a common ancestor and united by a common
term kula is not mentioned independently even once, but the word kulapa is
mentioned once.
    In the later Vedic period, many tribes (Janas) were amalgamated to form
rashtras or janapadas (territorial kingdoms), thus replacing tribal authority
by territorial authority.
Rajan or Tribal Chief
There is reference to kingship being hereditary among the Purus for four
generations, and among the Srinjayas for ten generations. Kingship during
the early Vedic period was a human institution and the doctrine of divinity
was unknown in the Rig Veda. Only one king, Purukutsa, has been described
as ardhadeva (semi-divine). Though the chief’s post was hereditary in most
cases, he did not exercise unlimited powers and had to reckon with the tribal
assemblies in the Rig Vedic period. There were even some instances of
election by the samiti (tribal assembly). His functions included protecting the
tribe’s cattle, fighting its wars, praying to gods on its behalf, and the like.
    In the later Vedic period, royal power increased due to the amalgamation
of tribes and increase in the size of kingdoms. The king performed various
rituals and sacrifices to strengthen his position. They included rajasuya,
(consecration ceremony which conferred supreme power on the king),
asvamedha (horse sacrifice which was meant to establish his supremacy over
his neighbours) and vajapeya (chariot race which was meant to re-establish
his supremacy over his own people within the kingdom). The Aitareya and
Satapatha Brahmanas mention the names of some monarchs, who performed
the asvamedha sacrifice such as Para of Kosala, Satanika Satrajita and
Purukutsa Aikshvaku.
    The rajasuya sacrifice consists of five major rituals or ceremonies: (a) the
ratnahavimsi (which is the most important ritual throwing light on the
political organisation of the later Vedic period and in which the different
ratnins or jewel-holders/royal officials invoke different gods or goddesses),
(b) the devasuhavimsi (making offerings to divinities), (c) the
abhisechaniyam (sprinkling ceremony), (d) the ‘investiture’, and (e) the
‘beating’ ceremonies. In the vajapeya or chariot race, normally seventeen
charioteers, including the rajan, participated.