14.आऽ अंतमे प्रवासी मैथिलक हेतु अंग्रेजीमे
VIDEHA MITHILA TIRBHUKTI TIRHUT(आगाँ)
Siradhvaja is a famous king of Videha for several reasons. His adopted daughter, Sita, was married to Rama. Ramayana is devoted to this important event of the alliance between the Ikshvakus and the Videhas.The story is narrated by the Mahabharata also. The Great Epic does not call him Siradhvaja, but Videharaja and Janaka. His great fame and scholarship misled Bhavahhuti, the celebrated Sanskrit dramatist of a much later period, who confused him for the Vedic Janaka.Siradhvaja was also a good fighter.Thus he specialised in the arts of war as in those of peace.Siradhvaja had one son -Bhanumat- one adopted daughter, Sita, and one daughter Urmila. His brother Kushadhvaja had two daughters-Mandavi and Srutakirti. Siradhvaja ascended the throne after his father Hrasvaro-man left for the forest.He kept his younger brother under his special care.Once while Siradhvaja was ploughing the mead, there arose a damsel and as he obtained her while furrowing the field for sacrifice, she came to be known by the name of Sita, arising from the earth she grew as his daughter.The greater part of her education ‘was post-marital, and most likely influenced by her husband and by the special environments of her long periods of exile from court. Yet the first nine or ten years of Sita’s life were not left blank.She was certainly literate. The script she learnt was perhaps pictographic. She knew three languages, at least two of which were begun in her childhood. Besides studying many branches of learning, she had a lot of instruction from her mother and other relatives about wifely duties.A valuable and attractive possession of Siradhvaja was a bow of Siva which his ancestor Devarata had received as a trust from the gods. These two Sita and the bow became sources of his friction with contemporary kings. The Buddhist reference that makes Rama brother and husband of Sita is historically right, the origin of the modified version discloses itself in Sita’s appellation janaka¬duhita .The proper name Janaka was a very easy one, and had the merit of supplying a plausible and honourable connection for the subsequently deified tribal hero, while removing the objectionable feature smoothly. Sh.S.C.sarkar opines that Siradhvaja may have been hit upon as a suitable Janaka for the Janaka-duhita, because of the connection between ‘Sita’ and ‘Sira’. Another sug¬gestion made by the same scholar twenty years later is that Sita was Vedavati’s illegitimate, abandoned child, found and adopted by her Vedavati’s generous uncle, Siradhvaja. Siradhvaja vowed that he would give his daughter only to him who would be able to string the bow. The kings, who failed to do this laid siege to Mithila and oppressed the town. This went on for a year. Much of the wealth of Siradhvaja was uselessly spoiled. Later he made exertions, received a four-limbed army and defeated the kings who fled away with their ministers.But the troubles were not over with this episode. Sudhanvan, king of Sankisa invaded Mithila and demanded the bow of Siva as well as the beautiful Sita. He was resisted and ultimately defeated. Sudhanvan was killed in battle. Sankisa became an appendage to Videha. A branch dynasty was established there with his younger brother Kusadhvaja as the king of the territory.Siradhvaja then announced the performance of a ceremony regarding the bow. Visvamitra, who had brought two sons of king Dasaratha of Ayodhya to have his Ashrama area in South Bihar cleared of Rakshasas, heard of this and the party decided to see this ceremony for themselves.The Ramayana of Valmiki furnishes us with certain clues which enable us to trace the route of the party consisting of Vishwamitra, Rama and Lakshmana from Ayodhya to Siddhasrama,modern Sahasram, and from there to the capital of Videha.The marriage of Rama and Sita was performed on the twentyfifth day of the journey from Ayodhya. The fifth day of the bright fortnight of the month of MargaShirsha is univer¬sally regarded as the date of the marriage of Rama and Sita.The journey began on the eleventh day of the bright half of the month of Kartika. But it is stated that on the eleventh day of the journey the moon was visible after midnight.So it was probably the eighth day of a dark fort¬night. The two dates will disappear and two other dates will be repeated, one of the disappeared dates falling after the fifth day of the bright half of Margashirsha in which period we are not interested.Such a phenomenon is very common in the Hindu calendar in which two dates disappears and two other dates gets repeated.The party travelled for half a yojana from Ayodhya and in the night on the bank of the Sarayu. They reached the confluence of the Sarayu and the Ganges and spent the night there.They crossed the confluence and came to the southern shore of the Ganges. Taraka, the wife of Sunda, was killed.They reached the Siddhashrama which was near a hill, and preparations for the sacrifice began. The night was passed there guarding the Ashrama. The sacrifice lasted for six days. On the last day of the sacrifice the invading Rakshasas were killed, The night was passed there. Now that the sacrifice was over, they wanted to visit Mithila.The bow of Shiva was kept there. So they started from the Siddhashrama and travelled till the evening. They halted on the Sopa’s distant shore. When the sage was telling tales to the princes it was past midnight and the moon was rising forth.So perhaps it was the eighth day of a dark fortnight. It was the eighth day of the dark fortnight of Margashirsha. Then they reached the southern shore of the Ganges where the night was passed. They crossed the Ganges and reached the northern shore. While sitting on the bank of the Ganges they saw a big city. Soon they went to Vaisali. They accepted the hospitality of king Somali of Vaisali and passed the night there,the party reached Vaisali on the tenth day of the dark fortnight of Margasirsha.They left Vaisali and proceeded towards Mithila..They halted at the ashrama of Gautama,where Ahalya was rescued. They then reached the place of sacrifice,which was at some distance from Mithila. Vardhamana Mahavira, the twenty fourth Tirthankara of the Jainas, left his home for asceticism on the tenth day of the dark fort¬night of Margasirsha. Thus Vardhamana’s renunciation of the world on a date associated with the visit of Rama to Vaisali assumes double significance which has so far escaped notice.Then it was stated there by Janaka that now there were only twelve days to complete the sacrifice.The bow was shown and its history explained. It was broken by Rama. Messengers were sent immediately to Ayodhya on very swift conveyances.The messengers passed three nights on the way.The messengers reached Ayodhya and king Dasarathaa was informed. He decided to start next day. The night was. passed at Ayodhya.The party of Dasaratha started for Mithila.Four days were passed on the way.
The party arrived at Mithila where the night was passed.Kusadhvaja was brought from Sankasya. The marriages of the daughters of Siradhvaja and Kusadhvaja took place on the fifth day of the bright fortnight of Margasirsha.The party of Dasaratha went back to Ayodhya thus the matrimonial alliance bet¬ween the two most important houses of the Ikshvakus in North India was accomplished.The reign of Siradhvaja seems to have marked a further advance in the consolidation of the Videhan territory. Dhanusha, a place in Nepal, now overgrown into jungle, six miles away from Janakpur, is believed to be the place where the bow of Siva was broken by Rama. A bow is still shown there in mark the memory of that great event.Some parts of the Champaran District were brought under his control. Local tradition says that king Janak lived at Chankigarh, locally known as Jankigarh, eleven miles north of Lauriya Nandangarh. The name Janaki suggests that this Janaka may have been Janaki’s father Siradhvaja, who otherwise too is known as a valiant prince. The Mahabharata speaks of a battle between king Janaka Maithila and king Pratardana. The Ramayana makes one Pratardana king of Kasi and a contemporary of Rama.A more famous Pratardana of Kasi flourished 24 steps earlier. Sankasya was a well defended city. Its ramparts were rang¬ed round with pointed weapons. It appears that the messengers of Siradhvaja Janaka went to Sankisa and brought Kusadhvaja to Mithila the same day,it was near Videha probably somewhat near its border.Sankisa was situated on the Ikshumati river. This river is known to the Puranas also, as on its bank was the hermitage of Kapila. It is also mentioned at another place in the Ramayana. The lkshu is the name of three rivers in the Puranas, while there are also rivers known as Ikshuda and Ikshula.Thus there might be another Ikshumati river at this place or it may simply mean a river in the sugarcane produc¬ing area.The Sankasya kingdom was near some moun¬tain or forest,as a later king of this place visited his cousin in the forest.There was no intervening territory between Videha and Sankisya otherwise the Sankasya king would have been prevented from carrying out a raid against Mithila.A quick messenger from Mithila went to Sankisya and came back the same day,the
distance was comparatively shorter.It was a well-defended city and a seat of government. One such place near the Gandak or the Kosi might be Sankasya.Jankigarh (also called Chankigarh) in Champaran district may be a probable site for this purpose.The genealogy of the Sankasya branch of the Janakas is given by three Puranas and is as follows Kusadhvaja,Dharmadhvaja and Mitadhvaja. Kusadhvaja was the younger brother of Siradhvaja.There was good relation between the two brothers.When Sudhanvan, the king of Sankasya, invaded Mithila and was slain in battle, Siradhvaja installed his younger brother on the throne of Sankasya. This event did not happen long before the marriage of Sita, because while invading Mithila Sudhanvan had demanded Shiva’s bow and lotus eyed Sita. After the party of Dasaratha had arrived at Mithila, Janaka sent messengers to Kusadhvaja at Sankasya to bring him to the Videhan capital. Kusadhvaja came immediately and being incharge of the sacrifices took active part in the performance of the marriages. Sita and Urmila the daughters of Siradhvaja were married to Rama and Lakshmana respec¬tively. Mandavi and Srutakirti the two daughters of Kusa¬dhvaja were married to Bharata and Satrughna respectively. Thus the four daughters of Mithila were married to the four sons of Dasaratha amidst great festivities.The Ramayana knows of a girl named Vedavati daughter of Kusadhvaja who was molested by Ravana. Thereupon she mortified herself by cutting off her hair and immolated herself on a pyre. S. C. Sarkar regards this Vedavati as the daughter of Kusadhvaja, the younger brother of Siradhvaja of Mithila which is not tenable because Kushadhvaja Vedavati’s father is never called a Maithila but had been called a Brahmarsi and a son of Brihaspati. Kushadhvaja, father of Vedavati was killed by Sambhu, king of the Daityas. Later Vedavati, having been molested by Ravana, burnt herself to be reborn as Sita.Thus Kushadhvaja was dead before the birth of Sita. How could then he be instal¬led on the throne of Sairkabya and take part in the marriage ceremony of Sita, Urmila and his two daughters? Vedavati is stated to have flourished in the Krita Yuga, while Kushadhvaja of Mithila flourished in the Treta age.Vedavati is said to have been reborn in the Maithila¬ kula now,hinting thereby that while Vedavati she belonged to some other family.Siradhvaja and Kushadhvaja never mention Vedavati’s name in any connection.The Brahmavaivarta Purana which gives in detail the story of Kusadhvaja’s daugh¬ter Vedavati being ravished by Ravana. There Kushadhvaja is not the younger brother of Siradhvaja, king of Mithila, but quite a different personality. It is stated there that in the Krita age there was Hamsadhvaja who had two sons Dharmadhvaja and Kushadhavja. The latter’s wife was Malavati who gave birth to Vedavati. Vedavati in her youth was molested by Ravana.She was reborn as Sita. Bhanumat was the son of Siradhvaja and the brother of ¬Sita and Urmila. He is called a Maithila by puranas and did not belong to the Sankasya line but to the Mithila one.S. C. Sarkar makes an original suggestion with regard to Bhanumat. He says that Hanumant of later legends is an amalgam of two elements-Bhanu-mant, son and successor of Siradhvaja, at Mithila,prime assister in the rescue of Sita and Au-manti, a Dravidian deity.The name meaning the male monkey,vedic Vrisha Kapi. He is called Satadyumna by some Puranas and Pradyumna by some other Puranas. In two Mahabharata lists of royal munificence to Brahmanas it is said king Satadyumna gave a splendid furnished house to the Brahmana Maudgalya, descendant of king Mudgala of North Panchala. The only Satadyumna mentioned was a king of Videha, Siradhvaja’s second successor. Hence although his territory is not indicated, this Satadyumna appears to be the same as Siradhwaja’s second successor. The Bhagavata and the Vishnu, the Vayu, the Brahmanda and the Garuda parunas deals with Janaka dynasty all the pre¬ Bharata war dynasties.Arishtanemi is also called Adhinemika. The second part of his name,Nemi, i.e., Nimi dynasty to which he belonged.The MahaJanaka II of the Jataka and Nami of the Jaina Uttaradhyayana do not care for the burning of the palaces of Mithilathe mention of Nemi in juxtaposition with Arishta in the Vishnu Purana- Nami or Nemi with MahaJanaka II, whom the Jataka represents as the son of Arittha,ArishtaNemi Janaka of the Purana, MahaJanaka II-son of Arittha Janaka- of the Jataka and Nami of the Jaina Uttaradhyayana are identical. Maha Janaka II and Nami of the Utaradhyayana Sutra belong to the era posteri¬or to the Bharata War.MahaJanaka II, being son of Arittha was Arishta and not ArishtaNemi. One Kshemadarsin, a prince of Kosala, was advised by Kalakavrikshiya to take help from Janaka of Mithila for recovering his kingdom.The king of Videha, on the recom-mendation of the sage, accepted Kshemadarsin, honoured him and gave him his own daughter and various kinds of gems and jewels. Kshemadarsin recovered his kingdom and made Kalakavrikshiya his priest who performed many sacrifices for the king. Upagupta or Ugragupta was Ugrasena Janaka Aindradyumni of Videha at whose court Ashtavakra, son of Kahoda and Sujata,daughter of Uddalaka Aruni, defeated the Suta scholar Vandin and consequently relieved his father after twelve years of confinement.The probability is that Upagupta (or Ugragupta) and Ugrasena were one and the same person and that he was ruling at one of the two principalities into which Videha was divided between the two branch dynasties that issued from Kuni. In the same way, Sankasya was divided between Kesadhvaja and Khandikya. But Ugrasena Aindradyunini, a con-temporary of Ashtavakra, Uddalaka’s daughter’s son, flourished after the Bharata War, while Upagupta of the Puranas, far removed from Bahulasva, a contemporary of Krishna, flouri¬shed much before the War. The Mahavamshsa furnishes a list of twentyeight early kings and says that these twentyeight princes dwelt in Kusavati, Rajagriaha and Mithila.The Dipavamshsa also gives an identical list and says that these were twentyeight kings by number- in Kusavati, in Rajagriha and in Mithila. The rulers belonged to the pre Bharata Age.
(to be continued)