I came across this book called Scion of Ikshvaku, written by the best selling author of The Shiva Trilogy series, Amish Tripathi. This book is about Maryada Purushottam Shri Ramchandra (An Avatar of Lord Vishnu). Amish has a beautiful way to present the mythological characters in a different form. He has already carved a niche for himself in his storytelling manner through Immortals of Meluha, Secret of Nagas and Oath of Vayuputras. With due respect to the writer and his millions of readers, I am sorry to say that this blog post has nothing to do with Amish and his book. My post is about Ikshvaku and his lineage. My reference and source of writing this post are solely Wikipedia. In this post, I try to figure out the family of Ikshvaku, who has been mentioned in Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism.
Ikshvaku in Sanskrit means Sugarcane. He was the founder (first king) of the Ikshvaku dynasty that ruled in ancient India.
According to Hinduism, this is what Wikipedia has to say about Ikshvaku,
Ikshvaku is remembered in Hindu scriptures as a righteous and glorious king. In some versions, he is the son of Vaivasvata Manu (formerly the Emperor Satyavrata of Dravida), one of the two central characters along with the Lord Matsya incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the Matsya Purana. He is born to Manu after the deluge which sends the King’s ship to the top of the Malaya Mountains in the Dravida country.
According to Jainism,
The Ikshvaku clan said to began from Rishabha, the first Tirthankara and founder of Jainism in the present Avasarpini (half time cycle as per Jain cosmology). According to Jain texts, Rishabha was born to the fourteenth Manu, Nabhi Raja and Marudevi in Ajudya (capital of Nabhi Raja’s kingdom) at the end of Suṣama-duhṣamā (read as Sukhma-dukhma), the third era of Avasarpani. When Rishabha decided to become a monk, he gave his throne to Bharata, eldest of all and made Bahubali, a successor to the royal seat. Jain history provides two explanations about how the word “Ikshvaku” came about.
- According to one version, when Kalpa trees (trees that fulfilled wishes) disappeared, Rishabha taught the men how to use ikshurasa (sugarcane juice). Therefore, Rishabha came to be known as ‘Ikshvaku,’ and his lineage was called Ikshvaku vansa (Family of Ikshvaku).
- According to another version, when Rishabha was a kid, he was offered several fruits, out of those he chooses sugarcane and started chewing it. Indra (heavenly being) came to worship Rishabhdev. When he saw lord Rishabha chewing sugarcane, he gave the name Ikshvaku, meaning “sugarcane eating”, thus his clan adopted this name in honor. Thus according to Jainism, Ikshvaku was another name for Rishabdev.
According to Buddhism,
The Buddhist text, Mahavamsa (II, 1-24) traces the origin of the Shakyas to king Okkaka (Pali equivalent to Sanskrit Ikshvaku) and gives their genealogy from Mahasammata, an ancestor of Okkaka.
As per Hinduism, the lineage of Ikshvaku is as follows:
Ikshvaku is the grandson of Vivasvan or Surya and son of Vaivasvata Manu. They ruled from the Kosala Kingdom, today known as Oudh in the state of Uttar Pradesh along the banks of river Sarayu with saketa, Ayodhya as their capital. Ikshvaku is the first king who executed the Manusmrti or religious rules of Hindu living which were composed by his father, Manu. Ikshvaku ruled as Monarch at the beginning of the Treta Yuga or second yuga, had a hundred sons. His estates descended to his eldest son, Vikukshi. The two Indian epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, have numerous mentions of this dynasty.
The lists of kings of Ikṣvāku or Aikṣvāka dynasty are found in the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Harivamsha and the Puranas. The Raghuvamsha of Kalidasa also mentions the names of the kings of this dynasty.
The genealogy of the Ikshvaku dynasty to Rama is mentioned in the Ramayana in two lists. The only difference between the two records is that Kukshi is mentioned only in the second list. In the first list, Vikukshi is mentioned as the son of Ikshvaku. The genealogy is as follows:
Vivasvan or Surya
The begin Of Ikshvaku Dynasty
- Kukshi/Vikukshi-Vikukshi is the son of King Ikshvaku, the first king of the Ikshvaku dynasty and founder of the Sun Dynasty (Suryavansha). Among the hundred sons of king Ikshvaku, Vikukshi is the eldest one. Because he has very broad chest of a warrior, he was called as Vi-Kukshi.
- Sravasthi (Built Sravasti City)
- Kuvalayasva (or) Dubdhunara
- Satyavrata (or) Trishanku
- Harishchandra (unwavering and resolutely dedicated to dharma(truth))
- Saudasa (or) Kalmashapada
- Dilipa(2) (or) Khatvanga
- Raghu( know for his great conquests all over the globe)
- Rama( Lakshmana, Bharata & Shatrughna are his siblings and he is also avatar of lord Vishnu)
In the Ramayana, we find that, Lava and Kusha were the sons of Rama.
The Puranas provide a genealogical list from Kusha to Brihadbala, who was killed by Abhimanyu in the Mahabharata war. This list is corroborated by the Raghuvamsha till Agnivarna:
- Atithi, the son of Kusha
- Nishadha, the son of Atithi
- Nala, the son of Nishadha
- Nabhas, the son of Nala
- Pundarika, the son Nabhas
- Kshemadhanvan, the son of Pundarika
- Devanika, the son of Kshemadhanvan
- Ahinagu, the son of Davanika
- Paripatra, the son of Ahinagu
- Dala (or Bala), the son of Ahinagu
- Uktha, the son of Dala
- Vajranabha, the son of Uktha
- Shankhana, the son of Vajranabha
- Vyushitashva, the son of Shankhana
- Vishvasaha, the son of Vyushitashva
- Hiranyanabha, the son of Vishvasaha
- Pushya, the son of Hiranyanabha
- Dhruvasandhi, the son of Pushya
- Agnivarna, the son of Dhruvasandhi
- Shighra, the son of Agnivarna
- Maru, the son of Shighra
- Prasushruta, the son of Maru
- Susandhi, the son of Prasushruta
- Amarsha and Sahasvanta, the sons of Susandhi
- Vishrutavanta, the son of Amarsha
- Brihadbala, the son of Vishrutavanta.
The Puranas also provide the list of the kings from Brihadbala to the last ruler Sumitra. But these lists mention Shakya as an individual and incorporate the names of Shakya, Shuddodhana, Siddhartha (Gautama Buddha) and Rahula between Sanjaya and Prasenajit. The names of the kings are:
- Sumitra Amitrajit
- Sanjaya Mahakoshala
- Prasenajit (c. 6th century BCE)
According to Buddhism, Ikshvaku is also known as Okkāka in Pali. This list comprises the names of several prominent kings of the Ikshvaku dynasty, namely, Mandhata and Sagara. The genealogy, according to the Mahavamsa, is as follows:
- Siddhartha (Gautama Buddha)
Now comes the reason why I write this post. There is a piece of information regarding Rishabhdev, also known as Adinath on Wikipedia. It says,
Rishabha was born to Nabhi Raja and Marudevi at Ayodhya before human civilization was much developed. It is said that Kubera built entire new town of Ayodhya at the time of the birth of Rishabha. People were primitive and illiterate and Rishabha taught them agriculture, tending of animals, cooking, poetry, painting, sculpture and similar arts. He introduced karma-bhumi (the age of action). The institution of marriage came into existence, during his time. He introduced a total of seventy-two sciences which includes arithmetic, the plastic and visual arts, the art of lovemaking, singing and dancing. He taught people how to extract sugarcane juice. The name for the Ikshvaku dynasty comes from the word ikhsu (sugarcane) because of this event. His kingdom was kind and gentle and he is credited with transforming a tribal society into an orderly one. Like any Tirthankara and other legendary figures of Indian history (who were great warriors), he too was a great warrior with great strength and body. However, he never needed to show his warrior aspect. Rishabha is known for advocating non-violence. He was one of the greatest initiators of human progress.
Rishabha had two wives. One of them was Sunanda and the other is given different names, Yasaswati, Nanda and Sumangala in different texts. He had one hundred sons and two daughters. Among these, Sunanda was the mother of Bahubali and Sundari whereas Sumangala was the mother of Bharat and Brahmi. He taught his daughters Brahmi and Sundari, the Brahmi-lipi (ancient Brahmi script) and the ‘science of numbers’ (Ank-Vidya) respectively.
Also, the above lineage shows that Gautama Buddha shares the bloodline of Ikshvaku. Does that suggest that Gautama Buddha too is the descendant of Lord Rishabhdev?
There are stories which suggest Lord Neminath and Lord Krishna are cousins. Lord Neminath is also one of the twenty-two Tirthankars who are descendants of Ikshvaku dynasty (Please note: Jainism has twenty-four Thirthankars out of which twenty-two are said to have belonged to Ikshvaku Dynasty). Does that suggest Lord Krishna too belongs to the Ikshvaku dynasty?
If all the above-said facts are correct, then it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Jainism is the root of the tree called religion while the rest of the religions are its branches.
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