There are four Vedas – Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda, and Atharvaveda. The oldest Veda is the Rigveda, composed about 3500 years ago. The Rigveda includes more than a thousand hymns, called sukta or “well-said”. These hymns are in praise of various gods and goddesses. Three gods are especially important: Agni, the god of fire; Indra, a warrior god; and Soma, a plant from which a special drink was prepared.
These hymns were composed by sages. The Rigveda is in old or Vedic Sanskrit, which is different from the Sanskrit we learn nowadays. It was written down several centuries after it was first composed and printed less than 200 years ago.
Horses were yoked to chariots that were used in battles, which were fought to capture cattle, land, and water, and to capture people.
Yajnas were those people who did sacrifice by offerings of ghee, grain, and in some cases, animals to the fire in the name of gods and goddesses.
We describe the people in terms of the work they do, the language they speak, the place they belong to, their family, their communities, and cultural practices.
There are two groups described in terms of their work the priests and rajas. Rajas generally, sons did not automatically succeed fathers as rajas.
Two words to describe the whole community. These were Jana and Vish. The word Vaishya comes from Vish. Several names mentioned by reference to vish or Jana are Puru Jana or vish, the Bharata Jana or vish, the Yadu Jana or vish, and so on.
The people who composed the hymns described themselves as Aryas and called their opponents Dasas or Dasyus. Later, the term dasa and the feminine dasi came to mean slave. Slaves were the people who were captured in war.
The Rigveda was composed in the northwest of the subcontinent.
These stone boulders are known as megaliths (Big stones). These were carefully arranged by people and were used to mark burial sites. The practice of erecting megaliths began about 3000 years ago and was prevalent throughout the Deccan, south India, in the north – east and Kashmir.
Generally, the dead were buried with distinctive pots, which are called Black and Red Ware. Also found were tools and weapons of iron and ornaments of stone and gold, skeletons of horses, and horse equipment.
Inamgaon is a site on the river Ghod, a tributary of the Bhima. It was occupied between 3600 and 2700 years ago. Here, adults were generally buried in the ground, laid out straight, with the head towards the north.