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Vrishni Clan In Ancient India

Vrishni is a martial clan in ancient India to which Lord Krishna belonged. The clan is mentioned variously as Vrishni, Varsna, Varsnya and Varsneya in later Vedic texts as well as in Panini’s Astadhyayi and Kautilya’s Arthashastra.

The Mahabharata refers to Vrishni, a kshatriya of the Yadu race, whose descendants came to be known as the Vrishnis. Krishna belonged to the Vrishni clan and was the sangha mukhya (chief) of the Andhaka Vrishni state. Krishna testifies in Harivamsa Purana to the martial qualities of not only men but also the women of the Vrishni clan.

The Mahabharata and Puranas refer to the invasion by Jarasandha and the exile of the Yadavas from Mathura and their settlement by Vasudeva Krishna at Kusasthali (Dwarka). About 36 years after the battle of the Mahabharata, the decline of the Yadava clan due to inner-clan enmity was followed by the death of Krishna. The city of Dwarka was also immersed in the sea after seven days. The Mahabharata, Bhagavata and Vishnu Purana indicate that the Vrishnis were settled by Arjuna in the Pancanada region after the calamity that befell them at Dwarka.

Historical references to this clan include the Mora Well Inscription of Sodasa (1st century BC), which mentions the image of the fiver Vrishni heroes – Vasudeva, Sankarshana, Pradyumna, Aniruddha and Samba, installed in a temple at Mathura.

A unique silver Vrishni coin, now in the British Museum, London, has the legend of Vrishni rajajna ganasya tratarasya (of the savior of the Vrishni Kshatriya association).
The Mahabharata refers to the central assembly of the Andhaka Vrishnis as Sudharma. Probably the different constituents of the association sent their representatives to the assembly.

Numerous seals, sealings and copper coins found from Sunet (Ludhiana, Punjab) furnish evidence of its being the Vrishni stronghold during the 3rd century AD, after which they seem to have been amalgamated with the Yaudheyas.

SourceEncyclopedia of Hinduism – Volume XI – page 455 - IHRF



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