Dasarajna War (Battle of Ten Kings)

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Dasarajna War” also known as “Battle of Ten Kings” is one of the oldest epic battles of the ancient period. This battle was fought in the Vedic era, the early Bronze age period in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent. This historical battle was an epic war. It was fought between the emperors of Bharatas (Aryans Tribe) on one side and the consortium of ten Kings on the other side. After this war, the political and geographical structure of Bharatavarsha  (Indian subcontinent) was substantially changed.

Till many centuries, it was believed as no such war ever happened. It was mentioned in scriptures as a mythological story of the battles between humans, together with Gods and ancient legends. It was always considered as fictitious, with no link to any real event. Only In the last few decades with the help of some historians, scholars enough facts were provided.  And now it is considered an important event in the ancient Indian subcontinent by many historians.

We can find the reference of this war in Rigveda, the first and the oldest of Vedas. Vedas are one of the oldest sacred scriptures available in Hinduism. Vedas are the most authoritative of all the scriptures in Hinduism. Many of the Rigveda manuscripts are also included in UNESCO Memory of the World Register. It is added as being among the first literary documents in the history of humankind, they transcend far beyond their identity as scriptures. In Rigveda Samhitas 7th Mandal, we find references about this Battle of Ten Kings. This battle took place between King Sudas who were descendants of Bharatas and a group of ten or more kings. This is why the battle is called Dasarajana (Dasha meaning ten and Rajanya meaning kingdoms in Sanskrit).

This Battle is expected by historians to have been fought around c. 3000 BCE. These kingdoms were mostly around seven rivers including river Sarasvati, In the present day, it would be in eastern Pakistan and northern India. Sudas was a Bharata king of the Tristus family who was settled in the region for a long period. They later came to be known as Bharatvarta. Sudas was also considered as the ancestor of the Ikshvaku dynasty, the ancestor of Lord Rama of Ayodhya. It is mentioned that the war of ten kings happened on the bank of river Parushni (a present-day known as river Ravi).

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The ten kings who fought against Sudas were: Purus, Bhalanas, Alinas, Turvasha, Bhruigus, Druhyu, Anus, Parshus, Simyu.  The main leaders from the ten kings’ side were Pururs. This war is mentioned as it was fought for a long time. In this war, Sudas defeated all ten kings and their army. It is mentioned in Rigveda that rivers played an important role in Sudas in winning the war. Sage Vasistha helped Sudas in defeating the ten kings with the help of God Indra who drowned the enemy army. 

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.

                                                                                                              Rigveda, Mandala 7.18..9

There are references in Mandala 7 of Rigveda that more than 6666 people were killed in this war. It is also mentioned that soon after this war Sudas fought another war on the bank of the Yamuna river and defeated the other three kings as well.

Sudas were mentioned in Rigveda as the firm believers of Aryan values. After this war, Sudas expanded its region, collected heavy war prices in the form of tax from enemies. Sudas also gave a handsome gift to Sage Vashishtha which is again mentioned in Rigveda :

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.

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.

Rigveda, Mandala 7.18.22

Despite being one of the oldest wars even before great Indian epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana, it is almost forgotten.  Not a lot of people know about this great battle!!

Published Date: 10-April

Images : Public Domain