|This article needs additional or better citations for verification. (January 2008) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
|Outline of South Asian history|
Yavana or Yona refers to a community in Indian texts and history. They are grouped under western countries along with Sindhu, Madra, Kekeya, Gandhara and Kamboja as per the descriptions in the epic Mahabharata. This word has been used in Indian history to refer to Greeks, such as those who arrived with Alexander the Great, and Indo-Greeks in the 1st millennium BCE.
Location in Ancient India
Yavanas were described to be beyond Gandhara. There was another country mentioned in the epic as Parama Yona, in the far west of Yavana. This could be the Ionia of Greece, somehow related to Indian Ionians or Yavanas. The name Yavana could be the Sanskritized form of the name Ionia.
Yavana were foreign rulers. The Yavana epithet was applied to those who had converted to Vedic Hinduism. Places in South west China, Indonesia and Greece were all called as Yavana as each of them became Vedic in course of ancient history. Many ancient Indian warriors like Pandu, Arjuna, Nakula, Sahadeva, Karna and Vasudeva Krishna were mentioned as encountering Yavana kings.
- Mahabharata of Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa, translated to English by Kisari Mohan Ganguli