RG ST 3 Lecture 3: RG ST 3 Lecture #3

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Religious Studies

Vedic Gods (cont.) The Vedic Gods ● Agni, the god of fire, is the god who receives the offerings and conveys them to the other gods through its smoke ○ Important because it is through the medium of the fire that the offerings that are made by the priests are conveyed up to the heavens ○ Objects turn to smoke that rises up to the sky. People in heaven an enjoy the essence of the object. ○ Agni - god of the Brahmans ■ Any source of heat is treated and manifested as fire ○ Priest's job is to attune the natural world and the divine world ■ They are qualified for the job because they have knowledge of the vedas ■ Fire belongs in the priestly caste ● Soma is the divinized plant of immortality (amrita), whose juices are extracted and then sacrificed to the gods ○ The plant, if ingested, gives people an altered state of consciousness ■ When you drink this substance, you become immortal spiritually ■ Particularly associated with the priestly caste, just like fire ● Varuna ○ Concerned with keeping law and order on earth ○ Certain Vedic gods, such as Mitra and Varuna, were keepers of divine order, and thus associated with "priestly" social function ● Indra ○ Indra and other atmospheric gods are associated with "warrior" social function ○ More hymns are addressed to Indra than any other gods ○ Uses the buddra (lightning bolt) to fight demons (similar to Zeus) ○ Functions in the intermediate space, between Earth and heaven ● Ashvins ○ "Horse gods" ○ The twin gods called the Ashvins are associated with agricultural/pastoral social functions ○ Important for the Indus Valley civilization to dominate in the military sense and help them in a more practical way in terms of agriculture and farming effectively ○ Associated with the class of the third caste, class of the Vaishayas (artisans, merchants, tradesmen, farmers) Vedic Rishis ("seers") ● Agni & Soma inspire visions in the poets that allows them to compose Vedic hymns ● Fire "illuminates" reality ○ Fire gives light to things that some people cannot see ● Soma yields an inspired, enthused, "intoxicated" vision ○ Allows you to see "beyond" what is there, anything superficial ● Vedic poets were "seers" who translated visions into sacred speech, which is "heard" (shruti) ○ Can have inner and outer visions Religion of the Brahmanas ● Religious expressions of Samhitas became s
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