The Vedas and Puranas are often referred to together, but they belong to two different periods. The Vedic Period and the Puranic Period. The Vedas—four in number—are the oldest written text whereas the Puranas—eighteen in number—came much later. Moreover, the subject matter that they deal with is also different. In this excerpt, we will discuss about the Vedic Period in India.
The Vedic Period
The Vedas contain the knowledge of the cosmos and the universe around us. The Supreme Lord revealed this directly to ancient saints and seers while in deep meditation, during the Satya Yuga when the man was in total harmony with nature. The basic elements, the panchabhootas, were then in perfect balance. The seasons turned from one to the other with precision.
The Vedic period society
Men established the first organized society during the Vedic age. They also framed the Social customs and traditions. Other than that, they also laid the Duties and responsibilities of all members of society and tenets for a happy family were spelled out.
Overall people were well organized during the Vedic period in India. Humans were spartan and disciplined. Life was simple, smooth, and free from stress and mental turmoil. Human thoughts were pure and well-meaning, and the power of spoken words was at its best. The concept of ashirwad or blessings and Shaap or curse was in vogue.
Establishing dates can be tough
For this reason, no avatar took birth during the Vedic period when God revealed the Vedas to the rishis. The Vedic gods represented the forces of nature, such as Agni, Vayu, Varuna and Indra. However, it is difficult to date the Vedas as they were passed on orally for thousands of years before being finally penned.
Difference between Vedic period and Puranic period
The Vedas contain hymns and mantras whereas the Puranas relate stories about original clans, kings and the people they ruled, together with details of the society they lived in. Both the Indian epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, belong to the Puranic age. The Puranic gods are Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma, Durga, Ganesh, Hanuman and so on. Vishnu’s avatars—Vamana, Narasimha, Rama and Krishna—took birth during the Puranic age.
The knowledge contained in the Vedas is objective and definitive whereas the content of the Puranas is philosophical and subjective. The tantra school, the text of the Vedic period rituals, came about in the Puranic age; no tantra existed in the Vedic age.