Puru Lineage

Created by Jijith Nadumuri at 29 Mar 2011 18:05 and updated at 24 Apr 2011 15:44

Let us focus on the chapters 1.95, 1.94, 1.85 and 1.75 of Adi Parva dealing with the lineage of the Puru tribe. Mahabharata gives a picture of continuity between the dynasties of the Ailas, the Purus, the Bharatas and the Kurus. Is there any discrepancy in this picture laid out by the Mahabharata narration?

Lineage Charts

Shown below is the detailed chart of the Puru lineage as described in two occasions (at Mbh.1.94 and at Mbh.1.95). If the images appear small or not readable click them to enlarge or right-click and open them in a new window or tab.

Lineage of Puru as per Mbh.1.95

Lineage of Puru as per Mbh.1.95. To access the file directly or link to the file, click here. Created as Entity Relationship Diagram - Software Engineering Practices

Lineage of Puru as per Mbh.1.94, 85 & 75

Lineage of Puru as per Mbh.1.94, 85 & 75. To access the file directly or link to the file, click here. Created as Entity Relationship Diagram - Software Engineering Practices

Chronology Tables

Shown below is the tabular representation of the lineage with the sub-branches removed in order to arrive at a chronology. One lineage is around 1275 years long while the other is 1075 years long.


The Lineage of Puru (Mbh.1.95)

In this sub-section we focus on the Puru lineage described in the chapter 95 of Adi Parva. Puru lineage leading to the Bharata lineage and finally to the Kuru lineage of the Kauravas and the Pandavas is described in detail in this passage.

The chronology and duration of the lineage

The duration of reign of a king is a variable. It can vary from 15 years to 45 years. In some rare cases the reign can be as short as 2 years or as long as 80 years. It will not be a good idea to base the calculation of the duration of the whole lineage on the reign of kings. A better basis would be the time gap between the birth of two successive kings. If we consider that on an average 25 years will be elapsed between the birth of two successive kings in a royal lineage (four successive kings in a century) we can calculate the approximate duration of the whole lineage.

There are 51 generations from Daksha to Aswamedhadatta. The total duration of the lineage thus comes to around 51x25 = 1275 years. The lineage is not very accurate so take or add a 100 years. If we consider that Parikshit lived around 3000 BCE, the life of the principal members of the lineage will be as follows:- Daksha (4175 BCE), Manu (4100 BCE), Ha or Ila (4075 BCE), Nahusha (4000 BCE), Puru (3950 BCE), Dushmantha (3500 BCE), Bharata (3475 BCE), Kuru (3300 BCE) and Santanu (3125 BCE).

The discrepancy of Arihan

Arihan is described as the eight king in succession from Puru the youngest (the fifth) son of Yayati. His mother's name is Maryada. His wife (Angi) belonged to the Anga tribe / kingdom. But we see that there is another king named Arihan mentioned as 13th in succession from Puru. This Arihan's mother too is Maryada and his wife (Sudeva) too is a princess from Anga..

A person's name, his mother's name and his wife's name all coinciding needs special attention. It is possible that both these Arihans were the same person. One scenario is this:- Avachina's son Arihan had two sons viz. Mahabhauma and Riksha. The lineage from Mahabhauma up to Devatithi (Mahabhauma > Ayutanayi > Akrodhana > Devatithi) could be a parallel lineage. Mahabhauma could be an elder brother of Riksha, though the lineage of Riksha was given more importance as it leads to the Kauravas and the Pandavas. Another alternative is that the parallel lineage started off from Janamejaya the son of Puru who could be a brother to Pravira the son of Puru.

The Lineage of Puru (Mbh.1.94)

Let us compare the lineage of Mbh.1.95 with that in Mbh.1.94. It is likely that the long lineage of Mbh.1.95 is a later modification of the shorter lineage described in 1.94. Most of the bottom part of both the lineage match each other. Discrepancy is mostly seen among the descendants of Puru.


The obvious discrepancy is that the duration of the lineages mentioned in Mbh.1.94 and that mentioned in 1.95 does not match. Comparing both the lineages we have the following table:-


From the above table we get clarity that apart from the discrepancy of Arihan, both lineages matches at certain generations. The names that match in both the lineages are shown in bold. This is thus the solid part of the lineage or the anchors. The rest could be later additions or distortions or can be explained in the form of parallel lineages branching of from the anchor points (for example from Puru, Suhotra and Kuru). Note that in the right hand side (ie MBh.1.94) the lineage narration ends at Santanu. The subsequent members of the lineage from Vichitravirya up to Aswamedhadatta is inferred.

Further analysis and solutions to these discrepencies is discussed in the subsequent article:- Puru-Lineage-Part2 (Under Development)

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