sacrifice the gods performed the sacrifice. These were the earliest rites. These great powers have sought the sky, where are the former Sadhyas, gods."
The myth here stated is plain enough in its essential facts. The gods performed a sacrifice with a gigantic anthropomorphic being (Purusha = Man) as the victim. His head, like the head of Ymir, formed the sky, his eye the sun, animals sprang from his body. The four castes are connected with, and it appears to be implied that they sprang from, his mouth, arms, thighs, and feet. It is obvious that this last part of the myth is subsequent to the formation of castes. This is one of the chief arguments for the late date of the hymn, as castes are not distinctly recognised elsewhere in the Rig-Veda. Mr. Max Müller believes the hymn to be "modern both in its character and in its diction,' and this opinion he supports by philological arguments. Dr. Muir says that the hymn "has every character of modernness both in its diction and ideas." Dr. Haug, on the other hand, in a paper read in 1871, admits that the present form of the hymn is not older than the greater part of the hymns of the tenth book, and than those of the Atharva Veda; but he adds, "The ideas which the hymn contains are certainly of at primeval antiquity. . . . In fact, the hymn is found in the Yajur-Veda among the formulas connected with
- Ancient Sanskrit Literature, 570.
- Sanskirt Texts, 2d edit., i. 12.
- Ibid., 2d edit., ii. 463.