Origins Of Aila Kings
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Ila the originator of the Aila lineage

The epic Mahabharata mentions Ila as a women, as a king and as a river. Hence, there is reason to speculate that Ila was a tribe name, originally inhabiting the regions of river Ila. The location of river Ila is not clearly known but it is mentioned in a passage describing the trans-Himalayan journey of the Pandavas, making southern-Tibet a probable location of Ila. (There is a Puranic story that explains how male Ila became female Ila, but that explanation is not very satisfactory, except for the fact that the forest called Kama-vana, the entry into which caused male Ila to become female Ila can be considered to be in southern-Tibet as it is linked with Shiva and Parvati and Kailasa). Another place mentioned in Mahabharata is Ilaspada. It was mentioned as a place lying close to Kurukshetra region, and was mentioned along with other places lying along the banks of Saraswati. In ancient times, Saraswati extended beyond the Himalayas with its origin near Manasa lakes in Tibet. Ilaspada could be thus located some-where in Tibet and Ila could be a river originating in the Manasa lake, flowing to river Saraswati as a tributary, or rather Ila could be the name of the portion of Saraswati river in Tibet.

Many other researchers identify Ilaspada as a place in Kurukshetra, and thus in Hariyana, thus making the origin of the Aila lineage very much in the modern Indian territory, making it an absolutely native Indian tribe. Others identify river Ila with the Ili River of Central Asia, making the origin of Aila lineage completely foreign. Both these are extremities of the location of Ila and are also prospective locations. I do not dilute the importance of these differing and opposing views about the Aila origin. However I would like to be with the middle path and keep my bet on the Ila river of the southern Tibet.

The parents of the first Aila king Pururavas

The woman Ila is mentioned as the mother of the race of kings called Aila. She was the daughter of Manu, a terminology used in the epics to mention an untraceable unknown origin in the remote past. She was mentioned as giving birth to Pururavas, the first Aila king. The father of Pururavas is mentioned as different at different places. One of them mentions Ila as both father and mother of Pururavas (which would mean, both parents of Pururavas as belonging to the Ila tribe.) Another name given to the father of Pururavas, and husband of Ila is Vudha a sage from the northern regions, pointing to Tibet. Vudha is mentioned as the son of Soma, a king in the lineage of the lunar-race, which is why the Aila lineage is otherwise known as the lunar-race or the Chandra Vamsa.

But a single passage in Mahabharata mentions Pururavas as belonging to the solar race. This could be because Ila's father Manu is considered as the son of a solar race king called Vivaswat. In another passage, Pururavas is mentioned as a king among the obscure tribe called the Diptakshas.

The native roots of the Aila lineage

Thus if the Aila kings were of a non native origin, they needs to be not very far, but from Tibet. Pururavas, married Apsara (considered to be female Gandharvas) Urvasi strengthening the Gandharva connection. Pururavas is mentioned as always found in the company of Gandharvas and Apsaras. The Aila king second in line is mentioned as Ayu (Ayus, Ayusha), who is found mentioned as a great king and as a god by some culture in Central Asia. The Aila king third in line is mentioned as Nahusha who is mentioned as belonging to the Naga race at many places. He is mentioned as ruling the territories of the Devas (Tibet) for some period of his life. At some point in past the tribal distinctions of the Nagas and the Gandharvas were not differentiated. These tribes were also mentioned as related and both were native tribes. Several other kings in the lineage of Aila-Puru-Bharata-Kuru like Dhritarashtra were mentioned as Nagas as well as Gandharvas. Kuru king Santanu had a son named Chitrangada who shared that name with a Gandharva. Then again the Gandhara princes like Sakuni were sometimes mentioned as Gandharvas. Duryodhana, the first among the Kauravas was mentioned as an incarnation of the Gandharva Kali, and Sakuni, the incarnation of the Gandharva Dwapara. Arjuna shares his name Dhananjaya with a Naga of the same name viz. Dhananjaya. Thus the Aila lineage has a heavy doze of the genes of the native Gandharva and Naga tribes.

Similarly the tribes of Asuras, Matsyas, Tapatyas and Gangeyas, all native and original, contributed their genes to the Aila-Puru-Bharata-Kuru lineage. Asura king Vrishaparva's daughter Sarmishtha was the wife of the fourth Aila king Yayati. She was the mother of Puru, thus giving birth to the Puru lineage of kings. Asura priest Sukra's daughter Devayani was another wife of Yayati giving rise to the race of the Yadavas. The kings of the Puru-Bharata-Kuru lineage married many women belonging to the Matsya tribe (the royal tribes of the fisher-men community). The prominent among them was Satyavati the wife of Kuru king Santanu. She was great-grandmother to both the Kauravas and the Pandavas. Vyasa, the son of Satyavati of Matsya origin, hence a native by himself, probably authored the epic Mahabharata about the Kurus only because he felt the kinship with that tribe. If the Kurus were a completely foreign (e.g.:- Central Asian or far north west), tribe as assumed by many researchers he would not have bothered much to author such an epic and we would never have a Mahabharata.

Again Apsara Menaka is mentioned as mother of Puru king Bharata the founder of the Bharata lineage of kings. Finally a women of Gangeya origin (the epic would like us to believe that she was was the river Ganga) married Kuru king Santanu, to beget the most famous Gangeya viz. the greatest Kuru warrior Bhishma. Similarly a women of Tapatya origin which the epic portray as the river Tapati (in Maharashtra) married Bharata king Samvarana. She gave rise to the famous king Kuru, who founded the Kuru royal lineage. Samvarana (or rather many kings in his lineage) is mentioned as living in the region of Sindhu river (after they got banished by the Panchalas from their native kingdom). This will make Samvarana (or many kings in his lineage) linked to the Indus Valley! They are mentioned as living there for many (1000) years.

Thus, I consider the origin of the Aila-Puru-Bharata-Kuru lineage as trans-Himalayan, but not far like other researchers think, but in the immediate neighborhood, viz. Tibet. This Tibetan region was then in a cultural continuum with Indian region, which contained with in it, similar but distinct native cultures of the native tribes like the Yakshas (southern-Tibet, Nepal, pockets in southern-India, Srilanka), the Gandharvas (south-eastern-Tibet, Kasmir region, Saraswati region, other pockets in India, northern Pakistan, Afganistan), the Nagas (Tibet, India, northern Pakistan, Burma, China(?)), the Rakshasas (India and Srilanka), the Kinnaras (Kinnaur region of Himachal-pradesh), the Vanaras (Southern India) and the Asuras (Southern Tibet, India (Bihar, central India, south & west coastal region of India, Saraswati basin) , Pakistan, Afganistan, Iran). Describing the Aila-Puru-Bharata-Kuru lineage as different from this native people is meaningless since they belong to the same cultural continuum as others and had heavy doze of genetic addition from the so called others who are considered as natives, in comparison to their attributed foreign origin.

The Aila-Puru-Bharata-Kuru lineage

Some researches do not consider Aila-Puru-Bharata-Kuru lineage as a continuous lineage starting from Aila and ending in Kuru. Some tent to consider them as allied tribes and some others as contemporary tribes and yet others change the order of the sequence. I tent to consider them as a continuous lineage starting from Aila and ending in Kuru as described in Mahabharata until I fully analyze the data available against this view.

Mahabharata Wiki Mahabharata Nouns Mahabharata Word
Mahabharata Video Mahabharata Article Kuru
Historical Krishna Human Migration and India The myth of Aryan Dravidian Divide
De-Mystifying Myths The Age of the Gandharvas Origins of Aila Kings

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Created by Jijith Nadumuri at 14 Feb 2010 15:58 and updated at 13 Aug 2011 12:21

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