Vedic Age was divided into two parts.
1.Early Vedic Age from 1500 BC-1000 BC.
2.Later Vedic Age from 1000 BC-600 BC.
EARLY VEDIC AGE (1500 BC-1000 BC)
THE RIG VEDIC AGE
The general opinion regarding the home of Aryans were somewhere in Steppes (from South Russia to Central Russia).
The Rig Vedas tell us that the Aryans first settled at the region called ‘Sapta Sindhu’ or the land of seven rivers (presently the regions are — Eastern Afghanistan, Punjab and Western UP)- Indus, Jhelum, Ravi, Chenab, Beas, Sutlej and Saraswati.
Early Aryans are semi-nomadic and cattle.Later on,they became cultivators, and then left the nomadic life.
They gave preference to the cattle’s, so the ruling class was warrior, who was able to fight for the cattle.
In cattle, ‘cow’ was very preferable, like the word ‘Gauri’ (cow) is mentioned 176 times in Rig Veda.
Many more terms were some where related with the word ‘Gau’ are Gavishti means search for cows and Godhuli for daughter.
The term Aghanya or not to be killed, has been used for cows.
Guest of Goghana (one who feeds on beef).
THE RIG VEDIC SOCIETY
The tribe was called ‘Jana’.
The society was ptriarchal and preferred the male child (who fought for the cattle).
Existence of joint family pattern.
THE RIG VEDIC POLITY
Tribal assemblies were Sabha, Samiti, Gana and Vidhata. Vidhata was the oldest one . These assemblies upheld s every important activity ( like social, military and religious etc.).
These Samitis were comprising the whole clan. The Sabha was a selected group of elderly people . The Vidhata was engaged in distributive functions The chief was called Gopati. Women were allowed in Sabha and Vidhata. Vajrapati was the officer of pasture, led by the Kulapa (the family head) and the Gramini in war. The Senani was another important performed by tribal units like-rata, gana, grama.
BATTLE OF THE TEN KINGS
A wealthy man was called a Gomat.
The terms for conflict were gavishti, gaveshna, gavyut (all pertained to cow).
Fought between the Bharata tribe headed by Sudas and alliance of ten kings, Panchjanya and five Non-Aryan tribe -Alin, Pakht, Bhalansar, Shiv and Vishni at the banks of the Ravi river. The Bharat tribe won the battle.
Yara or barley is the only grain mentioned in the Rig Veda.
A voluntary tribute given to Rajan (tribal head was called Bali.
No concept of private property was there in the Rig-Vedic period.
Formal social division i.e., Chaturvarna style (having Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Shudra) did not exist here.But is described once in tenth mandala of Rigveda (Known as Purush -skta).
Position Of Woman woman possessing respectable status in the society, took part in tribal assemblies and in religious sacrifices along eith their husbands. child marriage was not in existence.The marriageable age was 16 or 17 years for girls.
Widow marriage and Niyoga prevailed in the society.
Niyoga-(Levirate ) In which a childless widow would co-habit with hir brother-in-law until the birth of a son.
Polygamy and polyandry both existed, but monogamy was in fashion.
There was no Purdah system.
THE RIG VEDIC RELIGION
The motive of worship was to get Praja (children), Pasu(cattle) and Dhana (wealth), till that time they don’t require spiritual upliftment.
Boghazgoi Inscription of 1400 BC found in Asia Minor (Turkey) has mentioned four Gods-Indra,Mitra,Varun and Nasatya.
THE RIG VEDIC AGE
Goddess Usha-Goddess of dawn, Aditi- mother of Gods, Prithvi-Earth Goddess and Aryani-The forest Goddess.
Indra 250 hymns of Rig Veda are dedicated to Indra, He was also known as Purandhar or the destroyer of the forts.
Varuna He was the upholder of Rata or cosmic order and regulated it by a dice, It was believed that whatever happened in the world is/was related with the desire of God Varuna.
Agni The second most important God About 200 hymns of Rigveda was attributed to Agni. Agni was called the intermediary God between God and men.
Soma The God of plants. Special hymns were given to Soma (9th mandal of the Rig VEda is dedicated to Soma).
Dyaus The father of heaven.
Ashwin The healers of wounds and surgeons.
THE SUN GODS
Surya Surya is worshiped thrace naut India. One of the most important epithet from of ‘Surya’ is Arka’.
Savitri (The gayatri mantra is adderessed to her in the third mandal of Rig Veda, which was composed by Maharishi Vishwamitra).
Pusan The guardian of roads, herdsmen and cattle.