highly educated religious Yogis and J˝aanis could follow the path
of knowledge and observe the way of life as in the Scriptures with
meditation and prayers to the Absolute -the One Supreme Reality-
Formless God, in what is known as Nirguna-upasana. The common people
could not comprehend all the teachings of the Vedic philosophy.
They followed the rituals, recitations of the Vedas and the path
of Devotion. They performed the prayers and sang songs to the manifestations
of God in various forms, called the Saguna-upasana, and followed
the Agamas and Puranas with Vedic rituals to fire and water. In
the later age, the concept of devotion developed with various levels
of intense Bhakthi to God in many forms.
rituals evolved over the years for daily activities and family events
like birth, marriage and death. These changed from time to time
with the arrival of alien cultures. Many changes occurred in the
way of life in large section of the population with the pressure
of material benefits, greed, lust and ignorance along with alien
culture and education. Religious study got the least preference
as it was least understood and least beneficial. Several wars and
occupation by Turks, Persians, Moghuls, French and British rulers
with alien culture, religious faith and proselytizing people with
force also slowly changed the ethics and culture as well as the
way of worship and religious practice.
Temples were destroyed and prayer gatherings were attacked by the
alien forces, people started assembling in small houses for devotional
prayers instead of elaborate Temple rituals. Some of the alien culture
and habits were accommodated for acceptance in the high society.
There were separate Dharmasasthras for different age groups and
various segments of society according to their work, ability and
caste systems were established according to the family of birth
and some sections who were not following the religious rituals,
were pushed down the social ladder as untouchables to perform low
level jobs. Inter-dining and inter marriages were denied amongst
the various castes, thus dividing the community for ever. This was
advantageous to the aliens who could spread their faith easily.
However, the strength and viability of the Hindu faith were proved
very well by the very small dent all these events of history could
make in the strong Hindu Indian culture.