Read this article to learn about the rituals and practices observed during the Vedic period in India!
1. Worship of the Nature’s God
The Ancient Aryans were highly religious but their religion was simple.
They were impressed by the forces of nature such as the Sun, the Fire, the Wind, the Dawn, the Water, the Rain God Indra and Earth whom they worshipped as Gods.
Every natural phenomenon was regarded as a separate God, whom they worshipped and prayed for their own prosperity. Varuna and Indra were their chief Gods. Varuna was their chief God who knew all the mysteries of the universe.
In the Rig-Veda there are several hymns seeking his forgiveness for one’s sins as is evident from the following hymn:
‘O Varuna deliver us from the sin of our fore-fathers. Deliver us from our own sins’.
God Indra was worshipped so that he may protect his devotees from the holocaust of wars and fill their granaries by sending timely rains. Most of the hymns in the Rig-Veda praise this god. One of the hymn says:
‘O Indra with your help, we will slay our foes.’
2. Knowledge of One-God:
Though the Aryans worshipped several Nature-gods yet they believed in one God who is the source of all powers vested with the Nature-gods. The Rig-veda has several hymns in praise of the Omnipotent God who is variously called as Indra, Mitra, Varuna and Agni.
3. Singing of Hymns:
The Aryan way of worship was very simple. They had not built any temples as is done these days nor did they worship idols. They recited mantras of hymns in the open air. All the members of their families took part in chanting the hymns.
4. Yajnas and Sacrifice:
Yajna or Havana (burning incense) was the major part of their religious duty. The daily Yajnas were very simple and were performed by the family members themselves. Besides these daily Yajnas they performed special Yajnas on festival days. Sometimes animals were sacrificed on these occassions. Special care was taken in performing the Yajnas lest the Gods should get displeased.
First of all fire was kindled and offerings of ghee, milk and rice were made. The Soma was also offered to Gods and it was not considered evil. They thought that Gods themselves are fond of the Soma. The Yajnas or sacrifices were performed to propitiate the Gods who in turn would bless their people with peace and prosperity.