Rather than residing under the umbrella term of Religion, Hinduism stands out for being a held high amalgamation of social values and philosophies. It’s a tradition and a part of Indian History.
Traces of Hinduism dates back to 5500 BCE, say Indian archaeologists. Clinging hard to the concepts of Doctrine, Practice, Society, Story and Devotion, Hinduism emerges as a platform of customs, rituals, and norms and created a Social Structure.
Rituals being the ‘formalized behaviour’ in which a collection of people engage religiously, in a certain way of expressions and motions. Hinduism gives much importance to these special gestures or behaviours that paved the change of a Philosophy and tradition to start known as the Religion existing from prehistoric times.
The significance of rituals in Hinduism starts with the ideology that rituals bring in social order to the society. Performing rituals around what is considered as the ‘sacred’ brings in the consciousness of ‘Profane’ that distinguishes the high posited thoughts on ‘Holy’.
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Moreover, rituals bring in a collective identity to them even when it breaks into several clans or groups. The shared experiences thus evolve from the performance of rituals binds the people together towards a moral movement and transcendence.
Complete abiding to the common rituals within the communal premises promise a social mechanism that might bring social solidarity and social mobility in an existing social structure. As Stark suggested rituals leads to the continuation of the voluntary strengthening of collective conscience.
Hinduism is one of the wide spreading Philosophy or religion, comprises of a huge collection of rituals that has to be performed every day right from dawn till dusk. Apart from the endless social significance it holds, there are numerous spiritual significance it presents to its people.
- ‘Yajnas’, where chanting mantras to performing pujas and offering to deities around the sacred fire ‘Agni Deva’ who purifies entirely without getting impure is the most prevailed ritual that has been known and performed by a large number of people till the date. The ritual never failed in bringing a sense of fulfilment and gratitude in the performer as it is directly associated with the psychological cognitive orientations of faith, hope and care. Every festival starts with yajnas and every beginning starts with this ritual.
- ‘Japa’, the recitations on God’s which give the performer, the sense of closeness to God, a direct speech with God also is a powerful ritual in Hinduism that provides spiritual enlightenment to its people within a short span of time. Research says that ‘Japa’ increases the concentration level of the performer leaving great relief from the mundane problems.
- ‘Aum’ or ‘Ohm’, the first vibes or voice that was voiced out in Mother Earth, evokes the sense of divinity around in the performer. It’s not used by everyone as it’s considered as one of the most sacred word in Hinduism.
- Right from taking ‘Prasada’ after ‘archana’ to knowing deeply about ‘Brahma’ and ‘Atman’ constitutes the rituals in Hinduism, which develops as the touchstone of tradition and culture- the way of life.
– by Christina Elizabeth Emmanuel