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The tribals all over the country have oral religion. The theory and be-liefs about religion are not written in any language. The beliefs are, therefore, transmitted by word of mouth and are passed on as tradition from generation to generation. The rituals which accompany the re-ligion are also followed in a traditional form. However, each generation makes some changes in the religious thought and beliefs. For instance, G.S. Ghurye and N.K. Bose have highlighted the changes in tribal religion due to impact of Hinduism. But, the new form of tribal religion continues to remain oral mainly because of illit-eracy among the tribals. Though a small percentage of them have taken to formal education-even technical and professional no ef-fort, however, has been made to bring out their religion in book form. True, there have been tribal religious leaders but they too have not written down the basic tenets of their religion. There have also been tribal movements-religious and ethnic-which have been elaborated by Stephen Fuchs in his Rebellious Prophets (1965), but the prophets have maintained silence regarding giving a formal shape to religion. They preached only orally. However, religions of Hindus and Muslims are written. The ten-ets of Islam are found in the sacred text of Koran. The Hindu religious texts are several, namely, Vedas, Puranas, Upanishadas, Brahmanas and Geeta. The written forms of religion are called religions of the book by Goody (1986). Bible is found in the written form as the religion of Christians. Such religions including Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Christianity regard their content as tied to the text and not to a par-ticular cultural context. "Since they are text-bound, these religions can be disseminated throughout the world to peoples who in other re-gards live very different kinds of lives. Islam, for example, is the main religion in countries as different as Java, Niger, Egypt and Iran; whereas Christianity dominates in countries like the Philippines, Ger-many and north-east of India. The written religions, and particularly the monotheistic ones with their origins in the Middle East, can also be described as religions of conversion-systems of beliefs to which one can be converted and in which one has to affirm one's faith. Un-like other religions, they tend to be exclusive and not to accept 'syncretism'. Christian missionaries in Africa have, therefore, de-spaired at the sight of Africans cheerfully worshipping Christ as well as water spirits and ancestral spirits." Hinduism is partly a religion of the book. But K.S. Singh says that its form is amorphous. Many of its rituals are oral and take different forms in different ethnic groups. Moreover, its doctrines are less fixed and more flexible. Hinduism insists on less obedience to texts than the monotheistic script religions do. The oral form of religion which is characteristic to tribal religion has been studied by social anthropologists. This form of religion dif-fers considerably from the religions of the book, that is, written religions. The differences are several. First, the oral religions remain confined to smaller places, a locality. No Nuer in his right mind would expect the whole world's population to become followers of his religion's revered spirits or even of their highest God Thoth. The gods are frequently physically associated with revered places in the tribal area. Among Indian tribes there are local deities known as vil-lage deities. Second, oral religions tend to be non-convulsive. Quite like Christianity, Buddhism and Islam, there is no provision of con-version in oral religion. Third, oral religions appear to be embedded in the social practices of society, whereas written ones are often more detached from other social institutions. Fourth, "a somewhat related distinction, which was introduced by Robert Redfield (1955), concerns little and great traditions. Red- field argues that different strains and logics of religion and knowledge exist side by side in many societies; they may be radically different, but are often interrelated. The Mediterranean belief in the evil eye, for example, clearly belongs to a little tradition." The individuals who have belief in little traditions simultaneously also believe in the greater traditions. Brahmanic Hinduism is the official great tradition, its be-liefs and rituals sanctioned in the ancient Veda texts and centuries of monitored ritual practices are the little traditions. Low-caste Hindus, nevertheless, have their own rituals and beliefs, often more reminis-cent of oral than written religions, which co-exist with the high or great traditions but are socially segregated from it. Thus, oral religions are characterized by their local relevance, relative lack of dogma and tight integration with the 'non-religious' domains. The primitive and tribal groups invariably have oral relig-ion. An ethnographic example from India may illustrate the oral character of Bhil religion. The Bhils are found mostly in western India. They are the second largest group in the country preceded by the Gonds. The Bhils believe in ancestor worship. There is a fixed place in the house for the ances-tor. There is no material form of their ancestors. From birth to death there is ancestor worship. On ceremonial days also, the ancestor is worshipped. Next to ancestor is the local deity which resides in a spe-cific part of the village. The marriage procession goes to the village deity. If some sacrifice has to be made, it is made to the village deity. If an epidemic erupts in the village, the deity is appeased. The Bhils have a strong belief in their little traditions. However, due to contact with caste Hindus, they have acquired some familiarity with the great tradi-tions, e.g., Rama and Krishna, Heaven and Hell.
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Difference between oral religions and religions of the book - Essay
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Difference Between Oral Religions And Religions Of The Book - Essay

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              The tribals all over the country have oral religion. The theory and be-liefs about religion are not written in any language. The beliefs are, therefore, transmitted by word of mouth and are passed on as tradition from generation to generation.
             
              The rituals which accompany the re-ligion are also followed in a traditional form. However, each generation makes some changes in the religious thought and beliefs.
             
              For instance, G. S. Ghurye and N. K. Bose have highlighted the changes in tribal religion due to impact of Hinduism. But, the new form of tribal religion continues to remain oral mainly because of illit-eracy among the tribals.
             
              Though a small percentage of them have taken to formal education-even technical and professional no ef-fort, however, has been made to bring out their religion in book form. True, there have been tribal religious leaders but they too have not written down the basic tenets of their religion.
             
              There have also been tribal movements-religious and ethnic-which have been elaborated by Stephen Fuchs in his Rebellious Prophets (1965), but the prophets have maintained silence regarding giving a formal shape to religion. They preached only orally.
             
              However, religions of Hindus and Muslims are written. The ten-ets of Islam are found in the sacred text of Koran. The Hindu religious texts are several, namely, Vedas, Puranas, Upanishadas, Brahmanas and Geeta.
             
              The written forms of religion are called religions of the book by Goody (1986). Bible is found in the written form as the religion of Christians. Such religions including Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Christianity regard their content as tied to the text and not to a par-ticular cultural context.
             
              "Since they are text-bound, these religions can be disseminated throughout the world to peoples who in other re-gards live very different kinds of lives. Islam, for example, is the main religion in countries as different as Java, Niger, Egypt and Iran; whereas Christianity dominates in countries like the Philippines, Ger-many and north-east of India.
             
              The written religions, and particularly the monotheistic ones with their origins in the Middle East, can also be described as religions of conversion-systems of beliefs to which one can be converted and in which one has to affirm one's faith. Un-like other religions, they tend to be exclusive and not to accept 'syncretism'.
             
              Christian missionaries in Africa have, therefore, de-spaired at the sight of Africans cheerfully worshipping Christ as well as water spirits and ancestral spirits. "
             
              Hinduism is partly a religion of the book. But K. S. Singh says that its form is amorphous. Many of its rituals are oral and take different forms in different ethnic groups. Moreover, its doctrines are less fixed and more flexible. Hinduism insists on less obedience to texts than the monotheistic script religions do.
             
              The oral form of religion which is characteristic to tribal religion has been studied by social anthropologists. This form of religion dif-fers considerably from the religions of the book, that is, written religions.
             
              The differences are several. First, the oral religions remain confined to smaller places, a locality. No Nuer in his right mind would expect the whole world's population to become followers of his religion's revered spirits or even of their highest God Thoth. The gods are frequently physically associated with revered places in the tribal area.
             
              Among Indian tribes there are local deities known as vil-lage deities. Second, oral religions tend to be non-convulsive. Quite like Christianity, Buddhism and Islam, there is no provision of con-version in oral religion. Third, oral religions appear to be embedded in the social practices of society, whereas written ones are often more detached from other social institutions.
             
              Fourth, "a somewhat related distinction, which was introduced by Robert Redfield (1955), concerns little and great traditions. Red- field argues that different strains and logics of religion and knowledge exist side by side in many societies; they may be radically different, but are often interrelated. The Mediterranean belief in the evil eye, for example, clearly belongs to a little tradition. "
             
              The individuals who have belief in little traditions simultaneously also believe in the greater traditions. Brahmanic Hinduism is the official great tradition, its be-liefs and rituals sanctioned in the ancient Veda texts and centuries of monitored ritual practices are the little traditions.
             
              Low-caste Hindus, nevertheless, have their own rituals and beliefs, often more reminis-cent of oral than written religions, which co-exist with the high or great traditions but are socially segregated from it.
             
              Thus, oral religions are characterized by their local relevance, relative lack of dogma and tight integration with the 'non-religious' domains. The primitive and tribal groups invariably have oral relig-ion. An ethnographic example from India may illustrate the oral character of Bhil religion.
             
              The Bhils are found mostly in western India. They are the second largest group in the country preceded by the Gonds. The Bhils believe in ancestor worship. There is a fixed place in the house for the ances-tor.
             
              There is no material form of their ancestors. From birth to death there is ancestor worship. On ceremonial days also, the ancestor is worshipped. Next to ancestor is the local deity which resides in a spe-cific part of the village.
             
              The marriage procession goes to the village deity. If some sacrifice has to be made, it is made to the village deity. If an epidemic erupts in the village, the deity is appeased.
             
              The Bhils have a strong belief in their little traditions. However, due to contact with caste Hindus, they have acquired some familiarity with the great tradi-tions, e. g. , Rama and Krishna, Heaven and Hell.
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