Origin of Jats from Shiva's Locks
|Author of this article is Laxman Burdak लक्ष्मण बुरड़क|
The mythological account of Origin of Jats from Shiva's Locks was propounded by the author of Deva Samhita. Deva Samhita, is a collection of Sanskrit hymns by Gorakh Sinha during the early medieval period. Devasamhita records the account of Origin of the Jats in the form of discussion between Shiva and Parvati expressed in shloka (verses) numbering from 12 - 17. Some relevant verses are given below.
Verses from Deva Samhita
Pārvatī asks Shiva, O Lord Bhutesha, knower of all religions, kindly narrate about the birth and exploits of the Jat race. Who is their father? Who is their mother? Which race are they? When were they born? Having read the mind of Parvati, Shiva said, "O mother of the world, I may tell you honestly the origin and exploits of the Jats about whom none else has so far revealed anything to you. They are symbol of sacrifice, bravery and industry. They are, like gods, firm of determination and of all the kshatriyā, the Jats are the prime rulers of the earth. They are the progeny of the Virabhadra and gani, the daughter of Daksha, son of Brahma. 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.
- भगवन् सर्वं भूतेश सर्व धर्म विदांबरः।
- कृपया कथ्यतां नाथ जाटानां जन्म कर्मजम् ।।12।।
- Translation - Pārvatī asks Shiva, O Lord Bhutesha, knower of all religions, kindly narrate about the birth and exploits of the Jat race.
- का च माता पिता ह्वेषां का जाति वद किकुलं।
- कस्तिन काले शुभे जाता प्रश्नानेतान वद प्रभो ।।13।।
- Translation - Pārvatī asks Shiva, Who is their father?, Who is their mother? Which race are they? When were they born?
- श्रृणु देवि जगद्वन्दे सत्यमं सत्यमं वदामिते।
- जटानां जन्मकर्माणि यन्न पूर्व प्रकाशितं ।।14।।
- Translation - Having read the mind of Parvati, Shiva said, "O mother of the world, I may tell you honestly the origin and exploits of the Jats about whom none else has so far revealed anything to you.
- महाबला महावीर्या, महासत्य पराक्रमाः Mahābalā mahāvīryā, Mahāsatya parākramāḥ
- सर्वाग्रे क्षत्रिया जट्टा देवकल्पा दृढ़-व्रता: Sarvāgre kshatriyā jattā Devakalpā dridh-vratāḥ ।।15।।
- Translation - "Shiva said, They are symbol of sacrifice, bravery and industry. They are, like gods, firm of determination and of all the kshatriyā, the Jats are the prime rulers of the earth."
- श्रृष्टेरादौ महामाये वीर भद्रस्य शक्तित: Shrishterādau mahāmāye Virabhadrasya shaktitaḥ
- Translation – "Shiva said, In the beginning of the universe with the personification of the illusionary powers of Virabhadra and Daksha's daughter gani's womb originated the caste of Jats."
- गर्व खर्चोत्र विग्राणां देवानां च महेश्वरी Garva kharchotra vigrānam devānām cha maheshwarī
- विचित्रं विस्मयं सत्वं पौराण कै साङ्गीपितं Vichitram vismayam satvam Pauran kai sāngīpitam ।।17।।
- Translation - "Shiva said, 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."
Brahmanical legends of origin of the Jats
The two ethnologists, Russel and Hira Lal, give a a different version of the above anecdote in the "Brahmanical legends of origin of the Jats", which is reproduced below:
- "The Jats relate the legend thus. On the occasion when Raja Daksha, father-in-law of Mahadeva (Shiva) was performing a great sacrifice, he invited all the gods to present except his son-in-law Mahadeva. The latter's wife, Parvati, was, however, very eager to go; so she asked Mahadeva to let her attend, even though she had not been invited. Mahadeva was unwilling to allow her, but finally consented. Daksha treated Parvati with great want of respect at the sacrifice, so she came home and told Mahadeva about her plight. When Mahadeva heard all this he was filled with wrath and untying his matted hair (jata) dashed it on the ground, whence two powerful beings arose from it. He sent them to destroy Daksha's sacrifice and they went and destroyed it. From these were descended the race of Jats, and they take their name from the matted locks (jata) of the Lord Shiva. Another saying of the Jats is that the ancestors of the Rajputs was from Kashyapa and that of the Jats from the Shiva. In the beginning these were the only two races in India." 
It is also mentioned that after the destruction of Daksha's sacrifice by Virabhadra and his ganas, the followers of Shiva, the defeated gods sought Brahma and asked his counsel. Brahma advised the gods to make their peace with Shiva. Shiva accepted his advice and restored the burnt head of Daksha and the broken limbs were made whole. Then the devas thanked Shiva for his gentleness, and invited him to sacrifice. There Daksha looked on him with reverence, the rite was duly performed, and there also Vishnu appeared. A compromise was achieved between Vaishnavas and followers of Shiva.
The above account was set afloat during the medieval age which is marked by ascendancy of powerful Rajput warriors. It was a period of unhealthy growth of blind superstitions, the decay and death of adventure in science and thought in practical life. It was a period during which "the fairy of the fortune of the Jats, particularly after Harsha Vardhana, had gone to sleep." The account cast a spell on the mind of the simple Jat folk and soon became popular with them. They were taken by pious fraud that they were born from the highest bodily part (jata) of the highest god (Shiva) where as all others are born of the lower part of Brahma.
The Brahmanical accounts wrongly interpret word jata as 'locks'. Since Jats were strong followers of Shiva and were his ganas. Word 'Jata' should be understod as a federation in the light of Panini's Ashtadhyayi. The Linguistic and Religious Etymology about the origin of the word, 'Jata' is that it finds mention in most ancient Indian literature like Mahabharata and Rig Veda. Over sixty clans are named in the Rig Veda. In the Mahabharata as they are mentioned ‘Jartas’ in ‘Karna Parva’. The famous Sanskrit scholar Panini (traditionally dated 520-460 BCE, with estimates ranging from the 7th to 4th centuries BCE) has mentioned in his Sanskrit grammar known as Aṣṭādhyāyī in the form of shloka as जट झट सङ्घाते or “Jata Jhata Sanghate”. This means that the terms 'Jata' (जट) and 'democratic federation' are synonymous. He has mentioned many Jat clans as settled in Punjab and North west areas. They 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 two Jat rulers under the leadership of Yasodharman. Other Jat ruler who fought with him was Baladitya.
Daksha's sacrifice by Virabhadra
The mention of ganas is in the form of attendants of Shiva in the story of creation of Virabhadra and destruction of Daksha in Hindu mythology. One day Daksha made arrangements for a great horse sacrifice, and invited all the gods omitting only Shiva. Shiva's first wife was Sati and daughter of Daksha Prajapati. Sati, being greatly humiliated, went to the banquet and Sati released the inward consuming fire and fell dead at Daksha's feet. Narada bore this news to Shiva. Shiva burned with anger, created Vīrabhadra who bowed at Shiva's feet and asked his will. 
Shiva directed Virabhadra: "Lead my army against Daksha and destroy his sacrifice; fear not the Brahmanas, for thou art a portion of my very self". On this direction of Shiva, Virabhadra appeared with Shiva's gana in the midst of Daksha's assembly like a storm wind and broke the sacrificial vessels, polluted the offerings, insulted the priests and finally cut off Daksha's head, trampled on Indra, broke the staff of Yama, scattered the gods on every side; the he returned to Kailash. 
Deva Samhita mentions that after the destruction of Daksha's sacrifice by Virabhadra and his ganas, the followers of Shiva, the defeated gods sought Brahma and asked his counsel. Brahma advised the gods to make their peace with Shiva. Shiva accepted his advice and restored the burnt head of Daksha and the broken limbs were made whole. Then the devas thanked Shiva for his gentleness, and invited him to sacrifice. There Daksha looked on him with reverence, the rite was duly performed, and there also Vishnu appeared. A compromise was achieved between Vaishnavas and followers of Shiva.
The above story of creation of Virabhadra from the Shiva’s lock and destruction of Daksha by Virabhadra and his ganas is mythical and not scientifically possible but has some historical facts in it. Thakur Deshraj has explained that there was a clan of Jats named Shivi who had a republic ruled by democratic system of administration known as ganatantra. Kshudrakas had formed a sangha with Malavas. Shivis formed a sangha with a big federation or sangha known as Jat, which is clear from Paninis shloka in grammar of Aṣṭādhyāyī given below. 
The historian Ram Swaroop Joon explains that Shiva lived in Gangotri Hills which, due to Shiva's popularity, came to be known as Shiva's Jata. The mountain ranges in that area is now known as Shivaliks. Raja Virabhadra of the Puru dynasty was the ruler of 'Talkhapur' near Haridwar, which also formed part of the area known as 'Shiv ki Jata'. 
This is the area around Haridwar. King Bhagiratha brought the Ganga to the plains in this region. According to legend the Ganga flows out from Shiva's Jata. Actually this also means that the Ganga flows out from the area known as 'Shiv ki Jata', the birthplace of the Jat Raja Virabhadra who was a follower and admirer of Shiva. On hearing of Sati's tragedy, Shiva went to the durbar of Virabhadra and pulled at his hair in fury while narrating the story. This infuriated Virabhadra and with his army, are invaded Kankhal and killed Daksha. 
Reasons behind the account
According to Y.P. Shastri the account was propounded to win back the Jats, who had en masse embraced Buddhism, to Neo-Hinduism preached and propagated by Shankaracharya and his followers. This account seemed to work wonders as there are no followers of Buddhism in Jats. Whereas Y.P. Shastri hints at religious purpose of the account, Dr. A.B. Mukerjee,an ethno-geographer stresses its political and social purpose. According to him " at the end of the ancient period of Indian History great instability prevailed in the social structure of the people and great political changes were effected. The Rajputs became the rulers and Jats their subject, a fact very well borne out by historical data (Denzil Ibbetson:1916) consequently, the social status of the latter groups declined and they were regarded as of lowly ranks. Of course, after the fall of Harsha Vardhana of the Aulikar or Virk gotra, the political and social status of the Jats especially in Rajasthan, had declined to a great extent. Possibly to counteract the intolerable superiority assumed by the Rajputs, this account might have been invented. 
Bhim Singh Dahiya points to yet another purpose of the account. According to him "Something must have happened in the sixth or seventh century AD, during the course of the revival of orthodox Brahmanism, which made these people (Jats) persona non grata with the new orthodox. That is why when the Puranas were revised, their historical details and even their names were removed therefrom. It is perhaps to this state of affairs that the Deva Samhita refers when it records that " nobody has published the truth about the origin and activities of the Jat race." At another place he assumes that "the Jats were the first rulers in the vast central asian plains as per Deva Samhita."
The account is obviously figurative and its use is simply allegorical. The meaning it conveys is that there were so many ganas of warrior tribes at the command of Virabhadra or Kartikeya, the son of Shiva, whose abode was the Sivalak mountain. The function of this mythological account may be to ensure a more honourable antiquity and status to the Jats in comparison with others. Historians Kephart, Hewitt and Waddel count the Jats among the ruling races of prehistoric times in India. 
The Shokeen or Shivakhande clan
According to Hukum Singh Panwar (Pauria), it may, however, be interesting to note that a Jat tribe, living in about 25 contiguous villages in Jind district of Haryana and about 5 villages in Nangloi block of Delhi , goes by its gotra name as Shivakhande or Sheokhand. of late this gotra has been Arabicised as Shokeen in Delhi villages. Yet the elders of Sheokhand Khap area take pride in the fact that they originally hail from the Dharans, whose kingdom was rather misnomered as "Gupta empire" in Indian history. Be that as it may, one thing is plausible about the Jats of Sheokhande clan. They must be the Sivas who fought against the Bharatas on the Jamuna River in one of the ten Rigvedic wars. They are identified by scholars with the Shivis or the Sibis of the Usinara country in the north of Haridwar near the source of Ganges. The Sivas or Sibis became known as Shivakhande or Sheokhande from and after the Shivaliks, the abode of Lord Shiva, the highest deity of the Jats. Their descent from the Shivalik hills has provided good grounds to the author of Devasamhita to expound this account.
Sheoran gotra in Jats
Sheoran is a branch of Shivi Jats who ruled in Malwa and Rajasthan. When they moved from Malwa to Rajasthan, one group also moved to Neemrana, where they were found at the time of Emperor Humanyun.The presence of Sheoran gotra in Jats is also an evidence in support of this account. Sheorans consider themselves to be the descendants of Shiva.