Religion of the Indus Valley Civilization


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  • Mother Goddess seems to be the most venerated.
  • The bearded man statue wearing a trefoil designed cloak could have been a priest king.
  • Animals were worshipped too. The crocodiles in seals may have been emblems of a river god. A clay amulet engraving of a cobra near a bowl on a stool and two cobras behind two worshippers of a deity in a faience tablet indicate snake worship. Composite animals were worshipped, (e.g. human headed goat, human headed horse). A lime stone bull with a garland and the numerous bulls in seals indicate bull worship.
  • Pipal and Neem trees were worshipped and have been found engraved on seals in large numbers.
  • One seal has a women dancing before a bull. The bearded man wore amulets. Swastikas and cross signs were probably considered auspicious.
  • A seal depicting a 3 headed horned god, with animals surrounding him indicate the prototype of Siva. Cones found have been called lingams while stone rings are called yonis.
  • Kalibangan has prominent fire altars. Amri and Lothal are also believed to have fire altars. These indicate ritualistic orientation of the Indus Valley people in all likelihood.
  • Body always placed in the north-south direction, head in the north. A belief in after life is evident by burial goods mirrors, antimony rods, mother of pearl shells and pots. In one case a fowl was placed in the hen pit. One Harappan grave has a coffin and a matted shroud, probably of a foreigner. Fractional burial was also practiced. But at Lothal, it was otherwise.
  • Some scenes are strongly suggestive of Mesopotamian mythology e.g. a man grappling with a pair of tigers reminds one of the Gilgamesh myth – and the horned God, with the legs and tail of a bull, recall the Bull-man Enkidu of the same epic.
  • Among these are the maze-like closed patterns which recall the auspicious rice-flour designs made by the house-wives upon important occasions in the courtyards; the Swastika in several variant forms etc.
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