Services (Prelims) Examination Special
Quick Revision Notes
The basis of the political and
social organisation of the Rig Vedic people was patriarchal family. The
successive higher units were styled gram, vis and jan.
The Purus and the Tritsus were
two of the most famous Rig-Vedic clans. The names of their prominent rulers are
recorded in Rik- Samhita.
In the Rig-Vedic period the foot
soldiers were called Patti and warriors who fought from chariots
were called Rathins.
The foundation of the political
and social structure in the Rig-Vedic age was the family.
Visvavara, Ghosha and Apala
were some leading women seers of Rig- Vedic times.
Agriculture was the principal
occupation of the villagers in Rig-Vedic times.
The standard unit of value in
Vedic period was a cow, but necklets of gold (nishka) also served
as a means of exchange.
Rik Samgita is a collection of lyrics from
early vedic age which consists of hymns in praise of different gods. These are
grouped into books termed as ashtakas or mandalas.
Rig Vedic people did not possess
the art of writing and early literature of Aryans was known to be transmitted
The early Vedic religion has been
designated by the name of henotheism or kathenotheism (a
belief in single gods, each standing out as the highest).
Father Dyaus, the
shinning god of heaven, and mother Prithvi, the earth goddess, are
among the oldest of the vedic deities.
The worship of Varuna, the
encompassing sky, in the early Vedic age is one of the first roots of the later
doctrine of Bhakti.
An important characteristic of
Vedic mythology is the pre-dominance of the male element. Thus, Vedic
civilisation presents a contrast to the prehistoric culture of Indus Valley,
where the mother goddess is coequal with her male partner.
Sacrifices occupied a
prominent place in Vedic rituals. These included offerings of milk, grain, ghee
and juice of the Soma plant.
Before the close of the later
Vedic period, the Aryans had thoroughly subdued the fertile plains of Yamuna,
upper Ganga and the Gandak. The centre of the Aryan world was
the areas stretching from Saraswati to the Gangetic plains and occupied
by Kurus, the Panchals and some adjoining tribes. It
was from this region that Brahmanical civilisation spread to the outer
provinces, to the land of the Kosalas and the Kasis
drained by the Sarayu and the Varnavati, to the swamps of east of Gandak
colonised by the Videhas, and to the valley of Wardha occupied
by the Vidarbhas.
The Aryan culture was taken to
South India by Agastya.
Most important tribe of Rigvedic
period was the Bharatas, after whom India has been named in the
Constitution. The two most important rulers of Bharatas were Divodas
and Sudas. Sudas is famous for his victory in the Battle
of Ten Kings.
The most distinguished among the
tribes of later Vedic period were the Kurus and Panchals, with
their capitals at Asandivat and Kampila, respectively. 54. Balhika-Pratipiya,
Parikshit and Janamejaya were powerful Kuru kings
who figure prominently in early epic legends.
The reign of Panchals
was home to several theologians and philosophers like king Pravahana-
Jaivali and sages like Aruni and Svetaketu.
The fame of the land of the
Panchals as centre of Brahmanical learning was eclipsed by the Videhas,
whose king Janak won the title of Samrat. The Videhan
monarchy fell shortly before the rise of Buddhism. Its overthrow was followed by
the rise of the Vajjian Confederacy.