Saturday, 3 September 2011

Examine the view that the sacrifice was a ritual and a form of social exchange in vedic India.

30 Marks

Vedic civilization hallmarked for its rigorous religious practices prominently sacrificial rituals. Vedas along with many contemporary texts give us insight about the prevailing religious practices and their relevance in those societies. These rituals were mostly private but often public too. Numerous types of rituals that varied in degree of complexity and violence were advocated that are meant to be performed from womb to tomb journey of human life.

This sacrificial system was founded on a worldview that placed humanity in an allegorical relationship with the divine realm. The physical world of humans was seen as a smaller, mirror image of the greater world of the gods. The fundamental role of religion was to assign and perform the appropriate rites to maintain proper order in the universe. The gods required regular offerings and appeasement. Thus, a relationship with the gods required maintenance that was provided by the sacrificial ritual.  How wonderful this thought may be, these sacrificial rituals developed were no less than a brain child of certain class of the society to make their livelihood. Likewise in course of time these continued to gain prominence and became elaborate. These ceremonies eventually reached a level of complexity that they required several priests to officiate over them. Thus the business of exploitation of human weakness was in boom.

Though unkind these ceremonies might be, still they had a tint of positive aspect. These as speculated might or not helped society gain certain spiritual benefits but served the purpose of being a social platform for exchange of various ideologies, identities and merchandise too.  Numerous ceremonies were performed throughout hence these were certainly a sort of social markets.

However, this little merit cannot be over looked to that of inhumane and brutal killings of speechless animals in the name of rituals, which even doesn’t stand before rationality.  Moreover these killings are not any means for salvation except a gambit played on psychological tenderness of humans by certain section of society.

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