Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 42.djvu/43

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INTRODUCTION. . XXX l.K

expected : there is no evidence of repugnance or exclu-

siveness. Witchcraft is blended with every sphere of

religious thought and activity, and the only

the^""auta- sane attitude on the part of these texts must

texts estimate ]-,£ ^Yiq recognition of the hterary products

of the AV. ^ , . . . , ., .

which are by distinction the repositories of witchcraft. No one will expect rigid consistency : witchcraft blows hot and cold from the same mouth ; according as it is turned towards the inimical forces, human and demoniac, or is turned by others against one- self, it is regarded as useful, or noxious. The AV. itself takes the same view by implication : the hymn, II, 1 2, hurls the bitterest invective against enemies that endeavour to thwart one's holy work ; this does not prevent one's own endeavour to frustrate the sacrifice of an enemy (VII, 70); the hymn, II, 7, ensures protection against curses and hostile plots, but does not prevent the existence of fierce imprecations and curses issued forth subjectively for the ruin of another (VI, 13 and 37). It is a question throughout of my sorcery, or thy sorcery. The flavour of holiness and virginal innocency is necessarily absent, and this want crops out in connection with the performances of yatu even in the RV. (VII, 104. i5- i^}, where the writer exclaims : ' may I die to-day if I am a sorcerer,' and com- plains against his enemy who calls him, though he is pure, a sorcerer, and against the real sorcerer who pretends that he is pure. Though yatu (sorcery) is regarded here as devilish (cf. e.g. AV. L 7 and <S), the writer at 5at. Br. X, 5, 2, 20 is not prevented from placing the yatuvidaZ-, ' those that are skilled in sorcery,' in solemn array with the repre- sentatives of the holiest forms of literature, immediately after the hahvrtka./i, as the characteristic exponent of Atharvanic activity. And on the other hand even bhe- sha^am, 'cure, medicine,' the altruistic province of the Atharvan, though well regarded in general, does not come off without a sneer. The Tait. S. VI, 4, 9, 3 (cf- ^laitr. S. IV, 6, 2; Ssit. Br. IV, I, 5, 14) says, brahma//ena bhesha- gam na karyam, 'a Brahman shall not practise medicine,' the reason that is assigned being that the physician is

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