The tribal religion happens to be the most primitive form of religion. The following are the important features of the Indian tribal Religion.
Belief in Mana
Mana is though to be a supernatural power which has the capacity of doing both good and evil things. According to Max Muller, Mana is an attempt to define certain natural phenomena interns of an impersonal power. The high mountains, the river, the thunder and all other natural phenomena according to the tribal people act with the power of Mana. It is connected with the soul ghost and the living being.
The Concept of Bonga
Bonga is a form of Mana. According to the Tribal people, Bonga is a mysterious and impersonal power backed behind the rains, cold, epidemic and the wild animals. The activities of Bonga are observed every-where.
Animism is another important quality of Indian tribal religion. There is a belief among the tribal people of the existence of supernatural powers behind the high mountains, flooded rivers, big trees and epidemic. Always the tribal people try to please these powers by means of propitiations and worships. The important form of animism is ancestor worship which is found among the Santhals and Oraons.
The belief in Animatism proclaims the existence of impersonal power behind every material object. This impersonal power is being worshipped to sustain peace and prosperity in the group.
Faith in Magic
The faith in magic is the most prominent feature of tribal religion. In different tribes different types of magical acts are prevalent. If a particular woman is declared by the magician as a witch, she is tortured by the villagers.
Totem and Taboo
An important feature of tribal religion is the custom of totem. The people belonging to different tribes believe in different types of totems. The totem is an object or animal which has a mystic relationship with the members of a tribe. The members of a tribe have much regard towards their totem. They cannot kill their totem if it is though to be an animal. In this way taboos are linked with the totems. In the opinion of E.A. Hebal “Totem is an object often an animal or a plant, held in special regard by the members of a special group, who feel there is a particular bond of emotional identity between themselves and totem.
Totemism is the fundamental basis of the religious organization among the tribal. It strengthens community consciousness and brotherhood among the members of the group. It acts as a symbol of group unity. It can undoubtedly be said that totem occupies an important place in tribal religion.