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1. INTRODUCTION 2.Early Vedic And Later Vedic Age 3.Changes In the Later Vedic eri!d ". I#$!rtant Rit%als in Later Vedic Age &. I#$!rtant ter#s '. C!ncl%si!n (I(LIO)RA *+ " & ' , 2 3 1

The Vedic period religions laid the foundation of the religious practices that are continued till date in modern India. These religions arose from the sacred scriptures that were composed during the Vedic period. These scriptures founded the very base of Hinduism in India. The scriptures that talk of the various religious practices are basically the four Vedas namely Rig Veda, Ya ur Veda, !ama Veda and "tharva Veda. The #panishads are also considered to be a part of the Vedas and contain valuable information regarding the rituals and religions of Vedic "ge. The principles of religions in Vedic $ra were basically laid down by the priests, who were the highest class of people in the society. They were the ones who performed the rituals, chanted hymns and read out holy te%ts in temples and functions. The te%ts recorded in the Vedas were supposed to have divine power and were to be chanted perfectly with the right tone, pronunciation and emphasis. This was believed to make the hymns effective to the hilt and gain the ma%imum power out of it.

The period between &.'. ())) and &.'. *)) is generally known as +ater Vedic period. This age is also called as the $pic "ge because the two great epics Ramayana and ,ahabharata were written during this period. The "ryans during this period moved to the -angetic Valley.

2.Early Vedic And Later Vedic Age

Religion in early Vedic period revolved around crude forms of worshipping which basically includes nature worship. This means that people in the early Vedic period worshipped different forms of nature as god like sun, earth, moon, wind, rain, and other natural phenomena. !ince there were no scientific e%planations for natural phenomena like rain, thunder, wind, etc. people feared them and thus worshipped them. 'hanting of prayers and hymns were a common practice to invoke the -ods and it was normal to sacrifice animals in the name of religion.

The later Vedic age saw the increase in powers of the priests and they formed the highest class in the society. Religious practices were refined and worship of -ods in the form of idols gained importance. "nimal sacrifice also increased during this period. .ith rituals and hymns taking center stage, the evolution of Hindu religion took place. /ature worship gave rise to new beliefs and new -ods. The duty of imparting the religious know how to people was the duty of the priests.

3.Changes In the Later Vedic eri!d

,any changes occurred in the field of religion. The -ods of early Vedic age lost their significance. In the +ater Vedic period, people worshipped new -ods like 0ra apathi, 0asupathi, Vishnu and 1rishna. 0rayers and scarifies became important ways of worshipping -od. "nimals were killed during sacrifice. The religion became comple% affair. The theory of 1arma and the theory of incarnation were accepted. 0eople believed that the -od is the supreme head and he was not only a creator but also a destroyer. They believed in the concept of ,oksha.

The two outstanding Rig Vedic gods, Indra and "gni, lost their former importance. 2n the other hand 0ra apati, the creator, came to occupy the supreme position in later Vedic pantheon. Rudra, the god of animals, became important in later Vedic times and Vishnu came to be conceived as the preserver and protector of the people. In addition, some symbolic ob ects began to be worshipped, and we notice signs of idolatry. 0ushan, who was supposed to look after cattle, came to be regarded as the god to the sudras. Important female deities during the +ater Vedic "ge were3 #sha 4goddess of 5awn6, "diti 4,other of -ods6, 0rithvi 4$arth -oddess6, "ryani 47orest -oddess6 and !araswati 4River deity6. The mode of worship changed considerably. 0rayers continued to be recited, but they ceased to be the dominant mode of placating the gods. !acrifices became far more important, and they assumed both public and domestic character. The guest were known as the goghna or one who was fed on cattle. The priests who officiated at sacrifices were regarded generously and given dakshinas or gifts. The 'hief priests who were engaged in performing the sacrifices were38 (. Hotri3 The invoker, he recited hymns from Rig Veda 9. Adhvaryu3 The e%ecutor, he recited hymns from Ya ur Veda. :. Udgatri3 The singer, he recited hymns from !ama Veda

The 'hief 0riests received voluntary offering from the people called Bali.

". I#$!rtant Rit%als in Later Vedic Age

Rajasuya3 The 1ing;s influence was strengthened by rituals. He performed this sacrifice, which was supposed to confer supreme power on him. Asvamedha3 " 1ing performed the Asvamedha, which meant un<uestioned control over the area in which the royal horse ran uninterrupted. The ceremony laster for three days at the end of which horse sacrifice was performed. Vajapeya3 " king performed the Vajpeya or the chariot race, in which the royal chariot was made to win the race against his kinsmen. The ritual lasted for seventeen days and was believed not only to restore the strength of the middle8aged king but also to elevate him from the position to raja of that of samrat Garbhadhana3 " ceremony which is performed to promote conception in women Pumsayam3 This ritual is performed to procure a male child Semontonayam3 It is ritual performed to ensure the safety of the child in the womb. Jatkarma3 It is a birth ceremony performed before the cutting of the umbilical cord. Culakarma3 It is a ritual, also known as tonsure, performed for boys in their third year. Upanayana3 It is an initiation ceremony to confor dvija4twice horn6 status of boys of the higher varnas in their eight year.

=. Important terms
"tman and &rahma ,ost Hindus believe in brahman, an uncreated, eternal, infinite, transcendent, and all8embracing principle. Brahman contains in itself both being and nonbeing, and it is the sole reality>the ultimate cause, foundation, source, and goal of all e%istence. "s the "ll, brahman either causes the universe and all beings to emanate from itself, transforms itself into the universe, or assumes the appearance of the universe. Brahman is in all things and is the self 4atman6 of all living beings. Brahman is the creator, preserver, or transformer and reabsorber of everything. Hindus differ, however, as to whether this ultimate reality is best conceived as lacking attributes and <ualities>the impersonal brahman>or as a personal -od, especially Vishnu, !hiva, or !hakti 4these being the preferences of adherents called Vaishnavas, !haivas, and !haktas, respectively6. &elief in the importance of the search for a 2ne that is the "ll has been a characteristic feature of India?s spiritual life for more than :,))) years.

1arma, !amsara and ,oksha Hindus generally accept the doctrine of transmigration and rebirth and the complementary belief in karma. The whole process of rebirth, called samsara, is cyclic, with no clear beginning or end, and encompasses lives of perpetual, serial attachments. "ctions generated by desire and appetite bind one?s spirit 4jiva6 to an endless series of births and deaths. 5esire motivates any social interaction 4particularly when involving se% or food6, resulting in the mutual e%change of good and bad karma. In one prevalent view, the very meaning of salvation is emancipation 4moksha6 from this morass, an escape from the impermanence that is an inherent feature of mundane e%istence. In this view the only goal is the one permanent and eternal principle3 the 2ne, -od, brahman, which is totally opposite to phenomenal e%istence. 0eople who have not fully reali@ed that their being is identical with brahman are thus seen as deluded. 7ortunately, the very structure of human e%perience teaches the ultimate identity between brahman and atman. 2ne may learn this lesson by different means3 by reali@ing one?s essential sameness with all living beings, by responding in love to a personal e%pression of the divine, or by coming to appreciate that the competing attentions and moods of

one?s waking consciousness are grounded in a transcendental unity>one has a taste of this unity in the daily e%perience of deep, dreamless sleep.

6. Conclusion
Vedic religion gradually evolved into Vedanta, which is regarded by some as the primary institution of Hinduism. Vedanta considers itself the ;essence; of the Vedas. The Vedic pantheon was interpreted by a unitary view of the universe with &rahman seen as immanent and transcendent, since the ,iddle #panishads also in personal forms of the deity as Ishvara, &hagavan, or 0aramatma. There are also conservative schools which continue portions of the historical Vedic religion largely unchanged until today 4see Arauta, /ambudiri6. 5uring the formative centuries of Vedanta, traditions that opposed Vedanta and which supported the same, emerged. These were the nastika and astika respectively.

Hinduism is an umbrella term for astika traditions in India 4see History of Hinduism6. o 0uranas, !anskrit epics
o o o o o

the classical schools of Hindu philosophy !haivism Vaishnavism &hakti !hrauta traditions, maintaining much of the original form of the Vedic religion.

Vedic &rahmanism of Iron "ge India is believed by some to have co8e%isted, at least in eastern /orth India, and closely interacted with the non8Vedic 4nastika6 !hramana traditions. These were not direct outgrowths of Vedism, but movements with mutual influences with &rahmanical traditions.

7ollowing are the religions that evolved out of the !ramana tradition3

Bainism, traditionally from the C8Dth century &'$ during 0arsva;s time. There are Baina references to 99 pre8historic Tirthankaras. In this view, Bainism peaked at the time of ,ahavira 4traditionally put in the *th 'entury &'$6. &uddhism, 4traditionally put6 from ca. =)) &'E declined in India over the =th to (9th centuries "5 in favour of 0uranic Hinduism.


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