Later Vedic Age (1000-600 BC)

  • The history of the Later Vedic Period is based mainly on the Vedic texts which were compiled after the age of the Rig Veda.
  • The collections of the Vedic hymns or mantras were known as the samhitas.
  • All the Later Vedic texts were complied in the upper Gangetic basin in circa 1000-500 BC. These were called Painted Grey Ware (PGW) sites because they were inhabited by people who used bowls and dishes made of painted grey pottery.
  • The Later Vedic people practised gotra exogamy — marrying outside the gotra.
  • The term gotra literally means “cow shelter”.
  • The society was clearly divided into four Varnas, namely Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras.
  • The sabha and samiti continued to hold the ground, but they came to be dominated by chiefs and rich nobles.
  • In the Later Vedic Period, important changes took place in religio
  • Some of the minor gods of the RigVedic Period (e.g., Vishnu and Rudra) became important in the Later Vedic Period.
  • Signs of idolatry also appeared.
  • Pushan became the god of the Shudras.
  • Sacrifices became far more important and involved killing of animals as well.
  • Though the two epics — the Mahabharata and the Ramayana — were compiled later, they reflect the stateof affairs of the Later Vedic Period.
  • The Mahabharata, attributed to Vyasa, is older than the Ramayana and describes the period from the tenth century BC to the fourth century AD.
  • The Mahabharata was earlier called Jaya Samhita.
  • The Ramayana was attributed to Valmiki.

These are 18 in number.
The most famous Purana is the Bhagvata Purana.
Matsya Purana (related with the Andhra-Satvahanas dynasty) is the oldest .
Six prominent schools of Hindu Philosophy
(i) Kapila’s Sankhya
(ii) Patanjali’s Yoga
(iii) Gautama’s Nyaya
(iv) Kanada’s Vaishesika
(v) Mimansa (Jaimini’s Purva Mimamsa and Vyasa’s Uttara Mimamsa)
(vi) Vedanta