The Vedic Period

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THE VEDIC PERIOD

  • Aryans migrated to India through the Khyber and Bolan passes from central Asia.
  • The places where they settled in India was called Arya Vardham
  • Compiled the prayers of their ancestors as Vedas
  • In History, this was called the Vedic Age

Classified into two

  • Early Vedic Age
  • Later Vedic Age.

 

Early Vedic Age

  • When Rig Veda was compiled the Aryans lived in Sindu
  • They settled in Sabta Sindhu (The Land of Seven Rivers) in Punjab
  • Through the Rig Veda, the political and social conditions of the Aryans can be known.

The Social life of Aryans

Political Life

  • The basic unit of the society was family
  • Families joined and formed the village which was headed by the Grahmini.
  • Villages formed Visa. (Vis)
  • Vishwapathy was the head of the Visu.
  • Next higher administrative unit was Jana
  • Head of Jana was Rajan (King).
  • Person who had valour and strength became the Raja
  • People lived in the kingdom were Rajas
  • The king was called Prajapathi.
  • Kingship became hereditary
  • Many chieftains formed the Mahajanapadas
  • There were two Assemblies called Saba and Samiti
  • Sabha – Group of Elders
  • Samiti – Representatives of People

Social Life

  • Father was the head of the family.
  • Women were on par with men
  • In the field of education and religion
  • There were women poets like Vishwawara, Abala, Kosa, and Lobamuthra
  • Caste system was not in existence.
  • Monogamy and Polygamy were in practice
  • Widows’ remarriage was permitted.

Economic Life

  • Cattle rearing and agriculture were the main occupations of the people during Rig Vedic Age
  • Iron was used to make tools and instruments.
  • They destroyed the forests and made them into cultivable lands.
  • Carpentry and weaving were also their occupations.
  • They produced cotton and woollen clothes
  • Goldsmiths made ornaments and potters made pots for household use
  • The barter system was in practice.
  • Rivers were used for transportation
  • Their unit of currency Nishka, made of gold.

Food

  • They had wheat, barley, milk, curd, ghee, vegetables.
  • They drank intoxicating drinks like ‘Soma’ and ‘Sura’

Dresses and ornaments

The Aryans used clothes made of cotton and wool

  • Men wore dhoti and shawl.
  • They also wore turbans
  • Women wore upper garments and lower garments.
  • Wore earrings, necklaces, bangles, anklets and wore bands on their foreheads.

 

Religion

  • The Aryans worshipped the forces of nature such as Sun, fire, air, sky and trees.
  • They also worshipped Indira, Varna, Agni and Yaman.
  • There was neither temple nor idol worship in the early Vedic age
  • Religious sacrifices were practised
  • They wrote religious principles and their explanations
  • Yagas like Ashvamedha, Rajasuya and Vajapaya were conducted during poojas.

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Later Vedic Period: (BC 1000- BC 600)

  • The period of Sama Veda, Atharvana Veda, Yajur Veda are called the Later Vedic Period
  • Aryans spread over the eastern side.
  • Pre Vedic Aryans spread from Kabul to Upper Ganges
  • During this period the kingdoms emerge
  • During this period B r a h m ann an s , Up an n in sh a d s a n d Aranyakas were also written

 

Political Life

  • Kingdoms like Kosala, Videham, Kuru, Magadha, Kasi, Avanthi and Panchala emerged
  • Kingship became hereditary.
  • Sacrifices such as Rajasuya and Ashvamedha were performed to establish his undisputed authority.
  • Saba and Samithi declined

 

Economic Life

  • Metal widely used was iron
  • Handicrafts improved
  • They grew paddy, sugarcane, barley and wheat.
  • Cow dung was used as manure
  • Cattle wealth developed.
  • Caste system became rigid which was called Varna Dharma.
  • Who performed sacrifices and religious ceremonies were called Brahmans
  • The Vaishyas were the traders and farmers.

Status of women

  • No improvement in the status of women
  • They were subordinate to men.
  • They did not inherit property
  • Deprived of administrative power.
  • Child marriage was prevalent
  • Sati, according to which the widow would throw herself into the funeral pyre of her husband was in practice.

 

Education

  • Brahmin students stayed in the Gurukul
  • There were highly educated women like Gargi and Maitreyi.
  • Royal children alone were taught Danur Veda (military strategy).

 

Religion

  • The prevedic Gods lost their importance
  • In this period, Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra (Siva) gained importance.
  • Rituals and animal sacrifices gained importance
  • Rituals and animal sacrifices gained importance
  • People had faith in soul, fate and moksha
  • Against these meaningless rituals and costly sacrifices, Buddhism and Jainism originated.

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Jainism and Buddhism

 


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