Geographical knowledge of Vedic Aryan
Early Vedic Age: The reference found in Rig-Veda Samhita help in understanding the geographical knowledge of Early Vedic Age. The names of various rivers & other similar reference helped in reconstructing the geographical spread of Early Vedic culture & geographical knowledge of Aryans.
After entering in Indian subcontinent the Vedic Aryans got settled into Sapta Saindhava region that is land of seven streams. These 7 rivers were Indus, its 5 tributaries (Ravi, Beas, Sutlej, and Chenab & Jhelum) & river Saraswati. This reference indicates that the Vedic Aryan lived in Punjab and parts of Rajasthan
River Saraswati mentioned for maximum number of times in Rigvedic Samhita (72). This indicates that Saraswati valley was core region for Early Vedic Aryans. River Yamuna mentioned only for twice & Gangs is mentioned only once. This suggest that these rives was not much significance in life of Early Vedic Age.
Brahmavarta region is mentioned as geographical area of Early Vedic Age. It was land between river Sutlej & Yamuna. Tiger is not mentioned in Rig-Veda. This suggests that Early Vedic Age were yet to reach the forest of eastern India where tigers were found. Aryans aware of Himalaya because they procured soma plant from Mujvanta peak of Himalaya.
Word “Samudra” mentioned in Rig-Veda Samhita. But it was used to refer the huge amount of water seen in northern plain of river by Aryan. They were not aware of Sea.
Later Vedic Age
During Later Vedic Age, Vedic culture moved into eastern India & they became aware of entire Indian landmass. Satapatha Brahmana contains the story of expansion of Vedic culture into east. According to this book prince Videgha Madhava accompanied by his priest Gautama Rahugana cleared forest with the help of God fir. Fore got stopped after reaching Sadanira / Gandak (Bihar) & it was proclaimed that the area to west of river were suitable to Vedic Age.
This reference suggests that Vedic Culture moved up to Bihar in east during Later Vedic Age. Atherva-veda contains reference of tribes living in eastern Indra such as Anga (parts of Bihar) & Magadha. These reference suggest that Vedic Aryans aware of entire eastern India. Eastern & Western seas are mentioned in Satapata Brahmana.
They suggest that Aryans were of Bay of Bengal as well as Arabian Sea. Southern mountain identified with Vindhyas Kaushataki Upanishad. Aiteriya Brahmana contained reference of 5 fold geographical division of India. These 5 parts mentioned are-
- Prachya (Eastern India)
- Pratichya (Westerin India)
- Uttarapatha (Northern India)
- Dhruva Madhya Mandis (Central India)
- Tamilhama (Peninsular India)
Role of Iron in life of Vedic Aryan
Vedic Aryans became aware of Aryan metallurgy around 1000 BC. Gradually the access to iron metal increased resulting in use of iron for various purposes. The use of iron during Later Vedic Age has been explained different by different historian while some believed use of iron was not very significance other believes that it was knowledge of iron metallurgy that changed life in Later Vedic Age.
Role of Iron in Agriculture
Early historians like R.S. Sharma believed that iron played very important role in Agriculture progress during Later Vedic Age. It was emphasized that iron axes were used for cleaning the forest & iron play share used for deeper ploughing. It was this deeper ploughing facilitated by use of iron ploughshare which enabled wet paddy cultivation. Expansion of agriculture through clearance of forest & wet paddy cultivation which agriculture production which in turn resulted in attainment of state of agriculture surplus. Availability of surplus prepared material foundation.
The recent researches carried out by historians like Nihar Ranjan Roy & D.C. Chakraborty have brought to light that role of iron in agriculture were in significance during Later Vedic Age. Only one iron ploughshare discovered during archaeological excavation at Jakhera (U.P). Such discoveries would have been frequent if iron ploughshare was used commonly during Later Vedic Age. Vedic Aryan used fire to clear forest as mentioned in Satpata Brahmana because hardly few iron axes discovered during excavation.
The alluvial soil found in Gangetic Valley didn’t require iron ploughshare for deeper ploughshare. Ebony trees fond in Gangetic Vallies during Vedic Age & ploughshare of made of this hard wood used Later Vedic Age. Wet paddy cultivation was common practice in Western India since ages because in 6th millennium BC, people of Koldihava practiced wet paddy cultivation. This knowledge was adopted by Vedic Aryans from indigenous people once they moved in Eastern India & this was the main reason for remarkable increase in agriculture production & attainment of state of agriculture surplus which prepared material foundation for 2nd
Sacrifice – Yajna
It was an institution during Vedic Age in which producers & non-producing sections of society participated. Sacrifices were performed by householders & the kings The householders performing sacrifice were mostly the peasant, merchant & traders & craftsman. Whenever a sacrifice was performed, the householder (Yajman) used to give fits to the priest conducting the sacrifice. This proc used to result in exchange of resource between producing class & non-producing class of priest.
Similar was the proc. Involved when king used to perform sacrifices. Since resources with king were far greater when compared with common people, king used to issue huge amount of donation to priestly class. As economic life evolved during later Vedic Age & resource availability increased the size of sacrifice also underwent expansion.
Elaborate costly & complex sacrifices such as Rajsuya sacrifice, Vajpayee & Ashwamedha sacrifice were expansion of same. The sacrifices like Vajpayee, Rajsuya & Ashwamedha were having political dimensions as well. Rajsuya sacrifice (coronation ceremony) enhanced prestige of crown. The Vajpayee was performed to increase strength of king. The Ashwamedha sacrifice was performed to carry out territorial expansion.
Pattern of Society of Vedic Aryan
Settlement during Vedic Age: The literacy reference found in Vedic literacy & evidences gathered during archaeological excavation helped in understanding the character & pattern of human settlement during Vedic Age. During Early Vedic Age, the life was essentially was ruler but during Later Vedic Age towns had emerged.
Some scholar like G.C. Pandey & G.S. Ghunya are of the opinion that Early Later Age also lived into towns. This opinion based on reference found in Rigveda Samhita. In Rig-Veda, the term Grama occurs of times & Pur is used 85 times. Pur is interpreted as fortified human settlement during later periods. The tem pur used for towns & cities.
Rig-Veda contains reference of Chants & carts pulled by multiple horses. Such big vehicles require wide roads and the existence of wide roads in Early Vedic Age also indicates that settlement were not villages having Narrow Street. Closer examination of reference related to economic life & settlements in Rig-Veda Samhita clearing revealed that Early Vedic Aryan lived in villages; their life was nomadic as they used to move from place to place.
During Early Vedic Age, economic was pastoral, Aryan didn’t practice even agriculture. The pastoral life can’t support town & cities. The suffixes like punar (resettlement) & Pra (Vis) indicate Ounar (Vis) that Early Vedic Aryan changed their settlement from time to time. During Later Vedic Age towns emerged in area occupied by Vedic Aryans in form of political centers & commercial centers.
More than 30 settlement of Later Vedic Age have been excavated so far many of such settlement Ropar (Punjab), Nov (Rajasthan), Bhagvanpura (Haryana) Achichatra (Hastinapur-Mathura) & Atranjikhera (UP) has brought to light evidence of urban life. Archaeological evidences such as lapis lazuli, Chalcedony, Jasper, agate found from Later Vedic set indicate that Vedic Aryan were practicing Trade & Commerce with far of areas. These items were not naturally formed in geographical area occupied by Vedic Aryan.
Agates, Chalcedony were found in J & K, Gujarat & Madhya Pradesh. Lapis lazuli found in Badakshan Afghan. The Vedic Aryan lived in houses made in sum dried bricks, wood & grass, bamboos were used to make walls & roofs as revealed by evidences found at Ahichatra, Hastinapur Jakhera. At Bhagvanpura evidence of circular & rectangular huts has been design. A 13 roomed house was found at Bhagvanpura. It was probably occupied by s
Archaeological excavation has also discovered painted graveyard ports used by Vedic Aryan during Later Vedic Age wheel made. So far 42 design of pottery have discovered dish & bowl common. Number of iron object discovered during excavation. At Atranjikhera 135 iron object have been found in form of arrow head & spear head.