The Battle of Ten Kings – Dasharajnya – ? The Third Epic of Inida

Rigveda Book 7, Hymn 18

The Battle of Ten Kings

This is Ralph Griffith’s translation of the Rigveda and describes the great war on river Parushni (present day Ravi)  and the battle on River Yamuna.  This is the Battle of Ten Kings.  The seventh book of Rigveda describes a historical event that took place in an empire – on the south-eastern front on the banks of Yamuna and on the western front on the banks of River Ravi.

Sudas, a descendant of the great emperor Bharata, whose name carries on today as the Hindu name of India, was a Pur King probably around 2700 BCE.  He expands his kingdom to reach the Oxus river in west crossing the Hindukush mountains and the river Yamuna in the east, conquering the surrounding kingdoms.  He and his Royal priests, Vasishta and Vishwamitra tell him that there was nothing worth conquering in the south.  This spared the Pandyan Kingdoms south of the Vindhyas.  He alienates all the surrounding Kingdoms by doing this.

River Ravi as it is today. Ancient Parushni, the site of the Battle of Ten Kings

There is a rift between the two great sages, Vasishta and Vishwamitra.  Vishwamitra walks out of Sudas’s court to join the ancestral enemy, Kavi Cayamana.  He is the grandson of the Emperor Abhyavartin Cayamana of the Anu dynasty and a contemporary of Sudas.  He grows up in obscurity and brought in to lead the Brghus in the city of Mundigak of Sistan.  He wants to regain the glory of his grandfather and the empire of Ariana.  The Kingdoms of Yadu, Druhyu, Turvasa, Balanas, Pakthas, Alinas, Panis, Matsyas and other smaller tribes join hands under the leadership of Kavi Cayamana.  A large army of over sixty thousand, with fast chariots, cavalry and elephants march on Sudas.

Sudas gets the message of the confederacy of ten kings marching on his empire s he is on the way back from the battle on the eastern front on the river Yamuna.  His depleted and tired army face the challenge under the guidance of sage Vasishta.  It becomes a battle of wits, magic and sorcery between the two great sages – Vasishta and Vishwamitra.  A shallow river allows the army of Sudas to cross.  A flash flood (?by the virtue of God Indra) blows away large portion of the confederate army.  Kavi Cayamana is killed on the river battling for what he believed in.  Sudas returns victorious to the capital, Ilaspada (centre of the world), as the man fighting for the right side.

Ancient map of India showing the rivers of Saptha Sindhu

There are several moral issues as well as ethical issues in the story.  Sudas leads people of Bharata, who firmly beleive in the Aryan values of valour, forgiveness and righteousness.  Cayamana, although believed in his right to lead his country to glory, uses un-aryan comrades, who are mostly aryans, who have deviated from the path and those tribes who did not believe in the aryan values. These kingdoms later on go on to establish themselves as BMAC complex – Bactria Margiana Archeological Complex spread mainly around Afghanistan and Iran.

God Indra – the saviour of King Sudas and the Battle of Ten Kings

It is a battle of right over wrong.  If the battle had gone the other way, the other two epics of India – Ramayana and Mahabharata – might not have occurred.  Or if they did, it would have been vastly different.  It was a turning point in the pre-history of India and should rightly be considered the third epic.  It is the only Vedic epic, as the other two took place in the post-vedic period.  If the battle had gone the other way, we would most likely be following the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism!!

Read the details of the epic story – intricacies, planning, controversies, valour, deceit, sorcery and challenge in the upcoming book – Harappa3: The Battle of Ten Kings.  Being launched in India in October and in the UK in November.

The epic story is so powerful and paradigm shifting in nature that it should rightly be considered as the third epic of India

Watch this space for a date!!

Rigveda Book 7, Hymn 18.

1. ALL is with thee, O Indra, all the treasures which erst our fathers won who sang thy praises.
With thee are milch-kine good to milk, and horses: best winner thou of riches for the pious.
2 For like a King among his wives thou dwellest: with glories, as a Sage, surround and help us.
Make us, thy servants, strong for wealth, and honour our songs wirth kine and steeds and decoration.
3 Here these our holy hymns with joy and gladness in pious emulation have approached thee.
Hitherward come thy path that leads to riches: may we find shelter in thy favour, Indra.
4 Vasiṣṭha hath poured forth his prayers, desiring to milk thee like a cow in goodly pasture.
All these my people call thee Lord of cattle: may Indra. come unto the prayer we offer.
5 What though the floods spread widely, Indra made them shallow and easy for Sudās to traverse.
He, worthy of our praises, caused the Simyu, foe of our hymn, to curse the rivers’ fury.
6 Eager for spoil was Turvaśa Purodas, fain to win wealth, like fishes urged by hunger.
The Bhṛgus and the Druhyus quickly listened: friend rescued friend mid the two distant peoples.
7 Together came the Pakthas, the Bhalanas, the Alinas, the Sivas, the Visanins.
Yet to the Trtsus came the Ārya’s Comrade, through love of spoil and heroes’ war, to lead them.
8 Fools, in their folly fain to waste her waters, they parted inexhaustible Paruṣṇī.
Lord of the Earth, he with his might repressed them: still lay the herd and the affrighted herdsman.
9 As to their goal they sped to their destruetion: they sought Paruṣṇī; e’en the swift returned not.
Indra abandoned, to Sudās the manly, the swiftly flying foes, unmanly babblers.
10 They went like kine unherded from the pasture, each clinging to a friend as chance directed.
They who drive spotted steeds, sent down by Pṛśni, gave ear, the Warriors and the harnessed horses.
11 The King who scattered one-and-twenty people of both Vaikarna tribes through lust of glory-
As the skilled priest clips grass within the chamber, so hath the Hero Indra, wrought their downfall.
12 Thou, thunder-armed, o’erwhelmedst in the waters famed ancient Kavasa and then the Druhyu.
Others here claiming friendship to their friendship, devoted unto thee, in thee were joyful.
13 Indra at once with conquering might demolished all their strong places and their seven castles.
The goods of Anu’s son he gave to Trtsu. May we in sacrifice conquer scorned Pūru.
14 The Anavas and Druhyus, seeking booty, have slept, the sixty hundred, yea, six thousand,
And six-and-sixty heroes. For the pious were all these mighty exploits done by Indra.
15 These Trtsus under Indra’s careful guidance came speeding like loosed waters rushing downward.
The foemen, measuring exceeding closely, abandoned to Sudās all their provisions.
16 The hero’s side who drank the dressed oblation, Indra’s denier, far o’er earth he scattered.
Indra brought down the fierce destroyer’s fury. He gave them various roads, the path’s Controller.
17 E’en with the weak he wrought this matchless exploit: e’en with a goat he did to death a lion.
He pared the pillar’s angles with a needle. Thus to Sudās Indra gave all provisions.
18 To thee have all thine enemies submitted: e’en the fierce Bheda hast thou made thy subject.
Cast down thy sharpened thunderbolt, O Indra, on him who harms the men who sing thy praises.
19 Yamuna and the Trtsus aided Indra. There he stripped Bheda bare of all his treasures.
The Ajas and the Sigrus and the Yaksus brought in to him as tribute heads of horses.
20 Not to be scorned, but like Dawns past and recent, O Indra, are thy favours and thy riches.
Devaka, Mānyamana’s son, thou slewest, and smotest Śambara from the lofty mountain.
21 They who, from home, have gladdened thee, thy servants Parasara, Vasiṣṭha, Satayatu,
Will not forget thy friendship, liberal Giver. So shall the days dawn prosperous for the princes.
22 Priest-like, with praise, I move around the altar, earning Paijavana’s reward, O Agni,
Two hundred cows from Devavan’s descendant, two chariots from Sudās with mares to draw them.
23 Gift of Paijavana, four horses bear me in foremost place, trained steeds with pearl to deck them.
Sudās’s brown steeds, firmly-stepping, carry me and my son for progeny and glory.
24 Him whose fame spreads between wide earth and heaven, who, as dispenser, gives each chief his portion,
Seven flowing Rivers glorify like Indra. He slew Yudhyamadhi in close encounter.
25 Attend on him O ye heroic Maruts as on Sudās’s father Divodāsa.
Further Paijavana’s desire with favour. Guard faithfully his lasting firm dominion.

The original Sanskrit version of the Mandala 7, 18th Hymn:

तवे ह यत पितरश्चिन न इन्द्र विश्वा वामा जरितारो असन्वन |
तवे गावः सुदुघास्त्वे हयश्वास्त्वं वसु देवयतेवनिष्ठः ||
राजेव हि जनिभिः कषेष्येवाव दयुभिरभि विदुष कविः सन |
पिशा गिरो मघवन गोभिरश्वैस्त्वायतः शिशीहिराये अस्मान ||
इमा उ तवा पस्प्र्धानासो अत्र मन्द्रा गिरो देवयन्तीरुप सथुः |
अर्वाची ते पथ्या राय एतु सयाम ते सुमताविन्द्र शर्मन ||
धेनुं न तवा सूयवसे दुदुक्षन्नुप बरह्माणि सस्र्जे वसिष्ठः |
तवामिन मे गोपतिं विश्व आहा न इन्द्रः सुमतिं गन्त्वछ ||
अर्णांसि चित पप्रथाना सुदास इन्द्रो गाधान्यक्र्णोत सुपारा |
शर्धन्तं शिम्युमुचथस्य नव्यः शापं सिन्धूनामक्र्णोदशस्तीः ||
पुरोळा इत तुर्वशो यक्षुरासीद राये मत्स्यासो निशिता अपीव |
शरुष्टिं चक्रुर्भ्र्गवो दरुह्यवश्च सखा सखायमतरद विषूचोः ||
आ पक्थासो भलानसो भनन्तालिनासो विषाणिनः शिवासः |
आ यो.अनयत सधमा आर्यस्य गव्या तर्त्सुभ्यो अजगन युधा नर्न ||
दुराध्यो अदितिं सरेवयन्तो.अचेतसो वि जग्र्भ्रे परुष्णीम |
मह्नाविव्यक पर्थिवीं पत्यमानः पशुष कविरशयच्चायमानः ||
ईयुरर्थं न नयर्थं परुष्णीमाशुश्चनेदभिपित्वं जगाम |
सुदास इन्द्रः सुतुकानमित्रानरन्धयन मानुषे वध्रिवाचः ||
ईयुर्गावो न यवसादगोपा यथाक्र्तमभि मित्रं चितासः |
पर्श्निगावः पर्श्निनिप्रेषितासः शरुष्टिं चक्रुर्नियुतो रन्तयश्च ||
एकं च यो विंशतिं च शरवस्या वैकर्णयोर्जनान राजा नयस्तः |
दस्मो न सद्मन नि शिशाति बर्हिः शूरः सर्गमक्र्णोदिन्द्र एषाम ||
अध शरुतं कवषं वर्द्धमप्स्वनु दरुह्युं नि वर्णग वज्रबाहुः |
वर्णाना अत्र सख्याय सख्यं तवायन्तो ये अमदन्ननु तवा ||
वि सद्यो विश्वा दरंहितान्येषामिन्द्रः पुरः सहसा सप्त दर्दः |
वयानवस्य तर्त्सवे गयं भाग जेष्म पूरुं विदथे मर्ध्रवाचम ||
नि गव्यवो.अनवो दरुह्यवश्च षष्टिः शता सुषुपुः षट सहस्रा |
षष्टिर्वीरासो अधि षड दुवोयु विश्वेदिन्द्रस्य वीर्या कर्तानि ||
इन्द्रेणैते तर्त्सवो वेविषाणा आपो न सर्ष्टा अधवन्त नीचीः |
दुर्मित्रासः परकलविन मिमाना जहुर्विश्वानि भोजना सुदासे ||
अर्धं वीरस्य शर्तपामनिन्द्रं परा शर्धन्तं नुनुदे अभि कषाम |
इन्द्रो मन्युं मन्युम्यो मिमाय भेजे पथो वर्तनिम्पत्यमानः ||
आध्रेण चित तद वेकं चकार सिंह्यं चित पेत्वेना जघान |
अव सरक्तीर्वेश्याव्र्श्चदिन्द्रः परायछद विश्वा भोजना सुदासे ||
शश्वन्तो हि शत्रवो रारधुष टे भेदस्य चिच्छर्धतो विन्द रन्धिम |
मर्तानेन सतुवतो यः कर्णोति तिग्मं तस्मिन नि जहि वज्रमिन्द्र ||
आवदिन्द्रं यमुना तर्त्सवश्च परात्र भेदं सर्वतातामुषायत |
अजासश्च शिग्रवो यक्षवश्च बलिं शीर्षाणि जभ्रुरश्व्यानि ||
न त इन्द्र सुमतयो न रायः संचक्षे पूर्वा उषसो न नूत्नाः |
देवकं चिन मान्यमानं जघन्थाव तमना बर्हतः शम्बरं भेत ||
पर ये गर्हादममदुस्त्वाया पराशरः शतयातुर्वसिष्ठः |
न ते भोजस्य सख्यं मर्षन्ताधा सूरिभ्यः सुदिना वयुछान ||
दवे नप्तुर्देववतः शते गोर्द्वा रथा वधूमन्ता सुदासः |
अर्हन्नग्ने पैजवनस्य दानं होतेव सद्म पर्येमि रेभन ||
चत्वारो मा पैजवनस्य दानाः समद्दिष्टयः कर्शनिनो निरेके |
रज्रासो मा पर्थिविष्ठाः सुदासस्तोकं तोकाय शरवसे वहन्ति ||
यस्य शरवो रोदसी अन्तरुर्वी शीर्ष्णे-शीर्ष्णे विबभाजा विभक्ता |
सप्तेदिन्द्रं न सरवतो गर्णन्ति नि युध्यामधिमशिशादभीके ||
इमं नरो मरुतः सश्चतानु दिवोदासं न पितरं सुदासः |
अविष्टना पैजवनस्य केतं दूणाशं कषत्रमजरं दुवोयु ||

The Battle of Ten Kings

Sanskriti Online


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