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Arjunayanas – Ancient Tribe Associated With Arjuna Of Mahabharata

Arjunayanas was an ancient tribe in India and they are generally believed to have been connected with Arjuna, the third Pandava. The first definite mention of Arjunayanas is found in Ganapatha of Panini.

Mahamayauri, a Buddhist work of the early Common Era, refers to Arjuna as the tutelary yaksha of a place called Arjunavana but it is difficult to locate the place and establish its connection with Arjunayanas satisfactorily.

The unearthed spots reveal that they lived in south western Haryana and the adjoining area of Rajasthan. The coins carry the name of the tribe and depict Lakshmi, a bull and an elephant as the main devices and a tree-in-railing and a sacrificial post as the auxiliary ones.

All most all the coins unearthed are datable to first century AD. Majority of the coins are in copper and excavations have come across rare silver coins too.

The Allahabad Pillar Inscription of Samudragupta mentions the Arjunayanas along with Yaudheyas, Malavas, Prarjunas, etc., as having been defeated by the Gupta Monarch.
Brihat Samhita of Varahamihira also associates them with the Yaudheyas suggesting their close geographical proximity.

Chandra Vyakarana and Kasika grammatical works of the 4th and 7th centuries AD respectively too mention them apparently referring to their acknowledgement of the supremacy of Samudragupta in the 4th century AD.

Their mention in the early works like Sarasvatikanthabharana, Ganaratnamahodadhi, etc, indicates that the name of the Arjunayanas continued to be remembered till as late as 11th and 12th centuries AD.

The first Arjunayana coin was discovered in 1838 by Prinsep and the total number known till date is less than a dozen.

Source – 
Essays on Indian Antiquities (1858) James Prinsep – E. Thomas London
Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume I page 401 - IHRF




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