HUM 400 Religion and Philosophy
The historical predecessor of Hinduism and the other Indian religions was that of the Vedic period (also known as Vedism or Vedic Brahmanism, or simply Brahmanism). Its liturgy is reflected in the Mantra portion of the four Vedas. The religious practices centered on a clergy administering sacrificial rites. A small fraction of conservative Shrautins continue this tradition today within contemporary Hinduism.
The earliest literature of Hinduism is made up of the four Vedas: the Rig-Veda, Sama-Veda, Yajur-Veda and the Atharva-Veda. Of these, the Rig-Veda is considered to be the oldest surviving work of literature. Many Hindus believe that the Vedas were transmitted through oral tradition, for perhaps 8000 years. Hindus believe that Vedas were orally transmitted or revealed to the Saptha Rishis by the Lord himself.
The earliest stage of the Vedas is the Rig-Veda, a collection of poetic hymns used in the sacrificial rites of Vedic priesthood. Most of the Rig-Veda involves the offering of Soma to the gods. The gods in the Rig-Veda are mostly concepts, who fall into two categories: the devas, who were gods of nature, such as the weather deity Indra, Agni ("fire"), and Ushas ("dawn") and the asuras, gods of moral concepts, such as Mitra ("contract" or "friend"), Bhaga (guardian of marriage) and Varuna ("the rain god").
The development of this religion was influenced when light-skinned nomadic Aryan Indo-European tribes invaded Northern India from Russia and Central Asia, attacking the Harappan people, who lived there in 1500. The word Hinduism comes from the word, Indus, which is the name of an Indian River that existed about 5000 years ago.
Both groups adopted the beliefs of the other so they were similar in their religious doctrines. The Aryans believed in multiple gods to worship and the Harappans believed in the sanctity of fertility. The Aryan group developed what is called the caste system,...