Tribal religion is based on oral traditions. The tribes express their beliefs in everyday language. Their rituals are aimed at solving day to day problems of life. Objects of worship are things of nature such as trees, rivers, mountain, sun, moon and earth. Rituals are mostly performed collectively and transmitted orally.
Tribal World view is grounded in the natural events and life-experiences. Their cosmology is socially effective i.e. existential, but un-interpretative.1
Faith in supernatural is structured in a tribal society. According to the 1961 census of India, it would appear that about 89 per cent of the tribals claimed to profess Hinduism and 5 per cent had converted to Christianity. Most of the tribals in India follow some or other form of Hinduism. It is mainly due to the contacts the tribals had with their Hindu neighbors. Christianity was introduced among the tribal groups during the British rule.
Almost all the tribal religions across India believe in the existence of spiritual powers. The most important problem of life is to deal with these powers to ensure individual and collective well-being. The solution for this is to seek conciliation and communion with the more definite and potent personal spirits and to deal with the more indefinite and impersonal forces by way of control, expulsion or avoidance through appropriate rites, ceremonies, spells and taboos.
Religion of a tribe is simple. Religious beliefs and behavior are not treated as something apart from other kinds of beliefs and behavior. Religion pervades all aspects of their life. Tribal life and society cannot be fully understood without understanding their religion.
Tribal Religion in a state of simplicity:
Religion of a tribe is simple insofar as it is expressed in everyday language and experienced in everyday life. Every tribal religious system consists of three essential elements. Firstly they believe in the existence of a superhuman world which refers to the belief system of tribals. Secondly they form a human relationship to the superhuman world which refers to their value system. Thirdly for establishing a relationship they practice various rites and rituals which refer to their action system.
Cite this article:
Roshan John Joseph. Religion in Tribal Society. Research J. Humanities and Social Sciences. 3(3): July-September, 2012, 323-325.