Rig Vedic Aryan Tribes :


There 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.


This is a list of Indo-Aryan tribes mentioned in the text of the Rigved :


1. Alina people (RV 7.18.7) :


They 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.


2. Anu :

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.


Anu (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

4. Kakseyu

5. Srnjaya

6. Kalanand

7. Puranjay

8. Janamejay

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


3. Ayu


4. Bhajeratha


5. Bhalanas


The 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.


6. Bharat :


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 of India.

7. Bhrigu :


Maharishi 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.


He 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.


8. Chedi


9. Das (Das, 'servant') :


Das is a Sanskrit language term found in ancient Hindu texts, such as the Rigved and Arthashastra. It usually means either "enemy" or "servant".

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.

Etymology :

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".


According 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".


Michael 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 daai.

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 Asia.

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 :


Authors 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.


Aurobindo 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."


According to Aurobindo (The Secret of the Ved), RV 5.14.4 is a key for understanding the character of the Dasyus :


Agni born shone out slaying the Dasyus, the darkness by the light, he found the Cows, the Waters, Swar. (transl. Aurobindo)


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.


K.D. 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 :


Rig Ved :


Das 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 :


Rig 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 alien laws.

Baffle, thou Slayer of the foe, the weapon which this Das wields.

– Translated by Ralph Griffith


The 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 :


Within 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 finger.

– Rig Ved 10.99.6, translated by H. H. Wilson


Das with the meaning of servant or slave :


Das 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


R. S. Sharma translates dasi in a Vedic era Upanishad as "maid-servant".


Aryan-Das conflict :


Hermann 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 savages.

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 cities".


Destruction 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 North India.


According 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.


Later Vedic texts :


The 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.


Sharma states that the word Das occurs in Aitareya and Gopatha Brahmanas, but not in the sense of a slave.

Arth Shastra :


Kautilya's 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.


According 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


When 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


A 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


Buddhist texts :

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 :


Use of religious "devotees" :


In Tamil tontai, Das, servant, commonly used to refer to devotees of Lord Vishnu or Sri Krishna.


In 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.


As a surname or by name :


Das 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 :


Das 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 meanings.


Asko 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)


11. Drbhika


12. Druhyus :

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).


Druhyu 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 Subal.


Druhyu's (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)

2. Babhru

3. Setu

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)

7. Dharm

8. Dhrta

9. Durmad

10. Pracheta

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).


After 88 generations,

1. Nagnajit (2)

2. Subal

3. Shakuni and 99 others.

4. Uluka

13. Gandhari :


The 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.


The 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.


14. Gungu

15. Ikshvaku dynasty :


According 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.


The 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.


In Buddhism :

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 :

1. Okkaka

2. Okkamukha

3. Sivisamjaya

4. Sihassar

5. Jayasen

6. Sihahanu

7. Suddhodan

8. Gautam Buddh

9. Rahul

In Jainism :

The Ikshvaku dynasty has a significant place in Jainism, as twenty-two Tirthankaras were born in this dynasty.

• Origin

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


16. Krivi

17. Kikata

18. Kuru :


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.


The 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.


The 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.


History :

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.


The 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 :


The 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.


List of Kuru Kings according to epic literature :

1200 BC - 1000 BC
1000 BC - 500 BC










 Janamejay II





















 Satáník II






Notes :

• 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.

19. Mahina

20. Malankhara

21. Maujavant

22. Matsya

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.


Etymology :

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 kingdoms).

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.


In 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.


Other 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.


Modern 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.


23. Nahush


24. Pakth


Pakthas 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.


Rigved Pakths :


The 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).


Turvayan :


Turvayan 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 :


Heinrich 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) :


The 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 the cows.


The "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.


The 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.


Graeco-Roman 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 Parthia.


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".


According 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).


26. Paravat :


Paravat or Paravat Rigvedic tribe mentioned in Mandal and of Rigved, who were inhabiting the banks of Sarasvati River


27. Parsu (Parsu) :


The 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.


28. Puru (Puru) :


The 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.).


Early history :

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.


According to Puranic legend the Chandravanshi lineage is :


Brahma -> Atri -> Chandra -> Buddh (married to Manu's daughter Ila) -> Pururava -> Ayu -> Nahush -> Yayati -> Puru and Yadu.


King 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.


Yayati 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 the region.

Claimants :

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 :


Rusama or Rusama was a Rigvedic tribe mentioned in Mandala 8, whose King Ranancaya was defeated by Rigvedic Aryans.


30. Saraswat :


The 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.


History :

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.


31. Srñjaya

32. Tritsu :


The 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) :


Turvasu's (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 of Bharatkhand.

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).

3. Vahini

4. Garbha

5. Gobhanu

6. Bharg

7. Bhanumaan

8. Trishanu

9. Tribhanu

10. Karandham

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.

13. Sarutt

14. Andhra (founder of Andhra Kingdom) and Mleccha (Raised Mlechha dynasties).

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 :


Yadu is one of the five Indian tribes (panchajan, panchakrishtya or panchamanush) mentioned in the Rig Ved. Krishna is the descendant of Yadu from Vedic tribe.

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.


35. Usinars :


Usinars 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.


Usinars 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 Bhimbar.

Thus, the Usinars, the very neighbors of the Svasas must also be located in Punjab proper.


Ushinar's 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 King Asmak)

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 King Sambhut)

4. Sudhir was the son of Setuka.

5. Suvir

6. Sauvir was the founder of Sauvir Kingdom


Mahabharat references :

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.


Usinar 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 the Brahmans.

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 in Pakistan.

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)

2. Rushadrath

3. Hom

4. Sutap's

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

8. Divirath

9. Dharmarath

10. Chitrarath

11. Romapad (Contemporary to Suryavanshi King Dasharath)

12. Chaturang was the inventor of Chaturang (Chess) Game (Contemporary to Lord Ram)

13. Prthulaksh

14. Brhadrath, Brhadbhanu and Brhadkarm

15. Brhanman was the son of Brhadrath

16. Jayadrath

17. Vijay

18. Dhrti

19. Dhrtvrat

20. Satkarm

21. Adhirat adopted Karna at the banks of River Ganga.

22. Karna was the King of Ang.

23. Vrshaketu and 8 others.

References :

• 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


External links :

• Mahabharat

• The Dynasties of The sons of King Yayati

37. Tushar :


The 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.


Tukhar :

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.

Indian literature

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 and gold.

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.


Puranic 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 etc.


The 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.


By 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.


There is also a mention of Tushar-Giri (Tushar mountain) in the Mahabharat, Harshcharita of Bana Bhat and Kavyamimansa of Rajshekhar.

Historical references

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 in Transoxian.

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.


The 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.


Possible connection to the Rishiks :


Pompeius 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.


38. Yona / Yavan :


The 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 Panha

• 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)


In 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 with).


History :

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) :


Territories "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 in red).

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").


In Buddhist Texts :


Other 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.

Mahavamsa :

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.

Milindapanh :

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 accompanies him.

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 and Pahlavs.

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.

Sanchi :


Foreigners 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 :

Left 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 Indian texts.

Vedik 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.


Balakand 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.


Manusmriti 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 sinners completely.

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 :

The 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").


Yavan Kingdom :


Yavan 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 name Ionia.

Mythology :

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 the Yavan.


39. Malech :


Malech (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.


Name :

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.

Language :

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 with "malech".

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".

Territory :

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 impure.

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 lifestyles.

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 earth."

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 them :

• 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 malechs.

• 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 with them.