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As the Indus Valley civilization started to decline around 2000 B.C, India was invaded by the “Aryans”. The period with the settlement of the Aryans in India is known as the Early Vedic Period which is from 1500 to 1000 BC. The Aryans bought with them a new spectrum of cultural aspects and drove away the Dravidians. The ancient text of Indo-Aryan community- the Vedas were composed during this phase. The four Vedas are Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. These Vedas impart important knowledge about the lifestyle during this Age. The Vedas laid the foundation of the Hindu religion. Apart from the Vedas, two great epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata were written during this age.
These two epics tell a lot about the culture, society, religious beliefs, among others, of people during that time. After the Rigveda was composed, the Aryan community considerably shifted towards agriculture.
Who are the Aryans?
The Aryans are original inhabitants of Central Asia moved to India and Persia
The area where the Aryans settled in India were known as Sapta Sindhu
It is believed that the Aryans were the first people to bring horses along with them
Social and Economic Life of Rig Vedic Civilisation
Early Vedic society were primarily nomadic
People were loyal to their individual tribes called Janas
Women held a respectable position in the society and were considered equal to men. They were allowed to study the Vedas and some even started composing hymns.
The invasion of the Aryans also introduced the term varna which means colour. Since the Aryans were fair, the dasus whom they defeated were dark and hence treated as slaves. With this started the division of class based on occupation though not a very rigid division.
The people led a pastoral life and agriculture was the secondary occupation. The Rig Veda also talks of different occupations like weavers, potters and carpenters.
Dancing, singing and gambling were the main occupations of the people of Early Vedic period.
The main gods worshipped during the Vedic period were Indra and 250 hymns are attributed to him in the Rig Veda. He was also worshipped as the rain god. Varuna, Agni, Yama and Soma are other gods worshipped during that time.
Ramayan and Mahabharata
Ramayana and Mahabharata are two of the most important Hindu Epics. Around 1000 BC, the Aryans started to create these marvelous epics. These epics are stories about Aryans life, wars, and accomplishments.
Facts of Epics
Mahabharata is an older epic compared to Ramayana and talks about teh society from 10th century BC to 4th century AD.
The original text of Ramayana of Valmiki consisted of 6000 verses which was finally raised to 24,000 verses
Mahabharata initially consisted of 8800 verses and then raised to 2400 verses. The final composition comprises 100,000 verses