Asmaka Kingdom


Asmaka Kingdom

Asmaka was a kingdom among the 16 Mahajanapadas mentioned in the Buddhist texts. All other kingdoms were in the north, from Vanga to Gandhara. Some believes that Asmaka was a colony of the Kambojas, and its earlier name was Aswaka. The epic Mahabharata mentions that the king of the name "Asmaka" was the adopted son of Saudasa alias Kalmashapada a king of Kosala and an Ikshwaku ruler.

References in Mahabharata

Asmaka the adopted son of Saudasa

Madayanti, the wife of Saudasa, commanded by her husband to raise offspring went unto Rishi Vasishtha. And on going in unto him, the handsome Madayanti obtained a son named Asmaka. (1,122).

This history is repeated at (1,197), where it adds that the queen bore the embryo in her womb for a long time. She being impatient upon her pregnancy, hit her stomach by stone ("Asma", in Sanskrit), hence the son thus born was named Asmaka. He became a great king and founded the city of Paudanya.

Asmakas in Kurukshetra War

On Pandava Side

Asmakas were mentioned to be on the side of Pandavas, with Dhristadyumna, at (7.83)

On Kaurava Side

Borne by his well-broken steeds Abhimanyu quickly checked the son of Asmaka. Staying before him, the handsome son of Asmaka pierced him with ten shafts and addressing him, said, ‘Wait, Wait.’ Abhimanyu then, with ten shafts, cut off the former’s steeds and charioteer and standard and two arms and bow and head, and caused them to fall down on the earth, smiling the while. After the heroic ruler of the Asmakas had thus been slain by the son of Subhadra, the whole of his force wavered and began to fly away from the field. (7,35)

Karna's conquests

Dhritarashtra talks of Karna having conquered the mighty foes---the Kambojas, the Kekayas, the Avantyas, the Gandharas, the Madarakas, the Trigartas, the Tanganas, the Shakas, the Panchalas, the Videhas, the Kulindas, the Kasi-Kosalas, the Suhmas, the Angas, the Vangas, Nishadas, Pundras, Chirakas, Vatsas, Vatsas, Kalingas, Taralas, Asmakas, Rishikas (i.e south-western Rishikas located in Maharashtra) and numerous others including the mlechcha Rashtradhyas and forest tribes (8.8.18-20).

Asmaka Sumantu, a sage

Asmaka Sumantu was a sage among the sages who assembled in Kurukshetra, during the last days of Kuru hero Bhishma. (12,47)

See also

Kingdoms of Ancient India

References

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


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