The Evolution of the Belief in Creationism During the Vedic Period before the Rise of Buddhism
Keywords:Vedas, Creationism, Polytheism, Monotheism, Monism
The Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism makes it clear that the Buddha rejects the concept of Creator God outright in several suttas, particularly the Tevijja Sutta which denies the existence of Creator God as described in the Ṛgveda and the Anattalakkhana Sutta which rejects the concept of ātman/brahman theory as extensively expounded in the two oldest Upanishads, ie. the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upanishad and the Chāndogya Upanishad. However, the contexts in which the creation of the universe is mentioned in these texts are hardly studied in any Buddhist scholarship so far.
This research paper, therefore, aims at exploring how the contexts which explain the creation of the universe in the Ṛgveda and in the two early Upanishads are, using the qualitative research method. The documents used to analyse are mainly the Ṛgveda, the two oldest Uapnishads, ie. Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upanishad and the Chāndogya Upanishad as well as modern scholarship.
The research finds that:
From the very beginning, the Aryan people in India worshiped the nature, woshiping nature spirits and subsequently deified these natures. So there were many gods such as Indra, Pṛthivī, Gangā or Sarasvatī, Māruta or Vāyu, Agni, coming into existence. Because of the existenc of many gods, the theory of polytheism was developed. Based on this polytheistic principle, the Indian society moved further to develop what is called monotheism. And in the two oldest Upanishads, the concept of monism replaced monotheism.
The Buddha rejected the concept of monotheism in the Ṛgveda with the Tevijja Sutta and rejected the monistic idea in the two oldest Upanishads, namely, Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upanishad and Chāndogya Upanishad with the Anattalakkhaṇa Sutta of the Saṃyuttanikāya.
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