The Vedic Civilisation

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The Vedic Civilisation

Introduction

The Vedic civilization is the earliest civilization in the history of ancient India. It is named after the Vedas, the early literature of the Hindu people.

The Vedic Civilization flourished along the river Saraswati, in a region that now consists of the modern Indian states of Haryana and Punjab. ‘Vedic’ is synonymous with Hinduism, which is another name for religious and spiritual thought that has evolved from the Vedas.

The Vedic Age is the “heroic age” of ancient Indian civilization. It is also the formative period when the basic foundations of Indian civilization were laid down. These include the emergence of early Hinduism as the foundational religion of India, and the social/religious phenomenon known as caste.

This period of India’s history lasted from around 1500 BC through to 500 BC; that is, from the early days of the Aryan migration into north-west India through to the age of the Buddha.

The Vedic culture occupies the most prominent place in Indian history. Its impact even on modern India is widely prevalent. The religion, philosophy and social customs of the Hindus who constitute the majority in India have their principal source in the Vedic culture.

The Origin of the Aryans

The origin of the Aryans is controversial. Different scholars have expressed different opinions regarding the original homeland of the Aryans and have tried to justify their contentions on the basis of history, philology, racial anthropology and archaeological discoveries.

India, Central Asia, South Russia, the plateau of Pamir, Scandinavia. Germany, Austria, Hungary etc. have been alternatively suggested as the original home of the Aryans, and yet there is no consensus on this question.

Ganganath Jha maintained that the original home of the Aryans was Brahmarishi-Desh, that is, India. D.S. Trivedi expressed the view that the area near Multan and Devika river was their original place. D.S. Kala says that it was the hilly region of the Himalayas and Kashmir.

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