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Social anthropologists, particularly the British ones, have generated voluminous data on primitive religion. The data relate to the primi-tive and tribal people of India, Africa and Australia. The US anthropologists have, however, shown lesser concern on primitive re-ligion. On the strength of the ethnographic data available we present below in this section some of the elements of religion which also char-acterized religion of several tribal groups: Ritual: Durkheim has described ritual as an important element of religion. Ritual is a practice of religion, or say, the action part of religion. Con-ceptually, ritual is different from religious phenomena or beliefs. Beliefs are ideas or thoughts and ritual is their implementation. At the empirical plane of any religion, primitive or otherwise, ritual cannot be separated from religion. Parsons in Structure of Social Action has ex-plained the relationship of religion and rituals in the following words: The fundamental distinction between religion and ritual is that be-tween two categories of religious phenomena-beliefs and rites-the first is a form of thought, the second of action. But, the two are in-separable, and central to every religion. Without knowing its beliefs the ritual of a religion is incomprehensible. That the two are insepa-rable does not, however, imply any particular relation of priority, the point is, at present, the distinction. Religious beliefs, then, are be-liefs concerning sacred things, their origin, behaviour and significance for man. Rites are actions performed in relation to sacred things. If a Santhal of Bihar offers a hen to his local deity, it is a ritual in consideration of his belief or thought that the deity has to be appeased to ward.off the evils inflicted on the community. Thus, the sacrifice of a hen is ritual and belief in the power of deity is thought. We see that in an empirical situation both belief and ritual work together. Beliefs: The edifice of religion stands on the structure of beliefs. The earlier so-cial anthropologists defined religion in terms of beliefs only. Tylor argued that there cannot be any religion without belief. And, what is important about belief is that it cannot be argued; it cannot be empiri-cally proved. It is only a matter of understanding. In recent anthropological literature, the element of belief in relig-ion is severely criticized. It is said that religion has to be understood in sociological and logical terms. Belief has no existence because it does not stand the test of reality. Organization: In the early history of religion we have evidence to say that there was some organization to regulate the activities of a particular sect. Max Weber, who is said to be the founder of modern sociology, observed that all the great religions of world-Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism-had some kind of organization. The function of organiza-tion was to regulate the activities and functioning of the religion. Christianity has its church which works as a central body to keep the Christians together. Likewise, Hinduism has its four dharris where Sankracharyas work as head and regulate the activities of Hindus.
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The important elements of Indian religion - Essay
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The Important Elements Of Indian Religion - Essay

Words: 499    Pages: 2    Paragraphs: 12    Sentences: 32    Read Time: 01:48
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              Social anthropologists, particularly the British ones, have generated voluminous data on primitive religion. The data relate to the primi-tive and tribal people of India, Africa and Australia.
             
              The US anthropologists have, however, shown lesser concern on primitive re-ligion. On the strength of the ethnographic data available we present below in this section some of the elements of religion which also char-acterized religion of several tribal groups:
             
              Ritual:
             
              Durkheim has described ritual as an important element of religion. Ritual is a practice of religion, or say, the action part of religion. Con-ceptually, ritual is different from religious phenomena or beliefs. Beliefs are ideas or thoughts and ritual is their implementation.
             
              At the empirical plane of any religion, primitive or otherwise, ritual cannot be separated from religion. Parsons in Structure of Social Action has ex-plained the relationship of religion and rituals in the following words:
             
              The fundamental distinction between religion and ritual is that be-tween two categories of religious phenomena-beliefs and rites-the first is a form of thought, the second of action. But, the two are in-separable, and central to every religion. Without knowing its beliefs the ritual of a religion is incomprehensible.
             
              That the two are insepa-rable does not, however, imply any particular relation of priority, the point is, at present, the distinction. Religious beliefs, then, are be-liefs concerning sacred things, their origin, behaviour and significance for man. Rites are actions performed in relation to sacred things.
             
              If a Santhal of Bihar offers a hen to his local deity, it is a ritual in consideration of his belief or thought that the deity has to be appeased to ward. off the evils inflicted on the community. Thus, the sacrifice of a hen is ritual and belief in the power of deity is thought. We see that in an empirical situation both belief and ritual work together.
             
              Beliefs:
             
              The edifice of religion stands on the structure of beliefs. The earlier so-cial anthropologists defined religion in terms of beliefs only. Tylor argued that there cannot be any religion without belief.
             
              And, what is important about belief is that it cannot be argued; it cannot be empiri-cally proved. It is only a matter of understanding.
             
              In recent anthropological literature, the element of belief in relig-ion is severely criticized. It is said that religion has to be understood in sociological and logical terms. Belief has no existence because it does not stand the test of reality.
             
              Organization:
             
              In the early history of religion we have evidence to say that there was some organization to regulate the activities of a particular sect. Max Weber, who is said to be the founder of modern sociology, observed that all the great religions of world-Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism-had some kind of organization.
             
              The function of organiza-tion was to regulate the activities and functioning of the religion. Christianity has its church which works as a central body to keep the Christians together. Likewise, Hinduism has its four dharris where Sankracharyas work as head and regulate the activities of Hindus.
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