The word Sahasra virtually means a thousand. For many it means the dominance of emperor Arjun over the evil. In mythological art, the pictorial expression of the strength of Gods is depicted with multiple hands and brain power with multiple heads. There are other explanations on the expression of strength of Sahasrarjun in the form of fables and mythical tales. It is the subject of this article. The illustrations presented here are designed in the interest of youngsters, who have little or no direct contact with the main core TAMRAKAR community. However, for reading the text the parents guidance may be required. Hopefully it will arouse curiosity in them over the glories of our past. Pictorially we have presented ten pairs of hands to represent the thousand hands of Sahasrarjun following the original painting by Shri Kale of Gadag. He was inspired by the scriptures on Sahasrarjun on the war front described in Bagvat puraan.
Great emperor Sahasrarjun, the patriarch, ruled the
, the region of Maheshwar in the state of kingdom of Mahismati . He was a well-known Kshatriya warrior, who stood out of other brave heroes of puraans, for his great strength. Sahasrarjun stories have been depicted differently in puraans. Many folklore’s and fables describing his greatness have been passed on for generations. It is mostly from word of mouth. Their interpretations, however, vary in different regions. The fables described here have been collected by personal interviews with the few leaders of the TAMRAKAR community by the author. Madya Pradesh, India
Our story begins from the heaven.Resident God Vishnu destroyer of evil, is generally identified by the weapon Chakra. This Chakra symbol adorns his right hand index finger. Pictorially it is shown as a very powerful, sharply spiked, spinning wheel. It spins fast This weapon represents God Chakradeva, the destroyer of evil elements of humanity. The Chakra sometimes in the form of wheel is used as a logo to symbolize our Sahasrarjun heritage. The wheel that represents Chakra is symbolically used in the figures or the book covers of the religious books related to Sahasrarjun.
God Vishnu at the appropriate time sent Chakaradeva to earth as one of his 26 avaatars. That is when there was no peace on earth due to turmoil caused by the rakshas or evil disruptors of the society. He descended to earth to eliminate the rakshasas and disruptors and become great emperor Sahasrarjun.
For generations it has been told that young Kartavirya after becoming the ruler of Mahismati, for the betterment of and for expansion of his kingdom to the four corners of the earth, sought the advice of the elders. Then he went on a quest for peace to a mountain top to pray to the God Dattatreya.
He prayed to him for peace and strength with deep devotion. Dattatreya became his mentor as well as his guru (teacher) and guided him during his entire life.
Dattatreya finally appeared and blessed his devotee with a thousand powerful hands. Mighty Sahasrarjun then conquered all the known and unknown oversea kingdoms. In reference to his powerful hands Sahasrarjun is addressed as Sahasrabahu, Sahasrabujhadhari etc.. He is also referred to as Rajarajeshwar, Kartavirya, Kartyviryarjun, Kritaviryanandan, Parakrami Arjun, Haihayaraja, Dashagrivajayi, Nagapal etc. He was known to be one of the seven greatest emperors that had ever lived.
Ganesh Puraan scriptures describe infant Kartavirya at birth as having no limbs.
Thousands of years ago, due to political and social uncertainties, sahastrabahu migrants from Madyapradesh settled in the Erandon area of Khanadesh where this folklore originated. At Erandon Barhanapur Ganesh lake, in the Ganesh temple, the priest pointed at the paintings. He explained that here on the lake front, Kartavirya’s parents were concerned. They carried their baby Kartavirya with no hands and prayed regularly to God Dattatreya, who then blessed the baby with the thousand hands. Kartavirya came to be known as Sahasrarjun.
Many interpret Sahasra represents hands of Sahasrarjun holding many weapons, expressing his knowledge in different war skills,Artist Kale placed imaginary weapons derived from the mythological depictions in Sahasrarjun’s hands. The author Shri Ajore Sinha of Hai Haya descent in his descriptive verses on Sahasrarjun strength also portrayed many weapons.
Sahasrarjun was accompanied by 500 humongous brave body guards serving him around the clock. Their collective 1000 powerful hands represented another source of his power.
Sahasrarjun had 500 spouses. Their thousand hands also represented his greater strength. Undoubtedly he must have been a patient diplomat to shoulder multiple domestic situations.
Thousand hands, presumably symbolic, represented his superhuman strength. It is common sense that he was a thousand times more powerful. As an example in a duel with fierce Ravana, he defeated the demon effortlessly. Ravana had a mighty physique with 10 pairs of strong hands and ten large heads.