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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 The Vedic Period  are being asked. Here we have given History Study notes on ““The Vedic Period”  for SSC CGL Examinations 2019-20 & other examination. Candidates those who are all preparing for the Examination can use this study material.



The word veda is derived from the root vid which means ‘to know’. The word veda means the sacred knowledge contained in the texts known as Vedic text. Two categories of texts are included in the corpus of the Vedic literature. These are Mantra and Brahmana. The Mantra category forms the core of the Vedic texts and has four separate collections. These are the Rigveda, the Samaveda, the Yajurveda, and the Atharvaveda. The Brahmanas not to be confused with Brahaminical class are prose texts containing the explanations of the mantras as well as the sacrificial rituals. The four Vedas together with their Brahmanas are also known as shruti or ‘hearing’, that which was directly heard by the sages. The Aranyakas (literally forest treatises) and the Upanishads (sitting down beside) are mainly appendices to the Brahmanas. These are also known as the Vedanta (end of the Veda) and contain philosophical discussions.

The Vedic Age (1500BC–600BC)

The Rigveda is a collection of 1,028 hymns divided into 10 mandalas. They are the earliest compositions and hence depict the life of the early Vedic people in India. The Samaveda is a collection of verses mostly taken from the Rigveda but arranged in a poetic form to facilitate singing. The Yajurveda is found in two recensions, Black and
White, and are full of rituals to be performed publicly or individually. The Atharvaveda is a collection of magic spells and charms to ward off the evil spirits and diseases.

Careful studies have shown that the Vedic texts reflect two stages of development in terms of literature as well as social and cultural evolution. The Rigveda which is the oldest Vedic text reflects one stage of social and cultural development whereas the other three Vedas reflect another stage. The first stage is known as the Rigvedic period
or Early Vedic period and the later stage is known as the Later Vedic period. The age of the Early Vedic period corresponds with the date of the composition of the Rigvedic hymns. This date has been fixed between 1500 BC and 1000 BC. The later Vedic period is placed between 1000 BC and 600 BC. Recently, the Rigveda has been included by the UNESCO in the list of literature signifying World Human Heritage.

Vedas and their branches

Vedas Branches
Rigveda Sakal, Vaskal,
Asavala, Yan,
Sakhayan and
mandukeya
Samveda Kauthum and
Ranayaniaya
Yajurveda Madhyandin and
Kanva
Athar Veda Paiplad and Saunak

Characteristics of Vedic Era

I. Vedic Literature

The word Veda is derived from word root which means ‘to Know’ or ‘Superior Knowledge’. There are four important Vedas:

1. Rig Veda:  It consists of 10 books and 1028 hymns sung in praise of different Gods. Mandals II to VII were known as Family Books as they were based on family sages such as Gritsamada, Vishvamitra, Bamadeva, Arti, Bharadvja and Vasishtha.
2. Yajur Veda: It describes the political life, social life, rules and regulations that should be followed. It is divided into: Krishna Yajur Veda and Shukla Yajur Veda
3. Sama Veda: It is a book of chants and prayers and consists of 1810 hymns.
4. Atharva Veda: It consists of magical spells, Indian Medicine and folk dances.

Brahmanas

• These belonged to the second class of Vedas and are related to prayers and sacrificial ceremony.
• The Tandyamaha Brahamana is considered the oldest and has many legends.
• Vratyasoma is a ceremony mentioned in these legends through which non Aryans can be converted into Aryans.
• Satapatha Brahmana is the most voluminous and important one. It gives details about Philosophy, Theology, manner and customs of Vedic Period.
• The final part of Brahmana was Aranyakas. It had two parts attached to Rig Veda; Aitareya and Kausitaki.
• There are 108 kinds of philosophical texts which deal with Soul. These are called as Upanishad.
• Brihadarnayaka and Chandogya are the oldest Upanishads.
• The phrase ‘Satyamev Jayate’ is found in Mundaka Upanishad.

II. Aryan Conflicts

• The first batch of Aryans invaded India in circa 1500 B.C.
• They got into conflicts with the autochthonous inhabitants of India, i.e. the dasas or dasyus.
•  While the Dasas did not provoke much violence from the Aryans, dasyuhatya or the slaughter of Dasyus is frequently mentioned in the Rig Veda.
• Indra is also mentioned as Purandara in the Rig Veda, which literally translates into ‘breaker of forts’.
• The mention of the Pre-Aryan forts could have been of Harappan settlements.
• The Aryans were easily able to conquer the natives as they possessed better arms, coats of mail (varman) and chariots driven by horses.
• The Aryans engaged in two types of conflicts: one with the indigenous populations and then among themselves.
• The Aryans were divided into five tribes called Panchajanas and sometimes procured the help of non-Aryans as well.
• The rulers of Aryan clan were Bharata and Tritsu assisted by priest Vasishtha.
• The country Bharatvarsha was named after the king Bharata.

III. The Dasarajan War

• India was ruled by the bharata clan and faced opposition from ten kings; five Aryans and five non-Aryans.
• The battle fought amongst them is called the battle of ten kings or the dasarajan war.
• Fought on the river parushni or ravi, the battle was won by the sudas.
• Later, the bharatas joined hands with the purus to form a new clan called the kurus.
• In the later Vedic times, the kurus and the panchalas played an important role in the politics of the upper gangetic plains where they established their rule together.

IV. Rivers in Vedic Age

• The term ‘Sapta Sindhu’ or the group of seven chief rivers is mentioned in the Rig Veda.
• The seven rivers were probably:
• Saraswati in the east,
• Sindhu (Indus) in the west,
• Satudru (Sutlej), Vipasa (Beas), Asikni (Chenab), Parushni (Ravi) and Vitasta (Jhelum) in between.

References & Evidences

1 Origin of Indian music Sam Veda
2 Mention of the word ‘Sudra’ Rig Veda (10th Mandala)
3 ‘Gayatri Mantra’ Rig Veda
4 Mention of the word ‘Gotra’ Atharva Veda
5 Origin of kingship Aitareya Brahainma
6 ‘Soma’, the intoxicating drink and the god who lends his name to the drink Rig Veda (9th Mandala)
7 Mention of the word ‘Varna’ Rig Veda
8 Four-fold division of society Rig Veda (10th Mandala)
9 Purusa Shukta Hymn Rig Veda
10 First three ‘ashramas’ (Brahmacharin, Grihastha, Vanaprastha) Chandogya Upanishad
11 Four ashrams (Brahma- charin, Grihastha, Vanaprastha, Samyasin) Jabla Upanishad
12 Doctrine of’Trimurti’ Maitrayani Upanishad
13 Origin of the Universe Rig Veda (10th Mandala)
14 Mention of the ‘Great Flood’ Satpatha Brahamana
15 Samsara (Transmigration of soul) Brahadarankya Upanishad
16 Kshatriyas Precedence over Brahamanas Atreya Brahamana
17 Gamester’s Lament Rig Veda
18 Vratyastoma Tandya-Maha- Brahmana
19 Division of India into five parts Aitreya Biahmana
20 Mention of the Divine Horse ‘Dadhikara’ Rig Veda
21 Sabha & Samiti as the twin daughters of Prajapati Atharva Veda
22 Baffle often kings between Sudan and Bhed for the water of Parnsni Rig Veda (VII Mandala)
23 Mention of the easten and western seas Satpatha Brahmana
24 Surdas as the servant of another to be expelled at will and to be slain at will Atreya Brahmana
25 Ganga Rig Veda (X, Mandala)
26 Sabha as Narishta Atharvaveda
27 Satya Meva Jayate Mundaka Upanishad
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