Was Battle of 10 kings a real battle at all ?

Oct 2015
1,138
India
@Raghavendra

1. Ramayana is older than Mahabharata.
2. Latest date for Mahabharata war is 800-900 BCE
3. Veda Vyasa composed 'Jaya', the first version of Mahabharata
4. Veda Vyasa also put together several ancient hymns and compiled Rig Veda Samhita from them. Astronomically, it has been suggested that some hymns hymns could be 3000 BCE or earlier.
5. Hymns contained in Rig Ved Samhita were composed over a long time. At one point of time in this long period, the Battle of 10 Kings was fought.
6. Rig Veda Samhita does not mention the heroes and villains of Ramayana and Mahabharata.
7. However, other texts do have - like Pariskshit is mentioned in one of the other Vedic Samhitas. We have references to a 'Pitahmaha Siddhantha' in astronomy which most probably composed by Bhishma.
8. Presently available versions of Ramayana and Mahabharata were finalized in post-Mauryan period.
9. They do contain several details about history. Especially Mahabharata has lots of details. But it is rather difficult to extract it out from presently available texts.
 
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May 2013
1,725
The abode of the lord of the north
@Rajeev , Why do you say Ramayana is older than Mahabharata?

I don't think events mentioned in Ramayana has any historical basis, except if you think there is one Dasaratha Jataka, which was also written many centuries after the supposed incidents, portraying a different version of the story.
 
Oct 2015
1,138
India
@Rajeev ,

I don't think events mentioned in Ramayana has any historical basis, except if you think there is one Dasaratha Jataka, which was also written many centuries after the supposed incidents, portraying a different version of the story.
Indian way of recording history:

Different civilization create record their histories in different ways. As regards Indian civilization, even 2300 years back the tradition was that heroes were remembered by creating poems about them and their life. Here is the statement from Megasthenes, Greek Ambassador in Patliputra in c. 300 BCE, mentioning this practice.

"It is farther said that the Indians do not rear monuments to the dead, but consider the virtues which men have displayed in life, and the songs in which their praises are celebrated, sufficient to preserve their memory after death." [1]​

We know Hindus did not build stone-tombs for dead people like Pyramids in Egypt and tombs from Iranian Achaemenid Empire.

Emphasis on Oral transmission of Information & Knowledge:

Second thing is that India was a civilization which transmitted knowledge orally till medieval times. There are small inscriptions in Tamil from around 500 BCE and longer ones from Ashoka from around 250 BCE. But the most important things were not written down though writing was known. For example, the Vedas were written down for the first time around 1000 CE in Kashmir.

It is this love for oral transmission because of which Harappan system of writing was not refined further but allowed to die out.

Indian Historiography:

So in re-constructing history of Indian civilization, we have to respect this ancient Indian traditions. We have to give weightage to ancient poems in India - and as you know Valmiki Ramayana is called "adi-kavya" (First Poem). We should not expect that there will written documents like tablets found in Mesopotamia.

There are issues in authenticities of oral transmission. We have no option but to handle these issues when re-constructing Indian history.

In view of the above, I go along with the view that Ramayana (adi-kavya) was a historical event. And issues we need to handle are: How much of the description in Valmiki Ramayana is correct? [2] When did it happen? Where did it happen? Does archaeological evidence support historicity & sequence (Ramayana before Mahabharata) or discounts it? There are hundreds of re-tellings of Ramayana - which should I take as accurate? Sorting out these questions is laborious work and prone to heated political debate as well.

More later.

References:

[1] FRAGM. XXVI. Arr. Ind. 10. Of Pataliputra and the Manners of the Indians. Ancient India as Described by Megasthenes and Arrian. Translated and edited by J. W. McCrindle. Calcutta and Bombay: Thacker, Spink, 1877.

[2] In Valmiki Ramayana itself there is a chapter in which Valmiki lists the contents of Ramayana as told by Sage Narada to him.
 
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Oct 2015
1,138
India
@Rajeev , Why do you say Ramayana is older than Mahabharata?

I don't think events mentioned in Ramayana has any historical basis, except if you think there is one Dasaratha Jataka, which was also written many centuries after the supposed incidents, portraying a different version of the story.
Did Rama live before Krishna?

1. Indian tradition generally believes that Ramayana preceded Mahabharata

2. Valmiki Ramayana does not mention Mahabharata or any of the people from Mahabharata

3. Mahabharata gives a summary of Ramayana and mentions its heroes and villains.

4. Dynastic List prepared by FE Pargiter (AIHT, 1922), places King Rama in Generation-65 while Pandavas in Generation-94

Archaeological Discoveries:

One thing going against the statement placing Ramayana before Mahabharata are the archaeological finds.

Earlier finds generally suggested that after Mature Harappan there was a decline in urbanization and a movement of cultures from East to West. These included Cemetery-H Culture (1900-1300 BCE), OCP Culture (2nd millenium BCE), and PGW Culture (1200-600 BCE). The last one is also called 'second urbanization'. Since archaeological cultures moved from West to East, from Hastinapur/Indraprastha towards Ayodhya); how could Ramayana be before Mahabharata?

Newer finds have significantly changed / upset the above sequence - with finds in Rakhigarhi, Sanauli, even Varanasi. New finds have pushed the dates of urbanization in Ganga River Plains. In fact evidence of rice grains in Uttar Pradesh now dates to the same period a Mehrgarh had its crops: 6th/7th millennium BCE.

Still a lot lies buried and unexplored in Ganga River Plains. Jury is still out and let us wait. We also need to bear in mind that names of cities, rivers, and even mountains, get transferred across geographies.

Reference:

[1] Cemetery H culture - Wikipedia
[2] Ochre Coloured Pottery culture - Wikipedia
[3] Painted Grey Ware culture - Wikipedia
 
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Apr 2019
410
India
Ramayana is undoubtedly the legend of earlier time but the present version which is attributed to Valmiki was written down after Mahabharata. Mahabharat still contains many traces of archaic Sanskrit which means it was originally composed much before Valmiki's Ramayana(which is post-Panini work).

One imporatnt reason why we must consider the battle of 10 kings real is, the split between Indo-Aryans and Indo-Iranians. This battle must have been the reason of why Zoroastarianism split from Vedik tradition and demonized many Vedik entites.
 
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Aatreya

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
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USA
Ramayana is undoubtedly the legend of earlier time but the present version which is attributed to Valmiki was written down after Mahabharata. Mahabharat still contains many traces of archaic Sanskrit which means it was originally composed much before Valmiki's Ramayana(which is post-Panini work).

One imporatnt reason why we must consider the battle of 10 kings real is, the split between Indo-Aryans and Indo-Iranians. This battle must have been the reason of why Zoroastarianism split from Vedik tradition and demonized many Vedik entites.
Where does Indo-Iranian appear in dAshArAjnya?
 

Devdas

Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
4,975
India
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.
Battle of the 10 kings seems to be real event and could be related to Indo-Iranian split. The opponents of Trtsu-Bharata have Iranic sounding names like Pakhta could be Pakhtuns/Pashtuns, or Dasa could be Daha/Dahae, Dahae had an Empire near to Turkmenistan near Caspian Sea.
 

Aatreya

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
3,579
USA
Battle of the 10 kings seems to be real event and could be related to Indo-Iranian split. The opponents of Trtsu-Bharata have Iranic sounding names like Pakhta could be Pakhtuns/Pashtuns, or Dasa could be Daha/Dahae, Dahae had an Empire near to Turkmenistan near Caspian Sea.
Was Kavasha Iranian? Why would Dasa be Iranian, and how exactly SudAsa would be an Iranian? Beats me thoroughly. There is zero evidence for Indo-Iranian split in the battle of ten Kings.
 

Devdas

Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
4,975
India
Was Kavasha Iranian? Why would Dasa be Iranian, and how exactly SudAsa would be an Iranian? Beats me thoroughly. There is zero evidence for Indo-Iranian split in the battle of ten Kings.
I never said Sudas was Iranian. Iranic tribes worshipped Ahura while Indian Vedic people worshiped Devas.
 
Oct 2015
1,138
India
One imporatnt reason why we must consider the battle of 10 kings real is, the split between Indo-Aryans and Indo-Iranians. This battle must have been the reason of why Zoroastarianism split from Vedik tradition and demonized many Vedik entites.
Yes, this is possible but we need some more straws as supporting evidence. Presently, we have five disjoint pieces of evidence. They are, roughly arranged in order of age, as under:

Combined period:

(i) In Rig Ved Samhita, the gods include both - those who became the "Sura" and others who became the "Asura". So its universe could have included a combined Indo-Iranian people.

(ii) Indic speaking people were a ruling class in c. 1500-1250 BCE in Syria. While their Gods included both Suras & Asuras (Treaty document), the language was specifically Indic (Kikulli's Manual) [2]

(iii) 'Sixteen Aryan Homelands' as per Zoroastrianism literature extended from Syria till India. These are again both Iranian and Indic. [1]

Separate period:

(iv) Division between Iranian and Indic languages and religions. Compilation of RVS and Zend Avesta

(v) Modern distribution of population in Pakistan is Iranian languages to west of Indus and Indic to east of the river. Iranians people are concentrated in Iran while Indic in India/Pakistan/Bangladesh etc.

Reference

[1] Aryan Homeland, Airyana Vaeja, in the Avesta. Aryan lands and Zoroastrianism.
[2] Mitanni - Wikipedia