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The History of Indian Literature

The History of Indian Literature
Item Code: IDG336
Author: Albrecht Weber
Publisher: Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office
Edition: 1974
Pages: 365
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 8.5" X 5.5"
weight of the book is 522 gm

Preface to the First Edition:

THE lectures herewith presented to the narrow circle of my fellows in this field of study, and also, it is hoped, to the wider circle of those interested in researches into the history of literature generally, are a first attempt, and as such, naturally, defective and capable of being in many respects supplemented and improved. The material they deal with is too vast, and the means of mastering it in general too inaccessible, not to have for a lengthened period completely checked inquiry into its internal relative chronology-the only chronology that is possible. Nor could I ever have ventured upon such a labour, had not the Berlin Royal Library had the good fortune to possess the fine collection of Sanskrit MSS. formed by Sir R. Chamber, the acquisition of which some ten years ago, through the liberality of his Majesty, Frederick William IV., and by the agency of his Excellency Baron Bunsen, opened up to Sanskrit philology a fresh path, upon which it has already made vigorous progress. In the course of last year, commissioned by the Royal Library, I undertook the work of cataloguing this collection, and as the result a detailed catalogue will appear about simultaneously with these lectures, which may in some sense be regarded as a commentary upon it. Imperfect as, from the absolute point of view, both works must appear, I yet cherish the hope that they may render good service to learning.

How great my obligations are, in the special investigations, to the writings of Colebrooke, Wilson, Lassen, Burnout, Roth, Reinaud, Stenzler and Holtzmann, I only mention here generally, as I have uniformly given ample references to these authorities in the proper place.

The form in which these lectures appear is essentially the same in which they were delivered,* with the exception of a few modifications of style: thus, in particular, the transitions and recapitulations belonging to oral delivery have been either curtailed or omitted; while, on the other hand, to the incidental remarks-here given as foot-notes-much new matter has been added.


A. W.

BERLIN, July, 1852.




  Antiquity of Indian literature 2; proved by geographical evidence, 3-4; by internal evidence from the history of the Hindu religion, 5' by evidence drawn from the language, 6; want of external chronology, 7  
(1.) The Samhitas, 8-11  
  Samhitas of the three older Vedas, 8-9; mutual relation of these three Vedas, 9-10; period of their final compilation, 10; Samhita of the Atharvan, 11.  
(2) The Brahmanas, 11-15  
  Their character, 12, and origin, 13; mutual relation of the Brahmanas of the several Vedas, 14; their common name Sruti, 15  
(3) The Sutras, &c  
  Their character and origin, 16; Srauta-Sutras, 17; Grihya-or Smarta-Sutra, 17; gradual transformation of the original Smriti (Custom and Law), 17, 18; origin of caste, 18; connection between the Grihya-Sutras and the legal literature, 19-20; linguistic Sutras, their origin, 20, 21; character of the time in question, 21, 22; Pratisakhya-Sutras, 23; metric 23; Anukramanis, 24; tradition-Brihaddevata, 24; Nighantu, Nirukti, the Vedangas, 25; science of grammar, 26; philosophical speculation, 26 ff. ; names applied to the early sages, 28; Upanishads, Aranyakas, 28, 29; astronomy and medicine, 29, 30  
A. RIGVEDA 31-62
(a) Samhita, 31-44  
  It divisions, 31, 32; Sakala and Vashkala recensions 32; Varkali, the school of the Sunakas, 33 Saunaka, Panchala Babbravya, 34; mythology of the primitive Indo-Germanic time, 35; Persian and Indian in their legend, 36, 37 ; mode of life of the Indians in their ancient home, 37, 38 reasons why they left their ancient homes, 38, 39; different constituents of Rigveda- Samhita, 39; gods to whom the hymns are addressed, 40; exegetic literature connected with the Samhita: Yaska, 41; Sayana, 41, 42; editions, translations, &c. 43, 44  
(b) Brahmanas, 44-52  
  Aitareya and Sankhayana-Brahmanas, 44; data therein bearing on time of their composition, 45; they presuppose earlier compositions with similar contents, 45-47; fables and legends contained in these two Brahmanas, 47; the Aranyakas of the Rik: Aitareya-Aranyaka, 48 ff. ; Kaushitakaranyaka, Kaushitakopanishad, 50, 51; Samkara's commentaries on the Upanishads, 51; Vasukala-Upanishad, 52  
(e) Sutras, 52, 62  
  The Srauta-Sutras of Asvalayana and Sankhayana, 52 ff ; commentaries thereon, 54, 55; the Grihya-Sutras of Asvalayana and Sankhayana, 55 ff ; the literature presupposed in these, 56, 57; Rik-Pratisakhya, Upalekha, 59, 60; Siksha, Chhandas, Jyotisha, 60, 61; Anukramanis, 61; Brihaddevata Rigvidhana, Parisistas, 62  
(a) Samhita, 63-66.  
  Its arrangement, 63; the Ganas, 64; antiquity of the readings of the Sama-Samhita, 64, 65; recensions, 65; editions, &c, 65, 66  
(b) Brahmanas, 66-75  
  The Tandya-Panchavinsa-Brahmana, 66 ff, ; geographical and other data contained therein, 67-68; Shadvinsa-Brahmana, 69; Chhandogyopanishad, its relation to the Vrihad-Aranyaka, 70, 71; literary and other data in the Chhandogyop, 71, 72; Kenopanishad, 73; the smaller Brahmanas of the Samau-Samavidhana , &c, 74, 75  
(c) Sutras, 75-85  
  Srauta-Sutras; the Kalpa-Sutra of Masaka, 75-76; Latyayana-Sutra, 76 ff ; literature therein presupposed, 76, 77; position of non-Brahmanical tribes in this work, 77; existence of Buddhism presupposed, 78; Sutra of Drahyayana, 79; its relation to the Sutras of the other Vedas, 80, 81; Nidana-Sutra, 81, 82; the Pushpa-Sutra of Gobhila, 82; Sama-Tantra, Panchavidhi, Pratihara, Tandalakshana, and Upagrantha-Sutras, 83; the Grihya-Sutra of Gobhila, 84; the Karma-pradipa of Katyayana, 84; Paddhatis and Parisishtas, 85  
(a) Samhitas, 85-91  
  Difference between the Black and the White Yajus, 86; names of the Black Yajus, 86 ff ; Gharaka, Taittiriya, and Khandikiya, 87, 88; schools of the Black Yajus: Taittiriya-Samhita (Apastamba), the Kathaka, and the Atreyi Sakha, 88; Samhitas of the Apastamba and Atreys schools, and the Kathaka, 89; data contained therein, 90; Yaska's connection with the arrangement of the Samhita of the Black Yajus, 91; the Manava and the Maitra, 91  
(b) Brahmanas, 92-99  
  The Brahmanas of the Apastamba and Atreya schools; the Kathaka portion of the Taitt, Brahmana, 92; Taittiriya-Aranyaka, 93; Upanishads of the Taitt, Ar., 93, 94; schools of the Bhallavins, Satyayanins, Sakayanins, &c., 95; Svetasvataropanishad, 96; Maitrayana-Upanishad, its modern date, 97; the planets, &c, in the Maitr, Up., 98; possible relation of the work to Buddha, 99.  
(c)Sutras, 99-103    
  Srauta-Sutras, 99-101; Grihya-Sutras, 101, 102; Prati-sakhya-Sutra, 102; Anukramanis, 103.  
  The name explained , 103 f ; the name 'Vajasaneys', 104 f ; the two schools of the Kanvas and Madhyamdinas, 105; possible connection of the Madhyamdinas with the Masavsivoi, 106  
  Division of the Vajasaneyi-Samhita, 107; later origin of the last fifteen adhyayas, 108; relation of the several parts of the Vaj. S. to the Black Yajus, 108; to its own Brahmana, and to each other, 109-110; probable date of the Rudra-book, 110; the mixed castes, 111; position of the Magadha, 111; his position in the Atharva-Veda, 112; astronomical and other data in the Vaj. S;, 113; position of the Kurus and Panchalas, the names Subhadra and Kampila, 114; Arjuna and Phalgua as (secret) names of Indra, 115; the richas incorporated in the Yajus, 115, 116; editions, commentaries, 116.  
(b) Brahmana, 116-139  
  The Satapatha-Brahmana, 116; its name and extent, 117; relation of the Brahmana of the Kanva school to that of the Madhyamdinas, 117, 118; relation of the several kindas to the Samhita and to each other, 118, 119; posteriority of the last five kandas, 120; Agnirahasya-kanda, 120, 121; Ashtadhyayi-kanda, 121; subjects of study named therein, 121, 122; other data, 122, 123; Asvamedha-kanda, 124 ff. ; Gathas, 124, 125; position of Janamejaya, 125; of the Parikshitiyas, 126; the Aranyaka-kanda, 126; the Vrihad-Aranyaka:--Madhu-kanda, 127; its name and list of teachers, 128; Yajna-valkiya-kanda, 129; Khila-kanda, 130; the concluding vansa of the Satapatha-Brahmana, 131; probable north-western origin of kandas vi.-x of the Satap. Br., 133, 134; legends, 134 ff ; relation of these to the Epic legends, 135; position of the Kuru-Panchalas compared with that of the Parikshitas, 136; the Pandavas not mentioned 137; points of contact with the Samkhya tradition, 137; with Buddhist legend, 138; commentaries on the Satap. Br., editions, &c, 139.  
(c)Sutras, 139-145  
  (c) The Srauta-Sutras, of Katyayana, teachers mentioned there-in, 139; other data, 140; commentaries, 141; Paddhatis and Parisishtas: Nigama-Parisishta, Pravaradhyaya, Charana-vyuha; the Vaijavapa-Sutra, 142; the Katiya-Grihya-Sutra of the Vajasaneyi-Samh, 143; 144; Anukramani, 144, 145.  
(a) Samhita, 145--150  
  Extent and division of Atharvaveda-Samhita, 145-146; its contents and arrangement, 146; it probably originated in part with the unbrahmanised Aryans of the West, 147; data furnished by the Ath. S. the name 'Atharvan', 148; earliest mention of this name, 149; the name 'Brahmaveda,' its meaning, 149, 150; editions, &c., of the Ath. S., 150  
(b) Brahmana  
  The Gopatha-Brahmana, 150-151  
(c) Sutras, 151-153  
  The Saunakiya Chaturadhyayika, 151; Anukramani, 152; the Kausika-Sutra, 152; Kalpas and Parisishtas, 153.  
UPANISHADS, 153-171  
  Number of the Upanishads, 154, 155; Upanishads belonging to the three older Vedas, 155, 156; special division of the Atharvopanishads into three groups: Vedanta, Yoga, and Sectarian Upanishads, 156; Atharvan recension of Upanishads borrowed from the other Vedas, 157. THE ATHABVOPANISHADS PROPER: (I.) those of the Vedanta class-the Mundakopanishad, 158, 159; Prasnopanishad, 159, 160; Garbhopanishad, 160; remaining Upanishads of the Vedanta class: Pranagnihotrop., Arshikop., 161, 162; (2) Atharvopanishads of the Yoga class: Jabana, Kathasruti, Arunika, Bhallavi, and others, 163; range of ideas and style in this class of Upanishads, 165; (3) the Sectarian Upanishads, 165 ff. ; (a) those in which worship of Vishnu (under the names Narayana, &c.) is inculcated, 166; Nrisinhatapaniyopanishad, 167; Ramata-paniyopanishad, 168; Gopalatapaniyopanishad, 169; (B) Upanishads of the Siva sects: Satarudriya, Kaivalyo-panishad, 169; Atharvasiras, 169, 170; remaining Upanishads of the Siva sects, 170, 171  
  Distinction in respect of language, 175; gradual development of Indo-Aryan Bhasha, 176; influence of Indian aborigines thereon, 177; separation of written language from popular dialects-ancient dialectic differences, 178; rock-inscriptions in popular dialects, 179; internal evidence for posteriority of second period, 180; critical condition of texts in this period-age of MSS., 181; distinction as regards subject matter, 182; classification of Sanskrit literature, 183  
I. EPIC POETRY, 183-196  
  (a) Itihasa 183-189: forerunners of Epic poetry in Vedic period, 183; the Maha-Bharata, 184; existence of a work resembling it is first century A.D., 186; legend of Maha-Bharata, its relation to Satapatha-Brahmana, &c., 186; text of Maha-Bharata, non-epic constituents, 187; Kavi translation; Jaimini-Bharata, 189; (b) Puranas: their general character-ancient Puranas lost-absence of epic and prominence of ritual element in existing Puranas and Upa-puranas, 190, 191; (c) Kavyas, 191-196: the Ramayana, 191; its allegorical character, 192; colonisation of Southern India, 193; Ramayana the work of a single author, 193; different recensions of the text, 194; remaining Kavyas, artificial Epic, 195.  
2. DRAMATIC POETRY, 196-208  
  Origin of Drama from dancing, 196; Nata-Sutra mentioned in Panini, 197; dancing at the great sacrificial festivals, 198; alleged mention of dramas in oldest (1) Buddhistic writings, 199; age of surviving dramas, 200; no foundation for the view which places Kalidasa in the first century B.C., 201, 202; internal evidence from Kalidasa's dramas themselves on this point, 203; authenticity of the Malavikagnimitra, 204; age of Sudraka's Mrichhakati, 205; subject-matter and special peculiarities of the Hindu drama, 206; possibility of Greek influence on its development, 207.  
3. LYRICAL POETRY, 208-210  
  Religious lyric, 208; Erotio lyric: Megha-duta, &c, 209; mystical character of some of these poems-the Gita-govinda, 210  
  Niti-sastras, 210; 'Beast-Fable,' 211; Pancha-tantra, hitopadesa, 212; popular tales and romances, 213  
  Raja-taramgini, 213; inscriptions, grants, and coins, 215  
  (a) Grammar, 216-225; Panini's Grammar, its peculiar terminology, 216; Panini's date-statements of the Chinese traveller Hiuan Thsang, 217; weakness of the evidence on which Bohtlingk's view rests, 218; existence of Mahabhashya in the time of Abhimanyu, 219; acquaintance with Greeks presupposed in Panini, 220; 'Yavanani,' 221; commentaries on Panini-Paribhashas, Varttikas, Mahabhashya, 222; date of Katyayana, 222; of the Mahabhashya, 223; critical condition of the text of Panini, 224; Gana-patha, &c., 225; other grammatical systems, 226. (b) Lexicography, 227-230: Amara-kosha, no foundation for the view which places it in the first century B.C., 228; internal evidence against this view, 229; age of the work still uncertain, 230; Dhatu-pathas, 230. (c) Metric, Poetics, Rhetoric 231, 232; Chhandah-sastra of Pingala, Alamkara-sastra of Bharata, Sahitya-darpana, 231.  
2. PHILOSOPHY, 232-246  
  High antiquity of philosophical speculation among the Hindus, 232; 'Development,' 'Arrangement,' 'Creation' theories of the world, 233; gradual growth of these theories into philosophical systems, 234; the Samkhya-system, 235, 236; the Yoga-system, 237; Deistic sects, 238; influence of Samkhya-Yoga on development of Gnosticism and Sufism, 239; the two Mimansas, 239; Karma-Mimansa-Sutra of Jaimini, 240; Brahma-Mimansa-Sutra of Badarayana, 243; the two logical systems, Nyaya and Vaiseshika, 244; Heterodox systems, 246  
  Antiquity of astronomy, 246; solar year, quinquennial cycle, Yugas, 247; the lunar asterisms, 247; mention of these in Rik-Samhita, 248; Jyotisha, 249; the planets, 249; their peculiar Indian names and number, 250: importance of Greek influence here, 251; relation of Greeks with India, 251; the Yavanas, teachers of the ancient Indian astronomers, 252; 'Ptolemaios,' 'Asuramaya,' 253; Romaka-Siddhanta, Paulisa-Siddhanta 253; Greek terms in Varaha-Mihira, 254, 255; further development of Indian astronomy: Hindus the teachers of the Arabs, 255 (also in algebra and arithmetic,--the arithmetical figures, 256), and through the Arabs, of European mediaeval astronomers, 257; Aryabhata, 257; the five Siddhantas, 258; Brahmagupta, Varaha-Mihira, 259; date of Varaha-Mihira, Satananda, and Bhaskara (1), 262 Later period: Arabs in turn the teachers of the Hindus in astrology, 263 Arabic technical terms in Indian and European astrological works 263, 264; lore of omens and portents, 264; magic, &c., 264  
4. MEDICAL SCIENCE, 265-271  
  Its earliest representatives, 265; Charaka, Susruta, Dhanvantari, 266; Salihotra, Vatsyayana, 267; uncertain date of extant medical works, 268; Hindu medicine apparently an independent development, 269; Hindu medicine apparently an independent development, 269; questionable authenticity of existing texts, 269; importance of Indian medicine, 269; its influence on Arabs, 270  
  Art of war (Dhanur-veda): Visvamitra, Bharadvaja, 271; music (Gandharva-veda), 271 (musical notation, 272); Artha-sastra, 273: painting and sculpture, 273; architecture, 274; technical arts, 275  
  The Dharma-Sastras, 276; highly developed Judicial procedure here exhibited, 277; connection of Dharma-Sastras with Grihya-Sutras, 277, 278; critical questions connected with existing text of Manu, 279; different redactions of Manu and the other Dharma-Sastras, number of these, 280; relation of Manu's Code to that of Yajnavalkya, date of the latter, 280, 281; Epic poetry and Puranas also sources for Hindu law, 282; modern jurisprudence, 282; Dekhan the chief seat of literary activity after eleventh century, 283  
  Buddhism, its origin from Samkhya doctrine, 284; relation of Buddhist legend to the later portions of Vedic literature, 285; princes of same name in Buddhist legend and Satapatha-Brahmana, 286; position in former of Kuru-Panchalas, Pandavas, Magadhas, 286, 287; Buddhist eras, 287; discordance of these with other historical evidence, 287; earliest demonstrable use of these eras, 288; Buddha's doctrine, 288; his novel way of promulgating it, and opposition to Brahmanical hierarchy, 289; tradition as to redaction of Buddhistic sacred scriptures, Northern and Southern, 290; mutual relation of the two collections, 292; Pali historical literature,, 293; scriptures of Northern Buddhists, their gradual origin, 294; language in which Southern scriptures were at first preserved different from that in which the Northern scriptures were recorded at third council, 295, 296 (Jaina-literature, 296); data furnished by Buddhistic Sanskrit literature of doubtful authority for Buddha's age, 297.  
  (c) The Sutra-Pitaka, distinction between the simple and the Mahavaipulya-Sutras, 298; poetical pieces in latter, Gatha-dialect, 299; contents of the simple Sutras: Ityukta-Vyakarana, Avadana, Adbhuta-dharma, Geya, Gatha, Upadesa, Nidans, Jataka, 300, 301; their Pantheon different from that of the Brahmana-texta, 301; other chronological data in the Sutras, 304-(b) The Vinaya-Pitaka: discipline of clergy, system of mendicancy, 395; Buddhistic hierarchy as distinguished from the Brahmanical, Buddhist cult, 305; points of connection with Christian ritual, 307-(c) The Abhidharma-Pitaka, 307, schools of Buddhist philosophy, 308; relation to the Samkhya-system, 308; and to Gnosticism, 309-Commentaries on the sacred scriptures, 309; Tantras, 310  

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