to as containing the main doctrines of Hinduism differ from one another very much also. Hence the doctrines on which almost all Hindus are agreed are few. The principal of them are: (i) the doctrine of pantheism, that is, the belief that all that exists is God; (ii) the doctrine of the transmigration of souls; (iii) the conviction that the rules of each man's caste are of supreme importance; (iv) the belief that final absorption into the one truly existent thing is the highest good at which man can aim; and (v) the duty of recognizing the spiritual supremacy of the Brahmans. Those who do not admit the truth of the saying, Ekam evadvitiyam, 'There is only one existent thing without a second', are regarded as heretics.

The chief religious books of the Hindus are the three Vedas, to which a fourth is sometimes added. These are in ancient Sanskrit. T They consist mostly of hymns to many different gods and goddesses. Although many verses from the Vedas are still recited by the Brahmans when praying and offering sacrifice, yet the religion of the great mass of the Hindus at the present time is very different indeed from what their ancestors held in the very ancient times when the Vedas were composed. At the present time the eighteen Puranas and the epic poems entitled the Ramayama and the Mahabharata represent far more accurately the religion of the people. The six Shastras or systems of orthodox philosophy may be said to contain the main principles


which underlie the religious beliefs of the learned. Still earlier in date than these are the Upanisads, which contain philosophy in a somewhat crude form. All these works are in the Sanskrit language, which is the sacred tongue of the Hindus, though Hindi translations of the Ramayana and others of their books have much influence upon the mass of the people.

In order to show how much their religion has been corrupted during the last 2,000 years, we may mention that, when the earliest parts of the Vedas were composed, the Hindus worshipped no idols, though they were polytheists. Nor used they to burn widows alive on their dead husband's funeral pyres. Instead of worshipping the cow and the bull, as they do now, they used to offer them in sacrifice to their gods, and themselves to eat their flesh. .

Regarding the manner in which the Universe came into existence their books contain many different accounts. Of these we cannot mention more than a few examples.

(a) In the Chhandogya Upanisad 1 it is thus written: 'In the beginning there was that only which is, one thing only without a second. Others say, in the beginning there was that only which is not, one thing only without a second, and from that which is not that which is was born.2 . . .

1 Book VI, chapter ii., §§ 1-3.
Cf. Rig-Veda, Mandala X, hymn 72, verse 2.