When Brahma, or the God of Gods, saith the Shaster, resolved to recreate the world after one of its periodical dissolutions, he gave birth to Vishnoo, to preside over the work; but the Vedas, or mystical books, whose perusal would seem to have been indispensable to Vishnoo before beginning the creation, and which therefore must have contained something in the shape of practical hints to young architects, these Vedas were lying at the bottom of the waters; so Vishnoo became incarnate in a whale, and sounding down in him to the uttermost depths, rescued the sacred volumes.
In 1816 he established a society, consisting only of Hindus, in which texts from the Vedas were recited and theistic hymns chanted.
The followers of Ramanuja have split into two sects, a northern one, recognizing the Vedas as their chief authority, and a southern one, basing their tenets on the Nalayir, a Tamil work of the Upanishad order.
European research has clearly proved that the text in the Vedas adduced to authorize the immolation of widows was a wilful mistranslation.
The old child-like joy in life so manifest in the Vedas had died away; the worship of nature had developed or degenerated into the worship of new and less pure divinities; and the Vedic songs themselves, whose freedom was little compatible with the spirit of the age, had faded into an obscurity which did not lessen their value to the priests.
The mantras or sayings composing the Samhita of the Atharva Veda differ from those of the other Vedas by being in the form of spells rather than prayers or hymns, and seem to indicate a stage of religion lower than that of the Rig Veda.
That age will be rich indeed when those relics which we call Classics, and the still older and more than classic but even less known Scriptures of the nations, shall have still further accumulated, when the Vaticans shall be filled with Vedas and Zendavestas and Bibles, with Homers and Dantes and Shakespeares, and all the centuries to come shall have successively deposited their trophies in the forum of the world.
For Hinduism and later Judaism we possess a wealth of material on which to base a comparative study of the forms of sacrifice; a form of this - animal sacrifice in the Vedas - has been analysed by MM.
About 1850 some of the followers of the new religion discovered that the greater part of the Vedas is polytheistic, and a schism took place, - the advanced party holding that nature and intuition form the basis of faith.
In the South Sea Islands, generally, the fable of the union and separation of Heaven and Earth is current; other forms will be found in Gill's Myths and Songs from the South Pacific. The cosmogonic myths of the Aryans of India are peculiarly interesting, as we find in the Vedas and Brahmanas and Puranas almost every fiction familiar to savages side by side with the most abstract metaphysical speculations.