Was Battle of 10 kings a real battle at all ?

Jan 2019
41
Earth
#1
Neo Vedics don't consider Puranic stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata as a real battle and see them as made up story or epic.

But can't we use same Judgement for Battle of 10 kings as well ? As far as I know we don't have any proof to prove that there was a battle as stated in book 7 of Rigveda beside that book.
 
May 2013
1,721
The abode of the lord of the north
#4
Neo Vedics don't consider Puranic stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata as a real battle and see them as made up story or epic.

But can't we use same Judgement for Battle of 10 kings as well ? As far as I know we don't have any proof to prove that there was a battle as stated in book 7 of Rigveda beside that book.
Since writing wasn't existent in ancient India, prior to at best, 500 BC, it isn't surprising that we don't have any written evidences for a historical event that supposedly happened much before 500 BC. Even though you can say the same with say, the Mahabharata, the case is actually a bit different. Mahabharata, even though describes an event that supposedly took place during the early phase of the late vedic period, it is redacted many times over a millenium or even more and thus, is not at all a contemporary record of the event. To make the matters worse, the vedic texts such as Atharva Veda and later Upanishads, even though records the kings such as Dhritharashtra Vaichithravirya, Pariskhit, and Janamejaya Parikshita in a contemporary fashion, they are silent on any of the central characters of the epic, or even of it's main proceedings.

But Battle of Ten kings has roughly contemporaneous literary record.

If that isn't enough for you, then it is non-historical.
 
Oct 2015
1,110
India
#5
In my view it is a historic battle. It is mentioned at least three different hymns of Rig Ved Samhita (RVS). The longest mention is in 7.18 [1]. Passing mention in 7.33 and 7.83. [2]

There are four reasons, which to me suggest that the battle was historic:

(i) RVS is generally considered to be an well-preserved document.

(ii) The Rishi who composed the hymn 7.18 had received a gift from victorious Sudas and thus composed it as a 'Daan Stuti' (Praise for Donation Received). In other words the composer was alive & kicking when the battle happened.

"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." [1]​

(iii) There is no exaggeration in the description of the battle. Hymn says that King Sudas won because the flooded river carried-off the soldiers of the nine kings allied against him.

"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 destruction: 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." [1]​

It was an unexpected win for King Sudas, like a goat over a lion. There is no glorification of the king Sudas who was victorious.

"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." [1]​

(iv) Name is Sudas and his ancestor(s) is available in Puranic genealogies as well (FE Pargiter has compiled them)

Battle was fought on the banks of Ravi River (called Parushini River in the hymn). This is the river on which Harappa town is located after which the Harappan civilization is named. The battle was in all likelihood key to settlement / control of Rig Vedic Aryans on Punjab.

References

[1] Rig Veda: Rig-Veda, Book 7: HYMN XVIII. Indra.

[2] Rig Veda: Rig-Veda, Book 7: HYMN XXXIII Vasiṣṭha.
Rig Veda: Rig-Veda, Book 7: HYMN LXXXIII. Indra-Varuṇa.

[3] Battle of the Ten Kings - Wikipedia

[4] A historical fiction based on the event: https://www.harappa.com/content/dasharajna-battle-ten-kings-harappa-book-3
 
Last edited:
May 2013
1,721
The abode of the lord of the north
#6
In my view it is a historic battle. It is mentioned at least three different hymns of Rig Ved Samhita (RVS). The longest mention is in 7.18 [1]. Passing mention in 7.33 and 7.83. [2]

There are four reasons, which to me suggest that the battle was historic:

(i) RVS is generally considered to be an well-preserved document.

(ii) The Rishi who composed the hymn 7.18 had received a gift from victorious Sudas and thus composed it as a 'Daan Stuti' (Praise for Donation Received). In other words the composer was alive & kicking when the battle happened.

"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." [1]​

(iii) There is no exaggeration in the description of the battle. Hymn says that King Sudas won because the flooded river carried-off the soldiers of the nine kings allied against him.

"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 destruction: 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." [1]​

It was an unexpected win for King Sudas, like a goat over a lion. There is no glorification of the king Sudas who was victorious.

"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." [1]​

(iv) Name is Sudas and his ancestor(s) is available in Puranic genealogies as well (FE Pargiter has compiled them)

Battle was fought on the banks of Ravi River (called Parushini River in the hymn). This is the river on which Harappa town is located after which the Harappan civilization is named. The battle was in all likelihood key to settlement / control of Rig Vedic Aryans on Punjab.

References

[1] Rig Veda: Rig-Veda, Book 7: HYMN XVIII. Indra.

[2] Rig Veda: Rig-Veda, Book 7: HYMN XXXIII Vasiṣṭha.
Rig Veda: Rig-Veda, Book 7: HYMN LXXXIII. Indra-Varuṇa.

[3] Battle of the Ten Kings - Wikipedia

[4] A historical fiction based on the event: Dasharajna: The Battle of Ten Kings (Harappa Book 3)
> Do you know which side were the Kurus alligned with?

> I think the battle played big role in the rise of Bharata tribes among the Purus.
 
Oct 2015
1,110
India
#8
> Do you know which side were the Kurus alligned with?

> I think the battle played big role in the rise of Bharata tribes among the Purus.
I have not applied enough mind to clan succession. But Pargiter (AIHT, DoKA) and Talegri may be help in answering. Both have applied lot of mind to the subject.

Regards
 
Jun 2012
7,384
Malaysia
#9
So, this Sudas was kind of like a newly migrated Indo-Aryan or Indo-Iranian king, I guess. Or perhaps some royal progeny from one. Since Indra was like his patron deity.