Gurjara Kingdom


Gurjara Kingdom

Gurjara Kingdom ( also known as Go Rashtra, Gopas, Gopa Rashtra, Go Jana Rashtra etc) was one among the many kingdoms ruled by Yadava kings in the central and western India.

During the Mahabharata period, they were on their migratory phase from Mathura to Dwaraka. In the epic Mahabharata, they were mentioned as Gopa Rashtras and as Gopas. They have participated in the Kurukshetra War, siding with Duryodhana, though they had close kinship with Vasudeva Krishna. Gurjaras or Gujjars later inhabited the eastern valley of Aravalli Range in Rajasthan. Finally some tribes migrated to Gujarat, thus giving the name "Gujarasrtra" or "Gujarat" to the Indian state Gujarat.

References in Mahabharata

Gopa Rashra was mentioned as a kingdom in Ancient India (Bharata Varsha) along with the Pansu Rashtras, the Karityas, the Adhirjayas ( Karusha king "Dantavatra" is often designated as the ruler of the Adhirajyas or Adhirjayas), the Kuladyas, the Mallarashtras etc. (6,9)

Role in Kurukshetra War

Gopas where allied with Kauravas

"Though the Gopas were kinsmen and armymen of Vasudeva Krishna, they were allied with Kauravas, due to a pact made between Vasudeva Krishna, Arjuna and Duryodhana"

The pact of Vasudeva Krishna to Arjuna and Duryodhana:- There is a large body of cowherds known as the Narayanas, all of whom are able to fight in the thick of battle. These soldiers shall be sent to one of you and I alone, resolved not to fight on the field, and laying down my weapons, will go to the other. Arjuna selected Vasudeva Krishna and Duryodhana selected Krishna's army. (5,7)

Many thousands of Gopas with a large Gopayana force battled in the Kurukshetra War, at Kauravas side, against the Pandavas, along with other armies, like the Madras, the Sauviras, the Gandharas, the Trigartas and the Kalingas. (6,71)

Battle against Arjuna

While Arjuna was proceeding towards Bhagadatta, the mighty "Samsaptaka" car-warriors ( a division of the Trigarta army), numbering 14000, consisting of 10000 Gopalas or Narayanas who used to follow Vasudeva Krishna, summoned Arjuna to battle. (7,25).

The Abhishahas, the Surasenas, the Sivis, the Vasatis, the Mavellakas, the Lilithyas, the Kaikeyas, the Madrakas, the Narayana Gopalas, and the various tribes of the Kamvojas who had before been vanquished by Karna, placing Drona at their head rushed towards Arjuna. (7,88)

The Narayana troops and the Gopalas were placed in the "Makara" battle-array formed by the Kaurava generallisimo Karna. (8,11)

The "Samsaptakas" and Gopalas again fight with Arjuna (8,53)

Destruction of the army of Gopas

Those heroes, the Narayana Gopas who live and grew in Gokula (Gokul is a place in Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh, in those days, part of the Surasena Kingdom), who were exceedingly wrathful in battle, and who never retreated from the field have been slain by Arjuna. (8,5).

At (9,2), it is mentioned again that the Narayanas have been slain, as also the Gopalas.

See also

Kingdoms of Ancient India

Other kingdoms in this group include:
#Chedi
#Surasena
#Dasarna
#Karusha
#Kunti
#Avanti
#Malava
#Heheya
#Anarta
#Saurashtra
#Dwaraka
#Vidarbha.

References

*Mahabharata of Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa, translated to English by Kisari Mohan Ganguli


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