Asmaka was a kingdom among the 16 janapadas mentioned in the Buddhist texts. All other kingdoms were in the north, from Vanga to Gandhara. Some believes that Asmaka was a colony of the Kambojas, and its earlier name was Aswaka. The epic Mahabharata mentions that the king of the name ''Asmaka'' was the adopted son of Saudasa alias Kalmashapada a king of Kosala and an Ikshwaku ruler.

References in Mahabharata

Asmaka the adopted son of Saudasa

Madayanti, the wife of Saudasa, commanded by her husband to raise offspring went unto Rishi Vasishtha. And on going in unto him, the handsome Madayanti obtained a son named Asmaka. (1,122).

This history is repeated at (1,197), where it adds that the queen bore the embryo in her womb for a long time. She being impatient upon her pregnancy, hit her stomach by stone (''Asma'', in Sanskrit), hence the son thus born was named Asmaka. He became a great king and founded the city of Paudanya.

Asmakas in Kurukshetra War

On Pandava Side

Asmakas were mentioned to be on the side of Pandavas, with Dhristadyumna, at (7.83)

On Kaurava Side

Borne by his well-broken steeds Abhimanyu quickly checked the son of Asmaka. Staying before him, the handsome son of Asmaka pierced him with ten shafts and addressing him, said, ‘Wait, Wait.’ Abhimanyu then, with ten shafts, cut off the former’s steeds and charioteer and standard and two arms and bow and head, and caused them to fall down on the earth, smiling the while. After the heroic ruler of the Asmakas had thus been slain by the son of Subhadra, the whole of his force wavered and began to fly away from the field. (7,35)

Karna's conquests

Karna had subjugated many invincible and mighty foes—the Gandharas, the Madrakas, the Matsyas, the Trigartas, the Tanganas, the Khasas, the Pancalas, the Videhas, the Kulindas, the Kasi-kosalas, the Suhmas, the Angas, the Nishadhas, the Pundras, the Kichakas, the Vatsas, the Kalingas, the Taralas, the Asmakas, and the Rishikas. (8,8)

Asmaka Sumantu, a sage

Asmaka Sumantu was a sage among the sages who assembled in Kurukshetra, during the last days of Kuru hero Bhishma. (12,47)

See Also

Kingdoms of Ancient India

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Created by Jijith Nadumuri at 13 Jan 2010 11:14 and updated at 06 Jun 2010 09:09

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