Vedic Period – Vedic Era – 1500 BC to 500 BC
Arrival of Aryans to India
By the end of 12th century BC the Aryans from northern and central Asia had reached India from the north-west. Aryans, unlike Harappa and Mohenjo daro civilization, were a much more aggressive race. They were mostly nomadic in culture and had little plans of settling down.
“It is believed that these Aryans fought a gruesome war against the last few habitats of Harappa and Mohenjo daro Civilization and were the cause of the end of these two prominent civilizations of ancient India.”
Early Vedic Society
The early Vedic period starts from the times of Rig Veda, people in this era followed Hinduism which was full of mighty rituals.
The society was divided in 4 sects or varnas, namely, Brahmins, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra.
According to the religious thinking of those days Brahmins were supposed to be the brain of God, thus all the thinking and intellect belonged to them. Kshatriyas were the warriors or the protectors of the society and thus had a high reputation in the society. Vaishya were the commoners, the merchants and the trader, also the farmers and the peasants. The last varna was that of the Shudras who were the ‘untouchables’ and were made to do all the serving works of the upper 3 three classes.
The caste system was deeply rooted and there were a lot of restrictions in place, in the society.
The sacrifices and rituals were common in the early Vedic society but as the time passed by and with the evolution of Jain and Buddhist religion most of such practices were abandoned from the Vedic society.
The Later Vedic Society
In the later part of Vedic Society the Kshatriya assumed a lot of power. The Kshatriyas, the protector, declared themselves as the ruler of earth.
In the later Vedic society around 500 BC Mahajanpadas were formed. The kings of these Mahajanpadas did a variety of rituals and sacrifices in order to show their supreme dominance over the other.
One of the considerable tradition that originated in the later Vedic culture was that the importance of the Purohits (Priests) increased manifolds and there were Rajpurohits (Royal Priests) who were really important for all the kings of that time.
Slowly, few of the kingdoms from the Mahajanpadas attained a lot of power and Vedic Era declined. By the end of 5th century BC Magadha was one of the most important Mahajanpada. Nanda Dynasty and the Mauryan Dynasty also gained power in the latter half of the millennium Before Christ.
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