Pre-History part I– of ancient Yadus /Yadavas /Yaduvansis (Modern Jadus, Jadavas , Jadons ) of Lunar Race Kshatriya’s of Shurasena- Desha /Janpada /Mathura-rajya /Brajmandal —–
Mathura -rajya in Ancient Period —
The proximity of the district to Bharatpur in the north-east ,to Alwar in the north and to Jaipur in the north-west lends the area the antiquity of the epic age.The region might have been included in the Matsya kingdom in the north-west and Surasenas in the north –east.It might have formed part of one or the other or both.Ray Chaudhary (1)points out that Matsya lay to the south of Kurus of Delhi and to the west of Surasenas of Mathura ;southward it approached the Chambal ,while westward it reached the forests skirting the river Sarvasti .D.C . Sircar (2) gives a larger territorial extent to Matsya when he says that it comprised the modern Alwar ,Jaipur (Sawaimadhopur was a part of the erstwhile Jaipur State ) and Bharatpur (which has a common boundary with Sawaimadhopur district )States.To the east of Matsya was the kingdom of Surasenas with Mathura as capital.
In the former time this area covered by the present Mathura district lay in the middle of what was known by several names —Shurasena (or Shurasena-desha /Janpada ) ,Mathura -rajya ,Mathura-mandala ,Mathura -janpada ,Braj , Brajbhumi ,or Brajmandal -which occupied an almost central position in the Janpadas (states) of ancient Madhyadesha and was one of the most celebrated regions both culturally and historically* .It’s chief city ,Mathura ,designated a mahapuri (great city)** and classed among the seven holi cities of India ***is one of the most anciently inhabited sites of Uttar Pradesh and finds mention under a number of different name in many ancient and mediaeval works( both Indian and foreign ), such as Madhura , Madhupura ,Madhupuri , Madhushika , Madhupaghna ,Uttar Mathura , Mathula , Mahura ,Maharatu-i-Hind , Methora , Modoura ,Mo-tu-lo ,and Shurasenapuri etc.
Yadus/Jadus /Jadavas /Jaduvansis /Jadons —
The earliest Aryan people who settled in these parts seem to have been the Yadus who find mention in the Rigveda and whose favourite river was the Yamuna (3).The chief sources for the early history of this region are ,however ,the traditions Incorporated in the Brahmanical , Jain and Buddhist literature .
It is said that Yadu was the eldest son of Yayati ,the great -grandson of Pururvas Aila (who himself was a grandson of Manu Vaivasvata ) ,the progenitor of the Lunar race of the ancient Kshatriyas (4).Yayati was a great conqueror and emperor (5) and the Mathura region seems to have been include in his empire .He nominated his youngest son as. succeesor to the thorne (6) being displaced with yadu who ,however ,being a strong man ,proved himself to be the most capable of all his brothers .Although given as his share merely the territory watered by the rivers Chambal , Betwa and Ken , he soon entender it into a powerful kingdom (7) ,which probably include the district of Mathura as well.
After Yadus death Kroshtu , one of his son , and his descendants (who came to be known as the Yadavas ) rules over the northern portion of the kingdom (including Mathura ).In this line Shashabindu , the son of Chitraratha and the thirteenth in the descent from Yadu ,was a famous conqueror who brought under his desh many neihhnouring territories .After his death the realm was divided song his many sons which weakened it considerably (8)
About this time the Haihaya branch of Yaduvansis (descendants of Sahasrajit ,another son of Yadu )rose to unprecedented power under Kartavirya Arjuna who seems to have bright under his subordination the yadava realm and at least one of his sons ,Shauraseni , appears to have been associated with the Mathura region (9)
Some twenty (20 )generations after shashabindu lived Kratha ,Bhima ,another important king of the line.Fifth (5th) in descent from him was Dasharha and the fourth from the latter Bhimratha after whom ,ten(10) or eleven (11) generations latter ,was born Madhu (10) .
Madhu was a very powerful and famous king and was a contemporary of Dasharatha (Rama’s father) ,the king of Ayodhya.He consolidated into a powerful kingdom extending from the Yamuna to Gujrat the many small principalities into which the Yadavas kshatriya realm has been split up (11) .His capital was Mathura of Madhupuri (identified with the village of Maholi about 6.5 km .South of the present city Mathura.)which was situated in the midst of the forest Madhuvana on the west bank of the Yamuna and was so beautiful that a little later Shatrughana thought it must have been built by the gods (12).The city and the surrounding forest probably owed their foundation –as their names –to Madhu who has been variously though wrongly described as a Rakshsa ,Asura , Daitya or Danav (13).His son and successor , Lavana ,is also similarly vilified ,the reason probably being either their non -Aryan origin or their adherence to some non -Brahmanical form of religion (14).
Lavana was also a powerful king who is said to have sent a challenge to Rama ,the king of Ayodhya , provoking him to single combat ,at which the latter ordered his younger brother Shatrughana ,to attack the Jadava or Yadava kingdom with a strong force.A fierce battle took place in the vicinity of Madhura in which Lavana was killed , the forest Madhuvana cut down at the orders of the vietor and a new city , designed Mathura ,built by Shatrughana not far from the old Capital (15).
Shatrugjana refined here for some time after which he went away leaving his son Shurasena to look after the kingdom.It has been suggested that it was probably after the name of this prince that the region came to be called Shurasena or Shurasena -desha (16).He seems to have been succeeded by his brother Subahu who (or a successor ) was ousted from the kingdom by the Jadava chief Bhima Satvata (son of Satvata ) probably a grandson of Lavana (17)
Once again Mathura became the capital of the large Jadava realm which , after the death of Bhima Satvata appears to have been divided among his four sons , Bhajamna , Devavridha , Andhaka , and Vrishni .Of these Andhaka , ruled at Mathura ,the principal Jadava capital ,probably as head of the Yadava Kshatriya’s republican confederation of that time (18)
Andhaka also had four sons of whom Kukura obtained Mathura where his descendants the Kukuras ruled ,forming the main dynasty.The descendants of Andhaka’s second son Bhajamana II (known as the Andhakas ) ruled somewhere near Mathura (19).The progeny of Vrishni were called the Vrishnis among whom , a few generations later ,was born Devamidhusha whose son was Shura (or Shurasena )(20).
It has been suggested that the region might have come to be named Shurasena after this particular prince.He had ten sons and five daughters of whom Kunti was married to Pandu of Hastinapur and became the mother of the three elder Pandavas .One Shurasena’s sons (21) Vasudeva ,was married to Devaki , the daughter of Devaka , a son of king Ahuka of the Kukuras yaduvansis of Mathura (22) and his six sisters as well.
In Mathura itself Ahuka (23) was succeeded by his son Ugrasena (Devaka’s elder brother )who had nine sons (24) and five daughters , Kamsa being the eldest . Ugrasena had Vasudeva for his minister (25 .The kingdom was prosperous and it’s capital , the city of Mathura , has been described as “rising beautiful as the crescent moon over the dark stream of the Yamuna “(26).
Ugrasena was ousted by his son , Kamsa ,who usurped the throne and imprisoned his father (27).
As the time Jarasandha ,the king of Magadha ,had risen very high and extended his supremacy as far as Mathura where Kamsa ,who had married two of his daughters , acknowledge him as his overlord and ,relying on his favour tyrannised over his own subjects (28).Kamsa himself is said to have been very powerful , well -versed in the use of the different weapons of war ,possessed of a large army consisting of the traditional four divisions (foot ,horse ,elephant and chariot )and a terror to the neighbouring rulers (29).
Impelled by a prochey that he would be killed by a son of his own cousin Devaki , Kamsa threw her and her husband Vasudeva inti prison where she gave birth to seven children ,six of whom were killed at birth.by the tyrant (30) .But the seventh ,who was the celebrated hero Krishna ,was soon after his birth secretly conveyed across the Yamuna by Vasudeva to the house of his friend cowherd chief Nanda Gopa ,at Gokul ,thus escaping death at Kamsa’s hands.Balrama , Vasudeva ‘s son by Rohini was already there and the two princes grew up incognito among the cowherd boys and girls of Gokul and Vrindavan.
*Bajpai ,K.D.(Ed) Braja -ka- Itihasa ,Vol.I.,(Mathura ,1955),pp.1-4 ,14-15.,and Introduction,.By Dr V.S.Agrawala.
***Growse ,F.S.:Mathura, A District Memoir ,II .Ed.,Allahabad ,1880.,p.48; Agrawala ,V.S.:Mathura-Kala (Ahmedabad ,1964 ),p.3
1-Ray Chaudhari ,H.C, Political History of Ancient India., Calcutta (1938) p.137.
2-Sircar ,D.C.,Studies in the Geography ao Ancient and Mediaval India ,Delhi (1960),p 105.
3-Macdonell ,A.A.and Keith ,A B ,Vedic Index of Names and Subjects ,(Varansi ,1958) ,Vol.II.,pp.185,186.
4-Pargiter ,op .cit.,pp.84-87.
5-Mahabharta (Gita press Gorakhpur edition ),Adi-parv ,ch ,75 ,vv .30-32.
6-Ibid ., Udyoga -parva ,ch .149, vv.6-11.
7-Ibid ., Bajpai ,op.cit .,p.17; Pargiter ,op.cit.,p.257.
9-Ibid .,p.266; Majumdar ,R.C.and Pusalker ,A.D.,ed ;The History and Culture of the Indian People ,Vol.I, pp.282-283.
10-Ibid ,pp.284,293 .
11-Ibid .,p293 , Pargiter ,op.cit .,pp.122,273,275-276 ;Bajpai ,K.D.;Mathura , Lucknow ,1955 ,p.6.
12-Ibid .,pp.6-7; Ramayana ,Uttra-khanda , Sarga 70 ,v.5.
15-Ibid .p.279 ; Bajpai ,K.D.Ed ,; Braja -ka-Itihas ,Vol.I.,pp.23-24.
16-Ibid ., Pp.14-15 ; Pargiter ,op.cit.,p.17.
17-Ibid .,p.279; Majumdar and Pusalker , op.cit.,p.293.
18-Ibid .,p.297 ; Pargiter ,op.cit.,pp.278-280.
19-Ibid .,pp.211,280-281; Macdonell and Keith, op.cit.,Vol.II, pp.110-111, 185-186 ,; Majumdar and Pusalker ,op.cit.,p.245.
22-Another son , Samudravijaya ,was according to the jain tradition ,the father of Aristhtanemi ,the twenty -second tirthankara ,cf . Janasena : Harivamsha ,(Varansi ,1962 ) , Sarga 18.
23-Majumdar and Pusalker ,ko.cit., 297 ;Mahabharata ,Adi -parva , chs .67.and 109 vv.38-39 ; Anushasana -purva ,ch .14, v.41.
24-He is some times made identical with Ugrasena . cf.ibid., Udyoga-parva ,ch 128, vv.38-39; Anushasana-purva , ch.14 ,v.41.
25-Ibid .,Sabha -purva ,p.731.
26-Growse .,op.cit., p.117.
27-Majumdar and Pusalker ,op.cit.,p.298.
29-Mahabharta ,Sabha-purva ,p.803.
30-Ibid ., P.731.
Author-Dr Dhirendra Singh Jadaun
Village-Larhota near Sasni
District-Hatharas ,Uttar Pradesh
Associate Professor in Agriculture
Shahid Captain Ripudaman Singh Govt.College ,
Sawaimadhopur ,Rajasthan ,322001.