The Vedic civilization flourished along the banks of river Saraswati between 1500 BC and 500 BC. There is not much information about how the Vedic era had started. But according to the Rig Veda, Aryans invaded India during this era. The Aryans established a civilization that was completely different from the Indus Valley Civilization. As a result, the Vedic Civilization was established. The Vedic era is considered the golden era of classical Sanskrit Literature. The Vedic era ended with the establishment of the Mauryan Empire. The Middle Kingdoms of India replaced the Vedic Civilization.
Some Interesting Facts
The Vedic Civilization had diminished not because of outward pressures but because of natural disasters. This was proved by Kenneth Kennedy in 1994. The four Vedas namely Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharva Veda are the main literary treasure of the Vedic Era. This is also the reason why we know this age as the Vedic era. A large part of Rig Veda, the first Veda is similar to Indo- Iranian texts. However, such similarity could not be seen in any other scripture.
The Different Stratas of Society
The society was mainly divided into four groups in the Vedic culture: Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and shudra. The Brahmans had the first position in the society followed by Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Shudra. Most noteworthy is the fact that the Brahmans began at the same level as Kshatriyas, but they became so influential that they slowly secured the first position. As the importance of religion increased, priests became more and more important. Also, the families used to be patriarchal. Child marriages were unknown. During the Vedic Civilization, women were respected and some enjoyed even the status of Rishis. Moreover, Some of the girls had the privilege to study along with the boys.
Economy and Culture
During the Vedic era, the majority of people were primarily occupied in cattle rearing and agriculture. The barter system prevailed and coins or any currency was not used. People would exchange cows or grains to buy other things. Another common occupation was making arts and crafts. Hunting was also a famous way to earn a living. People also pursued jobs like fishing, Pottery making, weaving, tanning, metal-working, and carpentry. Copper is the only metal whose traces could be excavated from the Vedic era. Men and women wore turbans during this era. People of the Vedic Civilization were very enthusiastic about ornaments.
The Vedic Civilization which flourished along the banks of the Saraswati river laid the foundation of a diverse culture. Different tones and melodious music were developed using various musical instruments. Skilled dance performances were practiced and given. Ancient Ayurveda was developed during this era. Today a lot of diseases are cured using ancient Ayurveda. The study we do today of various subjects was also known in the Vedic era. Vedic people could calculate the sums and differences of squares. The zero had been discovered. The decimal system was also in use. Cubes, cube roots, square roots and under roots had also been discovered.
During this period Mathematics has been called by the name Ganita. Arithmetic was called Anka Ganita, Geometry: Rekha Ganita, Algebra: Bija Ganita, Astronomy and Astrology as Jyotisha.
Education during the Vedic Civilization
The word ‘Shiksha’ has been frequently used in the Vedic scriptures. People learned holy texts in the Vedic civilization as a part of education. The education was divided into two parts :
About society: It involved studying about social aspects.
Philosophical: It was related to intellectual pursuits for achieving salvation.
The main emphasis of education during the Vedic era was to lay emphasis on attention, concentration, and yoga. Education for the future existence was blended in due proportion to achieve spiritual elevation. Education for the future existence was blended in due proportion to achieve spiritual elevation. It enabled the individual to arise from the deep slumber of the worldly illusion.
The Vedic Civilization saw the expansion of agriculture. Thus, it laid the foundation of civilization in all parts of the country. The civilizations that followed were a result of the intermixing of the Indo-Aryans with the pre-existing inhabitants of India. The Vedic Civilisation gave rise to a number of legendary empires in the with a lot of knowledge but patriarchal societies like the Maurya Empire.
Do you Want to know more about Vedas? Read – First Shloka of Rig Veda