Definition of Vedic religion in US English:

Vedic religion


  • The ancient religion of the Aryan peoples who entered northwestern India from Persia c.2000–1200 BC. It was the precursor of Hinduism, and its beliefs and practices are contained in the Vedas.

    Its characteristics included ritual sacrifice to many gods, especially Indra, Varuna, and Agni; social classes (varnas) that formed the basis of the caste system; and the emergence of the priesthood, which dominated orthodox Brahmanism from c.900 BC. Transition to classical Hinduism began in about the 5th century BC

    • ‘It is an orthodox caste whose members consider themselves descendants of the ancient Vedic religion.’
    • ‘And in the same way we find lots of similarities between Vedic religion and the religion of the Homeric Greeks.’
    • ‘The Vedic religion preserved the fire cult of the ancient inhabitants of Earth who gazed with awe at fire-seething volcanoes and brilliant streaks of lightning that ignited primeval forests into fast-spreading flames.’
    • ‘Buddha denounced the extreme ritualism of the Vedic religion.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, the ultimate goal of the sacrificial Vedic religion and the bhakti form of Hinduism, as practiced today, is the same.’