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Yamuna, Yama and Jamvu Dwipa

Yamuna is one of the major rivers of India and a tributary of Ganga, the largest river of India. The name Yamuna is very ancient and hence it is mentioned as such in Mahabharata. Yamuna derives its name from the region-name Jamvu and from the tribe called the Yamas (who probably inhabited its banks) considered to be a sub section of the Deva tribe. Among the Yamas, Yama-Dharma, was famous, and as per mythology considered to be the god of Justice and the god of Death. He is also mentioned as the lord of the southern direction. This direction is mentioned with respect to the Meru mountain. The original Meru seems to be the Meru mountain in Africa, especially the one in Tanzania. See Human Migration and India. As the ancient population moved and reached the Himalayas, Meru was located in the Himalays. At some period of history, Meru was located in the Himalayan ranges in Kashmir, thus making the Jammu region to the south of it. This region was known as the Jamvu Dwipa. In some other period of history the name Jamvudwipa denoted whole of Indian sub-continental plate, to the south of Himalayas. After analyzing the references of Yama, it seems that Yama was an ancient ruler of the Jamvu region. He belonged to the Solar race of kings and is mentioned as a son of Surya (the son god). He probably extended his rule up to the south of Yamuna river. Thus river Yamuna became a prominent river of the Jamvu region. Yamuna was also known as Jamuna. It is probably a short form of the name Jamvu-Nadi which means the River of the Jamvu region.

Yudhishthira the Pandava king who belonged to the Kuru tribe, and who ruled from his capital Indraprastha is mythologically referred as the son of Yama. Indraprastha was the largest city that lied on the banks of Yamuna! The capital of the Surasena kingdom viz. Mathura also lied on the banks of Yamuna.

Yamuna, Saraswati and Ganga

In the image shown left, the river in the right side is Yamuna. To its left was the city of Indraprastha. There was a channel from Yamuna connecting it with river Saraswati in the far west (not shown in the image). This channel flowed through the forest of Khandava. This channel was the older course of Yamuna which then (before 3500 BC) flowed into Saraswati and not to Ganga. Due to tectonic movements, Yamuna changed its course and started flowing to Ganga. Similarly, another tributary of Saraswati viz Satadru tilted its course and flowed to river Sindhu. Saraswati was left with only a few tributaries like Dhrisadwati. Thus the river Saraswati dried up, and the population on its banks moved to the banks of Charmanwati, Yamuna and Ganga.

See Also

  1. References of noun Yamuna in Mahabharata

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Created by Jijith Nadumuri at 23 Mar 2010 07:40 and updated at 06 Jun 2010 07:46

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