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lxvii
INTRODUCTION.

a Brâhmana, a mere continuation of the Aitareya-brâhmana, explaining the Mahâvrata ceremony, while its last book contains the Sûtras or short technical rules explaining the same ceremony which in the first book had been treated in the style peculiar to the Brâhmanas. In the same Aitareya-âranyaka, III, 2, 6, 6, a passage of the Upanishad is spoken of as a Brâhmana, possibly as something like a Brâhmana, while something very like an Upanishad occurs in the Âpastamba-sûtras, and might be quoted therefore as a Sûtra[1]. At all events the Upanishads, like the Âranyakas, belong to what Hindu theologians call Sruti, or revealed literature, in opposition to Smrriti, or traditional literature, which is supposed to be founded on the former, and allowed to claim a secondary authority only; and the earliest of these philosophical treatises will always, I believe, maintain a place in the literature of the world, among the most astounding productions of the human mind in any age and in any country.


Different Classes of Upanishads.

The ancient Upanishads, i. e. those which occupy a place in the Samhitâs, Brâhmanas, and Âranyakas, must be, if we follow the chronology which at present is commonly, though, it may be, provisionally only, received by Sanskrit scholars, older than 600 B.C., i.e. anterior to the rise of Buddhism. As to other Upanishads, and their number is very large, which either stand by themselves, or which are ascribed to the Atharva-veda, it is extremely difficult to fix. their age. Some of them are, no doubt, quite modern, for mention is made even of an Allah-upanishad; but others may claim a far higher antiquity than is generally assigned to them on internal evidence. I shall only mention that the name of Atharvasiras, an Upanishad generally assigned to a very modern date, is quoted in the Sûtras of Gautama and Baudhâyana[2];

  1. Âpastamba, translated by Bühler, Sacred Books of the East, vol. ii, p. 75.
  2. Gautama, translated by Bühler, Sacred Books of the East, vol. ii, p. 272, and Introduction, p. lvi.