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Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 25.djvu/27

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of the Kâthaka Sûtras. These latter discoveries are of particularly great importance, because they fully establish the truth of the assumption, underlying Professor Max Müller's theory, that in post-Vedic times the Brâhmans did not hesitate to change the character of ancient school-books and to convert them into generally binding law-codes, either by simply taking them out of their connexion with the Srauta and Grihya-sûtras or by adding besides matter which, in the eyes of orthodox Hindus, must greatly increase the sentiment of reverence felt for them. It is especially the case of the so-called Vishnu-smriti, which deserves the most careful attention. The beginning and the end of the work distinctly characterise it as a revelation of the god Vishnu. Vishnu, Vaishnava worship and philosophy are on various occasions praised and recommended in the course of the discussions. Yet the difference in the style of the introductory and concluding chapters leaves no doubt that they are later additions, and the perfectly credible tradition of the Pandits of Puna and Benares, the occurrence of particular sacred texts known to the Kâthakas alone, as well as the special resemblance of its contents to those of the Kâthaka Grihya-sûtra, make it perfectly certain that the work is only a Vaishnava recast of the Kâthaka Dharma-sûtra[1]. We thus obtain in this case the confirmation of almost every fact which the conversion of the Dharma-sûtra of the Mânavas into the revealed code of the Pragâpati Manu presupposes, with the sole exception of the substitution of epic Slokas for aphoristic prose. With respect to the last point, the further exploration of the Smriti literature has furnished numerous analogies. As an instance to the point we can now cite the fragments of the so-called Brihat Saṅkha Dharmasâstra, which, as the quotations show, must 

  1. A quotation in Govindarâga's Smritimañgarî, fol. 12b, 1. 8 (India Office Collection, No. 1736), contains a very small portion of this work. When explaining the penance for the murder of a Brâhmana, mentioned Manu XI, 74, Govindarâga says, (Symbol missingIndic characters) The quotation shows that the Dharma-sûtra of the Kathas mentioned the fanciful expiations ending in death, which are given in all the ancient law-books, but omitted in the Vishnu-smriti.