The major event in the Rigved is indeed of the Battle of 10 kings or Dasharadnya Yuddha (दाशराज्ञ युद्ध) and the hero of this war is king Sudas of North Panchal kingdom, the ancestor of Draupadi.
Apart from details of what happened in the war, the information is precise enough to tell us what caused the war and where the war took place.
The reason behind the war
The reason behind the war is the rivalry between Vishwamitra and Vasishtha.
As we have seen in Proving the Out of India Theory 5 the Vishwamitras from the earliest times were related to the kings of Purus and Panchalas who are called Bharatas in general. Sudas himself was a Bharata. The profuse references to places in Haryana and hymns in the praise of Sudas prove the same. Specifically, the hymn RV(3.53) composed by Vishwamitra himself praises Sudas and tells us that with the help of Vishwamitras, Sudas had reached the Sindhu river, crossed it and had done a huge Yagya there. The Brihad Devata tells us even the Vasishthas were present there.Along with Vishwamitras, the Jamadagnis were also present. Because of some dispute between some Jamadagnis and Shaktyas ( descendants of Vasishthas's son Shakti), some Jamadagnis fainted. This caused them to utter curses which also find place in RV(3.53). These curses are called Sasarpari (ससर्परी).
Also, we know that before the era of Sudas, the Vasishthas were more or less related to Ikshvakus in Ayodhya or central Indian Yadus. But soon, the relations between Vishwamitras and Sudas began to deteriorate. During the same time, a Vasishtha named Shreshthabhaj was the priest of the Ikshvaku king Kalmashpada. Because of his rivalry with Vasishtha, Vishwamitra sent some Danavas to cook meat for Vasishtha and feed him through king Kalmashpada. The same Vishwamitra had killed Vasishtha's 100 sons along with Shakti,his eldest son. Such was the rivalry between them.
With the Vasishtha getting closer to Sudas and the consequent jealousy of Vishwamitra resulted in Vishwamitra leaving Sudas and consolidating a group of 10 kings and pitching them against Sudas. Hence this war is known as Battle of 'Ten' Kings.
The other people who were involved against Sudas are Kavasha Ailusha and Kavi Chaymana.
Kavash Ailusha himself was against Sudas whereas his son Tura Kavasheya had crowned King Janmajeya II of Puru dynasty. Talking of Kavi Chayamana, he was the descendant of Abhyavartin Chayamana who is mentioned by Bharadvaja in RV(6.27.8) as a Parthav ( or descendant of Pruthu) and was an Anu king and had fought the Hariyupiya war from the side of the Bharatas. But see how politics changes- Abhyavartin was allied to the Bharatas, but his descendant Kavi fought against the Bharata king Sudas !!!
|This war is so famous that there is an animation movie made on it.|
The war is described properly in the hymns RV(7.18), (7.19), (7.33 )composed by Vasishtha.For obvious reason ,it has to be Vasishtha who will praise Sudas since it was his rival Vishwamitra who had pitched 10 kings against Sudas.
According to RV(7.18.5) the war took place on the banks of the river Parushni (Ravi) in Punjab. Following were the enemies of Sudas-
- Paktha RV(7.18.7)
- Bhalanas RV(7.18.7)
- Alina RV(7.18.7)
- Vishanin RV(7.18.7)
- Shivi RV(7.18.7)
- Turvasha RV(7.18.6)
- Matsya RV(7.18.6)
- Bhrugu RV(7.18.6)
- Druhyu RV(7.18.6)
- Vaikarnas RV(7.18.11) ( 21 in number)
- Anus RV(7.18.13)
- Pruthus (which includes Kavi Chayamana) RV(7.18.8)
- Parshus RV(7.83.1)
- Simyu RV(7.18.5)
These all were segregated under 10 kings for the war. Along with this, there were many other enemies with whom Sudas fought the war on the banks of Yamuna. They were
- Yakshas RV(7.18.19)
- Shigrus RV(7.18.19)
- Aja RV(7.18.19)
and whose leader was a king called Bheda (भेद) RV(7.18.19)
There were other enemies who had attacked on the Vasishthas-
- Yudhyamadhi, who were killed by drowning RV(7.18.24)
- Trushnaj RV(7.33.5)