On the VEDAS, or SACRED WRITINGS of the Hindus

By H. T. Colebrooke

[Extracted from the Asiatic Researches, vol. 8, p. 369-476. Calcutta, 1805.]


IN the early progress of researches into Indian literature, it was doubted whether the Vedas were extant; or, if portions of them were still preserved, whether any person, however learned in other respects, might be capable of understanding their obsolete dialect. It was believed too, that, if a Brahmana really possessed the Indian scriptures, his religious prejudices would nevertheless prevent his imparting the holy knowledge to any but a regenerate Hindu. These notions, supported by popular tales, were cherished long after the Vedas had been communicated to DAKA SHUCOH, and parts of them translated into the Persian language by him, or for his use.1 The doubts were not finally abandoned, until Colonel POLIER obtained from Jeyepur a transcript of what purported to be a complete copy of the Vedas, and which he deposited in the British Museum. About the same time Sir ROBERT CHAMBERS collected at Benares numerous fragments of the Indian scripture: General MARTINE , at a later period, obtained copies of some parts of it; and Sir WILLIAM JONES was successful in procuring valuable portions of the Vedas, and in translating several cu- [378] rious passages from one of them.2 I have been still more fortunate in collecting at Benares the text and commentary of a large portion of these celebrated books; and, without waiting to examine them more completely than has been yet practicable, I shall here attempt to give a brief explanation of what they chiefly contain.

It is well known, that the original Veda is believed by the Hindus to have been revealed by BRAHMA, and to have been preserved by tradition, Until it was arranged in its present order by a sage, who thence obtained the surname of VYA'SA, or VEDAVYA'SA: that is,  compiler of the Vedas. He distributed the Indian scripture into four parts, which are severally entitled Rich, Yajush, Saman, and At'harvana; and each of which bears the common denomination of Veda.

Mr. WILKINS and Sir WILLIAM JONES were led, by the consideration of several remarkable passages, to suspect that the fourth is more modern than the other three. It is certain that MENU, like others among the Indian lawgivers, always speaks of three only, and has barely alluded to the At'harvana3 without however terming it a Veda. Passages of the Indian scripture itself seem to support the inference: for the fourth Veda is not mentioned in the passage cited by me in a former essay4 from the White Yajush,5 nor in the following text, [379] quoted from the. Indian scripture by the commentator of the Rich.

"The Rigveda originated from fire; the Yajurveda from air; and the Samaveda from the sun."6

Arguments in support of this opinion might be drawn, even from popular dictionaries; for AMERASINHA notices only three Vedas, and mentions the At'harvana without giving it the same denomination. It is, however, probable, that some portion at least of the At'harvana is as ancient as the compilation of the three others; and its name, like theirs, is anterior to VYA'SA'S arrangement of them: but the same must be admitted in regard to the Itihasa and Puranas, which constitute a fifth Veda, as the At'harvana does a fourth.

It would, indeed, be vain to quote in proof of this point, the Puranas themselves, which always enumerate four Vedas, and state the Itihasa and Puranas as a fifth; since the antiquity of some among the Puranas now extant is more than questionable, and the authenticity of any one in particular does not appear to be as yet sufficiently established. It would be as useless to cite the Manauca and Tapaniya Upanishads, in which the Atharva-veda is enumerated among the scriptures, and in one of which the number of four Vedas is expressly affirmed: for both these Upanishads ap- [380] pertain to the At'harvana itself. The mention of the sage AT'HARVAN in various places throughout the Vedas7 proves nothing; and even a text of the Yajurveda,8 where he is named in contrast with the Rich, Yajush, and Saman, and their supplement or Brahmana, is not decisive. But a very unexceptionable passage may be adduced, which the commentator of the Rich has quoted for a different purpose from the Ch''handogya Upanishad, a portion of the Saman. In it, NA'REDA, having solicited instruction from SANATCUMA'RA, and being interrogated by him as to the extent of his previous knowledge, says, "I have learnt the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda, the At'harvanu, [which is] the fourth, the Itihasa and Purana, [which are] a fifth, and [grammar, or] the Veda of Vedas, the obsequies of the manes, the art of computation, the knowledge of omens, the revolutions of periods, the intention of speech [or art of reasoning], the maxims of ethics, the divine science [or construction of scripture], the sciences appendant on holy writ [or accentuation, prosody, and religious rites], the adjuration of spirits, the art of the soldier, the science of astronomy, the charming of serpents, the science of demigods [or music and mechanical arts]: all this have I studied; yet do I only know the text, and have no knowledge of the soul."9

[381] From this, compared with other passages of less authority, and with the received notions of the Hindus themselves, it appears, that the Rich, Yajush, and Saman, are the three principal portions of the Veda; that the Atharvana is commonly admitted as a fourth; and that divers mythological poems, entitled Itihasa and Puranas, are reckoned a supplement to the scripture, and as such, constitute a fifth Veda.10

The true reason why the. three first Vedas are often mentioned without any notice of the fourth, must be sought, not in their different  origin and antiquity, but in the difference of their use and purport. Prayers employed at solemn rites, called yajnyas, have been placed in the three principal Vedas: those which are in prose are named Yajush; such as are in metre are denominated Rich: and some, which are intended to be chanted, are called Saman: and these names, as distinguishing different portions of the Vedas, are anterior to [382] their separation in VYA'SA'S compilation. But the Atharvana not being used at the religious ceremonies abovementioned, and containing prayers employed at lustrations, at rites conciliating the deities, and as imprecations on enemies, is essentially different from the other Vedas; as is remarked by the author of an elementary treatise on the classification of the Indian sciences.11

But different schools of priests have admitted some variations in works which appear under the same title. This circumstance is accounted for by the commentators on the Vedas, who relate the following story taken from Puranas and other authorities. VYASA having compiled and arranged the scriptures, theogonies, and mythological poems, taught the several Vedas to as many disciples: viz. the Rich to PAILA, the Yajush to VAISAMPA'YANA, and the Saman to JAIMINI; as also the Atharvana to SUMANTU, and the Itihasa and Puranas to SU'TA. These disciples instructed their respective pupils, who becoming teachers in their turn, communicated the knowledge to their own disciples; until at length, in the progress of successive instruction, so great variations crept into the text, or into the manner of reading and reciting it, and into the no less sacred precepts for its use and application, that eleven hundred different schools of. scriptural knowledge arose.

The several Sanhitas, or collections of prayers in each Veda, as received in these numerous schools or variations, more or less considerable, admitted by them either in the arrangement of the whole text (including prayers and precepts), or in regard. to particular portions of it, constituted the 'Sac'has [5383] or branches of each Veda. Tradition, preserved in the Puranas, reckons sixteen Sanhitas of the Rigveda: eighty-six of the Yajush, or including those which branched from a second revelation of this Veda, a hundred and one; and not less than a thousand of the Samaveda, besides nine of the Atharvana. But treatises on the study of the Veda reduce the 'Sac'has of the Rich to five; and those of the Yajush, including both revelations of it, to eighty six.12

The progress by which (to use the language of the Puranas) the tree of science put forth its numerous branches is thus related. PAILA taught the Rigveda, or Bahvrich, to two disciples, BAHCALA and lNDRA PRAMATI. The first, also called BA'HCALI, was the editor of a Sanhita, or collection of prayers, and a 'Sac'ha bearing his name still subsists: it is said to have first branched into four schools; afterwards into three ethers. INDRAPRAMATI communicated his knowledge to his own son MA'ND'UCEYA, by whom a Sanhita was compiled, and from whom one of the 'Sac'has has derived its name. VEDAMITRA, surnamed S'A'CALYA , studied under the same teacher, and gave a complete collection of prayers: it is still extant; but is said to have given origin to five varied editions of the same text. The two other and principal 'Sac'has of the Rich are those of A'S'WALA'YANA and SANC'HYA'YANA, or perhaps CAUSHITACI: but the Vishnu Purana omits them, and intimates, that SA'CAPU'RNI, a pupil of INDRAPRAMATI, gave the third varied edition from this teacher, and was also the author of the Niructa: if [384] so, he is the same with YA'SCA. His school seems to have been subdivided by the formation of three others derived from his disciples.

The Yajush or Ad'hwvaryu, consists of two different Vedas, which have separately branched out into various 'Sac'has. To explain the names by which both are distinguished, it is necessary to notice a legend, which is gravely related in the Puranas and the commentaries on the Veda.

The Yajush, in its original form, was at first taught by VAISAMPA'YANA to twenty-seven pupils. .At this time, having instructed YA'JNYAWALCYA, he appointed him to teach the Veda to other disciples. Being afterwards offended by the refusal of YA'JNYAWALCYA to take on himself a share of the sin incurred by VAIS'AMPA'YANA, who had unintentionally killed his own sister's son, the resentful preceptor bade YA'JNYAWALCYA relinquish the science which he had learnt.13 He instantly disgorged it in a tangible form. The rest of VAISAMPA'YANA'S disciples receiving his commands to pick up the disgorged Veda, assumed the form of partridges, and swallowed these texts which were soiled, and for this reason termed "black:" they are also denominated Taithriya, from tilliri, the name for a partridge.

YA'JNYAWALCYA, overwhelmed with sorrow, had recourse to the sun; and through the favour of that luminary obtained a new revelation of the Yajush, which is called "white" or pure, in contradistinction to the other, and is likewise named Vajasaneyi, from a patronymic, as it should [385] seem, of YA'JNYAWALCYA himself; for the Veda declares, "these pure texts, revealed by the sun, are published by YAJNYAWALCYA, the offspring of VA'JASANI."14 But, according to the Vishnu Purana (3. 5. adfinem), the priests who studied the Yajush are called Vajins, because the sun, who revealed it, assumed the form of a horse (yajin).

I have cited this absurd legend, because it is referred to by the commentators on the White Yajush. But I have yet found no allusion to it in the Veda itself, nor in the explanatory table of contents. On the. contrary, the index of the Black Yajush gives a different and more rational account. VAIS'AMPA'YANA, according to this authority,15 taught the Yajurveda to YA'SCA, who instructed TITTIRI:16 from him UC'HA received it, and communicated it to A'TREYA; who framed the 'Sadc'ha, which is named after him, and for which that index is arranged.

The White Yajush was taught by YA'JNYAWALCYA to fifteen pupils, who founded as many schools. The most remarkable of which are the 'Sac'has of CANWA and MADHYANDINA; and next to them, those of the Jabdlas, B'and'hayanas, and Tapaniyas. The other branches of the Yajush seem to have [386] been arranged in several classes. Thus the Characas, or students of a 'Sac'ha, so denominated from the teacher of it, CHARACA, are stated as including ten subdivisions; among which are the Cat'has, or djsciples of CAT'HA, a pupil of VAISAMPA'YANA; as also the 'Srvetasrvataras, Aupamcmyavas, and Manrayat'nyas: the last-mentioned comprehend seven others. In like manner, the Taithriyacas are, in the first instance, subdivided into two, the Auc'hyayas and Chanaiceyas; and these last are again subdivided into five, the Apaslambiyas, &c. Among them, A'PASTAMBA'S 'Sac'ha is still subsisting; and so is A'TREYA'S among those which branched from UC'HA: but the rest, or most of them, are become rare, if not altogether obsolete.

SUMANTU, son of JAIMINI, studied the Samaveda, or Ch'handogya, under his father: and his own son, SUCARMAN, studied under the same teacher, but founded a different school; which was the origin of two others, derived from his pupils, HIRANYANA'BHA and PAUSHYINJI, and thence branching into a thousand more: for LOCA'CSHI, CU'HUMI, and other disciples of PAUSHYINJI, gave their names to separate schools, which were increased by their pupils. The 'Sac'ha entitled Cau'humi still subsists. HIRANYANA'BHA, the other pupil of SUCARMAN, had fifteen disciples, authors of Sanhitas, collectively called the northern Samagas, and fifteen others, entitled the southern Samagas: and CRITI, one of his pupils, had twenty-four disciples, by whom, and by their followers, the other schools were founded. Most of them are now lost; and, according to a legend, were destroyed by the thunderbolt of INDRA. The principal 'Sac'ha now subsisting is that of Randyaniyas, including seven subdivisions; one [387] of which is entitled Caut'humi, as above-mentioned, and comprehends six distinct schools. That of the Talavacaras, likewise, is extant, at least, in part: as will be shown in speaking of the Upanishads.

The Atharva-veda taught by SUMANTU to his pupil CABAND'HA, who divided it between D'VADAKS'A and PAT'HYA. The first of these has given name to the 'Sac'ha entitled Devadarsi; as PIPPALA'DA, the last of his four disciples, has to the 'Sac'ha of the Paippalddis. Another branch of the Atharvana derives its appellation from S'AUNACA, the third of PAT'HYA'S pupils. The rest are of less note.

Such is the brief history of the Veda deducible From the authorities before cited. But those numerous 'Sac'has did not differ so widely from each other, as might be inferred from the mention of an equal number of Sanhitas, or distinct collections of texts. In general, the various schools of the same Veda seem to have used the same assemblage of prayers; they differed more in their copies of the precepts or Brahmanas, and some received into their canon of scripture, portions which do not appear to have been acknowledged by others. Yet the chief difference seems always to have been the use of particular rituals taught in aphorisms (sutras) adopted by each school; and these do not constitute a portion of the Veda, but, like grammar and astronomy, are placed among its appendages.

It may be here proper to remark, that each Veda consists of two parts, denominated the Mantras and the Brahmanas, or prayers and precepts. The complete collection of the hymns, prayers, and invocations, belonging to one Veda, is entitled [388]  its Sanhita. Every other portion of Indian scripture is included under the general head of divinity (Brahmana). This comprises precepts which inculcate religious duties, maxims which explain these precepts, and arguments which relate to theology.17 But, in the present arrangement of the Vedas, the portion which contains passages called Brahmanas, includes many which are strictly prayers or Mantras. The theology of the Indian scripture comprehending the argumentative portion entitled Veddha is contained in tracts denominated Upanishads, some of which are portions of the Brahmana properly so called, others are found only in a detached form, and one is a part of a Sanhita itself.



THE Sanhita of the first Veda18 contai9ns mantras, or prayers, which for the most part are encomiastic, as the name of the Rigveda implies.19 This collection is divided into eight parts [389]  (c'handa), each of which is subdivided into as many lectures (ad'hyaya). Another mode of division also runs through the volume, distinguishing ten books (mandala), which are subdivided into more than a hundred chapters (anuvaca), and comprise a thousand hymns or invocations (sucta). A further subdivision of more than, two thousand sections (barga) is common to both methods; and the whole contains above ten thousand verses, or rather stanzas, of various measures.

On examining this voluminous compilation, a systematical arrangement is readily perceived. Successive chapters, and even entire books, comprise hymns of a single author; invocations, too, addressed to the same deities, hymns relating to like subjects, and prayers intended for similar occasions, are frequently classed together. This requires explanation.

In a regular perusal of the Veda, which is enjoined to all priests, and which is much practised by Mahrattas and Telingas, the student or reader is required to notice, especially, the author, subject, metre, and purpose of each mantra, or invocation. To understand the meaning of the passage is thought less important. The institutors of the Hindu system have indeed recommended the study of the sense; but they have inculcated with equal strenuousness, and more success, attention to the name of the Rishi or person by whom the text was first uttered, the deity to whom it is addressed, or the subject to which it relates, and also its rhythm or metre, and its purpose, or the [390] religious ceremony at which it should be used. The practice of modern priests is conformable with these maxims. Like the Koran among the Muhammedans, the Veda is put into the hands of children in the first period of their education; and continues afterwards to be read by rote, for the sake of the words, without comprehension of the sense.

Accordingly the Veda is recited in various superstitious modes: word by word, either simply disjoining them, or else repeating the words alternately, backwards and forwards, once or oftener. Copies of the Rigveda and Yajush (for the Samaveda is chanted only) are prepared for these and other modes of recital, and are called Pada, Crama, Ja'ta, Ghanq, &c. But the various ways of inverting the text are restricted, as it should appear, to the principal Vedas that is, to the original editions of the Rigveda and Yajush: while the subsequent editions, in which the text or the arrangement of it is varied, being therefore deemed subordinate 'Sac'has, should be repeated only in a simple manner.

It seems here necessary to justify my interpretation of what is called the 'Rishi of a mantra.' The last term has been thought to .signify an incantation rather than a prayer: and, so far as supernatural efficacy is ascribed to the mere recital of the words of a mantra, that interpretation is sufficiently accurate; and, as such, it is undoubtedly applicable to the unmeaning incantations of the Mantra-sastra, or Tantras and Agamas. But the origin of the term is certainly different. Its derivation from a verb, which signifies 'to speak privately,' is readily explained by the injunction for meditating the text of the Veda, or reciting it [391] inaudibly: and the import of any mantra in the Indian scriptures is generally found to be a prayer, containing either a petition to a deity, or else thanksgiving, praise, and adoration.

The Rishi or saint of a mantra is defined, both in the index of the Rigveda and by commentators, 'he by whom it is spoken:' as the Devata, or deity, is 'that which is therein mentioned.' In the index to the Vajasaneyi Yajurveda, the Rishi is interpreted 'the seer or rememberer' of the text; and the Devoid is said to be 'contained in the prayer; or [named] at the commencement of it; or [indicated as] the deity, who shares the oblation or the praise.' Conformably with these definitions, the deity that is lauded or supplicated in the prayer is its Devoid; but in a few passage, which contain neither petition nor adoration, the subject is considered as the deity that is spoken of. For example, the praise of generosity is the Devoid of many entire hymns addressed to princes,, from whom gifts were received by the authors.

The Rishi, or speaker, is of course rarely mentioned in the mantra itself: but in some instances he does name himself. A few passages, too, among the mantras of the Veda are in the form of dialogue; and, in such cases, the discoursers were alternately considered as Rishi and Devata. In general, the person to whom the passage was revealed, or according to another gloss, by whom its use and application was first discovered,20 [392] is called the Rishi of that mantra. He is evidently then the author of the prayer; notwithstanding the assertions of the Hindus, with whom it is an article of their creed, that the Vedas were composed by no human author. It must be understood, therefore, that in affirming the primeval existence of their scriptures, they deny these works to be the original composition of the editor (VYASA), but believe them, to have been gradually revealed to inspired writers.

The names of the respective authors of each passage are preserved in the Anucramani, or explanatory table of contents, which has been handed down with the Veda itself, and of which the authority is unquestioned.21 According to this index, VISWAMITRA is author of all the hymns contained in the third book of the Rigveda; as BHARADWA'JA is, with rare exceptions, the composer of those collected in the sixth book; VASISHT'HA, in the seventh; GRITSAMADA, in the second; VA'MADEVA, in the fourth; and BUD'HA22 and other descendants of ATRI, in the fifth. But, in the remaining books of this Veda, the authors [393] are more various; among these, besides AGASTYA, CASYAPA son of MARICHI, ANGIRAS, JAMADAGNI son of BHRIGU, PARA'S'ARA father of VYA'SA, GOTAMA and his son NOD'HAS, VRIHASPATI, NA'REDA, and other celebrated Indian saints, the most conspicuous are CANWA, and his numerous descendants, ME'D'HATIT'HI, &c.; MAD'HUCH'HANDAS, and others among the posterity of VIS'WA'MITRA; S'UNAS'EP'HA son of AJIGARTA; CUTSA, HIRANYASTUYA, SAVYA, and other descendants of ANGIRAS; besides many other saints, among the posterity of personages above-mentioned.

It is worthy of remark, that several persons of royal birth (for instance, five sons of the king VRIHANGIR; and TRAYYARUNA and TRASADASYU, who were themselves kings,) are mentioned among the authors of the hymns which constitute this Veda: and the text itself, in some places, actually points, and in others obviously alludes, to monarchs, whose names are familiar in the Indian heroic history. As this fact may contribute to fix the age in which the Veda was composed, I shall here notice such passages of this tendency as have yet fallen under ray observation.

The sixth hymn of the eighteenth chapter of the first book is spoken by an ascetic named CACSHIVAT, in praise of the munificence of SWANAYA, who had conferred immense gifts on him. The subject is continued in the seventh hymn, and concludes with a very strange dialogue between the king BHA'VAYAVYA and his wife ROMASA, daughter of VRIHASPATI. It should be remarked, concerning CACSINVAT, that his mother USIC was bondmaid of king ANGA'S queen.

The eighth book opens with an invocation [394] which alludes to a singular legend. A'SANGA, son of PLAYGA, and his successor on the throne, was metamorphosed into a woman; but retrieved his sex through the prayers of M'D'HYA'TIT'HI, whom he therefore rewarded most liberally. In this hymn he is introduced praising his own munificence; and, towards the close of it, his wife ASWATI, daughter of ANGIRAS, exults in his restoration to manhood.

The next hymns applaud the liberality of the kings VIBHINDU, PACAST'HAMAN (son of CURAYA'NA), CURUNGA, CAS'U (son of CHEDI), and TIRINDIRA (son of PARAS'U), who had severally bestowed splendid gifts on the respective authors of these thanksgivings. In the third chapter of the same book , the seventh hymn commends the generosity of TRASADA'SYU, the grandson of MA'ND'HA'TRI. The fourth chapter opens with an invocation containing praises of the liberality of CHITRA; and the fourth hymn of the same chapter celebrates VARU, son of SUSHA'MAN.

In the first chapter of the tenth book there is a hymn to water, spoken by a king named SIND'NUDWIPA, the son of AMBARISHA. The seventh chapter contains several passages, from the fifteenth to the eighteenth sucta, which allude to a remarkable legend. ASAMA'T, son or descendant of ICSHWA'CU, had deserted his former priests and employed others: the forsaken Brahmanas recited incantations for his destruction: his new priests, however, not only counteracted their evil designs, but retaliated on them, and caused the death of one of those Brahmanas: the rest recited these prayers for their own preservation, and for the revival of their companion.

[395] The eighth chapter opens with a hymn which alludes to a story respecting NA'BHA'N^DISHT'HA, son of MENU, who was excluded from participation with his brethren in the paternal inheritance. The legend itself is told in the Ailareya Brahmana,23 or second portion of the Rigveda.

Among other hymns by royal authors in the subsequent chapters of the tenth book of the Sanhita, I remark one by MA'ND'HA'TRI, son of YUVANA'S'WA, and another by SIVI, son of US'INARA, a third by VASUMANAS, son of ROHIDASWA, and a fourth by PUATARDANA, son of DIVODA'SA, king of Casi.

The deities invoked appear, on a cursory inspection of the Veda, to be as various as the authors of the prayers addressed to them: but, according to the most ancient annotations on the Indian scripture, those numerous names of persons and things are all resolvable into different titles of three deities, and ultimately of one god. The Nig'hanti or glossary of the Vedas, concludes with three lists of names of deities: the first comprising such as are deemed synonymous with fire; the second, with air; and the third, with the sun.24 In the last part of the Niructa, which entirely relates to deities, it is twice asserted that there are but three gods; 'Tisra e'va devatah.'25 The further [396] inference, that these intend but one deity, is supported by many passages in the Veda: and is very clearly and concisely stated in the beginning of the index to the Rigveda, on the authority of the Niructa and of the Veda itself.

'Yasya vdcyam, sarishir; yd ieri 'ochyate, sa de'vata; yad acsharaparimdnam, tach ctihando. Arthepsava rishayo devatas ctihandobhir abhyad'havan.

'TISRA EVA DEVATA'H; cshity-antaricsha-dyu-sthdnd, agnir vdynh surya ily: evam vydhrilayah procld vyastdh: samastdndm prajdpatir. 'Oncdra sarvadevalyah, pdrameshChyo va, brdhmo, daivo va, dd'hydlmicas. Tat tat sChdnd any as tad vibhutayah; carma prifhactwdd d'hi prilhag abhttThdna stutayo bhavanty: ec'aiva va mahdu alma devata-sa surya ily dchacshate; sa hi sarva-bhtidtmd. Tad uciam rishind: "SURYA A'TMA' JAGATAS TAST'HUSHAS CH'ETI." Tad vibhulayo nyd 'devatas. Tad apy etad rishir oclam: "INDRAM MITRAM VARUIJAM AGNIM A'HURHI."

'The Rishi [of any particular passage] is he whose speech it is; and that which is thereby addressed, is the deity [of the text]: and the number of syllables constitutes the metre [of the prayer]. Sages (Rishis) solicitous of [attaining] particular objects, have approached the Gods with [prayers composed in] metre. 'The deities are only three: whose places are, the earth, the intermediate region, and heaven: [namely] fire, air, and the sun. They are pro- [397] nounced to be [the deities] of the mysterious names26 severally; and (PRAJA'PATI) the lord of creatures is [the deity] of them collectively. The syllable 'Om intends every deity: it belongs to (Parameshahi) him who dwells in the supreme abode it appertains to (Brahme) the vast one; to (Deva) God; to (Adhyatma) the superintending soul. Other deities belonging to those several regions are portions of the [three] Gods; for they are variously named and described, on account of their different operations: but [in fact] there is only one deity, THE GREAT SOUL (Maha atma). He is called the sun; for he is the soul of all beings: [and] that is declared by the sage, "the sun is the soul of (jagaf) what moves, and of (tasthush) that which is fixed." Other deities are portions of him: and that is expressly declared by the text:27 "The wise call fire, INDRA, MITRA, and VARUN'A;" &c.28

This passage of the Anucramani is partly abridged from the Niructa (c. 12), and partly taken from the Brahmana of the Veda. It shows (what is also deducible from texts of the Indian scriptures, translated in the present and former essays), that the ancient Hindu religion, as founded on the Indian scriptures, recognises but one God, yet not sufficiently discriminating the creature from the creator.

[398] The subjects and uses of the prayers contained in the Veda, differ more than the deities which are invoked, or the titles by which they are addressed. Every line is replete with allusions to mythology,29 and to the Indian notions of the divine nature and of celestial spirits. For the innumerable ceremonies to be performed by a householder, and still more, for those endless rites enjoined to hermits and ascetics, a choice of prayers is offered in every stage of the celebration. It may be here sufficient to observe, that INDRA, or the firmament, fire, the sun, the moon, water, air, the spirits, the atmosphere and the earth, are the objects most frequently addressed: and the various and repeated sacrifices with fire, and the drinking of the milky juice of the moon-plant or acid asclepias,30 furnish abundant occasion for numerous prayers adapted to the many stages of those religious rites I shall, therefore, select for remark such prayers as seem most singular, rather than such as might appear the fairest specimens of this Veda.

In the fifteenth chapter of the first book there are two hymns ascribed to CUTSA, and also to TRITA, son of water. Three ascetics, brothers it should [399] seem, since they are named in another portion of the Veda as (Aplya) sons of water (ap), were oppressed with thirst while travelling in a sandy desert. At length they found d well, and one of them descended into it and thence lifted water for his companions; but the ungrateful brothers stole his effects and left him in the well, covering it with a heavy cart-wheel. In his distress he pronounced the hymns in question. It appears from the text, that CUTSA also was once in similar distress, and pronounced the same or a similar invocation: and, for this reason, the hymns have been placed, by the compiler of the Veda, among those of which CUTSA is the author.

The twenty-third chapter of the same book commences with a dialogue between AGASTYA, INDRA, arid the MARUTS; and the remainder of that, with the whole of the twenty-fourth chapter, comprises twenty-six hymns addressed by AGASTYA to those divinities, and to the AS'WINS, fire, the sun, and some other deities. The last of these hymns was uttered by AGASTYA, under the apprehension of poison, and is directed by rituals to be used as an incantation against the effects of venom. Other incantations, applicable to the same purpose, occur in various parts of the Veda for example, a prayer by VASISHT'HA for preservation from poison (book 7, ch. 3, 18). The third book, distributed into five chapters, contains invocations by VIS'WA'MITRA, son of GA'T'HIN and grandson of CUS'ICA. The last hymn, or sucta, in this book, consists of six prayers, one of which includes the celebrated Gayatri. This remarkable text is repeated more than once in other Vedas; but since VISWA'MITRA is acknowledged to be the Rishi to whom it was first revealed, it [400] appears that its proper and original place is in this hymn. I therefore subjoin a translation of the prayer which contains it, as also the preceding one (both of which are addressed to. the sun), for the sake of exhibiting the Indian priest's confession of faith, with its context; after having, in former essays, given more than one version of it apart from the rest of the text. The other prayers contained in the same sucta being addressed to other deities, are here omitted.

'This new and excellent praise of thee, splendid, playful, sun (Pushan)! is offered by us to thee. Be gratified by this my speech: approach this craving mind, as a fond man seeks a woman. May that sun (Pushan), who contemplates and looks into all worlds, be our protector.

'LET US MEDITATE ON THE ADORABLE LIGHT OF THE DIVINE RULER (Savitri):31 MAY IT GUIDE OUR INTELLECTS. Desirous of food, we solicit the gift of the splendid sun (Savitri), who should be studiously worshipped. Venerable men, guided by the understanding, salute the divine sun (Savitri) with oblations and praise.'

The two last hymns in the third chapter of the 7th book are remarkable, as being addressed to the guardian spirit of a dwelling-house, and used as prayers to be recited with oblations on building a house. The legend belonging to the second of these hymns is singular: VASISHT'HA [401] coming at night to the house of VARUNA, (with the intention of sleeping there, say some; but as others affirm, with the design of stealing grain to appease his hunger after a fast of three days,) was assailed by the house-dog. He uttered this prayer, or incantation, to lay asleep the dog, who was barking at and attempting to bite him. A literal version of the first of those hymns is here subjoined:

'Guardian of this abode! be acquainted with us; be to us a wholesome dwelling; afford us what we ask of thee, and grant happiness to our bipeds and quadrupeds. Guardian of this house! increase both us and our wealth. Moon! while thou art friendly, may we, with our kine and our horses, be exempted from decrepitude: guard us as a father protects his offspring. Guardian of this dwelling! may we be united with a happy, delightful, and melodious abode afforded by thee: guard our wealth now under thy protection, or yet in expectancy, and do thou defend us.'

The fourth hymn in the fourth chapter concludes with a prayer to RUDRA, which being used with oblations after a fast of three days, is supposed to ensure a happy life of a hundred years. In the sixth book three hymns occur, which being recited with worship to the sun, are believed to occasion a fall of rain after the lapse of five days. The two first are aptly addressed to a cloud; and the third is so to frogs, because these had croaked while VASISHT'HA recited the preceding prayers, which circumstance he accepted as a good omen.

The sixth chapter of the tenth book closes with two hymns, the prayer of which is the destruction of enemies, and which are used at [402] sacrifices for that purpose.

The seventh chapter opens with a hymn, in which SURYA', surnamed SAVITRI, the wife of the moon,32 is made the speaker; as DACSHINA, daughter of PRAJA'PATI, and JUHU, daughter of BRAHMA, are in subsequent chapters.33 A very .singular passage occurs in another place, containing a dialogue between YAMA and his twin-sister YAMUNA, whom he endeavours to seduce; but his offers are rejected by her with virtuous expostulation.

Near the close of the tenth chapter, a hymn in a very different style of composition is spoken by VACH, daughter of AMBHRINA, in praise of herself as the supreme and universal soul.34 Vach, it should be observed, signifies speech; and she is the active power of BRAHMA, proceeding from him. The following is a literal version of this hymn, which is expounded by the commentator consistently with the theological doctrines of the Vedas.

[403] 'I range with the Rudras, with the Vasus, with the Adilyas, and with the Visrvadevas. I uphold both the sun and the ocean [MITRA and VARUNA], the firmament [INDRA] and fire, and both the ASWINS. I support the moon [SOMA] destroyer of foes; and [the sun entitled] TWASHTRI, PUSHAN, or BHAGA. I grant wealth to the honest votary who performs sacrifices, offers oblations, and satisfies [the deities]. Me, who am the queen, the conferrer of wealth, the possessor of knowledge , and first of such as merit worship, the gods render, universally, present everywhere, and pervader of all beings. He who eats food through me, as he who sees, who breathes, or who hears, through me, yet knows me not, is lost; hear then the faith which I pronounce. Even I declare this self, who is worshipped by gods and men: I make strong whom I choose; I make him Brahma, holy and wise. For RUDRA I bend the bow, to slay the demon, foe of BRAHMA; for the people I make war [on their foes]; and I pervade heaven and earth. I bore the father on the head of this [universal mind], and my origin is in the midst of the ocean;35 and therefore. do I pervade all beings, and touch this heaven with my form. Originating all beings, I pass like the breeze; I am above this heaven, beyond this earth; and what is the great one, that am I.'

[404] The tenth chapter closes with a hymn to night; and the eleventh begins with two hymns relative to the creation of the world. Another on this subject was translated in a former essay:36 it is the last hymn but one in the Rigveda, and the author of it is AG'HAMARSHANA (a son of MAD'HUCH'HANDAS), from whom it takes the name by which it is generally cited. The other hymns, of which a version is here subjoined, are not ascribed to any ascertained author. PRAJA'PATI, surnamed Paramesht'hi, and his son YAJNYA, are stated as the original speakers. But of these names, one is a title of the primeval spirit, and the other seems to allude to the allegorical immolation of BRAHMA.

I. 'Then was there no entity, nor nonentity; no world, nor sky, nor aught above it: nothing, any where, in the happiness of any one, involving or involved: nor water, deep and dangerous. Death was not; nor then was immortality; nor distinction of day or night. But THAT37 breathed without afflation, single with (Swactha) her who is sustained within him. Other than him, nothing existed [which] since [has been]. Darkness there was; [for] this universe was enveloped with darkness, and WAS undistinguishable [like fluids mixed in] waters: but that mass, which was covered by the husk, was [at length] produced by the power [405] of contemplation. First desire was formed in his mind: and that became the original productive seed; which the wise, recognising it by the intellect in their hearts, distinguish, in nonentity, as the bond of entity.

'Did the luminous ray of these [creative acts] expand in the middle? or above? or below? That productive seed at once became providence [or sentient souls], and matter [or the elements]: she, who is sustained within himself,38 was inferior; and he, who heeds, was superior.

'Who knows exactly, and who shall in this world declare, whence and why this creation took place? The gods are subsequent to the production of this world: then who can know whence it proceeded? or whence this varied world arose? or whether it uphold [itself], or not? He who, in the highest heaven, is the ruler of this universe, does indeed know, hut not another can possess that knowledge.

II. 'That victim who was wove with threads on every side, and stretched by the labours of a hundred and one gods, the fathers, who wove and framed and placed the warp and woof, op worship. The [first] male spreads and encompasses this [web], and displays it in this world and in heaven: these rays [of the creator] assembled at the altar, and prepared the holy strains, and the threads of the warp.

'What was the size of that divine victim whom all the gods sacrificed? What was his form? what [406] the motive? the fence? the metre? the oblation? and the prayer? First was produced the Gayatri joined with fire; next the sun [Savita] attended by Ushtuh; then the splendid moon with Anush'tubh, and with prayers: while Vrihati accompanied the elocution of VJUHASPATI (or the planet JUPITER). Virati was supported by the sun and by water (MITRA and VARUNA); but the [middle] portion of the day and Trish'tubh were here the attendants of INDRA; Jagati followed all the gods: and by that [universal] sacrifice sages and men were formed.

'When that ancient sacrifice was completed, sages, and men, and our progenitors, were by him formed. Viewing with an observant mind this oblation, which primeval saints offered, I venerate them. The seven inspired sages, with prayers and with thanksgivings, follow the path of these primeval saints, and wisely practise [the performance of sacrifices], as charioteers use reins [to guide their steeds].'

Some parts of these hymns bear an evident resemblance to one which has been before cited from the White Yajush,39 and to which I shall again advert in speaking of that Veda. The commentator on the Rigveda quotes it to supply some omissions in this text. It appears also, on the faith of his citations, that passages analogous to these occur in the Tailliriyaca, or Black Yajush, and also in the Brahmana of the Veda.

The hundred and one gods, who are the agents in the framing of the universe, typified by a sacri- [407] fice, are, according to this commentator, the years of BRAHMA'S life, or his afflations personified in the form of ANGIRAS, &c. The seven sages, who instituted sacrifices in imitation of the primeval type, are MARICHI and others. Gayatri, Ushnih, &c. are names of metres, or of the various lengths of stanzas and measured verses, in the Vedas.

The preceding quotations may be sufficient to show the style of this part of the Veda, which comprehends the prayers and invocations.

Another part belonging, as it appears, to the same Veda, is entitled Aitareya Brahmana. It is divided into eight books (panjica), each containing five chapters or lectures (ad'hyaya), and subdivided into an unequal number of sections (c'handa), amounting in the whole to two hundred and eighty-five. Being partly in prose, the number of distinct passages contained in those multiplied sections need not be indicated.

For want either of a complete commentary40 or of an explanatory index,41 I cannot undertake from a cursory perusal to describe the whole contents of this part of the Veda. I observe, however, many curious passages in it, especially towards the close. The seventh book had treated of sacrifices performed by kings: the subject is continued in the first four chapters of the eighth book; and three of these relate to a ceremony for the consecration of kings, by pouring on their [408] heads, while seated on a throne prepared for the purpose, water mixed with honey, clarified butter, and spirituous liquor, as well as two sorts of grass and the sprouts of. corn. This ceremony, called Abhisheca, is celebrated on the accession of a king; and subsequently on divers occasions, as part of the rites belonging to certain solemn sacrifices performed for the attainment of particular objects.

The mode of its celebration is the subject of the second chapter of the eighth book, or thirty-seventh chapter, reckoned (as is done by the commentator) from the beginning of the Ailareya. It contains an instance, which is not singular in the Vedas, though it be rather uncommon in their didactic portion, of a disquisition on a difference of opinion among inspired authors. 'Some,' it says, 'direct the consecration to be completed with the appropriate prayer, but without the sacred words (Vyahritis), which they here deem superfluous: others, and particularly SATVACAMA, son of JA'BA'LA, enjoin the complete recitation of those words, for reasons explained at full length; and UDDA'LACA, son of ARUNA, has therefore so ordained the performance of the ceremony.

The subject of this chapter is concluded by the following remarkable passage. 'Well knowing all the [efficacy of consecration], JANAMEJAYA, son of PARICSHIT, declared: "Priests, conversant with this ceremony, assist me, who am likewise apprised [of its benefits], to celebrate the solemn rite. Therefore do I conquer [in single combat], therefore do I defeat arrayed forces with an arrayed army: neither the arrows of the gods, nor those of men, reach me: I shall live the full period of life; I shall remain master of the whole earth." Truly, neither the arrows of the gods, [409] nor those of men, do reach him, whom well-instructed priests assist in celebrating the solemn rite: he lives the full period of life; he remains master of the whole earth.'

The thirty-eighth chapter (or third of the eighth book) describes a supposed consecration of INDRA, when elected by the gods to be their king. It consists of similar, but more solemn rites; including, among other peculiarities, a fanciful construction of his throne with texts of the Veda; besides a repetition of the ceremony of consecration in various regions, to ensure universal dominion. This last part of the description merits to be quoted, on account of the geographical hints which it contains.

'After [his inauguration by PRAJA'PATI], the divine Vasus consecrated him in the eastern region, with the same prayers in verse and in prose, and with the same holy words [as before mentioned], in thirty-one days, to ensure his just domination. Therefore [even now] the several kings of the Prachyas, in the East, are consecrated, after the practice of the gods, to equitable rule (samrajyti), and [people] call those consecrated princes Samraj.42

'Next the divine Rudras consecrated him in the southern region, with the same prayers in verse and in prose, and with the same holy words, in thirty-one days, to ensure increase of happiness. Therefore the several kings of the Satwats, in the [410] south, are consecrated, after the practice of the gods, to the increase of enjoyment (bhojya), and [people] name those consecrated princes Bhoja.

'Then the divine Adityas consecrated him in the western region, with, &c., to ensure sole dominion. Therefore the. several kings of the Nichyas and Apachyas, in the West, are consecrated, &c. to sole dominion, and [people] denominate them Swaraj.43

'Afterwards all the gods (Visrve devah) consecrated him in the northern legion, with, &c., to ensure separate domination. Therefore the several [deities who govern the] countries of Utlara curu and Utlara madra, beyond Himavat, in the North, are consecrated, &c., to distinct rule (Vairdjya), and [people] term them Viraj.44

'Next the divine Sad'hyas and Aptyas consecrated him, in this middle, central, and present region, with, &c., for local dominion. Therefore the several kings of Curu and Panchala, as well as Va'sa and Usinara, in the middle, central, and present region, are consecrated, &c., to sovereignty (rajya), and [people] entitle them Raja.

'Lastly, the Mantis, and the gods named Angiras, consecrated him, in the upper region, with, &c., to promote his attainment of the supreme abode', and to ensure his mighty domination, superior rule, independent power, and long reign: and therefore he became a supreme deity (parame'sht'hi) and ruler over creatures.

[411] 'Thus consecrated by that great inauguration, INDRA subdued all conquerable [earths], and won all worlds: he obtained over all the gods supremacy, transcendent rank, and pre-eminence. Conquering in this world [below] equitable domination, happiness, sole dominion, separate authority, attainment of the supreme abode, sovereignty, mighty power, and superior rule; becoming a self-existent being and independent ruler, exempt from [early] dissolution; and reaching all [his] wishes in that celestial world; he became immortal: he became immortal.'45

The thirty-ninth chapter is relative to a peculiarly solemn rite performed in imitation of the fabulous inauguration of INDRA. It is imagined that this celebration becomes a cause of obtaining great power and universal monarchy, and the three last sections of the chapter recite instances of its successful practice. Though replete with enormous and absurd exaggerations, they are here translated at full length, as not unimportant, since many kings are-mentioned whose names ate familiar in the heroic history of India.

VII. 'By this great inauguration similar to INDRA'S, TURA, son of CAVASHA, consecrated JANAMEJAYA, son of PARICSHIT; and therefore did JANAMEJAYA, son of PARICSHIT, subdue the earth completely all around, and traverse it every way, and perform the sacrifice with a horse as an offering.

[412] 'Concerning that solemn sacrifice this verse is universally chanted. "In Asandivat, JANAMEJAYA bound [as an offering] to the gods, a horse fed with grain, marked with a white star on his forehead, and bearing a green wreath round his' neck."

'By this, &c. CHYAVANA, son of BHRIGU, consecrated SA'RYA'TA sprung from the race of MENU; and therefore did he subdue, &c. He became likewise a householder in the service of the gods.

'By this, &c. SGMAS'USHMAN, grandson of VA'JARATNA, consecrated S'ATA'NICA, son of SATRA'JIT; and therefore did he subdue, &c.

'By this, &c. PARVATA and NA'REDA consecrated A'MBA'SHT'HYA; and therefore, &c.

'By this, &c. PARVATA and NA'RED A consecrated YUD'HA'NS'RAUSHT'I, grandson of UGRASENA; and therefore, &c.

'By this, &c. CAS'YAPA consecrated VIS'WACARM'N , son of BHITVANA; and therefore did he subdue, &c.

'The earth, as sages relate, thus addressed him: "No mortal has a right to give me away; yet thou, VIS'WACARMAN, son of BHUVANA, dost wish to do so. I will sink in the midst of the waters; and vain has been thy promise to CASYAPA."46

 [413] 'By this, &c. VASISHT'HA consecrated SUDAS, son of PIJAVANA; and therefore, &c.

'By this, &c. SAMVARTA, son of ANGIRAS, consecrated MARUTTA, son of AVICSHIT; and therefore, &c.

'On that subject this verse is every where chanted: "The divine Maruts dwelt in the house of MARUTTA, as his guards; and all the gods were companions of the son of AVICSHIT, whose every wish was fulfilled."47

VIII. 'By this great inauguration, similar to INDRA'S, UDAMAYA, son of ATRI, consecrated ANGA; and therefore did ANGA subdue the earth completely all around, and traverse it every way, and perform a sacrifice with a horse, as an offering.

'He, perfect in his person,' thus addressed [the priest, who was busy on some sacrifice]: "Invite me to this solemn rite, and I will give thee [to complete it], holy man! ten thousand elephants and ten thousand female slaves."

'On that subject these verses are every where chanted: "Of the cows, for which the sons of PRIYAM'D'HA assisted UDAMAYA in the solemn rite, this son of ATRI gave them [every day], at noon, two thousand each, out of a thousand millions!

"The son of VIROCHANA [ANGA] unbound and gave, while his priest performed the solemn sacrifice, eighty thousand white horses fit for use.

 [414] 'The son of ATRI bestowed in gifts ten thousand women adorned with necklaces, all daughters of opulent persons, and brought from various countries.

'While distributing ten thousand elephants in Avachalruca, the holy son of ATRI grew tired, and dispatched messengers to finish the distribution.

"A hundred [I give] to you;" "A hundred to you;" still the holy man grew tired; and was at last forced to draw breath while bestowing them by thousands.48

IX. 'By this great inauguration, similar to INDRA'S, DIRG'HATAMAS, son of MAMATA', consecrated BHARATA, the son of DUHSHANTA;49 and therefore did BHARATA, son of DUHSHANTA, subdue the earth completely all around, and traverse it every way, and perform repeated sacrifices with horses as offerings.

'On that subject too, these verses are every where chanted: "BHARATA distributed in Mashndrn50 a hundred and seven thousand millions of black elephants with white tusks and decked with gold.

[415] "A sacred fire was lighted for BHARATA, son of DUHSHANTA, in Sachguna, at which a thousand Brahmanas shared a thousand millions of cows apiece.

"BHARATA, son of DUHSHANTA, bound seventy-eight horses [for solemn rites] near the Yamuna, and fifty-five in Vrilrag'hha, on the Ganga.

"Having thus bound a hundred and thirty-three horses fit for sacred rites, the son of DUHSHANTA became pre-eminently wise, and surpassed the prudence of [every rival] king.

"This great achievement of BHARATA, neither former nor later persons [have equalled]; the five classes of men have not attained his feats, any more than a mortal [can reach] heaven with his hands!"51

'The holy saint, VRIHADUCT'HA, taught this great inauguration by DURMUC'HA king of Panchdla; and therefore DURMUC'HA, the Panchdla, being a king, subdued by means of that knowledge the whole earth around, and traversed it every way.52

"The son of SATYAHAVYA, sprung from the race of VASISHT'HA, communicated this great inauguration to ATYARA'TI, son of JANANTAPA; and therefore ATYARA'TI, son of JANANTAPA, [416] being no king, [nevertheless] subdued by means of that knowledge the whole earth answered, and traversed it every way.

'SA'TYAHAVYA, of the race of VASISHT'HA, addressed him, saying, "Thou hast conquered the whole earth around; [now] aggrandize me.' ATYARA'TI, son of JANANTAPA, replied; "When I conquer Ultara curu, then thou shalt be king of the earth, holy man! and I will be merely thy general." SA'TYAHAVYA rejoined; "That is the land of the gods; no mortal can subdue it: thou hast been ungrateful towards me, and therefore I resume from thee this [power]." Hence the king SUSHMINA, son. of SIVI, destroyer of foes, slew ATYARA'TI, who was [thus] divested of vigour and deprived of strength.

'Therefore let not a soldier be ungrateful towards the priest, who is acquainted (with the form], and practises {the celebration, of this ceremony], lest he lose his kingdom and forfeit his life : lest he forfeit his life.'

To elucidate this last story, it is necessary to observe that, before the commencement of the ceremony of inauguration, the priest swears the soldier by a most solemn oath, not to injure him. A similar oath, as is observed in this place by the commentator, had been administered, previously to the communication of that knowledge to which ATYARA'TI owed his success. The priest considered his 'answer as illusory and insulting, because Ultara curu, being north of Meru, is the land of the gods, and cannot be conquered by men. As this ungrateful answer was a breach of his oath, the priest withdrew his power from him; and, in consequence, he was slain by the foe.

[417] The fortieth, and last chapter of the Ailarcya Brahmanu, relates to the benefit of entertaining a Purohila, or appointed priest; the selection of a proper person for that station and the mode of his appointment by the king; together with the functions to be discharged by him. The last section describes rites to be performed, under the direction of such a priest, for the destruction of the king's enemies. As it appears curious, the whole description is here translated; abridging, however, as in other instances, the frequent repetitions with which it abounds.

'Next then [is described] destruction around air (Brahme).53 Foes, enemies, and rivals, perish around him, who is conversant with these rites. That which [moves] in the atmosphere, is air (Brahme), around which perish five deities, lightning, rain, the moon, the sun, and fire.

'Lightning having flashed, disappears behind rain:54 it vanishes, and none know [whither it is gone]. When a man dies, he vanishes; and none know [whither his soul is gone]. Therefore, whenever lightning perishes, pronounce this [prayer]; "May my enemy perish: may he disappear, and none know [where he is]." Soon, indeed, none will know [whither he is gone].

'Rain having fallen, [evaporates and] disappears within the moon, &c. When rain ceases, pronounce this [prayer], &c.

'The moon, at the conjunction, disappears [418] within the sun, &c.

'When the moon is dark, pronounce, &c.

'The sun, when setting, disappears in fire, &c.55 When the sun sets, pronounce, &c.

'Fire, ascending, disappears in air, &c. When fire is extinguished, pronounce, &c.

'These same deities are again produced from this very origin.

Fire is born of air; for, urged with force by the breath, it increases. Viewing it, pronounce [this prayer], "May fire be revived: but not my foe be reproduced: may he depart averted." Therefore , does the enemy go far away.

'The sun is born of fire.56 Viewing it, say, "May the sun rise; but not my foe be reproduced, &c."

'The moon is born of the sun.57 Viewing it, say, "May the moon be renewed, &c."

'Rain is produced from the moon.58 Viewing it, say, "May rain be produced, &c. "

[419] 'Lightning comers of rain. Viewing it, say, "May lightning appear, &c."

'Such is destruction around air. MAITREYA, son of CUSHA'HU, communicated these rites to SUTWAN, son of CIRIS'A, descended from BHA'RGA. Five kings perished around him, and SUTWAN attained greatness.

'The observance [enjoined] to him [who undertakes these rites, is as follows]: let him not sit down earlier than the foe; but stand, while he thinks him standing. Let him not lie down earlier than the foe; but sit, while he thinks him sitting. Let him not sleep earlier than the foe; but wake, while he thinks him waking. Though his enemy had a head of stone, soon does he slay him : he does slay him.'

Before I quit this portion of the Veda, I think it right to add, that the close of the seventh book contains the mention of several monarchs, to whom the observance, there described, was taught by divers sages. For a reason before-mentioned, I shall subjoin the names. They are VIS'WANTARA, son of SUSHADMAN; SAHADEVA, son of SARJA, and his. son SOMACA; BABHRU, son of DE\VA'VRID'HA, BHIMA of VIDARBHA, NAGNAJIT of GAND'HARA, SANASRUTA of ARINDAMA, RITUVID of JANACA, besides JANAMEJAYA and SUDA's, who have been also noticed in another place.

The Aitareya Aranyaca is another portion of the Rigveda. It comprises eighteen chapters or lectures , unequally distributed in five books (Aranyaca). The second, which is the longest, for it [420] contains seven lectures, constitutes with the third an Upanishad of this Veda, entitled the Bahvrich Brahmana Upanishad; or more commonly, the Ailare'ya, as having been recited by a sage named AITAREYA.59 The four last lectures of that second Aranyaca are particularly cosmonaut to the theological doctrines of the Vedanta, and are accordingly selected by theologians of the Vedanta school as the proper Aitareya Upanishad.60 The [421] following is literally translated from this portion of the second Aranyaca.



IV. 'Originally this [Universe] was indeed SOUL only; nothing else whatsoever existed, active [or inactive]. HE thought, "I will create worlds:" thus HE created these [various] worlds; water, light, mortal [beings], and the waters. That 'water,' is the [region] above the heaven, which heaven upholds: the atmosphere comprises light; the earth is mortal; and the regions below are "the waters. "61

'HE thought, "these are indeed worlds; I will create guardians of worlds." Thus HE drew from the waters, and framed, an embodied being.62 He viewed him; and of that being, so contemplated, the mouth opened as an egg: from the mouth, speech issued; from speech, fire proceeded. The nostrils spread; from the nostrils, breath passed; from breath, air was propagated. The eyes opened; from the eyes, a glance sprung; from that glance, the sun was produced. The ears dilated: from the ears came hearkening; and from that, the regions of space. The skin expanded: from the skin, hair rose; from that grew [422] herbs and trees. The breast opened; from the breast, mind issued; and from mind, the moon. The navel burst: from the navel came deglutition;63 from that, death. The generative organ burst: thence flowed productive seed; whence waters drew their origin.

'These deities, being thus, framed, fell into this vast ocean: and to HIM they came with thirst and hunger: and HIM they thus addressed: "Grant us a [smaller] size, wherein abiding we may eat food.

'HE offered to them [the form of] a cow: they said, "that is not sufficient for us." HE exhibited to them [the form of] a horse: they said, "neither is that sufficient for us." He showed them the human form: they exclaimed: "well done! ah! wonderful!" Therefore man alone is [pronounced to be] "well formed."

'HE bade them occupy their respective places. Fire, becoming speech, entered the mouth. Air, becoming breath, proceeded to the nostrils. The sun, becoming sight, penetrated the eyes. Space became hearing, and occupied the ears. Herbs and trees became hair, and filled the skin. The moon, becoming mind, entered the breast. Death, becoming deglutition, penetrated the navel; and water became productive seed, and occupied the generative organ.

'Hunger and thirst addressed him, saying, "Assign us [our places]." HE replied: "You I distribute among these deities; and I make you parti- [423] cipant with them." Therefore is it , that to whatever deity an oblation is offered, hunger and thirst participate with him.

'HE reflected, "These are worlds, and regents of worlds: for them I will frame food." HE viewed the waters: from waters, so contemplated, form issued; and food is form, which was so produced.

'Being thus framed, it turned away and sought to flee. The [primeval] man endeavoured to seize it by speech, but could not attain it by his voice: had he by voice taken it, [hunger] would be satisfied by naming food. He attempted to catch it by his breath, but could not inhale it by breathing: had he by inhaling taken it, [hunger] would be satisfied by smelling food. He sought to snatch it by a glance, but could not surprise it by a look: had he seized it by the sight, [hunger] would be satisfied by seeing food. He attempted to catch it by hearing, but could not hold it by listening: had he caught it by hearkening, [hunger] would be satisfied by hearing food. He endeavoured to seize it by his skin, but could not restrain it by his touch: had he seized it by contact, [hunger] would be satisfied by touching food. He wished to reach it by the mind, but could not attain it by thinking: had he caught it by thought, [hunger] would be satisfied by meditating on food. He wanted to seize it by the generative organ, but could not so hold it; had he thus seized it, [hunger] would be satisfied by emission. Lastly, he endeavoured to catch it by deglutition; and thus he did swallow it: that air; which is so drawn in, seizes food; and that very air is the bond of life.

[424] 'HE [the universal soul] reflected, "How can this [body] exist without me?" He considered by which extremity he should penetrate. HE thought, "If [without me] speech discourse, breath inhale, and sight view; if hearing hear, skin feel, and mind meditate; if deglutition swallow, and the organ of generation perform its functions; then, who am I?"

'Parting the suture [simati] , HE penetrated by this route. That opening is called the suture (viartti) and is the road to beatitude (nandana.)64

'Of that soul, the places of recreation are three; and the modes of sleep, as many. This (pointing to the right eye) is a place of recreation; this (pointing to the throat) is [also] a situation of enjoyment; this (pointing to the heart) is [likewise] a region of delight.

'Thus born [as the animating spirit], he discriminated the elements, [remarking] "what else [but him] can I here affirm [to exist];" and he contemplated this [thinking] person,65 the vast expanse,66 [exclaiming] IT have I seen. Therefore he named IT-SEEING (IDAM-DRA): IT-SEEING is indeed his name: and him, being IT-SEEING, they call, by a remote appellation, INDRA; for [425] the gods generally delight in the concealment [of their name]. The gods delight in privacy.67

V. 'This [living principle] is first, in man, a fetus, or productive seed, which is the essence drawn from all the members [of the body]: thus "the man nourishes himself within himself. But when he emits it into woman, he procreates that [fetus]: and such is its first birth.

'It becomes identified with the woman; and being such, as is her own body, it does not destroy her. She cherishes his ownself,68 thus received within her; and, as nurturing him, she ought to be cherished [by him]. The woman nourishes that fetus: but he previously cherished the child, "and further does so after its birth." Since he supports the child before and after birth, he cherishes himself: and that, for the perpetual succession of persons; for thus are these persons perpetuated. Such as his second birth.

'This [second] self becomes his representative for holy acts [of religion]: and that other [self], having fulfilled its obligations and completed its period of life, deceases. Departing hence, he is born again [in some other shape]: and Such is his third birth.

'This was declared by the holy sage. "Within the womb, I have recognised all the successive births of these deities. A hundred bodies, like [426]  iron chains, hold me down: yet, like a falcon, I swiftly rise." Thus spoke VA'MAD.VA, reposing in the womb: and possessing this [intuitive] knowledge, he rose, after bursting that corporeal confinement; and, ascending to the blissful region of heaven,69 he attained every wish and became immortal. He became immortal.

VI. 'What is this soul? that we may worship him. Which is the soul? Is it that by which [a man sees]? by which he hears? by which he smells odours? by which he utters speech? by which he discriminates a pleasant or unpleasant taste? Is it the heart [or understanding]? or the mind [or will]? Is it sensation? or power? or discrimination? or comprehension? or perception? or retention? or attention? or application? or haste [or pain]? or memory? or assent? or determination? or animal action?70 or wish? or desire?

'All those are only various names of apprehension. But this [soul, consisting in the faculty of apprehension] is BRAHMA'; he is INDRA; he is (PRAJA'PATI) the lord of creatures: these gods are he; and so are the five primary elements, earth, air, the etherial fluid, water, and light:71 these, and the same joined with minute-objects and other seeds [of existence], and [again] other [beings] [427] produced, from eggs, or borne in wombs, or originating in hot moisture,72 or springing from plants; whether horses, or kine, or men, or elephants, whatever lives, and walks or flies, or whatever is immovable [as herbs and trees]: all that, is the eye of intelligence. On intellect [every thing] is founded; the world is the eye of intellect, and intellect is its foundation. Intelligence is (BRAHME) the great one.

'By this [intuitively] intelligent soul, that sage ascended from the present world to the blissful region of heaven; and, obtaining all his wishes, became immortal. He became immortal.

VII. 'May my speech be founded on understanding, and my mind be attentive to my utterance. Be thou manifested to me, O self-manifested [intellect]! For my sake [O speech and mind!] approach this Veda. May what I have heard, be unforgotten: day and night may I behold this, which I have studied. Let me think the reality: let me speak the truth. May it preserve me; may it preserve the teacher: me may it preserve; the teacher may it preserve; the teacher may it preserve; may it preserve the teacher.'73



Another Upanishad of this Veda, appertaining to a particular 'Sac'ha of it, is named from that, [428] and from the Brahmana, of which it is an extract, Caushitaci Brahmana Upanishad. From an abridgment of it (for I have not seen the work at large), it appears to contain two dialogues; one, in which INDRA instructs PRATARDANA in theology; and another, in which AJA'TASATRU, king of CA'SI, communicates divine knowledge to a priest named BALA'CI. A similar conversation between these two persons is found likewise in the Vrihad dranyaca of the Yajurveda, as will be subsequently noticed. Respecting the other contents of the Brahmana from which these dialogues are taken, I have not yet obtained any satisfactory information.

The abridgment above-mentioned occurs in a metrical paraphrase of twelve principal Upanishads in twenty chapters, by VIDYA'RANYA, the preceptor of MA'DHAJA A'CHA'RYA. He expressly states Causht'lactas the name of a 'Sac'ha of the Rigveda.

The original of the Causht'laci was among the portions of the Veda which Sir ROBERT CHAMBERS collected at Benares, according to a list which he sent to me some time before his departure from India. A fragment of an Upanishad procured at the same place by Sir WILLIAM JONES, and given by him to Mr. BLAQUIERE, is marked in his handwriting, "The beginning of the Causht'laci.''' In it the dialogists are CHITRA, surnamed CJA'NGA'YANI, and SWE'TACE'TU, with his father UDDA'LACA, son of ARU.NA.

I shall resume the consideration of this portion of the Rigveda, whenever I have the good fortune to obtain the complete text and commentary, either of the Brahmana, or of the Upanishad, which bears this title.



The Vajasaneyi, or White Yajush, is the shortest of the Vedas; so far as respects-the first and principal part, which comprehends the mantras. The Sanhita, or collection of prayers and invocations belonging to this Veda, is comprised in forty lectures (athyaya), unequally subdivided into numerous short sections (cautlica); each of which, in general, constitutes a prayer or mantra. It is also divided, like the Rigveda, into anuvdcas, or chapters. The number of anuvdcas, as they are stated at the close of the index to this Veda, appears to be two hundred and eighty-six: the number of sections, or verses, nearly two thousand (or exactly 1987). But this includes many repetitions of the same text in divers places. The lectures are very unequal, containing from thirteen to a hundred and seventeen sections (candied).74

Though called the Yajurveda, it consists of passages, some of which are denominated Rich, while only the rest are strictly Yajush. The first are, like the prayers of the Rigveda, in metre: the others are either in measured prose, containing from one to a hundred and six syllables; or such of them as exceed that length, are considered to be prose reducible to no measure.

The Yajurveda relates chiefly to oblations and [430] sacrifices, as the name itself implies.75 The first chapter, and the greatest part of the second, contain prayers adapted for sacrifices at the full and change of the moon; but the six last sections regard oblations to the manes. The subject of the third chapter is the consecration of a perpetual fire and the sacrifice of victims: the five next relate chiefly to a ceremony called Agnish'toma, which includes that of drinking the juice of the acid asclepias. The two following relate to the Vajapeya and Rajasuya; the last of which ceremonies involves the consecration of a king. Eight chapters, from the eleventh to the eighteenth, regard the sanctifying of sacrificial fire; and the ceremony named Sautramani, which was the subject of the last section of the tenth chapter, occupies three other chapters, from the nineteenth to the twenty-first. The prayers to be used at an Astvamed'ha, or ceremony emblematic of the immolation of a horse and other animals, by a king ambitious, of universal empire, are placed in four chapters, from the twenty-second to the twenty-fifth. The two next are miscellaneous chapters; the Saulramarti and As- warned'ha are completed in two others; and the Purushamedha, or ceremony performed as the type of the allegorical immolation of NARA'YANA, fills the thirtieth and thirty-first chapters. The three next belong to the Sarwimec'ha, or prayers and oblations for universal success. A chapter follows on the Primed'ha, or obsequies in commemoration of a deceased ancestor: and the last five chapters contain such passages of this Veda, as are ascribed to DAD'HYACH, [431] son or descendant of AT'HARVAN: a pair of them consist of prayers applicable to various religious rites, as sacraments, lustrations, penance, &c.; and the last is restricted to theology.

Excepting these five chapters, most of the passages contained in the preceding part of this collection of prayers are attributed to divine personages: many are ascribed to the first manifested being, named PRAJA'PATI, PARAMSHT'HI, or NA'RA'YANA PURUSHA; some are attributed to SWAYAMBHU BRAHME, or the self-existent himself: the reputed authors of the rest are YRIHASPATI, INDRA, VARUNA, and the ASWINS: except a few scattered passages, which are ascribed to VASISHT'HA, VISWAMITRA, VAMADICVA, MAD'HUCH'HANDAS, M'D'HATIT'HI, and other human authors; and some texts, for which no Rishi is specified in the index, and which are therefore assigned either to the sun (Vivaswal or Adilyci), as the deity supposed to have revealed this Veda: or to YAJNYAWALCYA, as the person who received the revelation: in the same manner as the unappropriated passages of the Rigveda are assigned to PRAJAPATI or BRAHMA.

Several prayers and hymns of the Yajurveda have been already translated in former, essays,76 and may serve as a sufficient example of the style of its composition. I shall here insert only two passages, both remarkable. The first is the beginning of the prayers of the Sarvamed'ha. It constitutes the thirty-second lecture, comprising two chapters (anuvdca) and sixteen verses.

'FIRE is THAT [original cause]; the sun is that; [432] so is air; so is the moon: such too is that pure BRAHME, and those waters, and that lord of creatures. Moments [and other measures of time] proceeded from the effulgent person, whom none can apprehend [as an object of perception], above, around, or in the midst. Of him, whose glory is so great, there is no image: he it is who is celebrated in various holy strains.77 Even he is the god who pervades all regions: he is the first born: it is he, who is in the womb; he, who is born; and he, who will be produced: he, severally and universally, remains with [all] persons.

'HE, prior to whom nothing was born, and who became all beings; himself the lord of creatures, with [a body composed of] sixteen members, being delighted by creation, produced the three luminaries [the sun, the moon, and fire].'

'To what God should we offer oblations, but to him who made the fluid sky and solid earth, who fixed the solar orb (swar) and celestial abode (nuca) and who framed drops [of rain] in the atmosphere? To what god should we offer oblations, but to him whom heaven and earth mentally contemplate, while they are strengthened and embellished by offerings, and illuminated by the sun risen above them?

'The wise man view's that mysterious [being], in whom the universe perpetually exists, resting on that sole support; In him, this [world] is absorbed; from him it issues: in creatures, he is twined and wove, with various forms of existence. Let the wise man, who is conversant with the [433] import of revelation,78 promptly celebrate that immortal being, the mysteriously existing and various abode; he who knows its three states [its creation, continuance, and destruction], which are involved in mystery, is father of the father. That [BRAHME], in whom the gods attain immortality, while they abide in the third [or celestial] region, is our venerable parent, and the providence which governs, all worlds.

'Knowing the elements, discovering the worlds, and recognising all regions and quarters [to be him], and worshipping [speech or revelation, who is] the first-born, the votary pervades the animating spirit of solemn sacrifice by means of [his own] soul. Recognising heaven, earth, and sky [to be him], knowing the worlds, discovering space and (sivtir) the. solar orb [to be the same], he views that being: he becomes that being; and is identified with him, on completing the broad web of the solemn sacrifice.

"For opulence and wisdom, I solicit this wonderful lord of the altar, the friend of INDRA, most desirable [fire]: may this oblation be effectual. Fire! make me, this day, wise by means of that wisdom which the gods and the fathers worship: be this oblation efficacious. May VARUNA grant me wisdom; may fire and PRAJA'PATI confer on me sapience; may INDRA and air vouchsafe me [434] knowledge; may providence give me understanding: be this oblation happily offered! May the priest .and the soldier both share my prosperity; may the gods grant me supreme happiness: to thee, who art that [felicity], be this oblation effectually presented!"

The next passage which I shall cite is a prayer to fire.79

'Thou art (samvatsara) the [first] year [of the cycle]: thou art (parivatsara) the [second] year; thou art (idavatsara) the [third] year; thou art (idvavatsara) the [fourth] year; thou art (vatsura) the fifth year: may mornings appertain to thee; may days and nights, and fortnights, and months, and seasons, belong to thee; may (samvatsara) the year be a portion of thee: to go, or to come, contracting or expanding [thyself], thou art winged, thought. Together with that deity, remain thou firm like ANGIRAS.'

I have quoted this almost unmeaning passage, because it notices the divisions of time which belong to the calendar of the Vedas, and which are explained in treatises on that subject annexed to the sacred volume, under the title of Jyotish. To this I shall again advert in a subsequent part of this essay. I shall here only observe, with the view of accounting for the seeming absurdity of the text now cited, that fire, as in another place,80 sacrifice, is identified with the year and with the cycle, by reason of the near connexion between [435] consecrated fire and the regulation of time relative to religious rites; at which one is used, and which the other governs.

The fortieth and last chapter of this Veda is an Upanishad, as before intimated: which is usually called Isavasyam, from the two initial words; and sometimes Isarthyaya, from the first word; but the proper title is 'Upanishad of the Vajasaneya sanhita.' The author; as before-mentioned, is DAD'HYACH, son or descendant of AT'HARVAN.81 A translation of it has been published in the posthumous works of Sir WILLIAM JONES.

The second part of this Veda, appertaining to the Mach'hyandina 'Sac'ha is entitled the 'Salapah'ha Brahmana, and is much more copious than the collection of prayers. It consists of fourteen books (cantia) unequally distributed in two parts (bhaga): the first of which contains ten books; and the second, only four. The number of lectures (ach'hyayti) contained in each book varies; and so does that of the Brahmanas, or separate precepts, in each lecture. Another mode of division, by chapters (prapd'taca), also prevails throughout the volume: and the distinction of Brahrnanas, which are again subdivided into short sections (candica,) is subordinate to both modes of division.

[436] The fourteen books which constitute this part of the Veda comprise a hundred lectures, corresponding to sixty-eight chapters. The whole number of distinct articles entitled Brahmana is four hundred and forty: the sections (candica) are also counted, and are stated at 7624.82

The same order is observed in this collection of precepts concerning religious rites, which had been followed in the arrangement of the prayers belonging to them. The first and second books treat of ceremonies on the full and change of the moon, the consecration of the sacrificial fire, &c. The third and fourth relate to the mode of preparing the juice of the acid asclepias, and other ceremonies connected with it, as the Jyolish'toma, &c. The fifth is confined to the Vajapeyana Rajasuya. The four next teach the consecration of sacrificial fire: and the tenth, entitled Agni rahasya, shows the benefits of these ceremonies. The three first books of the second part are stated by the commentator83 as relating to the Sautramani and Aswamech'ha; and the fourth, which is the last, belongs to theology. In the original, the thirteenth book is specially denominated Aswamecthya; and the fourteenth is entitled Vrihad dranyaca.

The Astvamed'ha and Purtishamed'ha, celebrated [437] in the manner directed by this Veda, are not really sacrifices of horses and men. In the first mentioned ceremony, six hundred and nine animals of various prescribed kinds, domestic and wild, including birds, fish, and reptiles, are made fast, the tame ones, to twenty-one posts, and the wild, in the intervals between the pillars; and, after certain prayers have been recited, the victims are let loose without injury. In the other, a hundred and eighty-five men of various specified tribes, characters, and professions, are bound to eleven posts; and, after the hymn concerning the allegorical immolation of NA'RA'YANA84 has been recited, these human victims are liberated unhurt; and oblations of butter are made on the sacrificial fire. This mode of performing the Aswamed'ha and Purushamed'ha, as emblematic ceremonies, not his real sacrifices, is taught in this Veda: and the interpretation is fully confirmed by the rituals,85 and by commentators on the Sanhita and Brahmana, one of whom assigns as the reason, 'because the flesh of victims which have been actually sacrificed at a Yajnya must be eaten by the persons who offer the sacrifice: but a man cannot be allowed, much less required, to eat human flesh.'86 It may be hence inferred, or conjectured at least, [438] that human sacrifices wore not authorised by the Veda itself; but were either then abrogated, and an emblematical ceremony substituted in their place; or they must have been introduced in later times, on the authority of certain Puranas or Tantras, fabricated by persons who, in this as in other matters, established many unjustifiable practices, on the foundation of emblems and allegories which they misunderstood.

The horse, which is the subject of the religious ceremony called Asrvamed'ha, is also avowedly an emblem of Viraf, or the primeval and universal manifested being. In the last section of the Tailtiriya Yajurveda, the various parts of the horse's body are described, as division's of time and portions of the universe: 'morning is his head; the sun in his eye; air, his breath; the moon, his ear; &c.' A similar passage in the fourteenth book of the 'Satapatha Brahmana describes the same allegorical horse, for the meditation of such as cannot perform an Aswamed'ha; and the assemblage of living animals, constituting an imaginary victim, at a real Astvamed'ha, equally represents the universal being according to the doctrines of the Indian scripture. It is not, however, certain, whether this ceremony did not also give occasion to the institution of another, apparently not authorised by the Vedas, in which a horse was actually sacrificed.

The Vrihad Dranyaca, which constitutes the fourteenth book, of the 'Salapatha Brahmana, is the conclusion of the Vajasaneyi, or White Yajush. It consists of seven chapters, or eight lectures: and the five last lectures in one arrangement, corresponding with the six last lectures in the other, form a theological treatise entitled the Vrihad Upanishad, [439] or Vajasaneyi Brahmana Upanishad, but more commonly cited as the Vrihad Dratiyaca.87 The greatest part of it is in dialogue, and YA'JNYAWALCYA is the principal speaker. As an Upanishad, it properly belongs to the Canrva 'Sac'ha: at least, it is so cited by VIDYA'RANYA , in his paraphrase of Upanishads before-mentioned. There does not, however, appear to be any material variation in it, as received by the Mad'hyandina school: unless in the divisions of chapters and sections, and in the lists of successive teachers by whom it was handed down.88

To convey some notion of the scope and style of this Upanishatd, I shall here briefly indicate some of the most remarkable passages, and chiefly those which have been paraphrased by VIDYA'RANYA. A few others have been already cited, and the following appears likewise to deserve notice.

Towards the beginning of the Vrikad Dranyaca, a passage, concerning the origin of fire hallowed for an Astvameitha opens thus: 'Nothing existed in this world before [the production of mind]: this universe was encircled by death eager to devour; for death is the devourer. He framed mind, being desirous of himself becoming endued with a soul.'

[440] Here the commentators explain death to be the intellectual being who sprung from the golden mundane egg: and the passage before cited from the Rigveda,89 where the primeval existence of death is denied it may be easily reconciled with this, upon the Indian ideas of the periodical destruction and renovation of the world, and finally of all beings but the supreme one.

The first selection by VIDYA'RANYA from this Upanishad, is the fourth article (brahmana) of the third lecture of the Vrihad Dranyaca. It is descriptive of VIRAJ, and begins thus:

'This [variety of forms} was, before [the production of body], soul, bearing a human shape. Next, looking around,. that [primeval being] saw nothing but himself; and he, first, said "I am I." Therefore, his name was "I:" and thence, even now, when called, [a man] first answers "it is I," and then declares any other name which appertains to him.

'Since he, being anterior to all this [which seeks supremacy], did consume by fire all sinful [obstacles to his own supremacy], therefore does the man who knows this [truth], overcome him who seeks to be before him.

'He felt dread; and therefore, man fears when alone. But he reflected, "Since nothing exists besides myself, why should I fear?" Thus his terror departed from him; for what should he dread, since fear must be of another?

[441] 'He felt not delight; and therefore, man delights not when alone. He wished [the existence of] another; and instantly he became such as is man and woman in mutual embrace. He caused this, his own self, to fall in twain; and thus became a husband and a wife. Therefore was this [body, so separated], as it were an imperfect moiety of himself: for so YA'JNYAWALCYA has pronounced it. This blank, therefore, is completed by woman. He approached her; and thence were human beings produced.

'She reflected, doubtingly; "how can he, having produced me from himself, [incestuously] approach me? I will now assume a disguise." She became a cow; and the other became a bull, and approached her; and the issue were kine. She was changed into a mare, and he into a stallion; one was turned into a female ass, and the other into a male one: thus did he again approach her; and the one-hoofed kind was the offspring. She became a female goat, and he a male one; she was an ewe, and he a ram thus he approached her; and goats and sheep were the progeny. In this manner did he create every existing pair whatsoever, even to the ants [and minutest insects].'

The sequel of this passage is also curious, but is too long to be here inserted. The notion of VIRAJ dividing his own substance into male and female, occurs in more than one Purana. So does that of an incestuous marriage and intercourse of the first MENU with his daughter S'ATAHU'PA'; and the commentators on the Upanishad understand that, legend to be alluded to in this place. But the institutes ascribed to MENU make VIRAJ to be the issue of such a separation of persons, [442] and MENU himself to be his offspring.90 There is, indeed, as the reader may observe from the passage cited in the present essay, much disagreement and consequent confusion, in the gradation of. persons interposed by Hindu theology between the Supreme Being and the created world.

The author of the paraphrase before-mentioned has next selected three dialogues from the fourth lecture or' chapter of the Vrihad Aranyaca. In the first, which begins the chapter and occupies three articles (brahmatias), a conceited and loquacious priest, named BALA'CI (from his mother BALA'CA'), and GA'RGYA (from his ancestor GARGA), visits AJA'TASATRU, king of Casi, and offers to communicate to him the knowledge of GOD. The king bestows on him a liberal recompense for the offer; and the priest unfolds his doctrine, saying 'he worships, or recognises, as GOD, the being who is manifest in the sun ; him, who is apparent in lightning, in the etherial elements, in air, in fire, in water, in a mirror, in the regions of space, in shade, and in the soul itself. The king, who was, as it appears, a well instructed theologian, refutes these several notions successively; and finding the priest remain silent, asks, "is that all you have to say?" GA'RGYA replies, "that is all." Then, says the king, "that is not sufficient for the knowledge of God." Hearing this, GARGYA proposes to become his pupil. The king replies, "It would reverse .established order, were a priest to attend a soldier in expectation of religious instruction: but I will suggest the knowledge to you." He [443] takes him by the hand, and rising, conducts him to a place where a man was sleeping. He calls the sleeper by various appellations suitable to the priest's doctrine, but without succeeding in awakening him: he then rouses the sleeper by stirring him; and afterwards, addressing the priest, asks, "While that man was thus asleep, where was his soul, which consists in intellect and whence came that soul when he was awakened GA'RGYA could not solve the question: and the king then proceeds to explain the nature of soul .and mind, according to the received notions of the Vedanta. As it is not the purpose of this essay to consider those doctrines, I shall not here insert the remainder of the dialogue.

The next, occupying a single article, is a conversation between YA'JNYAWALCYA and his wife, MAITREY. He announces to her his intention of retiring from the civil world, requests her consent, and proposes to divide his effects between her and his second wife, CA'TYA'YANI. She asks, "Should I become immortal, if this whole earth, full of riches, were mine?" "No," replies YAJNYAWALCYA, "riches serve for the means of living, but immortality is not attained through wealth." MAITREY declares she has no use, then, for that by which she may not become immortal; and solicits from her husband the communication of the knowledge which he possesses, on the means by which beatitude may be attained. YA'JNYAWALCYA answers, "Dear wert thou to me, and a pleasing [sentiment] dost thou make known: come, sit down; I will expound [that doctrine]; do thou endeavour to comprehend it." A discourse follows, in which YA'JNYAWALCYA elucidates the notion, that abstraction procures immortality; because affections are relative to the [444] soul, which should therefore be contemplated and considered in all objects, since every thing is soul; for all general and particular notions are ultimately resolvable, into one, whence all proceed, and in which all merge; and that is identified with the supreme soul, through the knowledge of which beatitude may be attained.

I shall select, as a specimen of the reasoning in this dialogue, a passage which is material on a different account; as it contains an enumeration of the Vedas, and of the various sorts of passages which they comprise, and tends to confirm some observations hazarded at the beginning of this essay.

'As smoke, and various substances, separately issue from fire lighted with moist wood, so from .this great being were respired the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda, and the Afharvan and Angiras; the Itihasa and Purana, the sciences and Upanishads, the verses and aphorisms, the expositions and illustrations, all these were breathed forth by him.'

The commentators remark that four sorts of prayers (mantra] and eight sorts of precepts (brahmana) are here stated. The fourth description of prayers comprehends such as were revealed to, or discovered by AT'HARVAN and ANGIRAS: meaning the Atharvanaveda. The Itihasa designates such passages in the second part of the Vedas entitled Brahmana, as narrate a story: for instance, that of the nymph URVAS'I and the king PURURAVAS. The Purana intends those which relate to the creation and similar topics. "Sciences" are meant of religious worship: "Verses" are memorial lines: "Aphorisms" are short sentences in a concise style: "Expositions" interpret such sentences; [445] and "Illustrations" elucidate the meaning of the prayers.

It may not be superfluous to observe in this place hat the Ilihasa and Puranas, here meant, are not the mythological poems bearing the same title, but certain passages of the Indian scriptures, which are interspersed among others, throughout that 'part of the Vedas called Brahmanas, and instances of which occur in more than one quotation in the present essay.

The dialogue between YA'JNYAWALCYA and MAITRYI, above-mentioned, is repeated towards the close of the sixth lecture, with a short and immaterial addition to its introduction. In this place it is succeeded by a discourse on the Unity of the soul; said, towards the conclusion, to have been addressed to the two Asrvins, by DAD'HYACH, a descendant of AT'HARVAN.

The fourth lecture ends with a list of the teachers, by whom that and the three preceding lectures were handed down, in succession, to PAUTIMASHYA. It begins with him, and ascends, through forty steps, to AYASYA; or, with two more intervening persons, to the Aswins; and from them, to DAD'HYACH, AT'HARVAN, and MRITYU, or death; and, through other gradations of spirits, to VIRA'J; and finally to BRAHME. The same list occurs again at the end of the sixth lecture; and similar lists are found in the corresponding places of this Upanishad, as arranged for the Mad'hyandina 'sac'ha. The succession is there traced upwards, from the reciter of it, who speaks of himself in the first person, and from his immediate teacher SAURYANA'YYA, to the same ori- [446] ginal revelation, through nearly the same number of gradations. The difference is almost entirely confined to the first ten or twelve names.91

The fifth and sixth lectures of this Upanishad have been paraphrased, like the fourth, by the author before-mentioned. They consist of dialogues, in which YA'JNYAWALCYA is the chief discourse.

'JANACA, a king paramount,' or emperor of the race of Videhas, was celebrating at great expense, a solemn sacrifice, at which the Brahmanas of Curu and Panchala were assembled; and the king, being desirous of ascertaining which of those priests was the most learned and eloquent theologian, ordered a .thousand cows to be made fast in his stables, and their horns to be gilt with a prescribed quantity of gold. He then addressed the priests, "whoever, among you, O venerable Brahmatias, is most skilled in theology, may take the cows." The rest presumed not to touch the- cattle; but YA'JNYAWALCYA bade his pupil SA'MASRAVAS drive them to his home. He did so; and the priests were indignant that he should thus arrogate to himself superiority. AS'WALA, who was the king's officiating priest, asked him, "Art [447] thou, O YA'JNYAWALCYA! more skilled in theology than we are?" He replied, "I bow to the most learned; but I was desirous of possessing the cattle."

This introduction is followed by a long dialogue, or rather by a succession of dialogues, in which six other rival priests (besides a learned female, named. GA'RGI, the daughter of VACHACRU) take part. as antagonists of YAJNYAWALCYA; proposing questions to him, which he answers; and, by refuting .their objections, silences them successively. Each dialogue tills a single article (brahmani); but the controversy, is maintained by GA'RGI in two separate discussions; and the contest between YA'JNYAWALCYA and VIDAGD'HA, surnamed S'A'CALYA, in the ninth or last article of the fifth lecture, concludes in a singular manner.

YA'JNYAWALCYA proposes to his adversary an abstruse question, and declares, "If thou dost not explain this unto me, thy head shall drop off." 'S'A'CALYA (proceeds the text) could not explain it, and his head did fall off; and robbers stole his bones, mistaking them for some other thing.'

YA'JNYAWALCYA then asks the rest of his antagonists, whether they have any question to propose, or are desirous that he should propose any. They remain silent, and he addresses- them as follows:

'Man is indeed like a lofty tree: his hairs are the leaves, and his skin the cuticle. From his skin flows blood, like juice from bark: it issues from his wounded person, as juice from a stricken tree. His flesh is the inner bark; and the membrane, near the bones, is the white sub- [448] stance of the wood.92 The bones within are the wood itself, and marrow and pith are alike. If then a felled tree spring anew from the .root, from what root does mortal man grow again when hewn down by death? Do not say, from prolific seed; for that is produced from the living person. Thus, a tree, indeed, also springs from seed; and likewise sprouts afresh [from the root] after [seemingly] dying; but, if the tree be torn up by the root it doth not grow again. From what root, then, does mortal man rise afresh, when hewn down by death? [Do you answer] He was born [once for all]? No; he is born [again]: and [I ask you] what is it that produces him anew?"

The priests, thus interrogated, observes the commentator, and being unacquainted with the first cause, yielded the victory to YA'JNYAWALCYA. Accordingly, the text adds a brief indication of the first cause as intended by that question. 'BRAHME, who is intellect with [the unvaried perception of] felicity, is the best path [to happiness] for the generous votary, who knows him, and remains fixed [in attention].'

The sixth lecture comprises two dialogues between YA'JNYAWALCYA and the king JANACA, in which the saint communicates religious instruction to the monarch, after inquiring from him the doctrines which had been previously taught to the king by divers priests.

These are followed by a repetition of the, dialogue between YA'JNYAWALCYA and 'his wife MAITREYI, with scarcely a variation of a single [449] word, except the introduction as above-mentioned. The sixth lecture concludes with repeating the list of teachers, by whom, successively, this part of the Veda was taught.

Concerning the remainder of the Vrihad Dranyaca I shall only observe, that it is terminated by a list of teachers, in which the tradition of it is traced back from the son of PAUTIMA'SHI, through forty steps, to YAJNYAWALCYA; and from him, through twelve more, to the sun. In copies belonging to the Mad'hyandina 'Sac'ha the list is varied, interposing more gradations, with considerable difference in the names, from the reciter who speaks in the first person, and his teacher, the son of BHA'RADWAJI, up to YAJNYAWALCYA, beyond whom both lists agree.

The copy belonging to the Canwa 'Sac'ha subjoins a further list, stated by the commentators to be common to all the 'Sac'has of the Vajin, or Vajasaneyi Yajitrvect, and .to be intended for the tracing of that Veda up to its original revelation. It begins from the son of SANJIVI, who was fifth, descending from YA'JNYAWALCYA, in the lists abovementioned; and it ascends by ten steps, without any mention of that saint, to TURA, surnamed CAVASHE'YA, who. had the revelation from PRAJA'PATI, and he from BRAHME.

Before I proceed to the other Yajurveda, I think it necessary to remark, that the Indian saint last-mentioned (TURA, son of CAVASHA.) has been named in a former quotation from the Aitareya, as the priest who consecrated JANAMEJAYA , son of PARICSHIT. It might, at the first glance, be hence concluded, that he was contemporary with the celebrated king who is stated in Hindu history to have reigned at the beginning of the Cali age. But, besides the constant uncertainty respecting Indian saints, who appear and re-appear in heroic his- [450] tory at periods most remote, there is in this, as in many other instances of the names of princes, a source of confusion and possible error, from the recurrence of the same name, with the addition even of the same patronymic, for princes remote from each other. Thus, according to Puranas, PARICSHIT, third son of CURU, had a son named JANAMEJAYA; and he may be the person here meant, rather than one of the same name, who was the great grandson of ARJUNA.



THE Taitliriya, or Black Yajush, is more copious (I mean in regard to mantras) than the White Yajush, but less so than the Rigveda. Its Sanhita, or collection of prayers, is arranged in seven books (ash'taca or canaa) containing from five to eight lectures, or chapters (acthyaya, prasna, or prapd'taca). Each chapter, or lecture, is subdivided into sections (anuvdca), which are equally distributed in the third and sixth books, but unequally in the rest. The whole number exceeds six hundred and fifty.

Another mode of division, by canidas, is stated in the index. In this arrangement, each book (canas) relates to a separate subject; and .the chapters (prasna) comprehended in it are enumerated and described. Besides this, in the Sanhita itself, the texts contained in every section [451] are numbered, and so are the syllables in each text.

The first section (mirte) in this collection of prayers, corresponds with the first section (candied) in the White Yajush,93 but all the. rest differ, and so does the arrangement of the subjects. Many of the topics are indeed alike in both Vedas, but differently placed and differently treated. Thus the ceremony called Rajasuya occupies one canda, corresponding with the eighth prasna of the first book (ash'taca) and is preceded by two canaas, relative to the Vajapeya and to the mode of its celebration, which occupy fourteen sections in the preceding prasna. Consecrated fire is the subject of four canaas, which fill the fourth and fifth books. Sacrifice (acthrvara) is noticed in the second and third lectures of the first book, and in several lectures of the sixth. The subject is continued in the seventh and last book, which treats largely on the Jyolistama, including the "forms of preparing" and drinking the juice of the acid asclepias. The Aswamect'ha, Nrimed'ha, and Pitntnect'ha, are severally treated of in their places; that is, in the collection of prayers,94 and in the second part of this Veda. Other topics, introduced in different places, are numerous; but it would be tedious to specify them at large.

Among the Rishis of the texts I observe no human authors. Nine entire canats, according to the [452] second arrangement indicated by the index, appear to be ascribed to PRAJA'PATI, or the lord of creatures; as many to SOMA, or the moon; seven to AGNI, or fire; and sixteen to all the gods. Possibly some passages may be allotted by the commentators to their real authors, though not pointed out by the index for the Atreyi 'Sac'ha.

Several prayers from this Veda have been translated in former essays.95 Other very remarkable passages have occurred, on examining this collection of mantras.96 The following, from the seventh and last book,97 is chosen as a specimen of the Tantiriya Yajurveda. Like several before cited, it alludes to the Indian notions of the creation; and, at the risk of sameness, I select passages relative to that topic, on account of its importance in explaining the creed of the ancient Hindu religion. The present extract was recommended for selection by its allusion to a mythological notion, which apparently gave origin, to the story of the Vardha-avatdra, and from which an astronomical period, entitled Calpa, has perhaps been taken.98

'Waters [alone] there were; this world originally was water. In it the lord of creation moved, having become air: he saw this [earth]; and upheld it, assuming the form of a boar (vardad): and then moulded that [earth], becoming VIS'WACARMAN, the artificer of the universe. It became [453]  celebrated (aprathata) and conspicuous (prifhivi); and therefore is that name (Prithivi) assigned to the earth.

'The lord of creation meditated profoundly on the earth; and created the gods, the Vasus, Rudras, and Adilyas. Those gods addressed the lord of creation, saying, "How can we form creatures?" He replied, "As I created you by profound contemplation (tapas), so do you seek in devotion (tapas) the means of multiplying creatures." He gave them consecrated fire, saying, "With this sacrificial fire perform devotions." With it they did perform austerities; and, in one year, framed a single cow. He gave her to the Vasus, to the Rudras, and to the Adilyas, [successively], bidding them. "Guard her.'' The Vasus, the Rudras, and the Adilyas, [severally] guarded her; and she calved, for the Vasus three hundred and thirty-three [calves]; and [as many] for the Rudras and [the same number] for the Adilyas: thus was she the thousandth."

'They addressed the lord of creation, requesting him to direct them in performing a solemn act of religion with a thousand [kine for a gratuity]. He caused the Vasus to sacrifice with the Agnish'toma; and they conquered this world, and gave it [to the priests]: he caused the Rudras to sacrifice with the Ucfhya and they obtained the middle region, and gave it away [for a sacrificial fee]: he caused the Adityas to sacrifice with the Aliralra; and they acquired that [other] world, and gave it [to the priests for a gratuity].'

This extract may suffice. Its close, and the remainder of the section, bear allusion to certain religious ceremonies, at which a thousand cows must be given to the officiating priests.

[454] To the second part of this Veda99 belongs an Aranya, divided, like the Sanhita, into lectures (prasna), and again subdivided into chapters (anuvdca) containing texts, or sections, which are numbered, and in which the syllables have been counted. Here also a division by cnnas, according to the different subjects, prevails. The six first lectures, and their corresponding canas, relate to religious observances. The two next constitute three Upanishads or, as they are usually cited, two; one of which is commonly entitled the Tailliriyaca Upanishad: the other is called the Nardyana, or, to distinguish it from another belonging exclusively to the Aharvaveda, the great (Maha, or Vrihan) Nardyana. They are all admitted in collections of theological treatises appendant on the Afharvaria: but the last-mentioned is there subdivided into two Upanishads.

For a further specimen of this Yajurveda, I shall only quote the opening of the third and last chapter of the Tantra or second Taittiriyaca Upanishad, with the introductory chapter of the first.100

'BHRIGU, the offspring of VARUNA, approached his father, saying, "Venerable [father]! make known to me Brahme." VARUNA propounded these: namely, food [or body], truth [or life], sight, hearing, mind [or thought], and speech: [455] and thus proceeded, "That whence all beings are produced, that by which they live when born, that towards which they tend, and that into which they pass, do thou seek, [for] that is Brahme."

'He meditated [in] devout contemplation; and having thought profoundly, he recognised food [or body] to be, Brahme: for all beings are indeed produced from food; when born, they live by food; towards food they tend; they pass into food. This he comprehended; [but yet unsatisfied] he again approached his father VARUNA, saying, "Venerable [father] make known to me Brahme." VARUNA replied, "Seek the knowledge of Brahme by devout meditation: Brahme is profound contemplation."

'Having deeply meditated, he discovered breath, [or life] to be Brahme: for all these beings are indeed produced from breath; when born, they live by breath; towards breath they tend; they pass into breath. This he understood:[but] again he approached his father VARUNA, saying, "Venerable [father]! make known to me Brahme." VARUNA replied, "Seek him by profound meditation: Brahme is that."

'He meditated in deep contemplation, and discovered intellect to be Brahme: for all these beings are indeed produced from intellect: when born, they live by intellect; towards intellect they tend; and they pass into intellect. This he understood: [but] again he came to his father VARUNA, saying, "Venerable [father], make known to me Brahme." VARUNA replied, "Inquire by devout contemplation: profound meditation is Brahme."

[456] 'He thought deeply; and having thus meditated [with] devout contemplation, he knew Ananda [or felicity] to be Brahme: for all these beings are indeed produced from pleasure; when born, they live by joy; they tend towards happiness; they pass into felicity.

'Such is the science which was attained by BHRIGU, taught by VARUNA, and founded on the supreme etherial spirit. He who knows this, rests on the same support, is endowed with [abundant] food, and becomes [a blazing fire] which consumes food: great he is by progeny, by cattle, and by holy perfections, and great by propitious celebrity.'

The above is the beginning of the last chapter of the Varuni Upanishad. I omit the remainder of it. The first Tailliriyaca Upanishad opens with the following prayer.

'May MITRA [who presides over the day], VARUNA [who governs the night], ARYAMAN [or the regent of the sun and of sight], INDRA, who gives strength], VRIHASPATI [who rules the speech and understanding], and VISHNU, whose step is vast, grant us ease. [I] bow to Brahme. Salutation unto thee, air! Even thou art Brahme, present {to our apprehension]. Thee I will call, "present Brahme:'' thee I will name, "the right one:" thee I will pronounce, "the true one." May THAT [Brahme, the universal being entitled air], preserve me; may that preserve the teacher: propitious be it.'101



Among the 'Sac'has of the Yajurveda, one, entitled Mailrdyani, furnishes an Upanishad which bears the same denomination. An abridged paraphrase of it, in verse,102 shows it to be a dialogue in which a sage, named S'A'CA'YANA, Communicates to the king, VRIHADRAT'HA, theological knowledge derived from another sage, called MAITRA.

A different 'Sac'ha of this Veda, entitled the Catha, or Cat'haca, furnishes an Upanishad bearing that name, and which is one of those most frequently cited by writers on the Vedanta. It is an extract from a Brahmana, and also occurs in collections of Upanishads, appertaining to the Atharvana.

S'WTA'SWATARA, who has given his name to one more 'Sac'ha of the Yajurveda, from which an Upanishad is extracted,103 is introduced in it as teaching theology. This Upanishad, comprised in six chapters or lectures (ad'hydya), is found in collections of theological tracts appertaining to the Atharvaveda; but, strictly, it appears to belong exclusively to the Yajush.



A peculiar degree of holiness seems to be attached, according to Indian notions, to the Samaveda; if reliance may be placed on the inference suggested by the etymology of its name, which indicates, according to the derivation104 usually assigned to it, the efficacy of this part of the Vedas in removing sin. The prayers belonging to it are, as before observed, composed in metre, and intended to be chanted, and their supposed efficacy is apparently ascribed to this mode of uttering them.

Not having yet obtained a complete copy of this Veda, or of any commentary on it, I cam only describe it imperfectly, from such fragments as I have been able to collect.

A principal, if not the first, part of the Samaveda is that entitled Archica. It comprises prayers, among which I observe many that constantly recur in rituals of Samavediya, or Ch'handoga priests, and some of which have been translated in former essays.105 They are here, arranged as appears from two copies of the Archica,106 in six chapters (prapd'taca) subdivided into half chapters, and into sections (dasat) ten in each chapter, and usually [459] containing the exact number often verses each. The same collection of prayers, in the same order, but prepared for chanting, is distributed in seventeen chapters, under the title of the Gramageya gana. That, at least, is its title in the only copy which I have seen. But rituals, directing the same prayers to be chanted, employ the designation of Archica gana, among other terms applicable to various modes of rhythmical recitation.

Another portion of the Samaveda, arranged for chanting, bears the title of Aranya gana. Three copies of it,107 which seem to agree exactly, exhibit the same distribution into three chapters, which are subdivided into half chapters and decades or sections, like the Archica above-mentioned.108 But I have not yet found a plain copy of it, divested of the additions made for guidance in chanting it.

The additions here alluded to consist in prolonging the sounds of vowels, and resolving diphthongs into two or more syllables, inserting likewise, in many places, other additional syllables, besides placing numerical marks for the management of the voice. Some of the prayers being subject to variation in the mode of chanting them, are repeated once or oftener, for the purpose of showing these differences, and to most are prefixed the appropriate names of the several passages.

[460] Under the title of Arshaya Brahmana, I have found what seems to be an index of these two portions of the Samaveda: for the names of the passages, or sometimes the initial words, are there enumerated in the same order in which they occur in the Grama geya, or Archica, followed by the Aranya gdaa. This index does not, like the explanatory tables of. the other Vedas, specify the metre of each prayer, the deity addressed in it, and the occasion on which it should be used, but only the Rishi, or author: and, from the variety of names stated in some instances, a conclusion may be drawn, that the same texts are ascribable to more than one author.

It has been already hinted, that the modes of chanting the same prayers are various, and bear different appellations. Thus, the rituals frequently direct certain texts of this Veda to be first recited simply, in a low voice according to the usual mode of inaudible utterance of the Vedas, and then to be similarly chanted in a particular manner, under the designation of Archica gana; showing, however, divers variations and exceptions from that mode, under the distinct appellation of Anirucla gana.109 So, likewise, or nearly the same passages, which are contained in the Archica and Gramageya, are arranged in a different order, with further, variations as to the mode of chanting them, in another collection named the Vhagana.

From the comparison and examination of these parts of the Samaveda, in which, so far as the collation of them has been carried, the texts appear [461] to be the same, only arranged in a different order, and marked for a different mode of recitation, I am led to think, that other collections, under similar names,110 may not differ more widely from the Archica and Aranya above-mentioned: and that these may possibly constitute the whole of that part of the Samaveda, which corresponds to the Sanhitas of other Vedas.

Under the denomination of Brahmana, which is appropriated to the second part or supplement of the Veda, various works have been received by different schools of the Samaveda. Four appear to be extant; three of which have been seen by me, either complete or in part. One is denominated Shanvinsa; probably from its containing twenty-six chapters. Another is called Adbhuta, or, at greater length, Adbhala Brahmana. The only portion, which I have yet seen, of either, has the appearance of a fragment, and breaks off at the close of the fifth chapter: both names are there introduced, owing, as it should seem, to some error; and I shall not attempt to determine which of them it really belongs to. A third Brahmana of this Veda is termed Panchavinsa so named, probably, from the number of twenty-five chapters comprised in it: and 1 conjecture this to be the same with one in my possession not designated by any particular title, but containing that precise number of chapters.

[462] The best known among the Brahmanas of the Samaveda, is that entitled Tanaya. It was expounded by SA'YANA'CHA'RYA; but a fragment of the text with his commentary, including the whole of the second book (panjica), from the sixth to the tenth lecture, is all that I have been yet able to procure. This fragment relates to the religious ceremony named Agnish'tuma. I do not find in it, nor in other portions of the Samaveda before described, any passage, which can be conveniently translated as a specimen of the style of this Veda.

Leaving, then, the Mantras and Brahmanas of the Samaveda, I proceed to notice its principal Upanishad, which is one of the longest and most abstruse compositions bearing that title.

The Ch'handagya Upanishad contains eight chapters (prapd'tacas), apparently extracted from some portion of the Brahmana, in which they are numbered from three to ten.111 The first and second, not being included in the Upanishad, probably relate to religious cerernonies. The chapters are unequally subdivided into paragraphs or sections; amounting, in all, to more than a hundred and fifty.

A great part of the Ch'handogya112 is in a didactic form: including however, like most of the other Upanishads, several dialogues. The beginning of one, between SANATCUMA'RA and NA'REDA, [463] which occupies the whole of the seventh chapter,113 has already been quoted. The preceding chapter consists of two dialogues between S'WETACETU, grandson of ARUNA, and his own father, UDDA'LACA, the son of ARUNA. These had been prepared in the fifth chapter, where PRAVA'HANA, son of JIVALA, convicts SWETACKTU of ignorance in theology: and where that conversation is followed by several other dialogues, intermixed with successive references for instruction. The fourth chapter opens with a story respecting JA'NASRUTI, grandson of PUTRA; and, in this and the fifth chapter, dialogues, between human beings, are interspersed with others, in which the interlocutors are either divine or imaginary persons. The eighth or last chapter contains a disquisition on the soul, in a conference between PRAJA'PATI and INDRA.

I shall here quote, from this Upanishad, a single dialogue belonging to the fifth chapter.

'PRA'CINASA'LA, son of UPAMANYU, SATYAYAJNYA, issue of PUIATSHA, INDRADYUMNA offspring of BHALEAVI  TANA descendant of SARCARACSHYA, and VUDILA sprung from AS'WATARAS'WA, being all persons deeply conversant with holy writ, and possessed of great dwellings, meeting together, engaged in this disquisition, "What is our soul? and who is Brahme?'

'These venerable persons reflected, "UJDDA'LACA, the son of ARUNA, is well acquainted with the universal soul: let us immediately go to him." [464] They went: but he reflected, "These great and very learned persons will ask me; and I shall not [be able] to communicate the whole [which they inquire]: I will at once indicate to them another [instructor]." He thus addressed them, "AS'WAPATI, the son of CECYAYA, is well acquainted with the universal soul; let us now go to him."

"They all went; and, on their arrival, [the king] caused due honours to be shown to them respectively: and, next morning, civilly dismissed them; [but, observing that they staid, and did not accept his presents] he thus spoke: "In my dominions, there is no robber; nor miser; no drunkard; nor any one neglectful of a consecrated hearth; none ignorant; and no adulterer, nor adulteress. Whence [can you have been aggrieved]?" [As they did not state a complaint, he thus proceeded:] "I must be asked, venerable men! [for what you desire]." [Finding, that they made no request, he went on:] "As much as I shall bestow on each officiating priest, so much will I also give to yon. Stay then, most reverend men." They answered: "It is indeed requisite to inform a person of the purpose of a visit. Thou well knowest the universal soul; communicate that knowledge unto us." He replied; "Tomorrow I will declare it to you." Perceiving his drift, they, next day, attended him, bearing [like pupils] logs of firewood. Without bowing to them, he thus spoke:

"Whom dost thou worship as the soul, O son of UPAMANYU?" "Heaven," answered he, "O venerable king!" "Splendid is that [portion of the] universal self, which thou dost worship as the soul: therefore, in thy family, is seen [the juice of the acid asclepias] drawn, expressed, and pre- [465] pared, [for religious rites]; thou dost consume food [as a blazing fire]; and thou dost view a [son or other] beloved object. Whoever worships this for the universal soul, similarly enjoys food, contemplates a beloved object, and finds religious occupations in his family. But this is [only] the head of the soul. Thy head had been lost," added the king, "hadst thou not come to me."

'He now turned to SATYAYAJNYA, the son of PULUSHA, saying, "Whom dost thou worship as the soul, descendant of PRACHINAYOGA?" "The sun," answered he, "O venerable king!" "Varied is that [portion of the] universal self, which thou dost worship as the soul; and, therefore, in thy family, many various forms are seen; a car yoked with mares, and treasure, together with female slaves, surround thee; thou dost consume food, and contemplate a pleasing object. Whoever worships this, for the universal soul, has the same enjoyments, and finds religious occupations in his family. But this is only the eye of soul. Thou hadst been blind," said the king, "hadst thou not come to me."

'He next addressed INDRADYUMNA, the son of BHALLAVI: "Whom dost thou worship as the soul, O descendant of VYA'GHRAPAD." "Air," replied he , "O venerable king!" "Diffused is that portion of the universal self, which thou dost worship as the soul; numerous offerings reach thee; many tracts of cars follow thee: thou dost consume food: thou viewest a favourite object. Whoever worships this, for the universal soul, enjoys food and contemplates a beloved object: and has religious occupations in his family. But this is only the breath of soul. Thy breath had expired," said the king, "hadst thou not come to me."

[466] 'He next interrogated JANA, the son of S'ARCARA'CSIIYA: "Whom dost thou worship as the soul, O son of S'ARCARACSHYA?" "The etherial element," said he, "O venerable king!" "Abundant is that universal self, whom thou dost worship as the soul; and, therefore, thou likewise dost abound with progeny and wealth. Thou dost consume food; thou viewest a favourite object. Whoever worships this, for the universal soul, consumes food, and sees a beloved object; and has religious occupations in his family. But this is only the trunk of soul. Thy trunk had corrupted," said the king, "hadst thou not come to me."

'He afterwards inquired of VUDILA, the son of ASWATARA'S'WA: "Whom dost thou worship as the soul, O descendant of VYA'GHRAPAD?" "Water," said he, "O venerable king!" "Rich is that universal self, whom thou dost worship as the soul; and, therefore, art thou opulent and thriving. Thou dost consume food; thou viewest a favourite object. Whoever worships this, for the universal soul, partakes of similar enjoyments, contemplates as dear an object, and has religious occupations in his family. But this is only the abdomen of the soul. Thy bladder had burst," said the king, "hadst thou not come to me."

'Lastly, he interrogated UDDAI.ACA, the son of ARUNA. "Whom dost thou worship as the soul, descendant of GOTAMA?" "The earth," said he, "O venerable king!" "Constant is that universal self, whom thou dost worship as the soul: and, therefore, thou remainest steady, with offspring and with cattle. Thou dost consume food; thou viewest a favourite object. Whoever worships this, for the universal soul, shares like enjoyment, and views as beloved an object, and has [467] religious occupations in his family. But this forms only the feet of the soul. Thy feet had been lame," said the king, "hadst thou not come to me."

'He thus addressed them [collectively]: "You consider this universal soul, as it were an individual being; and you partake of distinct enjoyment. But he , who worships, as the universal soul, that which is known by its [manifested] portions, and is inferred [from consciousness], enjoys nourishment in all worlds, in all beings, in all souls: his head is splendid, like that of this universal soul; his eye is similarly varied; his breath is equally diffused; his trunk is no less abundant; his abdomen is alike full; and his feet are the earth; his breast is the altar; his hair is the sacred grass; his heart, the household fire; his mind, the consecrated flame; and his mouth, the oblation.

"The food, which first reaches him, should be solemnly offered: and the first oblation, which he makes, he should present with these words: "Be this oblation to breath efficacious." Thus breath is satisfied; and, in that, the eye is satiate; and, in the eye, the sun is content; and, in the sun, the sky is gratified; and, in the sky, heaven and the sun, and whatever is dependant, become replete: and after that, ho himself [who eats] is fully gratified with offspring and cattle; with vigour proceeding from food, and splendour arising from holy observances?114

[468] "But whoever makes an oblation to fire, being unacquainted with the universal soul, acts in the same manner, as one who throws live coals into ashes; while he, who presents an oblation, possessing that knowledge, has made an offering in all worlds, in all beings, in all souls. As the tip of dry grass, which is cast into the fire, readily kindles; so are all the faults of that man consumed. He, who knows this, has only presented an oblation to the universal soul, even though he knowingly give the residue to a Chanlala. For, on this point, a text is [preserved]: "As, in this world, hungry infants press round their mother; so do all beings await the holy oblation: they await the holy oblation."

Another Upanishad of the Samaveda belongs to the 'Sac'ha of the Taiavacdras. It is called, the "Cencshila, " or "Cenu" Upanishad, from the word, or words, with which it opens: and, as appears from SANCARA'S commentary,115 this treatise is the ninth chapter (ad'hydya) of the work, from which it is extracted. It is comprised in four sections (c'handa). The form is that of a dialogue between instructors and their pupils. The subject is, as in other Upanishads, a disquisition on abstruse and mystical theology. I shall not make any extract from it, but proceed to describe the fourth and last Veda.



The Sanhita, or collection of prayers and invocations, belonging to the Alharvatia, is comprised in twenty books (canfat), subdivided into sections (anttvdca) hymns (sucla) , and verses (rich). Another mode of division by chapters (prapd'tacci) is also indicated. The number of verses is stated at 6015; the sections exceed a hundred; and the hymns amount to more than seven hundred and sixty. The number of chapters is forty nearly.

A passage from this Veda was quoted by Sir W. JONES in his essay on the literature of the Hindus116 and a version of it was given, as a specimen of the language and style of the Atharvana. That passage comprises the whole of the forty-third hymn of the nineteenth book.117 In the beginning of the same book, I find a hymn (numbered as the sixth) which is almost word for word the same with that, which has been before cited from the thirty-first chapter of the White Yajush.118 Some of the versos are indeed trans- [470] posed, and here and there a word differs: for example, it opens by describing the primeval man (purusha) with a thousand arms, instead of a thousand heads. The purport is, nevertheless, the same; and it is needless, therefore, to insert a version of it in this place.

The next hymn, in the same book, includes an important passage. It names the twenty-eight asterisms in their order, beginning with Crillica: and seems to refer the solstice to the end of Aslesha, or beginning of Magha. I call it an important passage; first, because it shows, that the introduction of the twenty-eighth asterism is as ancient as the Atharva-veda; and, secondly, because it authorises a presumption, that the whole of that Veda, like this particular hymn, may have been composed when the solstice was reckoned in the middle, or at the end, of Aslesha,119 and the origin of the Zodiac was placed at the beginning of Crillica. On the obvious conclusion, respecting the age of the Veda, I shall enlarge in another place.

An incantation, which appears to be the same that is mentioned by Sir W. JONES,120 occurs in the fourth section of the nineteenth book. It is indeed a tremendous incantation; especially three suctas, or hymns, which are numbered 28, 29, and 30. A single line will be a sufficient specimen of these imprecations, in which, too, there is much sameness.

[471] 'Destroy, sacred grass,121 my foes; exterminate my enemies; annihilate all those, who hate me, precious gem!

The Atharva-veda, as is well known, contains many forms of imprecation for the destruction of enemies. But it must not be inferred, that such is the chief subject of that Veda; since it also contains a great number of prayers for safety and for the averting of calamities: and, like the other Vedas, numerous hymns to the gods, with prayers to be used at solemn rites and religious exercises, excepting such as are named Yajnya.

The Gopatha Brahmana appears to belong to the second part of this Veda. Not having seen a commentary, nor an index, of this work, I can only speak of it from a copy in my possession: this contains five chapters (prapdtaca) , with the date of the transcript122 and name of the transcriber, at the end of the fifth, as is usual in the colophon at the close of a volume.

The first chapter of this Gopafha Brahmana traces the origin of the universe from Brahme and it appears from the fourth section of this chapter, that AT'HARVAN is considered as a Prajdpati appointed by Brahme to create and protect subordinate beings.

In the fifth chapter, several remarkable passages, identifying the primeval person (ptirustui) with the year (samvalsaret), convey marked allusions to the calendar. In one place (the fifth section), besides stating the year to contain twelve or thirteen [472] lunar months, the subdivision of that period is pursued to 360 days; and, thence, to 10,800 mithurtas, or hours.

I proceed to notice the most remarkable part of the Atharva-veda, consisting of the theological treatises, entitled Upanishads, which are appendant on it. They are computed at fifty-two: but this number is completed by reckoning, as distinct Upanishads, different parts of a single tract. Four such treatises, comprising eight Upanishads, together with six of those before described as appertaining to other Vedas, are perpetually cited in dissertations on the Vedanta.123 Others are either more sparingly, or not at all, quoted.

It may be here proper to explain what is meant by Upanishad. In dictionaries, this term is made equivalent to Rehesya, which signifies mystery. This last term is, in fact, frequently employed by MENU, and other ancient authors, whore the commentators understand Upanishads to be meant. But neither the etymology, nor the acceptation, of the word, which is now to be explained, has any direct connexion with the idea of secrecy, concealment, or mystery. Its proper meaning, according to S'ANCARA, SA'YANA, and all the commentators, is divine science, or the knowledge of GOD: and, according to the same authorities, it is equally applicable to theology itself, and to a book in which this science is taught. Its deriva- [473] tion is from the verb sad (shad-lri), to destroy, to move, or to weary, preceded by the prepositions upa near, and ni continually, or nis certainly. The sense, properly deducible from this etymology, according to the different explanations given by commentators, invariably points to the knowledge of the divine perfections, and to the consequent attainment of beatitude through exemption from passions.124

The whole of the Indian theology is professedly founded on the Upanishads.125 Those, which have been before described, have been shown to be extracts from the Veda. The rest are also considered as appertaining to the Indian scripture: it does not, however, clearly appear, whether they are detached essays, or have been extracted from a Brahmunu of the Atharva-veda. I have not found any of them in the Sanhita of the Atharvata, nor in the Gopabha Brahmana.

In the best copies of the fifty-two Upanishads126 the first fifteen are stated to have been taken from the Saunaciyas, whose 'Sac'ha seems to be the principal one of the Atharva-veda. The remaining [474] thirty-seven appertain to various 'Sac'has, mostly to that of the Paippalddis: but some of them, as will be shown, are borrowed from other Vedas.

The Mitbaca, divided into six sections unequally distributed in two parts, is the first Upanishad of the Atharvana; and is also one of the most important, for the doctrines which is contains. It has been fully illustrated by S'ANCARA, whose gloss is assisted by the annotations of A'NANDAJNYA'NA. The opening of this Upanishad, comprising the whole of the first section, is here subjoined.

'BRAHMA' was first of the gods, framer of the universe, guardian of the world. He taught the knowledge of GOD, which is the foundation of all science, to his eldest son AT'HARVA. That holy science, which BRAHMA' revealed to AT'HARVAN,127 was communicated by him to ANGIR, who transmitted it to SATYAVAHA, the descendant of BHARADWA'JA; and this son of BHARADWA'JA imparted the traditional science to ANGIRAS.

'S'AUNACA, or the son of S'UNACA, a mighty householder, addressing ANGIRAS with due respect, asked, "What is it, venerable sage, through which, when known, this universe is understood?"

'To him the holy personage thus replied: "Two sorts of science must be distinguished; as they, who know GOD, declare: the supreme science, [475] and another. This other is the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Satnaveda, the Atharva-veda,128 the rules of accentuation, the rites of religion, grammar, the glossary and explanation of obscure terms, prosody, and astronomy: also the Ilihasa and Purana; and logic, with the rules of interpretation, and the system of moral duties.

"But the supreme science is that, by which this unperishable [nature] is apprehended; invisible [or imperceptible, as is that nature]: not to be seized; not to be deduced; devoid of colour; destitute of eyes and ears; without hands or feet, yet ever variously pervading all: minute, unalterable; and contemplated by the wise for the source of beings.

"As the spider spins and gathers back [its thread]; as plants sprout on the earth; as hairs grow on a living person: so is this universe, here, produced from the unperishable nature. By contemplation, the vast one germinates; from him food [or body] is produced; and thence, successively, breath, mind, real [elements], worlds, and immortality arising from [good] deeds. The omniscient is profound contemplation, consisting in the knowledge of him, who knows all: and, from that, the [manifested] vast one, as well as names, forms, and food, proceed: and this is truth."

The Prasna, which is the second Upanishad, and equally important with the first, consists, like it, of six sections; and has been similarly interpreted by SANCAKA and BALACRISHNA.129 In this [476] dialogue, SUCASA, the son of BHARADWA'JA, SATYACAMA, descended from SIVI, SAUKYAYANI, a remote descendant of the Sun, but belonging to the family of GARGA, CAUS'ALYA, surnamed A'SWALA'YANA, or son of AS'WALA, VAIDARBHI of the race of BHUIGU, together with CABAND'HI surnamed CA'TYA'YANA, or descendant of CATYA, are introduced as seeking the knowledge of theology, and applying to PIPPALA'DA for instruction. They successively interrogate him concerning the origin of creatures, the nature of the gods, the union of life with body, and the connexion of thoughts with the soul.

The nine succeeding Upanishads (from the 3d to the llth) are of inferior importance, and have been left unexplained by the. writers on the Vedanta, because they do not directly relate to the 'Sariraca, or theological doctrine respecting the soul.130 They are enumerated in the margin.131

The Mantlucya follows, and consists of four parts, each constituting a distinct Upanishad. This abstruse treatise, comprising the most material doctrines of the Vedanta, has been elucidated by the labours of GAUDAPADA, and SANCARA. GAUDAPA'DA'S commentary is assisted by the notes of ANANDAG-IRI.

Among the miscellaneous Upanishads, the first thirteen (from the 16th to the 28th) have been left [477] uncommented by the principal expounders of the Vedanta, for a reason before-mentioned. The names of these Upanishads will be found in the subjoined note.132

The following six from (from the 29th to the 34th,) constitute the Nnsinha Tdpaniya; five of them compose the Piirva Tdpaniya, or first part of the Upanishad so called; and the last, and most important, is entitled Ultara Tdpaniya. It has been expounded by GAUDAPA'DA, as the first part (if not the whole Upanishad) has been by SANCARA.133 The object of this treatise appears to be the identifying of NRISINHA with all the gods: but, so far as I comprehend its meaning (for I have not sufficiently examined it to pronounce confidently on this point,) the fabulous incarnation of VISHNU, in the shape of a vast lion, does not seem to be at all intended; and the name of NRISINHA is applied to the divinity, with a superlative import, but with no apparent allusion to that fable.

The two next Upanishads constitute the first and second parts of the Cathaca, or Valli, or Ca'thavalli (for the name varies in different copies). It belongs properly to the Yajurveda, as before mentioned; but it is usually cited from the Athar- [478] vana; and has been commented, as appertaining to this Veda, by SANCARA, and by BA'LACRISHNA.134

It comprises six sections, severally entitled Valli, but constituting two chapters (ad'hydya], denominated Purva-valli and Uttara-valli. The dialogue is supported by Mrityu, or death, and the prince NACHICITAS, whom his father, VA'JASRAVASA, consigned toYAMA, being provoked by the boy's importunately asking him, (through zeal, however, for the success of a sacrifice performed to ensure universal conquest,) "to whom wilt thou give me?" YAMA receives NACHICETAS with honour, and instructs him in theology, by which beatitude and exemption from worldly sufferings may be attained, through a knowledge of the true nature of the soul, and its identity with [59] the supreme Being. The doctrine is similar to that of other principal Upanishads.

The Ce'neshita, or Cena Upanishad, is the thirty-seventh of the Atharvanti, and agrees, almost word for word, with a treatise bearing the same title, and belonging to a 'Sac'ha of the Samavcda. ANGARA has, however, written separate commentaries on both, for the sake of exhibiting their different interpretations.135 Both commentaries have, as usual, been annotated.

[479] A short Upanishad, entitled Nardyana, is followed by two others (39th and 40th), which form the first and second parts of the Vrihan. Nadrayana. This corresponds, as before mentioned, with an Upanishad, bearing the same title, and terminating the Aranya of the Tuilliriya Yajurveda.

On the three subsequent Upanishads I shall offer no remarks; they have not been commented among such as relate to the Vedanta; and 1 have not ascertained whence they are extracted.136

Under the name of Anandavalli and Bhriguvalli, two Upanishads follow (44th and 45th), which have been already noticed as extracts from the Aranya of the Black Yajush, distinguished by the titles of Tailliriya and Varuni.

The remaining seven Upanishads137 are unexplained by commentators on the Vedanta. They are, indeed, sufficiently easy, not to require a laboured interpretation: but there is room to regret the want of an ancient commentary, which might assist in determining whether these Upanishads be genuine. The reason of this remark will be subsequently explained.

Entertaining no doubts concerning the genuineness of the other works, which have been here described, I think it nevertheless proper to state some of the reasons, on which my belief of their [480] authenticity is founded. It appears necessary to do so, since a late author has abruptly pronounced the Vedas to be forgeries.138

It has been already mentioned, that the practice of reading the principal Vedas in superstitious modes, tends to preserve the genuine text. Copies, prepared for such modes of recital, are spread in various parts of India, especially Benares, Jeyenagar, and the banks of the Gudaveri. Interpolations and forgeries have become impracticable since this usage has been introduced: and the Rigveda, and both the Yajushes, belonging to the several 'Sac'has, in which that custom has been adopted, have been, therefore, long safe from alteration.

The explanatory table of contents, belonging to the several Vedas, also tends to ensure the purity of the text; since the subject and length of each passage are therein specified. The index, again, is itself secured from alteration by more than one exposition of its meaning, in the form of a perpetual commentary.

It is a received and well grounded opinion of the learned in India, that no book is altogether safe from changes and interpolations until it have been commented; but when once a gloss has been published, no fabrication could afterwards succeed; because the .perpetual commentary notices every passage, and, in general, explains every word.

[481] Commentaries on the Vedas themselves exist, which testify the authenticity of the text. Some are stated to have been composed in early times: I shall not, however, rely on any but those to which I can with certainty refer. I have fragments of UVATA'S gloss; the greatest part of SA'YANA'S on several Vedas; and a complete one by MAHID'HARA on a single Veda. I also possess nearly the whole of SANCARA'S commentary on the Upanishads; and a part of GAUDAPA'DA'S; with others, by different authors of less note.

The genuineness of the commentaries, again, is secured by a crowd of annotators, whose works expound every passage in the original gloss; and whose annotations are again interpreted by others. This observation is particularly applicable to the most important parts of the Vedas, which, as is natural, are the most studiously and elaborately explained.

The Niructa, with its copious commentaries on the obsolete words and passages of scripture, further authenticates the accuracy of the text, as there explained. The references and quotations, in those works, agree with the text of the Vedas, as we now find it.

The grammar of the Sanscrit language contains rules applicable to the anomalies of the ancient dialect. The many and voluminous commentaries on that, and on other parts of the grammar, abound in examples cited from the Vedas: and here, also, the present text is consonant to those ancient quotations.

Philosophical works, especially the numerous commentaries on the aphorisms of the Mimansa and Vedanta, illustrate and support every position advanced in them, by ample quotations from the Vedas. The object of the Mimansa is to establish the cogency of precepts contained in scripture, and to furnish maxims for its .interpretation; and, for the same purpose, rules of reasoning, from which a system of logic is deducible. The object of the [482] Vedanta is to illustrate the system of mystical theology taught by the supposed revelation, and to show its application to the enthusiastic pursuit of unimpassioned perfection and mystical intercourse with the divinity. Both are closely connected with the Vedas: and here, likewise, the authenticity of the text is supported by ancient references and citations.

Numerous collections of aphorisms, by ancient authors,139 on religious ceremonies, contain, in every line, references to passages of the Vedas. Commentaries on these aphorisms cite the passages at greater length. Separate treatises also interpret the prayers used at divers ceremonies. Rituals, some ancient, others modern, contain a full detail of the ceremonial, with all the prayers which are to be recited at the various religious rites for which they are formed. Such rituals are extant, not only for ceremonies which are constantly observed, but for others which are rarely practised; and even for such as have been long since disused. [483] In all, the passages taken from the Vedas agree with the text of the general compilation.

The Indian legislators, with their commentators, and the copious digests and compilations from their works, frequently refer to the Vedas; especially on those points of the law which concern religion. Here also the references are consistent with the present text of the Indian scripture.

Writers on ethics sometimes draw from the Vedas illustrations of moral maxims, and quote from their holy writ passages at full length, in support of ethical precepts.140 These quotations are found to agree with the received text of the sacred books.

Citations from the Indian scripture occur in every branch of literature studied by orthodox Hindus. Astronomy, so far as it relates to the calendar, has frequent occasion for reference to the Vedas. Medical writers sometimes cite them; and even annotators on profane poets occasionally refer to this authority, in explaining passages which contain allusions to the sacred text.

Even the writings of the heretical sects exhibit quotations from the Vedas. I have met with such in the books of the Jainas, unattended by any indication of their doubting the genuineness of the original, though they do not receive its doctrines, nor acknowledge its cogency.141

[484] In all these branches of Indian literature, while perusing or consulting the works of various authors, I have found perpetual references to the Vedas, and have frequently verified the quotations. On this ground I defend the authentic text of the Indian scripture, as it is now extant: and although the passages which I have so verified are few, compared with the great volume of the Vedas, yet I have sufficient grounds to argue, that no skill in the nefarious arts of forgery and falsification, could be equal to the arduous task of fabricating large works, to agree with the very numerous citations, pervading thousands of volumes, composed on diverse subjects, in every branch of literature, and dispersed through the various nations of Hindus, inhabiting Hindustan and the Dekhin.

If any part of what is now received as the Veda, cannot stand the test of such a comparison, it may be rejected, as at least doubtful, if not certainly spurious. Even such parts as cannot be fully confirmed by a strict scrutiny, must be either received with caution, or be set aside as questionable. I shall point out parts of the fourth Veda, which I consider to be in this predicament. But, with the exceptions now indicated, the various portions of the Vedas, which have been examined, are as yet free from such suspicion; and, until they are impeached by more than vague assertion, have every title to be admitted as genuine copies of books, which (however little deserving of it) have been long held in reverence by the Hindus.

I am apprized that this opinion will find oppo- [485] nents, who are inclined to dispute the whole of Indian literature, and to consider it all as consisting of forgeries, fabricated within a few years, or, at best, in the last, few ages. This appears to be grounded on assertions and conjectures, which were inconsiderately hazarded, and which have been eagerly received, and extravagantly strained.

In the first place, it should be observed, that a work must not be hastily condemned as a forgery, because, on examination, it appears not to have been really written by the person, whose name is usually coupled with quotations from it. For if the very work itself show that it does not purport to be written by that person, the safe conclusion is, that it was never meant to be ascribed to him. Thus the two principal codes of Hindu law are usually cited as MENU'S and YA'JNYAWALCY-A'S: but in the codes themselves, those are dialogists, not authors: and the best commentators expressly declare that these institutes were written by other persons than MENU and YA'JNYAWALCYA.142 The Surya Sidd'hanta is not pretended to have been written by MEYA: but he is introduced as receiving instruction from a partial incarnation of the Sun; and their conversation constitutes a dialogue, which is recited by another person in a different company. The text of the Sanc'hya philosophy, from which the sect of BUDD'HA seems to have borrowed its doctrines, is not the work of CAPILA himself, though vulgarly ascribed to him; but it purports to be composed by ISWAKA CRISHNA; and he is stated to have received the doctrine mediately from CAPILA, through successive teachers, [486] after its publication by PANCHASIC'HA, who had boon himself instructed by ASURI, the pupil of CAPILA.143

To adduce more instances would be tedious: they abound in every branch of science. Among works, the authors of which are unknown, and which, therefore, as usual, are vulgarly ascribed to some celebrated name, many contain undisguised evidence of a more modern date. Such are those parts of Puranas in winch the prophetic style is assumed, because they relate to events posterior to the age of the persons who are speakers in in the dialogue. Thus BUDD'HA is mentioned under various names in the Malsya, Vishnu, Bhagawata, Garuda, Nrisinha, and other Puranas. I must not. omit to notice, that S'ANCARA'CHARYA, the great commentator on the abstrusest parts of the Vedas, is celebrated, in the Vrihna (Tharma purdnu, as an incarnation of VISHNU; and GAUDAPA'DA is described, in the 'Sancaraveya, as the pupil of S'UCA the son of VYA'SA.144

I do not mean to say, that forgeries are. not sometimes committed; or that books are not counterfeited, in whole or in part. Sir W. JONES, Mr. BLAQUIERF, and myself, have detected interpolations. Many greater forgeries have been at- [487] tempted: some have for a time succeeded, and been ultimately discovered: in regard to others, detection has immediately overtaken the fraudulent attempt. A conspicuous instance of systematic fabrication, by which Captain WILFORD was for a time deceived, has been brought to light, as has been fully stated by that gentleman. But though such attempts have been abortive, others may doubtless have succeeded. I am myself inclined to adopt an opinion supported by many learned Hindus, who consider the celebrated 'Sri Bhagavata as the work of a grammarian, supposed to have lived about six hundred years ago.

In this, as in several other instances, some of winch I shall have likewise occasion to notice, the learned among the Hindus have resisted the impositions that have been attempted. Many others might be stated, where no imposition has been cither practised or intended. In Europe, as well as in the East, works are often published anonymously, with fictitious introductions: and diverse compositions, the real authors of which are not known, have, on insufficient grounds, been dignified with celebrated names. To such instances, which are frequent everywhere, the imputation of forgery does not attach.

In Europe, too , literary forgeries have been committed , both in ancient and modern times. The poems ascribed to ORPHEUS, are generally admitted not to have been composed by that poet, if, indeed, he ever existed. NANI, or ANNTUS, of Viterbo, is now universally considered as an impostor, notwithstanding the defence of his publication, and of himself, by some among the learned of his age. In our own country, and in recent times, literary frauds have been not unfrequent. [488] But a native of India, who should retort the charge, and argue from a few instances, that the whole literature of Europe, which is held ancient, consists of modern forgeries, would be justly censured for his presumption.

We must not then indiscriminately condemn the whole literature of India. Even Father HARDOUIN, when he advanced a similar paradox respecting the works of ancient writers, excepted some compositions of CICERO, VIRGIL, HORACE, and PLINY.

It is necessary in this country as every where else, to be guarded against literary impositions. But doubt and suspicion should not be carried to an extreme length. Some fabricated works, some interpolated passages, will be detected by the sagacity of critics in the progress of researches into the learning of the east: but the greatest part of the books, received by the learned among the Hindus, will assuredly be found genuine. I do not doubt that the Vedas, of which an account has been here given, will appear to be of this description.

In pronouncing them to be genuine, I mean to say, that they are the same compositions, which, under the same title of Veda, have been revered by Hindus for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. I think it probable, that they were compiled by DWAIPA'YANA, the person who is said to have collected them, and who is thence surnamed Vyasa, or the compiler. I can perceive no difficulty in admitting, that those passages which are now ascribed to human authors, either as the Rishis, or as the reciters of the text, were attributed to the same persons, so long ago, as when [489] the compilation was made; and probably, in most instances, those passages were really composed by the alleged authors. Concerning such texts as are assigned to divine persons, according to Hindu mythology, it may be fairly concluded, that the true writers of them were not known when the compilation was made; and, for this reason, they were assigned to fabulous personages.

The different portions which constitute the Vedas, must have been written at various times. The exact period when they were compiled, or that in which the greatest part was composed, cannot be determined with accuracy and confidence from any facts yet ascertained. But the country may; since many rivers of India are mentioned in more than one text; and, in regard to the, period, I incline to think, that the ceremonies called Yajnya, and the prayers to be recited at those ceremonies, are as old as the calendar, which purports to have been framed for such religious rites.

To each Veda a treatise, under the title of Jyotish, is annexed, which explains the adjustment of the calendar, for the purpose of fixing the proper periods for the performance of religious duties. It is adapted to the comparison of solar and lunar time with the vulgar or civil year; and was evidently formed in the infancy of astronomical knowledge. From the rules delivered in the treatises which I have examined,145 it appears, [490] that the cycle (yuga) there employed, is a period of five years only. The month is lunar; but at the end, and in the middle, of the quinquennial period, an intercalation is admitted, by doubling one month. Accordingly, the cycle comprises three common lunar years, and two, which contain thirteen lunations each. The year is divided into six seasons; and each month into half months. A complete lunation is measured by thirty lunar days; some one of which must of course, in alternate months, be sunk, to make the dates agree with the nycthemera. For this purpose, the sixty-second day appears to be deducted:146 and thus the cycle of five years consists of 1860 lunar days, or 1830 nycthemera; subject to a further correction, for the excess of nearly four days above the true sidereal year: but the exact quantity of this correction, and the method of making it, according to this calendar, have not yet been sufficiently investigated to be here stated. The zodiac is divided into twenty-seven asterisms, or signs, the first of which, both in the Jyotish and in the Vedas, is Crilica, or the Pleiads. The place of the colures, according to these astronomical treatises, will be forthwith mentioned: but none of them hint at a motion of the equinoxes. The measure of a day by thirty hours, and that of an hour by sixty minutes, are explained; and the method of constructing a clepsydra is taught.

This ancient Hindu calendar, corresponding in its divisions of time, and in the assigned origin of the [491] ecliptic, with several passages of the Vedas, is evidently the foundation of that which, after successive corrections, is now received by the Hindus throughout India. The progress of those corrections may be traced, from the cycle of five,147 to one of sixty lunar years (which is noticed in many popular treatises on the calendar, and in the commentary of the Jyotish); and thence, to one of sixty years of JUPITER; and, finally, to the greater astronomical periods of twelve thousand years of the gods, and a hundred years of BRAHMA. But the history of Indian astronomy is not the subject of this essay. I shall only cite, from the treatises here referred to, a passage in which the then place of the colures is stated.

'Srvar dcramele soma'rcau yadi sdcam savdsavau: sydl tadddiyngam, may has, tapas, suclo, 'yanam hy udac.

'Prapadyete sravish't" hddau suryachdndramasdv udac; sdrp'drtfhe ddcshin'drc lu: mdcfha-srdvanayuh sadd.

'Gharma-vrtdd'hir, apdm prashah, cshapd-hrdsa,[492]  ndag galau: dacshine (an viparyaslau, shun muhiirly ayanena lu.'

The following is a literal translation of this remarkable passage, which occurs in both the treatises examined by me.

'When the sun and moon ascend the sky together, being in the constellation over which the Vasus preside; then does the cycle begin, and the [season] Magha, and the [month] Tapas, and the bright [fortnight], and the northern path.

'The sun and moon turn towards the north at the beginning of 'Sravishha: but the sun turns towards the south in the middle of the constellation over which the serpents preside; and this [his turn towards the south, and towards the north], always [happens] in [the months of] Magha and 'Sravana.

'In the northern progress, an increase of day, and decrease of night, take place, amounting to a prasfha (or 32 palas) of water: in the southern, both are reversed (i.e. the days decrease and the nights increase), and [the difference amounts] by the journey, to six muhurlas."148

'Sravish't'a is given, in all the dictionaries of the Sanscrit language, as another name of Sranishha: and is used for it in more than one passage of the Vedas. This is the constellation which is sacred to the [493] Vasus; as Aslesha is to the serpents. The deities presiding over the twenty-seven constellations, are enumerated in three other verses of the Jyotish belonging to the Yajush, and in several places of the Vedas. The Jyotish of the Rich differs in transposing two of them but the commentator corrects this as a faulty reading.

In several passages of the Jyotish, these names of deities are used for the constellations over which they preside; especially one, which states the situation of the moon, when the sun reaches the tropic, in years other than the first of the cycle. Every where these terms are explained, as indicating the constellations which that enumeration allots to them.149 Texts, contained in the Vedas themselves, confirm the correspondence; and the connexion of Astvini and the Aswins is indeed decisive.

Hence it is clear, that Sranishfha and Aslesha are the constellations meant; and that when this Hindu calendar was regulated, the solstitial points were reckoned to be at the beginning of the one, and in the middle of the other: and such was the situation of those cardinal points, in the fourteenth century before the Christian era. I formerly150 had occasion to show from another passage of the Vedas, that the correspondence of seasons with months, as there stated, and as also suggested in the passage now quoted from the Jyotish, agrees with such a situation of the cardinal points.

I now proceed to fulfil the promise of indicating such parts of the [494] fourth Veda as appear liable to suspicion. These are the remaining detached Upanishads, which are not received into the best collections of fifty-two theological tracts, belonging to the Atharva-veda; and even some of those which are there inserted, but which, so far as my inquiries have yet reached, do not appear to have been commented by ancient authors, nor to have been quoted in the old commentaries on the Vedanta. Two of these Upanishads are particularly suspicious: one entitled Rama Iapaniya, consisting of two parts (Pnrva and Ullara); and another called Gopala tapaniya, also comprising two parts, of which one is named the Crishna Upanishad. The introduction to the first of these works contains a summary, which agrees in substance with the mythological history of the husband of SITA, and conqueror of Lanca. The other exalts the hero of Mathura.

Although the Rama tapaniya be inserted in all the collections of Upanishads, which I have seen; and the Gopala tapaniya appear in some, yet I am inclined to doubt their genuineness, and to suspect that they have been written in times, modern, when compared with the remainder of the Vedas. This suspicion is chiefly grounded on the opinion, that the sects, which now worship RA'MA and CRISHNA as incarnations of VISHNU, are comparatively new. I have not found, in any other part of the Vedas, the least trace of such a worship. The real doctrine of the whole Indian scripture is the unity of the deity, in whom the universe is comprehended; and the seeming polytheism which it exhibits, offers the elements, and the stars, and planets, as gods. The three principal manifestations of the divinity, with other personified attributes and energies, and most of the [495] other gods of Hindu mythology, are indeed mentioned, or at least indicated, in the Vedas. But the worship of deified heroes is no part of that system, nor are the incarnations of deities suggested in any other portion of the text, which I have yet seen; though such are sometimes hinted at by the commentators.

According to the notions, which I entertain of the real history of the Hindu religion, the worship of RAMA, son of CRISHNA, by the Vaishiiavas, and that of MAHA'DEVA and BHAVA'NI by the 'Saivas and 'Sactas, have been generally introduced, since the persecution of the Baudhhas and Juinas. The institutions of the Vedas are anterior to BUDD'HA, whose theology seems to have been borrowed from the system of CAPIEA, and whose most conspicuous practical doctrine is stated to have been the unlawfulness of killing animals, which in his opinion were too frequently slain for the purpose of eating their flesh, under the pretence of performing a sacrifice or Yajnya. The overthrow of the sect of BUDD'HA, in India, has not effected the full revival of the religious system inculcated in the Vedas. Most of what is there taught, is now obsolete: and, in its stead, new orders of religious devotees have been instituted; and new forms of religious ceremonies have been established. Rituals founded on the Puranas and observances borrowed from a worse source, the Tantras, have, in a great measure, antiquated the institutions of the Vedas. In particular, the sacrificing of animals before the idols of CA'LI,151 has [496] superseded the less sanguinary practice of the Yajnya; and the adoration of RA'MA and of CRISHNA has .succeeded to that of the elements and planets. If this opinion be well founded, it follows that the Upanishads in question have probably been composed in later times, since the introduction of those sects, which hold RA'MA and GOPALA in peculiar veneration.

On the same ground, every Upanishad, which strongly favours the doctrines of these sects, may be rejected, as liable to much suspicion.

Such is the Adnaboctha Upanishad,152 in which CRISHNA is noticed by the title of MAD'HUSUDANA , son of DEVACI: and such, also, is the Sundarildpani,153 which inculcates the worship of DEVI.

The remaining Upanishads do not, so far as I have examined them, exhibit any internal evidence of a modern date. I state them as liable to [497] doubt, merely because I am not acquainted with any external evidence of their genuineness.154 But it is probable, that further researches may ascertain the accuracy of most of them, as extracts from the Vedas; and their authenticity, as works quoted by known authors. In point of doctrine they appear to conform with the genuine Upanishads.

The preceding description may serve to convey some notion of the Vedas. They are too voluminous for a complete translation of the whole; and what they contain would hardly reward the labour of the reader; much less that of the translator. The ancient dialect in which they are composed, and especially that of the three first Vedas, is extremely difficult and obscure: and, though curious, as the parent of a more polished and refined language (the classical Sanscrit), its difficulties must long continue to prevent such an examination of the whole Vedas, as would be requisite for extracting all that is remarkable and important in those voluminous works. But they well deserve to be occasionally consulted by the oriental scholar.


1 Extracts have also, been translated into the Hindi language; but it does not, appear upon what occasion this version into the vulgar dialect was made.

2 See Preface to MENU, page vi. and the Works of Sir WILLIAM JONES, vol. vi.

3 MENU, chap. 11, v. 33.

4 Essay Second, on Religious Ceremonies. See Asiatic Researches, vol. vii, p. 251.

5 From the 31st chapter; which, together with the preceding chapter (30th), relates to the Purushamed'ha, a type of the allegorical immolation of NAKAYANA, or of BRAHMA in that character.

6 MENU alludes to this fabulous origin of the Vedas (chap. 1. v. 23). His commentator, M'KDHA'TIT'HI, explains it by remarking, that the Rigveda opens with a hymn to fire; and the Yajurveda with one in which air is mentioned. But CULLUCAHHATTA has recourse to the renovations of the universe. "In one Calpa, the Vedas proceeded from fire, air, and the sun; in another, from HAIIMA, at, his allegorical immolation."

7 Vide Vedas passim.

8 In the Taittiriya Upanishad.

9 Ch'hdndogya Upanishad, cb. 7, 1. I insert the whole passage, because it contains an ample enumeration of the sciences. The names by which grammar and the rest are indicated in the original text are obscure; but the annotations of SANCARA explain them. This, like any other portion of a Veda where it is itself named (for a few other instances occur), must of course be . more modern than another part to which the name had been previously assigned. It will hereafter be shown, that the Vedas are a compilation of prayers, called mantras; with a collection of precepts and maxims, entitled Brahmana, from which last portion the Upanishad is extracted. The prayers are properly the Vedas, and apparently preceded the Brahmana.

10 When the study of the Indian scriptures was more general than at present, especially among the Brahmanas of Canyacubja, learned priests derived titles from the number of Vedas with which they were conversant. Since every priest was bound to study one Veda, no title was derived from the fulfilment of that duty; but a person who had studied two Vedas was surnamed Dwivedi; one who was conversant with three, Trivedi; and one versed in four, Chalurvedi: as the mythological poems were only figuratively called a Veda no distinction appears to have been derived from a knowledge of them in addition to the four scriptures. The titles abovementioned have become the surnames of families among the Brahmans of Canoj, and are corrupted by vulgar pronunciation into Dobe, Tindre, and Chaube.

11 MADUSUDANA SARASWATI, in the Prathdnabheda.

12 The authorities on which this is stated are chiefly the Vishnu Purana, part 3, chap. 4, and the Vijeyavildsa on the study of scripture; also the Charuhnvyuha, on the 'Sac'has of the Vedas.

13 The Vishnu Purana, part 3, chap. 5. A different motive of resentment is assigned by others.

14 Vrihad Aranyacn ad calcem. The passage is cited by the commentator on the Rigveda. In the index likewise, YAJNYAWALCYA is stated to have received the revelation from the sun.

15 Cananiecrama, verse 25. This index indicatorius is formed for the Alreyi'Sadc'ha. Its author is CUNDINA, if the text (vers. 27) be rightly interpreted.

16 This agrees with the etymology of the word Taittiriya; for according to grammarians (see PANINI 4, iii. 102), the derivative here implies 'recited by Tiltiri, though composed by a different person. A similar explanation is given by commentators on the Upanishads.

17 The explanation here given is taken from the Prashana bhada.

18 I have several copies of it, with the corresponding index for the Sacalya 'Sachat, and also an excellent commentary by SAYANACHARYA. In another collection of mantras, belonging to the Asnialdyani'Saha of this Veda, 1 find the first few sections of each lecture agree with the other copies, but the rest of the sections are omitted. I question whether it be intended as a complete copy for that 'Sac'ha.

19 Derived from the verb rich, to laud; and properly signifying any prayer or hymn, in which & deity is praised. As those are mostly in verse, the term becomes also applicable to such passages of any Veda as are reducible to measure, according to the rules of prosody. The first Veda, in VYASA'S compilation, comprehending most of these texts, is called the Rigveda; or as expressed in the Commentary on the Index, "because it abounds with such texts (rich)."

20 Translating literally, "the Rishi is he by whom the text was seen."

21 It appears from a passage in the Vijeya vilasa, as also from the Veda-vapa, or abridged commentary on the Vajasaneyi, as well as from the index itself, that CATYAYANA is 'the acknowledged author of the index to the White Vajush. That of the Rigveda is ascribed by the commentator to the same CATYAYANA, pupil of SAUNACA. The several indexes of the Veda contribute to the preservation of the genuine text; especially where the metre, or the number of syllables, is stated, as is generally the case.

22 First of the name, and progenitor of the race of kings called 'children of the moon.' PANINI (4. ii. 7) employs the same term in explaining the import of derivatives used as denominations of passages in scripture; and his commentators concur with those of the Veda in the explanation here given. By this is generally meant the supposed inspired writer; sometimes, however, the imagined inspirer is called the Rishi or saint of the text; and at other times, as above noticed, the dialogist r>r speaker of the sentence.

23 In the second lecture and fourteenth section of the fifth book.

24 Nig'han'ti, or first part of the Niructa, c. 5.

25 In the second and third section of the twelfth chapter, or lecture, of the glossary and illustrations of the Veda. The Niructa consists of three parts. The first, a glossary, as above mentioned, comprises five short chapters or lectures; the second, entitled Naigama, or the first half of the Niructa, properly so called, consists of six long chapters; and the third, entitled Daivata, or second half of the proper Niructa, contains eight more. The chapter here cited is marked as the twelfth, including the glossary, or seventh exclusive of it.

26 Bhur, bhuvah, and suar, called the Vyahritis. See MENU , c. 2, v. 76. In the original text, the nominative case is here used for the genitive; as is remarked by the Commentator on this passage. Such irregularities are frequent in the Vedas themselves.

27 Rishi here signifies text (not sage). See HARADATTA, HHATTOJI, &c. and PANINI, 3. ii. 186.

28 Niructa, c. 12, .4, adfinem. The remainder of the passage that is here briefly cited by the author of the Index, identifies fire with the great and only soul.

29 Not a mythology which avowedly exalts deified heroes (as in the Puranas), but one which personifies the elements and planets, and which peoples heaven and the world below with various orders of beings.

I observe, however in many places, the groundwork of legends which are familiar in mythological poems: such, for example, as the demon VRITRA slain by INDRA, who is thence surnamed VHITRAHAN; but I do not remark any thing that corresponds with the favourite legends of those sects which worship either the Linya or 'Sacti, or else RAMA or CRISHNA. I except some detached portions, the genuineness of which appears doubtful: as will be shown towards the close of this essay.

30 Soma-lata, Asclepias ucida, or Cynanchum viminale.

31 SAYANACHARYA, the commentator whose gloss is here followed, considers this passage to admit of two interpretations: 'the light, or Brahme, constituting the splendour of the supreme ruler or creator of the universe,' or 'the light, or orb, of the splendid sun.'

32 This marriage is noticed in the Aitareya Brahmana, where the second lecture of the fourth book opens in this manner; 'PBAJAPATI gave his daughter, SURYA SAVITRI, to SHIVA, the king.' The well known legend in the Puranas, concerning the marriage of SOMA with the daughter of DACSHA, seems to be founded on this story in the Vedas.

33 In the introduction to the index, these, together with other goddesses, who are reckoned authors of holy texts, are enumerated and distinguished by the appellation of Brahmevadini. An inspired writer is, in the masculine, termed Brahmevadin.

34 Towards the end of the Vrihad dranyaca, VA'CH is mentioned as receiving a revelation from AMBHINI, who obtained it from the sun: but here she herself bears the almost similar patronymic, AMBHINI.

35 Heaven, or the sky, is the father; as expressly declared in another place: and the sky is produced from mind, according to one more passage of the Vedas. Its birth is therefore placed on the head of the supreme mind. The commentator suggests three interpretations of the sequel of the stanza: 'my parent, the holy Ambhrina, is in the midst of the ocean;' or, 'my origin, the sentient deity, is in waters, which constitute the bodies of the gods;' or, 'the sentient god, who is in the midst of the waters, which pervade intellect, is my origin.'

36 In the first Essay on the Religious Ceremonies of the Hindus, Asiatic Researches, vol. v. p. 361.

37 The pronoun (lad), thus emphatically used, is understood to intend the Supreme Being, according to the doctrines of the Vedanta. When manifested by creation, he is the entity (sat); while forms, being mere illusion, are non-entity (asat). The whole of this hymn is expounded according to the received doctrines of the Indian theology, or Vedanta. Darkness and desire (Tamas and Cama) bear a distant resemblance to the Chaos and Eros of HESIOD. Theog. v. 116.

38 So Swad'ha is expounded; and the commentator makes it equivalent to Maya, or the world of ideas.

39 In the second Essay on the Religious Ceremonies of the Hindus, Asiatic Researches, vol. vii. p. 251.

40 I possess three entire copies of the text, but a part only of the commentary by S.AYANACHARYA.

41 The index before-mentioned does not extend to this part of the Veda.

42 In the nominative case, Samrti't, Samrati, or Samral, substituting in this place a liquid letter, which is peculiar to the Veda and to the southern dialects of India, and which approaches in sound to the common.

43 In the nominative case Swartti, Smarda, or Swardi.

44 In the nominative, Vrti, Virda, or Virat.

45 In the didactic portion of the Veda, the last term in every chapter is repeated, to indicate its conclusion. This repetition was not preserved in a former quotation, from the necessity of varying considerably the order of the words.

46 So great was the efficacy of consecration, observes the commentator in this place, that the submersion of the earth was thereby prevented, notwithstanding this declaration.

47 All this, observes the commentator, was giving to his solemn inauguration.

48 It was through the solemn inauguration of ANCA that this priest was able to give such great alms. This remark is by the commentator.

49 So the name should be written, as appears from this passage of the Veda; and not, as in copies of some of the Puranas, DUSHMANTA or DUSHYANTA.

50 The several manuscripts differ on this name of a country; and having no other information respecting it, I am not confident that I have selected the best reading. This observation is applicable also to some other uncommon names.

51 All this, says the commentator, shows the efficacy of inauguration.

52 It is here remarked in the commentary, that a Brahmaita, being incompetent to receive consecration, is however capable of knowing its form; the efficacy of which knowledge is shown in this place.

53 So this observance is denominated, viz. Brahmanahparimarah.

54 Behind a cloud.

55 The Taittiriya Yajurveda contains a passage which may serve to explain this notion; 'The sun, at eve, penetrates fire; and therefore fire is seen afar, at night; for both are luminous.'

56 At night, as the commentator now observes, the sun disappears in fire; but re-appears thence next day. Accordingly, fire is destitute of splendour by day, and the sun shines brighter.

57 The moon, as is remarked in the commentary, disappears within the sun at the conjunction; but is reproduced from the sun on the first day of the bright fortnight.

58 Here the commentator remarks, Rain enters the lunar orb, which consists of water; and, at a subsequent time, it is reproduced from the moon.

59 It is so affirmed by ANAXDATI'RT'HA in his notes: and he, and the commentator, whom he annotates, state the original speaker of this Upanishad to be MAHIDASA, an incarnation of NARAYANA, proceeding from VISALA, son of ABJA. He adds, that on the sudden appearance of this deity at a solemn celebration, the whole assembly of gods and priests fainted, but at the intercession of BRAHMA, they were revived; and after making their obeisance, they were instructed in holy science. This Avatara was called MAHIUASA, because those venerable personages (Maiin) declared themselves his slaves.

In the concluding title of one transcript of this Aranya , I find it ascribed to ASWALAYANA, probably by an error of the transcriber. On the other hand, SAUNACA appears to be author of some texts of the Aranya; for a passage from the second lecture of the fifth (Ar. 5, lect. 2, . 1 1) is cited as S'AUNACA'S, by the commentator on the prayers of the Rigveda (lect. 1, . 15).

60 I have two copies of SANCARA'S commentary, and one of annotations on his gloss by NARAYANENDUA; likewise a copy of SAYANA'S commentary on the same theological tract, .and also on the third Aranyaca; besides annotations by ANANDATI'RT'HA on a different gloss, for the entire Upanishad. The concluding prayer, or seventh lecture of the second Aranyaca, was omitted by SANCAHA , as sufficiently perspicuous; but is expounded by SAYAXA, whose exposition is the same which is added by SANCARA'S commentator, and which transcribers sometimes subjoin to SANCARA'S gloss.

As an instance of singular and needless frauds, I must mention, that the work of ANANUATIRT'IIA was sold to me, under a different title, as a commentary on the Taitlirita sanhita of the Yajurveda. The running titles at the end of each chapter had been altered accordingly. On examination I found it to be a different, but valuable work; as above described.

61 Ambhas water, and do as the waters. The commentators assign reasons for these synonymous terms being employed, severally, to denote the regions above the sky, and those below the earth.

62 Turiislifi, a human form.

63 Apana. From the analogy between the acts of inhaling and of swallowing; the latter is considered as a sort of breath or inspiration: hence the air drawn in by deglutition is reckoned one of five breaths or airs-inhaled into the body.

64 The Hindus believe that the soul, or conscious life, enters the body through the sagittal suture; lodges in the brain; and may contemplate, through the same opening, the divine perfections. Mind, or the reasoning faculty, is reckoned to be an organ of the body, situated in the heart.

65 Purusha.

66 Brahme, or the great one.

67 Here, as at the conclusion of every division of an Upanishad, or of any chapter in the didactic portion of the Vedas, the last phrase is repeated.

68 For the man is identified with the child procreated by him.

69 Swarga, or place of celestial bliss.

70 Asu, the unconscious volition, which' occasions an act necessary to the support of life, as breathing, &c.

71 BRAHMA (in the masculine gender) here denotes according to commentators, the intelligent spirit, whose birth was in the mundane egg; from which he is named HIRANYAGARBHA. INDRA is the chief of the gods, or subordinate deities, meaning the elements and planets. PRAJAPATI is the first embodied spirit, called VIRAJ, and described in the preceding part of this extract. The gods are fire, and the rest as there stated.

72 Vermin and insects are supposed to be generated from hot moisture.

73 This, like other prayers, is denominated a mantra, though it be the conclusion of an Upanishad.

74 I have several copies of MA'D'IIYANOIJJA'S White Ynjush, one of which is accompanied by a commentary, entitled Vedadipa; the author of which, MAHI'D'HARA, consulted the commentaries of UVATA and MAD'HAVA, as he himself informs us in his preface.

75 Yajush is derived from the verb yaj, to worship or adore. Another etymology is sometimes assigned: but this is most consistent with the subject; viz. (yajnya) sacrifices, and (homo) oblations to fire.

76 On the Religious Ceremonies of the Hindus, As. Res., vol. v. and vii.

77 The text refers to particular passages.

78 For the word Gand'harba is here interpreted as intending one who investigates holy writ.

79 Ch. 27, 45th and last.

80 In the 'Satapafha Brdhmana, b. ii, cli. 1. The reason here assigned is expressly stated by the commentator.

81 Besides MAID'HAHA'S gloss on this chapter, in his Vedadt'pa, I have the separate commentary of S'ANCARA, and one by ANLACRISHNANANDA, which contains a clear and copious exposition of this Upanishad. He professes to expound it as it is received by both the Ctinwa and Mdd'hyandina schools. Sir WILLIAM JONES, in his version of it, used SANCARA'S gloss; as appears from a copy of that gloss which he had carefully studied, and in which his handwriting appears in more than one place.

82 My copies of the text and of the commentary. are both imperfect; but the deficiencies of one occur in places where the other is complete, and I have been thus enabled to inspect cursorily the whose of this portion of the Veda.

Among fragments of this Brahmana comprising entire books, I have one which agrees, in the substance and purport, with the second book of the Mad'hyandina 'Satapatia, though differing much in the readings of almost every passage. It probably belongs to a different 'Sac'ha.

83 At the beginning of his gloss on the eleventh book.

84 See the second essay on the Religious Ceremonies of the Hindus, Asiatic Researches, vol. vii, p. 251.

85 I particularly advert to a separate ritual of the Puruthamed'ha by YAJNTADVA.

86 Cited from memory: I read the passage several years ago, but I cannot now recover it.

87 Besides three copies of the text, and two transcripts of S'ANCARA'S commentary, I have, also in duplicate, another very excellent commentary by NITYANAND'ASKAMA, which is entitled Mitacshara; and a metrical paraphrase of SANCARA'S gloss by SIMDSWAR'ICHA'RYA, as well as annotations in prose by ANANDAGIRI.

88 This is the Upanishad to which Sir WILLIAM JONES refers, in his preface to the translation of the Institutes of MENU, p. viii. (in Sir G. C. HAUGHTON'S edition, p. xi.)

89 Page 17.

90 See Sir W. JONES'S translation of MENU Ch. 1, v. 32 and 33.

91 I do not find VYA'SA mentioned in either list; nor the surname Ptirdsarya, which occurs more than once, be applied to him, for it is not his patronymic, but a name deduced from the feminine patronymic Pard'sari, It seems therefore questionable, whether any inference respecting the age of the Vedas can be drawn from these lists, in the manner proposed by the late Sir W. JONES in his preface to the translation of MENU (p. viii). The anachronisms which I observe in them, deter me from a similar attempt to deduce the age of this Veda from these and other lists, which will be noticed further on.

92 Snava and Cind'ta, answering to the periosteum and alburnum.

93 Translated in the first Essay on the Religious Ceremonies of the Hindus, with the first verse in each of the three other Vedas. Asiatic Researches, vol. v. p.-364.

94 The prayers of the Aswamed'ha occur in the concluding sections, between the twelfth section of the fourth chapter, and the end of the fifth chapter of the seventh and last book.

95 Asiatic Researches, vols. v. and vii.

96 I have several complete copies of the text, but only a part of the commentary by SAYANA.

97 Book vii, Chapter 1, Section 5.

98 One of the Calpas, or renovations of the universe, is denominated Vardha.

99 The Tantiriya, like other Vedas, has its brahmana, and frequent quotations from it occur in the commentary on the prayers, and in other places. But I have not yet seen a complete copy of this portion of the Indian sacred books.

100 I use several copies of the entire Aranya, with S'A'NCARA'S commentary on the Tanttiriya Upanishad, and annotations on his gloss by ANA.NDAJNYANA; besides separate copies of that, and of the Mahandrayana, and a commentary on the Varuni Upanishad, entitled Laghudipied.

101 I have inserted here, as in other places, between crotchets, such illustrations from the commentary as appear requisite to render the text intelligible.

102 By VIDYA'RANYA. I have not seen the original.

103 In the abridgment of it by VIDYARANYA, this is the description given of the 'Swetdswalara Upanishad.'

104 From the root sui, convertible into so and su, and signifying 'to destroy.' The derivative is expounded as denoting something 'which destroys sin.'

105 Asiatic Researches, vols. v. and vii.

106 One of them dated nearly two centuries ago, in 1672 Samvat. This copy exhibits the further title of Ch'hajidasi Santiita.

107 The most ancient of those in my possession is dated nearly three centuries ago, in 1587 Samvat.

108 This Aranya comprises nearly three hundred verses (sanian), or exactly 290. The Archica contains twice as many, or nearly 600.

109 The ritual, which is the chief authority for this remark, is one by SAYANACHARYA, entitled Yajnyalantra Sudttanid'bi.

110 Sir ROBERT CHAMBERS'S copy of the Samaveda comprised four portions, entitled Gana, the distinct names of which, according to the list received from him, are Pigia Arna, Vegana, Ugana, and Uhyagana. The first of these, I suspect to be the Aranya, written in that list, Arna: the last seems to be the same with that which is in my copy denominated Uhagana.

111 I  have several copies of the text, with the gloss of S'ANCARA, and annotations on it by ANANDAJNYANAGIRI; besides the notes of VYASATIRT'HA on a commentary lay A'NANDATIRT'HA.

112 Its author, indicated by VYASATI'UT'JIA, is HAYAGRI'VA.

113 That is, the seventh of the extract which constitutes this Upanishad; but the ninth, according to the mode of numbering the chapters in the book, whence it is taken.

114 Several similar paragraphs, respecting four other oblations, so presented to other inspirations of air, are here omitted for the sake of brevity. The taking of a mouthful, by an orthodox Hindu theologian, is considered as an efficacious oblation: and denominated Pranagnihatra.

115 I have S'ANCARA'S gloss, with the illustrations of his annotator, and the ample commentary of CRISHNANANDA: besides a separate gloss, with annotations, on the similar Upanishad belonging to the Atharvaveda.

116 Asiatic Researches, vol. i. p. 347.

117 Sir W. JONES cites it, as from the first book; I suspect, that in Colonel POLIEK'S copy, the nineteenth book might stand first in the volume. It does so, in General MARTINE'S transcript, though the colophon be correct. I have another, arid very complete, copy of this Veda. General MARTINE'S, which I also possess, is defective; containing only the ten first and the two last books. An ancient fragment, also in my possession, does not extend beyond the sixth.

118 Asiatic Researches, vol. vii. p. 251.

119 The middle of Aslesha, if the divisions be twenty-seven, and its end, when they are twenty-eight equal portions, give the same place for the colure.

120 Asiatic Researches, vol. i. p. 348.

121 Darbha, Poa Cynosuroides.

122 It is dated at Mat'ura, in the year (Sumvat) 1732.

123 The Cena and Ch'handagya from the Somaveda; the Vrlhad dranyaca and Isdedsya from the White Yajush, and the Taitliriyaca from the Black Yajush; the Aitareya from the R'iyvetli; and the Cuta, J'rasna, Mundnca, and Manthucya from Atharvana. To these should be added, the Nrlsinliatdpaniya.

124 S'ANCARA, and ANANUASRAMA on the Vrihad dranyaca; as also the commentaries on other Upanishads: especially S'ANCARA on the Cuthaca. Other authors concur in assigning the same acceptation and etymology, to the word: they vary, only, in the mode of reconciling the derivation with the sense.

125 It is expressly so affirmed in the Vedanta sura, v. 3.

126 I possess an excellent copy, which corresponds with one transcribed for Mr. BLAQUIERE, from a similar collection of Upanishads belonging to the late Sir W. JONES. In two other copies, which I also obtained at Benares, the arrangement differs, and several Upanishads are inserted, the genuineness of which is questionable; while others are admitted, which belong exclusively to the Yajurveda.

127 SANCAKA remarks, that AT'HAKVA, or AT'HAKVAN, may have been the first creature, in one of the many modes of creation, which have been practised by BRAHMA.

128 Meaning the prayers contained in the four Vedas, disjoined from theology.

129 I have several copies of the text, besides commentaries on both Upanishads.

130 This reason is assigned by the annotator on SANCABA'S gloss, at the beginning of his notes on the Mundaca Upanishad.

131 Brahme-vidyd. 4th Cshunca. 5th Ctulici. 6th and 7th At'harvasiras. 8th Garbh'i. 9th Mahu. 10th Brahma. 11th Pidnagniliotra.

132 16th Nila-rudra. 17th Nada-vindu. 18th Brahme-vindu. 19th Amrilavinitu. 20th D'hydna-vindu. 21st Tejo-vind. 22d Yagasicsha. 23d Yugnlalwa. 24th Sannydsa. 25th Arwwja or Anmiyoga. 26th Can'thasruti. 27th Pinda. 28th Alma.

133 I have several copies of the text, and of GAUD'APAUA'S commentary; with a single transcript of ANGARA'S gloss on the five first of the treatises entitled Tapaniya.

134 The commentary of SANCAKA is, as usual, concise and perspicuous: and that of BALACIUSHNA, copious but clear. Besides their commentaries, and several copies of the text, together with a paraphrase by VIDYAKANYA, I have found this Upanishad forming a chapter in a Brahmana, which is marked as belonging to the Samavcila, and which I conjecture to be the Panrliavirsa Brahmana of that Veda.

135 Here, as in other instances, I speak from copies in my possession.

136 Their titles are, 41st Sartopanishatsa. 42d Hansa. And 43d Paramahansa.

137 40th Gunidti. 47th Cadyni-rudra. 48th and 49th Rama Idpaniya, first and second parts. 50th Caivnlya. 51st Abuta. 52d Asrama.

138 Mr. PINKERTON, in his Modern Geography, Vol. II.


These, appertaining to various 'Sac'has of the Vedas, constitute the calpa, or system of religious observances. I have here enumerated a few only. The list might be much enlarged, from my own collection; and still more so, from quotations by various compilers: for the original works, and their commentaries, as well as compilations from them, are very numerous.

140 A work entitled Nilimanjari is an instance of this mode of treating moral subjects.

141 The Salapat'hi Brahmana, especially the 14th book, or Vrilma dranyaca, is repeatedly cited, with exact references to the numbers of the chapters and sections, in a fragment of a treatise by a Jaina author, the communication of which I owe to Mr. SPEKE, among other fragments collected by the late Capt. HOARE, and purchased at the sale of that gentleman's library.

142 VIJNYA'NAYOGI, also named VIJNYANESWARA, who commented the institutes which bear the name of YAJNYAWALCYA, states the text to be an abridgment by a different author.

143 In the 78th chapter of the 2d part. This is the Purana mentioned by me with doubt in a former essay, (Asiatic Researches, vol. v. p. 53.) I have since procured a copy of it.

144 If this were not a fable, the real age of VYASA might be hence ascertained; and, consequently, the period when the Vedas were arranged in their present form. GOVINDANAT'HA, the instructor of S'ANCARA, is stated to have been the pupil of GAUDAPADA; and, according to the traditions generally received in the peninsula of India, S'ANCARA lived little more than eight hundred years ago.

145 I have several copies of one such treatise, besides a commentary on the Jyotish of the Rigveda, by an unknown author; which is accordingly assigned to a fabulous personage, SHANAGA.

146 The Athenian year was regulated in a similar manner; but, according to GEMINI'S, it was the sixty-third day, which was deducted. Perhaps this Hindu calendar may assist in explaining the Grecian system of lunar months.

147 The treatises in question contain allusions to the Ages of the world: but without explaining, whether any, and what, specific period of time was assigned to each age. This cycle of five years is mentioned by the name of Yuga, in PAKASARA'S institutes of law edited by SUVRATA, and entitled Viihat I'tird-sara. It is there (Ch. 12. v. 83.) stated, as the basis of calculation for larger cycles: and that of 3600 years, deduced from one of sixty (containing twelve simple), is denominated the yuga of VACPATI; whence the sign of PRAJANAT'HA, containing 216,000 years, is derived; and twice that constitutes the Caliyuga. The still greater periods are afterwards described under the usual names.

148 I cannot, as yet, reconcile the time here stated. Its explanation appears to depend on the construction of the clepsydra, which I do not well understand; as the rule for its construction is obscure, and involves some difficulties which remain yet unsolved.

149 I think it needless to quote the original of this enumeration.

150 Asiatic Researches, vol. vii. p. 283.

151 In Bengal, and the contiguous provinces, thousands of kids and buffalo calves are sacrificed before the idol, at every celebrated temple; and opulent persons make a similar destruction of animals at their private chapels. The sect which has adopted this system is prevalent in Bengal, and in many other provinces of India: and the Sanguinary Chapter, translated from the Purana by Mr. BLAQUIEBE (Asiatic Researches, vol. v. p. 371), is one among the authorities on which it relies. But the practice is not approved by other sects of Hindus.

152 I have seen but one copy of it, in an Imperfect collection of the Upanishads. It is not inserted in other compilations , which nevertheless purport to be complete.

153 According to the only copy that I have seen, it comprises five Upanishads, and belongs to the Athai-vaua; but the style resembles that of the Tantras more than the Vedas. It is followed by a tract, marked as belonging to the same Veda, and entitled Tripura Upanishad, or Traipuriya; but this differs from another bearing the similar title of Tripuri Upanishad, and found in a different collection of theological treatises. I equally discredit both of them, although they are cited by writers on the Mantra sastra (or use of incantations); and although a commentary has been written on the Tupura by BHATTA BHASCARA.

154 The same observation is applicable to several Upanishads, which are not inserted in the best collections, but which occur in others. For instance, the Scanda, Caula, Gopichandana, Darsana, and Vajrasiichi. I shall not stop to indicate a few questionable passages in some of these dubious tracts.