Vedic Period of Ancient India Short Note
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Concepts of Vedic Philosophy
- Atma (Soul) also called jeevalma or living soul. It is a pail of Paramatma or God. It is invisible and leaves the body after death.
- Karma (Deeds) refers to the good and bad actions a human commits during his life span.
- Pap and Punya (Demerits and Merits) Pap is the end result of bad deeds and Punya is the fruit of good ones. A human is sure to achieve happiness and satisfaction if he earns more punyas and is sorrowful if he commits more pap during his life span.
- Punarjanma (Re-birth) The soul never dies. It is reborn after each life span comes to an end.
The Purushartas of Vedic Philosophy
- Dharma (the Piety) actions of goodness.
- Artha (Means of living) earning for food, clothes, shelter as per the dharma.
- Kaama (Progeny) continuation of mankind through regeneration by family system.
- Moksha (Deliverance) liberation of the soul from the cycle of birth and death
During the second millennium BC, Indo-European-speaking semi-nomads, called Aryans, migrated in different phases. These pastoralists spoke what can be identified as an early form of Sanskrit. The language had close similarities to other Indo-European languages like Avestan in Iran and ancient Greek and Latin. The word ‘Aryan’ meant pure and they consciously attempted to retain their tribal identity and roots. They tried to maintain a social distance from other inhabitants. The Aryans belonged to the region near the Caspian Sea in central Asia. Perhaps, they entered India through the Khyber Pass around 1500BC in more multiple phases looking for new pastures. Zend Avesta, the holy book of Iran suggests that there is a possibility of entry of some Aryans to India through Iran. The word ‘Aryan’ has been derived from ‘ar’ which meant ‘foreigners’ or ‘strangers’ during the Vedic times. We find the first mention of the term Aryans in the Bagharkai Peace Treaty concluded in 1350 BC between the kingdoms of Mitanni and Hittites, to which the Aryan gods Varuna, Indra, Mitra and Nasatya were the witnesses.
The Aryans initially settled down in the region of Punjab and migrated towards the east and spread all over the Gangetic plain later on. The region occupied by the Aryans, extending from Afghanistan to Punjab and Western Uttar Pradesh, was termed as Sapta Saindhav which means the Land of the Seven Rivers.
- Early Vedic Age (1500 – 1000 BC)
- Six Systems of the Indian Philosophy
- Later Vedic Period (1000 – 600 BC)
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