(also known as Vamsa
, or Bansa
) was one of the solasa
(great kingdoms) of Uttarapatha
of ancient India
mentioned in the Anguttara Nikaya
Vatsa's geographical location was near the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers. Its capital was (present day Kosam, 35 miles southwest of Allahabad).
The early period
The Puranas state that the Vatsa kingdom was named after a king, Vatsa. The Ramayana
and the Mahabharata
attribute the credit of founding its capital to a Chedi prince or . The Puranas state that after the washing away of Hastinapura
by the Ganga, the king , the great-great grandson of Janamejaya
, abandoned the city and settled in . This is supported by the and the attributed to . Both of them have described the king Udayana as a scion of the family (). The Puranas provide a list of ’s successors which ends with king .
The first ruler of the dynasty of Vatsa, about whom some definite information available is II, Parantapa. While the Puranas state his father’s name was , tells it was . II married a princess of Videha, who was the mother of Udayana. He also married , a daughter of the Licchavi
chieftain . He attacked , the capital of during the rule of .
Udayana, the son of II by the Videha princess succeeded him. Udayana, the romantic hero of the , the and many other legends was contemporary of Buddha and of Pradyota, the king of Avanti. The contains a long account of his conquests. The narrates the event of his victory over the ruler of and restoration of to the throne of . The commentary on the Dhammapada describes the story of his marriage with or , the daughter of Pradyota, the king of Avanti. It also mentions about his two other consorts, , daughter of a Kuru Brahmin and , the adopted daughter of the treasurer Ghosaka. The refers to a peasant girl who became his wife. The of mentions about another queen named , a sister of king of Magadha. The tells us about the marriage of Udayana with , the daughter of , the king of . The narrates a story of romance between him and , an attendant of his chief queen, . The name of his son by his chief queen is Bodhi.
The Buddha visited Koushambi several times during the reign of Udayana on his effort to spread the dharma, the Eightfold Path and the Four Noble Truths. Udayana was an Upasaka (lay follower) of Buddha. The Chinese translation of the Buddhist canonical text states that the first image of Buddha, curved out of sandalwood was made under the instruction of Udayana.
According to the Puranas, the 4 successors of Udayana were , , Niramitra and . Later, the Vatsa kingdom was annexed by the Avanti
kingdom. Maniprabha, the great-grandson of Pradyota ruled at as a prince of Avanti.