India, though it has, as we have seen, more than five hundred spoken dialects, has only one sacred language and only one sacred literature, accepted and revered by all adherents of Hinduism alike, however diverse in race, dialect, rank, and creed. That language is Sanskrit, and that literature is Sanskrit literature- the only repository of the Veda or 'knowledge' in its widest sense; the only vehicle of Hindu theology, philosophy, law, and mythology; the only mirror in which all the creeds opinions, customs, and usages of the Hindus are faithfully. reflected; and (if we may be allowed at fourth metaphor) the only quarry whence the requisite materials may be obtained for improving the vernaculars, or for expressing important religious and scientific ideas.
Although it is not part of our present plan to describe in detail all these divisions of Sanskrit literature. yet to understand the various phases through which Hinduism has passed, it is essential to have some knowledge of the principal works under four departments-viz., L. The three portions of the Veda, Mantra, Brahmana, and Upanishad 11. The Darsanas, or systems of philosophy. III. The Dharma-sastras IV The Bhakti sastras. The principal works under these four heads are the best exponents of the different periods of development through which the Hindu religious mind has passed, and which, together, make up Hinduism.
That part of the great Aryan race which immigrated from. Central Asia, through the mountain passes into India, settled first in the districts near the river Sindhu (now called the Indus).
The Persians pronounced this word Hindhu, and named their Aryan brethren Hindus. The Greeks, who probably gained their first ideas of India from the Persians, dropped the hard aspirate, and called the Hindus.
After the Hindu Aryans had spread themselves over the plains of the Ganges, the Persians gave the name Hindustan, or abode of the Hindus,' to the whole district between the Panjab and Benares, and this name is commonly used, especially by the Musalmans, for a still more extended region, as far as the Vindhya mountains, and even, less correctly, for other parts of India.
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Brahma Sutras (86)
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