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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)

Bahula (बहुल) is a place name mentioned by Panini under Sankaladi (संकलादि) (4.2.75). [1] and also mentioned in Mahabharata.

Variants of name

Mention by Panini

Bahula (बहुल) is a place name mentioned by Panini under Sankaladi (संकलादि) (4.2.75). [2]

Bahula (बहुल) is mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi. [3]


The Puranas mention seven sub-divisions of ancient India:Misra, Sudama (1973). [4] which includes - Udichya (Northern region)

The Puranic texts mention the Bahula janapada: [5] in Udichya (Northern region)

Janapada Region Name in the various Puranas (IAST)
(Chapter 114)
(Chapter 45)
(Chapter 57)
(Chapter 13)
(Chapter 16)
Bahula Northern Pahlava Bahula Bahudha

Alexander Cunningham[6] writes that The city of Kosambi was one of the most celebrated places in ancient India, and its name was famous amongst Brahmans as well as Buddhists. ...The information available was quite sufficient to satisfy me that Kosam was the actual site of the once famous Kosambi. Still, however, there was no direct evidence to show that the city was situated on the Jumna ; but this missing link in the chain of evidence I shortly afterwards found in the curious legend of Bakkula, which is related at length by Hardy.[7] The infant Bakkula was born at Kosambi, and while his mother was bathing in the Jumna, he accidentally fell into the river, and being swallowed by a fish, was carried to Benares. There the fish was caught and sold to the wife of a nobleman, who on opening it found the young child still alive inside, and at once adopted it as her own. The true mother hearing of this wonderful escape of the infant, proceeded to Benares, and demanded the return of the child, which was of course refused. The matter was then referred

[p.395]: to the king, who decided that both of the claimants were mothers of the child, — the one by maternity, the other by purchase. The child was accordingly named Bahula, that is, of "two kulas., or races." He reached the age of 90 years without once having been ill, when he was converted by the preaching of Buddha, who declared him to be " the chief of that class of his disciples who were free from disease." After this he is said to have lived 90 years more, when he became an arhat, or Buddhist saint.

As this legend of Bakula is sufficient to prove that the famous city of Kausambi was situated on the Jumna.

Jat History

Jat clans

In Mahabharata

Bahula (बहुल) is mentioned in Mahabharata (V.72.13), Bahulā (बहुला) as a lady in (IX.45.3), Bahulā (बहुला) as a River in (VI.10.26).

Udyoga Parva/Mahabharata Book V Chapter 72 mentions the Kings of races known for the destruction of their kinsmen. Bahula is mentioned as king of Talajanghas in verse (V.72.13). "... Even as, when Dharma became extinct, Kali was born in the race of Asuras flourishing with prosperity and blazing with energy, so was born Udavarta among the Haihayas. Janamejaya among the Nepas, Vahula among the Talajanghas, proud Vasu among the Krimis,..." [8]

Shalya Parva, Mahabharata/Book IX Chapter 45 mentions List of the mothers who became the companions when Skanda was installed. Bahulā as mother is listed in verse (IX.45.3). [9]

Bhisma Parva, Mahabharata/Book VI Chapter 10 describes geography and provinces of Bharatavarsha. Bahulā as River is listed in verse (VI.10.26). [10]


  1. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.507
  2. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.507
  3. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.174
  4. Janapada state in ancient India. Vārāṇasī: Bhāratīya Vidyā Prakāśana.p.45
  5. Misra, Sudama (1973). Janapada state in ancient India. Vārāṇasī: Bhāratīya Vidyā Prakāśana. p=306-321
  6. The Ancient Geography of India/Kosambi, p.394-394
  7. 'Manual of Buddhism,' p. 501.
  8. हैहयानाम उदावर्तॊ नीपानां जनमेजयः, बहुलस तालजङ्घानां कृमीणाम उथ्धतॊ वसुः (V.72.13)
  9. प्रभावती विशालाक्षी पलिता गॊनसी तदा, श्रीमती बहुला चैव तदैव बहुपुत्रिका (IX.45.3)
  10. उपेनद्रां बहुलां चैव कुचराम अम्बुवाहिनीम, वैनन्दीं पिञ्जलां वेण्णां तुङ्गवेणां महानदीम (VI.10.26)

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