Page:History of India Vol 1.djvu/133

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
95
THE ARANYAKAS AND THE UPANISHADS

mana is called its Aranyaka. The Sama-Veda and the Atharva-Veda have no Aranyakas.

What gives these Aranyakas a special importance, however, is that they are the proper repositories of those celebrated religious speculations known as the Upanishads. The Upanishads that are the best known and that are undoubtedly ancient are the Aitareya and the Kaushitaki, found in the Aranyakas of those names and belonging to the Rig-Veda; the Chhandogya and the Talavakara (or Kena), belonging to the Sama-Veda; the Vajasaneyi (or Isa) and the Brihadaranyaka, belonging to the White Yajur-Veda; the Taittiriya and Katha and Svetasvatara, belonging to the Black Yajur-Veda; and the Mundaka and Prasna and Mandukya, belonging to the Atharva-Veda. But when the Upanishads had once come to be considered sacred and authoritative works, new compositions of the class began to be added, until the total number reaches two hundred or more. Some of the later Upanishads, which are generally known as the Atharva Upanishads, are as late as the Puranic times, and are sectarian in tendency, instead of being devoted to an inquiry into the nature of Brahma, or the Supreme Spirit, like the old Upanishads. Others still were written long subsequent to the Mohammedan Conquest of India, and the idea of a universal religion which was cherished by the great emperor Akbar finds expression in an Upanishad called the Allah Upanishad.

With the ancient Upanishads the Brahmanic Period ends. Other classes of works, besides those named