The VEDAS: The
Aryan beliefs and daily life are described in the four Vedas, a
collection of poems and sacred hymns, composed in about 1500 BCE. Veda
means knowledge. The Vedas are composed of the Rig, Sama, Yajur, and
Atharva Vedas. This is why the period from roughly 1500 BCE to 1000 BCE is
called the Vedic Period. It is named after the Vedas.
The Ramayana & the Mahabharata: Around
1000 BCE, the Aryans started to create two marvelous epics. We know
about daily life during this period from these famous epics, the Ramayana
and the Mahabharata. These epics are stories about Aryans life, wars,
How did the Aryans live? The Aryans clans, or
tribes, settled in different regions of northwestern India. The tribes
were called Gana (literally a "collection" - of people). The
chief of each tribe was an hereditary job. If your father was the chief,
someday, you would be chief. It was the only way to become a chief. The
chief made decisions, after listening to a committee, or perhaps even to
the entire tribe. People had a voice, but the chief was the boss.
Aryan Houses: The people in the Vedic
period lived in straw and wooden huts. Some homes were made of wood, but
not until later, during the Epics Period.
Yagna (central fire-place):
The life of the tribal Aryans was focused around the
central fireplace called the Yagna. Dinner time was social time. The
tribe would gather around the central fireplace, and share news, and the
days happenings. Those who tended the central fireplace also cooked for
the rest of the tribe. This was a very special job. The fire tenders were
the go-between between the fire god and the people. These fire tenders,
later on, formed the caste of priests. The Aryans ate meat, vegetables,
fruit, bread, milk, and fish. The word for guest was Go-Ghna or eater
What did they do when they were not working
or fighting each other? The Aryans loved to gamble.
They introduced the horse to ancient India and raced chariots. They played
fighting games. They loved to tell stories. The ancient Aryans were proud
and fierce, and deeply religious. They had many gods and goddesses.
the Aryans settled in and began to grow crops, people started to have
occupations. In each tribe, people began to belong to one of four
groups: the Brahmana (priests), Kshatriya (warriors), Vaishya (traders and
agriculturists), and Shudra (workers). In the beginning, these were
just occupations. You could move from group to group. This changed over
time, until a person's occupation or group depended upon birth. If your
father was a farmer, you had to be farmer. Change from one group to
another became very difficult.
Education Kids were taught by a guru
(a teacher). Even chiefs sons had to obey the guru. All students
followed a rigorous course of studies which were imparted orally. Writing
was done on bark and leaves, and hence was perishable, so we have very few
rock edicts to tell us what they studied or what they wrote.
Clothing was initially made of animal skins. As the
Aryans settled down, clothing began to be made of cotton.