Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 42.djvu/75

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INTRODUCTION. Ixxi

��21,7 exhibits them, properly no doubt, as part of an ordi- nary j-rauta-rite, the agnish/oma. It would seem then that the Atharvavedins possessed the knowledge of, and prac- tised jrauta-rites prior to the conclusion of the present redactions of their hymns, and thus perhaps, after all, the purohita, in case of his being an Atharvan, was not altogether unequipped for taking a hand in the broader Vedic rites with the three fires and the usual assortment of priests. Again, the AV. contains hymns which are evidently expiatory formulas for faults committed at the sacrifice. Thus AV. VI, 114 presents itself in the light of an ordinary prayaj->^itta- formula, and there are MSS. of the Vaitana-SLitra which add six praya.y/('itta chapters to the eight which make up the body of that text ^ The Gop. Br., more frequently than other Brahma;zas, refers to defects in the sacrifice (virish/a, una, yatayama) which are to be corrected (sawdhana) by certain hymns, stanzas, and for- mulas ; see I, i, 13 and 22. Possibly the germs of the corre- lation of the Atharvan and the Brahman, in his function as supervisor and corrector of the sacrifice, may also turn out to be traceable to a period prior to the present redaction of the Sawhitas.

��The present volume of translations comprises about one third of the entire material of the Atharva-veda in the text of the 5aunaka-school. But it represents the contents and spirit of the fourth Veda in a far greater measure than is indicated by this numerical statement. The twentieth book of the Sa7//hita, with the exception of the so-called kuntapa- suktani (hymns 127-136^), seems to be a verbatim repeti- tion of mantras contained in the Rig-veda, being employed in the Vaitana-sutra at the .mstras and stotras of the soma- sacrifice : it is altogether foreign to the spirit of the original

��' See Garbe, in the preface of his edition of the text, p. 5 ; Weber, Ver- zeichniss der Sanskrit nnd Prakrit Handschriften, II, 8.:; ; Kaujika, Introduction, p. xxxiii.

^ One of these, hymn 127, appears in the present volume, p. 197 ff.

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