Jats in Indian epics

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Author of this article is Laxman Burdak लक्ष्मण बुरड़क

Jats are the earliest kshatriyas and find mention in the Indian epics like Ramayana, Rigveda (1700–1100 BCE), Mahabharata (3102 BC), Deva Samhita. The mention of Jat word by the famous Sanskrit scholar Panini of 900 BCE in his Sanskrit grammar known as Aṣṭādhyāyī in the form of shloka as जट झट संघाते or “Jat Jhat Sanghate”. Which means the terms 'Jat' and 'democratic federation' are synonymous. It proves that the Jats are the most ancient people.

Jats in Mahabharata

Jat historian Thakur Deshraj writes that the word Jat is derived from sanskrit word jñāta (ज्ञात). This later on changed to Jat in prakrart language. Panini's Mention of Aṣṭādhyāyī in the form of shloka as जट झट सङ्घाते confirms it. [1] Deshraj mentions that Krishna formed a federation of Vrishni and Andhaka clans which was known as jñātisaṃgha (ज्ञातिसंघ). Shanti Parva Mahabharata Book XII Chapter 82 gives details about this sangha. [2]

धन्यं यशस्यम आयुष्यं सवपक्षॊथ्भावनं शुभम
ज्ञातीनाम अविनाशः सयाथ यदा कृष्ण तदा कुरु Mahabharata (XII.82.27)
dhanyaṃ yaśasyam āyuṣyaṃ svapakṣodbhāvanaṃ śubham
jñātīnām avināśaḥ syād yathā kṛṣṇa tathā kuru Mahabharata (XII.82.27)
माधवाः कुकुरा भॊजाः सर्वे चान्धकवृष्णयः (Andhaka+Vrishni)
तवय्य आसक्ता महाबाहॊ लॊका लॊकेश्वराश च ये Mahabharata (XII.82.29)
mādhavāḥ kukurā bhojāḥ sarve cāndhakavṛṣṇayaḥ
tvayy āsaktā mahābāho lokā lokeśvarāś ca ye Mahabharata (XII.82.29)

Thus appearance of Jat name as such in Mahabharata and other Jat clans along with Brahma shows that name of Jat is as antique as Brahma. Not only Jat word existed at that time but also the other Jat clans from which various Jat clans further originated.

They are mentioned in Mahabharata Sabha Parva, Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 28 mentions while Sahadeva addressing Agni:

The Veda have sprung for ministering unto thee, and, therefore, thou art called Jataveda. Chief of the gods as thou art, thou art called Chitrabhanu, Anala, Vibhavasu, Hutasana, Jvalana, Sikhi, Vaiswanara, Pingesa, Plavanga, Bhuritejah. Thou art he from whom Kumara (Kartikeya) had his origin; thou art holy; thou art called Rudragarva and Hiranyakrit.
वेथास तवथर्दं जाताशजातवेथास ततॊ हय असि
यज्ञविघ्नम इमं कर्तुं नार्हस तवं हव्यवाहन Mahabharata (II.28.29)


The Shalya Parva, Mahabharata/Book IX Chapter 44 mentions Jata (जट) who brought tributes all of them came to that ceremony for investing Kartikeya with the status of generalissimo, Shalya Parva (IX.44.54), (IX.44.56), (IX.44.90).

एकाक्षॊ द्वादशाक्षश च तदैवैक जटः परभुः
सहस्रबाहुर विकटॊ वयाघ्राक्षः कषितिकम्पनः (IX.44.54)
अजॊदरॊ गजशिराः सकन्धाक्षः शतलॊचनः
जवाला जिह्वः करालश च सितकेशॊ जटी हरिः (IX.44.56)
तरिशिठा दविशिखाश चैव तदा सप्त शिखाः परे
शिखण्डिनॊ मुकुटिनॊ मुण्डाश च जटिलास तदा (IX.44.90)


The Shalya Parva, Mahabharata/Book IX Chapter 45 mentions names of the mothers, that became the companions of Kumara (Kartikeya.

शिशुमार मुखी शवेता लॊहिताक्षी विभीषणा
जटालिका कामचरी थीर्घजिह्वा बलॊत्कटा (IX.45.22)


Mahabharata Anusasana Parva/Book I Chapter 144 (I.144.3) mentions about Jats as under:

ते वनेन वनं वीरा घनन्तॊ मृगगणान बहून
अपक्रम्य ययू राजंस तवरमाणा महारदाः Mahabharata (I.144.1)
मत्स्यांस तरिगर्तान पाञ्चालान कीचकान अन्तरेण च
रमणीयान वनॊथ्थेशान परेक्षमाणाः सरांसि च Mahabharata (I.144.2)
जटाः कृत्वात्मनः सर्वे वल्कलाजिनवाससः
सह कुन्त्या महात्मानॊ बिभ्रतस तापसं वपुः Mahabharata (I.144.3)

Vana Parva, Mahabharata mentions Bhimasena's journey to Gandhamadana at the request of Draupadi (in search of the sweet-scented flower). Bhima's meeting on his way, in a grove of bananas, with Hanuman, the son of Pavana of great prowess; Bhima's bath in the tank and the destruction of the flowers therein for obtaining the sweet-scented flower (he was in search of); his consequent battle with the mighty Rakshasas and the Yakshas of great prowess including Hanuman; the destruction of the Asura Jata by Bhima;


Shiva Stotra is another most ancient epic, which mentions one thousand names of Lord Shiva, also mentioned in ‘Shalya Parva’ of Mahabharata, in which one of the names of god is ‘Jat’ and appears at serial number 489. Mahabharata Anushasan Parva chapter 17 shloka 89 reads as under:

महानखो, महारोमा, महाकोशो, महाजट:

प्रसन्नश्च, प्रसादश्च, प्रत्यो, गिरिसाधन:

Meaning - Mahanakha, Maharoma, Mahakosha, Mahajata, Prasanna, Prasada, Pratyaya, Girisadhana are the names of Lord Ishvara.

How old is Jat

According to an ancient story Brahma appointed Kartikeya as the commander of all the beings. Kartikeya got various gifts out of which there was a lord of all commanders named ‘Jat’. (Mahabharata Shalya Parva chapter 44 and 45). The shloka reads as under:

अक्ष: सन्तर्जनो राजन् कुन्दीकश्च तमोन्नकृत ।

एकाक्षो द्वादशक्षश्च तथैवैक जट: प्रभु (IX.44.58)

Meaning – Aksha, Santarjana, Kundika, Tamonnakrata, Ekaksha, dvadasha, and a ‘Jat’ lord of all (O Rajana ! gifted to swami Kartikeya)

It is believed in Hindu mythology that Brahma was the creator of the universe. As per Hindu cosmology the period of creation of the universe by Brahma was 1,97,29,49,108 years back in samvat 2063 (2006). It means the word ‘Jat’ is as old as the universe. [3]

Jats in Ramayana

Jat People find mention in Ramayana period. In Sarg 42 of Kishkindha Kanda in Ramayana - Directions to Westward Party in search of Sita are given as under:

Then Sugriva went to his father-in-law and Tara's father Sushena. He greeted him and said to the great sage Maareech's son Archismaan who is like Indra and Garud in valor and the other son of Sage Maareech Archishmaalyaa - "You take 200,000 (2 lakh) Vanar under the leadership of Sushena and go to search Vaidehee in west, Sauraashtra and Chandrachitraa (present day Mathura) Desh. Search for Her in Kukshi Desh where beetle nut, Bakul and Uddaalk trees grow. There you will search Her in dry lands, waters, forests, mountains etc.
Further, you will find a sea (Arabian Sea) in which many sharks and crocodiles live in. Near that sea, you will find a forest where Ketakee, Tamaal, Kaarikel (coconut) trees grow. After that you will find Murachee and Jatapura cities. Next you go to Avanti (this Avantee is another Avantee), Anglepaa and Alakshitaa.
After this you will arrive at the mouth of River Indus (Sindhu). Near it is Hem Giri Parvat (Som Giri Parvat) which has numerous summits and on which there are many huge tall trees. Here live flying lions who take Timi named Matsya (fish or sharks) and elephant seals on the trees. You will search this mountain thoroughly.

Here we find mention of Jatapur city means 'the city of Jats' near Avanti and after it is situated Sindhu River.


किष्किन्धाकाण्डे द्विचत्वारिंशः सर्गः ॥४-४२॥ in Ramayana mentions Jat in Sanskrit as under:

वेलातल निवेष्टेषु पर्वतेषु वनेषु च ।
मुरची पत्तनम् चैव रम्यम् चैव जटा पुरम् ॥४-४२-१३॥
कपयो विहरिष्यन्ति नारिकेल वनेषु च ।
तत्र सीताम् च मार्गध्वम् निलयम् रावणस्य च ॥४-४२-१२॥
अवंतीम् अंगलेपाम् च तथा च अलक्षितम् वनम् ।
राष्ट्राणि च विशालानि पत्तनानि ततः ततः ॥४-४२-१४॥
सिंधु सागरयोः चैव संगमे तत्र पर्वतः ।
महान् हेम गिरिः नाम शत शृंगो महाद्रुमः ॥४-४२-१५॥

Shorkot, ancient name Sibipura, town is located in the Jhang district of Punjab, Pakistan. As per Diodorus [4], Arrian [5] and Strabo [6], the area surrounding Sibipura was occupied by a people called Sibi, during the time of Alexander's invasion of Punjab.

Professor Eggermont [7] said, "J. Ph. Vogel showed that the mound of Shorkot (Jhang district, between Chenab, Indus, and Ravi rivers) represents the site of Sibipura, the town (pura) of the Sibis, which is mentioned in a Shorkot inscription". Even today Sibi or Sibia is a well known Jat clan in Punjab. Furthermore, Professor Eggermont [8] said, "However, I cannot possibly pass over in silence that in the very Vessantara Jataka the town over which Sanjaya, king of Sibi, ruled is called Jettuttara and not Aritta-pura. It is probably more likely the word Jetuttara is Jetupura or Jatupura which means the place where Jats live. The word "pura" in Sanskrit means "place".

Jats in Rigveda

Jats find a mention in most ancient Indian literature. Over sixty clans are named in the Rig Veda.[9] In the Mahabharata as they are mentioned ‘Jartas’ in ‘Karna Parva’. The famous Sanskrit scholar Panini]] of 900 BCE has mentioned in his Sanskrit grammar known as Aṣṭādhyāyī in the form of shloka as जट झट संघाते or “Jat Jhat Sanghate”. This means that the terms 'Jat' and 'democratic federation' are synonymous. He has mentioned many Jat clans as settled in Punjab and North west areas.

Jats in Grammar of Chandra

Jats are mentioned in the grammar treatise of Chandra of the fifth century in the phrase sentence अजय जर्टो हुणान or “Ajay Jarto Huṇān”, which refers to the defeat of Huns by the Jats under the leadership of Yasodharman. The inscription of Mandsaur also indicates that Yasodharman, the ruler of Malwa, was a Jat of the Virk gotra ( clan). [10]

Jats in the Deva Samhitā

There is mention of Jats in “Deva Samhitā[11] in the form of powerful rulers over vast plains of Central Asia. For example in the 'Deva Samhitā' of Gorakh Sinha from the early medieval period, when Pārvatī asks Shiva about characters of Jats, Shiva tells her like this in sanskrit shloka-15 as under:

महाबला महावीर्या, महासत्य पराक्रमाः Mahābalā mahāvīryā, Mahāsatya parākramāḥ

सर्वाग्रे क्षत्रिया जट्टा देवकल्पा दृढ़-व्रता: Sarvāgre kshatriyā jattā Devkalpā dridh-vratāḥ

Meaning - 'They are, like gods, firm of determination and of all the Warriors, the Jats are the prime rulers of the earth.'

Shiva explains Parvati about the origin of Jats in Shloka –16 of Deva samhita:

श्रृष्टेरादौ महामाये वीर भद्रस्य शक्तित: Shrishterādau mahāmāye Virabhadrasya shaktitaḥ

कन्यानां दक्षस्य गर्भे जाता जट्टा महेश्वरी Kanyānām Dakshasya garbhe jātā jatta maheshwarī.

Meaning – 'In the beginning of the universe with the personification of the illusionary powers of Virabhadra and Daksha’s daughtergana's womb originated the caste of Jats'.


In the shloka-17 of 'Deva Samhitā' when Pārvatī asks about the origin of Jats, Shiva tells Parvati that:

गर्व खर्चोत्र विग्राणां देवानां च महेश्वरी Garva kharchotra vigrānam devānām cha maheshwarī

विचित्रं विस्मयं सत्वं पौराण कै साङ्गीपितं Vichitram vismayam satvam Pauran kai sāngīpitam

Meaning - 'The history of origin of Jats is extremely wonderful and their antiquity glorious. The Pundits of history did not record their annals lest it should injure and impair their false pride and of the vipras and gods. We describe that realistic history before you'.

Etymology of the word "Jat"

The most acceptable theory about the origin of the word, 'Jat' is that it has originated from the Sanskrit language word “Gyat” . The Mahabharata mentions in chapter 25, shloka 26 that Lord Krishna founded a federation ‘Gana-sangha’ of the Andhak and Vrishni clans. This federation was known as ‘Gyati-sangh’. Over a period of time ‘Gyati’ became ‘Gyat’ and it changed to Jat.[12]

The other prominent theory of the word's origins is that Jat came from the word Gaut tribal name of some Indo-Aryan tribes of Central Asia (such as those which later became Gauts/Goths and settled in Europe), which was written in 'Jattan Da Ithihas'. It has also been mentioned by Bhim Singh Dahiya. [13]

According to the historian 'Ram Lal Hala' the word Jat is drived from word 'Yat'. There was a king named 'Yat' in Chandra Vanshi clan who was ancestor of Lord Krishna. The Jats are descendants of King Yat. 'Yat' later changed to 'Jat'.[14]

Need to search epics

Since the word Jat existed from the beginning of the universe it must find place in various Indian epics. The main Indian epics worth mentioning are as follows: Vedas (Rigveda, Yjurveda, Samaveda, Athavaveda), Samhitas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, Upanishadas, Vedanga (Shiksha, Chandas, Vyakarnas, Nirukta, Jyotisha, Kalpa), Mahabharata, Ramayana, Purana, Smriti, Bhagvadgita, Panchatantra, Kumar Vyasa Bharata, Stotra, Ramacharitamanas.

I searched some of the Indian and Hindu epics and produced as above some examples about the antiquity existence of word Jat and the history of Jats. It will be of great help to find more literature and linkages with the Jat history. In addition to the Hindu literature and epics the Buddhist and Jain books also have a great treasure about Jat history, not explored so far. Thus there is a need to research these sacred epics if we have to reconstruct the true Jat history.

See also

References

  1. Thakur Deshraj: Jat Ithas, Delhi, 1992, pp. 96, 101
  2. Thakur Deshraj: Jat Ithas, Delhi, 1992, pp. 30
  3. Dr Mahendra Singh Arya, Dharmpal Singh Dudu, Kishan Singh Faujdar & Vijendra Singh Narwar, Adhunik Jat Itihas, Agra 1998
  4. Diodorus (first century B.C.), Diodorus of Sicilly, translated by C.B. Welles, Vol. 8, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1946, pp. 397, 401, 405
  5. Arrian (95-175 A.D.), Anabasis of Alexander, translated by E.I. Robson, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1966, pp. 37, 59, 69-72, 131-139 (Vol. II).
  6. Strabo (first century A.D.), The Geography of Strabo, translated by H.L. Jones, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1954, pp. 57-58 (Vol. VIII).
  7. Eggermont, P.H.L., Alexander's Campaign in Gandhara and Ptolemy's List of Indo-Scythian Towns, Orientalia Lovaniensia Periodica I, 1970, pp. 89, 86.
  8. Eggermont, P.H.L., Alexander's Campaign in Gandhara and Ptolemy's List of Indo-Scythian Towns, Orientalia Lovaniensia Periodica I, 1970, pp. 89, 86.
  9. Bhim Singh Dahiya, Aryan Tribes and the Rig Veda, Dahinam Publishers, 16 B Sujan Singh Park, Sonepat, Haryana,India,1991
  10. CV Vaidya, History of Medieval Hindu India
  11. Thakur Deshraj: Jat Itihas (Hindi), Maharaja Suraj Mal Smarak Shiksha Sansthan, Delhi, 1934, 2nd edition 1992 page 87-88.
  12. Dr Natthan Singh, Jat-Itihas, (Jat History), page-41:Jat Samaj Kalyan Parishad, F-13, Dr Rajendra Prasad Colony, Tansen marg, Gwalior, M.P, India 474 002 2004
  13. Bhim Singh Dahiya, Jats the Ancient Rulers, Dahinam Publishers, Sonepat, Haryana
  14. Ram Lal Hala, Jat Kshatriya Itihas

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