How many miles did Bharata travel in 7 days to reach Ayodhya? (Post No.9541)

WRITTEN BY LONDON SWAMINATHAN

Post No. 9541

Date uploaded in London – –27 APRIL  2021     

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We read about Bharata’s travel in Valmiki Ramayana. He travelled for seven days and reached Ayodhya. His mother’s country Kekaya was in Afghanistan but near Iranian border. So let us calculate how far he travelled. He travelled by chariot drawn by horses. Some interesting information is available in Panini’s grammar book Ashtadhyayi and its commentaries .

Panini mentioned various terms where bulls were used to draw chariots or carts,

Rathya- bulls to draw chariots 4-4-76; in the tad- vahati section

Saakata- bulls for carts,4-4-80

Baalika and Sairika – bulls for ploughs

Panini refers to different types of chariots drawn by horse or camel or ass in addition to bulls.4-3-122

Chariots were drawn by even number of horses two or four;

Sometimes a leader was yoked in front and it was called Prastha,8-3-92

But in the sculpture’s of Bharhut, Sanchi and Mathura we see 2 or 4 horses or bulls drawing the chariots or carts.

Apart from chariots Panini mentioned riders of bulls, camels and horses.

Horse distance

Aasviina denoted the length of journey made in one day by a horse,5-2-19

In the Atharva Veda 6-131-3 the Aasviina distance is mentioned immediately after 3 or 5 yojanas and appears to have exceeded five yojanas.

The Arthasastra defines precisely the Aasviina distance, as it was needed to calculate the travelling done by Government servants, and for determining the marches of cavalry or for other purposes.

The Aasviina distance in the Arthasastra is as follows—

Quality of horse — Chariot Horses —- Riding Horses

Average — 6 yojanas/31 miles— 5 yojanas/ 25-5 miles

Middle –     9 yojanas/46 miles —- 8 yojanas/41 miles

Best —     12 yojanas/61 miles — 10 yojanas/ 51 miles

The Aasviina distance in the Atharva Veda was between 5 and 8 yojanas.

Patanjali also confirmed 8 yojanas for the best horse per day.

If we take the highest number for the best horse, then Bharata would have covered at least 420 miles between Ayodhya and his home country Kekaya near Iranian border.

The roads between big cities were in good condition.

We read such things in Nala Damayanti charita   as well. Rtuparnan, and Nalan were great drivers. Tamil poem says they travelled 700 Kathams before one said ‘’Mm’’.

Kaikeyi was also a great driver and she got the boons when she drove the chariot of Dasaratha in such a way and made Dasaratha won the battle against Sambara.

So my research showed that Bharata travelled at least 420 miles; to be precise 7 days X61 miles per day= 427 miles.

But the actual distance between Kandahar city (Gandhaara) and Ayodhya is 1000 miles. So I think Bharat would have crossed rivers and took the short cut. Being a prince he would have got waiting chariots on both the banks of every river. Another possibility is that in his time Kekaya’s sovereignty might have covered Pakistan region as well.

Xxx Subham xxxx

tags — Chariot, Horse, distance, Bharat, Kekaya, Aodhya, Asvina, Kautilya

The Sandals

 

Tears nor sighs nor sad entreaty Rama’s changeless purpose shook,

Till once more with hands conjoined Bharat to his elder spoke:

 

“Rama, true to royal mercy, true to duties of thy race,

Grant this favour to thy mother, to thy brother grant this grace,

 

Vain were my unaided efforts to protect our father’s throne

Town and hamlet, lord and tiller, turn to thee and thee alone!

 

Unto Rama, friends and kinsmen, chiefs and warriors, turn in pain,

And each city chief and elder, and each humble village swain,

 

Base thy empire strong, unshaken, on a loyal nation’s will,

With thy worth and with thy valour serve their faithful people still!”

 

Rama raised the prostate Bharat to his ever loving breast,

And in voice of tuneful hansa thus his gentle speech adrest:

“Trust me, Bharat, lofty virtue, strength and will to thee belong,

Thou could’st rule a world-wide empire in thy faith and purpose strong,

 

And our father’s ancient ministers, ever faithful, wise and deep,

They shall help thee with their counsel and thy ancient frontiers keep,

 

List! The Moon may lose his lustre, Himalaya lose his snow,

Heaving ocean pass his confines surging from the caves below,

 

But the truth abiding Rama will not move from promise given,

He hath spoke and will not falter, help him righteous Gods in heaven!”

 

Blazing like the Sun in splendour, beauteous like the Lord of Night,

Rama vowed his Vow of Duty, changeless in his holy might!

 

“Humble token”, answered Bharat, “still I seek from Rama’s hand,

Token of his love and kindness, token of his high command,

 

From thy feet cast forth those sandals, they shall decorate the throne,

They shall nerve my heart o duty and shall safely guard thy own,

 

They shall to a loyal nation absent monarch’s will proclaim,

Watch the frontiers of the empire and the people’s homage claim!

 

Rama gave the loosened sandals as his humble younger prayed,

Bharat bowed to them in homage and his parting purpose said:

 

“Not alone will banished Rama barks and mated tresses wear,

Fourteen years the crowned Bharat will in hermit’s dress appear,

 

Henceforth Bharat dwells in palace guised as the hermit of the wood,

In the sumptuous hall of feasting wild fruit is his only food,

Fourteen years will pass in waiting, weary toil and penance dire,

Then, if Rama comes not living, Bharat dies upon the pyre!”  (II.122.9-26)

 

Valmiki Ramayana translated by Romesh Dutt

 

Please read my earlier post: WHY DO HINDUS WORSHIP SHOES?

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