Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume VIII.djvu/27
Dr. Bühler, in the Preface to his Âpastamba in the present series, has adduced good reasons for holding that Âpastamba is prior to the third century B. C., and we therefore obtain that as a point of time prior to which the Gîtâ must have been composed.
The next important item of internal evidence which we have to note, is the view taken of caste in the Bhagavadgîtâ. Here, again, a comparison of the doctrine of the Gîtâ with the conception of caste in Manu and Âpastamba is interesting and instructive. The view of Manu has been already contrasted by me with the Gîtâ in another place. I do not propose to dwell on that point here, as the date of Manu is far from being satisfactorily ascertained. I prefer now to take up Âpastamba only, whose date, as just now stated, is fairly well fixed by Dr. Bühler. The division of castes, then, is twice referred to in the Bhagavadgîtâ. In the first passage (p. 59) it is stated, that the division rests on differences of qualities and duties; in the second (pp. 126, 127) the various duties are distinctly stated according to the differences of qualities. Now in the first place, noting as we pass along, that there is nothing in the Gîtâ to indicate whether caste was hereditary, according to its view, whereas Âpastamba distinctly states it to be such, let us compare the second passage of the Gîtâ with the Sûtras of Âpastamba bearing on the point. The view enunciated in the Gîtâ appears to me plainly to belong to an earlier age--to an age of considerably less advancement in social and religious development. In the Gîtâ, for instance, the duties of a Brâhmana are said to be tranquillity, self-restraint, and so forth. In Âpastamba, they are the famous six duties, namely, study, imparting instruction, sacrificing, officiating at others' sacrifices, making gifts, and receiving gifts; and three others, namely, inheritance, occupancy, and gleaning ears of corn, which, it may be remarked en passant, are not stated in Manu. The former seem to my mind to point
- P. xxxv.
- See the introductory Essay to my Bhagavadgîtâ in English verse, published in 1875, p. cxii.