July 23, 2021: The mere mention of Mahishmati and we are instantly transported to the epic and royal world of SS Rajamouli’s Baahubali. The makers of Baahubali might have taken an imaginary route and created an enigmatic kingdom of Mahismati with Mahendra Baahubali as its king, but if you think it doesn’t exist in reality, you are mistaken. The Mahismati Empire is not entirely fictional and Mahishmati is a city likely to have been located in central India.
Mahishmati kingdom in Baahubali
When actor Prabhas yelled in the battlefield scenes of the Bahubali set, “Jai Mahishmati”, even the audience screamed in excitement.
Baahubali- The Beginning was the epic Indian fantasy film, which released in 2015 clinched two National Awards. This was the film, which made the huge multitude of Indians chant the name of this ancient Indian kingdom Mahismati.
Mahishmati in ancient texts
But to everyone’s astonishment, Mahismati is a real kingdom, which inherits its traces in the history of having being a kingdom of the current day Madhya Pradesh on the banks of River Narmada.
It was a part of the Avanti Kingdom and replaced Ujjain as the capital of the kingdom. It is said to have been ruled by the valiant king Kartivirya Arjuna. The truth of its existence can be rooted to the Indian epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Attacks on the Mahismati kingdom by rakshasa king Ravana has been inscribed in the epic of Ramayana. Ishkvaku’s son Dashashva’s kingship has also been established on Mahismati in the epic.
In Mahabharata, the attacks on the Avanti Kingdom of Mahismati by Sahadeva, one if the five Pandavas, has been recorded. The kingdom is said to have been shielded by the God of Agni.
The Buddhists texts, too, record the presence of such a kingdom named Mahasmati, which was also called Mahisa. This kingdom was considered to be a part of Avanti Kingdom.
The protection of Agni, the fire God
As per the legends, the king of Mahismati, Nila had fathered an extremely beautiful daughter, who had enticed the fire god. Subsequently, God courted the princess and was once discovered by the king, who surmised to punish the god who was in disguise.
Upon revelation of the flamboyant and dazzling form of the god, the king pleaded and was granted a boon of being shielded against all invasions.
Thus, to acquire the very same prosperous kingdom of Mahismati the Pandava prince Sahadeva had to please Agni.
Wedding in the kingdom
The kingdom is said to have a different system of matrimonial ties apart from the Aryavarta or the lands under the rule of Aryans. Marriage unlike a social institution was rather a civil institution in the kingdom of Mahismati.
Agni, the God of fire, had permitted the women of the kingdom to have multiple partners even after their marriage had been established.
Within the infinite myths about the Eden like land of Mahismati the truths have been buried either in the texts or beneath the earth. Truths and facts are excavated and keep on hitting the psyche of humans who ignite the curiosity about their ancestry.