Heheya kingdom (also known as Haihaya, Haiheya, Heiheya etc) was one among the many kingdoms ruled by Yadava kings in the central and western India. It was the strongest among the Yadava kingdoms and had the powerful ruler Kartavirya Arjuna who even defeated Rakshasa Ravana. Its capital was Mahishmati (modern city of Maheswar) on the banks of river Narmada in Madhya Pradesh. They conquered many other kingdoms of India. How ever the enimity with the warrior type Brahmins by the name of Bhargavas resulted in their demise. Parasurama was the Bhargava leader under whom they were exterminated. Talajangha was an allied kingdom of Heheya, probably to the east of it.

References in Mahabharata

Disputes with the Ikswaku Kings

Sagara was a king of Kosala Kingdom, ruling from Ayodhya. He was born in the race of Ikshwaku. Ikshwakus were a famous rolay dynasty of ancient India. Sagara is mentioned as the son of Jadu, at (12,56). He had an army of 60,000 men, all of who he treated as his sons.

The Ikswaku king Sagara is said to have defeated the Haihayas and the Talajanghas. He brought under subjection the whole of the military caste. (3,106)

The Haihayas and Talajanghas of Vatsa Kingdom

  • MBh (13,30)

Haihayas and Talajanghas probably had their origin in Vatsa Kingdom. Haihayas in Vatsa kingdom, known collectively as Vitahavyas, under their king named Vitahavya, attacked the neignboring country called Kasi, during the reign of four successive generations of Kasi kings viz that of Haryaswa, Sudeva, Divodasa and Pratarddana. The last one among them, viz Pratarddana, defeated the Haihayas and probably expelled them from the Vatsa kingdom. Kasi kings were also born in the race of Ikshwaku. This could be the seed of Haihayas's dispute with them.

Haihayas attack of Kasi during the reign of Haryaswa

In Saryati’s race (Saryati and Ikshwaku were two among the many sons of Manu (1,75)), two kings took their birth, viz., Haihaya and Talajangha. Both of them were sons of Vatsa. Haihaya had ten wives, upon them a century of sons all of whom were highly inclined to fighting. In Kasi also, there was a king who was the grandfather of Divodasa, known by the name of Haryyaswa. The sons of king Haihaya, who was otherwise known by the name of Vitahavyas, invaded the kingdom of Kasi and advancing to that country that lies between the rivers Ganga and Yamuna, fought a battle with king Haryyaswa and also slew him in it. The sons of Haihaya, fearlessly went back to their own delightful city in the country of the Vatsas.

Haihayas attack of Kasi during the reign of Sudeva

Meanwhile Haryyaswa’s son Sudeva was installed on the throne of Kasi as its ruler. That righteous-souled prince ruled his kingdom for sometime, when the hundred sons of Vitahavya once more invaded his dominions and defeated him in battle. Having vanquished king Sudeva thus, the victors returned to their own city.

Haihayas attack of Kasi during the reign of Divodasa

After that Divodasa, the son of Sudeva, became installed on the throne of Kasi as its ruler. Realising the prowess of those high-souled princes, viz., the sons of Vitahavya, king Divodasa, endued with great energy, rebuilt and fortified the city of Baranasi (varanasi or Banaras) at the command of Indra. The territories of Divodasa were full of Brahmanas and Kshatriyas, and abounded with Vaisyas and Sudras. And they teemed with articles and provisions of every kind, and were adorned with shops and marts swelling with prosperity. Those territories stretched northwards from the banks of Ganga to the southern banks of Gomati, and resembled a second Amravati (the city of Indra). The Haihayas once again, attacked. The mighty king Divodasa issuing out of his capital, gave them battle. King Divodasa fought the enemy for a thousand days at the end of which, having lost a number of followers and animals, he became exceedingly distressed. King Divodasa having lost his army and seeing his treasury exhausted, left his capital and fled away. He saught protection of his priest, Bharadwaja the son of Vrihaspati.

Divodasa's son Pratarddana attacks the Haihays

Divodasa wished for a brave son who could revenge the Vitahavyas (the Haihayas of Vatsa Kingdom). With his priest Bharadwaja's blessings he obtained a son named Pratarddana. He became well skilled in battle. Divodasa instaled his son on the throne of Kasi and asked him to march against the sons of Vitahavya (Vitahavyas). He speedily crossed the Ganga on his car, followed by his army and proceeded against the city of the Vitahavyas. The Vitahavyas issued out of their city in their cars and poured upon Pratarddana, showers of weapons of various kind. Pratarddana slew them all in battle. The Haihaya king Vitahavya then, all his sons and kinsmen dead, saught protection of his priest Bhrigu. Bhrigu converted him a Brahmana. Sage Saunaka (The entire Mahabharata is structured as a narration of the story teller Ugrasrava Sauti to Saunaka) was born in the line of this Vitahavya.

Haihaya king Kartavirya Arjuna

Kartavirya Arjuna was described as a noble king and a devotee of Sage Dattatreya.

Endued with a thousand arms (could be a thousand attendands acting as his hands, for executing his commands) and great beauty the mighty Kartavirya, in days of yore, became the lord of all the world. He had his capital in the city of Mahishmati. Of unbaffled prowess, that chief of the Haihaya race of Kshatriyas swayed the whole earth with her belt of seas, together with all her islands and all her precious mines of gold and gems. Keeping before him the duties of the Kshatriya order, as also humility and Vedic knowledge, the king made large gifts of wealth unto the sage Dattatreya. (13,152)

Other Haihaya Kings

  • Haihaya king Vitahavya is mentioned as the son of Vatsa King (13,30)
  • Haihaya king Udvarta , became the exterminator of his own race. (5,74)
  • The conversation between a Haihaya king and a sage named Tarkshya is mentioned at (3,183)
  • A royal sage of the Haihaya race, Sumitra by name is mentioned at (12,124). Sumitra is mentioned as the son of Mitra, at (12,125).

Enimity with the Bhargavas

The Haiheya tribe's dispute with Bhargavas (a clan of Bhrahmins) is mentioned at various places in Mahabharata. The leader of the Bhargavas viz Bhargava Rama, the son of Jamadagni, is said to kill the Haiyaya king Kartavirya Arjuna. This dispute didn't end there. The Bhargavas went all over India and slew numerous Kshatriya kings, most of them, being the kinsmen of Kartavirya Arjuna. (1,104)

In consequence of the unrivalled battle-axe of fiery splendour and irresistible sharpness, Bhargava Rama became unrivalled on earth. He obtained the battle-axe from Mahadeva of Gandhamadana mountains, in the Himalayas. (12,49)

Meanwhile the mighty son of Kritavirya, viz., Arjuna of the Kshatriya order and ruler of the Haihayas, endued with great energy, highly virtuous in behaviour, and possessed of a thousand arms through the grace of (the great sage) Dattatreya, having subjugated in battle, by the might of his own arms, the whole earth with her mountains and seven islands, became a very powerful emperor.(12,49)

The king, Arjuna by name, the mighty lord of the Haihaya tribe was killed by Rama. (3,115)

Signs of a tribal war

Even though only the leaders viz Bhargava Rama and Kartavirya Arjuna were mentioned
in most places, there is evidance that many people were involeved in this dispute. It could be a dispute between two tribes, spanning generations.

Once on a time the Brahmanas, raising a standard of Kusa grass, encountered in battle the Kshatriyas of the Haihaya clan endued with immeasurable energy. The Vaisyas and the Sudras followed the Brahmanas, so that all the three orders were on one side, while the Kshatriyas were alone on the other. In the battles, however, that ensued, the three orders repeatedly broke, while the Kshatriyas, though alone, vanquished large army that was opposed to them. Then those best of Brahmanas enquired of the Kshatriyas themselves as to the cause of this. The Kshatriyas told, ‘In battle we obey the orders of one person endued with great intelligence, while ye are disunited from one another and act according to your individual understanding.’ The Brahmanas then appointed one amongst themselves as their commander, who was brave and conversant with the ways of policy. And they then succeeded in vanquishing the Kshatriyas. (5,157)

The summary of the dispute

Bhargava Rama's father was slain by the Kartavirya Arjuna's kinsmen.

Bhargava Rama's father Jamadagni, having been slain and his calf having been stolen by the Kshatriyas, he slew Kartavirya who had never been vanquished before by foes. With his bow he slew 64 times 10,000 Kshatriyas. In that slaughter were included 14,000 Brahmana-hating Kshatriyas of the Dantakura country, all of whom he slew. Of the Haihayas, he slew a 1000 with his short club, a 1000 with his sword, and a 1000 by hanging. Rama slew 10,000 Kshatriyas with his axe. He could not quietly bear the furious speeches uttered by those (foes of his). And when many foremost of Brahmans uttered exclamations, mentioning the name of Rama of Bhrigu’s race, he proceeding against the Kashmiras, the Daradas, the Kuntis, the Kshudrakas, the Malavas, the Angas, the Vangas, the Kalingas, the Videhas, the Tamraliptakas, the Rakshovahas, the Vitahotras, the Trigartas, the Martikavatas, counting by thousand, slew them all by means of his whetted shafts. Proceeding from province to province, he thus slew thousands of crores of Kshatriyas. Creating a deluge of blood and filling many lakes also with blood and bringing all the 18 islands under his subjection, he performed a 100 sacrifices. (7,68)

See also

Kingdoms of Ancient India

Other kingdoms in this group include:

  1. Chedi
  2. Surasena (Vraja)
  3. Dasarna
  4. Karusha
  5. Kunti
  6. Avanti
  7. Malava
  8. Gurjara
  9. Anarta
  10. Saurashtra
  11. Dwaraka
  12. Vidarbha

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Created by Jijith Nadumuri at 13 Jan 2010 09:20 and updated at 04 Jun 2010 18:09

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