Mahajanapadas The Early Hindu Kingdoms

Life in Mahajanapadas


Grihapatis have managed the agriculture land. They work along with their family members in the fields. They also employed slaves and workers. Some Grihapatis had more land and employed more slaves. They treated as the village head and sometimes the king appointed them as the Tax collectors. The law and order were in hands and judge the disputes among the people. The potters made the pots for cooking and storing grains. Carpenters who made carts, furniture, ploughs and weavers wove cloth for the villagers. The grihapatis had not such skills so they gave them grains in return for their products.

Cities in Mahajanapdas:

The cities were mainly inhabited by the poor workers. The crafts man had a lot of demand, they made good crafts for sale. Slaves and servants took a large part in the cities. The potters made the beautiful and fine pots. They had great demand in all Mahajanapadas. The pots were only sourced to store the grains during the rainy season. The weavers woven the fine clothes, which had a lot of demand, the rich people bought at high costs. The Goldsmith made the gold and silver jewellery. The kings and noble people were the main sources to them. They also made the copper and bronze vessels, used decorative purpose in rich houses. Beside of these, many professionals were in progress, like horse trainers, sweepers, water carriers, accountants, soldiers and wood carvers. So the cities in Mahajanapadas were the places for many craft persons. The great traders visited these cities and purchased the products of the crafts persons. They also brought their country articles and sold them in Mahajanapadas. The merchants visit the caravans to sell the Oxen, donkeys and camels. Like the purchase and selling method, they got huge profits.

Kings of Mahajanapadas:

Generally, Mahajanapadas were ruled by the kings. They maintained their own army to ensure the people to follow their orders. The kings built beautiful palaces in the capital cities of Mahajanapadas and lived in them. They build strong fortresses of wood, stone, brick and mud. For these constructions, they need a lot of money. So that they imposed the taxes on cultivation and other income sources. With the taxes, they paid salaries to the soldiers and brick makers. Thousands of men and women also participated to build the buildings on the agreement of paid wages. The village head men and other officials have followed the orders of kings.

Expand of Mahajanapadas:

Many kings wanted to be more powerful and wealthy. For the increase of wealth purpose, they impose high taxes on the people. For strengthen the power, the kings do the wars to conquer neighbouring kingdoms. Generally, Grihapities suffered a lot because of taxes. The Grihapatis had to divide their crops into six equal parts and give one part to the king. The craftsman also pays taxes, however, they work free of charge for the king for one day every month. The hunters in the nearby forest areas too had to bring forest products to the king. Some of the taxes were probably collect in the form of coins. Sometimes the kings encouraged the head men to collect the taxes on their own.

Religion Formation During Mahajanapadas Period:

Mahajanapadas and the cities were situated on the bank of the river Ganges. The people belonged to different backgrounds. They were artisans, herders, hunters, gatherers, Vedic people and others. They interacted with each other learnt each other’s religious practices and ideas and adopted them. Thus a new mixed religious culture developed in which people performed Vedic sacrifices. So they worshipped fire, sun, rivers, goddesses, animals like monkeys, elephants, snakes and trees. They also worshipped their ancestors and believe that souls continued to live even after the death of the body and were reborn. These thoughts made to reborn again different religions.