the raja claimed affinity and communication
brahmins. The balance between the king and the priest was sometimes not
clear; although it would appear that it went in favour of the brahmins. These
rituals were meant to concentrate power and thus, encourage the transition to
kingship. A reflection of this power is seen in the janapada, the territory
associated with the jana and named after the ruling kshatriya clan.
Societies described in early sources have also been compared to
chiefdoms, some of which eventually evolved into states ruled by kings. The
distinction between the early raja and rajanya and the later kshatriya and
raja are distinctions which can be seen less in the terms used and more in
their context. Chiefdoms, although distinct from kingdoms, are not altogether
dissimilar since some facets from the first develop more fully in the second.
Tribute is collected but not in the form of a regular system of tax as in states.
Religious and political authority functions through more effective control
over people, rather than mainly over resources which had been regarded as
belonging not to individuals but to a descent group, that is, those who trace
connections through kinship. The legitimisation of power is also intensified.
Thus, the Vedic period saw a change from the lineage system (most
closely represented by the data of the Rig Veda) to a combined lineage and
householding economy (as suggested by the Later Vedic texts). In the post-
Vedic period, the sharper stratification of the chiefdoms of the middle Ganga
valley was in part, a continuation of the lineage system, but it was also
closely linked to the tendencies encouraging state formation.
Geographical Knowledge of Rig Vedic and Later Vedic Times
Geography of the Rig Vedic Period (1500–1000 BC)
The Rig Veda is the only source to give us an idea of the geographical
expanse of the Early Vedic Period. Aryans were confined to the area which
came to be known as the ‘Saptasindhu’ or ‘Saptasindhava’ (land of the seven
rivers) comprising the modem day eastern Afghanistan, Punjab (both Indian
and Pakistani), and parts of western UP. According to Max Mueller, these
seven rivers are the five rivers of the Punjab along with the Indus and the
The Rig Veda mentions the following rivers: Kubha (Kabul in the modem
times), Krumu (Kurram), Gomati (Gumal), Sindhu (Indus), and its five