Vedic Civilization

Vedic civilization

Home of Aryans

● Many historians have given various theories regarding the original place of Aryans.
● According to Dayananda Saraswat i, Aryans migrated to india from Tibet.
● Balagangadhar Tilak opined that Aryans are from the Arctic region. He wrote a book called, ‘the Arctic home of Aryans’.
● However, the central Asi a theory, given by Max Mulle r, is the most accepted one.


The Aryan/Vedic civilization is studied by dividing into two phases.
Early Vedic Period / Rig Vedic Period

● During Early Vedic Period Aryans were confined only to the sapta Sindhu region of India.
● The economy was mainly pastoral during the rig Vedic period.
● The word asva (horse) and go (cow) are mentioned 215 and 176 times respectively in rig Veda.
● The king was called as gopa or gapathi means the protector of the cows.
● Battle was called as gavisthi.
● Agriculture was the secondary activity of the early aryans.
● Suvarna Nishka was used as mode of exchange in the trade.
● The caste system was absent in this period.
● The society was mostly class divided and there were three important classes found in this period. Priests, warriors, commoners.
● No social and gender discrimination.
● The society was liberal which allowed social mobility, inter dining and inter class marriages such as anuloma (hypergamous) and pratiloma (hypogamous).
● The marriage of a male of higher class with the female of lower class is called anuloma. The marriage of male of a lower class with the female of higher class is called pratiloma.
● As child marriages were absent, women got opportunity to purse education on par with the men.
● Gosha was a highly learned woman.
● The political administrative system of early Vedic period was predominantly tribal.
● Every tribe was headed by a tribal chief called Rajan.
● Village was headed by gramini who used to represent villages in sabha and samiti.
● Every tribe has four assemblies which vested with decision making power. They are sabha, samiti, vidhanta, gana.
● Women were allowed to sabha, samiti, vidhanta.
● There was no tax system evolved during this period.
● Battle of 10 kings(dasarajna) was the most important battle that was fought during the early Vedic period on the bank of river purushni (Ravi).
● Sudama, the Rajan of Bharata tribe, defeated the confederation of ten kings which was led by pusukutsa, the Rajan of puru tribe, vasista (the priest of Bharata tribe) and Vishva Mitra (the priest of puru tribe) played major role in this battle.
● The worship of natural forces gained importance during the rig Vedic period.
● They worshipped Indra, Varuna, Agni, vayu, soma, Aditi, aranyani, Savitri, ushas.
● A holy drink, named soma was offered to the deities.
● The only food grains mentioned in rig Veda is yava which means both wheat and barley.
. . . . . . . . .
Later Vedic Period

● The Aryans migrated from Sapta Sindhu region to the Gangetic plains.
● The pastoral economy was replaced by a strong agrarian economy.
● Iron was first used in India by the Aryans in gangetic plains.
● Rice was extensively cultivated in the later Vedic period and called as vrihi.
● Caste system was started.
● Pratiloma marriages were forbidden.
● The social, religion and gender discrimination have their origins in the later Vedic period.
● Social evils like child marriages, polygyny and sati were started.
● Eight forms of marriages are mentioned in the Vedic literature.
● During the later Vedic Period, it was expected that every individual should live his life in four stages known as ashrams. They are
● Brahmacharya (student life), grihasthashram (household life), vanaprastha ashrama(forest life), sanyasashrama (ascetic life).
● During this period, janapadas (territorial kingdoms) were born in the gangetic plains.
● Tax system was introduced during this period. A tax named Bhaga was imposed which is considered to be the earliest tax in India.
● The three supreme gods known as Trimurtis replaced the natural forces of the early religion. They include : Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra. ● Women were not allowed to sabha, samiti, vidhanta.
● Gavyuti was used as a measure of distance and godhuli as a measure of time.
● Three yagas were started : ashwamedha, rajasuya, vajapeya yagas

. . . . . . . . .

Vedic literature

● The Vedic literature composed orally and passed from one generation to another through memory and it’s manuscripts were produced only during the Gupta period.
● The Vedic literature consists of 8 major parts.
● Vedas, brahmanas, aranyakas, Upanishads. These four are called Shruti. (means recitation)
● Vedangas, puranas, upavedas, itihasas. These four are called Smriti.(means memory).
● Vedas form the prime part of the literature and are four in number.
● Ayurveda associated to Rigveda.(medicine)
● Dhanur veda associated to yajur veda.(archery)
● Gandharva veda associated to Sama veda.(music)
● Shilpa veda associated to Atharva veda.(sculpture)
● Ramayan : it is known as adi Kavya and its author Valmiki is called as adi Kavi in
Sanskrit. It consists of 7parts known as Kandas.
● Mahabharat : it was composed by vyasa, consists of 18 chapters known as parvas.
Bhagavad Gita is associated with Bhishma parva, the sixth chapter of maha Bharat. The original name of maha Bharat is Jaya samhita. It is also known as shata sahasra samhita.
● Chandogya Upanishad mentions the ashrama system.
● The popular saying Satyameva Jayate in the national emblem of India was obtained from mundaka Upanishad.
● William Jones translated abhignana shakuntalam of kalidasa into English.
● Charles Wilkins translated Bhagavad Gita into English.
● Max Muller translated rig Veda into English.
● Arthur liewellyn basham authored a book named the wonder that was india on ancient history and culture of India.

. . . . . . . . .

Vedas

Rig Veda

● It is a collection of 1028 hymns (Slokas) which were invocations or prayers to various deities.
● Gayatri mantra is the most sacred among them, which is an invocation to goddess Savitri.
● Gayatri mantra is in the 3rd mandala.
● Rig Veda is divided into 10 mandalas.
● Purusha sukta is the 10th mandala. (Last one)
● The earliest reference of the caste system is found in purusha sukta.
● Om word is repeated 1028 times.

. . . . . . . . .
Yajur veda

● Yajur veda contains explanatory prose commentaries on how to perform rituals and sacrifices.

. . . . . . . . .
Sama veda

● Sama means music and veda means knowledge.
● It is related to music.

. . . . . . . . .
Atharva veda

● Atharva veda contains charms and spells to ward off diseases and evils.

. . . . . . . . .

Brahmanas

● Brahmanas are related to rituals.
● 7 brahmanas were composed corresponding to the 4 Vedas
● Aitareya, kausitaki Brahmanas related to rig veda.
● Aitareya brahmana mentions the presence of many tribes like Kalinga, pulinda, mutiba, savara, Andhra living in south India.
● Satapatha, taittiriya brahmanas related to yajur veda.
● Tandyamana, taiminiya brahmanas related to Sama veda. ● Gopatha brahmana is related to Atharva veda.

. . . . . . . . .

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