Short Essay on Religion in Rig Vedic Period

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The Rig Vedic religion was very simple and the people worshipped various forces and phenomena of nature. Thus they worshipped sky, surya, human forms and bestowed them with human qualities. The various gods worshiped by the people during the Rig Vedic period can be classified into three categories:

(a) gods of the sky or Heaven such as Dyayus (sky), varuna (sky-god proper), Usha (down), Asvins (morning and evening stars) and Surya, Mitra, Savitri, Pushan and Vishnu (all forms of Sun)

(b) Gods of the Atmosphere such as Indra (thunder), Rudra (storm), Maruts (storm-god), Vayu (wind) and Prajanya (rain), and

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(c) Gods of the Earth such as Prithvi (earth), Agni (fire) and Soma (the plant of that name)

The temples, images, altars and hereditary priestly classes were perspicuously absent during this period. During this period every householder acted himself as a priest.

With a view to please the various gods the people offered prayers the form of hymns and sacrifices. The common items offered to the included milk, grain, ghee, flesh and soma. These offerings were made with a view to win divine favor or to gain control over gods or nature. In addition to the offerings people made sacrifices. These sacrifices were both simple and complex. Though the people worshipped various gods they did not consider any one as Supreme. In fact they believed that all gods were one and the same and only the sages had described them differently. People believed in the theory of Karma and attainment of salvation as well as Life after death. We find that the theories of transmigration and karma even though in quite, primitive form, were known to the people of India even in the earliest period.

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