I remember, with fondness, how as a graduate student, I walked into the study of W. Norman Brown and told him that I wished to do research on a topic which could give me a good understanding of the Vedic age. It was in 1963 and he had at that time been engaged in tracing the developments leading up to the sanctity of the cow in Hinduism. He suggested that a paper treating the concept of the cow in the Vedas would penetrate into different areas of Vedic culture. Although the, subject eventually came to be narrowed down so as to be a suitable dissertation topic, Professor Brown's acumen regarding the centrality of the cow in the Vedic period :proved to be totally correct. In this way I benefitted not only from his guidance, valuable discussions and encouragements, but also from his wisdom to introduce me to a subject capable of yielding further insights into aspects of Vedic religion and Indian art.
The present work is a much revised version of the original study completed in 1967 and written as partial fulfillment of the Ph.D. requirements at the University of Pennsylvania.
I wish to thank the George Mason University Foundation for making available funds to type the final manuscript.
One section of Chapter IV has been previously published under the title "The Myth of the Panis in the Rig Veda" JAOS 93 (1973) 44-57.
The manucscript was partially seen through press during my stay in India as Senior Research Fellow of the American Institute of Indian Studies.
**Contents and Sample Pages**