A history of Indian philosophy, volumes. I - V by Surendranath DASGUPTA

By Surendranath DASGUPTA

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But when the collections of hymns were being handed down from generation to generation the ceremonials became more and more complicated. Thus there came about the necessity of the distribution of the different sacrificial functions among several distinct classes of priests. We may assume that this was a period when the caste system was becoming established, and when the only thing which could engage wise and religious minds was sacrifice and its elaborate rituals. Free speculative thinking was thus subordinated to the service of the sacrifice, and the result was the production of the most fanciful sacramental and symbolic A.

On the other hand, the complications of ritualism were gradually growing in their elaborate details. The direct result of this growth contributed however to relegate the gods to a relatively unimportant position, and to raise the dignity of the magicar characteristics of the sacrifice as an institution which could give the desired fruits of themselves. t:tava influence. The sacrifice taken as a whole is conceived as Haug notes "to be a kind of machinery in which every piece must tally with the other," the slightest discrepancy in the performance of even a minute ritualistic detail, say -in the pouring of the melted butter on the fire, or the proper placing of utensils employed in the sacrifice, or even the misplacing of a mere straw contrary to the injunctions was sufficient to spoil the whole sacrifice with whatsoever earnestness it might be performed.

That out of the apparently meaningless speculations of the Brahmar:tas this doctrine could have developed, might indeed appear to be too improbable to be believed. On the strength of the stories of Balaki Gargya and Ajatasatru (Brh. 11. I), Svetaketu and Pravahar:ta Jaibali (Cha. v. 3 and Brh. VI. 2) and Arur:ti and Asvapati Kaikeya (Cha. v. " This if true would of course lead the development of the U pani~ads away from the influence of the Veda, Brahmal)aS and the Arar:tyakas. But do the facts prove this?

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