Paragraph on Forms of Religion!
Religion seeks Lo interpret and control man’s relations to the forces of his physical and social environment.
These forces are thought to be under the control of some supernatural power.
The attempt to interpret man’s relations to these forces led to several forms of religion like superstition, animism, totemism, magic, ceremonialism and fetishism. A brief explanation of these forms is necessary in order to clarify the concept of religion.
Superstation is the conviction that something shall happen owing to the causes utterly disproportionate to the event for example, the belief that there would be some trouble in the journey or pain at its end because a cat has crossed the path, or that there will come some calamity because a star has fallen from the sky, or that Saturday is not a good day for sending a woman to her husband’s house. The Hindu religion is full of such superstitions.
Animism propounds the existence of some supra physical being within the body of every living being. This supra physical being is believed to survive the death of the physical body in which it is contained. After the death of a person the supra physical being is freed from the physical limitations and can wander irrespective of time and space.
Thus animism is a belief in the spirits of the dead. It is a name given to the theory of spirits which are supposed to be indwelling in certain places or things so that they can communicate with men. Very commonly the view is held that spirit visits a man in sleep. Sometimes a man is said to have heard the spirit speak from a corner of the house. If Hindus do not feed their ancestors, their spirits will not feel happy in the other world. To feed the ancestors, a fifteen day festival called ‘shradh’ is celebrated among Hindus. According to Tylor, animism lies at the basis of all religion.