16. VIDEHA FOR NON RESIDENT MAITHILS
Mahabharata mentions King of Videha as a very pious king engaged in dis¬cussing with the sage Vasistha on some philosophical doct¬rines. Nimi Jataka says that Kalara Janaka renounced the world and brought his line to an end. On the other hand Arthasastra and Buddha Charita give a different story. In the Arthasastra it is stated that Bhoja, known by the name of Dundakya, making a lascivious attempt on a Brahmana maiden, perished along with his kingdom and relations; so also Karala, the Vaideha. The Jayamangala commentary of Bhikshu Prabha¬mati on the same passage of the Arthasastra further explains that the king Karala Vaideha on his pilgrimage to Yogesvara, seeing the crowd with curiosity, glanced a young and beautiful wife of a Brahmana, and being struck with passion, he took her forcibly to the city. The Brahmana went to the city crying angrily “Why does that town not crack where such an evil soul resides ?” Consequently the earth cracked and the king perished in it along with his whole family. Buddha Charita of Asvaghoshaalso says ‘ Karala Janaka took away a Brahmana maiden and gained nothing but ruin; still he did not give up passion.The Mahabharata refers to the old story of a great battle between Pratardana, king of Kasi according to the Ramayana, and Janaka, king of Mithila. In the time of the great Janaka, Ajatashatru, king of Kasi, could hardly conceal his jealousy of the Videhan king’s fame. The list of the kings of Videha of Mithila found in the Dipavamsa later on seems to refer to kings of Varanasi, having mentioned the first and last kings of the Videha . Ajatasatru of Kasi was a rival of Janaka Vaideha on a spiritual level. He wanted to give a thousand cows to the describer of Brahma and be called by the people as a Janaka.
The heroes of -Kasi and Videha were expert bowmen. Lichchhavis had some blood relationship with the royal family of the Kasi. It is,however, nowhere , Lichchhavis put an end to the royal line of Videha.Much amity was there between Videha and Kasi,particularly in the post Bharata War period. In the pre-Bharata war period also the kings of Kasi, Vaisali and Videha had fought against their common enemies, the Haihayas and the Nagas. The use of Kali cloth by the Brahmanas of Videha shows that brisk trade was going on between these two terri¬tories. At Takshasila, princes of both the kingdoms went for completing their higher education. Nami (Nimi II), king of Videha, accepted Jainism according to the Jaina tradition and accepted the religion propagated by Parsvanatha,formerly a prince of Kasi. The compound name Kasi-Videha occurs in the Kaushitaki-Upanishad. The Sankhayana Srauta¬Sutra mentions one Purohita as acting for the kings of Kosala, Kasi and Videha. Kasi people had a share in the overthrow of the Janaka dynasty.The centre of gravity in North Bihar shifts from Mithila to Vaisali. Ramayana refers to Siradhvaja Janaka’s father going to the forest after giving the throne to his elder son.
There were frequent renunciations by the kings of Mithila. The most celebrated among the post-Bharata War kings of Videha was the ruler Janaka Vaideha, whose reign saw an unusual outburst of learning, sacrificial cult and intellectual activity. This attitude of non attachment is most prominently reflect¬ed in the famous royal utterances about the burning of Mithila. “My wealth is boundless, yet I have nothing. If the whole of Mithila were burnt to ashes, nothing of mine will be burnt.
There were ten kingly duties in Jatakas.”Alms, morals, charity, justice, penitence, peace, mildness, mercy, meekness, patience.”
Mahajanaka II was sixteen years oldwhen he had learned the three Vedas and all the sciences.A Videhan princess used to go to Takshsila for higher education and it was usual for the princess to get married after their return from Takshsila. If there were two princes, the elder became Uparaja and the younger was given the post of Senapati. After the death of the King elder ascended to the throne as a king and the younger was appointed Uparaja.
The palaces of Mithila has been magnificently described in literature.The king rode on chariot drawn by four milkwhite thorough¬breds when making circuit of the capital city.The Videhan king had a Samiti, helped in administration by the Uparaja, the Purohita, the Ministers, Senapati and the Chief Judges, there was a treasurer, cashier, keeper of the umbrella,sword-bearer, female-attendants, noblemen, policemen, chariot-driver and village-heads.The army was under the Senapati having fourfold divisions, the chariots, elephants, horse¬-men and footmen. The people of Videha and Kasi used bows and arrows against their enemies. Right conduct was the only way to bliss.A thousand Vedas will not bring safety. When Uddalaka put forth the character of a Brahmana as he apparently sees in real life,i.e., as one who rejects all worldly thoughts, takes the fire with him, sprinkles water, offers sacrifices and sets up the sacrificial post, his father replies in his own way. A principal landowner of Mithila, Alara by name, becoming an ascetic. Sivah, a queen of Mithila, also adopted the ascetic life of a rishi.
The father was the first teacher. Direct contact between the teacher and the taught was emphasised. The period required for study was generally twelve years. Brahmanas did not hesitate to receive instruction from Kshatriya princess. The Brahmin of Mithila town are shown as dressed in Kasi cloth. The story of Mahajanaka II going to Suvarnabhumi (Myanmar) for trade purposes and lost his ship.There was availability of beautiful stone pieces in the Gandak river which were much later worshipped as Salagrama (a form of Vishnu). Videh contained 16000 villages, 16000 store-houses and 16000 dancing girls.Mithila city has four gates and there existed four market-towns.
(c)२००८. सर्वाधिकार लेखकाधीन आ’ जतय लेखकक नाम नहि अछि ततय संपादकाधीन।
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