(IGP) GS Paper 1 - History of India & Indian National Movement - "Sources of Indian History"

Integrated Guidance Programme of General Studies for IAS (Pre) - 2013

Subject -  History of India & Indian National Movement
Chapter : Sources of Indian History

Vedic Literature

  • Veda means knowledge
  • Vedic literature includes all the four Vedas, Brahmnas, Aryankas and Upanishadas.


  • Rigveda is the earliest Veda
  • Rig means hymns.
  • Rigveda is divided into 10 mandalas.
  • Mandalas are further divided in to Astakas and Suktas.
  • Rigvedas comprises 1028 hymns.
  • Total hymns is all vedas are 20,000.
  • The last 11 hymns are known Balakhilya (second to seventh mandala are known as Family Text) which are considered as the oldest part of Rigveda.
  • Third mandala of Rigveda comprises Gaytri Mantra, composed by Viswamitra.   
  • Gaytri Mantra is dedicated to savitur who was deity of Sun family.
  • Fourth Mandala consists of references of agricultural work.
  • Sixth mandala depicts the word Haryupia which has been related with Harappa.
  • Ninth mandala is dedicated to soma.
  • First type Krishna's description has been found in Chandogya Upnishad.
  • Tenth mandala (Purusha Sukta) describes about the four varnas known as Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaishya and sudra.
  • Samanean ‘to Sing’.
  • Except 78 hymns all the other hymns of this Veda have been taken from Rigveda.


  • Yajurveda is an elaborate elucidation of rituals.
    Krishan-yajurveda comprises description in prose.


  • Atharvveda is related with some non-Aryan traditions like magical charm and spell.
  • Brahman literature is descriptive detail about Sacrament, sacrifices and different rites and rituals.
  • Aitreya and Kausitaki Brahman are related with Rigveda.

Vedang Literature

  • Sikha (Phonetics) - Yaska is the first known writer on Sikha.

  • Kalpa - (Rituals) - There are three Sutras Dharma, Sraut and Grihya.

  • Sulva Sutra describes about geometry

  • Nirukta (Elymology)

  • Chhanda (Metre) - Pingal was the greatest author on Chhanda Shastra.

  • Vyakaran (Grammer) - Panini wrote Astadhyayi, Katyayan Vartika and Patanjali- Mahabhasya.

  • Jyotisha (Astrology) - No particular book on Vedanga Jyotitha is available

Smirti Literature

  • Manu Smriti is the earliest smriti.It was compiled during the period of Kanava ruler.
    It calls foreign rulers Adham kula Kshatriya.
    It criticises violation of varnasharma order.
    According to it Niyog is Kalivaijya means strictly restricted in kali era.

  • Yajnalkya smriti - first described about the origin of Kaysthas.

  • Narad smriti - describes about rituals related with manumission of seth.

  • Parasar smriti - describes about a number or classes of Brahmanas especially rich class of  land owning Brahmanas who were against accepting alms.

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Puranas have five important features.

  • Sarg

  • Pratisarg

  • Vansa

  • Manvantar

  • Varsanucharit

  • Vansanucharit means geneology

  • Vayu puran mentions about geography of Indian culture and about prominent Indian dynasties like Nanda, Maurya, Sunga, Satvahana and Gupta.

  • Srimad bhagvat purana is the. greatest puran in respect to Bhakti cult.

  • Vayu and Vishnu Puran mention India's geography.

  • Vishnu dharmottara puran depicts about wall paintings and iconometry. 

Technical and Scientific Literature


  • Ashwini Kumars. were physicians of the celestial world who got the knowledge of Ayurveda from Brahma.

  • Dhanvantri is considered as father of Ayurveda system.

  • Athraveda gives first hand information about Ayurveda.

  • Charaka who belonged to kushana period wrote charak samihta.

  • Shshurut wrote Shrshrut Samhita which also mentions about surgical operation.

  • Vagbhata wrote Astang thidya which mentions about eight major organs of human body.

Veterinary Science:

  • Salihanna wrote on Asva Chikitsa.

  • Palkappya wrote on Gaja chikitsa


  • Vriksha parasar describes about numerous medicinal herbs and plants.


  • Vedang Jyotisha is considered as the earliest text on astrology as on well as astronomy but it is not available.

  • Aryabhatta wrote Surya Sidhantika.

  • Varahamihir wrote Pancha Sidhantika, Vrihatjatak, L.aghu Jatak and Vrihat Samhita on astrology.

  • Brahm Gupta wrote Brahmsphuta Sidhanta.


  • Sulva Sutra describes about vedic alters.

  • This is the earliest text which comprises information on geometry.

  • Aryabhatta wrote Arybhattiyam which describes about decimal system and about zero.

  • Bhaskaracharya wrote Lilavati


  • Manual of Architecture is known as Silpa Sastra.

  • Earliest information about painting and iconometry is given in Visnudharmottara Purana.

  • Mayamatta, Ishan Visva gurudeo Padhati and Aparajitpnksha are some of the best known texts on Indian Architecture.

Biographical Literature:

  • Banabhatta - Elarsha Chant (Pushyabhuti ruler of Kanauj).

  • Vilhan - Vikramanakdevcharitam (Chalukyan ruler of Kalyani)

  • Anand bhatta - Ballal charita

  • Sandhyakarnandi - Rampalcharit

  • Jayanak - Prithavi Raj Chant

  • Hem chandra - Kumar Pal Chant

  • Panmal Gupta - Navshashsanka Chant

  • Jayagondar - Kalingatupani

  • Otakuttan - Kulatingam

Buddhist Literature


  • Sutta Pitak - Teachings and preaching of Lord Buddha

  • Vinay Pitak - Monastical rules and regulations/discipline and order.

  • Abhidhamm Pitak - Metaphysical and esoteric ideas

Jain Literature

  • 12 Angas

  • 12 Upanga

  • 10 Prakirnaka

  • 6 Chhedli Sutra

  • 4 Mula Sutra

  • Acharang Sutra - Monastical discipline

  • Bhagvatti Suta - Life and teaching of Mahavira LF

  • Nayadhani Kahasutra - Gospel of Mahavira

  • Tattvarthadigam sutra - This accepted my both Digambura and Svetambara.Churnika - commentary on Angas and Upangas.

Epigraphical Sources

  • The earliest written records have been found from Harappa, but the script has not been deciphered.

  • James Princep deciphered Ashokan Inscription in 1837.

  • Ashokan inscription’s were written in Prakrit language and. mainly in Brahmi script.

  • Dhandeva's inscription of Pusyamitra describe about Asvamegha Yajan performed by him.

  • Helioderus pillar inscription also called Besanagar Garudadhwaj describes about the cult of Panchvrishtii Veera.

  • Ghosuandi inscription describes about Bhagvat cult.

  • Girnar inscription was first inscription of Sanskrit language about Saka ruler Rudradaman I.

Numismatical Sources

  • Harappans did not use coin.

  • Rigveda mentions Niska griva.

  • Later Vedic literature mention about Satman and Krishanal.

  • Coinage system evolved in 6th cent. B.C.

  • The earliest coins belong to Magadha and Kosala.

  • The early coins are punch marked.

  • Our earliest coin was made of silver.

  • They have been called Kasarpan.

  • Arthashastra mentions about Pan, masaka and Kakini.

For Detail Description, Analysis and More MCQs of the Chapter Buy this Study Notes:

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