Page:American Journal of Sociology Volume 15.djvu/825

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The mantras could give victory to the army of kings. They could give milk to the cows. They could charm a snake or a woman. They could give a young girl a good husband and could give a young man a charming wife. There was nothing in the world which the mantras could not do. Atharva Veda which is a later literature is full of such charms and incan- tations, while Regveda, the older one, has very little of it.

Similar was the case of the sacrifices. They were primarily an oflfer- ing to please the deity. The devout belief in the efficacy of invocation and sacrificial offering pervades in the regvedic hymns, but later on the mechani- cal details of sacrifices and proper utterance of mantras connected with them became invested with peculiar efficacy.

A change in the function of hymns and sacrifices was correlated with the change in the character of the sacerdotal class. The Rishies or the Sacred Seers, who treated deity with highest respect and commanded respect for themselves, for communion with the deity, and for the favor done to them by the deity, disappeared before a much stronger class, i. e., the priest. The seers at the most could persuade the deity, but the priests could com- mand it, by their mantras and sacrifices. This class has to a certain extent survived until today.

I have given here an example where a magical element in the religion predominated over the devotional element, but in the history of the same religion one would find a reverse process later on.

I agree with Professor Shotw^ll on his thesis that religion and magic are inseparable. I am inclined to go still farther and to say that all the sciences are inseparable from religion and folklore. The early religion was hardly anything different from the primitive knowledge and beliefs which became guidance of action. Out of these various sciences developed. These sciences met with different fates in different countries, as far as sacredness and inclusion in the religion was concerned. In India the sciences and philosophies became part of the religion. Geometry was a sacred science, for it was necessary for the faultless construction of altars. Grammar and etymology became necessary for proper utterance of the hymns. The sacred science of astronomy was necessary to mark the periods of sacrifice. Unless a person conformed all his actions to various sciences he could not obtain eternal bliss.

In the western world the primitive beliefs, parts of which are contained in the scriptural text, met with a different fate. Present theology, as I look upon it, is a system of what is left over — a system of uninvestigated beliefs, received from ancients and embodied in scripture.

I should also make an additional remark regarding the relation of super- stition to the acquisition of property. Superstitions are closely associated with what we call legal fiction in modern law. One lawyer of the society may regard a notion as a legal fiction while to another section it is a reality ; e. g., in Hindu law the custom of making wills did not come till