(14.1) Vedic Sanskrit is significant because it was only taught to men from priestly families through oral tradition. Therefore, it was an indication of social status and was considered restricted knowledge which was not accessible to the common population.
(14.2) The Vedic traditions come from the Rigveda, which was compiled between c. 1500-1000 BCE.
a. One practice was the chanting of hymns from the Rigveda. These hymns were in praise of various deities, particularly Indra, Agni, and Soma. These were chanted when sacrifices were performed in which people prayed for good health, long life, cattle, sons, etc. These were performed collectively.
b. The sacrificial tradition was important. It was later also performed individually by heads of households for the well-being of the domestic unit (family), and also by kings and chiefs in an elaborate fashion, where the ritual was conducted by a priest.
(14.3) Sacrifices were performed for a variety of reasons.
a. Initially, collective sacrifices were performed by people for cattle, sons, good health, long life, etc.
b. From c. 1000-500 BCE, they were performed by the heads of households for the well-being of the domestic unit i.e. the family
c. Elaborate sacrifices such as Rajasuya and Ashvamedha were performed by rulers and chiefs under the guidance of a priest.
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