A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume I by Surendranath Dasgupta

By Surendranath Dasgupta

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Example text

It was thus that the Âra@nyakas could pave the way for the Upani@sads, revive the germs of philosophic speculation in the Vedas, and develop them in a manner which made the Upani@sads the source of all philosophy that arose in the world of Hindu thought. 44 The @Rg-Veda, its civilization. The hymns of the @Rg-Veda are neither the productions of a single hand nor do they probably belong to any single age. They were composed probably at different periods by different sages, and it is not improbable that some of them were composed 15 before the Aryan people entered the plains of India.

There is not much philosophy in them in our sense of the term. It is here that we first find intensely interesting philosophical questions of a more or less cosmological character expressed in terms of poetry and imagination. In the later Vedic works called the Brâhmaf@nas and the Âra@nyakas written mostly in prose, which followed the Vedic hymns, there are two tendencies, viz. one that sought to establish the magical forms of ritualistic worship, and the other which indulged in speculative thinking through crude generalizations.

The powers of nature such as the storm, the rain, the thunder, are closely associated with one another, and the gods associated with them are also similar in character. The same epithets are attributed to different gods and it is only in a few specific qualities that they differ from one another. In the later mythological compositions of the Purâ@nas the gods lost their character as hypostatic powers of nature, and thus became actual personalities and characters having their tales of joy and sorrow like the mortal here below.

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