A Short History of India
The former branch sweeps across the Indian coast and usually gives adequate rain to the greater part of the country ; the latter ordinarily curves and flows wesward up the plain of the Ganges while later in the year it waters the south-east of the peninsula. [...] As regards the religion of the Aryans the gods to whom the hymns in the Rigveda are addressed are usually the great phenomena of nature ' the sky the sun the thundestorm fire and the like conceived as living beings and usually represented in anthropomorphic shapes ; they were regarded on the whole as benevolent and their favour could be won by sacrifices the ritual of which was in proc [...] The growth of this system has been gradual and in one of the later hymns of the Rigveda we meet the names of the four original castes familiar in the next period ; but the main body of the text does not disclose the institution in a precise form. [...] The most important of the didactic enrichments of the epic story known as the Bhagavadetd or ' Song of the Adorable One ' is put into his mouth and the action of the battle is suspended while he explains at length the relation of the practical life to the pursuit of ultimate salvation. [...] The political condtions the methods of warfare the presence of Brahmans and of ascetics the practice of suttee the worship of Siva and various other details fit in precisely with what we know of the contemporary life of the Gangetic plain and indicate that though there is no record of the process Hinduism had by this time extended to the north-western borders of India.
|W.H. Moreland, Atul Chatterjee
|A Short History of India