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Rajavadana Balhara (राजवदन बलहारा) was Governor of Ebenaka[1]/Eveshaka[2] and other districts in the history of Kashmir mentioned by Kalhana Pandita. Rajatarangini mentions him at one place son of Tejas[3] while at other place born of Ojas[4], a leader in the army and in the womb of a chaste woman. Rajatarangini[5] mentions that his father Ojas beamed with prowess, and during the civil war, adorned army of Sussala (b. 1072- r.1112-1127 AD) of Lohara family, which was, as it were, a test stone of heroism for the principal warriors. Rajavadana was, during his childhood, called the long-blanket-clad. Owing to the faithfulness of his father, he was retained by the king in his service, and the possession of the estates of Ebenaka. Rajatarangini[6] has also mentioned his father Ojas as lord of Keṭṭa. The importance of these Balhara warrior can be understood from the fact that they gave name to a River called after them River Balaharī mentioned in Rajatarangini.[7] Rajavadana Balhara is mentioned in Rajatarangini:{Book VIII (ii), p.245,247,250-254, 260-268, 271-276, 280-282, 287-292, 306}


Bhim Singh Dahiya[8] mentions that Balhara clan, too, finds numerous references. A country of Balhara, adjoining Jurz (Gujar) country, is mentioned as situated on the western sea coast in connection with the location of "A Race of Fair Women" .[9]

We have the name Balhara itself, and they are known to have played significant political/military role in the history of Kashmir and other areas. Mahabharata mentions the Vallabhikan with the Bahlikas, indicating their homeland in the north.[10]

In Kashmir, we know Rājavadan Balhara, son of Tejas Balhara from Kalhana's Rajatarangini [11] Stein says that Balhara is evidently a family or clan name. It was the period of Jaya Simha (Jai Singh), 1128-1149 A.D., and Kalhana was witnessing the contemporary scene as he wrote Rajatarangini in 1149/1150 A.D.

Rajavadana Balhara was Governor of Eveshaka and other districts. Plots, counterplots were taking place; moral and military characters were on the low ebb. But about Balhara himself, Kalhana says :[12]

"Balhara possessed a certain natural perfection of resolve and character, which, nowadays, is rare indeed, even among brave men. He thus did not act treacherously against Dhanyu who had come to him inconsiderately; nor against Bhoja, as he might have done from greed."

In Rajatarangini

Rajatarangini[13] tells....Rajavadana was born of Ojas, a leader in the army and in the womb of a chaste woman. This Ojas beamed with prowess, and during the civil war, adorned Sussala's army which was, as it were, a test stone of heroism for the principal warriors. Rajavadana was, during his childhood, called the long-blanket-clad. Owing to the faithfulness of his father, he was retained by the king in his service, and the possession of the estates of Ebenaka &c. was gradually given to him.

But Nāga, born in the hermitage of Khuya, turned the king against Rajavadana, whereupon the latter, with a view to fight, held him in subjection. All feared that being a servant, he would not act cruelly towards the king, and not being a Lavanya, would not stand against the sovereign. {Book VIII (ii), p.245}

Rajatarangini[14] tells....Rājavadana's son went over to the side of Bhoja who was behaving like a king, and brought him to a place befitting a sovereign. But the father (Rajavadana) who was a determined enemy sent his son who was worthy to be tied with a string, to the king. The father did not trust his son with any important work, and he acted as he should have acted. After giving him notice he sent turn to the king without either acknowledging or disclaiming his acts. Rajavadana informed his son, through messengers, that he would soon come to know whether he (Rajavadana) was in the confidence of the king or his determined enemy. {Book VIII (ii), p.247}

Rajatarangini[15] tells.... ...The Shashtachandra, son of Garga, opposed the proud Rajavadana. Jayachandra and Shrichandra, younger brothers of Shashtha fled from the camp and went to Rajavadana. ... Rajavadana who wished to obtain the wealth of past kings caused Bhuteshwara to be plundered by the Khashakas who were travelling the hill road in great number.... The king then ordered Udaya, lord of Kampana and Rilhana to fight with Chatushka. {Book VIII (ii), p.250}

Rajatarangini[16] tells... Help from the Mahomedans:... But Viddasimha learnt the accounts about Bhoja and sent many messengers to Uttarapatha in order to bring the mlechchha kings. Thence they came to the camp of lord of Darad. (This is first instance of Kashmirians sought help of Muhammadans from plains) The kings and their feudatory chiefs from various quarters came to Bhoja.... Sent by Rajavadana, Jayachandra and others, the Kiras and Kashmirians also arrived by the side of Rajaviji. The son of Salhana, who was possessed of immense riches, satisfied Balhara and other soldiers who were far {Book VIII (ii), p.251}

[p.252]: or near, with gold. Rajavadana, an irrepressible conspirator, fearlessly joined Bhoja because he was greatly injured. They two became friends with each other, and their previous distrust was soon forgotten. Bhoja did not wish to begin hostility without the lord of Darad ; but Rajavadana, out of pride, came to help him with a few soldiers and desired to engage in battle atonce. " If our enemies in the camp give, vent to their pride, it will be checked now, though we have borne it before, and a defeat will destroy their union. Therefore I wish for a battle with the whole of our strength, and after one day my victory or defeat will be known." Thus said Bhoja, but Rajavadana smiled in pride, disregarded the soldiers of Darad and led on the advancing army. After the followers of the Rajaviji had crossed over the Sankata, he heard that the lord of Darad had arrived in his neighbourhood. With a view to join him, he returned to Kotta. Balahara caused his soldiers to enter the village of Matṛigrāma. {Book VIII (ii), p.252}

Rajatarangini[17] tells.... After this, the' king and Viddasimha treated Bhoja - who was attended by his soldiers with courtesy, and allowed him to win a victory. Leaving Viddasimha and others in the rear, Bhoja led the army in which the Mlechchhas predominated. Followed by the army which disturbed the world, the son of Salhana thought that he had already conquered the whole earth. With this powerful and proud force consisting of cavalry and Mlechchha kings, he encamped at a place called Samudradhāra. With this powerful and invincible force the beaming Rajavadana thought that Shashthachandra was doomed to death within a short time. {Book VIII (ii), p.253}

Rajatarangini[18] tells.... The Rājavīji disregarded Rajavadana, and Trillaka informed the men of Darad by messengers, that in the first instance neither force nor opposition should be employed in the affair. He strengthened Pamktihari who was in his hands, and wished to win over one of the forces [under Rajaviji or Rajavadana]. The king saw Balahara's force like a picture not painted on a wall [i. e. unsubstantial] and exposed to various dangers from the encodes. The king divided his innumerable force. Trillaka, whose evil intention was known, and who was aware of the king's prowess and also knew that he was strengthening his weak points, behaved like a fattened porcupine. He openly deserted the haughty enemy [ Chatushka ?] whom he had once before kept hidden in his own person. {Book VIII (ii), p.254}

Rajavadana Valahara and Naga

Rajatarangini[19] tells.... At night Rajavadana, Jayachandra and others thus addressed the men of Darad who were ready to flee : — " It was owing to want of knowledge of the ground and owing to treachery that this defeat has happened. Tomorrow therefore take us to the front and restore victory." They falsely replied,— "So will it be." The powerful Valahara wished to establish peace ; he caused Dhanya and the lord of Dvara to proceed far, and then obstructed the road from behind. The Rajaviji (Bhoja ?) who was with the camp at Taramulaka thought of coming into terms. When Valahara wished for peace, the villains became glad, and the son of Salhana (Bhoja) expected the conquest of the whole kingdom. Though he was accompanied by innumerable leaders of armies, he gained no victory ; and yet he became proud, for he believed that his position was strong and his expectations would be realized.

Nāga was a Damara and had therefore always neglected Bhikshu at the time of trouble and headed the

[p.261]: rebels against the king on account of his kinship with Tikka and others. Rajavadana, on the other hand, was always trusted because he was not a Lavanya, and also, because of his wonderful prosperity and his beneficial service in a time of difficulty. It is curious that both these men now turned unfriendly in order to serve their own kids (?) Naga saw the rebellion commenced by others which he should have commenced and lamented, as does a poet when a brother poet obtains credit by explaining an easy passage. The king inorder to bring his enemies to his side, asked Naga with an assumed composure, to leave Rajavadana and to come under his protection. Naga, who was like a milch cow addressed [the soldiers] saying, — "Here is Rajavadana, the son of Tejas, a leader in the army, riding in the carriage in your presence. Why do you wait for him, as a sentinal waits , for his time?" But they left him and laughed at him.

Naga then published it among his own men that

[p.262]: Rajavadana who was not estranged from [the king] would destroy the men of Darad who were routed in battle, together with Bhoja. The celebrated Kshemavadana and Madhubhadra, two leaders of the lord of Kampana who were brought before the lord of Darad, and the terrified Ojas, lord of Keṭṭa ; — these three privately held a consultation. But Bhoja who knew the hearts of men laughed at them. Though the king was surrounded by the soldiers, as the sun is by a crystal, yet Bhoja fell on Viḍḍasūryya, as on fuel with a desire to burn the king. Viddasuryya labored under anxiety on account of the danger of the king, as if he labored under consumption, and he became like the waning moon in the nights of the dark fortnight.

Flight of the Valahara: Suffering from disease, but chief in war and the defender of the rear, — even such a leader as Valahara was, at the place of attack, overcome with fright. On the next day he was deserted by all while he was at his meals. He descended the hill on horse-back and fled. They said that they would come again on the morning, after visiting Bahumata. They then sought the son of Salhana (Bhoja) and took him with them. Bhoja had secured his wealth, and was compelled to follow them. But when his purpose was frustrated, he became anxious, like a man sunk in a hollow. All his arteries were filled with blood and swelled his body, and it looked like the stone of a staircase over which dirty water had flowed. Though his fall had been anticipated, yet

[p.263]: he now repeatedly thought as if he had fallen from the sky, and owing to his shame none could look upon his eyes. Leaving the men of Darad who were on the other side of the Madhumati, he arrived on the banks of that river and remained hid behind the waves.

The difficulties which the men of Darad had given rise to gradually disappeared, and they who were so long agitated by a desire to rebel against the king, took Bhoja within their tent and wished for peace with the king. They wished to serve the king as guards, and the king who was well versed in policy gave away much wealth to them. They thus said to Rajavadana, — " The approach of the dewy season which is nigh is not the time for war. In the month of Chaitra we will again begin to make preparations for battle. If you can afford to wait for sometime, then for the present, we

[p.264]: will place you in the loose of the powerful Trillaka, on the road leading to the kingdom of Bhuṭṭa." Thus they said to Rajavadana who was in the neighbourhood of the king, and according to the policy of their country (Darad) they wished to establish peace between him and the king. They surpassed even the people of Rajapuri in cunning, even as the length of a summer day is surpassed by the length of the day of separation.

Valahara sent messengers, to Rajavadana reproaching him by saying that he had fallen into the well by the breaking of the rope. In the midst of the battle Valahara saw the son of Garga (Dhanya) coming in advance and the soldiers of the king approaching, yet he did not lose his composure. When he heard of the sudden flight of the lord of Darad and of Bhoja and others his composure was not destroyed, and this indicated that he possessed that virtue in an eminent degree. Though there was difference in his party yet his battles did not cease, and he fought eagerly. Who can behave like him except a superhuman being or one possessed of special merit?

According to the necessities of the time, Dhanya and the lord of Dvara wished for peace. But Valahara expected the return of Bhoja and caused delay. Then came Alankarachakra to take the son of Salhana from the lord of Darad. The lord of Darad, was his kindred and refused him nothing. He [the lord of Darad] suppressed, the meeting of those who were determined to rebel and resolved against all persuasion to die at the bridge

[p.265]: on the rood. When his soldiers saw him, with servants mostly youths, about to die, they were afraid and became distressed. An offshoot of the River Balaharī had destroyed the road, and seemed to speak in disparagement of the soldiers of Darad by the noise of its dashing waves.

Not knowing that Bhoja was coming that day,

[p.266]: Rajavadana concluded peace with the lord of Dvara and with Dhanya. He then returned and welcomed Shashtha, the chief among the noble minded, Shashtha came on horseback and entered the presence of the king, but when the Rajaviji Bhoja, who received no wounds, refused to come out either owing to vanity or ignorance or grief, the king became very anxious and repeatedly invited Rilhana.

When by the prowess of the king, the rebellion was thus quelled, it again broke forth owing to the dullness of his minister's intellect. Since Rajavadana, who deserved punishment was soothed by gifts, he became

[p.267]: bold and again welcomed Bhoja who had arrived there. In a place called Dinnagrama inhabited by the Khashas, Bhoja gave a large bribe to Rajavadana.

[p.268]: When Bhoja was at Dinnagrama, the king said to Rajavadana: — "What! Will the thieves and the Damaras again obtain the ascendency?" {Book VIII (ii), p.260-268}

[p.271]: For the people both within and without [the capital] believed that Rajavadana was strong and that the king was weak ; and they gradually turned against the king. {Book VIII (ii), p.271}

The Valahara said to Rajavadana : — " It is the king's desire that Bhoja should be sent away from us, and if Bhoja be in need of money, he will, of his own accord, depart from us." Thus saying he settled a maintenance

[p.272]: for Bhoja. Rajavadana saw that the king was about to succeed in his design, and bent on adopting some wily means, be agreed to the proposal. {Book VIII (ii), p.272}

At every step Dhanya made peace with, the Valahara and held personal communication with him.

The Valahara intended to win over Naga, but had neither infantry nor cavalry to execute his purpose; he nevertheless persisted in his aim without such assistance. He deceived his enemies by craft. The villains (party of the Valahara) were addicted to dice, and were waiting for the end of the winter season. The Valahara consequently apprehended the destruction of his own men by Naga who was strong and remained unslackened in his enmity and had commenced to commit unfriendly acts. Naga and Dhanya ran (after the Valahara) who trembled with fear. He then consulted Bhoja and sent a message to Dhanya to the following effect : — " Bring Naga bound to me, and I will give up Bhoja."

[p.273]: Bhoja, as if estranged [ from the Valahara ] sent information to Naga that " the Valahara intends to give me up to the king after taking from the king a pledge for his surrendering you to the Valahara." {Book VIII (ii), p.273}

[p.274]: When Naga was arrested, his terrified relatives came and took protection of the crafty Valahara who could with difficulty be seen. Dhanya took with him Naga who was the price for buying Bhoja, ran together with Rilhana, and went to the Valahara. The Valahara who was deceiving them, laughed internally and misled them saying : — " Give up Naga to me first, and I will give up Bhoja to you." {Book VIII (ii), p.274}

The Valahara, who was difficult of access, engaged himself in battle with Dhanya and Rilhana. The soldiers of the two had become united, and had come a long way, to fight. But they were weakened by the disadvantages of carrying on war during the rains. The Valahara told them that he would act according to their wish i. e. would give up Bhoja at the time when they would retire. One of them marched away, and they became detached from each other in the way, and being involved in battle they were confounded and they lost their senses. The Valahara's firmness and strength were

[p.275]: ample. In these wonderful times such merits are rare in heroes. Dhanya lost his way and boldly came up to the side of [the Valahara ; but the Valahara] did not attack him, and out of greed, he did not act against Bhoja, but he thought that should the ministers give up Naga to him, in their bewilderment, he would ask [ the king ] for his reinstatement in his post. {Book VIII (ii), p.275}

[p.276]: "It can not be apprehended that the wise king who has not yet established peace will do this evil deed (murder of Naga) to obtain his wished-for end. Rajavadana who is busy and glad because the war is to continue, has got me in his possession but he will deceive the party headed by Dhanya by saying that I am in other hands and beyond his reach, and that he is at loss to find out what to do. Perhaps Rajavadana will inform me if something else has happened to Naga. Tempted as Rajavadana is, by the frequent occurrence of continuous rebellion, owing to anarchy, since the time of Bhikshu will he not take pity on the world? In order to assuage his fears fearless Khāsakas protected the treasury. Bhoja gave expression to his fears and placed guards all around where he stayed. The Valahara who was difficult of access came to the side of Bhoja in order to gain his confidence.{Book VIII (ii), p.276}

[p.280]: Bhoja who was seeking means to appease the king saw messengers come to the Valahara, one by one.{Book VIII (ii), p.280}

[p.281]:The purpose of Bhoja, who was safe from danger, was not believed by Dhanya, and he disbelieved the king's spy who was sent as a messenger to Bhoja. Bhoja privately told the Valahara that he was not in earnest, but was playing a part as in the case of Naga, that he was acting as a hypocrite and trying to impose upon the king, so there need be no quarrel between them (Bhoja and the Valahara). {Book VIII (ii), p.281}

[p.282]:As Bhoja was young, the Valahara did not suspect that he would act independently and engage himself in a conspiracy every day.{Book VIII (ii), p.282}

The Valahara's speech

[p.287]:But when the Valahara heard that Bhoja had gone to the queen with the fixed intention of establishing peace, he spoke thus in no ambiguous terms. {Book VIII (ii), p.287}

" Man was misled by man during these days, but now that female relatives have become mediators, men belonging to their own family must come to terms. When Bhoja, the chief of the family, has acted thus out of love, how can men,


like myself whom no one reckons, behave rudely. This you say is hypocrisy, be it so. He begot my confidence and then I am deceived ; I will not have a bad reputation. All men have united against us, be not therefore hopeful of victory. We have seen armies like ours destroyed, before this."

He spoke these reasonable words, and many other words after deliberation; but neither he nor others could turn Bhoja from his purpose.

Dhanya and others had entered the place forcibly and were unable to come out, they had a small force with them; and Rajavadana constantly meditated the plan for their destruction. {Book VIII (ii), p.288}

[p.289]: The Valahara wished to pursue the road taken by the royal army, but Bhoja busied himself in thwarting his desire at every step.{Book VIII (ii), p.289}

[p.290]: The Valahara who sat on the other side of the river and whose plan for the battle was matured, was constantly opposed by the son of Salhana. The ministers who arrived there too late for the work, and with a limited force, could have been easily destroyed by the Valahara whose army continued to swell, as men continue to pour in the place of pilgrimage, at the confluence of the Vitasta and the Indus, crowded like a town. {Book VIII (ii), p.290}

[p.291]: Bhoja believed that when the feudatory chiefs would arrive and distrust the Valahara, he would be enraged by such distrust and do great harm ; and if the Valahara once began , the mischief, the Damaras would rise on all sides, as Brahmanas do at the sound of Onkara, He therefore pretcnded that he intended fighting against the king, and soothed the Valahara by saying that he would do some daring deed at the wane of night. When the feudatory chiefs who had come to do the work of Bhoja were in want of food, Bhoja, who was born of noble family, also abstained from food. {Book VIII (ii), p.291}

[p.292]:Having spent the night and having deceived Rajavadana, he (Bhoja) had in the morning taken a hasty adieu of him and had come out. {Book VIII (ii), p.292}

Movements of Rajavadana

Rajatarangini[20] tells....Rajavadana who was anxious to create a revolution again vigorously attacked Jayachandra, in obedience to the orders of the king. Accompanied by the son of Naga's brother, he destroyed the rear of the army which followed the son of Garga, as he was entering a narrow defile. The son of Garga, whose face became dejected on account of the the discomfiture, captured Loshtaka, the eldest of the sons of Naga's brother, in battle, after a few days. Owing to the difficulty of access, Dinnāgrāma was not attacked by the enemies, but the son of Garga entered it with dexterous valor, burnt it, and came oat of it. Even then Rajavadana's power was not reduced. He did not establish peace, nor was he angry with him who had gone out of Dinnagrama and with whom he was quite able to cope. {Book VIII (ii), p.306}


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