Sanskrit Vedic Period
hymns verses books called texts consists book sacrificial text latter
SANSKRIT VEDIC PERIOD - The term veda - i.e., "knowledge," (sacred) " lore " - embraces a body of writings the origin of which is ascribed to divine revelation (eruti, literally "hearing"), and which forms the foundation of the BrAhmanical system of religious belief. This sacred canon is divided into three or (according to a later scheme) four coordinate collections, likewise called Veda : - (1) the Rig-veda, or lore of praise (or hymns); (2) the Scima-veda, or lore of tunes (or chants); (3) the Ycdur-vedct, or lore of prayer ; and (4) the Ad arva-veda, or lore of the Atharvans. . Each of these four Vedas consists primarily of a collection (samhitci) of sacred, mostly poetical, texts of a devotional nature, called mantra. This entire body of texts (and particularly the first three collections) is also frequently referred to as the trayi vidycl, or threefold wisdom, of hymn (rich2), tune or chant (santan), and prayer (yajus), - the fourth Veda, if at all included, being in that case classed together with the Bk.
f The Brahmanical religion finds its practical expression chiefly sacrificial performances. The Vedic sacrifice requires for its proper performance the attendance of four officiating priests, each of whom is assisted by one or more (usually three) subordinate priests, viz.:--.(1) the Hotar (i.e., either "sacrificer," or "invoker"), whose chief business is to invoke the gods, either in short prayers pronounced over the several oblations, or in liturgical recitations (dastra), made up of various hymns and detached verses ; (2) the Udgatar, or chorister, who has to perform chants (stotra) in connexion with the hotar's recitations ; (3) the Adhvaryu, or offering priest par excellence, who performs all the material duties of the sacrifice, such as the kindling of the fires, the preparation of the sacrificial ground and the offerings, the making of obla tions, &c.; (4) the Brahman, or chief "priest," who has to superintend the performance and to rectify any mistakes that may be committed. Now, the first three of these priests stand in special relation to three of the Vedic Sainhitfts in this way, that the San-ihitfts of the SAmaveda and Yajurveda form special song and prayer books, arranged for the practical use of the udgatar and adhvaryu respectively ; whilst the Rik-samhitft, though not arranged for any such practical purpose, contains the entire body of sacred lyrics whence the hotar draws the material for his recitations. The brahman, on the other hand, had no special text-book assigned to him, but was expected to be familiar with all the Sarnhitas as well as with the practical details of the sacrificial performance. In point of fact, however, the brahmans, though their attendance at Vedic sacrifices was required, can scarcely be said to have formed a separate class of priests : their office was probably one which might be held by any priest of the three other classes who had acquired the necessary qualification by additional study of the other Sarnhitfts and manuals of ritual. In later times, when the votaries of the fourth Veda pressed for recognition of their Sainhita as part of the sacred canon, the brahman priest was claimed by them as specially connected with the Atharvaveda. It is perhaps for this reason that the latter is also called the Brah,maveda, - though this designation may also be taken to mean the Veda of spells or secret doctrines (brahman). It sometimes happens that verses not found in our version of the Rik-sainhitA, but in the Atharvaveda-sarnhitA, are used by the hotar ; but such texts, if they did not actually form part of some other version of the Rik, - as Sayana in the introduction to his commentary on the Rik-sarnhita. assures us that they did, - were probably inserted in the liturgy subsequent to the recognition of the fourth Veda.
The several Sainhitas have attached to them certain theological prose works, called Brethmana, which, though subordinate in authority to the Mantras or Sarnhitfts, are like them held to be divinely revealed and to form part of the canon. The chief works of this class are of an exegetic nature, - their purport being to supply a dogmatic exposition of the sacrificial ceremonial in so far as the particular class of priests for whose enlightenment the Brahmana is intended is concerned in it. Notwithstanding the uninteresting character of no small part of their contents, the BrAhmanas are of considerable importance, both as regards the history of Indian institutions and as "the oldest body of Indo-European prose, of a generally free, vigorous, simple form, affording valuable glimpses backward at the primitive condition of unfettered Indo-European talk" (Whitney).
More or less closely connected with the Brfthmanas (and in a few exceptional cases with Sarnhitfts) are two classes of treatises, called Aranyaka and Upanishad. The Aran- ; yakas, i.e., works " relating to the forest," being intended to be read by those who have retired from the world and lead the life of anchorites, do not greatly differ in character and style from the Brahmanas, but like them are chiefly ritualistic, treating of special ceremonies not dealt with, or dealt with only imperfectly, in the latter works, to which they thus stand in the relation of supplements. The Upanishads, on the other hand, are of a purely speculative nature, and must be looked upon as the first attempts at a systematic treatment of metaphysical questions. The number of Upanishads hitherto known is very considerable (about 170); but, though they nearly all profess to belong to the Atharvaveda, they have to be assigned to very different periods of Sanskrit literature, - some of them being evidently quite modern productions. The oldest treatises of this kind are doubtless those which form part of Vedic Samhiths, Brahmanas, and itraayakas, though not a few others which have no such special connexion have to be classed with the later products of the Vedic age.
t As the sacred texts were not committed to writing till a much later period, but were handed down orally in the Brahmanical schools, it was inevitable that local differences of reading should spring up, which in course of time gave rise to a number of independent versions, more or less differing from one another. Such different text-recensions, called edkhd (i.e., branch), were at one time very numerous, but only a limited number of them have sur- vived. As regards the Sairphitas, the poetical form of the hymns, as well as the concise style of the sacrificial formulas, would render these texts less liable to change, and the discrepancies of different versions would chiefly consist in various readings of single words or in the different arrangement of the textual matter. The diffuse ritualistic discussions and loosely connected legendary illustrations of the Brahmanas, on the other hand, offered scope for very considerable modifications in the traditional matter, either through the ordinary processes of oral transmission or through the special influence of individual teachers.
An original Brahmana, then, may be characterized as a series of theoretic discourses, composed by recognized authorities on ritualistic matters, such as might be delivered or referred to in connexion with practical instruction in the sacrificial art. The growing intricacy of the ceremonial, however, could not fail, in course of time, to create a demand for treatises of a more practical tendency, setting forth, in concise and methodical form, the duties of the several priests in the sacrificial performances. But, besides the purely ceremonial matter, the Brahmanas also contained a considerable amount of matter bearing on the correct interpretation of the Vedic texts ; and, indeed, the sacred obligation incumbent on the Brahmans of handing down correctly the letter and sense of those texts necessarily involved a good deal of serious grammatical and etymological study in the Brahmanical schools. These literary pursuits could not but result in the accumulation of much learned material, which it would become more and more desirable to throw into a systematic form, serving at the same time as a guide for future research. These practical requirements were met by a class of treatises, grouped under six different heads or subjects, called Vedangas, i.e., members, or limbs, of the (body of the) Veda. None of the works, however, which have come down to us under this designation can lay any just claim to being considered as the original treatises on their several subjects; but they evidently represent a more or less advanced stage of scientific development. Tough a few of them are composed in metrical form - especially in the ordinary epic couplet, the anushlubh eloka, consisting of two lines of sixteen syllables, or of two octosyllabic pftdas. each - the majority of them belong to a class of writings called vitro, i.e., "string," consisting as they do of strings of rules in the shape of tersely expressed aphorisms, intended to be committed to memory. The Sams form a connecting link between the Vedic and the classical periods of literature. But, although these treatises, so far as they deal with Vedic subjects, are included by the native authorities among the Vedic writings, and in point of language may, generally speaking, be considered as the latest products of the Vedic age, they have no share in the sacred title of eruti or revelation. They are of human, not of divine, origin. And yet, as the production of men of the highest standing, and profoundly versed in Vedic lore, the Siltra.s are naturally regarded as works of great authority, second only to that of the revealed scriptures themselves ; and their relation to the latter is expressed in the generic title of Switi, or Tradition, usually applied to them.
The six branches of Vedic science, included under the term Ve,danga, are as follows :- Chhandas, or Metre. Tradition makes the Chhandalksatra of Pingala the starting-point of prosody. The Vedic metres, however, occupy but a small part of this treatise, and they are evidently dealt with in a more original manner in the Nidttna-sfltra of the Sflmaveda, and in a chapter of the Bik-peatigftkhya. For profane prosody, on the other hand, Pingala's treatise is rather valuable, no less than 160 metres being described by him.
Vy2karana, or Grammar. Pttaini's famous grammar is said to be the VedAnga; but it marks the culminating point of grammatical research rather than the beginning, and besides treats chiefly of the post-Vedic language.
il'irukta, or Etymology. Ylska's .11Tirukta is the traditional representative of this subject, and this important work certainly deals entirely with Vedic etymology or explanation. It consists, in the first place, of strings of words in three chapters: - (1) synonymous words; (2) such as aro purely or chiefly Vedic ; and (3) names of deities. These lists are followed by Yftska's commentary, interspersed with numerous illustrations. Yaska, again, quotes several predecessors in the same branch of science; and it is probable that the original works on this subject consisted merely of lists of words similar to those handed down by him.
Jyotisha, or Astronomy. Although astronomical calculations are frequently referred to in older works in connexion with the performance of sacrifices, the metrical treatise which has come down to us in two different recensions under the title of Jyotisha, ascribed to one Lagadha, or Lagata, seems indeed to be the oldest existing systematic treatise on astronomical subjects. With the exception of some apparently spurious verses of one of the recensions, it betrays no sign of the Greek influence which shows itself in Hindu astronomical works from about the third century of our era ; and its date may therefore be set down as probably not later than the early centuries after Christ.
Kalpa, or Ceremonial. Tradition does not single out any special work as the Vediinga in this branch of Vedic science; but the sacrificial practice gave rise to a large number of systematic sara-manuals for the several classes of priests. The most important of these works have come down to us, and they occupy by far the most prominent place among the literary productions of the sfltra-period. The KalpaTsfitras, or rules of ceremonial, are of two kinds: - (1) the Srauta-satras, which are based on the grafi, and teach the performance of the great sacrifices, requiring three sacrificial fires ; and (2) the Smcirtasgtras, or rules based on the smriti or tradition. The latter class again includes two kinds of treatises : - (1) the Grihya-st2tras, or domestic rules, treating of ordinary family rites, such as marriage, birth, name-giving, &c., connected with simple offerings in the domestic fire ; and (2) the Sgma yachcirika- (or Dharma-) seltras, which treat of customs and temporal duties, and are supposed to have formed the chief sources of the later law-books. Besides, the grauta-stltras of the Yajurveda have usually attached to them a set of so-called Sulva-se2tras, i.e., "rules of the cord," which treat of the measurement by means of cords, and the construction, of different kinds of altars required for sacrifices. These treatises (the study of which has been successfully taken up by Prof. Thibaut of Benares) are of considerable interest as supplying important, information regarding the earliest geometrical operac tions in India. Along with the Sfitras may be classed a large number of supplementary treatises, usually called Pariiishta (rit,octXurOaueva), on various subjects connected with the sacred texts and Vedic religion generally.
After this brief characterization of the various branches of Vedic literature, we proceed to take a rapid survey of the several Vedic collections.
- A. .igveda.1 - The .73igreda-savaild has come down to us in the . recension of the Sakala school. Mention is made of several other versions ; and regarding one of them, that of the Bashkalas, we have some further information, according to which it seems, however, to have differed but little from the gakala text. The latter consists of 1028 hymns, including eleven so-called Vellakhilyas, which were probably introduced into the collection subsequently to its completion. The hymns are composed in a great variety of metres, and consist, on an average, of rather more than 10 verses each, or about 10,600 verses altogether. This body of sacred lyrics has been subdivided by ancient authorities in a twofold way, viz., either from a purely artificial point of view, into eight ashfakas of about equal length, or, on a more natural principle, based on the origin of the hymns, and invariably adopted by European scholars, into ten books, or may4alas, of unequal length. Tradition (not, however, always trustworthy in this respect) has handed down the names of the reputed authors, or rather inspired " seers " (rishi), of most hymns. These indications have enabled scholars to form some idea as to the probable way in which the Rik-sarphita originated, though much still remains to be cleared up by future research.
In the first place, mandalas ii.–vii. are evidently arranged on a uniform plan. Each of them is ascribed to a different family of rishis, whence they are usually called the six "family-books ": - ii., the Gritsamadas; iii., the Viivamitras or Kuaikas; iv., the Varnadevyas ; v., the Atris; vi., the Bharadvajas; and vii., the Vasishthas. Further, each of these books begins with the hymns addressed to Agni, the god of fire, which are followed by those to ladra, the Jupiter Pluvius, whereupon follow those addressed to minor deities - the Viive Devalj ("all-gods "), the Maruts (storm-gods), Lie. Again, the hymns addressed to each deity are arranged (as Prof. Delbriick has shown) in a descending order, according to the number of verses of which they consist.
The first mandala, the longest in the whole Samhita, contains 191 hymns, ascribed, with the exception of a few isolated ones, to sixteen poets of different families. Here again the hymns of each author are arranged on precisely the same principle as the " family-books." The eighth and ninth books, on the other hand, have a special character of their own. To the Samaveda-sarnhita, which, as we shall see, consists almost entirely of verses chosen from the Rik for chanting purposes, these two mandalas have contributed a much larger proportion of verses than any of the others. Now, the hymns of the eighth book are ascribed to a number of different rishis, mostly belonging to the Kauva family. The productions of each poet are usually, though not always, grouped together, but no other principle of arrangement has yet been discovered. The chief peculiarity of this mandala, however, consists in its metres. Many of the hymns are composed in the form of stanzas, called pragdtha (from get, " to sing "), consisting of two verses in the brihati and satobrihatt metres ; whence this book is usually known under the designation of Pragathah. The other metres met with in this book are likewise such as were evidently considered peculiarly adapted for singing, viz., the gdyatrt (from 0, "to sing ") and other chiefly octosyllabic metres. It is not yet clear how to account for these peculiarities ; but further research may perhaps show that either the Ka.rivas were a family of udgatars, or chanters, or that, before the establishment of a common system of worship for the Brahmanical community, they were accustomed to carry on their liturgical service exclusively by means of chants, instead of using the later form of mixed recitation and chant. One of the rishis of this family is called Pragatha Kanva ; possibly this surname " pragatha " may be an old, or local, synonym of udgatar, or perhaps of the chief chanter, the so-called Prastotar, or pre-center. The ninth mandala, on the other hand, consists entirely of hymns (114) addressed to Solna, the deified juice of the so-called "moon-plant" (Sarcostenvina viminale, or Ascleirias acida), and ascribed to poets of different families. They are called pavanzdnE, " purificational," because they were to be recited by the hotar while the juice expressed from the soma plants was clarifying. The first sixty of these hymns are arranged strictly according to their length, ranging from ten down to four verses ; but as to the remaining hymns no such principle of arrangement is observable, except perhaps in smaller groups of hymns. One might, therefore, feel inclined to look upon that first section as the body of soma hymns set apart, at the time of the first redaction of the Swale', for the special purpose of being used as pavanidnyalt, - the remaining hymns having been added at subsequent redactions. It would not, however, by any means follow that all, or even any, of the latter hymns were actually later productions, as they might previously have formed part of the family collections, or might have been overlooked when the hymns were first collected. Other mandalas (viz., i., viii., and x.) still contain four entire hymns addressed to Sonia, consisting together of 58 verses, of which only a single one (x. 25, 1) is found in the Samaveda-samhita, as also some 28 isolated verses to Soma, and four hymns addressed to Soma in conjunction with some other deity, which are entirely unrepresented in that collection.
The tenth mandala contains the same number of hymns (191) as the first, which it nearly equals in actual length. The hymns are ascribed to many rishis, of various families, some of whom appear already in the preceding mandalas. The traditional record is, however, less to be depended upon as regards this book, many names of gods and fictitious personages appearing in the list of its rishis. In the latter half of the hook the hymns are clearly arranged according to the number of verses, in decreasing order, - occasional exceptions to this rule being easily adjusted by the removal of a few additional verses. A similar arrangement seems also to suggest itself in other portions of the book. This mandala stands somewhat apart from the preceding books, both its language and the general character of many of its hymns betraying a comparatively modern origin. In this respect it stands about on a level with the Atharvaveda-samhita, with which it is otherwise closely connected. Of some 1350 Rik-verses found in the Atharvan, about 550, or rather more than 40 per cent., occur in the tenth mandala. In the latter we meet with the same tendencies as in the Atharvan to metaphysical speculation and abstract conceptions of the deity on the one hand, and ,to superstitions practices on the other. But, although in its general appearance the tenth mandala is decidedly more modern than the other books, it contains not a few hymns which are little, if at all, inferior, both in respect of age and poetic quality, to the generality of Vedic hymns.
It has become the custom, after Roth's example, to call the Rik-sat-Oita (as well as the Atharvan) an historical collection, as Compared with the Samhitas put together for purely ritualistic purposes. And indeed, though the several family collections which make up the earlier mandalas may originally have served ritual ends, as the hymnals of certain clans or tribal confederacies, and although the Samhita itself, in its oldest form, may have been intended as a common prayer-book; so to speak, for the whole of the Brahmanieal community, it is certain that in the stage in which it has been finally handed down it includes a certain portion of hymn material (and even some secular poetry) which could never have been used for purposes of religious service. It may, therefore, be assumed that the Rik-samhita contains all of the nature of popu• lar lyrics that was accessible to the collectors, or seemed to them worthy of being preserved. The question as to the exact period when the hymns were collected cannot be answered with any approach to accuracy. For many reasons, however, which cannot be detailed here, scholars have come to fix on the year 1000 n.c. as an approximate date for the collection of the Vedic hymns. From that time every means that human ingenuity could suggest was adopted to secure the sacred texts against the risks connected with oral transmission. But, as there is abundant evidence to show that even then not only had the text of the hymns suffered corruption, but their language had become antiquated to a considerable extent, and was only partly understood, the period during which the great mass of the hymns were composed must have lain considerably further back, and may very likely have extended over the earlier half of the second millenary, or from about 2000 to 1500 B. C.
As regards the people which raised for itself this imposing monument, the hymns exhibit it as settled in the regions watered by the mighty Sindhu (Indus), with its eastern and western tributaries. The land of the five rivers forms the central home of the Vedic people ; but, while its advanced guard has already debouched upon the plains of the upper Ganga and Yamuna, those who bring up the rear are still found loitering far behind in the narrow glens of the Kubha (Cabul) and Gomati (Gomal). Scattered over this tract of land, in hamlets and villages, the Vedic Aryas are leading chiefly the life of herdsmen and busbandmen. The numerous clans and tribes, ruled over by chiefs and kings, have still constantly to vindicate their right to the land but lately wrung from an inferior race of darker hue ; just as in these latter days their kinsmen in the Far \Vest are ever on their guard against the fierce attacks of the dispossessed red-skin. Not unfrequently, too, the light-coloured Aryas rage internecine war with one another, - as when the Bharatas, with allied tribes of the Panjab, goaded on by the royal sage ViAvamitra, invade the country of the Tritsu king Sudis, to be defeated in the " ten kings' battle," through the inspired power of the priestly singer Vasishtha. The priestly office has already become one of high social importance by the side of the political rulers, and to a large extent an hereditary profession ; but it does not yet present the baneful features of an exclusive caste. The Aryan housewife shares with her husband the daily toil and joy, the privilege of worshipping the national gods, and even the triumphs of song-craft, some of the finest hymns being attributed to female The religious belief of the people consists in a system of natural symbolism, a worship of the elementary forces of nature, regarded as beings endowed with reason and power superior to those of man. In giving utterance to this simple belief, the priestly spokesman has, however, frequently worked into it his own speculative and mystic notions. Indra, the stout-hearted ruler of the cloud-region, receives by far the largest share of the devout attentions of the Vedic singer. His ever-renewed battle with the malicious demons of darkness and drought, for the recovery of the heavenly light and the rain-spending cows of the sky, forms an inexhaustible theme of spirited song. h ext to him, in the affections of the people, stands Agni (ignis), the god of fire, invoked as the genial inmate of the Aryan household, and as the bearer of oblations, and mediator between gods and men. Indra and Agni are thus, as it were, the divine representatives of the king (or chief) and the priest of the Aryan community ; and if, in the arrangement of the Sarphit5, the Brahmanical collectors gave precedence to Agni, it was but one of many avowals of their own hierarchical pretensions. Hence also the hymns to Indra are mostly followed, in the family collections, by those addressed to the Viive Devilh (the " all-gods") or to the Maruts (Mayors, Mars), the warlike storm-gods and faithful companions of Indra, as the divine impersonation of the Aryan freemen, the vi.4 or clan. But, while Inds and Agni are undoubtedly the favourite figures of the Vedic pantheon, there is reason to believe that these gods had but lately supplanted another group of deities who play a less prominent part in the hymns, viz., Father Heaven (Dyaus Pitar, zei,s rarhp, Jupiter); Varuna (apavos), the all-embracing firmament; Mitra (Zend. Maim), the genial light of day; and Savitar (Saturnus) or Sdrya (*Ater), the vivifying sun.
Of the Brihmanas that were handed down in the schools of the )f Bahrriehas (i.e., possessed of many verses"), as the followers of L. the Rigveda are called, two have come down to us, viz., those of the Aitareyins and thejiaushitakins. The Aitareya-bramanal and the Kaushitaki- (or Selnklulyana-) brohntana evidently have for their groundwork the same stock of traditional exegetic matter. They differ, however, considerably as regards both the arrangement of this matter and their stylistic handling of it, with the exception of the numerous legends common to both, in which the discrepancy is comparatively slight. There is also a certain amount of material peculiar to each of them. The Kaushitaka is, upon the whole, far more concise in its style and more systematic in its arrangement - merits which would lead one to infer that it is probably the more modern work of the two. It consists of thirty chapters (adhydya) ; while the Aitareya has forty, divided into eight books (or pentads, panchak,a, of five chapters each). The last ten adhyfiyas of the latter work are, however, clearly a later addition, - though they must have already formed part of it at tho time of P5nini (c. 400 n.c. 1), if, as seems probable, one of his grammatical sfttras, regulating the formation of the names of Brahmanas, consisting of thirty and forty adliyfiyas, refers to these two works. In this last portion occurs the well-known legend (also found in ,the Sankhayana-sfltra, but not in the Kaushitaki- bralimana) of Sunah6epa, whom his father Ajigarta sells and offers to slay, the recital of which formed part of the inauguration of kings. While the Aitareya deals almost exclusively with the Soma sacrifice, the Kaushitaka, in its first six chapters, treats of the several kinds of hariryajrla, or offerings of rice, milk, ghee, &c., whereupon follows the Soma sacrifice in this way, that chapters 7-10 contain the practical ceremonial and 11-30 the recitations (.asera) of the hotar. Shyana, in the introduction to his commentary on the work, ascribes the Aitareya to the sage Mahid'asa Aitareya (son of Itara), also mentioned elsewhere as a philosopher ; and it seems likely enough that this person arranged the Brahmana and founded the school of the Aitareyins. Regarding the authorship of the sister work we have no information, except that the opinion of the safe Kaushitaki is frequently referred to in it as authoritative, and generally in opposition to the Paingya - the Bribmana, it would seem, of a rival school, the Paingins.
Each of these two Bralimanas is supplemented by a " forest-portion," or Aranyaka. The ilitareydratiyakas is not a uniform production. It consists of five books (aranyaka), three of which, the first and the last two, are of a liturgical nature, treating of the ceremony called mahAvrata or great vow. The second and third books, on the other hand, are purely speculative, and are also styled the Bahoriclux•brdhmania-spanishad. Again, the last four chapters of the second book are usually singled out as the Aitareyopanishad,3 ascribed, like its Brilunana (and the first book), to Mahidasa Aitareya ; and the third boOk is also referred to as the Satnhitdupanishad. The fourth and fifth books are doubtless of later origin, being composed in sfttra-form. Even native authorities exclude them from the sacred canon, and ascribe them to A4va• l&yana and gaunaka respectively, of whom more further on. As regards the Iiaushttaki-dranpaka, our MS. material is not yet sufficient to enable us to determine its exact extent and arrangement. It would, however, seem that there are two different recensions of this treatise, a shorter one, consisting of nine, and a longer one of fifteen, adhykyas. Four of these, variously placed at the beginning or end, or after the second adhyfiya, constitute the highly interesting Kaushitaki- (brdhmana-) upanishad,4 of which we possess two different recensions. The remaining portions of the Aranyaka seem to correspond, to some extent, to the ceremonial sections of the Aitareya-firanyaka.
Of Kalpa-silfra.s, or manuals of sacrificial ceremonial, composed for the use of the hotar priest, two different sets are in existence, I the Akcallyanci- and the SdnIclulyana-stltra. Each of these works follows one of the two Brahmanas of the Rik as its chief authority, viz., the Aitareya and Kaushitaka respectively. Both consist of a Srauta- and a Gfrihya-siltra. Mvalayana seems to have lived about the same time as Panini, - his own teacher, gaunaka, who completed the Rik-pratiahya, being probably intermediate between the great grammarian and Yaska, the author of the Nirukta. gaunaka himself is said to have been the author of a grauta-sfitra (which was, however, more of the nature of a Brahmana) and to have destroyed it on seeing his pupil's work. A Grihya-sfitra is still quoted under his name by later writers. The A4valtiyana grauta-stltra 5 consists of twelve, the Griliya6 of four, adhyfiyas.
Regarding gankbayana still less is known ; but he, too, was doubtless a comparatively modern writer, who, like A4valayana, founded a new school of ritualists. Hence the Kaushitaki-brfihmana, adopted (and perhaps improved) by him, also ..goes under his name, just as the Aitareya is sometimes called Agvallyana-brithmana. The ganklffiyana grauta-sfitra consists of eighteen adhyayas. The last two chapters of the work are, however, a later addition,6 while the two preceding chapters, on the contrary, present a comparatively archaic, brahmana-like appearance. The Grihya-sfltra7 consists of six chapters, the last two of which are likewise later appendages. The Seimloavya Grihya-Atra, of which a single MS.
is at present known, seems to be closely connected with the preceding work. Prof. Biihler also refers to the Rigveda the Vdsishtha-dharina..4dstra,1 composed of mixed sfitras and couplets.
A few works remain to be noticed, bearing chiefly on the textual form and traditionary records of the Rik-samhita. In our remarks on the Vedang,as, the Pratigtkliyas have already been referred to as the chief repositories of gikslia or Vedic phonetics. Among these works the teilc-preitigdkhya2 occupies the first place. The original composition of this important work is ascribed to the same Stikalya from whom the vulgate recension of the (Sakala) Samhita takes its name. He is also said to be the author of the existing Pada-pdtha (i.e., the text-form in which each word is given unconnected with those that precede and follow it), - which report may well be credited, since the pada-text was doubtless prepared with a view to an examination, such as is presented in the Pratiaakhya, of the phonetic modifications undergone by words in their syntactic combination. In the Pratigakhya itself, gakalya's father (or Sakalya the elder) is also several times referred to as an authority on phonetics, though the younger Sakalya is evidently regarded as having improved on his father's theories. Thus both father and son probably had a share in the formulation of the rules of pronunciation and modification of Vedic sounds. The completion or final arrangement of the Rik-pratiaakhya, in its present form, is ascribed to Saunaka, the reputed teacher of Aavalayana. Saunaka, however, is merely a family name (" descendant of gunaka"), which is given even to the rishi Gritsamada, to whom nearly the whole of the second mandala,of the Rik is attributed. How long after Sakalya this particular Saunaka lived we do not know ; but some generations at all events would ,seem to lie between them, considering that in the meantime the Sakalas, owing doubtless to minor differences on phonetic points in the ,Sarehita text, had split into several branches, to one of which, the SaiAira (or 6aiiiiiya) school, Saunaka belonged. While Sakalya is referred to both by Yaska and Panini, neither of these writers mentions Saunaka. It seems nevertheless likely, for several reasons, that Panini was acquainted with Saunaka's work, though the point has by no means been definitively settled. The Rik-pratiaakhya is composed in mixed glokas,, or couplets of various metres, a form of composition for which Saunaka seems to have had a special predilection. Besides the Pratiakhya, and the Gribya-sutra mentioned above, eight other works are ascribed to Saunaka, viz., the Brihaddesatd, an account, in epic Alokas, of the deities of the hymns, which supplies much valuable mythological information ; the .1.tig-vidlidna, a treatise, likewise in epic metre, on the magic effects of Vedic hymns and verses ; the Pcida-viculdna, a similar treatise, apparently no longer in existence ; and five different indexes or catalogues (anukramayi) of the rishis, metres, deities, sections (anuvecka), and hymns of the Itigveda. It is, however, doubtful whether the existing version of the Brihaddevata is the original one ; and the Itigvidhana would seem to be much more modern than Saunaka's time. As regards the Anukramanis, they seem all to have been composed in mixed Alokas ; but, with the exception of the Anuvakanukramani, they are only known from quotations, having been superseded by the Sarvdnukrama, or complete index, of Kcitydyana. Both these indexes have been commented upon by Shadguruashya, towards the end of the 12th century of our era.
B. Sdma-veda. - The term sdman., of uncertain derivation, denotes a solemn tune or melody to be sung or chanted to a rich or verse. The set chants (stotra) of the Soma sacrifice are as a rule performed in triplets, either actually consisting of three different verses, or of two verses which, by the repetition of certain parts, are made, as it were, to form three. The three verses are usually sung to the same tune ; but in certain cases two verses sung to the same tune bad a different saman enclosed between them. One and the same saman or tune may thus be sung to many different verses ; but, as in teaching and practising the tunes the same verse was invariably used for a certain tune, the term " saman," as well as the special technical names of samans, are not unfrequently applied to the verses themselves with which they were most commonly connected, just as one would quote the beginning of the text of an English hymn, when the tune usually sung to that hymn is meant. The Indian chant somewhat resembles the Gregorian or Plain Chant.' Each saman is divided into five parts or phrases (prastava or prelude, he.), the first four of which are distributed between the several chanters, while the finale (nidhana) is sung in unison by all of them.
In accordance with the distinction between rich, or text and sdman or tune, the saman-hymnal consists of two parts, viz., the Sdniareda-saychild, or collection of texts (rich) used for making up saman-hymns, and the Gdna, or tune-books, song-books. The textual matter of the Saanhita consists of somewhat under 1600 different verses, selected from the Rik-sarnhita, with the exception of some seventy-five verses, some of which have been taken from Khila hymns, whilst others which also occur in the Atharvan or Yajurveda, as well as such not otherwise found, may perhaps have formed part of some other recension of the Rik. The Sdinavedasaighitd 4 is divided into two chief parts, the parra- (first) and the uttara- (second) drchika. The second part contains the texts of the saman-hymns, arranged in the order in which they are actually required for the stotras or chants of the various Soma sacrifices. The first part, on the other hand, contains the body of tune-verses, or verses used for practising the several samans or tunes upon, - the tunes themselves being given in the Grdma-geya-gtina (i.e., songs to be sung in the village), the tune-book specially belonging to the Parvarehika. Hence the latter includes-all the first verses of those triplets of the second part which had special tunes peculiar to them, besides the texts of detached samans occasionally used outside the regular ceremonial, as well as such as were perhaps no longer required but had been so used at one time or other. The verses of the Parvarebika are arranged on much the same plan as the family-books of the Rik-sarehita, viz., in three sections containing the verses addressed to Agni, Indra, and Soma (paw-?mina) respectively, - each section (consisting of one, three, and one adhyayas respectively) being again arranged according to the metres. Hence this part is also milled Chhandas- (metre) dreltika. Over and above this natural arrangement of the two archikas, there is a purely formal division of the texts into six and nine prapatlialcas respectively, each of which, in the first part, consists of ten decades (dagat) of verses. We have two recensions of the Sarphita, belonging to the Ranayaniya and Kauthuma schools, and differing but slightly from each other. Besides the six prapathakas (or five adhyayas) of the Pfirvarchika„ some schools have an addi- tional "forest" chapter, called the Aranyaka-sainhitd, the tunes of which - along with others apparently intended for being chanted by anchorites - are contained in the Arayya-gdna. Besides the two tune-books belonging to the Pfirvarchika, there are two others, the eha-gdna (" modification-songs ") and Uhya-gcina, which follow the order of the Uttararchika, giving the several samanhymns chanted at the Soma sacrifice, with the modifications the tunes undergo when applied to texts other than those for which they were originally composed. The Saman hymnal, as it has come down to us, has evidently passed through a long course of development. The practice of chanting probably goes back to very early times ; but the question whether any of the tunes, as given in the Ganas, and which of them, can lay claim to an exceptionally high antiquity will perhaps never receive a satisfactory answer.
The title of Breihmaya is bestowed by the Chhandogas, or : followers of the Samaveda, on a considerable number of treatises. In accordance with the statements of some later writers, their number was usually fixed at eight ; but within the last few years one new Brahmans has been recovered, while at least two others which are found quoted may yet be brought to light in India. The majority of the Samaveda-br'alimanas present, however, none of the characteristic features of other works of that class ; but they are rather of the nature of sfitras and kindred treatises, with which they probably belong to the same period of literature. Moreover, the contents of these works - as might indeed be expected from the nature of the duties of the priests for whom they were intended are of an extremely arid and technical character, though they all are doubtless of some importance, either for the textual criticism of the Samhita or on account of the legendary and other information they supply. These works are as follows : - (1) the Telqya-mand- (or Praudha-) brcihmana,5 or "great" Brahruana, - usually called Panchavimga-brdhmaa from its "consisting of twenty-five" adhyayas - which treats of the duties of the udgatars generally, and especially of the various kinds of chants ; (2) the Shadvinisa, or " twenty-sixth," being a supplement to the preceding work, - its last chapter, which also bears the title of Adbhuta-brdhnuma,6 or "book of marvels," is rather interesting, as it treats of all manner of portents and evil influences, which it teaches how to avert by certain rites and charms ; (3) the Stimaridluina,7 analogous to. the Itigvidhana, ,descanting on the magic effects of the various samans ; (4) the Arsheya-brdhsnazza, a mere catalogue of the technical names of the samans in the order of the Pfirvarchika, known in two different recensions ; (5) the Devalddhydya, which treats of the deities of the samans ; (6) the Chhanclogya-brdhinana, the last eight adhyayas (3-10) of which constitute the important Chhandogyopanishad ;8 (7) the Sainhitopanishadbrahmaya, treating of various subjects connected with chants ; (8) the VainSa•brahmatia, a mere list of the Samaveda teachers. To ' these works has to be added the Jaintintya- or Talavakarabrdhinazur, discovered by the late Dr A. Burnell, but as yet only known by a few extracts. From Prof. Whitney's account of it,' the work stands much on a level with the Brahmanas of the Rik and Yajurveda. A portion of it is the well-knoivn Kega. (or Talarakdra-) upanishad, on the nature of Brahman, as the .supreme of deities.
If the Samaveda has thus its ample share of Brahmana-literature, though in part of a somewhat questionable character, it is not less richly supplied with sutra-treatises, some of which probably belong to the oldest works of that class. There are three rautasatras, which attach themselves :gore or less closely to the PanchaviipAa-braInnana:-31a4aka's Arsheya-kalpa, which gives the beginning of the &amens in their sacrificial order, thus supplementing the Arsheya-brahmana, which enumerates their technical names ; and the Srauta-satras of Lettytiyanas and Drdhydyapa, of the Kauthuma and Ranayaniya schools respectively, which differ but little from each other, and form complete manuals of the duties of the udgatars. Another sutra, of an exegetic character, the Aitupada-salra, likewise follows the Panchavinak, the difficult passkeys of which it explains. Besides these, there are a considerable number of Mitres and kindred technical treatises bearing on the prosody and phonetics of the sarna-texts. The -more important of them are - the J.liktantra, apparently intended to serve as a PratiA.akhya of the Samaveda ; the Niddfui-setra,3 a treatise on prosody ; the Pashpa- or Phulla-sfitra, ascribed either to Gobhila or to Vararuchi, and treating of the phonetic modifications of the rich in the &amens ; and the Sainatantra, a treatise on chants, of a very technical nature. Further, two Girihya-stliras, belonging to the Sammie, are hitherto known, viz., the Dreihydyatia.grihya, ascribed to Kliadira, and that of Gobhila4 (who is also said to have composed a erauta-satra), with a supplement, entitled Karinapradipa, by Katyayana. To the Sarnaveda seems further to belong the Gatitanta-dharmakistra,5 composed in sutras, and apparently the oldest existing compendium of Hindu law.
baths, Kalapin, and Yaska Paingi, the last of whom again is stated to have communicated the sacrificial science to Tittiri. How far this genealogy of teachers may be authentic cannot now be determined ; but certain it is that iu accordance therewith we have three old collections of Yajus-texts, viz., the KaPialea, the Kaldpak.a or Maiirtlyant Samhicd,e and the Tatillirtya-saiiihitd.7 The Kathaka and Kalapaka aro frequently mentioned together ; and the author of the " great commentary" on Paeiui once remarks that these works were taught in every village. The Kathas and Kalapas are often referred to under the collective name of Charakas, which apparently means "wayfarers" or itinerant scholars ; but according to a later writer (Hemachandra) Charaka is no other than Vaelampayana himself, after whom his followers would have been thus called. From the Kathas proper two schools seem early to have branched off, the Prachya- (eastern) and KapishthalaKathas, the text-recension of the latter of whom has recently been discovered in the Kapislipiala-katha-satphitel. The Killapas also soon became subdivided into numerous different schools. Thus from one of Kalapin's immediate disciples, Haridru, the Ilaridraviyas took their origin, whose text-recension, the lidridratika, is quoted together with the Kathaka as early as in Yaska's Nirukta ; but we do not know whether'it differed much from the original Kalapa texts. As regards the Taittiriya-sarphita, that collection, too, in course of time gave rise to a number of different schools, the text handed down being that of the Apastembas; while the contents of another recension, that of the Atreyas, are known from their Anukramant, which has been preserved.
The four collections of old Yajus texts, so far known to us, while differing more or less considerably in arrangement and verbal points, have the main mass of their textual matter in common. This common matter consists of both sacrificial prayers (yajus) in verse and prose and exegetic or illustrative prose portions (bramana). A prominent feature of the old Yajus texts, as compared with the other Vedas, is the constant intermixture of textual and exegetic portions. The Charakas and Taittiriyas thus do not recognize the distinction between Sarphita and Brahmana in the sense of two separate collections of texts, but they' have only a Sarphi, or collection, which iucludes likewise the exegetic or Brahmans portions. The Taittirtyas seem at last to have been impressed with their want of a separate Braliniana and to have set about supplying the deficiency in rather an awkward fashion : instead of separating from each other the textual and exegetic portions of their Sarphita, they merely added to the latter supplement (in three books), which shows the seine mixed condition, and applied to it the title of Taillirtya-brAniana.8 But, though the main body of this work is manifestly of a supplementary nature, a portion of it may perhaps be old, and may once have formed part of the Sarphita, considering that the latter con-. sists of seven ashtakas, instead of eight, as this term rec1uires, and that certain essential parts of the ceremonial handled in the Brahmana are entirely wanting in the Sarphita. Attached to this work is the Taittirtya-aravyaka,2 in ten books, the first six of which are of a ritualistic nature, while of the remaining books the first three (7-9) form the Taitarlyopanishad (consisting of three parts, viz., the Sikshavalli or Samhitopanishad, and the Auandavalli and Bhriguvalli, also called together the Varuniupanishad), and the last book forms the Narayaelya- (or Yajfiikl-) upanishad.
The ilfaitrdyata Saiphitd, the identity of which with the original' Kalapaka has been proved pretty conclusively by Dr L. v. Schroder, who attributes the change of name of the KalapaMaitrayantyas to Buddhist influences, consists of four books, attached to which is the alfailri- (or illaitrciyant) npaitisluid.9 The Kdfhaka, on the other.hand, consists of five parts, the last two of which, however, arc perhaps later additions, containing merely the prayers of the hotar priest, and those used at the horse-sacrifice. There is, moreover, the beautiful Katha- or lid flzaka-upanisluzd," which is also ascribed to the Atharvaveda, and in which Dr Reer would detect allusions to the Sankhya philosophy, and even to Buddhist doctrines.
The defective arrangement of the Yajus texts was at last : remedied by a different school of Adlivaryus, the Vajasaneyins. The reputed originator of this school and its text-recension is • Yajaavalkya Vajasaneya (son of Vajasani). The result of the rearrangement of the texts was a collection of sacrificial mantras, the Vajasaneyi-saiithild., and a Brahmana, the Salapatha. On account of the greater lucidity of this arrangement, the Vajasaneyins called their texts the White (or clear) Yajurveda, - the name of Black (or obscure) Yajus being for opposite reasons applied to the Charaka texts. Both the Sarphita and Brahmana of the V ajasaneyins have come down to us in two different recensions, viz., those of the Areidhyandina and Keitzta schools ; and wo find besides a considerable number of quotations from a Vajasaneyaka, from which we cannot cloubt that there must have been at least one other recension of the Satapatha-brahmana. The difference between the two extant recensions is, on the whole, but slight as regards the subject-matter; but in point of diction it is quite sufficient to make a comparison especially interesting from a philological point of view. Which of the two versions may be the more original cannot as yet be determined ; but the phonetic and grammatical differences will probably have to be accounted for by a geographical separation of the two schools rather than by a difference of age. In several points of difference the Kanva recension agrees with the practice of the Rik-saiphita, and there probably was some connexion between the Yajus school of Kanvas and the famous family of rishis of that name to which the eighth inandala of the Rik is attributed.
The Vdjasaneyi-salthitall consists of forty adhyayas, the first eighteen of which contain the formulas of the ordinary sacrifices. The last fifteen adhyayas are doubtless a later addition, - as may also be the case as regards the preceding seven chapters. The last adbyllya is commonly known under the title of Vajasaneyi•sarphita(or Havasya-) upanishad.12 Its object seems to be to point out the fruitlessness of mere works, and to insist on the necessity of man's acquiring a knowledge of the supreme spirit. The sacrificial texts of the Adhvaryus consist, in about equal parts, of verses (rich) and prose formulas (yajus). The majority of the former occur likewise in the Rik-saiphita, from which they were doubtless extracted. Not unfrequently, however, they show considerable discrepancies of reading, which may be explained partly from a difference of recension and partly as the result of the adaptation of these verses to their special sacrificial purpose. As regards the prose formulas, though only a few of them are actually referred to in the Rik, it is quite possible that many of them may be of high antiquity.
The Satapallia-brahmana," or Brahmana of a hundred paths, derives its name from the fact of its consisting of 100 lectures (adhyfiya), which are divided by the Madhyandinas into fourteen, by the Kanvas into seventeen books (kanda). The first nine books of the former, corresponding to the first eleven of the Kanvas, and consisting of sixty adhyayas, form a kind of running commentary on the first eighteen books of the Vaj.-Satuhita; and it has been plausibly suggested by Prof. Weber that this portion of the Brahmana may be referred to in the Mahabhashya on Pail. iv. 2, 60, where a Satapatha and a Shashti-patha (i.e., "consisting of 60 paths ") are mentioned together as objects of study, and that consequently it may at one time have formed an independent work. This view is also supported by the circumstance that of the remaining five books (10-14) of the 3Iadhyandinas the third is called the middle one (madhyama) ; while the Kanvas apply the same epithet to the iniddlemost of the five books (12-16) preceding their last one. This last book would thus seem to be treated by them as a second supplement, and not without reason, as it is of the Upanishad order, and bears the special title of Briliad- (great) drawjaka.1 Except in books 6-10 (M.), which treat of the construction of fire-altars, and recognize the sage Sandilya as their chief authority, Yajitavalkya's opinion is frequently referred to in the Satapatha as authoritative. This is especially the case in the later books, part of the Brihad-aranyaka,being even called Yajdavalkfya-kancla. As regards the age of the Satapatha, the probability is that the main body of the work is considerably older than the time of Panini, but that some of its latter parts were considered by Panini's critic Katyayana to be of about the same age as, or not much older than, Panini. Even those portions had probably been long in existence before they obtained recognition as part of the canon of the White Yajus.
The contemptuous manner in which the doctrines of the Charakaadhvaryus are repeatedly animadverted upon in the Satapatha betrays not a little of the odium theologicum on the part of the divines of the Vajasaneyins towards their brethren of the older schools. Nor was their animosity confined to mere literary warfare, but they seem to have striven by every means to gain ascendency over their rivals. The consolidation of the Brahmanical hierarchy and the institution of a common system of ritual worship, which called forth the liturgical Vedic collections, were doubtless consummated in the so-called Madhya-dega, or "middle country," lying between the Sarasvatt and the confluence of the Yamuna and Gauga ; and more especially in its western part, the Kuru-kshetra, or land of the liurus, with the adjoining territory of the Panchalas, between the Yamuna and Gangs. From thence the original schools of Vaidik ritualism gradually extended their sphere over the adjacent parts. The Charakas seem for a long time to have held sway in the western and north-western regions ; while the Taittiriyas in course of time spread over the whole of the peninsula south of the Narmada (Nerbudda), where their ritual has remained preeminently the object of study till comparatively recent times. The Vajasaneyins, on the other hand, having first gained a footing in the lands on the lower Ganges, chiefly, it would seem, through the patronage of King Janaka of Videlta, thence gradually worked their way westwards, and eventually succeeded in superseding the older schools north of the Vindhya, with the exception of some isolated places where even now families of Brahmans are met with which profess to follow the old Sarnhitas.
In Kalpa-siltras the Black Yajurveda is particularly rich ; but, • owing to the circumstances just indicated, they are almost entirely confined to the Taittiriya schools. The only Srauta-siltra of a Charaka school which has hitherto been recovered is that of the Manavas, a subdivision of the Maitrayaniyas. The ilidnava-h-autastitra 2 seems to consist of eleven books, the first nine of which treat of the sacrificial ritual, while the tenth contains the Sulva-sfitra ; and the eleventh is made up of a number of supplements (partsishta). The Manava•griliya-stItrtt is likewise in existence ; but so far nothing is known, save one or two quotations, of a hicinavadharma-stitra, the discovery of which ought to solve some important questions regarding the development of Indian law. Of sittraworks belonging to the Kathas, a single treatise, the Kathakegrihya-s4tra, is known ; while Dr Jolly considers the Vishnu-sznriti,3 a compendium of law, composed in mixed sutras and glokas, to be nothing but a Vaishnava recast of the Kathaka-dharma-sutra, which seems no low nor to exist. As regards the Taittirfyas, the Kal- pa-siltra most widely accepted among them was that of Apastamba, to whose school, as we have seen, was also due our existing recension of the Taittiriya-saraltita. The pastamba-Icalpa-Atra consists of thirtypraana (questions); the first twenty-five of these constitute the Srauta-sutra 4 j 26 and 27 the Grihya-sutra ; 28 and 29 the Dharma-sutras; and the last the Sulva-siltra. Prof. Biihler has-tried to fix the date of this work somewhere between the 5th and 3rd centuries B.C.; but it can hardly yet be considered as definitely settled. Considerably more ancient than this work are the Bautihdyana-kalpa-stitra,6 which consists of the same principal divisions, and the Bhdradvdja-sfitra, of which, however, only a few portions have as yet been discovered. The Iliraliyakeei-siltra, which is more modern than that of Apastamba, from which it differs but little, is likewise fragmentary ; and several other Kalpa-sfitras, especially that of Laugakshi, are found quoted. The recognized compendium of the White Yajus ritual is the •§rauta-etlira of Katyayana,7 in twenty-six adhyayas. This work is supplemented by a large number of secondary treatises, likewise attributed to Katyayana, among which may be mentioned the Charatut-z,gaha,8 a statistical account of the Vedic schools, which unfortunately has come down to us in a very unsatisfactory state of preservation. A manual of domestic rites, closely connected with Katyayana's work, is the Katiya-grihya-s22tra,9 ascribed to Paraskara. To Katyayana' we further owe the VajasaneyiTroltigetichya,lu and a catalogue (anukrama0) of the White Yajus texts. As regards the former work, it is still doubtful whether (with Weber) we have to consider it as older than Panini, or whether (with Goldstiicker and M. Muller) we are to identify its author with Panini's critic. The only existing Prati6akhyall of the Black Yajus belongs to the Taittiriyas. Its author is unknown, and it confines itself entirely to the Taittirfyasanthita, to the exclusion of the Brahmana and Aranyaka.
D. 21tharva-veda. - The Atharvau was the latest of Vedic collections to be recognized as part of the sacred canon. That it is also the youngest Veda is proved by its language, which, both from a lexical and a grammatical point of view, marks an intermediate stage between the main body of the Rik and the Brahmana period. It is not less manifest from the spirit of its contents, which shows that the childlike trust of the early singer in the willingness of the divine agents to comply with the earnest request of their pious worshipper had passed away, and in its place had sprung up a superstitious fear of a host of malevolent powers, whose baleful wrath had to be deprecated or turned aside by incantations and magic contrivances. How far some lower form of worship, practised by the conquered race, may have helped to bring about this change of religious belief it would be idle to inquire ; but it is far from improbable that the hymns of the Rik reflect chiefly the religious notions of the more intelligent and educated minority of the community, and that superstitious practices like those disclosed by the greater part of the Atbarvan and a portion of the tenth book of the Rik had long obtained among the people, and became the more prevalent the more the spiritual leaders of the people gave themselves up to theosophic and metaphysical speculations. Hence also verses of the Atharvaveda are not unfrequently used in domestic (grihya) rites, but very seldom in the Srauta. ceremonial. But, even if these or such like spells and incantations had long been in popular use, there can be no doubt that by the time they were collected they must have adapted themselves to the modifications which the vernacular language itself had undergone in the mouths of the people.
This body of spells and hymns is traditionally connected with two old mythic priestly families, the Angiras and Atharvans, their names, in the plural, serving either singly or combined (Atharvangirasas) as the oldest appellation of the collection. Instead of the Atharvans, another mythic family, the Bhrigus, are similarly connected with the Angiras (Bhrigvangirasas) as the depositaries of this mystic science. The current text of the Athetrva-salidt412 - apparently the recension of the Sannaka school - consists of some 750 different pieces, about five-sixths of which is in various metres, the remaining portion being iu prose. The whole mass is divided into twenty books. The principle of distribution is for the most part a merely formal one, in books i.–xiii. pieces of the same or about the same number of verses being placed together in the same book. The next five books, xiv.xviii., have each its own special subject : - xiv. treats of marriage and sexual union ; xv., in prose, of the Vratya, or religious vagrant ; xvi. consists of prose formulas of conjuration ; xvii. of a lengthy mystic hymn ; and xviii. contains all that relates to death and funeral rites. Of the last two books no account is taken in the Atharva-pratiakhya. and they indeed stand clearly in the relation of supplements to the original collection. The eighteenth book evidently was the result of a subsequent gleaning of pieces similar to those of tho earlier books, which had probably escaped the collectors' attention; while the last book, consisting almost entirely of hymns to Indra, taken from the Rik-sainhita, is nothing more than a liturgical manual of the recitations and chants required at the Soma sacrifice.
The Atharvan has come down to us in a much less satisfactory state of preservation than any of the other Sarnhitas, and its interpretation, which offers considerable difficulties on account of numerous popular and out-of-the-way expressions, has so far received comparatively little aid from native sources. A commentary by the famous Vedic exegete Sayana, which has lately come to light in India, may, however, be expected to throw light on some obscure passages. Even more important is the discovery, some years ago, through the exertions of Sir William Muir, of an entirely different recension of the Atharva-sarphita, preserved in Kashmir. This new recension,' supposed to be that of the Paippalacla school, consists likewise of twenty books (kauqa), but both iu textual matter and in its arrangement it differs very much from the current text. A considerable portion of the latter, including unfortunately the whole of the eighteenth book, is wanting; while the hymns of the nineteenth book are for the most part found also in this text, though not as a separate book, but scattered over the whole collection. Possibly, therefore, this recension may have formed one of the sources whence the nineteenth book was compiled. The twentieth book is wanting, with the exception of a few of the verses not taken from the Rik. As a set-off to these shortcomings the new version offers, however, a good deal of fresh matter, amounting to about one-sixth of the whole. From the Mahabhashya and other works quoting as the beginning of the Atharva-samhita a verse that coincides with the first verse of the sixth hymn of the current text, it has long been known that at least one other recension must have existed; but owing to the defective state of the Kashmir MS. it cannot be determined whether the new recension (as seems likely) corresponds to the one referred to in those works.
The only Bralimana of the Atharvan, the Copatha-breflrunzet,2 is probably one of the most modern works of its class. It consists of two parts, the first of which contains cosmogonic speculations, interspersed with legends, apparently taken from other Brahmanes, and general instructions on religious duties and observances ; while the second part treats, in a very desultory manner, of various points of the sacrificial ceremonial.
The Kalpa-sfitras belonging to this Veda comprise both a manual of Arauta rites, the Vaitana-saira,3 and a manual of domestic rites, the Katdika-edira.4 The latter treatise is not only the more interesting of the two, but also the more ancient, being actually quoted in the other. The teacher Kaugka is repeatedly referred to in the work on points of ceremonial doctrine. Connected with this Stara are upwards of seventy Pan:fie-4as, or supplementary treatises, mostly in metrical form, ou various subjects bearing on the Performance of grihya rites. The last sfitra-work to be noticed in connexion with this Veda is the gaunalcfytt Clurturddhydyikei,5 being a PriltiSakbya of the Atharva-sarphita, so ,called from its con- sisting of four lectures (adhyaya). Although Saunaka can hardly be credited with being the actual author of the work, considering that his opinion is rejected in the only rule where his name appears, there is no reason to doubt that it chiefly embodies the phonetic theories of that teacher, which were afterwards perfected by members of his school. Whether this Saunaka is identical with the writer of that name to whom the final redaction of the Mainpritifiakhya of the Rik is ascribed is not known ; but it is worthy of note that on at least two points where Sftkalya is quoted by Panini, the Chaturadhyfiyika seems to be referred to rather than the Rik-pratiifikliya. Saunaka is quoted once in the Vajasaneyipratitiakbya; and it is possible that Katyfiyana had the Chaturadliyayika in view, though his reference does not quite tally with the respective rule of that work.
Another class of writings already alluded to as traditionally connected with the Atharvaveda are the numerous Upanishads° which do not specially attach themselves to one or other of the Sarphitas or Bralimanas of the other Vedas. The Atharvanaupanishads, mostly composed in blokas, may he roughly divided into two classes, viz., those of a purely speculative or general pantheistic character, treating chiefly of the nature of the supreme spirit, and the means of attaining to union therewith, and those of a sectarian tendency. Of the former category, a limited number - such as the Pragna, Mundaka, and Ilfindfikya-upanishads - have probably to be assigned to the later period of Vedic literature ; whilst the others presuppose more or less distinctly the existence of some fully developed system of philosophy, especially the Vedanta or the Yoga. The sectarian Upanishads, on the other hand - identifying the supreme spirit either with one of the forms of Vishnu (such as the Islarilyanq, Nrisiinha-tapaniya, Ramatapaniya, Gopala-tapauiya), or with Siva (e.g. the Rndropanishad), or with some other deity - belong to post-Vedic times.