March 9, 2014

Rigvedic Age - Bird’s eye view (Points to Remember)

  • Rigvedic age forms part of the proto-historic period of Indian history and belongs to bronze age like that of Indus Valley Civilization.
  • The only clear archaeological evidence outside India of the coming of Aryans in India is found at Boghazkoi in Asia Minor.
  • The first scholar to find out a similarity between Sanskrit and the principal languages of Europe was, Phillipo Sesseti.
  • But this similarity was due to a common racial stock it was suggested by Sir Willian Jones in his address to the Asiatic Society of Bengal.
  • The earliest Aryans settled in the Saptasindhava region i.e. the Land of the Seven Rivers.
  • River Sindhu was the ‘par excellence’ of the Aryans.
  • But of all rivers, Saraswati was the first and the foremost from religious and ritualistic point of view.’
  • In Rigveda Ganga has been mentioned only once while Yamuna is twice mentioned.
  • The Rigvedic Aryans knew Himalayas and one of its peak ‘Mujavaf was the source of Soma plant.
  • But they did not know Vindhyas and were not familiar with sea.
  • The Rigvedic Aryans were not familiar with tiger.
  • The term for family was ‘griha’ ‘Purusasukta is in the X Mandal of Rigveda and mentions for the first time the quadruple division of the society.
  • The Cosmic Man (primeval man), who sacrificed himself in the Purusasukla has been  identified with Adi Brahma (early Brahma) or Prajapati. The Purusasukta stated the evolution of this universe through the vast sacrifice of the Cosmic Man.
  • The Rigvedic Aryans were not familiar with iron, silver, cotton and rice. Ghosa, Apala and Visvavara were few women ‘seers’ who composed many Rigvedic hymns.
  • The Rigvedic Aryans faced four types of enemies in India viz; dasas, dasyus, asuras and panis.
  • An Aryan chief who empowered a ‘dasyu’ was called Trasadasyu. The Panis were more troublesome as they were cattle lifter.
  • Wheat and barely were the principle food of the Rigvedic Aryans.
  • Barley was called ‘yava’.
  • The Rigvedic king ruled his ‘jana’ (tribe) and not ‘janapada’ (territory).
  • Purohita (the chief priest) was the friend, philosopher and guide of the Rigvcdic king in all matters.
  • Vnijapati was the only officer who ruled over the territory i.e. the pasture grounds.
  • People gave only voluntary gifts called ‘bali’ to the chiefs.
  • Vrata, gana grama, sardha were the different tribal groups for military functions.
  • The Battle of Ten Kings (Dasrajana) was, fought on .the river Parushni (Ravi).
  • The confederacy of ten kings was led by the priest Vishvamitra.
  • The Panchajana’ of the Rigvedic society included Purus. Anus, Yadus, Turvasas and Druhyus.
  • ‘Satadaya’ (hundred cows) was the normal punishment for homicide. Bow and arrow was the usual weapon of the people.
  • The Rigvedic pottery has been called, as Painted Grey Ware.
  • Cow’ and gold were the principle medium of exchange-former in large transactions and latter is small transactions.
  • Gavishthi i.e. search for cows was the term for war in Rigveda.
  • Daughter was called ‘Dusites’ i.e. one who milks.
  • Cow was called ‘Aghanya’ meaning not to be killed.’
  • The term ‘gau’ (cow) has been mentioned 176 times in Rigveda.
  • The guest was called Goghana i.e. one who is fed on cow.
  • Wealthy person was called ‘Gomat’ .
  • The famous Gayatri Mantra is attributed to Savitri and is taken from Rigveda.
  • The Rigvedic Aryans visualised gods, mainly in anthropomorphic form.
  • Indra was also called ‘Sompa’ i.e. drinker of Soma.
  • Varuna was the guardian of Rits and was called ‘Rtasyagopa.
  • Solar gods included Surya, Savitri, Pushan, Usha, Vishnu etc.
  • The word ‘OM’ has been mentioned 1028 times in Rigveda.
  • The word ‘jana’ and ‘vis’ occur 275 and 171 times respectively in Rigveda, but Rajya only once.
  • Dice-playing was the most favourite game of the Rigvedic Aryans.
  • The king was called ‘gopa’ or ‘gopati’. The king was supposed to be the upholder of the established order and moral rules and in this capacity was called ‘dhrtavrata’.


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