by later Vedic texts (1000–500 BC), though so
clearly show post-cremation burials dating to the period between 600 and 300
The Vedic texts speak of burying the bones after cremation. The Srauta
Sutras and the Grihya Sutras provide for the collection of the bones, and the
Satapatha Brahmana prescribes the burial of bones and erection of a
smasana or tumulus on it. Both Rig Veda and Atharva Veda show that
animals were commonly burnt with the dead bodies of human beings. The
funeral rite of the Rig Veda shows that a goat was burnt along with the dead
body. According to the Atharva Veda a working ox was burnt with the dead
Male dominance is an important trait of Indo European society.
Anthropologists attribute patriarchy to the masculine qualities needed in
plough cultivation and to the control of female sexuality. But since horse
riding also required masculine qualities, it may equally, together with
ploughing, have led to male dominance. That the society was phaliocentric is
attested to by early Indo-European terms and laws. The ancient Indian law
givers hold that a woman is never independent. Male dominance is clearly
indicated by early Avestan and Greek texts also.
The word veda is derived from the root vid, which means to know, signifying
‘knowledge par excellence’. It is specifically applied to a branch of literature
which is declared to be sacred knowledge or divine revelation, that is sruti.
Though the hymns of the sruti are attributed to several rishis (sages),
tradition maintains that these hymns were merely revealed to the sages and
not composed by them. Hence, the Vedas are called apaurusheya (not made
by man) and nitya (existing in all eternity), while the sages are known as
mantradrashta, that is inspired seers who saw or received the mantra by sight
directly from the Supreme Creator.