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Strictly speaking however, this offering does not become a sacrifice until a real change has been effected in the visible gift (e.g. Pure Buddhism, Mohammedanism, and Protestantism here call for no attention, as they have no real sacrifice; apart from these there is and has been no developed religion which has not accepted sacrifice as an essential portion of its cult.
We shall consider successively: (1) Among the Indians The Vedism of the ancient Indies was, to an extent never elsewhere attained, a sacrificial religion connected with the deities Agni and Soma.
As a cult it is distinguished from ancient Vedism mainly by its temple service.
The Hindu temples are usual artistic and magnificent edifices with numerous courts, chapels, and halls, in which representations of gods and idols are exposed. Although the Hindu religion centres in its idolatry sacrifice has not been completely evicted from its old place.
The central feature of the Avestic divine service was the worship of fire, a worship, however, unconnected with special fire-temples.
Inasmuch as, in the old Avesta, the sacred book of the Persians, the war between the good god Ormuzd and the Devil ends eschatologically with the complete victory of the good god, we may designate the earliest Parseeism as Monotheism." The Vedic sacrificial prayers express no spirit of humility or submission; even the word "thank" is unknown in the Vedic language.The gods thus sank to the level of mere servants of man, while the high-priests or Brahmins entrusted with the complicated rites gradually acquired an almost divine dignity.Then the sacrificial efficacy passed from them to the horse. They accepted the horse, but the sacrificial efficacy went to the steer, sheep, goat, and finally to rice and barley: Thus for the instructed a sacrificial cake made of rice and barley is of the same value as these [five] animals" (cf.Hardy, "Die vedisch-brahmanisehe Periode der Religion des alten Indiens", Münster, 1892, p. Modern Hinduism with its numberless sects honours Vishnu and Shiva as chief deities.