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Urasa

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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)

Location of Muzaffarabad in Jammu and Kashmir

Urasa (उरस) was a janapada known to Panini and mentioned in Mahabharata. Urasa was a Buddhist place visited by Xuanzang in 631 AD.

Identification

  • The name Hazara has also been derived from Urasā, or 'Urasha', an ancient Sanskrit name for this region, according to Aurel Stein. Some Indologists including H. C. Raychaudhury, B. N. Mukerjee, B. C. Law, J. C. Vidyalankar, M. Witzel, M. R. Singh and K. N. Dhar concur with Stein's identification of modern Hazara with ancient Urasa.[2]

Variants of name

Location

Mention by Panini

Urasha (उरशा) is mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi. [3]


Urasha (उरशा), Vari. Urasa (उरस), Urasa (उरसा), is name of a place mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi under Varanadi (वरणादि) (4.2.82) group. [4]


Arus (अरूस्), Var. Iras (इरस), Urasa (उरस), Arushya (अरूश्य), is name of a place mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi under Krishashvadi (कृशाश्वादि) (4.2.80.2) group. [5]

History

V. S. Agrawala[6] writes that Ashtadhyayi of Panini mentions janapada Urasa (उरस), under Bhargadi (भर्गादि) (IV.1.178) and Sindhvadi (सिन्ध्वादि) (IV.3.93) (सोअस्याभिजन:,अण्। सैन्धव:) .


V. S. Agrawala[7] writes that Gaṇa-pāṭha of Panini refers to janapada Uraśā (IV.3.93) = modern Hazara.


Rajatarangini[8] tells us that king of Kashmir Shankaravarmma, When he was entering Urasha with the inhabitants of the place, and his army lay encamped, an arrow of a hunter came from the top of a hill and accidentally pierced his throat. When on the point of death, he ordered his faithful men to lead back the army to his country. He was carried on a karniratha. His sight became dim, but he knew his weeping queen Sugandha, by her voice, entrusted to her care his boy Gopalavarmma, and expired as the arrow was extracted from the wound. His death happened on the way, on the 7th day of the dark fortnight of the moon in the month of Phalguna, in the year 77 of the Kashmirian era (=901 AD).

उरशा - उरसा

विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[9] ने लेख किया है ... उरशा (AS, p.100) शायद 'उरगा' का पाठांतर है। इस देश का अभिज्ञान हज़ारा ज़िला (पाकिस्तान) से किया गया है। इस नाम के नगर की स्थिति (उरगा या उरशा का उल्लेख सभा पर्व महाभारत 27, 19 में है- देखें उरगा) पेशावर से लगभग चालीस मील पूर्व की ओर रही होगी। यवन राजा अलक्षेंद्र ने 327 ई.पू. में पंजाब पर आक्रमण करते समय अभिसार नरेश को अधीन करने के पश्चात् अपना आधिपत्य 'उरशा' पर भी स्थापित कर लिया था।

ग्रीक लेखक एरियन ने यहाँ के राजा का नाम 'अरसाकिस' लिखा है। भूगोलविद टॉलमी के अनुसार तक्षशिला इसी देश में थी। चीनी यात्री युवानच्वांग के अनुसार उसके समय (सातवीं शती ई. का मध्यकाल) में नगर के उत्तर की ओर एक स्तूप बना हुआ था, जहाँ भगवान तथागत अपने पूर्वजन्म में 'सुदान' (वैश्वन्तर) के रूप में जन्मे थे। स्तूप के पास एक विहार भी था, जहाँ बौद्ध आचार्य ईश्वर ने अपने ग्रन्थों की रचना की थी। नगर के दक्षिणी द्वार पर एक अशोक स्तंभ था, जो उस स्थान का परिचायक था, जहाँ वैश्वन्तर के पुत्र और पुत्री को एक निष्ठुर ब्राह्मण ने बेचा था।

'बैस्सन्तर जातक' के अनुसार वैश्वन्तर ने जिस दंतालोक पर्वत पर अपने बच्चों को दान में दे दिया था, वहाँ भी अशोक का वनवाया हुआ एक स्तूप था। बौद्ध कथा है कि जिस स्थान पर निष्ठुर ब्राह्मण इन बच्चों को पीटता था, वहाँ की वनस्पति भी रक्तरंजित हो गई थी और बहुत दिनों तक वैसी ही रही थी। इसी स्थान पर 'ऋष्यश्रृंग' का आश्रम था, जिन्हें एक गणिका ने मोह लिया था।

Jat History

Bhim Singh Dahiya[10] writes about ...(1) Kushana - The first is the name Kushana itself. We have shown above that this word is Kasvan/Kasuan, a clan of the Jats. This clan is the same as the later Rajput name, Kashvaha/ Kushvaha, Sanskritised into Kashyapaghat/Kacchapa, because of similarity of sound with Kachhua meaning tortoise in Prakrit. Actually the word Kashuan (XWN of Tokharian language) means king, and has no connection whatsoever with the tortoise, as supposed by some Pandits. The Taxila Ladle Copper inscription has this word as Kasaviana.[11] This word is also available in some other inscriptions.[12] It is read by Sten Konow as, "The gift of Sangharakshita to the congregation of the four quarters, in the Ursa kingdom, of the Kāshyapiya teachers." (Ursha is modern Hazara district).


[Page 39]: Now let us examine the underlined translation. The word Kashaviana is translated as Kāshyapiya, which is without basis. Can we believe that the teachers (acharyas) used to own a kingdom, the Ursa kingdom? They can reside in a kingdom, but cannot own it. What is the meaning, then, of the phrases, "in the Ursa kingdom of the Kashyapiya teachers ?"

Sten Konow expressly says that the word translated as "teachers," "looks like acharyanena", meaning thereby that he is not sure. Our view is that the word is not teachers at all; and the word before it, is Kasaviana i.e. Kasvans. Therefore, the full phrase is Ursaraje (Ursa kingdom) of the Kasvans. Naturally, Ursa was a separate kingdom (state) under the Kushanas (for the name Kushana). [13]

Visited by Xuanzang in 631 AD

Alexander Cunningham[14] writes about Urasa - Between Taxila and Kashmir Hwen Thsang places the district of U-la-shi, or Urasa, which, from its position, may at once be identified with the Varsa Regio of Ptolemy, and with the modern district Rash, in Dhantawar, to the west of Muzafarabad. It is mentioned in the native chronicle of Kashmir[15] as a mountainous district in the vicinity of the valley, where Raja Sangkara Varmma received his death wound in A.D. 901. It corresponds exactly with the Pakhali of Abul Fazl, which included all the hilly country between the Indus and Kashmir, as far south as the boundary of Attak. At the present day the principal towns of the district are Mansera, in the north-east; Noshahra, in the middle ; and Kishangarh, or Haripur, in the south-west. In Hwen Thsang's time the capital is said to have been either 300 or 500 li, that is, 50 or 83 miles, distant from Taxila. This difference in the distance


[p.104]: makes it impossible to identify the actual position of the capital in the seventh century ; but it seems probable that it must have been at Mangali, which is said by the people to have been the ancient capital of the district. This place stands midway between Noshahra and Mansera, and about 50 miles to the north-east of Taxila.

According to Hwen Thsang, Urasa was 2000 li, or 333 miles, in circuit, which is probably correct, as its length from the source of the Kunihar river to the Gandgarh mountain is not less than 100 miles, and its breadth from the Indus to the Behat, or Jhelam, is 55 miles in its narrowest part. Its distance from Kashmir is stated at 1000 li, or 167 miles, which would place the capital somewhere in the neighbourhood of Noshahra, and within a few miles of Mangala, which was the ancient capital according to the traditions of the people.

In Mahabharata

Uraga (उरगा) Mahabharata (II.24.18), (III.164.30), (V.128.38)


Sabha Parva, Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 24 mentions countries subjugated by Arjuna that lay to the North. Uraga (उरगा) is mentioned in Mahabharata (II.24.18). [16]...That Prince of the Kuru race (Arjuna) then took the delightful town of Abhisari (अभिसारी), and then brought under his sway Rochamana ruling in Uraga.


Vana Parva, Mahabharata/Book III Chapter 164 mentions talk of Sakra with Arjuna and Uraga (उरगा) is listed in Mahabharata verse (III.164.30).[17]....Having been begotten of me this speech of thine well becometh thee. Do thou, O Bharata, repairing unto my abode learn all the weapons of Vayu, of Agni, of the Vasus, of Varuna, of the Marutas, of the Siddhas, of Brahma, of the Gandharvas of the Uragas, of the Rakshasas, of Vishnu and of the Nairitas; and also all the weapons that are with me, O perpetuator of the Kuru race.' Having said this unto me Sakra vanished at the very spot. Then, O king, I saw the wonderful and sacred celestial car yoked with steeds arrive conducted by Matali.


Udyoga Parva/Mahabharata Book V Chapter 128 mentions Uraga (उरगा) in Mahabharata verse (V.128.38). [18]....Knowest thou not, that Kesava is incapable of being withstood in battle by gods and men and Gandharvas and Asuras and Uragas.


Fight with Krishna : Drona Parva of Mahabharata attests that Krishna had vanquished the Daradas along with Anga, Vanga, Magadha, Kasi, Kosala, Vatsa, Garga, Karusha, Pundra, Avanti, Daserka, Kashmira, Ursa, Madugalas, Kambojas, Pisachas, Cholas, Malavas, Sakas, Yavanas etc. (MBH 7.13.15-18.)

References

  1. The Ancient Geography of India/Kingdom of Kashmir,p.103
  2. Kalhana's Rajatarangini: A Chronicle of the Kings of Kaśmīr (1988), p 267, Kalhana, M. A. Stein; The Historical Background of Pakistan and Its People (1973), P 156,
  3. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.62
  4. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.506
  5. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.503
  6. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.498
  7. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.62
  8. Rajatarangini of Kalhana:Kings of Kashmira/Book V,p.121
  9. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.100
  10. Jats the Ancient Rulers (A clan study)/The Jats,p.38-39
  11. CII, Vol. II, p. 87-88.
  12. ibid., XXXIV. p. 89.
  13. See J.F. Fleet, JRAS, 1914, p. 369 & 811 and J. Allen, ibid, p. 103 ff.
  14. The Ancient Geography of India/Kingdom of Kashmir,p.103-104
  15. 'Raja Tarangini,' v. 216.
  16. अभिसारीं ततॊ रम्यां विजिग्ये कुरुनन्थनः, उरगावासिनं चैव रॊचमानं रणे ऽजयत (II.24.18)
  17. साध्यं पैतामहं चैव गन्धर्वॊरगरक्षसाम, वैष्णवानि च सर्वाणि नैरृतानि तदैव च, मथ्गतानि च यानीह सर्वास्त्राणि कुरूथ्वह
  18. देवैर मनुष्यैर गन्धर्वैर असुरैर उरगैश च यः, न सॊढुं समरे शक्यस तं न बुध्यसि केशवम (V.128.38)