Puru (Vedic tribe)

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This article is about the Rigvedic tribe. For the historical king, see King Porus. For the village in Estonia, see Puru, Estonia.

The Purus were a tribe, or a confederation of tribes, mentioned many times in the Rigveda, formed around 3180 BCE. RV 7.96.2 locates them at the banks of the Sarasvati River. There were several factions of Purus, one being the Bharatas. Purus rallied many other tribes against King Sudas of the Bharata, but were defeated in the Battle of the Ten Kings (RV 7.18, etc.,).

Early History[edit]

India's famous name Bharat or Bharat-Varsh is actually named after a descendant of the Puru dynasty King Bharat . There were two main Vedic cultures in ancient India. The first was a northern kingdom centered on the Sarasvati-Drishadvati river region dominated by the Purus and the Ikshvakus. The second was a southern culture along the coast of the Arabian Sea and into the Vindhya Mountains, dominated by the Turvashas and Yadus and extending into groups yet further south. These northern and southern groups vied for supremacy and influenced each other in various ways as the Vedas and Puranas indicate. The northern or Bharata culture ultimately prevailed, making India the land of Bharata or Bharatavarsha and its main ancient literary record the Vedas, though militarily the Yadus remained strong throughout history.[1]

Kuru Kings[edit]

Kuru was born after 25 generations of Puru's dynasty, and after 15 generations of Kuru, Kauravas and Pandavas were born. These were the same renowned Kaurav and Pandavs who fought the epic battle of Mahabharata. The dynasty of king Yadu - Andhak, Vrasni and Bhoj, under the leadership of Shree Krishna, helped the Pandavas win the battle. According to Puranic tradition, the war occurred 95 generations after Manu Vaivasvata.[2] The Puranas state that there are 1,050 years between Parikshit of the Kurus and the last Kuru king at the time of Mahapadma Nanda.[3]

Porus[edit]

The King Porus of Alexander's time seems to reflect the old tribal name.[4][5][6][7][8][9] Kosambi mentioned that the Puru name perhaps survived in the modern Punjabi surname Puri,[10] while Naval Viyogi (1966) mentions in his work on the IVC that the modern Punjabi surname Puri may have originated with the Puru tribe.[11] Buddha Prakash (1964) mentions that the Puru clan probably survived in Punjab under the name of Puri.[12]

Rigvedic Puru tribe lineage[edit]

Rigvedic Chandravanshi Puru Dynasty Tree. From Yayati to Kauravas and Pandavas.

According to Puranic legend the Chandravanshi lineage is:
Brahma -> Atri -> Chandra -> Budha (married to Manu's daughter Ila) -> Pururava -> Ayu -> Nahusha -> Yayati -> Puru and Yadu[13]

King Yayati's elder son Yadu had officially lost the title to govern by his father's command since he had refused to exchange his youth with his father. Thereby, he could not have carried on the same dynasty, called Somvanshi. Consequently, the generations of King Puru, Paurav or Puruvanshi were the only ones to be known as Somvanshi.[citation needed]

Yayati divided up his kingdom into five quarters (VP IV.10.1708). To Turvasha he gave the southeast (Bay of Bengal); to Druhya the west Gandhara; to Yadu the south (By Arabian sea); to Anu the north Punjab; and to Puru the center (Sarasvati region) as the supreme king of Earth.[14]

The Rig Veda notes an earlier period of Turvasha-Yadu predominance, which the Purus broke in order to become the dominant people in the region.

Last of the Puru (Pandava) dynasties

  • Korayvya (c. 600-550 BC),[15] during Gautam Buddha's time.
  • Dhananjaya (c. 550-500 BC), said to be a descendant of Yudhishtra Pandava (a central character in the Mahabharata)[16]
  • Ratthapala (c. 500-450 BC), embraced Buddhism, the Kuru kingdom soon became a republic.[17]
  • Por (King Porus in Greek Chronicles) (until c. 320 BC), descendant of the Pandava dynasty, ruled between the Jhelum & Chenab (Hydaspes & Acesines in Greek) Rivers (ie.near Srinagar), fought Alexander in the Battle of the Hydaspes River—the eastern terminus of Alexander the Great's empire.
  • Malayketu (c. 320-316 BC), son of Rai Por (Porus), killed in the Battle of Gabiene

See also

Modern day lineage

The modern Punjabi Kshatriya surname Puri may possibly originate with the Puru Vedic tribe.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Rig Veda and the History of India (Rig Veda Bharata Itihasa) - David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri), Aditya Prakashan, 2001, xxvii, 364 p, ISBN 8177420399
  2. ^ Time Table Of Yoga, By Georg Feuerstein, Ph.D.
  3. ^ Gods, Sages and Kings: Vedic Secrets of Ancient Civilization, By David Frawley, pp 142
  4. ^ On the other side of the Hydaspes (Jhelum) lay the Kingdom of Porus. The name appears to have been derived from the ancient Puru tribe, which at this time must have spread from Jhelum eastward beyond Chenab, probably up to the River Ravi ..., History of civilizations of Central Asia, By Janos Harmatta, p.81
  5. ^ ... same old family of Puru, to which Porus belonged, had been defeated by Alexander some three centuries previously. - The History of India from the Earliest Ages, By James Talboys Wheeler, p. 206.
  6. ^ Porus was of the race of the Puru or Paurava kings, to which in the time of Alexander two princely races belonged. - The cyclopedia of India and of eastern and southern Asia, By Edward Balfour, pp 268
  7. ^ and we venture to believe that the Puru of the Veda was the ancestor of the gallant and high-spirited Porus, the one worthy antagonist of Alexander the Great. - Calcutta reviews, Vol 32-33, By University of Calcutta, p. 431.
  8. ^ The name Porus, which without hesitation, we reduce to the Indian Puru, alone seems to yield a ground of inference as to his having been a remnant of the royal house of Hastina-puri, or boasted family of Puru. - Oriental historical manuscripts in the Tamil language, Volume 1, By William Taylor, pp 244
  9. ^ Porus of which the Arabic form Fur is used in the Shahnama is a dynastic or family name and represents the Pauravas who are mentioned in the Mahabharata as reigning in the neighbourhood of Kashmir. - The Shahnama of Firdausi, by Arthur George Warner, p. 31.
  10. ^ Kosambi 1966: 4
  11. ^ Naval Viyogi; 1966
  12. ^ Prakash 1964: 4
  13. ^ Budha (Mercury) founded the Lunar line ; but we are not told who established their first capital, Prayag,' though we are authorized to infer that it was founded by Puru, the sixth in descent from Budha, Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, By James Tod, p. 39.
  14. ^ Gods, Sages and Kings: Vedic Secrets of Ancient Civilization, By David Frawley
  15. ^ According to Buddhist text Sumangavilasini
  16. ^ There is a Jataka reference to king Dhananjaya introduced as a prince from the race of Yudhishtira
  17. ^ "Ratthapala Sutta". Access to Insight.