Ancient India


It is the oldest religious text in the world. Also called as the first testament of mankind. It was composed during 1700 B. C. It is a collection of hymns by a number of priestly families, recited at the time of sacrificial rites. It contains 1017 hymns and is divided into 10 mandalas. The 10th mandala contains purushasukta that explains the 4 varnas. (Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra.


Has 1603 verses. These are meant to be sung at the time of soma sacrifice. It is a collection of melodies.


It is a ritual Veda. It prescribes the ritual for performing sacrifice.

White yajurveda-contains mantras.

Black yajurveda-contains commentary in prose.


Latest Veda. Divided into 10 kandas (books) and has 711 hymns. It tells how to ward off evil spirits. It is also called as ‘Book of magical formula’.

Brahmanas: Explains the hymns of vedas in orthodox manner. They are written in prose and are ritualistic.

Aranyakas: The word itself means ‘forest’. It was written for students and hermits living in the jungle.

It deals with philosophical doctrine and mysticism and not with rituals. They lay emphasis on meditation and their stress is on moral virtues.

Upanishads:  Derived from word ‘upanish’means to sit down near someone. It mainly devotes a student sitting near a guru. The treatises prepared are called as upanishads. These specify philosophical knowledge and spiritual learning. These are called Vedanta because they denote the last phase of Vedic period. There are 108 upanishads Composed by several learned saints between 800 and 500 B. C. Some of the famous upanishads are Aitereya,Kausitki, Taittariya, Brihadasanyaka, Chhandogya and Ken. The language of upanishads is classically Sanskrit.

Devanampiya : a term that indicates the king. Meaning: beloved of the gods.


Chandragupta Maurya :Founder of Mauryan dynasty. Whit the help of Chanakya, also known as Kautilya, he overthrew the Nandas and established the Mauryan dynasty.

Megasthenes :Greek ambassador sent by Selecus to the court of Chandragupta Maurya.

Indika : Book that gives information about the administration, society and economy of Maurya times.

Arthashastra : Written by kautilya, It provides authentic information about Mauryan administration and economy.

Mahajanapadas : The Mahajanapadas were a set of sixteen kingdoms that existed in ancient India. It all began when the tribes (janas) of the late Vedic period decided to form their own territorial communities, which eventually gave rise to new and permanent areas of settlements called ‘states’ or ‘janapadas.’ These expansions helped some of these ‘janapadas’ turn into large states or ‘mahajanapadas.’ Most of these ‘mahajanapadas’ were monarchical in nature, while some of them were democratic states. These included Kasi, Kosala, Anga, Magadha, Vajji or, Mall

Sabha and Samiti

These were two assemblies that are mentioned by the Rigveda and Atharvaveda as also the Chandogya Upanishad, the other being Samiti. These two bodies limited the King’s Powers to a significant extent, particularly his Executive powers. The Sabha was a constitutional body during the Vedic period which also existed later.

Jainism :

At the age of 42, Vardhamana gained full enlightenment and became a Jaina, “conqueror”, and he was known as Mahavira, a title meaning “the great hero”, and became the leader of Jainism. Vardhamana was the 24th and the last Tirthankara,

Jainsm has a set of five vows: nonviolence, truth-speaking, non-stealing, no sexual immorality and non-attachment to worldly things. Self denial, self mortification and austerity are the ways by which the karma of all past actions is exhausted and one can get into nirvana after death.

Buddhism :

Siddhartha Gautama, born in Lumbini (in present-day Nepal) during the 5th century BCE. was the founder and leader of Buddhism. The Buddhist way of life are peace, loving, kindness and wisdom. Buddha explained that all our problems and suffering arise from confused and negative states of mind, and that all our happiness and good fortune arise from peaceful and positive states of mind. He taught methods for gradually overcoming our negative minds such as anger, jealousy and ignorance, and developing our positive minds such as love, compassion and wisdom.

Mauryan emperor Asoka the Great encouraged Buddhist missionary activity.Dhammamahamatras were special officers appointed by Emperor Ashoka in order to spread and enforce the principles of dhamma.

The Four Noble Truths 

  1. The Truth of Suffering
  2. Origin of suffering is that greed and aversion result in suffering
  3. Cessation of suffering is that putting an end to this greed and aversion is the end of suffering.
  4. Path Of Liberation from suffering is the noble eightfold path

The Noble Eightfold Path 

  1. Right View
  2. Right Intention
  3. Right Speech
  4. Right Action
  5. Right Livelihood
  6. Right Effort
  7. Right Mindfulness
  8. Right Concentration