The importance of Cow
Rig Vedic economy was primarily pastoral . They domesticated Pashu (which included cattle, horse and even human beings), as opposed to Mriga, i.e. wild animals. Cattle was synonymous with wealth and a wealthy person was called Gomat.
Cattle was so important that the terms of battle were derived from Gau itself, such as Gavisti, Gosu, Gavyat, Gavyu. Godhuli was a measure of time. Gopa and Gopati were epithets given to the king. Duhitri was the term used for daughter because she used to milk the cow. One of the four categories of gods was known as Gojata, i.e. cowborn.
When the Vedic people encountered buffalo in India they called it Gauri and Gavala or cow-haired.
The cattle obtained in raids were divided among the families. Cattle formed an important item of donation and it may also have formed a part of bali, the tribute given to the raja by the clan or vis members. The cattle in general and cow in particular was the main medium of exchange during the Rig Vedic period.
The economy was based upon agriculture. The people were well acquainted with the sowing, harvesting, threshing and various agro seasons. The people were pastoral, Cow was revered but the cows, and bulls were sacrificed too. The gifts to the priests were in terms of number of Cows and women slaves but NOT in measurements of lands.
Crafts and Metallurgy
All kinds of crafts were practiced. There were potters, Chariot makers, carpenters, and weaver and leather workers. The metal work was known as follows:
- Copper was known as “Ayas”
- Gold was known as Hiranya
- Iron was also known as was known as Shyama or Krishna Ayas.