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ORIGINAL SANSKRIT TEXTS
ORIGIN AND HISTORY
THE PEOPLE OF INDIA,
^ THEIR RELIGION AND INSTITUTIONS.
COLLECTED, TRANSLATED, AND ILLUSTRATED
J. MUIR, D.C.L., LL.D., PH.D.
COXTHTBUnONS TO A KNOWLEDGE OF THE COSMOGONY, MYTHOLOGY, RELIGIOUS
TllUBNER & CO., 8 And 60, PATERNOSTER ROW.
v S (All rights reserved.)
In the present volume I have reprinted, with the addition of some new materials, subsequently collected, and of the texts on which they are founded, a series of papers on the theogony, mythology, and religious ideas of the Yedio poets, and other subjects, which originally appeared in the Journal of the Eoyal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland for 1864, and the two following years: and I have appended a new section, on life and manners during the Vedic age.
I have not thought it necessary to translate all the texts to which I have referred in proof of the representations I have made. To have done so would have extended the work to an unnecessary length, as numerous verses are cited for the sake of a single epithet. Some of the texts are rendered in full; but in many, perhaps most, cases I have contented myself with giving the substance of several passages of similar or identical purport.
Nor have I considered it necessary to supply here any summary of the contents of the volume, such as was given in the preface to the third and fourth volumes, and in that to the second edition of the first volume. The summary given in the Table of Contents seems sufficiently ample to afford the reader the means of readily ascertaining what he may expect to find in the body of the work.
I have tried to exhibit, in a metrical form, the substance of the ideas regarding Indra and some other deities, which are more fully illustrated in the prose sections.
I should also further remark that in this volume I have attempted nothing more than to exhibit the most prominent features of the gods,—such as display themselves on the surface. It must remain for some more profound and critical scholar, after maturer investigation, to penetrate more deeply into the nature and essence of the Vedic mythology, to estimate and represent it in a more philosophical spirit, to investigate the age of the different hymns, and to determine how far it may be possible to trace in them a development of the mythology, from a simpler to a more complex state, or any other modification of its character or elements, even before it began to show any tendency towards monotheism.
Meanwhile, and until the subject shall have been treated in a manner more befitting its importance, the materials which I have brought together, arranged, and interpreted, will enable those students of mythology who are themselves unable to consult the originals, to form, I trust, a not inaccurate, and a tolerably complete, conception of the character and attributes of the Indian deities in the earliest form in which they are represented to us by written records.