Indic Past: Yayati mystery and Rama’s connection to Chola
by Jayasree Saranathan on 11 Nov 2020 3 Comments

My long term plan is to decode the Indic past by establishing the beginnings of the Vedic civilization, the persons involved, the place of genesis and its spread inside and outside India by which we can get a clarity on the vexatious issue of the Aryan invasion / migration, on whether people came from outside India or went out of India and how and when such movements happened.


My interest in the Tamil past nurtured by various Tamil sources had always made me think that a combined reading of Tamil sources with the Itihasa-Purana is necessary to understand the Indic past better. Over time I started identifying the overlapping features between the two sources and how they complement each other by giving a wholesome view which is missing when only one of them is taken as the source. Therefore this series is going to see a combined analysis of both Tamil and north Indian sources to find convincing answers to complex and contradictory features found in the texts and in our understanding of our past. I will crosscheck the Tamil evidences with other sources such as literary, archaeological, genetic and the like in my attempt to construct the Indic past.


Certainly one can expect me to speak about the truth or falsity of “Kumari Khandam” – the legendary land of ancient Tamils.


To begin with, I am establishing the biological connection between the ancient Chola dynasty with some prominent dynasties of North India based on the genealogical list given in Rajendra Chola’s Thiruvalangadu inscription and his son, Veerarajendra’s Kanyakumari inscription. Rajendra Chola’s was the first and perhaps the only source available now on a direct connection with Bharata, son of Dushyanta, coming in the lineage of Yayati.


Veerarajendra’s was more explicit in linking the Chola dynasty with Rama’s lineage. These two versions are mutually contradictory given the fact that Bharata belonged to lunar dynasty whereas Rama belonged to solar dynasty, but the Cholas always identified themselves as belonging to solar dynasty.


Yayati appears in both solar and lunar race. Rama’s ancestry narrated by Vasishtha at the time of his marriage contains Yayati’s name in the list. But a similar list narrated by Vasishtha when persuading Rama to return to the kingdom to take up kingship omits his name in particular. In the same narration, Vasishtha states that only the eldest son takes up the rulership in the Ikshvaku race. This gives rise to a scenario of Yayati, the second son of Nahusha, not being given rulership. After Nahusha appears the name Nabhaga, the son of Yayati in the second list.


This gives rise to an educated guess that Yayati was given in adoption to the lunar dynasty. Though Nahusha’s name appears in the lunar dynastic list of Vishnu Purana, his name appearing in the second list of Vasishtha in Valmiki Ramayana goes to show that he ascended the Ikshvaku throne but went away. This is supported by the legend of Nahusha taking up the post of Indra and falling down after abusing sage Agastya. There is a similar incident with Yayati too falling from Swarga. These outwardly mythological legends will be discussed for their metaphorical connotations.


For now it is pointed out that Yayati moved away from solar dynasty and entered lunar dynasty which is possible only through adoption. Similar shift is mentioned in Vishnu Purana in the case of Dushyanta who came in to Puru’s lineage after getting adopted by Turvasu’s lineage. The shift happened within the families of paternal cousins that ensured that the same genetic stock continued.


Puru and Turvasu being the sons of Yayati who came in the lineage of Ikshvaku had therefore shared the same paternal gene with Rama whose name appears fourth from Yayati in Ikshvaku list. Since Chola (the first Chola) was the direct descendant of Bharata, son of Dushyanta, as per Thiruvalangadu inscriptions, Chola also shared the same Y-chromosome of Rama.


Thus we can see the outwardly incompatible lineages mentioned by Rajendra I and Veerarajendra are one and the same biologically. Since the first Chola was born to Bharata, whose ancestry came from Yayati, the paternal ancestor of Rama; Veerarajendra had identified the birth of the first Chola in the family of Rama! The link with Rama is reinforced by many texts starting from Sangam age texts to those written 1000 years ago.


Going by the original biological and genetic connection, the Cholas had traced their ancestry from Manu and Sun – and therefore the solar dynasty.


There is yet another unknown element in Chola’s ancestry. They had a titular name, Sembian, traced to Shibi. Shibi comes in the lineage of Anu, another son of Yayati. Therefore Shibi also shares the same paternal gene with Rama. But then why did the Cholas align themselves with Shibi and not Bharata?


Looking at the details of Vishnu Purana, we learn that Bharata, Chola’s father, abandoned all his sons who were nine in number. Vishnu Purana says that the nine sons were killed by their mothers, which sounds preposterous. The complementary evidence from the Tamil source of Thiruvalangadu inscription shows that at least one son (Chola) was not killed. The sons were abandoned, but they had found their own ways of survival.


Veerarajendra’s inscription says that Chola left with a small army to the south and founded a kingdom where river Kaveri flowed. In all probability, this Chola was taken in adoption by Shibi’s family when he was abandoned by Bharata, his own father. This offers a better justification why the Cholas identified themselves as descendants of Shibi while not saying a word on Bharata, who nevertheless gave rise to the illustrious lineage of ‘Bharatas’ that included Kauravas and Pandavas. But for the Thiruvalangadu inscriptions, we would have never known Bharata-connection to Cholas.


Now the hints on genetic inflow and outflow to and from India:


-        Shibi’s son Kekaya establishes Kekaya country, identified with Bactria, shows the outward flow of genes that was shared by Rama and Chola, with the latter moving to South India as far as Pumpukar (Poompuhar). So the genetic marker seen in Tamilnadu will also be there in Central Europe.

-        Shibi’s ancestor Anu went out of India to West Asia / West Europe. The genetic outflow is same as above.

-        Same is the case with Turvasu, ancestor of Bharata, whose descendants were identified as Yavanas.

-        Genetic inflow is detected in the case of Pandavas - they were fathered by persons from outside India! I have given the time as circa 3200 BCE based on Mahabharata date deduced from traditional Kali Yuga date which is computational and continues to be in vogue today. Although most of their sons had died in the Mahabharata war, there exists a probability of continuity of their gene pool in sons born to women they married from different strata. Any genetic study on gene inflow around this date has the benefit of doubt pointing to Pandavas’ ancestry.


The common ancestor of all those discussed so far happens to be Vaivasvata Manu. Manu had left a distinct clue on an entity that lived before his times. He was Skanda, alias Subrahmanya, the only name along with Vedic entities (of Nature) appearing in the mantra of Indra-dvaja composed by Vaivasvata Manu. This establishes Skanda as earlier to Vaivasvata Manu.


(To be continued…)



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