Saturday, 9 August 2014



BEGINNING OF MONARCHY IN INDIA

IKSHVAKU -THE FOUNDER OF THE DYNASTY

The first historically important king of India was Ikshvaku  said to be a son of mythical Manu Vaivasvata. He is the founder and ancestor of Sun dynasty .  He is reported to have set up his colonies at a number of places and expanded the sphere of influence of the Aryan tribes by  struggles, conquests and colonization. The Ramayana   clearly describes Ikshvaku as the son of Manu.

Ikshvaku was undoutedly one of the earliest and most important Indo-Aryan monarchs of India, but he is speculated by some scholars (including Max Müller) as having been not a descendant of Manu but the chief of a tribe called Ikshvakus located on the upper reaches of river Indus. He also finds mention in the Rig-Veda (X.60.4.6), where he is described ‘as rich and dazzling’ and  his rule is stated to be glorious and full of splendour. The Aryan civilization was established and spread over the Sapta Sindhu  region by king Ikshvaku. He established the first stable monarchy after the Deluge, in the early Bronze age probably in the same period the Indus Valley Civilisation was taking shape.   The Ramayana supports this view when it says clearly that the first kingdom was established only after the Satya yuga though the Aryan tribes are said to be dominating the Sapta sindhu region for over  sixty centuries as the modern researches confirm

Ikshvaku established the rule of law - a law grounded in grace and justice - developed and heralded a golden age during which time Arya-vartha, the Aryan homeland, became a paradise on earth. He is considered one of the wisest, bravest and greatest kings ever. Ikshvaku was also a contemporary of Persian king Jamsheed and king Ukusi of Sumeria. He is said to have defeated the materialistic Panis,who were occupying Afghanistan .Panis later known as Phoenicians  were maritime people and business magnates who always quarrelled and fought with the Indian Aryans,  living on the banks of the Indus and that the latter knew them as Panis.

 Professor. L.A.Waddell ( 1854-1938 ) finds Ikshvaku to be identical with  king Ukusi, the  first Sumerian king of the first Sumerian dynasty of Kish Chronicle, and with king Agushe and dates his period from 3378 BCE to 3349 BCE . Egyptian king Menes also seems to be  ruling at the same time.   Modern consensus dates the era of Menes or the start of the first dynasty between c. 3100–3050 BCEDr.Beneditti, an eminent Italian scholar places  the accession of Ikshvaku in 3197 BCE.

It thus suggests, on the basis of the  comparative study of the ancient civilizations from Egypt to China, that the parameters of  the  recordable historic events of all these nations  were evolved almost at the same time sometimes in the 4th  millennium BCE and not earlier. Thus there is no reason to doubt the historicity of Ikshvaku and the establishment of Aryan monarchy in India,sometimes in the period 3300 –3100 BCE., on the basis of available evidence ,literary and archaeological.  . 

Col. James Tod is also of the opinion that the monarchies of Egypt, China and Assyria were established later to the Aryan kingdoms of Sun and Moon .

His kingdom, most probably, lay in the Upper Indus Valley, on both sides of the river Indus or it may be that he was having a colony to the west of the Indus too, guarded by high mountains in the region of  north –west. 



Wednesday, 2 July 2014

KING HARISHCHANDRA OF SOLAR DYNASTY


KING HARISHCHANDRA OF SOLAR DYNASTY

King Harishchandra was the most loveble son of Trishanku, and the 34th king of the Solar dynasty.
His legend is very popular and often told as a benchmark for an ideal life. He was renowned for his piety and justice. His name in Sanskrit means "having golden splendour". He had two unique qualities - the first being, he kept his word and never went back on what he uttered as a promise; the other being, he never uttered a lie in his life. These twin qualities were tested heavily in his lifetime by various circumstances that led him to penury and separation from his family. But he stood by his principles in the face of all ordeals and persevered to become a symbol of courage.
Though reduced to a state of utter helplessness by the sage Vishwamitra – as the Puranic story goes - Harishchandra never lost his humility, faith or his honour.  Later Vishwamitra  narrated the origin and the consequence of the feud between Vasishta and himself which were the cause of the sufferings of Harishchandra and his family and thus called it all an illusory drama.  It seems the powerful  and arrogant clergy in collusion with inimical forces  dislodged the noble king and he had  to spend some youthful years in exile in the neighbouring Varanasi but he regained his throne with strong public support after defeating the designs of his rivals. His capital lay between Ayodhya and Varanasi, probably on the banks of river Gomti.Many mythical episodes  were later coined  casting aspertions on his truthfulness by zealous rivals of no significance.
 This simple historic fact was later mythologised and the name of venerable sage Vishwamitra was dragged in the story only to vilify him. An attempt was made earlier  also by the insurgents with a great military force during the reign of Asitbahu – about eight generations earlier
 King Harishchandra stands as a beacon of truth amongst  all the illustrious and renowned kings of India. He, as already stated, stood steadfast in his determination to do his duty in the face of severe obstacles, impediments and difficulties that would have deterred any other ordinary mortal.
He was a very just and caring king, loved by all his subjects. There was no want in his kingdom and people lived in comfort and happiness.  Ancient records reveal that  he had  performed a Rajasuya  yajña  and  was acknowledged as an emperor. Harishchandra's character is indelibly etched in the minds of the Indians and his story is of perennial interest. It will last for as long as the value of truth lasts. It illumines our life. It was this story which helped Prince Yudhishtra to get over his adversities. It  occurs in the Mahabharata and also in the Puranas, and has been repeatedly immortalized  in poetry, cinema and in drama. It took its origin in the early literature, flowed through the Puranas, ran into cascades of poetry, and has continued to enrich the life of our people. He was succeeded by his son Rohita or Rohitashwa.
Harishchandra lived the life of truthfulness and soon became renowned as “Satyavrata” – an observer of truth.


Tuesday, 14 August 2012



ORIGINS OF MOON DYNASTY-ILA THE PROGENITOR

 The traditional Indian history knows of many different streams of rulers, tribes and people but they are being placed  in two main and distinct groups - the two royal magnificent races, which at the dawn of history came to be called the Solar and the Lunar races or dynasties  -  supposed to have been originated from the two main heavenly bodies Sun and Moon as the ancients believed in the cosmic origin of their rulers.
The Lunar dynasties (Chander-vansh)  claim their descent from the divine Manu Vaivasvata through Ila, his daughter, as their progenitor. They established themselves in the Saraswati region around 3,500 BCE, at the beginning of the Early Bronze Age , called the Golden Age coeval with the Treta Yuga. Col. Tod  counts forty seven descents between the common ancestor Yayati and Yudhishtra, the last Kuru king at the end of the Mahabharata war in about 1500 BCE.
Many dynasties bifurcated from the prominent kings. The ancestors of  Panchalas and Kurus had come from across the river valleys of Sindhu and it is because of this reason that they were originally called Sindhus derived from the river Sindhu which later changed to Indu and Indu being a name for moon, they became known as Indu or Lunar people.  Some of the famous and illustrious kings of this line are Pururuvas, Nahusha,Yayati, Puru,Yadu, Bharata, Kuru, Shantanu, and Yudhishtra. Numerous also were the succeeding generations, and very abundant were the descendants and their ruling places

Territories of the Lunar Kings

The Lunar dynasty kings ruled from the Saraswati region. Their territories extended from  the river Saraswati to Ganga, a vast area indeed ( later expanded to river Gomati in the east and Ravi in the west)  This fact is  also corroborated by the accounts in the Mahabharata which places the lunar kings on the Saraswati. The well known British Indologist, H.H. Wilson, on the basis of his dedicated researches in the ancient Sanskrit texts, also came to the same conclusions. 

The Saraswati river is  repeatedly mentioned in the Rig-veda, which makes it clear that the region of the Saraswati was a prime area of the Vedic people situated probably between Sutlej  and Saraswati, stretching in an arc from Gujarat in the southwest to Bihar in the east..

 Ila the Progenitor

 The glamorous princess Ila is mentioned as the  progenitor of the line of kings of this dynasty . She was the loving daughter of the divine Manu, a terminology used in the epics to mention an untraceable unknown origin in the remote past   Tradition holds that Ila was the eldest among the children of Manu and she was appointed   sovereign of the seven Dwípas by her father..There are reasons to speculate that Ila was a tribe name, originally inhabiting the regions of a river Ila located somewhere in the upper Indus valley, in the north western region in the close proximity of the dominions of king Ikshvaku. She is said to be a sister of Ikshvaku, thus making her a contemporary of Sun dynasty founder. Later Ila established her main capital city on the left bank of the Sutlej at a place called Aila-dhana, now identified with the present day Ludhiana in the Punjab. This ancient place finds mention in the Ramayana as well ( Rm II / 71  ). It literally means the ‘seat of Aila or Ila’s son’ and indeed  the oldest extant site. The descendants of Ila were  called as Ailas but later her son Pururuvas, came to be  known as the founder of this dynasty. The Mahabharata (Sabha Parva, 14) mentions  about the Ailas.

 Myth of double personality

Princess Ila or Ella is an androgynous  in Aryan  literature  known for her double personality. As a man she was known as Sudyumna, and as a woman-Ilā, considered as the chief progenitor of the Moon or Lunar Dynasty of Indian kings. According to another account, found in the Vayu Purana, Ilā was born female and remained a female. The Matsya also states that no change of sex took place in the first instance. The sex change of Ila is one of the  fantastic  myths coined to explain an important event which the  later day authors and interpreters did not understand.  The  commentators  too could not grasp the real historic event. Ila the progenitor  of this line has been represented to have been miraculously changed into a man Sadyuman-  to explain the puzzle as to how her son Pururuvas could be both her son and the son of Budha  at the same time and in the process they got utterly confused. They mixed up the real  celebrities with the heavenly bodies and mythologised them, conveniently forgetting that they were vilifying their own ancestors.

Flirtation with Saka Prince

In the historical context, Ila, the gracious and  glamorous princess was very fond of hunting and outdoor picnics in the picturesque valleys of the Meru hills. Some of the Scythian tribes were also concentrated in the north western regions including Afghanistan at that remote period of time. Scythians are a branch of the Indo-European family and were very important people during those days.  One day, while having a stroll in the splendid gardens of her realms with her attendants, she reached the Sharavan forest at the foothills of the Meru mountain (north Kashmir) where she chanced to meet  an  handsome prince named  Bodin or Wodin, of  the Scythians probably bordering the Aryan territory. She fell in love with him and they agreed to  get married.  In those days of remote antiquity there was no taboo on sex and the Society was free. Flirtations and Intra racial affairs and freedom to chose one’s life partner were  common. From their wedlock a son named Pururuvas was born.
This name Bodin was sanskritised as ‘Budha’, but mistaken by ignorant interpreters to mean the planet Mercury, son of Soma, the Moon.These  obviously are interpolated names which have entirely distorted a real event. They are clearly the personal names and should not be confused with the planetary names. She stayed there for a number of years and gave birth to a son later to be called Pururuvas (one who roars majestically). Later, Ikshvaku, her brother, made peace with the Scythians and allowed her husband Bodin to have his residence in his own Aryan dominion. He was helped to establish a kingdom of his own with the capital at a place called Pratisthana  which is not yet clearly identified, but  which in all probability could be located near or close to the dominions of Ikshvaku. Pratisthana literally means ‘ a new capital ’ . Like Aila-dhana,it has to be  in the Sutlej- Saraswati Doab and the scholars have identified it with a present day town of Patran, situated on the right bank of Ghaggar-Saraswati, a few kilometres from Patiala on the road to Hissar. A mound locally called Chichadwala Theh is imposing enough to agree with the antiquity attached to it. An ancient mound about forty feet high and extensive in area with a lake around reminds us of the antiquity of this site.( Punjab History Coference-18th session) . His territory seems to have extended to the main Saraswati region as a place known as Ilaspada or Ilayaspada, situated on the confluence of Saraswati and Drishadvati rivers, is said to have been named after Ila and it may have been the seat of power of Ailas in the earliest days.

The Scythian Connection

It will be relevant to quote here Col. Tod who has thoroughly researched the subject:

“Interestingly, the Scythians claim their origin from a virgin born of the earth  (Ella ) of  the shape of a woman from the waist upwards and below a serpent,a symbol of Budha or Mercury and that Jupiter had a son by her,named Scythes whose name the nation adopted. Scythes had two sons, Palas and Napas (the Nagas- lit.: the snake race). They led their forces as far as the Nile in Egypt and subdued many nations. Budha, the son of Indu the moon, became the patriarchal and spiritual leader of the tribes migrating to Europe ”.






Sunday, 1 July 2012


 PASSING AWAY OF LORD KRISHNA -End of an Era

 Lord Krishna belonged to the royal family of the Yadus of Mathura, and was the eighth son ,born  to the princess Devaki and her husband Vasudeva, while they were in captivity in a prison cell in the custody of Kamsa. Mathura was the capital of the Yadavas, to which Krishna's parents Vasudeva and Devaki belonged. He lived on this Earth planet for 125 years from 1600 to 1475 BCE

Krishna tells Arjuna that as a warrior, it's his dharma to fight. He should not worry about death, which is only one small step in the great and endless cycle of life. One neither kills, nor is killed. The soul merely casts off old bodies and enters new ones, just as a person changes garments. Death is mere illusion (maya). This message has never lost its relevance, it is embodied in His philosophy of karma yoga, the principle of action. This is his transcendent legacy, - the Bhagavad-Gita, the greatest poem ever written. Its central message imparted to Arjuna at the climactic moment before the battle is well known and still worth  emulating. He was the savior of Draupadi when she was in distress. He was the greatest diplomat and strategist of his times. The Pandavas could not have won the war without his active support and tacity.

The end of Sri Krishna was somewhat unexpected. There was a calamitous internecine war in which almost the whole Vrishni clan had perished. Krishna had survived the holocaust and decided to spend the rest of his life in prayer and contemplation in the forest. While asleep in the forest (as is generally believed), a hunter by name ‘Jara’ accidentally shot him with an arrow, mistaking him for a deer. He realized his terrible mistake and begged Krishna’s forgiveness. Krishna, fatally wounded, forgave his assailant and gave up his life. 
This is only allegorical.  Interestingly, ‘jara’, in Sanskrit, signifies 'infirmity’, 'old age’, 'decay’  etc.; thus Krishna left for his heavenly abode as ordained by cosmic order and no one could dare shoot an arrow on him,  an ‘Incarnation of the Divine’
That was the end of the grandest figure perhaps in all of history, He is God incarnate to many, but for everyone the following words of Bhisma give a true measure of the man and his life:
Krishna is the greatest warrior and the greatest scholar. In the entire world it is not possible to find another man endowed with such an abundance of virtues. And yet he is modest, compassionate and generous… Where there is Krishna, there is victory. Victory is second nature with Krishna. It follows him like a shadow.
Krishna is worshipped as a god in India and there are thousands of temples dedicated to him all around  the country and  even abroad.
In the words of Sanjay, the loyal and noble minister in the Mahabharata:“Wherever there is Krishna, there is justice;  where there is justice there is victory” (Sanjay telling his monarch Dhritrashtra, -  Gita,18 ,78).



Tuesday, 26 June 2012


      BATTLE OF TEN KINGS AND ITS TIMEFRAME


It  is  famously  called  the ‘Battle of Ten Kings’ and is found mentioned in the seventh mandala of  the Rig-veda, throwing due light on the then prevailing political scenario. The alliance of ten kings, supported by numerous individual champions and smaller forces, invaded Bharatas and Sudas,and sought to displace and destroy king Sudas of the Bharata tribe.  This alliance was in fact a confederation of the Vedic and non-Vedic peoples. Many of them had been allies of Sudas and traded with the Bharatas and were friendly with them but goaded by lust of power, they turned against Sudas.  Being a righteous king, with the support of his people who loved him and respected his leadership, kindness and generosity, he chose to fight. He was also supported by the spiritual mentorship of his guru, the legendary sage Vasishta. And so, upon a stormy day by the banks of the river Ravi, the battle was fought.
In this Battle of  Ten Kings all the people of the Rigvedic India were involved. There were five tribes to the west of the Indus, the Alinas  of modern Kafiristan, the Pakthas, (Pashtu) the Bhalnases, (Bolan/Baluch) , Par´su (Persian), Pr.thu (Parthian),the Sivas and the Vraisnins and a number of them who are unmistakably Iranian: There were non-Aryan people also, viz. the Ajas, Sigrus and Yaksus who joined this coalition. Rishi Vishwamitra was the  prime priest of this coalition, against Sudas. Vasishta was the guiding  priest of the group of which Sudas was the leader.Vishwamitra had an old history of enmity with Sudas’ own adviser, Vasishta, and had an axe to grind by instigating this attack on Sudas and the Bharatas.
In this battle that was fought on the banks of the river Parushni (identified with the present-day river Ravi)  the Bharatas emerged victorious, utterly routing the confederacy. Thus the Bharatas were able to become supreme of all the Rigvedic tribes  then ruling. Vitahavya, the great grandson of the Haihaya king Sahasrabahu, was also an ally of Sudas. The Dasharajnya War, or “The Battle  of Ten Kings”, was a turning point in the history of India because it firmly re-established the dominance of the Puru-Bharata dynasty over smaller royal dynasties and tribal chieftans in the Sapta-Sindhu region going west towards the present-day Afghanistan/Persia and east towards the present day Uttar Pradesh beyond Yamuna.  This Puru-Bharata dynasty provided the continuity of leadership which is documented in the ancient scriptures,  particularly  the Rigveda.  After the Battle of Ten Kings, many inhabitants of India got scared and out of fear migrated westwards into Iran and beyond.( RV- VII:18,19,33,83)
The War Towards West and East
The war comprised at least two notable battles:
1.The Parushni River Battle on the western border of the Bharata  kingdom-  the  first main  battle;
2. The Yamuna River Battle on the eastern border of  the Bharata  kingdom.
Sudas’ defences were attacked on the east by King Bheda (and his  allies Ajas, Sigrus and Yaksus),  while Sudas  himself was occupied on the Parushni.  Sudas  came out victorious. An estimated 6660 warriors were killed.This group of ten may have been led by king Chayamana (of Abhivarta - present Iran ?).  Sudas took over the main area on the Saraswati and north, east and west of it.
Sudas’s capital city was on the Saraswati river and his dominions extended from the Yamuna in the east to the Ravi in the west. After the war he penetrated further west and established his colonies in the areas now forming part of Afghanistan. This explains the Vedic names of the rivers in that territory.   This event helps us to develop a clearer understanding of India’s history, of the struggles for power and the amazing twists and turns of events that all tie together to create a civilization that would continue many millennia after that epic war. 
Western scholars  easily misinterpreted this battle  to mean an invasion of nomadic people called Aryans rather than simply a war in which the superior Aryan kings re-established the spiritual values and the Vedic Aryan way of life.
Dating the War
It was in the vicinity of ancient Harappa town that the historic Battle of Ten Kings was fought between the Indian Aryan king  Sudas and a confederation of Ten Kings, representing the  various Indian, Persian, and Central Asian tribes, as attested by the Rig-veda. The  tribes inhabiting the Bolan pass were known as Bhalanas who were a part of the confederation of Ten Kings that attacked king Sudas.
This war itself presupposes a lineage of kings before Sudas going back approximately one thousand years to Manu Vaivasvata. Thus it seems to have taken place sometimes between 2000-1900 BCE- nearly 400 years preceding the Mahabharata war, as per Puranic chronology  which coincides with the decline of the Harappans.
 ( Since Sudas was three generations later to king Divodasa who was a contemporary of king Dasaratha, it is clear ,therefore, that Sudas was ruling in the post Rama period. Further Vasishta who was the chief advisor to Sudas, had been the prime councillor of Dasaratha three generations earlier  thus corroborating our view )