Rivers in the Rigveda and Panini’s Ashtadhyayi-1 (Post No.9776)


Post No. 9776 

Date uploaded in London – –25 JUNE   2021           

Contact – swami_48@yahoo.com

Pictures are taken from various sources for spreading knowledge.

this is a non- commercial blog. Thanks for your great pictures.

tamilandvedas.com, swamiindology.blogspot.com

Panini lived closer to the Vedic age. He is assigned Eighth century BCE by Goldstucker and other great Sanskrit scholars. He is continuously giving the Vedic usages along with Sanskrit of his day and he called them by Chandas and Basha.

It will be useful to compare the usages in both because both the Vedic Rishis and Panini lived in the same area. But one must always remember that none of them wrote a book on geography and so one can’t expect 100% geographical information from them.

Poets of Sangam Tamil literature who lived 2000 years ago spoke about the Rivers Ganga and Yamuna but not the Sindhu/Indus. If one applies negative evidence as proof Tamils knew nothing about the Indus River basin at all. But fanatic Tamils boast that they ruled Indus area once. They very often quote the idiotic Brahui theory without rhyme or reason. No one can give even ten Tamil words in Brahui language. Moreover, the physiological features of both Indus and Afghan Brahui people are dissimilar to the Tamils.

Now back to the rivers in Panini’s works…..

Panini mentions Suvaastu in the north west 4-2-77; Swat

This river with its tributary the Gauri, modern Panjkora flowed through Gandhara, according to VS Agrawala. He described all the rivers in his book India As Kknown to Panini.

Upper part of Gandhara was known as Uddiyana, famous for its blankets called Pandu Kambala , also mentioned by Panini 4-211

The western capital of Gandhara was Pushkalavati which is identified with modern Charsadda a little above the junction of the Swat with the Kaabul river.

The Kasika ( a later day commentary) mentions Pushkalavati as the name of a river in three Sutras along with certain other names as




Of these Masakaavatii seems to be identical with the name of the river on which Massaga or Massaka, capital of the warlike people known as the Aasvakaayanas was situated.

Agrawala guesses that portions of  Swat river might have been named

Pushkalavati and


It may be added that Patanjali mentions



Ikshumatii and

Drumatii definitely as names of rivers 2-287

Of these Udumbaraavatii may have flowed through the country of the Audumbaras and Iksumatii is identical with a tributary of the Ganges referred to as Oxymagis by Arrian and now known as Iikhan, also Kaalindi flowing through Farukkabad district.


Sindhu/ Indus

The next great river mentioned in the north west is the Sindhu after which the country to its east was named Sindhu, the present Sind-Sagar Doab 4-3-93

(Agrawala wrote this in 1953.)

Taking its rise from the snows of western Kailasa in Tibet, the Sindhu first flows north west for half of its length, and then reaching the Darad country in the north west of Kashmir and of Little Pamir it takes a south ward course along which lay its most famous places.

A geographical feature of the Indus descending from the defiles of Dardistan is expressed in the grammatical formation ‘Daaraadi Sindhuh’, naming it after its immediate source (Prabhavati 4-3-83). Emerging from the Darad highlands the river enters the Gandhara country with Swat or Uddiyana on its right and the ancient Janapada of Urasaa, modern Hazara in NWFP on its left until it receives its most important western tributary the Kaabul river at Ohind, a few miles north of Attock where it is at present crossed by a bridge.

Ohind was the ancient Udbhaanda, the place of transhipment of goods across the Sindhu and the spot where the great northern trade route called Uttarapatha in Sutra 5-1-77 crossed the river.

Panini’s own birth place Salaatura was a riparian town of the Indus situated at a distance of only four miles from Ohind in the angle of Kubhaa and the Sindhu

About sixty miles east of Udbhanda was Takshasilaa, the eastern capital of Gandhara, and at an equal distance to the west was Pushkalavati, its western capital.

The Trans Indus country was known in ancient times as Paare – Sindhu (Sabha parva 51-11, Mahabharata). It’s famous breed of mares imported into India is mentioned by Panini as Paare- Vadavaa, the mare from beyond the border 6-2-42


Varnu = Bannu


Varnu corresponding to Bannu on the other side of the river is mentioned in a sutra, and also gana-paatha. The Bannu Valley is drained by the rivers Kurram (Vedic Krumu) and the Gambila or Tochi which unite and flow in to Sindhu .

It appears that the Kurram river after it left the Kurram Agency and from the point where it enters the Bannu Valley was named Varnu in ancient days.

To south of Kekaya was situated the Sindhu Janapada lying north to south between the rivers Jhelum and Indus.

Along the lower most course of the River Sindhu was situated the ancient Sauvira Janapada now known as Sind.

Of the rivers of Punjab, Panini mentions Vipas (Beas ) and the Wells dug on its north side 4-2-74.

Bhidya and Uddhya

Panini names two other rivers Bhidya and Uddhya 3-1-115

Uddhya is the same as Ujh flowing through Jassora district and falling into river Ravi.

On Panini 2-4-7, Kasika cites the example Uddhy-Eravati, that is Uddhya and Iraavatii.

Bhidya may be identified with a river named Bai rising in Jammu about 15 miles to the west of the river Ujh and flowing into the Ravi in Gurudaspur district.

Kalidasa refers to these two rivers in Raghuvamsa 11-8



Panini also mentions the river Devika and what grew on its banks 7-3-1 which Patanjali describes to be Sali rice 3-316.

Pargiter rightly identified it with the river Deg. Devika flowed through the Madra country and joined Ravi according to Vamana Purana.

Panini mentions another river Ajravatii, the Achiravati of Pali texts, modern Rapti on which stood Sarasvati


The next river mentioned in this region is Sarayu of which Rapti is a tributary. It may be noted that Sarayu was also the name of a river n remote Rigvedic India flowing past Herat (derived from Hari Rud, old Persian Harayu from Vedic Sarayu ).

Darius I,  (516 BCE), in his inscription mentions Haraiva, the people of Harayu, equal to Paninis Saarava.

In the Elamite version of the Behitsun inscription occurs the name

(Arriya= Haraiva = Gk. Ariya with its capital at Heart )


Another river Rathaspaa is mentioned in the Gana paatha to Sutra 6-1-157. This name occurs in the Jaiminiya Brahmana and in the Adi parva 172-20 (Mahabharata)  where it is one of the seven sacred rivers between Sarasvati on the one hand Gandaki on the other. Most probably it was a river of Panchala and the name may correspond to Rodhopha which is mentioned by the Greek writers as marking an important stage on the great royal road from the frontier to Pataliputra. It is 119 miles from the Ganges. Actually Ramaganga is the river at 119 miles. It is in between the Ganges and Sarayu.

Ramaganga falls into Ganges in Kanauj .


Sarasvati is mentioned in the Sutra 6-3-120

Saaradiinaam cha. Though several rivers lay claim to this name, the most famous one was that which separated east and the west county in the north west of India.


Of the rivers of central India, Panini mentioned Charmanvati 8-2-12

Panini uses the term Rumanvat which the Kasika connects with a place producing salt.

Lavana sabdasya rumana- bhaavo nipaatyate


The form Rumanvat have been based on the name Rumaa, a river or lake in the district of Sambhar in Ajmer which is also the source of river



My comments

From the days of Rigveda, Hindus considered all the rivers as mother or sister. In Panini also we see the same Vedic suffix VATI OR MATI. Until this day we see only women names end with Vati or Mati

Masculine names end with PATI as we see in Brhaspati, Brahmanaspati, Ganapathi, Grhapati , Vanaspati etc.

Surprisingly Ganga is missing though we find indirect references through its tributaries. This proves Panini lived closer to Vedic times. In the Rigveda we see more importance is given to Sarasvati and Sindhu. Only when Sarasvati dried up more importance was given to Sarasvati. But Vedic Hindus fought internal wars even on the banks of river Yamuna

Again I want to emphasise none of them wrote a book on geography. 2000 years ago, Tamils mentioned Ganges many times, Yamuna at least once, but never mentioned Sindhu.

Vedas mentioned more than 30 rivers. There is no literature in the world equal to Rigveda where we see glorification of the rivers. Over 60 references are there to Sarasvati in the RV.

There is a beautiful dialogue with three Rivers in the third mandala of the RV. Innumerable river similes are in the same Veda . The Rishis knew very well the rivers go and merge with the sea. It is compared to all girls seeking the company of Mr Sea.

Another beautiful reference to ocean shows their deep knowledge about oceanology. One Rishi says the sea never crosses its boundary. Though all the rivers poured continuously, It is never full or overflowing. The same Rigvedic matter is used by a Sangam Age Brahmin poet Paranar (Pathitru Pathu 45-19). This shows Paranar is well versed in the Rigveda. If a seer of Rigveda makes a comment like that, they must have watched it for generations and discussed it and wondered about it.

In the second part I will write about the rivers in the Rig Veda.

To be continued………….


To be continued………….

 tags- Rivers, in Rig Veda, Rivers in Panini

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: