ikshvaakuun`aam iyam bhuumihi
sa Saila vana kAnanA
mruga pakshi manushyANAm
nigraha anugrahEshu api.
If ayOdhya of Lucknow-faizabad really existed during rAmAyaNa days, we can classify the ikshvAkus of that city as 'western ikshvAkus'. This is because, there were two other ikshvAkus.
We can find their history in vAlmiki rAmAyan itself.
Context: Sage viSvAmitra took rAma and lakshmaNa to forests for protecting his sacrficial alters from contamination by the demon tATaka and her sons mArica and subAhu. According to legends these are in bIhar near buxar-chAprA.
After the task was complete, viSvAmitra took them to janaka's City mithila (presumably janakpur in nEpal).
He showed them on the way, the visAla kingdom, ruled by king viSAla. Sage viSvAmitra narrated to RamaLakshmanas the ancestral history of the viSAla. viSala's ancestors included kings like ikshvAku and kAkutsa.
We have to classify the vaishAli ikshvAkus as Eastern ikshvAkus, for differentiation.
The Eastern ikshvAkus are also known as lichchAvi ikshvAkus.
The krishNa and Guntur Districts of Andhra Pradesh, were ruled by a clan named 'ikshvAkus' during the 1st Century A.D.
buddhist nAgarjuna konDa (nAgarjuna sAgar), buddhist amarAvati, buddhist bhaTTiprolu, buddhist unDavalli, buddhist jaggayyapeT, were part of this kingdom.
Some historians felt that these ikshvAkus were licchAvi or the Eastern ikshvAkus of vaiSAli, bIhar.
Earlier, I made an incorrect deduction at one of these blog posts, that rAma during his pancavaTi stay on the banks of gOdAvari, might have left his successors in the area, who started the IkshvAku dynasty in Andhra Coast.
I have to eat my own words now. This is because, I now say, that gOdAvari could be a shallow river near gaya, South bIhAr. This is because, I now say, rAmaLakshmaNas have not crossed the vindhyas of iTArsi and nAgpur, narmada and tapti rivers. The vindhyancals, according to my view, were in mIrzapur on the banks of River Ganges.
There were some common features between the bIhar ikshvAkus and Andhra ikshvAkus.
*Both have an admixture of Hindu-buddhist culture.
*Andhra ikshvAku kings patronised Hinduism. Queens patronised Buddhism.
*Both the East Indian and South Indian ikshvAkus worshipped Lord kArtikEya (skandha, kumAra svAmi, subrahmaNya), the younger son of Lord Shiva. vAlmIki rAmAyan, Vol. 1, Book of Childhood, Chapter 37, contains the birth legend of kArtikEya, narrated by Sage visvAmitra to rAma.
Note: kArtikEya, according to 3-37-1 to 32, was born in HimAlayas on the northern banks of River Ganga. It is not clear how kArtikEyi entered deep South TamilnAdu as God murugan. Going through this is not our immediate task.
*3-12-20 contains a reference to God kArtikEya in the list of Gods worshipped at Sage agastya's hermitage:
sthAnam ca nAgarAjasya
garuDa sthAnam eva ca
kArtikEyasya ca sthAnam
dharma sthAnam ca paSyati.
Sage Agastya's hermitage, which rAma visited, before proceeding to panca vaTi had, a place of worship for the God 'kArtikEya', but there was no place for the God Shiva who was his father. Agastya was said to be a great devotee of Shiva.
*4-8-22 (Vol. 4, Chapter 8, Verse 22, kishkindha kAnDa)
ime hi me mahAbhAga
patriNaHa tigma tEjasaH
kArtikEya vana udbhUtAH
SarA hEma vibhUshitaha.
rAma was assuring the forester-king sugrIva. rAma was claiming that he would kill vAli with his arrows. This verse described that his arrows were decorated with gold. They were brought from the reed forest by name 'kArtikEya vana' (or kaarthikeeya vanam).
*This reed forest 'kArtikEya vana' seems to be at bhilsar, bArabanki Dt. of Uttar Pradesh. bArA banki District is on the Western border of AyOdhya's faizabad District. Gupta king 'kumAra Gupta' built a temple for Lord kArtIkEya (also known as: shaDAnana, murugan, subrahmaNya, skanda, kumAra etc.). The kArtikEya Mount, we have a tourist place on the hills of rIshIkEsh, uttarAncal State.
*rAma i.e. the Western ikshvAku kings were familiar with God 'kArtikEya'. gupta kings have names like kumAra gupta, skanda Gupta. Of course, candra Gupta II was said to have an elder brother by name rAma Gupta, whose wife was said to have been abducted by saka invaders. Candra Gupta was said to have rescued her from them. There was said to be a buddha Gupta also.
*I do not wish to deduce that gupta kings were ikshvAkus. But we have to dig out the relationship between vAlmiki rAmAyana and the guptas, because it evolved and got transformed from a ballad into a scripture of reverence. On one side, agastya advised rAma to worship God sUrya or Aditya (Sun God), by chanting Aditya hridayam (the heart of Sun God). This gives us an impression that guptAs were also Sun worshippers. But none of them had their names on 'sun' such as bhaskara gupta, sUrya gupta, etc. Of course candra gupta II had a title called 'vikram Aditya' i.e. the 'Sun God of Valor'. in 'candra gupta I' and 'candra gupta II' , candra means moon. In 'samudra gupta' , samudra meant Sea. But guptas were not worshippers of sea or water. But, there was a buddhist monk by name 'samudra'. But samudra gupta performed horse sacrifice and patronised Hindu religion more.
*There is one vEnu vanam (reed garden) on the hill of rAjagrih, bIhar. But, that is not sufficient to show that rAma obtained his arrows from rAjgrih, bIhar. Though pATali putram (pATna) was the Capital of guptas, their links with the old Capital City 'rAjgrih' were very few.
*rAma's obtaining the reeds for his arrows from bhilsar, bArabanki, west of UP's ayOdhya seems workable, because if king orders his subjects to bring reeds, they will bring any number from the bamboo forests. Goldsmiths will add gold covering to the arrows.
*Gold has a high specific gravity of 19.26. That means the arrows covered with the metal will be heavier than uncovered arrows. Heavier arrows cannot go long distances. Not clear, why rAma used gold-covered arrows.
*Carrying large number of arrows covered with a metal like 'gold', from ayOdhya in U.P. to kishkindha (present tourist location hampi-bellAri Dt, karnATaka) would have been hazardous for rAma and lakshmaNa.
Besides, rAma had to carry sItA on his shoulders, whenever she was unable to walk in the thorny paths. Then, they had to carry wooden spoons for pouring clarified butter into their sacrificial fires, apart from the fire-making tool 'araNi'. Some axes and sickles. Some fish- nets. Some iron rods for grilling fish and meat.
On one shoulder, they have to carry the heavy huge bag of arrow bundles.
On another shoulder they have to carry their heavy bows. Sage paraSu rAma them one VishNu bow. Agastya gave them one vishNu bow. Bamboos were available abundantly in the danDaka forests, and they could have used local reeds. Probably, they might have used local reed arrows for hunting antelopes and deer.
Less luggage and more comfort ought to have been the motto. LakshmaNa's back might have been broken or swollen with the load.
These loads might have severely limited the distance which sItA , rAma and lakshaNa, could travel.