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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)

Naraka (नरक) was the founding ruler of Bhauma dynasty of Pragjyotisha.[1] According to a late fabrication, he is the son of Bhudevi,[2] fathered by either Vishnu in his Varaha incarnation[3] or Hiranyaksha according to different texts. He is claimed as one who established Pragjyotisha. He was killed by Krishna and his son Bhagadatta—of Mahabharata fame—succeeded him.




The Bhauma dynasty is the second legendary dynasty of Pragjyotisha, after the Danava dynasty. Narakasura, who is said to have established this dynasty, and his descendants Bhagadatta and Vajradatta are first mentioned in the epics Mahabharata and the Ramayana in the sections that were composed in the first few centuries[4] though they place them variously in either northwestern or eastern India.[5] Narakasura's legend is further embellished in the locally composed Kalika Purana (10th century), the Yogini Tantra and local lores[6] and the legends became firmly attached to Assam. The late embellishment of the Naraka legends point to legitimization of the three dynasties of the Kamarupa kings.[7]

According to the 10th-century Kalika Purana, the dynasty was established by Naraka of Videha,[8]by removing the Kirata chief Ghataka, the last of the Danava dynasty.[9][10]

The development of the details of the Naraka story are considered as myths[11] though historically he could have been a native Kirata chief,[12] or a Hinduized tribal youth.[13] The glorification and assimilation of a local chief and the making of myths follow a pattern that is observed in other parts of India.[14] The last ruler, Suparua, was killed by his ministers.[15]

In Mahabharata

Naraka (नरक) in Mahabharata (I.59.28), (II.9.12), (II.13.13),

Adi Parva, Mahabharata/Book I Chapter 59 gives genealogy of Danavas, Gandharvas, Apsaras, Yakshas, Rakshasas. Naraka (नरक) is mentioned in Mahabharata (I.59.28)[16]....The following ten, gifted with great strength and vigour, were also, O king, born in the race of Danu;-- Ekaksha, Amritapa of heroic courage, Pralamva and Naraka, Vatrapi, Satrutapana, and Satha, the great Asura; Gavishtha, and Vanayu, and the Danava called Dirghajiva.

Sabha Parva, Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 9 mentions the Kings who attended Sabha of Varuna. Naraka (नरक) is mentioned in Mahabharata (II.9.12).[17]...And, O king, Vali the son of Virochana, and Naraka the subjugator of the whole Earth; Sanghraha and Viprachitti, and those Danavas called Kalakhanja;

Sabha Parva, Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 13 gives the List of Kshatriyas Who joined Jarasandha. Naraka (नरक) is mentioned in Mahabharata (II.13.13)[18]


विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[19] ने लेख किया है ...नरक (AS, p.478): महाभारत के अनुसार यवनाधिप भगदत्त का मुर तथा नरक नाम के देशों पर राज्य था--'मुरं च नरकं चैव शास्ति यॊ यवनाधिप:, अपर्यन्तबलॊ राजा परतीच्यां वरुणॊ यथा, भगदत्तॊ महाराज वृद्धस्तवपितुः सखा'-- महाभारत सभा पर्व 14, 14-15. इस उद्धरण से इंगित होता है कि इस देश की स्थिति पश्चिम दिशा में (भारत के उत्तर पश्चिमी सीमा पर) रही होगी. भगदत्त यवन (शायद ग्रीक) शासक था.


विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[20] ने लेख किया है ...'मुरं च नरकं चैव शास्ति यॊ यवनाधिप:, अपर्यन्तबलॊ राजा प्रतीच्यां वरुणॊ यथा, भगदत्तॊ महाराज वृद्धस्तवपितुः सखा'-- महाभारत सभा पर्व 14, 14-15. महाभारतकाल में यवनाधिप भगदत्त का मुर तथा नरक नाम के देशों पर राज्य था. नरक शायद नरकासुर के नाम से प्रसिद्ध था और इसकी स्थिति कामरूप (असम) में माननी चाहिए. मुरदेश को इसके पार्श्व में स्थित समझना चाहिए. भगदत्त को उपर्युक्त प्रसंग में जरासंध के अधीन कहा गया है. जरासंध मगध का राजा था और उसका प्रभाव अवश्य ही असम के इन देशों तक विस्तृत रहा होगा.

External links


  1. Barua, Kanaklal (1973). Studies in the early history of Assam. Kanaklal Barua Birth Centenary Celebration Committee [on behalf of] Asam Sahitya Sabha. p. 65. "These kings belonged to the Bhauma dynasty according to their own inscriptions, i.e., they were descendants of Naraka, the founder of the kingdom of Pragjyotisha."
  2. "Naraka is not mentioned (in the Mahabharata) as the son of the that the said development in other works must be regarded as a later fabrication" (Sircar 1990:83)
  3. Srimad Bhagavatam. The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc. p. 3.3.6. Archived from the original on 3 November 2013.
  4. "Though the composition of the two epics is supposed to have been completed in periods respectively from the fourth century BC to the fourth century AD and from the third century BC to the second century AD, the passages in question may not be much earlier than the beginning of the Christian era." (Sircar 1990:80-81)
  5. Sircar, D C (1990), "Epico-Puranic Myths and Allied Legends", in Barpujari, H K (ed.), The Comprehensive History of Assam, I, Guwahati: Publication Board, Assam, pp. 79–93,p.12
  6. Gait, Edward A (1906), A History of Assam, Calcutta,p.12
  7. See section " The Naraka Legend and Political
  8. Tripathi, Chandra Dhar (2008). Kāmarūpa-Kaliṅga-Mithilā: a politico-cultural alignment in Eastern India : history, art, traditions. Indian Institute of Advanced Study. p. 41.
  9. (Gait 1906, p. 12)
  10. (sircar 1990, p. 87)
  11. The details of the Naraka legend seems to suggest a development more or less on the mythical lines." (Sircar 1990, p. 84)
  12. "It is contended that Naraka was a powerful Kirata chief whose feats had been magnified and myths created to prove his divinity to account for his supposed heroic (mis) deeds" (Das 2005, p. 225)
  13. "With the blessings of Vishnu, Narakasura, a Hinduised tribal youth of Videha (North Bihar) destroyed this kingdom with the help of his own tribe and Alpine Hindus after a fierce struggle." (Sen 1984, p. 101)
  14. Just as in other parts of India, in Assam also, social groups and tribes initially considered to be outside the pale of the varnasramadharma had been assimilated into the fold of Aryan society after they had acquired political power. Thus, in the Brahmaputra valley, Naraka, a Kirata chief rose into prominence in the proto-historic period and became so powerful that the tales of his exploits remained in the collective memory of the people." (Das 2005, p. 225)
  15. (Gait 1906, p. 14)
  16. एकाक्षॊ मृतपा वीरः परलम्बनरकाव अपि, वातापिः शत्रुतपनः शठश चैव महासुरः (I.59.28)
  17. बलिर वैरॊचनॊ राजा नरकः पृदिवीं जयः, परह्लाथॊ विप्र चित्तिश च कालखञ्जाश च सर्वशः (II.9.12)
  18. मुरं च नरकं चैव शास्ति यॊ यवनाधिपौ, अपर्यन्त बलॊ राजा परतीच्यां वरुणॊ यदा (II.13.13)
  19. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.478
  20. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.751