The religion of Vedic Period

(* don’t worry about too many terms to remember, just go through them once)

Features Early Vedic Period Later Vedic Period
Nature of Worship
  • There was no temple or idol worship

They practiced primitive animism (worshipped forces of nature such as wind, rain, water, etc.)

  • Idolatry became prominent
  • Sacrifices became more elaborate and important
  • Brahmans gained in importance and they maintained their supremacy
  • They performed yajnas such as Ashvamedha, Vajapeya, etc. to establish their authority over the chiefs and their territory
Male Gods
  • Indra (most important): God of thunder/rain
  • Agni: God of fire
  • Varuna: God of water
  • Soma: God of plants
  • Yama: God of death
  • Pushan: God of jungle paths, herdsmen, and cattle
  • Vishnu: Benevolent god
  • Marutas: god of storm

Ashvins: twin god of war and fertility

  • Indra and Agni lost importance and Prajapati (god of creation) emerged supreme
  • Vishnu, Rudra (previously minor god) became prominent
  • Division in the class of deities appeared e.g. Pushan (god of cattle) became the god of Shudras
Female God
  • Savitri: Solar deity
  • Aditi: Goddess of eternity
  • Prithvi: Earth Goddess
  • Nirrti: Goddess of death
  • Usha: Goddess of dawn
The religion of Vedic Period
  • Gandharvas (divine musicians)
  • Apsaras (Mistress of God)
  • Vishwadevas (Intermediate Deities)

Aryaman (Guardian of compacts and marriages)