Mahabharata Lineages

Created by Jijith Nadumuri at 20 Mar 2011 14:25 and updated at 07 Sep 2011 10:41

This article is currently under development

This article focuses on the narrations describing the lineages of sages and kings mentioned in Mahabharata. Ancient India was not only a nation of kings but also the domain of action of various sages who played a crucial role in shaping its unique culture. Sage Bharadwaja and emperor Bharata seems to be the source of the name Bharata one of the official names of India. These lineages help to analyze the chronological gaps between various events popularly mentioned in the epics, Puranas and the Vedas.

The Aila-Puru-Bharata-Kuru Lineage

This section describe the central lineage described in Mahabharata, viz. the lineage of the Kauravas and the Pandavas which started of from Ila as Aila lineage, which then branched off as the Paurva (or Puru) lineage starting from Puru, which then branched off as the Bharata lineage starting from Bharata and finally as the Kuru lineage branching off since the king Kuru.

To simplify the terminology I use the term Puru lineage while actually discussing the whole of the Aila-Puru-Bharata-Kuru lineage. It goes without saying that there exist another view point which consider the lineages of the Ailas, the Purus, the Bharatas and the Kurus as running parallel to each other rather than being sequential contradicting the Mahabharata narrative.

Depending on how much importance we give to various information about this lineage such as rejecting the 1000 year long exile of Samvarana or accepting it as missing generations of rule in exile (25 x 40 = 1000 or 25 x 4 = 100), considering or not considering the possibility of parallel chains in the lineage and rejecting or accepting the insertion of names like Janamejaya, Parikshit and Dhritarashtra early in the lineage we get varied lengths for the duration. All these is based on the generation gap between successive kings fixed at 25 years. Thus the length of this lineage varies from 1000 years to 2300 years.

Due to size constraints of this article this section is moved to the following articles:- Puru-Lineage, Puru-Lineage-Part2

The Sons and wives of the Pandavas (Mbh.1.95)

Chapter 1.95 gives a complete list of the sons of the five Pandavas begotten upon their many wives. Interested readers can have a look at this full spectrum of the Pandava-Dynasty in the following article:- The Pandava Dynasty

Dasarathi Rama's Lineage

It is always interesting to compare the Puru lineage with the lineage of Rama viz. the Ikshwaku lineage. It is usually assumed that Rama is born at the end of Treta Yuga and the Pandavas and Krishna at the end of Dwapara Yuga. Assuming Dwapara to be 2000 year long Rama's and Krishna's births would be 2000 years apart. However by comparing the lineage of Ikshwaku and Puru we get a different picture. If we assume that both the lineages started off from Manu Vaivaswata, (strictly following the epic tradition) the chances of them being separated by such long duration is very less. A separation of 200 years or even less seems more probable.

Assuming an average generation gap of 25 years, Ikswaku lineage is 975 years and 1000 year long as per two versions of lineages mentioned in Valmiki Ramayana. It is 1700 years long as per Vishnu Purana and 1600 years long as per Bhagavata. I have not yet got the data from Harivamsha. It is only 300 years long as per Vayu Purana. Proper analysis is needed before taking a single or better version of Ikshwaku lineage from available information in order to compare it with the Puru lineage. The discrepancies in Puru lineage itself need to be sorted out in order to arrive at a proper conclusion.

Ikshwaku-Lineage (under development)

Lineage of sages

Unlike the kings who with a few exceptions always belonged to the Kshatriya order (Varna) the sages were more or less beyond the four orders. Sage Vasistha is considered to be a Brahmana where as sage Viswamitra was a Kshatriya. All of these sages has created revolutions during their life time causing positive impact to the society and contributing to the composite (Vedic and non-Vedic) Indian culture. It is meaningless to talk about the Varna of a sage as sages are always beyond such classifications.

This section will be elaborated with lineage of Angirasa and Bhargava sages the two prominent lineages of sages in Ancient India.

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