Little is known about Indian society during the Vedic period because of inadequate archaeological evidence. It is believed that India was now inhabited by peoples of two distinct cultures: an indigenous group (often called Dravidians), and the Aryans who were of the same stock as the nomads who inhabited the heart of the Eurasian continent. The Aryans were wandering herdsmen without the settled lifestyle, permanent architecture, and systematic urban planning observed in the Indus civilization. They invaded India, imposing their social and philosophical ideas and introducing a pattern of life that was to persist for centuries. During this time period two groups of religious scriptures came into existence – the Vedas and the Upanishads – which had a profound effect on the development of Indian culture, thought, and religion.
The people speaking aryan langauages settled in North-West India around 1500 B.C. that is after the periods of Harappan civilations. The Aryans flourised in the fertile province of today’s Punjab, which they called the Region of Seven Rivers or “Sapta-Sindhu”. Then in some course of time Aryans have moved from Saptasindhu Region to the river valleys of river Ganga and Yamuna, where several tiny kingdoms were etablished.
Chaturvedas: A remarkable feature of the Vedic civilazation is their literature at that times. They had composed beautiful poems since the earliest times. Through their literature we get the knowledge of their social life and philosophy. The “Rigveda” is the first composition of the time. The “Rigveda” consists of verses composed in praise of the different forces in Mother Nature looked upon as deities. The other three vedas are “Yajurveda”, “Samaveda” and “Atharvaveda”. The ” Yajurveda” provides information about sacrifices in prose. The “Samaveda” provides guidance on the singing of Rigvedic verses with the set rhythms and tunes. The Samaveda is believed to be the foundation of Indian Cultural Songs and Music. The “Atharvaveda” consists of philosophy and lists solution to day-to-day problems, anxieties and difficulties. It also includes information on Medicines and Herbs.
Brahmanas: After the Vedas, the second-most important literature of Aryans is the Brahmanas. They were composed to illustrate the use of Vedas in sacrificial rituals. Each Veda has independent Brahmanas.
Upanishads: The term “Upanishad” indicates knowledge acquired by sitting close to the teacher. This consists of discussions on several problems such as creation of the universe, the nature of God, the origin of mankind, etc.
The period of the composition of “Rigveda” and the subsequent literature upto the “Upanishads” is approximately 1000 years. This period is divided into two parts – The Vedic (from 1500 BC to 1000 BC) and the Later Vedic (from 1000 BC to 600 BC).