“Nearly everyone has some conception of religion. In fact, sometimes it appears that there are as many definitions of it as there are people” (Schmidt 9). Not only does each person have his or her own way of defining religion; each person has his or her own way of practicing religion. Studying these different practices can be difficult. There have been many people who have studied religion and through many different methods. While some people share similar findings, each person has his or her own interpretation of religion.
Michael Malloy found three major patterns in his studies of religion. These patterns can be seen in many religions, especially Hinduism. The first pattern Malloy describes is the way each religion contacts the sacred. There are two ways that Hindus contact the sacred. One is through the Vedic Hinduism sacrifice, and the other appears in Upanishadic Hinduism, which is through mystical orientation, where a person “seeks union with a reality greater than ones self” (Burke 11). The sacrifice follows a scheduled routine in which many priests are present to ensure the event’s accuracy. The sacrifice is used to contact the gods in an attempt to please them so that they improve relations with the gods. This will help the sacrificer receive things from the gods that he asks for. “Usually the sacrificers praised the god for deeds they wanted the gods to repeat, such as the release of rain on the earth” (Srauta Sacrifice 76). Often sacrifices dealt with the natural aspects in life, the things the people could not control on their own.
In The Katha Upanishad, Nachtketa asks the King of Death for the secret of morality. “Ask for cattle, elephants, horses, gold,” says the King of Death (Burke 39). Nachtketa declines these offerings so that he may obtain the knowledge of immortality. The King of Death tells him to know Brahman. Brahman is sacred to the Hindus. Through mystical orientation Hindu’s tr...
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