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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 triple pressing of the soma , performed at certain intervals during the day, alternated with the offering of sacrificial cakes, libations of milk, and the sacrifice of eleven he-goats to various gods.

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(Latin sacrificium; Italian sacrificio; French sacrifice .) This term is identical with the English offering (Latin offerre ) and the German Opfer; the latter is derived, not from offerre, but from operari (Old High German opfâron; Middle High German opperu, opparôn ), and thus means "to do zealously, to serve God, to offer sacrifice" (cf.

Kluge "Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache", Strassburg, 1899, p. By sacrifice in the real sense is universally understood the offering of a sense-perceptible gift to the Deity as an outward manifestation of our veneration for Him and with the object of attaining communion with Him. As the meaning and importance of sacrifice cannot be established by a priori methods, every admissible theory of sacrifice must shape itself in accordance with the sacrificial systems of the pagan nations, and especially with those of the revealed religions, Judaism and Christianity.

At first, instead of the sacrifice of the horse, human sacrifice seems to have been in vogue, so that here also the idea of substitution found expression.

For the later Indians had a saying: "At first the gods indeed accepted men as sacrificial victims.

(2) Among the Iranians The kindred religion of the ancient Iranians centres, especially after its reform by Zoroaster, in the service of the true god Ormuzd (Ahura Mazda) , whose will is the right and whose kingdom is the good.

This ethically very elevated religion promotes especially a life of purity, the conscientious fulfilment of all liturgical and moral precepts, and the positive renunciation of the Devil and all demoniacal powers.

It was the acme, "the king of the sacrifices", the solemnities lasting three days and being accompanied by all kinds of public amusements.

The idea of this sacrifice was to provide the gods of light with another steed for their heavenly yoke.

Worthy of mention also are the sacrificial twigs ( baresman , later barsom ), which were used as praying twigs or magical wands and solemnly stretched out in the hand.

After the reduction of the kingdom of the Sassanids by the Arabians (A. 642) the Persian religion was doomed to decay, and the vast majority of its followers fell away into Islamism.

If the ancient Indian religion was essentially a religion of sacrifice, this religion of the ancient Persians may be described as a religion of observance.

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