Page:History of India Vol 1.djvu/123

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85
ORIGIN OF THE CASTE SYSTEM

ried with the rituals and ceremonials prescribed by priests, the Kshatriyas started new speculations and bold inquiries after the truth. The efforts were unavailing. The priests remained supreme. But the vigorous speculations which the Kshatriyas began are the only redeeming portion of the literature of this period and form the nucleus of the Hindu philosophical systems and religious revolutions of a later day.

It was in this period of Aryan expansion in the Granges valley that the Rig-Veda and the three other Vedas—Sanaa, Yajur, and Atharva—were finally arranged and compiled. Then followed another class of compositions known as the Brahmanas, and devoted to sacrificial rites. The custom of retirement from the world into forest life, which was unknown in the earlier ages, then sprang up, and the last portions of the Brahmanas are Aranyakas devoted to forest rites. And lastly, the bold speculations started by the Kshatriyas are known as the Upanishads and form the last portions of he literature of this period, even as they close the so-called Revealed Literature of India formed by the Rig-Veda of the previous period and by the Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads, which were written approximately between 1400 and 800 B.C. and which form the literature of the Brahmanic age. This literature alludes constantly to the deeds of the Kurus, the Panchalas, the Kosalas, and the Videhas living in the valley of the Ganges, but it was impossible in the nature of things that hymns like those of the Rig-Veda should be composed after the Hindus had achieved