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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

Past and future Footnote ref 3


style="text-align: justify;">Similar attributes are also ascribed to the deity Vis'vakarma (All-creator) [Footnote ref 1]. He is said to be father and procreator of all beings, though himself uncreated. He generated the primitive waters. It is to him that the sage says,

Who is our father, our creator, maker, Who every place doth know and every creature, By whom alone to gods their names were given, To him all other creatures go to ask him [Footnote ref 2] R.V.x.82.3.


The conception of Brahman which has been the highest glory for the Vedanta philosophy of later days had hardly emerged in the @Rg-Veda from the associations of the sacrificial mind. The meanings that Saya@na the celebrated commentator of the Vedas gives of the word as collected by Haug are: (_a_) food, food offering, (_b_) the chant of the sama-singer, (_c_) magical formula or text, (_d_) duly completed ceremonies, (_e_) the chant and sacrificial gift together, (_f_) the recitation of the hot@r priest, (_g_) great. Roth says that it also means "the devotion which manifests itself as longing and satisfaction of the soul and reaches forth to the gods." But it is only in the S'atapatha Brahma@na that the conception of Brahman has acquired a great significance as the supreme principle which is the moving force behind the gods. Thus the S'atapatha says, "Verily

in the beginning this (universe) was the Brahman (neut.). It created the gods; and, having created the gods, it made them ascend these worlds: Agni this (terrestrial) world, Vayu the air, and Surya the sky.... Then the Brahman itself went up to the sphere beyond. Having gone up to the sphere beyond, it considered, 'How can I descend again into these worlds?' It then descended again by means of these two, Form and Name. Whatever has a name, that is name; and that again which has no name and which one knows by its form, 'this is (of a certain) form,' that is form: as far as there are Form and Name so far, indeed, extends this (universe). These indeed are the two great forces of Brahman; and, verily, he who knows these two great forces of Brahman becomes himself a great force [Footnote ref 3]. In another place Brahman is said to be the ultimate thing in the Universe and is identified with Prajapati, Puru@sa and Pra@na


[Footnote 1: See _The Rigveda_, by Kaegi, p. 89, and also Muir's _Sanskrit Texts_, vol. IV. pp. 5-11.]

[Footnote 2: Kaegi's translation.]

[Footnote 3: See Eggeling's translation of S'atapatha Brahmana _S.B.E._ vol. XLIV. pp. 27, 28.]


(the vital air [Footnote ref 1]). In another place Brahman is described as being the Svayambhu (self-born) performing austerities, who offered his own self in the creatures and the creatures in his own self, and thus compassed supremacy, sovereignty and lordship over all creatures [Footnote ref 2]. The conception of the supreme man (Puru@sa) in the @Rg-Veda also supposes that the supreme man pervades the world with only a fourth part of Himself, whereas the remaining three parts transcend to a region beyond. He is at once the present, past and future [Footnote ref 3].

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