Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume VIII.djvu/24

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18 BHAGAVADGÎTÂ.

probably one of the youngest members of the group to which it belongs.

It appears to me, that this conclusion is corroborated by the fact that a few stanzas in the Gîtâ are identical with some stanzas in some of the Upanishads. With regard to the epic age of Greece, Mr. E. A. Freeman has said that, in carrying ourselves back to that age, 'we must cast aside all the notions with which we are familiar in our own age about property legal or moral in literary compositions. It is plain that there were phrases, epithets, whole lines, which were the common property of the whole epic school of poetry[1].' It appears to me that we must accept this proposition as equally applicable to the early days of Sanskrit literature, having regard to the common passages which we meet with in sundry of the Vedic works, and also sometimes, I believe, in the different Purânas. If this view is correct, then the fact that the Gîtâ contains some stanzas in the very words which we meet with in some of the Upanishads, indicates, to my mind, that the conclusion already drawn from other data about the position of the Gîtâ with regard to the Upanishads, is not by any means unwarranted, but one to which the facts before us rather seem to point.

And here we may proceed to draw attention to another fact connected with the relation of the Gîtâ to the Vedas. In stanza 17 of the ninth chapter of the Gîtâ, only Rik, Sâman, and Yagus are mentioned. The Atharva-veda is not referred to at all. This omission does certainly seem a very noteworthy one. For it is in a passage where the Supreme Being is identifying himself with everything, and where, therefore, the fourth Veda might fairly be expected to be mentioned. I may add that in commenting on Sankarâkârya's remarks on this passage, Ânandagiri (and Madhusûdana Sarasvatî also)seems evidently to have been conscious of the possible force of this omission of the Atharva-veda. He accordingly says that by force of the word 'and' in the verse in question, the Atharvângirasas, or Atharva-veda must


  1. Contemporary Review, February 1879.