Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 42.djvu/67

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INTRODUCTION. Ixiii

��the scheme of religious action, and the interdependence of the three Vedic types. There is a Rig-veda, but no Rig- vedic reh'gion, as even recent writers on the rehgions of India unfortunately tend to assume : the absence of samans would in principle leave Vedic religion just as much muti- lated as the absence of rzks ; the categories are the three parts of a trio whose melody is carried by each in turn.

A comprehensive vision was never wanting, though the search for a word for ' religion,' or religious practice, as a whole was at first not very successful. The BrMima/^a- texts still struggle with the notion of the superiority of him that knows all the Vedas, and they consequently posit a sarvavidya^ which is superior to a knowledge of each of the Vedas. The most successful attempt at describing the religious literature and action as a whole is the word brahma, and. correspondingly, he who knows the religion as a whole is a brahman. Each of these words appears occasionally in the fourth place, brahma after the trayi ; brahman in company with the priests of the trayi. In a sense the brahma is a fourth Veda, but it is not co-ordinate with the other three ; it embraces and comprehends them and much else besides : it is the religious expression and religious action as a whole, and it is the learned esoteric understanding of the nature of the gods and the mystery of the sacrifice as a whole (brahma in brahmodya and brahmavadin). Needless to say, this fourth Veda, if we may so call it, has primarily no connection with the Atharvan, not even in the Atharva-sawhita itself (XI, 8, 23 ; XV, 3, 7 ; 6, 3), nor in the Upanishads of that Veda (e.g. Nrzsi/;zha- purvatapani Up. V, 2) : the claim that the Atharvan is the Brahma-veda belongs to the Atharvan ritual. In the Upanishads this brahma, still frequently contrasted with the ordinary Vedas, is taken up eagerly, extolled above all other knowledge, and in a way personified, so that it fur- nishes one of the main sources of the various conceptions which finally precipitate themselves in the pantheistic

��1 Tait. Br. Ill, lo, ii, 4; Tait. Ar. X, 47; cf. ^at. Br. XIV, 6, 7, ii 9.4. 1 7-

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