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Social Structures - Sacred space.

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Introduction

Social Structures Sacred space A Hindus most sacred space is inside a temple. Hindus believe that the Gods designate certain areas where they show their willingness to make themselves visible to humans and to be accessible to them. Temples are places where that visibility and accessibility is prolonged, with the Gods showing themselves in the form of sacred symbols and images in a small sanctuary. This small sanctuary is known as garbhagriha (womb chamber). The Hindu temples are built on sacred sites. An ancient text describes the places where Gods are more likely to show themselves: 'The Gods always play where groves are, near rivers, mountains and springs and in towns with pleasure gardens.' These are where the temples can be built, some sites being associated with the deeds or manifestation of a God. Hindus believe that most Hindus have a shrine to a god particular to that house. It may have a small statue of Krishna or a picture of Shiva or Durga. ...read more.

Middle

A sacred time is usually to do with a sacred space. During the god's or goddess' festival, the statue will be paraded through the streets. There are also some larger festivals which are held throughout all India and are the highlights of the year. Three of the main ones are: The feast of Holi - Holi or Holikotsava is a festival that occurs around March and is celebrated over two days. On the evening of the first day bonfires are lit, normally in a public place. On the second day people throw coloured powder and water at each other. The first day the actual Holi day, the second day is called Dhuleti or Rangapanchami. Rangapanchami was originally the fifth day as the festival used to be spread over five days and so it was called Rangapanchami because in earlier times it was celebrated till the fifth day of the fortnight. The feast of Dasara - Is held in September and celebrates the defeat of the demon Ravana by Rama, which is told in the Ramayana, one of the great Hindu stories. ...read more.

Conclusion

Rituals and ceremonies in the temple are done by the priests (only men can become priests), and in the household the worshipping is done by the women. A class or basic group of the caste is called a jati. It could really be called an extended family, made up of around one thousand families. This group all does things in much the same way; same customs and occupations, marriages confined to the same group, they pray and worship the same way and even prepare food and eat it in the same ways. The people all know where they stand on the social scale, low or high. For example a laundry man would be low down on the social scale whilst priests are quite higher up. Jatis are grouped into the varnas, which are the Brahmins, the kshatriyas, the vaishyas and the shudra. The Indians who aren't in any castes are called untouchables and are meant to do all the unwanted dirty jobs and are not given much respect. Mahatma Ghandhi fought for these people and gave them the name of harijan, 'the people of God'. Now days India's law prohibits people treating these outcastes as untouchables. ...read more.

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