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general knowledge 2023 arihant | Indian History | Ancient India | Vedic Period

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general knowledge 2023 arihant | Indian History | Ancient India | Vedic Period




Rig Vedic Period (1500-1000 BC)

  • Vedic civilisation started with the migration of Aryan people in North Western part of India.
  • The Aryans were semi-nomadic pastoral people and originally believed to have lived somewhere in the Steppes, stretching from Southern Russia to Central Asia.
  • The whole region in which the Aryans were first settled in India was called the Land of 7 Rivers or Sapta Sindhawa. (the Indus and its five tributaries and the Saraswati).
  • The Dasrajan War Battle of 10 kings against Sudas (Bharata king of Tritsus) on the bank of river Parushni. Sudas emerged victorious.

Political Organisation

  • It was mainly a tribal system of government in which the military element was strong.
  • Tribe was known as Jana and its king as Rajan.
  • 2 Although king's post was hereditary, we have also some traces of election by the tribal assembly called Samitis.
  • Other tribal assemblies that were mentioned in Rigveda were Sabha, Vidatha and Gana.
  • Villages were headed by Gramani.
  •  In day-to-day administration, the King was assisted by the Purohita (most important), a Senani and Gramani


People were loyal to the tribe, called Jana (mentioned 275 times in the Rigveda) as kingdom/territory was not yet established. Women enjoyed freedom and respect.


  • Worshipped Nature, Indra (also called Purandara-breaker of forts) was the most important divinity.
  • Soma was considered to be the God of plants.
  • People worshipped the divinities mainly for Praja (children), Pashu (cattle), food, health and wealth. No temple or idol worship was noted.


No regular revenue system, kingdom maintained by voluntary tribute called bali and booty won in battles.

  • Aryan's main occupation was mainly pastoral. Agriculture was a secondary occupation.
  • Cow was a standard unit of exchange. Gold coins-Nishka, Krishnal and Satmana.
  • The staple crop was Yava (barley).

Rigvedic Terms

Term Meaning
Dasyus Original inhabitant of India
Ayas Copper/bronze
Vajrapati/ Kalapas Officer enjoying authority over large tract of land
Gramini Head of the village
Gavisthi Fighting hordes, Search for cows/war for cows

Rigvedic Rivers

River Name in Rigveda
Indus Sindhu
Kurram Krumu
Jhelum Vitasta
Chenab Asikni
Ravi Parushini
Beas Vipas
Sutlej Sutudri
Gomati Goma
Saraswati Sarasvati
Ghaggar Drishadavati

Later Vedic Period (1000-500 BC)

  • In this period, Aryans expanded from Punjab over the whole of Western Uttar Pradesh covered by the Ganga-Yamuna Doab.

Political Organisation

  • King (Samrat) became more powerful and tribal authority tended to become territorial.
  • King's position strengthened by rituals like Ashwamedha and Vajapeya Yajnas.


  • Society was clearly divided into four varnas-Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra. Position of women deteriorated. The institution of Gotra (descent from common ancestors) appeared for the first time.


  • Beginning of town and settled life.
  • Agriculture was the main livelihood.
  • Wheat and rice (called vrihi in later Vedic texts) became the staple crop.
  • New occupation like those of ironsmith, coppersmith and jewel work emerged. Weaving were reserved for women. 


  • Prajapati became the supreme God, followed by Rudra (animal God) and Lord Vishnu (preserver and protector of people).
  • Idolatry began in this period.
  • Pushana, who looked after the cattles was 'God of Shudras'.
  • Sacrifices, rather than prayers, became more important.

Vedic Literature

The Vedas

  • Rigveda The oldest Indo-European language text is a collection of hymns. Contains 1028 hymns divided into 10 mandalas. The 10th Mandala contains Purushasukta hymn that explain about four varnas, whereas 3rd Mandala contains Gayatri mantra, which was compiled in the praise of Sun God.
  • Samaveda Collection of melodies, contains Dhrupad raga. It is a book of chants.
  • Yajurveda Contains hymns and rituals/ sacrifices.
  • Atharvaveda Charms and spells to ward-off evils and diseases.

The Brahmanas

  • They explain the hymns of Vedas. Contains ritualistic formulae and explains the social and religious meaning of rituals. Each veda has several Brahmanas attached to it.
  • Rigveda : Kaushitaki and Aitareya
  • Yajurveda : Taittiriya and Satapatha
  • Samaveda: Panchvish and Jemineya
  • Atharvaveda : Gopatha

The Aranyakas

The word Aranya means the forest. These texts were called Aranyakas, because they were written mainly for the hermits and students living in the jungle.

The Upanishadas

  • Philosophical texts emphasising value of right belief and knowledge; criticising rituals/sacrifices; and 108 in number. is the oldest Brihadaranyaka upanishada. 
  • Also known as 'Vedanta'.


Explains rules and regulations in Vedic life. These are Manusmriti (the first law book); Naradasmriti, Yajnavalkya-smriti and  Parasharasmriti.


These are Limbs of Vedas and are six in number

  • Shiksha (Pronunciation) 
  • Kalpa (Rituals)
  • Vyakaran (Grammar)
  • Nikrukta (Etymology)
  • Chhanda (Metrics) 
  • Jyotish (Astrology)


Deals with world creation, the geneologies of Gods and Rishis and the Royal dynasties. There are 18 famous 'Puranas'. The Matsya Purana' is the oldest puranic text.


There are six schools of Indian philosophy, called Shada-darshana These are - 
  • Nyaya Darshana : Gautam
  • Vaishesika Darshana : Kanada Rishi
  • Sankhya Darshana : Kapila
  • Yoga Darshana : Patanjali
  • Purva Mimansa : Jaimini
  • Uttara Mimansa : Badrayna or Vyasa


There are four Upavedas
Upaveda Deals with Upaveda of
Dhanurveda Art of warfare Yajurveda
Gandharva - veda Art and music Samaveda
Shilpaveda Architecture Atharvaveda
Ayurveda Medicine Rigveda


Mahabharata by Vyasa, also called Jaya Samhita and Satasahasri Samhita has100000 verses and are older than Ramayana, written by Valmiki, and has 29000 verses.

The Mahajanapadas

Mahajanapada (Locations) Capital (s)
Gandhara (Between Kabul and Rawalpindi) Taxila
Anga (Bhagalpur and Mungher in Bihar) Champa
Magadha (Patna and Gaya district, Bihar) Girivraj, Rajagriha (Bimbisara); Patliputra (Udayin); Vaishali (Shishunaga); Patliputra (Ashoka)
Kashi (Varanasi district, UP) Varanasi
Vajji (Vaishali district, UP) Vaishali
Malla (South of Vaishali district, UP) Kusinagara and Pava
Chedi (River Ken Bundelkhand area) Sothivati-nagar or Shuktimati
Vatsa (River Yamuna, Allahabad and Mirzapur district in UP) Kaushambi
Kosala (Eastern UP) Sravasti and Ayodhaya (Saket)
Kuru (Ganga-Yamuna doab. Delhi-Meerut region) Hastinapur and Indraprastha
Panchala (Ganga-Yamuna doab, Rohilkhand) Ahichhatra and Kampilya
Matsya (Jaipur Bharatpur-Alwar district) Viratnagar/Bairath
Surasenas (Mathura region) Mathura
Asmaka (River Godavari) (Near Paithan in Maharashtra) Patna or Patali
Avanti (Malwa) Ujjain (Northern capital), Mahismati (Southern capital)
Kamboja (Hazara district of Pakistan) Rajapur or Hataka

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