Religious Life of Rigvedic Aryans
The life of the Rigvedic Aryans was religious. There was no part of life which was not deeply imprinted by religion. The religion of this period was in a very high state and natural forces and their regulatory deities were worshipped. Thus the religion of the Rigvedic Aryans was polytheistic.
Features of Rigvedic Religion
(1.) Belief in the Supreme Power of God: The Rigvedic Aryans believed in the supreme being of God who is the creator and maintainer of this world. Initially, the Aryans considered Varuna as the god of God, but later Indra took his place. Later the Aryans realized that there is some supreme power over Indra too, who governs the entire universe and the creator is the only one who is the expansion in the form of creation.
He pervades the luminous sky in the form of light, resides in space in the form of Vasu, is present in the heart of man in the form of Prana. In fact, the creator, creation, nature and man are coordinated by the same discipline and being absorbed by the same discipline. It is said in Rigveda and Taittiriya Brahmana- 'Fire is embodied in speech and speech is embodied in heart, heart in me, I in immortality and immortality in Brahma'.
(2.) Belief in Monotheism: The Rigvedic Aryan religion was based on monotheism, even though it believed in many gods. He had only one God whom he called Prajapati who was omnipresent. The sages used to say- 'Sat is only one. Scholars call him by different names like Agni, Yama, Matrishva etc.'
The Aryans also consecrated a supreme element over them and named them as Hiranyagarbha, Prajapati and Vishwakarma. This is considered the culmination of monotheism.
This one element was called by the Aryans 'Sat' Called by name Thus the Rigvedic Aryans came to the conclusion that the knowledge of the truth is the knowledge of the soul. Different living beings of the world are wearing different bodies but they all have the same soul. The ultimate goal of life is to destroy the differences created by attachment and to have an encounter with that Supreme Being. In order to achieve this goal, the Arya-sages started turning towards the Param-Tattva.
(3.) Worship of Natural Forces: Natural events such as the beginning of the rains, the rise of the sun and moon, the existence of rivers and mountains, etc., were puzzle-like for the Aryans. The Rigveda contains many such divine powers, in whose praise various sages and clans have composed hymns. Thus the worship of natural forces began in the Rigvedic period.
The Rigvedic Aryans believed that God resides in the sun, moon, wind, clouds etc. That's why he worshiped them all. Aryans first 'dyas' and 'Earth' worshiped. The Aryans believed that human life was possible only by the grace and compassion of the earth. These two were considered to be the creators of all other gods.
'Varun' to the sky god It was said Varuna was believed to be the abode of all the things that existed between the earth and the sky. The Rigveda mentions two forms of Varuna. In one form, the giver of happiness and prosperity, the heart, the creator of the universe, while the other form is of destruction and curse.
The Rigvedic Aryans believed that Varuna's devotion, worship and prayer pleased him and forgave the sins of sinners. Some scholars believe that it was from the worship of Varuna that the principles of Karmaism and Bhakti Marga emerged among the Aryans. When Varuna was taken prisoner by Vritrasura, Indra killed Vritrasura and freed Varuna and gave him divinity again.
Along with Varun, 'Friend' was also worshipped. The Aryans personified the light of the universe and gave it the name of 'Friend'. Both were jointly named 'Mitravarun' where did it go. 'Sun' in the exogenous It also had great importance. Therefore, the Aryans also considered the sun to be a deity. He was considered to be the protector of all the variables and the seer of all the good and bad deeds of human beings.
The comprehensive form of Surya was called 'Savita'. Savita includes both the manifestation of the sun and the form that remains latent at night. Savita is also considered to be the sin-redeeming deity.
Rigvedic Aryans 'Vishnu' regarded as the protector of the world. Vishnu is the deity who reaches out to the devotees immediately for help. His three verses are mentioned in the Rigveda, according to which he travels in the whole universe. Because of Vishnu's comprehensive form, he is called 'Uru-cow' i.e. widely moveable, and 'Uru-kram' That is, widely known as the encroacher etc.
'Agni' as Vishnu for Rigvedic Aryans It also had a special significance. There are about 200 mantras in the Rigveda relating to the prayer of Agni which reveal the importance of Agni. Fire had a special significance in the Yagya. That's why he is called 'purohit', 'yagya' and 'would have' where did it go. Agni is considered to be the chief of the gods, because through him the offerings reach all the gods. Fire was also necessary for cremation. Agni is said to drive away the demons of all the worlds.
Vedic Aryans 'Somaras' were lovers. He 'Som' He was also considered a deity and said that Soma originated from the sun and electricity. In many hymns of Rigveda, the description of the method of preparation of this drink from the plant is found, but the exact identity of this plant has not been found yet. At the request of the gods, Soma merged with the moon, from where it received water and vegetation.
God of storm, storm and rain 'Indra' was. It is considered the most powerful deity in the Rigveda. He is considered greater than the sky, space and earth. 'Vritra' He is said to have liberated the water stagnant in the clouds after killing the demon named. Vritra is considered as the demon of cold, fog and frost.
There are about 250 hymns in the Rigveda praying to Indra. In the Rigveda, along with the above gods, there is mention of the gods like Marut, Vata, Parjanya, Ashwin, Yama, Rudra, Pushan etc. Ladies in Usha, Aditi, Sindhu, Aruyani and Saraswati The names are noteworthy. 'Usha' means the Vela before Arunodaya. 'Aditi' It means omnipresent nature. 'Aruyani' Means the forest-goddess and the divinity of human intelligence 'Saraswati' As was done.
(4.) The Humanization of the Gods: Most of the hymns in the Rigveda are hymns to various deities. Praising the deities and worshipers, the sages direct their virtues. The early hymns present the gods as natural power, but later Agni has been addressed with the names of Agni Dev and Surya as Suryadev etc.
This gives the impression that the natural power itself was converted into divine power. For this he humanized the natural forces. By imposing human or animal qualities in them, they considered them to be living forces. Gradually a wife of each deity was also accepted and she was considered a goddess. Later on Vedic gods and goddesses were also shown human weaknesses and it was believed that they can act like humans.
(5.) Classification of Gods: In the Rigveda, 33 deities have been prayed which are divided into three classes. There are 11 deities in each class, out of which one is the most important- (1) God of the sky- The gods of the sky included Dyaus, Varuna, Mitra, Savita, Pushan, Usha, Aditi and Ashwin etc. The sun is the best god of the sky. (2) Gods of the Middle-Space- Indra, Marut, Vayu, Parjanya etc. come among the deities of the middle place. The best deity of the middle place is Vayu or Indra. (3) God of the Earth- Prithvi, Agni, Soma, Brihaspati, Saraswati etc. used to come among the deities of the earth. The principal deity of the earth is Agni.
(6.) Characteristics of the Gods: Certain characteristics are found in the deities of the Rigvedic period- (1) All the gods and goddesses are symbols of virtue and morality. (2) All the gods are merciful and well wishers. No deity is of evil nature. (2) All the deities have different qualities and powers and their functions are also of different types. (3) All gods take birth but then become immortal. (4) All the gods travel in the air, in whose chariots horses or other animals and birds are yoked. (5) They are depicted in human form and they are sacrificed for human food items, such as milk, grains etc.
(7.) Prominence to the gods over the goddesses: The Aryans also worshiped goddesses like Ushas and Aditi representing the Usha period, but these goddesses were not given special importance in the Rigvedic period. In the environment of patriarchal society, it was natural for gods like Indra and Varuna to get more importance than the deities.
(8.) Religious Acts: The deities were mainly worshiped with praise and sacrifice. The text of praise was of great importance in the Rigvedic period. Praises were recited singly and in groups. The Aryans believed that prayer reaches God and that God is pleased with prayers. Gayatri Mantra was of great importance and it was recited thrice a day i.e. in the morning, midday and in the evening. In the beginning, each clan or clan had its own specific deity. It is estimated that members of the entire clan took part in this praise.
'Yagya' Rigvedic was the main part of the Aryan system of worship. That's why Rigveda-dharma is called 'Yajna-dharma'. Food, ghee, barley and fragrant items were sacrificed in the yagyas and the gods were prayed for long life, sons and grandsons, attainment of wealth and food grains and destruction of enemies. In the beginning, each Arya Yajan used to do the work himself, but later the help of Brahmins or priests was taken. The entire 'Jana' i.e. 'Clan' Agni and Indra were invoked to accept the sacrifice offered by him.
In the Rigvedic period, there was no ritual or chanting on the occasion of Yajnahuti. At that time the miraculous power of the word was not given as much importance as it was given in the post-Vedic period. In the Rigvedic period, the Aryans did not worship the gods for spiritual advancement or salvation. They mainly asked for progeny, animals, food, wealth, health etc. from these deities. The Rigveda also mentions large and expensive sacrifices, which were often performed by kings and rich people.
(9.) Worship of ancestors: The worship of ancestors was prevalent among the Rigvedic Aryans. He believed that by getting the blessings of the ancestors, the sufferings are attenuated.
(10.) Emphasis on Virtue: In the Rigvedic Aryans, great emphasis was placed on virtue. Theft, dacoity, false speech, killing of innocent and disabled, taking away foreign money, etc., were considered bad deeds. They considered magic, sorcery, deceit, adultery etc. to be sins. The concept of sin, virtue and heaven-hell is also found in the Rigveda. The Aryans believed that those who do virtuous deeds remain in heaven after death and those who do sinful deeds are pushed into hell and darkness.
(11.) Dan: The Rigvedic Aryans had a tradition of giving charity. Aryans used to donate cows, chariots, horses, slaves and slaves to their priests. In all the mentions of giving donations to priests, it has been told to give donations in the form of cows and women slaves, never in the form of plots.
(12.) Lack of temples and idols: Temples were not built during the Rigvedic period and idol-worship was not prevalent, but in the Rigveda there is a mention of taking the idol of Indra by giving ten cows at one place. It is known from this that the Rigvedic Aryans were familiar with idol-worship. Idol-worship was prevalent on a large scale in his predecessor and contemporary Indus civilization.
(13.) Thoughts related to soul and salvation: The Aryans believed in immortality. Some scholars believe that the spirit of reincarnation had emerged in the Rigvedic Aryans. There is no mention of salvation in the Rigveda, but in the absence of sufficient evidence, it is difficult to say with certainty in this regard.