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Lastly, the influence of Sâkhâs or schools may have told more or less on certain Upanishads. Thus the Maitrâyanîya-upanishad, as we now possess it, shows a number of irregular forms which even the commentator can account for only as peculiarities of the Maitrâyanîa-sâkhâ[1] . That Upanishad, as it has come down to us, is full of what we should call clear indications of a modern and corrupt age. It contains in VI, 37, a sloka from the Mânava-dharma-sâstra, which startled even the commentator, but is explained away by him as possibly found in another Sâkhâ, and borrowed from there by Manu. It contains corruptions of easy words which one would have thought must have been familiar to every student. Thus instead of the passage as found in the Khândogya-upanishad VIII, 7, i, ya âtmâpahatapâpmâ vigaro vimrityur visoko 'vigighatso 'pipâsah, &c, the text of the Maitrâyanîya-upanishad (VII, 7) reads, âtmâpahatapâpmâ vigaro vimrityur visoko 'vikikitso 'vipâsah. But here again the commentator explains that another Sâkhâ reads 'vigighatsa, and that avipâsa is to be explained by means of a change of letters as apipâsa. Corruptions, therefore, of modern elements which are found in one Upanishad, as handed down in one Sâkhâ, do not prove that the same existed in other ´Sâkhâs, or that they were found in the original text.

All these questions have to be taken into account before we can venture to give a final judgment on the relative age of Upanishads which belong to one and the same class. I know of no problem which offers so many similarities with the one before us as that of the relative age of the four Gospels. All the difficulties which occur in the Upanishads occur here, and no critical student who knows the difficulties that have to be encountered in determining the relative age of the four Gospels, will feel inclined, in the present state of Vedic scholarship, to speak with confidence on the relative age of the ancient Upanishads.

  1. They are generally explained as khândasa, but in one place (Maitr. Up. II, 4) the commentator treats such irregularities as etakkhâkhâsaṅketapâthah, a reading peculiar to the Maitrâyanîya school. Some learned remarks on this point may be seen in an article by Dr. L. Schroeder, Über die Maitrâyanî Samhitâ.