Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 42.djvu/71

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INTRODUCTION. Ix

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��flitted through the minds of the systematic theologians Relation of °^ ^^^ Atharvan schools as they continued the purohita to insist upoH the name Brahma-veda for their scriptures, and upon the office of Brah- man for their priests. A measure of substantiaUty may, however, come to their claim from another quarter at a comparatively early time, in this instance with the passive support of all Vedic schools. The matter concerns the office of the purohita, the spiritual and temporal aid of the king, his chaplain, and chancellor. One would again look in vain in the non-Atharvanic Sa7//hitas, Brahma//as, or Sutras for the direct declaration that the purohita either was, or should be, an adherent of the Atharvan. These texts do not mention the Atharvan in this connection any more than in connection with the office of the Brahman at the sacrifice. Yet it seems extremely unlikely that the knowledge of Atharvan practices should not have been considered a very valuable adjunct, if not a conditio sine qua non, of the purohiti. Purohitas, whether they are formal adherents of the AV. or not, are always engaging in Atharvanic practices, even against one another (cf. Max Muller, Ancient Sanskrit Literature, p. 486). The interests of the king and his sovereignty (kshatriya and kshatram) are too obviously dependent upon magic rites to admit the likelihood that the pretensions to this office on the part of him that knew them should have been ignored. At all periods the safety of the king, the prosperity of his people, his ascendency over hostile neighbours, must have depended upon the skill of his purohita in magic. The description. Ait. Br. VIII, 24-28, of the purohita, his func- tions, and his relation to the king, transfer the reader to the sphere and spirit of the Atharvan. The purohita secures for the king royalty, strength, empire, and people (VIII, 24, 7). The purohita is a fire with five flaming missiles, dangerous when not properly propitiated ; but, duly honoured, he embraces the king, protecting him with his flames as the ocean the earth (VIII, 25, i). His people do not die young, his own life's breath does not leave him before he has reached the full limits of his life, he lives to

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