The Kambojas are a very ancient Kshatriya tribe of the north-western parts of the Indian subcontinent, of what now forms north-eastern Afghanistan and southern parts of Tajikstan. They are frequently mentioned in ancient Indian texts, although not in the Rig Veda. They apparently belong to the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-Europeans . Earning a reputation as a formidable Kshatriya force (nation-in-arms), there are also several references attesting to the Brahmanism and scholarship of the Kamboja people. Thus, besides excelling as fierce warriors in the battle field, the ancient Kambojas also distinguished themselves in the field of art and science by becoming distinguished Rsis and scholars and teachers of the Vedas .

Upamanyu was one such Rsi of Kamboja lineage who finds frequent mention in ancient Indian Vedic as well as epic texts.

Rsi Upamanyu was father of Kamboja Aupamnayava

Upamanyu is the name of a Vedic Rsi or Seer who finds reference in Book I, Hymn 102. 9 of the Rig Veda and also in Anushasana Parava of epic Mahabharata (XIII.14-17) . Sage Upamanyu is said to be the father of sage Kamboja Aupamanyava referred to in the Vamsa Brahmana (1.18) of the Sama Veda .

Rsi Upamanyu: How he Composed Rig Vedic Hymn (1.102.9)

The Story of Rsi Upmanyu

Upamanyu was one among the favourite disciple of sage Ayodhdhaumya, along with Aruni of Panchala and the one named 'Veda' (Mbh 1.3). Upamanyu was assigned the task of looking after the cows. One day when he returned after his days work, the Guru called him and said, "Son, you look very healthy and radiant. What do you eat while you are working?" Upamanyu replied with all humility, "Sire, I eat whatever I get in alms." The saint who wanted to test Upmanyu said that from now on he would not eat anything that he received as alms without first asking him. Upmanyu agreed and from then on offered all that he received to his guru. The Guru would take everything and give Upamanyu nothing.

A few days later, the Guru again asked Upmanyu, "I take away all that you beg for, so what do you eat?" Upamanyu replied that whatever he received by begging the first time, he offered it to his Guru and then went out and begged again a second time. The guru said, "Son, this conduct is inappropriate for a resident of the hermitage. By begging twice you hinder the earnings of other pupils as you cut into their share of alms. Besides this also proves your greed."

Upamanyu listened to the guru and agreed not to do so again. A few days later, the guru again asked Upamanyu how he still looked so robust when he had stooped him from eating anything. To which Upamanyu replied that he drank a little of the cow's milk while he took them out to graze. The guru forbade him to do that without his permission. A few days later, on seeing Upmanyu still looking healthy, the guru again called him and asked how he was surviving. This time Upamanyu said that he drank the foam that the calves drooled while feeding on their mother's milk. The guru again forbade Upmanyu to do so and said that this would affect the health of the calves as they would drop more and more foam for Upamanyu to feed out of the kindness of their heart.

Upamanyu agreed to this too and went back to graze the cows as was his duty. Now that all avenues of getting food were closed, Upamanyu felt really hungry. When he could not tolerate the intensity of hunger he went and ate the leaves of a plant called `Aak', the leaves of which produce a bitter, sour, acidic and poisonous juice. Due to the effect of this juice Upamanyu was instantly blinded. He kept wandering in the woods and fell into a dry well.

After sunset, when Upamanyu did not return to the hermitage, the saint started worrying about him. He said to his other pupils, "I have closed all avenues for Upamanyu to get food. He is probably angry at this and hence has not returned, so let us all go and look for him." So they went to the woods to look for Upamanyu. They called out for him and heard a feeble voice from the well. They hurries to the well and when they peeped inside they saw Upamanyu. They asked Upamanyu how he fell inside the well. Upmanyu said, "I was so hungry that I ate the leaves of the Aak plant. I then became blind and while I was trying to find my way home I fell into the the well." After hearing his story they pulled him out of the well and his Guru told him to pray to the physicians of the Gods, Ashwini Kumar, so that his eyes would be healed. Upamanyu did as he was told and and Ashwini Kumars (twins who are the Physicians of Gods) appeared before him. They said, "Upamanyu, eat this sweet that we have brought you and you shall be healed." Upmanyu declined and said that he cannot eat anything without the permission of his guru. The gods then told him that they had offered his guru some sweet and he ate it without asking the permission of his own Guru. So if it is okay for your Guru to eat without first asking permission from his own guru then it is okay for you too.

But Upamanyu again declined and this devotion and obedience of Upmanyu towards his guru pleased the gods. They blessed him and Upamnyu's eyes were healed and all his teeth turned into gold. Upmanyu then went to his guru and was blessed by him. His guru was so pleased with him that he blessed him with instant memory and told him that he will know the Vedas and Dharamshashtras (other religious texts) automatically without any effort.

Upamanyu is the composer of Rig Vedic Hymn 1.102.9 .

Rsi Upamanyu was also Epic Promulgator of the Shaivism

Scholars including Dr S. K. De write that Upamanyu (Kamboja) is also the epic promulgator of the Shaivism. His hermitage in the mountains of Kashmir (Himalayas) is pointed at since northern Kamboja affinities of Upamanyu are indicated . Shiva is god of the north or Himayan mountains which fact again confirms northern affinities of Upamanyu, the epic promulgator of the Shaivism. Upamanyu's father was sage Vyaghrapada (Tiger Foot) and the teacher was sage Ayodha Dhaumya who was a famous teacher at Takshasila University . Thus, Epic Upamanyu received his education at Taksasila. The above facts may also point to northern and hence Kamboja affinities of sage Vyaghrapada and sage Upamanyu. Epic Upamanyu himself reveals that he was initiated into the Shaivism by his mother . Upamanyu had heard of Shiva in several forms from his mother and afterward, recited to Krsna the thousands names of Shiva .

Aupamanayva/Upamanyu Connections with Vashisthas?

However, some scholars like prof Ishwa Misra, Kirpal Singh, G. S Thind etc connect this Kamboja Aupamanyava and his father Sage Upamanyu with the Vasishthas and identify Sage Upamanyu of Rig Veda (the father of Sage Kamboja Aupamanyava) with Sage Upamanyu, son of Sage Vasu , and the grandson of Sage Vasishtha , thus suggesting a connection of the Kambojas with the Vasishthas . . Stella Kramrisch writes that Sage Vyaghrapadya (Tiger Foot) was the father of Sage Upamanyu (the Kamboja Epic Promulgator of the Shaivism) and further identifies Sage Vyaghrapadya with sage Vasu, the grandson of sage Vasishtha .

Upamanyu/Aupamanyava Gotra

Upamanyu also is one of the gotras of Hindu brahmins. The people with Upamanyu gotra live in far western part of Nepal and eastern Parts of Jammu & Kashmir. They are basically present just below the Mount Kailash as they pray to Lord Shiva only.

Prof B. N. Datta comments: "...In the list of Brahmana gotras mentioned in the Matsya-Purana , the name of (Kamboja) Aupamanyava is to be found. It is said to be an offshoot of the Vrigu (Parasara) gotras. This means that a Rishi hailing from the Kamboja tribe was also founder of a Brahmanical class.......Weber says that the appearance of the name of Kamboja (an Indian sounding name in Vedic text) as a Sama theologian is analogous of the discovery of the name of Gautama in Zoroastrian Mithra-Yesht . Upamanyu was of Kamboja descent, and Ustaxri was probably of Bactrian origin. Further, the name of prominent Rishi like Atharva sounds like Atharavan or Atharvan, the Persian fire-cult priest. The names of Atharva and Angirasa are connected with the introduction of fire-cult amongst the Vedic people. In this case, we find another infiltration of the foreign element (Kambojas etc) in the ethnic composition of the Vedic Aryas" .

DOGRAS / DUGGAR HILLS: People staying just below or the South (Eastern & Weastern) parts of Mount Kailash (Nepal & India) are the decendants of Upmanyu / Upamanyu Gotra. In India the region of Jammu (Duggar Hills) are occupied by the decendants of Upamanyu (Kambojhas). The Kambhojas (after the Mahabharata) moved out from todays Afganistan and walked east near the Kailash Parvat. A few stopped mid way in Jammu, due to the similar climate of the Hindu Kush Mountains. Kambhojas being fierece warriors (refer Mahabharata) were excellent in Down Hill attack and Up hill attack. The similar tribe of Kambojhas with time, started writing their Surname as Duggars, Dogras, Duggal, Sharma etc. This was one of the reasons for the Prince of Wales to choose and create a regiment for his protection during his visit to India called the DOGRA REGIMENT as they had the qualities of the Gorkhas and the Sherpas collectively.

The Kambhojas (Upamanyu Gotra) can be easilty identified as they are fair and have colourful eyes (Yellow, light blue, light brown) with a bit broader Forehead & nose. Dogras have hot blood and are very fond of food & drinks. Although Drinks are a absolute NO for the Brahmin clan of Kambhoja. Only the Rajput clan of Kambhoja / Upamanyu can consume Alcohol.

Praying to Lord Shiva every monday is a must for all Kambhojas / Upamanyu Gotra (All clans). The Brahmins under the Upamanyu Gotras can change their destiny just by not consuming any non - Veg, alchohol & tobacco. A visit to Lord Shiva's Temple every Monday is a must for every Upamanyu Gotra. This helps in progrssing in the individuals life. Kambhojas / Upamanayu gotra prays to Lord Shiva & Durga Maa is their Kula Devi.


Books and periodicals

  • Rig Veda
  • Rig Veda (Trans), III.113, Dr Ludwig
  • Vamsa Brahmana of Sama Veda
  • Anushasana Parava of Epic Mahabharata (XIII.14-17).
  • Altindisches Leben: die Cultur der vedischen Arier nach den Saṁhitā -1879, Page 102, Heinrich Zimmer
  • Literary History of Ancient India in Relation to Its Racial and Linguistic Affiliations – 1950, p 165, Chandra Chakraberty
  • History and Culture of Indian People, The Vedic Age, Dr R. C. Majumdar, Dr A. D. Pusalkar
  • Aspects of Sanskrit Literature - 1976, P 71, Sushil Kumar De - 1976
  • The Indian Historical Quarterly - 1963, P 290
  • The Racial History of India, 1944, Chandra Chakraberty
  • Literary History of Ancient India in Relation to Its Racial and Linguistic Affiliations - 1950, P 165, Chandra Chakraberty
  • The Society of the Rāmāyaṇa, 1991, Ananda W. P. Guruge
  • Some Kshatrya Tribes of Ancient India, 1924, Dr B. C. Law
  • Indological Studies, 1950, Dr B. C. Law
  • Problems of Ancient India, 2000, K. D. Sethna
  • ''Dialectics of Hindu Ritualism, 1956,Bhupendranātha Datta
  • Prācīna Kamboja, jana aura janapada =: Ancient Kamboja, people and country, 1981, Dr Jiyālāla Kāmboja, Dr Satyavrat Śāstrī
  • The Geographical Observer, Meerut College Geographical Society, Meerut
  • Balocistān: siyāsī kashmakash, muz̤mirāt va rujḥānāt, 1989, Munīr Aḥmad Marrī
  • These Kamboj People, 1979, K. S. Dardi

See also

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