In order to understand the spiritual insights of Indian philosophy one should learn about the role of sacrifice in important stages of its conceptual development from Vedicism, to Brahmanic Hinduism. Obviously Vedic period is the most important of all, in which the foundation of…
The practices included Yajna (sacrifice), Avahana (invocation), Prarthana (prayer), Stuti (praise) and Upasana (meditation); and the most accepted Vedic prayer is Gayathri which is widely popular with the religious practices of today’s Hinduism (Monier-Williams, 9). In fact, changes gave way to the emergence of a new segment Brahmanas (priests) extremely around 1000 BC. Although Vedic sacrifices like Yajna were simple in their form, as writer Jhingran rightly puts it, “Vedic sacrifices became progressively more elaborate with a concomitant decrease in their religio-moral content in the Brahmanas” (Jhingran, 46). The major Vedic sacrifices were Agnistoma, Asuamedha, and Darsapuranamasa. Since Brahmanic period, many of these offerings became time consuming and expensive. Subsequently, religious ceremonies became more complex and solely the task of Brahmans. The alteration occurred was of great impact as it lessened the weight of morality and piety in religious practices; and moreover, individual participation became less significant as the self-efficacy of the rituals turned to be the central point of belief (Jhingran, 47). The concept of Moksha is another major aspect in which Brahmanic notion differed from Vedicism. According to Brahmanic, one has to perform one’s caste duty as an inevitable step to achieve Moksha; moreover, Brahman (the Ultimate Reality) can only be imagined as an ‘invisible essence that sustains all things’ (Fasching, deChant, 145).
Indian religious literature comprised of two important categories of scriptures known as Sruti and Smriti. The title Sruti refers to revealed heavenly truth which was later compiled in the form of scriptures; whereas Smriti refers to ‘that which is handed down or remembered’ (Knott, 14). Among these, Sruti scriptures were compiled between the period 1500 and 300 BCE; and Smriti books between 500 BCE 900 CE. ...
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