Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 42.djvu/70

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Ixvl HYMNS OF THE ATHARVA-VEDA.

became the Brahma-veda. The fact that there was no systematic sharply-defined provision for the Atharvanists in the scheme of the hieratic reHgion must have been galHng at first, until this arrangement was completed to their own satisfaction. They may have, though we do not know that they did, gathered courage for this tour de force by the frequent mention in the AV. itself of the word brahma in the sense of charm, prayer, e.g. I, lo, i; 14, 44; 23, 4, &c. If this was done it was a proceeding both arbitrary and superficial : the word has in the AV. the meaning of charm only in so far and inasmuch as the hymns of that Veda happen to be charms ; the RV. employs the term freely to designate its own suktani (e.g. V, 85, i ; VII, 28, 1 ; 36, i ; X, 13, i ; 61, 1). One misses, too, the plural brahmawi as the true Vedic type of designation for a special class of composition, on a level with r/^a//, samani, ya^uwshi, atharvahgirasa/^, or athar- V3.n2ih (bhesha^ani) and angirasa// (abhiMrika/^i). We may also remember that the Atharvan of all Sawhitas contains the largest collection of theosophic hymns which deal explicitly (X, 2), or implicitly (X, 7), with Brahman and the brahma^. This may, of course, have helped to suggest that the Atharvavedin was the truly superior theo- logian. In the Upanishads the knowledge of just such theosophic relations is styled the brahmavidya. Saya//a in the Introduction to the AV., p. 4, argues that the AV. is known as Brahma-veda because it was revealed to Brahman who is called Atharvan ^. His authority, however, is Gop. Br. I, 4 ff., a text that elsewhere identifies the AV. with that bhuyish///am brahma which was produced by the tapas (cf. AV. VIII, 10, 25), pressing to an unwarranted degree the relationship of the Atharvan texts with the sphere of the Upanishads ^ ; cf. above, p. lix.

It may be safe to assume that all these and other notions

^ Cf. also the superabundant Upanishads, composed in Atharvanic schools.

^ atharvakhyena brahmawa drjsh/atvat tannamna aya;« vedo vyapadijyate.

^ Similarly the Vish«u-pura;/a VI, 5 (Wilson's translation, vol. v, p. 210) : ' The AV. also states that there are two kinds of knowledge. By the one which is the supreme, God (akshara) is obtained ; the other is that which consists of J\ik and other Vedas.'

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