Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/62

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58 THE AR YANS IN INDIA. unknown. The circle round the funeral-pile sang with a firm assurance that their friend went direct to a state of blessedness and reunion with the loved ones who had gone before. ' Do thou conduct us to heaven,' says a hymn of the later Atharva- Veda ; ' let us be with our wives and children.' ' In heaven, where our friends dwell in bliss — having left behind the infirmities of the body, free from lameness, free from crookedness of limb — there let us behold our parents and our children.' ' May the water-shedding Spirits bear thee upwards, cooling thee with their swift motion through the air, and sprinkling thee with dew.' ' Bear him, carry him ; let him, with all his faculties complete, go to the world of the righteous. Crossing the dark valley which spreadeth boundless around him, let the unborn soul ascend to heaven. Wash the feet of him who is stained with sin ; let him go upwards with cleansed feet. Crossing the gloom, gazing with wonder in many directions, let the unborn soul go up to heaven.' Later Vedic Literature. — By degrees the old collection of hymns, or the Rig- Veda, no longer sufficed. Three other col- lections or service-books were therefore added, making the Four Vedas. The word Veda is from the same root as the Latin vid-ere, to see : the early Greek/eid-enai, infinitive of oida, I know : and the English wisdom, or I wit. The Brahmans taught that the Veda was divinely inspired, and that it was literally ' the wisdom of God.' There was, first, the Rig- Veda, or the hymns in their simplest form. Second, the Sama-Veda, made up of hymns of the Rig- Veda to be used at the Soma sacrifice. Third, the Yajur-Veda, consisting not only of Rig- Vedic hymns, but also of prose sentences, to be used at the great sacrifices ; and divided into two editions, the Black and White Yajur. The fourth, or Atharva-Veda, was compiled from the least ancient hymns at the end of the Rig- Veda, very old religious spells, and later sources. Some of its spells have a similarity to the ancient German and Lithuanian charms, and appear to have come down from the most primitive times, before the Indian and European branches of the Aryan race struck out from their common home. The Brahmanas. — To each of the four Vedas were attached