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 )