Magic, Religion And Science

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Magic, Religion And Science



  Magic and religion are intertwined. Tyler: Religion is belief in the supernatural. The idea of religion is closely linked to magic and science.


There are many elements of religion. These elements are related to magic in one way or another. Before we discuss their relationship, we will briefly describe the elements of religion.


  elements of religion

1) Social anthropologists, especially the British ones, have produced a large amount of data on primitive religion. The data pertains to primitive and aboriginal peoples of India, Africa and Australia. However, American anthropologists have shown less concern over primitive religion.


  1. There are certain elements of religion that also characterize the religion of many tribal groups:

2) Durkheim has described rituals as an important element of religion. Ritual is a practice of religion, or rather the functional part of religion. Conceptually, ritual is distinct from religious events or beliefs. Beliefs are thoughts or ideas and rituals are their implementation. On the empirical plane of any religion, primitive or otherwise, the villager cannot be separated from religion. In The Structure of Social Action, Parsons explains the relationship between religion and rituals in the following words:

3) The fundamental difference between religion and ritual is that between the two categories of religious phenomena – belief and rite – the former is a form of thought, the latter of action. But the two are different, and at the heart of every religion. The rituals of a religion are inconceivable without knowing its beliefs. Although the two are inseparable, there is no particular relation of priority, the point being the distinction at present. Religious beliefs, then, are beliefs related to sacred objects, their origin, behavior, and significance to man. Rites are actions performed in relation to sacred things.

4) If a Santhal of Bihar offers a hen to his local deity, it is a ritual according to his belief or idea that the deity should be appeased to remove the evils imposed on the community. Thus the sacrifice of chicken is a ritual and belief in the power of God is thought. We see that in the empirical situation both belief and ritual work together.


5) stimulation of emotions

6) Certain feelings and emotions are also aroused in order to gain consciousness about the existence of religion or belief. Fear of God, being afraid of doing bad things, giving charity, living a pious life are all patterns of behavior that evoke feelings for a religion.

7) However, sometimes emotions are also aroused to create panic among the followers.




8) faith

9) The building of religion rests on the framework of beliefs. Earlier social anthropologists defined religion only in terms of beliefs. Tylor argued that without faith there can be no religion. And, what is important about faith is that it cannot be reasoned with; This cannot be proved empirically. It is just a matter of understanding.

10) In recent anthropological literature, the belief element in religion has been strongly criticized. It is said that religion has to be understood from a sociological and logical point of view.

11) Belief does not exist because it does not stand the test of reality.




12) Organization

13) In the early history of religion we have evidence to say that there were some organizations to regulate the activities of a particular sect. Max Weber, who has been called the founder of modern sociology, observed that all of the world’s great religions—Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism—had some form of organization. The function of the organization was to regulate the activities and functioning of the religion. Christianity has its own church which acts as a central body to hold Christians together. Similarly, Hinduism has its Char Dham where Shankaracharya acts as the head and controls the activities of the Hindus.



14) Symbols and Myths

15) Every religion has its own symbols and myths. For example, church, temple, mosque, flag and a specific type of dress and worship are symbols of different religious sects. Similarly, there are mythological stories related to every religion. Tribals who believe in animism have their own totems which are reflected in animals, plants and trees. The origin of clans is also described in mythology.




16) Taboo

17) To differentiate themselves, each religious faith has its own taboos. These prohibitions are related to food habits and lifestyle. For example, Jainism claims that its followers should not eat after sunset and that they should be strictly vegetarian. The behavior patterns of the followers are also determined by the religion.

18) A few more can be added to the above list of elements of religion. It must be remembered that these elements undergo changes and transformations at the local level. New interpretations in elements with the functioning of various social and cultural processes

Also joins. Some new elements also appear.







20) If we do a quick survey of research in sociology and social anthropology, we find that no empirical study on magic has been done by social anthropologists during the last few decades. Satchidananda has produced an extensive bibliography on rural studies, and to our surprise there have been no studies on the effects of magic among Indian tribes. Similarly, the Peoples of India project does not mention anything about it. On the other hand, social anthropology textbooks invariably have a chapter on tribal magic. Clearly, there is a huge difference between what we find today and what is given in the textbooks. It is incomprehensible who authors textbooks

21) Devote many pages to vivid accounts of tribal magic. Perhaps, the fault is not the authors of the textbook. The onus is on the creators of the curriculum to include magic.

22) Magical practices in India go back to medieval and pre-capitalist societies. Magic has a unique role to play in the development of our institutions. There were Malinowski, Evans-Pritchard and Fraser growth charts. It is this evolutionary perspective that inspired these anthropologists to write about tribal magic. Religion too, like any other social institution, has evolved through a long process of evolution. Magic was probably the first stage in the evolutionary stage of the development of religion. Apart from the tribals, the non-tribal groups who were living in isolation also had a strong belief in magic.

23) The allopathic system of treatment had not come into existence then, and people were constantly falling prey to various diseases. They were living in unfriendly environment. There was famine, famine, pestilence and people had no other option but to resort to witchcraft.

24) Malinowski and Fraser, who worked among the dramatists, reported on the role of magic in Aboriginal society in the mid-19th and early 20th centuries. Malinowski’s Trobrianders and Evans-Pritchard’s Azandes have now begun to modernize. All of them have accepted the modern medical method.

25) In India, ‘civilized’ castes also adopted magical practices and in some cases, these proved to be more sophisticated than those of the tribals.’ When the Somnath Temple (Gujarat) was attacked, the Hindu kings invited a group of Brahmins to perform magic so that the attack could be neutralized. Even today, we see that when political leaders or elites of high status are struggling with death, Brahmins and Tantriks are called upon to chant Mrityunjaya – a clear example of belief in superstitions. The point we want to emphasize here is that magic was a specialized art practiced only by theatres. The entire subcontinent believed in magical practices. If Fraser and Malinowski refer to tribal magic, they are only discussing the tribal situation that was found not only in India but throughout Europe during medieval and pre-capitalist times.



 What is magic?


27) It is a term that refers to a particular type of behavior, not necessarily religious, that results from the acceptance of beliefs in one form or another of supernaturalism. If people believe in animism, they act so that certain things can be done with the help of spiritual beings they believe to exist. “If people believe in mana or animatism, they may act in somewhat different ways to achieve desired results with the help of impersonal types of power that they believe can be tapped. They also believe that certain things will inevitably happen because power always operates in the same way. If people believe in a pantheon of gods, one or the other of ‘those gods will be appeased, sacrificed, others desired will be struck in some way to accomplish objectives. However, the essential characteristic of magic is that its processes are mechanistic and act automatically if one knows the proper formula. Religion and magic are alternative techniques. Sometimes complement each other.

28) Anthropologists have defined magic on the strength of their experience in the field, although ‘some definitions are not directly related to empirical observations’. However, we will try to define magic in a systematic way here. Let’s start with John Lewis. He says:

29) Magic is a technique of coercion using belief in supernatural power. Sympathetic or mimetic magic holds that an action performed on something standing in for a person or thing will have the desired effect on the real person or thing.

30) Malinowski defines magic very precisely as, “Magic is a set of purely practical actions, performed as a means to an end.”

31) According to Herskovits, magic is an important part of culture. People often use prayer as a form of worship. A prayer uses words to bring about the favorable intervention of the forces of the universe in the affairs of men. Magic stands opposite to prayer. This contrast was first made by Evans-Pritchard between the Azandes

Magic was discussed. Herskovits drew his understanding of magic from Evans-Pritchard and Fraser. His understanding of magic is explained below:

32) Charms and spells are widely employed tools in magic. A specific power, placed to reside in a specific object, is set into operation by the utterance of a formula, which may itself conduct the power. The enchantment of magic takes innumerable forms. It often includes some part of the object on which its power is exercised, or some element which, because of external resemblance or internal character, achieves the desired result.

33) Although the definitions of religion given by anthropologists differ for their

34) m and the content, the basic idea is more or less the same. The tribals believe that there is a supernatural power. No one can compete with it. It is universal. This supernatural power is endowed with ample power which is both positive (white) and negative (black). The person who wants to master the art of witchcraft pleases the supernatural power and gives him some power. The supernatural may thus be obliged to part with some of its power by means of some magical display. These performances differ from society to society.



Theoretical Perspectives on Religion


36)  Functionalists believe that religion satisfies several important needs of people, including group unity and companionship. (Photo courtesy of James Emery/Flickr)

37) Sociologists often apply one of three major theoretical approaches. These views provide different lenses through which to study and understand society: functionalism, symbolic interactionism, and critical sociology. Let us see how the scholars who apply these models understand religion.

38) practicality

39) Functionalists argue that religion serves a number of functions in society. Religion, in fact, depends on society for its existence, value and importance, and vice versa. From this perspective, religion serves several purposes, such as providing answers to spiritual mysteries, providing emotional comfort, and creating space for social interaction and social control.

40) In providing the answer, Dharma defines the spiritual world and spiritual forces including divine beings. For example, it is “How was the world created?” It helps to answer questions like “Why do we suffer?” “Is there a plan for our lives?” and “Is there any life?” As another function, religion provides emotional comfort during times of distress. Religious rituals bring order, comfort, and organization through shared familiar symbols and patterns of behavior.

41) One of the most important functions of religion, from a functional point of view, is that it creates opportunities for social interaction and the formation of groups. It provides social support and social networking, offering a place to meet others with similar values and a place to seek help (spiritual and material) in times of need. Furthermore, it can promote group cohesion and integration. Because religion can be central to many people’s concept of self, there is sometimes an “in-group” versus “out-group” feeling towards other religions in our society or within a particular practice. At the extreme level, the Inquisition, the Salem witch trials, and anti-Semitism are all examples of this dynamic. Finally, religion promotes social control: it reinforces social norms such as appropriate styles of dress, abiding by the law, and regulating sexual behavior.





42) Critical theorists view religion as an institution that helps maintain patterns of social inequality. For example, the Vatican has immense wealth, while the average income of Catholic parishioners is low.


43) According to this perspective, religion has been used to support the “divine right” of oppressive kings and to justify unequal social structures such as India’s caste system.

44) But mankind has a way of responding to perceived injustice and religions losing relevance. One of the fastest growing sectors of global Christianity are evangelical churches, which are growing stronger not only in North America, but also in South America. This growth has come at the expense of the Catholic Church, which has long been a bastion of power in Latin and South America.


45) Latin America refers to countries in the subregion of the Americas where Romance languages, mainly Spanish and Portuguese, are spoken. As anthropologist Cristina Vital of the Institute for the Study of Religion in Rio de Janeiro explains,

46) [Evangelical] churches adopt less rigid rules than the Catholic Church … They adopt customs and values we see in our society today, such as the importance of financial well-being, to reach this prosperity The Importance of Entrepreneurship, The Importance of Discipline (Feiser & Alves 2012).

47) At the same time, evangelical and fundamentalist Christian denominations often introduce foreign belief systems that are homophobic or undermine family planning and anti-AIDS strategies. The persecution of homosexuals in Uganda through the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act (2014) was prompted by the influence of American evangelicals in the country (Gentleman 2010).

48) On the contrary, religion

The power of Weber’s theories of sociology to help understand that history was demonstrated to contemporary public and academic audiences in the publication of a seminal work by Norman Gottwald, The Tribes of Yahweh: A Sociology of the Religion of Liberated Israel, 1250–1050 was brought


49) BC (1999). Gottwald clarifies this connection even more clearly in his book The Politics of Ancient Israel, which was a response to the question posed in Weber’s 1921 classic Ancient Judaism: “The Jews were a pariah people with a highly specialized [ Hosted by larger societies] How did it develop into a speciality? (Gottwald 2001, Weber 1921). Even critics of Gottwald’s view such as Kenton Sparks offer alternative Weberian interpretations for the existence of early Israel:

50) Israel’s existence can equally be attributed to the religious innovations of Kingdom-era mono-Yahvistic prophets, who interpreted foreign oppression as the hand of Jehovah and thus Israel’s religious beliefs and ethnic distinctiveness preserved in contexts where it might otherwise have been destroyed (Sparks 2004 p. 126).

51) There is still a debate over the usefulness of Weberian theory in the explanation of social behavior, including thousands of years of social behavior. Weber still has relevance in the sociology of religion.

52) Critical theorists are concerned with how many religions promote the idea that one should be satisfied with existing circumstances because they are divinely determined. It is argued that this power dynamic has been used by religious institutions for centuries to keep poor people poor, teaching them that they should not be concerned with what they lack because their “true “The reward (from the religious point of view) will come after death.


53) Critical theorists also point out that those in power in religion are often able to dictate practices, customs, and beliefs through their own interpretation of religious texts or through declared direct communication with the divine. In more recent history, George W. Bush’s statement that God told him to “end the tyranny in Iraq” (MacAskill 2005). A key element in the Enlightenment project that is central to the critical perspective is therefore the separation of church and state. Public policy that is based on irrational or rational religious belief or “revelation” rather than on scientific evidence undermines a key component of democratic deliberation and public scrutiny of the decision-making process.


54) Feminist theorists focus on gender inequality and promote leadership roles for women in religion. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

55) The feminist perspective focuses specifically on gender inequality. In the context of religion, feminist theorists claim that, although women are usually the ones to socialize children into a religion, they have traditionally occupied very few positions of power within religions. Some religions and religious sects are more gender equal, but male dominance is the norm for most.


56) But this claim also comes under careful scrutiny by feminist scholars. For example, those following the seminal work of The Gnostic Gospels by Ellen Pagels have been instrumental in rediscovering the place of women in Christian history (1979). Marilyn Stone’s When God Was a Woman (1976) traces the pre-history of European society back to female-centred cultures based on fertility and creator goddesses. It was not until the invasions of the Kurgans from the northeast and the Semites from the south in the fifth millennium BCE that hierarchical and patriarchal religions became dominant.

57) Symbolic Interchange Path

58) Rising from the concept that our world is socially constructed, symbolic interactionism studies the symbols and interactions of everyday life. For interactionists, beliefs and experiences are not sacred unless individuals in society regard them as sacred. The Star of David in Judaism, the cross in Christianity, and the crescent and star in Islam are examples of sacred symbols. Interactionists are interested in what these symbols communicate. Additionally, because interactionists study face-to-face interactions between individuals, a scholar using this approach may ask questions focused on this dynamic. The interactions between religious leaders and practitioners, the role of religion in common components of everyday life, and the way people express religious values in social interactions—all of these can be subjects of study for an interactionist.

59) It is important to recognize that the above theoretical models each provide only a partial description of religious beliefs and practices.





Elements Of Magic


Magic’ is an art and it has to be acquired. The practitioner has to work hard to develop the skill of magic. Some of the important elements of magic are given below:


(1) Tylor has classified ‘practices of magic’. These practices are scientific. The businessman works as a scientist. For example, Ty

Lur says that things that look alike are put in a category. Just like the color of jaundice is yellow and so is the color of gold. Jadoo establishes a connection between the two because of their similar colour. Bohannon disagrees with this theory. He says that no logic of association applies to magical practices.

(2) Magic is person-oriented. A person sees something in a particular way; This belief works in their magical practices.

(3) According to Malinowski, mantras have an important role. Mantras have the power to mimic natural sounds and hence chants are vital for the successful outcome of magical practice. Second, the magician explains the current situation in the same language and orders the fulfillment of his wishes. Third, spells mention the names of ancestors who have imparted magical skills.

(4) while chanting mantras the magician continuously performs certain actions; For example, he waves his hands, makes faces and gestures. These physical activities are believed to strengthen the power of the spell.

(5) The magician observes some abstinence in the matter of diet and sexual relations on the days when he engages himself in magical practices.

(6) A magical practice cannot be performed at the magician’s discretion. There are certain days which are considered suitable for this. For example, the last day of the dark half of the month or the new moon is best suited for learning and practicing magic. Again, Dussehra days, especially Navratri, are good for magical practices.

(7) Malinowski says that discipline is most important in the practice of magic.

The first thing that is necessary for a magician is to clarify the objectives of magic. He has to handle them very carefully. A slight mistake could have cost the magician himself. This is the reason why the magician leads a miserable life in his old age.

(8) According to the purposes of the magical practice, the magician makes physical gestures to strengthen his magic.

Fraser and Malinowski have found interesting examples of magical practices among the aborigines of Australia and Africa. Nadel also mentions magic in his description of the Nupe religion. Evans-Pritchard gives a detailed account of magical practices and its elements among the Azandes.




  principles of magic

Some anthropologists have developed theories of magic. Tylor specifically distinguished magic from religion. He has created three basic principles of magic which are as follows:

(1) Magic pertains to a type of behavior that is based on common sense.

(2) Whatever is done by nature can also be done by magic. In such a situation, people are unable to differentiate between the working of nature and magic.

(3) If the spell fails, it is believed to be due to faulty chanting of mantras or some lapse in the routine life of the practitioner.

Thus, Tylor’s theory of magic makes two important points: (i) magic is an ideology, and has to be relied upon; and (ii) magic is based on logic. If magical practice is carried out on these two principles, the results will always follow. Ivan Pritchard believes that magic and religion are found in all societies.

Magic, science and religion have influence in all societies. But the extent of effect is ‘not the same’. For example, if a society lives at a lower level of culture such as tribal and backward classes, the scope of magic and religion will be larger. The larger members of this society would rely heavily on magical practices and rituals. However, if a society has a high level of culture, there will be less room for magic and religion; And more space for science. In other words, advanced societies have a prominent place in science while backward societies practice more magic and religion.

Tylor’s theory of magic has been corrected by Frazer. In the literature on social anthropology, Tylor is best known for two of his classic works: a summary of what Tylor propounded as theory in these books.

Ken Up for discussion and analysis by Fraser. Paraphrasing Tylor, Fraser gives the principle – the law of sympatry – which states that tribal peoples view material things as sympathizers between two similar things. Sympathy is of two kinds: (i) on the basis of external resemblance, for example, between the color of jaundice and the color of gold; and (ii) on the basis of contacts. Based on these two sympathies, Frazer has given three principles of magic: (1) the principle of sympathy, (2) the principle of similarity and

(3) Principle of contact.

Fraser’s theory of magic holds that when an Aborigine practices magic, he does it as he has learned it, and is not concerned with the principles of magic—only with the result. . This is why Frazer regards magic as a semi-art and a semi-science. Magic has two basic purposes: first, some objectives are achieved through magic, and second, some unwanted events can be avoided. The first purpose is called sorcery and the second sorcery.

There is no doubt that Tylor has given some of the fundamental principles of magic which are to be found among the aborigines. These core principles have been further elaborated, reinterpreted and retextured by Fraser. Another important contribution to this field is credited with the division into witchcraft and sorcery.

His hypothesis is that magic and religion provide political cohesion to society. Fraser and Durkheim both see magic and religion as sources of political unity.








Types Of Magic

Students of social anthropology often distinguish between two types of magic. The first type named by Fraser is called imitative or homeopathic magic, while the second is called transmissive. Description of two types of magic

Herskovits writes: Both are organized to operate according to a principle

‘Like to like’ is also called ‘principle of sympathy’. An example of ‘contagious’ magic is when a hunter drinks the blood of his kill to gain his cunning or his strength. ‘Imitative’ magic can be found, say, in the performance of a dance in which the mock killing of an animal was performed to ensure success in the hunt.

The above two types of magic neither constitute the entire field, nor are they absent from some of the practices that are customarily given the term ‘religious’.

Yet another typology of magic is that of ‘black’ and ‘white’. Black magic has some evil intentions. According to it, the victim has suffered some injuries. The second type, white magic, is beneficial in its intent. There is a lot of emphasis on black magic in the social anthropological literature. “The reason for this is twofold. The challenge for the investigator is to uncover what his informants are least willing to reveal. Even more than this, however, is the dramatic appeal of black magic to the public. Once there is a willingness to talk about it Once established, informants will focus on the subject with gleeful and exuberant detail, and the ‘white’ magic will be discarded.

The horror shows presented on television by different names depict many practices of black magic. If revenge is to be taken, the sorcerer makes a clay idol of the victim and gives him various kinds of pain. In turn, these pains are experienced by the sufferer. We have innumerable examples of magic from different parts of the world. However, examples of white magic are very few. This category of magic has also expanded to include many indigenous medicines. The surprising thing is that white and black magic is practiced even among literate people. However, with the increase in literacy and education, many magical practices are falling out of vogue.


Disease and difficulties are common to mankind. People have a list of remedies to overcome these physical ailments or social crises. The premises for the secular practice of medicine, unaffected by supernaturalism, are therefore found in all societies. Such knowledge, which was certainly empirical and not analyzed scientifically, was generally available and used by all. However, there were numerous sufferings that people in primitive societies believed to be caused by factors of a non-material nature. Cures for such ailments required magical procedures, such as returning the poisonous power injected by an evil shaman or sorcerer to its victim. Individuals who had acquired or inherited or procured supernatural power and procedures based on these were said to help individuals who were ill from these non-physical causes.

In all societies, shamans were only part-time workers who were engaged in treating people or performing certain ceremonies, for which their power also fitted them. The practice of medicine among people in primitive societies is thus everywhere characterized by some really useful instruments and drugs, but by erroneous theories of the causation of more deadly diseases and resorting to the supernatural.

for subsequent treatment.

Every society has its own experts who treat diseases with their skills. These are called witchcraft, shaman, ojha or bhopa. Shamans or exorcists are those who have the power to detect witchcraft and heal the person who has been cast. They claim to be able to see into the future, avoid harm, transform themselves, and accomplish supernatural tasks.

Evans-Pritchard, who worked among the Azandes of southern Sudan during 1926–36, gave a detailed account of witchcraft and divination. In the Azande tribe, any misfortune can happen, and is usually, attributed to witchcraft. The Azande take it for granted. The witch sends what she calls the spirit or soul of her witchcraft to harm others. The victim consults a tantrik or soothsayer to find out who is hurting him. This can be a long and complicated process. When the culprit is exposed, he is requested to withdraw his malicious influence. If, in case of illness, he does not do so and the person dies, the relatives of the dead person may in future take the matter to major and exact retribution, or they may make a counter to witchcraft as it is today. To destroy.

The practice of witchcraft is also found among the Indian tribals. A witchcraft can injure anyone by any mental act and gradually lead to his death. This power originates from a certain substance in the witch’s body. Witchcraft can explain all unfortunate events. Along with the monstrous life of the village, it

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Fishing, agricultural activities play their part in Yaik life. Thus witchcraft plays a major role in the overall life of the tribal community. For example, if the maize crop is diseased, it is considered witchcraft. If the milch cow dries up, it is due to witchcraft.

The phenomenon of witchcraft has been explained by various reasons. Although there is a natural cause, but why did the accident happen and why did it happen to that particular person? One person was injured after being hit by the bull. Why this man? And why this bull? Witchcraft is a causative factor in the production of harmful events in particular places and in relation to particular persons at particular times. If a tree falls and kills a man, that is natural but why did it fall when he was passing by.

An oracle is consulted to determine if a person is casting a spell on another person. One of the most popular types of divination is the poison divination. The chickens are taken to the bush and given a small amount of poison. If the fowl remains alive, the man is declared a witch. Those who practice witchcraft are not magicians who heal diseases. There are other types of specialists who counteract magic. A witch doctor is an astrologer who exposes witches and a magician who thwarts them. He also acts as a leech or doctor.




Magic And Science


Tylor was the first to describe magic as a science. The question that troubled him and aroused his curiosity was that when there is no scientific basis for religion then why do the tribals follow it? The question was reasonable and demanded an answer. Tylor observed that the aborigines themselves knew that magic was not true, yet it had an important place in their lives.

He considered answering the question:

(1) Magic is related to common sense behavior.

(2) The one who does the magic is actually the nature too.

(3) even when magic fails to perform a certain action, there is no fault in it; Something must have gone wrong with the practice of magic.

(4) If magic hurts something, there is always counter magic.

(5) The success stories of magic far outweigh its failures.

Tylor argues that the systematic development of magic takes the form of science. The essence of their argument is that magic operates on the principles of nature. Nature runs by positivist laws, so it is also a science.

Fraser does not consider magic to be a pure science. However, he believes that magic is a quasi-science. According to him, magic is based on some logic and rules. Ordinary people do not understand that witchcraft is practiced on rules that are similar to science. People only see the applied side of it. They do not think about the principles that guide the magical performance. For a magician, magic is only an art, he does not even understand that these are principles that are based on complete science. In principle magic is based on abstract laws.

Malinowski has worked among the people of the Trobriand Islands. They have generated a rich trove of data, although they have notarized the question of the scientific nature of magic. He takes a functionalist perspective and states that magic exists in society; People practice it because it has certain functions to fulfill. However, he acknowledges that the methods of magic and science are, if not identical, in fact similar. Magic and science both work on the logic of cause and effect.

Evans-Pritchard was a like-minded person of Tylor and Fraser. Despite their differing approaches all three agree on the following hypnosis

Other :


(1) There is some supernatural power. This power has two faces. One of its mouth is welfare and provides salvation to humans. Its second form is ugly and harmful. Science investigates the benevolent face while the ugly face casts a spell. Science and magic are two aspects of supernatural power.

(2) Ruth Benedict argues that magic is not a science. The findings of science are verifiable, whereas the findings of magic are beyond any verification.

(3) Continuous experiments are done in science. It has made tremendous progress during the last several centuries; Instead of registering any progress, magic is becoming increasingly oblivious. At least people show their belief in magic.

(4) The basis of science is pure logic while the principal basis of magic is faulty.






Magic And Religion


What is the relationship between magic and religion? The distinction comes with beings having more ore less personality, but most religious rites contain examples of magical symbolism, and a good deal of magic is involved in the context of spirits. In fact, it is not really possible to make a clear distinction between magic and religion.

There is a fundamental difference between religion and magic. First, the rituals of a religion are public and collective. They affect people as a whole, absorbing all their energies for the duration of magic-religious activity. This gathering of large number of people for sowing, harvest feast and similar festivities brings the entire community in a mood of joy and harmony. It gives serious and collective expression to the social sentiments of an organized community, on which the constitution of society depends.

magical-religious rites

Not for the sake of self but to ward off or remove the coming evil. There are certain rites in magical practices related to hunting, which help in killing the animal easily. Sometimes, the whole hunt is performed in a ritual dance, with part of the animal’s skin. This clearly shows that magic is related to religion. There are field reports by Malinowski and Leach that establish that magic is used for the successful attainment of goals. For example, Malinowski reports that when a fisherman floats on ocean currents, he casts a spell and believes that his boat will not meet any tragedy. Trobrinders also practice magic to win the heart of their beloved. Durkheim, the founder of the sociology of religion, sees no difference between religion and magic. For him, both practices are meant to achieve certain objectives.





Some aspects of religion: the sacred, the profane, the church, cults and sects, priests, shamans.


Durkheim is called the father of sociology of religion. He argues that there are certain elements of religion and these elements are determined by the society. For them religion is objective, it is a reality. He further says that religion is not the product of the individual. It is the child of the society. When we discuss the sacred, the profane, the church and the cult, we refer to Durkheim and say that these aspects are created by society. In other words, those things which are sacred to society are sacred in religion; The things which are impure to the society are impure to the individual. Things that are respected are sacred to Hindus. These are offered to the gods and goddesses. The impure has a use value, the bicycle, the engine, the factory has a use value for society. th

They are utilitarian. Durkheim thus describes all things in the world into the sacred and the profane.




  Durkheim’s religious views

Theoretically the Forms Elementaires contain two distinct though interrelated elements, a theory of religion and an epistemology. The principle of religion will be considered first, because it forms the inevitable connecting link between what has gone before and epistemology.

Durkheim has two fundamental distinctions from which Durkheim stands apart. The first is pure and profane. It is a classification of things into two categories, for the most part tangible things, often though by no means always material things. However, the two classes are distinguished not with reference to any intrinsic properties of objects, but with reference to human attitudes towards them. Sacred things are things set apart by a peculiar tendency of respect which is expressed in various ways. They are believed to possess specific qualities in the form of special powers; Contracting with them is either particularly beneficial or particularly dangerous, or both. Above all, man’s relations with sacred objects are not taken as a general matter, but always as a matter of special approach, special respect and special precautions.


To anticipate the outcome of the latter analysis, sacred things are distinguished by the fact that humans do not treat them in a utilitarian way, certainly not use them as means to ends that have intrinsic value. Based on the qualities they are adapted to, but separate them from these other unholy things. As Durkheim says, profane activity is par excellence economic activity.


The approach of calculation of utility is antithetical to respect for sacred things. What is more natural from a utilitarian point of view than for an Australian to kill and eat his totem animal? But since it is a sacred object, that is precisely what it cannot do. If he does eat it, it is only on formal occasions, totally separate from the workday, that he seeks satisfaction. Thus sacred things, except precisely in this utilitarian relation, are protected from all kinds of taboos and restrictions. Religion is related to holy things.

The second fundamental distinction is that between the two categories of religious phenomena—beliefs and rites. The first is the form of thought, the second of action. But the two are inseparable, and central to every religion.

The rituals of a religion are inconceivable without knowing its beliefs. Although the two are inseparable, there is no particular relation of priority—the point being the distinction at present. Religious beliefs, then, are beliefs related to sacred objects, their origin, behavior, and significance to man. Rites are actions performed in relation to sacred things. Religion for Durkheim is a ‘unified (cohesion) system of beliefs and practices relating to sacred things, separate and taboo, united in a moral community called a church, by those who follow it. The last criterion is the one that will be considered later, since the process by which it is derived cannot be understood without further analysis of the other criteria.

In fact Durkheim introduced the concepts of the sacred and the profane in his book The Elementary Forms of the Religion’s Life, first published in 1912. This is perhaps the most influential interpretation of religion from a functional point of view. According to him all societies divide the world into two categories: the sacred and the sacred.

Holy. Sometimes impure is also called unholy. Religion is based on this division. Durkheim writes:

Religion is based on this division. It is a unified system of beliefs and practices relating to sacred objects, i.e. things that are set apart and forbidden.

Durkheim defines the concept of the sacred as the primary forms of religious life:

By sacred things one should not understand only those individual things that are called deities or souls, a rock, a tree, a spring, a pebble, a piece of wood, a house, anything in the world can be sacred.

For Durkheim there is really nothing about the special properties of the pebble or the tree that makes them sacred. Therefore, sacred things must be symbols, they must represent something, to understand the role of religion in society, and establish a connection between sacred symbols and what they represent.








1) Church, Cult and Sect

2) It was Max Weber who initiated the formulation of categories for the analysis of religious organization. It is important to note that these categories were formulated specifically in the context of Christianity. Their applicability to the analysis of other religious traditions is problematic.

3) Max Weber discusses the dichotomy between church and sect in The Protestant

4) Ethnicity and Spirit of Capitalism. Differentiating between churches and sects, Weber writes:

5) The fundamental difference between a church, which was ‘a kind of trust’

6) dedication to supernatural purposes, an institution, necessarily involving both the just and the unjust…’ and the ‘Church of the Believers’, which saw itself as ‘only a community of reincarnated individual believers, and only This.


7) In other words, focus not as a church but as a denomination.’ Since this distinction was made in his discussion of Baptists, Mennonites, and Quakers, it is clear that Weber attached significant importance to membership doctrine as a key feature of sects, and he emphasized the sectarian provision that ‘only adults who have personally have received their faith from, they should be baptized.’ Much of the later debate about the development of the sect has focused on this feature; And some of the other features that Weber attributed to sects as opposed to churches have also been employed in later research.


8) the observation, for example, that separation from the state is characteristic of some churches as well as of sects, and thus cannot be said to be distinctive features of sects, and thus cannot be said to be a distinctive feature of sects, One seems closely linked to the numeracy approach of later sociologists. Similarly, the shared though differently interpreted concept of extra-ecclesiastical nulla salus held by both the Church and the Sect, which Weber pointed out, has been effectively adopted by David Martin to be the opposite of the Sect, which to some extent Tak has a unique ethos. The isolation from the world described by Weber in communal groups has been extensively analyzed in the work of Brian Wilson.




9) Sect

10) Sampradaya is a part of the wider religion. Like Buddhism has two sects Hinayana and Mahayana and Hinduism has Shaiva, Shakta and Vaishnava. That’s why there are different sects in Christianity.

11) Weber noted that within each self-governing circle of a sect, an exceptionally strict moral discipline was practiced to maintain the purity of the entire community. This appears to be equivalent to Wilson’s argument that sects have totalitarian authority over their members, but Weber was concerned to draw a parallel with a different type of religious organization. After pointing out that the discipline of an ascetic sect is far more rigorous than that of any church, he continues: ‘In this respect, the sect resembles another sectarian feature, which is not peculiar to churches, and It is dominated by elements. A denomination contrasts strongly with the professional ministry of a church – this emphasis is related to the different definition of charisma by each organization. The requirement that sect members should practice fraternity in their dealings with one another is likewise a logical extension of the observation that each sect is based on the primacy of a local community of committed believers.





12) Anthropologists have worked on the concept of cult. A cult is a set of practices and beliefs of a group in relation to a local Go. In sociology, it is a small group of religious activities whose beliefs are usually synergistic, esoteric, and individualistic. Although it is related to the concept of a sect, the cult is not in Western society associated with mainstream Christianity. As a scientific term, it is often difficult to separate the idea of a cult from its derogatory significance to common sense and does not have a precise scientific meaning. Cultural practices appear to cater to the needs of marginalized sections of urban, middle-class youth. Cultural membership among young people is usually fleeting. Spasmodic, and irregular. Research societies, cults have sprung up in the post-war period, and are often associated with the counter-culture.


) Steve Bruce refers to ‘mysticism’ as a tradition within Christianity apart from church and denomination. Bruce describes it this way:

14) Unlike other forms it (cult) was a highly individualistic expression, varying with individual experiences and interpretation.

15) For Bruce, this corresponds to the idea of a cult, which is:

16) A loose-knit group organized around some common themes and interests, but lacking any clearly defined and exclusive belief system.

17) A cult is more individualistic than other organized forms of religion. Because it lacks a definite principle. Cults tolerate other beliefs and indeed their own beliefs are often so vague that they have no concept of heresy. Cults often have customers rather than members, and these customers may have relatively little involvement with any organization. From them he learned the fundamentals of the beliefs around which the cult is based.





Concept of priesthood/priesthood


1) in the most common parlance. Priest is a religious functionary whose role is to administer an established religion – to celebrate traditional rituals, practices and beliefs. Two essential features characterize them, namely, regular cult, and rootedness in a religious institution. Weber explains that “it is more correct for our purpose to judge

2) to the diverse and mixed manifestations of this phenomenon. The specialization of a particular group of individuals in the continuous operation of a cult enterprise, permanently associated with particular norms, places, and times, to establish as a significant feature of the priesthood. and belonging to specific social groups. The first characteristic implies that, “the priest’s main function … is religious … Worship as an expression of religious experience, however primitive or rudimentary in form, is the priest’s chief concern.


3) He guarantees the correct performance of ceremonial acts of worship.” The priest mediates between God and humans; he not only interprets the divine will but regulates and strengthens the relationship between God and his fellow humans. The basis of his existence and authority is constant and regular communion with the divine.” The priesthood requires regular liturgical observance and a definite theology. Weber reiterates that there can be no priesthood without a cult, although there can be a cult without a particular priest because of the rationalization of metaphysical ideas and especially religiosity, morality is missing in the case of a cult without priests.

4) Another essential characteristic of a priest is his association with an organized religion and legitimacy by the religious authorities. An extended, cross-cultural description of priest is “any religious expert who acts religiously for or on behalf of a community. The priest resides in a religious organization as a representative of that establishment, and his actions mediate between traditions and peoples.” Unlike other related role types, “the priest serves at the altar in the temple or shrine, as a representative of the community in its relations with the deities and the sacred order that has been conferred, depending on the status and the sacredness and him upon his consecration, fulfilling the attendant taboos.


5) Bendix paraphrases Weber, and reiterates that the priest functions in a sacred tradition, and that “even when the priest has a personal charisma, his function is legitimate only on the basis of the regular organization of worship”. Is.” Regarding the Levitical priests of Judaism, Brown explains that “even if a man was born into a priestly tribe, he was to be ordained to the priestly office.” Often a priest is the official representative of a religion. Greenwood, confirming that the priest is called as a witness, says, ‘The priest is required to be personally the representative of all the other members of the jocular church within which he (the priest) presides over the wider community’ does. ,

6) Preparation and education play an important role in the priesthood. The purpose of systematic training of priests is to help them develop the faculties and abilities necessary for the performance of the liturgy. It is centered in the development and maintenance of the piper’s dialogue with the marks, which results in the mana or ‘purity’ of the priests. While ascetic practices are meant to bring the body and will under the necessary control, meditation and prayer are meant to prepare the soul, and instruction and study to train the mind. The history of the development of religions is evidence that great systems of knowledge and schools of learning of various disciplines have emerged in association with training centers for priests.


7) The rational training and discipline of priests is distinguished from a combination of partly “awakening education” using irrational means and aimed at reincarnation, and partly training in the purely empirical lore of magicians .

8) Priest and related role types

9) The identity of the priest can be better understood by separating it from other related role types. The priest is different from the magician. The word shaman comes from the Siberian Tungus noun saman which means “he who excites, moves, raises.”

As a verb it means “to know in an ecstatic way.” The shaman is a person with a “high degree of nervous excitement” (often an epileptic). He is a charismatic61 transcendent personality – one who in a state of ecstasy actually displays the presence of the Holy. Vaston LaBarre writes, “The real difference between a shaman and a priest is who and where God is, inside or outside.”

10) The priest is not a magician. In today’s society, a magician is one who

11) Makes visible objects disappear, or makes invisible objects appear as a means of entertainment. But this has not always been the case. According to Wach, magic is meant to compel the mark to give what is desired, while religion, with which the priests are associated, is meant to present and worship the divine power upon which man feels dependent. Is. The magician’s authority is proportional to the fulfillment of the expectations of his clients. His reputation is less firmly established and more dependent on his professional ‘success’ than that of the Prophet. On the one hand Weber sees in many religions

12) Including in Christianity, the concept of priesthood includes a magical qualification. But on the other hand, he agrees with Wach that the priest is a worker in a regularly organized and permanent enterprise concerned with influencing the gods through worship, in contrast to the individual and occasional efforts of magicians, who magically They force the deities. means. While the priest works in the interest of his organization, the shaman is self-employed. Furthermore, the professional equipment of specialized knowledge, fixed doctrine, and professional qualifications of priests bring them in contrast to magicians, prophets, and other types of religious functionaries who manifest in miracles and revelations based on personal gifts (charisma).

13) The priest is different from the prophet. A prophet is one who confronts the powers that be and the established way of doing things, while claiming to be taken seriously on religious authority. Weber finds that “personal calling is the decisive element that distinguishes the prophet from the priest. The latter claims authority based on his service in a sacred tradition, while the prophet’s claim is based on personal revelation and charisma. It does not It is a coincidence that almost no prophets have emerged from the priesthood … The priesthood, in apparent contrast, bestows salvation by virtue of its office. Emphasizing the uniqueness of the prophetic call, Wach states, “The organ, the instrument, Or the consciousness of being as the mouthpiece of the divine will is characteristic of the self-interpretation of the prelate. and messenger prophets who address their demands to the world in the name of God. Naturally these demands are moral, and are often of an active ascetic character. Vernon observes that prophets usually appear during periods of turmoil, when established value systems are being challenged. They are rarely welcomed in peacetime.

14) According to Nisbet, the prophet and the magician have certain common features, namely occult powers and a perception of importance in times of collective crisis or personal hardship. But they are different.

15) But whereas the central function of the prophet is to interpret sacred tradition and to deprive the population at large of the means of gaining access to the deity, the central function of the shaman is to effect exceptions to the natural order … The Shaman’s Role belongs to the doer – but what he does is reserved for times of crisis and activities that are affected by risk or uncertainty of outcome. His role is the result of the special knowledge he holds for himself and his legitimate descendants. knowledge that he reserves for himself and his legitimate descendants.

16) It is not feasible to make clear distinctions between these role types or even to categorize them in ways that are universally acceptable to all religions. At any rate, Wacht locates the uniqueness of the priesthood in the broad nature of the priests’ activities. “The institution of the priesthood is bereft of individual religious charisma of the great kind, but the priesthood is the most widespread of all exclusively religious activities in the history of man. The sociological implications and import of this activity are correspondingly far-reaching.

17) A healthy, or sometimes even unhealthy, competition is observed in some religious traditions between these role types. It may occur between two different types of persons, for example, priest and prophet, or it may also occur within one person who is challenged with a role-set or multiple roles. In Buddhism a tension exists between holy men (monks), charged with the cultivation of wisdom, mental concentration and moral virtue, and priestly ritual specialists. The Sanskrit and Pala words, bhikshu and bhikku, meaning mendicant or mendicant, do not imply the role of a priest. Weber talks of a similar problem between monotheism and Hierocratic charism in Christianity. “…the implicit tension emerges, the more genuine monasticism is independent of institutional charisma because its own charisma is immediate to God.” The combination of the three role types—priest, king, and prophet—leaves room for a similar conflict in the role type of the Christian priest today.

18) Development of the priesthood

19) It is not easy to trace the exact evolution of the role of priests in various religions, the main difficulty being the priests

And there is a cross-cultural use of the terms priesthood. Has been applied to a range of events around the world, often with European connotations and linguistic derivations. Furthermore, the division of labor that existed among the priestly class in early societies is not dear enough to us. However, a look at hi

20) The story of religions readily brings us some common features and stages in the process of the development of the priesthood.

21) The Journey from Natural Priesthood to Professional Priesthood in Religions

22) The origin of the priesthood is said to be attributed to the universal need for the mediation of superhuman help felt by mankind in the struggle for life. In its development we note two phases, namely the phase of the natural priesthood and the phase of the professional or regular priesthood. There are indications to confirm that originally all invoked their own deities. In the early times, the worship was confined to the deity members of the kin and later to the people of the tribes.


23) Then the heads of families or tribes most spontaneously performed worship, which was later confined to the members of the tribes, and later to the members of the tribes. The heads of families or tribes then most naturally assumed the priestly role because they, as the oldest and most experienced members of the family, were closest to the ancestors. increased, a regular priesthood was introduced. As not everyone is equally skilled in mediation, professionals are expected to have expertise, greater knowledge and power to secure a better outcome.


24) But to a large extent the two forms remained intertwined. Gradually those skilled in interpreting the wishes of the gods and practicing magical arts won the confidence of the people and gained a certain eminence and formed a special class. Certain classes of people who had unmistakable links to the priesthood—those who, when in a state of ecstasy, were believed to be inspired by the gods, who served in famous temples or sanctuaries, who performed miracles—were considered to be members of a regular priesthood. He was a pioneer. When rituals lost their simplicity, a professional priesthood became even more necessary.

25) the priestly functions are exercised between the same groups by their chiefs or leaders; Such as the father in a family, the head of a clan or tribe, the king of a nation or people. With the increasing development and differentiation of social organizations and stratification, major cult functions of the leader became associated with particular individuals or professional groups, and as a result, professional magicians, astrologers, and even soothsayers emerged in more differentiated “primitive” societies. Come ,

26) [These functions are referred to as quasi-priestly.] With the increasing complexity of cultural and social conditions, professional differentiation occurs, and a professional priesthood appears.

27) The history of many religions testifies to the evolution of priesthood from natural to regular or professional form. For example, in the case of Hinduism, Dr.

28) Radhakrishnan says that,

29) The original Aryans were all of the same class, each a priest and soldier, merchant and tiller of the soil. There was no privileged order of priests. The complexity of life led to the division of classes among the Aryans. Although in the beginning everyone could offer sacrifices to the gods without anyone’s mediation, the priesthood and the aristocracy separated themselves from the proletariat…to learn wisdom, poetic and speculative gifts, the priest, or before a set Became representative in worship under the title. In view of their noble function of maintaining the tradition of the Aryans, this class was freed from the necessity of struggle for existence… The Brahmins are not priests pledged to uphold fixed doctrines, but an intellectual elite which is relegated to molding the high life of the people.

30) It is pertinent to remark here that priesthood and cult have not been essential qualifications in all religions at all times. In the case of early Buddhism, for example, the possibility of a cultural priesthood was remote. “Buddhism had no order or ritual of sacrifice requiring the services of an officiating priest who had expert knowledge of the importance of the methods and rites. In fact Buddhist scriptures mention instances in which the Buddha himself appointed Brahmin priests. had scoffed at ritualistic practices. But already during its early history in China, when faced with the strong cultural attributes of Confucianism, Buddhism adopted cultural practices. Hinduism teacher-brahmin, priest-brahmin and superman Talks about Brahmin.

31) Vocational priesthood exists in two forms, namely hereditary and vocational. According to the former, the priesthood is the privilege of a particular family or tribal lineage. Jewish Levitical priests, Hindu Brahmin priests and Zoroastrian priests are some examples. Vocational priesthood based on recruiting candidates from its pool of promising young members

32) devotional, intellectual and moral qualities. Professional priests distinguish themselves by special vestments, long hair, distinct language, and ascetic rules such as sexual control and fasting. Institutionalization as well as elements like initiation rites and training

increased in importance. Whereas in the past most religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity – reserved the priesthood for male members, more recently some sections of religious membership such as the Anglican Church have advocated for the priesthood of women. While many religions throughout their history have found themselves moving from priestly celibacy for various reasons, the Latin Rite of Roman Catholicism is the strongest in favor of it in contemporary times.

33) As history develops, in the great world religions, representatives of the priesthood are organized into a highly complex structure in which a more or less differentiated hierarchy of groups with their various activities corresponds to the priestly hierarchy. In the beginning the divisions were on simple grounds such as natural groups (clan, tribe, people), local groups (village, city, district), and political groups (nation). Later, priests became associated with the formation of particular religious organizations, temporarily unified by the personal charisma of the priest leader alone, or organized as institutional units such as parishes.

34) Sacred Vs Secular Powers

35) According to the nature of the governance of a country, Weber identifies three types of relationship between secular and sacred powers in the history of the world. While in the first type, a ruler is legitimized by priests, in the second the high priest is also the king, and in the third, the secular ruler exercises supreme authority even in sacred matters. Thus while some countries had kings who were also priests, some other countries had priests who were also kings. Even in Islam, where unlike most other religions, there is no class of priests or clerics,

36) In the strict sense of the word, we find that there was a time when the roles of Imam (leader of prayers in worship rites in mosques) and ruler of the place were assigned to the same person.

37) When a governor was appointed in a province, he was also appointed as an Imam to lead the prayers, and this practice continued for a long time. In fact, leading the prayers (imamat) in Islam was as great an honor as the monarchy, and the two offices, the office of spiritual leader and the office of temporal leader, were for a long time combined in one person. As the ruler himself was the Imam at the centre, so were his governors at various provincial headquarters. There was no place in early Islam for the priest and the current mullah.

38) According to Weber, in hierarchical hegemony, the priestly authority seeks dominance at the cost of political power. Often the latter is presented as an inevitable evil, permitted by God because of the sinfulness of the world, and which believers must forsake but avoid. Sometimes it is even presented as a God-given tool for the subjugation of anti-church forces.


39) “In practice, therefore, the hierarchy seeks to turn the political ruler into a vassal and deprive him of independent means of power…” Meanwhile, the hierarchy makes every effort to protect itself: an autonomous administrative machinery, a tax system (tithes), legal forms (endowments) to protect church holdings, bureaucratization of administration, and the development of the charisma of the office at the expense of personal charisma.

40) In Weber’s mind, the extreme opposite of any form of hierarchy is caesaropapism—the complete subordination of priests to secular powers. Here religious relations are only a branch of political administration. Political rulers fulfill these obligations either directly or with the help of state-maintained priestly professionals. Caesaro-papism is nowhere to be found in its purest form, as a rule the priestly charisma reconciles with the secular power, either tacitly or even through a concordat. Overall, the general picture of the relationship between the two painted by Weber is that of a cold war.

41) “State and society everywhere have been deeply affected by the struggle between the royal and the priestly, between the military and the temple nobility. This struggle did not always lead to open conflict, but it did give rise to distinctive features and differences.. .”

42) According to Aberbach, even though there are important differences between the sacred and the secular, the history of religion testifies to the close parallels between the two: while even in its secular forms, charisma has a religious dimension, traditional religious charisma rarely Be devoid of political and other importance. “Political charisma draws on the language, sentiment, and even ideological convictions of religion. Charismatic religious leadership is no less

43) With politics. Devotees of the religious charismatic are inspired not only by his message but also by his political acumen and military success. The major religions of the ancient world were all official state religions. He was educated in religious schools, and had the outstanding qualities associated with religious leadership: Washington’s personal humility, Garibaldi’s austerity, Robespierre’s propensity for solitude and meditation. He concluded that, “the many parallels between religious and political charisma mean that in practice the association between both charismatic political leaders and figures of religious authority – priest and prophet, savior and messiah – although differing in intensity, is of little surprise.” It’s a matter. Pand

years, and the ‘righteousness’ of government that reflects the involvement of the modern state in the ‘deeper’ issues of human life, and the way in which state-organised societies become, to varying degrees, objects of worship and ‘deeper’ identity. has gone.

44) It is challenging to note here that in the development of most religions, if not all, the priesthood was always limited to cult activities. Priests perform a number of other functions: directly or indirectly related to liturgical functions. He is the custodian of traditions and protector of the sacred knowledge and techniques of meditation and prayer. He is the guardian of the sacred law corresponding to the cosmic moral and ritual order.


45) As the interpreter of this law, the priest can act as judge, administrator, teacher and scholar, and frame standards and rules of conduct. Since he performs sacred rites, he contributes to the development of sacred song, writing, literature, music, dance, sacred painting, sculpture, and architecture. As guardians of tradition, priests are also wise men, advisors, teachers, and philosophers. In the extent to which these diverse functions are performed, differences exist between religions according to the stage of development from primitive civilizations to highly developed ritualistic religions.

46) The priests of Babylon had much to do not only with the interpretation of morals

47) and religious law, but also with many civil enactments. It was the duty of some of them to receive the tithes, and to certify that they had been paid. Shinto priests are said to “serve not only in the performance of formal shrine rituals but also bear responsibility for administrative functions such as the maintenance and management of shrine facilities and finances… (after World War II later), great expectations are also placed on them for activities in the fields of social welfare and education.”


48) between the Indo-Aryan-speaking invaders of northwestern India and the end of the 2nd millennium BCE. The priestly social class was “responsible not only for a wide range of cultural works but also for the creation and preservation of sacred traditions of oral poetry.” The Rigveda mentions purohit (household priest of the king or some wealthy elite) who were not only in constant and intimate service to the king, but also had a close association with the king in his more mundane functions. the ethics of compassion (karuna) was

49) The fundamental driving force of Buddhism. Buddhist monks have therefore traditionally played the role of spiritual advisors and teachers to laypeople. It is now not uncommon to find sangha social services in Theravada countries such as Thailand and Sri Lanka.



50) In Judaism, apart from cultural functions, priests had supernatural functions, medical functions, instructional and judicial functions, and administrative and political functions, in fact, history testifies that during the period of the Second Temple, when Judea and Jerusalem were under the dominion of foreign empires. The priesthood of Jerusalem played an important political role, with priests also serving as leaders of Jewish communities.


51) There is no caste, class or profession in Islam proper that holds a monopoly on the performance of religious rites. When these were first performed publicly, the leader was appropriately the head of the community, and the name imam” ‘leader in prayer’ is hence used for ‘sovereign,’ ‘chief authority,’ and so on. led the sovereign prayer.

52) Because of the priests’ direct and immediate contact with the people who depend on them for God’s intercession, priests exercise tremendous influence over them. Not only in hierarchically classified ecclesiastical bodies but also in religious groups of more or less egalitarian bodies, religious leaders can become trusted, properly respected, and indispensable guides to their followers. basically a predominantly religious

53) influence, influence extends to moral, social, cultural; and political field.

54) There is ample evidence in the history of religions to show that the decline of priests and priestesses has been a part of almost all religious traditions at one time or another. Scholars of Indian thought have noted a change from the simple offerings of the early Vedic period to the complex and ritualistic sacrifices of the Brahmanical period. Persuasion of the gods was replaced by coercion of the gods, while yagya was placed above even the gods. Introducing a distinctly magical element to the rituals, “the priest and the prayer are then transformed into witchcraft and spells.”


  1. Speaking about the Namboothiris who were temple priests in Kerala, Thulasidharan says it was the remunerative services that attracted them. They lived in extreme comfort and luxury. Although he was supposed to be the guardian of the morality of the society, he did nothing of the sort. “On the contrary, they were only eager to drink the sweet honey of life lees, not leaving a drop for the lower castes.” Some historians trace a similar situation among Christian clergy to the time before the Protestant Reformation. Ridicule, corruption, selling of indulgences and greed for wealth were the characteristics of the age.

55) Nevertheless, priests have often throughout history been considered authoritative between the sacred and the profane. “Throughout the long and varied history of religion, the priesthood has been an official institution.

It is this which has maintained a position of mediation and equilibrium between the sacred and the profane aspects of human society and which has exerted a stabilizing influence on the social structure and cultural organisation. ” but various administrative duties derived from the cultural activities of the priests. Therefore, the less the communication with the number expressed in the formal cult, the closer it is to the shaman.” So long as it is desired to secure, religion is close to magic, but rises to a higher level where it becomes an act of thanking the priest and worshiping one’s own and another’s name.”






Currently there is unprecedented interest, enthusiasm and confusion about shamanism. Shamanic literature, rituals and workshops are flourishing and have given rise to a veritable cottage industry. There are actually shamanistically trained Anthropolo Geists like Michael Harner and highly controversial figures like Lynn Andrews, “The Shaman of Beverly Hills” (Clifton, 1989) offering shamanism workshops. Given that only a few years ago there was concern that shamanism would soon become extinct, it is clear that the tradition, or at least its contemporary Western version, is doing well.

What is not so clear is what exactly a shaman is. In fact, there is considerable controversy over this controversial point. On the one hand the ideas of the showman have been described as “mentally deranged” and “a complete psycho” (Devereaux, 1961) p “true idio (Wiesler, 1931), a charlatan, epileptic and, perhaps most often (Kacker , 1982; Shaman Noli, 1983) a histrionic or schizophrenic.

On the other hand, an opposite but equally radical approach seems to be emerging in popular literature. Here satanic states are being identified with Buddhism, Yoga or Christian mysticism. Thus, for example, Holger Kalveit (1988, p. 236)

The author would like to thank the following people {or their contributions to the preparation of this paper. Michael Harner provided both theoretical and practical information and introduced a large number of diabolical techniques. Marlene Dobkins de Rios provided bibliographic assistance while Frances Vaughan and Miles

Wich provided valuable feedback on earlier drafts of this paper. As always, Bonnie L’Allier provided excellent secretarial and administrative support.

shamans and shamanism as unique phenomena

Claims that the exorcist “experiences existential unity—the samadhi of the Hindus or what Western spiritualists and mystics call Enlightenment, Enlightenment mystica,” as if uniformly reaching the same state of consciousness.

Unfortunately these comparisons seem to be seriously flawed, being based on gross similarities rather than careful phenomenological comparisons (Walsh, 1990). Space does not permit such analyzes to be presented here. Suffice it to say that when careful phenomenological comparisons are made, it becomes clear that demonic experiences differ significantly from traditional categories of mental illness or those of mystics of other traditions (Nollie, 1983; Walsh 1990).

Therefore, contrary to much popular and professional thinking, we cannot define (or productively discuss) shamans and shamanism in terms of either clinical categories or other mystical traditions. Rather we need to consider and define them as unique phenomena. clearly an adequate definition can do much to help reduce

Huge confusion regarding the nature of shamanism.


The word itself comes from varman of the Tungus people of Siberia, meaning “one who is excited, shaken, raised.” It may be derived from an ancient Indian word meaning “to warm oneself or do penance” (Slacker, 1986) or from a Tungus verb meaning “to know” (Hultcrantz, 1973). But whatever its etymology The term shaman has been widely adopted by anthropologists to refer to specific groups of religious practitioners in various cultures who are sometimes called medicine men, witch doctors, magicians, sorcerers, magicians, or seers. However, these terms are not specific to healers. do not adequately define subgroups that fit more rigorous definitions of shamanism. The meaning and significance of this definition, and of shamanism itself, will become clear if we examine the way in which our definitions and understanding of shamanism have changed over time. have developed together.

Early anthropologists were particularly intrigued by the shamans’ unique interactions with “spirits”. Many people of the tribe may claim to revere, see, or even possess the spirits. However, only the shaman claimed to have some degree of control over them and to be able to command, commune and intervene with them for the benefit of the tribe.

  Thus Shirokogoroff (1935, p. 269),’ one of the early explorers of the Siberian Tungus people, stated that:

In all Tungus languages this word (saman) refers to individuals of both sexes who have mastery over spirits, who project these spirits into themselves at will and use their power over spirits in their own interests. especially helping other people who are suffering from it. Spirits; In such a capacity they may have a range of specialized methods for dealing with emotions.

But while the early explorers of souls

While most influenced by shamans’ interactions with humans, later researchers have been influenced by shamans’ control of their own states of consciousness in which these interactions occur (Dobkin, de Rios & Winkleman, 1989; Nolley, 1983; Petersl, 981; Peters & Shamanism Price-Williams, 1980, 1983) As Western culture became more interested in altered states of consciousness (ASC), the first researchers became interested in the use of altered state tradition in religious practices (Tart, 1983a, b) , and it appears that the first tradition to use such states was shamanism. Contemporary altered definitions of shamanism have therefore focused on the use of states such as shamanism (Harner, 1982; Knolly, 1983; Peet & Price-Williams, 1980).




Origin of Shamas


However, there are many, many possible states of consciousness (Shapiro & Walsh, 1984; Walsh & Vaughn, 1980; Wilber, 1977, 1980), and so the question naturally arises as to which are specific and defining for shamanism. , The broad definition has broad and narrow definitions. “The only defining characteristic is that the specialist enters into a controlled ASC on behalf of his community” (Petes Price Williams, 1980, p. 408), such specialists would include, for example, Mediums who enter a trance and then claim to speak for a spiritist should note the point that the use of the term “spirits” here does not necessarily imply that there exist separate entities that interact with people in control. or communicate. Rather the term is being used to describe only the way in which shamans and mediums interpret their experiences.

So a broad definition of shamanism would include any practitioner who enters controlled altered states of consciousness, whatever those particular states are. Narrower definitions on the other hand specify altered staters) quite precisely as ecstatic states. Indeed, Mircea Eliade (1964, one of the greatest religious scholars of the 20th century), “the first definition, and perhaps the least dangerous, of this complex phenomenon would be: the shamanistic technique of ecstasy.” Here ecstasy does not mean much ecstasy, but There is more. Emotion, as Random House Dictionary defines it as the taking or transfer of oneself or oneself out of one’s normal state and entering into a state of intense or heightened emotion. As we shall see, Especially suitable for shamanism.

The distinguishing feature of shamanic ecstasy is the experience of “soul flight” or “travel” or “out-of-body experience” (Eliaud, 1964; Harner, 1982). That is, shamans in the ecstatic state experience themselves, or their soul/spirit, flying through space and traveling either to other worlds or to distant parts of this world. In other words, “the shaman specializes in a trance, during which his soul is believed to leave his body and ascend to the heavens or descend to the underworld” (Eliad, 1964, p. 5). These flights reflect the satanic cosmology consisting of the three-tiered universe of the upper, middle and lower worlds, the middle corresponding to our Earth. Shaman is in this threefold work

LD systems tender to learn, gain strength, or diagnose and treat those who come for help and healing. During these visits the shaman may feel himself discovering the other world, meeting otherworldly people, animals or spirits, witnessing the cause and cure of a patient’s illness, or intervening with friendly or demonic forces.

So far, any definition we have includes three key features of shamanism. The first is that shamans can voluntarily enter an altered state of consciousness. Another is that in these states they experience themselves as traveling out of their body to other realms, which is a contemporary of some out-of-body experiences (Munroe, 1971; Irvine, 1985) or lucid dreams (LaBarge, 1985). is in line with the report. , Third, they use these journeys as a means to gain knowledge or power and to help people in their community.


Conversations with spirits are also frequently mentioned in definitions of Satanism. Furthermore, Michael Harner, an anthropologist who may have more personal experience of sharanic practices than any other Westerner. suggests that a key element of Satanic practices may be “contact with an ordinarily hidden reality” (Harner, 1982, p. 25). Thus he defines a shaman as “a man or woman who uses an altered form of consciousness to contact and use an ordinarily hidden reality in order to gain knowledge, power, and help other persons.” enters a state of being” (Harner, 1982, p. 25).

Should these two additional elements, “contacting a hidden reality” and “communication with spirits” be included as essential elements of the definition of shamanism? Here we are on difficult philosophical ground. Surely this is what shamans feel and believe they are doing. However it is a huge philosophical leap to assume that this is actually what they are doing. The precise nature of both the worlds (or ontological states in philosophical terms) in which the shamans perceive themselves and the entities they encounter is an open question.

What a question. For the shaman they are interpreted as independent and completely “real”; To a Western person with no belief in other realms or entities they would likely be interpreted as subjective mind creations.

In fact, it may be impossible to decide this question. Technically speaking we can have an example of ontological uncertainty due to the under-determinism of the theory by observation. More simply speaking, it is the inability to determine the ontological status of a phenomenon because observations allow multiple theoretical interpretations. The result is that the interpretation of such uncertain pheno mena (“and” spirits ” in this case of the nature of hidden reality) depends largely on one’s own philosophical inclination or worldview. We can therefore place shamanism on secure grounds. define if we leave these questions as much as possible to philosophical interpretation.

Briefly, shamanism can be defined as a family of traditions whose practitioners focus on voluntarily summarizing altered states of consciousness in which they experience the definition of self, or their spirit(s), Travels to other locations and interacts with other entities at the request of other entities. To serve their shamanism community.


Whatever its origin, shamanism is widely spread throughout the world. It is found today in large areas such as Siberia, North and South America and Australia and is thought to have been present in most parts of the world at one time or another. The remarkable similarities between shamans from widely spread areas of the world raise the question of how these similarities evolved. One possibility is that they arose spontaneously in different places, perhaps due to a common human instinct or recurrent social need. The second is that they resulted from migration and diffusion from a common ancestor.

If migration is the answer, then that migration must have started long ago. Shamanism occurs among tribes with so many different languages that diffusion from a common ancestor must have begun at least 20,000 years ago (Winkelman, 1984).

This long time period makes it difficult to explain why satanic practices would remain stable in so many cultures for so long while language and social practices changed so rapidly. These difficulties make it seem unlikely that migration alone can account for the long history and far-flung distribution of shamanism.

It follows that if the worldwide, history-long distribution of shamanism cannot be attributed to diffusion from a single invention in prehistoric times, they must be discovered and rediscovered in different times and cultures. Was. This suggests that some recurring combination of social forces and innate abilities acquired and maintained Satanic roles, rituals, and states of consciousness over and over again.

Shamanism rediscovered across diverse times and cultures

certainly appears to be evidence of some innate human tendency to enter into conspicuous change

d State. Studies of various meditation traditions suggest that innate instincts to reach altered states can be very accurate. For example, for two and a half thousand years Buddhists have described reaching eight highly specific and distinct states of extreme concentration. These concentrated states, that phantasm, are extremely subtle, stable and blissful and have been described very precisely over the millennia (Buddhagosha, 1923; Gole Man, 1988). Today some western seekers have started reaching out to them and I have had the privilege of interviewing three of them. In each case his experiences match up remarkably well with ancient accounts. Clearly then it appears that the human mind has some innate tendency to settle into certain states if it is given the right conditions or practices.

The same principle may apply to satanic states. Observations of Westerners in satanic workshops suggest that most people are able to enter satanic states to some degree. These states can also be induced by a variety of situations which suggests that the mind may have some inherent tendency to adopt them. The situations that trigger them may include such natural events as isolation, fatigue, ingesting -mic sounds, or hallucinogens (Winkleman, 1984; Walsh, 1989, 1990). Thus they will be rediscovered by different generations and cultures. Since the states can be pleasurable, meaningful, and therapeutic, they will be actively sought and the ways to induce them will be remembered and transmitted across generations.

Distribution due to innate tendency and diffusion

Thus shamanism and its widespread distribution may reflect an innate human tendency to enter certain pleasurable and valuable states of consciousness. Once discovered, customs and beliefs supporting the entry and manifestation of states would also arise, and shamanism would once again emerge. This natural tendency can be supported and expanded by communication between cultures. For example, shamanism in northern Asia

appears to have been modified by the importation of yogic practices from India (Eliad, 1964). Thus the global distribution of shamanism may be due to both instinct and the spread of information. The end result is that this ancient tradition spread across the Earth and probably survived for tens of thousands of years, a period that represents a significant proportion of the time that fully evolved humans (modern Homo sapiens) have been on the planet. are on.

Given that shame has been around for so long and is so widespread, it naturally begs the question of why it occurs in some cultures and not others. Answers are beginning to emerge from cross-cultural research. A notable study examined 47 societies spanning approximately 4000 years from 1750, ie, the Babylonians, to the present century (Winkelman, 1984, 1989). It is interesting to note that, prior to Western influence, all 47 of these cultures used altered states of consciousness as the basis for religious and medical practices. Although shamanic practices were found in most regions of the world, they occurred only in certain types of societies. These were mainly simple nomadic hunting and gathering societies. These people depended little on agriculture and had almost no social class or political organization. Within these tribes the shaman played many roles, both sacred and mundane: medicine taker, healer, ritual performer, keeper of cultural myths, medium, and master of spirits. With his multiple roles and the power vacuum introduced by a classless society, the shaman exerted a great influence on his tribe and people.

However, as societies develop and become more complex, it appears that this situation changes dramatically. Indeed, as societies become sedentary rather than nomadic, agricultural rather than agricultural, and socially and politically classless rather than stratified, then shamanism seems to have disappeared (Winkleman, 1984, 1989). In its place appear a variety of specialists who focus on one of the magician’s many roles. Thus instead of shamans we find healers, priests, mediums and sorcerers/witches. They specialize in the practices of medicine, ritual, exorcism and malevolent witchcraft, respectively. An obvious contemporary western parallel to the older medical general practitioner or G.P. has to disappear. and the presence of diverse experts.

Some of these ancient experts have been compared to the shaman G.P. It is interesting to do with those who preceded them. Priests have emerged as representatives of organized religion and are often religious, moral and even political leaders. He is the leader of social rites and rituals. On behalf of their society, they pray to and propagate spiritual powers. However, unlike their demonic ancestors, they usually have little training or experience in altered states. (Hoppel, 1984).

while priests inherit a socially beneficial religious

Other magical roles of magicians, magicians inherit malevolent ones. Shamans were often hermaphrodite figures to their people, revered for their healing and helping powers, sorcerers and witches feared for their malevolent magic (Rogers, 1982), at least as they note in Winkleman (1984) and other anthropological studies. are experts in malevolent magic and as such they are feared, loathed and persecuted.


Origin of Religion (Evolutionary)

The sociology of religion in the nineteenth century was concerned with two main questions. ‘How did religion begin?’ and ‘How did religion develop?’ This evolutionary view was influenced by Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, published in 1859. Just as Darwin attempted to explain the origin and evolution of species, sociologists attempted to explain the origin and evolution of social institutions and society. In the context of religion, two main theories for its origin, animism and animism, were advanced.






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