The Vedic Civilization (1500 B.C.-600 B.C.)

The Aryans came to India sometime between 2000 B.C. and 1500 B.C..With the advent of Aryans there began a new era in the history of India.It is called the Vedic Civilization or Vedic age,named after Vedas,the religious literature of the Aryans of India.Their civilization is also called the Vedic Civilization because the Vedas give us some idea about their culture.
The Vedic Civilization is divided into Early Vedic age or civilization (1500 B.C.-1000 B.C.) and later Vedic Civilization (1000 B.C.-600 B.C.)
The Vedic Civilization

The Origin Of Aryans:

The main strands of Hindu Civilization are the gifts of the Aryans mind.It is therefore interesting to know whether the Aryans were indigenous people or came from outside.
The origin of Aryans is a dilemma but the most accepted theory is that the original homeland of the Aryans was in North eastern Iran and the region around the Caspian Sea in Central Asia.
They were cultured people,tall and fair.Those who came to India are called Indo-Aryans.They came to India through Khyber pass of the Hindukush Mountain.
The Aryans first settled at first in the Punjab and Sind region,they called the land of the Saptasindhu.
Vedas{Holy Books}
The Vedas or the holy book of the Aryans throw considerable light on the Civilization and culture of the Aryans in India.The term Veda comes from the Sanskrit root vid which means to know.Thus Veda means knowledge or wisdom.The Vedas are four in number✓
  • Rigveda
  • Samaveda
  • Yajurveda
  • Atharvaveda
The Rigveda is the oldest and most important of the Vedas and was compiled in the early Vedic age.

Early Vedic Civilization-

Social Organisation

The Rigvedic society was patriarchal.The foundation of the social life was family.The families were generally joint and large.The relation between father and the son was generally very warm.
Status Of Woman
The Rigvedic families being patri-lineal,male child was always desired.The wife could take part in the religious rites with the husband.There was no purdah system.Polygamy was practiced but polyandry was unknown.Widow remarriage was permitted.
Dress and Lifestyle
The people were generally wore cotton and woolen garments; sometimes deer skin were also used for dress.The men generally wore one lower and upper garment:and the addition to the two used an undergarment called nivi.Women wore long hairs which were combed,oiled,and then plaited in folds.
Food and Amusements
The daily food of the Rigvedic people consisted of barley,rice,beans, vegetables etc.They also drank sura.
Rigvedic people would pass their time in various amusements like dancing,singing.
Caste System
According to Orthodox view caste system existed even in the Early Vedic Age,the purusha sukta of Rigveda refers the four castes.But eminent scholars rejected the theory.
Caste was mainly occupational.But it had a tendency to become hereditary.

During the later part of the Rigvedic age the ideal of four Ashramas developed.
  1. Brahmacharya(Austere Life)
  2. Grihasthas(House holders)
  3. Vanaprastha(forest hermit)
  4. Sannyasins(ascetics)

Political Organisation

Units of Political Organisation
The kul Or the family was the foundation of the political organisation of the Rigvedic Aryans. Grihapati or kulapa was the ‘head of the family. A group of families formed a grama or village. The head of the village was called gramani. A number of villages formed a vis which was a canton. The head of the Vis was the vispati. Several vises formed a jana or tribe which was like a state and it was the highest political unit among the Aryans. The head of the janas; was the janapati or rajan i.e. king. 
The King 
The king or Rajan enjoyed the highest position in the society. He lived in a magnificent palace. He wore ‘gorgeous dress. His authority was binding on the people. At first the king was elected by the peopIe. Gradually kingship became hereditary and after a king’s death his eldest son succeeded him as king. 

                         The king maintained law and order in his kingdom. His main duty was to protect the tribe and its territory against external enemies, to lead his army in war and to promote the welfare of his subjects. He punished the people if they went wrong. He also took steps for the improvement of agriculture. The king collected a tax called bali. 
Sabha
 The king was not a despot inspite of his unlimited powers. He ruled according to the wishes of the tribe‘ With the help of the tribal assemblies called the sabha and the samiti he carried out the business of administration. The sabha was the council of elders. It was a smaller assembly of elderly people who were learned and wealthy.Most of these members were priests and nobles. In the sabha discussions were held on social matters and political issues. It was the king’s advisory body. 
Samiti
 The samiti was a popular assembly. It consisted of all the maple, high and low, of the state. In the samiti everyone was allowed to express his opinion freely. All important matters of state policy were discussed here. The king or the rajan: was bound to act according to the decision of the samiti. Thus the samiti exercise& a check on the powers of the king so that he might not turn a despot. The samiti had the power to depose a king and elect another in his place.

 Economic Conditions

Economic Life
The Aryans were a rural people. Unlike the people of the Indus valley they stayed in villages. Agriculture and cattle rearing were their main occupations. Some of them were also engaged in craft or industry and trade to eke out their livelihood. 
Agriculture
Agriculture was their chief occupation, Agricultural land for farming was acquired privately by individuals and families. The fields were ploughed and irrigated with water  from wells. lakes and canals.The plough was drawn by oxen.The farmers used manure to revive the fertility of the soil.
Domestcation
The Rigvedic Aryans domesticated animals like the cow the horse, the sheep, the goat, etc. They considered the cow as a sacred animal because they got milk, butter, cheese and ghee from the cow which were important items of their diet. A man’s wealth was known by his cattle. The horse was also an important animal. It was used in war. PastureIand for the grazing of cattle was regarded as the common property of the village.
Crafts
 The Aryans were also engaged in crafts and industries such as weaving, spinning, tanning, carpentry, metal work and dyeing. Weaving and spinning of cloth were done mostly by women. The carpenters made chariots, carts, boats and ships. The metal workers made tools and weapons such as spears and swords of iron. The goldsmiths and jewellers made ornaments which were in great demand. There were also many potters who made pots of various types.
Trade and Commerce
Rigvedic Aryans also took up trade as their profession. Trade was carried on by land and sea. The surplus crops,pots, and leather and wooden articles of one village were sent  to a neighbouring village where these goods were not available. From there in exchange of these, other articles were brought. u Thus trading began with goods being transported From one village to another.

Religious Life of Aryans

Worship of Nature
The Rigvedic Aryans led a very simple religious life. They worshipped the different forces of nature, such as the sun, the stars, the wind, the moon, the earth, the sky, and trees, rivers and mountains as gods. 
Gods and Goddesses
Varuna, the god of the weather and atmosphere occupied an important position among the gods. He could strike down demons and the enemies of the Aryans.The Sun-god, was regarded as the god of light, life, wealth and energy. Agni was the god of fire. Marut was the wind god. Prithivi was the goddess of earth.The goddess of dawn was Usha.

That's all For the Early Vedic Civilization...





The Vedic Civilization (1500 B.C.-600 B.C.) The Vedic Civilization (1500 B.C.-600 B.C.) Reviewed by Mahitosh Gopal on 4:42:00 PM Rating: 5

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