We can never admit that the three other Vedas are less worthy of their name than the Rig-hymns, or that the Talmud and the Kabala are so inferior to the Bible. The very name of the Vedas (the literal meaning of which is knowledge or wisdom) shows them to belong to the literature of those men who, in every country, language, and age, have been spoken of as “those who know.” In Sanscrit the third person singular is veda (he knows), and the plural is vida (they know). This word is synonymous with the Greek [[Theosebeia]], which Plato uses when speaking of the wise — the magicians; and with the Hebrew Hakamin,  (wise men). Reject the Talmud and its old predecessor the Kabala, and it will be simply impossible ever to render correctly one word of that Bible so much extolled at their expense. But then it is, perhaps, just what its partisans are working for. To banish the Brahmanas is to fling away the key that unlocks the door of the Rig-Veda. The literal interpretation of the Bible has already borne its fruits; with the Vedas and the Sanscrit sacred books in general it will be just the same, with this difference, that the absurd interpretation of the Bible has received a time-honored right of eminent domain in the department of the ridiculous; and will find its

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supporters, against light and against proof. As to the “heathen” literature, after a few more years of unsuccessful attempts at interpretation, its religious meaning will be relegated to the limbo of exploded superstitions, and people will hear no more of it.

We beg to be clearly understood before we are blamed and criticised for the above remarks. The vast learning of the celebrated Oxford professor can hardly be questioned by his very enemies, yet we have a right to regret his precipitancy to condemn that which he himself confesses “entirely beyond our own intellectual horizon.” Even in what he considers a ridiculous blunder on the part of the author of the Brahmanas, other more spiritually-disposed persons may see quite the reverse. “Who is the greatest of the gods? Who shall first be praised by our songs?” says an ancient Rishi of the Rig-Veda;mistaking (as Prof. M. imagines) the interrogative pronoun “Who” for some divine name. Says the Professor: “A place is allotted in the sacrificial invocations to a god ‘Who,’ and hymns addressed to him are called ‘Whoish hymns.’ ” And is a god “Who” less natural as a term than a god “I am”? or “Whoish” hymns less reverential than “I-amish” psalms? And who can prove that this is really a blunder, and not a premeditated expression? Is it so impossible to believe that the strange term was precisely due to a reverential awe which made the poet hesitate before giving a name, as form to that which is justly considered as the highest abstraction of metaphysical ideals — God? Or that the same feeling made the commentator who came after him to pause and so leave the work of anthropomorphizing the “Unknown,” the “WHO,” to future human conception? “These early poets thought more for themselves — than for others,” remarks Max Muller himself. “They sought rather, in their language, to be true to their own thought than to please the imagination of their hearers.” Unfortunately it is this very thought which awakes no responsive echo in the minds of our philologists.

Farther, we read the sound advice to students of the Rig-Veda hymns, to collect, collate, sift, and reject. “Let him study the commentaries, the Sutras, the Brahmanas, and even later works, in order to exhaust all the sources from which information can be derived. He [the scholar] must not despise the traditions of the Brahmans, even where their misconceptions . . . are palpable. . . . Not a corner in the Brahmanas, the Sutras, Yaska, and Sayana, should be left unexplored before we propose a rendering of our own. . . . When the scholar has done his work, the poet and philosopher must take it up and finish it.”

Poor chance for a “philosopher” to step into the shoes of a learned

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