The Battle of the Ten Kings


Bharat's Great Kings

Dec 06, CANADA (SUN) —

"When his merits from past good actions have been exhausted, a pure man descends to earth from the heavenly realms and is born as a king. Such a person is indeed great because he is the representative of God upon the earth."
(The Way of Kings)

Over the ages, many epic battles have been fought in Mother India, Kurukshetra being the most recent. During the Rigveda civilization, after the decline of the Harappas, there was a battle of massive proportions, known as the Battle of the Ten Kings (Dasarajna). This battle is memorialized in the 7th Mandala of the Rigveda, in hymns 18, 33 and 83.4-8). In modern history, it has been described as an "internecine war" of the Aryans, as opposed to the more frequent battles that took place between the Aryans and Dasyus.

In the Battle of Ten Kings, the Puru tribes created an alliance with other tribes from the Punjab and Persia. At the urging of the great sage Vishvamitra, this army came on to oppose the Trtsu (Bharata) King Sudas in battle. Undoubtedly by Krsna's mercy, however, the Bharatas soundly defeated the Puru armies. Their victory is glorified in the Rigveda (7.18), in a hymn of King Sudas' poet and Vasishtha.

The social dynamics leading up to the Battle of the Ten Kings included a great division amongst the Rigvedic tribes. On one side were the Srnjayas and Bharatas, and on the other side were the Yadus, Turvasas, Druhyus and Purus. In fact, all the people of Rigvedic India were said to have been involved.

Five tribes came to fight from west of the Indus: the Alinas (of modern Kafiristan), the Pakthas, the Bhalnases, the Sivas and the Vraisnins. The Anus, Druhyus, Turvasas, Yadus and Purus joined them. Various non-Aryans joined them, including the Ajas, Sigrus and Yaksus, and the amalgamated forces rode under the priestly authority of Risi Visvamitra.

On the other side were the ranks of Bharata's King Sudas, of the Tritsu family, who fought under the guidance of the sage Vasishta. The Tritsu homeland later became known as Brahmavarta, or the region between Sarasvati and Yamuna Rivers.

The battle took place on the banks of the Parusni (Ravi) River, with the Sudas warriors dressed in white cloth (shvityanca), wearing hair-knots on the right side of their heads (daksinataskaparda), having flying banners (krtadhvaj). Rigveda 7.18.5 indicates that the Sudas crossed the Parusni safely, but their pursing foes were scattered by a flood, then either drowned or were slaughtered by Sudas' men. Either way, the Bharatas completely routed their forces, and took reign over all the Rigvedic tribes.

In Mandala 3 of Rigveda, the Bharata tribe is described. The 'River Hymn' states that the entire Bharata tribe crossed the river. Mandala 7 describes their victorious actions in the battle, and in the later post-Vedic epic Mahabharata, the Emperor Bharata is heralded as the conqueror of all of India.

Hymns 7.18 and 7.83 of Rigveda offer glorification to Lord Indra and Varuna, for helping Sudas to defeat his enemies. Hymn 7.33 offers prayers to Vasishtha for influencing the gods through his prayers, and taking King Sudas' side in the battle.

After the battle, Indra destroyed seven fortifications belonging to the enemy, giving all the treasures of Anu to King Sudas. Mother India was heralded as the land of Bharata, and enjoyed a renewal of Vedic culture. Rigveda states that this was a victory against all odds, and compares it to a ram defeating a lion (RV 7.18.13-17).


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