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4 Food for Thought Facts Straight Out of the Great Axomiya Legends


Parinita Bora
Contributor, Bordoisila

26th September, 2016


If someone makes a list of stuff no one says I’m sure 'I want to read some history’ would top the list. But, then again if idly scrolling down your newsfeed is what you are doing right now, I may ask you to drop it for a while and put on your thinking caps. This is going to take a while.

1.

Narakaxur or Naraka, this character is both mentioned in Ramayana and Mahabharata. All the legends represent Naraka as being born of the mother earth, Pritvi through Vishnu in his bore incarnation. It is for the reason that he is called Bhauma (born of earth) and on account of his supposed divine origin all ruling families in ancient Assam claimed descent from him. The greatest elaboration of the Naraka story is found in the medieval Upapurana entitled KalikaPurana. This work has sometimes been assigned to a date earlier than 1000 AD (10th century). One of the stories in KalikaPurana goes this way:

Narakaxur wanted to take Goddess Kamakhya as his wife. And for that he had to carry out her terms of agreement. As agreed upon, he erected a temple for her on Nilachala hill, excavated a tank, and constructed a road to the temple in a single night. Seeing that Narakaxur almost accomplished the tasks, the Goddess caused a cock to crow signal the approach of dawn. Naraka was infuriated at her trick and in retaliation, he slew the cock. That place is known as "Kukurakata" which still exists and also the place called Narakaxur in Kahilipara (present) named after the king Narakaxur.

Could it be possible that we are all descendants of Naraka or Narakaxur who was considered to be a demon?


2.

There are mentions of Narakaxur and his kingdom in both Ramayana and Mahabharata. The date of Naraka's existence is confusing and vague because the two legends are from two different time periods. While Ramayana happened in Treta Yuga (the second age of mankind), Mahabharata is from Dwapar Yuga (the third age of mankind) and there is a gap of millions of years in between. But surprisingly, 15 characters appear in both Ramayana and Mahabharata and Narakasura of Pragyotispur is one such characters. Is it therefore probable that the name Naraka was a dynastic title that might have belonged to the later family?


3.

Epigraphs of ancient Assam as well as the Kalika Purana mentions Bhagadutta as the son of Naraka. The Harsha Charita on the other hand describes Bhagadatta as being in the anvaya (line of succession) of Naraka. Legends state that Bhagadatta gave his daughter Bhanumati in marriage to Durjyodhana, the eldest of the Kauravas and for this relationship Bhagadutta participated in the great Mahabharata war on the side of Kauravas. An old tank of Guwahati now known as "Digholipikhuri" was originally excavated on the occasion of marriage between Durjyodhana and Bhanumati. Also the water body was much larger than what it is today and was connected to the Brahmaputra. During the medieval age, Ahoms used the tank as naval yards. Later on, many portions of the lake were filled to create the Circuit House and the Gauhati High Court. The million dollar question is when did Dighalipukhuri first come into being?


4.

Did you know that Lord Krishna's wife Rukmini who belonged to Assam was the daughter of another ruler of Tinsukia called Bhismaka? According to one legend, Rukmini's father Bhismaka had arranged her marriage with a prince named Sisupala. On the wedding, before the betrothal ceremony could take place, When Lord Krishna came to know about the clandestine wedding plans of her father, he appeared on the spot and carried her off in his chariot to Dwaraka after defeating the crowd of princes present at the wedding ceremony. Many of the wedding songs currently sung in Assam contain allusions to this story which have been narrated in the "Bhagavata" as well as in the "Rukmini-Harana of Sankardeva".

I hope you had a good read. Loved it, hated it? Have anything to add? Let me know through your comments below.


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