Sage Kambhoja


Sage Kambhoja

Sage Kambhoja or Kumbhoja (i.e. Kamboja) [ In ancient history of India, a member of a tribe or its prince was also known after the name of his tribe (jana) or his country (janapada). In case of Kamboja tribe, Panini specifically states so in his Ashtadhyayi (Sutra IV.1.175). Thus, from tribal name Kamboja came the name Kambhoja (Kumbhoja) as a formal mode of address, which name is the "de-Iranianised" version i.e southern Indian form of the standard name Kamboja.] finds reference in southern Indian recensions of Ramayana. He seems to have lived somewhere on the banks of river Godavari, in south-west India during Ramayana times [There is also a mention of Kambhoj sage/saint in "The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India, 1975, p 381, Robert Vane Russell, Rai Bahadur Hira Lal".] . Ancient Sanskrit references indicate that ancient Kambojas were closely connected with Vasishthas [(Chudakarma Samskaara, Paraskara Grhyam-Sutram 2.1.23, Commentary: Pt Harihar.] [Sama Veda's Vamsa Brahmana (1.18-19)] [Valmiki Ramayana, Balakanda, 1.5] [Harivamsa Purana 14.01-19; Vayu Purana 88.127-43; Brahma Purana 8.35-51; Brahamanda Purana 3.63.123-141; Shiva Purana 7.61.23; Vishnu Purana 5.3.15-21, Padama Purana 6.21.16-33 etc etc.] . These ancient texts also reveal that the Kambojas and some other allied Iranian tribes from north-west came to the aid of Vasishtha clan at the time of crisis. It therefore, appears probable that Vasishthas may have acted as Purohits/religious teachers to the Kambojas and the latter may have regarded them as their spiritual guides or gurus [Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country, 1981, p 93-94, Dr J. L. Kamboj] . It also appears likely that the Vasishtha Brahmanas were chiefly responsible for the learning and scholarship found among the ancient Kambojas [Op. cit., p 94, Dr J. L. Kamboj.] . Ramayanic sage Kumbhoja or Kambhoja appears to be a close friend of sage Agasti. Sage Agasti was brother of sage Vasishtha and was living as a hermit in Dakshinapatha [http://www.indiangyan.com/books/otherbooks/shri_rama/panchabati.shtml] . Rama, Lakshmana and Sita had paid visit to the hermitage of sage Kambhoja, from there they had proceeded to Panchavati during their "Vanwasa" period before Sita was abducted by Sri Lankan king Ravana.

There is still a Kumbhoj (Kambhoj) village and the Hills known by the same name in Alta sub-division (taluq)in Maharashtra [Shahu Chhatrapati: a royal revolutionary, 1976, p 321, Dhananjay Keer; Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency, 1886, p 312, Bombay (India : State).]

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