Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 42.djvu/69

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


INTRODUCTION. IxV

��logical mystery, or riddle \' as well as the ritualist refine- ments which the Br^hmawa and Sutra-texts introduce times without end with the closely-related expression, brahma- vadino vadanti. In the non-Atharvanic Vedic texts it is never suggested that the Atharvan is the specific equip- ment, above all other things, which shapes the faculties of this all-round Vedic theologian. On the contrary, the Kaush. Br. VI, i t raises the rather one-sided claim that a Rig-veda scholar is the proper Brahman -. Vasish//^a was a celebrated Brahman and Purohita, and the qualifications for this office were said for a time (probably by the descen- dants of Vasish///a themselves) to be especially at home in this family. But the Brahma;/a-texts declare explicitly that this is an ' uberwundener standpunkt,' an obsolete custom : every one properly equipped may be a Brahman ; see Weber, Ind. Stud. X, 34. ^5. 137. There is no original connection between Vasish///a and the Atharvan ^, and it is not going too far to assume that the distinguished abilities demanded by the theory of this office were rare enough to admit every one that had intrinsically valid claims upon it.

How, then, did the Atharvans come to raise the plea that the Brahman must be one of themselves, and that, consequently, the Atharva-veda was the Brahma-veda ? Schematically this was suggested by an obvious proportion. As the hotar, &c., is to the Rig-veda, &c., so the Brahman is to the fourth Veda, and as the Atharvan is the fourth Veda, or rather a fourth Veda, it required no too violent wrench to identify it with that other comprehensive fourth Veda, the knowledge of the brahma. Thus the Atharvan

' See the author, Joiirn. Amer. Or. Soc. XV, pp. 172, 184 ff.

^ A broader view, yet one that ignores the Atharvan claim, is taken by Apastamba, in the Ya^«a-paribhasha-sutra 19. There the Brahman is said to perform with all three Vedas. Only the commentator admits that the Atharvan may be included. See Max Miiller, Ancient Sanskrit Literature, p. 470 ; Zeitschr. d. Deutsch. Morgenl. Gesellsch. IX, p. xlvii; Sacred Books, vol. xxx, p. 321. Cf. also ^at. Br. XI, 5, 8, 7, and Madhusildana's statement of the final orthodox view, Max Miiller, ib. 445 ff. ; Ind. Stud. I, 4. 14.

' The interesting association of Vasish//^a with the redaction of the Atharvan, reported by Mallinatha in his comment on Kiratar^uniya X, 10, may be founded upon this very title to the office of purohita, and thus show that purohitas were naturally supposed to be Atharvavedins ; cf. above, p. Iv.

�� �