The Religion and Philosophy of the Veda and Upanishads: Reprint of Volume 31 and 32 of Harvard Oriental Series (2 Volumes)


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The work presents to the student of religion, in objective form and with constant reference to the original sources and to modern discussions, a comprehensive but concise account of the whole of the religion and philosophy of the Vedic period in India.

The work comprises twentynine chapters grouped in five main parts, viz (i) Sources, (ii) God and Demons of the Veda, (iii) Vedic Ritual, (iv) Spirits of the Dead, (v) Philosophy of the Veda. It draws mainly from the original sources. A genuine student of religion and philosophy will find in this work an invaluable and exhaustive store of facts. This monumental work in meant to restore to the Vedic religion its just place in the study of theology.


It is the object of this work to present to the student of religion in objective form and with constant reference to the original sources and to modern discussions a comprehensive but concise account of the whole of the religion and philosophy of the Vedic period in India. The difficulty of the task lies not merely in the abundance of the original sources which I have had occasion to study in detail in making my translations of the Taittiriya Samhita and the Brahmanas and the Aranyakas of the Rigveda but also in the extreme divergence of view among modern interpreters of Vedic literature. Doubtless it is owing to this cause that the extraordinary value of Vedic religion to the student of religious belief has been so completely overlooked by Sir James Frazer and Professor S. Reinach in their theories of religion and that it has been so gravely misinterpreted by Professor Sir William Ridgeway in his essays on the origin of the Drama. The account of Vedic religion given in this work will I trust do something to restore to that religion its just place in the study of theology.

The writer of such a work must at every turn derive much from his predecessors. An effort has been made to assign to their authors the most important of the theories mentioned but I desire to acknowledge a more general obligation to certain scholars. In the treatment of the mythology I am deeply indebted to Prof. A.A. Macdoneell’s Vedic mythology which is not merely an invaluable and exhaustive storehouse of facts but is distinguished by unfailing sureness and clearness of judgment and I have derived much help from Bergaigne’s religion vedique Hillebrandt’s Vedische Mythologie and Oldenberg’s religion des Veda though I have been unable to follow these authors in the more imaginative of their theories. For the ritual I owe many facts to hille brandt, Sehwab Caland, Henry, Weber and last, but certainly not least to my predecessor Prof. J. Eggeling. In this explanation I fund myself often in agreement with Oldenberg, the brilliansce and charm of whose work in this sphere can hardly be overestimated. I have made free use of the light cast on ritual by other religions and I am conscious of having derived great profit from the works of Dr. L.R. Farnell but neither the totemism of Durkheim or S. Reinach nor the vegetration spirits of Mannhardt and Sir J. Frazer have helped me in my study of the Veda. For the philosophy of the Brahmanas and the Upanisads Levi, Oltremare and Deussen have been of the greatest assistance through the completeness of the collections of material which they have made and the fact that I have found it necessary to refuse to accept Deussen’s main theories must not be taken to indicate any lack of appreciation of the great merits of his work. Max Muller, Whitney Hopkins, Bloomfield and to the untiring labors and accomplished scholarship of Prof. Charles R. Lanman who has added to the many obligations which I owe to him by permiting these volumes to appear in the Harvard Oriental series that monumentum aere pernnius of his unselfhish devotion to the study of the life and literature of India.


1. The Rigveda and the Aryans 1
2. The later Samhitas and the Brahmanas 16
3. The later literature 27
4. The Avesta and Comparative Mythology 32
&nbsp &nbsp 1. The Avesta 32
&nbsp &nbsp 2. Comparative Mythology and Religion 36
&nbsp &nbsp 3. The origin of religion 42
&nbsp &nbsp 4. The mingling of races and cultures 51
&nbsp &nbsp 5. Popular and hieratic religion

5. The nature of the Gods and Demons 58
&nbsp &nbsp 1. Nature Gods and abstract Deities 58
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp (a) Anthropomorphism 58
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp (b) Theriomorphism and the worship of animals 61
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp © Animatism, Sondergotter, and Abstract Deities 63
&nbsp &nbsp 2. Fetishism 66
&nbsp &nbsp 3. Animism and the spirits of the dead 71
&nbsp &nbsp 4. The term Deva 75
6. Vedic cosmology and cosmogony 77
7. The interrelation of the Gods 86
8. The Great Gods - Celestial 95
&nbsp &nbsp 1. Dyaus the Father 95
&nbsp &nbsp 2. Varuna, Mitra, and the Adityas 96
&nbsp &nbsp 3. Surya, Savitr and Pusan 104
&nbsp &nbsp 4. Visnu 108
&nbsp &nbsp 5. Vivavant 112
&nbsp &nbsp 6. The Acvins 113
&nbsp &nbsp 7. The Goddess Dawn 119
&nbsp &nbsp 8. The Moon 122
9. The Great Gods - Aerial 124
&nbsp &nbsp 1. Indra 124
&nbsp &nbsp 2. Trita Aptya 134
&nbsp &nbsp 3. Apam Napat 135
&nbsp &nbsp 4. Ahi Budhnya 136
&nbsp &nbsp 5. Aja Ekapad 137
&nbsp &nbsp 6. Mataricvan 138
&nbsp &nbsp 7. Vayu and Vata 139
&nbsp &nbsp 8. Parjanya 140
&nbsp &nbsp 9. The Waters 141
&nbsp &nbsp 10. Rudra 142
&nbsp &nbsp 11. The Maruts or Rudras 150
10. The Great Gods - Terrestrial 154
&nbsp &nbsp 1. Agni 154
&nbsp &nbsp 2. Brhaspati and other forms of Agni 162
&nbsp &nbsp 3. The God Soma 166
&nbsp &nbsp 4. The Rivers 172
&nbsp &nbsp 5. The Earth 174
&nbsp &nbsp 6. The Sea 174
11. The Minor Gods of Nature 176
&nbsp &nbsp 1. The Rbhus and the Rtus 176
&nbsp &nbsp 2. The Gandharvas and Apsarases 179
&nbsp &nbsp 3. Spirits of the Forest, the Trees, the Plants 184
&nbsp &nbsp 4. Spirits of Agriculture, Pasture, and the Mountains 186
&nbsp &nbsp 5. Deities of the House 188
&nbsp &nbsp 6. Divine Implements 188
&nbsp &nbsp 7. Divine Animals 189
&nbsp &nbsp 8. Totemism 195
&nbsp &nbsp 9. The lesser Nature Goddesses 197
&nbsp &nbsp 10. Constellations and Time Periods 200
12. Abstract Deities and Sondergutter 203
&nbsp &nbsp 1. The Nature of Abstract Deities 203
&nbsp &nbsp 2. Tvastr and other Agent Gods 204
&nbsp &nbsp 3. The Creator Gods 206
&nbsp &nbsp 4. Subjective Deities 210
&nbsp &nbsp 5. Deified states or conditions 211
&nbsp &nbsp 6. Aditi and Diti 215
&nbsp &nbsp 7. The wives of the Gods 218
13. Groups of Deities 220
&nbsp &nbsp 1. Dual Divinities 220
&nbsp &nbsp 2. Groups of Gods 221
14. Priests and Heroes 223
&nbsp &nbsp 1. The Priests of the fire-cult 228
&nbsp &nbsp 2. Other ancient Priests 226
&nbsp &nbsp 3. Warriors 228
&nbsp &nbsp 4. The First of Men 228
15. The Demons 231
&nbsp &nbsp 1. The Enemies of the Gods 231
&nbsp &nbsp 2. The Enemies of Man 236
16. The Gods and their worshippers

17. The ritual in the Rigveda 252
18. The nature of the Vedic sacrifice 257
&nbsp &nbsp 1. The sacrifice as a gift 257
&nbsp &nbsp 2. The sacrifice as a spell 260
&nbsp &nbsp 3. The removal of sin by sacrifice and magic 264
&nbsp &nbsp 4. Communion and sacrament in the sacrifice 268
&nbsp &nbsp 5. The materials of the sacrifice 278
&nbsp &nbsp 6. Fire and the sacrifice 285
&nbsp &nbsp 7. The performers of the sacrifice

19. Rites ancillary to the sacrifice 300
&nbsp &nbsp 1. The consecration 300
&nbsp &nbsp 2. The Avabhrtha 303
&nbsp &nbsp 3. Taboos 304
&nbsp &nbsp 4. The forms of prayer 310
At this point occurs the break between Chapters 1- 19 and Chapters 20 - 29
The later group is bound up as Volume 32
20. The sacrifice of the Crauta ritual 313
&nbsp &nbsp 1. General Characteristics 313
&nbsp &nbsp 2. Establishment and re-establishment of the fires 316
&nbsp &nbsp 3. The Fire-god oblation or Agnihotra 318
&nbsp &nbsp 4. The new-moon and full-moon sacrifices 319
&nbsp &nbsp 5. The four-month or seasonal sacrifices 321
&nbsp &nbsp 6. First-fruit sacrifice (agrayana isti) and others 323
&nbsp &nbsp 7. The animal sacrifice 324
&nbsp &nbsp 8. The Soma sacrifice 326
&nbsp &nbsp 9. The Pravargya or hot-milk sacrifice 332
&nbsp &nbsp 10. The Aikadacina animal offering 333
&nbsp &nbsp 11. Other forms of Jyotistoma 334
&nbsp &nbsp 12. Other Soma sacrifices of one day's duration 336
&nbsp &nbsp 13. The Vajapeya or drink-of-strength 339
&nbsp &nbsp 14. The royal consecration 340
&nbsp &nbsp 15. The horse sacrifice 343
&nbsp &nbsp 16. The human sacrifice 347
&nbsp &nbsp 17. Other Ahina rites 348
&nbsp &nbsp 18. The Sattras or sacrificial sessions 349
&nbsp &nbsp 19. The Sautramani 352
&nbsp &nbsp 20. The piling of the fire-altar 354
&nbsp &nbsp 21. The Hotr formulae 356
&nbsp &nbsp 22. Expiations

21. The domestic ritual 358
&nbsp &nbsp 1. General character of the domestic sacrifices 358
&nbsp &nbsp 2. The various offerings 359
&nbsp &nbsp 3. Birth-ceremonies and others 366
&nbsp &nbsp 4. Studentship 369
&nbsp &nbsp 5. Marriage

22. Magic in the ritual 379
&nbsp &nbsp 1. The relations of magic to religion 379
&nbsp &nbsp 2. The nature of Vedic magic 380
&nbsp &nbsp 3. The removal of hostile influences 382
&nbsp &nbsp 4. The attraction of beneficial substances and powers 386
&nbsp &nbsp 5. Mimetic magic 388
&nbsp &nbsp 6. Divination and ordeal 390
&nbsp &nbsp 7. The magic spell 393
&nbsp &nbsp 8. The magic sacrifice 396
&nbsp &nbsp 9. Yoga practices 401
23. The abodes of the dead 403
&nbsp &nbsp 1. The nature of the dead 403
&nbsp &nbsp 2. The places of the dead 406
&nbsp &nbsp 3. The transmutation of the dead

24. The disposal of the dead

25. The cult of the dead 425
&nbsp &nbsp 1. The living and the dead 425
&nbsp &nbsp 2. The offerings to the dead in the domestic ritual 427
&nbsp &nbsp 3. The offerings to the dead in the Crauta ritual 429
26. The beginnings of Vedic Philosophy

27. The Theosophy of the Brahmanas 440
&nbsp &nbsp 1. The general character of the Brahmana philosophy 440
&nbsp &nbsp 2. The highest principle of the universe 442
&nbsp &nbsp 3. The theory of the sacrifice 454
&nbsp &nbsp 4. The ethics of the Brahmanas 468
&nbsp &nbsp 5. Modes of thought and categories

28. The Philosophy of the Upanisads 489
&nbsp &nbsp 1. The origin of the Upanisads 489
&nbsp &nbsp 2. The extant Upanisads 489
&nbsp &nbsp 3. The interpretation of the Upanisads 507
&nbsp &nbsp 4. The problem and conditions of knowledge 513
&nbsp &nbsp 5. The nature of the Absolute 516
&nbsp &nbsp 6. The Absolute and the Universe 522
&nbsp &nbsp 7. Maya and Prakrti - Illusion and Nature 529
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp (a) Illusion 529
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp (b) Nature 532
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp (c) The origin of the Samkhya and Buddhism 535
&nbsp &nbsp 8. The Supreme and the Individual Souls 551
&nbsp &nbsp 9. The four states of the Soul 567
&nbsp &nbsp 10. The doctrine of transmigration 570
&nbsp &nbsp 11. The way of Salvation 581
&nbsp &nbsp 12. The ethics of the Upanisads and Yoga 584
&nbsp &nbsp 13. The significance of the philosophy of the Upanisads

29. Greece and the philosophy of India

A. The Age of the Avesta and the Rigveda 614
B. The sacrifice of Purusa and the origin of the world 619
C. The Aryan conception of the heaven 621
D. The drink of immortality 623
E. The Indo-European fire-cult 625
F. Cremation and burial 626
G. The Dravidian element in Indian thought 629
H. Pythagoras and Parmenides 634
General Index 639
Sanskrit Index 675

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