Chapter 4 THE VEDIC AGE
After the decline or destruction of the Indus Civilization a new civilization came into existence, but between these two major events there must have been a gap of period and about which we know nothing. The indus civilization was declined between 1750 B.C. to 1500 B.C. and so the Aryans are supposed to have migrated from Central Asia into the Indian Subcontinent in several stages during 2000 B.C. – 1500 B.C. Moreover the Aryans were the founder of vedic culture.
The Vedic Age
Coming of the Aryans Geographical Expansion Political Kingdoms Organisation Vedic Tribes Rise of Big States Patriarchal System Kingship Vedic Gods Growth of Royal Power Varna Concept Assemblies Vedic Polity Origin of Kingship Marriage System The gram Vedic Kula Five state Systems Sixteen sans Karas The visha Law and Justic Administrative Machinery Women’s Position The Jana Economy Craft Trade Industry Pastoralism Agriculture The Rashtra Royal Officers and Ministers Ratnin The Platoon Social Life Economy Religious Scene Various Theories regarding the ancestry of Aryans Original Home of the Aryans Important Vedic Facts Advent and Expansion of Aryans in India Vedic Rivers Early Vedic Age Later Vedic Age
COMING OF THE ARYANS
Some scholars believe that the Aryans were native to the Soil of India while others believe that the Aryans were migrated from outside, i.e. Central Asia (Max Muller); Europe Arctic region (B.G. Tilak) and so on.
• In fact, the group that came to India first settled in Sapta Sindhu. They lived here and gradually pushed into the valleys of the Ganges and the Yamuna.
• The earliest wave of Aryans is called the Rig vedic people who appeared in about 1500 B.C.
• It is believed that before the coming of the Aryans in India, the greater part of the Northern-Western India was covered by Dravidians. After the arrival of the Aryans they moved southwards.
• Literally ‘Aryans’ means – the best or eminent.
• In order to prove their supremacy the Aryans took this name and called themselves ‘the Aryans’ and they called their opponents ‘Anarya’, ‘Dasy’ or ‘Das’.
• The Aryans were handsome, fair and slim shape persons.
• Their minds were filled with natural imaginations.
• They were brave and laborious with highly developed attitude.
• They were farmers peasant and loved nature in the form of god.
• They linked milk and wheat bread.
• The Aryan chief was soft towards the dasas, but bitterly hostile to the dasyus. The term dasyuhatya, slaughter of the dasyus, is repeatedly mentioned in the Rig veda. Yadu, Turvasu, Druhyu, Anupuru, Panchala, Bharata and Tritsu were the chief tribes of the period.
VARIOUS THEORIES REGARDING THE ANCESTRY OF ARYANS
The subject matter of the original home of Aryans attracted many scholars to present their views but all the opinions given by them became a matter of discussions.
• Many scholars, such as Ganganath Jha, D. S.
Trivedi, L. D. Kalla, etc. tried to prove that the Vedic Aryans were neither foreigners nor did they migrate into India. They were the indigenous people, who regarded Sapta-Sindu as their original home.
• Some European scholars assigned the Baltic sea
region as the original home of the Aryans.
• B.G. Tilak suggested the polar region.
• Some inscriptions of about 1440 B.C. found at Boghaz koi in Cilicia (Asia minor), the capital of the ancient Hittites, mention some Aryan deities such as Indra, Varuna, Mitra and the Nasatyas (Aswins) which proves Central Asian theory as their homeland.
• However the region of Sapta-Sindhu (the land of the seven rivers) witnessed the composition of the sacred hymns which describe the early growth and development of the vedic culture. Let us see the various interpretations in the chart.
Original Home of the Aryans
Central Asia Max Muller.
Tibet Dayanand Saraswati Pamirs Mayor Steppes Brandenstein Turkistan Hurz Feld Bactria J. C. Road.
Germany plains Prof. Penka Sheart Hungary Giles Southern Russia Nehring West Baltic Mach Arctic Region B. G. Tilak Russian Steppes Prof. Belfy India Theorists
Central India Rajbali Pandey Kashmir L. D. Kala Sapta Sindhu A. C. Das Himalayan Pt. Laxmidhar Foothills Shastri Important Vedic Facts
• Vedic literature had grown up in course of time and was passed from generation to generation by word of mouth. Hence these are called Shruti (to hear).
• Some historians regard the Later Vedic period as the Period of epics (long poems).
• The Aryans, First of all, settled in The Sapta Saindhava (Jambuduipa).
• According to the Rigveda, The Saraswati was the most pious river.
• The most mentioned river – Sindhu.
• Mention of the Ganges – 01 time.
• Mention of the Yamuna – 03 times.
• Rigveda mentions 40 rivers.
• Sindhu and its seven tributaries are called Sapta Sindhu.
• The arc of Ganga-Yamuna is called Brahmarshi Pradesh.
• Land between the Saraswati and Drishadwati is called Brahmavarta.
• The Nadi sukta hymns mentions 21 rivers.
• From the Himalayas to the Vindhya mountains and between the Eastern sea and Western sea there was a special part of land which was called ‘Aryavarta’.
• ‘Gandhar’ was famous for woolen articles.
• ‘Bhujvant’ was famous for Somaras (wine).
• In the Dashrajan, Vashistha helped Sudas and Viswamitra helped the Union of ten kings and instigated them to fight with Sudas.
ADVENT AND EXPANSION OF ARYANS IN INDIA
Rig Veda says that there were various groups of Aryans and they came to India in search of food and habitation and later on they settled here. Some famous groups were Panchajan (the most famous group), Bharat, Trissu, Kriva, etc.
The Panchajan consisted of Anu, Druhalaya, Yadu, Turvas and Puru. In between 2000 BC and 1000 BC the Aryans would have arrived in India. It is supposed so.
• The Expansion of the Aryans was started from Afghanistan and were expanded up to the Western coast of Ganga river.
• The Aryans were aware of the Himalayas but they did not know Vindhyachal, Aravali, Satpuda, and Southern Plateaus. So, we can say that in Rig Vedic period the Aryans were expanded from Himalaya to Malva in North-South direction and from the Western coast of Ganga to Afghanistan in East-West direction.
• In Rig Veda period they had no approach in the Southern and Eastern parts of India.
• They lived in Saptasindh area for a long period and later on, during post-vedic era they started reaching towards the East and South.
• Gradually, they established their sovereignty in Kurukshetra, Kashi, Koshal, Videh, Panchal and the coastal area of Ganga and Yamuna.
• In the beginning of the 8th century B.C. they organised Magadh, Anga, Paundra, Kaling, Shabar-pulind and Southern India.
Altogether 99 rivers are referred to in the Rig Veda of mostly from Afghanistan. The 15 principal rivers are given in the table. In Rigveda we find the descriptions of the various rivers of Afghanistan. They are Kubha, Suvastu, Gomati and Kramu. The Saptasindhu’s
rivers, i.e. Saraswati, Sindhu vistasha, Asibini, parushini, vapasa and shatudri are also explained in the Rigveda. In it, Ganga is named only once where as Yamuna is repeated thrice. It reflects that earlier they were expanded in the area of Saptasindhu and till then unaware of the Ganga-Yamuna’s plain.
Some of the minor rivers were Rasa, Anumati, Asuniti, Raka, Gungu, Susoma, Marud-Vrdhas, etc.
Name of the rivers illustrated in the Rigveda
RIGVEDIC/EARLY VEDIC AGE (1500 B.C. – 1000 B.C.)
Aryan Civilization of Rigveda Period
The Rig Veda is the main source of the Aryan Civilization, i.e. the early vedic era. At that time Afghanistan was a part of India. It is known through the Rig Veda as the names of Afgani rivers are illustrated in Rig Veda. These rivers are Kubha, Krumu, Gomati, Suvartu, etc.
• Sindhu, Vitasta, Askini, Parushni, Vipasha, Shutudri, Saraswati, Yamuna and Ganga are clearly illustrated in the Rigveda which confirms the area of Punjab and some parts of northern India to be the livings of the Aryans.
• The illustration of cloud, lightening, torrent raining and great mountains prove that the areas of Punjab and Brahmavarta were furtile and verdant.
According to the Rigveda this area was divided into many parts called Vedic Jana. Gandhari, Bhujvant, Anu, Druhalay, Turvas, Puru and Bharat were some famous Janas.
• The Rig Veda explains that the Puruvanshi Arya lived on the banks of the river saraswati.
• Similarly Yaduvanshi on the bank of Sindhu and Chinab, the Sanjay Vanshi in Panchal, Anuvanshi, Druhalay and Turvas in the various areas of Punjab.
Thus, from the names of rivers, mountains [Himvant, i.e. Himalaya, Munjavant i.e. Hindukush] and ocean we are informed about the geographical area in which Rigvedic people lived.
The Nadisukta of the Rigveda mentions 21 rivers which include the Ganges in the east and the Kubha (Kabul) in the West.
The Vedic Tribes
The Vedic territories mentioned in the Rig Veda was divided into various tribal principalities, ruled by tribal kings. These are given in the table.
According to Rigveda, the famous Dasrajan Yoddha or the battle of ten kings was fought between Sudas, a Bharat King of the Tritsu family, and the confederacy of ten well-known tribes – Puru, Yadu, Turvasa, Anu, Druhyu, Alina, Paktha, Bhalnas, Siva and Vishanin. In the bloody and decisive battle on the banks of river Parushni, the Bharatas emerged victorious.
|Vedic Aryan Tribes||Region|
|• The Bharatas||Between Saraswati-Yamuna|
|• The Purees||Saraswati|
|• The Yadu & Turvasa||Southern Punjab|
|• The Gandharis||North-West of India|
|• Matsyas & Chedis||Rajasthan & Malwa|
|• The Srinjaya||Punjab|
|• The Bhalanas||Bolan Pass|
|• The Paktha||Basin of Kurram|
|• The Vaikarnas||Kashmir|
|• The Krivi||The Sindhu Asikni|
|• The Sivas||Hydispes Acesine (Chanab)|
(Dasas of Dasyus)
|• The Panis||Rase (Syr Dariya)|
Important Vedic Gods
|A. Highest Position|
|• Indra||War God|
|• Agni||Fire God, Intermediate between|
Gods & men
|• Varuna||God of waters, clouds, Oceans &|
rivers regulates Sun, Dawn, day
& night, ritu (seasons)
|B. Others (Male) Gods|
|• Sun/Surya||God of Light|
|• Savitri||God of Light (Gayatri Mantra)|
|• Pusan||Guarding roads, herds men &|
|• Rudra||Storm, epidemics, disasters|
|• Yama||Lord of the dead|
|• Soma||Divine drink (milk+curd+ barley)|
|• Vayu||Wind God|
|• Vishnu||Activities of the Sun|
|• Dyaus||God of heaven|
|• Pushan||God of Marriage|
|C. Female Divinities|
|• Ushas||The Goddess of Dawn|
|• Prithvi||The Goddess of Earth|
|• Aditi||Mother of Surya & other gods|
|• Ratri||The spirit of the night|
|• Aranyani||The goddese of the forest|
|• Ila||The Goddess of offerings|
|• Dishana||The Goddess of negetation|
The Vedic Polity
• The land of the vedic Aryans was divided into several small tribal principalities. Each tribe had its own monarch. There were constant wars among these tribes.
• There were a few non-monarchial states as well.
These states were called gana.
• The ganapati or tyestha (elder) was the head of a non-monarchial state.
• The area ruled by the Aryans was known as ‘Aryavarta’. ‘Bharat’ was the most important tribe after whom this country has been named ‘Bharat’.
• Divodas and Sudas were the two renouned ruler of the Bharat race.
• Divodas fought against Turuvasas, Purus and Yadus.
• Sudas had to fight the ‘war of ten kings’.
• The Kingship in the vedic period seems to be hereditary but king did not enjoy unlimited powers.
• The King was responsible for the protection of the tribe. Aitarey Brahman denotes that the Kingship in the vedic age originated as a result of human needs and military necessity.
• In times of peace the king dispensed justice and performed sacrifice.
• The ideal of Kingship was very high. He was called ‘Mitra in Kindness, Varuna in virtues and Indra in Valour”.
• His coronation oath before the people was “May my life and offspring be cut off if I work against your interests”.
• According to Manu “King is the god of gods, May be a child king, doesn’t matter, he should not be disregarded.
• Sabha and Smiti controlled the affairs of vedic states. These two assemblies were called the two daughters of Prajapati.
• The Sabha was the body of the elders and was constituted mainly of the Brahmanas and rich patrons who controlled the vagrancy of the King and used to advise the King. It’s male members were called ‘Sambhay’ and female ‘Sambhavati’.
• Sabha can be compared with the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) of these days.
• The Samiti was the ‘House of common people’ and its members were called ‘vishah’. Its head was called ‘Ishan’ or ‘pati’.
• They were responsible to the people for their work and were elected by the common people.
• Samiti controlled the King and participated in the election of the King. It can be compared with today’s Lok Sabha (House of commons).
• The Sabha was an older institution and it existed in the early vedic age. The samiti was the product of development and it emerged during the late vedic period.
• In the Atharvavedha these two assemblies are described as the uterine sisters, the daughters of Prajapati. Later vedas record that the Sabha functioned as a court of justice.
• Besides these two assemblies there were Vidath and Gana which also are described in the Rigveda.
The Gram (the village)
• A group of Kula formed a gram. It’s chief was called ‘Gramin’ or ‘Gramini’. In the Rigveda the word ‘Gram’ was used for the villagers.
Gramini was the head of the village. The Gramini was also called ‘The vrajapati’. He worked as an important chain between the King and the subjects.
The Visha (the clan)
• It’s functions are not clearly described in the Rigveda. In fact, it was an organisation larger than the Gram. It’s head was called ‘Vishpati’.
The Jana (the people)
• It was also a company of people but larger than the Visha. The Rigveda reflects that the administrator of the Jana was called ‘Rajan’ and the commander of the Jana was called ‘Gopa’ or ‘Gopta’.
The Rashtra (the nation)
• According to the Rigveda ‘Rashtra’ was a term used for the whole nation or the state. Some scholars have said that ‘the Rashtra’ was the indication of confederate administration. The Rashtra consisted of several ‘Janas’.
The Royal officials and Ministers
• Purohit, Senani, Gramini, Doot, etc. were some important officials. The King had to maintain a Council of Ministers which included a Purohit.
Purohit (the priest) advised the king in the stateaffairs and in all religious matters. He accompanied the King even to battle. We have seen it already how Vishwamitra and Vashistha had exercised their powers in the Dasrajan war.
The Supreme Commander of the armed forces was called Senani. There were spies (spasas) employed to collect information about the Kingdom and the people. In Rigveda we have a number of personalities who were laborious, Veridical (true speaking) and expert. They were Mitra, Varuna, Agni, Aditya, etc. These were called the dutas who acted as ambassadors between the different states.
Ratnin (the minsters and advisors)
• Suta, Rathkar, Purap, Spash, etc. which are important officials. Collectively they are called Ratnin. All the royal officials were responsible to the King.
The platoon (The sepoy organisation)
• The Aryans were great worriors. The King had trained an regular military forces. The cavalry with chariot was called the Rathin and the forces fought on foot were called ‘The Padati’. They used sword, bow and arrows, Javelin, Shield, buckle and helmet.
In Rigveda the illustration of secured forts on the borders is also found. Most wars were fought from bullock-driven chariots.
Law and order : The protection of the people was the sacred duty of the King. In return the people paid him bali (tributes or tax). The Bali was a kind of tax paid in both by chash and kind.
Law and Justice
• Justice was based on Dharma. The King administered Justice with the assistance of legal advisors including his Purohita. Punishment was not so heavy and the main emphasis was on the satisfaction of the person wronged. Only Hardcore criminals were given the capital-punishment.
General conflicts were solved by the Gramini and arbitrators of the Gram Panchayat. The criminals were subjected to fire (Agni pariksha or acid test) and water (jal pariksha) deals.
• A number of crimes such as theft, burglary, highway robbery, cheating (specially at gambling), etc. are mentioned. Cattle-lifting was the commonest of all.
• There was a system of blood-money (vairadeythrough which enmity can be recompensed) and the punishment for murder was shatadaya (equal to one hundred cows or coins).
• All the above words indicate that the laws of justice and the quality or magnitude of punishment were fixed according to classes.
• Money was frequenly borrowed (rina) and lent and often it was never repaid. The debter had to serve as a bounded servant of the creditor for a certain period. Interest was paid in kind.
• Property was inherited by sons. Individual ownership of land (urvara or kshetra) had begun.
• The king was not the owner of all land – its ownership was with the people.
• Everything was fair in war – raid, night attacks and kidnapping. The palaces were set to fire and the winning booty was shared by the King and the soldiers.
Some Words mentioned in Rigveda
Word Times mentioned
Om 1028 Brahmana 14 Kshatriya 09 Vaishya 01 Shudra 01 Ashwa 315 Gau 176 Ganga 01 Samudra 01 Yamuna 03 Kulpa 01 Rajya 01 Vis 171 Jana 275 The Kula (the f amily)
• Social life was the basis of both social and political organisations. It was the smallest unit of the social and political organisations. It’s head was called ‘Kulap’ or ‘Grihapati’.
Early Vedic Economy
The early vedic economy was mostly based on cattle breeding and agriculture. In addition people were engaged in crafted trade.
► The early Vedic Aryans were pastoralists. For milk products, wools, leather, agriculture, drawing chariots, the animals were raised. The Early Vedic people’s total culture was revolved around the wealth in the from of cattle. Hence, the unit of family was called as ‘Gotra’.
► Ceremonies were performed at the time of returning of cattle from pastures, called as ‘Goraja Muhrta’
► A large number of words are derived from the word ‘go’ meaning cow. A wealthy person was known as gomat and the daughter called duhitri which means one who milks the cow.
► The word gaveshana literally means search for cows, but it also means battle since many battles were fought over cattle.
► The evidence for agriculture in comparison with pastoral activities in the portions is meager and mostly late insertions.
► The Vedic Aryans know basic agricultural techniques, like to add fertilizers, to cut crops with the help of sickles, to arrange water sources etc.
They produced yara (modern jau or barley), which was rather a generic word for cereals.
► Simple agricultural tools, namely the langala or sira (the plough), the wooden phala (ploughshare), the Khanitra (hoe), the datra (sickle) and the parasue (axe), were made use of, probably used for shifting cultivations.
► People were engaged in many other economic activities. Hunting, carpentry, tanning, weaving, chariot-making, metal smeltry, etc. were some such activities.
► Vedic Aryans used to wear colorful cloths of cotton and wool. Such colorful cloths were embroidered by women, known as ‘Peshaskari’. The weaver is called as ‘Vaya’, whereas the Charakha is called as ‘Tasar’.
► The Goldsmith was called as ‘Hiranyakar’ the used make jewellery of gold, both for human and horses.
► The smity was related to copper only. Iron was not entirely unknown (krishna-ayas), however, the metallurgy was not known.
► The trade was on the levels of exchanges only that was of ‘barter-system.
► The people involved in trade was called as ‘Pani’.
► Cows were the most favoured medium of exchange.
The priests received cows, horses and gold ornaments as fees for performing sacrifices.
LATER VEDIC AGE (1000 – 600 BC)
The period that followed Rig Vedic Age is known as later Vedic Age. This age witnessed the composition of three Veda samhitas namely, the samveda samhita, the Yujurveda samhita, the Atharvaveda samhita along with the Brahmanas and the Upanishads of all the four Vedas. This period is also marked as Iron- PGW Age because of the use of iron in agriculture and painted grey ware (PGW).
All later vedic text were compiled in the upper Gangetic basin during 1000-600 BC. During the later Vedic period, the Aryans moved into East ward and southward areas. The literature of this period mentions about the Arabian sea, the vindhyan range and the Northern plains of the Ganga-Yamuna Doab.
In the East Aryans habituated the Awadh region after that they entered into Bihar. A proof of the Eastward march was given in the satapatha Brahmana through the story of Agni and Videha.
The Later Vedas give three broad divisions of India i) Aryavarta (Northern India) ii) Madhyadesa (Central India) iii) Dakshina Patha (Southern India) Political Organisation
(1) Rise of Big States
The small tribal states of Rig Vedic period were replaced by powerful states. Many famous tribes of Rig Vedic period like Bharatas, Parus, Tritsus and Turvasas passed into oblivion and new tribes like the Kurus and Panchalas rose into prominence.
There was the transformation of the Rigvedic Jana (meaning, people or tribe) into the janapada (meaning the area where the tribe settled). The rajanyas of the Rigvedic age now became the kshatriyas of their territories.
(2) Growth of Royal Power
In later Vedic period, Rigvedic popular assemblies lost their importance and royal power increased.
The Vidhata completely disappeared.
The sabha became more powerful than the samiti and was now dominated by the Nobles and the Brahmans Now women were not allowed to attend the Sabha.
(3) Origin of Kingship
There were two theories regarding the origin of kingship. The Aitareya Brahmana explained the rational theory of election by common consent of origin of kingship and the Taittiriya Brahmana explained the divine origin of kingship.
(4) Five Types of State System
i) Rajya (Central kingdom) → Ruled by the Raja ii) Bhojya (Southern kingdom) → Ruled by the Bhoja iii) Swarajya (Western kingdom) → Ruled by the Svarat iv) Vairajya (Northern kingdom) → Ruled by the Virat v) Samrajya (Eastern kingdom) → Ruled by the Samrat
(5) Administrative Machinery
In the work of administration the king was assisted by a group of officers who were known as Ratnins (Jewels). The king realized taxes like “bali”, “sulka” and “bhaga”.
Important Ratnins and other Important officals.
Purohita – Chief priest, also called the Rastra gopa.
Senani – Supreme Commander of the Army Vrajapati – Officer-in-charge of the pasture land Jivagribha – Police officer Spasas/Dutas – Spies, who sometimes worked as messengers Gramani – Leader of the village Madhya masi – Mediator of disputes Kulapati – Family head Bhagadugha – Tax collector Sangrahitri – Treasurers Mahishi – The Chief Queen Suta – Charioteer Govikartana – King’s campanion in games Palogala – Courtier and messenger Takshan – Carpenter Kshatri – Chamberlain Akshavapa – Accountant Sthapati – Chief Judge Gramyavadin – Village Judge Rathakara – Chariot marker Adhikrita – Village officer (lowest in the rank) Kingdoms of the Later Vedic Period
1. Panchal – Bareilly, Badayun & Farrukhabad in U.P.
2. Kushinagar – Northern region of Uttar Pradesh 3. Kashi – Modern Varanasi 4. Koshal – Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh 5. Southern Madra – Near Amritsar 6. Uttara Madra – Kashmir 7. Eastern Madra – Near Kangra 8. Kekaya – On the bank of Beas river east of Gandhar kingdom 9. Gandhar – Rawalpindi & Peshawar Later Vedic Economic Condition
• The Early Vedic Period was a Bronze (chalcolithic) Age culture where as the later vedic period was an Iron Age culture.
• The transition of vedic society from semi-nomadic life to settled agriculture in the later vedic age lead to an increase in trade and competition for resources.
• Rice, barley, beans, sesame and wheat were cultivated.
• Rice is called Vrihi in the Vedic texts.
• Now the agricultural technology was developed.
The farmers started plowing lands with the help of 6 to 24 bulls.
• Various binds of lentils were also produced by the later Vedic people.
• Griha was the basic unit of agricultural production, with the grahapati emerging as the defacto owner of the land.
• Land was cultivated with the help of the shudras and the slaves.
• The Vaisya were the producing class and the Kshatriyas (rajanya) and the Brahmanas (priests) depended on them for their subsistence.
With the growth of civilisation, the volume of trade and commerce had increased by leaps and bounds. Inland trade was carried on with the kiratas inhabiting the mountains.
• The coins which were in circulation were “Nishka”, “Satamana” and “Krishnala” The unit value of goods was a gold bar called “nishka” weighing three hundred and twenty ratis, which was also the weight of a satamana.
• A ‘Krishnala’ weighed one rati, i.e. 1.8 grams.
• ‘Pani’ was a class of merchants who controlled the trade.
• Houses were made of wood.
The Taittiriya Aranyakas refer about a special type of house known as ‘Dhandhani’ (treasure house). The Atharvaveda mentions about ‘Patninam sadan’ (women’s apartment).
• ‘Bipatha’ was a rough vehicle for transport goods
In later vedic period, the people dispersed in various parts of India. This affected social structures and made it more complex.
Patriarchal Family System
The eldest of male members of the family. Perceived as the head of family, called as ‘grihapati’.
Concept of Purushartha
Every man was expected to follow four main duties in his life- Dharma Artha Kalma Moksha Concept of Varna
In the 10th mandala, in Purushsukta of Rig-veda clear-cut division of the society has been mentioned.
According to this system various duties assigned to each varna like, Brahman Teaching, learning, performance and hosting of sacrifice.
Kshatriya Learning, hosting sacrifice and protection of people and land.
Vaishya Trade and agriculture: the agriculturists, traders and artisans belonged to this varna.
Shudra Submission of service to upper three classes, this was the lowest of the varnaladder and had no powers and no rights in the society.
The three (Brahmans, Kshatriya, Vaishya) in combination perceived as men of higher Varnas, i.e. traivarnikas.
Concept of Ashrama
In this system, a person’s life divided into four parts and he was assigned some duties with respect to his age, like.
1. Brahmacharya – ashrama (studentship) 2. Grihastha – ashrama (house holds) 3. Van-prastha- ashrama (partial retirement from household life) 4. Sanaya-ashrama (complete retirement from social life) The System of Marriage
• Marriage was considered as main duty of vedic people and hence it became a point of religious importance. In the grihastasashrama a person is expected by the canons to get married.
It is perceived that through marriage and giving birth to children one could become free from the ‘rina’ (lit. loan = responsibility) of his parents.
• In this period, ‘Inter-Varna’ marriages were disliked, where as ‘similar gotra/ family marriages’ were forbidden. There were two types of legalized structures of marriages:
• Anuloma marriage was used to perform between bridegroom from higher Varna and bride from lower Varna.
• Pratiloma marriage was used to perform between bridegroom from lower varna and bride from higher varna.
There are eight types of marriages mentioned in the writings of smriti writers, These are of marriages.
Brahma-vivaha Father gives his daughters’ hand to the know ledgeable and well behaved bridegroom with proper rites and rituals.
Daiva-vivaha Father gives the bride’s hand to the priest as dakshina (fees).
Prajaatya vivaha Father greets bridegroom and appeals the couple to follow religious duties.
Arsha-vivaha Father gives the bride’s hand to the bridegroom after receiving a pair of cattle from the groom.
Gandharva-vivaha Marriage through the consent of bridegroom and bride only, i.e., self choice or swayamvara.
Asur- vivaha Bridegroom gives money to the bride’s father and purchases her for marriage.
Rakshasa-vivaha Forceful abduction of a girl and marrying her.
Paishacha-vivaha With force making the girl unconscious and violet her chastity.
The Position of women
This period onwards status of women was started deteriorating Rights which they had earlier were not enjoying in this period.
Husband received the status as a patiparmeshwar (God). women were denied to educate.
• Woman were attending lectures of gurus rarely.
In Brhedaranyaka upanishad tells of a learned lady Gargi Vacaknavi who attended the discussion of the sage Yajnavalkaya mention that knowledge were only confined for male only.
• Sati and Veil system were become prevalent in this period. Hindu Dharmashastra were denied to offer prayers and sacrifices, practices of penances and undertake religious pilgrimages to women.
• Manusmriti laid down various restrictions regarding the traditional rights for women in his book manusmriti. Upanayan sanskar which was previously for both boys and girls are now for only for boys.
• According to the Satapatha Brahmana a wife was to eat only after the husband has finished eating.
• The religion became very complex in the Later Vedic period.
• The Gods like Indra, Varuna and Surya became unpopular. Whereas there emerged new Gods like Vishnu, Rudra, Shiva.
• Prajapati, the lord of created beings, cost all the older deities into the shade.
• Pushan, became the God of the shudra who was the protector of cattle in the early vedic period.
• Vishnu occupied the place of Varuna as the most sublime among the celertials and his highest step became the goal of the sages.
• The sacrifices varied and codified with various types of rules and regulations, i.e. karmakanda.
The right of performance of sacrifices was snatched off from kulapati and it was became the monopoly of the priest class.
Sacrifice Performed in the Later Vedic Period • Asvamedha – horse sacrifice which was meant to establish kings supremacy over other kings • Rajasuya – consecration ceremony which conferred supreme power of the kings • Ratnahavimsi – part of Rajasuya ceremony • Vajapeya – chariot race which was meant to re-establish a king’s supremacy over his people • The main tenents of Hindusim are the doctrines of karma, maya, transmigration, identification of individual soul with the universal soul and the mukti.
Prithvisthanor Terrestrial (Prithvi, Agni, Soma, Brihspati and rivers) Madhyasathan or Aerial (Indra, Vishnu, Aditya, Rudra) Dyusthan or Celestial (Dyaus, Varuna, Surya, Usha) Triple Classification of Vedic Gods Introduction Origin & Development Different Mahajanapadas Boundary Economic Life Taxes New Methods in Agriculture Causes of New Culture and religion Janapadas Union Emergence of Magadha Invasion Iranian Invasion Alexander’s Invasion Results of Alexander’s Invasion Emergence of Mahajanapadas