Ashmak/Assak Mahajanapada




Ashmak/Assak Mahajanapada:

Ashmaka/Assaka was the only mahajanapada that was situated in the region known as ‘Dakshinapatha’. The remaining fifteen mahajanapadas were in north India. Suttanipata describes the region of Dakshinapatha in great detail. It was the region of an important trading route. It started at Shravasti and proceeded through Ujjayini and Mahishmati. From there one would reach Pratishthan after crossing the Vindhyas. According to ‘Mahagovinda Suttanta’, a Buddhist text, Brahmadatta was the king of Assaka and the name of his capital was ‘Potana/Podana’. Potana is identified with Nandura in Buldhana district. Potana was also known by the names, ‘Potali’ and ‘Paudanya’. Other janapadas situated in the region of Dakshinapatha were ‘Vidarbha’, ‘Bhoja’, ‘Dandaka’, and ‘Kalinga’. The first three were part of present-day Maharashtra. Also, the tribal states of the Andhas, Shabaras, Pulindas, and the Mutibas were also located in the Godavari and Krishna basins. Assaka was a region of ancient India (700 BC –300 BC). It was one of the shodasa (sixteen) mahajanapadas in the 6th century BCE, mentioned in the Buddhist text Anguttara Nikaya. "Assaka" (Prakrit) or "Asmaka" (Sanskrit) signifies the "stony region" and was located in the Deccan region. In the Vayu Purana (88. 177-178) Asmaka and Mulaka appear as scions of the Ikshvaku family. This probably indicates that the Asmaka and Mulaka (or Alakas) kingdoms were believed to have been founded by Ikshvaku chiefs, just as Vidarbha and Dandaka were founded by princes of the Yadu (Bhoja) family or the Asmaka was located in Dakshinapatha or Southern India. In buddha’s time, Assaka was located on the bank of the river Godavari (South of Vindhyan range). The Capital of the Assaka was Potana or Potali which corresponds to Paudanya of Mahabharata. Modern-day Bodhan (Nizamabad), Kotilingala (Karimnagar)are believed to be the capitals of Assaka Janapada. The Buddhist text Mahagovinda Suttanta mentions Brahmadatta king of the Assakas who was a contemporary of Sattabhu king of Kalinga, Vessabhu king of Avanti, Bharata king of Sovlra, Renu king of Videha, Dhatarattha king of Anga, and Dhatarattha king of Kasi. According to Jaina texts, Bahubali, the son of Rishabhanath the first Jaina Tirthankara was given the kingdom of Ashmaka and Podanpur was its capital. The magnificent statue of Bahubali stands at Shrvanbelgola, in the Hassan district of Karnataka. Bahubali had attained Keval Gyan (Omniscience).

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