Vedic Aryan Tribes :
are tribes mentioned in the Rigved. During the Rigvedic period these
tribes formed a warrior society and were engaged in warfare among
themselves and against their enemies, the "Dasyu" or Das.
The Rigvedic tribes were headed by a tribal chief called raja /
rajan (king). The king and his warrior soldiers were Kshatriyas
and they were guided by priestly caste known as Brahmins.
is a list of Indo-Aryan tribes mentioned in the text of the Rigved
Alina people (RV 7.18.7) :
were probably one of the tribes defeated by Sudas at the Dasharajnya,
and it has been suggested that they lived to the north-east of Nurestan,
because much later, in the 7th century CE, the land was mentioned
by the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang.
Anu is a Vedic Sanskrit term for one of the 5 major tribes in the
Rigved, RV 1.108.8, RV 8.10.5 (both times listed together with the
Druhyu) and, much later also in the Mahabharat. In the late Vedic
period, one of the Anu kings, King Anga, is mentioned as a "chakravartin"
(AB 8.22). Anava, the vrddhi derivation of Anu, is the name of a
ruler in the Rigvedic account of the Battle of the Ten Kings (Dasharajnya
) (7.18.13) and at 8.4.1 with the Turvasa (tribe). The meaning ánu
"living, human" (Naighantu) cannot be substantiated for
the Rigved and may have been derived from the tribal name.
(the fourth son of King Yayati) whose descendant was King Shibi.
He ruled North western side of Bharatkhand.
1. Anu (Contemporary to Suryavanshi King Dundhumar)
2. Sabhanar, Chakshu and Paresnu
3. Kalanar was the son of Sabhanar
9. Mahasal and Mahaman (He had 2 sons Ushinar (The Bhoj King of
Kashi) and Titikshu (Ruled Eastern side of Bharatkhand)
10. Ushinar and Titikshu
Bhalanas were one of the tribes that fought against Sudas in the
Dasrajna battle. Some scholars have argued that the Bhalanas lived
in Eastern Afghanistan Kabulistan, and that the Bolan Pass derives
its name from the Bhalanas.
The Bharat are an Aryan tribe mentioned in the Rigved, especially
in Mandala 3 attributed to the Bharat sage Vishvamitra and in and
Mandala 7. Bharat is also used as a name of Agni (literally, "to
be maintained", viz. the fire having to be kept alive by the
care of men), and as a name of Rudra in RV 2.36.8. In one of the
"river hymns" RV 3.33, the entire Bharat tribe is described
as crossing over, with their chariots and wagons, at the confluence
of the Vipash (Beas) and Shutudri (Satlej). Hymns by Vasisth in
Mandala 7 (7.18 etc.) mention the Bharat as the protagonists in
the Battle of the Ten Kings, where they are on the winning side.
They appear to have been successful in the early power-struggles
between the various Aryan and non-Aryan tribes so that they continue
to dominate in post-Rigvedic texts, and later in the (Epic) tradition,
the Mahabharat, the eponymous ancestor becomes Bharat Chakravartin,
conqueror of 'all of India', and his tribe and kingdom is called
Bharat. "Bharat" today is the official name of the Republic
7. Bhrigu :
Bhrigu was one of the seven great sages, the Saptarshis. The first
compiler of predictive astrology, and also the author of Bhrigu
Samhita, the astrological (Jyotish) classic, Bhrigu is considered
a Manasa Putra ("mind-born-son") of Brahma. The adjectival
form of the name, Bhargav, is used to refer to the descendants and
the school of Bhrigu. According to Manusmriti, Bhrigu was a compatriot
of and lived during the time of Manu, the Hindu progenitor of humanity.
Bhrigu had his Ashram (Hermitage) on the Vadhusar River, a tributary
of the Drishadwati River near Dhosi Hill in the Vedic state of Brahmavart,
presently on the border of Haryana and Rajasthan in India. Along
with Manu, Bhrigu had made important contributions to Manusmriti,
which was constituted out of a sermon to a congregation of saints
in the state of Brahmavart, after the great floods in this area,
nearly 10,000 years ago. As per Skanda Puran, Bhrigu migrated to
Bhrigukutch, modern Bharuch on the banks of Narmada river in Gujarat,
leaving his son Chyavana at Dhosi Hill.
was married to Khyati, one of the many daughters of Daksh. They
had two sons and one daughter, named Dhata and Vidhata. Their daughter
Lakshmi married Vishnu (Narayana). He had one more son with Kavyamata
(Usana), who is better known than Bhrigu himself – Shukra,
learned sage and guru of the asuras. The sage Chyavan is also said
to be his son with Puloma, as is the folk hero Mrikanda. [Maha:1.5]
One of his descendants was sage Jamadagni, who in turn was the father
of sage Parashuram, considered an avatar of Vishnu.
Das (Das, 'servant') :
is a Sanskrit language term found in ancient Hindu texts, such as
the Rigved and Arthashastra. It usually means either "enemy"
A third usage, related to the second, is "servant of God",
"devotee," "votary" or "one who has surrendered
to God"; Das may be a suffix of a given name to indicate a
"servant" of a revered person or deity.
In some contexts, Das is interchangeable with the Sanskrit words
dasyu and asura. Both of these terms have been translated into other
languages as words equivalent to "demon", "harmful
supernatural force", "slave", "servant"
or "barbarian", depending on the context in which the
word is used.
Das first appears in Vedic texts from the 2nd millennium BCE. There
is no consensus on its etymological origins.
Karl Heinrich Tzschucke in 1806, in his translations of the Roman
geographer Pomponius Mela, noted etymological and phonological parallels
between Das and the ethnonyms of the Dahae – Persian; Sanskrit
- Das; Latin - Dahae; Greek - Daoi, Daai and Dasi – a people
who lived on the south-eastern shores of the Caspian Sea in ancient
times (and from whom modern Dehestan / Dehistan takes its name).
Monier Monier-Williams in 1899, stated that the meaning of Das varies
contextually and means "mysterious forces", "savages",
"barbarians" or "demons" in the earliest layer
of Vedic literature – in other contexts, is a self-effacing
way to refer oneself as "worshipper" or "devotee
aiming to honor a deity", or a "servant of god".
In later Indian literature, according to Monier-Williams, usage
of Das is used to refer to "a knowing man, or a knower of the
universal spirit". In the latter sense, Das is masculine, while
the feminine equivalent is dasi. Some early 20th Century translations,
such as P. T. Srinivas Iyengar (1912), translate Das as "slave".
Kangle in 1960, and others suggest that, depending on the context,
Das may be translated as "enemy", "servant"
or "religious devotee". More recent scholarly interpretations
of the Sanskrit words Das or dasyu suggest that these words used
throughout the Veds represents "disorder, chaos and dark side
of human nature", and the verses that use the word Das mostly
contrast it with the concepts of "order, purity, goodness and
light." In some contexts, the word Das may refer to enemies,
in other contexts it may refer to those who had not adopted the
Vedic beliefs, and yet other contexts it may refer to mythical enemies
in the battle between good and evil.
Das in Buddhist texts can mean "servant". In Pali language,
it is used as suffix in Buddhist texts, where Amaya-Das was translated
by Davids and Stede in 1925, as a "slave by birth", Kila-Das
translated as a "bought slave", and Amata-Das as "one
who sees Amata (Sanskrit: Amrita, nectar of immortality) or Nibbana".
to Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, Regarding the Das, the question is whether
there is any connection between the Azhi-Dahaka of the Zend Avesta.
The name Azhi-Dahaka is a compound name which consists of two parts.
Azhi means serpent, dragon and Dahaka comes from the root "Dah"
meaning "to sting, to do harm".
Witzel compares the etymological root of Das to words from other
Indo-European languages that imply "enemy, foreigner",
including the Avestan dahåka and d?ha, Latin dahi and Greek
Asko Parpola in 2015, has proposed that Das is related to the ancient
Iranian and proto-Saka word daha, which means "man". This
is contrasted with arya, the word for "man" used by, and
of, Indo-European people from Central Asia.
Identification of Das as people :
Based on the Arya-Das conflict described in Rigvedic text, scholars
have tried to identify the Das as a population in South and Central
Michael Witzel in his review of Indo-Iranian texts in 1995, states
that Das in the Vedic literature represented a North Iranian tribe,
who were enemies of the Vedic Aryans, and das-yu meant "enemy,
foreigner." He notes that these enemies could have apparently
become slaves if captured.
Asko Parpola states that Das referred only to Central Asian peoples.
Vedic texts that include prayers for the defeat of the Das as an
"enemy people", according to Parpola, possibly refers
to people from the so-called Bactria–Margiana Archaeological
Complex (BMAC), who spoke a different language and opposed Aryan
religious practices. Parpola uses archaeological and linguistic
arguments to support his theory. Among the evidences cited were
recent BMAC excavation results where forts in circular shapes were
found, the shape described in the early parts of the RigVed as the
enemy forts of Indra. He also found that Rigvedic words starting
with triple consonant clusters such as B?haspati, must be loanwords
from the unknown BMAC language.
As spiritual entity :
like Sri Aurobindo believe that words like Das are used in the Rig
Ved symbolically and should be interpreted spiritually, and that
Das does not refer to human beings, but rather to demons who hinder
the spiritual attainment of the mystic. Many Das are purely mythical
and can only refer to demons. There is for example a Das called
Urana with 99 arms (RV II.14.4), and a Das with six eyes and three
heads in the Rig Ved.
commented that in the RV III.34 hymn, where the word Arya varna
occurs, Indra is described as the increaser of the thoughts of his
followers: "the shining hue of these thoughts, sukram varnam
asam, is evidently the same as that sukra or sveta Aryan hue which
is mentioned in verse 9. Indra carries forward or increases the
"colour" of these thoughts beyond the opposition of the
Panis, pra varnam atiracchukram; in doing so he slays the Dasyus
and protects or fosters and increases the Aryan "colour",
hatvi dasyun pra aryam varnam avat."
to Aurobindo (The Secret of the Ved), RV 5.14.4 is a key for understanding
the character of the Dasyus :
born shone out slaying the Dasyus, the darkness by the light, he
found the Cows, the Waters, Swar. (transl. Aurobindo)
explains that in this verse the struggle between light and darkness,
truth and falsehood, divine and undivine is described. It is through
the shining light created by Agni, god of fire, that the Dasyus,
who are identified with the darkness, are slain. The Dasyus are
also described in the Rig Ved as intercepting and withholding the
Cows, the Waters and Swar ("heavenly world"; RV 5.34.9;
8.68.9). It is not difficult, of course, to find very similar metaphors,
equating political or military opponents with evil and darkness,
even in contemporary propaganda.
Sethna (1992) writes : "According to Aurobindo, there are passages
in which the spiritual interpretation of the Das, Dasyus and Panis
is the sole one possible and all others are completely excluded.
There are no passages in which we lack a choice either between this
interpretation and a nature-poetry or between this interpretation
and the reading of human enemies."
Hindu texts :
and related words such as Dasyu are found in the Rig Ved. They have
been variously translated, depending on the context. These words
represent in some context represent "disorder, chaos and dark
side of human nature", and the verses that use the word Das
mostly contrast it with the concepts of "order, purity, goodness
and light." In other contexts, the word Das refers to enemies
and in other contexts, those who had not adopted the Vedic beliefs.
A. A. Macdonell and A. B. Keith in 1912 remarked that, "The
great difference between the Dasyus and the Aryans was their religion...
It is significant that constant reference is made to difference
in religion between Aryans and Das and Dasyu."
Das with the meaning of savage, barbarians :
Ved 10.22.8 describes Dasyus as "savages" who have no
laws, different observances, a-karman (who do not perform rites)
and who act against a person without knowing the person.
Around us is the Dasyu, riteless, void of sense, inhuman, keeping
Baffle, thou Slayer of the foe, the weapon which this Das wields.
– Translated by Ralph Griffith
Dasyu practising no religious rites, not knowing us thoroughly,
following other observances, obeying no human laws, Baffle, destroyer
of enemies [Indra], the weapon of that Das.
Translated by H. H. Wilson
– Rig Ved 10.22.8
Das with the meaning of demon :
the Vedic texts, Das is the word used to describe supernatural demonic
creatures with many eyes and many heads. This has led scholars to
interpret that the word Das in Vedic times meant evil, supernatural,
destructive forces. For example, RigVed in hymn 10.99.6 states,
The sovereign Indra attacking him overcame the loud shouting, six
eyed, three headed Das,
Trita invigorated by his strength, smote the cloud with his iron-tipped
– Rig Ved 10.99.6, translated by H. H. Wilson
with the meaning of servant or slave :
is also used in Vedic literature, in some contexts, to refer to
"servants", a few translate this as "slaves",
but the verses do not describe how the Vedic society treats or mistreats
the servants. R. S. Sharma, in his 1958 book, states that the only
word which could possibly mean slave in Rigved is Das, and this
sense of use is traceable to four verses out of 10,600 verses in
RigVed, namely 1.92.8, 1.158.5, 10.62.10 and 8.56.3. The translation
of word Das to servant or slave varies by scholars. HH Wilson, for
example, translates Das in Rigvedic instances identified by Sharma,
as servant rather than slave, as in verse 10.62.10 :
Yadu and Indra speaking auspiciously, and possessed of numerous
cattle, gave them like servants, for the enjoyment.
– Rig Ved 10.62.10, Translated by H H Wilson
S. Sharma translates dasi in a Vedic era Upanishad as "maid-servant".
Oldenberg states that no distinction between historical events and
mythology existed for the Vedic poets. For them, the conflict between
the Aryans and Das extended into the realms of gods and demons with
the hostile demon being on the same level as the hated and despised
Bridget Allchin and Raymond Allchin state that from the Veds, it
is evident that the Indo-Aryans were not the only inhabitants of
the region they called Sapta-Sindhu or land of seven Indus rivers,
nor their stay was entirely peaceful. We learn of Das or Dasyus
(a word later meaning "slave") who were dark-complexioned,
snub-nosed and worshipers of the phallus (sisna dev). They had abundant
cattle and lived in fortified settlements called puras. In addition,
we also learn of the Panis who were wealthy in cattle and treasures.
Although many hymns refer to conflicts between one Aryan tribe against
another, there is an underlying sense of solidarity in conflict
against the Das and Indra is called Purandar or "breaker of
of many cities by fire is mentioned as is a battle on the banks
of Ravi at a place called Hariyupiya. Professor Burrow showed the
unambiguous character of such references like, "Through fear
of thee the dark-coloured inhabitants fled, not waiting for battle,
when, O Agni (fire) burning brightly for Puru (an Aryan tribe),
and destroying the cities, thou didst shine." (VII, 5, 3) They
state he also recognized the importance of terms like arma, armaka,
meaning ruin. The Rig Ved states, "Strike down, O Maghavan
(Indra), the host of sorceresses in the ruined city of Vailashthanak,
in the ruined city of Mahavailastha (Great Vailastha)" (I,
133, 3). By the end of Mature Vedic period, there were great ruin-mounds
which Aryans associated with the earlier inhabitants of the area.
A later Vedic text Taittiriya Brahmana states, "The people
to whom these ruined sites belonged, lacking posts, these many settlements,
widely distributed, they, O Agni, having been expelled by thee,
have emigrated to another land." Not all contacts were violent
however. the name of the father of Sudas was DivoDas, suggesting
the tribal ruler himself belonged to the Das stock.
Ram Sharan Sharma states that the Rig-Vedic society was primarily
organized on basis of tribe, kin and lineage. The "Aryan"
tribes mentioned by the Rig Ved therefore may not have been of the
same ethnicity, but may have been united by a common language and
way of life. He states that while it has been argued that Dasyu
and Das were not non-Aryans, it is more true in the case of the
latter. Further the Das are said to be organized into tribes called
vis, a term used for Vedic people or tribes. The god Indra is said
to be the conqueror of Das, who appear mostly human. There are more
references to the destruction of Dasyus by Indra instead of Das.
He is said to have protected the Aryan varna by killing them. The
Aryans also fought between themselves. The god Manyu (deity) is
invoked to overcome both Aryans and Dasyus. Indra is asked to fight
against the godless Dasyus and Aryans, who are the enemies of his
followers. (X, 88, 3 & XX, 36, 10).
The fight between Aryans and their enemies consisted mostly of fortresses
and walled settlements of the latter. Both Das and Dasyus were in
the possession of them. Sharma states that this reminds us of the
later discovery of fortifications of Harappan settlements, though
there is no clear archaeological evidence of mass-scale confrontation
between Aryans and Harappans. He adds that the Aryans seemed to
be attracted to their wealth over which a regular warfare took place.
The worshiper in the Rig Ved expects that those who offered no oblation
should be killed and their wealth be divided (I, 176, 4). However,
it was the cattle which held the most importance to Aryans who were
cattle-herders. For example, it is argued that Kikatas didn't need
cows because they made no use of milk products in sacrifice.
Sacrifice played an important part in Aryan way of life, however
the Dasyus or Das did not offer sacrifices. An entire passage in
the seventh book of Rig Ved uses adjectives such as akratün,
asraddhan and ayajñan applied to Dasyus emphasizes their
non-sacrificing character. Indra is asked to discriminate between
them and the sacrificing Aryas. Sharma states that the word anindra
(without Indra) may refer to Dasyus, Das and Aryan dissenters. Per
the Aryan view, the Dasyus practiced black magic and Atharv Ved
refers to them as evil spirits to be scared away from the sacrifice.
The Atharv Ved states that the god-blaspheming Dasyus are to be
offered as victims. The Dasyus are believed to be treacherous, not
practicing Aryan observances, and are hardly human.
Tony Ballantyne states that Rig Ved depicts the cultural differences
between the Aryan and non-Aryans of Indus valley. He states that
although the inter-Aryan conflict is prominent in its hymns, a cultural
opposition is drawn between Aryans and the indigenous people of
to him, it depicts the indigenous tribes such as the Pani and Das
as godless, savage and untrustworthy. Panis are cattle thieves who
seek to deprive Aryans of them. He states Das were savages, whose
godless society, darker complexion and different language were culturally
different from Aryans. They are called barbarians (rakshas), those
without fire (anagnitra) and flesh-eaters (kravyad). The Aryas were
on the other hand presented as noble people protected by their gods
Agni and Indra. He adds that their names were extended beyond them
to denote savage and barbarian people in general. He concurs that
this continued into later Sanskritic tradition where Das came to
mean a slave while Arya meant noble.
Vedic texts :
three words Das, Dasyu and Asura (danav) are used interchangeably
in almost identical verses that are repeated in different Vedic
texts, such as the Rig Ved, the Saunaka recension of Atharv ved,
the Paippalada Samhita of the Atharv Ved and the Brahmans text in
various Veds. Such comparative study has led scholars to interpret
Das and Dasyu may have been a synonym of Asura (demons or evil forces,
sometimes simply lords with special knowledge and magical powers)
of later Vedic texts.
states that the word Das occurs in Aitareya and Gopatha Brahmanas,
but not in the sense of a slave.
Arth Shastra :
Arth Shastra dedicates the thirteenth chapter on Das, in his third
book on law. This Sanskrit document from the Maurya Empire period
(4th century BCE), has been translated by several authors. Shamasastry's
translation in 1915, Kangle's translation in the 1960s and Rangarajan's
translation in 1987 all map Das as slave. However, Kangle suggests
that the context and rights granted to Das by Kautilya, such as
the right to the same wage as a free labourer and the right to freedom
on payment of an amount, distinguish this form of slavery from that
of contemporary Greece. Edmund Leach points out that the Das was
the antithesis of the concept of Arya. As the latter term evolved
through successive meanings, so did Das: from "indigenous inhabitant"
to "serf," "tied servant," and finally "chattel
slave." He suggests the term "unfreedom" to cover
all these meanings.
to Arth Shastra, anyone who had been found guilty of nishpatitah,
ruined, bankrupt, a minor crime) may mortgage oneself to become
Das for someone willing to pay his or her bail and employ the Das
for money and privileges.
According to Arth Shastra, it was illegal to force a Das (slave)
to do certain types of work, to hurt or abuse him, or to force sex
on a female Das.
Employing a slave (Das) to carry the dead or to sweep ordure, urine
or the leavings of food; keeping a slave naked; hurting or abusing
him; or violating the chastity of a female slave shall cause the
forfeiture of the value paid for him or her. Violation of the chastity
shall at once earn their liberty for them.
Arth Shastra, Translated by Shamasastry
a master has connection (sex) with a pledged female slave (Das)
against her will, he shall be punished. When a man commits or helps
another to commit rape with a female slave pledged to him, he shall
not only forfeit the purchase value, but also pay a certain amount
of money to her and a fine of twice the amount to the government.
Artha Shastra, Translated by Shamasastry
slave (Das) shall be entitled to enjoy not only whatever he has
earned without prejudice to his master's work, but also the inheritance
he has received from his father.
Arth Shastra, Translated by Shamasastry
Words related to Das are found in early Buddhist texts, such as
daso na pabbajetabbo, which Davids and Stede translate as "the
slave cannot become a Bhikkhu". This restriction on who could
become a Buddhist monk is found in Vinaya Pitakam i.93, Digha Nikaya,
Majjhima Nikaya, Tibetan Bhiksukarmavakya and Upasampadajnapti.
Other uses :
of religious "devotees" :
Tamil tontai, Das, servant, commonly used to refer to devotees of
Lord Vishnu or Sri Krishna.
Gaudiya Vaishnav theology Smriti statement Das-bhuto harer eva nanyasvaiva
kadacana, living entities (bhuto) are eternally in the service (Das)
of the Supreme Lord (Hari). Thus designation for Vaishnav followers
of svayam bhagavan Krishna was the status title Das as part of their
names as in Hari Das.
a surname or by name :
or Das is also a surname or middle name found among Hindus and Sikhs,
typically in northern half of India, where it literally means "votary,
devotee, servant of God." For example, Mohandas Gandhi's first
name, Mohandas, means servant of Mohan or Krishna. Also, the name
Surdas means servant of Sur or dev. In the past, many saints of
the Bhakti movement added it to their names, signifying their total
devotion or surrender to God.
Comparative linguistics :
and related terms have been examined by several scholars. While
the terms Das and Dasyu have a negative meaning in Sanskrit, their
Iranian counterparts Daha and Dahyu have preserved their positive
(or neutral) meaning. This is similar to the Sanskrit terms Dev
(a "positive" term) and Asur (a "negative" term).
The Iranian counterparts of these terms (Daeva and Ahura) have opposite
Parpola states the original Das is related to the Old Persian word
Daha which also means "man", but refers specifically to
a regional ethnic minority of Persia. Parpola contrasts Daha with
Arya, stating that the latter also referred to "man" but
specifically to the incoming Indo-Iranians from Central Asia. The
Vedic text that include prayers to help defeat the "Das as
enemy people", states Parpola, may refer to the wars of the
Indo-Iranians against the bearers of the Bactria–Margiana
Archaeological Complex (BMAC) culture. The latter spoke a different
language and opposed Indo-Iranian religious practices. Parpola uses
archaeological and linguistic arguments to support his theory, but
his theory is controversial.
10. Dasyu (Iranian: Dahyu, mentioned in Latin as: Dahae,
in Greek as: Daai)
The Druhyu were a people of Vedic India. They are mentioned in the
Rigved, usually together with the Anu tribe. Some early scholars
have placed them in the northwestern region. The later texts, the
Epic and the Purans, locate them in the "north", that
is, in Gandhar, Aratt and Setu. (Vishnu Puran IV.17) The Druhyus
(under Angar) were driven out of the land of the seven rivers by
King Mandhatri of the Ikshvaku dynasty. Their next king, Gandhar,
settled in a north-western region which became known as Gandhar.
The sons of the later Druhyu king Pracetas too settle in the "northern"
(udicya) region (Bhagwat 9.23.15-16; Visnu 4.17.5; Vayu 99.11-12;
Brahmand 3.74.11-12 and Matsya 48.9.). Recently, some writers have
ahistorically asserted that the Druhyu are the ancestors of the
Iranian, Greek or European peoples, or of the Celtic Druid class.
The word Druid (Gallic Celtic druides), however, is derived from
Proto-Indo-European *weyd- "to see, to know' It has also been
alleged that the Rig Ved and the Purans describe this tribe as migrating
North,. Purans do not refer to Druhyus after the King Pracetas whose
100 sons settled in the region north of Afghanistan (udicya) and
became Mlecchas. (Bhagwat 9.23.15–16; Vishnu 4.17.5; Vayu
99.11–12; Brahmand 3.74.11–12 and Matsya 48.9.).
Vishnu Puran also lists Aratt and Setu as areas where Druhyus settled.
(Vishnu Puran IV.17).
was very hurtful in nature as in Sanskrit Vyakaranam says "Druhyuti
means "Hurt". He was the first Mleccha King who proposed
a culture which is devoid of Veds. His descendants were Gandhars
and Mlecchs etc., who were always did things which is against of
dharma, in this dynasty Shakuni was born. During Lord Rama's reign,
there was a war between Bharat and King Nagnajit (1) of Gandhar
in which Nagnajit (1) was defeated. Taksh became the king of Takshshila
(Present Taxila) and Pushkar became the ruler of Purushapur (Present
Peshawar). After Ikshvaku Dynasty's reign, during Dwapar Yug it
came under the control of Nagnajit (2) of Druhyu's dynasty. Nagnajit
(2) was the grandfather of Shakuni and Gandhari and father of King
(the third son of King Yayati) descendants were Gandhar's, Kambhoj's
and Yavan's etc., and were called as Drahuyas. He ruled Northern
Side of Bharatkhand. His descendant Shakuni was born 95 generations
after Gandhar (the founder of Gandhar Kingdom).
1. Druhyu (Contemporary to Suryavanshi King Dundhumar)
4. Arabdha (By his name the country was called Arabia)
5. Angara was Killed by Mandhatri (Contemporary to Suryavanshi King
Mandhatri, Ravan and Lord Parashuram)
6. Gandhar was the founder of Gandhar Kingdom. (Contemporary to
Suryavanshi King Muchukund)
11. Prachetas (100 sons of Pracheta)
12. Nagnajit(1) and 99 others (Contemporary to Suryavanshi Kings
Dasharath and Janak)
13. Sailush (Contemporary to Lord Ram)
14. Gandharv was the great friend of devraj Indra and devs. (By
his name the people and Kingdom were called Gandharv) and 3 crores
others. (Contemporary to Suryavanshi Kings Taksh and Pushkar).
1. Nagnajit (2)
3. Shakuni and 99 others.
13. Gandhari :
Gandharis, are a tribe attested from the Rigved (RV 1.120.1, 1.126.7)
and later texts.
According to Zimmer, they lived on the Kubha river in Vedic times.
In later times, they formed a part of the Persian empire. They are
first mentioned as Gandhari in the Rigved, then along with the Balhikas
(Bactrians) among border tribes in the Atharv ved, to whom one sends
illnesses such as the fever. The Aitareya Brahmana refers to king
Naganajit of Gandhar who was contemporary of King Janaka of Videha.
The Gandharis are also mentioned in the Chandogya Upanishad and
the Srauta Sutras.
Gandharas are included in the Uttarapath division of Puranic and
Buddhistic traditions. The Puranas record that the Druhyus were
driven out of the land of the seven rivers by Mandhatr and that
their next king Gandhara settled in a north-western region which
became known as Gandhar. The sons of the later Druhyu king Pracetas
lived in the adjacent region of north Afghanistan. This is recorded
in the following Puranas: Bhagwat 9.23.15–16; Visnu 4.17.5;
Vayu 99.11–12; Brahmand 3.74.11–12 and Matsya 48.9.
Gandhar's and their king figure prominently as strong allies of
the Kurus against the Pandav's in Mahabharat war. The Gandhar's
were a furious people, well trained in the art of war. According
to Puranic traditions, this Janapad was founded by Gandhar, son
of Aruddh, a descendant of Yayati. The princes of this country are
said to have come from the line of Druhyu who was a famous king
of Rigvedic period. The river Indus watered the lands of Gandhar.
According to Vayu Puran (II.36.107), the Gandhar's were destroyed
by Pramiti aka Kalika, at the end of Kalyug.
15. Ikshvaku dynasty :
to the Puranic literature, Suryavansh or the Solar dynasty or the
Ikshvaku dynasty is an ancient and one of the oldest dynasties of
India. The sun god Surya, also known as Vivasvan is considered the
primogenitor of Suryavansh and his son Vaivasvat Manu is the progenitor
of humanity according to the Hindu texts. However, it was the magnanimous
King Ikshvaku of the ancient kingdom of Kosala who became the first
chakravarti or the universal ruler when he conquered far distant
lands of Aryavart and established a formidable empire. Thus, the
dynasty derived his name and was also called Ikshvaku dynasty. Lord
Rama belonged to the Suryavansh or Ikshvaku dynasty. Twenty-two
out of the twenty-four Jain Tirthankara belonged to this dynasty.
According to the Buddhist texts, Prince Siddharth belonged to this
dynasty. The dynasty is also known as Raghuvansh or Raghu-kul because
of King Raghu who was the great grandson of Ikshavaku and great
grandfather of Lord Ram.
prominent kings and emperors belonging to this royal house are Mandhatri,
Muchukund, Ambarish, Dilip, Raghu, Aja, Dasharath, Ram, Bahubali,
Harishchandra, Sagar, Raghu and Pasenadi. Although, both the Hindu
Puran's and the Buddhist texts include Shuddodhan, Gautam Buddh
and Rahul in their accounts of the Ikshvaku dynasty, but according
to the Buddhist texts, Mahasammata, an ancestor of Ikshvaku was
the founder of this dynasty, who was elected by the people as the
first king of the present era. According to the Puranas, supreme
preceptor of the Ikshvaku dynasty was sage Vashisht.
The Buddhist text, Buddhavamsa and Mahavamsa (II, 1-24) traces the
origin of the Shakyas to king Okkaka (Pali equivalent to Sanskrit
Ikshvaku) and gives their genealogy from Mahasammata, an ancestor
of Okkaka. This list comprises the names of a number of prominent
kings of the Ikshvaku dynasty, namely, Mandhata and Sagar.
The genealogy according to the Mahavamsa is as follows
8. Gautam Buddh
In Jainism :
The Ikshvaku dynasty has a significant place in Jainism, as twenty-two
Tirthankaras were born in this dynasty.
o Rishabhanatha (son of King Nabhi), the founder of Jainism in the
present Avasarpani era (descending half time cycle as per Jain cosmology)
is said to have founded the Ikshvaku dynasty. The name for the Ikshvaku
dynasty comes from the word ikhsu (sugarcane), another name of Rishabhanath,
because he taught people how to extract ikshu-rasa (sugarcane-juice).
o Bharat Chakravarti (first Chakravartin) and Bahubali (first Kamadev),
sons of Rishabh
o Arkakirti and Marichi, son of Bharat
• At the time of Ajitanath
o Jitashatru (father of Ajitanatha) and his younger brother Sumitra
(father of Sagar)
o Ajitanath (the 2nd Tirthankar) and Sagar (2nd Chakravartin)
o Janhu (eldest son of Sagar), the one who flooded village of Nagas
with waters of Ganga leading to turning of sixty thousand sons of
Sagar into ashes by Jawalanprabha (emperor of Nagas)
o Bhagirath (eldest grandson of Sagar)
• At the time of Sambhavanath
o Jitari (father of Sambhavanath)
o Sambhavanath, the 3rd Tirthankar
• At the time of Abhinandananath
o Sanvar (father of Abhinandananath)
o Abhinandananath, the 4th Tirthankar
• At the time of Sumatinath
o Megha (father of Sumatinath)
o Sumatinath, the 5th Tirthankar
• At the time of Padmaprabha
o Sidhara (father of Padmaprabha)
o Padmaprabha, the 6th Tirthankar
• At the time of Suparshvanath
o Pratishtha (father of Suparshvanath)
o Suparshvanath, the 7th Tirthankar
• At the time of Chandraprabha
o Mahasena (father of Chanraprabha)
o Chandraprabha, the 8th Tirthankar
• At the time of Pushpadant
o Sugriv (father of Pushpadant)
o Pushpadant, the 9th Tirthankar
• At the time of Shitalanath
o Dridharath (father of Shitalnath)
o Shitalanath, the 10th Tirthankar
• At the time of Shreyanasanath
o Vishnu (father of Shreyanasanath)
o Shreyanasanath, the 11th Tirthankar
• At the time of Vasupujya
o Vasupujya (father of Tirthankar Vasupujya)
o Vasupujya, the 12th Tirthankar
• At the time of Vimalanatha
o Kritavarma (father of Vimalanath)
o Vimalanath, the 13th Tirthankar
• At the time of Anantanath
o Simhasen (father of Anantanath)
o Anantanath, the 14th Tirthankar
• At the time of Dharmanath
o Bhanu (father of Dharmanath)
o Dharmanath, the 15th Tirthankar
• At the time of Shantinath
o Visvasen (father of Shantinath)
o Shantinath, the 16th Tirthankar and 5th Chakravarti
o Chakrayudh, son of Shantinath
o Kuruchandra, son of Chakrayudh
• At the time of Kunthunath
o Sura (father of Kunthunath)
o Kunthunath, the 17th Tirthankar and 6th Chakravarti
• At the time of Aranath
o Sudarsan (father of Aranath)
o Arahnath, the 18th Tirthankar and 7th Chakravarti
• At the time of Mallinath
o Kumbh (father of Mallinath)
o Mallinath, the 19th Tirthankar
• At the time of Munisuvrat (Munisuvrat himself was
not from Ikshvaku, but Harivamsa)
o Dasharath (father of Ram)
o Ram, Lakshman, Bharat, Shatrughna
o Luv and Kush (twin sons of Ram)
• At the time of Naminath
o Vijaya (father of Naminath)
o Naminath, the 21st Tirthankar
• At the time of Parshvanath
o Asvasen (father of Parshvanath)
o Parshvanath, the 23rd Tirthankar
• At the time of Mahavir
o Siddharth (father of Mahavir)
o Mahavir, the 24th Tirthankar
18. Kuru :
was the name of a Vedic Aryan union in northern Iron Age India,
encompassing the modern-day states of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and
the western part of Uttar Pradesh (the region of Doab, till Prayag),
which appeared in the Middle Vedic period (c. 1200 – c. 900
BCE) and developed into the first recorded state-level society in
the Indian subcontinent.
Kuru kingdom decisively changed the Vedic heritage of the early
Vedic period, arranging the Vedic hymns into collections, and developing
new rituals which gained their position in Indian civilization as
the srauta rituals, which contributed to the so-called "classical
synthesis" or "Hindu synthesis". It became the dominant
political and cultural center of the middle Vedic Period during
the reigns of Parikshit and Janamejaya, but it declined in importance
during the late Vedic period (c. 900 – c. 500 BCE), and had
become "something of a backwater" by the Mahajanapada
period in the 5th century BCE. However, traditions and legends about
the Kurus continued into the post-Vedic period, providing the basis
for the Mahabharata epic.
main contemporary sources for understanding the Kuru kingdom are
ancient religious texts, containing details of life during this
period and allusions to historical persons and events. The time-frame
and geographical extent of the Kuru kingdom (as determined by philological
study of the Vedic literature) suggest its correspondence with the
archaeological Painted Grey Ware culture.
The Kurus figure prominently in Vedic literature after the time
of the Rigved. The Kurus here appear as a branch of the early Indo-Aryans,
ruling the Ganga-Yamuna Doab and modern Haryana. The focus in the
later Vedic period shifted out of Punjab, into the Haryana and the
Doab, and thus to the Kuru clan.
Kuru tribe was formed in the Middle Vedic period as a result of
the alliance and merger between the Bharat and Puru tribes, in the
aftermath of the Battle of the Ten Kings. With their center of power
in the Kurukshetra region, the Kurus formed the first political
center of the Vedic period, and were dominant roughly from 1200
to 800 BCE. The first Kuru capital was at Asandivat, identified
with modern Assandh in Haryana. Later literature refers to Indraprastha
(modern Delhi) and Hastinapura as the main Kuru cities.
Other late Vedic texts, such as the Shatapath Brahman, commemorate
Parikshit's son Janamejay as a great conqueror who performed the
ashvamedh. These two Kuru kings played a decisive role in the consolidation
of the Kuru state and the development of the srauta rituals, and
they also appear as important figures in later legends and traditions
(e.g., in the Mahabharat).
In epic literature :
later Kuru state in the Mahajanpad period, c. 600 BCE
The Mahabharat, tells of a conflict between two branches of the
reigning Kuru clan possibly around 1000 BCE. However, archaeology
has not furnished conclusive proof as to whether the specific events
described have any historical basis. The existing text of the Mahabharat
went through many layers of development and mostly belongs to the
period between c. 400 BCE and 400 CE. Within the frame story of
the Mahabharat, the historical kings Parikshit and Janamejay are
featured significantly as scions of the Kuru clan.
of Kuru Kings according to epic literature :
BC - 1000 BC
BC - 500 BC
• Shantanu was a king of the Kuru dynasty or kingdom, and
was some generations removed from any ancestor called Kuru. His
marriage to Ganga preceded his marriage to Satyavati.
• Pandu and Dhritrashtra were actually fathered by Vyasa after
Vichitravirya's death. Dhritrashtra, Pandu and Vidur were the sons
of Vyas with Ambika, Ambalika and a maid servant respectively.
• Karna was born to Kunti through her invocation of Surya,
before her marriage to Pandu.
• Yudhishthir, Bhim, Arjun, Nakul and Sahadev were acknowledged
sons of Pandu but were begotten by Kunti's invocation of various
deities. They all married Draupadi (not shown in tree) but she also
had 5 sons named Uppandav's.
• Duryodhan and his siblings were born at the same time, and
they were of the same generation as their Pandav cousins.
• After Dhritrashtra and Gandhari's rule in Hastinapura, Yudhishthir
and Draupadi ascended the throne, not Arjun and Subhadra.
Matsya Kingdom was one of the solasa (sixteen) Mahajanapadas
(great kingdoms) during vedic era as described in the hindu epic
Mahabharta and 6th BCE Buddhist text Anguttara Nikaya. United State
of Matsya was a brief union of 4 princely states of Bharatpur, Dholpur,
Alwar and Karauli temporarily put together from 1947 to 1949.
Matsya is Sanskrit for "fish". Matsya is sacred to Hindus
as it is one of the avatar (incarnation) of Hindu deity Vishnu which
has been described in detail in Matsya Purana. Matsya kingdoms usually
have the fish in their state emblem.
Vedic era Matsya Kingdoms :
Matsya Kingdom was one of the solasa (sixteen) Mahajanapadas (great
By the late Vedic period, they ruled a kingdom located south of
the Kurus, and west of the Yamuna river which separated it from
the kingdom of the Panchalas. It roughly corresponded to the former
state of Jaipur in Rajasthan, and included the whole of Hindaun,
Alwar with portions of Bharatpur. The capital of Matsya was at Viratanagari
(present-day Bairat) which is said to have been named after its
founder king, Virata. In Pali literature, the Matsya tribe is usually
associated with the Surasena. The western Matsya was the hill tract
on the north bank of the Chambal River. Matsya kingdom was founded
by king Matsya who was the twin brother of Satyavati and who was
contemporary to Bhishm.
the early 6th century BCE, Matsya was one of the sixteen Mahajanapadas
mentioned in the Buddhist text Anguttara Nikaya, but its power had
greatly dwindled and it was of little political importance by the
time of Buddh. The Mahabharat (V.74.16) refers to a King Sahaja,
who ruled over both the Chedis and the Matsyas, which implies that
Matsya once formed a part of the Chedi Kingdom.
than the Matsya kingdom to the south of Kuru Kingdom, which falls
in the Hindaun and Alwar, Bharatpur districts of Rajasthan, the
epic refers to as many as six other Matsya kingdoms. Upaplavya was
a notable city of the kingdom. On the 13th year of Pandavas's exile,
pandavas and Draupadi stay in matsya kingdom of King Virata.
era United State of Matsya :
After the Indian independence in 1947, the princely states of Bharatpur,
Dholpur, Alwar and Karauli were temporarily put together from 1947
to 1949 as the "United State of Matsya", and later in
March 1949 after these princely states signed the Instrument of
Accession they were merged with the present state of Rajasthan.
Matsya Festival is held in Alwar every year in the last week of
November to celebrate culture and adventure.
are an ancient people that find reference in Sanskrit and Greek
sources as a people living in the region which includes south-eastern
province (Loya Paktia) in Afghanistan and northern parts of Pakistan.
In the Rigved, the Kurram is mentioned as "Kruma". Pachytyans
were in charge of all "elephants" used in battle fields.
Elephant hoarders or boarders or they took care of elephants. Today,
the Kurram Valley is mostly inhabited by the Bangash and Turi Pashtun
tribes, and because of that the ancient Pakhtas are believed to
be part of the modern-day Pashtun confederation.
"The Pakthas, Bhalanases, Vishanins, Alinas, and Sivas were
the five frontier tribes. The Pakthas lived in the hills from which
the Kruma originates. Zimmer locates them in present-day eastern
Afghanistan, identifying them with the modern Pakthun.
Pakthas were one of the tribes that fought against Sudas in the
Dasrajna the Battle of the Ten Kings (Dasrajñá), a
battle alluded to in Mandala 7 of the Rigved (RV 7.18.7).
was a young Pakth king who is referred to in the ancient Hindu Rig
Ved text. He won a war against an alliance of Kuts (a Vedic seer),
Atithigiv and Ayus, another Aryan king.
Herodotus records Pactyans :
Zimmer connects them with a tribe already mentioned by Herodotus
(Pactyans), and with Pashtuns in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Greek
historian Herodotus mentioned a people called Pactyan living on
the eastern frontier of the Achaemenid Arachosia Satrapy as early
as the 1st millennium BCE.
25. Panis (Iranian Parnis) :
Panis are a class of demons in the Rig Ved, from pani-, a term for
"bargainer, miser," especially applied to one who is sparing
of sacrificial oblations. The Panis appear in RV 10.108 as watchers
over stolen cows. They are located behind the stream Rasa, and sought
out by Sarama. They boast to Sarama that they are well-armed and
will not yield the cows without battle, and that the cows are furthermore
well hidden in a rocky chamber. Sarama threatens them with the might
of Indra and the Angiras (apparently fire priests) who will recover
"rocky treasure-chest" of the Panis is identical to Vala,
the stone split by Indra to liberate Dawn. The myth is a variant
of that of Indra slaying Vrtra, imagined as a stone serpent, liberating
the blocked rivers.
word pani is also applied in the Rig Ved to human beings, even respected
members of the community, who are unwilling to share their wealth.
In one hymn Indra himself is addressed as "pani" and in
Buddhism eventually becomes Vajrapani.
authors equated the Parthians with a Scythian tribe called the Parni
(i.e. Greek Parnoi), which has been equated by some with the Panis.
Strabo (11.9.2) mentions that the Parnoi belonged to the Dahas ("Dahae")
and lived in Margiana and that they founded the Arsacid empire of
They could be related to Panis who were an important tribe of present
Pakistan-Afghanistan region lasting to the time of Sikandar Lodi.
Ahmed Abdulla writes that "the most important Pakhtun tribes
of the Division are Kakar, Panni, Tarin, Shirani and Achakzai all
of whom are split up between Western Pakistan and Eastern Afghanistan."
It is further recorded in Sindh that "according to native accounts,
the Parni came to Sibi (Siwi) in 1470 AD." The same text states
that Parnis are also known as "Panni".
to Srimati Akshaya Kumari Devi the Panis were descendants of the
Punis (Punics) or Phoenicians, who traditionally established sea
trading connections with Iran and India and mingled with the Persians
and Scythians. The Panis may have become the Vani (Vanika) caste
of traders and merchants (RigVed 1.56.2, 5.44.7, 8.66.10, 10.108.7,
10.151.8; AtharvVed 3.15.1).
or Paravat Rigvedic tribe mentioned in Mandal and of Rigved, who
were inhabiting the banks of Sarasvati River
Parsu (Parsu) :
Parsus have been connected with the Persians This is based on the
evidence of an Assyrian inscription from 844 BC referring to the
Persians as Parshu, and the Behistun Inscription of Darius I of
Persia referring to Parsa as the home of the Persians.
Puru (Puru) :
Purus were a clan, or a confederation of clans, mentioned many times
in the Rigved. RV 7.96.2 locates them at the banks of the Sarasvati
River. There were several factions of Purus, one being the Bharat's.
Purus rallied many other groups against King Sudas of the Bharat,
but were defeated in the Battle of the Ten Kings (RV 7.18, etc.).
India's name Bharat or Bharat-Varsh is named after a descendant
of the Puru dynasty King Bharat.
Kuru Kings :
Kuru was born after 25 generations of Puru's dynasty, and after
15 generations of Kuru, Kauravas and Pandavas were born. These were
the same renowned Kauravas and Pandavas who fought the epic battle
of Mahabharat. The dynasty of the king Yadu - Andhak, Vrasni, and
Bhoj, under the leadership of Shree Krishna, helped the Pandavas
win the battle. According to Puranic tradition, the war occurred
95 generations after Manu Vaivasvat. The Puranas state that there
are 1,050 years between Parikshit of the Kurus and the last Kuru
king at the time of Mahapadma Nand.
to Puranic legend the Chandravanshi lineage is :
-> Atri -> Chandra -> Buddh (married to Manu's daughter
Ila) -> Pururava -> Ayu -> Nahush -> Yayati -> Puru
Yayati's elder son Yadu had officially lost the title to govern
by his father's command since he had refused to exchange his youth
with his father. Thereby, he could not have carried on the same
dynasty, called Somvanshi. Consequently, the generations of King
Puru, Paurav or Puruvanshi were the only one to be known as Somvansh.
divided up his kingdom into five portions (VP IV.10.1708). To Turvash
he gave the southeast (Bay of Bengal); to Druhya the west Gandhar;
to Yadu the south (By Arabian sea); to Anu the north Punjab; and
to Puru the center (Sarasvati region) as the supreme king of Earth.
The Rig Ved notes an earlier period of Turvash-Yadu predominance,
which the Purus broke in order to become the dominant people in
Later rulers may have claimed lineage to the Puru tribe to bolster
their legitimacy. Modern scholars conjecture that Porus may have
been a Puru king. However, Porus is not known in Indian sources.
Nor can he be traced to the Puru tribe.
29. Rusama :
or Rusama was a Rigvedic tribe mentioned in Mandala 8, whose King
Ranancaya was defeated by Rigvedic Aryans.
Saraswats are a sub-group of Hindu Brahmins of India who trace their
ancestry to the banks of the mythical Sarasvati River. The Saraswat
Brahmins are mentioned as one of the five Panch Gaud Brahmin communities.
In Kalhana's Rajatarangini (12th century CE), the Saraswats are
mentioned as one of the five Panch Gaud Brahmin communities residing
to the north of the Vindhyas. They were spread over a wide area
in northern part of the Indian subcontinent. One group lived in
coastal Sindh and Gujarat, this group migrated to Bombay State after
the partition of India in 1947. One group was found in pre-partition
Punjab and Kashmir most of these migrated away from Pakistan after
1947. Another branch known as Dakshinatraya Saraswat Brahmin are
now found along the western coast of India.
32. Tritsu :
Tritsus are a sub-group of the Puru who are distinct from the Bharatas
mentioned in Mandala 7 of the RigVed (in hymns 18, 33 and 83). Under
king Sudas they defeated the confederation of ten kings with the
help of the Bharatas at the Battle of the Ten Kings.
33. Turvasa (Turvasu) :
(the second son of King Yayati) descendants were called Mlecchas
(who ruled in Balochisthan) as per Srimad Bagavatha Mahapurana and
Dravidas (who ruled in South India). The following kings were the
disciples of Sage Agastya (Developed Tamil language and created
Kaveri River with the help of Lord Ganesh). He ruled Southern side
1. Turvasu (Contemporary to Suryavanshi King Dundhumara)
2. Marut (1) was defeated by Ravan in a duel. (Contemporary to Suryavanshi
King Mandhatri, Demon Ravan and Lord Parashuram).
11. Marut (2) gave his daughter to Dushyant Paurav and She begot
Sarutt who succeeded his maternal Grandfather.
12. Daughter of Marutt raised her son Sarutt who became the king
of Sindhu Kingdom.
14. Andhra (founder of Andhra Kingdom) and Mleccha (Raised Mlechha
15. Kulya (Prince of Andhra and whose descendants were Pallavas
and Tondai Kings), Chola (Founder of Chola Kingdom and Dynasty),
Pandya (Founder of Pandya Kingdom and Dynasty), Kerala (Whose descendants
were Cheras) - Because of these kings Dravida Country (Tamil and
Sanskrit are the two eyes of this country) was developed.
34. Yadu :
is one of the five Indian tribes (panchajan, panchakrishtya or panchamanush)
mentioned in the Rig Ved. Krishna is the descendant of Yadu from
The Hindu epic Mahabharat, the Harivamsh and the Puran's mention
Yadu as the eldest son of king Yayati and his queen devyani. The
prince of King Yayati, Yadu was a self-respecting and a very established
ruler. According to the Vishnu Puran, the Bhagavat Puran and the
Garud Puran, Yadu had four sons, while according to the rest of
the Puran's he had five sons. The kings between Buddh and Yayati
were known as Somvanshi. According to a narrative found in the Mahabharat,
and the Vishnu Puran, Yadu refused to exchange his years of youth
with his father Yayati. So he was cursed by Yayati that none of
Yadu's progeny shall possess the dominion under his father's command.
Thereby, he could not have carried on the same dynasty, called Somvamshi.
Notably, the only remaining dynasty of King Puru was entitled to
be known as Somvamshi. Thereby King Yadu ordered that the future
generations of his would be known as Yadav's and the dynasty would
be known as Yaduvanshi. The generations of Yadu had unprecedented
growth and got divided into two branches.
were an ancient people attested to have been living in central Punjab
since remote antiquity. They were often associated with Madras,
Kekays, Sibis etc. and their territory formed part of Vahik country
according to evidence of Panini.
in Vedic literature :
There is a reference to princess Usinarini (i.e. queen of Usinara)
in the Rigved Aitareya Brahman seems to locate Usinaras along with
the Kurus, Panchals and the Vasas (Savas) in middle region or Madhyadesh
(Mid India) Kaushitakai Upanishad colllocates the Usinaras with
the Satvat-Matsyas, the Kuru-Panchals and the Svasas. They probably
lived in a territory to the north of Madhyadesh, as neighbors to
the Udichyas or the northerners. This is why the Gopath Brahaman
collocates the Usinars and Svasas with the Udichys or northerners.
Divyavadan refers to the Svasas as people of Uttarapath with headquarters
at Takshasila to which king Ashok was deputed by his father Bindusar
as a Viceroy to quell their rebellion. The ancient Savas or Svas
is said to be modern Chhibba which comprises Punch, Rajauri and
Thus, the Usinars, the very neighbors of the Svasas must also be
located in Punjab proper.
descendants were Sivis, Madras, Kekayas and Sauviras etc., They
ruled North western side of Bharatkhand.
1. Ushinar (The Bhoja King of Kashi). (Contemporary to Suryavanshi
2. Shibi, Nrga, Nava, Krmi, Suvrat, Vara and Daksh's. (Contemporary
to Suryavanshi King Mulak)
3. Vrshadarbha (Prince of Sivi Kingdom), Setuk, Madra (Founder of
Madra Kingdom and Shalya and Madri were his descendants) and Kekaya
(Founder of Kekaya Kingdom and Ashwapathi, Yudhajit and Kaikeyi
were his descendant) were the sons of Shibi. (Contemporary to Suryavanshi
4. Sudhir was the son of Setuka.
6. Sauvir was the founder of Sauvir Kingdom
There are many references to Usinars in the epic Mahabharat. At
several places, it refers to king Usinar and his son prince Sibi
or Sivi whose charity has been enormously glorified by sage Markandey.
prince in Draupadis’ Sywayamvar :
Adi Parav of Mahabharat says that prince Sivi, son of Usinar had
attended Draupadi's self-choice (Swayamvara; "groom-choosing")
ceremony along with the kings of neighbouring kingdoms viz Shalya,
the king of Madra Kingdom, with his son, the heroic Rukmangad, Rukmarath,
Somadatt (king of Bahlik Kingdom) of the Kuru race with his three
sons - Bhuri, Bhurisrav, and Sala and Sudakshin Kamboj the arch-bowman
of the Puru race.
Usinars in Kurukshetra war :
The Usinars had joined the Kurukshetra war on the side of Kauravs.
Karn Parav refers to the Kekays, the Malavs, the Madraks, the Dravids
of fierce prowess, the Yaudheys, the Lalittyas, the Kshudraks, the
Usinars, the Tundikers, the Savitriputras etc. who had supported
Karn on 17th day of the war, as all having been slain by Arjun.
Usinars as degraded Kshatriyas :
Anusasan Parv of Mahabharat states that the tribes of the Sakas,
Yavans, Kambojs, Dravidas, Kalings, Pulindas, Usinars, Kolisarps,
Mahishaks and others were originally noble Kshatriyas but became
Vrishalas (degraded Kshatriyas) due to their lose of contact with
Further epic references :
According to Mahabharat, Sibi was son of the king of Usinar country
near Gandhar. The charity and devotion of prince Sibi have been
greatly extolled by the sage Markandey in the epic.
Mahabharat also speaks of Usinar princes as sacrificing on two small
streams near Jamna There was also one king Usinar i.e. king of Usinar
country, contemporary of king Janak of Videh. Garagya Balaki, a
contemporary of Janak lived for some time in Usinar country.
Mahabharat (and Katha sarit-sagara) refer to Usinaragiri which is
located near Kankhal at the point where Ganges issues from the hills.
It is said to be identical with Usiragiri of Divayavadan and Usira-dhvaj
of Vanaya texts.
There is also an epic reference Suyajn, the king of the Usinars.
Bhagavat Puran and the Usinars :
Bhagavat Puran attests that the prince of Usinar along with princes
from Matsya, Kosal, Vidharbh, Kuru, Srnjaya, Kamboj, Kekaya, Madra,
Kunti, Anart, Kerala was present at Samant-pancaka in Kurukshetra
at the occasion of the solar eclipse.
Bhagavat Puran also states that the Usinars, the Sibi, the Madras,
and the Kekays were the direct descendants of Yayati's son Anu.
Sibi or Sivi is stated to be son of Usinara.
Consequently, in the literature, the Usinars are often associated
with the Shivis or Sibis (Sibois of the Greek writings) whose chief
town Sibipur has been identified with Shorkot, in Jhang district
Panini's Ashtadhyayi :
Panini refers to the Usinars in several sutras of his Ashtadhyayi
and mentions their land as a part of the Vahik country. Though not
stated specifically by Panini, in all probability, the Usinars were
under a Sangh government.
Usinar in Buddhist literature :
There is a Buddhist reference to one Usinar, said to be king of
Benares who lived in the time of Kassap Buddh. His story is related
in the Maha-Kanh Jatak. He is mentioned in a list of kings who,
although they gave great gifts, could not get beyond the domain
of sense. It is however, not clear if this Usinar was from the Usinar
clan or else it was his personal name only.
36. Titikshu Dynasty (Bengal Kingdom) :
Titikshu (Son of Mahamana) was given eastern side of Bharatkhand.
his descendants were Ang's, Vang's, Kaling's, Pundr's, Suhm's and
Odhra's etc. They ruled Eastern side of Bharatkhand.
1. Titikshu (Ruled Eastern side of Bharatkhand)
5. Bali (Chandravanshi)
6. Ang, Vang, Kaling, Pundra, Suhma and Odhra were the founders
of Ang, Vang, Kaling, Pundra, Suhma and Odhra Kingdoms in the east.
(Contemporary to Suryavanshi King Dilipa(2))
7. Khalpan was the son of Anga
11. Romapad (Contemporary to Suryavanshi King Dasharath)
12. Chaturang was the inventor of Chaturang (Chess) Game (Contemporary
to Lord Ram)
14. Brhadrath, Brhadbhanu and Brhadkarm
15. Brhanman was the son of Brhadrath
21. Adhirat adopted Karna at the banks of River Ganga.
22. Karna was the King of Ang.
23. Vrshaketu and 8 others.
• The Mahabharat of Krishna-Dwaipayan Vyas Translated into
English Prose, Bharat Press, Calcutta (1883–1896)
• J.P. Mittal, History Of Ancient India (A New Version) :
From 7300 BcTo 637 Ad
• The Dynasties of The sons of King Yayati
37. Tushar :
kingdom of Tushar according to Ancient Indian literature, such as
the epic Mahabharat was a land located beyond north-west India.
In the Mahabharat, its inhabitants, known as the Tushar's, are depicted
as Malech ("barbarians") and fierce warriors.
Modern scholars generally see Tushar as synonymous with the historical
Tukhar, also known as Tokhar or Tokharistan – another name
for Bactria. This area was the stronghold of the Kushan Empire,
which dominated India between the 1st and 3rd centuries CE.
The historical Tukhar appears to be synonymous with the land known
by Ancient Chinese scholars as Daxia, from the 3rd century BCE onwards.
Its inhabitants were known later to Ancient Greek scholars as the
Tokharoi and to the Ancient Romans as Tochari. Modern scholars appear
to have conflated the Tukhar with the so-called Tocharians –
an Indo-European people who lived in the Tarim Basin, in present-day
Xinjiang, China, until the 1st millennium. When the Tocharian languages
of the Tarim were rediscovered in the early 20th Century, most scholars
accepted a hypothesis that they were linked to the Tukhar (who were
known to have migrated to Central Asia from China, with the other
founding Kushan peoples). However, the subjects of the Tarim kingdoms
appear to have referred to themselves by names such as Agni, Kuci
and Krorän. These peoples are also known to have spoken centum
languages, whereas the Tukhar of Bactria spoke a satem language.
The Tukhar were among Indo-European tribes that conquered Central
Asia during the 2nd century BCE, according to both Chinese and Greek
sources. Ancient Chinese sources refer to these tribes collectively
as the Da Yuezhi ("Greater Yuezhi"). In subsequent centuries
the Tukhar and other tribes founded the Kushan Empire, which dominated
Central and South Asia.
The account in Mahabharata (Mbh) 1:85 depicts the Tushar's as Malech
("barbarians") and descendants of Anu, one of the cursed
sons of King Yayati. Yayati's eldest son Yadu, gave rise to the
Yadav's and his youngest son Puru to the Paurav's that includes
the Kuru's and Panchal's. Only the fifth son of Puru's line was
considered to be the successors of Yayati's throne, as he cursed
the other four sons and denied them kingship. The Pauravas inherited
the Yayati's original empire and stayed in the Gangetic plain who
later created the Kuru and Panchal Kingdoms. They were followers
of the Vedic culture. The Yadavas made central and western India
their stronghold. The descendants of Anu, known as the Anav's, are
said to have migrated to Iran.
Various regional terms and proper names may have originated with,
or been derived from, the Tushars including: Takhar Province in
Afghanistan; the Pakistani village of Thakra; the surname Thakkar,
found across India; the Bengali surname Thakur, including the Tagore
family; the Marathi surname Thakere, sometimes anglicised as Thackeray;
the Takhar Jat clan in Rajasthan, and; the Thakar tribe of Maharashtra.
It is also possible that the Thakor (or Thakore) caste of Gujarat,
the Thakar caste of Maharashtra and; the title Thakur originated
with names such as Tushar/Tukhar. The Sanskrit word thakkura "administrator"
may be the source of some such names, or may itself be derived from
one of them.
References in Mahabharat :
The Shanti Parv of the Mahabharata associates the Tushars with the
Yavan's, Kirat's, China's, Kamboj's, Pahlav's, Kankas, Sabaras,
Barbaras, Ramathas etc., and brands them all as barbaric tribes
of Uttarapatha, leading lives of Dasyus.
The Tushar's along with numerous other tribes from the north-west,
including the Bahlikas, Kiratas, Pahlav's, Parad's, Darad's, Kamboj's,
Shaka's, Kank's, Romak's, Yavan's, Trigart's, Kshudrak's, Malav's,
Ang's, and Vang's had joined Yudhishtr at his Rajasuya ceremony
and brought him numerous gifts such as camels, horses, cows, elephants
Later the Tushar's, Saka's and Yavan's had joined the military division
of the Kamboj's and participated in the Mahabharat war on the side
of the Kaurav's. Karna Parv of Mahabharat describes the Tushar's
as very ferocious and wrathful warriors.
At one place in the Mahabharat, the Tushar's are mentioned along
with the Shak's and the Kank's. At another place they are in a list
with the Shak's, Kank's and Pahlav's. And at other places are mentioned
along with the Shak's, Yavan's and the Kamboj's, etc.
The Tushar kingdom is mentioned in the traves of Pandav's in the
northern regions beyond the Himalaya's:- Crossing the difficult
Himalayan regions, and the countries of China, Tukhar, Darad and
all the climes of Kulind, rich in heaps of jewels, those warlike
men reached the capital of Suvahu (3:176).
The Mahabharat makes clear that Vedic Hindus did not know the origins
of the Malech tribes, who were highly skilled in weapons, warfare
and material sciences, but never followed the Vedic rites properly.
That the Vedic people were dealing with foreign tribes is evident
in a passage from Mahabharat (12:35). It asks which duties that
should be performed by the Yavans, the Kirats, the Gandharvs, the
Chinas, the Savars, the Barbaras, the Sakas, the Tushars, the Kankas,
the Pathavs, the Andhrs, the Madraks, the Paundrs, the Pulindas,
the Ramaths, the Kambojs, and several new castes of Brahmans, Kshatriyas,
Vaishyas, and the Shudras, that had sprung up in the dominions of
the Arya kings.
The kings of the Pahlavs and the Darads and the various tribes of
the Kirats and Yavans and Sakrs and the Harahuns and Chinas and
Tukhars and the Sindhavs and the Jagudas and the Ramathas and the
Mundas and the inhabitants of the kingdom of women and the Tanganas
and the Kekays and the Malavs and the inhabitants of Kashmir, were
present in the Rajsuya sacrifice of Yudhishthir the king of the
Pandavs (3:51). The Sakas and Tukhatas and Tukhars and Kanks and
Romaks and men with horns bringing with them as tribute numerous
large elephants and ten thousand horses, and hundreds and hundreds
of millions of gold (2:50).
The Tushars were very ferocious warriors. The Yavans and the Sakas,
along with the Chulikas, stood in the right wing of the Kaurav battle-array
(6:75). The Tushars, the Yavans, the Khasas, the Darvabhisaras,
the Daradas, the Sakas, the Kamathas, the Ramathas, the Tanganas
the Andhraks, the Pulindas, the Kirats of fierce prowess, the Malech,
the Mountaineers, and the races hailing from the sea-side, all endued
with great wrath and great might, delighting in battle and armed
with maces, these all—united with the Kurus and fought wrathfully
for Duryodhan’s sake (8:73). A number of Saka and Tukhar and
Yavan horsemen, accompanied by some of the foremost combatants among
the Kambojs, quickly rushed against Arjun (8:88). F. E Pargiter
writes that the Tushars, along with the Yavans, Shakas, Khasas and
Darads had collectively joined the Kamboj army of Sudakshin Kamboj
and had fought in Kurukshetra war under latter's supreme command.
In the Purans and other Indian texts :
Puranic texts like Vayu Puran, Brahmand Puran and Vaman Puran, etc.,
associate the Tushars with the Shakas, Barbaras, Kambojs, Darads,
Viprendras, Anglauks, Yavans, Pahlavs etc and refer to them all
as the tribes of Udichya i.e. north or north-west. The Kambojas,
Darads, Barbaras, Harsavardhanas, Cinas and the Tushars are described
as the populous races of men outside.
literature further states that the Tushars and other tribes like
the Gandhars, Shakas, Pahlavs, Kambojs, Parads, Yavans, Barbaras,
Khasa, and Lampakas, etc., would be invaded and annihilated by Lord
Kalki at the end of Kal yug. And they were annihilated by king Pramiti
at the end of Kal yug.
According to Vayu Puran and Matsya Puran, river Chakshu (Oxus or
Amu Darya) flowed through the countries of Tushars, Lampaks, Pahlavs,
Parads and the Shakas, etc.
The Brihat-Katha-Manjari of Pt Kshemendra relates that around 400
CE, Gupta king Vikramaditya (Chandragupt II) (r. 375-413/15 CE),
had "unburdened the sacred earth by destroying the barbarians"
like the Tushars, Shakas, Mlecchas, Kambojs, Yavans, Parasiks, Huns
Rajatarangini of Kalhan records that king Laliditya Muktapida, the
8th-century ruler of Kashmir had invaded the tribes of the north
and after defeating the Kambojs, he immediately faced the Tushars.
The Tushars did not give a fight but fled to the mountain ranges
leaving their horses in the battlefield. This shows that during
the 8th century CE, a section of the Tushars was living as neighbours
of the Kambojs near the Oxus valley.
the 6th century CE, the Brihat Samhita of Varahamihir also locates
the Tushars with Barukachcha (Bhroach) and Barbaricum (on the Indus
Delta) near the sea in western India. The Romaks formed a colony
of the Romans near the port of Barbaricum in Sindhu Delta. This
shows that a section of the Tushars had also moved to western India
and was living there around Vrahamihir's time.
is also a mention of Tushar-Giri (Tushar mountain) in the Mahabharat,
Harshcharita of Bana Bhat and Kavyamimansa of Rajshekhar.
Early Chinese & Greek sources :
Little is known of the Tukhar before they conquered the Greco-Bactrian
Kingdom in the 2nd century BCE. They are known, in subsequent centuries,
to have spoken Bactrian, an Eastern Iranian language. The Yuezhi
are generally believed to have had their ethnogenesis in Gansu,
China. However, Ancient Chinese sources use the term Daxia (Tukhar)
for a state in Central Asia, two centuries before the Yuezhi entered
the area. Hence the Tukhar may have been recruited by the Yuezhi,
from a people neighbouring or subject to the Greco-Bactrians.
Likewise the Atharv Ved also associates the Tushars with the Bahlikas
(Bactrians), Yavans/Yonas (Greeks) and Sakas (Indo-Scythians), as
following: "Saka.Yavana.Tushar.Bahlikashcha". It also
places the Bahlikas as neighbors of the Kambojs. This may suggest
suggests that the Tushars were neighbours to these peoples, possibly
Later Chinese sources :
In the 7th century CE, the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang, by way of the
"Iron Pass" entered Tukhar (Pinyin Duhuoluo; W-G Tu-huo-luo).
Xuanzang stated that it lay south of the Iron Pass, north of the
"great snow mountains" (Hindukush), and east of Persia,
with the Oxus "flowing westward through the middle of it."
During the time of Xuanzang, Tukhar was divided into 27 administrative
units, each having its separate chieftain.
Tibetan chronicles :
The Tukhars (Tho-gar) are mentioned in the Tibetan chronicle Dpag-bsam-ljon-bzah
(The Excellent Kalp-Vruksh), along with people like the Yavans,
Kambojs, Darads, Huns, Khasas etc.
References in association with the Kambojs :
The Komedai of Ptolemy, the Kiumito or Kumituo of Xuanzang's accounts,
Kiumizhi of Wu'kong, Kumi of the Tang Annals, Kumed or Kumadh of
some Muslim writers, Cambothi, Kambuson and Komedon of the Greek
writers (or the Kumijis of Al-Maqidisi, Al-Baihaki, Nasir Khusau
etc.) who lived in Buttamen Mountains (now in Tajikistan) in the
upper Oxus are believed by many scholars to be the Kambojs who were
living neighbors to the Tukhar/Tushars north of the Hindukush in
the Oxus valley. The region was also known as Kumudadvip of the
Puranic texts, which the scholars identify with Sanskrit Kamboj.
Before its occupation by the Tukhar, Badakshan formed a part of
ancient Kamboja (Param Kamboj) but, after its occupation by the
Tukhar in the 2nd century BCE, Badakshan and some other territories
of the Kamboja became part of Tukhar.
Around the 4th to 5th century CE, when the fortunes of the Tukhar
finally waned, the original population of Kambojas re-asserted itself,
and the region again started to be called by its ancient name, i.e.
"Kamboj", though northwestern parts still retained the
name of Duhuoluo or Tukharistan in Chinese at least until the time
of the Tang Dynasty.
There are several later references to Kamboj of the Pamirs/Badakshan.
Raghuvansh - a 5th-century Sanskrit play by Kalidas, attests their
presence on river Vamkshu (Oxus) as neighbors to the Huns (Raghu:
4.68-70). As seen above, the 7th-century Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang
mentions the Kiumito/Kumito living to the north of the Oxus, which
may refer to Komedai of Ptolemy. which, as noted above, has been
equated to Kamboja mentioned in Sanskrit texts.
8th-century king of Kashmir, King Lalitadiya, invaded the Kambojas
of the "far-spreading northern region" (uttarapatha) as
mentioned in the Rajatarangini of Kalhan. After encountering the
Kambojs, Lalitadiya's army approached the Tuhkharas who "fled
to the mountain ranges leaving behind their horses." According
to D. C. Sircar, the Kambojs here are bracketed with the Tukhars
and are shown as living in the eastern parts of the Oxus valley
as neighbors of the Tukhars who were living in the western parts
of that Valley.
The 10th century CE Kavyamimamsa of Rajshekhar lists the Tushars
with several other tribes of the Uttarapatha viz: the Shakas, Kekeyas,
Vokkanas, Huns, Kambojs, Bahliks, Pahlavs, Limpaks, Kuluts, Tangans,
Turusaks, Barbaras, Ramaths etc. This mediaeval era evidence shows
that the Tushars were different from the Turushakas with whom they
are often confused by some writers.
connection to the Rishiks :
Trogus remarks that the Asii were lords of the Tochari. It is generally
believed that they are same as the Rishiks of the Mahabharat which
people are equivalent to Asii (in Prakrit). V. S. Aggarwal also
equates the Rishiks with the Asii or Asioi. In 1870, George Rawlinson
commented that "The Asii or Asiani were closely connected with
the Tochari and the Sakarauli (Saracucse?) who are found connected
with both the Tochari and the Asiani".
If the Rishiks of the Mahabharat were same as the Tukhars, then
the observation from George Rawlinson is in line with the Mahabharat
statement which also closely allies the Rishikas with the Param
Kambojs and places them both in the Sakadvip. The Kambojs (i.e.
the southern branch of the Param Kambojs), are the same as the classical
Assaceni/Assacani (Aspasio/Assakenoi of Arrian) and the Asvayan
and Asvakayan of Panini. They are also mentioned by Megasthenes
who refers to them as Osii (= Asii), Asoi, Aseni etc., all living
on upper Indus in eastern Afghanistan. The names indicate their
connection with horses and horse culture. These Osii, Asoi/Aseni
clans represent earlier migration from the Param Kamboj (furthest
Kamboj) land, lying between Oxus and Jaxartes, which happened prior
to Achamenid rule. Per epic evidence, Param Kamboj was the land
of the Loh-Kamboj-Rishiks.
The Rishiks are said by some scholars to be the same people as the
Yuezhi. The Kushans are also said by some to be the same people.
Kalhana (c. 1148-1149 CE) claims that the three kings he calls Hu?ka,
Ju?ka and Kani?ka (commonly interpreted to refer to Huvishk, Vasishk
and Kanishk I) were "descended from the Turu?k race".
Aurel Stein says that the Tukhars (Tokharoi/Tokarai) were a branch
of the Yuezhi. P. C. Bagchi holds that the Yuezhi, Tocharioi and
Tushar were identical. If he is correct, the Rishiks, Tushars/Tukhars
(Tokharoi/Tokaroi), the Kushanas and the Yuezhi, were probably either
a single people, or members of a confederacy.
Sabh Parv of Mahabharat states that the Param Kambojs, Lohs and
the Rishiks were allied tribes. Like the "Param Kambojs",
the Rishiks of the Transoxian region are similarly styled as "Param
Rishiks". Based on the syntactical construction of the Mahabharat
verse 5.5.15 and verse 2.27.25, Ishwa Mishra believe that the Rishiks
were a section of the Kambojs i.e. Param Kambojs. V. S. Aggarwal
too, relates the Param Kambojs of the Trans-Pamirs to the Rishiks
of the Mahabharat and also places them in the Sakadvip (or Scythia).
According to Dr B. N. Puri and some other scholars, the Kambojs
were a branch of the Tukhars. Based on the above Rishik-Kamboj connections,
some scholars also claim that the Kambojs were a branch of the Yuezhi
themselves. Dr Moti Chander also sees a close ethnic relationship
between the Kambojs and the Yuezhi.
Modern scholars are still debating the details of these connections
without coming to any firm consensus.
Yona / Yavan :
word Yona in Pali and the Prakrits, and the analogue "Yavan"
in Sanskrit, are words used in Ancient India to designate Greek
speakers. "Yona" and "Yavan" are transliterations
of the Greek word for "Ionians", who were probably the
first Greeks to be known in the East.
Both terms appear in ancient Sanskrit literature. Yavan appears
for instance, in the Mahabharat, while Yona appears in texts such
as the Mahavams.
The Yona are mentioned in the Ashok inscriptions, along with the
Kambojs, as two societies where there are only nobles and slaves.
Examples of direct association of these terms with the
Greeks include :
• The mention of the "Yona king Amtiyok" in the
Edicts of Ashok (280 BCE)
• The mention of the "Yona king Amtalikitasa" in
the Heliodorus pillar in Vidisha (110 BCE)
King Milind and his bodyguard of "500 Yonas" in the Milind
• The description of Greek astrology and Greek terminology
in the Yavanajatak "Nativity of the Yavans" (150 CE)
• The mention of Alexandria on the Caucasus, "the city
of the Yonas" in the Mahavams, Chapter 29 (4th century CE)
general, the words "Yo?a" or "Yo?ak" were the
current Greek Hellenistic forms, while the term "Yavan"
was the Indian word to designate the Greeks or the Indo-Greeks.
Comparable terms in the Ancient Mediterranean world :
This usage was shared by many of the countries east of Greece, from
the Mediterranean to Sindh:
• Egyptians used the word j-w-n(-n)-’.
• Assyrians used the word Iawanu.
• Persians used the word Yaun.
• Babylonians used the word Yaman and Yamanaya.
• In Biblical Hebrew, the word was Yawan (Modern Hebrew: Standard
Hebrew Yavan Hebrew Javan)
• In modern Turkish, Persian, and Arabic it is Yunan, derived
from the same Old Persian word for designating the Greeks, namely
"Yauna" (literally 'Ionians', as they were the first of
the Greeks the Persians had firstly the most extensive encounters
The usage of "Yon" and "Yavan, or variants such as
"Yaun", "Yonak" and "Javan", appears
repeatedly, and particularly in relation to the Greek kingdoms which
neighboured or sometimes occupied the Punjab over a period of several
centuries from the 4th century BCE to the first century CE, such
as the Seleucid Empire, the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom and the Indo-Greek
Kingdom. The Yavanas are mentioned in detail in Sangam literature
epics such as Pa??i?appalai, describing their brisk trade with the
Early Cholas in the Sangam period.
After Alexander the Great's invasion, the Greek settlements had
existed in eastern parts of Achaemenid Empire, northwest of India,
as neighbours to the Kambojs. The references to the Yonas in the
early Buddhist texts may be related to the same.
The Yavans are mentionned by the grammarian Pa?ini, probably in
reference to their writing.
Role in Buddhism
Edicts of Ashok (250 BC) :
"conquered by the Dharma" according to Major Rock Edict
No.13 of Ashoka (260–218 BCE)
The Khalsi rock edict of Ashok, which mentions the Greek kings Antiochus,
Ptolemy, Antigonus, Magas and Alexander by name (underlined in color).
Here the Greek rulers are described as "Yona" (Brahmi:
third and fourth letters after the first occurrence of Antigonus
Some of the better-known examples are those of the Edicts of Ashok
(c. 250 BCE), in which the Buddhist emperor Ashok refers to the
Greek populations under his rule. Rock Edicts V and XIII mention
the Yons (or the Greeks) along with the Kambojs and Gandharas as
a subject people forming a frontier region of his empire and attest
that he sent envoys to the Greek rulers in the West as far as the
Mediterranean, faultlessly naming them one by one.
In the Gandhari original of Rock XIII, the Greek kings to the West
are associated unambiguously with the term "Yon": Antiochus
is referred as "Amtiyoko nama Yonaraj" (lit. "The
Greek king by the name of Antiochus"), beyond whom live the
four other kings: "param ca tena Atiyoken cature 4 rajani Turamaye
nama Amtikini nama Maka nama Alikasudaro nama" (lit. "And
beyond Antiochus, four kings by the name of Ptolemy, the name of
Antigonos, the name of Magas, the name Alexander").
Buddhist Texts :
Buddhist texts such as the Dipvamsa and the 1861 Sasan Vamsa reveal
that after the Third Buddhist council, the elder monk (thero) Maharakkhita
was sent to the "Yon country" and he preached Buddhism
among the Yons and the Kambojs, and that at the same time the Yon
elder monk (thero) Dharmaraksit was sent to the country of Aparantak
in Western India also. Ashok's Rock Edict XIII also pairs the Yonas
with the Kambojs (Yonakambojesu) and conveys that brahmans and srama?as
are found everywhere in his empire except in the lands of the Yonas
and the Kambojs.
The Mahavamsa or "Great Chronicle" of Sri Lanka refers
to the thera Maharakkhit being sent to preach to the Yon country,
and also to the Yon thera Dhammarakkhit, who was sent to Aparant
("the Western Ends"). It also mentions that Pandukabhay
of Anuradhapur set aside a part of his capital city of Anuradhapur
for the Yons.
Another Yon thera, Mahadhammarakkhit, is mentioned as having come
from Alexandria on the Caucasus in the country of the Yonas, to
be present at the building of the Ruwanwelisay.
Another example is that of the Milind Panh (Chapter I), where "Yonak"
is used to refer to the great Indo-Greek king Menander (160–135
BC), and to the guard of "five hundred Greeks" that constantly
Invasion of India :
The Vanaparav of Mahabharat contains prophecies that "Mlecch
kings of the Shakas, Yavans, Kambojs, Bahliks etc. shall rule the
earth un-righteously in Kalyug ...". This reference apparently
alludes to chaotic political scenario following the collapse of
the Maurya and Shung Empires in northern India and its subsequent
occupation by foreign hordes such as of the Yonas, Kambojs, Sakas
Dedication by a man of Greek descent on a wall of Cave 17 in the
Nasik Caves (photograph and rubbing). Detail of the "Yo-na-ka-sa"
word (adjectival form of "Yonak"), with Nasik/Karla-period
Brahmi script for reference. Circa 120 CE.
There are important references to the warring Mlech hordes of the
Shakas, Yavans, Kambojs, the Pahlavs and others in the Bala Kand
of Valmiki's Ramayan.
Indologists like Dr H. C. Raychadhury, Dr B. C. Law, Dr Satya Shrava
and others see in these verses the clear glimpses of the struggles
of the Hindus with the mixed invading hordes of the barbaric Sakas,
Yavans, Kambojs, Pahlavs etc. from north-west. The time frame for
these struggles is 2nd century BCE downwards.
The other Indian records prophecies the 180 BCE Yona attacks on
Saket, Panchal, Mathura and Pataliputra, probably against the Shung
Empire, and possibly in defence of Buddhism: "After having
conquered Saket, the country of the Panchal and the Mathuras, the
Yavans, wicked and valiant, will reach Kusumadhvaj ("The town
of the flower-standard", Pataliputra). The thick mud-fortifications
at Pataliputra being reached, all the provinces will be in disorder,
without doubt. Ultimately, a great battle will follow, with tree-like
engines (siege engines)." "The Yavans will command, the
Kings will disappear. (But ultimately) the Yavans, intoxicated with
fighting, will not stay in Madhadesh (the Middle Country); there
will be undoubtedly a civil war among them, arising in their own
country, there will be a terrible and ferocious war." The "Anushasanaparav"
of the Mahabharat affirms that the country of Majjhimadesh was invaded
the Yavans and the Kambojs who were later utterly defeated. The
Yon invasion of Majjhimadesh ("middle country, midlands")
was jointly carried out by the Yons and the Kambojs. Majjhimadesh
here means the middle of Greater India which then included Afghanistan,
Pakistan and large parts of Central Asia.
Other references :
On the 110 BCE Heliodorus pillar in Vidish in Central India, the
Indo-Greek king Antialcidas, who had sent an ambassador to the court
of the Shunga emperor Bhagabhadra, was also qualified as "Yon".
The Mahavamsa also attests Yona settlement in Anuradhapur in ancient
Sri Lanka, probably contributing to trade between East and West.
Buddhist texts like Sumangal Vilasini class the language of the
Yavans with the Milakkhabhas i.e. impure language.
Roman traders in Tamilakkam were also considered Yavans.
on the Northern Gateway of Stup I
Some of the friezes of Sanchi also show devotees in Greek attire.
The men are depicted with short curly hair, often held together
with a headband of the type commonly seen on ancient Greek coinage.
The clothing too is Greek, complete with tunics, capes and sandals.
The musical instruments are also quite characteristic, such as the
double flute called aulos. Also visible are carnyx-like horns. They
are all celebrating at the entrance of the stupa. These men would
be foreigners from north-west India visiting the stup, possibly
Mallas, Indo-Scythians or Indo-Greeks.
Three inscriptions are known from Yavan donors at Sanchi, the clearest
of which reads "Setapathiyas Yonas danam" ("Gift
of the Yon of Setapath"), Setapath being an uncertain city.
Buddhist caves of Western India :
pillar No.9 of the Great Chatya at Karla Caves. This pillar was
donated by a Yavana circa 120 CE, like five other pillars. The inscription
of this pillar reads: "Dhenukakat Yavanas / Yasavadhanana[m]
/ thabo dana[m]" i.e. "(This) pillar (is) the gift of
the Yavan Yasavadhan from Denukakat". Below: detail of the
word "Ya-va-na-sa" (adjectival form of "Yavan").
In the Great Chaitya of the Karla Caves built and dedicated by Western
Satraps Nahapan in 120 CE, there are six inscriptions made by self-described
Yavana donors, who donated six of the pillars, although their names
are Buddhist names. They account for nearly half of the known dedicatory
inscriptions on the pillars of the Chaitya.
• 3rd pillar of the left row :
"(This) pillar (is) the gift of the Yavana Sihadhaya from Dhenukatak"
• 4th pillar of the left row :
"Of Dhamma, a Yavan from Dhenukakata"
• 9th pillar of the left row :
"(This) pillar (is) the gift of the Yavan Yasavadhan from Denukakat"
• 5th pillar of the right row :
"This pillar is the gift of the Yavan Vitasamghat from Umehanakat"
• 13th pillar of the right row :
"(This) pillar (is) the gift of the Yavan Dhamadhay from Denukakat"
• 15th pillar of the right row :
"(This) pillar (is) the gift of the Yavan Chulayakh from Dhenukakat"
The city of Dhenukakat is thought to be Danahu near the city of
Karli. It is described by other donors in other inscriptions as
a "vaniya-gam" (A community of merchants).
The Yavans are also known for their donation of a complete cave
at the Nasik Caves (cave No.17), and for their donations with inscriptions
at the Junnar caves.
The Yons and other northwestern invaders in Indian literature
The Yavans or Yons are frequently found listed with the Kambojs,
Sakas, Pahlavs and other northwestern tribes in numerous ancient
pillar with possible Greek warrior (headband of a king, tunic etc...)
from Bharhut. Bharhut, Madhya Pradesh, Shunga Period, c.100-80BC.
Reddish brown sandstone. Indian Museum, Calcutta.
The Mahabharat groups the Yavans with the Kambojs and the Chinas
and calls them "Mlechas" (Barbarians). In the Shanti Parv
section, the Yavans are grouped with the Kambojs, Kiratas, Sakas,
and the Pahlavs etc. and are spoken of as living the life of Dasyus
(slaves). In another chapter of the same Parv, the Yauns, Kambojs,
Gandhars etc. are spoken of as equal to the "Svapaks"
and the "Grddhrs".
Udyogaparv of Mahabharat says that the composite army of the Kambojs,
Yavans and Sakas had participated in the Mahabharat war under the
supreme command of Kamboj king Sudakshin. The epic numerously applauds
this composite army as being very fierce and wrathful.
of Ramayan also groups the Yavans with the Kambojs, Sakas, Pahlavs
etc. and refers to them as the military allies of sage Vishisth
against Vedic king Vishwamitra The Kishkindha Kanda of Ramayan locates
the Sakas, Kambojs, Yavans and Parads in the extreme north-west
beyond the Himavat (i.e. Hindukush).
The Buddhist drama Mudrarakshas by Visakhadutt as well as the Jain
works Parishishtaparvan refer to Chandragupt's alliance with Himalayan
king Parvatak. This Himalayan alliance gave Chandragupt a powerful
composite army made up of the frontier martial tribes of the Shakas,
Kambojs, Yavans, Parasikas, Bahlikas etc. which he may have utilised
to aid defeat the Greek successors of Alexander the Great and the
Nand rulers of Magadh, and thus establishing his Mauryan Empire
in northern India.
lists the Yavans with the Kambojs, Sakas, Pahlavs, Parads etc. and
regards them as degraded Kshatriyas (Hindu caste). Anushasanaparv
of Mahabharat also views the Yavans, Kambojs, Shakas etc. in the
same light. Patanjali's Mahabhashya regards the Yavans and Sakas
as Anirvasit (pure) Shudras. Gautam-Dharmasutra regards the Yavans
or Greeks as having sprung from Shudra females and Kshatriya males.
The Assalayana Sutta of Majjhima Nikaya attests that in Yon and
Kamboj nations, there were only two classes of people...Aryas and
Das...the masters and slaves, and that the Arya could become Das
and vice versa. The Vishnu Puran also indicates that the "Chaturvarn"
or four class social system was absent in the lands of Kiratas in
the East, and the Yavans and Kambojs etc. in the West.
Numerous Puranic literature groups the Yavans with the Sakas, Kambojs,
Pahlavas and Parads and refers to the peculiar hair styles of these
people which were different from those of the Hindus. Ganapath on
Pa?ini attests that it was a practice among the Yavans and the Kambojs
to wear short-cropped hair (Kamboj-mundah Yavan-mundah).
Vartik of Katayayan informs us that the kings of the Shakas and
the Yavans, like those of the Kambojs, may also be addressed by
their respective tribal names.
Brihatkathamanjari of Kshmendra informs us that king Vikramaditya
had unburdened the sacred earth of the Barbarians like the Shakas,
Kambojs, Yavans, Tushars, Parasiks, Huns etc. by annihilating these
The Brahmand Puran refers to the horses born in Yavan country.
The Mahaniddes speaks of Yon and Param Yon, probably referring to
Arachosia as the Yon and Bactria as the Param Yon.
Later meanings :
façade of the Chaitya Hall at Manmodi Caves was donated by
a Yavan, according to the inscription on the central flat surface
of the lotus. Detail of the "Ya-va-na-sa" circular inscription
in old Brahmi script, circa 120 CE.
The terms "Yon", "Yonak" or "Yavan"
literally referred to the Greeks, however "malech" was
also used probably due to their barbaric behaviour as invaders.
Indian languages did not base a distinction on religion early on
but after the arrival of Islam to the subcontinent, the term Yavan
was used along with Turuk, Turusk, Tajik, and Arab more than Mussalaman
or Muslim for invaders professing Islam as their religion.
The Chams of Champa referred to Dai Viet as "Yavan".
The Khmer word "Yuon" (yuôn) /yuen/ is an ethnic
slur for Vietnamese, derived from the Indian word for Greek, "Yavan".
It can also be spelled as "Youn".
The Sinhalese term Yonak referring to the Sri Lankan Moors, is thought
to have been derived from the term Yon.
Contemporary usage :
The word Yon, or one of its derivatives, is still used by some languages
to designate contemporary Greece, such as in Arabic, in Hebrew,
in Turkish ("Yunanistan"), in modern Aramaic (Yawnoye),
or the Pashto, Hindi, Urdu, Malay and Indonesian languages ("Yunani").
or Yon refers to a community in Indian texts and history. They are
grouped under western countries along with Sindhu, Madra, Kekeya,
Gandhar and Kamboj as per the descriptions in the epic Mahabharat.
This word has been used in Indian history to refer to Greeks, such
as those who arrived with Alexander the Great, and Indo-Greeks in
the 1st millennium BCE.
Location in Ancient India :
Yavans were described to be beyond Gandhar. There was another country
mentioned in the epic as Param Yon, in the far west of Yavan. This
could be the Ionia of Greece, somehow related to Indian Ionians
or Yavans. The name Yavan could be the Sanskritized form of the
King Yayati a king of the Lunar Dynasty is mentioned to have 5 sons,
all of whom became the founders of many royal dynasties, one being
(from Vedic Sanskrit mlecchá, meaning "non-Vedic",
"barbarian") is a Sanskrit term referring to foreign or
barbarous peoples in ancient India, as contradistinguished from
Aryas. Malech was used by the ancient Indians originally to indicate
the uncouth and incomprehensible speech of foreigners and then extended
to their unfamiliar behaviour, and also used as a derogatory term
in the sense of "impure" and/or "inferior" people.
The word Malech was commonly used for 'outer barbarians of whatever
race or colour'.
The Indians referred to all alien cultures and races that were less
civilized in ancient times as 'Malech or barbarians. Among the tribes
termed Malech were Sakas, Hunas, Yavans, Kambojs, Pahlavas, Bahlikas
and Rishikas.. The Amarakosha described the Kiratas, Khasas and
Pulindas as the Malech-jatis. Indo-Greeks, Scythians, and Kushans.
The Vayu, Matsya and Brahmand Purans state that the seven Himalayan
rivers pass through mleccha countries. The Brahmans place malechs
outside the varn. Asko Parpol relates it to Meluhha, the name for
the Indus Valley known from Sumerian sources.
Pali, the older Prakrit used by Theravad Buddhism, uses the term
milakkh. It also employs milakkhu, a borrowing from a Dramatic Prakrit.
The term Mench, probably a tadbhav, was also used by the medieval
Marathi saint Samarth Ramdas.
Some explanations of the name "malech" suggest that the
word was derived from the Indo-Aryan perception of the speech of
the indigenous peoples. Namely, "mlech" was a word that
meant "to speak indistinctly." As such, some suggest that
the Indo-Aryans used an onomatopoeic sound to imitate the harshness
of alien tongue and to indicate incomprehension, thus coming up
Early Indians spoke Sanskrit, which evolved into the various local
modern Sanskrit-derived languages. Sanskrit was believed to include
all the sounds necessary for communication. Early Indians would
therefore dismiss other languages as foreign tongue, "malech
bhash". As the Sanskrit word itself suggests, "malecha"
were those whose speech was alien. "Correct speech" was
a crucial component of being able to take part in the appropriate
yagnas (religious rituals and sacrifices). Thus, without correct
speech, one could not hope to practice correct religion, either.
The notion of being Arya suggested a knowledge of Sanskrit in order
to effectively perform ritual hymns; thus suggesting the importance
of language. Parasher discusses the importance of knowing the correct
speech in order to perform sacrifice and ritual in the religion
of the brahmans. Parashar continued that: "The best experts
of the sacrificial art were undoubtedly the various families of
the Brahmins who, placed in a hierarchy within the Indo-Aryan social
system, became the upholders of pure and best speech".
Historians note that early Indo-Aryans believed Sanskrit to be the
superior language over all other forms of speech. As such, mleccha
or barbarian speech was said to have meant any of the following:
"1) a language which was not necessarily alien, but the speech
of the person or persons was improper because it was either hostile
or vulgar; 2) a language, and here most probably Sanskrit, that
was mispronounced and, thereby, incomprehensible: 3) finally, any
foreign tongue which was naturally incomprehensible because it was
unintelligible to those who did not understand a particular language".
Historians have stated that the notion of foreigners in ancient
India – those living outside of the Indian subcontinent –
was often accompanied by the idea that one was a barbarian. Still,
it seemed that groups who did not come from outside of these areas,
as well as foreigners, were designated by the term malech, which
carried with it a barbarian connotation.
Thus another distinction that was made between the malech and non-malech
was area of habitation. Though they were considered a marginal group,
the area characterize as the malech-desh (the natural border that
separated their lands from that of the Aryans) was never permanent.
Instead, it was defined by the changing ideas about the Aryavart.
Parasher noted that "the only consistent areas dubbed as malech
desh were those regions inhabited by 'primitive tribes' who for
long periods of time did not come under the sway of the brahmanical,
Buddhist or Jain influence".
Though the area of the Aryas expanded with time, the notion that
was held over all of the land was that of "purity." As
Vedic literature refers only to the places and territories that
were familiar to the Indo-Aryans, these lands eventually became
part of the Aryavart. Parasher thus indicates that the Aryavart
was designated as "[t]he region where the river Sarasvati disappears
is the Patiala district in the Punjab. The Pariyatra mountains belong
to the Vindhya range, probably the hills of Malwa. The Kalakavan
is identified with a tract somewhere near Prayag." Still, other
interpretations of the Aryavart refer to those areas where the black
antelope roams, for these areas are fit for the performance of sacrifice.
Early Vedic literature focused on defining the area of habitation
of the aryas for this land was considered pure; yet there is no
actual reference to the malech country or behavior. Wherever the
territory, though, the implications of naming such lands as the
Aryavarta is that any lands excluded from that area were considered
Further, there is evidence that Indians of the Vedic period actually
had contact with people outside of the subcontinent, namely the
Persians. The Persians, who ruled over the Indus river valley during
this time (522–486 BC) were not designated as mleccha, perhaps
because they did not interfere with the brahmanical way of life.
Later Vedic literature speaks of the western Anav tribes as mlecchas
and occupying northern Punjab, Sindh and eastern Rajasthan. The
tribes of the north were malech either because they were located
on the frontiers such as Gandhar, Kashmir and Kambojs and therefore
both their speech and culture had become contaminated and differed
from that of Aryavart, or else, as in the case of southern India,
they were once Aryas but having forsaken the Vedic rituals were
regarded to mleccha status.
Cultural behavior :
The word malech emerged as a way for the ancient Hindus to classify
those who did not subscribe to the "traditional value system,"
though the characteristics of the so-called system were ambiguous.
In sum, though, the idea was that the malechs were peoples who did
not conform to what was culturally acceptable.
Early writings refer to these foreign peoples as "half-civilized,
unconverted people who rise or eat at improper times." They
stated that monks and nuns should avoid certain areas of habitation
because they were unsafe. Namely, that "the ignorant populace
might beat, harass, rob them under the impression that they were
spies from hostile villages." Further, while some of these
non-mlecchas, such as those of the Jain faith, had established contact
with people of the forest tribes, they were automatically designated
as malechs. Such was the typical attitude of people from the plains
who took pride in their norms of settled agricultural and urban
The sanskritizing of names was a common feature among both indigenous
and foreign malechs who slowly tried to move away from their status
of malech. Very often, in the case of ruling families, it took one
to two generations to make a transition. One of the most direct
forms of the expression of the Brahmanical ritual purity was the
form and type of food which a Brahmin could eat. He was forbidden
to accept cooked food from any unclean person. Mlecchas drank alcohol,
ate cow flesh, which was strictly forbidden to a true believer of
Sanatan Dharm, and believed in false gods.
The decline of society and dissolution of values is typically associated
with the notion of being overrun by Malechs, leading to the collapse
of civilization. The Malechs would endeavor in making the world
in their disgusting image and rewrite history to their own liking.
This situation is described in The Mahabharat.
"And the whole world will be filled with malech behavior and
notions and ceremonies, and sacrifices will cease and joy will be
nowhere and general rejoicing will disappear.[...] And, O Yudhishthir,
the whole world will be malechified. And men will cease to gratify
the gods by offerings of Shradhs. And no one will listen to the
words of others and no one will be regarded as a preceptor by another.
And, O ruler of men, intellectual darkness will envelop the whole
Literature describing the Malech :
In the Mahabharata, some Malech warriors are described as having
"heads completely shaved or half-shaved or covered with matted
locks, [as being] impure in habits, and of crooked faces and noses
They are "dwellers of hills" and "denizens of mountain-caves,
of fierce eyes, accomplished in smiting looking like messengers
of Death, and all conversant with the deceptive powers of the Asuras".
The Mahabharat gives the following information regarding
• Malech who sprang up from the tail of the celestial cow
Nandini sent the army of Viswamitra flying in terror.
• Bhagadatt was the king of malechs.
• Pandavs, like Bhim, Nakul and Sahadev once defeated them.
• Karn during his world campaign conquered many malech countries.
• The wealth that remained in the Yagashala of Yudhishthir
after the distribution as gifts to Brahmins was taken away by the
• The malechs drove angered elephants on the army of the Pandavs.
"This shows malechs were against Pandavs".
The term is not attested in the Veds, but occurs for the first time
in the late Vedic text the Shatapath Brahman. The Baudhayan sutras
define a malech as someone "who eats meat or indulges in self-contradictory
statements or is devoid of righteousness and purity of conduct".
Malech could refer to any being who follow different teachings than
Vedic beliefs. In the Indian history some indigenous rulers in Assam
were called the Malech dynasty. In the Bhagavat Puran, the term
is used in the context of meat eaters, outcastes.
Medieval Hindu literature, such as that of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu,
also uses the term to refer to those of larger groups of other religions,
especially Muslims. In medieval India, a foreign visitor al-Biruni
(died 1048) noted that foreigners were regarded as 'unclean' or
'Malech' and Hindus were forbidden any social or matrimonial contact