96 GROWTH OF HINDUISM. Mountain. Let him who slays not, be slain.' At that time, however, there was no king in India whose power to persecute reached from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin. The story is probably an exaggerated account of a local persecution by one of the many princes of Southern India. The Brahmans gained the victory partly because Buddhism was itself decaying, and partly because they offered a new bond of union to the Indian races. This new bond of union was Hinduism. Twofold Basis of Hinduism. — Hinduism is a social league and a religious alliance. As a social league, it rests upon caste, and has its roots deep down in the race elements of the Indian people. As a religious alliance, it represents the union of the Vedic faith of the Br&hmans with Buddhism on the one hand, and with the ruder rites of the non-Aryan peoples on the other. We must get a clear view of both these aspects of Hinduism — as a social league, and as a religious alliance. Caste Basis of Hinduism. — As a social league, Hinduism arranged the people into the old division of the ' Twice-born ' Aryan castes, namely the Brdhmans, Kshattriyas, Vaisyas ; and the 'Once-born' castes, consisting of the non- Aryan Sudras, and the classes of mixed descent. This arrangement of the Indian races remains to the present day. The ' Twice-born ' castes still wear the sacred thread, and claim a joint, although an unequal, inheritance in the holy books of the Veda. The ' Once- born ' castes are still denied the sacred thread ; and they were not allowed to study the holy books, until the English set up schools in India for all classes of the people. But while caste is thus founded on the distinctions of race, it has been influenced by two other systems of division, namely, the employments of the people, and the localities in which they live. Even in the oldest times, the castes had separate occupations assigned to them. They could be divided either into Brahmans, Kshattriyas, Vaisyas, and Sudras ; or into priests, warriors, husbandmen, and serfs. They are also divided according to the parts of India in which they live. Even the Brahmans have among themselves ten distinct classes, or rather nations. Five of these classes 01 Brahman nations live to the north of the Vindhya mountains ; five of them live to the south. Each of the ten feels itself to be
Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/100
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