Monthly Archives: January 2019

Sagara- Restorer of Ikshavaku Fortunes 

Sagara (5187/4569 B.C.) was one of the greatest rulers belonging to the Ikshavaku dynasty. He was born at a time when the fortunes of his dynasty was at its lowest ebb. His father Bahu (Asita) had to face the joint attack of the Haihayas and the Talajanghas who along with their allies from the north-west like the Yavanas, Kambojas, Paradas, Sakas, Pahlavas and Hunas captured Ayodhya. Bahu along with his two queens fled to a forest and died near the hermitage of sage Aurva. The sage prevented one of Bahu’s queen Yadavi who was pregnant from ascending the funeral pyre and took her to his hermitage. Bahu’s other queen out of jealousy had earlier poisoned Yadavi. But sage Aurva saved Yadavi and she delivered a baby boy. As the baby was born with poison, he was name Sagara (sa meaning with and gara meaning poison)

Recaptured Ayodhya

Sagara was educated by sage Aurva and when he reached adulthood, with the material assistance provided by Aurva defeated the Talajanghas and regained Ayodhya. He then extended the campaign and subdued all north India, marched south and crushed the Haihayas in their own territories and their capital Mahishmati was reduced to ashes. The foreign tribes who had allied with the Haihayas and helped them drove away Bahu from Ayodhya had settled down in Ayodhya and were called kshtriyas. They respected Brahmins, observed Brahmanical rites and rituals and had a member of the Vasishta family acting as their priest. After defeating the Haihayas, Sagara completely crushed the Shakas, Yavanas and other foreign tribes and was about to annihilate them. But on the intercession of sage Vasishta he spared their lives after imposing certain signs of symbolical defeat and disgrace and rendering them unfit for Vedic ceremonials.

Emperor of North India

Sagara had subjugated all contemporary powers and was the emperor of the whole of north India. The Vedic culture and sacrificial cult were introduced all over his domain. Sagara was very pious and popular and celebrated the Ashvamedha sacrifice. He had two queens, Sumati, daughter of Arishtanemi Kasyapa and Kesini. The latter was the daughter of Vidarbha, the Yadava king who sought peace with Sagara by offering his daughter to him and retired towards deccan into the country named after him. After ruling for over fifty years Sagara took to religious retirement. As his eldest son Asamanjas was cruel, his son Amshumant succeeded Sagara.

Initiated world’s greatest irrigational project

Sagara initiated a project to construct a channel to carry Ganga water to irrigate tracts in the eastern region of India. This channel more than thousand miles in length was one of the greatest irrigational works undertaken in the ancient world and involved the efforts of several generation of the rulers of Ayodhya like Sagara, Amshumant, Dilipa and Bhagiratha.

Bhagiratha, the originator of Ganga worship

Bhagiratha one of the successors of Sagara is included in the list of sixteen celebrated kings called Sodasha Rajika. Tradition makes him one of the five great emperors of ancient India. He was very pious, wise, learned, brave and kind. It is said that after Mandhata, India had not witnessed a more powerful king than Bhagiratha to whom bowed all the kings of India. He showed his greatness by not taking any tribute from them. He was famous for his charities and gave to all whatever they asked. Bhagiratha was a very popular king and had the titles of chakravartin and samrat. He was a devotee of Shiva and originator of the worship of river Ganga. The river Ganga is also named Bhagirathi in his honour.

Reference

  • A. D.Pusalker- The New Style Puranas in Mahendra Kulasrestra- Edited, Culture India– A Compendium of Indian Philosophy, Religion, Arts, Literature and Society contributed by authorities in various areas, Lotus Press, New Delhi,2006,
  • F.E.Pargiter- Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, London, 1922
  • V. Rangacharya – History of Pre Musalman India, The Indian Publishing House, 1937
  • R.C.Majumdar and A.D.Pusalker Edited, The History and Culture of the Indian People- The Vedic Age, George Allen & Unwin Ltd
  • Akshoy Kumar Mazumdar- Early Hindu India, A Dynastic Study, Vol-I, Cosmo, New Delhi
  • R.K.Pruthi (Edited) – Vedic Civilization, Discovery Publishing House, New Delhi, 2004
  • J.P.Mittal- History of Ancient India (7300 B.C.-4250 B. C.) Vol-I, Atlantic Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi