Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/61

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THE VEDIC HYMNS. 57 as ' king of heaven and earth, the conqueror of all.' To Varuna also it is said, ' Thou art lord of all, of heaven and earth ; thou art king of all those who are gods, and of all those who are men.' The more spiritual of the Vedic singers, therefore, may be said to have worshipped One God, though not One alone. A Vedic Hymn. — ' In the beginning there arose the Golden Child. He was the one born lord of all that is. He established the earth and this sky. Who is the God to whom we shall offer our sacrifice ? ' He who gives life, he who gives strength ; whose command all the Bright Gods revere ; whose shadow is immortality, whose shadow is death. Who is the God to whom we shall offer our sacrifice ? ' He who, through his power, is the one king of the breathing and awakening world. He who governs all, man and beast. Who is the God to whom we shall offer our sacrifice ? ' He through whom the sky is bright and the earth firm ; he through whom the heaven was established, nay, the highest heaven ; he who measured out the light and the air. Who is the God to whom we shall offer our sacrifice ? ' He who by his might looked even over the water-clouds ; he who alone is God above all gods. Who is the God to whom we shall offer our sacrifice ? ' Burning of the Dead. — While the aboriginal races buried their dead in the earth or under rude stone monuments, the Aryan — alike in India, in Greece, and in-Italy — made use of the funeral-pile. Several exquisite Sanskrit hymns bid farewell to the dead : — ' Depart thou, depart thou by the ancient paths to the place whither our fathers have departed. Meet with the Ancient Ones ; meet with the Lord of Death. Throwing off thine imperfections, go to thy home. Become united with a body ; clothe thyself in a shining form.' ' Let him depart to those for whom flow the rivers of nectar. Let him depart to those who, through meditation, have obtained the victory ; who, by fixing their thoughts on the unseen, have gone to heaven. Let him depart to the mighty in battle, to the heroes who have laid down their lives for others, to those who have bestowed their goods on the poor.' The doctrine of transmigration was at first