Maharashtra State BoardHSC Arts 11th
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The Early Vedic Culture as Unfolded Through Vedic Literature

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notes

The Early Vedic Culture as Unfolded Through Vedic Literature:

  • It is now confirmed by the research of many years that the Harappan civilization was not destroyed by foreign invaders but it declined because of various factors like natural calamities and the deterioration of the environment. Hinduism traces the Vedic religion and culture.
  • The authors of VEDIC civilization and culture are ‘Aryans’. We know that from the Vedic Literature.

EARLY VEDIC LITERATURE:

  • THE VEDAS

It is one of the oldest deciphered literature. The language used is Sanskrit. It is old and sacred literature to many religions. This literature has been found highly informative and useful to learn about the past. According to the texts, the messages or preaching were revealed only to the Rishis by the creator himself. This was not written initially and was passed to the next generation by oral recitation and finally recorded. The Vedas were composed around 3000 BC – 2500 BC.

  • THE SAMHITAS

The Samhitas are books that comprise hymns or psalms. They project the religious life of people during that period. Hinduism is one of the oldest religions. Although it is unwritten i.e. they are in poetic form. It is orally transmitted through generations and was later on written.

  • THE BRAHAMANAS

This is not about the Brahmin religion but they are the literary records of the Vedic Period. These texts give information about the Vedic mantras. The Brahmanas were written in prose form. It has text on the value and importance of sacrifices. The sacrifices were usually simple and happy.

  • THE ARANYAKAS

‘Aranya’ means Forest. These people discarded family life, detached from society, and lived in the forests. They emphasized mysticism, metaphysics, and philosophy. Aranyakas helped in elevating human life.

  • THE UPANISHADS

All the aspects of human life originated from Upanishads. Upanishad (head) is the fountain of INDIAN PHILOSOPHY. Karma, Mukti, Maya, and transmigration of the soul, etc were discussed in Upanishad.

EARLY VEDIC CULTURE

  • The tribes of the early Vedic period were Puru, Anu, Turvash, etc.
  • Most of the tribes were involved in agriculture.
  • There was a historical event ‘Dashradnya Yudha’ that took place during this event.
  • The Yudh meant the fight of 10 tribes.
  • Some of the tribes involved in the fight were Das, Dasyu, Pani.
  • Pani was the enemy clan.
  • The importance of agriculture is mentioned in the 10th Mandala of Rigveda.
  • The Gods of Agriculture were Ashwin and Indra.
  • The main crop cultivated was Barley.
  • Animal husbandry is evident of buffaloes, cattle, and horses.
  • The 10th mandala of the Rigveda mentions well water used for irrigation. According to its description, a stone wheel tied with earthen jars (Rahatgadage in Marathi) was used to draw water from the well. It is instructed to secure the belts firmly around the jars. The Rigved describes the palace of Lord Varuna having 1000 doors. This description is an allegory, indicative of the imagination of the poet. There is no evidence available so far to support this kind of Vedic architecture.

Important terms :

  • Pushan’- protector of the cattle
  • ‘Rathakara’ – chariot maker
  • ‘Takshan’ – carpenters
  • ‘ Ukha’ – cooking pot
  • ‘Kulal’ – potter
  • ‘Vayya’- weaver
  • ‘Urna’ – wool
  • ‘ Karmar’- metal objects
  • ‘Anas’ – cart
  • ‘Navya’ – river transport
  • Nishka – money

text

There is a school of thought, according to which, the Late Harappans, that is the Vedic people, migrated because of adverse climatic conditions and natural calamities. They migrated to Ganga-Yamuna Doab in the east and also went toward the west to Iran, Iraq, Egypt, etc. The evidence of the inscriptions found at ‘Boghazkui’ in Iraq is used to confirm it. These inscriptions contain the text of a treaty between two tribes called Hittite and Mittanni. It begins by invoking deities like Indra, Varuna, and Nasatya. This and similar evidence is offered by some of the European and Indian scholars to prove that Vedic people arrived in India from the West. This is one of the examples to illustrate the way the riddles in history are created. So far, scholars have been unable to solve the riddle of the ‘Aryans’ by putting together the archaeological and literary evidence. Nevertheless, it seems to be certain that the Later Vedic people migrated by two different routes. The Vedic literature mentions ‘Uttarapath’ (The northern route) and ‘Dakshinapath’ (the southern route). Both of these routes pass through regions, which differed drastically. Accordingly, their environment also differed. Considering this, it becomes clear that the ancient people managed to traverse through extremely difficult terrains. The northern route extended from Central Asia to Saptasindhu and from there to Himalayan foothills and then proceeding to Ganga-Yamuna Doab, reaching the delta region thereafter. The southern route formed a link between the Ganga-Yamuna Doab and the southern regions of India. It extended from the southern part of Sindh, through Kutch, South Rajasthan, Malwa, and from there to the Deccan Plateau. We have seen in the previous lesson that the Harappan people reached Maharashtra via this route.

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