Page:History of India Vol 1.djvu/124

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the elaborate civilization and adopted the pompous religious rites of the Brahmanic and Epic Period. Natural phenomena no longer excited the wonder and religious admiration of the cultured and somewhat artificial Aryans of the Ganges valley engaged in solemn rites and elaborate sacrifices. The fervent prayer to the rain-god Indra and the loving address to the dawn-goddess Ushas were almost impossible. The very import and object of the old simple hymns were forgotten, and sacrifices of various descriptions, from simple morning and evening libations to elaborate royal sacrifices lasting for many years, formed the essence of the later religion. The rules of the sacrifices, the import and object of every minute rite, the regulations for each insignificant observance—these constituted the religion of the people, these formed the subjects of discussion between learned kings and royal priests, these formed the bulk of the Brahmana literature.

It was during such a period that the hymns of the Rig-Veda, written in the previous epoch, were compiled, and the same age saw the redaction of the other three Vedas known as the Sama-Veda, the Yajur-Veda (White and Black), and the Atharva-Veda. The reasons which led to the compilation of the Sama-Veda and the Yajur-Veda have been ascertained with a fair degree of certainty. We find mentioned in the hymns of the Rig-Veda different classes of priests who performed different duties at sacrifices. The Adhvaryus were entrusted with the material performance of sacrifice. They measured the ground, built the altar, pre-