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General Awareness play a vital role in all  Examination. we can expect  Questions from different Topics.In Banking and other competitive exams like RRB, CDS, LIC AO, RBI, SSC, UPSC, FCI, UIIC, OICL, SBI Clerks and PO the questions on Later Vedic period (circa 1200-600 c. BC) are being asked. Here we have given History study notes on Later Vedic period (circa 1200-600 c. BC)  for SSC CGL Examinations 2019-20 & other examination. Candidates those who are all preparing for the Examination can use this study material.

During the later vedic age, the Aryans thoroughly subdued the fertile plains watered by rivers Yamuna, ganges and sadanira. They crossed the Vindhyas and settled in Deccan, to the north of Godavari.

Political Organisation

 During the later vedic age, popular assemblies lost much of their importance and royal power increased at their cost. In other words, chiefdom gave way to kingdom. Formation of large kingdoms made the king more powerful. For all practical purposes, kingship became hereditary.

♦The vidhata completely disappeared. Sabha and Samiti continued to hold ground but their character changed and they were nor more representative of the will of the majority.

♦ Women were no longer permitted to attend the assemblies, which came to be dominated by nobles and brahmans.

♦The term rashtra indicating “territory” first appeared in this period.Social Organisation

♦Society in the later vedic age became increasingly complex and came to be divided into four Varnas –
Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras.

♦Brahamanas: the growing cult of sacrifice enormously added to the power of Brahmanas, who performed various rituals and sacrifices for their clients. In the beginning, they were merely one of the sixteen classes of priests, but later on they overshadowed others.

♦Kshatriyas: they constituted the warrior class, Majority of the rulers belonged to this class.

♦Vaishyas: they were the agriculturists, cattle-rearers, traders, artisans and metal workers, which formed the bulk of population. In some texts, the Kshatriyas are represented as living on the tributes collected from the vaishyas.

♦Shudras: they were the lowest in social hierarchy and were meant to serve the supper three varnas.

♦The upper three varnas were known as the Dvijas (twice born) i.e., the upper three varnas were entitled to “Upanayana” or investiture with the sacred thread.

♦Education began with upanayana was 8 years for Brahamana, 11 for Kshatriya and 12 for vaishyas.

♦Certain sections of artisans such as Rathakara or chariot – maker enjoyed high status and were entitled to the sacred thread ceremony.

♦In later vedic age, polygamy was prevalent and there were instances of child marriage.

♦The term Nagara appears for the first time in the later vedic age, showing faint beginnings of town life.

Later Vedic Religion

♦Towards the end of the vedic age, a section of society began to resent priestly domination. The Upanishads criticized the cult of rituals and sacrifices and laid stress on “Right Belief and Right Knowledge”.

♦They emphasized that knowledge of self (Alman) should be acquired and relation of Alman with Brahma (God) should be properly understood.

♦Deeds of one life affected the next. This gave the theory of Karma.

Famous King’s ceremony of this age

  • Rajasuya Sacrifice: Supposed to confer supreme power on him (To impress/influence people)
  • Vajapeya: Chariot race in which royal chariot was made to win the race against his kinmen
  • Ashvamedha: Unquestioned control over area on which royal horse ran uninterrupted

Societal Division in Later Vedic period

  • Later Vedic period was divided into four vernas:

Later Vedic Period  

Brahamanas Kshatriyas / Rajanas Vaishyas Shudras
  • Growing practice of sacrifice greatly added to power of brahamanas
  • Vaishyas were placed in the category of Dvija or Twice born and regarded as only tribute payers; on which Kshatriyas & Brahamans lived
  • All 3 higher vernas shared one common feature : Upanayana or investiture with sacred thread according to Vedic mantras
  • Shudras were deprived of sacred thread ceremony & recitation of Gayatri Mantra
  • Certain sections of the artisans such as Rathkaras / Chariot makers enjoyed a higher status & were entitled to sacred thread ceremony

Later Vedic period  4 Ashrams

  • Brahamchari  For Student
  • Grihastha  For householder
  • Vanaprastha   Hermit (a stage of gradual detachment)
  • Sanyasin / Ascetic  Who renounced the world fully

Gods of Later Vedic Period

  • Two outstanding Rig Vedic gods Indra & Agni lost their former importance & Prajapati (The creator) came to occupy the supreme position along with Rudra (The destroyer) & Vishnu (Protector of people)
  • Pushans (Supposed to look after cattles) became god of Shudras although in Rig Veda cattle rearing was primary occupation of Aryans
Asvins Protector of agriculture (Killer the rats)
Savitri To fix a place where a new home could be built
Surya Remove Demons

Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, Atharva Veda

Sama Veda

  • Book of chants
  • Origin of Indian music
  • For recitation, prayers of Rig Veda were set to tunes
  • Modified collection is known as Sama Veda

Yajur Veda

  • Contains hymns & rituals, sacrifices, Royal ceremonies
  • Rajsuya & Vajpeya mentioned for the 1st time
  • Written in verse and prose form

Atharva Veda

  • Origin of Indian medicine
  • Contains formulae, charms & spells to ward off evil & diseases
  • Composed by a non-aryan


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