Monday, September 7, 2009

Kings of the Sunga Dynasty,the Sixth Dynasty of Magadha`

From 1920 A.Y. to 2220.A.Y., :: From B.C. 1218 to 918.....Total years 300
Sl.No... Name of King... Years reigned From-To Kali. From-To B.C.
1. Pushyamitra or Pushpamitra 60 1884-1944 1218-1158
2. Agnimitra 50 1944-1994 1158-1108
3. Vasumitra 36 1994-2030 1108-1072
4. Sujyeshta 17 2030-2047 1072-1055
5. Bhadraka or Andhraka 30 2047-2077 1055-1025
6. Pulindaka 33 2077-2110 1025-992
7. Ghoshavasu 3 2110-2113 992-989
8. Vajramitra 29 2113-2142 989-960
9. Bhagavata 32 2142-2174 960-928
10. Devabhuti or Kshemabhumi 10 2074-2184 928-918
Total 300 years

1. Pushyamitrah(Vi.P.,B.P., K.R.V.,and one version of Va.P.) or Pushpamitra(M.P., Br.P. and one version of Va.P.) , the commander-in-Chief of Brihadradha (the last king of the Maurya dynasty) murdered him and ascended the throne of Magadha and became Emperor. He performed "Aswamedha Sacrifice". He reigned for 60 years from 1920 to 1980 A.Y.(After the coronation of Yudhistira) or 1218 to 1158 B.C.(Vide Vayu Purana, Brahmanda Purana, and Kaliyuga Raja Vrittanta).
The sentence "Ihapushpamitram yajayamah" is found in the Mahabhashya (commentary on the sutras of Panini) of Patanjali and therefore it is inferred by V.A.Smith and other historians (Vide Early History of India P.228) that Patanjali was a contemporary of Pushyamitra Sunga and attended the Aswamedha Sacrifice performed by him. But the author need not have been present at the Sacrifice which he mentions incidentally by way of comparison (as an illustration of a principle) in a treatise on grammer. Nor does it follow necessarily that Pushyamitra was alive at that time his sacrifice is mentioned by way of comparision.

Even if we grant both the assumptions and the consequent contemporaneity of Pushyamitra Sunga and Patanjali it is wrong to assign both of them to the 2nd century B.C.( as the European historians of India and their Indian followers do.) If we accept the chronology according to our Puranas of the dynasties of kings from the time of the Mahabharata war (3138 B.C.) and by the reference of Patanjali Maha-Bhashyam in Rajatarangani(Kashmir history), Pushyamitra Sunga, the first Sunga king who performed the Aswamedha reigned from 1218 B.C. to 1158 B.C. So Patanjali must have belonged to twelfth or the 13th century B.C., and not the 2nd century B.C.
Brihadraha, the last king of the imperial Maurya dynasty of Magadha was a man of dissolute character (given to women) and neglected the administration of the kingdom. Hordes of Sakas and Yavanas of North-Western India( not Greeks) grew bold enough to cross the Indus and the people (east of Indus) were exposed to danger to their lives and property and honour. So, his General and Minister Pushyamitra put him to death and proclaimed himself Emperor. He was a brahmin of the Sama Veda branch. He performed Aswamedha Yajna, won great honour for himself and became the founder of the Sunga dynasty of Magadha. The Barhat Stupa(Pillar) in Central India between Allahabad and Jubbalpur was built by kings of this dynasty.

3. Vasumitra, son of Agnimitra reigned for 36 years. According to Kalidasa, Vasumitra is clearly described as the son of Agnimitra by Dharini (wife of Agnimitra) and as the grandson of Pushpamitra. He is said to have conquered a Yavana force(,these are the degraded Yavana sub-sect of Suryavamsi Kshatriyas of Bharat,they are not the Greeks of Europe) on the bank of the river Sindhu and recovered the sacrificial horse left by his grand father, and to have been instrumental in carrying through the Royal Sacrifice to its successful completion, like Amsuman in the case of Great king Sagara.

The K.R.V. gives the following interesting account.
" Devahuti ( or Devabhuti), the last king of the Sunga dynasty, having been addicted to a life of pleasure and sexual enjoyment from his boyhood, entrusted the kingdom to the care of his Brahmin minister Vasudeva, and he himself retired to Vidisa, noted in those days for its dancing girls, where he began to lead a most licentious and immoral life with his voluptuary companions, corrupting the fair maidens of the city to satisfy his lust and becoming an object of hatred to his own subjects. On hearing the extraordinary beauty of the daughter of his Brahmin minister Vasudeva, who has been living with her husband, he sent for them to come to Vidisa and live by his side, and on one day, after secretly disposing of her husband, the king seduced her in the disguise of her husband and the poor girl, who was most true and devoted to her husband, coming to know of the treachery practiced by the king, at once gave up her life. On hearing the sad news of the fate of his daughter and of her innocent husband, Vasudeva contrived to send to the king a damcing woman, fully furnished with poison, dressed as one of the chief queens and had him killed by her hand. People hailed the death of their licentious king with joy, and made Vasudeva, his upright minister, to take charge of the kingdom and rule the country henceforth. ( Age of Sankara, Part I. B.,pp. 83,84).

The European Orientalists now generally give to:-
1. The Nanda dynasty a total period of 45 year.
2. The Maurya dynasty a total period of 137 years.
3. The Sunga dynasty a total period of 112 years
(Vide Age of Sankara, part I B. pages 70 ff., by T.S.Narayana Sastry, B.A.B.L., High court Vakil, Madras)


  1. Prasad Garu

    The Sunga Dynasty list is posted by you are of a lot of Gaps and only three kings are mentioned that of ten kings.

    Please correct the above dated 7th Sep 2009.

  2. Venkatram garu,
    Glad to see your interest in the subject. Pandit Kota Venkata Chelam has not given any more information about the remaining Sunga kings except what is already there in the table above and discussed some conflicting information in some of the puranas, which do not agree with the majority and with the Kaliyuga Raja Vrittanta, which is generally reliable and how the conflict is resolved.

    In case you have some more interesting information about these kings, you are welcome to contribute.