��III. The Atharva-veda in the view of its Ritualistic Literature.
It is but natural to expect, and the expectation nowhere
meets with disappointment, that the Atharvan texts in
general should allude with predilection, and
The normal . r • ^ ^i • i ■ j f ^^.^
estimate of ^ terms of praise, to then' own kind ot com- theAV. inits positions, to the mythical sages who are
own literature. , , , . . .
their reputed authors, and to the priests devoted to the practices that went hand in hand with the recitation of the Atharvans and Angiras. We found above, (pp. xxxii, xlii), a sufficiently marked tendency on the part of the Sawhita itself and the Atharvan Upanishads to do this ; there was occasion to note, too, that this tendency was followed out naturally and with moderation. Certainly there is no indication in these texts of any systematic attempt to make battle against the ancient threefold Veda, or to enter into polemics against the priests devoted to their respective duties while reciting or chanting its mantras. Similarly the ritual texts of the AV. allude preferably, and yet incidentally, to their own Veda, and as occasion offers, bring to the front the priests schooled in it. Thus Kau.y. 139, 6 an oblation is offered to Bhr/gu and Angiras along with other divinities, without mention, however, of any specific representatives of the other Vedas. The expression, Kau.f. 12^, 2, vedabhigupto brahmawa parivr/to -tharvabhi// .yanta/^ \ illustrates this passive preference for the Atharvan very well ; cf. also 137, 25. Again, Kau5. 63, 3, four priests descended from 7?/shis, skilled in the bhrzgvarigirasa/^, are employed very naturally, and simi- larly allusion is made to Atharvan priests and Atharvan schools, Kau.y. 59, 25; 73, 12; Vait. Su. 1, 5; Ath. Parijr. 46, 2 ; 73, 1 ; 77, 4. In the Atharva-parii-ish/as Bh;-/gu, Angiras, and Atharvan figure more frequently than any
��1 The passage reflects also the Athaivanic connection of their Veda with Brahman and the brahma ; cf. Ath. Pari.;. 2, 1, brahmawe brahmavedaya . . . namaskrjtya, and see below, p. Ixii ff.