Showing posts with label Kamboja. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kamboja. Show all posts

Date of Kalidasa - Gupta Myth

Kalidasa most renowned classical Sanskrit scholar is widely regarded as the greatest poet and dramatist in the classical history. His period has not been dated to precise. Most likely falls in Gupta period in 5th century AD. This is a wikipedia introduction, you will mostly come across the same in many places as well. There is very little is known about kalidasa apart from his literature. But let us not go into other questions. Stay to main question: Date of Kalidasa.  Let us see what the scholars say.

Kalidasa Works
Four poetic works, Raghuvamsa, Kumarasambhava, Meghaduta, and Ritusamhara, and three dramas, Vikramorvasiya, Malavikagnimitra, and Abhijnanasakuntala are attibuted to him, in addition to these, Indian tradition attributes to him several other works(around 30) in diverse disciplines, ranging from poetics and astrology to mathematics and astronomy. It goes without saying that he had more than a little mastery of all these disciplines.

Kalidasa was clearly closely associated with, or lived in Ujjain, the capital of Vikramarka; his love for this city and the Malwa country is particularly apparent in the Meghaduta, from the way he holds forth lovingly on this city in the poem. The Yaksha's request to the cloud messenger to make a detour to visit Ujjain, the description of the dance of the devadasis in the Mahakaleswara Temple, and the incomparable descriptions of the city and of the river Sipra leave no one in doubt of this.

Kalidasa Life
Almost nothing definite is known about Kalidasa's life, although legends abound. What one can definitely infer from his works is that he was a Brahman, a devotee of Siva but no fanatic of any Hindu sect, was widely travelled and very well versed in the arts, sciences and philosophy of his day. He lived in a city in affluent circumstances, and was well acquainted with royal courts and court politics, almost certainly because he was patronised by a powerful king.

BanaBhatta of Harsha Charita
Banabhatta, court poet of Harsavardhana (AD 606-647) in Harsacaritaoffers prefatory salutations to Kalidasa.

Aihole Inscription of Chalukya pulikesin II(634AD)
Talks about poet Ravikirti who was in the court of Chalukya Satyasraya(pulikesi II )whose poetic skills have attained the fame of Kalidasa(Sanskrit) and Bharavi(Kannada)(520AD). This inscription does not give any date of Kalidasa. But the inscription shows the kalidasa fame has reached the courts of karnataka kings and held in high esteem.

Yasodharman who is believed to have assumed the title Sakari Vikramaditya after routing the Huns (Toramana at Malva in 528 AD). Kashmir Kalhana says that Kalidasa was the court poet of Vikramaditya.

Mandasor Inscription (473AD)
Mandasor inscription 5 dated to 473 AD which names Kumaragupta, has verses borrowed from Kalidasa and imitating his style by the poet Vatsabhatti.

Hero of Kumarasambhavam  Kumaragupta son of Chandragupta-II  (Vikramaditya) is the places him in 5th century AD.

According to Kshemendra in Auchityavicharacharcha says, An envoy sent as to kuntala king capital and he was not properly received and was made to stand. King Boja of Dhara(11century AD) in Sringaraprakasa says  kalidasa was sent as envoy from court of Vikramaditya to Kuntaleshwara. There is a conflicting  reports on who is the kuntaleshwara  the envoy met . Kadamba king Kakusthavarman says Guptas sent the envoy at the time of Kadamba Bhagiratha.  Some scholars say the envoy visited Vatakata court. But Vatakata's never called themselves kuntaleshwara's , eventhough they raided kuntala few times, they never ruled kuntala. There is scribe called kalidasa in one of vatakata inscriptions, but it is not kalidasa. Some point to another royal clan in the infancy, Rastrakutas of manapura also had conflict with Vatakatas. Mananka , founder of Rastrakuta dynasty called himself Lord of Kuntala. There is one more dynasty Chutus satakarnis apart from Satavahans who called themselves kuntaleshwaras. But as far as envoy there is only one claim kadambas, so the Gupta envoy should have visited kadamba kingdom.

Astronomical Data
There are two schools of thought on the astronomical evidence.
Sengupta's discussion on astronomical evidence places Kalida sa at the middle of the 6th  century AD, between AD 525-575 during the rein of Budhagupta.
Dasgupta has quoted Jacobi's demonstration of astronomical evidence vis-à-vis influence of Greek astronomy of the period around 350 AD.

Some Say that the work Meghasandesa is the communication that Kalidasa addressed to Prabhavati, sister of Chandragupta-II when the great poet was banished to Ramagiri by the Emperor. Prabhavati Gupta, widow of Rudrasena-II who died in 390 AD and mother of Pravarasena-II who is believed to be have authored Setubandhanam and Saundaryalahari.  Popular legends say that Malavikagnimitram was written for staging on the occasion of the marrigae of Prabhavati Gupt a at Ujjayini. The Drama was staged at the wedding.

Chandragupta II
This date is propounded by Dr. A.B. Keith. According to him, Kālidāsa flourished during the reign of king Candragupta 2nd (380-413) who made Ujjainī second capital, who crushed Hūnas and as a result, assumed the title ‘Vikramāditya'. The poet expresses in his works his deep sense of gratitude for his Gupta patrons. Smith and MacDonnell support Dr. Keith. On the basis of astronomical calculations Jacobi places Kālidāsa after 3rd century A.D. Dr. Bűhler is of opinion that he should placed before 472 A.D. Sircar admits that the earliest historical Vikramāditya is Candragupta 2nd of imperil Gupta dynasty who defeated Śakas, conquered western India and made Ujjainī, as the capital of his empire. This theory founded by Dr. Keith has received support from Winternitz, Konow, Liebich, Bloch and many other scholars

Gathasapthasati mentions Kalidasa to be court poet of Vikramaditya.  Hala's Sapthasati gives glowing accounts of Vikramaditya.

Aśvaghosa, the Buddhist poet, has prepared the ground for Kālidāsa by his compositions in the field of poetry and drama. Kālidāsa took clue from this great poet and presented his own poetry and drama in polished and refined manner. The date of Aśvaghosa is definite. He enjoyed the patronage of Kusāna king Kaniska who ruled in 1st century AD.

Vikaramaditya(1st century BC)
Most of the scholars including Baladev Upaddhyaya, William Jones, Peterson, M.R. Kale, and R.N. Apte  say that kalidasa lived during King Vikramaditya of Ujjain who ruled in 1st century BC. After whom the Vikram era is known.  After he defeated  sakas. Kalidasa has consistently called Pururavas "Vikrama" in the drama Vikramorvasiya. It is generally conjuctured that Kalidasa did this to honour his patron. He included the name in the title of the drama itself to ensure propagation of his patron's name. In addition, the name Mahendra is mentioned together with Vikrama several times in the Vikramorvasiya; we know from the Kathasaritsagara that Vikramaditya's father was known by this name. Since Vikramaditya father was Mahendraditya. It suits fine.

Kalidasa mentions three historical persons, Pushyamitra(conducts horse sacrifice to pronounce supreme soverignity) his son Agnimitra (governor of vidisa and hero of the story Malavikagnimitra and vidarba princess who disguises as maid) and lastly his grandson vasumitra   the brave guardian of horse, who returns triumphantly defeating the yavanas. These are historical incidents. According to Dr. C. Kunhan Raja, on the basis of Bharatvākya of the ‘Malvikagnimitra' Kālidāsa' was the contemporary of king Agnimitra of Sunga dynasty and flourished in the 2nd century B.C. Kalidasa talks about the vasumitra grandson of pushyamitra who defeated Yavanas. This is the upper limit of the kalidasa date. Kalidasa gives lot of intimate details of pushyamitra  and sungas ,which only the closest can give.

Raghu Dynasty.
800 B.C.- Mr. Hippolyte Fauche places Kālidāsa in the 8th century B.C., on assumption that he was contemporary of Agnivarna, the last king of Raghu dynasty. Hippolyte thought Ramayana to be this date.

Having seen the scholars opinions ,Let us bring in more material to discuss.

Basic of discussion
  1. All the sources say Kalidasa was in the Royal court of King Vikramaditya
  2. Kalidas widely travelled was based out of Ujjain in malwa. He Praises  vidisha capital of 3.sungas. Kalidasa speaks of defeat of Yavanas by Pushyamitra grandson vasumitra.
  3. kalidasa knew Huns.
  4. Historical person mentioned by Kalidasa was Agnimitra of Sunga Dynasty who ruled in 2nd century BC.
  5. Guptas employed  his literary works in Inscriptions and functions.
  6. There is a close resemblances between the works of kalidasa and Avagosha's Buddha charita
  7. kumargupta is called Mahendra and father of Vikramaditya is also called Mahendra.
  8. Vikrama - Many of the Guptas have titles vikrama Chandragupta, samudragupta etc.

Raghu Victory of Hunas
The cheeks of huNa women glowed with embarrassment by the action of raghu in waging war with their husbands and that flush itself appeared as an index to raghu's valour. Now the context has to be known, he is talking about Raghu(Legendary father of Ram) and also mentions Raghu Conqured Parasikas, Kambojas,Yavanas.  Reached Oxus river. Did chandragupta II defeated these kings. Huns are there , but Parasikas, Kambojas or yavanas.

now the principal difficulty in the identification of this river has arisen by the fact that Mallinatha, the most brilliant commentator on the works of Kalidasa has chosen to read Sindhu for Vanksu. But in view of some very important reasons, given below, Mallinatha's reading is evidently erroneous. It is to be borne in mind that six manuscripts of the mallinatha, out of nine, with their commentaries read vankS (four of these) or vanksu (two). There hardly seems an occasion for Mallinatha to adopt the reading Sindhu. This reading has landed him in obvious difficulties which he has sought to explain away. The unsuitability of his reading is so patent in his own explanation that, thinking that his readers would easily confuse Sindhu with the great river Indus.

Huns Locations
The history of the Huna expansion in Central Asia is very interesting.  During the reign of Pou-non-tanjou (A. D. 46) the Huna country and their  empire suffered from severe famine. While they were yet in difficulties the  Eastern Tartars and the Chinese drove them out of their land and pushed them to  west and south. In the middle of 5th century AD, Huns formed a powerful army and starts invading far of lands. The defeated the persian empire in 225AD. The First invasion of India took place during Skandagupta time, they were soundly defeated. The second invasion during Yasovarman. So until 46AD, Huns were in Oxus basin.

Kalidasa was in the royal court of vikramaditya , that  is confirmed by everybody. The  vikramorvisya mentions Vikramaditya to be son of Mahendraditya. There are two sets Mahendraditya - vikramaditya(2-1century BC) and Gupta dynasty Kumaragupta Mahendraditya - Skandagupta Vikramaditya. So who is the vikramaditya we are speaking.

Vikramaditya the Legend.
The tales of the vampire (Vetala) tell twenty-five stories in which the king tries to capture and hold on to a vampire that tells a puzzling tale and ends it with a question for the king. In fact, earlier the king was approached by a Sadhu to bring the vampire to him but without uttering a word, otherwise the vampire would fly back to its place. The king can be quiet only if he does not know the answer, else his head would burst open. Unfortunately, the king discovers that he knows the answer to every question; therefore the cycle of catching the vampire and letting it escape continues for twenty-four times till the last question puzzles Vikramaditya. A version of these tales can be found embedded in the Katha-Saritsagara.

Bhoja and Vikramaditya
The tales of the throne are linked to the throne of Vikramaditya that is lost and recovered by king Bhoja, the Paramara king of Dhar, after many centuries. The latter king is himself famous and this set of tales are about his attempts to sit on the throne. This throne is adorned by 32 female statues who, being able to speak, challenge him to ascend the throne only if he is as magnanimous as Vikramaditya is depicted in the tale she is about to narrate. This leads to 32 attempts (and 32 tales) of Vikramaditya and in each case Bhoja acknowledges his inferiority. Finally, the statues let him ascend the throne when they are pleased with his humility. This is story created in 11th century AD by Bhoja paramara king after he declared indepndence from chalukyas.

Vikramaditya of Ujjain
Kalakacharyakathanaka a jain works says that at the instance of Kalaka ( jain teacher whose sister was abducted by Garadabilla, king of ujjain), the shakas invaded ujjain and took Garadabilla prisoner. They ruled for sometime and was overthrown by vikramaditya , king of malwa. vikramaditya started his own era. Brihatkatha of Gunadaya and kathasaritsagara endorse this event. And Gathasaptasati of Hala Satavahana also describes the event. The works say vikramaditya also called vikramasila son of mahendraditya was the founder of vikrama samvat. According to Bhavishya Purana. Vikram era started in 57 BC by Vikramaditya the Great as a commemoration of his victory upon the Shakas. There is plentiful literature on Vikramaditya, and in the Bhavishya Puran itself there are descriptions of Vikramaditya in more than 40 chapters between Pratisarg Parv I and IV. Bhavishya Purana (Pratisarg Parv I, chapter 7) says that, "After the elapse of a full 3,000 years in kali yuga (3102 - 3000 = 102 BC), a dynamic Divine personality was born who was named Vikramaditya.  Bhavishya Puran further says that  the great King Vikramaditya ruled for one hundred years. Then his son Deobhakt ruled for ten years and his grandson Shalivahan, who established Shalivahan Shaka era (in 78 AD), defeated the Shaks and ruled for sixty years."  Alberuni also mentions about Vikram era (57 BC) and also the Shalivahan Shaka era which starts 135 years after the Vikram era.

One poet quoting another

Brihat katha by Gunadaya(1st century AD)

This work is lost but there are several versions available.The story is brihat katha manjari has lot in common with kathasarit sagara  of  kalidasa.

Some of the situations and Ideas are common to both asvagosha and kalidasa plays. But the big argument is waste because we can never say that the one copied from other. The ideas and situations seems to be borrowed from the situations and ideas common at that time frame. But indologist scholars(Kowell and Keith) will say kalidasa copied and Indian scholars say Asvagosha copied. But in concluding verses of  saundarananda . The Humble Asvaghosa says he is not poet of eminence. The Subject of interest for Asvaghosa is religion and philosophy. He is monk first and then a author. He wants to preach the his ideals through a kavya, So he sets himself after famous Kavyas of his time. Hence the resemblences and similarities to kalidasa kavyas. The Master kavya writer is of course kalidasa. That gives atleast a century or more earlier to asvagosha, which puts kalidasa in 1century BC.

Yajnasri Satakarni (2nd century AD
Yajna sri satakarni releases a coins with king on one side and  with crescent on hill, crescent on ujjain symbols, zig zag lines and cirle of dots. The meaning can be found in kalidasa verses in raghu vamsa. The king's fame ascended the mountains(symbolized by the moon on hill), crossed the oceans(figured by the four circles of the ujjain symbol and crescent), penetrated into the subterrannean abode of vasuki(zig zag line) and went up to the most high(as represented by dots representing sttary heaven).

Also kamasutra of Vatsyayana has similar styles to sakuntala.

Bhita Medallion
The terrocota medallion recovered from Allahabad  depicting the scene from sakuntala, has gateways like sanchi  dated to 1st century BC. But scholars say it Buddha in kapilavastu.

Astronomical observances
The astronomical references by ketki  like dakshinayana (summer solistice) cannot be taken to be conclusive as they can go each side 100 to 200 years.
Sengupta observations based on ashada month references cannot be taken as kalidasa mention lunar months ,not solar months. The works clearly show that that Gupta system  is not followed by kalidasa.
The term Jamitra in kumarasambhava has been mischeviously  interpreted as Greek diametron and claimed that kalidasa lived in the ideas of Greek astronomy and also claiming Greek astronomy has become popular in India. In Hindu Astrology Jamitra simply means seventh zodiacal sign from the natal(lagna).
And kalidasa knew lot  about Astronomy ,but he is basically a  poet not astronomer.

yavanas were defeated in persia, which fits the time frame of 1century BC and pallavas are absent in kalidasa account. kalidasa talks about Independent Anga , which is impossible in Gupta age. Kalidasa speaks about ruler in madura again not possible during gupta period.

Pushyamitra capital was Pataliputra, his son agnimitra was governor of vidisha, when pushyamitra was the senatipati and when the capital was shifted to vidisha, it remained the capital until 57BC, Later he shifted to Ujjain.  In Megaduta and Malvakiagnimitra the scenes of the city are vidisha, not pataliputra , not ujjain. Vikramovisaya completed after the victory of vikramaditya over sakas. why he does not tell about pataliputra or Ayodhya Imperial capital of Guptas, because he has come to a independent kingdom in Ujjain.


The Dharma(Law)  followed in Kalidasa works  like  " widow cannot inherit the property"  is of the times of Apastamba and Baudhayana. Brhaspati, vyasa,sankha and likita  belonging to Gupta period rule that the widow has the right to succeed in Husband's property. In Sakuntala there is capital punishment for theft. In the days of Brhaspati, this was relaxed and a heavy fine was introduced. So clearly kalidasa is not of Gupta times.

Several revisions of the Kalidasa works has taken place and many authors have included their current events in their works. For example there is an argument between Dinnaga(6th century AD) and Kalidasa, which looks unlike kalidasa. While Dinnaga was critic of kalidasa , Nicula is friend in megaduta. Since Dinnaga cannot be dated earlier, Kalidasa is brought down. We do not know who is Nicula. Another is refrerence to kalachuri dynasty ( 6th century AD).  For some commentators Dinnaga becomes Nagarjuna
D.C.Sircar draws attention to Tibetan passage in early 18th century AD , which says kalidasa was contemproary of King Bhagabadra of Sunga Dynasty ruling from vidisha,Wima kusala Khadphises  and king savti satavahana of dakshinatya and Aparanta. He Married daughter of Khadphises by name vasanti.

In Tenth Century AD Sanskrit scholar Rajashekara gives three great kalidasa who are renowned authors and masters of aesthetic language. There are many kalidasa's and more than dozen vikramadityas, Western scholars have done what they do best to confuse and combine everybody to one kalidasa and some vikramadityas to one vikramaditya. In effect they have hit two mangoes in one. Denying kalidasa antiquity and also stricking off the glorious vikramaditya(1century BC)  from history to mythical ruler.  For the time being we can go with Puranic account and say Kalidasa lived in the era of Vikramaditya (son of Mahendraditya) around 57BC. Vikramaditya who established vikram era in 57BC.

My Theory
Now the date is settled , All our problems are solved right?
No, we have only one problem. Panini talks about Pushyamitra. Panini cannot be dated later than 4th century BC. How can Panini talk about pushyamitra who is two centuries later. We  have to see pushyamitra dated to Mauryas. But keeping Mauryas in 3rd century BC, Indologists have brought pushyamitra to that date. But Panini is struck at 4 century BC . If Mauryas are dated in 15-14century BC, how come his Senapati dated in 2nd century BC. Indology Scholar Vogel equated Bruhaspatimitra of Magada with Pushyamitra and scholars like K P Jaiswal followed suit. We have one more mythical king pushyamitra.

I feel Gupta Emperors Chandragupta I and Samundragupta are the rulers in 3rd century BC. The Raghu in Raghuvamsa  campaign eeringly follows samudragupta campaign.There are several mitras ruling in many places in North India  as per inscriptions in 2nd century BC.   Kalidasa reads samudragupta campaign into Raghu campaign. And reads Sunga rulers  Pushyamitra, Agnimitra and vasumitra tales in to local mitra tales. And we have a big confusion.  Kalidasa says Agnimitra to be kasyapa lineage and belonging to Baimbika family, According to Panini Sungas belong to Bramhana family of Bharadvaja. The Vikramaditya son of Mahendraditya are the rulers whose time kalidasa lived that is 1 century BC. But with new additional information the things will change

Giravani  by desiraju hanumanta rao
Definitive Astronomical Evidence for the Date of Kalidasa  by K. Chandra Hari
The Role of Kālidāsa in the Development of Indian Literature by Parmeshwar Gangawat
Kalidasa and Ancient India by Chhattisgarh - Ambikapur
Numismatic parallels of kalidasa by sri c.sivaramamurti
Kalidasa: Date, Life And Works by  V.V. MIRASHI N.R NAVALEKAR
The Gupta polity By V. P. Ramachandra Dikshitar, V. R. Ramachandra Dikshitar
Old Buddhist Shrines at Bodh-Gaya Inscriptions By B.M. Barua

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Origin of Yavanas - Greek Myth

Who are ancient Kambojas and their Land

There have been many controversies about the precise location of ancient Kamboja Mahajanapada or Kamboja country as mentioned in our ancient Sanskrit and Pali texts or which finds mention in the classical writings of the Greek, Roman, Chinese or Moslem writers. The footprints of Kambojas have been found in Iran, Bukhara, Balakh, Fargana, Sogdiana, Pamirs, Badakhshan, Hindukush, Kashmir, Kabol Valley (Paropamisadean region/Kaffirstan), Kandhar, Gazni, Sindh, Balochistan, Gujrat/Kathiawad, Mathura, Ayudhya, Tibet, Nepal, Assam, Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pardesh, in South India, Sri Lanka, Indochina (Cambodia) etc. So the various scholars, Indian and foreign, have tried to locate their KAMBOJA country, in South India, Gujrat-Kathiwad, Sindh-Sauvir, Balauchistan, Nepal, Tibet, Assam, Kandhar/Gazni, Kaffirstan, Pamir/Badakshan as also in Central Asia, comprising southern parts of Russian and Chinese Turkestan, according as, where they had found the foot prints of the Kamboja people, during the phase of history under their study. But unfortunately, still, the scholars are not unanimous in their location of Ancient Kamboja Mahajanapada which stands mentioned numerously in our Sanskrrit and Pali Texts.

Says Dr Moti Chander : " The Kambojas were important people, but strange as it may look the Indologists are not at all unanimous in their location of this ancient country" (Geographical and Economic Studies in the Mahabharata Upayana Parva, JUPHS, Vol. XVI, Pt. II., p 42). Let us start to unfold the story of location and identification of Kamboja from the beginning.


Vayu Purana (V) [I 45.118], Brahmanda Purana (V) [ I, 2.16.49), Markandeya Purana [57.36] and Vamana Purana [13.40] etc describes the Kamboja tribes in the Udychya or Uttarapatha.

Markendya (58) [Markendya 58.30.32], Vishnu Dharmottara [I.9.6] mention them as tribes of south-west. Brahta Samhita also mentions them in the South-west near Gujarat/Sorasher (Brahta Samhita XIV, 17-19). Markendya (55/30-33) groups them with the Pahlavas, Sindhus and Sauviras and Vishnu Dharmottara groups them with Strirajya (Bahlika) and the Yavanas, it goes without saving that these texts refer to the countries of northg-west of India.

Later some time, when many clans of these tribes were located near Saurashtra/Gujarat (after 2nd c/1 ist c BC), they find mention in Garuda Purana (55.13) in Dakshinapatha.

Brahata Samhita (14/17-19) mentions them near Gujarat in south-west division in association with Sindhu SauvirSorashter Dravid etc.

In his Arathshastra, Brahaspati, has shown Kamboja as a great country, associated with the Dasrana country in south-west [IHQ., Vol XXVI-2, 1950, p 127].

Very interestingly, Agni Purana mentions two Kambojas...Kamboja and Kambhoja located somewhere in South and South west division (Dr J. L. Kamboj).

Rajvilas, a mediaeval age Text also associates Kamboja with SorashterGujarat and Kachch countries. [Rajbilas 1/112].

Balmiki Ramayana locates Kamboja in general in the Uttarapatha of Indian peninsula but does not give us its precise location. Per BALMIKI RAMAYANA, Sugariva figures as directing the monkeys to go to Uttarapatha, the lands of the Kambojas, Yavanas, Sakas and the Vardas (Pardasa?) (Ramayana Kishakanda Saraga, 43.12). Thus Ramayana places Saka, Kamboja Yavana etc tribes as neighbors in the extrem north beyond Surasena, Prasthala, Bharatas, Kurus and Madrakas.

Further, in Vashista-Vishwamitra war over Kamdhenu, which was probably fought over in Afghanistan, the Kambojas, Sakas, Yavanas etc tribes are again shown to have participated as allies or supporters of Vashista against Vishwamitra. As Sakas, Yavanas etc are the well known tribes of the Uttarapatha, their Associates, the Kambojas are also qualify to have been their Uttarapathian neighbors. All these tribes are shown as having been jointly `created by the divine powers of Kamdhenu' on special plea by Vashist. See below:

tasyA humbhAravAjjAtAH kAmbojA ravisaMnibhAH . Udhasastvatha sa~njAtAH pahlavAH shastrapANayaH .. 2..\ yonideshAchcha yavanaH shakR^iddeshAchchhakAstathA . romakUpeShu mechchhAshcha harItAH sakirAtakAH .. 3..\ (Ramayana 1/52-55).

Mahabharata also associates Kambojas with Sakas, Yavanas tribes at several places and also counts them amongst the Uttarapathian tribes:

Saka-Yavana-KAMBOJAstasta: Kasatrya Jatyah: Vrishaltam parigta brahmanahnamdrashnaat (MBH 13/33/22)

But in the following Shloka of Mahabharata, the Kambojas are shown as belonging to western region of India.

ShakAnAM pahlavAnA.n cha daradAnAM cha ye nRipAH. KAmbojA RiShikA ye cha pashchimAnUpakAshcha ye// (Udyogaparvam-4/15)

So much so, in Mahabharata war, the Saka, Kamboja and Yavana tribes had fought to gather under the joint command of Kamboja king Sudakshina Kamboj. See evidence below:

Viduymano vatain bahurup ivambuda:/ Sudakshinashach Kambojo Yavanaishach shakaistha// (MBH 5/19/23) This undoubtedly verifies the Kambojas to have been the neighbor and friends of Sakas/Yavanas and hence living somewhere in the Uttarapatha division of Ancient India. MUDRARAKHASA DRAMA (II.2).

Kambojas, Sakas etc have also been portrayed as the tribes of Uttarapatha in Mudrarakasha drama of Buddist texts and they are shown to have jointly formed core of the Chander Gupta Maurya's composite army of Uttarapathian warriors which had decisively defeated the Magadha dynasty of Nandas/Nandins. e.g.

Asti tava Shaka-Yavana-Kirata-Kamboja-Parsika-Bahlika parbhutibhi: Chankyamatipragrahittaishach Chander Gupt Parvateshvar Balairudadhibhiriv parchalitsalilaih: Samantad uprudham Kusumpuram (Mudrarakshasa II.2)

All these examples points out at fact that the Kambojas who were the allies and neighbors of the well-known Uttarapathian tribes like Sakas, Parthas, Yavanas etc were most probably also located in the Uttarapatha somewhere.

Ashoka's Rock edicts (R.E. V (Yona-Kamboj-Gamdharnam...), R.E. XIII (Yona-Kambojesu), & Shar-I-Kunha Inscriptions of Kandhar (Aramic/Greek version representing Yonas and Kambojas respectively) document some Kamboja population in Kandhar, and Kandhar/Kabul/Lamghan/Swat valley (testified by linguist traces) but it does not talk about the Kambojas of Central Asia..Obviously the people in mind in Asoka's rock edicts were the Paropamisadean Republican Kambojas who had crossed the Hindu Kush range and had occupied the Paropamisadean region (south of Hindukush) a little before times of Ashoka. The republican Asvakyan (Ashvak/Ashmak) and Asvayana (Asapas) Kambojas of the Puranic literature and Panini's Ashta-dhyai belong to this class.

In Dhammapada's commentary on Petuvathu, Dvarka is associated with Kamboja as its Capital or its important city. (ref: The Buddhist Concepts of Spirits, p 81, Dr B. C. Law). See evidence below:

"Yasa asthaya gachham Kambojam dhanharika/ ayam kamdado yakkho iyam yakham nayamasai// iyam yakkham gahetvan sadhuken pasham ya/ yanam aaropyatvaan khippam gaccham Davarkaan ti// [Buddhist Text Khudak Nikaya (P.T.S)]


Based on this evidence of Buddhist Jatakja, Dr. T. W. Rhys David locates Kamboja somewhere in Northern India (Uttarapatha) and fixes its Capital as Davarka. (Buddhist India, p 17).


Dr S. K. Aiyanger agrees with Dr. Rhys David that Davarka was the Capital of Kamboja and locates this Kamboja country in modern Sindh and Gujrat region with ancient Dvarvati or Dvarka located in Gujrat as its Capital But the Davarka of Dr T. W. Rhys David was located in Central Asia across the Oxus river (Ancient India, p 7).

Dr. P. N. Banerjee also locates his Kamboja Mahajanapada in modern Sindh and Gujrat and states Davarka as its Capital ( Public Administration in Ancient India, p 56).

Nagendra Nath also supposes that the ancient Kamboja was the same as Kambhey of Gujarat (Vager Jatya Itihaas (Bangla), Rajanya Kanda.


According Nepali Pt B. H. Hodgson, the name Kamboja desha applies to Tibet. This fact has also been supported by two MSS (No 7763, and 7777) described in the Catalogues of Sanskrit and Prakrit MSS in the library of India Office, Vol II., part II; History of Bengal, I 191, by Dr R. C. Majumdar, Distt Gazetteer (rajashahi), 1915, p 26, Some Historical Aspects of the Inscriptions of Bengal, p 342, f.n. 1 by Dr B. C. Sen).

According to French Indianist Alfred Foucher, "......the Kohistan, a mountainous area near Kabul might be the land of the Kambojas, of which we know very little, except that they were more Iranian than Indian and raised fine horses" .(La Vieille route de I'nde, p271, Dr Alfred Foucher)

But at another place , Dr Alfred Foucher states that according to Nepali traditions, the name Kamboja desha applies to Tibet. (Iconographie Buddhique, p 134).

Dr Charles Eliot also locates the Kamboja Mahajanapada of the Sanskrit and Palli texts in Tibet country. (Hinduism and Buddhism, Vol I, , p 268). In another volume of the same work, Charles Eliot calls them, an ambiguous race, who were perhaps the inhabitants of Tibet or its borderlands" (Hinduism and Buddhism,Vol III, p 6, fn 5).

Dr G. G. Gokhale locates ancient Kamboja in Tibet. (Ancient History of India 1952, by Dr G. G. Gokhale).

Also compare:

Dr V. A. Smith seems to locate Kamboja in Tibet or within the Hindukush mountains ranges. (Early History of India, Ed IV, p 193). Dr Smith further states that the ancient Kambojas are supposed to have spoken an Iranian tongue. (op. Cit, p 184, fn).

OR WAS ANCIENT KAMBOJA OF SANSKRIT/PALI TEXTS LOCATED IN INDO-CHINA (???). A CONFUSION AMONG SOME INVESTIGATORS: Cf: "Dr R. D. Banerjee refers to a KAMBOJA or KAMBODIA on the east side of Samatata , East Bengal.Vanglar Itihasa, Vol I, p 95). But can hardly be our Kamboja Mahajanapada which is invariably associated with Gandhara in the Uttarapatha of India" (Some Kasatrya Tribes of Ancient India,p 235 , Dr. B. C. Law)

Cf: A Tribute to Hinduism - Suvarnabhumi; "... the ruins of a metropolis hidden in the jungles of Cambodia (formerly known as KAMBOJA). One of the largest cities of the ancient world, Angkor was built by ... " [More Results From:]

Cf: "As the Hindu culture spread to far east, temples were built in His Honor in many places like Java, Champa ( Indo-China), KAMHOJA ( present day Cambodia) and in the adjoining areas of the now south east Asian countries."

Cf: "Myawaddy (from Amaravati), dvaravati (to be found in Thailand as well as here at one time), Ayuthia (from Ayoddhya or Ayujjha), Cambodia (from KAMBOJA) are some that come readily to mind. The name "Erawati is evidently one of them. Harvey himself provides the clue when he mentions that" `The name of the Irrawady . cf: "...The period in which Cambodia has permanent significance in the history of the world runs from the Tenth Century to the Fifteenth and is the era in which the Khmers, the native population, came under the cultural dominion of India, adopted the religions of both Hinduism and Buddhism, and accepted Sanskrit as the language of the educated ruling class, itself of Hindu or mixed Hindu and Khmer stock. The very name of Cambodia is Sanskrit (KAMBOJA). This era ends with the sack of Angkor Thom by the Siamese and the consequent decadence of the nation...". [by Professor Revilo P. Oliver (Liberty Bell, October 1988]

cf: ".....The surviving archeological evidences of this period are seen in the imposing ruins of Angkor Vat in Cambodia (KAMBHOJA of the ancient Sanskrit texts)..............................Even present-day names like Singapore (derived from the Sanskrit Simha Pura meaning Lion City) and Java (derived from the Sanskrit Yava Dwipa meaning (island of grain), remind us of Hindu influences over this part of the globe....".

cf: "Indians were avid travellers and settled in distant lands. The Cholas encouraged and organized expeditions through which the religion and culture of the land was carried beyond India's borders. The ancient name for Java is Yava Dvipa, the Island of Millet - the Indian word for millet is Java. Cambodia was once called KAMBHOJA, named after the Indian city in ancient Gandhara in today's Kabul region. The epic, Ramayana, is a part of mythology of Thailand and Indonesia, Balinese and Thai dance forms are of Indian origin///". Also look at the following: "... asia were ruled by kings of Indian descent, and had Indian names. If Kamboja was the ancient name for Kampuchea / Cambodia, what was knon in ancient times as ... "

COMMENT: Thus all the above investigators locate KAMBHOJA/KAMBOJA of ancient Sankrit Texts in Mekong Basin (=modern day Kambodia). But this is not the our Kamboja mahajanapada mentioned in our ancient Sanskrit/Biddhist texts.

A WAY OUT? "Kamboja, a country referred to by Emperor Asoka in his inscriptions, is generally believed to be to the west of India. It could, however, also be identical with the Cambodia of today, and it is conceivable that two Kambojas existed" [Dr Roger Bischoff]

Thus this investigator (Roger Bischoff) supposes two KAMBOJAS...One Kamboja on north of India mentioned in Ashoka's Rock Edicts while the second KAMBOJA was in the present day Kambodia/Cambodia in Mekong Basin in Indo-China. And Roger Bischoff is indeed right in his supposition.


Dr James Philip states that researcher Wilford always locates Kamboja in the mountains of Gazni in all his essays, but what is the basis of his fixation of Kamboja in Gazni is never clarified or explained (JASB., Vol VII, 1838, p 237).

".......The earlier settlements of the Kurus were situated, as Zimmer has shown, near Kamboja in the territory of Kashmir. (H. Zimmer, Altindisches Leben, p. 102)..................." This above Kamboja may refer either to the country adjoining the Dardas (Kamboja Country) or the Trans-Himalaya Kamboja neighbor of Uttara-Kurus/Uttara Madras of the Aitraya Brahmana (ParamaKamboja). ".............. Ancient Buddhist literature mentions 16 great republics (Mahajanpadas) of northern India, and Afghanistan (Gandhara) and Central Asia (Kamboja) are included in them......." This author puts the Kambojas in Central Asia.

".....While Magadha was establishing their way over northern India, the regions of west, Punjab, Sind and Afganistan were divided into many states. Kamboja and Gandhara are two of the sixteen Mahajanapadas mentioned in the Buddhist scriptures". This puts Kambojas somewhere in Pakistan Punjab.

"Much of the early history of the South Asian region that has been recorded comes from the painstaking effort to put together historical documents (such as traveler accounts), archeological evidence and the interpretation of literature and moral texts of the times. These accounts lead a student to scattered stories of the populations that lived in the region between Kamboja and Gandhara in the North (modern day Northern Pakistan and Southern Afghanistan), their encounters with the Greeks and the multiple "States" that were spread out all across the lower reaches of the Himalayas and the Gangetic plain , extending down to the Narmada and Godavari rivers further south. It is from within such a milieu of multiple "States" that the Mauryan empire emerged in the fourth century B.C." (B. Mathew)

According to Encylopedia Brittanica, the ancienr Kamboja adjoined Gandhara and was located in north Afganistan and Central asia. (look at map of Ancient India, Encylopedia Brittanica).

"The Kambojas were a native population in the WEST OF THE MAURYAN EMPIRE, speaking a language probably of `Iranian origin". (Observations made at the International seminar on early Buddhist art of Central Asia, Gandhara, India and Sri Lanka, Colombo, 1998).) This author places his Kamboja in the west but is not specific where in the west of the Mauryan Empire.

According to A. K. Warder, Kamboja was located in the extreme north west, the capital then was Dvaraka ( Indian Buddhism-A.Kwarder)

" Not only in Madagascar but also in various places of North India, from Kamboja in Afghanistan to Anga (along the vast Gangetic Plains which were then mostly covered with shal forest) by 6th to 10th centuries BC, the practice of human sacrifice was a common phenomenon................. (human sacrifice)"....

Leaving other things apart, this writer also places ancient Kamboja in Afghanistan.

"Kamboja is a country referred to by Emperor Asoka in his inscriptions. It is generally believed to be in the West of India. It could, however also be the Cambodia of today. It is also conceivable that two Kambojas existed" (BUDDHISM IN MYANMAR, A Short History by Dr Roger Bischoff).

Thus Dr Roger locates one of his KAMBOJAS IN WEST OF INDIA, but where is in the west??

"...........Kamboja and Gandhara were the outermost regions in the north-west India and they had by the fifth century BC already developed significant relations with the Persian Empire. Evidence exists of tributes being paid to Cyrus of Persia and armies recruited from the two regions battling against the Greeks......." . (B. Mathew) Here again the Kamboja is placed in the north-west in general.

Rodney Lingham in his article `THE TRUE ORIGIN OF ZOROASTRIANISM' writes about the kambojas: "The Kambojas were a people who lived in the upper reaches of the Indus valley in the present eastern Afghanistan, western Pakistan, or Rajauri Kashmir. The King `Vistashpa' may be the Iranian rendering of King "Vishwamitra", the Asuric-like Sage-King of ancient India. He was the King of the ancient Vedic-Land of `Kanyakubja', descending from the Lunar-Dynasty of Illa and Pauravas. This relates to the Kambojas, the people of Western India, Kashmir or Afghanistan". (THE TRUE ORIGIN OF ZOROASTRIANISM ;Rodney Lingham). Thus Rodney Lingham places the ancient Kamboja in Kashmir. ... be only a memory in India, just as the Hindu Communities of Gandhara and Kamboja are in present day Afghanistan. What is the reaction/observation of the ... Here the Kamnboja is located in Afghanistan. Kambojas are from West Punjab, Yavanas from Afghanistan and beyond (not necessarily the Greeks) while Dravidas refers probably to people from the southwest of India and the South.

Thus the Kamboja is placed in undivided Punjab here.

Dr Nando Lal Dev states that according to Dr Loh, the Shiaposh tribes of Hindukush are the descendents of the Kambojas and according to him Afghanistan or at least its north-east part constituted ancient Kamboja Mahajanapada. ((Geographical Dictionary of Ancient and Medieval India, p 87).

Dr Stein locates Kamboja in the eastern parts of Afghanistan (Note on Rajatarangini, Vol, IV, 165, p 136).

According to Dr McCrindle, ancient Kamboja was Afghanistan, the Kaofu or Kambu of Hiun Tsang (Alexander's Invasion of India, p 38). According to him, the name Afghanistan evidently evolved from Ashvaka or Ashvakayan or Assakenoi of the classical writers.( Megasthenes and Arrian, p 180; Alexander's Invasion of India, p 38). Thus, according to McCrindle, also the Ashvaks of the Paropamisadean region were the Kamboja people.

According to Dr H. M. Eliot, "The Sanskrit name for Kabol is Kamboj and this so similar to Kamboh (Kamboj) that on the authority of their own traditions, these people may safely be regarded to have been the ancient inhabitants of Kabol" (Supplementary Glossary, p 304).

Dr R. K. Mukkerjee places Kamboja in Afghanistan. He observes: "The horses ...had been recruitedc from various places which are thus named by Kautalya (II.30); Kamhoja (Afghanistan, the Kaofu /Kambu of Hiuen Tsong), Sindhus (Sindh), Aratta (Punjab), Vanayu (Arabia) Bahlika (Balkh)..............." (Chander Gupta Maurya and His times, Madras, 1943, p 280 Dr Mukerjee).

Dr V. A. Smith seems to locate Kamboja in Tibet or within the Hindukush mountains ranges. (Early History of India, Ed IV, p 193). Dr Smith further states that the ancient Kambojas are supposed to have spoken an Iranian tongue. (op. Cit, p 184, fn).

According to Dr Dr S. M. Ali, ancient Kambojas lived around Kunar river in N.W.F. India. According to him, the Puranas no where locate the Kambojas in the Sindh valley or its any parts... somewhere. The Puranas only talk about the Kamboja ganhas or sanghas (Kamboja Republics) of the Kambojas (Kambojana-cha-ye-ganahas). And this seems true because, their country Kamboj desh or Kamdesh or Kaffirstan was located on the northern of Kunar. Later, these people might have advanced further towards Kunar valley whereby we find their mention in the Puranas (The Geography of Ancient Puranas, p 143).

Accordingly, the book Multan-History and Architecture, by Ahmed Nabi, tells how the Sub-Continent was made up of as many as 16 political units or states in the 6th century BC. Out of these, Kamboja and Gandhara were two units, which covered the area now known as Pakistan. Kashmir and Takshasila formed part of the Gandhara kingdom. (The rest of the northern region including ancient Multan) is believed to have been part of Kamboja until it merged with the Achaemenian Empire. (ref: Multan-History and Architecture, by Ahmed Nabi; Humsafar PIA's inflight Megazine).

D. D. Kosambi identifies the ancient Kambojas as a farmer warrior tribe and locates them in north-west frontier country.

Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru locates the ancient Kamboja as a city located in Gandhara or in Kabol valley in Afganistan (Discovery of India, 1967, p 210 , J. L. Nehru).

"...Cambodia was once called Kambhoja, named after the Indian city (Kamboja) in ancient Gandhara in today's Kabul region......."

"The names that were given to these settlements were old Indian names. Thus Cambodia, as it is known now, was called Kambhoja, which was a well-known town in ancient India, as was Gandhara in (present day Afghanistan)".

Both the above authors locate their ancient Kamboja of the Sanskrit literature in West Punjab/Afghanistan but erroneously they indentify the Sanskrit Kamboja/Kambhoja as a `city' in Gandhara. These authors seem not to have done their home work well. According to Hari Krishan Devsare, ancient Kamboja was located in Pamir Badakshan in Central Asia: ".....In India, people have been using wool since prehistoric times. There is a prayer in Rigveda for the deity of shepherds, called 'Pashma', entreating the deity to make wool white and help in its knitting. In Mahabharata, it has been mentioned that when Pandavas performed 'Rajsuya Yagna', Yuddhisthir was presented woollen clothes having golden embroidery by Kambojs (people of Badakhan and Pameer)." Dr MADHAV DESHPANDE (Michigan State University, USA): Kambojas were from Iranian affinities. See also the text below from Deshpande:

`In addition there is also palatal s`' ' (hacek plus accent aigu on top)which developed from the equivalent of Vedic cy i.e. the famous Nirukta case of Kamboja (= East Iranian) s'avati for Young Avestan s`' 'auua(i)ti. ~ Vedic Cyavate'.

"...In any case, Kamboja in this context refers to the region of Eastern Iranian borderlands, which are referred to in Sanskrit texts like Yaaska's Nirukta....

Szavatir gatikarmaa eva bhaa.sito bhavati, vikaara enam aaryaa bha.sante zava iti.

`The verb 'zav' in the sense of going is used only in the region of Kamboja, the Aryas use only the noun zava- in the sense of a dead-body". The same passage occurs also in Patanjali's Mahabhasya. ...' .

Patanjali is effectively quoting from Yaaska's Nirukta and has statements identical with Yaaska. The statement is:

zavatir gatikarmaa eva bhaa.sito bhavati, vikaara enam aaryaa bha.sante zava iti"

`The verb 'zav' in the sense of 'going' is used only among the Kambojas. The same verb in the nominal form 'zava' is used by the Aaryas in the sense of 'transformation'." The reference in Patanjali's Mahaabhaa.sya is p. 9, in vol. 1 of Kielhorn's edition'.

Thus we see that Dr Madhava Deshpande identifies the Kambojas in East Iran.

Article by L. S. Thind