Vedic Culture (1500 BC-600 BC)

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Original Home of the Aryan

» The location of the original home of the Aryans still remains a controversial point. Some scholars believe that the Aryans were native to the soil of India and some other scholars believe that the Aryans were migrated from outside [Central Asia (Max Muller)/Europe/ Arctic region (B. G. Tilak).
» According to popular belief, the Aryans are supposed to have migrated from Central Asia into the Indian subcontinent in several stages or waves during 2000 BC-1500 BC.
» Boghazkai Inscription (Asia Minor, Turkey), which mentions 4 vedic gods Indra, Varuna, Mitra and Nasatya, proves Central Asian Theory as their homeland.
» The group that came to India first settled in the present Frontier Province and the Punjab then called Sapta Sindhu i.e. region of seven rivers. They livedhere for many centuries and gradually pushed into the interior to settle in the valleys of the Ganges and the Yamuna

Vedic Literature (1500 BC-600 BC)

» It is presumed that the Ring Vedic was composed while the Aryans were still in the Punjab.
» Vedic Literature has grown of four literary productions :
1. The Samhitas or Vedas
2. The Brahamans
3. The Aranyakas
4. The Upanishads
» Vedic Literature has grown up in course of time was really handed down from generation to generation by the mouth. Hence these are called Shruti (to hear).
» The most important of Vedic Literature are Vedas. Vedas are called Apaurasheya i.e. not created by man but God-gifted and Nitya i.e. existing in all eternity.
» There are four Vedas-Rig Veda, Sama Veda. Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. The first three Vedas are jointly called Vedatrayi i.e. trio of Vedas
» Of the four Vedas, The Rig Veda (Collection of lyrics) is the oldest text in the world, and therefore, is also known as 'the first testament of mankind’. The Rig Veda contains 10,500 verses and 1028 hymns divide into 10 mandalas . Six mandals (from 2nd to 7th) are called Gotra/ Vamsha Mandalas (Kaula Granth). The 1st and 10th mandalas are said to have been added later. The lOth mandalas contains the famous Pumshasukta which explains the 4 Varnas –Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra. The hymns of Rig Veda were recited Hotri.
» The Sama Veda (book of chants) had 1549 verses. All verses (excluding 75) were taken from the Rig Veda. The hymns of the Sama Veda were recited by Udgatri. This Veda is important for Indian music.

» The Yajur Veda (book of sacrificial prayers) is a ritual veda. Its hymns wererecited byAdhvaryus. It is divided into two parts-Krishna Yajur Veda and Shukla Yajur Veda. In contrast to the first two which are in verse entirely tins one is in both verse and prose.
» The Atharva Veda (book of magical formulae), the fourth and the last one, contains charms and spells to ward off evils and diseases. For a very longtime it was not included in the category of the Vedas.
» The Brahmans explain the hymns of the Vedas. They are written in prose and ritualistic in nature. Brahma means 'sacrifice'. The various sacrifices and rituals have been elaborately discussed in the Brahamanas- Every Veda has several Brahamanas attached to it:
    Rig Veda — Aitarcya and Kaushitiki/Sankhyan.
    Sam Veda — Partchvisha (Tandya Maha Brahamana), Shadvinsh, Chhandogya and Jaiminaya.
    Yajur Veda — Shaiapatha (the oldest and the largest Brahamana) and Taittariva.
    Atharva Veda — Gopatha.

» The word Aranya means 'the forest'. The 'forest texts' were called Aranvakz, because they were written mainly for the hermits and the students living in jungles. The Aranyaka are the concluding portions of the Brahamanas.
» The Upanishadas are philosophical texts. They are generally called Vedanta, as they came towards the end of the Veda. There are 108 Upanishadas. Vrihadaranyaka is the oldest Upanishada.

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