To deny, point-blank, any sound philosophy in the later Brahmanical speculations upon the Rig-Veda, is equivalent to refusing to ever correctly understand the mother-religion itself, which gave rise to them, and which is the expression of the inner thought of the direct ancestors of these later authors of the Brahmanas. If learned Europeans can so

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readily show that all the Vedic gods are but empty masks, they must also be ready to demonstrate that the Brahmanical authors were as incapable as themselves to discover these “actors” anywhere. This done, not only the three other sacred books which Max Muller says “do not deserve the name of Vedas,” but the Rig-Veda itself becomes a meaningless jumble of words; for what the world-renowned and subtile intellect of the ancient Hindu sages failed to understand, no modern scientist, however learned, can hope to fathom. Poor Thomas Taylor was right in saying that “philology is not philosophy.”

It is, to say the least, illogical to admit that there is a hidden thought in the literary work of a race perhaps ethnologically different from our own; and then, because it is utterly unintelligible to us whose spiritual development during the several thousand intervening years has bifurcated into quite a contrary direction — deny that it has any sense in it at all. But this is precisely what, with all due respect for erudition, Professor Max Muller and his school do in this instance, at least. First of all, we are told that, albeit cautiously and with some effort, yet we may still walk in the footsteps of these authors of the Vedas. “We shall feel that we are brought face to face and mind to mind with men yet intelligible to us after we have freed ourselves from our modern conceits. We shall not succeed always; words, verses, nay whole hymns in the Rig-Veda, will and must remain to us a dead letter. . . . For, with a few exceptions . . . the whole world of the Vedic ideas is so entirely beyond our own intellectual horizon, that instead of translating, we can as yet only guess and combine.”

And yet, to leave us in no possible doubt as to the true value of his words, the learned scholar, in another passage, expresses his opinion on these same Vedas (with one exception) thus: “The only important, the only real Veda, is the Rig-Veda — the other so-called Vedas deserve the name of Veda no more than the Talmud deserves the name of Bible.” Professor Muller rejects them as unworthy of the attention of any one, and, as we understand it, on the ground that they contain chiefly “sacrificial formulas, charms, and incantations.”

And now, a very natural question: Are any of our scholars prepared to demonstrate that, so far, they are intimately acquainted with the hidden sense of these perfectly absurd “sacrificial formulas, charms, and incantations” and magic nonsense of Atharva-Veda? We believe not, and our doubt is based on the confession of Professor Muller himself, just quoted. If “the whole world of the Vedic ideas [the Rig-Veda cannot

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be included alone in this world, we suppose] is so entirely beyond our own [the scientists’] intellectual horizon that, instead of translating, we can as yet only guess and combine”; and the Yagur-Veda, Sama-Veda, and Atharva-Veda are “childish and foolish”; and the Brahmanas, the Sutras Yaska, and Sayana, “though nearest in time to the hymns of the Rig-Veda, indulge in the most frivolous and ill-judged interpretations,” how can either himself or any other scholar form any adequate opinion of either of them? If, again, the authors of the Brahmanas, the nearest in time to the Vedic hymns, were already incompetent to offer anything better than “ill-judged interpretations,” then at what period of history, where, and by whom, were written these grandiose poems, whose mystical sense has died with their generations? Are we, then, so wrong in affirming that if sacred texts are found in Egypt to have become — even to the priestly scribes of 4,000 years ago — wholly unintelligible, and the Brahmanas offer but “childish and foolish” interpretations of the Rig-Veda, at least as far back as that, then, 1st, both the Egyptian and Hindu religious philosophies are of an untold antiquity, far antedating ages cautiously assigned them by our students of comparative mythology; and, 2d, the claims of ancient priests of Egypt and modern Brahmans, as to their age, are, after all, correct.

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