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ON THE VEDA, THE PURInAS, AND OTHER KINDS OE
THEIR NATIONAL LITERATURE.
Veda means knowledge of that which was before un- sundry
-r . T ■ 1-1 -I • notes relat-
known. It is a religious system which, according to ingtothe
the Hindus, comes from God, and was promulgated
by the mouth of Brahman. The Brahmins recite
the Veda without understanding its meaning, and in
the same way they learn it by heart, the one receiv¬
ing it from the other. Only few of them learn its
explanation, and still less is the number of those who
master the contents of the Veda and their interpretation
to such a degree as to be able to hold a theological
The Brahmins teach the Veda to the Kshatriyas.
The latter learn it, but are not allowed to teach it, not
even to a Brahmin, The Vaisya and Sudra are not
allowed to hear it, much less to pronounce and recite
it. If such a thing can be proved against one of them,
the Brahmins drag him before the magistrate, and he
is punished by having his tongue cut off.
The Veda contains commandments and prohibitions,
detailed statements about reward and punishment in¬
tended to encourage and to deter; but most of it con¬
tains hymns of praise, and treats of the various kinds
of sacrifices to the fire, which are so numerous and
difficult that you could hardly count them.
They do not allow the Veda to be committed to TheVeda
.,• 1 •,• •. -I T , ,. -1 transmitted
writing, because it is recited according to certain modu- by memory.