Sunday, July 6, 2014

Mahajanapada: Sixteen Great Kingdoms (1500-500 BC)

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"... the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex, or Oxus civilisation, and is peopled by Indo-European tribes.......Climate change from around 2000 BC onwards greatly affects this civilization, denuding it of water as the rains decline. The people are forced to migrate southwards, with some groups crossing the Afghan rivers and the Hindu Kush mountains and enter India between 1700-1500 BC. They eventually form their own kingdoms there such as Magadha, plus Kalinga and Kauravas. "

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"Between 1500 and 500 B.C., 16 city-states that are known as Mahajanapadas emerged in the Indian subcontinent from the west in modern Afghanistan to the east in Bangldesh. These kingdoms were Kasi, Kosala, Anga, Magadha, Vajji, Malla, Chedi, Vatsa, Kuru, Panchala, Machcha, Surasena, Assaka, Avanti, Gandhara, and Kamboja. The largest were Magadha, Kosala, Kuru, and Gandhara.....The Mahajanapadas gave way to the Persian Empire, Alexander's invasion, and finally to the Indian empire known as Magadha."

"....the Solasa (sixteen) Mahajanapadas (powerful realms) in 6th to 5th centuries BC....."

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"Mahājanapada (Sanskrit: महाजनपद, Mahājanapada, literally "great realm" from maha, "great", and janapada "foothold of a tribe", "country") refers to one of the sixteen kingdoms and oligarchic republics that existed in ancient India from the sixth to fourth centuries BCE. Ancient Buddhist texts like Anguttara Nikaya make frequent reference to sixteen great kingdoms and republics which had evolved and flourished in a belt stretching from Gandhara in the northwest to Anga in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent and included parts of the trans-Vindhyan region, prior to the rise of Buddhism in India."

"Early Vedic texts attest several Janas or tribes of the Indo-Aryans, living in a semi-nomadic tribal state and fighting among themselves and with other Non-Aryan tribes for cows, sheep and green pastures. These early Vedic Janas later coalesced into the Janapadas of the Epic Age......The term "Janapada" literally means the foothold of a tribe. The fact that Janapada is derived from Jana points to an early stage of land-taking by the Jana tribe for a settled way of life. This process of first settlement on land had completed its final stage prior to the times of the Buddha and Pāṇini. The Pre-Buddhist north-west region of the Indian sub-continent was divided into several Janapadas demarcated from each other by boundaries. In Pāṇini, Janapada stands for country and Janapadin for its citizenry. Each of these Janapadas was named after the Kshatriya tribe (or the Kshatriya Jana) who had settled therein. The Buddhist and other texts only incidentally refer to sixteen great nations (Solasa Mahajanapadas) which were in existence before the time of Buddha. They do not give any connected history except in the case of Magadha. The Buddhist Anguttara Nikaya, at several places, gives a list of sixteen great nations:
Anga....

Kosala....According to the Buddhist text Anguttara Nikaya and the Jaina text, the Bhagavati Sutra, Kosala was one of the Solasa (sixteen) Mahajanapadas (powerful realms) in 6th to 5th centuries BC...... Shravasti is recorded as the capital of Kosala during the Mahajanapada period (6th-5th centuries BC)....A Buddhist text, the Majjhima Nikaya mentions Buddha as a Kosalan (which indicates that Kosala may have subjugated the Shakya clan, which the Buddha is traditionally believed to have belonged to)

Kashi....King Brihadratha of Kasi had conquered Kosala but Kasi was later incorporated into Kosala by King Kansa during Buddha's time.
Magadha....an active center of Jainism in ancient times.
Vriji....The Second Buddhist Council was held at Vaishali. The Licchavis were followers of Buddha. Buddha is said to have visited them on many occasions.
Malla....Kuśināra and Pava are very important in the history of Buddhism and Jainism since Buddha and Lord Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara took their last meals at Kushinara and Pava/Pavapuri respectively.
Chedi....The Chedis were an ancient people of India and are mentioned in the Rigveda
Vatsa (or Vamsa)....Udayana was the ruler of Vatsa in the sixth century BC, the time of Buddha. He was very powerful, warlike and fond of hunting. Initially king Udayana was opposed to Buddhism but later became a follower of Buddha and made Buddhism the state religion.
Kuru....The Kurus of the Buddhist period did not occupy the same position as they did in the Vedic period but they continued to enjoy their ancient reputation for deep wisdom and sound health.
Panchala.... corresponded to modern Budaun, Farrukhabad and the adjoining districts of Uttar Pradesh.
Machcha (or Matsya).... In Pali literature, the Matsyas are usually associated with the Surasenas.
Surasena....Avantiputra, the king of Surasena was the first among the chief disciples of Buddha, through whose help Buddhism gained ground in Mathura country.
Assaka (or Asmaka).... located on the banks of the river Godavari (south of the Vindhya mountains).
Avanti....an important center of Buddhism and some of the leading theras and theris were born and resided there.

Gandhara...."Gandhāra (Sanskrit: गन्धार, Pashto: ګندارا‎, Urdu: گندھارا‎) was an ancient kingdom in the Swat and Kabul river valleys and the Pothohar Plateau, in modern-day states of northern Pakistan and northeastern Afghanistan.....The Kingdom of Gandhara lasted from the Vedic period (c. 1500-500 BC) to the 11th century AD. As a center of Buddhist culture, it attained its height from the 1st century to the 5th century under the Kushan Kings. The Persian term Shahi is used by history writer Al-Biruni to refer to the ruling dynasty that took over from the Kabul Shahi and ruled the region during the period prior to Muslim conquests of the 10th and 11th centuries.....A Persian form of the name, Gandara, is mentioned by Herodotus: 'the city of Caspatyrus in Gandara (Κασπάτυρος, πόλις Γανδαρική).'......on the identity of Caspatyrus, there have been two opinions, one equating it with Kabul, the other with the name of Kashmir (Kasyapa pur, condensed to Kaspapur as found in Hecataeus).....The Gandhāri people were settled since the Vedic times on the banks of the Kabul River (aka Sita).

Kamboja...."The Kambojas were a Kshatriya tribe of Iron Age India, frequently mentioned in Sanskrit and Pali literature. Modern scholars conclude that the Kambojas were an Avestan speaking Eastern Iranian tribe who later settled in at the boundary of the ancient India......The ancient Kambojas were an Indo-Iranian tribe. They are however, sometimes described as Indo-Aryans and sometimes as having both Indian and Iranian affinities. The Kambojas are also described as a royal clan of the Sakas.....The earliest reference to the Kamboja is in the works of Pāṇini, around the 5th century BC..The confederation of the Kambojas may have stretched from the valley of Rajauri in the south-western part of Kashmir to the Hindu Kush Range; in the south–west the borders extended probably as far as the regions of Kabul, Ghazni and Kandahar, with the nucleus in the area north-east of the present day Kabul, between the Hindu Kush Range and the Kunar river, including Kapisa possibly extending from the Kabul valleys to Kandahar.....others locate the Kambojas and the Parama-Kambojas in the areas spanning Balkh, Badakshan, the Pamirs and Kafiristan......"

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"The Vedic period (or Vedic age) (ca.1750–500 BCE) was the period in Indian history during which the Vedas, the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, were composed.....During the early part of the Vedic period, the Indo-Aryans settled into northern India, bringing with them their specific religious traditions. The associated culture (sometimes referred to as Vedic civilization) was initially a tribal, pastoral society centred in the northwestern parts of the Indian subcontinent; it spread after 1200 BCE to the Ganges Plain, as it was shaped by increasing settled agriculture, a hierarchy of four social classes, and the emergence of monarchical, state-level polities...The end of the Vedic period witnessed the rise of large, urbanized states as well as of shramana movements (including Jainism and Buddhism) which challenged the Vedic orthodoxy."

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"The main deities of the Vedic pantheon were Indra, Agni (the sacrificial fire), and Soma and some deities of social order such as Mitra–Varuna, Aryaman, Bhaga and Amsa, further nature deities such as Surya (the Sun), Vayu (the wind), Prithivi (the earth). Goddesses included Ushas (the dawn), Prithvi and Aditi (the mother of the Aditya gods or sometimes the cow). Rivers, especially Saraswati, were also considered goddesses. Deities were not viewed as all-powerful. The relationship between humans and the deity was one of transaction, with Agni (the sacrificial fire) taking the role of messenger between the two. Strong traces of a common Indo-Iranian religion remain visible, especially in the Soma cult and the fire worship, both of which are preserved in Zoroastrianism."

Indo-European Numerals......edited by Jadranka Gvozdanovic

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Email....okarresearch@gmail.com

John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….July 2014

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