Ancient Indian History Part 3 – 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

Routes of aryans.JPG

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

  • Family -village -ivies ->Jana -Janapatha

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 Rajan

  • People lived in kingdom were Rajas

  • The king was called Prajapathi.

  • Kingship became hereditary

  • Many chieftains formed the Mahajanapadas

  • There were two Assemblies called Saba and Samiti

  • Saba – 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.

  • 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

  • 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

Later Vedic Period: (BC 1000- BC 600)

  • The period of Sama Veda, Atharvana Veda, Yajur Veda are called the Later Vedic Perio

  • 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 a n a s ,  U p a n in s h 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

aryan period broken pots.JPG

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

qualities of dravidians & aryans.JPG

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