gotten the many passages in the Brâhmanas, the Sûtras, and even in the Laws of Manu, where the duty of learning the Veda by heart is inculcated for every Brâhmana, Kshatriya, Vaisya, that is, for every man except a Sûdra.
These are a few specimens only to show how dangerous it is to generalise even where there exist complete translations of certain sacred books. It is far easier to misapprehend, or even totally to misunderstand, a translation than the original; and it should not be supposed, because a sentence or a whole chapter seems at first sight unintelligible in a translation, that therefore they are indeed devoid of all meaning.
What can be more perplexing than the beginning of the Khândogya-upanishad? 'Let a man meditate,' we read, or, as others translate it, 'Let a man worship the syllable Om.' It may seem impossible at first sight to elicit any definite meaning from these words and from much that follows after. But it would be a mistake, nevertheless, to conclude that we have here vox et præterea nihil. Meditation on the syllable Om consisted in a long-continued repetition of that syllable with a view of drawing the thoughts away from all other subjects, and thus concentrating them on some higher object of thought of which that syllable was made to be the symbol. This concentration of thought, ekâgratâ or one-pointedness, as the Hindus called it, is something to us almost unknown. Our minds are like kaleidoscopes of thoughts in constant motion; and to shut our mental eyes to everything else, while dwelling on one thought only, has become to most of us almost as impossible as to apprehend one