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Society in the Atharvaveda

Of the Vedas the Atharvaveda, the Veda of the masses, is unique. Unlike the Rig, Sama and Yajur Vedas, the Atharvaveda delineates the life of the common man in the ancient Indian village community -- below

About This Book

Of the Vedas the Atharvaveda, the Veda of the masses, is unique. Unlike the Rig, Sama and Yajur Vedas, the Atharvaveda delineates the life of the common man in the ancient Indian village community -- the village farmer, craftsman and others who formed the core of the agriculturist society of the time. Modern scholarship has focused much on the vedatrayi but little has been written on the Atharvaveda.

Society in the Atharvaveda not only attempts to address the dearth of scholarly studies on the Atharvaveda but it is also perhaps, in recent years, the first ever study of the Atharvaveda from the point of view of the common people. The Atharvavedic verses throw light upon a wide range of themes and all these are discussed here: topics from farming and cattle breeding, village crafts, religion, daily preoccupations and fashions of the people, role of women and their problems in day-to-day life, crime and degenerative practices like adultery and gambling, to trade and travel means and routes, loan facility, taxation, political administration and man's response to his environment. The author traces this Veda as the source of many traditional folk songs that are sung even today by the common man at work in the villages. This systematic survey dispels the widespread notion that the Atharvaveda is subordinate to the vedatrayi; rather the author shows that it occupies an unrivalled importance in Vedic literature largely owing to its preoccupation with the life of the people at large.

The book abounds with Atharvavedic verses; a number of verses are cited to bring out each and every aspect of common life and living. With meaningful appendices, this scholarly work would provide interesting and useful research and reference material to Vedic scholars especially those keen on studying the 'Veda of the masses' in a fresh perspective.

  • Binding: : Hardbound
  • 13 Digit ISBN : 9788124600931
  • 10 Digit ISBN : 8124600937
  • Edition : 1st edition
  • Year : 1997
  • Pages : xvi, 160 p.
  • Size : 23
  • Weight (approx.) : 250
  • Bibliographic Details : Appendices; Bibliography; Index

Transliteration Chart

1. Introduction

The Atharvaveda
Relegation of the AV

Literature in the Old Age (c. 2500-0 bc) -- Literature in the Middle Age (c. ad 1-1700) -- Literature in the Modern Age (ad 1701-1990)

2. Economic and Political Life


Land Under Cultivation -- Water Supply -- Ploughing of Lands -- The Harvest


The Animals -- Management of Cattle Farms -- Precautions in Cattle-Breeding

The Loan Facility
The Village Craftsman
Other Workers
The Politcal Institutions

Sabha: The Assembly -- Samiti: The Legislative Council

3. Social Life

The House

Housebuilding -- Decoration and Prosperity

Food and Drinks
Clothes, Hair-Style and Make-Up, Ornaments
Fairs and Festivals
Bad Habits and Practices

Gambling -- Use of Abusive Language -- Adultery -- Miserliness

Violence in Society

Theft or Robbery -- Slaughter and Ravage -- Threatening, Terrorism, Kidnapping -- Poisoning -- Punishment

Religion and Worship
Folk Literature and Songs
Interaction Between Various Groups

The Vratyas -- The Panis -- Dasas and Dasyus -- Others

4. Feminine Life

Birth of a Girl
From Childhood to Marriage
Marriage Settlement
Problems Before a Newly-Married Wife
The Woman's Work

Pregnancy -- Delivery -- Maternal Love -- Barrenness

Relation Between Man and Woman

Subduing by Charms -- Amorous Desire

The Problem of Abandonment

5. The AV on Environment

The Natural Environment

Environmental Hazards -- Protection from Hazards

The Cultural Environment


Appendix 1: Vedic Mantras in Sanskrit Literature -- The Olde Age (2500-0 bc Approximately)
Appendix 2: Vedic Mantras in Sanskrit Literature -- The Middle Age (ad 1-1700 Approximately)
Appendix 3: Subject Wise Contribution of the AV-Seers
Appendix 4: India In the Atharvavedic Time -- Some Rivers, Regions and Tribes



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