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Popular Indian Religion - Essay Example

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Hinduism is widely considered to be the most ancient religion on earth in which, a superior blend of uncountable rituals with humanity and orthodoxy can be witnessed. The Vedic literature, “Grihya Sutras” demonstrates a similar picture as in the words of Muller…
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Popular Indian Religion

Translation of a segment included in this Vedic literature “Âpastamba's Yagña-Paribhâshâ-Sûtras” was conducted by F. Max Muller which was related with the ‘General Rules of the Sacrifice’. ‘Yagña’ or sacrifice in Sutra I of this literature is stated as an act to offer or rather to surrender, i.e. ‘pruputti’ of a living or a non-living object to the God (Muller, 2004).
‘Yagña’ is made to the God or Goddess with the expectation to attain a reward in terms of blessings. These rewards have often been termed to be related with the ‘path to heaven’, prosperity or ‘samridhi’ and absolute enlightenment or ‘samyak-sambodhi’. The Sutras in “Âpastamba's Yagña-Paribhâshâ-Sûtras” reveal a variety of rituals to perform sacrifice in order to satisfy the worshiped God or Goddess. Rituals and objects for the ‘Yagña’ differ according to the God or Goddess and similarly the process also varies in each case. In the traditional art of Hinduism, the rituals of sacrifice also differed on the basis of the caste system, i.e. Brâhmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Sudra (Oldenberg, 1892).
The importance of sacrifice and the raison d'etre of the ritual has also been explicitly defined in all the four main Vedas of Hindu Shastra, i.e. Rig, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva Vedas (Oldenberg, 1892). It is in this context that the Sutras mentioned in the literature had a significant impression on the society during the traditional period where Brahmanas and Kshatriyas were termed to be the higher castes possessing the rights to perform every kind of sacrifice and thus were referred to be better connected with the spiritual world in comparison to Vaisyas and Sudras. In relation to the influences of the rituals mentioned in the sutras on the Hindu society and from an ethical point of view it is quite apparent that “Apastamba's Yagna-Paribhasha-Sutras” played a crucial role in introducing hierarchical caste systems in the then Hindu society. On the similar context, in the “Grihya Sutras” of Gabhila in Kandika 5, it has been stated that a worshiper should even sacrifice a ‘black-cow’ or a ‘white-cow’ in order to please God and thus barricade the harms caused due to Asvattha, Palaksha, Nyagrodha, and Udumbara to the house. Notably, these are termed to be the favourite trees of Surya, Yama, Varuna, and Pragapati (Muller, 2004). The question that arises in this context relates to the issue where on one hand the religion tends to term cow as a sacred animal and similarly teaches to have mercy on every living creature on earth respecting them as the blessings and creations of God himself, the rituals of the same asks to sacrifice an animal. Concerning these issues, followers of other religions such as Budhists, Jains and Ajivikas have remarked the ritual of sacrifice to be a symbol of ‘ascetic practices’. ... Read More
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