What is Religion:
A system of thought, feeling, and action that is shared by a group and that gives the members an object of devotion; a code of behavior by which individuals may judge the personal and social consequences of their actions; and a frame of reference by which individuals may relate to their group and their universe. Usually, religion concerns itself with that which transcends the known, the natural, or the expected; it is an acknowledgment of the extraordinary, the mysterious, and the supernatural. The religious consciousness generally recognizes a transcendent, sacred order and elaborates a technique to deal with the inexplicable or unpredictable elements of human experience in the world or beyond it.
Types of Religious Systems
The evolution of religion cannot be precisely determined owing to the lack of clearly distinguishable stages, but anthropological and historical studies of isolated cultures in various periods of development have suggested a typology but not a chronology. One type is found among some Australian aborigines who practice magic and fetishism but consider the powers therein to be not supernatural but an aspect of the natural world. Inability or refusal to divide real from preternatural and acceptance of the idea that inanimate objects may work human good or evil are sometimes said to mark a prereligious phase of thought. This is sometimes labeled naturism or animatism. It is characterized by a belief in a life force that itself has no definite characterization.
A second type of religion, represented by many Oceanic and African tribal beliefs, includes momentary deities (a tree suddenly falling on or in front of a person is malignant, although it was not considered “possessed” before or after the incident) and special deities (a particular tree is inhabited by a malignant spirit, or the spirits of dead villagers inhabit a certain grove or particular animals). In this category one must distinguish between natural and supernatural forces. This development is related to the emergence of objects of devotion, to rituals of propitiation, to priests and shamans, and to an individual sense of group participation in which the individual or the group is protected by, or against, supernatural beings and is expected to act singly or collectively in specific ways when in the presence of these forces.
If there is one word in “Sanskrit” that pervades the entire physical & material universe on one side – and also the universe of Life & Spirit on the other side – it is “Dharma”. It is used very colloquially on one side by all and sundry – as much as with extreme poignancy and significance by the very learned to explain the esoteric truths of God’s creations.
Let us look at the Indian mythological connection to this word and I quote ….
Dharma: An ancient “Hindu Sage” – a Rishi, who married thirteen of Daksha‘s daughters. According to the Mahabharata, Daksha sprang from the right thumb of Brahma, and his wife from that god’s left thumb. Their numerous progeny, transparently personifications of virtues and religious rites, were married to – “Dharma” (meaning moral duty in Sanskrit); to Kashyapa – another ancient sage and the grandfather of Manu, the progenitor of mankind; and to Soma – the king of the Brahmins and the guardians of sacrifices. Dharma in Hindu religion is the doctrine of the duties and rights of each caste in the ideal society, and as such the mirror of all moral action.
Now we look at the religious interpretations and I quote ….
1. The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena. Such activities restricted to a class of natural phenomena. Such activities applied to an object of inquiry or study. Methodological activity, discipline, or study: An activity that appears to require study and method. Knowledge, especially – that gained through experience.
2. In common usage the word science is applied to a variety of disciplines or intellectual activities which have certain features in common. Usually a science is characterized by the possibility of making precise statements which are susceptible of some sort of check or proof. This often implies that the situations with which the special science is concerned can be made to recur in order to submit themselves to check, although this is by no means always the case. There are observational sciences such as astronomy or geology in which repetition of a situation at will is intrinsically impossible, and the possible precision is limited to precision of description.
3. A common method of classifying sciences is to refer to them as either exact sciences or descriptive sciences. Examples of the former are physics and, to a lesser degree, chemistry; and of the latter, taxonomical botany or Zoology. The exact sciences are in general characterized by the possibility of exact measurement. One of the most important tasks of a descriptive science is to develop a method of description or classification that will permit precision of reference to the subject matter.
1. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.
2. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship; the life or condition of a person in a religious order.
3. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.
4. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion. Read the rest of this entry
Veda literally means “Truth” or “Knowledge” or “Awareness”. Sanskrit is the language in which Veda was scripted. Sanskrit – means culturally evolved. Veda is the spiritual & social foundation of Indian ethos – and Sanskrit is the mother of all Indian languages. Veda was not originally a book authored by a single individual, as was often misinterpreted or misunderstood by many western scholars. Vedas were the cumulative compilations by different exalted sages & seers at different times in the history. Read the rest of this entry