Rig Vedic Age / Early Vedic Period
(1500 – 1000 B.C.)
The Rig Veda refers to Saptasindhu or the land of seven rivers, includes the five rivers of Punjab, namely Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej along with the Indus and Saraswathi.
The basic unit of political organization was kula or family.
The leader of grama was known as gramani.
A group of villages constituted a larger unit called visu, headed by vishayapati.
The highest political unit was called jana or tribe. There were several tribal kingdoms during the Rig Vedic period such as Bharatas, Matsyas, Yadus and Purus.
The head of the kingdom was called as rajan or king.
The king was assisted by purohita or priest and senani or commander of the army in his administration.
There were two popular bodies called the Sabha (a council of elders and the latter) and Samiti (a general assembly of the entire people).
The Rig Vedic society was patriarchal, basic unit of society was family or graham.
The head of the family was known as grahapathi.
Women were given equal opportunities as men for their spiritual and intellectual development.
There were women poets like Apala, Viswavara, Ghosa and Lopamudra during the Rig Vedic period.
Wheat and barley, milk and its products like curd and ghee, vegetables and fruits were the chief articles of food.
The social divisions were not rigid during the Rig Vedic period as it was in the later Vedic period.
There was no child marriage and the practice of sati was absent.
The Rig Vedic Aryans were pastoral people and their main occupation was cattle rearing.
They were having the knowledge about iron and its use .
Trade was an important economic activity and rivers served as important means of transport.
Trade was conducted on barter system. In the later times, gold coins called nishka were used as media of exchange in large transactions.
The Rig Vedic Aryans worshiped the natural forces like earth, fire, wind, rain and thunder.
There were no temples and no idol worship during the early Vedic period.
The important Rig Vedic gods were Prithvi (Earth), Agni (Fire), Vayu (Wind), Varuna (Rain) and Indra (Thunder).
Indra and Agni were the most popular among all the gods of the early Vedic period.
Varuna was supposed to be the upholder of the natural order.