Was Battle of 10 kings a real battle at all ?

Jan 2019
41
Earth
#11
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)
Excellent answer Mr. rajeev. Can you tell me if it is mentioned in RV that Said sage Vishwamitra led or united 10 other kings in the battle against Bharatas ?


If yes, please give men humne number as well.
Thanks.
 
Jan 2019
41
Earth
#12
Again, I don't see Vishvamitra mentioned in any Hymn related to Battle to 10 kings suggesting he took leadership of 10 tribes or even fought in this battle.
 
Oct 2015
1,133
India
#13
Description in Hymn 7.18 [1]

(i). Battle of the Ten Kings battle is mentioned in Book 7 of the Rigveda (hymns 18, 33 and 83.4-8).

(ii). There were two sides in the battle, each with its king(s) and priest(s).

(iii) . The victorious side was:

King Sudas of Trtsus clan
Rishi Vashistha is his priest, who has composed this hymn (7.18).

(iv). The losing side had nine clans numbered below:

"He, worthy of our praises, caused the Simyu [1], foe of our hymn, to curse the rivers' fury.
Eager for spoil was Turvasa Purodas [2], eager to win wealth, like fishes urged by hunger.
The Bhrigus [3] and the Druhyus [4] quickly listened: friend rescued friend mid the two distant peoples.
Together came the Pakthas [5], the Bhalanas [6], the Alinas [7], the Sivas [8], the Visanins [9]."

This hymn was composed by Sage Vashistha who was contemporary of victorious King Sudas since he lists the gifts received from the king. It does not mention Sage Vishwamitra, the priest of the losing side. It does not mention Bharathas in the losing side.

Description in Hymn 7.33 [2]

The hymn is composed after the battle and praises the Vasistha clan of sages. It gives a legendary origin of the clan. In this particular hymns, Bharatas as said to be on the losing side of Battle of Ten Kings which was won by Trutsus:

"Like thirsty men they looked to heaven, in battle with the Ten Kings, surrounded and imploring.
Then Indra heard Vasistha as he praised him, and gave the Trtsus ample room and freedom.
Like sticks and staves wherewith they drive the cattle, Stripped bare, the Bharatas were found defenceless:
Vasistha then became their chief and leader: then widely. were the Trtsus' clans extended. '

Though Bharatas are mentioned in the losing side but there is no mention of Sage Vishwamitra in losing side.

Description in Hymn 7.83 [3]

In this hymn neither the Bharatas nor Viswamitra are mentioned.

Conclusion:

Victorious side was King Sudas of Trutsus clan and his priest Sage Vasistha. Defeated side was an alliance of nine people / clans named above in which Bharatas are not named in contemporary hymn (7.18). Viswamitra is also not named as a priest of defeated side in contemporary hymn.

Later Rig Vedic tradition (7.33) is that Bharatas were in defeated side which means that the identity / nomenclature "Bharata" arose after the Battle of Ten Kings and that Bharatas arose from one of the defeated clans.

@Gathin : Sage Vishwamitra is not mentioned in any of the three references though other sages are. So Sage Viswamitra uniting 10 clans seems to be a later tradition / mythology. As regards numbers, many people died which included 6666 of Anus & Druhyus (7.18.14).

This is best interpretation I can make (not being well-versed in Sanskrit).

References:

[1] Rig Veda: Rig-Veda, Book 7: HYMN XVIII. Indra.
[2] Rig Veda: Rig-Veda, Book 7: HYMN XXXIII Vasiṣṭha.
[3] Rig Veda: Rig-Veda, Book 7: HYMN LXXXIII. Indra-Varuṇa.
[4] Battle of the Ten Kings - Jatland Wiki (This article is better than Wikipedia's)
[5] https://www.quora.com/In-the-Rig-Veda-what-led-to-the-Battle-of-the-Ten-Kings (This author here says that 'Battle of 10 Kings is not a historical battle.)
 
Last edited:
Likes: Gathin
Oct 2015
1,133
India
#14
> 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.
Dear Ajathashatru,

Ancient Indian Historical Tradition:

To answer this we have to take the help of FE Pargiter's Ancient Indian Historical Tradition (1922) where he summarizes the ancient Indian historical tradition. He has painstakingly prepared a dynastic / genealogical table from Manu (Generation-1) to Abhimanyu (Generation-95) using genealogies in Puranas and then finding synchronous kings in literature. The Table is given in Chapter-XII, pages 144 to 149, of the book which you can download.

Extract from Pargiter:

Slide6.jpg

Did the Kurus Participate?

King Yayati (Generation-6) had five sons. These were Druhyu, Turvasu, Anu, Puru, and Yadu (all Generation-7). Each of the sons started a long lineage. Descendents of four of the above five lineages participated in Battle of 10 Kings which happened in Generation-68:

  • Descendants of King Turvasu, King Druhyu, and King Anu joined together and were on the losing side in Battle of 10 Kings. A couple of their priest are named but does not include Kshatriya-Brahmin Vishwamitra. Vishwamitra lived in Generation-32, that is much before Batttle of 10 Kings.
  • Descendant of King Puru (and King Bharata) had sub-divided into two lineages by the time of the battle:
    • (i) Divodas / Sudas / Jantu: Only this sub-lineage (King Sudas) participated and was victorious. Priest of King Sudas was Sage Vashistha
    • (ii) Riksha-1 / Samvarna / Kuru: This sub-lineage did not participate. King Kuru lived a little after the Battle of 10 Kings.
  • Descendant of King Yadu did not participate.
I agree that this battle was important as it is the only one mentioned in some detail in Rig Ved Samhita. Mahabharata Battle was the second important in India historical tradition because it happened around the time Rig Ved Samhita was compiled.

Regards

Rajeev
 

Attachments

Last edited:
Likes: Gathin
Jan 2019
41
Earth
#15
Description in Hymn 7.18 [1]

(i). Battle of the Ten Kings battle is mentioned in Book 7 of the Rigveda (hymns 18, 33 and 83.4-8).

(ii). There were two sides in the battle, each with its king(s) and priest(s).

(iii) . The victorious side was:

King Sudas of Trtsus clan
Rishi Vashistha is his priest, who has composed this hymn (7.18).

(iv). The losing side had nine clans numbered below:

"He, worthy of our praises, caused the Simyu [1], foe of our hymn, to curse the rivers' fury.
Eager for spoil was Turvasa Purodas [2], eager to win wealth, like fishes urged by hunger.
The Bhrigus [3] and the Druhyus [4] quickly listened: friend rescued friend mid the two distant peoples.
Together came the Pakthas [5], the Bhalanas [6], the Alinas [7], the Sivas [8], the Visanins [9]."

This hymn was composed by Sage Vashistha who was contemporary of victorious King Sudas since he lists the gifts received from the king. It does not mention Sage Vishwamitra, the priest of the losing side. It does not mention Bharathas in the losing side.

Description in Hymn 7.33 [2]

The hymn is composed after the battle and praises the Vasistha clan of sages. It gives a legendary origin of the clan. In this particular hymns, Bharatas as said to be on the losing side of Battle of Ten Kings which was won by Trutsus:

"Like thirsty men they looked to heaven, in battle with the Ten Kings, surrounded and imploring.
Then Indra heard Vasistha as he praised him, and gave the Trtsus ample room and freedom.
Like sticks and staves wherewith they drive the cattle, Stripped bare, the Bharatas were found defenceless:
Vasistha then became their chief and leader: then widely. were the Trtsus' clans extended. '

Though Bharatas are mentioned in the losing side but there is no mention of Sage Vishwamitra in losing side.

Description in Hymn 7.83 [3]

In this hymn neither the Bharatas nor Viswamitra are mentioned.

Conclusion:

Victorious side was King Sudas of Trutsus clan and his priest Sage Vasistha. Defeated side was an alliance of nine people / clans named above in which Bharatas are not named in contemporary hymn (7.18). Viswamitra is also not named as a priest of defeated side in contemporary hymn.

Later Rig Vedic tradition (7.33) is that Bharatas were in defeated side which means that the identity / nomenclature "Bharata" arose after the Battle of Ten Kings and that Bharatas arose from one of the defeated clans.

@Gathin : Sage Vishwamitra is not mentioned in any of the three references though other sages are. So Sage Viswamitra uniting 10 clans seems to be a later tradition / mythology. As regards numbers, many people died which included 6666 of Anus & Druhyus (7.18.14).

This is best interpretation I can make (not being well-versed in Sanskrit).

References:

[1] Rig Veda: Rig-Veda, Book 7: HYMN XVIII. Indra.
[2] Rig Veda: Rig-Veda, Book 7: HYMN XXXIII Vasiṣṭha.
[3] Rig Veda: Rig-Veda, Book 7: HYMN LXXXIII. Indra-Varuṇa.
[4] Battle of the Ten Kings - Jatland Wiki (This article is better than Wikipedia's)
[5] https://www.quora.com/In-the-Rig-Veda-what-led-to-the-Battle-of-the-Ten-Kings (This author here says that 'Battle of 10 Kings is not a historical battle.)
Bravo ! Excellent post as always Mr. rajeev.

I have much to learn from you but on this topic we both can agree that sage Vishwamitra never led 10 trivedi in battle against Bharatas and King Sudas.

I have also heart of a story suggestion that King sudas demoted sage Vishvamitra from Post of Purohit and places Vashistha as his new royal priest/Purohit.

Van you locatie any humne in rigved suggesti ng this ?

Hinduism is a truely fascinating religion just like my ancestors I want to be Vedic priest as well first I have to learn how to decode Vedic poetic mantras
 
Jan 2019
41
Earth
#16
Dear Ajathashatru,

Ancient Indian Historical Tradition:

To answer this we have to take the help of FE Pargiter's Ancient Indian Historical Tradition (1922) where he summarizes the ancient Indian historical tradition. He has painstakingly prepared a dynastic / genealogical table from Manu (Generation-1) to Abhimanyu (Generation-95) using genealogies in Puranas and then finding synchronous kings in literature. The Table is given in Chapter-XII, pages 144 to 149, of the book which you can download.

Extract from Pargiter:

View attachment 16870

Did the Kurus Participate?

King Yayati (Generation-6) had five sons. These were Druhyu, Turvasu, Anu, Puru, and Yadu (all Generation-7). Each of the sons started a long lineage. Descendents of four of the above five lineages participated in Battle of 10 Kings which happened in Generation-68:

  • Descendants of King Turvasu, King Druhyu, and King Anu joined together and were on the losing side in Battle of 10 Kings. A couple of their priest are named but does not include Kshatriya-Brahmin Vishwamitra. Vishwamitra lived in Generation-32, that is much before Batttle of 10 Kings.
  • Descendant of King Puru (and King Bharata) had sub-divided into two lineages by the time of the battle:
    • (i) Divodas / Sudas / Jantu: Only this sub-lineage (King Sudas) participated and was victorious. Priest of King Sudas was Sage Vashistha
    • (ii) Riksha-1 / Samvarna / Kuru: This sub-lineage did not participate. King Kuru lived a little after the Battle of 10 Kings.
  • Descendant of King Yadu did not participate.
I agree that this battle was important as it is the only one mentioned in some detail in Rig Ved Samhita. Mahabharata Battle was the second important in India historical tradition because it happened around the time Rig Ved Samhita was compiled.

Regards

Rajeev
To be fair I don't take purana seriously written a story books and myth only credible historical knowledge we can get from any Dharmik book is a rigved only and you ans as you can see we find many stories as you sir, yourself listed above.
 
Oct 2015
1,133
India
#17
To be fair I don't take purana seriously written a story books and myth only credible historical knowledge we can get from any Dharmik book is a rigved only and you ans as you can see we find many stories as you sir, yourself listed above.
As you say, in general Puranas can not be relied for history. I agree with this.

However, we can put them to a limited use:

(i). There is a small section in several Puranas on 'Genealogies'. This section has not been revised / tampered with to the extent other parts have been. Pargiter has done good work on them. The names of kings mentioned in this section have been supported by inscriptions & coins.

(ii). There are a few stories which are repeated in several of the 18 major Puranas. While there is a lot of myth creation in them, but there could be some shreds of ancient history which we can extract based on corroboration in other sources.

The above applies to Mahabharata also. Mahabharata can be useful in telling us about the religious & social conditions during the time its last version was written (400 BCE to 400 CE).
 
Oct 2015
1,133
India
#19
Bravo ! Excellent post as always Mr. rajeev.

I have much to learn from you but on this topic we both can agree that sage Vishwamitra never led 10 trivedi in battle against Bharatas and King Sudas.

I have also heart of a story suggestion that King sudas demoted sage Vishvamitra from Post of Purohit and places Vashistha as his new royal priest/Purohit.

Van you locatie any humne in rigved suggesti ng this ?

Hinduism is a truely fascinating religion just like my ancestors I want to be Vedic priest as well first I have to learn how to decode Vedic poetic mantras
Dear Gathin,

The word "Visvamitra" / "Visvamitras" appear in five hymns in Rig Ved Samhita. These are 3.1, 3.18, 3.53, 10.89, and 10.167.

The hymn 3.53 suggests that Visvamitra was associated with King Sudas. But this Sudas may not be the Sudas (Gen-68) of 'Battle of 10 Kings'. An earlier King Sudas of Ayodhya (Gen-53) is most probably meant in 3.53. And the Visvamitra mentioned in 3.53 may perhaps be a descendent of the clan-founder Sage Viswamitra (Gen-32). Tradition also associated Sage Visvamitra with kings of Ayodhya.

You can access the the hymns on Sacredtexts.com and locate the place where the word is used by "Control F". For Dynastic Lists please refer to Pargiter's book AIHT.

Nice to know that you have a desire to be a Vedic priest. You may have to spend time in India in a 'Vedic Pathashala' (Vedic School). If you understand any of the Indian languages then select the place in India accordingly.

Regards

Rajeev
 
Apr 2018
69
Ayodhya
#20
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.
The Ramayana and Mahabharata wars are dated to 800-900 BC at the very latest. The Vedic scriptures of that period don't talk about those wars. Only the actual Mahabharata and Ramayana texts, do talk about the wars. Those texts date to the post-Mauryan period, so we have no reason to accept such late sources as evidence for the history of the 9-10th century BC. The Rig Veda is contemporaneous to the Battle of 10 Kings, though...