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Munjavat – A Vedic Community

Rig Veda (X.34, 1) describes soma as Maujavata – “coming from the Mujavats or Mujavants”. Yaska (Nirkuta, IX.8) equates it with Munjavant and takes it as the name of a mountain. The Vedic references, however, indicate that it was the name of a distant land in the North and its people. The word mujavat is often coupled with Mahavrishas, and scholars such as Muir, Griffith, Roth, Weber, Ray Chaudhuri, Chakladar, Sudhakara Chattopadhyaya and others locate them in the vicinity of gandharis and bahlikas on the basis of references in the hymn to takman in Atharva Veda (V.22), where takman (fever) is invoked to go to these people. Baudhayana Srauta Sutra (II.5) assigns tumor to the Mahavrsas and fever to the Munjavats. These references clearly indicate that the Munjavats and the Mahavrsas were located in close vicinity.

At one place, Rudra is invoked to depart beyond the Mujavats (Vajasaneyi Samhita II.61). The commentator explains it as the name of a mountain, the place of Rudra’s abode. The commentator on Satapatha Brahmana (II. 6, 2, 17) calls it the ‘Northern Mountain’. The commentators seem to have been influenced by the Kathaka and Maitrayani Samhita and Nirukta. Yaska derives Maujavata, an epithet of soma, as “grown on Mujavat”, so called because it abounds in munja (saccharum sara), a kind of grass. The Mahabharata also describes Mujavata as a hill on the heights of Himavat. Vamana Purana (34. 38-48) refers to a tirtha called Munjavata, which is identified near Jind in Haryana. O P Bhardwaj locates Mujavats in the lower portion of the Sarasvati-Drishadvati.