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Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The sīmā-rekhā of Prācīna Bhārata-varṣa

The ancient India was not much larger than the current state. In Śrīmad Bhāgavat 9.23.5-6 six provinces (viṣayān) are mentioned in the east (prācyakam) of Bhārata varṣa – Aṅga (the kingdom of Karṇa, now Bihar), Baṅga (west- and east-Bengal, of which the east is now a separate enclave inside India) and Kaliṅga (now Orissa). The six sons of Dīrghatamā became kings of the six provinces named after them.

jajñire dīrghatamaso
baleḥ kṣetre mahīkṣitaḥ
cakruḥ sva-nāmnā viṣayān
ṣaḍ imān prācyakāṁś ca te

Jīva Goswāmī and Viśvanātha Cakravartī comment:

viṣayān deśān | prācyakān bhārata varṣasya pūrva-dig-vartinaḥ

« viṣayān means country or region, and prācyakān means on the eastern side of Bhārata Varṣa. »

So it is not that ancient India spread out to Vietnam or Indonesia and Vedic culture is now somehow lost there.

Also it is interesting that both Pāṇḍava-brides, Uttarā (princess of Matsya) and Draupadī (princess of Pancāla) came from close to Vraja.


  1. Perhaps Southeast Asia was not directly a part of India but there is a ton of evidence that they were part of the Vedic culture. Angkor Watt is the world's largest remaining hindu temple, in Cambodia. Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, they all have their own version of the Ramayana. Singha pur, aka Singapore, was most likely part of it too as well as Malaysia and Indonesia.

    As Buddhism and Islam spread, the influence of the Vedic dharma became less and less.

  2. Perhaps Angkor Watt and Bali were outposts founded by explorers or traders.