Religion is the integral part of every civilization on earth. From the beginning of human existence, nature and its elements delighted and baffled him. He saw the mysteries of the world. He started asking questions. With the help of the God given imaginative mind, he started making ideas, theories and observations. He began to see the supernatural in the natural and the natural in the supernatural. Humans started believing that there is something above him, something supernatural, which keeps everything under control. The sun rises, the sun sets, the stars shine, the moon graces, the clouds move, the rainbow overshadows, the rains fall, the fires destroy, the animals run, the animals die, the humans die, the babies come,  the plants grow, the flowers blossom, the streams flow and the lightening terrify all because of this supernatural power.

He started worshiping this supernatural power. Whenever he was faced with problems, obstacles and pains, he ran towards the symbol of this supernatural power. The supernatural power was called God.  The symbol was called religion.

There were many peoples around the world. They perceived the world differently. Their brains imagined in different ways. They felt the presence of many Gods. There were religions.

In the beginning, the forces and elements of nature were made Gods. Then people started building temples for their Gods. Beliefs after beliefs started mounting over the religion to make it more powerful. The Mesopotamians built the ziggurat for the moon God ‘Ur’. Egyptians worshipped the sun God ‘Ra’. The people of the Indus valley civilization sacrificed their yielding to their Mother Goddess. The symbol of a female Goddess was transferred into Hinduism as Goddess Shakthi.

Some men were more powerful than the others were. There were kings and queens. They became the Gods for the people. Pyramids were built to preserve the bodies of the Pharaohs so they would not miss their bodies in the Otherworld.  The belief in life after death led to the greater development of religion. Monotheism replaced polytheism in certain societies. The Jews found meaning in undertaking a long journey to the Promised Land as Yahweh had promised them.

Religion, culture, ritual and tradition needed to be passed on to the future generations. The stories of the struggles, the hardships and the heroic deeds needed to be passed on to the future generations. Literature was born.

The Egyptians used nails, the Mesopotamians reed and the Chinese paint to tell the stories of their civilization. One would not have got information on the ancient religions and civilizations if they had not seen their literature. Religion is passed to father to son through stories, poems, hymns, myths and prose. So is literature.

Oxford dictionary defines literature as ‘a piece of writing which is valued as a work of art’. Religion gives the value to a piece of writing. From the beginning of history religion and literature has had a strong bond between them. The literature of a society reflects the religion and culture of the society. The religion and culture inspires the literature of a particular society.


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