@Bhrigu, great post!The Yaudheyas were an ancient “clan-state” of north-western India who ruled for several centuries from their base in the fertile country of Bahudhanyaka (which comprised of modern day Rohtak and Hisar disctricts in Haryana), with capital at the city of Rohitaka (Rohtak). In the Puranas, they are called descendants of the king Usinara.
The term “clan-state” here means a political entity that was based on an agricultural economy, and made up of people of specialised professions. The warriors amongst these people would form a clan (jan), and take up the job of ruling and protecting the population living in the cities and villages (visah). These clan-states usually followed an oligarchic or a republic model of government. With later expansion in agriculture and territory; and proliferation of the ruling clans, these clan-states would naturally evolve into centralised monarchies. We see that the earliest centralised monarchies emerge in eastern regions like Magadha, while those in the west such as Haryana, Panjab and Eastern Rajasthan saw a slower evolution. In the post-Vedic times, there were tens of such clan-states in north-western India; and the Yaudheyas were probably the most prominent among them.
Coming to their history, their earliest coins are from the Sunga times, but they disappear after 4th century AD. Panini calls the Yaudheyas as Ayudhajivi Samgha, meaning the states that conducted war for a living. The very word Yaudheya itself means warrior. The Yaudheyas probably became prominent a century before the Greek invasions and maintained their autonomy throughout the ancient period. Almost nothing is known of their political or economic history, but they seem to have shifted southwards into Rajasthan probably due to the Saka threat, so as to come in clash with Rudradaman, as indicated by his Junagarh inscription, where he calls them "heroes among the Kshatriyas," but also claims to have defeated them. Also, Yaudheya records from the Scythian times have been excavated from Bharatpur and Hoshiarpur districts. In one such record, the president of the Yaudheyas styles himself as Maharaja (king) and Maha-senapati (commander general), and also claims that he was elected to this post by the Yaudheya parliament. In certain records, explicit references have been made to the Yaudheya parliament or cabinet as yaudheyanam jayamantradharanam mantradharas who are described as “those vested with the policy of state.” Last time when we hear of them was in the Allahabad inscription of Samudragupta (4th century AD) which mentions the Yaudheyas as one of the republics that paid tribute to him.
An interesting fact about the Yaudheyas is their extremely large and numerous hoards of coins found in sites near Rohtak, Bhiwani, Bhatner, Abohar, Sirsa, Hansi, Panipat, Sonipat, Depalpur, Multan, Satgarha, Kahror, Ludhiana etc. The hoard discovered at Rohtak was so large that Dr. Birbal Sahni described it as "richer than any yet recorded from any part of the world." Multiple mints of them have also been discovered near Rohtak.
The Yaudheyas were probably worshippers of the diety Kartikeya (who rides a peacock), as is evidenced by their coins. Also, in Mahabharata, the people of the Bahudhanyaka country are called as Matta-Mayurakas, which literally means “having enraptured peacocks.” Quite interestingly, peacock is still considered sacred in this region.
The modern descendants of the Yaudheyas are the Johiya Rajputs who live along the Sutlej line. They occupy a region called Johiyabar, which probably derives from the Sanskrit word Yaudheyavara.
Thanks.@Bhrigu, great post!
The earliest literary reference to the Yaudheyas is made by Panini in his Astadhyayi, which can be dated to 5th century BC. But I think that the Yaudheyas are a century or two older than Panini.Were the Yaudheyas from 5th Century BCE?
The earliest coins of the Yaudheyas that contain images of Kartikeya are from 2nd century BC, because the Sanskrit legends on some of such coins are found to be written in the Brahmi script of 2nd and 1st century BC.On a slightly unrelated note, what is the earliest evidence of Kartikeya worship?
Sorry, I do not know much about history of worship of this deity.I am curious to know how Kartikeya was connected with Vedic Subrahmanya, and also with Tamil Murugan.
During the period of the so-called "Tripartite Struggle" in the late 8th and 9th centuries, there were several kings of Kannauj who had distinct names ending in -(a)yudha, such as Indrayudha, Chakrayudha, and Mahendrayudha. Is it possible that these kings of Kannauj were related in some way to the earlier Yaudheyas, and that their Yaudheya ancestry was preserved in their name suffix -yudha?Coming to their history, their earliest coins are from the Sunga times, but they disappear after 4th century AD. Panini calls the Yaudheyas as Ayudhajivi Samgha, meaning the states that conducted war for a living. The very word Yaudheya itself means warrior.
We have no way of knowing this. I do not think we have any details of this yudha family. All we know is that the king Indrayudha was installed by Vatsaraja while Chakrayudha was installed by Dharampala. We do not even know whether Indrayudha and Chakrayudha even belonged to the same family. But it is not impossible - though highly unlikely as there is a span of 4 centuries between the extinction of the Yaudheyas and the earliest records referring to these yudha kings. Also, we know of a 3rd century AD record from Uttaranchal where a Yaudheya king named Shilavarman who is said to have performed ashvamedha. We can see that this king's name does not end with a -yudha suffix. Apart from this, I do not think there are many mentions of Yaudehya kings or presidents in records, as nearly all their records were inscribed in the glory of the gana or the republic, rather than individual figures.Is it possible that these kings of Kannauj were related in some way to the earlier Yaudheyas, and that their Yaudheya ancestry was preserved in their name suffix -yudha?
The term "north-west India" in my posts is used in a wider historic sense, and has little relation with current political boundaries of India or Pakistan. What I actually mean by "north-west India" here is the historical territory of Uttarapatha. According to Kavyamimamsa of Rajashekhara, this territory lays west to the ancient city of Prithudaka (modern day Pehoa in Haryana) and includes all lands of the Indus valley. According to Banabhatta, Uttarapatha includes the lands from West UP all the way upto NWFP.punajb and sindh are not part of North west India. they are part of Pakistan.
Thanks.still great post.
in vedas it says khanda another name of karthikeya was son of agniras which is referred to agni or rudra or many person actually.@Bhrigu, great post!
Were the Yaudheyas from 5th Century BCE? On a slightly unrelated note, what is the earliest evidence of Kartikeya worship? I am curious to know how Kartikeya was connected with Vedic Subrahmanya, and also with Tamil Murugan.
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