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Sources of Ancient Indian History

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Religion –

Texts since ancient times, as India has been a  religion-oriented country or the spiritual one, three religious streams i.e. Vedic, Jainism, and Buddhism flowed here.  The Vedic Dharma Grantha is also called the Brahmin Dharma Grantha.

The Brahmin Dharma Grantha include the Vedas, Upanishads, Aranyakas, Brahmanas are termed as ‘Shruti Samhita’ as they are what has been heard. Shruti has been termed as ‘Apaurusheya’ which means they are not created by human beings. Smriti texts are what has been remembered i.e. Vedas, epics- Mahabharata & Ramayana, Puranas, etc.

Veda –

Veda is an important Brahmin religious book.  The word ‘ Veda’ means ‘knowledge’, Mahātgyana means ‘holy and spiritual knowledge’.  The word is derived from the Sanskrit term ‘Vid’  which means ‘to know’.  The composer of the Vedas was Krishna Dvaipayana.  Krishna Dvaipayana received the title of Ved Vyasa which refers to a person who classified Vedas.  It is from the Vedas that we get the initial information about the Aryans, and these people considered the Vedas to be divine.  The total number of Vedas are four – Rigveda, Samveda, Yajurveda, and Atharvaveda. Rigveda:- The ancient Veda among the four Vedas, provides information about the political system and history of the Aryans. Rigveda means knowledge that is rooted in the verses.  The entire book is divided into 10 mandalas. In the order of mandalas, the divisions are divided into Anuvak, Sukta, and  Mantra or Richa.  There are 85 Anuvakas and 1028 Suktas in ten mandalas.  The 1028 Suktas include 11 Balkhilya Suktas.  All the suktas of the Rig Veda are the Ritchas (number of mantras 10,552 (about 10, 600). Each of the Rigveda Ritcha is also named along with the sages and deities associated with it. The male authors of the Suktas include Gritsamad, Vishvamitra, Vamadeva,  Atri, Bharadwaja and Vashistha and female composers are Lopamudra, Ghosha,

alapa, Vishvavara, Sikta. Among female composers, Lopamudra is the chief one.  She was married to Agastya Rishi. The verses of the second and seventh mandala of the Rigveda are the most ancient, while the first and tenth mandalas are added at the end. The appendix of the handwritten copy found in the eighth mandala of the Rigveda is called ‘Khil’.  The Gurus of the Rigveda are authentic sources of information about the then civilization and culture.

The Rigveda is the oldest creation not only of India but of the whole world.  It dates back  1500 to 1000 BCE.It was probably composed in the Sapta-Saindhav region.  The similarity is found in the Rigveda and the Iranian text ‘Zenda Avesta’. The majority of the Rigveda contains eloquent hymns of the gods, although they contain very little solid historical content too.  Like the ‘Dasaragya war’ at one place, which happened between Clan of Bharat  and Puru Clan , is described in the Rigveda.  The leader of the Bharata Janas was Vashistha, the chief priest of Sudas, while his antagonist was Vishwamitra, the priest of the union of the ten people (Arya and Anarya).  In addition to five people in the union of ten people – Alin, Pakth, Bhalansu.  The kings of Shiva and Virasin were included.  Bharat Jan Dynasty Tritsujan, whose representatives were Devdas and Sudas.  Bharata’s leader king Sudas defeated the confederacy of ten kings on the banks of the Ravi river( Parushani river) and rose to the rank of Chakravarti ruler of Rigvedic India.  In the Rigveda, there are descriptions of five communities- Yadu, Druhu, Turvash, Puru, and Anu.  The mantras of the Rigveda were chanted by the great sages on the occasion of yagyas.

The Rigveda has five branches – Shakal, Bashkal, Ashwalayan, Shankhayan, and Mandukayan.

The total number of mantras in the Rigveda is about 10600.  Later added Dasam Mandal, known as ‘Purusukta’, first time mentions Shudras.  Apart from this, Nasadiya Sukta (information about creation, information of Nirguna Brahma).  The Vivaha sukta(composed by sage Dirdhamah), Nadi Sukta (the last river Gomal mentioned), Devi Sukta, etc. are described in this mandala.  In this Sukta, there is also a sense of the explosion of the Advaita stream of philosophy.  Soma is mentioned in the ninth division.  “I am a poet. My father is a Vaidya. Mother is about to grind food” This statement is in this mandala.  The popular Gayatri Mantra (Savitri) is also mentioned in the 7th mandala of the Rigveda.  Vashistha was the author of this board.  This congregation is dedicated to the deity Varuna.

Vedas are four  Rigveda:

1. It is a collection of the Ritchas.

2.  Samaveda:- It is a collection of Geeti / Roop Mantras and most of its songs are taken from the Rigveda.

3. Yajurveda:- It consists of descriptive sentences for Yagyaanushthan.

4. Atharvaveda:- It is a collection of tantra – mantras. Samaveda – The word ‘Sama’ means’ Mantras are compiled in a lyrical way. Samaveda was sung to praise the gods.  In the Samaveda, there are 1875 hymns, with the addition of 75 taken from the Rigveda.  These hymns were sung at the time of Somayagna.  The three important branches of the Samaveda are the Kaudhuma, Jaiminiya, and the sharanaika.  Samaveda has been an important contributor to the history of Indian music.  It can be called the origin of Indian music.  Jaimini, the disciple of Veda Vyasa, is the first sage of the Samaveda.

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