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  • THE VEDIC CULTURE

    • After the end of Indus valley civiliisation major shift in course of Indian history observed with the development of The Vedic Culture.
    • Around this period, the speakers of Indo-Aryan language, Sanskrit, entered the north-west India from the Indo-Iranian region.
    • As they were mainly a cattlekeeping people, they were mainly in search of pastures. By 6th century B.C., they occupied the whole of North India, which was referred to as Aryavarta
  • Vedic Literature
    • The word ‘Veda’ is derived from the root ‘vid’, which means to know
      • the term ‘Veda’ signifies ‘superior knowledge’
      • Vedic literature consists of the four Vedas – Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva.
        • Rig Veda is the earliest of the four Vedas and it consists of 1028 hymns.
          • The hymns were sung in praise of various gods.
        • Yajur Veda consists of various details of rules to be observed at the time of sacrifice
        • Sama Veda is set to tune for the purpose of chanting during sacrifice.
          • It is called the book of chants and the origins of Indian music are traced in it.
        • The Atharva Veda contains details of rituals.
      • Besides the Vedas, there are other sacred works like the Brahmanas, the Upanishads, the Aranyakas and the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata
        • Brahmanas are the treatises relating to prayer and sacrificial ceremony
        • Upanishads are philosophical texts dealing with topic like the soul, the absolute, the origin of the world and the mysteries of nature.
        • Aranyakas are called forest books and they deal with mysticism, rites, rituals and sacrifices
  • Rig Vedic Age or Early Vedic Period (1500 – 1000 B.C.)

    • During the Rig Vedic period, the Aryans were mostly confined to the Indus region
    • Rig Veda refers to Saptasindhu or the land  of seven rivers
      • includes the five rivers of Punjab, namely Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej along with the Indus and Saraswathi.
    • Political Organization

      • basic unit of political o RG–kula or family
      • Several families joined together on the basis of their kinship to form a village or grama
        • leader of grama was known as gramani
      • A group of villages constituted a larger unit called visu.
        • It was headed by vishayapati.
      • highest political unit was called jana or tribe.
        • several tribal kingdoms during the Rig Vedic period such as Bharatas, Matsyas, Yadus and Purus.
        • head of the kingdom was called as rajan or king
        • monarchical and the succession was hereditary.
          • king was assisted by purohita or priest and senani or commander of the army in his administration.
      • were two popular bodies called the Sabha and Samiti
      • former seems to have been a council of elders and the latter, a general assembly of the entire people.
    • Social Life

      • Rig Vedic society was patriarchal.
      • head of the family was known as grahapathi.
      • Monogamy was generally practiced while polygamy was prevalent among the royal and noble families
      • The wife took care of the household and participated in all the major ceremonies.
      • Women were given equal opportunities as men for their spiritual and intellectual development.
      • Apala, Viswavara, Ghosa and Lopamudra  are famous Women poets during the Rig Vedic period.
      • Women could even attend the popular assemblies i.e samiti
      • There was no evidence for child marriage and the practice of sati was absent. –
      • Bothmen and women wore upper and lower garments made of cotton and wool
      • Wheat and barley, milk and its products like curd and ghee, vegetables and fruits were the chief articles of food.
      • eating of cow’s meat was prohibited since it was a sacred animal
      • . Chariot racing, horse racing, dicing, music and dance were the favourite pastimes
      • social divisions were not rigid during the Rig Vedic period as it was in the later Vedic period.
    • Economic Condition

      • pastoral people and their main occupation was cattle rearing.
      • wealth was estimated in terms of their cattle
      • With the knowledge and use of iron they were able to clean forests and bring more lands under cultivation.
      • Carpentry was another important profession and the availability of wood from the forests cleared made the profession profitable
      • Workers in metal made a variety of articles with copper, bronze and iron
      • Spinning was another important occupation and cotton and woolen fabrics were made
      • Goldsmiths were active in making ornaments.
      • The potters made various kinds of vessels for domestic use.
      • Trade was conducted on barter system.
      • rivers served as important means of transport.
      • In the later times, gold coins called nishka were used as media of exchange in large transactions.
    • Religion

      • worshiped the natural forces like earth, fire, wind, rain and thunder.
      • personified these natural forces into many gods and worshipped them
      • important Rig Vedic gods were Prithvi (Earth), Agni (Fire), Vayu (Wind), Varuna (Rain) and Indra (Thunder).
        • Indra was the most popular among them during the early Vedic period
        • Agni who was regarded as an intermediary between the gods and people
        • Varuna was supposed to be the upholder of the natural order.
        • There were also female gods like Aditi and Ushas.
      • were no temples and no idol worship during the early Vedic period
      • Prayers were offered to the gods in the expectation of rewards. Rewards includes Son and Cattles
      • Ghee, milk and grain were given as offerings.