and their importance grew at the cost of Indra and Agni (Rig Vedic gods).
The cult of Rudra evolved from a Harappan cult (Pasupati Mahadeva) and
hence it was a non-Aryan influence. Special deities emerged for some of the
social classes, for example Pushan (protector of cattle) for the Sudras. There
was a clear-cut male domination even in the divine pantheon during both the
Monotheism and Monism
The former is a doctrine which admits of only one god and the latter is a
doctrine which seeks to explain varied phenomena by a single principle.
There was a tendency towards both doctrines among certain small groups
since the Rig Vedic period onwards.
Life after Death
The Rig Vedic period did not produce any consistent theory about it. The
idea of metempsychosis (souls being reborn in human, animal and plant form)
was not yet developed. In the later Vedic period life after death was
envisaged in terms of punishment for sin and reward for virtue. There was
evidence of metempsychosis in the later Vedic hymns. Idea of transmigration
of souls was not clear in the Vedas, though Upanishads expound the belief in
the passage of human soul from life to life according to one’s conduct in the
previous life. The theory of karma evolved from the above belief. The karma
concept is not actually stated in the Rig Veda, but it does mention that a
person’s conduct in this world determines his life after death. But it is the
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad which clearly mentions the concept and states
that as a man lives, so he becomes.
Mode of Worship
The Rig Vedic period was marked by recitation of prayers and offering of
sacrifices both at the individual and collective levels. The offerings (such as
grain, vegetables, flesh, ghee, and so on) were not accompanied by any ritual
or sacrificial formulae, because magical power of the word (mantra) was not
yet considered very important.