Page:A history of Sanskrit literature (1900), Macdonell, Arthur Anthony.djvu/240

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

have the same basis, which is, moreover, largely treated in a similar manner, leads to the conclusion that the various Vedic schools found a common body of oral tradition which they shaped into dogmatic texts-books or Upanishads in their own way.

Thus the Chhāndogya, which is equal in importance, and only slightly inferior in extent, to the Bṛihadāraṇyaka, bears clear traces, like the latter, of being made up of collections of floating materials. Each of its eight chapters forms an independent whole, followed by supplementary pieces often but slightly connected with the main subject-matter.

The first two chapters consist of mystical interpretations of the sāman and its chief part, called Udgītha ("loud song"). A supplement to the second chapter treats, among other subjects, of the origin of the syllable om, and of the three stages of religious life, those of the Brahman pupil, the householder, and the ascetic (to which later the religious mendicant was added as a fourth). The third chapter in the main deals with Brahma as the sun of the universe, the natural sun being its manifestation. The infinite Brahma is further described as dwelling, whole and undivided, in the heart of man. The way in which Brahma is to be attained is then described, and the great fundamental dogma of the identity of Brahma with the Ātman (or, as we might say, of God and Soul) is declared. The chapter concludes with a myth which forms a connecting link between the cosmogonic conceptions of the Rigveda and those of the law-book of Manu. The fourth chapter, containing discussions about wind, breath, and other phenomena connected with Brahma, also teaches how the soul makes its way to Brahma after death.