Synopses & Reviews
Excerpt from Essays on the Religion and Philosophy of the Hindus
IN the early progress of researches into Indian literature, it was doubted whether the Ve'das were extant; or, if portions of them were still preserved, whether any person, however learned in other respects, might be capable of understanding their obsolete dialect. It was believed too, that, if a Bra/maria really possessed the Indian scrip tures, his religious prejudices would nevertheless prevent his imparting the holy knowledge to any but a regenerate Hindu. These notions, supported by popular tales, were cherished long after the Vedas had been communicated to da'ra' snvcou, and parts of them translated into the Persian language by him, or for his use.* The doubts were not finally abandoned, until Colonel polier obtained from Jeyepiir a transcript of what purported to be a complete copy of the Vedas, and which he deposited in the British Museum. About the same time Sir robert chambers collected at Benares numerous fragments of the Indian scripture: General swarms, at, a later period obtained copies of some parts of it; and Sir william jones was successful in procuring valuable portions of the Vedas, and in translating several curious passages from one of them. I have been still more fortunate in collecting at Benares the text and com mentary of a large portion of these celebrated books; and, without waiting to examine them more completely than has been yet practi cable, I shall here attempt to give a brief explanation of what they chieﬂy contain.
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