Proto Historic Religion and Movements of Ancient India


Religion and Philosophy:

Religion and Philosophy

Religion is a transforming experience, not a theory of God. It is spiritual consciousness, belief and conduct, rites and ceremonies, dogmas and authorities are subordinate to the art of self discovery and contact with the divine. Indian philosophy refers to any of the several traditions of philosophical thought that originated in the Indian subcontinent, including Hindu philosophy, Buddhist philosophy and Jaina philosophy. It is disciplined and its goal is to improve human life.
Since time immemorial, religion has played an important part in the lives of the Indian people. Religion I India never been static because various movements have developed here with their new ideas and in a response to the evolving socio-economic situations. There is long tradition of a religious pluralism i.e. all the major religions of the world are professed in India. But, there are four religions, which trace their origin to the in India. But there are four religions, which trace their origin to the Indian sub-continent, namely Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. At the same time, some religious beliefs and systems have came from outside, they are Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Bahai.

Proto-Historic Religion

The earliest civilized inhabitants of India the Harappans worshiped, the chief male deity known as Pashupati  Mahadeva and the chief female deity known as mother Goddess. They also worshiped Gods in the form of trees, animals, snake and birds. There is also evidence of both phallic and yoni worship. The salient features of the Harappan religion appeared in a new from in a later date.
From this, we can conclude that it never died, but was practiced by some people, gradually developing because of their contact with other doctrines and cults, until it gathered enough faith to reappear and influence the old faith of the Aryans.

Ancient Indian Religions

 From the archeological findings, it seems that the people during these times believed in the sanctity of the creative force and venerated the male and female aspects of divinity. It appears that they were the worshipers of the forces of nature like the sun and the Moon. This belief is also partly subs-tainted by the early literature of the Aryans. The Nature of the religious beliefs and practices of the Aryan is also known from the Rig-Veda. They believed in many Gods like Indra, Varuna, Agni, Surya, and Rudra. Scarifies and ritual offering of food and drink to fire in honor of the Gods, constituted the main religious practices. This ritualism was further elaborated in the Brahmans.
The Atharava Veda contained a great deal of animistic beliefs, Polytheism was challenged by monotheistic ideas and the various deities were introduced as different ways of naming one eternal entity. It must be noted that the Aranyaka and Upanishads section of the Vedic literature envisage a progressive outlook.
The Upanishads represent the early stage in the origin and development of the religious metaphysical concepts, which were used later in ancient and medieval India.

Unorthodox Religious Movements

In the middle of the 1st Millennium BC, the religious movements associated with the Mahavira and the Buddha falls under this category. There were many other creeds preached by some elements during this time that were not keeping with the Vedic tradition. It must be noted that, they ignored the infallibility and supernatural origin of the Vedas. The Vedic users were Brahman sages.
Both Buddhism and Jainism were atheistic creeds in the beginning. However, Buddhism endorsed the doctrine of the law of Karma and upheld the belief in the rebirths of the embodied Skandhas and the inevitability of suffering in the very existence of beings. These view points were also strengthened by the major Upanishads.
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Proto Historic Religion and Movements of Ancient India
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