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What Are The Main Features of Vedic Society And Religion? Do You Think Some of The Features Are Still Prevailing in Indian Society?

Main Features of Vedic Society and Religion:

1. Varna System: Vedic society was organized into four principal classes or Varnas – Brahmins (priests), Kshatriyas (warriors), Vaishyas (merchants and farmers), and Shudras (servants). This system was initially based on occupation but eventually became hereditary.

2. Ritualistic Worship: The Vedic religion was centered around rituals, yajnas, and sacrifices performed for gods like Agni, Indra, Varuna, and others to seek their blessings.

3. Literature: The Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda, and Atharvaveda were the primary religious texts, which contained hymns, rituals, and philosophies.

4. Patriarchy: Society was predominantly patriarchal. Lineage and inheritance were passed through the male line.

5. Concept of Rta: It was the cosmic law or order governing the universe. Everything was interconnected, and adherence to Rta was vital for balance.

6. Ashram System: Life was divided into stages – Brahmacharya (student), Grihastha (householder), Vanaprastha (hermitage), and Sannyasa (renunciation).

7. Nature Worship: Many deities in Vedic religion represented natural forces, such as Usha (dawn), Vayu (wind), and Surya (sun).

Features Still Prevailing in Indian Society:

  1. Caste System: The Varna system, over time, transformed into the caste system. While caste-based discrimination is constitutionally prohibited, remnants of the system still influence societal structures, especially in rural areas.
  2. Ritualistic Practices: Many contemporary Hindu ceremonies, such as weddings and naming ceremonies, continue to incorporate rituals derived from the Vedas.
  3. Ashram System: While not rigidly followed, the essence of the stages of life is still respected. The idea of retiring and turning towards spirituality, reminiscent of the Vanaprastha stage, is prevalent among many elderly Indians.
  4. Patriarchy: Despite strides towards gender equality, elements of patriarchy persist in parts of Indian society, influencing property rights, marital roles, and societal expectations.
  5. Nature Worship: Festivals like Makar Sankranti (honoring the sun) or Chhath Puja (worshiping the sun and the river) are examples of continued nature worship.
  6. Vedic Chants and Hymns: Rituals in many temples and religious events still utilize Vedic hymns and chants, emphasizing the continued religious significance of these texts.

In conclusion, while the Vedic age was a foundational period shaping the socio-religious fabric of ancient India, its influence is still palpable in various facets of contemporary Indian society, both culturally and religiously.

February 2024