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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

Hillebrandt points out that it is spoken of in R


style="text-align: justify;">[Footnote 1: Winternitz's _Geschichte der indischen Litteratur_, I. pp. 197 ff.]

[Footnote 2: The story of Maitryi and Yajnavalikya (B@rh. II. 4) and that of Satyakama son of Jabala and his teacher (Cha. IV. 4).]

[Footnote 3: Cha. V. II.]


The Uktha (verse) of @Rg-Veda was identified in the Aitareya Ara@nyaka under several allegorical forms with the Pra@na [Footnote ref 1], the Udgitha of the Samaveda was identified with Om, Pra@na, sun and eye; in Chandogya II. the Saman was identified with Om, rain, water, seasons, Pra@na, etc., in Chandogya III. 16-17 man was identified with sacrifice; his hunger, thirst, sorrow, with initiation; laughing, eating, etc., with the utterance of the Mantras; and asceticism, gift, sincerity, restraint from injury, truth, with sacrificial fees (_dak@si@na_). The gifted mind of these cultured Vedic Indians was anxious to come to some unity, but logical precision of thought had not developed, and as a result of that we find in the Ara@nyakas the most grotesque and fanciful unifications of things which to our eyes have little or no connection. Any kind of instrumentality in producing an effect was often considered as pure identity. Thus in Ait. Ara@n. II. 1. 3 we find "Then comes the origin of food. The seed of Prajapati are the gods. The seed of the gods is rain. The seed of rain

is herbs. The seed of herbs is food. The seed of food is seed. The seed of seed is creatures. The seed of creatures is the heart. The seed of the heart is the mind. The seed of the mind is speech. The seed of speech is action. The act done is this man the abode of Brahman [Footnote ref 2]."

The word Brahman according to Saya@na meant mantras (magical verses), the ceremonies, the hot@r priest, the great. Hillebrandt points out that it is spoken of in R.V. as being new, "as not having hitherto existed," and as "coming into being from the fathers." It originates from the seat of the @Rta, springs forth at the sound of the sacrifice, begins really to exist when the soma juice is pressed and the hymns are recited at the savana rite, endures with the help of the gods even in battle, and soma is its guardian (R.V. VIII. 37. I, VIII. 69. 9, VI. 23. 5, 1. 47. 2, VII. 22. 9, VI. 52. 3, etc.). On the strength of these Hillebrandt justifies the conjecture of Haug that it signifies a mysterious power which can be called forth by various ceremonies, and his definition of it, as the magical force which is derived from the orderly cooperation of the hymns, the chants and the sacrificial gifts [Footnote ref 3]. I am disposed to think that this meaning is closely connected with the meaning as we find it in many passages in the Ara@nyakas and the Upani@sads. The meaning in many of these seems to be midway between


[Footnote 1: Ait. Ara@n. II 1-3.]

[Footnote 2: Keith's _Translation of Aitareya Aranyaka_.]

[Footnote 3: Hillebrandt's article on Brahman, _E.R.E._.]


"magical force" and "great," transition between which is rather easy. Even when the sacrifices began to be replaced by meditations, the old belief in the power of the sacrifices still remained, and as a result of that we find that in many passages of the Upani@sads people are thinking of meditating upon this great force "Brahman" as being identified with diverse symbols, natural objects, parts and functions of the body.

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