sun  and  Moon, 
Yama  in  heaven,  Trita,  Wind,  Dawn,  the  Ray  of  Light,  the 
Twin  Horsemen  "  (x.  64.  3);  and  again  :  "  Deserving  of  lauda- 
tion 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.  i,  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.  i  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,'  ^ 
but  this  is  a  conception  alien  from  the  early  notions  of  the 
Veda,  where  'mortal'  signifies  no  more  than  'man.'     Yama 

1  Compare  Taitt.  S.  vii.  4.  2.  i.  The  gods  win  immortality  by  means  of  '  sacrifice ' 
in  this  later  priest-ridden  period. 

YAMA.  129 

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).^  The  fathers  that  died  of  old  are  cared 
for  lay  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  compar- 
able 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  wliat 
is  called  the  gods'  home'  (x.  135.  7).^  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  joy- 
fully 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  rever- 
ence, to  death';  i.  38.  5;  tb.  ii5.  2).^     There  is  always  a  close 

1  Ludwig  (iv.  p.  134)  wrongly  understands  a  hell  here. 

2  '  Yama's  seat '  Is  here  what  it  is  in  the  epic,  not  a  chapel  (Pischel),  but  a  home. 

3  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. 


connection  between  Varuna  and  Yama,  and  perhaps  it  is  owing 
to  this  that  parallel  to  '  Varuna's  fetters'  is  found  also  '  Yania'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  arti- 
ficer,' Tvasht^r,  x.   10.  4-5),^  is  clearly  enough  stated  in  the 

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

VAMA.  ■  131 

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  Yami,  brother  and  sister  (wife),  who, 
in  the  one  hymn  in  which  the  latter  is  introduced  (/oc.  df.), 
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  genera- 
tion. In  the  Yajur  Veda  Yami  is  wife  and  sister  both.  But 
sometimes,  in  the  varying  fancies  of  the  Vedic  poets,  the  arti- 
ficer 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.^ 

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  (Taitt.  S.  vi.  5.  6.  2).^  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  wlio  once  went  over  thie  great  mountains  ^  and  spied  out  a  path  for 
many,  tlie  son  of  Vivasvant,  wlio  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 

1  The  passage,  x.  17.  1-2,  is  perhaps  meant  as  a  riddle,  as  Bloomfield  suggests 
(JAOS.  XV.  p.  17^).  At  any  rate,  it  is  still  a  dubious  passage.  Compare  Hille- 
brandt,  Vedische  Mytholcgie,  i.  p.  503. 

2  Cited  by  Scherman,  VisionshtteraUcr,  p.  147. 

3  Possibly, '  streams.' 


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  Sarama,  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,"  -^  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.^  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.'-  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  Ker- 
berus, the  Iranian  dogs,''  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 

1  AV.  xviii.  3.  13. 

2  Compare  AV.  vi.  88.  2 :  "  King  Varuna  and  God  Brihaspati,"  where  both  are 

^  K4pf3epo!  {—  CabAla)  =  Qarvara.  Sarama  is  storm  or  dawn,  or  something  else 
that  means  *  runner.' 

*  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. 

YAMA.  133 

between  the  dogs  and  the  sun  and  moon  (or  'night  and  day'), 
^would  have  described  them  as  '  barking  '  or  as  '  broad-nosed  and 
darlc';  and  all  interpretation  of  Yama's  dogs  must  rest  on  the 
interpretation  of  Yama  himself.^ 

Yama  is  oot  mentioned  elsewhere  "^  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  a  ),  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  wa's  the  moon.  Ehni,  on 
the  other  hand,  together  with  Bergaigne  and  some  other 
scholars,  takes  Yama  to  be  the  sun.  Miiller  calls  him  the 
'setting-sun.'^  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.'' 

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 
"AtSj^s  'AyTyo-iAaos  is  not  early  and  popular,  but  late  (Aeschylean), 

1  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). 

2  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. 

3  India,  p.  224. 

*  Barth,  p.  23,  cites  i.  125.  6 ;  a.  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. 


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  Iiistorically  so,  but  poeti- 
cally, the  first  man,  fathered  of  the  sun,  to  whom  he  returns, 
and  in  whose  abode  he  collects  his  offspring  after  their  inevita- 
ble 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  un- 
known outside  of  the  Indo-Iranian  circle,  and  though  Ehni 
seeks  to  find  traces  of  him  in  Greece .  and  elsewhere,^  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^  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.  Scher- 
man's  only  error  is  in  disputing  the  generally-received  opinion, 

1  Especially  with  Ymir  in  Scandinavian  mythology. 

2  VisionsUtteraiur,  1892. 

y^.A/A.  135 

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  con- 
trary, part  of  which  is  late  interpolation  in  the  epic,  this  is 
the  antithesis  which  exists  in  the  works  of  the  respective 

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  tain  in  the  clouds, 
so  there  are  Mufs,  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  ^  ventured  to  call  it,  which  pervades  the 
Rig  Veda,  the  worship  of  more  or  less  personified  things,  dif- 
fering from  pantheism  in  this,^  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 
pature,  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  jiaxzS3-r,  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-men- 
tioned Gungu,  Raka,  etc.  (which  may  be  moon-phases).     The  , 

1  Henotheism  in  ilie  Rig  Veda,  p.  8i. 

2  This  religious  phase  is  often  confounded  loosely  with  pantheism,  but  the  dis- 
tinction should  be  observed.  Parkman  speaks  of  (American)  Indian  '  pantheism ' ; 
and  Barth  speaks  of  ritualistic  '  pantheism,'  meaning  thereby  the  deification  of  differ- 
ent objects  used  in  sacrifice  (p.  37,  note).  But  chrematheism  is  as  distinct  from 
pantheism  as  it  is  from  fetishism. 


most  important  of  these  abstractions  ^  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  ;  Miiller,  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  of  Indra  in  his  higher  development. 
It  is  from  this  god  is  come  probably  t}ie  head  of  the  later  trinity, 
Brahma,  through  personified  hrahma,  power,  prayer,  with  .its 
philosophical  development  into  the  Absolute.  Noteworthy  is 
the  fact  that  some  of  the  Vedic  Aryans,  despite  his  high  pre- 
tensions, 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  ;  con- 
sumes 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.^ 

Weber  has  suggested  (Vajapeya  Sacrifice,  p.  15),  that  Brihas- 
pati takes  Indra's  place,  and  this  seems  to  be  the  true  solution, 
Indra  as  interpreted  mystically  by  priests.  In  RV.  i.  190,  Bri- 
haspati 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 

1  Some  seem  to  be  old ;  thus  Aramati,  piety,  has  an  Iranian  representative,  Ar- 
maiti.     As  masculine  abstractions  are  to  be  added  Anger,  Death,  etc. 

2  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. 
Ved.  i.  304;  Muir,  OST.  v.  272  ff.  (with  previous  literature). 

YAMA.  137 

religion  tliey  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  '  {(^at.  Br.  v.  s-  i-  lo),  on  the  basis  of  a 
theological  pun,  the  clans,  vifas,  being  equated  with  the  word 
for  all,  vicve.  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 
(Urvagi,  Menaka,  etc.).^  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  be- 
comes 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. 

1  Mb/id.  i.  74.  68.     Compare  Holtzmann,  ZDMG.  xxxiii.  631  ff. 


He  was  a  poet,  and  did  not  expect  to  be  catechized.  Of 
female  divinities  there  are  several  of  which  the  nature  is  doubt- 
ful. As  Dawn  or  Storm  have  been  interpreted  Sarama  and 
Saranyu,  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  iire  ;  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  over- 
lapped 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  an- 
other. 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 

YAMA.  139 

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,"  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  begin- 
Tnngs  is  more  like  monofheism,  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 

It  is  thus  that  we  have  attempted  elsewhere  ^  to  explain  that 
phase  of  Hindu  religion  which  Miiller  calls  henotheism. ' 

Miiller,  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  accom- 
paniment 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 

li.  89.  10;  "Aditi  is  all  the  gods  and  men;  Aditi  is  whatever  has  been  born; 
Aditi  is  whatever  will  be  born." 

2  Henotheism  in  the  Rig  Veda  (Drisler  Memorial). 


unitarians  to  a  much  greater  extent  and  in  an  earlier  period 
tlian  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  polytheisni 
and  the  engrafting,  upon  a  polytheistic  stock,  of  a  speculative 
homoiousian  tendency  soon  to  bud  out  as  philosophic  pan- 

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."  -^  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 

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," -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. 

1  Ex.  XV.  II ;  xviii.  ii. 

2  RV.  X.  114.  5 ;  i.  164.  46;  AV.  iv.  16.  3. 

YAMA.  141 

Here  a  supreme  god  is  described  under  the  name  of  "  Lord 
of  Beings,"  tlie  "All-maker,"  "The  Golden  Germ,"  the  "God 
over  gods,  the  spirit  of  their  being"  (x.  121).  The  last,  a 
famous  hymn,  Miiller  entitles  "To  the  Unknown  God."  It 
may  have  been  intended,  as  has  been  suggested,  for  a  theo- 
logical puzzle,!  but  its  language  evinces  that  in  whatever  form 
it  is  couched  —  eacl^ verse  ends  with  the  refrain,  'To  what  god 
shall  we  offer  sacrifice  ? '  till  the  last  verse  answers  the  ques- 
tion, 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 
Iiolding  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  begin- 
ning of  the  work  than  it  is  from  the  period  of  Brahmanic  specu- 
lation —  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  immor- 
tality. There  was  no  difference  between  night  and  day.  That 
One  breathed  .   .  .  nothing  other  than  this  or  above  it  existed. 

1  Bloomfield,  JAOS.  xv.  184. 


Darkness  was  concealed  in  darkness  in  the  beginning.  Undif- 
ferentiated 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;^  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.''  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.^ 

Such  is  the  mental  height  to  which  the  seers  have  raised 
themselves  before  the  end  of  the  ^ig  Veda.  The  figure  of 
the  Father-god,  Prajapati,  '  lord  of  beings,'  begins  here ;  at 
first  an  epithet  of  Savitar,  and  finally  the  type  of  Jhe  head  of  a 
pantheon,  such  as  one  finds  him  to  be  in  the  Brahmanasl  Tti 
one  hymn  only  (x.  121)  is  Prajapati  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 
Vac,  Speech,  or  The  Word.  Weber  has  sought  in  this  the 
prototype  of  the  Logos  doctrine  (below).  The  Word,  Vac 
(feminine)  is  introduced  as  speaking  (x.  125): 

1  "  Desire,  the  primal  seed  of  mind,"  x.  129.  4. 

2  X.  72  (contains  also  the  origin  of  the  gods  from  Aditi). 

8  X.  go.     Here  chanddmsi^  carmina,  is  probably  the  Atharvan. 

MANES.  143 

I  wander  with  the  Rudras,  with  the  Vasus,i  with  the  Adityas,  and  with 
all  the  gods ;  I  support  Mitra,  Varuna,  Indra-Agni,  and  the  twin  A9vins.  .  .  . 
I  give  wealth  to  him  that  gives  sacrifice,  to  him  that  presses  the  sotna.  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  doc- 
trine 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,^  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): 

1  Rudras,  Vasus,  and  Adityas,  the  three  famous  groups  of  gods.  The  Vasus  are 
in  Indra's  train,  the  '  shining,'  or,  perhaps, '  good '  gods. 

2  ii.  ■;3.  13;  X.  100.  5,  etc.  It  the  idea  of  manus  =  bonus  be  rejected,  the  Latin 
manes  may  be  referred  to  mSnavas,  the  children  of  Manu. 


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,^  or  among  peoples  living  in  fair  places  (the 
gods?).  I  have  found  the  gracious  Fathers,  the  descendant(s)  and  the 
wide-step  ^  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  P'athers  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.^ 

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  attri- 
butes of  the  Fathers  and  those  of  the  gods.  The  Fathers,  hke 
the  luminous  gods,  "give  light"  (x.  107.  i).  Exactly  like  the 
gods,  they  are  called  upon  to  aid  the  living,  and  even  '  not  to 

1  Or :  "  in  an  earthly  place,  in  the  atmosphere,  or,"  etc. 

2  That  is  where  the  Fathers  live.  This  is  the  only  place  where  the  Fathers  are 
said  to  be  nApdt  (descendants)  of  Vishnu,  and  here  the  sense  may  be  "  I  have  discov- 
ered Ndpat  (fire?) "'     But  in  i.  154.  5  Vishnu's  worshippers  rejoice  in  his  home. 

8  Or ;  "  form  as  thou  wilt  this  body  (of  a  corpse)  to  spirit  -life." 

HE  A  VEN.  145 

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.^ 

The  Fathers  are  kept  distinct  from  the  gods.  When  the 
laudations  bestowed  upon  the  former  are  of  unequivocal  char- 
acter there  is  no  confusion  between  the  two.'' 

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  immor- 
tality. 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  GiJtterddmmerung.  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.^ 

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  interpreta- 
tion, that  mortals  have  two  paths,  one  of  the  Fathers  and  one 
of  the  gods,^  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.^  —  each  part  to 
its  appropriate  prototype. —  while  the  "  unborn  part "  is  carried 

1  X.  56.  4;  otherwise,  Grassmann. 

2  vi.  75.  9  refers  to  ancestors  on  earth,  not  in  heaven. 

3  Compare  IWuir,  OST.  v.  285,  where  i.  125.  5  is  compared  with  x.  107.  2: 
'•The  gift-giver  becomes  immortal;  the  gift-giver  hves  in  the  sky;  he  that  gives 
horses  hves  in  the  sun."  Compare  Zimmer,  Altind.  Leben,  p.  409 ;  Geiger,  Ostiran. 
Ciiltitr^  p.  290. 

■1  X.  88.  15,  word  for  word :  "two  paths  heard  of  the  Fathers  I,  of  the  gods  and  of 
mortals."     Cited  as  a  mystery,  Brih.  Aran.  Up.  vi.  2.  2. 

5  X.  1 6.  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. 


"  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.-'  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.  i8.  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."  ^  The  fol- 
lowing is  also  found  in  the  Rig  Veda  bearing  on  this  point :  the 
prayer  that  one  may  meet  his  parents  after  death ;  the  state- 
ment that  a  generous  man  goes  to  the  gods  ;  and  a  suggestion 
of  the  later  belief  that  one  wins  immortality  by  means  of 
a  son.^ 

The  joys  of  paradise  are  those  of  earth  ;  and  heaven  is  thus 
described,  albeit  in  a  late  hymn  :^  "Where  is  light  inexhaust- 
ible ;  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 ;  *  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 

1  AV.  »yiii.  4.  64 ;  Muir,  loc.  cit.  p.  298.  A  passage  of  the  Atharvan  suggests  that 
tlie  c3^ad  may  have  been  exposed  as  in  Iran,  but  there  is  no  trace  of  this  in  the  Rig 
Veda  (Zimmer,  loc.  cit.  p.  402). 

2  Barth,  Vedic  Religions,  p.  23 ;  ib.,  the  narrow  '  house  of  clay,'  RV.  vii.  89.  i. 

3  i.  24.  T ;  i.  125.  6;  vii.  56.  24;  cit^d  by  Miiller,  Chips,  i.  p.  45. 
Mx.  113.  7ff. 

^  Avarddhmtam  divds, '  enclosure  of  the  sky.' 

HELL.  147 

and  the  red  (sun)'s  highest  place  ;  where  one  can  follow  his 
own  habits^  and  have  satisfaction  ;  there  make  me  immortal; 
where  exist  delight,  joy,  rejoicing,  and  joyance  ;  where  wishes 
are  obtained,  there  make  me  immortal.'"'  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,  un- 
truthful men';  while  Soma  casts  into  'a  hole'  (abyss)  those 
that  are  irreligious.* 

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 
{pardvdti),  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  oftenjiescribed,  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 
tliaTaTace  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.''  If  either 
of  these  scholars  had  looked  away  from  India  to  the  western 
Indians  he  would  have  seen  that,  whereas  almost  all  American 

1  Literally,  'where  custom'  (obtains),  i.e.,  where  the  old  usages  still  hold. 

2  The  last  words  are  to  be  understood  as  of  sensual  pleasures  (Muir,  loc.  cit.  p.  307, 
notes  462,  463). 

3  RV.  ii.  29.  6  ;  vii.  104.  3, 17  ;  iv.  5.  5  ;  ix.  73.  8.  Compare  Muir,  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  heavan. 

i  Loc.  cit.  p.  123. 


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  im- 

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  proba- 
bility, 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  drunken- 
ness 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.^      Grassman  cites  one  hymn  as  dedicated  to 

1  X,  154.  2  ;  107.  2.     Compare  the  mad  ascetic,  mi'tni^  viii.  17.  14. 


'  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  gene- 
rosity, but  liberality  to  the  priests.^  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)  ;^  once  only,  a  poem 
on  concord,  which  seems  to  partake  of  the  nature  of  an 

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  subdu- 
ing rivals,  and  a  few  other  hymns  of  like  sort  show  that  magical 
practices  were  well  known. ^ 

The  sacrifice  occupies  a  high  place  in  the  religion  of  the 
Rig  Veda,  but  it  is  not  all-important,  as  it  is  later.  Neverthe- 
less, 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. 

Iiidra  depends  on  the  sacrificial  soma  to  accomplish  his  great 
works.  The  gods  first  got  power  through  the  sacrificial  fire 
and  soma^     That  images  of  the  gods  were   supposed  to  be 

1  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). 

2  X.  71.  6. 

3  Compare  x.  145  ;  159.  In  x.  184  there  is  a  prayer  addressed  to  the  goddesses 
Sinivalr  and  Sarasvati  (in  conjunction  with  Vishnu,  Tvashtar,  the  Creator,  Prajapati, 
and  the  Horsemen)  to  make  a  woman  fruitful. 

4  ii.  15.  2  ;  X.  6.  7  (Earth,  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). 


powerful  may  be  inferred  from  the  late  verses,  "who  buys 
this  Indra,"  etc.  (above),  but  allusions  to  idolatry  are  else- 
where extremely  doubtful.^ 

1  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.  i.  34),  though  such  a  cult  was  not  openly 
acknowledged  till  Civa-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  divini- 
ties the  One  that  represents  all  the  gods,  and  nature  as  well ; 
incantations  for  evil  purposes  and  charms  for  a  worthy  pur- 
pose ;  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  '  rem- 
nant '  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  col- 
lection, 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  adventi- 
tious 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  wor- 
ship (incantations,  magical  formulae,  etc.)  were  omitted  pur- 
posely 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  proba- 
bility 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  intro- 


ductory  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  con- 
temporaneous, 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-c\At  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  sus- 
pected. 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  exist- 
ence 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  import- 
ance of  the  '  breaths,'^  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, 

1  XV.  I  V 


sometimes  raises  questions  of  wider  scope,  as  when  the  sage  in- 
quires who  made  the  body  with  its  wonderful  parts  —  implying, 
but  not  stating  the  argument,  from  design,  in  its  oldest  form.^ 
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.^  Another 
example  maybe  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.^  In  another  hymn 
there  is  an  incantation  to  release  from  possible  ill  coming  from 
a  foe  and  from  inherited  ill  or  sin/  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.'"*  Serpent-worship  is  not 
only  known,  but  prevalent.^  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.'  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 

1  X.  i!.  2  vii.  69.   Compare  RV.  vii.  35,  and  the  epic  (below).  8  x.  173. 

4  V.  30.  5  xi.  2.  28.  6  xi.  9 ;  viii.  6  and  7,  with  tree-worship. 

''v.  24.4-5.  O"  't'^^  0"^  g°'i'  compare  x.  8.  28;  xiii.  4.  15.  Indra  as  Surya, 
in  vii.  II ;  cf.  xiii.  4;  xvii.  i.  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.  S  and  47.  In  v.  13,  a  guard  against  poison ; 
ib.  21,  ti  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). 


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  clas- 
sical 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  primi- 
tiveness  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  Upan- 
ishads  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  Brahmanas 
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  philosophi- 
cal period.  The  terminology  is  that  of  the  Brahmanas,  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  causa  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  f^ct  indicated  by  the  geo- 
graphical advance.  The  country  is  known  from  western  Balkh 
to  eastern  Behar,  the  latter  familiarly.^  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  classed  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 

1  Compare  Muir,  OST.  ii.  447  ff. 


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-CM\t,  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  pres- 
ent or  original  form,  may  outrank  the  whole  Rik  in  antiquity, 
as  do  its  superstitions  the  rehgion  of  the  Rik  —  if  it  is  right 
to  make  a  distinction  between  superstition  and  religion,  mean- 
ing 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  ^ivaite  and  Durgaite.  The  former 
revered  Qiva,  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  ^iva,  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  formu- 
lae, 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  :  ^ 

"  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  fbrbid  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  founda- 
tion 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  war- 
rior-caste, but  the  mass  of  it  is  for  the  folk  at  large.     It  was 

1  This  old  charm  is  still  used  among  the  dam-diggers  of  Canarsie,  N.  Y. 


long  before  it  was  recognized  as  a  legitimate  Veda.  It  never 
stands,  in  the  older  period  of  Brahmanism,  on  a  par  with  the 
Saman  and  Rik.  In  the  epic  period  good  and  bad  magic  are 
carefully  differentiated,  and  even  to-day  the  Atharvan  is  repu- 
diated by  southern  Brahmans.  But  tliere  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,  histori- 
cally with  justice,  to  the  fire-priests,  Atharvan  and  Angiras, 
though  little  application  to  fire,  other  than  in  .rowza-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.^  The  other  name  of  Brahmaveda  may  have  connection 
with  the  '  false  science  of  Brihaspati,'  alluded  to  in  a  Upanishad.^ 
This  seer  is  not  over-orthodox,  and  later  he  is  the  patron  of 
the  unorthodox  Carvakas.  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^  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 
Slussian.  The  comparison  is  interesting,  but  it  is  far  from  con- 
vincing. Such  formulae  spring  up  independently  all  over 
the  earth. 

1  Ind.  Lit?  p.  164. 

2  Mait.  Up.  vii.  9.     He  is  '  the  gods'  Brahma '  (Rik.) 

3  Indische  und  germanische  Segenssfriiche  ;  KZ.  xiii.  49. 


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.' 

1  One  long  hymn,  xii.  i,  of  the  Atharvan  is  to  earth  and  fire  (19-20).  In  the  Rik, 
dtharvan  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  joma-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  concep- 
tions, by  placing  side  by  side  similar  traits  of  individual  Aryan 
nations,  and  stating  or  insinuating  that  the  result  of  the  com- 
parison 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  illus- 
trated 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,  Vata- 
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. ^  It  is 
but  a  few  years  back  since  the  last  avatar  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.^  Murder  was  compromised  for  by 
Wchrgeld,  as  among  the  Vedic,  Iranic,  and  Teutonic  peoples. 
The  Iroquois,  like  all  Indians,  was  a  great  gambler,  staking 
all  his  property^  (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."  *  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  J2une,  Relation,  1633).  The  Algonquins,  besides  a  belief 
in  a  good  spirit  (manitmt),  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.). 

1  Compare  the  accounts  of  Lafitau ;  of  the  native  Iroquois,  baptized  as  Morgan ; 
and  the  works  of  Schoolcraft  and  Parj<man. 

2  Jesitiis  in  N^rth  AMerica,  Introduction,  p.  Ixi. 

3  "  Lilie  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  savages. 

4  lb.  p.  Ixvii. 


The  Iroquois,  like  the  Hindu  (later),  believe  that  the  earth 
rests  on  the  back  of  a  turtle  or  tortoise,^  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.^  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  dark- 
ness (compare  Niflheim  and  the  Iranian  eschatology?).  To 
pass  over  other  religious  correspondences,  the  sacrifice  of  ani- 
mals, 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  '  compar- 
ative 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  Scan- 
dinavian, 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 

1  Compare  Cat.  Br.  vi.  i.  i,  12  ;  vii.  5.  i,  2  sq.,  for  the  Hindu  tortoise  in  its-first 
form.  The  totem-form  of  tlie  tortoise  is  well  known  in  Aiiierica.  (Brinton,  Myths 
of  the  New  World,  p.  85.) 

2  Charlevoix  ap.  Parkman. 


to  be  crossed  on  a  log  that  shook  beneath  the  feet,  while  a 
ferocious  dog  opposed  their  passage."  ^  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  primi- 
tive Indian."  ^ 

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."  ^  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";^  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 ;  ^  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  ;  ^  of  the  belief  that  the 
sun  is  the  home  of  departed  spirits,  in  the  same  belief  all  over 

1  Parkman,  loc.  cit.  p.  Ixxxii ;  Brinton,  Myths  of  the  New  World,  p.  248.  A 
good  instance  of  bad  comparison  in  eschatology  will  be  found  in  Geiger,  Osiir.  Cult. 
pp.  274-275. 

2  Parkman,  loc.  cit.  p.  Ixxxvi.  8  Sitz.  Bert.  Akad.  1891,  p.  15. 

^  Brinton,  American  Hero  Afyths,  p.  174.  The  first  worship  was  Sun-worship, 
then  Viracocha-worship  arose,  which  kept  Sun-worship  while  it  predicated  a  'power 

6  Brinton,  Myths  of  the  New  World,  pp.  S5,  205.  t  H\  pp.  SC,  202. 


America ;  ^  of  the  belief  that  stars  are  the  souls  of  the  dead,  in 
the  same  belief  held  by  the  Pampas ;  ^  and  even  of  the  late 
Brahman ic  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.'*  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.* 
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  excelleyice  f)  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  surviv- 
ing members  of  the  family)  as  a  basis  for  a  new  body.^ 

To  turn  to  another  foreign  religion,  how  tempting  would  it  be 
to  see  in  Nutar  the  '  abstract  power '  of  the  Egyptian,  an  ana- 
logue of  brahma  and  the  other  '  power '  abstractions  of  India ; 
to  recognize  Brahma  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  Ra's  boat  in  Egypt.  Or,  again, 
in  the  twin  children  of  Ra  to  see  the  Agvins  ;  and  to  associate 

1  Brinton,  Myths  of  the  New  World,  p.  243.  The  American  Indians  "uniformly 
regard  the  sun  as  heaven,  the  soul  goes  to  the  sun."  ^ 

2/^.  p.  245.  3 /ii.  p.  239-40.  4/(5.  p.  50,  51. 

5  lb.  pp.  242,  248,  255  ;  Schoolcraft,  iii.  229. 


the  mundane  egg  of  the  Egyptians  v^Jith  that  of  the  Brahmans.^ 
Certainly,  had  the  Egyptians  been  one  of  the  Aryan  famihes, 
all  these  conceptions  had  been  referred  long  ago  to  the  cate- 
gory 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  Talatala, 
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 

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   Surya  is  Helios,  but  Savitar  is  a 

1  Renouf,  Religion  of  Ancient  Egypt,  pp.  103,  113  ff. 


development  especially  Indian.  Dyaus-pitar  is  Zsiis-pater, 
Jupiter.^  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 
Andra  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,  ko-t  eioxqv.  The  seven  Adityas 
are  reflected  in  the  Amesha  Cpentas  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  Agvins  are  all  but  in  name  the  Greek 
gods  Dioskouroi,  and  correspond  closely  in  detail  (riding  on 
horses,  healing  and  helping,  originally  twins  of  twilight).  Taci- 
tus 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.  Vata, 
Wind,  is  an  aboriginal  god,  and  may  perhaps  be  Wotan,  Odin.^ 
Parjanya,  the  rain-god,  as  Biihler  has  shown,  is  one  with 
Lithuanian  Perkuna,  and  with  the  northern  Fiogyu.  The 
'  fashioner,'  Tvashtar  (sun)  is  only  Indo-Iranian ;  Thwasha 
probably  being  the  same  word. 

Of  lesser  mights,  Angiras,  name  of  fire,  may  be  Persian  an- 
garos,  'fire-rnessenger '  (compare  ayyeXos),  perhaps  originally  one 
with  Sk.  angara,  '  coal.'  ^  Hebe  has  been  identified  with yavya, 
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.  Sarama  seems  to  have, 
together  with    Sarameya,   a   Grecian    parallel   development  in 

1  Teutonic  Tuisco  is  doubtful,  as  the  identity  with  Dyaus  has  lately  been  con- 
tested on  phonetic  grounds. 

2  Vata,  ventus,  does  not  agree  very  well  with  Wotan. 

8  Ait  Br.  iii.  34.  S.yyapop  irOp  is  really  tautological,  but  beacon  fires  gave  way 
to  couriers  and  Ayyapos  lost  the  sense  of  fire,  as  did  &yyc\os. 


Helena  (a  goddess  in  Sparta),  Selene,  Hermes  ;  and  Saranyu 
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  ho  primitive  identity  as  gods 
with  Mars,  though  the  names  may  be  radically  connected. 
The  fire-priests,  Bhrigus,  are  supposed  to  be  one  with  the 
^\i.yv3.L.  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  concepti'on.  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  com- 
pared with  the  personification  of  the  '  twirler '  (Promantheus) 
in  Greece,  shows  that  no  detailed  myth  was  current  in  primi- 
tive times. ^  The  name  of  the  fire-priest,  brahman  =  fla(g)men(?), 
is  an  indication  of  the  primitive  fire-cult  in  antithesis  to  the 
soma-c\Ai,  which  latter  belongs  to  the  narrower  circle  of  the 
Hindus  and  Persians.  Here,  however,  in  the  identity  of  names 
for  sacrifice  (^yajha,  ya^na)  and  of  barhis,  the  sacrificial  straw, 
of  soma  =  haoma,  together  with  many  other  liturgical  similari- 
ties, as  in  the  case  of  the  metres,  one  must  recognize  a  fully 
developed  soma-cvXt  prior  to  the  separation  of  the  Hindus  and 

Of  demigods  of  evil  type  the  Ydtus  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  daeiias,  demons, 
of  the  other.^     There  are  no  other  identifications  that  seem  at 

1  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  shown. 

2  Compare  the  kavis  and  u^ijs  (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. 


all  certain  in  the  strict  province  of  religion,  although  in  myth 
the  form  of  Manus,  who  is  the  Hindu  Noah,  has  been  associ- 
ated with  Teutonic  Mannus,  and  Greek  Minos,  noted  in  Thu- 
cydides  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,  Vata,  are  dubious ;  and  some  equate 
flamen  with  blotan,  sacrifice. 

Other  wider  or  narrower  comparisons,  such  as  Neptunus 
from  ndpdt  apam,  seem  to  us  too  daring  to  be  believed.  Apollo 
{sapary),  Aphrodite  (Apsaras),  Artamis  (non-existent  rtamd!), 
Pan  {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 ' 
(afdydnd).  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  Rasa,  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-'  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  an- 
cestor-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,  be- 
side theism  and  atheism,  exist  spiritism  and  fetishi3m  (with 
their  inherent  magic),  and  even  ancestor-worship,  as  implied 
by  the  reputed  after-effect  of  parental  curses. 

1  Ludwig  interprets  the  three  Ribhus  as  the  three  seasons  personified.  Etymo- 
logically  connected  is  Orpheus,  perhaps. 


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  WOTS-worship,  the 
inherited  Indo-Iranian  cult ;  and  the  Persian  Ahura,  with  the 
six  spiritualized  equivalents  of  the  old  Vedic  Adityas,  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  coun- 
terpart 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  e_quivalent  of  Bhaga  and  the  Teutonic  equivalent  of 
Vata  are  to  these  respective  peoples  their  highest  gods.  They 
had  no  Varuna.  Moreover,  there  is  not  the  slightest  proof 
that  Ouranos  in  Greece '  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  reli- 
giously great  only  in  the  Hellenic-Italic  circle,  where  exists  no 
Uranos-cult.^  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  Adityas,  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  apphed  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 

16  8^  X"^?"^™'  dcr0aX^s  alkv  Idos  fxivcL  oipavSs,  Find.  N.  vi.  5  ;  compare  Preller*, 

2  Wahrscheinlich  sind 
worden.     Prellei"',  p.  43. 

p.  40. 

2  Wahrscheinlich  sind  Uranos  und  Kronos  erst  aus  dem  Culte  des  Zeus  abstrahirt 


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  estabhshed  in  its  second  phase. ^  To  this  fact 
points  also  the  evidence  that  shows  how  near  together  geo- 
graphically 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 

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-Irahian  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  ytX  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. 

1  When  Aryan  deities  are  decadent,  Trita,  Mitra,  etc. 


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  com- 
mon origin,  must  remain  in  almost  every  case  unanswered.^ 
This  is  by  far  not  so  entertaining,  nor  so  picturesque  a  solu- 
tion 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,  lan- 
guage, 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  prob- 
able 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 

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 

1  Spiegel  holds  that  the  whole  idea  of  future  punishment  is  derived  from  Persia 
(Eranische  Alterihumskimde,  i.  p.  45S),  but  his  point  of  view  is  naturally  prejudiced. 
The  allusion  to  the  supposed  Babylonian  coin,  manS,  in  RV.  viii.  78.  2,  would  indi- 
cate 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. 


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,  Dhatar,  is  employed  ; 
while  Tvashtar,  the  artificer,  is  more  an  epithet  of  the  sun  than 
of  the  unknown  creator.  The  personification  of  Dhatar  as  cre- 
ator 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 ';■■  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  Eirth  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  abstrac- 
tions. He  that  denies  any  one  of  these  sources  of  godhead 
is  ignorant  of  India. 

Miiller,  in  his  Andent  Sanskrit  LiUrature,  has  divided  Vedic 
literature  into  four  periods,  that  of  chandas,  songs ;  mantras, 
texts;  brahmanas ;  and  sutras.  The  manttas  are  in  distinc- 
tion from  chandas,  the  later  hymns  to  the  earlier  gods.^  The 
latter  distinction  can,  however,  be  established  only  on  subjec- 
tive grounds,  and,  though  generally  unimpeachable,  is  some- 
times liable  to  reversion.  Thus,  Miiller  looks  upon  RV. 
viii.   30   as   'simple   and  primitive,'  while  others  see  in  this 

1  iv.  17.  17.  2  Loc.  cii.  pp.  70,  480. 


hymn  a  late  mantra.  Between  the  Rig  Veda  and  the  Brah- 
manas,  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  preHminary  sign  of  the  doctrine  of  metem- 
psychosis. 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  Sutras,  and  consequently  the  assump- 
tion 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  Hterature  will  have  preceded  that 
literature  by  a  considerable  period,  ce;-tainly  by  a  greater 
length  of  time  than  that  which  divides  the  first  Brahmanic  law 
from  Buddhism. 



Besides  the  Rig  Veda  and  the  Atharva  Veda  there  are  two 
others,  called  respectively  the  Sama  Veda  and  the  Yajur  Veda.^ 
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  for- 
mulae. 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  Brahmanas.  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 
Brahmanas  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 
Brahmanas  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 

1  In  Aii.  Br.  i.  22,  there  is  an  unexplained  antithesis  of  Rik,  Yajus,  Saman,  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  Saman,  the  Udgatar,  'the  singer';  for  the  Yajus,  the  Adhvaryu, 
who  attends  to  the  erection  of  the  altar,  etc.     Compare  MUUer,  ASL.  p.  468. 


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 
Brahmanas.  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  mechan- 
ical ;  but  the  wonder  is  that  this  collection,  with  the  similar 
Brahmana  scriptures  that  follow  it,  should  be  the  only  new 
literature  which  centuries  have  to  show.^  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 

The  geographical  centre  is  now  changed,  and  instead  of  the 
Punjab,  the  '  middle  district '  becomes  th^  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  Brah- 
manas. 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,'  asiira,  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 

1  It  is  the  only  literature  of  its  time  except  (an  important  exception)  those  fore- 
runners of  later  Siitra  and  epic  which  one  may  suppose  to  be  in  process  of  forma- 
tion long  before  they  come  to  the  front, 

2  There  are  several  schools  of  this  Veda,  of  which  the  chief  are  the  Vajasaneyi,  or 
'  White  Yajus,'  collection ;  the  Taittiriya  collection  ;  and  the  Maitrayani  collection ; 
the  first  named  being  the  latest  though  the  most  popular,  the  last  two  being  the  fore- 
most representatives  of  the  '  Black  Yajus.' 


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  think- 
ing. Most  important  is  the  gradual  rise  of  Vishnu  and  the  first 
appearance  of  Qiva.  Here  hrahma,  which  in  the  Rik  has  the 
meaning  '  prayer '  alone,  is  no  longer  mere  prayer,  but,  as  in 
later  literature,Jioliness.  In  short,  before  the  Brahmanas  are 
reached  they  are  perceptible  in  the  near  distance,  in  the  Veda 
of  Formulae,  the  Yajus  ;■'■  for  between  the  Yajur  Veda  and  the 
Brahmanas  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  ForestJBooks,  Aranyakas,  which  contain  the  speculations 
of  the  later  theosophy,  the  Upanishads  (below).  It  is  with 
the  Yajur  Veda  and  its  nearly  related  literature,  the  Brah- 
manas, that  Brahmanism  really  begins.  Of  these  latter  the 
most  important  in  age  and  content  are  the  Brahmanas  (of  the 
Rig  Veda  and  Yajur  Veda),  called  Aitareya  and  Qata-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 
Brahmanas  are  not  settled  in  the  Punjab,  but  in  the  country 
called  the  '  middle  district,'  round  about  the  modern  Delhi. 
For  the  most  part  the  Punjab  is  abandoned  ;  or  rather,  the 
literature  of  this  period  does  not  emanate  frOm  the  Aryans 
that  remained  in  the  Punjab,  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 

1  The  different  traits  here  recorded  are  given  with  many  illustrative  examples  by 
Schroeder,  in  his  Liieraiiir  iind  Cultiir^  p.  90  ff. 


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  Pancalas.^  They  are  spread 
farther  east,  along  the  banks  of  the  Jumna  and  Ganges,  south 
of  Nepal;  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 
PancalaSj  the  second  great  tribe  (Tirhut).  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 
Fra/j'fl-hymns,  intended  to  initiate  into  the  Brahmanic  order 
Aryans  who  have  not  conformed  to  it,  and  speak  a  dialectic 
language."  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  be- 
come 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, ^  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.^     Yet  with  this  dictum,  so  important  for  the 

1  Compare  Weber,  Ind.  Strcifcn^  ii.  197.  2  Websr,  Lit.  p.  ']y 

8  The  Cata-patha  Brahmana  (or  " Brahmana  of  the  hundred  paths")  ii.  2.  2.  6; 
4.  3.  14. 

^  The  chief  family  priest,  it  is  said  in  the  Cat.  Br.  ii.  4.  4.  5,  is  a  man  of  great  in- 
fluence. 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  was  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.  i.  I.  4).  In  this  period  murder  is  defined  as  killing  a  priest ;  other  cases  are  not 
called  murder.     Weber,  IS.  x.  66. 


understanding  of  the  religion  of  the  age,  must  be  joined  an- 
other, 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'  {Cat.  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 
^1  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  Brahmanas  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^uite  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  Brahmanas,  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  comple- 
tion 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  "  (J^at.  Br.  vi.  i.  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  sub- 
ject matter  of  the  Brahmanas  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  litera- 
ture of  the  period.  Long  citations  from  these  ritualistic  pro- 
ductions 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  multi- 
farious contents  of  the  chief  Brahmanas  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  Brahmanas,  some  of  the  older  gods  are 


now  reduced  in  importance,  and,  on  tlie  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  sacri- 
fice (^Qmtdftrya,  Qat.  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.  i,  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 
(f«/.  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  Zeis  Kara- 
■)(Q6vio^  beside  a  Zt-us  iivio'i,  so  in  the  Yajur  Veda  and  Brah- 
manas  are  found  (an  extreme  instance)  hail  '  to  Kaya,'  and 
hail  '  to  Kasmai,'  that  is,  the  god  Ka  is  differentiated  into  two  - 
divinities,  according  as  he  is  declined  as  a  noun  or  as  a  pro- 
noun ;  for  this  is  the  god  "  Who .'  "  as  the  dull  Brahmanas 
interpreted  that  verse  of  the  Rig  Veda  which  asks  'to  whom 
(which,  as)  god  shall  we  offer  sacrifice?'  (Mait.  S.  iii.  12.  5.) 
But  ordinarily  one  divinity  like  Agni  is  subdivided,  according 
to  his  functions,  as  'lord  of  food;'  'lord  of  prayer,'  etc.^ 

In  the  Brahmanas  different  names  are  given  to  the  chief 
god,  but  he  is  most  often  called  the  Father-god  (Prajapati, 
'  lord  of  creatures,'  or  the  Father, ///«).  His  earlier  Vedic  type 
is  Brihaspati,  the  lord  of  strength,  and,  from  another  point  of 

1  Earth,  loc.  cii.  p,  42. 


view,  the  All-god.^  The  other  gods  fall  into  various  groups, 
the  most  significant  being  the  triad  of  Fire,  Wind,  and  Sun.^ 
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  coin- 
"  aide  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  Qatapatha,  iii.  6.  i.  28,  speaks  of  the  All-gods 
as  gods  that  gained  immortality  on  a  certain  occasion,  i.e.,  be- 
came immortal  like  other  gods.  So  the  Adityas  go  to  heaven 
before  the  Angirasas  {Ait.  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  Adityas,  of  sky,  and  the 
daily  offerings  are  divided  between  them  ;  the  morning  oifering 
belonging  only  to  the  Vasus,  the  mid-day  one  only  to  (Indra 
and)  the  Rudras,  the  third  to  the  Adityas  with  the  Vasus  and 
Rudras  together.^  Again,  the  morning  and  mid-day  pressing 
belong  to  the  gods  alone,  and  strict  rule  is  observed  in  dis- 
tinguishing their  portion  from  that  of  the  Manes  {Qat.  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,  Pushan  {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.  i.  6).      Pushan   is   interpreted  to  mean 

1  He  has  analogy  with  Agni  in  being  made  of  'seven  persons  (males),'  Cat.  Br. 

X.  z.  z-  1. 

2  Compare  Mait.  S.  iv.  2.  12,  'sons  of  Prajapati,  Agni,  Vayu,  Surya.' 
8  qat.  Br.  i.  3.  4.  12 ;  iv.  3.  5.  I. 


cattle,  and  Brihaspati  is  the  priestly  caste  (ib.  iii.  9.  i.  10  ff.). 
The  base  of  comparison  is  usually  easy  to  find.  '  The  earth 
nourishes,'  and  '  Pushan  nourishes,'  hence  Pushan  is  the  earth ; 
or  '  the  earth  belongs  to  all '  and  Agni  is  called  '  belonging  to 
air  (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.  i.  13;  iv.  i.  i.  23;  i.  i.  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.  I.  2.  26). 

The  wives  of  the  gods  {devanam  patnlr  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  be  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 
Prajapati  are  one,  they  are  son  and  father  {ib.  ii.  4.  i.  3,  10; 
vi.  I.  2.  26).  The  gods  have  mystic  names,  and  these  'who 
will  dare  to  speak.?'  Thus,  Indra's  mystic  name  is  Arjuna 
{ib.  ii.  I.  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.  i.  3.  i  ; 
4.  I.  ig  ;  ii.  3.  2.  I  :  Indra  and  King  Yama  dwell  in  men). 
And,  again,  the  Father  (Prajapati)  is  the  All;  he  is  the  year 


of  twelve  months  and  five  seasons  {ib.  i.  3.  5.  10).  Then  fol- 
lows a  characteristic  bit.  Seventeen  verses  are  to  be  recited 
to  correspond  to  the  '  seventeenfold '  Prajapati.  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  Ait.  Br.  i.  27,  King  Soma  is  bought 
of  the  Gandharvas  by  Vac,  '  speech,'  as  a  cow.^  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  {Qat.  Br.  ii.  4.  4.  17-18). 
This  opposition  of  deities  is  more  fully  expressed  in  the  at- 
tempt 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'  {Qat.  Br.  ii.  i.  31;  ib.  ii. 
4.  2.  iff.:  '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  mid- 
day, which,  according  to  the  same  authority  (ii.  4.  2.  8),  repre- 
sents men.  The  passage  first  cited  continues  thus  :  '  The 
seasons  are  gods  and  Fathers  ;  gods  are  immortal ;  the  Fathers 

1  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,  RSjasfiya  p.  98. 


are  mortal.'  In  regard  to  the  relation  between  spring  and  the 
other  seasons,  the  fifth  section  of  this  passage  may  be  com- 
pared :  '  Spring  is  the  priesthood  ;  summer,  the  warrior-caste  ; 
the  rains  are  the  (z^zf)  people.'  -^ 

Among  the  conspicuous  divine  forms  of  this  jjeriod  is  the 
Queen  of  Serpents,  whose  verses  are  chanted  over  fire  ;  but  she 
is  the  earth,  according  to  some  passages  (Ait.  Br.  v.  23  ;  Cat. 
Br.  ii.  I.  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'  {Qat.  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, 
ahtira,  of  the  Persian  a  devil,  just  as  the  Persian  makes  an 
evil  spirit,  daeva,  out  of  the  Hindu  god,  deva.  But  the  rela- 
tions between  Hindu  and  Persian  in  this  period  are  still  very 
uncertain.  It  is  interesting  to  follow  out  some  of  the  Brah- 
manic  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  (Jb.  iii.  2.  i.  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  indis- 
solubly  connected  the  idea  that  sin  and  darkness  are  of  the 
same  nature.     So  one  reads  that  when  the  sun  rises  it  frees 

1  For  the  relations  of  the  different  castes  at  this  period,  see  Weber,  in  the  tenth 
volume  of  the  Indische  Stitdieii. 


itself  'from   darkness,  from  sin,'  as  a  snake  from  its  slough 
{ii.  ii.  3.  I.  6).     And  in  another  passage  it  is  said  that  dark- 
ness and  illusion  were  given  to  the  Asuras  as  their  portion  by 
the  Father-god  {ib.  ii.  4.  2.  5).     With  this  maybe  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  contradictory.     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 ' 
{Qat.  Br.  iii.  i.  4.  3  ;  Ait.  Br.  ii.  i.  i).     So  now  they  live  by  1 
sacrifice  :   '  The  sun  would  not  rise  if  the  priest  did  not  make  j 
sacrifice '  {Cat.  Br.  ii.  3.  i.  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  j 
entered  together,  etc.  {ib.  iv.  3.  i.  9-10).     It  is  by  a  knowledge  j 
of  the  Vedas  that  one  conquers  all  things,  and  the  sacrifice  ' 
is  part  and  application  of  this  knowledge,  which  in  one  passage  i 
is  thus  reconditely  subdivided  :   '  Threefold  is  knowledge,  the  , 
Rig  Veda,  the  Yajur  Veda,  and  the  Sama  Veda.^     The  Rig  i 
Veda,  i.e.,  the  verses  sung,  are  the  earth ;  the  Yajus  is  air  ;  the 

1  The  Atharvan  is  not  yet  recognized  as  a  Veda. 


Samaii  is  the  sky.  He  conquers  earth,  air,  and  sky  respectively 
by  these  three  Vedas.  The  Rik  and  Saman  are  Indra  and  are 
speech  ;  the  Yajus  is  Vishnu  and  mind'  {ib.  iv.  6.  7.  i  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  sacrifice  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 
{Taitt.  Br.  ii.  2.  7.  3  ;  Qat.  Br.  i.  2.  5.  24).  Even  the  gods 
are  now  not  native  to  heaven.  They  win  heaven  by  sacrifice, 
by  metres,  etc.  {Qat.  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  cere- 
mony where  every  word  was  pregnant  with  consequences ;  ^ 
every  movement  momentous.  There  are  indications,  however, 
that  the  priests  themselves  understood  that  much  in  the  cere- 
monial 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  Yajnavalkya, 
author  and  critic,  one  of  the  greatest  names  in  Hindu  ecclesi- 
astical history.     It  was  he  who,  apropos  of  the  new  rule   in 

1  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- 
Qdtrtt  as  hidra^atru,  whereby  the  meaning  was  changed  from  '  conqueror  of  Indra ' 
to  '  Indra-conquered,'  with  unexpected  result  {Qat.  Br.  i.  6.  3.  8  ;   Taitt.  S.  ii.  4.  12.  i). 


ethics,  SO  strongly  insisted  upon  after  the  Vedic  age  and  al- 
ready 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).'^  It  cer- 
tainly required  courage  to  say  this,  with  the  especial  warning 
against  beef,  the  meat  of  an  animal  peculiarly  holy  (^Qat.  Br. 
iii.  I.  2.  2i).  It  was,  again,  Yajhavalkya  {(Qat.  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  Yajiiavalkya 
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.' ^  It  was  Yajhavalkya,  too,  who 
rebutted  some  new  superstition  involving  the  sacrificer's  wife, 
with  the  sneer,  'who  cares  whether  the  wife,'  etc.  {kas  tad 
adriyeta,-ib.  21).  These  protestations  are  naively  recorded, 
though  it  is  once  suggested  that  in  some  of  his  utterances 
Yajnavalkya  was  not  in  earnest  (ib.  iv.  2.  i.  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  Yajnavalkya's  prayer  to 
the  Sun  was  'give  me  light'  (or  'glory,'  varco  me  dehi),  that 
of  Aupoditeya  was  'give  me  cows'  (Jb.  i.  9.  3.  16).  The 
chronicler  adds,  after  citing  these   prayers,  that   one   obtains 

1  The  word  is  amsala^  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.  Beitrdge,  p.  36). 

2  Compare  ib.  i.  9.  i.  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  emphati- 
cally, yajama7iasyaiva,  '  for  the  sacrificer  alone.' 


whatever  he  prays  for,  either  illumination  or  wealth.^  Yajna- 
valkya,  however,  is  not  the  only  protestant.  In  another  pas- 
sage, 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  Asuri  said,  '  What  on  earth  has  it  to  do  with 
his  head  ?     Let  him  not  shave.'  ^ 

'  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.  i). 

Not  only  a  man's  self  but  also  his  Manes  are  benefited  by 
means  of  sacrifice.^  He  gives  the  Manes  pleasure  with  his 
offering,  but  he  also  raises  their  estate,  and  sends  them  up  to 
live  in  a  higher  world.*  The  cosmological  position  of  the 
Manes  are  the  avantaradifas,  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.^ 

1  Yam  kdviain  kdmayatc  so  ''smdi  kdmah  samrdhyate. 

2  Asuri's  name  as  i  theologian  is  important,  since  the  Sankhya  philosophy  is 
intimately  connected  with  him ;  if  this  Asuri  be  not  another  man  with  the  same 
name  (compare  Weber,  Lit.  p.  152). 

3  The  regular  sacrifices  to  the  Manes  are  daily  and  monthly ;  funerals  and  *  faith- 
feasts,'  ^rdddha,  are  occasional  additions. 

4  Each  generation  of  Manes  rises  to  a  better  (higher)  state  if  the  offerings  con- 
tinue. 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. 

6  Compare  ^at.  Br.  i.  8.  i.  40  ;  ii.  6.  1.  3,  7,  10,  42 ;  ii.  4.  2.  24  ;  v.  5.  4.  28, 


The  sacrifice  is  by  no  means  meant  as  an  aid  to  the  acquire- 
ment of  lieavenly  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 !  ^ 
That  one  should  sacrifice  without  the  ulterior  motive  of  gain  is 
unknown.  Brahmanic  India  knows  no  thank-offering.  Ordi- 
narily 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' "  (  Vaj.  S. 
iii.  50  ;  Qat.  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  {Qat.  Br.  i.  2.  i.  7;  9.  i.  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  with- 
out 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  {Cat.  Br.  iii.  5.  i.  7  ff.;  2.  i.  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 

1  This  passage  {ib.  ii.  i.  ;;.  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  other,  and  all  of  them  are  incredibly  silly. 


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  Asuri  (apparently  fearful  that  this  rule 
would  limit  the  fee)  said  "  he  may  give  more  " '  {Qat.  Br.  iv.  5. 
8.  14).  As  to  the  fee,  the  rules  are  precise  and  their  pro- 
pounders  are  unblushing.  The  priest  performs  the  sacrifice 
for  the  fee  alone,  and  it  must  consist  of  valuable  garments, 
kine,  horses,^  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.^  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.  I.  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 
Adityas,  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 

1  This  last  tee  is  not  so  common.  For  an  oblation  to  Siirya  the  fee  is  a  white 
horse  or  -v  white  bull;  either  of  them  representing  the  proper  form  of  the  sun 
{C^at.  Br.  ii.  6.  3.  9) ;  but  another  authority  specifies  twelve  oxen  and  a.  plough 
(Taitt.  S.  i.  8.  7). 

^  Qat.  Br.  ii.  i.  j.  5  ;  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). 


good  for  the'  sacrificer,^  secretly  do  him  harm  (as  he  could  by 
altering  the  ceremonial).^  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  rew-ards  ; 
hence  the  priests  do  the  same.^  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 
(J^at.  Br.  iii.  2.  4.  i6). 

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  Qat.  Br.  iv.  5.  8.  11,  where  it  is  said  that  if  the 
sacrificial  cow  goes  east  the  sacrificer  wins  a  good  world  here- 
after ;  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  spfrit  it  is  said  that  the  sun 
rises  east  because  the  priest  repeats  certain  verses  {Ait.  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;  Qat.  Br.  i.  2.  5.  17);  while  the  west  is 
the  region  of  snakes,  according  to  ib.  iii.  i.  i.  7.  On  account 
of  the  godly  nature  of  the  east  ("from  the  east  came  the  gods 

1  Yet  in  Ait.  Br.  iii.  19,  the  priest  is  coolly  informed  liow  he  may  be  able  to  slay 
his  patron  by  making  a  little  change  in  the  invocations.  Elsewhere  such  conduct  is 

2  For  other  covenants,  see  the  epic  (chapter  on  Hinduism). 

3  gat.  Br.  iii.  4.  2.  i  ff.;   iii.  6.  2.  25  ;  iv.  3.  5.  5  ;  iv.  4.  i.  17  ;  6.  6.  5  ;  7.  6,  etc.;  iii. 

8.  z.  27  ;  3.  26 ;  Ait.  Br.  i.  24. 


westward  to  men,"  ib.  ii.  6.  i.  ii)  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.' 

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  Qarva,  Bhava,  '  Beast-lord,'  Rudra,  Agni  {Qat.  Br.  i. 
7.  3.  8;  Mait.  S.  i.  6.  6).  Indra  is  the  Vasu  of  the  gods.  The 
gods  are  occasionally  thirty-four  in  number,  eight  Vasus,  eleven 
Rudras,  twelve  Adityas,  heaven  and  earth,  and  Prajapati  as 
the  thirty-fourth ;  but  this  Prajapati  is  the  All  and  Everything 
{Qat.  Br.  i.  6.  4.  2  ;  iv.  5.  7.  2  £E.).  Of  these  gods,  who  at  first 
were  all  alike  -and  good,  three  became  superior,  Agni,  Indra, 
and  Surya.  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  {Qat.  Br.  iv.  5.  4.  i ;  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.^ 

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

1  lb.  ii.  6.  2.  5.  Here  Rudra  (compare  (J!iva  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  teach- 
ings since  the  time  of  the  Rig  Veda.  Rudra's  sister,  Ambilca,  ib.  9,  is  another  new 
creation,  the  genius  of  autumnal  sicliness. 

2  <^at.  Br.  \\.  .1..  I.  21.  How  much  non-serious  fancy  there  may  lie  here  it  is  diffi- 
cult to  determine.  It  seems  impossible  that  such  as  follows  can  have  been  meant  in 
earnest :  "  Tlie  sacrifice,  prayaja,  is  victory,  Jaya,  because  yaja  =jaya.  With  this 
knowledge  one  gets  the  victory  over  his  rivals"  {ib.  i.  5.  3.  3,  10). 


ties.  Man's  original  skin  was  put  by  the  gods  upon  the  cow; 
hence  a  cow  runs  away  from  a  man  because  she  thinks  lie  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;  Prajapati,  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;  Vayu  (Wind)  is  the 
leader  of  beasts ;  Bhaga  is  blind ; '  Pushan  (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 
{vi^ve,  vi(.).  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.'  ^ 

1  Although  Bhaga  is  here  (f<7/.  Br.  i.  7.  4.  6-7,  andlio  hhagas)  interpreted  as  the 
Sun,  he  is  evidently  the  same  with  Good  Luck  {"Tii(p\b^  ya/i  0  IIXoCtos")  or  wealth. 

2  ^ai.  Br.  ill.  1.  2.  13  ff.;  i.  i.  2.  18  ;  iii.  6.  i.  8  ff. ;  ii.  5.  2.  i;  iv.  2.  1.  11;  iii.  4.  4, 
3ff.;  2.  3.6-12,  13-J4;  iv.  5.  5.  12;  1.  3.  13  ff. ;  iii.  ^.  4.  5-6;  3.  _■.  S ;  7.  1.  17;  iv.  2, 
5.  17;  4.  ..  15;  i.  7.4.6-7;  ii.  4.  3.  4ff. ;  ii.  5.2.34;  5.1. 12;  5.1.1  ff . ;  RV.  vlii.  loi 
14.  The  reader  must  distinguish,  in  the  name  of  Brahma,  the  god  from  the  priest, 
and  this  from  brahmd,  prayer.  The  first  step  is  brahma  —  force,  power,  prayer 
then  this  is,  as  a  masculine  Brahma,  the  one  who  prays,  that  is,  pray-er,  the  Brahman 


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  {ava- 
bhrtha)  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  " 
(yQat.  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 
cooperate  '  {ib.  iv.  i.  4.  i). 

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.^ 
Famous,  too,  is  the  legend  of  the  flood  and  Father  Manu's 
escape  from  it  lyQat.  Br.  i.  8.  i.  i  ff.).  Again,  the  Vedic  myth 
is  retold,  recounting  the  rape  of  sqma  by  the  metrical  equiva- 
lent of  fire  {Taitt.  Br.  i.  i.  3.  10;  Qat.  Br.  i.  8.  2.  10).  An- 
other tale  takes  up  anew  the  old  story  of  Cupid  and  Psyche 
(Pururavas  and  Urvagi) ;  and  another  that  of  the  Hindu  Pro- 
metheus story,  wherein  Matarigvan  fetches  fire  from  heaven, 
and  gives  it  to  mortals  (Tditt.  Br.  iii.  2.  3.  2  ;  Qat.  Br.  xi.  5.  i. 
i;  i.  7.  I.  11).' 

Interesting,  also,  is  the  tale  of  Vishnu  having  been  a  dwarf, 
and  the  tortoise  avatar,  not  of  Vishnu,  but  of  Prajapati ;  also 
the  attempt  of  the  evil  spirits  to  climb  to  heaven,  and  the  trick 
with  which  Indra  outwitted  them.^     For  it  is  noticeable  that 

priest,  as,  in  the  Rig  Veda,  x.  141.  3,  Brihaspati  is  the  '  Brahma  of  gods.'  Tlie  next 
(Brahmanic)  step  is  deified  brahma;  the  personal  Brahma  as  god,  called  also  Father- 
god  (Prajapati)  or  simply  The  Father  {pita). 

1  Compare  Mdit.  S.  iii.  10.  2 ;  Ait.  Br.  ii.  S  ;  ^at.  Br.  i.  :i.  3,  5  ;  vi.  2.  i.  39;  3.  i. 
24  ;  ii.  V  2.  16,  a  ram  and  ewe  '  made  of  barley.'  On  human  sacrifices,  compare 
Miiller,  ASL.  p.  419;  Weber,  ZDMG.  xviii.  262  (seethe  BibHography);  Streifen,  i.  54. 

2  Weber  has  translated  some  of  these  legends,  Ind.  Streifen,  \.  9  ff. 

8  Tditt.  Br.  iii.  ^.  9.  7 ;  (^at.  Br.  i.  ^.  5.  5  ;  ii.  1.  2.  13  ff. ;  vii.  5.  1.5. 

BRAHMANIC  RELIGION.       ,  197 

the  evil  spirits  are  as  strong  by  nature  as  are  the  gods,  and  it 
is  only  by  craft  that  the  latter  prevail.^ 

Seldom  are  the  tales  of  the  gods  indecent.  The  story  of 
Prajapati'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.  6i.)  to  that  of  mediaeval 
literature,^  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.^ 

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  l^Qat. 
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  sacri- 
ficial vow,  and  rehabilitates  himself  with  humanity,  saying,  "I 
am  even  he  that  I  am."*  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 

1  Compare  Mait.  S.  i.  9.  8 ;  Qat.  Br.  i.  6.  1.  i  if.  The  seasons  desert  the  gods, 
and  the  demons  thrive.  lii  gat.  Br.  i.  5.  4.  6-1 1,  the  Asuras  and  Indra  contend  with 
numbers.  ^  Muller,  ASL.  p.  529. 

a  MBit.  S.  iv.  J..  12  ;  gat.  Br.  i.  7.  4.  i;  ii.  i.  2.  9  ;  vi.  1.  3.  8  ;  Ait.  Br.  iii.  33.  Com- 
pare Muir,  OST,  iv.  p.  45.  At  a  later  period  there  are  frequently  found  indecent  tales 
of  the  gods,  and  the  Brahmanas  themselves  are  vulgar  enough,  but  they  exhibit  no 
special  lubricity  on  the  part  of  the  priests. 

1  Idam  aham  ya  eva'smi  so  asini,  gat.  Br.  i.  1.1.6;  9,  3.  23. 


sacrificial  animal.  Despite  protestant  legends  such  as  that  just 
recoTded,  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.^  The 
anaddhdpurusha  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. ^  Thus, 
in  Qat.  Br.  vi.  2.  i.  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.'' 

But  this,  the  terrible  barbaric  side  of  religious  worship,  is 
now  distinctly  yielding  to  a  more  humane  religion.  The  'barley 
ewe  '  *  is  taking  the  place  of  a  bloodier  offering.  It  has  been 
urged  that  the  humanity"  and  the  accompanying  silliness  of 
the  Brahmanic  period  as  compared  with  the  more  robust  char- 
acter of  the  earlier  age  are  due  to  the  weakening  and  softening 
effects  of  the  climate.  But  we  doubt  whether  the  climate  of 
the  Punjab  differs  as  much  from  that  of  Delhi  and  Patna  as 
does  the  character  of  the  Rig  Veda  from  that  of  the  Brahmanas. 
We   shall   protest    again   when    we    come    to   the   subject   of 

1  RV.  viii.  51.  2  ;  .Zimmer,  loc.  cit.  p.  328. 

2  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). 

8Zc  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. 
.  *  Substitutes  of  metal  or  of  earthen  victims  are  also  mentioned. 
5  That  the  Vedic  rite  of  killing  the  sacrificial  beast  (by  beating  and  smothering) 
was  very  cruel  may  be  seen  in  the  description.  Ait.  Br.  ii.  6. 


Buddhism  against  the  too  great  influence  whicli  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  popu- 
lation 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.  Synchro- 
nous 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  sacri- 
fice influencing  the  priests. 

The  Brahman  is  no  Jain.  One  must  read  far  to  hear  a  note 
of  the  approaching  ahimsd  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.^  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  samsdra  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  samsdra'^ 
is  established,  animal   sacrifices   are  not  only  permitted  but 

1  Cat.  Br.  i.  5.  2.  4. 

2  Samsdra  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. 


enjoined ;  and  the  epic  characters  shoot  deer  and  even  eat 
cows.  We  think,  in  short,  that  the  change  began  as  a  sump- 
tuary 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.-'  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  expen- 
sive, 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  hunian  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 

1  Weber,  Indische  Streifen^  i.  p.  72. 


traits  in  others.  The  whole  silHness  of  superstition  exceeds 
behef.  Because  Bhallabheya  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 
fooHshness,  and  the  priest  can  be  credited  only  with  the  folly. 
Why  is  '  horse-grass  '  used  in  the  sacrifice  ?  Because  the  sacri- 
fice 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  liistorian  can  but  bring 
him  into  contempt.^  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.  »S(7»za-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  bea:rd 
first,  at  the  sacrifice  he  must  cut  nails  and  beard  first  on  the 
other  side,  for  "  whatever  is  human  at  a  sacrifice  is  useless " 
{T.)yrddhain  vai  tad  yajnasya  yad  mdnusani).  Of  religious  puns 
we  have  given  instances  already.  Agni  says:  "prop  me  on 
the  propper  for  that  is  proper  "  (Jiita),  etc.,  etc.^  One  of  these 
examples  of  depraved  superstition  is  of  a  more  dangerous 
nature.     The  effect  of  the  sacrifice  is  covert  as  well  as  overt. 

1  <^ai.  Br.  i.  7.  3.  19;  iii.  4.  I.  17. 

2  gat.  Br.  iii.  5.  4.  10;  6.  2.  24;  5.  3.  17  (compare  6.  4.  23-24;  3.  4.  11 ;  2.  i.  12); 
iii.  I.  2.  4;  3.  14;  i.  7.  2.  9;  vi.  I.  J..  14.  The  change  of  name  is  interesting.  There 
is  a  remark  in  another  part  of  tlie  same  work  to  tlie  effect  that  when  a  man  prospers 
in  life  they  give  his  name  also  to  his  son,  grandson,  and  to  his  father  and  grand- 
father (vi.  I.  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). 

202       '  THE  RELIGIONS  OF  INDIA. 

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  (Cat.  JBr.  iii.  i.  4.  i  ; 
iv.  I.  I.  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  Earth 
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  fetes  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  Brahmanas  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 
allTiis  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  (Cat.  Br.  i.  7.  2.  i  ff. ;  in  Taitt.  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.  II.  I  ;  (^at.  Br.  iii.  2.  2.  24),  and  speech  is  a  divinity 
(Sarasvati  is  personified  speech,  Qat.  Br.  iii.  i.  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  devas)  and  untruth  is  man.''  ■^ 
Moreover,  "one  law  the  gods  observe,  truth"  {f^at.  Br.  i.  i.  i. 
4;  iii.  3.  2.  2  ;  4.  2.  8).  There  is  another  passa-ge  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"  {lb.  ii.  2.  2.  19).  The  second  sin,  expressly  named 
and  reprobated  as  such,  is  adultery.  This  is  a  sin  against 
Varuna.^  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."  "  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  procras- 

1  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.' 

2  In  Qat.  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." 

8  (^.at.  Br.  ii.  5.  2.  20.  Varuna  seizes  on  her  paramour,  when  she  Confesses.-  Taitt. 
Br.  i.  6.  5.  i.  The  guilt  confessed  becomes  less  "because  it  thereby  becomes  truth" 


tination.^  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  deca- 
logue—  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.^ 

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 
{Taitt.  S.  V.  4.  I.  3)  ;  at  another,  as  uniting  with  gods  and 
living  in  the  world  of  the  gods  {(^at.  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.^  Thus  in  one  passage,  as  a  reward  for  knowing  some 
divine  mystery  (as  often  happens,  this  mystery  is  of  little  im- 
portance, only  that  '  spring  is  born  again  out  of  winter '),  the 
savant  is  to  be  'born  again  in  this  world  '  (^pimar  ha  va  'asmin 
lake  bhavati,  Qat.  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) ;  ^  but,  by  estab- 

1  See  Qat.  Br.  ii.  4.  z.  6;  4.  i.  14;  i.  3.  9;  3.  i.  28:  "Who  knows  man's  morrow? 
Then  let  one  not  procrastinate."  "  Today  is  self,  this  alone  is  certain,  uncertain  is 
the  morrow." 

2  Some  little  rules  are  interesting.  The  Pythagorean  abstinence  from  masas, 
beans,  for  instance,  is  enjoined;  though  this  rule  is  opposed  by  Barku  Varshna, 
Qat.  Br.  i.  1.  i.  10,  on  the  ground  that  no  offering  to  the  gods  is  made  of  beans; 
"  hence  he  said  '  cook  beans  for  me.' " 

3  Animals  may  represent  gods.  "  The  bull  is  a  form  of  Indra,"  and  so  if  the  bull 
can  be  made  to  roar  {Qat.  Br.  ii.  5.  3.  iS),  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  (Qat.  Br.  vi.  ij.  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. 

*  Though  youth  may  be  restored  to  him  by  the  Ajvins,  Qat.  Br.  iv.  i.  5.  i  ff. 
Here  the  Horsemen  are  identified  with  Heaven  and  Earth  (16). 


lishing  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  con- 
ception of  the  sun  in  the  Rig  Veda  !)  he  dies  over  and  over 
again. ^  But  in  another  passage  it  is  said  that  when  the  sac- 
rificer  is  consecrated  he  '  becomes  one  of  the  deities ' ;  and 
one  even  finds  the  doctrine  that  one  obtains  '  union  with 
Brahma,'  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  "  (^Qat.  Br.  xi.  4.  4.  i  ;  iii. 
I.  I.  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 
betv/een  two  fires,  agnigikhe,  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  him- 

1  Cat,  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  like- 
ness of  form  with  the  sun,  and  the  same  abode  as  the  sun's."  Compare  Muir,  OST. 
v.  321.  This  may  be  the  real  reason  why  the  Rig  Veda  speaks  of  a  dark  and 
light  sun. 


self  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.' 

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  Qat.  Br.  vi.  5.  4.  8,  the 

stars  are  women-souls,  perhaps,  as  elsewhere,  men  also.     The 
<  'k- 

1  (^at.  Br.  i.  4.  3.  11-22  ('The  sinner  shall  suffer  and  go  quickly  to  yonder 
world ') ;  xi.  6.  I  (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  tlie 
course  of  the  sun,  the  fires  on  either  side  of  the  way,  the  departure  to  heaven  '  with 
the  whole  body,'  compare  (^at.  Br.  i.  9.  3.  2-15 ;  iv.  5.  1. 1 ;  vi.  6.  2.  4  ;  xi.  z.  7.  33  ; 
Weber, /tJr.  t7Y. ;  jMuir,  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  tlie  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. 


converse  notion  that  darkness  is  the  abode  of  evil  appears  at 
a  very  early  date  :  "  Indra  brought  down  the  heathen,  dasyiis, 
into  the  lowest  darkness,"  it  is  said  in  the  Atharva  Veda 
(ix.  2.  17).^ 

In  the  later  part  of  the  great  '  Brahmana  of  the  hundred 
paths '  there  seems  to  be  a  more  modern  view  inculcated  in 
regard  to  the  fate  of  the  dead.  Thus,  in  vi.  i.  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  Upani- 
shadic  style,  as  will  be  seen  below. 


In  Vedic  polytheism,  with  its  strain  of  pantheism,  the  act  of 
creating  the  world  ^  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  con- 
tained, and  who  himself  is  contained  in  even  the  smallest 
thing.  The  Atharvan  transfers  the  same  idea  in  its  delinea- 
tion 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 

1  Compare  RV.  iv.  28.  4 ;  '  Thou  Indra  madest  lowest  the  heathen.'  Weber  has 
shown,  loc.  cit.,  that  the  general  notion  of  the  Brahmanas  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  anni- 
hilated. 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  sunUght  or  stars  (the  latter  are  '  watery '  to  the  Hindu,  and  this 
may  explain  the  statement  that  the  soul  is  'in  the  midst  of  waters'). 

2  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  \'eda,  vi.  48.  22,  that  heaven  and 
earth  are  created  but  once :  "  Only  once  was  heaven  created,  only  once  was  earth 
creslted,"  Zimmer,  AIL.  408. 


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  Brahmanas  the  creator  is  the  All-god  in  more  anthropo- 
morphic form.  The  Father^god,  Prajapati,  or  Brahma  (per- 
sonal equivalent  of  brahma)  is  not  only  the  father  of  gods, 
men,  and  devils,  but  he  is  the  All.  This  Father-god  of  uni- 
versal sovereignty,  Brahma,  remains  to  the  end  the  personal 
creator.  It  is  he  who  will  serve  as  creator  for  the  Puranic 
Sankhya  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  Civa.  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  Brahmanas  themselves  present  no  clear  picture  of  crea- 
tion. All  the  accounts  of  a  personal  creator  are  based  merely 
on  anthropomorphized  versions  of  the  text  'desire  is  the  seed.' 
Prajapati  wishes  offspring,  and  creates.  There  is,  on  the 
other  hand,  a  philosophy  of  creation  which  reverts  to  the  tale 
of  the  'golden  germ.'^  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.^  It  is  this  Spirit  with  which  the  Father- 
god  is  identified.     But  guess-work  philosophy  then  asks  what 

1  When  the  principle  of  life  is  explained  it  is  in  terms  of  sun  or  fire.  Thus 
Prajapati,  Lord  of  beings,  or  Father-god,  is  first  an  epithet  of  Savitar,  RV.  iv.  53.  2  ; 
and  the  golden  germ  must  be  fire. 

2  Schoolcraft,  Historical  and  Statistical  Information^  i.  32.  As  examples, of  the 
many  passages  where  'water  is  the  beginning'  may  be  cited  f^at.  Br,  vi.  7.  i.  17; 
xl.  1.  6.  I.     The  sun, born  as  Aditi's  eighth  son,  is  the  bird,  'egg-born,'  RV.  x.  72. '8. 


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  Brahmanas,  the  result  of  its  travel  js  to  land 
its  followers  in  intellectual  chaos. ^  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.^ 

In  the  period  immediately  following  the  Brahmanas,  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  cer- 
tainly what  is  seen  of  the  gods  is  not  anthropomorphic  ;  for 
example,  the  sun,  the  earth,  etc."^  In  such  a  period  of  theo- 
logical 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 

i  Among  the  new  creators  of  Atharvan  origin  are,  for  instance,  the  sun  under  the 
name  of  Rohita,  Desire  (Love),  etc.,  etc. 

-  Ilhistrations  of  these  contradictions  may  be  found  in  plenty  apud  Muir  iv. 
p.  20  ff.  3  Nirukta,  vii.  4  j  Muir,  loc.  cit.  p.  131  and  v.  17. 


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  Brahmanas  we  have 
produced  the  impression  that  the  religious  literature  of  this 
period  is  a  confused  jumble,  where  unite  descriptions  of  cere- 
monies, 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  illustra- 
tions 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  rdsmnd  of  one  comparatively  short  ceremony  would  be 
so  long  and  tedious  that  the  explication  of  the  intricate  formali- 
ties would  scarcely  be  a  sufficient  reward.  With  Hillebrandt's 
patient  analysis  of  the  New-  and  Full-Moon  sacrifice,'  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,  mechani- 
cal movements,  oblations,  and  slaughterings. 

1  Neil-  tind  Vollmonds  Opfer^  iSSo.  The  Dlksha,  or  initiation,  lias  been  described 
by  Lindner ;   the  RTijasuya  and  Vajapeya,  by  Wetier. 


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  Brahmana  that  is  called  the 
Aitareya;  the  other  from  the  beginning  of  the  Qatapatha ; 
the  former  in  abstract,  the  latter  in  full. 

THE  SACRIFICE  OF  DOGSTAIL  {Ait.  Br.  vii.  13). 

Harigcandra,  a  king  born  in  the  great  race  of  Ikshvaku,  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.^     When  Rohita  heard  of  this  he 

1  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. 


was  about  to  return,  but  Indra,  disguised  as  a  priest,  met  him, 
and  said :  '  Wander  on,  for  the  foot  of  a  wanderer  is  hke  a 
flower ;  his  spirit  grows,  and  reaps  fruit,  and  all  his  sins  are 
forgiven  in  the  fatigue  of  wandering.'  ^  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. 
Oh  one  of  these  occasions  Indra  inspires  him  to  continue  on 
his  journey  by  telling  him  that  the  hita  was  now  auspicious  ; 
using  the  names  of  dice  afterwards  applied  to  the  four  ages.* 
Finally,  after  six  years,  Rohita  resolved  to  purchase  a  substi- 
tute for  sacrifice.  He  meets  a  starving  seer,  and  offers  to  buy 
one  of  his  sons  (to  serve  as  sacrifice),  the  price  to  be  one  hun- 
dred 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  substitu- 
tion of  Dogstail  for  Rohita,  "  since  a  priest  is  of  more  value 
than  a  warrior." 

The  sacrifice  is  made  ready,  and  Vigvamitra  (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  Apri  verses'*  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 

1  This  is  the  germ  of  the  pilgrimage-doctrine  (see  below). 

-  Perhaps  (IW.  ix.  301)  interpolated ;  or  the  first  allusion  to  the  Four  Ages. 

3  These  (compare  afri,  'blessing,'  in  the  A  vesta)  are  verses  in  the  Rig  ^'eda 
introducing  the  sacrifice.  They  are  meant  as  propitiations,  and  appear  to  be  an 
ancient  part  of  the  ritual. 


off ;  Harigcandra's  dropsy  ceases,  and  all  ends  well.'  Only, 
■when  the  avaricious  father  demands  his  son  back,  he  is  refused, 
and  Vigvamitra  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  Vigvamitra, 
that  their  sons'  sons  should  become  barbarians,  the  Andhras, 
Pundras,  Qabaras,  Pulindas,  and  Mutibas,  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 

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  what- 
ever good  works  I  do  to  the  day  of  my  death,  together  with 
my  life  and  children,  if  ever  I  should  do  thee  harm."^ 

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. 

1  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  Qunasgepa,  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  {^unas,  Kvv6s). 

2  Ait,  Br.  viii.  lo,  15,  20. 


The  next  selection  is  the  famous  story  of  the  flood,  which 
we  translate  literally  in  its  older  form.^  The  object  of  the 
legend  in  the  Brahmana  is  to  explain  the  importance  of  the 
Ida  (or  Ila)  ceremony,  which  is  identified  with  Ida,  Manu's 

"  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  destruc- 
tion ;  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 

1  The  epic  has  a  later  version.  This  earlier  form  is  found  in  (^ai.  Br.  i,  8.  i.  For 
the  story  of  the  flood  among  the  American  Indians  compare  Schoolcraft  {Historical 
and  Statistical  Information)^  i.  I'j. 


'  Descent  of  Manu.'  The  flood  then  swept  off  all  the  creatures 
of  the  earth,  and  Manu  here  remained  alone.  Desirous  ai 
posterity,  he  worshipped  and  performed  austerities.  While  he 
was  performing  a  sacrifice,  he  offered  up  in  the  waters  clarifled 
butter,  sour  milk,  whey  and  curds.  Out  of  these  in  a  year  was 
produced  a  woman.  She  arose  when  she  was  solid,  and  clari- 
fied 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  Ida  ceremony  ;  and  whoever, 
knowing  this,  performs  sacrifice  with  the  Ida,  he  begets  the 
race  that  Manu  generated  ;  and  whatever  blessing  he  invokes 
through  her,  all  is  granted  unto  him." 

There  is  one  of  the  earhest  avatar  stories  in  this  tale. 
Later  writers,  of  course,  identify  the  fish  with  Brahma  and 
with  Vishnu.  In  other  early  Brahmanas  the  avatars  of  a 
god  as  a  tortoise  and  a  boar  were  known  long  before  they 
were  appropriated  by  the  Vishnuites. 


In  the  Vedic  hymns  man  fears  the  gods,  and  imagines  God. 
In  the  Brahmanas  man  subdues  the  gods,  and  fears  God.  In 
the  Upanishads  man  ignores  the  gods,  and  becomes  God.^ 

Such  in  a  word  is  the  theosophic  relations  between  the 
three  periods  represented  by  the  first  Vedic  Collection,  the 
ritualistic  Brahmanas,  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  Brahmanas  logically  continue  what, 
the  hymns  begin  ;  that  the  Upanishads  logically  carry  on  the 
thought  of  the  Brahmanas.  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.^  In  India  no  literary 
period  subsides  with  the  rise  of  its  eventually  '  succeeding ' 
period.  All  the  works  overlap.  Parts  of  the  Brahmanas  suc- 
ceed, sometimes  with  the  addition  of  whole  books,  their  proper 

i  Compare  (^at.  Br,  ii,  4.  a.  1-6,  where  the  Father-god  gives  laws  of  conduct ;  and 
Kaushitaki  Brahmana  Upanishad,  3.  S :  "  This  spirit  (breath)  is  guardian  of  the 
world,  the  lord  of  the' world ;  he  is  my  spirit "  (or,  myself),  sa  ma  dima.  The  Brah- 
manic  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 

2  Compare  Scherman,  Philosophische  Hyninen^  p.  93  ;  above,  p.  156. 


literary  successors,  the  Upanishads.  Vedic  hymns  are  com- 
posed in  the  Brahmanic  period.^  The  prose  Sutras,  which,  in 
general,  are  earlier,  sometimes  post-date  metrical  Qastra-rules.  ■ 
Thus  it  is  highly  probable  that,  whereas  the  Upanishads  began 
before  the  time  of  Buddha,  the  Qatapatha  Brahmana  (if  not 
others  of  this  class)  continued  to  within  two  or  three  centuries 
of  our  era ;  that  the  legal  Sutras  were,  therefore,  contemporary 
with  part  of  the  Brahmanic  period ;  '^  and  that,  in  short,  the 
end  of  the  Vedic  period  is  so  knit  with  the  beginning  of  the 
Brahmanic,  while  the  Brahmanic  period  is  so  knit  with  the  rise 
of  the  Upanishads,  Sutras,  epics,  and  Buddhism,  that  one  can- 
not 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  Brahmanas,  west  and  east ;  by  the  Sutras, 
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  brakma 
upanishad  is  the  secret  doctrine  of  brakma,  and  '  whoever 
follows  this  upanishad'  means  whoever  follows  this  doc- 
trine. 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-sad,  and  this  is  purely  external  :  "  he  makes 

1  Or,  in  other  words,  the  thought  of  the  Brahmanic  period  (not  necessarily  of 
extant  Brahmanas)  is  synchronous  with  part  of  the  Vedic  collection. 

2  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. 


the  common  people  upa-ni-sadin"  i.e.,  'sitting  below'  or  'sub- 
ject,' it  is  said  in  Qat.  JBr.  ix.  4.  3.  3  (from  the  literal  meaning 
of  'sitting  below ').^  Instead,  therefore,  of  seeing  in  tipanisad, 
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  sub- 
sidiary works  of  the  ritualistic  Brahmanas  contained  in  the 
Aranyakas  or  Forest  Books,  that  is,  appendices  to  the  Brah- 
mana,  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  t)etween  two  and  three  hundred  Upani- 
shads 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  Brahmanas,  and  apparently  were  added  to  the 
ritualistic  works  at  an  early  period.^ 

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  Brahma. 

1  Cited  by  Muller  in  SBE.  i.  Introd.  p.  Ixxxii. 

2  Compare  Weber,  Ind.  Lit.  p.  171;  Muller,  loc.  cit.  p.  Ixviii. 


The  philosophical  writings  called  Upanishads  ^  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,  ritual- 
istic 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  pre- 
pared him  to  be.  Not  every  spirit  is  fitted  for  immortality,  but 
only  the  spirit  of  them  that  have  wisely  desired  it,  or,  rather, 

1  The  relation  between  the  Brahmanag  (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  '  Collec- 
tion '  of  hymns,  but  all  the  library  connected  with  this  collection ;  for  instance,  the 
two  Brahmanas  (of  the  Rig  Veda),  namely,  the  Aitareya  and  the  KSushltaki  (or 
CJankhayana),  Now,  each  of  these  Brahmanas  concludes  with  an  Aranyaka,  that 
is,  a  Forest-Book  (aranya,  forest,  soHtude);  and  in  each  Forest  Book  is  an  Upa- 
nishad.  For  example,  the  third  book  of  the  Kaushitaki  Aranyaka  is  the  Kaushitaki 
Upanishad.  So  the  Chandogya  and  Brihad  Aranyaka  belong  respectively  to  the 
Saman  and  Yajus. 


1  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  happin^s  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  (prahma),  which  is  originally  applied  to  prayer,  is  now 
taken  as  absolute  being,  and  this,  again,  must  be  equated  with 
the  personal  spirit  (ego,  self,  atma).  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  atma,  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  atma  by  the  absolute  and  the  ego  or 
spirit,  respectively ;  or  leave  them,  which  is  perhaps  the  he^t 


way,  in  their  native  form.  The  physical  breath,  prana,  is  occa- 
sionally used  just  like  atnid.  Thus  it  is  said  that  all  the  gods 
are  one  god,  and  this  is  prana,  identical  with  brahma  (Brihad 
Aranyaka  Upanishad,  3.  9.  9);  ox  prana  is  so  used  as  to  be  the 
same  with  spirit,  though,  on  the  other  hand,  '  breath  is  born  of 
spirit'  (Pragna  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 
Chandogya.  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).^  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  Itara, 
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, 

1  This  teaching  is  ascribed  to  (Jandilya,  to  whose  heresy,  as  opposed  to  the  pure 
Vedantic  doctrine  of  C^ankara,  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  Qandilya  teaches  that  it  is  ultimately  absorbed  into  the 


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  identifica- 
tion 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);^  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.  iS-  6).    . 

But  the  Father-god  of  the  Brahmanas  is  still  a  temporary 
creator,  and  thus  he  appears  now  {ib.  17):  The  Father-god 
brooded  over^  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  Sama  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  brahm.a  : 

"  He  that  knows  the  oldest,  j'ycstham,  and  the  best,  (resiham, 
becomes  the  oldest  and  the  best.  Now  breath  is  oldest  and 
best "  (then  follows  the  famous  parable  of  the  senses  and 
bteath,  5.  I.  1).     This  (found  elsewhere)  is  evidently  regarded 

■1  "  God  '  Who '  is  air,  air  (space)  is  God  '  Who,'  "  as  if  one  said  '  either  is  aether.' 
2  '  Did  penance  over,' as  one  doing  penance  remains  in  meditation.     'Brooded' 
is  Miiller's  apt  word  for  this  abhi-tap. 


as  a.  new  doctrine,  for,  after  the  deduction  has  been  made 
that,  because  a  creature  can  Hve  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).i  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.^  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 
oiie's  own  spirit '(5.  18.  i). 

It  is  interesting  to  see  that,  although  the  Rig  Veda  distinctly 
says  that  '  being  was  born  of  not-being '  (dsatas  sad  ajdyata,  x. 
72.  3),^  yet  not-being  is  here  derived  quite  as  emphatically 
from  being.  For  in  the  philosophical  explanation  of  the  uni- 
verse given  in  6.  2.  i  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  ? 
Baing  alone  existed  in  the  beginning."  *  This  being  is  then 
represented  as  sentient.  "It  saw  (and  desired),  'may  I  be 
miny,'  and  sent  forth  fire  (or  heat);  fire  (or  heat)  desired  and 
produced  water ;  water,  food  (earth) ;  with  the  living  spirit  the 

1  Compare  Brihad  Aran.  Up.  6.  3.  7. 

2  This  is  the  karma-  or  samsara  doctrine. 

3  In  J.  U.  B.  alone  have  we  noticed  the  formula  asserting  that '  both  being  and  not- 
being  existed  in  the  beginning'  (i.  53.  i ;  JAOS.  xvi.  130). 

*  Opposed  is  3.  19.  i  and  Tdiit.  Uf.  2.  7.  i  {Br.  ii.  2.  g.  i,  10):  "Not-being  was 
here  in  the  beginning.  From  it  arose  being."  And  so  (^at.  Br.  vi,  1.  1.  i  (though  in 
word  only,  for  here  not-being  is  the  seven  spirits  of  God !) 


divinity  entered  fire,  water,  and  earth  "  (6.  3).  As  mind  comes 
from  food,  breath  from  water,  and  speecli  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  iiito  the  highest 
godhead  (6.  8.  7).  This  is  the  subtile  spirit,  that  is  the  Spirit, 
that  is  the  True,  and  this  is  the  spirit  of  man.  Now  comes 
the  grand  conclusion  of  the  Chandogya.  He  who  knows  the 
ego  escapes  grief.  What  is  the  ego  ?  The  Vedas  are  names, 
and  he  that  sees  brahtna  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 ;  reflec- 
tion, 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  knowl- 
edge ;  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.-' 

The  relativity  of  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  spiritu- 
ally, 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 

1  As  the  Vedic  notion  of  not-being  existing  before  being  is  refuted,  so  the  Atharvan 
homage  to  Time  as  Lord  is  also  derided  {gvei.  6)  in  the  Upanishads.  The  supreme 
being  is  above  time,  as  he  is  without  parts  («'^.).  In  this  later  Upanishad  wisdom, 
penance,  and  the  grace  of  God  are  requisite  to  know  brahma. 


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  brahnia ;  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  1 
much  as  hell,  to  know  that  knowledge  is,  after  all,  the  key  to 
brahma ;  that  brahma  is  knowledge  ;  this  is  the  way  to  emanci- 
pation. 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  neces- 
sary preparation  for  highest  wisdom.  It  is  here  that  the  Upan- 
ishads,  which  otherwise  are  to  a  great  extent  on  the  highway  i 
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  Brahmanas 
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  Aitareya 


.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).  "£}-ahf}ia  is  the  A,  thitlaer  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).^  "The  Spirit  brooded  over 
the  water,  and  form  (matter)  was  born"  (2.  4.  3.  i  ff.);  so 
physically  water  is  the  origin  of  all  things"  (2.  i.  8.  i).^ 
"  Whatever  belongs  to  the  father  belongs  to  the  son,  whatever 
belongs  to  the  son  belongs  to  the  father"  (Jb.).  "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  Aitareya  that  the  gods  worshipped  breath  (the 
spirit)  as  being  and  so  became  gods  (great);  while  devils  wor- 
shipped spirit  as  not-being,  and  hence  became  (inferior)  devils 
(2.  I.  8.  6). 

It  was  noticed  above  that  a  king  instructed  priests.  This 
interchange  of  the  roles  of  the  two  castes  is  not  unique.  In 
the  Kaushitaki  Upanishad  (4.  19),  occurs  another  instance  of  a 
warrior  teaching  a  Brahman.  This,  with  the  familiar  illustra- 
tion of  a  Gandhara  (Kandahar)  man,  the  song  of  the  Kurus, 
and  the  absence  of  Brahmanic  literature  as  such  in  the  list  of 

1  This  Vedic  X670?  doctrine  is  conspicuous  in  the  Brahmana.  Compare  (^at.  Br. 
vii.  5.  2.  21 :  "Vac  (X670S)  is  tlie  Unborn  one;  from  Vac  the  all-maker  made  crea- 
tures."    See  Weber,  Ind.  Stud.  ix.  477  ff. 

2  Compare  J.  U.  B.  i.  56.  i, '  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  Vedis  to  mediaeval  times,  as  is  recorded  by  the  Greek  travellers, 
water  is  regarded  as  the  original  element. 


works,  cited  vii.  i,  would  indicate  that  the  Chandogya  was  at 
least  as  old  as  the  Brahmana  literature.' 

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  abso- 
lute 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  him- 
self goes  to  the  world  where  there  is  "no  sorrow  and  no  snow," 
where  he  lives  forever  {Brihad  Aran.  5.  10);  but  "his  beloved 
relations  get  his  virtue,  and  the  relations  he  does  not  love  get 
his  evil"  (Kdushit.  Up.  i.  4).  In  this  Upanishad  fire,  sun, 
moon,  and  lightning  die  out,  and  reappear  as  brahma.  This 
is  the  doctrine  of  the  Gdtterddmmerung,  and  succession  of 
aeons  with  their  divinities  (2.  12).  Here  again  is  it  distinctly 
stated  that  prana,  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  Brahmanas  —  or  are  reborn  on 
earth  again  like  the  wicked  {T^d,  3). 

It  is  to  be  noted  that  at  times  all  the  parts  of  a  man  are 

1  The  Gandhara  might  indicate  a  late  geographical  expansion  as  well  as  an  early 
heritage,  so  that  this  is  not  conclusive. 


said  to  become  immortal.  For  just  as  different  rivers  enter 
tlie  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  {Frafna  Up.  6.  5)  ;  a  purely  pan- 
theistic 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  "  (led,  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.'  But 
what  is  the  ego,  spirit  or  self  (atind)  ?  First  of  all  it  is  con- 
scious ;  next  it  is  not  the  Person,  for  the  Person  is  produced 
by  the  atmd.  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 
(i.  2.  10)  it  is  said  that  fools  regard  fulfillment  of  desire  in 

1  Gough,  Philosophy  of  the  Upanishads,  has  sought  to  sho'W'  that  the  pure 
Vedantism  of  C^ankara  is  the  only  belief  taught  in  the  Upanishads,  ignoring  the 
weight  of  those  passages  that  oppose  his  (in  our  view)  too  sweeping  assertion. 


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, 
atma  is  indeed  productive  of  temporary  pleasure,  but  no  more. 
"  If  a  man  worship  another  divinity,  devata,  with  the  idea  that 
he  and  the  god  are  different,  he  does  not  know"  {Brihad 
Aran.  Up.  i.  4.  10).  "Without  passion  and  without  parts"  is 
the  brahma  {Mimd.  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.^ 
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  bi-ahma  here  "  in  life 
{Katha  Up.  2.  5.   12  ;   6.  14;  Br.  Aran.  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  dijfferent  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  Brahma,  the  personal  creator,  made  the 
world  and  explained  brahma  (i.  i.  i).  It  then  defines  brahtna 
as  the  Imperishable,  which,  like  a  spider,  sends  out  a  web  of 
being  and  draws  it  in  again  (Jb.  6,  7).  It  states  with  all  dis- 
tinctness that  the  (neuter)  brahma  comes  from  The  (masculine) 

1  See  the  Parimara  described,  Ait.  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. 


One  who  is  all-wise,  all-knowing  {ib.  9).  This  heavenly  Person 
is  the  imperishable  ego ;  it  is  without  form ;  higher  than  the 
imperishable  (i,  2.  10  ff.;  2.  i.  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  atma ,  and  (3.  i.  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  Vedanta 
and  Yoga  are  named.  According  to  this  tract  the  wise  go  to 
brahma  or  to  ego  (3.  2.  9  and  i.  2.  11),  while  fools  go  to 
heaven  and  return  again. 

On  the  same  plane  stands  the  I^a,  where  atvia,  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  Kaushitaki  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  Tditt.  3.  10.  4).  Cosmogonically  all  here  springs  from 
water  (i.  4,  6,  7  ;   2.  i,  12  ;  3.  i,  2  ;   4.  20). 

Most  striking  are  the  contradictions  in  the  Brihad  Aranyaka: 
"  In  the  beginning  there  was  only  nothing ;    this  (world)  was 


covered  with  death,  that  is  hunger;'  he  desired,"  etc.  (i.  2.  i). 
"  In  the  beginning  there  was  only  ego  (atma)."  Atma  articu- 
lated "  I  am,"  and  (finding  himself  lonely  and  unhappy) 
divided  himself  into  male  and  female,^  whence  arose  men,  etc. 
(i.  4.  i).  Again  :  "  In  the  beginning  there  was  only  braJima ; 
this  (neuter)  knew  atma  .  .  .  brahma  was  the  one  and  only 
.  .  .  it  created"  (i.  4.  lo-ii);  followed  immediately  by  "he 
created"  (12).  And  after  this,  in  17,  one  is  brought  back  to 
"  in  the  beginning  there  was  only  atma ;  he  desired  '  let  me 
have  a  wife.'  " 

In  2.  3.  I  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  (atma)  ;  the  real  brahma  is  incompre- 
hensible and  is  described  only  by  negations  (3.  4.  i  ;  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  atma  of  all  beings,  just 
like  that  deity  (i.  5.  20)  ;  he  becomes  identical  ('how  can  one 
know  the  knower?'  vijnatar)  in  2.  4.  12-13  ;  and,  according  to 
3.  2.  13,  the  doctrine  of  samsara  is  extolled  ("they  talked  of 
karma,  e^toWt A  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  know^  brahma  as  asat  he  becomes   only  asat 

1  Compare  sterben,  starve. 

2  The  androgynous  creator  of  the  Brahmanas. 


(non-existence)  ;  if  he  knows  tliat  '  brahma  is '  {i.e.,  a  sad 
brahmd),  people  know  him  as  thence  existing."  Personal  atma 
is  here  insisted  on  ("He  wished  'may  I  be  many' ");  and  from 
attnd,  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,  atma;  tad 
dtmdnam  svayam  akuruta,  2.  7).  In  man  brahma  is  the  sun- 
brahma.  Here  too  one  finds  the  brahtnanah  pariijiaras  (3.  10.  4 
=  Kaushit.  2.  12,  ddivd),  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  dtmd,'  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  Aitareya  Aranyaka.  After  death  one  either  "gets  brahma  " 
(i.  3.  I.  2),  "comes  near  to  the  immortal  spirit"  (i.  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  (Prajapati) 
in  breath  (=  ego  =^brahjna'),  and  then  they  will  "go  to  the 
heavenly  world "  (2.  3.  8.  5),  "become  the  sun"  (2.  i".  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.  I.  I.  5)  on  earth,  although  hell  is  mentioned  (2.  3.  2.  5). 
The  origin  of  world  is  water,  as  usual  (2.  i.  8.  i).  The  highest 
teaching  is  that  all  was  atma,  who  sent  forth  worlds  (lokan 
asrjatd),  and  formed  the  Person  (as  guardian  of  worlds),  taking 
him  from  waters.  Hence  atma,  Prajapati  (of  the  second-class 
thinkers),  and  brahma  are  the  same.  Knowledge  is  brahma 
(2.  4-  I.  I  ;  6.  I.  s-7). 


111  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  Mike  this'),  there  is  no  absorption  into  a  world- 
spirit.  The  wise  'become  immortal';  'by  knowledge  one 
gets  immortality';  'who  knows  this  stands  in  heaven'  (i.  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  samsara,  the  round  of  rebirths.  Hell  is  not  mentioned 
in  the  Aitareya  Upanishad  itself  but  in  the  Aranyaka'  (2.  3.  2.  5). 
That,  however,  a  union  with  the  universal  dtma  (as  well  as 
heaven)  is  desired,  would  seem  to  be  the  case  from  several  of 
the  passages  cited  above,  notably  Brihad  Aran.,  i.  5.  20  {sa 
evafnvit  sarvesdm  bhutandm  dtmd  bhavati,  yathidsa  devatdivam 
so)  ;  'he  that  knows  this  becomes  the  dtmd  of  all  creatures,  as 
is  that  divinity  so  is  he '  ;  though  this  is  doubtless  the  dnanda- 
maya  dtmd,  or  joy-making  Spirit  (Taitt.  2.8). 

Again  two  forms  of  brahma  are  explained  (Mait.  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.^ 

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 

1  We  cannot,  however,  quite  agree  with  Whitney  who,  loc.  cit.  p.  92,  and  Journal, 
xiii,  p.  ciii  ff.,  impUes  that  belief  in  *ell  comes  later  than  this  period.  This  is  not  so 
late  a  teaching.     Hell  is  Vedic  and  Brahmanic. 

2  This,  in  pantheistic  style,  is  expressed  thus  (Qvet.  4) :  '■  When  the  liglit  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." 



Yajiiavalkya  had  two  wives,  Maitreyi  and  Katyayani. 
Now  Maitreyi  was  versed  in  holy  knowledge  (brahttia),  but 
Katyayani  had  only  such  knowledge  as  women  have.  But 
when  Yajnavalkya  was  about  to  go  away  into  the  forest  (to 
become  a  hermit),  he  said:  'Maitreyi,  I  am  going  away  from 
this  place.  Behold,  I  will  make  a  settlement  between  thee  and 
that  Katyayani.'  Then  said  Maitreyi:  'Lord,  if  this  whole 
earth  filled  with  wealth  were  mine,  how  then  ?  should  I  be 
immortal  by  reason  of  this  wealth  ? '  '  Nay,'  said  Yajnavalkya. 
'  Even  as  is  the  life  of  the  rich  would  be  thy  life  ;  by  reason  of 
wealth  one  has  no  hope  of  immortality.'  Then  said  Maitreyi : 
'With  what  I  cannot  be  immortal,  what  can  I  do  with  that? 
whatever  my  Lord  knows  even  that,  tell  me.'  And  Yajiiavalkya 
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  b/iiits  (spirits)  are  bhtits  dear, 
but  for  the  ego's  sake  are  bkilts  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, 

1  Brihad  Aranyaka  Upanishad,  ij.  4 ;  4.  5. 


heard,  apprehended,  regarded,  Maitreyi,  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,  Sama  Veda, 
Atharva  (-Angiras)  Veda,  Stories,  Tales,  Sciences,  Upani- 
shads,  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  knowl- 
edges ;  ...  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.-'  I  have  spoken.'  Thus  said 
Yajnavalkya.  Then  said  Maitreyi:  'Truly  my  Lord  has 
bewildered  me  in  saying  that  after  death  there  is  no  more  con- 
sciousness.' And  Yajiiavalkya  said  :  '  I  say  nothing  bewilder- 
ing, but  what  suffices  for  understanding.  For  where  there 
is  as  it  were  duality  (dvditani),  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,  un- 
attached, unfettered;  the  ego  neither  suifers  nor  fails. 
Thus,  Maitreyi,  hast  thou  been  instructed.  So  much  for 
immortality.'  And  having  spoken  thus  Yajiiavalkya  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 

1  Na  preiya  sainjiici  ^sii. 


which,  in  general,  may  be  said  to  be  characteristic  of  the  whole 
Upanishad  period.  The  same  vague  views  in  regard  to  cos- 
mogony 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.''  A  few  extracts  will 
show  this.  According  to  the  Chandogya  (4.  17.  i),  a  personal 
creator,  the  old  Father-god  of  the  Brahmanas,  Prajapati,  made 
the  elements  proceed  from  the  worlds  he  had  'brooded'  over 
(or  had  done  penance  over,  ahhyatapat').  In  3.  19.  i,  not-being 
was  first ;  this  became  being  (with  the  mundane  egg,  etc.).  In 
sharp  contradiction  (6.  2.  i)  :  '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  aima'  and  so  develops  names  and 
forms  (so  Tditt.  2.  7).  The  latter  is  the  prevailing  view  of  the 
Upanishad.  In  i.  7.  5  ff .  the  atma  is  the  same  with  the  uni- 
versal atmd ;  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.  i,  all  is 
brahma  (neuter),  and  this  is  an  intelligent  universal  spirit. 
Like  the  ether  is  the  dtmd  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  vdvd  kaiii  tad  eva  kham  (brahma  is  ether)  ;  in  4.  15. 
I,  the  ego  is  brahma ,  in  5.  18.  i  the  universal  ego  is  identified 
with  the  particular  ego  (atma)  ;  in  6.  8  the  ego  is  the  True, 
with  which  one  unites  in  dreamless  sleep ;  in  6.  15.  i,  'vcAo para 
devata  or  'highest  divinity'  enters  man's  spirit,  like  fealt  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  bhumd 

1  Some  of  the  Upanishads  have  been  tampered  with,  so  that  all  of  the  contradictions 
may  not  be  due  to  the  composers.  Nevertheless,  as  the  unLertainty  of  opinion  in 
regard  to  cosmogony  is  quite  as  great  as  that  in  respect  of  absorption,  all  the  vague- 
ness cannot  properly  be  attributed  to  the  efforts  of  later  systematizers  to  bring  the 
Upanishads  into  their  more  or  less  orthodox  Vedantism. 


tad  amrtam,  the  immortal  (all)  is  infinity,  which  rests  in  its  own 
greatness,  with  a  corrective  '  but  perhaps  it  doesn't '  (^yadi  vd 
no).    This  infinity  is  ego  and  atrna} 

What  is  the  reward  for  knowing  this  ?  One  obtains  worlds, 
unchanging  happiness,  brahma;  or,  with  some  circumnaviga- 
tion, one  goes  to  the  moon,  and  eventually  reaches  brahma 
or  obtains  the  worlds  of  the  blessed  (5.  10.  10).  The  round 
of  existence,  samsdra,  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  dtmdnanda  and 
"  lord  of  all  worlds  "  ;  whereas  an  incorrect  view  gives  perish- 
able worlds.  In  one  Upanishad  there  is  a  verse  (J^vet.  4.  5) 
which  would  indicate  a  formal  duality  like  that  of  the 
Sankhyas;^  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  trimurti,  where  unite 
Vishnu,  Qiva,  and,  with  these,  who  are  more  powerful;  Brahma, 
the  Prajapati  of  the  Veda,  as  the  All-god  of  purely  pantheistic 
systems.  In  the  purer,  older  form  recorded  above,  the  picrusha 
(Person)  is  sprung  from  the  dtmd.  There  is  no  distinction 
between  matter  and  spirit.  Conscious  being  (sat)  wills,  and 
so  produces  all.      Or  dtmd  comes  first ;  and  this  is  conscious 

1  In  4.  10.  5  kam  is  pleasure,  one  with  ether  as  Irahma,  not  as  wrongly  above, 
p.  222,  the  god  Ka. 

2  This  Upanishad  appears  to  be  sectarian,  perhaps  an  early  (Jlivaite  tract  (dual- 
istic),  if  the  allusion  to  Rudra  Qiva,  below,  be  accepted  as  original. 


sat,  and  the  cause  of  the  worlds ;  which  atmd  eventually 
becomes  the  Lord.  The  atmd  in  man,  owing  to  his  environ- 
ment, cannot  see  whole,  and  needs  the  Yoga  discipline  of 
asceticism  to  enable  him  to  do  so.  But  he  ii  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"  (Chdnd.,  above).  Sometimes  tKe  impersonal,  and 
sometimes  the  personal  "spirit  willed"  {Tditt.  2.  6).  And 
when  it  is  said,  in  Brihad Aran.  1.4.  i,  that  "In  the  beginning 
ego,  spirit,  dtmd,  alone  existed,"  one  finds  this  spirit  (self)  to  be 
a  form  of  braJima  {ih.  lo-ii).  Personified  in  a  sectarian  sense, 
this  spirit  becomes  the  divinity  Rudra  Qiva,  the  Blessed  One 
(Qvetdfvatara,  3.  5,  n).' 

In  short,  the  teachers  of  the  Upanishads  not  only  do  not 
declare  clearly  what  they  believed  in  regard  to  cosmogonic  and 
escha'tological  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  atmd,  or  whether  this  personal  being  was  but  a 
transient  form  of  impersonal,  imperishable  being;  ^  and  whether 
the  union  with  being,  brahma,  would  result  in  a  survival  of 
individual  consciousness,  —  thpse  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 

1  As  is  foreshadowed  in  the  doctrine  of  grace  by  Vac  in  the  Rig  Veda,  in  the 
(^■Det.,  the  Katha,  and  the  Mund.  Upanishads  fJC.  z.  23;  M.  3.  -z.  3),  but  nowhere 
else,  there  enters,  with  the  sectarian  pliase,  that  radical  subversion  of  the  Upanishad 
doctrine  which  becomes  so  powerful  at  a  latet  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." 

^'  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'  te  slain  ;  they  both  under- 
stand not;  this  one  (the  Spirit)  slays  not,  and  is  not  slain"  {Katha,  2.  19)  j  loosely 
rendered  by  Emerson, '  If  the  red  slayer  think  he  slays,'  etc. 


principle  with  breath,  as  one  with  ether,  which  is  twice 
emphasized  as  one  of  the  two  immortal  things,  were  provision- 
ally 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  as'at  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  brahyna  —  imperish- 
able being,  conceived  as  more  or  less  conscious.-' 

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 V 
And  the  answer  is,  "  Ask  not  too  much  "  {Brihad.  Aran.  Up. 

These  problems  will  be  those  of  the  future  formal  philoso- 
phy. Even  the  Upanishads  do  not  furnish  a  philosophy  alto- 
gether 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.  p  urns  ha  as 
identical  with  ego,  are  older  even  than  the  Brahmanas  (Scher- 
man,  loc.  cit.  p.  62). 

It  is  not  a  new  philosophy,  it  is  a  new  religion  that  the 
Upanishads  offer.^  This  is  no  religion  of  rites  and  ceremonies, 
although  the  cult  is  retained  as  helpful  in  disciplining  and  teach- 
ing ;  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, 

1  The  fact  remarked  by  Thibaut  that  radically  different  systems  o£  philosophy  are 
built  upon  the  Upanishads  is  enough  to  show  how  ambiguous  are  the  declarations  of 
the  latter. 

2  Compare  Earth,  Religions,  p.  76. 


who  has  many  forms,  who  embraces  everything,  the  Blessed 
Lord — one  attains  to  peace  without  end"  {Cvet.  4.  14-15). 
These  teachers,  who  enjoin  the  highest  morality  ('  self-restraint, 
generosity,  and  mercy '  are  God's  commandments  in  Brihad 
Aran.  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  convic- 
tion that  they  will  find  a  joy  greater  than  that  of  heaven,  and 
more  enduring,  in  that  world  where  is  "  the  light  beyond  the 
darkness  "  i^Qvet.  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"  {Mimd.  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 
Chandogya  (7.  i.  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  Iga,  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  brahvia,  whence  speech  with  mind  turns  away  with- 
out apprehending  it,  fears  not"  {Tditt.  2.  4);  for  "fear  comes 
only  from  a  second"  {Brihad  Aran.  Up.  i.  4.  2),  and  when  one 
recognizes  that  all  is  one  he  no  longer  fears  death  (ib.  4.  4. 


Such  is  the  religion  of  these  teachers.  In  the  quiet  assump- 
tion that  life  is  not  worth  living,  they  are  as  pessimistic  as  was 
Buddha.  But  if,  as  seems  to  be  the  case,  the  Buddhist  be- 
lieved 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  '  heave'n-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  con- 
quered 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. 



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  pre- 
sumed, 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  neces- 
sary 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  else- 
where, 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  v.'as 
accompanied,  as  is  attested  by  the  Atharva  Veda,  with  a  demon- 
ology  and  witch-craft  religion,  the  latter  presumably  of  high 
antiquity.  Immediately  after  this  come  the  esoteric  Brahmanas, 
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  prom- 
inence, 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  wis- 
dom, not  to  be  revealed.  But,  for  the  most  part,  this  wisdom 
is  really  nonsense;  and  when  it  is  said  in  the  Brahmanas,  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  intellec- 
tually 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 
role  of  instructors  of  priests,  namely,  women,  kings,  and  mem- 
bers of  the  third  caste,  whose  deeper  wisdom  is  promulgated 
oftentimes  as  something  quite  new,  and  sometimes  is  whis- 
pered in  secret.  Pantheism,  samsara^  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  dis- 
integrated by  the  newer  worship  of  sectaries.  Here  the  imper- 
sonal atma,  or  nameless  Lord,  is  not  only  an  anthropomorphic 
Qiva,  as  in  the  late  Upanishads,  where  the  philosophic  brahma 
is  equated  with  a  long  recognized  type  of  divinity,  but  atma  is 
identified  with  the  figure  of  a  tlieomorphic  man. 

1  Literally,  transmigration,  the  doctrine  of  metempsychosis,  successive  births ; 
first,  as  in  Plato :  ^rajSoX^  rts  rv^x^^^^  odaa  Kal  fieroiKTjtTLS  ry  ^'VXV  "^ov  T^Trou 
ToO  iv6h5e  els  AWov  Tb-rov ;  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  hell-doctrine. 


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  beenToo^much  ignored.  The 
religion  of  Upanishad  and  Vedanta,  with  its  attractive  analo- 
gies 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  escha- 
tological  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  an3  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  Brahmanas,  can 
never  be  known.  Some  of  these  rites  have  to  do  with  special 
ceremonies,  such  as  the  royal  inauguration,  some  are  stated 
w»za-sacrifices.^  Opposed  to  these  j-^wa-feasts  is  the  simpler 
and  older  fire-cult,  which  persists  in  the  house-rituals.  All  of 
these  together  make   up   a  sightly  array  of  sacriiices.^     The 

1  Weber  has  lately  published  two  monographs  on  the  sacrifices,  the  Rajasuya  and 
the  Vajapeya  rites,  both  full  of  interesting  details  and  popular  features. 

2  The  traditional  sacrifices  are  twenty-one  in  number,  divided  into  three  classes^ 
of  seven  each.  The  formal  divisions  are  (i)  oblations  of  butter,  milk,  corn,  etc. ; 
(2)  soma  sacrifices;  (3)  animal  sacrifices,  regarded  as  part  of  the  first   two.     The 


soma-x\yM2X  is  developed  in  the  Brahmanas.  But  with  this 
class  of  works  there  must  have  been  from  ancient  times  an- 
other which  treated  of  the  fire-ritual,  and  of  which  the  more ' 
modern  representatives  are  the  extant  Sutras.  It  is  with 
Sutras  that  legal  literature  begins,  but  these  differ  from  the 
ritualistic  Sutras.  Yet  both  are  full  of  religious  meat.  In 
these  collections,  even  in  the  more  special,  there  is  no  arrange- 
ment that  corresponds  to  western  ideas  of  order.  In  a  com- 
pleted code,  for  example,  there  is  a  rough  distribution  of 
subjects  under  different  heads,  but  the  attempt  is  only  tenta- 
tive, 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  Cruti,  revela- 
tion-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,  accord- 
ing to  the  house-ritual  {grhya-siltra)  and  the  law-ritual  {dharma- 
sutra,  and  dhanna-^astra)^  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 

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. 
1  The  latter  are  the  metrical  codes,  a  part  of  Smriti  (smrti). 


season,  a  sacrifice.  Religious  formulae  were  said  over  the 
child  yet  unborn.  From  the  moment  of  birth  he  was  sur- 
rounded with  observances.-'  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  accord- 
ing 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 

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 

1  The  Five  Paramount  Sacrifices  (Observances)  are,  according  to  Manu  iii.  70, 
study  of  the  Veda  (or  teaching  it) ;  sacrifice  to  tlie  Manes  and  to  the  gods ;  offerings 
of  foods  to  ghosts  (or  spirits) ;  and  hospitality. 

2  In  the  report  of  the  Or.  Congress  for  1880,  p.  158  ff.,  WilHams  has  a  very  inter- 
esting account  of  the  daily  rites  of  the  modern  orthodox  Hindu  ('  Rig  Veda  in  Reli- 
gious Service^). 


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  opposi- 
tion. 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 
atvia  religion  of  the  Upanishads,'  and  the  Brahmanas  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  (sam- 
sdra)  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  Sutras,  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  unaiiected 


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-'  succeeded  poly- 
theism in  India,  he  must  qualify  the  assertion.  The  philos- 
ophers 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  im- 
parted to  his  peers,  when  he  dealt  with  tlie  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  jjractically  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. 

1  We  ignore  here  the  later  distinction  between  the  Vedanta  andSankhya  systems. 
Properly  speaking,  the  latter  is  dualistic. 


It  is  thus  that  the  apparent  inconsistency  in  exoteric  and 
esoteric  beliefs  explains  itself.  For  the  two  are  not  contra- 
dictory. They  do  not  exclude  each  other.  Hindu  pantheism 
includes  polytheism  with  its  attendant  patrolatry,  demonology, 
and  consequent  ritualism.^ 

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;  Brahma^  sits  aloft,  indulgently  advising 
his  children,  as  he  does  in  the  intermediate  stage  of  the 
Brahmanas  ;  and  ati7%a  (brahma)  too  is  recognized  to  be  the 
real  being  of  Brahma,  as  in  the  Upanishads.'  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  Brahma  among  the  other  gods.* 

1  At  a  later  date  Buddha  himself  is  admitted  into  the  Brahmanic  pantheon  as  an 
avatar  of  the  All-god  ! 

2  Sometimes  regarded  as  one  with  Prajapati,  and  sometimes  treated  as  distinct 
from  him. 

3  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  Brahma. 

4  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). 


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  trfith  reaches  the  worlds  where  all  is  plenty  .  .  . 
such  testimony  is  honored  by  Brahma.  One  who  in  testifying 
speaks  an  untruth  is,  all  unwilling,  bound  fast  by  the  cords  of 
Varuna,^  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  tliat  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  Alanes,  of  course, 
imply  always  the  belief  in  the  individual  activity  of  dead 
ancestors.      Such    expressions    as    '  The    seven    daughters    of 

1  Compare  Manu,  ix.  245  :  "  Varuna  is  the  lord  of  punishment  and  holdeth  a 
sceptre  (punishment)  even  over  Idngs." 


Varuna'  {sapta  varunlr  imds,  Agv.  Grih.  S.  2.  3.  3)  show  that 
even  in  detail  the  old  views  are  still  retained.  There  is  no 
advance,  except  in  superstitions,'  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,'  kapala,  but 
call  it  bhagala,  '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  (Jb.  12;  Par. 
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  Brahmanas.  In  the  Sutra 
period  offerings  are  made  to  snakes  of  earth,  air,  and  heaven; 
the  serpents  are  '  satiated '  along  with  gods,  plants,  demons, 
etc.  (Cankh.  4.  9.  3;  15.  4;  Kqv.  2.  i.  9;  3.  4.  i;  Parask.  2. 
14.  9)  and  blood  is  poured  out  to  them  (Agv.  4.  8.  27).^  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  Khad.  i.  5.  31  the  love- 
god  Kama,  of  the  Atharvan;  while  on  the  other  hand  Rudra  the 
beast-lord  (Pagupati,  Lord  of  Cattle),  the  'kindly'  Qiva,  appears 
as  'great  god,'  whose  namfes  are  Qankara,  Prishataka,  Bhava, 
Qarva,  Ugra,  Igana  (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 '  (Agv.  2.  2,2;  4.  8.  9,  19,''  29,  32 ;  Ait. 
jgr.  3.  34).  On  the  other  hand  Vishnu  is  also  adored,  arid 
that  in  connection  with  the  Aoyos,  or  Vac  {ib.  3.  3.  4).  Quite 
in  Upanishad  manner  —  for  it  is  necessary  to  show  that  these 

1  In  new  rites,  for  instance.  Thus  in  Parask.  Grih.  5.  3.  7  a  silly  and  dirty  rite 
'  prevents  a  slave  from  running  away ' ;  and  there  is  an  ordeal  for  girls  before  becom- 
ing engaged  (below). 

■!■  Blood  is  poured  out  tD  the  demons  in  order  that  they  may  take  this  arfd  no 
other  part  of  the  sacrifice,  Ait.  Br.  11.  7.  i. 

3  Here,  4.  S.  19,  (Jiva's  names  are  Hara,  Mrida,  (Jarva,  (Jiva,  Bhava,  Mahadeva, 
Ugra,  Bhima,  Pacupati,  Rudra,  Qankara,  Jgana. 


were  then  really  known  —  is  the  formula  '  thou  art  a  student 
oiprana  (Breath,)  and  art  given  over  to  Ka '  {ib.  i.  20.  8.),  or 
'whom?'  In  Agvalayana  no  Upanishads  are  given  in  the 
list  of  literature,  which  includes  the  '  Eulogies  of  men,'  Itihasas, 
Puranas,  and  even  the  Mahabharata  (3.  3.  i ;  4.  4).  But  in 
I.  13.  I,  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.'  Something  of  the  sciolism  df  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'  (Par.  3.  i.  2);  and  many  of  the 
teachers  famous  in  the  Upanishads  are  now  revered  by  name 
like  gods  (Agv.  3.  4.  4,  etc.). 

On  turning  from  these  domestic  Sutras  to  the  legal  Sutras  it 
becomes  evident  that  the  pantheistic  doctrine  of  the  Upan- 
ishads, 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  samsara  the  accepted  doctrine,  but 
the  atma,  as  if  in  a  veritable  Upanishad,  is  the  object  of  relig- 
ious 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  Sutra-writers  Gautama  is  oldest,  and  perhaps 
is  pre-buddhistic.  Turning  to  his  work  one  notices  first  that  the 
Mimamsist  is  omitted  in  the  list  of  learned'men  (28.  49);^  but 
since  the  Upanishads  and  Vedanta  are  expressly  mentioned,  it 
is    evident   that   the    author    of  •  even    the    oldest    Sutra   was 

1  These  rites  are  described  in  6.  4.  24  of  the  Brihad  Aranyaka  Upanishad  which 
consists  both  of  metaphysics  and  of  ceremonial  rules. 

2  Especially  mentioned    in   the  later   Vasistha   (see  below) ;     on  mimdmsd  a 
branch  of  the  Vedanta  system  see  below. 


acquainted  with  whatever  then  corresponded  to  these  works.^ 
The  opposed  teaching  of  hell  versus  samsara  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  trutlj;  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 
Brahma'  (9.  74);  'one  enters  into  union  and  into  the  same 
world  with  Brahma'  (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  (depriva- 
tion 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  "  (asvargyani),  which  may  mean 
hell  or  the  deprivation  of  the  result  of  merit,  i.e.,  one  hundred 
years  will  be  deducted  from  his  hea!venly  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  Apastamba 

1  The  commentator  here  (19.  12,  cited  by  Biihler)  defines  Vedanta  as  the  part  of 
the  Aranyakas  which  are  not  Upanishads,  that  is,  apparently  as  a  local '  Veda-end ' 
(veda-anta),  though  this  meaning  is  not  admitted  by  some  scholars,  who  ^ill  see  in 
anta  only  the  meaning  'goal,  aim.' 


only  better  or  worse  re-births  are  promised  as  a  reward  for 
good  or  evil  (2.  5.  11.  lo-ii);  but  here  it  is  said:  "The  castes 
and  orders  that  remain  by  their  duty,  having  died,  having  en- 
joyed 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 
nihp-eyasani  in  26)  are  to  be  enjoyed  first,  and  a  good  birth 
afterwards,  and  by  implication  one  probablji  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,  tirthdni),  homes  of  saints,  cow-pens,  and 
altars."  Of  these  the  tlrthas  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.  i),  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- 
sutra^  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 

1  The  Rudra  (Civa)  invocation  at  26.  izff.  is  interpolated,  according  to  Biihler. 


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  :  d^poSt'criov  o/dkov  ov  <j>a(nv  etvai,  — 
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  sacra- 
ments (to  which  allusion  was  made  above),  have  been  re- 
counted, 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 
Brahma,  nor  into  the  heaven  of  Brahma.^  But  he  that  has 
(performed)  only  a  part  of  the  forty  sacraments  and  has  the 
eight  good  qualities  enters  into  union  with  Brahma,  and  into 
the  heaven  of  Brahma."  This  is  as  near  to  heresy  as  pre- 
buddhistic  Brahmanism  permitted  itself  to  come. 

In  the  later  legal  Sutra  of  the  northern  Vasistha''  occurs  a 
rule  which,  while  it  distinctly  explains  what  is  meant  by  liber- 
ality, 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.  i) 
'  destruction '  is  the  fate  of  the  sinner  that  lives  without  ob- 

1  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  Brahma  or  simply 
live  in  his  heaven  he  does  not  say. 

2  Gautama,  too,  is  probably  a  Northerner.  The  Siitra,  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  uni- 
formly to  a  special  teacher,  who  represents  the  carana,  as  has  been  shown  by  Miiller. 
For  what  is  known  in  regard  to  the  .early  '  Sutra-makers '  see  Biihler's  Introductions 
to  volumes  ii.  and  xiv.  of  the  Sacred  Books. 


servance  of  good  custom ;  yet  is  it  said  in  the  same  chapt 
(27):  "  If  a  twice-born  man  dies  with  the  food  of  a  Qudra  (lowe 
caste)  in  his  belly,  he  would  become  a  village  pig,  or  he 
born  again  in  that  (^udra's)  family";  and,  in  respect  to  soi 
begotten  when  he  has  in  him  such  food  :  "  Of  whom  the  foo 
of  him  are  these  sons ;  and  he  himself  would  not  mount 
heaven  ...  he  does  not  find  the  upward  path  "  (29,  28).  1 
ib.  8.  17  the  Brahman  that  observes  all  the  rules  '  does  not  fa 
from  brahmaloka'  i.e.,  the  locality  of  Brahma.  Further,  : 
10.  4  :  "Let  (an  ascetic)  do  away  with  all  (sacrificial)  work; 
but  let  him  not  do  away  with  one  thing,  the  Veda  ;  for  fro: 
doing  away  with  the  Veda  (one  becomes)  a  Cudra."  But,  i 
the  same  chapter  :  "  Let  (the  ascetic)  live  at  the  end  of  a  vi 
lage,  in  a  temple  ('god's  house'),  in  a  deserted  house,  or  ; 
the  root  of  a  tree  ;  there  in  his  mind  studying  the  knowledg 
(of  the  atma)  ...  so  they  cite  (verses)  :  '  Sure  is  the  freedoi 
from  re-birth  in  the  case  of  one  that  lives  in  the  wood  wit 
passions  subdued  .  .  .  and  meditates  on  the  supreme  spiril 
.  .  .  Let  him  not  be  confined  to  any  custom  .  .  .  and  in  regar 
to  this  (freedom  from  wordly  pursuits)  they  cite  these  verses 
'  There  is  no  salvation  (literally  '  rslease ')  for  a  philologist  {ti 
(abdafastrabhiratasya  mokshas),  nor  for  one  that  delights  i 
catching  (men)  in  the  world,  nor  for  one  addicted  to  food  an 
dress,  nor  for  one  pleased  with  a  fine  house.  By  means  c 
prodigies,  omens,  astrology,  palmistry,  teaching,  and  talkir 
let  him  not  seek  alms  ...  he  best  knows  salvation  who  (care 
for  naught) '  .  .  .  (such  are  the  verses).  Let  him  neither  han 
nor  do  good  to  anything.  .  .  Avoidance  of  disagreeable  coi 
duct,  jealousy,  presumption,  selfishness,  lack  of  belief,  lack  c 
uprightness,  self-praise,  blame  of  others,  harm,  greed,  distrai 
tion,  wrath,  and  envy,  is  a  rule  that  applies  to  all  the  stadia  ( 
life.  The  Brahman  that  is  pure,  and  wears  the  girdle,  an 
carries  the  gourd  in  his  hand,  and  avoids  the  food  of  low  caste 
fails  not  of  obtaining  the  world  of  Brahma  "  {ib.  10.  i8ff.).Yam; 


the  Manes,  and  evil  spirits  (asuras)  are  referred  to  in  the  fol- 
lowing 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  samsara;  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  (ir.  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  Apastamba,  who  mentions  the  Purva-mi- 
mamsa,  Vasistha,  too,  knows  the  Vedanta  (3.  17),  and  the 
Mimamsa   {jiikalpin^tarkin,  3.   20,   M.  xii.    in 

From  the  Sutras  of  Baudhayana's  probably  southern  school 
something  of  additional  interest  is  to  be  gained.  Here  '  dark- 
ness' 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  (i.  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  Sutra 
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/  and  agrees  with  the  data  found  in  the  Brahmanas,  where 
the  pre-buddhistic  monk  is  called  Bhikshu,  'beggar,'  or  Sannyasin 
'he  that  renounces,'  just  as  these  terms  are  employed  in  the  he- 
retical writings.  As  among  the  Jains  (and  Buddhists),  the  Brah- 
manic  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  ordi- 
narily this  may  be  done  only  after  passing  through  the  house- 
holder stadium.  On  becoming  an  ascetic  the  beggar  takes  the 
vow  not  to  injure  any  living  thing  (Baudh.  ii.  lo.  17.  2.  n,  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.^  To  this  ascetic  order  in 
the  Brahman  priesthood  may  be  traced  the  origin  of  the 
heretical  monks.  Even  in  the  Brahmanas  occur  the  termini 
technici  of  the  Buddhist  priesthood,  notably  the  ^rainana  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  (Apastamba,  2.  9.  21.  i,  2). 

According  to  this  later  legal  writer,  who  belongs  to  Southern 
India/  it  is  only  after  one  has  passed  through  all  the  preceding 

1  Compare  Biililer's  Introduction,  p.  xxxv.  SEE.  vol.  xiv. 

2  Baudh.  ii.  iS.  2-3.     Compare  Jacobi's  Introduction,  p.  xxiiiff.  of  SEE.  vol.  xxii. 

3  Eiihler  (Introduction,  p.  xxxi)  gives  as  the  district  of  the  Apastambiya  school 
parts  of  the  Bombay  Presidency,  the  greater  parts  of  the  Nizam's  possessions,  and  parts 
of  the  .Madras  Presidency.  Apastamba  himself  refers  to  Northerners  as  if  they  were 
foreigners  {loc.  cit.). 


Stadia  that  he  may  give  up  works  (sacrifice,  etc.)  and  devote 
himself  to  seeking  the  ai'»za, 'wandering  about,  without  caring  for 
earth  or  heaven,  renouncing  truth  and  falsehood,  pleasure  and 
pain'  (ib.  lo,  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  knowl- 
edge (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  £f.)_,  verses  from  a  Purana  are 
cited  which  are  virtually  Upanishadic  :  '  The  eight  and  eighty 
thousand  seers  who  desired  offspring  (went)  south  on  Arya- 
man'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  immor- 
tality,' that  is  to  say  '  abandon  desire  for  offspring;  and  of  the 
two  paths  (which,  as  the  commentator  observes,  are  mentioned 
in  the  Chandogya  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  Sutra  against  the  sup- 
position 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  (/i5.  8-11).  The  next  chapter,  how- 
ever, limits,  as  it  were,  this  dogma,  for  it  is  stated  that  ifnmor- 
tality  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  de- 
struction of  creation'  (a  bhutasamplavai,  2.  9.  24.  5).  But 
'  according  to  the  Bhavishyat-Purana '  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  neces- 
sity of  following  in  order  the  traditional  stadia  of  a  priest's 
life;  that  imagine  that  by  becoming  ascetjcs  without  first 
having  passed  through  the  preliminary  stadia  they  can  by 
knowledge  alone  attain  the  bliss  that  is  obtained  by  union  with 
brahma  (or  Brahma).  In  other  words  the  jurist  has  to  con- 
tend 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  evd^nyat,  "  only  the  body 
is  different"  '{ib.  2).  As  to  cosmogony  it  is  stated  to  be  (not 
the  emanation  of  an  atma)  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  "  (Jb.  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. "^  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,  histor- 
ically, the  most  satisfactory  (as  it  is  philosophically  unsatis- 
factory) 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  Apastamba,  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  il>.  2.  5.  11. 
lo-ii:  "Men  of  low  castes  are  reborn  in  higher  castes  in  suc- 
cessive 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  (i.  8.  22£[.):  ."Let  one 
(as  penance  for  sin)  devote  himself  to  the  Yoga  (mental  disci- 
pline) which  has  to  do  with  the  highest  atma.  .  .  .  Nothing 
is  known  higher  than  the  acquisition  of  atma.     We  shall  (now) 

1  In  India  the  latter  question  is:  does  the  soul  immediately  at  death  unite  with 
the  atma  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. 


cite  some  a/^za-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  them- 
selves 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  {atma  as 
Lord),  and  always  lives  accordingly  ;  that  by  virtue  of  Yoga 
recognizes  Him,  the  subtile  one,  shall  rejoice  in  the  top  of 
heaven.  .  .  .  He,  atmd,  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  Ever- 
lasting, 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  dtma^  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,  in- 
jury, 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  practi.ces  Yoga  ;  and  acts  in  an  Aryan  (noble)  way ;  and 
does  not  hurt  anything ;  and  has  contentment  —  qualities 
which,  it  is  agreed,  appertain  to  all  the  (four)  stadia  —  he 
becomes  sdrvagdmin"  [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,' ^ 
will  give  in  epitome  the  popular  religion  as  taught  to  the 
masses  ;  withal  even  better  than  this  is  taught  in  the  Sutras. 
For  Father  Manu's  law-book,  as  the  Hindus  call  it,  is  a 
popular  Qastra  or  metrical^  composite  of  law  and  religion,  which 
reflects  the  opinion  of  Brahmanism  in  its  geographical  strong- 
hold, whereas  the  Sutras  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 
Sutras,  but  the  content  is  such  as  to  show  that  formal  Brah- 
manism 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  phil- 
osopher to  the  more  general  teaching.  In  this  popular  religion 
all  morality  is  conditioned  by  the  castes,^  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 

1  Thought  by  some  scholars  to  have  been  developed  out  of  the  code  of  the 
Manavas ;  but  ascribed  by  the  Hindus  to  Father  Manu,  as  are  many  other  verses  of 
legal  character  contained  in  the  epic  and  elsewhere. 

2  Although  Sutras  may  be  metrical  too  in  part,  yet  is  the  complete  metrical  form, 
as  in  the  case  of  still  later  (Jastra,  evidence  that  the  work  is  intended  for  the  general 

8  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. 


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.^  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  ob- 
servance for  each  of  the  four  stadia  of  a  priest's  life.^  There 
is  no  hint  in  any  of  this  of  the  importance  of  the  knowledge  of 
the  atma.  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 
Brahma  {brahmci)  by  union  of  ceremonies  and  knowledge  is  in- 
culcated. The  ascetic  should  seek,  by  meditation,  to  go  to 
Brahma  (or  braJimd)  for  when  he  is  utterly  indifferent,  then,  both 
here  and  after  death,  he  gains  everlasting  happiness.  There- 
fore he  should  study  the  Vedas,  but  especially  the  teachings  in 
regard  to  the  Supreme  Spirit,  and  the  Upanishads  ;  studying 
the  Vedanta  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,  atma,  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  Brahma  (or  brahma)."     "The  spirit  (or  self)  is  all 

1  Weber  has  shown,  loc.  cit.,  that  the  Qudras  did  attend  some  of  the  more  popular 
ceremonies,  and  at  first  apparently  even  took  a  part  in  them. 

2  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. 


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  philo- 
sophical views  of  the  Manu  code.  Even  his  commentators 
are  uncertain  whether  he  belonged  to  the  pantheistic  Vedanta 
or  dualistic  Sankhya  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/wa-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  atma.  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  ambig- 
uous form  (xii.  85-6):  "Amid  all  these  acts  the  knowledge 
of  self,  atma,  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  phi- 
losopher indeed.  But  at  the  same  time  he  gives  as  a  sort  of 
peroration  to  his  treatise  some  '  elegant  extracts  '  from  philo- 
sophical works,  which  he  believes  theoretically,  although  prac- 
tically 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  philos- 
ophy. 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  scrip- 
tures 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  unfortu- 
nately 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,  altfiough  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)'  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  Qudra  (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,  Burn- 
ing, Place  of  Spikes,  Frying-pan,  River  of  Hell,  etc.,  etc.,  etc.). 
Let  him   never   despise  a  warrior,  a  snake,  or  a  priest.     Let 

1  Theoretically,  twenty-one ;  but  an  extra  one  has  slipped  in  by  mistake. 


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  Brahma  {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  com- 
panions ;  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  etherial  body.  A  priest  tha.t  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  ordi- 
nary 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  be- 
comes in  turn  a  dog,  a  pig,  an  ass,  a  camel,  a  cow,  a  goat,  a 
sheep,  etc.,  etc.  A  priest  that  drinks  intoxicating  liquor  be- 
comes 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  unquench- 
able 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  perform- 
ance of  Vedic  ceremonies  is  the  most  productive  of  happi- 
ness here  and  hereafter.  The  Ten  Commandments  for  the 
twice-born  aYe  :  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  follpwing  :  '  Manu  declared  the  con- 
densed 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,  some- 
times 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 


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  pre- 
cluded 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  (A9VI.  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  incli- 
nation) 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.^    In  village-life  the  bride- 

1  The  girl  is  given  or  bought,  or  may  make  her  own  choice  among  different 
suitors.  Buying  a  wife  is  reprehended  by  tlie  early  law-givers  (therefore,  customary). 
The  rite  of  marriage  presupposes  a  grown  girl,  but  child-marriages  also  were  known 
to  the  early  law. 


groom  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  offer- 
ing grain  in  the  fire,  and  the  groom  repeating  more  Vedic 
verses.  They  then  take  together  the  seven  solemn  steps  (with 
verses),^  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  of  the  Rig  Veda  (x.  18)  with  the  later  ritual, 
and  a  criticism  of  the  bearing  of  the  latter  on  the  former.^ 
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, 

1  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.' 

2  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. 


therefore,  forces  the  hymn  into  its  service,  and  makes  it  a  cre- 
mation-hymn. This  is  a  very  good  (though  very  extreme)  ex- 
ample of  the  difference  in  age  between  the  early  hymns  of  the 
Rig  Veda  and  the  more  modern  ritual.  Miiller,  ib.  ix.  p.  I  (sic), 
has  given  a  thorough  account  of  the  later  ritual  and  ritualistic 
paraphernalia.  We  confine  ourselves  here  to  the  older  cere- 

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  to-day  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  with- 
out 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'  (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 

1  See  below. 


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  Ya'ma  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."^  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,  cre- 
mation, collection  of  ashes,  expiation.  How  are  these  to  be 
reconciled  with  this  hymn  ?  Very  simply.  The  rite  is  de- 
scribed 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 

1  Compare  Weber,  Streifen,  1. 66  ;  The  king's  first  wife  lies  with  a  dead  victim,  and 
is  bid  to  come  back  again  to  Ufe.  Levi  rate  marriage  is  known  to  all  the  codes,  but 
it  is  reprehended  by  the  same  code  that  enjoins  it.     (M.  ix.  65.) 


living."  Then  follows  the  removal  of  the  bow  ;  or  the  break- 
ing 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,  Dearth."  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  modern- 
ness  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,  how- 
ever, 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,  consider- 
ing 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. 

ORDEALS.  275 


Fire  and  water  are  the  means  employed  in  India  to  test 
guilt  in  the  earlier  period.  Then  comes  the  oath  with  judg- 
ment 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 :  (i)  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  Indie  practice,  but  not  by  ancient  law.  In  Greece 
there  is  thfe  simple  /xu'Spovs  aipetv  xepoTi'  (Ant.  264)  to  be  com- 
pared. The  German  sealing  of  the  hand  is  not  reported  till 
the  ninth  century.^ 

(2)  Walking  on  Fire :  There  is  no  Ordeal  in  India  to  corre- 
spond to  the  Teutonic  walking  over  six,  nine,  or  twelve  hot 
ploughshares.     To  lick  a  hot  ploughshare,  to  sit  on  or  handle 

1  The  ordeal  is  called  divyam  {pramanani)  '  Gottesurtheil.'  This  means  of  in- 
formation 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  (Yaj.  ii.  98). 

2  Kaegi,  Alter  und  HerHtnfi  dcs  Gervianischcn  Goitesttriheils,  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. 


hot  iron,  and  to  take  a  short  walk  over  coals  is  late  Indie. 
The  German  practice  also  according  to  Schlagintweit  "  war 
erst  in  spaterer  Zeit  aufgekommen."  ' 

(3)  Walking  through  Fire:  This  is  a  Teutonic  ordeal,  and 
(like  the  conflict-ordeal)  an  Indie  custom  not  formally  legalized. 
The  accused  walks  directly  into  the  fire.  So  irvp  SiepTrcLv  (loc, 

Water-ordeals:  (i)  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  (Indie  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  east  into  water.  If 
he  floats  he  is  guilty;  if  he  drowns  he  is  innocent.  According 
to  some  Indie  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."  ^  According  to  Kaegi  this  ordeal 
would  appear  to  be  unknown  in  Europe  before  the  ninth  cen- 
tury. In  both  countries  Water  (in  India,  Varuna)  is  invoked 
not  to  keep  the  body  of  a  guilty  man  but  to  reject  it  (make  it 

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 

1  Schlagintweit,  Die  Gotiesurtheile  der  Indier,  p.  24. 

2  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). 

ORDEALS.  277 

Teutonic  test,  but  it  is  to  be  observed  that  tlie  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  zi!/--Aryan.  This  we  do  not  believe. 
But  before  stating  our  objections  we  must  mention  another 

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.  loS).-' 

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 
Sutras  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.^ 

1  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. 

2  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  Chandogya  Upanishad  (Schlagintweit,  Die  Gotiesuriheile 
dcr  Indier^  p.  6). 


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  con- 
secrated food,  the  hot-water  test,  the  licking  of  the  plough- 
share, and  the  lot).  Some  of  these  later  forms  have  already 
been  described.  The  further  later  tests  we  will  now  sketch 

Poison :  The  earliest  poison-test,  in  the  code  of  Yajnavalkya 
(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  ^  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  Indie  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  primi- 
tive Aryan,  and  that  all  else  (including  ordeal  by  conflict)  is  of 
secondary  growth  among  the  different  nations. 

As  an  offset  to  the  later  Indie  tendency  to  lighten  the  sever- 
ity of  the  ordeal  may  be  mentioned  the  description  of  the 
floating-test  as  seen   by  a  Chinese  traveller   in   India  in  the 

1  Yajnavalkya  {loc.  cit^  restricts  this  test  to  women,  cliildren,  priests,  tlie  old, 
blind,  lame,  and  sick.     On  phdla  for  agni,  idA\.  gg,  see  ZDMG.  ix.  byy. 

ORDEALS.  279 

seventh  century  a.d.  :  ^  "  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." 

1  Schlagintweit,  loc.  cii.  p.  26  (Hiouen  Thsang). 



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  uni^ 
versal  Lord,  but  even  in  the  oldest  of  these  works  the  atmos- 
phere, 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  oijiva,  the 

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  (*  ven- 
erable'), Mahavira  ('great  hero'),  Buddha,  etc.  One  of  these  titles  was  used,  how- 
ever, as  a  title  of  honor  by  the  Jains,  but  to  designate  heretics  by  the  Buddhists,  viz., 
Tirthakara,  'prophet'  (see  Jacobi,  SBE.  xxii.  Introd.  p.  xx). 

JAINISM.  281 

individual  spirit,  and  atma,  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  com- 
munion of  devotees.^ 

The  external  characteristics  of  Upanishad  thought  are  those 
of  a  religion  that  has  replaced  formal  acts  by  formal  introspec- 
tion. The  Yogin  devotee,  who  by  mystic  communion  desires 
absorption  into  the  world-spirit,  replaces  the  Sannyasin  and 
Yati  ascetics,  who  would  accomplish  the  same  end  by  renunci- 
ation 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.^  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  dog- 
matic 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  Qatapatha  Brah- 
mana  and  the  schismatic  heresies,  was  full  of  religious  and 
philosophical  controversy.  The  great  heretics  were  not  inno-l 
vators  in  heresy.  The  Brahmans  permitted,  encouraged,  and' 
shared  in  theoretical  controversy.     There  was  nothing  in  the 

1  It  is  possible,  however,  on  the  other  hand,  that  both  Vishnuite  and  Qivaite  sects 
(or,  less  anglicized,  Vaishnavas,  Qaivas,  if  one  will  also  say  Vaidic  for  Vedic),  were 
formed  Ijefore  the  end  of  the  sixth  century  B.C.  Not  long  after  this  the  divinities 
Civa  and  Vishnu  receive  especial  honor. 

2  The  Beggar  ((Jramana,  Bhikshu),  the  Renunciator  (Sannyasin),  the  Ascetic 
(Yati),  are  Brahmanic  terms  as  well  as  sectarian. 


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  a'nd  Buddhism  owed  their  success 
(amid  other  rival  heresies  with  no  less  claim  to  good  protest- 
antism) 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  Mahavira 
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  Punjab.  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,  ngw  growth,  socially  and 
intellectually,  —  all  these  contributed  in  the  new  seat  of  Brah- 
manhood to  weaken  the  hold  of  the  priests  upon  their  specu- 
lative 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 

JAINISM.  283 

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,  Mahavira  Jfia- 
triputra/  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  assu- 
rance that  the  two  heresies  were  contemporaries  of  the  sixth 
century  B.C.,  and  leave  unanswered  the  question  which  Master 
preceded  the  othqr,  though  we  incline  to  the  opinion  that  the 
founder  of  Jainism,  be  he  Mahavira  or  his  own  reputed  master, 
Pargvanatha,  had  founded  his  sect  before  Gautama  became 
Buddha.  But  there  is  one  good  reason  for  treating  of  Jainism 
before  Buddhism,^  and  that  is,  that  the  former  represents  a 
theological  mean  between  Brahmanism  and  Buddhism. 

Mahavira,  the  reputed  founder  of  his  sect,  was,  like  Buddha 

1  The  three  great  reformers  of  this  period  are  Mahavira,  Buddha,  and  Gosala. 
The  last  was  first  a  pupil  and  then  a  rival  of  Mahavira.  The  latter's  nephew,  Jamali, 
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.  Gosala  appears 
to  have  had  quite  a  following,  and  his  sect  e.xisted  for  a  long  time,  but  now  it  is 
utterly  perished.  An  account  of  this  reformer  and  of  Jamali  will  be  found  in  Leu- 
mann's  essay,  Indische  Stiidien,  xvii.  p.  98  ff.  and  in  the  appendix  to  Rockhill's  Life 
of  Buddha. 

2  The  Nirgranthas  (Jains)  are  never  referred  to  by  the  Buddhists  as  being  a  new 
sect,  nor  is  their  reputed  founder,  Nataputta,  spoken  of  as  their  founder ;  whence 
Jacobi  plausibly  argues  that  their  real  founder  was  older  than  Mahavira,  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  Nataputta  (Jiiatri. 
piitra)  with  Mahavira  is  due  to  Biihler  and  Jacobi  (Kalpasutra,  Introd.  p.  6). 


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  Magadha.  His  family  name  was  Jiiatri- 
putra,  or,  in  his  own  Prakrit  (Ardhamagadhi)  dialect,  Nata- 
putta  ;  but  by  his  sect  he  was  entitled  the  Great  Hero,  Maha- 
vira ;  the  Conqueror,  Jina ;  the  Great  One,  Vardahmana,  etc. 
His  sect  was  that  of  the  Nirgranthas  (Nigganthas),  i.e.,  '  with- 
out 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 
Cvetambara  sects.  These  two  names  represent  the  two  present 
bodies  of  the  church,  one  body  being  the  Q^vetambaras,  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  Mahavira's  death ;  as  has  been  thought 
by  some,  because  the  ^vetambaras  refused  to  follow  the  Di- 
gambaras in  insisting  upon  nakedness  as  the  rule  for  ascetics.* 
The  earlier  writings  show  that  nakedness  was  recommended, 
but  was  not  compulsory.^  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  Luiicitakegas,  or  '  hair-pluckers.'     The  naked  devotees 

1  According  to  Jacobi,  ZDMG.  xxxvui.  1 7,  the  split  in  the  party  arose  in  this  way. 
About  350  B.C.  some  Jain  monks  under  the  leadership  of  Bhadrabahu  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  differenti- 
ating titles  of  sects  that  had  not  previously  separated  into  formal  divisions,  but  had 
drifted  apart  geographically. 

2  Compare  Jacobi,  loc.  cit.,  and  Leumann's  account  of  the  seven  sects  of  the  (^ve- 
tambaras  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  (Qvetambaras), 
and  «outh  (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. 

JAINISM.  285 

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.' 

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,^  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.  Al- 
though atheistic  the  Jain  worshipped  the  Teacher,  and  paid 
some  regfird  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  super- 
stition rather  the  growth  of  later  generations  than  the  original 
practice.  The  atheism  of  the  Jain  means  denial  of  a  divine 
creative  Spirit." 

1  Hemacandra's  Yogagastra,  edited  by  Windisch,  ZDMG.  xxviii.  1S5  ff.  (iii.  133). 
The  Jain's  iiate  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  Yogajastra  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  Qvetambaras. 

2  Die  Bharata-sage,  Leumann,  ZDMG.  xlviii.  p.  65.  See  also  above  in  the  Siitras. 
With  the  Jains  there  is  less  of  the  monastic  side  of  religion  than  with  the  Buddhists. 

3  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  Teacheis,  whose 


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  to-day  in  Jain 

In  metaphysics  as  in  reHgion  the  Jain  differs  radically  from 
the  Buddhist.  He  believes  in  a  dualism  not  unlike  that  of  the 
Sankhyas,  whereas  Buddhistic  philosophy  has  no  close  connec- 
tion 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  Nirvana,  as  Barth  has  said,  is  escape  from  the 
body,  not  escape  from  existence.^  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  Brah- 
manical  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  ^  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 

idols  are  v^^orshipped  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 ! 

1  The  Jain  sub-sects  did  not  differ  much  among  themselves  in  philosophical  spec- 
ulation.    Their  differences  were  rather  of  a  practical  sort. 

2  See  the  list  of  the  BerUn  MSS.;  Weber,  Berlin  MSS.  vol.  ii.  1892;  and  the 
thirty-third  volume  of  the  German  Oriental  Journal,  pp.  478,  693.  For  an  account  of 
the  literature  see  also  Jacobi's  introduction  to  the  SBE.  vol.  xxii;  and  Weber,  Ueber 
die  heiligcn  Schriftcn  der  Jaina  in  vols,  xvi,  xvii  of  the  Indischc  Stttdien  (translated 
by  Smyth  in  the  Indian  Antiquary) ;  and  the  Bibliography  (below). 

JAINISM.  287 

Buddhism.^  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  asceti- 
cism 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  Nirvana  of  release  rather  than 
of  annihilation,  nor  in  the  Sankhya-like  ^  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,'  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  rela- 
tion of  spirit  and  non-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  Agamas,  or  sacred  texts.  Right  prac- 
tices or  virtue  consists,  according  to  the  Yogagastra,  in  the 
correct  fivefold  conduct  of  one  that  has  knowledge  and  faith : 
(i)  Non-injury,  (2)  kindness  aftd  speaking  what  is  true  (in  so 
far  as  the  truth  is  pleasant  to  the  hearer),''  (3)  honorable  con- 
duct, 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 

i  A  case  of  connection  in  legends  between  Buddhist  and  Jain  is  mentioned  below. 
Another  is  the  history  of  Icing  PaSsi,  elaborated  in  Buddhistic  literature  (Tripitaka) 
and  in  the  second  Jain  Upanga  alike,  as  has  been  shown  by  Leumann. 

'^  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. 

3  Compare  Colebrooke's  Essays,  vol,  ii.  pp.  404,  444,  and  the  Yoga5astra  cited 
above.  ^  This  is  n9t  in  the  earlier  form  of  the  vow  (see  below). 


sacrifice,  and  for  this  reason  were  bitterly  taunted  by  the  Jains 
as  '  murderers.'  "  Viler  than  unbelievers,''  says  the  Yogagastra, 
quoting  a  law  of  Manu  to  the  effect  that  animals  may  be  slain 
for  sacrifice,  "  are  those  cruel  ones  who  make  the  law  that 
teaches  killing."  ^  For  this  reason  the  Jain  is  far  more  partic- 
ular 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,  logic- 
ally, should  not  be  allowed  to  influence  him  are  admitted,  how- 
ever, 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.^ 

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  num- 
ber of  thrice  seven  is  found '  (as  it  is  in  the  Markandeya 
Purana),  but  whether  this  be  the  rule  we  cannot  say.^  It  is 
interesting  to  see  that  hell  is  preserved  with  metempsychosis 
exactly  as   it  is    among   the   Brahraans.^      Reincarnation   on 

1  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  ani- 
mals (Gautama,  3.  31). 

2  Loc.  cit.  iii.  37-3S.  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.  8  x^oc.  cit.  ii.  27. 

4  The  pun  mamsa^  "  Me  eat  will  be  hereafter  whose  nteat  I  eat  in  this  life  "  (Lan- 
man),  shows  that  Jain  and  Brahman  believed  in  a  hell  where  the  injured  avenged 
themselves  (Manu,  v.  55  ;  HYQ.  iii.  26),  just  as  is  related  in  the  Bhrigu  story 

JAINISM.  289 

earth  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  imme- 
diate, 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 
Nirvana,  though,  of  course,  there  is  no  '  absorption,'  each  spirit 
remaining  single.  In  the  order  of  the  Ratnatraya  or  '  three 
gems  '  Cankara  appears  to  lay  the  greatest  weight  on  faith,  but 
in  Hemacandra's  schedule  knowledge  ^  holds  the  first  place. 
This  is  part  of  that  Yoga,  asceticism,  which  is  the  most  im- 
portant element  in  attaining  salvation.^ 

Another  division  of  right  practices  is  cited  by  the  Yogagastra 
(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  walk- 
ing, 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  obe- 
dience 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  Qastra  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  hymns,  and  then  read  the  Pratyakhyana 
(an  old  Purva,  gospel).^     Further  rules  of  prayer  and  practice 

1  By  intuition  or  instruction,  2  l^oc.  cit.  i.  15  ff. 

3  Loc.  cit.  iii.  1 21  ff.  Wilson,  Essays,  1. 3 19,  gives  a  description  of  the  simple  Jain  rituaL 


guide  him  through  his  day.  And  by  following  this  rule  he  ex- 
pects 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.  Prob- 
ably 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  infre- 
quently as  an  agent  of  gloriiication  of  Mahavira,  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 

The  religious  orders  of  the  Qlvetambara  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  Acaranga  Sutra,  or  book  of  usages  for  the  Jain  monk  and 
nun.     From  the  same  work  we  extract  a  few  rules  to  illustrate 

JAINISM.  291 

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  dis- 
abled 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  Nirvana,  and  so  may  kill  himself.  Of 
Nirvana  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,' jya^fz'i?;//;?,''  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  accept- 
able, 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. 

1  Who  says  "  may  be." 


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  (per- 
haps to  the  gods,  to  Indra,  Skanda,  Rudra,  Vishnu,^  or  the 
demons,  as  in  Acaranga  Sutra,  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,^  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  Jiiatriputra  (Mahavira),  it  is  said,  never  went  to 
shows,  pantomines,  boxing-matches,  and  the  like  ;  but,  remain- 
ing 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  re- 
proach 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).^     It 

1  Mukunda. 

2  This  '  keeping  vasso '  is  also  a  Brahmanic  custom,  as  Biihler  has  pointed  out. 
But  it  is  said  somewhere  that  at  that  season  the  roads  are  impassible,  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, 

3  In  the  lives  of  the  Jinas  it  is  said  that  Jiiatriputra's  (Nataputta's)  parents  wor- 
shipped the  'people's  favorite,'  Pargva,  and  were  followers  of  the  (Jramanas  (ascetics). 
In  the  same  work  (which  contains  nothing  further  for  our  purpose)  it  is  said  that 
ArhatSj  Cakravarts,  Baladevas,  and  Vasudevas,  present,  past,  and  future,  are  aristo- 
crats, born  in  noble  families.    The  heresies  and  sectaries  certainly  claim  as  much. 

JAINISM.  293 

is  sad  to  have  to  add,  however,  that  Mahavira  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  hor  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  concep- 
tion, from  conception  to  birth,  from  birth  to  death,  from  death 
to  hell,  from  hell  to  animal  existence,  '  and  he  who  knows  ani- 
mal 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  :  ^ 

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,^  in  mind,  speech, 
and  body. 

1  Acaranga  S.  ii.  15.  We  give  Jacobi's  translation,  as  in  the  verses  already  cited 
from  this  work. 

2  Acting,  commanding,  consenting,  past,  present,  or  future  (Jacobi). 


The  five  'clauses'  that  explain  this  vow  are:  (i)  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  aris- 
ing 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  sensu- 
ality (etc.). 

The  clauses  here  forbid  the  Niggantha  to  discuss  topics 
relating  to  women,  to  contemplate  the  forms  of  women,  jto 
recall  the  pleasures  and  amusements  he  used  to  have  with 
women,  to  eat  and  drink  too  highly  seasoned  viands,  to  lie 
near  women. 

JAINISM.  295 

The  Fifth  Vow :  I  renounce  all  attachments,  whether  little 
or  much,  small  or  great,  living  or  lifeless ;  neither  shall  I  my- 
self 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  com- 
parison 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  Mahavira  added  the  fifth  as  an  offset  to 
the  Brahmanical  vow  of  liberality.-'  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,''  who  mentions 
as  the  chief  Jain  stations  of  the  north  Delhi  (where  there  is  an 
annual  gathering),  Jeypur,  and  Ajmir.  To  these  Mathura  on 
the  Jumna  should  be  added.^  The  Qvetambaras  had  forty-five 
or  forty-six  Agamas,  eleven  or  twelve  Angas,  twelve  Upangas, 
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.* 

1  SBE.  xxii.  Introd.  p,  xxiv. 

2  JRAS.  XX.  279. 

3  See  Biihler,  the  last  volume  of  the  Bfigraphica  Indica,  and  his  other  articles  in 
the  WZKM.  V.  59,  175.  Jeypur,  according  to  WilUams,  is  the  stronghold  of  the 
Digambara  Jains.     Compare  Thomas,  JRAS.  ix.  155,  Early  Faith  of  A^oka. 

*  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  Siiiras,  pp.  xxxvii,  xliii). 

The  present  Angas  ('  divisions ')  were  preceded  by  Purvas,  of  which  there  are  said  to 

have  been  at  first  fourteen.    On  the  number  of  the  scriptures  see  Weber,  loc.  at. 


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  Stupas  or  Dagobas  (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,  ahimsa paramo  dharmas,'the: 
highest  law  of  duty  is  not  to  hurt  a  living  creature.'  ^ 

The  most  striking  absurdity  of  the  Jain  reverence  for  life  has 
frequently  been  commented  upon.  Almost  every  city  of  west- 
ern India,  where  they  are  found,  has  its  beast-hospital,  where 
animals  are  kept  and  fed.  An  amusing  account  of  such  an 
hospital,  called  Pinjra  Pol,  at  Saurarashtra,  Surat,  is  given  in 
the  first  nimaber  of  the  Journal  of  the  Royal  Asiatic  Society!^ 
Five  thousand  rats  were  supported  in  such  a  temple-hospital 
in  Kutch.' 

Of  all  the  great  religious  sects  of  India  that  of  Nataputta  is 
perhaps  the  least  interesting,  and  has  apparently  the  least  ex- 
cuse for  being.*  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 

1  Williams,  loc.  cit.  The  prayer-formula  is : '  Reverence  to  Arhats,  saints,  teachers, 
sul>teacher5,  and  all  good  men.' 

2  *  A  place  which  is  appropriated  for  the  reception  of  old,  worn-out^  lame,  or  dis- 
abled 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 

3  JRAS.  1S34,  p.  96.     The  town  was  taxed  to  provide  the  food  for  the  rats. 

*  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  '1:here  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. 

JAINISM.  297 

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  meta- 
physics 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. 



While  the  pantheistic  believer  proceeded  to  anthropomor- 
phize in  a  still  greater  degree  the  atma  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,  Brahma ;  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  Carvakas,  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.^  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  Brah- 
manism  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 

1  Compare  Colebrooke's  Essays,  vol.  ii.  460;  and  Muir,  OST.  iv.  296 


did  not  invent  tlie  order  of  monks.^  Tliere  is,  perhaps,  no 
person  in  history  in  regard  to  whom  have  arisen  so  many 
opinions  that  are  either  wholly  false  or  half  false. '^ 

We  shall  not  canvass  in  detail  views  that  would  be  mentioned 
only  to  be  rejected.  Even  the  brilliant  study  of  Senart,^  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  kid  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  ■*  has  taken  Senart 
seriously,  and  seriously  answered  him.  But  Napoleon  and 
Max  Miiller  have  each  been  treated  as  sun-myths,  and  Senart's 
essay  is  as  convincing  as  either /!?«  d^ esprit. 

In  Nepal,  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  Qakyas.  A  warrior  prince,  he  made  at  last 
exclusively  his  own  the  lofty  title  that  was  craved  by  many  of 
his  p3ers,  Buddha,  the  truly  wise,  the  'Awakened.' 

The  Qakyas'  land  extended  along  the  southern  border  of 
Nepal  and  the  northeast  part  of  Oude  (Oudh),  between  the 
Iravati  (Rapti)  river  on  the  west  and  south,  and  the  Rohini  on 
thi  east ;  the  district  which  lies  around  the  present  Gorakhpur, 
about  one  hundred  miles  north-northeast  of  Benares,  The 
p3rsonal  history  of  the  later  Buddha  is  interwoven  with  legend 
from  which  it  is  not  always  easy  to  disentangle  the  threads  of 
trutli.  In  the  accounts  preserved  in  regard  to  the  Master,  one 
has  first  to  distinguish  the  Pali  records  of  the  Southern 
Buddhists  from  the  Sanskrit  tales  of  the  Northerners ;  and 
again,  it  is  necessary  to  discriminate  between  the  earlier  and 

1  Compare  Oldenberg,  Buddha,  p.  155. 

2  Especially  Koppen  views  Buddha  as  a  democratic  reformer  and  liberator. 
8  Emile  Senart,  Essai  sur  la  legends  du  Buddha,    1875. 

i' Buddha  (18S1),  p.  73  ff. 


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  Encyclopaedia  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 
Qakya-land,  of  which  the  limits  have  just  been  specified,^  was 
rather  a  feudal  baron  or  head  of  a  small  clan,  than  an  actual 
king.  The  Q)akya  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 
Qakyas  were  noted  as  a  family  that  cared  little  to  honor  the 
Brahmanic  priests.  They  themselves  claimed  descent  from 
Ikshvaku,  the  ancient  seer-king,  son  of  Manu,  and  traditionally 
first  king  of   Ayodha   (Oude).     They  assumed  the    name  of 

1  The  exact  position  of  Kapilavastu,  the  capital  of  the  Qakyas,  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. 


Gautama,  one  of  the  Vedic  seers,  and  it  was  by  the  name  of 
'the  Ascetic  Gautama'  that  Buddha  was  known  to  his  contem- 
poraries ;  but  his  personal  name  was  Siddhartha  '  he  that 
succeeds  in  his  aim,'  prophetic  of  his  life  !  His  mother's 
name  Maya  (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  won- 
derful.' She  is  said  to  have  died  when  her  son  was  still  a  boy. 
The  boy  Siddhartha,  then,  was  a  warrior  rajput  by  birth,  and 
possibly  had  a  very  indifferent  training  in  Vedic  literature, 
since  he  is  never  spoken  of  as  Veda-wise.'  The  future  Buddha 
was  twenty-nine  when  he  resolved  to  renounce  the  world.  He 
was  already  married  and  had  a  son  (Rahula,  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  appre- 
ciation of  sorrow  by  seeing  loathy  examples  of  age,  sickness, 
and  death  presented  to  him  as  he  drove  abroad.  Despite  his 
father's  tears  atid  protests  Siddhartha,  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 

1  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  educated. 


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  uni- 
versal 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  dis- 
covering 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 

To  return   to  Gautama's  ^  life.     Legend  tells   how  he   fled 

1  Si^dhartha,  the  boy,  Gautama  by  his  family  cognomen,  the  Qakya-son  by  his 
clan-name,  was  known  also  as  the  ^akya-sage,  the  hermit,  Samana  (^ramana) ;  the 


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  fijied  on  one  point  loses 
all  else  from  its  horizon,  and  feels  no  drawing  aside  to  worldly 

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  Indie  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  particu- 
larly disregarded.  He  had  no  public  opinion  to  contend 
against  when  later  he  declared  that  Brahman  birth  and  Brah- 
man wisdom  had  no  value.     On   the   contrary,  he   spoke  to 

venerable,  Arhat  (a  general  title  of  perfected  saints);  Tathagata  *  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,  qravaka ;  a  mohk,  i/iikshti ;  a  perfected  saint, 
arhat;  a  saintly  doctor  of  the  law,  bodhisattva ;  etc. 


glad  hearers,  who  heard  repeated  loudly  now  as  a  religious 
truth  what  often  they  had  said  to  themselves  despitefully  in 

Gautama  journeyed  as  a  muni,  or  silent  ascetic  sage,  till 
after  seven  years  he  abandoned  his  teachers  (for  he  had  be- 
come a  disciple  of  professed  masters),  and  discontentedly 
wandered  about  in  Magadha  (Behar),  '  the  cradle  of  Buddhism,' 
till  he  came  to  Uruvela,  Bodhi  Gaya.'  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  beforg.  There- 
upon 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  ^  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  Mara  (Death),  '  the  Evil  One '  as  he  is  called  by 
the  Buddhists,  knowing  that  Buddha  had  fotind  the  way  of 
salvation,  tempted  him  to  enter  into  Nirvana  at  once,  lest  by 
converting  others  Buddha  should  rob  Mara  of  his  power  and 
dominion.  This  and  the  legend  of  storms  attacking  him  and 
his  being  protected  by  the  king  of  snakes,  Mucalinda,  is  lack- 
ing in  the  earlier  tradition. 

Buddha  remains  under  the  do-tree  fasting,  for  four  times 
seven  days,  or  seven  times  seven,  as  says  the  later  report.     At 

1  South  of  the  present  Patna.     Less  correct  is  the  Buddha  Gaya  form. 

2  The  famous  bo  or  Bodhi-tree,  ficus  religiosa,  fifpala,  at  Bodhi  Gaya,  said  to  be 
the  most  venerable  and  certainly  the  most  venerated  tree  in  the  world. 


first  he  resolves  to  be  a  'Buddha  for  himself,'*  that  is  to  save 
only  himself,  not  to  be  'the  universal  Buddha,'  who  converts 
and  saves  the  world.  But  the  God  Brahma  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.^ 

Here  is  to  be  noticed  with  what  suddenness  Gautama  be- 
comes 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,^  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  learn- 
ing 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, 

1  k  pacceka  Buddha  (Oldenberg,  Buddha^  p.  122). 

2  "  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." 

3  He  sometimes,  however,  quite  prosaically  '  makes '  or '  manufactures '  it. 


right  act,  right  life,  right  effort,  right  thinking,  right  medi- 

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 

--  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,^  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  decla- 
rations of  Buddha  does  one  find  the  tey-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 

1  Dhammacakkappavattana,  Rhys  Davids  in  his  introduction  to  this  suita  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, 

2  Hardy,  Manual,  p.  496. 


uttered  by  Gautama  Buddha:  ''He  that  has  performed  all  the 
forty  sacraments  and  has  not  the  eight  good  qualities  enters 
not  into  union  with  Brahma  nor  into  the  heaven  of  Brahma  ; 
but  he  that  has  performed  only  a  part  of  the  forty  sacraments 
and  has  the  eight  good  qualities,  enters  into  union  with 
Brahma  and  into  the  heaven  of  Brahma";  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  be- 
coming 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 
Nirvana  ;  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  conver- 
sion. It  is  '  the  rich  youth '  of  Benares  that  flock  about  him,^ 
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 

1  "  A  decided  predilection  for  the  aristocracy  appears  to  have  Hngered  as  an  heir- 
loom of  the  past  in  the  jolder  Buddhism,"  Oldenberg,  Bttddha^  p.  157. 


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  Gaya  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  Brah- 
mans 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  Behar  (Magadha),  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. ^ 

From  this  time  on  Buddha's  life  was  spent  in  wandering 
about  and  preaching  the  new  creed  mainly  to  the  people  of 
Bshar  and  Oude  (Kagi-Kosala,  the  realm  of  Benares-Oude), 
his  course  extending  from  the  (Iravati)  Rapti  river  in  the 
north  to  Rajagriha  (^gaha,  now  Rajgir)  south  of  Behar,  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 

Wherever  he  went  he  was  accompanied  with  a  considerable 
number  of  followers,   and  one  reads  of  pilgrims  from  distant 

1  Mahdvagga^  i.  24.     On  the  name  (Gautama)  Gotama,  see  Weber,  IS.  i.  180. 
"^  The  parks  of  Veluvana  and  Jetavana  were  especially  affected  by  Buddha.   Com- 
pare Oldenberg,  Buddha^  p.  145. 


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  ^ 
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 
"fbr  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  Qalcyas  "  —  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  Ananda, 
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 

1  Like  the  Jains  tlie  Buddhists  postulate  twehty-four  (five)  precedent  Buddhas. 


opened  and  swallowed  him  up.  He  appears  to  have  had  con- 
victions 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 

It  has  been  denied  that  the  early  church  contained  lay  mem- 
bers as  well  as  monks,  but  Oldenberg  appears  to  have  set  the 
matter  right  (p.  165)  in  showing  that  the  laity,  from  the  begin- 
ning, 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 ' 
(upasakd),  was  one  that  assented  to  the  doctrine  and  treated 
the  monks  kindly.  There  were,  at  first,  only  men  in  the  con- 
gregation, 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 
Ananda  asks  how  a  monk  should  act  in  presence  of  a  wonSan 
Buddha  says  '  avofd  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,  Ananda.'^ 

Buddha  died  in  the  fifth  century.  Rhys  Davids,  who  puts 
the  date  later  than  most  scholars,  gives,  as  the  time  of  the 
great  Nirvana,  the  second  decade  from  the  end  of  the  fourth 
century.  On  the  other  hand,  Biihler  and  Miiller  reckon  the 
year  as  477,  while  Oldenberg  says  'about  480.'^  From 
Buddha's  own  words,  as  reported  by  tradition,  he  was  eighty 

1  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. 

2  Or  '  take  care  of  yourself ' ;  Mahdparinibhdna^  v.  23. 

3  The  chief  Buddhistic  dates  are  given  by  Miiller  (introduction  to  Dhmmnafada, 
SEE.  vol.  X.)  as  follows  :  557,  Buddha's  birth;  477,  Buddha's  death  and  the  First 
Council  at  Rajagriha;  377,  the  Second  Council  at  Vai§aK;  259,  Agoka's  coronation  ; 
Z42,  Third  Council  at  Pataliputta ;  222,  Ajoka's  death.    These  dates  are  only  tenta- 


years  old  at  the  time  of  his  death,  and  if  one  alluts  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  proba- 
bly less  than  this,  however,  for  some  years  must  be  added  to 
the  first  seven  of  ascetic  practices  before  he  took  the  field  as  a 

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  (Pataliputta,  '  Palibothra '),  and  prophesied  its  future 
greatness  (it  was  the  chief  city  of  India  for  centuries  after); 
then,  going  north  from  Rajagriha,  in  Behar,  and  Vaigali,  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  unafEecting  is  the  final  scene.'' 

'Now  the  venerable  Ananda  (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  Ananda?"  "The  vener- 
able Ananda  (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 

tive,  but  they  give  the  time  nearly  enough  to  serve  as  a  guide.  From  the  Buddhists 
(Ceylon  account)  it  is  known  that  the  Council  at  Vai^ali  was  held  one  hundred  years 
after  Buddha's  death  (one  hundred  and  eighteen  years  before  the  coronation  of 
Agoka,  whose  grandfather,  Candragupta,  was  Alexander's  contemporary).  The  in- 
terval between  Nirvana  and  Agoka,  two  hundred  and  eighteen  years,  is  the  only  cer- 
tain date  according  to  Koppen,  p.  208,  and  despite  much  argument  since  he  wrote,  the 
remark  still  holds. 

'  Englished  by  Rhys  Davids,  Mahaparinibbana-sutia  (SBE.  xi.  95  ff.). 


now,  brother^  and  call  Ananda  in  my  name  and  say,  '  Brother 
Ananda,  thy  Master  calls  for  thee.' "  "  Even  so.  Lord,"  said 
that  brother,  and  he  went  up  to  where  Ananda  was,  and  said  to 
the  venerable  Ananda:  "Brother  Ananda,  thy  Master  calls  for 
thee."  "  It  is  well,  brother,"  said  the  venerable  Ananda,  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  vener- 
able Ananda,  as  he  sat  there  by  his  side :  "  Enough,  Ananda, 
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,  Ananda,  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  vener- 
able Ananda  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.  Ananda  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  disci- 
ples, '  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  re- 
proach 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 
Ananda  said:  "How  wonderful  a  thing.  Lord,  and  how  mar- 
vellous. 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,  Ananda.  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  ^  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  con- 
ditiong   of  Buddha's  home  were  in  part  responsible  for  the 

1  Ecdesiasies. 


pessimistic  tone  of  his  philosophy.  If  one  compare  the  geo- 
graphical 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  Behar),  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  prov- 
ince.(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  Sutras  (c.  300  B.C.)  is  one  brought  as  far  south 
as  Bombay  in  the  West.  The  Aitareya  Brahmana,  which 
represents  the  old  centre  of  Brahmanism  around  Delhi, 
knows  of  the  Andhras,  south  of  the  Godavari  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  hoiAe  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. ^  There  certainly  is  mental  weakness  in  the 
Brahmanas,  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  Bud- 
dhism lose  in  the  comparison  from  an  intellectual  point  of 
view  when  set  beside  the  mazy  gropings  of  the  Upanishads  ? 
A^'e  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  ttie  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  Upani- 
shad  philosophy  were  poets,  not  dialecticians.  Poetry  indeed 
waned  in  the  extreme  south,  and  no  spirited  or  powerful  litera- 
ture 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  Bud- 
dhism there  is  a  greater  intellectual'vigor  than  in  ariy  phase  of  j 

^  The  common  view  is  thus  expressed  by  Oldenberg:  "  In  dem  schwulen,  feuchten, 
von  der  Natur  mit  Reichthiimern  Uppig  gesegneten  Tropenlande  des  Ganges  hat  das 
\^olk,  das  in  frischer  Jugendkraft  steht,  als  es  vom  Norden  her  eindringt,  bald  aufge- 
hort  Jung  und  stark  zu  sein.  Menschen  und  Volker  reifen  in  jenem  Lande  .  .  • 
schnell  heran,  um  ebenso  schnell  an  Leib  und  Seele  zu  erschlaffen  "  {loc,  cii.'p.  ii). 


Brahmanism  (as  distinct  from  Vedism).  To  cast  off  not  only 
gods  but  soul,  and  more,  to  deny  the  moral  efficacy  of  asceti- 
cism, 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  con- 
cerns 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  apd  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-Tlisciples  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.^ 

These  laws  and  rules  were,  however,  as  we  have  indicated  in 

1  Rhys  Davids,  Buddhism,  pp.  i6o,  139. 


the  chapter  on  Jainism,  the  common  property,  with  some  unim- 
portant variations  and  exceptions,  of  the  Brahman  ascetic,  the 
Jain,  and  tlie  Buddhist.  There  was  surely  nothing  here  to 
rouse  especial  interest.  No.  But  there  was  one  side  of  Bud- 
dhism 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  prac- 
tically 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.  Mahavira  made  the  way  to  salvation 
shorter,  but  he  did  not  make  it  easier  ,for  the  masses.  Asceti- 
cism, self-mortification,  starvation,  torture,  —  this  was  hig 
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  peo- 
ple 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  in- 


suited  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  stand- 
ing 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  placeaad— leaking, 
deems  himself  for  this  a  sage.  The  Vedag^re  nothing,  the 
priests  are  of  no  account,  save  as  they  b^e  morally  of  repute. 
Again,  what  use  to  mortify  the  flesh  ?  Asceticism  is  of  no  1 
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  com- 
plete 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  Nirvana  (extinc- 
tion 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  accept-/ 
ing  the  undisputed  doctrine  of  karma  or  re-birth  in  its  full  ex- 
tent (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  accom- 
plish 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  1  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  be- 
coming 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  erected  his  compli- 
cated 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  -^  and  exoteric  Buddhism, 
but  practically  what  the  apostles  taught,  what  Buddha  himself 
taught  to  the  mass  of  his  hearers  was  a  release  from  the  bond- 
age 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  ^  sacrifice  is  liberality  "  he  says,  "  better  than  liberal- 
ity 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  Nirvana,  saying  "  I  shall  not  return 
again  to  earth."     This  is  to  be  an  Arhat  (Perfect  Sage). 

1  Buddha  taught,  of  course,  nothing  related  to  the  thaumaturgy  of  that  folly  which 
calls  itself  to-day  *  Esoteric  Buddhism.* 

2  That  is  a  sacrifice  where  no  cattle  are  slain,  and  no  injury  is  done  to  living 


These  are  Buddha's  own  words  as  he  spoke  with  a  Brahman 
priest,^  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  meta- 
physics. 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  under- 
stand, and  so  finally  to  leave  no  second  self  behind  to  suffer 
again,  this  is  Buddha's  doctrine. 

We  have  avoided  thus  far  to  define  Nirvana.  It  has  three 
distinct  meanings,  eternal  blissful  repose  (such  was  the  Nir- 
vana of  the  Jains  and  in  part  of  Buddhism),  extinction  and 
absolute  annihilation  (such  was  the  Nirvana  of  some  Bud- 
dhists), and  the  Nirvana  of  Buddha  himself.  Nirvana  meant 
to  Buddha  the  extinction  of  lust,  anger,  and  ignorance.  He 
adopted  the  terra,  he  did  not  invent  it.  He  was  often  ques- 
tioned, but  persistently  refused  to  say  whether  he  believed 
that  Nirvana  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  hesi- 
tated 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 

1  Kutada7ita-stUta,  Oldenberg,  Bitddha^  p.  175. 

322  THE  RELIGIONS   OF  INDIA.     > 

(after  death  or  not ;  or  whether  a  permanent  ego  exists.  It  is 
useless,  therefore,  to  inquire  whether  Buddha's  Nirvana  be  a 
completion,  as  Miiller  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  cer- 
tainly is  not  an  eternal  spirit,  such  as  was  the  spirit  of  Brah- 
manic  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  Nirvana.  The 
part  that  animates  the  material  complex  is  to  the  Buddhist  an 
individuality  which  depends  on  the  nature  of  its  former  com- 
plex, 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  Nirvana,  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 

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  Nirvana  may  come  even 
in  one's  own  lifetime  —  the  utter  surrender  of  one's  self  is 
Nirvana,^  while  the  act  of  dying  only  draws  the  curtain  after 

1  Sometimes  distinguished  itora  pari-nirvdna  as  absolute  annihilation. 


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.'  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.^  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 

1  Some  scholars  think  that  the  doctrine  of  Buddha  resembles  closely  that  of  the 
Sankhya  philosophy  (so  Barth,  p,  ii6),  but  Miiller,  Oldenberg,  and  others,  appear  to 
be  right  in  denying  this.  The  Sankhyan  '  spirit '  has,  for  instance,  nothing  correspond- 
ing to  it  in  Buddha's  system. 

2  The  twelve  Nidanas  are  dogmatic,  and  withal  not  very  logical.  "  From  ignorance 
arise  forms,  from  forms  arises  consciousness,  from  consciousness  arise  name  and  bodi- 
ness ;  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  Nidanas, 


began  to  preach,  shows  in  all  his  teachings  and  dealings  with 
men  an  enduring  patience  under  their  rebuffs,  a  brotherly  sym- 
pathy with  their  weakness,  and  a  divine  pity  for  their  sorrows. 
Something,  too,  of  divine  an^er  with  the  pettiness  and  mean- 
ness of  the  unworthy  ones  among  his  followers,  as  when,  after 
preaching  with  parable  and  exhortation  to  the  wrangling 
brothers  of  the  monastery  of  Kosambi,  he  left  them,  saying, 
"  '  Truly  these  fools  are  infatuate  ;  it  is  no  easy  task  to  admin- 
ister instruction  to  them,'  and,"  it  is  added  simply,  "  he  rose 
from  his  seat  and  went  away."  ■• 

.  The  significance  of  the  church  organization  in  the  develop- 
t  ment  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  power- 
ful 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  repre- 
sented 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  sec- 
ondary growth.  If  one  limit  their  national  and  political  impor- 
tance 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 

1  Mahavagga,  .\.  3  (SBE.  xvii.  306). 


the  reason  why  the  monasteries  became  popular,  and  what  was 
the  hbld  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  monas- 
teries, as  Barth  well  says,  were  only  assemblies  of  pious  njen 
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  wjiich 
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  men> 
bers  never  exceeded  the  bounds  of  the  caste.  The  cause,l 
then,  of  the  rapid  spread  of  Buddhism  at  the  beginning  of  its 
career  lies  only  in  the  conditions  of  its  teaching  and  the  influ- 
ential 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  elo- 
quent ;  -^  his  very  tones  convinced  the  heater,  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  encom- 
passing 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  brother- 
hood, 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  hterature  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  Nikayas)  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  "^    Pali 

1  Compare  Kern,  the  Lotus,  iii.  21,  and  Fausboll,  Parayana-siitia,  9  (1131),  the' 
"  deep  and  lovely  voice  of  Buddha."     (SEE.  xxi.  64,  and  x.  210.) 

2  As  Southern  Buddhists  are  reckoned  those  of  Ceylon,  Burmah,  Siam,  etc. 


redaction  —  for  the  writings  of  the  Northern  ^  Buddhists 
are  in  Sanskrit  —  was  commented  upon  in  the  fifth  cen- 
tury of  this  era  by  Buddha-gosha  ('  Buddha's  glory '),  and  ap- 
pears to  be  older  than  the  Sanskrit  version  of  Nepal.  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  author- 
itative. 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  recalci- 
trant as  well  as  its  obedient  members,  the  quarrels  and  schisms 
that  appear  to  have  arisen  even  before  Buddha's  death.  Thus 
in  the  Mahavagga  (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,'  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 

1  As  Northern   Buddhists   are  reckoned  those  of   Nepal,  Tibet,  China,  Corea, 
Japan,  Java,  Sumatra,  Annam,  and  Cambodia. 

2  "  Let  your  Ught  so  shine  before  the  world,  that  you,  having  embraced  the  religious  1 
life  according  to  so  well-taught  a  doctrine  and  discipUne,  may  be  seen  to  be  forbear-  \ 
ing  and  mild."     (SEE.  xvii.  305,  David's  and  Oldenberg's  translation.)  ' 


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  rifees  first  prepares  the  meal,  he  that 
returns  last  at  night  puts  the  room  in  order,  etc.  {ib.  4).  Occa- 
sionally in  the  account  of  unruly  brothers  it  is  evident  that 
tradition  must  be  anticipating,  or  that  many-joined  the  Bud- 
dhist fraternity  as  an  excuse  from  restraint.  The  CuUavagga 
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  CuUavagga  (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,'  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  congrega- 
tion, and  they  were  obliged  to  leave  the  order.  Even  the 
detail  of  Subhadda's  insolence  is  not  wanting  in  these  records 
{Cull.  xi.  I.  and  elsewhere).     No  sooner  was  Buddha  dead  than 

1 '  Removing  pieces  from  a  pile  without  moving  the  remainder '  must,  we  presume, 
be  jaclcstraws. 


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  dis- 
card them  when  they  would.  The  Confessional  (Patimokkha), 
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.'  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.^  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 
Mahdvagga,  v.  2  ff.,  certain  Buddhists  dress  in  a  worldly  way. 
At  one  time  one  is  informed  of  the  color  of  their  heretical  slip- 
pers, 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  subordi- 
nate. In  Cullavagga,  i.  9,  there  is  an  account  of  stupid  Sey- 
yasaka,  who  was  dull  and  indiscreet,  and  was  always  getting 
'set  back'  by  the  brethren.  Finally  they  grow  weary  of  pro- 
bating him  and  carry  out  the  nissaya  against  him,  obliging  him 

1  For  instance,  rules  for  eating,  drinking  (liquor),  and  for  bathing.  The  Buddhist 
monk,  except  in  summer,  bathed  once  a  fortnight  only. 

2  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 


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  Bimbisara,  four  years  younger  than  Buddha,  and  his 
protector  (for  he  was  King  of  Magadha),  gives  him  a  park, 
perhaps  the  first  donation  of  this  sort,  the  origin  of  all  the 
monastic  foundations  :  "  The  King  of  Magadha,  Bimbisara, 
thought  'here  is  this  bamboo  forest  Veluvana,  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  gar- 
den to  Buddha,  saying,  'I  give  up  the  park  to  the  fraternity 
with  Buddha  at  its  head.'  And  the  Blessed  One  accepted  the 
park"  {Mahavagga,  i.  22)}  Another  such  park  Buddha  ac- 
cepts from  the  courtezan,  Ambapali,  whose  conversation  with 
Buddha  and  dinner-party  to  him  forms  a  favorite  story  with 
the  monks  {Mahav.  v.  30  ;  Cull.  ii).  The  protection  offered 
by  Bimbisara  made  the  order  a  fine  retreat  for  rogues.  In 
Mahav.  i.  41  ff.  one  reads  that  King  Seniya  Bimbisara  made 
a  decree  :  "  No  one  is  to  do  any  harm  to  those  ordained 
among  the  Qakya-son's  monks.''  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 
f  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 

1  The  offering  and  reception  of  gifts  is  always  accompanied  witli  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-friend- 
ship. 2  Sakyaputtiya  Samanas,  z.e.,  Buddhists. 


that  no  son  might  join  the  order  without  his  parents'  consent 
{ib.  54).  Still  another  motive  of  false  disciples  had  to  be  com- 
bated. The  parents  of  Upali  thought  to  themselves  :  "What 
shall  we  teach  Upali  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  {Mahdv.  i.  53),  were 
probated  for  light  offences,  and  expelled  for  very  severe  ones.' 
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'  "     {Mahdv.  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.^ 
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^  the  scene  opens 
with   a  young  Brahman.     He  is  a  pious  and  religious  youth, 

1  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. 

2  Mahasudassana,  the  great  King  bf  Glory  whose  city  is  described  with  its  four 
gates,  one  of  gold,  one  of  silver,  one  of\  jade  and  one  of  crystal,  etc.  Tlie  earlier 
Buddha  had  as  '  king  of  glory '  84,000  wives  and  other  comforts  quite  as  remarkable. 

3  Translated  by  Davids,  Buddhist  Siittas  and  Hibbert  Lectures. 


and  tells  Buddha  that  although  he  yearns  for  '  union  with 
Brahma,'^  he  does  not  know  which  of  the  different  paths 
proposed  by  Brahman  priests  lead  to  Brahma.  Do  they  all 
lead  to  union  with  Brahma  ?  Buddha  answers  :  '  Let  us  see  ; 
has  any  one  of  these  Brahmans  ever  seen  Brahma?,'  'No, 
indeed,  Gautama.'  'Or  did  any  one  of  their  ancestors 
ever  see  Brahma.?'  'No,  Gautama.'  'Well,  did  the  most 
ancient  seers  ever  say  that  they  knew  where  is  Brahma.'' 
'No,  Gautama.'  'Then  if  neither  the  present  Brahmans  know, 
nor  the  old  Brahmans  knew  where  is  Brahma,  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  Brahma"  — 
and  is  this  foolish  talk?'  'It  is  foolish  talk.'  'Then,  as  to 
yearning  for  union  with  Brahma,  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 
Brahma   in  possession   of  wives   and   wealth?'     'He   is  not.' 

1  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  Brahma  is  the  god  of  the  thinkers  Indra  is  the  god  of  the  people  (together 
with  Vishnu  and  (^iva,  if  the  texts  are  as  old  as  they  pretend  to  be). 


'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  Brahma?'  'No.'  'Will  they  then 
after  death  become  united  to  Brahma  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 
Brahma  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  Brahma  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  Brahma  of  this  dialogue  is  for  the  time  being  play- 
fully accepted  by  Buddha  as  the  All-god.     To  the  Buddhist 


himself  Brahma  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  cer- 
tainly is  nothing  iii  harmony  with  Buddha's  usual  attitude  in 
the  extraordinary  discourse  called  Akankheyya,  wherein  Buddha 
is  represented  as  ascribing  to  monks  miraculous  powers,  only 
hinted  at  in  a  vague  '  shaking  of  the  earth '  in  more  sober 
speech.^  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  charac- 
teristic of  the  way  in  which   Buddha  treated  eschatological 

1  Mahafarinibbana  iii,  to  which  Rhys  Davids  refers,  is  scarcely  a  fair  parallel. 


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,  persever- 
ance 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  torment  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.'  "^ 

The  questions  in  regard  to  Buddha's  view  of  soul,  immortal- 
ity, and  religion  are  answered  to  our  mind  as  clearly  in  the 
following  passages  as  Buddha  desired  they  should  be.  '  Un- 
wisely 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  ?  "  Con- 
sideration such  as  this  is  walking  in  the  jungle  of  delusion. 
These  £tre  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  '  {Sabbasavd).  In 
the  Vang'isa-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, 

1  The  imitation  of  the  original  play  on  words  is  Rhys  Davids',  who  has  translated 
these  Suttas  in  SBE.  vol.  xi.    For  the  following  see  FausboU,  ib.  vol.  x. 


troubled,  brief,  combined  with  pain.  ...  As  earthen  vessels 
made  by  the  potter  end  in  being  broken,  so  is  the  life  of  mor- 
tals." One  should  compare  the  still  stronger  image,  which 
gives  the  very  name  of  nir-vdna  ('  blowing  out ')  in  the  Upasiva- 
mdnavapuccha :  "  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  exist- 
ing." To  this  Upasiva  replies  :  "  But  has  he  only  disappeared, 
or  does  he  not  exist,  or  is  he  only  free  from  sickness  1  "  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  jemember  that  this  is  the  Arhat's  death, 
the  death  of  him  that  has  perfected  himself.^  Buddha,  like 
the  Brahmans,  taught  hell  for  the  bad,  and  re-birth  for  them 
that  were  not  perfected.  So  in  the  Kokdliya-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  tradi- 
tion, 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 '  {Mahaparinibbdna,  i.  24).^  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  atti- 
tude toward  the  respective  questions  of  hell,  heaven,  and  karma. 
It  is  only  the  emancipated  Arhat  that  goes  to  Nirvana.^ 

1  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  Nirvana. 

2  Compare  the  fairies  and  spirits  in  ib.  v.  lo;  and  in  i.  31,  'give  gifts  to  the  gods.' 
8  We  agree  with  Rhys  Davids,  Buddhism,  pp.  in,  207,  that  Buddha  himself  was 

an  atheist ;  but  to  the  statement  that  Nirvana  was  "  the  extinction  of  that  sinful, 


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  'Brahma,' 
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."  '^  The  Mahavagga, 
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,  the  cause  of  suf- 
fering, 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." '^ 

The  "  spirit  and  not  the  letter  of  the  law  "  is  expressed  in 
the  formula  (^Mahavagga,  i.  23)  :  "  Of  all  conditions  that  proceed 

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. 

1  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 

2  Compare  ib.  5.  36  :  "  In  due  course  he  spoke,  of  charity,  morality,  heaven,  pleas- 
ure, and  the  advantage  of  renunciation." 


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,  Bor  to  have  any 
'  views,'  for  "  philosophy  purifies  no  one  ;  peace  alone  purifies."  ^ 

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  "  {Dvayatanup.  sutta,  38). '^  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-suttd) ;  and  not  alone  in  virtue  of 
karma  of  old,  for :  "  The  man  who  knows  in  this  world  the  de- 
struction 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"  (  Vasettha- 

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  exalta- 
tion than  this  is  met  by  Buddha:  thus  :  Sariputta  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 

1  See  especially  the  Nandaman.,  Paramatthaka,  Magandiya,  and  Suddhatthaka 
Sutta s,  translated  by  Fausboll,  SBE.  vol.  a. 

2  Fausboll,  in  SBE.  vol.  x,  Suttanipata. 


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  ?  "     (Mahaparinibbana.) 

Metaphysically  the  human  ego  to  the  Buddhist  is  only  a  col- 
lection of  five  skandhas  (form,  sensations,  ideas,  faculties  of 
mind,  and  reason)  that  vanishes  when  the  collection  is  dis- 
persed, 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  im- 
mortal 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  com- 
parison, 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,  to- 
gether 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  su- 
preme, 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  Jatakas,  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.'  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.'^ 
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." 

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  Brah- 
man 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  Maurya  monarch  A9oka  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.*  He  was  king 
over  all  northern  India,  from  Kabul  to  the  eastern  ocean,  from 
the  northern  limi't  of  Brahmanic  civilization  to  its  southern 
boundary.     Buddhist  missionaries  were  now  spread  over  India 

1  The  distinction  between  tlie  Northern  and  Southern  doctrine  is  indicated  by 
the  terms  '  Great  Vehicle '  and  '  Little  Vehicle '  respectively,  the  former  the  works  of 
Na^rjuna's  school  (see  below). 

2  As  Maitrakanyaka  Buddha  came  once  to  earth  "  to  redeem  the  sins  of  men." 

8  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  Legends  von 
Citta  %ind  Sambhuta,  WZKM.  v.  iii  ;  vi.  i. 

■*  "  The  gods  who  were  worshipped  as  true  divinities  in  India  have  been  rendered 
false  ...  by  my  zeal";  inscription  cited  by  Barth,  p.  135.  But  A§oka  was  a  very 
tolerant  prince.     Barth's  notion  of  Buddhistic  persecution  can  hardly  be  correct. 


and  beyond  it.  And  here  again,  even  in  this  later  age,  one 
sees  how  little  had  the  people  to  do  with  Buddha's  metaphysi- 
cal 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  the  hands  of 
the  missionaries  the  geographical  separation  of  the  church, 
which  results  in  Southern  and  Northern  Buddhism.^ 

It  is  at  this  period  that  the  monastic  bodies  become  influen- 
tial. The  original  Sangha,  congregation,  is  defined  as  consist- 
ing 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  way  en- 
riched the  church,  built  for  it  great  temples,  and  in  turn  were 
upheld  by  their  thankful  co-religionists.  Among  the  six  ^  rival 
heresies  that  of  Buddha  was  predominant,  and  chiefly  because 
of  royal  influence.  The  Buddhist  head  of  the  Ceylon  church 
was  Agoka's  own  son.  Still  more  important  for  Buddhism  was 
its  adoption  by  the  migratory  Turanians  in  the  centuries  fol- 
lowing. Tibet  and  China  were  opened  up  to  it  through  the 
influence  of  these  foreign  kings,  who  at  least  pretended  to 

1  Koppen,  Die  Religion  des  Budd/ia,  p.  198. 

2  Not  to  be  confused  with  the  seventeen  heresies  and  sixty-three  different  philo- 
sophical systems  in  the  church  itself. 


adopt  the  faith  of  Buddha.^  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 

Buddhism  lingered  in  India  till  the  twelfth  or  thirteenth 
century,  although  in  the  seventh  it  was  already  decadent,  as 
apggars  from  the  account  of  Hioueri-Thsang,  the  Chinese  pil- 
grim. 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,^  smoul- 
dered 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  mendi- 
cant 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  repre- 
sented. This  religion  was  become,  indeed,  as  much  a  skeleton 
as  was  the  Brahmanism  of  the  sixth  century.  As  the  Brah- 
manic  belief  had  decomposed  into  spiritless  rites,  so  Buddhism, 

1  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  Nepal  (Rockhill,  p.  210). 

2  Barth  justly  discreditsthetaleof  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. 


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.^  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  Burraah,^  and  in  the 
seventh  in  Siam.  The  Northern  school  kept  in  general  to  the 
'  void  '  doctrine  of  Nagarjurfa,  whose  chief  texts  are  the  Lotus 
and  the  Lalita  Vistara,  standard  works  of  the  Great  Vehicle.^ 
In  Tibet  Lamaism  is  the  last  result  of  this  hierarchical  state- 
church.^     We  have  thought  it  much  more  important  to  give  a 

1  Here  are  developed  fully  the  stories  of  hells,  angels,  and  all  supernatural  para- 
phernalia, together  with  theism,  idolatry,  and  the  completed  monastic  system ;  magic, 
fable,  absurd  calculations  in  regard  to  nothings,  and  spiritual  emptiness. 

2  At  the  same  .time  the  Ceylon  canon  was  fixed  by  the  commentary  of  Bud- 

3  Later  it  follows  the  mystical  school.  Both  schools  have  been  affected  by  Brah- 
manism.  The  Great  Vehicle,  founded  by  Nagarjuna,  was  reCognized  at  a  fourth 
council  in  Kashmeer  about  the  time  of  the  Christian  era.     Compare  Koppen,  p.  igg. 

*  On  the  Lamaistic  hierarchy  and  system  of  succession  see  Mayers,  JRAS.  Iv.  284. 


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  Indie,  in  the  belief  that  the  Pali  books  of  Ceylon  give  a 
truer  picture  of  the  early  church  than  do  those  of  Kashmeer 
and  Nepal,  with  their  Qlivaite  and  Brahmanic  admixture.  For 
in  truth  the  Buddhism  of  China  and  Tibet  has  no  place  in 
the  history  of  Indie  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  canon- 
ical 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,^  but  to  illustrate  Buddhism  at 
its  best.  Fausboll,  who  has  translated  the  dialogue  that 
follows,  thinks  that  in  the  Suttas  of  the  Sutta-nipata  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  her- 
mits. 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  FausbblP  compares  St.  Luke, 
xii.  1 5,  but  which,  on  the  other  hand  reminds  one  of  a  spirit- 
ualized Theocritus,  with  whom  its  author  was,  perhaps,  con- 

■  i. 

'  For  the  same  reason  we  do  not  enter  upon  the  outer  form  of  Buddhism  as  ex- 
pressed in  demonology,  snake-worship  (JRAS.  xii.  286)  and  symbolism  {ib.  OS.  xiii. 
71,  114). 

2  SEE,  vol.  X,  part  ii,  p.  3. 


I  have  boiled  the  rice,  I  have  milked  the  kiiie  —  so  said  the  herdsman 
Dhaniya  —  I  am  living  with  my  comrades  near  the  banks  of  the  (great)  Mahi 
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)  MahT  river;  my 
house  has  no  cover,  the  fire  (of  passion)  is  extinguished  —  then  rain  if  thou 
wilt,  O  sky  1 

Here-are  no  gad-flies  —  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  ! 

I  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  wickedness  have  I  heard 
of  her  —  then  rain  if  thou  wilt,  O  sky  ! 

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  delight. 

He  that  has  sons  has  care  with  his  sons  —  so  said  the  Blessed  One^ — he 
that  has  cows  has  hkewise  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 

Thus  in  the  Mahdparinibbana  casual  allusion  is  made  to 
assemblies  of  men  and  of  angels  (divine  beings),  of  the  great 
thirty-three  gods.  Death  the  Evil  One  and  Brahma  (iii.  21). 
Buddha,  as  we  have  said,  does  not  deny  the  existence  of 
spiritual  beings  ;  he  denies  only  their  power  to  affect  the  per- 
fect 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':-' 

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;^ 

1  Dhammapada  (Franlce,  ZDMG.  xlvi.  731).  In  Sanskrit  one  has  dharmapatha 
with  the  same  sense.  The  text  in  the  main  is  as  translated  by  Miiller,  separately, 
1872,  and  in  SBE.,  vol.  x.     It  was  translated  by  Weber,  Streifen,  i.  112,  in  i85o. 

2  That  is,  they  die  no  more ;  they  are  free  from  the  chain ;  they  enter  Nirvana. 


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 

There  is  no  suffering  for  him  who  has  finished  his  journey  and  aban- 
doned grief,  who  has  fi-eed  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  Nirvana. 

He  who,  seeking  his  own  happiness,  punishes  or  kills  beings  that  also 
long  for  happiness,  will  not  find  happiness  after  death. 

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  Nirvana,  has  attained  to 
extinction  of  all  desires.^ 

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 

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 !  Every- 
thing 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.^ 

1  Buddha's  words  on  becoming  Buddha. 

2  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  state- 
ment that  he  was  the  first  to  recognize  the  true  meaning  of  Nirvana, '  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 
Miiller,  SEE.  x,  Introduction,  p.  i.). 



While  the  great  heresies  that  we  have  been  describing  were 
agitating  the  eastern  part  of  India/  the  old  home  of  Brahman- 
ism  in  the  West  remained  trus,  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  Brah- 
manism  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  cgnscious  act  on  the 
part  of  Brahmanism.  At  first  it  was  undertaken  almost  un- 
wittingly, and  it  was  accomplished  later  not  without  repug- 
nance. But  to  perform  this  task  was  the  condition  of  continued 
existence.  Brahmanism  had  to  expand,  or  shrink,  wither,  and 

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  Qivaism  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 

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  Bud- 
dhism eventually  retreated  to  Nepal  and  Tibet,  the  Jains  are  found  in  the  very 
centres  of  old  and  new  (sectarian)  Brahmanism,  Delhi,  Mathura,  Jeypur,  Ajmlr. 


must  turn  to  study  the  budding  and  gradual  flowering  of  the 
modern  religions,  which  have  cast  strict  orthodoxy  into  the 

Of  the  two  epics,  one,  the  Ramayana,^  has  become  the  Old 
Testament  of  the  Ramaite  Vishnuites  of  the  present  day.  The 
Bharata,^  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  exclu- 
sively romantic  style,  and  its  total  lack  of  nervous  dramatic 
power,  it  is  probably,  as  the  Hindus  claim,  the  work  of  one 
man,  Valmiki,  who  took  the  ancient  legends  of  Eastern  India 
and  moulded  them  into  a  stupid  sectarian  poem.  On  the 
other  hand,  the  Bharata  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  Rama- 
yana,  by  Buddhistic  influences.  Moreover,  in  the  huge  con- 
glomeration 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  Val- 
miki 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  Bharata  scenes  make  all  the 
literature,  with  perhaps  the  exception  of  some  fables,  that  is 
not  markedly  dogmatic,  pedantic,  or  'artificial."  So  true  is 
this  that  even  in  the  case  of  the  Ramayana  one  never  feels 

1 '  The  wandering  of  Rama,'  who  is  the  sectarian  representative  of  Vishnu. 

2  The  '  Bharata  (tale)',  sometimes  called  Maha-Bharata,  or  Great  Bharata.  The 
Vishnuite  sectarianism  here  advocated  is  that  of  Krishna.  But  there  is  as  much 
Qivaism  in  the  poem  as  there  is  Vishnuism. 

8  Dramatic  and  lyric  poetry  is  artificial  even  in  language. 


that  he  is  getting  from  it  the  genuine  belief  of  the  people, 
but  only  that  form  of  popular  belief  which  Valmiki  has  chosen 
to  let  stand  in  his  version  of  the  old  tale.  The  great  epic  is 
heroic,  Valmiki's  poem  is  romantic  ;  the  former  is  real,  the 
latter  is  artificial ;  and  the  religious  gleaning  from  each  cor- 
responds to  this  distinction.' 

The  Bharata,  like  other  Hindu  works,  is  of  uncertain  date, 
but  it  was  completed  as  a  '  Great  Bharata '  by  the  end  of  the 
sixth  century  a.d.,  and  the  characters  of  the  story  are  men- 
tioned, as  well  known,  by  Panini,  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  Sutras,  and 
a  verse  is  cited  from  it  in  the  legal  Sutra  of  Baudhayana.^  On 
the  other  hand,  in  its  latest  growth  it  is  on  a  par  with  the 
earlier  Puranas,  but  it  is  not  quite  so  advanced  in  sectarianism 
as  even  the  oldest  of  these  writings.  It  may,  then,  be  reck- 
oned 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.^ 
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 

1  Schroeder,  p.  453,  compares  the  mutual  relation  of  the  Mahabharata  and  Rama- 
yana  to  that  of  the  Nibelungenlied  and  the  Parzival  of  Wolfram  von  Eschenbach. 
Jacobi,  in  his  '  Ramayana,'  has  lately  claimed  a  considerable  antiquity  for  the  founda- 
tion legends  of  the  Ramayana,  but  he  does  not  disprove  the  late  completed  form. 

2  i.  78.  10;  see  Biihler's  Introduction. 

8  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.  Holtzmann -puts  the  completion  at  about  1000  A.D. ;  but  in  700  A.D.  it 
was  complete,  and  most  scholars  will  agree  with  Biihler  that  the  present  Maha-Bharata 
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. 


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  por- 
tions of  other  books,  notably  the  first,  fourth,  and  seventh, 
are  probably  almost  as  recent  as  are  the  more  palpable  inter- 

The  Bharata  (or  the  epic  ko-t  iioxqv)  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  Miiller  the  era  of  the  Renaissance,  and  ends  with 
the  pedantically  piquant  literature  of  the  drama,^  is  the  ab- 
normal growth  of  the  ascetic  religious  exercise.  Older  Brah- 
manism, 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  jiigum  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  Brahmanas  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 

1  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  fetes,  and  listened  to  with 
rapt  attention,  as  the  rhapsodes  with  more  or  less  dramatic  power  recite  its  holy 


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.^  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^  and  very  vulgar-minded  old  man,  who  seeks 
to  intimidate  others  by  a  show  of  miraculous  jpower.  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  rapacity  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,  mean- 
ness, and  pride  —  everything  charged  against  him  by  the 
Buddhist  —  are  his  most  marked  characteristics.     He  appears, 

1  The  later  law-books  say  expressly  that  women  and  slaves  have  a  right  to  use 
mantra,  mantradhikarinas.  But  the  later  legal  Smritis  are  no  more  than  disguised 
sectarian  Puranas. 

2  Compare  the  visit  of  the  old  Muni  on  the  prince  in  iii,  262.  8.  He  is  paravia- 
kopana, '  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, 
giiick,"  is  his  way  of  speaking,  etc.  (12).  The  adjective  is  one  applied  to  the  k\\- 
^ods,  paramakrodhinas. 

EARLY  HINDUISM.  .      3S3 

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)-' 
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 

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, 

1  Each  spiritual  teacher  instructed  high-caste  boys,  in  classes  of  four  or  five  at 
most.  In  xii.  328.  41  the  four  students  of  ?  priest  go  on  a  strike  because  the  latter 
wants  to  take  another  pupil  besides  themselves  and  his  own  son. 

3'S4      .  THE  RELIGIONS  OF  INDIA. 

Surya,  Vayu,  Soma,  and  are  usually  simple  and  shadowy  subor- 
dinates of  the  greater  new  gods. 

In  the  shifting  of  religious  opinion  and  in  the  development 
of  theological  conceptions  what  difference  can  be  traced  be- 
tween the  same  gods  as  worshipped  in  the  Veda' and  as  wor- 
shipped in  the  epic  ?  Although  the  Vedic  divinities  have  been 
twice  superseded,  once  by  the  Father-god  and  again  by  the 
(itmd,  Lord,  they  still  remain  adorable  and  adored,  active  in 
many  ways,  though  passive  before  the  great  All-god.  It  is, 
indeed,  extremely  difificalt,  owing  to  the  superstruction  of  sec- 
tarian belief,  to  get  dov/n  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  com- 
batants. 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  Qiva.  He  is  the  All-god,  the 
atma.  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  repre- 
sented 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  Siirya,  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.^  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  prote'ges,  and 
much  as  a  mortal  warrior  would  do  it.  But  the-  Vedic  gcds 
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.  Prac- 
tically they  arj  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. 

1  The  saints  in  the  %Vy  praise  the  combatants  (vii.  188.  41 ;  viii.  15.  27);  and. the 
gods  roar  approval  of  prowess  "with  roars  like  a  Uon's"  (viii.  15.  33).  Indra  and 
Surya  and  the  Apsarasas  cool  off  the  heroes  with  heavenly  fans  (ib.  90.  iS).  For  the 
last  divinities,  see  Holtzmann's  essays,  ZDMG.  xxxii.  290 ;  xxxiii.  631. 


From  an  eschatological  point  of  view  it  is  most  difficult  t6 
get  back  of  the  statements  made  by  the  priestly  composers/ 
who,  in  their  various  reeditings  of  ths  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  Surya,  yet  is  he  still  lauded,  and  he  is  a  very 
real  person  to  the  knight  who  seeks  his  heaven.^  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, 

1  The  original  author  of  the  Mahabharata  i^  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  Ganega, '  lord  of  the  troops '  of  Qiva,  i.  i.  79,  and  some  historic  truth  lies  in  the 
tale.     The  priests  of  (^iva  were  the  last  to  retouch  the  poem,  as  we  think. 

2  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,  0  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  m.e 
strength ;  and  water,  give  me  health '  (45).  Agni,  as  well  as  (Jiva,  is  the  father  of 
Kumara  Kartikeya,  i.e.,  Skanda  {ib.  44). 


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  sec- 
tary. It  may  be  doubted  whether  the  distribution  of  theologi- 
cal belief  is  very  different  in  the  epic  and  Vedic  ages.  Philo- 
sophical 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  Qivaite  makes  Indra  send 
the  knight  further,  to  Civa  himself.  The  old  name,  king  of  the 
Vasus,  is  still  retained  for  Indra  ;  and  though  the  '  divine  weap- 
ons,' 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  water- 
ing 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  (iii.  ch.  100-105).  Agni 
is  lauded  {ib.  ch.  123).     To  the  Agvins-'  there  is  one  old  hymn 

iJBut  the  Ajvins  are  Qudras  in  the  ' caste-hood  of  gods'  (the  caste-order  being 
Angirasas,  Adityas,  Maruts  and  Agvins),  xii.  208.  23-25  ;  and  Indra  in  one  passage 
refuses  to  associate  with  them,  xiii.  157.  17  (cited  by  Holtzmann,  ZDMD.  xxxii.  321). 


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  (ddityas,  sadhyas, 
daivatas).  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  Qiva. 
He  is  variously  named  ;  ^  he  is  a  dwarf  ;  he  dwells  in  the  North, 
in  Mt.  Kailasa,  and  has  a  demoniac,  gate-keeper,  Macakruka. 
Another  newer  god  is  the  one  already  referred  to,  Dharma 
Vaivasvata,  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,  Kama.  It  is  necessary  to  indicate  the  names 
of  the  gods  and  their  functions,  lest  one  imagine  that  with  pan- 
theism the  Vedic  religion  expired.  Even  that  old,  impious 
Brahmanic  fable  crops  out  again  :  "  The  devils  were  the  older 
brothers  of  tlje  gods,  and  were  conquered  by  the  gods  only  with 
trickery"  (iii.  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).^ 
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  Brahma,  and 
above  that  a  third,  of  Vishnu  (i.  89.  16  if.).  According  to  one 
passage  Mt.  Mandara''  is  a  sort  of  Indian  Olympus.  Another 
account  speaks  of   the    Himalayas,   Himavat,   as   'the  divine 

1  Manibhadra,  in  iii.  64,  is  l<ing  of  Yaksash ;  he  is  the  same  with  Kubera,  ib.  ch.  41 

2  In  the  Cosmogony  the  gods  are  the  sons  of  tlie  Manes,  xii.  312.  9. 

8  When  the  gods  churn  the  ocean  to  get  ambrosia,  an  ancient  tale  of  the  epic,  Man- 
dara  is  tlie  twirling-sticlc.     It  is  situated  in  modern  Behar,  near  Bhagalpur. 


mountain,  beloved  of  the  ^ods,'  though  the  knight  goes  thence 
to  Gandhamadana,  and  thence  to  Indrakila,  to  find  the  gods' 
habitat  (iii.  37.  41).  Personified  powers  lie  all  around  the 
religious  Hindu.  And  this  is  especially  true  of  the  epic  char- 
acter. He  prays  to  Mt.  Mandara,  and  to  rivers,  above  all  to 
the  Ganges.  Mt.  Kolahala  is  divine,  and  begets  divine  off- 
spring on  a  river  (i.  63).  The  Vindhya  range  of  mountains 
rivals  the  fabled  Meru  (around  whicli  course  the  sun  and  all 
the  heavenly  bodies),  and  this,  too,  is  the  object  of  devotion 
and  prayer.^  In  one  passage  it  is  said  that  in  Behar  (Magadha) 
there  was  a  peak  which  was  continuously  '  worshipped  with 
offering's  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  compari- 
sons, in  the  hymns,  in  short,  in  the  by-play  of  the  epic. 
'  Withered  are  the  garlands  of  the  gods,  and  their  glory  is 
departed,'^  but  they  still  receive  homage  in  time  of  need. 
And  in  that  homage  is  to  be  seen,  and  from  the  same  cayse, 
the  revived  or  surviving  worship  of  the  Veda.  Each  god  in 
turn  is  mighty,  though  Agni  is  the  mightiest  of  the  old  divini- 
ties.    In  an  epic  hymn  to  him  it  is  said  :   "  Thou  art  the  mouth 

1  iii.  42  ;  139. 14,  where  tlie  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.).  Ift  i.  18.  i  ff.,  is  related  the  churning  of 
the  ocean,  where  Indra  (vs.  12)  places  Mt.  Mandara  on  Vishnu,  the  tortoise. 

^  Mbh.  i.  30.  37,  maml-ur  mdiydni  devdtidm,  etc.  The  older  belief  was  that  the 
gods'  garlands  never  withered ;  for  the  gods  show  no  mortal  signs,  cast  no  shad> 
ows,  etc. 


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.).^ 
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).^  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., . 
"  vagbhir  rgbhis  ").  Indra  himself  is  extolled  in  Kadru's  hymn  ; 
he  is  the  slayer  of  Namuci,  the  lord  of  Qaci ;  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  Vedangas  (i.  25.  yff.).  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  com- 
parisons :  "  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  Garut- 
man,  the  heavenly  bird,  who  here  steals  the  soma  vainly  guarded 

1  Compare  the  four  hymnlets  to  Agni  in  i.  232.  7  ff. 

2  After  the  mention  of  the  thirty-three  gods,  and  Vishnu  '  born  after  them,'  it  is 
said  that  the  Agvins,  plants,  and  animals,  are  Guhyakas  (vs.  40),  though  in  vs.  35  : 
"  Tvashtar's  daughter,  the  wife  of  Savitar,  as  a  mare  (vadava)  bore  in  air  the  two 
A§vins"  (see  above),  in  Vedic  style.     For  (Jruti  compare  iii.  207.  47;  208.  6,  11. 


by  the  gods.  Garuda,  too,  is  Prajapati,  Indra,  and  so  forth.' 
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  (ekibhutas).  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.  7ff.).^  Such  gods 
the  epic  hero  fears  not  (i.  227.  38  fi.).  Hymns  to  them  are  par- 
alleled by  hymns  to  snakes,  as  in  i.  3:  i34ff.,  against  whom  is 
made  the  '■'  sarpasattram  (snake  sacrifice)  of  the  Puranas" 
.  (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.''  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 '  ^),  and  the  covenant  of  water,  which  sym- 
bolizes 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,^  and  by  Rama  lying  by  Ocean  to  die 
unless  Ocean  grants  his  wish.     Of  the  water-rite  that  of  offer- 

li.  23.  I5ff.     His  name  is  explained  fancifully  in  30.  7. 

2  It  is  at  the  funeral  feasts  to  the  Manes  that  the  Mahabharata  is  to  be  recited 
(i.  62.  37). 

8  Arjuna  is  an  old  name  of  Indra,  and  in  the  epic  Arjuna  is  Indra's  son. 

<  The  legal  dliarna  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. 

6  This  is'the  covenant  (with  friends)  of  revenge ;  the  covenant  of  mutual  protec- 
tion in  the  sacrifice  is  indicated  by  the  '  protection  covenant '  of  the  gods  (see  the 
chapter  on  Brahmanism  above,  p.  192). 


ing  water  in  hospitality  and  as  a  form  in  reception  of  gifts  is 
general ;  that  of  cursing  by  '  touching  water  '  (iidry  upaspr^yd), 
occurs  in  iii.  lo.  32.  For  this  purpose  holy-grass  and  other  sym- 
bols are  known  also,'  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  im- 
plied in  the  end  of  the  epic,  where  Agvatthaman,  intent  on 
secret  murder  of  his  foe,  is  prevented  by  god  Civa  from  enter- 
ing 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-dvara  (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-dvara,  '  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 

1  See  an  essay  on  the  Ruling  Caste  in  the  epic,  in  JAOS.  xiii.  232  ff. 


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.-' 

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  per- 
formed (iii.  127);  although  the  priest  who  performs  it  is  cast 
into  hell  {ib.  128).^  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 '  (nirayd).  This  is  evidently  the  hell  known  to  the 
law-punsters  and  epic  (i.  74.,  39)  z.s puttra,  '  the //^/ hell '  from 
which  the  son  (^putra)  delivers  (trd).  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 

1  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  to-day  the  threshold  is 
sacred.  In  reference  to  threshold-offerings,  common  in  the  law,  Dr.  Trumbull's  own 
forthcoming  book  on  Covenants  may  be  compared. 

2  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  cen- 

-  tury. 


the  Fathers  themselves  (the  Manes),  while  not  differing  materi- 
ally from  the  older  view,  offers  novelties  which  show  how  little 
the  absorption-theory  had  taken  hold  of  the  religious  con- 
sciousness. The  very  fact  that  the  son  is  still  considered  to 
be  as  necessary  as  ever  (that  he  may  offer  food  to  his  ances- 
tors) shows  that  the  believer,  whatever  his  professed  faith,  ex- 
pects 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 
accprding  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  ex- 
posed "  {nikrsyate)^  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  remain- 
ing conscious  the  spirit  enters  another  form";  the  bad  be- 
coming 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  {iipanishad~)  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 

1  This  can  hardly  mean  '  put  out  on  the  river '  as  has  been  suggested  as  an  expla- 
nation of  the  corpse  'thrown  aside'  in  accordance  with  the  earlier  text,  AV.  xviii.  i, 
34  {paro^ta),  where  the  dead  are  '  buried,  thrown  aside,  burned,  or  set  out.' 


that  one  who  dies  as  a  forest-hermit  "  establishes  in  bliss  "  ten 
ancestors  and  ten  descendants.  In  this  part  of  the  epic  the  Pun- 
jab 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.  i,  2  is  the  name  of  the  third  order 
bhdikshyacaryam  '  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  subdivi- 
sion being  '  those  embodied.'  Brahma  is  identified  with  the 
Father-god  in  connection  with  the  Manes :  "  All  the  Manes 
worship  Prajapati  Brahma,"  in  the  paradise  of  Prajapati, 
where,  by  the  way,  are  Qiva  and  Vishnu  (ii.  11.  45,  50,  52;  8. 
30).  According  to  this  description  'kings  and  sinners,'  to- 
gether with  the  Manes,  are  found  in  Yama's  home,  as  well  as 
"those  that  die  at  the  solstice"  (ii.  7ff.;  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  (rutii)  to  prove  that  this  is  permissible ;  while  a 
king  is  extolled  for  slaughtering  cattle  (iii.  208.  6-1 1).  It  is 
said  out  and  out  in  iii.  313.  86  that  'beef  is  food,'  gatir  annam. 
Deer  are  constantly  eaten.  There  is  an  amusing  protest 
.  against  this  practice,  which  was  felt  to  be  irreconcilable  with 


the  ahimsd  (non-injury)  doctrine,  in  iii.  258,  where  the  rem- 
nant 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 '  ijoka)  by  dying  in 
battle  than  by  asceticism.  The  asceticism  is,  of  course,  exag- 
gerated, but  an  instance  or  two  of  what  the  Hindu  expects  in 
this  regard  may  not  be  without  interest.  The  warrior  who  be- 
comes 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  ex- 
aggerated, in  fact,  as  might  be  supposed,^  the  '  one-leg '  prac- 
tice of  virtue,  consisting  in  standing  on  one  leg,  ekapadena,  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  prac- 
tice 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,^  and  this  occurs  so  often  that  it  is 

1  It  is  assumed  in  xii.  364.  2  that  "  leaves  and  air "  are  food  enougli  for  a  great 
saint.     Compare  below  the  actual  asceticism  of  modern  devotees. 

2  iii.  23. 14  :  saptarsayas  . . .  divi  viprabhanti.     Compare  ib.  261. 13,  and  the  apoca- 
lypse in  vii.  192.  52  ff.,  where  Drona's  soul  ascends  to  heaven,  a  burning  fire  like  a 


another  sign  of  the  comparative  newness  of  the  pantheistic 
doctrine.  When  the  hero,  Arjuna,  goes  to  heaven  he  ap- 
proaches 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  pre- 
served. Indra's  heaven,''  Amaravati,  lies  above  these  stars. '^ 
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 
Brahma.  Again  they  go  to  Indra's  heaven.  Again  they  be- 
come stars.  The  two  last  beliefs  are  the  oldest,  the  brahma- 
loka  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  Rahu,  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,^  'saints,'  who  occasion- 
ally appear  to  bless  a  hero  in  conjunction  with  'beings  invis- 

sun;  in  sharp  contrast  to  the  older  'thumbkin'  soul  which  Yama  receives  and  car- 
ries off  in  the  tale  of  Satyavant.     Compare  also  Arundhatl  in  i.  233.  29. 

1  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.). 

2  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  \.\\&grahas  (planets)  which  influence  men,  and  ib. 
209.  21,  tulyanaksatramangala. 

'*  Other  of  Indra's  spirits  are  the  singers,  Gandharvas  and  Apsarasas ;  also  the 
horse-headed  Kinnaras  and  Caranas,  who,  too,  are  singers ;  while  later  the  Vidya- 
dharas  belong  both  to  Indra  and  to  Qiva.  In  modern  times  the  South  Indian  Sit- 
tars, '  saints,'  take  their  name  from  the  Siddhas, 


ible'  (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  '  l>rakma-s&&rs,'  and  the  'god-seers,'  but  there  are  even 
'devil-seers,'  and  'king-seers,'  these  being  spirits  of  priests  of 
royal  lineages.'  The  evil  spirits,  like  the  ggds,  are  sometimes 
grouped  in  threes.  In  a  blessing  one  cries  out:  "Farewell 
(svasti  gacchahy  anamayam)  ;  I  entreat  the  Vasus,  Rudras,  Adi- 
tyas,  Marut-hosts  and  the  All-gods  to  protect  thee,  together 
with  the  Sadhyas  ;  safety  be  to  thee  from  all  the  evil  beings 
that  live  in  air,  earth,  and  heaven,  and  from  all  others  that  dog 
thy  path."  ^  In  xii.  166.  61  ff.  the  devils  fall  to  earth,  moun- 
tains, 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.^ 

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'  Jambavan  (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,  daiteya,  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 

1  In  danavarsi  there  is  apparently  the  same  sort  of  compound  as  in  devarsi 
and  hrahntarsi,  all  associated  w;th  the  siddlias  in  iii.  169.  23.  But  possibly 
*  demons  and  seers '  may  be  meant. 

2  iii.  37.  32-35  t^prapadye  vigvedevdn  !). 

3  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  general  leader  of  the  danavas, 
demons,  perhaps  originally  a  folk-name  of  enemies. 


that  has  eaten  him  (iii.  96).  This  is  folk-lore  ;  but  what  reli- 
gion does  not  folk-lore  contain !  So,  personified  Fate  holds 
its  own  as  an  inscrutable  power,  mightier  than  others.'  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  an- 
swers, 'God.'  So  in  the  epic  it  is  said  that  '  every  guest  is  god 
Indra'  {Parjanyo  ' nnanusamcaran,  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  A^vins'  feats  in  rejuvenating  (iii.  123)  ; 
the  combats  of  the  gods  with  the  demons  (Namuci,  Qambara, 
Vala,  Vritra,  Prahlada,  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  rajasuya  and  the  less  meritorious  vaja- 
peya,  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  putika  plant  is  accepted  as 
its  substitute  (iii.  35.  33)  in  a  matter-of-course  wa);-,  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, ^  for  the 
religion  of  the  epic  is  not  entirely  careless  of  woman.  Some- 
what new,  however,  is  the  self-immolation  of  a  man  upon  the 
pyre  of  his  son.  Such  a  case  is  recorded  in  iii.  137.  ig, 
where  a  father  burns  his  son's  body,  and  then  himself  enters 

1  See  below.  The  formal  division  is,  ddiva,  hatha,  karma,  i.e.,  man's  fate  depends 
on  gods.  Fate,  and  liis  own  acts  ;  altliough  hatha,  Fate,  is  often  implied  in  daiva, '  the 
divine  power.'     But  they  are  separated,  for  example,  in  iii.  183.  86. 

2  Compare  the  tales  and  xii.  148.  9,  satl  (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. 


the  fire.  New  also,  of  course,  are  the  sectarian  festivals 
and  sacrifices  ;  and  pronounced  is  the  gain  in  the  go'dhead  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.' 
The  king,  too,  has  been  identified  before  this  period  with  the 
gods.  But  in  the  epic  he  is  to  his  people  an  absolute  divinity,^ 
and  so  are  the  parents  to  the  son  ;  ^  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.  Other- 
wise 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  Push- 
kara").  It  may  be  remarked  that  as  a  general  thing  the  dei- 
ties invoked  by  women  are,  by  predilection,  female  divinities, 
some  of  them  being  mere  abstractions,  while  '  the  Creator '  is 

1  Compare  iii.  200.  88,  even  prdkrta  priests  are  divine  and  terrible  (much  more  in 
later  books).     YL^xt prdkrta^  vulgar,  is  opposed  to  samskrta,  refined,  priests. 

2  iii,  185.  26-31. 

3  "  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.  57a  man 
salutes  {abhivddyd)  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." 


often  the  only  god  in  the  woman's  list,  except,  of  course)  the 
priests  :  "  Reverence  to  priests,  and  to  the  Creator  .  .  .  May 
Hri,  Qrl  (Modesty  and  Beauty),  Fame,  Glory,  Prosperity, 
Uma  (Qiva's  wife),  Lakshmi  (Vishnu's  wife),  and  also  Saras- 
vati,  (may  all  these  female  divinities)  guard  thy  path,  because 
thou  reverest  thy  elder  brother,"  is  a  woman's  prayer  (iii.  37. 


Of  the  sectarian  cults  just  mentioned  the  brahmamaha,  i. 
164.  20,  elsewhere  referred  to,  is  the  all-caste^  feast  in  honor 
of  Brahma  (or  of  the  Brahmans) ;  as  ib.  143.  3  one  finds  a  samaja 
in  honor  of  Qiva ;  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  5'va,"  to  be  slaughtered 
like  cattle  in  Magadha  (ii.  15.  23)  ;  an  act  which  the  heroes  of 
the  epic  prevent,  and  look  upon  with  scorn.''  As  a  substitute 
for  the  rajasuya,  which  may  be  connected  with  the  human  sac- 
rifice (^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  sattrain  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  svastivdcanam, 
a  ceremony  to  obtain  a  heavenly  chariot  which  brings  prosperity, 
the  priests  being  invoked  for  blessings  {svasti).  Quite  mod- 
ern, 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-viovlAs,  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 

1  The  marked  Brahma  Creator-worship  is  a  bit  of  feminine  religious  conservatism 
(see  below). 

2  Weber  has  shown  that  men  of  low  caste  took  a  subordinate  part  even  in  the 
rajasuya  sacrifice. 

3  In  ii.  iS.  there  is  a  brand-new  festival  appointed  in  honor  of  a  female  fiend,  etc. 


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,  Gaya,  Prayaga,  and  Kuru-Plain  are 
to-day  most  holy,  and  they  are  mentioned  as  among  the 
holiest  in  the  epic  catalogue.'  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  salva- 
tion. Thus  in  iii.  82.  g  £f.,  the  poet  says  :  "The  fruit  of  pil- 
grimage (to  holy  pools)  —  he  whose  hands,  feet,  and  mind  are 
controlled ;  ^  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.^  Pil- 
grimage 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  *  was  holy  ;  in  the  third  age  the  Plain  of  the 
Kurus  was  holy  ;  and  in  this  age  Ganges  is  holy  "  (iii.  85.  90).^ 
Besides  Ganges,  the  Plain  of  the  Kurus  and  Prayaga,  the  junc- 
tion of  Ganges  and  Jumna,  get  the  highest  laudation.  Other 
rivers,  such  as  the  Gomal  and  Sarasvati,  are  also  extolled,  and 

1  iii.  84.  S3  (87.  1 1).  We  see  the  first  idea  in  the  injunction  of  Indra  to  '  wander,' 
as  told  in  the  tale  of  Dogstail  in  the  Brahmana  (see  above). 

2  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). 

3  There  is,  further,  no  unanimity  in  regard  to  the  comparative  value  of  holy 
places.     In  xii.  152.  n,  Sarasvati  is  holier  than  Kurukshetra,  etc. 

1  At  Pushkara  is  Brahma's  only  (?)  shrine  — the  account  is  legendary,  but  half 
historical.     The  modern  shrine  at  Ajmir  seems  to  be  meant. 

5  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  Alakananda,  the  '  Blessed  Damosel.' 


the  list  is  very  long  of  places  which  to  see  or  to  bathe  in  releases 
from  sin.  "  He  who  bathes  in  Ganges  purifies  seven  descend* 
ants.^  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  brahtna —  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  Saras- 
vati,  north  of  the  Drishadvati  {i.e.,  in  Kuru-Plain),  he  lives  in 
the  third  heaven  (iii.  83.  1-3  =  203-205  ^).  This  sort  of  expia- 
^tion  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 
Brahmahic  rule  that  if  a  woman  is  an  adultress  she  destroys 
half  her  sin  by  confessing  it  (as  above),  where,  however, 
repentance  is  rather  implied  than  commanded.  But  in  the  epic 
Purana  it  is  distinctly  stated  as  a  Cruti,  or  trite  saying,  fhat 
if  one  repents  he  is  freed  from  his  sin  ;  na  tat  kurydm  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  sec- 
ond time,  as  if  by  a  ceremony  —  so  is  the  Qruti  in  the  laws, 
dhannas  (iii.  207.  51,  52).^  Confession  to  the  family  priest  is 
enjoined,  in  xii.  268.  14,  to  escape  punishment. 

1  In  iii.  87.  10,  "  ten  descendants  and  ten  ancestors."  The  epic,  i.  170.  19,  regards 
tiie  SarasvatI  and  Jumna  as  parts  of  the  sevenfold  Ganges,  which  descends  from 
the  heavens  as  these  three,  and  also  as  the  Vitastha  (Rath