The Aryas on the Indus

We have already examined the earliest date at which the kings who reigned in antiquity in the lower valley of Nile attempted to bring their actions into everlasting remembrance by pictures and writing. The oldest inscription preserved there dates from the period immediately preceding the erection of the great pyramids. The same impulse swayed the rulers of Babylon and Asshur, of whom we possess monuments reaching beyond the year 2000 B.C. The Hebrews also began at a very early time to record the fortunes of their progenitors and their nation. With the Indians the reverse is the case. Here neither prince nor people show the least interest in preserving the memory of their actions or fortunes. No other nation has been so late in recording their traditions, and has been content to leave them in so fragmentary a condition. For this reason, fancy is in India more lively, the treasures of poetry are more rich and inexhaustible. Thus it becomes the object of our investigation, from the remains of this poetry, and the wrecks of literature, to ascertain and reconstruct, as far as possible, the history of the Indians. From the first the want of fixed tradition precludes the attempt to establish in detail the course of the history of the Aryan states and their rulers. Our attempts are essentially limited to the discovery of the stages in the advance of the power of the Aryas in the regions where they first set foot, to the deciphering of the successive steps through which their religious views and intellectual culture were developed. And when we have thus exhumed the buried history of the Indians, we are assisted in determining its periods by the contact of the Indians with their western neighbours, the Persian kingdom, and the Greeks, and by the accounts of western writers on these events.

The oldest evidence of the life of the Aryas, whose immigration into the region of the Indus and settlement there we have been able to fix about 2000 B.C., is given in a collection of prayers and hymns of praise, the Rigveda, i. e. "the knowledge of thanksgiving." It is a selection or collection of poems and invocations in the possession of the priestly families, of hymns and prayers arising in these families, and sung and preserved by them. In the ten books which make up this collection, the poems of the first book are ascribed to minstrels of various families; in some the minstrel is even named. "This song was made by Dirghatamas, of the race of Angiras;" "this new hymn was composed by Nodhas, a descendant of Gautama." Of the other books, each is ascribed to a single family of priests—to the Gritsamadas, Viçvamitras, Vamadevas, Atris, Bharadvajas, Vasishthas, and Kanvas. The tenth book contains isolated pieces which found no place in the earlier books; several of these pieces bear the stamp of a later origin, as they exhibit a more complicated ritual, the operation of various classes of priests, and reflections of an abstract character.[49]

We see, then, that from ancient times there were among the Aryas families in possession of effectual invocations of the gods, who knew how to pronounce and sing the prayers at sacrifice, and offer the sacrifice in due form. We may gather further from the Rigveda that these families were distinguished by special symbols. The family of Vasishtha had a coil or knot of hair on the right side,[50] the family of Atri had three knots, the family of Angiras five locks, while the Bhrigus shaved their hair.[51] Sung for centuries in these families, in these circles of minstrels and priests, these poems were thus revised and preserved, until at length out of the possessions of these schools arose the collection which we have in the Rigveda. We find frequent mention in the poems of the invocations of ancient time, of the prayers of the fathers, and hence what is in itself probable becomes certain—that we have united in the Rigveda poems of various dates, and invocations divided in their origin by centuries.

Though the minstrels of the poems of the Rigveda could look back on a distant past, though they could distinguish the sages of the ancient, the earlier time, and the present, and the men of old from those of the later and most recent times,[52] there is yet nothing in these poems to point to an earlier home, to older habitations, or previous fortunes of the nation, unless, indeed, we ought to find an indication of life in a more northern region in the fact that the older poems in the collection count by winters, and the later by autumns.[53] In any case there is no remembrance of earlier abodes, and therefore we must conclude that even the oldest of these poems had been sung long after the immigration. If the assumption established above, that the immigration took place soon after 2000 B.C., is approximately probable, the extinction of any memory of earlier abodes and fortunes will hardly allow us to carry back the origin of the oldest songs of the Veda beyond the sixteenth century B.C.

On the other hand, the hymns of the Veda contain conceptions of the creation and early ages of the world, the outlines of which, like the conception of the contrast between the men of the old time and the present, must have been brought by the Aryas into the land of the Indus from the common possession of the Aryan tribes. The oldest man, the father and progenitor of the Aryas, is, in the hymns of the Veda, Manu, the son of Vivasvat, i. e. "the illuminating," the sun. Frequent mention occurs in these poems of the "father Manu," of "our father Manu," "the paternal path which Manu trod," "the children of Manu," "the people of Manu." Manu brought the first offering to the gods of light; with Atharvan and Dadhyanch he kindled the first sacrificial fire; he has set Agni to give light to all the people, and to summon the gods, and prayed to him with Bhrigu and Angiras.[54] Five races of men sprung from Agni—the Yadus, the Turvaças, Druhyus, Anus, and Purus.[55] Beside Manu stands Yama (geminus ), like Manu, the son of Vivasvat. In the hymns of the Rigveda he is the assembler of the people, the king, the pattern of just dealing. He "has discovered the path which leads from the deeps to the heights;" he "has removed the darkness," and "made smooth the path of the godly." He first discovered the resting-place from which no one drives out those who are there. From the depth of the earth he first ascended to the heights of heaven; he has had experience of death, he has entered into heaven, and there gathered round him all the godly and brave. "He went before us, and found for us a dwelling-place on a plain, which no one takes from us, whither the fathers of old time have gone; thither his path guides every child of earth."[56]

Manu and Yama are not unknown to the mythology of the nations of Iran. With the Iranians Yama is Yima; his father, according to the laws of the Bactrian, the language of East Iran, is not Vivasvat, but Vivanghat. The meaning is of course the same. According to the myths of Iran, Yima is the sovereign who first established the cultus  of fire, and first tilled the field with the plough. In his reign of 1000 years there was neither heat nor cold, hunger nor thirst, age nor sickness, hate nor strife. And when this golden age came to an end, Yima continued to live an equally happy life in his garden on the mountain of the gods (i. e. in heaven), where the sun, moon, and stars shone together, where there was neither night nor darkness, in everlasting light with the elect. In the Rigveda the sacrificers of old time, who kindled the fire with Manu, and offered the first sacrifice,—Angiras, Bhrigu, Atharvan, and their families,—are half divine creatures, though not quite on an equal with Manu and Yama. They were ranged with the spirits of light, and shone like them, though with less brilliancy.[57] In the faith of the Aryas the good and pious deed confers supernatural power; it makes the body light, and therefore like the body of the gods. The myths of Iran also praise certain heroes and sages of old time, who sacrificed first after Yima.

We can ascertain with exactness the region in which the greater number of these poems grew up. The Indus is especially the object of praise; the "seven rivers" are mentioned as the dwelling-place of the Aryas. This aggregate of seven is made up of the Indus itself and the five streams which unite and flow into it from the east—the Vitasta, Asikni, Iravati, Vipaça, Çatadru. The seventh river is the Sarasvati, which is expressly named "the seven-sistered." The land of the seven rivers is, as has already been remarked, known to the Iranians. The "Sapta sindhava " of the Rigveda are, no doubt, the hapta hendu  of the Avesta, and in the form Harahvaiti, the Arachotus of the Greeks, we again find the Sarasvati in the east of the table-land of Iran. As the Yamuna and the Ganges are only mentioned in passing (p. 11), and the Vindhya mountains and Narmadas are not mentioned at all, the conclusion is certain that, at the time when the songs of the Aryas were composed, the nation was confined to the land of the Panjab, though they may have already begun to move eastward beyond the valley of the Sarasvati.[58]

We gather from the songs of the Rigveda that the Aryas on the Indus were not one civic community. They were governed by a number of princes (raja ). Some of these ruled on the bank of the Indus, others in the neighbourhood of the Sarasvati.[59] They sometimes combined; they also fought not against the Dasyus only, but against each other. They ruled over villages (grama ), and fortified walled places (pura ), of which overseers are mentioned (gramanipurpati ).[60] We find minstrels and priests in their retinue. "Glorious songs of praise," says one of them, "did I frame by my skill for Svanaya, the son of Bavya, who dwells on the Indus, the unconquerable prince." Other poems in the Veda tell us that the princes make presents to the minstrels and priests of cows, chariots, robes, slave-women, and bars of gold. Whatever we may have to deduct from these statements on the score of poetical exaggeration, they still show that the court and possessions of the princes cannot have been utterly insignificant. The descriptions of the ornaments and weapons of the gods in the Rigveda are without a doubt merely enlarged copies of the style and habit of the princes. The gods travel in golden coats of mail, on splendid chariots, yoked with horses; they have palaces with a thousand pillars and a thousand gates; they linger among the lights of the sky, like a king among his wives.[61] From these pictures, by reducing the scale, we may represent to ourselves the life and customs of the princes in the land of the Indus.

From the numerous invocations for victory and booty, it follows that the life of the Aryas in the Panjab was disturbed by wars, that raids and feuds must have been frequent. War-chariots, and infantry, standard-bearers, bows, spears, swords, axes, and trumpets are mentioned.[62] We learn that those who fought in chariots were superior to the foot-soldiers. "There appears like the lustre of a cloud when the mailed warrior stalks into the heart of the combat. Conquer with an unscathed body; let the might of thine armour protect thee. With the bow may we conquer cattle; with the bow may we conquer in the struggle for the mastery, and in the sharp conflicts. The bow frustrates the desire of our enemy; with the bow may we conquer all the regions round. The bow-string approaches close to the bowman's ear, as if to speak to or embrace a dear friend; strung upon the bow, it twangs like the scream of a woman, and carries the warrior safely through the battle. Standing on the chariot, the skilful charioteer directs the horses whithersoever he wills. Laud the power of the reins, which far behind control the impulse of the horses. The strong-hoofed steeds, rushing on with the chariots, utter shrill neighings; trampling the foe with their hoofs, they crush them, never receding." Again and again are the gods invoked that the bow-strings of the enemy may be snapped.[63]

The poems of the Veda distinguish the rich from the poor. The cultivation of the land is practised and recommended. Corn (dhana ), barley, beans, and sesame were sown, but the rice of the Ganges valley is unknown. Channels also are mentioned for leading water on the land.

Healing herbs are not unknown to the poems, nor the person who is skilled in applying them, the physician. We find in them the desire for health and a long life,[64] blessed with abundance, with sons and daughters. Beautiful garments, precious stones, adorned women with four knots of hair, dancers, wine-houses, and dice are repeatedly mentioned. Weaving and leather-work are known, and also the crafts of the smith, the carpenter, the wheelwright, and the shipbuilder.[65]

Among the Aryas of those days more attention must have been given to the breeding of cattle than to the cultivation of the field. A great number of similes and metaphors in the hymns of the Veda show that the Aryas must have lived long with their flocks, and that they stood to them in relations of the closest familiarity. The daughter is the milkmaid (duhitar ), the consort of the prince is even in later poems the buffalo-cow (mahishî), the prince is at times the cow-herd, or protector of cows (gôpa ), the assembly of the tribe and the fold which encloses the cows are called by the same name (gôshtha ), and the word expressing a feud (gavisshthi ) denotes in the first instance the desire for cows. Similes are taken especially from cows and horses. Beside cattle and horses, buffaloes, sheep, and goats are mentioned. The gods are invoked to protect and feed the cows, to increase the herds, to make the cows full of milk, and satisfy the horses, to lead the herds to good pastures, and protect them from misfortune on the way. At the sacrifices parched corn was sprinkled for the horses of the gods.[66]

In regard to the ethical feeling and attitude of the nation, we learn from the hymns of the Rigveda that it was filled at that time with a courageous and warlike spirit, with freshness and enjoyment of life. Liberality and fidelity were highly praised; theft and plunder held in contempt; faithlessness and lying severely condemned. The friend of the gods could look forward to horses, chariots, and cows. Beautiful to look upon, and filled with vigorous strength, he will shine in the assembly of the people. There is a lively feeling that the gods feel themselves injured by untruth and falsehood, by neglect and improper offering of the sacrifice, and the conscience is awake. The gods are earnestly entreated to forgive the sins of the fathers, and those committed by the suppliants, in wine, play, or heedlessness, to soften their anger, and spare the transgressor from punishment or death. If princes and nobles did not content themselves with one wife, monogamy was nevertheless the rule, so far as we can see. The beautiful maiden is accounted happy because she can choose her husband in the nation. Many a one certainly would be content with the wealth of him who seeks her.

In the beneficent forces and phenomena of nature, which are friendly and helpful to men, the religious conceptions of the Aryas see the power of kindly deities; and in all the influences and phenomena which injure the prosperity and possessions of men they see the rule of evil deities. To the Aryas light was joy and life, darkness fear and death; the night and the gloom filled them with alarm, the light cheered them. With gladsome hearts they greeted the returning glow of morning, the beams of the sun, which awaken us to life. The obscuring of the sun by dark clouds raised the apprehension that the heavenly light might be taken from them. In the heat of the summer the springs and streams were dried up, the pastures were withered, the herds suffered from want, and therefore the more fervent were the thanks of the Aryas to the spirits who poured down fructifying water from heaven, and caused the springs, streams, and rivers again to flow full in their banks.

The basis of these views the Aryas brought with them into the valley of the Indus. Their name for the deity of light—deva, from div, to shine—is found among the Greek, Italian, Lettish, and Celtic nations in the forms ϑεοί, diidiewas, and dia ; it recurs in the Zeus (dyaus ) of the Greeks, and the Jupiter (dyauspitar ) of the Romans. The god of the upper air is with the Aryas Varuna, the Uranos of the Greeks. And these were not the only ideas possessed by the Aryas before their immigration. When they had broken off from the original stem of the Indo-European tribes, they must for a time have lived in union with another branch of the same stem, which inhabited the table-land of Iran, and only after a long period of union did they become a nation, and emigrate to the East. The nucleus of the view of the nature and action of the gods is identical in the Aryas and the tribes of Iran to such a degree that it can only have grown up in a common life. In both it lies in the struggle and opposition in which the spirits of light stand to the spirits of darkness, the spirits who give water to the spirits who parch up all things—in the contest of good and evil gods. It is assistance and protection against the evil spirits, the boon of light and water, which is sought for in the worship of both nations. The names of the deities of light, which the Indians and the Iranians serve, are the same. Mitra, Aryaman, Bhaga, Ushas are invoked on the Indus and Sarasvati as well as on the Hilmend, in Bactria and Media. Here, as there, the beneficent morning wind which drives away the clouds of night is called Vayu; the same drink offerings were offered under the same names in both nations to the good gods. With the Indians Atharvan lights the sacrificial fire;[67] among the Iranians the fire priests are called Athravas. The chief of the evil spirits, against which the good spirits have to contend, is called Veretra among the Iranians, and Vritra among the Indians; another evil spirit is called Azhi (Aji ) in one nation, Ahi in the other. Such was the development given to the common inheritance from the parent stock, attained while the Airyas and Aryas lived together; and after the community was broken up, and the two nations became separated, those views received a peculiar shape in each. The point in this special development reached by the Aryas while yet in the Panjab we know from the poems of the Rigveda.

To the Iranians, as to the Aryas, the brightness of fire was a friendly spirit which gave light in darkness. To it, among both nations, almost the first place was allotted. By far the greatest number of invocations in the Rigveda are addressed to this spirit, Agni (ignis ). When the darkness of evening came on, the glowing fire scared the beasts of prey from the encampment of men and the herds, and so far as the flame shone it drove back the evil spirits of the night.[68] Then the demons were seen from a distance hovering round the kindled fire, and the changing outlines of their forms were seen on the skirts of the darkness. Thus in the Rigveda, the fire-god is a bringer of light, who overpowers the night with red hues, who drives away the Rakshasas, or evil spirits; he is the conqueror and slayer of demons, with sharp teeth and keen weapons, a beautiful youth of mighty power. But the fire of the hearth also unites the family, and provides them with nourishment. As such Agni is the gleaming guest of men, the dear friend and companion of men, the far-seeing house-lord, who dwells in every house, and despises none; a god, giving food and wealth;[69] the protector, leader, and guide of his nation. As his power carries the sacrificial gifts to the gods, he is also thepriest of the house; to the sensuous conception of the Aryas he is the messenger of men to the gods; his gleam leads the eye of the gods to the sacrifice of men; hence he is himself a priest, the first of priests, the true offerer of sacrifice, the mediator between heaven and earth, the lord of all religious duties, the protector and supporter of the worship. With his far-reaching tongue, the smoke of the kindled fire of sacrifice, he announces to the gods the gifts offered, the prayers which accompany the sacrifice, and brings the gods to the place of offering. Through Agni they consume their food. He is to the gods what the goblet is to the mouth of men.[70] With a thousand eyes Agni watches over him who brings him food, i. e. wood, and pours fat and clarified butter into his mouth; he rejects not the gifts of him who possesses neither cow nor axe, and brings but small pieces of wood; he protects him from hunger, and sends him all kinds of good; in the battle he fights among the foremost, and consumes the enemy like dry underwood. When he yokes to his chariot the red, wind-driven horses, he roars like a bull; the birds are terror-stricken when his sparks come consuming the grass; when, like a lion, he blackens the forest with his tongue, and seizes it with his flames, which sound like the waves of the sea; when he shears off the hair of the earth, as a man shaves his beard, and marks his path with blackness. Nothing can withstand the lightning of the sky, the sounding winds, and Agni; by his power the gods Varuna, Mitra, and Aryaman are victorious.[71]

In the conception of the Indians Agni was born from the double wood; in this he lay concealed. They kindled fire by friction. A short staff was fixed in a round disc of wood, and whirled quickly round till fire was kindled.[72] This process was the birth of Agni. The disc was compared to the mother, the staff to the father; the disc was impregnated by friction, and soon a living creature springs forth from the dry wood. At the moment of birth this golden-haired child begins to consume his parents; he grows up in marvellous wise, like the offspring of serpents, without a mother to give suck. Eagerly he stretches forth his sharp tongue to the wood of the sacrifices; with gnashing and neighing he springs up like a horse on high, when the priests sprinkle melted butter; streaming brightly forth, he rolls up the sacred smoke, and touches the sky with his hair, uniting with the sun.[73] Yet not on earth only is Agni born; he is born in the air and the sky by the lightning; in the lightning he descends to earth, and he is thus the twice-born. But as the lightning descends in the torrents of the storm, Agni is also born from the water of the sky, and is thus the triple-born; he is also named the bull begotten in the bed of water.[74] "We call on Agni, who gives food, with solemn songs," we are told in a hymn. "We choose thee as a messenger to the all-knowing; thy rising gleam shines far into the sky. To thee, rich youth, is every sacrifice offered; be gracious to us to-day, and for the future. Sacrifice thyself to the mightiest gods; bring our sacrifice to the gods. Mighty as a horse, who neighs in the battle, give rich gifts, O Agni, to the suppliant. Bring thyself to us, O mighty one; shine, most beloved of the gods; let the winged smoke ascend. Bring thyself to us, thou whom the gods once gave to man upon the earth. Give us treasures; gladden us. Come, ascending at once to help us, like Savitar; shine and protect us from sin by knowledge; make us strong for action and life; destroy our enemies; protect us, Agni, from the Rakshasas; protect us from the murderer and cruel bird of prey, and from the enemy who plans our destruction, thou shining youth. Strike down the enemies who bring no gifts, who sharpen their arrows against us, thou who art armed with a gleaming beam as with a club, that our enemies may never rule over us. No one can approach thy darting, strong, fearful flames; burn the evil spirits, and every enemy."[75]

If Agni scared away the spirits of the night for the Aryas, they greeted with the liveliest joy the earliest light, the approach of breaking day, the first white rays of the dawn, which assured them that the night had not been victorious over the light, that the daylight was returning. These rays are for them a beautiful pair of twins, the brothers of Ushas, the morning glow, the sons of the sky.[76] They are named the two Açvins, i. e.the swift, the horsemen; and also Nasatyas, i. e. apparently, the trustworthy, or guileless. Swift spirits, they hasten on before the dawn. As they pass onward victorious against the spirits of the night, and each morning assist the earth against the darkness, they are the helpers and protectors of men. That this conception of the Açvins springs from the common possession of the parent-stock of the Indo-Europeans, is proved by the Dioscuri of the Greeks. Dioskouroi means, "the young sons of the sky," and in the myth of the Greeks they are the brothers of Helena, i. e. of the Bright one, the Light; and if, in this myth, they live alternately in heaven and in the gloom of the under-world, this fact is no doubt founded in the idea that the first beams which break forth from the night belong to the darkness as much as to the light. In the Rigveda, the Açvins are compared to two swans, two falcons, two deer, two buffaloes, two watchful hounds. They are invoked to harness their light cars, drawn by swan-like, falcon-like, golden-winged horses, to descend and drink the morning offering with Ushas (the Αὔως, Ἤως of the Greeks.) They heal the sick, the blind, the lame, and make the old young again, and strong; they give wealth and nourishment, they accompany ships over the wide sea, and protect them. In invocations in the Rigveda to the Açvins, in which the benefits done by them to the forefathers are extolled and enumerated, we find: "Açvins, come on your chariot which is yoked with the good horses, which flies like the falcon, and is swifter than the wind, or the thoughts of men, on which ye visit the houses of pious men; come to our dwelling. On the chariot, whose triple wheel hastens through the triple world (the Indians distinguish the heaven of light, the region of the atmosphere and the clouds, and the earth as three worlds) approach us. Make the cows full of milk, and feed our horses, and give us goodly progeny. Approach in swift, fair-coursing chariots; listen, ye bounteous, to my prayer; ye Açvins, whom the men of old extol as driving away want. The falcons, the swift-winged ones, who fly like the vultures in the sky, may they bring you, ye Nasatyas, like water streaming from heaven, to the sacrifice. In old days ye gave nourishment to Manu; ye speedily brought food to Atri in the dark dungeon, and freed him from his bonds; ye restored light to the blind Kanva, ye bounteous ones, whom we love to praise. With your onward flying horses ye brought Bhujyu without harm from the wide pathless sea; for Çayu, when he prayed to you, ye filled the cow with milk, and gave to Pedu the white horse, clear-neighing, fearful, who is victorious over enemies, and defeats them. Even as ye were of old, we invoke you, beautiful-born, to come to our help; come with the swift flight of the falcons to us, for I summon you to a sacrifice prepared at the first light of the eternal dawn."[77]

This dawn is in the hymns of the Veda a ruddy cow, a tawny mare, a beautiful maiden, who is born anew every day, when the Açvins yoke their chariot.[78] Many are the generations of men that she has seen, yet she grows not old. Like a maiden robed for the dance, like a daughter adorned by her mother, as a loving wife approaches her husband, as a woman rising in beauty from the bath, smiling and trusting to her irresistible charms, unveils her bosom to the eye of the beholder, so does Ushas divide the darkness and unveil the wealth hidden therein. From the far east she travels on her gleaming car, which the ruddy horses and ruddy cows bring swiftly over thirty Yojanas, and illumines the world to the uttermost end. She looses the cows (i. e. the bright clouds) from the stall, and causes the birds to fly from their nests; she awakes the five tribes (p. 30), as an active housewife wakes her household, and sets each to his work; she passes by no house, but everywhere kindles the sacrificial fire, and gives breath and life to all. Occasionally the hymns call upon her to accelerate her awakening, to linger no longer, to hasten that the sun may not wither her away.[79] "Come, Ushas," we find in invocations, "descend from the light of the sky on gracious paths: let the red cows lead thee into the house of the sacrificer. The light cows bring in the gleaming Ushas; her beams appear in the east. As bold warriors flash their swords, the ruddy cows press on; already they are shining clear. The bright beam of Ushas breaks through the dark veil of black night at the edge of heaven. We are beyond the darkness. Rise up. The light is there. Thou hast opened the path for the sun; rise up, awakening glad voices. Listen to our prayer, O giver of all good; increase our progeny."[80]

The god of the sun was invoked under the names Surya and Savitar (Savitri), i. e. "the impeller." The first name seems to belong specially to the rising, the second to the sinking, sun. "Already," the hymn tells us, "the beams raise up Surya, so that all see him. With the night, the stars retire like thieves before Surya, the all-seeing. His beams shine clear over the nations, like glowing flames. Before gods and men thou risest up, Surya. With thy glance thou lookest over the nations, wanderest through heaven, the broad clouds, measuring the day and the night. Thy chariot, bright Surya, far-seeing one with the gleaming hair, seven yellow horses draw. Looking on thee after the darkness, we invoke thee, the highest light. Banish the pain and fear of my heart; pale fear we give to the thrushes and parrots. The sun of Aditi has arisen with all his victorious power;[81] he bows down the enemy before me."[82] A hymn says to Savitar: "I summon Savitar to help, who calls all gods and men to their place, when he returns to the dark heaven. He goes on the ascending path, and on the sinking one; shining from far, he removes transgression. The god ascends the great gold-adorned chariot, armed with the golden goad. The yellow horses with the white feet bring on the light, drawing the golden yoke. With golden hands Savitar advances between heaven and earth. Golden-handed, Renewer, rich one, come to us; beat off from us the Rakshasas; come, thou who art invoked every night on thine old firm paths through the air, which are free from dust; protect us to-day also."[83] In an evening song to Savitar we find: "With the swift horses which Savitar unyokes, he brings even the course of the swift one to a stand: the weaving woman rolls up her web; the workman stops in the middle of his work; where men dwell, the glimmer of the house fire is spread here and there; the mother puts the best piece before the son; he who has gone abroad for gain returns, and every wanderer yearns for home; the bird seeks the nest, the herd the stall. From the sky, from the water, and the earth, Savitar caused gifts to come to us, to bless the suppliant as well as thy friend, the minstrel, whose words sound far."[84] A third god of light, who seems to stand in some relation to the sun, especially the setting sun, is Pushan, i. e. "the nourisher." He pastures the cows of the sky, the bright clouds, and leads them back into the stall; he never loses one; he is the protector and increaser of cattle; he weaves a garment for the sheep; he protects the horses; he is also lord and keeper of the path of heaven and earth; he protects and guides the wanderers in their paths; he brings the bride to the bridegroom, and leads the souls of the dead into the other world.[85]

Above the spirits of fire, of the first streaks of light, of the dawn, and the sun, are those gods of the clear sky, with which we have already made acquaintance, as belonging partly to the undivided possessions of the Indo-Europeans, and partly to the undivided possessions of the Aryas in Iran and on the Indus. Though still enthroned in the highest light and the highest sky, these spirits are nevertheless, in the minds of the Aryas, expelled from the central position in their religious conceptions and worship, by a form which, though it did not spring up in the land of the Indus, first attained this pre-eminent position among the Aryas there. With the tribes of Iran, the god of the clear sky, the god of light, is Mitra, the victorious champion against darkness and demons. It is he who has overcome Veretra, the prince of the evil ones, the demon of darkness; as a warrior-god, he is for the Iranians the god of battles, the giver of victory. The nature of the land of the Panjab was calculated to give a special development and peculiar traits to the ancient conception of the struggle of the god of light against the demon of darkness. There the pastures were parched in the height of summer, the fields burnt, the springs and streams dried up, until at length, long awaited and desired, the storms bring the rain. Phenomena of so violent a nature as the tropical storms were unknown to the Aryas before they entered this region. The deluge of water in storm and tempest, the return of the clear sky and sunlight after the dense blackness of the storm, could not be without influence on the existing conceptions of the struggle with the spirits. In the heavy black clouds which came before the storm, the Aryas saw the dark spirits, Vritra and Ahi, who would change the light of the sky into night, quench the sun, and carry off the water of the sky. The tempest which preceded the outbreak of the storm, the lightning which parted the heavy clouds, and caused the rain to stream down, the returning light of the sun in the sky, these must be the beneficent saving acts of a victorious god, who rendered vain the object of the demons, wrested from them the waters they had carried off, rekindled the light of the sun, sent the waters on the earth, caused streams and rivers to flow with renewed vigour, and gave fresh life to the withered pastures and parched fields. These conceptions underlie the mighty form into which the struggle of the demons grew up among the Aryas on the Indus, the god of storm and tempest—Indra. The army of the winds fights at his side, just as the wild army surrounds the storm-god of the Germans. Indra is a warrior, who bears the spear; heaven and earth tremble at the sound of his spear. This sound is the thunder, his good spear is the lightning; with this he smites the black clouds, the black bodies of the demons which have sucked up the water of the sky; with it he rekindles the sun.[86] With it he milks the cows, i. e. the clouds; shatters the towers of the demons, i. e.the tempests which gather round the mountain top; and hurls back the demons when they would ascend heaven.[87] "I will sing of the victories of Indra, which the god with the spear carried off," so we read in the hymns of the Veda. "On the mountain he smote Ahi; he poured out the waters, and let the river flow from the mountains; like calves to cows, so do the waters hasten to the sea. Like a bull, Indra dashed upon the sacrifice, and drank thrice of the prepared drink, then he smote the first-born of the evil one. When thou, Indra, didst smite them, thou didst overcome the craft of the guileful: thou didst beget the sun, the day, and the dawn. With a mighty cast Indra smote the dark Vritra, so that he broke his shoulders; like a tree felled with an axe Ahi sank to the earth. The waters now run over the corpse of Ahi, and the enemy of Indra sleeps there in the long darkness."[88] "Thou hast opened the cave of Vritra rich in cattle; the fetters of the streams thou hast burnt asunder."[89]

On a golden chariot, drawn by horses, yellow or ruddy, cream-coloured or chestnut, Indra approaches;[90]his skilful driver is Vayu, i. e. "the blowing," the spirit of the morning wind,[91] which, hastening before the morning glow, frees the nocturnal sky from dark clouds. Indra is followed by Rudra, i. e. the terrible, the spirit of the mighty wind, the destroying, but also beneficent storm, and the whistling winds, the swift, strong Maruts, who fight with Indra against the demons. These are twenty-seven, or thirty-six in number, the sons of Rudra. Their chariots are drawn by dappled horses; they wear golden helmets, and greaves, and spears on their shoulders. They dwell in the mountains, open the path for the sun, break down the branches of the trees like wild elephants, and when Indra has overpowered Vritra, they tear him to pieces. To Indra, as to Mitra, horses were sacrificed, and bulls also, and the libation of soma was offered.[92] Indra is the deity addressed in the greater part of the poems of the Rigveda. Himself a king, hero, and conqueror, he is invoked by minstrels to give victory to their princes. They entreat him "to harness the shrill-neighing, peacock-tailed pair of cream-coloured horses;" to come into the ranks of the warriors, like a wild, terrible lion from the mountains; to approach with sharp spear and knotty club; to give the hosts of the enemy to the vultures for food. The warriors are urged to follow Indra's victorious chariot, to vie with Indra: he who does not flinch in the battle will fight before them; he will strike back the arrows of the enemies. Indra destroys the towers and fortresses of the enemies; he casts down twenty kings; he smites the opponents by fifties and sixties of thousands.[93] The prayer has already been mentioned in which Indra is invoked to give the Aryas victory against the Dasyus. "Lead us, O Indra," we read in an invocation of the Samaveda; "let the troop of the Maruts go before the overpowering, victorious arms of the god. Raise up the weapons, O wealthy god; raise up the souls of our warriors; strengthen the vigour of the strong; let the cry of victory rise from the chariots. Be with us, Indra, when the banners wave; let our arrows be victorious; give our warriors the supremacy; protect us, ye gods, in the battle. Fear, seize the hearts of our enemies, and take possession of their limbs."[94]

The old Arian conception of Mitra as the highest god of light, may still be recognised in the Rigveda; the hymns declare that his stature transcends the sky, and his glory spreads beyond the earth. He sustains heaven and earth; with never-closing eyes he looks down on all creatures. He whom Mitra, the mighty helper, protects, no evil will touch, from far or from near; he will not be conquered or slain. A mighty, strong, and wise king, Mitra summons men to activity.[95] Driven back by the predominance of Indra, the functions of Mitra in the Rigveda are found amalgamated with those of Varuna, but even in this amalgamation the nature of light is completely victorious. In the conception of the Arians light is not only the power that awakens and gives health and prosperity, it is also the pure and the good, not merely in the natural, but also in the moral sense, the true, the honourable, just and faithful. Thus Mitra, removed from immediate conflict with the evil spirits, is combined with Varuna, the god of the highest heaven, and the life-giving water which springs from the heaven; and becomes the guardian of truth, fidelity, justice, and the duties of men to the gods. The sun is the eye of Mitra and Varuna; they have placed him in the sky; at their command the sky is bright; they send down the rain. Even the gods cannot withstand their will. They are the guardians of the world; they look down on men as on herds of cattle.[96] The light sees all, illuminates all: hence Mitra and Varuna know what takes place on earth; the most secret thing escapes them not. They are angry, terrible deities; they punish those who do not honour the gods; they avenge falsehood and sin. But to those who serve them, they forgive their transgressions. Varuna, whose special duty it is to punish the offences of men, is entreated in the hymns, with the greatest earnestness, to pardon transgression and sin. In the conception of the hymns of the Rigveda, he is the highest lord of heaven and earth. In the waters of heaven he dwells in a golden coat of mail, in his spacious golden house with a thousand doors. He has shown to the sun his path; he has excavated their beds for the rivers, and causes them to flow into the sea; his breath sounds with invigorating force through the breezes. He knows the way of the winds, and the flight of birds, and the course of ships on the sea. He knows all things in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. Even he who would fly further than the sky extends is not beyond his power. He numbers the glances of the eyes of men; where two men sit together and converse, king Varuna is a third among them.[97] He knows the truth and falsehood of men; he knows their thoughts, and watches them as a herdman his herd. His coils, threefold and sevenfold, embrace them who speak lies. "May he remain unscathed by them who speak truth," is the prayer of the invocations. "Was it for an old sin, Varuna," we read in a prayer, "that thou wishest to destroy thy friend, who praises thee? Absolve us from the sins of our fathers, and from those which we committed with our own bodies. Release Vasishtha, O king, like a thief who has feasted on stolen oxen; release him like a calf from the rope. It was not our own doing that led us astray, O Varuna, it was necessity (or temptation), an intoxicating draught, passion, dice, thoughtlessness. The old is there to mislead the young; even sleep brings unrighteousness. Through want of strength, thou strong and bright god, have I gone wrong: have mercy, almighty, have mercy. I go along trembling, like a cloud driven before the wind; let not us guilty ones reap the fruit of our sin. Let me not yet enter into the house of clay, king Varuna. Protect, O wise god, him who praises thee. Whenever we men, O Varuna, commit an offence before the heavenly host, whenever we break the law through thoughtlessness, have mercy, almighty, have mercy."[98]

The chief offering which the Aryas made to the spirits of the sky, was of ancient origin; even before they entered the land of the Indus, at the time when they were one nation with their fellow-tribesmen of Iran—this libation had been established. It was a drink-offering, the juice of a mountain plant, the soma, or haoma of the Irans, which they offered. The expressed sap of this plant, which is the asclepias acida  of our botanists, mixed with milk, narcotic and intoxicating, was to the Arya the strongest, most exhilarating liquor, a drink fit for their gods. According to the Rigveda, a tamed falcon brought the soma from the summit of the sky, or from the tops of the mountains, where Varuna had placed it. The drink of the soma inspires the songs of the poet, heals the sick, prolongs life, and makes the poor believe themselves rich. The rites of preparing the soma were already widely developed when the songs of the Rigveda over the offering were composed. The sacrificial vessels were washed out with kuça-grass, and with "the sacred word," i. e.with traditional forms of words. The plants of the soma—according to the rubrics of later times, they are to be collected by moonlight on the hills,[99]—were crushed between stones. In the Veda we are told that the suppliants "squeeze the soma with stones." The liquor thus obtained was then strained through a sieve, with songs and incantations. The sieve appears to have been made out of the hairs of a ram's tail, and the juice is pressed through it with the ten sisters, i. e. with the fingers; "it rushes to the milk as fiercely as the bull to the cow." The sound of the drops of the golden fluid falling into the metal vessels is the roaring of the bulls, the neighing of the horses of Indra, "the hymn of praise, which the song of the minstrel accompanies."[100]The drink thus prepared was then placed in the sacrificial vessel, on outspread, delicate grass, over which was laid a cloth. Then the Açvins, Vayu, the Maruts, Indra were invoked to descend, to place themselves at the sacrificial cloth, and drink the draught prepared for them. According to the faith of the Aryas, Indra fights on the side of the tribe whose soma offering he has drunk, and gives the victory to them. The invocations to Indra, to the Maruts, and the Açvins, who were considered mightiest and most influential in inviting and bringing down the gods to the sacrifice, are preserved in the Rigveda.

It would be futile to attempt to distinguish in detail the exuberant abundance of conceptions and pictures which the young and vigorous fancy of the Indians has embodied in the songs of the Veda. One poetical idea presses on another; scarcely a single image is retained for any length of time, so that we not unfrequently receive the impression of a restless variety, of uncertain effort, of flux and confusion. On the other hand, it is impossible to deny that in these poems there is a freshness and vigour of thought, a wide sympathy and moral earnestness. Beside the most lively conceptions of the phenomena of the heavens, the formation of clouds and storms; besides deep delight in nature, and a sensuous view of natural life, we find attempts to form a comprehensive, exhaustive idea of the nature of God, the beginnings of reflection and abstraction. If this contrast proves that the poems of the Veda were divided in their origin by intervals of time, we can hardly be wrong if we look upon the naïve, coarse and sensuous conceptions as the older, and the attempts at combination and abstraction as of later origin. Yet the basis of that conception of moral purity, of the just avenging power of the high deities of light, Mitra and Varuna, cannot be regarded as of later date, since it occurs also in the Mitra of the Iranians. We can hardly find a more naïve  conception than the view expressed in the poems of the Veda that the sacrifice not only gives food and drink to the hungry deities, but also gives them the power to fulfil their duties. The offering of soma strengthens Indra in the battles which he has to fight against the evil spirits; it invigorates him for the struggle against the enemies of the tribe whose offering he drinks. The god requires strength for the contest; and this, according to the peculiar view of the Indians, is increased by the offering of soma made to him. And not only does the offering give strength, it inspires the god for battle. Just as men sought courage in drinking, so does Indra drink courage from the sacrificial goblet. If Indra is to give wealth and blessing, if he is to fight victoriously his ever-recurring struggle against Vritra and Ahi, to win the fructifying moisture, and contend in the ranks of the tribe, the "honey-sweet" soma must be prepared for him without ceasing, he must be invoked to harness his horses, and place himself at the meal of the sacrifice, and exhilarate himself with the drink prepared for him; in his exhilaration, victory over the demons is certain; he will fight invincibly before the ranks of his friends. His enemies, we are told of Indra, he overcomes in the inspiration of the soma. "Drink, Indra, of the soma like a wise man, delighting thyself in the mead; it is good for exhilaration. Come down, Indra, who art truly a bull, and drink thyself full; drink the most inspiring of drinks. The intoxicating drink of the rich gives bulls."[101] By the side of conceptions such as this, the invocation praises the lofty power, the sublime nature of the gods, in moving images, which attempt, to the utmost degree, to glorify the power of the god to whom they are addressed. They elevate him and his power above the other gods, and concentrate the divine action in the deity to whom the prayer or thanksgiving is made, at the expense of his divine compeers. The object was to win by prayer and sacrifice the grace of the deity who was invoked. In this manner Agni, Surya, Indra, Mitra, and Varuna are celebrated as the highest deities. Of Indra we are told that none of the gods is like him; that none can contend with him; that before him, the thunderer, all worlds tremble. He is the lord of all; the king of the firm land and flowing water; his power has set up the ancient hills, and causes the streams to flow; he sustains the earth, the nourisher of all; he has created the sky, the sun, the dawn; he has fixed the lights of the sky; should he desire to take up both worlds—the heaven and earth—it would be but a handful for him. Who of the seers of old has seen the limits of his power?[102] As we have observed, the form of the mighty storm-god which grew up in the land of the Indus, had driven back the ancient forms of Mitra and Varuna, and thus the minstrels found a strong tendency to unite in the mighty warrior, the thunderer, the sum total of divine power. But Mitra and Varuna were not forgotten; and as the warlike life fell into the back-ground, and the impulse to seize the unity of the divine nature became stronger, these ancient forms were in their turn more easily idealized, and framed into a higher ethical conception than was possible with the peculiarly warlike nature of Indra. In the songs of praise addressed to Varuna, which have been quoted, it is impossible not to see the effort to concentrate in him as the highest god the highest divine power.

If in the conception of the gods in the Veda we find besides sensuous views important ethical elements, and traits transcending sense, we also find in the worship of the Aryas, in the relation of man to the gods, a certain simplicity coexisting with sharply defined ethical perception. Men pray to the gods for protection against the evil spirits, for the preservation and increase of the herd, for help in sickness, and long life, for victory in battle. It is allowed that sacrifices are offered in order to obtain treasures and wealth. Indra is to "give gift for gift;" he is to send wealth "so that one may wade therein to the knee." From this the god will obtain his advantage in turn; if Indra gives horses, chariots and bulls, sacrifices will be offered without ceasing.[103] Like flies round a jar of honey, we are told in another place, do the suppliants sit round the bowl of the offering; as a man sets his foot in the chariot, so does the host of minstrels longing for treasure place their confidence in Indra.[104] In a hymn, the minstrel says to Indra: "If I were the lord of cattle, master of such wealth as thou art, Indra, then would I assist the minstrel; I would not leave him in need."[105] But, on the other hand, it is emphatically stated that Indra rejects the wicked, as a man spurns a toadstool with his foot;[106] that no evil is concealed from Mitra and Varuna. It is left to Indra to give to the sacrificer whatever he considers best and most valuable; he is entreated to instruct the sacrificer, to give him wisdom, as a father to his child.[107] Stress is laid on the fact that sacrifice can remove a multitude of sins, and purify him who offers it, and we saw how earnestly Varuna was invoked to forgive the guilt that had been incurred.

The naïve  conception that the god drank vigour and courage out of the sacrificial bowl is developed among the Aryas in a very peculiar manner. From this fact they derived the idea that the sacrifice gave power to the gods generally to increase their strength; that the gods "grew" by prayer and sacrifice. Thus we read: "The suppliants, extolling Indra by their songs of praise, have strengthened him, to slay Ahi. Increase, O hero Indra, in thy body, praised with piety, and impelled by our prayers. The hymns whet thy great strength, thy courage, thy power, thy glorious thunder-club."[108] As it is men who offer sacrifice to the gods, this conception gives mankind a certain power over the deities; it lies with them to strengthen the gods by sacrifice and gifts; they can compel the gods to be helpful to them, if only they understand how to invoke them rightly. The holy words, i. e. the invocations, are, in the conception of the Veda, "a voyage which leads to heaven." Hence those who are acquainted with the correct mode of prayer and offering become magicians, who are in a position to exercise force over the gods. The idea that man has power to compel the gods is very naïve, childlike, and childish; in its most elementary form it lies at the root of fetishism. In other nations also great weight is laid on the correct mode of offering sacrifices, as the essential condition of winning the grace of the gods; but the conception that a hearing must attend a sacrifice and prayer correctly made is far more strongly present in the Indians, than in any other civilised people. Yet the hymns of the Veda are far above fetishism, which attempts to exercise direct external compulsion upon the gods. The Indian faith is rather that this effect is obtained not merely by the custom of sacrifice, but by the intensity of invocation, by the power of meditation, by elevation of spirit, by the passionate force of prayer, which will not leave the god till he has given his blessing. It is inward, not outward compulsion that they would exercise. Developed in a peculiar direction, this mode of conception is of deep and decisive importance for the religious and civic views of the Indians.

The power ascribed to the sacrificial prayers of bringing down the gods from heaven; the eager desire of every man to invite the gods effectually to his own sacrifice, in order that he may scorn the sacrifice of his enemy; the notion that it was possible by the correct and pleasing invocation to disturb the sacrifice of the enemy and make it inoperative, had their natural effect. The singers of these prayers, who knew the strongest forms of invocation, or could "weave" them—the priests—early obtained a position of importance. It has been already remarked what rich presents they boast to have received from the princes. The minstrel Kakshivat tells us that king Svanaya had presented him with one hundred bars of gold, ten chariots with four horses each, a hundred bulls and a thousand cows.[109] Other songs advise the princes to place before them a pious suppliant at the sacrifice, and to reward him liberally. These suppliants or priests were called purohita,i. e. "men placed before." "He dwells happily in his house," we are told; "to him the earth brings fruit at all times; to that king all families willingly give way, who is preceded by the suppliant; that king is protected by the gods, who liberally rewards the suppliant who seeks food."[110] The invocations which have drawn down the gods and have obtained an answer to the prayer of the sacrificer, are repeatedly used, and handed down by the minstrel to his descendants. This explains the fact that even in the Veda we find these families of minstrels; that some of the hymns are said to spring from the ancestors of these races, while others are mentioned as the new compositions of members of these families; that the supposed ancestors are considered the first and oldest minstrels and suppliants, and have already become mythical and half-divine forms, of whom some kindled the first sacrificial fire, and offered the first sacrifice with Manu, the progenitor of the Aryas.

The hymns of the Veda make frequent mention of the dead. They are invited to the sacrificial meal; they are said to sit at the fire; to eat and drink the gifts set before them on the grass. Those who have attained "life," are entreated to protect the invocations of their descendants, to ward off the evil spirits, to give wealth to their descendants. We know from a later period that daily libations were offered "to the fathers," and special gifts were given at the new moon; that a banquet of the dead was kept. In Iran also similar honours were given to the spirits of the dead. Yama, who first experienced death, who ascended from the depths of the earth to the summit of heaven, has discovered the path for mortals (p. 31). He dwells with Varuna in the third heaven, the heaven of light. To him, in this heaven of light, come the heroes who are slain in battle, the pious who are distinguished by sacrifices and knowledge, who have trodden the path of virtue, who have observed justice and have been liberal, i. e. all those who have lived a holy and pure life, and have thus purified their own bodies. In this body of light they walk in the heaven of Yama. According to the Mahabharata, the heroes and saints of ancient days shine in heaven in a light of their own (chapter viii.). In the heaven of Yama is milk, butter, honey, and soma, the drink of the gods, in large vats.[111] Here the weak no longer pay tribute to the strong;[112] here those whom death has separated are again united; here they live with Yama in feasting and rejoicing. The souls of the wicked, on the other hand, fall into darkness.[113]According to an old commentary on the Rigveda, the heaven of Yama is in the South-east, one thousand days journey on horse from the earth.[114]

The Aryas buried their dead, a custom which was also observed in old time among the Arians of Iran. A form of words, to be spoken at the burial, which is preserved among the more recent hymns of the Veda, shows that even at this period burial was practised. The bow was taken from the hand of the dead; a sacrifice was offered, in which the widow of the dead and the wives of the family took part, and during the ceremony a stone was set up as a symbol between the dead and the living. "Get thee gone, death, on thy way,"—such is this form of words—"which lies apart from the way of the gods. Thou seest, thou canst hear what I say to thee; injure not the children nor the men. I set this wall of separation (the stone) for those that live, that no one may hasten to that goal; they must cover death with this rock, and live a hundred autumns. He comes to a length of years, free from the weakness of age. The women here, who are wives not widows, glad in their husbands, advance with sacrificial fat and butter, and without tears; cheerful, and beautifully adorned, they climb the steps of the altar. Exalt thyself, O woman, to the world of life. The breath of him, by whom thou art sitting, is gone; the marriage with him who once took thy hand, and desired thee, is completed. I take the bow out of the hand of the dead—the symbol of honour, of courage, of lordship. We here and thou there, we would with force and vigour drive back every enemy and every onset. Approach to mother earth; she opens to receive thee kindly; may she protect thee henceforth from destruction. Open, O earth; be not too narrow for him; cover him like the mother who folds her son in her garment. Henceforth thou hast thy house and thy prosperity here; may Yama procure thee an abode there."[115]

The Arians in Iran gave up the burial of their corpses, and exposed them on the mountains; the Arians on the Indus burnt them. For some time burial and cremation went on side by side in the valley of the Indus. "May the fathers," we are told in an invocation, "have joy in our offering whether they have undergone cremation or not."[116] In other prayers Agni is entreated to do no harm to the dead, to make the body ripe, to carry the "unborn" part into heaven where the righteous keep festival with the gods; where Yama says: "I will give this home to the man who comes hither if he is mine."[117] "Warm, O Agni," so we are told in one of these prayers, "warm with thy glance and thy glow the immortal part of him; bear it gently away to the world of the righteous. Let him rejoin the fathers, for he drew near to thee with the libation of sacrifice. May the Maruts carry thee upwards and bedew thee with rain. May the wise Pushan (p. 47) lead thee hence, the shepherd of the world, who never lost one of his flock. Pushan alone knows all those spaces; he will lead us on a secure path. He will carefully go before as a lamp, a complete hero, a giver of rich blessing. Enter, therefore, on the old path on which our fathers have gone. Thou shalt see Varuna and Yama, the two kings, the drinkers of libations. Go to the fathers; there abide with Yama in the highest heaven, even as thou well deservest. On the right path escape the two hounds—the brood of Sarama—of the four eyes. Then proceed onward to the wise fathers who take delight in happy union with Yama. Thou wilt find a home among the fathers; prosper among the people of Yama. Surround him, Yama, with thy protection against the hounds who watch for thee, the guardians of thy path, and give him health and painless life. With wide nostrils, eager for men, with blood-brown hair, Yama's two messengers go round among men. O that they may again grant us the pleasant breath of life to-day, and that we may see the sun!"[118] In other invocations of the Rigveda the object of the prayer is "to reach to the imperishable, unchangeable world, where is eternal light and splendour; to become immortal, where king Vaivasvata (Yama) dwells, where is the sanctuary of heaven, where the great waters flow, where is ambrosia (amrita ) and peacefulness, joy and delight, where wishes and desires are fulfilled."[119]


[49]Max Müller, "Hist. of Sanskrit Liter." p. 481 ff. Kaegi, "Rigveda," 1, 9 ff.

[50]Roth, "Literatur des Veda," s. 120.

[51]In the later hymns of the Rigveda, Angiras and Bhrigu are combined with other sages and minstrels of old time into a septad of saints (10, 109, 4), and designated the great saints. They are, beside Bhrigu and Angiras, Viçvamitra, Vasishtha, Kaçyapa, Atri, Agastya. The eight saints from whom the eight tribes of the Brahman priests now in existence are derived are: Jamadagni, Gautama, Bharadvaja, Viçvamitra, Vasishtha, Kaçyapa, Atri, Agastya. Jamadagni is said to have sprung from Bhrigu; Gautama and Bharadvaja from Angiras.

[52]Muir, "Sanskrit texts," 3, 117 ff.; 121 ff.

[53]A. Weber, "Ind. Studien," 1. 88.

[54]Muir, "Sanskrit texts," 1 2 , 160 ff.

[55]Kuhn in Weber, "Ind. Stud." 1. 202. The Çatapatha-Brahmana (Weber, "Ind. Stud." 1. 161) tells us that Manu, when washing his hands in the morning, took a fish in his hands, which said to him—"Spare me, and I will save thee; a flood will wash away all creatures." The fish grew to a monstrous size, and Manu brought him to the ocean; and it bid Manu build a ship, and embark on the ocean. When the flood rose, the fish swam beside the ship, and Manu attached it by a rope to the horn of the fish. Thus the ship passed over the northern mountains. And the fish told Manu that he had saved him, and bade him fasten the ship to a tree. So Manu went up as the waters sank from the northern hills. The flood carried away all creatures; Manu alone remained. Eager for posterity, Manu offered sacrifice, and threw clarified butter, curdled milk, and whey into the water. After a year a woman rose out of the water, with clarified butter under her feet. Mitra and Varuna asked her whether she was their daughter, but she replied that she was the daughter of Manu, who had begotten her, and she went to Manu and told him that he had begotten her by the sacrifice which he had thrown into the water. He was to conduct her to the sacrifice, and he would then receive posterity and herds. And Manu did so, and lived with her with sacrifice and strict meditation, and through her began the posterity of Manu. Cf. M. Müller, "Hist. of Sanskrit Liter." p. 425 ff. The later form of the Indian legend of the flood is found in an episode of the Maha-bharata. Here the fish appears to Manu when he is performing some expiatory rites on the shore of a river. The fish grew so mighty that Manu was compelled to bring it into the Ganges, and when it became too large for this into the ocean. When swimming in the ocean the fish announced the flood, and bade Manu and the seven saints (Rishis) ascend the ship, and take with them all kinds of seeds. Then the fish drew the ship attached to his horn through the ocean, and there was no more land to be seen; for several years all was water and sky. At last the fish drew the ship to the highest part of the Himavat, and with a smile bade the rishis bind the ship to this, which to this day bears the name of Naubandhana (ship-binding). Then the fish revealed himself to the seven saints as Brahman, and commanded Manu to create all living creatures, gods, Asuras, and men, and all things movable and immovable; which command Manu performed. The legend overlooks the fact that the new creation was unnecessary, as we have already been told that Manu brought seeds of everything on board ship. The poems of the Rigveda present no trace of the legend of the flood. It may have arisen in the land of the Ganges, from the experience of the floods there, unless it is simply borrowed from external sources. In any case it is of later date; the Çatapatha-Brahmana is one of the later Brahmanas. Weber, "Ind. Stud." 9, 423; Kuhn, "Beiträge," 4, 288. I cannot follow De Gubernatis, "Letture," p. 228, ff, seqq.

[56]Kaegi, "Rigveda," 2, 58.

[57]On the Bhrigus see A. Weber, "Z. D. M. G." 9, 240. Kuhn, "Herabkunft," s. 21 ff.

[58]On the Sarayu, which is mentioned, "Rigveda," 4, 30, 14, and 10, 64, 9, cf. Lassen, loc. cit. 1 2 , 644.

[59]"Rigveda," 1, 126, 1; 8, 21, 18.

[60]Muir, loc. cit. 5, 451, 456.

[61]"Rigveda," 7, 18, 2; in Muir, loc. cit. 5, 455.

[62]"Rigveda," 1, 28, 5; 6, 47, 29.

[63]"Rigveda." 6, 75, in Muir, loc. cit. 5, 469, 471.

[64]Roth, "Das lied des Arztes," "Rigveda," 10, 97. "Z. D. M. G." 1871, 645.

[65]Muir, loc. cit. 5, 457, 461, 465.

[66]Muir, loc. cit. 5, 463.

[67]"Rigveda," 10, 21, 5. Above, p. 29.

[68]"Rigveda," 1, 94, 7; 1, 140, 1.

[69]"Samaveda," by Benfey, 2, 7, 2, 1.

[70]"Samaveda," by Benfey, 1, 1, 2, 2; 1, 1, 1, 9.

[71]Muir, loc. cit. 5, 212 ff.

[72]Kuhn, "Herabkunft des Feuers," s. 23 ff., 36 ff., 70 ff.

[73]Kaegi, "Rigveda," 1, 23.

[74]The triple birth is explained differently in the poems of the Rigveda and in the Brahmanas.

[75]"Rigveda," 1, 36; cf. 1, 27, 58, 76.

[76]Divo napata : "Rigveda," 1, 182, 1, 4.

[77]"Rigveda," 1, 112, 116, 117, 118, 119, according to Roth's rendering; cf. Benfey's translation, "Orient," 3, 147 ff.

[78]"Rigveda," 1, 92; 1, 30; 4, 52; 10, 39, 12.

[79]Muir, loc. cit. 5, 193 ff.

[80]"Rigveda," 1, 49; 1, 92; 1, 2, 5; 1, 113, 19 in Benfey's rendering, "Orient," 1, 404; 2, 257; 3, 155. The three skilful Ribhus, who are frequently mentioned in the Rigveda, are assistants of the spirits of light. They assist the gods to liberate the cows, which the spirits of the night have fastened in the rock-stable, i. e. the bright clouds.

[81]The spirits of light are called sons of Aditi, i. e. of the Eternal, Unlimited, Infinite; seven or eight sons are ascribed to her; Hillebrandt, "Die Göttin Aditi." Originally Aditi meant, in mythology, merely the non-ending, the imperishable, in opposition to the perishable world, and the gods are called the sons of immortality because they cannot die. Darmesteter, "Haurvatat," p. 83.

[82]"Rigveda," 1, 50, according to Sonne's translation in Kuhn, "Z. V. Spr." 12, 267 ff.; cf. Benfey's rendering, "Orient," 1, 405.

[83]"Rigveda," 1, 35, according to Roth's translation; cf. Benfey, "Orient," 1, 53.

[84]"Rigveda," 2, 38, according to Roth's translation, "Z. D. M. G." 1870, 306 ff.

[85]Muir, loc. cit. 5, 171 ff. Kaegi, "Rigveda," 2, 43.

[86]Kuhn, "Herabkunft des Feuers," s. 66.

[87]"Rigveda," 1, 51, 5; 2, 12, 12.

[88]"Rigveda," 1, 32, according to Roth's translation; cf. Benfey, "Orient," 1, 46.

[89]"Rigveda," 1, 11; 1, 121.

[90]Indra is derived by Benfey from syand, "to flow," "to drop," in which case we shall have to refer it to the rain-bringing power of the god. Others have proposed a derivation from idhindh, "to kindle;" others from indra, "blue." In any case, Andra, the corresponding name in the Rigveda, must not be left out of consideration.

[91]Muir, loc. cit. 5, 144.

[92]Roth, "Zwei Lieder des Rigveda, Z. D. M. G.," 1870, 301 ff. Muir, loc. cit. 5, 147 ff.

[93]"Rigveda," 4, 30; "Samaveda," Benfey, 1, 3, 2, 1. 1, 4, 1, 1.

[94]"Samaveda," Benfey, loc. cit.

[95]"Rigveda," 3, 59, in Muir, loc. cit. 5, 69.

[96]"Rigveda," 1, 115, 1 in Benfey; "Orient," 3, 157; "Rigveda," 6, 51, 2; 7, 61, 1; 7, 63, 4; in Muir,loc. cit. 5, 157.

[97]"Atharvaveda," 4, 16, according to M. Müller's translation "Essays," 1, 40, 41. Cf. Roth, "Atharvaveda," 8. 19.

[98]"Rigveda," 7, 86, 89, according to Müller's rendering, "Essays," 1, 38, 39; cf. Muir's translation,loc. cit. 5, 63 ff. [who reads "like an inflated skin" for "like a cloud," etc.]

[99]Windischmann, "Abh. der Münch. Akademie," 1847, s. 129.

[100]"Samaveda," 1, 6, 2, 2; "Rigveda," 1, 2, 2; 1, 5, 5, and elsewhere.

[101]"Samaveda," Benfey, 1, 4, 1, 1; 5, 2, 4, 1, 15, and elsewhere.

[102]Muir, loc. cit. 5, 98, ff.

[103]"Samaveda," Benfey, 1, 3, 2, 4.

[104]"Samaveda," 2, 8, 2, 6.

[105]"Samaveda," 1, 4, 1, 2; 2, 9, 2, 9.

[106]"Samaveda," 1, 6, 2, 1.

[107]"Rigveda," 1, 32; "Samaveda," 1, 3, 2, 4.

[108]"Rigveda," 5, 31, 10; 1, 63, 2; 2, 20, 8; 1, 54, 8.

[109]"Rigveda," 1, 126, 2, 3.

[110]"Rigveda," 4, 50, 8, 9. Roth, "Z. D. M. G.," 1, 77. Lassen, loc. cit. 1 2 , 951.

[111]M. Müller, "Z. D. M. G.," 9, 16. These bright bodies of the fathers led to the idea that the souls of the fathers had adorned the heaven with stars, and that they were these stars. "Rigveda," 10, 68, 11.

[112]"Atharvaveda," 3, 29, 3; in Muir, loc. cit. 5, 310.

[113]Muir, loc. cit. 5, 308, 309, 311. In the later portion of the Rigveda, 10, 15, the old conception of the fathers is already changed. Three classes of fathers are distinguished, and burning and non-burning are mentioned side by side.

[114]"Aitareya-Brahmana," 2, 17; in Muir, loc. cit. 5, 322.

[115]"Rigveda," 10, 18; according to Roth's rendering, "Z. D. M. G.," 8, 468 ff.

[116]"Rigveda," 10, 15, 14; in Muir, loc. cit. 5, 297.

[117]"Atharvaveda," 18, 2, 37; in Muir, loc. cit. 5, 294.

[118]M. Müller, "Die Todtenbestattung der Brahmanen," s. 14 ff.

[119]"Rigveda," 9, 113, 7 ff.