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Ancient Indian Kingdoms in 600 BC
A portrait of Maharaja Šúraséna or Shoorsena, the grandfather of both Krishna and Pandavas.

Shūrasena (शूरसेन) is a place name mentioned by Panini under Sankashadi (संकाशादि) ( group. [1] Surasena (सूरसेन) was the kingdom around the modern Brajabhumi. Surasena (शूरसेन) was an ancient people of Mahabharata and the tribe was held in high esteem in the Mahabharata (VIII.30.73), their capital was in Mathura. They sided with the Kauravas in the Mahabharata war (VI.18.12), (VI.47.7).

Origin of name

The etymology of the name indicates that it was a republic army of Shura Jat Gotra. Some say it was named after a famed Yadav king Sursain, while others see it as an extension of Surabhir (Abhira).

Variants of name

Jat clans

Ancestry of Shurasena

Ancestry of Shurasena

Mention by Panini

Shurasena (शूरसेन) is a place name mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi under Sankashadi (संकाशादि) ( group. [2]

Shurasena (शूरसेन) is name of a Country/People mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi under Paladyadi (पलद्यादि) (4.5.110) group.[3]


According to Megasthenes, people of this place worshipped the shepherd God Herakles, which according to many scholars was due to a misconception while others see in it connotations of Scythic origin of Yadus. It was the sacred land of Lord Krishna in which he was born, raised, and ruled. It was an ancient Janapada. It has been well mentioned in Mahabharata.

It's capital was Mathura which was situated at the bank of the river Yamuna. Now it is a holy place for all Hindus. The main Gosthis which ruled the Surasena were Shorasenee, Brishnis, Yadavas or Yadukul, etc.

Mathura was the capital of the closely linked clans of Vrishni, Andhaka, and Bhoja. They are generally known as Yadavas after their eponymous ancestor Yadu, and sometimes as Surasenas after another famed ancestor. The kingdom of Andhakas was at place called Ānjaī to the north of Mathura Janapada. [4]

In Mahabharata

Shurasena (शूरसेन) is mentioned in Mahabharata (II.28.2),(IV.1.9),(IV.5.4),(V.53.17),(VI.10.38), (VI.18.12), (VI.47.7),(VI.112.109),(VIII.4.36), (VIII.30.73),

Sabha Parva, Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 28 mentions Sahadeva's march towards south: kings and tribes defeated. Shurasena is mentioned in verse (II.28.2).... Strong in strength, that mighty prince of the Kuru race, vanquishing completely at the outset the Shurasenas, brought the king of Matsya under his sway. [5]

Virata Parva, Mahabharata/ Book IV Chapter 1 mentions how Pandavas pass their days undiscovered in Viratanagara; Shurasena is mentioned as its neighbouring country in verse (IV.1.9). ......... "Surrounding the kingdoms: Panchala, Chedi, Matsya, Surasena, Pattachchara, Dasarna, Navarashtra, Malla, Shalva, Yugandhara, Saurashtra, Avanti, Kuntirashtra." [6]

Virata Parva, Mahabharata/ Book IV Chapter 5 mentions that while moving to Viratanagara in Matsya, Pandavas passed through Shurasena Janapada in verse (IV.5.4)...."And those mighty warriors endued with great strength and hitherto leading the lives of hunters by killing the deer of the forest, passed through Yakrilloma and Surasena, leaving behind, on their right, the country of the Panchalas, and on their left, that of the Dasharnas." [7]

Udyoga Parva/Mahabharata Book V Chapter 53 describes the Country of the Kurus, including the region called Jangala (V.53.7); Kingdoms of Matsyas, Panchalas, Shalvas, Surasenas in verse (V.53.17), who all decline to pay thee homage now and all disregard thee.[8]

Bhisma Parva, Mahabharata/Book VI Chapter 10 describes geography and provinces of Bharatavarsha. Surasena (शूरसेन) is mentioned as a province in verse (VI.10.38)...."the Shurasena, the Kalingas, the Bodhas, the Mokas, the Matsyas, Sukatyas, the Saubalyas, the Kuntalas, the Kashi-Koshalas,..." [9]

Bhisma Parva, Mahabharata/Book VI Chapter 18 mentions that The large armies of the Kurus and the Pandavas ready for war. They sided with the Kauravas in the war. Shurasena are mentioned in verse (VI.18.12)...."And twenty thousand car-warriors followed them. The Abhishahas, the Surasenas, the Sivis, and the Vasatis,..." [10]

Bhisma Parva, Mahabharata/Book VI Chapter 47 describes immeasurable heroes assembled for battle....Shurasenas are mentioned in verse (VI.47.7)...."Let the Samsthanas, the Surasenas, the Venikas, the Kukkuras, the Rechakas, the Trigartas, the Madrakas, the Yavanas,....."[11]

Bhisma Parva, Mahabharata/Book VI Chapter 112 mentions Tribes which include Shurasenas in verse (VI.112.109). ...."Bahlika, Daradas, Prachyas, Udichyas, Malavas, Abhishahas, Shurasenas, Shibis, Vasatis..." [12]

Karna Parva/Mahabharata Book VIII Chapter 4 describes the Warriors who are dead amongst the Kurus and the Pandavas after ten days...Shurasenas are mentioned in verse (VIII.4.36)....."The Vasatis, O king, numbering 2,000, effectual smiters of all, as also the Surasenas endued with prowess, have all been slain in battle"[13]

Karna Parva/Mahabharata Book VIII Chapter 30 gives description blaming the Vahikas and Madrakas. Shurasenas are mentioned in verse (VIII.30.73) and the tribe is held in high esteem in the Mahabharata......"The Panchalas observe the duties enjoined in the Vedas; the Kauravas observe truth; the Matsyas and the Surasenas perform sacrifices, the Easterners follow the practices of the Shudras; the Southerners are fallen; the Vahikas are thieves; the Saurashtras are bastards." [14]

External link

[1] Pali dictionary entry


  1. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.507
  2. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.507
  3. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.510
  4. Dr Mahendra Singh Arya, Dharmpal Singh Dudi, Kishan Singh Faujdar & Vijendra Singh Narwar: Ādhunik Jat Itihas (The modern history of Jats), Agra 1998 (Page 225)
  5. स शूरसेनान कार्त्स्न्येन पूर्वम एवाजयत परभुः, मत्स्यराजं च कौरव्यॊ वशे चक्रे बलाथ बली (II.28.2)
  6. सन्ति रम्या जनपथा बह्व अन्नाः परितः कुरून. पाञ्चालाश चेथिमत्स्याश च शूरसेनाः पटच्चराः, दशार्णा नव राष्ट्रं च मल्लाः शाल्व युगंधराः (IV.1.9)
  7. अन्तरेण यकृल्लॊमाञ शूरसेनांश च पाण्डवाः, लुब्धा बरुवाणा मत्स्यस्य विषयं पराविशन वनात (IV.5.4)
  8. मत्स्यास तवाम अथ्य नार्जन्ति पाञ्चालाश च स केकयाः, शाल्वेयाः शरसेनाश च सर्वे तवाम अवजानते, पार्दं हय एते गताः सर्वे वीर्यज्ञास तस्य धीमतः (V.53.17)
  9. शूरसेनाः कलिङ्गाशबॊधा मौकास तदैव च, मत्स्याः सुकुट्यः सौबल्याः कुन्तलाः काशिकॊशलाः (VI.10.38)
  10. रदा विंशतिसाहस्रास तदैषाम अनुयायिनः, अभीषाहाः शूरसेनाः शिबयॊ ऽद वसातयः (VI.18.12)
  11. संस्दानाः शूरसेनाश च वेणिकाः कुकुरास तदा, आरेवकास तरिगर्ताश च मथ्रका यवनास तदा (VI.47.7)
  12. बाह्लिका थरथाश चैव पराच्यॊथीच्याश च मालवाः, अभीषाहाः शूरसेनाः शिबयॊ ऽद वसातयः (VI.112.109)
  13. वसातयॊ महाराज थविसाहस्राः परहारिणः शूरसेनाश च विक्रान्ताः सर्वे युधि निपातिताः (VIII.4.36)
  14. बराह्मं पाञ्चाला कौरवेयाः सवधर्मः; सत्यं मत्स्याः शूरसेनाश च यज्ञः, पराच्या दासा वृषला थाक्षिणात्याः; सतेना बाह्लीकाः संकरा वै सुराष्ट्राः (VIII.30.73)

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