The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 9/Lectures and Discourses/History of the Aryan Race
HISTORY OF THE ARYAN RACE*
[A Jnâna-Yoga class delivered in London, England, on Thursday morning, May 7, 1896, and recorded by Mr. Josiah J. Goodwin]
I have told you how I would divide the subject into four Yogas, but, as the
bearing of all these various Yogas is the same — the goal they want to
arrive at is the same — I had better begin with the philosophical portion:
the Jnana-Yoga. Jnâna means knowledge, and, before going into the principles
of the Vedanta philosophy, I think it is necessary to sketch in a few words
the origin and the beginning and the development — the historical portion of
that system. Most of you are now familiar with the words Arya and Aryan, and
many things have been written on these words.
About a century ago there was an English judge in Bengal, Sir William Jones.
In India, you know, there are Mohammedans and Hindus. The Hindus were the
original people, and the Mohammedans came and conquered them and ruled over
them for seven hundred years. There have been many other conquests in India;
and whenever there is a new conquest, the criminal laws of the country are
changed. The criminal law is always the law of the conquering nation, but
the civil law remains the same. So when the English conquered India, they
changed the criminal law; but the civil law remained. The judges, however,
were Englishmen and did not know the language of the country in which the
civil laws were written, and so they had to take the help of interpreters,
lawyers of India, and so on. And when any question about Indian law arose,
these scholars would be referred to.
One of these judges, Sir William Jones, was a very ripe scholar, and he wanted to go to the fountain-head himself, to take up the language himself and study it, instead of relying upon these interpreters who, for instance, might be bribed to give any verdict. So he began to study the law of the Gentoos, as the Hindus were called. Gentoo is probably a form of the word gentile, used by the Portuguese and Spaniards — or "heathen", as you call it now. When the judge began to translate some of the books into English, he found that it was very hard to translate them correctly into English at first hand. What was his surprise when he found that if he translated them first into Latin, and next into English, it was much easier. Then he found in translating that a large number of Sanskrit words were almost the same as in Latin. It was he who introduced the study of Sanskrit to the Europeans. Then as the Germans were rising in scholarship — as well as the French — they took up the language and began to study it.
With their tremendous power of analysis, the Germans found that there was a similarity between Sanskrit and all the European languages. Among the ancient languages, Greek was the nearest to it in resemblance. Later, it was found that there was a language called Lithuanian, spoken somewhere on the shores of the Baltic — an independent kingdom at that time and unconnected with Russia. The language of the Lithuanians is strikingly similar to Sanskrit. Some of the Lithuanian sentences are less changed from Sanskrit forms than the northern Indian languages. Thus it was found that there is an intimate connection between all the various languages spoken in Europe and the two Asiatic languages — Persian and Sanskrit. Many theories are built upon it as to how this connection came. Theories were built up every day, and every day smashed. There is no knowing where it is going to stop.
Then came the theory that there was one race in ancient times who called themselves Aryans. They found in Sanskrit literature that there was a people who spoke Sanskrit and called themselves Aryans, and this is mentioned also in Persian literature. Thus they founded the theory that there was in ancient times a nation [of people] who called themselves Aryans and who spoke Sanskrit and lived in Central Asia. This nation, they said, broke into several branches and migrated to Europe and Persia; and wherever they went, they took their own languages. German, Greek and French are but remnants of an old tongue, and Sanskrit is the most highly developed of these languages.
These are theories and have not been proved yet; they are mere conjectures
and guesses. Many difficulties come in the way — for instance, how the
Indians are dark and the Europeans are fair. Even within the same nations
speaking these languages — in England itself — there are many with yellow
hair and many with black. Thus there are many questions which have not yet
But this is certain, that all the nations of Europe except the Basques, the
Hungarians, the Tartars and the [Finns?] (Vide Complete Works, VIII.)
— excepting these, all the Europeans, all the northern Indians and the
Persians speak branches of the same language. Vast masses of literature are
existing in all these Aryan tongues: in Greek, in Latin, in modern European
languages — German, English, French — in ancient Persian, in modern Persian
and in Sanskrit.
But in the first place, Sanskrit literature alone is a very big mass. Although, perhaps, three-fourths of it has been destroyed and lost through successive invasions, yet, I think, the sum total of the amount of literature in Sanskrit would outbalance any three or four European languages taken together, in number of books. No one knows how many books are there yet and where they are, because it is the most ancient of all these Aryan languages. And that branch of the Aryan race which spoke the Sanskrit language was the first to become civilized and the first to begin to write books and literature. So they went on for thousands of years. How many thousands of years they wrote no one knows. There are various guesses — from 3000 B.C. to 8000 B.C. — but all of these dates are more or less uncertain.
Each man in writing about these ancient books and dates is first of all prejudiced by his earlier education, then by his religion, then by his nationality. If a Mohammedan writes about the Hindus, anything that does not glorify his own religion he very scrupulously pushes to one side. So with the Christians — you can see that with your own writers. In the last ten years your literature has become more respectable. So long as they [the Christians] had full play, they wrote in English and were safe from Hindu criticism. But, within the last twenty years, the Hindus have begun writing in English, so they are more careful. And you will find that the tone has quite changed within the last ten or twenty years.
Another curiosity about the Sanskrit literature is that it, like any other language, has undergone many changes. Taking all the literature in these various Aryan languages — the Greek or the Latin or all these others — we find that all the European branches were of very recent date. The Greek came much later — a mere child in comparison with the Egyptian or the Babylonian.
The Egyptians and the Babylonians, of course, are not Aryans. They are
separate races, and their civilizations antedate all the European
civilization. But with the exception of the ancient Egyptians, they were
almost coeval [with the Aryans]; in some accounts, they were even earlier.
Yet in Egyptian literature, there are certain things to be accounted for —
the introduction of the Indian lotus on old temples, the lotus Gangetic. It
is well known that this only grows in India. Then there are the references
to the land of Punt. Although very great attempts have been made to fix that
land of Punt on the Arabs, it is very uncertain. And then there are the
references to the monkeys and sandalwood of southern India — only to be
The Jews were of a much later date than the Greek Aryans. Only one branch of the Semitic race of Babylon and this nondescript, unknowable race — the Egyptians — were much older than the Aryans, except the Hindus.
So this Sanskrit has undergone very much change as a matter of course,
having been spoken and written through thousands of years. It necessarily
follows that in other Aryan languages, as in Greek and Roman, the literature
must be of much later date than Sanskrit. Not only so, but there is this
peculiarity, that of all regular books that we have in the world, the oldest
are in Sanskrit — and that is the mass of literature called the Vedas. There
are very ancient pieces in the Babylonian or Egyptian literature, but they
cannot be called literature or books, but just a few notes, a short letter,
a few words, and so on. But as finished, cultured literature, the Vedas are
These Vedas were written in the peculiar archaic Sanskrit, and for a long
time — even today — it is thought by many European antiquarians that these
Vedas were not written, but were handed down by father to son, learned by
rote, and thus preserved. Within the last few years, opinion is veering
round, and they are beginning to think that they must have been written in
most ancient times.
Of course they have to make theories in this way. Theory after theory will
have to be built up and destroyed until we reach truth. This is quite
natural. But when the subject is Indian or Egyptian, the Christian
philosophers rush in to make theories; while if the subject is nearer home,
they think twice first. That is why they fail so much and have to keep on
making fresh theories every five years. But this much is true, that this
mass of literature, whether written or not, was conveyed and, not only that,
but is at the present day conveyed by word of mouth. This is thought to be
You find in every nation when a new idea, a new form, a new discovery or invention comes in, the old things are not brushed aside all at once, but are relegated to the religion of holiness. The ancient Hindus used to write on palm leaves and birch bark; and when paper was invented they did not throw aside all the palm leaves, but used to consider writing on palm leaves and birch bark holy. So with the Jews — they used to write only on parchment, and parchment is now used for writing in their temples. So you find when new customs come in, the old ones become holy. So this form of transmitting the literature of the Vedas from teacher to disciple by word of mouth, although antiquated and almost useless now, has become holy. The student may refresh his memory by books, but has to learn by word of mouth of a teacher. A great many modifications will always gather round such a fact to make its holiness more rational, but this is the law.
These Vedas are a vast mass of literature by themselves. That is to say, in
those ancient times, in every country, religion was the first ideal to
spring out of the heart of man, and all the secular knowledge that men got
was made over to religion.
Secondly, people who deal with religion and in later times came to be called priests — being the first thinkers of every nation — not only thought about religious subjects, but secular matters also; and, as such, all knowledge was confined to them. These masses of knowledge — both secular and religious — will always be gathered together and made into a vast mass of literature.
In much later times, this is the case. For instance, in studying the Bible
of the Jews, we find the same thing. The Talmud contained a vast mass of
information on all subjects and so did the Pentateuch. In the same way, the
Vedas give information on various subjects. They have come together and form
one book. And in later times, when other subjects were separated from
religion — when astronomy and astrology were taken out of religion — these
subjects, being connected with the Vedas and being ancient, were considered
Almost the largest portion of the Vedas has been lost. The priests who carried it down to posterity were divided into so many families; and, accordingly, the Vedas were divided into so many parts. Each part was allotted to a family. The rituals, the ceremonies, the customs, the worship of that family were to be obtained from that [respective] portion of the Vedas. They preserved it and performed all the ceremonies according to that. In course of time, [some of] these families became extinct; and with them, their portion of the Vedas was lost, if these old accounts be true.
Some of you know that the Vedas are divided into four parts. One is called the Rig-Veda, another Yajur-Veda, another Sâma-Veda, and the fourth Atharva-Veda. Each one of these, again, was divided into many branches. For instance, the Sama-Veda had one thousand branches, of which only about five or six remain; the rest are all lost. So with the others. The Rig-Veda had 108, of which only one remains; and the rest are all lost.
Then [there were] these various invasions. India has been the one country to
which every nation that has become strong wants to go and conquer — it being
reputed to be very rich. The wealth of the people had become a fable, even
in the most ancient history. [Many foreign invaders] rushed to become
wealthy in India and conquered the country. Every one of these invasions
destroyed one or more of these families, burned many libraries and houses.
And when that was so, much literature was lost. It is only within the last
few years that ideas have begun to spring up about the retention of these
various religions and books. Before that, mankind had to suffer all this
pillaging and breaking down. Most stupendous creations of art were lost
forever. Wonderful buildings — where, from a few bits of remnants now in
India, it can be imagined how wonderful they were — are completely gone. . .
[The fanatical belief of many of these invaders into India is] that those who do not belong to their sect have no right to live. They will go to a place where the fire will never be quenched when they die; in this life they are only fit to be made into slaves or murdered; and that they have only the right to live as slaves to "the true believers", but never as free men. So in this way, when these waves burst upon India, everything was submerged. Books and literature and civilization went down.
But there is a vitality in that race which is unique in the history of
humanity, and perhaps that vitality comes from non-resistance.
Non-resistance is the greatest strength. In meekness and mildness lies the
greatest strength. In suffering is greater strength than in doing. In
resisting one's own passions is far higher strength than in hurting others.
And that has been the watchword of the race through all its difficulties,
its misfortunes and its prosperity. It is the only nation that never went
beyond its frontiers to cut the throats of its neighbours. It is a glorious
thing. It makes me rather patriotic to think I am born a Hindu, a descendant
of the only race that never went out to hurt anyone, and whose only action
upon humanity has been giving and enlightening and purifying and teaching,
but never robbing.
Three-quarters of the wealth of the world has come out of India, and does even now. The commerce of India has been the turning point, the pivot, of the history of the world. Whatever nation got it became powerful and civilized. The Greeks got it and became the mighty Greeks; the Romans got it and became the mighty Romans. Even in the days of the Phoenicians it was so. After the fall of Rome, the Genoese and the Venetians got it. And then the Arabs rose and created a wall between Venice and India; and in the struggle to find a new way there, America was discovered. That is how America was discovered; and the original people of America were called Indians, or "Injuns", for that reason. Even the Dutch got it — and the barbarians — and the English and they became the most powerful nation on earth. And the next nation that gets it will immediately be the most powerful.
Think of all this mass of energy that our nation displays — where does it
get it? In India, they are the producers and you are the enjoyers, no doubt.
They produced this — the patient, toiling millions of Hindus under the whip
and slavery of everyone. Even the missionaries, who stand up to curse the
millions of India, have been fattened upon the work of these millions, and
they do not know how it has been done. Upon their blood the history of the
world has been turning since we know history, and will have to turn for
thousands of years more. What is the benefit? It gives that nation strength.
They are, as it were, an example. They must suffer and stand up through all,
fighting for the truths of religion — as a signpost, a beacon — to tell unto
mankind that it is much higher not to resist, much higher to suffer, that if
life be the goal, as even their conquerors will admit, we are the only race
that can be called immortal, that can never be killed. (Vide Complete
Where are the Greeks today — they whose armies marched over the whole world? Gone, thousands of years — nobody knows where. Vanished, as soon as the barbarians of the north came and attacked them. Where are the mighty Romans, whose cohorts came and trampled the face of the earth? Where are they today? Gone — vanished like the morning dew, and left behind in the march.
But here are the Hindus — three hundred million strong. And think of the fertility of the race! They can increase more than the whole world can kill them. This is the vitality of the race. Although not belonging very much to our subject, I wanted to bring these things before you.
Generally the uneducated minds, the vulgar minds of every nation, like the
vulgar mobs in every big city, cannot grasp, cannot see, cannot understand,
any fine movement. The causes, the real movements in this world of ours, are
very fine; it is only the effects that are gross and muscular. The mind is
the real cause of this body, the fine movements behind. The body is the
gross, the external. But everyone sees the body; very few see the mind. So
with everything; the masses, the brutal, ignorant masses of every race, see
a triumphant procession, stampeding horses, arms and cannonades, and these
they understand. But those fine, gentle workings that are going on behind
— it is only the philosopher, the highly cultivated man or woman, that can
To return to our Vedanta, I have said that the Sanskrit in which the Vedas
were written is not the same Sanskrit in which books were written about a
thousand years later than the Vedas — the books that you read in your
translations of poets and other classical writers of India. The Sanskrit of
the Vedas was very simple, archaic in its composition, and possibly it was a
spoken language. But the Sanskrit that we have now was never a spoken
language, at least for the last three thousand years. Curiously enough, the
vast mass of literature was written in a language which was dead, covering a
period of three thousand years. Dramas and novels were written in this dead
language. And all the time it was not spoken in the homes; it was only the
language of the learned.
Even in the time of Buddha, which was about 560 years before the Christian era, we find that Sanskrit had ceased to be a spoken language. Some of his disciples wanted to teach in Sanskrit, but the master studiously refused. He wanted to teach in the language [of the people], because he said he was the prophet of the people. And that is how it has come about that the Buddhistic literature is in Pali, which was the vernacular of that time.
This vast mass of literature — the Vedas — we find in three groups. The first group is the Samhitâs, a collection of hymns. The second group is called the Brâhmanas, or the [group dealing with different kinds of] sacrifice. The word Brahmana [by usage] means [what is achieved by means of] the sacrifice. And the other group is called the Upanishads (sittings, lectures, philosophic books). Again, the first two parts together — the hymns and the rituals — are called the Karmakânda, the work portion; and the second, or philosophic portion (the Upanishads), is called the Jnânakânda, the knowledge portion. This is the same word as your English word knowledge and the Greek word gnos — just as you have the word in agnostic, and so on.
The first portion is a collection of hymns in praise of certain gods, as
Agni, fire; Mitra, the sun; and so forth. They are praised and oblations are
offered to them. I have said these hymns are to the gods. I have used the
word gods until I make you familiar with the Sanskrit word Deva, because the
word gods is very misleading. These Devas mean the "bright ones", and gods
in India are less persons than positions. For instance, Indra and Agni are
not names of particular persons, but particular posts in this universe.
There is the post of President, the presiding post over certain elements,
the presiding post over certain worlds, and so forth. According to these
theologians, you and I — most of us — probably have been some of these gods
several times. It is only temporarily that a soul can fill one of these
positions. And after his time is over, he gives way; another soul is raised
from this world by good works and takes that position — he becomes [for
example] Agni. In reading Sanskrit philosophy or theology, people always get
bothered by the changing of these gods. But this is the theory — that they
are names of positions, that all souls will have to fill them again and
again; and these gods, when the soul has attained to that position, can help
mankind. So gifts and praise are offered to them. How this idea came to the
Aryans we do not know, but in the earliest portion of the Rig-Veda we find
this idea perfected and completed.
Behind and beyond all these Devas and men and animals and worlds is the Ruler of this universe, Ishvara — somewhat similar to what in the New Testament is called God the Creator, Preserver, the Ruler of this universe. These Devas are not to be confused with Ishvara at all, but in the English language you have the same word for both. You use the word God in the singular and the plural. But the gods are the bright ones — the Devas — and God is Ishvara. This we find even in the oldest portions of the Vedas.
Another peculiarity is that this Ishvara, this God, is manifesting Himself
in all these various forms of bright ones. This idea — that the same God
manifests Himself in various forms — is a very rudimentary idea of the
Vedas, even in the oldest portions. There was a time when a sort of
monotheistic idea entered the Vedas, but it was very quickly rejected. As we
go on, perhaps you will agree with me that it was very good that it was
So we find in these oldest portions of the Samhitas that there were these
various Devas — [being praised as] the manifestations of someone very much
higher than they [had left] behind, so that sometimes each one of them was
taken up and adjectives piled on it and at last it was said, "You are the
God of the universe". Then such passages as this occurred: "I am God,
worshipped as the fire", and so forth. "It is the One; sages call Him
variously." "He is that one existence; the sages call Him by various names."
This I ask you to remember, because this is the turning point, the key-note
of all thought that India has produced — "He is that One Being; sages call
Him variously." All Hindu philosophy — either theistic or atheistic or
monotheistic, dualistic or nondualistic — has that as the core, the centre.
And by thousands of years of culture in the race, it is impossible for the
Hindu race to go [away from] that idea.
That germ became a big tree; and that is why there was never a religious persecution in India, at least by the Hindus. That explains their liberality and welcome to any religion from any part of the world which came to settle there. That is how, even at the present day, Indian Rajas go and perform Mohammedan ceremonies and enter Mohammedan mosques, although [some] Mohammedans took the first opportunity to kill a number of "the heathens".
"He is the One Being; sages call Him variously."
There have been two theories advanced in modern times with regard to the
growth of religions. The one is the tribal theory; the other is the spirit
theory. The tribal theory is that humanity in its savage state remains
divided into many small tribes. Each tribe has a god of its own — or
sometimes the same god divided into many forms, as the god of this city came
to that city, and so on; Jehovah of this city and of such-and-such mountain
[came to such-and-such city or mountain]. When the tribes came together, one
of them became strong.
Take the case of the Jews. They were divided into so many tribes, and each
tribe had a god called either Baal or Moloch which in your Old Testament is
translated as "the Lord". There was the Moloch of this state and that state,
of this mountain and that mountain, and there was the Moloch of the chest,
who used to live in a chest. This latter tribe became strong and conquered
the surrounding tribes and became triumphant. So that Moloch was proclaimed
the greatest of all Molochs. "Thou art the Java [?] of the Molochs. Thou art
the ruler of all the Baals and Molochs." Yet the chest remained. So this
idea was obtained from tribal gods.
There is the other theory of Spiritualism — that religion begins with the
worship of ancestors. Ancestor worship was among the Egyptians, among the
Babylonians, among many other races — the Hindus, the Christians. There is
not one form of religion among which there has not been this ancestor
worship in some form or other.
Before that they thought that this body had a double inside it and that when
this body dies the double gets out and lives so long as this body exists.
The double becomes very hungry or thirsty, wants food or drink, and wants to
enjoy the good things of this world. So he [the double] comes to get food;
and if he does not get it, he will injure even his own children. So long as
the body is preserved the double will live. Naturally the first attempt, as
we see, was to preserve the body, mummify the body, so that the body will
So with the Babylonians was this sort of spirit worship. Later on as the nations advanced, the cruel forms died out and better forms remained. Some place was given to that which is called heaven, and they placed food here so that it might reach the double there. Even now the pious Hindus must, one day a year at least, place food for their ancestors. And the day they leave off [this habit] will be a sorry day for the ancestors. So you also find this ancestor worship to be one cause of religion. There are in modern times philosophers who advance the theory that this has been the root of all religions. There are others who advance the theory that the root of all religions was the tribal assimilation of gods into one.
Among the Jews of the Old Testament you do not find any mention of soul. It is only in the Talmud that it is found. They got it from the Alexandrians, and the Alexandrians from the Hindus — just as the Talmud had [developed] later on the idea of transmigration of the soul. But the old Jews had grand ideas of God. The God of the Jews developed into the Great God — the Omnipotent, Omniscient, All-Merciful — and all this came to them from the Hindus, but not through the idea of the soul. So Spiritualism could not have played any part in that, because how could the man who did not believe in any soul after death have anything to do with Spiritualism?
On the other hand, in the oldest portion of the Vedas, there is very little
of Spiritualism, if anything at all. These Devas [of the Vedas] were not
[related to Spiritualism] — although later on they became so; and this idea
of Someone behind them, of whom they were manifestations, is in the oldest
Another idea is that when the body dies, the soul [which] is immortal remains beatified. The very oldest Aryan literature — whether German or Greek — has this idea of soul. The idea of soul has come from the Hindus.
Two people have given all the religion to the world — the Hindus and the
Jews. But it is only with the Hindus that the idea of soul comes at first,
and that was shared by the Aryan races.
The peculiarity you find is that the Semitic races and the Egyptians try to preserve the dead bodies, while the Aryans try to destroy them. The Greeks, the Germans, the Romans — your ancestors before they became Christians — used to burn the dead. It was only when Charlemagne made you Christians with the sword — and when you refused, [he] cut off a few hundred heads, and the rest jumped into the water — that burying came here. You see at once the metaphysical significance of burning the dead. The burying of the dead (Preserving the dead by the burying of the body.) can only remain when there is no idea of the soul, and the body is all. At best there came the idea later on that this very body will have another lease of life, after so many years — mummies will come out and begin to walk the streets again.
But with the Aryans the idea was from the first that the soul is not the body, but would live on. There are some old hymns in the Rig-Veda: when the bodies are burnt they say, "Take him gently, purify him, give him a bright body, take him to the land where the fathers live — wherethere is no more sorrow and where thereis joy forever". (Rig-Veda 10.16.4.)
It is curious that though in modern times many hideous and cruel forms of
religion crept into India, there is one peculiar idea that divides the Aryan
from all other races of the world: that their religion, in the Hindu form,
accepted this Indra as one [with the Ultimate Reality]. Three-quarters of
the mythology of the Vedas is the same as that of the Greeks; only the old
gods became saints in the new religion. But they were originally the gods of
One other peculiarity we remark — that it is a cheerful, joyful, at times almost hilarious religion; there is not a bit of pessimism in it. The earth is beautiful, the heavens are beautiful, life is immortal. Even after death they get a still more beautiful body, which has none of the imperfections of this body, and they go to live with the gods and enjoy heaven forever.
On the other hand, with the Semitic races, the very first inception of
religion was one of horror. A man crouched in his little house for fear. All
round his house were those doubles. The family ancestors of the Jews were
there, ready to pounce upon anybody and tear him to pieces if bloody
sacrifices were not given to them. Even when you find that this [double]
idea coagulated into one — "Thou art the Elohim of the Jews, Thou art the
Elo[him] of the [Babylonians?]"* — even then the idea of sacrifice
The idea of sacrifice in India was not with this first portion. But in the next portion we find the same idea in India too, in the Brahmanas. The idea of sacrifice was originally simply giving food [to the gods], but gradually it was raised and raised until it became a sacrifice to God. Philosophy came in to mystify it still more and to spin webs of logic round it. Bloody sacrifices came into vogue. Somewhere we read that three hundred bullocks have been roasted, or the gods are smelling the sacrifices and becoming very glad. Then all sorts of mystical notions got about — how the sacrifice was to be made in the form of a tri-angle or a square, a triangle within a square, a pentagon, and all sorts of figures. But the great benefit was the evolution of geometry. When they had to make all these figures — and it was laid down strictly how many bricks should be used, and how they should be laid, and how big they should be — naturally geometry came [into being]. The Egyptians evolved geometry [by] their [irrigation] — [they] made canals to take the Nile water inside their fields — and the Hindus, by their altars.
Now there is another particular difference between the idea of sacrifice in
India and [that] of the Jews. The real meaning of sacrifice is worship, a
form of worship by oblations. At first it was simply giving food to the
bright ones, or the higher beings. They had gross food just as we have.
Later on philosophy stepped in and the idea came that they, being higher
beings, could not eat the same food as we do. Their bodies are made of finer
particles. Our bodies cannot pass through a wall; theirs find no resistance
in gross material. As such, they cannot be expected to eat in the same gross
way as we do.
[Some parts of the transcription of the remaining portion of this lecture,
recorded by Mr. J. J. Goodwin, were found in a severely damaged condition.
Hence we have reproduced below only the legible fragments as they appeared
in the original.]
. . . "O Indra, I offer you this oblation. O Agni, I offer you this
oblation." The answer is that these words have a mystical power in Sanskrit.
And when a man, in a certain state of mind, pronounces these words, he sets
in motion a set of psychological causes, and these causes produce a certain
effect. That is the evolution of thought.
To make it clearer, suppose a man was childless and wanted a son. He worshipped Indra, and if he got a son he said Indra gave him the son. Later on they said Indra did not exist. Who, then, gave him the son? The whole thing is a matter of cause and effect. . . .. . .
They said it was not giving the gods food, but simply laying my sins upon
the head of another victim. "My sins go upon the goat's head, and, if the
goat be killed, my sins are forgiven." That idea of sacrifice of the Jews
never entered India, and perhaps that has saved us many a pang, many a
Human nature is selfish, and the vast majority of men and women weak; and to teach vicarious sacrifice makes us more and more weak. Every child is taught that he is nothing until the poor fellow becomes hypnotized into nothing. He goes in search of somebody to cling onto, and never thinks of clinging to himself. . . . (Vide Complete Works, VIII for similar ideas.)