In addition, the layman could not refuse to perform weddings, funerals and other rites, the cult of ancestors. And to carry out these rites of worship was required expertise and sacred texts – the same Brahmins. Thus, the ancient pagan religions (one of them was a Vedic) remained a very strong position.
From the middle of I millennium BC. OE. These religions in relation to the changing situation and in the struggle with Buddhism also changed, grouped, mainly focusing on the Vedic religion as the most developed and advanced. By the beginning of our era, you can talk about the emergence of Hinduism as an all-Indian complex religions, creeds and sects that have some basic common features. They all share a belief in reincarnation, the law of karma, the gods as the supreme arbiter of the higher man and nature, the consecration of caste, untouchability approval, separation of slaves in one way or another on religion, belief in the sanctity of the Vedas, the ratio of Sanskrit as a sacred language , the belief in the efficacy of asceticism, ritual and magic.
Changes compared with the early tribal religions were significant. The concept of sin has been included not only a violation of religious rituals, but also a violation of their human Dharma (especially caste regulations). Changed attitude to the gods. They have ceased to be regarded as partners in the deal, “I told you, you tell me,” and became objects of reverence and unconditional loyalty, the role of sacrifice in the ritual has fallen markedly. The principal gods of the Vedic pantheon, the cult which was associated with a complex and expensive sacrificial ritual (Agni, Indra, Soma), lost its former importance. By the beginning of our era has become the most revered trinity of supreme gods – Brahma, Vishnu. Shiva. Brahma (”Creator”) – a necessary member of the triad, but his cult had a wide circulation. Vishnu and Shiva were far more popular: so far the Indians (IE, Indians who practice Hinduism) are divided into two main groups – and the Vaishnavas Saivites. Vishnu (the “Custodian”), the merger and unification of tribal cults incorporates a sample of the gods who personified the beneficent forces of nature, the sun god, while Shiva (”Destroyer”) – the gods of the terrible, full of mysterious energy, lunar deity. The remaining tribal deity or declaring his sons and wives of Vishnu and Shiva, or by the same deities, just wearing different names. In addition to the Vedas, available only to the higher varnam, declared as the sacred epic poem “Mahabharata” and “Ramayana” and ancient collection of stories about “Puranas”, available for reading and listening, even lower, castes. One of the heroes’ Mahab-Harat, “Krishna, the protagonist of” Ramayana “frame were included in the Hindu pantheon as an incarnation (avatar) of Vishnu.
Along with the male deities of great importance in contrast to the Vedic religion has acquired a cult of the mother goddess, worshiped, however, as the wife of Vishnu (Lakshmi) and Shiva (under the names of Parvati, Durga, Kali). In the villages, usually retain their value, local patron deity. Were incalculable evil gods, demigods, demons. In Hinduism, along with a complex “GOVERNMENTAL and subtle religious concepts of present and remnants of a very ancient and primitive religious belief such as veneration of animals (cow, cobra snake, monkey)” rivers (especially the Ganges), mountains (the Himalayas), trees (fig) , flowers (lotus), etc.
In the first centuries of our era (especially in the Gupta), following the example of Buddhist begin to be erected and Hindu temples, erected statues of the gods as objects of worship. However, the temple worship has not gotten much. Has not developed an all-Indian church organizations, associations of churches and priests. Although the Brahmans are still considered themselves the elite of society, the most noble in the caste system, have played an important role in social and cultural life, they never seriously threatened the hegemony of the secular elite and the rich. In ancient India there was not a theocratic state.