Vedic Age

We will start Vedic Age from the Vedic literature, then we will discuss about following topics likewise Vedic culture (its division) , Battle of ten kings, Religious life of that age, political conditions, economic conditions, social life & position of females in Vedic Age.

Literature of Vedic Age / Vedic Literature

Vedas & Upvedas:- Sanskrit meaning of Vedas is “knowledge” while Upvedas means “applied knowledge of a Veda”.

Sr. No Vedas Root Word Content Upveda
1 Rig Veda Rig means Prayer It has 10 “mandals”(chapters)-Deals with prayer-Oldest Veda Ayur Veda-deals with medicine
2 Sama Veda Saman means Melody collection of melodies & tunes-oldest book of Indian music Gandharva Veda-deals with music & dance
3 Yajur Veda Yajur means Ritual Has rituals for performing different sacrifices Dhanur Veda-deals with Archery
4 Atharva Veda Athar means Magic contains charms & spells in verse towards off evils & diseases Shilpa Veda-deals with architecture

The Aranyakas

It means “The Forest” & so the Aranyakas are known as “The Forest books”.These were written for Hermits (A person living in solitude as a religious discipline). Aranyaks opposed sacrifices & rituals & lay emphasis on meditation.

The Upanishad

* Upanishad means “be seated at the feet to receive the teachings from the Master”.

* Upanishad contains all the main ideas behind the Hindu philosophy.

* There are total 108 Upanishads.

Important Upanishads:-

* Chandogya Upanishad:- One of the oldest Upanishad.

* Mundaka Upanishad:- “Satyamev Jayate” is mentioned in it.

* Kathopnishad:- its a dialogue between Yama (God of Death) & Nachiketa (son of King Yayati)

* Brihadaranyaka Upanishad -provides first reference of idea of rebirth.

The Vedanga

The Vedangas are called as “smriti”. According to Indian Mythology ,Vedangas were originated from the different body parts of “PURUSHA” (God Brahma- The creator).

 

Sr.No Vedanga Deals with Origination from the body part of Purusha
1 Siksha Phonetics Nose
2 Kalpa Sacrifice & Rituals Hand
3 Vyakaran Grammar Face
4 Jyotish Astrology Eyes
5 Nirukta Etymology Ears
6 Chhanda Prosody Feet

Puran

Meaning of purana is “Ancient explanations”.There are 18 purana’s. Puranas contains the most systematic record of Indian historical tradition.

Most of the Purana were compiled during “Gupta Period”.The oldest Purana is “Matsya Purana”which was compiled during “Satavahana Dynasty”

Vedic Culture

The study of Vedic culture can be divided into two phases:-

1. Rigvedic Age:– Only Rigveda was compiled during this phase. In 1500 BC-1000 BC Aryans invade the area of Afghanistan, Punjab & Western UP, settled there & named it as Sapta Sindhu (Land surrounded by 7 rivers). Rigveda is the earliest literature mentioning Aryans. Later 1000 BC-600 BC  Aryans migrated to Eastern U.P, land called Doab (land of 2 rivers). Doab is the most fertile land in the world till date.

– Bharat was the most important of Aryans after which our nation is called as “Bhaarat”

2. Later Vedic Age

Important Rivers of Rigvedic age:

Sr. No

Rigvedic  Name

Modern Name

1

Sindhu

Indus

2

Vitasta

Jhelum

3

Asikni

Chenab

4

Purushni

Ravi

5

Vipasa

Baes

6

Satudri

Satluj

7

Gomat

Gomati

8

Kurram

Krumu

9

Kubha

Kabul

10

Suwasta

Swat

Dasrajan Yudh (Battle of ten kings)

A battle was fought between king of Bharat Tribe (Sudas) and confederation of 10 well known tribes. Battle was fought on the bank of Parushani, in which Sudas defeated all other kings.

Religious Life of Rigvedic Aryans

Unlike Harappan civilization, male gods were prominent here. Sacrifices were of simple type and have a prominent place in Vedic rituals. These were performed by ghee, grains, fruits etc.

God

Name of God

Description

Terrestrial God

Agni

Soma

Purest god, mediator between god and Human Being

God of Plantation

Aerial God

Indra

Also known as Purandhar.(Breaker of Fort),god of war and rain.

Celestial God

Varun

He was the universal monarch.

Political Condition of Rigvedic Age:-

Monarchy system was followed. Head was called as “Raja”.King’s affairs were controlled by 2 assemblies:-

1. Sabha:- Body of Elders

2. Samiti:- House of common people

(One more assembly was there in Rigvedic Aryans which is called as “Vidatha”  dealing with religious functions such as performance of sacrifice.

Important Official Designation in Rigvedic Age

 

Sr. No Designation in Rigvedic Age Modern Age Designation
1 Purohit Priest
2 Senani Commander in chief
3 Bhagdugha Tax collector
4 Sathapati Provincial head

Common punishments of Rigvedic age:-

1. Vairadeya:- an eye for an eye.

2. Shatadaya:- paying 100 cows to the victims family.

Level of Administration:-

Kula – gram – vis (district) – jana (state) – janapada(country)

Economic Condition of Rigvedic Age:-

Since the main occupation was cattle rearing so economy was Pastoral Economy. Cow was the most important cattle. Agriculture was the secondary source of economy, Godhuma (wheat) & Yava (barley) were the main staple diet. The metal known was “Ayas”(copper).

Social life & social division of Rigvedic Age:-

Patriarchal Family” system was there ,means male family member was the head of family. Social division is mentioned in the 10th mandal ,”Purush Sukta of Rigveda”, which says that :-

* Brahmin arose from the mouth of Purush.

* Kshatriya arose from Arms.

* Vaishya arose from Thighs.

* Shudras arose from feet of Purush.

Position of Female:-

Although preference was given to the male child but the girl child was treated with kindness. Their education was not neglected. Females were free to choose their life partners. Even widow re-marriage (Niyoga System) was present at that time.

Education System of Rigvedic Age:-

* Entire education system was given orally.The frog Hymn of Rigveda tell us about the education system of that age.

* Gayatri mantra is mentioned in Rigveda & it is dedicated to Goddess Savitri (Daughter of sun). It is a prayer used for stimulation of intellect.

 

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