Gandhara

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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)

Gandhāra (गंधार) was an ancient state, a mahajanapada, in the Peshawar basin in the northwest portion of ancient Indian subcontinent, present-day Pakistan.

Variants

Founder

It was founded by Gandhar gotra Jats. Raj kumari of Kandahar was married to Maharaja Dhritarashtra. It was known to Panini as Gandhāra (गन्धार)..[1]

Location

The center of the region was at the confluence of the Kabul and Swat rivers, bounded by the Sulaiman Mountains on the west and the Indus River on the east. The Safed Koh mountains separated it from the Kohat region to the south. This being the core area of Gandhara, the cultural influence of "Greater Gandhara" extended across the Indus river to the Taxila region and westwards into the Kabul and Bamiyan valleys in Afghanistan, and northwards up to the Karakoram range.

Jat clan

Mention by Panini

Gandhara (गन्धार) is mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi. [2]

History

Ancestry of Gandhara

V. S. Agrawala[3] writes that Ashtadhyayi of Panini mentions Gandhāra (गन्धार), under Kachchhadi (कच्छादि) (IV.2.133) (शैषिक अण्। काच्छ:)[4] and Sindhvadi (सिन्ध्वादि) (IV.3.93) (सोअस्याभिजन:,अण्। सैन्धव:)[5]. - which extended from Kabul Valley to Taxila. Two towns of Gandhāra mentioned are - Takshasila, its eastern capital and Pushkalavati western. The Greeks refer to it as Peucelaotes (modern Charsadda, situated near the junction of the Swat with the Kabul). Pushkala refers to people of this region. The country between the Rivers Suvastu and Gauri was known as Uḍḍiyāna.


Ram Swarup Joon[6] writes...Gandhara, son of Arh, founded Gandhar (Kandhar) and it was his capital. Gaindhu, Gaindha, Gaindhals and, Gandhara are gotras found amongst the Muslim Jats in large numbers in the Western Punjab. They all trace their origin from Quandhar. In Aligarh district are found some Hindus belonging to Gaindhar gotra. The ruins of one Gandhara fort were found in Jalalabad in Afghanistan. Gandhari, mother of Duryodhana, belonged to this dynasty. Kshatriyas of this clan have been mentioned in the Mahabharat. In Nowshera there is a barren area called Gandhara Mound. Among the Sikh Jats there are some that are called Gaindhrawal or Gaindhar


Rajatarangini[7] tells us that the history of Kashmir then presents a blank till the reign of Gonanda I at the beginning of the Kaliyuga. This powerful king was contemporary with Yudhisthira and a friend of his enemy Jarasandha. Gonanda I, who ruled in Kashmira, where the Ganges flows cheering the mount Kailasa on her way, was invited by Jarasindhu to help him in his invasion of Mathura, the capital of Krishna. With a large army they invested that city and encamped on the banks of the Yamuna to the great terror of their foes. On one occasion the army of Krishna was defeated in a battle, but Balarama not only retrieved the confusion of his army, but made a vigorous attack on the allied force. For a long time victory remained doubtful, till at last Gonanda I, pierced with wounds fell dead on the field, and the army of Krishna was victorious. On his death Damodara I ascended the throne of Kashmira, and though possessed of this beautiful kingdom, he was far from being happy ; his proud heart brooded on his father's death. While in this state, he had that the Gandharas had invited Krishna and his relatives to the nuptials of some of the daughters of


[p.6]: their tribe, to be celebrated near the banks of the Indus, and in which the bridegrooms , were to be chosen by the brides. With great preparations were being made for the nuptials, the king moved with a large army of infantry and horse, and interrupted the, festival. In the battle that ensued, many of the Gandharas were killed, but the king, pierced to the heart with Krishna's chakra perished.


Sandhya Jain[8] writes...Gandhara (गान्धार) was a northern tribe in Mahabharata (VII.200.40) and key allies of the Kauravas. Their king Shakuni lived at the Kaurava court and guided their destinies. Gandhara generally denotes Peshawar and Rawalpindi, though Persian inscriptions reveal that it included Kabul (Afghanistan). Mahabharata: (VI.10.52)[9] The Mahabharata Tribe - Gandhara (गान्धार) may be identified with Jat Gotra - Gandhar (गान्धार) in Agra district.

Gandhara mahajanapada

Gandhara was one of sixteen mahajanapadas of ancient India mentioned in Buddhist sources such as Anguttara Nikaya.[10][11] During the Achaemenid period and Hellenistic period, its capital city was Pushkalavati (Greek: Πευκελαώτις), modern Charsadda. Later the capital city was moved to Peshawar by the Kushan emperor Kanishka the Great in about AD 127.

Gandhara existed since the time of the Rigveda (c. 1500–1200 BC),[12][13] as well as the Zoroastrian Avesta, which mentions it as Vaēkərəta, the sixth most beautiful place on earth, created by Ahura Mazda. Gandhara was conquered by the Achaemenid Empire in the 6th century BC. Conquered by Alexander the Great in 327 BC, it subsequently became part of the Maurya Empire and then the Indo-Greek Kingdom. The region was a major center for Greco-Buddhism under the Indo-Greeks and Gandharan Buddhism under later dynasties. It was also a central location for the spread of Buddhism to Central Asia and East Asia.[14] Famed for its local tradition of Gandhara (Greco-Buddhist) Art, Gandhara attained its height from the 1st century to the 5th century under the Kushan Empire. Gandhara "flourished at the crossroads of Asia," connecting trade routes and absorbing cultural influences from diverse civilizations; Buddhism thrived until 8th or 9th centuries, when Islam first began to gain sway in the region.[15] Pockets of Buddhism persisted in Pakistan's Swat valley until the 11th century.[16]

The Persian term Shahi is used by historian Al-Biruni[17] to refer to the ruling dynasty that took over from the Kabul Shahi and ruled the region during the period prior to Muslim conquests of the 10th and 11th centuries. After it was conquered by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1001 AD, the name Gandhara disappeared. During the Muslim period, the area was administered from Lahore or from Kabul. During Mughal times, it was an independent district which included the Kabul province.

गंधार

विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[18] ने लेख किया है ...1. गंधार (AS, p.270)

सिंधु नदी के पूर्व और उत्तरपश्चिम की ओर स्थित प्रदेश। वर्तमान अफ़ग़ानिस्तान का पूर्वी भाग भी इसमें सम्मिलित था। ऋग्वेद में गंधार के निवासियों को गंधारी कहा गया है तथा उनकी भेड़ो के ऊन को सराहा गया है और अथर्ववेद में गंधारियों का मूजवतों के साथ उल्लेख है-'उपोप मे परामृश मा में दभ्राणिमन्यथा:, सर्वाहमस्मि रोमशा गंधारीणामिवाविका'[19] 'गंधारिम्यों मूजवद्भ्योड् गेभ्यो मगधेभ्य: प्रैष्यन् जनमिव शेवधिं तक्मानं परिदद्मसिं [20]

अथर्ववेद में गंधारियों की गणना अवमानित जातियों में की गई है किंतु परवर्ती काल में गंधारवासियों के प्रति मध्यदेशीयों का दृष्टिकोण बदल गया और गंधार में बड़े विद्वान् पंडितों ने अपना निवास-स्थान बनाया। तक्षशिला गंधार की लोकविश्रुत राजधानी थी। छान्दोग्य उपनिषद में उद्दालक-अरुणि ने गंधार का, सद्गुरु वाले शिष्य के अपने अंतिम लक्ष्य पर पहुंचने के उदाहरण के रूप में उल्लेख किया है। जान पड़ता है कि छांदोग्य के रचयिता का गंधार से विशेष रूप से परिचय था।

शतपथ ब्राह्मण [12,4,1] तथा अनुगामी वाक्यों में उद्दालक अरुणि का उदीच्यों या उत्तरी देश (गंधार) के निवासियों से संबंध बताया गया है। पाणिनि ने जो स्वयं गंधार के निवासी थे, तक्षशिला का [4,3,93] उल्लेख किया है। ऐतिहासिक अनुश्रुति में कौटिल्य को तक्षशिला महाविद्यालय का ही रत्न बताया गया है। [p.271]: वाल्मीकि ने रामायण [उत्तर- 101,11] में गंधर्वदेश की स्थिति गांधार विषय के अंतर्गत बताई गई है। कैकय देश इस के पूर्व में स्थित था। केकय-नरेश युधाजित के कहने से अयोध्यापति रामचंद्र जी के भाई भरत ने गंधर्व देश को जीतकर यहाँ तक्षशिला और पुष्कलावती नगरियों को बसाया था।

महाभारत काल में गंधार देश का मध्यदेश से निकट संबंध था। धृतराष्ट्र की पत्नी गंधारी, गंधार की ही राजकन्या थी। शकुनि इसका भाई था। जातकों में कश्मीर और तक्षशिला-दोनों की स्थिति गंधार में मानी गई है। जातकों में तक्षशिला का अनेक बार उल्लेख है। जातककाल में यह नगरी महाविद्यालय के रूप में भारत भर में प्रसिद्ध थी। पुराणों में [21] गंधार नरेशों को द्रुहयु का वंशज माना। वायु पुराण में गंधार के श्रेष्ठ घोड़ों का उल्लेख है।

अंगुत्तरनिकाय के अनुसार बुद्ध तथा पूर्व-बुद्धकाल में गंधार उत्तरी भारत के सोलह जनपदों में परिगणित था। सिकन्दर के भारत पर आक्रमण के समय गंधार में कई छोटी-छोटी रियासतें थीं, जैसे अभिसार, तक्षशिला आदि। मौर्य साम्राज्य में संपूर्ण गंधार देश सम्मिलित था। कुषाण साम्राज्य का भी वह एक अंग था। कुषाण काल में ही यहाँ की नई राजधानी पुरुषपुर या पेशावर में बनाई गई। इस काल में तक्षशिला का पूर्व गौरव समाप्त हो गया था। गुप्त काल में गंधार शायद गुप्तों के साम्राज्य के बाहर था क्योंकि उस समय यहाँ यवन, शक आदि बाह्यदेशीयों का आधिपत्य था।

7वीं शती ई. में गंधार के अनेक भागों में बौद्ध धर्म काफ़ी उन्नत था। 8वीं-9वीं शतियों में मुसलमानों के उत्कर्ष के समय धीरे-धीरे यह देश उन्हीं के राजनीतिक तथा सांस्कृतिक प्रभाव में आ गया। 870 ई. में अरब सेनापति याकूब एलेस ने अफ़ग़ानिस्तान को अपने अधिकार में कर लिया लेकिन इसके बाद काफ़ी समय तक यहाँ हिन्दू तथा बौद्ध अनेक क्षेत्रों में रहते रहे। अलप्तगीन और सुबुक्तगीन के हमलों का भी उन्होंने सामना किया। 990 ई. में लमगान (प्राचीन लंपाक) का क़िला उनके हाथों से निकल गया और इसके बाद काफिरिस्तान को छोड़कर सारा अफ़ग़ानिस्तान मुसलमानों के धर्म में दीक्षित हो गया।


2. गंधार (AS, p.271):

गांधार, थाइलैंड या स्याम के उत्तरी भाग में स्थित युन्नास का प्राचीन भारतीय नाम है। चीनी इतिहास–ग्रंथों से सूचित होता है। कि द्वितीय शती ई. पू. में ही इस प्रदेश में भारतीयों ने उपनिवेश बसा लिए थे और ये लोग बंगाल-असम तथा ब्रह्मदेश के व्यापारिक स्थलमार्ग से यहाँ पहुँचे थे। 13वीं शती तक युन्नान का भारतीय नाम गंधार ही प्रचलित था, जैसा कि तत्कालीन मुसलमान लेखक रशीदुद्दीन के वर्णन से सूचित होता है। इस प्रदेश का चीनी नाम नानचाओं था। 1253 ई. में चीन के सम्राट कुबलाख़ाँ ने गंधार को जीतकर यहाँ के हिन्दू राज्य की समाप्ति कर दी।

गांधार महाजनपद

पौराणिक 16 महाजनपदों में से एक। पाकिस्तान का पश्चिमी तथा अफ़ग़ानिस्तान का पूर्वी क्षेत्र। इसे आधुनिक कंदहार से जोड़ने की ग़लती कई बार लोग कर देते हैं जो कि वास्तव में इस क्षेत्र से कुछ दक्षिण में स्थित था। इस प्रदेश का मुख्य केन्द्र आधुनिक पेशावर और आसपास के इलाके थे। इस महाजनपद के प्रमुख नगर थे - पुरुषपुर (आधुनिक पेशावर) तथा तक्षशिला इसकी राजधानी थी । इसका अस्तित्व 600 ईसा पूर्व से 11वीं सदी तक रहा। कुषाण शासकों के दौरान यहाँ बौद्ध धर्म बहुत फला फूला पर बाद में मुस्लिम आक्रमण के कारण इसका पतन हो गया।

इस प्रदेश का उल्लेख महाभारत और अशोक के शिलालेखों में मिलता है। महाभारत के अनुसार धृतराष्ट्र की रानी और दुर्योधन की माता गांधारी गंधार की राजकुमारी थीं। आजकल यह पाकिस्तान के रावलपिंडी और पेशावर ज़िलों का क्षेत्र है। तक्षशिला और पुष्कलावती यहीं के प्रसिद्ध नगर थे। अशोक के साम्राज्य का अंग रहने के बाद कुछ समय यह फारस के और कुषाण राज्य के अंतर्गत रहा। यह पूर्व और पश्चिम के सांस्कृतिक संगम का स्थल था और यहाँ कला की 'गांधार शैली' का जन्म हुआ।[22]

Visit by Fahian

According to James Legge[23] The travellers, going downwards from this towards the east, in five days came to the country of Gandhara,1 the place where Dharma-vivardhana,2 the son of Asoka,3 ruled. When Buddha was a Bodhisattva, he gave his eyes also for another man here;4 and at the spot they have also reared a large tope, adorned with layers of gold and silver plates. The people of the country were mostly students of the hinayana.


1 Eitel says “an ancient kingdom, corresponding to the region about Dheri and Banjour.” But see note 5.

2 Dharma-vivardhana is the name in Sanskrit, represented by the Fa Yi {.} {.} of the text.

3 Asoka is here mentioned for the first time; — the Constantine of the Buddhist society, and famous for the number of viharas and topes which he erected. He was the grandson of Chandragupta (i.q. Sandracottus), a rude adventurer, who at one time was a refugee in the camp of Alexander the Great; and within about twenty years afterwards drove the Greeks out of India, having defeated Seleucus, the Greek ruler of the Indus provinces. He had by that time made himself king of Magadha. His grandson was converted to Buddhism by the bold and patient demeanour of an Arhat whom he had ordered to be buried alive, and became a most zealous supporter of the new faith. Dr. Rhys Davids (Sacred Books of the East, vol. xi, p. xlvi) says that “Asoka’s coronation can be fixed with absolute certainty within a year or two either way of 267 B.C.

4 This also is a Jataka story; but Eitel thinks it may be a myth, constructed from the story of the blinding of Dharma-vivardhana.

Visit by Xuanzang in 630 AD

Alexander Cunningham[24] writes about 6. Gandhara or Parashawar: The district of Gandhara is not mentioned by Alexander's professed historians ; but it is correctly described by Strabo, under the name of Gandaritis, as lying along the river Kophes, between the Choaspes and the Indus. In the same position Ptolemy places the Gandarae, whose country included both banks of the Kophes immediately above its junction with the Indus. This is the Kien-to-lo, or Gandhara of all the Chinese pilgrims, who are unanimous in placing it to the west of the Indus. The capital, which they call Pu-lu-sha-pulo or Parashapura is stated to be three or four days' journey from the Indus, and near the south bank of a large river. This is an exact description of the position of Peshawar, which down to the time of Akbar still bore its old name of Parashawar, under which form it is mentioned by Abul Fazl and Baber, and still earlier by Abu Rihan and the Arab geographers of the tenth century. According to Fa Hian, who calls it simply Fo-lu-sha or Parasha, the capital was 16 yojans, or about 112 miles, distant from Nagarahara. Hwen Thsang, however, makes the distance only 500 li, or 83 miles, which is certainly a mistake, as the measurement by perambulator between Jalalabad and Peshawar is 103 miles, to which must be added 2 miles more for the position of Begram to the west of Jalalabad.

The actual boundaries of the district are not de-


[p.48]: scribed, but its size is given as 1000 li, or 166 miles, from east to west, and 800 li, or 133 miles, from north to south. This is, perhaps, nearly correct, as the extreme length, whether taken from the source of the Bara river to Torbela, or from the Kunar river to Torbela, is 120 miles, measured on the map direct, or about 150 miles by road. The extreme breadth, measured in the same way, from Bazar, on the border of the Bunir hills, to the southern boundary of Kohat, is 100 miles direct, or about 125 miles by road. The boundaries of Gandhara, as deduced from these measurements, may be described as Lamghan and Jalalabad on the west, the hills of Swat and Bunir on the north, the Indus on the east, and the hills of Kalabagh on the south. Within these limits stood several of the most renowned places of ancient India; some celebrated in the stirring history of Alexander's exploits, and others famous in the miraculous legends of Buddha, and in the subsequent history of Buddhism under the Indo-Scythian prince Kanishka.

The only towns of the Gandarae named by Ptolemy are Naulibe, Embolima, and the capital called Proklais. All of these were to the north of the Kophes ; and so also were Ora, Bazaria, and Aornos, which are mentioned by Alexander's historians. Parashawar alone was to the south of the Kophes. Of Naulibe and Ora I am not able to offer any account, as they have not yet been identified. It is probable, however, that Naulibe is Nilab, an important town, which gave its name to the Indus river; but if so, it is wrongly placed by Ptolemy, as Nilab is to the south of the Kophes. The positions of the other towns I


[p.49]: will now proceed to investigate, including with them some minor places visited by the Chinese pilgrims.

In Mahabharata

Gandhara (गन्धार) is mentioned in Mahabharata (I.177.5), (II.31.6), (II.48.22),(VI.10.52),(VIII.30.55),


Adi Parva, Mahabharata/Book I Chapter 177 mentions Kshatriyas who came on Swayamvara of Draupadi. Gandhara (गन्धार) King is mentioned in Mahabharata (I.177.5).[25]....Sakuni, Sauvala, Vrishaka, and Vrihadvala,--these sons of the king Gandhara--have also come.


Sabha Parva, Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 31 mentions the Kshatriyas who brought tributes on Rajasuya sacrifice of Yudhisthira. Gandhara (गन्धार) King is mentioned in Mahabharata (II.31.6).[26]...and Suvala the king of Gandhara and Sakuni endued with great strength;....


Bhisma Parva, Mahabharata/Book VI Chapter 10 describes geography and provinces of Bharatavarsha. Gandhara (गन्धार) is mentioned in Mahabharata (VI.10.52)[27]....:the Kashmiras, the Sindhu-Sauviras, the Gandharas, and the Darshakas; the Abhisaras, the Kulutas, the Sahivalas, and the Valhikas....


Sabha Parva, Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 48 describes Kings who presented tributes to Yudhishthira. Gandhara (गन्धार) is mentioned in Mahabharata (II.48.22).[28]....And Chitraratha, also the king of Gandharvas, the friend of Indra, gave four hundred [p. 105]: horses gifted with the speed of the wind. And the Gandharva Tumvuru gladly gave a hundred horses of the colour of mango leaf and decked in gold.


Karna Parva/Mahabharata Book VIII Chapter 30 blames the Vahikas and Madrakas. Gandhara (गन्धार) is mentioned in Mahabharata (VIII.30.55). [29]....The Gandharas, the Madrakas, and the Vahikas of little understanding are even such.

References

  1. Jat Samaj, Agra : March 1998
  2. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.9, 37, 48, 49
  3. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.49
  4. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.497
  5. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.498
  6. Ram Swarup Joon: History of the Jats/Chapter V,p. 83-84
  7. Rajatarangini of Kalhana:Kings of Kashmira/Book I,p.5-6
  8. Sandhya Jain: Adi Deo Arya Devata - A Panoramic View of Tribal-Hindu Cultural Interface, Rupa & Co, 7/16, Ansari Road Daryaganj, New Delhi, 2004 p.123, sn.22
  9. काश्मीराः सिन्धुसौवीरा गान्धारा दर्शकास तदा, अभीसारा कुलूताश च शौवला बाह्लिकास तदा (VI.10.52)
  10. Higham, Charles (2014), Encyclopedia of Ancient Asian Civilizations, Infobase Publishing, pp. 209–, ISBN 978-1-4381-0996-1
  11. Khoinaijam Rita Devi (1 January 2007). History of ancient India: on the basis of Buddhist literature. Akansha Publishing House. ISBN 978-81-8370-086-3.
  12. "Rigveda 1.126:7, English translation by Ralph TH Griffith".
  13. Arthur Anthony Macdonell (1997). A History of Sanskrit Literature. Motilal Banarsidass Publishe. pp. 130–. ISBN 978-81-208-0095-3.
  14. "UW Press: Ancient Buddhist Scrolls from Gandhara".
  15. Kurt A. Behrendt (2007), The Art of Gandhara in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp.4-5,91
  16. Mohiuddin, Yasmeen Niaz (2007). Pakistan: A Global Studies Handbook. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781851098019.
  17. Kalhana Rajatarangini referred to them as simply Shahi and inscriptions refer to them as sahi.(Wink, pg 125)
  18. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.270
  19. ऋग्वेद 1,126,18;
  20. अथर्ववेद 5,22,14 ।
  21. मत्स्य पुराण, 48, 6 वायु पुराण, 99,9
  22. भारतकोश-गांधार महाजनपद
  23. A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms/Chapter 10
  24. The Ancient Geography of India/Gandhara, pp. 47-49
  25. शकुनिश च बलश चैव वृषकॊ ऽथ बृहद्बलः, एते गान्धर राजस्य सुताः सर्वे समागताः (I.177.5)
  26. सत्कृत्यामन्त्रिताः सर्वे आचार्य प्रमुखा नृपाः, गान्धारराजः सुबलः शकुनिश च महाबलः (II.31.6)
  27. काश्मीराः सिन्धुसौवीरा गान्धारा दर्शकास तदा, अभीसारा कुलूताश च शौवला बाह्लिकास तदा (VI.10.52)
  28. राजा चित्ररदॊ नाम गन्धर्वॊ वासवानुगः, शतानि चत्वार्य अथथथ धयानां वातरंहसाम (II.48.22)
  29. भवत्य एकः कुले विप्रः शिष्टान्ये कामचारिणः, गान्धारा मद्रकाश चैव बाह्लीकाः के ऽपय अचेतसः (VIII.30.55)

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