Videha

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Videha Kingdom
Nepali: विदेह
unknown (~1100 BCE)–unknown (~500 BCE)
 

Videha
Videha and other kingdoms of the late Vedic period
Capital Janakpur of    Nepal
Languages Maithili
Religion Vedic Hinduism
Buddhism
Jainism
Government Monarchy
Historical era Iron Age
 •  Established unknown (~1100 BCE)
 •  Disestablished unknown (~500 BCE)
Currency Mohar[citation needed]
Today part of  India
   Nepal

Videha (Nepali: विदेह) was an ancient South Asian kingdom between Ancient India and Ancient Nepal, now located in a region that overlaps with what is now Mithila federal state in eastern Madhesh of Nepal and the eastern Indian state of Bihar.[1] The borders of Videha cannot be identified with certainty because the Videha rivers mentioned in the Vedic literature have changed course and shifted by a few hundred kilometers over their history.[2]

During the late Vedic period (c. 1100-500 BCE), Videha became one of the major political and cultural centers of South Asia, along with Kuru and Pañcāla.[3] Late Vedic literature such as the Brahmanas and the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad both mention Janaka, as a great philosopher-king of Videha, renowned for his patronage of Vedic culture and philosophy, and whose court was an intellectual centre for Rishi (sages) such as Yajnavalkya.[4] Raychaudhuri suggests 14th- to 8th-century BCE range, while Witzel suggests 11th-8th century BCE for this Brahmanas and Upanishads composition period in Videha.[5] The Vedic school of Aitareyins probably moved to Videha and other centers of scholarship, during the late Vedic period.[6]

The region and culture of Videha is often mention in Hindu literature, states Samuel.[7] The texts mention the idea of royal dynasty and the tradition of philosopher-kings who renounce, with examples including Nami (or Nimi in some texts), Janaka and other kings.[7] Their stories are found in ancient surviving Hindu, Buddhist and Jaina texts, suggesting that renunciation by kings was a respected tradition before the birth of Buddha, and that this tradition was also broadly accepted in regions other than Videha, such as in Pancala, Kalinga and Gandhara.[7] King Nimi or Nami of Videha is included as the 21st of the twenty four Tirthankaras in Jainism (not to be confused with closely spelled Nemi, the 22nd Tirthankara).[7]

Towards the end of the Vedic period, Videha likely became part of the Vriji (Pali: Vajji) confederation and subsequently into the Magadha empire.[8] The Videha kingdom is also mentioned in the Sanskrit epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. In the Ramayana, Sita is the princess from Videha,[7] who marries Rama creating an alliance between the kingdoms of Kosala and Videha.[9] The capital of Videha was in Dhanusa district, identified with the modern town of Janakpur in Southern Nepal.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Michael Witzel (1989), Tracing the Vedic dialects in Dialectes dans les litteratures Indo-Aryennes ed. Caillat, Paris, pages 13, 116-124, 141-143
  2. ^ Michael Witzel (1989), Tracing the Vedic dialects in Dialectes dans les litteratures Indo-Aryennes ed. Caillat, Paris, pages 17
  3. ^ Michael Witzel (1989), Tracing the Vedic dialects in Dialectes dans les litteratures Indo-Aryennes ed. Caillat, Paris, pages 13, 141-143
  4. ^ H. C. Raychaudhuri (1972), Political History of Ancient India and Nepal, Calcutta: University of Calcutta, pp.41–52
  5. ^ Michael Witzel (1989), Tracing the Vedic dialects in Dialectes dans les litteratures Indo-Aryennes ed. Caillat, Paris, pages 13, 39-46, 141-143
  6. ^ Michael Witzel (1989), Tracing the Vedic dialects in Dialectes dans les litteratures Indo-Aryennes ed. Caillat, Paris, pages 76-77, 125
  7. ^ a b c d e Geoffrey Samuel, (2010) The Origins of Yoga and Tantra: Indic Religions to the Thirteenth Century, Cambridge University Press, pages 69-70
  8. ^ H.C. Raychaudhuri (1972), pp. 70-76
  9. ^ a b Raychaudhuri (1972)

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