Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Vedic Period | Later Vedic Period

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vedic period

Vedic Period-

Era of Vedic age is decided between approximately 1500 BC to 600 BC. Its important civilization after the Indus Valley Civilization. Information about this Era is majorly provided by the Vedas. Also the name of this era is known as basis of Vedas .

This Era started from the arrival of Indo-Aryan in India. Vedic period is divided into Rigvedic period (1500 BC-1000 BC) and the Later/Post Vedic period (1000 BC- 600 BC).


  • Aryan word was inserted from the Sanskrit which means Superior or Noble that means Aryan was not ordinary people. 
  • Origination of Aryan has considered different-different by different Historian.
  • According to Max Muller Aryan came to India from central Asia around Caspean sea places.
  • According to Bal Ganga Dhar Tilak Aryan came to India from Arctic region.
  • Rest Historian considered that they have come from the Steppes of the Russian region.
  • Sanskrit was the language of Communication of the Aryans,where Indus civilization is related to Urban region other side Aryans lived in rural, seminomadic life.
  • Aryans came to India by passing through Khyber Passes.
  • The Iranian text named as Zend Avesta conferred the names of Aryan like the name of god as Indra, Varuna. 
  • The Hittite inscription of Anatolia, inscription of Kassitte of Iraq and Mittani inscription of Syria is related with Indo-Aryans In which the name of Aryans is mentioned.

Rigvedic period (1500 BC-1000 BC)

  • Geographical region of the Rigvedic period was spread from Kuha river in Afghanistan to Ganga-Yamuna Basin. Mainly comprise of todays Punjab, Haryana and Afghanistan region.
  • After coming to India Aryans settled in the Sapt Saindhav Region. Sapt Saindhav referred as the land of most famous seven river.
  • Seven rivers were Askini(Chenab) , Parushni(Raavi), Vipasa(Beas), Sindhu(Indus), Vitista (Jhelum), Shatuduri (Satluj) and Saraswati .
  • Saraswati river is considered as most sacred river among all river Saraswati is also considered as the goddess of Knowledge .Indus river considered as the most important river of this Era.
  • Important source of the information about this Era is the Rig Veda which is divided into10 Mandalas and 1028 Hymns. Mandals also knowns as Chapter.
  • Mandalas 2 to 8 are known as Saptarishi Manadalas because Its composed by the seven great sages.
  • Mandalas 2 to 7 are the earliest parts and Mandalas 1 and 10 is the latest parts of RigVeda.
  • In the 10th Mandala the famous Purush Sukta and Varna System are mentioned.
  • Vishwamitra composed the 3rd Mandal which consists of Gayatri Mahamantra.

Political System 

  • No evidences of regional administration. 
  • Rajana was the head of Janas Rajan was helped by Purohit, Gramani and Senani  which is mentioned in Rigveda and Important bodies like Samiti,Gana,Sabha,Vidhata and Sardha.
  • Vidhata was the oldest body among all, Samiti was larger body.
  • Selection of Rajan was done by the Samiti (By the adult person) gradually the post of rajan became Hereditary.
  • All the employee of this period did not get salary,even there is no any evidences of salaried military.
  • People of Kabeela gave gift to Rajan spontaneity.
  • Janas were divided into Vis and Vis again divided into Kul; Griha was unit of Kula and Kulapa was the head of Kula whereas the Griha was headed by Grihapati or Dampati.
  • Military persons were related to tribal groups like sardha,Vrat, gana, grama, sardha.
  • Group of Kulas known as Gram and It was headed by Gramani.
  • The place where cattle were kept known as Gaun and Gavishthi was known as the quest or war for cows.
  • Dasragya War the Battle of Ten Kings was fought on the banks of Ravi river for protection of wealth between Aryans and Non-Aryans.
  • There is also mention of Crime especially the boned of animals; Ugra was the officer who used to catch criminals.
  • Purap was the head of fort and Spash was detective(Jasoos)officer.


  • Society was euitable in nature and social differentiats were not sharp.
  • Society was categorised into Aryans and Non-Aryans people, non-aryans were known as Dasas and Dasyus. Aryans were soft towards Dasa and rancorous towards Dasyus.
  • Literature was the important source to understanding the various class of society like Ruler,Priest etc; there is not the evidences of social discrimination on the basis of occupation.
  • conditions of women was better in compare to latter period; Rights to education was present
  • mention of Apala,Ghosha,Sikta etc are present in Rigveda.
  • child marriage,Purdah system, Sati Pratha,Dowry system etc was absent.special widow-remarriage known as Niyoga was popular. The target of this system was to increase the population of the Jana.
  • Equal participation of women with men in the political and religious activities.
  • Slaves system was in vougue and they were used for domestic purpose only
  • Chariot race and gambling was famous sports
  • The four fold Varna systems and rigid caste system was completely evolved yet.
  • society was patrilineal in Rigvedic period and birth of a son was sought after.
  • wealthy person known as gomat and the daughter known as duhitri which means one who milks the cow.
  •  Two famous Drinks was Soma and Sura ;Soma was drunk at sacrifices and Sura was disapproved by priests.
  • Rig Vedic communities comprised of populations called Janas with several Non-Aryan Janas people.


  • Agriculture was secondary occupation in Rigvedic time. Rigvedic society was based on rural area.
  • Cattle was primary source of economy, especially the name of cow is mostly mentioned in Rigveda.
  • trends of different words related with Cow like as Gopati for King, Gavyuti for Distance, Godhuli for Evening and Gavishti for War. 
  • Agriculture production was not in surplus. They were better familiar with agriculture.
  • Wooden ploughshare is mentioned in Rigveda.
  • common grain in this period was Jau/Yava.
  • There was no use of Iron due to unfamiliarity.
  • The gift that was given voluntarially from producers to the Rajana known as Bali.
  • Neither tax was imposed nor treasury was maintained.
  • There was no evidences of currency,trade etc.Uses of Ornaments known as Nishka.
  • Barter system was operable in this period ,cows were the most common medium of exchange.
  • Gold was known as Hiranya. Ayas is the common name used for any metal.
  • Copper tools of this period was prevalent in Punjab and Haryana.
  • Hunting, tanning, carpentry, weaving, metal smeltry etc was the economic activities in this era.
  • there was no any information about landholding, Cow as form of donation was excellent.
  • mentioned of women as weaving or weaver.

Religious Dimension

  • Vishwamitra and Maharshi Vasistha were two important worshipper during this era.
  • classification of the god into three spheres named as terrestrial, atmospheric and celestial.
  • Idol worship was not prevalent in this time; Sukti/hymns of Rigvedic period was for praising to god and goddess.
  • Mantra chanting was the important part.

Later/Post Vedic period (1000 BC- 600 BC)

  • The important source for knowing this period was other Veda besides Rigveda like as Sam Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda.
  • Other important source for knowing this period very well were Aranyak, Brahmana and Upnishadas. 
  • Arayanak describes about the emblem of Renunciation and sacrifices its also describe about the Metaphysics. 
  • Brahmans describes about the clarification on the Vedas. 
  • Upnishadas are the philosophical text based on religion of Hinduism which gives the provide the better and deeper learning about the truth like Brahma, Aatma etc. 
  • Gangetic valley especially western are called as Aryavarta which is much familiar to Indo-Aryans. 
  • Indian ocean, Arabian sea, Vindhyan mountains and Himalayan's few peak are mentioned.


  • There was the evidences of Untouchability.
  • Women's social conditions degraded as they could not get education.
  • Four fold varna system seems to be prevalent and the social system became complex due to the Caste system in society.
  • Child Marriage and Sati system was largely absent yet in this period.
  • The family system was like in the Rigvedic period.
  • A large number of Yagyas are also notable in contemporary literature
  • Niyoga understood as the negative activity of this period.
  • There was four fold Ashram system was in prevalance for four Purusharthas (goals) like as Brahmacharya was for knowledge seeking that meant for Dharma. Grihastha Aashrama for earning and offspring that is meant for Kaama.Vanaprastha Aashrama was for the Metaphysical or spiritual sagacity/Intelligence. Sanyasa Aashrama for the liberation that means for Moksha.
  • Gargi and Maitreyi was expert in the knowledge amphitheatre and Gargi beated Yagyavalkya in a philosophical recitation.
  • Dvija or twice born were the men who were born in upper three Varna. Only these men were entitled to Upanayan Sanskar;
  • The place where cattle resided known as the Gotra.


  • due to the discovery of Iron we surplus production in agriculture sector; due to forest firing by fire vast area of agricultural land increased.
  • Wheat, Barley, Rice, Beans, Moong, Urad and Sesamum were  the crop which was cultivated in this period.
  • due to surplus production there was increment in revenue of state/King's treasury like Bhaga and Bali tax.
  • Samgrahitri was trasurer,collection of taxes by Bhagdukha and only Vaishya pays taxes.
  • There was prsent Painted Grey Ware (PGW) type pottery.
  • there was the evidences of many type of arts and crafts like jewellery making, carpentry, weaving, leather work, dyeing pottery-making and dying. 

Political System

  • Conditions of women were not much better in comparison to Rigvedic period; They were restricted to attend the assemblies.
  • Absense of standing army in this period too.
  • Chiefship was hereditary by nature in this period.
  • Post of the Rajana became more explicit and a assistance staff called Ratnin they were 12 jewels of the king .
  • Rajana started many rituals of Yagya like Ashwamedh, Rajsuya and Vajpeya;
  • In case of Ashwamedha King became the chief of all the rest king in all direction;known as Chakravarti Samrat.
  • Rajsuya yagya was for the coronation of king and Vajpeya was done to maintain the prosperity and harmony in the empire.
  • Samrat, Ekrat, Sarvbhumi, Virat like title given to Rajana.
  • Janas evolved and became Janapadas for example Indraprastha was the capitals of Kuru janapada.
  • battles was started  Frequently among  Janapadas; It was fought for acquiring the territory of one another.
  • terittory is known as the name of Rashtra.
  • Absence of Vidhata completely.

Religious Aspects

  • Important God of Rigvedic period lost its importance in Post Vedic period.
  • Mentioning the name of Prajapati(Brahma) Vishnu and Rudra was in maximun number.
  • Apperances of Shiva who was the incarnation of Rudra
  • Importance of god like Agni,Vrihaspati etc was maintained in this period too
  • mentioning the name of goddess is in less number in comparison to God
  • Magic and Omen became relevant in this period
  • Evidences of idol worship 
  • Upanishadik philosophers efforted to simplify the religious practices and rituals at the end of this era.

Vedic texts

Vedic texts are divided mainly into two parts named as Smriti and Shruti. 


Smritis are those texts which are recollected by ordinary humans only; The elaborative explanations on the Vedas like Brahmanas, Upanishads, Aranyakas, Six Vedanga and four Upavedas constitue the smritis.


Shrutis are those texts which is heard; Its known as the product of God's afflatus to the sages in position of the meditation; All the four Vedas and Samhitas constitute the shrutis.

Deity of Vedic Era-


Worship as in form of Deity

Auxiliary features


God of the air



God of Lightening           

maximum time mentioning the name of the Indra; he is known as Purandhar; he is also known as the name of destroyer of forts; Indra lost its importance in the later Vedic period.


God of the fire

Its used as the instrument of purity and Yagya too.


God of Destruction

Rudra worshiped as for the diseases medication; In the post Vedic period Rudra merged with the Shiva.


God of Life Source          

It had the attributes of Gayatri, Mitra and Pushan.


Goddess of Forest



God of Wind



As a form of Surya



Goddess of Fertility        



God of Water and Morals

Varun was most Powerful among gods, he keep up the  cosmic order; Varuna lost his importance in the Later Vedic period.


Mother of Gods



Goddess of Dawn


Pushan God of the Shudras

Its considered as care taker of cattle

Parjanya God of Rain


Prajapati Supreme God

It was the most important god in post Vedic period 






Kapil Muni

Its consider mainly two elements nature and Purush(Man); In this philosophy prakriti is said to be unconscious and purusha is called conscious; according to this when the reflection of man falls on the nature, only then the creation of the universe begins   


Maharishi Kanad

Its based on the materialism; In this philosophy Kanad explained about Atomic theory



In this philosophy Patanjali  has asserted that Yoga is the key to meet the soul to god



Its describes about the different different rituals



Its describes about the logic or reasonable statement



Its literally  means the end of Vedas; Vedanta is a source of GyanYoga which catalyzes a person towards attainment of knowledge;



Associated Brahmana and UpVedas


Rig Veda

Kaushitaki and Aiteraya was the Brahman of Rigveda; Dhanurveda is the UpVeda of RigVeda

Its Oldest among rest of the three Vedas;  Presence of various prayer devoted to various deities mostly to God Indra

Yajur Veda

Taittiriya and Shatapatha are important brahman of this Veda; Sthapatyaveda is the UpVeda of this

Shukla and Krishna were the two Samhita of YajurVeda;Composition of this Veda consists of both the poetry and prose format; Theme of YajurVedas are Sacrifices and solemnity

Saam Veda

 Sadavimsha and Tandya are the Brahmana; Gandhavra Veda is the UpVeda

Its poetic in nature;Its Nascent from the RigVeda

Atharva Veda

Gopatha is the Brahmana of Atharva Veda; Ayurveda is the UpVeda of the AtharvaVeda

It’s the creature of Non-Aryans;Its about the medication of diseases,agriculture,industry etc

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