Our deductions become less tentative from the time of the "Battle of Ten Kings" (Daśarājña), at which Sudās, king of the Bhāratas, defeated a confederacy of ten western Aryan tribes on the banks of the Paru&stod;&ntod;ī (modern Ravi) River. The battle is significant for several reasons: first, it marks a politi- cal frontier within the Sapta-Sindhavah region between the western and the eastern tribes on either side of the Paru&stod;&ntod;ī, the powerful Pūrus occupying the area between their nine western allies and their eastern adversaries; second, it reveals the formation of coalitions among the Aryans, a new political and social process leading to the emergence of several confed- erate nations (e.g., the Later Vedic Kurus, an amalgam of the T&rtod;tsus, Bhāratas, Pūrus, and others); third, it implies an ethno- graphic division between Aryans living between the Paru&stod;&ntod;ī and the Vitastā (Jhelum) and those to the west of either the latter or the Sindhu; fourth, it suggests an increasing accom- modation with the non-Aryan dāsas, inferred from the end- ing in the name of the victor, Sudās(a) and his predecessor Divodāsa; and, finally, it provides evidence of the increasing importance of the environs of the Sarasvatī and D&rtod;&stod;advatī Rivers, the stronghold of the Bhāratas, the much celebrated Kuruk&stod;etra of the Later Vedic literature.
On the assumption that the designations of the indigenous adversaries of the Aryans, like "dāsas," "dasyus," "pa&ntod;is," and others were generic terms, no attempt was made to plot them. Though one might be tempted to connect these "ill-favored," "bull-lipped," "flat-nosed," "dark-skinned," "phallus-worship- ing," and "town-and-fort-dwelling" Aryan adversaries with the inhabitants of Harappan archaeological sites, we have refrained from doing so.
The next historical stage is subsumed by the term "Later Vedic," which at once describes the sources and suggests a discernible change from the early Aryan mode of life. Our sources now indicate a shift in the regions of cultural develop- ment to the east of the Sarasvatī River, where the first firm foothold of the Aryans is revealed in the plains of Kuruk&stod;etra, between the rivers Sarasvatī and D&rtod;&stod;advatī in modern Haryana. This region has remained the "Holy Land" of the Aryans and of Hinduism throughout Indian history. Post-Vedic sources not only reaffirmed the special significance of Kuruk&stod;etra, they raised it to epic status. Aryans of different tribal associa- tions, including their priestly counselors and sages, endowed the Kuruk&stod;etra plain, Brahma&rtod;&stod;ideśa (Land of the Brahmanic sages) of the Sm&rtod;ti literature (1st century B.C.–3d century A.D.), with a hallowed identity never approached by that of any other culture core. In fact, among the celebrated places of the drainage basin of the Ganga none anchored the cultural identity of Brahmanism, or later of Hinduism, for so long as did Kuruk&stod;etra. The special symbolic importance of Kuruk&stod;etra was in turn imparted to the broad region of the Ganga-Yamuna Plain, of which it has always remained an integral part, and to the celebrated Madhyamā Diś (Middle Region), which in time was extended outward from Kuruk&stod;etra in every direction ex- cept northwest.
Early in the Later Vedic period the "divine" river, Sarasvatī. appears to have dried up and the nearby stony D&rtod;&stod;advatī could hardly sustain the mounting need for water for cattle and crops, the requisites for a growing settlement core. The Kuruk&stod;etra core expanded eastward across the Yamuna to the Ganga. There Hastināpura rose to prominence, becoming the capital of the Kuru people and the center of Kuru culture. Other im- portant subsidiary centers, like Indraprastha, were established by performing a fire sacrifice (yajña), which continued until a marked out area of forest had been consumed, along with everything in it. In certain areas, however, agricultural clear- ings and towns predated Aryan occupation.
From the early footholds in the Sapta-Sindhavah region the Aryans expanded eastward across the Gangetic Plain to Videha (in modern Bihar), carrying out explorations into regions as far away as the Bay of Bengal. The material and technology at their disposal during this time included fire, horses, oxen, chariots, carts, boats, and bronze tools, to which iron imple- ments were added during the 11th century B.C. The martial, seminomadic culture of the Aryans prevailed against that of various indigenous tribes, and many segments of the latter were incorporated in the social class known as Sūdras. A num- ber of clan and oligarchical tribal polities grew up, together with some widely separated settlement cores such as Ayodhyā, Kāśī, and Mithilā, established by families of pioneer warrior
The pattern of Aryan expansion south from the Yamuna River is less clear, and to piece together a coherent picture of what probably occurred in Late Vedic times it is necessary to supplement Vedic materials with evidence drawn from other textual sources and from archaeology. Hence, not all the names noted in the following paragraphs are to be found on map I.A.1 (a), which is drawn solely from Vedic sources, though most will be found on the maps that follow. The Epics and the Purā&ntod;as suggest that peoples of the Yadu clan, namely the Cedis, Vītihotras, Haihayas, and Sātvants, especially those emerging into prominence as the Bhojas and Da&ntod;&dtod;akas of Dak&stod;i&ntod;ā Padā (the Southern Country), were responsible for the Aryanization of certain areas now in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Orissa. While the routes and the chronological sequence are difficult to ascertain, it is probable that this group of Aryans lived in the vicinity of Mathura along the Yamuna River and were driven by the Kuru-Pa&nmacr;cālas to the south of the Carma&ntod;vatī (Chambal) River into the Cedi, Daśar&ntod;a, Avanti, Māhi&stod;matī, Surā&stod;&ttod;ra, Vidarbha, and Da&ntod;&dtod;aka regions of pre-Aryan sedentary agricultural settlements. In view of the Brahmanical branding of these Yadus as vrātyas, deviators from orthodoxy, one can infer their widespread in- teraction with indigenous tribes. The inadequacy of the sources precludes any determination of the nature of their encounters. It is also conceivable that various components of the Yadus were, in fact, later arrivals to the Yamuna region and hence constituted an Aryan group different from those of the Later Vedic literature. Archaeologists, however, have suggested that Indo-Iranian peoples moved into Malwa and regions farther south by way of Gujarat and southern Rajasthan. If that view could be related to the specific &Rtod;g Vedic association of the Yadus with the Parśus (Persians?), the traditional account of the Yadu clan's role in colonizing central India and the north- ern Deccan might gain additional ethnographic weight.
The penetration of the Deccan was also undertaken from the Ganga Plain by migrants from Kosala. The Rāmāya&ntod;a and Buddhist sources indicate that the pioneers included Brahman sages, traders, and warriors. This group created the domain of Assaka (Aśmaka) on the Godavari.
Among literary sources, the Aitareya Brāhma&ntod;a unfolds an- other pattern of Aryan expansion. It recounts an incident in- volving the sage Viśvāmitra's expulsion to the south of his fifty sons, who allegedly mixed there with the non-Aryan tribes of Pulindas, Sabaras, Andhras, and Mūtibas. It seems likely that the early Andhras, like the later Pallavas, emerged into promi- nence because of the northern association to which this tale is related.
Thus, some time before or about 800 B.C. Aryans had pene- trated and acquired knowledge of a sizable part of India. Most of the area at this time was forested and inhabited by indige- nous peoples, among whom the Nāgas and Dasyus received special attention in the Vedic texts. "Nāga" and "Dasyu" are, however, generic designations of indigenous peoples, and at- tempts to assign them to specific locales are therefore pre- cluded.
During the ascendancy of the aforementioned Kuru-Pañcālas in the western Ganga Plain we see the development of ideas of statecraft and the rudimentary accoutrements of govern- ment. There was a growing need for resources to exalt the office of the king and to perform elaborate and expensive rit- uals, royal ceremonies, and sacrifices (yajña). Later Vedic texts indicate that to respond to that need military campaigns were undertaken, the essential purpose of which was to pillage and gather booty. While these campaigns were not aimed at the formal acquisition of territory, they did help to establish a sphere of imperial hegemony. Within this expanding sphere, the Madhyamā Diś, or Central Country, the Brahmans developed an enormously complicated ritualistic culture that distinguished the area from the rest of the then-known subcontinent, which was perceived as belonging to four cultural regions: Udīcya (north), Pratīcya (west), Dak&stod;i&ntod;ā Padā (south), and Prācya (east).
The transition from the early simple religious culture to the more complex culture of the Later Vedic age had been fore- shadowed by the Late &Rtod;g Vedic "Hymn of Primeval Man" (Puru&stod;a Sūkta, R.V. x.90, dating from the 10th century B.C.). This describes the first cosmic sacrifice, from which ensued not only the creation, but also the social order of four classes: Brāhma&ntod;s (priests), K&stod;atriyas (warriors, rulers), Vaiśyas (peasants and traders), and Sūdras (laborers). Between the first two of these classes a symbiotic relationship arose. Though each sought dominance, the first did so in religious, social, and cultural affairs, while the latter was content with supremacy in the political, military, and economic spheres. Thus a disjunc-
In time, under the spiritual aegis of mystical Brahmanic teachers a new ontological vision was formulated. This vision, as expressed in the Upani&stod;ads, was based on the concept of brahman (the monistic principle of reality) and ātman (the self). The Upani&stod;ads further developed the theories of karma (the principle underlying the law of causation), sa&mtod;sāra (the cyclic process of transmigration), and meditation as a means of comprehending Ultimate Reality and attaining freedom from bondage (mok&stod;a). The religious and spiritual ferment persisted throughout the lives and teachings of the Buddha, of Mahāvīra, and of other teachers of the 6th century B.C. (see text for plate III.B.5). In the process it molded cosmological theories and, consequently, geographical thinking. The chart in the lower right corner of plate III.A.1, postulating a sym- metrical four-continent earth, probably represents the oldest formal cosmography in India, formulated in ancient Brah- mancial times and enduring into the Buddhist period.
The relevance of the foregoing paragraphs to major cul- tural trends is seen in the growth of cultural consciousness within India's first major culture region of historical persist- ence, the Madhyamā Diś (Middle Region), the firmly fixed hearth of an expanding Aryan culture. Concomitants of this expansion were the growth of Sanskrit as an interregional lin- gua franca; the establishment of Brahmanical religious sacri- fices and ritualistic standards as pan-Indian cultural ideals; the growth of Later Vedic literature and philosophy; the organi- zation of society according to the principles of hierarchy; and the advancement of political and geopolitical ideas and ideals relative to kingship and conquest. Of special significance were the royal ceremonies and sacrifices that not only consecrated the ruler and legitimized his rule in his kingdom but also ad- umbrated the types and gradations of rulers based on their relative power and the location of their regions with respect to Madhyamā Diś. Among the terms reflecting these rela- tionships were "rājan" (king), "ekarā&ttod;" (the sole monarch), "sārvabhauma" (the overlord), "samrā&ttod;" (the emperor), and "sāmrājya" (the empire). Also significant were the concep- tions of the "Earth" (P&rtod;thvī) (circular and surrounded by oceans) and the wide area within it (also called (P&rtod;thvī) which, to the Aryans, constituted the legitimate field of ac- tivity for the ambitious, the devout, and the commercially enterprising.
Foremost among the royal sacrifices was the aśvamedha (horse-sacrifice). This entailed letting a chosen sacrificial horse roam for a period of one year, followed by the king's warriors, whereby a claim was advanced to overlordship of all the areas traversed. The claim constituted an invitation to battle to any ruler who dared challenge it or who refused tribute in recog- nition of it. The aśvamedha thus institutionalized Vedic Aryan aggressiveness and sanctified war in pursuit of power and para- mountcy. Therein lay a scriptural basis for cultural, economic, and political interaction among regions.
The perception of Madhyamā Diś as a "Middle Region" led to a vague designation of the other broad cultural regions por- trayed on our map according to the four directions in which they lay with reference to it. Although there is no clear evi- dence of the idea of a civilized center surrounded by barbar- ians, on the analogy of the Chinese Chung-kuo ("Middle King- dom"), there appears to have been a definite expectation that peoples living in surrounding regions, including the Aryan kins- men of the Sapta Sindhavah, were to emulate the ritualistic culture and social norms of the "Middle Region" on pain of disparagement and denigration. Fear of the stigma of impurity and mixed origin, which might be applied to those who lived among the indigenous tribes and mixed freely with them, in- hibited the process of assimilation and may also account in part for the paucity of references to indigenous tribes and areas in the Brahmanical sacred texts. This may help explain the paradox of a dearth of geographic and ethnographic details in the Vedic texts, which relate to a known historical period, and the relative plenitude of such information in the Epics, whose dates are merely traditional. Similarly, it helps explain the con- trast between early Brahmanical and later Buddhist historical sources, to be considered in the text relating to plate III.B.5.
Sources (in addition to those in the General Bibliography)
Brāhma&ntod;as (1, 3, 4, and 6); G&rtod;ihyasūtras; J. Muir, ed. and trans. (1858–63); F. E. Pargiter (1913); Sacred books of the East (vols. 2 and 14, The sacred laws of the Aryans); Upanishads (a and c); Vedas (1, 3, and 5).
B. and F. R. Allchin (1968); P. C. Bagchi (1929); A. C. Banerjee (1963); S. C. Banerji (1962); L. D. Barnett (1913); A. L. Basham (1967); J. Basu (1969); M. L. Bhargava (1964); P. L. Bhargava (1971); H. C. Chakladar (1962); A. C. Das (1927); V. R. R. Dikshitar (1941); A. B. Keith (1925); B. C. Law (1924a), (1924b); N. N. Law (1965); A. A. Macdonell (1897); A. A. Macdonell and A. B. Keith