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  • Later Vedic Period (1000 – 600 B.C.)

    • Aryans further moved towards east in the Later Vedic Period.
    • Satapatha Brahmana refers to the expansion of Aryans to the eastern Gangetic plains
    • Kuru and Panchala kingdoms flourished in the beginning
    • Janaka was the king of Videha with its capital at Mithila. His court was adorned by scholar Yajnavalkya.
    • Magadha, Anga and Vanga seem to be the easternmost tribal kingdoms.
    • The later Vedic texts also refer to the three divisions of India –
      • Aryavarta (northern India),
      • Madhyadesa (central India) and
      • Dakshinapatha (southern India).
    • Political Organization

      • Larger kingdoms
      • Many jana or tribes were amalgamated to form janapadas or rashtras in the later Vedic period.
      • The king performed various rituals and sacrifices to strengthen his position.
        • Rajasuya (consecration ceremony),
        • Asvamedha (horse sacrifice) and
        • Vajpeya (chariot race).
      • kings also assumed titles like Rajavisvajanan, Ahilabhuvanapathi, (lord of all earth), Ekrat and Samrat (sole ruler).
      • new officials were involved in the administration
        • They include the treasury officer, tax collector and royal messenger.
      • lower levels, the administration was carried on by the village assemblies.
      • importance of the Samiti and the Sabha had diminished during the later Vedic period.
    • Economic Condition

      • Iron was used extensively in this period and this enabled the people to clear forests and to bring more land under cultivation.
      • Agriculture became the chief occupation
        • barley, rice and wheat were grown
        • Knowledge of manure
      • Industrial activity became more varied and there was greater specialization.
        • Metal work, leather work, carpentry and pottery made great progress
      • addition to internal trade +, foreign trade became extensive.
        • Later Vedic people were familiar with the sea and they traded with countries like Babylon
      • GUILD

        • class of hereditary merchants (vaniya) came into existence
        • Vaisyas also carried on trade and commerce
        • They organized themselves into guilds known as ganas
      • Besides nishka of the Rig Vedic period, gold and silver coins like satamana and krishnala were used as media of exchange
    • Social Life

      • four divisions of society (Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras) or the Varna system was thoroughly established
      • the power of the father increased
      • no improvement in the status of women.
        • Women is still considered inferior and subordinate to men. Women also lost their political rights of attending assemblies.
      • Child marriages had become common.
      • According the Aitreya Brahmana a daughter has been described as a source of misery.
    • Religion

      • Gods of the Early Vedic period like Indra and Agni lost their importance.
        • Prajapathi (the creator), Vishnu (the protector) and Rudra (the destroyer) became prominent
      • Sacrifices were still important and the rituals connected with them became more elaborate
      • importance of prayers declined and that of sacrifices increased
      • Priesthood became a profession and a hereditary one
      • formulae for sacrifices were invented and elaborated by the priestly class. Therefore, towards the end of this period there was a strong reaction against priestly domination and against sacrifices and rituals.
        • rise of Buddhism and Jainism was the direct result of these elaborate sacrifices
        • the authors of the Upanishads, which is the essence of Hindu philosophy, turned away from the useless rituals and insisted on true knowledge (jnana) for peace and salvation.