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Rituals Religious Beliefs during Indus Civilization2

Continued from part 1

In order to produce these symbolic objects, artisans perfected many new technologies. In case of advanced metallurgy, was essential to creating bronze sculptures and high temperature kilns was essential. This was used for manufacturing glazed ornaments, stoneware bangles and all the important seals. These crafts and objects also required standardized form, size and decoration.

The production of the various symbolic objects and motifs was accomplished through craft specialization. Additionally, these crafts also helped in maintaining the ritual order.

For instance, crafts like stoneware bangle-making, seal production and weight manufacture, were directly controlled in segregated workshops by the rulers or the state. This was done to limit access to these important symbols of power. Moreover, the process of production of stoneware bangles was shrouded in mystery and preserved through complex rituals. This was done so to enhance the value of the object.

These Indo-Aryan nomadic tribes emerged into prominence in India around the second millennium l500 B.C.E. and subsequently. These were characterized by a number of cultural and linguistic characteristics. These characteristics proved determinative for the development of later Indian civilization. These characteristics were as follows:

(a) A form of the Sanskrit language called simply Old Indic (or Vedic Sanskrit), later to develop into the classical language of India. This language came to be known as classical Sanskrit.

(b) A patriarchal system of social organization centered around a tripartite division of social functions. These consisted of priests (brahmans), warriors (rajanyas or kshatriyas) and food-producers (cattle raisers, cultivators, traders, and so forth) (vaishyas). After some centuries, these developed into what we now know as the caste system.

(c) An elaborate ritual system of sacrifice (yajna) on open-air altars. This ritual involved offering of milk, honey, clarified butter or ghee, and animals into the sacred fire (agni) together with imbibing a sacred drink called Soma. This resulted in getting some hallucinogenic effects.

(d) The worship of an elaborate pantheon of sky, atmospheric and earth gods.

In order to perform the fire ritual the priests had to master an extensive body of what can be called sacred "utterances." These included hymns, chants and ritual instructions of one kind or another. These liturgical utterances were not written texts. This was because writing was not extensively used for many centuries. It was only later that the Vedas which derived from the root meaning "to know" came into existence. In other words, the Veda-s were what the priests had to know in order to perform the ritual sacrifice (yajna).

Originally there were three basic ritual collections. These were, namely, the Rig Veda (meaning the "Hymn Veda," a collection of over one thousand hymns), the Sama Veda (meaning the "Chant Veda," a collection of selected chants derived largely from verses of the Rig Veda) and the Yajur Veda (meaning the "Instruction Veda," a collection of instructions about the ritual performance).

Somewhat later a fourth set of sacred utterances was added called the Atharva Veda. However, this was not so much of a ritual collection as a collection of chants and spells for curing illness).

The purpose of the ritual sacrifice was to propitiate and "feed" the gods. In return the gods would assist their Indo-Aryan devotees with long life, much cattle and earthly happiness. This reciprocity between gods and priests maintained the cosmic order or "rita."

This site covers all areas for Ancient Indian History for kids. There are several essays to refer to for your school history study. We start off with ancient India timeline, various ancinet empires like the Mauryan empire and the Gupta empire. You will find information about ancient Indian society and culture, rulers, wars, costumes and several such facinating subjects. History of ancient India for kids is quite fascinating and long.