Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 42.djvu/35

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INTRODUCTION. XXXI

��parts of the RV., or the most ancient Hindu tradition accessible historically, exclude the existence of the class of writings entitled to any of the names given to the Atharvan charms ; there is no evidence that these writings ever differed in form (metre) or style from those in the existing Atharvan redactions ; and, finally, there is no positive evidence — barring the argumentum ex silentio — that the names current in other texts as designations of Atharvan hymns (bhesha^ani, atharvawa//, aiigirasa//, &c.) were unknown at the earliest period of literary activity. On the other hand, the existing redactions of the AV. betray themselves as later than the RV. redaction by the character of the variants in those mantras which they share with the RV.

As regards the AV., the stanza X, 7, 20 presents the four Vedic categories, rika.h, yzguh, samani, and atharvan-

„ . . , g^irasa//, the last the traditional name of the

Position 01 ^ '

the AV. in 6"aunakiya- version. The same tetrad is intended

  • ofthe'^^ ^^ ■^^' ^^ ^'l-' where the narrower term bhesha-

i'aunakiya- ^a(ni) takes the place of atharvaiigirasa//. At XIX, 54, 5 the mention of atharvan and angiras, though not directly referable to the AV., certainly suggests it, because stanza 3 speaks in the same strain of the i-ikdih and y2.gv\h ; and in XIX, 22, i ; 23, i (parij-ish/a in character ; cf. above, p. xxii), the angirasani and athar- va;/ani (sc. suktani) are mentioned separately. Otherwise this text also fails to present a fixed name for the type of literature known later as Atharvanic ^ The Atharvan is very much in the same position as we shall find the Ya^us- texts : the three Vedas are mentioned, often in connection with other more specific forms and designations of prayer and sacerdotal acts, but the Atharvan is omitted. The impression left in both cases is by no means that of con- scious neglect or contempt, but rather of esoteric restriction to the sphere of the great Vedic ritual (.yrauta) -. Thus

^ The word brahma which is catalogued with the tiayi at XI, 8, 23 ; XV. 6, 3 (cf. also XV, 3, 7) does not refer to the Atharvan, but is the broader and higher term for religiuus activity in general. Cf. RV. X, 71, 11, and see below, p. l.vvi.

■ E. g. in the very same hymn (X, 7, 14) in which the Alharvahgirasa/4 are

�� �