Vedic Age: Who were the Aryans?
Aryan was the initial term given to a group of people believed to have originated in ancient Iran and the northern Indian subcontinent, where they were considered to have spoken an old Indo-European language. In the Early Vedic Period, Aryans arrived in India. Saptasindhu, or the country of the seven rivers—the Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, Sutlej, Indus, and Saraswati—is the name given to this region.
Vedic Period Notes on Aryans
- The Aryans were semi-nomadic pastoral people who originated from around the Caspian Sea in Central Asia(Many historians have given various theories regarding their original place). The Central Asian theory is given by Max Muller.
- Entered India probably through the Khyber Pass(Hindukush mountain) around 1500 BC.
Early Vedic or Rig Vedic Period (1500- 1000 BC)
The Rig Vedic period is another name for the Early Vedic period. The Indo-Aryans of this time (c. 1750 BCE to 1000 BCE) primarily valued pastoral pursuits, had little reliance on agriculture and had a less developed economy. They kept goats, sheep, and cattle, which came to represent riches and abundance.
- Monarchial form. The tribe was known as Jan and its king as Rajan.
- The family was the basic unit of society. The family was patriarchal in nature.
- Aryans followed a mixed economy i.e pastoral and agricultural in which cattle played a predominant part.
- The standard unit of exchange was Cow. At the same time coins were also there.
- The Aryans personified the natural forces and looked upon them as living beings.
- The most important divinity was Indra who played the role of the warlord(breaker of forts-Purandar)
Later Vedic Period Notes (1000- 600 BC)
In the later Vedic era, the Aryans continued to migrate eastward. The eastern Gangetic plains were colonised by Aryans, according to the Satapatha Brahmana. The expansion of substantial kingdoms is a significant development at this time. The early kingdoms of Kuru and Panchala were prosperous. Famous Kuru kings Parikshit and Janamejaya presided over their domain. A well-liked Panchala king was Pravahana Jaivali. He supported education. Kurus and Panchalas were defeated, and other kingdoms like Kosala, Kasi, and Videha rose to prominence. The three regions of India—Aryavarta (Northern India), Madhyadesa (Central India), and Dakshinapatha—are also mentioned in later Vedic writings (Southern India).
- Tiny tribal settlements were placed by strong kingdoms.
- The fourfold division of society became clear, initially based on occupation, which later became hereditary: Brahmins(priests), Kshatriyas(warriors), Vaishyas(agriculturists, cattle-rearers, traders), Shudras(servers of the upper three).
- The institution of the gotra appeared for the first time in this age.
- Indra and Agni lost their importance. Prajapati(the creator) became supreme. Vishnu ;came to be conceived as the preserver and protector of the people.
Vedic Age Notes on Vedic Literature
The most important source of knowledge regarding the Vedic culture is the Vedic literature. The word Veda comes from the root "vidi" signifying knowledge. Vedic literature has developed over many years and passed orally from generation to generation. The earliest surviving manuscript dates back to the eleventh century and was created after it was collected and written down. Each of the four Vedas has four sections: the Samhita, Brahmana, Aranyaka, and Upanishads. There are four Vedas: the Rig Veda, the Sama Veda, the Yajur Veda and Atharv Veda.
(1) Rig Veda
- The oldest religious text in the world.
- Contains 1,028 hymns and is divided into 10 mandalas.
(2) Sama Veda
- Derived from the root Saman i.e "melody". It is a collection of melodies.
(3) Yajur Veda
- Deals with the procedure for the performance of sacrifices.
(4) Atharva Veda
- Mostly dealing with magic( along with personal problems of people).
- Called Vedanta
- They are the main source of Indian Philosophy, 108 in number.
- They explain the meaning of sacrifices and also the methods of performing them.
- Shatpath Brahmin on Yajur Veda is the largest among Brahmins.
- These Granths were studied in the forest.
- These are the books of instructions.
Epics of Vedic Period
The Mahabharata and the Ramayana, two of the Great Epics, are among the other great works of literature from ancient India. Both were long poems that were set in the era of the ancient Hindu Kingdoms on the Indian subcontinent. They provide descriptions of prehistoric India's political, social, and economic systems.
- It was written in Sanskrit by Ved Vyas
- It describes a war between Kauravas and Pandavas of 950 BC in Kurukshetra.
- Translation of "Mahabharat" in Persian is called Rajm Nama done by Badauni.
- It was written by Valmiki in Sanskrit.
- It has 24000 Shlokas, also known as Aadi-kavya.
- Its Persian translation is done by Badauni and Tamil translation by Kamban.
- Ramcharitmanas is written by Tulsidas.
- Puranas are 18 in number.
- It was written during Gupta Age in AD 4th Century.
- Matsya Purana is the oldest Purana.
Vedic Period PDF
Now that we have covered all the important aspects related to the Vedic period such as political organization, culture, literature, religion and culture, you must have learnt all the important details related to this topic. Here we are providing you with the Vedic Age Notes PDF. You can download this pdf and revise them before the exam.
That's all you need to know about Vedic Period Aryans for SSC exams. You can either bookmark this page or download the PDF to revise the topic whenever you want to.
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