artisans did not have much scope for the sale of their products in towns they
moved to villages where they catered to the needs of the peasants who paid
them at harvest time in kind. The jajmani system was reinforced by the
charters which insisted on peasants and artisans sticking to their villages.
Monasteries and temples formed wide economic units, some of them
comprising more than a hundred villages. Apparently some villages supplied
grain, others cloth, and still others labour for the repair of buildings; or else
every village furnished part of these articles.
Role of Early Feudalism
The historical role of early Indian feudalism was significant for several
reasons. First, land grants served as an important means of bringing virgin
soil under cultivation in central India, Orissa and eastern Bengal. The same
was true of south India. All in all, early feudalism was a phase of great
agrarian expansion. Enterprising Brahmins were given useful employment in
the backward, aboriginal tracts where they could spread new methods of
cultivation. Some beliefs and. rituals sponsored by the priests helped material
progress among the tribal people. The priests taught the primitive people not
only the use of the plough and manure but also fostered agriculture by giving
them the knowledge of seasons and planets, especially of the recurrence of
the rains. Much of this knowledge was written down in the form of the Krisi-
Parasara, which seems to have been a product of this period.
    Second, land grants provided the administrative mechanism for
maintaining law and order in the donated areas, in which all such powers
were delegated to the donees. Both in the settled and backward areas the
religious donees inculcated among the people a sense of broad loyalty to the
established order. On the other hand secular vassals helped their lords by
governing their fiefdoms and supplying troops in times of war.
    Third, land grants led to the Brahmanisation and acculturation of the
tribal peoples, who were given scripts, calender, art, literature and a new way
of higher life. In this sense feudalism worked for the integration of the
country. One of the main reasons why the four varnas proliferated into
numerous castes and the number of the mixed castes shot up to about a
hundred according to the Brahmavaivarta Purana was the necessity of