Having similarity with this view of Gods, though the Vedic worship of the natural powers is not quite sincere, it is utilitarian. The history of the origin of religion in India states that the Gods have actually become the sources of material prosperity to the Indian people and as there is a division of functions and attributes, they usually pray to the particular deities for getting some particular things. The ancient Indian philosophers perceived the concept of Gods, as strong rather than good, powerful rather than moral and this type of a religion is quite incapable of satisfying the ethical aspirations of men. The highest religious aspiration of men to get united with the Supreme power has been recognized in the Indian philosophy and the numerous Gods, have been created to help in enabling the people to reach the Supreme.
The origin of religion in India is therefore the saga of taming the masses. In Indian philosophy Gods were created to enable people to reach the supreme. The concept of sacrifices came to the Indian philosophy, as a consequence of the fear to God and also as a mean to satisfy the Gods, so that they do not cause any harm to the devotees. Sacrifices are seen as a symbol of the depth of one's affection towards God, as people usually sacrifice their best property or possessions to the God. However, there have been a lot of debates about the question of human sacrifice, as many of the ancient Indian philosophers raised their voices against this, saying that the concept of human sacrifices is neither allowed nor encouraged in the Vedas. They quoted the Sama Veda that says, "O, Ye Gods! We use no sacrificial stake. We slay no victim. We worship entirely by the repetition of the sacred verses". The Upanishads and the Buddhist and Jaina schools did adopt this protesting nature at a later period.
The sacrifices actually represent the second stage of the Vedic religion, as the first stage talked only about simple prayer. The Parasarasmriti says, "meditation in the Krtayuga, sacrifices in the Treta, worship in the Dvapara, praises and prayers in Kali". The Vishnupurana also says that the rules of sacrifices have actually formulated in the Tretayuga. The growth of religious practice in India has been so far, like from meditation to sacrifice, from sacrifice to worship and then from worship to praise and prayer.
Another aspect of the Indian philosophy in the ancient times is that, the people in ancient India had direct communion with the Gods, without the requirements of any meditation. There were no temples for the Gods in that period and people used to look upon the Gods as friends, rather than worshippers. This is the main reason why the terms like "Father Heaven", "Mother Earth" or "Brother Agni", have emerged from the ancient time in India. The ancient people used to share an intimate personal relationship with the Gods and religion dominated their entire life. They were also completely dependant on the Gods even for the ordinary necessities of their daily life.
The Vedic religion, which tells the origin of religion of India, also described the concept of Sin quite elaborately and according to the Vedic religion, Sin is actually the alienation from God. This definition of Sin in the Vedic religion is quite similar to that in the Hebrew theory and the Vedic religion has described the will of God, as the standard of morality. The Vedic religion says that the human guilt is shortcoming and people usually commit a sin when they transgress the commands of God, as the Gods are the upholders of the moral order of the world. It is the Gods, who protect the good and punish the wicked. The Vedic religion also says that Sin is not merely the omission of the external duties, as there are both moral and ritual sins. According to the ancient Indian philosophy, the consciousness of sin usually calls for propitiatory sacrifices. As a rule, the Gods of the Rig-Veda are always regarded as the guardians of morality in the Indian philosophy.
|More Articles in Indian Philosophy (67)|