Essays on the Religion and Philosophy of the Hindus

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: Essays on the Religion and Philosophy of the Hindus

Postby admin » Wed Dec 16, 2020 6:32 am

Part 1 of 5

I. On the Vedas, or Sacred Writings of the Hindus.
[From the Asiatic Researches, vol. viii. p. 369—476. Calcutta, 1805. 4to.]

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 Dara Shucoh [Shikoh], and parts of them translated into the Persian language by him, or for his use. [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.]

The Gentoo Ceremony, which was hinted at as bearing a remote Likeness to the Sacrifice of the Scape-Goat, is the Ashummeed Jugg [Ashvamedha], of which a most absurd and fabulous Explanation may be found in the Body of the Code..

That the Curious may form some Idea of this Gentoo Sacrifice when reduced to a Symbol, as well as from the subsequent plain Account given of it in a Chapter of the Code, an Explanation of it is here inserted from Darul Shekuh's [Dara Shikoh's] famous Persian Translation of some Commentaries upon the Four Beids, or original Scriptures of Hindostan: The Work itself is extremely scarce, and perhaps of dubious Authenticity; and it was by mere Accident that this little Specimen was procured.

-- A Code of Gentoo Laws, Or, Ordinations of the Pundits, From a Persian Translation, Made From the Original, Written in the Shanscrit Language, by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed


Dara Shikoh devoted much effort towards finding a common mystical language between Islam and Hinduism. Towards this goal he completed the translation of fifty Upanishads from their original Sanskrit into Persian in 1657 so that they could be studied by Muslim scholars. His translation is often called Sirr-e-Akbar ("The Greatest Mystery"), where he states boldly, in the introduction, his speculative hypothesis that the work referred to in the Qur'an as the "Kitab al-maknun" or the hidden book, is none other than the Upanishads. His most famous work, Majma-ul-Bahrain ("The Confluence of the Two Seas"), was also devoted to a revelation of the mystical and pluralistic affinities between Sufic and Vedantic speculation. The book was authored as a short treatise in Persian in 1654–55.

-- Dara Shikoh [Shukoh] [Shucoh], by Wikipedia


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 curious passages from one of them. [See Preface to Menu, page vi. and the Works of Sir William Jones, vol. vi.] 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 Vyasa, or Vedavyasa: that is, compiler of the Vedas. He distributed the Indian scripture into four parts, which are severally entitled Rich, Yajush, Saman, and Atharvana: 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 Atharvana, [Menu, chap. 11, v. 33.] 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 essay [Essay Second, on Religious Ceremonies. See Asiatic Researches, vol. vh. p. 251.] from the white Yajush; [From the 31st chapter; which, together with the preceding chapter (30th), relates to the Purushamedha, a type of the allegorical immolation of Narayana, or of Brahma in that character.] nor in the following text, 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.” [Menu alludes to this fabulous origin of the Vedas (chap. 1. v. 23). His commentator, Mednatitni, explains it by remarking, that the Rigveda opens with a hymn to fire; and the Yajurveda with one in which air is mentioned. But Cullucabratta has recourse to the renovations of the universe. “In one Calpa, the Viedas [Vedas] proceeded from fire, air, and the sun; in another, from Brahma, at his allegorical immolation.”

Arguments in support of this opinion might be drawn even from popular dictionaries; for Amerasinha notices only three Vedas, and mentions the Atharvana without giving it the same denomination. It is, however, probable, that some portion at least of the Atharvaha is as ancient as the compilation of the three others; and its name, like theirs, is anterior to Vyasa’s arrangement of them: but the same must be admitted in regard to the Itihasa and Puranas, which constitute a fifth Veda, as the Atharvana 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 Manduca 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 appertain to the Atharvana itself. The mention of the sage Atharvan in various places throughout the Vedas [Vide Vedas passim.] proves nothing; and even a text of the Yajurveda, [In the Taittiriya Upanishad.] 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 Chhandogya Upanishad, a portion of the Saman. In it, Nareda, having solicited instruction from Sanatcumara, and being interrogated by him as to the extent of his previous knowledge, says, “I have learnt the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda, the Atharvana, [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.” [Chhandogya Upanishad, ch. 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.]

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. [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, Chaturvedi: 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 Brahmens of Canoj, and are corrupted by vulgar pronunciation into Dobe, Tiware, and Chaube.]

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 their separation in Vyasa’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. [Madhusudana Saraswati, in the Prasthanabheda.]

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 Vaisampayana, and the Saman to Jaimini; as also the Atharvana to Sumantu, and the Itihasa and Puranas to Suta. 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 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 Samavedu, 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. [The authorities on which this is stated are chiefly the Vishnu purana, part 3, chap. 4, and the Vijeyavilasa on the study of scripture; also the Charanavyuha, on the Sachas of the Vedas.]

The text is notable as the earliest Purana to have been translated and published in 1864 CE by HH [Horace Hayman] Wilson, based on manuscripts then available, setting the presumptions and premises about what Puranas may have been.

The Vishnu Purana is among the shorter Purana texts, with about 7,000 verses in extant versions...

Vishnu Purana, like all major Puranas, attributes its author to be sage Veda Vyasa. The actual author(s) and date of its composition are unknown and contested. Estimates range of its composition range from 400 BCE to 900 CE...

Horace Hayman Wilson (1864): acknowledged that the tradition believes it to be 1st millennium BCE text and the text has roots in the Vedic literature, but after his analysis suggested that the extant manuscripts may be from the 11th century....

Rocher states that the "date of the Vishnu Purana is as contested as that of any other Purana". References to Vishnu Purana in texts such as Brihadvishnu whose dates are better established, states Rocher, suggest that a version of Vishnu Purana existed by about 1000 CE, but it is unclear to what extent the extant manuscripts reflect the revisions during the 2nd millennium. Vishnu Purana like all Puranas has a complicated chronology. Dimmitt and van Buitenen state that each of the Puranas including the Vishnu Purana is encyclopedic in style, and it is difficult to ascertain when, where, why and by whom these were written...

It is as if they were libraries to which new volumes have been continuously added, not necessarily at the end of the shelf, but randomly...

Many of the extant manuscripts were written on palm leaf or copied during the British India colonial era, some in the 19th century. The scholarship on Vishnu Purana, and other Puranas, has suffered from cases of forgeries, states Ludo Rocher, where liberties in the transmission of Puranas were normal and those who copied older manuscripts replaced words or added new content to fit the theory that the colonial scholars were keen on publishing.

-- Vishnu Purana, by Wikipedia


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 Indrapramati. The first, also called Bancali, was the editor of a Sanhita, or collection of prayers, and a Sacha bearing his name still subsists: it is said to have first branched into four schools; afterwards into three others. Indrapramati communicated his knowledge to his own son Manduceya, by whom a Sanhita was compiled, and from whom one of the 'Sac'has has derived its name. Vedamitra, surnamed Sacalya, 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 Aswalavana and Sanc’nyayana, or perhaps Caushitaci: but the Vishnu purana omits them, and intimates, that Sacapurni, a pupil of Indrapramati, gave the third varied edition from this teacher, and was also the author of the Niructa: if so, he is the same with Yasca. His school seems to have been subdivided by the formation of three others derived from his disciples.

The Yajush or Adhwaryu, 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 Vaisampayana to twenty-seven pupils. At this time, having instructed Yajnyawalcya, he appointed him to teach the Veda to other disciples. Being afterwards offended by the refusal of Vajnyawalcya to take on himself a share of the sin incurred by Vaisampayana, who had unintentionally killed his own sister's son, the resentful preceptor bade Yajnyawalcya relinquish the science which he had learnt.
[The Vishnu purana, part 3, chap. 5. A different motive of resentment is assigned by others.] He instantly disgorged it in a tangible form. The rest of Vaisampayana’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 Taittiriya, from tittiri, the name for a partridge.

Yajnyawalcya, 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 seem, of Yajnyawalcya himself; for the Veda declares, “these pure texts, revealed by the sun, are published by Yajnyawalcya, the offspring of Va'jasani.” [Vrihad Aranyaca 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.]
But, according to the Vishnu purana (3. 5. ad finem), the priests who studied the Yajush are called Vajins, because the sun, who revealed it, assumed the form of a horse (vajin).

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.
Vaisampayana, according to this authority, [Candanucrama, verse 25. This index indicatorius is formed for the Atreyi 'Sac'ha. Its author is Cundina, if the text (verse 27) be rightly interpreted.] taught the Yajurveda to Yasca, who instructed Tittiri: [This agrees with the etymology of the word Taittiriya; for according to grammarians (see Panini 4, hi. 102), the derivative here implies 'recited by Tittiri, though composed by a different person.' A similar explanation is given by commentators on the Upanishads.] from him Uc’ha received it, and communicated it to Atreya; who framed the 'Sac'ha, which is named after him, and for which that index is arranged.

The white Yajush was taught by Yajnyawalcya 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 Jabalas, Baud'hayanas, and Tapaniyas. The other branches of the Yajush seem to have 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 disciples of Cat’ha, a pupil of Vaisampayana; as also the ’Swetaswataras, Aupamanyavas, and Maitrayaniyas: the last-mentioned comprehend seven others. In like manner, the Taittiriyacas are, in the first instance, subdivided into two, the Auc'hyayas and Chanidiceyas; and these last are again subdivided into five, the Apastambiyas, &c. Among them, Apastamba’s 'Sac'ha is still subsisting; and so is Atreya’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'handigya, 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, Hiranyanabha and Paushyinji, and thence branching into a thousand more: for Locacshi, Cut’humi, and other disciples of Paushyinji, gave their names to separate schools, which were increased by their pupils. The 'Sac'ha entitled Caut'humi still subsists. Hiranyanabha, 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 Ranayaniyas, including seven subdivisions; one 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 At'harva-veda was taught by Sumantu to his pupil Caband’ha, who divided it between Devadarsa and Pat’hya. The first of these has given name to the Sac'ha entitled Devadarsi; as Pippalada, the last of his four disciples, has to the Sacha of the Paippaladis. Another branch of the At'harvana derives its appellation from Saunaca, 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 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.
[The explanation here given is taken from the Prast'hana bheda.] 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 Vedanta 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.

On the Rigveda.

The Sanhita of the first Veda [I have several copies of it, with the corresponding index for the Sacalya 'Sac 'ha; and also an excellent commentary by Sayanacharya. In another collection of mantras, belonging to the Asnalayani Sac' ha of this Veda, I 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.] contains mantras or prayers, which for the most part are encomiastic [formally expressing praise], as the name of the Rigveda implies. [Derived from the verb rich, to laud; and properly signifying any prayer or hymn, in which a 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 those texts, is called the Rigveda; or as expressed in the Commentary on the Index, "because it abounds with such texts (rich)."] This collection is divided into eight parts (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 [a member of the princely and military castes of the former Hindu kingdom of Maharashtra in central India.] and Telingas ["the country of the three lingas": Telugu country], the student or reader is required to notice, especially, the author, subject, metre, and purpose of each mantra, or invocation.

[T]he Tranquebar missionaries gave a brief account of the Vedas. They report that despite their efforts to see the Vedas, they have been told that they are not written, but that boys (who can only be Brahmins) learn sections of them from a priest by repeating it constantly. The language in which they are recorded, which they call Grantha, is so old that no one can understand it without referring to the sastra [a Sanskrit word that means "precept, rules, manual, compendium, book or treatise" in a general sense.]. Few learn the fourth part, because it consists of sorcery…

-- The Absent Vedas, by Will Sweetman


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 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 afterwaras to be read by rote, for the sake of the words, without comprehension of the sense.

Accoraingly the Veda is recited in various superstitious modes: word by word, either simply disjoining them, or else repeating the words alternately, backwaras and forwaras, 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, Jata, Ghana, &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 Yujush: while the subsequent editions, in which the text or the arrangement of it is varied, being therefore deemed suborainate ‘Sac’ has, should he repeated only in a simple manner.

It seems hero 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. Hut 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 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, 'lie by whom it is spoken:’ as the Devata, or deity, is 'that which is therein mentioned.’ In the index to the Vajusaneyi Yajurveda, the Rishi is interpreted 'the seer or rememberer’ of the text; and the Devata 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 passages, 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 spoaker, is of course rarely mentioned in the mantra itself: but in some instances lie does name himself. A few passages, too, among the mantras of the Veda are in the form of dialogue; and, in such cases, the discourses 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, [Translating literally, "the Rishi is he by whom the text was seen.” Panini (4. h. 7) employs the same term in explaining the import of derivatives used ns denominations of passages in scripture; and his commentators concur with those of the Veda in the explanation here given. By Rishi 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 or speaker of the sentence.] 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. [It appears from a passage in the Vijyga vilasa, as also from the Veda- dipa, 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 Yajush. That of the Rigvida is ascribed by the commentator to the same Catyayana, pupil of Saunaca. The sevoral 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.] Accoraing to this index, ViswaMitra is author of all the hymns contained in the thira book of the Rigveda; as Bharadwaja is, with rare exceptions, the composer of those collected in the sixth book; Vasisht’ha, in the. seventh; Gritsamada, in the second; Vamadeva, in the fourth; and Bud’ha [First of the name, and progenitor of the race of kings called 'children of the moon.’] and other descendants of Atri, in the fifth. But, in the remaining books of this Veda, the authors are more various; among these, besides Agastya, Casyapa son of Marichi, Angiras, Jamadagni son of Bhrigu, Parasara father of Vyasa, Gotama and his son Nod'has, Vrihaspati, Nareda, and other celebrated Indian saints, the most conspicuous are Canwa, and his numerous descendants, Med'ha- tit’hi, &c.; Mad’huch’handas, and others among the posterity of Viswa'Mitra; Sunasep'ha son of Ajigarta; Cutsa, Hiranyastuya, Savya, and other descendants of Angiras; besides many other, saints, among the posterity of personages abovementioned.

It is worthy of remark, that several persons of royal birth (for instance, five sons of the king Vrihangir; and Travyaruna 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, whoso 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 my 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 Bhavayavya and his wife Romasa, daughter of Vrihaspati. It should be remarked, concerning Cacshivat, that his mother Usic was bondmaid of king Anga’s queen.

The eighth book opens with an invocation which alludes to a singular legend, Asanga, son of Playoga, and his successor on the throne, was metamorphosed into a woman; but retrieved his sex through the prayers of Medhyatithi, whom ho therefore rewaraed most liberally. In this hymn he is introduced praising his own munificence; and, towards the close of it, his wife Saswati, daughter of Angiras, exults in his restoration to manhood.

The next hymns applaud the liberality of the kings Vibhindu, Pacasthaman (son of Curayana), Curunga, Casu (son of Chedi), and Tirindira (son of Parasu), who had severally bestowed splendid gifts on the respective authors of these thanksgivings. In the thira chapter of the same book, the seventh hymn commends the generosity of Trasadasyu, the grandson of Mand’hatri. 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 Sushaman.

 In the first chapter of the tenth book there is a hymn to water, spoken by a king named Sind’hudwipa, the son of Amnarisha. The seventh chapter contains several passages, from the fifteenth to the eighteenth sucla, which allude to a remarkable legend, Asamati, son or descendant of Icshwacu, 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.

The eighth chapter opens with a hymn which alludes to a story respecting Nabhanedisht'ha, son of Menu, who was excluded from participation with his brethren in the paternal inheritance. The legend itself is told in the Aitareya Brahmana, [In the second lecture and fourteenth section of the fifth book.] 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 Mand'hatri, son of Yuvanaswa, and another by Sivi, son of Usinara, a thira by Vasumanas, son of Rohidaswa, and a fourth by Prataraana, son of Divodasa, king of Casi.

The deities invoked appear, on a cursory inspection of the Veda, to he 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 thira, with the sun. [Nig'hanti, or first part of the Niructa, c. 5.] In the last part of the Niructa, which entirely relates to deities, it is twice asserted that there are but three gods; 'Tisra eva devatah.' [In the second and thira 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 thira, 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.] The further 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 vacyam, sa rishir; ya ten'ochyate, sa devata; yad aeshara- parimanam, tach ch'hando . Art' hepsava rishayi devatas ch'handobhir abhyad' havan.

'Tisra eva Devatah; cshity - antaricsha - dyn - st' hana, agnirvayuh surya ity: evam vyahritayah procta vyastah: samastanam Prajapatir. Oncara sarvadevatyah, paramesht' hyo ra, brahmi, daivo va, ad'hyatimicas. Tat tat st' hana anyas tad vibhutayah: carma prit'hactivad d' hi prithag abhid'hana stutayo bhavanty. ec' aiva va mahan atma devata: sa surya ity svhavshate; sa hi sarva-bhut'atma. Tad uctam rishina: “Surya atma Jagatas Tast'hushas Ch'eti.” Tad vibhutayo nya devatas. Tad apy etad rishin' octam: “Indram Mitram Varunam Agnim Ahur iti.”

‘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 pronounced to be [the deities] of the mysterious names [Bhur, bhuvah, and swar; 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.] severally; and (Prajapati) the lora of creatures is [the deity] of them collectively. The syllable Om intends every deity: it belongs to (Paramesht'hi ) him who dwells in the supreme abode; it appertains to (Brahme) the vast one; to (Deva) God; to (Ad' hyatma) 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 (Mahan 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 (jagat) what moves, and of (tast’ hush ) that which is fixed.” Other deities are portions of him: and that is expressly declared by the text: [Rishi here signifies text (not sage). See Haradatta, Bhattoji, &c. and Panini, 3. h. 186.] “The wise call fire, Indra, Mitra, and Varuna;” &c. [Nirurta, c. 12, §. 4, ad finem. The remainder of the passage that is here briefly cited by the author of the Index, identities fire with the great and only soul.]

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.

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, [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 ground-work of legends which are familiar in mythological poems: such, for example, as the demon Vritra slain by Indra, who is thence surnamed Vritrahan; but I do not remark any thing that corresponds with the favourite legends of those sects which worship either the Linga 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.] 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, [Soma-lata, Asclepias acida, or Cynanchum viminale.] 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 seem, since they are named in another portion of the Veda as (Aptya ) sons of water (ap), were oppressed with thirst while travelling in a sandy desert. At length they found a 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, and 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 ViswaMitra, son of Ga't’hin and grandson of Cusica. The last hymn, or sucla, 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 ViswaMitra is acknowledged to be the Rishi to whom it was first revealed, it 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, O splendid, playful, sun 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): [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.’] 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 thira chapter of the 7th book are remarkable, as being addressed to the guaraian 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 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. lie 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; affora us what we ask of thee, and grant happiness to our bipeds and quadrupeds. Guaraian 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: guara us as a father protects his offspring. Guaraian of this dwelling! may we be united with a happy, delightful, and melodious abode afforaed by thee: guara 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 hook 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 thira 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 sacrifices for that purpose.

The seventh chapter opens with a hymn, in which Surya, surnamed Savitri, the wife of the moon, [This marriage is noticed in the Aitareya Brahmana, where the second lecture of the fourth book opens in this manner; ‘Prajapati gave his daughter, Surya Savitri, to Soma, 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.] is made the speaker; as Dacshina, daughter of Prajapati, and Juhu, daughter of Brahma, are in subsequent chapters. [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 Brahmaddini. An inspired writer is, in the masculine, termed Brahmevadin.] 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. [Towaras the end of the Vrihad dranyaca, Vach is mentioned as receiving a revelation from Ambhini, who obtained it from the sun: but here she herself bears the almost similar patronymic, Ambhrini.] 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.

‘I range with the Rudras, with the Vusas, with the Adityas, and with the Viswadevas. 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 every where, and pervader of all beings, lie who cats 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; [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.'] 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.’

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: [In the first Essay on the Religions Ceremonies of the Hindus, Asiatic Researches, vol. v. p. 361.] it is the last hymn but one in the Rigveda, and the author of it is Ag’hamarshana (a son of Mad’uch'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. Prajapati, surnamed Puramesht'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 that [The pronoun (tad), 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 Vedanla. Darkness and desire (Tamas and Cama) bear n distant resemblance to the Chaos and Eros of Hesiod. Theog. v. 116.] breathed without afflation, single with (Swad'ha) 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 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, [So Swad'ha is expounded; and the commentator makes it equivalent to Maya, or the world of ideas.] 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, but not another can possess that knowledge.
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Re: Essays on the Religion and Philosophy of the Hindus

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Part 2 of 5

II. ‘That victim who was wove with threads on every side, and stretched by the labours of a hundred and one gods, the lathers, who wove and framed and placed the warp and woof, do 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 the motive? the fence? the metre? the oblation? and the prayer? First was produced the Gayatri joined with fire; next the sun (Savitri) attended by Ushnih; then the splendid moon with Anushtubh, and with prayers; while Vrihati accompanied the elocution of Vrihaspati (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; Jugati 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, [In the second Essay on the Religions Ceremonies of the Hindus, Asiatic Researches, vol. vh. p. 251.] 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 Taittiriyaca, 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 sacrifice, 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 commentary [I possess three entire copies of the text, but a part only of the commentary by Sayanacharya.] or of an explanatory index, [The index before-mentioned does not extend to this part of the Veda.] 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 bad 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 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 Aitareya. It contains an instance, which is not singular in the Vedas, though it be rather uncommon in their didatic 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 out of the sacred words (Vyahritis), which they here deem superfluous: others, and particularly Satyacama, son of Jabala, enjoin the complete recitation of those words, for reasons explained at full length; and Uddalaca, son of Aruna, has therefore so oraained 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 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 he full period of life; I shall remain master of the whole ”Truly, neither the arrows of the gods, 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 thira 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 Prajapati], 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 (samrajya), and [people] call those consecrated princes Samraj. [In the nominative case, Samrat, Samrad, 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 l.]

‘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. There- fore the several kings of the Satwats, in the south, are consecrated, after the practice of the gods, to the increase of enjoyment (bhijya), 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. [ In the nominative case Swarat, Swarad, or Swaral.]

‘Afterwards all the gods (Viswe devah) consecrated him in the northern region, with, &c., to ensure separate domination. Therefore the several [deities who govern the] countries of Uttara curu and Uttara madra, beyond Himavat, in the North, are consecrated, &c., to distinct rule (Vairajya , and [people] term them Viraj. [In the nominative, Virat, Virad, Viral.]

‘Next the divine Sadhyas 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 Vasa and Usinara, in the middle, central, and present region, are consecrated, &c., to sovereignty (rajya), and [people] entitle them Raja.

‘Lastly, the Maruts, 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 (parameshthi) and ruler over creatures.

‘Thus consecrated by that great inauguration, Indra subdued all conquerable [earths], and won all worlds: he obtained over all th 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.’ [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.]

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 hero translated at full length, as not unimportant, since' many kings are mentioned whose names are familiar in the heroic history of India.

§. VII. ‘By this great inauguration similar to Indra’s, Tura, son 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.

'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 Saryata 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. Somasushman, grandson of Vajaratna, consecrated Satanica, son of Satrajit; and therefore did he subdue, &c.

'By this, &c. Parvata and Nareda consecrated Ambasht'hya; and therefore, &c.

'By this, &c. Parvata and Nareda consecrated Yud’hansraushti, grandson of Ugrasena; and therefore, &c.

'By this, &c. Casyapa consecrated Viswacarman, son of Bhuvana; 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, O Viswacarman, 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.” [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.]

‘By this, &c. Vasisht’ha consecrated Sudas, son of Pijavana; and therefore, &c.

‘By this, &c. Samvarta, son of Angiras, consecrated Marutta, son of Avicsuit; 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 Avicsuit, whose every wish was fulfilled.” [All this, observes the commentator, was owing to his solemn inauguration.]

§. 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 Priyamed'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.

‘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 Avachatruca, 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. [It was through the solemn inauguration of Anga that this priest was able to give such great alms. This remark is by the commentator.]

§. IX. ‘By this great inauguration, similar to Indra's, Dirg'hatamas, son of Mamata, consecrated Bharata, the son of Duhshanta; [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.] and therefore did Bharata, son of Dushanta, subdue the earth completely all around, and traverse it every way, and perform repeated sacrifices with horses as offerings.

'On that subject too, those verses are everywhere chanted: “Bharata distributed in Mashnara [The several manascripts differ on this name of a country; and having 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.] a hundred and seven thousand millions of black elephants with white tusks and decked with gold.

“A sacred fire was lighted for Bharata, son of Duhsuanta, in Sachi'guna, 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 Vritrag'hna, 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.” [All this, says the commentator, shows the efficacy of inauguration.]

‘The holy saint, Vrihaduct’ha, taught this great inauguration by Durmuc’ha king of Panchala; and therefore Durmuc’ha, the Panchala, being a king, subdued by means of that knowledge the whole earth round, and traversed it every way. [It is here remarked in the commentary, that a Brahmana, being incompetent to receive consecration, is however capable of knowing its form; the efficacy of which knowledge is shown in this place.]

“The son of Satyahavya, sprung from the race of Vasisht'ha, communicated this great inauguration to Atyarati, son of Janantapa; and therefore Attarati, son of Janantapa, being no king, [nevertheless] subdued by means of that knowledge the whole earth round, and traversed it every way.

‘Satyahavya, of the race of Vasisht’ha, addressed him, saying, "Thou hast conquered the whole earth around; [now] aggrandize me.” Atyarati, son of Janantapa, replied; “When I conquer Uttara curu, then thou shalt be king of the earth, holy man! and I will be merely thy general.” Satyahavya 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 Atyarati, who was [thus] divested of vigour and deprived of strength.

'Therefore let not a soldier be ungrateful towards the priest, who acquainted [with the form], and practises [the celebration, of this ceremony], lest ho 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 Atyarati owed his success. The priest considered his answer as illusory and insulting, because Uttara curu, being north of Meru, is the laud 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.

The fortieth, and last chapter of the Aitareya Brahmana, relates to the benefit of entertaining a Purohita, 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). [So this observance is denominated, vis. Brahmanah parimarah.] 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: [Behind a cloud.] it vanishes, and none know [whither it is gone]. When a man dies, lie 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 within the sun, &c. When the moon is dark, pronounce, &c.

‘The sun, when setting, disappears in fire, &c. [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.'] 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 he enemy go far away.

‘The sun is born of fire. [At night, as the commentator now observes, the sun disappears in fire; reappears thence next day. Accordingly, fire is destitute of splendour by day, and the sun shines brighter.] Viewing it, say, “May the sun rise; but not my foe be reproduced, &c.”

‘The moon is born of the sun. [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 bright fortnight.] Viewing it, say, “May the moon be renewed, etc.”

‘Rain is produced from the moon. [ Here the commentator remarks, Rain enters the lunar orb, which consists of water; and, at a subsequent time, it is reproduced from the moon.] Viewing it, say, “May rain be produced, &c.”

‘Lightning comes of rain. Viewing it, say, “May lightning appear, &c.”

‘Such is destruction around air. Maitreya, son of Cusharu, communicated these rites to Sutwan, son of Cirisa, descended from Bharga. Five kings perished around him, and Sutwan attained greatness.

‘The observance [enjoined] to him [who undertakes these rites, 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 Viswantara, son of Sushadman; Sahadeva, son of Sarja, and his son Somaca; Babhru, son of Devavrid’ha, Bhima of Vidarbha, Nagnajit of Gand'hara, Sanasruta of Arindama, Rituvid of Janaca; besides Janamejaya and Sudas, who have been also noticed in another place.

The Aitareua 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 contains seven lectures, constitutes with the third an Upanishad of this Veda, entitled the Bahvrich Brahmana Upanishad; or more commonly, the Aitareya, as having been recited by a sage named Aitareya. [It is so affirmed by Anandatirt’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 Mahidasa, because those venerable personages (Mahin) declared themselves his slaves (dasa). In the concluding title of one transcript of this Aranya, I find it ascribed to Sswalayana, 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, §. 11) is cited as Saunaca’s, by the commentator on the prayers of the Rigveda (lect. 1, §. 15).]

The four last lectures of that second Aranyaca are particularly consonant to the theological doctrines of the Vedanta, and are accordingly selected by theologians of the Vedanta school as the proper Aitareya Upanishad. [I have two copies of Sancara’s commentary, and one of annotations on his gloss by Narayanendra; likewise a copy of Sayana's commentary on the same theological tract, and also on the third Aranyaca; besides annotations by Anandatirt’ha on a different gloss, for the entire Upanishad. The concluding prayer, or seventh lecture of the second Aranyaca, was omitted by Sancara, as sufficiently perspicuous; but is expounded by Sayana, 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 Anandatirt'ha was sold to me, under a different title, as a commentary on the Tattiriya 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.] The following is literally translated from this portion of the second Aranyaca.

The Aitareya Aranya. B. 2.

§. 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.” [Ambhas water, and apas 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.]

‘He thought, “these are indeed worlds; I will create guardians of worlds." Thus he drew from the waters, and framed, an embodied being. [Purusha, a human form.] 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 herbs and trees. The breast opened; from the breast, mind issued; and from mind, the moon. The navel burst: from the navel came deglutition; [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.] 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 month. 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 participant 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 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.

‘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 [siman], he penetrated by this route. That opening is called the suture (vidriti) and is the road to beatitude (nandana.) [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.]

‘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, [Brahme, or the great one.] the vast expanse, [Purusha.] [exclaiming] it have I seen. Therefore is 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 the gods generally delight in the concealment [of their name]. The gods delight in privacy. [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.]

§ 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, hut when ho 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 own self, [For the man is identified with the child procreated by him.] 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 is 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 iron chains, hold me down: yet, like a falcon, I swiftly rise.” Thus spoke Vamadeva, reposing in the womb: and possessing this [intuitive] knowledge, he rose, after bursting that corporeal confinement; and, ascendiug to the blissful region of heaven, [Swarya, or place of celestial bliss.] 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 ho 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? [Asu, the unconscious volition, which occasions an act necessary to the support of life, as breathing, &c.] 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: [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.] these, and the same joined with minute objects and other seeds [of existence], and [again] other [beings] produced from or borne in wombs, or originating in hot moisture, [Vermin and insects are supposed to be generated from hot moisture.] 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, lie 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, he 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.' [This, like other prayers, is denominated a mantra, though it be the conclusion of an Upanishad.]

On the Caushitaci.

Another Upanishad of this Veda, appertaining to a particular Sac'ha of it, is named from that, 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 Ajatasatru, king of Casi communicates divine knowledge to a priest named Balaci. A similar conversation between these two persons is found likewise in the Vrihad aranyaca 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 Vidyaranya the preceptor of Madhava Acharya. He expressly states Caushitaci as the name of a Sac'ha of the Rigveda.

The original of the Caushitaci 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 Caushitaci .” In it the dialogists are Chitra, surnamed Gangayani, and Swetacetu, with his father Uddaluca, son of Aruna.

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 hears this title.
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Re: Essays on the Religion and Philosophy of the Hindus

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Part 3 of 5

On the White Yajurveda

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 (ad’hyaya), unequally subdivided into numerous short sections (candica); each of which, in general, constitutes a prayer or mantra. It is also divided, like the Rigveda, into anuvacas, or chapters. The number of anuvacas, 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 (candica). [I have several copies of Mad’hyandina’s white Vajush, one of which is accompanied by a commentary, entitled Vedadipa; the author of which, Mahid'hara, consulted the commentaries of Uvata and Mad'hava, as he himself informs us in his preface.]

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 sacrifices, as the name itself implies. [Yajush is derived from the verb yaj, to worship or adore. Another etymology is sometimes assigned: but tins is most consistent with the subject; viz. (yajnya) sacrifices, and (homa) oblations to fire.] 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 a perpetual fire and the sacrifice of victims: the five next relate chiefly to a ceremony called Agnishtoma, which includes that of drinking the juice of the acid asclepias. The two following relate the Vajapeya and Rajushya; the last of which ceremonies involves the consecration of a king. Eight chapters, from the eleventh 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 Aswamed'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 Sautramani and Aswamed' ha are completed in two others; and the Purushamed’ha, or ceremony performed as the type of the allegorical immolation of Narayana, fills the thirtieth and thirty-first chapters. The three next belong to the Sarvamed'ha, or prayers and oblations for universal success. A chapter follows on the Pitrimed’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’h-yach, son or descendant of At'harvan: four 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 Prajapati, Paramesht'hi, or Narayana purusha; some are attributed to Swayambhu Brahme, or the self-existent himself: the reputed authors of the rest are Vrihaspati, Indra, Varuna, and the Aswins: except a few scattered passages, which are ascribed to Vasisht’ha, Viswamitra, Vamadeiva, Mad’huch'handas, Med’ha-tit'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 (Vivaswat or Aditya), 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, [On the Religions Ceremonies of the Hindus, As. Res., vol. v. and vii.] 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 (anuvaca) and sixteen verses.

‘Fire is that [original cause]; the sun is that; 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. [The text refers to particular passages.] 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 horn; and lie, who will he 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, hut to him who made the fluid sky and solid earth, who fixed the solar orb (swar,) and celestial abode (naca), 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 views 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 import of revelation, [For the word Gand'harba is here interpreted as intending one who investigates holy writ.] 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 (swar) 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 Prajapati confer on me sapience; may Indra and air vouchsafe me 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. [Ch. 27, § 45th and last.]

‘Thou art (samvatsara) the [first] year [of the cycle]: thou art (parivatsara) the [second] year; thou art (adavatsara ) the [third] year; thou art (idvat-vatsara) the [fourth] year; thou art (vatsara) the fifth year: may mornings appertain to then; 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, [In the ’Satapat'ha Brahmana, b. ii, ch, 1. The reason here assigned in expressly stated by the commentator.] sacrifice, is identified with the year and with the cycle, by reason of the near connexion between 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 tailed Isavasyam, from the two initial words; and sometimes Isad'hyaya, 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. [Besides Mahid'hara's gloss on this chapter, in his Vedadipa, I have the separate commentary of Sancara, and one by Balacrishnananda, which contains a clear and copious exposition of this Upanishad. He professes to expound it as it is received by both the Canwa and Mad'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.] A translation of it has been published in the posthumous works of Sir William Jones.

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

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. [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 whole 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 Satapat’ha, though differing much in the readings of almost every passage. It probably belongs to a different ’Sac’ha.]

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 then). 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 Jyotishtoma, &c. The fifth is confined to the Vajapeya and 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 commentator [At the beginning of his gloss on the eleventh book.] as relating to the Sautramani and Aswamed'ha; and the fourth, which is the last, belongs to theology. In the original, the thirteenth book is specially denominated Aswamed'hya; and the fourteenth is entitled Vrihad aranyaca.

The Aswamed'ha and Purushamed'ha, celebrated in the manner directed by this Vida, 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 Narayana [See the second essay on the Religions Ceremonies of the Hindus, Asiatic Researches, vol. vii, p. 251.] 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 as real sacrifices, is taught in this Veda: and the interpretation is fully confirmed by the rituals, [I particularly advert to a separate ritual of the Purushamed'ha by Yajnyadeva.] 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.’ [Cited from memory: I read the passage several years ago, but I cannot now recover it.] It may be hence inferred, or conjectured at least, that human sacrifices were 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 Aswamed'ha, is also avowedly an emblem of Viraj, or the primeval and universal manifested being. In the last section of the Taittiriya Vajurveda, the various parts of the horse's body are described, as divisions of time and portions of the universe: ‘morning is his head; the sun, his eye; air, his breath; the moon, his ear; &c.’ A similar passage in the fourteenth book of the 'Satapat'ha 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 Aswamed'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 aranyaca, which constitutes the fourteenth book of the “Satapat'ha 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, or Vajasaneyi brahmana upanishad, but more commonly cited as the Vrihad aranyaca. [Besides three copies of the text, and two transcripts of Sancara’s commentary, I have, also in duplicate, another very excellent commentary by Nityananda Asrama, which is entitled Mitdeshard; and a metrical paraphrase of Sancara's gloss by Sureswar'Acharya, as well as annotations in prose by Ananda Giri.] The greatest part of it is in dialogue, and Yajnyawalcya is the principal speaker. As an Upanishad, it properly belongs to the Canwa Sac'ha: at least, it is so cited by Vidyaransa, 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. [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.]

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

Towards the beginning of the Vrihad aranyaca, a passage, concerning the origin of fire hallowed for an Aswamed'ha, 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.’

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, [Page 17.] where the primeval existence of death is denied, 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 Vidyaranya from this Upanishad, is the fourth article (brahmana) of the third lecture of the Vrihad aranyaca. 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 he 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?

‘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 Yajnyawalcya 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 ho 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, hut is too long to he 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 Satarupa; and the commentators on the Upanishad understand that legend to be alluded to in this place, lint the institutes ascribed to Menu make Viraj to he the issue of such a separation of persons, and Menu himself to be his offspring. [See Sir W. Jones's translation of Menu Ch. 1, v. 32 and 33.] 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 (brahmanas), a conceited and loquacious priest, named Balaci (from his mother Balaca), and Gargya (from his ancestor Garga), visits Ajatasatru, 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?” Gargya 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 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 V and whence came that soul when he was awakened?” Gargya 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 Yajnyawalcya and his wife, Maitreyi. 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, Catyayani. 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.” Maitreyi 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, Yajnyawalcya 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 Yajnyawalcya elucidates the notion, that abstraction procures immortality; because affections are relative to the soul, which should therefore be contemplated and considered in all objects, since every thing is soul; for nil 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 At'harvan 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 At'harvana veda. The Itihasa designates such passages in the second part of the Vedas entitled Brahmana, as narrate a story: for instance, that of the nymph Urvasi and the king Pururavas. The Puranna 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; and “Illustrations” elucidate the meaning of the prayers.

It may not be superfluous to observe in this place, that the Itihasu 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 Brahmana, and instances of which occur in more than one quotation in the present essay.

The dialogue between Yajnyawalcya and Maitreyi, 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 Aswins, by Dad’h-yach, 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 Viraj; 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 Sauryanayya, to the same original revelation, through nearly the same number of gradations. The difference is almost entirely confined to the first ten or twelve names. [I do not find Vyasa mentioned in either list: nor can the surname Parasarya, which occurs more than once, be applied to. him, for it is not his patronymic, but a name deduced from the feminine patronymic Partisan. 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 he noticed further on.]

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 Yajnyawalcya is the chief discourser.

‘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 Brahmanas, is most skilled in theology, may take the cows.” The rest presumed not to touch the cattle; but Yajnyawalcya bade his pupil Samasravas drive them to his home. He did so; and the priests were indignant that he should thus arrogate to himself superiority. Aswala, who was the king's officiating priest, asked him, “Art thou, O Yajnyawalcya! 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 Gargi, 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 fills a single article (Brahmana); but the controversy is maintained by Gargi in two separate discussions; and the contest between Yajnyawalcya and Vidagd'ha, surnamed Sacalya, in the ninth or last article of the fifth lecture, concludes in a singular manner.

Yajnyawalcya proposes to his adversary an abstruse question, and declares, “If thou dost not explain this unto me, thy head shall drop off.” ‘Sacalya (proceeds the text) could not explain it, and his head did fall off; and robbers stole his bones, mistaking them for some other thing.’

Yajnyawalcya 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 substance of the wood. [Snava and Cinata, answering to the periosteum and alburnum.] 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] alter [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 Yajnyawalcya. 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 heat path [to happiness] for the generous votary, who knows him, and remains fixed [in attention].’

The sixth lecture comprises two dialogues between Yajnyawalcya 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 Yajnyawalcya and his wife Maitreyi, with scarcely a variation of a single 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 arunyaca 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 Pautimashi, 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 Bharadwaji, 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 Yajurveda, 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 Jajnyawalcya, in the lists abovementioned; and it ascends by ten steps, without any mention of that saint, to Tura, surnamed Cavasheya, who had the revelation from Prajapati, and he from Brame.

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 history 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.

On the Black Yajurveda.

The Taittiriya, 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 canda), containing from live to eight lectures, or chapters (ad'hyaya, prasna, or prapataca). Each chapter, or lecture, is subdivided into sections (anuvaca), 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 candas, is stated in the index. In this arrangement, each book (canda) 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 are numbered, and so are the syllables in each text.

The first section (anuvaca) iu this collection of prayers, corresponds with the first section (candica) in the white Yajush, [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.] 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 candas, 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 candas, which fill the fourth and fifth books. Sacrifice (ad'hwara) 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 Jyotish’toma, including the forms of preparing and drinking the juice of the acid Asclepias. The Aswamed'ha, Nrimed' ha, and Pitrimed'ha, are severally treated of in their places; that is, in the collection of prayers, [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 Inst book.] 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 candas, according to the second arrangement indicated by the index, appear to he ascribed to Prajapati, 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. [Asiatic Researches, vols. v. and vii.] Other very remarkable passages have occurred, on examining this collection of mantras. [I have several complete copies of the text, but only a part of the commentary by Sayana.] The following, from the seventh and last book, [Book vii, Chapter 1, Section 5.] is chosen as a specimen of the Taittiriya 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 Varaha-avatara, and from which an astronomical period, entitled Calpa, has perhaps been taken. [One of the Calpas, or renovations of the universe, is denominated Varaha.]

‘Waters [alone] there were; this world originally was water. In it the lorf of creation moved, having become air: he saw this [earth]; and upheld it, assuming the form of a boar (varaha): and then moulded that [earth], becoming Viswacarman, the artificer of the universe. It became celebrated (apraCt'hata) and conspicuous ( prit'hivi); 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 Adityas. 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. Ho gave her to the Vasus, to the Rudras, and to the Adityas, [successively], bidding them “Guard her.” The Vasus, the Rudras, and the Adityas, [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 Adityas: 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 [kinc for a gratuity]. He caused the Vasus to sacrifice with the Agni sh'toma and they conquered this world, and gave it [to the priests]: he caused the Madras to sacrifice with the Uct'hya; and they obtained the middle region, and gave it away [for a sacrificial fee]: he caused the Adilyas to sacrifice with the AtiraCra; 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.

To the second part of this Veda [The Taittiriya, 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.] belongs an Aranya, divided, like the Sanhita, into lectures (prasna), and again subdivided into chapters (anuvaca), containing texts, or sections, which are numbered, and in which the syllables have been counted. Here also a division by candas, according to the different subjects, prevails. The six first lectures, and their corresponding candas, relate to religious observances. The two next constitute three Upanishads; or, as they are usually cited, two; one of which is commonly entitled the Taittiriyaca Upanishad: the other is called the Narayana, or, to distinguish it from another belonging exclusively to the At'harvana, the great (Maha, or Vrihan) Narayaha. They are all admitted in collections of theological treatises appendant on the At'harvana; 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 Varuni, or second Taittiriyaca Upanishad, with the introductory chapter of the first. [I use several copies of the entire Aranya, with Sancara’s commentary on the Taittiriya Upanishad, and annotations on his gloss by Anandajyana; besides separate copies of that, and of the Mahanarayana, and a commentary on the Varuni Upanishad, entitled Lahhu dipica.]

‘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: 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, be 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 be 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 he Brahme: for all these beings are indeed produced from intellect: when horn, 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 .”

‘He thought deeply; and having thus meditated [with] devout contemplation, he knew Ananila [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 Taittiriyara 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, O air! Even thou nrt 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.’ [I have inserted here, as in other places, between crotchets, such illustrations front the commentary as appear requisite to render the text intelligible.]

On Other Upanishads of the Yajurveda.

Among the Sac’has of the Yajurveda, one, entitled Maitrayani, furnishes an Upanishad which bears the same denomination. An abridged paraphrase of it, in verse, [By Vidyaranya. I have not seen the original.] shows it to he a dialogue in which a sage, named Sacayana, communicates to the king, Vrihadrat'ha, theological knowledge derived from another sage, called Maitra.

A different Sac'ha of this Veda, entitled the Cat'ha, nr Cat'haca, furnishes an Upanishad hearing 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 Upanithads, appertaining to the At'harvana.

Swetaswatara, who has given his name to one more 'Sac' ha of the Yajurveda, from which an Upanishad is extracted, [In the abridgment of it by Vidyaranya, this is the description given of the Swetaswatara Upanishad.] is introduced in it as teaching theology. This Upanishad, comprised in six chapters or lectures (ad'hyaya), is found in collections of theological tracts appertaining to the At'harvaveda; but, strictly, it appears to belong exclusively to the Yajush.
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Re: Essays on the Religion and Philosophy of the Hindus

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Part 4 of 5

On the Samaveda.

A peculiar degree of holiness seems to he attached, according to Indian notions, to the Samaveda; if reliance may he placed on the inference suggested by the etymology of its name, which indicates, according to the derivation [From the root sho, convertible into so and sa, and signifying ‘to destroy.’. The derivative is expounded as denoting something ‘which destroys sin.’] 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 can 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. [Asiatic Researches, vols. v. and vii.] They are here arranged as appears from two copies of the Archica, [One of them dated nearly two centuries ago, in 1672 Samvat. This copy exhibits the further title of Ch'handasi Sanhita.] in six chapters (prapataca) subdivided into half chapters, and into sections (dasati); ten in each chapter, and usually containing the exact number of ten 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, [The most ancient of those in my possession is dated nearly three centuries ago, in 1587 Samvat.] 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. [This Aranya comprises nearly three hundred verses (saman), or exactly 290. The Archica contains twice as many, or nearly 600.] 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.

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 gana. 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 Aniructa gana. [The ritual, which is the chief authority for this remark, is one by Sayanacharya, entitled yajnyaluntra Sud'hanid'hi.] 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 Uha gana.

From the comparison and examination of these parts of the Samaveda, in which, so far ns the collation of them has been carried, the texts appear to he. 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, [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 Vigsna Arna, Vegana, Ugana, and Uhya gana. 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 Uha gana.] may not differ more widely from the Archica and Aranya above-mentioned: and that those 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, cither complete or in part. One is denominated Shadvinsa; probably from its containing twenty-six chapters. Another is called Adbhuta, or, at greater length, Adbhuta 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 filth 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 I conjecture this to be the same with one in my possession not designated by any particular title, but containing that precise number of chapters.

The best known among the Brahmanas of the Samaveda, is that entitled Tandya. It was expounded by Sayanacharya; 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 Agnishtoma. 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'handogga Upanishad contains eight chapters (prapatacas), apparently extracted from some portion of the Brahmana, in which they are numbered from three to ten. [I have several copies of the test, with the gloss of Sancara, and annotations on it by Anandajnyanagiri; besides the notes of Vyasatirt'ha on a commentary by Anandatirt'ha.] The first and second, not being included in the Upanishad, probably relate to religious ceremonies. 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'handogya [Its author, indicated by Vyasatirt’ha, is Hayagriva.] is in a didactic form: including however, like most of the other Upanishads several dialogues. The beginning of one, between Sanatcumara and Nareda, which occupies the whole of the seventh chapter, [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.] has already been quoted. The preceding chapter consists of two dialogues between S'wetacetu, grandson of Aruna, and his own father, Uddalaca, the son of Aruna. These had been prepared in the fifth chapter, where Pravahana, son of Jivala, convicts Swetacetu 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 Janasruti, 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 Prajapati and Indra.

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

‘Prachinasala, son of Upamanyu, Satyayajnya, issue of Pulusha, Indradyumna offspring of Bhallavi, Jana descendant of Sarcaracshya, and Fudila sprung from Aswataraswa, 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, “Uddalaca, the son of Aruna, is well acquainted with the universal soul: let us immediately go to him.” 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, “Aswapati, the, son of Cecaya, 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 drunkara; 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. risked, O venerable men! [for what you desire].” [Finding, that they made no request, he went on:] “As much as t shall bestow on each officiating priest, so much will I also give to you. 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; “To-morrow I will declare it to you.” Perceiving his drift, they, next day, attended him, hearing [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 prepared, [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 religions 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, O 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 Vyaghrapad." “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.”

‘He next interrogated Jana, the son of Sarcaracshya: “Whom dost thou worship as the soul, O son of Sarcaracshya? ” “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 souk Thy trunk had corrupted,” said the king, “hadst thou not come to me.”

‘He afterwards inquired of Vudila, the son of Aswataraswa: “Whom dost thou worship as the soul, O descendant of Vyaghrapad?” “Water,” said he, “O venerable king!” “Rich is that universal self, whom thou dost worship as the soul; and, therefore, art thou opulent und thriving. Thou dost consume food; thon 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. Hut this is only the abdomen of the soul. Thy bladder had burst,” said the king, “hadst thou not come to me.”

‘Lastly, he interrogated Uddalaca, the son of Aruna. “Whom dost thou worship as the soul, O 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 religious occupations in his family. Hut 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. Hut 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 month, 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: “He 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, he himself [who eats] is fully gratified with offspring and cattle; with vigour proceeding from food, and splendour arising from holy observances. [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 Pranagnihotra.]

“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 Chandala. 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 Upnnishad of the Samaveda belongs to the Sac'ha of the Talavacaras. It is called, the “Ceneshita,” or “Cena" Upanishad, from the word, or words, with which it opens: and, as appears from Sancara’s commentary, [I have Sancara'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 At'harvaveda.] this treatise is the ninth chapter (ad'hyaya ) 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, hut proceed to describe the fourth and last Veda.

On the At'harva-Veda.

The Sanhita, or collection of prayers and invocations, belonging to the Atharvana, is comprised in twenty books (canda), subdivided into sections (anuvaca) hymns (sucta), and verses (rich). Another mode of division by chapters (prapataca) 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 Hindus: [Asiatic Researches, vol. i. p. 347.] and a version of it was given, as a specimen of the language and style of the At'harvana. That passage comprises the whole of the forty-third hymn of the nineteenth book. [Sir W. Jones cites it, as from the first book; I suspect, that, in Colonel Polier's copy, the nineteenth book might stand first in the volume. It does so, in General Martine's transcript, though the colophon he correct. I have another, and very complete, copy of this Veda. General Martini’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.] 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. [Asiatic Researches, vol. vii. p. 251.] Some of the verses are indeed transposed, 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 Crittica: 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 At'harva-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, [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.] and the origin of the Zodiac was placed at the beginning of Crittica. 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, [Asiatic Researches, vol. i. p. 348.] 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.

‘Destroy, O sacred grass, [Darbha, Poa Cynosuroides.] my foes; exterminate my enemies; annihilate all those, who hate me, O precious gem!’

The Atharta-veda, ns 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 Gopat'ha 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 (prapataca), with the date of the transcript [It is dated at Mat'hura, in the year (Samvat) 1732.] 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 Gopat'ha 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 Prajapati appointed by Brahme to create and protect subordinate beings.

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

I proceed to notice the most remarkable part of the At'harva-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. [The Cena and Ch'handogya from the Samavcda: the Vrihad aranyaca and Isaviasya from the white Yajush, and the Taittiriyaca from the black Yajush; the Aitareya from the Rigveda; and the Cut'ha, Prasna, Mundaca. and Manducya from the At'harvana. To these should be added, the Nrisinha tapaniya.] 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, where 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 Sancara, Sayana, 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 derivation 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. [Sancara, and Anandasrama on the Vrihad aranyaca; as also the commentaries on other Upanishads: especially Sancara on the Cat'haca. 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.]

The whole of the Indian theology is professedly founded on the Upanishads. [It is expressly so affirmed in the Vedanta sara, v. 3.] 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 Brahmana of the At' harva-veda. I have not found any of them in the Sanhita of the At'harvana, nor in the Gopat'ha Brahmana.

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

The Mundaca, divided into six sections unequally distributed in two parts, is the first Upanishad of the At'harvana; and is also, one of the most important, for the doctrines which is contains. It has been fully illustrated by Sancara, whose gloss is assisted by the annotations of Anandajnyana. The opening of this Upanishad, comprising the whole of the first section, is hero 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, [Sancara remarks, that At’harva, or At'harvan, may have been the first creature; in one of the many modes of creation, which have been practised by BRAHMA.] was communicated by him to Angir, who transmitted it to Satyavaha, the descendant of Bharadwaja; and this son of Bharadwaja imparted the traditional science to Angiras.

'Saunaca, or the son of Sunaca, a mighty householder, addressing Angiras with due respect, asked, “What is it, O 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, and another. This other is the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda, the At'harva veda; [Meaning the prayers contained in the four Vedas, disjoined from theology.] the rules of accentuation, the rites of religion, grammar, the glossary and explanation of obscure terms, prosody, and astronomy: also the Itihasa and Purana; and logic, with the rules of interpretation, and the system of moral duties.

"But the supreme science is that, by which this imperishable [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 imperishable 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 Sancara and Balacrishna. [I have several copies of the text, besides commentaries on both Upanashads.] In this dialogue, Sucesa, the son of Bharadwaja, Satyacama, descended from Sivi, Sauryayani, a remote descendant of the Sun, but belonging to the family of Garga, Causalya, surnamed as Aswalayana, or son of Aswala, Vaidarbhi of the race of Bhrigu, together with Caband'hi surnamed Catyayana, or descendant of Catya, are introduced as seeking the knowledge of theology, and applying to Pippalapa 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 Upanithads (from the 3d to the 11th) 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. [This reason is assigned by the annotator on Sancara’s gloss, at the beginning of his notes on the Mundaca Upanishad.] They are enumerated in the margin. [3d Brahme-vidya. 4th Cshurica. 5th Chulica. 6ith and 7th At’harva-siras. 8th Garbha. 9th Maha. 10th Brahma. 11th Piranagnihotea.]

The Manducya follows, and consists of four parts, each constituting a distinct Upanishud. This abstruse treatise, comprising the most material doctrines of the Vedanta, has been elucidated by the labours of Gaudapada, and Sancara. Gaudapada's commentary is assisted by the notes of Anandagiri.

Among the miscellaneous Upanishads, the first thirteen (from the 16th to the 28th) have been left 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. [16th Nila-rudra. 17th Nada-vindu. 18th Brahme-vindu. 19th Amrita- vindu. 20th D'hyana-vindu. 21st Tejo-vindu. 22d Yogasicsha. 23d Yoga- tatwa. 24th Sannyata. 25th Aruiya or Aruniyoga. 20th Cant'hasruti. 27th Pinda. 28th Atma.]

The following six from (from the 29th to the 34th.) constitute the Nrisinha Tapaniya; five of them compose the Purva Tapaniya, or first part of the Upanishad so called; and the last, and most important, is entitled Uttara Tapaniya, It has been expounded by Gaudapada, as the first part (if not the whole Upanishad) has been by Sancara. [I have several copies of the text, and of Gaudapada’s commentary; with a single transcript of Ancara’s gloss on the five first of the treatises entitled Tapaniya.] 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, docs not seem to he 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.
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Re: Essays on the Religion and Philosophy of the Hindus

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Part 5 of 5

The two next Upanishads constitute the first and second parts of the Cat'haca, or Valli, or Ca't'havalli (for the name varies in different copies). It belongs properly to the Vajurveda, as before mentioned; but it is usually cited from the At’harvana; and has been commented, as appertaining to this Veda, by Sancara, and by Balacrishna. [The commentary of Sancara is, as usual, concise and perspicuous: and that of Balacrishna, copious but clear. Resides their commentaries, and several copies of the text, together with a paraphrase by Vidyaranya, I have found this Upanishad forming a chapter in a Brahmana, which is marked as belonging to the Samaveda, and which 1 conjecture to be the Panchavinsa Brahmana of that Veda.]

It comprises six sections, severally entitled Valli; but constituting two chapters (ad'hyaya), denominated Purva-valli and Uttaravalli. The dialogue is supported by Mrityu, or death, and the prince Nachicetas, whom his father, Vajasravasa, consigned to YAMA, 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 the supreme Being. The doctrine is similar to that of other principal Upanishads.

The Ceneshita, or Cena Upanishad, is the thirty-seventh of the At- harvana, and agrees, almost word for word, with a treatise bearing the same title, and belonging to a Sac' ha of the Samaveda, Sancara has, however, written separate commentaries on both, for the sake of exhibiting their different interpretations. [Here, as in other instances, I speak from copies in my possession.] Both commentaries have, as usual, been annotated.

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

On the three subsequent Upanishads I shall offer no remarks; they have not been commented among such as relate to the Vedanta; and I have not ascertained whence they are extracted. [Their titles are, 41st Sarv' opanishatsara. 42d Hansa. And 43d Parama hansa.]

Under the name of Anandavalli aud Bhriguvalli, two Upanishads follow (44th and 40th), which have been already noticed as extracts from the Aranya of the black Yajush, distinguished by the titles of Taittiriya and Varuni.

The remaining seven Upanishads [46th Garuda, 47th Calagni-rudra. 48th and 49th Rama tapaniya, first and second parts. 50th Caivatya. 51st Jabala. 52d Asrama.] 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 authenticity is founded. It appears necessary to do so, since a late author has abruptly pronounced the Vedas to be forgeries. [Mr. Pinkerton, in his Modern Geography, Vol. II.]

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 Godaveri. 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.

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 Sayana’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 Gaudapada'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 roles 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 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, [The Sutras of Aswalayana, Sanc'hyayana, Baudd'hayana, Catyayana, Latayana, Gobhila, Apastamba &c. 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.] 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 he 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 oven for such as have been long since disused. 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. [A work entitled Niti manjari is an instance of this mode of treating moral subjects.] 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 ns 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 Juinas, unattended by any indication of their doubting the genuineness of the original, though they do not receive its doctrines, nor acknowledge its cogency. [The 'Satapat'ha Brahmana, especially the 14th book, or Vrihad aranyaca, 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.]

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 he 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 opponents, 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 Yajnyawalcya’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 Yajnyawalcya. [Vijyanayogi, also named Vijnyaneswara, who commented the institutes which bear the name of Yajnyawalcya, states the text to be an abridgment by a different author.] 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 Iswara Crishna; and he is stated to have received the doctrine mediately from Capila, through successive teachers, after its publication by Panchasic’ha, who bad been himself instructed by Asuri, the pupil of Capila.

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 which 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 Matsya, Vishnu, Bhagavata, Garuda, Nrisinhu, and other Puranus. I must not omit to notice, that Sancaracharya, the great commentator on the abstrusest parts of the Vedas is celebrated, in the Vrihad d'harma purana, [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.] as an incarnation of Vishnu; and Gaudapada is described, in the Sancara vijeya, as the pupil of Suca the son of Vyasa. [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 Sancara, is stated to have been the pupil of Gaudapada; and, according to the traditions generally received in the peninsula of India, Sancara lived little more than eight hundred years ago.]

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. Blaquiere, and myself, have detected interpolations. Many greater forgeries have been attempted: 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 some 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 which I shall have likewise occasion to notice, the learned among the Hindus have insisted the impositions that have been attempted. Many others might be stated, where no imposition has been either 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 generally admitted not to have been composed by that poet, if, indeed, he ever existed, Nani, or Annius, 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. 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 Haraouin, 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. Borne 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, 1 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 my Dwaipayana, 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 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 he 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, [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, Seshanaga.] it appears, 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: [The Athenian year was regulated in a similar manner; but, according to Geminus, it was the sixty-third day, which was deducted. Perhaps this Hindu calendar may assist in explaining the Grecian system of lunar months.] 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 Crittica, or the Pleiads. The place of the colures, according to these astronomical treatises, will he 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 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 he traced, from the cycle of five, [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 Parasara’s institutes of law edited by Suvrata, and entitled Vrihat Parasara. 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 yugas), is denominated the yuga of Vacpati; whence the yuga 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.] 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.

'Swar acramete soma'rcau yadi sacam savasavau; syat tadadiyugam, maghas, tapas, suclo, yanam hy udac.

'Prapadyete sravist'hadau suyachandramasav udac; sarp'ard'he dacshin'arcas tu: mag'ha-sravanayoh sada.

'Gharma-vridd'hir, apam prast'hah, cshapa-hrasa, udag gatau; dacshine tau viparyastau, shan muhurty ayanena tu.'

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] Tayas, and the bright [fortnight], and the northern path.

‘The sun and moon turn towards the north at the beginning of 'Sravisht'ha: 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 prast'ha (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 muhurtas.’ [I cannot, as yet, reconcile the time here stated. Its explanation appears to depend on the construction of the clepsyara, which I do not well understand; as the rule for its construction is obscure, and involves some difficulties which remain yet unsolved.]

Sravisht'ha is given, in all the dictionaries of the Sanscrit language, as another name of D'hanisht'ha: and is used for it in more than one passage of the Vedas. This is the constellation which is sacred to the 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. [I think it needless to quote the original of this enumeration.] Texts, contained in the Vedas themselves, confirm the correspondence; and the connexion of Aswini and the Aswins is indeed decisive.

Hence it is clear, that D'hanisht'ha 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 formerly [Asiatic Researches, vol. vii. p. 283.] 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 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 At'harva-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 tapaniya, consisting of two parts (Purva and Uttara); 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 Mat' hura.

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 Rama and Crishna as incarnations of VISHNU, are comparatively now. 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 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, and of Crishna, by the Vaishnavas, and that of Mahadeva and Bhavani by the Saivas and ‘Sactas, have been generally introduced, since the persecution of the Baudd'has and Jainas. The institutions of the Vedas are anterior to Budd'ha, whose theology seems to have been borrowed from the system of Capila, 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 Cali, [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 Catica Purana by Mr. Blaquiere (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.] has superseded the less sanguinary practice of the Yajnya; and the adoration of Rama 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 Rama 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 Atmabod'ha Upanishad, [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.] in which Crishna is noticed by the title of Mad’husudana, son of Devaci: and such, also, is the Sundaritapani, [According to the only copy that I have seen, it comprises five Upanishads, and belongs to the Atharvaha; 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 Tripura by Bhatta Bhascara.] 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 doubt, merely because I am not acquainted with any external evidence of their genuineness. [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, Cauta, Gopichandana, Darsana, and Vajrasuchi. I shall not stop to indicate a few questionable passages in some of these dubious tracts.] 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.
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Re: Essays on the Religion and Philosophy of the Hindus

Postby admin » Thu Dec 17, 2020 12:57 am

II. On the DUTIES of a faithful Hindu widow.
[From the Asiatic Researches, vol. iv. p. 209-219. Calcutta, 1795. 4to.]

While the light which the labours of the Asiatic Society have thrown on the sciences and religion of the Hindus, has drawn the attention of the literary world to that subject, the hint thrown out by the President for rejecting the authority of every publication preceding the translation of the Gita, does not appear to have made sufficient impression. Several late compilations in Europe betray great want of judgment in the selection of authorities; and their motley dress of true and false colours tends to perpetuate error; for this reason it seems necessary on every topic to revert to original authorities, for the purpose of cancelling error or verifying facts already published; and this object will no way be more readily attained, than by the communication of detached essays on each topic, as it may present itself to the Orientalist in the progress of his researches.

From this or any other motive for indulgence, should the following authorities from Sanscrit books be thought worthy of a place in the next volume of the Society's Transactions, I shall be rewarded for the pains taken in collecting them.

'Having first bathed, the widow, dressed in two clean garments, and holding some cum grass, sips water from the palm of her hand. Bearing cusa and tila [Sesamum.] on her hand, she looks towards the east or north, while the Brahmana utters the mystic word 'Om. Bowing to Narayana, she next declares: [This declaration is called the Sancalpa.] "On this month, so named in such a pacsha, on such a tit'hi, I (naming herself and her family [Gotra, the family or race. Four great families of Brahmanas are now extant, and have branched into many distinct races. Since the memorable massacre of the Cshatriyas, by Parasu-Rama, the Cshatriyas describe themselves from the same Gotras as the Brahmanas.]) that I may meet Arundhati [Wife of Vasisht'ha. and reside in Swarga; that the years of my stay may be numerous as the hairs on the human body; that I may enjoy with my husband the felicity of heaven, and sanctify my paternal and maternal progenitors, and the ancestry of my husband's father; that lauded by the Apsarases, I may be happy with my lord, through the reigns of fourteen Indras; that expiation be made for my husband's offences, whether he has killed a Brahmana, broken the ties of gratitude, or murdered his friend, thus I ascend my husband's burning pile. I call on you, ye guardians of the eight regions of the world; Sun and Moon! Air, Fire, Aether, [Acasa.] Earth, and Water! My own soul! Yama! Day, Night, and Twilight! And thou, Conscience, bear witness: I follow my husband's corpse on the funeral pile."' [In several publications the woman has been described as placing herself on the pile before it be lighted; but the ritual quoted is conformable to the text of the Bhagavata. "When the corpse is about to be consumed in the sahotaja, the faithful wife who stood without, rushes on the fire. " — NAREDA to Yud'hisht'hira, announcing the death and funeral of Dhbitarashtra. See Bhagavata, book i., ch. 13. The sahotaja is a cabin of grass or leaves, sometimes erected on the funeral pile. "The shed on the funeral pile of a Muni is [called] parnotaja and sahotaja." See the vocabulary entitled Haravali.]

'Having repeated the Sancalpa, she walks thrice round the pile; and the Brahmana utters the following mantras:

'"'Om! Let these women, not to be widowed, good wives, adorned with collyrium, holding clarified butter, consign themselves to the fire. Immortal, not childless, nor husbandless, well adorned with gems, let them pass into fire, whose original element is water." (From the Rigveda.)

'"'Om! Let these faithful wives, pure, beautiful, commit themselves to the fire, with their husband's corpse." (A Pauranica mantra.)

'With this benediction, and uttering the mystic Namo Namah, she ascends the flaming pile.'

While the prescribed ceremonies are performed by the widow, the son, or other near kinsman, of the deceased, applies the first torch, with the forms directed for funeral rites in the Grihya, [Extracts or compilations from the sacred books, containing the particular forms for religious ceremonies, to be observed by the race or family for whom that portion of the sacred writings has been adopted, which composes their Grihya.] by which his tribe is governed.

The Sancalpa is evidently formed on the words of Angiras:

"The wife who commits herself to the flames with her husband's corpse, shall equal ARUNDHATI, and reside in Swarga;

"Accompanying her husband, she shall reside so long in Swarga as are the thirty-five mittions of hairs on the human body.

"As the snake-catcher forcibly drags the serpent from his earth, so, bearing her husband [from hell], with him she shall enjoy heavenly bliss.

"Dying with her husband, she sanctities her maternal and paternal ancestors; and the ancestry of him to whom she gave her virginity.

"Such a wife, adoring her husband, in celestial felicity with him, greatest, most admired, [The word in the text is expounded "lauded by the choirs of heaven, Gand'harvas," &c.] with him shall enjoy the delights of heaven, while fourteen Indras reign.

"Though her husband had killed a Brahmana, [The commentators are at the pains of shewing that this expiation must refer to a crime committed in a former existence; for funeral rites are refused to the murderer of a Brahmana.] broken the ties of gratitude, or murdered his friend, she expiates the crime." (Angiras.)

The mantras are adopted on the authority of the Brahme purana.

"While the pile is preparing, tell the faithful wife of the greatest duty of woman; she is loyal and pure who burns herself with her husband's corpse. Hearing this, fortified [in her resolution], and full of affection, she completes the Pitrimedha yoga [Act of burning herself with her husband.] and ascends to Swarga." (Brahme purana.)

It is held to be the duty of a widow to burn herself with her husband's corpse; but she has the alternative,

"On the death of her husband, to live as Brahmachari, or commit herself to the flames." (Vishnu.)

The austerity intended consists in chastity, and in acts of piety and mortification.

"The use of tambulam dress, and feeding off vessels of tutenague is forbidden to the Yati, [Sannyasi.] the Brahmachari, and the widow."(Prachetas.)

"The widow shall never exceed one meal a day, nor sleep on a bed; if she do so, her husband falls from Swarga."

"She shall eat no other than simple food, and [If she has no male descendants. See Madana Parijata.] shall daily offer the tarpana of cusa, tila, and water. [Oblations for the manes of ancestors to the third degree, though not exclusively; for the prayer includes a general petition for remoter ancestors. Yet daily oblations (Vaisvadeva) are separately offered for ancestors beyond the third degree.]

"In Vaisac'ha, Cartica, and Magha, she shall exceed the usual duties of ablution, alms, and pilgrimage, and often use the name of GOD [in prayer]." (The Smriti.)

After undertaking the duty of a Sati, should the widow recede, she incurs the penalties of defilement.

"If the woman, regretting life, recede from the pile, she is defiled; but may be purified by observing the fast called Prajapalya." [It extends to twelve days; the first three, a spare meal may be taken once in each day; the next three, one in each night; the succeeding three days, nothing may be eaten but what is given unsolicited; and the last three days are a rigid fast.] (Apastamba.)

Though an alternative be allowed, the Hindu legislators have shown themselves disposed to encourage widows to burn themselves with their husband's corpse.

Harita thus defines a loyal wife: "She, whose sympathy feels the pains and joys of her husband; who mourns and pines in his absence, and dies when he dies, is a good and loyal wife." (Harita.)

"Always revere a loyal wife, as you venerate the Devatas: for, by her virtues, the prince's empire may extend over the three worlds." (Matsya purana.)

"Though the husband died unhappy by the disobedience of his wife; if from motives of love, disgust [of the world], fear [of living unprotected], or sorrow, she commit herself to the flames, she is entitled to veneration." (Maha Bharata.)

Obsequies for suicides are forbidden; but the Rigveda expressly declares, that "the loyal wife [who burns herself], shall not be deemed a suicide. When a mourning of three days has been completed, the 'Sraddha is to be performed." [The shortness of the mourning is honourable: the longest mourning is for the lowest tribe.] This appears from the prayer for the occasion, directed in the Rigveda.

Regularly the chief mourner for the husband and for the wife, would in many cases be distinct persons: but the Bhavishya purana provides, that "When the widow consigns herself to the same pile with the corpse of the deceased, whoever performs the Criya for her husband, shall perform it for her."

"As to the ceremonies from the lighting of the funeral pile to the Pinda] whoever lights the pile shall also offer the Pinda." (Vayu purana.)

In certain circumstances the widow is disqualified for this act of a Sati.

"She who has an infant child, or is pregnant, or whose pregnancy is doubtful, or who is unclean, may not, princess, ascend the funeral pile.

"So said Nareda to the mother of Sagara."

"The mother of an infant shall not relinquish the care of her child to ascend the pile; nor shall one who is unclean [from a periodical cause], or whose time for purification after childbirth is not passed, nor shall one who is pregnant, commit herself to the flames. [It has been erroneously asserted, that a wife, pregnant at the time of her husband's death, may burn herself after delivery. Hindu authorities positively contradict it. In addition to the text it may be remarked, that it is a maxim, "What was prevented in its season, may not afterwards be resumed."] But the mother of an infant may, if the care of the child can be otherwise provided." (Vrihaspati.)

In the event of a Brahmana dying in a distant country, his widow is not permitted to burn herself.

"A Vipra or Bramani may not ascend a second pile." (Gotama.)

But with other castes, this proof of fidelity is not precluded by the remote decease of the husband, and is called Anugamana.

"The widow, on the news of her husband's dying in a distant country, should expeditiously burn herself: so shall she obtain perfection." (Vyasa.)

"Should the husband die on a journey, holding his sandals to her breast, let her pass into the flames." (Brahme purana.)

The expression is not understood of sandals exclusively; for Usanas or Sucra declares:

"Except a Vipra, the widow may take any thing that belonged to her husband, and ascend the pile.

"But a Vipra may not ascend a second pile; this practice belongs to other tribes." (Sucra.)

In two of the excepted cases, a latitude is allowed for a widow desirous of offering this token of loyalty, by postponing the obsequies of the deceased: for Vyasa directs that, ''If the loyal wife be distant less than the journey of a day, and desire to die with her husband, his corpse shall not be burnt until she arrive." And the Bhavishya purana permits that "the corpse be kept one night, if the third day of her uncleanness had expired when her husband died."

With respect to a circumstance of time, [Occasional observances are omitted on intercalary days.] which might on some occasions be objected, the commentators obviate the difficulty, by arguing from several texts, "that to die with or after [her husband], is for a widow naimittica [Eventual; incumbent when a certain event happens.] and camya, [Optional; done for its reward.] and consequently allowable in the intercalary month:" for Cacsha teaches, that "whenever an act both naimittica and camya is in hand, it is then to be performed without consulting season." They are at the trouble of removing another difficulty:

"Dhritarashtra in the state of Samadhi, quitted his terrestrial form to proceed to the Mucti, or beatitude, which awaited him. When the leaves and wood were lighted to consume the corpse, his wife Gand'hari was seen to pass into the flames. Now also, a husband dying at Casi and attaining Mucti, it becomes his widow to follow the corpse in the flames."

It were superfluous to pursue commentators through all their frivolous distinctions and laborious illustrations on latent difficulties.

All the ceremonies essential to this awful rite are included in the instructions already quoted. But many practices have been introduced, though not sanctioned by any ritual. A widow who declares her resolution of burning herself with the corpse, is required to give a token of her fortitude: and it is acknowledged, that one who receded after the ceremony commenced, would be compelled by her relations to complete the sacrifice. This may explain circumstances described by some who have witnessed the melancholy scene.

Other ceremonies noticed in the relations of persons who have been present on such occasions, are directed in several rituals:

"Adorned with all jewels, decked with minium and other customary ornaments, with the box of minium in her hand, having made puja or adoration to the Devatas, thus reflecting that this life is nought: my lord and master to me was all, — she walks round the burning pile. She bestows jewels on the Brahmanas, comforts her relations, and shows her friends the attentions of civility: while calling the Sun and Elements to witness, she distributes minium at pleasure; and having repeated the Sancalpa, proceeds into the flames. There embracing the corpse, she abandons herself to the fire, calling Satya! Sattya! Satya!"

The by-standers throw on butter and wood: for this they are taught that they acquire merit exceeding ten million fold the merit of an Aswamedha, or other great sacrifice. Even those who join the procession from the house of the deceased to the funeral pile, for every step are rewarded as for an Aswamedha. Such indulgences are promised by grave authors: they are quoted in this place only as they seem to authorize an inference, that happily the martyrs of this superstition have never been numerous. It is certain that the instances of the widow's sacrifices are now rare: on this it is only necessary to appeal to the recollection of every person residing in India, how few instances have actually occurred within his knowledge. And, had they ever been frequent, superstition would hardly have promised its indulgences to spectators.
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Re: Essays on the Religion and Philosophy of the Hindus

Postby admin » Thu Dec 17, 2020 4:08 am

III. On the Religious ceremonies of the Hindus, and of the Brahmens especially.

ESSAY I.


[From the Asiatic Researches, vol. v. p. 345-368. Calcutta, 1798. 4to.]

The civil law of the Hindus containing frequent allusions to their religious rites, I was led, among other pursuits connected with a late undertaking, to peruse several treatises on this subject, and to translate from the Sanscrit some entire tracts, and parts of others. From these sources of information, upon a subject on which the Hindus are by no means communicative, I intend to lay before the Society, in this and subsequent essays, an abridged explanation of the ceremonies, and verbal translations of the prayers used at rites, which a Hindu is bound constantly to perform. In other branches of this inquiry, the Society may expect valuable communications from our colleague, Mr. W. C. Blaquiere, who is engaged in similar researches. That part of the subject to which I have confined my enquiries will be also found to contain curious matter, which I shall now set forth without comment, reserving for a subsequent essay the observations which are suggested by a review of these religious practices.

A Brahmana rising from sleep, is enjoined, under the penalty of losing the benefit of all rites performed by him, to rub his teeth with a proper withe, or a twig of the racemiferous fig-tree, pronouncing to himself this prayer: "Attend, lord of the forest; Soma, king of herbs and plants, has approached thee: mayest thou and he cleanse my mouth with glory and good auspices, that I may eat abundant food." The following prayer is also used upon this occasion: "Lord of the forest! grant me life, strength, glory, splendour, offspring, cattle, abundant wealth, virtue, knowledge, and intelligence." But if a proper withe cannot be found, or on certain days, when the use of it is forbidden, (that is, on the day of the conjunction, and on the first, sixth, and ninth days of each lunar fortnight), he must rinse his mouth twelve times with water.

Having carefully thrown away the twig which has been used, in a place free from impurities, he should proceed to bathe, standing in a river, or in other water. The duty of bathing in the morning, and at noon, if the man be a householder, and in the evening also, if he belong to an order of devotion, is inculcated by pronouncing the strict observance of it no less efficacious than a rigid penance, in expiating sins, especially the early bath in the months of Magha, P'halguna, and Cartica: and the bath being particularly enjoined as a salutary ablution, he is permitted to bathe in his own house, but without prayers, if the weather, or his own infirmities, prevent his going forth: or he may abridge the ceremonies, and use fewer prayers, if a religious duty, or urgent business, require his early attendance. The regular bath consists of ablutions followed by worship, and by the inaudible recitation of the Gayatri with the names of the worlds. First sipping water, and sprinkling some before him, the priest recites the three subjoined prayers, while he performs an ablution, by throwing water eight times on his head, or towards the sky, and concludes it by casting water on the ground, to destroy the demons who wage war with the gods. 1st. "O waters! since ye afford delight, grant us present happiness, and the rapturous sight of the supreme god." 2d. "Like tender mothers, make us here partakers of your most auspicious essence." 3d. "We become contented with your essence, with which ye satisfy the universe. Waters! grant it unto us." (Or, as otherwise expounded, the third text may signify, 'Eagerly do we approach your essence, which supports the universal abode. Waters! grant it unto us.') In the Agni purana, the ablution is otherwise directed: "At twilight, let a man attentively recite the prayers addressed to water, and perform an ablution, by throwing water on the crown of his head, on the earth, towards the sky; again towards the sky, on the earth, on the crown of his head, on the earth, again on the crown of his head, and lastly on the earth." Immediately after this ablution, he should sip water without swallowing it, silently praying in these words: "Lord of sacrifice! thy heart is in the midst of the waters of the ocean; may salutary herbs and waters pervade thee. With sacrificial hymns and humble salutation we invite thy presence; may this ablution be efficacious." Or he may sip water while he utters inaudibly the mysterious names of the seven worlds. Thrice plunging into water, he must each time repeat the expiatory text which recites the creation; and having thus completed his ablution, he puts on his mantle after washing it, and sits down to worship the rising sun.

This ceremony is begun by his tying the lock of hair on the crown of his head, while he recites the Gayatri, holding much cusa grass in his left, and three blades of the same grass in his right hand; or wearing a ring of grass on the third finger of the same hand. Thrice sipping water with the same text preceded by the mysterious names of worlds, and each time rubbing his hands as if washing them; and finally, touching with his wet hand, his feet, head, breast, eyes, ears, nose, and navel, or his breast, navel, and both shoulders only (according to another rule), he should again sip water three times, pronouncing to himself the expiatory text which recites the creation. If he happen to sneeze or spit, he must not immediately sip water, but first touch his right ear, in compliance with the maxim, 'after sneezing, spitting, blowing his nose, sleeping, putting on apparel, or dropping tears, a man should not immediately sip water, but first touch his right ear.' "Fire," says Parasara, "water, the Vedas, the sun, moon, and air, all reside in the right ears of Brahmanas. Ganga is in their right ears, sacrificial fire in their nostrils; at the moment when both are touched, impurity vanishes." This, by the by, will explain the practice of suspending the end of the sacerdotal string from over the right ear, to purify that string from the defilement which follows an evacuation of urine. The sipping of water is a requisite introduction of all rites; without it, says the Samba purana, all acts of religion are vain. Having therefore sipped water as above-mentioned, and passed his hand filled with water briskly round his neck while he recites this prayer, "May the waters preserve me!" the priest closes his eyes and meditates in silence, figuring to himself that "Brahma', with four faces and a red complexion, resides in his navel; Vishnu, with four arms and a black complexion, in his heart; and Siva, with five faces and a white complexion, in his forehead." The priest afterwards meditates the holiest of texts during three suppressions of breath. Closing the left nostril with the two longest fingers of his right hand, he draws his breath through the right nostril, and then closing that nostril likewise with his thumb, holds his breath while he meditates the text: he then raises both fingers off the left nostril, and emits the breath he had suppressed. While he holds his breath, he must, on this occasion, repeat to himself the Gayatri with the mysterious names of the worlds, the triliteral monosyllable, and the sacred text of Brahme. A suppression of breath, so explained by the ancient legislator, Yajnyawalcya, consequently implies the following meditation: "'Om! Earth! Sky! Heaven! Middle region! Place of births! Mansion of the blessed! Abode of truth! We meditate on the adorable light of the resplendent generator, which governs our intellects; which is water, lustre, savour, immortal faculty of thought, Brahme, earth, sky, and heaven." According to the commentary, of which a copious extract shall be subjoined, the text thus recited signifies, "That effulgent power which governs our intellects is the primitive element of water, the lustre of gems and other glittering substances, the savour of trees and herbs, the thinking soul of living beings: it is the creator, preserver, and destroyer; the sun, and every other deity, and all which moves, or which is fixed in the three worlds, named, earth, sky, and heaven. The supreme Brahme, so manifested, illumines the seven worlds; may he unite my soul to his own radiance: (that is, to his own soul, which resides effulgent in the seventh world, or mansion of truth)." On another occasion, the concluding prayer, which is the Gyatri of Brahme, is omitted, and the names of the three lower worlds only are premised. Thus recited, the Gayatri, properly so called, bears the following import: "On that effulgent power, which is Brahme himself, and is called the light of the radiant sun, do I meditate, governed by the mysterious light which resides within me for the purpose of thought; that very light is the earth, the subtile ether, and all which exists within the created sphere; it is the threefold world, containing all which is fixed or moveable: it exists internally in my heart, externally in the orb of the sun; being one and the same with that effulgent power, I myself am an irradiated manifestation of the supreme Brahme." With such reflections, says the commentator, should the text be inaudibly recited.

These expositions are justified by a very ample commentary, in which numerous authorities are cited; and to which the commentator has added many passages from ancient lawyers, and from mythological poems, showing the efficacy of these prayers in expiating sin. As the foregoing explanations of the text are founded chiefly on the gloss of an ancient philosopher and legislator, Yajnyawalcya, the following extract will consist of little more than a verbal translation of his metrical gloss.

"The parent of all beings produced all states of existence, for he generates and preserves all creatures: therefore is he called the generator. Because he shines and sports, because he loves and irradiates, therefore is he called resplendent or divine, and is praised by all deities. We meditate on the light, which, existing in our minds, continually governs our intellects in the pursuits of virtue, wealth, love, and beatitude. Because the being who shines with seven rays, assuming the forms of time and of fire, matures productions, is resplendent, illumines all, and finally destroys the universe, therefore he, who naturally shines with seven rays, is called light or the effulgent power. The first syllable denotes that he illumines worlds; the second consonant implies that he colours all creatures; the last syllable signifies that he moves without ceasing. From his cherishing all, he is called the irradiating preserver."

Although it appears from the terms of the text, ("Light of the Generator or Sun,") that the sun and the light spoken of are distinct, yet, in meditating this sublime text, they are undistinguished; that light is the sun, and the sun is light; they are identical: "The same effulgent and irradiating power which animates living beings as their soul, exists in the sky as the male being residing in the midst of the sun." There is consequently no distinction; but that effulgence which exists in the heart, governing the intellects of animals, must alone be meditated, as one and the same, however, with the luminous power residing in the orb of the sun.

"That which is in the sun, and thus called light or effulgent power, is adorable, and must be worshipped by them who dread successive births and deaths, and who eagerly desire beatitude. The being who may be seen in the solar orb, must be contemplated by the understanding, to obtain exemption from successive births and deaths and various pains."

The prayer is preceded by the names of the seven worlds, as epithets of it, to denote its efficacy; signifying, that this light pervades and illumines the seven worlds, which, "situated one above the other, are the seven mansions of all beings: they are called the seven abodes, self-existent in a former period, renovated in this. These seven mysterious words are celebrated as the names of the seven worlds. The place where all beings, whether fixed or moveable, exist, is called Earth, which is the first world. That in which beings exist a second time, but without sensation, again to become sensible at the close of the period appointed for the duration of the present universe, is the World of Re-existence. The abode of the good, where cold, heat, and light, are perpetually produced, is named Heaven. The intermediate region between the upper and lower worlds, is denominated the Middle World. The heaven, where animals, destroyed in a general conflagration at the close of the appointed period, are born again, is thence called the World of Births. That in which Sanaca, and other sons of Brahma, justified by austere devotion, reside, exempt from all dominion, is thence named the Mansion of the Blessed. Truth, the seventh world, and the abode of BRAHME, is placed on the summit above other worlds; it is attained by true knowledge, by the regular discharge of duties, and by veracity: once attained, it is never lost. Truth is, indeed, the seventh world, therefore called the Sublime Abode."

The names of the worlds are preceded by the triliteral monosyllable, to obviate the evil consequence announced by Menu, "A Brahmana, beginning and ending a lecture of the Veda (or the recital of any holy strain), must always pronounce to himself the syllable om: for unless the syllable 6m precede, his learning will slip away from him; and unless it follow, nothing will be long retained." Or that syllable is prefixed to the several names of worlds, denoting that the seven worlds are manifestations of the power signified by that syllable. "As the leaf of the palasa," says Yajnyawalcya, "is supported by a single pedicle, so is this universe upheld by the syllable om, a symbol of the supreme Brahme." "All rites ordained in the Veda, oblations to fire, and solemn sacrifices, pass away; but that which passeth not away," says Menu, "is declared to be the syllable om, thence called acshara, since it is a symbol of God, the lord of created beings." (Menu, chap. ii. v. 74, 84.)

The concluding prayer is subjoined, to teach the various manifestations of that light, which is the sun himself. It is Brahme, the supreme soul. "The sun," says Yajnyawalcya, "is Brahme: this is a certain truth, revealed in the sacred Upanishads, and in various 'Sac' has of the Vedas.'' So the Bhawishya purana, speaking of the sun: "Because there is none greater than he, nor has been, nor will be, therefore he is celebrated as the supreme soul in all the Vedas."

That greatest of lights which exists in the sun, exists also as the principle of life in the hearts of all beings. It shines externally in the sky, internally in the heart: it is found in fire and in flame. This principle of life, which is acknowledged by the virtuous as existing in the heart and in the sky, shines externally in the ethereal region, manifested in the form of the sun. It is also made apparent in the lustre of gems, stones, and metals; and in the taste of trees, plants, and herbs. That is, the irradiating being, who is a form of Brahme, is manifested in all moving beings (gods, demons, men, serpents, beasts, birds, insects, and the rest) by their locomotion; and in some fixed substances, such as stones, gems, and metals, by their lustre; in others, such as trees, plants, and herbs, by their savour. Every thing which moves or which is fixed, is pervaded by that light, which in all moving things exists as the supreme soul, and as the immortal thinking faculty of beings which have the power of motion. Thus the venerable commentator says, "In the midst of the sun stands the moon, in the midst of the moon is fire, in the midst of light is truth, in the midst of truth is the unperishable being. " And again, "God is the unperishable being residing in the "sacred abode: the thinking soul is light alone; it shines with unborrowed splendour." This thinking soul, called the immortal principle, is a manifestation of that irradiating power who is the supreme soul.

This universe, consisting of three worlds, was produced from water. " He first, with a thought, created the waters, and placed in them a productive seed." (Menu, chap. i. v. 8.) Water, which is the element whence the three worlds proceeded, is that light which is also the efficient cause of creation, duration, and destruction, manifested with these powers, in the form of Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra: to denote this, "earth, sky, and heaven," are subjoined as epithets of light. These terms bear allusion also to the three qualities of truth, passion, and darkness, corresponding with the three manifestations of power, as creator, preserver, and destroyer; hence it is also intimated, that the irradiating being is manifested as BRAHMA, VISHNU, and RUDRA, who are respectively endued with the qualities of truth, passion, and darkness. The meaning is, that this irradiating being, who is the supreme Brahme manifested in three forms or powers, is the efficient cause of the creation of the universe, of its duration and destruction. So in the Bhawishya purana, Crishna says, "The sun is the god of perception, the eye of the universe, the cause of day; there is none greater than he among the immortal powers. From him this universe proceeded, and in him it will reach annihilation; he is time measured by instants," &c. Thus the universe, consisting of three worlds, containing all which is fixed or moveable, is the irradiating being; and he is the creator of that universe, the preserver and destroyer of it. Consequently nothing can exist, which is not that irradiating power.

These extracts from two very copious commentaries will sufficiently explain the texts which are meditated while the breath is held as above mentioned. Immediately after these suppressions of breath, the priest should sip water, reciting the following prayer: "May the sun, sacrifice, the regent of the firmament, and other deities who preside over sacrifice, defend me from the sin arising from the imperfect performance of a religious ceremony. Whatever sin I have committed by night, in thought, word or deed, be that cancelled by day. Whatever sin be in me, may that be far removed. I offer this water to the sun, whose light irradiates my heart, who sprung from the immortal essence. Be this oblation efficacious." He should next make three ablutions with the prayers: "Waters! since ye afford delight," &c., at the same time throwing water eight times on his head, or towards the sky, and once on the ground as before; and again make similar ablutions with the following prayer: "As a tired man leaves drops of sweat at the foot of a tree; as he who bathes is cleansed from all foulness; as an oblation is sanctified by holy grass; so may this water purify me from sin:" and another ablution with the expiatory text which rehearses the creation. He should next fill the palm of his hand with water, and presenting it to his nose, inhale the fluid by one nostril, and retaining it for a while, exhale it through the other, and throw away the water towards the north-east quarter. This is considered as an internal ablution, which washes away sins. He concludes by sipping water with the following prayer: "Water! thou dost penetrate all beings; thou dost reach the deep recesses of the mountains; thou art the mouth of the universe; thou art sacrifice; thou art the mystic word vasha't; thou art light, taste, and the immortal fluid."

After these ceremonies he proceeds to worship the sun, standing on one foot, and resting the other against his ankle or heel, looking towards the east, and holding his hands open before him in a hollow form. In this posture he pronounces to himself the following prayers, 1st. "The rays of light announce the splendid fiery sun, beautifully rising to illumine the universe." 2d. "He rises, wonderful, the eye of the sun, of water, and of fire, collective power of gods; he fills heaven, earth, and sky, with his luminous net; he is the soul of all which is fixed or locomotive." 3d. "That eye, supremely beneficial, rises pure from the east; may we see him a hundred years; may we live a hundred years; may we hear a hundred years." 4th. "May we, preserved by the divine power, contemplating heaven above the region of darkness, approach the deity, most splendid of luminaries." The following prayer may be also subjoined: "Thou art self-existent, thou art the most excellent ray; thou givest effulgence: grant it unto me." This is explained as an allusion to the seven rays of the sun, four of which are supposed to point towards the four quarters, one upwards, one downwards; and the seventh, which is centrical, is the most excellent of all, and is here addressed in a prayer, which is explained as signifying, "May the supreme ruler, who generates all things, whose luminous ray is self-existent, who is the sublime cause of light, from whom worlds receive illumination, be favourable to us." After presenting an oblation to the sun, in the mode to be forthwith explained, the Gayatri must be next invoked, in these words: "Thou art light; thou art seed; thou art immortal life; thou art called effulgent: beloved by the gods, defamed by none, thou art the holiest sacrifice." And it should be afterwards recited measure by measure; then the two first measures as one hemistich, and the third measure as the other; and, lastly, the three measures without interruption. The same text is then invoked in these words: "Divine text, who dost grant our best wishes, whose name is trisyllable, whose import is the power of the Supreme Being; come, thou mother of the Vedas, who didst spring from Brahme, be constant here." The Gayatri is then pronounced inaudibly with the triliteral monosyllable and the names of the three lower worlds, a hundred or a thousand times, or as often as may be practicable, counting the repetitions on a rosary of gems set in gold, or of wild grains. For this purpose the seeds of the putrajiva, vulgarly named pitonhia, are declared preferable. The following prayers from the Vishnu purana conclude these repetitions: [I omit the very tedious detail respecting sins expiated by a set number of repetitions; but in one instance, as an atonement for unwarily eating or drinking what is forbidden, it is directed, that eight hundred repetitions of the Gayatri should be preceded by three suppressions of breath, touching water during the recital of the following text: "The bull roars; he has four horns, three feet, two heads, seven hands, and is bound by a threefold ligature: he is the mighty resplendent being, and pervades mortal men." The bull is Religious Duty personified. His four horns are the Brahma or superintending priest; the Udgatri or chanter of the Samaveda; the Hotri, or reader of the Rigveda, who performs the essential part of a religious ceremony; and the Ad'hwaryu, who sits in the sacred close, and chants the Yajurveda. His three feet are the three Vedas. Oblations and sacrifice are his two heads, roaring stupendously. His seven hands are the Hotri, Maitravaruna, Brahmanach'handasi, Gravastata, Ach'havac Neshtri, and Potri; names by which officiating priests are designated at certain solemn rites. The threefold ligature by which he is bound, is worshipped in the morning, at noon, and in the evening.]

"Salutation to the sun; to that luminary, O Brahme, who is the light of the pervader, the pure generator of the universe, the cause of efficacious rites." 2d. "I bow to the great cause of day (whose emblem is a full-blown flower of the yava tree), the mighty luminary sprung from Casyapa, the foe of darkness, the destroyer of every sin." Or the priest walks a turn through the south, rehearsing a short text: "I follow the course of the sun;" which is thus explained, "As the sun in his course moves round the world by the way of the south, so do I, following that luminary, obtain the benefit arising from a journey round the earth by the way of the south."

The oblation above-mentioned, and which is called arg'ha, consists of tila, flowers, barley, water, and red-sanders-wood, in a clean copper vessel, made in the shape of a boat; this the priest places on his head, and thus presents it with the following text: "He who travels the appointed path (namely, the sun) is present in that pure orb of fire, and in the ethereal region; he is the sacrificer at religious rites, and he sits in the sacred close; never remaining a single day in the same spot, yet present in every house, in the heart of every human being, in the most holy mansion, in the subtile ether; produced in water, in earth, in the abode of truth, and in the stony mountains, he is that which is both minute and vast." This text is explained as signifying, that the sun is a manifestation of the Supreme Being, present every where, produced every where, pervading  every place and thing. The oblation is concluded by worshipping the sun with the subjoined text: "His rays, the efficient causes of knowledge, irradiating worlds, appear like sacrificial fires."

Preparatory to any act of religion, ablutions must be again performed in the form prescribed for the mid-day bath; the practice of bathing at noon is likewise enjoined as requisite to cleanliness, conducive to health, and efficacious in removing spiritual as well as corporeal defilements: it must, nevertheless, be omitted by one who is afflicted with disease; and a healthy person is forbidden to bathe immediately after a meal, and without laying aside his jewels and other ornaments. If there be no impediment, such as those now mentioned or formerly noticed in speaking of early ablutions, he may bathe with water drawn from a well, from a fountain, or from the bason of a cataract; but he should prefer water which lies above ground, choosing a stream rather than stagnant water, a river in preference to a small brook, a holy stream before a vulgar river; and, above all, the water of the Ganges. In treating of the bath, authors distinguish various ablutions, properly and improperly so called; such as rubbing the body with ashes, which is named a bath sacred to fire; plunging into water, a bath sacred to the regent of this element; ablutions accompanied by the prayers, "O waters! since ye afford delight," &c. which constitute the holy bath; standing in dust raised by the treading of cows, a bath denominated from wind or air; standing in the rain during day-light, a bath named from the sky or atmosphere. The ablutions, or bath, properly so called, are performed with the following ceremonies.

After bathing and cleansing his person, and pronouncing as a vow, "I will now perform ablutions, " he who bathes should invoke the holy rivers: "O Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, 'Satadru, Marudvid'ha and Jiyiciya! hear my prayers; for my sake be included in this small quantity of water with the holy streams of Parush'ti, Asicni, and Vitasta." He should also utter the radical prayer, consisting of the words "Salutation to Narayana." Upon this occasion a prayer extracted from the Paama purana is often used with this salutation, called the radical text; and the ceremony is at once concluded by taking up earth, and pronouncing the subjoined prayer: "Earth, supporter of all things, trampled by horses, traversed by cars, trodden by VISHNU! whatever sin has been committed by me, do thou, who art upheld by the hundred-armed Chrishna, incarnate in the shape of a boar, ascend my limbs and remove every such sin."

The text extracted from the Paama purana follows: "Thou didst spring from the foot of Vishnu, daughter of Vishnu, honoured by him; therefore preserve us from sin, protecting us from the day of our birth, even unto death. The regent of air has named thirty-five millions of holy places in the sky, on earth, and in the space between; they are all comprised in thee, daughter of Jahnu. Thou art called she who promotes growth; among the gods thou art named the lotos; able, wife of Prit'hu, bird, body of the universe, wife of SIVA, nectar, female cherisher of science, cheerful, favouring worlds, merciful, daughter of Jahnu, consoler, giver of consolation. Ganga, who flows through the three worlds, will be near unto him who pronounces these pure titles during his ablutions."

"When the ceremony is preferred in its full detail, the regular prayer is a text of the Veda. "Thrice did Vishnu step, and at three strides traversed the universe: happily was his foot placed on this dusty earth. Be this oblation efficacious!" By this prayer is meant, "may the earth thus taken up, purify me." Cow-dung is next employed, with a prayer importing, "Since I take up cow-dung, invoking thereon the goddess of abundance, may I obtain prosperity!" The literal sense is this: "I here invoke that goddess of abundance, who is the vehicle of smell, who is irresistible, ever white, present in this cow-dung, mistress of all beings, greatest of elements, ruling all the senses." Water is afterwards held up in the hollow of both hands joined, while the prayer denominated from the regent of water is pronounced: "Because Varuna, king of waters, spread a road for the sun, therefore do I follow that route. Oh! he made that road in untrodden space to receive the footsteps of the sun. It is he who restrains the heart-rending wicked." The sense is, "Varuna, king of waters, who curbs the wicked, made an expanded road in the ethereal region to receive the rays of the sun; I therefore follow that route. " Next, previous to swimming, a short prayer must be meditated: " Salutation to the regent of water! past are the fetters of VARUNA." This is explained as importing, that the displeasure of VARUNA at a man's traversing the waters, which are his fetters, is averted by salutation: swimming is therefore preceded by this address. The priest should next recite the invocation of holy rivers, and thrice throw water on his head from the hollow of both hands joined, repeating three several texts. 1st. "Waters! remove this sin, whatever it be, which is in me; whether I have done any thing malicious towards others, or cursed them in my heart, or spoken falsehoods." 2d. "Waters! mothers of worlds! purify us; cleanse us by the sprinkled fluid, ye who purify through libations; for ye, divine waters, do remove every sin.'' 3d. "As a tired man leaves drops of sweat at the foot of a tree," &c. Again, swimming, and making a circuit through the south, this prayer should be recited: "May divine waters be auspicious to us for accumulation, for gain, and for refreshing draughts: may they listen to us, that we may be associated with good auspices." Next reciting the following prayer, the priest should thrice plunge into water: "O consummation of solemn rites! who dost purify when performed by the most grievous offenders; thou dost invite the basest criminals to purification; thou dost expiate the most heinous crimes. I atone for sins towards the gods, by gratifying them with oblations and sacrifice; I expiate sins towards mortals, by employing mortal men to officiate at sacraments. Therefore defend me from the pernicious sin of offending the gods."

Water must be next sipped with the prayer, "Lord of sacrifice, thy heart is in the midst of the waters of the ocean," &c., and the invocation of holy rivers is again recited. The priest must thrice throw up water with the three prayers: "O, waters, since ye afford delight," &c.; and again, with the three subjoined prayers: 1st. "May the Lord of thought purify me with an uncut blade of cum grass and with the rays of the sun. Lord of purity, may I obtain that coveted innocence which is the wish of thee, who art satisfied by this oblation of water; and of me, who am purified by this holy grass." 2d. "May the Lord of speech purify me," &c. 3d. " May the resplendent sun purify me, " &c. Thrice plunging into water, the priest should as often repeat the grand expiatory text, of which YAJNYAWALCYA says, "It comprises the principles of things, and the elements, the existence of the [chaotic] mass, the production and destruction of worlds." This serves as a key to explain the meaning of the text, which, being considered as the essence of the Vedas, is most mysterious. The author before me seems to undertake the explanation of it with great awe, and intimates, that he has no other key to its meaning, nor the aid of earlier commentaries. 'The Supreme Being alone existed: afterwards there was universal darkness: next, the watery ocean was produced by the diffusion of virtue: then did the creator, lord of the universe, rise out of the ocean, and successively frame the sun and moon, which govern day and night, whence proceeds the revolution of years; and after them he framed heaven and earth, the space between, and the celestial region.' The terms, with which the text begins, both signify truth; but are here explained as denoting the supreme Brahme, on the authority of a text quoted from the Veda: "Brahme is truth, the one immutable being. He is truth and everlasting knowledge." 'During the period of general annihilation, ' says the commentator, 'the Supreme Being alone existed. Afterwards, during that period, night was produced; in other words, there was universal darkness.' "This universe existed only in darkness, imperceptible, undefinable, undiscoverable by reason, and undiscovered by revelation, as if it were wholly immersed in sleep." (Menu, ch. i. V. 5.) Next, when the creation began, the ocean was produced by an unseen power universally diffused; that is, the element of water was first reproduced, as the means of the creation. "He first, with a thought, created the waters," &c. (Menu. ch. i. v. 8.) Then did the creator, who is lord of the universe, rise out of the waters. ' The Lord of the universe, annihilated by the general destruction, revived with his own creation of the three worlds.' Heaven is here explained, the expanse of the sky above the region of the stars. The celestial region is the middle world and heavens above. The author before me has added numerous quotations on the sublimity and efficacy of this text, which Menu compares with the sacrifice of a horse, in respect of its power to obliterate sins.

After bathing, while he repeats this prayer, the priest should again plunge into water, thrice repeating the text, "As a tired man leaves drops of sweat at the foot of a tree," &c. Afterwards, to atone for greater offences, he should meditate the Gayatri, &c. during three suppressions of breath. He must also recite it measure by measure, hemistich by hemistich; and, lastly, the entire text, without any pause. As an expiation of the sin of eating with men of very low tribes, or of coveting or accepting what should not be received, a man should plunge into water, at the same time reciting a prayer which will be quoted on another occasion. One who has drunk spirituous liquors should traverse water up to his throat, and drink as much expressed juice of the moon-plant as he can take up in the hollow of both hands, while he meditates the triliteral monosyllable, and then plunge into water, reciting the subjoined prayer: "O, RUDRA! hurt not our offspring and descendants; abridge not the period of our lives; destroy not our cows; kill not our horses; slay not our proud and irritable folks; because, holding oblations, we always pray to thee!"

Having finished his ablutions, and coming out of the water, putting on his apparel after cleansing it, having washed his hands and feet, and having sipped water, the priest sits down to worship in the same mode which was directed after the early bath; substituting, however, the following prayer, in lieu of that which begins with the words, "May the sun, sacrifice," &c., "May the waters purify the earth, that she, being cleansed, may purify me. May the lord of holy knowledge purify her, that she, being cleansed by holiness, may purify me. May the waters free me from every defilement, whatever be my uncleanness, whether I have eaten prohibited food, done forbidden acts, or accepted the gifts of dishonest men." Another difference between worship at noon and in the morning, consists in standing before the sun with uplifted arms instead of joining the hands in a hollow form. In all other respects the form of adoration is similar.

Having concluded this ceremony, and walked in a round beginning through the south, and saluted the sun, the priest may proceed to study a portion of the Veda. Turning his face towards the east, with his right hand towards the south and his left hand towards the north, sitting down with cusa grass before him, holding two sacred blades of grass on the tips of his left fingers, and placing his right hand thereon with the palm turned upwards, and having thus meditated the Gayatri, the priest should recite the proper text on commencing the lecture, and read as much of the Vedas as may be practicable for him; continuing the practice daily until he have read through the whole of the Vedas, and then recommencing the course.

Prayer on beginning a lecture of the Rigveda: "I praise the blazing fire, which is first placed at religious rites, which effects the ceremony for the benefit of the votary, which performs the essential part of the rite, which is the most liberal giver of gems."

On beginning a lecture of the Yajurveda: "I gather thee, O branch of the Veda, for the sake of rain; I pluck thee for the sake of strength. Calves! ye are like unto air; (that is, as wind supplies the world by means of rain, so do ye supply sacrifices by the milking of cows). May the luminous generator of worlds make you attain success in the best of sacraments."

On beginning a lecture of the Samaveda: "Regent of fire, who dost effect all religious ceremonies, approach to taste my offering, thou who art praised for the sake of oblations. Sit down on this grass."

The text which is repeated on commencing a lecture of the At'harvaveda has been already quoted on another occasion: "May divine waters be auspicious to us," &c.

In this manner should a lecture of the Vedas, or of the Vedangas, of the sacred poems and mythological history, of law, and other branches of sacred literature, be conducted. The priest should next proceed to offer barley, tila, and water to the manes. Turning his face towards the cast, wearing the sacrificial cord on his left shoulder, he should sit down, and spread cusa grass before him, with the tips pointing towards the east. Taking grains of barley in his right hand, he should invoke the gods. "O, assembled gods! hear my call, sit down on this grass." Then throwing away some grains of barley, and putting one hand over the other, he should pray in these words: "Gods! who reside in the ethereal region, in the world near us, and in heaven above; ye, whose tongues are flame, and who save all them who duly perform the sacraments, hear my call; sit down on this grass, and be cheerful. " Spreading the cusa grass, the tips of which must point towards the east, and placing his left hand thereon and his right hand above the left, he must offer grains of barley and water from the tips of his fingers (which are parts dedicated to the gods), holding three straight blades of grass so that the tips be towards his thumb, and repeating this prayer: "May the gods be satisfied; may the holy verses, the scriptures, the devout sages, the sacred poems, the teachers of them, and the celestial quiristers, be satisfied; may other instructors, human beings, minutes of time, moments, instants measured by the twinkling of an eye, hours, days, fortnights, months, seasons, and years, with all their component parts, be satisfied herewith." [The verb is repeated with each term, "May the holy verses be satisfied; may the Vedas be satisfied," &c.] Next, wearing the sacrificial thread round his neck and turning towards the north, he should offer tila, or grains of barley with water, from the middle of his hand (which is a part dedicated to human beings), holding in it cusa grass, the middle of which must rest on the palm of his hand: this oblation he presents on grass, the tips of which are pointed towards the north; and with it he pronounces these words: "May SANACA be satisfied; may Sanandana, Sanatana, Capila, Asuri, Bod'hu, and Parchasic'ha, be satisfied herewith." Placing the thread on his right shoulder, and turning towards the south, he must offer tila and water from the root of his thumb (which is a part sacred to the progenitors of mankind), holding bent grass thereon: this oblation he should present upon a vessel of rhinoceros' horn placed on grass, the tips of which are pointed towards the south; and with it he says, "May fire which receives oblations presented to our forefathers, be satisfied herewith; may the moon, the judge of departed souls, the sun, the progenitors who are purified by fire, those who are named from their drinking the juice of the moon-plant, and those who are denominated from sitting on holy grass, be satisfied herewith!" He must then make a similar oblation, saying, "May Narasarya, Parasarya, Suca, Sacalya, Yajnyawalcya, Jatucarna, Satyayana, Apastamba, Baud'hayana, Vachacuti, Valjav'pi, Huhu, Locacshi, Maitrayani, and Aindrayani, be satisfied herewith." He afterwards offers three oblations of water mixed with tila from the hollow of both hands joined, and this he repeats fourteen times with the different titles of Yama, which are considered as fourteen distinct forms of the same deity. " Salutation to Yama; salutation to Dhermaraja, or the king of duties; to death; to Antaca, or the destroyer; to Vaivaswata, or the child of the sun; to time; to the slayer of all beings; to Audumbara, or Yama, springing out of the racemiferous fig-tree; to him who reduces all things to ashes; to the dark-blue deity; to him who resides in the supreme abode; to him whose belly is like that of a wolf; to the variegated being; to the wonderful inflictor of pains." Taking up grains of tila, and throwing them away, while he pronounces this address to fire: "Eagerly we place and support thee; eagerly we give thee fuel; do thou fondly invite the progenitors, who love thee, to taste this pious oblation:" let him invoke the progenitors of mankind in these words: "May our progenitors, who are worthy of drinking the juice of the moon-plant, and they who are purified by fire, approach us through the paths which are travelled by gods; and, pleased with the food presented at this sacrament, may they ask for more, and preserve us from evil." He should then offer a triple oblation of water with both hands, reciting the following text, and saying, "I offer this tila and water to my father, such a one sprung from such a family." He must offer similar oblations to his paternal grandfather, and great-grandfather; and another set of similar oblations to his maternal grandfather, and to the father and grandfather of that ancestor: a similar oblation must be presented to his mother, and single oblations to his paternal grandmother and great-grandmother: three more oblations are presented, each to three persons, paternal uncle, brother, son, grandson, daughter's son, son in-law, maternal uncle, sister's son, father's sister's son, mother's sister, and other relations. The text alluded to bears this meaning: "Waters, be the food of our progenitors: satisfy my parents, ye who convey nourishment, which is the drink of immortality, the fluid of libations, the milky liquor, the confined and promised food of the manes." [See a remark on this passage below, page 106, note.]

The ceremony may be concluded with three voluntary oblations: the first presented like the oblations to deities, looking towards the east, and with the sacrificial cord placed on his left shoulder; the second, like that offered to progenitors, looking towards the south, and with the string passed over his right shoulder. The prayers which accompany these offerings are subjoined: 1st. "May the gods, demons, benevolent genii, huge serpents, heavenly quiristers, fierce giants, blood-thirsty savages, unmelodious guardians of the celestial treasure, successful genii, spirits called Cushmanda, trees, and all animals which move in air or in water, which live on earth, and feed abroad; may all these quickly obtain contentment, through the water presented by me." 2nd. "To satisfy them who are detained in all the hells and places of torment, this water is presented by me." 3d. "May those who are, and those who are not, of kin to me, and those who were allied to me in a former existence, and all who desire oblations of water from me, obtain perfect contentment." The first text, which is taken from the Samaveda, differs a little from the Yajurveda: "Gods, benevolent genii, huge serpents, nymphs, demons, wicked beings, snakes, birds of mighty wing, trees, giants, and all who traverse the ethereal region, genii who cherish science, animals that live in water or traverse the atmosphere, creatures that have no abode, and all living animals which exist in sin or in the practice of virtue; to satisfy them is this water presented by me." Afterwards the priest should wring his lower garment, pronouncing this text: "May those who have been born in my family, and have died, leaving no son nor kinsman bearing the same name, be contented with [this water which I present by wringing it from my vesture." Then placing his sacrificial cord on his left shoulder, sipping water, and raising up his arms, let him contemplate the sun, reciting a prayer inserted above: "He who travels the appointed path," &c. The priest should afterwards present an oblation of water to the sun, pronouncing the text of the Vishnu purana which has been already cited, "Salutation to the sun," &c. He then concludes the whole ceremony by worshipping the sun with a prayer above quoted: "Thou art self-existent," &c.; by making a circuit through the south, while he pronounces, "I follow the course of the sun;" and by offering water from the hollow of his hand, while he salutes the regents of space and other Deities; "Salutation to space; to the regents of space, to BRAHMA, to the earth, to salutary herbs, to fire, to speech, to the lord of speech, to the pervader, and to the mighty Deity."
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Re: Essays on the Religion and Philosophy of the Hindus

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Part 1 of 2

IV. On the Religious Ceremonies of the Hindus, and of the Brahmens especially.

ESSAY II.


[From the Asiatic Researches, vol. vii. p. 232 — 285. Calcutta, 1801. 4to.]

A FORMER essay on this subject [Ante, p. 76.] described the daily ablutions performed with prayers and acts of religion by every Brahmen. His next daily duty is the performance of the five great sacraments. The first, consisting in the study of the Veda, has been already noticed;  the sacraments of the manes, of deities, and of spirits, slightly touched upon in the first essay, will be made the subject of the present one; and the hospitable reception of guests will be followed in the next by a description of the various ceremonies which must be celebrated at different periods, from the birth to the marriage of a Hindu.

The sacrament of deities consists in oblations to fire with prayers addressed to various divinities; and it is exclusive of the offerings of perfumes and blossoms before idols. It does not fall within my present plan to describe the manner in which the several sects of Hindus [See note A, at the end of the present Essay.] adore their gods, or the images of them; and I shall therefore restrict myself to explain the oblations to fire, and then proceed to describe funeral rites and commemorative obsequies, together with the daily offerings of food and water, to the manes of ancestors.

I am guided by the author now before me [In the former essay, my chief guide was Helayud'ha, who has given very perspicuous explanations of the mantras (or prayers used at religious ceremonies) in several treatises, particularly in one entitled Brahmana servaswa. In the present essay, I likewise use a ritual composed by Bhavadeva for the use of Samavedi priests, and a commentary on the mantras by Guna Vishnu, as also the Acharachandricd (a treatise on religious ceremonies observed by 'Sudras, but including many of those performed by other classes), and the Acharadersa, a treatise on daily duties.] in premising the ceremony of consecrating the fire, and of hallowing the sacrificial implements; "because this ceremony is, as it were, the ground-work of all religious acts."

First, the priest smears with cown-dung a level piece of ground four cubits square, free from all impurities, and sheltered by a shed. Having bathed and sipped water, he sits down with his face towards the east, and places a vessel of water with cusa grass [Poa Cynosuroides, Koenig. On the new moon of Bhadra, a sufficient quantity of this sort of grass is provided for use during the whole year.] on his left; then, dropping his right knee, and resting on the span of his left hand, he draws with a root of cusa grass a line, one span or twelve fingers long, and directed towards the east. From the nearest extremity of this line he draws another at right angles to it, twenty-one fingers long, and directed towards the north. Upon this line he draws three others, parallel to the first, equal to it in length, and distant seven fingers from each other. The first line is really, or figuratively, made a yellow line, and is sacred to the earth; the second is red, and sacred to fire; the third black, and sacred to BRAHMA the creator; the fourth blue, and sacred to Indra the regent of the firmament; the fifth white, and sacred to soma. He next gathers up the dust from the edges of these lines, and throws it away towards the north-east, saying, "What was [herein] bad, is cast away:'' and he concludes by sprinkling water on the several lines.

Having thus prepared the ground for the reception of the sacrificial fire, he takes a lighted ember out of the covered vessel which contains the fire, and throws it away, saying, "I dismiss far away carnivorous fire; may it go to the realm of Yama, bearing sin [hence]." He then places the fire before him, saying, "Earth! Sky! Heaven!'' and adding, "this other [harmless] fire alone remains here; well knowing [its office], may it convey my oblation to the Gods." He then denominates the fire according to the purpose for which he prepares it, saying, "Fire! thou art named so and so;" and he concludes this part of the ceremony by silently burning a log of wood, one span long and smeared with clarified butter.

He next proceeds to place the Brahma or superintending priest. Upon very solemn occasions, a learned Brahmana does actually discharge the functions of superintending priest; but, in general, a bundle containing fifty blades of cusa grass is placed to represent the Brahma. The officiating priest takes up the vessel of water, and walks round the fire keeping his right side turned towards it: he then pours water near it, directing the stream towards the east; he spreads cusa grass thereon; and crossing his right knee over his left without sitting down, he takes up a single blade of grass between the thumb and ring finger of his left hand, and throws it away towards the south-west corner of the shed, saying, "What was herein bad, is cast away." Next, touching the water, resting the sole of his right foot on his left ankle, and sprinkling the grass with water, he places the Brahma on it, saying, "Sit on [this] seat until [thy] fee [be paid thee]." The officiating priest then returns by the same road by which he went round the fire; and sitting down again with his face towards the east, names the earth inaudibly.

If any profane word have been spoken during the preceding ceremony, atonement must be now made by pronouncing this text: "Thrice did Vishnu step, and at three strides traversed the universe: happily was his foot placed on the dusty [earth]." The meaning is, since the earth has been purified by the contact of Vishnu's foot, may she (the earth so purified) atone for any profane word spoken during this ceremony.

If it be intended to make oblations of rice mixed with milk, curds, and butter, this too is the proper time for mixing them; and the priest afterwards proceeds to name the earth in the following prayer, which he pronounces with downcast look, resting both hands on the ground: "We adore this earth, this auspicious and most excellent earth: do thou, fire! resist [our] enemies. Thou dost take [on thee] the power [and office] of other [deities]."

With blades of cusa grass held in his right hand, he must next strew leaves of the same grass on three sides of the fire, arranging them regularly, so that the tip of one row shall cover the roots of the other. He begins with the eastern side, and at three times strews grass there, to cover the whole space from north to south; and in like manner distributes grass on the southern and western sides. He then blesses the ten regions of space; and rising a little, puts some wood [The fuel used at sacrifices must be wood of the racemiferous figtree, the leafy Butea, or the Catechu Mimosa. It should seem, however, that the prickly Adenanthera, or even the Mango, may be used. The wood is cut into small logs, a span long, and not thicker than a man's fist.] on the fire with a ladle-full of clarified butter, while he meditates in silence on Brahma, the lord of creatures.

The priest then takes up two leaves of cusa grass, and with another blade of the same grass cuts off the length of a span, saying, "Pure leaves! be sacred to Vishnu;" and throws them into a vessel of copper or other metal. Again he takes two leaves of grass, and holding the tips between the thumb and ring finger of his right hand, and the roots between the thumb and ring finger of his left, and crossing his right hand over his left, he takes up clarified butter on the curvature of the grass, and thus silently casts some into the fire three several times. He then sprinkles both the leaves with water, and throws them away. He afterwards sprinkles with water the vessel containing clarified butter, and puts it on the fire, and takes it off again, three times, and thus concludes the ceremony of hallowing the butter; during the course of which, while he holas the leaves of grass in both hands, he recites this prayer: "May the divine generator [Vishnu] purify thee by means of [this] faultless pure leaf; and may the sun do so, by means of [his] rays of light: be this oblation efficacious."

The priest must next hallow the wooden ladle by thrice turning therein his fore-finger and thumb, describing with their tips the figure of 7 in the inside, and the figure of 9 on the outside of the bowl of the ladle. Then dropping his right knee, he sprinkles water from the palms of his hands on the whole southern side of the fire, from west to east, saying, "Aditi! [mother of the Gods!] grant me thy approbation." He does the same on the whole western side, from south to north, saying, "Anumati! [The moon wanting a digit of full.] grant me thy approbation;" and on the northern side, saying, Saraswati! grant me thy approbation." And lastly he sprinkles water all round the fire, while he pronounces this text, "Generous sun! approve this rite; approve the performer of it, that he may share its reward. May the celestial luminary, which purifies the intellectual soul, purify our minds. May the lord of speech make our prayers acceptable."

Holding cusa grass in both hands, he then recites an expiatory prayer, which will be inserted in another place; and throwing away the grass, lie thus finishes the hallowing of the sacrificial implements: a ceremony which necessarily precedes all other religious rites.

He next makes oblations to fire, with such ceremonies, and in such form as are adapted to the religious rite which is intended to be subsequently performed. The sacrifice, with the three mysterious words, usually precedes and follows the particular sacrifice which is suited to the occasion; being most generally practised, it will be the most proper specimen of the form in which oblations are made.

Having silently burnt a log of wood smeared with clarified butter, the priest makes three oblations, by pouring each time a ladle-full of butter on the fire, saying, "Earth! be this oblation efficacious:" "Sky! be this oblation efficacious:" "Heaven! be this oblation efficacious." On some occasions he makes a fourth offering in a similar mode, saying, "Earth! Sky! Heaven! be this oblation efficacious."  If it be requisite to offer a mixture of rice, milk, curds, and butter, this is now done; and the oblations, accompanied with the names of the three worlds, are repeated.

As another instance of oblations to fire, the sacrifice to the nine planets may deserve notice. This consists of nine oblations of clarified butter with the following prayers:

1. "The divine sun approaches with his golden car, returning alternately with the shades of night, rousing mortal and immortal beings, and surveying worlds: May this oblation to the solar planet be efficacious."

2. "Gods! produce that [Moon] which has no foe; which is the son of the solar orb, and became the offspring of space, for the benefit of this world; [According to one legend, a ray of the sun, called sushumna, became the moon; according to another, a flash of light from the eye of Atri was received by space, a goddess; she conceived and bore soma, who is therefore called a son of Atri. This legend may be found in the Harivansa. Calidasa alludes to it in the Raghuvansa, (b. 2. v. 75,) comparing Sudacshina, when she conceived Raghu, to the via lactea receiving the luminary which sprung from the eye of Atri.] produce it for the advancement of knowledge, for protection from danger, for vast supremacy, for empire, and for the sake of Indra's organs of sense: May this oblation to the lunar planet be efficacious."

3. "This gem of the sky, whose head resembles fire, is the lord of waters, and replenishes the seeds of the earth: May this oblation to the planet Mars be efficacious."

4. "Be roused, fire! and thou, [O Bud'ha!] perfect this sacrificial rite, and associate with us; let this votary and all the Gods sit in this most excellent assembly: May this oblation to the planet Mercury be efficacious."

5. "O Vrihaspati, sprung from eternal truth, confer on us abundantly that various wealth which the most venerable of beings may revere; which shines gloriously amongst all people; which serves to defray sacrifices; which is preserved by strength: May this oblation to the planet Jupiter be efficacious."

6. "The lord of creatures drank the invigorating essence distilled from food; he drank milk and the juice of the moon-plant. By means of scripture, which is truth itself, this beverage, thus quaffed, became a prolific essence, the eternal organ of universal perception, Indra's organs of sense, the milk of immortality, and honey to the manes of ancestors: May this oblation to the planet Venus be efficacious."

7. "May divine waters be auspicious to us for accumulation, for gain, and for refreshing draughts; may they listen to us, that we may be associated with good auspices: May this oblation to the planet Saturn be efficacious."

8. "O durva, [Agrostis linearis. Koenig.] which dost germinate at every knot, at every joint, multiply us through a hundred, through a thousand descents: May this oblation to the planet of the ascending node be efficacious."

9. "Be thou produced by dwellers in this world, to give knowledge to ignorant mortals, and wealth to the indigent, or beauty to the ugly: May this oblation to the planet of the descending node be efficacious."

I now proceed to the promised description of funeral rites, abridging the detail of ceremonies as delivered in rituals, omitting local variations noticed by authors who have treated of this subject, and 'Commonly neglecting the superstitious reasons given by them for the very numerous ceremonies which they direct to be performed in honour of persons recently deceased, or of ancestors long since defunct.

A dying man, when no hopes of his surviving remain, should be laid upon a bed of cusa grass, either in the house or out of it, if he be a Sudra, but in the open air if he belong to another tribe. When he is at the point of death, donations of cattle, land, gold, silver, or other things, according to his ability, should be made by him; or if he be too weak, by another person in his name. His head should be sprinkled with water drawn from the Ganges, and smeared with clay brought from the same river. A salagrama [The salagramas are black stones found in a part of the Gandaci riser, within the limits of Nepal. They are mostly round, and are commonly perforated in one or more places by worms, or, as the Hindus believe, by Vishnu in the shape of a reptile. According to the number of perforations and of spiral curves in each, the stone is supposed to contain Vishnu in various characters. For example, such a stone perforated in one place only, with four spiral curves in the perforation, and with marks resembling a cow's foot, and a long wreath of flowers, contains Lacshmi Narayana. In like manner stones are found in the Nermada, near 'Oncar mandatta, which are considered as types of Siva, and are called Ban-ting. The salagrama is found upon trial not to be calcareous: it strikes fire with steel, and scarcely at all effervesces with acids.] stone ought to be placed near the dying man; holy strains from the Veda or from sacred poems should be repeated aloud in his ears, and leaves of holy basil must be scattered over his head.

When he expires, the corpse must be washed, perfumed, and decked with wreaths of flowers; a bit of tutanag, another of gold, a gem of any sort, and a piece of coral, should be put into the mouth of the corpse, and bits of gold in both nostrils, both eyes, and both ears. A cloth perfumed with fragrant oil must be thrown over the corpse, which the nearest relations of the deceased must then carry with modest deportment to some holy spot in the forest, or near water. The corpse must be preceded by fire, and by food carried in an unbaked earthen vessel; and rituals direct, that it shall be accompanied by music of all sorts, drums, cymbals, and wind and stringed instruments. This practice seems to be now disused in most provinces of Hindustan; but the necessity of throwing a cloth over the corpse, however poor the relations of the deceased maybe, is enforced by the strictest injunctions: it is generally the perquisite of the priest who officiates at the funeral. [In most parts of India the priests who officiate at funerals are held in disesteem; they are distinguished by various appellations, as Mahabrahmen, &c. — See Digest of Hindu Law, vol. ii, p. 175. (Octavo edit. vol. ii, p. 61.)]

The corpse is carried out by the southern gate of the town, if the deceased were a Sudra: by the western, if he were a Brahmana: by the northern, if he belonged to the military class; and by the eastern portal, if he sprung from the mercantile tribe. Should the road pass through any inhabited place, a circuit must be made to avoid it; and when the procession has reached its destination, after once halting by the way, the corpse must be gently laid, with the head towards the south, on a bed of cusa, the tips whereof are pointed southward. The sons or other relations of the deceased having bathed in their clothes, must next prepare the funeral pile with a sufficient quantity of fuel, on a clean spot of ground, after marking lines thereon to consecrate it, in a mode similar to that which is practised in preparing a fire for sacrifices and oblations. They must afterwards wash the corpse, meditating on Gaya and other sacred places, holy mountains, the field of the gurus, the rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Causici, Chandrabhaga, Bhadrdvacasa, Gandaci, Sarayu, and Nermada; Vainava, Varaha, and Pindaraca, and all other holy places on the face of the earth, as well as the four oceans themselves.

Some of these ceremonies are only observed at the obsequies of a priest who maintained a consecrated fire; his funeral pile must be lighted from that fire: but at the obsequies of other persons, the carrying of food to be left by the way, and the consecration of the spot whereon the funeral pile is raised, must be omitted, and any unpolluted fire may be used: it is only necessary to avoid taking it from another funeral pile, or from the abode of an outcast, of a man belonging to the tribe of executioners, of a woman who has lately borne a child, or of any person who is unclean.

After washing the corpse, clothing it in clean apparel, and rubbing it with perfumes, such as sandal-wood, saffron, or aloe wood, the relations of the deceased place the corpse supine with its head towards the north (or resupine, if it be the body of a woman), on the funeral pile, which is previously decorated with strung and unstrung flowers. A cloth must be thrown over it, and a relation of the deceased taking up a lighted brand, must invoke the holy places above-mentioned, and say, "May the Gods with flaming mouths burn this corpse!" He then walks thrice round the pile with his right hand towards it, and shifts the sacrificial cord to his right shoulder. Then looking towards the south, and dropping his left knee to the ground, he applies the fire to the pile near the head of the corpse, saying, "Namo! namah!" while the attending priests recite the following prayer: "Fire! thou wert lighted by him — may he therefore be reproduced from thee that he may attain the region of celestial bliss. May this offering be auspicious." This, it may be remarked, supposes the funeral pile to be lighted from the sacrificial fire kept up by the deceased; the same prayer is, however, used at the funeral of a man who had no consecrated hearth.

The fire must be so managed that some bones may remain for the subsequent ceremony of gathering the ashes. While the pile is burning, the relations of the deceased take up seven pieces of wood a span long, and cut them severally with an axe over the fire-brands (after walking each time round the funeral pile), and then throw the pieces over their shoulders upon the fire, saying, "Salutation to thee who dost consume flesh."

The body of a young child under two years old must not be burnt, but buried. It is decked with wreaths of fragrant flowers, and carried out by the relations, who bury it in a clean spot, saying, "Namo! namah!'' while a priest chants the song of Yama: "The offspring of the sun, day after day fetching cows, horses, human beings, and cattle, is no more satiated therewith than a drunkard with wine."

When funeral rites are performed for a person who died in a foreign country, or whose bones cannot be found, a figure is made with three hundred and sixty leaves of the Butea, or as many woollen threads, distributed so as to represent the several parts of the human body according to a fancied analogy of numbers; round the whole must be tied a thong of leather from the hide of a black antelope, and over that a woollen thread; it is then smeared with barley-meal mixed with water, and must be burnt as an emblem of the corpse.

After the body of the deceased has been burnt in the mode above mentioned, all who have touched or followed the corpse must walk round the pile, keeping their left hands towards it, and taking care not to look at the fire. They then walk in procession, according to seniority, to a river or other running water, and after washing and again putting on their apparel, they advance into the stream. They then ask the deceased's brother-in-law, or some other person able to give the proper answer, "Shall we present water?" If the deceased were a hundred years old, the answer must be simply, "Do so:" but if he were not so aged, the reply is, "Do so, but do not repeat the oblation." Upon this, they all shift the sacerdotal string to the right shoulder, and looking towards the south, and being clad in a single garment without a mantle, they stir the water with the ring-finger of the left hand, saying, "Waters, purify us." With the same finger of the right hand they throw up some water towards the south, and after plunging once under the surface of the river, they rub themselves with their hands. An oblation of water must be next presented from the joined palms of the hands, naming the deceased and the family from which he sprung, and saying, "May this oblation reach thee." If it be intended to show particular honour to the deceased, three offerings of water may be thus made.

After finishing the usual libations of water to satisfy the manes of the deceased, they quit the river and shift their wet clothes for other apparel; they then sip water without swallowing it, and sitting down on the soft turf, alleviate their sorrow by the recital of the following or other suitable moral sentences, refraining at the same time from tears and lamentation.

1. "Foolish is he who seeks permanence in the human state, unsolid like the stem of the plantain tree, transient like the foam of the sea."

2. "When a body, formed of five elements to receive the reward of deeds done in its own former person, reverts to its five original principles, what room is there for regret?"

3. "The earth is perishable; the ocean, the Gods themselves pass away: how should not that bubble, mortal man, meet destruction?"

4. "All that is low must finally perish; all that is elevated must ultimately fall; all compound bodies must end in dissolution, and life is concluded with death."

5. "Unwillingly do the manes of the deceased taste the tears and rheum shed by their kinsmen; then do not wail, but diligently perform the obsequies of the dead." [The recital of these verses is specially directed by Yajnyawalcya, B 3. V. 7, &c.]

At night, if the corpse were burnt by day; or in the day time, if the ceremony were not completed until night; or in case of exigency, whenever the priest approves, the nearest relation of the deceased takes up water in a new earthen jar, and returns to the town preceded by a person bearing a staff, [The purpose of his carrying a staff is to scare evil spirits and ghosts.] and attended by the rest walking in procession, and led by the youngest. Going to the door of his own house, or to a place of worship, or to some spot near water, he prepares the ground for the oblation of a funeral cake, by raising a small altar of earth, and marking lines on it as is practised for other oblations. Then, taking a brush of cusa grass in his right hand, he washes therewith the ground, over which cusa grass is spread, saying, "Such a one! (naming the deceased, and the family from which he sprung) may this oblation be acceptable to thee." Next, making a ball of three handfuls of boiled rice mixed with tila, [Sesamum Indicum, Linn.] fruits of various sorts, honey, milk, butter, and similar things, such as sugar, roots, pot herbs, &c. (or if that be impracticable, with tila at least), he presents it on the spot he had purified, naming the deceased, and saying, "May this first funeral cake, which shall restore thy head, be acceptable to thee. " Again purifying the spot in the same manner as before, and with the same words addressed to the deceased, he silently puts fragrant flowers, resin, alighted lamp, betel-leaves, and similar things, on the funeral cake, and then presents a woollen yarn, naming the deceased, and saying, "May this apparel, made of woollen yarn, be acceptable to thee." He next offers an earthen vessel full of tila and water near the funeral cake, and says, "May this vessel of tila and water be acceptable to thee."

It is customary to set apart on a leaf some food for the crows, after which the cake and other things which have been offered must be thrown into the water. This part of the ceremony is then concluded by wiping the ground, and offering thereon a lamp, water, and wreaths of flowers, naming the deceased with each oblation, and saying, "May this be acceptable to thee."

In the evening of the same day, water and milk must be suspended in earthen vessels before the door, in honour of the deceased, with this address to him, "Such a one deceased! bathe here; drink this:" and the same ceremony may be repeated every evening until the period of mourning expire.

When the persons who attended the funeral return home and approach the house-door (before the ceremony of suspending water and milk, but after the other rites above-mentioned), they each bite three leaves of nimba [Melia Azadirachta, Linn.] between their teeth, sip water, and touch a branch of sami [Adenanthera aculeata, or Prosopis aculeata.] with their right hands, while the priest says, "May the sami tree atone for sins." Each mourner then touches fire, while the priest says, "May fire grant us happiness;" and standing between a bull and a goat, touches both those animals while the priest recites an appropriate prayer. [I must for the present omit it, because it is not exhibited at full length in any work I have yet consulted.] Then, after touching the tip of a blade of durva grass, a piece of coral, some clarified butter, water, cow-dung, and white mustard-seed, or rubbing his head and limbs with the butter and mustard seed, each man stands on a stone, while the priest says for him, "May I be firm like this stone;" and thus he enters his house.

During ten days, funeral cakes, together with libations of water and tila, must be offered as on the first day; augmenting, however, the number each time, so that ten cakes, and as many libations of water and tila, be offered on the tenth day; and with this further difference, that the address varies each time. On the second day the prayer is, "May this second cake, which shall restore thy ears, eyes, and nose, be acceptable;" on the third day, "this third cake, which shall restore thy throat, arms, and breast;" on the fourth, "thy navel and organs of excretion;" on the fifth, "thy knees, legs, and feet;" on the sixth, "all thy vitals;" on the seventh, "all thy veins;" on the eighth, "thy teeth, nails, and hair;" on the ninth, "thy manly strength;" on the tenth, "May this tenth cake, which shall fully satisfy the hunger and thirst of thy renewed body, be acceptable to thee." During this period, a pebble wrapt up in a fragment of the deceased's shroud is worn by the heir suspended on his neck. To that pebble, as a type of the deceased, the funeral cakes are offered. The same vessel in which the first oblation was made must be used throughout the period of mourning; this vessel, therefore, is also carried by the heir in the fragment of the shroud. He uses that slip of cloth taken from the winding-sheet as a sacrificial cord, and makes the oblations every day on the same spot; should either the vessel or the pebble be lost by any accident, the offerings must be recommenced.

If the mourning last three days only, ten funeral cakes must be nevertheless offered, three on the first and third days, and four on the second; if it lasts no more than one day, the ten oblations must be made at once.

All the kinsmen of the deceased, within the sixth degree of consanguinity, should fast for three days and nights, or one at the least; however, if that be impracticable, they may eat a single meal at night, purchasing the food ready prepared, but on no account preparing victuals at home. So long as the mourning lasts, the nearest relations of the deceased must not exceed one daily meal, nor eat fleshmeat, nor any food seasoned with factitious salt; they must use a plate made of the leaves of any tree but the plantain, or else take their food from the hands of some other persons; they must not handle a knife, or any other implement made of iron, nor sleep upon a bedstead, nor adorn their persons, but remain squalid, and refrain from perfumes and other gratifications; they must likewise omit the daily ceremonies of ablution and divine worship. On the third and fifth days, as also on the seventh and ninth, the kinsmen assemble, bathe in the open air, offer tila and water to the deceased, and take a repast together; they place lamps at cross roads, and in their own houses, and likewise on the way to the cemetery, and they observe vigils in honour of the deceased.

On the last day of mourning, or earlier in those countries where the obsequies are expedited on the second or third day, the nearest kinsman of the deceased gathers his ashes after offering a sradd'ha singly for him.

In the first place, the kinsman smears with cow-dung the spot where the oblation is to be presented; and after washing his hands and feet, sipping water, and taking up cusa grass in his hand, he sits down on a cushion pointed towards the south and placed upon a blade of cusa grass, the tip of which must also point towards the south. He then places near him a bundle of cusa grass, consecrated by pronouncing the word namah! or else prepares a fire for oblations; then lighting a lamp with clarified butter or with oil of sesamum, and arranging the food and other things intended to be offered, he must sprinkle himself with water, meditating on Vishnu surnamed the lotos-eyed, or revolving in his mind this verse, "Whether pure or defiled, or wherever he may have gone, he who remembers the being whose eyes are like the lotos, shall be pure externally and internally." Shifting the sacerdotal cord on his right shoulder, he takes up a brush of cusa grass, and presents water together with tila and with blossoms, naming the deceased and the family from which he sprung, and saying, "May this water for ablutions be acceptable to thee." Then saying, "May this be right," he pronounces a vow or solemn declaration. "This day I will offer on a bundle of cusa grass (or, if such be the custom, "on fire") a sradd'ha for a single person, with unboiled food, together with clarified butter and with water, preparatory to the gathering of the bones of such a one deceased." The priests answering "do so," he says "namo namah!" while the priests meditate the Gayatri, and thrice repeat, "Salutation to the Gods, to the manes of ancestors, and to mighty saints; to Swaha [goddess of fire]; to Swad'ha [the food of the manes]: salutation unto them for ever and ever."

He then presents a cushion made of cusa grass, naming the deceased, and saying, "May this be acceptable unto thee;" and afterwards distributes meal of sesamum, while the priests recite, "May the demons and fierce giants that sit on this consecrated spot be dispersed: and the bloodthirsty savages that inhabit the earth, may they go to any other place to which their inclinations may lead them."

Placing an oval vessel with its narrowest end towards the south, he takes up two blades of grass, and breaking off a span's length, throws them into the vessel; and after sprinkling them with water, makes a libation, while the priests say, "May divine waters be auspicious to us for accumulation, for gain, and for refreshing draughts; may they listen to us, and grant that we may be associated with good auspices." He then throws in tila, while the priests say, "Thou art tila, sacred to soma; framed by the divinity, thou dost produce celestial bliss [for him that makes oblations]; mixed with water, mayest thou long satisfy our ancestors with the food of the manes: be this oblation efficacious." He afterwards silently casts into the vessel perfumes, flowers, and durva grass. Then taking up the vessel with his left hand, putting two blades of grass on the cushion with their tips pointed to the north, he must pour the water from the argha thereon. The priests meantime recite, "The waters in heaven, in the atmosphere, and on the earth, have been united [by their sweetness] with milk: may those silver waters, worthy of oblation, be auspicious, salutary, and exhilarating to us; and be happily offered: may this oblation be efficacious." He adds. "namah," and pours out the water, naming the deceased, and saying, "May this argha be acceptable unto thee." Then oversetting the vessel, and arranging in due order the unboiled rice, condiments, clarified butter, and other requisites, he scatters tila, while the priests recite, "Thrice did Vishnu step," &c. He next offers the rice, clarified butter, water, and condiments, while he touches the vessel with his left hand, and names the deceased, saying, "May this raw food, with clarified butter and condiments, together with water, be acceptable unto thee." After the priests have repeated the Gayatri, preceded by the names of the worlds, he pours honey or sugar upon the rice, while they recite this prayer: "May the winds blow sweet, the rivers flow sweet, and salutary herbs be sweet, unto us; may night be sweet, may the mornings pass sweetly; may the soil of the earth, and heaven, parent [of all productions], be sweet unto us; may [soma] king of herbs and trees be sweet; may the sun be sweet, may kine be sweet unto' us." He then says, "Namo! namah!" while the priests recite, "Whatever may be deficient in this food, whatever may be imperfect in this rite, whatever may be wanting in its form, may all that become faultless."

He should then feed the Brahmanas whom he has assembled, either silently distributing food among them, or adding a respectful invitation to them to eat. When he has given them water to rinse their mouths, he may consider the deceased as fed through their intervention. The priests again recite the Gayatri and the prayer, "May the winds blow sweet," &c., and add the subjoined prayers, which should be followed by the music of flagelets, lutes, drums, &c.

1. "The embodied spirit, which hath a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, a thousand feet, stands in the human breast, while he totally pervades the earth." 2. "That being is this universe, and all that has been or will be; he is that which grows by nourishment, and he is the distributor of immortality." 3. "Such is his greatness; and therefore is he the most excellent embodied spirit: the elements of the universe are one portion of him; and three portions of him are immortality in heaven." 4. "That threefold being rose above [this world]; and the single portion of him remained in this universe, which consists of what docs, and what does not, taste [the reward of good and bad actions]: again he pervaded the universe." 5. "From him sprung Viraj [See translation of Menu, Ch. i. v. 32.]; from whom [the first] man was produced: and he, being successively reproduced, peopled the earth." 6. "From that single portion, surnamed the universal sacrifice, was the holy oblation of butter and curds produced; and this did frame all cattle, wild or domestic, which are governed by instinct." 7. "From that universal sacrifice were produced the strains of the Rich and Saman; from him the sacred metres sprung; from him did the Yajush proceed." 8. "From him were produced horses and all beasts that have two rows of teeth; from him sprung cows; from him proceeded goats and sheep." 9. "Him the Gods, the demigods named Sad'hya, and the holy sages, consecrated [Literally, "immolated;" but the commentator says, "consecrated.'] as a victim on sacred grass; and thus performed a solemn act of religion." 10. "Into how many portions did they divide this being whom they immolated? what did his mouth become? what are his arms, his thighs, and his feet now called?" 11. "His mouth became a priest; his arm was made a soldier; his thigh was transformed into a husbandman; from his feet sprung the servile man." 12. "The moon was produced from his mind; the sun sprung from his eye; air and breath proceeded from his ear; and fire rose from his mouth." 13. "The subtile element was produced from his navel; the sky from his head; the earth from his feet; and space from his ear: thus did he frame worlds." 14. "In that solemn sacrifice which the Gods performed with him as a victim, spring was the butter, summer the fuel, and sultry weather the oblation." 15. "Seven were the moats [surrounding the altar]; thrice seven were the logs of holy fuel; at that sacrifice which the Gods performed, binding this being as the victim." 19. "By that sacrifice the Gods worshipped this victim: such were primeval duties; and thus did they attain heaven, where former Gods and mighty demigods abide." [I think it unnecessary to quote from the commentary the explanation of this curious passage of the Veda as it is there given, because it does not really elucidate the sense; the allegory is, for the most part, sufficiently obvious. Other prayers may be also recited on the same occasion: it would be tedious to insert them all in this place.]

Next spreading cusa grass near the fragments of the repast, and taking some unboiled rice with tila and clarified butter, he must distribute it on the grass, while the priests recite for him these prayers: "May those in my family who have been burnt by fire, or who are alive and yet unburnt, be satisfied with this food presented on the ground, and proceed contented towards the supreme path [of eternal bliss]. May those who have no father nor mother, nor kinsman, nor food, nor supply of nourishment, be contented with this food offered on the ground, and attain, like it, a happy abode." He then gives the Brahmanas water to rinse their mouths; and the priests once more recite the Gayatri and the prayer, "May the winds blow sweet," &c.

Then taking in his left hand another vessel containing tila blossoms and water, and in his right a brush made of cusa grass, he sprinkles water over the grass spread on the consecrated spot, naming the deceased, and saying, "May this ablution be acceptable to thee:" he afterwards takes a cake or ball of food mixed with clarified butter, and presents it, saying, "May this cake be acceptable to thee;" and deals out the food with this prayer: "Ancestors,  rejoice; take your respective shares, and be strong as bulls." Then walking round by the left to the northern side of the consecrated spot, and meditating, "Ancestors be glad; take your respective shares and be strong as bulls," he returns by the same road, and again sprinkles water on the ground to wash the oblation, saying, "May this ablution be acceptable to thee."

Next, touching his hip with his elbow, or else his right side, and having sipped water, he must make six libations of water with the hollow palms of his hand, saying, "Salutation unto thee, O deceased, and unto the saddening [hot] season; salutation unto thee, O deceased, and unto the month of tapas [or dewy season]; salutation unto thee, O deceased, unto that [season] which abounds with water; salutation unto thee, O deceased, and to the nectar [of blossoms]; salutation unto thee, deceased, and to the terrible and angry [season]; salutation unto thee, deceased, and to female fire [or the sultry season]." [See note B, at the end of the present Essay.]

He next offers a thread on the funeral cake, holding the wet brush in his hand, naming the deceased, and saying, "May this raiment be acceptable to thee;" the priests add, "Fathers, this apparel is offered unto you." He then silently strews perfumes, blossoms, resin, and betel leaves on the funeral cake, and places a lighted lamp on it. He sprinkles water on the bundle of grass, saying, "May the waters be auspicious;" and offers rice, adding, "May the blossoms be sweet, may the rice be harmless;" and then pours water on it, naming the deceased, and saying, "May this food and drink be acceptable unto thee." In the next place he strews grass over the funeral cake and sprinkles water on it, reciting this prayer, "Waters! ye are the food of our progenitors; satisfy my parents, ye who convey nourishment, which is ambrosia, butter, milk, cattle, and distilled liquor." [The former translation of this text (in the first Essay on the Religious Ceremonies of the Hindus, ante, p. 90) was erroneous in several places; and I still am not perfectly confident that I rightly understand it. The term (cilata) which the commentator explains as signifying cattle, literally means "fit to be tied to a pole or stake." The reading of the next term was erroneous. I read and translated parisruta for parisruta; "promised" instead of "distilled." The commentator explains it as signifying the nourishment of progenitors.] Lastly, he smells some of the food, and poises in his hand the funeral cakes, saying, "May this ball be wholesome food; " and concludes by paying the officiating priest his fee, with a formal declaration, "I do give this fee (consisting of so much money) to such a one (a priest sprung from such a family, and who uses such a Veda and such a sac'ha of it), for the purpose of fully completing, the obsequies this day performed by me in honour of one person singly, preparatory to the gathering of the bones of such a one, deceased."

After the priest has thrice said, "Salutation to the Gods, to progenitors, to mighty saints," &c., he dismisses him; lights a lamp in honour of the deceased; meditates on Heri with undiverted attention; casts the food and other things used at the obsequies into the fire; and then proceeds to the cemetery for the purpose of gathering the ashes of the deceased.

The son or nearest relation of the defunct, accompanied by his kinsmen, and clothed in clean apparel, repairs to the cemetery, carrying eight vessels filled with various flowers, roots, and similar things. When arrived there, he does honour to the place by presenting an argha, with perfumes, blossoms, fragrant resins, a lamp, &c. Some of his kinsmen invoke the deities of the cemetery, when the argha is presented; others, when flowers are offered; others again, when food, fragrant resins, a lighted lamp, water, wreaths of flowers, and rice are offered, saying, "Salutation to the deities whose mouths are devouring fire." He advances to the northern gate [The practice of enclosing the funeral pile with temporary walls is almost universally disused.] or extremity of the funeral pile, sits down there, and presents two vessels as an oblation to spirits, with this prayer, "May the adorable and eternal Gods, who are present in this cemetery, accept from us this eight-fold unperishable oblation: may they convey the deceased to pleasing and eternal abodes, and grant to us life, health, and perfect ease. This eight-fold oblation is offered to Siva and other deities: salutation unto them," Then walking round the spot with his right side towards it, he successively places two other vessels, containing eight different things, at each of three other gates or sides of the enclosure which surrounds the funeral pile; and he presents these oblations with the same formality as before, sprinkles them with milk, and adds, "May SIVA and the other deities depart to their respective abodes." He then shifts the sacerdotal string to his right shoulder, turns his face towards the south, silently sprinkles the bones and ashes with cow's milk, and, using a branch of Sami and another of palasa [Butea frondosa, Linn.; and superba, Roxb.] instead of tongs, first draws out from the ashes the bones of the head, and afterwards the other bones successively, sprinkles them with perfumed liquids and with clarified butter made of cow's milk, and puts them into a casket made of the leaves of the palasa: this he places in a new earthen vessel, covers it with a lid, and ties it up with thread. Choosing some clean spot where encroachments of the river are not to be apprehended, he digs a very deep hole, and spreads cusa grass at the bottom of it, and over the grass a piece of yellow cloth; he places thereon the earthen vessel containing the bones of the deceased, covers it with a lump of mud, together with thorny, moss and mud, and plants a tree in the excavation, or raises a mound of masonry, or makes a pond, or erects a standard. He, and the rest of the kinsmen, then bathe in their clothes. At a subsequent time, the son or other near relation fills up the excavation and levels the ground; he throws the ashes of the funeral pile into the water, cleans the spot with cow-dung and water, presents oblation to Siva and other deities in the manner beforementioned, dismisses those deities, and casts the oblation into water. To cover the spot where the funeral pile stood, a tree should be planted, or a mound of masonry be raised, or a pond be dug, or a standard be erected. [This does not appear to be very universally practised; but a monument is always erected on the spot where a woman has burnt herself with her husband's corpse, or where any person has died a legal voluntary death. A mausoleum is, however, often built in honour of a Hindu prince or noble; it is called in the Hindustani language, a ch'hetri and the practice of consecrating a temple in honour of the deceased is still more common, especially in the centrical parts of India. I shall take some future occasion to resume a subject alluded to in this note; but in the mean time it may be fit to remark, that legal suicide was formerly common among the Hindus, and is not now very rare, although instances of men's burning themselves have not perhaps lately occurred so often as their drowning themselves in holy rivers. The blind father and mother of the young anchorite, whom Dasarat'ha slew by mistake, burnt themselves with the corpse of their son. The scholiast of the Raghuvansa, in which poem, as well as in the Ramayana, this story is beautifully told, quotes a text of law to prove that suicide is in such instances legal. I cannot refrain from also mentioning, that instances are not unfrequent where persons afflicted with loathsome and incurable diseases have caused themselves to be buried alive. I hope soon to be the channel of communicating to the Asiatic Society a very remarkable case of a leper rescued from a premature grave, and radically cured of his distemper. I must also take this occasion of announcing a very singular practice which prevails among the lowest tribes of the inhabitants of Berar and Gondwana. Suicide is not unfrequently vowed by such persons in return for boons solicited from idols; and to fulfil his vow, the successful votary throws himself from a precipice named Calabhairava, situated in the mountains between the Tapti and Nermada rivers. The annual fair held near that spot at the beginning of spring, usually witnesses eight or ten victims of this superstition.] Again, at a subsequent time, the son, or other near relation, carries the bones, which were so buried, to the river Ganges: he bathes there, nibs the vessel with the five productions of kine, puts gold, honey, clarified butter and tila on the vessel, and looking towards the south, and advancing into the river, with these words, "Be there salutation unto justice," throws the vessel into the waters of the Ganges, saying, "May he (the deceased) be pleased with me." Again bathing, he stands upright, and contemplates the sun; then sipping water, and taking up cum grass, tila, and water, pays the priests their fees.
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Re: Essays on the Religion and Philosophy of the Hindus

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Part 2 of 2

So long as mourning lasts after gathering the ashes, the near relations of the deceased continue to offer water with the same formalities and prayers as abovementioned, and to refrain from factitious salt, butter, &c. On the last day of mourning, the nearest relation puts on neat apparel, and causes his house and furniture to be cleaned; he then goes out of the town, and after offering the tenth funeral cake in the manner before described, he makes ten libations of water from the palms of his hands, causes the hair of his head and body to be shaved, and his nails to be cut, and gives the barbers the clothes which were worn at the funeral of the deceased, and adds some other remuneration. He then anoints his head and limbs down to his feet with oil of sesamum, rubs all his limbs with meal of sesamum, and his head with the ground pods of white mustard; he bathes, sips water, touches and blesses various auspicious things, such as stones, clarified butter, leaves of nimba, white mustard, durva grass, coral, a cow, gold, curds, honey, a mirror, and a conch, and also touches a bambu staff. He now returns purified to his home, and thus completes the first obsequies of the deceased.

The second series of obsequies, commencing on the day after the period of mourning has elapsed, is opened by a lustration termed the consolatory ceremony, the description of which must be here abridged, for want of a commentary to explain all the prayers that are recited at this religious rite; for the same reason, an account of the ceremonies attending the consecration and dismissal of a bull in honour of the deceased, must for the present be postponed.

The lustration consists in the consecration of four vessels of water, and sprinkling therewith the house, the furniture, and the persons belonging to the family. After lighting a fire, and blessing the attendant Brahmanas, the priest fills four vessels with water, and putting his hand into the first, meditates the Gayatri, before and after reciting the following prayers:

1. "May generous waters be auspicious to us, for gain and for refreshing draughts; may they approach towards us, that we may be associated with good auspices." 2. "Earth, afford us ease, be free from thorns, be habitable; widely extended as thou art, procure us happiness." 3. "O waters! since ye afford delight, grant us food, and the rapturous sight [of the Supreme Being]." 4. "Like tender mothers, make us here partakers of your most auspicious essence." [The translation of several among these prayers is a little varied from a former version of them (in the First Essay on the Religious Ceremonies of the Hindus ante, p. 76, 77), to conform with the different expositions given in different places by the commentators I have consulted. For the same purpose, I shall here subjoin another version of the Gayatri: "Earth! Sky! Heaven! Let ns meditate on [these and on] the most excellent light and power of that generous, sportive, and resplendent Sun, [praying that] it may guide our intellects." A paraphrase of this very important text may be found in the preface to the translation of Menu, p. xviii. See also the Essay on the Vedas, ante, p. 15.]

Putting his hand into the second vessel, the priest meditates the Gayatri and the four prayers above quoted, adding some others, and concluding this second consecration of water by once more meditating the Gayatri.

Then taking a lump of sugar and a copper vessel in his left hand, biting the sugar and spitting it out again, the priest sips water; afterwards putting his hand into the third vessel, he meditates the Gayatri and the four prayers above cited, interposing this, " May INDRA and VARUNA [the regents of the sky and of the ocean] accept our oblations and grant us happiness; may Indra and the cherishing sun grant us happiness in the distribution of food; may Indra and the moon grant us the happiness of attaining the road to celestial bliss and the association of good auspices." The priest adds, 1. "May we sufficiently attain your essence with which you satisfy the universe. Waters! grant it to us." 2. "May heaven be our comfort; may the sky, earth, water, salutary herbs, trees, the assembled gods, the creator, and the universe, be our comfort; may that comfort obviate difficulties, and become to us the means of attaining our wishes." 3. "Make me perfect in [my own person, and in the persons of all who are] connected with me; may all beings view me with the [benevolent] eye of the sun: I view all beings with the solar eye; let us view each other with the [benevolent] solar eye." 4. "Make me perfect in my own person, and in the persons of all who are allied to me: may I live long in thy sight; long may I live in thy sight." 5. "Salutation to thee [O fire!] who dost seize oblations, to thee who dost shine, to thee who dost scintillate; may thy flames burn our foes; mayest thou, the purifier, be auspicious unto us." 6. "Salutation to thee, manifested in lightning; salutation to thee, manifested in thunder; salutation to thee, O GOD! for thou dost endeavour to bestow celestial bliss." 7. "Since thou dost seek to awe the wicked [only], make us fearless; grant happiness to our progeny, and courage to our cattle. " 8. "May water and herbs be friendly to us; may they be inimical to him who hates us and whom we hate." 9. "May we see a hundred years that pure eye, which rises from the east, and benefits the Gods; may we live a hundred years; may we speak a hundred years; may we be free from distress a hundred years, and again a hundred years." After another prayer, the priest again meditates the Gayatri and thus concludes the third consecration. He then hallows the fourth vessel of water in a similar manner, with a repetition of the prayer, "May the earth be our comfort," &c., and with some others, which must be here omitted for the reason before mentioned. [At most religions ceremonies, and especially at the deprecatory rites, the prayers directed in the several Vedas, and in the various sac'has of them, differ much. Those which are translated in the present and former essays are mostly taken from the Yajurveda, and may be used by any Brahmen, instead of the prayers directed in the particular Veda, by which he should regularly be guided. The subject of lustrations is curious; they are performed with various ceremonies, to avert calamities or to obviate disappointments. Should other engagements permit it, this topic will be treated in a future essay.]

Though it be not positively enjoined, it is customary, immediately after this lustration, to give away a vessel of tila, and also a cow, for the sake of securing the passage of the deceased over the Vaitarani, or river of hell; whence the cow so given is called Vaitarani- d'henu. Afterwards a bed with its furniture is brought, and the giver sits down near the Brahmana who has been invited to receive the present; after saying, "Salutation to this bed with its furniture, salutation to this priest to whom it is given," he pays due honour to the Brahmana in the usual form of hospitality. He then pours water into his hand, saying, "I give thee this bed with its furniture;" the priest replies, "Give it." Upon this he sprinkles it with water, and taking up cusa grass, tila, and water, delivers them to the priest, pouring the water into his hand, with a formal declaration of the gift and its purpose; and again delivers a bit of gold with cusa grass, &c. making a similar formal declaration. 1. "This day, I, being desirous of obtaining celestial bliss for such a one defunct, do give unto thee, such a one, a Brahmana, descended from such a family, to whom due honour has been shown, this bed and furniture, which has been duly honoured, and which is sacred to Vishnu." 2. "This day I give unto thee (so and so) this gold, sacred to fire, as a sacerdotal fee, for the sake of confirming the donation I have made of this bed and furniture." The Brahmana both times replies, "Be it well." Then lying upon the bed, and touching it with the upper part of his middle-finger, he meditates the Gayatri with suitable prayers, adding, "This bed is sacred to Vishnu."

With the same ceremonies, and with similar formal declarations, he next gives away to a Brahmana (or more commonly, in both instances, to a married couple) a golden image of the deceased, or else a golden idol, or both, with clothes and various sorts of fruit. 'Afterwards he distributes other presents among Brahmanas, for the greater honour of the deceased: making donations of land, and giving a chair or stool, clothes, water, food, betel-leaf, a lamp, gold, silver, a parasol, an orchard of fruit trees, wreaths of flowers, a pair of shoes, another bed, another milch cow, and any other presents he may choose to give, such as an elephant, a horse, a carriage, a slave, a house, and so forth. '

It is hardly necessary to remark on this quotation, that none but very rich or superstitious persons make these ample donations, which are not positively enjoined, though strenuously recommended.

There is some difference in the religious formalities with which various things are given or accepted, on this or on any other occasion. In the formal declaration, too, a different tutelary Deity is named, and a different object is specified; but, in other respects, the form of the declaration is similar, whatever be the occasion on which the gift is made.

In making a donation of land, the donor sits down with his face to the east, opposite to the person to whom he gives it. The donor says, "Salutation to this land with its produce; salutation to this priest, to whom I give it." Then, after showing him honour in the usual form, he pours water into his hand, saying, "I give thee this land with its produce." The other replies, "Give it." Upon which he sprinkles the place with water; and taking up water, with holy basil and cusa grass, he pours the water into the other's hand, making a formal declaration of the donation and the motive of it. He then delivers a bit of gold, with cusa grass, &c., declaring his purpose in giving it, as a sacerdotal fee, to consolidate the donation of land. The other accepts the gift by a verbal acknowledgment, and meditates the Gayatri with some other prayers.

A chair or stool is accepted by sitting down on it; clothes, by putting them on; a parasol, by holding the handle of it; shoes or sandals, by standing on them; and a couch, by lying on it. In these and other donations there is no variation in the prayers; but the gift of a milch cow is made with other texts, which the donor recites standing near the cow, and making a libation of water from the palms of his hands after the recital of each prayer. The gift is accepted by holding the animal's tail.

1. "May the Goddess, who is the Lacshmi of all beings and resides among the Gods, assume the shape of a milch cow and procure me comfort." 2. "May the Goddess who is Rudrani in a corporeal form, and who is the beloved of Siva, assume the shape of a milch cow and procure me comfort." 3. "May she, who is Lacshmi reposing on the bosom of Vishnu; she, who is the Lacshmi of the regent of riches; she, who is the Lacshmi of kings, be a boon-granting cow to me." 4. "May she, who is the Lacshmi of Brahma; she, who is Swaha, the wife of fire; she, who is the exerted power of the sun, moon, and stars, assume the shape of a milch cow for [my] prosperity." 5. "Since thou art Swad'ha [the food] of them, who are chief among the manes of ancestors, and Swaha' [the consuming power] of them, who eat solemn sacrifices; therefore, being the cow that expiates every sin, procure me comfort." 6. "I invoke the Goddess who is endowed with the attributes of all the Gods, who confers all happiness, who bestows [abodes in] all the worlds for the sake of all people." 7. "I pray to that auspicious Goddess for immortality and happiness."

The remaining ceremonies, omitting for the present the consecration of a bull, consist chiefly in the obsequies called sradd'has. The first set of funeral ceremonies is adapted to effect, by means of oblations, the reimbodying of the soul of the deceased, after burning his corpse. The apparent scope of the second set is to raise his shade from this world (where it would else, according to the notions of the Hindus, continue to roam among demons and evil spirits) up to heaven, and there deify him, as it were, among the manes of departed ancestors. For this end, a sradd'ha should regularly be offered to the deceased on the day after mourning expires; twelve other sradd'has singly to the deceased in twelve successive months; similar obsequies at the end of the third fortnight, and also in the sixth month, and in the twelfth; and the oblation called Sapindana, on the first anniversary of his decease. In most provinces the periods for these sixteen ceremonies, and for the concluding obsequies entitled Sapindana, are, anticipated, and the whole is completed on the second or third day; after which they are again performed at the proper times, but in honour of the whole set of progenitors instead of the deceased singly. The obsequies intended to raise the shade of the deceased to heaven are thus completed. Afterwards a sradd'ha is annually offered to him on the anniversary of his decease.

The form of the various sradd'has (for they are numerous [In a work entitled Nirneya Sind'hu I find authority for classing obsequies under twelve heads. 1. Daily obsequies, either with food or with water only, in honour of ancestors in general, but excluding the Viswedevas 2. Obsequies for a special cause; that is, in honour of a kinsman recently defunct. 3. Voluntary obsequies, performed by way of supererogation, for the greater benefit of the deceased. 4. Obsequies for increase of prosperity, performed upon any accession of wealth or prosperity, and upon other joyful occasions. 5. A sradd'ha intended to introduce the shade of a deceased kinsman to the rest of the manes. 6. Obsequies performed on appointed days, such as that of new moon, full moon, sun's passage into a new sign, &c. 7. A sradd'ha to sanctify the food at an entertainment given to a company of reverend persons. 8. One performed when stated numbers of priests are fed at the cost of a person who needs purification from some defilement. 9. A sradd'ha preparatory to the celebration of any solemn rite, and considered as a part of such rite. 10. 'Sradd'has in honour of deities. 11. Oblations of clarified butter, previous to the undertaking of a distant journey. 12. A sradd'ha to sanctify a meal of flesh meat prepared simply for the sake of nourishment.]) is so nearly the same, that it will be only necessary to describe that which is performed in honour of progenitors in general; and at which three funeral cakes are offered to three paternal ancestors; as many to three maternal forefathers, and two to the Viswedevas or assembled Gods. A sradd'ha in honour of one person singly has been already noticed.

After smearing the place with cow-dung, a square altar of sand is raised on it, one or two fingers high, and a span nearly in each direction. (It must be triangular at the obsequies of one recently defunct.) The person who performs the ceremony, first washes his hands and feet, sips water, and puts a ring of cum grass on the ring finger of each hand. He sits down on a cushion of cusa grass, or of other materials, placed upon a blade of such grass. He lights a lamp, reciting a prayer, which will be cited on another occasion. He places the implements and materials in regular order, and sprinkles water on himself and all around, meditating on Vishnu surnamed the lotos-eyed, and revolving in his mind the couplet, "Whether pure or defiled," &c. He now shifts the sacerdotal thread to his right shoulder, and solemny declares his intention of performing a sradd'ha, and the motive of it. He thrice meditates the Gayatri, and pronounces the salutation to superior beings, " Salutation to the Gods, to the manes of ancestors," &c.

After this preparation he proceeds to invite and to welcome the assembled Gods and the manes. First, he places two little cushions of cusa grass on one side of the altar for the Viswedevas, and six in front of it for the Pitris. Each cushion should consist of three blades of grass folded up. After strewing cusa grass on those cushions, he asks, "Shall I invoke the assembled Gods?" Being told "Do so," he thus invokes them: "Assembled Gods! hear my invocation; come and sit down on this holy grass." After scattering barley on the same spot, he meditates this prayer, "Assembled Gods! listen to my invocation, ye, who reside in the sky; and ye who abide near us [on earth], or [far off] in heaven; ye, whose tongues are fire; and ye, who defend the funeral sacrifice, sit on this grass and be cheerful." He then invites the manes of ancestors with similar invocations: "O fire! zealously we support thee; zealously we feed thee with fuel; eagerly do thou call our willing ancestors to taste our oblation." May our progenitors, who eat the moon-plant, who are sanctified by holy fires, come by paths, which Gods travel. [The Via Lactea seems to be meant by the path of the Gods.] Satisfied with ancestral food at this solemn sacrifice, may they applaud and guard us." He next welcomes the Gods and manes with oblations of water, &c. in vessels made of leaves. [Plantain leaves; or else leaves of the Butea frondosa, or of the Bassia latifolia.] Two are presented to the Viswedevas, and three to paternal ancestors, and as many to maternal forefathers. Cusa grass is put into each vessel and water sprinkled on it, while the prayer, "May divine waters be auspicious to us," &c. is recited. Barley is thrown into the vessels intended for the Gods, and tila into those intended for the manes of ancestors, with these prayers, 1. "Barley! thou art the separator, [Yava signifies barley; in this text it also signifies separator, being derived from yu, to unmix. Many of the prayers contain similar quibbles.] separate [us] from our natural enemies and from our malicious foes." 2. "Thou art tila, sacred to soma," &c. At a sradd'ha for increase of prosperity, which is performed on many occasions as a preparative for a solemn act of religion, barley is thrown into the vessels instead of tila and the last prayer is thus varied: "Thou art barley, sacred to Soma: framed by the divinity, thou dost produce celestial bliss; mixt with water, mayest thou long satisfy with nourishment my several progenitors, whose mouths are full of blessings." The vessels are successively taken up, repeating each time a prayer before cited: "The waters in heaven, in the atmosphere, and an the earth, have been united with milk," &c. The cusa grass that lay on the vessels is put into a Brahmana's hand, and that which was under it is held by the person who performs  the sradd'ha, in his own hand; and through it he successively pours the water out of each vessel on the Brahmana's hand. He then piles up the empty vessels in three sets, and reverses them, saying, while he oversets the first, "Thou art a mansion for ancestors."

At the last obsequies for one recently deceased, and which are named the Sapindana, the following prayer is recited when the vessel which has been offered to him is piled up with the rest: "May the mansion of those progenitors, who have reached a common abode, and who have accordant minds, foster him; may the blessed sacrifice, sacred to the Gods, be his." The subjoined prayer likewise is peculiar to the Sapindana: "By [the intercession of] those souls who are mine by affinity, who are animated [shades], who have reached a common abode, who have accordant minds, may prosperity be mine in this world for a hundred years."

The person who performs the sradd'ha next takes up food smeared with clarified butter, and makes two oblations to fire, reciting these prayers: 1. "May this oblation to fire, which conveys offerings to the manes, be efficacious." 2. "May this oblation to the moon, wherein the progenitors of mankind abide, be efficacious."

Brahmanas should be fed with the residue of the oblation; it is accordingly consecrated for that purpose by the following prayer: "The vessel that holds thee is the earth; its lid is the sky; I offer this residue of an oblation, similar to ambrosia, in the undefiled mouth of a priest: may this oblation be efficacious." The performer of the sradd'ha then points with his thumb towards the food, saying, "Thrice did Vishnu step," &c. He adds, "May the demons and giants that sit on this consecrated spot be dispersed." He meditates the Gayatri with the names of the worlds, and sweetens the food with honey or sugar, saying, "May winds blow sweet," &c. He then distributes the food among Brahmanas; and when they have eaten and have acknowledged that they are satisfied, he gives them water to rinse their mouths.

He now proceeds to offer the funeral cakes, consisting of balls or lumps of food mixed with clarified butter. He offers three to the paternal forefathers, as many to the maternal ancestors, and two to the Viswedevas. The prayers ("Ancestors! rejoice, take your respective shares," &c.) and the form of the oblation, have been already mentioned. It is only necessary to add in this place, that he wipes his hand with cusa grass in honour of remoter ancestors, who thus become partakers of the oblations.

In the next place, he makes six libations of water from the palms of his hands, with the salutation to the seasons: "Salutation unto you, fathers, and unto the saddening season," &c. By this prayer the manes of ancestors are doubly saluted; for the Veda declares, "The six seasons are the progenitors of mankind."

A thread is placed on each funeral cake, to serve as apparel for the manes, and each time the same words are repeated, "Fathers! this apparel is offered unto you." Flowers, perfumes, and similar things are added at pleasure; but water must be sprinkled on each cake, with the prayer, "Waters, ye are the food of our progenitors," &c.

The performer of the sradd'ha then takes up the middle cake and smells to it; or his wife eats it, if they be solicitous for male offspring. In this case the following prayer must be recited: "Grant, D progenitors, the conception of a male child, [longlived and healthy, like] the lotos and garland [or twins, that sprung from Aswini]; so that, at this season, there may be a person [to fulfil the wishes of the Gods, of the manes, and of human beings]." He then takes up the cakes successively, smells to them, throws them into a vessel, and gives away the food to a mendicant priest or to a cow, or else casts it into the waters.

He then dismisses the manes, saying, "Fathers, to whom food belongs, guard our food and the other things offered by us; venerable and immortal as ye are and conversant with holy truths. Quaff the sweet essence of it, be cheerful, and depart contented by the paths which Gods travel." Lastly, he walks round the spot and leaves it, saying, "May the benefit of this oblation accrue to me repeatedly; may the Goddess of the earth, and the Goddess of the sky, whose form is the universe, visit me [with present and future happiness]. Father and mother! revisit me [when I again celebrate obsequies], soma, king of the manes! visit me for the sake of [conferring] immortality."

A sradd'ha is thus performed, with an oblation of three funeral cakes only to three male paternal ancestors, on some occasions; or with as many funeral oblations to three maternal ancestors, on others. Sometimes separate oblations are also presented to the wives of the paternal ancestors; at other times, similar offerings are likewise made to the wives of three maternal ancestors. Thus, at the monthly sradd'has celebrated on the day of new moon, six funeral cakes are offered to three paternal and as many maternal male ancestors with their wives: on most other occasions separate oblations are presented to the female ancestors. At the obsequies celebrated in the first half of Aswina, on the day entitled Mahalaya, funeral cakes are separately offered to every deceased friend and near relation: thus, immediately after the oblations to ancestors, a cake is presented to a deceased wife, then to a son or daughter, to a brother or sister, to an uncle or aunt, to a father-in law, to a preceptor, and lastly to a friend. The same is observed at the obsequies performed on the day of an eclipse, or upon a pilgrimage to any holy spot, and especially to Gaya.

Formal obsequies are performed no less than ninety-six times in every year; namely, on the day of new moon, and on the dates of the fourteen Menwantaras and of four Yugadyas; that is, on the anniversaries of the accession of fourteen Menus and of the commencement of four ages: also throughout the whole first fortnight of Aswina, thence called pitripacsha, and whenever the sun enters a new sign, and especially when he reaches the equinox or either solstice; and, in certain circumstances, when the moon arrives at Vyatipata, one of the twenty-seven yogas or astrological divisions of the zodiac. The eighth of Pausha, called Aindri, the eighth of Magha (when flesh meat should be offered), and the ninth of the same month, together with additional obsequies on some of these dates and on a few others, complete the number abovementioned. Different authorities do not, however, concur exactly in the number, or in the particular days, when the sradd'has should be solemnized.

Besides these formal obsequies a daily sradd'ha is likewise performed. It consists in dropping food into the hands of a Brahmana after offering it to six ancestors by name, with the usual preparatory vow and prayers, and with the formality of placing three blades of grass as a seat for each ancestor; but using a single prayer only for the invocation of the manes, and omitting the ceremony of welcoming them with an argha. Libations of water are also made in honour of progenitors, as noticed in the former essay on daily ablutions.

The obsequies for increase of prosperity, or as the same term (Vriddhi sradd'ha) may signify, the obsequies performed on an accession of prosperity, [Sometimes named Nandi muc'ha, from a word which occurs in the prayer peculiar to this sradd'ha.] are celebrated previously to the sacrifice of a victim and to the solemnization of a marriage, or of any of the ceremonies which, according to the notions of the Hindus, contribute to the regeneration of a twice-born man, that is, of a Brahmana, Cshatriya, or Vaisya. This sradd'ha is likewise performed at the commencement and close of a solemn fast.

It should be observed respecting the practice of giving food to priests at all these obsequies, that Brahmanas generally give it to one or more of their own relations. A stranger, unless indigent, would be very unwilling to accept the food, or to attend at a sradd'ha for the purpose of eating it. The use of fleshmeat is positively enjoined to Hindus at certain obsequies (see Menu, c. iii. v. 124), and recommended at all (Menu, c. iii. v. 268, &c.); but the precepts of their law-givers on the subject are by some deemed obsolete in the present age, and are evaded by others, who acknowledge the cogency of these laws. These commonly make a vow to abstain from flesh-meat, and consider that vow as more binding than the precepts here alluded to. Others, again, not only eat meat at obsequies and solemn sacrifices, but make it their common diet, in direct breach of the institutes of their religion. (See Menu, c. 5. v. 31, &c.)

Brahmanas who maintain a perpetual fire, which all who devote themselves to the priesthood ought to do, perform the daily ceremonies of religion in their full detail. Others, who are engaged in worldly pursuits, and even some who follow the regular profession of the sacerdotal tribe, abridge these rites. They comprise all the daily sacraments in one ceremony, called Vaiswadeva, which is celebrated in the forenoon, and by some in the evening likewise. It consists in oblations to the Gods, to the manes, and to the spirits, out of the food prepared for the daily meal; and in a gift of a part of it to guests.

Sitting down on a clean spot of ground, the Brahmana places a vessel containing fire on his right hand, and hallows it by throwing away a lighted piece of cusa grass, saying, "I dismiss far away carnivorous fire, " &c. He then places it on the consecrated spot reciting the prayer with which the household and sacrificial fires should be lighted by the attrition of wood; "Fires! [this wood] is thy origin, which is attainable in all seasons; whence being produced, thou dost shine. Knowing this, seize on it, and afterwards gument our wealth."

He then lays cusa grass on the eastern side of the fire with its tips pointed towards the north, reciting the first verse of the Rigveda, with which also it is usual to commence the daily lecture of that Veda: "I praise divine fire, primevally consecrated, the efficient performer of a solemn ceremony, the chief agent of a sacrifice, the most liberal giver of gems."

He next spreads cusa grass on the southern side of the fire with its tips pointed towards the east, reciting the introduction of the Yajurveda, with which also a daily lecture of the Yajush is always begun. 1. "I gather thee for the sake of rain," [He breaks off a branch of a tree, or is supposed to do so, with these words.] 2. "I pluck thee for the sake of strength." [He pulls down the branch he had broken.] 3. "Ye are like unto air." [He touches young calves with the branch he had plucked.] 4. "May the liberal generator [of worlds] make you happily reach this most excellent sacrament." [He is here, supposed to touch the milch cows with the same branch.]

He then spreads cusa grass on the western side with the tips pointed to the north, reciting the prayer which precedes a lecture of the Samaveda: "Fire! approach to taste [my offering]; thou, who art praised for the gift of oblations. Sit down on this grass, thou, who art the complete performer of the solemn sacrifice."

In like manner he spreads cusa grass on the northern side with the tips pointed to the east, reciting the prayer which precedes a lecture of the At'harvan: "May divine waters be auspicious to us," &c.

Exciting the fire and sprinkling water on it, he must offer with his hands food smeared with clarified butter, three several times saying, "Earth! Sky! Heaven!" He then makes five similar oblations to the regent of fire; to the god of medicine; to the assembled deities; to the lord of created beings; and, lastly, to the Creator of the universe. He concludes the sacrament of the Gods with six oblations, reciting six prayers. 1. "Fire! thou dost expiate a sin against the Gods [arising from any failure in divine worship]: may this oblation be efficacious." 2. "Thou dost expiate a sin against man [arising from a failure in hospitality]," 3. "Thou dost expiate a sin against the manes [from a failure in the performance of obsequies]." 4. "Thou dost expiate a sin against my own soul [arising from any blameable act]." 5. "Thou dost expiate repeated sins." 6. "Thou dost expiate every sin I have committed, whether wilfully or unintentionally: may this oblation be efficacious."

He then worships fire, making an oblation to it with this prayer: "Fire! seven are thy fuels; seven thy tongues; seven thy holy sages; seven thy beloved abodes; seven ways do seven sacrificers worship thee. Thy sources are seven. Be content with this clarified butter. May this oblation be efficacious." [The commentator enumerates the seven tongues of fire, Pravaha, Avaha, Udvaha, Samvaha, Vivaha, Parivaha, Nivaha, (or else Anuvaha); all of which imply the power of conveying oblations to the deities to whom offerings are made. The seven holy sages and sacrifices are the Hotri, Maitravaruna, Brahmana ch'handasi, Ach'havac, Potri, Neshtri. and Agnid'hra; that is, the seven officiating priests at very solemn sacrifices. They worship fire seven ways by the Agnishtoma and other sacrifices. The seven abodes are the names of the seven worlds: and fire is called in the Veda, saptachitica, which seems to allude to seven consecrated hearths. In the sixteen verses called Paurusha, which have been already quoted, the names of the seven worlds thrice repeated, are understood to be meant by the thrice seven fuels; and the seven oceans are the seven moats surrounding the altar. Fire, like the sun itself, is supposed to emit seven moats surrounding the altar. Fire, like the sun itself, is supposed to emit seven rays: this perhaps may account for the number seven being so often repeated.]

About this time he extinguishes the Racshoghna, or lamp lighted previously to the presenting of oblations to the Gods and to the manes. It was lighted for the purpose of repelling evil spirits, and is now extinguished with this text: "In solemn acts of religion, whatever fails through the negligence of those who perform the ceremony, may be perfected solely through meditation on Vishnu."

The Brahmana should next offer the residue of the oblation to spirits, going round to the different places where such oblations ought to be made, sweeping each spot with his hand, sprinkling water on it, and placing there lumps of food. Near the spot where the vessel of water stands he presents three such oblations, saying, "Salutation to rain; to water; to the earth." At both doors of his house he makes offerings to D'hatri and Vid'hatri, or Brahma, the protector and creator. Towards the eight principal points of the compass he places offerings, severally adding salutation to them and to the regents of them. In the middle of the house he presents oblations, with salutation to Brahma, to the sky, and to the sun. Afterwards he offers similar oblations to all the Gods; to all beings; to twilight; and to the lord of all beings. He then shifts the sacrificial cord, and looking towards the south and dropping one knee, he presents an oblation to the manes of ancestors, saying, "Salutation to progenitors: may this ancestral food be acceptable." This ceremony is not constantly practised, though directed in some rituals; but the residue of the oblation to the Gods must be left on a clean spot of ground as an oblation to all beings, intended, however, for dogs and crows in particular. It is presented with the following prayer, which is taken from the Puranas: "May Gods, men, cattle, birds, demigods, benevolent genii, serpents, demons, departed spirits, bloodthirsty savages, trees and all who desire food given by me;" 2. "May reptiles, insects, flies, and all hungry beings, or spirits concerned in this rite, obtain contentment from this food left for them by me, and may they become happy;'' 3. May they, who have neither mother, nor father, nor kinsman, nor food, nor means of obtaining it, be satisfied with that which is offered by me on this spot for their contentment, and be cheerful." Or the following prayer may be used: "To animals who night and day roam in search of food offered to the spirits, he who desires nourishment, should give something: may the lord of nourishment grant it unto me."

He concludes by performing a lustration similar to that which has been already noticed, but much shorter. After thus completing the other sacraments, the householder should present food to his guests; that is, to any person who claims his hospitality. When he has thus allotted out of the food prepared for his own repast, one portion to the Gods, a second to progenitors, a third to all beings, and a fourth to his guests, he and his family may then, and not before, consume the remaining portion of the food. "Whenever a spiritual preceptor, a devotee or an officiating priest, a bridegroom, or a particular friend, comes as a guest, he is received with honours, which will be described among the nuptial ceremonies. In the entertainment of other guests no religious rites are performed, nor any prayers recited.

The householder is enjoined to give daily alms; but no particular time is prescribed for the distribution of them; he is simply directed to give food to religious mendicants whenever they come to his door; but especially if they come at the time when food is ready for his own meal. On the authority of the Puranas, it is also a common practice to feed a cow before the householder breaks his own fast. [The adoration of a cow is not uncommon. This worship consists in presenting flowers to her, washing her feet, &c. It is entirely different from the practice here noticed. Both seem to be founded on the superstitious notion, that the favour of Surabhi (the boon-granting cow) may be gained by showing kindness to her offspring. The story of Vasisht'ha's cow, Nandini, attended by the king Dilipa for the sake of obtaining a boon through her means, is a pretty fable grounded on this notion. It is beautifully told by Calidasa in the Raghuvansa. I cannot refrain from mentioning another fable of a cow named Bahula, whose expostulations with a tiger, pleading to him to spare her life, form the only admired passage in the Itihasas, or collection of stories supposed to be related by Bhimasena, while he lay at the point of death wounded with innumerable arrows. The fourth day of Aswina is sacred to this cow, and named from her Bahula chaturt'hi. Images of her and her calf are worshipped; and the extract from the Itihasas is on that day read with great solemnity.] He either presents grass, water, and corn to her with this text, "Daughter of Surabhi, framed of five elements, auspicious, pure, holy, sprung from the sun, accept this food given by me; salutation unto thee:" or else he conducts the kine to grass, saying, "May cows, who are mothers of the three worlds and daughters of Surabhi, and who are beneficent, pure, and holy, accept the food given by me."

Some Brahmanas do still further abridge the compendious ceremony called Vaiswadeva. They offer perfumes and flowers to fire; and make five oblations, out of the food prepared for their own use, to Brahma, to the lord of created beings, to the household fire, to CASYAPA, and to Anumati, dropping each oblation on fire, or on water, or on the ground, with the usual addition, "May this oblation be efficacious." They then make offerings to all beings, by placing a few lumps of food at the door, or on a quadrangular spot near the fire, with a salutation to Dhatri, &c., and they immediately proceed to their own repast.

Here too, as in every other matter relating to private morals, the Hindu legislators and the authors of the Puranas have heaped together a multitude of precepts, mostly trivial, and not unfrequently absurd. Some of them relate to diet; they prohibit many sorts of food altogether, and forbid the constant use of others: some regard the acceptance of food, which must on no account he received if it be given with one hand, nor without a leaf or dish; some again prescribe the hour at which the two daily meals which are allowed, should be eaten (namely, in the forenoon and in the evening); others enumerate the places (a boat for example) where a Hindu must not eat, and specify the persons (his sons and the inmates of his house) with whom he should eat, and those (his wife for instance) with whom he should not. The lawgivers have been no less particular in directing the posture in which the Hindu must sit; the quarter towards which he ought to look, and the precautions he should take to insulate himself, as it were, during his meal, lest he be contaminated by the touch of some undetected sinner, who may be present. To explain even in a cursory manner the objects of all these, would be tedious; but the mode in which a Hindu takes his repast conformably with such injunctions as are most cogent, may be briefly stated, and with this I shall close the present essay.

After washing his hands and feet, and sipping water without swallowing it, he sits down on a stool or cushion (but not on a couch nor on a bed) before his plate, which must be placed on a clean spot of ground that has been wiped and smoothed in a quadrangular form, if he be a Brahmana: a triangular one, if he be a Cshatriya; circular, if he be a Vaisya; and in the shape of a crescent, if he belong to the fourth tribe. When the food is first brought in, he is required to bow to it, raising both hands in the form of humble salutation to his forehead; and he should add, "May this be always ours:" that is, may food never be deficient. When he has sitten down, he should lift the plate with his left hand and bless the food, saying, "Thou art invigorating. " He sets it down, naming the three worlds. Or if the food be handed to him, he says, "May heaven give thee," and then accepts it with these words, "The earth accepts thee." Before he begins eating, he must move his hand round the plate, to insulate it, or his own person rather, from the rest of the company. He next offers five lumps of food to Yama by five different titles; he sips and swallows water; he makes five oblations to breath by five distinct names, Prana, Vyana, Apana, Samana, and Udana; and lastly, he wets both eyes. He then eats his repast in silence, lifting the food with all the fingers of his right hand, and afterwards again sips water, saying, "Ambrosial fluid! thou art the couch of VISHNU and of food."  

NOTES.

(A.)


That Hindus belong to various sects is universally known; but their characteristic differences are not perhaps so generally understood. Five great sects exclusively worship a single deity; one recognises the five divinities which are adored by the other sects respectively, but the followers of this comprehensive scheme mostly select one object of daily devotion, and pay adoration to other deities on particular occasions only. Even they deny the charge of polytheism, and repel the imputation of idolatry; they justify the practice of adoring the images of celestial spirits, by arguments similar to those which have been elsewhere employed in defence of angel and image worship. If the doctrines of the Veda, and even those of the Puranas, he closely examined, the Hindu theology will be found consistent with monotheism, though it contain the seeds of polytheism and idolatry. I shall take some future occasion of enlarging on this topic: I have here only to remark, that modern Hindus seem to misunderstand the numerous texts, which declare the unity of the godhead, and the identity of Vishnu, Siva, the Sun, &c. Their theologists have entered into vain disputes on the question, which among the attributes of God shall be deemed characteristic and preeminent. Sancara Acharya, tlic Celebrated commentator on the Veda, contended for the attributes of Siva, and founded or confirmed the sect of Saivas, who worship Maha deva as the supreme being, and deny the independent existence of Vishnu and other deities. Mad'hava Acharya and Vallabha Acharya have in like manner established the sect of Vaishnavas, who adore Vishnu as God. The Sauras (less numerous than the two sects abovementioned) worship the Sun, and acknowledge no other divinity. The Ganapatyas adore GANESA, as uniting in his person all the attributes of the deity.

Before I notice the fifth sect, I must remind the reader that the Hindu mythology has personified the abstract and active powers of the divinity, and has ascribed sexes to these mythological personages. The Sacti, or energy of an attribute of God, is female, and is fabled as the consort of that personified attribute. The Sacti of SIVA, whose emblem is the phallus, is herself typified by the female organ. This the Sactas worhip; some figuratively, others literally.

Vopadeva, the real author of the Sri Bhagavata, has endeavoured to reconcile all the sects of Hindus by reviving the doctrines of Vyasa. He recognises all the deities, but as subordinate to the supreme being, or rather as attributes or manifestations of God. A new sect has been thus formed, and is denominated from that modern Purana. But the numerous followers of it do not seem to have well apprehended the doctrines they profess: they incline much to real polytheism, but do at least reject the derogatory notions of the divinity, which the other sects seem to have adopted.

The Vaishnavas, though nominally worshippers of Vishnu, are in fact votaries of deified heroes. The Goculast'has (one branch of this sect) adore Crishna, while the Ramanuj worship Ramachandra. Both have again branched into three sects. One consists of the exclusive worshippers of Crishna, and these only are deemed true and orthodox Vaishnavas; another joins his favourite Rad'ha with the hero. A third, called Rad'haballabhi, adores Rad'ha' only, considering her as the active power of Vishnu. The followers of these last-mentioned sects have adopted the singular practice of presenting to their own wives the oblations intended for the goddess; and those among them who follow the left-handed path (there is in most sects a right-handed or decent path, and a left-handed or indecent mode of worship), require their wives to be naked when attending them at their devotions.

Among the Ramanuj, some worship Rama only; others Sita; and others both Rama and Sita. None of them practise any indecent mode of worship; and they all, like the Goculast'has, as well as the followers of the Bhagavata, delineate on their foreheads a double upright line with chalk or with sandal wood, and a red circlet with red Sanders, or with turmeric and lime; but the Ramanuj add an upright red line in the middle of the double white one.

The Saivas are all worshippers of Siva and Bhavani conjointly, and they adore the linga or compound type of this god and goddess, as the Vaishnavas do the image of Lacshmi-Narayana. There are no exclusive worshippers of Siva besides the sect of naked gymnosophists called Lingis: and the exclusive adorers of the goddess are the Sactas. In this last-mentioned sect, as in most others, there is a right-handed and decent path, and a left-handed and indecent mode of worship: but the indecent worship of this sect is most grossly so, and consists of unbridled debauchery with wine and women. This profligate sect is supposed to be numerous though unavowed. [They are avowed in some provinces.] In most parts of India, if not in all, they are held in deserved detestation; and even the decent Sactas do not make public profession of their tenets, nor wear on their foreheads the mark of the sect, lest they should be suspected of belonging to the other branch of it. The sacrifice of cattle before idols is peculiar to this sect.

The Saivas and Sactas delineate on their foreheads three horizontal lines with ashes obtained, if possible, from the hearth on which a consecrated fire is perpetually maintained; they add a red circlet, which the Saivas make with red sanders, and which the Sactas, when they avow themselves, mark either with saffron or with turmeric and borax.

The Sauras are true worshippers of the sun; some of them, it seems, adore the dormant and active energies of the planet conjointly. This sect, which is not very numerous, is distinguished by the use of red sanders for the horizontal triple line, as well as for the circlet on their foreheads.

The Ganapalyas have branched into two sects; the one worships sudd'ha Ganapati, the other Uchch'hishta Ganapati. The followers of the latter sect pronounce their prayers with their mouths full of victuals (whence the denomination of the deity worshipped by them). The Ganapatyas are distinguished by the use of red minium for the circlet on their foreheads. The family of Brahmanas, residing at Chinchwer near Puna, and enjoying the privilege of an hereditary incarnation of Ganesa from father to son, probably belongs to this sect. We may hope for more information on this curious instance of priestcraft and credulity, from the inquiries made on the spot by the gentlemen of the embassy from Bombay, who lately visited that place.

Before I conclude this note (concerning which it should be remarked, that the information here collected rests chiefly on the authority of verbal communications), I must add, that the left-handed path or indecent worship of the several sects, especially that of the Sactas, is founded on the Tantras which are, for this reason, held in disesteem. I was misinformed when I described them as constituting a branch of literature highly esteemed though much neglected. (As. Res. vol. V. p. 54.) The reverse would have been more exact.

(B.)

This prayer, when used upon other occasions, is thus varied, "Salutation unto you, fathers, and unto the saddening season," &c. The six seasons, in the order in which they are here named, are the hot, dewy, rainy, flowery, frosty, and sultry seasons. One is indicated in this passage by the name of the month with which it begins; and a text of the Veda, alluded to by the late Sir William JONES, in his observations on the lunar year of the Hindus (As. Res. vol. iii, p. 258), specifies Tapas and Tapasya, the lunar (not the solar) Magha and P'halguna, as corresponding with Sisira: that is, with the dewy season. The text in question shall be subjoined to this note, because it may serve to prove that the Veda, from which it is extracted (Apastamba's copy of the Yajurveda usually denominated the black Yajush), cannot be much older than the observation of the colures recorded by Parasara (see As. Res. vol. ii, p. 268, and 393), which must have been made nearly 1391 years before the Christian era (As. Res. vol. v, p. 288). According to the Veda, the lunar Mad'hu and Mad'hava, or Chaitra and Vaisac'ha, correspond with Vasanta or the spring. Now the lunar Chaitra, here meant, is the primary lunar month, beginning from the conjunction which precedes full moon in or near Chitra, and ending with the conjunction which follows it. Vaisac'ha does in like manner extend from the conjunction which precedes full moon in or near Visac'ha to that which follows it. The five nacshatras, Hasta, Chitra, Swati, Visac'ha and Anurad'ha, comprise all the asterisms in which the full moons of Chaitra and Vaisac'ha can happen; and these lunar months may therefore fluctuate between the first degree of Uttara P'halguni and the last of Jyesht'ha. Consequently the season of Vasanta might begin at soonest when the sun was in the middle of Purva Bhadrapada, or it might end at latest when the sun was in the middle of Mrigasiras. It appears, then, that the limits of Vasania are Pisces and Taurus; that is Mina and Vrisha. (This corresponds with a text which I shall forthwith quote from a very ancient Hindu author.) Now if the place of the equinox did then correspond with the position assigned by Parasara to the colures, Vasanta might end at the soonest seven or eight days after the equinox, or at latest thirty-eight or thirty-nine days; and on a medium (that is when the full moon happened in the middle of Chitra), twenty-two or twenty-three days after the vernal equinox. This agrees exactly with the real course of the seasons; for the rains do generally begin a week before the summer solstice, but their commencement does vary, in different years, about a fortnight on either side of that period. It seems therefore a probable inference, that such was the position of the equinox when the calendar of months and seasons was adjusted as described in this passage of the Veda. Hence I infer the probability, that the Vedas were not arranged in their present form earlier than the fourteenth century before the Christian era. This, it must be acknowledged, is vague and conjectural; but, if the Vedas were compiled in India so early as the commencement of the astronomical Call yuga, the seasons must have then corresponded with other months; and the passage of the Veda, which shall be forthwith cited, must have disagreed with the natural course of the seasons at the very time it was written.

I shall now quote the passage so often alluded to in this note. "Mad'hus cha Madhavas cha Vasanticav ritu; Sucras cha Suchis cha graishmav ritu; Nabhas cha Nabasyas cha varshicav ritu: Ishas chojas cha saradav ritu; Sahas cha Sahasyas cha haimanticav ritu: Tapas cha Tapasyas cha saisirav ritu. " 'Mad'hu and Mad'hava are the two portions of the season Vasanta (or the spring); Sucra and Suchi, of grishma (or the hot season); Nabhas and Nabhasya, of varsha (or the rainy season); Ijas and Ujas, of sarada (or the sultry season); and Sahas and Sahasya, of hemanta (or the frosty season); and Tapas and Tapasya, of sisira (or the dewy season).'

All authors agree that Mad hu signifies the month of Chaitra; Madhava the month of Vaisacha, and so forth. These names are so explained in dictionaries and by astronomical writers, as well as by the commentators on this and other passages, where these names of the months are employed. The author now before me (Divacara Bhatta) expressly says, that this text of the Veda relates to the order of the seasons according to the lunar months. He proves it by quoting a text of the Taittiriya Yajurveda, and afterwards cites the following passage from Baudhayana respecting the seasons measured by solar-sidereal time, "Mina-Meshayor Mesha- Vrishabhayor va vasantah," &c. "Vasanta corresponds with Mina and Mesha, or with Mesha and Vrisha,'' &c. It should be observed, that the secondary lunar month, which begins and ends with full-moon, cannot be here meant; because this mode of reckoning has never been universal, and the use of it is limited to countries situated to the northward of the Vind'hya range of hills, as I learn from the following passage of the Tricanda mandana: "The lunar month also is of two sorts, commencing either with the light fortnight or with the dark one. Some do not admit the month which begins with the dark fortnight; and even by them who do, it is not admitted on the south of the Vindhya mountains."
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