THE literature of the Brahmanas is vast and deals with a number of subjects, which are ritualistic, philosophical, symbolic and spiritual in character. In it, there is a good deal of account relating to the human conduct, goal of life and practices by which the individual can rise to higher levels of consciousness and immortality. Nonetheless, ritualism plays a major role in the Brahmana literature. Most of the Brahmanas are in prose and provide a kind of commentary on the text of the Vedic Samhitas. The way in which this commentary is given can be illustrated by taking at random two or three examples from the Aitareya Brahmana.
The Aitareya Brahmana is so called because it is attributed to Rishi Aitareya. The story of the Rishi goes like this:
There was a Brahmin who had two wives. One of them was his favourite, while the other one was ignored by him. The ignored one was called Itara (which literally means