Vedic Culture (1500 BC-600 BC)
  •  Aryans were migrated from outside [Central Asia (Max Muller)/Europe/Arctic region B.C. Tilak]. 
  •  Boghazkai inscription (Asia Minor, Turkey) p r o v e s C e n t r a l A s i a n T h e o r y a s t h e i r homeland.
  •  The group that came to India first settled in the present Frontier Province and the Punjab–then called Sapta Sindhu, i.e. region of seven rivers. 
  • Vedic literature comprises four literary productions: (1) The Samhitas or Vedas; (2) The Brahmans; (3) The Aranyakas; (4) The Upanishads. 
  • There are four Vedas–Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda. The first three Vedas are jointly called Vedatrayi, i.e. trio of Vedas. 



RIGVEDA


  • The oldest religious text in the world.
  •   Collection of hymns, composed around 1700 BC, contains 1,028 hymns and is divided into 10 mandalas. 
  • The third mandala contains the G a y a t r i Mantra. 
  • Saraswati is the deity river in the Rigveda. 
  • Rigveda consists of 10 Mandalas of which 2nd to 7th are the earliest Mandalas each of which is ascribed at a particular family of Rishi Gritsamad, Viswamitra, Vama, Atri, Bharadwaja, Vashistha. VIII Mandal is ascribed to Kanvas and Angiras. IX Mandala is the compilation of soma hymns.
  •  The 10th Mandala of Rigveda contain the Purushasukta hymn which tells about the origin of caste system. 


SAMAVEDA (BOOK OF CHANTS) 


  • It is a collection of melodies. The hymns of the Samaveda were recited by Udgatri at the Soma sacrifice. • It contains Dhrupad Raga. 


YAJURVEDA


  •   The beliefs and rituals of non-Aryans are written in it.
  •  Two texts of Yajurveda are: ƒ Shukla (White) Yajurveda ƒ Krishna (Black) Yajurveda.


ATHARVAVEDA


  •   It is book of magical formula.
  •   M e n t i o n e d o f t h e G o t r a i s f o u n d i n Atharvaveda.


 THE UPANISHADS


  •  Also called Vedarita because they denote the last phase of the Vedic period.
  •   They define the doctrine of Karma, Atman (soul), Brahma (God), and origin of Universe.
  •   There are 108 Upanishads and the period of 800 BC to 500 BC is known as the period of Upanishads.
  •  11 are predominant and they are called mokhya Upanishadas.


 VEDANGS


  • They are the limbs of the Vedas. These are treaties of Science and Arts. 
  •  There are six Vedangs: i. Shiksha (Phonetics) ii. Kalpa Sutras (Rituals) iii. Vyakarana (Grammar) iv. Nirukta (Etymology) v. Chhanda (Metrics) vi. Jyotisha (Astronomy) 
  • Panini wrote Ashtadhyayi (4th century BC) on Vyakarana. 


BRAHMANAS


  •  T h e s e a r e t h e p r o s e c o m m e n t a r i e s o n various vedic hymns.
  •  The most important is the ‘Shatapatha Brahmana’ attached to Yajurveda. 


THE ARANYAKAS


  •  The sages dwelling in the forest explained the Vedic scriptures to their pupil in the form of Aranyakas. 


UPAVEDAS


  •  There are four Upavedas: 
  •  Ayurveda (Upaveda of the Atharvaveda)
  •   Dhanurveda (Upaveda of the Rigveda)
  •   Gandharvaveda (Upaveda of the Samaveda). 
  •  Sthapatyaveda (Upaveda of the Yajurveda) PHILOSOPHY There are six systems of Hindu philosophy, given by six philosophers of ancient India.
  •   Nyaya (analysis) Gautama 
  • Vaisesika Kanaad • Sankhya Kapila
  •   Yoga (application) Patanjali
  •   Purva Mimansa Jamini
  •   Uttar Mimansa Vyasa PURANAS
  •  It refers to the change in the mode of worship (from sacrifice to idol worship) and visual appeal of deities as against worship of ideas.
  •  There are 18 famous ‘Puranas’. Matsya Purana is the oldest Puranic text. 



SUTRAS


  •  Sutra literature is divided into three classes: ƒ Srauta Sutra–Dealing with large public sacrifices ƒ Griha Sutra– Dealing with rituals connected with birth, naming, marriage ƒ Dharma Sutra–Explain social and local customs 

SMRITIS


  •  Dharma Shastra is the other name for smritis, which are the law books written in shloka form. 
  •  Manav Dharma Shastra or Manusmirti is the oldest and most famous. Manu is supposed to be the first king and law maker. 


EPIC


  •  There are mainly two Mahakavyas (Epics): i. The Ramayana (Valmiki): It is known as Adi Kavya (the oldest epic of the world). At present, it consists of 24,000 shlokas. ii. The Mahabharata (Ved Vyasa): The longest epic of the world. At present, it consists of 1,00,000 shlokas, i.e., verses in 18 Parvans, i.e., chapters, plus the Harivamsa supplement. Bhagavad Gita is extracted from Bhishma Parvan of Mahabharata. Shanti Parvan is the largest parvan (chapter) of the Mahabharata.