Vedic Sacrifices in Hinduism

Ms. Neelima Shukla-Bhatt
Harvard University

Background was given, firstly, on the Hindu approaches to ultimate reality, or, the conception of God. On the one hand, there is the theistic conception, which understands the Supreme Being as a person fulfilling roles within the universe. A second conception is the monistic, which views the ultimate not as a being but as all of Being, or Reality itself in both the transcendent and immanent natures. It is this conception, the monistic, that the vedas work within.

The expression of mystical prayer in Hinduism is found within four areas: speech, language and sound itself; images; meditation; and sacrifices. This last aspect, of ritual sacrifice, is what the vedas raised to a mystical height. Sacrifices are considered primarily a communal form of mysticism, wherein the cosmic forces of the universe are tapped into directly.

Vedic rituals represent the longings and methods through which the ancient Hindus communicated with the ultimate forces and truth of the universe, uniting the mundane world and beyond.