rita
   Rita is a VEDIC concept that means “cosmic order.” VARUNA was most specifically charged with its maintenance, but many other gods such as AGNI and INDRA were sometimes also said to maintain rita. It was understood that the Vedic rituals were necessary to maintain the cosmic order. In fact the greatest of the ancient Vedic rituals, the AGNICHAYANA, or fire ritual, was seen to re-create the entire cosmic order each year. The concept of rita is most important as a precursor to the notion of DHARMA, although the latter was extended into social law and social organization as well.
   Further reading: Madhu Khanna, ed., Rita, the Cosmic Order (New Delhi: D. K. Printworld in association with the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, 2004); Jeanine Miller, The Vision of the Cosmic Order in the Vedas (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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