Sudra Kingdom is mentioned as one of the kingdoms or provinces of ancient India (Bharata Varsha) as per the epic Mahabharata. They were mentioned along with another tribe called the Abhiras along the banks of Saraswati River where it dried up in the desert. The Yadava Bala Rama visited this place during his pilgrimage along the partially dried up river Saraswati. After this place, only a dried up river bed existed and the desert or the Maru region began.

References in Mahabharata

There are the Sudra-abhiras, the Dardas, the Kasmiras, and the Pattis; the Khasiras; the Atreyas, the Bharadwajas, the Stanaposhikas, the Poshakas, the Kalingas, and diverse tribes of Kiratas; the Tomaras, the Hansamargas, and the Karamanjakas among the kingdoms of Bharata Varsha (6:9).

Expeditions of Nakula

Nakula brought under subjection the mighty Gramaniya that dwelt on the shore of the sea, and the Sudras and the Abhiras that dwelt on the banks of the Saraswati, and all those tribes that lived upon fisheries, and those also that dwelt on the mountains, and the whole of the country called after the five rivers, and the mountains called Amara, and the country called Uttarayotisha and the city of Divyakutta and the tribe called Dwarapala (2:31).

Pilgrimage along Saraswati river

Bala Rama proceeded to Vinasana where the Saraswati hath become invisible in consequence of her contempt for Sudras and Abhiras. And since the Sarasvati, in consequence of such contempt, is lost at that spot, the Rishis, for that reason, always name the place as Vinasana (9:37). The allegations on Sudras for the drying up of the river could be latter interpretations. However the mention of the drying up of river Saraswati close to the Sudra-Abhira kingdoms has great geogrhapical and geological significance.

Tribute to king Yudhisthira

The Sudra kings that dwelt in the regions on the seacoast, brought with them hundred thousands of serving girls of the Karpasika country, all of beautiful features and luxuriant hair and decked in golden ornaments; and also many skins of the Ranku deer as tribute unto king Yudhishthira (2:50).

In Kurukshetra War

The Madras, the Trigartas the Amvashthas, the Westerners, the Northerners, the Malavas, the Surasenas, the Sudras the Maladas, the Sauviras, the Kaitavas, the Easterners, and the Southerners placing Duryodhana and Karna at their head, forming the rear guard, gladdened warriors of their own army (7:7). The Kalingas, the Singhalas, the Easterners, the Sudras, the Abhiras, the Daserakas, the Sakas, the Yavanas, the Kamvojas, the Hangsapadas, the Surasenas, the Daradas, the Madras, and the Kalikeyas, with hundreds and thousands of elephants, steeds, cars, and foot-soldiers were stationed at the neck of the Kaurava battle-array (7:20).

Sudra Kings

King Usinara and Kakshivat

Gautama Dirghatamas of rigid vows begat on the Sudra woman Ausinari (the daughter of king Usinara) Kakshivat and other celebrated sons (2:21, 12:172). These sons later became the kings of Anga, Vanga, Kalinga, Pundra and Suhma.

King Devaka

King Devaka had a daughter endued with youth and beauty and begotten upon a Sudra wife. Bringing her from her father’s abode, Bhishma married her to Vidura of great wisdom. And Vidura begot upon her many children like unto himself in accomplishments (1:114).

Non Vedic Tribes

Many tribes unfamilier to the Vedic people where considered as Sudras though they were of a millitary (Kshatriya like) class.

The Mekalas, the Dravidas, the Lathas, the Paundras, the Konwasiras, the Saundikas, the Daradas, the Darvas, the Chauras, the Savaras, the Varvaras, the Kiratas, the Yavanas, and numerous other tribes of Kshatriyas, have become degraded into the status of Sudras through the wrath of Brahmanas (13:35). It is in consequence of the absence of Brahmanas from among them that the Sakas, the Yavanas, the Kamvojas and other Kshatriya tribes have become fallen and degraded into the status of Sudras. The Dravidas, the Kalingas, the Pulandas, the Usinaras, the Kolisarpas, the Mahishakas and other Kshatriyas, have, in consequence of the absence of Brahmanas from among their midst, become degraded into Sudras (13:33).

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Created by Jijith Nadumuri at 13 Jan 2010 09:06 and updated at 04 Jun 2010 17:37

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