Hiranyaksha

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Hiranyaksha (हिरण्‍याक्ष) was an Asura and the son of Diti and Kashyap.[1] Literally it means "golden-eyed". According to Rajatarangini[2] He built a city called after his own name, Hiranyapura (हिरण्‍यपुर). He ruled in Kashmir from 893 BC-855 BC.[3]

Genealogy

The genealogy of Hiranyakashipu is as under:[4]

  • Kashyapa (कश्यप) was an ancient sage (rishis). He is the son of Marichi, one of the ten sons (Maanasa-putras) of the Creator Brahma. The Prajapati Daksha gave his thirteen daughters (Aditi, Diti, Kadru, Danu, Arishta, Surasa, Surabhi, Vinata, Tamra, Krodhavasa, Ida, Khasa and Muni in marriage to Kashyapa.
  • Hiranyakashipu (हिरण्यकश्यप) and Hiranyaksha were Kashyapa's sons from Diti were, and a daughter Sinhika, who later became the wife of Viprachitti.

History

Rajatarangini[5] mentions that in the history of Kashmir king Utpalaksha, so named from the beauty of his eyes, reigned for thirty years and six months. He was succeeded by his son Hiranyaksha. He built a city called after his own name, Hiranyapura, and reigned for thirty-seven years and seven months. His son Hiranyakula succeeded him and reigned sixty years.

According to Rajatarangini[6] he ruled in Kashmir from 893 BC-855 BC.


Battle of Hiranyapura: Rajatarangini[7] tells us ...When Bhikshachara was at Mayagrama, the people of Lohara came out and fought with the king's soldiers who were at Amareshvara. In the fierce battle that took place near the town of Hiranyapura, the men of Lohara killed Vinayakadeva and other leaders of the king's army. Early in the battle, the enemy captured a fine mare belonging to the king, and thought that he had got the king's good fortune. On the banks of the


[p.63]: Kshiptika, near the capital, Prithvihara killed many good soldiers of the king. Though Tilaka was at Vijayesha, the Damaras who dwelt at Svāngāchiholaḍa came and fought a battle on the banks of the Mahasarit (great river.) They besieged the city in some places, they burnt the inhabitants in sonic places, they plundered them and yelled day and night.


Alexander Cunningham[8] writes that from Ahi-chhatra the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang proceeded in a south direction a distance of from 200 to 270 li, from 23 to 25 miles, to the Ganges, which he crossed, and then turning to the south-west he arrived in the kingdom of Pi-lo-shan-na[9] His route to the south -would have taken him through Aonla and Budaon to the Budh Gunga (or old Ganges), somewhere near Sahawar, a few miles below Soron, both of which places stood on the main stream of the Ganges so late as 400 years ago. As his subsequent route is said to have been to the south-west, I believe that he must have crossed the Ganges close to Sahawar, which is 42 miles from Ahi-chhatra in a direct line. From all my early inquiries I was led to believe that Soron was the only ancient place in this vicinity ; and as Hwen Thsang does not give any distance for his south-west march, I concluded that Soron must have been the place to which he gives the name of Pi-lo-shan-na. I accordingly visited Soron, which is undoubtedly a place of very great antiquity, but which cannot, I think, be the place visited by the Chinese pilgrim. I will, however, first describe Soron before I proceed to discuss the superior claims of the great ruined mound of Atranji-Khera to be identified with the Pi-lo-shan-na of the Chinese pilgrim.

Soron is a large town on the right, or western, bank of the Ganges, on the high-road between Bareli and Mathura. The place was originally called Ukala Kshetra ; but after the demon Hiranyaksha had been killed by the Varaha Avatar, or Boar incarnation of Vishnu, the name was changed to Sukara Kshetra, or


[p.365]: " the place of the good deed." The ancient town is represented by a ruined mound called the Kilah, or " fort," which is one quarter of a mile in length from north to south, and somewhat less in breadth. It stands on the high bank of the old bed of the Ganges, which is said by some to have flowed immediately under it so late as 200 years ago. The modern town stands at the foot of the old mound on the west and south sides, and probably contains about 5000 inhabitants. There are no dwellings on the old mound, which is occupied only by the temple of Sita-Ramji and the tomb of Shekh Jamul ; but it is covered with broken bricks of large size, and the foundations of walls can be traced in all directions. The mound is said to be the ruins of a fort built by Raja Somadatta of Soron many hundred years ago. But the original settlement of the place is very much older, being attributed to the fabulous Raja Vena Chakravartti who plays such a conspicuous part in all the legends of North Bihar, Oudh, and Rohilkhand.

Mythology

In Hinduism, Andhaka often refers to a malevolent Asuras. Andhaka was the son of Shiva, and was created from a drop of his sweat. He was born blind. After birth, Andhaka was given to Hiranyaksha to be raised, as he had no sons. Later, Andhaka became the king of Hiranyaksha's kingdom.

Slaying Hiranyaksha: In the very beginning of time and creation, the Hindu god Vishnu used to live by the shores of a great vast sea. A pair of seagulls also nested on the same shore. Every year the female seagull would lay her eggs by the shore of the sea. But the sea would sweep in and wash her eggs away. The female seagull laid her eggs farther ashore every year but the sea would continue to sweep in and wash them away every single time. The seagulls were heartbroken by their loss. In despair, they appealed to Vishnu, the great Preserver, to come to their aid. Vishnu felt pity and compassion for their hapless situation. He opened his mouth and swallowed the sea in a huge gulp. Where the sea was, now lay the newly created Mother Earth. Vishnu was very exhausted by the feat of swallowing up such a vast sea. He lay down to rest and soon fell into a deep sleep. The demon Hiranyaksha was lurking nearby. When he saw Vishnu asleep, he seized the opportunity and brutally assaulted the defenseless Mother Earth. His brutality was of such great magnitude that her limbs were broken and levered up. These broken limbs, towering towards the sky, formed the mighty Himalayas.

He was slain by the god Vishnu after he (Hiranyaksha) took the Earth to the bottom of what has been described as the "Cosmic ocean".

Vishnu assumed the Avatar of a boar (Varaha) and dove into the ocean to lift the Earth, in the process slaying Hiranyaksha who was obstructing Him. The battle lasted one thousand years.

Hiranyaksha had an Elder Brother named Hiranyakashipu, who after having undertaken penances which made him incredibly powerful and invincible unless several conditions were met, was later slain by Narasimha, another avatar of Vishnu.

Hiranyapura in Mahabharata

Vana Parva, Mahabharata/Book III Chapter 170 mentions about the Destruction of Hiranyapura, the city inhabited by Pulamas Kalakas and the Kalakeyas, Arjuna's terrible encounter with the Nivatakavachas dwelling in Hiranyaparva. Verse-(III.170.11) [10] mentions that Hiranyapura, the mighty city is inhabited by the Paulamas and the Kalakanjas; and it is also guarded by those mighty Asuras.

Arjuna describes that Thereupon Matali took me to the vicinity of Hiranyapura on the celestial chariot yoked with steeds. [11]

References

  1. Hinduism & Its Military Ethos. p. 39.
  2. Rajatarangini of Kalhana:Kings of Kashmira/Book I,p.18
  3. Rajatarangini of Kalhana:Kings of Kashmira/List of Kings,p.xx
  4. Bhaleram Beniwal: Jāt Yodhāon ke Balidān, Jaypal Agencies, Agra 2005
  5. Rajatarangini of Kalhana:Kings of Kashmira/Book I,p.18
  6. Rajatarangini of Kalhana:Kings of Kashmira/List of Kings,p.xx
  7. Kings of Kashmira Vol 2 (Rajatarangini of Kalhana)/Book VIII,pp.62-63
  8. The Ancient Geography of India: I. The Buddhist Period, Including the ...By Sir Alexander Cunningham, p.364-365
  9. Julien's 'Hiouen Thsang,' ii. 235. See Map No. X.
  10. हिरण्यपुरम इत्य एतत खयायते नगरं महत, रक्षितं कालकेयैश च पौलॊमैश च महासुरैः (III.170.11)
  11. उवाह मां ततः शीघ्रं हिरण्यपुरम अन्तिकात, रदेन तेन थिव्येन हरियुक्तेन मातलिः (Mahabharata:III.170.15)

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