Murunda

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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)

Murunda (मुरंड) were the Indo-Scythian people mentioned in Puranas. We find mention in Indian epics of both Munda and Murunda. Murunda is probably Sanskritization of Munda. Murunda is a Saka/Scythian title, meaning Chief/ Head. The Murundas seem to be a foreign tribe. Murunda is a non-Aryan word and can have no Aryan derivation.

Origin

According to Sten Konow 'Murunda' is the later form of a Saka word meaning 'lord' or 'master'. The title Murunda means "Lord", in Saka language, as per Sten Konow. [1]

Variants

Jat clans

History

Tej Ram Sharma[2] writes that Ptolemy (2nd century A.D.) mentions the Murundas for the first time under the name Moroundai and places them on the western border of the 'Gangaridai'. They seem to have occupied an extensive territory, probably the whole of North-Bihar on the east of the Ganga, as far as the head of the delta. They had six important cities, all to the east of the Ganga : Boraita, Koryagaza, Kondota, Kelydna, Aganegora and Talarga. These places are difficult to identify but to Saint-Martin Kelydna appeared to have some relation with Kalinadi or Kalindi river, and Aganagora with Aghadip (Agradvipa) on the eastern bank of the Ganges, a little below Katwa.


Tej Ram Sharma[3]writes....Scholars do not agree in their views about the explanation of the expression 'Daivaputrasahisahanusahi' mentioned in line 23 of Allahabad Pillar Inscription of Samudragupta. Daivaputras along with Sahis, Sahanusahis, Sakas, and Murundas, and the people of Simhala and all (other) islands are said to have acknowledged the suzerainty of Samudragupta by rendering to him all kind of service.....Moreover, the context does not suggest any particular reference to any king by name. Here we have an enumeration of tribes, viz., the Daivaputras, the Sahis, the Sahanusahis, the Sakas and the Murundas.


Sir Alexander Cunningham[4] writes that Mundas belong to the hill men of the north, who are spread over the Himalayan and Vindhyan mountains from the Indus to the Bay of Bengal.


Tej Ram Sharma[5] writes.... We know of a town named Morinda in Punjab which has some resemblance with the word Murunda and it may point out that the Murundas sometimes resided there.


Abhidhana Chintamani of Hema Chandra Says, “ Lampakastu Murundah Syuh” showing that they were considered Sakas. Murunda is a Saka/Scythian title, meaning Chief/ Head.

Tej Ram Sharma on Murundas

Tej Ram Sharma[6] writes about 14. Murundas (मुरुण्ड) in Allahabad pillar inscription of Samudragupta (No. 1, L.23) : देवपुत्र-षाही-षाहनुषाही-शकमुरुंडै:सैंहलकादिभिश्च ।

Murunda is mentioned in the Allahabad Pillar Inscription of Samudragupta along with the terms Daivaputra, Sahi, Sahanusahi and Saka as one compound expression. 371 Fleet takes


Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions 153


Sakas and Murundas as two separate tribes. They were one of the foreign potentates who came of their own accord to offer allegiance to Samudragupta.

According to Sten Konow 'Murunda' is the later form of a Saka word meaning 'lord' or 'master'. The term 'Saka- Murunda' therefore possibly stands for those Saka lords or chieftains who were ruling in the regions of Surastra and Ujjain at the time of Samudragupta.372

But we find in the Khoh plates of Maharaja Sarvanatha the names 'Murundadevi' 373 and Murundasvarnim 374 which shows that Murunda was the name of a tribe and not a title.

On the basis of Khoh plates, Smith 375 suggested that "the Murundas may possibly have been settled in the hill country of Rewa along the Kaimur range or more probably further south in the Vindhya or north Dekkan or possibly in the Chhota-nagpur".

According to R.K. Mookerji, 376 the people called here as the Murundas are to be distinguished from the Sakas and may be identified with the Kusanas, as earlier suggested by Sten Konow. 377

We know that the term Daivaputra in the inscription has been used to refer to the Kushana kings, and Sakas are mentioned separately. So we cannot equate Murundas with the Kushanas as suggested by R. K. Mookerji.

Some scholars regard Murunda as the name of a powerful foreign tribe, ruling in the upper Ganges valley. 378 According to the Chinese authority, the Capital of Meou-lun (a word equated with Murunda) was 7,000 li from the mouth of the Great River, which was undoubtedly the Ganges. Allan is, therefore, not right in suggesting that the Chinese description of the capital refers to Pataliputra. 379 Jayaswal took Saka-Murunda to denote the smaller Saka rulers like the 'Shalada, Shaka and the Gadahara chiefs as well as the Western Satraps'. 380

In the Abhidhana Chintamani 381 and the Vaijayanti 382 the Limpakas are identified with Murundas. The Lampakas are the same as the Lambatai of Ptolemy. 383 The Puranas, 384 mention Lampakas, the people who were residing in Lampaka, the modern Laghman in Afghanistan. Rajasekhara seems to be


154 Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions


referring to Lampaka as Limpaka. 385

The Murundas seem to be a foreign tribe. Murunda is clearly a non-Aryan word and can have no Aryan derivation. 386

Ptolemy (2nd century A.D.) mentions the Murundas for the first time under the name Moroundai and places them on the western border of the 'Gangaridai'. They seem to have occupied an extensive territory, probably the whole of North-Bihar on the east of the Ganga, as far as the head of the delta. They had six important cities, all to the east of the Ganga : Boraita, Koryagaza, Kondota, Kelydna, Aganegora and Talarga. These places are difficult to identify but to Saint-Martin Kelydna appeared to have some relation with Kalinadi or Kalindi river, and Aganagora with Aghadip (Agradvipa) on the eastern bank of the Ganges, a little below Katwa. 387

According to Cunningham, the name of the Marundai is still preserved in the country of the Mundas, a hill tribe scattered over Chhota-Nagpur and Central India. 388 But M.S. Pandey 389 opposes the view on the ground that the Murundas dwelt in the north-west with other foreign tribes. The evidence is strong enough to show that the Murundas had not spread so far to the east as to occupy the Chhota-Nagpur region. How-ever, barbarous and pastoral the Murundas might have been before their immigration into India, when they held the sceptre in their hands they must have been endowed with the quality and capacity to rule over a people who were highly civilized.

Such a race could hardly have sunk to a position so low as that of the Mundas of the modern times. Moreover, the Mundas are a dominant division of the aboriginals of the Chhota-Nagpur region. Had they been the descendants of the Murundas, we should have found them in other parts of Central India also, and not confined to this small region so far from their place of origin. 390

M.S. Pandey 391 disagrees with the Puranic account on the basis that many discrepancies have crept in owing to the mistakes of the copyists.


371. देवपुत्र-षाही-षाहनुषाही-शकमुरुंडै:सैंहलकादिभिश्च ।

372. B.C. Law, Tribes in Ancient India. p. 94, note I.

373. Fleet, Corpus Inscripionum Indicarum, Vol. III by John Faithful Fleet , No. 28, L. 6, p. 127.

374. Ibid., No. 29, L. 6 p. 131; No. 31, L. 6 p. 136.

375. Indian Antiquary, Bombay. pp. 192, 257-60. Also See M.S. Pandey, The Historical Geography and Topography of Bihar. pp. 109-10.

376. R.K. Mooker ji, The Gupta Empire. p. 28.

377. The Purana Index by V. R. R. Dikshitar. XIV, 292.

378. J. Allan, Catalogue of the Coins of the Gupta Dynasties. p. XXIX.

379. R.C. Majumdar, The Vakatka-Gupta Age. p. 136, note, 2.

380. Journal of Bihar and Orissa Research Society, Patna. XVIII, p. 210.

381. IV, 26. Lampakāstu Maruṇḍāh syuh.

382. The Vaijayanti of Yadavaprakas'a, ed. by Gustav Oppert, p. 37, V. 25.

383. B.C. Law, Tribes in Ancient India. p. 93

384. D.C. Sircar, Studies in the Geography of Ancient and Medieval India. p. 26.

385. Kavyamimamsa, 94. See Yadavaprakasa on the Ancient Geography of India, Indian Historical Quarterly, Calcutta. XIX, p. 214.

386. Prakrit and Non-Aryan strata in the Vocabulary of Sanskrit, Sir Asutosh Memorial Volume. pp. 65-71 : Prof. Woolner provides us with a large number of words of non-Aryan origin.

387. Me. Crindle, McCrindle's Ancient India as described by Ptolemy (ed.) S. N. Mazumdar. pp. 215-6. See Tribes in Ancient India by B. C Law. p. 93.

388. B.C. Law, Tribes in Ancient India. p. 93.

389. M.S. Pandey, The Historical Geography and Topography of Bihar. pp. 109-110.

390. We know of a town named Morinda in Punjab which has some resemblance with the word Murunda and it may point out that the Murundas sometimes resided there.

391. M.S. Pandey, The Historical Geography and Topography of Bihar. pp. 109-10.

Murundas in Puranas

Vishnu Purana - Marúńd́as were the rulers of Magadha in Vishnu_Purana/Book_IV:Chapter_XXIV[7] along with Sarúńd́as and Purúńd́as. Vishnu Purana[8] gives list of Kings who ruled Magadha. ...After these, various races will reign, as seven Ábhíras, ten Garddhabas, sixteen Śakas, eight Yavanas, fourteen Tusháras, thirteen Mundas, eleven Maunas, altogether seventy-nine princes , who will be sovereigns of the earth for one thousand three hundred and ninety years.

Total--85 kings, Váyu; 89, Matsya; 76, and 1399 years, Bhág.

Here Sunda and Munda words have been sanskritized in these forms, like Jat as Jarta and Gujar as Gurjara.

Mundas the rulers in Magadha

Bhim Singh Dahiya has mentioned about the rule of Munda people in Magadha. The inscriptional evidences show that Jat rulers and tribes in north India from Kabul to Cuttack, in the period following the disintegration of Kushanas empire. Particularly Magadha area was under the rule of people who had the title, Murunda. They are admitted to be Sakas or Scythians. [9]

The Geographike of Ptolemy says that in 140 AD, the Murundas were established in the valley of the river Sarabos or Sarayu. [10] Half a century later, Oppien mentions the "Muruandien" as a Gangetic people. [11] S R Goyal quotes several other Jain authorities to show that Patliputra in particular, as well as Kanyakubja were ruled by Murundas/Sakas. The Jain ascetic, Padlipta Suri, cured the Murunda ruler of Patliputra of terrible headache and converted him to Jainism. [12] During the reign of Wu dynasty (220 - 227 AD) Fan Chen, the King of Kambodia, according to PC Bagchi sent his relative as ambassador to the Indian King of Patliputra. The ambassador was heartily welcomed and the gesture was returned by the Indian king who sent two men as ambassador as well as four horses of the Yue-chi i.e. the Jat country, as presents to the King of Kambodia. According to this account Buddhism was in prosperous state at that time in Magadha and the title of the king was Meouloun. This title has been identified with Murunda and this shows that in the middle of third century AD the Murundas were still ruling over Patliputra. [13] These Murunda rulers of Patliputra had special relations with Peshawar. It was but natural, for, after all Murundas and Kushanas both belonged to the same Scythian stock. [14]

From this it is clear that racially the rulers of Magadha in the third century AD were identical with Kushanas, ruling Afghanistan. In the Puranas they are mentioned as ruling India after the Tukharas (Takhar Jats) and Puranas also say that 13 kings of Murunda dynasty ruled India. It is significant that the Puranas also mention that these Murunda rulers destroyed the caste system and, in the language of Purans, they raised "low caste people" to high offices and all these people were of "Mleccha" origin. The Vishnu Purana correctly gives the clan name of these people as Munda - a still existing Jat clan. The title Murunda means "Lord", in Saka language, as per Sten Konow. [15]

Thus the literary evidence and evidence of Puranas shows that immediately before the Guptas, the Mundas were ruling over Magadha and their rule lasted for about two centuries, by taking 15 years for one rule. It is unfortunate that none of the thirteen rulers, is even named in the Indian history. This is really a pity for the Indian historians. Apparently, all this was deliberately done to remove all traces of the rule of the Jats which lasted for many centuries in all parts of India. It is possible that the Puranas, which were revised during or after the Gupta age, deliberately excluded details of these Jat rulers. [16]

Thus inscriptional as well as the literary and Puranic evidence shows that various Jat clans ruling in North India. The Varikas, the Mauryas, the Mundas, the Kushanas, the Taanks, etc. are of them.

Various other clans having republic governments, mentioned in the Allahabad Pillar inscription of Samudragupta including Shaka-Muranda in Line- 23,[17], are still existing Jat clans. This clear picture of different Jat clans ruling in different parts of north India is striking and can not be ignored by any writer of Indian history. [18]

Khoh Copper-plate Inscription of the Maharaja Sharvanatha

  • Ôm! Hail! From Uchchakalpa; — (There was) the Mahârâja Ôghadêva. His son, who meditated on his feet, (was) the Mahârâja Kumâradêva, begotten on the Mahâdêvi Kumâradêvî. His son, who meditated on his feet, (was) the Mahârâja Jayasvâmin, begotten on the Mahâdêvî Jayasvâminî. His son, who meditated on his feet, (was) the Mahârâja Vyâghra, begotten on the Mahârâja Jayanâtha, begotten on the Mahâdêvi Ajjhitadêvî.

Khoh Copper-plate Inscription of the Maharaja Sharvanatha (512-513 CE):

  • Ôm! Hail! From Uchchakalpa;— (There was) the Mahârâja Ôghadêva. His son, who meditated on his feet, (was) the Mahârâja Kumâradêva, begotten on the Mahâdêvi Kumâradêvi. His son, who meditated on his feet, (was) the Mahârâja Jayasvâmin, begotten on the Mahâdêvî Jayasvâminî. His son, who meditated on his feet, (was) the Mahârâja Vyâghra, begotten on the Mahâdêvî Râmadêvî. His son, who meditated on his feet, (was) the Mahârâjâ Jayanâtha, begotten on the Mahâdêvi Ajjhitadêvî.
  • (Line 6.)— His son, who meditates on his feet, the Mahârâja Sharvanâtha,— begotten on the Mahâdêvi Murundadêvî— being in good health, issues a command to the cultivators, beginning with the Brâhmans, and to all the artisans, at (the village of) Ashramaka on the north bank of the river Tamasâ:—

Khoh Copper-plate Inscription of the Maharaja Sharvanatha (533-534 CE), a kalachuri king, mentions to be born of a Murunda Maharani and Mahârâja Jayanâtha:


  • Ôm! Hail! From Uchchakalpa; — (There was) the Mahârâja Ôghadêva. His son, who meditated on his feet, (was) the Mahârâja Kumâradêvî, begotten on the Mahâdêvî Kumâradêvi. His son, who meditated on his feet, (was) the Mahârâja Jayasvâmin, begotten on the Mahâdêvi Jayasvâminî. His son, who meditated on his feet, (was) the Mahârâja Vyâghra, begotten on the Mahâdêvi Râmadêvi. His son, who meditated on his feet, (was) the Mahârâja Jayanâtha, begotten on the Mahâdêvi Ajjhitadêvî.
  • (Line 6.)— His son, who meditates on his feet, the Mahârâja Sharvanâtha,— begotten on the Mahâdêvi Murundasvâminî — being in good health, issues a command to the residents, beginning with. the Brâhmans, at the villages of Vyâghrapallika and Kâcharapallika in the Maninâga pêtha: —

मुरंड

विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[19] ने लेख किया है ...मुरंड (AS, p.751) = Kuranda (कुरंड)

कुरंड

विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[20] ने लेख किया है ...कुरंड (AS, p.205) कुरंड देश का उल्लेख महाभारत, कर्णपर्व में हुआ है, जहाँ इसे केरल के निकट स्थित बतलाया गया है- 'कारस्करान्माहिष्कान् कुरंडान केरलांस्तया, कर्कोटकान् वीरकांश्च दुधंर्मांश्च विवर्जयेत्।' महाभारत, कर्णपर्व 44, 33. उपर्युक्त प्रसंग से जान पड़ता है कि कुरंड लोगों के देश की स्थिति दक्षिण भारत में केरल के निकट थी। कुरंड लोग अनार्य जातीय रहे होंगे, क्योंकि इन्हें विवर्जनीय बताया गया है। संभव है कि कुरंड और मुरंड एक ही हों। मुरंड लोग शक जातीय थे और इनका निवास महाराष्ट्र के प्रदेश में था। समुद्रगुप्त की प्रयाग प्रशस्ति में 'शक मुरंडों' का उल्लेख हुआ है।

External links

References

  1. Bhim Singh Dahiya, Jats The Ancient Rulers, p.189 - 190
  2. Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions/Tribes,p.154
  3. Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions/Appendix IV :Explanation of the Expression "Daivaputrasahisahanusahi", p.319-320
  4. The Ancient Geography of India/Eastern India,p.506
  5. Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions/Conclusion II, p. 191, f.n.390
  6. Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions/Tribes,pp.152-154
  7. The Vishnu Purana, translated by Horace Hayman Wilson, 1840, p. 475
  8. Vishnu Purana/Book IV:Chapter XXIV pp.474-476
  9. Bhim Singh Dahiya, Jats The Ancient Rulers, p.188
  10. P C Bagchi, op. cit., p.133
  11. S. Chatopadhyaya, Ethnic History of North India, p.117
  12. S R Goyal, A history of Imperial Guptas, p. 57
  13. PC Bagchi, op. cit., p. 134
  14. Bhim Singh Dahiya, Jats The Ancient Rulers, p.189
  15. Bhim Singh Dahiya, Jats The Ancient Rulers, p.189 - 190
  16. Bhim Singh Dahiya, Jats The Ancient Rulers, p.190
  17. L-23. परितोषित-प्रचंड-शासनस्य ...... देवपुत्रषाहीषाहनुषाहि-शकमुरुंडै:सैंहलकादिभिश्च
  18. Bhim Singh Dahiya, Jats The Ancient Rulers, p.191
  19. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.751
  20. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.205