Showing posts with label Brahmana. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brahmana. Show all posts

Hinduism - What Is Yajna?

 

Yajna is a Sanskrit word that means “sacrifice”. 

The basic religious act in the oldest stratum of Indian religion was a fire sacrifice.

The Brahmana literature elaborates on this worship of sacrifice in considerable detail, portraying sacrifice as the mechanism by which the cosmos came into existence.

The sacrifice required highly skilled priestly technicians (rtvij), who were in charge of singing portions of the Rg, Sama, and Yajur Vedas, as well as creating and keeping the holy fire at the center of the sacrificial activity.

This sacrificial ritual was focused on burning items in a holy fire, which was thought to be the deity Agni, so that Agni might deliver the sacrifices to the other gods.

These ceremonies were so intricate and costly that they soon fell out of favor; by the turn of the common period, there was also a lot of skepticism regarding the animal sacrifices that were formerly a big element of many of these rites.

These old ceremonies are no longer practiced, but the term yajna may now be used to any ceremony involving the holy fire, especially one conducted by a brahmin for a patron.


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Hinduism - What Is Purusha Sukta In The Rig Veda?


("Hymn to Primitive Man") The hymn in the Rig Veda (10.90) that recounts the formation of the material and social universe as the outcome of a primal sacrifice is known by this name.

According to the book, there was once a primal man who was sacrificed and mutilated.

The brahmins originated from the primeval man's lips, the kshatriyas from his shoulders, the vaishyas from his thighs (a popular euphemism for the genitals), and the shudras from his feet, as did the four traditional main social groupings (varnas).

This poem is thought to be one of the most recent hymns in the Rig Veda, since it clearly represents the sacrificial paradigm that was so fundamental to subsequent Brahmana literature.

It is also notable for articulating the four varnas for the first time, as well as the symbolic functions associated with each: speech and the authority of the sacred word for brahmins; protection and military valor for kshatriyas; generation and production for vaishyas; and service to others for shudras.


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Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.




Hinduism - Who Is A Brahmana?





The Vedas' second literary layer, the oldest and most authoritative Hindu religious writings, is known by this term. 





The Brahmanas usually follow after the samhitas, or songs of adoration to the gods, and before the theoretical writings known as the Aranyakas and Upanishads, despite the fact that the Veda's creation is not entirely linear. 





In principle, each Veda includes an appendix called a Brahmana that explains the Vedic rites in more detail. 

Although this is exclusively true for the Yajur Veda, this understanding bestows on the Brahmanas the authority of revealed text (shruti) and therefore renders them infallible. 


The Aiteraya Brahmana and the Shatapatha Brahmana are the two most significant Brahmanas; the latter's tone and contents (which include the Isha Upanishad) plainly identify it as the most modern of the Brahmanas. 



The Brahmanas are mainly ceremonial texts that provide detailed, laborious instructions for carrying out Vedic rites. 


These writings show a major change in religious practice, from a focus on sacrifice as a method of summoning and pleasing the Vedic gods to a focus on the power of ritual itself. 

Because even the gods are susceptible to the rites, the sacrifice priests become the most powerful individuals in the world. 





The Aranyakas and Upanishads, which raise more speculative questions regarding the rituals themselves, are influenced by the force of well executed ritual. 



These many religious genres are often juxtaposed, like in the Shatapatha Brahmana, which contains the Isha Upanishad. 

These juxtapositions show that, although the emphasis in different kinds of writings differed, there was some overlap in the period they were written.