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Vedic Culture (1500 BC to 600 BC)

•    It is believed that Aryans were migrated from Central Asia to India in many batches of people’s group sometimes from 2000 BC to 1500 BC.

•    The location of real home land of Aryan is still controversial.

•    Many historians believe that Aryans were Indian native, while several argue that Aryans were migrated from outside world to India.


•    According to Bozhakai Inscription there were 4 Vedic Gods, Indra, Varuna, Mitra and Nasatyas. This theory supports Central Asian Theory.

•    The group of Aryans that reached to India then settled around Sapta Sindhui i.e. Group of Seven Rivers. This region is now called Frontier Province and Punjab. Aryans lived here till many decades moving towards shores of Ganga and Yamuna rivers.


Vedic Literature (1500BC – 600BC)


•    It is believed that Rig Veda was written when Aryans were residents of Punjab.
•    The Vedic Literature consists of four different literatures- a) The Samhitas or Vedas; b) The Brahamanas; c) The Aranyakas; and d) the Upnishads.
•    The Vedic literature grown with the passages of time; these literatures also called Shruti meaning to hear.
•    The Vedas are considered most important Vedic literature; these are also called Apaurasheya meaning gifted by God to humans and Nitya means presented in all time without end.
•    There are four types of Vedas – a) Rig Veda; b) Sam Veda; c) Yajur Veda and d) Athrva Veda. First three collectively called Vedatrayi meaning trio of Vedas.
•    Reg Veda is the oldest text in the world and hence believed as the first testament of mankind. It contains 1028 hymns divided into 10 mandalas.
•    Mandals 2 to 7 i.e. 6 Mandalas are called Gotra or Vamsha Mandalas or Kula Grantha. The 1st and 10th Mandalas are believed to be added at later stage.
•    The Sam Veda also called the book of chants contains 1549 hymns of these 1474 were taken from Rig Veda. This Veda makes the backbone of Indian music. All hymns of this Veda were recited by Hotri.
•    The Yajur Veda is literature of sacrificial prayers; the hymns written in this Veda recalled during rituals. All hymns were originally recited by Adhvaryus.
•    The Yajur Veda is divided over two parts a) Krishna Yajur Veda and b) Shukla Yajur Veda
•    The Athrva Veda contains literature which is believed when recited ward of evil spirits and disease. For long time this was not considered as Veda. This Veda also called as Book of Sacrificial Prayers.
•    The hymns of different Vedas are explained in Brahmanas. Every Veda has several Brahmanas associated to it.

Vedas and Related Brahmanas


•    Rig Veda – Aitarey and Kaushitiki / Sankhyan
•    Sam Veda – Panchvisha, Shadvinsh, Chhandogya and Jaiminaya
•    Yajur Veda – Shatapatha and Taittariya
•    Atharva Veda – Gopatha

The other popular literature from Vedic Period is Upnishads. These are philosophical text also called Vedanta. There are 108 Upnishadas. The oldest of all Upnishads is Vrihadaranyak.

Literature of Vedic Tradition (600BC to 600AD)

There were 6 popular literatures during Vedic Tradition- a) Sutras or Vedangas; b) Smriti Dharmashastras; c) Mahakavyas or Epics; d) Puranas; e) Upvedas and f) Shad-Dharshanas.

Vedangas

There are 6 Vedangas as detailed below
•    Shiksha (Phonetics)
•    Kalpa Sutra (Rituals)
•    Vyakarana (Grammar)
•    Nirukta (Etymology)
•    Chhanda (Metrics)
•    Jyotisha (Astronomy)

6 Famous Smritis of Vedic Period

•    Manusmriti
•    Yajanvalkaya Smriti
•    Narad Smriti
•    Parashara Smriti
•    Brihaspati Smriti
•    Katyayana Smriti


Epics of Vedic Period


There are two Mahakavyas or Epics form

1. The Ramayana written by Maharishi Valmiki; also known as Adi Kavya, it consists of 24000 Shlokas distributed over 7 Kandas. The first and seventh Kandas were to lateral editions.

2. The Mahabharata written by Maharishi Ved Vyas; it’s the longest epics of the world consisting of 100000 Sholaks. Shanti Parvan is the largest Parvan or Chapter of the Mahabharata. Bhagavad Gita is extracted out from Bihshma Parvana of Mahabharata.

Mahapuranas


Theres are 18 Mahapuranas named below –

Agni Purana; Bhagavata Purana; Bhavishya Purana; Brahma Purana; Brahmanda Purana;
Brahmavaivarta Purana; Garuda Purana; Harivamsa Purana; Kurma Purana; Linga Purana;
Markandeya Purana; Matsya Purana; Narada Purana; Padma Purana; Shiva Purana; Skanda Purana; Vamana Purana; Varaha Purana; Vayu Purana; Vishnu Purana

Upvedas


•    Ayurveda - Sciences relating to LIFE and MEDICINE
•    Dhanurveda: This Upveda explains Spiritual sciences like PURUSHARTHA, DUTIES, DEEDS, etc and also Material sciences like CIVIL and MILITARY defense, war and politics.
•    Gandharva Veda: Gandharvaveda is the science of music, derived from the Sama-Veda, and we have already dealt with this subject briefly, while dealing with the Vedaanga of Chhandas.
•    Shilpa Veda (Sthapatya Ved): It deals with architecture and various arts.
•    Artha Veda: Artha-Veda is the Upaveda of the Atharva-Veda, which deals with social, economic, and political systems.

Schools of Indian Philosophy


•    Samkhya, a strongly dualist theoretical exposition of mind and matter, that denies the existence of God.
•    Yoga, a school emphasizing meditation closely based on Samkhya
•    Nyaya or logics
•    Vaisheshika, an empiricist school of atomism
•    Mimamsa, an anti-ascetic and anti-mysticist school of orthopraxy
•    Vedanta, the logical conclusion to Vedic ritualism, focusing on mysticism. Vedanta came to be the dominant current of Hinduism in the post-medieval period.

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