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STUDY NOTES FOR IAS PRELIMS EXAM 2018 ON HISTORY -The Aryans And The Vedic Age

STUDY NOTES FOR IAS PRELIMS EXAM 2018 ON HISTORY -The Aryans And The Vedic Age

To help students preparing for IAS Exam 2018, safalta.com has taken initiative to provide them topicwise study material. Adding another pebble to the foundation, here we are providing notes as well as practice questions on History asked in Paper I of UPSC Civil Service Prelims Exam. Go through the entire article and answer the sample questions to boost your preparation and gain command over the topic. 

The Aryans and The Vedic Age (1500 B.C. to 600 B.C.)

The Vedic text may be divided into two broad chronological strata, which also corresponds into two phases of Aryan expansion in India.
These two phases are :
The early Vedic period or EVP (1500 B.C. to 1000 B.C.), when Aryans occupied Saptsindhu region represented by Indus and its tributaries.
The Later Vedic Period (1000 B.C to 600 B.C), when the upper Gangetic doab became the area of activity.

Advent of Aryans
The Aryans seem to have lived in the Steppes stretching from Southern Russia to Central Asia. Rig-Vedie Aryans were a cultural community. They were distinguished by their common language called Indo-European languages, which are currently in changed forms all over Europe, Iran and the greater part of Indian subcontinent. Max Muller called them Aryans. They were mainly pastoral community and the horse played the most significant role is their life. We know about the Aryans in India from the Rig-Veda. The term Arya occurs 36 times in this Text.
Original Home and Identity: The word Aryan literally means of high birth. Veda means mantra and slokas and also knowledge and
conscience. The location of the original homeland of the Aryans is still controversial but the most accepted theory is that they migrated from central Asia in several groups between 2000-1500 BC and settled in eastern Afghanistan, modern Pakistan, Punjab and western U.P.. This region is popularly known as the land of seven rivers or ‘Sapta Sindva’. 

Vedic Texts :
The collection of the Vedic mantras was known as the Samhitas.
Four Vedas :
Rigveda : 

It is the earliest text of the Indo-European language. Rig-veda is a collection of prayers offered to Agni, Indra, Varun, etc. It consists of 10
mandalas of which 2nd to 7th (II to VII) are the earliest mandals 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 X mandala contains the famous Purushsukta which explains the four Karmas Soma. It has many things in common with the
Avesta, which is the oldest text in Iranian language. The third mandala contains the Gayatri mantra. Saraswati is the deity river in the Rig-
veda.

Samaveda :
It contains the hymns of the Rigveda which were set to tune for the purpose of recitation. Samaveda derives its roots from ‘Saman’ which
means melodies. The hyms of the Samaveda were recited by Udgarti at the sana sacrifice. It contains Dhrupad Raga. Origin of Indian music is traced to this text. 

Yajurveda :
It contains not only hymns but also rituals which have to accompany their recitation. It deals with the procedure for the performance of
sacrifice. The rituals reflect the social and political milieu in which they arose. It is written both in verse and prose. Two texts of Yajuveda–
Shukla and Krishna. Rajasuya and Vaiyapeya sacrifices are mentioned for the first time.

Atharva Veda :
It contains charms and spells to ward off evils and diseases. It is a book of magical formula. Its contents throw light on the beliefs and
practices of the non-Aryans.

Brahmans :
These are full of ritualistic formulae and explain the social and religious meaning of rituals. These are the prose commentaries on various
Vedic hymns. They explain the hidden meanings behind the hymns. They are ritualistic by nature. The most important is the ‘Shatapatha
Brahmana’ attracted to Yajur veda. It recommends one hundred sacred paths.

Aranyakas :
These are called forest books because they were written mainly for the hermits and students living in the jungles. These are the concluding
portion of the Brahmanas. They deal with philosophical doctrine on mysticism and not with rituals. It provides details of the rishis living in
jungle.

Upanishads :
These philosophical texts criticised rituals and laid stress on the value of right belief and knowledge. They emphasised the knowledge of self or Atman. They represented the strong reaction against rituals and priestly domination. They were compiled in the land of the Panchalas and Videha around 600 B.C. There are 108 Upanishads and the period of 800 BC to 500 BC is known as period of Upanishads.

Vedangas : They are the limbs of Vedas.
Vedangas are 6 in number.
1. Siksha — Phonetics
2. Kalpa — Rituals
3. Vyakarna — Grammar
4. Nirukta — Etymology
5. Chanda — Metrics
6. Jyotish — Astronomy
Kalpa is again divided into Srautasutra and Grihasutara. Srautasutra also contains sutra to which origin of Indian geometry is traced.
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Que. 1: Consider the following statements:
I. The Aryans seem to have lived in the Steppes stretching from Southern Russia to Central Asia.
II. The word Aryan literally means the rising sun.
III. Michael Zuma called them Aryans.
Which of the following is/are True?

a) Only II and III
b) Only I and III
c) Only III
d) None of These 


Que. 2: Consider the following statements:
I. The Aryans migrated from central Asia in several groups between 2000-1500 BC and settled in eastern Afghanistan, modern Pakistan, Punjab and western U.P.
II. The Aryans were mainly pastoral community and the horse played the most significant role is their life.
Which of the following is/are True?

a) Only II 
b) Only I
c) Both I & II 
d) All False


Que. 3 Which of the following statement is/are Not True?
I. Rigveda consists of 10 mandalas of which 2nd to 7th (II to VII) are the earliest mandals each of which is ascribed at a particular family of
Rishi Gritsamad, Viswamitra, Vama, Atri, Bharadwaja and Vashistha.
II. Ganga is the deity river in the Rig-Veda.
III. Samaveda derives its roots from ‘Saman’ which means melodies.

a) Only I
b) Only I & III
c) Only II 
d) All True


Que. 4 Which of the following statement is/are True?
I. Rigveda contains not only hymns but also rituals which have to accompany their recitation.
II. The hyms of the Yajurveda were recited by Udgarti at the sana sacrifice. It contains Chatuspad Raga.
III. Rajasuya and Vaiyapeya sacrifices are mentioned for the first time in Samaveda.

a) Only II and III
b) Only I and II
c) Only I and III
d) None of these 


Que. 5 Which of the following statement is/are True?
I. Brahmans are full of ritualistic formulae and they explain the social and religious meaning of rituals.
II. Aranyaks are the prose commentaries on various Vedic hymns.
III. The period of 800 BC to 500 BC is known as period of Vedas.

a) Only I 
b) Only I & II
c) Only I & III
d) All True

 

Answers:
1. (d)
2. (c)
3. (c)
4. (d)
5. (a)

 

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