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India is considered as the land of legends and mystical beliefs. And hence it will be worth a journey- to travel through the different layers of Indian schools of philosophy.
If we go deep into the subject of prehistoric Indians, it can be noted that they had no Gods, as is the case with other races in different parts of the world. However, man, the hunter-gatherer, had to fight the forces of nature and wild animals each day for their livelihood.
They had two challenges- first, to understand nature and its phenomena, and second, to control them. However, they considered themselves inferior in power, to both, the forces of nature, and the harmful wild animals.
Thus, out of the prehistoric people’s helplessness, and their hope to bring those powerful phenomena under their control, they started worshipping mother nature and animals like snakes, buffaloes, goats, etc. They created rituals and mantras, which, they thought, would please the nature and save them and their gotras (lineage) from natural calamities.
These rituals gained increasing popularity among the ancient Indians as they started agriculture, giving up their hunter-gatherer lifestyle that lasted for millions of years. They had more enemies to conquer now. Because, as they started settlements around their agricultural land, it gave rise to epidemics like smallpox.
Thus, even before the formation of religions in India, people indulged in rituals, which may be altogether termed as ‘Mantravada’.