Battle of Ten Kings: Dasharagya Yuddha from Rigveda [4000 B.C]
One year from today when I am writing this, I read hymn of Rigveda first time while writing an article about Universe Creation mythology. In that article, I was explaining Universe creation mythology from different civilizations.
Since childhood, I have always understood or I was told that Vedas are religious scripture and after reading the first hymn also my understanding remained the same.
My understanding changed the first time when I read the book “The Arctic Home in the Vedas” by Bal Ganda Dhar Tilak.
In that book, the author has explained various phenomenon which support human habitation in the region of the north and south pole. Rigveda has Usha’s hymns where the earth’s north and south poles, six month day, and six month night phenomenon has explained.
If poles were discovered just 2 centuries ago then how religious text can contain that phenomenon.
That time I realized that Rigveda is way more than a religious text. It contains the historic event which occurred and recorded by ancient Sagas.
This belief got stronger when I researched about Rigveda dating. So many historic and geological event is recorded in Rigveda which happened in the past.
We have a complete scripture to make a flying machine which explains the making different Vimana for the different purpose from passenger plane to fighter plane. How this type of text can be a religious text?
Recently I came across another historic event mentioned in Rigveda hymns. That is “The Dasharagya Yuddha” or “Battle of Ten Kings” which fought between the Bharata king Sudas and his 10 rivals where King Sudas won over all his rivals.
In this article, I will not consider any western translation. I will be considering only the Indian translation. Western scholars translated hymns word by word. No context or background of events was considered. We know many times due to context words meaning may vary.
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Background of War
King Sudas is regarded by the Rigveda as a Bharata king of the Trtsu dynasty and was the grandson of brave king Divodasa. The Puranas explain the statements of the Rigveda.
Visvamitra himself informs us, under his guidance, Sudas won many victories in the east, west, and north of his kingdom. The greatest achievement of Sudas was his thumping victory of a confederacy of ten kings is described in hymn 18 of the seventh book of the Rigveda.
To know the background of the Dasharagya war, it is important to know the history of king Sudas family.
There are many events recorded in Rigveda’s different hymns which explain the bravery of Divodasa, grandfather of Sudas. The kingdom which Divodasa destroyed or won perhaps became the enemy of Sudas during his reign.
- According to Rigveda hymn 4.26.3, Divodasa destroyed 99 towns in the only single effort and he merged all 100 villages into his kingdom.
- Divodas not only expanded his kingdom but helped others kingdom to eliminate their enemies. Hymn of 10.48.8 where in the country of Gangu’s Divodasa installed himself as a common person in the Kingdom to destroy the country enemies.
- Divodasa won against the rulers of Sambhar city, Turvash, and Yadu kings as per hymn 9.61.2.
The information which we can get from the Rigveda about the family tree of Sudas is: Atithigv -> Divodasa -> Pratardan -> Sudas
This becomes clear in hymn 7.18.6, where both, Turvash king Purodata and King Sudas were face-to-face on the battlefield. The same verse also explains that it was the Bhrgus and Druhyus who plotted battle between Turvash and Sudas.
Bhrigu is the person who lives for his own good. Their efforts are always for their own livelihood. Those who commit rebellion and robbery, are called Druhyus. They make a living by robbing others. They are all enemies of humans. But the one who dislikes such people is the true friend of humans.RigVeda 7.18.6
Where Did This War Happen?
Historian P. L. Bhargava prepared a map that is available in his book “India in the Vedic Age” in order to show the areas described in Rigveda.
King Sudas, being the successor to the Puru-Bharata Dynasty, had his kingdom centered in the southeastern region of the Sapta-Sindhu with his capital most likely directly upon the Sarasvati River.
There are a few hymns present in Rigveda which highlight that during the attack on king Sudas, the enemies followed a very different approach. According to verse 7.18.8, the enemies tried to broke the banks of the river Parusni to flood the region.
But kings Sudas was ready for such attack, and by looking at the next verse it seems that King Sudas were already anticipating such type of attacks.
He fixed the walls on both sides of the Parushni river in no time and made its flow again in the same way as the flow of that river used to flow earlier.
This attack didn’t harm the city in a way the enemy was expected. King Sudas saved the city from major damage by taking appropriate action. This strategy proved that king Sudas was very good at anticipating risks and attacks.
The good king should keep a good system of rivers and canals in his nation. If at the time of war, if the enemy spoils the system of the river canal, then they should have the system in place to fix it in no time.
By this event, we can assume that some part or complete battle was fought near the river Parusni.
According to Rigveda verse 8.63.15, the Parusni river is also recognized as Raavi River and as per verse 2.15.5, it is also known as Iravati to Indians in Vedic times and as Hydraotes to the Ancient Greeks.
The Ravi River currently is a transboundary river crossing northwestern India and eastern Pakistan. It is one of six rivers of the Indus System in Punjab region.
It is clear by many verses from Rigveda that king Sudas had a blessing of Indra and for the Dasharagya war, Indra asked Marut’s as well to help Sudas. In verse 7.18.25 Indra is introducing king Sudas as a grandson of Divodasa to Marut’s leader and asked Marut’s to protect king Sudas and his kingdom.
Marut is mention in many places in the Rigveda. They were warriors and famous for their bravery. In verse 7.18.10 it is mentioned that Marut’s were helping Indra due to earlier vows.
Other Ten Kings
As the Trtsu’s is said to be surrounded by ten kings in 7.33.5 but it is not made explicit how this number is supposed to be broken down. Who were exactly those 10 kings?
If we consider the tribes mentioned in 7.18, the Turvasas, Yaksuss, Matsyas, Bhrgus, Druhyus, Pakthas, Bhalanas, Alinas, Shivas and Visanins are counted, the full number is reached.
7.18 explains other victories of Sudas as well like below which shows the bravery of king Sudas.
- The Anavas (7.18.14),
- The Ajas and Sigrus (7.18.19)
- The “21 men of both Vaikarna tribes” (7.18.11) without a king, and implying that Bheda (7.18.19, also mentioned 7.33.3 and 7.83.4, the main leader was slain by Sudas)
- Shimyu (7.18.5), and Kavasa (7.18.12) are the names of individual kings.
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Casualties and Losses
After the war all enemies of Sudas were defeated, thousands were killed, several drowned and swept away by the mighty rivers and the remaining fled away.
However the real number of casualties is not known but as per 7.18.14, there were 66066 people killed only from the Anu and Druhyus camp. This is one number that is clearly mentioned in verse as casualties happened in the war. So we can assume the original count must be more than 100 thousand.
Sudas emerged victorious and several gifts were presented to him by the defeated enemy. It was really a great historical event.
Dating of Dasharagya War
Reference of Anu
I will try to fix the date of this war by the reference of Sudas opponents. Who were they and when they were present as per history chronology?
As per 7.18.14, there were 66066 people killed only from the Anu and Druhyus camp. Here we are interested in “Anu”.
Who was Anu and when he was present? In Sumerian mythology and later for Assyrians and Babylonians, Anu was a sky-god, the god of heaven, lord of constellations, king of gods, spirits, and demons, and dwelt in the highest heavenly regions and mentioned in many clay tablets.
He was the oldest god in the Sumerian pantheon, and part of a triad including Enlil, the god of the sky and Enki, the god of water.
He was called Anu by the Akkadians, rulers of Mesopotamia after the conquest of Sumer in 2334 BCE by King Sargon of Akkad. As King Sargon of Akkad has well-defined history chronology as per Sumerian King List, here we can assume that war happened at-least before in 2334 B.C.
The oldest reference we got for Anu is Anu district which consists of a single massive terrace, the Anu Ziggurat, dedicated to the Sumerian sky god An and it was started building in 4000 B.C.
By this reference, the date of the Ten kings war reaches 4000 B.C at-least which is close to the date 3700 B.C given by Vamadeva Shastri (David Frawley) in his book “The Myth of Aryan Invasion”
Reverse Dating of Vedic Dynasties
In the books by historian P.L. Bhargava, he takes the 3100 BCE date popularly used as the beginning of this Kali Yuga (Dark Age) as the beginning of the royal dynasties of India starting with Vivasvata.
He uses a regnal period of between 16 and 17 years from Vivasvata, who lived 40 generations before Sudas to arrive at approximately 2350 BCE as the timeframe of the Dasharagya War.
But there is another data which we can consider and has been used for the dating of Mahabharata war given by the Greek Ambassador Magasthenis. He recorded that 138 generations have passed between Krishna and Chandragupta Maurya.
As Krishna’s departure was the beginning of Kaliyug so we can say that King Sudas ruled before 98 generations from Chandragupta Maurya. To find an average reign we can consider the reign of below kings.
Chandragupta Mourya 330-298 B.C. 32 years.
Bindusar 298-273 B.C. 25 years.
Ashok 273-232 B.C. 41 years.
Pushyamitra Shunga 190-149 B.C. 41 years.
Chandragupta Gupta 308-330 A.D. 22 years.
Samudragupta 330-375 A.D. 45 years.
Vikramaditya 375-414 A.D. 39 years.
Kumargupta 414-455 A.D. 41 years.
Harsha 606-647 A.D. 41 years.
The average is 327/9 = 36.3 years. Multiplying 98 generations by 36 years we get 3528 years before Chandragupta Maurya. Adding Chandragupta’s date 320 B.C. to 3528 we get 3848 B.C. as the date of King Sudas that is again close to the date 4000 B.C
The war in the Vedic period or prior to the Vedic period in Bharat fought for the values, not for a race or region. It is a conflict between spiritual values and materialistic values, which occurs in all societies.
The most famous battles which were fought to establish a Dharma is the battle between Lord Ram and Lanka King Ravana. Second is the battle of Mahabharat which fought in the region of Kurukshetra before 5000 B.C.
There is no doubt that the battle of ten kings which was fought between 3500-4000 B.C is another example of establishing a Dharma into society by defeating all the evil elements. This battle must be considered as a third example of great battles fought in Bharat.
This is the battle that established king Sudas as an exemplary figure. We witnessed the great management of the Vedic king Sudas during the enemy attacked on river Parusni. The hostility which started before two generations came to the end in the reign of Sudas.
It is really surprising that this great battle is clearly mentioned in Rigveda book 7 but very less people know about it. Most people know about Ramayana and Mahabharata only.
We do a great injustice to Bharat and Dharma by ignoring this legacy and this injustice will continue until we will not learn to experience our literature as historic text. Our scriptures are time capsules that contain every event that occurred in the past but it is us who are not able to decode that information.
There are still a few questions remains open. Who was Marut’s and why they were helping Indra? Is there another way to date Dasharagya Yuddha?
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