Epic poetry|Epic Mahabharata refers to a king or warrior whom it calls Kamboja. The name appears in the long list of important monarchs and other celebrated personages of remote Ancient history|antiquity all connected with the tradition of Daivi Khadga or Divine sword referenced in the great epic.
Inheritance of sword
The legend of Daivi Khadga or Divine Sword traces the history of creation and the inheritance of the prized sword from its origin down to the age of Pandavas. The legend is detailed in Shantiparva section of the great epic [http://www.ibiblio.org/sripedia/ebooks/mb/m12/m12a165.htm].
Kosala vs Kamboja rivalry and the sword
Mahabharata attests that after several generations of changing hands from one line of ancient kings to another, the prized sword fell into the hands of righteous king Ailavila from whom it went to king Dhundumara, a celebrated king of Kosala (real name Kuvalashava):
tatashchaidabidallebhe Dhundhumaro janeshvarah |— (MBH 184.108.40.206)
Ikshvaku king Kuvalashava was nicknamed Dhundumara since he is said to have killed in battle one powerful Asura/Daitya called Dhundhu. Interestingly, the Mahabharata points towards the desert region in the west (from Kosala) as the geographical place where Asura Dhundhu lived (MBH III.203, Markendeya Samasyaparva, Kisari Mohan Ganguli’s Trans). Obviously this alludes to the north-west region. Dhundhu appears to be some fierce Iranian warrior, antagonistic to the Vedic civilization|Vedic Aryans, who has been demonised in the literature using usual Brahmanical allegories. Another Kamboja king who has similarly been demonised as Asura/Daitya is the illustrious Chandravarma Kamboja referenced in the Adiparava of the Mahabharata (I.67.31-32). He has been referred to as an incarnation of Daitya/Asura Chandra, the foremost of the sons of Diti [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandravarma_Kamboja].
It is notable that the appellation Asura/Daitya/Danava in Brahmanical literature routinely applies to the Iranian followers of Ahura Mazda (the supreme god in Zoroastrianism).
It is highly probable that under the command of Kambujiya (Kamboja of Shantiparava), the Iranians had later retaliated on this Vedic king Kuvalashava, defeating him in the battle and wresting the prized sword from his lineage.
— (MBH 12.167.76)
It is also likely that the Asura warrior Dhundhu and the Kamboja/Kambujiya warrior of the epic sword-legend both may have belonged to same Iranian clan.
From the clan of this epic Kamboja/Kambujiya, the legendary sword is said to have passed on to the Yavanas i.e Yavana king Muchukunda (Kambojo Muchukundastato.alabhat).
From the Muchukunda of Yavana line, the sword was wrested by Marutta.
Kosala vs Kamboja rivalry: Puranic evidence
Numerous Puranic literature also amply attests that the Haihayas, Kambojas, Sakas, Pahlavas etc had fought two wars with the Ikshvaku kings of Kosala– one with Bahu and the second with his son Sagara. This Puranic evidence clearly shows that the relations between the Kambojas and the Kosalas have not been good (Harivamsa 14.1-19)
Antiquity of the sword legend
The sword legend of Mahabharata points to very remote antiquity since king Kuvalashava aka Dhundhumara, the contemporary of this Kamboja warrior, has been placed at twelfth generation down from Swayambhuva Manu of the Hindu traditions (Ancient Indian Historical Traditions, pp 114 ff, Dr P. E. Pargiter).
The Epic Kamboja is some earlier Iranian Kambaujiya
It is now generally accepted that the royal name Kambujiya (or Kambujiya|Kamboujiya) of ancient Persian empire|Persian records is reflected in the Sanskrit Kamboja or Greek language|Greek Cambyses. The same name appears as C-n-b-n-z-y in Aramaic, Kambuzia in Assyrian, Kambythet in Egyptian language|Egyptian, Kam-bu-zi-ia in Akkadian, Kan-bu-zi-ia in Elamite, and Kanpuziya in Susian languages. It appears to be very popular name among ancient Iranians. It is therefore, highly likely that the legendary warrior Kamboja referenced in Shantiparava section of the Mahabharata was some very earlier Kambaujiya from the royal lineage of ancient Iranian Aryans, and may have given his Kamboja/Kambaujiya name to the clan he belonged to.
This ancient Kamboja/Kambaujiya warrior and ruler appears to have preceded the three Kambujiyas/Kambaujiyas (Cambyses) who find references in the old Persian language|Persian inscriptions.
- Mahabharata Sword
- Language and ethnicity of Kambojas
- Chandravarma Kamboja
- Kamatha Kamboja
- Sudakshina Kamboja
- Prapaksha Kamboja
- Sword Legend [http://www.ibiblio.org/sripedia/ebooks/mb/m12/m12a165.htm]
- Yasaka’s Nurukata
- Panini’s Ashtadhyayi.